Thursday, May 21, 2015

Vegetarian Gumbo (with Kale, Okra & ToFurky)

A photo posted by Höķm Guerrerø (@revmcnasty) on

I LOVE GUMBO.  It's my comfort food.  Even if I'm not hungry I can polish off a bowl of this amazing stuff in record time.  Since becoming vegetarian I have tried and tried again to make a satisfying gumbo and I've been let down again and again.  Finally, after much deliberation with the Wife, I came up with a combination of flavors that is the closest thing to the carnivore version of one of my favorite dishes of all time.

4-5 cups of loosely packed chopped kale
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 springs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 TBSP salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Crystal brand hot sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 cups chopped frozen okra
1/2 lb (2 links) ToFurky sausage, sliced into thin discs
1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice (or quinoa or orzo)
Scallions, sliced
Filé powder
  1.  Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Add kale and boil for 5 minutes.  Drain kale into colander.  Rinse out the pot and place back on stove.
  2. Whisk together oil and flour into the pot and cook on moderately high heat.  Try and make a roux as dark as you can.  I'm talking chocolate colored.  Blonde or caramel colored is way too light.  The end result will taste disappointing.  It won't be bad, it just won't taste like the air in Jackson Square.  The trick is to stir it constantly and adjust the heat to it doesn't burn.  I switch between a whisk and a small rubber spatula.  It takes me about 20+ minutes.  I turn the heat to medium and back up again a few times to achieve a dark roux without burning it.
  3. Once you have a dark dark roux, set the heat to medium and add the onion, bell peppers, celery, garlic and parsley.  Stir these in well - it will naturally cool the roux - and cook the veggies for about 7-8 minutes or until they are all softened.
  4. Add the stock, salt, pepper, hot sauce, bay leaf and thyme.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for an 40 minutes. 
  5. Add cooked kale and frozen okra to gumbo. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Meanwhile: spray a skillet with cooking spray and lightly sear the sliced ToFurky sausages on medium high heat, about four minutes - flipping halfway through.
  6. Add the sausage to pot, stir.
  7. Tightly pack cooked rice into a - not too large - ladle (an ice cream scoop also works) and place scoop in center of bowl. Ladle gumbo around rice ball. Top with scallions and a sprinkle of  Filé powder
This makes about 4 or 5 servings.  Doubling this for larger groups works fine. 

Gumbo mixes very well with cold beer.  It doesn't matter what kind.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Hot Cuke Soup

A photo posted by Höķm Guerrerø (@revmcnasty) on

If you were like me you are probably used to all cucumber-themed dishes being served cold.  If so, then this will blow your mind.  I found this in a "Healthy Latin Cooking" book I got for Christmas a few years ago.  I never noticed it until my wife was skimming the book and asked me, "Why haven't you made this yet?"  She was right.  I had been ignoring this gem for too long and now we make a batch every month or so.

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper (green or yellow), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cucumbers, peeled and cunt into smallish pieces
3 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 TBSP fresh chives or scallions

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onions, bell peppers, garlic and parsley.  Cook for about 5 minutes. Onions should be soft but not brown.
  2. Add the cucumbers and cook for about 1 or 2 minutes.
  3. Add stock and sour cream.  Increase the heat to high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and puree with an emulsion blender (or food processor, but my way is less messy.)
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot topped with chives or scallions.
A small amount of chopped fresh dill can be used instead of, or in addition to, the chives/scallions.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Vegetarian Dirty Quinoa & Rice

Tom Fitzmorris wrote my favorite cookbook.  In it he described dirty rice as jambalaya's less complex brother.  This is my first attempt at adapting his recipe for the non-meat eater.  The results were something special.  The level of heat was perfect and I enjoyed this dish much better than I remember enjoying the meat version.

1/2 large red onion, quartered
1/2 bell pepper (any color), seeded and quartered
1 rib celery, quartered
1 TBSP unsalted butter 
1 tsp Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (regular or low sodium)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp marjoram
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cup vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup uncooked rice
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup Boca Veggie Ground Crumbles
3/4 cup of black beans, drained and rinsed.
1 scallion sliced thin
grated Cheddar cheese (optional)

  1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Put onion, bell pepper and celery into food processor and finely chop.
  3. Melt butter in large saucepan over high heat and then add the veg mess from processor.  Cook until the onion turns clear.  Add the Creole Seasoning, Worcestershire, crushed red pepper, marjoram and garlic.  Stir to combine.  Bring heat to low and cover.
  4. Put the stock, rice and quinoa into another saucepan and cover.  Bring to boil and lower heat to simmer.  Simmer for about 15-17 minutes.
  5. Stir and fluff the rice/quinoa mixture and add it to the saucepan with the vegetable/spice mixture.  Add the Boca Veggie Ground Crumble and black beans. Stir to combine.
  6. Pour the well-mixed mixture into a small, greased, casserole dish and place in oven.  Cook for about 5 minutes, until dry but not hard.
  7. Top with scallion and cheese (optional).

Time: about 40 minutes from start to finish.
Serves: makes about 4 or 5 side servings.