Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam

DSC09681Although many people consider tomatoes to be a vegetable, they’re actually a fruit; so why not make them into jam? Actually, tomato jam is more like a relish than a true jam. My partner Chef Mike and I created this blend one Sunday afternoon and we were thrilled with the lovely balance of sweet, tangy and smoky flavors. This jam is wonderful when used as an alternative to ketchup on veggie burgers and hot dogs. It’s also excellent when served with cheese, such as non-dairy chèvre, on crostini or crusty bread. This recipe yields about 2 cups.

Ingredients
• 1 can (28 oz) whole peeled plum tomatoes or 1 and ½ lb fresh plum tomatoes
• 1 T olive oil
• ½ cup diced sweet yellow onion
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• ½ cup organic sugar
• ¼ cup sherry vinegar
• 2 T tomato paste
• 2 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• ½ tsp ground white pepper

Technique
Drain the excess liquid from the can of tomatoes and place the tomatoes into a food processor; do not process yet. If using fresh tomatoes, bring a large volume of water to a boil. Core the tomatoes and place them into the boiling water for 1 minute. Immediately plunge them into an ice water bath. Once cooled, the skins should slip off easily. Place the tomatoes into the food processor; do not process yet.

In a medium saucepan, sweat the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. The goal is to soften and draw out the flavor of the onion and garlic without browning. When the onion becomes translucent, transfer the mixture to the food processor with the tomatoes and pulse a few times into a “salsa-like” consistency.

Transfer the tomato mixture back to the saucepan and stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the jam cool and transfer to a sealable container. Refrigerate until well-chilled before serving. Keep in mind that this is a fresh jam, not a preserved jam, but the acidity and sugar will keep it fresh in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

Print Recipe
Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam
Votes: 7
Rating: 4.43
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Servings
Votes: 7
Rating: 4.43
You:
Rate this recipe!
Share this Recipe

Hari Chutney (Cilantro Mint)

DSC09368-002This bright green, tangy and refreshing Indian chutney is my absolute favorite condiment. Enjoy it with all Indian cuisine and as a spread or dip for samosa (deep-fried or baked pastry with savory filling), pakoras (Indian vegetable fritters) naan, papadum, roti and any and all other flatbreads and crackers. If you have a timid palate, start with ½ of the green chile and increase according to taste. Try mixing the chutney with plain non-dairy yogurt for a uniquely different salad dressing. It also adds wonderful flavor to non-dairy Crème Fraîche, sour cream and even eggless mayonnaise. The chutney will last about 1 week stored in the refrigerator; simply freeze any unused portion (try freezing in silicone molds or ice cube trays for easy use). This recipe yields about 1 and ¾ cup.

Ingredients
• 2 large bunches of cilantro (excess stems at bottom removed)
• 1 large handful of mint leaves (stems removed)
• 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
• 1 small green chile, seeded and chopped (or a large chile if you can take the heat)
• 1 clove garlic, peeled
• 2 T fresh lemon juice
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• ¾ tsp sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste

Technique
Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Season with additional salt to taste as desired. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Print Recipe
Hari Chutney (Cilantro Mint)
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Servings
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Share this Recipe

Quick Non-Dairy Sour Cream

Tofu-based sour cream has never appealed to me because I cannot tolerate the chalky undertaste; and uncultured cashew-based sour cream doesn’t work for me either because the natural sweetness of the cashews yields a product that is much too sweet for my liking (although it works in dessert applications). Cultured cashew-based sour cream, on the other hand, has a very accurate dairy sour cream flavor because the lacto-bacterial culture converts the natural sugar in the cashews into lactic acid, thus providing the authentic tanginess and eliminating the excessively sweet taste. However, preparing rejuvelac and culturing the cream takes several days and sometimes a quick alternative is appreciated.

It took some experimentation to achieve a texture and flavor that satisfied my taste, but I think this quick version makes an excellent alternative to its cultured counterpart. While this recipe still uses cashews to add body to the cream, the ratio of cashews is significantly reduced. Please note that there is no alternative to using soymilk in this recipe. Thickening is dependent upon the curdling action of soymilk when lactic acid is introduced. Other plant milks will not react to the acid in the same manner.

Vegan lactic acid powder can be purchased online from ModernistPantry.com. Citric acid powder can be used as an alternative to lactic acid powder but will not provide the same lactic dairy flavor. I don’t recommend lemon juice as an alternative acid for this recipe, since the water content in lemon juice will thin the texture too much. This recipe yields about 1 and ¾ cup sour cream.

Ingredients
• ¼ cup refined coconut oil
• ½ cup (2.5 oz.) whole raw cashews (pre-soaking is not necessary)
• 1 and ¼ cup organic plain unsweetened soymilk (sorry, no substitutes)
• ¼ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 and ½ tsp lactic acid

Preparation
Remove the lid from the coconut oil and place the jar or bottle into a microwave. Heat until melted (about 30 seconds to 1 minute depending upon the solidity of the coconut oil); avoid overheating the oil. Alternately, place the jar or bottle into a container filled with near boiling water and let stand until the oil melts. Measure the coconut oil and set aside.

Measure the lactic acid and set aside in a small dish.

Add the cashews, soymilk and salt to a high-powered blender, cover and process for 2 full minutes.

Remove the lid plug and with the blender running on high speed, add the coconut oil.
Reduce the speed to low and add the lactic acid powder. The cream will thicken instantly – turn the blender off. Do not continue to process once thickened.

Transfer the sour cream to an airtight container, seal and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours until well-chilled and further thickened. Consume within 10 days of preparation.

Print Recipe
Quick Non-Dairy Sour Cream
Votes: 37
Rating: 3.84
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Servings
Votes: 37
Rating: 3.84
You:
Rate this recipe!
Share this Recipe
 

Gentle Chef Instant Chicken’less Bouillon Powder

This convenient, instant powder can be used to prepare a comforting and savory golden broth by the cup or the quart. This recipe yields about 48 cups of prepared bouillon.

Ingredients:
• 1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
• 5 Tbsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• ¼ cup onion powder
• 2 Tbsp organic sugar
• 1 Tbsp commercial poultry seasoning blend
• 1 Tbsp garlic powder
• 2 tsp dried celery flakes
• 2 tsp dried parsley flakes
• 2 tsp dehydrated carrot flakes (optional)
• ½ tsp ground white pepper

Preparation:
Process the ingredients in a dry blender until finely powdered; store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

For a soothing mug of golden bouillon, dissolve 2 level teaspoons bouillon powder in 12 oz. of piping hot water. Stir well. A fine seasoning sediment will settle on the bottom of the mug, so stir occasionally while sipping or simply discard the sediment after consuming.

To prepare an instant broth for soups and stews, use 1 and ¼ teaspoon of bouillon powder for each cup of simmering water, or more or less to taste. For 8 cups of broth, use about 3 tablespoons, or more or less to taste.

For a clear broth, let the prepared broth cool to room temperature and pour into a sealable container, discarding any seasoning sediment that has settled on the bottom of the cooking pot. Refrigerate overnight, or for up to 10 days, which will allow any micro-fine seasoning sediment to further settle on the bottom of the container. Decant the clear portion of broth and use in recipes as needed.

Tip: Gentle Chef Instant Chicken’less Bouillon Powder is also a convenient, nutritious and delicious alternative to chicken broth served in hospitals for vegan patients restricted to a liquid diet.

Print Recipe
Gentle Chef Instant Chicken’less Bouillon Powder
Votes: 8
Rating: 4.38
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Servings
Votes: 8
Rating: 4.38
You:
Rate this recipe!
Share this Recipe
 

Refrigerator Pickles

DSC07936
These easy-to-make pickles are fresh, crisp, tangy and nicely seasoned. The amount of brine is sufficient for preparing 2 quarts of pickles.

Ingredients:
• cucumbers, any variety, but pickling cucumbers are best
• 1 large onion, thinly sliced
• 3 cups filtered water
• ½ cup champagne vinegar or white vinegar
• 3 T sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 T organic sugar
• 2 T minced garlic (6 cloves)
• 2 T fresh chopped dill
• 1 tsp whole coriander seeds (optional)
• 1 tsp whole peppercorns or ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
• 2 bay leaves

Technique:
In a bowl or large measuring cup, dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar and water to create the brine. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, dill and optional coriander seeds and pepper to a large container with a lid, or divide among 2 mason jars.

For smaller cucumbers, such as pickling cucumbers, leave unpeeled and slice in half or quarter lengthwise. For larger salad cucumbers which have tougher skins, use a vegetable peeler to cut strips of peel away, leaving some of the peel intact. This gives the cucumbers a nice variegated appearance; then cut into ¼ to ½-inch crosswise slices.

Stand the spears upright or layer the slices in the 2 jars. If using a large container, lay the spears on their side or layer the slices.

Pour the brine over the cucumbers, submerging them completely. Cover tightly. Refrigerate for a minimum of 72 hours, but the longer they “pickle”, the better. Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Refrigerator Pickles
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Servings
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Share this Recipe

Raw Sauerkraut

sauerkraut-on-fork
Sauerkraut is German for “sour cabbage,” but is originally a Chinese invention made with rice wine. Sauerkraut is made from finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria which propagate naturally during the fermentation process. It has a long shelf-life and a distinctively sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage.

Every chef has their own recipe for preparing sauerkraut and this is my personal formula and technique that works for me every time – with no undesirable mold blooms to skim from the surface of the brine during fermentation. Sauerkraut takes roughly 5 to 6 weeks from start to finish, so plan ahead and be patient – the results are worth waiting for.

Ingredients:
• 2 large heads green or red cabbage
• 3 T sea salt, kosher salt or pickling salt
• 3 cups filtered or spring water
• 1 T dried juniper berries (optional)
• 2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)

You will also need:
• 1 gallon wide-mouthed clear glass jar
• cheesecloth
• 2 one-quart zip-lock bags
• plastic wrap

Technique:
Before beginning, make sure the jar has been washed thoroughly with hot, soapy water and rinsed well; or run through the heated cycle in a dishwasher. Wash your hands thoroughly.

In a small saucepan, add 3 cups spring or filtered water and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a brief boil and remove from the heat to cool until lukewarm.

Remove any loose and damaged leaves from the heads of cabbage and either discard the leaves, save for preparing stock or compost. Split the heads of cabbage lengthwise (from the crown to the core). Cut a “V” shape to remove the tough core from each half.

Place a half head, cut side down, on a clean work surface and using a very sharp knife, begin to slice or “shave” the cabbage as thinly as possible to create very thin, long ribbons. Take your time slicing the cabbage, as very fine shreds will yield the best texture in the finished sauerkraut (personally, I use only the long, thin ribbons for the sauerkraut and save any pieces that are too large or too small for vegetable stock).

Place the shreds into the jar and sprinkle in 2 teaspoons of the salt. Repeat shredding the second half and place in the jar. Sprinkle again with 2 teaspoons salt. Using a potato masher or similar object, pack down the cabbage as firmly as possible. The salt will help draw out the juice from the cabbage to create the brine. If using the juniper berries and/or caraway seeds, sprinkle half over the cabbage.

Repeat with the second head of cabbage, adding 2 teaspoons of salt for each shredded half added to the jar. Pack down the cabbage again. If using the juniper berries and/or caraway seeds, sprinkle the remaining portion over the cabbage.

Fold a double layer of cheesecloth in half and cut to fit into the jar with some excess for tucking. Place on top of the cabbage shreds and using a dull table knife, tuck the cheesecloth snugly around the inner circumference of the jar. This will hold the shreds in place and keep them from floating upwards in the brine. Pour the cooled salted water over the cheesecloth.

DSC07267-001
Fill a zip-lock bag about ⅔-full of water and seal. Tuck the bag into the second zip-lock bag and seal. The second bag will ensure that no leaks of water occur from the water-filled bag.

Place the water-filled bag into the jar on top of the cheesecloth. The weight of the bag will keep the mass of cabbage completely submerged in the brine during fermentation. If the cabbage is submerged completely, no undesirable mold blooms will occur. Seal the top of the jar with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation of the brine.

Place the jar in a cool place (a basement or cool pantry being ideal). A room temperature of 68 to 72 degrees is best for fermenting cabbage. Formation of gas bubbles after a few days indicates fermentation is taking place. Mark your calendar for 5 to 6 weeks.

Once a week, check the jar. The formation of gas bubbles will sometimes cause the packed shreds to rise in the jar, which can potentially expose the surface to air, thus encouraging undesirable mold blooms. Simply remove the plastic film and re-tuck and push the cheesecloth down around the inner circumference with the edge of a spoon. There’s no need to remove the bag of water; simply work around it (but be careful not to puncture the bag!). Re-seal the top of the jar with plastic wrap.

When fermentation is complete, pack individual mason jars with the sauerkraut and add enough brine to keep the shreds covered with the liquid, while leaving ½-inch of headspace in the jar. Fully fermented sauerkraut can be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for a few months. The sauerkraut can be eaten raw, which promotes a healthy intestinal flora; or it can be cooked and used in your favorite recipe.

Print Recipe
Raw Sauerkraut
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Servings
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Share this Recipe