Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Who needs supper when you can eat candy? Dinner tonight was a blur of meatless meatballs and pasta as we got ready for Halloween--costumes, finishing the jack-o-lanterns, etc. Needless to say I did not take a picture. Instad, here are the vegan cupcakes my wife made for Son #1's class, and the pumpkins I carved this year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Caramel Apples

Tonight was an incoherent barrage of leftovers from the past week. So here is a fantastic recipe from A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise for a vegan caramel sauce that goes great with apples. Just in time for your Halloween party!


INGREDIENTS:
- 1/2 c. (1 stick) Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
- 2 c. brown sugar
- 3/4 c. soy creamer or soy milk
- 2 T. arrowroot powder

METHOD:
1. Combine 1/4 cup soy creamer with the arrowroot. Set aside.
2. Melt the Earth Balance in a saucepan. Stir in brown sugar. Add remaining 1/2 cup soy creamer. Bring liquid to a boil and boil for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Take the pan off the heat and immediately add arrowroot slurry. The liquid should thicken quickly. Store in fridge for up to one week.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Asian Confusion

We were supposed to go grocery shopping today, but with a doctor's visit for Son #1, work, etc., it just never happened. As a result, the cupboards are getting pretty bare. So, I pulled together a few Asian dishes into some kind of dinner.


Crispy Tofu:
Take one pkg of tofu, drain, and pat dry with a paper towel. Slice into triangles. Toss in cornstarch and fry in oil on high heat. Serve with warmed VH cherry sauce drizzled over top (hey, I know it's not authentic, but it is tasty).

Yellow Curry Noodles:
Heat one can of coconut milk in a saucepan until simmering. Add 1/2 tsp of yellow (or red) curry paste, soy sauce or salt to taste, and sugar to taste. Serve over cooked rice vermicelli noodles.

Sushi:
Let's face it, I don't really know how to make sushi. But, I do enjoy rolling things up in nori sheets. The kids really don't like wasabi, so I aimed for a sweeter taste. Aside from the rice, I put in steamed carrots, sliced uncooked tofu, and a bit of hoisin sauce.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To

So, we were supposed to have some neighbours over this afternoon for a (mostly) fall-themed vegan spread, but Son #1 developed a fever and we had to cancel at the last minute. But, all was not lost. I had a chance to try out a new recipe, and I learned what I will do differently next time. The full menu was going to be:

1. Warm apple cider (steeped with cinnamon sticks).
2. Meatless meatballs (in slow cooker w/BBQ sauce).
3. Pretzel bites (with hot dog pieces inside, for the kids). Just cut hot dog in four pieces, wrap each piece in a pretzel dough, dip and cook as usual.
4. Sweet potato quesadillas (this time I added 1/2 cup finely chopped roasted pecans to the filling (roast on cookie sheet for 10 minutes, turning pecans over after 5 mins). Very good!
5. Butternut Squash Cakes (recipe follows).

Butternut Squash Cakes (adapted from The Artful Vegan)
- 3 cups finely grated butternut squash (peeled and seeded, of course)
- 1 cup cooked wild rice
- 6 green onion, thinly sliced (reserve some for garnish--I forgot to do this)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 cup cornstarch (more as needed)
- oil, for frying

Mix all ingredients together with enough cornstarch that it can be formed into patties. Fry on med-hi heat in oil, 3 mins each side, until crispy and golden. Top with roasted apple chutney and green onions. Serve.

Roasted Apple Chutney:
Core and dice 4 small cooking apples. Mix in 1 tsp canola oil, 2 tbsp sherry, 1/2 tsp salt, and freshly ground pepper. Roast in oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 mins (until apples are soft and slightly golden). While apples are roasting, heat 1 cup of apple sauce in a small saucepan (blend with hand mixer if chunky). Thin with a few tbsp apple cider. Add in roasted apples.
NOTES: I did not finely grate the squash (recipe did not specify), and so it was hard to form into patties. That meant I put in way more cornstarch than I wanted to. I think a fine grate will fix this. Also, don't use your hands to form the patties. I pressed the mixture into a round metal ring I use for making crumpets.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Chicken" Saag

Indian night again? You better believe it! There is nothing like a warm curry over rice on a cold and rainy fall day like we had today. I, of course, made the dhal again. I swear, every time I eat this dish I understand how Esau could have sold his birthright for a bowl of pottage. The saag is also pretty fantastic. You can also use kale in this dish, but will have to cook it longer. I used fake chicken tenders that I bought today in a moment of weakness--those things are a total freakin' rip off! $3.49 for 6 ounces of "meat?" Stupid gouging grocery store!


INGREDIENTS:
- 16 oz baby spinach leaves, washed (or kale)
- 1" piece of ginger, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 black peppercorns
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 small tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tsp mild curry powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 3 tbsp plain soy yogurt
- 1 pkg Yves Chicken Tenders (or 1 can of chickpeas)

METHOD:
1. Cook spinach, without water, in a large pot with a lid for 5 mins (longer if you are using kale). Remove from heat and add ginger, garlic, and 1/4 cup of the water. Blend with a handmixer (or throw in food processor). Put mixture in a bowl.
2. Heat oil and fry bay leaves and peppercorns for 2 mins. Add onions and fry until golden brown.
3. Add tomatoes and simmer for 5 mins. Add curry powder, salt, and chili powder and mix. Add spinach mixture and remaining water. Simmer 5 mins.
4. Add yogurt and mix. Add "chicken" or chickpeas and heat through. Serve over basmati rice.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Calzones

A slight twist on Friday pizza night.


Makes 6 calzones
INGREDIENTS:
- double recipe of pizza dough from Vegan With a Vengeance
- Tofutti mozzarella cheese slices
- 6 mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 1 cup of small diced eggplant
- 1 green pepper, diced small
- spaghetti sauce

METHOD:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Makes the sausage crumbles. Cool.
2. Saute pepper, eggplant, and mushrooms in oil on med-hi until softened (about 8-10 mins). Cool.
3. Divide dough into six pieces. Using a rolling pin, flatten one dough piece into a circle on a lightly floured surface, about 8 inches round and 1/4 inch thick.
4. Put a cheese slice in centre of the dough, add a spoonful of spaghetti sauce, some sausage crumbles, some some of the pepper mixture, and top with another cheese slice.
5. Fold in half and seal the seam with a bit of water.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes on a baking stone until golden brown.
7. Serve with warmed spaghetti sauce for dipping.

A FEW TIPS:
1. Make sure your filling in completely cool, otherwise your dough will sog.
2. Keep the seam of the calzone clean of sauce and filling. I find it best to bring both edges up like a taco, pinch the edge together, then lay the calzone flat and finish the seal.
3. I flip the calzone a few times to keep one side from getting too brown. You could also bake them on a cookie sheet, and brush the soymilk for a nice glazed look.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Orange Noodles with Crispy Tofu

Tonight's meal was pulled together from stuff in the crisper and cupboards. The result was actually pretty tasty. Tossing the tofu in cornstarch before frying it makes for a nice crispy texture while eliminating the splattering and popping (and huge mess) that comes with frying plain tofu.


INGREDIENTS:
- 1 pkg medium rice noodles (like for Pad Thai)
- 1 pkg firm tofu
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- oil for frying
- 1 yellow pepper, sliced
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- 6 green onions, cut into 1"pieces
- 1 small jar Kikkoman stir fry sauce
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 4 tbsp brown sugar

METHOD:
1. Soak noodles in boiled hot water for 7 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
2. Lightly squeeze tofu with a paper towel to eliminate excess water. Cut into cubes, sprinkle cornstarch over cubes, and gently toss until well covered. Fry on high heat in at least 1" of oil until golden brown (I did mine in 3 separate batches on heat 7). Drain on paper towels.
3. Pour out all but 1 tbsp of the oil. Stir fry peppers for a few mins. Add green onions and stir fry 1 min. Add in noodles and stir fry 3 mins. Add in tofu.
4. Add stir fry sauce, orange juice, and noodles. Heat through and serve.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tasty, Tasty, Bread

Tonight we had the Chickpea Pot Pie again, so I thought I would post the recipe for the amazing bread I made tonight. It takes time, but is totally worth it. This comes from Kingston's fabulous Pan Chanco bakery.


STARTER
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 cups bread flour (not all purpose)

DOUGH
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- starter
- 1/4 tsp lemon juice
- 4-5 cups bread flour (not all purpose)
- 1 tbsp sea salt (must be sea salt)

METHOD:
1. Make the starter: Dissolve yeast in water in a large bowl. Whisk in flour. Cover and store in the fridge overnight.
2. Make the dough: Dissolve yeast into water in a large bowl. Add starter and lemon juice. Knead in enough of the flour to make a smooth yet slightly sticky dough (I use a KitchenAid mixer for this). Knead in salt. Place in a large oiled bowl, cover, and store in the fridge overnight.
3. Bake the bread: Divide dough in two, form into loaves, and place in bread pans. Let rise at least 2 hours, uncovered. Slash tops with a razor blade. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Before you put the bread in, place a pan of boiling water in the bottom of the oven. Bake for 10 mins. After that, remove water, reduce heat to 375 degrees, and bake for 25-30 mins more.

TIP: You make make the bread in two days (instead of three) if you make the starter in the early morning, the dough that night, then bake the bread the next day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sausages and Veggies

Tonight we had Yves veggie sausages grilled on the BBQ. Usually we don't have this much "convenience food" but we bought a bunch the other day to give Son #1 some choices to take to a birthday party (everyone else was having chicken nuggets, so we wanted him to fit in with some fake meat products (but we could not find veggie nuggets here)). I am fake meated out for a while. We also made the ranch dip from Vegan Lunch Box, which is awesome and uses white beans for the "sour cream."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

MeatlessBall Subs


Picked up some meatless meatballs at Sobey's today. They were a bit salty, but the convenience more than made up for it. I simmered the meatballs in spaghetti sauce, put 4 meatballs and sauce on a sausage bun, topped with a Tofutti Mozarella cheese slice, and put it under the broiler for a few mins until the cheese melted.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pretzel Day

OK, I admit that this is not the most nutritious meal, but man was it good! We are always looking for something fun and different for the kids on the weekend, and this fit the bill. The pretzel recipe is here. I make a few modifications: 1. I bake them at 425 degrees; 2. I line the baking sheet with parchment paper. I also find it easier to let the dough rise on the countertop, covered with oiled plastic wrap. This way you can slice off pieces of dough with a pizza cutter and roll them into pretzels.


TO MAKE PRETZEL DOGS:
Preheat oven to 425
1. Cut off enough dough to flatten into a strip about 1.5" wide and 12-14" long.
2. Starting at one end, wrap the hotdog in the dough.
3. Dip into water-baking soda bath (see recipe) and place on lined baking sheet.
4. Bake until golden brown.
5. Serve with ketchup and mustard for dipping.

FOR CINNAMON SUGAR PRETZELS:
1. Follow recipe, just replace butter with margarine.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Apple Pie With Crumble Top

Tonight is Friday, so it was pizza night again. No need posting the same recipe again, so I am posting the dessert we had a few nights ago--apple pie! The crust recipe is here, but for this pie you just need to make half a recipe.

INGREDIENTS:
- 1 9" pie crust

For the Topping
- 3/4 c brown sugar
- 1/4 c margarine (must be high fat, like Earth Balance)
- 1/2 cup flour

For the Pie
- 6 cups peeled and sliced apples
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon

METHOD:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Mix together brown sugar and flour in a medium bowl. Mix in margarine with pastry cutter.
2. Mix apple slices, sugar, flour and cinnamon in a large bowl. Transfer into pie crust.
3. Spread topping evenly over apples.
4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
NOTE: We served the pie with So Good vanilla ice cream. Even though their soymilk tastes like total crap, their ice cream is absolutely delicious.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Aloo Mattar

Here is the other recipe from last night's Indian meal, as promised. Serve it with rice and some naan or some other flatbread.

INGREDIENTS:
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- 1 large potato, cubed
- 1/4 c water
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup peas
- fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

METHOD:
1. Saute onions in oil over med-hi heat until golden brown.
2. Add spices and fry 2 minutes.
3. Add potatoes and fry for 5 minutes. Then add water, tomatoes, and salt. Bring to bubbling. Lower heat and cover and cook until potatoes are soft. Add peas and keep covered until ready to serve.
4. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Balti Chickpeas and Aloo Mattar

Let's face it, Indian food rocks. Plus, since it revolves around vegetables and not meat, it is perfect for vegans. Tonight my wife did the cooking and the results were very tasty. On the menu: Chickpea Balti and Aloo Mattar. I will post one recipe today and the other tomorrow when were are scarfing down the leftovers.


INGREDIENTS:
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 3 tbsp oil
- 3 medium onions, sliced
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 large black cardamom pods
- 4 black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp black cumin seeds
- 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp soy yogurt
- 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- fresh coriander to garnish

METHOD:
1. Heat oil in large pot or wok. Fry onions until deep golden brown (about 15 minutes).
2. Add tomatoes and spices and fry for 5 minutes.
3. Add chickpeas and fry for 5 minutes.
4. Add yogurt and heat until bubbling.
5. Stir in lemon juice and garnish with coriander.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Good Ol' Pasta

Today was insane. A full day of teaching and research for me while my wife baked up a vegan storm for tonight's Fall Fair Bake Sale at the boys' school. So, that meant good ol' (and easy) pasta with lentils and other veggies blended into the sauce for dinner. I will add the recipe to the apple pie at a later date.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Banana Split Cupcakes

We are still chowing down on the leftovers from Indian night, so I thought I would showcase the banana split cupcakes we made for my brother's birthday on the weekend. The recipe, of course, comes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and the results were spectacular. I can't remember the last time I felt so happy eating a dessert. The tender cake, bittersweet chocolate, and crunchy nuts all combined for a taste that immediately caused an endorphin rush. The recipe called for pineapple preserves in the batter, but we used strawberry jam instead (not a big fan of pineapple).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cauliflower in a Cashew Sauce

We had family over this weekend, so we cooked up an Indian feast. As always, I made a large pot of dhal and some tandoori tofu. Both were big hits with our non-vegan guests. I also made this Cauliflower in a Cashew Sauce--awesome.


INGREDIENTS
- 3 onions, peeled and quartered
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 2/3 cup raw cashews
- 3 tsp garam masala
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp soy yogurt
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 2 cups mushrooms, cut in quarters

METHOD:
1. Put first 10 ingredients (onion through yogurt) into a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Heat oil in a large pot or wok on medium. Fry lixture from blender for 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and mix well.
3. Add water, raisins, and half the coriander. Cover and cook until cauliflower is tender (about 15 - 20 minutes).
4. Add mushrooms and cook for another 10 mins. Garnish with reminaing coriander and serve

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Grilled Veggie Pizza

We used to do pizza every Friday (followed by a movie for the kids), but have strayed from that tradition lately. Well, we were back in full force this week! I make the crust from Vegan With a Vengeance, but feel free to use your own favourite recipe.


INGREDIENTS
- eggplant
- zucchini (green, yellow, or both)
- shallots
- garlic clove
- tomatoes
- oregano
- pizza sauce

METHOD:
1. Heat grill to medium high. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Slice eggplant into medium-thick slices. Brush with oil.
3. Cut zukes in half, then in half lengthwise. Slice lengthwise. Brush with oil
4. Wrap unpeeled shallots and garlic clove in aluminum foil. Place on upper rack of grill.
5. Grill eggplant and zukes until nicely browned and softened. Remove shallots and garlic (after about 25 mins), and remove skins. Chop shallots and slice garlic.
6. Put down a nice layer of tomato sauce on your crust. Arrange eggplant, zukes, and tomato slices in some nice pattern. Add garlic, shallots and oregano.
7. Cook until crust is browned and crispy (I like to use a pizza stone).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sweet Potato Quesedillas

These are inspired by the Sleepless Goat Cafe in Kingston, a very cool vegan-friendly place we used to frequent when we went to Queen's (ah, sweet, sweet nostalgia). They are incredibly tasty with a crispy tortilla outside and a sweet cinnamony inside.


INGREDIENTS
- large wheat tortillas
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cumin
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- margarine

METHOD:
1. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork and cook in the microwave until soft. Cooking time will vary depending on your microwave and the size of the potatoes. When potatoes are done, scoop flesh out of skins and mash.
2. Heat oil on med-hi in a frying pan. Fry onions until golden brown.
3. Add potatoes, cinnamon, cumin, sugar, and salt. Mix well and remove from heat.
4. Heat a cast iron pan on medium heat. Spread a thin layer of margarine on one side of a tortilla. Flip over. Spread a thick layer of the potato mixture of half of the tortilla. Fold over. Cook in cast iron pan on both sides until golden brown. Cut into three pieces. Serve.

Dip the quesedillas in vegan sour cream, if you want. We didn't have any on hand.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pumpkin Soup and Scones

Today was one of those miserable fall days where the damp cold makes you shiver and huddle around a steaming cup of tea. In other words, it was the perfect day for pumpkin soup and scones. This is my grandma's recipe (well, she never used soymilk) so that means there is no real recipe. Measuring cups and teaspoons are just not her style (which means her baking leaves something to be desired). This soup, however, is awesome.


INGREDIENTS:
- one pie pumpkin
- non-hydrogenated margarine
- soymilk
- sugar
- salt
The amounts here are up to you, depending on what kind of soup you want. It can be thin or thich, sweeter or saltier. I like a thicker and sweeter soup.

METHOD:
1. Peel pumpkin. Cut in half and scoop out seeds. Chop up pumpkin into small pieces.
2. Boil pumpkin in water in a large soup pot until tender (about 25 mins).
3. Drain off water, add a lump of margarine, and mash pumpkin (or blend with a hand mixer).
4. Put back on heat. Thin with soymilk until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and sugar to taste. Heat until steaming, but not boiling.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hot Seitan Sandwiches

Mmmmm . . . Thanksgiving leftovers. We reheated it all, but made more gravy and made open-faced sandwiches. The trick is how to make a tasty gravy when you aren't using the bodily fluids and fat of a turkey or chicken carcass to get flavour. I like this recipe--it is good for gravy, seitan broth, soups, pot-pie, etc.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Thanksgiving

I jettisoned the apple seitan roast that I was planning and went with a traditional Thanksgiving meal. And by traditional I mean we ate a tofu and wheat gluten-based mock turkey product. If that is not tradition, I don't know what is. On the menu: "Turkey," stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, homemade apple sauce, corn, beans, mixed veggies, and lots of gravy. Recipes for the turkey, stuffing and gravy are on Bryanna's holiday recipe page. Thanks Bryanna!

Birthday Cupcakes!

We celebrated my niece's 4th birthday yesterday with cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. They were a big hit and sent the kids off on a sugar high that lasted for hours. With our holiday visitors this weekend that meant six hyper kids tearing up the place. Totally worth it for these awesome vegan treats.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Taco Grande

Who doesn't enjoy a Weird Al reference? There are a few things you can do to substitute the ground beef. Tonight we ground the leftover seitan in the blender. You can also use veggie crumbles, or fry up crumbled tofu that has been frozen and thawed. In a rush, you could use that Old El Paso taco seasoning (I think it is vegan), but I like to use a mix of chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, and oregano.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Roasted Fall Veggies

I made the chicken fried seitan again, but also made some awesome oven-roasted veggies that tasted like fall (even though it was 21 degrees today). The veggies are easy to make: cut up potatoes, onion, turnips, rutabaga, parsnips, and carrots. Toss in olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in a 350 degree oven for an hour, or until veggies are soft.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tourtiere

Today I got the idea to make a tourtiere from the seitan I made on the weekend. Of course, I was at work when the epiphany hit, so I emailed a recipe to my wife and she made it happen. I adapted Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipe found here. The crust is the same one used for the pot pie. The kids bolted down the whole thing.

FILLING:
- 1 large onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb. seitan, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup hot water mixed with 1 veggie boullion cube
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 1/2 tsp savoury
- 1/4 tsp each allspice, cloves, cinnamon, sage, thyme, pepper
- 1/2 lb potatoes, peeled, boiled, and mashed with 2/3 cup boiling water

METHOD:
Preheat oven to 350
1. In a large nonstick skillet over high heat, saute onions and garlic in oil. When onions are soft, pour into a large bowl.
2. Grind seitan in food processor or food grinder. Mix with onion mixture, hot water-boullion mixture, ketchup and seasonings. Add potatoes; mix well.
3. Press seitan mixture firmly into bottom crust. Top with crust and cut slits to allow steam to escape.
4. Brush pastry lightly with soymilk; bake 50 minutes, until crist is light brown.

Pumpkin Muffins

We had leftovers last night, so I thought I would post a link to a recipe for pumpkin muffins from Vegan Lunch Box. You can find it, and other great recipes, on the Schmooed Food blog. These muffins are spectacular with fresh pumpkin (I love the fall), but also work well with canned. I use regular chocolate chips--the PC semi-sweet Decadent chips are vegan. These are also pretty sweet, so feel free to cut down on the sugar.