Monthly Archives: January 2014

Roasted Garlic and Walnut Chickpea Pate

Welcome to the party, elegant and tasty spread.  I’m lovin’ your roasty garlic flavor and your silky texture.  Won’t you join me over here by the crackers?

pate yum1

This pate is hummus in black tie.  Approachable and friendly black tie.  Spread on a cracker, it’s right at home at a cocktail party or the party for the big game.  I found the recipe at the Amuse Your Bouche blog via the Finding Vegan Facebook page.  The original recipe makes a tiny amount, so I adjusted ingredients to make a whole can of chickpeas-worth, and reduced the amount of oil.  This larger amount still doesn’t last long-it’s that kind of yummy!  Here’s what you need to start your relationship with your new favorite party date.

ingredients

  • 1 entire head of garlic, roasted  (12-14 cloves, or more if you like garlic like we do!)
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts, plus a bit more to garnish
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained but NOT rinsed
  • 4 TBSP lemon juice
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, roast the garlic.  Heat oven to 375F.

Cut the top off a head of garlic, place it in a pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

cut top off garlic

place in pan with oil salt and pepper

(Save the little tops for another garlic recipe.)

save little tops

Roast for 25 minutes and remove to cool.  When cool enough to handle, pop the cloves out of their skins.

pop cloves out

Place roasted garlic cloves into a food processor along with the walnuts.

garlic and walnuts in processor

Process until you achieve a coarse crumb.

process to crumbs

Add the drained chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.

add chickpeas salt pepper lemon and oil

Process until smooth.  Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed.

puree til smooth

Place in a pretty bowl, garnish with chopped walnuts, set out some crackers and prepare to be enchanted.  Seduced, really.

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There is a LOT of garlic in this recipe, and it is definitely the top-note of the flavor.  However, since it’s roasted, it’s a mellow and earthy garlic.  Definitely yummy!

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, Holiday foods, recipe, snack, vegan, Vegetarian

Chipotle-Style Sofritas

Generally, eating out–especially fast food, and being vegan in Western Colorado is not an easy thing.  And THEN(!) Chipotle introduced its fabulous Sofritas (Crumbled tofu marinated and braised in chipotles, poblanos and other spices….slurp!).  So yummy!  Any time we’re in the Chipotle neighborhood, we’re there for a Sofritas Burrito.  Michael suggested we could figure out how to make this spicy tofu nirvana ourselves; we are “accomplished” vegans, after all, now that we’ve been cooking with tofu for over a year.  🙂

By chance, another blogger liked one of my posts, and I clicked his link “to see what he’s been up to” from the WordPress notification that always shows up with a like.  In the sidebar of his blog, there it was.  Chipotle Sofritas Recipe!  I always have tofu, but needed the poblanos.  Unfortunately, none to be found, so I used a combo of serranos and cubanelles.  The resulting sofritas were spicy (thanks serranos!) and close enough to the Chipotle flavor that I wanted to make them again.

I found poblanos, adjusted the seasoning just a bit and voila!  Homemade sofritas!

sofritas yum1

Plan ahead–the sofritas are best after marinating for at least two hours.

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 poblanos, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1 14-0z package extra-firm organic tofu (Get organic to avoid GMOs)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili blend–like a fajita mix or a chili powder of your choice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a splash of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup broth–I use No Chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf

Roast your poblanos, either in a 400F oven or on your grill.  I chose my outdoor grill–it was a beautiful day!  Roast, turning until blistered on all sides.

roast poblanos

Place the peppers in a plastic bag and seal to steam.  This will help the skins slip right off.

steam poblanos

Drain tofu and place on a clean kitchen towel.

drain tofu and place on towel

Wrap the towel around the tofu and place something on top to help press out most of the remaining liquid.

add weight to press water out

When the peppers have cooled enough for you to handle them, peel by rubbing them gently with your fingers.

peel poblanos

Then remove the seeds and stem.

seed poblanos

Place the cleaned poblanos in your blender.

poblanos in blender

Then add the chipotles, cumin, chili blend, salt, garlic powder, oregano, lime juice and broth.

everything else in blender

Blend until smooth.  Oh my does this smell amazing.  I think it would be a great sauce for all sorts of things!

blended sauce

Crumble the tofu into mostly uniform pieces.  I like mine to be about the same texture as cooked and crumbled ground beef.

crumble tofu

all crumbled

Add the sauce and stir to mix.  Toss the bay leaf in–it will add to the flavor as you cook the sofritas later, and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or over night.

add sauce and bay leaf

Place the marinated sofritas in a pan and heat, stirring until heated through–about 10 minutes.  I added a bit more broth to help keep the mixture moist.

sofritas in pan

Then serve it up however you like!  Use it however you might use seasoned taco meat.  We decided to make burritos with brown cilantro rice, pinto beans, avocado and lettuce.

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How do you like YOUR burrito?  Last time we made sofritas, we combined the leftover sofrita, beans and rice and made it into enchiladas the next night.  Yum-yum-yummy!

You’ll have leftover chipotles, and they won’t keep long in the refrigerator.  I like to place individual peppers with a bit of adobo sauce into snack size bags, seal them and then seal them into a freezer bag.

freeze leftover chipotles

Then I can thaw out however many chipotles I need for a particular recipe later.  🙂

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Filed under dairy-free, dinner, lunch, recipe, restaurants, vegan, Vegetarian

Sweet and Spicy Pecans

Why hello easy, delicious, make-ahead appetizer!  You’re the perfect crunch that’s not quite sweet, not quite savory and yet completely addictive.  I think I love you.

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Another recipe from the Holiday Appetizer Buffet in Vegan Holiday Kitchen, these pecans were coveted by party guests at this year’s New Year’s Eve party.  Holiday parties are super fun, but happen when you’re most busy and stressed.  This nice little appetizer is the first guest to invite.  🙂

ingredients

  • 1/3 cup agave or maple syrup (I used maple!)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300F.

Combine the maple syrup with cinnamon, chili powder, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

combine maple with spices

Stir in the pecans to coat them evenly.  (Ack!  What possessed me to think stirring with my whisk was a good idea?!  The pecans got all caught in there….Just use a spoon.  Really.)

add pecans

Spread coated pecans in a 9×9, aluminum foil-lined baking pan, or an aluminum pan if you have one.

spread in aluminum pan

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes, until pecans are nicely glazed and toasted.  (This is a departure from the original recipe which says to heat oven to 250F and bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10.  My location is considered high altitude, and the original temp and time didn’t result in a crunchy glaze for me.)

Let cool and break apart any clumps.  Serve in a pretty dish.

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I wasn’t sure I liked the ginger in these at first–I thought it was a bit too floral.  However, something about the spice combo makes these super addictive.  If you have any leftover after the party, store in an air-tight container and then count out how many you plan to eat as a snack.  Reseal the container.  If you don’t follow this advice, you may end up eating all that are left.  Not that I’d know. 😉

These would be super-delish garnishing a spring spinach and strawberry salad.  Yummmmmm!

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Filed under appetizer, Holiday foods, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian

Hot Artichoke and White Bean Dip

Many years ago, a restaurant here in town served an appetizer called Sheep Dip.  I know, not the most appetizing name, but oh my what a delicious combination of hot, gooey deliciousness.  It had tons of cheese and spinach and artichokes.  Yum, yum, yummy!  We ordered it EVERY time we went there.  I have since given up dairy, so no more Sheep Dip for me.  Not that I don’t think about it sometimes.  And THEN!  I treated myself to a new cookbook for the holidays: Vegan Holiday Kitchen.  A beautiful book full of complete menus for every occasion, including a section on appetizers.  One of those recipes looked very, very much like my beloved Sheep Dip.  I just had to try it!  I’m sharing it with you because YES!  Very reminiscent of the original hot gooey deliciousness!

transfer to baking dish top w cheese

Serve it in a bread bowl, serve it in the baking dish, serve it with bread or crackers or crudites….perfect for a party, perfect for just you and your sweetie…or just you!

ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves (or arugula or watercress)
  • 2 TBSP fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella-style grated vegan cheese
  • paprika for topping

Preheat oven to 375F.

Saute onion and garlic in a bit of veggie or No-Chicken broth until the onion starts to caramelize.

saute onions garlic

Place the saute in a food processor along with the beans and cream cheese, process until smooth.

process sauted onions garlic beans cream cheese

Add artichoke hearts, spinach, dill, thyme, salt and pepper.

pulse spinach artichokes and seasonings

Pulse until evenly chopped, but not pureed.

just until evenly chopped

Place in a oven-safe dish, top with grated cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes.

transfer to baking dish top w cheese

Sprinkle top with paprika and serve hot or warm.

Have you noticed I don’t have a picture of the final gooey yuminess?  My guests were already here when I pulled it from the oven.  I was so amazed with it, I sprinkled the paprika, set it on my kitchen island with a flourish and completely forgot to take a picture!  It was delish.  Go make some and see for yourself!

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, Food memories, Holiday foods, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian

Tazza Toscano aka Those Filled Wonton Thingies

For this year’s New Year’s Eve party, I wanted to make appetizers and finger foods for everyone’s dietary preferences.  This one satisfies everyone but the gluten-free.  It was one I had completely forgotten about until I asked my son what food he’d like to have for the party.  He remembered these when I suggested a filled mushroom as a possibility.  “What were those things you made that one time?  The ones in the wonton wrappers?”  Oh!  The Filled Wonton Thingies!  I knew where to look for the recipe….I think.  Success!  I found the stapled sheets that contained the recipes from a wine tasting we had attended at a local winery and there they were, Tazza Toscana.  Crunchymeltyflavor-y bites of pure yum.  I made them vegan from a non-vegan recipe; easily adjusted to go vegan or not.  These disappeared quickly; devoured by vegans and non-vegans alike!

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They’re amazingly easy to put together.

ingredients

  • 1 lb sausage, breakfast or Italian, cooked and crumbled.  I used Gimme Lean Sausage-style.
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar.  I used Daiya.  (Be careful with non-dairy cheese. Not all of them are vegan.)
  • 1 1/2 cup grated montery jack.  I used Daiya pepper jack.
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers

Preheat oven to 375 F.

First, press wonton wrappers into 24 openings of mini muffin pans.  I discovered that the pestle from my small wooden mortar and pestle worked perfectly for this job.  Try to keep the wrapper as “open” as possible.

press wraps into tins

Bake the wraps for 5 minutes and remove to cooling racks.

bake wraps

Brown the sausage, breaking it up as you go.  I use a potato masher at the end to get a good crumbled texture.

brown sausage

Add cheeses, onions, pepper and ranch dressing to the cooked sausage and stir to combine.

add onion pepper cheese ranch

Divide the filling evenly between the 24 wrappers.  I had to “rob” some of the more generously filled ones to get enough for my 24.

fill and bake

Bake the filled wrappers for 10 minutes and transfer to a serving platter.  They are best served warm, right from the oven.

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Stand back.  Tazza Toscano are irresistible and will be immediately pounced upon by your party guests!  So yummy.  So easy.  I really should make these more often!

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Filed under appetizer, Holiday foods, recipe, side dish, vegan