Monday, July 29, 2013

No-Crab (Vegan) Rangoons

Crab rangoons were one of my favorite Chinese restaurant treats prior to going vegetarian. I have no idea if rangoons are in any way authentically Chinese, however. I wanted to create a vegan version of this favorite for the Chinese New Year themed potluck I held a few months ago. Vegan wonton wrappers can be difficult to find. I found mine at a local Asian food store. Most wonton wrappers contain a small amount of egg. Both the typical and egg-free varieties freeze well so vegans, stock up when you find the egg-free variety.

No-Crab (Vegan) Rangoons
1 container of Tofutti brand cream cheese
1t sugar
1/2t garlic powder
2t lemon juice
3 scallions, diced
24 wonton wrappers
olive oil spray

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-large bowl combine all ingredients (except the wonton wrappers and oil spray of course).

2. Spoon 1t of filling into each of the wonton wrappers like so:
I use 2 spoons. 1 to scoop the filling and another to scoot the filling into the wonton wrapper. 

3. Fold the wonton wrappers like this:
Bring 2 flat sides of the wrapper together and pinch.
Bring the remaining 2 flat sides together and pinch.
Poof! You have a fancy looking rangoon there.

4. Place the folded wontons on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spray lightly with olive oil. Spraying (or brushing) with olive oil helps the rangoons stay crispy rather than becoming tough and dry while baking
Note the lack of parchment paper in the photo below. 
Don't make the same mistake. 
Parchment paper is your friend and will keep the rangoons from sticking to the baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the edges of the rangoons are golden brown.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lebanese Lentil Stew

Lebanese Lentil Stew
For most in the northern hemisphere, it may be too hot outside to consider this savory, tangy stew for dinner. However here in Roanoke, VA we've had one rainy day after another. With lots of time indoors and cloudy skies causing cooler temperatures, this stew hit the spot.

Lebanese Lentil Stew

2C lentils (the type of lentil found in bags in most American grocery stores)
9C water
2 medium potatoes, diced into cubes
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2-4T olive oil 
2t citric acid (found in the canning or spice section)
1-2t salt to taste
1t pepper
1T dried mint

1 - Wash and drain lentils because eating dirt or tiny stones is bad news.
2 - Add lentils and water to a large pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes (or until lentils are soft) stirring occasionally.
3 - Add the diced potatoes, salt, pepper, mint, and citric acid. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes (or until the potatoes are soft) stirring occasionally.
4- After adding the potatoes, add 2-4T of olive oil to a medium frying pan and fry the diced onion to a golden/medium brown.
5. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir the onion into the stew.

The desired color of the onion in question.