Secret Ingredient Gazpacho

Thanks to the Cleveland Culinary Launch Kitchen, food-focused small businesses are booming in Cleveland. Each week, new products are hitting the streets, all fueled by passionate cooks. CCLK is home to businesses offering luscious small batch jams,  hand-shaped bagels, and even the best popsicles you’ll ever eat. One of our favorite recent finds has to be the sauerkraut from Cleveland Kraut.  It’s so good that I’ve been finding new ways to add it to our meals in unexpected ways, such as this Secret Ingredient Gazpacho.

For us, gazpacho is a summer staple. We devour it for lunch on it’s own, or pair it with a sandwich such as tempeh salad pockets or cucumber cream cheese sandwiches. As a kid, the only tomato-ey food that I’d eat was ketchup. How things have changed! These days, I can’t get enough of tomatoes.

Cleveland Kraut usually features 4 kinds of kraut: Classic Caraway,  Sweet Red, Curry, and our favorite, the Gnar Gnar. We like them all, but the garlic, sriracha, hot peppers, and leeks take the Gnar Gnar to an otherworldly wonderful. It’s the perfect choice to pack a punch to this gazpacho. For a quick and flavorful dinner, grill a field roast sausage, pop it in the bun, pile on the kraut, and douse it with barbecue sauce. We pick up our kraut at the North Union Farmer’s Market at Shaker Square.  Note that the kraut sometimes sells out, so you might want to make it your first stop at the market. We do.

The photo shows the Classic Caraway, as the Gnar Gnar is always the first one we run out of. Any sauerkraut will work in this, but finding locally made, organic kraut is sure to be worth any extra effort. Your tastebuds will thank you.

 

Secret Ingredient Gazpacho

Secret Ingredient Gazpacho

If you hadn’t just read the earlier part of this post, I’m willing to guess you’d never know what the secret ingredient is! Try it on your own family or friends and see if they can tell what brings instant umami to this quick and easy gazpacho.

1 (32-ounce) jar organic tomato juice

1 cup minced onion

3/4 cup minced, peeled cucumber

1 stalk celery, minced

1 (15-ounce can) fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1/2 cup drained sauerkraut, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke, or to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour for the flavors to meld. Taste and adjust the seasonings when serving.

Yield: 4 servings

Smoked Tofu Salad and Smoked Tofu and Mac Salad

It’s that time of year. The time when I hate to turn on the stove or oven. This tasty and unique tofu salad let’s you keep cool! Originally written for Grills Gone Vegan, the recipe got cut due to space.

Serve this cool and creamy salad  with a side of your favorite gazpacho for a very refreshing meal. Check back for my Surprise Ingredient Gazpacho recipe coming soon!

Smoked Tofu and Mac Salad

Smoked Tofu Salad

Quick and easy, this dish can be made in minutes, and still delivers on taste. Celery and radish give it a satisfying crunch, while the harissa and ume plum vinegar work wonders with the smoked tofu.  Try the variation below for a heartier version.

16 ounces smoked tofu, chopped
1/4 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons minced celery
1 tablespoon minced radish
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons vegan mayonniase
2 tablespoons prepared harissa
2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. The salad may be served on top of green, in wraps or buns, or even in crisp iceberg lettuce leaves.

Yield: 4 servings

Variation:

Smoked Tofu and Mac Salad

Make the tofu salad above, then take it to a whole other level with this variation.

1 cup dry elbow macaroni
1 to 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
4 cups mixed salad greens
4 cups chopped romaine
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 cup cherry tomato halves

Cook the macaroni in a pot of salted boiling water for 7 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water and drain again. Add the macaroni to the Smoked Tofu Salad, along with one tablespoon of the mayonnaise. Add another tablespoon of mayonnaise, if desired. Stir together.

In a large bowl, combine the salad greens  and the romaine. Divide evenly on plates. Top each plate with one cup of the tofu mixture. Arrange the peppers and tomatoes around the macaroni tofu salad.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Vegan Cleveland Rocks Zine!

 

zinefront

Cleveland is getting more and more vegan-friendly. It’s kind of been a secret, but it’s time to shout it from the rooftops! Or course, part of the reason are the increasing options we have for food. Now it your chance to pick up this nifty zine of 14 recipes from the awesome restaurants, caterers, bakers, and confectioners’ of the Cleveland area. Here is what we’ve got for you:

and….Skillet-Grilled Mango-Blueberry Cobbler from Grills Gone Vegan.

Not only can you make these fantastic recipes at home – just like at some of your favorite eateries – but you will be helping two awesome groups at the same time. All profits will be divided between Mid-Ohio Animal Welfare League and Lasa  Sanctuary!

The zines are only $5 in person! If you are coming to the Cleveland VegFest, pick up your copy at the Lasa table in the vendor area. Can’t make it on  Saturday? We’ll mail you a copy in the US for a whopping total of $7. Check out our etsy page here!

While you’re at it, maybe you’d like to pick up raffle tickets for this quilt? It’s for the same two charities. The drawing will be in September. Tickets are $1/each or 6/$5.

quilt1

We’re all in this together, and your help means the world to these animals. Thank you!

Corn Fritters with Tomato Thyme Gravy

Part of the fun of being a tester for a cookbook is getting the first crack at brand new recipes. In most cases, this is the first time anyone besides the author has tried them. That means the testers’ feedback is a huge barometer about how a recipe is going to be received when (and if) it comes out in a book. One of the downsides is having to keep the recipes secret… especially the ones you love. Enter Kelly, one of our recipe testers, who has raved about this recipe to her friends and online and really, really wanted to be able to share it. Here you go, Kelly! Thanks for loving it like you do! Thanks to Celine Steen for the photo.

This one is from Vegan Finger Foods.

Corn Fritters with Tomato Thyme Gravy

Corn Fritters with Tomato Thyme Gravy
Make Ahead
Quick and Easy

We like to serve these with Tomato Thyme Gravy, but if you’re short on time, just spike some vegan mayonnaise with hot sauce, and dip away! If you happen to have extra gravy, save it to pour over a tofu scramble, or use it as a dip with the Baked Frittata Minis.

For the fritters:
1/2 cup (60 g) garbanzo flour
1/4 cup (31 g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (15 g) fine cornmeal (not corn flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Generous pinch ground black pepper
1 cup (135 g) frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 tablespoons (14 g) finely grated carrot
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (4 g) minced chives, more for garnish, if desired
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened plain vegan milk, more if needed
High-heat neutral-flavored oil, for cooking

For the gravy:
1/2 cup (80 g) finely minced onion
2 tablespoons (16 g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 tablespoon (2 g) minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 can (15 ounces, or 425 g) diced tomatoes with juice, preferably no-salt added
3/4 cup (180 ml) tomato juice
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Frank’s Hot Sauce, or more, to taste
2 teaspoons liquid smoke

To make the fritters: Combine the flours, cornmeal, baking powder, spices, salt, and pepper in medium-size bowl. Whisk to combine. Stir in the corn, carrot, and chives, followed by the milk. The mixture will be sticky, but it should be shape-able. If not, add an additional tablespoon (15 ml) milk.

Pour a thin layer of oil in a large skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Using a heaping tablespoon (20 g) of the mixture, shape into a small patty about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) across, and 1/2 to 3/4 inch (1.3 to 2 cm) thick. Put the fritters into the oil and cook until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn the fritters over to cook the second side, 4 to 6 minutes.

Drain on a paper towel and serve with the gravy.

To make the gravy: Heat the onion, flour, oil, thyme, salt, and pepper in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring 3 to 4 minutes, until the flour is cooked. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. The gravy may be made ahead, covered, and refrigerated for up to 48 hours. Heat over low heat to serve.

Yield: 16 to 18 fritters, 2 cups (470 ml) gravy

WAIT! Don’t go! the winner of Everyday Vegan Eats is #16, Carolyn! I’ll try to contact you, but please email me your mailing address if you see this! Congratulations!

More cool stuff coming soon. Check back!

Everyday Vegan Eats Review and Contest!

Outside of my own books, this is the one that I anticipated the most this year. Zsu has tested for my solo and joint projects and I’ve gotten to know her and her cooking style. I also know her as a friend. With full disclosure, I  received this review copy of Everyday Vegan Eats from the publisher, and the publisher is also offering a copy to one of you, US shipping only, please! With that out of the way, let’s talk about the book!

Zsu knows her way around a kitchen. She cooks for a family *every day* and has a great read on what works for busy days, and for those sometimes too-discerning kids’ palates.  The book opens with a pantry primer and a terrific explanation of some important cooking techniques. The Basics chapter is just that, and is packed with useful recipes for broths, sauces, and protein treatments. All this information lays a wonderful groundwork for the recipes to come.

The recipe chapters include: Soups, Sandwiches, Salads, Everyday Mains, Pasta and Grains, Casseroles, Sides and Snacks, Breakfast and Brunch, Desserts and Bakery. In keeping with Zsu’s practical approach to cooking, the recipes are straight ahead, down to earth, and written in an easy to follow style. You’ll find classic comfort food favorites in every chapter, as well as a few throwbacks to Zsu’s heritage, such as Mama’s Hungarian Bean Soup. If you’ve been searching for the perfect _____________ (fill in the blank with something you grew up eating all the time), chances are great you’ll find it here.

The first recipe we tried were the Corn Muffins. The corn is blended with the milk, spreading the sweet flavor throughout the muffins. I’d describe them more, but Zsu’s note on them nails it.  I was surprised there was no butter in the batter. They’re that good. I’m happy to be able to share the recipe with you.

Corn Muffins
Makes 10 muffins

These cornbread muffins do not crumble. They are light and buttery and taste delightfully of corn, as any cornbread should. Serve these for breakfast with maple syrup or with chili, slathered with a little vegan butter. These are equally good sweet or savory. If desired, you can substitute whole-wheat pastry flour for the unbleached all-purpose flour. Use soy-free vegan butter and milk to make these muffins soy free.

3 tablespoons vegan butter, as needed
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed if frozen
1 cup plain unsweetened vegan milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons applesauce
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup medium-grind cornmeal
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a 12-muffin tin by generously greasing 10 of the tins with vegan butter.
Combine the thawed corn, milk, vinegar, sugar, and applesauce in a blender. Blend for 10 seconds to break up the corn kernels. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Sift in the baking powder and baking soda. Whisk to combine.
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the milk mixture. Fold together gently to combine; do not overwork the batter.
Transfer 1/4 cup batter to each of the 10 buttered muffin tins. Bake until they are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin in the middle tin comes out clean, about 15 minutes.  Cool the muffin tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins to the rack and continue to cool them for 5 more minutes before serving.

From Everyday Vegan Eats by Zsu Dever. ©2014 Zsu Dever. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.

Another recipe we tried was the Baked Macaroni and Cheese. I have a long history with mac and cheese. My dad traveled a lot when we were kids, and when he did, we almost always had mac and cheese. My brother and sister loved it as much as I did, and my dad didn’t. It was a cheap dish that made a lot, and made us all happy.  If you’ve ever had the mac and cheese at Soul Vegetarian, you’ll find this tastes a lot like that — creamy, rich, and just the right amount of nooch to hit the spot for us. The recipe calls for elbows, but from some reason, we can’t get organic elbows lately!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

With our love for wings, we had to try the Maple-Chipotle Crispers, too. These are sensational. The sauce is perfectly balanced, with just the right amount of maple and zing. We had them with the Buttermilk-Style Coleslaw, which is also very good.

Maple-Chipotle Crispers with Buttermilk-Style Coleslaw

One thing to note: some of the recipes rely on other recipes within the book. Not a problem at all, just be sure to read through the recipe so you aren’t surprised when the family is circling the kitchen.

The book really delivers what the title offers. These are everyday foods that are sure to be family favorites. If you’d like to enter to win a copy, comment on this post with one of your own “everyday vegan eats”. The winner will be drawn on May 23rd. Please be sure to check back to see if you won!

UPDATE! Contest is closed!

Enter to win a copy of Vegan Finger Foods at one of these super cool spots on our blog tour!

Zsu’s Vegan Pantry 

Olives for Dinner

Vegan Eats and Treats

Next week: A recipe from Vegan Finger Foods, per tester request. You’ll see! And be sure to see if you win Everyday Vegan Eats!