Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The most fabulous Thai Pizza...and pretty delish veggie pot pie too!

Thai Pizza (Source: adapted from Eat Drink and Be Vegan)
2/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup ketchup
2 T rice vinegar
2 T soy sauce
2 large cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 T fresh chopped ginger
1/4 t crushed red pepper (used a lot more than that!)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 T additional coconut milk
1 pizza crust
5 green onion stalks, chopped (I cooked these first as I can't eat raw ones)
2/3 cup bean sprouts
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup peanuts

Combine sauce ingredients (peanut butter through coconut milk)in blender until smooth. Spread over pizza crust (I didn't bake my crust first but if you want a crisper crust, I would recommend baking for 5-10 min prior to toppings and final baking). Sprinkle remaining ingredients on top of sauce. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min or until crust is browned.

Primavera Potpies (Source: Adaptable Feast - once again, a pretty modified version. I added and deleted several things so this is only kind of like the original!)
Pie Crust: (this is my family recipe rather than the one used in the book)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I love the Jungle brand though Whole Foods has stopped carrying it. Going to look online as it is far superior to any other non-hydrogenated shortening I have tried)
4-5 T water
Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening. Add water until dough forms. Don't add too much or dough will be too sticky.
1/2 cup flour
4 cups vegetable stock (I used Better than Boullion Faux Chicken which I think tastes more like veg stock than chicken stock - worked well)
2 T olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 t minced garlic
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup lima beans
1 t faux chicken boullion (for added flavor)
salt and pepper to taste

Put flour in a small bowl and whisk in 1 cup veg broth. Set aside. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat Add onion, garlic, carrots, and potato. Cook for about 10 min, adding a small amount of broth if necessary to keep from sticking. Add remaining stock, celery, lima beans and mushrooms and simmer for 2-3 min. Add flour/broth mixture and stir. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender. Ladle filling mixture into invidual oven-proof bowls or dishes or into one large casserole dish. (I made individual ones for my family as we have different veggie likes. This worked out perfectly to provide taste-delights for everyone!). Top each pie with prepared pie crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 min or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Enjoy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bok Choy with Ume Vinaigrette, Black-eyed Pea Croquettes, Sauteed Zucchini, and Herb Focaccia
I was so excited to try these croquettes (The Kind Diet) as I have heard lots of good things about them. My hubby liked them quite well but I really wasn't a big fan. I don't know if it was the flavor of beans that haven't been cooked (they were simply soaked before frying the croquettes) or some other hidden taste but I just wasn't fond of them. The bok choy (The Kind Diet) was a nice change but I probably wouldn't make it again either. I much prefer eating bok choy in a combination recipe rather than on it's own - a bit too wilty to me! The Focaccia is the same recipe as the one posted previously - just without the tomatoes.
Creamy Rice and Veggies
This was a thrown together meal made entirely of leftover bits and pieces. I had a small amount of sauce left over from the "Chicken" Divan (see recipe for sauce), some leftover veggies and a few fresh ones too (red pepper, bok choy, mushrooms), and some brown rice. I simply combined all of these ingredients, heated, and served. Very delicious!
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. sugar
1 tbsp. shredded lemon peel
2 tsp. baking powder
Substitute for 1 egg
3/4 c. almond milk
1/4 c. oil
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
1 tbsp. plus 1 t lemon juice
Grease bottom of muffin tins. In large bowl stir together flour, sugar, lemon peel, baking powder and poppy seed. In small bowl combine egg whites, milk, oil, lemon juice and lemon extract. Add to flour mixture until just moistened. Pour batter into this. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Chana Samosas - Okay so I was really excited about these little parcels. We love Indian food and I made a batch of spicy Masoor Dal to go along with them for a delicious after-church lunch on Sunday. The samosas were quote a bit of work but I was sure it would be worth the time (and the calories as they are fried). I was sadly disappointed. They had very little flavor and needed a ton of salt. They might have been okay had I added salt to the filling - trying to salt them after cooking didn't work well as the salt granules fell off the pastry and didn't make much difference. I won't bother adding the recipe as I wasn't impressed and won't make them again. If you are dying to give them a go, the recipe can be found in Vegan Yum Yum :-)
I didn't take a picture of the Masoor Dal as it was not pretty at all! It tasted really good though - it did need more salt. I would have added at least another teaspoon.

MASOOR DAL RECIPE (IndianFoodForever.com)
2 cups masoor dal
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 onions, chopped
1 head garlic, separated, chopped
1 (1-inch piece) ginger root, chopped
2 jalapeno chiles, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch coriander, chopped

Rinse massor dhal thoroughly, until water is clear. In pot bring 1 quart water to boil. Add massor daal.
Cook half way, about 10 to 15 minutes, add 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and salt. As massor dhal cooks, uncovered, water will evaporate and mixture will thicken.
Add more water to keep dal loose, like texture of thick cream. When dal is soft, turn off heat. Heat oil in wok. When oil is very hot, add onions and cook until tender and translucent but not browned.
Add garlic, ginger and chiles. Continue to fry until onions are deep-yellow. Add remaining 1 teaspoon each garam masala and turmeric.
Do not allow spices to burn. Keep stirring until mixture starts to stick. Add tomatoes and cilantro. Cook until tomato softens.
Pour in pot of masoor dal and simmer to blend flavors. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

More veganizing of old favorites

A couple of new additions. I got a little more adventurous this week and made two family favorites - this time in a veganized fashion! Kinda tricky but both turned out pretty yummy. Not exactly the same flavors but pretty good none-the-less and very good stand-ins I think. First pic is the veganized Chicken Divan (creamy broccoli and chicken casserole topped with cheese) made with Gardein Scallopini and the second pic is the veganized "Fo Fars" (meat pastries) made with Gardein steak

Vegan "Chicken" Divan
(this makes a small casserole dish - if you are having company, I would suggest doubling the recipe)
1/4 cup vegan butter
1/8 cup flour
1 3/4 cups faux chicken broth
1/2 cup cashew cream
1 t curry powder
1/2 cup Veganaise
2 t olive oil
2 Gardein Scallopini fillets
1 1/2 cups blanched broccoli spears
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 T vegan butter
1/2 t salt
1 t curry powder
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour to form paste. Slowly whisk in the broth, being careful not to let lumps form. Stir until smooth and bubbly. Add cashew cream and curry powder, stirring to incorporate. Remove from heat and stir in Veganaise. Set aside. Cut scallopini fillets into bite-sized pieces. Heat skillet and add olive oil. Add scallopini and cook until browned. Coat small casserole dish (8x8 would work but if you have a bit smaller dish, it will fit a tad better - I used a 4x8) with cooking spray. Cover bottom of dish with broccoli. Top with scallopini. Pour sauce evenly over broccoli and scallopini. Melt remaining butter. Add bread crumbs, salt and curry powder. Sprinkle mixture over casserole. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 min or until casserole is lightly browned and bubbly. Serve over rice.

Fo Fars
Pastry crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup vegan shortening
4-5 T cold water
Stir together flour and salt. Cut in shortening until crumbs form. Add water one tablespoon at a time until dough sticks together. Form 8 balls of dough. Roll out each ball into a circle. Set aside.
1 package Gardein Steak Tips, chopped into small pieces
2 t olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 t sea salt
1 t freshly ground pepper
In a skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. Add onion and cook for 3 min. Add Gardein. Cook until Gardein is browned (about 5 min). Add salt and pepper. Evenly distribute mixture among rolled pastry rounds. Fold pastry rounds in half and pinch sides to seal. Place pastries on cooking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake 10-15 min in 350 degree oven until lightly browned.
Growing up, my dad and sister and I liked to dip our fo fars in ketchup (I know, sounds dreadful!!!). It really was tasty. My husband decided to try a mixture of A1 and ketchup to dip these tasty parcels in - I am afraid we have found a new favorite condiment for them! As odd as it sounds, this sauce really tastes fabulous on them!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lemon Scones With Clotted "Cream", Tahini Noodles and Veggies, Rice Island Casserole, and Chickpea Fritters

The lemon scones were quite tasty - I didn't think the clotted cream added a whole lot to be honest! I used black raspberry jam from the farmers market instead of fresh berries because I didn't have any berries!

Lemon Maple Scones with Clotted Cream
Makes 12-15 2″ Scones
2 Cups All- Purpose Flour
2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/3 Cup Earth Balance Margarine
3 Tbs Maple Syrup (or regular sugar)
1/2 Cup Soymilk
2 Tbs Lemon Juice
Clotted Cream
4 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine
4 Tbs Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
2 Tbs Powdered Sugar
Whisk the ingredients for the clotted cream together. It takes some elbow grease, but it will soon be a thick, smooth cream. Let it sit out to soften a little if needed to ease mixing. Set aside at room temperature; refrigerating will make the cream stiffer.
Preheat oven to 400º F.
Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl (flour through zest). Mix the wet ingredients together (syrup, soymilk and lemon juice). Using a pastry cutter or a fork, blend the Earth Balance into the dry ingredients until there are no chunks of margarine left and the mixture looks like damp sand.
Pour in the wet ingredients and mix with your hands to form a soft dough. Only mix until just combined, adding more flour if the mixture is too wet. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and roll out to a slab 3/4″ thick. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass with about a 2″ diameter, cut out your scones. Press the scraps of dough together, roll out again, and continue cutting scones until you’ve used up your dough.
Transfer scones to a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper, or a non-stick mat. Brush the tops with a mixture of soymilk, powdered sugar and lemon juice.
Bake at 400º F for 12-15 minutes. If the scones aren’t lightly brown after 15 minutes, transfer to the broiler for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully, to brown the tops if desired. Remove to a cooling rack.
While still warm, split and slather each side with clotted cream. Add berries or jam to the top and serve with your favorite tea.

I used penne instead of spaghetti for this dish. I also blanched my veggies because I am not all that fond of raw veggies in pasta. A pretty yummy dish, creamy and nutty.

Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles
Serves 4 to 6
1/2 lb Whole Wheat Spaghetti, cooked, rinsed in cold water, drained
2 Carrots, peeled and shredded
1/4 Green Cabbage Head, shredded
1 Stalk Broccoli, florets only, cut very small
A Handful Fresh Mint, chopped, optional (cilantro or basil would be good, too)
Sesame Seeds and More Mint, for garnish
Tahini Sauce
1/4 Cup Tahini, see section above
2 Tbs Low Sodium Tamari, or nama shoyu, or regular soy sauce
3 Tbs Water
1 Tbs Sugar, or raw agave nectar
1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
1 tsp Chili Sauce or 1 Chopped Fresh Chili
1 tsp Dijon or Stone-ground Mustard
1 Pinch Salt, if needed
Lots of Fresh Black Pepper
Cook the noodles and rinse under cold water. Drain and set aside, coating lightly with oil if desired to prevent the noodles from sticking. These can be made well in advance.
Cut your cabbage into quarters, then use a large chef’s knife to remove the core from one of the quarters, as shown at left. Discard the core, and wrap up the other three quarters for later use.
If you have a food processor, use it to shred your carrots and your cabbage. Use the shredder blade that has many holes for the carrots, and the blade that has one single slit for the cabbage. A box grater will work just fine for the carrots and a knife for the cabbage if a food processor is not available.
Chop the broccoli into small florets, creating pieces no bigger than small grapes. Toss all the veggies together and add the pasta. Stir together the sauce, tasting to adjust if needed.
When you’re ready to serve, add the sauce to the noodles and veggies and toss with your hands, coating everything evenly. Add chopped mint at the last moment, if using. Garnish with more mint and sesame seeds.

This rice dish was surprisingly yummy! I wanted to try a rice dish that was different but wasn't sure if we would like it. Nice surprise! I made a sauce to top it with which I think was essential to it's yummyness!

Rice Island Casserole (Source: Vegan on the Cheap)
1 T canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 large shredded carrot
1 cup long grain brown rice
2 T soy sauce
1 t ground cumin
3/4 t dried thyme
1/2 t ground allspice
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 cups veg broth
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly coat 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic, green onions, and carrot. Cook for about 1 min. Stir in rice, soy sauce, cumin, thyme, allspice, salt,a nd pepper. Stir in stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 10 min to soften rice and blend the flavors. Add pineapple and coconut - stir to incorporate. Transfer mixture to baking dish and cover. Bake unitl rice is tender - about 1 hour.

Special Sauce
1/2 cup all-fruit apricot jam
1/2 cup orange marmalade (I had some that my mom made)
2 t garam masala
1 t curry powder
Stir all ingredients together and serve over casserole.

Chickpea Fritters
These closely resembled vegetable pakoras (without the veggies!)sometimes served at Indian restuarants. They were quite tasty and were really good served with some of the leftover "Special Sauce" listed above.

Crispy Chickpea Fritters (Source: Clean Food)
2 cups chickpea flour
3 cups water
1 T coarse sea salt
1 grated carrot
1 T dried minced onion
2 T minced fresh rosemary
2 T olive oil
Olive oil for frying

In a large pot over no heat, combine flour, water, salt, onion, carrot, rosemary and olive oil. Whisking continuously, turn heat to medium and continue to whisk until mixture becomes quite thick (about 15 min). Remove from heat and either whisk by hand or with a handheld blender to smooth out any lumps (I just did it by hand without any trouble). Oil a 9x13 inch glass casserole dish and spread mixture evenly across bottom. Cool slightly , cover and refridgerate until firm (about 2 hrs). Remove from fridge and cut into thin strips and gently remove strips from dish. Heat oil in skillet over med-high heat. Fry strips until golden on each side (2-3 min per side). Place on a plate covered with paper towels. Keep warm in oven if desired until all fritters are done.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Breakfast Burritos, Southwestern Soup and Kung Pao Tofu and Veggies

After an afternoon of swimming, we got home too late for me to spend a bunch of time on cooking and I hadn't been grocery shopping in over a week so my fridge contents were extremely limited. I had a tad of tempeh bacon left in the freezer, some roasted potatoes from another meal and some yummy tortillas on hand so I decided to create some breakfast burritos...for dinner. I cooked the tempeh bacon until very crisp, put it in a warm tortilla, topped it with the heated potatoes, sprinkled a small amount of Daiya cheddar on it and poured on some bottled salsa. It was pretty good and very easy! Fakin bakin does have a place - just have to cook it right!!

Yesterday was a bit of a dreary day so I thought soup would be in order - especially since I needed to make a couple meals for people at church and soup is a great meal to share. I had some fresh chard from my garden and everything else on hand so I whipped up this simple soup for lunch. It was very mild in flavor but made for a nice light lunch along with salad and bread. It was vey easy to make.

Ok so after a light lunch of soup and salad, my hubby was ready for a filling dinner after working all day long on some home projects. I finally went grocery shopping yesterday so my fridge was full of fresh veggies. I made Kung Pao Tofu and Veggies - originally I had planned to just make a veggie version but my recent adoption of using tofu prompted me to use the remaining package of hot and zesty Nigari I had. This dish turned out so good! I scooped some out prior to adding the chili sauce as my kiddos are not fans of spicyness. It was indeed very spicy but sooo good. I served it over short grain brown rice which was also really yummy. We love brown rice but I would usually rather sticky rice with oriental food. Short grain brown rice is a fabulous addition to oriental food - more nutritional than sticky rice but still soft and chewy and not quite as nutty as regular brown. Of course I added far more veggies than the recipe called for! I pan-fried the tofu a bit before marinating it and it was fabulous! The tofu was nice and chewy and really just took on the flavor of the sauce. Frank said at dinner "Well honey, you have completely changed my views on food. Three months ago I wouldn't have dreamed of eating tofu"! He really enjoyed the meal!

Kung Pao Tofu

Marinade for tofu:
3 T soy sauce
3 T rice vinegar
1 t sugar
2 t cornstarch.
8 oz nigari tofu cut into cubes (I used Central Soy Hot and Zesty flavor)
Combine sauce ingredients and stir until smooth. Add tofu and toss to coat. Set aside.

Stir-fry sauce:
1 T cornstarch
2 T brown sugar
2 T soy sauce
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 t toasted sesame oil
¼ cup faux chicken broth
1 T Asian chili sauce, such as sambal olek
Mix all ingredients and stir to combine. Set aside.

3 T canola oil
1 T peeled minced ginger
1 T minced garlic
4 chopped green onions
2 celery stalks
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced mushrooms

(I added the broccoli, carrots and mushrooms (recipe didn’t call for them) and doubled the stir-fry sauce so we would have plenty for the extra veggies). Heat oil in skillet. Add onions, ginger, garlic, and carrots and cook 3-5 min. Add remaining veggies. Cook additional 5 min or until veggies start to get tender – don’t over cook. The dish looks and tastes much better when the veggies are still bright and al dente. Add the stir-fry sauce and stir to coat. Add the tofu mixture and mix to combine. Cook until sauce thickens – about 3 min. Serve over rice and top with peanuts.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Veganizing Old Favorites

Since I am trying to create some of my own recipes and also veganize old favorites, I think I will keep this as a running post and add to it as I go. I wanted to make a simple dessert today and thought of an old standby - Upside Down Cobbler that my mom made when I was growing up. In the past, when I needed an easy dessert that required pantry staples only, this was the dessert I frequently turned to. However, the recipe calls for butter and milk so it needed a quick makeover. I also used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour to boost the nutrition a tad. Turned out pretty yum!

Upside Down Cobbler Revamped
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 t baking powder
1/8 t salt
1 can canned fruit with their juice (peaches, pears, whatever you like best) or 1 cup berries and 3/4 cup water with 2 T sugar add to make sugary syrup

Cream oil and sugar. Add remaining ingredients except fruit. Spread in an 8x8 square pan or equivalent sized round baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with fruit and juice or sugar water. Bake at 350 for 35-40 min or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cinnamon Rolls

Tara (Vegan Piggy) posted a beautiful picture and description of these cinnamon rolls so I had to try them! They were indeed tasty - they tasted more like cinnamon-sugar glazed biscuit rolls to me but they were great! The recipe can be found at Vegan Pandamonium.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Breakfast of Champions and much more! (recipes to come - I promise!)

I haven't been as brave as I would like in the area of reconstructing non-vegan favorites into vegan favorites as I am still in the learning stages of vegan cooking! However, I decided to try my hand at making this delicious berry cream cheese coffee cake into a vegan version. Yay - I was successful! It turned out perfectly wonderful and gave me a little confidence in the area of transforming old favorites into acceptable new favorites.

Blueberries and Cream Coffee Cake
2 T butter
3/4 cup sugar
egg substitute for 2 eggs
1/4 cup soy yogurt (if you don't have yogurt, substitute apple sauce)
2 T canola oil
1 t grated lemon peel
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour, divided
1 1/4 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 cup soured almond milk (place 1 T vinegar in 1 cup measure and fill the rest with almond milk)
2 cups mixed frozen or fresh berries
8 oz vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti)

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar. beat in the egg substitute, yogurt, oil and lemon peel. Combine 2 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt. ix dry ingredients alernately with the soured milk. In a separate bowl, toss berries with remaining 1/4 cup flour. Fold into batter. Pour into 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top batter with spoonfuls of cream cheese. Bake at 375 degrees until inserted toothpick comes out clean - about 30-35 min.

Ok so my parents were in town and my mom brought some fabulous focaccia to share. This focaccia was another recipe she was known for during our Zambia days and I was so excited to have it again! My mom mentioned this might be a good pizza substitute for us and once I tasted it again (it's been probably 13+ years since I've had it), I have decided she is sooo right! It is so flavorful and yummy and has that comfort taste of pizza without any dairy. Wow - I think this might be the new Friday night pizza night stand-in - at least for me!!

Focaccia (this makes a ton! be prepared for leftovers!)
Dipping oil:
3/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic
3/4 t crushed red pepper
Combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Heat until garlic is golden. Remove from heat and let stand 1 hr.

2 cups warm water
5 cups flour
1 T yeast
2 t salt
8 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 T coarse sea salt
2 T each fresh chopped basil and rosemary
Pour water in measuring cup and sprinkle with yeast. Wait until dissolved. Wisk in 3 T garlic oil. Combine 2 cups flour with 2 t salt. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture and beat. Add 1 cup flour at a time to make a soft dough. Beat 3 minutes (I used the dough hook on my Kitchen Aid). Brush bowl with 1 T oil. Transfer dough to oiled bowl and cover. Let rise 1 hr. Place chopped tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle with 1 T salt. Let stand 15 min. Rinse with cold water. Drain on paper towels. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush baking sheet (I used a large jelly roll pan) with 1 T garlic oil. Punch dough down and briefly knead. Transfer to pan and stretch to fit pan. Sprinkle with rosemary and tomatoes, pressing into dough. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 1 T salt. Bake about 30 min or until golden. Serve with dipping oil.

I modified this Vegan Yum Yum (Baked Macaroni and Cheese) recipe a tad but stuck with the recipe mostly! It turned out fabulously creamy and flavorful. I used spaghetti instead of macaroni as it was the pasta I had on hand. This was also my first go at using miso - I bought a white miso at Whole Foods as I have heard that the lighter the color, the milder the flavor. Worked great in this recipe! Mmmmm! Find the recipe at Vegan Yum Yum - called Mac and Cheeze (only things I changed were: I used A1 sauce in place of tomato paste as I didn't have paste and for some odd reason, this makes a good substitute and I seasoned my panko crumbs with italian herbs and garlic salt and added about 2 T earth balance to them to crisp them up during cooking).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Deviating from my menu...but making lots of yummy things in the process!

I had several tomatoes that were asking to be used and a couple of fresh jalepenos from my garden looking perfectly green and ripe so I decided it was definitely time to make some salsa! I also whipped up a few tortilla chips to pair the salsa with as a somewhat healthy snack. When we lived in Africa, this was a popular appetizer that my mom was known for within our missionary community. And I never doubted why!!

Fresh Salsa
5 medium tomatoes,cored and chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 t sea salt
juice of 2 limes
1/2 T dried minced onions
3/4 t garlic powder
1 large or 2 small jalepenos (seed them if you want a milder salsa; leave the seeds in for a spicier version)
Serve with tortilla chips - I brushed flour tortillas with canola oil and cut into wedges. Then baked them at 400 degrees for about 4 min per side.

I have always heard that tempeh is an acquired taste and that seitan is not so much - I have found this to perhaps not be the case for us. I think tempeh has a very mild taste and seitan is harder to get used to! Nonetheless, these Baja Style Tacos were really yummy - full of flavor and topped with a very tasty slaw and lime crema.

With only a little time and after a very busy day, I tried to think of something that would require little prep, work or cleanup and decided to make yet another batch of veggie rolls. I actually used spring roll wrappers this time and really liked them. I made them up and didn't cook them right away so some of the juices seaped out, making them a bit fall-apart prone when I cooked them. So, in the future, I would cook them immediately and not let them sit. The filling was quite yummy and the wrappers worked nicely. Since I have not been able to find egg roll wrappers without eggs in them (only won ton wrappers which are small and require you to make a ton for a meal!), these were a good stand-in and were speedier to use since they are much bigger than won ton wrappers.

Easy Spring Rolls
5 cups shredded veggies (these are very versatile in that you can use any veggies you like - I used a mixture of cabbage, carrots, cauliflower,and green onions)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 T sesame oil
1 T olive oil
2 T cider vinegar
3 T soy sauce
1 1/2 t sugar
3 T sriracha sauce
Spring roll wrappers

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add veggies and garlic and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Place spring roll wrapper in front of you in a diamond shape. Fill spring roll wrappers with 2-3 T filling. Fold bottom point up and over filling. Fold side points over bottom point and continue rolling until closed. Place a coating of canola oil in frying pan and heat. Fry spring rolls until crisped and golden on all sides - about 5-7 min total. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.

My sweet and sour sauce is a sauce recipe my family uses for chicken. It's called Canton Chicken and for years has been a favorite for us. Now that we are eating a vegan diet, I don't make it anymore. However, a while back I decided the sauce would make a fabulous sweet and sour sauce in addition to the fact that I think bottled sweet and sour sauce is sadly lacking and pricey to boot! Enjoy this tangy sauce on egg rolls, spring rolls, rice etc. My 4 yr old loves to dip his broccoli in it! I always make a double batch to have extra on hand.

Jackson Family Sweet and Sour Sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 t soy sauce
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 t salt
3 T ketchup
2 T cornstarch mixed with 3 T water to form a smooth liquidy paste.
Wisk ingredients together (except cornstarch/water mixture) in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Add cornstarch mixture and wisk until smooth and thick.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Breakfast Sandwiches - kinda tasty and good change of pace...but prob wouldn't make again!

Tried the Vegan Yum Yum recipe for Breakfast Sandwiches - pairing biscuits (that were quite tasty) with maple glazed tofu slabs and tofu "egg" patties. The flavor was pretty nice but the consistency of the "eggs" wasn't real great - a bit too mushy for our tastes. I have also discovered that though I have enjoyed a couple of recent tofu recipes, I can only take tofu in small batches. So, making tofu 2 days in a row is a bit much for me. However, it was a nice change from my usual breakfast staples and Braedon quite enjoyed it! Keith wasn't much of a fan of the tofu though he did try each component. He is doing great at trying new things (even if he doesn't like them!).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sesame Ginger Dumplings

Veggie Dumplings - turned out pretty yummy! I loved the author's idea to steam the dumplings on a bed of cabbage leaves - worked beautifully! These call for seitan which I left out since I knew the seasoning wouldn't be strong enough for our seitan-liking. I also added some regular green cabbage, green onions, and carrots to the mixture. Then I doubled the sauce since I added so many veggies (thre recipe below reflects the single recipe amounts). I wasn't all that fond of the dipping sauce but they were still really yum!
Sesame Ginger Dumplings
2 1/2 cups shredded Napa cabbage (I prob used about 1 1/2 cups Napa and another 1 cup of regular green cabbage)
1 cup shredded carrots (my addition)
1/2 cup sliced green onions (my addition - next time I would add a lot more of these)
1 t mirin
1 t soy sauce
1 t toasted sesame oil
1 t fresh grated ginger
1 package dumpling skins (I used won ton wrappers since that is what I had on hand)

The instructions in the book are long and I like to abbreviate if possible so I will write what I did to simplify.
Heat large skillet over medium heat and add about 1 T oil. Add green onions and saute for 3-4 min (I can't eat raw onions so I always cook them even if a recipe calls for raw). Add remaining veggies and ginger and stir-fry until veggies begin to soften - about 5 min. Add remaining ingredients (except dumpling skins) and stir to incorporate. Remove from heat. Take one dumpling skin at a time and fill with about 1 T veg mixture. Fold to create triangle and moisten edges with water before pressing to seal edges. Repeat until all dumplings are made. Place steamer over med-high heat. Line steamer with cabbage leaves and spray leaves with cooking spray. Steam dumplings for about 5-6 min or until skins are translucent. Steam in batches if necessary. Serve.

Tofu has redeemed itself!

This caesar salad was fantastic! I made my own croutons and sliced organic romaine and tossed it with this yummy and very simple dressing. I topped it off with a sprinkle of seaweed gomasio. A make again for sure!!

I have not been a big fan of tofu in the past but I am determined to find some ways I like it prepared since it is healthy and cheap. I have finally found a couple things that it turned out perfectly in! These burritos were really tasty - a combo of bbq beans (really simple and very flavorful sauce) and pan-fried tofu. I used locally made zesty pepper Nigari tofu. I sliced the tofu thin and crisped it. Though it didn't add a lot of taste, it added just enough spiciness and a wonderful chewy texture. We topped the burritos off with a dollop of Tofutti sour cream. Yum!

Now - you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate so this was an amazing dessert! Silken tofu was the base for the peanut butter filling. I made a regular graham cracker crust instead of a prepared chocolate one. I took a pic before I topped it with the chocolate because it looked so nice. Once I topped it with the chocolate, it looked kinda ugly. Oh well - at least it tastes fabulous!! Recipes to come...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Smoky Joes

So, I am not overly fond of sloppy joes - if they are cooked just right and don't make the bread soggy, I enjoy them. When I came across this recipe, it looked tasty so thought I would give it a go. Very tasty! The picture is quite dreadful but I forgot to take a pic before we ate so that's what I got! The sauce was thick enough that it didn't make the toasted buns soggy. I also pulsed the seitan in the food processor to resemble the consistency of ground beef. This worked beautifully. This is my favorite seitan recipe so far. The seitan didn't have any bready or weird taste and it took on the flavor of the sauce perfectly. This was the seitan I made and froze a couple weeks ago. Recipe called for green pepper but again, my hubby's not a fan of those so I left them out.
Smoky Joes (Source: Vegan on the Cheap)
8 oz seitan, finely chopped
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 T tomato paste (I subbed A1 sauce as I was out of tomato paste and I saw this used as a substitution in another recipe)
1/4 cup water
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
1 t brown mustard
1 T chili powder
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 t liquid smoke
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
4 burger rolls, toasted
In a large saucepan, heat oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook until tender, about 10 min. Add the seitan and brown. Stir in remaining ingredients and turn heat to low. Simmer 10 min to allow flavors to blend. Serve on toasted buns.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Savory Vegetable Cobbler

This was a really yummy all-in-one meal. The sauce was really flavorful, it was full of veggies and was topped with delicious biscuits. A definite keeper and also one to use for colder weather - comfort food for sure!
Savory Vegetable Cobbler (Source: Vegan on the Cheap)- the recipe called for seitan and celery but since my hubby doesn't like celery and I only like seitan if it is seasoned distinctly, I decided to leave it out. This sauce was a bit too mellow to use seitan in my opinion.
8 oz green beans, trimmed and cut in small pieces
2 T olive oil
1 medium chopped onion
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large white potato, peeled and chopped (I used 2)
2 T fresh chopped parsley
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried sage (I used 1/2 T fresh from my mom's garden)
1/2 t dried marjoram
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 cup thawed frozen corn kernals
1 cup thawed frozen peas

3 T vegan margarine
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (I used faux chicken)
2 T soy sauce
1 cup plain unsweetened soy milk

2 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 T vegan margarine
1 cup plain unsweetened soy milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. For the filling, team the green beans and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the oil and add the onions, carrots, potatoes and cook until veggies are tender - about 7 min. Stir in the spices and cook for 3-5 min. Stir in the green beans, corn and peas. For the sauce, melt margarine in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Slowly stir in the stock, soy sauce, and soy milk. Stir until sauce thickens - about 7 min. Add sauce to filling mixture. To make the topping, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the margarine until coarse crumbs form. Add the soy milk until thick dough forms. Pour veggie mixture into prepared pan. Top with spoonfuls of topping. Bake for about 30 min or until topping is browned.

Hubby's home from Haiti!

Yay - my long lost husband is home!! He is longing for fruits and veggies and homecooked meals! I have promised lots of vegan deliciousness immediately! So excited to be back to my cooking adventures - having leftovers this past week has been fabulous but I have missed my culinary ventures a TON! Many new recipes to come :-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chocolate-Oat Bars (Source: Accidental Vegan)
1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup canola oil
1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup unsweetened creamy peanut butter
(The recipe called for 3/4 cup vegan margarine but Earth Balance is pricey and if used in baking, seems to disappear too quickly for my liking! So, I decided to try using canola. However, I thought peanut butter would be a tasty addition to this recipe and thus decided to add some as another butter substitute. Great results!)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 t fine sea salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 cup rolled oats
10 oz vegan chocolate chips.
Combine all ingredients except oats and choc chips until smooth. Add oats. Spread 2/3 cup mixture into 8x8 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle choc chips over bars. Spread with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over chocolate chips and bake an additional 15-20 min. Let cool and cut into bars.

Asian Soup (Source: Vegan on the Cheap - I made a ton of adaptations to this recipe like adding extra veggies and increasing the sriracha for a bit of spice. In the future, I would also leave out the vinegar)
1 T oil
5 green onions, chopped
2 t grated fresh ginger
2 minced garlic cloves
5 cups vegetable broth
1 T sriracha sauce
2 T hoisin sauce
2 T rice vinegar
2 T soy sauce
1 8 oz package white mushrooms, sliced
8 oz cooked chow mein or other long noodles
1 small can water chestnuts
1 small can bamboo shoots

In a large pot, saute the garlic, onion, and ginger in oil for about 2-3 min. Add the broth and the next 4 ingredients (through mushrooms) stirring after each addition. Simmer 5-10 min. Add remaining ingredients. Serve.

This meal wasn't quite as good as I was hoping but it was still pretty yum. The scallion flatbreads were really a pain - my mom helped a ton with these (she did all the rolling out which was really time consuming) and they were yummy but not worth the work. The soup was pretty good but I think it would have been better without the addition of the vinegar at the end. The dessert I made was super fabulous! My parents were here visiting which is why I got to have the treat of cooking a fun meal (instead of leftovers!!). I am not going to post the scallion flatbread recipe as the recipe is hugely long and they were more trouble than they were worth. The original recipe can be found in Veganomicon. NOTE:I had leftover soup for dinner tonight and it was very yummy a few days after the day I made it! Keith asked to try it too and loved it. So, I would say this was a "make again" recipe!

Also made a tasty Asian slaw but didn't get a picture.

Asian Slaw (Source: Adaptable Feast)
1 lb napa cabbage
1 shredded carrot
1/2 t salt
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 t celery seeds

Toss cabbage and carrots together and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and heat until sugar dissolves. Pour over cabbage mixture. Let sit for 15-30 min. Serve.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hurry Up Alfredo With Broccoli

I must admit I was a bit unsure about this recipe. Though it looked really good, I was just skeptical it would be as good as I hoped. And alas, it was fabulous! The sauce is very creamy and flavorful. The soy milk didn't give it a weird tast (that I sometimes think soy milk gives) and the nutritional yeast (which I think is an acquired taste) added a wonderfully cheesy/salty flavor. Truly yummy!

Hurry Up Alfredo With Broccoli (Source: Vegan Yum Yum)
1 cup soy milk
1/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews (I had cashew cream on hand so I just used 1/3 cup of that)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 T soy sauce
2 T Earth Balance
1 T tahini
1 T lemon juice
2 t Dijon mustard
1/2 t paprika
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch salt
black pepper, to taste
3 minced garlic cloves
3 cups cooked pasta
2 cups cooked broccoli florets

Mix together soy milk, cashews, yeast, soy sauce, Earth balance, tahini, lemon juice, mustard, paprika, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and garlic in blender and process until smooth. Heat the sauce in saucepan until heated and bubbly. Serve over pasta and broccoli.

Oh hold for a bit...

While Frank is in Haiti, I won't be cooking a whole lot - the fridge is packed with leftovers and I am taking advantage of that!Thought this would be a good time for an update though...
One of my main reasons for starting this veganizing trend in our family was to see if this type of diet might alleviate Frank's frequent migraines. Thankfully, they have subsided considerably! Unfortunately, stress is a MAJOR trigger for him so he got a migraine both Friday and Saturday - both in direct correlation to high levels of stress. It is great news that overall, the vegan lifestyle has greatly diminished his migraines and also that our family has adjusted very well and is actually enjoying the mainly vegan life! I am thrilled and very surprised! I will work on adding some more recipes this week that I still haven't managed to put up!

Crispy Herbed Potato Stack

Crispy Herbed Potato Stack
I was going to try a recipe for herbed scalloped potatoes and at last minute decided to do something fast and easy. I made up the recipe and it was yummola! I layered sliced russet potatoes in a baking dish, drizzled with olive oil, and then sprinkled with coarse sea salt, fresh ground pepper, basil, rosemary, paprika, and garlic powder. Then I baked them at 425 fr about 45 minutes. They were crisp and very flavorful!

My thrown-together salad today - after discovering I had no leftovers for lunch!

Tamale Fixings

Tamale Fixings
Plain pintos (for Keith), pintos, corn and onions; corn, jalepenos and Daiya; mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and chard

Making these was a bit time-consuming but kinda fun! They didn't turn out as good as I had hoped - the outer tamale part (not the filling) just wasn't as flavorful as tamales I have had in restaurants. I have another recipe I will try for the dough next time. Tamales are one of my favorite foods so I won't give up on this one!

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes
I modified one of my favorite pancake recipes to make it vegan and then I added blueberries. Turned out quite yummy. Soymilk sours and thickens well - very similar to buttermilk. I have been really impressed with it's ability to substitute for real buttermilk.

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes

Egg replacement for 1 egg
1 1/4 cups soured soy milk (put 2 T vinegar into a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Add enough soy milk to equal 1 1/4 cups)
2 T canola oil
1 cup flour (I wouldn't recommend whole wheat or whole wheat pastry - it really takes away from the fluffiness of these pancakes)
1 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Blueberries, optional

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Heat griddle pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Sprinkle blueberries on pancakes after ladling onto griddle. Cook just until golden on both sides.

Veggie and Seitan Lo Mein

Veggie and Seitan Lo Mein
Overall, this was fabulous! However, I don't think the seitan added much so I would just leave it out next time. The lo mein also needed about double the sauce so I would simply do that next time for added flavor. This was especially spicy and yummy with some Sriracha drizzled on top. I made our favorite veg egg rolls to go with this and it was truly a Chinese treat!!

Veggie Seitan Lo Mein

I really did my own thing for this recipe so I am just going to outline the instructions and include the sauce recipe. I heated oil in a large skillet and added 3 minced cloves of garlic and about 1 cup of half-moon cut onions (I was out of green onions but next time I would use green onions as I like them a lot in Chinese food) and about 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots. After about 5-6 minutes, I added about 1/4 lb of whole green beans. I cooked these veggies until tender. Meanwhile, I cooked a 16oz package of chow mein noodles. Once the veggie mixture was cooked, I poured the sauce on the veggies, heated through and tossed with the noodles. Next time I would double the amount of sauce and have adjusted amounts below to reflect double recipe.

Sauce (Source:Adaptable Feast)
3 T soy sauce
3 T rice wine (I used 3 T rice vinegar and 1 t sugar as I didn't have any rice wine)
3 t sugar
4 T black bean garlic sauce
Mix all ingredients and toss with above mixture.

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth
Pretty yummy. I found that steaming the wontons worked much better than the recipe suggestion to boil them. The broth was very mild and a bit too mellow for us. Still pretty yummy though. I added extra veggies to the wontons and scallion to the broth. The seasoning in the wonton filling was quite tasty!

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth (Source: Vegan Yum Yum)

(As usual, I modified several things so it's not exactly the recipe in Vegan Yum Yum!)

1 cup chopped broccoli
3/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 T oil
1 t fresh ginger, minced
1 clove fresh minced garlic
1/2 t hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1 t hot Chinese mustard
2 T plus 1 t soy sauce
4 cups water ( I think this might have been more flavorful had I used vegetable broth or faux chicken broth???)
6 slices fresh ginger
1 T mirin (I used a splash of cooking wine as I didn't have mirin)
1 1/2 t sugar
2 t rice vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup chopped scallions
16 wonton skins

For filling: Heat oil in skillet and add broccoli, ginger, garlic, carrot, onion and cook until veggies are crisp tender. Add chili sauce, mustard, 1 t soy sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make wontons, take one skin and place in diamond shape. Fill with 1-2 t filling. Fold in half to make a triangle and moisten edges with water and pinch sides to seal. Set triangle in front of you with point up and take the 2 side points and bring them together in front to cross. Set aside and prepare remaining wontons. When finished, place wontons in a steamer basket and steam over pot of boiling water until translucent.

Meanwhile, in a pot, combine remaining ingredients (except wontons) and simmer 10-15 min.

Place 3-4 wontons in bowl and ladle broth over wontons. Serve.