Tempeh BACON, SPINACH, AND PINEAPPLE PIZZA

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The Amazing Dough

3 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon instant or Rapid Rise yeast
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons water, room temperature

  1. Combine flour, salt, yeast, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in bowl of stand mixer (see *note for mixer-free version). Whisk to combine. Add water to mixer and mix on medium speed until it comes together and no dry flour remains. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is stretchy and smooth, about 6 minutes. The dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl but pull away from the sides.
  2. Pour remaining olive oil into rimmed baking sheet and spread over entire inner surface with hands. Transfer dough to 13- by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet and rub top surface with oil until thoroughly coated. Cover with baking sheet with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until dough has spread out to touch nearly each rim of baking sheet, about 2 hours.
  3. 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 550°F. Carefully remove plastic wrap from pizza dough. Using oiled hands and being as gentle as possible to maintain air bubbles, push and stretch the dough into the corners of the pan by pressing out from the center and lifting each corner and stretching it beyond the edge of the pan. It should pull back until the pan is just filled with dough.

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The “Bacon”

1 8-ounce package tempeh
½ c tamari or soy sauce
2 tsp liquid smoke
3 tbs maple syrup
¼ c water
Canola oil for frying

  1. Cut tempeh into strips and steam for 10-minutes
  2. Meanwhile, combine tamari, smoke, syrup, and water and mix well.
  3. Place the tempeh in the marinade, let sit for at least 10-minutes.
  4. Add canola to pan and fry tempeh about 5-minutes each side, while pouring a little marinade on to caramelize until crispy.

Other Toppings

1/3 cup pineapple tidbits
2 cups spinach, chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cups Daiya mozzarella cheese

  1. Cook the onions in the tempeh “grease” until blackened and crispy.
  2. Spread 1 cup of cheese across the dough, then layer spinach, pineapple, bacon, onion, and basil. Top with the remaining cheese.
  3. Bake for 10-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

photo 4The Wilmington Vegan Society after some yummy food, including the pizza you’re about to make : )

Dough Note: To make without a stand mixer, combine flour, salt, yeast, and olive oil in a large bowl. Whisk to combine, then add water. stir together vigorously with a wooden spoon until homogeneous, about 3 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 15. Continue with step 2 as directed.

Vegan Butternut Squash Ravioli with Spinach Pesto

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Filling

1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (Earth Balance)
3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
½ c Italian Bread Crumbs

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Pesto

2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 tbps Nutritional Yeast (the Parm Cheese substitute)
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped, and divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons organic vegetable broth
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 cups water (1/2 c shown in picture, maybe a bit too thick)

Ravioli

1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Durum Semolina
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2/3 Cup Water

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Place squash halves, cut sides down, on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until tender. 10-minutes into baking, prepare ravioli dough. In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients using a fork until they start to come together. Using your hands, knead the dough lightly in the bowl until it is smooth and uniform. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. When squash is ready, let cool briefly then scoop out pulp; discard peel. Mash pulp. Combine oregano, squash pulp, and butter in a large bowl. 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Prepare pesto: Place garlic in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. Add remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, spinach, basil, and 2 tablespoons walnuts. With processor on, slowly pour oil, broth, and juice through food chute. Process until well blended. Place pesto in a large bowl.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into two parts, covering one with a damp tea towel. Using a rolling pin, roll out the remaining dough as thin as possible. You don’t want to be able to see through it, but it should be quite thin. If you are fancy and have a pasta maker you can use that and save yourself some grief. Using a cookie cutter or a clean drinking glass, cut out rounds approximately 2 inches in diameter. On half the rounds, place one teaspoon of the filling directly in the middle, then wet your finger with warm water and trace around the filling. Top with an empty dough round and press to seal. Use a fork to firmly seal up the raviolis. Once the first batch of raviolis is done, toss them into the boiling water and cook until they float to the top, around 3 – 5 mins tops, then drain. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  5. Add ravioli to pesto; toss gently to coat. Arrange 6 ravioli on each of 6 plates; sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon walnuts.

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The above recipe is a compilation/fusion of several recipes to make it vegan and work:

http://gamerwife.com/2011/10/07/recipe-vegan-butternut-squash-ravioli-with-sage-butter-sauce/

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/butternut-squash-ravioli-50400000125719/

Wilmington Vegan Society Dinner Party!

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My wife and I shared a fantastic, fresh and healthy plant-based dinner with new friends in Wilmington, NC. After finding just the right dinner table at “Mango Furniture,” the stage was set for a night of fun and good food. We’re so thankful for our new friends and their support of the Wilmington Vegan Society. It has been a joy to be an organizer for the society, meeting beautiful folks with huge hearts and an eternal curiosity about healthy food and a better world.

Below you’ll find the night’s recipes, found in other great places in print or on the web. The only missing recipe is dessert: one single chilled strawberry covered in vegan semi-sweet chocolate : )

Crusted Oyster Mushrooms (you’ll find the recipe here).

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Fruity Spinach Salad

8 c baby spinach
3 oranges peeled, sliced, quartered
2 cucumbers, peeled, sliced, quartered
¼ c raw sunflower seeds
1 c raspberries
¼ c balsamic vinegar + 1 tbs red wine vinegar
½ c extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Toast sunflower seeds for a few minutes with light olive/canola oil spray. Then, in a medium-size bowl, combine spinach, oranges, cucumbers, and seeds.

Pour vinegars into warm pan and reduce over medium heat for a couple minutes. Blend together raspberries, reduced vinegars, and extra virgin olive oil, then drizzle over salad, toss, or serve beside for guests to use as they want.

Modified from “The Vegan Table” – Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
http://www.amazon.com/The-Vegan-Table-Unforgettable-Entertaining/dp/1592333745

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Crowd-Pleasing Pasta with Tomatoes & Artichokes

16 oz penne pasta
2 tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can (26 oz) diced tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
1 (15oz) can artichokes (with or without olive oil)
1 tbs chopped fresh basil
½ cup sliced black olives
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Cook penne until al dente. Drain right before serving. In a large sauté pan, heat oil. Cook garlic for 2-3 minutes. Do not brown. Add tomatoes and paste, heat to near boiling. Add artichokes, basil, and black olives. Season with salt and pepper. Serve penne in a large poul, pouring sauce over and mixing together. Or serve with sauce on the side.  Yields 6 servings.

From “The Vegan Table” – Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
http://www.amazon.com/The-Vegan-Table-Unforgettable-Entertaining/dp/1592333745

Valentine’s Day is For Vegans

Devin Paisley

Devin Paisley

Being vegan is about more than just food, it’s about love and sex too.

Think about the first crush you ever had. Walking down the hall at school and seeing that super hot guy walking toward you, your eyes meet for a moment, and chills burst through your body with excitement. You’re consumed by him. Intoxicated. You want more.

Remember the first time you fell in love. The scent of subtly sweet perfume, her body up against yours, infatuated with her smile, her laugh, her need for you. Feeling loved completely, wondering how you ever found this person and hoping she always loves you back.

You crave and fall in love with the person who stands out in that way that connects with your innermost wild. And if you’re vegan, that wild isn’t only fun and naughty, it’s also passionate, loving, and intelligent – what could be more sexy than that!

So this Valentine’s Day, my fellow vegans, bring out the wild.

Forget the downtown carriage ride, that’s just plain mean. And our beloved Riverboat’s two hour cruise isn’t serving up a cruelty-free buffet option. Instead, keep it intimate, keep it close.

Make dinner at home and add some hot peppers, asparagus, and dark chocolate to your menu. Craft a cute construction paper card with sweet memories from the last year. If a gift is a must, order something now to give her. Then look into her eyes, as deep as you can go, and tell her how absolutely amazing she is. Pull her into your arms and make out like it’s the first time. The rest, I’ll let your little veg-head dream up.

Being vegan is about being a lover, of your partner, your body, the animals and our world. Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to celebrate it all.

*And if you’re celebrating solo this year, I know you have an adorable dog or cat to love on, so treat them to something yummy and do lots of cuds!   

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Emilie A

Michigan Pie. A five day recipe.

Michigan Pie. A five day recipe.

Working 11-hour days makes complex recipes difficult. Take for instance, a recipe for “Michigan Pot Pie with Almond Crust” from “Vegetarian Traditions: Favorite Recipes from My Years At the Legendary Inn Season Cafe.” The length of the title might have been a clue about the recipes inside, but this bad boy recipe is long and involved. I started making it on Monday. Today, I learned how to prepare Leeks. Will I get to actually eat this thing by Friday?

Vegan Arancini (Italian Rice Balls)

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I thought we were done with fried Italian food after two posts, and then Arancini came a’ knockin’. Arancini gets its Italian name because of it’s “orange-like” qualities: it’s round, golden, and sweet. These little guys are scrumptious and relatively easy to make.

We made them for our Vegan Meetup in Newport News for an Italian-themed pot luck. Over 20+ vegan friendly folks cooked up amazing food. Our rice balls got gobbled up with the rest of the lot. Vegan wife suggested we go with a different cheese center, but she loved the salty sweet flavor of this Italian treat. The recipe for the rice balls comes from a fantastic food blog: “Just a Taste” written by Kelly Senyei. She does a lovely job of laying out pictures for each part of the prep and frying process. Go check her blog out for details. Here is her recipe, vegan-ized:

Arancini (Rice Balls) with Marinara Sauce

2 cups cooked white rice, cooled
½ cup shredded Daiya Mozzarella
3 eggz (1 = 3 tbs Chickpea flour w/ 3 tbs of warm water)
8 small cubes Daiya Jalapeño Garlic Wedge (I used cheddar, and think this would be better)
1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
Vegetable Oil, for frying
1 cup marinara sauce (store-bought or house)

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Place a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add enough vegetable oil to rise 4 inches in the pot.

Combine the rice, shredded cheeze and 1 “egg” in a medium bowl and use your hands to thoroughly combine the mixture.

Form each arancini by taking a small portion of the mixture, squeezing it firmly and stuffing one cube of Jalapeño Garlic wedge inside each ball. My Arancini was a little bigger than a golfball. Repeat this process to form 8-10 arancini.

Whisk together the remaining 2 eggz. Dip each arancini in the eggz and then in the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess.

Once the oil reaches 350-375ºF, add 2 or 3 of the breaded arancini to the pot and fry them until golden brown and cooked throughout.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried arancini from the pot and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate. Immediately salt the arancini (important to get the salt to stick). Repeat the frying process with the remaining arancini.

Serve the arancini warm with a side of warm marinara sauce.

Thanks Kelly!

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Review: Eden Kitchen’s Whole Food Lunch

After a few days of dedicated blogging, I realize part of the fun is visiting other blogs and trying their recipes. I recently bookmarked Joe Rich’s site: “Eden Kitchen.” I went there for some whole food recipes because we recently entertained a friend who only eats unprocessed/refined foods. Joe’s got quite a few excellent looking dishes in that category, a few of them are strictly vegan.

We dove into trying his “Warm Millet & Broccoli” as well as the “Pineapple Red Curry.” The red curry has tofu, which is processed, but our guest made an exception. I won’t replicate Eden’s wonderful blog about these two dishes, but here’s a quick review.

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The red curry was absolutely delicious! I used firm tofu instead of the silken, just because my wife and I get squeamish with silken’s soft gelatin-like texture. We also used white jasmine instead of brown. The pineapple was sweet and juicy while the curry was just spicy enough. Five stars!

As for the broccoli dish, I got mixed reviews. As Joe suggests, you might need to adjust the amount of pesto. I didn’t make enough and found the dish a bit dry. I’ll double the pesto recipe next time and see what happens. Also, I completely forgot the millet while shopping and just used a cup of the jasmine rice instead, it wasn’t as exotic. The avocado and broccoli is a wonderful combination, it’s optional in the recipe but a MUST in my house. Doesn’t avocado make any dish more fun?!

Thanks, Joe for the recipes! Check out his blog here: http://edenkitchen.com/about/

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My friend’s whole food treat: Roasted Pears with cinnamon and ginger.

Italian + Fried = Yum

“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” – The Buddha

When you think you’ve had all the fried food you can eat, there’s more! My wife wanted some more fried food and it was our normal pizza day, so I searched for fried italian food. I came up with Frittelle di Riso and Fried Olives.

For my Portuguese family and friends, the Frittelle di Riso has a familiar taste. It’s a mix between malasadas and arroz doce. Basically we’re talking about dough boys and sweet rice.

Frittelle di Riso (Kyle Phillips)

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  • 1 3/4 cups brown rice (white’s fine)
  • 4 cups coconut milk (almond milk works too)
  • The grated zest of a lemon
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • A walnut-sized chunk of butter (Earth Balance)
  • 4 1/2 tsp egg replacer + 6 tbs warm water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 packet active live yeast
  • Oil for frying

Begin by cooking the rice until it’s thoroughly cooked in the milk, together with the sugar, lemon zest, and butter. Whip the egg replacer and add with the flour and the yeast.Heat oil in a fairly deep pot and fry the mixture, a teaspoon at a time, removing the balls from the pot when they become golden. Drain them on absorbent paper, dust them with granulated sugar, and serve. I added some of the Russian dipping sauce from the recipe yesterday, but these bite-sized treats are good without anything, just the sprinkle of sugar.

Italian Fried Olives (Giada De Laurentiis)

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  • 2 tbs Daiya shredded cheese, Pepper Jack
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 20 pitted green olives, rinsed and dried thoroughly
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp egg replacer + 2 tbs warm water
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Special equipment: a pastry bag, a plain tip with a 1/4-inch opening (I used a ziplock bag)

In a small bowl, combine the cheeses, thyme, and lemon zest. Place the cheese mixture into the pastry bag. Pipe the cheese mixture into each olive.

Place the flour in a small bowl. Pour the egg replacer mixed with 2 tbs water in another small bowl and the bread crumbs in a third small bowl. Dredge the olives in the flour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the olives and place in the bowl with the beaten egg. Coat the olives with the egg replacer and transfer to the bowl of bread crumbs. Coat the olives with the bread crumbs.

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in enough oil to fill the pan about 1/3of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350 degrees F. (If you don’t have a thermometer a cube of bread will brown in a couple of minutes.) Fry the olives, in batches, for 30 to 45 seconds until golden brown. Drain the fried olives on paper towels. Cool for 5 minutes.

Note: I used black olives, because my wife loves them and I didn’t want to drive to the store. However, I recommend you get the bigger green olives. I wasn’t able to fit much of the ricotta in the olives and the process was a bit more tedious. The bigger the olive, the better for this recipe.

Deep Fried, Oh yea!

Vegans are healthy and eat healthy food, right? Not always. We all know that drenching your food in oil doesn’t exactly lock in the nutrients, but it sure tastes good. To practice my frying skills, I searched for fun vegan recipes with batter and came up with this story about some veg-Texans doing it up crispy.

I decided to go with the Reuben Fritters and PB&J (Jalapeño). Why? I loved reuben sandwiches as a carnivore and jalapeños dripping with chocolate syrup sparked my spicy, sweet tastebuds. Here are the recipes:

Sweet Vegan Cornbread Batter (Savvy Brown’s Blog)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal (I like the real stone ground stuff, not Quakers)
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5tsp Ener-G egg replacer plus 2 tbsp of warm water*
  • 1 cup soy milk or almond milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Russian Dressing (Vegan Miss)

  • 1/2 cup Vegannaise
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dry ground mustard seed
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh chopped dill
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh chopped chives
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Reuben (Added to 1 package “Gimme Lean Ground Beef Crumbles”)

  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 c of sauerkraut
  • 1 c Daiya shredded mozzarella cheese

There is definitely a better version of the corned beef, but I was short on time and wanted a quick beef substitute. Once you mix each of these things separately, you’re ready to prep the frying oil. Throw an oven thermometer in for precision and try to keep the oil at 365 degrees. It won’t be easy. Add patience and playfulness to this recipe as needed.

Scoop up 1/2 – 1 tbs of the meat, roll in 1 tbs of sauerkraut and cheese respectively. Smush together into a ball then plop into batter. Once coated, ease it into the frying oil using a tong. Sizzle for a minute, then flip. These puppies should be set within 1-2 minutes total. Pull out and let rest on a paper toweled plate. This will make about 12 Reuben Fritters ready for dipping into a delicious “Russian” sauce.

ReubenFritters

Peanut Butter, Bananas, and Jalapeños

1 banana, peeled, and mashed
2 tbs creamy peanut butter
4 jalapeños, seeded
Chocolate syrup

Mash and mix PB and banana. Resist the urge to devour this sweet, slightly salty mix. Chop the pepper tops, pull out the seeds and replace with your peanut butter and banana surprise. Dip these into the same cornbread batter you made in steps 1 – 50. Fry and then dry (paper towels, etc.). The best part: drizzle with chocolate syrup and leave enough on the plate to lift with your pepper later!

My wife loved these and she’s not a Jalapeño fan!

Fried Peanut Butter and Jalapeno

Spreading Vegan Love with Spicy Black Bean Burgers

As the weather heats up in Boston, backyard grilling is not far behind. Of course, I don’t have a grill, but I still love a good burger. Thanks to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and her cookbook “The Vegan Table,” great burgers come in the spicy bean variety. I surprised my vegan fiancee with this relatively quick and easy dinner yesterday. Below is the recipe. All you need is a little vegan love and some muscle to mash the black beans. Enjoy!

Oh wait, before you make these juicy burgers, head to the store and pick up some salsa, avocado, and whole wheat buns if you want what’s in the picture!

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

1/4 c all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/4 c coarse cornmeal (I used Semolina flour and they were probably a bit softer but still yum!)
Olive oil, for sautéing
1 yellow onion, diced
1 small jalapeño pepper, minced (seeds removed, optional)
1 red bell pepper, dices (I used green, because we had a chunk in the fridge that needed to be used)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 c or cans of black beans drained and rinsed
1/2 c organic corn kernels
1/2 c bread crumbs
2 tsp chili powder (I put about 1 1/4 tsp because love of all things spicy varies in our home)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley (I used the dry stuff and it’s fine)

Directions

On a shallow plate, combine flour and cornmeal, and set aside for coating later.

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat oil and sauté onion, hot and bell peppers, garlic, and oregano, until onion becomes translucent. Set aside.

In a large-size bowl, mash black beans with a potato masher. Stir in onion/pepper mixture, along with corn, bread crumbs, chili powder, cumin, salt, and parsley. Mix well.

Shape into patties then coat each with flour mixture.

Fry in a lightly oiled saute pan over medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes, or until golden brown on each side.  Enjoy the approximately 8 patties this makes.