Thursday, April 30, 2009

Broccoli, Pineapple, Cashew and Seitan Stir-Fry, Jasmine Rice

Dinner 4/30

Broccoli, Pineapple, Cashew and Seitan Stir-Fry

Jasmine Rice

What? A stir-fry snuck in? Looks like a couple of grilled ramps in there as well. All right, I'll let it slide this time...

Friday, April 24, 2009


Dinner 4/24


A riff on Lidia Bastianich's Tiella -- a thin crusted deep-dish pizza from Naples, stuffed with different combinations of vegetables -- in this case, escarole, olives, capers and beautiful lion's mane and maitake mushrooms.

Putting the top crust on...

..and just out of the oven.

A little slice of heaven.

The dough is 2 tsp. yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water and left to sit for a few minutes. In a mixer, add 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 cups of semolina flour along with 1 tsp. of salt and 1 1/2 tsp. of sugar. Run the machine to blend.

Stir in 3 tbs. of olive oil to the yeast, run the mixer and drizzle the mixture in, processing for 30 seconds. You can add additional flour if the dough seems a little loose, or water if it seems stiff.

Remove the dough and knead by hand into a smooth round, place it in an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let sit for an hour until doubled. Punch down, shape it again, let rise a second time and stick it in the fridge (sealed airtight) if you want wait until later to use it.

Punch it down again when ready to use. Let it relax if you've taken it out of the fridge. Brush the bottom and sides of the baking dish with olive oil. Cut off 2/3 of the dough for the base, roll it into a 14" round and transfer to the baking dish and trim to fit.

Add your filling and slightly compress.

Roll the smaller piece of dough into a 12" round and place on top, pinch to seal, trim the excess. Pierce about 12 holes on the top and bake at 375F for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let the tiella cool on a rack for about an hour. You can invert the tiella and remove it to serve, or leave it in for serving. Serve slightly warm or at room temp.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Raw Food Wednesday: Red Bell Pepper Empanadas, White Asparagus, Gazpacho Shooter with Baby Cucumbers, Mixed Micro Greens Salad, Strawberry Pie

Raw Food Wednesday 4/22

Red Bell Pepper Empanadas

White Asparagus

Gazpacho Shooter with Baby Cucumbers

Mixed Micro Greens Salad

Strawberry Pie

Utilizing more of the bounty from Farmer Lee Jones...

The red bell pepper empanadas use the tortilla recipe (below), stuffed with greens, cashew cheese, scallions, walnut taco filling and diced tomatoes. The white asparagus was trimmed, peeled, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and dehydrated for 2 hours @ 105F. They retain some of the crunch, but are very tasty...

Red Pepper Tortillas
(makes approximately 8 tortillas)

1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup water
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. nama shoyu
1 jalapeƱo, diced
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
1 tsp. fresh ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the flax seeds with the water and let sit for 15 minutes. Put the flax seeds and the rest of the ingredients into the Vita-Mix and process on high until smooth -- this will tax the machine, but that's why you bought it in the first place. ;)

Spread out the mixture into 7" rounds with an offset spatula and dehydrate around an hour on 105F. Carefully flip the tortillas and dehydrate for an additional 30 minutes or so. Take a peak at this point to make sure they're not too dry -- you want them flexible enough so you can roll them later. You can make these a day in advance and store in the fridge if needed.

The gazpacho shooters (tomato, red bell pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic, nama shoyu, lime juice, olive oil) were brightened by the addition of the colorful baby cucumbers. They were almost too cute to eat. Almost ;)

If the shooters aren't enough to quench your thirst, we also made a larger bowl, adorned with a cucumber slice and a popcorn shoot. The best way to describe the popcorn shoot is that it tastes mildly like corn for the first 5-7 seconds, and then you're hit with an almost candy-like sweetness... really unique and fun!

The baby radishes were served as a crudite with a little sea salt to dip them in and then they were eaten whole -- the green tops were extremely tender with just a hint of radish bite.

The strawberry pie used a quick almond/cashew/brazil nut/salt/agave crust pressed into a tart mold, layered with sliced strawberries and a little extra raw agave, which was then chilled for a few hours.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Crepes with Lentils and Seitan Stew wrapped with Grilled Ramps, Grilled Maitake Mushrooms, Roasted Yellow Beet Salad

Dinner 4/20

Crepes with Lentils and Seitan Stew wrapped with Grilled Ramps

Grilled Maitake Mushrooms

Roasted Yellow Beet Salad

The yellow beets, salad greens, baby cucumbers and ramps came from Farmer Lee Jones as part of a "mystery basket" for Vegan Iron Chef. We also had some leftover crepe batter from yesterday, so we decided to make the crepes again -- the fact that we didn't get a chance to eat any of them yesterday also played a factor. ;)

The maitake mushrooms were also leftover from the gig -- thanks to Jeff for getting them up to the competition in time. Also, congrats to Scot Jones from The VegiTerranean on winning the first annual Vegan Iron Chef!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fettuccine with Fava Beans and Rosemary Almond Cream Sauce, Grilled Maitake Mushrooms

Dinner 4/13


Fava Beans

Rosemary Almond Cream Sauce

Grilled Maitake Mushrooms

Italian pasta with a cream sauce served with grilled Japanese Mushrooms?

Sure, why not? ;)

If we didn't have the fava beans or fettuccine, edamame and soba noodles would have worked as well...

The almond cream sauce starts with a sauteed shallot (minced), 1 clove of garlic (minced), 1 tsp. rosemary (minced), salt, pepper, a splash of cognac and about 1 1/2 cup of almond milk, reduced down to 1 cup. The easiest way to sauce the dish is to add the fettuccine into the almond cream mixture and toss to fully coat.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009: Portobello and Tofu Stack, Zucchini Lattice Tart, Grilled Asparagus, English Pea Soup, Carrot Cake

Easter 2009

Portobello and Tofu Stack

Grilled Asparagus

Zucchini Lattice Tart

English Pea Soup


Carrot Cake

An Easter photo essay...

Peas before soup. These took a loooong time to shuck...

English Pea Soup

Zucchini Lattice Tart. Liz's perennial classic, using yellow squash and zucchini.

Portobello and Tofu Stack with Grilled Asparagus. Grilled portobello, smoked tofu with wilted mustard greens and spinach holding it all together.

Carrot Cake guarded by large bunnies. Don't mess with the cake...

Carrot Cake. The marzipan carrots, bunnies and mushrooms were made by our daughter.

Carrot Cake with Marzipan Carrots. The carrot tops are made with Dill.

Table Left:

Table Right:


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tea-Smoked Tofu and Rice Balls with Red Curry Sauce, Papaya, Mango and Gardein Salad

Dinner 4/11

Tea-Smoked Tofu and Rice Balls with Red Curry Sauce

Papaya, Mango and Gardein Salad

There are few meals that we enjoy more than this one. The tofu is tea-smoked with oolong tea for 25 minutes, pan-fried in canola oil until golden brown on both sides and finished with a splash of tamari.

The rice is steamed for 15 minutes, molded into golf-ball sized pieces and deep-fried for 30-45 seconds at 375F.

The sauce is 4 oz. coconut milk, 1 tsp. tamari, as much red curry paste as you can handle, a tiny little bit of lime to balance the flavor. and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer until slightly thickened.

Garnish with cilantro.

As mentioned previously, Chef Scot Jones from The Vegiterranean gave us a couple pieces of Gardein to work with before Vegan Iron Chef, so we could familiarize ourselves with the product before the competition. This was the "steak" version, which we sliced thinly and pan-fried in canola oil, and finished with a splash of tamari

Maitake Mushrooms, Gardein Satay

Dinner 4/11

Maitake Mushrooms

Gardein Satay

The maitake were quickly marinated with a little olive oil, tamari and pepper, then grilled -- filling the house with a wonderful smokey aroma.

The Gardein is a "chick'n" product that we picked-up from Scot Jones (Chef at VegiTerranean) for the Vegan Iron Chef contest, as it was one of the items we had to cook with, so we needed to do some testing.

These were carefully threaded on the skewer, then grilled and basted with the spicy satay sauce of peanut butter, tamari, brown rice vinegar, sriracha and black pepper.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Stuffed Baby Artichokes, Lion's Mane Mushrooms, Eggplant Roll-ups, Chorizo Seitan Sausages, Savory Mini-Cheesecakes

Dinner 4/10

Stuffed Baby Artichokes

Lion's Mane Mushrooms

Eggplant Roll-ups

Chorizo-styled Seitan Sausages

Savory Mini-Cheesecakes over Salad

Kind-of, sort-of, tapas. Little bites for sure...

To start with, take 2 on the savory mini-cheesecakes (adapted from Jacques Pepin), with a wee bit of baking powder added to puff up the souffle -- they didn't sink much at all this time around. The taste was even better on the second try (parsley, nooch, shallots, soft tofu), with more microplaned Gouda-style Sheese inside.

They were placed on top of a simple arugula salad, with the vinaigrette, helping to cut through the richness of the cheesecake.

The chorizo seitan sausage are a riff on Julie's sausages, with roasted red bell pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, cannellini beans and vital wheat gluten. The important change was to puree all of the ingredients and then add in the vital wheat gluten. We also spent some time developing the gluten (i.e. slapping the hell out of it) and it made a big difference on the texture, which was very consistent -- no lumps or chunks -- and it had a great mouth feel -- not spongy or rubbery.

After steaming for 40 minutes, they were unwrapped, and cooled in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up. When it was time to cook them, we first smoked them in mesquite wood for 20 minutes, then they were sliced on the bias and pan-fried with olive oil. The end result was a very complex flavor profile, that we'll be repeating in the future.

The baby artichokes were steamed and stuffed with mixture of light sauteed minced parsley, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

The eggplant roll-ups consisted of Japanese eggplant cut into 1/4" thick slices, which were smoked for 20 minutes along with the sausages, then grilled. The filling was soyrizo, pan-fried in olive oil with a little shallot, which was spread on the eggplant slices, and rolled-up.

...and finally, the Lion's Mane mushrooms (a.k.a. Pom Pom Mushrooms). Sauteed with a little olive oil, pepper and a tiny splash of tamari for maximum umami.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Vegan Iron Chef

As you can tell, we've been cooking a lot of mushrooms lately, and here's the reason why...

The (not-so-) secret ingredient is Mushrooms (from Killbuck Valley in Burbank, OH). There's going to be eight teams competing, each serving three courses -- appetizer, salad and entree.

With that in mind, here's some of the ideas we've been kicking around -- all of recipes will be available after the show.


For the appetizer section, we're going with a Trompe l'Oeil theme: Mushroom Cupcake, Lollipop and Parfait. The cupcake is savory, the frosting is a smoked mushroom and red wine pate that has agar agar added, then refrigerated until it sets, and then pureed again and piped onto the cupcake. The lollipop is a smoked portobello with a miso/cola bbq sauce. The soup is smoked cremini mushroom soup alternating with a potato and celery root soup.

A close-up of the mushroom cupcake


The thought here was small, medium and large / raw, raw & cooked, cooked

A close-up of the raw portobello roll

A close-up of the rice paper mushroom roll

A close-up of the cremini and cannellini bean salad in boston bibb lettuce cup


For the last plate we're going with Mushroom, Lentil and Gardein* filled Crepes with a smoked mushroom sauce, Mushroom Gratin with Teese, and a third mushroom part TBA.

* the Gardein is being supplied by Chef Scot Jones from The Vegiterranean restaurant in Akron.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Lion's Head Soup, Compressed Papaya, Mango and Avocado Salad

Raw Food Wednesday 4/08

Lion's Head Soup
(recipe below)

Compressed Papaya, Mango and Avocado Salad
(recipe below)

Lion's Head Soup
(Serves 2)

A raw riff on a Chinese classic, this dish emphasizes the harmony of the bok choy, the earthy flavor of carrots in the broth and the luxurious mouthfeel of the cashew and zucchini meatballs

Cashew and Zucchini Meatballs
(makes approximately 12-16 pieces)

1/3 cup zucchini, minced
1/3 cup cashews
1/4 cup red bell pepper, minced
1/4 cup celery, minced
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ginger, freshly grated
1 tsp. scallions, minced
1 tsp. szechuan pepper, freshly crushed

Pulse in a Vita-Mix until the cashews begin to break down into very small pieces, but not so much that they turn into butter.

Shape the mixture into balls about 1" in diameter. Dehydrate for 8 hours at 105F, rotate after 4 hours.

Bok Choy

2 head of Baby Bok Choy, leaves separated (at least 12 leaves of equal size)
1 tsp. nama shoyu
2 tsp. olive oil
pepper to taste

The baby bok choy is marinated with olive oil, nama shoyu and pepper and put in the dehydrator for 30 minutes at 105F


4 medium carrots, (roughly 7") peeled, juiced
1 medium daikon, (roughly 7") peeled, juiced
1/2 tsp. nama shoyu
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ginger, freshly grated
1 tsp. white miso
1/4 tsp. fennel seed, freshly ground
1/8 tsp. cinnamon, freshly ground
1/8 tsp. szechwan pepper, freshly ground
1 clove, freshly ground
salt & black pepper to taste

Juice the carrots and daikon. Grind the fennel, cinnamon, szechwan pepper and clove together. Puree together with the remaining ingredients, check for seasoning.


Place six pieces of the Bok Choy in a wide, shallow bowl, alternating the green leaves and white parts. Place a meatball on each of the bok choy pieces. Pour the carrot broth over the bok choy. Garnish with scallions or cilantro.

Compressed Papaya, Mango and Avocado Salad
(makes 4 pieces)

The compressed salad is basically the same as a fruit terrine -- the trick is to use a rectangular mold (we used a sushi rice block mold) -- but any rectangular mold will work, just line it with plastic wrap.

1/2 papaya, peeled, sliced into roughly 1" x 3" pieces
1 champagne mango, peeled, sliced into roughly 1" x 3" pieces
1 avocado, peeled, sliced into roughly 1" x 3" pieces

Lime Vinaigrette

1 tbs. lime juice
2-3 tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Juice the lime, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and whisk to dissolve. Whisk the olive oil into the lime juice, until emulsified. check the balance and seasoning.

Brushing each piece with of the thinly sliced papaya, mango and avocado with the lime vinaigrette and Layer in the mold overlapping as needed. Pay special attention to the bottom layer and corners for stability.

Wrap the plastic over the top of the salad. We had previously cut out a piece of cardboard that matches the opening of the mold and wrapped it in aluminum foil. We added a little weight on top of the mold -- a large head of cabbage balanced on top works well -- and refrigerated for 2 hours...

Then we cut it while it was still wrapped in the plastic and then gently removed it afterward.