Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Recipe: Vegan Shrimp Po’ Boys.

Now, y’all know I’m a Gulf Coast girl, and so I suppose it was only a matter of time until I put together a po’ boy for us to try here at home!  I do love some good old Cajun flavor, and Louisiana-style restaurants are hard to come by up here in the DC area.  So the other day, it hit me: I need a po’ boy.  And I need it ASAP.

Enter tonight’s vegan shrimp po’ boys!  So easy to make, so wonderful to eat.

I served our sandwiches alongside some sweet-potato fries, so I got those cooking first – seven minutes or so at 425 just to get the juices flowing.  Then I placed a package of Sophie’s Kitchen breaded “shrimp” in the oven as well and heated it for another seven minutes to defrost the shrimp a bit so I could separate them.  Then I set everything in for another 10 minutes and prepared the bread!

The key to this dish is to have a fresh, untoasted baguette at your disposal.  I waited until the last minute today to buy mine just so it would be as soft as possible – a necessity if you’re not going to heat it up!  I cut a hunk (that’s the technical term) off of the bread, sliced off the end, and then sliced each hunk lengthwise to make a top and a bottom to the baguette.

Next, I spread some Just Mayo out across each slice.  Like a good Southerner, I tend to be a bit heavy-handed with the mayo, but add as much or as little as you like!

Then it was time for the add-ons (proportions in the recipe below).  A little Tabasco does wonders when it soaks into bread, and atop that I added a layer of shrimp, like so:

And then several slices of tomato, some leaves of lettuce, some diced pimientos, and some Creole mustard.  Put the top on the sandwich, slice it in half, and you’re good to go!  Served with sweet-potato fries, you’ve got a wonderfully flavorful and filling meal that just can’t be beat.

It’s amazing to me that a sandwich as simple to make as a po’ boy can be so addicting.  I’m not sure whether it’s the tang of the mustard, the crunch of the lettuce, the surprise of the pimientos or the chewy shrimp (real in my past life, vegan in my current :)), but the sum of the parts is a wonderful experience indeed.  You ought to try them today!

Serves 2-4

What you’ll need:

1 package vegan shrimp (we used Sophie’s Kitchen)
1 fresh baguette
4 tbsps. vegan mayonnaise (or more or less, depending on the number of sandwiches and your preference)
Tabasco, to taste
1 tomato, sliced thinly
Romaine lettuce, to taste
1 jar diced pimientos
4 tbsps. Cajun mustard

First, bake the shrimp according to package instructions.

While it cooks, cut your baguette crosswise to make as many sandwiches as you like.  Then cut each section lengthwise to create a top and a bottom to each portion of the baguette.

Spread the mayonnaise evenly across each slice, then top one slice of each sandwich with a few drops of Tabasco.  Next, wait for your shrimp to cook.  This allows the Tabasco to soak into the bread – a wonderful experience!

When the shrimp is ready, line them up along the bottom half of each sandwich.  Then top the shrimp with several slices of tomato, and next the lettuce.

On the top half of the sandwich, add a tablespoon or two of Creole mustard.  Then top that with several teaspoons of diced pimiento (or to taste).  Next, place the top half of the sandwich onto the bottom and slice each sandwich in half crosswise.  Serve, and laissez le bon temps rouler!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vegetarian “Beef” and Hash Brown Casserole.

Friends, please forgive me for my radio silence last week.  LeeLee and I took a little trip – can you guess where?  (Let me know in the comments!)

Believe it or not, this was actually a Recessionista adventure.  LeeLee was traveling on an all-expenses-paid fellowship, and so everything except for my airfare and personal expenses were taken care of!  It’s not a bad way of sightseeing, if you ask me, and I’ll tell you all the details in upcoming blog posts, when I tackle some veg versions of the local cuisine.  I can’t wait to experiment with some new flavor profiles!

But on to tonight’s dinner: “Beef” and hash brown casserole!

I’ve made this meal quite a few times, and it never gets old.  Not even when you take into account the fact that this can easily feed our family for five or six meals (either lunch or dinner)!  It’s just that good.  And it extends forever.  Even when our appetites are ravenous, we can’t get through even a small percentage of this recipe!  It’s a great way to stretch your ingredients and reduce your daily prep time.

And the final results are just great.  We love the heartiness that the veggie beef and potatoes give the dish, served in tandem with the sweet tang of the spaghetti sauce and the creaminess of the cheese on top.  Next time, I think I’ll add some pinto beans to the mix as well for some extra pizazz!

At any rate, it’s good to be back home and back on the blogging wagon.  Look for some international flavors to pop up on the blog in the next few weeks!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Mama’s Potato Soup.

It must definitely be fall now – the first kettle of potato soup went on to boil tonight!

Every year, we welcome my mother’s potato soup recipe back into the fold with open arms.  It’s so simple to make, and so wonderful to eat: Tonight, we added about eight smallish peeled potatoes (from our Labor Day weekend potato-picking excursion), half a diced onion, some parsley from the garden, and some salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the good old Le Creuset with just enough water to cover everything.  Then I heated the French oven to a rolling boil and lowered the heat to Medium, cooking the potatoes for about 25 minutes, or until they were wonderfully tender and ready to be mashed.

I drained most of the water off and added a pat of butter and some soymilk to its place, and then I got to mashing.  I like some chunks of potato in my soup, so I left a few pieces here and there, but within minutes the soup had a wonderfully thick consistency and was ready for serving!

As usual, LeeLee and I put in our favorite add-ins: He likes vegetarian bacon bits, and I like Goldfish crackers.  You can’t mess with the classics!

I regret to inform you that we had very, very little soup left by the end of dinner.  But not to worry – with 40+ pounds of potatoes to burn through, we’ll definitely make this meal again soon!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Vegan Beef With Bordelaise Sauce and Ribbon Noodles.

Straight from the BettyGoes Vegan files, here comes tonight’s dinner!  We’re big fans of Gardein’s “beef” tips here at Chez Recessionista, and I knew this meal had the potential to hit the spot in a big way.

As the weather turns more crisp and cool, I’m always looking for ways to bring the comforts of autumn to the dinner table – anything involving both “beef” tips and red wine is a pretty good start!  Tonight, I slightly modified the recipe from the Shannons’ cookbook (a good proxy for it can be found on their blog, too) and got straight to work.

A few things I did differently than the recipe you see at that link: Instead of cooking the beef separately first, I just sautéed it right there in the Le Creuset along with the onion.  I omitted the thyme (because I forgot about it) and instead of a bouillon cube I used two ice cube-sized blocks of frozen veggie broth.  Further – and this was a mistake, looking back, since the sauce didn’t thicken up without it (duh) – I omitted the flour because I confess I get so tired of whisking flour to make a roux!  Honesty is a core value on this blog, y’all, so there you have it.

Thank heaven the final result wasn’t the worse for wear!  LeeLee and I mowed down every last piece of beef and onion (and all of the sauce, too), and there are enough ribbon noodles left for some sort of lunch for tomorrow.  We’ll definitely make this recipe again – it was absolutely delightful!  Another success by the Shannons.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Recipe: Vegan Shrimp and Grits.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I adore the new vegan seafood products on the market today.  Shrimp was the very last animal meat I gave up – growing up on the Gulf Coast, I fell in love with shrimp early and it was my very favorite treat for years!  Only recently have I found a vegetarian protein to take its place, and friends, there’s just no turning back.

Tonight, I had a hankering for one of those good old Gulf Coast meals that I used to adore so much but haven’t had in more than a decade.  Shrimp and grits?  Yes, please!

I started with a cup of quick-cooking grits with a pinch of salt and set them to low heat.  (As the grits began to simmer, I baked the shrimp in the oven to get them prepared.)  Once the grits had a little bit of firmness – not a lot, they weren’t done, but just a little texture to them – I added a small can of diced green chilies to the pan and stirred well.  A couple of minutes later, I added two tablespoons of tomato sauce and stirred well again.

Now, let me tell you a little secret about how I make grits: I don’t cover them, as it says to do on the package.  Once, back in college, the lid to my saucepan was dirty and I didn’t feel like washing it, so I left it in the sink and cooked the grits “topless.”  Lo and behold, the Earth did not spin off its axis, nor did the sky fall.  Nor, even, were my grits any worse for wear!  So now I cook them topless every time.  And every time I am pleased with the results.  You just have to stir them a little more often, is all.

But back to the cooking process. 

By the time the shrimp was fully baked, the grits weren’t far behind – they’d thickened up nicely by this point and were quite nearly ready to eat.  So I proceeded with the final step of the recipe and added 1 cup of Daiya cheddar shreds to the saucepan, stirring after each half-cup until the cheese was fully melted and had blended into the rest of the dish.  Then it was time to eat!

We spooned big helpings of the grits onto our plates and topped it with a hearty dose of shrimp.  Then we dove right in and cleared our plates – and went back to the stove for seconds!  Unfortunately, there’s not a shred of shrimp and grits left in the kitchen at the moment – but fortunately, we loved every bite.  You will, too!

Serves 2-4

What you’ll need:

1 package vegan breaded shrimp (we used Sophie’s Kitchen)
4 cups water
1 cup quick-cooking grits
1 small can diced green chilies, drained as best you can (they’re liquidy little suckers)
2 tbsps. tomato sauce
1 cup vegan cheddar cheese (we used Daiya)
Salt, to taste

Place the shrimp into the oven to bake according to the package instructions.  (We cooked ours at 375 for 15 minutes.)

Next, prepare the grits.  Set four cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan.  Once the water is boiling nicely, add one cup of grits and salt to taste and stir well, then turn the heat down to Low.

After about 5-7 minutes, add the diced green chilies to the saucepan and stir well to combine.  A couple of minutes later, add the tomato sauce and stir well again.

Once the grits are almost to the texture and thickness you prefer, add the cheese in half-cup increments, stirring well with each addition to combine.  The cheese should blend in beautifully with your grits.

Next, when the shrimp is finished baking, pull it out of the oven and get ready to plate your dish!

Spoon a hearty helping of grits into the middle of a dinner plate, and then top the grits with however much shrimp you like.  (We tend to be heavy-handed with it, admittedly.)  Add a little extra salt if you think the grits need it, and most of all, enjoy!