Fava

DSC_0308Greece is such a beautiful country and the food is absolutely delicious!  It was very easy to eat vegan for the week there.  We ate greek salads minus the feta, stuffed grape leaves, stuffed tomatoes, and lots of goodies we purchased at Bamboo Vegan, a wonderful vegan shop in Athens.  Our favorite culinary find in Greece was fava.  Fava is a savory dip that rivals hummus for my affections!  It is not, as we first thought, made from fava beans, but is actually made from yellow split peas.  Like hummus, it is extremely flavorful and creamy, yet unlike hummus, it is best served warm or at room temperature.  My whole family loved it, which is why I asked for the recipe everywhere we went.  Our favorite fava was made as part of a wonderful vegan meal, cooked just for us, at Kalestesia Suites on the magnificent island of Santorini.  We owe many thanks to their chef, Victoria, and maitre d, Yiannis, who took incredible care of us.  We had a fantastic dinner in the cozy basement wine cellar.  Here is their recipe, which although the ingredients are correct, may have a few slight adjustments since I was unable to read the exact measurements on the handwritten recipe they so kindly gave to me.

  • 2 1/2 cups yellow split peas
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper

for the topping –

  • 2 3.5 oz jars capers
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 T olive oil

Bring water, peas and onion to a boil in a large pot.  Lower heat a bit to keep at a slow boil for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to low and simmer an hour longer, stirring occasionally.  Drain, but reserve 1/4 cup liquid.  Return to pot.  Add olive oil and cook a few minutes over low heat, stirring.  Add salt, pepper and lemon and either puree with an immersion blender or pour into a food processor or blender to puree.  Add reserved liquid, 1 T at a time, if the fava is too thick.  It should be the consistency of a thin hummus.

For the topping, heat the oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.   DSC_0302

Add the capers and heat through.  DSC_0303

Spoon over the fava dip.

Enjoy with pita bread, crudite, crackers, or on its own.

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Kalestesia Suites Santorini

Kalestesia Suites
Santorini

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Gotta Love Scapes

Scapes Scapes Scapes – I love scapes!

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I love growing garlic!

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I think it is my favorite thing to grow because you get two wonderful harvests from one planting.  The scapes come first and then soon after, the garlic itself.  Garlic scapes are so delicious, and a bit milder than the garlic.  They are becoming quite popular and are easily found at farmers’ markets this time of year in the New York area.  I am always amazed by how beautiful they are and always have to eat a few raw, right off the plant.

Every year I have so many scapes and still wish I had more because I love cooking with them.  This year I made my favorite scape pesto first.  I have basil growing all summer and make pesto quite often, but this first pesto of the year, made with scapes, is always my favorite because it is the tastiest.  The subtlety of the scapes is exquisite.  If you do not have scapes, feel free to substitute scallions, but look for scapes in the future because they are amazing!

I also usually make a scape hummus, but this year I decided to switch it up a bit and make a dip with cannellini beans.  The bean dip is more original and definitely has more depth of flavor.  I am convinced you can’t go wrong with garlic scapes.  After a day of cooking with them, though, I am now excitedly awaiting the garlic itself!  Great garlicky recipes soon!

Scape Pesto

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  • 2 c scapes, chopped coarsley
  • 1/2 c walnuts
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/3 c fresh basil

Place all ingredients in food processor and process until well combined.

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Serve over your favorite pasta.  I love it on kelp noodles!

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Lemon Miso Scape Bean Dip

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  • 1/3 c scapes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 15 oz cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T miso paste
  • 1/2 t apple cider vinegar

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Place all ingredients in food processor and process until well combined.

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I took the photos and left the dip with my family for a mere five minutes and came back to this – (I guess they liked it!!)

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Quiche Lorraine

DSC_0144Today was such a beautiful day.  Beautiful Sundays always make me want to set out an amazing brunch.  Brunch is definitely one of my favorite meals.  I love the laziness of brunch;  I love to linger over the delicious foods, reading the paper, and enjoying life.  Brunch to me means relaxation.  My absolute favorite brunch food has always been eggs benedict, and my vegan version, which has been a work-in-progress for some time now, is so great that I will post it soon.  Today, however, I made another of my favorites.  Quiche Lorraine.  Quiche Lorraine?  How can that be vegan, you may be asking.  After all, not only is quiche usually made with eggs and cream, but Quiche Lorraine also has bacon and cheese.  Pretty hard to veganize, right?  Wrong!!  This vegan version is savory and delicious, as well as nutritious, and is the perfect way to enjoy a lazy Sunday brunch.  A green salad, a fruit salad, and this quiche, and my Sunday afternoon is complete!

For the frozen pie crust, I prefer wholly wholesome, found in specialty stores, but many major supermarket chains carry vegan ones, such as shoprite – just check the ingredients and make sure there is no butter or eggs.  You will be surprised how many frozen pie crusts contain neither!

  • 1 9″ frozen pie crust
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 vegan beef bouillon cube (I prefer Edwards and Sons not-beef)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 slices fakin bacon
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/3 cup vegan cheddar shreds, such as Daiya

Preheat oven to 425.

Press the tofu in a tofu press, or place it on a plate with another plate on top and some heavy objects, such as books or heavy pots, on top of that.  Leave for about 20 minutes and the liquid will be released.

In the meantime, lightly grease a small pan and brown the fakin bacon on both sides over medium high heat.  Remove from pan and cut into small pieces.  Set aside.

Place the cashews, tofu and nutritional yeast in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Pour into a large bowl and set aside.

Add olive oil to a large pan over medium high heat.  Saute onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the bouillon, salt and onion powder to the onion and mix to combine well.

Add the onion mix to the large bowl with the tofu mix.  Add the bacon and the cheese and combine well.

Pour into frozen crust.

Bake 10 minutes, then lower oven to 375 and bake 30 minutes more.

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Serve warm.

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Potato Cakes with Lentil “Caviar”

DSC_0167I recently came across black lentils for the first time and knew I had to come up with a really special way to use them.  What I created far exceeded my expectations!  The potato cakes are so crispy and delicious and the lentils, while they obviously don’t have the squishy texture of caviar (which I never really cared for anyway), they do have a seafood  taste.  By cooking them in kombu and shitake broth, the fish flavor is subtle, yet perfect.  This recipe makes a very large amount of both the caviar and the potato cakes, so please reduce it unless you are making it for a party as I was.  And just so you know – they will disappear very, very fast, so you might want to make more than you think you need!  I used fresh dill, chives and lemon zest to garnish them, but I bet they would also be wonderful with fresh cilantro, rosemary, orange zest, fried sage leaves, or whatever you have on hand.  They are just so darn good they will always taste great!

DSC_0223For the lentil “caviar”

  • 1 c black lentils
  • 1 oz dried shitakes
  • 12” piece kombu
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 T dulse flakes

Separately soak the shitakes in 2 c warm water and the kombu in 4 c warm water, for 30 minutes.

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In a medium saucepan, place the lentils, salt, dulse, and the shitakes and kombu, with 2 cups of the soaking liquid from each.

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Bring to a gentle boil, then turn heat to low, and with lid open a little bit, simmer for 25 minutes, or until tender.  Remove kombu and shitakes and then drain lentils.

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For the potato cakes (latkes) – makes about 75 bite size

  • 6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 2/3 c quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 c plain bread crumbs
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 t onion powder
  • canola or safflower oil for frying

In a glass bowl, combine oats with 1 1/3 c water and microwave on high for a minute and a half.  Set aside.

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Grate potatoes and onion together (onion will help potatoes from turning brown) in a food processor or by hand.

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 In a large bowl, combine grated potatoes and onion with bread crumbs, salt, onion powder and oatmeal.

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Heat oil in pan over medium high heat.  Form mix into small circles and cook in oil until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.

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If the mix gets too liquidy, you can add more bread crumbs as you go along.

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For the cream

  • 8 oz tofutti better than sour cream, or other vegan sour cream
  • 1/4 c chopped chives

To serve – place a teaspoon of cream on each cake and place a teaspoon of caviar over the cream.  Garnish with your choice of chopped dill, lemon zest, chives, parsley, cilantro, fried sage, orange zest – just about anything you like!

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“Meat” Puffs a la Syl

“Meat” Puffs fresh out of the oven

I love being vegan.  I love the food, and honestly, there are not too many things that I miss from my pre-vegan days.  If I were to list the few things that I do miss, they would all come from my childhood memories – delicious things that my mother made that were most definitely not vegan.  I have tried over the past few years to recreate these recipes.  Some are just not happening – like her delicious clam dip.  Big sigh!  But that’s okay, because I am having lots of success with other ones.  For example, this recipe for “meat” puffs.  I would make the original ones with my mom every year for Thanksgiving.  We would make a huge amount, she would leave them on a hot tray, and we would devour them all day long.  Yummm.  They were so great!  I must admit that I had forgotten about these puffs until very recently when I was perusing my mother’s recipe box, wondering what else I could veganize.  I have to say they came out perfectly, and, even if my memory is not serving me well and they are different from the original, these are awesome in their own right.  Maybe one day I’ll get that vegan clam dip…

“Meat” Puffs a la Syl

  • I large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T evoo
  • 2 – 8 oz cans water chestnuts, diced
  • 1 not-beef bouillon cube (I love Edward & Sons)
  • 3 T vegetable broth
  • 2 pkgs boca crumbles
  • 1 pkg puff frozen puff pastry

Defrost puff pastry at room temperature for 40 minutes.

Preheat to 350.

In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil over medium high heat until translucent.  Add water chestnuts and frozen crumbles and cook a few minutes more.  Meanwhile, place the bouillon cube and broth in a small, glass bowl and microwave for 60 seconds. Stir well.  Add the broth mix to the pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes more.
Once the pastry is defrosted, roll out to thin a bit.  Then cut into 2-3 inch squares.  Place 1 T filling in the center of each square and fold the corners in to create a square puff shape.  Place seam side down on a lightly sprayed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Makes about 20 puffs.