Tag Archives: onions

The Maple

Is an outrageously decadent – almost to the point of incivility – brunch sandwich enough to atone for my absence of the past month? I can only hope so. (This is NOT an April Fools’ joke.)

When Marly of Namely Marly asked me to join a panel of 10 vegan bloggers whose mission, should they choose to accept it, would be to veganize Endless Simmer’s America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches, I immediately responded not only “yes,” but that I desperately wanted to do “The Maple,” a brunch-time beast consisting of two slices of maple-currant bread pudding loaded with savory sausage, chipotle cheddar cheese, and tangy shavings of fresh fennel. Not only does this sandwich hit the sweet/savory note that we all know and love, but it’s from Portland – irrefutably known to be the best city in the country. And, as a gluten-free vegan, I could not resist veganizing a meal from a restaurant called Meat Cheese Bread. There’s something irresistible about such blatant irony.

Although I’m quite a competent (dare I say talented?) chef, I’m not exactly known for my recipe-creating abilities, so I tried not to push my luck. I made Maple “Bread Pudding” with millet bread, using Isa’s recipe for “Fronch Toast” in Vegan with a Vengeance, as well as her recipe for “Tempeh and White Bean Sausage Patties” from the same book. I substituted some Maple Caramelized Onions for the fresh fennel because, as far as I’m concerned, fennel is a villainous vegetable – a regular Mr. Wickham of the plant kingdom, if you will.

I did, however, venture into the world of cheese sauce, devising my own recipe for Chipotle “Cheddar” Sauce, which I will provide here for your pleasure! It makes plenty of extra to be used on nachos, in burritos or quesadillas, or as a topping for veggies!

Without further adue, here is my recipe for Chipotle “Cheddar” Sauce, one element of my sandwich. For the full recipe and assembly instructions for The Vegan Maple, head over to Marly’s blog – you’ll find the nine other sandwiches in the series listed immediately following my recipe.

So close your eyes, pretend you’re huddled up for brunch in a cozy lodge somewhere in New England’s maple country, and enjoy! And don’t forget to schedule an hour or two for digestion after eating this sandwich! ;)

Breaking news: America’s Best Sandwiches – Veganized! is now featured on the Huffington Post! Please go comment/like it/share it/tweet it to spread the word and score some points for vegankind. Can’t hyperlink (thanks, WordPress), so: http://huff.to/e3XDhr

Enjedra

Enjedra is a variation of mujaddara, a  popular Middle Eastern dish. While there may be subtle differences among various cuisines (it’s also known as moujadara, mejadra, mudardara, megadarra, Μουκ̌έντρα, müceddere, مجدرة‎, or מג’דרה, depending on where you are), but, as far as I can tell, they all boil down to the same thing: spiced rice and lentils with caramelized onions. Okay, I’ve got your attention now. Unless you left after the foreign language tutorial, that is.

While the classic mujaddara consists of whole lentils and brown rice tossed together, I’ve always made the lentils separately, as a sort of stew that’s served over brown rice. I usually pair my enjedra with steamed kale or spinach, so I like having a saucier lentil component with which I can drench the greens.

The great thing about this dish (besides the fact that it’s so forking delicious) is that you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry. Lentils, onions, rice, olive oil, a few spices. If you call yourself a vegan and don’t have these ingredients on hand at all times, then you have bigger problems to worry about, and you should probably go deal with them. Just kidding! I’m not that mean.

The sweetness of the caramelized onions and cinnamon pair beautifully with the earthy lentils and cumin, creating a melt-in-your-mouth savory stew that will draw crowds–or in the case of my house, family members armed with spoons eating it cold out of the fridge.

Enjedra
(Adapted from VegWeb)
Serves 4

2 medium-large sweet onions
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 cup brown rice
1 cup red lentils
2 cups water (you may need to add more as lentils cook)

Get your brown rice started (however you normally cook it). For newbies, add 1 cup of rice to 2 cups water.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.

Slice the onions. You can dice them if you want, but I like to have long caramelized pieces.

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium-high, toss onions into the  pan with cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and salt (I know it seems like a lot of salt–and it is when it’s just onions–but remember that you’re seasoning for the entire pot of lentils!)

Sauté in olive oil until caramelized-ish, about 10-15 minutes.

Add lentils and water to the onion mixture.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until lentils are cooked through, and you have yourself a big, smooshy pot of fragrant deliciousness. When stirred towards the end, the lentils should be fairly smooth.

If serving with greens, steam them now.

Top your rice with greens, and then pile on the lentils! Last but not least, come back here to thank me.

Sometimes, I double the batch because it’s so easy, and you’ll definitely want more when you’re finished. But don’t take my word for it! Go raid your pantry and amaze your loved ones.

Hummus English Muffin

Breakfast routines can get boring if you let them. So don’t!

Sure Earth Balance, peanut butter, and jam are all great on bread, but don’t restrict yourself to sweet. If bagels can have savory toppings, why not English muffins?

An Ezekiel English muffin topped with creamy hummus, spinach, tomatoes, and red onions really hits the spot in the morning! I’m sure hummus is great on toast and bagels too, but I have yet to have that pleasure!

I made my first mosaic. The centering of the plate isn’t quite consistent, but I like it anyways.

Happy Monday!

Second Thanksgiving, 2009

Well, it took me long enough, but I’ve finally gotten around to my actual Thanksgiving post! So here it is–Thanksgiving, Part II.

I drove back to Phoenix from LA with some friends on Wednesday, and stayed until Sunday night, so not only was it a lovely holiday, but a nice mental vacation from school as well (Yeah, I worked on thesis at home, but it just didn’t feel as painful…)

I didn’t get a chance to plan my menu until Wednesday night, which kind of stressed me out (not the least because I’m still trying to avoid gluten and sugar for digestive problems), but I eventually got a good group of recipes together!

First, my sister and I made Dreena’s Festive Chickpea Tart. Well, Liv made the filling, and I attempted my first gluten-free pie crust to go with it. I used the Cornmeal Pine Nut Crust from Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book, which I acquired recently. I used coconut oil instead of palm oil, but besides that stuck to the recipe. It was delicious, with a delicate, crunchy texture, and, surprisingly, the corn/coconut/pine nut flavor combo really complemented the chickpea/spinach/cranberry/walnut mixture. Sadly, we burned the outside of the crust and had to scrape it off, but it still looks pretty, I think. Kind of? Maybe?

I also made the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Garlic from Vegan with a Vengeance. Prior to these babies, my mom actually had the nerve to think she didn’t like Brussels sprouts. and Liv hadn’t even had them before! I was glad to be able to remedy both of these unfortunate situations.

I loved the crispy, just-burnt enough-to-be-amazing stray leaves–kind of like mini kale chips, no? Liv ended up liking them, I guess. :)

I also made two tester recipes for Celine & Joni’s new book, Vegan Substitutions. Pumpkin Sage Bread “Rolls” and Green Beans with Toasted Pecan Gravy.

I wasn’t able to taste these “rolls,” but they were very well received! The pecan gravy for the green beans was delicious though. You can see the green beans next to the mashed potatoes a few pictures down.

An entire wall of our living room is a sliding glass door, which connects it to our backyard and pool area, so, given the lovely mild weather we had in Arizona that evening, we had a slightly alternative table set-up. Half in, half out!

Here’s the spread! (Oh, did I mention that we had 9 people over besides the 4 in my family? That explains the giant table above and the buffet style arrangement below). Our entire Thanksgiving was vegan except for the turkey and gravy (oh, and my mom’s pumpkin pies) that our friends brought for the omnis. Of course, it sucked to have a turkey there, but I count it as a win that every single side dish was vegan–and that there were THREE vegan gravies! (two that I made and the Tofurkey one).

Here’s my poorly lit plate! In front: Garlic Mashed Potatoes from the Real Food Daily Cookbook (my mom made ‘em) with Rich Brown Gravy (that I made) from Vegan Vittles.

We had a wonderful time–as usual, we went around the table to say what we were thankful for, and then we dug in! Here’s my dad enjoying the company:

Even though I couldn’t have dessert, I still had to make some vegan ones for everyone else! I chose the Pecan Pie from Real Food Daily and the Gingerbread Apple Pie from VWAV.

Pre-baked:

Not as pretty baked, but still:

What’s the BEST part of Thanksgiving though? Um, leftovers! Brunch next morning:

In the front you see the Caramelized Onion-Butternut Roast with Chestnuts from Veganomicon, which was definitely my favorite thing I made (I didn’t mention it earlier because there were no good pictures of it on my actual T-day plate). I followed the recipe, using gluten-free brown rice bread crumbs for the topping! This dish was kind of heaven on earth. Just pure comfort food. I think I ate like 1/3 of it myself. I’ve never had chestnuts either–it was really quite fun to roast my own! One of them actually exploded in my mom’s hair, and she made a gross joke about it. ;)

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, squash.

Anddd, obligatory sister shot. My dress = thrifted. Score.

More Daiya

Sorry to be repetitive, but my food life hasn’t been very diverse lately. But hell, screw diversity if my life can just become one big Daiya fest.

Italian Daiya quesadilla. Or maybe I should call it tortilla panini because this meal wasn’t Mexican-inspired at all… ;)

Spinach, tomatoes, red onions, spices (rosemary, thyme, oregano, and garlic powder), and of course, Italian Daiya! Not quite as good as the cheddar/black bean one from a few days, ago, but still. Also, as my Daiya supply dwindles, I’ve made my way through most of my Food for Life gluten-free tortillas, and I have to say that their texture is really weird. They start out kind of hard and shiny (I miss soft, doughy, floury tortillas!), but after you microwave them, they literally turn to rock. I like crispy quesadillas, but these don’t get crispy in a good, grill-y kind of way; they get crispy in the stale, overcooked sense. Not super flavorful either. But hey–you could fill a (non-leather) boot with Daiya and I’d probably eat it.

And, a “cheese” quesadilla, straight up. Junior high after school snack style. Using both Cheddar and Italian Daiya is the way to go!

(You can see that I kinda overcookednuked the cheese on the edge–it got a bit tough. Oh well. Look at the middle!)

And, I’ll finish with two pieces of news, both of which the majority of you won’t care about. :)

One, I finished the rough draft of the introduction of my thesis (on veganism) and it’s 26.5 pages long. This is only one of four chapters, which presents a problem as 70ish is the goal, and not 100. But I’m proud of myself for getting something done anyways. Ignore the fact that it took me two months to write it, and that the entire rough draft is due in one month. I said IGNORE it.

Two, back to Daiya! My favorite restaurant–Green–in Tempe is now serving Daiya. I had it straight from the @daiyacheese Twitter feed! I thought I couldn’t love Green anymore than I already did, but I stand corrected. I think I know the first place I’m headed come Thanksgiving break…

Happy Halloween! Quesadaiya and Chocolates!

Happy Halloween, everyone! After Thanksgiving, it may be my favorite holiday. Okay, so I really like Christmas and Hanukkah too–shoot me!

My costume this year is GREAT – I’m being one of my favorite characters in all literature/pop culture: Alice (in Wonderland). I’m so excited to get ready and go out with my friends, although the big 5-college party here, Harwood Halloween, is pretty disgusting (Imagine thousands of drunk, sweaty, scantily clad students in a dark, underground parking garage; liberties are taken). I won’t be getting crunk, as it were, but I do plan on having a lot of fun and looking illegally cute.

What’s the perfect Halloween treat? Orange and black quesadilla, of course! Or should I say, quesaDAIYA?!

Cheddar Daiya cheese +black beans + Food for Life Whole Grain Gluten-Free Brown Rice Tortilla = not only appropriately festive and absurdly delicious, but absolutely allergen-free! Daiya, made of cassava root (a.k.a. tapioca) is free of soy, casein, lactose, gluten, eggs, corn, and nuts, and the tortilla is as it’s named–gluten-free! In other words, move over casein-dillas! There’s no one who can’t enjoy the comforting richness that is a quesadilla! I swear I’m done with quesadilla wordplay.

Of course, being the good little vegan that I am, I added some veggie power in the form of bell peppers, red onions, and fresh cilantro.

I’ve had Daiya on zpizza before, but this was the first time I’d used it myself. I picked up a pack of both the Cheddar and Italian at Whole Foods yesterday, along with the tortillas, craving the microwave quesadillas of my childhood after-school snacks.

Daiya definitely delivered. It literally melted exactly like cow’s milk cheese in the microwave, and tasted phenomenal. The tortillas were great too! I’ve never had them before.

Stringymeltylovelovelove.

CHOMP.

Of course, you can’t have Halloween without candy. But I’m classy, so I went with some fancy vegan chocolates that my wonderful vegan superstar friend Stephanie got me from Whole Foods.

One.

Two.

Three.

The first one was your basic chocolate caramel. Except better, because it definitely had a hint of warm autumn-y spices. The second was also caramelish, but with a nice, crunchy almond in the center. My favorite by far, however, was the raspberry jam-filled apostrophe! (Haha, isn’t that the best way to describe that shape?!) It was not only printed with a gorgeous design, but the gooey, sugary filling was to die for. Plus, it reminded me of oozing, bloody guts, which is perfect for Halloween.

Dorm Room Dinners: Indian Feast

This is the first of a series of posts I’ll call “Dorm Room Dinners,” even though sometimes, it might be lunch. The point being to give you a look–or taste!–at how easy and delicious it is to be vegan, even on a dining hall meal plan in college. Sure, the quality’s not comparable to what you could produce living at home with your own kitchen (plus, I feel like, a year and a half into being vegan, my cooking skills have gotten to the point where I usually prefer my own handiwork to the meals I get–and pay more for–when I eat out anyways). Still, with a little creativity, dining hall food can be quite enjoyable.

Here’s a recent lunch from Pomona’s dining hall, Frary (it’s our “Harry Potter” dining hall…see for yourself!)

I got some Indian-spiced mixed vegetables (cauliflower, celery, carrots, potatoes, green beans, and onions) and stewed lentils from the regular buffet line, and steamed asparagus from the “Farm to Fork” vegetarian/vegan section. I brought them back to my dorm room in my reusable plastic take-out box, and rounded out the meal with half a microwave-nuked sweet potato (I know, I know, but I don’t have an oven!), drizzled with coconut oil, cinnamon, and sea salt.

Life could be worse.