Thug Kitchen’s Apple Baked Beans

Finishedbowl1.jpgThese “baked” beans are a misnomer since they’re cooked entirely on the stovetop. That means, though, that they’re a great dish to make all year round. They’re tangy, sweet and just a little bit different thanks to the addition of diced apple and fresh rosemary.

I follow the Thug’s recipe faithfully except for a few tweaks: maple syrup, liquid smoke and salt (don’t add the salt ‘til the end; you may not need it). Here’s their recipe, tidied up a bit for delicate sensibilities (that would not be mine) and with photos, which are not in the cookbook.

There is some overnight prep involved – read the recipe all the way through!

Ingredients.jpg

Ingredients

1 ½ cups dried white beans (I use a mix of navy beans and Great Northern beans)

2 tsps olive oil

½ onion diced

1 clove garlic minced

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp liquid smoke

15 oz can tomato sauce

1 Tbsp molasses

2 Tbsp maple syrup (or brown sugar)

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsps soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp sea salt (optional)

1 sprig rosemary (sprig should be about 6-8” long)

2 ½ cups vegetable broth

1 medium apple washed but not peeled, cored and cut into pieces about the size of your pinky fingertip. I use either a Granny Smith or Macintosh apple.

Directions

Soak the beans in a big bowl of water for 8 hours. I soak my beans in the fridge overnight.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until it’s starting to turn golden. Add the garlic and paprika and cook for another 30 seconds.

Add the drained beans, tomato sauce, molasses, vinegar, maple syrup (or brown sugar), liquid smoke, vegetable broth and rosemary. Stir it all up. This is the “witch’s brew” stage or as the Thug’s say it will look like you’re “trying to cast a spell or some shit”.

beansrosemary.jpg

Simmer this all together for about 1 hour. The leaves will have fallen off your rosemary so just fish out the remaining twig.

At this point, taste the beans and add salt, if you want.

Stir in the chopped apple and simmer for about another 30 minutes.

Serve up immediately. This dish will last for 4 days in the fridge and freezes well. It makes 4 extremely filling servings.

 

Fennel and apple soup – elegant and satisfying

fennelsoup

Now that autumn weather is definitely here, it’s soup season. This fennel and apple soup is easy to make, has a rich taste and texture and is elegant enough for company.

There are two recipes in one here – one for the soup and another for the cashew cream.

Soup ingredients

1 bulb fennel cleaned and diced (reserve some fronds for garnish)

1 large apple cored, peeled and diced

1 shallot sliced

1 rib celery sliced

2 cups of vegetable stock

the juice of ½ lemon

salt and pepper to taste (about 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper)

1 tsp Dijon mustard (I used grainy mustard)

1 cup cashew cream (see below)*

Directions

Place the fennel, apple, shallot, celery, stock and salt and pepper in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the vegetables are tender enough to easily pierce with a fork, turn off the heat and blend the soup mixture. I use a hand-held immersion blender, but you can also use a regular blender, working in batches.

Add the lemon juice, Dijon mustard and cashew cream and stir together. Taste and adjust the salt, if needed.

Serve with a bit of fennel frond for garnish.

Makes 4 servings. The soup will last for up to 3 days in the fridge.

*Ingredients and directions for the cashew cream

1 cup raw cashews

2/3 cup water

Juice of ½ lemon

¾ tsp salt

Soak the raw cashews in water for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 8 hours. Drain the cashews and blend in a high-speed blender with the remaining ingredients. The cream will thicken as it sits and will last in your fridge for up to 3 days. You will have about 1 ½ cups of cashew cream – more than you need for the fennel and apple soup – so reserve the remaining amount to have with borscht or perogies or natchos/tacos or wherever else you’d use sour cream.

Hasselback apples – apple, caramel and a nutty crunch.

hasselbackalldressed

A couple years ago, everyone was making hasselback potatoes. Now it’s hasselback apples. This is my vegan version.

So what’s a hasselback? It refers to slicing a potato or in this case apple in thin slices almost all the way through but not quite. The final effect reminds me of a little hedgehog or armadillo.

This hasselback potato.pngis a hasselback potato – you can see how it’s sliced, ready to impress.

We’re going to do the same thing to an apple, then drizzle it with a delicious sauce that turns into caramel as it bakes. Oh yeah.

Hasselback apples look fancy schmancy but they’re really just an apple cobbler all dressed up for a party.

I’m giving you the proportions for one apple and you can easily scale up the recipe from there.

Ingredients

1 apple – I used a yellow delicious.

1½ Tbsp vegan margarine

1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 Tbsp flour

1 Tbsp rolled oats

1 Tbsp chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds (optional). I used chopped pecans.

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Directions

Heat your oven to 400F.

Peel the apple and cut it in half. Carefully remove the core; if you have a melon baller, that’s an ideal tool to use. You want the apple half to remain intact. Place the apple half cut side down and slice ¼ inch wide slices into the apple almost all the way through but not quite. You should be able to fan the slices open, but not have the apple fall apart.* Repeat with the second apple.

Grease a small oven-safe dish and place the hasselbacked apple halves into the dish.

Melt ½ tablespoon margarine with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Spoon this mixture evenly over the apple halves.

Cover and bake the halves for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, mix the remaining ingredients together to create a streusel crumble mixture. After the apples have baked for 10 minutes, spoon this mixture evenly onto the apples. You can try to get the mixture down between the slices, but it’s not necessary.

Bake for another 10 minutes uncovered.

Serve each hasselback apple with the now carmelized brown sugar-cinnamon sauce spooned over top. Seriously – all that stuff that’s in the bottom of the baking dish, scoop it up and put it back on the apple and eat it.

Serve the apples with vegan ice cream – I’m a huge fan of So Delicious (cashew-based) brand – and a drizzle of maple syrup.

*Oh oh! I sliced too far. My apple fell apart. Now what? Not to worry. Just break the apple up into chunks and bake it in a ramekin. It will be a mini-cobbler instead of a hasselback and just as delicious either way!

 

The reincarnation of the Waldorf Salad

WaldorfSalads

When a good Waldorf Salad dies, it comes back in its next life as this salad. Gone are the eggy mayonnaise and whipping cream. Instead you get all the Waldorf deliciousness and crunch with a halo of compassionate goodness.

Ingredients

½ bunch of kale (about 4 cups) cleaned and torn into bite-size pieces. If you don’t like or have kale, raw spinach is an excellent replacement.

1 red apple cored and diced. A red delicious apple is ideal.

1 cup of grape halves

1 stalk of celery diced

Sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts for garnish (optional)

Dressing

¼ cup Vegenaise or other vegan mayo-style dressing

¼ cup unsweetened, plain vegan yogurt (Yoso is my chosen brand)

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp cider vinegar

Pinch of salt

Few grinds of pepper

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions

Place the kale, apple, celery and grapes in a salad bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or mug and pour over the salad. Toss to combine and serve. Garnish with sunflower seeds or walnuts, if you like. Enjoy!