House Vinaigrette – Melanie daPonte

Sometimes I just want a simple, yet tasty vinegar and oil dressing for my salad. This is the classic recipe we were taught at culinary school. You can dress it up or keep it basic. The variations are endless.

House Vinaigrette

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 tsp dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Peel and crush garlic clove and add to vinegar. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, then remove the garlic and discard. Whisk in the mustard and then slowly whisk in the oil in a thin stream until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Vegetable Potstickers – Melanie daPonte

These lovely little dumplings are a favorite at our local Japanese restaurant. Served with a simple dipping sauce, they make a tasty appetizer or a light meal. I was strolling my neighborhood Asian market and finally came across egg-free gyoza wrappers. I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen and fulfill my vision!

These can be filled with whatever flavorful blend of vegetables you prefer. You could also add a variety of proteins such as crumbled tofu, shelled edamame or one of the many flavors of Gardein meat substitute, chopped fine. Get creative!

Vegetable Potstickers

Ingredients:

Egg-free gyoza wrappers (store-bought or homemade)

Filling:

2 cups shredded green cabbage (I used pre-packaged angel hair coleslaw), lightly chopped

3/4 cups shredded carrot, chopped

1-2 scallions, chopped

1 cup shelled edamame (thawed, if frozen), roughly chopped

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1-2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari sauce

1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

1/s Tbsp. sesame oil, or to taste

Salt, to taste

Sesame oil for frying

1/4 cup water

Method:

If you prefer a softer cabbage, place shreds in microwave for about 3 minutes at 50% power or saute lightly in sesame oil. Otherwise, proceed with the next step. Combine vegetables in a bowl and mix in cornstarch. This will absorb excess water. Add seasonings and taste for flavor. Add additional soy sauce or salt or sesame oil to your liking. Make sure it tastes good.

Scoop about a teaspoonful of filling on the center of the gyoza wrapper, making sure the filling is not dripping wet. Lightly apply a bit of water around the edges of the dough. Fold over like a half-moon, pinching the edges to seal. Continue until the filling is used up.

Heat about 1 tbsp. sesame oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry  as many dumplings as will fit in the pan at the same time until brown on the bottoms. Do not turn over. The following step is crucial. Immediately add the 1/4 cup water around the outside edges of the pan’s interior and cover. This will steam the dumplings. When all the water is evaporated and the bottoms “stick” to the skillet, they are done.

Serve immediately with dipping sauce (recipe follows)

Dipping Sauce

2 tbsp. soy sauce 1 tbsp. sesame oil 1 tbsp.  rice wine vinegar

¼ tsp. sugar

Vegetable Potstickers – Melanie daPonte

These lovely little dumplings are a favorite at our local Japanese restaurant. Served with a simple dipping sauce, they make a tasty appetizer or a light meal. I was strolling my neighborhood Asian market and finally came across egg-free gyoza wrappers. I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen and fulfill my vision!

These can be filled with whatever flavorful blend of vegetables you prefer. You could also add a variety of proteins such as crumbled tofu, shelled edamame or one of the many flavors of Gardein meat substitute, chopped fine. Get creative!

Vegetable Potstickers

Ingredients:

Egg-free gyoza wrappers (store-bought or homemade)

Filling:

2 cups shredded green cabbage (I used pre-packaged angel hair coleslaw), lightly chopped

3/4 cups shredded carrot, chopped

1-2 scallions, chopped

1 cup shelled edamame (thawed, if frozen), roughly chopped

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1-2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari sauce

1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

1/s Tbsp. sesame oil, or to taste

Salt, to taste

Sesame oil for frying

1/4 cup water

Method:

If you prefer a softer cabbage, place shreds in microwave for about 3 minutes at 50% power or saute lightly in sesame oil. Otherwise, proceed with the next step. Combine vegetables in a bowl and mix in cornstarch. This will absorb excess water. Add seasonings and taste for flavor. Add additional soy sauce or salt or sesame oil to your liking. Make sure it tastes good.

Scoop about a teaspoonful of filling on the center of the gyoza wrapper, making sure the filling is not dripping wet. Lightly apply a bit of water around the edges of the dough. Fold over like a half-moon, pinching the edges to seal. Continue until the filling is used up.

Heat about 1 tbsp. sesame oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry  as many dumplings as will fit in the pan at the same time until brown on the bottoms. Do not turn over. The following step is crucial. Immediately add the 1/4 cup water around the outside edges of the pan’s interior and cover. This will steam the dumplings. When all the water is evaporated and the bottoms “stick” to the skillet, they are done.

Serve immediately with dipping sauce (recipe follows)

Dipping Sauce

2 tbsp. soy sauce 1 tbsp. sesame oil 1 tbsp.  rice wine vinegar

¼ tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. chili-garlic paste (optional)

Method:

Combine all ingredients, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Carrot-Ginger Bisque – Melanie daPonte

If you’re ready to get back on the good foot after the holiday indulgences of the past few weeks, here’s a place to start. A nutritious, light yet satisfying soup of simmered carrots and onions, finished with ginger and coriander. And so easy to make–you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now!

Carrot Ginger Bisque

¾ tbsp. Olive oil 2 med Onion 4 cups Vegetable broth 4 large Carrots, peeled and chopped 2 tbsp. Ginger, fresh, finely grated ¾ tsp. Cinnamon

¾ tsp. Coriander

Method:

1. Saute onions about 5 minutes. Add broth and 1/2 cup of water, more or less–carrots and half of the ginger.. bring to boil, reduce & simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes until carrots are tender.
2.Remove pot from heat and let cool for one hour, covered. Puree with immersion blender  (or Vitamix) until smooth, adding remaining  ginger, cinnamon and coriander. Taste for salt and pepper and add more water if needed, returning to pot if necessary to heat through. Finish with parsley (optional).

Carrot-Ginger Bisque – Melanie daPonte

If you’re ready to get back on the good foot after the holiday indulgences of the past few weeks, here’s a place to start. A nutritious, light yet satisfying soup of simmered carrots and onions, finished with ginger and coriander. And so easy to make–you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now!

Carrot Ginger Bisque

¾ tbsp. Olive oil 2 med Onion 4 cups Vegetable broth 4 large Carrots, peeled and chopped 2 tbsp. Ginger, fresh, finely grated ¾ tsp. Cinnamon

¾ tsp. Coriander

Mushroom Bourguignon – Melanie daPonte

Well, isn’t this fancy? A classical French dish turned vegan!

Warm, savory and satisfying– this rich stew is filled with vegetables, potatoes and hearty mushrooms, simmered with red wine and fresh thyme leaves.

If you really want to go top shelf, bake a nice little puff pastry top hat!

Mushroom Bourguignon

1 tablespoon Olive oil 1 ½ Carrots, diced ½ large Onion, yellow, diced ½ cup Onions, pearl, peeled 1 cup Mushrooms, cremini, halved ½ cup Mushrooms, button, halved ½ cup Walnuts, toasted ½ 1 large Potato, russet, diced ½ cup Peas, frozen 2 cloves Garlic, roasted 1 ½ cups Red wine, Pinot Noir preferred ¼ cup Vegetable broth 1 tablespoon Tomato paste 3 sprigs Thyme, fresh, finely chopped ¼ teaspoon Sea salt ¼ teaspoon Pepper, black 1 tablespoon Earth Balance, softened 1.5 tablespoons Flour, all purpose

1 tablespoon Brown rice syrup ( I used agave nectar)

Mushroom Bourguignon – Melanie daPonte

Well, isn’t this fancy? A classical French dish turned vegan!

Warm, savory and satisfying– this rich stew is filled with vegetables, potatoes and hearty mushrooms, simmered with red wine and fresh thyme leaves.

If you really want to go top shelf, bake a nice little puff pastry top hat!

Mushroom Bourguignon

1 tablespoon Olive oil 1 ½ Carrots, diced ½ large Onion, yellow, diced ½ cup Onions, pearl, peeled 1 cup Mushrooms, cremini, halved ½ cup Mushrooms, button, halved ½ cup Walnuts, toasted ½ 1 large Potato, russet, diced ½ cup Peas, frozen 2 cloves Garlic, roasted 1 ½ cups Red wine, Pinot Noir preferred ¼ cup Vegetable broth 1 tablespoon Tomato paste 3 sprigs Thyme, fresh, finely chopped ¼ teaspoon Sea salt ¼ teaspoon Pepper, black 1 tablespoon Earth Balance, softened 1.5 tablespoons Flour, all purpose

1 tablespoon Brown rice syrup ( I used agave nectar)

Method:
1.Heat oil and add carrots, yellow onion and pearl onions, cook for about 3 minutes to start browning. Add mushrooms and walnuts and cook for about 3 minutes.:

2.Add potato, peas and garlic and stir. Add wine, vegetable broth, tomato paste, thyme, sea salt and black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover pot with a tight-fitting lid and cook over low heat for about 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.:

3.While vegetable mixture is cooking, whisk together room temperature butter and flour in a small bowl. Set aside.:

4.After about 30 minutes of cooking add brown rice syrup and buter and flour mixture to pot and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes over low heat. Let cook for up to an hour if you have time.:

Recipe Source:  The Spork-Fed Cookbook by Jenny Engel and Heather Goldsmith

Golden Indian Dal Soup – Melanie daPonte

Dal is my go-to comfort food. A warm, savory, nourishing meal, filled with creamy, protein-rich lentils and healing turmeric–tempered with cumin seeds, ginger and garlic.

GOLDEN DAL SOUP

½ CUP RED LENTILS 3 CUPS WATER 1 TSP SALT ½ TSP TURMERIC ⅛ TSP CAYENNE PEPPER 2 TBSP CANOLA OIL ½ TSP CUMIN SEEDS 1 TBSP MINCED GARLIC 1 TBSP GINGER, GRATED ½ CUP ONION, YELLOW, FINE DICE

½ CUP TOMATOES, CANNED, FINE DICE

1.RINSE AND DRAIN LENTILS. COMBINE WITH WATER IN SAUCEPAN.:

2.STIR IN SALT, TURMERIC AND CAYENNE AND BRING TO ROLLING BOIL OVER MEDIUM HEAT. SKIM OFF AND DISCARD THE CLOUDY WHITE FOAM THAT APPEARS ON THE SURFACE. :

3.REDUCE HEAT TO LOW AND SIMMER, UNCOVERED, FOR 20 MINUTES, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY.:

4.MEANWHILE, HEAT OIL IN FRYING PAN OVER HIGH HEAT FOR ABOUT 30 SECONDS. ADD CUMIN SEEDS AND COOK FOR 1 MINUTE, UNTIL SEEDS BEGIN TO SIZZLE AND POP.:

5.ADD GARLIC, GINGER, ONION AND TOMATO AND TOSS GENTLY FOR 1 MINUTE. REDUCE HEAT TO MEDIUM AND COOK 5 MINUTES, TOSSING OCCASIONALLY. SET ASIDE.:

6.ADD ONION MIXTURE TO LENTILS AND CONTINUE COOKING 5-10 MINUTES, OR UNTIL LENTILS ARE COOKED. STIR WELL AND REMOVE FROM HEAT. TASTE FOR SALT AND SERVE IMMEDIATELY OR HOLD WARM.:

Balsamic-Roasted Mushrooms – Melanie daPonte

This dish makes a great appetizer or a light meal. Mushrooms have that satisfying umami flavor and a lovely “meaty” texture. The sauce is savory with a touch of sweetness. Here, I serve them over grilled polenta, but they go well over any grain or even with a crusty baguette.

BALSAMIC ROASTED MUSHROOMS

1 LB MUSHROOMS, MIXED, QUARTERED 2 SHALLOTS, HALVED LENGTHWISE AND QUARTERED 1.5 TBSP OLIVE OIL ¼ CUP BALSAMIC REDUCTION, DIVIDED (recipe follows) ⅛ TSP. RED PEPPER FLAKES KOSHER SALT, TO TASTE BLACK PEPPER, GROUND, TO TASTE 2 CLOVES GARLIC, MINCED

2 TBSP. PARSLEY, FLAT LEAF, CHOPPED

1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 DEGREES. DRIZZLE MUSHROOMS AND SHALLOTS WITH OIL IN LARGE BOWL.:

2. POUR IN 2 TBSP BALSAMIC REDUCTION, SALT AND PEPPER AND CRUSHED RED PEPPER. SPREAD ON PARCHMENT LINED SHEET TRAY AND ROAST FOR 20-25 MINUTES, UNTIL THEY ARE TENDER AND DEEP BROWN.:

3. FOR SERVICE, SAUTE GARLIC IN OLIVE OIL, THEN ADD MUSHROOMS AND 1-2 MORE TBSP BALSAMIC REDUCTION. HEAT THROUGHLY AND SERVE OVER POLENTA.:

(Servings: 2)

BALSAMIC REDUCTION

½ CUP AGAVE NECTAR 1 CUP BALSAMIC VINEGAR 1 SHALLOTS, HALVED KOSHER SALT, TO TASTE

BLACK PEPPER, GROUND, TO TASTE

1.HEAT AGAVE IN SMALL SAUCEPAN OVER MEDIUM-LOW HEAT UNTIL IT THINS OUT AND IS WARMED, ABOUT 5 MINUTES.:

2.ADD VINEGAR AND SHALLOT AND SIMMER GENTLY, SWIRLING THE PAN A FEW TIMES, UNTIL SAUCE HAVE REDUCED AND THICKENED TO THE CONSISTENCY OF MAPLE SYRUP AND COATS THE BACK OF A SPOON, ABOUT 50 MINUTES.:

3.STORE COVERED, UP TO 3 MONTHS, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE.:

Yield: 1/2 cup

Balsamic-Roasted Mushrooms – Melanie daPonte

This dish makes a great appetizer or a light meal. Mushrooms have that satisfying umami flavor and a lovely “meaty” texture. The sauce is savory with a touch of sweetness. Here, I serve them over grilled polenta, but they go well over any grain or even with a crusty baguette.

BALSAMIC ROASTED MUSHROOMS

1 LB MUSHROOMS, MIXED, QUARTERED 2 SHALLOTS, HALVED LENGTHWISE AND QUARTERED 1.5 TBSP OLIVE OIL ¼ CUP BALSAMIC REDUCTION, DIVIDED (recipe follows) ⅛ TSP. RED PEPPER FLAKES KOSHER SALT, TO TASTE BLACK PEPPER, GROUND, TO TASTE 2 CLOVES GARLIC, MINCED

2 TBSP. PARSLEY, FLAT LEAF, CHOPPED