We enjoyed a delicious Easter brunch at home, complete with what has become our traditional Easter menu of frittata (we made this one with cilantro, roasted poblano pepper, bell pepper, and onion) and savory swirls (we made this batch with store-bought biscuit dough and used this to flavor the Upton’s Chorizo Seitan), as well as roasted asparagus with lemon zest, breakfast potatoes, and the cutest little petit fours we picked up at a local market here in town. The Lenten Rose/Hellebore in my yard is doing very well and I was delighted to be able to cut and bring in several blooms to enjoy in vases in our house. It was sunny and not too cold out, so we enjoyed a bit of time outside in our patio chairs listening to the birds sing. Wishing you all a very happy Easter Sunday!
As I mentioned in my last post, we had a wonderful Christmas with family in Texas this year – so once we arrived safely home on New Year’s Eve, it was nice to enjoy a quiet dinner out and then return home to sit beside our beautiful tree next to the fireplace and enjoy the cozy glow for the evening; after having driven for 2 full days, we were spent. I was thrilled to come home and see my amaryllis plant in full bloom though and counted myself lucky that it had done so well in my absence. Speaking of luck…did you eat your black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day? We did – Ryan had a great idea to incorporate them into a vegetarian taco mix, which turned out to be not only fast and easy to prepare, but also delicious. We are looking forward to the New Year and all the possibilities ahead for us. Wishing you happiness, health, and good luck in the New Year!
It’s a very snowy Super Bowl Sunday and nothing goes better with being “snowed-in” and watching people talk about deflated balls, Katy Perry, and occasionally puppies than a nice comforting bowl of chili.
- 2 red bell peppers, roasted then diced
- 1 poblano pepper, roasted then diced
- 1 small white onion, roasted then diced
- 1 large jalapeño, roasted then minced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
- 1 can of red beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil (we used a chipotle infused oil)
- 2 tbsp dark chili powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp smoked chili powder
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
- 1 tbsp molé spice
- 1 heaping tbsp (about 1-2 tbsp) of good chocolate shaved
- salt to taste
Heat an oven to 350. Slice the onion into large slices. Put the onions and peppers in a large roasting pan/dish, then coat with some olive oil. Place into the oven to roast. Roast them until the peppers start to brown/blacken. Flip them occasionally to make sure they roast evenly. Set aside to cool. Once cooled peel the skins of the peppers, deseed, and dice. Dice the onion as well.
Heat a large pot to medium heat. Add the oil into the pot, let heat up then add the garlic. Cook until it starts to brown. Add the onion and peppers. Cook for about another minute. Add the chili powders and chocolate. Cook until everything is well incorporated. Add the the tomatoes. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes (or more). Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Salt to taste. Serve to your liking. We’ve got a bag of Fritos ready to go for some Frito pie.
We decided to make some soup to warm us up from the cold weather that finally arrived. So I made a spin on a classic, spaghetti-os. It is a simple roasted tomato & red pepper soup with circle shaped pasta, anelli, added to it.
- 1 package of anelli pasta (or any other circle shaped pasta)
- tomatoes on the vine (about 24 small/medium sized ones)
- 6 red bell peppers
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup red wine + a little more to splash in later
- a heaping tablespoon dried oregano
- a heaping tablespoon of course ground black pepper
- enough olive oil for roasting the red peppers and tomatoes and cooking the onion and garlic
- salt to taste
Roast the tomatoes and red peppers, lightly coated with olive oil, in an oven at 350° for about 35-45 minutes or until they start to blacken here and there. Set aside to cool. Once cooled enough to the touch core the tomatoes and cut the stems and deseed the red peppers. Cut the red peppers into strips (if your blender is powerful enough no need to do this). Put the tomatoes and red peppers in a blender and puree. Add some olive oil to a large soup pot over medium heat. Sweat the onions and garlic, about five minutes. Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Cook until the red wine reduces. Once reduced add the tomato and red pepper puree. Add the oregano, pepper, and a few extra splashes of red wine. Simmer for at least 10 minutes to get the flavors to mix. Salt to your taste preference. You can puree the soup again at this point, or just let the onions and other ingredients add a bit of texture to it. I’m lazy so I just left it as is.
In a separate container cook the pasta according to the directions. Once cooked you can add it directly to the soup. The pasta will soak up some moisture in the soup when stored, so if you can’t eat it all when you make it I recommend coating the pasta in some olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt, storing it separately, and just add the pasta to the soup before serving. “The greatest invention since the napkin.”
Several years ago one Christmas my Dad suggested making French toast with panettone, Italian for bread with stuff in it. While we had never thought to try that it made perfect sense. The panettone is light and fluffy like challah and a bit similar to raisin bread with stuff inside making it the perfect combination of the two types of bread I most commonly use to make french toast. Since then each year we make sure to get a loaf of panettone and make French toast. My French toast recipe is probably the combination of several other recipes online but it works pretty well.
- 1 loaf of panettone
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- butter for cooking (about 1 tsp)
- powdered sugar for dusting
Slice the panettone in thick slices, about 1/2-inch thick or more. Mix the eggs, milk, cinnamon, and extract together in a wide bowl. Heat up a skillet, pan, or griddle over medium heat. To check the heat toss some water on it, when it dances and sizzles in the pan it is ready. Melt some of the butter in the griddle (I do this each time before I add a new slice of toast). Dip a slice of panettone in the batter make sure to coat both sides. Place on griddle to cook. Cook each side until golden brown. Plate and dust with powdered sugar.
Growing up in El Paso I was always able to count on one thing being there to eat, tamales. While my family didn’t make a tradition of making them each year, we always received them as a gift from family and friends. Many of my friends’ families would spend Christmas eve, or the days before, making tamales for post-midnight mass celebrations. Having stayed in Michigan this year Val and I decided to bring a little tradition into our home and make our own tamales.
We’ve made tamales before, and for the most part followed this basic recipe for the masa. The only difference this time around is I used 2 cups of veggie stock, real butter, and I nixed the green chile powder. For the fillings we made three different varieties: chipotle sweet potato; corn, peppers, and cheese; and faux-acoa (vegetarian barbacoa).
Chipotle sweet potato filling
- 1 tsp (or a little more) chipotle infused olive oil
- 1 medium to large sweet potato diced (into pieces 1/2-inch or smaller)
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
- 1 heaping tsp dried thyme
- 1 heaping tsp dried mexican oregano
- 2 tbsp canned chipotles in adobo sauce
Par-boil, or quick cook in the microwave, the sweet potato. Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat up. Add the red onions and cook until translucent. Add the par-boiled sweet potatoes, chipotle powder, thyme, and oregano. Cook until potatoes begin to brown. Salt to your taste preference. Set aside. Puree the canned chipotles, you can use either a food processor or just chop into a puree. Set that aside as well. When making the tamales place a large spoonful of the sweet potato mixture in the masa then drizzle or spread some of the chipotle puree on top. Wrap the tamale.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 package of chorizo seitan (we use Uptons) diced
- 1 package of Rick Bayless’ Red Chile Barbacoa sauce (or make your own sauce)
I was a bit lazy on this one because the task of making 3 different fillings plus the tamales was a bit daunting. But none the less it worked quite well. Heat up a skillet to medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the chorizo seitan and cook for another minute or two, until the seitan heats up. Add about three quarters of a package of the barbacoa sauce and let cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. I didn’t add a full package because I didn’t want the mix to be to wet when putting it into the tamale. Add a large spoonful of the filling on top of the masa and wrap the tamale.
Chiles, cheese, and corn filling
- 2 poblano chiles
- 1 can of corn
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp green chile powder
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup shredded queso asedero (Queso Chihuahua or Monterey Jack will work too)
Roast the poblano peppers using whatever method you wish. I roasted them in the skillet over medium heat until they browned. Once browned, place into a paper bag for about 30-minutes or longer. Remove from the bag, remove the skins, stem, and deseed them. Dice them and set aside. Drain and rinse the corn. Heat a skillet to medium. Once hot add the butter, corn, and green chile powder. Cook until corn starts to brown. Add the chiles. Set aside. When making the tamales place some cheese and some of the chile and corn mixture into the tamale and wrap it up.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/3 red onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 5 medium tomatoes on the vine (cored and deseeded, cut into slices)
- 1 heaping tsp new mexico red chile powder
- 1 large roasted jalapeño minced
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves (rinsed)
Pan roast the jalapeño and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions sweat. Add the red chile powder and cook for an additional minute or so. Add the slices of tomatoes and cook until they either start to brown or fall apart. Put tomato mixture into a food processor. Blend into a sauce like consistency. Add the minced jalapeño. Chop up the cilantro to a size that you like and add into the mixture. Set aside to serve on top of the tamales.
Steam the tamales for an hour. Set aside and let cool for a minute or two. Unwrap and enjoy.
Val woke up this morning and had a hankering for some biscuits and gravy. So that is what we had.
The biscuits are just vegweb’s Savory Biscuits recipe with a bit of extra flour and basil for the dried herbs. The gravy was a modified version of this gravy recipe. So here is the modified recipe, it makes enough to top about 10 biscuits:
- 1 package Upton’s Chorizo Seitan chopped
- 1 jalapeño minced
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 1 shallot
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 5 tablespoons margarine
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 heaping teaspoon butcher’s cut pepper
- 1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp veggie stock
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- salt (this one is up to you)
You could probably do this all in one pot but I used a small pot and a pan and cooked the saucy part of the gravy separately from the meaty part.
Heat a pan to medium heat. Add in 2 tbsp of margarine. Add the seitan and the jalapeño and cooked until it browns a bit. About 5-7 minutes at most. Turn heat off.
In a small pot heated to medium heat add 2 tbsp of margarine. Add the onion, garlic, pepper, and shallot. Cook until translucent. Add the flour and remaining butter. Cook for an additional few minutes. Add the veggie stock and the cornstarch stir to make sure that there are no clumps from the cornstarch. Bring to boil, then add the soy sauce and nu-yeast and cook for a minute or so more. Once done combine and pour into pan with the seitan and mix well – add salt to taste. Serve over top of some delicious biscuits.
One quick note about the biscuits: cook the biscuits directly on a pizza stone, don’t put in a pan. If you don’t have a pizza stone go buy one, you need it because it makes for perfectly cooked biscuits. Our stone, which should really be called a biscuit stone, permanently stays in our oven even if using a pan and always seems to help distribute the heat well.
Melody likes to keep a close watch for quality control while we cook. She takes her job very seriously.
This is loosely based on the Mexican soup pozole (it is important to note that no humans were harmed in the making of this soup). Ryan grew up going to friends’ houses where this would be on the stove all day long and after a night of drinking this spicy soup, much like menudo, would serve as a perfect hangover cure. I was never much the fan of hominy, but Ryan always liked the taste of it because it reminds him of tortillas. We struck a deal that I would try hominy again so this soup was a compromise between the two of us, a bit of hominy and a bit of yellow corn in a spicy tomato broth.
- 20 tomatoes on the vine, roasted and cored
- 3 serrano peppers, roasted (note these died in the roasting, but their “juice” mixed with the tomatoes)
- approximately 3 tbsp chipotle infused olive oil
- 1 purple onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 tbsp dark chili powder
- 1 oz package pozole spice mix
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 15.25 oz can yellow corn
- 1 29 oz can hominy
- salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 425. Lightly coat the tomatoes and serrano peppers in some of the olive oil (about 1-1 1/2 tbsp). Place in oven to roast for about 30-45 minutes or until they begin to split open and brown. One quick thing to note, this killed our serrano peppers; that said, the mixture of tomato juices and slightly disintegrated serrano did add flavor to the tomatoes with just a hint of a kick. Remove from oven to cool. Once cooled core the tomatoes and place in a blender to puree. Set aside.
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add in the remaining olive oil. Add in the onion, garlic, and pozole mix, cook onion until it begins to be slightly translucent. Add the bell peppers and chili powder. Cook until bell peppers are tender, enough for a fork to easily go into them. Add the tomato puree and the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add in the hominy and corn. Let cook for a little while longer. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pozole mix is meant traditionally for pork and most pre-made mixes make for a decently spicy pork rub long before it is added to the soup pot. So depending on what type of pozole spice mix you purchased or made for yourself it can make for a soup with quite the kick. If you are afraid of spicy things I’d check the mix or reduce the amount of spice mix you use. You can also let the mix soak and simmer in hot water for a little bit before adding it to the pot and it might reconstitute some of the dried chiles in the mix.
Ryan bought me a Zoku Quick Pop™ Maker for Christmas & I love it! It’s easy to use & I love that you can create your own recipes that are both healthy & dairy-free – it’s also nice to know exactly what’s going into your frozen treats…with the right ingredients, you can be sure there are no artificial sweeteners, color, etc. Last night we decided to give it a whirl & made some delicious eggnog popsicles by combining soy eggnog, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, & sprinkling in some crushed cereal bits for crunch – yum!
The Zoku blog has recipes & there is a recipe book available for purchase as well. We decided to wing it for our first try & it turned out good; after all, Ryan is a master at winging it & having things turn out great.
I am enjoying every minute of this joyous holiday season – holiday parties & get-togethers, delicious food & drink, & happy memories! We put together this “Christmas fettuccine” for a potluck & it was easy with only a few ingredients; I think it looks very festive with its red & green ingredients. We used al dente fiesta fettuccine, shallots, garlic, 2 packages of frozen spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, & salt & pepper to taste. Happy holidays!