Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday night: Brussel Sausage Pasta

Last night I "helped" Isabelle and Patrick put their den back together after having painted the floor last weekend. They did all the heavy lifting and I fed the workers with this brussel sprout and faux sausage pasta, which I actually veganized myself from a traditional omni recipe that used pancetta as the meat.

1/2 to 3/4 lb brussel sprouts, stems removed and halved
1/2 lb faux sausage (i was lazy so I used Gimme Lean sausage style)
3/4 lb bowtie or rotini pasta (Davinci is my fave)
2-4 cloves of garlic, pressed
5-10 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 t of dried)
lots of fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
1 T ev olive oil
soy parma to top it off
roasted, chopped hazelnuts for garnish (though really i ended up using an overflowing 1/4 cup of these so the dish was quite nutty, and quite delicious)

1. Heat your oven to 425
2. toss brussels in oil and salt and papper, place face down on a heavy baking sheet, roast for 20-25 minutes until lightly brown on top and easily pierced with a fork
3. cook pasta via directions on box, drain being sure to reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid
4. brown sausage in a non-stick pan while pasta cooks being sure to chop it up as it browns, add thyme and pressed garlic 1 minute before it's done cooking
5. place drained pasta and reserved starchy water back in pasta pot, throw in cooked sausage crumbles (with the thyme and garlic - scrape the pan so you don't leave any goodness behind!), add roasted brussels, season with lots of black pepper and salt.
6. serve with soy parma and roasted hazelnuts on top (to roast your own see below), garnish with a drizzle of olive oil if it's too dry for you.

Roasting hazelnuts:
Buy a bag of hazelnuts in the shell, crack those bad boys open, put the nuts in a bowl as you work. Spread your shelled nuts out on a nice baking sheet and roast at 400 or 425 degrees (this can vary based on what else you have in the oven, just check them sooner at hotter temps) until they are light to medium brown and being to smell...well roasted. This will generally take 8 or 10 minutes. When they start to brown check them every minute or so, you don't want burnt nuts!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Split Pea Yumminess.

I am so into soups. Which is funny, being that in my pre-vegan life I did not consider myself a soup person at all. Of course, me loving soups is just one a million things that has changed about since I veganized my life. So, here is a super easy split pea recipe if you have a slow cooker:

2 16 oz bags of vegan dried green split peas
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 or 3 large carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
Optional: 1 recipe of vegan ham (see my previous post)
1 T dried parsley
1 t garlic powder (or 2-3 cloves minced fresh garlic, my preference)
1 t onion powder
1 t dried thyme
other spices you love!
8 cups veggie broth

Layer all of the ingredients you see above (IN THAT ORDER!) in your slow cooker. Don't mix it, I know it seems a bit mad, but trust me. Set that baby on high and cook it for four hours. You won't need to stir until the final hour, at which time a few mix-ups will be good. If you want to leave it overnight or all day while you're at work, just set your slow cooker on low and it should take about 8 hours to break down and taste great.


Fake meats, I love them. I can't help it. I actually was not into pork or red meat when I wasn't vegan, but something about fake meats really appeals to me. Go figure.

This ham (or sHam as I like to call it), is best for cubing up and throwing in soups I think. It's smokey and sweet. Adapted from Just the Food.

1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or another oil will do)
2 T cup brown sugar
2 T cup nutritional yeast
1 T tomato paste
1 t liquid smoke
1 t dark soy sauce (I like to use the mushroom kind from the asian grocery store)
black pepper to taste (which I usually take to mean 1/2 t or so of each)

Set oven at 325.

Throw everything into a medium-sized bowl, stir it all together until uniform. If you are used to making fake meats, this one is pretty wet. That is a-ok. Roll the mixture up like a log in heavy-duty aluminum foil. I put mine on a cookie sheet (it usually leaks), seam side down, and bake for about and hour until it is firm.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chick-un wings and French Onion Soup

Tonight we had delicious chicken wings with golden fries. Yum and yum. Not healthy, but healing. I was feeling like some comfort food. My exciting thing to report however, which has a recipe to go with it, is French Onion Soup! oh my....

I read yesterday that a great way to caramelize onions without the fuss the smell and the labor is to throw a bunch of sliced onions in your crock pot and set it on your porch over low heat all night. Well, one would have to plug in said crock pot for it to work, but thankfully I realized it when I woke up and the onions got going while I was at work. When I came home I made the soup below and it was so delicious I can't even explain it. I thought nothing would top my butternut bisque experience, but boy has it.

Okay, so slice up 4 huge or 6 normal sweet onions (thin) and toss them in your crock pot (I lined mine with parchment to keep it clean-ish) with a tablespoon or two of oil (though it will work without it). Set the crock pot on low and put it outside if you can (the smell is pretty pungent). When the onions are all brown and broken down (8 to 10 hours later) you're ready to get going:

Remove the parchment if you had it in there:

8 cups water
4 tablespoons of vegan chicken or vegan beef broth (I have the later which is preferable)
4 teaspoons dark soy sauce (like mushroom soy sauce)
1 cup burgundy cooking wine

Pour in everything but the wine and stir it around and heat it through (you can turn the crock pot up to high at this point). Taste the broth and make sure it's salty enough for you, if not another teaspoon of soy sauce or 1/2 t of salt should do it.

Add the wine and cook on high for twenty minutes.

In the meantime take some slices of crusty bread and toast them and shred some vegan mozzarella.

Then pour a cup or two of your soup into an oven-safe soup bowl or dish. Top with a few slices of toasted bread, top that with shredded vegan mozza. Broil that baby on high for 5 to 7 minutes (or until your cheese is getting brown at the edges).

Serve and warn everyone not to burn the shit out of their mouths. Delish!

Last night: seitan roll up and smashed potatoes

Last night I attempted to make a faux meat roulade. It was pretty interesting, and took way longer than I thought, but ultimately it was tasty. And it was even better today in a lunch sandwich. In order to do so you make a vital wheat gluten dough and roll it out on a cookie sheet and then you make a veggie cheezy filling and smear that on top. Then you roll that bad boy up, wrap it in heavy duty foil and bake the neck out of it.

To go with it I made my potato standby - which is a bunch of potato chunks boiled and then smashed up with other stuff. I can actually write a recipe for the potatoes however:

Chop up (into small squares) two large potatoes. Put them in a large non-stick skillet and then cover them (just barely) with water. Bring the water to a boil and let the potatoes cook (watching the water level) for about 15 minutes (or until you are able to smash them up with a fork). Drain, rinse and put them into a big bowl.

I usually add chopped green onion and some fresh spinach to my potatoes, but any greens would be good and make this side dish healthier.

Before you add the veggies, put 1 t of salt and tons of fresh ground black pepper in there along with some dairy substitute. I usually put in 1 T of earth balance spread and 1 T of veganaise. I mix this all up, smashing the potatoes really well, before i put in the spinach and the onions. Then I make sure the veggies get heated through as I whip the potatoes.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday Yuba.

Yuba is maybe one of the oddest things I've ever cooked. I'd read about it here, and then went on to learn about it here (those are coincidentally two of the dozen or so vegan food blogs I keep up with). My curiosity piqued, I headed out to the Asian market for more fresh tofu and to find me some yuba. I had to ask, but then was promptly and politely led to not only dried sheets or yuba, but fresh, frozen yuba. I bought both, can't hurt to try both I figured.

I immediately rehydrated a bit of the dried yuba (10 min in a bowl of hot water), then marinated it some chipotle spiked veggie broth, and cooked it until almost crispy (which took a long time) in my trusty cast iron skillet. It was pretty good, but I wanted it crispier for sure.

So on to dinner, I was not done yuba-experimenting. I cooked off a thawed frozen sheet (which, by the by, was seriously a 2 foot round single sheet of the stuff, it was crazy) in white wine and soy sauce for a loooooong time. And then cooked mustard greens (from my garden!) and cremini mushrooms in the same broth (but with ginger and garlic added to it) for a while (until cooked through), piled the yuba back on, spritzed it with some oil and broiled it for probably 15 minutes. The junk just would not get crispy. I think I may be doing something wrong with this yuba. But, I served it anyway with roasted baby bok choy (done simply with some oil and roasted garlic pepper, my new favorite) and when my black rice would NOT cook (terrible turn out, not even CLOSE to cooked after following the directions to the letter), I threw some fresh udon noodles in hot water for 30 seconds and tossed them in my now regionally famous spicy peanut stir-fry sauce (the "region" being my house). I will put the peanut stir-fry sauce recipe below because I've made it enough times to know it and I've honed it from my few favorites. This makes, probably less than a cup, but it's a good coating for two big servings of udon or other pasta. I'd double this for an actual stir fry or a main dish (like a ton of veggies over rice or something).

Erin's Spicy Peanut Spectacular:
1/4 cup almond milk (any non-dairy milk will do probably)
1/4 water (more if you want it thinner once you heat it through on the stove)
3 T peanut butter (I use the smooth, no-stir, but you could use natural, just blend the mix more)
1 t chili garlic sauce (like this)
1 T ground/grated ginger (this stuff is a life saver - see second product down)
1 T molasses
1 T agave (or maple syrup or other sugar sub)
2 t soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
2 t white vinegar
fresh grated black pepper (to taste)
you could also throw in an extra clove of fresh garlic if you're a garlic lover

Toss everything listed in a good blender or food processor and process it for at least a couple of minutes or until completely smooth and light tan in color.

Simmer this over medium low in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan whisking pretty often (more as it starts to thicken) for 6 to 8 minutes. When the consistency is to your liking, dump over anything and it will make it taste better.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday Night's Dinner

Last night was a mixed bag. I tried a South Carolina spicy mustard bbq sauce that was a bit too vinegar-y for me and as luck would have it, I'd run out agave, maple syrup AND sugar all within the previous day or so. Thus, nothing to balance it out, so I kind of had to mix in some other things, let it simmer a long time, and hope in the roasting it would go okay over tofu triangles (mmmm, fresh tofu from the Asian grocery again) and roasted onions and squash. It actually did okay, as in was edible, but I wouldn't make the sauce again.

The side dishes were my two new fave green veggies: baby bok choy and brussel sprouts. It's possible this was too much green for one evening, but we love both, so that's ok. I roasted them too and then tossed them in a lemon pepper-esque dressing that would have been good had I not been so overzealous with my lemon squeezing.

So, lessons learned and new recipes tried.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday is Asian-fun day.

The spring rolls from Saturday night were so good I decided to try some again, but this time stuffed with fresh tofu and veggies from the Asian market and coupled with roasted bok choy and brussel sprouts. First I halved the brussels and the bok choy, tossed them in evoo and salt and pepper and roasted them for about 30 minutes (little more for the brussels, little less for the bok choy) and when finished tossed them in lemon juice and garlic and a little more oil. The stuffing for the spring rolls was fresh tofu in tiny cubes and julienned carrots and cucumber and green onion, all stir fried in Hoison sauce. I added fresh grated green papaya and bean sprouts and spinach leaves to the rolls. We dipped them in a thick, slightly spicy peanut sauce (and also I had a nice sweet and sour sauce on hand to alternate with).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday Night's Dinner

Last night we had a Mexican fiesta, complete with a frozen margarita. I layered spicy refried beans with a taco-seasoned boca crumble bake with onions and peppers, and topped it with my favorite nacho cheeze sauce. I baked that in a round, glass Pyrex for about 20 minutes and then topped it with shredded iceberg and served it with a simple, fresh guacamole and some chipotle cream. We ate it in big scoopfuls on chili lime chips from Garden of Eaten.

Thank god all of the cupcakes are finally gone.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday Night's Dinner

We started with chewy, fresh spring rolls stuffed with lettuce, avocado, and spicy tempeh (a Vegan Dad-ish take off), dipped in the classic sweet hot chili sauce. I also made a baked version of corn fritters that turned out pretty great. While I was cooking them I roasted peppers and onions for our main dish.

For the main course I attemped a traditional Vietnamese dish that is somewhat of an omlette, but the batter is rice flour and coconut milk. Unfortunately I think my attempts to make one giant and deep omlette went awry and the best thing about the finished product was the spicy mayo I made to go on top. I think I'll stick to spring rolls when I'm craving Vietnamese.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A little empanada, is better than nada...

Empanadas are all the fun of a hot pocket (look, it's a meal, in a pocket, and I'm holding it in my hand!) without the trans fat and other sketchy crap they stuff in those things.

Okay, you'll need to find vegan empanada wrappers (or make your own dough, there is a great recipe here), which I happen to have found at my local crazy store (which is what I call this low-budget grocery owned by a Haitian couple who apparently have a thing for random international foods).

So, thaw the wrappers while you're making your filling.

The beauty of the filling is that you can use whatever the heck you want, though I personally find this super easy and really tasty:

You'll need:
1 medium or large onion
1 green or red pepper
1 package of soy crumbles (like Boca) or 8oz. homemade seitan crumbled and pre-cooked in a skillet for about 20 minutes
1 T olive oil
1 T taco or fajita seasoning
cayenne pepper to taste (1/8 t or so)
Soy cheese (I use Teese and I love it so), grated

Dice your onion and put the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion until translucent (5 to 7 minutes), add the pepper and saute another 5 minutes. Add the taco seasoning and cayenne and saute until fragrant (about a minute), add soy crumbles and cook until heated through (about 5 minutes).
When the mixture is done create a work station to stuff and seal your empanadas. You will fill each wrapper in the center with 1-2 T of the mixture and a little grated cheese (less than a T). Then fold the wrapper in half, and press the edges together with a fork. Slice a little v-shape in the top center of the empanada so the insides can steam and breathe while they cook (and so your empanadas don't explode!)

All of your finished empanadas will need to go on a greased baking sheet. Bake the empanadas at 350 for about 20 minutes, check on them half way and rotate your baking sheet. When the dough is golden and the insides start to bubble, they are done!

Now, the other thing they have in common with a hot pocket is that the insides are molten-lava-lose-your-tongues-top-layer hot when they come out of the oven. So let them stand at least 10 minutes. Seriously. Do not bite into one right out of the oven. I know it's hard, but your mouth will thank you.

In that ten minutes you can make a yummy dipping sauce like guacamole or the following, which is super tasty, chipotle cream!

Chipotle Cream

You'll need:
2 chipotles in adobo
2 t of the sauce from the can (or more if you want the sauce spicy)
1/3 box of firm silken tofu (6-9 ounces)
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 t salt
2 cloves of garlic, pressed

Combine all ingredients together in a food processor until very creamy and uniform. Add more adobo sauce from the chipotles in adobo can if you want the dip spicier.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Creamy Pizza Goodness

Alright, take the herbed dough recipe below and then top it with some basil cream (recipe to follow) and your favorite roasted veggies (method to follow) and you will probably find yourself scarfing an entire pizza in one night, but you can just blame me.

Okay, so you've made your dough, you've baked it at 425 for about 7 or 8 minutes already (on your pizza stone if you have one) and now you're ready to top it and finish it. Smear it with basil cream if you like a different take on pizza or your tired of marinara or if the thought of something called basil cream makes you squeal with delight (I fall into all three categories).

Basil Cream

You'll need:
1/3 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup firm silken tofu (like Mori-Nu)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 T olive oil
1 t salt
1 t ground pepper
1 T dijon mustard
1 t onion powder
3 or 4 cloves of garlic (or more if you're me), minced
A huge bunch o' basil (anywhere from 3 to 6 loose cups, chopped)
soy or rice milk to achieve desired consistency, you may not need any

Powder your cashews in a coffee grinder or a really good blender or food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients save for the basil and oil. Blend until creamy and super smooth. Add basil and blend until combined. Drizzle in oil slowly until mixture is uniform and add your soy milk 1 t at a time if you want a thinner sauce (this is recommended for using this as a pasta sauce or a dipping sauce of sorts, but for the pizza topping, thicker is better!)

Smear this mixture of wonderful all over the top of your pizza and then lick your spatula.

In the meantime you should have been roasting vegetables. Whoops, I hope you read the whole recipe first.

In this photo I have chosen red peppers and eggplant because they are super good and go well together and with the basil cream. But seriously, any vegetable will do. Slice whatever your choice is pretty thin, toss lightly in olive oil and less than a teaspoon each of salt and pepper (more salt if roasting eggplant). Put in a baking sheet and roast until brown and ooey and delicious (this varies greatly depending on the vegetable, but I would say 30 to 45 minutes would take care of most things). Watch to not burn the vegetables too badly, this may start to happen after the half hour mark if you roast at 425, which I recommend.

Add your roasted vegetables on top of the basil cream and bake (still at 425 - this recipe is nice because the veggies roast and the pizza bakes all at the same high temperature) for an additional 10-15 minutes (until crust crunchiness is at your desired level, I like mine super crunchy, which means I bake my crust alone for about 10 minutes and then topped for about 15 more).

Slice in half and pretend you'll save the second half for later. Enjoy!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Pizza, pizza!

Funny enough, I never really loved pizza when I wasn't vegan. But now that I am, I perceive that I miss it. So, I've been on a quest to find a great vegan pizza crust recipe and good replacement for shredded cheese. I am happy to report that this week I found immense success!

Yummy (and quick and easy) Pizza Crust:

1 1/4 cup flour (I mix half unbleached all-purpose and half whole wheat)
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon quick-rise yeast (which is about one of those little 90 cent packets you buy at the grocery)
1 teaspoon salt
2 T of oil (I use organic canola)
1-3 T of your favorite dried herbs (I use rosemary, basil, and a little crushed red pepper flake)

Preheat oven 425 degrees.

Mix the yeast with the lukewarm water in a medium sized bowl (all ingredients will eventually go into this single bowl - easy clean up!) until the yeast is dissolved. Let it stand for 3-5 minutes.

Add the salt and oil to the yeast and whisk until mixed.

Add the flour, and mix. Knead the dough a few times to thoroughly mix all ingredients. Form it in a nice little ball and set it on a floured surface.

Roll it out on said lightly floured flat surface with a floured rolling pin (really quite thin if you want the pizza to cook quick). Put it in the oven for 8 minutes.

Take it out, flip it over (I use a spatula so it doesn't rip) and spray a little olive oil on it.

Add toppings, and cook for 15 more minutes (may range from 10 to 20 depending on toppings, keep an eye so your cheese doesn't burn).

If you roll the crust out thin enough the pizza is big enough for two people.

Pizza Topping Idea 1: Italian faux-meaty goodness

1 c of seitan (I use homemade and crumble it, you can use Boca crumbles or some ground beef sub)
1 c rice shreds (amazing melted on pizza!)
2/3 c marinara of your choice (I used some organic spicy basil deal)
1 c sliced/diced veggies of your choice (I use sweet onion, mushroom, and green pepper)

If using homemade seitan start cooking that in a large nonstick skillet over medium high with a little oil coating it first for about 20 minutes (takes a long time to get seitan really cooked through and crunchy). If using store bough seitan you can put crumbles in pan in tandem with veggies in the next step.

Add sliced veggies and sauté over medium to med-low heat until desired softness occurs. Add marinara (and I added some dried oregano and 1 clove or pressed garlic at this point for fun) and heat through, stirring often.

Smear pan of goodness all over pizza crust. Cover with rice shreds. And cook at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Let stand 5 minutes before cutting or eating. It’s hard to resist, but worth the safety of the roof of your mouth!

Pizza Topping Idea 2: Yummy cheesey spread stuff and roasted veggies

1. Slice and roast (at 400 degrees) your favorite veggies lightly sprayed with olive oil (I usually do some combination of peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, and onion - lots of onion!) They will need to roast for probably 20-30 minutes depending on how mushy and soft you like 'em.

2. While your veggies are roasting, blend together 1/2 box Mori Nu Firm Silken Tufu, handful or two of fresh spinach, 5-10 sun dried tomatoes (chopped), 1/2 c favorite nut (I use raw cashews), 12-20 fresh basil leaves (depends on how much you love basil), 1-2 T of oil (if sundried tomatoes were packed in oil, lower the amount), 1/4 c of Nutritional Yeast, 2-4 cloves of garlic).
3. let veggies cool slightly and then chop them up and mix them up.
4. Spread your cheesey-mix from the blender over the par-cooked pizza crust, top with roasted veggie mix up, and dollop any left over cheesey-mix throughout.
5. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Let it cool a bit! The piles of cheesey-goodness will burn off the first three layers of the roof of your precious mouth if you are not very careful. Of course, perhaps you long for that throw-back to your middle of the night pizza parlor burn which case, dig right in!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


With a "z". Mmmm.

Bake 'em up. Slather 'em up. Grill 'em up!

Setian Ribbies (altered recipe from the wonderful Fat Free Vegan blog)

1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (though regular works ok)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini or other nut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with canola oil. Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the water with the nut butter and soy sauce and add it to the dry ingredients. Stir to mix well and then knead lightly in the bowl for a couple of minutes. Make sure the water is cool! Warm water will activate the gluten and make it impossible to work with.

Put the dough into the baking dish and flatten it so that it evenly fills the pan. Take a sharp knife and cut it into 8 strips; then turn the pan and cut those strips in half to form 16 pieces.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Now you can cut the pieces apart completely and either grill them or broil them with bbq slathered on each side. You should be able to either grill them for about 10-minutes per side (medium hot grill) or broil them on low for 5-ish minutes per side. But watch sugar-y sauces the broiler, they are not friends.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

What's more hearty and yummy than a baked, layered, Shepherd's pie? Nothing. Meatless it may seem less Shepherd-ish and more maybe I'll start calling it my Garden Pie...nah, I bet I could get some Shepherd's to eat this.

This takes about an hour and a half, but most of that is boiling potatoes and baking the finished product in the oven, so plan ahead enough to get it done but don't let that prep time scare you off. Serves 6 to 8 - perfect for a dinner party with a bottle of red and a nice salad. Inspired by and stolen from my beautiful cousin Laurie...who never complains about cooking vegan just for me:)

You will need (assume all ingredients I list all of the time are vegan, b/c they are):
2 medium sweet potatoes
3 medium yukon gold potatoes
1/4 cup half n' half or soy milk
2 T margarine
1 bag Boca vegan crumbles
1 T dijon mustard
1 c veggie stock
1/2 c white wine
1-2 c carrots
1 can of peas (or bag of frozen peas)
1 c corn
2 cloves smashed garlic
2 t chopped thyme
1 t chopped rosemary
1/2 t cinnamon
pinch of allspice
pinch of nutmeg
course salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Peel, dice, and boil yukon potatoes in a large pot of water with a pinch of salt until soft and translucent (about 30 minutes). Gently mash by hand in large bowl with margarine, soy milk, nutmeg, salt, and pepper (adjust seasonings to taste).

Peel, dice, and boil sweet potatoes in a separate pot until soft (drain and set aside to be added to filling for later).

While your potatoes are boiling you can put together the filling:
In a large skillet over medium heat cook the carrots and the corn with the soy crumbles in a splash of evoo or another t of margarine. Add garlic and cinnamon to the mixture after about 3 minutes and sautee for another 5 minutes.

Add the white wine to deglaze your pan, stir for 2 minutes and then add the mustard, thyme, rosemary, and veggie stock. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to simmer, season with additional salt and pepper if desired and put a cover on. Simmer while covered for 10-20 minutes (watch the softness of the veggies). Remove from heat and add peas and sweet potatoes (and corn or carrots if they were canned and not fresh).

Spread filling in a medium sized glass baking dish, spoon yukonpotato mixture on top and spread with spatula to cover filling mixture. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes (until top is golden brown).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Me and Garfield.

I have been eating, just not posting. Actually, between the GRE and a 25-page research paper on nutrition, I actually haven't been cooking. But, with only two weeks left of school and a summer of chowing to think about - I am getting back into the groove here.

So, watch one of my favorite comedians do his Garfield bit:

And then go make this lasagna while you laugh and laugh (it's super easy and super tasty - adapted from fatfreevegan):

1/2 lb sliced mushrooms (I like to mix buttons and shitake)
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 T water
2 large jars of marinara of your choice (about 50 ounces)
9 lasanga noodles (regular kind, uncooked, whole wheat is great)
half a can of slived black olives

And for the filling:
box (10 oz) frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
1 lb (box) extra firm tofu (drained and pressed)
1 t salt
2 T nutritional yeast
2 t oregano
1 t basil (or a few fresh leaves, chopped)
1 t rosemary
cayenne pepper to taste (about 1/4 t)

Preheat the oven to 375.

Sautee your mushrooms with the pressed garlic over medium heat in the water under they are tender, remove from heat and add them to the marinara.

Mash the tofu and the spinach together in a big bowl with your hands (the tofu becomes the consistency of ricotta - how fun!) Add the remaining ingredients and mash until well blended.

Spread half the red sauce in the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish. Place a layer of noddles on top of that, spread half the tofu mix over that. Put a few more noodles on top, spread the rest of your tofu mixture, and then pour the remaining red sauce over this.

Cover with foil, bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, bake for another 30 minutes. Should be all done. Sprinkle with vegan parm if you like (totally optional), and the sliced black olives. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had to make four batches of chocolate chip cookies to get these just right. I can't stress how wonderful it is to get a great vegan cookie using no soy product (I started the endeavor for a friend who is intersted in veganism but scared because she is allergic to soy). Hence, the perfect vegean soy-free chocolate chip cookie:

2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp.salt
chocolate chips (as many as you like - I did vegan organic semi-sweet chips, about a cup)
1 cup raw sugar (turbinado #1, sucanat works too but sucks up a lot of the moisture)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water

VERY IMPORTANT-make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. I can't stress this enough!

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt. Add chips. Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a medium size bowl mix vegan sugar and oil. Mix it well. Add the vanilla and then add the water. Mix it well. Add the wet to the well in the dry. Mix it well but be careful not to overwork it. Add more chips if you need to. Scoop out the admittedly crumbly and hard to work with batter and shape it into balls and smoosh them on a greased cookie sheet (you'll see what I mean when you try it).

Bake for 5 minutes and then rotate and bake them for 5-7 more.

The cookies are done when they seem a little bit softer then you want them to be (they are pale compared to what you are used to and look slighly undercooked when they are actually done - I only cook mine 11 minutes total). They will harden up some as they cool.

Makes about two dozen, takes about 20 minutes!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tea Time.

These lemon tea cookies are tart and will make you pucker as you try to smile and say, "Oh my! It's vegan?" They are delish. Best baked good I've made post-veganizing my life. Also super easy and quick. Why aren't you preheating your oven already??

Lemon Tea Cookies

2 teaspoons lemon juice (really, really needs to be fresh)
1/2 cup soy milk (I use lite Vitasoy)
1 3/4 cups flour (I use 1/2 unbleached white and 1/2 whole wheat pastry)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soy butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 tablespoon flax seed combined with 3 tablespoons water (GREAT binding agent, I used milled flaxseed for this, instead of crushing seeds myself)
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (or a little more if you're a lemonhead like me)
1/2 to 3/4 c sugar (can reduce sugar and add applesauce or banana to sweeten if you'd like, I use 1/2 c of turbinado and no additional sweetner)

Lemon glaze:
1/2 (overflowing) cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350.
Stir 2 teaspoons lemon juice into soymilk and set aside.
Stir together the flax seed and water and set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat soy butter for 30 seconds (it's better to have the margarine set out and kind of room temp-ish, but not necessary, have faith), then add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add flax mixture and lemon rind; beat well.

Stir in the dry ingredients and soymilk mixture alternately to the margarine/sugar mixture.

Drop from a teaspoon (seriously, just a teaspoon, trust me) onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Remove at once onto a wire rack.

While baking, mix together the lemon glaze to be brushed on the cookies while cooling.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies. I dare you not to eat them all.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Aloha Bread.

Doesn't the name just sound coconuty-sweet and breezy? Well, it is.

I adapted the recipe from Joanne's cookbook (born from her blog Yellow Rose Recipes - cookbook is of the same name).

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease and/or flour a bread pan (loaf pan).

In a small bowl mix the following together and set to the side:
1 mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup of natural applesauce (i went to about 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup plain soy yogurt

In a medium bowl sift together the following and set aside
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated fresh nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

In the largest bowl mix the following (just blend together slightly, with a wooden spoon):
1/2 c sugar
2 Tbsp mollasses
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 Tbsp pineapple juice (from a can of crushed pineapple - no sugar added)

Add STEP 1 ingredients to STEP 3 and mix lightly. Then add STEP 2 dry ingredients in batches (in three or four of them) and just fold it into the wet ingredients. Be very careful not to overmix.

Finally, add:
1/2 c crushed pineapple (drained)
1 c coconut flakes (sweet or unsweet - up to you)

Mix until just turned in to batter.

Pour batter into loaf pan (is pretty thick, you may need to force it to fill pan with your hand or a greased spatula).

Cook on lower rack for 25 minutes. Pull out, rotate 180 degrees, put on top rack, and cook for 10 to 15 more minutes (until a fork comes out clean when iserted in the center).

Cool on a rack (out of pan) for 3 or 4 hours before slicing and enjoying!

Drink it with a glass of almond milk and listen to the waves crash on the sandy shore.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Raw Onion Bread.

Raw onion bread happens to be vegan, though it's more of a raw-foodie thing than a vegan thing. But, I love it. And I even bought a dehydrator to make it in. I first had this at Grass Root (fave restaurant ever!) And since it’s leap year I thought I’d do a special post. Adapted from Gone Raw's recipe. So here it goes:

2 large sweet onions (can use yellow or Spanish, but they are too strong for me)
2 cups of milled or crushed seeds (any combination of flax seed, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed – or really any other nut or seed) I use 1 c golden flax and 1 c sunflower (both raw and processed into a fine powder in my coffee grinder)
1/4 c cold pressed oil of your choice
1/4 c cold water
2 T soy sauce (or Braggs Liquid Aminos)
Spices (optional – I grind some fresh pepper and sometimes add oregano or rosemary – just a T or so)

Chop the onions in a food processor (the more you process them the harder the batter is to work with but the more malleable the finished “bread” will be).
Grind your seeds up (a very dry blender works okay, but a coffee grinder is seriously worth the 19 bucks if you do this more than a couple of times).
Mix everything with a hard big spatula in a big mixing bowl.
Spread onto a few levels of a dehydrator (I have a cheap-o round American Harvest and I only have one tray with a liner – so I line two more trays with wax paper and lightly oil it and this works fine).
Dehydrate at 100 degrees for 24 hours. Yes, it is supposed to make your house smell like one big fried onion. I think it’s lovely. Some people don’t.
After 24 hours you can flip the bread over (peel the wax paper off those layers if you have a dehydrator like mine) and then dehydrate as many more hours as you need to get the consistency you are looking for. I generally only do it for another 6 or 8 hours…but if you want a more cracker-like finished product it may take up to 48 hours.

Delish as sandwich bread with hummus and avocado and tomato and sprouts. It’s really amazing. If you happen to have a dehydrator or don’t mind dropped 50 bucks, it’s so worth making!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Eiiichiwawa Enchiladas!

I love Mexican food. No, I really, really do. Guacamole is my favorite food. Ever. When asked questions such as, "What's your favorite food?" or "What would your last meal be?" or "What's your specialty?” my answer is always guacamole. So, I like to find things to plop guacamole on – enter, enchiladas.

Now, I am not an enchilada fan. It is, perhaps, the only Mexican foodstuff I have not drooled over or savored in my life. But, as a vegan I am in to adapting recipes and trying new things and forgetting old food grudges. So, I thought I’d give the ol’ enchilada one more try. The thing is, what I really don’t like, is enchilada sauce. So, I figured making my own green (tomatillo-based) sauce would solve the problem. And boy did it ever! This recipes makes two big pans, keep one to eat all week and take one to someone you love.

This only takes about 45 minutes if you used canned enchilada sauce – which you certainly may, just skip the whole “make the sauce part” below. Otherwise it takes about 15 minutes to prep the sauce, but a half hour to cool it (during which time you make the enchiladas), bringing the total cool time to a little over an hour realistically.

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Tomatillo sauce (make this first):
1 pound (about 10) peeled (take off skin) and washed tomatillos, cut in quarters
1 medium white onion coarsely chopped.
1/4 cup olive oil
4 pressed garlic cloves (or 2 -3 teaspoons garlic powder)
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon mild chili powder (or to taste)
1 can diced green chilies -- (4 oz)
3 cups veggie broth
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan, place the olive oil, onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add the broth, tomatillos, cumin, chili powder and green chilies and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, continue cooking until the tomatillos are soft. Cool until room temperature. At this point, you may refrigerate sauce for later or freeze. When ready, process sauce until smooth in a blender or food processor.

While the sauce is cooling move on to the enchiladas:
8 oz. of chicken substitute (use homemade seitan or buy strips like Quorn and Morningstar make)
1 big or 2 smallish poblano chilies peeled and diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
1 15 oz. can corn, or small bag frozen
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes , or 1-2 c fresh diced
1 T ground cumin
1 t oregano leaf
1-2 c (depending on how much dairy you like) of sour cream alternative (I make my own)
1-2 T chipotle in adobo, pureed or mashed (or sub with 2 t of chipotle powder)
2 c of the tomatillo sauce you made (don’t forget to process/blend it up first)
A bunch of 6" corn tortillas (depending on if you are going to actually make two pans of this stuff – you’ll need anywhere from 8 to 20)


1. Thaw chicken product if it’s frozen, or heat homemade seitan if using it – then set aside.

2. Drain canned corn or thaw frozen. Toss corn, onion and diced zucchini and diced Pablano pepper with a very small amount of oil (just enough to barely coat veggies), broil or roast in oven at 500 degrees until onions start to brown. This takes probably 20 minutes. Turn oven DOWN to 350 when you’re done.

3. Mix chicken sub and all roasted veggies with drained tomatoes, cumin, cilantro, beans, cumin, oregano, chipotle and salt to taste. At this point you could just leave out the "sour cream" if you have none or want a healthier version of these enchiladas. Otherwise, add that in as well.

4. Heat up a very small amount of oil in a pan and quickly saute each side of the corn tortillas, just heating through. If you do not want the added oil, you could just cover the tortillas with a damp paper towel and put them in the microwave.

5. Dip the tortillas in the enchilada sauce, fill them with the stuffing, roll ‘em up and put them in a lightly oiled pan. Top with more sauce (and with vegan shredded cheese or an un-cheese mix, which is what I do, if desired). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

6. Top with some chopped fresh cilantro, sliced green onion, shredded vegan cheese, and more sour cream sub if desired. All optional. And of course, plop on the guacamole.

More delicious the second the third day re-heated.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Perfect Guacamole.

Perfect guac is about one thing and one thing only – perfectly ripe avocados. The rest is up to your liking…and here’s what I put in mine. People like it, you will to.

2 perfectly ripe avocados (reserve one pit) peeled and diced (you know it’s ripe if the skin is nearing black and it gives just slightly when you press on the outside – too much and it’s already bitter and stringy inside – gross)
1 c great chopped tomato (finding a good tomato in Florida is laughable – but I buy ugly ripe and they’re pretty good)
¼ to ½ c chopped white onion (or red or white – up to you)
Juice from one small lime or half a large lime
1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 t salt
1 t fresh ground pepper
1 t chili powder (maybe a little more)
1 jalapeno seeded (careful – wear gloves) and finely chopped (only if you want the guac hot – I usually don’t have one on hand and thus leave this out)

Ironically (considering my LOVE of all things Mexican), I am not a huge cilantro fan, so I leave it out. But a T chopped would be nice. And many folks like creamy guac, and sometimes so do I, in which case I add a T of vegannaise or a T of faux sour cream.

Eat with a spoon, or heap on enchiladas, or buy salty chips and order a margarita…and I could go on forever.

And, if you happen to have any left over, take that pit I had you reserve and stick it down in the guac before sealing it and sticking it in the fridge - this will keep it from going brown and getting yucky too fast. Or, if you ate it all, try to grow a guacamole plant or something:)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Tomorrow night I am making my seitan stroganoff for friends. I am not sure if their three-year-old will like it, but I think mom and dad will. I have probably produced this dish half a dozen times in the last two months. It's hearty and warm and tastes bad for you (when it's good for you) and meat-eaters think it's yumola. So here is the recipe and how-to for Seitan Stroganoff (adapted from The Post Punk Kitchen's recipe).

1/2 pound wide noodles (like fettuccini broken in half), prepared according to package directions.

3 c seitan (for first timers I suggest store bought, but making your own is fun if you have the time and tastes better; my seitan recipe is here)

2 tablespoons +1 teaspoon olive oil
1 c shallots (4 or 5 of them) sliced thin
2 med sweet onions, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 c button or babe bella mushrooms, thinly sliced (feel free to mix in other kinds)
2 or 3 Portobello caps, thinly sliced (depends on how mushroom-y you want this)
1 c burgundy cooking wine (or 1 c of a dry-ish cheap red wine)
2 c cold water
2 T corn starch (or arrowroot or potato starch)
2 T fresh thyme, chopped up (or about 2 t dried thyme)
1 T hungarian paprika
2 t salt
1/2 c nutritional yeast flakes (this is optional but makes is nutty-cheesy and better for you)
2 t dijon mustard (like Gray Poupon)
1/2 c plain soy milk (I use Lite Vitasoy)
1 c peas (canned or frozen are fine)

Dissolve the cornstarch in the 2 cups of water and set aside.

Heat olive oil in skillet over med-high heat. Add the shallots and onions, sauté for 5 to 8 minutes (until clearish). Add garlic, mushrooms and thyme. Sauté for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet with 1 teaspoon olive oil, just to coat it. Add the seitan and sauté over medium heat about 25 minutes, until it is dark brown and crispy on the outside. If you are using store-bought seitan you need only cook it for 10 minutes (so you then don’t need to start cooking it until after STEP 4).

Back to the sauce: add salt, wine and paprika. Turn heat up high to reduce the liquid, about 10 minutes.

Lower heat to med-high, add the water that has the cornstarch dissolved in it, stir well and let sauce thicken, about 5 minutes. Add nutritional yeast and mix well until it is completely dissolved (this happens quickly). Turn the heat to low and then add soymilk and mustard (be SURE the liquid isn’t boiling before you add these two because the milk and mustard will get bitter if the heat is too high). Add seitan and peas, cook for 10 more minutes.

Pour the yummy sauce over the noodles in a big casserole or single serve bowls and enjoy! I serve this with a nice red zin and a loaf of vegan bread for dipping!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Seitan is Satan - but it's oh so good!

So I finally figured out seitan and it's really not that hard to make (you do, however, have to be aware of how humidity in your area - I live in FL - might affect the outcome). If you really want chicken-like fake meat, or if you really want dishes where a fake meat is the main ingredient to take terrific, making your own seitan is the way to go. It stores well so make it ahead of time to save yourself a marathon session in the kitch.

For the batter:
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 cup very cold water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste (or 2 T ketchup if that's easier)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the broth:
10 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
Feel free to optionally add sprigs of fresh herbs if you'd like (rosemary or thyme perhaps)

In a large bowl, mix together Vital Wheat Gluten Flour and nutritional yeast flakes.

In a separate bowl, mix together remaining batter ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine with a firm spatula, knead dough for about 3 minutes until a spongy, elastic dough is formed. Let dough rest for a couple of minutes and prepare your broth, but don't start boiling it.

Now roll your dough into large meatball-size pieces (probably should make 8-12). Once you have all the meatballs, flatten them out (like little pancakes) – they cook better this way.

Place all the pancake-shaped pieces in the broth. It is important that the water/broth be very cold when you add the dough so it doesn't fall apart. Partially cover the pot (leave a little space for steam to escape) and bring to a boil.

As soon as the water has come to a boil (be careful to watch it) set the heat to low and gently simmer for an hour, turning the pieces over a few times throughout the hour.

Now you've got gluten. Let it cool in the simmering broth for at least a half an hour. It is best if it cools completely.

What you do next depends on the recipe you are using. If it calls for gluten use it as is. If you want to store some of it for later use put it in a sealable container covered in the simmering broth.

If your recipe calls for seitan coat the bottom of a skillet (cast iron if you have it) with about 1 teaspoon of light olive oil. Heat the skillet over medium high and add your gluten. Cook for about 20 minutes, turning the pieces occasionally.

You can now slice this seitan or crumble it. Whatever kind of meat you are trying to mimic will likely dictate how you prepare it when you re-heat it in a recipe.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Seitan is Satan and other notes from the kitchen.

First thing's first: Seitan wings are ahhhh-mazing!

Friday night, following the recipe posted just previous to this entry, I attempted to replicate a meat-eater favorite, spicy wings with celery and dip. They were amazing! Honestly, crispy and spicy and yummy! The wing sauce was great, the tofu ranch was great, the crispy cold celery was the perfect compliment! I can't recommend giving that recipe a go enough. It's well worth the little effort (and it's really not a lot of effort.

Next up: faking out my mother with Seitan Stroganoff.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tonight: chick-un wings; Tomorrow: seitan

One thing I actually really, really miss (don't tell) is chicken wings. I don't miss the gnawing on the bone of a chicken bit. But, I do miss the spicy, sweet ooey gooey-ness of a little chewy morsel smothered in wing sauce dipped in ranch and finished with finger-licking. Yum. So, tonight I am going to attempt seitan chicken wings with tofu ranch. Super vegan, super healthy (well, comparatively!)

It will be a combination of a number of recipes. I will post my recipe now (ever the optimist) and the results tomorrow!

Tasty Seitan Wings:
One 8oz package of store bought seitan
1/3 c. plain soymilk (vitasoy)
1/3 c. whole wheat flour (to be healthy)
1/2 t. salt
2 t. dried thyme
1 t. paprika (might go with smoked)
1 t. fresh ground pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
2/3 c. Panko bread crumbs (the big Japanese ones)

1/3 Earth Balance Margarine (or any vegan margarine)
2/3 c. Frank's Hot Sauce (if you can't get Frank's or want to make your own try 1/4 c. tomato sauce, 1 1/2 T. chili powder, 1 t. cayenne pepper)

Tofu Ranch:
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
1 package of extra firm silken tofu (10.5 oz like mori-nu)
1 T canola oil (evoo will work in a pinch)
2 t fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 t apple cider vinegar
1 t sweetener (maple syrup, agave nectar, sugar substitute of your choice)
1/2 t salt

Directions: food process all of the above until creamy and delicious.

Add crisp cold celery sticks and extra hot sauce on the side for a true Wing experience!

This better be as good as I think it is going to be. I just drooled on myself.

Tomorrow I am making dinner for a vegan friend and semi-vegetarian friend. All vegan of course! The dish is from Isa Chandra (of PPK and Vegan with a Vengence fame) and is called Seitan Portobello Stroganoff. I am making the seitan from scratch. I will post the recipes and my experience with them this weekend!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Eating healthy, eating vegetarian, eating's all been easier than I thought. The key is to be adventurous and not be afraid to cook, really cook, with fun things like mustard seeds and fresh rosemary and fennel bulbs.

You don't have to be a vegan to be healthy and you aren’t necessarily healthy if you are a vegan, but I do think the two things go hand-in-hand very nicely. So whether you're interested in dropping twenty or saving a few cows, this is the place for you. Because, I've done both. Actually, I've dropped over a hundred pounds and saved a whole lot of cows I'd guess.

When I was 14 I went out for hamburgers with my friends after school. I ordered a grilled cheese and they balked. I explained that eating animals felt...strange. I think this had something to do with the puppy I’d gotten for Christmas.

Last year, when I turned 29, I started researching the farming industry in the United States. If you've ever undergone the horror that is reading about the living conditions of pregnant pigs...well, you can understand why I no longer eat animals.

In the years in between I went through stages. I'd eat fish and make sure people knew I was not a "real" vegetarian, but also made sure they knew I did not eat any other animals. I'd each chicken, but claim it was because I needed protein in my diet. I'd have a bite of steak, but only if absolutely no one was watching.

Today, nearly 30 years old, I’m all in. I am simply not willing to contribute to horrific suffering so that I can have bacon with my eggs and turkey on my sandwich. And, frankly, the healthiest times in my life have been when I'm eating the most fruits and vegetables and passing on the sour cream as it comes around the table. I know too much to be anything but animal-free.

I will make mistakes. I will probably cook things that taste terrible. But hopefully I learn a few things and feel good about myself along the way.