Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Everything. Salty, sweet, and hugs food perfectly. Not to mention you can whip it up in about 5 minutes. There are many Teriyaki recipes out there to choose from, though they vary a bit. Regardless of the small nuances here and there between recipes, there are really just two key components essential to the salty-sweet flare of many Asian sauces: soy sauce and sugar. Working at the Indonesian restaurant in Madison, I learned very quickly that sugar is the secret to the deliciousness of most Asian cuisines. And so, soy sauce and sugar are the key players in most versions of Teriyaki. Presumably water is an easy ingredient to come by, so with those three things you're half way there. Garlic, ginger and cornstarch complete the Teriyaki Team and if you don't have those in your kitchen, get them immediately. I chose a simple recipe based on the ingredients at hand and the ease of preparation. With a few tweaks, I was very pleased.
Customizations: For one, I added Sambal Oelek, another Indonesian staple. It takes hardly a teaspoon to break a sweat, so this red chili garlic paste is deceivingly spicy. I used just under a full teaspoon in the whole batch which was perfect. Sweet sauces don’t do much for me, but a mouthful of something sweet and spicy sauce will make my eyes roll in the back of my head. Has anyone seen What About Bob? I hope some of you recall the dinner scene. The second tweak was my sad attempt to make myself feel better about using so much sugar and salt in one sitting. The recipe initially called for brown sugar, but I used turbinado sugar which is raw and unrefined. Its granules are much larger but dissolve all the same. Why not throw in an extra nutritious punch? It made me feel better, especially since I wasn't willing this time around to sacrifice taste to use the low sodium soy sauce. Another way to make this just a smidge healthier is to use less oil when stir-frying and replace with water which deglazes and steams instead. In the end, when you add a thick sauce anyway, it won’t affect the taste at all unless you’ve over-watered your wok (wow, I sure hope those last few words are what people remember me by).
Once again, I’ve used the boil-then-fry method for cooking tempeh with fabulous results. The addition of a handful of sweet, thin green beans and vibrant red bell pepper was perfect. I am very much averse to mushy, overcooked vegetables so I tend to eat them al dente (crisp to the bite) – take care to add the veggies later in the game or they were sog up in no time. When adding the sauce at the end, you won’t need to remove the wok from heat, but you’d be safe turning the burner off so that you don’t overcook the cornstarch. Otherwise you'll end up with gloppy gastro nightmare. I served this over brown rice and decided it’s true what they say – sugar and spice is very nice.
Cook time: 10 minutes
For the Sauce
¼ c. Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 c. Water
2-3 T. Sugar, brown or turbinado (raw)
1 T. Ginger, freshly grated or minced
1 Large garlic clove, minced
½ - 1 tsp. Sambal Oelek or red chili garlic paste
2 T. Cornstarch
¼ c. Cold water
For the Tempeh
1 Package Tempeh, cut into small strips or cubes
1 ½ c. Water
½ tsp Onion powder
½ tsp Garlic powder
1 T. Soy sauce
For the Stir Fry
1 ½ T. Canola oil
2 Green onions, white and green parts chopped and divided
2 tsp. Ginger, freshly grated or minced
2 c. Green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
½ Red bell pepper, chopped
½ c. Water (or as needed)
For the Sauce: Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small sauce pan, adjusting the spice level by using more/less Sambal Oelek. Heat mixture over high heat and boil until sauce has reduced slightly, 4-5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and cold water. Add to sauce and stir constantly until reaches desired thickness. The sauce should be fairly liquid still, because some will evaporate in the next cooking stage.
For the Tempeh: Combine all tempeh ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down slightly and keep at a rolling boil until tempeh has absorbed most of the water. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the Stir Fry: Using a stove-top wok or large skillet, heat canola oil over high heat. Add white part of onions and ginger, cooking until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tempeh to the pan and toss around to coat all sides. If necessary, add ¼ cup of water if pan becomes too dry. Cook until tempeh starts to brown. Add green beans and red pepper to the pan with another ¼ cup of water. Let cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are al dente (crisp and tender, but not mushy), about 2 minutes. Stir in ½ c of the teriyaki sauce and turn burner off. Stir until sauce has thickened and completely coated vegetables and tempeh. Serve over brown rice.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
½ c. Sherry or sweet white wine
¼ c. Hoisin Sauce
2 T. Soy Sauce, reduced sodium
1 T. Rice Vinegar
1 T. Balsamic Vinegar
½ T. Hot or Dijon mustard
4-5 Drops liquid smoke
2 Packages prepared seitan or 2 c. homemade seitan, cubed
½ - ¾ c. All-purpose flour or cornstarch
¼ c. Canola oil, divided
¼ c. Olive oil
1 ½ c. Onion, chopped
1 c. Celery, chopped
1 c. Carrot, chopped
1 tsp. Sea salt
1 T. Garlic, minced
1 ½ c. Dry white wine
4 cups vegetable/mushroom stock*
2 c. Tomatoes, chopped
1 T. Tomato paste
4 Thyme sprigs
1 Rosemary sprig
¼ c. Parsley leaves
3 Bay leaves
5-6 Dried mushrooms (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ c. Parsley
1 T. Garlic, chopped
1 T. Lemon zest, finely grated
½ tsp. salt
*Make stock ahead of time by pouring 2 cups boiling water over ½ - 1/3 cup dried mushrooms. Add 1 vegetarian bouillon cube and whisk until completely blended. Add another 2 cups hot water to the mix and let sit 5-10 minutes.
For the Seitan
Mix all marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl. Adjust marinade to taste – add sherry if too tart, add soy sauce if too bland, add more mustard for an extra kick, or add hoisin for a super sweet and salty combo punch. Add seitan to marinade and let sit 30 minutes while you prepare stew.
For the Stew
In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, celery and carrots with salt until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Turn heat to medium high and add wine, keeping at a boil until reduced by about half or more. Meanwhile, mix the tomato paste with a ½ cup of stock and add mixture plus stock, tomatoes, herbs, and mushrooms (if using) to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove any stray stems and mushrooms (you'll have to fish for them).
Returning to Seitan
Place flour or cornstarch in a medium bowl and set out a separate plate for the seitan. Dredge seitan cubes and set on plate, reserving extra marinade for later. Heat half of canola oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat and add half of seitan cubes. Cook until browned on all sides, about 3-4 minutes. Repeat with remaining canola oil and the rest of the seitan. After the second batch has browned, add the first batch back into the pan along with all of the reserved marinade with the heat still on high. Let sauce reduce until thick and nicely glazed over seitan cubes, most of the sauce will have evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the Gremolata
In one pile, finely mince parsley, garlic lemon and salt together. The salt will draw out the juices from each ingredient and allow them to mesh together nicely. Set aside
Just before serving, place the cooked seitan in the stew. Stir and let sit 5 minutes. Sprinkle Gremolata on top and serve alongside orzo or saffron risotto.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
With a variety of personalities and tastes, I try to make several things across the board instead of aiming for just one general taste. You might think everyone likes oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but you never know (some very disturbed people don't). The last time this panel came, I made scones and chocolate-dipped biscotti which were very well-received. So this time I went with the “Everything” cookie – everything including chocolate chips, pecans, oatmeal, and coconut - for the sweet portion. I also made vegan Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake, less sweet than the cookies but also very popular. Then for the not so sweet but great-with-coffee option, I chose Cornmeal Cookies. I found a general recipe on Epicurious.com that I just tweaked to make more flavorful and, oh yeah, vegan.
The texture of these was fantastic, with a soft shortbread give but a pleasant cornmeal crunch. The pink icing was popular not only because of its color, but because it added a faint sweetness without being overbearing. Adding a very sour juice with powdered sugar was a good strategy. The orange barely present, I may tweak the measurements a bit, but give it a shot and see what you think! I’m a lazy cookie baker and don’t like high hassle dough, which is why I almost always make drop cookies. Despite having to chill the dough and then go at it what a rolling pin, these were super easy to make. Perfect for dipping in coffee or tea.
Orange-Scented Cornmeal Cookies with Cranberry Icing
Makes about 30 cookies
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes plus cooling
For the Cookies
1 c. Unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ c. Cornmeal (not corn grits or polenta)
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp. Baking soda
7 T. Vegan margarine, room temperature
½ c. Sugar
¼ c. Applesauce
1 T. Orange Juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp. Orange Zest
½ tsp. Vanilla extract
For the Icing
1 ½ c. Powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 T. Cranberry juice blend
Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat margarine and sugar together until fluffy, scraping down mixture from the sides of the bowl. Beat in applesauce, orange juice, zest and vanilla. Reducing the speed, slowly add in dry ingredients, about ¾ cup at a time until just incorporated. Form dough into a ball and chill wrapped in plastic for 30 min.
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough with a floured rolling pin into a large square, about 8 inches on each side. Make about 10 vertical slices in dough (about ¾ inch wide) and cut dough crosswise in thirds. Transfer to a cookie sheet about 15 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cool, 30-45 minutes.
To make the icing, sift the powdered sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk in 2 T of cranberry juice. Add more for a thinner consistency. Using a spoon or spatula, drizzle icing over cooled cookies in any fashion of you preference. Let icing set while cookies are on cooling rack. Transfer to platter or container, separating layers with parchment or wax paper.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Fresh Fruit Platter – Papaya, Kumquats, Blueberries, Strawberries, Cantaloupe
Heart Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cornbread – Plain, Blueberry
* Adjust the jalapeno amount to your personal spice preference. If you have a mild jalapeno, use at least one. If you have a very hot jalapeno, you may want to start with ½ and adjust from there.
To cut mango – with a large knife, cut flesh and peel from around core by slicing 4-5 large chunks from the sides. Slice each chunk into ¾ to 1 inch wide pieces. Slice knife between flesh and peel to remove peel (similar to cutting up cantaloupe). Dice sections and place in large mixing bowl.
To cut avocado – cut in half around seed and pull apart. Remove seed and peel. Dice and place in mixing bowl with mango along with jalapeno, red onion and cilantro.
Whisk lime juice, olive oil and salt together in small bowl. Pour over salsa and stir to coat well. Taste and adjust salt and/or lime juice level. If salsa is too tart, add additional olive oil.
1 Large eggplant
4 Summer squash (green and yellow)
1 Sweet white or yellow onion
3 T. Olive oil, divided
2 tsp Salt, divided
1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper, divided
For the Glaze
1 14 oz can Diced tomatoes or 2 c. fresh tomatoes, chopped
½ c. Water
3 T. Balsamic vinegar
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Sugar
Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450˚F.
Remove and discard eggplant stem and cut into large cubes (1 ½” inches). Place eggplant in a colander and sprinkle 1 tsp salt over cubes. Let sweat for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the remaining vegetables.
Remove squash stems and slice into ½” inch thick pieces. Slice onion and combine with squash in large bowl. Coat with 1 ½ T. olive oil, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper. Spread vegetables over baking sheet and roast in oven until brown and tender, about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside in serving dish or platter.
Returning to eggplant, squeeze out any remaining moisture using paper towels. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and coat with 1 ½ T. olive oil and ½ tsp black pepper. Spread eggplant over baking sheet and roast in oven until browned, 25-30 minutes. Remove and set aside in dish on top or mixed in with the squash-onion mixture.
While vegetables are roasting, make the glaze. Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pan. Reduce heat to medium-high, leave mixture at a medium boil until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and add sugar. Let simmer another 3-5 minutes until sauce is thick. Season with pepper to taste and additional salt if necessary. Pour glaze over vegetables without stirring in completely.
Makes about 1 cup
Prep time: 25 minutes
1 Large red bell pepper
¾ c. Walnuts
1 clove garlic
½ T. Pomegranate molasses
1 tsp. Lemon juice
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Cayenne or crushed red pepper*
* Adjust to your spice level – start with ¼ tsp and add more to taste.
Place oven on high broil setting. Broil whole red pepper, turning occasionally, until skin is blackened and blistered on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside in a paper bag. Let sit until cool enough to handle, 5-10 minutes. Remove skin, stem and seeds.Place pepper and remaining ingredients in food processor and pulse until walnuts are well-ground but still a bit chunky. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.