Tag Archives: peppers

Cuban can be vegan too!

Miami is immersed in Cuban culture. From the coffee to the art, Cuba’s heartbeat is felt in this city. We decided to honor our love for Cuban contributions (namely a colleague of mine who recently got his American citizenship!) by creating a Cuban inspired vegan meal; black beans, pork, rice and plantains are stereotypical in local cuisine.

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For the black beans, all we did was drain a tin of black beans and combine with some roughly chopped peppers, onions and tomato.

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We prepared some frozen Goya maduros in our oven. They’re basically fried mature bananas. They’re SUPER tasty.

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We made Vigo yellow rice.

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Instead of pork, we had maple bacon tempeh. A traditional preparation of pork in Cuban cuisine might be topped with sauteed onions and cheddar cheese. We decided on the rest of those peppers instead. All of this was really easy. It took less than an hour to prepare everything and it was also delicious, nutritious and satisfying.

Thank-you to our neighbor to the South for the inspiration and a good friend who is finally official!

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Chopstick Kebabs

If you’re like me and Brent, you’ve got a drawer filled with chopsticks from your favorite Asian takeout or delivery. We decided to try and get rid of some by making kebabs. Along with those we used the following:
1 block of tofu, pressed and cut into 1 inch cubes (omit or replace with seitan if you’re got a soy allergy)
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, cut into 1 inch squares
1 bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 carton baby bella mushrooms
1 carton of cherry tomatoes
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Other things that can make kebabs awesome include basil leaves, sliced jalapeños and other hot peppers, and any other veggies that can withstand being skewered. We assembled the kebabs and then placed them into a dish filled with marinade (tamari seasoned to taste with ginger extract and garlic works well, but store bought varieties work well too) until we were ready to cook them (at least an hour). Bake at 350F/175C for 45 minutes or grill until the veggies are tender if you’re so inclined.

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Wait for them to cool and EAT THEM! Now there’s space in our drawer for more chopsticks.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Lighter Green Thai Curry

Brent and I eat too much delicious food apparently and are trying to figure out more ways to enjoy our favorite foods without packing on the pounds. I decided to make some Thai green curry.

To start, Brent chopped this mountain of vegetables. We put just about everything that we had into this bad boy including

1 head of broccoli, cut into florets

1 lb. of green beans

2 portabella caps, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 onion, sliced

5 scallions, chopped

4 Thai peppers, sliced

a small knob of ginger

1 tin of bamboo shoots, drained

1 13.5 oz. can of light coconut milk

1.5 cups of almond, soy or coconut milk

1 handful of Thai basil (optional)

1 tbsp green curry paste

juice and zest from a lime (save half for wedges to garnish the dish)

1 drop of lemongrass extract or 1 stalk of lemongrass, pounded to release fragrance

olive oil

1 tsp coconut or turbinado sugar (more if you like it sweet)

salt to taste

Check curry pastes carefully. Many contain shrimp paste which is bad for anyone with an allergy and not suitable for vegans. I started by putting the Thai peppers, lemongrass or extract (remove the lemongrass before serving), onion and ginger into the pan with some olive oil.

I sauteed them until the onion started to brown. Then I added the coconut milk, lime zest, sugar and curry paste. I didn’t get as much zestyness as I wanted from the lime so I added some additional lemon zest (2 pinches) when I was adjusting the sweetness and seasonings.

Then we added the broccoli, green beans, and mushrooms and allowed them to steam lightly for 3-4 minutes while mixing them into the sauce. If you’re interested in adding some protein, a 2.5 cups of chickpeas or some pressed cubed tofu would make an excellent addition. I added the scallions, bamboo shoots and bell pepper about 5 minutes later. I squeezed the lime over it and mixed in the Thai basil. and stirred it until I could smell the basil.

We served it over quinoa with white wine. German style white wines compliment this kind of dish well, particularly riesling or gewurztraminer. It was definitely a spicy green curry but much lighter than I’m used to. I mostly tasted vegetables and peppery coconut which isn’t a bad thing. I’d love to hear how you lighten up your favorite dshes.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Daal Biryani

Bryani is a dish that’s a regional specialty in one of my co-workers’ home town, Hyderabad, India. She gave me her recipe which calls for lamb and asked me to know how the vegan version pans out. I told her I planned to use lentils and she corrected me, “daal” so that’s what I’m calling it. We used the following:

1 cup of lentils or black-eyed peas, soaked and drained
1 cup split lentils, washed and drained
2-3 chili peppers (we’re using 2 jalapeños)
1 big toe sized piece of ginger, sliced
1 thumb sized piece of turmeric, sliced

some curry leaves if you’ve got them
2-3 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 carton of silken tofu
juice from 1 lemon

2 medium onions, sliced into strips
4 smallish tomatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
4 medium white mushrooms, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 pinch of cumin seeds
3 bay leaves

corn oil

1 cup of basmati rice

Put a tablespoon or so of corn oil into a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Heat it until they start to sputter, then add the onion, peppers, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, tofu and lemon juice into a large pot, add a little corn oil and stir fry. Add about 1.5 liters of water and use a hand blender to mix everything into a smooth creamy broth.

Chop your veggies while that heats to a simmer.

Now mix in the veggies, legumes and rice.

We added eggplant in addition to mushrooms. They’ll float to the top, this isn’t a problem; it means you won’t need a lid.. Cook until all the water is absorbed and the rice and legumes are tender. This will take about 1 hour give or take 15 minutes on low heat. You can also bake it at 350F/180C in your favorite baking dish for about an hour.

This is a great meal for hungry people who like curry. I don’t know how it measures up to the carnist version, but we managed to eat all of it within 2 days and considering it was almost too big for the pot I was using, this is really saying something. Brent wanted to add some chopped green peppers to the mix immediately before serving next time for a sweet crisp crunch and I agree that would add something. If you try it, let me know. Enjoy!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Cuban Inspired Shepherdless Pie

After working with plantains more often, I wanted to try a vegan shepherdless pie using ingredients popular in cuisine from our island neighbor to the South. Cuban food commonly has a lot of interesting vegan elements: plantains, yuca, beans, rice and bananas. I’m a big fan of those things so this dish made sense. This is what we started with for the mashed plantains:
8 plantains (8 fist sized potatoes would work too)
1/4 cup of Diaya cheese
1/2 cup of soy milk (any non-dairy milk will work, almond if you’ve got a soy allergy)
2 tbsp vegan margarine

I peeled the plantains and put them into water to boil. Plantains and potato have similar nutritional profiles except that plantains have a significant amount of vitamin A, where potato has none. They’re both starchy, provide vitamin C, and are free of fat and cholesterol. Getting back to business, while that was happening I prepared the filling with the following ingredients:
1 white onion, diced
1 jalapeño, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of black beans, soaked overnight or 1 can of beans, partially drained
1 can of diced tomato
10 okra, ends removed and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 lb. frozen corn kernels
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and chili powder to taste

I browned the onion, garlic and jalapeño along with the cumin until the onion became translucent. Then we added the okra, tomato, beans, corn and cilantro and stirred until everything was steamy and sticky from the okra.

Brent took the plantains and combined them with the milk, cheese and margarine and mashed them until they were gloriously creamy. They were really dry so you might need to add more soy milk depending on your plantains (or potatoes).Check out that radical dedicated mooshing face.

He also prepared a base layer in our baking dish of tortillas and daiya to aid in scooping but it’s not necessary.

He spread the mashed plantains over the hot veggies and we put it into the oven for 20 minutes at 350C/175F until it was bubbly and delightful.

It was a hearty filling meal, loaded with vegetables and flavors. It made even better leftovers after everything had a night to marinade in it’s own juice.

Next time I might tweak the seasoning but overall it was a success. We ate half the tray and the rest is disappearing fast.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off.

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