Archive | December 2010

Hoppin’ John

I can’t think of a better way to begin the New Year than making a big pot of Hoppin’ John and collards.  I love starting a year off with this omen of good fortune, but I’d probably make Hoppin’ John even if it didn’t come with the promise of good luck and prosperity in the months ahead.  To me, the wholesome combination of brown rice, black-eyed peas, and dark leafy greens, is a wonderful reminder of just how healthy, economical, and delicious vegan food can be. And making this dish on New Year’s Day is a wonderful affirmation of this.

Over the years, I’ve had fun experimenting with different ways to serve Hoppin’ John.  I usually include chopped cooked collards right in with it (rather than on the side as is tradition) because the flavors are so harmonious and the bright flecks of green add some much-needed color.  I always serve it at least once in the traditional way, with lots of Tabasco and vegan sour cream on the side, but I always like to try something new, too — which is why I make lots. Last year, I made these fantastic collard rolls stuffed with Hoppin’ John. They were so good — and pretty too.

I’m also thinking about making a variation of the Collard and Red Bean Fritters from Party Vegan, using the Hoppin’ John instead of the red beans. Or maybe I’ll just reheat the leftovers — it’s even better the next day.

If you’ve never made Hoppin’ John, here’s a recipe.  If you can’t find fresh or frozen collard greens where you live, you can substitute any kind of cooked leafy greens, such as chard, spinach, or kale. 

Hint:  Cook your rice, collards, and beans ahead of time to save time on New Year’s Day.  Sometimes I even make the whole recipe a day ahead and then just reheat it when ready to serve.
Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a Southern dish that is said to bring good luck in the New Year. Collards or other dark greens (said to bring prosperity) are traditionally served on the side, but I add them right in. Liquid Smoke adds a salty/smoky flavor, but start out with just 1/2 teaspoon (you can add more just before serving) since it’s highly concentrated and a little goes a long way. As a variation, add some minced vegan bacon or sausage when cooking the onion to amplify the smoky flavor.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
3 cups cooked or canned black-eyed peas
9 to 10 ounces collard greens, cooked and chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
3 cups cooked brown rice
Salt and black pepper
Tabasco, to serve
Vegan sour cream, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion, cover, and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the black-eyed peas, collards, thyme, paprika, if using, 1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke, and stir to combine. Add the rice and season with salt and pepper to taste, stirring gently to mix well and heat through. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, or Liquid Smoke, if needed. Serve hot with Tabasco and sour cream at the table to add at will.

Advertisements

Chickpea-Artichoke Bites with Rosemary Aioli

It wasn’t even close.  The chickpea-artichoke bites were officially chosen as the favorite appetizer recipe in Party Vegan, hands down.  No recounts needed, no hanging chads.  Just a big thank you to everyone who participated in this impromptu poll, in spite of being super-busy with the holdays coming up.
As promised, here’s the recipe for the winning appetizer.  I made these this morning so I could take a photo and ended up using marinated artichoke hearts instead of canned or frozen, because that’s all I had in the house.  Guess what?  I like them even better this way! And I made them about half the size for “one-bite” bites — so this recipe now makes twice as many as the recipe in the book.  So even if you already have Party Vegan, you might want to try this version to compare.  

I hope everyone enjoys this recipe, and for those whose favorite didn’t win — you can find all the recipes in Party Vegan — which, I’m excited to say, was chosen as a “top last-minute gift” on VegNews.com.

The chickpea-artichokes bites weren’t the only winner.  Random.org has chosen a winner from among everyone who voted.  And the winner is:  Vicki!  Congrats, Vicki!  Send me your mailing address and I’ll get a copy of Vegan Unplugged and five (count em, five) product coupons in the mail to you. Thanks to all who entered.  I wiish you all a wonderful holiday season!  Now here’s on more photo of our winning recipe — and the recipe itself.

Chickpea-Artichoke Bites with Rosemary Aioli
These sophisticated nibbles are easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time. The accompanying aioli adds luscious layers of extra flavor. This is adapted from Party Vegan by Robin Robertson © 2010, John Wiley and Sons. The original version makes fewer and slightly larger “bites” requiring a longer baking time. This version uses marinated artichokes (instead of canned or frozen) for a more tangy flavor and uses a bit more parsley to make them festive looking.

1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, well drained
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, mashed
1/2 cup diced cooked potato (see note)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chickpea flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Rosemary Aioli (recipe follows)

Lightly oil a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Finely chop the artichokes or pulse them in a food processor until finely chopped. If using a food processor, add the chickpeas and pulse to break up.  Otherwise, mash the chickpeas in a bowl and add the artichokes and mash together. Add the potato, parsley, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chickpea flour, and baking powder. Mix well to combine. If the mixture is too dry, add 1/2 teaspoon (or more) olive oil or lemon juice.
Pinch off a small amount of the mixture and use your hands to roll it into a 1/2- to 3/4-inch ball. Place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
Bake for about 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Arrange on a platter with a small bowl of aioli and serve warm.
Makes 24 puffs

Note: If you don’t have cooked potato on hand you can quickly “bake” one in the microwave (then peel and dice) or steam the diced potato pieces over boiling water until tender.

Rosemary Aioli
1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, run through a garlic press
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Salt, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until smooth and well blended. Taste and adjust seasonings. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate until needed.

Makes about 1/3 cup

“Pick an Appetizer” Contest

In the photo above are Zucchini Cups with Tomato Concasse and Mini Focaccia with Tapenade. I thought you’d like to see photos of some of the appetizers from Party Vegan to help you decide which recipe you want posted on Tuesday. So far it looks like the Chickpea Artichoke Bites are winning, but things could change between now and Monday at midnight when the polls close! 

For this contest, I let Random.org choose the prize! I made a list of cookbooks, vegan product coupons, and product samples — in various combinations and assigned them all a number. Here’s what Random.org chose for this giveaway: a copy of Vegan Unplugged PLUS… 3 Tofutti coupons (for any Tofutti product) PLUS… 2 Naysoya tofu coupons. Wow, what a deal!

Just leave a comment on the previous post listing your favorite Party Vegan appetizer for a chance to win. Winner and winning recipe to be posted on Tuesday!

Now for some more appetizer photos from Party Vegan (these are all tester photos taken by Tami of Vegan Appetite). Here’s the Antipasto Skewers surrounded by Arugula and White Bean Crostini:

 These are Mini Falafel with Spiced Pita Dippers:

 Below are Sundried Tomato and Green Olive Biscotti with Artichoke Tapenade:

These are Pakora Puffs:

This photo shows the Spinach Phyllo Cigars with Walnuts and Figs along with the Polenta Crostini with Eggplant Tapenade:

Baked Potato Skins, anyone?

Last, but certainly not least, Teriyaki Shiitake Sticks:

Cast your vote now!

Omni-Friendly Party Food

I’ve received some e-mails asking me to suggest the most “omni-friendly” appetizers in Party Vegan. The fact is, it was my goal to make all the recipes in the book omni-friendly since many of us have occasion to feed vegan-resistant omnivores. Most of the omnis I cook for maintain a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. They love to eat my food, but would rather not discuss the fact that it’s vegan.

With the holidays upon us, I thought it would be appropriate to give a quick rundown of the appetizers in Party Vegan. Of the 39 hors doeuvres and appetizers in the book, I’d rate 36 of them “extremely omni-friendly” (nothing that would visibly scare off an omnivore); with only 3 suggested “for adventuresome omnis” (read: those who don’t scream and run away at the mention of tofu, tempeh or seitan).

Here’s the list — Let me know which of these recipes you’d like to try out on your favorite omnis. The recipe getting the most votes by Monday will get posted on Tuesday — just in time for the holidays.

Omni-Friendly Appetizers and Hors d’oeuvres:
Artichoke Tapenade
Sun-Dried Tomato and Green Olive Biscotti
Olive-cado Dip
Chickpea Artichoke Bites
Collard and Red Bean Fritters
Spinach Potato Quesadillas
Vegetable Dippers with Ranch Dressing
It’s My Party Mix
Mutant Ants on a Log
Mini Blue Corn Pancakes with Chipotle-Streaked Sour Cream
Curried Pakora Puffs
Black Olive Tapenade
Baked Potato Skins
Five-Story Bean Dip
Sherried Mushrooms
Olive and Caper-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
Pearl Balls
Spinach Phyllo Cigars with Walnuts and Figs
Artichoke-Stuffed Mushrooms
Polenta Crostini with Eggplant Tapenade
Truffled White Bean Hummus
Pastry-Wrapped Stuffed Cherry Peppers
Fava Bean Hummus
Smoky Baba Ganoush
Spiced Pita Dippers
Mini Falafel
Stuffed Dates
Edamame
Japanese Pancakes
Teriyaki Shiitake Sticks
Sushi Rice Balls
Antipasto Skewers
Mini-Focaccia with Tapenade
Zucchini Cups with Tomato Concasse
Pesto-Stuffed Baby Potatoes
Arugula and White Bean Crostini

Adventurous Omni Appetizers:
Finger Lickin’ Tempeh Fingers
Chorizo en Croute
Gingered “Crab” Cups with Wasabi Cream Cheeze

So, what do you think? Omni-friendly? Leave a comment for a random chance to win a random prize!

If you need a last minute gift idea: Party Vegan makes a great holiday gift for any cooks on your list: especially those omnivores who never know what to make for you when you visit! (And it’s not just “party” food — the book also has loads of recipes for main dishes, salads, soups, sides, and desserts that can be enjoyed anytime.)

Chili Shepherd’s Pie with Chipotle Mashers

Once again, leftovers scored big with a fantastic Chili Shepherd’s Pie with Chipotle Mashers, made with leftover chili. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been making loads of soup and chili lately in response to this unbelievably cold weather we’ve been having.

Instead of simply reheating the leftover chili like I usually do, I was in the mood for some kind of baked casserole when I got the idea to top the chili with mashed potatoes for a new twist on Shepherd’s Pie. And what a great idea it was!

The chili already had some veggies in it, but I added some extra corn kernels and spread it in a baking dish. I swirled about 2 tablespoons of chipotle chiles in adobo (a mix of the sauce with some minced chipotle) into the mashed potatoes, making it a gorgeous reddish-orange color. After spreading the mashers on the chili, I sprinkled some panko crumbs on top for a little crunch.

I had a feeling this was going to taste good, but it was even better than I expected. Seriously. If you have some chili on hand, it’s worth whipping up some mashed potatoes just to make this.

Soup Weather

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Virginia it’s been insanely cold, especially for early December. We usually don’t get this kind of relentless bone-chilling cold until February, so it’s been a daily struggle to stay warm.

One thing that has helped in that department has been an ongoing supply of soups and chili. I had been chopping veggies into pots so often recently that the other day, the unthinkable happened: I ran out of onions and carrots! Since it wasn’t my regular shopping day and there was no way I was going to brave the cold for just a few items, I made a pot of soup out of the dehydrated vegetables you see in the photo above.

We keep on hand a nice supply of dehydrated ingredients along with other pantry ingredients in case of emergency power outages. But it was nice to be able to tap into our pantry stash to make a quick (and easy) pot of soup. If you want to see how the soup turned out (and read more about the dehydrated ingredients), check out Jon’s post on his Vegan Unplugged blog.  (Fun fact: dehydrated chickpeas are ready to eat in just 10 to 15 minutes!)

I hope everyone is managing to stay warm! How long until Spring, anyway?

It’s a Blender!

To look at my Vitamix sitting next to my new single-serve blender, it looks like the Vitamix had a baby — (I’ve always wondered what my kitchen appliances do after the lights go out!)

Fact is, I’ve been thinking about getting a “baby blender” for a long time and only just got around to it last week. After all, I already have (and use all the time) the aforementioned Vitamix, an immersion blender, and a food processor — did I really need another blender?

The answer is yes! I’ve been using it for my morning smoothies and I love it. It’s much easier to wash than the huge Vitamix — and I can drink my smoothie right from the same container. Hard to believe there was a time when we were able to manage without all these gadgets!