Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Archive for the ‘Side Dishes’ Category

OKTOBERFEST ADDS WILD CELEBRATORY FLAVORS TO THE FESTIVITIES OF THE MONTH

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on October 7, 2013

 BIERFEST POTATO SALAD

Bierfest Potato Salad

 

Oktoberfest is a fun celebration that actually began in Germany toward the end of September and ended the first Sunday in October. The first Oktoberfest was a very festive occasion that took place in 1810. If you have a yen for the juicy details, you can read about the grand historical and celebratory event at Vegetarians in Paradise.

For now, I content myself with the thought that the entire month of October brings such beautiful, freshly harvested foods to the market that I plan on incorporating them into some tantalizing dishes and partying all month long.

There are probably hundreds of ways to make potato salad. Traditionally, this age-old favorite party salad is dressed with mayo, a rather fatty ingredient. In an effort to reduce the fat content and still create an appealing potato salad with satisfying flavor, I ditched the mayo completely and turned to cider vinegar instead.

Sound weird? It’s actually a handy little trick I picked up many years ago.  As soon as the potatoes are cooked and drained in a colander, I transfer them to a bowl and pour the apple cider vinegar over them. I  toss gently with a wooden spoon to make sure all the potatoes get the cider bath. What takes place at that moment is that the cider vinegar gives the potatoes an instant infusion of  a very pleasing tang.

Then, all the potato salad needs is a little salt and pepper, if you like, and some crunchy veggies. I decided to combine my end-of-the-summer tomatoes and bulbous bell peppers in a potato salad that would reflect the stunning harmony of the autumn season’s dazzling colors.

And, oh! I forgot one more little ingredient, tempeh bacon, that adds so much to the Octoberfest theme  and to the overall flavor. The grand result is a gorgeous potato salad that’s also deliciously flavor-drenched.

The salad is also good keeper that can be made a day ahead or enjoyed as a leftover that still retains bright beauty and lusty flavor. One big cautionary note–don’t overcook the potatoes (like I sometimes do when I have too many things going at the same time!) or you’ll have mushy potato salad!

 

Yield: 5 to 6 servings

2 pounds  Red or White Rose potatoes, scrubbed, cut into bite-size chunks

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided

1/4 cup  apple cider vinegar

1 cup  cherry tomatoes, halved

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

6 to 8 green onions, chopped

1 (8-ounce) package tempeh bacon, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste

1/4 bunch parsley, for garnish

1.    Put the potatoes and onion in a 4-quart saucepan with water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and cover the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until just fork tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.

2.    Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a large bowl. While the potatoes are still hot, pour the vinegar into the bowl and toss well with a wooden spoon.

3.    Add the cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions, and tempeh and toss gently.

4.    Add the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and adjust the seasonings to taste. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl and garnish with the parsley.

Posted in Celebrations, Holiday Recipes, Octoberfest, Side Dishes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF CHESTNUTS

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on November 13, 2012

Once you’ve tasted fresh chestnuts, you’ll agree they have no equal. Chestnuts stand apart from any other nut, yet they are part of the same family of tree nuts as almonds and walnuts. From their natural sweetness to their soft, potato-like texture, these treasures of the autumn season enhance all dishes with unmatched flavor richness.

What makes them so extra special is their limited availability. Chestnuts grown in the U.S. are available only from October through January, though some growers sell out earlier.

Asian markets that import fresh chestnuts from China and other Asian regions have them available throughout the spring.

For instructions on cooking and peeling chestnuts, see these earlier post at:

Cooking and Peeling Chestnuts

Peeling and Cooking Chestnuts Step-by-Step

Here are some handy, time-saving chestnut measurements:

A 15-ounce jar of cooked, peeled chestnuts contains about 2 1/2 cups.

One pound of fresh chestnuts in the shell will make about 2 1/2 cups peeled cooked chestnuts.

SEE ONLINE CHESTNUT RESOURCES BELOW.

Following are some delectable chestnut recipes for the festive holidays ahead. The recipes are from my new cookbook Vegan for the Holidays. The last recipe. Fresh Chestnut Soup, is from my first cookbook, The Nut Gourmet.

GARLICKY CHESTNUT BUTTER

With the addition of a bit of kitchen sorcery and a whirl in the food processor, naturally sweet and starchy chestnuts become transformed into an irresistible creamy spread that stands out on any variety of bread, bagel, or cracker. Consider this buttery spread as a tasty accompaniment to any savory dish, and use as you would a relish or a spread on your favorite bread or rolls.

Yield: about 1 1/4 cups

1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup water, divided
1 1/4 cups cooked and peeled coarsely chopped chestnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 sprig parsley, for garnish

1. Cook and stir the onion, garlic, thyme, and 1/4 cup of the water in a medium skillet over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.
2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add the chestnuts, salt, and the remaining 1/4 cup of water. Process for 1 or 2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the parsley if desired.

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CHESTNUT-SMOTHERED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Brussels sprouts and chestnuts may seem like the ultimate cliché of trendy holiday foods, but not so this tasty version that turns Brussels sprouts haters into devoted converts. The plan-ahead host may want to blanch the Brussels sprouts the day before for convenience.

Yield: 12 servings

1 pound Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters lengthwise
2 cups diced onions
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup diced red bell peppers
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
24 cooked and peeled chestnuts, diced, or 1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
6 pimiento-stuffed green olives, minced
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 green onion, sliced, for garnish

1. Combine the Brussels sprouts, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes over high heat, or until the onions are very soft and the tomatoes begin to break down. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.
2. Add the chestnuts, garlic powder, onion powder, and olives. Season with salt and pepper. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes to heat through. Spoon into a serving bowl or platter and garnish with the green onion if desired.

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UPBEET CHESTNUTTY POTATO SALAD

What makes this salad a delightful departure from standard potato salad is the medley of sweet yams, sweet chestnuts, and sweet beets laced with a tart touch of lemon juice and vinegar. For convenience, purchase the jarred or vacuum-packed cooked, peeled chestnuts. If you’re not a fan of chestnuts, you can eliminate them or substitute with one cup of lightly steamed sliced carrots and still enjoy this delicious salad.

Yield: 6 servings

4 medium white or red Rose potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 large sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 large beets, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

1 cup cooked and peeled chestnuts, quartered, or lightly steamed sliced carrots
4 green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper

Fresh sprigs herbs for garnish

1. Put the potatoes, yams, and beets in separate saucepans and add enough water to cover them. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-high and cook until the potatoes and beets are just tender when pierced with a fork. The potatoes will cook in about 5 to 7 minutes. The beets will take about 25 to 35 minutes.
2. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Line a plate with three layers of paper towels and transfer the beets to the plate. Use extra paper towels to pat the beets dry.
3. Add the beets, chestnuts, green onions, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the potatoes and toss well. Transfer the salad to an attractive serving dish and garnish with a few sprigs of herbs, if desired.

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WILD RICE AND CHESTNUT PILAF

Chestnuts are the definitive sweet infusion that makes this earthy pilaf so special, while exotic spices help transform it into a vibrant side dish.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

3 1/4 cups water
1 cup wild rice
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 to 3/4 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 cup chopped cooked and peeled chestnuts, or coarsely chopped raw or roasted
walnuts
1 green onion, sliced, for garnish
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Combine 3 cups of the water, wild rice, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a 4-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the rice is tender and most of the water is absorbed.
2. Meanwhile, combine the onion, tomatoes, the remaining 1/4 cup water, curry powder to taste, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, and garam masala in a large, deep skillet. Cook and stir over high heat for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion and tomatoes are softened. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.
3. Drain any excess liquid from the rice and add the rice and chestnuts to the tomato mixture. Mix well to distribute the ingredients evenly. Spoon the pilaf into a serving bowl and garnish with the green onion and parsley if desired.

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SAVORY CHESTNUT AND FRUIT STUFFING

This sumptuous stuffing, replete with chestnuts, is so fruity and ravishing, it makes a delicious meal by itself. Enjoy it as a side dish or use it to stuff acorn, butternut, or delicata squash.

Yield: 12 to 15 hearty servings

2 cups water
2/3 cup pearl barley
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

8 cups whole wheat bread cubes
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

3 large sweet onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped

2 large apples, cored and chopped
1 1/4 cups chopped cooked and peeled chestnuts, or pecans, or walnuts
1 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots (preferably Turkish)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

2 tablespoons white miso

Garnishes
1/4 bunch parsley
3 tangerine wedges or Fuyu persimmon slices
3 fresh cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine the water, barley, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the barley is tender and all the water is absorbed.

3. Meanwhile, place the bread cubes on a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until dry. Transfer the bread cubes to an extra-large bowl.

4. Add the vegetable broth to the bread cubes and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the bread cubes are broken down into a coarse meal. Set aside.

5. Combine the onion and celery in a large, deep skillet and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water. Cook and stir for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the onions are very soft and translucent. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to cook the vegetables and prevent burning. Transfer the onion mixture to the bowl with the bread cubes.

6. Add the apples, chestnuts, raisins, cranberries, apricots, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and mix well.

7. Thin the miso with about 3 tablespoons of water, add it to the stuffing mixture and combine well to distribute it evenly. Adjust the seasonings.

8. Spoon the stuffing into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, or until a light crust forms on the top.

9. To serve, garnish one corner of the pan with parsley and artfully nestle the tangerine wedges and cranberries into the parsley if desired.

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FRESH CHESTNUT SOUP

While this unique, tantalizing soup is cooking, it sends waves of beckoning aromas so irresistible it just may become a holiday tradition at your house. For the best flavor, prepare the soup a day ahead, giving it plenty of time for the seasonings to fully develop. To reheat the soup, warm it gently over medium heat and stir frequently to avoid burning.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

3 1/4 cups water
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 serrano or jalapeno chile, minced

2 quarts unsweetened soymilk
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/4 pounds fresh chestnuts in the shall, cooked and peeled or 1 (15-ounce) jar cooked
chestnuts

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1. Combine 1 1/2 cups of the water with the carrots, onion, celery, and chile in a large deep skillet. Cook and stir over high heat for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Set aside.

2. Combine the soymilk, nutritional yeast, salt, nutmeg, and tarragon in a large stockpot and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.

3. Combine 1/4 cup of the water with the cornstarch in a small cup or bowl and stir to make a thin paste. Add to the simmering soymilk and stir for 1 minute until it is well dissolved and the soup is slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.

4. Combine three-quarters of the cooked vegetable mixture, three-quarters of the prepared chestnuts, and the remaining 1 1/2 cups water in the food processor and process until smooth. Add to the soup along with the remaining cooked vegetables.

5. Chop the remaining chestnuts and add them to the soup. Heat gently to warm through and blend the flavors. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkling of the chives and serve.

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Chestnut Resources

Allen Creek Farm Chestnuts

Correia Chestnut Farm

Empire Chestnut Company

Girolami Farms Chestnuts

Posted in Celebrations, chestnuts, Cooking and Peeling Chestnuts, Holiday Recipes, Salads and Salad Dressings, Side Dishes, Soups | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

APPLES, ROOT VEGETABLES, & STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM MAKE CANADIAN THANKSGIVING IRRESISTIBLE AND MEMORABLE

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on October 7, 2012

Tami Noyes and hubby have been vegan since 2004 but welcome all diners to their table. When Tami started testing recipes for cookbook authors, she fell in love with vegan cuisine and is now the author of two beautiful cookbooks. American Vegan Kitchen is packed with familiar comfort foods we turn to for everyday dining pleasure. Her new book, just published is Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! Tami considers sandwiches the best thing since sliced bread! When she’s not in the kitchen, Tami spends time blogging at Vegan Appetite.

As the fall colors build and the leaves fall, our taste-buds turn to apples and cinnamon. Made with mostly whole grain, this cake is a healthier alternative than some others. The addition of cashews creates a rich and delicate cake batter. We enjoy this lightly spiced apple-dotted cake for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or for dessert. For even more indulgence, top with maple frosting after cooling.

APPLE CAKE
Yield: 1 (6-inch) cake

3/4 cup nondairy milk
2 tablespoons cashew pieces
2 tablespoons nondairy vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 teaspoon maple extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
120 g (1 cup) whole wheat pastry flour
60 g (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup peeled, diced apple

Spray a 6-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the milk, cashews, yogurt, oil, flax seed, and extracts in a blender and process until completely smooth.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let cool on a wire rack. Garnish with powdered sugar if desired.

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Author of more than 20 cookbooks (many best sellers), Robin Robertson has been vegan since 1988. She was a chef and caterer and presently consults and contributes a regular column to VegNews Magazine. She has been a contributing editor and columnist for Vegetarian Times and contributed to numerous magazines. Bold flavors and global cuisine is her passion as well as writing and teaching about healthy plant-based cuisine. Her newest cookbook Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker has just been released. Visit Robin Robertson’s Global Vegan Kitchen for more awesome website and a peek at her library of cookbooks. The following recipe is from Robin’s new Vegan Slow Cooker book.

MAPLE-DIJON GLAZED ROOT VEGETABLES

This dish is ideal for Thanksgiving dinner – or anytime. I like to use more carrots because they’re popular and colorful, with a lesser amount of turnips and parsnips, but you can change the ratio however you like.

Slow Cooker Size: 4-quart
Cook Time: 6 to 8 hours on Low
{gluten-free}
{soy-free}

4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 shallots, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Lightly oil the insert of the slow cooker. Combine the carrots, turnip, parsnip, and shallots in the cooker.
2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, maple syrup, water, and mustard in a cup, stirring to blend, then pour it over the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.
3. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the vegetables are soft. Stir once about halfway through the cooking time, if possible. Serves 4

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Debra Walton subscribes to the Hippocrates mantra to let food be our medicine. She holds a nursing degree, but though she is the mom of 5 “awesome children” and granny to 9 little ones, she is working on furthering her education seeking degrees in Health, Healing, and Nutrition. Debra follows a plant-based diet and teaches food preparation and nutrition to spread the word about the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Look for more delicious recipes on Debra’s delightful blog The Health Seeker’s Kitchen.

TENDER GREEN BEAN WITH MUSHROOM & LEMON PEEL

Serves 6 as a side dish.

Sauté:
1 Portabello Mushroom, diced
2 tab. yellow onion diced
1/4 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. olive oil
salt & pepper

Steam:
1 lb. fresh tender green beans
1/4 cup water

Sauce:
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tab.Vegenaise
1/8 tsp. dried dill
Rind of 1 lemon (I use a lemon zester to make long thin slices)

Cook mushroom, onions and oregano in olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Cook until mushrooms look soft and turn color. Remove from pan.

Add 1/4 cup water to pan you cooked mushroom in. Add green beans and simmer with lid on until water has disappeared. Remove green beans and put in bowl.

Mix sauce well and stir into green beans. Add mushroom mixture.
Add rind of lemon to green beans and mix. Enjoy.

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NON-DAIRY RAW STRAWBERRY BANANA ICE CREAM

Ingredients:
Cashew cream (recipe below)
14 regular pitted dates (soak in water until soft and reserve 1/4 c. water)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 1 very large orange)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
1 cup sliced bananas (about 2 small)
1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries (keep frozen)

Cashew Cream
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soak in water for 2-4 hours)
1/2 cup water

Drain soak water and place cashews in blender. Add 1/2 cup water and blend until smooth.

Directions:
1.) Make cashew cream and leave in blender.
2.) Drain dates reserving 1/4 cup liquid and add both to cashew cream. Blend until smooth.
3.) Add remaining ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.
4.) Put ice cream in Cuisinart ice cream maker. In about 10 minutes ice cream will be ready to eat or put in freezer for an additional hour for a more firm texture.
5.) You can also pour ice cream into a container and freeze until ready.
6.) Enjoy!!

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Posted in Canadian Thanksgiving, cashews, Celebrations, Holiday Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan Desserts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

FEASTING ON CRANBERRIES, ALMONDS, AND QUINOA FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on October 5, 2012

Guest host for this delicious Canadian Thanksgiving recipe contribution is Judith Kingsbury, the Savvy Vegetarian who embraces all manner of vegetarian lifestyles. She encourages those new to the vegetarian path to take a relaxed, balanced approach to learning the ins and outs of cooking vegetarian–sage advice to nurture the calm side of life to balance those times when we may feel super-stressed. The Savvy Vegetarian website is packed with recipes and cooking advice, articles, shopping savvy, favorite cookbooks, cookbook reviews, and much more.
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QUINOA WITH TOASTED ALMONDS AND DRIED CRANBERRIES

Quick & Easy, Healthy, Low Fat, Gluten Free Quinoa Casserole Recipe

This quinoa stove-top casserole cooks quickly because the almonds and quinoa are roasted, and then boiling water is added. The quinoa should be drained well before roasting.

Low Fat, Gluten Free: Even though quinoa has more fat than most grains, and almonds have fat,  because there’s just a dab of oil, this is still a low-fat, healthy recipe.

But not boring! Quinoa has lots of flavor, and the veggie cube, cinnamon & bay leaf, almonds and cranberries add even more flavor. And, of course quinoa is always gluten free.

Total Prep And Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Nutrition Data, 62g Serving: 253 cal, 34g carb, 10g fat, 300mg sodium, 5g fiber, 9g protein, low Cholesterol. Estimated glycemic load 18

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa

1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 vegan vegetable bouillon cube

1/2 tsp salt

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:
Soak the quinoa 15 minutes in cold water.

Stir the quinoa with your hand, pour off most of the water and drain through a fine mesh strainer.

Shake dry in the strainer, then set the strainer over a bowl or pitcher.

Heat a wide bottomed pan on medium heat and add the oil.

Stir and toast the sliced almonds until golden, then remove from pan.

Add the quinoa. Stir and toast until dry and turning color.

Add boiling water, veggie cube, salt, bay leaf and cinnamon stick, and dried cranberries.

Bring back to boil, cover, turn the heat to simmer, cook for 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

Remove from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on.

Fluff gently with a fork and serve.

Posted in almonds, Canadian Thanksgiving, Celebrations, Holiday Recipes, Side Dishes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

GLAZED RUTABAGAS & CARROT-RAISIN MUFFINS FOR A DIVINE CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 30, 2012

Sam Houghton, the creative Quantum Vegan blogger, took on a curious challenge the moment she bought a vegetable she didn’t know what to do with. Today’s familiar mantra is “Search and ye shall find,” –the internet, that is, and that’s exactly what Sam did. The result is an innovative, yet easy recipe that makes rutabagas a stand-out side dish for the Canadian Thanksgiving celebration.

Healthy muffins are always a nutritional bonus, but how about muffins that are delicious, chock full of sweet raisins, shredded carrots, chunky walnuts, AND are really healthy! Serve them for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning and enjoy a great start to the festive day.

Sam’s lively blog features a host of recipes, product reviews, and book reviews. Her Lifestyle feature offers a glimpse into everything from eating disorders to all manner of vegan living. You can also find Sam on Twitter and Facebook.

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Rutabagas were on sale recently and I decided to buy one, as I am often wont to do with sale vegetables. Of course, once I had it on hand I had no idea what to do with it, and for once my cookbooks didn’t have many suggestions. But it’s the beauty of today’s social media world that you can put out a call for rutabaga recipes on twitter and have half a dozen responses before lunch time. Thanks to cookinvegan, I settled on a maple mustard glaze that sounded amazing.

MAPLE-MUSTARD-GLAZED RUTABAGAS
serves 2 as a side

Ingredients
1 pound rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks

1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1 tbsp. olive oil

Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a bowl big enough to hold the rutabaga, mix all the glaze ingredients together until well blended.

2) Add the rutabaga pieces and mix until well coated.

3) Spread the rutabaga on a baking sheet, drizzling with any remaining glaze. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once, until the glaze darkens and the rutabaga is tender.

I wound up making two separate batches of glaze and turning one into a marinade for tempeh a la Veganomicon. I added about 6 tbsp. of water to the glaze to make it a marinade and marinated 1/2 block of tempeh for an hour before panfrying it for about ten minutes. The flavor took really well and some green beans were all we needed to complete the meal!

So now that I know how tasty rutabaga is, I’ll be using it more in the future!

WHEAT-OAT CARROT MUFFINS
Substitutions in baking don’t always work out the way you intend them to. Sometimes you wind up with a total mess, while other times you get a nice surprise. I’d put these muffins somewhere in between. The substitutions I made were out of necessity, and the only complaint I had was that they didn’t rise very much. So they were a success, albeit a bit of a “rustic-looking” success!

The original recipe came off the back of a box of Hogsden Mills hot cereal and called for some of the cereal as a dry ingredient. The rest was pretty simple, and the only non-vegan ingredients were some milk and an egg, so adapting it was a snap. However, I found myself in an interesting position the second time I wanted to make a batch. We were very nearly out of both whole wheat pastry flour and spelt flour, my two go-to flours for muffins; and there wasn’t a whole lot of the dry cereal left, either. The only thing to do was improvise.

I looked around at what we did have and wound up swapping wheat bran for the cereal and oat flour for the regular flour. I also added some raisins, which weren’t included in the original muffin recipe. As usual, I used maple syrup instead of sugar and applesauce instead of oil–both of which I’d tried the first time around and had success with. The result was a dense and tasty muffin that was good with all sorts of different “toppings:” almond butter, sunflower butter, raspberry jelly and even chocolate raspberry peanut butter!

As sort of an added bonus, these are healthy muffins that don’t taste healthy. There’s very little sugar and a lot of whole grains, plus the carrots and raisins. The batter winds up very chunky and can just about support a half a cup of nuts, but I wouldn’t add anything else for fear of them falling apart. Also, if you don’t have any oat flour hanging around, you can make your own by grinding regular oats in a blender (about 1 1/4 cups to make 1 cup of flour).

Wheat Oat Muffin Batter

Wheat Oat Muffins with Carrots & Raisins
Author: Sam
Recipe type: snack
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 35 mins

Serves: 6-12

Ingredients
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup oat flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp maple syrup
½ cup nondairy milk
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 Tbsp water
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts, optional

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease or line a small 12-cup or a large 6-cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine the wheat bran, oat flour, baking powder and baking soda, stirring well to combine.

Add the nondairy milk, maple syrup, flax seed mixture, applesauce and vanilla. Stir until moistened. (Batter will be thick.)

Fold in the carrots, raisins and walnuts (if using). The batter should look chunky and “rustic.”

Divide the batter equally between the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the tops are browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. These don’t rise very much, but they’re tasty and hearty!

Posted in Breakfast Dishes, Canadian Thanksgiving, Holiday Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan for the Holidays, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

CORNBREAD, BUTTERNUT, CANNELLINI, & ARTICHOKES FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 29, 2012

Today’s tempting Canadian Thanksgiving recipes come from a true Canadian who lives in Ontario. Lisa Turner, a vegetarian for 22 years, knows how to treat a vegetable with love and creativity. In these irresistible recipes she incorporates a medley of flavors, colors, and textures to reflect the foods of the harvest celebration. Lisa blogs at Lisa’s Kitchen where she specializes in Indian cooking with vibrant flavors and dazzling colors. Lisa’s recipes for Canadian Thanksgiving are just as delectable for our U.S. Thanksgiving.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, HERBED CANNELLINI, AND ARTICHOKES WITH FENNEL AND PARSLEY SALAD

Making a healthy vegetarian entrée look like a gourmet dish isn’t the result of elaborate and technical procedures. Rather, it’s the product of quality ingredients, simple but appealing food combinations, and inviting contrasts in color and texture, all assembled with care, attention, creativity and a love for food. Of course, a fancy menu-style name might impress your guests as well!

This lovely meal, for example, is no less elegant and delicious for all its true simplicity and ease. Tender roasted golden orange butternut squash is mixed with a baked casserole of creamy cannellini beans, delicate artichokes, sweet cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs, and served with a fresh crunchy and slightly tart fennel and parsley salad for a meal that is stunning for its visual appeal, wonderful taste and wholesome nourishment … all with no more than twenty minutes of preparation, apart from the roasting time, and only a little attention and care during the cooking.

As is so often the case when I cook with squash, I was inspired by the fact that I could no longer stand looking at the uncooked squash that I picked up on a whim a little while ago and that just sat forlornly in my pantry ever since. I adapted the recipe itself from one given by a self-described “Dog Shaman” from South Africa who otherwise advocates a vegan diet for dogs. I don’t endorse canine veganism myself (and I know my cat would strongly disapprove of a feline equivalent), but I’m quite happy to try his human food.

Salad:
• 1 fennel bulb, cored, trimmed and sliced
• 1 large cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• juice of 1 lemon
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• fresh ground black pepper to taste

Squash and Cannellini:
• 1/2 cup dried cannellini beans (1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 14 oz can)
• 1 butternut squash, halved, seeded and scored into bite-sized pieces
• olive oil
• leaves from 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
• leaves from 1 sprig of fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
• fresh ground black pepper

Other ingredients:
• 5 or 6 large oil-marinated artichokes, coarsely chopped
• 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• small handful of torn fresh basil leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
• 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• fresh ground black pepper
• olive oil
• vegan Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions:
• Rinse the beans and soak overnight covered in several inches of cold water with a little lemon juice added. Drain and add to a medium saucepan. Cover with fresh cold water or vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft. Drain and mash gently with a potato masher. Set aside.

• Prepare the salad in advance to allow the lemon juice and olive oil to mellow the strong flavour of the fennel. Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl and toss gently. Set aside at room temperature, tossing again occasionally.

• Pre-heat an oven to 400°. Prepare the squash by cutting in half lengthwise, scraping out the seeds, and scoring deep crosses at bite-sized (about 1-inch) intervals into the flesh. Place the halves on a baking sheet open side up and drizzle the squash with olive oil, a few sprinkles of water, rosemary, thyme and fresh ground black pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 40 to 50 minutes or until the squash is tender and browned.

• Meanwhile, combine the beans, artichokes, tomatoes, wine, basil, oregano, salt and pepper in a small oven-safe casserole dish. Drizzle with olive oil. After the squash has been roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, place the casserole dish uncovered in the oven beside the squash and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the beans are still moist but not dry. Remove from oven and set aside until the squash is finished.

• Remove the cooked squash from the shell and stir into the bean mixture. If using, scatter the vegan Parmesan cheese on top and place the casserole dish under the broiler for a minute or two.

• Toss the fennel and parsley salad one more time and serve with the squash, cannellini and artichoke mixture. For an added special touch, reserve the squash shells and scoop the squash, cannellini and artichoke mixture into the shells for serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

CLASSIC CORNBREAD

Considering it seems that I put hot chillies and/or jalapeños in pretty much everything I make, my regular readers might be surprised to learn that my very favorite cornbread consists of little more than cornmeal. But my regular readers will also know that I love the sweet taste and crunch of cornmeal, and this dense and filling bread will satisfy any cornmeal craving. For a satisfying snack, serve slices of this cornbread with a bit of vegan butter. It also goes well as a side with any spicy Mexican meal.

Simple, dense and filling, classic cornbread loaded with plenty of cornmeal flavor and crunch — a great snack or addition to Thanksgiving or a spicy Mexican meal.

Ingredients:
• 3 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
• 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 3 tablespoons sesame oil or olive oil
• 1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar, honey or other sweetener, to taste
• 2 – 3 cups of water

Instructions:
• Preheat an oven to 325° and grease a loaf pan with oil.

• Combine the cornmeal, flour and salt in a large bowl. If you are using a dry sweetener, mix in to the dry ingredients. Add the oil and rub it into the dry ingredients with your hands. If you are using a liquid sweetener, add it now and stir to combine. Gradually stir in the water until the mixture resembles a thick cookie dough — you may not have to use more than 2 cups of water.

• Heat the prepared loaf pan until hot but not smoking. Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Increase the heat to 350° and bake for another 50 to 60 minutes or until the bread begins to brown and small cracks form on the top of the loaf.

• Remove the bread from the oven and cool on a metal rack for 10 minutes. Gently remove the loaf from the pan and cool for another 30 minutes on the rack. Cut into 3/4-inch to 1-inch slices and serve.

Makes 8 to 10 slices

Posted in Canadian Thanksgiving, Celebrations, Guest Posts, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes, Salads and Salad Dressings, Side Dishes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

TREASURED VEGAN DELIGHTS FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 28, 2012

Today’s post is from guest host Dianne Wenz, VLC, HHC, AADP, a Holistic Health Counselor, Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Plant-Based Nutrition Specialist. Dianne coaches people from across the country to help them improve their health and wellbeing, and she helps people make the dietary and lifestyle changes needed to go vegan. Dianne lives in New Jersey, where she runs the busy MeetUp group Montclair Vegans. Through the group she hosts monthly potlucks, runs charity bake sales and organizes guest speaker events. An avid cook and baker, Dianne also teaches cooking classes to local clients. She writes the weekly Meatless Monday column on the New Jersey website Hot From the Kettle and is a contributing writer on ChicVegan To explore more of Dianne’s endeavors, visit Dianne’s website and blog at Veggiegirl

Growing up I was never very fond of Thanksgiving. I wasn’t too crazy about any of the food that was served, but I felt that I needed to fake it and pretend that I liked every morsel of it. But now that I’m an adult, and a vegan, it’s become my favorite time of the year. The foods that I despised as a child are now some of my favorites. I usually invite my vegan friends over, and we have a feast fit for royalty. While the menu changes from year to year, stuffing, stuffed mushrooms and roasted Brussels sprouts are so well loved that they’ve become Thanksgiving traditions.

MUSHROOM AND SPINACH STUFFING

Ingredients:
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 lb. assorted mushrooms (like chanterelle, shIitake, and crimini), sliced
• 1 large onion, diced
• 2 to 3 cups celery stalks, chopped
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
• 8 oz. baby spinach leaves
• 10 cups 1-inch cubes day-old bread with crust
• 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
• 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
• 1 cup vegetable broth (plus more, if stuffing is too dry)

Directions:

1. Heat olive in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and sprinkle with a little salt. Sauté until mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Remove mushrooms from heat and set aside in a large bowl.

2. Add onions and celery. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add all herbs and sauté 1 minute longer. Add the spinach and toss until just wilted, about 1 minute. Add vegetables to bowl with mushrooms.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide bread between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake until bread is crusty but not hard. Transfer to very large bowl and cool.

4. Lightly oil a 13” x 9” baking dish. Stir vegetable mixture into the bowl with the bread cubes. Add the broth, salt and pepper, tossing to combine even. Add more broth, ¼ cup at a time if the mixture seems to dry. Transfer stuffing to prepared dish.

5. Bake stuffing uncovered until cooked through and brown and crusty on top, about 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH TOASTED ALMONDS

Ingredients
• 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
• 1/8 cup olive oil
• ½ teaspoon sea salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 cup slivered almonds

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and remove any stems and brown leaves.
3. In a large bowl, toss together the Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the sprouts out in 9” x 13” baking dish or roasting pan
4. After 20 minutes, stir the Brussels sprouts with a spatula or large spoon to prevent burning and ensure all sides roast evenly. Add the almonds to the dish with the sprouts.
5. Continue to roast the Brussels sprouts for about 20 – 25 more minutes, until they are browned and fork tender.

STUFFED MUSHROOMS

Ingredients
• 12 to 16 large cremini or button mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• Salt and black pepper
• 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened, 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms stems and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring until the mixture is softened, and well combined, about 3 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and mix in the breadcrumbs. Add more olive oil if the mixture seems to try.
4. Stuff the mushroom caps with the stuffing and arrange in a greased shallow baking pan. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the stuffing is hot, about 20 minutes

Posted in almonds, Appetizers, Celebrations, Guest Posts, Holiday Recipes, Side Dishes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

CHESTNUTS ROCK & ROLL OUT OF THE SKILLET!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on December 13, 2011

In case you’re wondering if I’ll ever get off this chestnut kick, I can assure you I will– almost immediately because I’ll be leaving on vacation until the end of the year. So, although it saddens me to abandon these tasty little wonders, I must leave the chestnuts behind. But—just one more recipe before I leave—just one more.

I concocted this very tasty side dish to use up the batch of fresh chestnuts I had left in the fridge. It turned out so well, I felt compelled to share the recipe. I hope you’ll come up with a better name for this dish than I did. As a matter of fact, please do—I would be in your debt.

At this time of year I often see recipes pairing chestnuts and Brussels sprouts. And I’ve even added my own version of the duo. But this little side dish, this wondrous infusion of chestnut and mushroom flavors, is soooo much tastier, yet the seasonings are relatively uncomplicated. If you can find Bunapi or Beech mushrooms (usually Asian markets have them), add an 8-ounce package to the mélange. It’s pure mushroom bliss!

A BEVY OF CHESTNUTS AND MUSHROOMS

Yield: about 6 servings

1 medium onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water

8 to 10 ounces king oyster mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 cups cooked and peeled chestnuts
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 green onion, sliced
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt

1. Combine the onion, garlic, and water in a large, deep skillet. Cook and stir over high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions are soft and transparent. Add small amounts of water if needed to prevent burning.

2. Add the mushrooms along with 3 to 4 tablespoons of water and cook, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to an attractive serving dish and serve immediately.

Posted in chestnuts, Nut Recipes, Side Dishes | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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