Recipe

Manhattan Special / Espresso Soda Float

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A few weeks ago while on my way home from Manhattan, I texted Jim and asked him if he wanted me to pick him up anything before I came home.

His response: "Swing by Anthony and Son's and get me a Manhattan Special".

I had no clue what the hell is a Manhattan Special was.  I thought it was a sandwich.

Ends up being it's this really amazing espresso soda carried at the Italian grocers in our neighborhood.  It's actually made and bottled in a small factory in our very neighborhood, only a few short blocks away from our apartment.

Jim explained this all to me and I stopped quick to pick some up for him.  Then I proceeded to drink half the bottle when I got home, it was so tasty!  It also was so caffeinated, it's made with real espresso after all.

"Oh my god, you know what this needs?!" my caffeinated self told him while buzzing around the apartment, finishing off the bottle.  "It totally needs ice cream!  This would make the best float ever!"

So the next time I picked up some Manhattan Special I also picked up a tub of my favorite vegan vanilla ice cream and made myself a float.  Easiest recipe ever.

First, buy yo'self some Manhattan Special.

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Then in a large glass, scoop two to three scoops of your favorite vanilla or chocolate ice cream.  Vegan or non-vegan ice creams all work here folks.  Then top off with the Manhattan Special.

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Just like a traditional float, you'll have to add the soda little by little to avoid it from spilling over.

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Once the glass if full and the ice cream has floated to the top, insert your straw, grab a spoon and enjoy!

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Have you ever had a Manhattan Special?

Eating Vegan Paleo / Baked Sweet Potato with Beans and Greens

My favorite "lazy" meal. Baked sweet potato with greens and beans. For the past several months since I've gone grain-free, I've been on the search for really quick, easy to make "lazy day" meals that will keep me satisfied without hitting up Seamless for takeout.  These types of recipes are especially important for me when my work schedule gets insane and my days really long. While perusing Pinterest one day I came across this recipe on the Kitchn and have been hooked making variations of it ever since.  The formula is pretty simple.  Take a baked sweet potato, and stuff it with a tasty combination of beans and greens. Depending on how you cook the potato, it can be ready to eat in 10 minutes start to finish. If I have some extra time, I'll actually roast the sweet potato in the oven (which takes an hour).  Otherwise, if I'm being super lazy it just goes in my microwave on the baked potato setting.  The beans and greens get sautéed in a pan with olive oil, garlic, and maybe some onions or shallots while the potato cooks.  They also can be mixed and matched depending on what you are in the mood for. Here's some examples of the different variations I've made: The Original (i.e. the Kitchn version)- Sweet potato, kale, white beans. The Mexican Sweet potato, spinach, black beans and top with salsa and avocado. The Italian Sweet potato, broccoli rabe, chickpeas and a squeeze of lemon juice. (shown above, this one was AMAZING) The Clean-Out-the Fridge Sweet potato, whatever greens are in my fridge, whatever beans are in my cabinet.  It can also include other "leftovers" from that week.  One particularly good version included some leftover lentil salad I had made for the bean component. The possibilities are pretty endless.  Plus it's pretty damn tasty. What's your favorite "lazy day" recipe?

Eating Vegan Paleo / Masala Tofu and Cauli-Fried Rice

Dinner tonight: Masala Tofu and Cauliflower "Fried" Rice. #Grainfree #vegan and smells amazing! As I've mentioned since my Paleo Challenge at my Crossfit gym earlier this year, I've since maintained a totally grain free vegan diet.  I had such great results I now can't fathom eating any other way. When I mention I'm grain free to other vegans, their first usual reaction is "I love grains!  They're the basis for every meal for me.  I could never do that!"  This is kind of ironic to me considering it's the same type of answer we all usually get when speaking to an omnivore about eating meat, dairy or eggs! Truth is I've actually found it pretty easy to make similar recipes to what I'm used to by using grain "substitutions", similar to how people will eat faux meats and cheeses when transitioning to veganism.  Over the next few weeks, I'll give you some of my tricks as to how I've easily made this transition along with some of my new favorite recipes I've both adapted and created to make it possible. First up today is grain free rice!  I used to absolutely love rice, especially fried rice.  Believe it or not,  grated cauliflower has a very similar taste and texture to the real thing, so it works perfect in these kind of dishes.  It's also really easy to prepare. Here's my vegan adaptation of Urban Poser's Paleo Masala Cauli-Rice.  To make this more of an entrée for vegans, I've added some delicious dry rubbed masala tofu to the dish.  This recipe smells as amazing as it looks and tastes!  When I brought leftovers of it into work one day everyone kept ducking into the break-room to see where the smell was coming from.

Masala Tofu and Cauli-Fried Rice

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium cauliflower head, grated (about 4 cups)
  • Half a large yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 whole jalapeno, seeded and diced or 1/4 cup diced green pepper
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled & grated ( about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/3 cup frozen petite green peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon Garam Masala seasoning (I used the pre-made type)
  • salt and pepper to taste (amounts will vary depending on if your masala mix was salted or not).
  • Garnishes: lime wedges & cilantro

DIRECTIONS

PREP:
  1. Set your broiler to high so it gets nice and hot while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Press your tofu to remove as much moisture as possible.  Then cut into triangles.  Dry rub each piece with the reserved 1 tablespoon of Garam Masala.  Lay on a broiler safe baking sheet coated in cooking spray and set aside until we're ready to broil it.
  3. Grate the cauliflower with a hand grater or with a grating blade on a food processor. You can also use the regular blade on the food processor but it may result in a wetter, less "rice-like" product.
  4. Prep the rest of the veggies minus the frozen peas (dicing, mincing) and set aside.
  5. Mince the garlic and pepper, grate the ginger mixing them all together in a small bowl.
  6. Mix together the spices in another small bowl and set aside.
COOKING:
  1. Pop the tofu under the broiler for 6 minutes.  When browned, flip the tofu and give it another 6 minutes.  Tofu should be golden and crispy on the outside.  When done set aside.
  2. Heat a wok over high medium/high heat (on the "high" side), add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and then add the cauliflower. Toss it in the oil then spread it out in a thin layer as evenly as possible. Turn the burner up to high. Allow cauliflower to fry till it starts to brown a little then stir/flip it around, again spreading it in a thin layer. Do this a couple of times till the cauliflower starts to get brown and black flecks all over it, almost like it has been grilled. Transfer to a large bowl and place the wok back on the heat, turning the heat back down to medium/high. Spreading out the cauliflower and cooking it at a high heat like this keeps the cauliflower from steaming itself and getting soggy, and produces a very "rice-like" texture.
  3. Add another tablespoon of coconut oil, then add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno/green pepper mix to the oil. Fry for about a minute but not so long that the mixture burns. Stir & toss often to keep from burning.
  4. Add the prepared veggies (minus the peas) to the wok and cook just as you did the cauliflower. Spreading out and allowing them to fry and brown, stir & toss often till the veggies are cooked through and browned slightly. Transfer to the bowl with the cauliflower.
  5. Return the wok to the heat and add the last tablespoon of coconut oil plus the spice mixture. Fry the spice mixture in the oil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then add the rest of the ingredients back into the wok. Add the green peas and continue to fry and toss all the ingredients together for about 1-2 minutes more. Add coarse sea salt and cracked pepper to taste. Salt amounts will vary depending on if your masala mix was salted or not. If it doesn't contain salt, I start with about 1 teaspoon of salt and work from there.
  6. To serve, plate a serving of the cauli-rice and top with the masala tofu wedges.  Serve with a wedge of lime, to be squeezed on top of the "rice" just before serving and some cilantro.
 

Comfort Food for Sandy Relief / Coconut Rice with Winter Squash

20121108-082142.jpg I don't usually post recipes, but I figured this was as good a time as any to share one of my favorites with you! Food bloggers are getting together today and posting their favorite comfort meal recipes in support of Hurricane Sandy Relief. The concept is to share a recipe that you find comforting and would bring to a friend or neighbor in crisis to raise their spirits. One of my favorite recipes is one I veganized from Real Simple Magazine quite a while ago that we include in our regular recipe rotation in our home. It's coconut creamy, comforting, quick, super easy and really yummy. If you haven't done so already, please donate to help with the Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts. Every little bit helps.

Coconut Rice with Winter Squash

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rice- I like to use leftover rice or make it in advance of putting the recipe together.
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 block of firm tofu- I use the silken kind for a stir-fried egg-type texture.
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed*
  • kosher salt
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Prepare the rice according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, place the squash in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Crumble the tofu, add it to the pan and cook, stirring, until it's lightly browned. Add the pinch of turmeric and mix to make the tofu yellow and give it a scrambled egg look.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining oil and the onion to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the squash, rice, edamame, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring gently, until heated through and all the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat. Add the scallions and tofu, toss, and serve.
*My photo above doesn't include the edamame because when I made it this week I forgot that I ran out of my freezer stash.  I recommend if you have it adding it to the dish, it really makes it. What's your favorite comfort meal?

Meatless Monday Recipe / Maple Roasted Tofu and Veggies

{image via Vegan Dad}
One thing I love about fall is root vegetables.  Sweet potatoes, regular ol' potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, I love them all.  As part of our winter CSA share we get a giant box of them once a month, and last week was our first one of the season. I found this recipe a long time ago on Vegan Dad and it's now my go to recipe to clear out my fridge of all my root veggies.  Although this recipe takes longer than my standard 30 minute allotted time frame, I love making it on weekends because it goes together in a snap and then hangs out in the oven for an hour, allowing me to do other things while I wait.  It's delicious, is a full meal (it includes tofu as a protein) and is really versatile.  You can pretty much sub any vegetable you want in it.  I've even made this with broccoli thrown in.  Tempeh would probably work in place of the tofu if it's not your thing.  Last night I made this and served it over a bed of arugula, yum! For the recipe, click here.

African Coconut Curry Soup

One of my absolute favorite recipes is a simple African Coconut Curry Soup one I found on Epicurious a while back. Not only is it delicious, but it's a great way to use leftover rice. It's also super quick to make and only uses a few ingredients, many of which are standard pantry items. It's creamy, filling and super satisfying. My omnivore hubby loves it. Check out the recipe here.

Hawaiian Un-Chicken

My grandmother passed when I was around 12 years old.  Most of my best memories surrounding her are those when I would help her make dinner when my brother and I would be visiting her.  My grandmother was a fantastic cook, and I still feel like she's with us every time I make one of her recipes. Her Hawaiian Chicken was a mainstay in my family.  Everyone loves it.  When I started working for my family's business around 6 years ago, I made the dish for our annual Christmas Eve "linner" (lunch/dinner) and it was a huge hit, especially with my family who still works for the company.  Soon after that everyone expected me to then make it.  One year I remember I made a chili instead and I never heard the end of it. This year was my first year as a vegan, and therefore a dilemma.  I don't want to even touch meat anymore... gross.  So I decided to play the biggest practical joke ever by figuring out how to veganize my grandmother's Hawaiian Chicken recipe and not telling anyone it was vegan.  Best... test... ever! Long story short, the dish looked so convincing that when I piled my plate full of it the day of the linner, everyone started running around the office announcing I was a bad vegan and "cheating" by eating chicken.  As they ate the dish, there were lots of  "Yum!  I look forward to this every year Corrie, delicious!" comments.  I laughed inside.  After everyone had eaten almost all of the tray I announced to the group it was vegan, to which my father in particular announced it was not possible, that it had to be chicken!  It tasted like chicken and therefore had to be! That, my friends is a successful recipe veganization! Here's the recipe in case you want to test it out on your non-vegan friends.  I must warn you its not healthy but damn it's delicious.  It works great as a potluck recipe and serves around 6 meal size servings or 8-10 small "potluck" size portions.

Hawaiian Un-Chicken

  • 3 pounds of vegan unbreaded chicken tenders/nuggets.  I used Gardein buffalo strips minus the sauce.  Be sure they are defrosted otherwise the breading won't stick.
  • Italian Breadcrumbs (weird, but works.  It's gotta be Italian Herb.  Some aren't vegan, so be sure to check the package.  In the event you can't find any, use plain and add your own dried italian herbs along with some soy parmesan)
  • Canola/Vegetable Oil to Fry
  • 2 jars Saucy Susan brand Duck Sauce (it HAS to be Saucy Susan, so said my Grandma)
  • 2 large cans pineapple junks in juice
  1. In a large, deep sided frying pan bring several cups of frying oil to temperature.  While that's warming to temperature, work on breading the chicken.
  2. Cut each mock chicken tender into two pieces so you have little "chunks" of chicken.  Place into a large bowl.
  3. Open one of the Saucy Susan jars and spoon several tablespoons over the chicken chunks.  Mix well to coat.
  4. In a large ziplock bag, pour a good amount of breadcrumbs.  Then in batches dump your chicken chunks into the breadcrumbs, close the bag, toss to coat, and fry until golden and crispy.  Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.  Repeat until all the chicken chunks are fried and drained.  Then arrange all the fried chicken chunks in a large baking dish. 
  5. Strain the pineapple juice into a large bowl, reserving the chunks of pineapple.  Then add to the bowl both jars of Saucy Susan, and whisk to mix.
  6. Combine the pineapple chunks in the baking dish with the fried chicken pieces.  Pour the pineapple sauce mixture over the top, and toss to coat.
  7. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until heated through and the saucy is thick and bubbly.
  8. Plate the Hawaiian Un-Chicken with some rice and prepare to fake out your non-veg friends.

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