Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I went a little crazy in the kitchen today. The boys were outside playing since it was finally above zero (only 2 degrees above, but we will take what we can get), so I spent about 2 hours making a Mexican feast. I like to make a special meal on Sundays when I have some extra time, and cooking helps me decompress and relax and get ready for the work week. I will post two recipes tonight and the final one tomorrow.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Vegan Mom made the pizza dough from Vegan With a Vengeance (our favourite) today. Who doesn't love pizza on homemade crust? Well, the problem was that we have not gone shopping since we got back from the holiday weekend and the fridge is looking pretty empty. Nary a mushroom or pepper to be found. So, I thought I would make a veggie ground round to go with the pepperoni. The plan was to make something like the chick'n quick seitan but more . . . "beefy." At first, things seemed to be going well. I used gluten flour, ground TVP, and tapioca to get a firmer dough, while stir fry sauce, HP sauce, and soy sauce provided flavour and colour. Then, things started to go wrong. After steaming the seitan was pretty rubbery and a bit sticky to the touch. Undaunted, I pushed onward! I figured that if I chopped it up and fried the seitan it would dry out a bit. Well, it did dry it out. A lot. But still I pressed on! All in all, it did not wreck the pizza too much. After baking the seitan was verging on crunchy, but the flavour was OK. Oh well. Back to the test kitchen.
Posted by Vegan Dad at 9:01 PM
Thanks to all for the encouraging comments on yesterday's post. I will, of course, keep plugging away at this end. It's not that I want to become a "vegangelical" (who coined that term?) and brow beat people in veganism, or force them to watch "Meet Your Meat" a la A Clockwork Orange, I am just wondering how to make my blogging more effective. How can I get more people to click over and check out the recipes? I certainly think blogs can be a powerful force for change because they make veganism so accessible, and I guess I just want mine to be as effective as possible. I suppose patience is key here--I have only been doing this since September 2007 and am blown away that I have had over 46 000 hits. Now, back to the kitchen!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
While perusing some blogs today I found myself asking a few questions: 1. How can I get some company to send me a free sample of their product? 2. How does one get on the list to test recipes for upcoming vegan cookbooks? I am also wondering how to make my blog a force for change. I love the vegan blog community, and I am feeling an e-bond with those who frequent Vegan Dad and leave comments, but I would also like to change some non-vegan minds. I mean, if entry to heaven was based on the number of vegan converts we made, I would totally be going to hell where I would eat naught but burning hot coals and drink naught but burning hot cola. Recently, a few of my pics were posted on Tastespotting.com, which caused my daily hits to jump to over 700. I can only hope a few people were intrigued to look more into veganism. Perhaps I will try the 10 things Isa recommends in this article.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
When I am pressed for time I usually reach for my wok. This time I thought I would stir fry without the oil to try and cut the fat. I also used plain tofu (instead of crispy tofu, which I usually do) to make the dish a little more healthy. Plus, I think I was trying to compensate for the fact that I also made a second dish with coconut milk (which I will post tomorrow).
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
You may have noticed a few new things on the blog. I have put in a video bar that links to PETA's "Meet Your Meat," and to Morgan Spurlock's "Supersize Me." Actually, watching "Supersize Me" is what started me on the road to veganism. After seeing the film I started reading the books of the people he interviewed: John Robbins' Diet For a New America; Marion Nestle's Food Politics; Eric Scholsser's Fast Food Nation. There was no turning back from there. In the spirit of "Supersize Me," I also have started posting fast food "nutritional" info (although I know I will largely be preaching to the choir). It always blows my mind that vegans are seen as dietary weirdos, but eating a burger with 55 grams of fat is considered normal.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sorry, no pic tonight. I used up all my battery power this holiday weekend and did not have time to recharge after the drive home and before I finished dinner. Ahhh . . there is nothing like a long drive home and then having to come up with a meal with a next to empty fridge. The first dish was BBQ meatballs. I took 2 packs of Yves frozen meatballs and simmered them on the stovetop in BBQ sauce (your choice) thinned down with a little water. Next was herb roasted potatoes: chunks of yukon gold potatoes tossed in olive oil, sea salt, basil, parsley, and marjoram. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30-35 mins, or until golden brown. Add in a few sides of veggies and you have dinner. Actually, the meal was a huge hit with the kids, and Son#1 had thirds.
One thing my whole extended family can agree on: these cupcakes rock! If you have not done so already, go buy Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. We celebrated my nephew and brother in law's birthday today with these. Huzzah for cupcakes!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
What better way to wow your omni family than with vegan sausage? While my brother-in-law was not fooled into thinking he was actually eating meat, he did say it was "good" and was "way up there" in relation to other fake meats he had tried. Hey, good enough for me! This recipe fed four adults and 6 kids (yes, it is crazy here), so you may want to make half a recipe.
Friday, March 21, 2008
The whole Vegan Family was on the road today to visit family for the Easter Weekend. Unlike our American neighbours, we get Friday and Monday off. It always struck me as weird that Americans did not get at least one day off for Easter, what with Easter being central to the Christian calendar, and what with "God Bless America" and all that. Anyway, we were treated to veggie chili upon out arrival, and it was so nice not to have to cook for one night. I am not sure what we will pull together for dinners over the next few days, but I will be sure to blog it if I can.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Happy Herbivore left a note the other day saying I should check out her chickpea tacos, that the boys would love them. Well, she was right. Of course, I made a few changes to suit the ingredients I had, and decided that tostados (fried tortillas) would be the perfect fit since you can pile the toppings up as high as you like. Happy Herbivore baked her chickpeas, so be sure to check out her recipe.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A few days ago I asked Son#1 what he wanted for dinner and he said, "broccoli soup!" That was kind of weird. I mean, what kid asks for broccoli soup? Well, tonight Vegan Mom made his dreams come true with this tasty and hearty soup that is perfect for those days when there is still a chill in the air.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
You may remember that I made a lemon pudding cake a while ago that was really tasty but a bit complicated to make. Well, now I return with an equally tasty but far easier recipe. I have been experimenting over the last week or so (working my way through the discount lemons we bought) trying to get the right texture to the cake and right consistency to the pudding. So if you like a sweet but tangy dessert then this is the cake for you.
Monday, March 17, 2008
One of the problems with having a blog is you rarely get a chance to relive old recipes because you always feel like you need to make something new. Tonight Vegan Mom made Tofurky Tettrazini because the kids love it and it is easy and tasty. So, tonight I thought I would do this survey thing that two people have tagged me to do. The point is to relate 5 things about you, then tag 5 people to do the same.
1. I have dual citizenship. I was born in the U.S. but have lived most of my life in Ontario, Canada. I consider myself Canadian, except when I cross the border. Then I wear red, white and blue, set my cell-phone to play “America the Beautiful” when it rings, wave my birth certificate at them, and get waved right through.
2. I went to school for 25 years straight. Of course, I got my PhD in the end, but when you think about being in school from age 5 to 30 it sounds kind of crazy. I didn’t get my first “real job” until I was 32. Awesome.
3. I am not cool. I have tried to be cool, wished I was cool, sometimes deluded myself into thinking I was cool, but never have obtained coolness. When people describe me, cool is not one of the adjectives they use. Punctual? Yes. Cool? No.
4. I love ABBA. (See #3)
5. I live a remarkably clean life. I have never been drunk; ingested, shot up, or smoked any controlled or illicit substance; or done anything remotely criminal. (See #3)
I am tagging: Two Vegan Sisters, Vegan Family Dinners, The Happy Herbivore, Veganalects, and Something About Penguins. I was going to tag Isa, but then totally chickened out.
Posted by Vegan Dad at 9:21 PM
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Another recipe from Sunday brunch today. I made this one up on the spot in an attempt to use up the Italian loaf I bought earlier this week, and then promptly forgot about, and which has been getting staler by the day. I have made French toast before with chickpea flour, but I always thought it had a weird taste (I know, I am a total wuss). This recipe worked out pretty well, I think, but would be interested in what recipes other people have used.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Since we spent the day away, we needed a quick meal when we got home. This fit the bill.
- 1 pkg firm tofu, pressed, cubed
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3 tbsp vegan chicken broth powder
- 1 tsp salt
- oil for frying
- large pitas
- sliced tomatoes
- sliced cucumbers
- sliced red onion
- shredded romaine lettuce
- vegan mayo
- plum sauce
1. Heat a layer of oil in a frying pan over medium to med-hi heat. Whisk flour and broth powder together. Toss tofu cubes in flour mixture. Fry in batches in oil for about 5 mins, turning regularly to brown on all sides. Remove from oil and drain. (see pic below)
2. Cut pita halfway around the circumference, open up pocket, and fold down resulting flap. Fill pitas with fixins (whatever suits your fancy--above is what I used).
3. Tuck flap around filling then roll pita tightly.
Friday, March 14, 2008
The past few days have been insanely busy, so we have been polishing off the leftovers from earlier in the week (hence no post yesterday). But we all know that kids will only take reheated leftovers for so many nights before they revolt. So, I raided the fridge and made quick and easy pizzas. The crust? Lebanese pitas. The toppings? See below.
Meatless Meatlovers Pizza
- Tomato sauce, pepperoni, sausage, chopped quick seitan, vegan cheese
- alfredo sauce, steamed broccoli florets, sliced mushrooms, diced quick seitan, vegan cheese
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
I know what you are thinking: this guy is going to develop a gluten intolerance with all the seitan he is making. I just can't help experimenting with steamed wheat gluten! This time the plan was to make a bratwurst-like sausage that was lighter and differently spiced than an Italian sausage. Mission accomplished! Most of the bratwurst recipes I looked up online called for mace and caraway seeds. I am not crazy about caraway, and I am not exactly sure what mace tastes like. In any event, I did not have them on hand (but will try them next time I make these). But, they are awesome just the way they are, and even better with sauerkraut piled high on top.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I saw this recipe while perusing Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan last night. The recipe originally comes from Lachesis on the PPK forum. I am always on the lookout for a great white sauce, and have tried my hand at my own (see here). This one is pretty much the same idea but was oh so much better! Smooth, creamy, and totally like actual alfredo! This is what I will be serving next time I have omnis over for dinner (but I think I will add roasted garlic for more depth of flavour). The original recipe calls for mushrooms marinated in vegan Worcestershire sauce (which I can't get here), and since Son#1 complains every time he see a whole, or partially whole, mushroom I decided to leave them out. So, be sure to look at the original post. Instead, I made a half-recipe of quick seitan cutlets which I sliced with the pasta and sauce. Incredible!
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sunday, March 9, 2008
So, we went crazy again today at the grocery store and bought a whack of discount mushrooms. Last time we did this I made Mushroom and Sundried Pepper Pasta, but thought that mushrooms would also make a good bolognese sauce. Well, as it turns out, they do.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
We were actually invited over to our friends' house for dinner tonight (the first time since we moved here in July!). I know that making vegan food can be daunting for omnis (hence our scant dinner invitations) but they served up a delicious meal of black bean enchiladas and salad, with chocolate pudding cake for dessert. What a treat! That means I did not cook a meal today, and I know I said I would post the risotto from yesterday, but I wanted to share today's culinary experiment instead. This pepperoni is totally amazing! You will never buy veggie pepperoni at the store again.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Vegan Mom and I have decided to reinstate our Friday night kid-free dinners. We just need one night a week where we can actually eat sitting down for the whole meal, instead of fetching drinks for the kids, wiping spills, keeping Son#3 from trying to escape from his high chair, etc. So, after the kids are in bed we sit down for our own meal. Tonight I reformed the recipe and method for making the seitan cutlets, and was quite happy with the results. I also made a risotto and will post the recipe tomorrow.
- 1/2 cup white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cold water or veggie broth
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup chicken-style broth powder
- 1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- freshly ground white pepper
Get your water on its way to boiling under a 2-tiered bamboo steamer.
1. Mash beans finely with a fork. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix together into a dough. Knead for a few minutes.
2. Divide dough into 6 pieces and press into cutlets with the heel of your hand. Wet your hands with water is dough is a bit sticky.
3. Wet a tea towel. Lay half of the towel in the bottom tier of the steamer, place 3 cutlets on the towel, then fold over towel to cover. Repeat with a new towel and the 3 remaining cutlets in the top tier.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I guess I don't need to extol the virtues of kale to a bunch of vegans. But in case you didn't know, kale is very good for you. I have had a bunch sitting in the crisper for a few days and have been wondering how to serve it in a way the kids would like (or at least not hate too much). This was the answer.
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium bunch of kale
- 1 lb yukon gold potatoes, cubed (skins on)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 5 cups water
- 1/2 cup chicken-style broth powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup plain soy milk
1. Heat oil in a large pot over med-hi heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 5 mins, until onions are soft and translucent.
2. While onions are cooking, rinse kale, remove leaves from stems, and roughly chop. Add to pot with potatoes and cook for 1-2 mins, until it softens a little.
3. Add chickpeas, water, broth powder, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to bubbling, lower heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 mins, until potatoes are cooked.
4. Mix flour into soy milk (I put them both in a container with a snug fitting lid and shake to blend) and add to pot. Bring to a bubbling so stew will thicken. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Maybe you've come home from work late. Maybe the kids are hungry and whiny. Maybe you need a quick meal that is kid-friendly, but maybe you can't stomach the idea of hot dogs. Well, then, maybe you should make these mini pizzas.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Tonight was an experiment that worked out pretty well. My reasoning was this: if steaming wheat gluten dough makes a great sausage, then perhaps a modified recipe could mimic other meat as well. This means one could make a palatable seitan quite easily in about 40 minutes instead of hours of simmering. To me, this was quite an attractive possibility. My goal tonight was to make a chicken-like burger. I figured that using just gluten flour would make the burger too tough, so I used some chickpea flour as well. The end result was tender, but perhaps a bit dry. This may be from the chickpea flour. I will experiment some more. Suggestions welcome.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
The head of my department hosted a fun in the snow day out on the lake--sledding, skiing, snowball fights and all that--followed by veggie chili. So, for once, I did not have to make dinner. So, I thought I would share our Sunday brunch: pancakes with blueberries and raspberries, hash browns, tofu scramble, and these breakfast sausages. The boys loved them and gobbled them down. To my palate, the spicing in these is spot on, and the end result is incredibly sausage-like (well, for someone who has not had meat in over 2 1/2 years).
Saturday, March 1, 2008
I wanted to revise this recipe a bit before I posted it, but hey, it's not like I am writing a cookbook here. The recipe tastes great and is filled with lemony goodness. Here are a few caveats, though. First, I used Bird's custard powder for the pudding. This is easily obtained in Canada, but maybe not in the U.S. It is essentially cornstarch with flavouring, so I was going to try a version that had just cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Second, I used an 8x8 pan which was filled to the max. It still turned out and did not over boil, but maybe a slightly larger pan is in order. The lemon cake is Isa's Lemon Gem Cupcake recipe from Veganomicon, so many thanks to her for letting me post it here.
When I saw these on Isa's blog, I knew I had to make them. Sure, they looked great for pizza and gumbo and the like, but would they stand up to the bun test? Would they be good on their own, slightly grilled, and served with ketchup and mustard? The answer is yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! These are easy to make and taste way better than anything I can get at the store (Yves). The texture is freakishly sausage-like, and I was able to grill them on the BBQ after the steaming. This makes me think there is nothing these sausages can't do. I went crazy with the spicing: fennel, rosemary, sage, thyme, basil, oregano, parsley (and no red pepper flakes). Feel free to throw in whatever you want. Here is the recipe from Isa's blog. I made 6 sausages instead of 4.
- 1 cup cold vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, grated (with a microplane, or very finely minced)
- 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Several dashes fresh black pepper
1. Before mixing your ingredients, get your steaming apparatus ready, bring water to a full boil. The rest of the recipe comes together very quickly.
2. Have ready 6 sheets of tin foil. In a large bowl, mash the pinto beans until no whole ones are left. Throw all the other ingredients together in the order listed and mix with a fork. Divide dough into 6 even parts. Place one part of dough into tin foil and mold into about a 5 inch log. Wrap dough in tin foil, like a tootsie roll. Don’t worry too much about shaping it, it will snap into shape while it’s steaming because this recipe is awesome.
3. Place wrapped sausages in steamer and steam for 40 minutes.