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.

Kidney Bean Mushroom Curry

So, you probably get by now that we eat a lot of curries.  Here’s another one of our favourites.  I’ve learned how awesome it is to take leftover curry, drain as much liquid out as you can, add some flour, bread crumbs and a bit of vital wheat gluten until you can form a patty, and bake at 375° for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.  Instant yum, especially tucked into a pocket pita.  That’s the plan for the leftovers.

Kidney Bean Mushroom Curry
Originally found on The Vegan Mouse (with a few of my own variations)

1 tbsp peanut oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 large tomato, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup plain soy milk
1/4 cup water
1 container fresh mushrooms sliced
1 14oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high and sautée onion for 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add ginger and garlic and sautée for another 2 minutes.  Add margarine and let it melt, then add cumin, cayenne, garam masala and salt and fry for a minute. Add tomato paste, chopped tomato, mushrooms and stir around some more before adding soymilk and water. Let it come to a boil. Add beans and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add cilantro at the end. Serve hot with rice.

Cauliflower and Mushroom Pot Pie with Black Olive Crust

…I really have no idea.

This might be the dish I would choose as my last meal if I were on death row or something.  It’s creamy, delicately herbed, warming and really stick-to-your-ribs.  The black olive flecked biscuit topping creates a wonderful balance for the creamy filling.  It’s from Veganomicon, which, if you don’t own already, you really need to.

And it’s so good that I didn’t get a chance to photograph it before we ate it all.  Oops!  Next time.

I did find it posted online for those of you without the cookbook, find it here.

– Crystal

Leftovers Dinner

What a plate of leftovers!  We have been cooking out of Appetite for Reduction a lot, so plated here is leftovers of Mushroom and Cannelini Beans Paprikas (we used navy beans) overtop of Scarlet Barley, and Braised Cabbage and Seitan, with my favourite thing ever – kale.  I love kale so much, I don’t care if it’s “rabbit food”.  I like it sautéed with some garlic and salt.

– Crystal
Trevor’s note: The paprikas and scarlet barley combo was not only incredible, but one of the most colourful dishes I’ve ever made. It makes for great leftovers, which actually tasted better having chilled in the fridge for a day.

Avocado Pie and Dinner Out

I love this recipe like woah.  I’ve made it a number of times – it’s creamy, rich and tangy – it leaves your tongue buzzing from the lovely lime flavour.

Since it’s our vacation week, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at Veg Out, which is this great all-vegan restaurant where we live.  Their menu changes quite frequently which is nice, but they always have some great old standbys like vegan fish and chips (!) and tempeh hot wings.  We had the crispy cremini and shiitake mushrooms with a srirache aioli to start.  I decided to go for the chick-pea-nut burger, which was this massive peanutty-tasting thing topped with caramelized onions, sprouts, tomato, pickles, avocado, lettuce, and a sriracha-spiked mayo.  I had it with their daily soup, sweet potato lemongrass.  Trevor had the jerk tempeh with rice and beans and a side of sweet potato cornbread + a bottle of Grasshopper wheat beer!

– Crystal

Tofu Scramble

Last Sunday we had a slow start to the day and made some tofu scramble.  I like mine covered in a healthy dose of Frank’s Red Hot (I especially like the chile + lime right now) and ketchup.
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Crystal’s Tofu Scramble
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 small onion, small dice
1 package extra firm tofu, drained
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp black salt (imparts an “eggy” taste – definitely worth having in your spice rack)
heaping 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp olive oil
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sautée the onions until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.  Crumble the tofu right into the pan with your hands, no need to be very careful about it.  Add the sliced mushrooms.  Sautée everything for 10 minutes, periodically scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any stuck bits.  Once the tofu looks a bit browned and the mushrooms seem to be cooked thoroughly, add the soy sauce, paprika, black salt, nutritional yeast and turmeric.  Stir to fully encorporate and cook for 2 minutes longer.  Taste for salt, add some pepper and adjust to your taste.  Plate up and enjoy!

Portabello Sammiches and Oven-Baked Onion Rings

We have been working through the newest cookbook in our repertoire, Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  I was totally sold on the book when I saw it included a recipe for oven-baked onion rings.  And there’s hardly any fat in them, which is a nice bonus.  I love onion rings and was skeptical at first that these would live up to my expectations, but they certainly did!  The recipe is posted online here, but I still recommend picking up the book because it’s full of great recipes (which I’m sure we’ll be posting a lot more of).

Our sandwiches consisted of Balsamic Glazed Portabellos, vegenaise, shredded carrot, baby spinach and sriracha hot sauce on fresh sandwich rolls.  It was so good.

– Crystal

PS:  We’re working on finding a solution for the unavoidable taking pictures of food after all the natural daylight is done for the day!  Sandwiches shouldn’t be so moody…