recipe

Mac’n’Yease: An Attempt at the Plum Bistro Classic

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There are a lot of takes on the ‘problem’ of vegan mac & cheese, but local vegan bistro Plum has it dialed in just right. Here’s another blogger’s effort to deconstruct the recipe, with photos.

The Dough Also Rises

Mac'n'Yease

In early August, I had my first experience of Plum, the fabulous Seattle vegan restaurant. I had never heard of Plum until some Amazon browsing brought me to their new cookbook. I was so excited about the look of the cookbook and the food that I bought the cookbook before ever visiting the restaurant. Now having eaten at Plum and cooked from the book, I can fully vouch for both.

Anyone who knows Plum also knows their classic dish: Mac’n’Yease (a vegan macaroni and cheese). I am not one of these in-the-know folks, but luckily I had my friend LJ there to fill me in on its infamy. In fact, it’s such a well-known Plum specialty that they don’t even give away the recipe in the cookbook…which led to this weekend’s culinary adventure. LJ and I, who had brainstormed the recipe together, made it as a special treat for…

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Herb, Chard & Feta Soup

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A recipe from Bon Appetit. Our end result was creamy; redolent of mint.

INGREDIENTS

SOUP

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1 pound Swiss chard leaves (center ribs and stems removed) or spinach, coarsely chopped (about 10 cups)
    • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
    • 1 tablespoon dried mint
    • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

GARNISHES

    • 5 ounces plain Greek-style yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
    • 1/2 cup mixed chopped herbs (such as parsley, cilantro, and mint), divided
    • 4 ounces feta, crumbled, divided Note: The tangier the better: look for goat or sheep’s milk feta.
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Fresh lemon juice (optional)
    • Olive oil (optional)

PREPARATION

SOUP
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until translucent and soft (do not brown), 7–8 minutes. Stir in chard, broth, parsley, cilantro, fresh and dried mint, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chard is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return to pan. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm soup before continuing. Note: I carefully processed the entire batch in the pot using an immersion blender.

GARNISHES
Place 1/3 of yogurt in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 cup warm soup; whisk until smooth. Repeat process twice more, adding a total of 1 cup more soup. Whisk yogurt mixture into soup in saucepan. Stir 1/4 cup herbs and half of feta into soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, if desired.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with remaining 1/4 cup herbs and 2 oz. feta. Drizzle with oil, if desired.

Vegetarian Chard Soup

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Vegetarian Chard Soup, recipe courtesy Shockinglydelicious.com

Just made a pot of this to stave off the chill of a rapidly-advancing Northwest fall. Utilizing a convenient mix of prepared and fresh foods, this soup (found at Shockinglydelicious.com) was quick, easy, and delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 large chard leaves, stalks separated (leaves should be in 1- to 3-inch pieces, stalks sliced to ¼-½ inch pieces)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 ounces vegetable broth/stock
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini (or any white) beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  • Sauté onion in olive oil on medium heat.
  • Add chard stalks, stir and sauté until they are starting to get soft. Add garlic and chard leaves. {See my note below. I would add the stalks here, but save the leaves for later.} Cover and stir occasionally, cook on medium heat for 10-15 min. (until the leaves begin to shrink).
  • Add stock/broth, tomatoes, beans and potato, plus 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes, uncovered.
  • Add 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Portion into bowls, and once served, top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Notes

  • I ran my immersion blender through the soup for :15-:30s or so to produce a richer broth; was quite pleased with the result.

Corn Basil Cakes

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Corn Basil Cakes - Recipe courtesy PCC Natural Markets
Corn Basil Cakes – Recipe courtesy PCC Natural Markets

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 large ears)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
  • High-heat oil, for cooking

Preparation

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add buttermilk, eggs and butter, stirring just enough to combine. Fold in corn, basil, Parmesan and shallot.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and coat with a thin layer of oil. Drop batter by the 1/4 cup into the skillet, cooking until cakes are golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes per side.

Notes

Basil is the featured flavor of this dish, so nothing less than lots of fresh basil will do. We fried these in just a little olive oil and they came out fine. Peanut oil would work every bit as well too IMO.

Fresh basil tofu stir fry

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Spicy Fresh Basil Tofu Stir Fry
Spicy Fresh Basil Tofu Stir Fry

I had a pound of fried Than Son tofu from Uwajimaya in my fridge at risk of becoming un-fresh, a basil plant in need of debushing, and a son demanding something stir-fried on the double. A quick scan of available tofu fresh basil stir fry recipes revealed this gem, which I adapted for our purposes. The original includes a mess of greens in lieu of the carrots & green beans I had on hand, which also sounds good.

Spicy Fresh Basil Tofu Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 500-750g fried ‘restaurant style’ tofu (or an equivalent amount of fresh firm pressed, cut into 1.5″ cubes, and fried in hot peanut oil until golden & crisp)
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 large red chilies, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 200g carrot, sliced
  • 200g green beans, trimmed
  • .5 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 c. light soy sauce
  • 1/2 c. vegetable stock
  • 1/4 c. Mirin
  • 1 c. basil leaves, chopped
  • cooked brown rice Note: I use Gen-Ji-Mai Quick Cooking Nutri-Whole Grain Premium Brown Rice b/c it doesn’t send my Type 1 Diabetic daughter’s blood glucose through the roof.

Instructions

  1. Steam the carrots and green beans 5m.
  2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet (or non stick frying pan or large wok) over high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil and the fried tofu and cook just 3-4 minutes or until becomes golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil, chili, garlic, ginger and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. Return the tofu to the pan and add the carrots & green beans; stir fry until up-to-temperature.
  4. Add the soy sauce, stock and wine. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Note: Add a little ( .5 tsp) corn starch if the sauce takes too long to thicken.
  5. Top with the basil and serve over brown rice.

Serves 4.

Nutrition

  1. 1 c. Gen-Ji-Mai Quick Cooking Nutri-Whole Grain Premium Brown Rice (2*.25c uncooked is 2*.5 cooked) 70g CHO; 4g fiber; 2g total fat; 6g protein
  2. 250g fried tofu 25g CHO; 0g fiber; 18g total fat; 31g protein
  3. 1/16 c. Mirin 3.5g CHO; 0g fiber; 0g total fat; 0g protein
  4. 1/8 c. vegetable stock .5g CHO; .5g fiber; 0g total fat; 0g protein
  5. 1/16 c. soy sauce 0g CHO; 0g fiber; 0g fat; 2g protein
  6. 50g carrot 4g CHO; 1.5g fiber; 0g fat; .5g protein
  7. 50g green beans 3.5 g CHO;  1.5g fiber; 0g fat; .5g protein
  8. 106g CHO;   7.5G fiber;   20g total fat;   40g protein

Vegan fish sauce recipe

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Finally, a suitably pungent vegan fish sauce! Our thanks to the informed bloggers at The Kitchn for the R&D and the recommendation. I’m making some alongside a batch of seitan I’m making later this weekend; surely enjoying vegan pad thai come Monday.

Vegan Fish Sauce
(makes about 3 cups)

1 1/2 cups shredded seaweed (I use wakame)
6 cups water
6 fat cloves garlic, crushed but not peeled
1 T peppercorns
1 cup mushroom soy sauce
1 T miso

Combine wakame, garlic, peppercorns and water in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Strain and return the liquid back to the pot. Add soy sauce, bring back to a boil and cook until mixture is reduced and almost unbearable salty. Remove from heat and stir in miso.

Decant into a bottle and keep in the refrigerator. Use one-for-one to replace fish sauce in vegan recipes.

A world of difficult-to-reproduce-as-vegan dishes from southeast Asia come a little closer to a delicious reality.

A new seitan recipe, this for a lighter-colored end product

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The things you find on the intertubes. I’m going to try this as a light seitan, visually more chicken-y than my dark, tamari-infused version.

Seitan for the Rest of Us

  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten (approx. 10 oz)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1 Tbsp. Better than Boullion, chicken flavor (or three faux-chicken boullion cubes)
  • 1 Tbsp. white miso paste
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely grated
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest, finely grated

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in one bowl, and wet ingredients (including the garlic and lemon zest) in another bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture a bit at a time until it’s all combined. Knead very gently, just enough to combine the ingredients. Form the dough into a log or ball and let it rest for five minutes. Wrap the dough tightly in aluminum foil, twisting each end like a candy wrapper. Place the wrapped dough on a baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes.

via Gardein, My New Back-Up When the Seitan Gets Too Ruff.