Thursday, January 31, 2008

General Tso's Tofu and Orange Ginger Stir Fry

Today was an insanely busy one of sifting through footnotes and saying unrepeatable things about a certain law journal's editorial board under my breath. That meant dinner needed to be fast and easy. This is by no means my finest culinary moment (every time I use sauce from a bottle a little part of me dies), but it tasted pretty good and the kids liked it. Actually, the whole experience made me want to look into making my own sauce a la General Tso.

General Tso's Tofu
- 1 pkg tofu, drained and cubed
- cornstarch
- vegetable oil
- 1 bottle VH General Tso's sauce

1. Toss tofu in constarch and fry in oil over med-hi heat. Remove and drain.
2. Heat sauce to bubbling in a wok. Add in tofu and and mix well. Serve over rice.

Orange Ginger Stir Fry
A modification of this recipe
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/4 cup finely minced ginger
- large handful snow peas
- 3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2-3 tsp soy sauce
- 6 green onions, sliced

1. Heat oil in a wok over med-hi heat. Stir fry ginger for 1 min. Add snow peas and fry 1 min. Add mushroms and fry 1 min.
2. Add 1/2 of the orange juice and bring to bubbling. Cook veggies for about 5 mins, until mushrooms are cooked.
3. Dissolve cornstarch into remaining orange juice and add to wok with soy sauce. Add green onions and mix well. Serve.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Huzzah for penicillin! My strep throat is getting better very quickly, which meant it was time to get back into the kitchen tonight. Italian food is Vegan Mom's favourite food, so tonight it was cannelloni. I used oven-ready pasta to cut down on time--definently worth it. If you have every experienced the pain and suffering of boiling, then cooling, then stuffing pasta tubes without breaking them, you know what I am talking about.

Marinara Sauce
- 4 large cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 28oz cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bunch basil leaves, roughly chopped

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 3-4 mins, until golden. Press occasionaly with the back of a spoon to release some of that garlicky goodness into the oil.
2. Add in tomatoes (juice and all) and salt. Process briefly with an immersion hand blender. The sauce should still be a bit chunky. Add in basil and simmer while you make the ricotta filling.

Ricotta Filling
- 1 pkg firm tofu, drained
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground white pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy creamer
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder

1. Squeeze tofu by hand to drain as much of the liquid out as possible. Mush by hand until it resembles ricotta cheese. Stir in parsley, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and oil with a fork.
2. Dissolve arrowroot powder into soy creamer and mix into the tofu mixture.
Makes 14 cannelloni
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Lightly oil a large casserole dish. Put down a later of sauce.
2. Fill 14 oven-ready canneloni tubes with tofu mixture. Place in the casserole dish, about 1/4" apart to allow them to expand. Cover with the remaining sauce. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 mins. Uncover and bake for 15 mins.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Strawberry Mango Shake and Orange Julius

I have managed to contract a nice case of strep throat. So, everything I eat tastes like sand. Needless to say, I have not been eating a lot but I have been looking for nice cool drinks to soothe my throat. This mango shake is awesome and has a strawberry milkshake texture and taste without any dairy. The Orange Julius is bright and refreshing. Do they still have Orange Julius stores in the mall anymore? I have not seen one since the 80s. I have yet to figure out a good way to photograph a beverage, so here is a stock photo of mangoes.

Strawberry Mango Shake
- 1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped
- 12-15 frozen strawberries
- plain soy milk
- sugar

1. Place mango and strawberries in a blender. Fill 3/4 of the way with soy milk (about 4-5 cups). Add sugar to taste and blend until very smooth.

Orange Julius
- 1 tray of ice cubes
- 2 cups orange juice
- 2-3 cups plain soy milk
- sugar to taste

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Spaghetti and Meatballs

It has been a very busy weekend of research and writing for me which meant there was very little time to make food. Actually, I had no time at all to make food and Vegan Mom was busy juggling 3 kids. Fortunately, we just joined a food co-op that has all sorts of reasonably priced vegan convenience food like Yves frozen veggie balls (and Silk soy creamer! Huzzah!). The veggie meat balls were pretty good, but perhaps a tad bit mushy. But, they certainly are faster than making your own. If I didn't mention it before in a previous post, spaghetti sauce is a great way to get veggies into kids who usually resist them. Process carrots, pepper, mushrooms, onions, etc., in a food processor and cook with the sauce. We also add in red lentils for extra protein since they dissolve when they are fully cooked.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's pie is great because you can throw just about anything into a baking dish and add mashed potatoes. So, feel free to experiment with whatever you have hanging out in your fridge. Vegan Mom made this version, which was the best tasting pie we have had yet. This recipe is a bit weird because it makes use of the leftover mushroom mixture from last night's tacos--you don't have to make the same mixture, but I do think the mushrooms add nice flavour to the whole dish

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cup TVP
- 1/2 recipe of this mushroom mixture, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp HP sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- frozen mixed vegetables
- 8-10 potatoes, cooked and mashed with margarine and soy milk
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Heat oil in a frying pan over med-hi heat. Saute onions for 5-6 mins, until softened and translucent. Add in TVP, mushroom mixture, HP sauce, soy sauce and mix well. Add water and cook until absorbed and TVP is soft. Stir in ketchup and remove from heat.
2. Spread 1/3 of the mashed potatoes in the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Add a layer of mixed vegetables, and 1/2 of the TVP mixture. Repeat. Top with a final layer of mashed potatoes, sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
3. Bake for 45 mins, until top is golden.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mushroom and Pepper Tacos

Tonight we just did not feel like leftovers (even though last night's curry was pretty tasty). The boys wanted something fun, so we did another breakfast for dinner. I wanted something a little more substantive than pancakes, and the mushrooms in the fridge weren't getting any younger. I had also bought sun dried red peppers on a recent trip to the bulk food store and thought I would put them into something. The result? These tacos. Tasty, but I wish I had made some tofu sour cream.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 red onion, halved and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 8- 10 large mushroom, thickly sliced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup sun dried red peppers, roughly chopped
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp enchilada sauce
- cilantro to garnish

1. Heat oil in frying pan over med-hi heat. Saute onions for 8-18 mins, until golden brown. Add garlic and fry 2 more mins. Add mushroom and fry 5 mins, until softened.
2. Add spices and mix well, then lime juice, peppers, and enchilada sauce. Reduce heat. Cook 5 mins, or until mushrooms are done to you liking. Garnish with cilantro and serve in a warm tortilla.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Apple Cider Coconut Curry

I used to make something like this with chicken back in the day. Today, as I stood in front of the open fridge looking at the last of the chicken seitan and a crisper full of apples (destined to be apple sauce in the near future), this recipe began forming in my mind. I decided to serve it over quinoa, just to boost the protein for those three growing boys tearing around the house. They all liked it (Son #3 had thirds) which is good since this recipe makes enough for plenty of leftovers.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 3 onions, halved and sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 5 cups sliced chicken seitan
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 2 tsp mild curry powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp chili powder
- salt to taste
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup apple cider or juice
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- cilantro to garnish

1. Heat oil in a small stock pot or large saucepan over med-hi heat. Saute onions for 10-15 mins, stirring often, until deep golden brown. Add in garlic and fry 2 mins. Add in seitan and fry for 1 min.
2. Add in raisins, almonds, apples, and spices and mix well. Add in water and apple cider/juice. Bring to bubbling and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 mins, until sauce thickens a bit.
3. Remove from heat and stir in coconut milk. Adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tortilla Casserole

When I saw this recipe on Fearlessly Vegan today I knew I had to make it. In fact, I was so dedicated to making it that I glibly disregarded the fact that I did not have some of the ingredients. What's that they say about necessity being the mother of invention? First, I did not have canned chiles, so I had to leave them out (probably better for the kids, anyway). I did not have corn tortillas, so I made some wheat ones. I did not have enchilada sauce, so I made my own version. I did not have vegan cheese, so I made nacho sauce from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. In the end it was all worth the extra work--the end result was so incredibly tasty. Thanks, Cali!

- wheat tortillas (I custom made them to fit the casserole dish)
- 1 can kidney beans (or whatever beans you like)
- 1 can refried beans
- frozen corn
- enchilada sauce (recipe follows)
- vegan sour cream, chopped tomatoes, cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Put a thick layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 2 qt casserole dish. Put down a single layer of tortilla. Spread on a layer of refried beans (1/3 of the can), and a layer of nacho sauce. Top with some corn, 1/3 of the beans, and more enchilada sauce.
2. Repeat again, and then again. Top with a final layer of tortilla. Brush with a thin layer of olive oil. Bake for 30 mins, or until top is golden brown and casserole is bubbling.
3. Serve topped with vegan sour cream, chopped tomatoes, and cilantro.

Enchilada Sauce
This is not really enchilada sauce--just something I whipped up with stuff I had in the pantry to give some tomato and chili flavour to the casserole.
- 1 14oz can tomato sauce
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup water

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and cook for 10 mins over medium heat.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Beer Battered Seitan and Southwestern Corn Pudding

OK, this recipe is not going to win points at the health fair, and I am not even going to try to justify it. For some odd reason, I was craving something fried. The end result of that craving was this seitan. I have been eyeing the corn pudding recipe in Veganomicon and thought it would make the perfect complement to the meal. The pudding was amazing, a perfect blend of taste, texture and colour. Highly recommended!

- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp poultry spice
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cup beer
- 12 pieces of chicken seitan
- oil for frying

1. Whisk together flour and spices. Whisk in beer (add a little more if too thick). Let sit for 30 mins.
2. Heat oil (about 1" deep) in a frying pan over med-hi heat. Dip a piece of seitan in the batter, coating thickly. Let excess drip off, then place in oil. Repeat. Fry 3-4 mins per side, until golden and crisp.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Maple Baked Seitan

I have a large binder stuffed full of recipes printed from the Internet. This is where I keep most of my ethnic recipes--what better way to explore a new cuisine than with free recipes? Tonight's meal came from my exploration into French Canadian cuisine. These recipes are pretty hard to veganize since a lot of French Canadian dishes center around some large chunk of meat, or several large chunks of meat. But this recipe works very well with chicken seitan. In fact, seitan is an asset here because it soaks up the maple syrup. Mmmm . . . syrup . . . .

- 6 chicken seitan cutlets
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp rubbed sage
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp savory
- 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Mix together flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Dredge seitan cutlets in flour and fry in margarine over medium heat, 3-4 mins per side, until crisp and golden brown.
2. While cutlets are frying, heat maple syrup, water, and spices to bubbling in a small saucepan.
3. Place cutlets in a 8 1/2 x 11 stoneware baking dish. Top with sliced onions. Pour maple syrup mixture over top.
4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, basting with sauce every 15 mins.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


We took a trip to the Science Centre today--way too cold to go outside and we need to escape the clutches of winter cabin fever. That meant we got home at 5:30 and needed a quick supper that could be made in 30 mins. I went for the Cheez-A-Roni in The Ultimate UnCheese Cookbook. The kids loved it, and Vegan Mom and I thought it was pretty good, too.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thai Corn Fritters with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

Don't judge these by the picture--they are fantastic! "Real" corn fritters have egg, which I replaced with a bit of cornstarch and chickpea flour. They are nice and crisp, and have a hearty flavour and texture. They are made even better with this dipping sauce, which is so good I am going to make more and find things to dip into it.

Thai Corn Fritters
Makes 10
- 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
- red curry paste, to taste
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp mushroom soy sauce
- 1-2 tbsp water
- oil for frying

1. Heat 1/2" of oil in a frying pan over med-hi heat.
2. Put thawed corn in a bowl. Mix in curry paste. Add in flour, cornstarch, garlic, cilantro and soy sauce and mix well. Add in water to make a batter that will coat the corn but not be too runny.
3. Drop large spoonfuls of batter into the oil, making 4-5 inch round fritters. Fry about 2 mins each side. Make sure the oil is hot enough to cook the bottom, but not too hot to burn the fritter.

Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic chili sauce

1. Bring vinegar and sugar to bubbling in a small saucepan. Cook for 2 mins, stirring constantly.
2. Remove from heat, add in salt and chili sauce. Cool to room temperature and serve.

Thai Tofu Red Curry

The secret to a tasty Thai curry is a quality curry paste. Of course, I don't have access to the ingredients needed to make a quality curry paste, so it's good ol' Thai Kitchen for me. The thing I don't like about the bottled curry pastes is that they are too potent and their heat overpowers the dish before you can get a good red colour and taste. As you can see from the picture, this dish is really more brown from the soy sauce than red from the curry. Oh well. When I can get some lemon grass, galangal, and dried chiles I will make curry paste once more. That being said, this dish is still quite good.

- 1 can coconut milk
- red curry paste, to taste
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 cups sliced mushrooms (or leave whole if they are small)
- 1 cup green beans, cut in 2 inch lengths
- 1 pkg firm tofu, diced
- 3 baby bok choy, cut in 2 inch lengths
- juice of 1 lime
- cilantro for garnish

1. Pour 1/2 the can of coconut milk into a wok and bring to bubbling over med-hi heat. Add curry paste, soy sauce, and sugar and mix well. Add in mushrooms and cook for 2-3 mins, until mushrooms begin to soften.
2. Add in the rest of the coconut milk and bring to bubbling. Add in green beans and tofu and simmer for 5 minutes, or until beans are done to your liking.
3. Gently stir in bok choy and cook for 1 min, or until it begins to wilt slightly. Stir in lime juice and adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish with cilantro and serve over jasmine rice.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cashew Chickpeas

Tonight's meal was a Thai-inspired dish. Thai cooking is a balance of sweet, sour, hot, and salty, and I tend to lean towards the sweet/salty side since the kids dislike dishes that are too hot. If you have had non-vegan Thai food you know that fish sauce provides a distinctive flavour and saltiness to most dishes, a taste that can't really be replicated. But, some may consider the lack of anchovy water in food a good thing. Also complicating my endeavour tonight was the fact that I can't find dried chiles anywhere in this town. *sigh* But, the end result was pretty tasty, even if wasn't "real" Thai cooking.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp chili sauce or VH Szechuan sauce (or 2 dried red chiles--something to provide heat)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- 4 green onions, cut in 2" pieces
- 1 1/2 cup raw cashews
- cilantro for garnish

1. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Stir fry garlic (and dried chiles, if using) for 1 min. Add in chickpeas and red pepper and stir fry for 3-4 mins.
2. Add in sauces (feel free to adjust to your particular taste), lime juice, onions, and nuts and stir until heated through. Add some water if too dry. Garnish with coriander and serve.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


We were working through the leftovers from last night, so I thought I would share the recipe for the crumpets I made on the weekend. Our grocery store recently stopped selling crumpets so I thought I would make my own. It was then that I realized the crumpets I was buying were second rate. If you have not had a home made crumpet then you owe it to yourself to make these. They are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, and they freeze well so you can enjoy them in the morning with a hot cup of tea. One thing to keep in mind, though: they take a long time to bake. So, grab a novel and enjoy an afternoon by the stove.

- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cup bread flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup plain soy milk
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup warm water

1. Sift flours and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.
2. Heat water, soy milk, oil, and sugar to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast into mixture, then mix into the flour. Beat for 5 mins, until smooth (I did this in a stand mixer with the batter attachment). Cover and let rise for 1.5 hours in a warm place.
3. Dissolve baking soda in the warm water and mix into the batter. Add more water, if needed--the batter should thick, but able to be poured. Cover again and let rise for 30 mins. Meanwhile, heat a griddle or cast iron pan on low heat. Oil some crumpet rings (how ever many fit on your griddle).
4. Fill each ring with 1/2 inch of batter and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until tops are dry. The trick here is to have the heat high enough to cook the crumpet, but low enough that the bottoms do not burn before the middles are cooked. If the crumpet does not bubble, as all good crumpets should, add more water to the batter.
5. Remove crumpet from ring and flip over, cooking the top for 1 minute. Slather with margarine and jam and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pumpkin Baked Ziti and Strawberry Salad

Vegan Mom made this delightful dish from Veganmoicon tonight (the full recipe title is "Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping"). This one certainly gets the whole family's seal of approval. The creaminess of the cashew ricotta unites with subtle pumpkin undertones to create a flavourful dish that we all loved. My contribution to the meal was this salad--romaine, sliced strawberries, diced tomato, toasted pecans and bean sprouts drizzled with strawberry dressing (6 strawberries, 1/2 cup olive oil, 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, pinch of sea salt blended in a blender). We rarely eat salads (they seem kind of redundant to a vegan meal, don't they?), but this one looked really nice and tasted good, too.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Eggless, Milkless, Butterless Cake

I was writing my lecture on World War One today and came across this recipe in a 1917 cook book called "Best War Time Recipes" published by the Royal Baking Powder Company of New York. Back then, the U.S. Food Administration was rationing wheat at home to provide more for European civilians and soldiers, and many a cookbook was printed to help Americans bake with different products. This recipe caught my eye--who knew the U.S. government advocated veganism in 1917? The original recipe called for 5 tsp of baking powder, which seemed a bit high to me, so I only used 3.

- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/3 cup shortening or margarine
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup corn or wheat flour
- 1 cup rye or barley flour
- 3 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Boil sugar, water, fruit (including lemon peel and juice), shortening, salt, and spices together in saucepan for 3 minutes. When cool, add flour and baking powder which have been sifted together. Mix well; bake in a large loaf pan for about 45 minutes (until an inserted toothpick comes out clean). Cool for 5 mins, transfer to a wire rack.

(Roasted Butternut Squash) Pierogies

A big thanks to Jennifer in Calgary who sent me this recipe for vegan pierogies. She recently spent time in Ukraine where she picked up this recipe in a booklet of postcards with traditional Nativity Lent recipes. Nativity Lent, in case you are wondering, is celebrated 40 days before Christmas and ends with a feast on Christmas Eve. I decided to also make a more "gourmet" pierogi by adding roasted butternut squash to the dough and filling (note that half the pierogies in this pic have an orangeish dough). The result was pretty tasty, but I am not sure it was more tasty than Jennifer's original recipe.

- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup water (plus more, as needed)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
If making roasted squash pierogies, add 1/2 cup mashed roasted squash (cooled) and reduce water to 1/4 cup (adding more as needed)

Filling is up to you. I boiled 4 large potatoes and sauteed 2 onions in 4 tbsp of olive oil. When the potatoes were cooked, I drained and mashed them, mixed in the onions and 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, and seasoned with salt and pepper. For the roasted squash pierogies I used equal quantities of this mixture and mashed roasted squash.

1. Put flour in a medium bowl and make a well in the center. Dissolve salt into the water and pour into the well. Put baking soda into the vinegar and let fizz. When done, add to well.
2. Mix liquid into flour until it comes into a dough. Add more water if needed. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5 mins until smooth.
3. Wrap dough in a damp towel and let rest for at least 30 mins.
4. Roll out dough to about 1/8" thickness. There are two things you can do here. 1. Cut into rounds with a glass or cookie cutter, fill with cooled filling, and seal sides with a fork. Place on a dish towel and cover with another towel until ready to cook. OR, 2. Cut dough into 3 inch squares, fill with cooled filling, fold diagonal corner, and seal seam with a fork. This method makes triangular pierogies, but you don't have to keep rolling out the scraps of dough created in method 1.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle rolling boil. Drop in pierogies in batches and cook for 3-5 mins. A cooked pierogi will have a lighter colour than an uncooked one. You will see what I mean when you cook them.
6. Drain cooked pierogies. Saute them in margarine over medium heat, about 3-4 mins per side, until a nice golden brown. Top with sauteed onions, vegan sour cream, and freshly ground pepper.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Yetakelt We't and Misr Allecha

Here are the other two dishes from last night's Ethiopian feast. Yetakelt We't is a tasty vegetable stew, and Misr Allecha is a wonderfully spiced lentil dish. Both taste best of you can let them simmer for a few hours before serving. I have included a picture of the Yetakelt We't but not the Misr Allecha. Although I think it is my favourite dish, let's face it, there is no good way to photograph a plate of lentils.

Yetakelt We't
INGREDIENTS- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- berbere to taste
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1/4 cup niter kebbeh
- 1 cup green beans
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 potatoes, cubed
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup peas
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute onions, garlic, berbere ans paprika in nitter kebbeh for 5 mins.
2. Add beans, carrots, potatoes and saute for 10 mins.
3. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Mix well, bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until veggies are tender and stew is thick.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Misr Allecha
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp niter kebbeh
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 2 1/3 to 3 cups of water

1. Heat niter kebbeh in large pan and saute onion and garlic for 5 mins. Add in rinsed lentil and spices and fry for 1 min.
2. Add in water, bring to bubbling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are soft. Add more water if needed.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Seitan Wat

This is a vegan version of Doro Wat, an Ethiopian chicken stew. It is really easy to make and is quite tasty. You can make it as hot or as mild as you want by how much berbere you put in.

- 2 large onions, diced
- 1/4 cup niter kebbeh
- berbere to taste (start with a little and add more)
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups cubed chicken seitan
- 1 tomato, finely diced
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp water

1. Fry onions in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until onions are a deep golden brown.
2. Add in niter kebbeh, berbere, salt, and blend well. Add in seitan and fry for 5 mins.
3. Add in tomato and water and simmer, uncovered, for 20 mins. If stew is too thin, mix flour into water and add into stew. Serve with injera bread.

Niter Kebbeh and Berbere

We had some friends over tonight and served up an Ethiopian feast. The house smelled great with the stews simmering away all afternoon. The following two recipes are the basis for most Ethiopian dishes. Niter Kebbeh is a spiced margarine that gives off a wonderful aroma when you saute onions in it. Berbere is a roasted spice mixture that is incredibly potent. I use it pretty sparingly since the kids can't handle too much heat. If you can handle it, by all means pile it on, but don't say I did not warn you.

Niter Kebbeh
- 1 lb margarine
- 1 small onion, small dice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg

1. Melt margarine over medium heat. Add all other ingredients, and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Strain through a fine sieve and refrigerate.

- 1/2 cup cayenne
- 1/3 cup paprika
- 1 tsp each salt, poultry seasoning, ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, ground fenugreek, ground cardamom, nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp each ground cloves, allspice

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
1. Mix spices in a cake pan. Roast in an oven for 15 mins, stirring every 5 mins.
2. Cool and store.

Sweet Breakfast Crepes

A wee stop by France this morning with some tasty vegan crepes. I developed this recipe a year or so ago, and still think it is pretty good after trying a few other recipes. I don't really like crepes with chickpea flour for breakfast because the flour adds a bit of a taste (yes, I am a weenie) and makes the crepes tougher. These crepes are delicate and require care when flipping, but once you get the hang of it (and have a well-seasoned crepe pan), they are well worth the time. I have also included my "healthier" variation in parentheses. I never fill my breakfast crepes, I just roll them and top them with heated jam and sliced berries.

Makes about 12 crepes if you don't screw up
- 1 cup all purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
- 2 tbsp sugar (optional)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1/3 cup water
- 3/4 cup firm silken tofu (or 3tbsp ground flax seed)
- 2 tbsp canola oil

1. Place dry ingredients in a food processor and process for 30 seconds. Keep blade running and add in wet ingredients. Process until smooth. Transfer batter to a juice pitcher.
2. Heat crepe pan on medium heat (I find cooking these slower and on lower heat than non-vegan crepes works well). Pour a 4 inch (or so) circle of batter on the pan, tilting and rotating quickly to spread the batter thinly into a circle. Cook until top is dry (40 seconds, or so), carefully flip, then cook another 15-20 seconds. Repeat. Keep the crepes small to make it easier to flip.

Vegan crepes tend to be stickier and more finicky than their egg-filled brothers. With some trial and error and some patience you will get the knack of making them.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Brownies and Strawberries

Today was a tiring day with 5 hours of meetings and 1.5 hours of lecturing. Vegan Mom made a delicious Chickpea Pot Pie, which really hit the spot. After dinner, my mind started to turn to dessert and the therapeutic properties of sugar and chocolate. I decided to go with these brownies that Isa posted on the PPK blog, and topped it off with heated strawberry jam and sliced berries. I did not have the coffee that the recipe called for (I am more of a tea drinker), so I used chocolate soy milk. I also do not have mini muffin pans, so I used regular sized muffin tins and baked them for 5 mins more. I have never had any luck with vegan brownie recipes, but these are very good. Nice and moist, healthier than regular brownies, but still chocolaty and sweet.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Creamy-Spicy Seitan with Coconut Quinoa

If you like some spice, a touch of heat, and the smoothness of coconut milk, then this is the dish for you. The seitan has spicing reminiscent of jerk sauce, but it is tempered by the coconut milk and mild curry powder in the sauce. The raisins and citrus juices provide and sweet and sour back drop to it all, and the dish is completed by the nutty quinoa.

Creamy-Spicy Seitan
- 4 large chunks of chicken seitan, cut into thick strips
- juice of 1 lime
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp allspice
- pinch of cayenne (or more if you want)
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 tsp mild curry powder
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 can coconut milk, minus 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- fresh coriander for garnish

1. Mix together line and orange juice and spices in a large bowl. Add in seitan slices and toss well to coat. Leave to marinate while you make the quinoa (see below).
2. While quinoa is cooking, heat oil in a large saucepan on med-hi heat. Saute onions and ginger for 8-10 mins, until golden brown. Add in garlic and saute 2 mins more.
3. Add in seitan and any remaining marinade. Fry for 5 mins, letting slightly brown. Add in raisins and fry 2 mins more.
4. Add in coconut milk, water (more or less, as needed), and lemon juice. Stir well, bring to bubbling, and let simmer for 5-10 mins, letting sauce thicken a little. Season to taste.
5. Stir in green onions, garnish with cilantro, and serve over quinoa.

Coconut Quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 mins, or until all water is absorbed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Chickenless Kiev

The first stop on this month's culinary trip around the world is Ukraine with Chickenless Kiev. I was very pleased with how this turned out--tender seitan with a creamy, garlicky, filling and a crispy crust. You need to plan ahead to make this dish, but it is totally worth it. You will need to make some "custom-made" chicken seitan by flattening chunks of dough as thin as possible into 6" by 3" rectangles before cooking in broth.

- 6 pieces of chicken seitan, 6" x 3", cooled
- 1/4 cup soft margarine
- 1/4 cup plain soy yogurt
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tbsp dried chives
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup plain soy milk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 cups bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
1. Whisk margarine and yogurt together until well blended. Mix in garlic, chives, salt and pepper.
2. Whisk lemon juice into soy milk until thickened. Put bread crumbs into a flat dish.
3. Spread 1/6 of the yogurt mixture onto a piece of the seitan. Roll tightly and secure with one or two toothpicks. Dip seitan into soy milk mixture, then roll in bread crumbs until well coated. Repeat with remaining seitan.
4. Place seitan in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for 25-30 mins, until bread crumbs are browned.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sweet Scones

I wanted to re-post this recipe for sweet scones because when I posted it back in September I had no camera and could not post a picture. We had these with some vegetable soup because I have yet to go shopping after returning from D.C. These tender scones are really easy to make, and are a nice addition to soups or stews.

- 1 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp cold non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
- 1 cup (or so) plain soymilk

Preheat Oven to 425
1. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl,
2. Add margarine and work it into the flour with your hands until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
3. Add in enough soymilk and stir with a fork to make a soft dough (can be a little sticky)
4. Drop very generous spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet (or form into pucks with floured hands)
5. Bake for about 12 mins, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Vegan Dad on the Road: Open City

So many restaurants, so little time . . . . My final stop on my vegan tour through D.C. was Open City. It's not specifically vegan, and I didn't really want to go there per se, but members of the panel I was presenting on wanted breakfast before the session and this place was very close by. It was actually pretty good, taste wise, but a bit pricey. Here is why: I ordered the tofu scramble which only came with a tahini sauce and scallions. How blasé. It was 75 cents more for some tomatoes, and 1.00 more for baby spinach (I did not really realize this at time of ordering). The tofu was not actually scrambled, it was cubed, then stir fried with the veggies and cooked in a tahini sauce. The taste was good, and I was happy they offered tofu at all. I also ordered a Chai Tea which was spectacular except that they charged an extra 50 cents for soy milk. Gah! I hate when they do that! I don't think they should make soy seem like some luxury item or inconvenience. And, seriously, 50 cents more!!! Times like this make me want to tell the Dairy Board to go suck it.

My plan was to hit Java Green before I left the city. What I did not know is that downtown D.C. basically shuts down on Sunday. Java Green was closed. Undaunted, I trekked over to Washington Deli. Closed. I figured I would give Thai Kitchen a shot. Closed, too. It was a disappointing end to my vegan journeys.

Now, it's back home to cook for myself and Vegan Family. D.C. was fun, the food was great, and I was spoiled. Now, back to reality . . . .

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Vegan Dad on the Road: Meskerem

I have dabbled with Ethiopian food in the past, so I wanted to go to a real Ethiopian place to see what the food is supposed to taste like (and to see what injera is supposed to be like). This place was recommended in the Veg-DC book I picked up at Sticky Fingers and was a 10 minute walk from the hotel. I went with two friends from grad school and we decided to share a large platter of veggie dishes. The setup was neat--chairs around a very small, low, round table on which the food is placed. There was no cutlery, so we all dipped into the food with bits of injera, all sharing from the same common plate. There were two lentil dishes, one warm and one cold, that were exquisitely spiced. There were cold potato and tomato salads, and two vegetable stews. We were stuffed to the brim and could not even finish it all. I hope I can find some teff flour at home to make injera--as it turns out, the recipe I made from Vegan Lunchbox is almost exactly the same as the injera they served at Meskerem.

Vegan Dad on the Road: Asylum

Lunch was at Asylum, which seemed like a good place because it has both a vegan and a "regular" Sunday brunch and I was out with a colleague. As you can see from the pic, Asylum is not your typical Sunday brunch place. While we scarfed back our food the bartender played a mix of thrash metal, hip hop, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Guns N' Roses at an almost ludicrous volume.
For an appetizer I had the vegan wings. For a second I panicked and thought they had messed up my order these were so meat-like. They were tender and delicious--by far the most tender and chicken-like seiten I have had. The lighting was pretty bad, so this pic is not so great.
For the entree I had the Huevos Rancheros which were fantastic. The black beans were perfectly spiced and were earthy and warm. The corn tortilla went well with the scrambled tofu, and the potatoes added a hearty touch. Very satisfying and very filling. I highly recommend this brunch (but maybe leave grandma at home).

Vegan Dad on the Road: Sticky Fingers Bakery

On the recommendation of many I went to the Sticky Fingers Bakery. What a treat! First, feast your eyes on this display case filled with 100% vegan goodies! I went there for breakfast, so I went with the egg and sausage muffin. I was informed later that it tastes even better heated, and I think a splash of ketchup would have been good too. The "egg" part is flour-based, and had good texture. I would like to see if I could replicate this at home, but am at a bit of a loss how to do so.
Of course, what is breakfast without a cinnamon bun the size of your head? These had a nice soft "eggy" texture to the pastry, and that sticky-doughy center that just makes your day.The coolest part was meeting the owner, Kirsten, who let me take pics of the store and talked about the dishes I had just eaten. It just reinforced my long-standing desire to open a vegan cafe one day. She made sure I left with some "afters" to munch during my conference. The first was this pecan cookie--delightfully crisp on the outside but still chewy on the inside even though the cookie was fairly flat. Perfection!
The second was this Little Devil--chocolate cake with creme filling and a thin chocolate glace icing. You'll have to excuse the crappy pic here--it was taken in the hotel room with poor lighting. I kept this treat cool in the ice bucket and enjoyed it for an evening snack.
Thanks to everyone at Sticky Fingers who made my visit so enjoyable! On a scale of one to ten, I give them an eleven.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Vegan Dad on the Road: Washington D.C.

Got in around supper time to D.C. and was imediatley whisked away to a reception for fellow historians of the Early American Republic. I was starving, but they had free beer (woo hoo!) and a veggie platter. It could be worse. A friend and I stopped by an Indian place on Connecticut Avenue near our hotel (Taste of India) on the way back and I had the Thali Vegetarian Platter. It was pretty good (though probably not completely vegan), but the naan bread was a real disapointment. Tomorrow I aim to hit some of the places Vegan Dad readers have recommended. And, I will bring my camera.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Aloo Gobi

Here is the remaining dish from last night’s Indian feast (not the greatest picture, I am afraid). Aloo Gobi is a pretty standard dish, and for good reason. The cumin seeds provide short bursts of flavour that are tempered by the starchy potatoes and mellow cauliflower, while the cilantro provides a bright finish. To the left in the picture is my failed tandoori tofu. I pulled the spice mixture recipe from the web, but was not pleased with the taste. I will have to keep looking.

- 4 potatoes, diced
- 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp tumeric
- ½ tsp salt
- chopped cilantro

1. Parboil potatoes and cauliflower for 8-10 mins, until softened. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Fry cumin seeds for 2 mins.
3. Add potatoes, cauliflower, and spices and cook for 10 mins, or until veggies are done to your liking. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Balti Chickpeas and Zucchini in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Tonight we did something different. Since it was New Year’s and no one wanted to spend all afternoon slaving away in the kitchen, we decided that everyone would contribute one dish to tonight’s meal. Sort of an in-house potluck, with Indian being the cuisine of choice. I, of course, made dhal (I am starting to feel like a one trick pony, but I do enjoy that dish!) and a tandoori tofu that is not worth mentioning again. Vegan Mom and Mom-in-Law made Sweet and Sour Balti Chickpeas and Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes, and Vegan Dad-in-Law made Zucchini in a Tomato Sauce and the basmati rice. It was quite a spread, and no one had to work too hard on a holiday. Huzzah! Here are two of the dishes--the other will follow tomorrow on leftover day.

Sweet and Sour Balti Chickpeas
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp plain soy yogurt
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp mango powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2/3 cup of water (more if needed)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tbsp plain soy milk

1. Heat oil in a large pan or wok. Fry onion over med-hi until golden brown (about 10 mins). Add garlic and dry another 2 mins.
2. While onions are frying, mix tomato paste, yogurt, spices, lemon juice, salt, and sugar together. Add to pan and bring to bubbling.
3. Add in chickpeas and water, bring to bubbling, and simmer for 15 mins (or more to let the flavours develop). Add more water if it gets too dry.
4. Add in cilantro and soy milk. Cook for 2 mins and serve.

Zucchini in a Spicy Tomato Sauce
- 2 tbsp oil
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp tumeric
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 small zucchini, sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 2 generous tbsp tomato paste
- 1 14oz can chopped tomatoes
- 2/3 cup water (or so)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp garam masala

1. Heat oil large pan or wok on medium heat. Fry cumin and mustard seeds for 1-2 mins (until they sizzle and splutter). Add onion and garlic and fry for 5 mins.
2. Add tumeric, chili powder, coriander, cumin, and salt and fry 2 mins.
3. Add in zucchini and peppers and cook for 5 mins. Then add in tomato paste, tomatoes, and enough water to make a thick sauce. Mix well. Cover and cook until veggies are soft but not mushy.
4. Add in cilantro and garam masala. Cook for 2-3 more mins and serve.

Happy New Year!

I am not really one for New Years resolutions, but this year I resolve to make and eat more tasty food! I think I can keep that. The world of food has infinite possibilities, so I would like to branch out into different ethnic cuisines, different methods of preparing veggies, and different combinations of foods. Of course, I can say all this now while I am still on holiday and not standing in the kitchen with 3 screaming kids after a day at work. Let's see what 2008 holds!