Monday, April 27, 2009

Chickpea Salad (a Clean Out Your Fridge kind of salad)

From Foodsies!

Oi! It's been a long time since i've posted. This is mostly due to me a) not cooking much and b) f-ing up what I do try and cook. Also, i've taken up regular (read: constant) bicycling, but my tubby body hasn't yet adjusted and so i'm too wiped to cook most evenings.
I get home from work, park the bike, and sort of collapse into a happy cold-water and endorphin-fueled haze on the sofa. Blissful, but not inclined to cook.

On the plus side, it's made me totally crave veggies and fruits and water. Yay? Such foods aren't generally too exciting to blog about (look, an apple!) but last night's dinner juuuust qualifies for a post.

After a ride around JP with Abigail last night, I was craving something veggieful and something cold (first really hot day of the year!). Seemed like a perfect time for a salad. !!! What !!! I know, me! Making a salad! Anyway, I picked my own mouth up off the floor and threw together the following Chickpea And Whatever Veggies You Have Salad, served on greens with some wild rice as a side.

Enjoy after the jump:

Chickpea and Whatever Veggies You Have Salad


1 Can Chickpeas, strained and rinsed
2 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
Fresh Parsley and/or Dill to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
Some combination of the following:
1 Red Onion
2 Tomatoes
3-4 Stalks Celery
1 Cucumber
2-3 Carrots
1-2 Red/Green/Orange/Yellow Pepper(s)
Anything Else You Think Would Taste Good In There


Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss around. Chill for 30-60 minutes in the fridge.

Serve on a bed of lettuce/greens. For dinner I served it with some long grain and wild rice that i'd had hanging out in the pantry forever. Turned out to be a very tasty, healthy, and pretty dinner!

From Foodsies!

I used the leftovers for my lunch today - I took a whole wheat tortilla and spread it with some roasted red pepper hummus (made by Abigail, yummm) and then topped it with the chickpea salad and some of the leftover wild rice from last night's dinner. I wish i'd remembered to add in a few olives, but otherwise it was a great lunch.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vegan Black Bean Pupusas

From Foodsies!

Pupusas are a recent discovery for me. I've been to Honduras, where Pupusas are a common dish, but somehow never had them. But there is a place a few blocks from my house that makes them (places like this are called "pupusarias") but they aren't vegan, as they make a been and cheese version. I did get them to make a just-bean version once (delicious), but have been refused every time since.

Soooo I decided to try making my own. It's not the hardest thing in the world, and luckily they taste great even if you have beans spilling out all over (hopefully my technique will improve...)

This isn't a completely authentic recipe, since I used veggie broth instead of plain water, and threw in some cumin and coriander, but whatdoyawant? I saw it suggested in a recipe here and thought those additions sounded too good to pass up.

So without further ado...

Black Bean Pupusas


2 Cups Masa Harina*
1 Cup Veggie Broth (at room temp)
1-2 tsp Cumin
1-2 tsp Coriander
1/2 Cup Refried Black Beans (or regular black beans, mushed up)

*Masa Harina is a cornmeal made by treating dried corn with lime (calcium hydroxide) and water. It is not the same as corn flour, which is dried corn that has not been treated with lime.


In a medium mixing bowl, mix the masa harina with the spices (if using), and then slowly add the veggie broth. You may also then have to add additional water (I think I had to add a further 1/2 cup, but do it one TBSP at a time!)
You want a dough that is wet but holds together, and which doesn't crack when you press down on it (if it cracks a wee bit, it's ok, but ideally it won't crack at all).

Now cover with a damp towel and set aside for 5 minutes. Don't set aside for too long (I forgot and walked away for like 45 minutes) or else it will get dry and then you will have to work really hard to re-moisten the dough and get pupusas that aren't cracked all over (notice how cracked and ugly and spilling-forth-of-black-beans mine are.. this is why).

Now cut the dough in roughly 8 pieces and roll them into little individual balls of dough. Take each one and using your thumb to make an indentation and form a sort of urn with it (check out the linked recipe above - it has GREAT pictures). Place a spoonful of beans in the hole and then fold over/pinch together the dough to close it up.

Carefully pat the ball into a thick pattie and place between two layers of sarah wrap. Slowly roll it out with a rolling pin until about 4 inches in diameter and maybe 1/4 thick.

Heat a skillet and cook them until gently browned on each side. Eat fresh and hot from the skillet (after letting them cool a minute so you don't burn off your tongue) for best taste.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pasta with a White Wine Cream Sauce

From Foodsies!

When my artichoke and olives mix overpowered my tortellini, I thought of making a white wine reduction sauce instead. I finished all the tortellini, however, so I just paired this with some basic pasta. And now that I have, I think it's probably best that way. It's a subtle (but delicious) sauce that I wouldn't want to have to fight for attention with tortellini. I think it's best with plain pasta - angel hair, linguine, or penne in particular.

The sauce contains no butter but captures a lot of the creamy, buttery taste of a Beurre Blanc (and without all that fat). A dab on your finger might not convince you, but pour some over a bit of pasta and the flavors will really shine. I do believe this is my favorite pasta sauce, and it's pretty easy (albeit time consuming) to make.

White Wine Cream Sauce with Roasted Garlic


1 Head of Garlic
5 Shallots, diced*
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Cup White Wine
1.5 Cups Soymilk
1/4 Cup Soymilk mixed with 1 TBSP Cornstarch
Salt and Pepper

* You can use a medium onion instead if you don't have shallots


Take your head of garlic and cut off about 1/4 inch from the top (the pointy end). Wrap in aluminum foil, drizzling a bit of olive oil on top of the garlic first.
Bake at 400 for 40 minutes.

In the meantime, dice your shallots or onion.

When the garlic is done, remove from the foil and squeeze out the cloves into a small bowl. Mash the garlic.

Add a TBSP of olive oil to a saucepan over high heat and add the shallots and garlic. Saute for a minute or two and then add the cup of white wine.

Bring it to a boil and reduce by 3/4. This means you let it boil rapidly until evaporation leaves you with 1/4 of the liquid you had before. As the liquid boils down, you may have to periodically turn down the heat as well. And of course, it will thicken as the ratio of shallots and garlic to wine changes. Be warned that to do this properly will take a while. You can go to the next step before it's fully reduced but then you'll be missing the point of reduction (as the wine reduces, the flavor becomes concentrated and the alcohol burns off. Then whatever liquid you add to the reduction will suck up all those amazing flavors. It's worth being patient for).

Once reduced, lower the heat and add the plain soymilk. Stir. Add the soymilk and cornstarch mixture.

Simmer and stir for a few minutes until it thickens a little. It may get weirdly poofy but that's fine. Mine didn't even thicken much, but you can thicken to your preference. If it does not thicken enough, you can add more cornstarch (dissolved in a TBSP or two of soymilk) or whisk in a TBSP or two of flour. Regardless, allow it to continue to simmer (stirring occasionally) for another 10 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from heat and puree in a blender.

Serve over pasta. Can be refrigerated for 2 days or so, although you may have to give it a stir or two after it's settled in the fridge.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tortellini From Scratch

From Foodsies!

I love home made tortellini. I love forming them, and I love eating them. It might take a little time, but it's easy and (to me) fun. Plus, they freeze so easily that you could spend an afternoon or evening making a ton of them, and then be set. It hadn't occurred to me before, but the same can be done with dumplings/momo. I'm totally on a mission to provide my own 2am junk food ;)

Once I had cooked the tortellini I served them with a mix of artichokes, olives, and grape tomatoes. I think that was a bit of a mistake, because while that mixture was good, it overwhelmed the flavor of the tortellini themselves. When I make it for my parents (or anytime in the future) i'll probably stick with a basic white wine sauce (like a vegan Beurre Blanc) instead. I bet a good oily pesto would be tasty as well.

For the filling I just made a nice, fairly mild tofu filling. Some diced mushrooms or spinach would have been nice in there as well.

Now that i'm making myself hungry, here's the recipe and process (the tortellini-forming is the best part!)...

Hand Made Vegan Tortellini


Tortellini Dough

3 Cups Flour*
2 TBSP Nutritional Yeast
2 tsp Salt
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Cup Water

Tofu Filling

1 Package Firm Tofu, drained and pressed
2 TBSP Lemon Juice
1 TBSP Olive Oil
3 TBSP Nutritional Yeast
2 TBSP Yellow or White Miso**
2 tsp Sage
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper (or to taste)

* You can use All Purpose Flour or an equal mix of All Purpose and Whole Wheat. I used half All Purpose and half White Whole Wheat.

** If you don't have Miso, you can use a teaspoon of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, or skip it altogether. The miso just gives it a slightly fermented flavor like cheese has.


Drain and press the tofu by placing the tofu on a plate, with another plate face down on top of the tofu. Put a heavy book or two on top of the upper plate so that it's pressing down on the tofu.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the Flour, Nutritional Yeast, and Salt. Add Olive Oil and then slowly add water until you have a dough that is not sticky but is also not too dry and stiff. Knead 3-5 minutes. Roll in a tsp of oil in the bowl and cover with a damp cloth.

Let the dough rest in the bowl for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make the filling:

Remove the tofu from between the plates. The bottom plate should have accumulated a few spoonfuls of water. Dump these off. Carefully press the tofu between your hands over the sink to squeeze out a touch more water if possible.

Place the tofu in a medium mixing bowl and mash up with your hands and/or a fork until it has a crumbly ricotta-like texture (if it's too watery the texture will be more mushy than crumbly but frankly that is just fine also).

Add all of the other filling ingredients to the tofu and mix well with a fork. Taste and adjust seasonings or ingredients accordingly.

You will probably still have some time left before the dough is ready. I would not suggest starting an attention-needing sauce at this time, because forming the tortellini once the dough is ready is fairly attention-needing itself. But hey, you only live once.

Once the dough has rested for 30 minutes, flour a large cutting board or other surface. Tear off about 1/3 or 1/4 of the dough and roll out on the floured board until it is very thin, but not see-through, and you don't want it so thin that it rips. Hopefully you can get an idea of the thinness/thickness from my pictures.

From Foodsies!

Once rolled out, you can either cut out squares (about 2x2 inches) which is slow and dumb and is what I did, or you can use a cookie cutter to cut out circles which you will be folding over the same way as the squares (smart, and what I will do next time).

Once you have some cut out, place a small teaspoon of filling in the middle and fold one "corner" over to the other, to form a triangle or half-moon. Smoosh the edges down.

Fold the center "corner" up and then fold the ends around. Pinch them together to seal them to each other.

I know it doesn't make much sense. This link might help, since it has step by step pictures. It's the same as my directions, only they fold over the center corner at the end, and I do it earlier. Doesn't matter which way.

Soon you will have an army of tortellini!

From Foodsies!

At this point you can either freeze them or cook them.

To cook them, you can either boil some water and then add the tortellinis to boil for 3-5 minutes, or if you are worried they are too delicate for boiling, you can steam them in a steamer for 10 minutes or so.

I went with the steaming to be on the safe side, but they'll be more tender if you boil them.

To freeze them, coat a cookie sheet or other flat tray/dish with flour and add a layer of tortellini. Place in the freezer for 1 hour - overnight, until frozen solid. Then you can throw them in a freezer bag or tupperware and put them back in the freezer.

To cook after they're frozen, you can boil them straight from the freezer (no defrosting needed). Just boil for 6-7 minutes instead of 3-5 like you would if they were fresh.

I can't wait til I have some frozen batches that I can just cook at a moment's notice. Can't beat home-made food that can be boiled for a few minutes and then served just like the store-bought kind :)

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Overnight Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

From Foodsies!

Fair warning: while these cinnamon rolls are easy and take little actual work, they do take forever to make because of the long resting times needed to rise properly. It's basically like Do Step 1. Wait 3 hours. Do step 2. Go to sleep. Wake up, bake, devour. So: easy, but requires a bit of planning.

Fortunately, you can freeze them once baked, and have them ready at a moment's (or thawing's) notice.

The reward for all this waiting around: Soft, sweet, flavorful cinnamon rolls that will rock your world (and they're vegan too, of course!)

Oh yeah, the "downside" is that they require a sourdough starter. Whatever. Just accept the fact that almost all bread/roll/biscuit/pancake recipes from me are going to involve sourdough starter. That stuff multiplies fast, and I hate to throw it out and waste it, so I gotta use it! Plus, i'm completely addicted to the depth of flavor that it gives all baked goods, as well as the communion it provides with a slower kind of life.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the recipe for these delicious cinnamon rolls (which I made in part as a test to make sure they are good enough to bake for my parents Easter morning... and in part because who doesn't love cinnamon rolls?)

Overnight Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls



1 1/2 Cup Sourdough Starter
2/3 Cup Soymilk
2 TBSP Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
1 TBSP Melted Earth Balance/"butter"
1 tsp Salt
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda


3 TBSP Melted or Softened Earth Balance/"butter"
2 or 3 TBSP Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Sugar


1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 TSBP Soymilk
1/2 tsp Vanilla

* If you want something more like "icing" than "glaze," double the powdered sugar and add in 1 TBSP of melted butter. Stir. Adjust the sugar vs. milk ratio until you have the desired consistency. You can also add in a splash of maple syrup or even coffee (yummmm!!!!) for some extra flavor.


In a large mixing bowl, mix together the Sourdough Starter, Milk, Sugar, Vanilla, Melted Earth Balance, Salt, and Baking Soda.

Slowly add the flour a little at a time until you have a dough that is soft but not sticky, and which is cohesive enough to be handled.

Rub some Earth Balance in a bowl and roll the dough around in it so it is coated in a thin sheen of butter. Cover and let rise until doubled...

It will take about 3 hours to double. You can leave it for longer and I suppose if you were in a pinch you could do it for a little shorter. If you have a gas oven, you can set it in there and the pilot light of the oven should provide a good temperature for it to rise (keep the oven off).

Once it's doubled in size, punch the dough down**. Punching the dough down just involves pressing it down with your hand. No need to go crazy on it, as the following step of rolling it out will also help the process.

Sprinkle a cutting board or table with a good amount of flour. You can add some sprinkles of cinnamon also (the dough will happily pick it up when you lay it down, yum). Roll out the dough into a rectangle***. You want it to be maybe 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick and it will probably wind up around 9x18 in size****.

Now brush/spread the melted or softened butter all over it. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle as evening as possible all over, even out to the edges. If you don't feel like mixing, you can sprinkle with sugar and THEN with cinnamon, instead of mixing them. Either way works with only slightly different results.

Roll it up! You can roll it up one of two ways, the long way or the wide way. I think the wide way is the more common method, but I did the the long way and obviously they turned out fine. The long way results in fewer but larger rolls, with more spirals of cinnamon sugar yumminess. The wide way results in more rolls, and like I said, it's the generally recommended method (although mine turned out fine, clearly). In any case, rolling towards you is easier than rolling away or to the side of you.

Pinch the "seam" down so that the roll doesn't unroll itself too easily. Also, if your ends are messy, ignore it. It all comes out fine once it's baked (and those "ruined" ends can be claimed by you, a cook making a noble sacrifice).

Now take a sharp knife and cut the roll into rounds about 1.5 or 2 inches thick. Arrange them touching on a well-greased baking sheet (or in a casserole dish if they will fit, which is what I did) and refrigerate overnight.

Wake up the next morning remove from the fridge. Let them sit out somewhere warm while your oven preheats to 400. When my oven preheats the stovetop gets pretty warm, so that is where I like to set them (or over top of our strongest radiator if the heat is on.. which in Boston is um, most of the year). Bake for 20-30 minutes at 400. You want them to get a little golden brown and to be firm when you tap them.

If you're eating them now, make the glaze/icing while they cool a bit and then spoon the glaze on them. Proceed to devour.

If you plan to freeze them to have around for cinnamon roll emergencies, do NOT glaze them. Just freeze them. When you want to eat them, thaw them carefully in the microwave or open air (or in the fridge overnight) and then heat and then glaze. Got it?

** Feels like you're defeating all the rising doesn't it? Well, you're not. The rising allows the dough to get gassy, and punching it down basically breaks up the gas bubbles into more gas bubbles, which is critical for the texture of the final product. It also helps distribute the sugar that the sourdough yeast eats, as well as evening out temperature and moisture

*** Good luck with that. Mine was a sort of vaguely rectangular oval.

**** If it were a real rectangle, of course. Which it totally won't be.

NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM oh yeah and I took a nice long bike ride the day before to compensate for all the cinnamon rolls ;)

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