gypsy goulash

European Night

Gypsy Goulash, or Szeged Gulyas, originates in Hungary in, you guessed it, the city of Szeged.  While the name literally means, 'gypsy,' it actually has not much to do with gypsies, except that maybe nomadic peoples might have been more apt to cook it over a roaring fire, ...or might have been the founders of the city for which the dish is named after. 

The dish contains pork, sauerkraut, onions, paprika and sour cream. Except for a little salt and pepper, that is all that the authentic version contains. In order to veganize it, and therefore improve on it, I used pressed, marinated and then baked tofu. 

Starting with an onion and vegan butter, sauteing it will signal to everyone in the house that dinner is on its way. When the onions have caramelized somewhat, adding garlic, paprika and the saurkraut to the pot will continue the assault on the senses of those same unfortunate hungry. Since the tofu renders no 'natural juices' during the braising process, it is easy to add a few cups of excellent vegetable stock (broth will be fine as well) and then letting the dish simmer uncovered for an hour. By this time you should have plenty of nosy visitors begging to know when dinner will be ready.

To finish off the Goulash, add a cup of vegan sour cream and fold it into the tofu and sauerkraut gently. Serve this with something simple, like boiled potatoes or cooked pasta. These will reward you by soaking up the creamy gravy. IF there is any leftovers, be sure to save them because while most meals are best left to the original meal, this one improves while it sits in the fridge overnight.  Be sure to hide it behind the kale so it doesn't get pilfered.


Cost Breakdown

tofu: $4
sauerkraut: $4
onion, garlic, tomato: $2
spices: $1
vegetable stock: $2
potatoes: $3

Total to feed 6 people:
$16.00




sandwiches everywhere!

Let's say you owned every vegan cookbook ever written. What vegan cookbook were you still without? How about one exclusively of sandwiches? As a mom, especially of homeschoolers who require lunch at home, a sandwich cookbook was something I was always on the lookout for. It seems that every day around 11:30 AM, my brain goes to mush as soon as the kids utter those magic words, "What's for lunch?" There are only so many peanut butter and jelly or processed veg-meat sandwiches that kids (or adults) can tolerate. It gets old.

When Tami Noyes, American Vegan Kitchen and the soon-to-come Grills Gone Vegan, asked me if I was interested in testing for her new - yes, another new! - cookbook, this one of sandwiches, I jumped at the chance. 
Sandwiches? Yeah, I'm in!

She is co-authoring this upcoming book with Celine Steen of 500 Vegan Recipes. They don't have a title for it, yet, but I'm sure they are working on it. 

To give you an idea of the variety of sandwiches that I have been bombarded with testing, here are a few:




Mac-Shroom

Here is a unique one! This happens to be Kate's new favorite. Mushrooms and Mac-n-cheese are hardly ever invited to the barbecue party - until now; and, boy, is it one helluva bash!



California Roll

The California Roll has exactly what any health-conscious cook would love to put into a sandwich: quinoa, avocado, tomato and it is all tied together with a zingy dressing. No need to be Californian to love this simple, satisfying roll.




Jamaican Dip

As anyone knows who reads this blog, I am all about heat; this sandwich delivers and does not disappointing in that department. Think of a French Dip that detoured to the Islands while hijacking a boat load of habaneros.




Pittsburgh Steak 

Pittsburgh Steak is all about transforming the whole of Pennsylvania. The seitan is marinated, baked and topped. 







Wingwich

Wingwich. Just what it sounds like - wings on a sandwich - except it's seitan not chicken. Spicy on the bottom, with the cooling light slaw on the top. Great combination. 




Curried Lentil


Lentils and coconut are a match like no other. The coconut aroma tingles your nose right before the flavor hits your tongue. Creamy lentils over the crunchy toast. It was so easy to make and so good to eat.





Retro-KFC


I'm not sure if KFC ever made this since I wasn't a KFC fan, but if they did they couldn't have made it this good! There was silence at the dinner table as this sandwich was being devoured - nothing but a bunch of crunching and deep sighs of satisfaction.


And there you have a bit of what we've been eating for the past few months. 

After testing for Tami the last time, I thought I would be back cooking my own stuff as soon as Grills Gone Vegan was good to go - and then she sprang this on me. The only sandwich books on the market are vegetarian at best and heavily laden with animals at better. There really is a need for this and that need began with me. Tami and Celine are thinking way outside of the bun with this book and I was excited when they asked me to test for it.  Life was getting a little hectic at our house; it was great to have lunch off my hands for at least a little bit.


  

FNF - slow roasted pork with coconut curry and fresh slasa



Food Network Friday

This month's Food Network Friday, hosted by Tamasin Noyes of Vegan Appetite, American Vegan Kitchen, Grills Gone Vegan (soon) and another surprise coming up next post, is Slow Roasted Pork with Coconut Curry Sauce, Corn Tortillas, Fresh Tomato Salsa over Basmati Rice.  Try saying that ten times!

Once you read over the recipe, you will note that at the end the disclaimer tells us that this is a restaurant recipe that has been readjusted to the home cook and that they take no responsibility for the quantities specified in said recipe, so don't blame them. Seven pounds of pork butt and 50 ounces of coconut milk sent up red flags. Nevertheless, I persevered and calculated how much TVP I would need to substitute said pork butt. Why anyone would want to cook the rear of anyone else is beyond me. Anyway, according to my Dixie Diners' instructions, 1 pound of Chicken (Not!) makes 3.5 pounds of meat. Not pig, I know, but neither is it chicken. Therefore, I would need 2 pounds of TVP to replace the 7 pounds of meat. Adjust for fat, and perhaps we are talking 5 pounds of meat. Maybe less.

In any case, to make the same amount of protein that the recipe calls for, I wound have needed to cook EIGHT cups of dry TVP. First off, we are not feeding an army or extended family overstaying their welcome, second, the cost would be outlandish. No thanks. I used 3 cups of Dixie's Chicken(Not!) to rehydrate to 2 pounds of the equivalent in meat. This amount was more reasonable for a family of five.

The funny thing is, I did use the 50 ounces of coconut milk because the recipe didn't cut the milk with any broth or water and I didn't want to lose any 'authenticity.' I didn't even cut the massive 1/4c of sesame oil it called for. I have hardly ever used more than a tablespoon of the stuff since it is so strong. Now that I have been your tester, you may very securely lessen the overage. It is intense. 

After rehydrating the TVP, I ripped each individual 2" piece apart by hand, to mimic the pulling. I braised, as suggested, the pieces in the 50 ounces (about 4 cans) of coconut milk, used a massive amount of curry paste (around 2/3 cup) and did not balk at the 5 tablespoons of minced garlic. The ginger is where I drew the line and took only a 2 inch piece and sliced it thick. I have my limits.

I braised the stuff for 2 hours, during which time the TVP softened considerably, the sauce thickened and the flavors were great. 

As for reviews from the family, they were mixed:
"I don't like coconut. I'm not hungry"
"This tastes just like Panang."
"I don't like this."
"This is nothing like Panang, except that they both have coconut milk."
"Boys, don't fight!" (Directed at Dad and Son by Mom.)

Now is where the recipe gets interesting! 
On top of all this, make a fresh jalapeno salsa (huh?) and roll it all up in a corn tortilla. Did we detour to Mexico? Sound like one of those challenges on the Next Food Network Star where they had to fuse the foods of two ethnicities that had gone very wrong? ... it could have been, but strangely... it was...good. Maybe all the coconut fumes got to me, but if you wrap it all up in the tortilla, it is bueno.

(Before I forget, that salsa was enough to feed a restaurant!)


Cost Breakdown:

TVP: $3
coconut milk: $7
seasonings and spices: $3
curry paste: $1
ginger, garlic, fermented beans, sesame oil: $2
cilantro, peppers, onion: $2
tomatoes: free (garden)
rice, tortillas: $2
Total to feed five people? 
$20:00




VEG-Aside: 
We have moved! In blog, in life, in location, in most everything! 

Over the past month our family has moved to a new house and as anyone who has ever moved before knows that, it, well, sucks, ...as good as it is. It is like Spring cleaning, but you have no choice. It is amazing how much stuff accumulates in less than a few years. If you don't move much, I encourage you to purge every Spring and Fall - great times to clean your house and yourself.

The new (home)school year is starting and I have two teens in college! They are very excited - one is taking Japanese and the other Japanese and English. They are 14 and 16 respectively. Yes, I am proud of them, but it is important for everyone to know that your high schooler can take college credit courses - don't make them wait if they don't have to; it is a wonderful, encouraging and self-satisfying reaffirmation of themselves. Great confidence booster!

The blog has had a face-lift because I want to emphasize that there is a new turn of events. I have noticed my lack of drive, lack of time and lack of direction over the past few months. There are many recipes I want to put out here, especially my revised seitan recipes. Overall, a new time for it all. 

Since my kids have adopted a college, it is my turn to Adopt A College as well, and you should too! I will be leafleting while they are in class and hope that you will jump on the college-train, too~ if you would like to join me, just email me.

See you next post -when I will be unveiling new secrets~

FNF - koftas with pomegranate glaze and indian potatoes

                         
 Food Network Friday

Our next challenge for Tami's Food Network Friday is Aarti's Ground Lamb Kofta Kebabas with Pomegranate Glaze. If you haven't jumped on the FNF wagon, you should give them a try - they are loads of fun!

Making vegan ground meat concoctions gluten-free can be a challenge because I love to use vital wheat gluten to bind the mixture. Aarti's recipe is basically ground lamb meat-lollipops. She glazes them with pomegranate molasses and grills them. Her accompaniment is a mashed potato cake with Indian spices. 

Since we are in the middle of a move and have a gluten-sensitive daughter, I needed to make this dish simple and without seitan. I made a mushroom-nut-black-eyed-pea mixture for the lamb kebabas.  All I needed to do was saute the mushrooms with onion, nuts and garlic, deglazed it with Marsala wine and added loads of fresh herbs. Since we are leaving a huge garden behind, this recipe received a bunch of those herbs: basil, mint, parsley, oregano. I then roasted the kebab-balls glazed with the pomegranate molasses.

I skipped the riata completely but subbed a Fig-Pomegranate Salad.

These alterations were the simplest way to convert this dish to fast and gluten-free. This is our interpretation of Aarti, who is herself interpreting Indian. 

This worked out very well and we enjoyed the dish. The kids found the potatoes the tastiest. I toasted some fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and garlic in a few tablespoons of oil. I then added some smoked paprika and tossed it with the potatoes. I roasted them and the kids gobbled them all up. 
Indian Roasted Potatoes!

A hint for roasting potatoes: Add some veg broth on the bottom of the pan with the sliced potatoes, cover it with a foil, and bake on 450 until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. When the potatoes are tender, uncover and broil, turning a few times, until they are crispy.