Showing posts with label Cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cooking. Show all posts

Monday, October 22, 2018

Vegetarian Indian Style Butter Chicken

Recently, I have discovered so many things about the Indian culture. As rich as it is, it is also exotic and filled with an array of uniqueness that goes beyond what I can put into words. At least today. One of the things that I love about India is the food. And because the population is so large, their cuisine varies upon region. Utilizing agriculture and farming, most dishes are plant-based and/or vegetarian with the exception of a few. India offers quite a few staples, with one of them being butter chicken.

I decided to create a plant-based, vegetarian rendition of this classic dish. Originating from New Delhi, this North Indian classic uses dahi, garam masala, ginger, garlic, cardamom, fenugreek, cinnamon, black salt, and black pepper. To give it more of a vibrant flavor, you can add some lemon juice to it. To thicken the sauce, you can also add some butter or even some curd. I decided to add all of the above. As it took a little bit of time, everything was executed very well. I added a lot of butter to this dish, as I didn't have any ghee at my disposal.


When originally creating this dish, I was thinking of using another plant-based alternative from Gardein, but instead went with the Gardein Chick'n Strips. I decided to cook the sauce in a regular standard pan before adding the Chick'n Strips. This chicken is not only soy-free, it is dairy-free and certified kosher. I decided to cook the entire dish on low-to-medium heat as the plant-based chicken alternative was completely thawed out in the refrigerator.

Before plating, I made sure that the chicken had a good texture. When I originally added this to the pan with the sauce, it was soft with a modestly slimy texture. It is crucial that it is firm when it is cooked. After stirring multiple times to check, I knew that my cooking was done for the evening.

As I plated the food, I decided to garnish it with some homemade curd I made. I was very happy with the way it turned out. I am looking forward to making this again, only trying another vegetarian and/or vegan, plant-based chicken alternative. If you are a vegetarian looking to enjoy one of the greatest dishes from Bharat, this is it. From my home to your home, Namaste.

Monday, October 1, 2018

First Dinner of October 2018

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I am always innovative in the kitchen and if you know me already, you know how much I love to cook. Tonight is no exception. As today is the first day of October, I decided to treat myself to a classic yet amplified version of the classic veggie burger utilizing organic baby arugula, red onion, and homemade thousand island dressing (which consists of buttermilk, a little bit of mayonnaise and some ketchup) on a homemade sweet pineapple roll which I toasted using only butter.

The veggie burgers were beer battered with butter before I placed them on the other side of the bun, which was also toasted. I wanted something a little extra to this vegetarian comfort food so I took the liberties of adding some classic veggie bacon which was also beer battered in butter.

Amazing right?

And that is not all. To cheese it up, I used mozzarella and butter in a hot pan followed by a teaspoon of cream to melt the cheese down before drenching both the bacon and burger in it (the cheese that is). I added some of the cheese to the bottom bun for good measure and to make it that much more appealing. Who doesn't love cheese?

I didn't add anything else to the veggie burgers, but did enjoy them with Perrier mineral water. This is 100% vegetarian. You could create a vegan version of this using plant-based cheese and sauces instead of dairy.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cheesy Vegan Penne Pasta

Cheesy Vegan Penne Pasta
As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I am discovering a lot of creative new ways to cook some of those timeless dishes without the carnivore classic in them. Kind of like the bun without the hot dog, only with a veggie dog in between the bun. As there are so many alternatives to meat (which you can find here) there are alternatives to those dishes that possess them too. And although I am a vegetarian, where I enjoy dairy, eggs and honey, I find myself really intrigued by vegan eating. In fact, there are times where I will go on what I refer to as 'vegan binges' and I will eat vegan for months. Is it hard to be a vegan? Absolutely not. It is just a matter of not worrying about what you eat, but only finding good food to enjoy that is not only meat-free, but free of dairy, eggs and honey.
 
Recently, in the kitchen I decided to create a very creamy yet cheesy vegan penne pasta. Most penne is vegetarian; however, not all of it is vegan. A good vegan penne can be homemade and rustic, as it can be found in a lot of grocery stores. Whole Foods for instance. So, how do you make cheesy vegan penne pasta?
 
First and foremost, you are going to want to add water into your pan followed by your favorite herbs and spices. The secret to any amazing pasta is to season the water in the pan before actually cooking the pasta. Of course adding more herbs and spices is an option later. I have been doing this for years and will continue for the rest of my life.
 
For this particular dish, I favor simplicity. What I added to the water only consists of salt, pepper and oil. That's it. No more, no less. You can add whatever you would like. If you are searching for that epic heat, you can add a little cayenne pepper and jalapeno. If you are looking to transform your cheesy vegan penne into a classic Italian dish, you can add some basil and oregano. You can do a lot, but for this dish I decided to keep it simple.
 
In a separate bowl, you want to create a base. This is where the magic happens. You are going to want to add one cup of unsweetened Silk Coconut Milk followed by two tablespoons of Earth Balance's vegan butter. You are also going to want to add some Sari Foods Nutritional Yeast Flakes followed by a little more salt. In my quest in making an outstanding cheesy vegan penne pasta, I added some vegan protein powder by Purely Inspired. This added a great balance of taste, creating a fusion of flavor. Blend everything together and sit the bowl aside.
 
Keeping an eye on your pasta, continue letting it cook until you have reached your desired texture. If you love your pasta al dente, it is key to test the pasta every few minutes. Once finished, strain the penne and place it directly into a separate bowl. Add the ingredients from the bowl. Mix generously.

Take a plastic or styrofoam plate, add some aluminum foil and place the penne on to it so it. Why? Because doing this will keep it's heat locked into place, so it won't get cold.
 
For more nutrition, you can add more of the nutritional yeast flakes. I will say this, adding more to the dish sort of dries it out, but is great for vegan athletes who are looking for more nutrients in their cheesy hot bite. Although the dish will lose it's creamy texture, the taste will remain the same.
 
Enjoy!
 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

BakeItFun Silicone Baking Mat



I have worked with an array of silicone baking mats, but to be honest, this is the first one that I have worked with in my home. Needless to say, it has been an experience getting to try BakeItFun's Silicone Baking Mat. So, what did I think?


PROS
The half sheet baking mat measures 16.7"x11". This perfect to not only roll out dough, but for making cookies, crackers, and more. You can use this product not only in the oven, but the dishwasher, freezer, and even microwave. It is also modestly easy to store and wash, as well.
When it comes to quality, the silicone in this product is premium food grade. The strong fibreglass mesh covers the silicone, so your baking experience is always good because the heat production is effective.
What I found ultimately amazing about this fun baking mat was the fact it was so incredibly durable. The quality is really good for the value. Plus, you can use it many times. Anything reusable is always a good thing.
The ruler is a special bonus to this baking mat. It makes baking so incredibly easy, that it becomes so much fun. I think when BakeItFun created this product, they had a vision in mind. They wanted baking to be fun. This is a great product to use with the kids.
This sheet is free of BPA (or Bisphenol A). As you may or may not be aware, BPA is used often to coat the inside of metal products. Although it is not said to be deadly or even unsafe, there have been studies conducted that prove it is a concern later on in life. Kind of like GMOs.
Not only is it German food grade safe, it is FDA safe, as well.
The eBook that comes with this product is fantastic and gives you a lot of great ideas.

CONS
Evidently if you are allergic to silicone or suffer a reaction from silicone, you are not going to find this product appealing at all.
Although this product is reusable, after you use this product 2,000 times, it is pretty much done. This is definitely a con for most silicone baking mats.
When it comes to temperature, you can only use this in temperatures that are 450 F degrees or lower, with -40 F degrees being the lowest. If you are thinking of using the broiler with this sheet, think again. Why? Because it will melt.
You can find BakeItFun's Silicone Baking Mat at Amazon for $11.99. Originally $47.99, one can not only love, but appreciate the 75% off savings. Would I recommend this baking mat to a friend? Yes. Would I use this product again? Absolutely. In fact, I just used it 10 minutes ago. For more information about BakeitFun's Silicone Baking Mat, simply visit Amazon right now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

5 Grilling Tips You Need To Know When Cooking Vegetarian Alternatives

As a vegetarian, I have discovered that it can be quite complicated to embrace my inner grill master. In fact, I have had to mess up several times in order to grill effectively. With a wide-range, variety of vegetarian substitutes; grilling should never be as confusing as solving physics conjecture, for anyone wanting a veggie burger or a veggie dog. So, what are 5 grilling tips you should know if you are grilling a vegetarian alternative?

1. Use Coconut Oil. As one of the healthiest oils in the world today, this works as an amazing base for your vegetarian substitute. Whether you want to enjoy a classic veggie burger or even a kabob with veggie sausage, coconut oil will prevent your food from burning.

2. Use Cedar Planks. I discovered that when you a rich wood to grill a vegetarian substitute, the flavor is more flavorful and robust, then if you would use charcoal. Flavors will not meld properly if they are cooked incorrectly.

3. Use Variety. When it comes to grilling any kind of meat or chicken alternative, you will want to use a variety of mixed vegetables into the mix. With everything from onions and bell peppers to squash and mushrooms and much more, the options are endless.

4. Use Grill Baskets. Every vegetable on the planet is different and therefore; needs to be prepared differently. In order to grill effectively, I highly suggest using these the next time you grill any veggies.

5. Use Salt. Sure, it is important to season your food with your favorite spices, however; without salt you are left with nothing more than tasteless food. When you grill your vegetarian substitutes, along with your vegetables they lose flavor naturally, so in order to bring that flavor back to life it is key to use salt.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vegetarian Thanksgiving: How To Prepare A Quorn Turk'y Roast


As a lacto ovo vegetarian, I have discovered that eating a Thanksgiving meal is very much possible. Although there are many traditional dishes you can enjoy, there is more than just "sides" to a great meal. In fact, one of my favorite things to enjoy on the best time for giving thanks is definitely "Quorn's Meatless & Soy-Free Turk'y Roast" with "Tofurky's Savory Giblet Gravy".

First and foremost, you want to begin thawing your Turky's Roast. Even if it's still frozen, the key is to allowing it to thaw as much as possible. Before placing the roast onto a baking sheet, you want to cover it with aluminum foil. Add a little extra virgin olive oil followed by some salt & pepper.

Not many would think that freezing the actual gravy is a good idea, however; that is what I did when I prepared this particular vegetarian roast. In fact, I froze the gravy and then continued to let it thaw throughout the day until it turned into a paste-like gravy.
You want to pre-heat the oven for 350 degrees. You want to cover the entire turk'y with the giblet gravy. Use as much gravy as you can to cover it. It's a little thick, so be it. Think of it as a project and you have to cover it up with plaster. Once you have accomplished this, you want to stick it into the oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes.
Yay! It's done. Although it is going to be hot, you can cut into it. Just make sure not to serve it until you are ready to eat.

Whether you are a vegetarian or simply choosing the vegetarian route this holiday season, you cannot go wrong with choosing this food idea.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Vegetarian Recipes: Khoresht Bodemjoon


Persian food <3
As a Persian woman, I am always finding myself in the kitchen cooking an array of cuisine especially Persian cuisine. There are so many amazing dishes, however; a lot of these dishes call for meat and/or fish.

As a lacto ovo vegetarian, I am always looking for ways to execute various ingredients into the cuisine without ruining the actual dish. Luckily, it is possible to enjoy your favorite Persian dish using various meat alternatives. Today, I am going to demonstrate one of favorite Persian dishes with a vegetarian spin on it.

One of my favorite Persian dishes is definitely Khoresht Bodemjoon, which is an eggplant and lamb stew that melts in your mouth. I said to myself "Although I know how to cook this using the traditional ingredients, is it possible to incorporate this dish into vegetarian cuisine" and guess what? It is very possible. Let's get started!

You are going to need the following ingredients...


2 Classic Eggplants


Vamb (see the recipe here)

1 Tomato

1 Red Onion

2 Garlic Cloves

2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste

2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons of Soybean Oil

2 Tablespoons of Turmeric

2 Tablespoons of Salt

1 Teaspoon of Nutmeg

1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon of Clove

1 Teaspoon of Dark Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon of Black Pepper

You want to first and foremost, prepare the ingredients because it makes this dish so much easier to cook. You want to begin by dicing the onion. The onion should be chopped generously. Sit them aside. Once you get this out of the way, you can start on your tomatoes. Dice the tomatoes the same way you prepared the onions. Add a little bit of lemon juice and add the tomato paste. You want to smash and chop the garlic cloves before adding them into this dish. Set aside.

As you continue, you want to peel the eggplant. You want to them slice it. The slices should not be chopped or diced in cubes, but cut into semi-thick portions. Prepare a simple marinade of a little bit of oil and some salt in a bowl and add the eggplant to it. The lamb should be chopped into cubes, but they should also be generous sized and not cut small or thin. You can also use balls, as well. Today, I am going to use my very own interpretation of vegetarian lamb (Vamb).

In a cast iron pan (and if you don't own one, any heavy frying pan will work) you want to add the oil, followed by the diced onion, salt, and black pepper. You want to also add the lamb followed by the tomatoes you prepared. Then, as you want to add all of the rest of the ingredients including the garlic gloves, lemon juice, turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and dark brown sugar. You want to cook on high heat for 10 minutes and then cook on low to medium heat for about an hour.

As we continue making the vegetarian Koreshte Bademjan, you want to start frying the eggplant. Grilling the eggplant is a great idea, so you have that option too. You want to add a little more lemon juice and a little bit of oil, followed by salt and pepper. I also recommend adding a little bit of nutmeg. You want your eggplant to have some flavor, as you don't want it to be over powered by the soybean oil.

Once you have cooked everything, you can start plating your Koreshte Bademjan. You want to place your eggplant on your dish first. Two slices work amazing for every dish. As you continue, you want to take the stew you originally prepared with the lamb, onion, tomato, and additional spice mixture and apply it on top of the eggplant. You are done and have completed the vegetarian Koreshte Bademjan.

Vegetarian Recipes: Ghormeh Sabzi

I love cooking
Ghormeh Sabzi is one of the most popular Persian dishes in all of Persian cuisine. Today I am going to demonstrate how it is possible to turn this very favorable carnivore classic into something even more amazing, executing vegetarian alternatives and balancing various flavors that are truly paradise on the palette. Let's get started!

What you will need...
 3 Cups of Parsley

2 Cups of Spinach

1 Cup of Coriander

1 Cup of Red Onion

3 Cloves of Garlic

1 Cup of Dried Kidney Beans

1/4 Cup of Chives

1 Pack of Gardein's Home-style Beefless Tips

3 Tablespoons of Lime Juice

2 Tablespoons of Turmeric

2 Tablespoons of Soybean Oil

2 Tablespoons of Salt

2 Tablespoons of Black Pepper

1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice

3 Limes

First and foremost, you want to prepare your ingredients. Because the kidney beans will need to soak for a few hours, you will need to prepare those first. In a separate bowl, you want to add about a cup of water followed by the kidney beans, a little bit of oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Secondly, as you begin preparing the Ghormeh Sabzi, you want to chop your onions. They should be lightly diced in a cube-like fashion. As you continue, you want to smash and chop your garlic cloves. Create an oil and turmeric mixture with a little bit of salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add the onions and garlic to the mixture. Set aside.


The meat in this dish definitely brings this amazing Persian dish to life. For this particular dish, I am going to use the entire pack of Gardein's Home-style Beefless Tips. Although you can use any meat alternative, I truly believe that Gardein makes one of the best I have used which is perfect for the Vegetarian Ghormeh Sabzi. You want to create a marinade using just a little bit of soybean oil, a little bit of turmeric, some salt, and some pepper and add the meat free alternative to the mixture. Set aside.

The greens should be chopped generously. You want to also add some oil followed by the limes. The limes should be whole, but you should use a knife and cut small holes into the limes. Add a little bit of salt. Set aside.

Now it is time to cook the Ghormeh Sabzi. Are you ready?

First and foremost, you want to begin cooking by adding the chopped onion and garlic into a large pan or medium sized pot. Because the mixture is already prepared, this will give you the opportunity to sauté them properly. Add a little bit of turmeric if necessary. Cook on low to medium heat.

You want to add the Gardein Beefless Tips as is, however; if you feel that they are too big (and some may actually find them too big) you can cut them in half and add them to the already cooking onions, garlic, and oil. Because you already prepared the marinade, you don't have to add anything. Cook on low to medium heat.

As you continue, you want to take your kidney beans and add them to the already prepared mixture. You want to also add your limes. Cook on medium heat. Then, you want to add your greens. Add the chives followed by the lime juice. Give everything a big stir and cover your large pan or medium sized pot and cook on low to medium heat for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Serve alone in a bowl or on top of chelow or shirazi rice on a plate. You are done and have completed the Vegetarian Ghormeh Sabzi.