This past week I had the luxury and ever-so beautiful blessing that comes with having your very own kitchen to work in. I know, it sounds a little weird, right? But when you think about food and creating recipes as much as I do, having your own kitchen–meaning one in which there will be no interruptions (save for the occasional dog begging for scraps) and one that’s always clean and thus, always ready to use–is the equivalent of an artist having their own studio in which to paint, or play music, or write. Now that I live with three other folks, the tranquility required for the process isn’t always there and so, in these moments when it is, I take on “projects,” otherwise known as “outrageously awesome whole meals that take more than 30 minutes to put together.” So, today, I come to you with not one, not two, but three recipes! Each recipe can be made separately if you have limited time to devote to the whole meal or want to pair them with different entrees/sides, or you can combine them to create this exact marriage of tart, sweet, and savory!
I visited my mother recently and she, like I, doesn’t like to send anyone out her door without food. Especially her children. She gave me beets and she gave me Gardein Beefless Tips. The Arborio rice was on sale at the grocery store. So, this meal was serendipitous, really. I’ll be brief about it because the pictures speak for themselves. The risotto is wonderfully creamy, lemony, and savory. I wanted to make something that tasted “clean” and savory all at once. A pairing of lemon and rosemary seemed fitting. I suggest using only as much lemon zest (grated lemon peel) as you can handle. I originally used 1 tablespoon and realized it needed to be taken back so, I’ve made a correction here for a suggested amount. The roasted beets are to die for, that is, if you like beets. They took the longest to cook so, I got started on those first and saved the glaze for last.
The beefless tips were utterly delicious. They came about from the memory of this meal, using white wine and mushrooms and the rest was improvised on cobwebbed memories of how to cook meat. I was so amazed at how well they took to the wine sauce, how savory they were, and how well they stood up to my memory of steak tips. In fact, they did this so well that, if you’re a vegan who simply never liked the taste of meat or who is easily put off by things that taste a lot like meat, I would forgo making these. But, if you want something incredibly delicious and something with which to impress non-vegans who swear on their lives that they “could ‘never’ be vegan because they like meat too much,” here’s your rebuttal. You’re welcome.
Creamy Lemon Rosemary Risotto
(makes 3 cups)
1 and 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
pinch of salt
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine (use Barnivore for vegan brands or sub with more veg. stock for non-alcoholic version)
2 and 3/4 cup vegetable stock/broth
juice of 1 lemon
1 and 1/2 tsp – 1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp vegan butter
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a shallow pan, toast the pine nuts on medium high for about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the pan (so that they don’t keep toasting) and set aside. Combine the white wine and vegetable broth in a small sauce pan. Warm on low for 10 minutes, then remove from heat. In a medium sauce pan, add the salt and onions, saute them in the oil on medium high until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until it’s just coated with the oil and onions, about 1 minute. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of the wine/broth mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, stirring constantly until the broth is absorbed. Add an additional 1 cup of broth, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Add the final 1/2 cup of broth and the lemon juice, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed. When the liquid is nearly absorbed, add the lemon zest, rosemary, and pine nuts. Once the liquid is all absorbed and the rice is a thick, creamy consistency, stir in the nutritional yeast, butter, and pepper to taste. Garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary, if desired, and serve warm.
Gardein Beefless Tips in a Garlic and Thyme White Wine Sauce
(makes about 2.5 servings)
1 – 9oz package Gardein Beefless Tips, thawed
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
3 cloves of coarsely chopped garlic
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
4 small mushrooms, sliced (I used white button mushrooms)
2/3 cup white wine
In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, salt and black pepper. Toss the Gardein Beefless Tips in the mixture, coating them well. In a medium non-stick pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil on medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the floured beefless tips and brown and warm them through, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the tips from the pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Saute the garlic and thyme until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, stir until just coated with the oil. Add the wine and cook on medium high until reduced by half, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the beefless tips, stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Lower the heat, cover and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, garnish with fresh thyme, if desired, and serve.
Roasted Beets with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Lemon Glaze
1 tbsp olive oil
1 to 2 pinches Kosher salt
4 or 5 medium sized beets
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp vegan sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cover a small roasting pan with aluminum foil, leave excess hanging off the sides. Remove the stems/greens of the beets (save them for some other use–salad! yum!). Wash and dry the beets. Lightly coat them in olive oil and place them in the pan. Sprinkle a pinch or two of salt on top of them. Cover the beets with the aluminum foil by folding the four sides of the foil in on them. Roast in the oven for 1 to 2 hours (the amount needed to roast them depends on the size of the beets, mine were relatively small so, they only took an hour and a half). After 1 hour, poke them with a fork to see if they’re ready. If they are, your fork should slide through them. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. While the beets are cooling, prepare the glaze. In a small, shallow non-stick pan, heat the balsamic vinegar and sugar on medium heat. Stir. Cook until the vinegar reduces and thickens into a syrup. Remove from heat. While the beets are still warm, but able to be handled, peel and discard the skins. On a cutting board, cut them into bite sized pieces (I cut each into fourths). Put them in a serving bowl and pour the balsamic glaze over them. Sprinkle the lemon zest on top and serve warm.