Friday, May 13, 2011

Carrot, Rice and Coconut Gratin...Crispy Tofu...Indian Delights

NOTE:I am doing a terrible job of following my posted menu - I know! - but I hope the menu deviations provide lots of delicious detours!
I headed out to my parents' house on Friday to celebrate my Bday. My mom made this delicious rice casserole...Carrot, Rice and Coconut Milk Gratin. The recipe is from Unfortunately, the recipe was not real accurate - it listed things in the ingredients that were never mentioned in the instructions and listed ingredients in the instructions that weren't listed in the ingredient list! We made do and it is easily veganized - the recipe calls for milk but then never mentions it in the instructions! So, we used 1 cup coconut milk and about 3/4 cup water. You can do a search for the recipe if you would like to try it. Keith (my 5 yr old) enjoyed it quite well. The basmati rice totally made the dish! Yum!
I wanted to try VeganDad's Crispy Tofu recipe the other night. Unfortunately, I didn't follow the recipe...or fortunately as the case may be! I created a pretty yummy rendition of this recipe! VeganDad doesn't like his recipe to be replicated or copied anywhere so if you want the recipe, you will have to visit his site! Instead of having the flour and panko separate, I mixed them together and I also chose to bake the tofu instead of fry it. I hardly ever fry anything anymore - I went through a phase of vegan cooking where several dishes were fried, simply because I figured I could make vegan meals that were sure to taste good if they had enough fat in them. This is a crazy concept since low fat vegan meals that taste delicious are easy to come by. We enjoyed these chewy tofu strips - even my 5 yr old enjoyed them and had seconds - he is a big fan of Tofu Fingers which are fried but I wasn't sure he would like these. I was thrilled that he did! I made up a tasty carrot dish to go with this meal too. I took about a pound of carrots, sliced and steamed them. When they were cooked, I tossed them with 2 t vegan butter, 2 t lemon juice and 3 t capers. Very yummy!
A couple weeks ago, I was out at my folks' house and my dad, hubby and my 5 yr old went camping while Braedon and I stayed with my mom. My mom made this fantastic Indian meal that was just incredible - Vegetable Biryani (can be found at - veganize it by leaving out the yogurt) and Pau Baji (spelling??) which is a mashed veggie dish served on toasted buns. It was so good! The Pau Baji is super spicy but delicious! I need to get the recipe from her but havne't yet!


  1. Pav-Bhaji. Pav is the bread and Bhaji is the curry. Originally a street food from Bombay!

  2. Thank you for the info!!! Absolutely delicious! My parents have good friends who are from India who originally taught my mom how to cook it!


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.