Category Archives: Beans and Vegan Protein Foods

Getting Back To My Roots.

VSK-Blackened Tofu 2 002A Poster

Blackened Tofu Slabs on a bed of Roasted Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic-Lime Dipping Sauce - Vegan Soul Kitchen. For the tofu recipe, click on the pic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic-Lime Dipping Sauce

I love roasted root vegetables.  If you’ve never cooked root vegetables before, let me assure you that you can not go wrong if you toss your favorite ones in a little olive oil and sea salt, and then roast them until they caramelize into nothing less than a pure, cold-weather dish full of comfort.  And because roasting root vegetables into utter perfection is easier than pie, it is no surprise that the first part of Bryant Terry’s recipe is as simple as they come.   (My only standing complaint is that using rutabagas and turnips seems redundant.  If you are serving children, you may want to skip those two altogether.)

But now for the second part of Terry’s recipe: Considering all that roasted roots have going for them, why would Terry add a Roasted Garlic-Lime Dipping Sauce to the mix?   I looked at that recipe and  wondered if the man had gone daft.  Who adds additional flavors to something that is already naturally rich in flavor?  I didn’t get it.  Still, Terry has been a pretty reliable guide thus far, so I gave the sauce a try.   And the verdict?  What a revelation.   The roasted garlic melded nicely with the root vegetables, while the citrus and cilantro flavors spun around and gave an old, comforting favorite a surprising,  tropical and upbeat twist.  The lime flavor actually brightened my mood a bit.  Basically, Terry took an old steady and reliable Fall/Winter dish, and added a little dash of fun.  (Or a little dash of sun, depending on your perspective.)

This is an example of what people are talking whenever they say it’s time to bring in someone with a new and fresh perspective. (I would have said new blood, but hey, this is a vegan blog, lol.)  We can talk about the merits of “tried and true” all day long.  I like “The Old Standards” just as much as the next guy.  But frankly?  Nothing get’s a joint jumpin’ like a DJ with a good remix.   Serving up remixes seem to be Terry’s specialty.  ‘Nuff said.

Blackened Tofu Slabs (without Succotash Salsa.)

Now, let’s talk about the tofu.  originally, this was supposed to be Terry’s Blackened Tofu Slabs with Succotash Salsa.  I didn’t have lima beans on hand, so I skipped the salsa.  Also, I think I misread the instructions, as everyone else who has cooked this dish came up with something that looked more like this version from Chow Vegan.  (Click that link.  Doesn’t that look good?)  Anyway…the Blackened Tofu was easy to make.  The rub was tasty.  I served it warm to my little ones, and the 4-year-old ate it without much complaint. (That says a lot.)  The 2-year-old refused to eat anything tonight, so I sampled the tofu from her plate, and it was tasty.  However, Marc and I had to wait for our opportunity to really give this dish a try. (Our food was having its “portrait” taken.)  By the time Marc finished, our tofu was cold.  I reheated the tofu, and much to my disappointment, the flavor had vanished.  Each bite seemed like an overwhelming slog through a mouthful of desperately…plain…tofu.  For that reason, I’m going to revisit this recipe.  The next time I make it, I’ll cut it properly, I’ll serve it fresh, I’ll make the salsa to go with it, and then I’ll report back to you guys.  Wish me luck!

Faith

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Filed under Beans and Vegan Protein Foods, Entrees, Green Things, Side Dishes, Tofu

Easy, now. Tempeh, tempeh!

The Vegan Month of Food 2009

The Vegan Month of Food 2009

VSK-Tempeh 006A

“Open-Faced BBQ Tempeh Sandwich” topped with “Straightforward Coleslaw,” from “Vegan Soul Kitchen” by Bryant Terry. Want the recipe? Click on the pic!

Until today, I’ve never made anything with tempeh that would make me call home.  Well, somebody get my mother on the phone, because this sandwich has put tempeh at the top of the charts!  Seriously, Dawgs (am I channeling Randy Jackson or something?)  This dish is in the big leagues.  This is the one that will make your meat eating friends ask for seconds.  This is the one you serve when someone says “I could never be a vegan; it would be too boring.”  Is your mama nagging you about your diet?  This is the one that will shut…your…mama… up.   All the same, I have a few caveats, so stay with me, okay?

When I finally sat down to prepare this dish, a fortuitous thing happened: I misplaced my cookbook.  Yup.  I panicked.  And then I got on the internet and searched for the recipes.   The original recipe was the “Open-Faced BBQ Sandwich with Carrot-Cayenne Coleslaw.” I found both recipes at The Atlantic. In the comment section, somebody named “Lara” had made this dish and said the sauce was “FANTASTIC,” if a bit on the hot side.  She planned to make a vat of the sauce, but decided to omit the cayenne from the coleslaw, as it did nothing to mitigate the heat from the tempeh.  Okay..Note taken.  Then I found Victoria, who had already blogged her efforts at The Idle Loaf, and she had a mixed review:  She liked it. Her husband didn’t. Victoria really likes barbecue, so considering “cayenne” was in the title, she was surprised that the sandwich wasn’t very spicy.  (What?!?!)  Victoria said if she were to make this sandwich again, she’d use her own BBQ sauce.  On top of that, both she and her hubby agreed there was too much vinegar flavor in the dish.  Her husband said he would have preferred a creamy coleslaw for contrast.   (Victoria also baked her own sandwich bread.  Sounds like a winning idea!)

With these reviews in mind, I set about preparing the BBQ sauce with a little trepidation.  Everyone has their own idea about what a good BBQ sauce should taste like.  Mostly, your ideas simply come from whatever you’ve been exposed to.  If all you’ve ever had was a simple, mass-produced commercial sauce full of corn syrup, well then anything that tastes bold or spicy might be tough to take.  If you’ve been lucky enough to try a variety of BBQ sauces, including regional and homemade sauces from around the U.S., as well as Korean and Japanese sauces, to name a few, your mind might be open to experiencing  other types of flavors as the top note.  Whatever the case, here’s the good thing– if you simply taste this sauce before you pour it on, you can tweak it to  fit your personal taste.  I added additional tomato sauce, two extra chipotles, and a tad more agave to mine, so the final result was thicker and spicier.  If you don’t like a lot of spice, you might want to stick to one chipotle, and skip the cayenne.  You might even want to add maple syrup, molasses, or pinapples bits- whatever floats your boat.  Somebody on VegWeb said it was too salty for her tastes.  She recommended diluting the tamari or using a low sodium tamari and low sodium tomato sauce– all excellent ideas for the salt-sensitive Soul Food lover.  Whatever you do, simply taste the sauce before you make your decision.   Once you’ve got the BBQ sauce tweeked to perfection, pour and bake or barbecue for the requisite time.  I baked mine for an hour, but when I saw some tempeh pieces on the edge that were darker than the ones in the middle, I knew I wanted the darker, richer results.  I shoved the pan back into the oven, uncovered, and baked it for another 10-15 minutes.   (Despite what it says on the dial, oven temperatures vary, so your results may differ.)

Now…the coleslaw/vinegar issue:  I like vinegar but I have my limits, so I take this criticism seriously.   At this point, I’ve made 16 of Bryant Terry’s recipes, and I know that for me, some of his recipes run a bit on the citrus and astringent side.  (Maybe it’s because he lives in California, where citrus fruits are plentiful?)   I’ve already put apple cider vinegar and lime juice in the BBQ sauce.  The Cayenne-Carrot Coleslaw that originally went with this dish calls for a lighter-flavored champagne vinegar, which I don’t have.  I use apple cider vingar instead.   I made a small sample of the coleslaw, and taste-tested it in conjunction with a piece of the barbecued tempeh.  Hmmm.  I decided that Victoria’s husband was right.  Lucky for me, right next to the “Carrot-Cayenne Coleslaw” recipe was the “Straightforward Coleslaw” recipe.  There were fewer ingredients used in the “Straightforward” version,  and 1/4 cup of silken tofu served to make a creamy, delicious tasting coleslaw that took almost no time to whip up.  I drizzled in a little extra agave, and YUM.   I had the contrast I was looking for.  (And now I’m thinking Victoria’s hubby has to give this recipe a second try!)

The end results?  Hubby and I devoured these open-faced sandwiches without mercy.  My husband called Bryant Terry a genius. (Seriously, I kid you not.)   He also added that this was the first time he was ever looking forward to left-overs.

Nuff said.   Make this sandwich and let me know what ya think!

Faith

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Filed under Beans and Vegan Protein Foods, Entrees, Sandwiches, Side Dishes, Snacks

Creole Hoppin’ Jean

Creole Hoppin'-Jean (jon) Vegan Soul Kitchen

Creole Hoppin'-Jean (jon) Vegan Soul Kitchen

Creole Hoppin’- Jean
Recipe: “Vegan Soul Kitchen.”

This was so good, I ate it for Meatless Monday…and then I ate it again for breakfast on Tuesday. Nuff said.

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Filed under Beans and Vegan Protein Foods, Entrees, Green Things, Side Dishes, Snacks, Uncategorized