Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beer Braised Brussel Sprouts & Greens

Your blog doll has been super busy lately. Sorry for not often posting. Quicky recipe!

Beer Braised Brussel Sprouts & Greens

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
* Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil  
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 cup brussel sprouts, ends trimmed, cut in half
  • 1 cup greens, packed*
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce*
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke*
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup beer*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
* Recipe:
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and onions. Cook until they start to become translucent.
  2. Add the brussel sprouts. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the start to become tender. Add in the greens and garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the liquid reduces almost all the way or until the brussel sprouts can be pierced with a fork.
* Note: For greens, I used a package of turnip, mustard, and collard greens. Feel free to use whatever greens you like. You can find vegan Worcestershire sauce at health food stores and online. Liquid smoke gives dishes a smokey taste (similar in effect to if you add bacon to a dish). Make sure your beer is vegan! I used a wheat beer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Vegan Chicago: Restaurant Review of MANA food bar

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
MANA food bar is a small Wicker Park vegetarian tapas restaurant. I was first introduced to this gem several years ago and have yet to be disappointed. About half their menu is vegan and very inspired by Asian flavors as well as other world cuisines. You can order small plates or large plates of most dishes. I would recommend getting a variety of small plates to try out different items. Don't go overboard, though! Get a couple dishes and see if you are full and then order more if you'd like. The items can rack up in price if you don't do it that way. MANA is moderately priced so expect to pay about $50-$70 a meal with alcohol.

The last time I went there, I took pictures with my iPhone, so excuse their quality. The lighting in the restaurant is not the best. Be warned also that this restaurant is pretty small, so you might be waiting for a table (unless you go during good weather seasons when they have a small outside table area too). 

For appetizers, we had the pickled veggies, caponata, and the sesame noodles, all small sized. The pickled veggies were good - tomatoes, green beans, and mushrooms. I didn't care for the tomatoes as much as the other two. One of my favorite dishes at MANA is the caponata. If you are not an eggplant person, do not get this dish. If you love eggplant like myself, you will thoroughly enjoy this tapas plate. I highly recommend one tries this item! The sesame noodles were pretty good as well. It was my friend's least favorite of the variety of small plates we got, but I'd get it again. In the past, I've also tried the spinach and pear salad and it is also one of my favorites on the menu.

For hot plates, we got the curry dish, ma po tofu, and gyoza, again all small sized. The gyoza are really good - just your standard fried veggie dumplings, but delicious. I preferred the curry dish over the ma po tofu. Once again, if you don't like eggplant, don't get the ma po tofu dish. The lentils in the curry plate were a nice added touch too. In the past, I've had the tofu bulgogi dish and it is one of my favorites on the menu. I highly recommend trying out that plate. My friend also had the tamale and the potato pancakes. He really enjoyed them both, particularly the potato pancakes, but be warned neither are vegan (he's a vegetarian).

If I had to go with a top three favorite dishes at MANA, I would choose: bulgogi, caponata, and gyoza. The sesame noodles run a tie with the gyoza in my opinion.

Be sure to check out this quaint Wicker Park establishment for a nice vegetarian meal!

Pictured: top left - pickled veggies, top right - caponata, middle - curry, bottom left - gyoza, bottom right - sesame noodles.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

A long time ago, I made a seitan Reuben sandwich that was mighty yummy (I also have a California Reuben sandwich with a killer vegan turkey meat recipe). I thought I'd change it up with tempeh this time and a marinade.

Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: up to 24 hours
* Cook Time: 20 minutes
* Ingredients (for tempeh marinade):
  • 1 package (8 oz.) tempeh, cut 1/2 in. slices*
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp mesquite liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp juniper berries*
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
* Ingredients (for sandwich):
  • vegan thousand island dressing*
  • rye bread
  • sauerkraut
  • vegan cheese*
* Recipe:
  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Add tempeh. Marinate for 1-2 hours up to 24 hours.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add tempeh slices (no need to add oil since it is in the marinade). Cook until golden on both sides.
  3. Toast the rye bread. Place vegan cheese on bread. Melt cheese (I toasted on a skillet and the cheese melted that way). Add sliced tempeh, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing.
* Note: The tempeh I used was Lightlife flax seed. I used juniper berries and caraway seeds in the marinade because they are used in corned beef preparations. If you don't have these items, then you could probably omit them. The vegan thousand island dressing I used was my own from a seitan Reuben sandwich recipe I posted a long time ago (Russian dressing is essentially thousand island). For vegan cheese, I used Daiya's wedge harvati. Usually Swiss cheese is used in Reuben's, but I don't know any vegan Swiss cheese. So, I went to another white cheese other than mozzarella.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spinach, Basil Pesto, & Ricotta Lasagna

For ricotta, I usually use a tofu mixture. I saw Tofutti made a vegan ricotta which I'd never heard of store bought vegan ricotta before. I thought I'd make a lasagna out of it! Maybe next time I'll make a pasta. Overall, the Tofutti ricotta turned out lovely in this lasagna. I think I may prefer it over a tofu mashed ricotta mixture. It gave it a more authentic feel.

Spinach, Basil Pesto, & Ricotta Lasagna

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 1 hour
* Ingredients:
  • 1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 container (5 oz.) fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil pesto*
  • 1 tub (16 oz.) vegan ricotta cheese*
  • 1/3 cup vegan Parmesan* 
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg
  • black pepper, to taste 
  • 1 jar Italian herb tomato sauce
  • 1/2 - 1 cup vegan mozzarella shreds*
* Recipe:
  1. Preheat 350 degrees.
  2. In a big pot of boiling water, add a pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil and cook 4 sheets of lasagna noodles at a time.
  3. Combine the spinach, pesto, ricotta cheese, Parmesan, oregano, thyme, salt, nutmeg, and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Spread a layer of tomato sauce in a baking dish. Add a layer of noodles, tomato sauce, and ricotta mixture. Repeat layering this way and finish the top with just a layer of noodles and tomato sauce. Bake for 35 minutes uncovered.
  5. Add the mozzarella shreds to the top of lasagna and bake for another 10 minutes.
* Note: I made the pesto fresh from scratch, but you can opt use store bought. The ricotta cheese is from Tofutti. The vegan Parmesan I use is Galaxy brand. Lastly, the vegan mozzarella shreds I used was Daiya
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