October 18, 2013

Meat Beany Chili & Corn Muffins – VIDEO

Makes 12 muffins
Chili Serves 6 to 8

Meaty Beany Chili

I’m no Texas chili expert, but I am a culinary reality TV expert, and one thing that’s for sure is that if chefs on a cooking competition talk about Texas, they talk about chili. And if they talk about chili they have to state no less than 10 times that Texas chili has no beans in it. They’ll say it in slow-mo and with echo and dubbed over techno music. Texas chili has no beans. Did you hear that? NO BEANS! So this is my reverse homage to Texas chili. A mean pot of stew filled with all my favorite beans! It’s thick and stick-to-your ribs, and super duper meaty thanks to the cooked down lentils. Serve with Cornbread Muffins and guacamole.

Watch me make it and then I’ll watch you make it! Wait, no I won’t.

Recipe Notes

~You can make this on the stovetop instead of the slowcooker. Directions for both are below. Use 2 extra cups of water for the stovetop.

~If you don’t want to futz with two different kinds of whole beans, either kidney or black beans could go solo, too.

For the Chili:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced medium
1 green pepper, seeded, diced medium
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, thinly sliced (seeded, if you want it less spicy)
3 to 4 tablespoons mild chili powder
1 tablespoon dried mexican oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Several dashes fresh black pepper
1/8th teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups water (plus extra as needed)
1 cup dried brown lentils
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz can)
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz can)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons lime juice

For the Corn Muffins:
1 cup almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal, medium ground
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 cup corn kernels (thawed if using frozen)

For the Chili:
Slowcooker directions…
Set your slow cooker to “sear.”

Saute the onion, green pepper and jalapeno in the oil with a big pinch of salt for 5 to 7 minutes, until onion is translucent.

Add the garlic, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients, cover and set to slow cook for at least 8 hours. Lentils should be very tender.

Taste for salt and seasoning, and thin with a little water if necessary.

Stovetop directions…
Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium high heat.

Saute the onion, green pepper and jalapeno in the oil with a big pinch of salt for 5 to 7 minutes, until onion is translucent.

Add the garlic, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chili powder (start with 3 tablespoons and go from there), oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, and cloves and toss to coat the onions, letting the spices toast a bit (about a minute or so).

Add the 4 cups water and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add the lentils, cover the pot and turn the heat up to bring to a boil. Let boil for about 20 minutes, stirring every now and again. The lentils should still be firm, but almost tender enough to eat.

Add the crushed tomatoes, kidney beans and black beans. Cover the pot, and turn heat down to simmer. Let cook for about 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally. The lentils should be quite mushy, almost melting into the chili. You may also need to add more liquid depending on how much the chili has cooked down. Adding up to two cups more would not be unheard of.

Add lime and maple syrup, then taste for salt and seasoning. It tastes best if you let it sit for 10 minutes or so, but if you can’t wait then just dig in!

For the Corn Muffins:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Measure out the milk and add the apple cider vinegar to it, then set aside to curdle.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center and add in the milk, oil and applesauce. Stir together the wet ingredients in the well. Then mix the wet and dry together just until the dry ingredients are moistened, being careful not to overmix. Fold in the corn kernels.

Fill each muffin tin most of the way with batter. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes. Tops should feel firm to the touch and a knife inserted through the center should come out clean.

Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle (usually 10 minutes or so), transfer muffins to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.

October 17, 2013

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies – VIDEO

Makes 24 cookies

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies
Photo by Vanessa Rees

This was actually the first video we filmed for Make It Vegan! I had no idea that the ice cream man musical interruption would make it into the final edit, but I’m glad it did because you can clearly see how it traumatized me. But these cookies…they are, like, not traumatizing at all. Watch me make them and then make them yourself!

There is something otherwordly about the rosemary chocolate combination and it makes these my favorite cookies in the world. Did I already say that about another cookie? It was a lie. These are buttery, golden, sublime and just slightly exotic. If you haven’t tried the rosemary chocolate combo, be prepared to fall in love.

Recipe Notes

~I simply use a fork to mix most of the cookie recipes in Isa Does It. True, it takes a little more elbow grease and time to beat the oils and sugars adequately, but for me it’s somehow worth it not to have to break out the hand mixer. If you don’t see the logic in this (because there really isn’t any) then feel free to use your handmixer!

~I also use a cookie disher most of the time, which is a small ice cream scooper. For years I relied on nothing but a tablespoon and my eyeballs to make sure my cookies were the same size, so you can do that, too. (In fact, that’s how I did it in the video)

~Make sure that your coconut oil is at room temperature. It shouldn’t be clear and melted, just somewhat creamy without any large lumps.

1/2 cup refined coconut oil, softened
2 tablespoons lightly packed, chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (golden preferred)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate semisweet chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two large baking sheets.

In a large mixing bowl, use a fork to beat together the coconut oil and rosemary, until relatively smooth. Add the sugar, and beat for about a minute.

Add the non-dairy milk and flax seeds, and beat once again, for 30 seconds or so. Mix in the vanilla.

Add about half the flour, as well as the salt and baking soda, and mix well. Add the remainder of the flour, along with the chocolate chips, and mix well until it looks like, well, cookie dough.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets in rounded spoonfuls. Flatten gently with your hands. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.

Let cool on sheets for 3 minutes or so, then transfer to cooling racks to cool the rest of the way.

October 16, 2013

My New Video Series: Make It Vegan!

Make It Vegan

I am so so so excited to share my new video series with you. We filmed 10 episodes of Make It Vegan in Brooklyn over the summer and it was so very fun and, you know, NOT STRESSFUL AT ALL. The videos were created by James Beard Award-Winning production company, Zero Point Zero. They produce a few little shows like Mind Of A Chef and Parts Unknown, so, uh, no big deal! It was such an honor to work with them.

Our sponsor for the series is Breville, who make some of my favorite kitchen appliances ever (their ice cream maker and juicer are life-changing!) I tried really hard not to sound like an infomercial in the videos, but it was honestly tough at times because I do use and love their stuff. So I really want to extend my gratitude to Breville for sponsoring a vegan series. Hooray! Check out their site FoodThinkers for some fun stuff, and even more vegan goodness next week.

OK, I will be thanking more people on the video page shortly, but I want to give one last huge THANK YOU HUGS I LOVE YOU to R. Ring (Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery) for the theme song for the series, Salt. Kelley has been a hero of mine for like ever, and so to have her incredible voice at the beginning of each episode is just such a thrill. You can download Salt on iTunes or on Amazon and listen to it loudly as you cook along with me.

Right. On to the videos! We have three available now, and 7 more coming next week. I’ll put all the recipes up here on The PPK in the next few days so that you can totally follow along. I hope you love them! Even though they are short and sweet, we tried to pack each ep with info, laughter, and delicious delicious food. Let me know what you think!

Meaty Beany Chili And Cornbread Muffins
If your vegetarian chili has ever been too vegetarian, then this is the recipe for you!

Get the chili recipe!

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies
This was actually the first one we shot! These cookies are so buttery and delicious. If you haven’t tried coconut oil in your cookies, now is the time.

Get the cookie recipe!

New England Glam Chowder
The creamiest, dreamiest New Englandiest clam chowder in the world, and it uses mushrooms, not clams (duh.)

Get the chowder recipe!

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies
This was actually the first one we shot! These cookies are so buttery and delicious. If you haven’t tried coconut oil in your cookies, now is the time.

Get the cookie recipe!

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
So creamy, frosty, delicious and autumny! Procure an ice cream maker and make this now.

Get the ice cream recipe!

Nirvana Enchilada Casserole
You don’t have to wear a Hodor shirt to make this luscious casserole, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Get the enchilada recipe!

Roasted Red Pepper Mac & Cheese
I call it Pizza Mac & Cheese! It’s the mac that always crashes Instagram.

Get the mac & cheese recipe!

October 16, 2013

New England Glam Chowder – VIDEO

Serves 6 to 8
Total time: 35 minutes (not including soaking time for cashews)
Active time: 15 minutes

New England Glam Chowder
Photo by Vanessa Rees

This is for all you fishheads out there. A mix of mushrooms stand in for the clams to create a super satisfying chewiness, while some chopped up nori give this chowder a true taste of the sea. It’s thick and creamy and loaded with the finer things, like potatoes and carrots. Crumble some saltines over the top and you’ll be able to hear the Atlantic ocean lapping at your feet. For authenticity, make sure to serve this while talking like a character from a Stephen King movie.

Hope you love the video! Please read more about “Make It Vegan”, my new video series!

New England Glam Chowder

Recipe Notes

~How fishy do you like it? Nori is pretty mild as far as seaweeds go, but the potency varies depending on the brand, and how fresh the nori is. Start with one sheet, then taste after everything is added at the end. If you think it needs more sea, you can still add another chopped up sheet. Just mix it in and let the flavor meld, off the heat, for about 10 miuntes.

~If your nori is really fresh, you don’t even have to chop it (as evidenced in the video), simply crumble it right into the pot.

~To efficiently chop nori, it works to chiffonade it. That means roll up and slice! So tightly roll up your nori sheet like a cigar, and thinly slice. Then run your knife over the curled up bunches to get them into even smaller pieces.

~If you’d like it even more chewy and you have a million dollars to spend on fungi, then go ahead and replace all of the white mushrooms with shiitake.

1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
2 cups vegetable broth
4 teaspoons organic cornstarch

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into 1/4 inch thick half moons
3 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 oz white button mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
3/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
Fresh black pepper
1 to 2 nori sheets, finely chopped (see note above)
3 cups vegetable broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Optional: fresh chopped parsley or chives for garnish
Saltines for crushing over the top

Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute onion and carrots in the olive oil with a pinch of salt, for about 10 minutes, until carrots are softened.

In the meantime, we’ll make the cashew cream. Drain the cashews and add them to the blender along with the vegetable broth and cornstarch. Blend like crazy, until smooth. This can take anywhere from one to five minutes depending on your machine. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula every now and again to make sure you get everything.

Back to the soup. Add mushrooms and celery. Cook briefly, for about 3 minutes, just until mushrooms are softened. You want them to keep their texture.

Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, nori and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Be careful to keep a close eye so as not to overcook them or they will turn into mush.

Stir in the cashew cream mixture, and gently heat, uncovered, for about 7 minutes, until nicely thickened. Add the tomato paste and lemon juice and taste for salt and seasoning. Add a little extra water if it seems too thick. Serve garnished with parsley or chives, if you like, and a few saltine crackers. A wedge of lemon looks pretty, too.

October 11, 2013

Zomberoni Pizza Faces

Makes 12 Zombies

Zomberoni Pizza Faces

Disclaimer: The PPK shall not be held responsible for any zombie transformations nor any injuries, losses, expenses, and damages that may occur as a result of zombie transformations while using this recipe. In rare instances, Zomberoni Pizza Faces have been known to bite back. Proceed at your own risk…

A horde approaches. All googly eyed, mouths agape, rotting teeth, and the stench! Oh, the stench! The stench is…it’s just so…wait. They actually smell pretty amazing! Like a pizza shop. But of course they do, they’re ZOMBERONI PIZZA FACES! Homemade pepperoni eyes, cashew cheeze sauce, pepper mouth and caper teeth. What’s not to love? Oh right, the fact that they will tear you from limb to limb leaving only a bloody oven mitt in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Watch this instructional video for some assembly help (keep the sound on, unless you’re at work, in which case you’ll be promptly be fired.)

Recipe Notes

~I make my own vegan pepperoni, but you can, of course, use store-bought. Sausages will work, too!

~I used baby bell peppers for the perfect sized mouths. If you can’t find any, just fashion together two rounded bell pepper slices to create the mouth.

~It’s really difficult to eff this up. I mean, how can you? It’s a zombie! But if you like, practice making pizza faces on a plate before going the whole way on the english muffin.

~Unfortunately, the most famous brand of English muffin is not vegan. SAD FACE! But there are plenty of wonderful vegan varieties out there. I actually used a nice healthy sprouted grain English muffin from Ezekiel bread and it tastes faboo.

~If you find yourself really wanting a kitchen project, you can even make your own English Muffins. There are a million recipes out there, and I have one in Vegan Brunch. (I’m sure if you google a bit you can find my recipe for free!)

~For time management purposes, make the pepperoni a day in advance and remember to soak your cashews overnight! These will come together in a flash.

For the pepperoni eye sockets:
1/2 cup cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Lots of fresh black pepper

For the white sauce:
1 cup cashews, boiled
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Accoutrement and other ingredients:
6 English muffins
3 cups of your favorite marinara
12 fresh basil leaves
Sliced black olives
Baby bell peppers (see note above)

Make the Pepperoni:
Before mixing your ingredients, get the steaming apparatus ready, bringing water to a full boil.

Have ready 4 square sheets of tin foil. In a large bowl, mash the beans until no whole ones are left. Throw all the other ingredients together in the order listed and mix with a fork. Divide dough into 4 even parts (an easy way to do this: split the dough in half and then into quarters).

Place one part of dough into tin foil and mold into about a 6-inch log. Wrap dough in tin foil, like a tootsie roll. Don’t worry too much about shaping it, it will snap into shape while it’s steaming because this recipe is awesome.

Place wrapped sausages in steamer and steam for 40 minutes, until firm. Remove from steamer and let cool completely before slicing. You’ll only need two of the pepperoni for this recipe.

Make the white sauce:
Drain the cashews.

Add all of the white sauce ingredients to the blender and purée until completely smooth, anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes depending on the strength of your machine.

It’s rather thick, so definitely scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula often to make sure you get everything.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble the Zomberonis (before they diassemble you!):
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Split the english muffins in half and spread them out in front of you. Spread a few tablespoons marinara on each muffin. Tear a basil leaf into small pieces and scatter over the marinara for a rotting flesh effect. Spoon on cashew sauce in kind of a swirly way (see video above).

Place two thinly sliced pepperonis where eyes might be, and place two thinly sliced olives in a googly sort of way.

Place a thinly sliced pepper for the mouth, with a few rotting caper teeth inside.

Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Now your zombie is complete. Proceed with caution!!!!