Yield: 6-5 inch tarts
A recipe in a summer issue of one of my culinary magazines for a quiche featuring zucchini, tomatoes and walnuts inspired this dish. However, I had a bunch of local Swiss chard from our farmer’s market that needed used, so I finely chopped it and folded it into my vegan quiche batter. This is summer satisfaction at it best and brightest!
6-5 inch blind-baked tart shells (recipe for Press-In Pie Crust follows)
1 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed, and very finely chopped (I used a food processor for this task)
14 ounces extra-firm tofu (not Silken)
1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk or any unsweetened non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Zest of 1 small to medium lemon
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped basil or chiffonade (leaves stack, rolled, and thinly sliced)
18-1/4 inch thick zucchini slices, cooked (approximately 1 medium zucchini; I like to grill them in an indoor gill pan; but you can saute, broil or steam)
9 cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
6 walnut halves and approximately 36 walnut pieces (but you don’t have to be that exacting)
Approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and 3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt divided among the 6 tarts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Note: if you make your own crusts, which I highly recommend–my recipe is quick and easy–just leave the oven set to 400 degrees. Proceed with recipe while shells bake. Place Swiss chard in a large bowl. Rinse and dry food processor bowl and puree together until smooth tofu, soymilk, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, teaspoon of salt, and black pepper to taste. Spoon mixture over Swiss chard, add lemon zest, and fold together until completely combined. Divide filling evenly among tart shells. On top of each, arrange 3 slices of zucchini, 3 cherry tomato halves, and 6 walnut pieces in a pinwheel design and place 1 walnut in the center. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool just enough to remove tarts from pans, place tarts on serving plates, and drizzle each tart with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and 1/8 teaspoon coarse see salt. Serve warm.
Press-In Pie Crust
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat, but you can also combine half all-purpose with half whole wheat)
2 teaspoons turbinado sugar (any granulated sugar is fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3/4 cup canola oil (or any neutral-tasting vegetable oil)
3 tablespoons unsweetened soymilk or anyunsweetened non-dairy milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tart pans with removeable sides on a rimmed baking sheet. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center, pour in wet ingredients, and stir with a fork just until a nice, moist dough forms. Divide into sixths and pat evenly into tart pans. Prick a few times with a fork and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven.
On Good Friday, Joe and I made the pilgrimage that every self-respecting foodie must make at least once in his or her life…to the fabled Inn at Little Washington in Washington, VA. Our dinner and our lodging/breakfast experience at the Foster Harris House is recounted in Coastal Virginia Magazine (July 2014). Suffice it to say that the Inn lives up to its storied reputation. And the Foster Harris House, which we chose by perusing websites when there was no room at the inn, is also on our “go back” list for both lodging and dining.
After my exquisite 4-course vegan meal, I swore that I would recreate the entree: Cauliflower Steak with Curry Bechamel and Candied Eggplant. It has taken me this long to get to it, as I wanted to devote my full attention and we are now out of school for the summer. So, at last, here it is! Wow! As elegant as this meal looks and tastes, it is ultra simple to prepare. Just be sure to make the Candied Eggplant the day before you plan to serve.
It took me two tries to get the steaks and the sauce just right, but the Candied Eggplant, adpated from MarcheDimanche Recipes, were like, well, candy from the get-go. I used the cooking method for the steaks that restaurant chefs swear by for beef: a sear followed by a few minutes in the oven. The sauce, made with a roux, is a fairly straightforward preparation, only the first time it was way too sweet. Combining vegetable stock and unsweetened soymilk with the coconut creamer, and thinning slightly with a very dry Prosecco, did the trick.
Though this version of the sauce is slightly sweet in that coconut milky way, it is a beautiful pairing with the cauliflower and candied eggplant, and is nicely balanced with a side of sauteed bitter greens or, as I prepared it, quick-pickled thinly sliced zucchini and red onion. For a garnish, you wouldn’t think that you would want more sweetness, but slightly spicy candied walnuts are the way to go. However, you can simply toast the walnuts for a few minutes if you prefer.
While most of us can’t visit the Inn at Little Washington even once a year, this beautiful and delicious ode to “The Inn” is simple enough to prepare once a week!
Make the Candied Eggplant the day before you plan to serve.
2 small eggplants, stemmed (Japanese eggplants work nicely for this as I like their small diameter)
1/4 cup+ olive oil
Sea salt to taste
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar or turbinado sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme leaves (regular thyme is fine if you can’t find lemon thyme, but I grow it because it is so special)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Slice the eggplants into 1/8-inch slices. Working in two batches, heat half the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet placed over medium high. Add half the eggplant slices, sprinkle very lightly with salt, and cook for about a minute on each side or until they are lightly browned. Add more oil if necessary to prevent burning or drying out. Remove to a a non-reactive dish. I use a 5 x 9″ ceramic bread pan. Repeat with remaining oil, eggplant, and another pinch of salt. In a 1-quart saucepan, bring the vinegar, agave nectar or sugar, water, lemon thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and cinnamon to a boil. Pour over the eggplant, cool, cover, and refrigerate over night. Heat in the microwave or in a skillet on the stovetop before serving.
Curry Bechamel Sauce:
1/2 cup vegetable stock [choose one really rich in flavor or use 1 cup water + 1 large (9 g.) bouillon cube (enough to make 2 cups stock so that it is extra concentrated)]
1/2 cup plain coconut creamer (or other plain non-dairy creamer)
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 medium shallot, peeled and halved
1 large garlic clove, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/16th teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (barely a pinch)
1 tablespoons vegan butter
2 tablespoosn unbleached all-purpose flour
Optional: 1 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: up to 2 tablespoons very dry white wine or Prosecco (my favorite)
In a 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable stock, creamer, and unsweetened soymilk with shallot, garlic, and nutmeg to simmering. Watch closely, as it can boil over quickly, and reduce heat as necessary to maintain a simmer for 10 minutes. In a large cast iron skillet over medium high, melt butter, whisk in flour, optional nutritional yeast, curry powder and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook 2 minutes, whisking continually, to make a roux to thicken the sauce. Reduce heat if necessary. Remove shallot and garlic pieces from simmering liquid and whisk the liquid into the roux, 1/2 cup at a time. Simmer, whisking frequently, for about 10 minutes or until thickened and flavors are nicely combined. Thin, if desired, by whisking in wine a tablespoon at a time. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Keep warm or reheat to serve.
Note: Regardless of how large the cauliflower, I have yet to be able to slice more than two nice steaks from a head. I get other large pieces that I can arrange to look like a larger “steak,” and that works just fine. So don’t fret if you encounter the same thing.,
1 large head cauliflower, thick stem and leaves removed, cut into four 3/4-inch thick “steaks”
1 tablespoon vegan butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: lemon thyme sprigs and toasted or spicy candied walnuts (just find a recipe to your liking online)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large cast iron skillet liberally with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium-high. Working in two batches, sprinkle cauliflower lightly with sea salt on both sides and sear for 3 to 4 mintues on each side, adding additional spray if necessary. Remove to an oil baking sheet. Repeat. In a small cup, whisk together melted butter and olive oil. In a second cup, whisk together salt, coriander and pepper. Brush first side of steaks with half the butter mixture, sprinkle with half the salt mixture, carefully flip, and repeat. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve hot with curry sauce and several slices of candied eggplant, garnished with candied or toasted walnuts.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
This long, snowy winter here at the beach finds me loving the weather, actually, and hungry for warming and hearty, but still healthy, fare.
After a recent trip to Organic Depot, I found myself with three different kinds of Tofurky Sausage, including Spinach Pesto. How did that happen? I rolled around a number of ideas, none of which sounded just right until I thought of a Middle Eastern take on my beloved migas, substituting pita bread for the tortillas, chick peas for the black beans, etc.
Plus, these days,I seem to slip bitter winter greens into almost everything, and this dish was no different. Packed full of vitamins, pungent mustard greens turned out to be the perfect flavor and color counterpoint.
And don’t leave out the lemon zest! The complex depth of the spices in this dish and the slightly sweet peppadew sauce needs it for brightness and a little tangy zip.
12 peppadew peppers, drained (I purchase them on the “olive bar” at a chain grocery store, Kroger to be specific)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons tahini
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Zest of 1/2 large lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside 4 tablespoons for garnish and reserve remainder for migas.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 red or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 whole piece pita bread, plain or whole wheat, torn into bite-size pieces
8 ounces vegan link sausage, sliced (homemade or prepared; I use Tofurky brand Spinach Pesto flavored)
4 ounces mustard greens, coarsely torn or chopped
1/4 cup whole pistachios
Zest of 1/2 of large lemon
Topping: unsweetened vegan yogurt (or sour cream, in a pinch), and the 1/4 cup sauce set aside
Optional garnish(es): lemon slices, pistachios, paprika
Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high. Add onion and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and spices and saute, stirring, for 3o seconds. Add bell pepper, and saute, again stirring frequently, for 3 minutes or until pepper is slightly softened. Add pita bread, and saute, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Then add sausage and saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until it starts to brown in spots. Add mustard greens on top and gradually fold in, allowing them to wilt as they heat. Once incorporated, add reserved sauce (still leaving 1/4 cup for garnish), pistachios and lemon zest, stirring well to incorporate and heat through. Serve topped with a dollop of vegan yogurt on each serving and a drizzle of the remaining 1/4 cup of sauce, divided evenly among plates. Garnish each serving, if desired, with a lemon slice, a few pistachios and/or a sprinkle of paprika.
Published on One Green Planet, my recipe for spring rolls with a twist is perfect for the Christmas holidays.
Not Asian in flavor–except for the hint of anise–they are, however, a celebration of everything I love about fall and winter cooking and eating.
Kale, sweet potatoes, anise and sage combine in these cute little packages that could easily be served as an entree or an appetizer.
For my first two “Countdown” posts–Day 7 and, now, Day 6–I decided to address the Thanksgiving main dish, as it can be the trickiest for vegans, it seems. Nothing against “Tofurky” necessarily, but it has never been what I craved to grace the center of our Thanksgiving buffet.
This dish, on the other hand, is, to me, Thanksgiving personified. A rich and creamy–but healthy!–layered amalgamation of many of my favorite flavors of fall, this lasagna is THE BEST I have ever eaten, much less created. Wait, I think it’s the only lasagna I have ever created. I guess I figured I just couldn’t do any better!
This link will take you to my original post which includes a hyperlink to One Green Planet who generously published the recipe. Your soon-to-be favorite lasagna is just two clicks away!
For the next week leading up to my favorite holiday of the year–a feast that embodies the grateful life–I am going to post some of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, one per day.
My hope is that you might find them to be perfect embodiments of how much we have to be thankful for.
This recipe for acorn squash stuffed with a creamy stovetop rice-and-greens casserole seems to be a favorite of the generous folks on Pinterest, and is so lovely–presented in it’s own edible bowl–that it could easily be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal. But whether your serve it as an entree or one of the many sides that seem to characterize this holiday, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
Yield: 6 servings
This Indian stew-like melange is so flavorful and satisfying that it is absolutely divine on its own, perhaps served with basmati rice, some cashews and maybe a little fresh cilantro. However, I can attest to it being luscious eaten cold right out of a carton!
For an exquisite–but super-easy presentation–use it as the filling in my Sweet Potato Stack. Though drizzling an Indian dish with maple syrup may seem out of character, there is something about the hint of maple combined with the other ingredients that is absolute autumnal perfection!
Maharaja Mung Beans and Kale :
6 cups water
2 cups mung beans (rinse, pick over, bring to a boil, let sit for 30 minutes and then simmer 45 minutes more)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, and leaves torn into bite size pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon Amchur (dried mango) powder (optional; you may substitute lemon zest, but it’s not quite the same)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (or mace)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup thick coconut milk
In a covered 4-quart saucepan, bring water and salt to simmering over medium-high heat. Add mung beans, turn off heat, let sit for 30 minutes, and then return heat to medium-high, place lid ajar, and simmer beans for about 45 minutes or until almost all of liquid is evaporated, but beans are still very moist.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add onion and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add kale by handfuls, stirring and sauteeing until slightly wilted before adding the next handful. Stir in garlic and all remaining ingredients except tomatoes and coconut milk and saute, stirring, until heated through. Stir this mixture thoroughly into the mung beans followed by tomatoes and coconut milk. Heat through, stirring often, and serve immediately as is or in the Sweet Potato Stack.
Sweet Potato Stack:
Yield: 4 appetizer servings of 2 stack per person
2 slender sweet potatoes, baked (in a conventional oven or microwaved), cooled enough to handle, skin removed, and each sliced into about 8 1/2-inch slices
Generous 1/2 cup Maharaja Mung Beans and Kale, heated
4 teaspoons maple syrup
Garnish: 4 tablespoons chutney or the topping of your choice (I used 4 teaspoons prepared mint chutney plus 8 teaspoons chopped grilled apples because I had both on hand)
Optional: tiny pinches of sea salt as a “finishing salt”
Place 2 sweet potato slices on each plate. Top with rounded tablespoons of mung bean mixture and remaining 8 sweet potato slices. Drizzle each stack with about 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup and then top with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of chutney or 1/2 teaspoon of prepared mint chutney and a teaspoon of chopped grilled apples as in the photograph.
Yield: 2 healthy servings (easily doubles)
Sundays always have me thinking about school lunches for the work week ahead. Wait. Who am I kidding? Sundays are hardly the only day I am thinking about nutritious and delicious school lunches that will fuel me throughout some long (but gratifying) days at the high school where I teach art, but not over-fill me. Our new breathless schedule this year leaves no time for being sluggish!
Last year, we had alot (alot!) more planning time, so I was able to walk down to the cafeteria and purchase lunch on a daily basis: hummus, raw vegetables, cooked greens and baked sweet potatoes being some of my favorites. But this year, due to district cost saving measures (larger and more classes taught by fewer teachers = less dollars), I had to figure out a different system because I literally don’t have time. (The common refrain from teachers is that we never see each other anymore.) So far, I have been packing my little “bento box” storage containers with a half a bagel spread with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter for my morning snack, some kind of vitamin-packed leftover for mid-day–sometimes two kinds–and an apple, and it is working out just fine. Oh, and I start my day (at 5:30a.m.) with a glass of diet cranberry juice at home and a glass of unsweetened soymilk in a travel cup. I also keep a carton in the fridge at school.
One week’s leftoves included this Tempeh and Kale Filling which was “tempting” hot in a taco and a quesadilla. But I can also attest to it being quite scrumptious cold right out of the carton! So I hope you might find uses for it in your busy week!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small or half of a large onion, diced
1 package tempeh (any flavor)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (Chipotle for a spicier flavor; Ancho for a milder one)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Sea salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces kale, rinsed *thick stems removed, and torn into bite size pieces (I add it to the skillet slightly damp to provide more moisture to the mixture)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon light miso
1 tablespoon Liquid Aminos
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 cup vegan sour cream
4 ounces Roma tomatoes, diced
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add onion and saute, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Crumble tempeh into the skillet, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, sea salt, and pepper, and saute, stirring almost continually, until tempeh is nicely browned in places. Add kale and garlic and saute, stirring, until kale is slightly wilted, but still bright green. In a small cup or bowl, whisk together light miso, Liquid Aminos, nutritional yeast, and vegan sour cream, and stir into tempeh mixture until completely incorporated. Stir in tomato, remove from heat and use immediately as a filling in warm, soft taco shells or in a pan-griddled quesadilla. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.
Based on Actor’s Studio host’s James Lipton’s famous “Q & A”–after the Proust Questionnaire–“Vegan Q & A Tuesday” is The Blooming Platter’s first Tuesday feature on a creative force in the vegan culinary world. Read more about “Q & A Tuesday” HERE.
(See below for Robins’s Linguine with Thai Pesto recipe.)
Robin Robertson has written more than twenty cookbooks, including the bestsellers Quick-Fix Vegan, Vegan Planet, Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker, Vegan Fire & Spice, Nut Butter Universe, and One-Dish Vegan. A longtime vegan and former restaurant chef, she writes the Global Vegan column for VegNews Magazine and has written for Vegetarian Times, Cooking Light, Natural Health, and other magazines. Robin lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her website is www.robinrobertson.com.
1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on?
Preparing a special meal for friends.
4. What turns you off?
Being out of a needed ingredient I can’t find locally — especially when craving a certain recipe.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
“Mmmmmm…..” (when someone eats my food)
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
The crash of a glass or plate falling – especially when full of drink or food.
7. *What makes you curse in the kitchen?
Burning my arm on a hot pan usually does the trick.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I’d like to own a B &B (but only if I didn’t have to do all the work myself!)
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything that involves numbers.
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
*Lipton’s question #7 is always “What is your favorite curse word?”–and the answers are always colorful– but I reworded it since this is a “family show.”
Robin’s Linguine with Thai Pesto
Redolent of garlic, lemongrass, and pungent herbs, this Asian-style pesto makes a fabulous fusion dish when combined with linguine. Most of these ingredients, including the slender, hot Thai chile, are available in supermarkets. Thai basil can be found in Asian markets, as can any of the other ingredients that your regular market may not stock. To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta or rice noodles. This recipe is from Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson © 2013. Used with permission.
2 large cloves garlic
1 Thai bird chile, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, chopped
1 teaspoon natural sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Thai basil leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/3 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
12 ounces linguine
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Combine the garlic, chile, lemongrass, sugar, and salt in a food processor and process to a paste. Add the basil, cilantro, and parsley and process until finely ground. Add the peanut butter, water, and lime juice and blend thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
Cook the linguine in a large pot of salted water just until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the water.
Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding a little of the hot pasta water, if necessary, to thin the sauce. Garnish with peanuts and serve immediately.
Find my recipe at One Green Planet.
BTW, they are quick too, as they bake a mere 4 minutes for a texture transformation!