Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Chubby Vegetarian Recipe Contest #1

Update, 5/15/15: Thank you for all of your entries. This contest is closed. Stay tuned to vote on our top 3 submissions.

Update, 5/11: You have until this Thursday night, 5/14, to enter your recipe in the comments section below. Voting will begin after that -- and we can't wait for y'all to see the top 3 contenders and vote for your favorite recipe overall so that we can make it and feature it on TCV! 

Some of our favorite recipes came from our family and friends. Sure, we love to be creative in the kitchen, but we also love to sit back and let someone else take the wheel every once in a while.  Michael Hughes's delicious Oyster Mushroom Rockefeller, Kelly English's rich Midnight Snack, and Simon Majumdar's spicy Life-Saving Dahl have all become staples in our own kitchen.

We want to see what you're cooking, and we'd love for you to share your original Chubby Vegetarian-inspired recipe with us. It can be an appetizer, main dish, or dessert, just as long as it is wholly your own concoction. Remember, we like to keep one eye on delicious and the other on healthy. So, get cracking and let your creativity shine!

We will pick the top three recipes submitted, and our readers will vote on which dish will be the champion. We will cook, photograph, and share the winner's recipe here at The Chubby Vegetarian along with a short interview and links to the winner's social media accounts. All you need to do to enter is type up your recipe and paste it into the comments below this post. (We will not publish the comments on the blog in order to keep your secret recipe a secret.) Let us all know that you've entered a recipe by posting a mystery photo of your creation via Instagram or Twitter and tag us using our handle: @chubbyveg.

The Chubby Vegetarian Recipe Contest is open to everyone from professional chefs to novice home cooks. Entries must be received by midnight on Thursday, May 14th to be eligible. Thanks for cooking with us!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Grilled Eggplant Bahn Mi Sandwich

This is just a whole bunch of awesome! Each component of this classic Vietnamese sandwich adds plenty of depth and character, so the dish as a whole is complex and amazing. 

One of our secrets here is adding a little cocoa powder to the Shiitake Mushroom Paté. My friend Tuyen, a Vietnamese chef, urged me to try it, and I've made my paté with cocoa ever since. It's strange how savory cocoa powder is without a bunch of sugar mixed with it. Somehow it's super meaty-tasting.

We make this same sandwich with fried eggs or pan-seared tofu in place of the eggplant, so don't feel tied to the idea of eggplant if you aren't a fan. The bright pickles, crunchy cucumber, herbaceous cilantro, savory paté, and rich sriracha mayo will play a brilliant supporting role to anything you want to throw in there.

Grilled Eggplant Bahn Mi Sandwich

Do Chua (recipe follows)
Shiitake Mushroom Paté (recipe follows)
Grilled Eggplant (recipe follows)
2 12-inch crispy baguettes
1/4 cup mayonaise
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 cucumber (sliced)
1 serrano or jalapeño (thinly sliced)
2 green onions (sliced)
cilantro leaves (to garnish)
2 medium limes (quartered)
sea salt (to taste)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Make the Do Choa, Shiitake Mushroom Paté, and Grilled Eggplant according to the recipes. In a 350-degree oven, warm the baguettes so the outside of them is nice and crispy. Split the baguette down one side and leave the other side intact (like a hinge). In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sriracha to make sriracha mayo. Start assembling the sandwiches by spreading the sriracha mayo on the top and the paté on the bottom. Continue by adding eggplant, cucumber, hot pepper slices, sliced green onion, Do Chua, and garnish with cilantro leaves. Add sea salt to taste. 
Cut each sandwich in half and serve with lime wedges. (Makes 4 servings.)

Do Chua (pickled carrots and radish)

1 medium carrot
4 medium radish
1/4 cup water

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon honey

Thinly slice carrots and radishes using a mandolin or sharp knife. Place vegetables into a 1/2-pint mason jar. In a small pan over high heat, bring the water, vinegar, salt, and honey to a boil. Remove from heat and carefully pour over the vegetable in the jar. Place the lid on the jar and place in the fridge until ready to serve. (Makes 1/2 pint.) 

Shiitake Mushroom Paté

1 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cups sliced shiitake (about 10 ounces, stems and all)
1 large shallot, sliced (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Cracked black pepper (to taste)

In a large frying  pan over high heat, add the olive and sesame oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add the shiitake mushrooms and shallots. Allow mushrooms and shallots to pick up plenty of color from the pan before stirring; this gives your paté a deep flavor. Cook mushrooms for a total of 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup water and transfer the contents of the pan to your food processor. 

Add the soy sauce, cocoa powder, and cracked black pepper. Blend until very smooth. Place pâté in a bowl and in the fridge until ready to serve. (Makes about 1 cup.)

Grilled Eggplant

1 medium eggplant
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Cracked black pepper (to taste)

Preheat your outdoor grill to high -- or if a grill isn't available, use a cast-iron grill pan. Using a vegetable peeler, remove 1/2 of the eggplant skin in long strips. Slice eggplant into 1/2-inch rounds and place onto a rimmed baking sheet. In a small mason jar or bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar and shake it up to emulsify. Brush both sides of each eggplant slice with the mixture and add cracked black pepper to taste. 

Grill eggplant slices for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until well-marked by the grill grates. Remove and wrap slices in aluminum foil until ready to serve. (Makes 4 servings.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Egg Foo Yung with Sriracha Gravy

This is a simple recipe that we make all the time at home. It's really versatile in that you can use any mix of vegetables that you have on hand, and it's one of those dishes that you can make for breakfast, lunch, or dinner -- it really works great for all three. And boy, it's really fast, and I mean fast. Once you've made it a few times, you can go from thinking you're hungry to eating a home-cooked meal in 10 minutes. That's faster than takeout or delivery. 

We love our ceramic non-stick pans for cooking eggs like this. You should chuck your old non-stick cookware and give this a try. It's slick and nothing sticks to it. 

Egg Foo Yung with Sriracha Gravy

1 1/2 cups 1/4-inch sliced mixed vegetables 

(Use this Spring Vegetable Mix or whatever you like)
4 large eggs
3 green onions
1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sriracha Gravy (recipe follows)

Using a food processor, pulse the vegetable mixture several times until it is finely chopped. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk them. Add the finely chopped vegetable mixture. Thinly slice green onions and add the white part to the egg mixture; reserve the green tops for garnish. Add the garlic, ginger, 5-spice, salt, and pepper to the egg mixture. 

In a small, 8-inch, non-stick frying pan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and wait until it shimmers. Add half of the vegetable and egg mixture (about 1 cup) and allow it to cook for 1 to 2 minutes. All the while, shake the pan so that the eggs don't stick. Once the eggs brown and start to set, flip the foo yung and cook the other side for 1 to 2 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside and repeat with the remaining oil and egg mixture. Once you've finished both, use the pan to make the gravy.

To serve, slice egg foo yung into quarters and garnish with warm Sriracha Gravy and green onion. (Serves 2 for dinner or 4 as an appetizer.)

Sriracha Gravy

1 tablespoon soy sauce (like Braggs)

1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Place the soy sauce, Sriracha, vinegar, cornstarch, and water in a mason jar with a lid and shake until cornstarch has dissolved. In a 8-inch frying pan over high heat, cook the mixture until it thickens. This will take about 2 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve. (makes about 3/4 of gravy)

Monday, April 6, 2015

TCV Spring Newsletter

A lot has been happening, and we figured it's about time for an update. Even though it's obvious that this risks sounding like (and obnoxiously coming across as) one of those weird family Christmas update letters, we figured, whatever -- we wanted to jump in and share what all's been going on around here since February.

We are so thrilled to be a part of Memphis Health + Fitness this month! Had to keep it quiet for a minute, but now that their Food Issue is out on the stands, we can tell you the news. (We picked up our own copy at Outdoors in Midtown this afternoon, and we got reports it was available all around Germantown over the weekend.) So excited -- it's our first cover story, and it delves into how we got healthy and came to love cooking. It really sums it all up. Thanks to the wonderful folks at the magazine who thought of us for this, and thanks to everyone who pitched in and made it happen! It's definitely a highlight of 2015 so far.

With spring finally here, we've been outside more and cooking some new things we can't wait to put on the blog. We've also been writing away from here and are sharing a byline on blog posts for Memphis Stew, the Memphis magazine food blog (our first few collaborations have been about Valentine's Day stuff, Maui Brick Oven, and Ecco on Overton Park). We worked together on an article about the creative process of chefs for Edible Memphis; it was great to work with these folks and check out their notebooks packed with ideas: Karen Carrier of Beauty Shop, Bar DKDC, and Mollie Fontaine Lounge; Ken Lumpkin of Napa Café; Michael "Dutch" Holland of Porcellino's; and the multi-talented guy whose drawings and dishes graced the cover, Andrew Adams of Acre.

Finally, we'll be appearing at Bookstock, The Memphis Public Library's festival celebrating authors and readers of fine books, and we hope to see you at the Salud Cooking School inside of Whole Foods on Poplar on April 22nd for our vegetarian cooking class. We'll be teaching you how to make the tasty, vegetarian versions of classic Asian dishes that we make in our house all the time. It's a great class to try if you want to get your family happy to eat more vegetables. Call 901-969-4199 or click HERE for more details or to register for the class.

We hope y'all had a beautiful Easter. Bet you're looking forward to the upcoming growing season and much-needed sunshine and warmth as much as we are -- here's to an amazing spring!