Dec 30, 2016

chimichurri potatoes and tofu

As promised, I am taking the recipes from Prep Ahead Week 3 and posting them individually for the folks who would rather not make the entire menu.

If you are as busy as I am and life sometimes serves up plain beans and rice or a simple sandwich, when you'd rather be enjoying a delicious and unique meal, then I highly recommend you give the Prep Ahead menu a try.

The first recipe in the rotation on Week 3 is Chimichurri Potatoes and Tofu.

Typical chimichurri sauce is made with tons of oil and loads of fresh herbs, but I wanted to come up with a recipe that used no oil, but still tasted great.

Instead of the oil, this sauce recipe uses yogurt and tahini. The yogurt offers the body and the tahini offers the richness that would usually be supplied with olive oil. You can still make the sauce using oil, if you'd rather, and Becky Striepe has a terrific recipe over at Glue and Glitter, so I'd head there for a more traditional version.

I used both regular potatoes and sweet potatoes when I made my dish, but you can use one or the other. Press the tofu overnight using a flour sack (just wrap the tofu tightly and set in the fridge) or press it for an hour using a machine.

I air-fried my potatoes and tofu, but you can broil them instead.

Since the tofu and potatoes need a vegetable, I went to my go-to, easy way of cooking up greens, kinpira. This is a very old and traditional way of quick braising vegetables in any flavored broth. I chose a spicy kinpira for this dish to help elevate the chimichurri even more. The veggies are ready in about 5 minutes with minimal fuss.

Serve these with warmed tortillas; use the tortillas as tacos or just use them to scoop up all the goodies.

Chimichurri Potatoes and Tofu
Makes 4 servings

2 (14-ounce) packages firm tofu, rinsed and pressed 1 hour

Chimichurri Sauce:
1/2 cup packed parsley (1/2 bunch)
1/2 cup packed cilantro (1/2 bunch)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoon unsweetened plain vegan yogurt or olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 pounds potatoes, any kind

1 pound bok choy
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable broth

4 tortillas, warmed

1. Make sure to press the tofu first. Preheat the air-fryer at 450-degrees F. If not using air-fryer, preheat the broiler if needed.
2. For the sauce, combine the parsley, cilantro, garlic, water, vinegar, yogurt, tahini and chili flakes in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch wedges. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch slices. Cut the slices of tofu into 1-inch pieces. Toss 3/4 of the sauce with the potatoes and tofu. Add them to a baking sheet or air-fryer basket and cook until crisp and tender, about 15 to 25 minutes. 
4. For the kinpira: Chop the bok choy. Add it to a large pot. Add the minced garlic and chili flakes. Add 2 tablespoons broth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until tender and the broth has reduced. 
5. Serve the potatoes, tofu, vegetables and warmed tortillas with the rest of the sauce.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


Dec 29, 2016

prep ahead week 3

Last week I shared my idea of preparing a week of meals on one day and then finishing them on the day that you actually eat the meal. This has been working really well for my family of four and I find that even when I am really tired I can have dinner on the table within a half hour with minimal work.

Last week the menu consisted of 7 meals. This week I am reconsidering the 7 as too many meals for the average family. A day or two a week might be devoted to a special meal that you would like to put more time into or it could be a family favorite meal or leftovers or going out to eat.

This week's meal prep ahead consists of 5 meals. Since I cut two meals I am also alternating seitan and tofu instead of including them on each rotation.

Again, the meals are mostly whole foods, little or no oil (you decide) and are complete with grain, protein and green vegetable. They are also complete in the sense that there is a shopping list which includes the recommended accompaniments to the meals, such as bread or crackers.

In addition, I am also breaking out the recipes in the week ahead. Meaning that I will feature each of these recipes as their own separate recipe (apart from the Prep Ahead recipe) so you can make just a single recipe instead of the whole week, if you choose.

Meal 1 is Chimichurri Potatoes and Tofu. Becky Striepe of Glue and Glitter posted a chimichurri recipe a few weeks ago and I have one in my book Vegan Bowls [AMAZON] and I love it! But chimichurri uses a lot of oil and I wanted to come up with a recipe that was equally good without all the oil.

Chimichurri Potatoes and Tofu with Spicy Bok Choy Kinpira

Meal 2 is Pickled Vegetables Salad. This is my riff on Giardiniera but using homemade pickled cauliflower. It is also like a bean salad, but, again, using oil is optional. After pickling the cauliflower and assembling the bean salad, you can stash it until ready to eat. Then roast the cauliflower before adding it to the salad - it is a treat. [I cut the seitan from this dish, but it is in the pic.]

Pickled Vegetables and Beans on a bed of greens.
Meal 3 is Sriracha Artichoke Rolls. These are like the seafood rolls, but instead of mayo, the dressing is made of yogurt. If you like mayo better, sub it. The filling is chickpeas and artichokes. It is served on regular whole grain buns with a side of fresh green salad.

Sriracha Artichoke Rolls with chickpeas and a fresh green salad with homemade vinaigrette. 
Meal 4 is Char Siu Pizza. Mushrooms, bell pepper strips and cannellini beans are tossed with homemade char siu sauce. The pizza sauce itself isn't just regular tomato sauce, but instead has a wonderful kick. Certainly not your ordinary pizza night, but still easy and quick on the day of. This dough is homemade and uses all-purpose flour, but I am working on a whole grain version. In the meantime, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's both have whole grain pizza dough available.

Char Sui Pizza with shiitake, beans, green peppers and steamed chard.  
Meal 5 is Curried Chickpea Soup with rice and spinach. Curried flavors infuse this warm and delicious soup. Rice offers a wonderful body and richness and it is warm and filling on a cold winter night. This is served with Seasoned Pita Wedges.

Curried Chickpea Soup with toasted rice, spinach and served with Seasoned Pita Wedges.
It takes about 2 hours to prepare these meals on a single day and they are ready in about 30 minutes on the day that you are serving them.

PDFs below are the Overview of the meals (basically what will happen throughout the week), Shopping List (all the ingredients are listed so check over it and cross out what you already have), Prep Day Instructions (follow in the order given for speed and efficiency), Prep Day Recipes (these are the recipes that are called for in the Instructions) and Day-of Recipes (cut these in half and staple them together in the order you plan to serve the meals).


Shopping List

Prep Day Instructions

Prep Day Recipes

Day-of Recipes

Dec 20, 2016

prep ahead + winners of "the essential vegan travel guide"

Greetings all! Hope everyone is enjoying the ending of another year. I am so into learning about the patters of history and what brings us to where we are now, that I highly recommend The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe [AMAZON]; it turns out that we are on the cusp of a recurring Crisis. Very interesting!

I'm not into apocalypse theories so this one is really up my alley. Crisis doesn't mean the end of the world; it means a huge change that is measurable, especially in hindsight.

With that in mind - get your travel on while you can! The winners of the giveaway for The Essential Vegan Travel Guide [AMAZON] are....

US winner (of the paperback): Comment number one. Kellyanne, please contact me by December 28 with your mailing address.

International winner (of the Kindle edition): Comment number two, a bunch of random numbers and letters. Again, please contact me by December 28.

Congratulations to you both! zsu [at] zsusveganpantry [dot] com

It's been hard to miss that I've been cracking my head over how to make dinner faster, to the point that I've tried Dump Dinners (very limited in terms of possibilities) and I've tried Pantry+ recipes, but my pantry is not your pantry and let's face it, I doubt anyone actually follows pantry recommendations.

I do want to make meals faster, but I also want to make them healthy and use whole foods as much as possible. To that end, I created a few weeks of menus (testing things out before springing it on you) and I've come up with Prep Ahead.

Take one day, mine is Wednesday because CSA gets delivered on Tuesday, but if you work outside the house, that might mean Sunday, and use it as the Prep Day. Of course, pick whatever day works best for you.

Use the Prep Day to prepare whatever is possible to prepare up to 6 days in advance. A few recipes have night before prep required, but you can do that while you are finishing the daily meal.

The menu is varied, includes soy and seitan, each once a week. One pasta, a few bean recipes, a salad, a soup and a sandwich. All the meals are balanced, with grain, greens and protein.

Prep Ahead Week 2 consists of Italian Mushroom Ragu served over pasta (or rice, if you like). This is a slow cooker meal and I recommend serving it on Prep Day. It makes dinner ready when you are.

Meal 2 is Curried Chickpea Sandwich served with Bok Choy and Carrot Kinpira. Kinpira is an easy and flavorful way to cook vegetables fast. The vegetables are braised in a flavorful liquid and are ready in about 5 minutes.

Meal 3 is Chili Corn Chowder. This is another slow cooker recipe. Chowder and Chili meet forces to create a warm and hearty meal. Serve it with tortillas, tortilla chips or crackers. 

Meal 4 is Steak Salad. Cook up the prepared seitan you made on Prep Day and serve it warm over a bed of greens. It is served with Garlic Yogurt dressing and crostini - which is fancy talk for toasted bread. 

Meal 5 is Mexican Lasagna. Tortillas are baked with a vegetable and bean loaded filling. Serve with vegan sour cream or salsa and loads of radishes and jalapenos (if you like heat.)

Meal 6 is Brussels Sprouts and Balsamic Pasta. This pasta dish is brimming with roasted Brussels sprouts that are finished cooking in balsamic vinegar and served with black beans and walnuts. 

And Meal 7 is Souvlaki of tofu and zucchini served with Rice Pilaf and Spinach. Yogurt-marinated tofu and zucchini sit on top of a bed of deliciously toasty rice pilaf. This interpretation of the Greek dish is highly addictive. 

If you are game to try this Prep Ahead Menu, I have prepared a shopping list, what to do on the Prep Day, what to do on the Day-of serving and all the recipes to make this go as fast and smooth as possible. All the documents are in PDF. 

I recommend you print out the Day-of Recipes and cut the pages in half. Staple them together in the order you are planning to serve them.

Overview [comprehensive look at what is going on].

Dec 7, 2016

southwestern strata

Been busy little bees these past few weeks. My son has just completed applying to graduate school in an area that accepts woefully few applicants. He is an amazing film director, so he does have an excellent shot at it, but it's all a craps shoot.

I am posting his latest film at the bottom of this post. It's really good and I'd love your opinion about it, if you're game.

For the post this day, I am sharing a Southwestern Strata recipe. It is a perfect brunch recipe!

Strata is an interesting dish. It is supposed to be layers of white bread alternated with layers of cheese, then soaked in a milk mixture and baked. This is the very original version of strata.

Since then the milk mixture has been augmented with eggs to give it a custard-like texture and the the layers now are not so much layers, per say, as additions mixed in.

Mix-ins now can include, vegetables, meats and various types of cheeses. This being a southwestern version, it uses cornbread as the bread (I used the Cornbread Muffin recipe in Everyday Vegan Eats. Delicious!), and a homemade queso fresco (recipe coming this month).

It also includes sauteed peppers, onions and cilantro. I added spiced chorizo chickpeas since there is aquafaba in the batter anyway.

The batter is where it gets interesting. Because I fell in love with the bread pudding recipe in my cookbook Aquafaba [AMAZON], I wanted to make a savory version and this is the result. The aquafaba mixed with psyllium husk (cannot be omitted) and starch, results in a custard.

Mix, let the batter soak into the bread and bake. Serve it with some inspired tomato sauce and dig in.

As promised, here is Mikel's WE-System short film:


In case you missed it, I am hosting a giveaway for The Essential Vegan Travel Guide. My girls used it this summer when traveling in Europe and it is amazing! Go enter the contest or, better yet, pick up a copy! Contest ends December 19.

Southwestern Strata
Serves about 6

Chorizo Chickpeas:
1 cup chickpeas
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt

1 bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
6 cups stale cornbread (cut into 1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup crumbled vegan cheese, optional (Kite Hill or Follow Your Heart block is good or use homemade)

6 tablespoons aquafaba**
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups unsweetened plain nondairy milk
1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder

1. Preheat the oven to 450-degrees F. Combine the chickpeas, broth, vinegar, oil, chili powder, oregano, cumin, paprika and salt on a baking sheet. Mix well and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion to the skillet. Cover and cook until the onion is browning, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Add a splash of broth if the onion is beginning to burn. Using a cover will prevent too much evaporation and help brown the vegetables without oil.
3. Add the aquafaba to a blender. With the blender running on medium speed, add the oil slowly. Add the milk in a steady stream (doesn’t have to be slowly) and the psyllium. Blend for 20 seconds. Add to a large bowl.
4. Add the cornbread, cilantro, cheese (if using) and reserved chickpeas. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes. Add to a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and bake in a 325-degree oven for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes to firm up. Serve.

** Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


Nov 27, 2016

"the essential vegan travel guide" + giveaway

Happy Cyber Monday everyone!

I am so excited to share with you a book that is all about traveling as a vegan and surviving the whole vacation, well fed and happy.

The Essential Vegan Travel Guide [AMAZON]  is written by Caitlin Galer-Unti, the publisher of the popular site The Vegan Word. Caitlin has traveled extensively world-wide and I strongly recommend checking out her site for some amazing content.

My girls went to visit family in Hungary this summer and this book was a huge lifesaver for them. Even though the family knew what the girls would eat and wouldn't eat, something was lost in translation and they had to fend for themselves more than a few times.

And when they went off to Italy by themselves for a few days, the book, again, came in immeasurable service.

The travel guide is more than just a list of resources and instead delves into how to stay vegan while traveling. The guide walks you through the many ways to take food, find food, cook food in a hotel room and even goes into where you can stay and how to figure that out. Caitlin covers it all. She leaves no stone un-turned.

Of course, research is your best friend when making travel plans, and that is where Caitlin starts: she shows you how to do your research, where to research and what to research. She walks you through it all step by step.

After all the research is done, Caitlin shows you how to apply your new-found information to find the best places to stay and where to eat when you are there.

This is a full-length book (about 130 pages) packed with loads of information and insight. In addition, Caitlin has a wonderful sense of humor, making the reading of the book not just educational, but fun, too.

If you are planning on taking a trip, whether local or foreign, whether you are staying at a hostel, with family or couchsurf, Caitlin has you covered. Although this is the 2016 edition, I see no reason why you need to wait for a possible 2017 edition since all the information is relevant and useful for the next few years, possibly. In fact, the only amendments might be updates of website addresses or adding new ones.

Since this is the giving season, I want to remind you that Caitlin has published a post of 101+ Vegan Gift Ideas, a very extensive list of wonderful gifts that you can use yourself or pass to a loved one.

 I am not exempt from the gift-giving season and therefore I am giving away a print copy of this book to a US winner AND a Kindle copy to a winner outside the US. Please leave a comment about where you would like to travel and let me know if you are a US resident or an International one. Good luck! Contest ends December 19, my daughter's birthday.

IMPORTANT: If it isn't obvious how to contact you via your comment, send me an email with the name your comment is under, the content of your comment (what you said) and a way to contact you (the email itself will be fine).  zsu [at] zsusveganantry [dot] com

And I am not done with the gift giving! I am announcing the winner of Vegan Mexico [AMAZON] by Jason Wyrick. The winner is The Peace Patch! Congratulations!! Contact me at zsu [at] zsusveganpantry [dot] com. 

Nov 19, 2016

cranberry bliss bars

Starbuck's, the coffee shop, has a treat called Cranberry Bliss Bars. Although I've never had it (was Starbuck's even around 16 years ago?) because it isn't vegan, I can attest that this vegan version is most certainly delicious.

The original version uses white chocolate chips, and while you are more than welcome to, I find that bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips are much easier to find vegan. But if you have them, use them!

The batter is very simple - flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, aquafaba, vegan butter, sugar, chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

Once creamed together, fold in the chocolate and cranberries and press into a 12X12-inch pan, or a 1/4 sheet pan. The size is really inconsequential as long as the batter is about 1/2-inch thick.

While the cookies bake and cool make the cream cheese frosting. If you really don't like it too sweet you can cut the frosting ingredients in half and frost the base very lightly.

After they bake and cool, trim the sides and cut the bars into triangles. Once frosted the bars will soften up a little and the frosting will harden a bit, making stacking possible. If they last that long, these bars are good for up to a week. Enjoy with tea or coffee.



Cranberry Bliss Bars
Makes about 12 bars

1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
5 tablespoons aquafaba**

2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

4 ounces nondairy cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 teaspoons orange juice (zest orange first)
2 cups confectioner sugar, sifted after measuring
2 teaspoons orange zest
3/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 325-degrees F. Add the butter, sugar, ginger and salt to a large bowl. Use a hand mixer to cream well. Add the aquafaba a tablespoon at a time to help achieve a homogeneous mixture. Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Mix well and add to the butter mixture. Mix well using the hand mixer.
2. Add the 1 cup of cranberries and the chocolate chips. Mix well using a wooden spoon. Line a 12x12 baking sheet (or a 1/4 sheet pan) with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Add the dough and press into the pan. The dough should be about 1/2 -inch thick. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes; do not over bake. Remove and set aside for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a cooling rack.
3. Frosting: Combine the cream cheese, salt and juice in a medium bowl. Mix well using a hand mixer. Add the sifted confectioner sugar and mix again. Add half of the zest.
4. When completely cool, frost the bars, reserving about 1/4 cup of the frosting. Add the 3/4 cup cranberries on top of the frosting and drizzle the remaining frosting over the cranberries. Add the rest of the orange zest. 
5. Using a sharp knife, trim the edges of the large rectangle. Cut in half and cut each half into 3 rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half diagonally. Allow the frosting to set overnight. If the bars are too crunchy allow to sit uncovered until they soften a bit. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

** Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

Nov 16, 2016

bbq nachos

If you follow this blog at all, you know that I don't like to repeat recipes a lot. In fact, it is only the family that makes me cook the same recipes over and over again.

With that in mind, when I was asked to make nachos again, I had to put a spin on it. Here is BBQ Nachos for the win.

This is my southern spin on a typically Mexican-inspired dish. It has homemade Chile con Queso, pulled BBQ seitan, BBQ sauce, collard greens, scallions and pickles. Trust me on this - it sounds odd, but is surprisingly tasty!

The cheese is a simple combination of ingredients and is easy to whip up. It is thick and rich and tangy. This recipe is based on my cheese sauce from Everyday Vegan Eats [AMAZON], which is a book we cook from at least a few times a week. Still a fave.

The pulled barbecue seitan is my recipe from Aquafaba [AMAZON]. It is Memphis-style Pulled Seitan recipe that pulls apart perfectly, complete with a tangy and sweet crust. I love this seitan, but you can use any barbecued tempeh, tofu, legumes or jackfruit. That part is really up to you.

Cook one bunch of collards in plenty of water and drain really well. I mean, squeeze out the excess water to avoid sogging down your chips. If you cook greens in plenty of water then most of the bitterness will leach into the water. Of course, so does a lot of the water soluble vitamins, so keep that in mind. It is a trade-off.

Then assemble:

Warm chips.
BBQ seitan, beans or jackfruit.

Choice of warm BBQ sauce.

Cheese sauce.

Collard greens, scallions and pickles.

Now get to work!

BBQ Nachos
Makes 4 servings

Cheese Sauce:
1 cup mashed soft or silken tofu
3/4 cup unsweetened plain nondairy milk
1/2 cup unsweetened plain nondairy yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped roasted red peppers (jarred is fine)
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon onion granules
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with chiles, lightly drained

Warm tortilla chips, as needed
2 cups barbecued beans or other barbecued plant-based protein
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup cooked, chopped and well-drained collard greens
1/2 cup chopped pickles
3 scallions, chopped

1. Combine the tofu, milk, yogurt, red pepper, tapioca, yeast, salt and onion in a blender. Blend very well. Add the mixture to a medium pot. Bring to boil over medium heat. Add the diced tomatoes and return to a light simmer. Cook, stirring often, until thick and the tapioca cooks well, about 4 minutes. Keep warm.
2. Warm the chips in a toaster oven, warm the protein, warm the barbecue sauce and cook the collards. Once the collards are cooked (either steamed or boiled) drain very well, squeezing out excess water. Chop the pickles and scallions.
3. To assemble, layer tortilla chips, add the protein, add some barbecue sauce, add the cheese sauce, add collards, pickles and scallions. Serve immediately. 

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

Nov 12, 2016

vegan baked chèvre cheese dip

Chèvre is the French term for goat - or goat cheese. I didn't want to name this outright "goat cheese dip" because, well, it isn't goat cheese. However, I do want to give you the idea that this cheese dip is not your ordinary dip, but is in fact funky and creamy and unique- just like goat cheese is.

This is not an aged cheese, so it is ready to bake as soon as you blend it up. However, it does have a unique component that is quite interesting: preserved or fermented beancurd. Beancurd is, of course, just tofu, but because this is a preserved ingredient it is quite on the funkier side of things.

Of course, the next question is where to get it? I've been able to get it at all kinds of Asian markets: Korean, Japanese, Thai, etc., so if you have a local Asian market, hit that up first. Get the version without the chili flakes or chili oil - just tofu, salt and oil.

For the very adventurous, I have found a recipe online for making it at home. I just recently found it and so haven't tried it, yet, but I am planning on making it because I like to know that the tofu I use is non-GMO; these bottles don't state that.

Recipe for making homemade Fermented Bean Curd.

The tofu itself, once preserved, is very soft and aromatic:

You won't use much of the stuff because it is very potent, but you can always adjust to your taste. The first time I made this dip I used 1/3 cup of it. While I liked it, I imagine it would be a bit over the top for others.

All you do is blend the ingredients and bake.

While the dip was baking I roasted off some potatoes to use as the dipping agents - air-fryed with a teaspoon of oil; they came out crisp and flavorful. Easy roasted potato recipe.

Serve the dip with some radishes and pickled onions (or raw onions) and you have a very elegant dip to serve to guests - or to enjoy on a night to yourself.

Vegan Baked Chèvre Cheese Dip
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 cup plain unsweetened nondairy soy or almond yogurt
2 to 4 tablespoons preserved or fermented tofu
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 garlic clove
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon onion granules
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum (optional)
Olive oil (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375-degrees F. Add the yogurt, tofu, tapioca, garlic, salt, onion and xantham gum (if using) to a blender. Blend very well until very smooth. Transfer to a small (about 2 cup) baking dish and drizzle with a few teaspoons of olive oil. 
2. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. 
3. Make the salad by combining the radishes, parsley and onion. Add the salad on top of the dip. Serve with crackers, raw vegetables or Roasted Russet Potatoes (recipe below).

Roasted Russet Potatoes

1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into wedges, about 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion granules
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Preheat an air-fryer to 360-degrees (or an oven to 400-degrees). Add the potatoes, paprika, onion, garlic, parsley, salt and oil to a large bowl. Toss well. Add the potatoes to the basket of the air-fryer in a staggered crosshatch pattern (like building Lincoln Logs) and bake until crisp, about 20 minutes, shaking the basket after 10 minutes and then after 15 minutes.
2. If baking in the oven, bake on a baking sheet until crisp, about 30 minutes. Toss every 10 minutes. 

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

Nov 11, 2016

"vegan mexico" + giveaway

The new cookbook by Jason Wyrick has been out for a few weeks now and it is clear that it is a huge hit. Jason's follow-up cookbook to Vegan Tacos [AMAZON], is in the same vein and is packed with authentic and delicious Mexican fare that is also vegan and truly delicious.

A huge bonus is that along with delicious dishes like street foods, tacos, tortas, enchiladas, tamales, salads and soups, Jason also shares basic recipes that ensure that preparing these dishes is possible: homemade masa, homemade tortillas, breads and Quick Queso Fresco.

Jason's heritage is Mexican from his mother's side, so you know that he has actually lived what he shares. The recipes show the passion Jason has for this cuisine and it comes across as genuine and authentic.

Of course, Jason breaks everything down so you get to know the ingredients you will be needing (otherwise it is not an authentic cookbook; if you don't use the proper ingredients - then it is just an interpretive and creative endeavor.) He also covers Mexican history and the specific regions that give rise to specific flavors.

I started with making bread. I have always wanted to make a torta (sandwich), but I could never find the authentic bread that is used. I was very happy to see that Jason has an easy bread recipe for us, so that was my starting point.

These football-shaped rolls are either Bolillos or Birote Salados, depending on a few minor differences. As you can see, they turned out golden with a crisp crust and tender and pillowy inside.

When I made this recipe, I had to almost double the flour. I realize that the dough itself is supposed to be really soft and loose and still very sticky, but without the added flour I would not have been able to shape the dough in any way. The amount of water to flour is so close that I don't know if it was a typo of some kind, but if you encounter the same problem, add enough flour to create a very soft and still tacky dough. After the knead and the rise it will firm up enough, but if you have a puddle of dough instead of something that comes together, just add more flour.

In the end, the bread was perfect, both inside and out. In addition, this was a really easy bread recipe to prepare. Don't be put off by the simple sponge, either! This has to be the easiest sponge I've ever made.

Taking this wonderful bread, I made Jason's Bean and Avocado Sandwich Drowned in Salsa (Torta Abogada).

This sandwich is filled with refried beans, avocados and pickled onions. Then it is drowned in a spicy (or mild) red salsa that is very easy to make. Of course, you can use store-bought rolls for a fast sandwich, but if you have the time, make the bread for it.

I topped it with cabbage and cilantro, as well, since that is a common addition, but it is certainly not necessary. Although it is very authentic to actually pour the salsa over the sandwich, I found that pouring it over the bottom half was sufficient - this way some of the crust of the top of the bread added a needed crunch and textural variation. Delicious sandwich!

Finally, I tried the Pasta Baked in Chipotle Tomato Sauce (Sopa Seca).

This dish is pasta that is drowned in tomato sauce and baked. The pasta actually cooks in the tomato sauce, which is known as fideo. Fideo is Spanish, meaning pasta.

The tomato sauce in this case is laced with chipotle peppers and the baked pasta is topped with Queso Fresco. Jason has a Quick Queso Fresco recipe in the book, but this version is my own. I'll be sharing the recipe later in the month. Enjoy this dish with some of the bread you baked and it adds a wonderful touch.

Overall the book is fantastic and it is a wonderful and useful addition to any library - vegan or not. Jason makes things clear and easy to follow and the recipes are delicious.

Jason and Vegan Heritage Press are sharing a recipe from the book and are also giving away a copy of this book to one lucky US resident.

The contest runs through the 21st and a winner will be announced November 23. Please leave a comment about Jason or Mexican food and make sure I have a way to contact you. Of course, you can check back on this blog on its Wednesday's post, but people do tend to forget to do that if they haven't subscribed. If I can't contact you by the 26th, I will choose another winner. Good luck!

First, though, check out Jason's recipe for Caldo of Sweet Potato and Chard.

Photo by Jason Wyrick

Caldo of Sweet Potato and Chard
Caldo de Camotes y Alcegas
Makes 6 servings

This simple soup features a mildly spicy broth married with the earthy sweetness of white sweet potatoes and the lushness of wilted chard. It’s not only delicious, it’s a powerhouse of nutrition. Chard, sweet potatoes, and beans conspire to fight cancer and regulate blood sugar and are naturally low in fat. (from Vegan Mexico, copyright © 2016 by Jason Wyrick. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press.)

5 cups water
Corn oil, for frying
4 ancho chiles
10 cloves pan-roasted garlic
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 medium white sweet potato, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch chard, greens and stems sliced paper thin
1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans or 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Bring the water to a boil in a medium pot. Heat 1/8 inch of corn oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the anchos and fry them for 20 seconds on each side. Place the anchos in the boiling water, reduce it to a simmer, and simmer the anchos for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove them from the water and when they are cool enough to handle, remove the stems.

In a blender or food processor, purée the anchos, garlic, salt, oregano, and the water used to simmer the anchos until smooth. Return the purée to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Add the sweet potato, chard, and beans and cook until the sweet potatoes are al dente, about 6 minutes.