cheese

Foodie Monday: Portobello Mushroom and Kale Tacos

Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in cheese, foodie monday, kale, mushrooms, pizza dough, portobello mushrooms, tacos, tortillas | 0 comments

Foodie Monday:  Portobello Mushroom and Kale Tacos

I hated mushrooms when I was growing up. They looked strange and smelled weird. The fact that poisonous ones grew out of nowhere after some good rain really didn’t make it any better. Mushrooms were strange and I’ve always been picky! I also detested water chestnuts (still do), cilantro, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, quinoa, okra (belch!), and eggplant among others.

My taste buds have changed slowly since I have gone vegan. Foods I always steered away from have now become some of my absolute favorites! I now love mushrooms, tomatoes, quinoa, and eggplant! If you are ever standing between me and brussels sprouts, you better get out of my way! I still won’t go near water chestnuts or okra . . . ever.

Mushrooms do have a meat like texture. They also have more protein than beef, chicken or eggs! They are so versatile AND they are low in calories! How cool is that?! For the record, kale has even more protein than all the aforementioned animal products and mushrooms!

I have never made a tortilla in my life. I didn’t even look at a tortilla recipe. I just used my multifaceted pizza dough. I’ve used the simple dough recipe for pizza (duh!), calzones, empañadas, and now tortillas. I love it! I stumbled upon it on one of my favorite recipe sites, allrecipes.com. More than 1,200 people have reviewed it and it averages 4.5 stars out of 5! I do, however, omit the salt.

For all I know, I am not even making tortillas. I could be making something else, but I choose to call them tortillas. So, just humor me!

Homemade TortillasPORTOBELLO MUSHROOM AND KALE TACOS
(serves 4-6, 2-3 each respectively)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

YOU WILL NEED:
A candy thermometer (a necessity for working with yeast!)
A mixer with a dough hook (optional)
A sauté pan
A griddle or griddle pan (If you must, a large sauté pan will do)
An olive oil mister (optional, but extremely helpful!)

DOUGH INGREDIENTS:
1 (.25 oz.) package of active yeast
1 tsp white sugar
1 c warm water (110-115 degrees)*
2 1/2 c bread flour + 1/2 c for rolling out the dough
2 tbsp olive oil

TACO FILLING INGREDIENTS:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic (fresh or ground if you are lazy like me!)
2-3 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 c tomato sauce (optional)
2 large bell peppers sliced
3 c kale (baby kale works best)
guacamole, salsa, habañeros (optional) and cheese

DOUGH INSTRUCTIONS:
1. In the glass heat safe measuring cup holding the water add sugar, stir.
2. Add yeast, stir gently.
3. Set aside for 10 minutes.
4. If you aren’t prepping the dough ahead of time, begin portobello filling instructions now.
5. Combine 2 1/2 c flour, olive oil and yeast mixture in a mixer (I have a purple KitchenAid!) with the dough hook until it forms a ball.
6. If the dough isn’t coming together, you can use your hands to knead the dough.
7. Let sit covered for 5 min or more.

PORTOBELLO FILLING INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in the sauté pan
2. Reduce heat to medium.
3. Sauté fresh garlic (if using) for 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Add sliced portobellos to the pan
5. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until portobellos are tender
6. If desired, you can add bell peppers and tomato sauce to the pan or for added crunch, you can keep the peppers raw.
7. Cover and reduce heat to warm or turn the stove off.

TORTILLA INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Divide dough in half. Work with half at a time so that it doesn’t dry out!
2. Divide the half into 6 equal balls of dough
3. On a floured surface with a rolling-pin and a liberal use of flour (1/2 c), roll each ball out into 7-8 inch circles. I constantly tell myself that the circles don’t have to be perfect! Ha!
4. Heat the griddle to 400 degrees (if using a stove, maybe medium-high heat?) with a liberal mist of olive oil
5. Spread a bit of flour on a plate.
6. As you make the dough circles, transfer them to the floured plate making sure to add extra flour in between each circle so that they don’t stick together! Wax paper would help too. DO NOT stack the circles higher than 6! The weight of all of the circles with squash the bottom circles together and you will end up having to roll out the dough again! Ugh. Believe me, it sucks!
7. Place the dough circles two at a time onto the griddle. I spray my the tops with a bit of olive oil as well.
8. Turn them over after about 90 seconds to 1 minute
9. Cook for 90 seconds to 1 minute more and then remove from heat. I store mine stacked in the microwave until I have completed all of them so that they stay warm.**
10. Cook as many tortillas as you would like. If you don’t want to make all of them, you can refrigerate or freeze the dough for more or to make something else!

TORTILLA ASSEMBLY:
1. Whew! You are almost there!
2. Place 2 to 3 slices of portobellos or portobello/pepper mixture in the center of the tortilla
3. Top with kale, guacamole, salsa, habañeros, cheese, and whatever else you desire.
4. If you made it this far, congrats! You worked hard! Enjoy and smack your lips often!

*I heat the water in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave for about 45 seconds and wait until it reaches the desired temperature. If the water is too hot, you can transfer the water to a mug and back to the measuring cup a couple of times to cool it off. The water MUST BE within the range otherwise you can kill the yeast!
** If you cook them for too long, they will harden quickly! You can soften them in the microwave covered with a damp paper towel for about 10 seconds. Yes, I overcooked a few!

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Foodie Monday: Peppered Guacamole Hummus Veggie Tofurky Rollups

Posted by on Jul 30, 2012 in bell peppers, cheese, daiya, foodie monday, guacamole, hummus, lettuce, roughage, superdiva, tofurky, tomatoes, trader joe's, vegan, veggies | 0 comments

Foodie Monday: Peppered Guacamole Hummus Veggie Tofurky Rollups

I love carbs. I have no intention of giving them up. They are a source of energy. Carbs before a good workout are a must. A lavash wrap is one of my favorite meals! I make lavash wraps and pizzas all the time. While I will never overdose on lavash, I decided to take a short break and try wrapping my food in something else. These days, Tofurky has become a staple in my house. It satisfies a protein craving in a delicious guilt free manner!

 

 

PEPPERED GUACAMOLE HUMMUS VEGGIE TOFURKY ROLLUPS
(Makes three rollups for 1 serving)TJ's Guacamole Hummus

Prep time: 10 min

INGREDIENTS:
6 slices of Peppered Tofurky
2 tbsp of Trader Joe’s Guacamole Hummus or your favorite spread (aioli, hummus, etc.)
1/2 cup of green leafy roughage (spinach, kale, swiss chard, lettuce, etc)
9 thinly sliced bell peppers (I used three orange, three yellow and three red for color!)
5 cherry tomatoes quartered
.5 oz shredded Daiya mozzarella (1/2 serving)
4 pimento stuffed queen olives, sliced (optional)
1 tbsp (fat free!) Balsamic Vinaigrette
3 toothpicks

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Double up the Tofurky slices so you have 3 setsTofurky Rollup Secondary Pic
2. Spread the Guacamole Hummus onto the three pieces of Tofurky.
3. Divide the roughage into three piles and place it on the slices keeping it toward one end of the Tofurky.
4. Top with bell peppers, tomatoes, cheese, olives and then drizzle the balsamic on top
5. Using the back of a teaspoon to keep the ingredients from falling out, roll the Tofurky to make a wrap. Make sure the edges of the slices overlap at the center.
6. Stick a toothpick through the overlapping edges to keep the rollup together.
7. Enjoy!

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Foodie Monday: Chickpea Frittatas!

Posted by on Jul 23, 2012 in broccoli, cheese, chickpea flour, chickpea frittatas, daiya, foodie monday, garbanzo bean flour, habanero pepper sauce, hummus, spinach, stores, superdiva, tofu, tomatoes, vegan, veggies, whole foods | 2 comments

Foodie Monday:  Chickpea Frittatas!

Chickpeas! *Be still my heart* CHICKPEAS!!!! *Flutter, flutter, flutter!* I LOVE CHICKPEAS!!!! I am pretty sure the only one who loves chickpeas more than I do is my friend, Leah.

Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are so versatile. You can make chickpea salads, burgers, hummus, guacamole hummus, and even frittatas!

Lucini Frittata MixWhile I am not a big breakfast person, fritattas used to be one of my favorite foods. I had tried to make tofu frittatas, but I just didn’t love them. They were just so-so. I stumbled upon Lucini’s Chickpea Frittata Mix in the cooking aisle of my second home, Whole Foods. The only ingredients were chickpea flour and one spice (depending on what flavor you chose). Seriously?! $5 for a couple cups of chickpea flour? Puh-leeze! My curiosity got the better of me and I bought it anyway. I wanted to know what was so special about it. I made the recipe according to the directions. Since it was so blah I added more seasoning and fresh veggies. Two days later, I made my own chickpea frittata using my chickpea flour and imagination:

Frittata IngredientsCHICKPEA FRITTATA
(Serves Eight)
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Recommended Cooling Time: 1 hour *
[Protein and fiber rich, gluten-free]

INGREDIENTS:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup plus 2 tbsp of chickpea flour
2 cups plus two tablespoons of water
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp garlic (granulated or minced)
2 tbsp rosemary (optional)
2 tbsp parsley
1/2 tbsp black pepper
2 cups chopped fresh veggies (broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers, steamed spinach, tomatoes, corn, olives etc)
1/2 cup shredded Daiya Cheddar Cheese
juice from 1/2 a lime or lemon in lieu of salt
Habañero pepper sauce (optional: but AMAZING if drizzled on top of the frittata. It adds a whole new dimension of flavor to it!)

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
2. Lightly coat a 9 inch deep dish pie pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil
2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat
3. Saute onions and garlic (if using minced) for 3 to 4 minutes or until caramelized and soft
3. In a large bowl, using a whisk, beat together chickpea flour, water, and olive oil until there are no visible lumps
4. Add garlic, onions, rosemary, parsley, and black pepper, stir
5. Add veggies and cheddar cheese, stir
6. Pour mixture into a 9 inch cake pan**
7. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until top is slightly golden brown and frittata is firm in the center
8. Let sit to cool.

* NOTE: If you cut the frittata before it has cooled, it will not hold its shape. I have found that letting it cool completely for at least an hour and then reheating will ensure it doesn’t fall apart. Plan ahead. Make it the night before! It will taste even better in the morning for breakfast, lunch or dinner! 😀

**NOTE: This produces a large frittata that will fill a 9 inch cake pan. If you use a pie pan, it will probably make two frittatas. Another idea would be to use muffin pans and make mini frittatas!

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Foodie Monday: Daiya’s Block Cheeses

Posted by on May 28, 2012 in apples, cheese, daiya, foodie monday, fruit, sandwiches, superdiva, tofurky, vegan, whole foods | 0 comments

Foodie Monday: Daiya’s Block Cheeses

Mmmmm cheese! I used to love cow, goat, and sheep cheeses. Mmmmmm cheese. As far as I can remember, my mother was lactose intolerant. She always bought soy cheese. My father, however, bought the real deal. Mmmmm cheese! I grew up eating both animal and cheese substitutes. Transitioning to vegan cheese was not easy. My any day meal of choice is a grilled cheese. My late night snack of choice is a grilled cheese. My returning home from a late night of drinking meal of choice is a grilled cheese. Most vegan cheeses do not melt. Some do melt under the force of a Panini press; however, a toaster oven is my grilled cheese maker of choice. My Cuisinart Griddler (Panini press) takes too long to clean for one sandwich; it isn’t worth it.

Casein, a milk protein, is the main ingredient in cheeses that cause them to melt. Vegan cheese does not have casein. It doesn’t matter how hard you push down on the warm vegan grilled cheese, the cheese doesn’t melt! The Milk Pail Market in Mountain View has a great selection of soy cheeses. I feel in love with their soy cheddar and soy gouda cheese while I transitioned to veganism. Unfortunately, since they are sold as bulk items cut from a block, there isn’t an ingredient list. No matter how hard I tried, no one could give me a company name or an ingredient list. Once person did tell me that they contained only 1% milk products. 1% milk products = casein. So, I reluctantly gave up the soy cheese.

I discovered Daiya in a vegetarian magazine advertisement a couple of years ago. Daiya seemed like a good idea, but it only came in shredded form. How am I supposed to eat cheese and crackers with shredded cheese?! I tried to make a grilled cheese from shredded Daiya cheddar and mozzarella. Yes, it melted, but it tasted greasy and salty. I didn’t like it. Since there are so many reports out there about how soy is bad (especially if it isn’t organic) Daiya’s soy free vegan cheese seemed perfect. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan.

Daiya HavartiI then proceeded to try all kinds of vegan cheese. I even had some shipped from Vegan Essentials and Vegan Store. I was determined that I could be vegan and still enjoy cheese. About two months ago, I happened to see an ad and review on vegnews.com for Daiya’s new block cheeses. Once of their block cheeses was havarti. I missed havarti almost as much as I still miss swiss cheese. Daiya’s block cheeses were supposed to debut on April 1st, so buying them in Whole Foods was out of the question. Vegan Essentials had them early. I bought all three: cheddar, jack, and havarti. I paid about $25 for two-day shipping in a cold shipper box.

Tofurky, Guac and ChedarThe cheddar are jack were good! The jalapeño and garlic havarti tasted like the jack cheese with jalapeño and garlic. I compared the two ingredient lists of the jack and havarti and literally jalapeño and garlic were the only difference. It could pass for a havarti, but since I can now find the cheddar and jack cheeses in stores, it isn’t worth the two-day shipping cost. I have had the block cheeses with fruit, nuts, wraps, sandwiches, and grilled cheeses. It melts and it tastes good! I don’t miss the real thing. Just be careful with the thickness of the slices as they tend to taste salty if you use too much. Which is what I have also discovered about the shredded Daiya . . . moderation is key. Otherwise, it just tastes like salty fat. I now buy the shredded and block Daiya weekly. I could do without it, but didn’t I mention that I love cheese?

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Foodie Monday: Cashew Cream and Vegan Potato, Leek and Cauliflower Gratin

Posted by on Jan 9, 2012 in cashew cream, cauliflower, cheese, foodie monday, gratin, leeks, superdiva, vegan | 0 comments

Foodie Monday:  Cashew Cream and Vegan Potato, Leek and Cauliflower Gratin

Cashew Cream . . . If you don’t do dairy, you may find it frustrating when a recipe calls for heavy cream or even sour cream. I stumbled upon cashew cream in Tal Ronnen’s book, The Conscious Cook. Since it was my first vegan cookbook, The book really opened my eyes towards vegan cooking. In his book he recommends soaking the cashews overnight. I don’t think that far ahead. You don’t need to soak the cashews overnight. My cashew cream tastes just fine . . . at least in my opinion! 😉

You’ll be surprised by all the uses for cashew cream. It can be used instead of heavy cream, whipped cream, sour cream (add a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar if you want) and even in cream sauces like alfredo. With a couple modifications to the basic recipe, cashew cream may become your new favorite all purpose sauce!

Unfortunately, if you have a tree nut allergy, cashew cream won’t work. You can however try things like silken tofu instead. The flavor may not be the same but if you are allergic to tree nuts, you don’t know what you are missing anyway! 😛

 

CASHEW CREAMCashew Cream
(makes 2 cups)
Prep Time: 5 min

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz cashews
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp agave
1 c water

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Blend in food processor (preferred) or blender for 2-3 min until smooth

*This should keep for a couple days in your refrigerator.

____________________________________________________

My new farm share box had arrived and I hadn’t even finished the box from the previous week. I used the yellow potatoes, leeks and cauliflower to make a gratin. I must say, it turned out beautifully!

Leeks, Garlic and SeitanPOTATO, LEEK AND CAULIFLOWER GRATIN
Prep Time: 20 min
Bake Time: 15 to 20 min
INGREDIENTS:

2 tbsp olive oil
leek thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic or 1 1/2 tbsp granulated garlic
2 c cashew cream
1 c water
1 large head of cauliflower cut into 2 inch pieces
2 c (about 4-5) of your favorite potatoes (yellow or Yukon work best), thinly sliced
1/2 c water
Black pepper
2 c your favorite vegan cheese, grated if possible (1/2 cheddar, 1/2 Gouda or mozzarella is pretty good but just plain cheddar will do!)

*optional: 1 cup of seitan or tempeh, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Pre heat oven to 350 F degrees
2. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat.
3. Sauté sliced leeks and minced garlic (if using) over medium high heat for 5 minutes or until leeks are softened.
*If using seitan or tempeh, reduce heat to medium and add seitan or tempeh after leeks have been sautéed and cook for 5 more minutes
4. Reduce heat to low.
5. Add cashew cream, granulated garlic (if using) and water. Stir occasionally for 4 to 5 min until cashew cream thickens a little bit.
6. Put sliced potatoes, cauliflower and 1/2 c water into a large bowl and heat in the microwave for 2 to 3 min to soften the veggies. Otherwise, your gratin will be baking forever and honestly, who has the patience for that?!
7. Add black pepper to cashew cream sauce
8. Remove sauce from heat so sauce doesn’t thicken too much
9. Spread a little olive oil (or use an olive oil sprayer!) onto the bottom and sides or an 8 x8 inch baking pan.
10. Place some of the potato and cauliflower mixture (about 1/3 of it) on the bottom of the pan.
11. Spoon some of the cashew sauce over the potatoes and leeks
12. Sprinkle or spread the half of the cheese on top of the sauce
13. Layer the potato cauliflower mixture, cashew sauce and cheese once again.
14. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and top is slightly golden brown
15. Eat!

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Foodie Monday: Tofu Scramble

Posted by on Nov 21, 2011 in cheese, foodie monday, superdiva, tofu, vegan, veggies | 1 comment

Foodie Monday: Tofu Scramble

I hate eggs. I don’t like the smell. I’ve always been afraid of under cooking them and getting salmonella or something. It’s funny, but part of the vegan appeal for me was that I didn’t have to eat eggs! No funny smell. No yolk all over my fingers when I crack them. No guilt at seeing the yolk because it could have been a cute baby chick.

Back when I was a meat eater, I was less inclined to eat the animal if I thought it was cute. No veal, lamb, pig, duck or cow. I could justify the turkey and chicken because well, let’s face it: they weren’t half as cute!

I used to use egg beaters for scrambled eggs and omelets. Since egg beaters were in a carton, I didn’t have to worry about seeing the yolk. I missed my scrambled eggs.

I accidentally discovered tofu scrambles while reading a food blog. I read somewhere that every vegan should “master the tofu scramble.” It turned me off of the idea. I thought it would be hard and I would screw it up. Considering my SuperDiva like cooking skills, I shouldn’t have been deterred. But, I was really worried about it.

When I could no longer take my scrambled egg cravings, I did some research on the scramble. I looked at some recipes and was pleasantly surprised. It seemed so easy. I now have my own recipes for tofu scramble. I only wish I had looked up recipes for tofu scramble sooner!

The tofu scramble in the top picture is plated with tempeh bacon and whole wheat toast topped with Earth Balance spread (vegan butter).

 

VEGAN TOFU SCRAMBLE!
Prep and cooking time: 15 min
(Serves 1-2)

INGREDIENTS:

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 block (7 to 8 oz.) medium/ firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes and mashed with a fork

3/4 cup veggies (peas, carrots, broccoli, corn, tomatoes, olives, etc.) If frozen, cook them first

Handful chopped onions or 1 tsp onion powder

2 cloves minced garlic or 2 tsp garlic powder

3 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp light sodium soy sauce

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 c of your favorite vegan cheese shredded or diced

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Heat olive oil in sauté pan on medium hightofu scramble in pan

2. If using chopped onions and minced garlic, add to pan and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes

3. Add tofu, onion powder, garlic powder, dijon mustard and veggies to pan, sauté for 5 minutes stirring occasionally

4. Add soy sauce and cheese, sauté for 2 to 3 more minutes or until cheese is melted

5. Serve and enjoy!

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