Thursday, February 20, 2014

Vegan Caramel-Apple Compote on French Toast

Last weekend, my college-student-Sprout decided to bless us with her presence.

This usually involves a whirlwind weekend where she comes home, but actually visits people OTHER than her family, leaves clothes strewn willy-nilly about her room, raids my kitchen of all edibles and convinces me that I simply MUST cook her favorite comfort foods. Which I usually do.

But this weekend she threw me for a loop and said "Could you make French Toast with a Caramel Apple Compote?"

While I know my Sprout LOVES French Toast, I'd never had her ask for, nor had I ever MADE, a "Caramel Apple Compote" for said breakfast item... Who knows where she gets these crazy foodie ideas. I suppose that's what college does to you...
Since I'm a Mom and a sucker for my seldom-seen offspring that way, I decided "I can wing this. How hard can it be?"
And I'm here to report it was ridiculously easy.
And I wrote it all down, so YOU can make it and drool over it and make yummy eating noises just like my (apparently) starving family did.

French Toast and Caramel Apple Compote

  • 1 French Toast Recipe of your choice:
Mine (shameless promotion) or Dreena's fabulous recipe or Isa's "Fronch Toast"... you get the idea...

  • Caramel Apple Compote:

3 large apples
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp vegan butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple or regular brandy
OR 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and 1 Tbsp Apple juice/cider
1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice (or just cinnamon)
1/4 cup coconut or almond milk
1 tsp. cornstarch

Core the apples. Cut into thin slices, and then cut each slice into small pieces (about 1/2 inches square).
Melt the butter and coconut oil in a med/large sauté pan over medium heat.
Add the apples, and stir to coat with the butter. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes or so, adding a Tbsp or two of water if needed to keep apples from sticking, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft but not falling apart.
Stir in milk. Bring back to a simmer.
Mix cornstarch with just a Tbsp or so of water. Stir into apples and stir as it starts to thicken. Remove from heat as soon as it's thick.
Let cool slightly before serving. Serve over French Toast, waffles, ice cream or eat with a spoon directly out of the pan.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Review (and Drool-Worthy Pictures): Dynise Balcavage's "Vegan Pies and Tarts With Heart"

Blueberry Pie
Note: This post was actually all set to post two weeks ago, and for some reason the "auto-post" function didn't work, but that's OK, it's actually PERFECT timing for this week.

Seriously, ....have you forgotten?
Friday is VALENTINE's day.

And, since many of you have forgotten, (I see the panic in your eyes) what better Valentine's gift for that foodie-vegan (or NOT vegan) person in your life, than Dynise Balcavage's fabulous "Pies and Tarts With Heart"!

Look^ HEARTS! 
Better yet, impress the HECK out of your sweetie; Go buy the cookbook and then make him or her a PIE from the book!! The cover even has HEARTS on it - How can you go wrong people, it's PERFECT! You can thank me later.

That said, let me tell you about the book itself:
I recently received a copy of "Pies and Tarts With Heart", the latest cookbook from Urban Vegan Dynise Balcavage.

I was super excited about this book because, ironically, even though many people find them intimidating, pies are truly the ONLY dessert I can make without a complete disaster in my kitchen.
AND because I LOVE, LOVE pie. Any kind. Any time.

Sweet Potato Pie/
Coconut Whip
So, first off, if you're one of those that's immediately dismissing this book, saying "Oh, pies are too hard/tricky/fussy/complicated", STOP!

This book is PERFECT for you.
Dynise starts with the easiest, simplest basics and walks you through every step in making crusts, fillings and toppings for all sorts of pies, sweet and savory.

Apple Pie
The recipes are beautifully illustrated; directions and tips are clear, concise and easy to understand; even the crust is easy to make, and best of all, everything we tried was FOOL-PROOF! (I know this because my NON-pie-making daughters have used this book several times with great success!)

The ingredients are all easy to find in your standard supermarket, if not in your cupboard right now. She explains everything in a straight-forward manner, and even the more 'complicated' recipes end up being perfectly manageable.

MORE Apple Pie/Coconut Whip!
And if you, like me, can practically make pies blindfolded, you will STILL find much, so much, to LOVE about this book! I discovered a number of new "favorite" pie recipes, and also new versions of old favorites, adding ALL of them to my regular pie-baking rotation. (Yes, there is such a thing!).

But the best thing about it? Of course, the fact that all the recipes in this beautiful book are VEGAN!
How can a fruit+crust pie NOT be vegan, people ask? Sadly, traditional pie crusts are often made with butter or (gack!) lard, but Dynise provides some delicious, flaky, tender crust recipes using plant-based oils like olive, coconut and vegan margarine.

Yes, Pizza is a type of PIE! 
There's more than one crust recipe too, so if you find certain ingredients work better for you or are easier to find, you can take your pick!! She also includes a few recipes for non-flour crusts made from nuts, potatoes, or cooked grains like millet, brown rice, quinoa, or barley. Her pizza crust recipe is phenomenal as well.

The 'cream' or custard-style pies use tofu, plant milk or nuts to achieve their creaminess and I PROMISE you'll never miss the dairy.
One of my favorite recipes out of the entire book however, is the whipped coconut milk topping. I make this stuff to top EVERYTHING.
My kids' favorite is probably the pizza crust.
Because pizza crust, OF COURSE = PIZZA!

Coconut Whipped Topping!! 
 There is a lot to love about this book and an equal number of REALLY good reasons to run out and get it (even without Valentine's Day looming).

It has recipes for beginners and advanced bakers, raw vegans, kids, gluten-free folk, those with a sweet-tooth, those without and everyone in between. The pictures are colorful and well done. The variety is wide enough to include something for everyone, and you'll find yourself reading through (and drooling!) again and again, whether you're planning on baking a pie tomorrow (like me) or not.

Disclaimer:  Dynise Balcavage is a fellow blogger and acquaintance, (yes, we've met in real-life even!) and I received a free review copy of Pies and Tarts with Heart. However, no compensation was exchanged for this review, and the opinion posted here is my own (and my kids').

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Mushroom-Kale-Noodle Soup

Sometimes I have one of those nights where I look in the fridge and determine I seriously have NOTHING to cook. Don't we all hit inspiration (or budget) "walls" like this sometimes?
Well, I've discovered desperation (or the lack of motivation to go back out in the rain to get groceries) can make a person pretty creative in the kitchen. Last week I threw this soup together out of bits of this and that, and kept adding things... (Yes, as always, I had more in my kitchen than I thought).

Don't mock the quaint 1980's-era dishes!
And to my surprise, the crazy mess was a HUGE hit. My daughter has asked for it every night since.

Because I'm a neurotic-blogger-recipe-creator at heart or because I'm tired of never having a recipe for something I've "thrown together", I DID write down the basic ingredients the first time, and when I recreated it again, I knew it was a keeper.

So here you go - a warm, tasty, vegetable-filled, cozy winter soup! Leave the pasta or beans out if you want, it's still good!

Mushroom-Kale-Noodle Soup

2 Tbs. vegan margarine or olive oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 ribs slightly limp, forgotten celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
1 8 oz. package dried exotic mushrooms that have been in your cupboard forever, soaked in 1 cup boiling water to rehydrate/then drained (or 1 1/2 cup chopped fresh crimini, shiitake or whatever)
2 "handfuls" spaghetti noodles broken in 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups dry?)
1 quart vegetable, mushroom or faux-chicken broth
3 - 4 leaves of kale (I used dinosaur kale), medium-finely chopped (about 2 cups)
One 15-oz. can cannellini beans or white beans or any beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups UNsweetened, plain plant milk
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch rosemary
pinch sage
1/2 a lemon
to taste, salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

Heat margarine in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and just golden-brown, and mushrooms and celery are cooked - about 10 minutes - do NOT let garlic burn!
Add the broth and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any stuck-on bits. Simmer for about 15 minutes to bring flavor of mushrooms out in the broth.
Add 2 cups water and pasta. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until pasta is al-dente tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add beans, kale, paprika, rosemary, sage and plant milk, and continue to simmer until kale is tender and beans are warmed through.
Remove from heat, taste and season with a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley and serve with a baguette or whole-grain toast!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Olivia's Gingerbread Cookie Granola

Happy Christmas Eve-Eve!

So every year, my standard "gift-from-the-kitchen" is a jar of homemade granola. I'm NOT a baker and am usually strapped for time AND cash around the Holidays (aren't we all?); but I CAN make granola (and people seem to like it - or shamelessly BEG for it in some cases, haha); I also love to scour local antique and thrift stores during the year to find old Mason jars.

It's then a simple matter to fill the jars with super-yummy, easy-to-make granola for friends' and family's Christmas gifts.
This year, Olivia wanted to make cute little mini-loaves of gingerbread to go with. She happens to be an excellent baker, so why not?

Well, what neither of us anticipated, was that the cutsey little decorative foil gift pans would completely collapse half-way through baking, leaving her with a sheet pan (which she had had the foresight to put UNDER the self-destructing pans of doom) full of shapeless, dried-out gingerbread blobs. Definitely not gift-worthy and (in her super-perfectionist baker's mind) doomed for the trash bin.
However! All was not lost.
And since she had also just finished making granola for me, (and she knows I'm painfully and fanatically frugal) she wondered if we could salvage the gingerbread by adding a bit to the granola. Awesome idea! A bit? I say add ALL of it!
She was a bit skeptical, but when I reminded her that cookies and milk was a favorite indulgence, she decided to give it a go!
The end result? A completely amazing granola, PERFECT for the holidays, and a slightly more healthy take on "Gingerbread Cookies for Breakfast" (because we would ALL eat that over Christmas vacation, if we could get away with it!
Well, most of you would. I am not usually a fan of gingerbread, so trust me, when I say I LOVE this granola, it really is AMAZING stuff!!)
Since it was so delicious, WE ended up eating about half the batch, (taste-testing, you know!) and then we just had to make more for gift-giving, so I had the chance to tweak my regular granola recipe just a wee bit, making the flavors even MORE complimentary to the crisp, gingerbread bits mixed in.

So. Just in time for Christmas, here you go.
(I usually make a triple recipe at a time, which fills three or four sheet pans and perfectly uses up a batch of failed gingerbread.)

Gingerbread-Cookie Granola

  • Bake gingerbread for 1 cup of gingerbread bits (SEE BELOW)
  • 4 cups rolled oats (NOT the quick or fast-cooking oats - we used Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Thick Cut Rolled Oats)
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ (OR use 2 Tb. fine-ground oat bran or ground flax meal if you want this recipe gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, the green color adds a festive "Christmas" touch
  • 1/2 cup sweetened (or not, your choice) flake coconut
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup, rice syrup, or maple syrup (you can even use the fake "Mrs. Butterworth's" style stuff if you want, it's still good!)
  • 3 Tbsp. molasses (OR you can use ALL molasses if you REALLY like the taste. Which I don't!)
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup oil (we used melted unrefined coconut oil, the final result does NOT have a strong coconut flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries; the bits of red color made the granola very Christmas-festive
  • 1/2 cup chopped, dried apricots, dried apple or whatever dried fruit you like

Measure all dry ingredients, except dried fruit and gingerbread bits, into large mixing bowl.
Stir (I use my hands) until well mixed.
In food processor or blender, mix maple syrup, molasses, water, oil, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla and salt until well blended. Pour liquid over dry ingredients and mix well with your hands, squeezing granola occasionally to make "clumps" and work moisture into the oats.
Carefully stir in the gingerbread bits.
When thoroughly mixed, spread in a thin layer on large cookie sheet or two. Squeeze some of the granola firmly into chunks or clumps if you like a more "clumpy" texture.
Bake in 250° oven for an hour, to an hour and a half, turning every 30 minutes, until granola is toasty golden colored and gingerbread bits are crunchy and dried out. (You will drool the entire baking time!)
Put dried fruit in large mixing bowl.
Dump about 3 - 4 cups of the hot-from-the-oven granola over fruit mixture, stir and let sit until cool, to let flavors absorb.
Leave the rest of the granola on cookie sheets until completely cool, mix with fruit mixture and then store in covered canister.

-- Gingerbread Bits:
Find your favorite gingerbread recipe (the loaf/cake/muffin type, NOT cookies, which turn out too hard and difficult to chew! You want light, crispy bits, not people breaking their teeth!).
Bake into loaves/cake/muffins, whatever shape is directed.
(I usually make Isa's Gingerbread Muffin recipe but if you're gluten-free, I LOVE Susan Voisin's gluten free recipe too!)
When gingerbread is done and cooled, slice into 1/4 inch slices and then into cubes (like you're making small croutons). You can make this a day or so ahead and let the cubes sit and dry a bit if you want.

Pack into jars, decorative bags or other containers, as gifts.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quinoa Roasted-Pumpkin Pilaf

I have been an exceptionally BAD blogger, nose-diving, crashing and burning right out of "Vegan Month Of Food Blogging" and going into hibernation all through October. (Maybe turning 50 was more exhausting than I thought!)
At any rate, I'm back (said in my best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression) and have a nice little collection of ideas and recipes and reviews to share.

Photo courtesy of Lui Kit Wong
and the Tacoma News Tribune
First off, I have a fabulously yummy, Thanksgiving-type recipe that recently made me famous.

NOT "famous-famous"....
In fact, not at all.
But it WAS published in our local newspaper!
In the the turkey-ridden THANKSGIVING Food issue, no less.
With beautiful pictures.
So it was still pretty exciting for lil' old me!
And, lucky for you, it's actually a recipe I'd never blogged, so I decided I'd share it with you, today, the same day it was published in the Tacoma News Tribune!!

Photo courtesy of Lui Kit Wong
and the Tacoma News Tribune
I used to make this pilaf-type-thing with a boxed white-and-wild-rice blend, but in the past few years, I changed it up with quinoa instead.
It's a great alternative to stuffing (or make it in addition); it'll make the vegans AND non-vegans happy, and it's filled with colorful, trendy ingredients like roasted pumpkin, pistachios and sparkling red pomegranate seeds (which are actually called arils!).


Quinoa and Roasted-Pumpkin Pilaf

  • 1 small sugar/"pie" pumpkin (or butternut squash)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 Navel orange
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil (or butter, but I'm vegan so I use coconut oil)
  • 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated onion powder
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachios
  • salt and fresh-cracked pepper
  • pomegranate arils from 1 pomegranate
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • Cooked Quinoa, (cooked with instructions below):

  • 1 cup uncooked "white" or plain quinoa
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups water

In a strainer, rinse quinoa well. Drain. Now combine the quinoa with water and salt and bring to a boil uncovered. When it starts to boil, cover and simmer or the lowest heat you can get and still have the water barely bubbling) 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy.

To prepare pilaf:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut pumpkin into quarters. Remove seeds and cut off peel.
Cut pumpkin flesh into 1 inch cubes or slightly smaller.
Whisk olive oil, first 2 Tbsp maple syrup and a pinch salt and pepper.
Toss mixture with pumpkin cubes and spread on a greased baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to brown but not mushy-falling apart.

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa.
Juice the orange and zest about 1/2 of the orange. Whisk them with second 2 Tbsp. maple syrup, melted coconut oil (or butter), onion powder and sage.
When pumpkin and quinoa are cooked, gently toss quinoa with the roasted pumpkin cubes and orange juice-maple syrup.(Only add enough orange juice-maple mixture to moisten, NOT make it mushy/soupy!)
Stir in cranberries, apricots and nuts.
Taste and season with salt and pepper as you want.
Garnish by sprinkling with the pomegranate arils and parsley right before serving..
Serve warm.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Review: "The Sexy Vegan's Happy Hour At Home" and Fresh Corn Salad

 So, I first met Brian Patton when he, and his lovely wife, arrived at the "Swag Bag Pick-Up Table" that I was manning (womaning? personing?) at the VidaVeganCon Bloggers Conference this past May.
I had my (completely disorganized and un-alphabetized) list and was dutifully checking each person's registration and handing them a fabulous, bright purple goodie-filled bag-of-vegan-swag (reason enough to go to VidaVeganCon, just sayin'). Think of it as playing vegan Santa Claus. With no one on the 'naughty' list...

Well, when Brian gave me his name, of COURSE, it didn't register in my poor little brain, and of COURSE I couldn't find him on the list.
Not a big deal, as "the list" efficiently (?) had people listed by several variations or combinations of their names; first, last, middle, blogger name, twitter handle, secret-ninja-spy-code-name, etc. And it usually took a bit of deciphering...

And! In my defense, (*ahem*) Brian didn't jump in and INTRODUCE himself as 'The Sexy Vegan' (now, if that was my title, I'd use it ALL the time - hahaha!) AND I was seeing a bit cross eyed by this point, trying to decode and cross-reference the mysterious "list" while keeping over-anxious bloggers from panicking when I didn't recognize them or they had to wait thirty seconds too long for their much anticipated bag of swaggyness.

Soon to be "Maple
Chipotle Roasted Veggies"
So, bleary-eyed, I looked over the list a final time, not finding anything resembling "Brian" or "Patton", when his wife helpfully looked over my shoulder and said "Oh, there *I* am, Honey, but where's YOUR name?".

Somehow, registration had them (logically?) listed as: "Mrs. Sexy Vegan" (and in TINY letters underneath, it said "..and Brian". Ha! Well, there you go! Problem solved.

Once I realized what a celebrity I had in front of me (OK, there were many moments like that at VidaVeganCon) I started babbling about how much I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED his cookbook. As we chatted, he informed me he had ANOTHER one coming out in a month, and if I wanted to review a copy, to please contact his publisher and tell them he'd sent me. Did I want to review? Of course! Absolutely! Yes!

So, long story short, that's how I came to be in possession of Brian's FABULOUS second cookbook, "The Sexy Vegan's Happy Hour At Home".
Why am I just now publishing my review? Too many 'Happy Hours'? No, no, nothing nearly so exciting. Unfortunately, my computer went belly-up in June just shortly after I received the cookbook. (As you can see, my cat also took the book hostage, so that's another perfectly good excuse!).

It's all good now, though; my computer is repaired, and I've had plenty of time to make a bunch of the recipes from the book AND a good excuse to talk about it during VeganMoFo, this month of Vegan Blogging!

So? What did I think of Brian's book? I think everyone should get it!!
This is a really fun (and FUNNY!!) addition to any vegan's bookshelf because it's different. And charming. And hilarious. (Not unlike Brian himself).

Mushy Pea Fritters (I added
some corn too!)
 But, disorganized soul that I am (if the above introduction didn't clue you in) I LOVE this book especially, because it spells out EXACTLY how to plan and carry out a lovely, delicious, and not difficult, Happy Hour for yourself, a partner, your friends, or a large group. It's all there in each themed chapter; food, drinks, recipes, funny anecdotes, food facts... AND ....A SHOPPING LIST. *Swoon*

(It's probably just as well that there's a "Mrs. Sexy Vegan" because I find the skill of shopping-list-writing to be MIGHTY sexy!!).

Hatch Chile Queso Dip
(I used yellow tomatoes!)
As you may (or may not) know, Brian started out posting instructional videos (and playing the ukelele) on YouTube. Go watch some of them, if you haven't, they're clever and creative! There are even QR smartphone codes right in the cookbook to take you to relevant ones!
Brian also previously wrote "The Sexy Vegan Cookbook" (which is ALSO an awesome book) and does cooking demonstrations and such.

I'm pretty sure you'll find this book super-handy even if you DON'T throw weekly Happy Hours like Brian does -  as all the snacky-munchie foods are totally appropriate for a lot of other events too! Tailgating, cocktail parties, open houses, children's parties (not the drinks OF COURSE, well... maybe for the adults, duh!) and I just brought the Mango Gazpacho to a wedding shower I helped host last week!

Fresh Corn and
Jalapeno Salad
In fact, (no surprise) even though I haven't gotten around to organizing an actual Happy Hour, everything I've tried from this book has been a HUGE hit with vegan and non-vegan friends alike; The above mentioned Gazpacho, the Mushy Pea Fritters I served my daughter, the Grilled Pineapple Salad and Hatch Chile Queso Dip I took tailgating, the 'Little Macs' and Corn Dawggies at a child's birthday party, (A version of) the Maple-Chipotle Roasted Veggies, Fresh-Corn-Jalapeno Salad and several others I can't even remember now.

My bartender/best girl friend and I also spent several evenings carefully reviewing some of the beverages for this book, and in her most professional opinion, the drink recipes are worth the price of the book alone. I just think they tasted good.
My favorite is probably the "Bloody Vulcan" (because I'm just that geeky), hers the "Punchy Pineapple". We plan to review these again soon, of course!

Soooooooo, if all of the above hasn't completely convinced you to run out and DEMAND this book, perhaps this simple but AMAZINGLY delicious Fresh Corn and Jalapeño salad will. I think I've made this about twenty times this summer with all the wonderful, sweet corn and scallions my parents had in their garden!!

Brian suggests serving this with Potato Quesadillas, Nectarines with a "Mole-ish" sauce and a Pomegranate Margarita.

Fresh Corn and Jalapeño Salad
  • 2 ears raw corn, kernals cut from the cob
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 6 scallions, braised (see note)
  • 1 roasted jalapeño (see note)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

*Note: To braise scallions, lay in a casserole dish, dot with 1 tsp margarine, 1/4 cup water. Cover with foil, bake/braise at 350 for 30 min. Remove foil, bake 10 min longer. Remove, cool, slice. This was also good with GRILLED scallions, by the way!

To roast jalapeño, place on gas burner or under broiler until skin is blistered and charred, turn and do the other side. Remove to paper bag with top closed. Let sit for 10 min. Peel skin off. Chop.


In a large bowl, toss corn with red bell pepper, scallions and jalapeño. Add cilantro, lime juice and oil. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste.

I often added a few black beans to this, And as mentioned above, I grilled the scallions for a more smoky result...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Red Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Chick'n

Sometimes "50 is..."

And tonight, that's all I'm doing. Eating warm, cozy curry and watching Seahawks football. After 50 years on the planet, I'm entitled to a lazy evening!

My youngest Sprout and I are both HUGE curry fans, and since it's just us home these days, we do end up making it often.
Quick and super-easy, it's one of my "Dinner-Defaults".

Everyone needs a list of "defaults"...
Dinner that you ALWAYS have the ingredients for and you no longer need to read the recipe to make it.
Dinner that is quick, easy and everyone LOVES.

So. Have you tried the Gardein brand faux chicken? It's been around a while now, and other brands have come out and maybe you've forgotten about that Gardein stuff. But it's worth mentioning again!
OK, I don't often use it, but only because of cost and availability in these remote parts, but they are handy to have in the fridge or freezer when you want something like that...
Give them a try if you haven't. They cook up "perfect" in my opinion. Not mushy like some products tend to be, and not rubbery like others I've tried!! I guess I do prefer them in a sauce, soup, casserole or similar dish, but if you're looking for a vegan, chicken-style protein product, check these out!!

Red Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Gardein "Chicken"

  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped in large chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. Thai Red Curry Paste  - or to taste - (some brands are vegan, just read the labels)
  • 1/4 Tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup cubed white potatoes
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or puree
  • 1 12 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 package Gardein "chic'k strips" cut in chunks
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. finely shredded fresh ginger
Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan.
Add onion and potatoes, stirring a bit until onion is tender but not browned.
Add the curry paste and cook for just a minute or two to incorporate the curry into the oil.
Add the cloves, water and salt. Stir to mix. Cover and cook at low boil until white potatoes are tender. Sweet potatoes may be falling apart at this point. (The smaller the chunks the faster it cooks).
Brown Gardein chunks in a bit of oil then add to pan, along with tomato puree or sauce, coconut milk, garlic, sugar and ginger.
Cook uncovered until heated thru, about 10 more minutes or less. Add water if sauce is too thick.
Taste and add more salt or pepper if desired. Serve over rice, if desired. YUM!

By the way, 'Hawks are ahead.
I think I'll have another bowl of curry!