Monday, June 30, 2008

On Grilling Tempeh Burgers

So maybe you are planning to do some grilling this holiday weekend (July 1st for us Canadians, July 4 south of the border). And maybe you would like to grill up a few tempeh burgers. I thought I would take a trial run and see what the results were. My advice is this: don't use the grill as the primary method of cooking these burgers. Although the burgers hold up well on the grill, they dry out too much. I would suggest cooking them as usual on the stove, keeping them in the fridge, then reheating on the grill.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Super Veggie Scrambled Tofu

I have not made scrambled tofu for a while and I'm not sure why. It is easy to make and incredibly tasty. You really can use whatever veggies you have in the crisper to jazz up your tofu, but this combination works very well (and looks so pretty). I know that scrambled tofu has become fairly ubiquitous in vegan bloggerdom, but here is the recipe anyway.

INGREDIENTS
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup water (more as needed)
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu, crumbled
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 bunch asparagus, steamed and cut into 1 inch sections
- 4 cups baby spinach

METHOD
1. Saute onion and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 mins. Add mushrooms and saute until they release their water and have reduced in size. Get the asparagus steaming.
2. Add water, spices, tofu and mix well. Cook for 5 mins, adding more water if it gets too dry. Add tomato and cook for 3 mins. Add asparagus and spinach and reduce heat.
3. Cover pan with a lid to let spinach cook. Remove lid and mix everything well.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Chocolate Banana Bites

It doesn't take a culinary genius to know that bananas and chocolate were made for each other. These are a quick and easy treat on a hot summer day, and the kids love them. I don't think I really need to post a formal recipe. Just cut bananas into 4 sections and place in the freezer for an hour or so (you want them cold, but not frozen solid). Dip into melted vegan chocolate chips and enjoy!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Zucchini Mashed Potatoes

OK, I am sure you saw the pic tonight and thought, "what the deuce?" I was tempted to call these "Three Mile Island Mashed Potatoes" because they look like cooling towers and the attempt at a funky presentation was about as successful as America's foray into atomic energy. The plan was to add finely grated zucchini to mashed potatoes for extra nutrition and taste. But, I thought the boys might revolt at green specks in their potatoes so I tried to a kind of columnar presentation. As you can see it did not work out. The flour I added to make them stiffer made the potatoes too gummy, and the columns flattened in the oven. That aside, the idea is still good. After you make mashed potatoes, add in one finely grated zucchini and mix well. The flavours work well together and it is a way to get kids to eat zucchini.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Whole Wheat Bread

If you have ever made whole wheat bread you know that it has a tendency to be dense, dry, and generally unpleasant. I love fibre as much as the next guy, but nobody likes having to drink several litres of water with their sandwich just to get it down. That is why many recipes blend whole wheat and white flours to get a more airy loaf. This bread is made completely of whole wheat flour, but the fermented starter and blend of hard and regular flour gives it a wonderful texture. This may look like a lot of work, but it really isn't. It just takes time, and time results in great bread. The recipe is modified and veganized from The Chez Piggy Cookbook.

INGREDIENTS
Morning of Day One: Starter
- 2 tbsp active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 2/3 cup soy milk
- 1 3/4 hard whole wheat flour (ask at a bulk food store)

METHOD
1. Whisk yeast into water in a large bowl. Put lemon juice in a measuring cup and fill with soy milk to 2/3 mark. Stir with a fork to thicken. Add to yeast mixture and whisk in flour. Cover and let rest in a cool place.

Evening of Day One: Starter
- starter from the morning
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 1/2 cups regular whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 cups hard whole wheat flour

METHOD
1. Mix everything in a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2: Dough and Bread
- 1 1/2 cups starter
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 cups regular whole wheat flour
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups hard whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp maple syrup

METHOD
1. Mix everything together in a large bowl, then knead on a floured counter top until smooth. Let rise in a greased and covered bowl until doubled (about 1.5 hours).
2. Degas dough, divide into two, roll into loaves, and place in loaf pans. Cover with a towel and let rise for about 60 mins, until almost doubled in size.
3. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 400 degrees, convection (425 regular). Place a cast iron pan on the bottom rack and fill with an inch or so of boiling water. Make three slashes with a razor blade on the top of the loaves and bake for 12 mins (15 mins regular).
4. Remove pan of water, reduce heat to 350 convection (375 regular), and bake loaves for 15-18 mins (20-25 mins regular), until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when you tap on the bottom.
5. Cool on wire racks.

NOTE
The extra starter will keep in the fridge for a few days. You can also freeze it. Measure out 1 1/2 cup chunks of starter and freeze in containers. Thaw in the fridge the day before you want to make bread. The starter will make 8 loaves total.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Swedish Meatballs

I don't think I have ever had Swedish Meatballs, but I have often pined for them when shopping at IKEA. I don't know what it is about wandering through a maze of Swedish furniture that makes you hungry for just about anything. Traditional Swedish meatballs are served in a cream and beef broth sauce, so I have tried to duplicate a beefy type flavour here. The dish went over pretty well with the kids--meatballs and rice are always a winning combo.

INGREDIENTS
- 1 recipe perfect tempeh burger, made with 1/2 cup wheat gluten, shaped into about 24 balls
- 2 tbsp oil
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup Bragg's, or light soy sauce
- 2-3 tsp Marmite
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp HP sauce
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2-4 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup plain soy milk
- 3 tbsp flour

METHOD
1. Fry meatballs in 2 tbsp oil over med-lo heat for 15 mins, turning regularly, until browned all over.
2. While meatballs are frying, make the sauce. Combine water, Bragg's, Marmite, spices, sauce and cornstarch in a large pot and bring to bubbling. Whisk flour into soy milk and add to pot. Whisk until smooth and thick.
3. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer for 20 mins, uncovered. Stir regularly to keep sauce from sticking to pot. Be gentle so the meatballs don't break apart (they are durable, but not invincible).
4. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Green Enchiladas

I have lamented before about the poor selection of ethnic food available in my city. There are no ethnic markets, just an ethnic section in the grocery store. On top of that, I shop at a store called No Frills which, as the name suggests, has no frills (selection is often a frill). So I was very happy to see green salsa for sale on the shelves the other day (back in Ohio I used to buy fresh tomatillos and make my own green enchilada sauce, but those days are over). Then, the bulk food store was selling off Vegan Gourmet cheese for 99 cents--I had to buy some. The logical dish to make was enchiladas. The taste was very good, considering pretty much everything came from a can, but it reminded me that I can live without Vegan Gourmet.

INGREDIENTS
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 can Old El Paso green chiles, with juices
- 1/2 cup tomato salsa
- 2 cups finely chopped veggie lunch meat
- 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional) plus more for top
- 10 wheat tortillas (or corn)
- 1 1/2 jars green salsa

METHOD
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 x 11 baking dish.
1. Heat oil in a saucepan over med-hi heat. Saute onion and garlic for 5-7 mins, until translucent. Add chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon and mix well.
2. Add chiles, salsa, and veggie meat to the pan and bring to bubbling. Stir in cheese if using, and adjust seasonings to taste. Remove from heat.
3. Place 1/10th of the filling in a tortilla and roll up. Place in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining filling and tortillas. Cover everything with salsa and as much cheese as you want.
4. Bake for 20 to 25 mins, or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted (or whatever it is that vegan cheese does).

A Cookbook, of Sorts

I have already begun working on my Christmas gifts for this year--the plan is to make a Vegan Dad cookbook to give to friends and family (well, there goes the element of surprise). Some of you have expressed an interest in a cookbook so you don't have to keep dragging your laptop into the kitchen, or keep printing off pages of recipes, so I thought I would see how much interest there would be in a Vegan Dad cookbook. Now, keep in mind this would be totally homemade, designed by me and printed off at some local copy center, and would pretty much be the recipes already on the blog. I would like to do colour prints on nice paper stock, and spiral bound seems to make the most sense (easier to keep open on the counter top). I would have to investigate price of printing and mailing, so this is all theoretical at the moment. If you are interested (or not), please click an answer on the poll near the top of the right column. Any general comments or questions can be emailed to me at vegandadDOTblogspotATgmailDOTcom.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sweet n' Hot Pineapple Sauce

Nothing went right for tonight's meal except this sauce (which is why it's the only thing I am posting). Not even the picture turned out. Curses! I experimented again with a new seitan, but it did not work out well. I also envisioned a dish with red pepper and cashews but ended up having neither in the fridge/pantry. The sauce, however, is exactly what I was going for--sweet with a citrus undertone and a spicy bite.

INGREDIENTS
- 1 medium pineapple, peeled and cored, cut into chunks
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chili garlic sauce (or more, depending how hot you want it)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- salt to taste

METHOD
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Place in a saucepan and bring to bubbling. Lower heat to medium and cook for 5 mins, until thickened and smooth.
2. Use right away in a dish, or store in a bottle in the fridge for later.

Cancer and the Diet

Some potentially good news for us vegan men. A new study by Dr. Dean Ornish suggests that a low fat vegetarian diet coupled with exercise and stress management techniques, like yoga, actually shuts down prostate cancer triggering genes and stimulates cancer preventing genes. What is the science behind it, and how does it all work? I have no idea. You can link to the news story I saw here and here, and to the study itself here. If Ornish's findings are correct, this means good things for exercising, yoga-doing, plant-eating men like myself.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

From the Vegan Dad Test Kitchen

A few days ago Teresa asked if there was any way to make the seitan in the chicken wingz a little less chewy (or did she say rubbery?). Then, Happy Herbivore dubbed me the Seitan King (which sounds vaguely evil). Then, a reader from the UK mentioned that she could not get vital wheat gluten anywhere. All of this to say that I have been messing around with an old school seitan--one made by kneading dough in water to release the starch. I am trying to create a seitan that is tender but also white like chicken to sway even the most die-hard omnivore (you may know some of these). Above is a trial run of the new seitan made into a sweet and sticky chicken wing. It was pretty good. I think the recipe would also make good chick'n strips (say goodbye to Yves). More to come later.

Butterscotch Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Today was beautiful and sunny so we spent a lot of time at the lake. That did not leave much time to get creative in the kitchen. So I thought I would share these awesome brownies I made from Have Cake, Will Travel. I love this blog, and not just for its beautiful pictures. I am not very inventive when it comes to baking, so I enjoy looking at what creations Celine is able to come up with. She utilizes a bunch of interesting ingredients in her desserts (avocado, beans, sweet potato, etc.), and everything I have made from her blog has been a hit. These brownies are no exception. They really can't decide if they are brownies or fudge, and as you can see from the pic. They are best served cold and will quickly deliver a rush of chocolate into your bloodstream.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Creamy Mac and Cheeze

I know there are a bunch of vegan mac and cheese recipe floating around out there on the internets and in cookbooks. I have tried many of them, but I always keep coming back to this recipe. The inspiration comes from my good friend, Sjanie, in B.C. (my only vegan friend, actually, aside from my blog readers). She was very supportive of my decision to go vegan and she would send recipes as we chatted via MSN Messenger, which I would hurriedly cut and paste, print off, and try out. The original print out is long gone because I started just pitching ingredients into a blender, adjusting as necessary to get the taste and consistency I wanted. I decided to finally measure and write down what went into the blender and share it with you. My kids love this dish slathered with ketchup, Canadian-style.


INGREDIENTS
Makes enough for a family of 5 with leftovers. Cut in half if needed.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 cups soy milk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 cups firm tofu (does not have to be silken)
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp miso (something mellow)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cornstarch

- 3 cups uncooked macaroni

METHOD
1. Cook macaroni, as per directions, until al dente.
2. While macaroni is cooking, place all other ingredients in a blender and blend for 5 minutes, until very smooth. Make sure all nuts and seeds have been blended.
3. Drain macaroni and return to pot over medium heat. Add sauce and bring to bubbling. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and reduces a bit (about 5 mins)
A FEW NOTES
1. I have never done this, but if you like cooked mac and cheese, I think you could add the sauce to the noodles, transfer to a greased casserole, top with bread crumbs, and bake for 30 mins or so (until bubbling).
2. The mac and cheese will be very saucy at first. If you are planning on eating some of the leftovers for lunch tomorrow, remove some mac and cheeze from the pot after it comes to bubbling and store in the fridge. The sauce will absorb into the noodles overnight, but still be creamy when re-heated the next day.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Snickerdoodles

The first cookies I ever made by myself, at around 12 years of age, were snickerdoodles. Around that time my Mom went back to work, leaving my brothers and I in charge of cooking dinner for the family. She would leave step by step instructions for simple meals, and a hot dinner would be ready for her and my Dad when they got home. This is how I learned basic kitchen skills and where my love of cooking began (a love of eating had already been established). I soon began making desserts from my Mom's Betty Crocker cookbook (enter the snickerdoodles), and from a box filled with my great grandmother's recipes for Boston Cream Pie and other delightful sugar and fad-laden treats. So when I saw this snickerdoodle recipe on Have Cake, Will Travel, I immediately tagged it. I finally got around to making them today for a nice after lunch treat. They are crisp yet soft, and are everything a snickerdoodle should be. I did add a tsp of canola oil to a double recipe because the dough seemed too dry, and I made bite-sized cookies that fit perfectly into the kids' lunch bags for school. Thanks, Celine!

30 Days

You may have heard that Morgan Spurlock did an episode on his FX series 30 Days where a North Carolina deer hunter spent a month with a vegan family involved in the animal rights movement. The episode is poignant and sensitive and well worth a viewing for vegans and non-vegans alike. You can stream the episode here.

Not Your Typical Blogroll

I seem to be having trouble getting my blogroll to link directly to Google Reader. Yes, I could just enter the URLs one by one but, let's face it, technology has turned me into a wuss. So, I thought I would try something a little different. I have added a new section called "Great Stuff from Other Veg Blogs" in the right column. These are items I have tagged from other blogs that strike me as something I want to try. For the most part I haven't tried them (it's hard to make other peoples' recipes while blogging about your own), but I would like to. Think of these as Vegan Dad's top recipe picks, for whatever that is worth. Hopefully it will steer you to some great recipes from the many great blogs I keep tabs on.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shaved Seitan BBQ Sandwich

You may not want to make the veggie lunch meat I posted yesterday for your daily brownbag at the office, but you will definitely want to make it for this recipe. I guarantee that you will be overwhelmed by its sweet and messy awesomeness.


INGREDIENTS
- 1 recipe sweet and sticky BBQ sauce (but don't strain out onions)
- about 4 cups thinly shaved veggie lunch meat

METHOD
1. Make the BBQ sauce and let it simmer while you cut the seitan (use a very sharp knife). Don't worry about cutting whole slices, just shave off thin bits and pieces. The meat is tough enough to hold up in the sauce, and the thin slices make for a perfect texture.
2. Add seitan to sauce. Add enough so there isn't a lot of excess sauce, but enough to thickly coat the seitan (like you see in the pic above). Let simmer for as long as possible, covered. Pile onto toasted buns and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Veggie Lunch Meat

What is it with kids and not wanting to take adventurous lunches to school? Last year, Son #1 would only take PB&J to school. Every. Single. Day. All nuts are banned at his school this year, due to allergy concerns, so all he wants is veggie meat with vegenaise and mustard. Now, you may remember my post on Solae (made by DuPont) and the fact that Yves and other companies use Solae soy. So I thought I would try my hand at making my own lunch meat. I figured I could just make a huge seitan log and steam and bake it until done. Just like a huge veggie sausage. I didn't try to make it like chicken or beef or anything, just plain ol' veggie meat. I think the end product was pretty good, but perhaps a tad dry. I think I could lower the gluten a bit and bake it a bit less. Still, the recipe is very postable and Son #1 has been eating it up this week.


INGREDIENTS
- 1 cup white beans
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp ground fennel
- 1 tsp sage
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten

METHOD
Get water steaming in your steamer.
1. Place all ingredients except the gluten flour in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Add gluten flour and work into a dough.
2. Shape dough into a log and wrap in heavy duty foil like a tootsie roll. Try to make the roll as thick as possible. Steam for 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees in the last 15 mins of steaming. Remove seitan from steamer and bake for 45-60 mins. Seitan should swell and press against the foil.
4. Cool and slice as needed for sandwiches. This seitan holds up very well and can be shaved very thin. Store in the fridge

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cheesy Polenta Cups with Shredded Zucchini

We scored several bags of discount tomatoes at the grocery store, so it was homemade pasta sauce tonight with tempeh meatballs. I made these polenta cups (with cornmeal because it's easier) to try to get the kids to eat some zucchini without so much whining. They didn't whine, but they didn't jump up and down either. I really liked them and they would make a nice appetizer.


INGREDIENTS
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small zucchini, finely grated
- 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (or more)
- grated vegan cheese (alternate topping: Italian bread crumbs)
Variation: top zucchini with pesto

METHOD
1. Bring water and salt to boiling in a sauce pan. Whisk in cornmeal and keep whisking until thick. Remove from heat and whisk in nutritional yeast and olive oil.
2. Spoon polenta into 6 muffin tins. Allow to cool slightly, then, working quickly, press into a shell shape. Wet your fingers of polenta is sticky. Place muffin tin in the fridge to cool.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grate zucchini. Squeeze out excess water with your hands. Remove polenta from fridge, remove from muffin tin, and place on a non stick cookie sheet. Gently press 1/6 of the zucchini into each cup and top with a generous tbsp of spaghetti sauce. Top all that with some cheese.
4. Bake for 10-12 mins, until cheese is melted and polenta is slightly crispy.
NOTE: you need to shape the polenta before it cools. Wetting your fingers can help if polenta is sticky, or is cooling quickly. If you want to make more than 6 cups, I would suggest making two batches of polenta rather than trying to for 12 cups at once.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Funnel Cake

I finished up a conference paper today and decided to unwind by experimenting in the kitchen. I was determined to try out my rosette iron and veganize the 1950s recipe that came with it. I thought a mixture of flax and tofu would replace the egg, while baking powder and soda would help with the leavening action. The batter came together very well (and very easily) and I was ready to go. I dipped the iron in the hot oil, as per the instructions, then in the batter, then back in the oil. The batter puffed up perfectly and I was happy. The only problem was that the cookie totally bonded to the iron and there was no way that puppy was coming off. But, as the old saying goes, when life gives you a bowl of batter and a pan of hot oil, make funnel cakes! These remind me of the days of my youth at Canada's Wonderland riding the roller coasters and chowing down on funnel cakes in the hot sun until I felt like barfing. Ah, the good ol' days. I certainly would not make these on a regular basis on account of the fat, but it was fun to relive an old favourite.


INGREDIENTS
- 1 tbsp finely ground flax seed
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup firm tofu
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- oil for frying
- icing sugar
- strawberry jam

METHOD
1. Get a few inches of oil heating in a pan over med-hi heat. Make sure it is nice and hot.
2. Whisk flax and water together in a small bowl until it thickens. Add flax mixture, tofu, soy milk, flour, vanilla, and salt to a food processor and blend until very smooth. Or, put all ingredients in a container and blend with an immersion blender. Pour into a container with a spout.
3. Test the batter. Drop some batter in the oil. It should sink, then rise to the surface. If it doesn't, add another tbsp of flour. The batter needs to be thick enough to hold together in the oil, otherwise it will scatter instead of making a coherent nest.
4. Drizzle a nest of batter into the oil and cook for a few mins on each side, until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel or paper bags. Repeat with remaining batter. I think the recipe will make about 8 funnel cakes (I experimented a lot with the irons).
5. When cooled a bit, dust with icing sugar. Heat up some strawberry jam and throw that on top as well.

Rosette and Timbale Iron

Oh, the funky things we find at garage sales. Vegan Mom picked up this rosette and timbale iron (circa the 1950s, I think) this weekend. To be honest, I have never seen such a thing and wasn't even sure what a rosette or timbale was, let alone how the iron aided in their creation. Luckily, the box included a handy book of "unusual old world and American recipes" that answered all my questions. Rosettes are a type of cookie, and timbales are pastry shells into which on could place a variety of things (the book's suggestion: creamed tuna. Um . . . no?). The method of making these things smacks of the 1950s, too. Heat iron in fat, dunk iron into batter, dunk iron back into fat and deep-fry until done. The batters rely heavily on eggs and condensed milk but I really want to use these things just for the fun of it. So, stay tuned. And, has anyone heard of these type of irons before?

Asparagus Crepes with Super Easy White Sauce

For those wondering about yesterday's brunch crepes, here is the recipe. Not much of a recipe, really, but it is super tasty!


INGREDIENTS
- 1/2 recipe crepes (I actually forgot to put the chickpea flour in and they turned out just fine)--it should make 10 crepes
- 20 steamed asparagus stalks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 generous tbsp flour
- 1 1/4 cup soy milk
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- pinch nutmeg
- salt and white pepper to taste

METHOD
1. Steam asparagus while you are making the crepes. My original vision was to make smaller crepes so the asparagus would stick out of the ends. So, whatever you want. Rinse asparagus in very cold water to stop the cooking and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for a few mins, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in soy milk and bring to bubbling. Season to taste and remove from heat.
3. Pat asparagus dry. Place two stalks on one side of the crepe and top with a generous tbsp of sauce. Roll up. Repeat with remaining crepes. Place in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day Brunch

Highlights from Father's Day Brunch. Happy Father's Day, dads! (especially you vegan dads . . . you know who you are)

Lemon Currant Rolls

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Roast Seitan with Ginger Peach Stuffing and Glaze

The great thing about tonight's meal is that it helped me figure out what to serve for Christmas dinner (and who doesn't plan Christmas dinner in June?). Imagine the pic above with a chestnut and sage stuffing and a cranberry glaze. It's all going down in December. Today's recipe has a nice summery feel and makes use of sweet peaches and apricots in the stuffing and glaze, balanced by cinnamon and ginger. The seitan is both steamed and roasted, giving it a perfect texture. It was a big hit with my visiting in-laws.


INGREDIENTS
Stuffing
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 celery stalk, finely diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1-2 tbsp mined ginger (depends on how much you like ginger)
- 1 piece stale french bread, with crusts on, small dice
- 1 almost ripe peach, skinned and chopped
- 1 almost ripe apricot, skinned and chopped

METHOD
1. Melt margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion, celery, and ginger for 5 mins, or until soft. Add spices, stir well, and remove from heat. Put bread and fruit in a bowl, pour onion mixture over top and mix well. Set aside to cool. Make the seitan.

Seitan
Get your water on its way to boiling in your steamer
- 1 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp poultry spice
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar

METHOD
1. Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together wet ingredients in a separate bowl and add to dry. Mix with a wooden spoon into a wet dough. If it seems too wet, add a bit more gluten flour. It should be soft and pliable, but still hold together.
2. Transfer dough to counter top or board. With your hands, flatten into a rectangle, about 1/2" thick. The width will depend on how wide your steamer is. Make sure it will fit.
3. Put stuffing in a line the center of the dough. Compress the stuffing in your hands a bit so the center of the roast will be firm. Gently but firmly roll the seitan with the stuffing in the middle (i.e. make sure there is a cavity in the middle with the stuffing in it--don't roll it like a jelly roll). Seal the ends and seam as best you can.
4. Transfer the roll to a piece of extra wide, extra strength aluminum foil, and tightly roll up like a Tootsie Roll.
5. Steam for 30 mins, turning over after 15 mins. While seitan is steaming, make the glaze.

Glaze
- 2 small ripe peaches, skinned and chopped
- 2 ripe apricots, skinned and chopped
- 1 -2 tbsp minced ginger
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch

METHOD
1. Blend peaches, apricots, ginger, and water in a food processor until very smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to bubbling over med to med-hi heat.
2. Let bubble for about 5 mins, until fruit begins to darken and sauce reduces slightly. Add sugars and spices and mix well. Let bubble and reduce for 5 more mins.
3. Mix cornstarch in a bit of water and add to pan. Bring to bubbling, stirring constantly, and remove from heat. Set aside to cool while seitan finishes.

Roasting and Glazing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.
1. When seitan is done steaming, remove from steamer and set aside to cool for a few mins. Unwrap, and place in prepared baking dish.
2. Spoon half the glaze over top, covering as much of the sides as you can. Bake for 15 mins.
3. Spoon remaining glaze over roast and bake another 15 mins.
4. Spoon any glaze that has slipped off the roast back over the roast and bake for another 10 mins.
5. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 mins to allow everything to firm up a bit. Transfer to a cutting board and thickly slice with a very sharp knife.

VARIATION
If you like the bite of ginger, don't process the ginger in with the fruit for the glaze. Instead, mince it and add it to the pan with the processed fruit. This will give you bursts of ginger flavour in with the sweet peaches.

Virgin Vegan Cooking Voyages?

I have been wracking my brain trying to remember what the first vegan meal was I ever cooked was after deciding to eschew all animal products. I honestly can't remember. I'm sure it must have been something out of Vegan With a Vengeance since that is the first vegan cookbook I bought. It probably also had tofu. I thought it would be fun to hear about other people's virgin vegan cooking voyages. What did you make? Was it awesome? Horrible? Did you wonder what you were getting into?

Friday, June 13, 2008

McChick'n Nuggets

I was leafing through a Homemakers magazine today from a few years ago. You can pick up old magazines for dirt cheap at the thrift store and look through the recipe section to see what the non-vegan world is up to. Sometimes it can lead to new ideas and inspiration for vegan dishes. This particular issue did not have any good ideas, but it did have a McDonald's ad that made me snort. The ad shows a young boy, around seven years old, with his face and hands all amess from the BBQ sauce he has been dunking his McNuggets into. The caption reads, "At least what made it in him was all white seasoned chicken breast." Well, that's not all he is getting (and, seriously, I used to eat McNuggets. I find this chicken breast claim dubious). According to McDonald's own website, McNuggets contain "chicken meat, chicken skin, salt, flavour [hydrolyzed plant protein (corn, soy, wheat gluten), disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate]. Coated with: wheat flour, water, toasted wheat crumbs, modified cornstarch, corn starch, yellow corn flour, salt, vegetable oil shortening (soybean), sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, spices, sodium aluminum silicate (manufacturing aid), modified milk ingredients, wheatstarch. Cooked in 100% vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with THBQ, citric acid and dimethypolysiloxane)." All of this boils down to 310 calories, 19g of fat (29% daily value for an adult!), 45mg of cholesterol, and a whopping 670g of sodium. And let's not forget the fries and the drink. Needless to say, I felt compelled to make chickenless nuggets tonight.


INGREDIENTS
Makes 24 nuggets
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1 tsp poultry spice
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp olive oil

- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, crushed between your fingers
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground flax seed
- 1 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

METHOD
1. Whisk together flour and spices in a bowl. Whisk together water and oil and a separate bowl and add to flour mixture. Stir and bring into a dough. It's rather hard to knead this dough, so I stretch out the sides and then fold them into the centre. I then press down to mold it back together again. This works the gluten and helps mix everything together.
2. Roll dough out into a long log, about 12-14 inches long. Let rest while you mix together the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, tumeric, and paprika in one bowl, and the flax seed, soy milk, oil, and vinegar in another.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with oil.
4. Slice dough into 24 pieces (about half inch each). Press down a bit to get a nugget shape, dip in soy milk, then lightly roll in bread crumbs. Repeat with all pieces of dough.
5. Re-dip nuggets back in soy milk (let it soak up so you get a thick breading), and roll again in the bread crumbs. Press the nugget into the crumbs to get a nice thick coating and to maintain the nugget shape. Place on baking sheet.
6. Bake for 10 mins, flip, then bake for another 10 mins. Flip again and cook for 4 mins, then flip and cook another 4 mins (this keeps the breading from browning too much).
7. Serve with dipping sauce of you choice. These are a bit chewy when they are piping hot, but firm up nicely when they cool down a bit.

A NOTE ON BREADING: the key to a good breading is to keep one hand wet and the other dry. Use one hand to dip the nuggets and place into the breading. Shake the bowl to coat the nugget in crumbs, then use your dry hand to handle/press the nugget.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pooris

This is an addendum to the Indian dishes I posted a few days ago. This is not a kid-friendly meal per se, but kids really do like them. And what's not to like? It's deep fried bread, for crying out loud! Pooris are easy and fast because they don't require any rising like naan. I did experiment baking them in a hot oven on a hot baking stone but to no avail. I guess they really do need the hot oil to puff up.


INGREDIENTS
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup water
- oil for frying

METHOD
1. Whisk flours, salt, and spices in a bowl, then add oil and enough water to make a dough. Knead on a floured surface until smooth (6-8 mins). I did all this in a stand mixer.
2. Put dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel for at least 30 mins.
3. Begin heating about 1.5 inches of oil in a pan over med-hi heat (350 degrees is the magical number but I never check it. The oil needs to be hot enough or the pooris won't puff up).
4. Divide dough into 12 pieces (more if you want small bites for the kiddies) and roll each into about a 5 inch circle. Cover dough with a damp towel.
5. Carefully add one piece of dough to the pan. It should pop right back up to the surface. Press it back down into the oil (with the back of a slotted spoon) until it puffs up (this part is fun). When puffed, flip over and cook for 20 seconds.
6. Remove and drain. I covered mine with a towel on a plate to keep warm while cooking the others.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Baked Tofu for Kids

Let me just say that the maple leaf shape of tonight's meal inspired many ideas as to what to call the dish. But, in my attempt to help people who are Googling their way through the interwebs looking for easy vegan kids meals, I went with the more boring yet descriptive title above. Tossed on the scrap heap were "Tofu for Hosers," "Baked Tofu, eh?," and "Tofu Night in Canada." Of course, these may only be funny to Canadians (and maybe not even then). Anyway, the problem I tried to solve tonight was how do you get kids to eat tofu? The answer? Make sure it doesn't look like tofu! A funky shape, some breading, and a good dipping sauce will go a long way. I prepared these two ways--crispy fried and oven baked. I liked the crispy fried but the kids liked the oven baked hands down.


INGREDIENTS
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu
- 1 funky metal cookie cutter

For Crispy Fried
Cut tofu into 1/4" thick slices, then stamp out shapes with cookie cutter. Toss tofu shapes in cornstarch then place on a plate or cutting board. Let tofu sit for a few mins to let the water from the tofu soak into the cornstarch and make a coating. Fry in oil over med-hi heat until golden brown.

For Oven Baked
INGREDIENTS
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp ground flax seed (optional)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 to 1 cup bread crumbs

METHOD
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with oil
1. Combine soy milk, lemon juice/vinegar, flax (if using), onion and garlic powder, and salt in a bowl. Put bread crumbs in a shallow baking dish.
2. Cut tofu into 1/4" slices and stamp shape with cookie cutter. Dip tofu shapes in soy milk mixture, then toss in bread crumbs. Place on baking sheet and spray lightly with oil.
3. Bake for 10 mins per side, or until crispy and golden.
4. Serve with your kid's favourite dipping sauce. I used my sweet and sticky BBQ sauce.

WHAT DO I DO WITH THE LEFTOVER TOFU?
Gather all the scraps leftover from the shape cutting and make some eggless salad. See? Now you have lunch for tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tandoori Seitan

This is the final installment of kid-friendly Indian dishes. Obviously this dish was inspired by my insistence that people, and in particular kids, like to eat things off of sticks. I also wanted to experiment with BBQing seitan, operating on the rationale that baked seitan tastes pretty darn good so how much different would it be to BBQ it? So, can you BBQ seitan? The answer is yes, but with two caveats. First, you really have to keep the heat low. Seitan is not meat and thus does not ooze fat and blood and whatever else comes out of flesh when you cook it. Therefore, if you go firing up the BBQ like you are grilling a steak, then you, my friend, are going to end up with a dry, crunchy, and altogether unpleasant meal. Second, you need to regularly turn and baste the seitan to keep it hydrated. The end result was a very meat-like skewer. Maybe too meat like. They were a little chewy, but the kids absolutely loved them--especially because they could poke each other with the skewers when the meal was over.


INGREDIENTS
- 6 mini bamboo skewers
- 1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp tandoori spice mix (my father-in-law bought me some at an Indian grocery in Brampton--make sure it's not too spicy-hot for the kids, and use less if it is.)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup soy yogurt
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp tandoori spice mix (or to taste)
- salt to taste

- 1/2 cup water


METHOD
1. Put your skewers in a pan of water and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt, and spice mixture together. In a separate small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, oil, and water.
3. Add wet to dry and mix well. This will result in a pretty tough and rubbery seitan. If everything isn't perfectly mixed and the seitan looks marbled, don't sweat it it will still taste good.
4. Mix together yogurt, oil, and spice mix in a bowl. Cut seitan into 24 chunks and add to bowl. Coat well to keep the seitan chunks from bonding with one another in the bowl. Let marinate for 30 mins in the fridge (less if you are in a hurry). Remove seitan from bowl and put four pieces on each skewer. Add 1/2 cup of water to the marinade left behind and mix well.
5. Heat grill on low. You want the temp to be about 400 to 450 degrees. Oil the grill well and place skewers on grill. Close lid and cook for 3-4 mins. Flip skewers over, lightly baste, and cook for another 3-4 mins. Keep going like this until you run out of marinade. The seitan should cook for about 20 to 25 mins, and you may not need to baste each time you turn. Just make sure it looks hydrated.

Super Easy Channa Masala

If your kids are like mine then they have developed an irrational hatred of certain foods served certain ways. Take tomatoes, for instance. Son #1 loves ketchup, tomato soup, and spaghetti sauce, but place diced or sliced tomatoes in front of him and the whining begins. You may try to rationalize with him about how tomatoes are in many of his favourite foods, but you will always end up exasperated and about ready to throw all of the tomatoes right out the window. I have found that the best thing to do with kids is to get rid of all suspicious chunks and lumps in sauces. Whenever they look at a chunky sauce they say, "I hate this dish! (pause) Ummm . . . what is it?" So to save yourself much grief and blend everything up like I have done here.


INGREDIENTS
I have kept the spicing mild for the wee ones. Feel free to adjust.
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1 2/3 cup cooked chickpeas (i.e. the rest of the can if you are making the naan triangles as well)
- 1-2 tbsp tomato paste

METHOD
1. Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, and spices in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to bubbling over medium heat, stirring frequently. Simmer for 5 mins to allow the onion to cook and mellow a bit.
2. Add chickpeas and cook for 10 mins, uncovered, stirring frequently. Add in tomato paste until desired consistency is reached. Serve over rice.
I pressed the rice into a metal ring with the back of a spoon to make the presentation more interesting for the kiddies. Works every time.

Back in Business!

Guess who found a workable copy of the old Vegan Dad template on his office computer? Yes, that is why I keep a folder on my desktop called "stuff." It's kind of like that one drawer you have at home filled with things you probably should chuck out but which might actually come in handy one day. It's nice to have a little colour back in the blog, and the old familiar look. Many of you liked the new look, but some had a reaction not unlike the ones people have when they come home from university in the summer to find out that their parents have painted their bedroom and moved all their stuff around. The whole experience has taught me a few things. First, change is bad. Second, stop procrastinating about your conference paper by messing with the setting on your blog.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Naan Triangles with Dal Filling

I have been craving Indian food (probably because the weather is finally getting hot around here) but I also want to keep this month's quest to make kid-friendly meals in mind. So, this is an attempt to introduce kids to mild Indian flavours with a convenient hand-held presentation. The recipe calls for tumeric which adds a nice flavour but is almost impossible to get out of clothing (or carpet) if your food spills. So if you have messy eaters or real young kids you might want to hold off on the tumeric until more food ends up in their mouths than on the floor. I have also kept the spicing mild for the kiddies, so you can adjust to your own taste.


INGREDIENTS
- 4 naan bread (see note below)
- 1/3 cup red lentils (the wee tiny ones)
- 1 cup water
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1/3 cup chickpeas, mashed with a fork
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp salt

METHOD
1. Rinse lentils in a mesh sieve then put in a saucepan with water, onion, garlic, and tumeric. Bring to bubbling and simmer, uncovered, stirring regularly, until lentils are cooked and starting to break down into a paste.
2. Add mashed chickpeas and spices according to taste. Stir well and remove from heat.
3. Spread half of the lentil mixture on a piece of naan. Top with a second piece then cut into 6 triangles. Repeat with remaining naan and lentil mixture.

A NOTE ON NAAN
I made the naan recipe found here and it was spectacular. The dough is easy to make and the method makes for a light, puffy, and slightly crisp naan. Just sub soy yogurt for dairy yogurt, and melted Earth Balance for the ghee. Also, after rolling out the naan, let them sit for 20 mins on the counter--this will help them puff up in the oven. I removed my naan from the oven about 30 seconds after they puffed up so the top was still soft.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Chocolate Strawberry Cake Roll with Mousse Filling

This is a celebration cake for my VegNews Top Blog honour, and a thank you to myself for the hours spent baking for the street fair (nothing like thanking yourself for baking by doing more baking!). Back in the day I used to make a cake sort of like this with a whipped cream filling. I have never tried my hand at vegan whipped cream (I think I saw a recipe once with a coconut milk base), but I tagged this Chocolate Mousse recipe from Have Cake, Will Travel a while back thinking it would be perfect for this kind of cake. Now, while I am comfortable baking bread I am not well versed in the ways of the cake. I searched around for vegan sponge cake recipes and made various modifications as I saw fit (I still think it is too high in baking powder). Not the greatest cake in the world but it did the trick and its mediocrity is masked by all the wonderful mousse filling. I really should email Isa for cake advice.


INGREDIENTS
Cake
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tbsp cocoa
- sliced strawberries

METHOD
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 15.25" X 10.25" baking sheet (with sides) with aluminum foil. Grease and flour the foil.
1. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl.
2. Put apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup. Fill with soy milk to one cup line and stir to mix. Set aside to thicken. In a medium bowl, whisk sugar, oil, flax seed, water, and soy milk mixture until well blended.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 15-18 mins, until cake is dry, has pulled away from the sides of the pan a bit, and springs back in the center from your touch.
4. Let cake cool on a wire rack for 3 mins. While cooling, "flour" a linen towel with the icing sugar and cocoa.
5. Put the cake (still in its baking sheet) on the counter. Place the prepared towel on top with the "floured" side in contact with the cake. Make sure the cake in centred with the towel. Put a large cutting board on top and flip the whole thing upside down. The pan will now be on top. Remove pan and foil.
6. Fold the cake up like a jelly roll in the towel along the short end. Let cool, seam side down on a wire rack.

Filling
- Make the mousse filling posted here. I used silken tofu instead of the beans (which, apparently, makes me a wuss) because I had an open container after making the lemon currant rolls yesterday. I only used a 3/4 cup to make a slightly thicker mousse. I also added all the melted chocolate at once since it was for a filling and not a stand-alone dish.

Icing
INGREDIENTS
- 6 tbsp soy milk
- 1 cup chocolate chips

METHOD
1. Heat soy milk to bubbling in a small pot. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Set aside to cool for a few mins.

TO MAKE THE CAKE
1. Once the cake is cool, gently unroll it. Try not to fly off the handle if the cake breaks up a bit. Even when I made this with eggs it always broke up a bit. Be gentle and understanding, and remember that icing covers a multitude of cake-making sins.
2. Gently spread mousse filling over the cake and re-roll, using the towel to help you bring up the whole side at one time. Once rolled, transfer cake to a large platter or serving dish. You can trim the ends off with a serrated knife if you want the edges to look clean.
3. Spoon icing over top and use a knife or spatula to spread and smooth the icing over all of the cake. The icing will cover up any cracks that may have occurred. Use a clean wet cloth to clean up any icing that may have sullied your serving platter. Place cake in the fridge for 5 mins to let the icing set a bit, then remove and top with sliced strawberries before it sets too much. Place back in fridge and refrigerate for a few hours.
4. To serve: cut cake with a serrated knife, using a gentle sawing motion. Store cake in the fridge, covered.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bake Sale Success!

I am back from the street fair and am utterly exhausted. But, I am happy to report that my bake table was a complete success and I made about $220 for the school. The lemon currant rolls were the biggest hit and sold out in about 15 minutes, followed by the rustic bread and whole wheat bread. The baguettes were also a great seller. Surprisingly, the white bread was almost last to go. Of course, people didn't realize that that bread took three days to make with various fermentations, so maybe I need to come up with a sexier name for it next time. The only thing left were about a dozen hamburger buns. The pic above is everything in my kitchen before I hauled it over to the street fair.


Many people asked where my bakery was, and if I was going to do this on a regular basis. I think I might just start a very small business on the side for those interested. A few loaves a week, perhaps. I will see who is interested and go from there. Maybe I can work an ordering system into this blog.

Anyway, I am off to the lake to relax and enjoy the gorgeous weather.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I am Baked

Sorry, no recipe tonight. I literally spent all day in the kitchen baking for the Street Fair. I will post a pic tomorrow when everything is done. Today alone I made 20 large cookies, 30 bagels, 12 baguettes, and about 20 loaves of various types of bread (it's all getting a bit hazy). Here is the card I am including with each purchase.

Shameless Self Promotion

The editors of VegNews magazine have selected Vegan Dad as one of the 21 best vegan blogs in the first annual VegNews VegBloggy Awards. Well how about that? Now I feel even more pressure not to suck. I did an interview of sorts via email and they asked for my picture, so if you are interested in getting to know the dad behind the blog, pick up the July/August issue of VegNews (available July 1).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sloppy Joes

By now you have probably noticed the format changes to the blog. Let's just say that I learned a lesson in being sure you know what button you are clicking. I was looking through some templates, contemplating switching things up on Vegan Dad, when I carelessly clicked the button that switched the template instead of just previewing the template. Yarg! I knew I had a backup of my old template somewhere on my computer, but when I tried to load it I kept getting an error message. So, I just ran with it and switched things up. The bummer is that I lost my link list, videos, blogroll roll, etc. I am not sure where that info went. So please don't feel liked I have shunned you all--I will begin slowly rebuilding. As for tonight's meal, it is a real crowd pleaser. I love a good sloppy joe with some bite and this recipe delivers. This is an adapted recipe from The New Basics, one of those very non-vegan cookbooks I keep around (I am pretty sure there is a recipe for a ham stuffed inside a chicken stuffed inside a turkey deep fried in bacon grease somewhere in there). It has lots of information about technique and basic cooking skills, and every now and then I veganize something from it.


INGREDIENTS
- 4 cups water
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 8.5 oz block of tempeh
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water (more if needed)
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- dash of Tabasco sauce

METHOD
1. Bring four cups of water to a boil. Add 2 tsp soy sauce. Cut tempeh into four pieces and simmer in water for 10 mins. Remove from water, cool, and grate.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan over med-hi heat. Saute onion, celery, green pepper, and oregano for 5-7 mins, until onion is translucent and pepper has softened.
3. Add grated tempeh and mix well. Fry for 4-5 mins, then add in all the other ingredients. Bring to bubbling then simmer for 10-15 mins, until sauce thickens. Add a more water if needed, depending of how thick you want the sauce.
4. Serve on toasted rolls. I like an open face sandwich, but you could also serve on mini hamburger buns for the kids. Add a slice of vegan cheese if you want.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Vegan Sweet and Sticky Wingz

Son #3 has now been fully inducted into boyhood: he had his first trip to the emergency room tonight. There was a little scuffle with the three boys at the bottom of the stairs that resulted in Son #3 falling off the bottom step and banging his forehead on the hot water radiator in the front hallway. He got a small but deep gash and so I was off to the hospital. Fortunately, small child + head wound = we didn't have to wait long. 45 mins later they had glued his wound and we were on our way home. As for dinner, there wasn't a whole lot of time between baking for the street fair and trying to write a conference paper. So I revived the vegan wings but made a more kid-friendly sauce. This recipe is awesome so it was totally worth repeating.


INGREDIENTS
- make the wings as per this recipe, but use the sauce below

- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1 sweet onion, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp mustard
- few dashes of hot sauce

METHOD
1. Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic for 15 mins, until onions have cooked down and are nicely browned
2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to bubbling. Simmer for 15-20 mins, until sauce thickens and gets a nice deep red colour.
3. Strain sauce to remove onions and spoon over wings.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Eggless Salad

Do kids like egg salad? I liked it when I was a kid. And my kids like this egg-free version. This is a great way to introduce tofu to people who don't eat it on a regular basis. Serve it on the bread of your choice--like white bread with the crusts cut off if you are headed to a pot-luck dinner in a church basement.

INGREDIENTS
- 1 pkg firm or extra firm tofu, pressed
- 3 tbsp minced dill pickle
- 1 minced green onion
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- freshly ground pepper
- vegenaise

METHOD
1. Crumble tofu with your hands into a bowl. Make it as chunky or as fine as you want.
2. Add dill pickle, onion, mustard, paprika, tumeric, and pepper. Add in enough vegenaise to get the consistency you like. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use. Tastes even better the next day.
VARIATION FOR THE KIDS
Wrap up eggless salad with some shredded romaine and tomato in a small tortilla. Slice into two or three pieces and serve. Past experience has taught me that a) kids like things in tortillas, and b) kids like portions that aren't too daunting.

Hamburger Buns

My baking extravaganza has begun for the King George Public School street fair! (Now there's a school name you won't see south of the border.) Being the nerd that I am I have created a spread sheet to map out rising and baking times so that I can pull everything off for Saturday. I made more hamburger buns today since they were such a success I felt I needed to add them to the list of items for my bake table. Today, though, I made them with my stand mixer. It really saved a lot of time and made the recipe a whole lot easier. So, here is the recipe as I made it. A kitchen scale is needed to measure ingredients and to make sure that the buns are of uniform size.


INGREDIENTS
- 690 grams (24 oz/5 cups) all purpose flour
- 290 grams (10 oz/scant 1 1/4 cup) water
- 200 grams (7 oz/1 cup less 1 tbsp) soy milk
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 30 grams (2 tbsp + 2 tsp) olive oil

METHOD
1. Mix flour, water, and soy milk together with the dough hook attachment until combined into a rough dough. Let sit for 20 mins.
2. Using the dough hook, work the yeast into the dough, then the salt, and finally the olive oil. Add extra flour until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl and knead for 5 mins. The final dough will be sticky when you remove it from the dough hook. After kneading, transfer to a large well-oiled bowl, turning to coat dough.
3. Cover, and let dough rise in a warm place for one hour. Remove dough from bowl place it on the counter, smooth side down. Whack the dough with a flat palm to degas it. Gently stretch the sides of the dough then fold them into the centre. Rotate 90 degrees and repeat. Return dough to bowl and cover.
4. Let dough rise another hour and repeat step 3. Return dough to bowl, cover, and let rise for 30 mins.
5. Weigh the dough on your scale (should be about 1257 grams) then turn out onto a floured surface. Divide that number by 12 to determine the weight of each bun (should be about 104 grams). Weigh out a piece of dough, then repeat step 3 to shape the bun. After folding, pinch dough with your thumb and forefinger from the sides into the bottom of the dough ball to create tension on the top surface. Seal the seams by pressing ball in the palm of your hand. Dust bottom with flour and place on a baking sheet (leave an inch or so of space around each bun). Repeat with remaining dough. You will probably need 2 baking sheets.
6. Spray buns lightly with oil and press down on them with splayed fingers to flatten. Cover with a towel and let rise for 45 mins.
7. Preheat oven to 450 degrees while buns are rising. Right before the buns go into the oven, gently press down on them once again to flatten. Brush with soy milk and top with sesame seeds (optional). Bake for 10-11 mins, then remove from pan into cooling racks. Only bake 1 sheet at a time.
IF YOU ARE MAKING SMALL BUNS FOR THE VEGAN SLYDERS:
- Make twice as many buns (i.e. half the size) and place in them in two 9 x 13 baking pans. Bake for 7 mins, them remove from pan on to a baking sheet and bake for 3 mins (to brown up sides).

Monday, June 2, 2008

Vegan Slyders

I have never been to White Castle in my life. Even when I ate meat I steered clear of their steamed hamburgers that have the dubious reputation of passing through you like they were laced with Olestra. But I do like the idea of small burgers since they are perfect for kids. So, behold! This is my first installment of kid-friendly recipes for this month (see sidebar if you have no idea what I am talking about). My original plan was to buy dinner rolls at the grocery store and use them as buns. But, I could not find any without egg or dairy in them so I had to make my own (see here). The boys loved them since they were kid-sized. This is the first time Son #2 has eaten an entire burger bun and all. Usually he gets frustrated with the regular sized bun and just eats the burger and toppings with a fork. I also think this is a perfect recipe to ease omni kids into meat-free burgers since the patties are thin.


INGREDIENTS
Put whatever you want on your burger. These are just some suggestions.
- 16 small buns or rolls
- 1 recipe perfect tempeh burger, shaped into 16 small patties and fried for 3-4 mins per side
- vegan cheese slices
- vegenaise
- sliced tomato
- sliced pickle
- sliced sweet onion
- shredded romaine lettuce
- 1 sliced jalapeno pepper, fried in oil for 3-4 mins
- kethcup, mustard, etc.

VARIATIONS (as pictured above)
1. Double Cheeseburger: slice a bun into three sections. Place a burger on the bottom bun and top with a cheese slice and condiments of choice. Top that with the middle slice of the bun, another burger, a cheese slice, tomato, onions, etc.
2. Jalapeno Cheeseburger: Add fried jalapeno slices in with your other condiments for an extra kick.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Apple Walnut Sausage Brunch Bundles

Sunday brunch has now become an institution at our house. Today I thought I would try to add something new to the mix. I browsed through a few websites for ideas (non-vegan brunch is very heavy on the eggs) and put together this recipe. These are quite tasty and when I described them to the boys as "little apple pies" they got very excited. They balked a bit at the walnuts (I am not sure why since they gulp down Isa's chocolate chocolate chip cookies with walnuts with no problem) but ended up clearing their plates in the end.


INGREDIENTS
Makes 8 bundles
Dough
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup cold Earth Balance margarine, cut into chunks
- 6 to 8 tbsp cold water

Filling
- 2 large cooking apples
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups chopped breakfast sausage
- 1/2 cup walnuts

- water and soy milk for brushing

METHOD
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. Make the dough. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Add in margarine chunks and work into the flour with a pastry cutter until it looks like coarse bread crumbs. Add enough water in to make a soft dough, using a fork to work the liquid into the flour. Gently knead to thoroughly mix. Shape into an 8" log, wrap in a damp cloth and stick in the fridge while you make the filling.
2. Peel, core, and chop the apples. Mix apples with lemon juice, sugar and syrup in a bowl. Add sausage and walnuts and mix well.
3. Mark out 8 equal sections on the dough log (should be 1" each). Using a serrated knife, saw off a section. On a floured surface, roll out piece of dough into a 7 to 8" circle. Place 1/8 of the filling in the middle of the circle (about a generous 1/4 cup) and brush the edge of the dough with water. Bring up edges, working your way around the circle, and seal. Pinch the dough together in the centre to make a little peak (like you see in the pic). Place on prepared sheet and repeat with remaining dough and filling.
4. Brush bundles with plain soy milk and bake for about 25 mins, until golden. Cool for 10 mins and serve warm.