Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sneak Peek from Vegan Food Gifts: Jalapeño Jam

Canning.  I would have never-ever guessed that this would be something I was so in love with.  My mom and I are both city girls gone country (She was first, and I followed her into the woods!) who have straight up become Little-Suzy-Homemakers and haven't looked back.

If you are already getting ready to click away from this post because you don't have the "specialty" equipment necessary to do home canning, or are too afraid of the process...DON'T!  Keep reading.  I shall dispel all of your fears!

Up until recently, I would have to trek out to Mom's ranch to use her equipment, or I would use my own "hacked" equipment at home, which I made using THIS METHOD which worked out fine for small batches.  Well today I finally bought myself a proper waterbath canner.  It was only $22 at the hardware store.  But you can easily make the recipe below with what you have around the house, as long as you have the jars, lids, and rings, which can be picked up at any supermarket or hardware store.

The method is described below, but if you would like to read more about home canning, check out this amazing free download from Ball.

Peppered Tofurkey sandwich on sourdough with Jalapeño Jam, mixed greens and Vegenaise
Jalapeño Jam 
from my upcoming book Vegan Food Gifts: More than 100 Inspired Recipes for Homemade Baked Goods, Preserves, and other Edible Gifts Everyone will Love

Growing up, I would always say, "Gross! Who on earth would want to eat jalapeño jelly?" I know there are many who still have this opinion (my husband included), but as I have grown up, and my tastebuds have matured, I simply can't get enough of the stuff. The main problem, however, is that most jalapeño jellies are a very unnatural hue of neon green, so I now make my own, leaving it chunky with pieces of jalapeño in it, making it more of a jam then a jelly.

How do I enjoy this sweet and spicy treat?  Most often, I enjoy it on a toasted bagel or on crackers with some vegan cream cheese, but it also yummy as a sandwich spread (see above) or as a glaze for tofu!

12 whole fresh jalapeños
2 cups apple juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 package (1.75 ounces) SureJell pectin
1/2 teaspoon nondairy butter (to help prevent foaming)
4 cups evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar

For canning, you will also need:
6 (8 ounce) jars
6 rings and lids
12 quart pot
Jar rack
Canning tongs
Magnetic lid lifter
Wide mouth funnel

Remove the stems from the jalapeños. If you like it spicy, leave in the seeds and core. Leave some in for a medium jam, or remove all seeds for a milder jam.
Using a food processor, chop jalapeños into a pulp.
Add jalapeno pulp, vinegar, juice, pectin, and butter (if using) to a pot.


Bring to a boil, stirring consistently.


Once the mixture comes to a full rolling boil, stir in the sugar.


Return to a boil, and boil hard for one full minute.



Ladle into sterilized jars, allowing 1/2-inch of space below the top, wipe off any excess jam from the top of the jar with a clean towel, seat the lid on top, and tighten the rings.




Using the canning tongs, place sealed jars onto the rack in the boiling water bath in the canning pot making sure that the jars are covered by at least 2 inches of water.



Boil for 20 minutes.


Carefully remove each jar and place it in a safe place to cool overnight.



Once cool, check to make sure the lids have sealed by pressing the top of the center of the lid. If it makes a popping sound, then it is not sealed.
Once you verify the lids are sealed, loosen the rings and dry off any excess moisture caught in the threads.
Replace rings and apply a label or tie on a gift tag.
Any jars that did not seal need to be placed into the refrigerator to be used within a week.
This jam can take up to a week to fully set.
If you do not plan to can this, you can make it, and place it in the refrigerator and then it will set much more quickly.

Yield: 6 cups, or 6 (8 ounce) jars

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Spicy Cilantro Pepita Pesto Stuffed Peppers

Spicy Cilantro Pepita Pesto Stuffed Peppers (And, yes, that is my new penny bar!  Thanks for asking.)
I had originally planned on spending this week and next road tripping through California, Oregon, and Nevada with my husband to visit family.  I have 18 glorious days (in a row!) off of work.  But, something came up, and I needed to stay behind.  Oh well, at least I don't have to work, right?

My sister, Kristen, calls me up and invites me to go out on a Duffy Boat in the Long Beach Harbor on Saturday. Heck yeah!  I am kicking this "staycation" off right!  My spirits were high.  Slept in nice and late on Sunday, then headed to the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet to do a little recon on some catering equipment and bought myself a groovy sun hat (I'll need that for my summer vacay, won't I?) and a tortilla press.  Monday rolls around, and now I really feel like I'm on vacation.  But guess what?

Staycation=Everyone else still works during the week!

Hmph.  I guess I'll get some house chores out of the way.  I called up a coupla friends to see if they want to head to Hollywood to go see Jamie Kilstein perform his stand up, but no one could go out.  It was a school night, after all.  So I went by myself.  No biggie.  I enjoy alone time.  The show was fantastic.  It really was.  And, as much as I love me some Joe Rogan Experience, he really was a little mean to Jamie on the podcast today!  But I digress.

On to the stuffed chile peppers.  I scored a big bag of Pasilla Peppers for only $1 at the Downtown Anaheim Farmer's Market last week that needed to be used up.  Dan was gone, so I could make a dinner for myself, tonight, that I would love, and I know he would not appreciate.  Having the house to myself does have its perks.

Spicy Cilantro Pepita Pesto Stuffed Peppers
2 cups dry rice, prepared according to package instructions
1 cup Spicy Cilantro Pepita Pesto (recipe below)
1 1/2 cups (or 1 can) black beans, rinsed
1 yellow onion, diced
5 or 6 Pasilla peppers (or any pepper, even bells!)

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix together cooked rice, pesto, beans and onions.
Slice each pepper from tip to toe.  Carefully remove the core and seeds.
Stuff each pepper with a generous amount of the rice mixture.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

Stuffed Peppers based on 5 peppers per recipe including the pesto.


Spicy Cilantro Pepita Pesto
1 cup raw hulled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 bunch cilantro
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons SriRacha (more or less to taste)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender and whirl away!  This recipe yields about 3 cups, only one of which you need for the rice, but it tastes great as a dipping sauce for taquitos, a salad dressing, on pasta, in a tofu scramble...

Spicy Cilantro Pepita Pesto (1 serving=1 tablespoon)




Friday, August 10, 2012

Press Release: VeganCorner.com

VeganCorner.com Locates Vegan Products, Incentivizes Businesses

CONTACT: Andy Stepanian, Publicist | ph. 631-291-3010 | e. andy@sparrowmedia.net

ENTREPRENEURIAL ANIMAL ACTIVISTS BUILD ONLINE NEXUS BETWEEN VEGANS & LOCAL BUSINESSES

VeganCorner Locates Vegan Products, Incentivizes Businesses to Go Green


[LONG BEACH, CA] Two animal rights activists-turned-entrepreneures, Nathan & Adriana Pope, have announced a fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo.com to help finance the hard-launch of their one-of-a-kind website VeganCorner.com. VeganCorner serves as the vegan's answer to the popular reviews website Yelp* and also acts as a social platform where vegans can support each other's choices with user-submitted recommendations of new eco-concious and cruelty-free products. VeganCorner users can also submit vegan-relevant event listings, share news about their favorite non-profit, or share recipes and other helpful resources with vegans and vegan-curious visitors alike.

Window Clings let you know vegan options are available inside!



Moreover, with an extensive database of over 12,000 profiles for restaurants, cafes, and shops that offer vegan products, VeganCorner provides businesses with an opportunity to engage in direct outreach with a previously hard to pin down, and yet exceptionally loyal niche market of dedicated vegans. Marketing through VeganCorner is multi-directional as users of the VeganCorner website and soon to be released mobile app will be driven towards businesses offering vegan options, while window clings at participating businesses will drive traffic to the VeganCorner website. Nathan and Adriana each hope that this direct marketing process will not only help to make vegan and eco-concious items more accessible, but will also incentivize businesses to provide even more vegan options.

Whether you're trying to locate the nearest raw cafe, a tattoo shop with fish-free inks, a salon that carries Eco-friendly hair products, or want to find a nearby animal sanctuary, it's all in one spot. VeganCorner soft-launched in December as a limited field test and is now moving into the next stages of development.

Co-founder, Adriana Pope states, “VeganCorner was created as a way to make being vegan easier. We found that despite huge jumps in available technology there still wasn't anything that was created specifically for vegans. Some sites incorporated vegan-friendly options into their results but lacked practicality. You still had to weed through mostly irrelevant results that didn't cater specifically to our needs. Over the past couple of months we have listened intently to the feedback and suggestions of our users and have created a road map of the next steps that are needed to bring this site to where it needs to be.”

Founders Nate and Adriana, have spent the last two years building VeganCorner.com as a free resource for vegans all across the world looking for cruelty-free options. They've taken it as far as they can on their own and now they need your help to take VeganCorner to the next level.



Why do they need money?
Nate and Adriana have been supporting the website with their day jobs, but it's clear that the website needs the supplemental help of an additional programmer to provide users an effortless experience as they browse listings and contribute to the Vegan Corner community. Their funding goal is $10,000 which will go towards three specific areas:

• Hiring a programmer with a background in User Experience (UI/UX), who will be able to polish the website so it looks and feels great in both functionality and usability.
• Producing & distributing window clings so that you can easily locate restaurants and shops with vegan options by looking for their colorful sticker that says “Discover Vegan Options.”
• Creating a FREE smart-phone app which will help you locate all the nearest vegan options in your hometown or afar.

How can you help?
Go to IndieGoGo.com and donate some money, anything helps. There are different pledge levels to meet your budget with rewards such as t-shirts, tote-bags, secret potluck invitations, and even ad sponsorship opportunities to name a few. If this is a project that piques your interest, please understand that it will not be possible to carry out without your financial support or word-of-mouth. Also, please share this campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, and your blog if you have one, and tell your friends about it.

“Vegan Corner is an amazing new structure for connecting ethical businesses with those who care about living a lifestyle that makes the world a better place for animals... it’s a great way to directly get us in touch & grow the vegan market to show the world how wonderful and easy it is to be compassionate and cruelty free,” says Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, owner of Vaute Couture, the first vegan fashion label for winter dress coats warm enough for below freezing weather.

Vegancorner.com, is a resource for vegans searching for a cruelty-free place to dine, shop or hang out at. For additional information on Vegan Corner or to request an interview with Nathan & Adriana Pope email Andy Stepanian at andy@sparrowmedia.net or contact pr@vegancorner.comhttp://www.indiegogo.com/vegancorner

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!


Never eat a boring sandwich again!
Celine and Tami's new book Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!: Revolutionary New Takes on Everyone's Favorite Anytime Meal is finally out, and man, you all need to get your paws on it!

Amazing recipes for amazing sandwiches. I fancy myself a bit of a sandwich snob, and this book has impressed me from page one. Smartly laid out in a fun format, this book has tips, tricks, and of course amazing photos of delicious sandwiches.

My favorites so far:
Berry Stuffed French Toast Pockets (page 34) because the crispy, crusty french toast recipe is great on it's own, but the berry filling makes a great surprise. These also work great on the go as a handheld. Super yum.
Orange Fennel Summer Rolls (page 83) because they are so easy, fast, and refreshing on hot days. NO COOKING REQUIRED! Plus they are so pretty, and make a great appetizer as well.
The Party Monster (page 124) because it is delicious green bread stuffed with delicious home made deli slices and other savory goodness. It's a bit time consuming, but oh-so-worth it.
Oreo Wafflewiches (page 173) because, even though it's meant as a dessert, this one screams breakfast (to me) and tastes like a giant Oreo cookie! Whoa.

Another fabulous feature of this book is Chapter 8: The Building Blocks, which is has recipes that can be used throughout the rest of the book, or on their own. Recipes for how to make your own sandwich breads, and deli-style slices to come up with your own sandwich creations.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  Sure, I am biased!  Because I love Tami and Celine.  But I only love them because they are so awesome, and so are their recipes.

And guess what else?  The fine folks at Fairwinds Press have offered a copy for me to give away to one of you!  Just leave me a comment in the comments section below telling me what your favorite sandwich is, and I will choose one of you at Random on Friday, August 10, 2012 in the morning at 9am PST.  I only ask that if you enter, that you check back to see if you have won, otherwise I have no way of contacting you to send you your book.  This giveaway is restricted to Shipping within the US only.

The giveaway is now over...the winner is #8!

Favourite sandwich! So hard to choose. I was a fan of the Thanksgiving Leftovers from Snice in Brooklyn. Tofurky, sweet potatoes, roasted Brussels, cranberry sauce and gravy. yes yes.

Congratulations to Panda!!!



The lovely ladies were also kind enough to lend a recipe to share with y'all, so here it is:


The Almighty BLT from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day
by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes, Photo by Celine Steen.

The Almighty BLT

For spread
1 jar (14 ounces, or 392 g) hearts of palm, drained
1/4 cup (60 g) nondairy sour cream or unsweetened plain nondairy yogurt
1/2 cup (112 g) vegan mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
1 tablespoon (8 g) drained capers
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons (14 g) sliced sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

For sandwiches
8 slices any bread (crusty or soft), toasted
4 large lettuce leaves
1 recipe Tempeh Bacon, panfried (recipe below)
1 beefsteak tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into
12 slices
4 razor-thin slices red onion (optional)

To make the spread: Process the hearts of palm in a food
processor until coarsely chopped. Add all the remaining
ingredients and pulse a few times to leave chunky, or process
thoroughly until smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides occasionally.
Chill in an airtight container overnight to let the
flavors meld. Enjoy the leftovers within 1 week.

To assemble the sandwiches: Smear 1 tablespoon (16 g)
spread on each slice of bread. Top 4 slices of bread with 1
lettuce leaf, 2 ounces (57 g) bacon, 2 slices tomato, 3 slices
avocado, and 1 slice onion. Top with the 4 remaining bread
slices.

Yield
4 sandwiches
2 cups (515 g) spread


Tempeh Bacon

8 ounces (227 g) tempeh
3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable broth
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon (16 g) tomato paste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) tamari
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (20 ml) liquid smoke, divided
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the tempeh into 1/4-inch
(6-mm) strips across the short side. In a 9 x 13-inch (23 x
33-cm) pan, combine the broth, syrup, tomato paste, vinegar,
tamari, cumin, coriander, salt, onion powder, garlic powder,
and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the liquid smoke. Place the
tempeh strips in the marinade and turn to coat. The strips
will probably be touching, which is fine. Cover with foil and
refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C, or gas mark 2). Bake
the strips in the marinade, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Most
of the marinade will either be absorbed or coating the tempeh.
Remove from the oven. At this point, the strips may be
prepared for serving or stored in the refrigerator for up to 1
week and cooked as needed.
To cook, combine the olive oil and remaining 1 teaspoon
(5 ml) liquid smoke in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet over
medium heat. Brush both sides of the tempeh strips with the
olive oil mixture and, working in batches, cook for 4 minutes,
or until browned. Turn and cook the other side for about 3
minutes.

Yield
8 ounces (227 g)



Thursday, August 2, 2012

TVP and Sloppy Jo-nis

Sloppy Jo-nis From Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites (page 97)
This post is in response to the soy haters and TVP bashers out there who leave reviews on Amazon telling people not to buy my books because I use TVP in my recipes.  (By the way of the 101 veggie burger  recipes in The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, only 34 call for TVP. There are also 43 additional recipes for breads, condiments, and other goodies that are TVP free.)

What is TVP?  TVP stands for Textured Vegetable Protein.  It also goes by other names, like TSP (Textured Soya Protein), Soy Chunks, Soy Curls, Soy Meat, and probably lots of other names as well.

What is it made from?  Most commonly, it is made from defatted soy flour.  It is a by product of the soybean oil extraction process.  It can also be made from other grains and seeds like oats, cotton seeds, and even wheat.  Once the oil is extracted, the remaining protein is heated to a temperature that allows it to be molded and pressed through a nozzle into various shapes and sizes.  Without getting to scientific on y'all, the heating process makes it malleable, and the cooling process makes it porous and puffy so that it can absorb up to 3 times it's own weight in liquids when rehydrating.

What is it used for?  I can tell you what I use it for.  I use it as a quick, easy, low fat, source of protein.  I buy a ton of the stuff in bulk, and use it to make all sorts of meat alternatives.  I use it to make my own bacon bits.  I use it to make Sloppy Jo-nis (recipe below).  I use it to make Meaty Marinara.  I use it to make Pepperoni Pizza Topping.  I use it to make my own Taco Meat.  It is also commonly used in the commercial food industry as a meat extender.  Because it has very little flavor on it's own, it absorbs and takes on the flavor of pretty much anything you cook it in.

Is it good for you?  Well, all things in moderation.  It is a soy based product, so I believe it is a great alternative to artery clogging, cholesterol laden, ground up dead cow.  I don't eat it every day (but I don't really suggest eating ANYTHING every day!)  Here is a nutritional breakdown of dry TVP granules (I use the Bob's Red Mill Organic TSP most often).  1/4 cup (14 g) of dry TVP granules contains: 80 calories, 1.5 grams fat (0 saturated and 0 trans), 0 Cholesterol, 0 sodium, 5 grams Carbs (3 grams Fiber, 1.5 grams Sugar), and 7 grams of protein.  It also provides 5% of your daily Calcium and 8% of your daily Iron.  The ONLY ingredient on the label is ORGANIC SOY.  Only you can decide what is good for you.
Bob's Red Mill Organic TSP Nutrition Facts Label.  Click on Image to enlarge.

Now to the good stuff.  The food.  Try this recipe for Sloppy Jo-nis the next time you want to expose vegan foods to a skeptic.  It tastes so similar to the real thing, they probably won't even taste the difference.



Sloppy Jo-nis
1 cup (96 g) TVP granules
1 cup (235 ml) veggie broth (No-Beef flavored vegetable broth works best here, but any will do)
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup (40 g) finely diced onion
1/4 cup (40 g) finely diced green bell pepper
1 tablespoon (15 g) prepared yellow mustard
3/4 cup (204 g) ketchup
1 tablespoon (15 g) steak sauce
1 tablespoon (14 g) packed brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Reconstitute TVP by mixing together with veggie broth in a microwave safe dish, covering tightly with plastic wrap and micro waving on high for 5 to 6 minutes. (Alternatively, you can bring the broth to a boil, pour over the TVP, mix, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.)
In a frying pan, preheat oil over medium high heat.
Add onions and bell pepper. Saute about 3 minutes. Add in garlic and continue to saute for about 2 more minutes.
Reduce heat to low, add in reconstituted TVP, mustard, ketchup, steak sauce, and brown sugar.
Stir to coat, and heat through.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 servings

The nutritional info below is for the filling only.




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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