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Archive for July, 2006

boil those beans

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

Earlier this week, I fell ill from what I presume to be food poisoning. As far as I can gather, it was not of microbial nature, but rather was caused by lectins in the beans I had for lunch. This protein is most concentrated in kidney beans as phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), but is also present in other varieties. In my case, I had prepared my meal from dried pinto beans. I followed the standard procedure of an overnight soak, followed by draining/rinsing and supplying fresh water for the cooking. I brought it up to a boil then reduced to a simmer for a few hours. Alas, my boil time was very short, and it seems this is where I endangered myself. According to the US Food & Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition in their “Bad Bug Book,” chapter 43, you should boil for at least 10 minutes. (Elsewhere in the BBC’s h2g2 project, 15 minutes is recommended.) Apparently, “several outbreaks have been associated with slow cookers or crock pots.” So, this is my warning, a public service announcement, to my fellow bean-eaters. You do not want to experience what I went through on Tuesday! It was not pretty and indeed rather scary.


Thursday, July 13th, 2006

This week’s vegan_cookoff shines the spotlight on a summer favorite… fresh basil.

I proudly present Basilzebub Hot Sauce: a versatile concoction featuring a deliciously bold basil flavor and aroma, with a kick of garlic and cayenne, all rounded out by the mellow sweetness of balsamic vinegar. I’m really happy with how this turned out. It will definitely be repeated.

1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh chopped, packed basil [*]
4 large garlic cloves (3 Tablespoons, diced) [*]
2 teaspoons extra hot chili powder [*]

[*] An introduction to the relatively safer outer regions of the basil hell fires. Perhaps you are “deserving” of greater punishment?! ;)

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree on high. Use a funnel to pour into a glass bottle for storage in the refrigerator. Allow the flavors to mingle for a few hours before consuming.

Serve with reckless abandon over salads (shown here atop mustard greens, red onions, and cauliflower), as a marinade for seitan, or as the sauce for a capellini pomodoro or spaghetti squash “pasta” dish.

tempeh tiramisu

Sunday, July 9th, 2006

My second entry for the tempeh contest at the Vegan Inventive Chef Community on LiveJournal.

Slabs of tempeh just beg to be layered. They also beg to be marinated. So, let’s give them what they want. And a little something for us too. How about a tiramisu?! ;)

Per usual, this recipe is for a single serving. (‘Tis just me.)

2 ounces (1/4 typical package) tempeh
1/4 cup vanilla soy “yochee” [1]
1/2 shot chocolate liquor [2]
1 cup of strong coffee or espresso
0 – 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cocoa powder

[1] – “Yochee” or yogurt cheese is just yogurt that has been drained overnight to give it a cream cheese consistency. Here, I used a vanilla soy yogurt. For a 1/4 cup you probably need at least a 1/2 cup of yogurt before straining. I use this one from Donvier.

[2] – Rum or kahlua would also work well. Experiment. Have fun.

To prepare the tempeh, carefully slice it in half horizontally and marinate overnight in the strong coffee. The next day, place the tempeh and coffee in a glass baking dish and cook at 350 Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Remove from coffee and allow to cool.

While the tempeh is cooling, mix the 1/4 cup vanilla soy yochee with the liquor and sweetener, if desired, to make the cream filling. To construct the dessert, place one half the tempeh on a dish as the base. Spread half the cream mixture over top and repeat with the other tempeh half and remaining cream mixture. Now the hard part; refrigerate for at least four hours. Just before serving, dust with cocoa.

tempeh cobbler

Sunday, July 9th, 2006

The ingredient of the week over at the vegan_cookoff is tempeh.

Those of you who have been following my blog since it’s inception, or at least have perused its archives, know I am fascinated with tempeh and even make my own. (See my first batch and another.)

I ended up creating two new original recipes for the contest. The first is a tempeh peach cobbler. I didn’t use my good stuff for these experiments, just the last remaining store-bought package I had kicking around in the freezer.

The easy-crumbling property of tempeh lends itself admirably to a cobbler or crisp topping. I made this as a single-serving in a small pyrex bowl suitable for oven use.

1 peach
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 ounces (1/4 standard package) tempeh
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of allspice
0 – 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
spritz of oil

Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit.

To prepare the peach, if you plan to retain the skins as I did, the secret (from More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally) is to tenderize it by poking holes all over with a fork. Then, cube it and mix well with vanilla and cinnamon. Place in a glass baking dish, covered (foil works) and bake for 15 minutes.

For the tempeh topping, steam the tempeh for 10 minutes, allow to cool, and crumble into a separate bowl. Mix in the spices and sweetener, if desired (this would be important for a crisp).

Once the fruit (berries or apples would work well too) is ready, remove the foil and sprinkle the tempeh topping evenly over the top. Spritz lightly with oil. Return to oven, and bake uncovered for 15 minutes. (A longer cooking time would bring you closer to a crisp.)

Of course, it’s not really finished until you throw a scoop of Soy Delicious Butter Pecan “ice cream” on top. :)

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