Tag Archives: rice

Vegan Arroz Verde

My general approach to working with non vegan recipes is this:

Step 1: Substitute animal products with vegan alternatives or omit

Step 2: Add kale or another leafy green.

The way I see it, you can never have too many leafy green vegetables in your life. In fact, when people ask me any sort of nutritional question my go to answer is, “I think Kale has a lot of _____”. In my mind vegetables make anything healthy and although it isn’t entirely true or even close to whole story it works for me. I love them.  I think this is the first time I added Kale to rice, though, and it worked amazingly!

This recipe is based on one I saw on Chow that was adapted from Diana Kennedy’s arroz verde from her book The Essential Cuisines of Mexico. Diana Kennedy is definitely one of my heros, if you are interested in cooking Mexican food or just knowing more about it I recommend all of her books. They have so much information and description of all of these techniques that most non-Mexicans know little about.

Vegan Arroz Verde

3 roasted hatch peppers, stems, seeds, and membranes removed, coarsely chopped (any other pepper, like poblanos or serranos will work some will be spicy and some won’t so choose accordingly)
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves (about 1/2 bunch)
1 cup of coarsely chopped Kale (about 1/2 bunch)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons earth balance
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
2 cups vegetable broth
1 lime

INSTRUCTIONS

In a blender, pulse the peppers, scallions, kale, cilantro, and salt with the water

Heat oil and earth balance in your rice pot (ie one with a lid). When the earth balance starts to liquefy , add the rice. Sauté, stirring occasionally for ~ 3 minutes.

Add blended ingredients to the pan and mix well. Simmer for 1 minute, then stir in vegetable broth.

Return mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until liquid is completely absorbed and rice is tender, about 14 minutes.

Remove from heat and let rice sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover and squeeze lime juice over rice. Fluff up and Enjoy!

We had the rice with the fabulous refried beans, avocado, and verde salsa. They were the best rice and beans tacos I can remember having! They would be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Morning Spiced Rice

I am somewhat incapable of making breakfast at the appropriate time. This weekend, for example, by the time I decided I really wanted olive bagels for breakfast it was already 11am. Then I had to motivate to mix up the dough, let it rise, boil the bagels, and then bake them. I didn’t have breakfast until, like, 2:30 pm, technically brunch,  which is pretty standard for the weekend version of me. The problem is I get really hungry by about 9 so the laziness isn’t really an asset in this case. That is why I love leftovers for breakfast. My favorites are gallo pinto and polenta rancheros.

Sometimes I want something a little sweet and warm for breakfast and in this case leftover brown rice is the perfect thing to have.

I spice brown rice the same way as I make oatmeal, with cinnamon and sugar. First I put the cooked rice in a little pot with some hemp or almond milk. Then, once the rice starts to plump up I add brown sugar, a little cinnamon and sometimes even chai tea spices like cloves and cardamom. Sometimes I top it with maple syrup, if I have maple syrup which is pretty rare, but you could also add apples or bananas or really about anything you can think of. The best part is that it takes about 5 minutes to do and uses something I almost always have on hand, cooked rice.

Remember how I said my plan was to go camping over the weekend? It totally didn’t happen, it was way too cold for sleeping outside and there was a lot of stuff I wanted to do in town anyway, like the EAST austin studio tour, the Thanksgiving sampler party at Wheatsville, and brunch at Counter Culture. Would you believe I did none of it! If you know me at all, actually, it probably isn’t very surprising. Anyway, the laziness was kind of helpful because I ended up being somewhat productive. In a Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life, there are project instructions for a cross stitch project and I was totally inspired to try it. I ended up spending the weekend making a couple of cross stitch projects and watching  Twin Peaks….and then making cherry pie.

This is the one from the book except I changed the text, it was supposed to say “Flesh is for Zombies Go Vegan” but I remembered something I saw at the Renegade Craft Fair that said “I love you more than zombie brains” and made that instead.

It was so much fun, I haven’t made once since I was a tiny kid and now I have so many ideas now I want to make them for everyone I know.

Mushroom Beans, Garlic Rice, and Experimental Broccoli

When I went to school in Olympia I learned to hate the word experimental. To me it became synonymous with really bad performance art usually involving movement, multiple projectors, and sometimes primal screaming. So when Mr. Smurf asked me last night “what’s for dinner” and I started to tell him about how it was experimental broccoli a loud klaxon should have sounded in my brain instantaneously.  

It all started with best of intentions. I have this book called New American Table that I love to look through and one recipe that I  was really interested in was tea poached bok choy. Over at What Does a Vegan Eat Anyway they are always smoking something with tea and it just looks fantastic and fun so I thought I could do it too.

First, I started the Garlic Rice, by sautéing six cloves of garlic in a little olive oil, then adding a cup of rice after a few minutes, sautéing until a little brown then adding a cup of water and some salt covered and let steam.

Then, once that got steaming, I started the Mushroom Beans. I tossed a carton of precut mushrooms in my skillet seared them, added a little water, a can of white beans and about a teaspoon of mushroom soy sauce (healthy boy is my favorite) and let that sauté for a few minutes while the mushrooms cooked.

So far this is the world’s easiest beans and rice meal besides completely plain beans and rice and  I should have just gone simple with the broccoli like braising it with a little ginger or garlic like usual. But damnit, it is veganMoFo so I need to step out of my comfort zone. Especially when there are people like Vegan in Brighton making things they don’t even think they like! And making them look beautiful!

Instead I made a sauté of 3 cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of sliced ginger, two sliced shallots and cooked them for about three minutes. Then I added two crowns of broccoli, cooked that for a minute, then added 2 cups of water, 2 orange spice tea bags, some salt and some agave.

It wasn’t as bad as the play I saw where people were crawling around on their bellies yelling “monster” until they all “died”. Really, it wasn’t bad at all. My main problem was that I cooked it for a little two long so the tea tasted bitter and the broccoli was overcooked. I think the technique would work a lot better with quicker cooking bok choy ….like…um.. in the original recipe.

The rice and beans though were an easy easy easy winner. I will eat it again next time I am tired/poor/alone/busy/hungry.

Drunken Beans and Seitan Chorizo

I think Mr. Smurf started working on dinner around noon yesterday. Actually, no, it was the night before when I reminded him to soak the beans. The only drawback, really, to working with beans is the soaking. You always have to be prepared. Once he and I traveled across the country selling burritos along the way and we had beans soaking in the back of the station wagon at all times. It was just so cost-effective to make the burritos from dried beans that we had to do it and we didn’t have time to cook them all day without soaking over night. That often led us to some backwoods campground filling up our giant stockpot to start soaking beans at 2am. It was, honestly, the best time ever. We traveled from Illinois to California up through Washington, across the middle, all the way down to Charleston South Carolina, then up through Maine and came back through Canada where we had a big pot of beans with us as we crossed the border. Sometimes Mr. Smurf would take a nap the next day while the beans were cooking. 

Now we have things like running water and built-in stoves so making beans is considerably easier but it still takes awhile. Sometimes, I start them before work in the crockpot without soaking first but in some ways that is even harder for me because I have to get up two, or even three minutes earlier. In the winter (which it finally is here in Texas as of yesterday) I prefer to soak them the night before and then just cook them on the stove in a big pot over low heat.

After he started the beans at noon he made the seitan chorizo sausages so when I got home after work the house smelled amazing, like the best restaurant in the world. Sadly, it wasn’t until hours later that dinner was finally ready but it was so worth the wait. The recipe yielded a giant pot of beans that will last us the rest of the week. And the beans were delicious. They would have been just perfect with some pico de gallo on top but I didn’t have any. As it was, they were only fantastic. I loved the chorizo especially. The texture of it cooked in the beans was exactly what you would expect from the spicy Mexican sausage.

If you haven’t checked out Viva Vegan yet, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Even if you aren’t even close to vegan you will find so many recipes that are just so well thought out and explained from all over Latin America that you will discover all sort of new techniques and ideas. And if you like vegan meat the recipes in Viva Vegan are the best I ever tried. If you have the book and haven’t made arepas yet do yourself a favor and learn to make them, I have made breakfast arepas, barbecued arepas, and Venezuelan arepas because they are so easy to do. And if you are curious about what all is in the book check out Kitteh’s blog because she has made so many of the recipes and she does it all without gluten and soy! 

Riso Rosso and Roman Beans

Last night I made the best beans from a can…ever. Maybe not ever but certainly in the last few weeks. The funny part is  (and by funny I mean disappointing but not that sad) that I was more excited to make the Riso Rosso, from Olive Trees and Honey, than the beans which were quickly thrown together. The Italian “red rice” was basically made by boiling beets and then making rice and adding some of the beet cooing water in to turn the rice red and adding the beets at the very end. What would have been better, I think, would have been to caramelize the beets and onions and then make the rice in that pot because it was pretty but boring. Next time!

The beans on the other hand were fabulous. I decided to use Roman beans to keep up the Italian theme. Since the rice recipe wasn’t using any garlic it seemed like a good idea to use a whole lot in the beans and then I added some spices and cooked them in a little brothy sauce They were fantastic, the garlic wasn’t totally overwhelming even though there was a lot of it because I cooked it for a while and the spices were perfect. I have to remember to make them again because they were so simple.

Roman Beans

1 can roman beans (or white beans) drained and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of tarragon

saute the onion until it changes color in olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over very low heat for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook at a slow simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Enjoy with the garlic sauce on top.

 

A Newflower in town

I have been eagerly waiting for the new grocery store to open close to my house and yesterday was finally the grand opening of Newflower in Austin so I ventured down there into the craziness, it turned out I wasn’t the only one excited about a new store. See, South Austin is the superior part of Austin in many ways but we are far enough from Wheatsville Co-op that I can’t just hop over there every time I have a craving for popcorn tofu. We have a lot of grocery stores but they all have their problems, sun harvest and randalls both have limited selection and are over priced. Central Market is fantastic but it isn’t a place you can just drop in easily and it is too easy to buy unncessary gourmet items (I am looking at you aztec dark chocolate at 12.99 a pound). HEB is the cheapest and they have the freshest produce and nearly everything I need but I hate going there because it is so crowded with children, shopping carts, hookers, and people doing their shopping for the next year that it can be an all day afair. And you can’t turn left from the parking lot and I don’t have a left turn signal so it is really the antithesis of fun.

It turns out that I have never been to a grocery store for its grand opening before and I don’t think it is something I would ever do again. Sure, there were some great deals (Boulder potato chips for $1.50! 10 limes for a dollar!) and we got a free reusable bag and a flower but I had to stalk a women with her children in order to get a parking spot and you could hardly manuver through the store because people were standing in line almost to the back of the store waiting to check out! And it is a big store. Did you know that they make seperate bread for men and women now?

Don’t worry gender neutral, transexual, and other readers there is bread that isn’t as gender defined as well as vegan at newflower. Their produce seemed really well priced, right up there with HEB and they had a full organic selection. In fact, the whole place kind of reminded me of an HEB if you just took out the junk food aisles, the candy aisles, the aisles of shaving cream, the aisels of holiday junk, and all the other stuff that makes it a “normal” grocery store. They didn’t seem to have any fresh vegan deli items or products but they did have the normal standbys, garden burgers, tempeh, seitan, tofutti, earth balance, vital wheat gluetan,  amy’s meals etc but sadly nothing new and exciting. The bulk section had really well priced nuts and flours and there was a small wine and beer section as well. Overall it was more of a “grass fed beef” place then a vegan place but if I can park there and not spend a million dollars on organic avocados I will be a happy vegan.

I felt silly taking a picture of my groceries!

I felt silly taking a picture of my groceries!

When I got home I didn’t know what to make. This is what happens when you go to the grocery store with no definite purpose! I decided to make something with the eggplant because sometimes I forget about eggplants and I made a Pakistani dish from World Vegetarian that used the Panch Phorum and amchoor that I got last week. I also made some Lemon Rice from Heaven’s Banquet which was good, but should have been a little less lemony.It doesn’t look beautiful even with the sunflower they gave me! Dan wasn’t impressed with the eggplant but I thought it was great. Instead of draining the eggplant while you salt it, the recipe called for soaking it in salt water which lead to a texture similar to cooked mushrooms. I also threw in the spinach because the meal was noticeably lacking in greens. The rice was really good and you don’t add the lemon until the very end so if you want to try it add a little at a time and see how you like it so next time I will do that. If anyone want the recpies just let me know and I will add them to the post.

Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican Rice and Beans)

This is it folks! The definitive version of Gallo Pinto. It took a long time to get here and I have a lot of people to thank, Dan for eating Gallo Pinto all the time, the Ticos for endlessly varying their national dish so that I could try 1000 different recipes, Dinger and Willow for eating the leftovers when we couldn’t face another day of rice and beans…

Gallo Pinto is a terrific recipe to perfect, it works best with leftover rice and/or beans, you can increase the amount to feed 20 without really doing anything different, it is a very hearty breakfast, it is probably the cheapest thing you could ever make, you can make a version with stuff that you have right now in your pantry, and it tastes like Costa Rica! It does take a little planning if you don’t have beans on hand. What works great is to make a big batch of beans & rice for dinner (maybe bean burgers, black bean soup, or burritos) and then when you get out of bed the next day you are 15 minutes from having breakfast on the table. I will write out the recipe assuming that you are just making the rice and beans so that you have them so you can make Gallo Pinto for breakfast for four people.

Ingredients:
1 cup rice, (any will work, I use basmati)
1 tsp Vegeta or half of a vegetable broth cube
1 cup black beans
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 dried ancho chilie peppers, seeds removed (any other pepper can be subbed, some will be more spicy, anchos aren’t spicy, you can also use jalapeños or bell peppers just add them when you add the garlic instead)
1 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves or garlic, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped and packed
1 lime

The Beans:
Soak the beans for at least 8 hours. If you live somewhere that is really hot (e.g. Texas in the summer) you should do this in the fridge.
When the beans are done soaking change the water (add about 7 cups), add a couple bay leaves, and bring to a simmer for around 90 minutes. You will need to check the doneness of the beans at around 1 hour because the timing will vary depending on how dry your beans are. You can also do this step in the crock pot. Whatever you do, make sure that you save some of the cooking water with the beans because you will need it later.

The Rice:
Dissolve the broth cube or 1 teaspoon of Vegeta in 2 cups of water. Add 1 cup of rice, bring to a simmer, and then reduce heat to almost off for 35-60 minutes depending on what kind of rice you are using. It works best to refrigerate the rice overnight because then it drys better.

Gallo Pinto:
Toast the cumin, coriander, and dried peppers until fragrant and then grind in either a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. (Conversely, if you are short on time or don’t have the seeds you could also toast the powders and when you put in the garlic). Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and the spice mixture and sauté another minute. Add a little more oil if you can’t see any and turn the heat up. Add the rice and stir fry for about a minute breaking up any chunks but don’t smoosh the rice. Once all the rice has changed color add the beans starting with just one cup until you have a pleasing ratio of rice to beans. Also add some of the bean cooking water with the beans. Gently mix and once everything is heated through adjust the spices, add the cilantro, and turn off the heat. To make the mold, press the Gallo Pinto into a small bowl, invert a plate on it, and then flip both over and lift up the bowl. Serve with the lime, salsa (preferably lizano), tofu scramble, and fried plantains.