Sunday, April 27, 2008

Southwest Corn Pudding

I whipped up 3 casseroles for the potluck on Saturday. I made the kinds of food I get cranky about if there isn't enough at a singing - corn pudding and mac&cheese. The cheesy dishes were good enough for carb loading and featured green veggies from the farmer's market, but were ultimately forgettable. This one was delicious and highly complimented. Just as easy and tasty as a traditional corn pudding. (And the corn and coconut milk were both on sale!) Here's the recipe, with my twists as usual.

Southwest Corn Pudding a la Veganomicon

2 tablespoons safflower oil
4 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or, as originally called for, 2 jalapeƱos, finely diced)
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
1 cup scallions or chives, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Grease an 8x8 square or other small casserole dish (I think the one pictured is 2 quart). You could use a cast iron pan, and saute the vegetables in it before baking. Preheat oven to 350.

Saute the corn, bell peppers, scallions (but not chives) and jalapeƱos (or pepper flakes) in a large skillet for 10-12 minutes or until the corn is lightly browned. Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch into the coconut milk until it is mostly dissolved. When the vegetables are ready, transfer half into a blender or food processor. Add the coconut milk and cornstarch mixture and pulse until mostly pureed but not completely smooth.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl and combine with the remaining cooked vegetables, cornmeal, maple syrup, chives (if using), cilantro, salt, and cayenne. Pour the batter into your baking dish or cast iron pan and bake for about 40 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

After a hot spell last week there was a chill in the air this evening, which was the perfect excuse to make some wintry muffins. They came out beautifully... I doubled the recipe to use up the whole can of pumpkin and came out with 27 regular size muffins and 1 round sheet cake. The original recipe is over here at the Post Punk Kitchen (in honor of my Veganomicon testing) and my slightly edited version is below. I always have some homemade applesauce on hand to substitute for oil, but with these spicy muffins I thought I could get away with digging into my bottomless supply of orange marmalade, and I did like the subtle citrus fragrance it added.

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sucanat (unrefined sugar)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup pureed pumpkin (fresh or from a can)
1 tablespoon soy yogurt
1/2 cup soymilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce or marmalade
2 tablespoons molasses
Optional: 1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 F. Add liners to muffin tins.

Sift together dry ingredients (flour through cloves). In a seperate bowl, wisk together wet ingredients (pumpkin through molasses). Pour wet into dry and combine. Fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way. Bake for 15-20 minutes, till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Those famous chickpea cutlets and some choice toppings

Another from Veganomicon. Apparently I'm not the only one excited by the prospect of cheap, easy, homemade faux meat. This recipe is the darling of Ye Olde Vegan Blogosphere these days. (Just google for extensive commentary and much prettier pictures.) Here's my two cents.

I baked the cutlets in our cast iron skillet and served them with eggplant roasted in spicy tomato sauce and basil. I grabbed the leftovers the next day and ate them plain, a perfectly satisfying snack.
My diagnosis: Quite tasty but awfully, well, glutinous! I'll have to experiment with reducing the gluten.
My housemate's diagnos: Yeah, those cutlets were alright, but I'd eat anything smothered in that eggplant! OK, ok, I'll include that recipe just for her.

And back on Easter I tried the Veganomicon recipe for Mushroom Gravy. By which I mean I suckered my mom into making it. She's a far better recipe tester than I because she... follows recipes. I mention the gravy now since it's clearly begging to smother the cutlets. (Don't they make a lovely couple?)

Chickpea Cutlets

1 cup cooked chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or Braggs)
2 gloves garlic, pressed or grated with a microplane
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried sage

Mash the chickpeas together with the oil until no whole chickpeas are left. Add the remaining ingredients and knead for about 3 minutes until strings of gluten have formed. Divide dough into 4 cutlets - roughly 6x4 inch rectangles. Panfry for 6 to 7 minutes on each side. Or brush with olive oil and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, flip and bake 10 more minutes.

Easy Eggplant
1 Chinese eggplant, sliced into 1 inch rounds
a few cloves of garlic
salt and pepper to taste
generous sprinkling of olive oil
1 15 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
handful of fresh basil

Heat the oven to 375 (you can bake your cutlets at the same time.) Add the eggplant, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a shallow casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes. I like to add the whole garlic cloves at the beginning and let them roast along with the eggplant. Once your eggplant is brown and tender mix in the tomatoes, wine, red pepper flakes, and basil. Bake for another 20 min, adjust seasoning, and serve.

Mushroom Gravy
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4-1/3 cup whole wheat flour (depending on desired thickness)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
10 oz crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
Several dashes black pepper
1/4 cup white wine

Mix the flour into the broth until dissolved and set aside. Preheat a large non stick pan over medium heat. Saute the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 more minutes, until mushrooms are tender. Add the seasonings. Saute for another minute. Add the wine and turn the heat up to simmer for about a minute, then lower the heat and add the flour mixture. Stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes.

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