Comment

Tofu Muffins with Sweet Corn and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Portable protein! And they're seriously sunny.

There may be a slight obsession with tofu pie in the MSV house. A frequent dreaming about finding a tofu pie that might make sense to everyone at the brunch table, even quiche-loving omnivores (if you've already found this, please get in touch). A day when the easiest daytime entertaining option is finally open again. But until then, there are these little guys, totally solving savory breakfast on any given weekday. And you don't even have to share.

They're easy, tasty, blissfully tofu-y, shored up with chickpea flour, and studded with sweet corn kernels and flavor-packed sun-dried tomatoes. They're quite soft and moist fresh from the oven, so be sure to let them cool before digging in for the best texture. In fact, you might be happiest if you just treat this strictly as a session of batch cooking and wait until the next morning. They eat great cold or at room temperature.

Tofu Muffins with Sweet Corn and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Print the recipe

yields six muffins, inspired by The Vegan Slow Cooker

15 oz firm tofu, drained

3/4 cup unsweetened soy (or almond) milk

1/4 cup drained oil-packed julienned sun-dried tomatoes

1/4 cup frozen sweet corn kernels

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

2 TBSP nutritional yeast

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

oil, for greasing

Heat oven to 400. Generously oil a non-stick six-muffin tin.

Crumble tofu into a food processor. Add milk and process until smooth. Add sun-dried tomatoes and process until well chopped. Add corn kernels and pulse briefly to incorporate.

In a mixing bowl, combine chickpea flour, cornmeal, nutritional yeast, baking powder, salt, and garlic powder. Add tofu mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. (Do not taste-test the batter—raw chickpea batter is foul.) Distribute evenly among the six muffin molds (it will fill them each generously). Bake 30-32 minutes, until a tester comes out mostly clean—moist crumbs are okay, wet batter isn't—and the tops are puffed and golden.

Let cool 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Run a knife or spatula firmly around the edges of the muffins to unmold. Let cool completely; chill until ready to eat.

Comment

Comment

Black Bean and Corn Crisp

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

The first thing to know about this crisp is that it's really tasty. Hearty black beans, a pile of sweet corn kernels, and a handful of gently bitter and spicy strips of poblano all get cooked up into a creamy base.

That brings us to the second thing to know about this dish, which is that you'll probably need less of it than you might expect. The heft and creamy texture come from a generous addition of coconut milk, which pairs with everything here like a dream, including the sprinkle of dried sage you'll add to the mix.

You'll top the rich base with a blissfully breezy topping that gets nice and crunchy in the oven and provides the perfect contrast. Speaking of contrast, it's a good idea to serve this crisp with a green salad that features an acid-forward dressing.

And since you'll be relying on the convenience of frozen and canned goods to get this on the table without breaking much of a sweat, you'll still have plenty of time to take a stroll in the spring weather after dinner.

Black Bean and Corn Crisp

Print the recipe

serves 4-6

For the filling:

2 TBSP olive oil

2 medium-large shallots, finely chopped

1 small-medium poblano, cut into thin 2-inch strips

1 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels

1/2 tsp dried rubbed sage

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

1 15-oz can black beans

1 can full-fat coconut milk

For the topping:

1/2 cup panko crumbs

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/8 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

2 TBSP olive oil

Heat oven to 350.

Begin by preparing the filling. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots begin to brown, 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add poblano strips. Cook another 3-4 minutes, just until the pepper strips begin to soften. Meanwhile, drain and rinse beans.

When the pepper has begun to soften, add corn kernels, sage, salt, and pepper. Cook another minute or two, until the corn has thawed. Increase heat to medium. Add beans and coconut milk to skillet. Bring to a boil and continue to cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened into a saucy mixture just a little thinner than you'd like to serve it—it will thicken a touch further in the oven—about 15 minutes (length depends on which brand of coconut milk you use).

Meanwhile, toss together the topping ingredients until thoroughly combined and coated with the oil. When the filling is ready, add it to a baking dish, top with the crumb mixture, and bake until bubbly and beginning to brown on top, 15-18 minutes. Turn the broiler on for an additional minute or two to brown the topping to your liking.

Comment

2 Comments

Party Animals No. 42: Big Ears Brunch 2016

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Welcome to the recap for the third annual brunch squeezed in around the most unbelievable music festival that rolls up to the MSV front door each year.

The only thing luckier than living in the middle of the action on these weekends is having a friend who brings the main dish to brunch so you don't have to sweat it:

My pal Casey brought these tempeh hand pies: squares of puff pastry stuffed with flaked tempeh spiced up sausage-style. Awfully tasty, and a totally fun brunch main.

But before those (and after coffee), festive drinks:

To the left, peach lambic and rye sangria. Sounds good, right? Alas, this is too sweet for MSV. Even with a particularly spicy rye added, there's just no escaping the cloying nature of Lindemans peach. Live and learn. And stick with raspberry or black currant.

To the right, a frosty pitcher of booze-free pomegranate-black tea punch. Rather nice.

There were also vieux mot makings available, substituting grapefruit for lemon juice since there was a good bit of grapefruit juice left from segmenting these lovelies:

Also on the table, but not pictured (oops) were almond-crusted thin green beans. Nut-crusted vegetables are the best—especially when you can eat 'em with your paws—and they make for a substantial menu item without piling on more starchy carbs. Because there were plenty of those otherwise:

It's time to thank Mollie Katzen for instructing us to toss potatoes in far more Dijon mustard than you'd think was advisable before roasting them up. It works. So well. (Those are only half the potatoes—there's no pan here that fits four pounds in anything close to a single layer.)

And oh yeah, dill. Seriously dreamy.

Finally, the baked goods tray:

That's a jar of strawberry chia jam and a bowl of blueberry cream cheese (frozen wild blueberries simmered in a bit of brandy and lemon juice, then stirred into Tofutti cream cheese—Kite Hill brand was too salty). And so we'd have something to smear all that good stuff on, two types of muffins. To the right are Isa's lemon-poppy muffins (those are roughly regular homemade size, and the others are jumbo because the MSV kitchen can only bake 18 muffins at once). To the left, gluten-free vegan cinnamon-sugar muffins:

Embarrassingly enough, without the finishing sugar. There's supposed to be a sprinkle of turbinado up top to really drive that recipe title home, but it was forgotten, and that's what we get for being human. Still tasty, though (and a successful first go at gluten-free baking for our very first gluten-free guest).

Gluten-Free Cinnamon-Sugar Muffins

Print the recipe

yields 12 muffins

170 g white rice flour

35 g brown rice flour

35 g blanched almond meal

1 TBSP ground cinnamon

1 TBSP baking powder

1 TBSP psyllium husk powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 TBSP turbinado, for topping

Heat oven to 375. Oil a muffin tin.

Sift together dry ingredients. Whisk together wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and stir just until combined. Add batter to muffin tin. Sprinkle turbinado on top.

Bake 23-25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack before loosening sides gently with a thin spatula. Transfer muffins from pan to the wire rack and let cool completely.

__________________________________________________

Back next week with a new recipe. Until then, happy brunching.

2 Comments

Comment

Hitting the Books No. 5: Breakfasts from The Vegan Slow Cooker

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Today, a sweet, a savory, and a sweet and savory sampling from Kathy Hester's The Vegan Slow Cooker:

With an eye on moderation and the convenience of setting and forgetting, it might be one of the most practically minded cookbooks on the MSV shelf.

But it hasn't been all roses. Nearly every recipe I've made from this book required an adjustment—most minor, some major. One chance taken resulted in deep embarrassment in front of already-veg-skeptical family when the combination of silken tofu and the suggested vegan cheese produced a great deal of something roughly the consistency of mayonnaise suffocating some potatoes.

But the recipes that have worked have made weeknight meals fun to come home to. And as long as you're comfortable adjusting recipes to suit you, you'll likely find this book a good source of inspiration for low-stress dishes.

And this book is responsible for tofu-pecan meatballs, don't forget. That forgives all other sins.

There's no shortage of tempting entrees, but switching up the breakfast routine is what was needed in the MSV kitchen, so that's what's featured here.

First, let's rip off a band-aid. That hot bowl up top was an enormous waste of food. To start, it needed a batch of sausage crumbles from the book:

These are made from walnuts, brown rice, and vital wheat gluten, which sounded like a very promising ingredient list on first read. But despite high hopes and a generous dose of herbs, this was stunningly bland. (To be fair, Hester compares the flavor to a lite-sounding commercial product I'm not familiar with. I might have been warned.) Sausage is to be spicy, salty, and at least a little greasy, something used sparingly because it's so potent. There's not a whiff of that to be found here.

Things went from bummer to worse when those sausage crumbles were put to work in this sweet-and-savory dish. (The recipes get better, promise. Hang in there.) If there's a more misleadingly alluring title than "Pear and Cardamom French Toast Casserole," then friends, I do not know what it is(*). The recipe notes say it's "similar to bread pudding in texture." You know what traditional bread pudding has? Heaps of voluminous protein and fat to cut the starch. What you see here is bland, gummy bowlfuls of bread mixed with a generous serving of underseasoned "sausage," which itself is partially made of wheat, too. The admittedly delightful pears can't make up for all that gray goop. After some time has passed, the memory of what it was like to try to eat this having faded, I intend to make a pear and cardamom rice pudding, free of bread in any form.

(*NB Several titles are strange in this book. Hester doesn't go out of her way to respect the variety of culinary traditions she borrows from in naming recipes, and there's an overall emphasis on familiarity over precision. This book's tone is pretty much the network-television-newscaster flat American accent.)

Or maybe instead of rice, a nice polenta dish:

You might notice that isn't a slow cooker back there, but rather a stove-top pot. This one can't be blamed on the book: using applesauce containing ascorbic acid (despite helpful directions to check the label for just that) caused the slow cooker batch to curdle. To avoid another failure (and, frankly, another round of washing the slow cooker crock), the same ingredients—minus applesauce—went into a pot and came out rather lovely, indeed.

There are peaches in there and a little fresh thyme, plus my very own favorite secret ingredient for adding richness to savory grits: almond meal (I'll post my grits recipe someday). This one, though simple, is a keeper, and bound to be dressed up with different fruits and herbs as the seasons and moods change.

Finally, a savory breakfast: "Chile Relleno Casserole." It isn't actually advertised in the book as a breakfast at all. But since it's a recipe that cooks on high for 90 minutes instead of on low for eight hours, this one's perfect for lazy weekends. And in the MSV house, savory breakfasts beat sugary ones every time.

A generously seasoned mixture of tofu, cornmeal, and chickpea flour gets layered with roasted poblano peppers (it's like everything on MSV all at once). It's a pretty great blend, and with a tweak or two, will likely make for a nice tofu pie. And happily, the leftovers eat cold like a champ for instant breakfasts any day, which is what I was really hoping for here.

Plus, there's something that doesn't get a lot of use in the MSV kitchen: firm vegan cheese, here Field Roast's Chao Original. Its addition here made the casserole a bit richer than I might feel like digging into on any given morning, but again, not bad for a weekend. To bring this into the weekday routine, it will be worth experimenting with bringing down the seasoning a touch and substituting a layer of spicy salsa instead of the cheese and see if the texture holds (or failing that, maybe a layer of mashed pinto beans). Overall, a nice bit of comfort food.

In short, the recipes in this book could be tighter, but you might find them tough to resist even once you know that. It's great that Hester obviously and repeatedly leaves lots of room for people to adjust the recipes to their tastes, which makes folks more likely to get in the kitchen without worrying too much about nailing everything just so. (This does not excuse that bread casserole—that was tragic.) That said, it would be helpful if I felt like I could adjust the recipe if I wanted to rather than knowing I'd probably have to. But there's tons more to try, and everything's easy enough that even those not-quite-right recipes don't feel like failures, but more like something to revisit soon with a tweak. Some days you just gotta get dinner (or breakfast) on the table.

And if all else fails, there's always tofu-pecan loaf.

About Hitting the Books: You know that shelf in your house with all the great cookbooks you don't get to nearly as often as you'd like? Yeah, there's one of those over here, too. The Hitting the Books series allows for occasional opportunities to dig into that shelf and highlight some handy cookbooks.

Comment

Comment

Chimichurri Tofu-Pecan Meatball Sandwiches

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

The post introducing the recipe for tofu-pecan meatballs is still one of the most popular posts ever on MSV, and for good reason. These little guys are savory, a little earthy, totally fun, and blissfully chewy. This version adds cilantro and parsley to the meatballs themselves to echo the fresh quantity pureed into an irresistible chimichurri sauce.

Strips of sweet roasted red pepper beautifully complement the rich, fragrant, garlicky and zippy green sauce. For best results, grab the freshest garlic you can find.

Chimichurri Tofu-Pecan Meatball Sandwiches

Print the recipe

see [Note] on yield , meatballs adapted from here

For the meatballs

1 cup water

1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein) 

1 lb Twin Oaks brand extra-firm tofu [see note on tofu]

1/2 cup unsalted pecans

3 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, roughly chopped

2 TBSP reduced-sodium tamari

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

1 cup oat bran

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1/4 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley, tough stems removed, finely chopped

1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, tough stems removed, finely chopped

To assemble

sandwich/burger buns

sliced roasted red pepper

Parsley-Cilantro Chimichurri, recipe follows

Boil one cup water in a small sauce pan. Remove from heat, stir in TVP, and let sit 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, roughly crumble the tofu into a food processor. Add pecans, sun-dried tomatoes, tamari, and liquid smoke. Process well, until uniform with no large chunks of pecans. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine oat bran, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, chopped parsley, and chopped cilantro. Stir to combine, add the tofu-pecan mixture, and mix thoroughly (hands are best). Add reconstituted TVP when cool enough to handle and mix until incorporated. 

Form meatballs, place them in a lightly oiled slow cooker and cook on low 4-5 hours (you may need 5-6 hours for golf-ball size). Alternately, bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, until warmed through and golden.

To assemble, place meatballs on a bun (toasted on the cut sides, if desired), spoon on a scant tablespoon of sauce, top with pepper strips, then sandwich.

Note on yield: recipe yields 36-40 ping-pong size meatballs or 26-30 golf-ball size. Sandwiches will require 3-4 meatballs per bun, depending on bun size.

Note on tofu: Twin Oaks extra-firm is exceptionally dense. If you use a different brand, look for super-firm, or press your extra-firm tofu for 20-30 minutes, then weigh it out for the recipe.

Parsley-Cilantro Chimichurri

1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, tough stems removed

1/2 cup loosely packed parsley, tough stems removed

1 TBSP fresh oregano leaves

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 TBSP rice vinegar (unseasoned), (or white wine or red wine vinegar)

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 small shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

1 small jalapeno, trimmed, seeded, and roughly chopped

1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

Puree all ingredients until smooth. Adjust salt, and vinegar, if needed.

Comment

Comment

Spiced Applesauce Cake with Brown Sugar-Pepita Topping

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

That's one satisfying loaf, right there. You could make breakfast, snacks, or even a modest dessert of it. It's a gently sweetened number that's generously spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.

That combination ensures this cake is ready to take on a top layer of crunchy little pepitas and a nice sprinkle of turbinado before baking. Together, they make for a fabulous and effortless finishing touch.

Cut a thick slice and enjoy the simple sugar-and-spice combination as it is, or since the loaf isn't terribly sweet on its own, feel free to smear on a little jam to add a burst of fruit.

Spiced Applesauce Cake with Brown Sugar-Pepita Topping

Print the recipe

8 oz all-purpose flour (app. 1 2/3 cups)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 TBSP ground cinnamon

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup canola or other neutral-tasting veg oil

1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk

1/3 cup natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)

2 TBSP turbinado

2 TBSP raw hulled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Heat oven to 325.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Whisk together applesauce, oil, milk, and 1/3 cup sugar. Add wet to dry and mix until just combined. Batter will be thick.

Scrape batter into a nonstick 9x5 loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle pepitas evenly over the top. Repeat with turbinado. Bake 45 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Let cool 20 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Loosen sides with a plastic spatula, carefully remove from pan, and let cool completely on rack.

Comment

Comment

Black Bean-Pineapple Salad with a Spiced Lime Vinaigrette

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

If you're itching for fresh-tasting meals and snacks that sing of warmer weather, come sit by me. We may still be many weeks away from the perfectly ripe, colorful, and unbelievably flavorful produce that is one of the great joys of spring and summer, but we can make this work. Produce from the super-grocer may not have that brain-tingling flavor, but it is crisp, juicy, and undeniably pretty. And smoothing over life's imperfections is what your spice rack is for.

Grab a can of hearty black beans and a generous scoop of sweet-tart pineapple chunks. Chop a red pepper and a cucumber along with some cilantro. Whisk together a simple dressing of olive oil and lime juice spiced up with cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and a little chipotle powder. Take a taste and know at once that you'll be making this blissfully sweet and savory salad again and again.

Serve it like a salsa with chips (taro, tortilla, pita, or whatever you're craving). If you're feeling froggy, add a little minced jalapeno or serrano pepper.

Or spoon it over toast with mashed avocado or a garlic-spiked bean spread for extra protein. (The light and sweet nature of this works great with earthy multi-grain or whole-wheat bread varieties.) Or eat it by the spoonful. That works, too.

Black Bean-Pineapple Salad with a Spiced Lime Vinaigrette

Print the recipe

serves 2-4

1 15-oz can black beans

1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple chunks, thawed

1 small-medium red bell pepper

1 small-medium cucumber

1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1 TBSP lime juice

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp chipotle powder

1/8 tsp ground coriander

1/8 tsp ground cumin

Drain beans and rinse well in a sieve. Set aside to let drain thoroughly.

Meanwhile, chop pineapple chunks into smaller chunks (app. 1/2 inch pieces) and transfer to a serving or mixing bowl. Trim, seed, and chop pepper into scant 1/2-inch dice and add to bowl. Seed cucumber and chop into scant 1/2-inch dice and add to bowl. Chop cilantro and add to bowl. Add beans to bowl.

Whisk together oil, lime, and all spices until thoroughly combined. Pour over salad and toss well. Serve.

Comment

Comment

Dead Simple Tempeh Salad Sandwich (with Artichoke Hearts and Kalamata Olives)

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

This one's for the tempeh lovers. If you're on the fence about tempeh, or only like it in certain sauces, skip this one. The rest of you, dive into a pile of simply spiced tempeh on your favorite sandwich roll. (Pictured here are small dinner rolls that make pretty adorable sandwiches.)

You'll turn to the convenience of frozen artichoke hearts to add a light vegetal quality to the nutty tempeh and give those both a shot of salt from Kalamata olives. Top with avocado for satiety and creaminess, plus a little lettuce for texture and freshness. Easy, simple, and good. It's nice on a sandwich roll (but a touch messy—like a sloppy Joe without the brutal stain potential), but if you prefer to spoon it atop salad greens, have at it.

Dead Simple Tempeh Salad Sandwich (with Artichoke Hearts and Kalamata Olives)

Print the recipe

serves 2

8 oz tempeh

1/4 cup finely chopped artichoke hearts (frozen preferred; rinsed, if using canned/jarred)

1/4 cup roughly chopped pitted Kalamata olives

1 TBSP olive oil

1/2 tsp sweet (Hungarian) paprika

fine salt or kosher salt

sandwich rolls of choice

flesh of half of one large avocado, sliced

tender lettuce leaves

lemon wedges

Steam tempeh 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the artichoke hearts and olives. Add both to a mixing bowl with oil, paprika, and a pinch of salt.

Carefully transfer tempeh to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch dice. Add to mixing bowl. Use a fork to roughly mash and stir salad until combined and still a bit chunky.

To serve, place a lettuce leaf on the bottom half of a roll. Top with salad and avocado slices. Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon. Sandwich and serve.

Comment

Comment

Seared Tofu and Sunny Roasted Pepper-Coconut Sauce (Make the Plate)

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Think about your favorite really simple plates. Those vegetable hashes or sautés, the veg mélange you toss in the oven to roast, or the pot of greens and beans you pull out of the slow cooker after a long day. Now think about making them even better with 10-minute tofu and a creamy sauce the color of happiness. Together, they add light, chewy protein and a shot of richness. Let's go to work.

Up top is a mix of pinto beans and sweet potatoes spiced with cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika, then roasted together in a little oil. The roasting method works well if you don't have the tofu and sauce already made. You can work on those while the base roasts without any attention from you at all. Dinner is served, and now you've got your tofu and sauce to tuck in the fridge for another day.

Because tofu is wildly forgiving. True, you'll never get that lovely sear back after you've chilled it, but mostly, tofu stores like a champ. Then again, it takes only 10 minutes from start to finish, so it can be whipped up in a snap on any given day if you want it freshly made each time. Do what works best for your schedule.

The nicest effect with this combination really might be toast:

Start with a nice loaf (that's rye in the photos).

Then quickly cook some spinach or other tender green with a little smoked salt or garam masala. (If tomatoes are in season, let them in on the action, too.)

Top with the tofu and sauce, and you're set.

Now, a couple tips. First, cooking tofu on the hot stove top is a really great fuss-free way to get satisfying tofu anytime. It isn't as forgiving as baking (you can actually burn it on the stove, whereas tofu never seems to tire of hanging out in a warm oven), but it provides a great exterior chew while preserving tenderness on the inside. Folks in the States can spend a lot of time trying to make tofu drier, which can be tasty (tofu jerky!), but if you haven't tried embracing tofu's silkier side, you may find you've been missing out. You might decide some of the softer firm varieties out there (brands vary—no two "firm" or "extra-firm" tofus are exactly alike) give great results.

Second, for the sauce, orange bell pepper produces the boldest hue, but a yellow pepper will do fine if that's what's available. It still tastes great over stewed collards (or other sturdy greens) and black eyed peas (or whatever legume you're in the mood for).

It works over waffled hash browns:

seared tofu and sunny coconut-roasted pepper sauce over waffled hash browns.jpg

It works over green beans cooked in a little olive oil (or pesto or, as here, arugula relish) and garnished with toasted almonds:

It works on giant bagelwiches. It just plain works.

Seared Tofu

Print the recipes

serves 4

14-16 oz firm or extra-firm tofu, drained

2 TBSP nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Heat a large nonstick griddle over medium-high heat (see Note below). Meanwhile, with the tofu in landscape position (long end toward you), cut into 8 even slices. When the skillet is hot, carefully add the tofu in a single layer, without touching. Whisk together nutritional yeast and salt, sprinkle over tofu, and let cook, undisturbed, five minutes. Flip tofu (the underside should now be golden) and cook another four minutes, until golden.

Note: you can also use a large nonstick skillet, but you'll likely need to work in two batches, reducing the heat to medium for the second batch to avoid burning.

Sunny Roasted Pepper-Coconut Sauce

yields app. 1 1/2 cups

1 large (or 2 small) orange (or yellow) bell pepper

1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp hot sauce, such as Valentina or Cholula

Heat oven broiler with a rack in the top position. Trim, halve, and seed the pepper. Place cut-side down on the rack and broil until blistered and blackened, 10-15 minutes, checking frequently after 10 minutes. (If needed, prop the oven door open slightly to keep the broiler from turning off.)

Meanwhile, add all other ingredients to a wide-mouth jar. When the pepper is ready, carefully transfer to the jar. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth, about 20 seconds (see Note below). Let cool a bit before using, or let cool completely before refrigerating. To use leftovers, gently warm only the desired portion.

Note: blending with an immersion blender with the skin on will add the flavor of the slightly charred skin to the sauce, while any tough skin will be caught by the circulation notches in the blender wand. If you need to use a food processor (or your immersion blender does not have circulation notches), you may want to strain the sauce if the texture is not smooth enough for your tastes.

Comment

Comment

Arugula Relish (with Capers, Dijon, and Balsamic Vinegar)

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Next time you're looking for a way to put your extra pile of peppery arugula to work, make this condiment. It adds a shot of spice and chlorophyll to any dish along with a little depth and plenty of salt thanks to lots of capers and a little Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar.

Spread a thin layer on toast, toss a bit with cooked veg, or, naturally, hit a simple seared tofu sandwich with a good helping. Having this in your fridge makes for great, fast savory breakfasts that provide serious satiety.

Arugula Relish (with Capers, Dijon Mustard, and Balsamic Vinegar)

Print the recipe

yields about 3/4 cup

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 small clove garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

2 tsp Dijon-style mustard

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 packed cups arugula leaves

2 TBSP drained capers

Add oil, crushed garlic, black pepper, mustard, and vinegar to a bowl. Whisk until emulsified. Set aside and let the garlic steep five (or so) minutes while you prepare the arugula.

Add arugula leaves to a food processor and pulse until broken into small pieces. Add capers and pulse to incorporate. Discard garlic clove from dressing. Add dressing to processor and process until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Comment

Comment

Dead Simple Five-Layer Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

dead simple five-layer chickpea salad sandwich ingredients.jpg

Today, we lunch. This fuss-free sandwich combines the convenience of pantry items with a generous heap of fresh ingredients to make one breezy little dreamboat of a meal. It all starts with chickpeas mashed with a simple mix of parsley, lemon, and olive oil. (If you're in an even bigger hurry, grab a can of white beans instead, which will mash readily with a fork—you'll lose a touch of texture, but whatever works.)

Next, add avocado for creamy texture and richness that balances all the lighter elements you're piling on. Finish the whole thing with convenient jarred roasted red pepper, a few slices of crispy cucumber, and a shot of grassy, fragrant chives. Season, sandwich, grill, and devour.

Grilling isn't strictly necessary, but the pressure really boosts cohesion, and the toasted bread adds welcome texture. Speaking of bread and texture, be sure to choose a nice, thick, hearty loaf that will stand up to your filling (and grilling). This guy will also make a great picnic sandwich served on baguette—see the note in the recipe below.

Dead Simple Five-Layer Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Print the recipe

yields 4 sandwiches

For the filling:

1 cup drained canned chickpeas

1 large (or 2 small) roasted red bell pepper (drained if using jarred)

1/4 oz chives

1 small-medium cucumber

flesh of 1 ripe avocado

juice of 1/2 lemon, divided

fine sea or kosher salt

1/4 cup fresh parsley, large stems discarded

1 TBSP olive oil

To assemble:

8 slices hearty bread

fine sea or kosher salt

freshly cracked black pepper

dried oregano

Rinse the chickpeas in a sieve and set aside to let drain thoroughly.

Meanwhile, cut pepper into 1/2-inch-thick strips and set aside. Finely chop chives and set aside. Thinly slice cucumber and set aside.

Use a fork to mash avocado with 1 tsp lemon juice and a generous pinch salt. Set aside.

Chop parsley leaves so that no large leaves remain. Use a potato masher to mash chickpeas, parsley, olive oil, generous pinch salt, and 1 TBSP lemon juice until chickpeas are broken up.

Heat a closing countertop electric grill. To assemble one sandwich, take two slices bread. Add one-quarter of the chickpea salad to one slice and one-quarter of mashed avocado to the other slice. Atop the chickpeas, add pepper slices, chives, and cucumber slices. Sprinkle a generous pinch each salt, pepper, and dried oregano over the mashed avocado. Sandwich, grill until browned (about three minutes), and serve immediately. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Picnic Variation: Assemble sandwiches using baguette. Do not grill. Wrap each snugly in parchment paper. Stored this way, sandwiches will keep well for 2-3 hours.

Comment

Comment

Baked White Bean, Artichoke, and Red Pepper Spread

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

This lovely spread is a great way to add a breezy dose of brightness to the table in the depths of winter.

The name of the game here is convenient nutrition wrapped in a moderate amount of comfort. Start with a can of white beans and give it a shot of richness through almond flour. Then turn to a jar of roasted red peppers and a bag of frozen artichoke hearts to infuse those mild, creamy ingredients with sweet and zippy veg. Finished off with a little lemon and garlic, you have a winner that's great on everything. 

Baking combines the flavors and helps the base get nice and creamy, but the spread doesn't have to be eaten warm. This recipe makes a good amount, so feel free to toss your leftovers in the fridge and know you've got an irresistible chilled spread ready for crackers, crostini, sandwiches, or whatever. (If you try it tossed with pasta for a no-sweat cold pasta salad, let everyone know how it goes in the comments.)

Baked White Bean, Artichoke, and Red Pepper Spread

Print the recipe

serves 6-8 as an appetizer

12 oz frozen artichoke hearts, thawed

1/2 roasted red bell pepper (jarred or freshly roasted)

1 clove garlic

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/8 tsp ground cayenne

generous pinch freshly cracked black pepper

2 TBSP, plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided

1 15-oz can cannellini beans

1/2 cup blanched almond flour

Heat oven to 375.

In a food processor, combine thawed artichoke hearts, red pepper, garlic, lemon juice, salt, oregano, black pepper, and cayenne. Pulse until well chopped. Drizzle in 2 TBSP olive oil with the motor running and pulse until a bit broken down, but still chunky. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Drain beans (do not rinse) and add them to the processor with the almond flour. Process until smooth. Stir into artichoke mixture until thoroughly combined. Adjust lemon and salt, if needed. Divide between two 5-inch ramekins. Drizzle 1 tsp oil over each and bake 30 minutes, until golden. Let cool a bit before serving warm, or let cool completely before refrigerating and serving chilled.

Comment

Comment

Roasted Tempeh, Green Bean, and Orange Salad with Tahini Dressing

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

This is how you make a winner of a dinner salad on any given weeknight: bake a block of tempeh in a maple-tamari-Dijon glaze, toss in tender, convenient frozen green beans, and infuse the whole thing with fragrant orange slices. Toss some salad greens in a dead-simple tahini dressing, and you have a meal-sized green salad fit for bitterly cold winter days. While you're at it, feel free to make a double-batch of dressing to keep on hand for the rest of the week. It seriously comes in handy.

This salad is a particularly good argument for trying tempeh (or other unfamiliar foods) in context. Tempeh is famously earthy, deeply nutty, and apparently not for everyone. You can smother it in sauce to play down its distinct flavors (Frank's Red Hot, anyone?), but don't forget to try finding satisfaction in balancing those earthy characteristics with a gentler touch. You'll find the glazed tempeh here still tastes like tempeh, but the maple and other seasonings begin to smooth out the edges. A forkful of roasted veg and dressed greens—all gently scented with sweet orange—pair beautifully with the finished product.

Keep in mind that while baking the garnishes takes a bit of time, there's very little effort that goes into this lovely dish. You'll take your knife to a block of tempeh and an orange, but if you use frozen green beans and pre-washed salad mix, that's as tough as it gets. While the tempeh roasts, you'll whisk together the dressing and quickly toast some sesame seeds with plenty of time left to clean up. Then there's little left to do but open a bottle of wine, put your feet up, and wait for the timer to chime. Dress your greens, and dig in.

Roasted Tempeh, Green Bean, and Orange Salad with Tahini Dressing

Print the recipe

serves 2

1 medium-large orange, cut into 1/2-inch-thick half moons (discard ends)

2 handfuls frozen thin green beans

1 TBSP olive oil

pinch salt

a crack or two of black pepper, to taste

8 oz tempeh, cut into 1-inch dice

1 TBSP maple syrup (grade B preferred)

2 tsp reduced-sodium tamari

2 tsp Dijon-style mustard

1 TBSP sesame seeds

2 TBSP tahini

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 TBSP water

1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1/8 tsp garlic powder

5 oz spring mix or tender lettuce

Heat oven to 400. Line a roasting dish with parchment.

Add orange, green beans, 1 TBSP oil, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl. Toss to coat and transfer to prepared dish, leaving one-third of the space open for the tempeh.

Whisk together maple, tamari, and mustard. Add tempeh to the mixing bowl with half of the glaze. Toss to coat thoroughly and transfer to prepared dish. Roast 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, dry toast sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, tossing frequently, until fragrant. Transfer to a plate to let cool.

In a bowl, whisk together tahini, 2 TBSP oil, lemon juice, water, salt, and garlic powder. Set aside. Add salad greens to a clean mixing bowl.

After the first 20 minutes, give the green beans and oranges a gentle toss, then toss the tempeh. Drizzle remaining glaze over tempeh and bake another 20 minutes.

When tempeh is done, toss salad greens with the dressing and divide between two serving dishes. Top each dish with half the tempeh and green bean-orange mix. Top each with half the toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Comment

Comment

Sweet & Savory Carrot Crostini with Vegan Molasses-Maple Ricotta

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Don't wait for a special occasion to make these little guys. They're only slightly fussy, but really beautiful, and you're totally worth it.

These crostini count on the lovely, mild, salty Kite Hill ricotta for the base. You'll season that with molasses and maple syrup for an earthy sweetness. (A double batch will yield enough for the crostini and plenty left over to use as filling for cinnamon rolls. Just sayin'.) The ricotta is pricey stuff, but you'll balance that out by using the widest-available—and therefore most affordable—root veggies for your topping.

Those diced carrots and thinly sliced onion are roasted in a touch of spicy mustard and tamari. Neither salty condiment will be assertive in the finished product, but they provide subtle balance to the natural sweetness you'll pull out of the veg so that the whole bite has some depth.

Plus, what doesn't taste great on toasted baguette?

Sweet & Savory Carrot Crostini with Vegan Molasses-Maple Ricotta

Print the recipe

yields about 12 crostini

2-3 carrots (6 oz total weight), peeled, trimmed, and cut into small 1/4-inch dice

1/2 small (or 1/4 large) onion, very thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup slices)

1 TBSP whole grain Dijon-style mustard (or plain stone-ground mustard)

1 tsp reduced-sodium tamari

4 oz Kite Hill ricotta

1 1/2 tsp molasses

1 tsp maple syrup (grade B preferred)

12 generous half-inch-thick baguette slices (from about half a baguette)

Heat oven to 400.

Toss carrots and onion with mustard and tamari. Cook 30 minutes, tossing after 15, until onions are golden and carrots are tender.

Meanwhile, use a mixer to beat the ricotta with the molasses and maple syrup for two minutes, until well combined and fluffed a bit, stopping halfway to scrape down the bowl. Set aside.

When the carrots and onions are done, transfer them to a dish to let cool a bit. Switch to the oven's broiler and toast the baguette slices on one side until golden, watching carefully to avoid burning. Let cool on a rack.

Divide filling evenly among the toasted bread slices (use a generous dollop of ricotta for each, but you may still have a bit left over, depending on the width of your baguette) and serve at room temperature.

Comment

Comment

Party Animals No. 41: Dijon Chickpea Crumble

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Do you like the sound of unfussy dinners that combine hearty chickpeas, thin green beans, fragrant dill, and a crispy topping? Seasoned with tangy dijon mustard? If so, today is your day.

Saucy and comforting, this one's not only a total no-brainer for weeknight dinners but is also flavorful enough to serve friends at a casual dinner. This was even the main dish at the tiny MSV family xmas-eve lunch with a salad of lightly dressed orange segments with pistachios, plus salad greens in a creamy dressing and savory nut crumble.

Basically, food is solved.

Note that there's a generous dose of mustard in this. If you use an especially strong or whole-grain variety, consider reducing the called-for quantity by a third.

Dijon Chickpea Crumble

Print the recipe

serves 4-6, adapted from Savory Baking

For the filling:

1 15-oz can chickpeas

1 TBSP olive oil

1 small onion, minced

1 medium-large celery stalk, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1 handful frozen thin green beans

1 1/2 cups almond milk

3 TBSP Dijon-style mustard

2 TBSP corn starch

1 TBSP natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)

1/4 tsp ground white pepper

For the topping:

3/4 cup panko crumbs

1 tsp dried dill

1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

2 TBSP olive oil

Heat oven to 375. Drain and rinse chickpeas in a sieve. Set aside to let drain thoroughly.

Heat 1 TBSP oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until celery begins to soften and the onion liquid is starting to evaporate, about three minutes.

Add chickpeas and green beans. Cook additional two minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the green beans have lost their frozen look.

Whisk together almond milk, corn starch, mustard, sugar, and white pepper. Add to skillet. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to medium to maintain a strong simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until thickened, 5-7 minutes. You're looking for the mixture to turn from soupy to saucy.

While the filling reduces, whisk together the crumbs, dill, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add oil and mix with a fork until all crumbs are thoroughly coated and the mixture is sandy.

When the skillet is ready, remove from heat. Carefully transfer contents to a medium baking dish, top with the bread crumbs, and bake until bubbly and golden on top, about 20 minutes. If needed, toast the crumbs further with the broiler for a minute or two at the end. Serve hot.

Comment

4 Comments

The Basics No. 2: A Batch of Burritos

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Another new year, another basics post (last year's is here). They feel good right as the calendar turns.

Fresh meals are great, but there's serious value in having a small stack of burritos tucked into the freezer for effortless meals at any time of the day. These are made with pillowy potato, fluffy seared tofu, creamy avocado, and seriously spiced pinto beans. They're filling enough for lunch or dinner, but their convenience works especially nicely for breakfast, since savory breakfasts tend to take a little more effort than sweeter grain-based ones.

Any meal you choose, this is a session of batch cooking that really pays off. There are a few items to prepare separately, so it's wise to wait until you're in the mood to cook to put these together. Even so, there are no advanced moves here, and you'll simply cook the tofu and beans in shifts while the potatoes take care of themselves in the oven—read through the recipe before beginning to anticipate a little multitasking that really helps. Roll them up, bake them off, and eat breezily for days.

Tofu, Potato, and Pinto Bean Burritos

Print the recipe

yields 8 burritos

3 cups frozen hash browns (look for a brand that contains nothing but potatoes)

salt

1 15-oz can pinto beans

2 TBSP olive oil, divided

14-16 oz firm tofu

1 TBSP nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp garlic salt

black pepper

1/2 cup vegetable broth (not tomato-based)

1 TBSP reduced-sodium tamari

1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

1 TBSP maple syrup (grade B preferred)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp applewood smoked salt (or fine sea or kosher salt)

3/4 tsp ground cumin

8 10-inch flour tortillas

1 avocado, pitted

to serve, salsa of choice

Heat oven to 350. Spread hash browns over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle lightly with salt and bake until browning around the edges of the pan, 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain and rinse beans in a fine sieve. Set aside to let drain thoroughly. Drain tofu. Heat one tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble the tofu roughly through your fingers into the pan. Spread into roughly one layer. Top with nutritional yeast, oregano, garlic salt, and a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper, to taste. Let cook, undisturbed, five minutes. (While the tofu cooks, measure out the spices for the beans into a small bowl.) Toss. Let cook another three minutes, undisturbed. Toss and cook another two minutes. Toss and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the same skillet. Carefully—the skillet will be quite hot—add beans, broth, tamari, vinegar, maple syrup, paprika, smoked salt, and cumin. Let cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has cooked off, 5-7 minutes. While the beans cook, use a sharp knife to cut the flesh of each avocado half into eighths. Scoop the slices from the skin with a spoon and set aside on a small plate for assembly. When the potatoes are done, move the parchment off the baking sheet (you'll use it to bake the burritos now) and onto your assembly work counter.

Increase oven temperature to 375. To assemble, heat tortillas (microwave works quickly for this, if you have one). Assemble using about a scant quarter-cup potato, one-quarter cup tofu, a generous tablespoon of pinto beans, and two slices of avocado for each burrito. Roll up and place seam-down on the baking sheet. Bake until crisped and beginning to brown at the edges, about 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve with salsa.

4 Comments

Comment

Party Animals No. 40: Coffee Liqueur Chocolate Cake & Coffee Vegan Nog

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Now that Knox Whiskey Works is up and distilling right in the heart of cool-weather party season, who could resist grabbing a bottle of KWW coffee liqueur and pouring it in everything?

Setting aside for a moment all of the simpler, entirely tempting ways you might start drizzling this into your merry-making pie-hole, first we bake. (In a moment, we drink.)

Meet the new fruit cake. Prunes, a little brandy, and a good dose of apricot preserves up top contrast a pleasantly bitter chocolate cake. The coffee liqueur is loaded in in the cake and makes the powdered cocoa taste deep and rich without the hassle of melting chocolate bars. Talk about dreamy.

Coffee Liqueur Chocolate Cake with Brandied Prune-Apricot Glaze

Print the recipe

serves 8-10, adapted from Bakecetera

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (measure by spooning in and leveling off, not scooping)

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)

3/4 cup coffee liqueur

1/2 cup apple sauce

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 TBSP apple cider vinegar

For the Brandied Prune-Apricot Glaze:

1/2 cup prunes, quartered

1/4 cup water

2 TBSP brandy

1/2 cup apricot preserves (reduced-sugar, if available)

Heat oven to 350.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Separately, whisk together sugar, liqueur, apple sauce, oil, and vinegar. Add wet ingredients to dry. Whisk until just combined, then give another half-dozen stirs with the whisk to smooth it out a bit.

Spread batter into a 9-inch nonstick springform pan (or a greased and cocoa-dusted cake pan). Bake 30-32 minutes, until a tester placed into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the pan's sides and run a thin spatula between the bottom of the cake and the bottom piece of the pan. Remove cake and let cool completely on a wire rack.

When the cake is cool, prepare the glaze. Combine prunes, water, and brandy in a small pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the prunes are very soft and most of the liquid has cooked off, leaving behind a thin syrup. Remove from heat and stir in apricot preserves. Continue to stir for a minute to let the heat loosen the preserves. Spread glaze over cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Next, a stab at vegan nog, made by someone totally ignorant about traditional 'nog (i.e. this lady). But parties call, and when some pals invited us over for a 'nog-themed gathering—and what with this new bottle of coffee liqueur still lounging alluringly on the kitchen counter—it felt sad to show up empty-handed. This concoction is thick, fluffy, boozy, nutty, and entirely inauthentic. Plus, totally tasty.

Coffee-Coconut Nog

Print the recipe

yields about a quart

generous 6 oz silken tofu (half an aseptic pack)

1/4 cup natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)

12 oz full-fat canned coconut milk

4 oz unsweetened soy milk

4 oz brandy

3 oz coffee liqueur

3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

In a large pitcher, blend all ingredients with an immersion blender until smooth. Chill at least eight hours before serving (preferably 12-24), sprinkled with additional freshly grated nutmeg.

_________________________________________________________

Merry Happy to anyone celebrating this week. Just one last recipe to go for 2015.

Comment

Comment

Cinnamon Shortbread

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

Today, a classic, elegant little cookie: a crisp, light treat that shatters pleasingly under the tooth and is filled with warming cinnamon. They're great served with ice cream, dipped in chocolate, or nibbled all alone. Keep them for yourself or load them in jars as gifts.

Cinnamon Shortbread

Print the recipe

yields about 40 small cookies

1/2 cup nondairy butter

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup all-purpose flour (measure by spooning in and leveling off, not scooping)

Cream the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt until smooth, pausing to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed if using a stand mixer. Add flour. Mix until fully combined and the dough begins to come together. Form into a rough log with your hands and transfer to a piece of parchment. Shape into a 10x2-inch rectangle. Roll up in the parchment and chill one hour.

Heat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Use a sharp knife to cut the chilled dough into 1/4-inch slices. Working quickly, lay cookies on the lined baking sheet. Bake on the center rack until firm and browned, 17-19 minutes. Let cool one minute, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Comment

Comment

Eggplant and Tomato Crisp

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

This one owes a big debt to Savory Baking, where it's listed as a side dish with a couple of tweaks. Here, little more than a can of tomatoes and some pantry items become dinner once you realize that a dead-simple toasted topping gives you most of the satisfaction of eggplant marinara without the hassle of breading individual slices. Savory crumbles and crisps are bound to become a theme here this winter.

Eggplant makes for a truly classic-feeling dish with very little effort, but below you'll find two variations that offer more protein. One features big, creamy butter beans; the other, fabulously convenient smoked tofu—both are a breeze to assemble and satisfying to munch. Do note that since you'll simmer your own sauce, it will take the better part of an hour, largely inactive, from start to finish.

Whatever version you choose, dinner just got a lot easier. The crisp benefits from being served with the simplest of salads with a richer touch. Spring mix or other tender lettuce tossed with a tahini-soy-garlic dressing and savory nut crumble is just the thing. (This is a good time to remind everyone to make a full batch of that crumble regularly—it elevates a minimal salad like an absolute dream.) Offer a baguette, and done.

Eggplant and Tomato Crisp

Print the recipe

serves 4-6, adapted from Savory Baking

For the filling:

1 28-oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 TBSP drained capers

2 TBSP pepperoncini (or pickled banana peppers for the heat-averse), finely chopped

1 TBSP natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 small globe eggplant

For the topping:

1/3 cup panko crumbs

1/4 cup rolled oats

2 TBSP nutritional yeast

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried rubbed sage

1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

Combine all filling, except eggplant, in a covered pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-medium-low to maintain a steady simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, combine all topping ingredients, except olive oil, in a small mixing bowl. Stir to mix well. Add oil and work it in with a fork until the mixture is fully coated and sandy. Set aside.

Trim eggplant. Beginning at the narrow end, slice nine half-inch rounds from the eggplant. (Save any remaining eggplant for another purpose.)

When the sauce is done, heat oven to 350. Heat a countertop electric grill (or stovetop griddle).

Grill eggplant slices with the lid closed until just tender with sear marks, 4-5 minutes. (For the griddle, cook a couple of minutes per side.)

Carefully place the eggplant in a snug single layer in an 8x8 pan. Pour the sauce over. Crumble the topping evenly on top. Bake until bubbling and the top has browned, 15-20 minutes.

Variations: In place of grilled eggplant, substitute a 15-oz can of butter beans, rinsed and well drained or eight ounces of smoked tofu squares, cut into half-inch-thick slabs.

Comment

Comment

Phyllo Cigars with Cream Cheese, Scallions, and Savory Nut Crumble

Hey, welcome. Consider following MSV on Twitter and subscribing to the RSS feed, or sign up for email updates right over here.

The party season needs party food. Time to get a little bit fussy and put together some seriously satisfying finger food featuring irresistibly thin and flaky phyllo, dreamy nondairy cream cheese, gently sharp spring onions, and a sprinkling of MSV's own savory nut crumble for a boost in richness and depth of flavor.

For convenience and to reduce the cost a bit, these are rolled with the scallion tops in the center to add a little something green and roasted-tasting. If you're in the mood to splurge and want a little more bite, try substituting tender asparagus tips, thin broccolini stalks, or thin green beans instead.

Phyllo Cigars with Cream Cheese, Scallions, and Savory Nut Crumble

Print the recipe

yields 12 cigars

For the Savory Nut Crumble (half-batch):

2 TBSP raw almonds

2 TBSP raw walnuts

1 TBSP nutritional yeast

zest of 1/4 lemon

1/8 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

For the filling:

8 oz nondairy cream cheese, Kite Hill recommended

5 scallions

To assemble:

10 sheets frozen phyllo, thawed

3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

Heat oven to 375.

Add all nut crumble ingredients to a small food processor and process to fine crumbs. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Wipe out processor. Trim the scallions and add the white parts only along with the cream cheese to the processor. Process until very creamy and scallion is pureed into the cheese. (This will also make your cream cheese easier to spread onto the phyllo. If you don't have a processor, be sure to beat the cream cheese well before assembly.)

Trim scallion tops into three-inch pieces (you'll need only twelve, though you may end up with more—save the tender green portions for another use).

Place all 10 phyllo sheets in a stack and cut them into 3x3-inch squares. You should get six squares per sheet—you won't need them all, but it helps to have extras with phyllo as insurance. Discard scraps and stack all squares into one stack—this will help keep them from drying out while you work.

To assemble, brush one square with oil and place another square on top. Brush the second square with oil and place a third square on top. Spread on a scant tablespoon of cream cheese, leaving a half-inch border. Focus and work quickly—the spreading of the cream cheese does not need to be neat or precisely even. Sprinkle a teaspoon of nut crumble on top. Slice a scallion top into thirds and lay across the bottom edge of the cream cheese. Roll up, place seam-down on a baking sheet, and brush the top and sides with a little oil. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Bake 23-25 minutes, until golden. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Comment