Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘vegan main dish’

SHIITAKE TORNADOES FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on October 3, 2013

SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/zelallen/Desktop/SHIITAKE%20TORNADOES%20copy%202.doc

SHIITAKE TORNADOES IN

CASHEW CREAM SAUCE

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Shiitake Tornadoes in Cashew-Cream Sauce copy

Picture-perfect, this sumptuous and very festive main dish makes a showy presentation on the Thanksgiving holiday table. Adorned in black sesame seeds, these 12 striking globes rise up from a rosy pool of seductive cashew sauce and entice the inquisitive palate.

To ease the holiday stress, have the cooked brown rice ready and make both the tornadoes and the sauce the day before. Stored them separately and assemble the dish shortly before serving. Briefly warm the tornadoes in a 350-degree F. oven and the sauce on the stovetop.

Presentation is everything with this dish. It’s so simple, yet makes these sesame coated balls look amazing. Hunt for long sprigs of rosemary to poke into each “tornado.” I just know that when you bring this dish to the table, you’ll hear some very pleasing ooohhs and aaaahhhs.

Present the tornadoes on a recessed platter that will hold a pool of sauce and allow you to garnish the edges. If you can’t locate black sesame seeds, roll the tornadoes in toasted or natural sesame seeds and they will still make an awesome main dish.

Yield: Makes 12 balls; 8 to 12 servings

Tornadoes

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps cut into quarters

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon tamari

1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely ground

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 cup black or regular sesame seeds

12 long sprigs fresh rosemary, for garnish

6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half, for garnish

1.    To make the tornadoes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2.    Combine the mushrooms, onion, tamari, and tarragon in a large, deep skillet. Add water and cook and stir over medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked and the onion is softened and transparent. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.

3.    Transfer the mushroom mixture to a food processor and add the olives. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Spoon the mixture into a large bowl.

4.    Add the rice, oats, walnuts, salt, and pepper and mix well. Pour the black sesame seeds into a deep, medium bowl.

5.    Using your hands, form the mushroom mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll each one in the sesame seeds to coat well. Place the coated balls on the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Cashew Cream Sauce

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup unsalted tomato paste

1 to 2 tablespoons tamari

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

Pinch cayenne

1/2 cup cashews, finely ground

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

1.    To make the sauce, combine the vegetable broth, tomato paste, tamari, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, marjoram, and cayenne in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer 1 to 2 minutes.

2.    Add the cashews, whisk and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. The sauce will continue to thicken upon standing. Add extra vegetable broth to thin the sauce as needed. Before serving, stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

3.    To serve, spoon the sauce into a large, deep platter and arrange the tornadoes over the sauce. To garnish, poke a rosemary sprig into each tomato half and push them into the tops of the tornadoes, so they stand upright.

Note: If not serving immediately, refrigerate the tornadoes and sauce separately. Warm the tornadoes in a preheated 350-degree F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes before serving. Heat the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes.

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

MOUTH-WATERING MAIN DISHES FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on October 6, 2012

Guest host Kathy Hester brings scrumptious slow cooker main dishes to the Thanksgiving table that can be prepared without last minute stress. Kathy blogs at The Healthy Slow Cooker where you can find tasty, from-scratch recipes and helpful advice on choosing just the right slow cooker for you. Kathy is the author of The Vegan Slow Cooker Book and when she’s not cooking, she develops recipes and does free-lance writing for several blogs like One Green Planet as well as magazines. Look for her new, not yet published cookbook The Great Vegan Bean Book.
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Every family seems to have a special recipe for sweet potato casserole. This one is less sweet than the sticky sweet casserole of my youth. It skips the caramel and marshmallow sometimes included. You could add vegan versions of both in if you really want to. After all, any day is a holiday when you get to eat sweet potato casserole!

HOLIDAY SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

8 large sweet potatoes, cut in chunks
1 1/2 (355 ml) cups water
1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 top 120 ml)non-dairy milk (plain or vanilla)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
pinch ground cloves

topping:

2 tablespoons (28 g) vegan margarine
3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
3/4 cup (170 g) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (30 g) whole wheat flour (*use gluten-free flour instead)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) non-dairy milk or water
1/2 cup (55 g) pecans, chopped

The night before: Cut sweet potatoes. Make the topping by combining the ingredients and mixing thoroughly. Store topping and sweet potatoes in fridge overnight. Chop pecans and store in a covered bowl, unrefrigerated, overnight.

In the morning: Add sweet potatoes and water to an oiled crock. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.

30 to 45 minutes before serving: Turn slow cooker to high. Mash sweet potatoes in crock. Add spices and part of the non-dairy milk. Add the rest of the milk if the potatoes are still too stiff, but leave out if they are runny. Drop spoonfuls of pre-mixed topping. As the topping begins to melt, spread with the back of a spoon across the top to make it more even.

Serve once the topping is melted and the dish is heated throughout.

Yields: 8 servings
Total Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 6 to 8 hours
Soy-free, gluten-free

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I seem to be on a streak of ugly but packed-full of flavor recipes this month.

I guess the veggies that are available in January aren’t quite as flashy as some of the summer ones. That, and well, stews aren’t always pretty – but you can’t beat a one dish meal for an easy dinner.

In my next incarnation, I think I’ll add a handful or two of chopped greens to shake things up a bit.

You can really add any veggies you have on hand, too. I’m all about options and using what you have on hand. Yellow lentils instead of red, potato in place of turnip, and even carrot would all work just as good as the listed ingredients.

SLOW COOKER INDIAN SPICED CHICKPEA QUINOA STEW
gluten-free, soy-free

serves 4 to 6

4 to 5 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes (or 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup peeled turnip, chopped
1 cup sweet potato, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped (about 1 stalk)
1 tablespoon not-chicken bouillon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
salt, to taste

The night before: Chop veggies and store in the fridge.

In the morning: Put everything in the slow cooker and cook on low 6 to 9 hours. Taste, re-season if needed (you may not even need the salt if your bouillon is salty.)

This is a good one to make if you are going to be away from the house a little longer than usual. If your slow cooker runs hot add a little extra water if it will be cooking longer than 9 hours.

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Guest Host Carrie Forrest is a graduate student in public health nutrition and the author of the blog Carrie on Vegan. Through her writings, step-by-step photo guides and recipes, Carrie inspires readers to prepare plant-based recipes that are 100% delicious. Carrie firmly believes that superior health is achievable through nutritional excellence and specializes in whole-food, simple recipes that are low in added fats, sugars and salt.
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BUTTERNUT HARVEST STEW

I think fall might be my favorite season. I love the coolness in the air and the transition to warmer clothes. As a homebody, I like the shorter days that force me indoors to cook, read books or just cozy up to the fireplace. What I love most of all about fall is the introduction of fall fruits and vegetables, and butternut squash heads the list. Tips: If you cannot find pumpkin pie spice, use ground cinnamon instead. A medium butternut squash will weigh 2 to 3 pounds.

6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash

1 large onion

1 cup button mushrooms

4 cloves garlic

¼ cup water

3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon no-salt seasoning

1 tablespoon dried oregano

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1½ cups cooked or canned cannellini beans

Vegan Cream Sauce

Directions:
1. Peel, seed, and cube squash.

2. Chop onion. Slice mushrooms. Mince garlic.

3. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add onions and cook for a few minutes over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until softened. Add garlic, pumpkin pie spice, no-salt seasoning, and oregano. Stir in butternut squash and vegetable broth. Add water if necessary to cover vegetables.

4. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

5. Rinse and drain beans. Stir into soup and cook just long enough to heat through. Remove from heat. Using a hand immersion blender, process stew to desired consistency. Stir in Vegan Cream Sauce and serve hot.

Non-Dairy Cream Sauce

This sauce is the equivalent of heavy cream and can be stirred into savory soups and stews to add richness and flavor. I love using it in my Harvest Butternut Stew. Tip: I use soy milk in this recipe for an extra creamy texture, but you can substitute your favorite non-dairy milk.

6 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup raw unsalted cashews

2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk

Directions:
Combine cashews and non-dairy milk in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Posted in Canadian Thanksgiving, cashews, Celebrations, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes, pecans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CUDDLE UP WITH DUMPLINGS WINTER, SUMMER, SPRING, AND FALL

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on March 30, 2010

Folksy and downright delicious old-fashioned American comfort food—that’s what dumplings are to this home chef. And it doesn’t take a connoisseur to recognize that these irresistible sweet potato dumplings are so homey and captivating they could easily steal the spotlight from your main dish. Come to think of it, they’re so nutritious they COULD be the main dish. The two Brazil nut-enhanced tomato sauces elevate the recipe into one with a healthy level of protein and fiber, along with the immune boosting mineral selenium.

Ideally, many might consider a dish like sweet potato dumplings more suited for serving during the fall and winter season. And, I must admit it’s deeply soul satisfying when the sun abandons the sky and paints it gray for the day or the rains come pouring down and all I want is something warm, savory, and hearty.

That’s when I resort to the Winter Tomato Brazil Nut Sauce. So what’s the difference between the Winter and Summer sauce? Simple—fresh tomatoes in the winter cost more than a Harley-Davidson and taste like dehydrated dishwater! I save them for summertime when they’re bright red, succulent, and sweet.

In winter I turn to canned tomato paste and canned plum tomatoes and perk up the sauce with one of my favorite nuts–Brazil nuts. I count on those awesome nuts to bring a nutritious richness to the sauce. And by the way, Brazil nuts serve as a great thickener to any sauce. Just grinding them into a buttery paste in the food processor before adding them to the sauce will make you a Brazil nut devotee forever!

Summer is not so far away now, so I’m gearing up to be prepared with something special to share. Below you’ll find the recipe for a great tasting Summer Tomato Brazil Nut Sauce as well as the winter version. And if wishing really hard could make things come true, then I’ll wish for summer to arrive ahead of schedule—even if it’s just a few days early– and look forward to cooking up a batch of thick, red, saucy and sumptuous Summer Tomato Brazil Nut bliss to serve with these easy to make dumplings.

I made this recipe to bring to a veggie potluck, so I kept them homespun and unencumbered with extra ingredients. That turned out to be a smart idea and allowed the dumplings to be appreciated for their simplicity. The rave reviews were my reward, and I even had two requests for the recipe, which I’ll gladly share. But somehow I have the desire to tinker with the recipe.

Next time I make them I plan to light a little spark—perhaps I’ll include chopped sweet onions or green onions, minced carrots, and minced garlic—perhaps finely chopped spinach that might turn the dumplings into a vastly different gastronomic experience. If I make these in the summer, chopped zucchini or pattypan squash would be tasty add-ins.

If you’re wondering whether yams and sweet potatoes will be available in summer, don’t worry. Many markets carry the Jewel yams even during the summer.
The easiest way to enjoy these delicious dumplings is to prepare them a day or two before serving, place them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate them. You can even prepare the sauce in advance, and refrigerate it in a covered container. Shortly before serving, combine the dumplings and the sauce in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and warm at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

SWEET POTATO DUMPLINGS WITH TOMATO BRAZIL NUT SAUCE

Yield: 28 golden dumplings or about 6 servings

3 pounds yellow or orange sweet potatoes (yams)

1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, shiny side down. Place the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet and bake for 50 to 70 minutes, or until they are softened.
2. While the potatoes are baking, place the flour in a large bowl. Fill a 6- to 10-quart stockpot two-thirds full with water, cover, and set aside.
3. When the potatoes are done, peel them and add them to the flour. Add the salt and turmeric, and mix well to form a stiff dough. You may find it’s easier to mix the dough with your hands.
4. Bring the stockpot water to a boil over high heat. Spoon out heaping tablespoons of sweet potato dough and roll each one between the palms to form a dumpling about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. When you have formed about 4 or 5 dumplings, carefully lower them into the boiling water with a spoon and boil them for 2 to 3 minutes or until they begin to float to the surface.
5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked dumplings to a dish and repeat the rolling and boiling process with the remainder of the dough.

Winter Tomato Brazil Nut Sauce

Yield: 6 to 7 cups

3 cups water
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, coarsely broken with a fork
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 1/2 teaspoons organic sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup raw Brazil nuts

1. Combine all the ingredients, except the Brazil nuts, in a stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat, if needed, to avoid burning the sauce.
2. While the sauce is simmering, grind the Brazil nuts to a buttery meal in several batches in a mini chopper/grinder or small electric coffee grinder.
3. Add the nut meal to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes longer. The sauce will thicken considerably. Thin the sauce with a little water if needed.

Summer Tomato Brazil Nut Sauce

Yield: 6 servings

3/4 cup raw Brazil nuts

3 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes

1 medium onion, cut into quarters

1/2 green bell pepper, diced
2 sprigs fresh basil leaves, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1. Place the Brazil nuts into the food processor and process until creamy and buttery. Use a rubber spatula to transfer the nut butter to a small bowl and set aside. There is no need to wash the food processor.
2. Coarsely chop the tomatoes in the food processor. If you prefer a smoother, less chunky sauce, process a little longer to desired consistency. Transfer the tomatoes into a large skillet or wok.
3. Finely chop the onion in the food processor and add to the skillet.
4. Add the bell pepper, basil, garlic, oregano, fennel seeds, rosemary, and marjoram to the skillet, and cook about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
5. Add the salt and Brazil nut butter and cook a few minutes longer until thickened. Adjust seasonings if needed.

Posted in Brazil nuts, Nut Recipes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

THANKSGIVING TORTE—GRAND DIVA ON THE HOLIDAY TABLE

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on November 23, 2009

I don’t know if Thanksgiving is wild and crazy to the max at your house, but it sure is in mine–in a good way, that is. It’s our family reunion time, so I have family flying in from all parts of the globe for this nutty feast. All the bedrooms are full and the kitchen is in a constant state of activity. It’s been our thing for years so we really look forward to Thanksgiving week—a time that’s filled with lots of cooking going on, great aromas drifting through the house, lots of eating, and lots of laughing.

On Thanksgiving day the frenzy picks up and we’re all in high gear to get everything ready for that special dinner when we literally pile a ton of colorful, fabulous tasting dishes onto the buffet table that I describe as the groaning board. And we attack with fervor!

Front and center on the table is the totally nutty vegan Thanksgiving Torte, our annual feast specialty that I want to share with all who aim for a kind and gentle Thanksgiving.
The recipe is from my cookbook, The Nut Gourmet and is pretty darned impressive looking—even if I have to say so myself. It’s a real good looker, especially when I serve it on a footed cake plate and garnish the heck out of it with sprigs of fresh herbs and orange slices.

The Torte makes the ideal vegan Thanksgiving dish with its varied textures and savory flavors from the combination of wild rice, mushrooms, nuts, and sage. Served with a robust Mushroom Gravy on the side, the Torte makes a very hearty main dish and goes well with all the typical side dishes like cranberries, gravy, sweet potatoes, chestnut stuffing, and a few veggie combinations. For dessert, its pumpkin and apple pies, of course. To ease the feast-day preparations, I usually make the Torte the day before, store it in the fridge, and reheat it at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

One little hint, the Torte preparation comes together more quickly if you cook the wild rice before beginning the torte or even the day before.

THANKSGIVING TORTE

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

2 cups water
2/3 cups wild rice
3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 pound red or white rose potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecan pieces
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnut pieces

1 (14-ounce) package vegan Lightlife GimmeLean Sausage
3/4 pound portobello mushrooms, chopped (about 4 large)
1 large onion, diced
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
1 1/4 teaspoons salt or to taste

2 ripe tomatoes, sliced

Mushroom Gravy
1/2 pound sliced button mushrooms
1 3/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons water
1/4 soy sauce
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water

1. TO MAKE THE TORTE, lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan, line the base with parchment paper (for easier cleanup), and set it aside. Combine the 2 cups water, wild rice, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and steam for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Drain off the excess liquid and set the rice aside.

2. Combine the potato cubes, 1 cup water, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl, mash them, and set them aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toast the pecans and walnuts in a 10-inch skillet over high heat, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately transfer them to a dish to cool.

4. Combine the vegan sausage, mushrooms, onion, the 1/3 cup water, olive oil, poultry seasoning, and pepper in a large, deep skillet. Cook over high for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is transparent, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or paddle to break up the sausage chunks. Drain and reserve any excess liquid. Add the salt and hickory liquid smoke to the sausage mixture and mix well.

5. Add the mashed potatoes to the skillet along with the toasted nuts and cooked wild rice. Mix well to combine the ingredients thoroughly. Adjust seasonings if needed.

6. Press the mixture firmly into the prepared springform pan, and attractively arrange the tomato slices over the top, covering most of the surface. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Allow the torte to stand for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from the pan.

7. TO MAKE THE MUSHROOM GRAVY, prepare it while the torte is baking. Combine the mushrooms, water, soy sauce, red wine, and lemon juice in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes.

8. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and stir with a spoon to make a runny paste. Add the paste to the bubbling gravy, a little at a time, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, until the gravy has thickened to the desired consistency.

Posted in Celebrations, Nut Recipes, pecans, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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