There’s something extremely satisfying about eating the pillowy soft dough of a steamed bun. Tender and moist in texture, yeasty and slightly sweet in flavor. I think it’s perfect when accompanied by a bold, savory filling (I’ve never been that into sweet versions, like red bean paste steamed buns). A lifelong vegetarian, my life has been largely devoid of savory steamed buns, as they are typically filled with meat. But in my dream life, I’d be eating steamed buns all the time (I mean, really, who wouldn’t be), so I knew I had to learn how to make them. And hey, guess what?! They’re really rather easy to make!…
If you’ve never had the Japanese dish nasu dengaku (miso-glazed eggplant), you’re in for a treat! The first time I ate it I had to wonder what sorcery happened to the eggplant. How is something so simple SO good? It’s like, just eggplant, with a miso glaze broiled on top of it. The eggplant becomes so tender, without succumbing to mushiness, and that miso-glaze is a savory flavor bomb. Here it’s paired with crisp and chili-flecked marinated cucumbers for a juicy, spicy bite, and stuffed into corn tortillas for easy handheld eating….
I’ve been making way too many recipes with chipotle peppers lately (not that this is actually a problem), and I reallly needed to do something about that. So I decided to take a little culinary trip across the ocean to Korea and have a little affair with gochujang. It’s super trendy in the US right now, so there’s a good chance it’s crossed your path, but in case it hasn’t, gochujang is a red chile paste made of fermented soy beans, glutinous rice, sugar, and of course, red chili powder–specifically gochugaru, Korean red chili powder. Due to the fermented nature of the ingredients, it has a lot more depth of flavor than your average chili sauce. Because of this, it’s used differently than most chili sauces, and is combined with other ingredients to thin it out and sometimes dilute. Gochujang has a delicious lingering heat that builds slowly in your mouth, but despite that it’s actually a rather mild spice. Though, it can also vary a lot in heat level by brand, so check your labels and taste before using. My gochujang is pretty mild, so I use a lot. If yours is spicy you may need to use less (dependent on your spice tolerance). …
Back in June Omar and I ate out at a Kapnos, a pretty vegan-friendly, Greek restaurant in DC, where we discovered this amazing dish called favosalata. Is that not incredibly fun to say? Favosalata! It was creamy and super flavorful, despite only really being flavored with scallions, olive oil, white wine, black garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Made from yellow split peas, it was a bit reminiscent of hummus, but really only in the fact that it’s a legume purée. We really enjoyed dipping our freshly made flatbread into the flavorful bright yellow spread. It was one of the highlights of the meal for us! So much that when I was at the grocery store the following week I picked up a bag of split yellow peas to recreate it ASAP. And then they sat in my pantry for 6 weeks….
Have you guys ever had tinga? It’s a traditional Mexican dish where shredded chicken (which is easily substituted to make it vegan) is cooked in a tomato, onion, and chipotle in adobo sauce. The simple sauce is made of only TEN ingredients and packs a ton of flavor. It’s tangy and smokey, tomatoey and oniony, and oh so mouth-watering delicious. It quickly became a favorite around here, to the point where we made 4 batches in one week–in part because the first day I made it Omar ran out to the store for more tortillas (not that we were out yet) and brought home a 5-pound bag of them. Did you know they sold tortillas in 5 lb bags? Me either. For those of you concerned about our current tortilla status, we had some friends over for a tinga taco party (I highly recommend you do the same) and that took care of most of them….
Have you ever had pickled grapes? The first time I had them was in 2013 at the Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn. They were a topping on at least one of the vegan pizzas on the menu, and while I was certainly skeptical of grapes on pizza, not to mention grapes that have been pickled, I figured, whatever I’ll try it, it’s always a good idea to expand your eating horizons. And guys they were SO good! Pickled grapes are sweet and tangy, juicy and bursting with spicy-sweet pickled flavor. Two bites into that pizza and I was glad I didn’t live in the area, or I’d be spending all my money on pizza! Though, not really, because I enjoy making my own too much ;)!
I liked the pickled grapes to the point that you’d think it would have been months not years before I got around to trying my hand at them. But, you need to take into account the fact that I don’t actually love grapes. I’m fine with them, and I’ll eat them, and I love wine–pour me some more please, but I don’t buy fresh grapes. I excuse this by telling myself grapes are essentially all sugar, but I’m pretty sure that’s a lame reason as high sugar content doesn’t stop me from eating all the mangoes I can get my hands on or from eating insane amounts of cherries in their too-short season. At least there’s a chance I’m getting some of grape’s antioxidant properties from wine? Oh well. Point is, I probably haven’t bought grapes since that time (and before), and so it quickly became out of sight out of mind….
Are you looking for a fun party appetizer? Something you can bring to a picnic? A recipe for your gluten free or vegan friends? Something to munch on for a tasty and simple meal? I’ve got you covered with these super cute pesto smashed potato pizzas! You can enjoy them hot or at room temperature, which makes them a no stress option.
Baby potatoes are boiled then smashed, skins splitting to expose the soft custardy interior. A simple zippy marinara is spooned overtop and then some homemade vegan cheese. The potatoes are then baked in a hot oven until the edges get a little crispy, while the inside remains creamy and soft. Melty cheese atop a crispy baked potato is drool worthy on it’s own, and you might be tempted to gobble them up immediately.. but, I promise you, the last step is so worth it. Dollop, smear, pour–whatever–some basil pesto on top and you’ve reached potato pizza heaven (a different kind than before)….
Are you a sweet or savory breakfast person? I can go either way, but these days most of my breakfasts are savory. Typically I have toast, as I’m always baking bread. But sometimes you need to switch it up, and these vegan eggy bacon and chive muffins are perfect for that. They are easy to make and bake up soft and custardy inside, and they contain the perfect breakfast trio: eggy tofu, seitan bacon, and chives.
Tofu and chickpea flour work together to act as egg replacer in these muffins, and provide their soft and eggy texture. They also pack a punch of protein. Actually, protein accounts for over 20% of the calories, which is an impressive 6 grams of protein in 112 calories per muffin* (if anyone keeps track at home). I used whole wheat pastry flour for the extra protein content and higher fiber which keeps these extra healthy. But I have also successfully made the muffins with all purpose flour, and a blend of all purpose and whole wheat flour. While you could probably use all whole wheat flour in the muffins, the texture would suffer somewhat….
You want a pasty? I want a pasty. Corned tempeh pasties! Flakey layered pastry dough filled with a zesty corned tempeh and mashed potato filling that is peppered with scallions, which provide an oniony bite. A riff on your typical meat and potatoes pasty, but with healthy tempeh, which provides a great meaty texture without all the heaviness.
To make this, I used rough puff pastry dough, which is a version of laminated pastry dough that is much simpler and quicker to make than puff pastry while still having a nice flakey result. By making your own laminated dough, you can use your vegan butter of choice and guarantee a short ingredient list, free of high fructose corn syrup and other undesirable ingredients….
Hailing from El Salvador, pupusas are a delicious stuffed bread made with masa–the same corn flour product used to make corn tortillas. Traditionally they are served with curdito, a mildly fermented cabbage slaw, and a spiced tomato sauce. I kept it quick and simple and served mine with a vinegary slaw and spicy store bought salsa, adding guacamole because it’s our favorite. Cooked up, the masa-based dough is soft and pillowy. The pupusas are filled with creamy refried beans and a homemade vegan roasted jalapeño cheese.The cheese is perfect in these pupusas. It’s melty, rich, creamy, and packed with delicious peppery flavor. Bursting with mouth watering hot cheese and beans, these vegan jalapeño cheese and bean pupusas are quite the treat….