vegansaurus!

10/08/2012

Vegan MoFo: Lundberg Tuscan Risotto!  »

To continue your international MoFo journey, let’s get Tuscan! I used to eat Lundberg risottos all the time in college—I didn’t know they made vegan ones! Nice. I like that big “VEGAN” on the bottom. Nice.

The Tuscan flavor is tasty. I give it 80 thumbs up! It’s just good and warm and creamy. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

11/18/2011

Recipe: Seasonal Affective Risotto (butternut squash and leeks, mainly)  »

The yearly end of Daylight Savings Time puts me into a funk. I’m on the brink of another major depressive episode, and the only things keeping me going are Sadie (my cat companion), wine, and glitter.

Risotto takes a while to cook, it’s a good dish to make when you want to be brooding and pensive and listen to Bright Eyes’ Fevers and Mirrors. I made it with butternut squash and leeks and a bunch of random fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, and oregano) because those things came in my CSA box (so bourgey!). It lifted my mood enough to make me finally take a shower. Here’s how it went down.


Seasonal Affective Risotto

Ingredients

1 decent-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
6 cups vegetable broth
2 large leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional, but gives it a nice fall color and a cheesy flavor)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (if you have to pick just one, choose sage)
Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat that oven to 400 degrees F. Put the squash on a baking sheet, and mix it up with two tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast it for 40 minutes, stirring when you remember.

Put the broth in a saucepan, heat it to a simmer, turn off the heat, and cover.

On medium-low, heat the remaining oil in another saucepan or wok or something big with some sort of sides. Throw those leeks in there, and saute until soft. I like to poke the spoon through the center of each leek slice so that the layers become kind of a cone, and then I laugh and ponder my existence.

Once the leeks are soft, add some garlic until it smells reeeeeeal nice. Pour the rice into the pan and stir for a minute or two. Then you want to add the wine:



Get one of these tiny bottles of crap white wine, and drink what you don’t use. You… might be sorry?

Stir some more until the wine is absorbed. Then you will add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring all the while. Every time you add some broth, stir until it’s absorbed before you add more. While you’re stirring, you’ll have plenty of time to think — about your nonexistent career path, your latest failed romantic endeavor, that time you farted at Burning Man. Then know that things can only go up from here.

Half an hour or so later, when all six cups of the broth are absorbed and you are all cried out, add the squash, nutritional yeast, and herbs, and cook until heated through. Add salt and pepper if you need to, but I don’t think you will. Take a deep breath, slap some bread on your plate, and smile for the first time in weeks.

04/26/2011

Dashi risotto gets all multicultural in your mouth  »


Ever have a giant bag of arborio rice but no veggie broth at your house? Yeah me too. But Japanese dashi broth is really quick and easy to make, thus saving you time in which to get a hand cramp stirring your rice for half an hour. But seriously, this dish is both surprising and delicious. If you’re a crazy hoarder like me, you might even have all the ingredients on hand. Thanks to La Fuji Mama for inspiration.

Dashi Sweet Potato Risotto
Serves 4 as a main dish

Ingredients
the dashi

8 cups water
3 kombu strips (about 5 inches each)
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 cup dried shitake mushroom slices
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. mirin
1 stalk lemongrass (optional)
1 dried cayenne pepper (optional)

the risotto
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. oil
1-inch hunk of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 cups arborio rice
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup finely chopped greens, such as mustard, collard, or dandelion
1 cup protein of your choice, cubed (seitan, beans, tempeh, canned Vegetarian Skallops…the world is your vegan oyster)
1 tsp. rice vinegar
Sriracha chile sauce to taste

Instructions
In a medium saucepan, combine the dashi ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Keep covered and on low heat as you make the risotto.

Meanwhile, in a large pot sauté the onions and ginger in the oil over medium heat until onions are starting to brown, about seven minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the rice, stir to coat, and cook for three minutes or so. Add the sweet potatoes, and if using tempeh as your protein source, throw that in now. 

Here comes the part that makes risotto hand-cramptastic: Ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot dashi broth into the rice. (It’s ok if the shitake mushrooms get into the main dish, but try to avoid scooping up the kombu, ginger, lemongrass, or cayenne. Use a strainer if you care a lot.) Stir the rice until the broth is mostly absorbed. Add another ladle-ful of dashi to the rice and stir until absorbed. Repeat until the broth is almost all gone and the rice is creamy and al-dente but not hard, about 30 minutes.

Just before you pour in your last ladleful of broth into the rice, add in your greens, and your protein if you haven’t already. (If you’re using collards or other long-cooking greens, you may want to add them a bit earlier). Add the rice vinegar. Stir to combine and keep cooking until everything’s warm, the liquid is all absorbed, and the greens are tender (about 5 minutes).

Squirt in Sriracha to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Variations:
Many risotto recipes call for white wine, which I think adds a nice tartness. If you’ve got some, add about 1/2 cup to the rice before you start adding the broth. Stir until absorbed as proceed as directed.

As mentioned above, pretty much any kind of green and any protein source can work. I had this random can of Vegetable Skallops around so I chopped some up and threw them in to delightful results. Or just leave out the protein altogether and call it a side dish.

11/24/2010

Vegan Thanksgivings taking over newspapers across the country!  »

Well, at least in Philadelphia. The above-the-fold (newspaper talk!) article in the Philadelphia Inquirer food section on Nov. 11 was all about accommodating guests with different dietary needs—namely, VEGANS! They featured several vegan recipes from Skinny Bitch and whatnot but I’m kind of more interested in this vegetarian cornbread-stuffed squash pictured left from The Adaptable Feast by Ivy Manning. Care to veganize? Looks like it’d be pretty easy; most of the non-vegan items are in the corn bread and I find baking goes well with the replacements.

Oh! There’s also a vegan wild mushroom and asparagus risotto recipe that sounds BANGING but there’s no picture. I love risotto!

So how about other cities? Anybody spotted any of the local papers with some vegan Thanksgiving-related articles? Holler at your girl!

[photo by Ivy Manning via philly.com]

07/12/2010

OH MAN, YOU GUYS. Everyone at your Vegansaurus is busy or dying or has fallen off the planet or some combination thereof, and no one is around to tell you about amazing things like Thor the amazing pit bull who saved his family’s life when their home caught fire—he even pulled the baby in the bassinet to the front door while the parents were still getting themselves together. That we should all be so lucky as to have such a dog.
What we can do today is show you this begging-to-be-veganized recipe for summer squash risotto from Blake Royer of The Paupered Chef. It looks amazing, it sounds delicious, and all you CSA-subscribers should be receiving metric tons of squash in your boxes these days, so get to it and cook something wonderful, already. Soon you’ll be well fed and we’ll be posting like gangbusters again.
[photo by Blake Royer]

OH MAN, YOU GUYS. Everyone at your Vegansaurus is busy or dying or has fallen off the planet or some combination thereof, and no one is around to tell you about amazing things like Thor the amazing pit bull who saved his family’s life when their home caught fire—he even pulled the baby in the bassinet to the front door while the parents were still getting themselves together. That we should all be so lucky as to have such a dog.

What we can do today is show you this begging-to-be-veganized recipe for summer squash risotto from Blake Royer of The Paupered Chef. It looks amazing, it sounds delicious, and all you CSA-subscribers should be receiving metric tons of squash in your boxes these days, so get to it and cook something wonderful, already. Soon you’ll be well fed and we’ll be posting like gangbusters again.

[photo by Blake Royer]

12/17/2009

Recipe For a Cold Winter’s Night: Moosewood’s Squash and Kale Risotto  »

Risotto is so fucking great. It’s the best food. It’s hearty like a casserole, gluten-free, and you can throw basically anything into it and it tastes great. It’s my new favorite thing; I had such a great time making the pumpkin apple risotto from Bust magazine (recipe in the Oct./Nov. 2009 issue) for Laura’s thanksgiving potluck, that all I want to do now is throw everything in sight into a giant pot of olive oil, onions and arborio rice.

This recipe is perfect for mid-December, when the CSA box is full of squash, kale, lettuce, apples and citrus. I just happened to have everything on hand, which made it a lot easier. I highly recommend (1) making yourself a bourbon with bitters and a squeeze of lemon to start, and (2) throwing the latest Hood Internet mix #4 on the speakers because dang, THOSE ARE THE JAMS. You won’t even feel like risotto is labor-intensive or takes a long time.

You’ll need:

  • 5 cups of vegetable stock. I dissolved two Rapunzel Bouillon cubes in five cups of water. It worked great. Fancy european vegan veggie broth, FTW.
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about one big onion?)
  • Olive oil. As much as you want, baby. But probably like 3 tsp on average.
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice.
  • 1/2 cup white wine. Whatever’s rotting in your fridge. You’re cooking it anyway.
  • 2 cups cubed peeled winter squash. (For me, this was about one whole squash like the kind pictured here.) 
  • 3 cups (or about a big bunch) stemmed and chopped kale.
  • Shake of nutmeg (about 1/8 tsp)
  • A lemon (which you should already have, from the bourbon drink.)
  • Salt and pepper. Duh.

Moosewood's recipe calls for some shaved cheese, but it seriously does not taste any different without it, so don't worry about needing something to make up the flavor or texture. This risotto is totally off the hook with just what's listed above. The Moosewood recipe is also pretty loosey-goosey about the details (like stovetop temp, whether or not you should pre-cook the kale, etc.) so I’m just going to tell you what I did.

First, I roasted the squash yesterday. So, maybe you should have started this yesterday. But, preheat the oven to like 375 F, quarter the squash and rub it with Earth Balance and salt and pepper, and go do something else for a while. When you have soft cool squash later, chop it into cubes and peel off the outer skin, and that’s what you’ll use for the risotto.

To start, get your broth or bouillon water simmering. Mince the onion and chop the kale. In another big pot, heat up a couple tsps of olive oil, and throw in the minced onion. Enjoy that amazing fragrance. I like to throw a tiny pinch of sea salt in there too. Saute the onions for a few minutes.

Throw in the rice, and stir with a wooden spoon until the rice is all oily and mixed with the onions. Then, stir in the white wine and watch it absorb/evaporate. I enjoy watching this liquid absorption into arborio rice in a science class kind of way, which hopefully you do too, because you’ll spend the next half hour watching it.

Then, you start ladling in about a half cup of the veggie broth at a time, about once every two to four minutes. You wait for it to mostly absorb each time. You should be stirring constantly, although you can take breaks if you have a nonstick pot.

When you have about two cups of broth left in the other pot, stir in the cubed squash and the raw kale*. This seems kind of crazy be cause it adds a ton of bulk to the pot contents and makes it hard to stir, but it will cook down. Just keep ladling in broth periodically, and it’s good if you give it a few minutes with the lid on, too. Heat should be about medium to slightly high. Keep stirring and mushing together.

When you’re getting to the tail end of the broth and the dish looks pretty mushed/cooked together, season it with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and grate about a tsp of lemon zest into it, and stir. I also squeezed in the lemon juice liberally, which the recipe did not call for, but turned out to be a good decision.

Eat while it’s hot. Also, reheat it for lunch the next day, like I’ll be doing.

*The recipe did not say to pre-cook the kale at all. Just stir in the raw kale and let the broth and rice cook it for you. But, kale is kind of a beast, and the dude thought it was a little tough in the risotto. So next time, I might pre-cook it a bit, in a saucepan with a little water and oil?

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