Vegan Drunken Noodles

What kind of name is Drunken Noodle for a dish that has absolutely no booze in it?  There are several stories I found. Stefen finds the story of the drunk chef who "invents" the dish on a late night drinking binge to be the most appealing (cuz he's never done that- wink wink).  Second, it became a popular dish for late night party goers to eat after the bars close down. Third, the dish is so spicy it makes you feel drunk. I like all of the stories and mostly, enjoy making this simple dish at home- with or without a cocktail.

Vegan Drunken Noodle Recipe

Serves 4 -6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Tamari Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha Hot Sauce (add more to taste)
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame seeds
  • 2 TablespoonsCorn Starch + 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 12-16 oz uncooked Rice Noodles
  • 1 Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 Orange or Red Bell Pepper, sliced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, sliced
  • 4 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup of fresh Thai Basil chopped (can substitute Italian Basil)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook the rice noodles according to instruction on package.
  2.  In a medium sized Pot, combine Rice Wine Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Vegetable Broth, Sriracha Hot Sauce, Brown Sugar, Lime Juice and Sesame seeds. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Combine the Corn Starch + 2 Tablespoons Waterto create a slurry.  Add to the sauce and stir until it begins to thicken
  4. Add Sauce to cooked noodles and fully coat with the sauce. Set aside. 
  5. In a large saute pan or wok on medium high, saute Onion, Garlic Powder and Carrots. 
  6. Cover with a lid to steam for a minute or two. Remove lid. Cook for 3-4 minutes, total. Add Peppers, Tomatoes and Basil. Cook for 3-4 minutes. 
  7. Add the sauce and noodle mixture and toss all together for a few more minutes until all the flavors are combined. 

Vegan Pancakes

Breakfast has always been my favorite meal. We actually have breakfast for dinner quite a bit and these are our "go-to" pancakes. Super easy to make and oil free. Some people will use oil for the griddle or pan, but if you have a good non-stick pan/griddle- you should be good to go!

Vegan Pancake Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 Cup Oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 Cup Unbleached Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoon Flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt-  (optional)
  • 1 Banana, Mashed
  • 2 Cup Soy or Almond Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup + more to add when serving
  • 1/3 Cup Blueberries (optional)

INSTRUCTION:

  1. Add Oatmeal to a blender or food processor. Blend until you've made oat flour.
  2. Add the wheat flour, baking powder, flaxseed meal and salt together in the blender. Pulse to combine.
  3. Add the bananas and non-dairy milk & Maple Syrup and mix again. 
  4. Stir in the blueberries.
  5. Heat a non-stick griddle over medium heat. Pour mixture by 1/4 cup measure onto the heated griddle. Flip to turn over when bubbles start to appear on the surface of each pancake. Cook until brown on both sides. Repeat until all mixture has been used.
  6. Enjoy with warm Maple Syrup

HINT: We make this in a high speed blender and add the blueberries to each pancake individually. This helps with clean up as you have only the blender to clean. 

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Pie is a must for us at Thanksgiving. I discovered the best pie crust recipe and it has never disappointed. It is based on America's Test Kitchen's recipe, we simply use Vegan butter instead of regular butter. It is not "healthy" since Vegan butter is oil but we only indulge a couple times a year so allow this treat.

I've tried several different versions of the Pumpkin filling and this version has been a favorite. It is based on Chloe Coscarelli's recipe although I did adjust some spices. The Coconut milk is the key, adding richness and structure. You can used canned Pumpkin Puree or make your own. If you're making your own, I would use Sugar Pumpkin or Red Kabocha Squash.  Oven roast until soft, remove from rind and puree in a high speed blender or food processor. You may need to add a little water to achieve a smooth consistency.  

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Vegan Butter, cold unsalted, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 Cup chilled solid Vegetable Shortening, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/8 Cup Vodka, cold
  • 1/8 Cup Water, cold

Filling:

  • 1 Can Pumpkin Puree- 16 oz
  • 1 1/4 Cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cloves, ground

Instructions:

  1. Process 3/4 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage-cheese curds, and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into a bowl.
  2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Mold into a ball and flatten into adisk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  4. Add all ingredients to a blender and process until smooth.

  5. Roll out dough into a pie plate and Crimp edges.

  6. Pour Pumpkin Pie Mixture into the shell and cook for 60 minutes.  Keep an eye on the crust edges, if they become too brown, cover with foil.

  7. Allow to cool before serving.

Winter Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice

This dish is a great Entree alternative. Oil free, gluten free, whole food plant based and perfectly seasonal. We found these Honeynut Squash at our farmers market but I've seen them popping up at Trader Joes and local supermarkets as well. Enjoy!

Winter Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 baby Honeynut Squash
  • 1 Cup Wild Rice
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic 
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil 
  • 1/2 Cup Cranberries 
  • 1 Cup Shredded Baby Spinach
  • 3 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped 
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional yeast 
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • 2 Tablespoons Cashew Butter (recipe on Plant Punk Kitchen website)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees  
  2. Cut the Honeynut Squash in half, scoop the seeds out. Season the squash with salt, place in a baking dish cut side down, pour enough water to just about a 1/4 way up. Place in oven cooking for 35 minutes. The meat should tender but the squash should retain its shape. 
  3. Start Rice Mix.  Follow directions on package plus add the granulated garlic and dried basil to the water. 
  4. Once the rice is cooked, mix in the Cashew butter, Apple Cider Vinegar, Cranberries, Spinach and the nutritional yeast. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. 
  5. Remove the cooked squash from the oven. Allow the squash to cool enough so that you can handle them. Carefully scoop the meat out, leaving a border around the edge about 1/4î thick. You looking to create a boat. 
  6. Mix the scooped squash into the rice mixture. Fill the squash with the rice mix. Place in the oven for 15 minutes until hot.

Notes:

  • You can easily use any squash you like for this recipe. Roasting time will vary depending on the size.
  • For the Wild Rice, we used a mix with lentils and amaranth. 
  • You can make this dish a day ahead of time. To reheat: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the squash in a baking dish with some water, cover with foil & cook for 35 minutes. Remove the foil cooking for another 15 minutes. The interior of the rice should be hot. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts.jpg

Brussel Sprouts come into season in the late fall and are said to be sweeter after the first frost. Perfect for holiday side dishes.

Brussels Sprouts seem to be a love or hate type of vegetable. I love them now but haven’t always. Growing up I would hide them in my napkin so it seemed like I was eating them and my Mom wouldn’t yell at me. Before I met Stefen, I never had them cooked quite right- they were to bitter or sour.  I don’t know how other people were cooking Brussels Sprouts but this recipe is very simple and I love the orange flavor in this dish. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Pound Brussels Sprouts 
  • 1 Naval Orange
  • 1 Yellow Onion, sliced thinly 
  • 1/4 Cup Italian Parsley, chopped 
  • 1 Tablespoon Rosemary, chopped 
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees 
  2. Bring a (preferably) cast iron saute pan to high heat, add the 1 teaspoon (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) Grapeseed oil (or broth for oil free), sliced onions and garlic, stirring to prevent the onions from burning or sticking. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook and stir until the onion are a deep caramel color and taste sweet. 
  3. Remove the stems at the bottom of the Brussels sprouts. Peel off any yellow or dark leaves. Cut into half's and quarters depending on the size. You're trying to get uniform sized pieces. 
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the sprouts, cooking until just tender. Drain and spread on to a baking pan allowing them to cool. Drain any excess water from the baking pan that has accumulated during the cooling.
  5. In a large bowl toss the Brussels Sprouts with the olive oil, place in the oven cooking for 30 minutes.
  6. Zest and juice the orange. 
  7. Remove the Brussels Sprouts from the oven. Toss the Orange zest, Caramelized Onions, chopped Parsley and the Rosemary with the Brussels Sprouts. Season with salt and pepper to taste (optional). Return to the oven to continue to cook until you reach a nice roasted color - about 15 minutes. 
  8. Just before serving add the orange juice which should be 3-4 Tablespoons.

Notes:

If you prefer to cook without Oil:

Caramelizing the Onions without oil:  

  1. Place onions into a pot along with salt and any seasonings you wish to use. Use approximately 1 teaspoon per large onion. The salt helps draw the liquid out of the onion and allow it to caramelize, rather than steam.
  2. Cover the pot and cook on medium-high heat to draw the majority of the water out of the onions. This will take approximately 15 minutes depending on the amount of onions added and their water content. (keep a eye on them to avoid burning them).
  3. Uncover the pot and continue to cook until the water reduces and the onions begin to caramelize. Stir to prevent the onions from sticking. Onions will begin to turn from a translucent white color to a golden color and will continue to darken as you cook them.
  4. Deglaze the pan with one-half cup water or broth when the onions begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, but before they begin to burn. Scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly. Repeat until the onions reach your desired level of caramelization.

Oven Roasting: Without oil, roasting will take longer to achieve browning. You will want to coat the Brussels Sprouts with a little Vegetable broth or Soy sauce.  Also you will want to use parchment paper or a silpat baking mat so the vegetables do not stick to the baking pan.

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

We continue to prepare for the holidays with more of our favorite side dishes. This week we have the classic Mashed Potatoes and Gravy.

Mashed Potatoes

The thing about most mashed potato recipes that makes me crazy is that we fill up a big pot of water add the potatoes, cook them and then drain the water!!!! The water that has all that great starch and potential flavor. In cooking I'm always looking for ways to layer the flavors and create more flavor. So when we cook the potatoes in the old way were basically tossing flavor down the drain. 

They key to these mashed potatoes is the cooking liquid. I want to flavor the liquid and use that same liquid to make my mashed potatoes. 

Another thing that seems pretty simple but we often fail at is the actual cooking of the potatoes. People tend to over cook the potatoes which will lead to a watery mashed potato which will never be creamy and rich. You are looking for a slight tenderness to the potato. When you pierce it with a knife tip you want the potato to just yield. It should keep its shape and not fall apart. 

The next key is the fat element. When I was kid my mom learned to make her mashed with milk, butter and mayonnaise. I know that might sound a little nasty but it made for some tasty mashers. So the point I'm making is the fat element is huge in creating a rich creamy mashed potato, after all fat adds flavor. Make a thick Cashew Butter with nutritional yeast and a heathy dash of apple cider vinegar to keep this recipe Whole Food Plant Based and Oil Free.

You’ll have more of the Cashew Butter than you need but it can be used as a spread. If you don't want to make the vegan Cashew Butter, you can use olive oil or a vegan butter such as Nature's Balance.

Gravy wm.jpg

Gravy

The key to this vegan Gravy are the caramelized onions. Again, we are building flavor with the Soy Sauce, Apple Cider Vinegar, Fennel and, of course, the Onions. 

Vegan Mashed Potatoes & Gravy Recipe

Mashed potatoes

  • 2 Cups Almond Milk 
  • 3 Cups Water 
  • 8 Cups Potato -Yukon gold, diced
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Yellow Miso Paste
  • 1 Garlic Clove 
  • 1/4 Cup Chives, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Cut the potatoes into large equal size chunks. Place in the pot with the Almond Milk, Water,  Miso Paste & the Garlic Clove. Bring to a slow simmer, cooking for about 20 minutes.
  2. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them over a bowl to keep the liquid.  
  3. Now you have a few choices with this next step.  A)  Use an old fashion hand held masherB) Place in a standing mixer and whisk C)  Use a potato ricer.  All 3 work great the only difference is how smooth you like you mashers. The potato ricer will give you the smoothest texture.
  4. Once you have picked your method of mashing. Place the potatoes in a bowl and add some of the cooking liquid about 1/2 Cup.  Then mash and mix, adding more as needed.  You are looking for a firm yet creamy balance. Then add 2 -3 Tablespoons of the Cashew butter.  Mix well
  5. Finish with finely chopped chives. 

NOTES:  You can peel or leave the skins. However if you plan to use a potato ricer itís best to peel them. 

Cashew Butter

  • 1 Cup Cashews 
  • 1/2 Cup Potato -Yukon gold, diced
  • 1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast 
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider vinegar  
  • Pinch of Salt 

Instructions:

  1. Boil Cashews and Potato until soft. 
  2. Strain and add to a high speed blender or food processor with Apple Cider Vinegar, Nutritional Yeast and Salt. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add water as needed, up to a 1/2 Cup, for smooth texture.

GRAVY

  • 2 Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 2 small Yellow Potatoes, peeled and diced 
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds 
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce 
  • 3 Cups Vegetable Broth 
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley, chopped 
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast 
  • 1/4-1/2 Cup Almond Milk 
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar 

Instructions:

  1. Heat a sauce pan over medium heat add 3 Tablespoons of Vegetable broth or water and the sliced onions.  Cook until the onions are a deep brown. Continue to scrape the bottom of the pan with a wood spoon to ensure that it does not burn. 
  2. Setting aside some Onions for Garnish
  3. Add the fennel seeds to the onions continue to cook until the seeds become fragrant. Add the soy sauce, cooking until it is almost reduced to a glaze. 
  4. At this point add the potatoes, cashews and vegetable broth. Cook over low heat until the potatoes are tender. 
  5. Pour the mixture into you blender and puree until smooth. 
  6. Return the gravy to a clean sauce pan, add the apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, chopped parsley and the remaining caramelized onion. 
  7. Use the almond milk to adjust the consistency. 

Thanksgiving Stuffing

stuffing 2 wm.jpg

It's that time of year, you know what I'm talking about. If you’re a plant based eater, the Holiday Season can be a minefield of “issues”. 

Should I or shouldn't I go to so and so’s house for thanksgiving? Should I bring food or let them know that I have special dietary preferences?

Each person will work this out over time. We’ve reached a place in our house where we want to create a Thanksgiving dinner that supports our plant based lifestyle and allows others to experience what a non-traditional holiday can look and taste like. It's not that we won't go to Holiday parties but we feel that this is the perfect time to share and invite others to share in our beliefs. 

For me, Thanksgiving has always been about the side dishes. Candied yams, Brussels Sprouts, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and of course Stuffing. The great thing is it’s easy to make all of these Vegan. At our house, the side are Thanksgiving, not to mention pie! 

We are going to do a series of recipes to prepare for the Holiday season. Check your inbox for the latest delights. 

This week we visit Stuffing. If it were up to our son Carson, we would have Stuffing weekly. This recipe is delicious and easy to prepare. You can prepare it up to 2 days in advance or whip it up the same day. 

Thanksgiving Stuffing

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 Cups Sourdough Bread, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic 
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Dill 
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 Cups Celery, diced
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced 
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples, cored and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
  • 1/2 Cup Parsley, chopped 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Dried Sage 
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries 
  • 3/4 Cup Walnuts, lightly chopped 
  • 3 Cups Vegetable Broth

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees 
  2. Place the diced sourdough bread on a baking sheet, season the bread with the granulated Garlic and dried Dill. Cook until light brown. Remove from the oven and set aside. 
  3. Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of Broth, water or oil to the pan, add the diced onion, celery, garlic and salt. Cook until a light brown. Once light brown add the parsley continue to cook for 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Remove from the pan and set aside in a large mixing bowl, in the same pan add the diced apple cooking and stirring until light brown. Add walnuts, cranberries and Sage, cook for another 2-3 minutes then add to the onion mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Place half the bread in a bowl with half of the onion/apple mixture and 1 cup of the vegetable broth. Stir to combine, place in the oven proof baking dish. Repeat with the reaming ingredients. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes, pour another cup vegetable broth over the stuffing and cook for an additional 10 minutes. This step is important in creating a crisp top and moist tender interior.

Notes: 

Speaking of oil, it can change the flavor & overall complexity of the dish. We know that oil is not part of everyones diet, but if you want to add some to the dish the best palce to add it is in three places, first toss the diced bread with olive oil then toast. The second is in step 2 replace the broth with olive oil. The third is when you remove the foil in step 4, drizzle a genourse amount of olive oil over the top of the stuffing. This is going to create a crsip crust. 

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Artichoke Cakes with Roasted Tomatoes, Candied Garbanzo Beans & Saffron Cashew Cream

With the holiday’s right around the corner, we want to give you some useful recipes to serve to your friends and family whether they’re plant based eaters or otherwise. Marinated Artichoke Hearts give the cake structure while bringing a brininess to it.

This recipe makes about 10 small appetizer sized cakes or you could make 4 large cakes for an entree sized dish. Cooking times will vary depending on the size you make.

Artichoke Cake with Roasted Tomatoes, Candied Garbanzo Beans & Saffron Cashew Cream

INGREDIENTS:

Yields 10 small cakes

  • 2 Cups Marinated Artichoke Hearts, chopped 
  • 1 Cup Garbanzo Bean Flour 
  • 1/4 Cup Dill Pickle Relish 
  • 1 Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning 
  • 1 Tablespoon Dill, chopped 
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs 
  • 3 Tablespoons Grape Seed Oil 
  • 2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes 
  • 1 Cup Roasted Red Pepper, strips 
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, sliced 
  • 1 Tablespoon Red wine Vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil 
  •  
  • 1 15.5 can Garbanzo Beans, drained & rinsed 
  • 1 teaspoon Brown Sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika 
  • Micro greens to Garnish
  •  
  • 1 Cup Cashew Cream (see Recipe under ìPantryî) 
  • 1 pack of Saffron Treads
  • 2 Tablespoons Water 
  • 1 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the Artichokes, Garbanzo Bean Flour, Relish, Old Bay Seasoning, Dill,  Parsley, Hot Sauce & Cornstarch. Start to mix the ingredients together. If the mixture seems a little dry and 1-2 tablespoon of the artichoke marinade liquid. You want the mixture to be moist but not so wet that you can't form a cake. Once mixed, allow to sit for 30 minutes until set and firm. 
  2. Form into patties. Roll in the Panko to cover. Heat the oil in a saute pan. Cook the cakes until crisp and hot. 
  3. Heat a large cast iron pan (or saute pan) over high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes. Allow the tomatoes to char on all sides. It's important to keep the heat high, so that the skin chars with out the tomatoes bursting. Once chard add to a bowl with the Roasted Red Peppers, minced Garlic and sliced Red Onion.  
  4. Season with the Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar. 
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees 
  6. In another bowl combine Garbanzo Beans, Brown Sugar, Smoked Paprika, stir to evenly combine all ingredients onto the Garbanzo Beans. Place on a baking sheet. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the are a little crispy. 

Saffron Sauce  

  1. Heat the 2 Tablespoons of water, pour into a bowl with the saffron, allow to steep. Once cool, fold in the Cashew Cream and the saffron together. Season with a dash of salt to taste and the vinegar. 

Build it

  1. Place the tomatoes and peppers in middle of the plate. Spread the saffron sauce around the edge of the plate with the back of a spoon. Place the cake on top of the peppers. Spread the micro greens around the edge of the tomatoes and peppers. 

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

What is Shepherd’s Pie anyway- Historically speaking it’s some poor shepherd who apparently was so hungry, he had to eat his little lamb. Joking aside, It’s basically stew that’s topped with Mashed Potatoes. Shepherds Pie is the perfect vehicle for left overs. Whether you make it from a recipe or simply use what is in your refrigerator - it’s bound to come out tasting great. This Vegan version of the classic is a perfect dish on a cool Autumn evening.

I would say the most difficult part of this recipe is the chopping of vegetables. There are some shortcuts you can implement. For instance, you can use frozen peas and carrots. Substitute frozen pearl onions for the sliced ones. You can even purchase pre-cut butternut squash at many local grocery stores.

We’ve been working with our 16 year old teenager to get him ready for life without a live-in cook. We have him cook a recipe each week. His biggest complaint so far has been that chopping vegetables is difficult. For me (Julie) this is true. Obviously not for Stefen. But like many things in life- it’s really about how you look at it. If you decide that something is hard or boring or painful- you’ll be right. Maybe It’s time to change the story that you tell yourself. Chopping vegetables is easy and fun- Are you buying this yet. Maybe, maybe not. But my point is that life is what you make of it. Your attitude will color the experiences that you have.  

When I was in the hospital after my cancer surgery, I was very very unhappy. There were complications and I was very sick. As I lay there, helpless, sad and ill, I decided that I was going to be the best patient on that floor. I was going to walk, even though I didn’t feel good. I was going to suck it up and have a good attitude. It still took 2 weeks in the hospital, another surgery and 10 months of Chemo but my life is amazing.

So whether you choose to buy frozen, pre-cut vegetables or you chop everything by hand- take the time to make some Vegan Shepherd’s Pie this week.

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion - sliced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Carrots - diced
  • 2 Cups English Peas
  • 2 Cups Butternut Squash, diced
  • 3 lbs. Russet Potatoes, Peeled, cut into large dice
  • 1 Can Garbanzo Beans
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Miso Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegan Worcestershire
  • 4 Tablespoons Tamari Sauce
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Rosemary - Chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons Corn Starch & 4 Tablespoons Water
  •  
  •  2 Tablespoons Vegan Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Plant Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley - chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt (or to taste)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. In a Dutch oven (or large pot) caramelized the sliced onion. Remove, then rough chop them. Put the onion back in the Dutch oven and add Vegetable Broth, Granulated Garlic, Onion Powder, Miso Paste, Vegan Worcestershire, Tomato Paste and bring to a low simmer.
  3. In a separate Pot, bring Potatoes and water to a boil. Cook until tender
  4. On a lined (or oiled) baking sheet, roast butternut squash until golden brown.
  5. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add carrots and allow to cook for until just tender (about 3 minutes). Remove and set aside. Do not strain out the water. Add Peas to the boiling water and cook for about 2 minute. Remove and add to the carrots.
  6. Combine the cornstarch and water to create a slurry. Add to the Onion mixture.
  7. Add Carrots, Butternut Squash and Garbanzo Beans to the Onion mixture.  Continue to simmer.
  8. For the Mashed Potatoes: Strain Potatoes. Return to pot. Add the Vegan Butter, Nutritional Yeast, Salt, Chopped Parsley & Plant Milk. Mash until smooth. (Add more plant milk if needed).
  9. In a casserole dish. Add the Vegetable mixture. Carefully add the Mashed potatoes on top until completely covered. 
  10. Turn on the Broiler and cook until the Potatoes start to turn Golden Brown on top.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto… a love story.

Some foods evoke feeling and Risotto is one of the dishes that does that for me. I think I’ve figured out why.

As most of you who read this blog know, Stefen and I do most everything together. We’re married, we have a business together, we do yoga & go grocery shop together. I assume most people just don’t get it and that’s ok. It works for us.

We do have things we don’t do together. I like to swim, he hates it. He loves to ride his bike, me not so much. He loves cooking and me, I like to eat and I’m happy to do the dishes. My point is that most of what we do is a partnership that works well together, we balance each other out. 

Mostly I write the blog posts based on the recipe testing process. We talk about ideas and then I write it up. This week’s blog post stumped me. I sat at the counter in our kitchen and wrote down the ingredients and instructions as Stefen made the Risotto. It seems so simple and it is. And it’s Vegan. And it’s delicious. 

But what to write? 

So I asked Stefen about the rice. Yea- Arborio Rice. Not much intrigue there. But then we started taking about it. He had a funny story about making a Beet Risotto that was a disaster. “It tasted great but the Pink Pepto-Bismol color was disgusting.” He was teased for months by his cooks and the General Manager.

Then Stefen told me about when he first learned how to make Risotto.  “There is a romance with Risotto. You must dedicate the next 30 minutes to standing at the stove and stirring in the stock ladle by ladle. You pour your love and attention into it and people can taste it.” 

It hit me. Cooking is about dedication. Commitment to the craft. Diligence, resolve, enthusiasm, zeal, conscientiousness, perseverance, persistence, tenacity, drive.  We all hope to have these traits but it's an ideal that seems so hard to achieve. It's a romantic notion. 

When I first met Stefen I was a mess. I was in therapy, I was in the middle of a career crisis, I’d had a long string of disappointing boyfriends. I really had no faith that he’d be the guy. But he was attentive and dedicated to me, slowing ladle by ladle showing me that I could trust him. He let me simmer until I was ready. 

Maybe that why so many people don't cook, failure would be devastating. But come on, it's just food, right. And success is so delicious.

So, grab a glass of wine and take the time (it’s only about 30 minutes) to make Risotto. 

Stirring the risotto

Stirring the risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto in a Kabocha Squash Bowl

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Cups Butternut Squash, large diced
  • 6 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon Grape-Seed Oil
  • 1 Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Tablespoon of Yellow Miso Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

For the Mini Squash Bowl:

  • 4 Small Baby Kabocha Squash
  • 1 teaspoon Grape-Seed Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat over to 350 F
  2. Combine diced Butternut Squash and Vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer.
  3. For the Mini Kobocha Squash bowls: Cut off the top (stem side) of the squash and carefully scoop out the seeds. Add a 1/4 teaspoon of oil, granulated garlic & salt into the interior of each squash. Place top down in an oven safe pan with 1/2 inch of water. Cook approx. 45 minutes.
  4. In a Medium sized pot or Dutch oven, add 1 teaspoon oil until warm. Add Onions and a pinch of Salt. Cook until Onions are translucent. 
  5. Add rice and wine. Cook until the wine in reduced. 
  6. Add Stock/Squash mixture 1/2 cup at a time, continue to stir until stock is reduced. Repeat until the rice is soft and youíve added all of the stock and squash.  Use potato masher to incorporate squash.
  7. Add Miso, Nutritional Yeast & Apple Cider Vinegar, stir to combine. 
  • Risotto is incredibly versatile. You can make it with any winter squash (Kabocha, Butternut, Pumpkin, Acorn) as well as other vegetables including Mushrooms, Spring Peas, Asparagus, Lemon & Almond and of course Beets, just to mention a few ideas. Basically, you could fold in just about any fresh vegetable you can get your hands on.
  • We recommend some rustic crusty bread to go along with the Risotto.