Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Corn Fusilli with Vegan Apple-Sage Sausage and Chunky Vegetables

Tonight, I stopped by Trader Joe's and found a new kind of pasta made from corn. I picked up the fusilli corkscrew-shaped pasta and made a simple pasta dinner.

I sauteed over medium heat in a stainless steel stock pan with a little olive oil, two cloves (not bulbs!) of garlic for a minute or so, then added two Field Roast Grain Meat Company apple-sage artisanal vegan sausages that I had chopped into 3/4" lengths or so. As the sausage pieces started to brown a few minutes later, I added maybe a fifth of a medium onion and most of a small bell pepper, both of which I had coarsely chopped into maybe 1/2" cubes. As the onion clarified, after maybe a minute and a half, I added 1/8 teaspoon or so of dried oregano and organic marinara sauce, and simmered on low for a half hour (I would have liked to also have added crushed red pepper, but did it on the plate at serving time, as my daughter might not have eaten it otherwise; I forgot, but 1/8 cup or so of red wine would also have been nice to have added at this point).

The corn pasta was easy - I just had to cook it for about nine minutes. When I was about to serve, I mixed into the simmering sauce maybe 2 or 3 tablespoonfuls of nutritional yeast, then served it atop the pasta. An avocado half and carrot completed dinner.

We loved the corn pasta! It just has corn flour and water as its two ingredients, and, naturally, has a nice corn taste. I'd like to try serving it plain with some "butter" (i.e., Earth Balance non-hydrogenated vegan margarine), fresh herbs, and a pinch of salt. As much as we like it, I think we'll use it only on occasion - its a novelty and I get the sense that I may tire of it if we ate it regularly.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Lemon Seitan with Garlic

I made a simple but tasty (I think it was one of my best dinners in a few weeks) dish, reminiscent of the ways that I prepare limed jerk seitan. I didn't have much time to marinate seitan, so instead did this.

I took about a dozen small Austrian Crescent fingerling potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise, and boiled them until they were still firm but cooked through (maybe 6 minutes). I started sauteeing in a lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil, over medium heat, two cloves of garlic, thinly sliced. Just a minute or so later, I added thin pieces of seitan (I used the whole 8 ounce box). I cooked for maybe 8-10 minutes till the seitan was crispy.

About two minutes before the conclusion of the saute, I drizzled 8 or 10 drops of fresh lemon juice over the seitan. Then I decided to try something with a fifth of a lemon that I had left after squeezing juice out - I cut the lemon skin into 3 or 4 large chunks and added to the saute, pressing down on the inside side, and then cooking with the skin side down. At that time, I also added a dozen or so pine nuts.

I served the seitan with a little jerk seasoning, salt, and dried oregano. My daughter makes fresh bread rolls in her preschool every Wednesday, and I served today's roll with our meal. An avocado completed dinner. The main course was yummy!

Cooking Class: Warmup "3 a.m. Pasta" with Tempeh

Tonight I started class one of six of my Ethnic Vegetarian cooking class; I don't remember teaching this on Mondays before, but I have it set for Mondays this time. As always, I have a very nice and fun set of students!

I start the first class with a lecture about the basics of vegetarianism. We get into the kitchen with just a little time to make what I call my "3 a.m. pasta" dinner - what do you do when friends come over and it's 3 a.m.? You can make this simple pasta dish with sauteed tempeh and vegetables!

Sauteed Kale with Onion and Roasted Garlic, Grilled Bread with Tomato, Leftover Vegan Sausage Mélange

I wanted to use up a head of kale, and found a simple recipe online for sauteed kale, which I used as the basis of what I did. That recipe calls for coarsely chopping a pound and a half of young kale (stems and leaves). Two cloves of garlic are briefly sauteed in a stock pan until soft but not brown, then the kale and a half cup of vegetable stock is added and mixed together. It is cooked, covered, for five minutes, then the cover is removed and cooking continues, with stirring, till the liquid is gone. A little salt and pepper, and two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, are suggested, as well.

I started with maybe an eighth of a medium onion, coarsely chopped; as the onion cleared in color, I added maybe six cloves of roasted garlic and a few pinches of cumin seed, cooked for maybe 20 seconds, then added the stock and kale, and followed the instructions up to but not including seasoning. I did add salt and pepper, as well as a little dried oregano, but didn't use any vinegar. It was good!