Vegan Tacos with Mashed Sweet Potato

On April 6, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Vegan Tacos with Mashed Sweet Potato
Serves 6

18 corn tortillas
canola oil for frying

1 large Japanese sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup almond milk
1 can black beans
2 carrots, cubed
1 green pepper, diced into small chunks
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
cilantro, finely chopped
green onion, cut into 2-inch long pieces

hot sauce, optional

Heat water to a boil and add cubed sweet potato and cook for about eight minutes until soft.  Remove from heat and drain. Add almond milk, salt and pepper to mash to a creamy consistency. Add more almond milk if necessary.

Meanwhile, heat the black beans in a small sauce pan on low heat.  In a separate saute pan on high heat add canola oil using enough oil to barely cover a tortilla.  When hot, add one tortilla at a time for just about 5 seconds turning once using tongs and then placing on paper towel to pat dry of any excess grease. Repeat until all tortillas are softened in oil.

In a small pan, add some olive oil and the cut carrots and green pepper. Add some salt, pepper and the cumin. Mix and heat over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes to soften and let flavors combine. Remove from heat when done.

When everything is done cooking turn off the heat of all burners and assemble tacos.  Serve placing carrot and green onion mixture and then add the black beans.  Place a spoon full of the sweet potato on top and then sprinkle with chopped cilantro and add a couple pieces of green onion on top.  Add your favorite hot sauce if desired.

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Kale Pasta Bake

On February 15, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I love macaroni and cheese.  There are a lot of variations on it and I’m always interested in trying something a little different.  Here is one without cheese. So technically it’s really not a macaroni and cheese. It’s more of a macaroni noodle and vegan bechamel, but that doesn’t sound as good. I’ve made bechamel before in other pasta dishes, it’s pretty easy though not as simple as dumping in a pile of cheese.

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The dish is a bit dry compared to a mac and cheese, but the kale and crunchy crust from the breadcrumbs help give it some more texture and flavor.  It’s also pretty good for making enough for a couple days for leftovers as it keeps well.

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So if you want a break from a less healthy creamy cheese macaroni dish, this is a good option to try next time.

 

Full Recipe: [Crunchy Crust Kale Pasta Bake]

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Vegan Moroccan Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup

On April 28, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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After a couple weekends of back-to-back smoked meats, I was due for a Saturday and Sunday of vegetarian meals. Last night was some great Asparagus Risotto. Following up last night’s meal, I had some beautiful swiss chard from the La Canada Farmers’ Market that needed to get used.  This dish was a perfect way to end the weekend.

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Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens in soups.  It has such a wonderful bitterness that when coupled with some spices – and this dish is full of complex spices – it really shines a wonderful green choice.

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The addition of cinnamon and allspice in this soup really comes through in the final produce. Couple the dish with a hearty sourdough bread.  Also the quinoa is optional and best to use if you are making this soup as a main course.

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Vegan Moroccan Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup

Prep Time: 10 Mins Cooking Time: 45 Hours

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, rough bite size cut
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch moons
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the carrots, onions, and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat in a dutch oven or soup pot. Add the spices except the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Let it cook and combine for about 2 minutes. Add the beans and coat the beans with the spices too letting it cook for another minute.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, quinoa, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Heat the pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes.
  3. After the 20 minute simmer, add the swiss chard then again cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with a good sourdough bread.
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UPDATE: I watched the show this week. It’s a train wreck. Bad directing. Bad jokes. Obnoxious expressions. Tons of stupid gimmicks. This show will not last. It is painful to watch unless someone decides to rework it and make it more about the food instead of trying to be funny and cool.  Oh well, maybe some day there will be a good vegan cooking show that doesn’t insult my intelligence and use words like “funkalicious.”

Like most cable channels the Cooking Channel and the Food Network have been taken over by reality show competitions and less about learning how to cook that is why I’m happy to see a new show that gets back to cooking.  Yes cooking. You know learning a few recipes, enjoying the craft from a chef, and then trying it at home as opposed to watching four people I’ve never heard of coming up with disgusting concoctions using canned sardines and candy canes.

I remember great cooking shows like Mario Batali’s Molto Mario that taught simple, amazing Italian recipes to the masses. Perhaps this show can do that with vegetarian cooking.

The best part is this new show is entirely focused on plant based recipes, no meat.  Also organic, non-GMO, and some raw food people can learn to make.  How to Live to 100 debuts this Sunday at 5pm PST.  Bonus, the host Jason Wrobel is Detroit native

My only concern, since I haven’t yet seen this show, is it may be trying to be too clever. Jason describes the show as part cooking show sitcom, part comedy show, part man on the street. Three concepts in one. He claims they still manage to fit four recipes into each 30 minute show.

Guess we’ll see how much cooking really happens, but it is great to see a Detroiter bring vegetarian cooking to the masses in what looks to be a promising show in 2013!

More info: [Cooking Channel Website]

Jason’s YouTube Channel: [The J-Wro Show]

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Pear Zucchini Stir Fry

On August 29, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Before last Sunday I had no clue what a Pear Zucchini was so don’t worry if you do not either.  You can substitue any vegetable here.  A ‘normal’ green zucchini or yellow squash is fine or skip both and add cauliflower and/or broccoli.  Basically this is anything you want it to be.

However, if you are lucky and can find a Pear Zucchini I do recommend it. It is kind of like a zucchini and cucumber hybrid.  It’s a bit sweet and little firmer than a typical zucchini, plus it looks beautiful on your kitchen counter.  I found the one I’m using here at the Alhambra Farmers’ Market held every Sunday morning only a few miles from our home.

Pear Zucchini Stir Fry
Serves 2

1/2 Pear Zucchini or 2 zucchinis, cut into cubes
2 carrots, cut into half moons
12 green beans
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 soy sauce
1/4 tsp brown rice vinegar
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp mild curry powder
black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

In a wok, add sesame oil and minced ginger and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes to release flavors.  Add vegetable broth, soy sauce and brown rice vinegar in wok, whisk together and cook for 3 minutes on medium heat.  Remove sauce from pan and set aside. Do not rinse wok.

Return wok to heat and add onions and carrots cooking for a couple minutes then add zucchini.  Add curry powder and some fresh cracked pepper.  Cook in wok for about 3 minutes.  Return sauce to wok and cook for another couple minutes.

In a small cup combine a teaspoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water.  Add to wok right before serving mixing it into the sauce, this will thicken the sauce right before serving.

Serve with rice.

 

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Root Vegetables and Lentils in Mustard Sauce

On July 20, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This is an adaptation of a recipe I posted before: Lentils with Turnip, Leeks and Carrots.

I made a few edits since I’m still doing my series on “Hotel Home Cooking.” Much of the original recipe was followed; however, I lacked cloves and red wine vinegar plus I had some yellow zucchini that I added to the carrots, leeks, and garlic.

The final result isn’t that attractive. Fortunately, the flavors are rich with the Dijon mustard vinaigrette that’s added at the end.

This is a good recipe too since it is affordable and makes enough for a couple evenings.

 

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Moroccan Couscous with Saffron

On May 18, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I’m not much of a celebrity follower.  Though I have come to enjoy one celebrity’s blog covering some great vegetarian food choices and recipes. Actress Alicia Silverston is anything but Clueless when it comes to finding good things to eat.

This recipe is a simple roasted vegetable medley with butternut squash, zucchini, carrots and onions atop of some saffron and cumin flavored couscous is a great way to get your vegetables and protein.

It’s definitely worth trying out and be sure to checkout some other recipes from her website. I have my next selection already picked out – Mardi Gras Jambalaya.

Full Recipe: Kinds Classics Moroccan Couscous with Saffron.

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Vegan Paella

On March 16, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Paella is one of my absolute favorite dishes.  Of course, I’m talking more about a traditional Spanish Paella full of shrimp and sausage.  This vegetarian take on Paella from a new cookbook I received for my birthday last month, takes a vegan attempt at this classic dish. I skipped the setan meat substitute which was probably a mistake, but my wife and I just don’t care for the fake meat-like substances.

The dish is a combination of cooked vegetables that are then added to a pot of saffron flavored risotto.  The combination provides great flavor and it is a dish worthy of making again; however, it’s the Paella attribution that bothers me here.

Personally, I just don’t think anything without shrimp and sausage can be called Paella, even with the fake meat-like substitutes. So I like to see this dish as a good vegetable and rice dish.  Seeing it through that lens makes it a great option for a Meatless Monday dish or a night when you need to take a break from a real Paella.

Full the Recipe see the Amazon cookbook’s page (Editorial Review Section) as it is published there in its entirety: Vegan Paella

 

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Go Vegan for the Sexual Cruelty

On March 2, 2012, in Food, by Chris Baccus
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Is animal cruelty not enough of a reason to convert to Veganism? How about a more powerful sexual drive that will leave your partner in a neck brace and limp?

Believe it or not that’s the latest pitch from PETA in their new ad campaign: BWVAKTBOOM, “Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom out of Me.

Who knew cutting out an animal product diet would assist with one’s sexual prowess.  The campaign features a younger Steve Colbert looking male with his model girlfriend along with playing it safe tips for your “newfound stamina, desire, and penile strength.”

Personally, I think I’ll stick with a low meat diet. Neck braces just are not that attractive.

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Sweet Potato & Apple Rice Bake

On February 20, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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If I was a vegetarian this would be my main dish for Thanksgiving. Add some green bean casserole and mashed potatoes and I’d be perfectly happy with a turkey free day.

The flavors in this dish are so beautifully combined that every bite puts a smile on your face.  I adapted this recipe from a Butternut Squash & Apple Rice Bake recipe from the blog Running to the Kitchen. I swapped out the butternut squash for sweet potatoes, switched the cannellini beans with navy beans, and used dried cranberries instead of dried cherries. I’m sure keeping everything as the recipe says is amazing too; it’s just that I went with what I had in my kitchen.

So feel free to make some modifications just be sure to keep the integrity of the dish by using similar flavors.

Enjoy!

Click here for the full recipe: Butternut Squash & Apple Rice Bake.