vegansaurus!

01/22/2014

How-to, yo: Roast peppers!   »

It’s been awhile since I posted to my how-to series and I’m back, baby! One of the things I’ve been intimidated to do over the years is roast my peppers. Now, I know some of you are like, “I started roasting my vegetables right after I turned on an oven for the first time”, but one of things I like about this blog is that there is a little something here for everyone, from beginners to the most advanced lifestyle vegans! So let’s get this show on the road, because the Super Bowl is coming up and that means SNACKS GALORE! You can add roasted bell peppers to hummus, or even to liven up a marinara sauce. With spicy peppers, you’ve got chile rellenos or a salsa—done and done! Yeah, I totally snack like it’s Super Bowl Sunday every day of the year. 

Ingredients: 
Pepper(s) to roast 
Cooking spray or vegetable oil

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425F*Wash and dry off whole peppers, leaving stems intact. Grease a baking dish, or cookie sheet (one preferably with edges that come up) add peppers, and lightly coat with spray or oil. Stick them in the oven, and wait for them to char! Seriously — this is the part that always makes me think I’m doing the whole roasting thing wrong because I am intentionally burning my food. And then because my fire alarm is ultra sensitive, I always need a pillow handy to wave the smoke away, so you may want to grab one as well. 

For me, the roasting process usually takes about 45 - 60 minutes. I check on my peppers a lot, and I turn the peppers in the dish (with tongs or a fork) about every 15 minutes, so that each side gets blackened. Be careful because as the peppers release water, it can spatter with the oil in the oven and onto your arm. 

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The first 15 minute turnover of my lone red bell pepper. 

Once all the sides of your pepper are nicely charred, pull your peppers out of the oven and let them cool. I like to remove them from the baking dish as soon as they come out of the oven and onto a plate, but it’s not completely necessary.

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Finished and cooling down! 

Wait for them to cool down enough to handle, remove skin and stem and seeds. Sometimes people will cover their peppers to allow them to steam, which makes the skins easier to remove. I don’t bother. My friend Andrea wears gloves when she deseeds spicy peppers—it is a great tip because if you touch your face or your eyes without scrubbing your hands down, it will be tear inducing. 

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Cooled, skinned and de-seeded. This bell pepper got minced and went into  hearts of palm crab cakes

Alright, let’s do this—I want a chile relleno casserole or enchiladas stuffed with fresh roasted jalapeños for dinner! Please, can you bring it over? THANKS! 

*I keep my oven temperature lowish for roasting because my oven gets very smokey and I feel like there is more leeway for me when it comes to the difference between gently charring my peppers and burning them to an unidentifiable crisp. You can definitely go up experiment here and go up to 450, even 475 degrees, just keep a closer eye on your peppers. There are a few different methods out there, including grilling, broiling and roasting peppers over the flame of a gas stove, but for me the baking method has proven tried and true, even if it takes a little bit longer. Plus, isn’t the broiler for storing pots and pans? I kid, I kid (nope, I’m not). 

06/04/2012

How to, yo: Make tofu noodles taste good!   »

I am a big fan pasta dishes and marinara sauce. I am not a fan of eating lots of grains, including wheat, because they hurt my stomach. So when it comes to noodles, I often choose tofu-style! I’ve come up with some tricks to make them extra-super delectable, as they are a little strange right out of the packaging.



First of all, I drain the water and rinse them off. Then, in a pan, I sauté them up with garlic, salt, pepper and a few drizzles of olive or vegetable oil. This helps them firm up a little. Usually I will caramelize an onion too, but if it’s already in my sauce, I’ll skip that step. If I do sauté up an onion, I do that first, then add the pasta, garlic, seasonings. Once the pasta is in the pan, with or without onion, the cook time is about 10 minutes on medium to medium high heat.



Now what are you gonna make!? Last time I made these noodles, my roommate and I made a sauce by sauteing up chopped tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, onion, more garlic, and kale! It was so good! Sometimes I’ll use them in my cheesy eggplant bake or to make macaroni and cheese with cashew cheddar sauce (minus the chili pepper).

05/16/2012

How to, yo: Mold the best pizza crust!   »

I just had a pizza party with my family! And I broke my mom’s pizza stone, the night before Mother’s Day. I’m a terrible person! I’m not sure the iTunes gift certificate, coconut wax candle and cock blocker I gave her will make up for slamming her stone in the oven and demolishing it. It was an accident! But since she is a great person, she didn’t even get mad at me. My mom is the best.

I want to give props to Chef Mitch at Source for giving me the inside scoop on molding pizza crust. I was a pretty good home cook before; however, working side by side with him every day has taught me so much. If you come into Source, tell him you love the hints on Vegansaurus. It might render him speechless, which is no easy feat—that guy loves to talk! But I love listening, so it is a match made in restaurant heaven.

Now, whether it’s homemade or store-bought pizza dough you are working with, it is the easiest and best to handle at room temperature, so let your dough sit out for an hour or so. That way when you stretch it, it will stay where you put it. Also, play with the outside edge, which will be the uncovered crust, as little as possible. If you can get away with not touching it at all, that is great: It will make for a wonderful, light, “eggshell” crust that will rise beautifully and impress everyone. Shape and stretch your crust from the inside out. However you do this, DON’T TOUCH THE VERY OUTSIDE PART! That’s it. That’s all I’m trying to say.

This outside crust here is a little extreme, as in, it’s HUGE. But the dough was cold and I had a hard time stretching it. You don’t have to go this big, but you know what they say: Go big or go home! The outside crust was so light and fluffy, I felt like a pro. Do you like how I made myself a half-cheese, half-veggie combo? I need options! And remember when some of you were like “Daiya is gross, it tastes like glue”? Well, I really like it. Follow Your Heart soy mozzarella is my numero uno, but Daiya is my mistress! They better not make me choose, because I love them both so much.

03/30/2012

How to, yo: Steam tempeh!  »

I like tempeh all right. The first time I ever had it, my friend Krystle made TLTs—tempeh, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches with Veganaise. I wasn’t vegan yet, but after eating her sandwich, I decided it was time to seriously try. I have often told Krystle her TLT was what finally made it me go vegan. It was a gateway sandwich!

When I have tackled the TLT on my own, I noticed that the tempeh soaks up so much of the oil and soy sauce I sauté it in to make bacon. I decided one night, last year, to try steaming my tempeh first. I had skimmed many a recipe that suggested steaming, and it was time to try it.

Turns out it’s easy to do. Seriously, once I started steaming my tempeh first, I began enjoying it so much more. I’ve heard steaming takes some of the bitterness out, but I’ve never noticed a bitter bite to begin with. Plus, when steamed, it soaks up less oil when preparing it afterward.

Yes, steaming does add one extra step, but I’m doing it as I write this post! You can steam anything (vegetables, fermented soy), and do other stuff at the same time! Multitasking!

Ingredients
Tempeh
A steam basket
A pot with a lid
Water

Instructions
Cut up your tempeh into sizes that are desirable for you. Place your steam basket into your pot, and fill pot with water just until it reaches the bottom of the steam basket. Bring water to a boil, place tempeh in steam basket.

To boil the water, I set the stove burner to high, but once the tempeh is in the pot, with the lid on, I turn down the temperature to medium high/medium. Then I let it do its thing for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Lift the cover; your tempeh should be tender and ready for however you like to prepare it! 

Once you’ve steam your tempeh, you can then sautee it or bake it—whatever you usually do. I still like to make myself TLTs, with homemade mayo, of course! I am steaming tempeh today, because I am getting ready to write a battered tempeh taco recipe for you! With a gluten-free version included, of course.


My desire to play around with tempeh was brought on by a recent dinner at Millennium with my roommate, Crystal. We decided to share the Maple-Black Pepper Smoked Tempeh, as neither of us has been the biggest fans of tempeh. We were like, “If we are ever going to have tempeh at its most delectable, it’s going to be here.” We were not mistaken.

03/07/2012

How-to, yo: Make vegan mayonnaise!   »

Store-bought mayo is expensive! I mean, it probably won’t break the bank, but if I could give you a cheaper alternative, you’d be into it, right? Right! Let’s get started! Summer is coming, and we need mass amounts of vegan mayo for all of our potato salads!

Ingredients
1 10 oz. package silken tofu
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. rice or white wine vinegar
Juice of half a lemon

Take these ingredients and process until smooth in your pulverizing equipment of choice. I used a food processor, but a blender works too! That’s all there is to it—now you have mayo! Get to making your sandwiches, potato salad or tofu “eggless” salads!

This recipe yields about 1.5 cups mayo, and I usually end up doubling it. This should last about five days in the fridge.

Remember when Laura showcased all the upcoming Vegenaise flavors? You can make them at home! Add some pesto, garlic, chipotle sauce, bbq sauce, or horseradish to this basic recipe—your options are endless!

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