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Friday, April 22, 2016

Klunker's chili verde

Klunker's chili verde

The other night at work, in the cafeteria, they were serving chili verde with pork.  Now, obviously I did not get any, but I was sure taken in by the smell.  The spices put off such a wonderful smell.  I decided I needed to try and make a plant based version.  
I have learned this last week there are so many different ways of making this.  Some put corn in, some use all jalapenos, and there are different spices for almost everyone.  So I was pretty comfortable making this recipe as I wanted.  I mean, the definition of chili verde is green sauce with chili peppers, and this was green and had peppers. :)
Since my daughter is the only member of my family that likes spicy food, I decided to use a milder chili pepper.  I think the end result was just right.  Still had a little bit of kick, but not enough to chase away my family.
I made this in my slow cooker.  I am sure you could make it in the instant pot, or even just on the stove top.  I found that slow cooking the jackfruit allowed me to break them down and have them get soft.  Plus, I love using my slow cooker. :)
I hope you enjoy this recipe and enjoy.  

Ingredients:

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into quarters
2 large anaheim chili peppers, washed
1 lb. tomatillos, peeled, washed, and cut in half
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups good veggie broth
1 large bunch cilantro
2 20 ounce cans of young green jackfruit in brine













1  4 ounce can of chopped, roasted green chili







1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika (you could use smoked here too)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano 
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder

Alright, lets start with preheating your oven to 450°.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone pad, place your cut onions, tomatillos, and two anaheim peppers.
Place in the hot oven for 30 minutes.  



While those are in the oven, open the two cans of green jackfruit, and rinse in a colander.



After rinsing, bring to a cutting board and cut into cubes.



Place into your slow cooker.
When the veggies in the oven are done, remove from oven and let cool for a couple minutes.  
When the peppers are cool enough to handle, I skinned them under running water.  I also removed the seeds.  
Place all the veggies from the oven into a blender.  Add the veggie broth and all the spices, the cilantro, and the can of chili peppers.
Blend on high for about a minute, until you have a nice semi-chunky sauce.
Pour the sauce into the slow cooker, and mix with the jackfruit.



Turn the slow cooker to low for 8 hours, or high for 4.  I found the longer and slower it cooks, the softer the jackfruit gets.  Now, cover and walk away.
About 1 hour before the above time is up, take a potato masher and squish all the jackfruit down.  This will cause it to shred and become like "pulled pork".
Right before serving, you could put a slurry of 1/2c water and 1 tablespoon corn starch to make this a thick mix.

THAT IS IT.  This recipe is done.  Now, you just need to decide what to put this wonderful dish over.  I put over some rice and it was so good.  
This recipe is basic, and you can add things you enjoy, like roasted corn (Thanks Claudine) or anything else you desire.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Klunker's Passover menu

Klunker's Passover menu

Well, here it is, my very first Passover meal.  I got the idea to try and make a Passover meal because I have gained a lot of new Jewish friends that I truly respect, and am so grateful to have part of my life.  So, being that all my Jewish friends are plant based, I thought it would be fun to create some plant-based meals that are approved for Passover. 
It was really fun coming up with this menu.  I had to do a lot of reading, which in turn taught me many things about the traditions and food.  I purchased a can of matzo crumbs, and set out to use it in less than traditional ways.  I could have just used it for matzo ball soup, but I am pretty sure I couldn't really transform that recipe, it's a traditional meal that stands alone.
So, This will be my longest post yet.  I am including all 4 recipes on this one post.  I choose to make the following for my Passover meal:  Broccoli and potato latkes, potato, zucchini and sweet potato bake, carrot and butternut squash with a maple crumble on top, and balsamic and herb cucumber salad.

Lets start with the broccoli and potato latkes!


Broccoli and potato latkes 

Ingredients:

2 large yukon gold potatoes, washed well, shredded
1 cup well chopped (I used a food processor) fresh broccoli
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine (I used my processor again)
1/2 cup matzo crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast 
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

After shredding your potatoes, wash them well again, drain and dry in paper towels or a tea towel.  Put into a bowl, add the remaining ingredients.
With a clean hand, mix all the ingredients together well.
Let sit for a few minutes.  
Place a large, nonstick pan on the stove, over medium heat.  Let the pan heat up for a minute or two.
Scoop the mix out with an ice cream scoop and into the pan.
Flatten with the back of a spatula, and cook for 10 minutes on each side.  Don't try and turn the latkes early, just let them cook.  They will not stick if you let them do their thing. 
Turn after 10 minutes, and cook on the other side.  They should be nice and crispy brown.
Serve hot!  You can keep them hot in a warm oven.  :)

Potato, sweet potato, and zucchini bake

Ingredients:

2 large yukon gold potatoes, washed well and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large or 2 smaller orange sweet potatoes, washed well and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large or two medium zucchini, washed well, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large (gallon size) zip-top bag
1/2 cup matzo meal
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried or 2 teaspoons fresh dill
2 teaspoons kosher salt
9x9 or 12x12 pan

After slicing all the veggies, place them in a colander and wash off well.  Let drain for a minute.  While they are draining, turn oven on to 375°.  
Combine the remaining ingredients in your zip top bag, and mix well.
Place the veggies into the bag with the seasoning mix.  Zip the top, and shake and shake, mash and knead.  Make sure all the pieces are covered.  
In your pan, layer the veggies.  I did zucchini, sweet potato, and regular potato.
Make nice even rows, or at least the best you can. 

Now, place in your hot oven and set timer for one hour and 10 minutes (70 minutes)  Try your best not to open the oven, just let it bake.
After 70 minutes, remove from oven and serve hot.
You can make this next recipe with the potato bake, Just take it out after 45 minutes.



Carrot and butternut squash with maple crumble

Ingredients:

4 large carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
1 small butternut squash (about 3 cups worth) peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
6 kosher and no oil sun dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes, drained, and diced small
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon salt

Oven should already be at 375°, but if not, preheat the oven.
Prepare both veggies and diced sun dried tomatoes, and place in a large bowl.  Mix together with salt and place into a shallow pan (I had a small one that fit just right)  an 8x8 would work well too.
In a bowl, combine the matzo meal and maple syrup.  Mix until it forms a nice crumble, and all the matzo is damp.
Pour over the top of the veggies, and distribute evenly.  Place into the oven.
Bake for 45 minutes.  The top should be golden brown, and the veggies soft.
Removed from oven, and serve hot.

OK, here is the last one, I promise.  This was a nice, fresh addition to the meal. It was also the easiest to make.  You can make this ahead and serve nice and cold.
Balsamic and herb cucumber salad

Ingredients:

1 large or two medium cucumbers, peeled and diced into about 1 inch cubes
1/2 medium onion (use the other half from the latkes) sliced super thin
1 teaspoon onion powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried dill or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped.
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
dash of pepper if you want

Combine all the above in a large bowl.  Mix well so everything is well combined and all the cucumbers are covered.
Cover and place in the fridge for a couple hours, mix before serving. 

This concludes my attempt to add some plant based recipes to your Passover meal.  I hope you enjoy this for Passover or any other day.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Klunker's mujaddara

Klunker's mujaddara 

This recipe was supposed to be posted last night, I ran into some issues with the pictures.  I thought I was going to come home this morning and load things up.  Well, when I transferred pictures last night, I erased them off my phone, and lost them.  So, I had to make this recipe all over again.  Now, normally that would irritate me, and I would be tempted to scrap this for now.  I decided to make this recipe again, and I am glad I did.  Yesterday I used red lentils to make this recipe.  IT WAS THE WRONG CHOICE.  
It was really delicious, but it was a pile of paste, and that is not how this recipe is supposed to look and feel.  Today, I made this recipe with regular lentils, and it made all the difference in the world.  
I hope you give this easy recipe a try.  It is a lot of instructions, but it really goes fast when you execute it. 

Ingredients

2 medium yellow onions, peeled.  One onion sliced into thin slices, the other onion chopped medium. (see illustrations) keep separate.


1 tablespoon garlic
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped small
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 cup lentils (green)
4 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups water

You will need two cooking vessels for this recipe, a medium sized saute pan, and a cooking pot.  Lets start with the thin sliced onions.  Place in a medium saute pan and spread out, sprinkle with one teaspoon of the salt.  Place on the stove over medium heat, and walk away for a bit.  These will become your caramelized onions.  (come back and stir around every 5 minutes for the next 30 minutes, don't forget them, or they will burn)

In a large pot, add the chopped onion, garlic, and carrot.  Place on the stove over medium heat.  Add the other teaspoon of salt, and saute for 5 minutes. Add the remaining spices (cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper) and stir well.  Keep sauteing another 2 minutes. 
Add your rice and lentils, and stir well to combine.  Add the water, stir again and bring to a soft boil.
When it comes to a soft boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to low.  
Let cook, without taking the lid off, for 25 minutes.
Did you check your onions that are caramelizing? 
When 25 minutes is up, DON'T TAKE OFF THE LID.  Just turn the heat off and let sit for 10 more minutes.
By now your caramelized onions should be done.  Remove from heat and set aside. 

Now, after your rice/lentils have sat for 10 minutes, remove the lid and stir well.  
Serve right away, while hot.  Top with the caramelized onions and enjoy.  
I hope you enjoy this Middle Eastern dish as much as I did.  This one proves once again that you do not need oil and fat to make good food!
Enjoy!!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Asian mushroom quinoa

Asian mushroom quinoa

I have had a bag of quinoa just sitting in my cupboard for over a month now.  I got it with good intentions, and I kept putting it on the back burner and made other recipes.  
Today, I was going through my grain box, and there it was, starring at me.  I decided that maybe today was the day.  But what was I going to do with it?  What could I make different from before?
Well, if you have known me for more than 15 minutes, you will know I eat, sleep, dream Asian food.  I have tried to figure out my deep love, and I can't.  
So, the answer for my quinoa today was some kind of Asian twist.  
This is an easy recipe to make.  So I hope you give it a try, and enjoy it as much as I did.

Ingredients:

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced thick
1/2 medium onion, peeled and diced fine
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups veggie broth
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

In a medium saute pan, add mushrooms and onions and place on medium heat. Saute for 10 minutes, until the mushrooms have wilted and the onions softened.  
Add the mirin and soy sauce and cook until all the liquid is gone and the mix is dry.
Add the quinoa and stir to mix with the mushrooms.  Add the broth, stir well, and allow to come to a simmer.
When the mix comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cover.  Let cook for 20 minutes.  NO PEEKING.  
After 20 minutes, remove from heat and with the lid still on, let sit for 5 minutes. 
After 5 minutes, fluff with a fork.
Serve while hot, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.


I hope you enjoy this recipe.  You could make a meal out of this, add some edamame or some broccoli.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Korean BBQ sauce with portobello mushrooms

Korean BBQ sauce with portobello mushrooms

OK, I know this will come as a surprise, but here is another Asian recipe.  Better yet, it is my version of a spicy Korean barbecue sauce.  I have not ventured into the barbecue sauce before, and today I asked myself why!  This sauce is super tasty, and you can control the amount of heat you want.  I love spicy Korean food, kimchi is one of my favorite, and now that I have made this delightful sauce, it will be on my favorite list too.
I used this recipe with portobello mushrooms and made my version of Korean BBQ ribs.  I have to be honest, I have not eaten ribs in a very long time, and these were amazing and full of great flavor.  I have included pictures of some of the ingredients as a reference.  (these ingredients can be found at many stores, and every Asian market)


Ingredients:

1-2 tablespoons Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang)(depending on how hot you like things.  Start with one, add more if needed)
2 tablespoons Korean black bean paste
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon light colored miso paste
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated or finely chopped garlic

4 large portobello caps, gills removed if you want, and sliced into thick pieces (about 1-1 1/2 inches thick)

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the mushrooms.  Mix with a whisk until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 375°.  On a silicone pad or parchment paper lined baking sheet, place the mushroom slices.  
With a brush, spread the sauce on all the pieces.  Make sure to slather it all over, on all sides.
Place the pan in the hot oven, and allow to bake for 30 minutes.  
15 minutes in, slather some more sauce on, and turn the pieces.  
Check them from time to time and make sure they don't burn.  I like mine a little more crispy, but it is not needed.
Remove from oven and serve while hot with some steamed rice and a nice salad on the side.
I hope you give this a try and enjoy it as much as I did. 
As always, if you have any questions, concerns, you think it totally sucks and was a waste of time.....I want to hear about it.  :)
Happy eating!



Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Klunker's garlic lime aioli

Klunker's garlic lime aioli 

This recipe is going to be a fast one.  It will also be a new favorite, at least it was for me.
Living plant based does not mean giving up creamy goodness.  Here is a recipe for a very tasty aioli, it can be used for dips, or a sub for mayo on a sandwich.  I love to dip my crispy fries into it.  The flavor leaves a wonderful taste in my mouth.
It does use cashews.  If you cannot eat nuts, you can replace with sunflower seeds, but it will alter the taste just a bit.


Ingredients:

1/2 cup aqua faba (from chickpeas)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch (or potato starch, tapioca starch)
1/2 cup raw cashews (if you don't have a high speed blender, soak for 30 minutes in very hot water, drain)
juice of 1 lime

In a medium saucepan, combine the first 4 ingredients, and whisk until smooth.  Turn on heat to medium, and stir until it comes to a soft boil.  When it comes to a soft boil, it will start to thicken.  Cook for 1 minute, and remove from heat.  Make sure you are stirring the whole time.
In a high speed blender (I have a Nutra Bullet®) combine the cashews and the aqua faba from your saucepan.  Squeeze in your lime juice.
Blend on high for 2 minutes.  After 2 minutes, you should have a pretty thick mixture.  If you are using a food processor, stop after 1 minutes and scrape down the sides.
Pour into a small jar and chill in the fridge for a couple hours.
Or, if you are like me, serve warm next to crispy fries.

That is it.  It is really that simple.  
If you are going to use sunflower seeds, soak them for 2 hours, drain and then follow the recipe above using them as a sub for the nuts.  Use the same amount (1/2 cup, raw, unsalted)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lasagna

Lasagna

About a month ago, I was sitting at work, and was thinking about all the foods I have made. The list is long, and it is because food has always played a major role in my life.  I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to create.  To me, cooking and photography are my two callings in life.  Am I perfect at them?  NO, not even close.  Do they make me happy?  YES, and that is all that really matters.  I love that it also brings much joy to others.  
When I was thinking about all the foods, I also thought about what foods I have not tackled yet.  One of the foods I decided to tackle soon was lasagna.  I pulled out some paper and wrote a quick recipe, and set it aside.  As the weeks progressed, I thought more and more about the recipe, and tweaked it here and there.  Finally, when there was no more tweaking to do, I decided to execute the recipe.  
Now, I had to choose a day I could set some extra time aside to make this, and yesterday was that day.  Anyone who has made lasagna knows, it takes time.  You have extra prep and it takes an hour to cook.  I didn't want to cut corners, lasagna requires love and attention.
So, keep that in mind when you make this recipe.  You cannot just throw it together (although, you can make this ahead, and bake it another day).
Also, I am going on the assumption that most of the people have made lasagna in some form, so I am not going to go into a lot of detail how to layer everything.  If you have any questions along the way, message me, or leave a comment.



This recipe has a few different parts that need to be made before you assemble the final product.  Remember to always read the entire recipe before you start anything so you have a plan.

-Cashew Parmesan
-Cream sauce
-Filling
-1 package of oven ready lasagna.  I used regular semolina type, but there are rice, whole wheat and gluten free, the choice is yours)

-a 9x13 glass casserole pan

I will break down the ingredient lists for each one, then the instructions after.
Lets start with the parmesan.

Ingredients for Parmesan:

1/2 cup raw cashews (you could use blanched almonds too)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt

In a blender or food processor, combine the above and blend until just broken down, you want it to be like sand.  Blend too much and you will have parm nut butter. 
Set aside in a bowl.

Ingredients for the cream sauce:

2 1/2 cups plant milk (make sure it is unsweetened and not flavored)
1/2 cup water
1/4c+2 tablespoons rice flour (or tapioca starch, sweet potato starch)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, combine all of the above ingredients, whisk together until blended.  Place on the stove over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, stirring almost the whole time.  As it heats, it will thicken.  Allow to simmer for about a minute, stirring the whole time.  Don't let it hard boil.  Once it has thickened, remove from heat and set aside.  It will thicken more as it cools.

OK, finally lets work on the filling.  Be patient, this seems like a lot, but once it is all done, it comes together very fast.

Ingredients for filling:



 1 medium red onion, peeled and chopped small
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated 
10 sun dried tomatoes (soaked in hot water for about 20 minutes to dehydrate)
and chopped small
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes (or boxed, or fresh, however you usually use them)
2 cups chopped mushrooms (you can omit this if you don't like mushrooms, just increase the zucchini and cauliflower by 1/2 cup each)
2 medium zucchini, cut into small dice (see illustration)
2 cups cooked cauliflower, chopped small
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 heaping teaspoons dried basil
2 heaping teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

(needed for assembly will also be 2 cups fresh baby spinach, and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast.  These do not go into the above mix though)

In a very large saute pan, over medium heat, combine the onion, garlic and carrots.  



Saute for about 5 minutes, until the carrots start to wilt.
After 5 minutes, add all the rest of the ingredients (except the spinach and nutritional yeast) and the spices.  Mix together well.



 You want to cook for 10-15 minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked off.  You want a moist, but not wet mixture.
When it is all cooked, remove from heat, and place in a large bowl.  Allow to cool down.  Preheat the oven to 375°, while it does, get the rest of your ingredients together in one place.



Now, all that hard work is almost done.  You want to take a few spoons of the filling and the cream sauce and put on the bottom of your casserole pan.  Mix together with a spoon and spread out a thin layer all over the bottom.  Now place your first layer of noodles down.  My pan allowed for three across and one across the top, so 4 sheets total per layer.  
Spoon down a nice layer of the cream sauce, then a nice layer (don't be skimpy, there is a lot of filling).  Then a sprinkle of the parm.
Now add another layer of noodles and repeat.  The last layer before the final noodles, place the sauce, filling, parm and a layer of spinach.  Sprinkle the spinach with nutritional yeast.  Put the final layer of noodles on top of them. For this layer, start with the remaining filling, then the rest of the sauce.  Then a thick layer of the parm and the nutritional yeast.  I had some cherry tomatoes left over, so I cut them in half and put them on top too, but not required.
Then, look at your creation and be happy!



The battle is almost over!!
Now, put a layer of parchment paper over the whole pan and a sheet of aluminum foil to seal it all in.
Place on a cookie sheet, and into the oven.  Set your timer for 1 hour, and close it up.  DO NOT PEEK!  Let it go and assess the war torn kitchen you just created.  That should keep you busy for a while.
After 1 hour, remove the covering, and set it under the broiler until the desired brownness is achieved.  Mine took about 8 minutes.  WATCH IT CLOSE, DO NOT WALK AWAY.
Now, as with any lasagna, you need to remove from the oven and let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes.




It is hard not to dive right in, but resist the temptation.  All the juices need to find a comfy spot, and if you cut it too soon, you will have lasagna soup.
I know this is a bigger recipe than I normally post.  It will require you to spend some time in the kitchen.  BUT I PROMISE, IT WILL BE WORTH IT.  
I have lots of leftovers, I am the only one eating it, so this will be a good make ahead recipe.
I also encourage everyone to take my recipes as a base and make it your own. With this one, please try it just as it is, and then the next time you make it, make it your own.  I am very happy with the results and think you will like it just as it is.  
As always, please keep me informed if you try it and if you liked it.
Happy plant-based cooking!





Saturday, April 9, 2016

Easy Chinese hot and sour soup

Easy Chinese hot and sour soup

I was in the kitchen today, working on a few other recipes, and I needed to stop and eat something.  None of the food I was making was ready to eat, so I needed to make something else.  I wanted it to be fast and easy, and I didn't want to take up a bunch of pots and pans (they were being used for my other recipes).  
I decided to try and make one of my favorite soups, Chinese hot and sour soup.  I knew I had all the ingredients for it, and so I set out for an amazing lunch.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups veggie broth (or if you have mushroom stock, use that)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon corn starch
4 oz. firm tofu, sliced into 1/2 inch cubes
6 oz. button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I used the full teaspoon)

In a medium saucepan, combine the veggie broth (mushroom stock), tofu, mushrooms, soy sauce, vinegar and pepper flakes.
Set the saucepan on the stove, medium heat.  Stir carefully, and cover.  Allow to come to a simmer.  Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes (start timing when it comes to a simmer).  Check often so it doesn't boil over.
After 10 minutes, add the peas, stir again.
Combine the water and corn starch and mix well.  Add to the hot soup, and stir until it comes back to a simmer.  

THAT IS IT.  Check for seasoning.  I added just a little bit more soy sauce at the end.
Serve hot with some rice on the side, or use as a starter.
I hope you enjoy this one, it is fast and you can add more to it.  I had leftovers, so I added some udon noodles for tomorrow.