Orange-y Carrot Jewels

Often, just changing the way you cut a vegetable can add variety and interest to a simple dish. One cutting technique, which I learned as the jewel cut, is actually my favorite way to cut root vegetables. I think it’s kind of fun.IMG_20140929_124631

Lay the root vegetable on its side, horizontal, with the top to your left if you are right-handed. Start at the root end and cut your first vegetable piece at a diagonal with the knife tip angled toward the left. Then turn the root toward you about a quarter turn and cut at a diagonal again. Keep turning and cutting until you have cut all the way to the top.

I am bringing this dish to the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck this week.

Orange-y Carrot Jewels

3 cups cut carrot chunks (about 3-4 carrots)
2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed or unsweetened already juiced)
1 tsp brown rice syrup
pinch of sea salt

1.  Place carrots, water, orange juice, brown rice syrup and sea salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until carrots are barely tender.

2.  With a slotted spoon, remove carrots from liquid and place in a serving dish.

3.  Continue to simmer the liquid, uncovered, until it reduces in volume and becomes a little thicker. Pour over the cooked carrots. Serve.

Root Vegetable Fritters

I have been making simplified versions of Carrot and Coriander Fritters for over a year.

By now, you probably know that I simplify almost every recipe I come across. Personally, I have found that if I use a really good sea salt and organic, fresh vegetables, I don’t need a whole lot of other seasonings. With simplified cooking, I don’t need to look at a recipe and I save a lot of time in the kitchen. And by saving time I can cook more dishes and put a healthy meal on the table almost every time we sit down to eat.IMG_20140911_164720

So, on with the simplified version. A little warning: these can be a bit finicky. Make them a few times and you will get the hang of it. Lately, I have been making these fritters with a mix of carrots, parsnips and sweet potato. You can use whatever combination of root vegetable you feel like. I added a bit of sweet potato to add some sweetness and familiarity for little taste buds, but it’s completely unnecessary. Or really give your taste buds a treat and do 100% sweet potato. Yum!

IMG_20140913_170741I have tried these with a microplane coarse grater, with a regular grater and with a food processor grater attachment.

The microplane makes the vegetables kind of mushy, but it’s much easier to get the patties to form and this size might work better for a toddler who is still working on chewing skills.

Grating the vegetables coarsely makes for a tastier finished product, but it is also harder to get the mixture to form patties. This is where some patience and faith are helpful. I am going to give you my ratios of ingredients, but you may need to add a little more garbanzo bean flour and/or oil to find the right ratio that will cause the grated vegetables to stick together, without adding too much garbanzo bean flour. Now, the great part is that they only need to stick together enough to form a patty and get to the pan. Once they start cooking, the ingredients will bond together and form a delicious fritter. It’s almost magic!

Root Vegetable Fritters
adapted from Carrot and Coriander Fritters over at Frugal Feeding

2 cups grated parsnip
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup grated sweet potato
5 T garbanzo bean flour
2 1/2 T olive oil
2 pinches sea salt
fresh ground pepper
grapeseed or other high-heat oil for frying

IMG_20140904_133126IMG_20140904_1340361.  Mix all ingredients except for the frying oil in a large bowl.

2.  Pick up a small handful of the mixture and try to form a patty. It will have a hard time staying together, but it should be sticky enough to come together a bit and stay together long enough to start cooking. If it won’t stick together at all, add a little more olive oil and/or garbanzo bean flour. Keep mixing it and testing until you get a consistency that seems like it might work. Make as many 2-3″ fritters as will fit in the pan. I usually heat the oil and add fritters as I make them.

3.  Heat a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet on medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Start adding fritters as soon as the oil is hot enough that a little piece of vegetable starts to sizzle when added. Add as many fritters as will fit in the pan without overcrowding. Cook until they are light to medium brown on the bottom, then turn them over to brown the other side. It should take about 4 minutes per side. If it seems a lot faster than that, the heat may be too high. You want them to cook for long enough that the vegetables cook, so if they are getting brown too fast, this might not happen. Add more oil if necessary for the next batch. Keep making and cooking the fritters until they are all done.

3.  As each one is done, remove them to a plate with a paper bag on it to soak up excess oil. These are best when they are served hot.

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Crispy Cornmeal Seitan

I met Bryant Terry while on a vegan health cruise last spring. I attended one of his cooking classes. I love his cooking style and his dedication to food justice. This is a take on one of his recipes. You can learn more about him and his projects on his website. Here is a Mother Jones article.

IMG_20140908_142500I cook for several families and I am always looking for new school lunch additions. With many schools going nut-free these days, the range of good options has narrowed a bit. But, these crispy seitan bites are gems. This is the type of food that is very satisfying and nourishing to high energy bodies, like children.

IMG_20140908_151916The only caution I would make is that if you are using store-bought seitan, which I did, it has a high salt content. So, that means moderation for your little ones. Their bodies just can’t handle much salt. I used Upton’s Naturals plain seitan.

You can find a recipe for these in Bryant Terry’s cookbook, Vegan Soul Kitchen. It’s called Cornmeal-Crusted Seitan. It’s so simple that I am giving you my “recipe-free” version.

Crispy Cornmeal Seitan

whole grain mustard (I like Eden brand)
ground cornmeal
white or black pepper
8 oz seitan (or more if you have a lot of mouths to feed!) (I used Upton’s Naturals)
grape seed oil or other high-heat oil

1.  Put a few spoonfuls of mustard in a small bowl. Put a few large tablespoons of cornmeal in another bowl and stir in some fresh ground white or black pepper.

2.  Slice the seitan about 1/2 inch thick. Seitan comes in funny shapes, though, so just do the best you can. Having random bite-size chunks is okay, too.

3.  Using your finger, spread a thin layer of mustard on a piece of seitan, then dip it in the cornmeal to coat. Set aside on a plate. Finish coating all the seitan. Set aside.

3.  In a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet, heat about 3-4 Tbsp high-heat oil to a low frying temperature. If it smokes, stop and start over with fresh oil. You know the oil is hot enough when it sizzles slightly when you add the seitan bits. Add seitan bits so they aren’t touching, but still fill the skillet. Fry on each side until light brown and remove to a plate covered with a paper bag or napkin to soak up the excess oil. Keep frying until all the seitan is done.

4.  Yum! Try them with a tahini sauce or in a tortilla with lettuce and other taco fixings.

Note:
If you use Westsoy seitan note that the package says 16 oz, but the amount of actual seitan is 8 oz. It’s hard to compare the salt content between Westsoy and Upton’s Naturals seitan because Westsoy is packaged with the liquid, but I think Upton’s is better quality.

You might also enjoy this post on Satisfying Cravings for Richness.

Pinto Beans with Vegan Sausage

I did not grow up liking sliced hot dogs in my baked beans. I was the kind of child who liked to keep my meals simple.

It was only in my macrobiotic studies that I learned the value of incorporating two protein sources into one dish. If you haven’t tried this, you can raise a simple bean dish to a new level of delicious when you add fried tempeh, deep-fried tofu or bits of seitan.

Be careful with the amount of salt in this recipe because the field roast sausage is very high in salt. You might even be able to get away with leaving the shoyu out.

More information about making beans from scratch.IMG_20140702_124752

Pinto Beans with Vegan Sausage

1 cup dried pinto beans, rinsed and soaked at least 8 hours
1/2 cup dried black turtle beans, rinsed and soaked at least 8 hours
postage size piece of kombu or kelp
bay leaf
2-3 tsp olive or grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
sea salt
1/2 tsp unpasteurized shoyu or tamari
1 field roast sausage, cut into small bite-size pieces (I used the apple sage flavor.)
2 tsp barley malt, or to taste
1/2 tsp brown rice vinegar (optional)

1.  Drain the beans and place in a large pot. Add water to cover about 1 ” above top of beans. Bring to a boil and scrape off any foam that rises to the surface. Lower the heat to simmer. Add kombu/kelp and bay leaf. Cover and cook until beans are soft. Add more water as necessary, just enough to keep the beans submersed.The beans will take about 1 to 1¼ hours to cook.

2.  While beans are cooking, saute the onion in the oil. Add the minced garlic, one pinch of sea salt and a few tablespoons of water. Lower the heat to simmer and cover. Check frequently and add a little more water if necessary. Cook until onion is very soft. You can actually cook them for as long as you want and they will keep becoming more flavorful.

3.  Add onions to the beans when beans are soft. Add shoyu and cook for 10 more minutes to help incorporate the onions and shoyu.

4.  Stir in the cut vegan sausage and cook for a few minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in barley malt and brown rice vinegar. Taste and adjust flavors if necessary.

Garbanzo Bean Crepes with Sauteed Vegetables

I didn’t think these would turn into crepes when I first saw the recipe over at Oh She Glows. But, that’s how they turned out for me.

I was looking for a quick simple dinner item and these were a hit. I used the basic garbanzo bean flour to water ratio that Angela uses, but added sautéed vegetables to the batter and spread the batter thin on the pan.IMG_20140609_164921

We made delicious roll-ups. Lena loved them. Continue reading