Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day

We had a BBQ for Memorial Day at my in-laws and I was in charge of bringing a couple of salads and dessert. I made a veggie pasta salad (forgot to take a picture of the original dish), Tangy Carrot Coin Salad (a recipe my mom made when I was growing up), and Urban Vegan's Def-Jam Bars. Everything turned out yummy. My in-laws even bought veggie burgers and veggie dogs for me :-) Tonight I combined the last of the carrot coin salad with some pasta salad and added a few olives for a filling bowl of deliciousness (that's what's pictured here because I forgot to take pictures of the originals! The pasta salad was just some tri-color veggie rotini tossed with blanched broccoli and carrots, some celery and some balsamic dressing. The Carrot Coin Salad recipe is as follows.

Tangy Carrot Coin Salad
2 lbs carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced, cooked until al dente - do not overcook!
1 green pepper, sliced

Dressing (this makes a lot of dressing! The salad should be saucy enough to marinate the veggies but you can reserve some for later use as well):
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup cider vinegar
8 oz can tomato sauce
2 T ketchup
1/2 t vegan worcestershire
3/4 cup brown rice syrup, liquid sorghum or agave (I used honey because that is a non-vegan ingredient I still use)
1 t mustard
1 t salt
Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Layer carrots and peppers in large bowl. Pour dressing over veggies. Refridgerate for 30 min at least - the longer the better.
These were quite tasty - I must admit the sugar cookie base is the best sugar cookie I have ever made - much better than the non-vegan counterparts I have made in the past. My hubby and sister-in-law really liked these. I thought they turned out good but I am a chocolate-lover so they weren't at the top of my list for desserts because they were chocolate-less! Yummy though...

Def-Jam Bars (adapted from Urban Vegan)
1 batch all-purpose sugar cookie dough (recipe below)
1/3 cup all-fruit raspberry jam or other all-fruit jam

All-purpose Sugar Cookie Dough
1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla
2 heaping T soy flour
1 cup flour

Cream Earth Balance and sugar together. Add baking powder, soda, and salt. Mix until smooth. Add vanilla. Beat in flours.
Preheat oven to 300. Press cookie dough into a greased medium cookie sheet (I used a large springform pan because my cookie sheets are all large). Bake for 15-20 min or until set but soft. Don't let brown. Cool. Spread jam over cookie base. Cut into pieces.
Okay so I have to admit I made this for breakfast on Monday...yikes!! My parents drove in from Marshall for breakfast and a visit. I was so tired of all my usual breakfasts and I really wanted to find something not as sugary as many of the breakfast delights I cook (ie. scones, coffee cake, etc - not that I make these daily but I try to make something special on the weekends)...but alas I was unsuccessful! I had some frozen cranberries calling my name so I decided to make this...alongside large bowls of fruit! Quite delish!

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake (adapted from Urban Vegan)
1/2 cup Earth Balance, divided
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 12oz bag cranberries
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar (yikes! I know!!)
1 T baking powder
1 T soy flour
1 cup soy milk
1 t vanilla
1 T lemon zest
Preheat oven. Grease 9 in round cake pan. In a small saucepan,heat 1/4 cup butter and brown sugar until melted. Pour into greased pan. Sprinkle cranberries over butter mixture. In a large bowl,mix dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix wet ingredients and zest. Combine wet with dry until well mixed. Spoon batter over cranberries. Bake for about 45 min or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 min. Use knife around edges to separate cake from pan. Place plate on top of pan, flip pan over onto plate. Serve warm.

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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.