Vegan Chai Concentrate Recipe

IMG_1949aLast week, in an effort to iron out some stomach woes, I gave up coffee, even the decaf variety. This meant switching to tea, because no hot drinks was not an option in January. I like tea, but was in the mood for something robust and filling, so I decided chai fit the bill.

The chai at Starbucks and readily available in concentrate form is good, but not vegan. The chai in teabags is decent, but not amazing. To make chai from scratch each time is admirable, but not realistic! Thus, I decided to make my own chai concentrate. I’m still adjusting the recipe, but this is what I have right now.

Note: I like my chai like I like my… um… tea -spicy and sweet. Adjust as needed.

Vegan Chai Concentrate
(makes 1 quart jar + a bit)

Ingredients

30 cardamom pods
10 cinnamon sticks
30 black peppercorns
20 cloves
5 star anise
2 medium pieces of fresh ginger, sliced
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. fennel
½ cup brown or raw sugar
5 cups water
15 black tea bags (regular or decaf)*

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Process

Place all ingredients except tea bags and cinnamon sticks in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes.

After 15-20 minutes, raise the heat again for a minute to bring the pot back to a boil. Add tea bags and cinnamon sticks and turn heat to low. Steep for 8-10 minutes.

Strain mixture into a canning jar or other glass container for storage (it will stain plastic). To drink, mix ½ and ½ with the milk of your choice and heat – or not if you want a cold drink.

I don’t know how long exactly it will last, because I drink it pretty fast, but at least 5 days.

* The type of black tea doesn’t matter, really, so just get something inexpensive.

 

 

Garden Yummy – Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup

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I had sort of forgotten about the carrots in my garden, because it didn’t look like they were doing anything. But, when I went out the other day to remove the greens, I found that I had several pounds of carrots. Today, I decided to whip up some good fall soup with them. I made this recipe in the pressure cooker, but it could easily be made in a regular pan or even crockpot.

Ingredients

  • 6 large carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch slices pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped into medium chunks
  • 1 T fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth or water plus vegetable broth powder
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 14 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

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Place carrots, onion, ginger, curry powder, turmeric, and broth (or broth powder and water) in pressure cooker. Bring pressure to high and cook for 10 minutes and then turn off cooker and let pressure dissipate.

Remove lid and puree with stick blender, or in food processor if needed. Add coconut milk and nutritional yeast and blend briefly. Return to heat and simmer if needed. Salt and pepper to taste.

We had this with rye bread and it was quite tasty.

Tofu Not-Jerky

A low-carb vegan snack, salad topping, or sandwich fixin’.

Let me start by saying clearly, this is not jerky. I know there are tofu jerky recipes out there, and this isn’t one of them.  But, it is a chewy tofu recipe that makes a good vegan snack, or sandwich filling item, or salad topper. And, it’s easy. Once you make a batch or two, it can be stuck in the fridge for quite a few days (I don’t know how many, to be honest, because it never lasts long here), and it’s very convenient to grab when you are in a rush.

Ingredients

  • 1 block extra firm tofu (companies should start paying me)
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T olive oil, sesame oil, or hot chili oil (you can skip or reduce this if looking for lower fat, I often do)
  • 1/2 t liquid smoke (if you don’t have any, or don’t like it, remove and add a bit more soy or water)
  • Some combination of: 1 t minced ginger, 1-2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 t red pepper flakes

Process

Open tofu and drain. Place block on a cutting board, with the widest side down. Slice into thin slices. I aim for somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4″.  Lay out slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet or baking stone (preferred). In a blender or food processor, mix the soy sauce, oil, liquid smoke, and spices to distribute the flavor of the spices throughout. Brush or sprinkle marinade over slices. Place in oven at 300* and cook until it reaches the texture you like. If you want it to be even chewier, reduce temp down to 250* and cook longer. Cool to room temp or chill and enjoy in whatever form strikes your fancy!