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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Klunker's mushroom ceviche

Klunker's mushroom ceviche

I consider myself a good cook.  I have tried many things in my lifetime, and so new things are not that rare.  But this year has been different.  I have gone outside my comfort zone, and decided to try things that maybe I would never try before.  I have loved all the new things so far, and I think that is pretty darn lucky.  This recipe is no different.  
I have always seen non-vegan ceviche made on TV, but never tasted it or really had the desire.  But what if it is good?  What if I am missing out on something?  I think maybe I should give it a try, so I did.
Here is my recipe for the newest member of my menu.  It is great for an appetizer, or even as a meal.  As I write this, I have a big bag of romaine lettuce, and my ceviche, just snacking away.  I am loving the spicy undertone, and the sour citrus.  The veggies are still crispy and the mushrooms "cooked" just right.

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice. (took 8 whole limes for me)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (took 5 for me)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced fine
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 red onion, peeled and chopped fine
1/2 medium zucchini, sliced in half length wise, then each half cut in half length wise and into small cubes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4-5 roma tomatoes, cut into small cubes
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and minced
12 oz. cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thick (1/4 inch)  I removed stems, but you could put them in. (personal preference in this recipe)
3 tsp. maple syrup or sweetener of choice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro



In a large bowl, combine the above ingredients.  Doesn't matter the order, you will be mixing it all together.  
Mix for a good 5 minutes to make sure everything is combined well.
Cover the bowl and put in the fridge.  Allow to marinate for a minimum of 4 hours, better if you can get 8 hours.  I made early in the day and ate for dinner. Will last for a couple of days before it gets mushy.  
Serve with homemade tortilla chips, lettuce leaves or you could serve on top of a salad instead of dressing, just use more of the juice.
This is a great recipe, and I know if you try it, you will love it too.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Klunker's Southwestern smashed bean sauce

Klunker's Southwestern smashed bean sauce

I have been trying to make some super easy recipes lately, and this one definitely fits the bill. It is super easy to make, but can be used on many different things.  As the picture above shows, it is great with potatoes.  I just boiled up some baby yukon golds and poured this sauce over the top.  You could put on baked potatoes, on nachos, or you could use cold as a zesty salad dressing.  It really is up to you.
So, how easy is it to make?  Lets see the ingredients.

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked pinto beans (you could use canned)  I used fresh.  Drain but don't rinse.
1 can of medium hot RoTel® with liquid  (canned tomatoes and chilies)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin.
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
salt to taste (I put about 1/2 tsp.)

In a medium sized saute pan, over medium heat, add all the ingredients.  With the back of a wooden spoon, smash the beans.  Go around the whole pan and squish those beans good.  As you smash and mix around the sauce will start to thicken.  Keep going, there are a lot of beans there, and they need to be squished.  After each round of squishing, stir and mix.  
Let cook for about 10 minutes.  The whole time you want to be squishing and stirring.
Remove from heat, and serve right away, or put in the fridge and heat up and use as needed (or wanted)
It is that easy!  I hope you give it a try and enjoy it.

Klunker's Asian salad



Klunker's Asian salad

So it is not a huge secret that I am not a green salad fan.  I eat them, yes, but I don't really ever crave them often.  They are a great way to get in some extra green's and really they are good for you.  They hydrate you, and dressed right, can be super good to eat.
I had just purchased a big bag of artisan romaine lettuce. (I don't know if that is really a thing, I think its just the hearts, but hey, it was cheap) I needed to use them up, there are 6 in a bag, so they needed to be used soon.  I knew that salads were the only choice today, but I needed to make it something I really loved.
I love Asian inspired food.  I eat it more than any other food.  Normally rice, noodles, stir fry and lots of Korean spicy food.  So, it made sense to try and incorporate some of those flavors into my salad today.  I am not a huge fan of lots of other added ingredients in my salads.  I am a boring salad eater.  Sometimes I will add beans and cucumbers and tomatoes, but not today.  Today I wanted just salad with a good dressing.  That being said, if you want to add all the bells and whistles to make this more, go ahead.  I probably will in the future.  
The dressing is the star here.  It made this so good to eat, and left me wanting more.    I love the way all the flavors came together.  So here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

1-2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed and dried, torn into bite sized pieces 
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4c minced onion or shallot
1/2-2 tsp. Korean hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
black or white sesame seeds

After washing and tearing your lettuce, set aside on a paper towel and let drain. 

In a very large mixing bowl start making your dressing.
Add the vinegar first



Then add the soy sauce

next add the pepper flakes

followed by the onion powder

Garlic
maple syrup is next
 Now whisk until everything is evenly. 
and finally the onion or shallot
Add the lettuce to your bowl of dressing
And with tongs, mix carefully, making sure to get all the dressing on the lettuce.
Serve right away, otherwise your lettuce will wilt.  If you are not using right away, store the dressing in the fridge and mix before eating.
Garnish with sesame seeds and enjoy. 

**This is the brand of Korean hot pepper flakes I use.  If you cannot find them, you could use regular red pepper flakes or not at all if you don't want any spice in your salad. 






Monday, November 9, 2015

Plant-Based version of "Vegducken"

Plant-Based version of "Vegducken"

Here is the original version of this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/vegducken

I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated by this recipe.  It looked so good, but could I really make it delicious and still have it turn out?  Could I finally find my Achilles heel in this one recipe?  Was it really worth the effort to try and make it "McDougall compliant"?  
Well, I decided that it had to be tried............And I am so glad I did.  Because now I have a new recipe to make for Thanksgiving!  It screams Thanksgiving.  The flavor is amazing and the prep, although a lot, is worth it.
** Read the original recipe first.  It has much better instructions for the basic concept.  I am just going to list what I did, and you can compare the two.  If I tried to re-write this, it would be a 3 page report.  Instead I am going to go through what I did and what I used.
Also, I did not make the sauce for it.  I actually make some great mushroom gravy and found that to be my best choice for me.  I didn't think a minty sauce was for me. (not a fan of mint)
One of the changes I made was replacing the eggplant with a delicata squash.  I loved the flavor and texture.  It didn't get mushy, and I think that the eggplant would have. 
When shopping for the 3 squashes used in this recipe, get them at the same time.  That way you can hold them up to each other and make sure they will fit.   
I did not use nuts in this recipe either.  I wanted to make it as fat free as I could, and I am not eating nuts right now.  You can add them if you would like.

Here is my list of ingredients:

1 large butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded, skin washed well
1 medium delicata squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and peeled
1 medium/small zucchini squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out, skin washed well

For the filling:

All of the "meat" from the butternut squash.  Mine gave me about 2 1/2 cups
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 8oz. package of sliced cremini mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 medium cooked sweet potato, peeled
1 1/2 cups no oil panko bread crumbs
2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax with 6 tablespoons hot water, mixed)
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 1/2-2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 cup black or white raisins 

For the brushing sauce:
1/4c aquafaba 
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
(mix the two together and put aside until you are ready to wrap the squash)



First of all, cut open all the squash, and remove the seeds.  Also peel the delicata squash.  With a paring knife, cut the "meat" from the butternut squash.
Scrape the butternut squash out with a spoon.  Place the "meat" in a food processor and break down.

Pour into a large bowl.
In the same food processor, add the rice, mushrooms, onion, and garlic and blend until almost smooth. (I left a little chunk in it)


Add this to the squash that is in your bowl.  Mix well.
Place a large saute pan on the stove over Medium heat.
Put the mix in the pan, and saute for at least 10-12 minutes, until some of the moisture starts to evaporate.  If the mixture seems too wet, saute a little longer.
Add the sweet potato, and mix into the stuffing.  Cook another 2 minutes. Add all of the spices and the raisins.

Removed from heat, and place back in the big bowl.
Let cool for about 10 minutes.  
While it is cooling a bit, turn the oven on to 400°, and in a small bowl, mix the flax egg, and set aside.
When the mixture has cooled a bit, add the bread crumbs and mix well.
After you mix the breadcrumbs in, you can add the flax egg.  Make sure to mix it in well.
Now, you are ready for stuffing.  This is the fun part.  It is trial and error.  It will not fit right the first time.  Don't get upset.  Instead, get your small knife out and cut corners, trim thick walls, make the damn squash fit together.
Start with the hollowed out butternut squash.  Put about 1/4-1/3 cup of the stuffing in there and spread it out with the back of a spoon.  Make sure it is a nice, even layer.
Then, lay the delicata squash, skinned side down into the butternut squash.  On top of the stuffing.  Now, with a spoon, spoon some stuffing in the delicata and spread it out.  You will now add the zucchini squash and fill the middle up.  You will not spread it out, just smooth it over.
You can add a green onion as the original recipe called for, or nuts if you'd like.
Here is the part where the most patience comes in.  You want to join the two together.  
Do this as close to the cutting board as possible, you will have stuffing jumpers. They will try and squish out the sides.  Let them, we will catch them and reapply.
When you feel they are as "together" as they are going to get, you can wrap the squash with twine, I did not. 
Now, take the aquafaba and garlic sauce and brush liberally the skin of the butternut squash.  On all sides.  If any of the filling fell out, just squish it into the seams of the now sandwiched squash.
I then wrapped the whole thing in parchment paper and then two sheets of aluminum foil.  I wrapped it really tight to keep it all together.
Place into a large loaf pan (I lined mine with aluminum foil too for easy clean-up.
Now place into the preheated oven, and set the timer for 2 hours.  Just walk away.  Nothing to look at but a lump of aluminum foil.  
After about an hour though, your house will start to have faint whiffs of Thanksgiving.  
After 2 hours, your stomach will be screaming at you.  DO NOT GIVE IN.  Eat a potato or something.  You worked hard for this meal, and you don't want to give into temptation.
After 2 long hours, remove from the oven and let it rest.  I let it rest for 15 minutes.  I am glad I did too.  It really made a difference. 
Then, slowly remove it from the pan and unwrap CAREFULLY.  
Place on a cutting board and slice into 1-2 inch slices.
At this point, you can put whatever gravy or sauce you want on it.  
Like I said, I just made a nice mushroom gravy and it was so good.  I was happy I was the only one eating this, I ate half of it without breaking a sweat.
Get creative with your fillings too.  I plan on putting dried cranberries in it for Thanksgiving and maybe I will indulge and add some walnuts.
Most of all, be patient.  This is not an everyday recipe, but one you will love for those special occasions.
Also, I found the skin of the butternut squash perfectly edible.  It was soft and added to the texture of the whole thing. :)
****I have not tried, but I am sure you could make this in a slow cooker, also for those who have an IP and small enough squash, you could probably toy with it. 
I have both, but I will be making this in my oven again for Thanksgiving. 







Thursday, November 5, 2015

Doenjang Jjgae (Korean soybean paste soup)



Doenjang Jjgae (Korean soybean paste soup)

I am a sucker for soups.  I love to make them year round.  I live in a city that see's 115* during the summer, and I still make soup.  Soup makes me happy.  Soup makes me feel "at home" and I just love the taste.  
My other passion is Korean food. (well, all Asian food really)  I am a kimchi lover, and so is my two year old daughter.  The spicier the better.  I think that is why I love Korean food so much, they make so many spicy dishes.  
I have been making a lot of soups lately, and one of my wonderful friends, Claudine, asked if I ever make Korean soup.  I told her that I would make a batch and post it for her.  So here it is. :)
(This soup is served along side rice, so you should really make some to go with it.  In Korea they traditionally spoon some of the soup on some rice and eat.)

Ingredients:
3 cups water
1/4c Korean fermented bean paste (I did a heaping 1/4 cup)
1/2 block of extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch squares
1 generous cup of sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
1 medium sized zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise, and cut into thin half moons
2 green onions, sliced
1-4 tablespoons of chili paste (or you could use a whole chili sliced up)

 Pour water into a medium sauce pan and place on the stove.  Turn stove on to medium high.
Add the fermented bean paste

 Whisk until smooth
 Add tofu.  Stir carefully and cover pot to heat up.  When it comes up to a soft simmer, 
add the mushrooms and zucchini.  Stir very carefully, and cover again. 


Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir every few minutes to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.
After 10 minutes, remove lid and stir again.  THAT IS IT!  
Garnish with the chili sauce and green onions.  As much or as little as you like.


NOTE:
This is the brand of bean paste I use.  


Served with steamed sweet potato, kimchi, and rice.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Portobello wild rice






Portobello wild rice

So with today being my first day back to work for the week, I never want to do too much in the kitchen.  Working graveyard shift, I just want to lounge around the house and then take a long afternoon nap.  But, I also needed to make me some food for tonight, so out came the rice cooker.  I normally just take rice and beans, or rice and kimchi, but today I wanted to take something with a little more flavor.  So I came up with this recipe.  I just put it all in the rice cooker, and let it do all the work. 

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups wild rice blend (I got mine in the bulk section, wild rice and brown rice all mixed up)
5 1/2 cups mushroom stock or good veggie stock
2 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch-1 inch chunks.
1/4 cup dried onion flakes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds (I used black)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (I have a huge bottle from Costco®)
1 tsp. kosher salt (or salt of choice)

Lets start with the rice.  Wash and rinse the rice a couple times to get all the dust off of it.  Then place in your rice cooker pot with the stock.

Next, add the remaining ingredients.
Onion
Soy sauce
Garlic
Sesame seeds
Mushrooms
Salt
Now hit the brown rice feature on your rice cooker (if you are making in your IP, use whatever function you normally use for brown rice)
Now, walk away.  
As soon as the rice cooker is done, let it sit for another 10 minutes without opening.
After the 10 minute waiting time, open and fluff with a fork.
Serve right away, or you could get creative and use as a stuffing for your favorite veggies.  Add some golden raisins and you can change it up some more.
Most of all, enjoy!!