Monthly Archives: October 2019

Red Chile Sauce

This is a simplified version of New Mexican red chile sauce. By using the dried pods of flavorful peppers you’re tapping into a rich, deep, traditional flavor. It’s not a hot sauce but almost a stock that enriches and complement the flavors around it.

This recipe is not complete – This sauce needs to cook. One of my grandmother’s pet peeves was when the tomatoes in an Italian Red Sauce “weren’t cooked” – she could identify the slight bitterness that came from a rushed Sunday gravy. Tomato Sauce needs time to mellow and blend and so does the Red Chile Sauce.

Most commonly, I’ll use this sauce as a replacement for a big can of tomatoes in my Chili recipes. I simmer my chili for a while so it has time to mellow and, oddly enough, intensify at the same time. To use as a salsa, you’ll need to bring it to simmer it to reduce the volume by 1/3 to 1/2, depending on how thick you’d like it. For instance, I use this as an Enchilada sauce and reduce it by about 1/3. For a thicker salsa, I’d bring it down to a cup.

Big dried chile pods are (or should be) cheap and I suggest finding a good international market to find different varieties and a lower price than a ‘gourmet’ market. My favorites are Chile Negro, Guajillo Chiles, and Ancho Chiles. An Ancho Chile is a dried poblano pepper…generally mild, but as with all peppers they can vary in intensity from pepper to pepper. Guajillo chiles are a dried mirasol pepper and have a medium spice and a rich flavor. Chile Negro are the hottest of the bunch and these are the dried version of the pasilla pepper and commonly used in Mole sauces.

I suggest wearing gloves during prep…or not…roll the dice you badass!

Prep Time: 10 minutes / Soak Time: 60 Minutes

4 large dried chiles (Ancho, Guajillo, Chile Negro, or other)

1 clove garlic

1 Tbsp kosher salt

2 Tbs apple cider vinegar

About 2 cups of boiling water

Rinse to clean the whole dried chile. Placing them on a paper towel mat as a workspace. Pull the hard, top stem off – if it doesn’t have a stem, it will still have a pretty hard mass at the top, take that off. Pull open the chile and strip out the seed and veins. Put the cleaned chiles in a glass or stainless-steel bowl.

Cover the chiles with about 2 cups of boiling water and let soak for at least 1 hour.

After soaking, carefully pour the rehydrated chiles along with the soaking liquid into a food processor or high-speed blender. Peel and crush your garlic clove and add that to the blender along with the salt and cider vinegar. Blend well.

Use in a recipe immediately or refrigerate. Will keep tightly sealed in the fridge for about a month.

If you’d like to use this as a traditional salsa or to add a deep, rich, warm flavor to a fresh dish, you should simmer to reduce by 1/3 to 1/2 – otherwise it can taste pretty bitter and raw. In a small sauce pan bring the chile sauce to a boil and then simmer on low, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes or until you reach your desired consistency.

Enjoy!

Butter Bean & Potato Stew

This hearty, warm bowl of lovin’ will get you through the coldest night. It’s like if a baked potato was soup and it had the sweetness of red bell peppers bursting through with every bite. Dollop some sour cream on top and sprinkle with chopped fresh green onions and you’ll make it magical.

I’m not very good at rehydrating large beans. Well, that’s not true, I can do it, but I choose not to…I end up with a bunch of bean skin. If your end product is going to be lima bean hummus or something, go ahead and rehydrate from dry, but for something like this, I use canned…meaty beans, less fuss.

Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 35-45 Minutes / Total Time: 1 hour

1 large can (1lb 3oz) or 2 small cans butter beans, drained well

2 large red bell peppers

2 medium russet potatoes (not the big baking ones – the cheap ones in the 5lb bag)

2 stalks celery

1 red onion

3 cloves garlic

2 cups vegetable stock
3 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp tarragon

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

Plant-based sour cream, fresh green onion or chives, cheddar shreds, for serving

Chop the peppers, onion, and celery a common size…about butter bean size. In a large pot or Dutch oven soften the veggies on medium heat with the olive oil and about half the salt. Mince the garlic and add to the pot along with the red pepper flakes, tarragon, and black pepper. Stir. About 5 minutes

In the meantime, clean and peel the potatoes, cut these into about a ¾” square dice. The easiest way to do this is to slice them in half lengthwise, slice those halves into thirds then into ¾” squares. Boost the heat under the pot to medium high and add the potatoes – stir to mix.

You’re going to pay attention to this pot now because you want the potatoes to get nicely coated and well heated on the surface, so you’re going to stand over it and flip it around every once in a while, to avoid too much sticking. If the liquid from the sweating veggies begins to dissipate too rapidly, lower the heat a little. About 10 minutes.

Now add the vegetable stock, stir and scrape any of the goodness off the bottom of the pot. Things should be moving fairly freely now. Keep your flame on medium high and let this come just to a boil.

Add the drained butter beans and the rest of the salt and stir. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium low, and let this gently simmer for about 15 minutes. The potatoes should be fork tender and it should be a stew or thick soup consistency. If it’s too thin, keep simmering uncovered…too thick? Add a little more stock.

Serve with a spoonful of plant-based sour cream, cheddar shreds, some chopped fresh chives or green onion, and maybe a big slice of crusty bread.

Enjoy!

Falafel Pizza

This is a fun & fresh lunch to share and it’s super easy to make.

Where I live there are some amazing falafel places, so I don’t bother making my own. You can for sure, but for this recipe I use Fantastic World Foods Falafel Mix – you just add water and wait a few minutes until it firms up a little.

Prep Time: 20 minutes / Cook Time: 20-25 Minutes / Total Time: 1 hour

For the Falafel Crust

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Packaged Falafel Mix – I use Fantastic World Foods Brand – Prep according to package directions. Instead of making balls, line a cookie sheet with parchment and gather the firm mixture and flatten it out. You should end up with about a 12” crust, about ½” thick. Bake in a 375-degree Fahrenheit preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The bottom should be lifting from the parchment and it should slide, not stick, when pushed. Let cool at room temperature.

Herbed Yogurt Dressing

1 cup plain plant-based yogurt (regular…greek-style is too thick)

2 Tbsp lemon juice

Sprinkle of dried dill, oregano, black pepper, and salt

Stir and let rest

Veggie Toppings

I go with the classics, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumber, a little spring mix, spiralized zucchini, red bell peppers, red onion…etc.

The Build

After the falafel crust cools spread a layer of your hummus of choice. At this point, I prefer to cut the crust into 6 or 8 slices and plate them and build the salad on top (as pictured)…slicing through all those layers will just crush the whole thing. Pile the veggies on and dress with the yogurt sauce and a grind or two of black pepper.

Just a note: Do not expect to pick this up like a slice of pizza…better to serve with a fork. Variations are endless – adjust to your taste and imagination!

Enjoy!

Easy Pumpkin Drop Biscuits

Here’s a yummy and easy recipe from an Instagram pal of mine. Miche has a great feed and a great site full of intelligent health advice and super plant-based recipes.

I swapped the all-purpose flour for oat flour and used oat milk, so i could share these seasonal treats with my gluten and nut sensitive neighbors. With these swaps i would suggest adding 1 or 2 minutes on the cook time…I find oat flour needs that.

Thanks Miche!!

Enjoy!

Farro Salad with Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Pecans

Prep time: 30 minutes / Cook time: 45 minutes / Total Time: 1.5 hours

Dressing (prep in a mason jar, cover and shake, let sit for a while while you chop):

1/3 cup Olive Oil

2/3 cup Sherry Vinegar (I’m not a huge fan of oily vinaigrettes)

1 teaspoon each – Tarragon, Thyme, Basil, Ground White Pepper, dry mustard

2 tablespoons Kosher Salt and a couple twists of black pepper

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

Salad:

1 cup of cooked Farro, cooled & drained well

1 lb of cleaned Brussels sprouts, shaved into a thin slaw

5 carrots, small dice or grated

1 lb of cherry/grape tomatoes – slice half, keep half whole

3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

1/4 cup chopped yellow onion

Make the dressing and cook the farro.

Chop your onion and peeled carrots, slice your Brussels sprouts in half first, then slice thin vertically but at a slight angle. Toast some chopped pecans in a small pan on medium heat – watching carefully and tossing frequently – probs about 4-5 minutes. Be careful!! Pecans burn in an instant and remember to take them off a little earlier than you think because they’ll continue cooking with the residual heat. Chop the pecan and mix all these dry veggies together and let them hang out for a while in a big bowl.

Is your farro drained and cool? Add and mix that in and halve half of your tomatoes and toss. Is it all nicely mixed? Add the dressing and toss again lightly. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Orange & Radish Salad with Mint

This recipe for my Mom. She loves radishes! My Mom & Dad will plant these first thing every spring and see how many crops they can get in before the weather stops cooperating. With a salt shaker handy, they’ll eat them like popcorn while they wait for the next batch to get big enough to harvest.

This citrusy salad will make a flavorful, fresh (and inexpensive) complement to your holiday table!

Prep Time: 10 minutes / Refrigeration Time: 2 hours

½ cup lemon juice

2 Tbsp sugar

¼ tsp salt

4 large navel oranges

1 bunch red radishes

2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Zest of 1 lemon & 1 orange

In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, sugar, and salt and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Set aside.

With a sharp knife, slice the tops and bottoms off of the oranges. With one of those flat sides on the cutting board, guide your knife under the peel from top to bottom to remove the peel and pith. Hold the now naked orange in the palm of your clean hand and over a large bowl slice out the sections, letting the juice and orange segments fall into the bowl. Clean, trim, and thinly slice the radishes (I use a box grater). Combine and toss with the oranges. Chop the mint and parsley and add to the bowl along with the lemon juice mixture. Toss gently and chill for at least 2 hours. Toss gently again and serve with freshly zested lemon and orange.

Enjoy!

Roasted Beet Catsup

Prep Time: 20 minutes / Cook Time: 45 Minutes / Refrigeration Time: 2 hours

3 medium/large fresh beets, trimmed, peeled, and quartered

½ sliced red onion

1 peeled garlic clove

3/4 cup of water

2 Tbsp white vinegar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

½ tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Trim, peel, and quarter the beets. Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Let cool.

Slice the red onion and add it to a high-speed blender or food processor. Add the cooled roasted beets, garlic clove, white vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and ½ cup of the water. Pulse the blender and check the consistency. It should be obvious, but you’re going for a catsup consistency…if you’ve arrived, do not add the additional ¼ cup of water, if not, add the remaining water slowly until you reach your preference. Test for salt and sweetness. You’re going to have some variability with this recipe due to the liquid and sugar content of the beets. Do not be afraid to adjust until it’s best for your taste buds. Chill before serving.

Enjoy!