HBV’s Famous Fesenjaan

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Fesenjaan: a delicious persian eggplant, pomegranate & walnut stew

I made this amazing meal for Mara and Melissa who came over for an evening of food, drinks and dancing. To make this recipe truly vegan, replace the honey for agave syrup. The walnut sauce is an excellent texture for this stew and holds well with the honey which balances sweet with the sour pomegranate seeds. The little bit of spice from the crushed red pepper and delicate spice from the cinnamon and tumeric make this an easy yet complex tasting dinner that is guaranteed to please!

INGREDIENTS
5 Japanese eggplants (the long thin light purple ones)
6 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1-2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-2 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 cups chopped cilantro leaves, plus 1 cup leaves for garnish
2/3 cup chopped fresh mint
2 cups (1/2 lb.) toasted walnuts
2-3 cups pure pomegranate juice (the real stuff)
2 tbsp honey
Cilantro or parsley for garnish
Pomegranate seeds for garnish

1) Cut eggplants into ½ inch thick rounds. Heat half the oil in a pan over medium high temperature. Sautee the eggplant on both sides until wilted and brown. Remove from the pan and let sit on a paper towel while you prepare the stew.

2) Toast the walnut pieces – I used my toaster oven (watch them carefully or they will burn. I have burned a few batches in the past trying to multi-task while making fesenjaan). Use a blender to grind the walnuts very finely. Remove from blender and combine in a small bowl the walnuts with the pomegranate juice, honey (or agave) and stir until thick.

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2) Add the other half of the oil to the pan and sautee the chopped onion for 10 minutes or so until brown. Add garlic and sautee another 2-3 minutes. Add the cumin, cinammon, salt, pepper, tumeric, crushed red pepper flakes and continue to sautee.

3) Add remaining oil to skillet, and reheat over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Add garlic during last few minutes of browning onions, and continue cooking. Add cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper, turmeric, crushed red pepper, parsley, cilantro and fresh mint, and sauté for another 5 minutes or so.

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4) Pour the walnut and pomegrante sauce into the pan and mix together. Add the sautéed eggplant and simmer for 30 minutes or until it is thick.

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5) Serve over rice, couscous, or even quinoa!

Yield: 4-6 servings.

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Whoah Felafel!

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I have been intimidated to make falafel – I hear just as often how “easy” it is to make as I hear “I tried that once and they just fell apart in the pan” – but I got adventurous last night and decided to give them a try and decide for myself… and after rooting around through different recipes, I have to say – this one paid off!

INGREDIENTS
1 can of garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour (can substitute all-purpose gf flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons cumin
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1) Mix all ingredients in a blender – for me this was a very inelegant process, I suggest mixing in batches. The consistency should result in something similar to the picture below.
2) Place bowl with falafel in the fridge and chill for 2 hours.
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3) Heat a generous layer of canola oil in a deep pan over medium high heat.
4) Press falafel into balls and place in the oil once fully heated. Cook on all sides for approx 5 minutes or until balls are golden and starting to crisp.
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5) Serve in a pita with tomato slices, lettuce, and vegan tzatziki sauce
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Meghan’s Risotto

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I think this might be Meghan’s all-time favourite dish that I have ever made for her. It’s creamy, rich, and complex and most importantly, does not contain mushrooms.
INGREDIENTS
5 cups of vegetable stock
1/3 cup of raw pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of cipollini onions, finely chopped (or shallots)
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
3 cups of chopped squash (I used butternut), cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons of tamari (or soy sauce)
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
sprigs of cilantro for garnish
Daiya cheese to taste
1) Preheat oven to 375.  In a large pot, simmer vegetable stock on low.
2) Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil.  Introduce pumpkin seeds all at once.  Stir constantly being careful not to allow the pumpkin seeds to burn.  You will start to have some seeds that “pop” – do not be alarmed, this means the pumpkin seeds are nearly done.  Once most of the seeds have started to brown and before any of them have gone black, remove from the seeds from the pan (but leaving the oil in the pan).
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3) Using the same oil as was used for the pumpkin seeds, sautee the garlic and onions for 2-3 minutes.
4) Add half a cup of vegetable stock and the butternut squash then reduce heat to low.  Cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes until the squash is tender.  Remove lid from simmering squash once tender and let the liquid cook off.
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5) Add another tablespoon of oil, the arborio rice, and saute 2-3 minutes.  Add toasted pumpkin seeds, wine, tamari, salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme.  Continue to add the vegetable stock, half a cup at a time, constantly stirring the risotto.  Once the risotto is soft and the sauce is creamy, the risotto is ready.
Serves 2, with plenty of leftover risotto for another 2 meals for 2 people.

Citrus Glazed Tempeh

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This was my first foray into tempeh – and it turned out spectacular!  The sweet thick sauce with a little bit of tang goes wonderfully with the nutty soy texture of the tempeh  – topping on a bed of quinoa and kale and you have a perfect meal!
INGREDIENTS
Sauce:
3/4 cup of sweet citrus juice, freshly squeezed (tangerine or oranges)
Juice from half a lime (or lemon in a pinch)
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons of tamari (or soy sauce)
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar (I used champagne vinegar for this recipe)
2 teaspoons of pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon of dried ground coriander/cilantro
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
Other ingredients:
1 package of tempeh (around 300 grams)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 bunch of kale
2 cups cooked quinoa

1) Mix all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

2) Cut tempeh into thin slices as seen in the picture below.  Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat and add the tempeh.  Allow to brown for approximately 5 minutes on each side.

3) Pour sauce mix into the pan and simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes until the tempeh is coated in a thick glaze.  Turn tempeh once during this process.

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4) Heat a kettle of water.  While heating, removed kale leaves from stem and rip into bite size pieces.  Wash and place in a large bowl.  When water has boiled, pour over the kale leaves and let soak for 1 minute.  Drain water.
5) Serve the tempeh over the kale over a bed of quinoa and enjoy.
Serves 2-4 people.

Onion Bread (raw)

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Onion bread is a great substitution for traditional bread when eating raw. It looks more like a cracker but remains pliable and somewhat chewy, and surprisingly, doesn’t taste as much like onion as you might think. The pictures show a batch where I used part red onion, but I would recommend sticking to whites… the reds have a bit too much of an “onion” taste at the end.  PS, this is another recipe I have adapted from rawtarian.com.
INGREDIENTS:
3-4 white and/or yellow onions
1 1/4 cups ground sunflower seeds
1 1/4 cups ground flax seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons raw soy sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon dried oregano (optional)
1) Chop onions (even finer than you see in the picture, my blender had a hard time with this load and I now use my food processor for these kinds of jobs).  Blend on high until well mixed and approaching liquid.
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2. Add all other ingredients to the blender and mix until it forms a dough.
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3) Spread out thinly and evenly on a teflex sheet.  Dehydrate for 1 hr at 118 and then reduce to 105 for another 6-8 hours.  Remove from the teflex sheet by flipping onto an empty tray at about 2 hours.
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YIELD: 2-3 dehydrator trays

Heart Beet Burgers (raw)

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These are my go-to burgers, so delicious I would go so far as to say I like them better than any cooked vegan burger I’ve ever had.  They freeze well and keep well in the fridge but because they don’t have much in the way of preservatives, they won’t last long!  Serve on onion bread with some raw ketchup, stone ground mustard, sprouts and a slice of tomato.

INGREDIENTS

2 medium or 3 small beets
1 cup walnuts (soaked for 1-2 hrs)
1/2 cup cup cashews (soaked for 1 hr)
1/4 cup ground sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
2-3 tablespoons light miso (unpasteurized)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-3/4 cup red onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

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1) Peel and roughly chop the beets and process in the blender first.  Add all other ingredients and blend until the mix looks eerily like ground beef.

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2) Using a circular cookie cutter, press the mix onto a teflex sheet.  When you remove the cookie cutter, prepare to be amazed at how burger-like these look.

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3) Dehydrate at 118 for 2 hrs.  Reduce to 108 for 6-8 more hours.

4) ENJOY!  MMmmmm…