Saturday, June 26, 2010

Spicy Noodles with Cabbage and Edamame

(Note: This is actually a post from March that I saved as a draft and never posted.  Since I came across it today, I thought I'd go ahead and publish it.)

Life has been incredibly hectic lately.  Life is normally hectic, but the last few weeks have been abnormal.  With vacation, visiting Boyfriend in Houston, and an unexpected trip home, I've been flying about twice a week.  I haven't had much time to cook, and many of the dishes I've made lately have been sadly uninspired.  BUT tonight I finally made a stir fry worth posting!  This is one perfectly spicy stir fry- just spicy enough to make my nose run a bit and my lips swell slightly.  It would probably make my mom cry, though, so be careful if you're not a fan of the heat and cut back on the sriracha.

Spicy Noodles with Cabbage and Edamame
Makes 2 servings

• 2 cups sliced red cabbage
• 1 cup frozen edamame
• 2 servings cooked soba noodles
• 2 tsp Asian chili oil
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp rice vinegar
• 2 tsp sriracha
• 2 tsp minced ginger

In a nonstick pan, stir-fry the cabbage and edamame in the chili oil over medium-high heat, letting the edamame and cabbage brown just slightly.  Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha, and ginger in a small bowl.  Add the sauce and the cooked soba noodles to the cabbage and edamame, and heat the noodles until they absorb the sauce.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More from Viva Vegan!

Greetings from Planet Houston!

(The astronaut cow statue at Houston's IAH airport)

I'm back in Houston after having to testify in a trial in New York City.  I had forgotten how much I loved New York's vegan food.  During the short time I was there, I ate at Candle Café and Blossom, two of my very favorite restaurants.  I love Houston, but I don't know if a day will ever come that I can go out for a nice fancy dinner and order seitan in a port wine-mushroom sauce.  A girl can always dream.

In the spirit of yummy vegan food, here are the results of my most recent projects from Viva Vegan!  As I mentioned in a previous post, I made the Red Chile Sauce (page 45) and wanted to use it in the Red Chile Enchiladas (page 135).  To do so, I also had to make the Steamed Red Seitan (page 34) and Pine Nut Crema (page 45).

The Steamed Red Seitan didn't look like I thought it would; it was more tan than red.  

I eventually realized that I had only used half of the amount of tomato paste that I was supposed to use.  Even though I had gone slightly off-recipe, it still turned out delicious.  It was shockingly moist.  I've heard people talk about meat that falls right off the bone (gross) or melts in your mouth.  I imagine this seitan was the vegetarian equivalent.  

The recipe yielded twice as much seitan as needed for the enchiladas, so the night before I made the enchiladas I used the seitan to make a quick meal for Boyfriend and I- sautéed seitan, onions, and black beans with yellow rice and avocado.  Boyfriend LOVED the seitan.  All of the recipes I've made from Viva Vegan! have scored major points with him.

I also made the Pine Nut Crema ahead and refrigerated it until I was ready to make the enchiladas.  I tried out the Pine Nut Crema after I made it and was skeptical.  I'm not vegan.  I'm vegetarian, so I know what cheesy sauces are supposed to taste like.  This sauce tasted like tofu mixed with pine nuts.  At that point, I had a feeling I was not going to be thrilled with the enchiladas.  I made them anyway, and was pleasantly mistaken. 

The enchiladas were filled primarily with waxy potatoes and Steamed Red Seitan.  They were bathed in the Red Chile Sauce and topped with the Pine Nut Crema.  In the interest of full disclosure, I used some low-carb onion and herb tortillas instead of the corn tortillas that were called for.  I also ended up only making half of the recipe, since the full recipe would feed six people and I was only cooking for myself: one fresh meal and two quick reheated lunches.

The Red Chile Enchiladas were what I imagine meat enchiladas are supposed to taste like.  If I had grown up on this kind of food, or even if I had ever eaten a meat-filled enchilada, I'm sure these enchiladas would make great comfort food.  I'm happy to report that the Pine Nut Crema, in combination with the Red Chile Sauce, really did taste like a creamy cheesy sauce.  That kind of taste is very hard to accomplish with a vegan recipe, but Master Terry managed, of course.  The only down side to this meal is that it does take a lot of effort.  Since I made most of the ingredients ahead of time, it came together rather quickly.  Still, I think the next time I make enchiladas I might opt for a semi-homemade version using pre-made enchilada sauce and Daiya "cheese" on top. 

This cookbook might be too good.  I decided to give myself a little distance from it because I've been neglecting so many of my other cookbooks that I want to try out.  My newest one, "Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey", by Najmieh Batmanglij, has been begging me to experiment with it.  So, Latin America may have to wait for a bit while I head over to Persia.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Orange Stir-Fry Sauce

I hadn't intended on posting this recipe.  I was just trying to use up a random orange I had in the fridge, but the stir-fry sauce was too good not to share.  It was also very, very easy, just the way I like it.  I used this sauce with tofu, kale, yellow pepper, and onions, served over coconut rice (recipe to come, once I actually measure everything).

Orange Stir-Fry Sauce
Makes 1 serving

• 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed juice from a naval orange
• 1 tbsp minced ginger (I always have a jar of minced ginger on hand)
• 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tbsp granulated sugar

After sautéing your vegetables in a bit of oil, add the stir-fry sauce and allow to reduce for about 3 minutes.  Serve with rice.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mango-Pineapple Tofu

This dish was inspired by Mango Sticky Rice, Boyfriend's favorite dessert.  He asked me to make it for dessert one night, but I suggested that I turn it into an entree.  I served it with coconut rice, which was also very good, but I plan to tweak the recipe a bit.  For now, here's the recipe for our new favorite tofu dish, which Boyfriend described as "the best Thai dish you've ever made."  I described it as "heavenly" (not to float my own boat or anything), and loved the way the warm mangoes melted into the dish.

Mango-Pineapple Tofu
Makes 2 servings

• 1/2 cup pineapple juice (can be from the can of pineapple tidbits )
• juice of 1/2 lime (1 tbsp)
• 1 tbsp minced ginger
• 1/2 tbsp chili oil
• 1/2 package extra-firm tofu (7 ounces), cut into bite-sized pieces (pressed if desired)
• 1/2 cup canned pineapple tidbits
• 1 mango, pitted, skin removed, and chopped
• 1/4 cup raw cashews, roughly chopped (roasted would probably work too, but not salted)
• 1 tbsp brown sugar

Mix together the pineapple juice, lime juice, and ginger, and marinate the tofu in the marinade for an hour.  Heat the chili oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, then remove the tofu from the marinade and add it to the pan.  Stir occasionally.  When the tofu is browned, add the pineapple, mango, and cashews.  Add the brown sugar to the marinade and pour into the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly absorbed or evaporated.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Review of Viva Vegan!

Things are starting to settle down.  I graduated last week, moved out of my old apartment, and am now officially living in the new place in Houston, but I'm still awaiting the arrival of my belongings.  May was a busy month, and the last two weeks I've only cooked a handful of meals for myself.  I hate that.  Hopefully that will change soon.  I have big plans to finally make a dent in my long list of recipes to try out.

For now, I want to gush over the few recipes I did get to try in May.  I bought Viva Vegan!, the new Latin cookbook from Terry Romero, and it is truly amazing.  I've made 6 recipes, and they have all been fantastic.  This is my favorite cookbook.  I have over 30.  That's a big deal.

First, I made the Quinoa-Oyster Mushroom Risotto (Quinotto) on page 130.  It's supposed to be like a risotto with quinoa, but it didn't remind me of risotto at all.  No matter, because whatever it was, it was delicious.  It was the best quinoa I've ever had, and I've had some damn good quinoa.

The next thing I made was the Chimichurri Baked Tofu on page 100, which required making a batch of the Chimichurri Sauce with Smoked Paprika on page 43.  The fresh chimichurri sauce was bright green and tasted very fresh.  When baked with the tofu, it took on a darker color and a smoky flavor.  I loved the sauce both ways, and had some of the fresh chimichurri on the side with the chimichurri baked tofu and quinotto.

My next project was making the Annato-Infused Oil (Aciete de Achiote) on page 31 and the Yellow Rice with Garlic on page 96.  I found the annato seeds at Central Market in Houston.  They're bright red and give the oil its orange flavor, which in turn put the yellow in the yellow rice.  I don't know how to describe the flavor of annato, I just know that I like it.  The oil keeps in the fridge, and during my time off before graduation, I used it to sauté vegetables that I served over the yellow rice.  It gave the vegetables something special.  The yellow rice was also delicious because of the annato flavor.  I'll be making it over and over again.  The recipe calls for white rice, which is what I used, but I'm going to see how it turns out with brown rice.  I'm sure it'll be quite different, but I do like my whole grains.  Below, the yellow rice mixed with mushrooms, spinach, and onions sauteed in annato-infused oil.

The last recipe I tried was the Red Chile Sauce on page 45.  I loved this sauce, but haven't found the right pairing yet.  I tried it with the yellow rice and sauteed vegetables, and it was good, but not quite right.  I made enchiladas with what I had on hand (black beans, mushrooms, and onions) but the flavor of the enchilada filling and the red chile sauce didn't mesh correctly either.  Last night I was thinking that this sauce would be better with enchiladas filled with potatoes, spinach, and maybe seitan.  Then, I looked in Viva Vegan! and saw the Red Chile Enchilada variation of the Potato-Chickpea Enchiladas with Green Tomatillo Sauce on page 135.  Its stuffed with potatoes and the Red Steamed Seitan (which I've yet to try but have heard is, like everything else in this cookbook, fantastic).  I think making the Red Chile Enchilada is the solution for what to do with the giant container of red chile sauce in my freezer.

I love this cookbook.  Love it, love it, love it.  Don't be surprised if you see more of it on this blog.  I use most of my cookbooks for inspiration, but I'll continue to be cooking the actual recipes in this one.