Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fried Green Tomatillo "CLT" with Smoky Remoulade

I am really honored to be asked to post for Meatout, "the world's largest grass roots dietary and education campaign".  On March 20th,  Meatout's hosting a virtual blogging event where lots of bloggers will  be making special posts to support Meatout.  I am happy to be amongst the crowd participating.  Be sure to check out all of the other bloggers posts, too! I know many of these folks from the blogosphere, Twitter and Facebook and I am sure there will be LOTS of good stuff!

As I thought about a special recipe to post I wanted to try something new.  I had recently watched an episode of Bobby Flay's "Throw Down" where they made fried green tomato BLTs.  They looked so good, and as I watched I was sure I could make a vegan version I would be proud to challenge Bobby Flay with!

Since it is still too early to head out to the garden and pick my own green tomatoes and  grocery stores are not selling them right now I knew I would have to improvise.  I settled on fried green tomatillos. Why not? They are green and yummy and the name even sounds like tomato!

As I thought about a bacon substitute I decided not to go for the predictable fakin' bacon but to try my hand at coconut bacon.  Yes, ...coconut bacon.  Some friends on Twitter had been discussing coconut I did two batches (well, actually I did three if you count the one I burned and had to throw out).  One batch I did with dried, unsweetened, flaked coconut.  The other with fresh coconut. I cannot tell you how good this is!  Preparing the fresh coconut version is a lot of work (but well worthwhile). If you are not up to the task of dealing with a fresh coconut the dried will work just fine.  I had to keep my omnivore family from eating it all before I could get the rest of the sandwich made!

Thanks, Meatout for the opportunity to share in this day and I hope that you realize and exceed your goal of serving veg- curious folks great vegan food, thus exposing them to the wonderful world of veganism!

Fried Green Tomatillo "CLT" with Smoky Remoulade

For the coconut bacon:
1 fresh coconut or 3 large handfuls dried unsweetened flaked
1 tbsp liquid smoke
2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp maple syrup

For the fried green tomatillos:
4 tomatillos sliced about 1/2" thick
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup non dairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
Olive oil for frying

For the remoulade and assembly:
Thick sour dough bread slices
1 tomato, sliced
 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread
3 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
2 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

To prepare the coconut bacon:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a small dish mix together the liquid smoke, water, tamari soy sauce and maple syrup.  If using fresh coconut you will need to have removed the meat and brown "skin" from about 1/3 of the coconut and sliced it thinly.  Place it into the liquid mixture and allow to soak for about five minutes.  If using shredded coconut you can skip the soaking step. Place either the shredded or fresh coconut on a shallow baking dish (a jelly roll pan works well).  Pour the liquid over top. For the shredded coconut version make sure to mix the liquid into the flakes well.  Place in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned and somewhat crispy (it will crisp up more as it cools).  Set aside as this is to be used room temperature.

Prepare the remoulade:
In a dish or bowl mix the Vegan mayonnaise, horseradish, Dijon mustard and smoked paprika.  Set aside.

For the fried green tomatillos:*
Place olive oil in the bottom of a skillet and turn heat to medium. Place the flour, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder in a shallow dish. Place non dairy milk in a second shallow dish and the cornmeal in a third.  Dip each tomatillo first in the flour, then the non dairy milk and then the cornmeal. Make sure they are well coated.  Place into the heated oil and fry until each side is golden brown, about 2 minutes a side. Drain on papertowels or brown paper.

Make the sandwich:
In the same skillet you used to fry the tomatillos melt the Earth Balance and place the bread in the pan and cook until nicely browned on each side.  Remove from the pan, spread some of the remoulade on the slices of bread, stack the fried green tomatillos, tomato slices, coconut bacon and lettuce on a slice of bread. Top with a second, cut down the middle and serve.

*Note: if you want a healthier, lower calorie/fat version of the fried green tomatillo you could certainly bake these. I would suggest baking at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes (flipping once during cooking) or until golden brown and heated through on each side.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mock Tuna Casserole

I travel far too much on business.  When I have to be away for more than a couple of days I like to make some things that the family can eat for dinner while I am gone.  Mr. Meat and Potatoes always requests tuna casserole.  You know, the kind that your Mom made when you were a kid- the recipe from the back of a soup can.  He likes it without anything but noodles, cream of mushroom soup, milk and tuna fish with some breadcrumb topping. God forbid, don't put the peas that most recipes call for in there!  Easy enough.

This has had me thinking for some time about a vegan version of this American classic.  And, as usual, when I think about faux meat my thoughts are centered around the ever versatile and protein packed chickpea.  I swear, you can turn a chickpea into just about anything.  In fact, recently I was asked by someone if I were stranded on a desert island what five foods would I take. My number one (way ahead of anything else)  was chickpeas.  There is literally nothing you cannot make out of chickpeas!

Since the traditional version is made with broad egg noodles I scoured the grocery store shelves to find a vegan pasta that mirrored the shape of an egg noodle.  This one is called Sagnarelli and I think it comes pretty close!

I added some shelled green peas to my version (which, from what I can tell, is more consistent with the original soup can recipe).  I also used my own version of a condensed cream of mushroom soup; the same version as in my Potato and Mushroom Casserole.  I loved the results and Mr. Meat and Potatoes tried and it said it would be good, but without the peas.  He is nothing if not consistent.

This is pretty quick and easy and could easily be whipped up after work or on a Sunday for a meals during the week.

Mock Tuna Casserole

2 cups cooked pasta
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread
1 cup nondairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
8 oz cremini mushrooms chopped
1 16 ox can chickpeas rinsed, drained and pulsed in food processor (do not puree)
1./2 cup shelled green peas
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook and drain the noodles according to package directions. Set aside.

Prepare the condensed cream of mushroom soup by heating butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Slowly stir in the flour and whisk until a thick paste is formed. Remove from the heat and add the vegetable stock and the nondairy milk.  Whisk until smooth. Return to the heat and add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until it is the consistency of a condensed cream soup.  Remove from the heat.

In a large mixing bowl put the chickpeas, peas, condensed soup mixture, noodles, salt and pepper.  Stir until incorporated.  Re-season with salt and pepper as needed.

Place the mixture into a casserole dish.

Melt the other tablespoon of  Earth Balance and pour into the bread crumbs. Mix until incorporated and spread on the top of the casserole.  Sprinkle with paprika if desired.

Bake at 400 degrees until warmed through and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chick'n and Waffles

For some time I have been thinking about making a vegan version of Chicken and Waffles.  I believe that this is a traditionally Southern dish.  Not only am I not Southern, I have never even had chicken and waffles before.  So I am not sure why I felt compelled to create a version of this dish. Maybe because the name just rolls of the tongue so well?  Maybe because I am now obsessed with my new waffle iron?  Who knows, but I am glad I did as they were great.

I knew all along I wanted to make a savory waffle but wasn't quite sure what to use for the "chicken".  After consulting the Twitterverse with my dilemma one of my favorite Tweeps (@VeganVagrant) informed me that indeed you could bread and fry Gardein Scallopini and my dilemma was solved.  Now that I have some experience with Gardein I will use it again, it was very tasty and I really liked the consistency.

For the gravy I reused the recipe from my Green Bean Casserole and it worked perfectly. Though I don't think this version of "chicken" and waffles is at all close to the traditional version it is my very own and I really like it!

Chick'n and Waffles

For the waffles:
3 green onions finely minced
2 tbsp onion powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup potato flakes
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups non dairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
Scant tsp salt
Scant tsp pepper

For the gravy:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

For the 'chicken":
2 Gardein scallopini cutlets thawed
1/3 cup breadcrumb
1 tbsp parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup non dairy milk
2 tbsp olive oil

Make the waffles:
Mix the flour, potato flakes, green onions, onion powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pepper together in a large bowl.  Add the vegetable oil and non dairy milk and stir until incorporated. The batter will be very thick and it is OK if it is somewhat lumpy.

Cook the waffles according to the directions on your waffle iron.  Set aside.

Make the gravy:
In a small saucepan, over medium low heat, melt 1/4 cup of the Earth Balance and add the flour. Allow to cook for a couple of minutes stirring constantly. Add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, garlic and onion powders. Stir constantly, until sauce thickens to the consistency of gravy. Whisk in the vegetable oil and nutritional yeast.

Set aside and keep warm on low heat.

Prepare the "chicken":
In a shallow dish place the breadcrumb, parsley salt and pepper.  In a second shallow dish place the non dairy milk.  Dip one scallopini into the milk and then into the breadcrumb mixture ensuring that it is coated well on both sides.

In a small pan, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.  Add each scallopini to the pan and cook until golden brown and heated through.

Place the waffles on a plate, add chicken and top with gravy.  Garnish with green onion if desired.