Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vegan Duck a l'Orange

Vegan Duck a l'Orange
The French have a world all their own when it comes to food. It is romantic, elegant, beautiful, and delish. There are many dishes to choose from but when I think of a French dishes, my mind goes to Duck and the well known orange flavored sauce that accompanies it. This recipe shows that not only can vegan food be delish but it can match the original and give it a run for its money. This dish pairs nicely with spring veggies that have been roasted and garnished with its supremed slices to make a beautiful plate. This recipe will impress and wow any French foodie. Enjoy!

Vegan Duck a l'Orange

Ingredients

-1/4 cup sugar
-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
-2 teaspoons orange zest
-1 cup fresh orange juice, plus 1 orange, supremed
-1 cup vegan chicken broth (I used Better Than Bouillon)
-1 shallot, minced (2 tablespoons) or 1 Tbsp minced dried onion flakes
-2 cans vegan duck pieces, chunked to bite size (Companion Brand)
-Salt, to taste
-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
-2 to 3 teaspoons finely minced parsley, fresh or dried 

Directions

Place sugar in a medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. As sugar begins to melt, carefully use a fork or whisk to gently stir sugar from edges to center of pan to melt. Continue stirring until the sugar has completely melted and the sugar has turned to a deep amber color. DO NOT BURN, it will taste bitter. 

TIP 1: Before adding other ingredients, careful cool a little caramel on a spoon and taste to ensure you haven't burnt it. BE CAREFUL!!!
Completed Caramel
NO Darker (Will be Bitter)
Remove caramel from heat and carefully stir in vinegar, orange zest and juice, chicken broth, and shallot. The caramel will seize up on the bottom and harden at first, don't worry. Keep stirring and it will smooth out. 

Seasoning in Sauce
Return to medium-high heat and boil, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a thick sauce, 20 to 25 minutes. Once the sauce is done, it will be ready for the duck. You can store it over night to use when you want, it does seem to taste better over time. Great make ahead or eat as is, gotta love choices. 

Reducing Sauce
Once sauce is done, chunk vegan duck pieces. Season the pieces with a little salt, fresh black pepper, and parsley. 

Vegan Duck
Vegan Duck Pieces & Seasoned
Place vegan duck, in a lightly oiled medium skillet over medium-high heat. 

Sauteing Vegan Duck
Cook until pieces are golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes, Continuously stirring.

Browned Vegan Duck
Once vegan duck pieces have browned, add your sauce to the pan and saute for 3 to 5 minutes to glaze and heat sauce threw. 
Duck with Added Sauce
Once cooked, you can add the orange supremes to sauce or place on top of the sauce that has coated the duck just before serving. Serve with sides that pair nicely along side the french inspired dish. Roasted veggies such as asparagus or carrots are nice along side a starch (roasted potatoes or wild rice) with Vegan Duck a l'Orange.
Completed Vegan Duck a l'Orange
Tip 2: If you are curious to where to find the vegan duck, you can find it at most Oriental/Asian Markets. If you have one in your area you should be able to locate it and if not possibly your local supermarket may have it. If not you can locate it online in certain vegan online sites. Once you find it, you will not be disappointed. It is truly delish and they have varieties other than the duck to choose from. Happy Shopping! 

-Amy 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Vegan Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich

Vegan Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich

Grilled cheese is the epitome of comfort food. Whether you are eating it when you are sick, happy, sad, or in between it is always there to make you and your stomach smile. This recipe joins two comfort foods with a twist. A ooey gooey sandwich topped with heart toppings, with a crunchy creamy savory bite...am I making you hungry yet? This grilled cheese will not let you down in the comfort department. Pair it with your favorite sides and beverage and enjoy!

Vegan Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich


Ingredients

Pimento Cheese
-1/3 cup vegan cream cheese, room temperature
-1 cup grated vegan Daiya Cheddar cheese
-1 cup grated vegan Daiya Jack cheese
-1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (I used homemade)
-1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
-1 teaspoon finely grated onion
-2 teaspoon ground or finely minced red bell pepper (heaping)
-3 tablespoons pimentos, small minced pieces
-1 teaspoon finely grated onion
-Cracked black or white pepper (optional), to taste

Assembly & Toppings
-1 to 2 Tablespoon oil or vegan butter (1 Tbsp for 1 sandwich and so on) 
-4 Slices thick slices Italian Bread
-2 to 4 thick slices fresh tomato 
-8 slices vegan bacon or bacon seitan

Directions

Pimento Cheese
Using an food processor, blend all ingredients (except pimentos) until smooth and fluffy. Once combined for 1 to 2 minutes, lightly pulse the pimentos in for 10 to 15 seconds. Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended.

Assembly
Prep your work station with your prepared pimento cheese, seitan slices (or bacon), and sliced tomato. 

Assembly Line
Pre-toast your Italian bread in the toaster until lightly browned. Arrange 2 slices on a clean work surface. Place 2 heaping tablespoons pimento cheese evenly on the slices of bread. 

One Side Toasted Bread w/ Vegan Pimento Cheese
In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the 4 seitan slices until golden brown, once cooked remove and place onto your sandwich (pimento side) and top with 1 to 2 slices of tomato. 

Fried Seitan Slices
Seitan & Pimento Cheese
Seitan, Tomato, & Pimento Cheese
Top the other slice with a light smear of pimento cheese to help stick the sandwich to the tomato and place the sandwich in a greased skillet over medium to medium-high heat (1 Tbsp oil/butter for each sandwich) and grill until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is starting to melt, about 3 minutes. Turn the sandwiches over and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes more. Wipe the pan clean and repeat with each sandwich. 

Grilling the Sandwich
Once grilled, remove from heat and skillet and arrange on a plate with your favorite sandwich sides around the grilled cheese. Serve and enjoy! 

Finished Sandwich
-Amy 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Vegan Clam Chowder

Vegan Clam Chowder

I have to admit it...I LOVED Clam Chowder...it was always something I craved when I was a meat eater back in the day and something I think back on a lot. Clam chowder usual a staple on any good diner or restaurant menu because it is just so comforting. It is a true definition of comfort food with its rich creamy broth and hearty ingredients mixed in, you are sure to crave it over and over. This recipe is no different, it takes those same elements in clam chowder and makes it even that much more craveable. The mushrooms that replace the clams in this recipe will shock you with the texture similarities and the flavor is spot on. I particularly love this recipe for the fact that it not only could fool any chowder lover but it kicked my craving for the none vegan dish. Now with this I do not have anything to think back on. Serve with bread or crackers and a nice garden salad. Enjoy!

Vegan Clam Chowder

Ingredients


-3 Tablespoons vegan butter
-1 Tablespoons olive oil
-1 small to medium yellow onion, chopped
-2 celery stalks, diced
-2 carrots, diced
-3 cups peeled medium-diced potatoes (2 large russet potatoes)
-2 sprigs fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)
-1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
-Pinch nutmeg
-1 sheet roasted nori (seaweed used for sushi, comes in a pack with 10 sheets) 
-2 large bay leaves or 4 small bay leaves
-1 Tablespoon finely minced parsley (dried or fresh)
-2 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
-4 cups water + 1 teaspoon vegan pork bouillon
-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-4 cups full fat canned coconut milk
-2 cups chopped fresh oyster mushrooms
-1/2 cup vegan bacon, finely diced

Directions

Melt 3 tablespoons vegan butter in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, oyster mushrooms, bacon, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 more minutes. 

Chopped Oyster Mushrooms
Sauteed Veggies & Vegan Bacon
Once you have your veggies sauteed, add in your flour and mix to combine the flour and butter & oil in the the pot. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, once all your veggies are coated and flour combined/cooked out, add in your herbs (thyme, bay leaves, and parsley) for simmering.

Herbs Added to the Chowder
Add the water, nutritional yeast, and vegan pork bouillon and stir to combine. Bring the mixture up to a simmer. 
Potatoes, Water, & Seasonings Go In
Once up to a simmer, add in coconut milk and seaweed sheet and bring to a low boil. Cook for 25 to 35 minutes or until the veggies are tender. 

Coconut Milk & Seaweed Sheet Added
Once the veggies are tender and chowder has thickened, taste for salt and pepper and remove the seaweed sheet, thyme stems, and bay leaves. The seaweed sheet may break up a little but just use tongs and it will be able to pick out. Serve the chowder hot right out of the pot. Pairs great with crackers or bread and a nice garden salad. With plenty of leftovers, it makes a yummy lunch or second dinner. Enjoy!

Finished  & Thickened Chowder

-Amy

Friday, April 26, 2013

Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese


Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese
The ultimate of ultimates in comfort food is Mac & Cheese! Everyone young and old, vegan or non-vegan LOVE Mac & Cheese and are always looking for a taste of this traditional dish. I like to change up the flavors from time to time to give the traditional recipe a nice twist. This recipe gives you that rich ooey gooey texture that Mac & Cheese is supposed to have but with southern vegan pimento cheese and bacon notes. I also add a cheesy crunchy topping to just make the whole dish even cheesier and keep you coming back for more. Sure to be a new craveable recipe and a staple in your house. Enjoy! 

Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese
Ingredients
-1 cup prepared vegan pimento cheese (recipe below)
-2/3 cup full fat canned coconut milk
-1 1/2 cups grated Vegan Cheese, I used Daiya (Cheddar & Jack)
-2 Tablespoons vegan cream cheese
-1 to 2 Tablespoons vegan bacon or bacon bits, finely minced (depending on how much you want) 
-1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
-Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
-3/4 teaspoon parsley, dried or fresh (finely minced)
-2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

Topping
-1/2 cup grated vegan cheese, I used Daiya Cheddar & Jack mixed
-1/2 Tablespoon vegan parmesan
-1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs 
-Salt & Pepper, to taste
-1 1/2 Tablespoon oil or melted vegan butter 

Directions

Heat  oven to 350 Degrees

Heat a medium, dutch oven or sauce pan over medium heat. Add prepared pimento cheese and melt  down until smooth about 2 to 3 minutes. Add coconut milk that has been warm in the microwave for 2 minutes, continuing to whisk while adding. Gently bring cheese and coconut milk mixture to a light bubble while stirring frequently. Allow the mixture to combine, then stir in the vegan cream cheese and whisk to combine. Season sauce with nutritional yeast and salt &pepper. Whisk in and taste and adjust for seasoning. Set aside and add pasta when its ready.

Vegan Pimento Cheese Sauce for Mac & Cheese
In a pot, cook your elbow pasta 8 minutes or to al dente, with a little bite. Drain and set aside to add to cheese sauce when done. (Do NOT rinse you pasta, you want that starch to stick to the sauce)

Add cooked pasta and shredded cheese to the sauce and coat completely mixing into the cheese sauce. 

Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese being mixed
Once pasta is mixed with the cheese, add your minced bacon pieces and combine. 

Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese Mixed
Topping
In a small bowl combine the vegan cheese, vegan Parmesan, nutritional yeast, panko bread crumbs, parsley, salt & pepper, lightly mix ingredients until cheese is separated and mixture is combined. Add Oil and mix again until everything is coated.

Assembly
Transfer mac and cheese into a baking dish and top with vegan cheese and bread crumb topping.

Pre-Baked Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese
Pre-Baked Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese
Place baking sheet in a 375 Degree oven for 20 minutes or until panko crumbs lightly brown and cheese melts.
Baked Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese
Baked Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese
Take out of the oven and let cool until ready to serve, serve with salad or your favorite vegan proteins. Enjoy!


\Vegan Pimento Cheese Recipe

Ingredients

-1/3 cup vegan cream cheese, room temperature
-1 cup grated vegan Daiya Cheddar cheese
-1 cup grated vegan Daiya  Jack cheese
-1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (I used homemade)
-1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
-1 teaspoon finely grated onion
-2 teaspoon ground or finely minced red bell pepper (heaping)
-3 tablespoons pimentos, small minced pieces
-1 teaspoon finely grated onion
-Cracked black or white pepper (optional), to taste

Directions

Using an food processor, blend all ingredients (except pimentos) until smooth and fluffy. Once combined for 1 to 2 minutes, lightly pulse the pimentos in for 10 to 15 seconds. Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended. 

-Amy 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fudge Brownies (Little Debbie Inspired)


Growing up most of us had a snack item in our lunches and it was always the best end or even beginning to our meal. We looked forward to that treat and crossed our fingers that mom or dad didn't forget it. Little Debbie is the queen of snack items, there is a vast variety to choose from and something for everyone to enjoy. When I wanted that snacking surprise in my lunch, I confess that the Fudge Brownies were my FAVORITE! They were perfectly chocolaty, moist, and had the illusion of nuts on top...for a choco-holic, perfect. This recipe shows that our childhood favorites can be made into comforting vegan treats as well. With a rich ganache topping twist and indulgent fudgey brownie, this snack treat makes for a perfect ending to your or your kiddos lunch. Completely craveable, serve with your lunch or a big glass of vegan milk and enjoy!

Fudge Brownies 
(Little Debbie Inspired)

Ingredients

Brownies
-1 cup flour 
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 cup sugar 
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup firm tofu
-1/2 cup applesauce
-1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon oil (of your choice)
-1/4 cup vegan milk
-2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ganache
-8 oz vegan chocolate, chopped or chips
-1/2 cup coconut or vegan milk (full fat, canned coconut milk)
-1/2 Tablespoons vegan butter
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 Tablespoon corn syrup
-Pinch salt

Topping
-1/8 cup chopped walnuts, minced

Directions

Heat Oven to 325 Degrees

Brownies
Combine all your brownie ingredients (except the flour) in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Pour in flour and on a low or dough speed until combined together. 

Brownie Batter
Once you have the brownie batter, pour into 8×8 baking pan that has been greased well and cook for 15-20 minutes. 

Baking Brownies
Let them cool in pan until ready to handle and cut into 6 brownie bars or 12 small brownie squares. For appearance sake you can make the portion line between the large bar to create the appearance of two servings with a knife. (Just make a lightly indented line with a butter knife, optional)

Topping
In a small saucepan, heat the all the ganache ingredients over medium heat just until it boils. Immediately turn off the heat once melted. Whisk until melted and smooth. Set aside and keep warm. The glaze can be made up to 48 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, and rewarm in a microwave or over hot water when ready to use. 
Ganache
Assembly
Dip the tops of the brownies in the warm chocolate glaze and set on a sheet pan or plate. Top each of the brownies with the minced walnuts. (There will be leftover ganache...I know horrible! But perfect for vegan ice cream or shakes.) 
Freshly Dipped and Topped Brownies
Chill, uncovered in the refrigerator, at least a couple hours to set the glaze. Serve the fudge brownies chilled with a big glass of vegan milk and enjoy!

Fudge Brownies
(Little Debbie Inspired)
-Amy

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Vegan Pimento Cheese

Vegan Pimento Cheese
One of the simplest recipes I have ever made, this recipe of a classic southern cheese spread will make your mouth water. This pimento cheese made vegan is perfectly craveable and satisfying  Enjoy it for a light and fresh lunch with veggies and crackers, serve it as a grill cheese for the kiddos, or make it for parties. This spread will make anyone who samples it happy and they won't even know it took you 5 minutes to make it, that's our little secret...if you decide to share it at all! Enjoy!

Vegan Pimento Cheese

Ingredients

-1/3 cup vegan cream cheese, room temperature
-1 cup grated vegan Daiya Cheddar cheese
-1 cup grated vegan Daiya  Jack cheese
-1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (I used homemade)
-1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
-2 teaspoon ground or finely minced red bell pepper (heaping)
-3 tablespoons pimentos, small minced pieces
-1 teaspoon finely grated onion
-Cracked black or white pepper (optional), to taste

Directions

Using an food processor, blend all ingredients (except pimentos) until smooth and fluffy. Once combined for 1 to 2 minutes, lightly pulse the pimentos in for 10 to 15 seconds. Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended. It can be used as a dip for crudites or as a vegan grilled cheese sandwich filling.


-Amy

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Vegan 8 Layer Taco Dip

Vegan 8 Layer Taco Dip
Dips are inviting, they are festive and perfect for any day. It can be a party or a relaxing evening at home, it always livens up any meal and makes it fun. A taco dip makes for a creative and delish dinner for any family. This recipe has plenty of flavorful layers for you to enjoy and goes great with a nice cold beverage of your choice and plenty of chips for dipping. You will be all set for happy smiles with this meal. Makes plenty for leftovers to take for lunches or another dinner, just remember you may have people wanting to dive into your dip. Enjoy!


Vegan 8 Layer Taco Dip

Ingredients

-1 Bag Vegan Ground Beef (12 ounce bag)
-1 (15-ounce) can vegan re-fried beans
-2 teaspoons Extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking
-1/4 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
-1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
-4 Tablespoons salsa Verde (Green Chile Salsa) 
-1 cup enchilada sauce
-1 Tablespoons cilantro, minced
-2 teaspoons ground cumin
-1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
-1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
-1 4.5 ounce can green chiles
-Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Toppings
-2 cups vegan sour cream
-2 to 4 ripe avocados (depending on size)
-2 plum tomatoes, diced
-Black olives, sliced
-1 cup vegan Daiya Cheese (1/2 cheddar & 1/2 Jack) 
-1 Tablespoon cilantro, minced 

-Tortilla chips, buy 2 kinds in 2 different colors & varieties (I like Organic Blue & Yellow Multi-Grain Corn)

Directions


Heat oven to 375 Degrees

Open re-fried beans and transfer the beans to a small, deep casserole dish. Scrape can clean with rubber spatula and evenly distribute around the dish.

Re-Fried Bean Layered
In a medium saute pan, heat a little extra-virgin olive oil (2 tsp) over high heat. When the oil smokes, add the peppers and sear them for 3 minutes. 

Sauteed Veggies
Add vegan ground beef and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes to mix and heat through. 

Vegan Taco Meat with Veggies
(Pre-Seasoned)
Add green chiles, 1 Tbsp cilantro, garlic salt, paprika, and cumin. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes to combine.

Sauteed Taco  Meat with Chiles
(Seasoned)
Once your green chiles and meat/veggie mixture is combined, add the green chile salsa (Verde), enchilada sauce, and salt & black pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 

Stewed Vegan Taco Meat 
Once done, remove from heat and layer it evenly over the top of the re-fried beans in casserole dish. 

Taco Dip Layer
Top the taco meat mixture with your vegan cheese mixture, sprinkle with a little more salt & black pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. 

Vegan Cheese Topped Layer
Layered Dip (Pre-Baked)
Place in the already heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Taco Dip in Oven
When it is done the cheese will be melted and casserole bubbly around the side. 

Baked Taco Dip
Taco Layers (Baked)
When you take the taco dip out of the oven let rest and cool for 5 to 8 minutes while you prepare the toppings. 

(At this point you can assembly and add toppings to casserole dish and serve or dish up cups of the dip with toppings. The cups work out well for a dinner party or kids, family style is nice on a relaxed weekend as well.)

Assembly

Avocados
Combine the meat of 2 to 4 ripe avocados in a bowl and mash with a little salt and black pepper. Once mashed, top the already cooked dip with mashed avocados. 

Lettuce
Wash, dry, and finely chop lettuce and place on top of the avocado layer.

Sour Cream
If you are doing cups, dollop each cup with 1 to 2 Tbsps of sour cream OR if casserole, spread over the top of the lettuce layer.

Tomatoes & Olives
Clean, dry, and dice tomatoes. Garnish the dip with the final layer of diced tomatoes and sliced olives. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp minced cilantro and place on the table for the dining. Serve the dip with your favorite tortilla chips (organic blue & yellow multi-grain corn chips) or eat plain like a salad and your favorite beverage. Enjoy!


-Amy