Although I am more a fan of Puppy Bowl than the Super Bowl, I love making food for both games. Below are some of my favorite appetizers I've made in the past (which I'll also be making again on Sunday).
I found some beautiful king oyster mushrooms in Chinatown last week, with no real plan on how to use them. I didn't want to buy a ton of ingredients to make a dish, so I used what I already had in my cabinets and refrigerator, and made these spicy and nicely textured sushi rolls with them. The trick here with getting the mushrooms to develop a similar texture to a scallop is an hour-long soak in a little warm water to soften them up a bit. A quick roll in some panko and cornstarch gives these rolls a nice little crunch and goes well with the spicy sriracha-Vegenaise sauce. If you scan below for the ingredients that I used to make the glaze you see on the plate above, you won't find them—I was overgenerous with adding in a thickener, and ended up with an aromatic but weirdly textured sauce that was almost inedible. However, it turned out that this dish doesn't really require all of that anyway, as a quick dunk in a little soy sauce balances everything out perfectly here. INGREDIENTS 3/4 cup sushi rice, soaked for 30 minutes in cold water 1 1/2 cups water 1 TB rice vinegar 1 TB sugar 1/2 TB salt plenty of oil for frying 4 straight, medium-sized king oyster mushroom stems, soaked in warm water for about an hour 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G, whisked with 5 TB cold water 1/2 cup cornstarch 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs 4 toasted nori sheets sesame seeds 4 TB Vegenaise mixed with 1 tsp to 1 TB sriracha, to taste soy sauce
METHOD After the rice has soaked for 30 minutes, rinse thoroughly under fresh cold water and place into a rice cooker with the 1 1/2 cups of water. Once the rice is ready, place the rice vinegar, sugar and salt into a large glass bowl and place in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Transfer the cooked rice to the glass bowl and stir well. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a small pot over medium-high heat. After 7 minutes, throw a pinch of cornstarch into it. If it sizzles immediately, you are ready to fry. Place the mushroom stems into the Ener-G/water mixture, then roll them in the panko/cornstarch mixture until well coated. Tap off any excess. Fry each piece separately for about 2 minutes and place on paper towels to drain and cool.
Roll your sushi, spooning some of the sriracha-Vegenaise dressing in a straight line next to the mushroom. Serve with soy sauce and garnish with vegan caviar and pea shoots or sprouts, if desired.
The best compliment to sriracha is another element that features a fatty, creamy and slightly mild note—like raw cashews—as it slightly tempers the heat, yet allows the other chili and vinegar notes to become more pronounced. I've used this principle here to create a balanced coating for kale chips by grinding down some raw cashews and combining them with a roasted red pepper, nutritional yeast and raw tahini before adding a bit of sriracha in at the end. Once fully dehydrated, the chili and cashew coating creates a kale chip that is pleasantly spicy, bright and addictive. INGREDIENTS 1 bunch of fresh kale, washed, rinsed and dried well (preferably spun) 1/2 cup whole raw cashews 1 whole roasted red pepper a few dashes of salt 1/2 cup raw tahini 3 TB nutritional yeast 1/4 cup water 1 TB sriracha METHOD Separate the kale leaves from the ribs and rip them into bite-sized pieces. Discard the stems or save them for making stock later.
Place the cashews into a small food processor and grind until they form a fine powder. Add in the roasted red pepper and salt and grind again until a paste is formed. Add in the tahini, nutritional yeast and water, then process until a smooth texture is achieved. Add in the sriracha, taste, then adjust any seasons as needed.
Place half of the kale into a large prep bowl. Drizzle half of the mixture over the top and mix vigorously with a large wooden spoon until all of the kale is evenly coated. Place onto a food dehydrator tray. Repeat with the other half.
Dehydrate the kale for 12-14 hours at 115 degrees. Transfer and store in an airtight container or serve immediately.
I decided to make another vegan reuben sandwich (again) after spotting and picking up some garlic sauerkraut at Whole Foods this weekend. What differs from the last version is the addition of homemade vegan cheese instead of Daiya, which offered a new texture and richness that complemented the other sweet, briny, crispy, gooey, salty and spicy elements here perfectly. I love the sloppy look and feel of this sandwich, and mopping up the extra sauce and sauerkraut between bites is the best part of eating this.
INGREDIENTS for the cheese: 1/2 can full-fat coconut milk 1/2 tsp coconut vinegar 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp agar powder 1/2 TB tapioca flour for the sandwich: 1 tsp cumin seeds 1 TB olive oil 1 package of Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh a few dashes of liquid smoke a few drizzles of raw agave syrup rye or pumpernickel bread, sliced 1 TB Earth Balance spread prepared raw sauerkraut 4 TB Vegenaise, mixed with 1 TB sriracha
METHOD To make the cheese: Combine all of the cheese ingredients small saucepan. Whisk briskly continuously until the mixture comes to a small boil and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove it from the heat and transfer it to a small pyrex dish. Allow to chill and slightly set for about 20 minutes.In a dry skillet, lightly toast the cumin seeds over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Set aside. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan over medium heat. Add the slices of tempeh and saute until nicely browned, about 5 minutes for each side. Before removing the tempeh to cool, sprinkle with a few dashes of liquid smoke and drizzle with a little agave syrup. Melt a little of the Earth Balance over a clean skillet. Place the bread on top and allow to toast for a few minutes. Flip it over, then spread some of the cheese over the top. Allow the other side to toast. Flip the bread over again so the cheese makes contact with the pan and slightly melts for 20 seconds or so. Remove from the pan. To assemble the sandwich, lay several pieces of the tempeh on the bread. Top with sauerkraut and sprinkle with the toasted cumin seeds. Top with the sriracha-Vegenaise dressing. Serve warm.
This is us, doing what we do almost every week: I make vegan food and style it, jeffwyso photographs it and then it goes up on this blog. It's a wonderful partnership, allowing both of us to contribute to the blog in our own independent way, creating an end product that showcases our respective passions for food and photography. Sharing it with those kind enough to visit this space is an added bonus, and we are always thrilled to see our efforts pay off with enthusiastic readership, additional exposure and generous comments. Since we rarely show our faces around here, we thought it would be a fun and different idea to shoot us, well ... doing a shoot. Typical food shoots usually only happen on the weekends, which gives me a few days to dream up delicious ideas during the week and perfect them as much as I can in my head before executing them. Once plating is done, jeffwyso sets up the lighting and spends anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour producing a number of gorgeous shots, which I then sift through and choose from to place into a blog post. Transforming concepts into content has turned out to be a fantastic way to spend time together, connect in a creative way and challenge ourselves week after week. If you are reading this, thanks for visiting, and we hope that you like what you see.
I made these adorable and delicious samosas yesterday from a few fresh, frozen and dried ingredients I had sitting around in my kitchen. I used that little bag of red quinoa that's been sitting with my other bulk ingredients for months, those little nubs of fresh ginger in my refrigerator that don't ever seem to get used and that package of spring roll pastry I bought in Chinatown months ago that got buried under other items in my freezer drawer. The filling here was easy to make, the samosas were fun to assemble and the cilantro-ginger sauce tasted amazing rounded out with a little coconut vinegar for a unique splash of acidity.
INGREDIENTS for the sauce: 1 bunch of fresh cilantro (about 1 cup, packed) 1 TB olive oil 1 TB grated fresh ginger 1 tsp grated garlic a few pinches of salt 2-3 tsp coconut vinegar for the filling: 1 cup vegetable broth 1 piece of fresh ginger (about the size of your thumb), chopped into four rough pieces 1/2 cup quinoa (red or white) 1 tsp olive oil 1 large shallot, finely diced 1 TB coconut oil 1/2 tsp mustard seeds 1 TB garlic, finely diced 3 scallions, chopped 1 tsp curry 1/2 tsp garam masala
vegan spring roll pastry oil, for brushing the pastry METHOD Place the cilantro into a small food processor. Drizzle the oil over the top and process until smooth. Add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse a few times to combine. Place into the refrigerator to chill.
To make the quinoa, place the broth and ginger into a small saucepan over medium heat. While you wait for the broth to come to a small boil, place the quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse well under cold water to remove the bitter saponin coating. Then transfer the quinoa to a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat. Toast for a few minutes. By now, your broth should be at a low boil. Scrape the quinoa into the broth, stir and cover it with a tight lid. Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Wipe the skillet with a damp towel to remove any quinoa kernels. Add in the teaspoon of oil and add in the shallots. Gently allow it to caramelize over medium-low heat while your quinoa is cooking. Once a nice and deep golden color is achieved (after about 12 minutes), transfer the shallots to a small bowl and set aside.
Now return the skillet to the stovetop and melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add in the mustard seeds, Once they start to sputter, reduce the heat to low. Add the caramelized shallots, garlic and scallions to the skillets. Stir to combine.
By now, your quinoa should be ready. All of the broth should be absorbed and the quinoa should be light and fluffy. Transfer the quinoa to the skillet and stir to combine. Add in the curry and garam masala and allow to simmer over low heat for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
To make your samosas, cut 24 sheets of spring roll pastry into either 2X6 or 3X6 strips. You'll use two layers of sheets for each samosa. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the filling onto one end of the strip. Lift the bottom-right corner and bring it over the top of the filling, then lift the straight edge over the top and repeat to create a triangle shape. Tuck in the remaining end into the folded triangle. Repeat the process until you have made 18 small or 12 medium-sized samosas.
Preheat your oven to 425. Lightly grease a baking sheet with a little oil. Place the samosas onto the sheet and brush with a little more oil. Bake for 10 minutes on one side. Flip the pieces and bake for 4-5 minutes more, or until golden brown.
Serve immediately with the cilantro-ginger sauce. Store any leftovers in the freezer.
One of my favorite shows on The Food Network is Heat Seekers, which features two chefs—Aarón Sanchez and Roger Mooking—sampling the most notoriously spicy dishes throughout the US. Virtually none of the dishes they feature are vegan, but it's interesting to see the array of foods that are doused in hot sauce, how its prepared and hear about the experience from the people who consume them. I was inspired to make a fiery buffalo wing dish (which I've made before with tofu) after watching an episode last week, using my new favorite ingredient—soy curls. These wings are deep fried, then doused in a ratio 1:3 ratio of Earth Balance and sriracha sauce, with a side of cooling ranch dip, made from a mixture of fresh parsley and Vegenaise. The sauce still wasn't hot enough for me, so I added in a generous tablespoon of dried habanero powder, which made these ridiculously hot and amazingly good. INGREDIENTS for the wings: 1 cup Butler Soy Curls 1 1/2 cup Imagine Brand No-Chicken broth 4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed 1 tsp salt to fry: 1 cup cornstarch, placed into a large and shallow bowl 1/2 tsp Ener-G, whisked with 5 TB cold water, placed into a large and shallow bowl plenty of vegetable oil, for frying for the cooling sauce: 1/3 cup Vegenaise 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley 1 tsp garlic powder for the hot sauce glaze: 1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted 1 1/2 cup sriracha optional: chopped fresh habanero, habanero powder, sambal
METHOD Place the soy curls, broth, smashed garlic and salt into a small saucepan. Bring to a small boil over medium heat, then turn the heat off. Allow the soy curls to sit in the hot liquid for about 10 minutes.
Drain the soy curls using a fine mesh strainer. Place the soy curls into a towel and cover it with another towel. Put a heavy pan or pot on top to get some of the moisture out for about 10 minutes.
Place plenty of vegetable oil (at least 5 inches high) into another small saucepan over medium-high heat. While it is heating (it will take about 7 minutes), prepare your cooling sauce by combining the Vegenaise, parsley and garlic powder together. Set aside.
Now you should be ready to fry the soy curls. Place a wooden spoon into the oil, touching the bottom of the pan. If bubbles form immediately around it, you are ready to fry. Place the soy curls into the water/Ener-G mixture, then toss them into the cornstarch, coating well and tapping off any excess. Working in small batches, gently drop them into the oil, piece by piece, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Allow to fry for 3-4 minutes, then remove them from the oil using a skimmer. Place them onto paper towels to drain. Repeat the process until all of the soy curls are fried.
In another large skillet, melt the Earth Balance over medium-low heat. Add in the sriracha and stir. Now, throw in the soy curls, and stir until well coated. Add a bit more vegan butter and hot sauce as needed to cover all of the pieces. Taste, then add more heat to taste as needed. As soon as the pieces are warmed through and thoroughly coated in the hot sauce, serve immediately with the cooling sauce on the side.
I've made this spicy, sweet, smoky and tangysauce a million times. It's a snap to assemble and is the perfect component to serve with tofu, noodles and vegetables, which is a typical weeknight dinner for us. After I panfry the tofu and vegetables and boil the noodles, I'll typically drizzle this sauce over everything at the end to nicely pull together all of the flavors and textures. However, since I made this dish, I really liked the viscous texture created by whisking in a bit of cornstarch slurry in at the end. This simple step transforms the sauce into a more decadent and flavorful one, and is now my husband's favorite sauce for tofu. Serve it with these noodles, and you'll have the perfect go-to quick dinner in front of you in about 30 minutes. INGREDIENTS 1 block firm tofu 1/2 cup mirin 1 TB soy sauce 1 TB toasted sesame oil 1 tsp rice vinegar 1 tsp sugar or raw agave syrup 1 tsp grated ginger 1 tsp grated garlic 1 tsp - 1 TB sambal or sriracha 2 tsp cornstarch, whisked with 4 tsp cold water 1 TB sesame seeds METHOD Cut the tofu into 4 slabs, then cut each of those slabs in half. Place the pieces into a pan with a little oil over medium-high heat. (There is no need to press the water put of the tofu.) Cover the pan with a lid and allow to saute for 10-12 minutes. It will sputter and pop, which is fine.
While the tofu is browning, make your sauce by combining the next 8 ingredients. Heat over low heat in a small saucepan.
Check on your tofu. If it is well browned, flip the pieces over and continue to brown the other side. Be careful when removing the lid , which will collect steam over cook time and drip into the pan, causing sputtering. Allow to brown for an additional 10 minutes or so.
Once the tofu is done, increase the heat for the sauce to medium. Once it starts to slightly boil, pour in the cornstarch/water slurry and whisk for a minute or two until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat. Pour the sauce over the browned tofu and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Ever since I discovered socca, I've been smitten with the rich and soft texture created by combining water with chickpea flour. And when I found out that you can also make chickpea fries out of the batter, I had to try it out. These fries are not only delicious, but are also very simple: they only contain chickpea flour, water, oil, salt and pepper. These components are all whisked together to form a slurry, heated then cooled to create a sliceable texture which is then deep fried or pan fried in a little oil. The texture on the outside becomes light and crispy, while the inside remains soft, rich and airy—sort of souffle like. Here I've paired it with some roasted garlic aioli which is the perfect compliment to this addictive, amazing and sort-of-healthy appetizer or side dish. INGREDIENTS for the aioli 1 whole head of garlic 3 TB olive oil 1/4 cup Vegenaise 1 tsp apple cider vinegar for the fries 1 cup chickpea flour 2 cups cold water 1 TB olive oil salt and pepper vegetable oil, for frying chopped parsley, for serving METHOD Preheat your oven to 350. Slice off the very top of the garlic, keeping the rest of the garlic intact. Place the head of garlic, exposed side down, into a small glass pyrex dish. Drizzle with olive oil and cover the top tightly with tin foil. Place into the oven to bake for 45 minutes.
While your garlic is roasting, combine all of the fries ingredients into a bowl and whisk until smooth.
Place two tablespoons of oil into a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is very hot, slowly pour the batter into it. Once it starts to slightly bubble after a minute or two, take a whisk and stir it continuously and vigorously until thickened, about 7 minutes.
Remove it from the heat and transfer the thickened batter into a glass container greased with a little oil. Place into the refrigerator to cool and set.
After 45 minutes, pull your garlic out of the oven. Flip it over, and spoon some of the oil that's collected in the bottom of the glass dish over the top. Replace the foil and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.
Allow the garlic to cool completely, then separate and squeeze the roasted garlic into a bowl. Add in the rest of the aioli ingredients, then drizzle the leftover olive oil into it. Whisk untill well combined.
By now, your chickpea batter should be firm enough to slice. Slice it into whatever shape you want and set aside.
If deep frying, place plenty of vegetable oil into a small saucepan. Heat it over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes. Insert a wooden spoon into the pot, touching the bottom of the pot with it. If bubbles form around the spoon immediately, you are ready to fry.
Place a few of the fries into the hot oil (no more than six), ensuring that they do not stick together. Fry for a few minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel to drain, then sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the rest of the batter. If pan-frying, place a couple of tablespoons of oil into a saute pan over medium-high heat. Fry the pieces for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt while piping hot.
Serve immediately with the roasted garlic aioli and chopped fresh parsley.