Monday, March 31, 2008

Tofu Omelette Strips with Roasted Salsa

This one takes a little bit of time but it is totally worth it. Plus, it is a very nice looking dish that is perfect for impressing your friends at your next fiesta.

Omelette Strips
- 1 double recipe of Susan's vegan omelette
Note: I changed the recipe slightly. I am not sure this made any difference. The strips were pretty durable, but it could be because I cooked them for a while. I added 2 tbsp instant tapioca, and began the recipe by first soaking the tapioca for 10 mins in 4 tbsp soy milk (up from the 2 tbsp the recipe calls for). Once soft, I added the rest of the ingredients and blended.

1. Heat a non-stick frying pan over med-lo heat. When hot, spray with cooking oil and spread one fourth of the omelette mixture as thinly as possible on the pan. Cook until sides begin to dry up a bit and you are able to flip the omelette (about 3-4 mins). Flip and cook other side for another 3-4 mins. You want to make sure the omelette is completely cooked through, so lower the heat if it is getting too brown. Remove from heat and cool. Repeat with remaining mixture.
2. Once cool, cut into strips.

Roasted Salsa
While you are cooking the omelette you can make the salsa
- 4 ripe plum tomatoes
- 6 cloves of garlic, skins on
- 2 onions, sliced in half, skins left on
- 1-2 whole fresh jalapeno peppers
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 tbsp tomato paste

1. Heat a heavy (cast iron) skillet over medium heat. When hot, add whole tomatoes, turning to let the skins roast/lightly char. When uniformly roasted, remove from pan and let cool.
2. Add garlic, onions, and peppers to the pan and roast. Be careful to keep the garlic moving/rotating so it does not burn. Flip the onions and peppers occasionally as well. When roasted, remove from pan.
3. Remove skins from onions and garlic, slice and de-seed the pepper, and roughly chop the lot. Chop tomatoes as well and place it all into a food processor. Pulse to a chunky puree.
4. Pour mixture into a saucepan and add spices. Bring to bubbling, then add enough tomato paste to get the consistency you want. Let simmer for as long as you can, and adjust seasonings before serving.

To assemble to dish: make a "nest" of strips on a plate and top with a generous amount of warm salsa. Garnish with cilantro and serve. If you want, reheat the strips a bit first in the microwave, or on a warm skillet.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Black Bean Burritos

The kids absolutely loved these wee little burritos. Son#1 ate eight. Hmmm . . . I hope there aren't any repercussions from such excessive bean intake.

- 8 small wheat tortillas
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- vegan cheese
- salsa

1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and saute onions for 10 mins,until deep golden brown. Add beans and cook for 2 mins, until heated through. Roughly mash beans.
2. Add water and spices and mix well. Remove from heat.
3. Heat a clean pan over medium heat. Heat up a tortilla on pan for a few seconds. Spread 1/8 of the bean mixture over 3/4 of the tortilla. Top with some cheese and a heaping tsp of salsa. Roll up tortilla, starting at end with beans/salsa/cheese. Place burrito back on pan and brown top and bottom. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
4. Cut each burrito into three. Serve.

Tequila Chili Lime Tofu

I went a little crazy in the kitchen today. The boys were outside playing since it was finally above zero (only 2 degrees above, but we will take what we can get), so I spent about 2 hours making a Mexican feast. I like to make a special meal on Sundays when I have some extra time, and cooking helps me decompress and relax and get ready for the work week. I will post two recipes tonight and the final one tomorrow.

- 1 pkg firm tofu, pressed, and cut into slices
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large vidalia onion (or some other sweet onion), cut in half and sliced
- 1/4 cup tequila
- juice of 1 orange
- juice of two limes
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp chili powder
- pinch of cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- cilantro for garnish

1. Toss tofu slices in cornstarch and fry in oil over med-hi heat until golden. Remove from oil and drain.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan over med-hi heat. Saute onions, stirring constantly, for about 5 mins, until onions are just starting to brown.
3. Add tequila to pan and cook until mostly evaporated, stirring constantly. Add juices and spices (except cilantro, of course) and mix well. Add tofu into pan and turn to coat. Add more orange juice if needed. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Susan's Vegan Omelette (sort of)

Do you remember when I went to DC and ate at the Sticky Fingers Bakery? They served a great egg and sausage muffin that I thought I would try to re-create today. So I Googled "vegan omelette" was sent right away to Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. Susan, as you may already know, is a vegan culinary genius with photography skills to pay the bills. Actually, hers was the first blog I started to read. So for lunch I whipped up a double recipe, but instead of making an omelette I cooked the tofu mixture like you would a pancake (see pic below), and served it with vegenaise and a tomato slice (no sausage patties handy) and plenty of ketchup. If one were so obliged he/she could slap on some vegan cheese.
For dinner (which was actually a very late brunch) I whipped up a second double batch to make an actual omelette. This was less successful because I tried to make too huge an omelette and could not get it to fold over without breaking. Suddenly, I was looking at scrambled tofu (I don't seem to have my kitchen mojo working these past few days). But, it all turned out alright, as the pic above attests (the pic came out so well I had to put it first). I scrambled everything together, then pushed it back to the center of the pan. I let it cook for a few minutes, flipped it over, and cooked it some more. The end result was more wet and pasty (for lack of a better term) than actual scrambled eggs, but it tasted great. I would like to tinker with the recipe a bit to see if I can make a slightly more durable omelette. In the meantime, try this recipe out for yourself.

Friday, March 28, 2008

When Bad Things Happen to Good Pizza

Vegan Mom made the pizza dough from Vegan With a Vengeance (our favourite) today. Who doesn't love pizza on homemade crust? Well, the problem was that we have not gone shopping since we got back from the holiday weekend and the fridge is looking pretty empty. Nary a mushroom or pepper to be found. So, I thought I would make a veggie ground round to go with the pepperoni. The plan was to make something like the chick'n quick seitan but more . . . "beefy." At first, things seemed to be going well. I used gluten flour, ground TVP, and tapioca to get a firmer dough, while stir fry sauce, HP sauce, and soy sauce provided flavour and colour. Then, things started to go wrong. After steaming the seitan was pretty rubbery and a bit sticky to the touch. Undaunted, I pushed onward! I figured that if I chopped it up and fried the seitan it would dry out a bit. Well, it did dry it out. A lot. But still I pressed on! All in all, it did not wreck the pizza too much. After baking the seitan was verging on crunchy, but the flavour was OK. Oh well. Back to the test kitchen.

I Feel the Love

Thanks to all for the encouraging comments on yesterday's post. I will, of course, keep plugging away at this end. It's not that I want to become a "vegangelical" (who coined that term?) and brow beat people in veganism, or force them to watch "Meet Your Meat" a la A Clockwork Orange, I am just wondering how to make my blogging more effective. How can I get more people to click over and check out the recipes? I certainly think blogs can be a powerful force for change because they make veganism so accessible, and I guess I just want mine to be as effective as possible. I suppose patience is key here--I have only been doing this since September 2007 and am blown away that I have had over 46 000 hits. Now, back to the kitchen!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yellow Curry Coconut Chickpeas

While perusing some blogs today I found myself asking a few questions: 1. How can I get some company to send me a free sample of their product? 2. How does one get on the list to test recipes for upcoming vegan cookbooks? I am also wondering how to make my blog a force for change. I love the vegan blog community, and I am feeling an e-bond with those who frequent Vegan Dad and leave comments, but I would also like to change some non-vegan minds. I mean, if entry to heaven was based on the number of vegan converts we made, I would totally be going to hell where I would eat naught but burning hot coals and drink naught but burning hot cola. Recently, a few of my pics were posted on, which caused my daily hits to jump to over 700. I can only hope a few people were intrigued to look more into veganism. Perhaps I will try the 10 things Isa recommends in this article.

Enough blabbering. I love coconut milk and chickpeas, and I love this recipe.

- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- yellow curry paste (or powder) to taste
- 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- salt to taste (if needed)

1. Bring coconut milk to bubbling in a sauce pan. Add in curry paste, sauces, juice, and salt to taste. Add in chickpeas and simmer for 10 mins, until sauce thickens a little. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sweet and Hot Stirfry

When I am pressed for time I usually reach for my wok. This time I thought I would stir fry without the oil to try and cut the fat. I also used plain tofu (instead of crispy tofu, which I usually do) to make the dish a little more healthy. Plus, I think I was trying to compensate for the fact that I also made a second dish with coconut milk (which I will post tomorrow).

- 100g rice vermicelli (aka cellophane noodles)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
- 6 white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 carrot, sliced ultra thin with a vegetable peeler
- 1/2 pkg firm tofu, cut into strips
- 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- juice of 1 lime
- 2-4 tbsp soy sauce

1. Put vermicelli in a bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Let sit for 3-4 mins, until soft. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. Bring the 1/4 cup of water to boiling in a wok. Add in broccoli and stir fry for 2 mins. Add in mushrooms and cook another 2 mins, or until mushrooms begin to soften. Add in carrots and cook another 2 mins. Watch the water level--if it gets to dry add another tbsp or two.
3. Add in tofu, vermicelli, and all sauces and lime juice. Mix well. Adjust sauces to taste (I made it fairly mild for the kids). Ideally, the dish will have some bite from the chili garlic sauce that is tempered by the sweetness of the hoisin sauce and sugar. Bring sauce to bubbling and let absorb into the noodles a bit. Serve

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cheesy Creamy Casserole

You may have noticed a few new things on the blog. I have put in a video bar that links to PETA's "Meet Your Meat," and to Morgan Spurlock's "Supersize Me." Actually, watching "Supersize Me" is what started me on the road to veganism. After seeing the film I started reading the books of the people he interviewed: John Robbins' Diet For a New America; Marion Nestle's Food Politics; Eric Scholsser's Fast Food Nation. There was no turning back from there. In the spirit of "Supersize Me," I also have started posting fast food "nutritional" info (although I know I will largely be preaching to the choir). It always blows my mind that vegans are seen as dietary weirdos, but eating a burger with 55 grams of fat is considered normal.

Tonight's meal was an attempt to use up the broccoli and cauliflower in the fridge in a way the boys would like. They loved it.

- 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- large handful baby spinach

- 1 pkg firm tofu
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 3/4 cup roasted red pepper (I used bottled peppers)
- 1-2 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
- 3 cups soy milk

- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup ground almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Steam broccoli and cauliflower for 5-6 mins, until softened but still firm.
2. While veggies are steaming, make the sauce. Place sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and bring to bubbling, whisking constantly.
3. Mix together steamed veggies, chickpeas, and spinach with sauce and pour into a large casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs and almonds. Bake for 40 mins, until bubbling and top is browned.

Monday, March 24, 2008

BBQ Meatballs and Herb Roasted Potatoes

Sorry, no pic tonight. I used up all my battery power this holiday weekend and did not have time to recharge after the drive home and before I finished dinner. Ahhh . . there is nothing like a long drive home and then having to come up with a meal with a next to empty fridge. The first dish was BBQ meatballs. I took 2 packs of Yves frozen meatballs and simmered them on the stovetop in BBQ sauce (your choice) thinned down with a little water. Next was herb roasted potatoes: chunks of yukon gold potatoes tossed in olive oil, sea salt, basil, parsley, and marjoram. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30-35 mins, or until golden brown. Add in a few sides of veggies and you have dinner. Actually, the meal was a huge hit with the kids, and Son#1 had thirds.

Banana Split Cupcakes, Elvis Style

One thing my whole extended family can agree on: these cupcakes rock! If you have not done so already, go buy Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. We celebrated my nephew and brother in law's birthday today with these. Huzzah for cupcakes!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Pasta with Peppers and Spicy Sausage

What better way to wow your omni family than with vegan sausage? While my brother-in-law was not fooled into thinking he was actually eating meat, he did say it was "good" and was "way up there" in relation to other fake meats he had tried. Hey, good enough for me! This recipe fed four adults and 6 kids (yes, it is crazy here), so you may want to make half a recipe.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, cut in half and sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 yellow pepper, sliced
- 1 orange pepper, sliced
- spicy vegan sausage, sliced
- 1 jar pasta sauce
- 10-12 large cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 700g (or so) pasta, cooked

1. Get your pasta cooking in a large pot.
2. While pasta cooks, heat oil in a frying pan over med-hi heat. Saute onions and pepper for 5 mins. Then add sausage slices and cook for 5 mins more, until sausage browns a bit.
3. Drain cooked pasta and put back in pot. Stir in pasta sauce. Then toss on onion/pepper/sausage mixture and mix well. Finally, toss tomatoes in and serve at once.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Holiday Travel

The whole Vegan Family was on the road today to visit family for the Easter Weekend. Unlike our American neighbours, we get Friday and Monday off. It always struck me as weird that Americans did not get at least one day off for Easter, what with Easter being central to the Christian calendar, and what with "God Bless America" and all that. Anyway, we were treated to veggie chili upon out arrival, and it was so nice not to have to cook for one night. I am not sure what we will pull together for dinners over the next few days, but I will be sure to blog it if I can.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chickpea Tostados

Happy Herbivore left a note the other day saying I should check out her chickpea tacos, that the boys would love them. Well, she was right. Of course, I made a few changes to suit the ingredients I had, and decided that tostados (fried tortillas) would be the perfect fit since you can pile the toppings up as high as you like. Happy Herbivore baked her chickpeas, so be sure to check out her recipe.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- juice of 1 lime

1. Heat oil in a frying pan over med-hi heat. Saute onions and garlic for 10 mins, until onions are a deep golden brown.
2. Add chickpeas and spices and mix well. Fry for at least 5 mins. I suggest reducing heat and letting the chickpea cook for a while to let the flavours develop. When chickpeas are done cooking, add lime juice and stir well. Serve.
3. Toppings are up to you. Here's what I did: chickpeas, roasted peppers, tomatoes, green onions, baby spinach, salsa, vegan sour cream, and shredded vegan cheese.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hearty Broccoli Soup

A few days ago I asked Son#1 what he wanted for dinner and he said, "broccoli soup!" That was kind of weird. I mean, what kid asks for broccoli soup? Well, tonight Vegan Mom made his dreams come true with this tasty and hearty soup that is perfect for those days when there is still a chill in the air.

- 2 tbsp margarine
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 rib of celery, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
- water
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt margarine in a soup pot over medium heat. Saute onion, celery, and garlic for 5 mins, until onion is translucent. Add potatoes and three quarters of the broccoli florets. Add enough water to barely cover the veggies (some veggies should still be sticking out of the water). Bring to bubbling, lower heat, and cover and cook 15-20 mins, until veggies are very soft.
2. Blend veggies with a hand blender until smooth. Add soy milk and nutritional yeast. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add in remaining florets and cook, uncovered, until florets are soft. Serve.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Easy Lemon Pudding Cake

You may remember that I made a lemon pudding cake a while ago that was really tasty but a bit complicated to make. Well, now I return with an equally tasty but far easier recipe. I have been experimenting over the last week or so (working my way through the discount lemons we bought) trying to get the right texture to the cake and right consistency to the pudding. So if you like a sweet but tangy dessert then this is the cake for you.

- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- juice of 1 lemon

- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup boiling water
- juice of 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get water boiling in a kettle
1. Whisk together flour, sugar, powder, soda, and salt in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together soy milk, oil, zest, and lemon juice. Add to flour and stir with a spoon until just mixed. Pour into a 8 x 8 pan and spread evenly.
2. Whisk together sugar and flour, then sprinkle evenly over batter.
3. Pour boiling water and lemon juice over top. Do not stir.
4. Bake for 40-45 mins, until top is golden and cake is cooked through.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Foodless Post

One of the problems with having a blog is you rarely get a chance to relive old recipes because you always feel like you need to make something new. Tonight Vegan Mom made Tofurky Tettrazini because the kids love it and it is easy and tasty. So, tonight I thought I would do this survey thing that two people have tagged me to do. The point is to relate 5 things about you, then tag 5 people to do the same.

1. I have dual citizenship. I was born in the U.S. but have lived most of my life in Ontario, Canada. I consider myself Canadian, except when I cross the border. Then I wear red, white and blue, set my cell-phone to play “America the Beautiful” when it rings, wave my birth certificate at them, and get waved right through.

2. I went to school for 25 years straight. Of course, I got my PhD in the end, but when you think about being in school from age 5 to 30 it sounds kind of crazy. I didn’t get my first “real job” until I was 32. Awesome.

3. I am not cool. I have tried to be cool, wished I was cool, sometimes deluded myself into thinking I was cool, but never have obtained coolness. When people describe me, cool is not one of the adjectives they use. Punctual? Yes. Cool? No.

4. I love ABBA. (See #3)

5. I live a remarkably clean life. I have never been drunk; ingested, shot up, or smoked any controlled or illicit substance; or done anything remotely criminal. (See #3)

I am tagging: Two Vegan Sisters, Vegan Family Dinners, The Happy Herbivore, Veganalects, and Something About Penguins. I was going to tag Isa, but then totally chickened out.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

French Toast

Another recipe from Sunday brunch today. I made this one up on the spot in an attempt to use up the Italian loaf I bought earlier this week, and then promptly forgot about, and which has been getting staler by the day. I have made French toast before with chickpea flour, but I always thought it had a weird taste (I know, I am a total wuss). This recipe worked out pretty well, I think, but would be interested in what recipes other people have used.

- 8-10 thick slices of stale bread
- 1 cup silken tofu
- 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
- 1/2 cup soy creamer
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Heat a griddle over med-lo heat
1. Blend all ingredients (except bread, of course) in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Pour into a shallow dish.
2. Dip bread into mixture, coating both sides and letting excess drain off. Place into lightly oiled (margarined?) non-stick pan and fry for 5-6 mins, flipping every 1-2 mins. The trick here is to not let the sugar in the batter burn, but to cook it long enough for the toast to firm up. Once firm to the touch, remove from pan and serve.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chick'n Tofu Pita Wraps

We took the boys to the Science Centre today for a final hurrah before March Break comes to an end. We always pack our lunch when we go there since vegan options are non-existent, and the food is expensive and generates a bunch of garbage. The most popular choice of the other families there today was Pizza Hut personal pizzas and Pepsi. As I sat there munching my Tofurkey wrap and banana I mused about the caloric and health differences between my meal and theirs. Well, according to the Pizza Hut website, one cheese only personal pizza has 680 calories, 28g of fat (12g of those saturated fat), 55mg of cholesterol, and 1350mg of sodium. Add a small Pepsi and you are at least 780 calories. In other words, if you are kid, you just had about all your allowed daily calories in one meal, with a huge dose of fat, sugar, and sodium.

Since we spent the day away, we needed a quick meal when we got home. This fit the bill.

Chick'n Tofu
- 1 pkg firm tofu, pressed, cubed
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3 tbsp vegan chicken broth powder
- 1 tsp salt
- oil for frying

- large pitas
- sliced tomatoes
- sliced cucumbers
- sliced red onion
- shredded romaine lettuce
- vegan mayo
- plum sauce

1. Heat a layer of oil in a frying pan over medium to med-hi heat. Whisk flour and broth powder together. Toss tofu cubes in flour mixture. Fry in batches in oil for about 5 mins, turning regularly to brown on all sides. Remove from oil and drain. (see pic below)
2. Cut pita halfway around the circumference, open up pocket, and fold down resulting flap. Fill pitas with fixins (whatever suits your fancy--above is what I used).
3. Tuck flap around filling then roll pita tightly.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pizza, Four Ways

The past few days have been insanely busy, so we have been polishing off the leftovers from earlier in the week (hence no post yesterday). But we all know that kids will only take reheated leftovers for so many nights before they revolt. So, I raided the fridge and made quick and easy pizzas. The crust? Lebanese pitas. The toppings? See below.

Meatless Meatlovers Pizza
- Tomato sauce, pepperoni, sausage, chopped quick seitan, vegan cheese

Alfredo Pizza
- alfredo sauce, steamed broccoli florets, sliced mushrooms, diced quick seitan, vegan cheese
- tomato sauce, green peppers, yellow peppers, sausage, pepperoni, sliced mushrooms, vegan cheese
- tomato sauce, pepperoni, green peppers, yellow peppers, diced pineapple, sliced mushrooms, vegan cheese

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Vegan Bratwurst

I know what you are thinking: this guy is going to develop a gluten intolerance with all the seitan he is making. I just can't help experimenting with steamed wheat gluten! This time the plan was to make a bratwurst-like sausage that was lighter and differently spiced than an Italian sausage. Mission accomplished! Most of the bratwurst recipes I looked up online called for mace and caraway seeds. I am not crazy about caraway, and I am not exactly sure what mace tastes like. In any event, I did not have them on hand (but will try them next time I make these). But, they are awesome just the way they are, and even better with sauerkraut piled high on top.

- 1/2 cup white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup plain soy milk
- 1/4 cup ground dried shitake mushrooms (I grind mine in a coffee grinder)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 1 tsp sage
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten

Get your water on its way to boiling in your steaming apparatus
1. Finely mash beans with a fork, then add in soy milk, mushroom powder, and spices. Mix well. Add in wheat gluten and mix well. Knead for a min or two to bring it all together.
2. Divide in 6 pieces, shape into a sausage, then wrap tightly like a tootsie roll in heavy duty aluminum foil. Steam for 35 mins.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Best Ever Vegan Alfredo!

I saw this recipe while perusing Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan last night. The recipe originally comes from Lachesis on the PPK forum. I am always on the lookout for a great white sauce, and have tried my hand at my own (see here). This one is pretty much the same idea but was oh so much better! Smooth, creamy, and totally like actual alfredo! This is what I will be serving next time I have omnis over for dinner (but I think I will add roasted garlic for more depth of flavour). The original recipe calls for mushrooms marinated in vegan Worcestershire sauce (which I can't get here), and since Son#1 complains every time he see a whole, or partially whole, mushroom I decided to leave them out. So, be sure to look at the original post. Instead, I made a half-recipe of quick seitan cutlets which I sliced with the pasta and sauce. Incredible!

- 1/2 cup margarine
- 2 cups plain soymilk
- 1 pkg extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
- 2 tbsp white wine
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2-3 tbsp arrowroot powder

1. Blend all ingredients except arrowroot powder in a food processor until creamy and smooth. Heat in a saucepan over med-lo heat until just about bubbling.
2. Remove some of the sauce and mix with 2 tbsp of the arrowroot, then add back to the saucepan. Heat, but don't boil. If sauce is too thin, add the remaining tbsp (or more). Whisk smooth.
3. Serve over pasta with peas and seitan slices.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Simple Risotto

Funny story. We were at the mall the other day and were at the exit getting the kids dressed to go back outside in the cold. Another Mom and her kid came up, who also paused to get hats, coats, and mitts on. Now, I was facing this mother, but Vegan Mom's back was turned and did not see that they were carrying Happy Meals from McDonalds. Vegan Mom then said, rather loudly, "What is that smell? Do you smell cat food, or something?" Ha ha. The truth was, it really did smell like cat food. Man, and I used to love McDonald's. Anyway, here is the recipe for the risotto from a few nights ago. It is relatively simple and easy and tastes great.

- 3 tbsp margarine
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 5 cups hot veggie stock
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 2/3 cup white wine
- 2 cups frozen green peas
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and saute onion for 3-4 mins, until translucent. Add in rice and stir for 2-3 mins.
2. Add in some of the stock (make sure it is hot) and cook, stirring frequently until liquid is absorbed. Repeat, adding enough of the stock until rice is tender (should take about 20 mins).
3. Add peas and stir well, letting the peas thaw. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the nutritional yeast, and serve.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Bolognese Sauce

So, we went crazy again today at the grocery store and bought a whack of discount mushrooms. Last time we did this I made Mushroom and Sundried Pepper Pasta, but thought that mushrooms would also make a good bolognese sauce. Well, as it turns out, they do.

- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 2 gloves garlic, chopped
- 1.5 lbs mushrooms, chopped
- 2/3 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup plain soy milk
- 1 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
- 3-4 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1. Heat oil over medium heat. Add in onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook for 10 mins, until veggies are softened.
2. Add in mushrooms and cook for 5-6 mins. Let mushroom release some of their water. Add in wine and cook until wine is almost all reduced. Then add soy milk and cook until mostly reduced.
3. Add tomatoes (if sauce is watery, drain tomatoes before adding) and tomato paste. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and basil. Cook until desired thickness is reached. Stir in nutritional yeast and serve over pasta.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Homemade Vegan Pepperoni

We were actually invited over to our friends' house for dinner tonight (the first time since we moved here in July!). I know that making vegan food can be daunting for omnis (hence our scant dinner invitations) but they served up a delicious meal of black bean enchiladas and salad, with chocolate pudding cake for dessert. What a treat! That means I did not cook a meal today, and I know I said I would post the risotto from yesterday, but I wanted to share today's culinary experiment instead. This pepperoni is totally amazing! You will never buy veggie pepperoni at the store again.

Note: if you want a milder pepperoni, cut back on the pepper and pepper flakes.
- 1/2 cup of white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp HP sauce, or BBQ sauce
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp whole anise seed
- 1 tsp red peppercorns
- 1 tsp green peppercorns
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten

Get your water on it way to boiling in your steamer
1. Finely mash the beans with a fork. Add water, oil, liquid smoke, HP or BBQ sauce, paprika, cayenne, salt and sugar and mix well.
2. Roughly grind anise seed, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes with a mortar and pestle. Add into mixture. Add in wheat gluten and mix well with a fork.
3. Divide dough into three equal portions. Shape each into a tube and wrap like a tootsie roll in heavy duty aluminum foil. Make sure to wrap it tightly by twisting the ends. Heavy duty foil is needed to keep the pepperoni from bursting out of the wrapping when cooking.
4. Steam for 45 mins. Cool and slice.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Seitan Marsala

Vegan Mom and I have decided to reinstate our Friday night kid-free dinners. We just need one night a week where we can actually eat sitting down for the whole meal, instead of fetching drinks for the kids, wiping spills, keeping Son#3 from trying to escape from his high chair, etc. So, after the kids are in bed we sit down for our own meal. Tonight I reformed the recipe and method for making the seitan cutlets, and was quite happy with the results. I also made a risotto and will post the recipe tomorrow.

Quick Seitan Cutlets
- 1/2 cup white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cold water or veggie broth
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup chicken-style broth powder
- 1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- freshly ground white pepper

Get your water on its way to boiling under a 2-tiered bamboo steamer.
1. Mash beans finely with a fork. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix together into a dough. Knead for a few minutes.
2. Divide dough into 6 pieces and press into cutlets with the heel of your hand. Wet your hands with water is dough is a bit sticky.
3. Wet a tea towel. Lay half of the towel in the bottom tier of the steamer, place 3 cutlets on the towel, then fold over towel to cover. Repeat with a new towel and the 3 remaining cutlets in the top tier.
4. Steam for 40-50 mins, switching tiers after 20 mins, until cutlets are firm.

Seitan Marsala
- 4 quick seitan cutlets
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 8 oz white mushrooms, quartered
- 3/4 cup marsala
- 3/4 cup vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp soy creamer
- 1 tbsp sugar
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine flour, oregano, and basil. Dredge cutlets and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add margarine, then fry cutlets for 3-4 mins per side, until golden and crispy. Remove from pan.
3. Add mushrooms and fry until they begin to release their water. Add marsala and cook until reduced my half.
4. Add stock and cook for 5 mins, until slightly reduced. If you want the sauce to be thicker, dissolve 1 tsp of cornstarch in some water and add to the sauce. Add in creamer and sugar and stir well.
5. Return cutlets to pan and submerge in sauce. Simmer for a few minutes, until cutlets are re-heated

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Creamy Kale and Potato Stew

I guess I don't need to extol the virtues of kale to a bunch of vegans. But in case you didn't know, kale is very good for you. I have had a bunch sitting in the crisper for a few days and have been wondering how to serve it in a way the kids would like (or at least not hate too much). This was the answer.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium bunch of kale
- 1 lb yukon gold potatoes, cubed (skins on)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 5 cups water
- 1/2 cup chicken-style broth powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup plain soy milk

1. Heat oil in a large pot over med-hi heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 5 mins, until onions are soft and translucent.
2. While onions are cooking, rinse kale, remove leaves from stems, and roughly chop. Add to pot with potatoes and cook for 1-2 mins, until it softens a little.
3. Add chickpeas, water, broth powder, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to bubbling, lower heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 mins, until potatoes are cooked.
4. Mix flour into soy milk (I put them both in a container with a snug fitting lid and shake to blend) and add to pot. Bring to a bubbling so stew will thicken. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

English Muffin Pizzas

Maybe you've come home from work late. Maybe the kids are hungry and whiny. Maybe you need a quick meal that is kid-friendly, but maybe you can't stomach the idea of hot dogs. Well, then, maybe you should make these mini pizzas.

The ingredients are up to you. These ones have an english muffin crust topped with tomato sauce, Yves pepperoni, orange pepper, mushroom, onion, vegan mozzarella, and oregano. The trick here is to finely slice and dice your ingredients so everything cooks quickly. Cook in a 400 degree oven until cheese melts.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Chick'n Burgers

Tonight was an experiment that worked out pretty well. My reasoning was this: if steaming wheat gluten dough makes a great sausage, then perhaps a modified recipe could mimic other meat as well. This means one could make a palatable seitan quite easily in about 40 minutes instead of hours of simmering. To me, this was quite an attractive possibility. My goal tonight was to make a chicken-like burger. I figured that using just gluten flour would make the burger too tough, so I used some chickpea flour as well. The end result was tender, but perhaps a bit dry. This may be from the chickpea flour. I will experiment some more. Suggestions welcome.

- 1/2 cup white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup water or veggie broth
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- freshly ground white pepper

Get your water on its way to boiling in your steamer
1. Mash beans finely with a fork. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix together into a dough.
2. Divide dough into 8 pieces and shape into burgers. Wet your hands with water is dough is a bit sticky. I pressed the dough into a ring to help get a nice round shape.
2. Wrap each burger in foil, making each as round as possible. Steam over simmering water for 30 minutes (no need for a rolling boil). Unwrap and serve.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Breakfast Sausages

The head of my department hosted a fun in the snow day out on the lake--sledding, skiing, snowball fights and all that--followed by veggie chili. So, for once, I did not have to make dinner. So, I thought I would share our Sunday brunch: pancakes with blueberries and raspberries, hash browns, tofu scramble, and these breakfast sausages. The boys loved them and gobbled them down. To my palate, the spicing in these is spot on, and the end result is incredibly sausage-like (well, for someone who has not had meat in over 2 1/2 years).

- 1/2 cup white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup water or veggie broth
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp mushroom soy sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- pinch of cayenne
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp whole fennel seed
- fresh ground pepper

Get water on its way to boiling in your steamer
1. Mash beans finely with a fork. Add in everything else up to the cayenne. Grind thyme, rosemary, and fennel seed together with a mortar and pestle. Add to mixture with the pepper. Mix together with a fork.
2. Shape a ping pong ball sized piece of dough into a sausage shape and wrap in a small piece of tin foil like a tootsie roll. Repeat until all dough is gone (makes about 25). Some of my recipes call for large breakfast sausages. In this case, make 6 large sausages.
3. Steam for 20 mins (35-40 for large sausages), rotating half way through if your steamer is small. Cool, and remove from wrappings. (Since we did not eat all 25 sausages, I kept half in the wrappings and froze them. We will see how well they fare in the freezer).
4. OPTIONAL: Place sausages in a frying pan with 2 tbsp of water and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Bring to bubbling and simmer until syrup thickens. Serve.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Lemon Pudding Cake

I wanted to revise this recipe a bit before I posted it, but hey, it's not like I am writing a cookbook here. The recipe tastes great and is filled with lemony goodness. Here are a few caveats, though. First, I used Bird's custard powder for the pudding. This is easily obtained in Canada, but maybe not in the U.S. It is essentially cornstarch with flavouring, so I was going to try a version that had just cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Second, I used an 8x8 pan which was filled to the max. It still turned out and did not over boil, but maybe a slightly larger pan is in order. The lemon cake is Isa's Lemon Gem Cupcake recipe from Veganomicon, so many thanks to her for letting me post it here.

Lemon Pudding
- 2 tbsp Bird's custard powder
- 1 tsp arrowroot powder
- 1 cup sugar
- juice of two lemons
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups plain soy milk

1. Mix together dry ingredients in a saucepan and whisk in wet ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Pour into a lightly greased 8x8 pan and place in the fridge to cool a bit while you make the cake.
Lemon Cake
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- juice of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, sugar, soy milk, vanilla, lemon juice and zest together. Add into dry ingredients and gently whisk until smooth.
3. Remove 8x8 pan from fridge. Spoon cake batter on top of the pudding.
4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and cake is firm. You can't really do the toothpick test here, so give the pan a shake to see if the middle jiggles. You can also press the middle with your fingers to see if it is firm.
5. Cool a bit before serving (but it should still be warm). Scoop out a section of the cake, then spoon the pudding over top. Enjoy!

Homemade Sausages

When I saw these on Isa's blog, I knew I had to make them. Sure, they looked great for pizza and gumbo and the like, but would they stand up to the bun test? Would they be good on their own, slightly grilled, and served with ketchup and mustard? The answer is yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! These are easy to make and taste way better than anything I can get at the store (Yves). The texture is freakishly sausage-like, and I was able to grill them on the BBQ after the steaming. This makes me think there is nothing these sausages can't do. I went crazy with the spicing: fennel, rosemary, sage, thyme, basil, oregano, parsley (and no red pepper flakes). Feel free to throw in whatever you want. Here is the recipe from Isa's blog. I made 6 sausages instead of 4.

- 1/2 cup pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cold vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, grated (with a microplane, or very finely minced)
- 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Several dashes fresh black pepper

1. Before mixing your ingredients, get your steaming apparatus ready, bring water to a full boil. The rest of the recipe comes together very quickly.
2. Have ready 6 sheets of tin foil. In a large bowl, mash the pinto beans until no whole ones are left. Throw all the other ingredients together in the order listed and mix with a fork. Divide dough into 6 even parts. Place one part of dough into tin foil and mold into about a 5 inch log. Wrap dough in tin foil, like a tootsie roll. Don’t worry too much about shaping it, it will snap into shape while it’s steaming because this recipe is awesome.
3. Place wrapped sausages in steamer and steam for 40 minutes.
And now for dessert. I could not resist these blueberries and raspberries on sale at the grocery store today. They are from Chile, so, yikes, but they really helped to beat the winter blues (which we all have a really bad case of). I suppose I'll regret this some day when I am dying from some cancerous growth. Anyway, Vegan Mom made the sweet scones, sliced them in half, laded them with berries, and served with soymilk poured over top.