Cuban nachos

I love nachos when I have them but they’re not something I ever think about making. This isn’t really a recipe, more suggestions of what to put together, but the interesting thing is the use of plantain chips in place of the more usual tortillas.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for plantain chips ever since I got this book, and I finally found them in a local Pakistani shop, where I’ve found lots of treasures in the past. I didn’t bother to weigh or measure anything, just used the recipe as a guideline. I layered home made refried black beans, plantain chips and vegan cheese and baked them, then used the suggested mango, sour cream and guacamole. I didn’t have any salsa so I chopped a tomato and a couple of jarred jalapeno slices with the green onion to scatter on top.

This was a great snack when I got in late from football. The plantain chips and mango were a definite twist on the old favourite. The sweetness of the mango worked especially well with the black beans and I’d make this again for sure.

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Grilled Tofu Provençale

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Wow. This dish is amazing. Even though I’d made it before, I wanted to make it again for this blog. The recipe suggests overnight marinating if possible, but that didn’t stop me from deciding to make it around 3 this afternoon. For the dish, tofu is marinated, grilled, then refrigerated before being added to the sauce. I hit the door, got some tofu pressing and had a doubt or two. If it’s better the next day, I can’t begin to imagine it. I cut both the oil and olives in half (Jim isn’t a huge fan of olives) and the dish was still packed with flavor. The smoky taste of the grilled tofu is beautifully brightened by the tomato, olive, wine, and caper sauce.

This dish would be absolutely ideal for entertaining, thanks to the grilled/chilled tofu. The sauce can be made in minutes. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this dish has a flavor profile just like what you would have expected from the restaurant. If you have the book, go make it! You’ll be glad you did.

Posted in Entrees Horizons 2 | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Grilled Seitan with Sage Mustard, Garlic and Sage Mashed Potatoes

On a cold, dark, wintery Sunday evening, we both craved comfort food. Seitan, plus mustard, plus mashed potato, plus greens. Perfect. Both the seitan and the mashed potato recipes came from the first Horizons book and I just braised some greens to serve with them.

The seitan is cooked on an outdoor grill in the recipe but I used my electric griddle instead. It’s remarkable easy because all you do is blend the sauce ingredients then brush it on to the cooked seitan – the garlicky, herby sauce melts into the seitan and I put some extra on the top too. As long as you’ve got seitan at hand it takes minutes.

The potatoes were also very easy – simple potatoes mashed with a buttery garlic, wine and herb mix.

Yet again Horizons provides a quick and extremely tasty meal that seemed like it took much longer than it actually did.

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Chopped Greek Salad

Chopped Greek Salad

It’s not every day that Jim smiles when I tell him we’re having salad for lunch. But when he hit the door and spotted this one, it happened. Even with the olives, which aren’t his favorite, this salad had us both raving. I can’t really explain why this salad was so delicious: it had a “normal” greek dressing and the expected vegetable ingredients. I’m thinking it was something about the smoked tofu and roasted red peppers that made the salad shine. I recommend roasting your own peppers, which I don’t always do if they will be cooked again. But for using them in a salad, it’s worth the extra 2 minutes or so of hands on time. Their sweetness played so well off the olives and the dressing. Everything about this salad just worked for us.

One word of caution: if you don’t season your food heavily with salt and pepper (we do), you might find them a little strong in this salad. We found them to be perfect and will have this salad many times over the summer, I’m sure.

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Provençal White Bean Soup

Provencal White Bean Soup

Even though this soup is full of beans, the real star for us was the celeriac. Besides adding great taste, it also gave the soup that almost toothsome texture that only a root vegetable can. I cut back on the broth (from 8 cups to 6) and next time will reduce it to 4 cups. That’s entirely personal. As my mom says, we don’t like to chase things in our soup so we go for more stuff, less broth.

Speaking of broth, of course you’ll want to use a good quality one. This soup is so quick to make, that you can’t expect the vegetables to give it t he broth itself much flavor. But with the sherry, wine, and herbs, this soup is quite complex for the effort. It has an optional tablespoon of olive oil added at the end, and it defnitely does add to the taste.

Like all the recipes I’ve tried from their books, Horizons recipes actually taste true to the restaurant. That’s an amazing thing. I could imagine getting a cup of this soup at the restaurant, to be followed by that amazing grilled seitan. It really is the perfect starter soup.

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Blackened Tofu with Dirty Rice

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Ok, I admit that I didn’t cook my tofu as long as I could have, but we were ready to eat about an hour before I started making dinner. The texture and seasoning on the tofu were fantastic, even if it could have been more blackened. This recipe uses one of the Horizons spice blends, which are always a hit with us, as is the tofu cooking method. We even happened to have the Cajun spice blend on hand, and with some leftover rice in the fridge, this dinner came together quickly. I was hesitant to add the stock to the rice, but it worked well. We really enjoyed this and will keep it in mind for quick dinners.

There’s really not a lot to say about this one besides yum!

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Tofu Benedict with Bearnaise

Tami has already made this one and so I decided to make it for breakfast on Christmas Day (it just took me a while to get round to writing about it!).

Like Tami, I demand greens in my Benedict, so I used some wilted spinach. We’ve both written before at length about the Horizons method of pan searing tofu. It gives fabulous results and the spice blend used on the outside of the tofu instantly transports you to the restaurant. For the bacon, I used my favourite seitan version from American Vegan Kitchen, sliced thinly. Of course, I used the optional cayenne in the sauce. Mine wasn’t strictly Bearnaise because I couldn’t find fresh tarragon so I used the suggested dill as a substitute.

This was a deliciously decadent Christmas Day breakfast. The tofu seasoning blend is a masterpiece and the sauce is extremely easy yet rich and tasty. We both loved it and we hopefully won’t wait for next Christmas to have it again!

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Mushrooms stuffed with fennel and spinach

I’ve mentioned before that we rarely eat starters but we always do before our main Christmas meal. We eat this meal on Christmas Eve by the way, because we go out for curry on Christmas Day. I try to keep the starter small and light because it precedes a
huge meal. I really just look for something to nibble that works well with a nice dry white wine.

This year I chose the mushrooms stuffed with fennel and spinach from the second Horizons book. I used quite small mushrooms but even so it wasn’t too fiddly and was very quick to put together. The filling is all thrown together in the food processor. I got it all prepared early on then just baked it when we were ready to eat. Made with small mushrooms like this it makes great finger food and nibbles too.

The stuffing was great – nice and simple, the fennel didn’t overpower like it sometimes can. I bet it would work well in cherry tomatoes too. A great start to our Christmas meal.

Posted in Appetizers Horizons 2 | 1 Comment

Atlantic Tofu Gratin

I have made this dish once before and enjoyed it but it was way before we thought about writing this blog. I had it again last night so I can share the results with you.

I was eating on my own and was looking for something reasonably quick and comforting when I got in from a snowy day watching football. This fitted the bill perfectly. It’s in the appetizer section but I rarely bother with appetizers so I made the full amount and served it with some crusty bread as a main meal. Just for me.

You have to read the instructions carefully because the tofu needs to be prebaked, but it’s easy to miss that. It doesn’t give instructions for doing this but I used the recipe from Appetite for Reduction, and kept the baked tofu in the fridge until I got in. It was a snap to put together after that. I used the optional veggie bacon (from American Vegan Kitchen), spinach and vegan cheese, although much less of both the latter two than the recipe called for. I enjoyed the bacon and spinach but don’t think the optional cheese added anything to what was already a rich, saucy dish. I also cut down a bit on the olive oil in the marinade and I don’t think the dish suffered at all for it.

This is a very unusual dish and would make a delicious starter for company. It’s very rich and the mustard and seafood seasoning (Old Bay in my case) come through strongly. I love both of those flavours so it suited me perfectly but you may want to tweak the amounts if you aren’t such a big fan.  There are lots of juices to mop up and I ended up using rather a lot of bread. Yum. In fact, I ate so much bread that I couldn’t finish the tofu. This was no problem as it meant I had some leftover for lunch today. Quite a small portion though, so I was casting around for something to serve it with, when inspiration hit. I keep lots of odds and sods of pastry in the freezer so I defrosted some, rolled it out, and wrapped it around the rest of the tofu. I baked it until golden then had myself a gorgeous lunchtime pie.

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Tart Tatin a’ l’Americain

 

 

With Thanksgiving behind us, this might be a little late. But there is never a bad time for an apple dessert.

If you’re used to Mom’s Apple Pie, this is very different. The apples are cooked stove-top, arranged in a pie plate, then topped with the crust. I had a few problems with this recipe mostly due to my own doing. First off, I used only apples rather than the apple pear combo. I wasn’t sure if the apples should reach the top of the pie tin (so the crust could rest on them), but that seemed the  most logical. (I think my measurement was off due to my fruit substitution.). The crust is very forgiving. If you are insecure about pastry, this one doesn’t have to be a work of art since the whole tart is tipped over onto the crust. I patched mine together fairly liberally with wet fingers (I ‘rushed’ mine rather than waiting the suggested time), and it still turned out wonderfully.One thing  to note: unless I missed it, the recipe doesn’t have a temperature. I used 375 F.

We enjoyed this dusted with cinnamon with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream on the side. The ideal match would have been cinnamon ice cream. Next time.

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