As I mentioned in an earlier post, my mom made a Swedish Tea Ring for Christmas morning that was tender and light. While part of this is the mother's touch, I think the other part is the fact that she makes it the night before and lets it rest before baking it in the morning. This lets the gluten in the dough relax, makes the dough rise slowly, and gives the tea ring a better flavour. So, here is the deal: make the tea ring as I described, then cover and place in the fridge overnight. The next morning, uncover and place in a cold oven. Turn oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20-25 mins, or until golden brown.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
I know I already posted a fajita recipe, but these were too good not to mention! My in-laws put these together for last night's family Christmas get-together (Fajitas for Christmas dinner? Now that is out-of-the-box thinking!). They were beyond delicious. It was like there was a party in my mouth and everyone was invited! The secret to the good taste, I think, was twofold. One, the veggies were prepped the day before and left to marinate overnight. Second, the veggies were cooked in a BBQ wok (by yours truly).
Vegan Mother-in-Law made these from Vegan With A Vengeance for yesterday's family get-together. They were chewy and moist, and were delicate without crumbling or falling apart. I have never made them, but will have to whip up a batch when I get home.
Really, I just wanted to share this photo with you (which I have compressed to accomodate for the dial-up connection). Roasted chestnuts are delightfully smoky, nutty, and sweet all at the same time. While I did not sing and yuletide carols whilst I ate these, they were good nonetheless.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
My parents are still on dial-up Internet service. I don't think of myself as an impatient man, but dial-up is enough to make you want to throw your monitor out the window waiting for that bleedin' progress bar to inch its way across the screen. That means I can't post any photos right now.
I made the Cranberry Glazed Tofu for the members of family who were at my parent's house on Christmas Day. It was a smashing success. My grandmother looked at it warily, and said something to the effect of "what the heck is this?,"but gobbled it right down and enjoyed it. I made crispy tofu this time (instead of baking it) to save time and oven space, and it opened up a discussion about how close the texture was to those chicken balls they serve at Chinese restaurants. I will chalk this recipe up in the "win" column.
On Boxing Day the whole family was here and I made the Holiday Stew for the vegans among us. We ran out of chick peas so I used cubed extra firm tofu that had been thawed and frozen. It worked really well. The meat-eaters had roast beef, which, quite frankly, was disgusting. The smell of cooking flesh and fat was bad enough, but the sight of sliced, bloody meat affected me more than I thought it would. The stew was really tasty, though.
My Mom has been catering to our needs all week, and we love her for it. She made a vegan Swedish Tea Ring for Christmas morning, which turned out way more tender and tasty than mine. Ah, the mother's touch . . . . She also made Chickpea Pot Pie with a mashed sweet potato topping instead of crust, which is a great low-fat option.
Thanks to all for the D.C. restaurant recommendations! I will bring my camera and blog from the road.
Posted by Vegan Dad at 10:36 AM
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Vegan Family and I are going to be hither and yon until the New Year, visiting family and friends, giving and receiving loot, and spreading vegan holiday cheer wherever we go. That means I won't be posting much, if anything, until the New Year since I will be serving up the holiday stew, cranberry glazed tofu, and cookies that I worked on this month. I will largely be serving it to myself since my parents, who have made made many dietary changes since I became vegan (like eliminating dairy), still feel the need to haul out large slabs of meat every time the family gets together. Kudos to my Mom, though, who will no longer eat meat when we come after Son #1 burst into tears at the sight of the Thanksgiving turkey and told everyone to "let the turkeys live!" From the mouth of babes . . . .
I will also be in D.C. for a conference, so if anyone has recommendations on where to eat I am all ears.
Happy holidays to you all!
Posted by Vegan Dad at 8:52 PM
Friday, December 21, 2007
My grandparents were born in Pennsylvania's steel belt to Czechoslovakian immigrant parents. Childhood visits to see them were always filled with cabbage rolls and pierogies laden with fried bacon and sour cream. My grandmother showed her love with plates and plates of food, and we were only too happy to oblige. Needless to say, I have not had any pierogies since going vegan over 2 years ago. I noticed these frozen pierogies in the grocery store this week and was surprised to see they had no egg in the dough or cheese in the filling. I sauteed up some red and yellow onions in margarine and put them atop the pierogies. They are not even close to my grandma's, but it was fun to have something different for dinner. I am going to try to make a vegan pierogie next month, and dabble in cabbage rolls as well. Stay tuned!
Posted by Vegan Dad at 11:06 PM
Thursday, December 20, 2007
If your house is as crazy as mine has been this past week you are looking for quick and easy meals. Our solution tonight: vegetable soup and sandwiches. It was a pretty easy decision since we still had the tasty bread I made last night. The question was: what to put on that bread to make sandwiches. I don't really miss tuna salad, but if you do then this is the recipe for you. I can't remember where I got this from--I think is was on a Vegan Lunch Box discussion forum about canned TuNo. It's a great way to enjoy nori and all its goodness without having to make sushi.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I asked Son #1 what he wanted for his birthday dinner, fully expecting that we would be throwing back veggie dogs and french fries tonight. When he said he wanted Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic Soup I could not believe my ears. He really is growing up! I also made this bread to go with the soup. It is a soft, fluffy, country-style bread (as opposed to a chewy, crusty, cafe-style bread). I made one loaf plain, and made the other into a cinnamon raisin bread.
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 3/4 tsp sugar
- 2 cups warm water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- scant 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed, whisked into 3 tbsp of water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 6-7 cup white bread flour
1. Stir 3/4 tsp of sugar into 1/3 cup of water. Mix in yeast and set aside until foamy.
2. Mix together 2 cups water, sugar, salt, vinegar, flax mixture, and oil in a large bowl. Mix in yeast mixture and 2 cups of flour (I do this with the batter attachment of a Kitchen Aid counter top mixer). Beat until smooth.
3. Add in 2 more cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough (either by hand or with the dough hook attachment). Knead until smooth.
4. Place dough in a well-greased (i.e. margarined) bowl, turning to grease all sides. Cover with a towel and let rise for at least an hour, until doubled in size. If making a raisin bread loaf, divide dough in 2 equal pieces after kneading. Knead 1 cup of raisins into one of the dough balls. Let rise like the other dough ball.
5. Punch down risen dough and knead for a minute or so to get out the air bubbles. Roll out into a rectangle (width depends on the size of your loaf pan). Roll up tightly along the shorter end, seal seam and sides, and place in loaf pan. Let rise for 45 minutes, uncovered. If making raisin bread, roll out dough and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of brown sugar mixed with 1 tsp of cinnamon. Roll tightly and seal seam and sides. Let rise, uncovered, for 45 mins.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place loaves in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until loaves are nicely browned and sound hollow when you knock on the bottom.
7. Let cool on racks, but make sure you eat a slice while still warm.
Today is Son #1's 7th birthday. Hard to believe, but true. He wanted to bring in cupcakes for his class (increasing his popularity exponentially), and wanted them to be Christmas cupcakes. I had some mints leftover from the gingerbread house, as well as a few candy canes. I know I saw this idea on some other blog, but I can't remember which one. I ground up 2 large candy canes in my coffee grinder (about 1 cup), folded it into the buttercream frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, spread it over the basic chocolate cupcakes, and topped with a mint. I think these would be great for holiday parties.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I love the creaminess of coconut milk and thought I would pair it with tomato and warm spices like cinnamon. The result was rather tasty. If my Mom had made Indian food when I was a kid, this might qualify as comfort food.
Monday, December 17, 2007
We have not had Indian food in a while, and nothing warms you up like a spicy curry. If you have been reading this blog for the past few months you know that I always make dhal. I also made curried chickpeas, which I will post tomorrow. Tonight's experiment was tandoori rotis. This may surprise you, but I don't have a tandoor oven. Neither do any of my friends. So, I thought I would try to mimic a clay oven by using the BBQ and a baking stone. So, out came the shovel and I tunnelled my way out to the BBQ--my neighbours must think I am nuts.
I will probably say this a lot over the next few months: it's cold outside! Yesterday we achieved booger-freezing cold--that special temperature where one sniff and your nose is frozen shut. There is no better way to warm up after shovelling the driveway than this creamy hot chocolate.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I was perusing the What do Vegans Eat blog and saw this post for breakfast tacos. It instilled a deep desire to make my own tortillas and fill them with a host of good things. First, I made scrambled tofu, and added in a half cup of salsa at the end. Then, I made fried potatoes and spiced them Mexican-style (microwave 6-8 small potatoes for about 5 mins, until softish. Cut into small cubes and fry in 2 tbsp of oil over med-hi heat for 10 mins, stirring often. Season with 1/2 tsp each cinnamon, chili power, salt.) Put tofu, potatoes, diced tomatoes, avocado slices, lettuce, tofu sour cream, and salsa (or whatever else suits your fancy) in tortilla, roll, and eat.
What really makes the meal awesome is the home-made tortillas. This recipe makes 5 large, 0r about 10 small, tortillas.
- 10 oz all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 oz vegetable shortening
- 5-6 fluid oz warm water (about 2/3 cup)
1. Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Rub in shortening with your fingers until mixture look like bread crumbs. Add in enough water to make a soft dough.
2. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 mins, until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit for at least 15 mins.
3. Heat a cast iron pan on med to med-hi heat. Pinch off a piece of dough, and roll as thin as possible on a floured surface. Plan on pan and cook for 20-30 seconds on each side. The trick is to adjust the heat so the tortillas get a nice speckled brown look, but do not burn. Do not overcook.
4. After each tortilla is cooked, place in a stack wrapped in a kitchen towel. Keep the tortillas wrapped up until ready to use, otherwise they will harden.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Many, many hours later the vegan gingerbread house is done! I learned a lot about gingerbread, house building, and icing. I am not sure I am cut out for gingerbread house making--I am an anal retentive perfectionist when it comes to food and gingerbread houses are messy and sticky with goopy icing and nary a straight line anywhere. But, the kids thought it was the best gingerbread house ever, and they had fun "helping," so that is all that matters.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Well, I have almost done everything thing I said I would do on the blog this month to prep for Christmas. The chestnut stew was tasty, as were the vegan cookies, and the cranberry glazed tofu made me enjoy cranberries more than I ever have before. So, that only leaves the gingerbread house--the plan is to make a model of our house. I completed my cardboard model, which I posted here, have found the perfect gingerbread recipe and a vegan royal icing recipe. Son #2 and I hit the bulk food store yesterday and loaded up on vegan candy. Tomorrow is construction day. If all goes well, I will have pics for tomorrow's entry.
Posted by Vegan Dad at 7:17 PM
Today was a busy day with Vegan Mom volunteering at the school's Christmas bazaar and me looking after the kids and then taking them to said bazaar (for which we baked chocolate cupcakes). So, tonight we cracked open Veganomicon again and joined forces to make these Snobby Joes. We all loved them, and it is a great way to get the kids to unknowingly chug back lentils. I like a Sloppy Joe with a bit more bite than this recipe provides, so I squirted in a few tbsp of ketchup and a tbsp of red wine vinegar. If I had some I would have added a dash of Tabasco sauce.
The recipe is posted on the PPK site.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Vegan Mom and I used to make a cream-based white sauce and served it over tortellini. It used to be a standard, actually. For some reason I was thinking it about it today, and decided to create something like it for tonight's dinner. We didn't have any tortellini (I'm pretty sure tortellini dough has egg in it anyway), so I went with what we did have: rigatoni. The sauce turned out rather well--smooth, creamy, and full of that smoky roasted garlic flavour.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tonight the boys and I made cupcakes. (Mom, if you are reading this, we are holiday baking/class party mode. We usually don't make this many desserts) I have wanted to make these cupcakes since I got Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World but have never been able to find the agar powder the recipe calls for. And the chances of finding it here in northern Ontario are pretty much nil. So, I improvised. I substituted 1 tbsp of cornstarch for the agar (and still kept the arrowroot powder), and used firm tofu. I blended everything in a saucepan with an immersion blender, then whisked it over medium heat until it thickened. Once cooled, I piped it into the cupcakes as directed. I am not sure what the real version is supposed to be like, but this was pretty tasty.
Tonight was leftover chimichangas from last night. I thought I would try to spice it up by creating a new side dish. The result was pretty tasty. Nothing special, but tasty.
- 1 yellow onion, cut in quarters
- 1 red onion, cut in quarters
- 3 tomatoes, cut in quarters
- 3 potatoes, diced
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 tsp each cumin, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Place veggies in a bowl, toss with oil and spices. Place in an 8 1/2 x 11 stoneware baking dish.
2. Roast veggies for about 45 mins, turning every 15 mins, until veggies are golden and tomato is reduced to a paste.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
This recipe started out as "Christmas Cookies with Walnuts," a recipe I found in my Mexican cookbook. I thought they would be a nice way to finish off our chimichanga dinner (see the other post for today). The recipe called for lard, which I thought could be easily replaced with vegetable shortening. I also replaced the walnuts with pecans (Vegan Mom is not a big walnut fan). The picture in the cookbook showed fairly flat cookies, but mine stayed as balls (maybe the lack of lard?). In fact, the end result tasted just like a cookie my Mom makes for Christmas called Russian Tea Balls. So, by my mistake I veganized yet another childhood favourite.
Let's face it, chimichangas taste best when they are deep fried. But, let's also face it, deep frying is not a healthy choice. Quite frankly, I was starting to feel guilty about the number of times I made crispy tofu in the past month or so, and with many readers praising the "healthy meals" I was making for my family guilt was turning to paranoia. Surely some Skinny Bitch fan was going to call me out on the carpet . . . . Anyway, baking the chimis really works well--they are still crispy and don't make your house smell like the school cafeteria.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Tonight's goal was to create a Christmas-style meal in 1 hour. Mission accomplished! I am not the biggest fan of cranberries, but this glaze was perfect and worked well with the other flavours of the meal. I broiled the tofu on a stoneware baking sheet (this way you don't have to use oil-- well-seasoned stoneware is non-stick). I have texture issues and like a firm and chewy tofu. If you don't have texture issues you can skip this step and save some time.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Here is another veganized favourite from my childhood. I debated about how to replace the eggs in this one. Tofu did not seem like a good candidate since it would not provide enough moisture. Bananas are generally good for baking, but only if you like the taste of bananas, and I don't equate bananas with Christmas. Ground flax was really the only option left (I don't have egg replacer, but find it kind of chalky anyway). I was worried that the taste from the flax seeds would be too strong, but figured the walnuts and sugar would win in the end. I was right. The end result was a little more dense than the non-vegan version, but still really tasty and delightfully chewy.
- 2 tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine
- 2 tbsp ground golden flax seed
- 6 tbsp water
- 1/3 cup flour, sifted
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp vanilla
- icing sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Melt margarine on low heat in a square baking pan (8x8) on the stove top.
2. Whisk flax seed into water in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar and nuts. Stir in
vanilla and flax mixture. Be patient and let the moisture work its way through the dry stuff.
4. Spoon batter into the pan, carefully spreading to the sides, but being careful not to mix into the melted margarine.
5. Bake for 22-25 mins, until top is deep golden brown. The batter will be bubbling and gooey. Let completely cool--everything will solidify. Cut into small squares, and remove from pan, placing on serving tray bottom side up. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
I have no idea if this particular tea ring actually has any affiliation with Sweden, but it sure is tasty. This is a recipe my Mom always made for very special occasions like Christmas morning, so it brings back a lot of warm and fuzzy memories. I have never actually eaten it with tea . . . . You will certainly be a vegan baking hero if you make this for your family, and it is sure to impress your friends at all the Christmas parties this holiday season.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I have been tossing around this dish in my head for a few days. How to make something that tastes like Christmas is coming? Do you serve with rice? Noodles? Do you bake it? Roast it? Fry it? I finally settled on a stew--warm and hearty. The thyme and sage remind me of stuffing, and the roasted chestnuts and chickpeas work really well together. Cranberries add a nice splash of tart flavour to finish everything off.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
The delivery of our "new" fridge and stove was delayed by a snow storm, but they are now up and running. The extra capacity of the new fridge is amplified by the fact that we still have not gone grocery shopping. That made dinner a bit of a challenge. This is a variation of a recipe my Mom sent me a while ago which fit perfectly with the few things we had.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
One month ago today I put a hit counter on this blog to see how many hits it was getting, and where my visitors were coming from. In that month almost 6000 people clicked over to Vegan Dad from a wide variety of places: Singapore, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the UK, France, Spain, Australia, Ecuador, Chile, the U.S. and Canada. Most came from the PPK blog (thanks, Isa), some through other food blogs, and some from Google looking for vegan chicken pot pie, tofu recipes, and "hot older dads" (I am sure that person was pretty disappointed to find only food porn).
So, thanks to everyone who has visited. It is encouraging to see such an interest in vegan cooking and I enjoy the chance to network with vegans all over the world. I'll keep blogging away as much as I can.
Posted by Vegan Dad at 9:31 AM
Monday, December 3, 2007
We are getting a new (read: used, but new to us) fridge tomorrow, so we have not been stocking the old one. Basically we have soy milk, carrots, tofu, and a bunch of peppers we bought on sale. So, what to make for dinner? Pizza, of course! Vegan Mom made the dough while I was at work helping my students prep for their upcoming midterm (insert Imperial March music here). I can't remember if I sang the praises of the pizza dough recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance already, so let me sing its praises now. If you like a New York style crust, the this is the dough for you. It is light and crispy and pretty easy to make.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Veganomicon strikes again! I spent the day putting insulation in the attic, so Vegan Mom and Vegan Mom-in-Law swung into action and made tonight's tasty meal. It was a grand success, and everyone (especially the kids) bolted it down like it was their last meal. The bean balls were tender but still held their shape (though we decided (as an autonomous collective) to keep them out of the sauce until right before they were served, lest they sog), and the marinara was the perfect. Thanks, Isa!
Saturday, December 1, 2007
OK, maybe not perfect, but as good as it's going to get. I realized from my Veganomicon chickpea cutlet and black bean burger experience that I was being a weenie with the high gluten flour in my previous attempts. 2 tbsp? Not even close! So, I upped the flour, added bread crumbs and some chickpeas, and changed the method a bit. The result? A pretty darn tasty burger that has a nice firm texture. These burgers in the pic were made without soy sauce since my father in law must have a no salt diet, so the patties do not have that "burger look" they had when I tried to make burgers before. Even without the salt they were good.