Use chef's cooking tenets to create home vegan fare


POSTED: Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Chef Eric Tucker's brunch menu at the Halekulani on March 15 will feature the high-end vegan cuisine for which his restaurant, Millennium in San Francisco, is known.

His menu plans include a vegan Eggs Benedict — made with maple-grilled tempeh in place of the meat products and a “;bernaise”; sauce based on cashews instead of butter and cream, all served on foccaccia. Also: gnocchi made with soy beans instead of eggs, and a Black Bean Pecan Cake.

“;And I'm going to try to get my hands on some fresh sea vegetables — sea asparagus and fresh ogo,”; he said.

Vegan cooking Tucker's way is a complicated process — by design, as his philosophy is to take plant-based dining to the ultimate level. But many of his cooking tenets are practical for the home cook.

His books — “;Millennium Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine”; (Ten Speed Press, 1998, $24.95) and “;The Artful Vegan: Fresh Flavors from the Millennium Restaurant”; (Ten Speed Press, 2003, $24.95) — offer recipes for elements such as dressings and sauces that can be used to create his fancy fare, or to dress up a simple dish you might make at home.

These mashed potatoes, for example, build on braised garlic, used to replace the fat and cream in soups and pasta sauces. The black bean cakes are a simplified version of what Tucker will make on the 15th.


Millennium Fat-Free Mashed Potatoes

“;Millennium Cookbook”;

4 russet potatoes, peeled, cut in 2-inch cubes
1/4 cup braised garlic (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Pepper, to taste

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain 10 minutes in colander to remove all excess moisture.

Mash with garlic, salt and pepper until smooth. Serves 6.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 104 calories, no fat, 0.1 mg cholesterol, 395 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein.


Braised Garlic

4 large heads garlic
1 cup vegetable stock, dry white wine or nonalcoholic white wine
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut off top 1/2 inch of each garlic bulb. Place in small baking dish. Add remaining ingredients and cover tightly with foil. Bake 90 minutes, until garlic is soft and slightly browned. Cool.

Squeeze out garlic cloves. Refrigerate up to 1 week.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per tablespoon: 16 calories, no fat or cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g fiber, no protein.


Sweet Potato-Black Bean Cakes

1/2 red onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon whole cumin seed, ground
1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups cooked black beans
1-1/2 cups grated sweet potato
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup dried corn masa or chickpea flour
» Mango, Mustard and Habanero Sauce:
Flesh of 1/2 ripe mango
1/2 to whole habanero or scotch bonnet chili
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
Water as needed
Salt, to taste

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add cumin, allspice and thyme; saute 30 seconds. Remove to a mixing bowl.

Add beans, sweet potato and cilantro; mix well. With hands, knead in masa. Taste and add salt if needed. Shape into 12 cakes, about 3 inches in diameter. Pan-fry in a minimum of oil, 2 minutes per side.

To make sauce: Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Serve cakes garnished with sauce. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving (without sauce): 250 calories, 13 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 4 g protein.



Nutritional analyses for last recipe by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.