Thursday, December 17, 2009

Green Tomatoes (without meat, dairy, or Kathy Bates)

I picked up my CSA share on Saturday, and I had a veritable plethora of green tomatoes and some assorted hot peppers (jalapenos and the like).  I’ve never cooked with green tomatoes (that’s a Southern thing, apparently, and quite frankly, Texas isn’t really Southern – it’s Texan*.), so I snooped around the internet, fished through approximately 2 billion recipes looking for something to do other than fry them and wound up with the following: 

Hot N Spicy Green Tomato Soup with Crispy Pancetta 

The recipe was fairly simple to veganize:

1. Skip the pancetta and just add a tad bit more oil for cooking the onions to make up for the missing grease.

2. Substitute veggie broth for the chicken stock.

3. I had a leftover Chipotle Field Roast Sausage, so I diced that up and quickly browned it and set aside to fill in for the pancetta (not necessary, but I liked having something crunchy on top). 

Ok, so I had so many tomatoes that I had to try the frying thing as well.  Luckily, I remembered staring at this recipe for a month while my favorite vegan food blogger was working on getting her book out (more on that to come because I really like a few of the things from this book so far). 

And to top that, I’ve been hearing so much about Gardein lately (I don’t eat a lot of faux meat, but thanks to the Oprah exposure, I had to give this a shot), that I went all vegan Paula Deen and fried up the faux chicken according to the Fried Green Tomatoes recipe.

So, now I had a meal fit for a king Southern gentleman.   

The highlight was definitely the fried green tomatoes (with a bit of balsamic reduction and served on some mixed greens from the farm) and the Gardein (the closest thing to real chicken texture that I’ve had) was a very close second.

Final Result:  All of it was good.  Damn good.  Gluttonous good.  Like I’ll likely not eat for the next 24 hours because I’m so full – well… except for the glass of chocolate Silk and the TCB chocolate chip cookie sitting next to me on the desk while I type this.  But, seriously, 24 hours starting…….now.


*Green tomatoes are not tomatillos (something I do know how to cook being from Texas), but this soup has a consistency and taste similar to the tomatillo sauce you would put on enchiladas, tamales, chile rellenos, etc.  That being the case, I’m planning on topping some vegan tamales with the leftovers tomorrow evening – nice bonus, I must say.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chanukah Potato Latkes

I like mine crispy on the outside and just a little soft on the inside. How about you?

Here’s my recipe:

5 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 yellow onions, quartered
½ cup egg replacer
1 cup matzo meal (flour, bread crumbs, or panko bread crumbs can also be substituted)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Oil for frying

Grate the potatoes and onions together in the food processor. Mix in the dry ingredients. Let the mixture stand for about 5 to 10 minutes. Heat a sauté pan with a thin layer of oil to medium high. You can use canola, vegetable, or even peanut oil. Form about a 2 tablespoon ball gently in your hands so it does not fall apart. Drop it into the pan and flatten lightly with the spatula. Allow the pancakes to fry for a few minutes before moving them or else they may fall apart. Flip them over and press gently to flatten. Cook until golden brown.

Feeds about 8-10 people.

Serve with your choice of Tofutti sour cream or applesauce.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Reds

According to VegNews Magazine, Yellow Tail’s Shiraz is America’s “Favorite Vegan Tipple.”


Okay, we get it. Yellow Tail’s red wines ARE vegan-friendly (no egg whites or isinglass used in the fining process), affordable, and available in some of the most remote areas of the country. But here in Dallas, vegans don’t have to settle for reds that are only a step above Boone’s…or maybe Mad Dog 20/20.

Here’s what we’re buzzin’ on this season:

Michael~David - 7 Deadly Zins

Michael~David’s 7 Deadly Zins is a full bodied red wine with heavy notes of blueberries, raspberries, chocolate, and tobacco. Hints of vanilla make this vegan-friendly, uber-jammy red easy to sip alone, but it also pairs well with a box of Spiral Diner’s Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies. 7 Deadly Zins can be found at just about every DFW wine outlet, but the best values are at Goody Goody ($11.67), and Central Market ($11.98).

Dry Comal Creek - “Black Spanish” Dark Red Lenoir

The fact that this wine is produced in the Lone Star State is only part of why we’re such big fans of Dry Comal Creek’s “Black Spanish” Dark Red Lenoir. It’s also made entirely of the Texas-native Black Spanish grape! This spicy, vegan-friendly red wine boasts notes of mulberry, black cherry, chocolate, and compliments a variety of Texas-style vegan eats. Grab a bottle of our favorite Texas gem at vegetarian-owned Dallas Fine Wine & Spirits.

Stephen Vincent - Crimson

We’re responsible for tipping-off Barnivore to Stephen Vincent’s Crimson, a vegan-friendly syrah-cab blend that features blueberry and ripened plum notes. We heart this budget red for its fruit-forward, medium-bodied frame, making it the perfect wine for mulling this holiday season! Go ahead and splash a jigger of brandy in your mug…we won’t tell.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Whole Foods' Faux Chicken

Ever call up your favorite Asian take-out, and are greeted with, “Sweet & Sour Tofu?” instead of something like, “Thank you for calling...”? 

Totally embarrassing, right?

Well, that’s how I feel at the Whole Foods deli in Highland Park. Kinda like my favorite take-out joint, the guys here usually start filling my order before I even make it all the way to the deli case.

Hmm…maybe it’s time I start a collection of disguise wigs just like Uncle Nancy.

What keeps me—and so many other vegans—coming back are the deli’s fabulous faux chicken creations! Whole Foods’ Mock Chicken Salads, Sweet Chili Soy Nuggets, and Savory Mushroom Soy Nuggets are beautifully presented, packed with flavor, and the chicken-style soy nuggets taste and feel like the real deal.

Mock Chicken Salads come in two different styles. Original Mock Chicken Salad is made with diced soy nuggets, Nasoya’s Nayonaise, celery, and parsley. The Sonoma Mock Chicken Salad contains red grapes in the mix, and Follow Your Heart’s Vegenaise is used instead of Nayonaise.

The deli’s Sweet Chili Soy Nuggets are prepped with broccoli, carrot shreds, and a sweet Asian chili sauce, and the Savory Mushroom Soy Nuggets are made with wild mushroom and sage gravy, onions, parsley, and a few other add-ins.

Whole Foods’ faux chicken deli offerings are not only big sellers with the veggie crowd—omnivores dig ‘em, too! At least according to Whole Foods checker Jon Adams.

“I would say at least half of the people who buy the fake chicken also have real meat in their carts,” states Adams, “And the other half are vegans like you who come to the line with lots of beer and wine,” he says laughingly.

Um—that was research. I swear.

The popular Soy Nuggets are produced and distributed by a North Carolina-based company called Delight Soy. The company produces its goods on a small scale, making them available on an irregular basis, and only at a short list of natural markets and eateries.

“That’s why when they sell out, there could be long stretches before you can get more,” says Adams.

But you can usually find Delight Soy’s plain Soy Nuggets and Soy Patties in the freezer case at the Whole Foods on Lemmon. A single serving (3 nuggets, or 1 patty) contains 130 calories, 7 grams of fat, 9 grams of soy protein, and 2 grams of dietary fiber. Four-serving packages sell for $5.99, and very little prep work is needed to recreate your deli faves! The best part: No wig required.