Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Here in my corner of the Great White North vegan convenience foods, other than Yves, are hard to come by. Stuff like Morningstar Farms and Boca are nowhere to be found. Sometimes it would be great to reach into the freezer and make a quick and easy meal. So, I was excited to see these PC faux chicken breasts in the freezer section. There are actually really good. I would not want to eat them everyday, but it was great to have some ready-made faux meat on hand. The so-called chicken is made with Gardein, which I hope isn't some super-evil, Dupont-controlled, test tube, unnatural, over manufactured product because I would like to keep buying these. The extra bonus is that they are $12.99 for 8 pieces--cheaper than the actual chicken breasts PC sells (for once).
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp margarine
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups cubed chick'n seitan
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
- 3/4 cup marsala wine
- 1 tbsp ground rosemary
- 3 cups thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil and margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for 5-7 mins, until soft and translucent. Add seitan and cook for 2 mins.
2. Add tomatoes, wine, and rosemary to the pan and mix well. Bring to bubbling and simmer for 5 mins, until sauce reduces a bit. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 mins, or until cooked through. Add tomato paste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I am busy baking bread tonight so just a wee update on the cookbook (and on the bakery, as some requested). I am approaching 100 pages for the cookbook, and plan to have the whole thing ready for download by late November/early December (Christmas shopping, anyone?). As mentioned before, the cookbook is just recipes from the blog for those of you who would like a paper copy to keep in the kitchen instead of the laptop. Since my recipe list keeps growing daily, this book will feature recipes from September 2007 to June 2008. My plan is to do another book next year.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Planning to have a Halloween party? Need some vegan treats to serve? Enter caramel corn with a hint of maple and apple cider. Prepare to have your friends praise your treat making abilities. (Son #1 helped me stage tonight's photo)
Monday, October 27, 2008
As promised I experimented with making a whole wheat pasta tonight. Let me just say from the outset that this is not a 100% whole wheat pasta, so some people might be disappointed. I'm pretty sure that a pasta made from all whole wheat flour would turn out pretty badly. My first attempt was to replace the white flour in this recipe with all purpose whole wheat flour. That was a failure. My flour is pretty coarse and so the dough never came together and kept breaking apart with all the bran and wheat germ. That batch went into the garbage. My next attempt was to add wheat germ and bran to the regular recipe--this worked out much better. The dough was more finicky that the regular version, but still cooked up great and had a good texture and taste.
Makes 1 lb of pasta
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
- 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
- 1/2 cup tepid water, plus 1-2 tbsp more
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I am considering offering fresh pasta at the bakery next month--not really a baked good, I know, but I think it will have some appeal. I have blogged about fresh pasta a few times before, and was particularly happy with the pumpkin pasta recipe. However, I have found that eggless pasta has a tendency to get mushy, or even a bit pasty (especially when you go back for a second helping). Eggs provide protein which helps bind everything together and, when cooked, give pasta its texture (at least, I think that is was happens). Running on this theory I decided to add more protein to my pasta with vital wheat gluten and see what happened. The results were exactly what I was looking for--a durable pasta that had a nice "bounce" when bitten without being too tough. I made some this weekend for some visiting guests (who make their own egg-based pasta) and they gave it their seal of approval. Next up: trying to make a whole wheat pasta.
2. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth dough (5 mins). The dough should not break apart or crack, so wet your hands if the dough seems too dry. On the other hand, try not to make it too moist. The dough should be smooth and fairly tough.
3. Roll into a log and wrap in a slightly damp towel. Set aside for 20 mins to let the dough relax. Roll and cut as per usual.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I mentioned a few days ago that Earth Balance sent me some of their new peanut butter to check out. So check it out I did. I personally am a big fan of peanut butter and find myself taking a classic PB&J sandwich to work several times a week. I usually buy Kraft peanut butter, probably because my mom bought the all natural stuff when I was a kid (deriding Kraft as peanut butter icing) and I am still in some stage of teenage rebellion. So, what is the big deal with Earth Balance peanut butter? Obviously it's no great coup to make a vegan peanut butter so I will admit that news of the new product was a little less exciting than when I discovered Earth Balance margarine. The big deal, it seems, is with the fat. Kraft uses hydrogenated oil, which I thought created trans fat, though the jar I have here states that it has 0g of trans fat per serving (in Canada, they have to report 0.1g or more). Earth Balance does not hydrogenate oil but rather uses expeller-pressed oil. Specifically, they use palm fruit oil (not palm kernel oil). The literature they gave me states that palm fruit oil is "quite healthy" (I am sure some of my readers will want to comment on that) because it is about 45% saturated and lower in lauric and mysritic acid than palm kernel oil. What this translates into is a no-stir peanut butter that is stable at room temperature without the aid of hydrogenation.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I almost didn't post a picture tonight because it looks so bad. I can assure you, though, that these taste great. The filling would also taste good in ravioli, I think. As I expected, Son #1 wasn't overly crazy about the filling, Son #2 liked it OK, but Son #3 gobbled down two servings.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Does your mom worry that you aren't getting enough protein? Are you looking for a great way to start your day? Do you need to rebuild muscle after a work out? One way to do that is these muffins. These are a variation on my pumpkin muffins, but packed with protein. The have soy, quinoa, and hemp, all of which are complete proteins (i.e. they contain all essential amino acids), as well as bran, flour, and walnuts (which provide essential fatty acids along with flax seed). Here's how the protein breaks down: wheat bran: 8g; oat bran: 4g; quinoa: 9g; flour: 19g; walnuts: 9g; flax seed: 3g; hemp seed: 44g; soy milk: 10g; chocolate chips: 8g. TOTAL: 114g, or about 9.5g per muffin. This is pretty good considering most adults need about 45 to 55g of protein per day. Eat two for breakfast and you've already had over 1/3 of your protein for the day.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp rubbed sage
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Sorry to say that this is another one of those recipe-less posts that really is a recipe (sort of). If you have not made your own applesauce you are missing out on a real treat. Now, I like liquid invert sugar and high fructose corn syrup from store brands as much as the next guy, but with homemade you have absolute control over your sauce. Now is the time to make it, of course, with apples ripe and ready at the local orchard. Get an apple that will cook down easily (I like MacIntosh and HoneyCrisp). If you are not sure what is a good apple, ask someone at the orchard. A great way to get cheap apples is to but a bushel of windfalls (i.e. the apples that have fallen off the trees). They may not be pretty, but it does not matter when making applesauce. Once you have your apples, it's time to get cooking!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Behold my second installment of trying to make breakfast more interesting for the kids. Not really a recipe tonight; more of an idea that you can play around with. And not even a very original idea, really. Sons #2 and #3 gobbled it right down, but Son #1 whined ad nauseum about it until the oatmeal had congealed into a dense mass and the whole thing was cold and kind of nasty. *sigh* Maybe boxed cereal isn't so bad after all . . . .
Friday, October 17, 2008
Vegan Mom and I have been looking for new things to serve the boys for breakfast to break the monotonous cycle of boxed breakfast cereal. These muffins are one answer. I used the Ginger-Raisin Bran Muffin recipe from VWAV as a starting point and went from there. They are filling, hearty, and filled with two of the wonderful things autumn gives us: pumpkins and apples. Plus, they have enough bran to get the mail moving in the morning . . . if you know what I mean.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tonight I made the pumpkin pasta I made last night. It cooked beautifully. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the pasta only needs to be cooked for 1 min once the water returns to a boil. I wouldn't say the pasta had an overly pumpkiny flavour, but it did have a nice light orange colour. My plan was to make a creamy sage sauce for a nice autumn twist on a pasta dish, but wanted to make sure it did not taste like spaghetti with Thanksgiving gravy. I was worried the kids would not like it but they gobbled it right up. Son #1 even rejected his usual bowl of cereal at bedtime and asked for more pasta. I don't think that has ever happened before.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I have been meaning to experiment with a pumpkin pasta ever since pumpkins hit the store a few weeks ago. I finally got around to it tonight whilst baking bread. The recipe is super easy, though you need some strong wrists and a pasta roller and cutter. I have not cooked it yet (that will be tomorrow's dinner) but it rolled and cut perfectly. I have every reason to believe it will cook up nicely.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I just bought the world's biggest cabbage. Look at the size of that puppy! And only 99 cents! I love it when produce is local and in season. Of course, it means I am making a huge pot of cabbage rolls.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I have made and posted various meatballs recipes before (like this one, and this one), but I was reminded just how awesome they were when I made them for tonight's pasta dinner. These babies stick together, have great texture and taste (as long as you're at least partially partial to tempeh), and will hold up when simmered in a sauce.
- 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
- 2 tsp ground fennel seed
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp HP sauce/A1 Sauce/BBQ sauce
Thursday, October 9, 2008
This soup began as a humble potato soup that just seemed far too pedestrian. I had just finished reading Isa's post on the Vegan Iron Chef Apple Ginger challenge, so the way to jazz up the soup was obvious. The result was quite nice--a soup that tastes like autumn. I added the hint of a few spices; you can increase or lower the amounts as you see fit.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I almost didn't post a picture tonight because the dish looks so horrid. Hey, you can't win 'em all. The taste and texture, however, is spot on. For some reason I was thinking about Hamburger Helper, and so I decided to make a dish inspired by that weird white hand mascot (a cousin of the Pillsbury Dough Boy, perhaps?). I essentially revised my creamy mac and cheeze and added tempeh burger.
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 cups soy milk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 cups 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. Cook macaroni, as per directions, until al dente.
2. While macaroni is cooking, make the burger. Simmer tempeh in water for 10 mins to help reduce the tempeh's bitterness. Cool, then break into small chunks or grate.
5. Drain macaroni and return to pot over medium heat. Add tempeh and mix well. Add sauce and bring to bubbling. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and reduces a bit (about 5 mins). Serve.
Monday, October 6, 2008
I have made a lot of scrambled tofu in my day but the kids have never been overly crazy about it. It either has too many chunks of veggies, or has too many bits of spices. Enter Vegan Mom's solution: straight up scrambled tofu. It looks an awful lot like the scrambled eggs they sell in hospital cafeterias, but for kids that is a good thing. It is uniform, has no weird chunks of unidentifiable vegetables, and tastes great. The kids asked for it two days in a row, so that's a winner in my book.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
As I mentioned yesterday, Canadian Thanksgiving will soon be upon us. And by us I mean mainly me since most of my readers are American. I thought I had better take some dishes for a trial run before I make them for members of my family next weekend, like this roast. I will warn you now that the stuffing is a tad finicky. I think when I make it next week I will add in a slice of bread or so to make it all stick together. I also discovered that I made the chestnuts pieces way too big--small is the way to go with stuffing.
Get your water on its way to boiling in your steamer
- 1 1/2 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
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 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 (it is important to have this), and tightly roll up like a Tootsie Roll.
5. Steam for 30 mins, turning over after 15 mins. While steaming, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Then, place roast in a loaf pan and bake for 25 mins.
The roast, unwrapped, after coming out of the oven.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Thanksgiving is fast approaching for us Canadians (next Monday), so tonight I experimented with a few dishes to prepare for our holiday meal with family. This dish is easy to make and tastes great (and is a great way to get kids to eat squash), and is also easy to blog. I am spending tonight working on my cookbook, so I will leave the more complicated dish for tomorrow's post.
Friday, October 3, 2008
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup pureed cooked pumpkin
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 tbsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get a few cups of water boiling in your kettle.
1. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together pumpkin, milk and oil. Add to flour and mix with a spoon. Stir in chocolate chips, then spread into a 8x8 pan.
2. Whisk together white and brown sugar with cocoa powder and sprinkle evenly over batter. Gently pour boiling water over top (do not mix) and then add vanilla.
3. Bake for 40-45 mins, until top is dry and firm. Let cool a bit before serving. Cut into pieces and spoon pudding over top.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The cool fall weather has triggered something in my brain so I can only think about soups, stews, and chowders. I love this time of year with the crisp, cool air, the beautiful colours of the leaves, and fall produce like pumpkins and squash. Although I know it means that many months of cold and snow are coming, I still love autumn. This dish marries together a modification of my biscuit recipe with a modification of my Creamy Kale and Potato Stew. Result: maximum deliciousness.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
What a great way to start Vegan MoFo: with my very first vegan convert. I got a wonderful email from Reni at Vegan Me that my blog and my post on Peta's "Meet Your Meat" pushed her to a vegan lifestyle. Woot, woot! You can read all about it in her own words here.