Vegan Sweet and Sour Sauce

     This Vegan Sweet and Sour Sauce is quick, easy and delicious.   Found on cooks.com, I simply increased the pineapple juice by half.  I made this to go with the Whole Foods 365 Chickenless Nuggets, but it’s also good on vegan egg rolls, battered and fried tofu, etc.  More photos below.

VEGAN SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE

INGREDIENTS
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 Cup sugar
6 ounces pineapple juice
1/4 Cup white vinegar
1/4 Cup water
2 teaspoons Tamari or soy sauce

DIRECTIONS
Put cornstarch and sugar in small saucepan and dry whisk together.  Add rest of ingredients, and on medium heat, stir often and bring to a simmer.  Stirring constantly now, continue to simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes, until it thickens and becomes glossy.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Store in fridge, where it will thicken a bit more.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

Notes:  If you must, you can add 2 drops red food coloring to make it look like Chinese-restaurant sauce.  Whisking the dry ingredients first prevents the cornstarch from clumping.  You can buy the pineapple juice in packs of six-ounce cans.
  I buy the pineapple juice in a pack of 6 oz. cans.
  So good!

Quick and Easy Homemade Gochujang Paste

 

IMG_0270    I found this quick and easy recipe for Gochujang paste here, and simply reduced the amounts, and converted them into Tablespoon and Cup measurements too.  I don’t use a lot of Gochuchang, and this will supposedly last for 6 months in the refrigerator, as long as all your ingredients have that long of a shelf life.  Most authentic recipes call for letting the Kochujang ferment at room temperature for 30 days, or covering and uncovering the paste outdoors on a daily basis, which involves a lot of salt to prevent spoilage, etc.  I looked at buying some Gochujang paste, but was put off by added ingredients like corn syrup, calcium phosphate, etc.  Some store-bought pastes also contain wheat starch in the form of  isomaltooligosaccharide, which may not be good for those who are gluten free (not sure).  By making it at home, we can also use organic miso, and organic sugar.  Use Gochujang in stir-fries, sauces, dressings and marinades–anywhere you want a little spice!  On to the brilliant little 5-minute recipe.

QUICK AND EASY GOCHUJANG PASTE

INGREDIENTS
4 oz. mild white miso  (1/2 Cup)
1.75 oz. sugar  (3 Tablespoons)
2 oz. Tamari  (2 Tablespoons)
.88 oz. Korean red pepper powder  (1/4 Cup)
2 to 3 Tablespoons water

DIRECTIONS
Dry whisk the sugar into the pepper powder.  Add miso and stir until moist and blended.  Add Tamari and stir again.  In smallest saucepan, heat mixture over medium-low to melt the sugar a bit.  Add water by the Tablespoon, and stir with a wooden spoon to blend.  Cool and put in clean glass container with lid.  Supposedly will keep in fridge for up to 6 months.  This makes enough Gochujang paste for one or two recipes, but you can double or triple the first 4 ingredients and then add a little water as needed.
IMG_0262IMG_0263
A nice big bag of Korean red pepper powder was $4.99.

Vegan Mexican Crema

IMG_2345    This quick vegan Mexican Crema takes 5 minutes to make, and it’s great on plantains and anything else that might call for crema.  You can dress it up with finely-chopped cilantro, or spices, but it’s also really good just like it is.

VEGAN MEXICAN CREMA

INGREDIENTS
1 Cup Tofutti Sour Cream  (the Non-Hydrogenated one in the dark blue container)
1/4 Cup Reduced Fat Vegenaise  (the one with the yellow cap)
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

DIRECTIONS
Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well mixed.

Notes:  If you don’t have a fresh lime on hand, you can use bottled lime juice,  such as  Whole Foods 365 Organic Lime,  or  Lakewood Organic Pure Lime.  If you do have a fresh lime, you can add the zest from it as well.

Cranberry Sauce with Kirschwasser and Cherry

IMG_1145    This might be the best cranberry sauce I’ve ever made.  To temper the astringency of the cranberries, I’ve paired them with cherry brandy and 100% real cherry juice.  I used a potato masher on the cooked sauce to give it a smoother texture while leaving a bit of Early American rusticity.  Kirschwasser is a clear brandy distilled from a fermented mash of cherries.  I’ll use the leftover cherry juice in the juicer, but you could make cocktails with it, or drink it straight in the morning, because it’s great for inflammation.  I don’t drink, but with the leftover Kirschwasser, you could make festive cherry Sidecars for the Thanksgiving bar too.  If you don’t want any alcohol in the house, just substitute more cherry juice for the Kirschwasser.   p.s.  There are three other cranberry sauces on this site:  Classic Cranberry SauceHoliday Cranberry Sauce,  and Cranberry Sauce with Amontillado Sherry.

CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH KIRSCHWASSER AND CHERRY

Makes about 2 Cups

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. fresh cranberries
1 Cup sugar
3/4 Cup Kirschwasser  (I used Dekuyper brand)
1/2 Cup 100% cherry juice  (I used R.W. Knudsen Just Tart Cherry Juice)

DIRECTIONS
Bring cranberries, sugar and Kirschwasser to simmer in a heavy saucepan over medium or medium-low heat.  Stir until sugar has dissolved, a minute or two.  Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until cranberries burst, about 12 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the cherry juice.  Mash gently with a potato masher until it’s the consistency you want.  Cool completely.  Freeze or keep in refrigerator up to one week, in an airtight container.

Note:  If you don’t want to use the alcohol, just use more cherry juice instead of the Kirschwasser.

Cilantro Chutney

IMG_0882    You might think of chutney as a chunky concoction, but many are velvety smooth, like this one.  There are at least hundreds of recipes for the favorite Indian Cilantro Chutney, and many are similar.  Some have peanuts or cashews, or lime juice instead of lemon, coconut meat instead of oil, garlic or green apple, etc.  I adapted this one by Indian chef, Vikas Khanna, and fell in love.  The salt, sugar and oil melt down the pungent onions and spicy ginger while they’re being whirled in the blender.  What really hit me was the fresh brightness of the lemon.  This tastes as good as it looks, the flavors are complex, but it’s so simple to make.  I cut the salt and oil in half, and it’s still amazing.  I also decided to freeze the leftover chutney in an ice-cube tray and keep it in the freezer, it’s that good.

CILANTRO CHUTNEY

INGREDIENTS
1 large bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped  (I discarded most of the stems)
6 scallions, coarsely chopped  (both white and green parts)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
one knob of ginger, chopped  (I chopped a 1″ by 2″ piece of peeled ginger)
1/4 Cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS
Place all ingredients in a blender, and start on low.  Slowly increase speed and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as you go.
Store refrigerated for up to 3 days.  Freeze any leftovers in an ice-cube tray.

Notes:  To save time, I used Lakewood Organic Pure Lemon Juice.   The original recipe calls for 2 hot chilis, such as Serrano or Thai chilis.  I often do not have such a thing in the house, so I substituted the cayenne, and then I put Sriracha on the table, because I like it hotter than Lars.

IMG_0889  If you want to elevate a bowl of Nissin Top Ramen (Oriental Flavor is vegan), this is the ticket!   If you find you like this, then you might also go crazy for this chunky Ginger Scallion Sauce.

Easy Fig Jam with Lemon and Sesame

IMG_0598    Vegan Mofo 2013.  For weeks, we’ve been having a contest to see who could get to the figs first–me or The Squirrels.  As you can imagine, the Squirrels are way ahead, but I did manage to snag a pound a half of these White Italian Honey Figs, and make some easy, vegan fig jam.  This fig jam is great with salty crackers on a vegan cheese board.  You can double this recipe, and you can use any type of figs–I’ve also made it with Brown Turkey figs.

EASY FIG JAM WITH LEMON AND SESAME

Makes about two 8-ounce jars.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 Cup water
1/2 Cup sugar
1.5 pounds ripe figs, rinsed
zest from one organic lemon
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (no more)
1 Tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted

DIRECTIONS
In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds, shaking the pan gently until seeds turn golden.  Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, simmer water and sugar, until sugar is dissolved.
Cut each fig into about 8 pieces.
Into the sugar-water, add zest and lemon juice and figs.
Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, 1.5 to 2 hours.
Stir in sesame seeds.
If you want to, you can now use a potato masher to break up some of the fig pieces.
I like a mixed consistency.
Let cool a bit and then ladle into heavy little canning jars.
When fully cool, cap the jars.
Keep in fridge for one month, or put in freezer for up to six months.

Notes:  I’ve tried making this with stevia, and did not like the flavor at all.  One time I added extra lemon, but that made it taste kind of like Pledge, so keep it subtle.  I also tried adding more sesame seeds, but it was too much, threw the balance off.  This fig jam is great with salty crackers and vegan cheeses.  If you need to collect figs over 2 or 3 days, gently rinse and dry them, and keep them in a covered container in the refrigerator until you get enough.
IMG_0579  White Italian Honey Figs

IMG_0510  Here’s my haul from day one.  It took me two more days to steal enough from the squirrels to make jam.

IMG_0591  The picture of health, but not ripe yet.

IMG_0589  This fig tree gets cut back each Spring and then it grows about 4-6 feet in one season.  You can see it towering over our one-story garage roof here.  This fig tree faces SW, and is protected from wind by the garage.

Vegan Oyster Sauce

In order to veganize some classic Chinese recipes, I need vegan oyster sauce.  Although there are supposedly some you can buy, I doubt I could find them locally.  I found this simple recipe on Food Dot Com and think it’s kind of genius.  It does taste remarkably like what I remember oyster sauce tasting like.  It takes about 5 minutes to make and will last for three months in the fridge.  I found a bag of kombu type seaweed at my local health food store for about $5 and it’s way more than I need; enough to share with someone.  And now I’m inspired to find other ways to use it.  Maybe I’ll perfect my own miso soup, and use it to salt various dishes.  I heard recently that Eden Organic uses kombu to salt their canned beans.  From the Wikipedia link above, I see that Kombu is a natural sort of MSG, and is the umami flavor we hear so much about now.  Below, I cut the original recipe in half, as this vegan oyster sauce will surely go bad before I could ever use it all.  This is my 19th post for Vegan Mofo, and I even posted during Hurricane Sandy, while praying that the power didn’t go out.
********
Vegan Oyster Sauce

Yield:  1 Cup

INGREDIENTS
1/2 Cup soy sauce,  or tamari sauce
1/2 Cup mirin (often available in the Oriental section of grocery stores)
a very small piece of kombu or kelp dried seaweed, measuring one inch at most

DIRECTIONS
Soak kombu in soy sauce and mirin overnight in an airtight container.
Remove kombu and discard (you now have a thin oyster sauce).
To thicken, place oyster sauce in smallest saucepan.
In a small, separate dish, mix 2 teaspoons corn starch with 2 teaspoons of water, until a smooth slurry forms.
Set oyster sauce on medium heat, add slurry and stir constantly until thickened  (This takes less than 5 minutes).
Cool, label with date, and store up to three months in fridge.

Notes:  I used Main Coast Sea Vegetables kelp, an American seaweed that is supposedly like the Japanese kombu.  Make sure to taste the vegan oyster sauce before adding it to dishes, as it is very salty (just like the regular oyster sauce with mollusks in it).  Adding shiitake mushroom stock enhances flavor, but is optional.  I think you could also use dried shiitakes to make a quick broth if you want to bother.

Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Here’s one of the best Dill Pickles I’ve ever eaten.  I used organic, pristinely-fresh, full-size cucumbers, and store-bought dill seed, to make this a year-round quick pickle.  By partially peeling and then slicing the cucumbers into spears, we now have a pickle that you can begin eating the next day.  The result is a crunchy, fresh, semi-raw-tasting pickle that’s addictive.  The original recipe appeared in the Dayton Daily News on August 14, 2006, but I cannot find the link and adapted my version from an old photocopy.   It’s one of those popular refrigerator-pickle recipes that’s probably not approved by the FDA.  However, my friend Gail has been making the original recipe for three years and nobody’s gotten sick yet, despite the fact that she refrigerates them for three to six months at a time.  When you consider, for example, the crocks of sauerkraut made around the world and stored in grubby basements, I think we’ll live.  You can find many recipes for refrigerator pickles online, on sites like cooks.com and people are letting them sit in the fridge for months on end and even adding fresh veg into the jars of original brine.  Pickling is the oldest form of food preservation, but there’s a real rebirth of fermented foods going on here in the United States, as evidenced by the plethora of books published on the subject recently (just go on amazon.com and type in “fermented foods“).  The original recipe is called “Cold Pack Dill Pickles” which is a bit of a misnomer, because supposedly, Cold Pack means using a water-bath canner instead of a pressure canner, but this simple recipe uses neither.  I’ve also reduced the salt a bit, added some mustard seeds and brought the yield down from 16 pints, to two quarts, which saves a lot of time and is fine for our home consumption.  Like my Pickled Red Onions, I’ll just make another quick batch when we’re out.  Thank you, Gail, for the original recipe, and all the fabulous garden produce you folks shared with us last summer.  Vegan Mofo 2012.
********
Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Makes 2 quarts.

INGREDIENTS
3 large, full-size, firm, fresh, organic cucumbers
(or four medium cukes)
3.5 Cups filtered water
1 Cup distilled white vinegar
3 Tablespoons fine sea salt
2 Tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons Dill seeds
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds (optional)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

DIRECTIONS
To make brine:
In a large saucepan or small stock pot, add water, vinegar, salt, and sugar.
Heat until good and hot, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
——–
Have 2 clean quart jars at the ready (or 4 pint jars).
Wash cucumbers carefully and partially peel them, leaving some green strips along the sides.  If the cucumbers are from a safe, organic garden (un-waxed cucumbers), peel them only lightly for visual appeal.
Cut the ends off each cucumber.
Cut each cucumber in half the short way, and then quarter each half into long spears.
Slice away at least half of the seeds from the length of each cucumber spear.
Rinse peeled garlic halves in hot water to make sure they’re clean, and divide the garlic between the two jars.
Add 1 teaspoon of Dill seeds to each jar.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds to each jar.
Place prepared cucumber spears vertically into jars, packing them in tightly.
Fill jars with the hot brine and then tighten the lids by hand.
Wipe jars dry and place them immediately into the fridge.
Supposedly, these keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 6 months.

Notes:  I always run my canning jars through the dishwasher with the other dishes to make sure they’re sterilized.  Make sure cutting board and knives are impeccably clean, etc.  The original recipe calls for chopping the garlic and adding 2 fresh dill sprigs to each jar.  It did not call for heating the brine, or peeling the cukes, and it recommended letting the completed pickles/jars sit out at room temperature for 24 hours, but I was too scared to do that, especially with the garlic in there.

Rosemary Infused Olive Oil

I catered a small vegan dinner party last night, as an item I had donated to a Silent Auction held by our local library here in St. Michaels, Maryland.  For the bread course, I made Jim Lahey’s Olive Bread using Kalamata olives.  Kalamata olives make me think of sunny Greece and so does the herb Rosemary, which continues to flower in my garden despite the cold weather right now.  This Rosemary Infused Olive Oil is so delicious when sprinkled with sea salt; the perfect thing to dip good bread into.  I found some tiny white porcelain ramekins at Pier 1 for a dollar each and that’s how I served it.  Quick and easy to make, you can use other herbs such as basil, but rosemary is my favorite.  If you don’t have a perennial rosemary plant in your garden, you’re missing out.  One good old hardy variety is Arp but now there are others.  Mine has lived through 2 or 3 blizzards already but I do have it in an extremely sunny spot, sheltered by a garage wall.  Rosemary is great for that dry spot where the sun beats in the afternoon!
***************
Rosemary Infused Olive Oil

INGREDIENTS
1 Cup extra virgin organic olive oil  (Trader Joe’s has a good, affordable one that is cold pressed).
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (or basil, etc.)

DIRECTIONS
Pick several younger sprigs of rosemary.
Wash rosemary sprigs and set to dry for a few minutes.
Take the prettiest sprig and set it aside.
Pull the leaves from the other sprigs, and chop them finely.
Warm the olive oil and herbs in a very small saucepan over low heat.
Remove from heat and let steep, covered, for one hour.
Strain through a very fine sieve, into a slender little bottle.
Shorten the pretty sprig to make sure it will stand under the oil in your bottle (be fully immersed).
Refrigerate and use within one week.
The pretty garnish sprig is beautiful and shows what the oil is flavored with.

Notes:  Be sure to discard this oil after a week because it will not be safe to use after that.

Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

Being October, I had no fresh dill in the garden, so I used dried dill weed, and it still tastes great.  The sprig in the photo is actually fennel, just to make it pretty.  This quick and easy recipe uses vegan sour cream, for a rich texture, and it came out better than my try with soy yogurt a while back.  I’m not crazy about garlic in delicate cream sauces, so I omitted it.  For me, it’s brighter and fresher without it, and the cool, crisp cucumber and the dill can come through cleanly.  Besides, I already put plenty of garlic in my falafels.  I also added fresh lemon juice to this vegan tzatziki sauce.  p.s.  I made this recipe specifically to go on my Falafel Burgers.
******************
Vegan Tzatziki

INGREDIENTS
1 good sized cucumber, peeled and seeds removed
12 ouncesTofutti sour cream
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped fine (or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed)
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice

DIRECTIONS
Take vegan sour cream out of the fridge and let it warm up some.
Grate cucumber, put it in a small bowl and set it aside while you work, to let the cucumber juice accumulate in the bottom of the bowl.
With the back of a spoon, press the cucumber and drain the juice out of the bowl.
Drink the cucumber juice, don’t waste it!
Mix all the ingredients together and stir well.
Chill in the fridge.

Notes:  If I had fresh dill on hand, I would have added more of it, and fresh dill is preferable over dried. Some Mediterranean restaurants use sour cream for their tzatziki, so that’s what I did.  It’s better than the one I made previously with soy yogurt, and has a richer texture too.  If you have to have the garlic, I would try 1 to 2 cloves crushed and chopped.

Turkish Yogurt Coriander Sauce

There are many variations of this Turkish Yogurt Coriander Sauce, but I’ve never seen a vegan one.  These sauces are used on roasted Middle Eastern foods, so would be great with veggie kebabs, Iranian vegan Kubideh sandwiches, etc.  I created this from a traditional recipe to go with some vegan Kibbeh that I made today, and I have to say the whole meal rocked.  This quick, easy, creamy sauce was so refreshing on the “meaty” kibbeh.  It would be great with any Middle Eastern dish (Persian, Moroccan, Lebanese, Syrian) calling for a cool, creamy sauce.  I’m even thinking of falafels.  Or anything Indian or Pakistani that would call for raita, or anything Greek calling for tzatziki.  I love the Trader Joe’s frozen cilantro cubes because they save me from buying a bag of cilantro (coriander leaves) when I know I’m only going to use a little bit of it, and the rest will go bad.  In closing, this sauce is easy, quick, cool and delicious.  A keeper.

Vegan Turkish Yogurt Coriander Sauce

Keeps for 2 days in fridge.

Makes: 1.5 cups approx.

INGREDIENTS
½ of a small garlic clove,  pressed, or crushed and minced
3 Tablespoons of onion, very finely chopped (sweet onion is sometimes preferred, but it’s not critical)
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar (or distilled white vinegar)
1 Cup almonds, chopped or sliced
a pinch of sea salt
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon fine black pepper
1 Cup plain vegan yogurt  (I used a 6 oz. So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk Yogurt, Plain flavor)
1-2 Tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped fine (I used instead 3 teaspoons of Trader Joe’s frozen cilantro cubes, thawed)

DIRECTIONS
Put chopped or sliced almonds in a small skillet and toast lightly with a pinch of fine sea salt, and stir.
In a serving bowl, combine garlic, onion and vinegar, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Beat in the olive oil, until the sauce is creamy.  I use my café latte frother.
Add salt, pepper, coriander/cilantro, and yogurt, and then whisk or froth to blend well.
Add almonds just before serving, to keep them crunchy.

Pickled Red Onions

These Pickled Red Onions are something I improvised years ago and we always have a jar in the fridge and we use them on everything.  They add oomph to just about anything calling for onions, you’ll see.

Pickled Red Onions

INGREDIENTS
1 red onion, sliced into 1/8 inch rounds (and some 1/4 inch too)
½ tsp fine sea salt
¾ C red wine vinegar
1 T agave syrup or 1T sugar
¼ tsp ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS
Separate the onion rings and put into jar.
Add all other ingredients and pour over the onions.
Toss and marinate for one hour in refrigerator.
These will keep for about two weeks in the refrigerator.

Use in sandwiches, on appetizers, in salads, on vegan hot dogs, and anything else you can think of.  I love these in various recipes on this site, including the Butter Bean CanapesFrench Red Potato Salad, Welsh Rarebit, vegan hot dogs, vegan grilled cheese, in the Excellent Bean Dip on this site, as a topping for chili, etc., etc.  Also, I mince these to use in place of shallots, with great results.

Note: I use a recycled jar with a plastic lid for these. Due to vinegar (high acid) content, I want a non-reactive lid, in case I choose to shake the jar once in a while. A re-purposed Vegenaise jar works perfectly.

Cranberry Sauce with Amontillado Sherry

This recipe is adapted from a cookbook by Nava Atlas.  It’s very simple to make, having only three ingredients.  It calls for port or sherry, but what I had on hand was Amontillado sherry.  This cranberry sauce came out lovely; simple and with just a hint of the Amontillado left once it’s cooked.  Subtle.  You’ll never want that canned stuff again.  p.s.  I cut the measurements down to fit an 8 oz. bag of cranberries.  See measurements at bottom for 12 ounces of cranberries, which is what the original recipe called for.  p.s.  There are three other cranberry sauces on this site:  Classic Cranberry SauceHoliday Cranberry Sauce,  and Cranberry Sauce with Kirschwasser and Cherry.
****************************************************
Cranberry Sauce with Amontillado Sherry

approx. 6 servings

INGREDIENTS
8 oz. bag of organic cranberries
1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon firmly-packed light brown sugar
1/8 Cup plus 2 teaspoons sherry

DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
Cook over low to medium heat, covered until cranberries have burst and the mixture thickens, about 30 minutes or so.
You can smash some of the cranberries with your wooden spoon if you like.
Let cool, then refrigerate or freeze.
Serve cold or at room temperature.

Note:  For 12 ounces of cranberries, use 1/2 C brown sugar and 1/4 C of port or sherry.

Horseradish Cream

This recipe is from The Blooming Platter vegan blog, and it’s incredibly quick, simple and delicious!  I was tempted to add more of the sour cream, but found that Betsy DiJulio’s blend of equal parts is just right.  Some may like it hotter, though.  This is great on a vegan Oktoberfest plate, but will also be great with vegan corned beef in March, such as this recipe on Everyday Dish TV.

***************************************************
Vegan Horseradish Cream

makes 3/4 to 1 cup

INGREDIENTS
6-8 Tablespoons vegan sour cream, such as Tofutti brand
6-8 Tablespoons prepared horseradish (not cream style, because it is not vegan).  In the seafood department of your grocery store, you may be able to find Kelchner’s brand of horseradish which is accidentally vegan.

DIRECTIONS
Whisk together both ingredients with a fork until well combined.  Cover and chill.  You can obviously make more or less, just use equal parts of the two ingredients.

Holiday Cranberry Sauce

This recipe is from the Veganomicon cookbook.  It was a good excuse to try a vegan thickener that acts just like gelatin but unlike gelatin, it has no animal bones, skin or hair in it.  It’s called agar agar, or the Japanese call it kanten, and it’s made of seaweed and sea vegetables, but it does not impart any salty flavor, and is used in the most delicate of Asian desserts and salads.  Vegetarians and vegans have long known about agar and it’s readily available in health food stores.  Agar has an indefinite shelf life, so although it’s a bit expensive, it lasts a long time, perhaps years in your cupboard.  This photo is of the cranberry sauce cooling in a bowl, and it set up nicely but was not overly-jelled like the canned stuff.  Then I put it in the freezer because it was delicious enough for Thanksgiving.  I do this at the beginning of every November when the organic cranberries are at peak perfection; make several batches.  Cranberry sauce freezes beautifully, and sometimes as you near the end of November, the cranberries in the supermarket look a bit worse for wear.  There’s a note at the bottom of the recipe, adjusting the measurements in case you only have a 7.5 or 8 oz. package of cranberries.  p.s.  There are three other cranberry sauces on this site:  Cranberry Sauce with Kirschwasser and CherryClassic Cranberry Sauce,  and  Cranberry Sauce with Amontillado Sherry.
****************************************************
Holiday Cranberry Sauce
makes about 5 cups, per the cookbook

INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 C apple cider
2 T agar flakes (if using agar powder, 2 tsps would be equivalent)
3/4 C sugar
12 ounces fresh cranberries (a little over 3 cups)

DIRECTIONS
Pour apple cider into small pot and stir in the agar.
Let soak for 10 minutes to soften up the agar flakes.
Skip the soaking step if using agar powder.
Cover and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, add cranberries and sugar.  Lower heat to medium.
Mixture should be at a steady simmer.
Cover, leaving a little gap for steam to escape and simmer for 10 minutes.
At this point, cranberries should be popping and juice should be red.
Use your wooden spoon to crush cranberries against side of the pot to help them along.
Cook uncovered for 5 more minutes.
Cranberries should be mostly popped and crushed and juice should be thicker and red.
Let cool, and then transfer to a container and refrigerate.
It takes about 3 hours for it to be completely chilled and slightly jelled.

Note.  If you only have 7.5 ounces or 8 ounces of cranberries, use the following measurements:  1 C apple cider, 1T plus 1 tsp agar flakes, and 1/2 C sugar.  (If using agar powder, then use only 1 tsp plus 1 rounded 1/4 tsp)

Preserved Lemons

     Preserved Lemons have been used in the Middle East  and North Africa since forever. Think of Moroccan tagines, the warmth of a relentless sun and olive groves.  I use this recipe from epicurious.com and I keep them in my fridge for about a year.  I did not soak the lemons to soften the peel, figuring they’ll soften in the jar anyway.  I did sterilize the jar by dipping it into boiling water, and I did dip the lemons for a minute or less in the same water.  I even put a little boiling water in a ramekin and dipped the whole spices in that.  I use two 3-inch cinnamon sticks, and sometimes one bay leaf.  I prefer not to use cloves or cardamom because I don’t want any medicinal flavor with the bright lemon.  The spices call to mind the souks of the middle east and I’ve always liked cinnamon in savory dishes anyway.  I don’t know if the lemons I used were Meyers, but they were organic, which was most important to me, since we’re going to consume the skins.  Making the lemons is easy.  Now to decide upon a myriad of dishes to make with them. I see Israeli couscous with roasted butternut squash and preserved lemons in my future, and lemon risotto.  And in the Spring, a compound lemon butter with Earth Balance for the new potatoes and asparagus and artichokes.  Lemon vinaigrettes and lemon tea cookies, etc.  It’s important to scrape the flesh from the underside of the already-preserved lemon and rinse the bit of peel you are using under cold running water, before chopping and mincing very finely for your dish.  And, a little goes a long way.  It will add some salt to your dish (despite rinsing) so adjust your recipe’s salt accordingly.
  I like these tongs, and wrap some rubber bands around the ends, which helps grip the jar.

Vegan Remoulade Sauce Dressing for Vegetables

This remoulade sauce dressing is so luscious that you’ll want to eat it with a spoon.  It can be used also as a dipping sauce, and is superb on steamed artichokes, steamed asparagus, slices of ripe garden tomatoes, and is amazing on Mock Crab Cakes as a vegan tartar sauce.  I use only Vegenaise mayo for this, the most delicious mayonnaise I have ever found.  I adapted this recipe from a cookbook called The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  Vegenaise can be found at any health food store.  As an added bonus, here’s a great little video on cooking artichokes.

Vegan Remoulade Sauce,  Dressing for Vegetables, Vegan Crab Cakes, etc.

INGREDIENTS
1.5 C Vegenaise mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 T minced capers
2 T Lemon juice (no more or it will be too watery)
1/4 t salt
1/4 cayenne pepper

Mix all and chill.  Garnish with some lemon zest or a whole caper if desired.  Note:  If only for two people, this is easily halved.