Zesty Lemon Asparagus

Vegan MoFo is almost upon us and I’m going to give it another go, so I thought I’d post to get back into the swing of things.

A lot of times, I make dishes but don’t post about them because they don’t really seem like recipes. This is pretty simple, and is almost more of a series of small techniques. Which I guess is what recipes are, hence, here’s a recipe!

I love asparagus, it tastes kind of like a delicate, more tender version of broccoli stalks to me. Recently, Newflower has been having it on sale, and I’ve been eating a ton of it. I love it sautéed, blanched, after it’s been dipped in tempura and wrapped in rice and nori, as sushi, and a hundred other ways, but my favorite way to prepare it is like this:

Looks pretty good, right? It tastes even better!

Zesty Lemon Asparagus
by Christina Terriquez

1 organic lemon
2 tablespoons whole almonds or hazelnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cups asparagus
sea salt to taste

Prep your asparagus by breaking the ends. Take the tip in one hand and bottom end in the other, and gently bend, until asparagus stalk breaks. Discard the hard, white end. I like to cut my asparagus into 3 inch pieces for this dish, but you can leave it whole, or cut it into 2 inch pieces if you wish.

Zest the organic lemon, then juice it. Set both the juice and zest aside for now.

Carefully slice the almonds or hazelnuts into thin slivers.

Heat a medium sized cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and slivered nuts to pan and lightly toast. Once nuts have browned just a bit, add the asparagus and a pinch of salt to the pan and sauté until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and add a big pinch of zest and taste. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and sea salt to your taste.

You can buy almonds already slivered in stead of slicing them yourself, but they usually cost more.

I think the hazelnuts taste a little bit better, but I don’t always have them on hand.

I usually use 1–1 1/2 cups of asparagus, and the juice and zest of 1/2 a medium sized lemon, but depending on the rest of your meal, and your tastes, you can adjust it accordingly.

I hope that got you in the mood for some stellar vegan posts from tons of new and old vegans. There are already over 430 people signed up for Vegan MoFo 2010, from at least 15 countries.

Cross posted from Vegan Vanguard

Stella’s Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Stella's Stuffed Baked Potatoes

I have been craving potatoes all week. In addition, I knew I had a whole package of LightLife Fakin’ Bacon in the fridge, taunting me. All day I struggled to decide between potato soup and baked potatoes on this cold, cold Central Texas night.

I decided on baked potatoes. Now, I always thought I hated skin on potatoes. Sometimes I leave them in when making mashed potatoes, because I know there are a lot of nutrients near the skin and because, frankly, I am lazy (you didn’t know?). Tonight I decided to try a new method I’d heard about, and I now love potato skins! The key is to bathe them in olive oil and bake them right on the oven rack. The result is puffy, crispy, tasty potato skins and light, fluffy, warm potatoes. Delicious. Yes, it took a while, but it was totally worth it.

Stella’s Stuffed Baked Potatoes

olive oil
vegan margarine
Sour Supreme
tempeh bacon
cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced or diced
white or yellow onion
minced garlic

The amount of ingredients you use will just depend on the number of potatoes and how much of the topping you want on them.

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Cut sprouts and dark spots from potatoes. Scour them thoroughly under cold running water, either with a scouring brush or the abrasive side of a clean, unused sponge.

3. Poke about 6-8 holes in each potato with a fork.

4. In a small dish, roll each potato in a thin layer of olive oil.

5. Place each potato directly onto the oven rack, placing a cookie sheet on the shelf below to catch any drippings. Bake for at least an hour, perhaps longer for large potatoes or a large batch.

6. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, sauté onions and garlic in a little olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, about three minutes. Add bacon and cook until it begins to get crispy. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until they are well done. Remove from heat and set aside.

7. When potatoes are done (check my sticking a fork in one), carefully remove them from the oven using a large spoon, spatula, or tongs. Using your fork, perforate one side straight down the side horizontally, forming a line to break open. Push on the ends of the potato with your fingers, using the fork in the center if necessary, to pry open the potatoes. If they are done, this will be easy.

8. Spoon a dollop of margarine into each potato. Top with mushroom and bacon mixture and sour cream to taste. Serve immediately.

*Russet potatoes are best, but any will do in a pinch!

Cross posted from stellatex.

Burger and fries

I used to work in my parents’ convenience store, and I flipped many a burger. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at it. By far my most popular item, back in the old days, was a burger with grilled onions and mushrooms, with a toasted bun.

I’ve been craving a veggie burger since Thursday, and when I realized I had a vegan Boca Burger in the freezer, and a whole potato waiting for its destiny, I decided to make my own burger while waiting for the football game to start.

My new mandoline made perfect fries – so exciting! It took all of 30 seconds to transform the potato into these uniform, expertly-sliced fries. Goodbye sore wrists and hours of potato cutting!

I don’t think I really need to give you a recipe, since I am using a pre-made burger, but for the toppings, I used leftover pecan pesto, a little spinach, both mayo and mustard, pan fried mushrooms, and caramelized onions. Yes. Oh, yes.

Of course, to treat myself for game day, I also had a Dr Pepper. What a perfect Saturday Night! Texas Fight!

Cross posted from stellatex.

Autumn Vegetable Fritters with Homemade Applesauce

For the fritters
2 sweet potatoes
1 large yellow squash
1 starburst squash
1 large carrot
1 large parsnip
1/2 white or Vidalia onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
~ 1/4 cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper, to taste

For the applesauce
2 apples, peeled, cored, and shredded (I put chunks in my food processor)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
plash lemon juice

1. Roughly chop vegetables. Boil or steam until they are well softened and almost cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, mix applesauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat for about five minutes until warmed through and well combined. Pour in about 1/2 cup water and cover.

3. Place all the vegetables in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle them with flour and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. On a cutting board or clean counter top, shape the vegetables into patties of whatever size you desire (I like them relatively thin, so they turn out on the crunchier side).

5. Place patties on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 40 minutes at 350°, turning over once midway through.

6. Meanwhile, stir applesauce frequently until water has cooked off and a saucy consistency is achieved (probably about ten to fifteen minutes). Set aside.

7. Remove patties from oven when golden and crispy, but not burned. (Alternatively, fry patties in a little oil until lightly browned on both sides).

6. Serve with a side of applesauce.

This will make your house smell really good, too!

Recipe adapted from Vegan Planet’s Autumn Vegetable Fritters.

Cross posted from stellatex.


Handmade Tex-Mex Style Nachos

These remind me of my mom. Not only did my mom accidentally teach me how to line a cookie sheet with cheddar cheese, brown it in the oven, and eat it with a spoon (cause, you know, I was, uh… watching), but she also taught me what a proper nacho is.

Now, in some quarters it’s argued that a big ole pile of nachos is best. Of course, that’s insane. Everyone knows individual nachos are superior, because each one is a perfect little presentation of flavor, a Tex-Mex canape. First, a layer of refried beans, then a layer of melted cheese, then, perhaps some lettuce or tomato or guacamole our sour cream, and then a single, perfect jalapeño.
If you just pile ’em all up on a big plate, and scoop on a bunch of beans and cheese and toppings, you end up with a soggy center and a whole bunch of tortilla chips totally devoid of toppings. All the ingredients mix together in a big pile of sludge. Gross.

For these nachos, I pan-fried some locally made, fresh flour tortillas. Then I made a batch of Crystal’s Vegan Explosion Queso and, while that was getting started, warmed up a can of vegetarian refried beans. I then assembled the nachos, finishing each one off with a tiny green circle of fire. Perfect.

Cross posted from stellatex.


Red Enchilada Stew with Green Chile Cornbread

Okay, so this is more New Mexico Mex, but…

I’ve blogged about them before: Desert Gardens mixes are fantastic. Most of the items in their line are vegan, they contain recognizable, natural ingredients, and the handy little packets have simple, step-by-step instructions that are easy to veganize. For the Red Enchilada Stew, I used pan-fried Soy Curls (thanks, Alin!) in place of the chicken, and for the Green Chile Cornbread, the only necessary alteration was replacing one egg (I used a water, oil, and baking powder mixture that worked beautifully).

This was a perfect weeknight meal: I just had to mix up the stew and put it in the pot to simmer and mix up the batter and put it in the oven to rise. And, yes, it was as good as it looks.

Cross posted from stellatex.

Another enchilada recipe!

This time, an enchilada pie!

green enchilada pie 2

Stella’s Green Sour Cream Nochicken Enchilada Pie

2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 package Soy Curls*
3 Tbsp canola oil
1.5 cups vegan cream of mushroom soup (I used vegan portobello soup; or make your own)
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
1 cup spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
6 oz. sour cream (1/2 container of Sour Supreme)
1/4 cup diced green onions
2 Tsp cumin
8 oz. cheese, shredded (I used FYH Monterey Jack)
salt and pepper to taste
12 corn tortillas

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable broth just to a boil and reduce heat; add Soy Curls and allow them to expand over ten to fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, in a large food processor or blender, purée soup, chiles, spinach, cilantro, sour cream, cumin, salt, and pepper, keeping some cilantro apart for garnish. Set aside.

4. Drain Soy Curls and add to pan with 1 Tbsp canola oil. Sautée over medium high heat, stirring often, until curls are nicely browned, and remove from heat.

5. Grease a medium to large, oven safe dish (up to 12″ in diameter) with remaining canola oil. Pour in one cup of the soup mixture and top with three corn tortillas, fanning them out from the center if necessary to ensure they cover the diameter of the dish.

6. Add 1/3 Soy Curls, 1/4 of the shredded cheese, and 1/3 of the green onions. Repeat with three more layers, using all ingredients except 1/4 of the cheese.

7. Top with the remaining shredded cheese and any dribbles of the soup mixture which are left over.

8. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown and sauce bubbles, broiling for the last three minutes or so if necessary. Allow to cool for at least ten minutes before slicing.

9. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice, beans, guacamole, salsa, and any other Mexican sides you desire!

melty cheese

green enchilada pie 2

soy curls

* Thanks to Alin for the Soy Curls, straight from Portland!

Cross posted from stellatex.