Saturday, December 20, 2008

Vegan Goat Cheese, Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Pork Chops with Roasted Garlic Fingerling Potatoes and Pearl Onions

I've been test limits since I popped out the womb. When I was about three, I was sitting in the child seat of my mom's shopping cart. As she navigated up to a check-out lane, I snatched a bag of Doritos off of a shelf. My dear mother, being the sweetheart that she is, looked me in the eyes and said "No, honey. Not today". I eyed her right back, my signature devious grin spreading across my face, and ripped the bag open with a triumphant three-year-old logic leading me to believe the chips would now have to be mine.
Wrong. My mom grabbed that bag out of my hand faster than a ninja and gave it right back to the checkout lady. It was probably in that moment my mother realized that in ten years, she was in for quite a ride. How right she was ;)
I was actually quite a well-behaved tween. Once I hit 14, it was a down-hill slide. I think I hit a low point during my brief stint at Ohio University. I'm going to link you to an article that I must first preface with an explanation. The Extreme Smokers Club is not real. My two friends and I started it as a joke. The university had a deal going on that, for any club on campus with 30 members or more on the group sign-up sheet, free hoodies would be provided. We wanted those damn hoodies. One night, my two friends and I walked around the dorms gathering signatures. I made the unfortunate mistake of asking a girl that worked for the local newspaper. Questions ensued, and my smart ass couldn't help but embellish. One week later, this story appears on the cover of the Post:
Students Taking Extreme Measures To Protest Anti-Smoking Movement

Needless to say, I felt like a real A-Hole.

How does all of this relate to my recipe? Vegan Pork Chops definitely pushes some boundaries, and I'm afraid of the harassment from all my fellow vegans that don't jive with the fake meats. Try it. It's good. And if you don't have anything nice to say, you can just stuff your face instead :)

Vegan Goat Cheese, Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Pork Chops
with Roasted Garlic Fingerling Potatoes and Pearl Onions

  • 6 Vegan Pork Chops (recipe follows)
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil, divided
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 6 Sun-Dried Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag of Frozen Spinach, thawed and moisture squeezed out
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Goat Cheese (recipe follows)
  • 1 1/2 cups No Chicken Broth (Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1/2 Lemon, zested
  • 2 TBSP Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard


Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the vegan goat cheese, and stir to combine. Set aside.

Use a sharp knife, carefully cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the "pork chop". Stuff each pocket with 1/4 of the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture. Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper. They should look like this:

In a small bowl combine the no chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.

Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the pork. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Mmmmm....

Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm. Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers. Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes. Spoon some sauce over the pork before serving.

Vegan Pork Chops
Seitan Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1 cup Water mixed with 1 tsp No Chicken Broth Paste
  • 3 TBSP MimicCreme
Seitan Broth Ingredients:
  • 4 cups Imagine Foods No Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup MimicCreme
  • 1/8 cup Tamari
  • 1/2 TBSP Better Than Bouillon's No Beef Broth
  • 1 cup Pineapple Coconut Nectar
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp 5 Spice Powder
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Shallot Powder
  • 4 whole Cloves, ground
  • 3 points broken off of a Whole Star Anise
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 additional cup Water
Make your Seitan Dough by mixing and kneading the Vital Wheat Gluten, Water/Bouillon blend, and MimicCreme until it's completely mixed. It will be a little more wet than most seitan doughs. Squeeze out the excess liquid, and form the mixture into a ball. On a cutting board, flatten the ball out, and use kitchen shears to cut into six pie wedge shaped pieces. Before putting in boiling broth, flatten each part down by pressing it firmly between your hands, then drop them into the pot.

Next, take all of the Seitan Broth ingredients, and mix them together in a very large pot. Bring to a boil.

Cover the pot, reduce heat to simmer, and let the seitan cook for a little over an hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

Don't throw out the broth! Use a slotted spoon to remove each "Pork Chop", and place into a collander to drain. Let both the chops and the broth cool. Allow the "pork chops" to marinade in the broth until ready to use. Drain again before using.

Vegan Goat Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Vegan Cream Cheese (Follow Your Heart)
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Sour Cream (Follow Your Heart)
  • 1/3 inch thick slice of Sunergia Lemon Oregano Soy Feta
  • 1/2 tsp Shallot Powder
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Splash of Vermouth
  • Salt, to taste
Place all the ingredients except Salt in a medium bowl, and cream together well. Add salt to taste.
Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Garlic Fingerling Potatoes and Pearl Onions

  • 1 lb Fingerling Potatoes, washed and scrubbed, skin on
  • 15 Pearl Onions
  • 5 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Chervil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 TB Fresh Sage, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil, and blanch onions for 1 minute. Drain, and allow to cool. Using a paring knife, remove the root end of the Pearl Onions, and peel off the skins. Set aside.

Preheat a hotel pan or heavy metal baking dish in a 375 oven. Toss the potatoes, pearl onions, garlic, olive oil, sage and chervil with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, add the potatoes. They should sizzle. Roast until they turn brown, then turn oven down to 350 degrees. Cook for about 30 minutes or until a knife easily pierces the spuds.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Vegan Peppercorn and Red Wine Braised Brisket and Jelly Donut Twinkies

As my dear Granny Fanny approaches her 90th Birthday tomorrow, I thought it only right to Veganize a recipe in her honor. My grandma Fanny is the cutest little old lady I've ever seen in my life, and she has a GREAT sense of style to boot. She was wearing knit cardigans, cat glasses and skinny pants before it was the cool thing to do. I'm always getting caught trying to steal her sweaters, so her sassy little self told me that when she goes to the Great Kishka In The Sky, I get first dibs. I swear to Moses I'm not being morbid. Any time I open my yap and say "Wow, grandma...this is so cute!", she let's out a hearty chuckle, throws her hand wistfully into the air and says "I'll will it to ya!". I love her. I hope I have to wait another 20 years for those sweaters.

Anyway, as we all know, it Tis The Season...For Eatin'! I had not one, not two, but three vegan dinner parties this past weekend. I wanted get this recipe up first 1) because of Fanny's Big Day and 2) it was for a superawesomefantastic pot luck party with a bunch of my fellow LA Vegan Bloggers. It was so much fun. All of you guys rock. It was an honor to have you eat my food, and I sure as hell enjoyed all of your delicious vegan goodness. I was still in a food coma the next morning.

I decided to go with some traditional Jewish recipes, which of course I had to make fancy because I roll like that. Or because I have serious issues with settling for something simple. I have a therapist. I'm working through it. But until I reach inner peace, I will braise and chiffonade around my kitchen as much as I please.

Vegan Red Wine and Peppercorn Braised Brisket

  • 1 (4-pound) Seitan Beef Brisket (recipe follows)
  • 2 cups of Reserved "Beef" Seitan broth
  • 3 TBSP Mixed Whole Peppercorns, crushed
  • 3 TBSP Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Sliced Carrots
  • 4 medium Red Potatoes, quartered
  • 2-3 Shallots, quartered
  • 8 Whole Cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup Tomato Paste
  • 2 dried Turkish Bay Leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 cups Kosher Red Wine
  • Salt, to taste

Seitan Beef Brisket

Brisket Seitan Dough
  • 2 cups Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon No Beef Broth paste (not diluted in H20)
  • 3 1/2 TB MimicCreme
Brisket Seitan Broth
  • 8 cups prepared Better Than Bouillon No Beef Broth (8 tsp paste diluted in 8 cups water)
  • 6 dried Shittake Mushrooms
  • 1/8 cup Tamari
  • 1 Portobella Mushroom Cap, chopped
  • 1 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 Bay Leaves
First, add all of the Brisket Seitan Broth ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil. While it's heating up, using a stand mixer, mix together all of the Brisket Seitan Dough Ingredients. Don't over-mix...the dough should be softer seitan than usual, but should hold together in a large ball. Shape into one large "roast" shape, and drop into the boiling broth. Let it cook for 1 hour 15 minutes. Using tongs, remove the "Brisket" from the broth, and place in a colander to drain. DON'T throw away the broth. You need at least 2 cups for the braising process. You can also make the seitan in advance and let it marinade in the broth overnight. I feel that when it's at it's finest.

Season drained "brisket" all over with salt and crushed peppercorns. In a shallow dish, with a spoon, combine flour and garlic powder. Roll brisket in flour mixture to coat.

Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add "brisket" and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate or platter. Reduce heat to medium, and add the peeled garlic, carrots, potatoes, shallots, and rosemary , stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir to pick up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Stir in the tomato paste, paprika and add the bay leaves and thyme. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook rapidly, stirring often, until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Pour in the stock and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the brisket. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to a shallow casserole dish, slice and serve!

Oh yes. And let's not forget about those Jelly Donut Twinkies...