Archive | September, 2011

Black Rice Risotto Stuffed Zucchini Squash

26 Sep

Here’s a recipe I worked on and wrote up a few months ago (July, gulp!). I’ve been meaning to post it for a while now but for some reason, I put it on the back burner. I’m currently working on a bunch of seasonal recipes for October which reminded me that summer squash is nearly out of season! Yikes. If this is something you’d like to try, get your hands on some summer squash before it’s all gone. If it is, stuffed eggplant sounds lovely.

Around the time of making this, I was informed that risotto is only risotto if you use Arborio or “risotto” rice. Okay, I get it. It’s cool. But “Black Rice Risotto-like Stuffed Zucchini Squash” doesn’t really roll off the tongue, you know? And besides, the idea is to have a “creamy” rice stuffing and that’s what this recipe is all about. Risotto is a bit time consuming, although well worth the wait. If you’ve never made it before, be sure to read the instructions carefully before getting started.

I made this for my mother and she couldn’t stop raving about it. Aww, mothers. It’s just as savory as it is presentational. It’s also a good way to use up some of that leftover cashew cream you have lying around from some other recipe. What I love most about this recipe though is how easily the squash is to cut through and how well the seasoned rice and natural flavor of the squash go together.
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Cajun Sausage, Bean, and Vegetable Casserole

2 Sep

Here’s a little tidbit about me: I love casseroles. I love the idea of casseroles, I love the presentation of casseroles, I love eating casseroles. I even love to collect nice, vintage casserole dishes. I think I just have a fascination with putting things in the oven “unfinished” and then having them come out all nice and warm and whole. It’s like magic! I think this is where my obsession with lasagna comes from.

It’s been a long time since I’ve made a casserole. Recently, I decided to get into the habit of eating more beans, and I particularly enjoy firm beans for their texture — kidney beans in particular. So, I wanted to make a hearty bean casserole, like a stew, except less soupy. And I wanted it to have a certain kind of jambalaya-esque flavor and tone about it so, it appears seitan sausage and okra was in order!

This recipe is heavy, but in a good way. It fed me for a week too. If you had any doubts about vegans never  being able to “get full” or eat more than just wimpy salads, this will prove you very, very wrong. Like I said, the flavor of this casserole is reminiscent of a jumbalaya. If you want more kick, just add more cayenne pepper. I think it’s fine without, but I’m also kind of a wimp when it comes to spicy food. I really like how easy this was to make and how much food it made. I’ll be making it again soon when I want something hearty and satisfying but without all the fuss. To break up the procedure, I made the sausages in advance, the night before, but you can make them an hour before starting the casserole.

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Cajun Seasoned Seitan Sausages

2 Sep

I’ve been craving Field Roast sausages for a while now. I used to buy them all the time because their texture and flavor is impeccable and because as a starting vegan, I didn’t know how to cook without still having the space for meat on my plate occupied by something meat-like. As far as flavor and texture go, I think they’re the best vegan grain meat product on the market, and besides Gardein, the most texturally gratifying. But, hell, they’re kind of expensive to buy often, just like any good processed food is, vegan or non-vegan. Nowadays, I don’t even understand the need to “fake it,” but who can resist seitan?

So, with a recipe in mind for a Cajun inspired sausage and bean casserole (which I’ll post in a moment), I knew I had to take matters into my own hands and start making sausages from scratch. This way, I could make larger amounts, save a whole lot of money by using common vegan pantry ingredients I already had, and have the satisfaction of making something really cool and delicious. I was going to cook them in 15 minutes using my pressure cooker, but I couldn’t find my steamer insert and I figured that most people don’t have a pressure cooker so, this might be a more convenient way for most, although it takes 45 minutes longer. Trust me, it’s worth the whole hour.

These sausages are so very delicious and have a nice “chew” to them. Let’s all hail seitan for that! In fact, I ate two right out of the oven. I couldn’t wait. They are incredibly simple to make and don’t really require a lot of effort. Most of the time you spend on these will be waiting for them to come out of the oven; the prep will only take about 10 minutes. You can use these in casseroles, alongside your tofu scramble in the morning, in hot dog buns topped with onions and hot peppers, on pizza, in rice dishes, or pasta dishes — basically in any dish you would normally use sausage.

I hope you love them too!
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