This recipe is one of those vegan recipes you can put in front of any carnivore with no need to specify. Not because it tastes like meat, but because it is gosh darn delicious!
A vegetarian friend told us about Vegucated, a documentary that made him turn vegan. We put off watching the documentary, knowing that it would motivate us to make the switch, too. After we finally watched it, Jon and I looked at each other and said, “We have to, right?” I won’t go into detail, but I will tell you that if you are an animal lover, then even cheese is not really that cool. Animal cruelty aside, don’t even talk about global warming if you eat meat. The amount of energy it takes to make meat, from the water and petroleum based fertilizers to grow the animal feed through processing the final “product” is astounding. Why can’t we just live in ignorant bliss?
So now we are vegans! (That was a sarcastic exclamation point.) Well we are vegan-ish; we are not perfect. It’s been difficult to retrain our brains but we are surviving and Jon is really a vegan whiz chef. The idea to make these Baja Style Oyster Mushroom Tacos just popped into his head. As a tough fish taco critic, I think these are a lot better than fish tacos. And that isn’t the vegan talking.
Baja Style Oyster Mushroom Tacos
• Make a beer batter with some flour and beer, salt and pepper. The batter should be the consistency of thick pancake batter and not too watery. Coat oyster mushrooms in the batter and deep fry in vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper.
• Top with chipotle mayo, which can be easily made by mixing some mayonaise or veganaise with canned chipotle peppers or chipotle sauce in adobo.
• Top with corn salsa, made with chopped red onions, red peppers, corn, tomato, cilantro and lime.
• Top with fresh shredded red cabbage.
• Serve on your choice of corn or flour tortilla.
I have been working on my hummus game for years and it has taken me quite some time to perfect my recipe. I’m ready to share it with you. My personal hummus recipe is a hybrid derived from traditional middle eastern recipes blended with my own flavor preferences. It can be categorized as smooth and nutty with a tangy kick.
If you’re shopping for your produce locally you likely have seen ramps. If you have a great ramp recipe – please share in the comments below!
If you’re like WTF is a ramp and what do I do with it? – we can help.
Ramps (Allium tricoccum) look like grassy greens and are in the wild onion family. Interestingly, they grow native in the east of North America (SUPER LOCAL!) but have a short growing season, which makes them special. Flavor-wise they have a subtle onion garlicky flavor.
Ramps and butter are where it’s at. A quick recipe is to sautée ramps in butter and serve on bruschetta (which is fancy for sliced and toasted Italian bread or baguette.)
Here is another quick and easy recipe for Ramps With Polenta and Mushrooms:
Bring 3.5 C broth (veggie or chicken) to a boil. In the meantime sautée a handful of ramps in butter or olive oil and salt and pepper. Whisk into the boiling water a cup of polenta and the sautéed ramps. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 15min and stir often. Meanwhile, sautée shiitake or crimini mushrooms with fresh or dried sage in butter. Serve the polenta in a bowl topped with the mushrooms. Add more salt pepper and olive oil or butter to taste.
Single People: I know, recipes are biased towards family-sized portions and cooking just doesn’t always make financial sense for one person, but take-out is expensive, too and will eventually make you broke and overweight. So here’s one solution. Buy one of those family-sized packages of chicken breasts and make this package of meat your bitch for the next three or four meals, all for about $20. First we’ll BBQ, then we’ll make a sandwich, then we’ll make salad and finally a simple soup.
First, wash your chicken. Run it under the faucet for 15 seconds and wet the entire surface and dry with paper towels. It makes for safer and better tasting chicken. Rub a little olive oil and a lot of salt & pepper on both sides and under the skin. Grill (or fry on a nonstick pan) on medium to high heat for about 6-8 minutes per side. Brush on BBQ sauce on top of one of the chicken breasts right towards the end of the grilling. Flip it a third time just for a minute, brush the sauce on the other side. Remove from grill and eat one of them with rice and some steamed veggies. Continue reading →
Carrot Chips I can make a carrot lover out of anyone, including children. Let’s first start with an interesting carrot. You know, like a purple or a yellow one; they come in so many colors, let’s switch things up a little bit. The farmers market in McCarren Park usually has a nice choice of colors for carrots. For this recipe, I chose the yellow ones, which can also have shades of green towards the ends. Here’s what you need:
1 lb of carrots, washed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon each salt & pepper
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
Don’t peel the carrots; it won’t affect its appeal once we’re done (pum-dum). Cut the hard ends off the carrots. Cut the carrots lengthwise with a long, sharp knife about 1/16th of an inch or like the thickness of corrugated cardboard. Put them in a large bowl and drizzle half the olive oil on top. Stir with a fork or your hand. Then add the rest of the oil. You want to make sure they’re well coated on all sides. Add salt & pepper while mixing to get it evenly coated. Now you’re going to want to place all the pieces in one layer on a baking pan. Ideally you have a silicone-baking sheet: these things are amazing, safe & you will never have to scrape a baking sheet for the rest of your life. If not, brush some extra oil on the pan, but not too much. Try not to overlap or have pieces touching. Continue reading →
Fellow block & lot and rooftop chefs: Burger season is upon us. Let 2013 be the year you took your burger to the next level. Your patty prep is key to getting compliments around the grill from your homies! There are a lot of things you can add to your beef before you grill to make it tasty. Start with quality beef. And try some of the following additions to the mix. Just remember to go easy with quantity. If you are using butcher beef, you don’t want to overpower a complimentary flavor with the natural flavor of fresh beef. The following five ways to prep your ground meat are tried and tested, so give these ideas a chance for your next rooftop BBQ.
Half & Half Use 50% ground pork with 50% ground beef. I hear a lot people say this is a Greek version of the hamburger, but my Italian grandmother made her meatballs this way, too. If you do want to go Greek, add some parsley and minced onion and squirt a little lemon on the patty right before you take it off the grill. Otherwise keep it simple with the mixture with good amount of fresh ground salt & pepper.
Soy Sauce Use a tablespoon of soy sauce for every 8 ounces of meat, mix thoroughly. I like to use my hands for all ground beef mixing. Your fingers can mix more efficiently than any stationary tool. Squeeze the beef in both hands in a big bowl. Add some fresh ground pepper, but no more salt. Don’t forget that the soy sauce is all the saltiness that you need. Continue reading →
One of the many benefits of living in Greenpoint is the variety of delicious Polish vodkas and liqueurs available at most liquor stores. As everyone knows, vodka’s origins can be traced back to Poland (go ahead, look it up), and it’s nice to see that the strong tradition of soul-warming spirits continues here.
All this Greenpointers talk of hot toddies reminded me of one of my favorite ways to warm up during freezing Polish winters – krupnik na gorąco (KROOP-neek na go-RON-tso, or hot krupnik).
Krupnik is a traditional Polish drink that can be found in several formats: honey; lemon; and plain vodka. For this recipe, it is important to use the honey-hued old krupnik, which is clearly labeled “Polish Honey Liqueur” on the bottle.
While walking around the neighborhood today I saw huge tanks filled with half-dying (I am a pessimist) giant silvery fish. The tanks were outfitted with an air pump, but the fish were bobbing around, with no room to swim and were barely breathing. The sign on the tank said either “Clean Carp” or “Live Carp,” and there was quite a fuss in order to acquire the fish.
Carp are actually related to goldfish and can be caught right in New York City, like in Kissena Lake in Queens. I assume these were locally caught but could not get a straight answer from where exactly.
Why carp? According to the interweb: “In Poland, Christmas Eve is a day first of fasting, then of feasting. The Wigilia feast begins at the appearance of the first star. There is no red meat served but fish, usually carp … Carp provides a main component of the Christmas Eve meal across Poland; carp fillet, carp in aspic etc.”
Here is a recipe for carp aspic in case you are curious.
Our new obsession with composting makes me think about how I can use each part of the vegetable instead of just tossing it into our freezer, which is our rotting food storage container.
I recently made some roasted squash with an acorn squash and a butternut squash. You can roast any squash seeds just like you can roast pumpkin seeds.
I think they taste much better than the seeds you get from Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins.
It’s so simple. Just clean the seeds. If you have a high powered spray nozzle on your sink, that helps. Get rid of all the stringy squash guts.
Spread the seeds onto a roasting pan, and coat in olive oil, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Go crazy with the spices! Curry and garlic powder are great, too. Roast for about 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at around 375° until they are browned. Watch out because they can burn easily.
They make such a delicious salty savory snack.
Do you have any special technique for roasting seeds?