06.17.18

Ducky’s Vegan Paella Recipe

Posted in Recipes at 1:14 am by ducky

I had paella for the first time courtesy of my nephew Z and his wife R, and it was awesome.  A few weeks later, I had it at a restaurant and decided I had to have it!  After some trial-and-error, here is what I came up with:

In a saucepan, boil:

  • 3 C water
  • 2 heaping teaspoons full of Vegetable Better Than Boullion goo ← unsolicited endorsement, this stuff is great
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2-6 saffron threads
  • 1 C arborio rice ← Important! Arborio absorbs more water than regular rice

Meanwhile, sauté with a flat-edged spatula:

  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 t cayenne OR 1 jalapeño
  • 1 poblano or 1 green pepper (poblano is slightly spicier)
  • 1 yellow or red pepper
  • (optional: green onions)
  • 4 garlic cloves

I listed the above in the rough inverse order of how much cooking they need.  I tend to put the garlic in RIGHT before I put in the spices.

After sautéeing until the onions are transparent:

  • 2 HEAPING t smoked paprika (which is probably more like 3 or 4 level teaspoons)
  • 12 turns black pepper from a pepper grinder (1 tsp?)
  • 7 turns white pepper from a pepper grinder

WARNING: stuff, especially the spices, will want to stick to the bottom of the pan.  I use a flat-edged wooden spatula to be able to get the crud off the bottom.  Adding a little more oil will reduce but not eliminate the desire to stick to the bottom.

Put in the spices and stir/cook for not very long (another 3-5 min?), then stir in:

  • 2 med tomatoes
  • all the stuff from the saucepan (rice plus liquids)
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • (optional) 1 handful of parsley or cilantro

I don’t have a good way of describing when to stop boiling the rice mixture and put it into the big pot.  When it gets close, the rice grains will get soft on the outside but still have just a little piece in the interior which will still be al dente in the interior.  At the end, the rice needs to be soft all the way through, but not overcooked; the timing works out for me such that the big pot is ready to receive the rice mixture at a time when the rice isn’t soft all the way through yet… so I usually put in the rice into the big pot when it is _slightly_ al dente still and let it do its final softening in the big pot.

I sometimes add some water here so that the water level is almost to the top of the veggies.

Simmer until the rice is soft all the way through, and most of the liquid should be below the level of the top of the rice.  (5min?  15min?)

I understand that the “authentic” way to do paella is to boil the rice with everything in the big pot, it’s a bit faster to start the rice cooking while the veggies are sautéeing.  It’s also authentic to stop stirring and let the bottom of the food brown, but I am too afraid of burning it so I have never managed that trick.

I try to adjust the quantities based on the size of the vegetables I have on hand.  If I have a huge honkin’ onion and huge honkin’ tomatoes, I might use three small peppers, 1.5 cups of rice, etc.  If I only have one small onion, I might add some scallions or shallots.

This is a very robust recipe. When I make it, I vary the ingredients quite a bit.  I don’t have set times, the heapingness of the teaspoons is very hand-wavy, etc.   I frequently need to add a little bit of oil late in the process to help keep stuff from sticking.

I think this is a recipe which you should not be afraid to vary a bit.  If you like things spicier, use a little more cayenne and a little less paprika.  If you like things less spicy, use a green bell pepper and no cayenne or jalapeño.  If you don’t have onions but do have scallions, use scallions.  Double batches work just fine.

It probably would work better if you had a real paella pan, but I don’t have one.  I make it in a dutch oven (with a side saucepan for cooking the initial rice mixture).

02.20.18

Ducky’s Vegan Cajun Red Beans and Rice Recipe

Posted in Recipes at 9:39 pm by ducky

I had a Significant Other many years ago who was from Louisiana, and taught me to love Red Beans and Rice.  Later, I became a vegetarian.  That was mostly okay, but I missed Red Beans and Rice.  I eventually got tired and worked out a vegetarian version and was really happy with how it turned out.  Here’s my recipe:

Soak 1 lb dried red beans overnight.

After they are well and truly soaked, drain off the water and put them in a slow cooker  Cover them with water or broth. (I really like Better Than Bullion goo; I use about 2 big teaspoons for one batch of this recipe.)

Chop two sausages of Tofurky Andouille sausage (comes in 4-packs) into thin disks and brown lightly.

Then saute with the sausage:

  • 4 diced celery stalks
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1/2 to 1 green pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic

After you’ve sauteed all the stuff, add it to the slow cooker.

Also toss into the slow cooker:

  • 1t salt
  • 2t white pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 waaay heaping teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 3/4 t of cayenne pepper
  • about 2cm of jalapeno
  • 20 turns of a black pepper mill (I think this works out to about 2t)

Everybody’s slow cooker is going to be different, but I think mine takes about six hours on high.   It’s done when the beans are mushy.  For authenticity, at some point when the beans start to get mushy, smash 1/4 of them against the side of the slow cooker.  This makes the stew thicker and mixes more of the bean flavour into the liquid.

Serve over rice.

Notes:

“Red beans” are a specific type of beans. Beans which happen to be red, like kidney beans, are not the same. If you can’t find dried red beans, you can probably find canned red beans, but they are more expensive. (You don’t have to soak them overnight, however.)

The Tofurkey Andouille sausage is really important for getting the taste right.  Other kinds of vegetarian sausage won’t give the right taste.  Tofurkey Andouille sausage is slightly hard to find, but our Whole Foods carries it.

The beans freeze well, but the rice does not.