Fusion Challenge (Vegan MoFo 2015)

Vegan mofo tomatoFor this day’s prompt, I chose one of my favorite meals, pizza! I combined it with my new favorite spice from Palestine, za’atar! This was a simple dish made from what I had on hand in the fridge. I used this easy recipe for a thick sicilian-style pizza crust. For toppings I used Follow Your Heart mozzarella, shiitake bacon, onions, tomatoes, and a nice sprinkling of za’atar. Perfection!
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veganmofo pizza2 - 1-Amber

Palestinian Hospitality is Like No Other (Vegan MoFo 2015)

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Vegan MoFo Day 14: Share something delicious & vegan with a non-vegan

In our travels to Palestine, we experienced some of the most generous, kind, and accommodating people we have ever met. As vegans, traveling anywhere, let alone abroad can be challenging and even daunting at times. We knew that Middle-Eastern cuisine was fairly vegan-friendly before our travels to Palestine, but knowing we would spend some time staying overnight in people’s homes, we were not always sure what to expect. We were also told that some folks may not understand what is meant by the term “vegan” so we made sure to spell out our dietary needs by saying things like “we don’t eat meat, fish, dairy, or eggs.”

We were amazed beyond belief, time after time, when our hosts spoiled us with vegan fare such as creamy hummus, crispy fried falafel, Arabic salad, mo’ajjanat manaeesh (za’atar Palestinian pizza), vegetable maqlobeh (upside down rice), and mujaddara (lentil and bulgur casserole). When we were staying in Aqqaba, near Jenin with our host Asma and her wonderful family, she surprised us one day with vegan pizza on homemade dough topped with corn, mushrooms, black olives, and other yummy veggies. VeganMofo14 - 1She also made two different kinds of breadsticks stuffed with either za’atar or jelly.
VeganMofo14 - 2 VeganMofo14 - 3 VeganMofo14 - 4The meal was accompanied by a delicious lime drink and ended with a plate of fresh fruit consisting of pears, grapes, apples, and figs.
VeganMofo14 - 5 VeganMofo14 - 6The food, company, and gracious nature of the Palestinian people we met was unmatched by any in our experiences. People gave up their beds for us, allowed us to take showers even if there were water restrictions placed on them by Israel, and were always generous with food, drink, gifts, and laughter. We will never forget their hospitality, nor their struggle.

-Amber

Golden/Blue potatoes (Vegan Mofo 2015)

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It is September 10th, and the VeganMofo prompt is: something blue.  I chose to cook for this prompt, because it sounded like a good reason to buy blue potatoes and purple sticky rice.  The recipe I used is adapted from Secrets of Palestine by Duha Bereh, and Anne-Claire Yaeesh.  Muhamar batata translates to golden potatoes, although in this case I used blue ones.  The dish is typically meat based, with white rice and potatoes.  I used Tofurky slow roasted Chick’n for my meal.  Full disclosure, I’m not usually a fan of things that taste too much like chicken, but I think Tofurky did a good job creating this product.

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So here goes the recipe:

    Ingredients

  • 1 package Tofurky Chick’n or the vegan friendly product you like
  • 1 cups rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 lbs potato
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 turmeric (turned my blue potatoes greenish yellow, but still delicious)
  • pepper
  • salt
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tbls. olive oil

For the potatoes:
Peel and dice the potatoes, and slice the onion.  Fry the onion in a 2 tablespoons of oil, along with spices, until they begin to soften.  Add the potatoes and fry for a few more minutes.  Once everything begins to brown, add the vegetable broth and cover.  Cook until potatoes are soft, check frequently to make sure there is enough liquid.  Season with salt and pepper.

For the vegan chick’n:
Bake at 300 degrees F., for 15 minutes. Or until they turn golden.

For the rice:
Soak the rice for 15 mins in hot water, and drain. Toast the rice 2 tablespoons of olive oil, in a saucepan, for about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.

To serve pour rice into a serving dish and place roasted vegan chick’n on top. Serve the cooked potatoes separately. If desired add fried sliced almonds or peanuts to the meal.

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Happy vegan Mofo cooking!

-Stephanie

Mahashi Kousa (Vegan Mofo 2015)

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The prompt for today, September 7th, is make a meal inspired by a book or film.  Last fall I went to a book discussion group and read Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa.  The book is about the life of four generations of a Palestinian family from 1948 until 2003.  It offers a good basic overview of historical events that took place starting from the formation of Israel.

I could not find the exact place this meal of Mahashi Kousa is mentioned.  However, I did find it in the glossary on page 329, where it is described as zucchini, usually stuffed.

This recipe is adapted from The Cuisine of my Sister In-Law: Secrets of Palestine, by Duha Bezreh, Anne-Claire Yaeesh. I purchased it during our stop at the Human Supporters Association in Nablus.

To make this dish you will need a zucchini corer or try using a drill

Stuffing

  • 4 ounces of shredded seitan (I used Upton’s Naturals ground seitan.)uptonsseitan
  • 1 cup of rice
  • ½ cup sunflower oil
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp. ground pepper
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. salt

Soak rice in hot water for 15 minutes and drain. Mix in the remaining ingredients, and set aside.

Sauce

  • 2 Tbls. tomato paste
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 liter water
  • salt
  • 2 lbs zucchini

Wash, and remove the heads from the zucchini. Cut off a small amount of the bottom if necessary, so they will fit into the pot. Next carefully core out the insides of the zucchini, and wash. Fill each zucchini three quarters with stuffing. Add sauce ingredients into a large pot, and place the filled zucchinis inside and cover. Cook on medium heat for 40 minutes.

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Check regularly, and add water if necessary. Be careful not to stir the zucchinis while cooking.  I cooked any remaining stuffing in a separate pot.  Arrange the zucchinis on a serving dish and serve with the sauce.

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platedzuch1It went well with a salad filled with ingredients from my CSA pick-up.  For the dressing I made a vinaigrette with fig infused balsamic vinegar, mustard, and maple syrup.

– Stephanie

Vegan Shawarma (Vegan MOFO)

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It is day five of vegan MOFO, and the prompt is best sandwich ever!  Of course I stuck with the Palestinian theme and decided to create a vegan version Shawarma. If you don’t already know, Shawarma is a meat based sandwich, with vegetables, pickles and yogurt sauce all stuffed into a pita.  It is a very filling sandwich all on its own.  You easily find many different vegan versions when searching on the internet.  I found recipes using soy curls, tofu, tvp, and seitan.  For my creation I used the ingredients I already had in my kitchen.  I also used locally made Susie’s Seitan, Lemon Teriyaki flavor.

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Before I started putting my sandwich together I made the Persian 7-Spice Blend (Baharat) on page 43 of Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero. If you don’t have this book, and love international foods like me, you need to run out and buy it today!

In the meantime try this spice blend, which is actually very similar to the one I used. – Arabic seven spice blend

    What you will need:
  • Seitansandwichstuff
  • spice blend
  • vegan yogurt (I used the Tempt plain yogurt.  The consistency wasn’t very good, but it made a nice sauce.)
  • lemon
  • tahini
  • Pita Bread
  • lettuce
  • tomato slices
  • cucumber slices
  • pickles/or sweet relish
  • hummus (I used my leftover Foul, because why not?)
  • French fries (If you have some)

First I cut the seitan log in half and thinly sliced it longways.  I greased a casserole dish, and laid in the seitan.  Next I sprinkled some of the spice blend on each slice, and broiled them for 4 minutes.  I flipped them over added more spice blend, and broiled them again for 4 minutes.  Meanwhile I prepared all the other fillings.  I sauteed the chopped onions, because I don’t care for raw onions.  For the yogurt sauce I just mixed in the juice from one lemon and a tablespoon of tahini.  I also toasted the pita bread a little just to warm it up.

Once all my sandwich fillings where ready, I spread some foul medames inside the pita, and layered all the ingredients in.

sandwichBest sandwich ever?  Quite possibly!

-Stephanie

Hummus pizza (VeganMofo 2015)

Vegan mofo tomatoToday’s theme was about a “weird food combo that you love.” I’m not sure if it’s weird, but it may be unexpected. I like hummus on pizza. I’ve had it before at restaurants and have even had them substitute it for cheese at a local pizza joint. It’s pretty amazing and combines my love of pizza and Palestinian food.
Pizza-1024x678Hummus, tomato, basil pizza on a cornmeal crust was born!

-Amber

Foul Medames (VeganMofo 2015)

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DSC_0640The prompt for September 3rd is, quick, easy and delicious.  I’m not sure it gets any easier then with mashed beans!  Foul Medames is a popular Middle Eastern staple, made with fava beans.  We ate a lot of this wonderfully delicious dish during our trip.  It frequently came along with hummus, falafel, pickles and olives.  I used canned beans to make this dish, but if you have the time I highly recommend cooking them ahead from dried beans.

Ingredients

  • canned fava beans
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • salt

Mince the onion and garlic, brown in 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan. Drain the beans and add to the onions, add a little water if necessary. Once the beans have warmed remove pan from heat. Using a mortar or fork mash the beans with the onions and garlic. I found that a mortar worked very well to puree’ the beans, especially any that where not very soft.
Next add the diced tomato. Pour lemon juice over the mixture and season with salt and red pepper flakes.
Arrange on a plate, and drizzle with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil.

Serve with bread and maybe a nice Chianti.

-Stephanie

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A culinary tour (VeganMofo 2015)

Vegan mofo tomatoDuring our recent trip to Israel/Palestine we experienced many delicious, and new vegan foods.  We also walked through markets where we saw pickles, olives, spices, and large varieties of fruits and vegetables.

In the old city of Jerusalem there where many street vendors selling freshly squeezed juice, and warm bread.  The food at our hotel had yummy potato stuffed pockets, and plenty of olives.  We stopped at a restaurant where we had falafel, hummus, bread, and pickles.

jerusalemWe shared an amazing meal while visiting the beautiful city of Jaffa, where we could see the Mediterranean, and Tel Aviv in the distance.

JaffaIn many places we saw fruit trees growing pomegranates, lemons, and oranges.  We also had the chance to visit a farm and pick grapes.  Of course olive trees are growing absolutely everywhere.

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-Stephanie

Vegan Shakshuka recipe

Originally from North Africa, shakshuka is a common Palestinian breakfast. In this veganized version, the “eggs” are made of an extra-firm tofu “yolk”, and silken tofu “white. It is best eaten with the fresh baked pita bread that in Palestine can be found on every corner, and in the U.S. can be easily baked at home. #VGNMF15 #VEGANMOFO

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Stewed tomatoes, peppers, and onions:

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 tsp. harissa sauce

2 tsp. tomato paste

2 large red peppers, diced

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

5 large ripe tomatoes, chopped or chopped fire roasted canned tomatoes

salt

1 tsp. cumin

“Egg yolk”

1 block extra firm tofu,

1/2 tsp. kala namak (Indian black) salt,

1 tsp. nutritional yeast,

1/8 tsp. turmeric

Process in a food processor and form into circular disks (you can freeze the extras to use later.

“Egg white”

1 package Silken tofu

1 tsp. arrowroot

1 tsp. tahini

1/4 tsp. salt

blend until smooth

Caramelize the onions in the olive oil. Add the garlic and harissa sauce and cook two minutes. Add the peppers and cook about 10 minutes until the peppers soften. Add the tomatoes, cumin, and salt cook another 10 minutes until you have a thick sauce. Make little dips in the sauce and add the “eggs”. Cover and simmer another 8-10 minutes.

  • Ariel Gold, Ithaca NY

Vegan mofo tomato