Today's recipe comes from the ever-inspiring Post-Punk Kitchen, a fun and funky vegan recipe blog. I found the recipe while searching for ways to begin using the two-pound bag of quinoa a co-worker generously gave to me. The idea of using undrained beans intrigued me, just because I'm so used to draining and rinsing canned beans whenever I use them. However, I was happily surprised to find that the bean liquid lends a silky richness to the broth -- exactly what this recipe had been missing! I'll have to test out this technique in other recipes in the future.
You will need:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup fresh tomato, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and rubbed to remove bitter taste
- 1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch chunks
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 1 24-oz can black beans (I used two 15-oz cans - one pinto and one Great Northern because I was shamefully short on black beans)
- a big squeeze of tomato paste
- Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add in the onion and sauté with a pinch of salt until the onion is translucent. (It's always much longer than the recipe says, at least on my stove!)
- Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Then add the tomato, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes; cook and stir for a minute to let the tomatoes start to break down.
- Next, add the quinoa, carrots, bay leaves, and 2 cups of the broth. (Save the rest for the next step.) Cover and increase the heat to bring to a boil; let it boil for 5 minutes.
- Finally, add the remaining broth, the undrained beans, and the tomato paste. Re-cover the pot, bring it back to a boil, and then lower the heat and uncover; let the soup simmer for 10 more minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving. The original recipe suggests serving the soup with crushed tortilla chips, cilantro, and avocado, which would have been awesome if I'd had any of those things!
I'm not especially proud of the photo I took (soup seems especially difficult to photograph) but it does show the silky texture of the broth, I think. The cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes worked well together without any one spice dominating. I'm looking forward to leftovers, since soup is often more flavorful the next day!
Greek yogurt is all over the place lately. According to the Huffington Post, Greek yogurt now takes up 36% of the yogurt market in the U.S. (up from just one percent a few years ago) and is now used to make everything from frozen yogurt to cream cheese. Greek yogurt is thicker, richer, and more protein-packed than its traditional, thin counterparts.
With so many varieties of Greek yogurt on the market, what makes Wallaby unique? Some yogurt producers simply add gelatin or starches to thicken their usual yogurt, slap on a Hellenic font, and assume they've made an acceptable Greek yogurt. (I'm looking at you, Yoplait.) Wallaby, however, uses a traditional slow-cooking method to prepare the yogurt before straining it in small batches. The company also makes its yogurt from organic milk from small family farms, which you can read more about here. Plus, there's nothing artificial in the product, which both my stomach and my soul appreciate!
At about $1.50 a cup, Wallaby Greek yogurt is more expensive than traditional yogurts, but it's less expensive than many of its Greek competitors. Most Wallaby Greek flavors offer 12 grams of protein per serving and around 15 grams of sugar (some other Greek yogurt brands contain more than 20 grams of sugar per serving). The sweetness level is just right -- not cloying but not too tart, either.
My favorite non-fat flavor was the peach, because the jammy filling reminded me of a sunny summer day. Among the low-fat varieties, I preferred the honey flavor. The floral-scented, thin honey perfectly contrasts the tangy, thick yogurt. All of Wallaby's Greek varieties come in a two-compartment container, giving consumers the ability to choose their own yogurt-to-filling ratio with every spoonful!
So now that I've had my fun trying several different varieties, I'd like to give YOU, my readers, an opportunity to do the same! Just post a comment above for a chance to win one of three prize packs, each valued at $10! Each prize pack contains coupons for five single-serve containers of Wallaby Greek yogurt. The coupons are redeemable for both the non-fat and low-fat varieties. (Wallaby products are available at Whole Foods, so please make sure there is one in your area before you enter the drawing.)
I'll randomly select three winners on April 1st -- no foolin'! Check back at the start of next month to see if you've won!
I found Whole Foods' Southwest tempeh stew recipe last weekend when I was looking for a one-dish meal to make at the end of this week. I knew it was going to be a rainy, cold (well, "Carolina cold") week, and the warm, sunny flavors of a Southwestern dish sounded enticing and comforting. This was a quick and easy dish to make on a Friday night after a long week of teaching, meetings, and piles and piles of grading! (Why does the grading all seem to pile up at once?)
You will need:
- One 8-oz package of tempeh
- 1-2 Tbsp adobo sauce from canned chipotles (Quick tip: I divide a can of chipotles into batches of two or three peppers and store them in bags in the freezer, thawing the peppers or adobo as needed.)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, divided
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 medium bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
- 1/4 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 14-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 cup corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
- 4-oz can chopped green chilies (I skipped them)
- Place tempeh brick in a steamer basket in a small stockpot; steam until cooked through (about 20 minutes). Place tempeh on a plate to cool a bit. Mix the adobo, soy sauce, and 3/4 tsp cumin together, making a soft paste. Rub the paste into both sides of the warm tempeh and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions and peppers until they are soft and beginning to brown (15-20 minutes). (If you can handle them less cooked, you can use a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time.) Add the mushrooms and cook and stir for another 5 minutes.
- Cut tempeh into cubes and add it to the pan, along with the rest of the cumin, the tomatoes, the chili powder, and the corn (and chilies, if using). Cook and stir for another 10 minutes. Add a bit of water if it's too thick and starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Serve over rice, polenta, or a toasted biscuit.
This recipe makes a very thick, chunky stew. There was so little broth surrounding the ingredients that I hesitate to even call it a stew. Next time, I might experiment with adding a little broth or even beer during the last 10 minutes of cooking. The flavors were lively and warming though, and the tempeh made the dish hearty and filling.
- 3/4 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
- ~1 lb vegan Italian sausage links (Tofurky's package is 14 oz.)
- 8 oz mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
- 3/4 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 lb carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 3/4 Tbsp dried basil
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 3/4 oz sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), slivered (I didn't have any)
- 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage links and allow to brown, turning occasionally. When the sausage is brown on all sides (after about 10 min), remove it from the pan and allow it to cool.
- Add the mushrooms to the dry skillet and cook until brown (3-5 min). Set aside. Once the sausage is cool enough to handle, cut it into 1/2-inch slices on the diagonal.
- Place the lentils, onions, carrots, garlic, browned mushrooms, basil, thyme, sun-dried tomatoes, and sliced sausage in the slow cooker. Pour the broth over top.
- Cover and cook on high for three hours; then allow it to simmer for another five hours. (If your cooker doesn't have a "simmer" setting, as my previous one didn't, then you could probably let it cook on low for a shorter time.) Serve hot.
P.S. Leftovers freeze nicely!
- Start with a cold oven. Place eggs directly on the oven rack, or place them in a muffin tin. (I like using the tin, just in case any eggs should crack open.)
- Close the door and set the oven to 325 degrees F. Once it has reached that temperature, set a timer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the eggs from the oven and plunge them into a bowl of ice water so they can cool.
- As soon as they're cool enough to handle, you can peel them or put them in the fridge to keep for later.
Now I know that next to a moist, fragrant, crispy-skinned turkey, chickpeas seem... well, boring. But this recipe is surprisingly hearty and flavorful. The thyme and sage bring in traditional Thanksgiving flavors, and the wheat gluten makes the "cutlets" chewy on the inside. I had never cooked with vital wheat gluten before, so seeing strings of gluten spontaneously appear in the dough made me feel like some sort of scientist. It was fun! I've made this recipe several times since last Thanksgiving, and I've found that if the dough gets mixed for too long, the cutlets become too chewy -- like cheese-long-ago-stuck-to-the-pizza-box chewy. So don't mix them too long! They freeze really well, so I'd recommend making enough to put away for later!
You will need:
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 16-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1 cup plain breadcrumbs (not fresh)
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- canola or olive oil for frying
- Add the garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until chopped. Then add the chickpeas in with the garlic and pulse again until the chickpeas are mashed (but not so long that they get puréed). Transfer the garlic and chickpeas to a bowl.
- Add all the remaining ingredients (minus the extra oil for frying) to the chickpea mixture and use your hands to knead the dough just until strings of gluten form, which will be a minute or two. (The original recipe has a helpful photo.)
- Preheat a large rimmed skillet over medium-low. Add just enough oil to make a thin layer on the bottom.
- Divide the cutlet "dough" into two equal parts. Then divide each half into four pieces, making eight pieces total. Shape each piece by hand, stretching and flattening until you have eight rectangular-ish shapes about 4" by 6" in size. (A flat surface like a cutting board will help.)
- Place the cutlets in the pan and cook them 6-7 minutes per side. They will be browned and crispy on both sides when they're done. You might need to add a little more oil to the pan when you flip them. Allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.
If you have to make these in two batches, you can keep the first batch warm under aluminum foil while the second round cooks. I recommend either Hain Brown Gravy Mix or Imagine Wild Mushroom Gravy with these. I think the Hain gravy tastes better, but it does require cooking and stirring it on the stovetop (trust me: the microwave method is gross); the Imagine gravy is ready-to-serve out of the box.
Last year, I served this with Smitten Kitchen's garlic butter roasted mushrooms, Epicurious' roasted green beans and cashews, and Rachael Ray's red-skinned mashed potatoes. I may just do the exact same thing this year!
Chai, in my humble opinion, is the quintessential cold-weather beverage. As a hot drink, it warms the body, while its aromatic spices soothe and tantalize. When I was in college, I used to regularly buy the boxed Tazo concentrate until I discovered the even-sweeter Big Train brand, which I was hooked on for a while. However, I realized after a while that even though making chai from concentrate at home was still cheaper than buying a $4 Starbucks chai everyday, it was still a pricey habit. Plus, cutting out my daily chai latte was an easy (although sad!) way to cut unnecessary calories. So for a while, I drank chai very rarely, and when I did have a cup at a cafe, I usually found the superfluous sweetness cloying. (Say that three times fast!)
As luck would have it, I discovered Gina C.'s recipe for crockpot chai concentrate a couple weeks ago, and I've been hooked ever since. As long as you've got a crockpot (I suppose you could just make it on the stovetop too), access to bulk-bin spices, and a one-quart container, you can have tasty, cheap chai any day of the week!
You will need:
- 8 slices of ginger, about 1/4-inch thick each, from peeled stalk of fresh ginger
- 2 short or one long cinnamon stick
- 10 whole cloves (my version is very clove-y, so if you're not a fan, cut back a bit)
- 15 green cardamon pods (pinch each one between your fingers to crack it open a little)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- a dash of nutmeg
- 10 peppercorns
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup honey, depending on taste preferences
- 4 cups water
- 6 Darjeeling or Ceylon teabags (I hate to be a tea snob, but run-of-the-mill black teabags just won't cut it)
- Add everything except the teabags to the bowl of a slow cooker. Cover and turn on high.
- After three hours, add in the teabags, steep for 10 minutes, and then squeeze the teabags well to drain.
- Pour the concentrate through a fine strainer to remove all the spice solids. Once it's cooled, store the strained concentrate in a one-quart container in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
- For each serving, mix equal parts chai concentrate and milk of your choice. Heat in the microwave (or pour over ice, if you prefer).
This recipe doubles as an air freshener! I have a batch simmering in the kitchen right now, and the whole apartment smells amazing. What I love best about the recipe is its adaptability. If you don't like an ingredient, you can leave it out, or you can increase the amount of the spices you love. You could also add in other ingredients frequently found in chai, such as star anise, fennel seeds, or allspice berries. You could make orange-flavored chai by throwing in some dried orange peels, or you could make chocolate chai by adding some cocoa powder. You can make it less sweet or more sweet, depending on what you like, or you could even leave out the honey and just sweeten each individual serving as you make it.
If you want this to be vegan, you can substitute the honey for a different sweetener and use almond milk or soy milk to make your lattes.
P.S. I think the way I make it tastes closest to Tazo's organic boxed concentrate because of the amount of cloves I use.