On Going Vegan

vegan logoRecently, we made a major food & life decision to go Vegan, mainly for health reasons, but out of ethical concerns as well. So there will be a big shift in the ethos of our Blog. All the old non-Vegan recipes will remain on file, but we’ll be working on helping you to navigate! Enjoy the ride as we shift emphasis!

And please be patient with us if we misfile something.  Let us know and we will correct it! ~ Glyn & Will

Lentils, Onions, Rice and Potato with Baharat (serves 4)

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While the technique with the potatoes resembles that for tadiq, this pan is not hot enough and the recipe has too much liquid to produce a caramelized bottom crust. The bottom will be browned and delicious, but it will not be crunchy. I will save the gloriously crunchy Tadiq (taught to me by my dear friend Rita Azali, for another day.) The intent of this one dish meal is comfort food for the last of the Fast Days of Lent – Holy Saturday.

Peace and Blessing, and May you always walk in the light! ~ Glyn

Lentils, Onions Rice and Potato
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 mushrooms thinly sliced
3 sweet mini peppers (or ½ c bell pepper) thinly sliced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 c lentils
2 c vegetable broth
1 c rice
2 c water
1 c diced tomatoes
2 tsp Baharat Spice (or a combination of hot pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and
1 baking potato, thinly sliced

In a heavy lidded pot or casserole, slowly sauté the onion, mushrooms and peppers in the hot oil until browned but not scorched. Add the garlic and cook just until lightly colored. Remove from the pan leaving any oil in the pan.

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Meanwhile, cook the rice in the water in a rice cooker or a pot until nearly done but still firm. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the lentils in the vegetable broth for about 15 minutes or until crisp tender. When the broth has nearly cooked away, add the crushed tomatoes and the spices.

Peel the potato and slice thinly. Return the oiled casserole to the stove top. Increase the heat to medium. Layer the potatoes in the bottom of the pan.

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Spread the rice over the potatoes. And the onions over the rice.
Pour the lentil mixture over all.

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Cover tightly. Reduce heat to as low as possible and cook on top of the stove for 30 minutes.

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Gluten-free Hot Cross Buns (makes 8)

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The Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services are over. The bulletins are completed. The sermon is prepared, and the decorating of church is done. Now all is quiet as we wait for the Sunrise on Sunday and the three Eucharists of Easter. The brief lull on Holy Saturday gives me time for some contemplative cooking and another baking experiment. We have always enjoyed hot-cross buns on this Holy Day so this is an opportunity to see how gluten-free ones taste

 

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May the joys of New Life, the Coming of Spring and the Feast of the Resurrection bring love and peace to your hearts! ~ Glyn

Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns
½ recipe Bob’s gluten-free pizza crust
½ c gluten-free all purpose flour for dusting
1 tsp cardamom
¼ c sugar

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Icing

½ c confectioner’s sugar
½ tsp dried orange peel
1 tbsp. softened vegan butter
1 tsp triple sec or other orange flavored liqueur

 

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Flatten the prepared pizza dough. Sprinkle with the sugar and cardamom and fold over, kneading gently to combine and adding flour as need to make a soft, manageable dough. Divide the dough into eight pieces and place on a non-stick cooking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Cool.

Combine the confectioner’s sugar with the butter and cream well. Stir in the orange peel and the liqueur to made a soft icing. Spoon the icing into a small Ziploc bag and force to one corner twisting the rest of the bag and pushing the air out. Cut a SMALL bit off the corner of the bag. Squeeze the icing onto the buns to make a cross shape.

Southwestern Lasagna ~ serves 4

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Thank Heavens for good natural food stores. We have one in West Chester PA called the Great Pumpkin which has saved my sanity and culinary reputation on more than one occasion. Today (Maundy Thursday in Holy Week when I have to be back at work at 7pm) it provided me with the ingredients and inspiration to do Lasagna. There is virtually no skill involved in preparing this dish and it is proof-positive that there is no shame in using convenience foods if they are healthy and wholesome. ~ Glyn

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Southwestern Lasagna Vegan (and partly Gluten-Free)

1 10oz pkg. gluten-free no-boil, rice lasagna noodles
1 pkg. tofu or tempeh, crumbled (gluten-free if you can find it or regular if you can tolerate barley)
1 15oz can pinto or kidney beans, drained
1 6oz container vegan sour cream
2 15oz jars medium hot salsa
1 15oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp each onion and garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste.

Combine the crushed tomatoes with the spices. Stir in the salsa and the vegan sour cream.

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In a lightly oiled baking pan, spread 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom. Add half the noodles, topped with half the beans, half the tofu and another third of the sauce. Add the remaining noodles, beans, tofu and sauce. Make sure that the surface of the noodles is completely covered. Cover and bake at 350 for one hour.

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Gluten-Free Pizza Bianca

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Today is our first foray into the land of gluten-free vegan pizza. No sauce (in this case) and no cheese. Just lots of fresh veggies, olive oil and crust. The adventure continues! And the only thing we can say after devouring it is — YUM!!! Glyn and Will

Gluten-Free Pizza Bianca

1 pkg Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
1 ½ c. warm water
3 tsp. *Ener G “egg replacer” (For leavening; use flax seed as an alternative)
2 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425. Prepare the pizza crust as directed on the package.

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While the dough rises (20 minutes), slice the toppings. We used

4 oz. crimini mushrooms
4 small (Campari) tomatoes
3 mini-sweet peppers
½ c small black olives
1 small, sweet onion
1 clove garlic

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Olive oil
Basil
Oregano
Rosemary

Shape the pizza dough into a round on a lightly oiled pizza stone or cookie sheet. Brush with oil and bake at 425 without toppings for 9 minutes.

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Arrange the toppings on the pizza, drizzle with additional olive oil and spices. Bake at 425 for an additional 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the veggies are sizzling.

 

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Cool slightly. Slice and serve. Enjoy!

• Ener G is basically potato starch and tapioca powder. It is used as a leavening agent, and not to simulate eggs. Different folks have different tastes. We think if we are not eating cheese, eggs, or pepperoni, we won’t cook with something that simulates these ingredients. The plants need to stand on their own – and they do!

PLEASE SHARE YOUR COMMENTS WITH US HERE!

Chilies Rellenos Con Sombreros (Stuffed Peppers with Hats) Serves 6

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I never had any intention of becoming a difficult dinner guest. At first it was just having to avoid gluten…then sugar…and now we’ve made the decision to go to a plant based diet. And since we didn’t put out a bulletin to announce it, it’s often a conversation stopper when folks hear about it. Especially when it comes to dinner invitations. And while folks are almost unfailingly polite, it usually goes like this:

Friend: “Hi! Can you come to dinner on Saturday?”
Me: “We’d love to, what may I bring?”
Friend: “Just your fabulous selves, and maybe a bottle of wine. By the way, are there any food allergies or intolerances?”
Me: (Pause) Well… we’re vegan these days. And I’m still gluten-intolerant.”
Friend: (LONG Pause) “Oh, uh….”
Me: “Hey, why don’t we make it pot-luck and I’ll bring the main course?”
Friend: “Would you mind?”
Me: “Sure, I’d love to! What time and for how many?”

At which point I realize that not only have I just invited myself to provide the main course for a friends’ dinner party, I have also put myself in the position of demonstrating that Vegan food is delicious and sophisticated and worthy of the occasion.

Tonight’s the night. We are enjoying the first gloriously warm and sunny day of the year and will be joining two other couples for dinner. And did I mention that one of them is a chef? Well, never one to avoid creative stress, I decided to perform a little kitchen alchemy this afternoon. Stay tuned for an update tomorrow. ~ Glyn

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Chilies Rellenos con Sombreros (Stuffed Peppers with Hats) Serves 6

For the Peppers:
6 large green peppers, topped, seeded and blanched

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1 c. long grain white rice
2 c. vegetable broth (or 2 c. water and 2 veggie bouillon cubes)
½ c. chopped apricots
¼ c. raisins
1 c. cilantro leaves, chopped
½ c. Sofrito (in the summer make your own, but for now, use GOYA)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

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½ c. finely chopped sweet white onion
½ c. coarsely chopped walnuts
1 red hot chili pepper, finely diced
1 clove garlic chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil (with extra for oiling the cooking dish)
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. ground cinnamon

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For the sauce:
3 ears white or yellow corn
2 cans Rotel tomatoes (or 2 cans diced tomatoes and 1 can chopped green chilis)
1 c. cilantro leaves
½ tsp. ground cumin

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2 tbsp. triple sec

3 scallions, chopped and additional cilantro for garnish

 

Method

Top, seed and blanche the peppers and their tops in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain and cool.
In the same water, plump the raisins and the apricots. Drain the fruit.

Combine the rice with the broth and cook in a rice cooker until the water is absorbed and the center of the rice is still a bit chewy. Cool slightly and stir in the raisins, apricots, Sofrito, chopped cilantro and the drained beans.

In the olive oil, sauté the onion, red pepper, garlic and walnuts until the onion is translucent and the walnuts are lightly brown. Stir in the coriander, cumin and cinnamon. Combine with the rice mixture (adding more Sofrito if it seems too dry) and use to lightly stuff the peppers.

Stand the peppers upright in a lightly oiled deep, casserole or roasting pan.

Prepare the sauce.
Scrape the kernels from the two ears of corn. Drain the tomatoes into the corn and cook until just crisp tender. Reserve ½ c. of the corn. Combine the rest with the tomatoes and chilies and process in a blender or food processor to make a thin sauce.

Pour the sauce over and around the peppers. Scatter the remaining kernels of corn over the sauce.  Place the pepper tops on as Sombreros.

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Bake at 325 for one hour. At the end of the hour, drizzle the triple sec over the peppers. Cover and keep warm until serving.

Garnish with the remaining cilantro and chopped green onions.

Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Basil Sauce

 

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Last Sunday we experimented with homemade, gluten-free gnocchi. They were delicious and much easier than we had thought. This recipe made plenty for our dinner and we refrigerated the remaining dough to use the next day as the base for potato pancakes.* ~Glyn

Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Basil Sauce

For the Gnocchi
2 large baking potatoes
1 c all purpose Gluten-Free flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground white pepper
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
Dash of nutmeg

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Bake the potatoes (microwave baking works great) and let cool enough to handle. Peel the potatoes and discard the peeling. Thoroughly mash the potatoes in a large bowl. Stir in the salt, pepper, flour, oil and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly to form a soft dough. Shape the gnocchi by teaspoonful. Set aside on a lightly floured plate or board to rest while you boil the water for cooking and make the sauce.

 

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Sauce:

4-6 campari tomatoes chopped (about 2 cups)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ c fresh basil leaves
¼ c pine nuts
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

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Saute the garlic in the olive oil. Remove and discard. Add the pine nuts to the oil and cook until golden. Stir in the tomatoes and cook to reduce to a thick sauce. Stir in the basil leaves and simmer for five minutes. Keep warm while cooking the gnocchi.

Cook the gnocchi in plenty of boiling, salted water. Cook them in small batches and remove when they rise to the top of the pot. Toss with a bit of olive oil and keep hot in a slow oven until all are boiled.
Serve topped with the tomato basil sauce.

 

*To make Potato pancakes, just bring the dough to room temperature. Knead in ½ c finely diced onions, and any additional spices (dill works well). Form into patties and fry in hot oil until crisp on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve with applesauce.

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Spaghetti with Hazelnuts, Sage and Frizzled Onions (serves 2)

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Because I adore tomatoes, and because I make a FABULOUS marinara sauce, I am a late-comer to the joys of pasta sans tomatoes. And I have to say that although my love affair with tomatoes will never fade, I am having a blast experimenting with incredibly tasty new ways to enjoy pasta.

This is more of an concept than a recipe. It starts with roasting and skinning hazelnuts. It takes about 12-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven to toast raw hazelnuts, and if you put them straight into a kitchen towel and rub briskly, the skins come right off. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts. Use a handful (about a ½ cup). After they cool, chop coarsely.

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Next, slice a large onion very thinly.

Heat 3-4 tbsp. olive oil to medium. Add a large clove of thinly sliced garlic and sauté just until it starts to turn the slightest bit golden. Immediately use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic. Set it aside.

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Add the sliced onion to the oil and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion browns and crisps. Remove the onions, set aside and keep warm.

If you have fresh sage, fry a handful of leaves in the same oil. (Mine has only recently emerged from a blanket of snow, but I think I can salvage a few leaves.) Remove the leaves and turn the heat under the oil down to low. If you don’t have fresh sage, sprinkle the oil with powdered sage after you reduce the heat.

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Cook your spaghetti (we use gluten free) in salted water with a bit of olive oil. When al dente, drain and place in a large, flat bowl. Pour the oil over it the pasta, stir in the onions. Toss well to coat and garnish with the hazelnuts.

Enjoy! This is beautiful to look at and tastes even better. ~ Glyn

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