Category Archives: Side Dishes

Happy & Healthy New Year! – Vegan “Hoppin’ John” for 2013

Creole Hoppin'-Jean (jon) Vegan Soul Kitchen

Creole Hoppin’-Jean (jon) Vegan Soul Kitchen

It’s 2013!  Happy & Healthy New Year! 

I’ve decided it’s time for me to get back to blogging soulful, vegan goodness.  (Bookmark me and put me in your feed!)  Why not start the new year with a delicious vegan or vegetarian version of “Hoppin’ John?”  In this case, it’s called “Hoppin’ Jean,” and it’s soooo tasty, I have come to think of it as comfort food.  When I first made this dish back in 2009, here’s what I said:

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

Cook this and you won’t regret it.   (But be careful to adjust the spice level to suit your own needs.  More pepper if you like it wicked hot.  Less if you like things mild.)   Click HERE for the recipe!

Super Healthy Collard Greens!

VSK Citrus Collards with Raisins

If you want to pair this with collards for the new year, try Bryant Terry’s Citrus Collard Greens?  Click HERE for a video of Bryant in action!

An African American New Year’s Tradition!
Want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise in 2013?
Cooking Hoppin’ John and Collard Greens on New Year’s Day is an old African American and Southern U.S. tradition.  The black eyed peas represent pennies or coins.  The greens represent dollars.   It’s said that if you cook these dishes on the first day of the new year, it will bring you wealth and luck.   And while I can’t guarantee that cooking the vegan versions will make money grow on trees, I can definitely guarantee this: If you add these two easy, inexpensive, protein and nutrition rich powerhouse recipes to your culinary repertoire  this year, you will surely be HEALTHIER.  If you substitute plant protein for meat protein at least one day a week this year,  you’ll save money. (WEALTHIER!)  And making healthy, money-saving decisions in this year- or in any year-  is nothing short of WISE.

Cheers!

Faith

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Filed under Beans, Black Eyed Peas, Collard Greens, Entrees, Green Things, Happy New Year, Meatless Monday, Side Dishes

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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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

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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Filed under Appetisers, Entrees, Green Things, 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

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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