Tag: Vegetarian (page 1 of 3)

Trying the Beyond Burger

My fake meat bar is set low.

With the exception of mock duck and tofu, my criteria for fake meat products is “Does this taste gross?” No?! Then I guess I like you, I think.

Jake recently got a charcoal grill. We’ve been having a lot of fun grilling on the weekends. He chose an assortment of turkey burgers and brats from Costco. I decided to try grilling Beyond Burgers, a hyped-up vegetarian meat substitute free from soy or gluten and high in protein.

Dietician Abby Langer wrote a recent post about Beyond Meat that caught my eye. She discusses whether or not it’s a “healthy” choice and examines the ingredients, some of which include pea protein, canola oil, coconut oil, rice protein, mung bean protein and methylcellulose (a soluble fiber).

The closest grocery store to us that sells them is Lunds & Byerlys. I knew this product cost more than real meat, but was a little taken a back at the price – inside of the package ($5.99) which I would normally expect to contain a pound of ground beef held two little patties.

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Good and Bad Veggie Burgers: Brasa’s Veggie Burger Is Good

Within 24 hours I had consumed one of the best and worst veggie burgers of my life. It felt disorienting.

The low, a veggie burger from a speciality butcher shop, was fortunately followed by the high, ironically, also from a meat-centric place.

The Impossible Burger has taken over menus everywhere. To be honest I haven’t even  tried one. Ever since I read that it “bleeds” I’ve avoided it. It’s also pricey and I’d rather just enjoy a house-made veggie burger than a meat substitute.

While I can’t say I’m a vegetarian, I’ve become more of a flexitarian. I typically eat more meatless meals than carnivorous. But, if someone offers me food, I’ll gratefully accept it either way. This means I’m seeking more veggie burgers than before.

The good veggie burgers are really, really and the bad ones are horrifically dismal. You never know what you’re gonna get when you order one.

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Making Kimchi Pancakes On The Griddle

“Can we eat more kimchi?” Jake asked the other week.

Of course!

Growing-up as an adopted Korean in the southern suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul, I was introduced to kimchi at Korean Culture Camp. We ate kimchi during every lunch and I never gave a second thought to liking it. My family did not like kimchi, but was always willing to buy a jar from Cub Foods when I requested it.  Now, kimchi & gochujang are all the rage. A lot of us already knew how awesome Korean food is but I can’t complain the cuisine is increasing in popularity.

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Recipe: Tostadas With Roasted Squash, Queso Fresco & Bean Spread

I’m not sure why it took me so long to try tostadas, squash in Mexican food, and ALDI’s

Swapping  roasted squash for taco meat filling is delicious! Although she uses sweet potatoes, Laurie’s recipe for  Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos on Relishing It has been swirling around my mind.

I used to hate ALDI, but now I’ve changed my tune. In the Twin Cities and even Fargo, we had many grocery store options that included natural food stores, co-ops, and multicultural grocers. Our North Iowa community is much smaller and it can be difficult to find affordable, specialty ingredients. While ALDI certainly doesn’t have everything, they do sell jars of organic coconut oil for $5, baking supplies, and a decent version of peanut butter. I still can’t get into the cart deposit thing, so I only purchase what I can carry and appreciate how efficient the associates are (they don’t accept checks!).

I’ve prepared my best version of Mexican-style street tacos more times that I can count, but hadn’t thought to add toppings to tostadas until I spotted them at ALDI. Since I recently prepared tacos filled with carne asada, I made a vegetarian version with roasted squash and mushrooms, white bean spread and sprinkles of queso fresco.

DSC_0469

Running to the Kitchen’s recipe for Homemade White Refried Beans helped me transform a can of white cannelini beans into a lighter, creamier version. It was so simple to prepare. However, if you already have refried beans on hand, you can certainly use these instead of making your own bean spread. We were delighted with this sweet, salty and spicy flavor combination.

Sweet And Spicy Roasted Squash Tostadas
Cook’s Notes: Roast your favorite winter squash. I happened to find a small butternut squash. For easier peeling and cutting, I prick the squash a few times with a fork and microwave for one minute. I remember watching a Top Chef contestant roast mushrooms in the oven. I tried it at home and found it’s an easy way to develop caramelization and concentrate the flavors. You could also saute them on the stove top. 

squash tostada watermarked

Ingredients:

Tostadas & Garnishes:
Tostadas (or your favorite taco shell)
Queso fresco, enough to sprinkle on the tostadas
Red onion, finely diced
Cilantro, chopped
Salsa
Fresh lime wedges

Refried White Bean Spread
Olive oil
1/4 cup onion, finely diced and cooked until edges caramelize
1 clove garlic, minced
Chili powder-a few good dashes
1-2 teaspoons cumin
Salt
Black pepper
1 can white beans
Stock (or water)
Honey, a drizzle

Roasted Squash:
1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cut into cubes
Chili powder
Garlic powder
Olive oil
Salt
Black pepper

Roasted Mushrooms:
Olive oil
Salt
Black pepper 

Instructions:

To roast the squash

DSC_0463

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 ℉.
  2. Peel skin. Remove ends. Cut in half the long way (hot dog-style) and remove the seeds with a spoon. If the squash is especially hard, I prick with a fork and microwave for one minute.
  3. Cut squash into bite-sized cubes. Place on a sheet pan.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with chili powder and garlic powder. Roast for about 25-minutes or until the squash is tender and caramelized, tossing partway through.
  5. While the squash and mushrooms cook, prepare garnishes and refried beans.

To roast the mushrooms

  1. Rinse and drain mushrooms or brush off any dirt.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast until the mushrooms have released their moisture and are caramelized. This should also take about 20-minutes. Toss occasionally while baking.

To prepare the refried beans

  1. If using canned beans, rinse and drain.
  2. Pre-heat medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion in olive oil until the edges caramelize, lightly seasoning with salt and pepper. Don’t use too much salt since canned beans are often salty.
  3. Stir in minced garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Cook briefly until fragrant.
  4. De-glaze with stock. Mash mixture until smooth. If the beans are too liquidy, gently simmer until they reduce to the thickness you prefer. If they are too thick, add more stock.
  5. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Add a small drizzle of honey to round out the flavors.

Assemble tostadas: Spread with beans. Top with roasted squash and mushrooms. Sprinkle with onion, cilantro, queso fresco. Drizzle with your favorite salsa and spritz with lime.

Recipe: Vegetable Strudel With Creamy Mustard Dip

It’s Vegetablestrudeltime.

I like this strudel so much, I ate it for dinner, breakfast and lunch.

There’s something special about foods all wrapped up in pastry, whether they are meat pies or vegetable pies. Earlier this winter, I worked briefly in the kitchen of a restaurant before I accepted my current role. The chef made a vegetable strudel for a fancy event and sent the staff home with the leftovers. As people who have worked in a restaurant often know, just because you work around food doesn’t mean you have time to eat it! When I got home late that night, I kicked off my grease-covered shoes, removed my hairband soaked in dishwasher spray and shared my little piece of vegetable strudel with Jake. It was memorably delicious.

When I was flipping through Baking: A Commonsense Guide, a cool Australian cookbook, the recipe for Vegetable Strudel caught my eye. The filling in this strudel contains eggplant and tastes more like caponata. In hindsight, a little splash of balsamic or red wine vinegar would add a lovely tang. Even though this recipe has a lot of instructions, this strudel is easier to make than it might seem. Adjust the vegetable filling however you’d like and don’t worry if the sheets of fillo rip or stick together. Simply fuse them together with butter.

Strudel

Vegetable Strudel Rolls
Adapted from the recipe for Vegetable Strudel in Baking: A Commonsense Guide.

Cooks Notes: I found a box of Athens brand phyllo dough at Target in the refrigerated section for a few dollars. The box contains two rolls of sheets. Larger purple eggplants may have a bitter note. Supposedly, you can remove some of the bitterness by sprinkling the eggplant with salt and patting the slices dry when they release moisture. The slimmer Japanese eggplants have a thinner skin and sweeter flavor, making this step unnecessary. The strudel is crispiest eaten hot from the oven. As it cools, the fillo will get softer. This might bother some, but we’ve been digging into the strudel anyway. Reduce the filling by half if you’d like to make less strudels. We like lots of leftovers. 

Veg strudel inside

Ingredients:
Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 bell peppers, de-seeded and cut into small strips.
2 small zucchini (or one large), sliced into half moons
1 small/medium eggplant, partially skinned and cubed, or two Japanese eggplants.
2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves
Basil, I used two sprinkles of dried
Salt
Black pepper
Pinch sugar
1 package fillo dough
Melted butter, start with 1/2 stick
5 oz (or more) of shredded sharp cheddar (or your favorite cheese)
Sesame seeds

Dip:
Mayo
Dijon mustard
Vinegar (or lemon juice)
Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, grated
Sugar, a pinch
Hot sauce

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400℉
  2. To prepare eggplant: If your eggplant is large and has thick skin, remove some of the skin. Cut into thick slices. Sprinkle with salt. Place on paper towels until some of the moisture releases from the eggplant. Absorb moisture in towels and cut slices into small cubes.
  3. Pre-heat a large pan over medium heat. Saute onion in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until it begins to turn brown. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the bell pepper, zucchini and eggplant. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until tender, adding more olive oil as needed. If you have too many vegetables for the pan, split them between two. You don’t want the vegetables to get too soft because they will bake in the oven for another 30 minutes. HOwever, you do want them to cook down enough to release a lot of their moisture so the strudel isn’t mushy.
  5. Toss in the spinach and toss mixture until the spinach wilts.
  6. Taste the vegetable mixture for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper as necessary. Toss in some fresh or dried basil and a pinch of sugar. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  7. Carefully unpack one roll of fillo dough. Remove one sheet. Gently brush with melted butter and top with another sheet of fillo until you have six layers. *Cover the fillo you are not working with, with a damp towel so it don’t dry out and become brittle.
  8. If your fillo keeps ripping: Depending on your box of fillo, some of the sheets may be hard to separate or stick together. If they are all broken, layer the partial pieces together as you brush with melted butter. Once you stack six layers of sheets, they will be strong enough to roll around the filling.
  9. When you have your six layers of fillo, carefully place filling along one of the long edges, leaving space on all three edges. Sprinkle with cheese. Roll the fillo around the filling, tucking in the edges.
  10. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper seam-side down. Brush with more melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat process with remaining vegetable mix and strudel.
  11. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. If the edges brown too quickly, lightly cover them with foil.
  12. To prepare the dip, combine the ingredients, adding more or less of each according to your taste.
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