Showing posts with label fried. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fried. Show all posts

Apr 5, 2015

chile relleno! vegan!

If you've been under a boulder the past few weeks, you would not be up to date on the epic chickpea brine discovery, so I'll give a quick run-down for you.

Some clever genius has discovered that the annoying foam that our beans produce during cooking can whip up into vegan egg whites. Let that sink in. What have you missed eating or making since you've become vegan? Chances are good, they contain some sort of egg product: macaroons, angel food cake, floating islands, among other sweets that conventionally are either made completely of eggs or contain a significant amount of eggs.

While I haven't tested this using freshly cooked bean liquid, this process has been proven to work with canned or boxed chickpeas or white beans. Although I've been cooking up batches of beans using my Instant Pot, for this special occasion, I purchased a box of chickpeas. A few, actually.

I'm not sure exactly who came up with this first - - you know the type, looks at the liquid drained from beans and thinks, "hmmm, that looks like egg whites!" but I am grateful. I will try to give credit where I think it might belong. If you know of someone who also came up with this at about the same time (it's possible - two different people invented calculus at the same time while occupying two different parts of the world), I'll add them to the list.

Plant Revolution (French)
Vegan Cookery

Since my facebook page has blow up with all kinds of vegan delicacies using bean liquid, I, of course, could not be left out of the fun.

Chocolate Chip Cookies. Photo courtesy of Somer McCowen

Vedged Out: Chocolate Chip Cookies
Floral Frosting: Macaroons
Seitan is My Motor: Marshmallows

Unlike my fellow bloggers and FB friends, my mind instantly flew to making Chile Rellenos, a chile stuffed with cheese and battered in an egg-flour mixture before being fried. That's right, not being one with much of a sweet tooth, I was itching to try my hand at making a fluffy, crispy stuffed pepper, Tex-Mex style.

The recipe below is my first attempt at making the rellenos; let me tell 'ya, they kick some royal Tex-Mex butt. Some tweaking with the ratio of whipped bean brine to flour would make this even better, but for the debut, this was an amazing Chile Relleno.

Chile Relleno
Serves 4

Sauce: (optional)
1 (15.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups vegetable broth

4 medium to large poblano peppers
1 cup shredded vegan cheese (combination of different varieties is best)
4 (4-inch) wooden skewers
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Oil, for frying

1 1/4 cups chickpea or white bean brine (liquid from 2 cans of beans)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

1. Sauce: (Optional) Combine the tomatoes and broth in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Cook the sauce until thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Blend using an immersion blender and keep warm.
2. Chiles: Cook the peppers over a flame or directly over the stove top burners, until charred well. There is no need to completely char the peppers. Transfer the peppers to a large bowl and cover with a lid. Steam the peppers for 20 minutes.
3. Peel the peppers using your hands. Do not rinse under water.  Make a slit down the side of the pepper about 2-inches long. Remove the seeds as much as possible, but leave the stem intact. Add about ¼-cup cheese inside the pepper and close the pepper using a skewer. Clean and stuff all the peppers and roll each pepper in the flour. Set aside.
4. Heat about 2-inches of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add three popcorn kernels to the oil; when the kernels pop the oil is ready.
5. Batter: Add the batter to a large bowl and using an electric hand mixer beat the brine until thick and stiff, about 4 minutes. Add the paprika, salt and black pepper. Whisk until the flour is incorporated.
6. Place a pepper into the batter and using a spoon coat the pepper on all sides. Fry the pepper in the hot oil until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Drain the pepper on paper towels and season with salt. Serve with the sauce.

© 2015 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Oct 18, 2012

longhorn make over

I couldn't omit from my list of warm, relaxing restaurant environments a western-themed one. Yes, in other words, a casual dining establishment. Another one. It seems the restaurants in American have been sequestered into two categories: fast and casual. Longhorn Steakhouse, no surprise, is supposed to be reminiscent of a Western rancher's home, complete with oil paintings, photos and Western memorabilia.

Story goes, that the original place was fairing poorly, and was about to go under, when a freak snowstorm blew into town, stranding commuters and tourists. The restaurant immediately offered $1 drinks and saved the business! Almost like a miracle! The only thing I am sure of regarding this story, is that this is one article on Wikipedia that might need a little fact checking. Or perhaps the story just leans toward hyperbole.

Longhorn Steakhouse offers as an appetizer a tortilla, rolled around a spicy filling of chicken and cheese, fried and served with an avocado-lime sauce, the Firecracker Chicken Wrap. I replaced the chicken with black beans, still within the theme of the joint, and used vegan cheese instead of the dairy.

This turned out to be one very tasty appetizer. The combo can be baked instead of fried, just as with a taquito or flauta, which, in fact, is what this concoction is. 

Cost Breakdown

tortillas: $1
beans: $.75
cheese: $1
dip: $1
pepper, cilanro: $.75
oil: $2
Total to make 6 flautas:

Their cost per flauta:  $2.20
Make Over cost per flauta: $1.10

Oct 16, 2012

long john silver's make over

Have you ever driven by a Pizza Hut, Taco Bell combo? Or a WingStreet, KFC combo? Yeah? How about an A&W, Long John Silver's combo? Maybe last year, but not no more. Yum! Brands, the previous owners of Long John Silvers and A&W are no longer the proprietors. 

Not that they had it for that long, given that they bought it up after LJS went bankrupt, but it was their brainchild to meld, or fuse, two or more restaurants under one roof, supposedly to make it as convenient as possible to take your posse out to eat. The last time I remember eating at Long John Silver's, the great seafood escape, but no escape for the seafood, it still had that corridor-style waiting area, cordoned off with nautical rope and that bell that you could ring on your way out if you were especially pleased with your fried dish and hushpuppy. 

LJS became pretty popular for that frying batter they came up with. Now a days they fry fish, chicken, clams, shrimp, scallops.. no one is safe! 

I wanted to recreate the batter, which was not the problem. The difficulty was what to fry.  The most logical choice, for me, became tempeh. The texture is unusual, the flavor is unique and it is reminiscent of seaweed - especially if you can find the ones made with seaweed. I think I came across that kind once in California. Besides, tempeh is the one protein I haven't used this month, mainly because hubby has a certain dislike for it. I convinced myself that he wouldn't mind anything, if it was fried. I was right. 

Tempeh was clearly the best choice for recreating the Long John Silver's experience, sans the inconvenience and misery of the fast food scene.

Cost Breakdown

tempeh: $5
batter: $1
cole slaw: $1
tartar sauce: $.50
fries: $2
Total to make 4 servings:

Their charge per serving: $4.50
Make Over cost per serving: $2.35

Oct 1, 2012

chili's bar and grill make over

Happy World Vegetarian Day and First Day of MoFo VI.

This is my third year MoFoing!

Because MoFo kicked my posterior last year, or my perfectionism got the best of me, I decided to make MoFo less stressful this year by reducing the make overs I do for each establishment. So, instead of recreating three or four dishes per post, it'll be only one.

Last year's Chili's Grill and Bar Make Over involved Chili's Enchilada Soup, Grilled Caribbean Salad and Fajitas. This casual dining establishment serves American food with a Tex-Mex influence. While Chili's has recently added a vegetarian menu as an offering, it is still wholly non-vegan, and therefore is in need of a make over.

With that in mind, my first menu item is Chili's  Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers. I love chipotle peppers and the word "crispers" got me. In my opinion, "crispers" is just a way to disguise the word "fried," but their PR department people know their job and the term sounds decidedly appealing.

In this offering, the honey in the sauce, the egg in the batter and the chicken itself need to be replaced. 

Substituting maple syrup for the honey is an obvious choice, but the honey is much thicker than maple syrup and even sweeter, so adding only maple would not cut it. The restaurant thins out the honey with water, so I've eliminated this extra liquid. Maple syrup is also more complex in flavor, so to cut the extra flavor, I used agave nectar in addition to the maple.

The egg in the batter acts as a binding agent and is replaced with flax meal, which is nutritious to boot. The crispiness of the batter results from a doubling up on the breading technique: there is a liquid batter followed by a dry breading. 

As for the chicken, the obvious, and best, choice is my Simple Chicken Seitan. After the seitan is made and cooled, it is important to squeeze out the extra moisture. When the seitan is fried the moisture is turned to steam and renders the crust soggy. Once the extra moisture is eliminated, the fried seitan retains the crispy crust, while still remaining properly moist on the inside. 

The chain serves this as a main dish with corn on the cob and fries. 
They charge over $10 for one order. 
VA Make Over:

Cost Breakdown:

seitan: $3
batter and breading: $2
sauce: $1
corn on the cob: $3 
fries: $4
oil (for frying): $2
Total to make 4 servings:

Their charge per Serving: $10.29
Make-Over cost per Serving: $3.75

Also, don't forget to check back on the 6th to see if you've won Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook by Robin Robertson.

Oct 7, 2011

bennigan's (MoFo 24)

Before Norman Brinker took over Chili's, he was the founder of Bennigan's, an Irish-inspired restaurant and pub. They serve American food with an Irish twist. Some of the most popular end enduring menu items have been the Monte Cristo and Broccoli Bites.

The company was later abandoned by Brinker for greener pastures. Pillsbury, the original owners, passed the restaurant chain onto other conglomerations, among them a huge liquor distributor. Over the years, the company has degraded due in part to a lack of rolling with the times and following trends. Basically they remained stagnant in a fluid restaurant environment. The company declared bankruptcy in July 2008 and wound up closing hundreds of stores. Among the only remaining stores that stayed open were franchise-owned ones. In October 2008, the dregs of the parent company, Steak and Ale, was bought up and the new owners are now trying to turn the tides and revamp Bennigan's image, food and the establishments themselves.    

I was a server and bartender at Bennigan's for about a year in the early 2000's because hubby was laid off, but the mortgage company still insisted on their monthly payments. You could tell that things were forced and apathetic for the company, even though it was a new store I was hired for. 

As for the food, the Monte Cristo was the signature dish, if you don't count the double burger that had a knife sticking out of it in an effort to hold the monstrosity upright. The Monte Cristo is a three-layered sandwich of ham, cheese and turkey, coated in an egg batter and deep fried. Now I am not exactly sure who looked at a sandwich and thought it would be a good idea to deep fry it, but then I am often confounded at the ludicrous things people choose to deep fry, including a stick of butter. Why?

However, I am not here to ask 'why?' just here to make the food. As anyone knows who has tried to recreate deep fried egg batters, it is not an easy endeavor. And since I figure there might be someone who does NOT choose to deep-fry their sandwich, I have offered a grilled version of it. Not the same, but not bad either...and not as bad for you. The batter is made with tofu and once a light dusting of flour is on the battered sandwich, the batter does not dissolve in the hot oil.

Broccoli Bites is one of those appetizers that I served a lot of, but one that isn't even vegetarian, with the inclusion of bacon bits. I omitted the bacon bits completely, but if you'd like to add some vegan tvp bacon bits or crumbled Fakin Bakin or something like that, the option is there. The broccoli, once pulsed fine in a food processor, is mixed with finely grated vegan cheese and formed into balls. The balls are then frozen to help them stay together during frying. They are coated in milk-flour-bread crumbs and fried. Baking is an option also. The balls flatten a  bit with this process, but the broccoli cooks more and they are still crispy and golden.

Yup, more brewskie is recommended here and perhaps a strong stomach if you dare to try the Monte Cristo as it was originally intended to be eaten by the good folks at Bennigan's.

Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo - grilled

Broccoli Bites

Oct 4, 2011

buffalo wild wings (MoFo 22)

Buffalo, New York must have been too far for the founders of Buffalo Wild Wings in 1981, based out of Ohio, which must have been the impetus to open a restaurant built around chicken wings. The restaurant makes wings... and about a dozen or so different sauces to coat them. Not only are the chicken wings formerly those of..chickens... the sauces are 'thickened' and 'stabilized' using eggs. Neither is necessary.

Last MoFo I attempted to duplicate chicken wings since they have become such a huge staple in our culture; sort of a bonus for the meat-packers ... they get to sell the chicken meat/carcass and now, thanks to the popular Buffalo Wings, not lose money on the previously not-good-for-anything-but-to-make-stock chicken wings. Fantastic. Except for the chickens.

My last attempt to make wings was a little complicated and I wanted to have another go at it. This recipe uses both seitan and pressed tofu very successfully... and easily. The pieces are coated with a little flour and fried. That's it.

The sauces are pretty great. Buffalo Wild Wing's most popular sauce is the Spicy Garlic one, but if the teaspoon of garlic powder is not enough for you (as for me), add three cloves of minced garlic to the bowl you will be tossing the wings in. They will cook well enough with the residual heat from the frying of the pieces. 

The second sauce, Parmesan Garlic, makes use of roasted garlic and mayo. You can omit the parmesan if you can't find any good vegan ones (Hint: Tami and Celine's new sandwich cookbook will have a fantastic recipe for one in it! Yes!) just up the roasted garlic and add a teaspoon or two of nutritional yeast. 

Serve with fries, celery sticks, a brewskie and ranch dressing. Is it football season, yet?

Wings with Spicy Garlic Sauce

Wings with Parmesan Garlic Sauce

Sep 29, 2011

PPK - american vegan kitchen III

Take Three.

PPK and AVK. Great pair!

Tonight's American Vegan Kitchen (by Tami Noyes) meal was the Southern Fried Seitan with Mashed Potatoes and Homestyle Gravy. It is so much fun to watch the kids' reactions when we are having something they love! And they loved this. I doubled the recipe (which calls for a measly 4 seitan cutlets) and doubled the mashed potatoes and gravy while I was at it. David had just enough to take to work the next day. It's like the kids fill up on the good stuff in anticipation of all the vegetables that will be coming their way sometime in the future. Like I said, so much fun to watch. 

There really is nothing much to report with this recipe. Awesome. That covers it. I made the seitan the day before and then the rest was easy to put together. Peeling the potatoes was the biggest pain. I did add more than twice the milk called for for the mashed potatoes, but I'm pretty sure that is a personal preference and is optional. The gravy kicked some potato rear - super tasty. 

I usually make the gravy last and then I am scrambling to put it all on the table before the food gets cold. This time I made the gravy while the potatoes were cooking and covered it with a plastic wrap to keep it from developing a 'skin.' Worked out very well. I just reheated it a bit when the seitan were nearing their final cooking. 

The only thing I forgot this time, and the kids cheered, was a vegetable dish. Potatoes count in some countries, right?

I did manage to get a dessert made, though! Priorities, folks. Cherry Turnovers. Tami's recipe uses a pie crust, but being lazy by this point, I used puff pastry. The store had it on sale and I wanted more of a turnover than a hand-pie. Not to mention I didn't have to make the crust. So good! And so quick to make. Get the filling made well ahead of time, though, since it needs to cool thoroughly.

We felt like we were celebrating something with this meal. Isn't Hug A Vegetarian Day coming up?

May 13, 2011

FNF - pretzel-fried steak

Food Network Friday!

This month's veganized version for Food Network Friday, brought to you by Tami Noyes, is Aarti Sequeria's Pretzel-Fried Steak. She is the latest Food Network Star who is introducing Indian meals to Food Network's fans, but with a twist. This recipe, however, is not so unusual - it just sounds that way. The only real Indian aspect is the fenugreek in the flour mixture and the mango-chutney gravy. The pretzel is unusual, but not in an Indian way. 

This is a country-fried steak, using ground pretzels as the coating instead of flour. Although I didn't find that the coating made too much difference in the crunch department, it was unique and the family loved it. Of course, the family loves it when I deep fry anything, be it kale or seitan.

Aarti calls for eggs in her recipe. I used to freak out about the coating adhering to the seitan or tofu during frying, but since last year, I have had the honor of frying a bunch of stuff - in fact, more so than I had in all my life total - and I can say with certainty that it is as easy as coating the ingredient in a non-dairy milk, sans eggs. 

In other words: flour, nondairy milk, coating. Simple. No need for anything complicated like flax meal (although it wouldn't hurt health wise!) or fresh cashew milk (as I previously claimed). Coat and let it sit for 15 minutes. Fry. Eat.

The gravy was good, but I was really craving the cream gravy.

I couldn't get away by not making mashed potatoes, but I did wind up making Aarti's side dish of Greens n' Beans, which is a recipe of greens coated with a cilantro pesto. I changed things up a bit by using parsley instead cilantro and substituting Brussels sprouts, green beans and oyster mushrooms for the kale and beans. So, almost everything got swapped.

As for the beef, I used a pressed tofu and a seitan recipe I am experimenting with. I did keep the whole experience gluten free, which is why I also made the tofu. Gluten Free pretzels can taste like twigs or like pretzels. After eating our way through Whole Foods' snack section, the family chose Glutino. This is a delicious, albeit expensive, brand.

Food Network Friday is open to anyone who would like to join in the fun, so get over to Tami's site and get cooking!

Cost Breakdown

seitan, tofu: $5
flour (GF), pretzel (GF), soy milk: $3
spices, seasonings: $1
potatoes: $3
chutney, onion, stock: $2
Brussels sprouts, mushroom, green beans: $7
parsley, almonds, oil: $3
Total to make 6 servings:


Nov 30, 2010

millennium (MoFo 20) + book winner

This is the last post of MoFo! Wow! I am done, stick a fork in me!
Over the month we've covered:

And for the last MoFo, I am visiting Millennium in San Franciso.

This is a five-star restaurant in my book and we had the pleasure of dining there a few times while living in San Fran. A bit more on the pricey side, the tasting menu with the wine is the best deal and the best meal to have there. You get the chef's specials paired with delicious wines. The meal runs several courses and leaves nothing to want - even dessert is included.

For my tasting menu I first made the Sesame-Crusted Oyster Mushroom Calamari. These are served with Wasabi Cream and a seaweed salad at the restaurant. I just served it with the wasabi and a little chili oil.

My final course for MoFo is White Bean-Filled Phyllo Purses. These are phyllo purses stuffed with cannellini beans, mushrooms and Italian Tofurkey sausage. They are served over creamy polenta and with Porcini Mushroom Sauce.

My hubby said it was very Millennium-like and he would pay $32 for it.
I told him to fork up the dough.

That's all she wrote - for a few days, anyway. I need to go clean my kitchen and retire the fryer. The kids will mourn ;)

As for the final cookbook winner ...drum roll, please..."American Vegan Kitchen," being sent by the author herself...goes to...
Comment #3
Find me or I'll find you. Congrats!

Thanks to everyone who joined me for this Month of Vegan Food and thanks to all the other hundreds of bloggers who came along for the ride. And thanks to Tami Noyes for the cookbook you gave me to give away! I know the lucky-someone will enjoy it!

(Elvis has left the building...)

Cost Breakdown:

oyster mushrooms: $9
breading: $1
sesame seeds, chili, wasabi: $1
carrots, parsnips, spices: $1
Total to make apps for 6:

phyllo: $3
beans, mushrooms, Tofurkey: $7
porcini, onion, garlic, veg, broth: $6
polenta, nondairy milk, garlic: $2
Total to make 4 servings:

Sesame-Crusted Oyster Mushroom Calamari

White Bean-Filled Phyllo Purses

Nov 29, 2010

pub grub (MoFo 19)

Picture this: you, out at night, with your friends, throwing back a few cold ones, feeling good and having fun. Then you get the hankering for something to eat, always a good thing to do when you're drinking. You grab the menu and see wings, cheese sticks, burgers, dogs, ribs and ...that's about it.

Bar food is not exactly upscale, healthy or vegan, unless you count the bowl of peanuts that have been palmed over a dozen times or the french fries.

Before I settled down, I made a living bartending. Garlic hot wings were my favorite, followed second close by cheese sticks. Wings I've seen before veganized (Chicago Diner is primo example), but I've never seen vegan cheese sticks. 

Hot Wings date back to the Anchor Bar where, during the 60's, the mother made wings for her hungry son's friends. The rest is history. The Buffalo Wings were born. Really that is what hot wings are. I am crazy about garlic, though, so my fried Tender Seitan pieces are coated with hot sauce, Earth Balance and garlic.

I also made a ranch dressing using veganaise. Really easy and very good.

Having had a fabulous learning experience this month regarding the fried aspect of the culinary world, I felt brave enough to attempt Cheese Sticks. I used cashew milk for the "egg" part and breaded my sticks using breadcrumbs, flour and seasonings. The trickiest part is to choose a good vegan cheese. In the picture is Follow Your Heart Mozzarella, but any solid vegan cheese will be successful. Give it a try! There is Teese, FYH and any homemade block of cheese. I tried doing this with Daiya but the vegan cheese has no binding power when just squeezed (I couldn't get the shreds to stay together too long) and so they almost fell apart during frying. Experiment if you wish, but the blocks work great.

Lastly, I needed something that my kids could eat without burning their mouths, so the BBQ Wing was it. I made a simple BBQ sauce using ketchup, sugar, vinegar and spices. I think I reduced it a little too much, though, since it seems a little clunky on the seitan. Sorry.

Anyway, we didn't have any Guinness  dark vegan beer with these, but you are certainly welcome to.

(Elisabeth let me know that there is controversy regarding the veganism of Guinness, so check out the link for a great vegan beer to enjoy with your goodies. Thanks, Elisabeth! I didn't realize Guinness couldn't see through their dark beer long enough to give a consistent answer regarding their status.)

Salud! Egesegedre! L'Chaim! Cheers! 

Cost Breakdown:

hot wings:
seitan: $2
hot sauce, Earth Balance, garlic: $1
veganaise, spices: $1
Total for 20 wings:

vegan cheese: $2
breading, cashews: $1
Total for 10 sticks:

seitan: $2
ketchup, vinegar, sugar, garlic, onion: $2
Total to make 20 wings:

Hot Garlic Wings

Cheese Sticks

BBQ Wings

Nov 28, 2010

chicago diner (MoFo 18)

Chicago Diner is near and dear to us because, one, it is near, we live in Chicago land, and, two, the food rocks. Really. This place is the reason why my kids will endure an hour's drive, for the vegan milkshakes, where my husband always tries to get me to go when we go out to eat and why I have tried to recreate food that is worthy of Chicago Diner.

This is where vegans make pilgrimages and from where the desserts travel to the out fringes of Illinois to grace the shelves of Whole Foods even as far away as Wisconsin.

The place is a bomb and we travel there with loose pants to facilitate the massive influx of food that will be taking place.

In honor of Tamasin Noyes, the author of American Vegan Kitchen (check MoFo 16 for her book giveaway), and the writer of Vegan Appetite, I am first making the Radical Reuben. Marbled rye bread is stuffed with their seitan roast beef, sauerkraut, grilled onions and peppers, cheese and their special sauce. This is one of my favorites as well.

The other sandwich I've made is The Halfpipe. This is David's favorite. His other favorite is Chicken Fried Steak. Basically the sandwich is the same seitan but it is in a sesame seed hoagie roll with crispy onions, lettuce, tomato and twisted chili sauce. This sandwich is so big that they don't give you a side with it - liability, you see.

Their Barbecue Wings and Potato Skins are also radical and they serve super delicious milkshakes. When in Chicago this is definitely a place you must visit.

Cost Breakdown:

bread: $2
seitan: $3
pepper, onion: $1
Daiya cheese: $2
special sauce (1,000 Island): $1
sauerkraut: $1
Total to make 4 sandwiches:

bread: $3
onion, lettuce, tomato: $3
seitan: $3
sauce: $1
Total to make 4 sandwiches:

Radical Reuben

The Halfpipe