Category Archives: Appetisers

Roasted Plantain Pieces with Roasted Garlic-Lime Dipping Sauce

Vegan MOFO - Plaintains Poster

Yet another winner from the cookbook "Vegan Soul Kitchen." Click on the pic for the recipe. But honestly? You really need to buy this book.

Plantains or Platanos.  If you’ve never had them, then please note that this is a fruit that must be cooked.  It is most often served as a snack or side dish to a savory entree.  While cooked plantains are tasty served all by themselves, they also sit nicely next to rice and beans, any “meaty” style vegan dish, or next to a plate of greens, and in my opinion they always steal the show.   Platanos Maduros (sweet plantains) are just magical.  My husband used to eat them in the morning, drizzled with  mojo sauce, along with his scrambled eggs and home fries.  (Vegans may happily substitute scrambled tofu for the eggs.)  I don’t think you can possibly have a bad day if you start with sweet plantains on your breakfast plate.

Plaintains can be purchased while green, yellow or black.  If you buy one that is still green, you can keep it around for a week or two.  When a plantain is green, if you cook it it’s flavor will be more along the lines of starchy foods like potatoes or casava root.  If a plantain is semi-ripe and yellow, or yellow with black spots, it will be moderately sweet and similar to, but NOT the same as a “dessert” banana.  (The plantains I cooked above were semi-ripe.)   If a plantain is black but not rotten, don’t throw it out!  It’s completely ripe, the fruit inside will have a beautiful, pink tinge, and the fruit will be sweet enough to use in preparing a dessert, but it will still taste a bit different than a banana.

Until now, I had always cooked yellow plantains by pan-frying them in a little oil, until the plantain pieces started to carmalize.  This method of cooking always left my plantains a little on the soft and oily side.   Bryant Terry’s recipe calls for roasting them.  I found that with roasting, I still got that great, carmalized flavor.  However, the plantain pieces were firmer, less oily, and I liked them better this way.   The plantain is another food that Terry pairs up with Roasted Garlic-Lime Dipping Sauce.  (Since I had some sauce left over from the night when I made the Roasted Root Vegetables, I  purposefully decided to make this plantain dish.)    Once again, this sauce added a surprising twist to an old favorite.   Yum.

Faith

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“Vegan Peace Waffles,” Anyone?

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Waffle with SpreadHubby’s cell phone pic of my tasty “Naked Vegan Waffle.” Click on the waffle for recipe!

Mmmmm, waffles!

Breakfast is different around the world.  From country to country and from house to house, you just never know what you’ll get when you wake up in the morning.   Still…most people are picky about the way in which they start their day.  For that reason, some people say you shouldn’t mess with breakfast.  I understand this sentiment, because the thought of making pancakes or waffles without milk or eggs gave me pause.   I wasn’t worried about a change in flavor, so much.  But I was worried about a change in texture and compositional integrity.  I don’t like big, doughy messes, and when I wake up in the morning I am not in the mood for failure.  I worried that vegan recipes for  pancakes and waffles wouldn’t pan out.  So I fretted.  And I procrastinated.  And my kids ate cereal.   For weeks.  And then I fretted some more.  And then I found this website: WaffleParty.com And then I learned that my fretting was wasted energy.  That waffle you see up there?  It tasted every bit as yummy as it looks.  There was no compromise in waffle flavor or integrity whatsoever.  Serve these to your non-vegan friends, and the only thing they’ll have to say to you is “yum-o.”  These waffles stack up.

Anyone who’s been throwing “Waffle Parties” since 1998 knows a good waffle when they eat one. Considering Dave and Jen Wheitner’sWaffle Parties” have been vegan since 2007, they’ve had lot’s of time to work out the kinks.  But why in the world do these people host “Waffle Parties?”   Good question.  I can’t really figure out why they started all this.  But whatever the genesis, today it’s the fun and friendly way in which they help people promote healthy, compassionate and sustainable ways of eating all over the world, during the months of May and June.

Make Waffles, Not War? On September 24, 2009,  in Pittsburgh, PA, Dave and Jen held a “G-20 Vegan Peace Waffle Summit” to express their support for environmental, food security, human rights, animal rights, and public health causes.  They offered their “Vegan Peace Waffles” to anyone in Pittsburgh who was participating in G-20 activities.  Now how cool was that?

Vegans everywhere share a concern for the health of our planet, it’s people, and it’s animals.  We all dream of a peaceful and creualty-free future.  However, nothing is going to change if we don’t act.  So the next time you want to make a difference, don’t club your friends and family over the head with veganism.  (Not sustainable.)   Instead, dust off your waffle iron, feed some folks, consider throwing a waffle party, and make a few people smile.   Then tell them the truth in love.  Talk about the food we eat and it’s impact on our our health and happiness.  Talk about how our choices affect food availability to people all over the world.  Talk about the environment, the animals, whatever you want if you can broach it in a way that won’t cause nausea and indigestion.   And then send people home with a recipe for vegan waffles, because breakfast is a great way to start a the day….and it’s even better if you start it the vegan way.

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Filed under Appetisers, Breads & Muffins, Desserts, Entrees, Snacks

Jamaican Veggie Patties – Vegan Soul Kitchen

Poster

Uh oh…I know the date above probably says it’s October 2nd, 2009.  But this post is for October 1, 2009, and it’s my very first post of Vegan MoFo!

What is “Vegan MoFo” you say?  Why, where have you been?  And how could you not know?  Vegan MoFo is only the coolest online event evah to be held in the month of October!  (Translation: I had never heard of it until a few days ago, and this is the first time I am participating– but don’t tell anyone.)   As Kittee, Cake Maker to the Stars, describes it: “For the entire month of October, blogs from all over the free world and Alaska will be writing about vegan food and the awesome power of veganism.”  That’s 31 days of blogging about vegan food, folks.  Sounds exciting?  If not, then just you wait and see! You have no idea what you are in for!  (And neither do I.  But trust me– this is gonna be cool.  I think.  I hope.  Okay…at least it’s gonna be healthy?  er?)

All right… Today’s entry is called “Vegan Virtual Dinner Date #1.” I’ve invited Amanda from Amanda Blog and Kiss to a “Virtual Dinner.”  Amanda is a Bryant Terry fan, so I offered to cook her whatever she liked from the Vegan Soul Kitchen Cookbook. Amanda  requested the Jamaican Veggie Patties.  (Oh no!  A two-part preparation including a long list of spices, vegetables, some ingredients I don’t have, AND the making of a pastry crust. Yikes!  Click here for the recipe and you’ll see what I mean.)   I smiled and typed “No problem!”   And then I went to work.  Well…now it’s October 1, 2009, and all I can say is “Amanda…..you have been served!” (Virtually, that is.)  Behold, my very first “Vegan Virtual Dinner Party.”  And my very first post of Vegan MoFo 2009!

(Dear Readers, please remember, the dinner party being described on this blog has been held entirely in my imagination.  Only the food I have cooked, and my husband has photographed, is real.)

Amanda, a former “Jersey Girl,”  has become completely Dutch-i-fied.  For that reason, today she has actually riden her bike  to my home, (coincidentally I now live in Jersey,) all the way from Holland.  (I know!  Unbelievable, right?)  And she has done this wearing the cutest vegan boots evah!!!   But I digress.  I know that she has arrived because I can hear the dogs yapping from her bicycle basket.  Her little bike bell rings “dring, dring, dring” as she pedals straight up to my door.  Amanda drops her bike, and my husband opens the door for her because as usual, I am still cooking when my guest has arrived.  Amanda walks up to my kitchen and the first thing I notice is that there is nothing “Jersey” about her.  I point her towards a chair.  My nut-free version of the VSK Minimalist Survival Snack Mix

Minimalist Survival Snack Mix

is sitting on the table.  (This VSK grab-and-go snack is a mix of roasted walnuts and raisins.  Since my 4 year old is allergic to nuts, I used roasted organic pumpkin seeds and raisins, instead.)   Amanda grabs a handful of the mix and proceeds to tell me about her  incredible bicycle trip from Holland to New Jersey, her activism on behalf of animals, and the day Bryant Terry Twitterered her back.

People's Punch

(Twittering Bryant Terry?  I knew we had something in common.  She cooked this awesome meal from VSK.  Heck yeah, Terry Twittered her back.  Who wouldn’t??? )  Realizing that after biking such a great distance, she must be parched, I offer Amanda a glass of the VSK People’s Punch.

(It’s made with lemons, limes, oranges and pomegranate juice.  Quite invigorating.)  Then I whip up some VSK Basic Vinaigrette to top my simple salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, and avocados.

Basic Vinaigrette

Ding!  Finally, the oven timer goes off, and the VSK Jamaican Veggie Patties are done.   I’m not an experienced pastry chef, so my pie crust is a not as flaky as I would like.  I think I’ve overworked the dough, and it saddens me a bit.  However, I take a bite of my patty and am rewarded with a surprise: these patties are NOT like the patties I remember eating at Brooklyn bakeries visited years ago….No.  THESE PATTIES ARE BETTER!

I immediately  forgive myself for my flakeless crust, and vow to try my hand at making pastry dough again.  As for Amanda….she has completely stopped talking.  The VSK Jamaican Veggie Patties are exactly what she has been looking for: a tasty and portable snack that will travel well.  This is the perfect fuel for her next adventure.  She polishes off the last of the crumbs, and declares the VSK Jamaican Veggie Patties worth the trip to New Jersey! Veggie Patty Horizontal

Hooray!  My work is done! Okay….back to real life.  I’m exhausted and I’ve got to go to bed, but it was fun hosting my very first “Vegan Virtual Dinner Party.”  Thanks, Amanda, for inspiring me to cook a virtual meal for Vegan MoFo.  I love your blog.  It’s unusual, and I recommend it to anyone who needs a good laugh.  Wish I could send you the patties through airmail, but they really just wouldn’t keep.  Perhaps the next time you are in New Jersey, you can look me up,  and I’ll cook them for you, for real!

Bon Voyage and Best Wishes in all your endeavors!

Faith

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Black-Eyed Pea Fritters with Hot Pepper Sauce (done mild.)

Dipping Sauce

Recipe: “Vegan Soul Kitchen.”

I love the healthful, and surprising protein addition of black-eyed peas and peanuts (or in our case, pumpkin seeds,) to this appetizer staple. However, the real surprise was that the dipping sauce was the bomb! It was deeply flavored and easy to make.

I often have to innovate and make substitutions to recipes on the fly. My youngest is allergic to peanuts, so I used pumpkin seeds. I like things spicy, so I kicked it up a notch on the mild tasting fritters– and that was a mistake. My F.I.L. couldn’t hack the heat. So when it came to making the hot sauce, I compromised and used mild, green peppers instead of Habanero peppers. Topping my spicy version of the fritters with dollops of the milder sauce made this an appetizer that both Pop Pop and the kids could enjoy.

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Black-Eyed Peas – One Night, Two Ways.

Black-Eyed Pea Fritters

Black-Eyed Pea Fritters

  • Black-Eyed Pea Fritters (Foreground)
  • Creole Hoppin’ Jean (Background)

Recipes: “Vegan Soul Kitchen.”

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