Friday, April 29, 2011

Rice and Pinto Beans with Kale

I was in the bookstore several months ago browsing the vegan cookbook section, when I came across a cookbook called "Viva Vegan" by Terry Hope Romero.  I looked at the pictures first and was hooked.  An entire cookbook devoted to vegan Spanish foods?  Forget about it!  That would be a perfect surprise for the Hubby - knowing how to cook a dish his mom used to make for him, but making it more health supportive and super delicious - he would love it!  Truthfully, once I got the book here and actually looked through it in more detail, (it still looked great - don't get me wrong!) I saw that a lot of the recipes are a little more involved with more steps than I would like to take on a day when I get home from work.  It is something that I would reserve cooking on the weekends, unless it was a recipes where I had already had ingredients cooked and could prepare it quickly, as was the case with this meal. 

This recipe was good, with a couple modifications, even better and when I tasted it the next day, the flavors were surprisingly even better.  So if it tastes a little simple, taste it again the next day and you will be pleasantly surprised.  I was surprised to see the vegetarian Worcestershire sauce in the recipe, and luckily I've had a bottle in my fridge for like 6 months - I keep forgetting how good that stuff it.  And of course I have a ton of liquid smoke in my pantry - it's one of my favorite things right now!

Rice and Pinto Beans with Kale:

All Those Delicious Veggies!

Serves 4-6

2 cups cooked white rice (you could use brown)
2 cups cooked pinto beans
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced, about 1 cup
1 medium orange pepper, diced, about 3/4 cup
1/2 medium green pepper, diced, about 1/2 cup
1 jalapeno, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup filtered water
2 mini vegetable boullion cubes
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 large kale leaves, sliced and blanched
Hot sauce to serve

1.  Place a large wok over medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil and allow it to become hot.  Once the oil is hot, add the add the onion, orange, green and jalapeno peppers and minced garlic.  Saute, stirring every couple minutes until fragrant and softened. 
2 .  Crush the boullion cubes with your fingers and add  to the cooking vegetables, along with the cumin, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and sea salt.  Add the filtered water at this point as well.  Stir until all the spices are completely mixed.
3.  Add the cooked rice and beans and stir until coated in the vegetables and spice mixture.  Add the cooked, sliced kale and stir to combine.  Allow to cook for a couple more minutes so that some of the moisture evaporates.
4.  Season to taste and serve with lots of hot sauce!  Tasty!
(This was even more delicious and flavorful the next day!)



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Thai Vegetable Soup

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

I love soup!  Hubby is not such a fan of it, so I am glad I was able to make it at work where I know people will appreciate it and eat it all!  I created this recipe actually for a gluten free cooking class I am going to teach, and this was the test.  After looking all over online for a decent Thai vegetable soup recipe, and not really finding one, I took ideas from at least three different recipes, combined them together and came up with this soup.  The great thing about soups, too, unlike baking and some other forms of cooking, you can experiment with it and keep adding things as you go.  If it needs more flavoring, just add it.  If you've added too much salt, add more water.  Done.  This soup turned out so deliciously!  I think everyone had at least two bowls of it and there was quite a bit left over for everyone to take home. 

The list of ingredients may look large and a bit intimidating, but don't let that fool you.  It is a little heavy on the prep (chopping and preparing veggies), but once that is all done, the soup comes together very quickly.  I loved the coconut milk element in the soup and would love to try more soups with coconut milk in them, especially as spring turns into summer.  It just reminds me of tropical places.  Although I did make a tomato basil soup once with coconut milk in it and it was strangely delicious!  Also, Hubby and I bought tropical fruit pops at Whole Foods a month or so ago that included coconut milk, shredded coconut, mango, pineapple etc.  I really want to make those at home this summer and sweeten them with agave, rather than sugar.  But damn were they tasty.  I've just got to find somewhere to buy those fruit pop molds! 

Thai Vegetables Soup:

I love the creaminess of the coconut milk &
the freshness of the basil!  So good!

Serves 4-6 as a meal

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, small diced, about 3 cups
1 jalapeno, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced lemon grass
12 cups filtered water
4 medium yams, peeled and medium diced
5-6 tablespoons Better Than Boullion, No-Chicken Flavor
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
1/2 cup sugar snap peas, tough ends trimmed
4 scallions, white and green ends separated
3 1/2 cups kale, ribs removed and leaves sliced (about 1 small bunch)
1/2 - 1 full can coconut milk
1 tablespoon red curry paste
sea salt and black pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
6 leaves basil, chiffonadded

1.  In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, garlic and ginger.  Saute for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. 
2.  Add the filtered water, sweet potatoes, boullion, sea salt and black pepper.  Bring to a boil and cook just until the potatoes are barely tender.
3.  Add the carrots, peas and white parts of the scallions, cooking for about 2 minutes.  Add the kale and continue cooking for another minute.
4.  Remove the pot from heat and stir in the coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro.  Stir to combine.  Season to taste with sea salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper if desired. 
5.  Serve immediately with the chiffonnaded basil on top.  So delicious!



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tempeh Bolognese

I love Trader Joe's.  I had never heard of let alone been to a Trader Joe's  before I lived in the city.  Back home, we didn't even have a Whole Foods gasp!  Now that I have one, I am in love with it, though I rarely go.  Whenever I do make it over there, I bring several reusable totes and literally pack them to the top, making them so heavy that I can barely get them into the subway car, then up the stairs to get to my apartment.  But it is so worth it!  I can fill two of these huge bags to the top for $50!  Now, the stuff I get is the kind of stuff that can last a while - I buy my produce at a store near my home.  I stock up majorly on tofu, tempeh, snacks, soy products, tofu dogs, etc. I have not been in a huge tempeh mood lately, more of a seitan mood, and as a result, I have 4 packages of tempeh sitting on the top shelf of my refrigerator. 

Needing to make dinner in a hurry tonight, I spied the tempeh and immediately though: bolognese.  And of course, this recipe was done start to finish in less than half an hour.  A little side salad made it a perfect meal.  I was very proud of myself and the Hubby and my bellies were both very satisfied.  This is definitely something that works really well when you are short of time. 

Tempeh Bolognese

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2  cups onions, small diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. tempeh, grated on a box grater (cheese grater)
32 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. kamut spaghetti, broken in half

1.  Begin by placing a large pot of water on the stove over high heat and bringing it to a boil.  Once the water has come to a boil, cook the spaghetti until al dente.  Drain and return to pot, tossing in a small amount of oil to coat so the pasta does not stick.
2.  In the meantime, prepare the bolognese: in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil.  Once it is hot, add the onions and the grated tempeh.  (Generally tempeh is required to be simmered before being prepared to remove bitterness, but this sauteing step takes the place of that.)  Saute, stirring periodically, until the onions are lightly browned and the tempeh is emitting a pleasant nutty aroma. 
3.  Using your hands, crush the tomatoes before adding them, along with the juices to the pan.  Stir to coat the tempeh and onions.  Add basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, onion and garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper.  Stir to coat. 
4.  Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer the tempeh bolognese for about 15 minutes or until well seasoned.  Season to taste.

To serve:  Place a serving of the pasta in the middle of the plate, followed by the bolognese.  Top with vegan Parmesan if desired and serve.



Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vegetables in a Brown Sauce with Vegan "Chicken"

I have been living in this neighborhood in Brooklyn for over 3 1/2 years now and occasionally get take out from this place called Zen Vegetarian House.  It's a mostly vegan place and is pretty decent, although they do rely rather heavily on fake meat.  It's ok to have occasionally.  Sometimes I get into this kick where I am craving a certain dish but do not want to buy it out - hello spending too much money and eating too much oil and salt!  So, I figure out a way to make it at home, and have a great time doing it.  At Zen I usually get a vegan chicken dish with some kind of veggies - usually eggplant or green beans.  This time when I made it at my house, I wanted to add more veggies, so I did and it was awesome.  Hubby liked it too, once he got rolling his eyes at my calling it "chicken" out of the way.  He still gives me a funny look every time I call something chicken or meat or whatever, making me backtrack and call it chicken or meat with those awesome air quotes.  You know what I mean.  Keeps me on my toes I guess!  Anyway, take a look at the recipe and enjoy a takeout meal that you can make yourself. 

Vegetables in a Brown Sauce with Vegan "Chicken":

Rice, Sauteed Veggies in a Brown Sauce & "Chicken"

Serves 4

Sauteed Veggies:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
2 carrots, cut on the diagonal
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced on the diagonal
3/4 cup snap peas, tough ends removed
1/2 cup orange or red bell pepper, julienned
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Brown Sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 cups filtered water
1/4 cup tamari/shoyu
3 tablespoons vegetarian Oyster/Mushroom Sauce
2 tablespoons arrowroot mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

Cooked white or brown rice, to serve

Vegan Chicken or other meat replacement, cooked and ready to eat.

1.  Prepare the brown sauce first. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil.  Allow it to become hot and add the garlic.  Saute the garlic for 1-2 minutes or until golden and fragrant, but not browned.  Add the ginger and cook for an additional minute. 
2.  Add the filtered water, tamari or shoyu and the vegetarian oyster sauce.  Whisk well to combine all ingredients.  Bring the ingredients up to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. 
3.  In a separate bowl, mix together the arrowroot powder and water until the arrowroot is dissolved.  Pour this mixture into the simmering liquid, whisking immediately.  Allow the sauce to continue to simmer, whisking periodically until thickened.  Turn off the heat, cover the pot and get started on the veggies. 
4.  For the veggies, place a large wok over medium-high heat and add the oil, allowing it to become hot.  Add the broccoli, carrots and onion and saute for several minutes.  Add the remaining veggies and continue sauteing until tender-crisp.  Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper - not a lot, just enough to give the veggies some flavor. 
5.  Place a couple ladle-fulls of the brown sauce on top of the cooked veggies, stirring to combine.  Season to taste.
6.  To serve, place a serving of rice on your plate, followed by a generous serving of the veggies in the brown sauce.  Top with the veggie chicken, or any other kind of protein source/meat replacer.  Drizzle with additional brown sauce if desired.  That's it!  Super easy and tasty!



Saturday, April 23, 2011

Artichoke Stuffed Crimini Mushrooms

My coworker and friend M was married, now a couple months ago, funnily enough, the same day the hubby came back from DR.  After taking a cab home, we hurried, changed, and took another cab over to the wedding.  Of course the cabbie didn't speak ANY English and got us terribly lost and we missed the part where she walked down the aisle!  So bummed!  Still hoping someone made a video of it and I can see it. 

Anyway, for her big day, she was doing all the work, including cooking a bunch of things.  I'm seriously not sure how she did it and stayed sane.  Not sure I would have been able to!  To help her out, she had several people come up with ideas and make some appetizers and accompaniments.  My app was Artichoke Stuffed Crimini Mushrooms.  I was lucky to be able to test this at work while she was there and got the thumbs up.  It turned out to be so delicious, not difficult at all, though a little time consuming.  In the end, I ended up making about 7 packages of mushrooms.  It seemed like so many when I was at Trader Joe's with one bag full of mushrooms and the other filled with marinated artichoke hearts.  The cashier looked at me pretty strangely, as though I had some form of ocd, because everything I bought, I bought in multiples.  7 packages crimini mushrooms, 4 jars marinated artichoke hearts, 3 packages frozen edamame, 3 packages tempeh, 2 packages tofu, etc.  The point is, TJ's is really out of my way and always makes me hit the rush hour on the train on the way back home which is so less than fun in ny!  So I go as few times as is humanly possible. 

Back to the subject - these were super delicious.  And with about 50 or so people at the wedding, they were gone in about 1/2 hour.  It always makes you feel good when all your food is gone!  This is definitely something to make when you are feeling like impressing someone or when you're having a nice dinner and want to do all apps.  Forgot to take pics as I was making these - the stress of making them beautiful and delicious got to me!  So the pics aren't great because they were already packed in their container to be transported to the wedding, but I think you get the idea.  Make them - they are yummy!

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms:

Packaged and Stacked up for the Wedding!

Makes about 30 (they're small - don't worry)

2 10 oz. packages crimini mushrooms, the bigger, the better
1/4 cup olive oil
1 8 oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts (Trader Joe's makes a tasty one)
1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (or regular if it doesn't have to be gf)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoon homemade vegan Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
1/4 cup homemade vegan Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2.  Clean the mushrooms - remove the stems (I like to keep a bag of cleaned mushroom stems in my freezer so when I want to make mushroom stock, I have extra help).  Rinse the mushroom caps and drain carefully.  Place on a couple sheets of paper towel and use another paper towel to blot off the excess water from the top.  This will prevent the mushrooms from becoming rubbery.
3.  Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil.  Place the mushrooms in a large bowl and add the oil.  Working quickly, toss to coat, until the oil has absorbed into the mushrooms.  Sprinkle with black pepper - do not add the salt at this point.  Line them cap side up on the sheet tray. 
4.  Bake mushrooms for about 10 minutes.  Remove, flip over so the rounded part is on the bottom, and sprinkle with sea salt and allow to cool.
5.  Make the filling.  Chop the artichoke hearts and place in a medium bowl.  Add the breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, vegan parm, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Season to taste. 
6.  Once the salt was added to the mushrooms, the mushrooms will have released water, dump the water from the center into the sink and begin filling the mushrooms. 
7.  Each mushroom will fit about 1-2 teaspoons of filling in the center, depending on the size.  Really try to squish the filling into the center, but be careful not to split the mushroom.  Lay all the mushrooms back on the sheet tray. 
8.  In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and the vegan parm for the topping.  Sprinkle a small amount on top of each of the mushrooms - it's ok if some of it falls onto the pan. 
9.  Return mushrooms to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or just until heated through. 
10.  Try to allow them to cool for a minute before eating.  I was too excited and almost burned my tongue!

Look at that Delicious Detail!



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

Whenever I have to cook family meal for my department, or just L and myself, as there are only two of us on Wednesdays, I am always looking for something fun and different to make.  L is gluten free and is always talking about how when she cooks for herself, she eats a lot of rice with veggies, generally served with a peanut sauce.  Which is damn delicious, but I definitely want to switch things up and not cook that for her and myself.  Sometimes I will feel really inspired like today, and others I will just want to bring in some plantains and make something super simple. 

Today I was really into it and it was my goal to make a vegan gluten free chicken noodle soup, which is interesting and different enough, but I also wanted to make the noodles homemade.  I used to make vegan noodles at home all the time, but certainly not gluten free.  I attempted to make them once when I was in culinary school, and they were absolutely disgusting and did not work.  I found a recipe on a gluten free blog and since I was nervous about just making one batch, I did a pre-batch to see if the recipe would work.  With a few modifications, it worked and was pretty good.  In this recipe the noodles worked very well, but when I tried them on my own, I definitely think they were too chewy - I'm sure from too much xanthan gum, but they roll out beautifully and hold together very well.  I am going to play around with the recipe some more because the author said it would work well for ravioli and tortellini - can you imagine vegan gluten free ravioli or tortellini???   That is going to be one of my goals for an upcoming family meal cooking session.

"Chicken" Noodle Soup Ready to go Home for Dinner!
"Chicken" Noodle Soup:

Serves 6-10 (makes a lot!)

3 prepared gluten free pepper steak patties, thawed (May Wah in Manhattan has a great selection!)

1 cup millet flour
1 cup tapioca starch
1 tablespoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup flax eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup filtered water

3 large carrots, peeled and medium diced, about 2 1/2 - 3 cups
4 stalks celery, sliced into thirds (the long way), and medium diced
1 large onion, medium diced, about 1 1/2 cups
12 cups filtered water
2 1/2 - 3 tablespoons Imagine no-chicken boullion
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, optional but delicious

1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 
2.  To prepare the pasta, combine the millet flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum and sea salt in a medium bowl.  Add the flax eggs, olive oil and filtered water and mix with a spatula until a nice dough forms. 
3.  Liberally flour your surface with millet flour.  Place the dough in the center of the the flour, sprinkle with additional flour and carefully roll out to desired thickness and shape with a rolling pin, adding more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. 
4.  To make noodles, use a sharp paring knife to cut the dough into long, thin strips.  Place individually into the boiling water, stirring immediately so that the noodles do not stick to one another.  Cook the noodles in two batches.  These only take 1-2 minutes to cook - so keep an eye on them.
5.  Once the noodles are cooked, place them on a baking tray that has been drizzled in oil.  Drizzle the noodles with a small amount of oil while preparing the soup so they do not become impossible to take apart. 
6.  Begin making the soup:  In a large stockpot, add the olive oil and allow it to become hot.  Once it is hot, add the diced onion, celery and carrots.  Cook, periodically stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly cooked.  Add the filtered water, boullion, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper and allow soup to come to a boil.  Once soup boils, lower heat to a simmer.
7.  Simmer soup until vegetables are just tender (I like my veggies in my soup to have a little bit of a bite). 
8.  While the soup is simmering, prepare the "chicken" part of the recipe.  In a medium saute pan, add one tablespoon of oil and allow it to become hot.  Once the oil is hot, add the pepper steak patties and cook for about 1 minute on each side, or until lightly golden.  Remove from the pan and blot with paper towels.  Once cool enough to handle, chop into bite sized pieces. 
9.  To the pot of simmering veggies and stock, add the cooked noodles and the prepared "chicken".  Stir to combine and season to taste. 
10.  Serve a nice hearty amount in a bowl and savor the aroma.  Sigh in bliss and devour!



Monday, April 18, 2011

Vegan Donuts!

I don't know what has come over me, but I feel like I need to have donuts!  Vegan donuts of course!  And where in the world will I find them?  As fresh and delicious as I want them?  Answer - ask Mum for her recipe she made for us when we were kids.  Not sure about you, but even now, whenever I have questions about food, I still go to Mum for help.  Now, my mother is not vegan, not vegetarian and certainly does not use the most health supportive ingredients I favor.  She is one to use white flour, white sugar, eggs, milk and butter.  I grew up with these foods, but after so many years of not eating this way, it never fails to surprise me what I ate back then. 

So, armed with a recipe containing eggs, milk, butter, white flour and sugar, I set to work veganizing it and could not wait to taste those delicious donuts!  Just so you know - there is absolutely nothing healthy about these, and I actually fried them if you can imagine!  And they were amazing!  Without further ado:

Vegan Donuts:

Cinnamon Sugar and Chocolate Glazed

Yields: 2 dozen

4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup turbinado/raw sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons earth balance
1/4 cup flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water)
3/4 cup vanilla soymilk
a TON of flour to coat your parchment/waxed paper

Chocolate Dip:
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

Cinnamon Sugar:
1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, earth balance, soymilk and flax eggs.  Mix on low/medium speed until completely combined.  Add the flour, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Begin on low speed, gradually increasing to medium speed as the ingredients are incorporated.  Continue mixing for 1-2 more minutes.  The dough should be very thick and will be sticky.
2.  Remove from bowl of mixer and place on a large piece of plastic wrap that has been laid out on the counter.  Using the plastic wrap as a guide, roll the dough into a ball, wrapping tightly.  Place in the refrigerator for about 30-45 minutes or until thoroughly chilled.  This is a very important step!
3.  In the meantime, fill a wok or large pot with 1" of no taste oil, such as canola or vegetable.  Also, prepare the chocolate and cinnamon sugar.
4.  In a small pot, place the chocolate chips and oil, whisking constantly over low heat until the chocolate is smooth and glossy.  Keep a close eye on it- chocolate burns very quickly.  Turn off the heat and set aside. 
5.  Prepare the cinnamon sugar: place the raw sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl, using a whisk to stir well.
6.  Once the donut batter has chilled, place a generous amount of flour evenly over either a large piece of parchment paper or a large piece of waxed paper.  Place the dough in the center, sprinkling the top generously with flour.  Using a rolling pin, which has been, you guessed it - generously sprinkled with flour, carefully roll out the dough to between 1/2" and 3/4" thick.  Using a donut cutter fitted with a donut hole cutter, dip into a bowl of flour, making sure it is well coated.
7.  At this point, turn on the burner with the oil on medium heat and prepare a plate lined with several pieces of paper towel.  The oil is ready when a small piece of dough immediately sizzles and comes to the top.
8.  Start cutting the dough with the donut cutter, being sure to dip it into the bowl of flour between each cut. 
9.  Once the oil is ready, drop the donut in very carefully, about 4 at a time, cooking on each side for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.  Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain.  Allow to cool while frying the remaining donuts.
10.  Once donuts have cooled enough to handle (they still need to be warm though!), dip half of them (or however many you want) into the melted chocolate and roll the rest of them around in the cinnamon sugar. 

Donuts Rolled Out and Cut

Donuts Frying: Half Cooked On Left, Raw on Right

These are amazing warm, but are great at room temperature too.  To store overnight, place in an airtight container and be sure to eat them all by the next day.  They are great popped into the oven for a couple minutes to re-heat.  Take them to work to share or make them when you have company over or you will never go through them all, at least I hope not by yourself!  I know that as soon as I took the picture, the hubby immediately ate three of them!



Friday, April 15, 2011

Moro de Gandules with Tempura Veggies and Salad

Sometimes I go through phases where I am absolutely obsessed with moro (Spanish seasoned rice dish usually with beans served mixed in with the rice) - I want it several times a week.  Other times, not so much.  It seems that when the Hubby isn't requesting it for dinner, is when I want it the most.  Hubby's only wish for this meal was tempura.  My good friend K, knowing how much I love tempura, bought me a package of tempura mix when she was at this Japanese food market in Jersey (have I mentioned yet that it is 2 lbs. of tempura mix?!  That is going to make more tempura than I know what to do with!).  So, having only made it once since she gave it to me, yet knowing that I still had a lot of the mix, I agreed.  I love tempura and am more than happy to make it.  Hubby was also in the mood for shrimp, real shrimp mind you - remember, he is not a vegetarian.  Not having any real shrimp and definitely not going out to buy it for him, I remembered that I had some vegan shrimp I got from May Way in Chinatown in the city.  So, I made that instead, and even though he was absolutely not fooled, loved it nonetheless.  As did I!  Wishing we didn't eat it all so I could snack on some now as I'm typing!

Moro de Gandules, Tempura Veggies, Romaine Salad


1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup long grain white rice
1/2 cup green pepper, small diced
1/2 cup red or orange bell pepper., small diced
1 cup onion, small diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 carrot, small diced, about 1/2 cup
3 mini vegetable bouillon cubes (Maggi is a good brand)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
3/4 cup filtered water
1/2 cup frozen gandules

Tempura Veggies:
1 onion, sliced into medium-thick rings\
1 green bell pepper, sliced into thick strips
1 large handful baby carrots, about 2/3-3/4 cup
Veggie Shrimp, optional
Tempura mix, made according to directions
Vegetable or canola oil, a couple inches worth in a pot

1/2 head romaine lettuce chopped into bite sized pieces, washed, dried
1 tomato, sliced into thin slices
1/2 lemon , olive oil, sea salt and black pepper as dressing

1.  Start with the moro first - it will take the longest.  Put a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Once hot, add all the vegetables and cook till softened. Rinse the rice under water. Add the wet rice and frozen gandules to the pot and cook, stirring, until the rice is no longer wet. Once the rice has dried, add the coconut milk and the water. Add all the spices and stir well to combine. It should taste too salty and too spicy - it will mellow once it cooks.
2. Lower the heat to low and cover with lid. Stir the contents every few minutes until the rice is completely cooked through - this will take at least half an hour. Once the rice is just cooked, allow it to continue cooking in the pan for about 10 minutes without stirring it. This will give it the customary crunchy bottom layer that Spanish people love so much.
3.  Make sure everything for the salad is prepped - chop, wash and dry the salad, slice the tomatoes and set aside until ready to use - it will come together in no time. 
4.  Get the oil ready and turn the heat on medium.  Pour about 2" of oil into a medium sized pot and allow it to become very hot. 
5.  In the meantime, prepare the veggies.  Prepare the tempura batter - it should be about the consistency of pancake batter.  Once the oil is ready (a drop of tempura batter will immediately begin sizzling and come to the surface of the oil), begin frying the tempura in batches.  Dip the veggies/shrimp in the batter, covering the entire surface and shaking off the excess.  Carefully place the covered veggies/shrimp one by one into the oil, not exceeding 10-12, as they will overcrowd and not fry up well and will stick together.  Turn the tempura covered goodies every minute or so until the outside of the batter has firmed up and the veggie in the middle is cooked all the way through.  Drain on paper towels and sprinkle immediately with sea salt.  Continue frying the veggies/shrimp in batches until they are all cooked.
6.  To serve, place a serving of the moro, tempura veggies and shrimp, and romaine lettuce topped with tomato slices, sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper, and drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil.  Serve a sauce for dipping the tempura.  I did a mixture of tamari, filtered water, toasted sesame oil, grated garlic and ginger and red pepper flakes.  Delicioso!



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Smoky Beefy Pasta

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

I was browsing recipes online, searching for a seasoned tvp recipe, found one and decided to make it for my moussaka, which I was supposed to make for my Gluten Free Wednesday meal at work.  Alas, I fully believe that because I spoke so much about it, that it  really was not to be.  I did, however, already make the tvp and had so much of it (about 6 cups!), that I had to figure out a way to use it up.  There was another recipe I came across that used interesting ingredients to make a cheesy sauce and I decided to try to make it, add the tvp and use up a couple of tofu dogs from a package the hubby opened, but no longer wanted to eat.  Basically, this was a use up a bunch of already made ingredients recipe, though it turned out so deliciously!  L and I ate a bunch of it at work, the hubby actually ate two full plates of it, and I enjoyed a hefty portion myself later.  There was about 4 cups of this left over, and the next day, hubby had already eaten all of it - he, the self-proclaimed leftovers hater!

Anyway, this pasta dish involves several steps, but you can definitely make the tvp beef and the sauce a day before, and the day of just saute the veggies, cook the pasta and throw everything together.  This was seriously so good and I think that the sauce can really be so versatile.  I've made the sauce into something of a mac and cheese as well, although with the exclusion of all the smoky spices in this recipe, it needed something to bring the flavor up a notch.  I'm thinking perhaps a little miso or umeboshi vinegar - I think it will give the right tang necessary to make it into more of a "cheese" sauce.

Smoky Beefy Pasta:

Smoky Pasta, Served with Red Leaf Lettuce Salad with a
Lime Vinaigrette, Roasted Corn

Serves 4-6

8 oz pasta, cooked until just al dente.
1 cup tvp, marinated to taste "beefy"
2 tofu dogs, sliced in half and diced
1 large onion, small diced, about 1 1/2 cups
1/2 green bell pepper, small diced, about 1/2 cup
1/2 orange bell pepper, small diced, about 1/2 cup
1 large jalapeno, minced
1/2 cup small diced tomato, reserved for end

1 cup peeled, diced potatoes
1/4 cup peeled, diced carrots
1/3 cup small diced onions
1 cup water, (plus more as needed for after cooking)
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon Earth Balance
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon prepared dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cumin

1.  Begin by preparing the sauce.  In a small pot, add the potato, carrot and onion and cover with the 1 cup of water.  Place on the stove over medium heat, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until very tender.  If a lot of the water has evaporated, add a few tablespoons more as needed.
2.  Prepare the rest of the sauce: in the bowl of a blender, add the cashews, salt, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, pepper, paprika, chipotle pepper, chili powder and cumin.  By now the vegetables should be cooked.  Add the contents of the pot directly to the blender, adding a few additional tablespoons of water if needed.  Blend the mixture until completely smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the blender periodically.  By all means taste.  I know you are very curious.  It will be thick and kind of stretchy (this is what happens when you puree cooked potato), but the sauce will be amazing!   You will be very pleasantly surprised, especially when you realize/remember that it is nutritional yeast free.  And soy free!  So good!  If you don't want it to have a smoky flavor for future pasta making endeavors, simply remove the paprika, chipotle pepper, chili powder and cumin and continue as usual with the recipe.  Set the sauce aside while preparing the rest of the recipe.
3.  In a large pot, add the tablespoon of oil over medium heat.  Once the pot is hot. add the chopped onion, green and orange pepper and jalapeno pepper.  Saute, stirring periodically.  Add the chopped tofu dogs and  saute as well.  Once the ingredients have cooked and the dogs have gotten some color, turn the heat down and add the tvp beef.  Stir well to coat ingredients.  To the same pot, add all of the sauce.  It may seem like a lot, but once you add the pasta, some of it will be absorbed.  Stir the ingredients to coat.
4.  Place the cooked pasta on top of the mixture and carefully toss ingredients to coat.  Mix in the chopped tomato.  Season to taste.  It should be creamy, a little spicy, smoky and crazilly deliciously addicting.  Yum!



Monday, April 11, 2011

Tofu Scramble and Baked Hashbrown Cups

I love breakfast.  I really love brunch.  I try to make it for the Hubby and I at least once a month on our day off together.  Since the Hubby was not here for this brunch, I decided to make it smaller and eat earlier, which I never have time to do.  I love spicy foods - I don't think it should be a surprise by now.  So, I made the tofu scramble spicy by adding chipotle pepper powder, but you definitely don't have to add it. I also am a big fan of making my tofu scramble with lots of veggies and lots of flavor.  If you like a simple, you don't have to add all the spices I did.  This is just how I prefer to make it after having made this since I was 16. 

I remember even making this with my niece when I was a teenager.  She must have been about 3 years old at the time and had a blast, using a butter knife to cut things and squishing the tofu with her hands.  I babysat her a lot of the time and although her parents didn't raise her vegetarian by any means, since she was exposed to it at a young age by yours truly, she learned to love it.  Whenever I made it, she was excited and ate it all.  I would make vegetarian soups, entrees and breakfast items and she sure loved it!  That's how I would like to raise my future kids, the same way I was raised - with an appreciation for where your food comes from, how to prepare it and have fun doing it.  I am very thankful for my mum for allowing me to help her in the kitchen in her baking and cooking explorations.  Here are the recipes that have surprisingly brought back so many fond memories!

Tofu Scramble and Baked Hashbrown Cups:

Baked Hashbrowns with Tofu Scramble

Serves 4

Tofu Scramble:
1 lb. firm tofu, drained and water squeezed out
3/4 cup green peppers, small diced
1/2 cup red or orange bell pepper, small diced
1 cup onion, small diced, about 1 small onion
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup roma tomato, small diced

6 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder

Baked Hashbrown Cups:
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and shredded
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder

1.  Begin by preparing the hashbrowns first because they take the longest amount of time.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Begin by squeezing out as much of the water in the shredded potatoes as possible - this will be a nice workout for your hands.  Place the dried potato shreds in a large bowl and add the oil, arrowroot, sea salt, black pepper and chipotle pepper powder.  Toss with hands to coat - take a few minutes of tossing to be sure that all of the ingredients are well mixed. 
3.  Generously oil a standard size 12 count muffin tray.  Evenly portion out the potato mixture amongst the muffin cups.  Press the filling down so that it all fits within the cups.  Place in the oven and bake for about half an hour, or until the sides are browned and the middle is a pale golden color.
4.  Make the tofu scramble.  Place a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the oil and allow it to get hot. Once it's hot, add the onion, green and orange peppers and shredded carrot.  Cook for several minutes or until the vegetables are mostly cooked through, stirring often.  Crumble the tofu into a bowl, squeezing out as much water as possible.  Add the tofu to the vegetables in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, or until a lot of the water has cooked out.  (If you like your scramble more liquidy, you don't have to cook it as long, but I personally like it a little drier.)
5.  Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir to incorporate.  In a small bowl, add all the spices and the nutritional yeast.  Stir with a fork to mix.  Add the water and mix with the fork until a thick mixture forms. 
6.  Pour the spice mixture into the tofu scramble and stir to coat - this may take a couple minutes.  I have found using this method is by far the best way to incorporate the spices into the tofu.  When you add them dry, it is very difficult to ensure they have been properly mixed in.  Continue to stir the tofu and cook until most of the water has cooked out.  Add the sliced olives and stir in. 
7.  When the hashbrowns are finished, allow them to cool for about 10 minutes - they are much easier to take out.  After 10 minutes, use a spoon to loosen them from the sides of the pans and scoop them out from the bottom - they should come out in one piece. 
8.  Serve a few of the hashbrowns with the scramble with some ketchup or other condiment on the side or eat them plain as I did.  This was so satisfying and nicely spicy!



Friday, April 8, 2011

Boiled Seitan - My Favorite Recipe!

I love seitan.  It is one of my favorite things to experiment with.  I love it baked, boiled, fried, stir fried, sauteed or just straight from the oven or pot.  Admittedly, I have not been eating it lately, but I think it is mostly due to the fact that I am working with several people that are trying to stay away from gluten and it seems silly for me to make so much of it because I used to bring it in to work to share all the time.  Now I make it for the hubby and I, use as much of it as I can and freeze the rest of it so that I always have it on hand. 

I have literally tried more that ten boiled seitan recipes with varying degrees of success.  I have tried to put the gluten into boiling broth, simmering broth, cold broth, warm broth among other varying temperatures to determine what effect it would have on the finished product.  I have had the seitan be very firm, very soft to the point of falling apart into tiny chunks of seitan, be too squishy ... the list goes on and on.  This is just to say that I have definitely had lots of practice with seitan and I think I have finally found my favorite recipe.  I personally like seitan to be more "chicken" flavored, which means putting in ingredients that make the seitan lighter in color and flavor, so I've added some chickpea flour here.  If you do not like the flavor that the chickpea flour imparts, you can simply remove it - no problem.  But I think it adds a nice depth.  Yum!  (This is the seitan I use for all the recipes in the blog that call for seitan, unless otherwise noted.)

Boiled Chicken Style Sietan:

Yields (a lot!  You can freeze it or halve the batch.)

Seitan swimming in flavorful broth.  So delicious!

Dry Ingredients:
4 cups vital wheat gluten flour
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable boullion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
3 pinches cayenne pepper (doesn't make it hot)

Liquid Ingredients:
1/4 cup shoyu
3 1/4 cup filtered water

Boiling Liquid:
6 quarts hot water (24 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, quartered
3 carrots, peeled and large chopped
1 head garlic, peeled and cloves chopped in half
6 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons vegetable boullion powder
1/2 cup shoyu

1.  Place the olive oil in a large stock pot over high heat and add the carrots, onion and garlic.  Saute for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic.  Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, tomato paste, boullion powder and shoyu.  Stir around.  Add the hot water, cover pot and bring to a boil.  It will take a while.
2.  In the meantime, in a large bowl, place all the dry ingredients for the seitan: the vital wheat gluten, garbanzo bean flour, nutritional yeast, black pepper, boullion powder, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper.  Whisk together until well combined.
3.  Wait until the broth begins to boil before mixing the wet ingredients for the seitan with the dry.  Once the broth is firmly boiling, add the shoyu and the water.  Using a rubber spatula and working quickly, mix together until a very thick, wet and squishy dough forms.  Knead for 1-2 minutes or until everything is well mixed.
4.  Bring the bowl with the dough over to the boiling liquid and tear pieces of the dough off and drop into the boiling water, spacing the pieces apart so that the liquid stays at a boil.
5.  Once all the pieces have been added to the liquid, use a large wooden spoon to stir them around, making sure none of the seitan has stuck to the bottom or sides.
6.  Lower the heat slightly, but the liquid should still boil.  Allow the seitan to cook for at least 1 1./2 hours (up to a maximum of two), or until cooked all the way through.  The best way to be sure it is cooked all the way is to remove a large piece, slice it in half, and make sure the seitan is the same color and texture throughout and that the very center is not darker than the outside.
7.  You can use the seitan right away (I find it is delicious just to eat as is while it is still hot - no additional cooking needed), or remove the seitan from the liquid, strain the veggies from the liquid, return the seitan back to the strained liquid, allow it to cool, and refrigerate overnight for a firmer texture.



Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Scalloped Potatoes

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday! 

I love potatoes.  You've got to know that by now.  And I love sauces too.  Potatoes and sauce together - yum!  My mom used to make scalloped potatoes all the time when I was growing up and I loved them.  What's not to love though - creamy, smoky goodness from the bacon (or in our case, tempeh bacon).  When my mom makes it, she cooks bacon, then removes the cooked bacon from the pan, leaving behind all of the bacon drippings (not the most appetizing thing to think about, but I know it gives her dish a ton of flavor).  She then sautes her onions and makes her sauce using the bacon drippings,  adding her milk, cheeses and other flavorings, heats them up, pours them over thinly sliced potatoes and cooks them in the slow cooker.  I took the same idea here, cooking the tempeh bacon in some oil, then cooking the onions in the same oil and making my sauce.  It was amazingly delicious and flavorful.  I made this in kind of a lazy mans way though, simply because of the time constraints of baking and cooking within the same day.  I have made this so many times now and am always happy to have it. 

Scalloped Potatoes:

Bowl of Scalloped Potatoes with Tempeh Bacon on Top


12 small potatoes, peeled
1 large onion, small diced, about 2 cups
1/3 cup canola or other no-taste oil
2/3 cup sorghum flour
7-8 cups unsweetened soymilk
4 oz. cooked tempeh bacon, chopped, about 3/4 cup
1 tablespoon liquid smoke, or additional to taste
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1.  Place whole peeled potatoes in a large pot filled with lukewarm water.  Turn the heat on medium-high and cook just until potatoes are barely tender.  Drain and allow to cool slightly. 
2.  In the meantime, begin preparing the sauce.  In the same pot, add the oil over medium heat.  Once hot, add the onions and cook, stirring frequently until fragrant and just beginning to color.  Add the flour and whisk, stirring to coat in the oil.  Allow the flour to toast for a couple minutes, whisking periodically. 
3.  Pour in 2 cups of soymilk and whisk immediately.  It should thicken very quickly.  Add 2 more cups of the milk and again whisk immediately.  It will again thicken pretty quickly.  Add the remaining 3 cups of milk - the sauce will be pretty thin now.  Keep an eye on it, whisking periodically - it will thicken as it cooks.  Add half of the tempeh bacon, the liquid smoke, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
4.  While the mixture is cooking, slice all the potatoes into slices about 1/4-1/2" thick.  Set aside until the sauce is ready. 
5.  Continue whisking until the flour is all the way cooked and the mixture is nice and thick.  Stir in the potatoes and season to taste.
6.  Ladle potatoes into bowls and top with the remaining tempeh bacon.  Serve.

Giant Pot of Scalloped Potatoes!



Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pasta Vegetable Casserole with Mushroom Sauce

I love casseroles.  Seriously.  They are the easiest and most delicious things to make.  My mom really never made them when I was a kid, but I definitely foresee myself making them all the time.  In fact, at one point several months ago, the Hubby actually would groan and say "another casserole"?  The great thing about casseroles is that really you can make them into anything- cheesy, tomatoey, light, hearty, the list goes on and on.  Today was one of the times when I had to make lunch, rather than dinner for the hubby, which meant I had to hurry up.  After looking in the fridge to see what I had to work with, I found some leftover cooked pasta, tons of veggies and two pieces of homemade seitan, as well as a package of mushrooms that needed to be used up.  The perfect idea came to me: a casserole with pasta, lots of veggies, seitan and a creamy mushroom sauce. 

A few months ago, I made this dark hearty mushroom stock from an issue of Vegetarian Times and after some tweaking, was amazed at how completely flavorful it was and how amazing it made everything I put it in.  I made about 2 gallons of it, froze it all in quart containers and have been enjoying it for the past several months.  I knew there was one container left in the freezer, so I put it in a small saucepan and thawed it out.  Then I set about making the sauce, sauteing the veggies, tossing it all together and baking it - voila! an amazingly delicious and easy casserole! 

Pasta Vegetable Casserole with Mushroom Sauce

Casserole with Cabbage Tomato Salad

Serves 6-8

1 16 oz. pkg. pasta, cooked according to package directions

2 large pieces seitan, sauteed then chopped, about 2 cups

1 cups frozen peas, cooked
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped, about 3/4 cup
1/2 large green pepper, chopped, about 3/4 cup
1/2 orange pepper, chopped, about 1/2 cup
1 large red onion, chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
2 carrots, peeled and shredded, about 3/4 cup
1 large jalapeno, minced, about 1/4 cup
1 large handful frozen spinach
Breadcrumbs, as needed

Mushroom Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 8 oz. package baby portabella mushrooms, rinsed, cut in half and sliced
1 medium onion, minced, about 1 1/2 cups
6 tablespoons unbleached flour
3 cups dark mushroom stock
1/4 cup red wine
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.  In a large wok, add the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.  Add the remaining vegetables, except the frozen spinach and continue to cook, stirring frequently until crisp-tender.  Stir in the frozen spinach.  Turn off the heat and set aside.
2.  In the meantime, prepare the mushroom sauce.  In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute till lightly golden.  Add the mushrooms and cook until reduced in size.  Add the flour and stir to coat. 
3.  Using a whisk, whisk in the red wine and the mushroom stock.  Periodically whisk mixture, until very thick.  Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.  This will be very thick and salty, but we want this because it needs to season the entire casserole. 
4.  To prepare the casserole, place the pasta, seitan and green peas in a large mixing bowl.  Add the sauteed veggies and the mushroom sauce.  Stir together until everything is well coated.  Season to taste.
5.  Place this mixture in a lightly oiled 9x13" pan, using a spatula to flatten the top.  Top with desired amount of breadcrumbs.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated all the way through.  The finished product should resemble the picture below.

Giant Casserole Dish Topped with Breadcrumbs

Cabbage Tomato Salad

Serves 4

1 small head cabbage, shredded, about 4 cups
1 roma tomato, small diced
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.  Place all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and toss well to coat.  Season to taste.  For best flavor, allow flavors to marinate before serving.



Friday, April 1, 2011

Spicy Chorizo Quesadillas

I've been really busy lately, teaching several classes in the past week and a half  and have really not had a lot of time to cook or experiment at home.  Most of the "meals" I've been making have not really been meals, but rather snacks.  Today has been no different.  I still have a half of a package of that chorizo left that I picked up from Trader Joe's and really need to use it up.  When I bought it I thought for sure I could use it up in one meal, but the chorizo has a strong flavor and spiciness on its own and you really don't need a lot of it.  So with that thought in mind, and a desire to make something as easy and quick as possible, I came up with quesadillas.  I still have some daiya left from a block I bought at work and should probably also use that up, so the spicy chorizo quesadilla was born.

The Hubby loved it and ate two whole quesadillas, which amounts to about 16 slices!  Have I said yet that my Hubby is a previous baseball player and is easily a foot taller than me and eats so much sometimes I can hardly believe it?!  When his Dominican cousin comes over (who is 6" 5"!), forget about it - I can never make enough food to fill their bellies!  Here is the recipe I made, which comes together and cooks very quickly.

Spicy Chorizo Quesadillas

Cheesy Melty Spicy Quesadillas! 

Serves 3-4 as an appetizer

6 Burrito size tortillas

2 cups daiya, shredded
1/2 medium onion, small diced (1/2 cup)
1 small green pepper, small diced (1/2 cup)
1 small red pepper, small diced (1/2 cup)
1 small roma tomato, small diced (1/2 cup)
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 package Trader Joe's soy chorizo
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
pinch sea salt

To serve:
Vegan sour cream

1.  Start by shredding the daiya, or if you purchased it already shredded, place it in a large bowl. 
2.  Chop all the veggies - it is very important to chop them as small as you can so that each bite will have an equal amount of veggies, cheese and chorizo.  Place in the bowl with the daiya.
3.  Add the chorizo, black pepper, red pepper flakes and sea salt.  Using your hands, toss all the ingredients together until well combined.  It should have turned a light red color from the spices and oil in the chorizo.
4.  Heat a large pan over low-medium heat.  Spray or drizzle a tiny bit of oil over the surface of the pan - this is to help the quesadilla turn golden, but  isn't necessary. 
5.  Place one tortilla directly on the pan and spread 1/3 of the veggie cheese mix evenly over the surface, being careful not to place it too closely to the edges or it will burn.  Place the second tortilla over top, pressing firmly so it adheres. 

Cheese Chorizo mixture spread on top of tortilla in pan on stove

 6.  Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt and the side cooking begins to turn golden.  Carefully flip, making sure to place your hand on the uncooked side to make sure none of the ingredients come out when it is flipped.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and the outside is golden.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.
7.  Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges, serving immediately.  Set up small bowls of the guacamole, salsa and sour cream to serve.

One of these days I would really like to try again to make homemade vegan cheese.  I have several of the uncheese cookbooks and made a few of the cheese recipes when I first became vegan.  It is such an interesting thing to be able to make your own vegan cheese!   I've been telling myself this for weeks now - most of the recipes are made by dissolving agar into water and then blending it with cashews and other ingredients to give it the desired flavor.  One day soon I am going to try it again.  Maybe over the next couple days because I do miraculously have three days off in a row, which never happens!  A mini vacation!