Friday, August 23, 2019

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #9: Cubano Sandwich

After a very tiring past week and a half, Vegan Mofo can resume. That’s back to Caribbean Cuisine and there are several recipes to post before August ends.
I heard it is National Cubano Sandwich Day! A Cubano or Cuban sandwich is typically a meaty packed sandwich (ham mostly) with pickles and mustard, bread sides toasted to browning perfection. It’s origin is a tricky one— because though it is called a Cubano, the origins are tied between both Florida and Cuba. Each place has a story about the humble beginnings of a very popular lunch order.
My version contains pan seared tempeh, Field Roast Chao, and lime-dill sour cream between buttery, crisp bread. It is an unbelievably flavor packed guilty pleasure sandwich. Our local stores don’t have veggie ham and the Tofurkey slices are just as good. They also sell the Lightlife deli slices— I have yet to try those.

Tempeh Cubano Sandwich Ingredients and Preparation

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 8oz tempeh, sliced in half
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
5-6 veggie deli slices

1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 slices vegan cheese (Field Roast Chao is used here)

Heat a skillet with coconut oil.
Mix together soy sauce, garlic, cumin, paprika, and thyme. Add in tempeh.
Toss tempeh into the skillet. Sear on both sides.
Combine sour cream with lime juice, salt, and black pepper. Spread on bread.
Assemble sandwich with tempeh, veggie slices (can be cold or fried), pickles, and sour cream sauce.
Grill the bread on both sides.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #8: Cou-Cou With Lime “Fish”

Missed a few days, but back to Vegan Mofo-ing! I plan to make desserts soon. Just gotta find the right sweets that also match with what’s on hand— something that needs raisins and chocolate for example.
Right now, savory Caribbean Cuisine continues with cou-cou, a specialty dish in Barbados much like ugali and fufu. The main difference is that cou-cou means cornmeal prepared with okra and spices. The okra is cut up into tiny bits, boiled, and the okra water is used to flavor the cornmeal before the okra pieces are added back in. My recipe is inspired by veganizing both CaribCuisine and The Spruce  Eats, throwing in lime gardein fishless filets as the perfect meaty component that celebrates Barbadians love for combining simple ingredients together.  Cou-cou is usually prepared with a cou stick, but a wooden spoon works just fine.

Cou-Cou With Lime Fish Ingredients and Preparation

2 1/2 cup water
8 okra, sliced
1/4 cup spiced onion
1 1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoon coconut or olive oil or vegan butter

2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 gardein fishless filets

Soak cornmeal in cold water.
Bring okra, onion, thyme, marjoram, garlic, and salt to a boil, cooking for about ten minutes.
Take out okra and reserve some of the seasoned okra water. Pour the cornmeal into the remaining water. Bring to a simmer, stirring every fifteen minutes to prevent sticking. Add the extra okra water.
Once the cou-cou is finished (sides should be easy to scoop out), place into a “buttered” bowl to mold.
In a skillet, heat coconut oil. Whisk together lime juice, garlic, paprika, and thyme. Coat thawed fishless filets with the simple marinade and toss them into waiting skillet. Sear both sides for about 4-5 minutes each.
Serve fishless filets with cou-cou.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #7: Picadello

The seventh Vegan Mofo tribute post to Caribbean cuisine is picadello, a celebrated Cuban dish that features unexpected delights in its slow simmered ground beef— like raisins, capers, and olives. I veganized an All Recipes version. Now I personally abhor olives though known to enjoy a good tampanede from time to time. At the grocery store, there were shelves upon shelves of olives, but certainly no tampanade to sneak in as an olive component. Also, I omitted the green bell pepper because one simply has to be in the mood to tolerate them.
This recipe calls for Sazon Seasoning and brands like Goya often times contains dyes and MSG. Here is an easy homemade one:

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, toasted then ground
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
1 tablespoon cumin seed, toasted then ground
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano, (or dried marjoram or verbena)
1 tablespoon achiote seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika) 

Mix ingredients together well and use 1.5 teaspoons for each packet of the Goya Sazon your recipe calls for.
Picadello can be a side dish for rice, served with fried plantains or used as taco or empanada filling. I made tacos of course. I wish that I had vegan sour cream or plain yogurt on hand to mix with lime and cilantro— would have made for excellent topping to these incredibly fulfilling tacos.

Picadello Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
1 12 oz package Lightlife Soy Ground (or any other vegan ground)
1 14 oz can salt free diced tomatoes
2 tablespoon Sazon Seasoning
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon cumin
fresh thyme for tasty decoration (optional)

In a skillet, heat oil with garlic and onion, stirring for seven minutes or so.
Add remainder of ingredients except thyme.
Simmer soy ground for ten minutes.
Serve warm with thyme.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #6: Curried Plantains & Tomato Rice

Everyone loves a little bit of curry in a dish. Plantains are definitely a huge part of most Caribbean meals. All over the region, plantains are either the well seasoned side dish or the fried, greasy snack before the main course. I love them in many ways— mostly savory. Thus, this is the start of several recipes that star yummylicious plantains.
For my delicious meal, I first boiled my unripened plantain so that it was soft and lovely during its short frying time— a ripe plantain, however, is recommended. The tomato rice has the same flavors inside, marrying the components together for a scrumptious, fulfilling meal.

Curried Plantains and Tomato Rice Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup brown rice
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 chopped white onion
2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 plantain, cut into three pieces
2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Prepare rice to package directions. Drain. Mix in tomato sauce, onion, curry powder, cumin, fenugreek, salt, and black pepper.
In a skillet, let the coconut oil  warm up. Combine thick plantain slices with garlic, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and crushed red pepper and toss them into the skillet. Sear each side for a few minutes.
Serve atop of rice with extra crushed red pepper.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #5: Macaroni Pie

Macaroni Pie around the Caribbean is much sweeter than the rich, ooey gooey American baked mac n cheese. Although it typically has no crust, perhaps that is why “pie” is in the name. They usually include evaporated or condensed milk to sweeten their traditional dish, then adding cinnamon, nutmeg, and sometimes ginger for enhancing this unique flavor profile.
Inspired by In Search of Yumminess, my version retains that sweet, buttery goodness— all vegan of course. Plus, along the way, I Ickes a new skill— making evaporated almond milk, a key ingredient in Macaroni Pie.

Macaroni Pie Ingredients and Preparation

2 cup elbow macaroni
1 cup cold evaporated almond milk*
1 cup vegan cheese of choice
2 tablespoon vegan butter, coconut or olive oil
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of crushed red pepper

*For evaporated almond milk, bring two cups of almond milk to a simmer, whisking frequently until the almond milk has lost half its contents.

Prepare macaroni according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix macaroni with all ingredients and pour into desired dish (I filled up a six inch Pyrex baking dish).
Bake for thirty minutes.
Sprinkle extra cinnamon and serve warm.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #4: Blackened Pinto Beans & Rice

Certainly everyone has heard of the tragic events that happened late Saturday night here in Dayton, Ohio. My family, friends, and I are still in great shock-- with the exception of that shocking tornado a few months back Dayton is a relatively small, quiet city. Today was supposed to be a sweet day-- I had my first Veg News Magazine article due to be published this morning online-- a post on Eating Out Vegan in Dayton. Instead, it feels too unreal to celebrate that, to think about food at a time such as this. I am very happy that Veg News have removed the post out of sensitivity and respect. We're slowly recovering, healing. It is difficult to make sense in this. Very, very difficult.

Now I move onto my fourth Vegan Mofo 2019 post with lost lives in mind, heart, and spirit.

Lately, I have been going to the grocery store without my glasses. Last night, upon making dinner, I realized the pinto beans were not black beans for my Cuban inspired recipe for congri. Thus, after I drained the pinto beans and smashed them by hand, I added soy sauce for flavor and darkening that noticeable brownish pink. I pan seared it in coconut oil, achieving a lovely color and arousing kitchen fragrance.

Pinto Beans and Rice Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 15oz can pinto beans, drained
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup cooked brown rice

Mix mashed pinto beans with soy sauce, cumin, tomato paste, garlic and onion powder, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Pour into heated skillet of coconut oil. Stir for 5-7 minutes.
Serve with prepared brown rice. 

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #3: Sweet Cocoa Tea (Hot & Cold)

For my third Vegan Mofo post, I remember visiting Grenada last year, drinking continuous cups of cocoa tea (also known as cacao tea) at the House of Chocolate-- a museum, cafe, and shop. Cocoa tea is a beverage of choice for several Caribbean countries including Grenada and St. Lucia. It is usually pure cacao husk blended with bay leaf and spices and formed into a ball or stick form. Like traditional tea, it is meant to be activated in hot water and sweetened however way one wants it.

At the House of Chocolate in Grenada last May with cocoa tea and cane sugar.
You can purchase cocoa tea/cacao tea from various places online. The Grenada Market in Brooklyn sells Spice Caribbean Cocoa Balls and kkao (currently sold out of their teas) features cacao teas from all over the world.
The taste is an amazingly delicious hot cocoa meets tea, rich and flavorful.

Cocoa Tea Ingredients and Preparation

2 cup water
1 cocoa tea ball or cocoa stick
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup almond milk (or any dairy free alternative)
1/4 cup cane sugar (or maple syrup)

Place cocoa tea ball or stick into the water with cinnamon sticks, stirring until the ball dissolves.
Add almond milk and cane sugar.

*To have cold, follow all instructions, then pour cocoa tea into pitcher, and keep refrigerated for four hours. Add ice cubes for additional chill.

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #2: Angel Hair With Seared Carrot Dawgs

In the second Vegan Mofo post dedicated to Caribbean Cuisine, is a remix on Haiti's popular spaghetti which usually has hot dogs or fish as a topping. For my version, I used angel hair and chopped carrot dawgs-- a flavorful, delicious meal that takes some time, but is worth the end game.

Angel Hair With Seared Carrot Dawgs Ingredients and Preparation

8 large carrots, boiled and chopped

1/4 cup soy sauce or liquid aminos
1 tablespoon maple syrup, agave nectar or cane sugar
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoon coconut oil

1 1/2 cup angel hair
2 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon garlic
pinch of salt and black pepper
chopped green onions and dried white onion (optional)

After chopping softened carrots, soak them in the hand whisked marinade and let sit in these flavors for an hour or so. Overnight is also alright.
In a skillet, heat coconut oil and toss in carrot dawgs, stirring until each side is seared.
Prepare angel hair to package directions. Toss with tomatoes, garlic, salt, and black pepper.
Place seared carrot dawgs and green and white onion on top of angel hair. Serve warm.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Vegan Mofo 2019 Day #1: Jamaican Jerk Cauliflower

Kick things off with a delicious bowl of crisp cauliflower.
Hello Vegan Mofo and the regular visitors of AfroVeganChick. Welcome to a whole month of Caribbean themed cuisine that ventures all the over the region, exploring ways to create vegan dishes and re innovate those that aren't (like Saltfish and Ackee for example).

Officially participating in my seventh Vegan Mofo.
I used Well Vegan's Cauliflower "Wings" recipe to start off a hot, sweltering August. Although cutting out the baking process by using frozen cauliflower and no added flours for textural crunch, my creation is still a wonderful tribute to the spicy flare of Jamaican food. I've never used habañero peppers before and they're spicy-- so cut them as small as possible and mix well. As a light, delicious sauce to balance out the cauliflower, try vegan sour cream and chives or Well Vegan's vegan yogurt and lime juice.

Jamaican Jerk Cauliflower Ingredients and Preparation

1 bag frozen cauliflower (or a whole head of cauliflower chopped)
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Jamaican Jerk Sauce

1 scotch bonnet or habañero pepper, seeds removed and diced
3 green onions, diced (or scallion)
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon allspice (also known as pimento)
1 teaspoon ginger
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoon soy sauce or liquid aminos
1 tablespoon maple syrup or can sugar (for soy sauce)
1/2 teaspoon salt (for liquid aminos)

Bring frozen cauliflower to a boil and drain. 
Combine Jamaican Jerk Sauce ingredients and mix with cauliflower.
In a medium skillet, heat up coconut oil and add cauliflower. Cook for 7-10 minutes.