Friday, February 29, 2008

Lemon Pudding Cake Preview

One of my favourite desserts growing up was lemon pudding cake. But, I have never been able to replicate the taste and texture of a recipe that relies on egg whites. And its not for lack of trying. I went through many experiments with Ener-G egg replacer and tofu--all of which ended with inedible disasters. But tonight was a breakthrough! I made a tasty lemon pudding/custard, topped it with the Isa's lemon gem cupcake batter, then baked it. Success! It was not as spongy as the original, but the taste was superb. I want to make a few alterations and give the recipe one more try before I post it. I would also like to get permission to post the lemon gem recipe (still one of my favourites) from Vegan With a Vengeance.

So, Isa, if you still stop by this blog . . . might I be able to post the lemon gem cupcake recipe?

Chickpea Cutlet Parmigiana

I took Jenn's advice and used the leftover chickpea cutlets I made the other day to make a parmigiana. It was very, very tasty. Thanks Jenn! I took the leftover marinara sauce from the weekend (about 6-7 cups worth), blended it with an immersion blender, added 1 can of tomato paste, 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast, and simmered the cutlets for about 15 mins. You could bread and fry the cutlets, like I did with the seitan parmigiania, but you don't have to. Serve with pasta.

Grumble, Snarl, Mumble

Just thought I would post some mid-day whining. I am on a committee here at the university that is having a lunch meeting on Monday. I emailed the coordinator to let her know I am a vegan. She emailed back saying the lunch would be "vegan friendly" and that there would be "a salad with dressing on the side, fruits, vegetables, assorted pastries, croissants." Oh, great . . . so while everyone else gets some entree, I get a salad and some veggies. Dude, I am 6' 5"! Man cannot live on salad alone! I don't even like salad! Plus, why would they think pastries and croissants (especially croissants!) are vegan? Where are they getting these magical eggs and butter that don't come from animals? And do they think salad and a croissant resembles some sort of healthy lunch? I am just extra bitter because I recently went to a lunchtime research talk where everyone else got lasagna and salad (liberally doused with Parmesan cheese), and I was left munching on a bun of questionable origin. Phweet.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Vegan Mom's Clean-out-the-fridge Chili

No real recipes tonight, I am sorry to say. Vegan Mom made this chili since I was stuck in a committee meeting. I have posted the photo here to prove that chili need not be just beans and TVP. This chili has roasted red pepper, green pepper, eggplant, carrots, mushrooms, kidney beans, onion, celery, and fresh tomatoes. So, next time you need to clean out the crisper, think chili!

I also tried a very simple custard tonight. And by simple I mean it basically came from a tin. Bird's custard powder was created by a man whose wife was allergic to eggs (according to Wikipedia). I made the custard as per the directions, then poured it over sliced bananas in custard cups. Tasty, and it hit the spot since pudding and custard really aren't on the menu much these days. The custard was a tad bland, and needed the bananas, so I am going to work on a better blend of flavours in the future.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Chickpea Cutlet Scaloppine

Before we get to the food, let me first say that I am tired of winter. Minus 28 degrees today and it is supposed to stay that way until the weekend. *sigh* But, enough of my whining. The idea for tonight was to make the chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon, but to modify the recipe slightly so that they could be pressed really flat and thin to mimic scaloppine. That part of the recipe was a grand success. I added this sauce, which was pretty good except that the nutritional yeast did not dissolve (as you can see in the pic).

For the Scaloppine
- make the following alterations to the chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon
1. Reduce wheat gluten flour to 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp
2. Replace bread crumbs with an equal amount of instant oatmeal, pulsed in a coffee grinder until coarsely ground (i.e. not fine like flour)
3. When dough is made, press golf ball-sized pieces flat with the heel of your hand as flat as possible. Fry for 2-3 mins per side.

For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup cooking sherry
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp poultry spice
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 tbsp soy creamer
- salt and pepper to taste

1. When done frying the scaloppine, add sherry to the pan. Let bubble and reduce by about half. Add in 3/4 cup of the stock and margarine.
2. While margarine melts, add cornstarch to remaining stock and stir with a fork to dissolve. Add to pan and let thicken.
3. Add spices and yeast (if using), then creamer. Season to taste.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Biscuits n' Chickpeas n' Gravy

Bascially, this is chickpea pot pie meets whole wheat biscuits. It was easy to make, and the kids loved it. 'Nuff said.

- make the filling for chickpea pot pie
- make one recipe of biscuits, substituting one cup of the white flour with one cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1. Slice biscuits laterally. Spoon generous amounts of filling on top. Eat with gusto.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I made these biscuits a few days ago to go with some soup at lunch time (supper tonight was hot dogs and french fries . . . I was too tired to make anything else). It makes me think that I will have to make some sort of biscuits and gravy sometime for Sunday brunch. I have to admit, though, that as a Canadian such a dish is not really in my repertoire. I imagine a tempeh sausage would be good, with a gravy made from soymilk. Well, more on that later

- 2 cups flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp shortening
- 3/4 cup soy milk
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- melted margarine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Put lemon juice in a measuring cup. Add soymilk to the 3/4 cup line. Mix and set aside to thicken.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Mix in shortening with your fingers until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add in soy milk mixture and mix into a dough.
3. Turn out into a floured surface and knead lightly for 30 seconds. Pat to 3/4 inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut into circles.
4. Place on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool slightly and serve.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Marinara Sauce

I went to the grocery store today and could not pass up the discount produce. Again! Big bags of tomatoes for 99 cents! So, I made my own marinara sauce for lunch. It was totally worth the extra work, and I will have to make it again when we have fresh tomatoes from the garden--then it will be spectacular. I think you are supposed to seed the tomatoes, but I did not bother since it would make even more work. I have given the recipe for about 6 cups of tomatoes, but you can double and triple if you want depending on how many tomatoes you have.

- 6 cups of ground tomatoes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- salt and pepper to taste.

1. Peel tomatoes by putting them in boiling water until the skins start to peel, then plunging them into ice cold water. Remove skins, quarter, then coarsely grind in a food mill. Drain off excess liquid using a fine mesh sieve.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and fry garlic until golden. Add tomatoes and season with basil and salt and pepper. Bring to bubbling and simmer until desired thickness is reached.
3. Remove garlic cloves and serve over hot pasta.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tempeh Tacos

I know, I know. I have posted tacos before. And, after so many months with no tempeh I am now going a little tempeh crazy. But my parents are here for a visit and I thought this would be an easy meal that everyone would like. And, it was.

- 1 pkg of tempeh, grated
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp mushroom soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tsp ground fennel
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- pinch of cayenne
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp ketchup

1. Heat oil over medium heat. Fry tempeh for 5 mins, until it starts to get golden. Add soy sauce and water and stir well to combine. Add spices and ketchup. Lower heat and cook for 10 mins, until tempeh begins to dry out a bit.

Serve in a wheat tortilla with refried beans, chopped onions, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, salsa, and sour cream.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rotini with Fresh Tomatoes and Vegan Cottage Cheese

I just can't resist discount produce. This time is was a very large bag of tomatoes for $1.99. I mean, even if you can't use them all, it's cheaper than buying just a few regular-priced tomotoes. Of course, you have to eat them pretty quickly since they are getting a wee bit past their prime. This is a dish that Vegan Mom and I used to make before we were vegan. It's actually a pretty good replica, but probably not something you would want to serve someone who has actually eaten dairy cottage cheese in the past year. The dish is even better with toasted pine nuts, which I did not have on hand, so they are not in the picture.

- 1/2 pkg of rotini, cooked
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 cup soy creamer
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp basil
- 4-5 tomatoes, cut in wedges
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- salt and pepper to taste

1. While rotini is cooking, crumble tofu into a bowl. Don't mush it, like when making tofu ricotta, but avoid large chunks. Stir in oil, salt, sugar, spices, and soy creamer with a fork. Set aside.
2. Rinse and drain rotini, add nutritional yeast, and mix well. Mix in cottage cheese, basil, and pine nuts, then mix in tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Risotto Spinach Soup

This is a very tasty and simple soup that really hits the spot on a cold day. It's also a great way to get some spinach in your diet. I have been missing leafy greens lately and thought some baby spinach would be good.

- 1 lb baby spinach
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 generous cup arborio rice
- 7-8 cups veggie stock
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse spinach and cook in a large pot over medium heat until wilted. Remove from pot.
2. Add oil and saute onion and garlic for 5 mins. Add rice and fry for 1 min, stirring constantly. Add in stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to bubbling, lower heat and simmer until rice is tender (15 to 20 mins).
3. Add in spinach and more stock if too thick. Serve.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tempeh Gyro with Vegan Tzatziki

A few days ago kitsune_stars commented that she had used my tempeh burger recipe to make gyros. I thought that sounded like a fantastic idea. Of course, I have never had a gyro in my life so I have nothing to compare these to, but in my humble opinion they turned out really well. I did some online research and came up with this recipe. But, what to do about the tzatziki sauce? I did not have any soy yogurt, and I'm not sure that would have made this any better. I was very pleased with the result and managed to wolf down two gyro before dinner was over.

Tempeh Gyro
- 1 8.5 oz block of tempeh
- 1 onion
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp marjoram
- 1 tsp ground rosemary
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp sage
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp mushroom soy sauce
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
- oil

1. Grate tempeh and onion into a large bowl. Add in spices (including parsley) and soy sauce and mix well with a fork. Add flour and mix with fork, then knead with your hands for a minute or so until it all comes together. Add in a little water, if needed.
2. Heat a small layer of oil in a sauce pan over medium-lo heat. Break off golf ball-sized pieces of the dough mixture. Flatten with the palm of your hand on the countertop to mimic a slice of meat. Fry 2 mins per side.
3. Serve with chopped tomato, sliced red onion, and tzatziki rolled up in a warmed pita

Vegan Tzatziki Sauce
- 1 pkg silken tofu
- juice from 1 lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2-3 tsp dried dill
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- pinch of cayenne
- 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1. Blend tofu, lemon juice, garlic, oil and spices together in a blender, or with an immersion blender in a container.
2. Place diced cucumber in a towel and squeeze out excess moisture. Add to sauce along with the parsley. Refrigerate until needed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Roasted Peppers with Herbs

Here is the side dish we had with the baked rigatoni. It is a simple dish that can bake along side the rigatoni and delivers a garlicky-herby burst of flavour. You could always just put some pesto in these, but I did not have any on hand.

- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 orange pepper
- 1 large garlic cloves, cut in wafer thin slivers
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Cut peppers in half and remove seeds. Distribute garlic slivers evenly between the four halfs.
2. Mix together oil with basil, oregano, yeast, salt and pepper. Put 1/4 of mixture into each pepper half.
3. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 mins, until peppers are browned but still have some firmness.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Baked Rigatoni

I am totally on an Italian food kick right now. Tomatoes. Basil. Garlic. Pasta. It's all just hitting the spot these days. This dish was a spectacular success, not just because it tasted great, but because the home made meatballs were amazing. I used the perfect tempeh burger recipe and they help up perfectly in the sauce without breaking apart. After so much experimentation with mushy and disappointing meatballs, these were fantastical.

Tomato Sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes (or crushed)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil over medium heat. Saute garlic for 2 mins. Add in tomatoes (the whole can, juice and all), paste, water, spices, yeast, and salt and pepper. If using whole tomatoes, use an immersion blender to process the tomatoes to the desired consistency. Bring to bubbling, reduce heat, and let simmer. Go make the meatballs.

1. Make one recipe of perfect (tempeh) burger. Form into small balls, about the size of a large grape. Fry in olive oil over med-lo heat for about 5 mins, turning to make sure all sides are browned.
2. Put meatballs into the tomato sauce and simmer, uncovered, for 30 mins, stirring occasionaly. Go cook the pasta.

Baked Rigatoni
- tomato sauce with meatballs
- 12 oz rigatoni, cooked

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Place 1/2 of the cooked rigatoni in a casserole dish. Cover with sauce/meatball mixture.
2. Spread tofu ricotta over top of pasta. Top with remaining pasta, then cover with remaining sauce. Cover with a lid, or foil.
3. Bake for 45 mins, uncover, and bake 30 mins more. Let sit for 15 mins before serving.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Just a quick post tonight. I just made these and Vegan Mom and I are going to curl up together, eat them, and watch North by Northwest. Ah, Friday . . . .

- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- oil for frying
- icing sugar

1. Mix water and sugar together in a small bowl. Add yeast and stir to dissolve.
2. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Stir in yeast mixture and mix with a fork until well blended. Cover and let rise for 1.5 to 2 hours.
3. Heat oil in a pan (about 2" deep) over med-hi heat. Drop in heaping tbsps of dough in batches and cook about 1 min per side until golden brown. The dough is sticky, so I use two spoons to aid in the scooping and dropping of the dough in the oil. Remove from oil and drain.
4. Coat well with icing sugar when cool. Enjoy! Have an espresso!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pasta Fagioli

Italian food is Vegan Mom's favourite, so tonight's romantic Valentine's meal was a rustic and simple, but tasty, bean and pasta dish. And when I say "romantic meal," I mean with the three boys making all sorts of ruckus and complaining about the eggplant side dish. *sigh* As Vegan Mom says, Valentine's Day is only fun for people who are dating or have no kids.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2-3 roma tomatoes, diced
- 2 generous tbsp tomato paste
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 oz spaghetti, broken in 3-4 inch pieces

1. Heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions, garlic, and celery for 5 mins, until soft. Add in tomatoes, paste, cayenne, and water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to bubbling and simmer for 10 mins.
2. Add beans and broken pasta and simmer until pasta is done. Stir frequently, and add more water if necessary. The final dish should be thick, but not too thick.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dijon Tofu and Potatoes

This is a somewhat fancy spin on comfort food. The dijon mustard works well with the spicing to give the dish a more complex yet familiar flavour. The boys gave it the thumbs up, which is good enough for me! As you can see in the picture (well, kind of), I put the tofu on the mashed potatoes, then spooned the sauce over top. You can keep the tofu and potatoes separate if you want. I made crispy tofu, but you can prepare it however you like.

- 1 block tofu, cut into 16 triangles, and prepared however you like
- mashed potatoes, mixed with 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion, cut in half, and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp poultry spice
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups water (or more, as needed)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for 5 mins. Add in carrots and celery and saute 5 more mins. Add in spices and mix well.
2. Add in flour and fry for 1 min. Slowly add in water and bring to bubbling. Adjust seasoning to taste. Simmer for 10 mins, until carrots are soft.
3. Stir in nutritional yeast and Dijon mustard and mix well.
4. To serve, put some mashed potatoes on a plate and make a well in the center. Put 4 pieces of tofu in the well and top with the sauce.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gooey Grilled Cheez Sandwiches

Home late. Vegan Mom had a 6:00 meeting. Kids running around yelling. Tired. I went to the pantry and picked out some tomato soup and baked beans, and then made these sandwiches from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook with some home made whole wheat bread. I added some frozen mixed veggies and dinner was ready in 20 mins. It was fast, nutritious, and the kids ate it. Mission accomplished.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mexican-Style Tempeh Sandwich

I must be using up all my mental energy at work these days because I can only come up with lame names like this one for my dishes.

- 4 tbsp oil
- 1 block of tempeh
- 1/4 cup water

1. Cut tempeh into 8 pieces by first cutting it into quarters, then slicing those four pieces horizontally.
2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Fry tempeh about 5 mins, until golden brown. Add more oil, flip, and fry 5 mins.
3. Mix sauce into water and add to pan. Lower heat and cook for 8-10 mins, until sauce has absorbed into tempeh.
4. Serve on a bun and garnish with sliced tomatoes, avocado, red onions, and salsa.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Potato Cauliflower Mash

OK, I admit that the picture for this is pretty weird (and so is the name), but it is really tasty. Let's face it: potatoes and cauliflower are friends. Combine these two with onions and garlic and you have a delicious combination that comforts you from head to toe. Not only that, the boys love it.

- 3 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 cloves garlic
- dollop of margarine
- salt to taste

1. Place potatoes, onion, cauliflower, and garlic in a large pot and fill with enough water to almost cover the veggies. Bring to boiling and simmer for 20 mins, until all veggies are soft. Drain well.
2. Mash veggies well with margarine and salt. I use a electric beater to really blend it all well. Serve.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mushroom and Sundried Pepper Pasta

Last week we bought a big bag of mushrooms for 99 cents off the discount produce rack. Even after some very mushroomy pasta sauces for lunches throughout the week, we still had a bunch of them hogging space in the crisper. So, I created this dish to clean up the fridge before shopping day tomorrow. The result was fantastic. The chopped mushrooms make for a hearty sauce that does not rely on TVP or fake meat. Actually, it got me thinking that mushrooms would make an excellent base for a bolognese sauce, which I plan to try next time there are mushrooms on the discount rack.

- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 25 white mushrooms, chopped
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup sliced sundried red peppers (or sundried tomatoes)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (plus more for garnish)
- cooked pasta, like rotini

1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute onions for 8-10 mins, until lightly golden brown. Add garlic and saute 1 min.
2. Add chopped mushrooms, spices, and salt and cook for about 10 mins, until mushrooms are soft, and have released their water.
3. Add peppers and parsley and cook about 5 mins, until peppers are heated through and flavours have developed.
4. Serve over hot cooked paste and garnish with parsley.

Behold the Label Cloud!

You may have noticed the "Label Cloud" in the right hand column of this blog. This is my attempt to index all the recipes I have posted. I am slowly working my way through the old posts (and wishing I had added labels from the get go) and applying labels according to main ingredient, and type of dish (Indian, Mexican, baked goods, etc.) Hopefully, then, when you have a block of tofu and are not sure what to make for dinner, you can click "tofu" in the label cloud and be presented with a variety of ideas. The bigger the word/ingredient appears in the label cloud, the more posts there are with that word/ingredient. I hope this helps everyone better access the recipes.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Jelly Donut Cupcakes

Isa is a freakin' genius. A donut cupcake? You better believe it! These tasty treats from Veganomicon were the perfect end to an intensely busy work week. Not only are they delicious, they are fun to bake. The filling is placed on top of the batter and it magically sinks into the cupcake as it bakes. I actually ran out of jam (time to go shopping), so I pressed a few chocolate chips into the center of the remaining cupcakes. The boys loved them.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tofu Fish Sticks and Tartar Sauce

A few days ago Krys asked if I had a good recipe for fish and chips. I didn't. So, I thought I would try to work out a palatable fish stick recipe tonight. The results were pretty good--the boys loved them and asked for seconds! I wanted them (the fish sticks, not the boys) to have a fishier taste, but I am not sure how to do that. I would also have liked the tofu to be a little firmer, but that is hard to do when the tofu is marinated. I am not really selling these, am I?

- 1 pkg tofu, cut into strips/sticks
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1 sheet nori
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
1. Process nori into a powder in a coffee grinder or food processor. Mix with other ingredients in a shallow dish and marinate tofu for a few hours.
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp kelp granules (optional)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- freshly ground pepper

- 1 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly oil.
1. Mix together breading ingredients in a shallow dish. Roll tofu in breading to coat.
2. Mix lemon juice into soy milk and stir until thickened. Dip breaded tofu into soy milk mixture, then coat again with dry breading.
3. Place on cookie sheet. Lightly spray with cooking oil.
4. Bake 15 mins. Flip. Bake 15 more mins. Seve with tartar sauce.

Tartar Sauce
Mix together the following:
- 1 cup vegenaise
- 1 dill pickle, minced
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- small drop of mustard

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lemon Pound Cake

It sounds odd, but I have been craving pound cake since my trip to Washington D.C. You may remember that I wanted to visit Java Green, but went on Sunday when it was closed. In fact, pretty much all of downtown D.C. is closed on Sunday. So, I had to grab a plain baguette from Au Bon Pain to stave of hunger. At the checkout they had that weird flourescent yellow pound cake that looks like it has never seen a real lemon in its life. In any event, I have been thinking about pound cake ever since.

To satisfy that craving I turned to the recipe from Veganomicon, and I highly recommend it. It is tender and spongy--just like pound cake should be. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup soy yogurt, which I did not have (the only sell So Nice here which, quite frankly, is So Nasty), and 1/2 cup silken tofu, which I also did not have. So, I used 1 cup regular tofu and blended it really well with 1 tbsp lemon juice. I also added grated rind from 1 lemon to ramp up the flavour and topped it with lemon icing. Perfect!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Perfect (Tempeh) Burgers

The boys informed me today that while the cabbage roll filling from last night was "thumbs up," cabbage itself was "thumbs down." That means, overall, the cabbage rolls were "thumbs sideways." So, rather than make them suffer through mediocre leftovers, I let them choose the meal tonight. They went with burgers. A few days ago, Vegan Linda posted a comment on my Perfect Burger recipe asking if there was any alternative to the TVP I used. I really didn't have a good response until tonight. Tempeh! In fact, I think these burgers are better than the TVP version. To make them absolutely perfect, I topped them with sauteed onions and mushrooms.

- 1 8.5 oz pkg tempeh, coarsely grated
(If you find tempeh has a "taste," simmer it in boiling water with 2 tsp soy sauce for 10 mins to cut down on the bitterness. Cool before grating. This will increase the water content of the tempeh, so you might want to increase the wheat gluten to 1/2 cup, or not add any extra water.)
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
- 2 tsp ground fennel seed
- 1 tsp sage
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp HP sauce
- 1/4 tsp browning sauce (optional)
- 2-4 tbsp water
- oil for frying

1. Mix grated tempeh, bread crumbs, flour, and spices in a bowl. Add in soy sauce, HP sauce, and enough water to make a firm yet pliable dough. Knead for a few mins to mix everything well.
2. Divide dough into 6 pieces. Shape into patties by pressing into a metal ring.
3. Cook in a thin layer of oil on med-lo heat for about 5 mins per side. The trick is to make thin patties and to fry them low enough to cook them through before burning the outside.
I have played around with the recipe a bit--see this post.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cabbage Rolls

I worked from home today, so I figured this would be a good day to make cabbage rolls. This is the recipe my mom used to make (well, minus the meat, of course) and comes from a family friend. The sauce is the key to this recipe--it is thick and rich and perfectly spiced. For the filling I went with tempeh, which turned out to be the perfect choice since it has the texture of ground beef. All in all, the recipe was a grand success! If you have a few hours, these cabbage rolls are well worth the time.

- 1 large green cabbage

- 1 48oz can tomato juice
- 6 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp dill
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder

1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer. Make the filling.

- 1 lb tempeh
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp ground fennel
- 2 tbsp sage
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp HP sauce
- 2-3 tbsp water
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil tempeh in water in a sauce pan for 10 mins. Remove from water and cool. When cool, grate coarsely.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan and saute onions and garlic for 5 mins, until onions are translucent. Add in grated tempeh and fry for 5 mins, stirring constantly. Add in spices, soy and HP sauce, and water. Mix well. Add more water is mixture is too dry and spices won't mix through. Season with salt and pepper and adjust seasonings to taste. Mix in rice.

Cabbage Rolls
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Core cabbage. Place in a large pot of boiling water. Remove cabbage leaves with tongs as they cook. Cut off any extra tough pieces of stem. Place about 1/3 cup of tempeh mixture on the cabbage leaf, near stem. Roll half way, fold in both sides, then complete rolling (like a burrito). Place in a roasting pan. Repeat until all filling is used.
2. Pour sauce over all cabbage rolls. Cover over with any remaining cabbage leaves. Cover with lid and bake for at least 1.5 hours.
3. Top with tofu sour cream and serve.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Spicy Hash Browns

Today's culinary energy was funneled into a delicous Sunday brunch. It makes me think that we should make this a regular thing. Fluffly pancakes, delicious tofu scramble with mushrooms and green onions, and these crispy and subtlely spiced hash browns.

Makes 6 large hash browns
- 3 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and grated
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- pinch of cayenne
- oil for frying

1. Mix grated potatoes and salt in a bowl. Set aside for 15 mins. Then, put in a fine mesh sieve and press to squeeze out excess water. Put back in the bowl.
2. Add spices and mix well. Heat about 1/4" of oil in a frying pan over med-hi heat.
3. Press 1/6 of the potato mixture in your hand, forming as best you can into a patty. Drop into hot oil. Lighlty press down with a spatula to flatten. You can also push any stray pieces of potato back into the patty. Fry for 3-4 mins per side, until browned and crispy.
4. Blot off excess oil and serve.

Dinner was a hearty veggie soup and these sandwiches. Simple, but tasty.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tofurky Tettrazini

Tonight was another forray into meals kids like to eat. It was a smashing success--Son #1 had four servings! I would have liked it to be a bit creamier so I am upping the amount of sauce in the recipe below. Feel free to adjust to however creamy/wet you want the dish to be.

- 1/3 pkg spaghettini, broken in thirds, cooked
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup vegan chicken broth powder
- 1 cup soy creamer
- 1 cup plain soy milk
- 3 tbsp parsley
- 2 tbsp thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pkg Tofurky lunch meat, diced
- 1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups frozen mixed veggies
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup ground almonds

1. Cook pasta. Breaking it into thirds makes it easier to get out of the pan later on.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. While pasta is cooking, saute onions and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat for 5 mins, or until softened and translucent. Add in flour and arrowroot and stir for 1 min to allow flour to heat up.
3. Slowly add in water, stirring constantly so it blends well. Stir in broth powder and mix well. Stir in soy creamer, soy milk, and spices and let bubble gently. When heated through and smooth, add in Tofurky, beans, and veggies.
4. Mix Tofurky mixture with the cooked and drained pasta. Transfer into a large baking dish (at lest 9 x 13) and smooth flat. Top with bread crumbs and ground almonds and bake 20-30 mins, until top is golden.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pretzel Bites

I know I talked about these a while back when I served them for the kids at a dinner party, but I never posted a picture. Plus, it is a great little recipe. These are a fun Friday night dinner for kids--perfect for movie nights! Kids can help make the dough and roll the pretzel bites. Use the left over dough to make actual pretzels, brush them with melted margarine and dust with cinnamon and sugar, and you have dessert!

- veggie dogs
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup bread flour
- 3 cups regular flour
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tbsp baking soda

1. Sprinkle yeast on lukewarm water in mixing bowl and stir to dissolve. Add sugar, salt and stir to dissolve. Add flour and knead dough until smooth and elastic. Let rise, covered, for at least 1/2 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dissolve 2 tbsp of baking soda into 2 cups warm water in a large bowl.
3. Cut veggie dogs into 4 pieces each.
4. Remove dough from bowl. Cut off a small piece of dough and flatten by hand into a 4" x 2" rectangle (approx.). Place piece of veggie dog on smaller end, roll, and seal ends. Dip in baking soda-water mixture, and place on a baking sheet (works well to line baking sheet with parchment paper). Repeat depending on how many pretzel bites you want to make.
5. Bake for 8-10 mins, until golden. Serve with ketchup and mustard for dipping.