Tag Archives: asparagus

Vegan Asparagus Frittata

My Aunt Janet wins the award for Family Cheerleader. If anyone in the family passes a test, graduates, posts a photo to Facebook or sneezes, she is johnny-on-the-spot and “Likes” it, commenting something encouraging, within seconds. Following my culinary victories (I don’t so much share the failures! Except for that one time…) has been no different.

When my family visited her and her husband, Harv, in Orlando last February, she was excited to expand her culinary horizons into the vegetarian/vegan world and we took a little tour of the nearby Whole Foods.  One big introduction that day was my beloved vegan Daiya cheese (which just came out with a new block form of cheese, though I have yet to witness this in person). She was excited to experiment with it and we made some simple pita pizzas the next day for lunch.

The funny thing about Janet is that she was the epitome of a picky eater as a kid, or so the story goes. As one of six children, Grandma June wasn’t about to tailor make dinner  for each of the kids. Apparently Janet chose to make herself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich almost nightly versus eating what the rest of the gang was eating. And now, here she is in her snowbird condo, reinventing her diet, just as she as continued to reinvent her life. It makes me happy when she reports in that she made an I Eat Veg recipe and I love getting texts from her with pictures of something new she tried.

This was true on Wednesday night when I got this picture of a vegan frittata — her first experience with tofu — and she loved it! I asked her to share the recipe and definitely will be making this at some point.

 

Thanks Aunt Janet!

Here is the recipe for the Asparagus Frittata…..we both loved it and it warmed up beautifully the next day!

Ingredients
• 2 Tbsp. unrefined peanut oil
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 1 c. asparagus, sliced in 1/2-inch diagonals
• 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
• 4 ounces vegan cheddar cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
• 1 lb. firm tofu
• 1/4 c. water
• 1/2 tsp. sea salt
• freshly ground black pepper

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large
skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, asparagus and bell
pepper; cook, stirring, until the asparagus is tender crisp, about 5
minutes.  Add the cheese; remove from heat.  Stir until the cheese
begins to melt.

2.   Pulse the tofu, water, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, salt and
pepper to taste in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Pour
into a large bowl.  Stir in the vegetable mixture.  Pour into an oiled
9-inch pie pan, oven-safe skillet or shallow casserole; smooth the
top.

3.   Bake until set, 45 minutes.  Let cool before cutting into wedges,
ten minutes.  Serve warm with (optional) salsa.

I didn’t use any salsa and I used some pepper jack and cheddar Daiya
cheese because I wanted to use them up and I sprinkled a little extra
on top before baking 🙂   I think it would be equally delicious with
broccoli, mushrooms, or anything else that sounds good!

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Vegan Creamy Asparagus Soup

Our latest cooking club happened to fall on St. Patrick’s Day and we went with a “green” theme. Although I never met a green vegetable or fruit I didn’t like, my two favorites are definitely kale and asparagus. For this, I went with asparagus and decided to make asparagus soup.

I found a vegetarian version on Allrecipes.com with great reviews, so I decided to make vegetarian and vegan versions so we could taste test them both. One of the things I have gotten better at during my vegetarian cooking exploration of the last few years is substituting various ingredients with others — I don’t think I’ve had a total fail yet, which makes me much more adventurous!

The vegetarian version uses plain yogurt, which makes the soup tangy and for the vegan version I used coconut milk, which makes the soup a little richer and with a definite coconut milk flavor in the background. I think next time I might mess with a little curry too. Both versions were delicious, but can you really go wrong with coconut milk? I think the vegan version was my favorite…

I’m sure there are many different ways you could change this up — and other vegetables you could use in the place of asparagus! In my personal chef business, I hope to never use a can of “cream of ______” (fill in the blank) soup if I can help it. Something as easy as this makes me wonder why anyone would. Here’s what I came up with.

Ingredients
• 1 lb. fresh asparagus (my guess is you could use frozen in a pinch)
• 3/4 c. chopped onion
• 1 3/4 c. vegetable broth
• 1 Tbsp. butter or vegan butter (Like my favorite, Earth Balance Buttery Spread)
• 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 pinch ground black pepper
• 1 c. soy or almond milk (I went with plain almond milk)
• 1/2 c. yogurt or coconut milk
• 1 tsp. lemon juice
• 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese, parm substitute or nutritional yeast (optional)

1. Trim the woody ends off of the asparagus and set aside.

2. This step I decided to do on my own — you can skip it if you like and I’m sure it would be just fine! I put all of the vegetable broth in a saucepan and  placed the ends of the asparagus in with it. I simmered it for about 20 minutes to infuse the asparagus flavor into the broth, then removed it from heat (I think I put a little extra broth in there in case some cooked off). Remove asparagus ends with a slotted spoon and throw away.

3. Place asparagus and onion in small saucepan with 1/2 c. of broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer until vegetables are tender.

4. Reserve a few asparagus tips for garnish if you like, and puree the rest in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree it in the pan until smooth, then pour into a bowl and set aside.

5. Melt butter in the pan, then stir constantly while sprinkling in flour, salt and pepper into it. Don’t let the mixture brown — cook while stirring for about 2 minutes.

6. Stir in the remaining 1 1/4 c. broth and increase the heat. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.

7. Stir the vegetable puree and milk into the pan, the whisk in the yogurt or coconut milk and lemon juice.

8. Stir until heated through and ladle into bowls. Garnish with asparagus tips and cheese or nutritional yeast if desired.

Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

I’m not going to beat around the bush here: Hollandaise Sauce is a heart attack in a gravy boat…but it’s so good! We grew up eating Hollandaise on asparagus, and it remains one of my favorite things. It’s why I can’t quit my Eggs Benedict addition — although obviously, I’m not eating the old hammy version. Lately I’ve had some delicious versions in New Buffalo, Chicago and Ferndale involving everything from tomatoes and spinach to asparagus and black olives.

While I was taking photos when I made this the other night, I realized I need to give vegan versions a chance. I can get used to it like anything else, right?

I did find a couple that look pretty good: One from TasteSpotting and one from Vegetarian Times (which also explains how artery-clogging this deliciousness can be).

In the meantime, here’s the original. If you’re using one of those powdered mix pouches, you’ll never go back. This is so easy and sooooo delicious. Stand by for testing out the vegan version!

Ingredients:

Fresh asparagus (One of the best parts of Michigan summer!)
1 stick butter
2 egg yolks
3 Tbsp. lemon juice

Cook the asparagus however you like — I know some people who will place it in a microwavable dish with a half-inch of water and steam it in the microwave for a minute or so. I choose to steam it. I put an inch or two of water under the steamer, cover the pot and get the water and get the water boiling.

I usually wait until I’m well into making the sauce before actually putting the asparagus in the steamer. Not that it would stop me from eating it… but asparagus is best when it’s cooked to bright green, still has a bit of a bite, but will easily fall of a fork when stabbed. At least in my opinion. My steamer’s pretty beat up, but it works!

To make the sauce:

1. Separate eggs, putting two egg yolks in a shallow saucepan with the lemon juice, break yolks and mix together. For some reason I always use this one old beat-up pan to make this — it’s just the perfect size.

2. Add half of the stick of butter and stir constantly over the lowest heat possible — it will seem like it’s going to take forever, but just keep with it — it will happen. When the butter is melted, add the other half of the stick and continue stirring until it’s melted too. It will be thick and creamy  — or will get there. Sometimes, it needs to cook a few minutes or will thicken upon standing, as I fetch the asparagus.

If you happen to step away from the stove for a minute and things seem to coagulate (basically, the eggs can scramble if you’re not careful) sometimes if you whisk or stir it really fast you can whip it into shape.

There are a lot of variations out there, but this one has proven to be tried and true. I’ve always wanted to mess with adding fresh herbs, but maybe that’s a good way to transition into the vegan version. If you have any versions (vegan or not) comment and let me know – I’d love to try some new things!