Mexican Torta Sliders for Banana and Coffee Iron Chef Challenge

This is our first Iron Chef challenge, so yay! The challenge was to use bananas and coffee in an unexpected way and without the help of a standard recipe.

For the beans:
1/2 cup very strong coffee
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a small pot, saute garlic, shallot, and jalapeno in olive oil for 2-3 minutes, then add beans and coffee. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and add spices. Cook 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Mash the beans and continue to cook another 5 minutes, or until the beans are thickened to your liking. Taste for salt and pepper.

For the banana-cilantro mayo:
1/2 medium banana
2 TBL tahini
1 tsp garlic
2 TBL apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
black pepper

Blend ingredients together until smooth and whipped.

Put it all together:

Additional ingredients: mozzarella Daiya, sliced black olives, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes

On a baguette or other sandwich roll type bread, spread banana mayo on one side and add lettuce and tomato. On the other half, add coffee-black beans, black olives, and Daiya. Carefully put sandwich halves together.

Serve with sweet potato fries!

Gluten-free, vegan Mexican pizza, with squash-zucchini crust

We’re getting tons of squash, zucchini, and cucumbers from our CSA, and to be honest, these aren’t my favorite foods. Luckily, it turns out that you can make pizza out of almost anything. Bye-bye squashies!

Here’s the play by play:

Grate about 2 pounds of squash and zucchini using the fine setting on your hand grater or food processor. Squeeze out excess water and let the vegetables sit for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze excess water again. Mix together 1/4 cup rice flour or gluten-free baking mix, 3 EnerG egg replacers (or flax seed, etc.), 1 TBL olive oil, a pinch of salt, black pepper, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and press the dough so that it is very thin, about 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 500 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Layer black bean dip, fresh cilantro, jalapenos, tomatoes, corn, and Daiya or other vegan cheese on top.

Bake 15-20 minutes at 450.

Remove from oven and allow pizza to cool 5 minutes before cutting. Top with fresh avocado or homemade guac!

Vegan whole wheat crust pizzas

It’s Sunday, which means lots of cooking around here. This week has so many tasty meals that I’m really excited about. Tonight we made pizzas using half whole wheat flour in a our favorite recipe.  We make a double batch of dough, divide each batch into 4 instead of 2 pizzas for 8 total, and bake the pizzas in lightly oiled cake pans. Then we freeze the leftover dough in individual portions. Easy!

Pizza 1 has sundried tomatoes, Daiya vegan cheese, olives, and fresh basil. This is the best thing I’ve eaten in awhile.

Pizza 2 has asparagus, mushrooms, and Daiya. This was excellent, too, but it could have used some garlic or shallots. Next time!

Mofo roundup and dining out

By Thursday, I often find myself in need of some kind of reward, and most often that reward is food. Tonight could be pizza night again!

In lieu of sharing our recipes, here are a few that I’ve been meaning to try:

My Vegan Cookbook’s Best Vegan Pecan Pie. And while you’re over there, try Josh’s Brunswick Stew. It’s delicious!

Melomeal’s Smoked Cheesy Potato Soup and Smoky Pimento Cheese. Gimme!

Let’s not forget, Rhymes with Vegan’s Beer “Cheese” Soup. I think Stef put it best, “This soup marks the beginning of the end of fail year 2010.”

Last, for now, Snarky Vegan’s Pastrami Reuben with Special Sauce.

In other exciting news, I can’t wait to get my free coupons for We Can’t Say it’s Cheese. It’s been available in Raleigh for awhile, but a freebie might be enough incentive for me to drive down to the Earthfare there.

Pizza (lazy) dinner

Instead of cooking up a Mofo, we made a salad and bought a take-out pizza from Wholefoods (the Tuesday pizza special price is pretty sweet). The pizza has a wholewheat crust, pineapple, spinach, and portabello mushrooms, smothered in Daiya.

The salad we managed to actually make ourselves: baby romaine, grape tomatoes, radishes, mushrooms, kidney beans, with a splash of tahini and balsamic vinegar, and lots of black pepper.

What do you eat on a lazy night?

Mini vegan sandwich trio and easy tomato soup

Last night was all about convenience fare. I picked up some Wholefood’s vegan chicken salad, hummus, and two kinds of bread (whole wheat and white). Then we made the easy tomato soup and had a party fit for a kid!

Grilled cheese: Vegan rice cheddar on a crusty white loaf
WF Vegan chicken salad: on whole wheat with German mustard and arugula
WF Hummus: on whole wheat with a tomato garnish

That’s what it’s all about!

Vegan no-noodle lasagna

There aren’t enough words for this meal. Just try it.

2 zucchinis, sliced thinly (1/4 inch thick)

2 squash, sliced thinly (1/4 inch thick)

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, blended with oregano, parsley, basil, sage, garlic, salt and pepper, and a splash of red wine to make a sauce

2/3 block vegan rice mozzarella

1 can chickpeas, drained and mashed with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, salt and pepper

1/2 cup (additional) nutritional yeast

Preheat oven to 375. To layer in an 8 x 8 inch pan:  1) sauce 2) 1/2 of the squash 3) all chickpeas 4) sauce 5) 1/4 c. nutritional yeast 6) 1/2 of the zucchini 7) 1/4 rice cheese 8) sauce 9) squash 10)  1/4 rice cheese 11) sauce  12) zucchini 13) sauce, remaining rice cheese and remaining nutritional yeast.

Add a little water to the corner of the pan. Top with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and poke a hole. Bake 1 hour.