Friday, November 30, 2007

Creamy Zucchini Soup

Don't let the crappy photo fool you--this soup is awesome. While I love to cook, I really don't know a thing about photography. Basically, I put my dishes on the ironing board and take pics with a flash and tripod. I still have yet to figure out a good way to photograph soup.

- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 zucchini, sliced (or 2 lbs)
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 cup plain soy milk, or soy creamer
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil and margarine in a stockpot over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic for about 5 mins, until onions are translucent.
2. Add in sliced zucchini and oregano. Cook for 5 mins, or until zucchini begins to soften.
3. Pour in stock and bring to a boil. Partially cover, lower heat, and simmer for 20 mins, or until zucchini is cooked through.
4. Remove from heat and blend with a hand blender until very smooth. Stir in nutritional yeast and soy milk/creamer. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat if necessary. Serve.

The End of Vegan Mofo
Unfortunately, Vegan Mofo ended on more of a whimper than a bang in my house. First, I had planned to make a delicious risotto to go with the soup, only to find that I forgot to buy arborio rice at the bulk food store. (snort) I also decided that I would try the chickpea cutlets again, with a nice white wine/garlic/lemon sauce to go on top. I took my own advice and pulsed the chickpeas, which worked beautifully. I also decided to bake them this time. Everything was going great, but I miscalculated cooking times and ended up finishing the cutlets before the soup. I decided I could keep them warm in the oven while everything else finished up. Well, that was a big mistake. I ended up baking the cutlets into chickpea briquettes. To top it off, no one liked my white wine/garlic/lemon sauce. *sigh* I don't take failure in the kitchen very well. If only a case of beer was in the grocery budget . . . .

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cornbread Chili, and Tortilla Chips with Nacho Sauce

Tonight's main dish is inspired by Jennifer Schmoo of Vegan Lunchbox fame, namely her recipe for vegan Tennessee Corn Pone. I have no idea what pone is, exactly, but I liked the idea of a cornbread topping over chili. So, I whipped up my own chili and topped it with her pone recipe. I also made her nacho cheese sauce which is absolutely delicious drizzled over tortilla chips laced with salsa.

Note: I was cooking for 7 tonight (my in laws are up for a visit). Feel free to half the recipe.

Cornbread Chili
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 small red onion, large dice
- 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 orange pepper, seeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked red kidney beans
- 2 tbsp chili powder (or more)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large can plum tomatoes (with juice), roughly chopped

- 2 1/4 cups plain soymilk
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Saute onions, peppers, and garlic in oil over med-hi heat until onions are translucent. Add in beans and spices and mix thoroughly. Add in tomatoes and heat to bubbling. (You want a drier chili than normal so the cornbread topping will cook properly)
2. Whisk soymilk, flax, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Mix cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add in wet ingredients and mix until moistened.
3. Put chili in a lightly oiled cast iron pan (a big one--at least 12 inches). Top with cornbread batter. Bake for 30-35 mins, or until cornbread is firm and cooked through.
Nacho Cheese Sauce
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 4 oz jar of pimentos, drained
- 1 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp, salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin

1. Blend all ingredients until very smooth. Whisk in a saucepan over medium heat until thickened and bubbling.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Maple Roasted Tofu and Veggies

Well, winter has come to the north in full force. Freezing cold, snow, parkas, touques, and big clumpy boots. It makes me want to roast things in the oven, if for no other reason than it heats the house up a few more degrees.

- 2 yukon gold potatoes, diced
- 2 large red potatoes, diced
- 1 yellow onion, cut into eighths
- 1 red onion, cut into eighths
- 1 small rutabaga, peeled and diced
- 3 carrots, cut into chunks
- 4 cloves of garlic, cut into chunks
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 pkg firm tofu, pressed and diced
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
1. Place all veggies in a large bowl. Mix oil, vinegar, syrup, water, and spices in a small bowl. Pour over veggies and toss well. Place on a stoneware baking sheet. Put tofu on veggies and gently toss to coat in sauce.
2. Roast veggies in oven for 60-70 mins, stirring veggies after 30, 45, and 60 mins to keep the sauce from burning. Toss in an extra bit of maple syrup before you serve if you want an extra bit of sweetness.

I served this dish up with pumpkin scones.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Note to Isa: No Dissing Intended!

If you have been checking out the PPK blog you will have noticed that Isa posted her answers to the Vegan MoFo Survey. I almost fell out of my chair when I read her reponse to the question 23, "Food blog you read the most." She writes, and I quote, "Right now I’ve been liking Vegan Dad (even though he kinda disses me)."

It was a moment of great elation, followed by shame/remorse, then elation/shame. Let me say now that no dissing was intended. I am a professional historian and professor, so I guess criticism runs in my blood (especially when it comes to reviewing books!). I just wanted to provide helpful and honest (albeit personal) assessments of your recipes for those out in vegan bloggerdom (for whatever that is worth).

On a personal note, Vegan With A Vengeance is the cookbook that helped me transition to veganism. Its well worn pages and cover attest to its importance. Thank you for everything you have done for vegan cooking, and how you have helped me and my family.

Vegan Dad

Tofu with a Cranberry Balsamic Glaze, with Scalloped Potatoes

Tonight I had a real hankering for scalloped potatoes--must be the cold weather and snow (it's going down to -17 degrees Celsius tonight (that's about 1 degree Fahrenheit for those outside the Commonwealth)). This recipe is modelled after a Betty Crocker recipe I used to make in my pre-vegan days, and they are, in my humble opinion, the best vegan scalloped potatoes I have ever had. The key is slicing the potatoes really thin, so you must use a food processor. The smooth creaminess of the potatoes is nicely complimented by the crispy and tangy tofu.

Scalloped Potatoes
- 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 generous tbsp flour
- 5 cups plain soy milk
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 yukon gold potatoes, very thinly sliced (use a food processor)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large Corningware dish (9x14)
1. Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions for 10 min, until translucent.
2. Add in flour 1 tbsp at a time, stirring constantly. Slowly add in soymilk. Add in nutritional yeast and season to taste with salt and pepper (I would suggest making it slightly saltier than usual since potatoes seem to suck up salt). Bring to bubbling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
3. Slice potatoes (if you do this too far in advance they will brown). Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with a layer of potatoes. Top with a layer of sauce, then more potatoes. Repeat until all potatoes slices are gone, and top with the last of the sauce.
4. Cover dish and bake for 1 hr. Uncover and bake for 30 mins, until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 15 mins before serving.

NOTE: You can play with some of the quantities here. If you like more "liquidy" scalloped potatoes, make the sauce as is. If you like them a little drier, add in an extra tbsp of flour for a thicker sauce. No matter how you like them, make sure you use thin layers of sauce between the potatoes. Depending on the size of the potatoes you use, you may need to slice more than I indicate here.

Tofu with a Cranberry Balsamic Glaze
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice
- 2 tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine
- 1 pkg firm tofu, cut into 16 triangles
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp dried tarragon, crushed
- 1 tsp salt
- oil for frying

1. Combine vinegar, sugar, juice, and margarine in a saucepan. Bring to bubbling, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 mins until reduced to a thin glaze.
2. While glaze is simmering, heat oil on med-hi heat in a frying pan. Combine cornstarch and spices in a bowl, dredge tofu triangles, and fry on both sides until golden brown.
3. Toss tofu in the glaze and serve immediately.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Black Bean Burgers with Roasted Corn Guacamole and Sweet Potato Fries

Tonight I made the black bean burgers from Veganomicon. The recipe isn't really much different from other black bean burgers recipes I have seen, except that it uses high gluten flour to bind everything together. This makes me think that these burgers will hold up well on the grill (but I did not test that theory tonight.) The burgers are pretty good on their own, but when topped with tomato, red onion, chopped romaine, salsa, and roasted corn guacamole they are absolutely fantastic!

Roasted Corn Guacamole
- 3 large avocados
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Meanwhile, scoop avocados out of skins and coarsely mash with fork. Mix in lime juice and cilantro.
2. Add corn and onion to skillet. Dry roast for about 15-20 mins, stirring frequently, until corn and onions are a deep golden brown.
3. Let corn cool slightly, then add to avocados along with spices. Serve.

Sweet Potato Fries
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Peel and thinly slice 3-4 sweet potatoes. Toss in 1 tbsp of oil.
3. Bake for 20-25 mins on a cookie sheet, flipping every 5 mins or so to prevent sticking.
4. When fries are crisp and cooked, sprinkle 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of chili powder, and salt to taste over top and mix well. Serve.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Maple Hemp Granola Bars

We are still scarfing back leftovers from yesterday's party, so I thought I would say a few words about lunch. If you don't already know, the Vegan Lunchbox cookbook is the best thing to happen to lunchtime since . . . well, sliced bread, I guess. The recipes are tasty, creative, and kid-friendly. When I was a kid I took PB&J most of the time--I still love it, actually. But, due to peanut allergies, peanut butter has been banned from the kids' school. So, the kids take hummus and veggies, vegetable soup, veggie meat and crackers, that kind of thing.

I have been working on a granola bar recipe to give the kids an extra nutrition boost at school. The trick is making a vegan granola bar that sticks together without honey, corn syrup, or peanut butter. These have maple syrup and flax to bind them together, sunflower seeds for calcium, pepitas for iron, and hemp for protein.

- 4 cups quick cooking oats
- 1/3-1/2 cup canola oil (you can get away with 1/3 cup if you want a lower fat recipe--the bars will be a bit drier)
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup each hemp seeds, hemp powder, raisins, sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), ground flax seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Spread oats out on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 mins, stirring twice to prevent burning.
2. Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Add in warm oats and mix well.
3. Press mixture into a lightly oiled 9x13 pan, using a piece of waxed paper. They key here is to press really hard and compact the mixture as much as possible.
4. Bake for 25-30 mins, until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into bars.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Carrot Cashew Curry Coconut Soup

We finally had that fall party we tried to throw last month but was stymied by our kids getting sick. I revived the same menu, despite the fact that about 15 centimetres of snow fell today. Even though it looked like winter, the fall-inspired dishes still worked. The hot cider smelled wonderful, as did the roasted apple chutney. I added this Carrot Cashew Curry Coconut Soup (from the Chez Piggy Cookbook)--a wonderful balance between creamy coconut milk and spicy curry (not that this picture does it any justice).

- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 cups raw cashews
- 1 1/2 lbs carrots, grated
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 1 can coconut milk
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a stockpot and saute onion, celery, garlic and ginger for 15 mins, until onions are golden brown. Add in spices and cashews and cook for another minute.
2. Add carrots and mix thoroughly. Add stock and bring to bubbling. Lower heat, cover, and cook until carrots are soft. Really, the longer you can cook this the better--it lets the flavours develop.
3. Blend with a hand blender until smooth. Stir in coconut milk and heat (but don't boil). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Vegan Braciole

My brother gave me The Sopranos Family Cookbook for my 30th birthday. A few months later I became a vegan and the book started to collect dust. This summer I started thumbing through the book to see what recipes I could veganize with tofu or seitan. My best success was with this recipe, a veganized version of stuffed beef rolls. If you subscribe to Bryanna Clark Grogan's Vegan Feast Newsletter, you may recognize this from the readers' submission section. The recipe takes a little time, but it is perfect for a special Friday night candle light dinner with that special someone.

Feel free to half the recipe if you aren't feeding a whole family
- 8 beefy seitan steaks, made as thin as possible, cooled
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 6 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 slices vegan ham
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 8 cups tomato puree
- 8 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- 1 lb ziti or penne, cooked and still hot

1. Lay seitan steaks flat on countertop. Sprinkle with chopped garlic, parsley, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper. Place slice of vegan ham on each. Roll up and tie with kitchen string.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick sauce pan on medium heat. Add the braciole and garlic. Brown the braciole, turning until deep golden brown on all sides. Remove braciole from pan and put on a plate.
3. Add wine to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove and discard garlic. Stir in tomato puree and basil.
4. Put braciole into the sauce. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 mins.
5. Serve sauce over hot cooked ziti with the braciole. Or, if you are a purist, serve the ziti and sauce as a first course, followed by the braciole.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Leek and Bean Cassoulet: A Veganomicon Review

First, let me wish a Happy (and turkey-free) Thanksgiving to my American readers. I hope your day was filled with family and/or friends and tasty, tasty, food. So, while you bolted down Tofurkey, we tried another Veganomicon recipe. Temperatures are plunging here (-7 degrees Celsius as today's high), so this seemed like the perfect dish. White beans, leeks, potatoes, and flaky biscuits sounded like a nice culinary hug on a chilly day.

Taste-wise, the recipe was a success. The textures also worked well--smooth sauce, soft veggies, and firm yet flaky biscuits. The spicing is nothing exceptional, but it works well to create a dish with comfort food appeal.

My only criticism is that the recipe/method is over complicated. I will do things differently next time. For example, the recipe calls to boil the potatoes until tender, but to saute the carrots in the pan until "very soft." This actually takes a long time, so it makes more sense to me to boil the carrots and potatoes together to save some time. Finally, while the dish tastes good, I am not sure it is worth all the prep time (for a dad of three who is pinched for time). When in the mood for comfort food during the week I might be inclined to make Chickpea Pot Pie or Cheesy Chickpea Shepherd's Pie and save this cassoulet for the weekends when I have more time.

The final analysis: 8.5/10

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vegan Carnitas

From what I understand, carnitas ("little meats") are chunks of pork cooked in lard for a few hours. Now, you don't need to be a vegan to think that sounds a bit gross, not to mention unhealthy. So, this is my take on the carnita--vegan and low fat. I paired this dish with Mexican rice--delicious!

- 4-5 cups of beefy seitan, cut into chunks
- 2 bay leaves, crumbled
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 orange, cut into 8 slices
- 1 onion, cut into quarters
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- chopped cilantro, for garnish

1. Heat oil in a large non-stick pan on medium high heat. Mix bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, and salt into the chunks of seitan. Fry seitan for 5 mins, stirring frequently.
2. Add garlic, orange slices, onion, and orange juice to the pan. Bring to bubbling, lower heat, cover, and cook for about 1 hr. Orange juice will be absorbed into the seitan, so check periodically and add more orange juice if needed.
3. Remove garlic, onion, and orange slices from the pan and discard. Garnish seitan with cilantro and serve with warm tortillas, chopped tomato, and salsa.

Mexican Rice
- 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
- boiling water
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 small tomatoes, diced
- 3 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 cup frozen peas
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Put rice in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 10 mins, then drain.
2. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat, then add rice and fry for about 5 mins. Add onions, garlic and tomatoes and cook for another minute.
3. Add in stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and let simmer for 20 mins, or until liquid is absorbed.
4. Stir in peas, and let sit for 5 mins. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Finally, today is Vegan Mom's birthday, so I made the Fauxstess Cupcakes from Vegan With a Vengeance. These tasty creme filled treats are one of the first desserts I made after becoming a vegan, and they let me know everything was going to be OK.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Seitan Fajitas

One of my favourite Family Guy moments is when Peter wins the lottery and orders 6000 chicken fajitas, pronouncing them "fah-jite-ahs." Heh heh (you had to be there). Anyway, we were pinched for time tonight, and these are easy to make and incredibly tasty. The citrus zest, the bite of the salsa, the coolness of the sour cream, the warmness of the tortillas . . . I love Mexican food!

- 3 cups thinly sliced beefy seitan
- zest and juice of one lime
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tsp oregano
- pinch of cayenne
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 onions, halved and sliced
- 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green pepper, seeded, halved, and sliced

1. Mix together lime juice and zest, orange juice, oregano, cayenne, and cinnamon, and salt. Pour over seitan and mix. Saute in oil on med-hi heat for 10 mins, until seitan is browned and crispy. Remove from pan.
2. Add more oil to pan, if necessary. Saute onions and peppers for 10 mins, until onions are golden, but peppers still have some crispiness. Add seitan back into the pan to re-heat.
3. Serve with salsa, guacamole, and soy sour cream in warm tortillas.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Chickpea Cutlets: A Veganomicon Review

My copy of Veganomicon finally arrived in the mail a few days ago. For some reason it was released later in Canada than in the States, and what with Canada Post . . . . Anyway, the good news is it is finally here! Things have been so busy here, though, that I have not had any time to sit down and look through the recipes in any great detail. I like to read a new cookbook from cover to cover first, so I can get a good sense of what it is all about, and so I can piece together meal plans in my head. Maybe this weekend . . . .

So, on to the cutlets! I read about them on a few blogs, so I looked them up. They seemed perfect--a seitan-like texture without the hours and hours of simmering. What's not to like?

Here is my take: First, the texture is not bad but is a bit on the chewy/stringy side. I could feel the cutlet sitting there in my stomach afterward like a lump. But, I have been known to bolt down dinner with minimal chewing. Second, the recipe calls to pan fry the cutlet for 6-7 mins per side. This is a little tricky. It's hard to find the right temperature: too hot and you burn the outside before the inside is cooked, too cool and you get raw cutlet. Blech. I think next time I will bake it, as is also suggested. I just did not have the time tonight. Lastly, a note on prep. The recipe calls to mash a can of chickpeas with a fork until no whole chickpeas remain. This takes forever, especially since I doubled the recipe. I think next time I will pulse them in a food processor for a smoother texture.

So, the final verdict? I am going to give the dish a 7.5/10. The boys loved them (Son #1 ate two cutlets with great relish), so that is a big plus. I also think the recipe has great potential--I will experiment next time with some different spices since the cutlet as is is kind of neutral. I also made a mushroom gravy to pour over top, which made it less plain.

Mushroom Gravy
1. Saute an 80z pkg of sliced cremini mushroom in 4 tbsp of oil for 10 mins, until golden brown.
2. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of flour over top and stir until well mixed.
3. Slowly pour in 1 cup of plain soy milk, stirring constantly. Bring to bubbling and let thicken.
4. Stir in 1 tbsp mushroom soy sauce, 1 tsp of sage, and salt and pepper to taste.

You can make this thinner or thicker, depending on what you like. If you need more gravy, add in more soy milk and some dissolved cornstarch to thicken.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Vegan Philly Cheese Steak

I made some beefy seitan today--it has a real "meaty" texture (if you are into that kind of thing), and is perfect for this meal. I ate a cheese steak at a vegan cafe in Philly on a research trip, and it was not anywhere as good as this. The seitan recipe comes from Bryanna Clark Grogan who posted it here.

- 2 and 1/4 c. vital wheat gluten powder
- 1/2 c. minute tapioca
- 1/2 c. granulated TVP
- 3 T. nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 3/4 tsp. garlic powder

- 2 c. cold water
- 1/3 c. vegetarian stir fry sauce
- 2 T. soy sauce
- 1 T. vegan gravy browner, such as Kitchen Bouquet

- 6 c. very hot water
- 2 T. Marmite or other yeast extract
- 1/3 c. soy sauce
- 1/3 c. ketchup
- 2 T. gravy browner

1. Mix the Dry Mix ingredients in the bowl of your electric mixer with dough hook attachment, or place them in the bread machine in the order given. Add the Wet Mix and knead for about 10 minutes. Let rest for about 1 hour, covered. You can make your Cooking Broth at this time and have it ready. Then knead it for 10 more minutes.
2. Cut into several pieces, then flatten those pieces with wet hands into "steaks." Cut into as many pieces as you like, as thin as you like (they should double in size and thickness).
3. Cook in a crock pot on low for 6-8 hours, turning once halfway through. Cool and use in whatever recipe you want.

For Vegan Philly Cheese Steaks
Makes 4 cheese steaks
1. Preheat broiler. Thinly slice half a sweet onion, and half a green pepper. Saute in 1 tsp of oil for 5-8 mins, until onion is golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Thinly slice seitan steaks--about 4 cups worth. Saute in 2 tbsp of oil for 10 mins until deep brown and crispy. Mix in onion and green peppers.
3. Put 1/4 of the mixture on a sliced crusty sub roll. Top with a slice of Tofutti mozzarella cheese. Place under broiler for a few mins to melt the cheese and toast the bun.
4. Top with whatever suits your fancy and serve. I used sliced tomatoes and vegenaise.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Grilled Pesto Veggie Skewers

We are still chowing down on last night's jambalaya, so here is what we had for lunch. Tomorrow is shopping day, which always seems to leave us in the odd position of trying to clean out the fridge that seems to be full of nothing. We bought a whole bag of discounted zucchini last week for 97 cents that was still kicking around, as were a bag of mushrooms. The logical thing seemed to be to make pesto and BBQ everything. I added some onion chunks, and if I had any cherry tomatoes I would have added them for some colour variation.

I like the pesto from Vegan With A Vengeance, which is similar to this recipe posted on the PPK website.

Waffles and Blueberry Sauce

Who doesn't love a lazy Saturday morning that begins late and ends with homemade waffles? Ahhh . . . . Of course, I should point out that sleeping in for us means 7:00am. Oh, parenthood . . . . These waffles are very tasty, easy to make, and taste great with this blueberry sauce.

Vegan Blueberry Waffles
Makes about 16 waffles
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp ground flax seed
- 2 2/3 cup rice milk
- 1/3 cup oil

1. Preheat waffle iron.
2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
3. Mix liquid ingredients and flax seed in a small bowl. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Let batter sit for 5 mins to let the flax seed absorb some liquid.
4. Cook according to whatever waffle iron you are using. I oil the iron down with a pastry brush, and use 1/4 cup of batter per waffle square.

Blueberry Sauce
Put 1 1/2 cups of frozen wild blueberries in a saucepan with scant 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar. Bring to bubbling. Dissolve 1 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch or arrowroot powder into 2 tbsp of water and stir into the blueberry sauce. Stir in 1 tsp of lemon juice.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Jambalaya, Cajun Carrots, and Cornbread

We are feeling a bit better today, but a bit congested. Well, there is nothing like a little spice to clear out the sinuses. Let the Cajun fest begin!
Chickpea and Sausage Jambalaya
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you want it spicier)
- 1 pkg Yves veggie sausages, thickly sliced
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp parsley
- 3 cups uncooked white rice
- 6 cups water
- 4 green onions, sliced

1. Heat oil on medium heat in a stockpot. Add in onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, and cayenne. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until veggies are a deep golden brown.
2. Add in sausage and cook for 5 mins, or until sausage begins to brown.
3. Add in chickpeas, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, and rice. Stir until rice is coated.
4. Add in water, cover, and cook on medium-low heat, covered, for about 30 mins until rice is soft and liquid is absorbed.
5. Remove bay leaves and stir in green onions. Serve.

Cajun Carrots
Thickly slice 6 large carrots and boil or steam until soft. Drain. Mix with 1 tbsp margarine, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp paprika, pinch of cayenne, and 1/4 cup chopped pecans.

I made Isa's cornbread from the PPK, but I did make a few changes. 1. I baked it in a 10" cast iron pan that I pre-heated in the oven before I poured the batter in. 2. I upped the maple syrup to 1/4 cup to make it a bit sweeter.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Veggie Stuffed Pitas and Smoothies

Well, the inevitable happened. Vegan Mom and I have the boys' cold. Blah. The motivation to cook was pretty low tonight, and the fridge is starting to get bare. So, we thawed out the leftover pitas from a few night ago, made some hummus, chopped up veggies, and went crazy. The pita pictured here has hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, and alfalfa sprouts. We make the hummus from Vegan Lunch Box because the kids like it. I like something more garlicky, or with roasted peppers.

We supplemented the meal with a smoothie. This is a great way to get fruit into the kids, and it feels great on a sore throat. Into a blender I put:
- a ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
- 1/3 pkg of silken tofu
- 3 cups soymilk
- sugar to taste

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tofu with Balsamic Onions and Potatoes

This is a recipe I veganized from the LCBO website. They really do have some great ideas and some fancy dishes, but their recipes don't even verge on vegan (think meat wrapped in bacon fried in butter and submerged in heavy cream). This one turned out really well--and the boys agreed! I used frozen tofu this time--freezing and thawing tofu makes for a chewier texture--but it is not necessary. I also fried the tofu, but you could opt not to do that as well.

- 1 pkg firm tofu, cut into 8 triangles
- cornstarch or flour
- oil for frying
- 1 lb red and yukon gold potatoes, cubed
- 1 red onion, cut in half (i.e. from top to bottom) then sliced lengthwise (i.e. latitudinaly)
- 1 yellow onion, sliced the same way
- 1/2 tsp crushed dried rosemary
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp vegan "chicken" broth powder
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Dredge tofu in flour or cornstarch. Fry in oil until golden. Set aside.
2. Melt butter on med-hi in a large skillet. Add in potatoes, onions, and rosemary. Cook for about 2 mins, until onions soften and begin to release water.
3. Cover, reduce heat to medium-lo, and cook for about 15 mins. Shake pan often to keep veggies from sticking.
4. Turn up heat to med-hi, uncover, and add in balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and reduce to a thick sauce. Stir in water mixed with broth powder. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add tofu back into the pan, spooning sauce over top. Cook for about 5 mins, or until tofu is heated through. Serve.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Crispy Veggies in an Orange-Ginger Sauce

As promised, here is the final dish from last night's Asian food-fest. I bought a bunch of veggies at the grocery store this week that I thought would go well in a stir-fry, and added this pre-made sauce which, for coming out of a bottle, was not half bad.

- 2 tbsp oil
- large handful of snow peas
- 4 baby bok choy, washed and trimmed into stalks
- 1 small can sliced water chestnuts
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1/2 jar VH Orange Ginger Sauce

1. Heat oil on med-hi in a wok. Throw in snow peas and stir-fry for 2 mins.
2. Add in bok choy and stir-fry until it starts to wilt.
3. Add in water chestnuts and bean sprouts and stir fry for 1 min.
4. Add in sauce, heat to bubbling, and serve.

NOTE: If you don't want to use the bottled sauce, I think the taste could be replicated by stir-frying fresh ginger with the snow peas, then add orange juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar in at the end.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tofu Szechuan and Fried Rice

The great thing about wok cooking is that it is fast and tasty. If you don't have a carbon steel wok, you should really get one. You really can't stir fry properly without it. There is no Asian market where I live (or any ethnic markets, for that matter), so I have to scrounge what I can from the ethnic foods section of the grocery store. Despite this, tonight's meal was pretty darn tasty!

Tofu Szechuan
- 1 pkg firm tofu, drained and diced
- cornstarch
- oil for frying
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 green peppers, diced
- 2 green onions, cut into short sections
- 1" piece of ginger, minced
- 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tsp Asian chili sauce
- 2 tbsp sherry
- 1/4 cup VH Szechuan sauce
- few drops of sesame oil

1. Roll diced tofu in cornstarch to coat. Fry in oil on med-hi heat until golden brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels.
2. Heat up a wok on medium heat. Add in cashews and stir quickly for 5 mins until roasted. remove from wok.
3. Turn up heat to med-hi. Add oil to wok. Stir fry green peppers, green onions for 1 min. Add tofu, hoisin sauce, chili sauce, sherry, and Szechuan sauce. Bring to bubbling.
4. Stir in cashews and sesame oil. Mix well and serve.

Note: I kept this heat down on this meal. For a more spicy version, soak 3 dried red chilies on hot water for 10 mins, de-seed and dice, and add to wok with the sauces.
Fried Rice
The secret to fried rice is that the rice needs to be cold when it gets fried in the wok. I also use basmati rice, which never ever sticks or clumps. Not authentic, I know, but who cares if it works?
- 3 cups cooked rice, cooled
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 red or orange pepper, diced
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 cup canned chickpeas
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce

1. Heat oil in wok on med-hi. Add in red pepper and stir-fry for 1 min. Add in rice and stir-fry for 4 mins.
2. Add in corn, chickpeas, and green onions and stir-fry until heated through.
3. Add in soy and hoisin sauce, and adjust to you personal taste.
We will be eating leftover tomorrow, and I will post the final dish then.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

In Pursuit of the Perfect Burger

Wow, it's like some crazy post-fest this weekend! You gotta love Vegan MoFo! Anyway, the boys wanted burgers tonight for dinner, so I thought I would try to create some out of TVP. I had good success with making TVP sausage patties, which I posted here back in September. So, I used essentially the same recipe but added more herbs like sage and parsley, about a tsp of soy sauce, and upped the gluten flour to 2 tbsp. I kept the patties thin (the recipe made 4) and fried them in a bit of oil.

OK, so the end result tasted great, looked great (the pic is of an uncooked patty) and the boys loved them (so maybe I should be happy). But, the texture was all wrong--mushy. So, I am soliciting any advice on how to achieve a more "meat-like" texture. A little help here?

Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic Soup

We had two unused heads of cauliflower in the fridge, so I whipped up this soup for lunch. I was aiming for a creamy yet hearty texture, and this really fit the bill.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 3 leeks, thinly sliced (just the white parts)
- 2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
- water
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 cup nutritional yeast
- plain soymilk
- salt and pepper to taste
- dried herbs for garnish (I used parsley, but I think chives would be nice)

1. Saute onions, celery, and leeks for 15 mins on med-hi in a big stockpot. Seriously. This recipe makes a lot of soup.
2. Meanwhile, peel all the cloves in the head of garlic. Place in a pouch of aluminum foil with a splash of oil. Roast on a med-hi BBQ for about 15 mins.
3. Add in cauliflower florets. Add in water until it sits just under the veggies (i.e. not covering them). Cover and simmer until cauliflower is soft and easily broken up with a spoon.
4. Add in garlic cloves and blend in the pot with a hand blender. Blend in soymilk until desired consistency is reached (I used about 3 cups). Blend in nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each bowl with dried herbs when serving.

Banana Hemp Muffins

Oh, the weekend, how I love thee. I always try to bake some bread or some muffins that the kids can take to school in their lunches. These banana hemp muffins are great--packed with protein, a touch of sweetness, and easily converted to a low-fat recipe. I found an old mixed CD that I made for Vegan Mom when we were dating (ah, the sign of true love in the early 90s!) and rocked out to some tunes I had not heard for a while: REM's "What's the Frequency Kenneth?," Midnight Oil's "Beds are Burning," James' "Sit down," BNL's "When You Dream." With all the rocking out I forgot to put in the baking soda, so excuse the somewhat unleavened look of these muffins.

Makes about 16 muffins
- 6 really ripe bananas
- 1/3 cup oil (or applesauce for low-fat)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup hemp powder
- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350
1. Mash bananas really well in a large bowl. Whisk in oil and brown sugar.
2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix. Spoon into lined muffin tins and bake for 20-22 mins.


The last 2 weeks or so have been pretty tiring. Son#1 had a fever that turned into a cold. When he passed it to Son#2, it became croup, which resulted in breathing trouble and a late night trip to the emergency room. Now Son#3 has become a coughing, hacking fountain of liquid boogers who feels miserable and lets us know by crying all the time. So, last night Vegan Mom and I shoved some pasta in their mouths for dinner, put them to bed, and sat down for a meal together. Actually, it was the same pasta, but I added in this focaccia.

- 3 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 5 cups white bread flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp dried sage
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced

1. Whisk yeast into the water in a large bowl until dissolved. Mix in the olive oil. Sift in flour and salt, add sage, and stir into a rough dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface, or in a counter top mixer, for 10 mins, until smooth.
2. Let rise for 1.5 hours in a large oiled bowl, covered. Punch down dough and knead for a few mins. Divide in two equal pieces. Shape into balls, then press into 2 non-stick, or lightly oiled, 10 inch pans. (The dough will spring back a bit when you do this. Just let it sit for a few mins, then push it again to the edges. It will stay there eventually, just be patient)
3. Cover both pans and let rise for 30 mins. Uncover, and poke dimples into the dough with your fingertips (Ooohh, a wise guy guy, eh? Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!) Cover again and let rise until doubled in bulk.
4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. When focaccia are ready to bake, brush 2 tbsp of oil over each loaf and sprinkle half the garlic over evenly. Bake for 25-30 mins, or until loaves are golden. Serve warm.

We then ended the night with a movie and the Banana Split Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, topped with melty chocolate ganache and walnuts, and flanked by scoops of So Good Vanilla ice cream (which we usually never buy on account of it being a total rip off). Hey, we deserve it.

Western Style Sandwich

In the spirit of Vegan MoFo, I am adding some extra posts this weekend about lunch. Generally, my lunch during the work week is leftovers from dinner, or a PB&J if I am in a rush (along with whatever fruits and veggies I grab). On the weekend, though, there is time to make something nice. My mom used to make something like this when I was a kid. This is a veganized and somewhat spiffier version.

First, make some scrambled tofu. Isa posted here recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance here. For this dish, I omit the cremini mushrooms and add 1/4 cup of salsa in at the end.

Next, saute some sliced portabello mushrooms in 2 tbsp oil. When oil is absorbed and the shrooms are starting to soften, splash with a bit of tequila and the juice of half a lime. Sprinkle 1 tsp of chili powder over top and cook until shrooms are soft but not totally flaccid. Remove from pan.

Then, saute up some sliced peppers for 5 mins or so. I used red and orange, but green would work too. Again, make sure peppers are softened but still have some crunch.

Lastly, make the sandwich. Toast some bread. Put down a good layer of scrambled tofu, top with some of the pepper, some sliced tomato, and the mushrooms. Stick some vegenaise and ketchup on the other slice of bread, then unite the two halves for one mighty fine sandwich!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Falafel with Homemade Pitas

When I told the boys we were going to have falafel tonight their eyes lit up like I just told them we would be eating cake and ice cream. They absolutely love Isa's falafel and tahini dressing from Vegan With a Vengeance! The other part of the equation is my homemade pitas. These take a bit of time, but aren't hard to make and are totally worth it. They are so tender and soft--not like the dry, crumbly, stale pitas they sell at my grocery store.

Makes 6--feel free to double
- 2 cups white bread flour (substitute up to half of the flour with whole wheat flour if you want)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 2 tsp olive oil

1. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, dissolve yeast into water, then stir in olive oil. Pour into flour. Stir into a rough dough.
2. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface (or in a counter top mixer with a dough hook) for 5 min, until smooth. Dough will be a bit tougher than regular bread--don't worry, it will soften when it rises. Place in a large clean bowl, cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let double in size in a warm place (about 1 hour).
4. Punch down dough, divide into six, and shape into 6 balls. Brush with oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rest 5 mins.
5. Roll each ball into an oval or circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Place on a floured dish towel, brush with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 mins.
6. While dough is rising, place 2 cookie sheets in the oven and heat to 450. Heat is crucial here--make sure the oven is good and hot.
7. Remove cookie sheets from the oven. Quickly put 2-3 pitas on each and put back in the oven. Bake until pitas puff up (about 4 mins). This is the coolest part--they inflate like beach balls. Once all pitas have puffed, remove from oven and cool on racks. When cooled, wrap in a tea towel to keep soft.

These pitas don't stay fresh for long. If you won't be using them up in a day or two, put them in the freezer.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Grilled Polenta with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic

"Fire-roasted." Heh. That is my fancy word for throwing stuff on the BBQ. Several years ago my Dad bought us a very nice BBQ, and when we became vegan he worried it would fall into disuse. Never! I think vegans need to rediscover the grill and reclaim it as their own.

- 1 cup polenta (or yellow cornmeal)
- 3 cups water (2 cups if using cornmeal)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp each parsley and sage
- 8 roma tomatoes
- 8 unpeeled garlic cloves
- oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

For the polenta:
1. Bring water and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in polenta to keep it from clumping. Continue to stir frequently with a wooden spoon for about 30 mins (5 if using cornmeal) until polenta is soft. When cooked, stir in dried herbs.
2. Spread into a lightly oiled 8x8 baking pan and refrigerate until cool.
3. Once cooled, slice into 6 pieces and brush liberally with oil.

On the Grill:
1. Heat BBQ to med-high. (more on the high side than the medium)
2. Wrap garlic cloves in foil. Brush tomatoes with oil. Place both on grill. Keep turning tomatoes and garlic to keep from charring (I usually put the garlic on the upper rack). Roast tomatoes for about 15 mins, until skins split and tomatoes are soft. You want them to be blackened for some taste, but you don't want to burn them.
3. Meanwhile, place polenta slices on oiled grill. Grill about 5-8 mins per side until polenta is crispy on the outside.
4. Remove tomatoes from grill and roughly chop. Peel garlic and roughly chop.
5. Stack polenta on serving dish as pictured, top with tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil if you want. Sprinkle chopped garlic over top of tomatoes and top with basil. Serve.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Caribbean Night

Tonight's meal plan started with the Jerk Seitan from Vegan With a Vengeance. This is a fantastic recipe that gets its heat from cayenne pepper instead of scotch bonnet peppers, so you can easily adjust the heat level (we kept it pretty low for the kids). Since cold weather never keeps me from the BBQ, I grilled the seitan for a wonderfuly smoky flavour. But what to serve with the seitan? I searched a few Caribbean food recipes online, made several modifications, and served up these dishes.

Sweetcorn Soup
This is delicious and creamy and filled with with pumpkiny goodness.
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded, diced
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 2 red potatoes, diced
- 2 yellow potatoes, diced
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- juice of 2 limes

1. Saute red onion and celery in a large stockpot until translucent. Add in green onions, pumpkin, corn, tomatoes, and potatoes and cook for 5 mins.
2. Add in coconut milk and water. Add thyme, cayenne, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes (until veggies are tender).
3. Before serving, stir in lime juice.

Rice and Beans
This is supposed to be made with kidney beans, but I did not have any on hand. The Black beans worked just fine.
- 1 can kidney (or black) beans, rinsed
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2+ cups water
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 cups long grain rice

1. Put coconut milk in a saucepan and enough water to make 4 cups. Add thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
2. Add in rice and beans. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 mins, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. I recommend stirring every now and then--the coconut milk had a bad habit of sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Seitan Fingers and Tomato-Kiwi Salad

This is not one of those meals you would want to serve on a regular basis, but every now and then even vegans need to get crazy. This is another attempt to veganize a dish from our omni past, plus we needed a quick meal tonight because of our schedules. Vegan Mom and I used to go to this place called the Copper Penny in Kingston and get the chicken fingers and fries. I also pulled out an old cookbook from when we gave vegetarianism a whirl back in 1999 and revived a recipe we have not had in a long time.

Seitan Fingers
- 2 cups plain soymilk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 15 or pieces of "chicken" seitan, finger shaped
- 1 1/2 cup of crushed cornflakes (crush with your hands for a coarse texture)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp each garlic and onion powder
- fresh ground pepper

1. Mix lemon juice and soymilk and let thicken in a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, mix together cornflakes, flour and spices.
3. Dip seitan in soymilk, roll in cornflakes. Repeat if you want thicker breading.
4. Fry in oil on medium high heat on both sides, until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towel.

Tomato-Kiwi Salad (adapted from Simple Vegetarian Recipes)
- 1 lb tiny new potatoes
- 3 tomatoes
- 2 kiwi fruit
- 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
- 4tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 2 tbsp vegenaise
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook potatoes until tender (about 15 mins). Drain and let cool.
2. Meanwhile, thinly slice tomatoes and kiwi fruit. Place in alternate layer around the edge of a plate.
3. Whisk olive oil, vinegar, garlic, in a small bowl. Take half the dressing and drizzle over tomatoes and kiwi. Add vegenaise to the remaining dressing. Toss potatoes in dressing. Place in center of plate. Garnish with basil leaves. Serve.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Green Rice

OK, before we get to the recipe I promised from yesterday, let me share my excitement at getting my blog linked to from the Post Post Kitchen Website. So there I was browsing the website for recipes and ideas and there it was under the "foodness links"--Vegan Dad! Maybe this isn't a big deal, but seeing as how I idolize Isa and use her cookbooks all the time, I am pumped!

Green Rice
This recipe calls for 2 fresh green chiles. The only thing I could find here (I would hazard a guess that the Mexican population here is close to zero) were jalapenos. The heat nearly blew my face right off.
- 2 fresh green chiles
- 1 small green bell pepper
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 cup each, chopped cilantro and parsley
- 2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- salt to taste

1. Put rice in a small bowl and cover with boiled water. Let stand 20 mins, then rinse with cold water.
2. Meanwhile, roast the chiles and pepper (under a broiler, on a dry skillet, or on the BBQ (the best way, I think)). When skins are blackened, place in a bowl and cover tightly to let steam for 10-15 mins. Remove, stem, seed, and peel off skins.
3. Heat oil in saucepan and fry onion until translucent. Add garlic, cilantro, parsley, pepper, chiles, and stock. Blend well with a handmixer. Add salt, if needed.
4. Add rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for 25-30 mins, or until water is absorbed, stirring a few times.

Tim Horton Was a Vegan?

OK, so maybe Tim himself was not a vegan, but some of his baked goods are. I was browsing through the What Do Vegans Eat? blog and noticed a post about vegan muffins at Tim Horton's.
I did a little quick research on the Tim Horton's website to confirm that all the Low Fat Muffins are vegan, as are the oatcakes and sandwich buns. This may come as welcome news to many of my Canadian readers, and a few American ones as well.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Drunken Seitan with Green Rice

I hope it's true that alcohol burns off when it is cooked--otherwise I just served my sons the most awesome meal of their young lives. This is a delicious sweet and tangy dish--serve it with warm tortillas to mop up the juices. Since we will be eating the leftovers tomorrow, I will post the rice recipe then.

- 1 cup of raisins
- 1/2 cup sherry
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 6 tbsp oil
- 8 medium pieces of "chicken" seitan
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 small plantain, very thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup tequila

1. Put raisins and sherry in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Heat oil in very large saucepan. Add salt and pepper to flour in a large bowl. Dredge seitan pieces, then fry on both sides in oil until golden brown and crispy. Set aside.
3. Add onion and garlic to the oil and fry for 5 minutes. Add apple, almonds and plantain, and fry for another 5 mins. Add raisins and sherry and mix through.
4. Add tequila and stock and mix through. Simmer for 15 mins to let the sauce reduce and thicken. Add seitan and simmer for an additional 5 mins to heat the seitan. Serve with rice and tortillas.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Seitan Parmigiana

Finally made a batch of seitan this weekend and whipped up this dish for supper. Chicken Parmigiana was the first dish that Vegan Mom and I made together when we started dating, and this vegan version it a pretty darn good substitution.

"Chicken" Seitan (adapted from this recipe)
- 2 c. vital wheat gluten flour
- 1/2 c. full-fat chickpea flour
- 1/2 c. nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic granules

- 12 oz. firm tofu (not silken) (I squeeze the water out and then measure)
- 1 1/2 c. water
- 3 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. olive oil

- 6 c. boiled water
- 2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Whisk all dry mix ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Put all wet mix ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add to dry mix.
3. Knead in a counter-top mixer, or on knead cycle in a bread machine for 10 mins. Let rest for 30-60 mins. Knead 10 mins more. Remove dough from bowl. Cut off chunks and flatten with wet hands (shape into something that looks like a small chicken breast--it will double in size when cooked).
4. Put basting broth in an oiled Crock Pot on low. Slide in seitan pieces one by one. Cook for 5-7 hours, turning pieces 2 times.

TIP: Gluten flour takes a while to firm up and absorb the liquid. If the dough seems too wet, just give it time and let it rest--it will all come together. I find it helpful to use the batter attachment for my mixer first, then the dough hook.

Seitan Parmigiana
- 6 pieces of "chicken" seitan, cooled
- 1 cup soymilk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
- 1/2 c nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp each salt, parsley, oregano
- oil for frying
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- cooked spaghetti
1. In a medium bowl, mix lemon juice into soymilk. Stir and let thicken.
2. In a large bowl, mix bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, salt, and spices.
3. Dip a piece of seitan in the soymilk, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with all pieces of seitan. When all pieces are done, dip seitan back in the soymilk, then into the breadcrumbs to "double bread" the seitan. (Always keep one hand dry so that the bread crumbs do not clump)
4. Fry in oil on medium heat until golden brown.
5. Pour oil out of pan. Let pan cool a bit. Add spaghetti sauce into the saucepan. Stir in nutritional yeast. When bubbling, place seitan pieces in the sauce and top with a slice of cheese. Turn down heat and cover. Serve when cheese has melted.

TIP: Putting the seitan back in the sauce kind of sogs the breading. If that is not the texture you are going for, put the cheese on the seitan and place under the broiler for a few mins to melt the cheese.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Soup and Pumpkin Scones

Tonight was a case of when bad things happen to good meal. Somehow the salt got left out of the pizza dough, making the yeast go wild and ruining the whole batch. So, we had to whip up something at the last minute. Fortunately, Vegan Mom had made a vegetable soup for lunch. We fired a few meatless meatballs in for variety and baked these pumpkin scones.

- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg
- 3/4 cup pumpkin (canned, or cooked fresh)
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl.
2. Whisk pumpkin, soy milk, oil, and maple syrup in a separate bowl. Add to flour mixture and mix gently until moist. Add a little more liquid if need be.
3. Place large spoonfuls of dough on a non-stick baking sheet.
4. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until browned.
TIPS FOR SOUP: Vegetable soup is easy to make and is a great way to cram in a variety of veggies. Saute onions and celery as a base, then add whatever suits your fancy. We like potatoes, corn, green beans, peas, eggplant, carrots, chickpeas, cannelini beans, tomatoes (plus some spaghetti sauce for flavour), and pasta (the kids like alphabets).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Cheesy Chickpea Shepherd's Pie

So, Son#1 and Son#2 now both have fevers and decreased appetites. The doctor assures us it is just a cold (with respiratory infection) and it will clear up soon enough. Tonight my wife (I guess I should call her Vegan Mom) created this kid-friendly dish that is as close to comfort food as you can get without boiling a chicken carcass and adding noodles.

- 1 onion, diced
- 1 rib of celery, diced
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 cup eggplant, peeled and diced
- 2-3 cups cooked chickpeas
- 3/4 cup soymilk
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp "chicken" broth powder
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste
- mashed potatoes (about 7 medium potatoes)
-frozen peas and corn

1. Make mashed potatoes as usual (use soymilk and vegan margarine).
2. Meanwhile, saute onion and celery in oil on medium heat until translucent. Add eggplant and saute until onion is golden and eggplant is soft. Add chickpeas and mix through.
3. Whisk flour into soymilk in a separate bowl (or put in container with a lid and shake until mixed). Add to chickpea mixture and bring to bubbling. Add broth powder and nutritional yeast. Add salt and pepper.
4. Put a layer of mashed potatoes into a large Corning ware or Pyrex dish. Put a layer of the chickpea mixture on top, then a layer of frozen peas. Repeat, this time using a layer of frozen corn. Top off with a thick layer of mashed potatoes.
5. Place in oven and bake for about 40-45 mins, until potatoes are browned.