Learn how to make Vegan Meatballs!

 

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meatball sub

In my cooking class, Vegan 101: The System,  one of the things I will be teaching is how to make a simple, NO COOK (unless you count boiling water) veggie burger base that can be turned into meatballs and veggie meatloaf!

Date: August 27

Time: 1-5 pm

Place: Holbrook, MA

Cost: $125

Here’s what people are saying about this class:

Local friends, if you are looking to massively level up your plant based cooking, Melody Polakow is *the* person to learn from – she makes the most inspired, delicious, satisfying vegan food I have ever come across. – Andrea, Boston, MA

I can whole heartedly second Andrea’s testimonial about Melody — we recently did a private cooking class with Melody — it was totally amazing — I was about to give up on going Vegan as I had almost begun to dread eating — in the class with Melody I learned to make several “master sauces” and applied them to a few recipes — and they were fantastic — tasty, well spiced and filling. Take the class — you will be happy you did. – Penny, Boston, MA

Yes indeed. Melody Polakow’s class is awesome. I love being vegan, but I didn’t feel like I had the tools. Now, we have the basis for a bunch of sauces. We know how to create “cheese flavoring” sauces that work with everything. Amazing “meat” to make meatloaf, hamburgers, meatballs and so forth. Some core ingredients to use.. Comfort with using my Instant Pot, etc.

We crammed more in to this class then I thought possible. It felt like we learned 3 class fulls in one class. We were all exhausted, but happy at the end. Had a delicious “meatball” sub to celebrate and a refrigerator full of food.

Melody is a great instructor.. Super friendly. Very knowledgeable. Amazingly Skillful. Wow. – Michael, Boston, MA

This class is awesome. Y’all should definitely attend! Her food is super tasty! – Jason, Boston, MA

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Grilled Eggplant Caprese Wheat berry Salad

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I developed this recipe years ago, and it’s still one of my favorite salads. It can be easily veganized by using smoked tofu instead of the smoked mozzarella, and frankly, I prefer the tofu version. I’m going to share the recipe with you, but first I want to talk a little bit about how I like to stock my freezer with cooked grains and legumes. I usually cook two different grains and two different legumes a week, and freeze the leftovers in single or double size portions. That way I can always pull something out of my freezer for a quick meal by adding whatever veggies I have on hand and one of the many sauces I keep on hand. (I also make the sauces in a big batch and freeze them too.)

For breakfast this morning, I used my cooked wheatberries and white beans, added some zucchini, spinach, and cilantro-mint chutney and had a great breakfast in under 10 minutes! It may not look great, but the mint chutney pulled it all together and gave it a great, cooked all day flavor.

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I’m a huge lover of leftovers for breakfast!

Now, onto the recipe for this awesome salad:

Grilled Eggplant Caprese Wheat berry Saladwheatberryeggplant-019-M

Serves 6 as a side dish

  • 1 c wheat berries
  • 4 c water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 2 inch rounds
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves pressed garlic, divided (around 4 teaspoons)
  • 4 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, washed and dried (around 1 ½ cups loosely packed), hand torn
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
  • ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon (around ¼ cup)
  • 4 ounces fresh smoked mozzarella* or smoked tofu cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Smoked sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method:

  • In a large saucepan, bring wheat berries, water and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until the wheat berries are tender. Drain in a colander, rinse and set aside. This can be done the night before
  • Slice eggplant, place in a gallon size ziplock bag with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 pressed garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons vinegar and ½ teaspoon salt. Let this marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  • Grill eggplant over medium heat for around 4 minutes a side, set aside
  • In a bowl, add the cooked wheat berries, the rest of the vinegar and olive oil, tomatoes, basil, herbs, lemon zest and juice and smoked mozzarella.
  • Chop eggplant and add to bowl, toss and add smoked sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

*Smoked Tofu is a great alternative to smoked mozzarella for those wishing to avoid dairy. You can find it in many Chinese markets and in some supermarkets.

Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas

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I’ve been having so much fun with my tortilla press. Fresh corn tortillas are the best! I use masa, water, and a tiny pinch of salt. I cook them in my cast iron. I used to make them years ago when I was married and raising my kids, but stopped… and now I will not go back!

The above picture was my breakfast the other day.. I am in love with the Costco Sweet Kale Chopped Salad Kit. It’s a mixture of broccoli (stems), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and chicory. It comes with both pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries, which I use in other applications (like Granola!).. and a dressing which I don’t use at all. It’s so convenient to just grab a handful of delicious veggies for salads, sandwiches, stir fries..

I topped the tortilla with some spicy TVP based chili. I used my “quick mole” and homemade salsa to flavor the chili along with onions, garlic, peppers, and jalapenos.

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The Boyfriend enjoyed this chili on top of a hot dog… which is fine with me! I’m glad I can get plant-based goodness into him.. and he loved it!

I digress; back to my meal! I topped the tortilla with my chili along with the greens, homemade salsa.. and served it with a side of slow cooked pintos. The salsa was a cooked salsa… with jalapenos, garlic, onion, culantro, cumin, coriander, lime juice and canned diced tomatoes. The culantro is such a great alternative to cilantro! Much stronger and so packed with flavor.

It was, of course, very hot and spicy because I never seed the chilies I work with. (If I am cooking for myself).. when I cook for clients or restaurants, I seed them!

 

 

 

30 Minute Supermarket Chana Masala (Vegan)

chana masala

Thank you so much for the support on my last post.

I love Indian food! We are lucky to have some really good Indian restaurants in the Boston area and take advantage of them at least several times a month, but the food can be really heavy, so I love to make my own interpretations at home.

Click HERE for my amazing Spicy Tomato Onion Chutney recipe!

This is a super fast dish that will taste like it’s been simmering for a while. I purposely picked ingredients that are available in a regular supermarket. Traditional Chana Masala uses amchor to give it a lovely sour kick. I have replaced the amchor with lemon juice and added lemon zest for a lovely little explosion of flavor in your mouth. When you are cooking food fast, little things like lemon zest and cumin seeds dance around on your palate, which is very satisfying.

To make this a one pot stew, increase the curry powder to 2 tbsp., the salsa to 3 cups, the soy sauce to 3 tbsp., and add a 16 oz. bag of frozen cauliflower when you add the chickpeas. Serve over rice for a full meal. This dish also freezes very well, so feel free to double it and freeze the second batch! Cook once, eat twice! I like to portion my second batch into 1.5 cup servings so I can pull one out whenever I want a fast meal.

30 Minute Supermarket Chana Masala- serves 4

  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, minced, seeds removed if you don’t want heat (omit or add more depending on personal taste.)
  • 8 cloves garlic, pressed
  • Several pinches salt/freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. chopped, fresh ginger
  • 2 cups salsa*
  • 1 cup light canned coconut milk (or half cup regular coconut milk mixed with ½ cup water, you can also use full fat if you want)
  •  1 29 oz. can chickpeas (or around 3 cups cooked chickpeas) **
  • Water or vegetable broth as needed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (optional) Tip: peel lemon zest with a peeler, making sure not to get any of the white pith and keep in the freezer.
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat add the oil and spices. Toast spices for 20 seconds or so, then add the onion, serrano and garlic along with a good pinch salt and pepper.
  2. Cook for around 10 minutes, then add the ginger, salsa and coconut milk and chickpeas.
  3. If the mixture looks dry, add some water or broth as needed
  4. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring several times, and adding broth as needed.
  5. Take off heat, stir in soy sauce, lemon juice/zest and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning.

*The salsa brings all of the flavors together; allowing the dish to taste like it’s been cooked longer. If you don’t have salsa, you can use canned, crushed tomatoes.

**You can choose to drain the chickpeas or not based on personal preference.

Serve over rice.

Roasted Garlic Marinara

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OK, so I am cheating here. I am not using real roasted garlic, because who has an hour of time to spare and if you do, do you want to turn your oven on for an hour *just* to roast garlic?

This simple marinara is rich with the taste of roasted garlic. The key is to start with COLD olive oil.  This recipe makes enough for around 2 quarts of sauce. You can freeze half of it, or keep it in the fridge for 2 weeks.

paasta 014Roasted Garlic Marinara

  • 12 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like it spicy, more if you want it spicier.)
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried marjoram
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes and their liquid
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt/Pepper to taste (this will definitely vary depending on the brand of canned tomatoes.)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil or parsley

Method:

  1. In a heavy bottomed 3 (or larger) qt. saucepan, add the garlic and oil, along with the dried spices and a pinch of salt to a cold pan.
  2. Turn the heat to medium low and wait until the garlic is sizzling and brown (this will take around 15 minutes.) Turn the garlic over a couple of times.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir, then add the canned tomatoes and a couple pinches of salt.
  4. Cover and increase heat to medium; cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Turn heat off, add the salt/pepper to taste and stir in fresh herbs. Let the sauce sit for 1o minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings again if needed.

This is one of my “Master Sauces” I keep on hand at all times. Master Sauces allow me to create 30 minute meals that taste like they have been cooking all day long. Stay tuned for more information!