Archive for the ‘Salads and Sides’ Category

Kimchi Dreams

In Salads and Sides on June 29, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Last weekend was pretty epic. I got to celebrate my 41st birthday with lots of friends, which of course I loved because I have amazing friends, and on top of that we had a blindfolded seven course tasting contest as a part of that celebration. We hired a fabulous vegan chef named Sophia Treyger to prepare the mystery dishes for us (you can read all about the dishes she prepared for the event on her blog), and 18 of us put on blindfolds while the rest helped serve the dishes. It was a total blast, even though I didn’t do as well as I’d expected as far as guessing what I was eating. One thing that I did guess correctly, though, and which I haven’t been able to get enough of since: Kimchi! Yes! Last Saturday I discovered just how much I love it, and now I can’t get enough of it. It’s pretty much the only thing I want to eat right now.

Sophia was nice enough to leave the leftover kimchi with us at the end of the tasting contest, but we went through that within a couple of days and I wanted MORE. So I went to the source, and asked Sophia if she would mind sharing the recipe. Happy me, she didn’t mind, and because it is so damn good I’m going to share it with you as well.

After a trip to Fubonn (the nearest Asian market) with a good friend who was also at the tasting contest and also craving kimchi, I was ready to start. Using the recipe Sophia gave me as a base, I made just a couple of alterations:

1) I shredded 3 medium carrots instead of 1 large one

2) I added half a cup of organic red miso paste for a little extra umami boost

The alterations I made were pretty minor and I doubt they affected the bulk much. If you’re wondering how much Sophia’s recipe yields, I filled four 16 oz pint jars to the brim with delicious kimchi goodness.

I am going to wait a day or two and then hopefully my friend and I can trade bites of kimchi so I can tell whether I like his kimchi (which he made without red miso paste) or mine better. As I continue to delve into the world of kimchi I want to experiment with other veggies, other sources of umami, and different fermentation methods. From what I can tell, Sophia’s recipe speeds up the fermentation process by brining the cabbage prior to adding it into the rest of the ingredients. I gathered this after reading a blog post and recipe by a different vegan cook, who goes the more traditional fermentation route and seems to know a lot about umami and monosodium glutamate. If you’re really considering making your own kimchi I highly recommend reading both recipes I’ve linked you to, as well as doing your own research. It’s a super interesting subject.

Now, just cross your fingers for me that I can hold myself back from eating all this deliciousness before it has the chance to ferment!



Vegan Deviled Eggs

In Salads and Sides on April 4, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Today was a potluck VeganEaster brunch at our house and on this day of miracles I achieved one of my own.  No, nothing as awesome as zombies ascending to the heavens or bunnies traipsing around hiding candies, but still….deviled eggs!  They turned out tasting just like the real thing, so we got all the yummy flavor without the gross-out factor.  Awesome.


Vegan Deviled Eggs Recipe
Makes 32 half eggs. You’ll need to start these the day before you want to serve them, as the whites need to set overnight. Use the same type of egg molds that they sell for making candies and such. The Mr. ordered mine for me from Amazon.

The day before….

Egg whites
3 boxes of firm silken tofu
8 Tbs agar (I used 4 this time and they weren’t quite as solid as I would have liked)
3/4 c water
3 tsp Kala Namak (black salt, tastes and smells like eggs. You can buy it in Portland at the Meadow, land of all things deliciously salty.)
A tiny bit of canola oil

Get our your food processor or blender and dump all of the tofu in there and whir until creamy.
Lightly oil the insides of all of your egg molds. This will ensure that the eggs will slip out easily once they are set. The best way to do this is to coat the corner of a paper towel in oil and use that to apply the oil to the molds.
Put the agar and water into a pot and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the agar is dissolved – about 5 minutes. Right at the end add the salt and stir thoroughly until dissolved. Once this mixture is ready pour it into the creamy tofu and process for a couple minutes until it’s well incorporated.
Immediately start spooning the mixture into your molds. This stuff sets quick, so work fast. Each mold will take about a spoonful and a half. For presentation purposes you should endeavor to get the top of each as level as possible before moving on. Once you’ve used up all of your mixture, put the molds in your fridge overnight to set.

The day of….

Take your whites our of the fridge and, using a melon baller or a teaspoon, hollow out a hole in each half egg (this is for no other reason but to imitate where the yolk would have been in a real egg. Yes, I know it’s wasteful to throw these itty bitty half spheres out. Eat them right now if you want to). Once you’ve done this, put the eggs back in the fridge. You want to leave them in the cold as long as possible so they remain set.

The yolk
1/3 block of extra firm tofu (not silken), pressed
1/4 c chopped sweet onion
3 Tbs Wildwood Garlic Aioli/regular Vegenaise if you don’t have the aioli
1 1/2 Tbs yellow mustard
1 Tbs stone ground mustard
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp Kala Namak
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Process all of this in your processor until smooth, then spoon it into a ziploc bag.

Bringing it all together
Gently ease the whites out of the molds onto your serving platter one by one.
Cut a quarter inch off of one of the bottom corners of the ziploc bag with the yolk in it, effectively creating a pastry bag. Use this to fill the hollow of each egg white, squeezing the bag gently and swirling decoratively.
Once all of the whites have been filled, sprinkle each egg with a little paprika, garnish as you like, and serve.


Other wonderful brunch items today included an incredible scramble with sundried tomatoes and kalamatas, some great homefries with rosemary and garlic, gluten-free french toast with fresh strawberry sauce, a raw carrot cake, mimosas and coffee, bacon, and an adorable lop-eared bunny centerpiece made entirely of fruit.

What a great group of friends we have!  Even those who aren’t vegan really went all out for the occasion.  And after we ate Mr. Awesomepants had a special surprise – he’d hidden 50 plastic eggs filled with vegan treats and candies and even little prizes!

I’d made sure to reserve out a few eggs, and after all of our guests had left the Mr. and I went to Back to Eden, Food Fight!, Scapegoat Tattoo, and the Red & Black Cafe and shared the deviled love.  You should have seen the look on people’s faces as I entered these vegan establishments carrying what they thought were real deviled eggs!  And then the absolute surprise when they learned that they were actually made of tofu and that they tasted totally spot on!  A great day all around.

Back to Eden

Food Fight!

Brian from Scapegoat Tattoo says he'd never liked real eggs, but he liked these. Success!

This happy fellow at the Red & Black Cafe hadn't had deviled eggs in 15 years and had been missing them until I came along.

Rustic Italian Beans and Greens

In Entrees, Salads and Sides on January 31, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Friends, I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of this meal all plated up, because it was beautiful.  I made this for a dinner we were having with friends tonight, and I felt like it would have been over the top to make them wait for me to take pictures of the food while the smell of it drifted tantalizingly through the room.  I tell you what, though, it doesn’t make me sad in the least that I will have to remake this meal just so I can post a pic, because DAMN it was tasty.

Serves 4

1 tube pre-made polenta, sliced into eight 1/2″ rounds (you’ll have some extra. Put it in the fridge)
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 Tbs olive oil

Grease a cookie sheet with olive oil and put the polenta on the sheet.  Drizzle olive oil over the top of the polenta and sprinkle with basil and white pepper.  Set your oven to broil and pop the polenta in there for about 10 minutes, or until the tops start to brown.  Don’t trust me on the time because every oven is different with its broil; check often.

While you wait for the polenta:

1/4 yellow onion, diced small
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas (garbanzos are the same thing), rinsed thoroughly and drained
1 bunch kale, leaves separated from stems and cut into 1/2″ pieces (compost the stems)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbs olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a deep saute pan and add the onion once the oil is hot. Saute for 4 minutes, then add the chickpeas and saute for another 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, then add the kale, stir, turn down the heat to medium-low, and cover for 5 minutes, removing the lid twice to stir. The second time you remove the lid to stir, add a dash of sea salt and the juice of the lemon.

Once you’ve got the lid on the kale and beans, open up:
1 can of diced tomatoes
Pour this into a small pot and add
1 tsp basil
Heat this on medium heat

The whole thing comes together at the same time: take the polenta out of the oven and plate by putting 2 rounds of polenta down, scooping some of the tomato mixture over the polenta, and then placing the beans and greens to the side. Viola! Super easy, beautiful to look upon, and amazingly tasty.

Note that you can have this as a side dish by simply omitting the polenta.

Spicy Asian Salad

In Entrees, Salads and Sides on January 4, 2010 at 1:22 am

The salad
1 can water chestnuts
2 carrots
1 cup cashews
1/3 of a head of purple cabbage
Chopped it all up very small, and serve it on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce as a side, or on rice as an entree.

The topping
1 block extra firm tofu
Press the moisture out of the tofu by placing it between two clean and dry dishcloths, and placing that whole thing between 2 plates, and then putting a few heavy books on top of the whole thing.  Let that sit for a couple of hours, pouring off the liquid as it pools.  (Or you can save yourself a hell of a lot of time and mess and just buy a tofu press).

Dressing for the topping
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp hot chili pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp agave nectar
1 Tbs wheat free tamari
1 Tbs peanut oil
3 Tbs rice vinegar
4 Tbs water

Whisk all of this together, tasting and altering as needed.  If you want to extend this you can add more water. Marinate the pressed tofu in the dressing, and bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees. Allow the tofu to cool and you are ready to serve.

To serve, place the salad on a serving dish and cut up the tofu into attractive slices, arranging on top of the salad.

Curried Twice Baked Potatoes

In Salads and Sides on December 22, 2009 at 3:18 am

This recipe is for 8 servings as a side (half a potato) or 4 servings if you want a whole potato as a meal.

4 Yukon gold potatoes
Bake these until done, remove from oven and allow to cool. Then cut them in half and scoop the insides out into a bowl.

While the potatoes are baking, saute in 1 Tbs canola oil:
1 sweet onion, and when it is almost translucent add
3 cloves minced garlic

Right at the end add:
1 Tbs curry powder
1/2 Tbs garam masala
1 tsp or so of salt
1 tsp crushed fennel
As much cayenne pepper as you can handle
And saute these spices on high (brings out the full flavor of the curry) for 1 minute

Plop this stuff into the bowl with the potato insides and add:
4 Tbs Earth Balance (vegan butter)
4 Tbs Tofutti vegan sour cream
(you may want to add more if this or the butter to suit your taste, depending on how wet or dry you want the filling to be)
Maybe half a bag or so of frozen peas

Mix all of this goodness together very well, tasting and adding spices as needed. Spoon the filling back into the potatoes and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until the tops start to brown just a tiny bit. Yum!

White Bean Salad

In Salads and Sides on November 9, 2009 at 5:24 am

Serves 4

This is the perfect salad for a hot summer day. It’s best served cold and fresh.

Mustard Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons white wine
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

White Bean Salad
1/2 red onion
1-1/2 cups cooked white beans (or chickpeas)
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup nicoise olives
Fresh tomatoes, diced or cut and placed attractively over the top

To make the mustard vinaigrette: Put the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until the dressing is emulsified (or blend all ingredients in the work bowl of a hand blender or mini-chopper). Set aside, and don’t pour over the salad until you are ready to serve it.

To make the bean salad: cut the stuff up, put it in a nice bowl, pour the vinaigrette over it when you are ready to serve, and enjoy!

If you are going to bring this to a potluck, keep it refrigerated until you are ready to leave, then take it out and pour the dressing over it.

Potato Salad with Snap Peas

In Salads and Sides on November 9, 2009 at 5:11 am

Feeds about 8 as a side

6 yukon golds, diced
Boil until just tender, then remove and run under cold water

In a bowl mix:
2 Tbs Vegannaise
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Spike seasoning
1 Tbs yellow mustard
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbs shallots, diced very fine
1 1/2 cups fresh snap peas, cut on the diagonal

Cut up about a cup and a half (or however much you want) diagonally, add them to the bowl and then the potatoes, mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust as you like. Sprinkle liberally with fresh dill over the top and chill until serving.