Friday, March 15, 2013

Tex-Mex Quinoa and White Bean Mini Pies

I was inspired to make a pie for Pi Day, and I wanted to do something a little non-traditional. Then I remembered this recipe for Queso and Ancho Chili Sauce and I knew exactly what kind of pie I’d be making. They would be mini, they would be Tex-Mex and they would be awesome. 

I made two mini pot pies and two hand pies. They were a perfect little meal for my husband and me.

Tex-Mex Quinoa and White Bean Mini Pies
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Perfect Pie Crust
  • 8 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I used ancho)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup white beans, cooked
  • 1/2 cup corn, frozen
  • 1/2 recipe Queso and Ancho Chili Sauce (or canned enchilada sauce if that’s what you have)

1. To make the crust: Add the flour, salt and sugar to a food processor and pulse it a few times to combine. Add the Earth Balance and pulse until the Earth Balance is the size of peas. Slowly add the ice water until a dough forms. Dump the dough on a floured surface and shape it into a ball. Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
2. Preheat your oven to 350. In a bowl, stir the Braggs into the quinoa and set this aside.
3. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and cook them until they’re translucent.
4. Stir the garlic, oregano, chili powder and cumin into the onions and cook the mixture for about 30 seconds.
5. Add the quinoa to the onions and spices and give it a few really good stirs to combine everything. Remove the skillet from the heat.
6. Gently mix the white beans, corn and Queso Ancho Chili Sauce into the skillet with the quinoa. Season the whole thing with salt to taste.
7. Remove your crust from the fridge and dump it on a floured surface. Roll the crust out to about 1/8 inch thick. You know, not too thin, not too thick.

For Hand Pies:
Cut out your desired shape into even portions until you’re out of dough. Add a small amount of the filling to the middle of one of your cutouts, and top it with another cut out. Pinch the edges together with a fork and make a slit on the top. Brush some non-dairy milk on top of the pie and repeat the process until you run out of dough. Bake the pies on an ungreased baking sheet at 350 for 20 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet, turn the heat down to 325 and bake the pies for another 10 – 15 minutes. Until they’re brown enough for your tastes. Remove your pies from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before diving in.

For Mini Pot Pies:
Place your ramekins top side down on the dough. Trace a circle around the ramekin with an extra 1/2″ of dough. So don’t trace against the ramekin, but a half inch out. Fill a ramekin with the filling all the way to the top. Cover the ramekin with your cut out dough and curl the 1/2″ excess on to the top sides of the ramekin and pinch it down with a fork. Make a slit on the top of the pie and repeat the whole process until you’re out of filling. You should have enough the filling for 2-3 ramekins plus some hand pies. Brush the top of the pies with non-dairy milk and bake on an ungreased baking sheet at 350 for 20 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet, turn the heat down to 325 and bake the pies for another 10 – 15 minutes. Until they’re brown enough for your tastes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool a few minutes before diving in.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Vegan Franks and Beans

Did you eat Franks and Beans growing up? It’s basically white beans, pork and hot dogs in a sweet and tangy sauce. It’s so warm and comforting, but the ingredients are not the best. I made some changes to make it healthier, vegan and as wonderful as it ever was.

The first change I made was using pinto beans instead of white beans. I like white beans, but I love pinto beans. Next, I used Field Roast Frankfurters in place of the hot dogs. I love Field Roast because their products are grain based, not soy based. I love soy when it’s organic and free of GMOs, but a lot of soy based meat alternatives aren’t there yet. So I prefer to make my own grain meats or use products from Field Roast or Upton’s Naturals.

Vegan Franks and Beans

  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon mustard, preferably dijon
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 vegetarian hot dogs (like Field Roast Frankfurters), sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans (2 15oz cans if you’re using canned)
  • salt to taste
1. In a bowl, whisk together the molasses, mustard, chili powder, brown sugar, water and liquid smoke. Set the mixture aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the sliced hot dogs and cook them until they’re browned. Remove them from the skillet and set aside.
3. Turn the skillet down to medium heat and add the onions. Let the onions cook until they’re a little brown (not burned.)
4. Add the garlic to the onions and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
5. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the beans and molasses mixture. Let it simmer, stirring often, until the whole thing gets thick and saucy, about 10 minutes.
6. Once thick and saucy, remove your franks and beans from the heat and season them with salt to taste.
7. This recipe serves four. Unless you’re starving, then it serves two. And I can’t eat beans without cornbread so I recommend making a pan. Or better yet a skillet. Unsweetened, please.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Is it Spring in Texas Yet?

Today was so wonderfully warm, how could I not treat myself to ice cream? Vegan salted caramel and vegan s’more ice cream from Austin’s own Sweet Ritual – An all vegan ice cream parlor.

I spotted these guys at one of our farmer’s markets this week. Beautiful and local strawberries already making themselves available?! Love.

It’s starting to look like spring out there, and Texas springs are just the best. The bluebonnets take over and make for the most gorgeous back drops. The nights are warmer which make gazing for stars in our giant night sky even more majestic. I can’t wait until the season is in full bloom. 

Heaven on Earth.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vegan Brown Rice Horchata

Horchata is an incredibly refreshing drink made from rice, cinnamon, vanilla and milk. I made tacos last night for dinner and I knew that horchata would be a perfect addition to the meal. It helped that it was 80 degrees outside and I was craving something to celebrate the warm and beautiful day. 

I made the Horchata, Iced from Vegan Explosion subbing brown rice for white. It was perfect! As Crystal’s recipes tend to be 🙂