Friday, 9 November 2012

Back to the Basics

There are a few recipes that come in handy a lot in our household, the first being risotto and the second being  good old Caesar salad, vegan style.

There are many vegan caesar dressing recipes that miss the mark out there. They can easily be too liquidy, or sadly just not garlicy enough. This recipe however, is neither. The perfect amount of garlic and salt, this dressing only gets better the longer it waits for you in the fridge.

Vegan Caesar Salad


Ingredients 

In a mason jar combine:
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp soy milk
3-4 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise preferably, but vegan sour cream or cream cheese work too)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 cloves minced garlic 
1/4 tsp salt and fresh ground pepper

Preparation

Shake and or stir to combine. 
Best served on kale with fresh croutons and thinly sliced fried tofu chips*.


To make tofu chips: Thinly slice tofu and fry at medium temp. Drizzle with soy sauce and cover with yeast, and any other desired spices such as pepper, Provençal, or Italian spices.
To make fresh croutons: cube bread, drissle bread with olive oil and sprinkle with spices, salt and pepper. Toast on a low temperature until dried and crouton-ey. 

Risotto Base

Risotto is one of those versatile dishes that can be paired with a variety of vegetables. In the photo above, we had prepared  an acorn squash and kale risotto.  Risotto also pairs well with roasted vegetables, like cauliflower and garlic, pepper and tomatoes or zucchini. Vegetables can be cooked prior cooking the rice or with the rice. Mushroom Risotto is our all time favourite, and one of the most flavourful and easiest risotto dishes (photo below) If you're making mushroom risotto, cut up dried mushrooms and reconstituting them in the broth and pair with fresh fried mushrooms, which can be cooked along side the rice. Its important when preparing the risotto to have a ratio of one part 'goodies' to one part rice, so don't be shy with those mushrooms!

Serves: 2 as a main, 4 as a side

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, minced 
olive oil to coat
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 3/4 cups hot water, can be added to broth to dilute it
1 onion chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine (or water to make harvest rice, which is alcohol free)

About 2 cups vegetables of choice, ie. mixed mushrooms, roasted cauliflower, etc.




Preparation 

In a small sauce pan, heat broth and water to a boil, reduce heat and keep warm.
In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. 
Sauté onion until transparent (~3 min) (if using mushrooms, sauté now for an additional 5 minutes).
Add rice, stirring to coat grains in oil, let toast for around 3 minutes, until slightly transparent, then add wine, stirring until almost no liquid remains.
Add broth to rice, one ladle, or 1/2 cup at a time, while mixing often. When almost no liquid remains, add more broth, and repeat until there is no more broth and the rice is cooked. 
While adding liquid, you may spice your risotto to your liking, we enjoy thyme (at least 2 tsp dry), however, do not add salt and pepper till the near end as to not over salt the dish. 
Cooking the rice should take 18-20 minutes, and should produce creamy but not mushy rice, that still has a bit of a crunch in the middle.

If you desire a creamier product, you may wish to add some soy milk instead of the last 1/2 cup liquid, and vegan cheese, such as Daiya, at the end.

If the risotto sits for two long it may become stiff and less creamy, to avoid this add 1-2 tsp lemon juice at the end of the cooking process.