Showing posts with label habanero. Show all posts
Showing posts with label habanero. Show all posts

Jan 14, 2012

FNF - bayou eggplant and cauliflower pasta

Food Network Friday, hosted by Tami Noyes, author of American Vegan Kitchen, is veganizing Emeril Lagasse's Bayou Chicken Pasta this month. In case you are new here, FNF is open to anyone! All you have to do is veganize the chosen Food TV recipe. Tami posts the  cookalong on her site well in advance and you cook and post. That's all there is to it.

Emeril's recipe is a creamy, spicy pasta dish with chicken and tomatoes. The spice comes in the form of his Essence, which contains cayenne, and habanero peppers. Not only will this clear up all sinuses in the house and make everyone cough like mad while it is being cooked because of the fumes, it also gets a bunch of kids to ask for an alternative dinner option. 

That is not to say they didn't like it, though - in fact, they did quite a bit. But the heat was a little too much for them. Be warned, but don't skip it entirely since the flavor of the habanero is delicious and it tends to mellow a bit after cooking.

A few veganized ingredients in the dish are the chicken and the cream. I replaced the chicken with eggplant and cauliflower and the cream with vegan milk mixed with some arrowroot. The arrowroot thickened the sauce up a bit (as cream would) and added body to the dish. The flavors of the habanero, tomato and green onions, along with his Essence, were delicious. This was a quick and easy way to make a nice creamy sauce. As for the veggies, you could substitute something else, zucchini, squash, green beans, or use only cauliflower or only eggplant. 

This was a deliciously spicy and pleasant meal to have - nothing too difficult about it. Just watch the spice and have water and bread handy.

Cost Breakdown

pasta: $3
eggplant, cauliflower: $5
habanero, garlic, onion, olive oil: $1.50
almond milk, arrowroot, green onion: $3
Total to make 6 servings:

Jan 3, 2012

island burger

Liz, a terrific lady over at Cooking the Vegan Books, and a fellow cookbook tester, suggested I get Caribbean Vegan by Taymer Mason, since we share the love of island food and the love of Habaneros (or is that Scotch Bonnets?) 

I open up my adventure of this cookbook with a burger. Mikel asked for a burger to be on the menu and this satisfied both of us.

The Island Burger uses TVP for the burger base. Nice and easy, I thought, that is unless you are one of those people who cannot stand a huge list of ingredients; this one recipe has over 20 ingredients. I do not mind the list of ingredients since I know it can sometimes take a bunch seasonings to make a dish great.  As an additional work-load, you are asked to make one of the ingredients in the ingredients list - Bajan Seasoning.  There is also a recipe for the Barbecue Sauce that goes on the burger and a recipe for the bun - Salt Bread - that the burger goes on. 

Naturally, the only way to tackle a recipe with this much to do is to:

 (1) come to terms with it - it isn't going to get shorter unless you cut something out, but, then how do you know what to cut out without affecting the result? 

(2) plan to make it at the right time. Don't make a recipe like this in the middle of the week while the kids are crying for food and you've just come home from work. Which includes planning a Weekly Menu (name of this blog- check out the tab "Weekly Menu" to get some complete weekly menu ideas. Once you are good with both (1) and (2), the task isn't work, but instead becomes fun.

The recipes in this book feed my yearning for the fiery little pepper, but since I can't get Scotch Bonnet peppers as readily as Habanero peppers (and I can't really discern the difference between the two anyway- even Ghost Peppers have that same flavor profile to me), I use them interchangeably. 

It seems to be an authentic cookbook worthy of the islands and worth the effort. Many times cooking something out of your comfort zone can seem challenging. However, consider that once you have met the challenge the first time, you can easily do it again.

If you are jonesing for a burger, but you don't have this book, try this one.

Jul 4, 2011

jerk seitan


After all these grill recipe testings for Tami Noyes for her upcoming cookbook, Grills Gone Vegan, I guess the grilling bug has bit me. I have always been a jerk fan - whether it was because of the heat of the dish or the call of the islands; jerking has been something I've been wanting to make as authentically as possible.

I've tried my hand at jerking potatoes and chickpeas, but this time I wanted to up the ante. I am working on creating much simpler seitan recipes and this dish uses a variation of Tender Seitan. This seitan turned out really well and I will post it as soon as I am sure about it. The recipe uses only 5 ingredients. Gotta like that!

I have been researching Jamaican jerking recipes and techniques and they have a few things in common: scotch bonnet peppers, allspice and grilling or low baking. Since seitan is already cooked, I figured the low-and-slow approach did not apply here. So I went for grilling, which, thanks to Tami, has become second nature. I think I even grill in my sleep. Nothing like having tasty dreams.

Allspice (or pimento) is necessary. In fact, get whole dried berries, not the ground, and grind it yourself. And add a few berries to the charcoal or wood chips as well. Jerking used to be done over pimento wood, so this might add some more authenticity.

I couldn't find scotch bonnet peppers, so I used habaneros (again, thanks to Tami, for making habaneros not as intimidating as they used to be). There is some argument that habaneros are not close enough to scotch bonnets and you NEED the scotch bonnets!! By golly. I'm not sure about that and I will need to find scotch bonnet peppers to confirm or refute these claims, but for now the only thing that IS certain is that you cannot use jalapenos or other peppers. First off, jalapenos (which seem to be the go-to hot pepper) are not as hot as habaneros or scotch bonnets, but more importantly it is a different kind of heat - jalapenos are sharp, intense and instant, habaneros are a lingering, slow heat in the back of the mouth. Very different. At least use habaneros. And wear gloves if you have sensitive skin.

Overall, this was an excellent rendition of jerk seitan and my next stop on the way to Jamaican Jerking will be with the scotch bonnets. In the meantime, use the Jerk Marinade here (recipe updated to reflect the habanero), marinade your seitan for about an hour and grill away. The more smoke you have (wood chips, allspice berries, and over charcoal), the more authentic. That is, since not too many American homes have an oil drum grill in their backyards. But if you do, make sure to use it.

Cost Breakdown:

seitan: $2
peppers and spices: $1
oil, lime, herbs: $1
Total to make 4 servings:

Jun 29, 2011

trio of appetizers

Tester Teaser

Let's take a mini-tour of Tami's Grills Gone Vegan appetizers. This should give you a great idea of the variety of grilling recipes in this upcoming book based solely on the appetizer section. As much of a teaser as appetizers are supposed to be, these next three previews should provide the same experience.

I just made this first recipe tonight, Lettuce Wraps, not more than a few hours ago. Don't let the simplicity of the name detract from the complex flavors those beautiful lettuce cups hold. Asian Style Cutlets are grilled, tossed with a special glaze and then gently packed into the crisp leaves with just the right amount of vegetables. As I told Tami when reviewing them, people will be fighting over the last one! Oh, and those Asian Cutlets - so much more than just for this recipe.

This next one I tested last week and is another favorite of mine: Polenta Stacks.
Not a polenta fan? After this recipe you will be. Tofu is marinated in Tami's Habanero Marinade, grilled and stacked on top of grilled polenta and tomato. A dollop of her sauce on top and you are all set to wow some guests. Habanero love.

This recipe, Stuffed Poblanos, I made a while ago, but the flavors still dance on my palate. 
The stuffing is amazing and that Avocado Sauce is worth its weight in gold. The combination is like taking a vegan vacation to Mexico. 

You won't need to pack your bags to eat this well - it'll all be available soon.
 I promise.

Jun 16, 2011

tami's fajitas

Tester Teaser

I should really stop with the teasers, right? Nah.

Last night's dinner was totally awesome! I am such a fajita fan and whenever we find our way into a Mexican restaurant that doesn't happen to use chicken stock in their rice or lard in their refried beans, Fajitas is the dish I gravitate to. 

Great for me, but the kids are no Fajita fans. In fact, after being told what dinner was (as if there is no written menu on the fridge) - little facial twitches could be seen on my dear children's countenances. 

Everyone was in for a surprise; these little babies went faster than I could make them. For testing purposes, of course, I had to snag the last one. 

The seitan, from Tami's upcoming cookbook, Grills Gone Vegan, was perfect for this. The seitan was marinated in her Habanero Marinade, which tastes of habaneros and not the intense heat they are know for. After grilling with peppers and onions, topped with lettuce, avocado and a bit of Daiya, these were pure pockets of bliss.