Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vegan Pie Crust

I love this pie crust because it's so simple. You can make it ahead of time and refrigerate for up to three days or even freeze it for up to two months. Love it. Love anything that makes life more simple.
It's also a great crust because of its incredible versatility. It makes amazing pie, fun and functional hand pies and is even divine for a delicious vegan quiche. In fact, it is the very same recipe I use for my strawberry pie, apple hand pies and vegan quiche!

Make a lot. Try it out on several different recipes. Behold.


Need:
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup Earth Balance, broken into small ish pieces
6-8 Tablespoons ice water

Do:
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar.

Using a pastry cutter, cut in the Earth Balance to create a crumbly texture. Add the tablespoons of ice water two at a time, mixing lightly in between.
As your dough forms, combine well and form into a ball. Wrap that ball in plastic wrap or put it in a sealed container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to three days.
 
When you are ready to use, roll out dough for pie dish or hand pies and continue with your recipe.
 
Simple and fantastic!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Herby Green Beans


Remember the Tofurkey I made? These are the fantastical herby beans I served alongside it. They are crazy easy, look gorgeous with tofurkey and offer a zippy herby flavor. All in all... a perfect Thanksgiving day pairing.

Need:
French green beans (1 package / 1 pound)
White truffle oil
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine or smashed
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped fine
4-5 leaves fresh sage, chopped fine
Fresh cracked pepper
Coarse sea salt
3-4 spragues fresh tyme

Do:
In a lidded saute pan, combine white truffle oil, garlic and onion and saute until onions are soft and translucent.

Add beans and rosemary, stir to combine, cover and cook on medium for about 10 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes or so.

Add sage, pepper and sea salt and stir to combine all the flavors. Top with thyme spragues, cover and turn heat on low.

Cook for about 5 minutes on low then turn the heat off and leave the lid on. This will steam the beans and incorporate the herby flavor.

Serve:
You can serve these by themselves, in a serving dish or along side your tofurkey or other protein.
Put them where you want, then add a little more sea salt.


The herbs give this side dish a lovely earthy, wintry flavor, not to mention it smells delicious!

Enjoy!




French Beans

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vegan Stuffing or Hearty Dressing

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and long weekend. I, for one, had a fantastic surprise weekend with Honey. Although I was looking forward to being alone, being with him is always nice too.

And we spent the weekend eating Thanksgiving left overs including the delicious tofurkey I made.

This vegan stuffing. Or dressing... whatever, is the one I used inside my tofurkey so it's actually stuffing and dressing because I stuffed it inside the tofurkey and then I served it alongside the rest of the meal.


It's also good on it's very own. I don't think stuffing should be represented solely as a side dish. I truly believe stuffing is a meal in and of itself. Even for breakfast.

Need:
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced or smashed through a garlic press
White truffle oil (or regular extra virgin olive oil)
3 stalks celery, chopped fine
2 carrots, chopped fine
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon fennel seed
3 cups vegetable broth
10 cups stuffing bread (you can make your own or buy it)
3-4 leaves fresh sage, chopped fine
Sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Green onion, chopped (for garnish and extra flavor)

Do:
In a pot (I prefer cast iron) combine white truffle oil, garlic and onion and saute for about 5 minutes.

Add celery and carrot to the mix and continue to cook on medium heat until veg is al dente. Note: the combination of onion, celery and carrot is also called 'mire poix'. You can buy it pre-chopped or do it yourself.

When your mirepoix is al dente, add all your herbs and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then turn heat off and add your bread cubes to the liquid, stiring as you go.

Once everything is combined, add fresh sage leaves and salt and pepper, stir quickly then cover and let sit for about 8-10 minutes. After it has set, taste it and add salt and pepper as needed.

To use as stuffing: remove lid, fluff and stuff into your tofurkey (see tofurkey recipe)

To use as dressing: keep lid on until you are ready to serve. Transfer to serving bowl and enjoy!

Note: I did a little of both. I stuffed my tofurkey then I served the rest on the side.

Add'l note: If your stuffing is a little too 'moist' for your liking, transfer completed dressing into an oven proof, lidded pot (or you can use tin foil) and pop in the oven for 10 minutes or so. This keeps it warm and dries out some of the liquid. Perfection.


Serve:
Top with a little chopped green onion for color and flavor and you're ready to go.

This stuffing/dressing is fantastic inside a tofurkey or served by itself. It also makes a great breakfast item, re-heated and topped with cranberry pomegranate sauce.

Enjoy and happy holidays!

Sage- ميراميه- مرياميه-قصعين

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Homemade Tofurkey, Tofu Turkey... vegan, of course

As promised, I present to you... the tofurkey (queue instrumental music, light show, oohs, ahs, etc...) and spell it as you like, tofurkey... tofurky... tofu turkey... it's delicious even without the extra 'e'.

Ok, so this Thanksgiving I'm rolling solo, and actually, I'm looking forward to it. I did not however, want to miss out on Thanksgiving dinner with my boys so we had it last night. We called it Thanksgiving Tuesday.
Bonus? I totally don't have to cook for like, the next six days! First of all I have a shed load of 'Save the Turkeys' day themed posts for you and second, as of Thursday morning I am officially a bachelorette. Queue True Blood, Weeds, Fringe reruns, outdoor runs at whatever time I choose, vino and popcorn for dinner and other such nonsense that I wouldn't partake in if my two men were here to keep me in check.

All that being said I must get back to my darling tofurkey. I have made tofurkey the last few years for Thanksgiving and I must say, every year it gets tastier. This year I am BFFs with garlic so it is even more tasty.

Are you a nay sayer? Are you? Well you shouldn't be. Ask my carnivorous husband. It's delicious, unique and incredibly flavorful. A perfect 'Save the Turkeys' type of meal. Heck, it's a perfect meal for the middle of summer to. I don't dare pigeonhole the tofurkey to one simple day out of a whopping 365.

It's also quite easy in the long run so even if you're a carnivore, I urge you to give it a try. Branch out and go for it... you won't be disappointed.


Supplies needed:
Cheese cloth
Big bowl
Strainer that will fit inside big bowl
Cast iron pan or other heavy item that will fit inside strainer
Baster

Need:
3 blocks firm tofu
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seed
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 batch stuffing recipe
For the marinade:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 Tablespoons braggs amino acid
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Do:
In a food processor, combine tofu, thyme, sage, fennel, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano until smooth.

Put strainer inside big bowl then put cheese cloth inside strainer. Transfer tofu mixture onto the top of cheese cloth and smooth flat, ensuring that it is even.

Cover top of tofu with the cheese cloth that is hanging over the side and top that with your cast iron pan or other heavy item(s). Put your entire aparatus in the refrigerator for 3-5 hours or overnight.


Note: I use my Mario Batali cast iron soup pot because it's heavy and fits perfectly inside my strainer, on top of my tofu. I put the lid upside down on top of it to add extra weight. The more weight the better.

Add'l note: the reason you're doing this (which was helpful for me to know the first time I did this) the tofu is in the strainer/cheesecloth. Putting the weight on it will press all the extra liquid out of it, creating a firm 'mass' that will be your tofurkey. The bowl is beneath it to catch the extra liquid.

While your tofu is pressing, prepare your stuffing.
When your tofurkey is done pressing, take it out of the fridge and remove heavy aparati. Open cheese cloth and behold the beginnings of your tofurkey.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Scoop out the middle of your tofu to about 1 inch from the sides and bottom. Put the tofu you scooped out into a bowl. You will use it in a minute. Note: it is difficult to judge how close you are to the bottom. Do the best you can. If you hit the bottom, just put the tofu back and press it down again. It will be ok.


Once you have your hole in the middle of the Tofurkey, fill that hole with your stuffing. Make sure you are pressing the stuffing down as you go, packing in as much as you can.

Once filled, pack the tofu you scooped out onto the top of your stuffing, pressing down firmly as you go.

When you are done... (you will have some extra tofu left over) cover with the cheese cloth again and give it a good solid press to ensure solidity.

Prepare an oven safe pan or dish by bringing it right next to your tofurkey. I used my Mario Batali pizza stone.

Now, spread out the cheese cloth and carefully, ever so carefully, flip and transfer your tofurkey from the strainer onto your baking pan or dish.

I did this by putting my hand over the tofurkey it then very quickly flipping the strainer upside down while simultaneously putting my hand on the baking pan. Think of your hand as a shock for your tofurkey, absorbing any movement that would make it fall into a billion pieces. It's easier than it sounds. Promise.


Once on the dish, let it rest while you prepare your marinade.

For the marinade, combine the balsamic vinegar, mustard, braggs and olive oil in a shakeable container. Preferrably one that is large enough to accomodate a baster. Combine it all together, shake vigorously to combine, remove lid and suck up some of the goodness into your baster and distribute evenly over tofurkey. Not too much... you will baste every 20 minutes or so during the cooking process.

Once initially basted, place in oven for approximately 75 minutes. While baking, baste your tofurkey with the marinade every 15 minutes or so.

When done, remove from oven, baste with any remaining marinade, if any and let rest for about 10-15 minutes.


Serve:
Transfer your tofurkey onto a serving platter using two spatulas. At this point it should be pretty darn easy to transfer.

Garnish with herby green beans or other Thanksgiving treats and serve with all the Thaknksgiving goodness, aka mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, you name it.

I truly hope you try and enjoy tofurkey, but regardless I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving!!



Enjoy!

Tofu

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cranberry Pomegranate and Cranberry Orange Pomegranate Sauce

Actually I am not a huge fan of cranberry sauce. Correction. I am not a huge fan of homemade cranberry sauce. On the other hand. (and please don't 'puh-shahhhh' me) I am a huge fan of canned cranberry sauce. Not just any kind. The jellied kind.

I know, I know... it's like a giant gelatinous cranberry colored blob in the shape of the can that it's been sitting in, but for some reason I just like it. I like it plain, I like it on toast, I like to slice it. I just do.

It's my one thing that isn't fresh, that is totally processed that I just love. When I was pregnant you couldn't keep me away from it... some people do fast food. I do jellied cranberry sauce in a can.

So when I saw the giant bag of cranberries at the store I was less than enthused. BUT in the name of the blog (and all the pomegranates I have been dilligently de-seeding and giving purpose to) I thought I should give homemade cranberry sauce a go. For the first time.

It is Thanksgiving after all and I should be giving thanks to real cranberries right along with the jellied 'can shaped' variety. Turns out it's pretty darn easy. As easy as can be, actually.

And, as miracles go, I actually liked my cranberry sauce! Like, really! It had a delectable fresh cranberry bite along with a lovely saucy cranberry pom (and cranberry orange pom in the other one) vs. some that I have had that feel and taste like raw cranberries put through the cuisinart. Blech.

As the title shows, I did make two versions: a lovely cranberry pomegranate and a sassy cranberry orange pomegrante. Both were equally delicious in different ways. I couldn't not post both so I decided to go ahead and post both... ha!

Enjoy and stay tuned because my tofurky is pressing in the refrigerator as I write. Oh yes. Wait... you didn't think I was going to leave you hanging did you? Really? No, I wouldn't do that. One tofurky, coming up.

Happy save the turkeys day!


Cranberry Sauce Recipe #1:
Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce

Need:
1 cup Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups fresh pomegranate arils

Do:
In a large-ish pot, combine pomegranate juice and sugar and heat over medium heat until sugar is melted.

Add nutmeg, cinnamon and cranberries and stir to combine. Let cook on medium for about  10-15 minutes until most of your cranberries are popped*. About 10-15 minutes.

Add pomegranate arils, stir and let cook another 5 minutes.

Turn off heat and cover. Let sit covered for about another 10-15 minutes then remove lid, stir and let cool.

Serve:
With your tofurky, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, on a sandwich, on toast... the possibilities are endless!!


Enjoy!



Cranberry Sauce Recipe #2:

Cranberry Orange Pomegranate Sauce

Need:
1/2 cup Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange zest, plus some for garnish
4 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups fresh pomegranate arils
Do:
In a large-ish pot, combine pomegranate juice, orange juice and sugar and heat over medium heat until sugar is melted.

Add mace, cinnamon and cranberries and stir to combine. Let cook on medium for about 10-15 minutes until most of your cranberries are popped*. About 10-15 minutes.

Add pomegranate arils, stir and let cook another 5 minutes.
Turn off heat, add orange zest and cover. Let sit covered for about another 10-15 minutes then remove lid, stir and let cool.
Serve:
Garnish with a little more orange zest and serve!

Goes great with everything. It's tangy and sweet, the texture is perfect and versatile enough for all the Thanksgiving classics or every day standards like toast or oatmeal.

Enjoy!

Cranberry

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pom Wonderful Dinner Party... A Positively Pomtastic Recap!

A very big thank you to the lovely folks at Pom Wonderful! The La Pure Mama pomegranate dinner party was a smashing success!

Recently Pom Wonderful and Foodbuzz paired up and selected 100 bloggers to throw a pomegranate inspired dinner party. I was one of the 100 bloggers chosen to host a party and since I couldn't invite all of you to the party, I thought I'd share a recap here for you.

I spent an inordinate amount of time planning, practicing, prepping, designing and organizing this event. I felt like if I was going to do it I should do it right. All five courses were ideas I dreamt up and created from scratch, thank you very much!

The secret ingredient was... fun! The guests were perfect and the evening was an exciting, fun night to remember. I will absolutely be posting these recipes but for now, here is the pomtastic breakdown for you.

Following is a lovely little recap but please don't think this was all! Honey was my shutterbug for the party and he took over 800 pictures throughout the party. Yes, 800!

Visit the La Pure Mama facebook page for more photos of the fun we had

The Menu...

Setting the Atmosphere...
We had several rooms to travel from, all of which were decorated in honour of the pomegranate. In the kitchen area, I strung red ornaments of different sizes from the ceiling.
Of course we started with drinks in the pomegranate decorated kitchen

And a delicious cheese tray, for those cheese lovers. There was brie drizzled in pomegranate reduction, triple creme brie, asiago with rosemary and truffle cheese

We also had some delicious almonds and figs and, of course, pomegranate arils and quartered pomegranates, for decoration

The Bar...
The Sangria and other beverages were up for grabs in the bar

Grab a glass and have a drink!

The pomegranates themselves served to be lovely decoration. I also incorporated the boxes that the pomegranates came in because they were so cute.

I also provided the chef series cards for our guests' reading pleasure


The Dining Room...
Each table was crowned with a unique pomegranate centerpiece and personalized pomegranate place card made from wire twisted into fun angles and pom inspired beads





This is the chalkboard in the bar


The other half of the bar... being very well used!

Bevanda...
Pom-tini, Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice, 360 organic vodka, fresh muddled lime, tonic float

Holiday Pomegranate Sangria, liquor and cinnamon infused fruit, JP Chenet cab-syrah, Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice and arils

Pomegranate Mimosa, Zefiro prosecco brut, splash Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice, finished with arils

The amazing cinnamon and pom infused sangria, topped with fresh arils... so good!



And, of course, no party would be complete with out a delicious pom-tini

And smiles from the guests


A cheers in the kitchen amongst the 'falling' pomegranates


Antipasto...
 Pomegranate Walnut Pate... Served on a fresh cucumber slice and topped with aril

Tomato Pomegranate Bruschetta... With pomegranate reduction on freshly toasted crostini




Plating...

Tomato Pomegranate Bruschetta



Primo...
Pomegranate Tomato Soup... Served with homemade croutons and arils



Secondo...
Pomegranate Linguini... With roasted parsnips, shitake mushrooms and spinach in a white wine reduction sauce, served atop a drizzle of pomegranate reduction




Terzo...

Pomegranate Super Salad... Kale, collards and arugula tossed in pomegranate garlic vinaigrette and served with marinated cucumber rounds and arils

Plating the salad for service


Frutta...
Pomegranate Lime Ice... Infused with rosewater and topped with Zefiro prosecco brut and arils



The Entertainment...
Now, don't get too excited, but I will be showing you my pomegranates. However, they are just pomegranates...

For the entertainment I showed everyone how to open a pomegranate and then they all had a chance to give it a try. It was... fun!

(Editor's note: I do realize this video is sideways, but I have caught the flu from my adorable nephew and am currently  floating in a NyQuil haze too tired to try and flip it or find the energy doing it over again.

So tilt your head to the side like you're eating a taco* and enjoy the fantastical demo.

Add'l note: I feel like the 'sideways-ness' might work in my favor. There is a prize for the most creative video and really, what is more creative than a mandatory neck cramp?)

* Insert classic T.W.S.S. and maniacal laugh of satisfaction.

The Guests... (well, most of the guests)
even more colorful than the food and truly the 'main course' of the dinner party :)

Plus... they all got into the spirit and dressed with pomegranates on their mind, resulting in a sea of various shades of red. I won't get in to what happened to my original outfit :)
Note: the 'good' guests took their centerpieces home. Thank you!!
These 'bad' guests left their pomegranates for me :)








The fun we had...
(and as I said above... there are a ton of pictures!!
Visit the La Pure Mama facebook page for more pomegranate fun)













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