Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

After picking up some tomatillos and banana peppers at my local farmers market, I decided it was salsa time.  Since it's hot out, I decided on a fresh version. 


5 tomatillos, husks removed, cleaned, cut in quarters
3 banana peppers, chopped, remove seeds for less heat
1/3 - 1/2 sweet onion, depending on size, diced
Garlic, smashed, to taste. I used ~half a bulb
One bunch of Cilantro
Lime Juice to taste
1/8 teaspoon (or more) Cumin
Salt, Sugar, Red Pepper Flakes to taste


Blend (I use a stick blender but the food processor works great too) the tomatillos, peppers, onion, and garlic.  I add one at a time so it slowly incorporates.  Blend in the cilantro last.  Add the cumin, lime juice and salt to taste, along with red pepper flakes if it needs a bit more heat.  Add a pinch of sugar if desired.

This is also great with jalapenos instead of banana peppers and with everything roasted ahead of time.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Squash Dressing

Squash Dressing is a summer staple of southern cuisine.  I always found the mushroom soup laden version of my youth a bit lackluster, so I looked for ways to improve the taste while updating it to be both gluten and dairy free.

-You'll need-

2 yellow squash/zucchini
1-2 stalks of celery
1/2 small sweet (Vidalia) onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup mushrooms
2 tablespoons Earth Balance
Olive Oil
Fresh Sage, Rosemary, Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 pan (or 6 muffins) of Cornbread 
(I use Hodgson Mill cornbread mix made with unsweetened original almond milk)
1-2 cups of Vegetable Broth (make sure it is gluten free)
1/4 cup Vegan Sour Cream


Chop your squash into quarters and then slice.  Steam with a bit of water in a large lidded skillet until just tender.  Remove the squash and discard the water.

Add the Earth Balance to the skillet and melt over medium to medium-high heat.  Diced onions, celery, garlic, and sliced mushrooms go into the skillet now.  Saute until soft, adding olive oil if needed.  Chop up the fresh herbs--a few teaspoons worth total, to taste, and add to the vegetables.  Add the squash back in, followed by a cup of vegetable broth, and the vegan sour cream.  A few cranks of fresh black pepper and sea salt are great now too.

After heating this mixture a while, slowly crumble in the cornbread while stirring everything together.  Add more broth if needed.

Grease your pan--I use a large loaf pan but an 8x8 or casserole dish will work as well.  Pour in the mixture, spread evenly, and put in an oven that's been preheated to 350.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until browned.

Serve with other freshly cooked garden-fresh vegetables or a nice salad.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

For my birthday party a few weeks ago I made a gluten-free vegan pineapple upside down cake.  The texture of a gluten free cake lends itself to this recipe quite well.

Preheat your oven to 350.  
In a 9" round cake pan
Place 1/4 cup Earth Balance
Melt in oven and then remove.

Optional: Stir in a shot of good dark rum.
Sprinkle on 3/4 cup packed brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon each of ginger and cinnamon.
Place pineapple rings in pan with a maraschino cherry in the center of each.

For the cake :
Mix up your favorite yellow cake recipe (I use Hodgson Mill ) with the following changes:
Instead of eggs, use your favorite egg replacer.
Use juice from the pineapple slices for as much milk in the recipe as it fills.  I use unsweetened original almond milk for the rest.
Replace butter with Earth Balance.

Mix very well and gently pour half of the batter over the topping.  Smooth the batter with a rubber spatula.  Bake in the oven until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
(Bake the rest of the cake as usual--you can easily freeze it for later consumption.)

Remove from the oven, run a knife between the cake and pan.  Let sit for a few minutes before flipping over onto a cake plate.  Enjoy.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Slow Cooked Spicy Green Beans

Slow cooked southern style green beans were a favorite growing up.  Usually cooked with bacon fat or ham, I just loved the flavor and texture.  Once I became vegetarian in high school, my mom would cook the beans with just some canola or olive oil.  While tasty, I missed having some extra flavor in there.  The key is finding the right mix of ingredients and adding some spice--if you don't like spice, cut back on those aspects of the recipe.


Break up a mess of Green Beans and throw them in your crock pot.
Add in:
Half a sliced Vidalia Onion
A few chopped cloves of Garlic
A freshly chopped Tomato (or two)
Enough Vegetable Broth to just cover (make sure it is gluten free)
A few dashes of Chipotle Hot Sauce
(Bourbon) Smoked Paprika ~1 teaspoon (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon of Sorghum
Red Pepper Flakes, Salt, and Pepper to taste
Optional: Chopped Red Pepper or Pimentos, New Potatoes

Set the crock pot on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 or longer.  The green beans become incredibly tender.  Make sure some of the pot liquor makes it onto your plate-- it is excellent mixed in with some mashed potatoes or sopped up with some cornbread!