Saturday, April 4, 2015

Texas VegFest 2015 Cooking Demo

As of today, I have conquered one of my largest fears: a live cooking demo!  I mean, I love cooking, but I have all the grace of Elaine Benes in the kitchen.  So having people watch me make food warranted a merit badge.  Ha!

Today, I opted for super simple recipes that translate well with a large growd.  After all, it is picnic season!  The first recipe I showcased was a blackened chickpea salad.  It's gluten free, veggie based, and has a soy free option.

This is great with veggies and on sandwiches
Blackened Chickpea Salad

gluten free

soy free option: Use soy free mayo.

1 cup vegan mayo
¼ cup dijon mustard
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 grated carrots
¼ cup red onion, diced
5 green onions, minced

Blackening Spice:
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp granulated garlic
1 Tbsp granulated onion
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano

Two 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
salt to taste

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dressing.  Add the blackening spice and stir until thoroughly combined.  Pulse the chickpeas until they are broken up, but still maintain a lot of texture (maybe 3-4 times).  Add the chickpeas to the bowl and mix thoroughly.  Salt to taste. Let chill for at least an hour before serving.

Of course, I didn't want to do a demo without doing my recipe for deviled cucumbers.  The original recipe is years old, but I only just recently replaced the tofu for cucumbers.It's so simple and really has a wow factor, so here ya go...

All about that grace, no treble.  Photo by my mom.
Deviled Cucumbers
gluten free
soy free option: Use soy free mayo

2 large English cucumbers, sliced ¼ inch thick
15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
scant ⅓ cup vegan mayo
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
pinch of turmeric
1 heaping Tbsp dill relish
black salt (kala namak) to taste
minced chives or green onions for garnish
paprika for garnish

Combine white beans, mayo, mustard, and turmeric in food processor.  Process until completely smooth.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add the dill and black salt to taste.  Chill for at least an hour.  Meanwhile, take your cucumbers and remove a small portion of the seeds from each slice.  Do not hollow them out completely because they will hold the deviled filling.  Once the filling has set, use a piping bag (or freezer bag) to pipe into the cucumbers.  Garnish with paprika and chives.

Smoky variation: Replace the dill relish with 2 Tbsp imitation bacon bits.  Replace the paprika with smoked paprika.

Tex Mex Variation: Replace the dill relish with 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp crushed Mexican oregano, and 1 Tbsp finely minced onion.  Garnish with chipotle chili powder and cilantro.

Que Fancy Pants Variation: Combine 3 Tbsp vegan sour cream with 1 Tbsp fresh chopped dill.  Garnish with dilly sour cream and seaweed caviar.

Texas VegFest 2015

If you happen to be in the Austin area this lovely afternoon, please come see me do my first live cooking demo at Texas VegFest 2015!  I am excited to be back in my home state, and especially for this fantastic opportunity.

Find a list of all the speakers here and check out event info here.  Texas Vegfest is today Saturday, April 4th from 11AM to 6PM.

My cooking demo begins at 3:30, and I hope to see some familiar faces!  New blogs are coming this evening and all of next week.  Texas has, once again, made me proud to be a native.

Texas VegFest
Saturday, April 4, 2015. 11am-6pm
2101 Jesse E. Segovia St.
Austin, Texas

Monday, January 5, 2015

Nopales Gumbo

Living in Southern California for the past 6 years has made me a huge wimp when it comes to the cold.  I remember when cold fronts were a welcomed change from triple digit summers.  Now, I shiver when it's 60 degrees out.  THE SHAME.

As much as I insist that this weather is cuckoo banana pants, I relish it.  The doggy snuggles, the boyfriend heater, and soup. all. day. son.  I first made this gumbo when I was trying to find a good use for leftover nopales.  The end result was fantastic!  My roommate and I made our way through the giant pot o' gumbo in a couple of days.  It's super easy and will definitely warm up those chilling nights.

Nopales Gumbo
(serves 8)

This cactus gumbo meshes two cuisines for the best of both worlds. Find fresh nopales for cheap in the produce section of your local Latin grocer. If you can’t find nopales, I suppose you could go ahead and use okra.

Notes: I use Tofurky andouille sausages because why not. Also, feel free to go halfsies on the bell pepper. I did half red and half green. If you’re feeling super frisky, mix it up with poblano!

3 Tbsp oil
4 large vegan andouille sausages, homemade or storebought, sliced
¼ cup margarine
½ cup all purpose flour
Medium onion, finely diced
Bell pepper, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
2 ½ cups fresh nopales
1 ½ cups corn, fresh or fresh frozen
6 cups broth
1 tsp salt, more or less to taste
Pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro or parsley

Cooked white rice
Green onions for garnish

Add the oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Stir in the sliced sausages and fry until crisp. Remove sausage from pot and set aside, but do NOT drain the oil. Add margarine and lower the heat to low. Whisk in the flour to make a caramel roux. It should take about 15 minutes to get a golden brown color and toasty aroma.

Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, Mexican oregano, and cumin. Cook until the tomatoes break down and the mixture starts to resemble a thick gravy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the worcestershire sauce, nopales, corn, broth, salt, and pepper. Raise the heat and bring everything to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the soup is perfectly thickened and has a nice sheen to it. Stir in the fresh cilantro or parsley. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.