Friday, September 19, 2014

Chipotle Sausage and Hatch Chile Gravy

Good Evening and Happy Friday!
It's been a crazy week and only getting crazier.
Vegan Month of Gravy is still happening, just not as regularly as I would like. Of course, I'm still MAKING gravy every day, (because that's what I do) I just haven't gotten around to artfully arranging, garnishing, photographing and blogging about said gravy.
Nevertheless. I have another fun recipe to share today, one that I feel is worth posting, and I HOPE you'll try - even if I never got around to taking fabulously artsy photos arranged on hand-thrown pottery with organically grown, stone-ground cornbread...

I don't typically use a lot of "faux" meats (mostly because there aren't many available out here in the sticks) but I DO love the fabulous varieties of Field Roast Sausage that are readily available in my neighborhood. This is one of my favorite ways to use the mildly spicy Field Roast "Mexican Chipotle" style, along with another spicy favorite; the beautiful, earthy, fire-roasted New Mexico Hatch Green Chiles.
     I used to only be able to get authentic New Mexico Green Chiles IN New Mexico, but recently they've started to show up in limited amounts in specialty grocery stores here in the Northwest. I love roasting them over my backyard fire pit, but they're also available conveniently roasted and frozen in some stores.
     This gravy is super simple, and ends up bright chipotle-chile orange, but it's SO GOOD on potatoes, biscuits, cornbread or over tofu scramble!

Chipotle Sausage and
Hatch Chile Gravy

  • 3 Field Roast Mexican Chipotle flavor sausages, wrapping removed and crumbled/mashed (use any vegan chorizo-type sausage available)
  • 2 Tbsp melted margarine
  • 3 fire roasted Hatch chiles, skin, stem, and seeds removed, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups unsweetened plant milk, warmed
  • Heat a large skillet over medium.
    Add the vegan Mexican sausage and margarine and stir over heat until cooked firm and maybe a bit brown.
    Stir in the chopped Hatch chiles
    Add the flour and cook until dissolved and mixed into the sausage and chiles, about 1 minute.
    Slowly stir in the milk.
    Cook, whisking frequently, until the gravy is very thick and bubbly (you can add more milk if you need to thin).
    Season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
    Serve gravy over biscuits or corn bread.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Peanut Sauce with Super Easy Tofu-and-Broccoli

    So it's Wednesday and I'm just now getting back to the blogging thing.
    Before I get started though, I want to apologize for skipping part of this "Month of Gravy" madness. I won't bore you with all the details, but I have two almost-grown kids starting two different Universities on Monday, and there were just tons of things I needed to deal with; it threw my entire everything off for a few days.

    That said, I'm back, (trying to distract myself from my almost-empty-nest) with more gravy goodness, as well as some upcoming recipes that are sorta LIKE gravy, you know? Pesto, alfredo, Hollandaise. You get the idea.
    Good stuff to put over other good stuff.

    I'm taking the easy way out tonight however, and reposting one of my favorite and most-asked-for recipes, Tofu and Broccoli (or any veggie) With Peanut Sauce.

    This is about as basic a meal as we get around here.
    Easy, simple, my kids love it and I almost always have some version of the ingredients on hand.

    Of course, use whatever veggies you like, broccoli just took over as the vegetable of choice when my Sprouts were younger; sometimes dinner wasn't worth forcing them to take another bite of dreaded carrots or kale.

    The sauce (sauce is like gravy, right? We're going with that) is beautiful; super-kid-friendly, versatile and handy to have on hand. You can use it with rice, noodles, stir-fried veggies, pot stickers, seitan, tempeh, Vietnamese salad rolls, it's even good over potatoes!
    But the entire recipe is simple (as the name suggests) and well worth keeping in your repertoire. (Sorry for the old pictures, every time I make a version of this - which is often, I plan to take a picture, and every time, it gets eaten far too quickly!)

    Super Easy, Super Simple
     Tofu And Broccoli with Peanut Sauce


    • 1 tub or package water-packed firm tofu, well-drained (I wrap in paper towels and press for about 1/2 hr. if I think about it)
    • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
    • peanut oil
    • soy sauce
    • large bunch fresh broccoli, broken into med-small flowers (OR the large frozen pieces work fine here too. Use straight from the package. OR three cups chopped vegetables of your choice - carrots, peppers, green beans, asparagus, onion, etc)
    • Peanut Sauce (To make it SUPER easy on yourself? Don't tell anyone, but the jarred stuff from Trader Joe's or The Ginger People works well here, OR use the recipe below if you prefer)
    • Sesame seeds

    PREPARE THE TOFU:
    Cut tofu into small cubes, about the size of a sugar cube, sprinkle lightly with soy sauce. Stick in a ziploc bag with the cornstarch and toss until coated, remove from bag, shaking off any excess.

    Fry in a shallow layer of peanut oil: To fry - Heat oil in pan (I like a non-stick, but use what you like) add 1 layer of tofu cubes without overcrowding, let sit in hot oil for a few minutes to develop a 'crust' and then turn carefully. Do a couple more turns, waiting a couple minutes in between sides, until crisp and very slightly browned (light tannish). Remove to a paper-towel to drain.
    This process is MUCH easier and faster than it sounds.
    Repeat until all tofu is browned.

    PREPARE BROCCOLI (or whatever other veggies): Wipe excess oil from pan. Add broccoli and quickly stir-fry with a few drops oil and soy sauce until bright green and tender crisp (or to your liking).

    MAKE PEANUT SAUCE:
    Use recipe below OR open a jar of whatever favorite you've found. I won't tell. Anything that gets dinner on the table super-fast, with a minimum of fuss, is a good thing in my house!

    FINISH:
    Add tofu back to pan with broccoli, and carefully add peanut sauce to your preference (we prefer a light coating, some people like it swimming in sauce). Stir carefully to heat thru, another minute or two and serve over rice, noodles or as is, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

    ~~~~~~~~~~
    PEANUT SAUCE

    • 1/3 cup peanut butter, any type, softened
    • 3 Tbsp water
    • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
    • juice from 2 limes (or 3 Tbsp rice, or cider vinegar)
    • 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, shredded fine, or to taste (I use a microplane)
    • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 1+ clove garlic, pressed
    • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
    • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
    • salt to taste

    Mix together.
    Use less ginger and hot peppers if you have little ones that prefer things mild.
    A little more brown sugar if you've got a sweet tooth.
    Taste and adjust as you go.
    If too thick, add water or apple juice to thin to your preference.
    This can also be whizzed up in your food processor.

    Friday, September 12, 2014

    VEGAN MOFO 2014: Lentil Loaf Goes With Gravy!

    My Middle 'Sprout' made me dinner!
    Lentil Loaf, rice, gravy, veggies!
    So now that you can make gravy, what do you serve all that gravy WITH?
    The answer is ... Everything.

    For example, this happened tonight.
    Lentil loaf.
    With garden veggies from my teeny backyard.
    And rice.
    Why rice and not potatoes?
    Because my college-age Sprout has tons of friends, who apparently own no kitchen appliances except rice-cookers, and when they have a shared meal (like every Monday for 'Game of Thrones'), she makes this loaf, and everyone else volunteers to bring rice!
    So in her mind, they automatically go together.
    And since SHE cooked dinner for ME tonight, that's what we had.
    Seriously. Who am I to complain?
    I did make the gravy though.
    It's a Mom-thing. Gravy is my signature contribution to any meal.

    So. Lentil loaf. It seems so "Vegan-Cliche" and it probably is, but you need to give it a chance - this lentil loaf is better than so many I've had.
    It's an easy, tasty, inexpensive standard in our house. One of those comfort-food recipes my kids grew up on and now make for their own friends, which I think is completely awesome!

    College-age boys are pretty notorious for being none-too-picky, inhaling anything semi-edible, but this recipe specifically (well, the slightly stripped-down, cheaper version), gets requested of my girl almost every week while away at school, because her entire circle of friends LOVES it. And it makes completely EPIC "meatloaf-sandwich" type leftovers, which hungry people seem to love as well!
    I'm glad she's carrying on the "cooking for friends" tradition.

    Lentil Loaf close up.
    Do NOT let the long list of ingredients or instructions discourage you, it's EASY, probably stuff you have on hand, goes together quickly and is a VERY flexible recipe. (I just wrote lots of tips).

    Mix and match, leave out or add more of whatever you have on hand, and make it your own! For example, I make the recipe as written, always adding all the "optional" ingredients, while my kids usually leave the mushrooms, Daiya and nuts out, and they always top with BBQ sauce while baking. Do what your budget allows.
    This does make a lot. But it freezes well, and as I mentioned, leftovers are the BEST!
    I'll be sharing several more of our favorite gravy-accompanying meals in the next few weeks.

    Lentil Loaf


    • 2 cups well-cooked, fairly dry, brown lentils (or any beans will work!)
      (TIP: make sure to cook in seasoned vegetable broth or at lightly salted water!! They cook up PERFECT in a rice cooker, by the way)
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms *(optional)
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery *(optional)
    • 1/2 cup grated carrot *(optional)
    • 1 cup rolled oats (quick or large flake)
    • 2 cups cubed, cheap brown bread
    • 1 cup grated cheddar-style Daiya vegan cheese *(GOOD! but optional)
    • 4 Tbsp. melted margarine
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts *(optional but adds great texture! I'm allergic to walnuts, but they're good for you, so use whatever you prefer, or no nuts if you want)
    • 2 egg-replacer (powder and water mixed in the amount to = two eggs, or flax + water)
    • 1 to 1 1/2 cup tomato juice, mushroom broth, mushroom soup or soymilk
    • 1 package George Washington Broth OR 1 tsp. whatever vegetarian broth/bullion powder you have
    • 2 cloves crushed garlic
    • 2 tsp powdered sage
    • ¼ – 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
    • ¼ tsp. black pepper

    Directions:

    - Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    - Mix lentils, nuts and cheese (if using) in a large bowl and mix well.
    - Add melted margarine to a large skillet, add onion, mushroom, carrots and celery and fry on medium heat until vegetables start to soften. Add bread cubes and stir more until bread soaks up moisture and possibly starts to brown.
    - Add to lentil mixture.
    - Stir in egg-replacer and tomato or mushroom broth, mix again.
    - Add the broth/bullion powder, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper.
    - Let sit for 30 min. The mixture should be thick and dense, so a spoon could almost stand up in the batter; It will depend somewhat on how much of the optional ingredients and veggies you've used.  If too sloppy, add some oats or more bread cubes, if too dense, add more tomato/mushroom liquid. This part always needs to be estimated.
    - (OPTIONAL STEP) At this point, for a "smoother" textured loaf, you can mix it with an electric eggbeater-type mixer, it's a bit thick but works fairly well...
    - Grease 2 loaf pans or a 9 X 12 casserole baking dish. (Depending on how many vegetables and "optional" ingredients you use, the recipe will be yield more or less.) Pour/scrape the lentil mixture in. Even out the top surface with a spatula or fork. (If there's extra, put in a smaller pan and bake less time).
    - Bake uncovered 45 - 50 minutes (for a loaf, less for a flatter dish) or until top is golden and crispy and a knife comes out almost clean - (if top is getting too crunchy, cover with ketchup, BBQ sauce or cover pan with foil) .
    - Let cool at least 5 minutes. Run knife around edges.
    - Turn out onto serving platter or scoop straight from the pan.
    - Top with Brown Gravy, (or whatever gravy you prefer).
    - Leftovers make AWESOME sandwiches, (if you have leftovers).

    Thursday, September 11, 2014

    VEGAN MOFO2014: Grits and Gravy

    Grits and Gravy!! 
    One of my other favorite breakfast things is GRITS. (Another "Southern" thing, read on for more info.)
    And in the Tofu-Mom house, grits MUST have gravy, and because this is (in case you've forgotten or just tuned in) The Month Of Blogging All The Vegan Gravy...

    You all know about gravy, or you SHOULD by now, (if not, where have you been the last 10 days?) so let me talk a little about GRITS.
    (Grits go with gravy, so yes, I feel this is still in keeping with my theme.)
    Grits are also good with (vegan) cheese, butter, syrup or just salt and pepper.
    But ignore those options, because this is a month of GRAVY-themed recipes, remember?
    Grits and (vegan) Butter! Also good!

    Grits are a classic breakfast cooked-cereal item in the Southern United States.
    No, they're not exactly a familiar food here in the Pacific NorthWest, but we discovered them while visiting my sister in Florida many years ago and they are now, ironically, one of my kids' all-time favorites; as well as my fallback, go-to breakfast, the way some people reach for instant oatmeal...
    .
    For the uninformed, "grits" (or "traditional white hominy grits") are similar to but somewhat different than yellow cornmeal or coarser-ground polenta - and it's all in the way they're processed.

    Alton Brown explains it best:
    Random Weird Graphic
    "Cornmeal (like you'd make polenta with) is made from ground dried corn. Grits are made from ground, dried hominy (which is still corn, but treated slightly different). To make hominy, you start with field corn that's dried. Then the dried corn kernels are soaked in a solution of baking soda, lime, or wood ash ("lye water") for a day or two. (Sounds yummy, huh?) The kernel's shell pops off, and the kernel swells to twice its size. Kernels are rinsed more than once, then dried again, and finally ground into grits."
    OK. So, they're like white, coarsely-ground cornmeal, like polenta, but not...
    Grits in the store look like this.
    GO BUY A BOX of them.

    They look sorta like this -->>

    The directions for what to do with grits are on the box/carton/cannister.
    That's the best "recipe" I can give you, because each brand and type are going to cook up slightly different.

    Go. Cook them. It's EASY!
    Then make some gravy. Also easy!
    Very quick and easy, warm, creamy, homey "comfort food" sort-of stuff, similar to polenta, or Cream of Wheat with more texture....

    Cook up the grits, follow the directions, and when grits are done, spoon into a bowl, and top with a TON of Sausage Gravy.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014

    VeganMoFo2014: Vegan Sausage Gravy

    Welcome to Day Ten of Vegan Month Of Food Blogging  - or VeganMoFo 2014.  
    And welcome to my Month of Gravy Blogging. Yes, it's a thing.

    The 2nd week of September is also National Biscuits and Gravy Week and yes... it is a legit culinary celebration too!

    I know you're anxious to get to the recipe, but let's talk about biscuits and gravy a bit. Wikipedia says: "Biscuits and gravy are a popular breakfast dish amongst people of the Southern United States. Biscuits and gravy generally refers to biscuits topped with sausage gravy, however there are regional variations on this gravy including Red Eye Gravy, Egg Gravy and Tomato Gravy."While the Southern United States may be where the dish originated, I'm pretty sure the biscuit and gravy gospel reaches far beyond the Mason Dixon line.
    In fact, (because I was curious), I did a little (highly scientific) research reading online menus for those artery-clogging, generic, meat-centric chains like Cracker Barrel, Perkins, Denney's, IHOP and Howard Johnsons and indeed, biscuits and gravy are readily available throughout the United States. (See what I DO for you people?)

    Happily, most all the local (Seattle/Portland) vegan/vegetarian restaurants that serve breakfast-y type things ALSO offer VEGAN biscuits and gravy as an option. I don't know about vegan options elsewhere and I'm sorry.

    Sadly, most of us don't have the good fortune of living in Seattle and being able to run down the street to Wayward Cafe  to bathe in a plateful of gravy awesomeness every morning. (Yes, I told them I'd like to do that once. They know me, they didn't think it was TOO very odd...).
    Anyway, Biscuits and Gravy! That's why I'm here.

    I've already given you a recipe for biscuits. And you can top them with whatever gravy you'd prefer, but my favorite, and the most "traditional", is sausage gravy. Vegan sausage of COURSE!

    The "sausage" here can be whatever vegan product you prefer, my local supermarket, Fred Meyer, has a vegan store brand that I LOVE, but use what you can find. Your favorite "breakfast" style vegan sausage product (commercial or homemade), Tofurky Italian Style, Field Roast Apple Sage, or even crumbled tempeh. Vegan chorizo is fun too, and gives the gravy a spicy, "Southwest" sort of flavor.

    Sausage GRavy is easy too - just crumble (or chop) whatever "sausage" you have, brown it, and dump it into a pan of White Gravy, OR I've included an actual Sausage Gravy recipe if you prefer.
    This gravy is also FABULOUS over scramble, rice, grits, polenta, toast or English Muffins.

    Vegan Sausage Gravy

    • 1 package commercial or homemade vegan "sausage" or seasoned tempeh of your choice (aprox 8-10 oz.)
    • 2 Tbsp vegan margarine
    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3 1/2 to 4 cups plant milk (unsweetened)
    • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
    • 1/4 tsp sage
    • pinch ground fennel (optional)
    • 1 - 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • a few drops hot sauce to taste
    • Biscuits, warmed, for serving

    Chop or crumble sausage or tempeh into bits. Melt margarine in large cast iron skillet and add sausage. Brown or cook sausage until bits of it are crispy over med-high heat.

    Reduce the heat to medium-low. Sprinkle on half the flour and stir with a wire whisk, so that the sausage soaks it all up, then add more little by little.
    If a lot of flour is still showing, or "white" add a Tbsp or so more margarine.
    Stir it around and cook it for another minute or so, then slowly pour in the milk, a cup at a time, stirring in between, and stirring constantly once it's all added.

    Cook the gravy, stirring frequently, until it thickens. (This may take a good 10 to 12 minutes.) Sprinkle in the seasoned salt, fennel, sage and pepper and continue cooking until very thick and luscious. If it gets too thick too soon, just splash in 1/4 cup more milk or so, if needed.
    Taste and adjust the seasoning.

    Spoon the sausage gravy over warm biscuits and serve immediately!

    Tuesday, September 09, 2014

    Easy Gluten-Free White Gravy


    So you've all mastered the two basic gravies now, right? And you're pouring it generously over everything on the dinner (and breakfast) table, right?

    Excellent!
    My work here is done.
    Except...
    I can still hear some of you out there mumbling "But, this is isn't the way MY Grandma-Aunt-Mom-Uncle Phil used to make her (or his) gravy ..."

    And you've got me there...
    True story.
    There is more than one (or two) "authentic, real, American, genuine, Grandma-approved" ways to make gravy.
     None is more "right" or "authentic" than another. Mostly it boils down (see what I did there?) to personal preference.

    I prefer gravies thickened with a flour-margarine "roux", but I have used cornstarch, oat flour, arrowroot, potato starch, rice flour and tapioca flour to make gravy - they're all successful, with only slight differences in taste and texture, so I feel it's only fair to list several of these versions as well. Everyone has a method, and ingredients, they prefer.

    Gluten Free White/Cream Gravy


    2 Tablespoons corn starch
    1/4 c water

    2 cups unsweetened plant milk
    2 tablespoons margarine
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 tsp rubbed (dry) sage

    1/8 teaspoon pepper

    Combine cornstarch and water in small bowl. Whisk with fork to remove any lumps.
    Put milk in small saucepan. Add margarine, salt, sage and pepper.
    Turn on heat, and stirring constantly with your wire whisk, bring to a simmer/almost boil over medium heat, stir in cornstarch mixture and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.


    Use as is, or stir in cooked (vegan) sausage bits; cooked, crumbled tempeh; sauteed mushrooms; cooked peas and new potatoes; melty (vegan) cheese; pour over potatoes, tofu scramble, biscuits, grits, whatever you want! So versatile!

    Monday, September 08, 2014

    Bryanna Clark Grogan's Fat-Free, Gluten-Free (Delicious) Brown Gravy


    Welcome back to day EIGHT of "Vegan Month Of Food Blogging",
    better known as "VeganMoFo".
    On this blog it's not just a month of FOOD but a "Vegan Month Of Gravy" yet again.
    I took a break over the weekend, (but hopefully left you with enough ideas that you've had gravy every day, right?) but I'm back for the week with more gravy recipes and, of course, things to pair WITH all that wonderful gravy.

    Today's entry is another brown gravy, but this one is LOW FAT annnnnd GLUTEN FREE gravy (you knew I had to post at least one, right?),; If you're a wheat-eating-comfort-food-aholic like me, do NOT WORRY, this is still absolutely delicious!!

    Several years ago I asked my talented neighbor to the north, the fabulous Bryanna Clark Grogan, if I could blog her Fat-Free Brown Gravy recipe, and she suggested this wheat-free version instead. I jumped at a chance to try it, and it's just as good as the original!! I've posted this before, but it's well worth repeating because it's just that good - AND should be on everyone's "go-to" list of recipes!
    (I LOVE that it has a "Microwave" version, which my kids have discovered is very handy in their tiny college apartments!)
    If you're not familiar with Bryanna's recipe blog - "Notes From a Vegan Feast Kitchen", or her cookbooks and many wonderful recipes, I suggest you check them out SOON! She has awesome Holiday ideas and her seitan recipes (which would ALL be good with this gravy, just sayin'...) are fool-proof and some of my most-used favorites.

    But back to the gravy. While the Brown Gravy recipe I posted on Friday is indeed rich and flavorful, this recipe is JUST as tasty and probably easier to make. In fact, as you will note in this fairly terrible picture, we actually used it at our family's epic Thanksgiving potluck last Autumn!!
    And if you need a Gluten-Free or Fat-Free option, this should be your "go-to".
    While I like this with the addition of a little wine, which Bryanna suggests as an option, (because you know by now that I use it often in cooking). it's also good without, I won't use it for friends who are avoiding alcohol no matter how much you say it cooks out - either way, the gravy still always turns out really good!

    The following is posted with permission from Bryanna Clark Grogan, written exactly she sent it to me. ~YUM!
    BRYANNA'S
    FAT-FREE VEGAN BROWN GRAVY 
    (MADE WITH OAT AND CHICKPEA FLOURS)
    "This fat-free and delicious brown gravy will become a low-fat staple."

    1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
    2 tablespoons oat flour (grind rolled or quick oats in a dry blender or electric coffee/spice mill)
    4 tablespoons chickpea flour (besan)
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 1/2 cups water
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    (optional) a few shakes of gravy browner, such as Kitchen Bouquet
    **"Ham" Gravy Variation:
    Add 1/2 tablespoon ketchup, 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

    In a heavy saucepan over high heat, whisk the yeast and flour together until it smells toasty. Off the heat, whisk in the water, soy sauce, salt, and gravy browner, if using. Stir constantly over high heat until it thickens and comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-5 minutes. This can be made ahead and reheated.

    Microwave option:
    In a 1 1/2 qt. microwavable bowl, mix the flour and yeast. Toast this in the microwave on full power for 3 minutes, uncovered. Whisk in the water, soy sauce, salt, and gravy browner, if using. Cover and cook on full power for 3 minutes. Whisk. Cover and cook again for 3 minutes on full power. Whisk.
    Note: You can make half the recipe in a 4-cup microwavable glass measuring container, and cook as above, but in 2 minute increments.

    Variations:
    You can use some wine instead of some of the water, if you like, and you can add steam-fried mushrooms, onions, vegetarian "hamburger crumbles" and other vegetarian meat alternates, if you wish.

    Recipe Source
    Author: © Bryanna Clark Grogan 2008