Monthly Archives: August 2012

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers

I remember (years ago… before I was vegan) eating delicious jalapeno poppers at some local restaurant like Chili’s or somewhere.  I absolutely loved them.  When I went vegan, I sadly thought I was giving up these deliciously sinful cheese filled treats.  WRONG!!  I don’t know if it was being sick this last week (ironically from a COLD) or what it was exactly that gave me the desire to attempt to make these hot & spicy body cleansing (or clogging, depending on how you look at it) appetizers, but, boy am I glad I did!

I honestly usually look for the healthy way to eat something… you know, the “bake it instead of fry it” kinda thing, but I think these are one of those little treats that you just gotta fry up.  It’s part of what makes them so bad and so good at the same time! And let me tell ‘ya… these suckers were HOT… but hey… some like it hot. (By the way, I love that movie. If you haven’t seen it, rent it!).   I should also mention that I  did NOT allow my kids to have any of these! This was something my husband and I HAD to be greedy with, for the sake of the children! Heeheehee 😉

You know, now that I think of it, I probably didn’t need to plant 3 jalapeno plants in my garden at the same time.  I mean, WHO eats that many jalapenos!  The way I see it, you plant and you learn from your mistakes.  (Note to self: next year 1 jalapeno plant will be entirely sufficient for my family… and 2 if I feel like giving a bunch away!)

** You may seriously want to consider using gloves when handling the jalapenos.  I didn’t use any… I didn’t have any… I will say, I was pretty careful when cleaning out the jalapenos.  I washed my hands  immediately after and also rubbed them with a slice of lemon very thoroughly… I don’t know why but I feel like someone once told me that that helped…  Vinegar is also supposed to remove really strong smelling things, like onion or garlic… maybe rubbing some vinegar on your hands would be helpful.  (update:  I accidentally wiped the edge of my eye the day after making these, and… well, let me just say I strongly urge you to use gloves! There must’ve been a trace amount of jalapeno oil on my hands cause it got in my eye and burned like hell!)

I didn’t have panko bread crumbs on hand, so I actually tore up some extra bread we had lying around into little teeny tiny bits/crumbs.  A food processor would probably have done the job too.  I crushed a couple Ritz-style crackers in there as well. Voila.  Homemade bread crumbs.

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers

Please be advised that the filling could EASILY be halved.  I have an entire half batch of cream cheese yummy mix sitting in the refrigerator…  which would’ve been great if I was making 24 jalapeno poppers!  But hey.. now I have a flavored cream cheese spread for bagels!

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 12 jalapenos, prepared as desired (see directions below)
  • 1-2 cups bread crumbs

Filling:

  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan gourmet cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp Frontier brand “bacon bits” (optional, but recommended!)

Flour mixture:

  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

The “egg”:

  • 1 cup milk whisked with 3 Tbsp ground flax seeds

*** READ THIS BEFORE FILLING THE JALAPENOS ***

I tried these 4 methods of filling the jalapenos to see what would be easiest:

Method 1 – slicing the peppers in half lengthwise.  This made for easy scraping and removal of seeds & veins.  Definitely the fastest way… seems to make more since every 1 jalapeno becomes 2.  Just a matter of preference. Do you want half peppers or whole?  May be easier for some people to eat them this way, since they don’t have to take such giant bites… ideal for parties. I was worried they wouldn’t cook well since the cheese was exposed but I was pleased with the surrounding breaded outcome.

Method 2 – Cutting off the tops, carving out the insides and after filling the pepper, cementing the top back on with the filling mixture. It was kinda hard to fill the pepper with the cheese unless you squirt it in with a baggie or frosting bag thingy. I didn’t use one and it felt I wasn’t filling it enough and taking forever. Plus, it was hard to roll these in the mixtures without the tops coming off 😦

Method 3 – Cutting a “T” shape into the jalapeno and then carving out the insides.  A little tricky to not crack it, but easy enough to make it one of my favorite methods. Easy to tell when they are nice and full!

Method 4 – Cutting a skinny triangle out of the jalapeno side, filling the pepper and sticking the triangle back in.  Fast. Efficient. Easy.

I suggest you experiment with each method and decide what YOU think is easiest.

Okay… here we go… Time to make the poppers!!

1) Dip the filled jalapeno into flour/cornstarch mixture.  Then dip in milk. Set aside to “dry” for a moment.

2) Dip again in flour, then milk, then cover entirely in breadcrumbs. Set aside and prepare remaining peppers. (This method makes a nice thick breaded covering surrounding your jalapeno. You could also simply dip the pepper in flour-to-milk-to-breading and then fry it, but the above mentioned extra dip made a more thorough coating.)

3) Fry 2-3 minutes in vegetable oil heated to 350 F, until nicely browned.  Let cool on paper towel for 3-4 minutes to avoid burning your tongue (you know, cause you don’t want to burn your tongue THAT way!) 🙂

Ready to eat!

If you cut me in half, I can be a pretty butterfly or a heart!

Some say “beat the heat”… I say “EAT the heat”… With a BIG glass of something cold on the side!

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Vegan Pot Roast

Simplicity is best.  We often find that to be true in many areas of our life… with our belongings, in our decorating… and especially with food!

I just love this recipe because it always turns out delicious, my kids like to eat it (BIG thumbs up there), and it is incredibly simple to throw together, even though it does bake for roughly 45 minutes to an hour.  The “meat” part is actually optional… Just the veggies by themselves make a terrific side dish for any meal!  (Psssst!  This is a good one to keep in mind for Thanksgiving!)

Sometimes my kids eat better eating off of their “face” plates! And, I must admit, Mom (aka me) always has a good time coming up with new looks!

Vegan Pot Roast

You will need:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (i prefer extra virgin)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce (we usually use the low-sodium kind)
  • 1/2 tsp dry sage
  • veggies of choice (see below)
  • the “meat”  (optional) – I LOVE using a Field Roast veggie roast. You could also use a frozen Tofurkey (thawed first).  Another option is to stir in some Golden Tofu or some pre-cooked seitan or cubed tempeh.

1) Start with chopping your choice of veggies (the following veggies are my pot roast favorites):

  • carrots (3-5 carrots, sliced into rounds, about 1/4″
    thick… no thicker than 1/2″)
  • potatoes (2 small-medium, any kind, cut into chunks)
  • onion (1 medium or 1/2 large, peeled and quartered)

2) Make the marinade by whisking together the olive oil, soy sauce and sage.

3) Next place roast (if using) in center of a lidded pan, and add the veggies around it.  Drizzle all the veggies and the “meat” with half the marinade.  Cover and cook for about 25 minutes, then gently stir around the veggies, adding the other half of the marinade.  Cover and cook another 25 minutes or so until the biggest pieces of your veggies are soft. Slice, serve and devour!

I will remind you that I do not get paid to suggest these products… If you see me recommending a product, its because I genuinely like it!

Here you can see my cooked pot roast, in which I used a Field Roast as the center.

YUM.

Golden Tofu

This recipe is one of my favorite ways to eat tofu EVER.  This happens to be how they cook the tofu at my favorite vegetarian restaurant, The Grit. (You can order their awesome cookbook here if you want to.  I highly recommend it! Please note it is not 100% vegan, though many recipes can be veganized.  You have GOT to try the yeast gravy!! Sometimes I just want to order a side of that with a spoon!)   We eat this tofu by itself, as a side, stir fried with veggies & rice, or sometimes we even toss it into a pot roast. It is really easy and oh so yummy!!  This fried tofu is one of those foods that you just gotta spoil yourself with and indulge in from time to time… It definitely makes it into my list of comfort foods.

All you need to make this is a non-stick skillet, a block of tofu, olive oil, soy sauce and nutritional yeast.  Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but we often find ourselves fighting like vultures over the last pieces! Hahahaha… seriously.

Golden Tofu

Gather ye ingredients: olive oil, a block of tofu, soy sauce, nutritional yeast. Vegetable oil also works just as well.

1) Cut tofu into cubes, about the size of dice. Lightly oil a non-stick skillet over high heat.  Add a small amount of oil and allow it to heat slightly then add tofu. Saute, tossing until evenly lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with soy sauce, saute briefly again to further brown the tofu. Remove from skillet.

step 1 – before cooking

step 1- cooked tofu before adding soy sauce

2) Rinse and wipe skillet dry. Lightly oil skillet again and place over high heat. Allow the oil to become very hot then add the tofu. Saute, tossing constantly until very well browned. Sprinkle with soy sauce to taste, then sprinkle with nutritional yeast to coat the cubes. Saute several more seconds then remove from heat and serve!

step 2 – tofu being sauteed in soy sauce

The finished product. Fried tofu, served alongside veggies of choice (in this case, homemade cornbread, sauteed sesame-collards and mashed sweet potatoes).