May 30, 2017

french twist pressed sandwich

Another insanely busy week this week. My girls are planning their new semesters in college and my son is moving back home until the spring. He leaves his the apartment he and his boyfriend shared for almost a year, so the time is bitter-sweet: Berkeley done, but USC beginning.

This, of course, means that the garage needs cleaning to accommodate the things he's picked up in Berkeley. I'm not sure I know of anyone who relishes cleaning the garage. 

So, I prepared a quick pressed sandwich, reminiscent of the French Twist from Roly Poly sandwich place. 

If you have a large tortilla, use that, but to make things easy, these are the regular sized tortillas. I prepared a French-style cheese sauce, which is made from yogurt and not oil or cashews. I really liked it and will be modifying it with other flavors. It's easy and fast and tastes good. My favorite things.

Inside the wrap is Swiss chard, mushrooms, scallions and tomatoes. The sauce is an easy Dijon mustard-maple sauce without mayo. If you like, you can add a few tablespoons of mayo to make it creamy, but I liked it without the added fat.

That's it for the sandwich. Serve it with chips, steamed broccoli or edamame. Enjoy!

French Twist Hot Pressed Sandwich
Makes 4 regular pressed sandwiches

Cheese Sauce:
1 (5.3-ounce) container nondairy yogurt
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons tapioca starch
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon lactic acid (optional)
2 teaspoons white miso
1 teaspoon dry vermouth
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Mustard Sauce:
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Pinch cayenne

2 leaves Swiss chard, shredded
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 tomato, sliced 
4 scallions, sliced

4 (6-inch) flour tortillas, warmed

1. Cheese Sauce: Combine the yogurt, starch, yeast, salt, lactic acid (if using), miso, vermouth and vinegar in a small blender. Blend until very smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and cook until thickened over medium heat, about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
2. Mustard Sauce: Combine the mustard, syrup and cayenne in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside. 
3. Chop the vegetables. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Warm the tortilla before rolling to prevent splitting. Spread 1/4  of the cheese sauce on a tortilla. Add chard, mushrooms, tomato and scallions. Fold over and place in skillet, seam side down. Use another pan to press on the sandwich. Cook until golden. Flip and repeat. Cook 2 tortillas at one time. Repeat with the other 2 tortillas. Serve with the mustard sauce. 

© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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May 25, 2017

larb spring rolls

Heads – up: I’m still on my sandwich kick, but this time without a bread. Folks might argue that spring rolls aren’t “sandwiches” but I strongly believe that anything rolled, wrapped or stuffed into a vessel counts in this arena and I’m quite comfortable with my definition.

I am such a sucker for larb, the Laos minced meat dish, which is traditionally flavored with lots of lime, mint and fish sauce. I love it so much that I include this unique and unusual combination in a bowl version in my book, Vegan Bowls.

These spring rolls are stuffed with the larb mixture (made of seitan, cashews and onion), noodles, herbs, carrots and cabbage. They are pretty quick to make and taste great!

To make eating the rolls easier, slice the seitan or mushrooms instead of mincing them – which is what I should have done as well, but I forgot about my intentions before pulsing the seitan in the food processor and by that time it was too late.

If this one looks good, check out my Bulgogi Spring Rolls from a few months back. That one is a bit more involved, but worth every tasty bite.

Larb Spring Rolls 
Serves 4

¼ cup lime juice
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon oil
2 cups ground seitan or 1 pound minced mushrooms
½ small red onion, cut into thin half moons
½ cup cashews

8 (9-inch) spring roll wrappers
¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
½ cup mint, coarsely chopped
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 medium carrot, julienned
4 ounces dry rice noodles or bean thread, cooked, drained and cooled under running water, reserve the hot water for the spring roll wrappers

1. Sauce: Combine the lime juice, tamari, sugar and salt. Mix well. Set aside. 
2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the seitan and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. If using mushrooms, cook until the mushrooms are golden, about 8 minutes. You might need to cook the mushrooms in batches to avoid steaming them. Add the onion and cashews and cook until the cashews are golden, about 2 minutes. Add half of the sauce and cook until it evaporates, about 30 seconds. Set aside. 
3. Dip a spring roll wrapper into the hot water reserved from the pasta and soak for 5 to 10 seconds, depending on how hot the water is. Soak only until the wrapper is pliable. It will soften once you add the other moist ingredients. To the lower half of the wrapper, add herbs, the filling, cabbage, carrot and noodles. Roll up like a burrito: from the back roll to halfway and then fold in the sides. Finally roll it all the way up.  Serve with the rest of the sauce or store, covered, for later enjoyment. 

© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.