Monday, April 20, 2015

Recipe: Tempeh Waldorf Salad

I recently returned to the set of WWLP-TV's "Mass Appeal" entertainment program for my monthly cooking segment.  I've been thinking about picnic food, warm weather ahead, and upcoming Earth Day, so I wanted to prepare a simple, traditional recipe but with a vegan twist to demonstrate that it's easy to enjoy eating your favorite foods but without any animal products.  

I flipped through my cookbook, Easy Peasy Vegan Eats, for some ideas and my eyes were drawn to a recipe I haven't made in quite awhile.  Hmmm... Waldorf Salad... the unexpected pleasant combination of savory and sweet, tempeh substitutes for chicken, and it's quick and easy to make.  Perfect!  Plus I had an idea for a presentation that would make this simple salad look lovely and special.

You can serve it on top of lettuce for a hearty salad, use it as a sandwich filling on a roll or pita, stuff it in a wrap, or arrange endive leaves around it for easy scooping.  Whatever way you plate it up, it's sure to please.

You can watch me demonstrate how to make this recipe here.

I like the sweet and savory combo of this salad. This classic recipe was originally created in the late 1890s at the Waldorf Hotel as a simple, yet elegant salad for classy patrons.  Substituting tempeh is an easy way to veganize a traditional chicken salad recipe which many of us remember as a sandwich filling on white bread and packing it into our lunchboxes as we headed off to school.  Fortunately, this version’s much healthier with the added antioxidant benefits of apples and grapes.  Green your diet in celebration of Earth Day, for you, the animals and the planet.  

8 ounces tempeh (Lightlife), cut into cubes 
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise 
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 Tbl fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder 
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 stalk celery, diced fine
1/4 cup red onion, diced fine
1/2 cup Granny Smith apple, diced fine
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, sliced in half

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add tempeh cubes and boil 5 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch.  Squeeze tempeh cubes over colander to remove excess water and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together vegan mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, and sea salt.  Combine with crumbled tempeh and remaining ingredients, mixing lightly but well. 

Vegan Easter

I celebrated Easter at the new Well on Wheels headquarters and while the holiday is long gone, it is not forgotten.  This is the first chance I've had to load some photos which now allow me to reflect on the amazing meal and good times shared by all.  

The menu was a vegan twist on some traditional Italian favorites:  pasta with meatballs and fire-roasted tomato marinara, eggplant rollatini with macadamia "rawcotta," broccoli rabe sautéed in olive oil and garlic with toasted pine nuts, and a less traditional dessert of gluten-free lemon cupcakes with Absolute citron buttercream frosting, candied lemon peel and edible flowers.  

As I type this I'm drooling just thinking about the amazing flavors.  If you'd like to recreate this meal at home, recipes for the marinara, macadamia rawcotta and gluten-free walnut neatballs can all be found in my cookbook, Easy Peasy Vegan Eats.   

Eggplant rollatini with macadamia "rawcotta" and fire-roasted tomato marinara

Fussili with walnut "neatballs"


Gluten-free lemon cupcakes with Absolute Citron buttercream and candied lemon peel

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring Quinoa Salad

I returned to the set of Mass Appeal on WWLP-TV to create a seasonal favorite recipe, Spring Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Radish and Pistachios.  It's the perfect balance of color, taste and texture, and it's filled with veggies that will cleanse your body and boost your immune system during this seasonal transition.

This simple recipe can be prepared quickly, so it makes a great addition to the potluck table. Or you can dress it up with some edible flowers and a garnish of avocado cream to impress guests at your fancy smancy dinner party.  Either way, it's equally delicious!

You can see the clip and get the recipe right here:  Spring Quinoa Salad

Friday, February 27, 2015

Vegan Valentine Recipe

I recently returned to the set of WWLP-TV's "Mass Appeal" program to demonstrate how to make a decadent gluten-free vegan dessert for Valentine's Day.  Everyone loves brownies!  This chocolatey treat is perfect any time, but it can be dressed up and made extra special for the holidays by adding raspberry coulis, maple bourbon cream and fresh berries. 

These brownies deliver that traditional ooey gooey moist texture and rich chocolate flavor that everyone expects from a decadent dessert... but without the refined flour, eggs and butter!  Dress them up with a garnish of fresh berries and raspberry coulis, layer them with fresh fruit for an elegant parfait, or top them with a big dollop of coconut milk ice cream and your guests will be impressed!

You can watch me demonstrate how to make and assemble these double chocolate brownies on the following link.  The recipe is below.

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Brownies (makes 16)
(adapted from Robin Robertson’s Vegan Planet recipe)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips, divided
2 Tbl ground flax seed + 6 Tbl water (egg replacer)
3/4 cup vegan sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
2 Tbl cocoa powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup water (approx.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil an 8”x8” pan. In a small sauce pot over medium heat, combine 1/4 cup oil plus 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips, stirring until melted.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Place flaxseed mixture in a large bowl.  Add sugar and vanilla and blend well.  Str in melted chocolate mixture.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and cocoa powder and enough water to form a smooth batter.  Fold in remaining chocolate chips, then pour into prepared pan.  Bake approximately 20-25 minutes, or until top is firm.  Let cool in the refrigerator before cutting into squares.  

Raspberry Coulis
1 10 oz. jar of raspberry preserves
1 Tbl maple syrup
1 Tbl water

Blend all of the above ingredients together in a high-speed blender until smooth and slightly foamy.  Pour into squeeze bottle and squeeze sauce onto dessert.

A Month of Menus

We're in the depths of winter here at Well on Wheels headquarters, but like the birdies, I'm thinking spring.  This month's menu features some warming comfort foods as well as light and refreshing green vegetables to ease into the seasonal transition.  An abundance of spices such as curry, cumin, cinnamon and ginger liven up many of these meals.

Coconut Curry Tofu and Veggies with Brown Rice  

Azuki Bean, Kambocha Squash and Kale Sautee with Brown Rice

Triple Green Tofu with Brown Rice

Tofu Scramble with Spicy Homefries and Salsa

Dijon Agave Glazed Tempeh with Quinoa and Strignbeans Amandine

Fire-roasted Tomato and Black Bean Chili, Cumin Spiced Zucchini and Brown Rice

Sesame Tofu with Cabbage and Carrot Ribbons and Brown Rice

Chickpea Tuno with Raw Cruciferous Vegetable Slaw

Red Lentil Millet Cakes with Carrots, Strignbeans and Green Curry

Tempeh Stroganoff with Mushroom and Broccoli on Rice Noodles

Baked Tofu with Eggplant Caponata and Sautéed Greens with Caramelized Onion

Lentils with Strignbeans and Brown Rice

Tofu Mock Salmon with Beets, Sautéed Kale, Quinoa and Cashew Tartar Sauce

Creamy Pumpkin Penne with Escarole and White Beans

Sesame Tempeh, Broccoli and Red Pepper Stir Fry with Brown Rice

Maple Glazed Tempeh with Forbidden Rice Pilaf and Brussels Sprouts

Sezuan Tofu with Eggplant and Red Pepper on Brown Rice

Escarole and White Beans with Asparagus and Leek Risotto

White Bean Fritters with Pumpkinseed Pesto and Zucchini Ribbons

Dijon Agave Glazed Tofu with Mashed Root Vegetables and Brussels Sprouts Amandine

Mexican Chili with Brown Rice

Pasta with Shiitake Mushroom, Snow Peas and Fresh Basil

Spring Vegetable Stew with Baked Polenta

Thai Yellow Curry with Tofu and Veggies on Brown Rice

Stuffed Portobello on a Bed of Asparagus Risotto with Chipotle Cashew Aioli

Eggplant Caponata with Creamy Butter Beans and Baked Polenta

Tofu Piccata with Mashed Root Veggies and Asparagus

Tempeh and Broccoli with Spicy Sesame Peanut Sauce on Rice Noodles

Barbecue Tofu with Dilled Red Bliss Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Recipe: Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Greens Soup

I recently appeared on the cooking segment of WWLP-TV's "Mass Appeal" entertainment program and talked about making a Vegan Resolution for the New Year.  I also demonstrated how to make one of my favorite cold weather recipes, Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Greens Soup.  This is the perfect soup for a dreary winter day when you just want something that will warm you up quickly.  It has a light, yet savory broth made with fire-roasted tomatoes and seasoned with dried basil and oregano.  And it's satisfying, too, since it's loaded with fiber and protein from cannelini beans and red potatoes, plus calcium and iron from the huge bunch of kale.

I like to serve the soup garnished with a drizzle of parsley oil, my "go to" flavor enhancer.  Just drizzle a little bit on top for an extra kick of fresh garlic and parsley that will get the taste buds going.  You can also top the soup with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts for a little bit of crunch.

This recipe and others like it can be found in my new cookbook, Easy Peasy Vegan Eats.

Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Greens Soup (serves 4-6)
1 Tbl olive oil 
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced 
6 cups water 
2 carrots, peeled and cut into half moons 
2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2 in. cubes 
15 oz. can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil 
1 Tbl dried oregano 
1 tsp sea salt 
15 oz. can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 Tbl toasted pine nuts
1-2 Tbl olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
large bunch shredded kale, collard, Swiss chard or spinach 
sea salt, fresh crushed black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Add water, carrots and potatoes and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.  Add beans, tomatoes, herbs and salt.  In a separate pan, heat pine nuts until fragrant and lightly browned, then set aside.  Heat olive oil in pan, and cook garlic until fragrant.  Stir in greens, sprinkle with salt, and cook several minutes or until wilted.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with sauteed greens and toasted pine nuts.