Monday, August 31, 2009

Chili-Coffee Rubbed Seitan Sandwiches!

So there's this sandwich idea that's been floating around in my little foodie head for a while now. The dream sandwich of which I write is my Chili-Coffee Rubbed Seitan Sandwich.
This is exciting because I have felt in a little bit of a creative slump with all the cookbook testing I have been doing...lots of cooking, almost none of it my own recipes! I'm not complaining, of course, I 'm just sayin. So this recipe finally came to fruition last week! And it was everything I wanted it to be. And more. I had been playing around with the idea of a chili-coffee rub for seitan, and it just screamed messy, delicious sandwich to me. And that's what I did! It turned out soooo well! You just have to try it! The smoky, savory quality of the dry rub is balanced out perfectly by the spicy, tart quality of the Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, creamy avocado, and sweetness of the caramelized onions. zomg you guys. zomg.Chili-Coffee Rubbed Seitan Sandwiches (serves 4)
For the seitan:
1 lb seitan, thinly sliced (I used my homemade seitan, but use whatever kind you like.)
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs soy sauce
1/4 cup coffee grounds (freshly-ground is best)
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
pinch or two of cayenne

In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients, except the seitan, until well mixed. Add the sliced seitan in the mixture and toss with mixture to coat completely. Let marinate for 4-6 hours or overnight. When preparing to use, heat a large cast iron (or your favorite) skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat with canola oil or non-stick spray. Add the seitan and any remaining marinade to the heated pan, making seitan is in a single, even layer. Cook for 5 minutes without stirring or turning the seitan. Flip the seitan and cook for 5 more minutes, until the marinade has mostly reduced. Turn off heat and cover until ready to use.

For the Raspberry Chipotle Sauce:
1/2 cup vegan mayo
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs dijon mustard
1 cup raspberries (thawed if using frozen)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3-4 chipotle peppers, in adobo sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbs maple syrup
dash or two of hot sauce, to taste

In a food processor or blender, puree all of the ingredients together until well mixed. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the caramelized onions:
Cut 1 red onion in half and thinly slice. Saute onion slices in 1 Tbs canola oil, over medium heat, until lightly browned and caramelized. Set aside until ready to use.

To assemble the sandwiches:
4 hamburger buns or ciabatta rolls, split and toasted if desired
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 batch caramelized red onions
2 cups spinach or mixed greens
1 recipe Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
1 recipe Chili-Coffee Rubbed Seitan

Open bun or roll so both insides are face up. Slather each inside with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. Mound 1/4 of the seitan on the bottom bun. Pile caramelized onions, sliced avocado, and spinach on top of the seitan. Top with the other bun half. Repeat with other three buns until all the seitan is used. Serve hot!

One of the best parts of this creation was that I used homemade buns!! These were my first homemade bun attempt, and they were great! I used Melisser's Cornbread Burger Buns. Soooo sweet and savory and good.
Aaaaaand I served these messy guys up with Sweet Potato Oven Fries and slices of my momma's homegrown tomatoes!! Yipee!

It was truly a party in my tummy! And mouth!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Going Baking Crazy!

Since I have been in my new apartment, I have been baking. A lot. Like kind of going crazy with it. But there have been so many occasions to which I feel compelled to bring baked's like I have no choice!

First, for a friend's birthday this past weekend, I made cupcakes! Who doesn't love cupcakes?! I made Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting!! Best combo ever! I veganized my Grandma Poe's banana cake with peanut butter frosting recipe, then made them into shareable cupcake form! They were DELICIOUS and a huge hit! hooray!
Next, for another friend's birthday a few weeks ago...Vegan Oatmeal Creme Pies!! I really wonder why they call them pies, but whatever. Little Debbie has nothing on these bad boys! I have been working on an oatmeal cookie recipe that would work perfectly in a creme pie, and I think I've done it!

Here they are, toppless. So creamy.Topped with yet another yummy cookie, begging to be savored with a tall glass of soymilk....

Vegan Oatmeal Creme Pies (makes about 12 pies)

Soft Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup vegan margarine, like Earth Balance

1/2 cup applesauce

1/2 cup sugar

Egg Replacer for 2 eggs ( I used Ener-G brand, cuz it's my jam.)

1/4 cup barley malt syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 Tbs baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup rolled oats

splash of soymilk

1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly oil 2 large baking sheets. In a large bowl, cream together the oil, applesauce, and sugar. Add the egg replacer, vanilla, almond, and barley malt and mix well. Sift in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour in the splash of soymilk and raisins, and gently fold until evenly distributed throughout the dough. Roll dough into 2" balls (or about what will give you 24 cookies.) and flatten to about 3 inches across. They will not spread much in baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until browned on edges and spring back to the touch. Allow to cool on cooling rack while you make the creme filling.

Vanilla Creme Filling

3/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening

1/4 cup vegan margarine

2 cups organic powdered sugar

2 Tbs soymilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening and margarine with a hand mixer or fork and elbow grease until smooth and well combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, adding 1 Tbs soymilk after each cup. Whip powdered sugar with cream mixture after each cup. Mix until creamy. Stir in vanilla extract until combined and smooth. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.

To assemble: Flip 12 of the cookies over so the bottoms are the tops. Dollop filling on the center of each cookie, and use all the filling so the cookies will be nice and creamy! Top the filling with another cookie and smush down a little bit to push the filling to the edges. EAT!!!

Then, for my friends' band, Capybara (check them out on myspace!) CD release party, I busted out some of Isa's famous Chocolate Chip Cookies and added Hazelnuts! ZOMG!! Chocolate and hazelnuts were made for each other! Note: Nutella/Chocoreale/these cookies. Drooling and scarfing ensued. The music was just secondary....ok maybe that's a stretch.
Now for some product reviews! I have branched out and tried a few new things lately!

I'll start with the best...Purely Decadent Cherry Nirvana Soy Ice Cream!! It's still summer which means it's still ice cream season. And I couldn't believe I hadn't tried this flavor yet when I saw it on SALE at Wild Oats! Totally reminds me of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream! If you like cherry, and better yet, cherry plus chocolate, Cherry Nirvana is for you! Super duper creamy, with nice texture variations in the crunchy chocolate flakes and chewy whole cherries. I made it into a little sundae and topped it with sliced almonds! mmmm....

Then, for the just ok: So Delicious Coconut Milk, unsweetened. I couldn't resist trying this after seeing it on the shelves for a while! It was pricey, so that has kind of turned me off when I eye it. The flavor really wasn't that great. It didn't taste bad, of course, but it was kind of bland. The coconut flavor came through a little, but it was overall kinda tasteless. I liked it well enough to put on cereal, but not really well enough to drink straight up with my pb& j. I would rather drink soy or almond milk any day...especially for the price! And if I am really looking to splurge, it will be Living Harvest Hemp Milk for me! Maybe I'll try the coconut milk in vanilla next time...

Whew! I am getting a sugar buzz after just writing this post!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chorizo Spinach Sopes!

This Vegan Latina tester gig gets better with every recipe I make!! Today's test recipe from Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Latina tester forum is the Chorizo Spinach Sopes! They are plump, bowl-shaped cousins of corn tortillas filled with lots of Latina goodies...I managed to knock out a few other tester recipes to make this one! score! The filling consists of layers of: spinach sauteed with garlic and lime, Seitan Chorizo Sausages (a test recipe), shredded cabbage, red onions, Classic Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (another tester, for which I used some local tomatillos!), and some Vegan Chipotle Mayo (I had some of this leftover from the tortas a few days ago). Absolutely perfect! So many different flavors layered together in this amazing little shell and it all just works magically with each other! I think next time I will add some avocado, just to make it just that more perfect!! Ole!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Local Latina!

Tonight's dinner was yet another masterpiece from the Vegan Latina tester forum! With my kitchen bursting at the seams with fresh, local produce, I had my eye (and mouth) on two of the test recipes: the Eggplant Torta Sandwich and Calciabatas (aka Fresh Squash Saute)! Feast your eyes on this crazyness!

First up, the Eggplant Torta Sandwich! Terry was NOT messing around when she created this monster of a sandwich!! It is crusty French bread stuffed with refried beans, chopped jalapenos, tomatoes, marinated and roasted eggplant, shredded lettuce, avocado, and homemade chipotle mayo. whoa!! I was so lucky to have some local eggplant, my mom's homegrown tomatoes, and local French bread at home!I served these sandwiches with a side of Calciabatas, another VL test recipe. Also known as Fresh Squash Saute, this tasty veggie dish was a saute of summer squash, onions, garlic, winter squash, tomatoes, and spices! It all kind of sauteed and stewed together to make something really flavorful yet simple...a perfect side dish, really! For this, I got to use more local veggies: local patty pan squash and some more of my momma's tomatoes! (p.s. I am so proud of my mom's new-found green thumb! yay!)

I just love incorporating the best produce possible into Terry's awesome tester recipes! What a lucky gal I am!

BTW...this is my first blog post from my new laptop! woot graduation present!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So Corny: Empanadas Humitas!

Last night's dinner, yet again, featured fabulous Vegan Latina tester recipes from the talented Terry Hope Romero! Since I am still craving that corn like crazy, it was the star of last night's dinner again!

These are the Empanadas Humitas, aka Creamy Corn Empanadas, and, as the name suggests, they basically consist of a creamy corn filling inside a flaky, tender pastry crust. I cannot tell which part I love more, the filling or the crust, but for now I will just say I love them both equally! Awesome in a little of the So Good, So Green Dipping Sauce I mentioned a few days ago (another VL tester recipe, of course.)!
And an inside naughty...I served them up with Tofu Chicharrones, which is Terry's veganized version of the traditional pork chicharrones, which is kind of like fried fat back from pork (ew. i know. but trust me the cruelty-free version is the bomb.)....these are so smoky and chewy and wonderful! They tofu is frozen, thawed, and pressed, which gives these little bits of yum a nice mouthfeel. I ate this plain for dinner, but I want to make lots of this in the future to put in tacos and such.
The other side dish I made was the Braised Brazilian Shredded Kale tester recipe. Fresh kale is braised with onions and liquid smoke for great flavors, and comes out with an amazing texture from the fine shredding technique. This would be an awesome side dish to any Latina-themed meal, but it went especially well with this little VL feast!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Corn Porn: Tempeh Tostadas! Mexican Corn!

Fresh, local sweet corn is one of my favorite things about summer!! Corn is so perfect because it is so tasty, so versatile, and so easy to prepare! Of course, looking for local and/or organic corn is ideal for both health and environmental sustainability, but that is easy to find here in Missouri!
I am trying to do a lot of recipe testing for Terry's Vegan Latina cookbook this week, and corn is a huge staple in Latina cooking, so this seasonal delight is showing up on my plate often! No complaints here!
Dinner last night was pretty corn-happy:
Fresh organic corn! Turned into..
A Vegan Latina tester recipe: Mexican Side-Street Corn! Fresh corn is roasted and smothered in all sorts of spices and lime juice! whoa!
Another VL tester recipe: Tempeh Asado! The vegan version of the traditional (and cruel.) carne asada. Tempeh marinated in awesome spices and lime juice, then pan-grilled. It was soooo flavorful!! Tempeh is so wonderful for soaking up flavors and holding on tightly to them until they meet your tongue! The Tempeh Asado is perfect for tacos, burritos, or any Mexican-themed meal...
So I put mine in tostadas for dinner last night! I needed to use up the rest of my tostadas, so Tempeh Asado Tostadas were a great opportunity to reduce my waste. The corny flavor and crunch texture of the tostadas went perfectly with the chewy, savory, tangy tempeh...and some fixings like avocado, red onion, tomato, and local salsa, of course!
And I had some leftover Latina tester So Good, So Green Dipping Sauce which made the feast complete! BTW I moved to Kansas City last week (from Columbia...not too far away)! This was one of my first meals in my new apartment! yay! That made this meal all the more special!
And if you are in KC or thereabouts, holla at me and we can make/eat/demolish some food together or ride bikes or just cause some old-fashioned vegan mayhem in the city! yay!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Latina Tester Salad and Sauce!

Awesome in-season produce was the motivation for tonight's tasty dinner! The local tomatoes are in full swing, so I used the opportunity to put them in a tester recipe for Terry's upcoming Vegan Latina cookbook. I made the Ensalada Chilena recipe, which is actually the national salad of Chile btw, and it is made up of crisp, sweet vidalia onions, ripe tomatoes, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. This was awesome and the perfect way to show off those local 'maters!

To accompany the salad, I made Pinto Bean Tostadas (just something I threw together, not a test recipe). They had homemade refried pinto beans layered with shredded lettuce, fresh cilantro, chopped jalapenos, green olives, locally-made salsa, and some tester Pickled Red Onions. But they just weren't complete without a special sauce....These just screamed for another Vegan Latina test recipe: the So Good, So Green Dipping Sauce! Truth be told, the tostadas were just an excuse to make this sauce...I have been eying the recipe in the tester forums for months! This dipping sauce is packed with herbs, garlic, and lime, and has the perfect balance of creamy and chunky textures! This sauce is just sooooo flavorful! Went very well with the tostadas, of course!
I could dip about anything into this.....put tostadas, tamales, tacos, empanadas, or just a plain old finger in this sauce and it would still be so rockin!