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Adesina's Kitchen

Top Recipes for the Week of August 21, 2011

Even though it’s widely known (I’m talkin’ to you, churrascarias and peruvian chicken joints) that I’m EEO when it comes to meat-centric ingredients, many (many!) folks that I love dearly eschew the consumption of animal products in all forms. My first exposure occurred when I was about 16, when my little sis (then 11) decided that the only meat she liked (chicken fingers and hot dogs) was awful, and she wanted to pursue a meatless diet. Thirteen years later, she’s still kickin’ it veg style, and I’ve had the blissful opportunity to explore the realm of vegetarian and vegan culinaria with her. It’s no small thing cooking for those you love, and had she not made that leap at such a young age (joining over 7 million Americans who in 2008 identified themselves as vegetarians), I don’t think I would have ever had the opportunity to really examine what it means to create complex and exciting taste profiles without the use of meat and animal products. This issue of Adesina’s Kitchen was inspired by another veggie bud of mine, Briana, who sent me a lovely email thanking me for this newsletter in general, but reminding me that all the recipes in the last issue featured meat. Well, steaks be damned, this one’s for my vegetarian and vegan* darlings!
Curried Potatoes and Chickpeas
Curried Potatoes and Chickpeas with Cilantro Chutney
This recipe was part of a menu that I created around my assignment for The Daring Kitchen, an online cooking club that challenges food bloggers to make new majesty. Our task was to make coconut rice pancakes called appam (or hoppers in Sri Lanka) and prep a few curries to go with. These chickpeas are a hearty, spiced delight that will leaving you craving out not a bit of meat. And the cilantro chutney to accompany - maaaaaaaaan! I have dreams about the stuff, it’s so good. Wild, wild dreams. What? TMI? But seriously, a quick puree of cilantro, ginger, jalapenos and water is all you need to change your life forever. Fact.
Vegan Potstickers
Vegan Potstickers
A friend tried out this recipe back in the day and immediately thanked me for the smell of the filling after chopping it in the food processor. She’s right - it’s everything you want in terms of intoxicating smells wafting from your kitchen - garlicky, gingery, aromatic awesomeness. Oh, and they taste spectacular, too! If you’ve never made dumpling skins before, give it a whirl. They come out much more toothsome than the store bought variety, and just involve a little flour and water to create. And if you want the lazy version, grab some of the spinach flavored wonton skins from the market. Their color is divine, and presentation is for cool kids. Which you are.
Mushroom Risotto
Wild Mushroom Risotto
If you have a pressure cooker, now is the time to break it out. This recipe condenses 45 minutes of dedicated stirring into 5 minutes of set-it-and-forget-it cooking that will forever change your erroneous notion that risotto has to be a labor of love. I used to see it on menus as a side dish and throw my spoon in a tizzy. How could coaxing grains of rice into creamy lavishness for a fortnight be considered appropriate work for a side dish?!? Well, this is how. And if you don’t have a pressure cooker, don’t fret. You can make this the regular way, but please only attempt for people you love because it takes a little time.

Website of the Week

Post-Punk Kitchen
In that veganism has a tendency to isolate people (restaurant and dinner party menus have to be carefully navigated), this website is like a warm welcome mat giving license for everyone to celebrate and dine together with nary a worry about the lack of animal products mucking up the taste factor. This site’s been around since 2003, created by the culinary maven Isa Chandra Moskowitz to show that vegans have a ton of fun (and are about way more than tofu). If ever you were looking to delve into the realm of vegan goodness, this should be your launching point. Check out the action at

Kitchen Soundtrack

Tame Impala "Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind"
Sometimes I feel a little guilty when I obsess over a song to the point that when it’s done playing, I want to put it right back on again. But then I get over it, and play it again. This song has been propelling me through the kitchen this week - something about the syncopation that resonates with my chopping. It works for powering through dishes as well when life’s chores and the monotony accompanied with seem to get you down. The kitchen can ALWAYS be glamorous, even when you are scrubbing. Listen now.

Cook's Note: Vegan's Don't Fret

* For my darling vegans out there, this issue is for you, too! Leave the butter out of the chickpeas and replace with vegan spread (such as Earth Balance). For the risotto, use Earth Balance for the butter again, and leave out the locatelli. Vegan potstickers are *cough* already vegan. With these small tweaks, you won’t be missing a THING!

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