Tuesday, April 21, 2009

vegan soul kitchen

my full review of this cookbook is on cityflight.

when i get a new cookbook, i first turn to the dessert section.  although i'm very impressed that bryant managed to find a way to make a vegan chocolate pecan pie, i wasn't brave enough to try it.  please let me know if you do.  after reading through the dessert section, i started back to the beginning.  i turned down the corners of all the pages that looked interesting and narrowed it down to a manageable challenge.  

i tested 5 recipes from bryant terry's new cookbook for sunday dinner.
1. citrus collards with raisins redux
2. sauteed jalapeno corn
3. garlic broth-braised brussels sprouts
4. sweet sweetback's salad with roasted beet vinaigrette
5. california slurricane

i love to eat corn, brussels sprouts and beets but i've never cooked them before.  it took a few hours to cook everything but i enjoyed the process.  my friends (who are not vegan) were skeptical, but willing to participate in the taste test.  

my adaptations are in italics; for bryant's full recipes, buy his book!

citrus collards with raisins redux

course sea salt
2 large bunches collard greens, ribs removed, cut into a chiffonade, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest

in a large pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. add the collards and cook uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes until softened. meanwhile, prepare a lar
ge bowl of ice water to cool the collards.

remove the collards from the heat, drain, and plunge them into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking and set the color of the greens. drain by gently pressing the greens against a colander.
in a medium-size saute pan, combine the olive oil and the garlic and raise the heat to medium. saute for 1 minute. add the collards, raisins and 1/2 teaspoon salt. saute for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

add orange juice and zest and cook for an additional 15 seconds. do not overcook (collards should be bright green). season with additional salt to taste if needed and serve immediately.  i accidently added too much salt so i added some vegetable broth and let it cook out for 2 more minutes.

has anyone else ever put raisins in dark green vegetables before?  bryant terry says, "the defining ingredients, the ones that would perplex people when they heard the name of this dish, would be the thompson raisins and freshly squeezed orange juice."  i saw a tv chef put raisins in a broccoli dish a few years ago s
o i've been adding this touch of sweetness for a while now.  so i wasn't "perplexed" when i first saw this recipe.  it was good!  although the recipe only calls for orange juice, i a
lso added about a teaspoon of orange zest (like in the cookbook photo).

sauteed jalapeno corn

course sea salt
3 cups fresh sweet corn, from about 6 ears
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
freshly ground black pepper

bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a medium pot over high heat and add 2 teaspoons of salt. add the corn, immediately remove from heat and let sit for 30 seconds. drain in a colander.

in a
 medium-size saute pan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, garlic, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and saute, stirring often until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
add the corn and jalapeno and cook, stirring
 frequently until thoroughly mixed, 3 to 5 minutes.
season with salt and pepper to taste.

now, i didn't start to like corn until last year.  whenever this vegetable appeared in my mom's kitchen, i avoided it like the plague.  i saw a demo online where bryant made this recipe.   it looked so delicious and easy, i had to 
make it.  

after shucking the corn, i tried to cut the corn off the cob like bryant did in the demo.  unsuccessfully.  there was more corn on the floor than on the plate!  i was about to get 
frustrated when i suddenly remembered a tip i read or heard somewhere (i think it actually might be rachael ray).  i put cob in the middle of an a
ngel food cake pan and tried to cut the corn off again.  this tim
e, the corn gently dropped into the pan.  

this dish was pretty easy and fast to put together.  smoky and earthy yet fresh and sweet. ...and spicy!

garlic broth-braised brussels sprouts

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed of 
stems and cut in half lengthwise
1 cup vegetable broth
coarse sea salt
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons minced fresh lemon thyme
black pepper

coat a large saute pan with the olive oil.  saute garlic for 1 minute.  the brussels sprouts, arranging them cut side down, making one snug layer.  turn the heat to medium-high and saute until the cit sides are lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
add the vegetable broth and 1 teaspoon salt.  bring to a boil and stir well.  immediately reduce the temperature to low, cover tightly and braise for 15 minutes.  add the white wine and the lemon thyme, stir well, cover, and braise 5 minutes more, until the brussels sprouts are meltingly tender. remove from heat season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

i had no idea brussels sprouts grew on a stalk like in the picture!  i wonder how it looks on the tree or bush.  instead of making garlic broth, i bought a box of vegetable broth.  i minced a cloves of garlic and sauteed them before adding the brussels sprouts.  also, i couldn't find thyme at the supermarket so i just used lemon thyme.  delicious!

sweet sweetback's salad with roasted beet vinaigrette
4 medium beets, scrubbed, tops trimmed, root tails left intact (i used a mixture of golden, red and striped beets)
course sea salt
4 tablespoons plus 6 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon agave nectar
black pepper
5 cups baby arugula

combine the beets, 3 quarts cold water and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium pot over high heat.  boil uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the beets are easily pierced with a knife.  drain.  peel the beets by holding them under cold running water and rubbing their skins off with your fingers or a clean towel.
preheat oven to 400 degrees.
trim the tails off the bottom of the beets.  reserve two of them for the vinaigrette and compost the others.  cut the beets into a 1/4 inch dice.  in a medium bowl, toss the diced beets with 4 teaspoons of the olive oil.  transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking.  remove the beets from the oven, transfer them back into the bowl just used, and toss with 2 tablespooons of red wine vinegar.  return to the baking sheet and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  set them aside to cool.

in a blender, combine the reserved roasted beet tails with the remaining red wine vinegar, mustard agave nectar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.  blend while slowly pouring in 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  if needed, add more salt to taste.
place the arugula pieces in a large serving bowl, add the roasted beets on top.  immediately before serving, toss well with just enough of the vinaigrette to coat.

this recipe took a long time to make, but it was very tasty!  i was surprised at how easy the skins came off after they were boiled.

california slurricane
1 cup light rum
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup freshly squeezed navel orange juice
1 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
3 tablespoons agave nectar

stir all the ingredients in a pitcher.  fill glasses with ice.  pour over ice.  

my only problem with this recipe is the song.  i have to say, i think bryant really didn't come through with this one....probably because he's only been living in oakland for a little while.  i'm not from the town, but i must have a few more years on him....this was a no brainer for me.  listen to the song i played while i was making this drink and tell me it's not perfect.  :)

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