Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Vegan Express and Cooking at the Cottage

We got back yesterday from a few days of relaxation at the cottage. I tried to spend as much time as possible in the Muskoka chairs you see pictured above, and as little time as possible in the kitchen. I decided that I would crack open Nava Atlas' Vegan Express, which she sent in recognition of my Veg Bloggy Award (because she is cool like that). You may remember that Susan V of Fat Free Vegan did the photos for the book. The whole concept is vegan meals in under 30 mins. Sounded good to me.

First up: Seitan and Polenta Skillet with Fresh Greens. I loved the pairing of seitan and polenta, and it was a good way to get some dark leafy greens.
For dessert: Choclately Banana Pizza. I'm sure you don't need a degree from a culinary school to figure out how to make this. I made Isa's pizza crust from Vegan With a Vengeance, but used 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3 tbsp of butter, melted, for a thin, crispy, and sweet crust. I was able to get 4 smaller pizzas out of a single recipe, and I pre-baked the crust for a few mins (which made it puff up like a pita, actually). The next night we went crazy and added raspberries and peaches.
Day Two was my all-time favourite cottage meal: BBQ roasted veggies and grilled tofu (not from Vegan Express). Toss baby potatoes in oil and wrap tightly in heavy duty foil. Roast on a med-hi BBQ for about 30 mins, turning regularly. This can also be done in the embers of fire if you are camping. Do the same with carrots and roast for 20 mins. As for the tofu, this time I went with a non-pressed firm tofu and grilled it on med-hi for about 20 mins, until it was crispy and chewy. The softer tofu dehydrates and makes for a nice texture, but is more finicky than a firmer tofu. I then tossed it in BBQ sauce.
Day Three: BBQ-Flavoured Roasted Tempeh and Vegetables. This dish is supposed to be oven-roasted, but I just grilled everything and tossed it in BBQ sauce. I even threw in the extra seitan I had. Tasty!I also made burgers and sausages ahead of time and kept them in the fridge. They grilled up perfectly for quick lunches. You just need to remember that a) you need a bit of oil to keep them from sticking; and b) they are already cooked, you just need to warm them up. Keep the heat lower and the cooking time shorter than actual meat.