Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Animal Acres BBQ Sauce

Well here it is, all of my Animal Acres peeps...as promised, it is Tuesday and here is the recipe for my homemade BBQ Sauce. Enjoy!

What you'll need:

2 cups ketchup
4 Tbsp orange juice
4 Tbsp water
10 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 medium sized onion, diced
2 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1 tiny little itsy bitsy dash of liquid smoke/hickory seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

Heat olive oil in a small pot on medium. Add onions, and a pinch of salt, and gently cook until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add orange juice, apple cider vinegar, water, ketchup, mustard, garlic powder, cayenne, liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Finally add molasses and simmer additional 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Done.

I had an amazing time meeting and feeding all of you at the Country Hoe Down, and I'm really looking forward to the next one.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

NEW 'SODE: Lo Pan Fried Rice

Slaves, Hebrews born to serve to the, um...Farro.

Sorry 'bout the title...Metallica's "Creeping Death" contains the only line I could think of where I could cleverly replace "pharaoh" with "farro." Anyway, fall has officially arrived. Temperatures in the Valley are starting to dip below 100, and the beaches are down to a crisp 75...time to start wearing underwear again (boxer briefs...I know you were wondering).

Having become the Executive Chef of Vegin' Out, I'm needing to test recipes all the time, so here's a fall-ish type dish that will probably make it to the menu in a week or two.

What you'll need:

1 cup farro(barley will work if you can't find farro)
1 lb butternut squash, peeled, gutted, and cubed into bite sized pieces
1 small bulb fresh fennel sliced
1 small to medium red onion cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 tbsp of fresh rosemary chopped finely
1 tbsp of fresh sage chopped finely
a little olive oil
a tiny bit of agave nectar
salt and pepper to taste

and for the dressing:

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 cup of olive oil
1 tsp agave nectar
a few grates of fresh nutmeg...like not even 1/4 tsp (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the farro according to the directions, and let it cool. Coat the squash with olive oil, the agave nectar, half of the herbs, salt and pepper. Toss your onions and fennel with a little oil, salt and pepper, then roast them all in a 375 degree oven. 30-40 minutes for the squash and 20-25 minutes for the fennel and onion...so be sure to use separate roasting vessels. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until fully blended. When everything comes out of the oven and is cooled to room temperature, toss it all together with the remaining fresh herbs. That' it! So let it be written...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

HALF-ASSED RECIPE: Tofu Chilaquiles

Happy birthday, America! Here's something Mexican. I woke up at a ridiculously early hour this morning, and for some reason, was thinking about chilaquiles. I've had it many times, and I'm a big fan, but I never took a shot at making it before...so here's my version.

14 oz firm tofu (1 package)
6-8 dried chiles (any type or combination)
2 c vegetable stock
4 cloves garlic
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cobb of fresh corn (de-cobbed)
1 28oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes
8 oz cooked pinto beans or black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 TB cumin
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 corn tortillas
Olive Oil
Cooking Spray

Here' we go. Snip off the stems of the chiles and empty out the seeds. Then roughly cut them into 1 inch strips (scissors work best for this operation). Put them in a small pot with the vegetable stock, the whole garlic cloves, and half of the diced onion and bell pepper. Then bring it to a boil and drop to a simmer for about 10 minutes. This will rehydrate and soften the chiles.

In the meantime, lightly spray both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray or coat them with oil, put 'em on a sheet pan, and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until crisp.

When the chiles are soft, add the canned tomatoes to the pot and puree with your immersion blender (or simply add it all to a blender or food processor). Season it with salt, pepper and 1 TB of cumin (or to your taste). Your sauce is done. If you removed it from the pot to blend it, return it to the pot and let it simmer on low, while you do the rest.

In a large pan, over high heat, sautee the corn, and the remaining onions and peppers in a little olive oil. When they start to brown, crumble the tofu into the pan, and season it with the rest of the cumin, the tumeric, paprika, salt, and pepper (or use the spice blend from my Breakfast Burrito episode). Sautee it all for 6-8 minutes, then add the beans and a couple ladles of the sauce. Oh, and...DON'T FORGET ABOUT YOUR TORTILLAS!!! As soon as you take them out of the oven, hit them with some salt and pepper, and lay them on a paper towel to drain.

Build your chilaquiles as follows:

One small ladle of sauce in the middle of the plate
One of the tortillas on the sauce
A couple spoonfuls of tofu mixture
Another tortilla
More tofu mixture
Some vegan soy cheese if you have it...I didn't...I also didn't have any avocados that I would have sliced and added to the top, and I was being too lazy to make any sour "cream" like I did in my Pancakes II: Addendum episode. I also would have added a fresh jalepeno or a couple fresh serrano chiles to the initial simmering stage, but this was pretty impromptu, so I went with what I had.

I recommend you make this right now, and you'll have a ready made breakfast to cure your hangover tomorrow, or to bring to your pyrotechnically challenged uncle in the recovery room. Two fingers down, eight to go...an American tradition.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Nope, I’m not angry. Agar-agar is an all-natural vegetable gelatin derived from seaweed, usually used in deserts like jellies, puddings, and custards…so I of course attempted to use it to make cheese to put atop my whole wheat lavash pizza.

So here’s what I used:

½ package of firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
2 TB nutritional yeast flakes
1 heaping teaspoon of yellow miso paste
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp Agar-Agar flakes
½ cup of water

I simply blended all of the ingredients together with my handy dandy hand blender…you can use a food processor of course. Then, in order to activate the gelatin, the mixture needs to be heated so the flakes dissolve. In a small pot, I heated it slowly on low, stirring constantly, until it was slightly bubbling. Be careful, because the bubbling mixture tends to shoot out tiny specs of piping hot liquid that kept landing on my hand, so stirring constantly is vital. The texture at this point was smooth and creamy like an alfredo sauce. I kept it at the slightly bubbling level for 2-3 minutes.

I let it cool a bit, and then poured it into a small container in order to refrigerate. The goal is to have a block of “cheese”, so be sure to use a container small enough so that the mixture just barely fills it. I refrigerated the mixture for about 3 hours.
In the meantime I coated some fennel, asparagus, and zucchini with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and went out to the grill. When the veggies were done I chopped them up, in preparation of topping my pizza. I also made a pesto like this one.
When I determined that the “cheese” had chilled for long enough, I started topping my lavash. First a layer of the pesto, then the veggies, some chopped fresh oregano and then, well, what was supposed to be the “cheese.”

The end product didn’t quite gel up as firmly as I was hoping (I have since refrigerated the remainder of the mixture for the rest of the day with no change in texture), but, hey, it was my first attempt. I was hoping to be able to shred it, but I ended up spreading instead of shredding. I totally nailed the flavor though, it was very tasty, but the texture was like a creamier version of cottage cheese…that’s probably the best way I can describe it. I simply baked the whole thing in a 450 degree oven for 7-10 minutes, until the lavash was crisp. You can also throw the whole thing on a grill at medium-low heat. I then hit it with a little dusting of my fake parmesan.

The possible remedies for my semi-failure are numerous:

1. Could have used a firmer tofu
2. Could have used twice the amount of agar flakes
3. Could have dissolved the agar flakes in water first then blended it with the rest of the ingredients (I suspect they did not dissolve completely or evenly, hence the forming of lumps.
4. Could have used agar powder, which I suspect would distribute and dissolve more evenly throughout the mixture, also preventing lumps, and causing the whole thing to gel, instead of just little pockets.
5. Could have looked up a recipe like a normal person…but what fun would that be?

In the end, I enjoyed the whole dish. Roasted/grilled fennel is a gift from the Earth. The Earth is like, “Hey, even though ya’ll are kind of treating me like shit these days, I’m gonna’ give you this anyway, ‘cause I’m that nice of a guy…and I’m hoping that someday, maybe you’ll stop fucking with me.”

Maybe one of you out there want to give this one a shot using one of my possible remedies…let me know if you figure it out…I’ll continue working on it. Later.