Chili el mole

Happy new year, Naked Vegan Lunchers!  I hope your holiday season was as delightful and full of ridiculous amounts of grub as mine was.  I am very fortunate to be part of several families who are all so accommodating and wonderful about the whole vegan thing.  We did Christmas dinner at home on Christmas Eve with my family and it was a fully vegan affair; with not so much as a peep of disapproval from our omnivorous guests (but, like, who is going to complain when I’m serving them Chocolate Pecan Pie with Coco Whip?).  Christmas Day was another great meal that left us popping the buttons on our pants, oh, and then another one on Boxing Day…

It’s now freezing cold up here in Canada, and for today, with snow squalls and minus reallyfuckingcold temperatures, chili was just the ticket.  I had leftover red wine in the fridge from serving guests at Christmas, and I don’t drink booze so I wanted to find a way to cook with it.  This chili el mole came to mind, with all the complex, toasty flavours you’d expect from a mole without the laborious, 25+ ingredient prep.

I’d recommend serving it with a wedge of the Pumpkin Corn Bread from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new book, The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook: Entertaining for Absolutely Every Occasion.  I got it for Christmas and have been pawing through it at every occasion since.

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Chili el mole

Serves 4-6 people

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotles, deseeded and finely minced
2 small zucchinis, diced
1 cup cremini mushrooms, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp chili seasoning
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cumin
1 cup water
1/2 cup red wine
2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
1 large (28 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
salt to taste
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
A handful of crushed tortilla chips, as garnish (optional)

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat, to which you will add the onions and saute until pearly and translucent. Add the garlic and chipotles and saute for a minute longer. Add the zucchinis and mushrooms, and cook until they’ve sweat out liquid and have softened. Add the tomato paste, chili seasoning, cinnamon, cumin, water, red wine and salt to taste. Stir until incorporated. Add the kidney beans, lentils, stewed tomatoes. Stir everything together, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and let simmer for 30-45 minutes. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips, letting them melt and then stirring to incorporate. Taste for salt, top with optional crushed tortilla chips, and dig in.

Jamaican vibes and arroz con leche

We’ve been in our new house for about 6 months now and I finally feel like my kitchen groove is coming back.  You know when you move and there’s a period where you don’t have your bearings about you — which drawer is your favourite ladle in?  Where is your 1/2 cup dry measure?  AGH.  But I’m comin’ back, baby.  Today we went out to get some groceries today we ended up at our favourite international shop.  They have EVERYTHING.  And among that everything was callaloo!  We had callaloo in Jamaica and really liked it.  Well, I like any greens, really…but I found the preparation of callaloo in Ital style to be super delicious.  So of course we had to get it and make it, and we made curried TVP to go with it because it’s such a staple at all the Ital/Rasta places we’ve eaten at.  And brown rice.

Vegan Caribbean Food

I made the callaloo per the instructions here and here’s what we did for the TVP:

  • 3 cups dried TVP chunks
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 scotch bonnet pepper, deseeded and finely diced (or leave out if you’re heat averse!)
  • 2 stalks green onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp gravy browning
  • 2 tbsp Jamaican curry powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put some water to a boil, get your TVP in a large bowl and pour boiling water over the TVP until well covered.  Let sit for 10 minutes, or until TVP is softened.  Drain and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add your garlic first, get it to a nice blonde colour (30 seconds), then add your onions and carrots.  Stir to coat in the oil, and cook for 5 minutes (add a splash of water as necessary to deglaze if things are sticking).  Add in your soaked TVP, green onion, water, coconut milk, scotch bonnet, browning, thyme, curry powder and salt.  Stir everything up, pop the lid on, and let it cook down to a nice thick sauce, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Season to taste and serve with brown rice and callaloo on the side.

I also had a hankering for some arroz con leche which is just a Mexican rice pudding with cinnamon.  I made it in my rice cooker using this recipe and replaced the milk with soy milk.

Vegan Arroz con Leche

Now I’m stuffed, sleepy, and happy I’m getting my culinary groove back.

Watch this space.

"Holy Pie!" Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

This morning, as we were eating this, I meant to exclaim, “Holy crap, this really tastes like pumpkin pie!” but I accidentally said, “Holy pie!  Pumpkin pie!”.  True story.  It’s just that pie-y.
So let’s all rejoice and eat pumpkin with every meal for as long as autumn lasts.

Serves 3-4

2 cups soy milk (or water, but it’ll be less creamy)
3/4 cup pumpkin purée
2 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

In a medium saucepan, heat the soy milk and pumpkin over medium-high heat.  Stir the pumpkin to dissolve. Once bubbles are just forming on the surface, add the oats, lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until liquid is mostly absorbed.  Remove from heat and add the sugar, salt and spices.  Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup or a few walnut pieces if desired.

– Crystal

Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Our local grocery store had 10lb bags of carrots for $1.99.  When I happened upon them, I had no idea what I would do with 10lbs of carrots before they went bad but I knew I had to buy a bag because it was such an amazing deal.  I have a juicer, so juicing carrots was definitely on the agenda, and with the pulp from the juiced carrots I made a batch of veggie lox and these carrot cake cupcakes.  They were good!  They don’t replace a regular cupcake, but they are a nice, healthy treat.  I really liked the cream cheeze frosting.

Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheeze Frosting

1 cup walnuts
1 cup pitted dates
2 cups carrot pulp
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1/8 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup raisins

1 cup cashews, soaked at least 1 hour
5 pitted Medjool dates, soaked at least 1 hour, water reserved (or to taste)
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp lemon juice

1. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and dates until the form a uniform paste.
2. Add in the carrots and spices and process until it becomes a smooth dough.
3. Add raisins and pulse to combine, but do not overmix because you want chunky raisins in the dough.
4. Push the batter into muffin tins. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
5. Create your frosting: Wipe your food processor clean and then add your soaked and rinsed cashews. Pulse until completely smooth and creamy. Add the lemon juice and slowly add the reserved date soaking liquid until you achieve the consistency you desire.
6. Frost your cupcakes prior to serving.

Gingerbread Oatmeal

I love the flavour of gingerbread cookies; so warming and comforting.  It translates nicely to a big, warm bowl of oats.  I use my typical method for cooking oats quickly here; what I typically do on a workday morning.  Stovetop method would work as well if you’ve got more time.  I add chia seeds to my oats because I love the texture it provides, plus it’s high in a bunch of good stuff.

Gingerbread Oatmeal

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp chia seeds
Enough water or non-dairy milk to cover oats
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Place oats and chia seeds in a bowl and add enough liquid to saturate and cover.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Pop in microwave on high for 2 minutes or until oats are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid.  Add molasses, brown sugar and salt and mix.  Add spices and mix some more.  Eat and feel comforted and warm.

– Crystal

Cookies Galore

Today is the intern at my work’s last day, so I whipped up some cookies to say, “We’ll miss you!”
The selection was miniature snickerdoodles and grapefruit icebox cookies.  The grapefruit cookies are from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, which is a book chock-full of deliciousness that vegans and non-vegans can nom on.  For those without this cookbook, I found the recipe posted online here!

Mini Snickerdoodles
Makes 2 dozen cookies

Cookie Dough

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup vegan margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vanilla soymilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and baking powder in bowl. Beat margarine in separate bowl with electric mixer until soft. Add sugar, and beat until fluffy. Beat in soymilk and vanilla extract 30 seconds or until smooth. Add flour mixture, and beat 30 seconds or until smooth.

3. Combine sugar and cinnamon on large plate.

4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in Cinnamon Sugar, and place 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet and flatten with your fingers or a fork. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until cookies look dry on tops and are lightly browned on bottoms. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Store in airtight container.