Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Taco Tuesday! Recipes from the Vegan Street Fair

On Sunday, March 1, the first ever Vegan Street Fair was held on the streets of North Hollywood.  Rain, even hail, couldn't keep the almost 10,000 hungry fair goers from hitting the streets to get tastes of vegan foods from over 40 different food vendors.

Crowd shot at Vegan Street Fair courtesy of Blake Gardner via the Vegan Street Fair Facebook event page.
What an amazing day at the first ever Vegan Street Fair! Thank goodness Dan was there to help, and even my mom got behind the scenes ad helped out for a few hours. My sincere apologies to those who waited in line and didn't get any ‪‎tacos‬. Lesson learned: I should have made twice as much food. I sold out just after 4pm with a line at least 40 deep. I had no idea so many folks would be so into my food.

And my sincere thanks to those I was able to serve and meet. It's so fun to see your posts of my food and hear that y'all really liked it, and thought my prices were fair. I made a promise to share the recipes, especially since I sold out with so many people in line. So here you go!

My menu included:
Spicy Korean BBQ Jackfruit Tacos with Sesame Carrot Slaw and Creamy Sesame Sriracha Sauce (top right)
(The recipes for all of the components in those tacos can be found in THIS POST written after the success at the New York Vegetarian Food Festival last March. All of the recipes for these tacos are featured in my book Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen.)

Flaky Fish-y Tacos with Radish Relish, Dill-y Tartar and Pepita Pignola Sprinkles (bottom left)
(The recipes for all of the components to make these tacos below, and are featured in the upcoming book by Celine Steen and Me, titled The Complete Guide to 'EVEN MORE' Vegan Food Substitutions, now available for preorder through Amazon.)

Okay, okay, enough talky talky, let's get to the recipes!

Flaky Fish-y Tacos with Radish Relish, Dill-y Tartar and Pepita Pignola Sprinkles
Don't freak out by what appears to be a huge list of ingredients and a lot of components. This recipe is really easy and all the components can be made while the rice is cooking, and you can get your meal to the table in close to 30 minutes.

Street tacos are all the rage in Southern California and the trick to great tacos is having a great combination of ingredients that goes way beyond the standard ground beef, lettuce, cheese and salsa. These tacos are no exception. The fish component here is seaweed infused rice that is flaky and flavorful. But it's the relish, the sauce, and the sprinkles that really make these tacos special.

For the Flaky Fish-y Rice:
1 cup (180 g) uncooked long grain rice (such as basmati or jasmine)
2 cups (470 ml) water
1 tablespoon (3 g) hijiki seaweed*
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes, or to taste
*Hijiki seaweed works best because it keeps its form when boiling and has a strong sea flavor. If you want to use another type of seaweed, double the amount, make sure to tie it up in a cheesecloth and place it in the water when boiling. Remove before serving. Do not use nori. It will dissolve into a slimy mess.

For the Radish Relish:
1 cup (116 g) finely diced red radish
1 cup (160 g) finely diced red onion
1 green chile (jalapeno, anaheim, pasilla...depending on your heat preference) finely diced
1/4 cup (4 g) chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon (9 g) minced garlic
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

For the Dill-y Tartar Sauce:
3/4 cup (168 g) vegan mayo, store-bought or homemade (see below)
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried dill, or 3/4 teaspoon fresh

For the Pepita Pignola Sprinkles:
2 tablespoons (16 g) pepitas (pumkin seeds)
2 tablespoons (15 g) pignolas (pine nuts)
1 tablespoon (15 g) nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked salt

For the tacos:
2 cups (140 g) shredded red or green cabbage (or a mix of both!)
6 to 12 corn tortillas (depending on the size you use)
diced red onion, for garnish, optional
chopped green onion, for garnish, optional
chopped cilantro, for garnish, optional

To make the flaky fish, stir together all ingedients in the bowl of your rice cooker and cook according to machine instructions. If you do not have a rice cooker, add water and seaweed to a pot with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil, stir in rice and spices to the boiling water, reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until fluffy and tender. Make the relish, tartar sauce, and pepita pignola sprinkles while rice is cooking.

To make the Radish Relish, mix together all of the ingredients and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

To make the Dill-y Tartar Sauce, mix together all ingredients and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

To make the Pepita Pignola Sprinkles, add all ingredients to a spice grinder (or coffee grinder) and grind until a coarse mixture is formed. Preheat a dry pan over medium heat. Add spice mix and toast for 1 to 2 minutes, until toasty and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

To make the tacos, heat the tortillas in a dry frying pan until browned on both sides. (Don't skip this step! Nothing is sadder than would-be-great tacos ruined by using uncooked tortillas.) Transfer to a tortilla warmer to keep warm. To each tortilla add a scoop of fish-y rice, top with a pinch of cabbage, then a layer of relish, drizzled with tartar sauce, and finally, top with the pepita pignola sprinkles. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 to 12 tacos

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Happy Clam" Chowder Day!

In honor of National Clam Chowder Day I thought I would share my recipe for a truly "Happy Clam" Chowder which is featured in Going Vegan, which I co-wrote with Gerrie Lynn Adams.  No clams were harmed in the making of this chowder, yet this hearty soup is full of all of the seafood-y flavor one would expect from this classic soup.  If you want to get extra fancy, make up a batch of my virtually indestructable bread bowls to serve it up.

And in honor of the clams, I am giving away a copy of Going Vegan to one reader anywhere in the world.  Simply follow the prompts in the widget at the end of this post.

New England Can Kiss My Clam Chowder from Going Vegan, photo by Celine Steen

New England Can Kiss My Clam Chowder
Get ready for weird folks.  I was so excited when putting this recipe together.  I came up with the idea when I was making the Tu-not Salad (also from Going Vegan page 112) and while the jackfruit was boiling in the broth and seaweed, I kept thinking it smells like clam chowder!  So here is my very strange, and very tasty clam chowder, complete with seitan clams!  (It is a lengthy recipe, about 2 hours) but a lot of that is down time, and it only uses one pot, and one small bowl, so not too many dishes.)
*No added oil
*No added salt
*No added Sugar
*Soy Free
*Nut Free

1 ounce (28 g) dried seaweed (hijiki, wakame, kombu, dulse, kelp, anything but Nori), volume will vary depending on the type of seaweed you use
8 cups (1.88 L) vegetable broth
2 cups (470 ml) water
1 cup (235 ml) canned coconut milk
2 pounds (908 g) potatoes, cut into bite sized cubes (I used russets and leave the skin on, but feel free to peel yours if desired)
1 cup (160 g) diced white or yellow onion
1 cup (144 g) vital wheat gluten
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Add broth to a soup pot with a tight fitting lid.
Loosly tie seaweed in a satchel made from cheesecloth and place in the pot with the broth.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer for one hour.
After 30 minutes, remove 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the broth and set aside to cool and make the seitan clams.
After the broth has simmered for one hour, add in the water, cubed potatoes, coconut milk, and diced onion.
Cover and continue to simmer, set timer for one hour.
While simmering, make your clams.
Add vital wheat gluten and pepper to a small bowl.
Add in reserved 1/2 cup (120 ml) of broth.
Work with your fingers until a nice dough ball is formed.  Let the doughball rest for five minutes.
Using a non-serrated knife, cut it into a gagillion little pieces.
Add the pieces to the broth, stir to make sure they are not all clumped together.
Cover and allow to simmer for the remainder of the hour (at this point there should be about 30 minutes left on the timer.) Return after 15 minutes to give it a good stir and prevent the clams from getting stuck to the bottom.
Once the timer goes off, remove from heat, and remove the lid.
Using a wooden spoon or a hand masher, break up the potatoes to thicken the soup.  (Don't worry about smashing the clams, they are pretty unsmashable.)

Yield: About 8 cups

-If you use a very low sodium broth you may need to add a little salt to taste.  And if you are like me, a nice squirt of tabasco or sriracha always hits the spot in clam chowder!
-You can also make this soup gluten free by subbing king oyster mushrooms for the seitan clams.
-When choosing dried seaweed, you can use hijiki (my favorite for it's strong sea flavor), wakame, kombu, dulse, or kelp.  Pretty much any seaweed except nori, because nori will dissolve into a gelatinous mess.

Clam dough ball.

Clam pieces.  You can cut them smaller if desired.
New England Can Kiss My Clam Chowder from Going Vegan (page 92.)

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Monday, February 9, 2015

The Engine 2 Challenge Week 4: It's Over and I am a Little Afraid

Last night marked the end of the 28 day Engine 2 Challenge. I was the only participant still standing after the first week, but I powered on, with the support and encouragement of people who were following along with me here on the blog, on Instagram, and on Facebook.  So now what?  Do I start another 28 day challenge?  Do I go back to the way things were before I took the challenge?  I'm not quite sure yet.  

I become obsessed when it comes to stuff like this.  If I decided I wanted to eat this way for the rest of my life, I could.  But do I?  Not really.  The thought of never having deep fried Toffalo Wings drenched in melted buttery buffalo sauce dipped in creamy ranch really freaks me out.  Much in the same way an alcoholic must feel when they decide to give up alcohol, I have an obsessive and unhealthy relationship with food.  (Which makes my career choice as a food blogger and cookbook author a pretty difficult one.)

But an obsession with a "diet" I fear is even more destructive than an obsession with food in general. Too restrictive. Eliminating entire food sources (Hello coconut, I really miss you!) seems overdramatic.  But when I went to see Rip speak, he mentioned that people who struggle with overweight or other diet related health problems do not have the luxury of moderation. Then in the next sentence he said, however this is a plant strong diet, not plant perfect.

So I think that is my plan for the future.  I will strive to be plant strong, not plant perfect.  If that means a slice of pizza (not 4) at a party with friends, so be it.  If that means a drizzle of Vegenaise or olive oil makes it onto my burger or pasta when I am dining out, I won't have a freak out over it.  Yeah, I will be plant strong, not plant perfect.

It was a really busy week for me at work with lots of meetings, lots of projects, and a bit of disappointment.  But I kept myself strong by doing a couple of night hikes on Signal Hill.  Once with my sister, and once with my man and the girls.  It's a helluva hike, but so worth it when you get to the top and have a 360 degree view of what appears to be the entire world.  The twinkling lights and cars snaking through the freeways so tiny they look like toys.  It really reminds one of how many people there are in this world and how important it is to do everything we can to protect it.

So let's get to what I did eat this week.  I had an absolute sweet tooth on Tuesday, which is rare for me. So I turned to an old favorite, a date roll.  2 ingredients make these little guys the best thing since sliced vegan cheese.  Dates and walnuts.  They are like nature's toffee.  Chewy and syrupy sweet, one or two of these rich little guys is plenty. While at work I depended heavily on the salad bar for my lunches.  I bought enough salad on one day to last me for three meals, and letting it sit mixed up in the fridge really got the flavors to meld together and make the veggies tender.  And while the weather has been seasonably warm here in Southern California, it is like a freaking ice box at work, so I like to heat up the whole bowl in the microwave so I feel more like I am eating a bowl than a salad.  The one above was brown rice, tofu, corn, carrots, spinach, rainbow chard, green onions, raisins, sunflower seeds, nooch, black pepper, and the Health Starts Here Sesame Ginger dressing.

Buckwheat Soba with Tahini Sauce
This dish uses whole buckwheat soba noodles as a base tossed with veggies and a rich tahini sauce. It tastes great hot or cold making it a perfect make ahead meal for easy lunches throughout the week.

1 (8 ounce) package of buckwheat soba noodles

For the Tahini Sauce:
3/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried (If you have fresh ginger, even better!)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
red chili flakes to taste

For the Veggies, you can add any veggies you like, in this one I used:
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1 (14 ounce) can no salt added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
dill and black pepper to taste

To make the sauce, stir together all ingredients until smooth, or add all ingredients to a shaker and shake to mix.  If using a blender, reserve the chili flakes to stir in afterwards.

To make the veggies, add the broth to a pan and heat over medium high heat until it begins to bubble, this will be fairly quick since it is such a small amount of liquid.  Add in the vegies and cook until heated through, spinach is wilted and broccoli is a vibrant green.

Add cooked veggies to the noodles and toss with desired amount of sauce.  You can use any leftover sauce as a salad dressing, dip for veggies, or even as a topping for tacos (See below!)

Yield: 4 servings

Tacos!  I had a bunch of leftovers in my fridge on Saturday, so I made kitchen sink tacos (left).  I mixed together leftover brown Jasmine rice with chopped spinach, broccoli, cucumber, carrot, red onion, cilantro and chickpeas.  I dressed it with the remaining Walnutt-y Spinach Pesto from week 2 and the Tahini sauce from above.  I grilled up some corn tortillas, toasted some pine nuts (I think sunflower or pumpkin seeds would have been great here too!) and piled it in.  then I sprinkled the top with some nooch and gave it a good squirt of sriracha.  Yum.  Leftovers made lunch and dinner for Saturday.

I also watched the movie Chef.  And while it has some gratuitous scenes filled with gruesome shots of dead animal flesh and secretions, that movie did light a fire under my ass to get in the kitchen more and really start creating the dishes that define my culinary point of view, regardless of whether or not I use added oil or salt!  So on Sunday morning before work, I made up a batch of Smokey Hominey and Pinto Bean tacos.  I had a few before I left for work, and then packed it up in a kit before leaving so I could assemble them at work, which is where I took the picture above.

Smokey Hominy and Pinto Bean Tacos
PLEASE make sure to cook your tortillas!  Most often, they are not fully cooked when they are packaged, and are brittle and taste pretty bad.  If you heat them up on a griddle or in a dry frying pan, they soften, become more pliable, and the nuttiness of the corn shines through when toasted.  Serving raw tortillas is as bad a sin as I can think of. Pfft.  >End of rant<

For the sauce:
1 box soft silken tofu
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon sriracha, more or less to taste
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

For the filling:
1 (24 ounce) can no salt added hominy, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can no salt added pinto beans
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional

For the tacos:
Street size corn tortillas
2 cups chopped raw spinach
cilantro, as garnish if desired
green onions, as garnish if desired
additional nutritional yeast, as desired

To make the sauce, add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Set aside until ready to use.

To make the filling, in a mixing bowl, toss together filling ingredients, except veg broth and liquid smoke.
Add veg broth to a large pan and heat until it begins to bubble, this will happen quickly as it is such a small amount of liquid.
Add in the hominy mixture and cook until heated through, and most of the liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat and stir in liquid smoke if using.

To assemble the tacos, layer together two toasted tortillas and add a generous pile of chopped spinach.  Then spoon in about 1/4 cup of the filling, then top with cilantro, green onions and a sprinkling of nooch if desired.  Finish it all off with a drizzle of the sauce and enjoy.

Yield: This filling is enough for 24 street sized tacos.

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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, or remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni