Sunday, 4 September 2011

A lovely weekend full of friends, fun and food.

A couple of months ago a friend of mine from Canberra, Tahlia, moved to Tasmania, but a couple of hours away from me. This weekend we finally both had the time to catch up, so she drove up to stay at our place on Saturday night, just to hang out.
It wasn't just that I hadn't seen her in a couple of months that made the visit exciting, but also the fact that she is trialing a vegan diet. Finally I had somebody that could really appreciate the food I make and understand my excitement over gluten flour and imitation sour cream! 
So here is the menu I came up with.

Dinner Saturday night:
Isa’s Veggie Korma

I've mentioned this recipe previously, but I thought I would post the whole recipe with the changes I've made this time. Isa's original post can be seen here

I halved this recipe, next time I will be adding more garam masala and probably a bit more curry powder too.

For the cream:
2 cups raw cashew pieces (plus water for soaking)
2 cups vegetable broth

Veggies to boil: (I’ve made some changes here to suit me)
1 ½ lbs yukon gold potatoes (1 1/2 inch chunks)
1 lb sweet potatoes (1 1/2 inch chunks)
1 lb cauliflower in large florettes (don’t cut em too small or they will fall apart)
1 lb broccoli in large florettes (don’t cut em too small or they will fall apart)
1 lb carrots, sliced on a bias 1/2 inch thick
1 lb sugar snap peas (or omit these for extra broccoli)

2 medium sized yellow onions
2 inch nub of ginger
8 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Everything else:
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon coriander, crushed
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
Fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate OR the juice from 2 limes (I forgot this, this time, wish I hadn’t!)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk ( I use 1 can of Carnation soy milk)
2 cups frozen peas (or omit for sugar snaps and have extra broccoli)
1 large caramelized red onion
Chopped cilantro (coriander) for garnish (optional)

First, soak the cashews. This will get them really soft and make them easier to blend really smooth. Place them in a bowl and submerge in water. Set aside for at least an hour. In the meantime prep everything.
Boil the veggies. Place them in a big ass pot (8 quart is ideal), and cover them in cold water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer (so you don’t overcook the veggies), for about 15 minutes. Potatoes should be fork tender. Drain and set aside.
Next, puree the onion, ginger and garlic. It shouldn’t be completely smooth, some texture is good. No need to wash the processor bowl just yet, you’re going to puree the cashews in a bit.
Preheat another big pot over medium heat. Cook the puree in the peanut oil with a sprinkle of salt for about 15 to 20 minutes, until it’s nice and browned.
This is a good time to puree the cashews. Drain them and place them in the food processor along with 2 cups vegetable broth. Puree until smooth. This can take up to 5 minutes to get it as smooth as possible.
Back to the puree. Once it’s browned, add the coriander seed and the red pepper flakes and saute for about 3 minutes. Add curry powder, garam masala, several dashes fresh black pepper and salt and saute for another minute.
Add tamarind or lime juice, tomato paste and vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Now add the coconut milk and the cashew cream. Let cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, it should thicken a little and be really creamy.
In the meantime, saute the red onion in a little peanut oil in a separate pan with a pinch of salt for about 15 minutes, it should be browned and slightly caramelized. This adds a really nice sweetness and some added texture to the finished dish.
You’re pretty much done. You can shut the heat off then mix in the peas. Now fold in the boiled veggies, put the lid on the pot and let it heat through. Taste for salt and seasoning and serve garnished with cilantro if you like.

Lunch Sunday:

Baked Mexican Seitan Chimichangas
Mexican Seitan
Although this isn’t the quickest recipe to make as it does have to bake for 1 ½ hours, it is really quite simple to prepare and great in any meaty/mincey Mexican recipe.

1 ½ cups gluten flour (I think GF gluten can be used instead…)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp paprika (optional)
1-2 tsp cumin
2-3 Tbs taco seasoning powder (I use salt reduced)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
¾ cup cold water
1Tbs tomato paste
3 Tbs Salsa (heat level is up to you)
1 Tbs ketchup/tomato sauce
2 Tbs vegetable oil (olive/canola/refined coconut oil, melted)
2 Tbs (GF) vegan Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, crushed

Preheat oven to 165°C.
Simply mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Mix the crushed garlic and all the wet ingredients in a smaller mixing bowl, whisk until well combined.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well, then knead for several minutes to ensure is well combined, some of the veggies in the salsa will fall out, but you can just stick them back in.
Place some foil on the bench, long enough to wrap the mixture in, I usually cut 2 sheets of foil out the same length and fold up a seam through the middle. Lay the ball of seitan out and form   into a log in the centre of the foil. Wrap the log up, but not too tightly, twisting ends.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 1 ½ hours.
When cooked, unwrap and leave to cool completely if you’re going to put in the fridge or freezer for later use. Otherwise just let it cool enough to handle.

Baked Seitan Chimichangas

½ - ¾ log of baked Mexican seitan
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Spanish (red) onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Taco seasoning powder, to taste, about ½ the pack/whatever’s left over from the seitan recipe
1 Tbs cummin
1-2 large flour tortillas or 2 packs of mini flour tortillas, depending on the quantity seitan used and if you want meal or finger food sized chimichangas (or some form of GF wrap)
Cooking/olive oil spray
2 Tbs extra olive oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 180oC
Cut the desired amount off the seitan log, cut that into smaller chunks and place in the food processor. Pulse until “minced”. If you don’t have a food processor you can coarsely grate it into a bowl.
Heat the oil in a large pan, gently fry the onion and garlic.
Add the seitan, kidney beans, tomatoes and taco seasoning to the pan, combine and sauté.
Open the pack of tortillas and heat up according to microwave instructions.
Lightly coat 1 or 2 baking trays, depending on quantity of chimichangas being made, with cooking spray.
Lightly brush around the edges of each tortilla with the extra olive oil, the brushed edges will form the inside of the pockets.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons of seitan mixture in the middle of each (large) tortilla, and pat it into a rectangle shape.
Fold one edge of the tortilla over the mixture, then the edge on the opposite side, the other 2 edges over the top of each other to form a sealed pocket. Lay each pocket seam side down on the baking tray.
Bake until tortillas are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Serve with Tofutti Sour Supreme, enchilada sauce, guacamole, vegan cheese, Mexican rice and salad.

Mexican Rice
2 cups white or brown rice
3 cups water
2 vegan “chicken” stock cubes
1 tin crushed or diced tomatoes, in juice
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Spanish (red) onion, sliced
1 red and 1 yellow capsicum, sliced
½ tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
2-3 bay leaves
chilli to taste (I don’t usually bother, but I’m not much of a chilli fan)
1 cup frozen corn

Put all ingredients, except corn, into rice cooker.
Combine everything well, cover with lid and set to cook.
Once cooked add the frozen corn, stir and let sit on “Keep Warm” for a while.
Stir again and serve.

This is really nice with a squeeze of lime over the top as well.

Peanut Butter Blondies

From Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, Page 129

On Wednesday I received a fresh batch of cookbooks: Appetite for Reduction, Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, all of these by the fantabulous Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romeo of The Post Punk Kitchen fame.  
So on Sunday morning Tahlia and I were going through my hoard of vegan books and told her to see if there was anything she wanted to pick out to bake. And what do you know, she picked the recipe I also really wanted to try!
So Whilst I was making chimichangas and Carl was taking care of the rice, Tahlia volunteered to make the Peanut Butter Blondies. It was so awesome all of us in a patch of kitchen making separate dishes to make an afternoon complete, so much fun :)
The blondies (pale brownies) turned out so good and yummy that I thought that recipe alone made buying the book worthwhile! 

At the end of the day I packed Tahlia up with a care package of everything we had made, as there was a lot of food, but that's part of the fun; making a truckload and sharing it!

Thanks for coming Tahlia :) xo

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