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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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Filed under Appetisers, Green Things, Side Dishes, Snacks

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

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.

8 Comments

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