Aug 13, 2016

pantry+ zucchini satay with spicy lime sauce and quinoa

It's been a hectic week! My son and his partner just moved up to Berkeley, where he is finishing up his bachelor's in film; he is graduating this coming May! Look out for his work - he is the next hit film director.

My girls just returned from Europe (they paid for it all, btw - we have college budget, not traveling budget!) after a month long stay and they have college starting this month, too.

I just sent in the final draft to my new cookbook Aquafaba: Sweet and Savory Vegan Recipes Made Egg-Free With the Magic of Bean Water (Amazon, B&N). It is coming out in October. I don't know how much of a mess I'll be getting myself into, but I've also committed to creating a YouTube channel for aquafaba. :}

As you can see, we are as busy as the next family! In that vein, here is an easy and fast recipe that you can throw together using only 4 pantry items and 5 fresh/non-pantry items!

Zucchini Satay with Spicy Lime Sauce and Quinoa.

Very fine mesh strainer
Blender (optional)
Medium Pot
Skillet or grill pan

Pantry ingredients are:
Reduced-sodium tamari
Vegetable broth
Sugar (optional)

Fresh ingredients are:
Nut/Seed Butter

There is a story behind that empty Sriracha bottle that I will be sharing with you soon. Hint: Sriracha comes in a plastic bottle (at least the ones I can find here do).

This dish is simple and quick enough, but you have to get the quinoa cooking right away because it takes about 30 minutes to make. After rinsing it, add it to the already warming broth and cook for 15 minutes, covered. Remove from the heat and set aside to steam for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, add the marinade ingredients [butter (peanut or sunflower seed), lime juice, tamari, broth, sriracha and sugar (if needed)] to a blender and process until smooth. You can even do that using just a whisk and a bowl, but your butter has to be soft enough to whip easily.

Cut the zucchini into 1-inch thick pieces and thread onto skewers (or not; it can be a hassle, but it makes a great presentation).

Cover with the sauce and set aside while you heat up your skillet or grill pan (preferably cast iron).

Then just grill or cook in the pan until tender and golden. Serve it with the fluffed quinoa, the rest of the sauce and garnish with the remaining cilantro. The zucchini takes about 10 to 13 minutes to cook based on the size you cut it. I cut it to 1-inch thickness so I would have less zucchini to thread onto skewers. If you cut them thinner, just cook it for less time.

Before I give you the recipe, Susan Smoaks, please contact me about you winning the Jazzy Vegetarian DVD set. If you don't contact me by Tuesday I will have to pick another winner. Thanks!

Zucchini Satay with Spicy Lime Sauce and Quinoa 
Makes 4 servings
Pantry list is HERE.

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (retain zest for garnish)
1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari
3 tablespoons peanut or sunflower seed butter
2 to 4 tablespoons sriracha
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
4 small to medium zucchinis
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Quinoa: add the broth to a medium pot and bring to a boil. In the meantime, rinse the quinoa very well and add it, and the salt, to the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside, still covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro to the quinoa. 
2. Satay: Combine the lime juice, tamari, butter, sriracha, broth, and sugar (if using - taste and add to the sauce if needed) in a small blender. Blend until smooth. 
3. Cut the zucchini into 1-inch pieces and thread onto skewers that will fit comfortably in your skillet. Place the skewers of zucchini on a platter and cover with the sauce. Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium heat until hot. Add the skewers and cook 5 minutes on each side until tender; baste the zucchini every few minutes or so. Season with salt and black pepper. 
4. Serve the quinoa with the satay, the remaining sauce and garnish with the remaining cilantro.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Aug 10, 2016

pantry+ blackened moroccan chickpea patty

Last year I began creating Dump Dinner recipes, but as a wise person pointed out, "dump" anything just doesn’t sound that appetizing. Besides that, I felt that Dump Dinner recipes were more of a rut than a liberation. All of a sudden, I had to come up with ideas where you would throw all the ingredients into a single pot and come out with a gourmet meal. It sounds appealing theoretically, but it is actually pretty limiting.

As you may know, I’ve recently reviewed a few easy and quick cookbooks (Vegan-ease by Laura Theodore and Cook the Pantry by Robin Robertson). While both books are amazing, I want to take this next segment of recipes a bit further.

Although I didn’t mean to blab about it so soon, it turns out I need something to say, so why not this?

Here’s the skinny: I introduce you to a limited pantry of dry goods and then, with a few (five or six) fresh ingredients (or ingredients not on the Pantry list), I create a simple and easy recipe, good for lunch or dinner. If you’ve heard of this already, it’s because Michael Symon features this on the TV show The Chew (I haven't actually seen the show, but I have seen the cookbook).

It is no secret that Michael is in no way, shape or form anywhere near vegetarian, so his recipes are useless, but the idea of cooking with a limited pantry along with a few fresh ingredients sounds grand! I’ve decided to apply it to vegan cooking. Although it does present more challenges because, while a piece of steak is “food” onto itself, a bit of work goes into preparing a delicious slab of, say, tofu. In fact, I often wonder how these “chefs” can call themselves worthy of the title when they run scared from a cake of soybeans.

So, I am completely serious about this way of cooking, to the point that I’ve created a page for the pantry and am dubbing this “Pantry+.” (read: Pantry Plus, because you need a limited pantry plus a few fresh ingredients.) Fingers crossed it goes over well!

Enough prattling! My first recipe:

Blackened Moroccan Chickpea Patties.

For the Moroccan part of the recipe you will need Ras el Hanout spice mixture. This is one of the seven global spice mixtures I’ll be using for Pantry+ recipes. My recipe is a simplified version of it, so if you would like more depth or you can easily find it at a local grocer, awesome! If not, mix up this batch (it makes about ¼ cup), store it in your pantry and have it ready for next time.

Food processor
Cast iron pan

Pantry ingredients are:
Ras el Hanout spice mix
Bread crumbs
Vegetable broth (if needed)
Olive oil or vegan mayonnaise (optional)

Fresh ingredients are:
Bell pepper
Pita bread

Sweet, right?!?
Limited prep work, limited ingredients and still big on taste! Let's get cooking!

First things first, let's make the spice mixture. You will need:

After toasting the whole ingredients (cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, peppercorn and cumin), add the rest of the ingredients (including paprika, which I forgot to add to the photo :0 ) and process in a small blender or spice grinder. Then you will end up with this:

And now for the recipe, you will need:

After grinding the chickpeas and breadcrumbs, they are formed into 4 patties and dredged in the Ras el Hanout spice mixture. The patties are then blackened in a dry cast iron skillet (or one that is lightly oiled). The onion and pepper are sliced thin and dry cooked in the pan until charred and crisp tender.

Season the lettuce and tomaotes with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and serve in pita bread. That pita bread right there, btw, is homemade. I'm watching my consumption of plastic and this is something I can bake relatively easily. Stay tuned for overnight refrigerated whole wheat bread - this will help prepare fresh bread easily in the morning before running to work. At least that is my hope!

Now for the announcement of the winner of the Jazzy Vegetarian DVD set! The winner is Susan Smoaks! Congratulations! Susan, please contact me at zsu [at] zsusveganpantry [dot] com. Thank you!

Blackened Moroccan Chickpea Patties Pita
Makes 4 sandwiches

Olive oil (optional)
1 medium onion
1 medium bell pepper
1 3/4 to 2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Ras el Hanout spice mix
4 pita breads, warmed
8 pieces lettuce leaves 
8 tomato slices
1/2 lemon, juiced

1. Heat the oil (or the dry pan) in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the top and bottom off the onion, cut in half, peel and slice into thin half moons. Cut the sides and bottom off the bell pepper and cut into thin slices. Add the onion, bell pepper and some salt and pepper (to taste) to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until charred and crisp tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
2. Add the chickpeas and salt to a food processor and grind into a coarse meal. Add the breadcrumbs and pulse to combine.  Form the chickpeas into 4 patties (adding a few splashes of vegetable broth if the patties don’t hold together). Dredge the patties in the spice mixture and set aside.
3. Remove the onion mixture from the skillet and set aside. Add the patties and cook until blackened, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 minutes on the other side.
4. Season the lettuce and tomato with the lemon juice, olive oil (if desired) and salt. Stuff the pita with the onion, pepper, lettuce, tomato and a patty. Serve.  

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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