Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mixed Vegetable Chowder

Back in the day (read: when I was an undergrad) I use to make a quick and easy corn chowder: 1 can cream of celery soup, 1 can cream of potato soup, 1 can corn, 1 cup of milk. This recipe is an attempt to recreate something like that chowder. I didn't realize that we were totally out of corn (the frozen kind--I don't really go for canned), so I had to go with mixed veggies. That was OK, though, since it gave the soup some colour. If you are in the mood for a thick and creamy chowder, then this is the soup for you.


INGREDIENTS
Serves 4
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 3 stalks of celery, finely diced
- 1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup soy creamer
- 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can coconut milk

METHOD
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion and celery for 5-7 mins, until soft. Add potatoes and saute for 2 mins, stirring constantly.
2. Add water and deglaze the pan. Add soy creamer, a bit of salt, and bring to bubbling. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 20 mins, or until potatoes are nice and soft.
3. Add vegetables, bring to bubbling, and cook for 5 mins. Add coconut milk and mix well. Using a hand blender, blend about half of the chowder to thicken. Or, transfer half of the soup to a blender and process. Make sure the soup does not boil after you have added the coconut milk (a little simmering is OK).
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Creamy Lemon Dill Stew: A Dish in Process

I like the idea and taste of this dish, but the execution/method needs work. I envisioned a creamy stew with a lemony zing complemented by the unique flavour of dill. As far as taste goes, everything worked. The potatoes and asparagus blended well with the spices, while the chickpeas provided an earthy undertone (and the tofu packing an extra protein punch). The problem lay with the cream sauce. I knew that lemon would make soy milk curdle, but I figured it would all come together when I thickened the sauce with flour. Not so much. The sauce remained "grainy" and so the dish did not look all that great.


Rather than post a recipe, here is the basic idea of the dish. I started by parboiling baby yellow potatoes, and sauteing a sliced leek and some garlic in olive oil. I added cubed tofu and chickpeas, the potatoes cut into large chunks, and asparagus. I then added about 1/2 cup lemon juice and 2 tsp of dill, and then 2 cups of soy milk. After seasoning with salt and pepper, I blended flour in some water and added it to thicken the sauce.

Does anyone know how to make a creamy sauce with lemon? I assume there is a way to mix the two since I have seen vegan lemon cheesecake and lemon curd. Maybe it needs to be blended first and then added?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Sweet Rolls

Here is the other pumpkin bread I am featuring during October at the bakery. This is a variation of the lemon currant rolls made with a sweet pumpkin dough and a filling reminiscent of pumpkin pie. I made a batch for Vegan Mom's Greening Committe meeting and they met with the approval of all in attendance. I have a feeling they will willing volunteer to test any future experimentations.


Makes 12 large rolls
DOUGH
- 2 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3/4 c warm water
- 3/4 c firm tofu
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1/2 c plain soymilk
- 1/2 c non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance)
- 7 c all purpose flour
- 1/2 c sugar
- 2 tsp sea salt

FILLING
- 1/3 c non-hydrogenated margarine, room temp
- 1 1/4 c brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp ginger

ICING
- 2 tbsp soy creamer
- 1 1/2 c icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg

METHOD:
1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl. Set aside to proof.
2. While yeast is proofing, warm soymilk, margarine tofu, and pumpkin gently on stove in a medium saucepan, until margarine is melted. Blend with a hand blender, or in a food processor until smooth.
3. Mix together flour, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl. Fold dry ingredients into liquid ingredients.
4. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Shape into a ball and place in a bowl greased with margarine. Turn to coat thoroughly. Cover and let rest in a warm place until doubled in size.
5. Make filling and set aside.
6. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a large rectangle measuring 10"x 36".
7. Spread filling evenly over the dough and roll dough into a long cylinder along the long side (i.e. you will have a 36" cylinder.
8. Cut dough into 12 pieces, measuring 3" each. Place each piece in large muffins tins (you will need two tins).
9. Bake for 18-22 mins, until golden. Cool in tins on racks.
10. In a small saucepan heat soy creamer over med-lo heat. Add icing sugar and spices, stirring until sugar dissolves. Drizzle over slightly warm rolls.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rustic Pumpkin Bread

I am featuring pumpkin in some of my breads this month at the bakery. Instead of making straight pumpkin bread, I decided to go with breads with pumpkin in them. This is a modified version of the rustic bread I made a while back, and it is delicious. The pumpkin gives the bread a soft texture and a light yellow-orange colour. This is the perfect bread to serve with a hearty vegetable soup, or with the pumpkin soup pictured below.


INGREDIENTS
Preferment:
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast

Final dough:
- 2 1/4 cups bread flour
- 3/4 cup spelt flour
- 3/4 cup kamut flour
- 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin (I boil pumpkin chunks in water, drain, then process)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- all of the preferment

METHOD
1. Make the preferment: Put the yeast in the water and stir. Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and pour in the yeasted water. Mix until the flour is hydrated, adding a little more water if necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the pre-ferment out at room temperature overnight (up to 16 hours).
2. Make the dough: To make the final dough, combine all of the ingredients except the pre-ferment in a mixing bowl. Chop the pre-ferment up into small pieces and mix in. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 10 mins, until smooth and thoroughly combined. Dough should be tacky but not sticky, so knead in flour accordingly.
3. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp towel, and ferment for 2 1/2 hours, folding the dough at 1 hr, and 1:45. (To fold dough, take the dough out of the bowl, spread it out a little on a clean surface and fold it in thirds like a letter. Rotate it 90 degrees and fold it up again. Return the dough to the bowl and cover again.)
4. At the end of the fermentation, divide the dough into two pieces and preshape each into a ball. Cover with the towel and let each rest for 5 to 10 minutes before shaping into a loaf with tapered ends. Once shaped, place on a floured linen towel and cover the loaves with the damp towel. Let rise for 1 hour, gently rolling the loaves over after 30 mins.
5. Halfway though the final rise, begin preheating the oven and baking stone to 450 degrees. Place a cast iron pot on the bottom rack and fill with boiling water 10 mins before you start baking the bread.
6. Transfer to a floured peel, and slash the tops of the loaves with a razor blade. Bake for 25-30 mins, rotating the loaves 180 degrees after 12 mins so that they'll bake evenly. Crust should be a deep golden brown, and loaves should sound hollow when you knock on the bottom.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Supper at the Beach

Today was warm--warmer than a lot of days we had in our so-called summer. So we packed ourselves a picnic lunch and hit the beach this evening. We played in the sand, splashed in the water, and watched the sun slowly set over the water. It was amazing.

I have been working on some pumpkin-based breads to sell at the bakery this month. I will post them starting tomorrow.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Peanut Tempeh with Noodles

Here is a dish that looks terrible but tastes great. Perhaps something needs to be added to the recipe to create some colour contrast so it looks less tan. Anyway, this is a great way to eat the oft maligned tempeh. If you find tempeh has a peculiar taste, you can simmer in in water for 10 mins or so.

INGREDIENTS
- 225g medium rice noodles
- 1 block of tempeh, cut in half lengthwise, then cut in small cubes
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/4 tsp red curry paste (or to taste)
- 1 tsp coriander
- salt to taste
- coriander for garnish

METHOD
1. Get noodles soaking in hot tap water for 30 mins.
2. Meanwhile, prep the tempeh. Heat 2 tbsp peanut oil in a frying pan or wok over med-hi heat. Add tempeh and fry for 5 mins, until golden all over. Add soy sauce and water and mix well, letting tempeh soak up most of the liquid.
3. Reduce heat to medium and add peanut butter, mixing well. Add a splash of water if needed. Remove tempeh from pan. Wipe pan or wok clean.
4. Drain noodles when ready. Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan or wok. Add noodles and fry for 3-4 mins, until they get translucent and begin to stick together. Add curry paste and mix well. Then mix in coconut milk. Add coriander and season to taste.
5. Mix tempeh into the noodles and let simmer for a few mins to heat through. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sweet and Hot Tofu

The recipe is super easy to make and tastes great (and looks nice, too). Frozen and thawed tofu is key here because it acts like a sponge and soaks up the sauce. I usually throw a package or two of tofu in the freezer when I get home from the grocery store and thaw it when I need it.


INGREDIENTS
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 1/2 tbsp garlic chili sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 pkg firm tofu, frozen and thawed
- 1/2 green pepper, large dice
- 1 red pepper, large dice
- 4 scallions, cut into 1/2" sections

METHOD
1. Heat sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan over med-lo heat. Add chili garlic sauce and salt and mix well. Turn off heat.
2. Squeeze water out of tofu and dice. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wok over med-hi heat. Fry tofu for a few mins, until golden. Remove from wok. Add 1 tbsp of oil and stir fry pepper for 2-3 mins. Add scallions and fry for 1 min. Add tofu and sauce to the pan. Reduce heat and let bubble for a few mins, allowing the sauce to thicken. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ginger Pear Crepes

I really am being a negligent blogger these days. Things are so busy between prepping for classes, trying to research and write, run a small bakery, and look after 3 kids! Anyway, this is the dessert I made for my date night with Vegan Mom on Sunday. The inspiration comes from the latest issue of Food and Drink. The original recipe has apples and I had every intention of the following/veganizing the recipe, but when I went to make it I could not find the magazine anywhere. Then I noticed that we had a bunch of pears that needed to to be eaten up. I think this recipe could benefit from a few splashes of liquor, but I am not sure what kind (any ideas, Celine?).

INGREDIENTS
Makes 10 crepes
- 1/2 recipes of crepes (should make about ten 6" crepes)
- 8 ripe pears, peeled, cored and diced (I used Bartlett)
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- few splashes of water
- 1 recipe vegan cream, or soy yogurt

METHOD
1. Make crepes and set aside, stacked on one another.
2. Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Add pears and cook for 3-4 mins, or until they begins to break down a bit. Add sugar and spices and bring to bubbling. Let thicken a bit adding some water if needed. Remove from heat.
3. Place 1/10 of the filling in the centre of a crepe. Fold in half, then in quarters. Press the crepe down a bit to distribute the filling. Top with cream, or yogurt, and serve.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Corn Doggies

Just a quick post tonight because I today has been absolutely insane. It was my busiest day for the bakery so far: 8 baguettes, 6 loaves of whole wheat bread, two trays of lemon currant rolls, and 2 loaves of rye bread. To make things even busier, I had a baby shower to attend for a colleague, and Son #1 had a birthday party to go to. And, since the birthday party was at the bowling alley, and since the bowling alley staff doesn't even know what vegan means, I had to make a parallel meal for him to take. He requested the corn doggies from Happy Herbivore's new e-cookbook (you should buy it). I made them on a bamboo skewer, included some ketchup and mustard for dipping, and he was off. It is great that he now doesn't care that he has to take a different meal to parties, and great dishes like this make it easy for him to be the odd one out. Thanks, Happy Herbivore!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rye Bread

I'm not the biggest fan of rye bread, but I think that's because I don't care for caraway seeds which often seem to be in or on rye breads. But one of my bakery customers asked if I made a rye bread so I thought I would explore some options. I settled on this recipe, adapted from The Chez Piggy Cookbook. It is tender with a nice crust and is caraway seed-free (though you can feel free to add some). Although this recipe takes a little time, the taste is well worth it.

Makes 2 loaves
DAY ONE (morning) Soy Milk Sour
- 1 1/2 cups soy milk at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup rye flour

1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and let sit at room temperature.

DAY ONE (evening) Starter
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- soy milk sour from above
- 2 cups white bread flour
- 1 cup rye flour

1. Dissolve yeast into water. Add to milk sour, then mix in flours. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

DAY TWO Finished Loaf
- rye starter from Day One
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
- 3 cups white bread flour
- soy milk for brushing

1. Bring starter to room temperature (stick in a warm place for an hour or so). Add in the rest of the ingredients. Turn onto a well floured surface and knead. The dough will be stickier than a normal bread dough (but not gloppy), so don't add too much flour.
2. Place in a bowl, cover, and let rise for an hour, or until doubled in size. Punch down with floured hands, divide in two, and place in loaf pans. Let rise until almost doubled. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Slash the loaves down the centre with a razor blade. Gently brush with soy milk. Bake for 15 mins. Reduce heat to 375, and bake for 20-25 mins, until loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped in the bottom.

Tonight I made a mountain of Reuben Sandwiches with this rye bread. Man, were they ever good.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lemon Dijon Tofu and Potatoes

This is another one of those Autumn meals that tastes great on a cool day. The inspiration comes from a recipe attached to a wine ad in the autumn edition of Food and Drink from the LCBO. The original recipe calls for sweet potatoes, which would be quite good, but I had none on hand. It also called for chicken, which I didn't have either.

INGREDIENTS
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu, cut into large cubes
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1.5 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, cut into large chunks
- 2 leeks (white and light green part), sliced
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

METHOD
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
1. Mix 1 tbsp of the oil, mustard, lemon juice, thyme and paprika in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat a non-stick skillet over med-hi heat.Add tofu and fry for about 5-7 mins, until golden. Add a splash of oil if tofu begins to stick. Add 1/2 cup of stock and 1/3 of the mustard mixture. Keep stirring and allow liquid to evaporate. When liquid has completely reduced, remove from heat.
3. Heat remaining tbsp of oil over medium heat in an ovenproof skillet. Saute leeks for 1 min, then add potatoes and saute 2 mins. Add 1 cup of stock, remaining mustard mixture, and vinegar. Bring to bubbling and season to taste. Simmer for a few mins to allow potatoes to soften slightly.
4. Top potatoes with tofu, cover, and place in oven. Bake for 15-18 mins, or until liquid is bubbling. Remove lid and bake 12-15 mins more, until potatoes are soft and sauce has thickened. Serve.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hearty Early Fall Stew

It looks like we can kiss summer goodbye here in ye olde northe. The nights are quite cool (threats of frost) and the days, while sunny, have that fallish nip in the air. Suffice it to say the bike ride into campus in the morning is a tad chilly. Weather like this makes me think of pumpkins, beautiful leaves, and tasty stews like this one. I love the whole potatoes and baby carrots because they give it a really hearty look and texture.

INGREDIENTS
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 leek, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1.5 lbs mixed baby potatoes (red, yellow, white, purple)
- 2 cups baby carrots (or more)
- 1 can mixed beans, rinsed and drained
- water
- 1 tsp sage
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp HP or A1 sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 1/4 cup flour
- generous 1/2 cup soy milk

METHOD
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Saute onions, celery, leek, and garlic for 7-10 mins, until soft and translucent. Add potatoes, carrots, and beans and mix well.
2. Add enough water to cover veggies about 3/4 of the way (i.e. some veggies should be poking out of the water). Add seasonings (including parsley) and sauces and bring to bubbling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 mins, until potatoes and carrots are soft.
3. Put flour and soy milk in a container with a tight-fitting lid and shake to mix together. Add to stew with peas and bring to bubbling. Add more liquid, or more flour mixture to get the consistency you like. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.

The Bakery is Open!

I finally did it. I started a very small organic bakery in my home where my customers are friends and neighbours. This was an idea I toyed around with after doing an insane amount of baking for the street fair at the boys' school. Since I still have a real job, I bake twice a week--it is a great way to relax and decompress after a day of teaching. Since Wednesday night is a baking night, I won't always have a blog post for that day (as you probably noticed yesterday). But I am sure you can all get along without me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Here is the other dish from our Italian date night. Ontario red peppers are in season which means they are huge in size and low in price. This is a fairly simple soup that tastes great (if you like roasted red peppers) and has a deep red colour. They say that red stimulates the appetite, so this is the perfect starter for your Italian meal.


INGREDIENTS
- 4 large red peppers (5 regular size)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 4 or 5 cups of vegetable stock (see note below)
- 1-2 tsp oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup soy creamer

METHOD
1. Roast peppers under the broiler or on the BBQ (I think this is the easiest way), rotating until skins are blackened and wrinkled all over. Place in a large bowl, cover with a plate, and let steam for 15 mins. Skin peppers and chop.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and saute onions and garlic for 5-7 mins, until onion is translucent. Add potatoes and fry for 1 min. Add peppers and water and bring to bubbling. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 mins, or until potatoes are soft.
3. Blend soup with a hand blender until smooth, then season to taste. Before serving, stir in soy creamer.

NOTE: If you are in a rush, use only four cups of water and serve after you have blended and seasoned the soup. If you have the time, use 5 cups of water, but let soup simmer, uncovered, for a few hours after blending. This will thicken the soup and let the flavours develop.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spaghettini with Oyster Mushrooms

Vegan Mom and I are trying to sit down for a nice "grown up" meal once a week after the kids are in bed, but with the pace of life these days it has been more like once a month. We set aside some time on the weekend and I, knowing that Italian food is the way to Vegan Mom's heart, made this delicious dish. Back in the day I made this with scallops, but oyster mushrooms are a perfect substitute. Their delicate flavour and texture pair perfectly with the tomatoes and vermouth. I am salivating just thinking about it! The recipe is modified from a wee little book I picked up years ago called "The Pasta Book" by Julia della Croce.


INGREDIENTS
Serves 4
- 12 oz spaghettini (enough for 4 servings)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 48 oz can chopped tomatoes, drained, with 1/2 cup of the juice reserved
- 1 generous tbsp tomato paste
- 1/3 cup dry vermouth
- 1/3 cup basil leaves, chopped (or 1-2 tsp dried)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground white pepper
- 2 cups oyster mushrooms pieces, washed

METHOD
1. Cook pasta according to directions on box.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil over med-lo heat in a saucepan and gently cook garlic for 4-5 mins, until softened. Raise heat to medium, add drained tomatoes and cook for 5 mins, stirring often.
3. Add reserved tomato juice, paste, and vermouth and mix well. Bring to bubbling and cook for 5 mins. Add basil, salt, and pepper and adjust to taste.
4. Add mushrooms and bring to bubbling, then reduce heat to low and cover. Let simmer for 5 mins, until mushrooms are nice and tender.
5. Drain pasta, and top with sauce.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

6 Tips for Garbage-Free Lunches

Sometimes I wish I didn't have a conscience because it would make life so much easier. I could shop at Wal-Mart for everything, send the kids with Luncheables to school, and not worry a bit about the amount of plastic that would enshrine everything I bought. But, alas, not only do I pack the kids a vegan lunch, I pack a garbage-free lunch. Here are a few tips:


1. A Little Baking Goes a Long Way: take an evening and bake some mini cookies or mini muffins to send for lunch. Pictured above are the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies from Veganomicon. 1 recipe yields 48 mini cookies (bake for 8 mins) which go into the freezer and are doled out each day. At 1 cookie a day for 2 kids, these last a month (with some left for me!).

2. Pack Fruit: Fruit has its own wrapper and none of the added stuff of fruit cups.

3. Buy Reusable Containers: Laptop Lunches make a great lunchbox system with reusable containers. Forget drinking boxes and go for a stainless steel mini thermos.

4. Make Your Own: This really ties into number 1, but anytime you make your own you avoid packaging. Trying making: hummus, bread, lunch meat, pudding cups, etc.

5. Get Second Hand Cutlery: Kids always lose stuff, so don't send them with you best silverware. Pick up forks and spoons at a local thrift store.

6. Bring Home Organic Waste to Compost: Landfills don't do a great job of breaking down organic waste. Best to have the kiddies bring their banana peels home for the compost pile.

Easy Lunchtime Noodles

I am always looking for something easy to make the kids for lunch on the weekends, but lately I have been slipping into the habit of serving up veggie dogs and fries. The kids love it, of course, but Vegan Mom and I can only take so many veggie dogs. Today I made something equally fun (they get to use their chopsticks) and equally easy.


INGREDIENTS
- 350g noodles (I use eggless chow mein noodles)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 small can water chestnuts
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups frozen mixed veggies
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 3-4 tbsp soy sauce
- 2-4 tbsp cup brown sugar
- juice of 1 lime
- sliced green onions, optional

METHOD
1. Cook noodles according to directions on package.
2. While noodles are cooking, heat a wok over med-hi heat. Add oil, then stir fry chestnuts and chickpeas for 1 min. Add remaining ingredients (except onions) and bring to bubbling. Adjust sauce to taste.
3. When noodles are cooked, drain and add to wok. Mix well, adding more sauces if needed. Garnish with green onions, if using.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lasagna Rolls

I saw something like this in a poster at the grocery store a while ago and thought it looked like a really good idea. Apparently, it is a very good idea because Carrie over at Adventures in Vegetarianism made a very similar dish a few night ago. This is a perfect way to enjoy lasagna on a week night without all the work and fuss of regular lasagna. You could add whatever you wanted to the rolls, but I have kept it very simple. We were lucky enough to have a bunch of fresh basil from my father-in-law which really made all the difference.


INGREDIENTS
Serves 4-5
- 1 recipe tofu ricotta made with 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 8 lasagna noodles
- 2 jars spaghetti sauce (nothing too chunky)
- vegan mozzarella cheese (I use Tofutti slices--trans fat free here in Canada)

METHOD
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Cook noodles for 5-7 mins. They should still be firm (i.e. too firm to eat) but soft enough to roll. Drain noodles, rinse with cold water, and pat dry with a towel.
2. While noodles are cooking, make the tofu ricotta. Heat sauce to bubbling in a saucepan. Put half of the sauce into an 8 x 11.5" baking dish.
3. Spread 1/8 of the filling over 3/4 the length of a lasagna noodle. Roll up, starting with the end with the filling. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining pasta and filling.
4. Cover rolls with remaining sauce (you may not need it all). Cover and bake for 30 mins, or until sauce is bubbling away and pasta has swelled. Uncover, top with cheese, and bake until cheese has melted. Serve, topped with any remaining sauce for those who would like it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chickpea Burgers

I thought it was time to give some love to the chickpea cutlet from Veganomicon, especially after the slight dissing I gave it a while back. The truth is that I really don't use cookbooks much anymore because I am always on the hunt for something new I can post on my blog. But I was in the mood for a breaded chick'n burger and I thought the chickpea cutlet recipe would be a good place to start. You'll have to excuse the picture here and the ridiculous bun--they don't do justice to the taste of the final product which was quite tasty. The kids absolutely loved them. The original recipe is posted here, but here are my modifications.


INGREDIENTS
Makes 8 burgers
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup bread crumbs (I used panko)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch of paprika
METHOD
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. Pulse rinsed and drained chickpeas in a food processor until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Pulse in oil, then transfer to a bowl and add gluten, plain breadcrumbs, broth, soy sauce, and spices. Knead together for about 3 minutes, until strings of gluten have formed. Divide into 8 and press into 8 thin patties.
2. Mix together soymilk and vinegar in a bowl. Mix together panko breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, salt, and paprika in another. Dip a patty in soymilk, then toss in breadcrumbs. Make sure it gets coated well. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining patties.
3. Bake for 10 min per side, or until patties have firmed and breading is lightly browned.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Easy Tofu Saag

Your kids probably aren't going to sing your praises when they see this on their plate, but it really is tasty and a great way for them to get kale into their diet. This is also a relatively quick and easy recipe with few steps and easily available ingredients.


INGREDIENTS
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 onion, cut into chunks
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 chunk ginger, chopped
- 3/4 to 1 cup water
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp mild curry paste (or powder), or to taste
- 1 tsp chili powder
- salt to taste
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu, diced
- 3 tbsp soy yogurt (optional)

METHOD
1. Remove the tough stalks from the kale, and cook for 10 mins with a splash of water over medium heat in a large pot with the lid on. Kale should cook down and be tender, but still be a nice bright green.
2. Put kale, onion, garlic, and ginger in a food processor. Add water and blend until smooth. Add more water if too thick.
3. Put kale mixture in a large pot and bring to bubbling over medium heat, stirring regularly. Cook for a few mins. Add tomatoes (juice and all) and spices. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add tofu and cook, uncovered, for 15 mins, reducing heat if it begins to stick. Stir regularly and let thicken. Stir in yogurt, if using, and serve over rice.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yellow Curry with Noodles

Since the boys acquired their own plastic chopsticks they have been asking for "chinese noodles." I was more than happy to oblige since I love noodles as much as the next guy. I also love yellow curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen) because of its wonderful color and moderate heat. This is a perfect combination for kids. I have also been trying to figure out a substitute for sea food ever since a reader asked me about how to replace shrimp (I still have no idea!). I thought that oyster mushroom would add a delicate flavour and texture to this dish (like a scallop, or something)--and they do just that. This dish also has thinly sliced seitan. The trick is to freeze your seitan first, then slice it. I store my excess seitan in the freezer, thaw it for 30 seconds or so in the microwave so it is softer but still quite firm, then slice away with my cleaver.


INGREDIENTS
- 1 pkg thin noodles (around 350g or so)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1" piece ginger, minced
- 1 generous tbsp yellow curry paste (or powder, to taste)
- 1 small can sliced bamboo shoots
- 2 cups shaved seitan pieces
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- salt to taste
- 1 cup oyster mushroom chunks
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 4 romaine leaves, rolled and thinly sliced

METHOD
1. Cook noodle as per the direction on the package, then rinse with cold water and drain.
2. Heat oil on a wok over med-hi heat. Stir fry onion, garlic, and ginger for 1 min, then add the curry paste. Mix well. Add bamboo and fry for another minute. Add seitan and fry for 1 min.
3. Add coconut milk and hoisin sauce and bring to bubbling. Adjust seasonings to taste. (I don't use soy sauce because it muddies the colour of the curry). Add mushrooms, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 mins.
4. Add noodles, green onions, and romaine to the wok and mix well. Serve.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Almond Peach Strudel

The Vegan Dad blog turns 1 today! Woot woot! 408 posts and going strong! Boy, when I look back at those very first posts I wonder how I ever developed a readership. Today, the blog gets about 1000 hits a day and I look forward to reading your comments and they come in throughout the day. Today also marks my 3rd veganiversary. So, there is much to celebrate! I thawed out the puff pastry I had been storing in the freezer (works beautifully) and made this.

INGREDIENTS
- 1/2 recipe puff pastry
- 4 peaches, skinned and sliced
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds (plus more for top)
- 2 tsp instant tapioca
- 2-4 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- soy milk for brushing
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- splash of almond extract
METHOD
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. Mix peaches and 1 tbsp of sugar in a bowl and set aside. Roll puff pastry into a large rectangle (9" x 14" or so).
2. By now, the peaches will have released some liquid. Strain peaches with a sieve, draining liquid into a small bowl. Add remaining sugar, almonds, tapioca, remaining sugar, spices, and extract to the peaces and mix well.
3. Place peach filling a bit off centre along the long side of the puff pastry. Bring pastry over the filling and roll. Seal end and place seam-side down on baking sheet.
4. Brush with soy milk and cut slits in the top with a sharp knife every 1.5" or so. Top with as many sliced almonds as you see fit (about 1/4 cup). Bake for 35-40 mins, or until filling is bubbling and pastry is golden brown.
5. Heat 1 tbsp of the reserved peace juice on the stove over medium heat. Add in icing sugar and extract and mix until smooth. Add more liquid, if needed. Drizzle over warm strudel. Serve.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hickory Smoked Veggie Turkey Lunchmeat

This is a follow-up recipe to my veggie lunch meat. When I made the original recipe I did not try to make it taste like any specific meat since I have found that texture is often more important in a sandwich. This time, though, I attempted a smoked turkey/chicken type meat and the end result was met with great acclaim by the whole family. A few caveats though: 1. All I had on hand was Mori-Nu tofu; I'm not sure if this makes a big difference. 2. Not all liquid smoke is equal. I have gone with the cheap stuff before and it is pretty nasty.


INGREDIENTS
- 12oz firm tofu
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Bragg's
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- 2 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1/4 tsp hickory liquid smoke
- 3 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten

METHOD
Get water steaming in your steamer. You will need a large steamer.
1. Place all ingredients except the gluten flour in a blender and process until very smooth. Pour into a bowl. Add gluten flour and work into a dough. Knead for a few mins to let gluten develop.
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 40-50 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 or freezer. This recipe makes a lot, so you can cut it into 3 or four chunks and store them away for later.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gratuitous Dessert Photos

Sorry to tempt you with photos and no recipes, but I wanted to share these shots with you. First up, my sister-in-law made these lovely bumble berry tarts (I provided the vegan cream for the top) for us to enjoy. Don't you love it when people think of the vegans? In the foreground are non-vegan lemon curd tarts. I'll bet it would be pretty easy to make a vegan lemon curd. I will have to get the recipe off her and share it someday.

Second, a peach pie Vegan Mom made on our summer vacation. I didn't think I needed to post a pie recipe since you can easily Google one.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Gwailo Pad Thai

There is no point even trying to justify this dish as authentically Thai, but it still tastes great and does not rely on any overly exotic ingredients. I bought bean sprouts this week when I came down with an inexplicable hankering for Pad Thai like I used to get at Phnom Penh in Kingston (back in the non-vegan day, that is). The ol' Number 15, baby! I didn't have all the necessary ingredients on hand, so I improvised. I also tried adding some nori flakes to mimic fish sauce and I think it worked pretty well.


INGREDIENTS
- 225g medium width rice noodles
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Bragg's
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 tsp nori flakes (optional)
- 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu, diced
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
- handful of bean sprouts
- tomato and cucumber slices
- chopped fresh cilantro

METHOD
1. Soak rice noodles in hot tap water for 30 mins.
2. Make sauce: mix together ingredients from soy sauce to chili garlic sauce. Adjust to taste. Thai balances salty, sweet, hot, and sour. I like a more sweet sauce with a hot undertone.
3. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Dry fry tofu, stirring regularly, until it begins to turn golden. Add a splash of oil, if needed. Add soy sauce and lime juice and stir well. Remove from heat.
4. Rinse rice noodles and heat oil in wok over med-hi heat. Stir fry onion and garlic for a min or so, until onion softens. Add noodles and stir fry for a few mins, until noodles get translucent and begin to stick together.
5. Add sauce to the wok and mix well. Add tofu, and peanut butter and mix well. Cook, stirring regularly, until noodles are soft and liquid is mostly absorbed.
6. Serve topped with bean sprouts and garnished with cucumber and tomato slices and cilantro.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Yellow Tomato and White Bean Salad

Can you tell I am trying to squeeze every last drop out of summer with my posts for this week? They read like the menu to a picnic or BBQ. We bought these yellow tomatoes from the Locavore's tent at the farmer's market and so I made this very simple salad.

INGREDIENTS
- 8-10 yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved
- 1 red tomatoes, diced
- 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp marjoram
- 1/4 tsp dill

METHOD
1. Mix together everything in a large bowl and season to taste.

You can use the same dressing for other salads, too; like this tomato-cucumber salad.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Peach Blackberry Shortcake Turnovers

During my week off with the kids we headed to the cottage for some peaceful seclusion. Well, that was the theory, anyway. With 3 boys things are rarely peaceful. We took many walks in the woods scouting for wild mushroom and lichen (did I mention we are total nerds?), and happened upon a patch of wild blackberries. The question was what to do with them. I thumbed through this old Five Roses cookbook (which had no publication date but I am assuming is a few decades old judging by this cookie picture) and adapted the shortcake recipe to make these tasty treats.

INGREDIENTS
Makes 9
For the dough
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup non hydrogenated margarine
- 3/4 cup soy milk
- soy milk for brushing

For the Filling
- 2 peaches, skinned and chopped
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup wild blackberries
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
METHOD
Preheat oven to 425
1. Mix peaches with 1 tsp of sugar in a bowl and set aside.
2. Make the dough: mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Mix margarine in with your finger until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.
3. Heat milk in the microwave until warm (but not hot) then mix into flour with a wooden spoon. Use your hands when the dough gets too tough to mix with a spoon, then knead a few times on the counter until smooth. Try not to overwork the dough. Set dough aside.
4. By now, the peaches will have released some liquid. Strain liquid out, then add remaining ingredients and mix well.
5. Roll dough into a 12 x 12" square. Use a knife to cut into nine 4 x 4" squares. Place 1/9 of the topping in the centre of each square, then fold into triangles. Press down on edges to seal. Transfer to a cookie sheet and cut 2 slits in the tops. Brush with soy milk.
6. Bake for 12-15 mins, or until browned and insides are bubbling. (I think the oven at the cottage cooks a little hot).
Blackberries in their natural habitat.
These thorns are deadly. The canes do not give up their fruit easily.

Happy Herbivore Mini-Cookbook for Sale

Do you remember me posting these photos?

They were all tester recipe for Happy Herbivore's upcoming cookbook. She has made 16 recipes available in a mini e-cookbook for $5 on her website. All of these recipes have no added fat (sure to please at least one of my readers) and use whole grain flours. Yes, Happy Herbivore has virtues I can only dream of. And, as a marathon runner she is living proof that a vegan diet can fuel even the most dedicated athlete. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Strawberry Lemonade

The fine summer weather persists here, now that the kids are all cramped in their classrooms and focusing on reading and writing instead of resting and relaxing. If you are lucky enough to still be outside enjoying the weather (I am still pretending that the semester does not start tomorrow), pour yourself a tall glass of this wonderful lemonade. My brother made this for our family picnic this summer, and the recipe comes from Fine Cooking magazine.


INGREDIENTS
Makes about 7 cups
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
- 2 cups water
- zest of 2 lemons
- 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups cold water

METHOD
1. Put sugar, berries and 2 cups of water in a sauce pan and bring to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 mins, until berries soften and release their colour. Remove from heat, stir in lemon zest, and let cool.
2. Strain berry mixture into a pitcher through a fine sieve, pressing the berries with a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Add lemon juice and water to the pitcher and mix well. If the lemonade is too strong, add more water.
3. Serve in a tall glass with plenty of ice cubes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Roasted Corn on the Cob

I have never had roasted corn in my life so I am not sure if this is the preferred method, but it worked out very well for me. Local corn is in season now and the kernels are tender and very sweet. Roasting only amplifies the sweetness. And, if you are a corn-roasting expert, let me know your method.

INGREDIENTS
- corn cobs, husk on

METHOD
Preheat BBQ to 500 degrees
1. Trim top tassells and soak corn in a sink if water for 20 mins.
2. Roast on the BBQ for 25 -30 mins, turning every 5 mins, and rotating cobs if your BBQ has hot spots. The husks will be pretty black by the end, but you want to make sure you don't burn the corn underneath.
3. Remove corn from grill and let cool for 5 mins. Remove husks and serve.

Here are the cobs after 1 turn. The real trick is getting the husks off the hot cobs. I held them with an oven mitt and peeled off the husks with a set of tongs.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Warm Roasted Potato Salad

The kids are headed back to school tomorrow and so we spent the afternoon on the beach soaking up the last of the summer sun. We brought a picnic dinner, pitched a tent in the sand, and enjoyed swimming in the warm lake. Potato salad is the quintessential summer picnic food, and this is a more refined take on an old classic. The recipe is based on a potato salad my brother made for us when we visited a few weeks ago for our nephew's birthday.


INGREDIENTS
Serves 4-5
- 2 lbs baby red potatoes
- 2 shallots, peeled
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 gherkins, finely diced
- 2 tbsp coarse grain Dijon mustard (or more, to taste)
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- freshly ground pepper

METHOD
1. Toss baby potatoes, shallots, and garlic in some olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast on BBQ over medium heat, turning regularly, for 30 mins, or until soft. Remove from foil.
2. Dice potatoes, chop shallots, and mince garlic. Toss with remaining ingredients and season to taste.