Monday, January 29, 2007

Vegan Cooking, A Second Opinion

spicy peanut stew

recipe #159, 160, 161

Vegan with a Vengence is in the mail. I ordered it after reading an article about the author ISA CHANDRA MOSKOWITZ (fellow Brooklynite) who said something like, vegans should learn to cook vegetables before messing with tofu. I find that philosphy promising. Here is her terrific and not preachy website.

My in-laws came over for dinner and to see our new house. My Father in Law is vegan, so I made one of Isa's recipes for dinner. This is one was posted in last weeks New York Times:

Spicy Peanut Stew With Ginger and Tomato
Adapted from Terry Hope Romero
Time: One hour
1 medium-size eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 to 2 jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 small (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, preferably roasted
4 cups vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup natural unsweetened peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 medium-size zucchini, 6 to 8 ounces, cut in quarters lengthwise, then sliced 1/2 -inch thick
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving
Chopped roasted salted peanuts, for garnish (optional).
In a colander, toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt; set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse, drain well and set aside. In a small bowl, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne; set aside.
In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and fry, stirring often, until soft, crisp and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a large bowl, leaving oil in pot. Raise heat to high and add eggplant. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with shallots.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add ginger and chilies and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds more. Add onion and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Add diced tomatoes, stock or water, eggplant, shallots and a sprinkling of salt. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Place peanut butter in a medium bowl, add one or two ladlefuls of hot soup, and stir until emulsified, then pour mixture back into soup.
Reduce heat to a simmer, add zucchini, cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Let cool slightly and taste; add salt if necessary. Serve in bowls with rice, garnished with cilantro leaves and chopped peanuts, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings.

Clearly Indian inspired. Nice recipe. Could be slightly more spicy, but maybe I just got a mild jalapeno. Good with Brown rice and a salad.

vegan stuffed mushroom

I served these as an appetizer (from
1 medium onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
14 oz firm tofu, frozen and then defrosted (Freezing changes texture to a more meaty substance that soaks up flavor. Freeze in plastic wrap, thaw and pat dry with paper towel to remove excess water.)
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
1/3 cup ground walnuts
2 tsp mellow miso, or more for stronger flavor (available at health food stores)
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
12 large, fresh cremini or white mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in 2 tbsp oil, with a pinch of salt, until tender. Crumble tofu over onion and sauté another 5 minutes. Add rosemary and tomatoes and cook on low heat about 10 minutes or until mixture is fairly dry. Add walnuts, miso, vinegar, tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle remaining 2 tbsp oil over mixture. Place mushrooms in a baking dish and fill each with about 1 tbsp stuffing, using a spoon and pressing firmly to pack. Bake 20 minutes. Remove and top each hors d'oeuvre with a sprinkle of green onion. Serve warm.

These were fine. Use more miso than the recipe calls for. Salt before serving. The recipe calls for large mushrooms, but you almost need a fork and knife to eat them. If I ever make them again, I will use 24 small mushroom caps instead of 12 large.

These were dessert:
Oatmeal Cookies
1 1/2 mashed bananas
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar or agave syrup
1 cup flour (I used brown rice flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 dash salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries or walnuts or chocolate chips or a mixture
3/4 cup oatmeal
1. Blend first 4 ingredients.
2. Add dry ingredients.
3. Drop onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

These cookies are damn tasty right out of the oven. I have made them 4 times now, each time with a different dried fruit or nut. The walnut chocolate chip was the best. The almond cranberry was nice too. It could almost be a to go breakfast. I'll add a photo next time I make them.

No comments: