Monday, July 30, 2012

Farmer's Market Chili Verde

Once again, I really can't resist a cooking competition.  Two guys at work were having a Texas vs. South Boston chili showdown which turned into an office summer social event.  So I found myself spending the weekend trolling the farmer's market and vegetable stands for peppers and other chili fixin's.  Since I'm already the odd one out with my vegan chili, I might as well up the non-traditional factor even more.  I'm really going for that you-definitely-didn't-get-this-from-a can kind of flavor profile.  

Here's my offering of a Chile Verde topped with corn tortilla chips, cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, cilantro, papalo, green onions, avocado, chile lime crema, and chipotle mayonnaise.

For some reason, I didn't have a crock pot so I broke down and bought this travel ready version which did the trick.  

Ideas from friends, surfing the internet, and fresh local ingredients were the inspiration for this dish.  Just don't call it soup.  This is chili.  It started off too spicy for main stream, but the beans really did soak up a good amount of the heat.  It still had a nice kick and I had some Serrano chilies on the side in case anyone complained it wasn't hot enough.

Everything that could come from the farmer's market or CSA did.  There's no point in using exact measurements.  Just use what you've got and as much as fits in the pan.

Chile Verde:


Cubanelle Peppers
Poblano Peppers
Bell Peppers

Green Onions
Yellow Squash
Chili powder

Cooked Kidney Beans
Cooked White Beans
Cooked Black-eyed Peas

Peel husks and wash tomatillos.  Cut a cross mark on the bottom of the tomatillos and place cut side up on a foil lined baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes.  Turn off oven and let sit about 10 minutes.  Blend to the consistency of crushed tomatoes.

Saute the onions, garlic, carrot, peppers in some vegetable oil until they start to really get brown.  Then deglaze with beer and let stew.  Salt to taste.  Blend until well combined.

Chop green onions using as much white part and green part that you can.  In food processor chop zucchini and yellow squash into fine pieces about the size of a corn kernel.  You could also use a grater.  Slice the corn kernels off the cob.  Saute the onions, zucchini, squash, and corn in vegetable oil, sprinkle with chili powder, salt to taste, and add tequila to deglaze pan.

In a large pan or crock pot mix together the tomatillos, pepper mixture, squash/corn mixture, and add beans.  Taste and adjust seasonings and heat thoroughly.

Top with corn tortilla chips, cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, cilantro, papalo, green onions, avocado, chile lime crema, and chipotle mayonnaise

Chile lime crema
Mix together:
Vegan Sour Cream
Green Tobasco Sauce
Lime Juice

Chipotle Mayonnaise
Mix together:
Vegan Mayonnaise
Chipotle peppers with adobo sauce, seeds removed, and chopped finely

I won 2nd Place!  Yay!  OK, so there was a tie for 1st, and then the tie-breaker was a tie, but I'm still calling it 2nd.  :-)  A fun time was had by all.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

BBQ chicken & cheddar burritos

BBQ Gardein chicken & Daiya cheddar burritos

This one isn't going to win me any cooking contests, but might win over an omni to try something vegan.

Gardein chicken cutlets marinated in bottled BBQ sauce, on flour tortillas with melted Daiya cheese topped with avocado.  I sauteed some fresh CSA onion with the Gardein so I don't lose all my culinary street cred.    

I've been drooling over Vic's kid friendly bbq zucchini avocado pizza, so this came sorta close...I did make fried CSA zucchini, but, um, kinda ate them all before they even cooled off...uh,next time they'll end up on a pizza or something...

Vegan Chopped! Red Velvet and Mango Coconut Parfait

The secret ingredients are fresh mango, a bunch of red beets, dried unsweetened coconut, and crisp rice cereal.

So I'm throwing down with a red velvet and mango coconut parfait.

This light and refreshing dessert is a parfait of red velvet "cake" and mango coconut "frosting."  A surprisingly good combination!

The red velvet is beet juice, cocoa powder, crispy rice, rice milk, and coconut water.  It's unbaked, but definitely has a nice cakey texture.  The mango coconut layer is fresh mango, dried unsweetened coconut, and coconut milk.  They layers held up pretty well when digging into it.    

Vegan Red Velvet Coconut Mango Parfait

Red Velvet
Bunch of beets with greens (about 2 beets)
1 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup Crisp Rice Cereal
1/4 cup Rice Milk
1/4 cup Coconut Water

Coconut Mango
2 fresh mangoes peeled, pit removed, and chopped into bits
1/4 cup dried coconut
1/2 cup regular coconut milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Juice the beets & greens.  Blend together beet juice with cocoa powder, cereal, rice milk and, coconut water. Adjust ratios as needed to get a cake batter like consistency.  The beets will stain, so don't make this in your party clothes.

In a medium bowl mix together the mangos, coconut, coconut milk, and powdered sugar with an electric mixer and try to get it as fluffy as possibly.  Depending on how sweet the mango you have is, you can add more sugar if you want a sweeter "frosting".

Layer red velvet then coconut mango in a parfait or pretty glass so there are at least 2 layers of each starting with the red velvet and ending with the coconut mango.  Garnish with a sprinkling of coconut and a slice of fresh mango.  Serve & Enjoy!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Squash Blossoms! Wow!

Squash blossoms from the CSA this morning.  I usually just lightly saute them in a little olive oil, but this time, I decided to go all out and stuff & fry them.  

Not entirely sure what to actually stuff them with, but I had some chickpeas already cooked and figured I was going with a ricotta type consistency.  The tofu never made it out of the package, but pretty much everything else went into the filling.  I made way too much, so I won't even give a recipe.

There's potato, cauliflower, chickpeas, cashews, pine nuts, tahini and every French type herb (thyme, basil, etc.) on the spice rack.  I probably wouldn't add the tahini in the future, because I can definitely taste it in there.  I might use some miso, though.

Stuffing these buggers was challenging.  I followed a non-vegan internet instructions to blanch then ice water bath, which was a BAD idea.  My blossoms were pretty small, so this made them kind of get too stuck together.  For more mature blossoms, this may have worked, but I just opened the rest by hand which worked just fine.

A trick is not to overstuff them.  Just a bit in the bottom, then fold over the flowers.  Keep in the fridge until ready to cook.

The batter was a flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and sparkling water concoction.  Again, measuring wasn't a major factor.  Light pancake batter consistency.  

Dust with flour, then dip in the batter, fry in cast iron about a minute a side.

Here's the final product.  The photo does not do it justice.  These were light and tasty and the filling was almost melty despite containing nothing cheesy.