Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Away for a bit...

I haven't had anything fun to post recently as I am making simple, thrown-together meals in an attempt to empty my fridge of all contents! We leave this Friday for California/Oregon - woohoo! I actually made the Bulger and Bean Burritos but they were nothing to write home about. They were pretty yummy but not outstanding. It was the first time I had cooked with bulger and it was nice and chewy...but alas, not blog-worthy!

You might see a couple of posts during our journey as I am sure I will find some fun and delicious vegan delights along the way - especially since California is one of the healthiest states in the nation :-) See ya when I get back! Happy Cooking!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My little chef made his own version of the summer pasta the other night - he doesn't like tomatoes so he improvised with a few extra ingredients. His recipe is posted on his cooking blog...check it out! http://vegankiddo.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tempeh Turnovers...Creamy Fettucini Alfredo...Fresh Tomato Pasta

Yet another very delicious Urban Vegan recipe here! This dish was ridiculously easy, fast and delicious - my kind of meal!! The flavor of the soy milk definitely made it's appearance in the sauce - a year ago, I probably would have passed on making it a second time. But alas, our taste buds have done a lot of transforming over the past year+. The nutritional yeast gave the creamy/silky/cheesy flavor of alfredo and the other simple ingredients made for a rich and delicious sauce. The picture looks sooo boring! I made my crispy zucchini spears (recipe shared a few days ago) with this, so though we all had a big pile of zucchini with the pasta, the picture looks like we had no color or nutrition on our plates!

Fettucini Alfredo (adapted from Urban Vegan)
1 lb fettucini (I actually used whole wheat linquini because it's what I had!)
1 T cornstarch
1 1/3 cups soy milk
6 T Earth Balance
2 T nutritional yeast
1 1/4 t salt

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Dissolve cornstarch in milk and set aside. Melt butter in saucepan. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and stir until smooth. Add milk and salt and cook until thick and bubbly. Toss with cooked pasta.
I was looking through my binder of recipes last night, looking for something fun to cook for dinner. I have a binder filled with recipes I have found in magazines, acquired from friends, etc and it's always fun to thumb through it and find something new to try. This pasta recipe looked yummy and I had all the ingredients on hand. I was able to use a fresh tomato and basil from my garden and it turned out soooo good! The absolute perfect summer pasta dish. Super easy and fabulously delish!!

Summer Pasta (adpated from Better Homes and Gardens July 09)
10 oz dried linguini, cooked according to package instructions
2 T oil
4 cloves minced garlic
2/3 cup fresh basil, chopped (plus additional for garnish, if desired)
3 small fresh tomatoes, chopped small (I made mine into very petite dice as my hubby only likes tomatoes if they are very small in cooked dishes)
1/2 cup faux chicken or veg broth
1 t sugar

Heat oil in skillet. Add garlic and cook until golden - don't overcook. Add tomatoes and basil adn cook 2 min. Add broth and sugar and cook until tomatoes soften. Season with sea salt and pepper. Toss sauce with pasta, sprinkle with extra chopped basil and serve.
We have recently discovered that through the acquiring of new tastes or the correct pairing of ingredients - probably a combination of both - that we like tempeh. If cooked properly, its nutty flavor and nice consistency are actually quite delicious (the first couple of times I made it, we weren't all that impressed and I didn't buy any for several months). I saw a recipe for tempeh pastries that had a Jamaican spice flare. Unfortunately, they weren't really all that delicious. They were fine - edible for sure - just not incredible. Dipped in chutney, they are ok. I was kind of disappointed - thus my reasoning for not taking the time to post the recipe.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Meat and Cheese" Enchiladas

This really isn't the greatest picture...sorry. From looking at my blog, you know photography isn't my strong point :-) However, despite the not-so-good picture, these enchiladas turned out super yummy, the best vegan ones I have made. AND my hubby said he likes them better than the traditional family recipe I used to make that had actual meat and cheese in them - wow! The last time I made enchilada sauce, I froze some as the recipe makes a ton. As you saw from a couple days ago, I made Nutty Cheese, so I had that sitting in my fridge waiting to be used in something delicious. I had whole wheat flour tortillas and some Lightlife Smart Ground handy as well. These ingredients all made for a ridiculously easy meal and thankfully it turned out fabulous! I served the enchiladas with my Cumin Dusted Sweet Potato Coins and a big salad. I have listed all the recipes involved in this meal - you can use store-bought enchilada sauce if you want to speed up the process but this sauce really is the best I have ever made. You can also substitute homemade ground seitan for the Smart Ground - it will work just as well.

"Meat and Cheese" Enchiladas
6 whole wheat tortillas
1/4 of a recipe of Nutty Cheese, Mexican style
2 cups enchilada sauce
1 1/2 cups ground meat substitute

In a skillet, heat 3 t oil. Add meat sub. Cook until browned. Season with 2 t cumin, 1 t garlic powder, 2 T chili powder, and 3/4 t salt to taste. Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Take one tortilla at a time and fill with meat sub and nutty cheese. Roll up and place in pan. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Save some nutty cheese for the topping. Top rolled enchiladas with sauce and remaining nutty cheese. Bake at 400 for 15-20 min or until sauce is bubbling.

Nutty Cheese (Source: 500 Vegan Recipes)
1 oz agar agar powder
2 cups water
2 cups raw cashews, finely ground into powder
3 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 t fine sea salt
½ t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
Prepare loaf pan by spraying with cooking spray. Place the agar agar in water and bring to full boil. Boil for 5 min. Stir often to prevent boiling over. Place remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into the water-agar mixture and whisk until creamy and smooth. Quickly pour into oiled loaf pan and refrigerate until set.

Enchilada Sauce (Source: 500 Vegan Recipes)
¼ cup chili powder
1 T paprika
1 t garlic powder
1 t cumin
¼ t chipotle chili powder
3 T canola oil
2 T flour
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 ½ cups veg broth

In a saucepan, heat oil. Add flour to form paste. Add spices. Add tomato sauce and broth. Stir to combine and create a smooth silky sauce. Simmer for 15 min, covered.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Farmers Market Bounty...Amazing Potatoes...Tofu Tikka Masala

I found a fun cookbook at the library recently and this was the first recipe I tried. The spice mixture on the tofu looked delicious but upon looking at the sauce ingredients, I wasn't sure it would have much flavor. I had already started the recipe though and proceeded with it. Thankfully, it turned out very yummy. In this first picture, you will also see the cauliflower I got from the farmers market - it was kind of funny looking, with a purple hue but it was incredibly delicious! (recipe to come)

Tofu Tikka Masala (adapted from Taste of the East)
1 14oz package extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into 16 pieces (strips or cubes)
1 1/4 t cumin
3/4 t chili powder
2 T lemon juice
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 garlic clove pressed
1 t peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup vegan yogurt (I didn't have any so I subbed 1/2 cup soymilk mixed with 1 t cider vinegar)
Combine all ingredients in a bag and marinate for 30 min- however long you want! Heat oven to 375 and bake tofu for 15 min. In a saucepan, combine following ingredients and heat thoroughly:

3/4 cup soy creamer
1 1/2 T tomato paste
1 t lemon juice
pinch of cardamom and cinnamon
1/4 t salt
3 T minced fresh cilantro

Remove tofu from oven and place in pan of sauce. Heat through. Serve over rice.

I whipped up some Nutty Cheese the other day - making one batch a Mexican flavor with cumin and fresh cilantro from my garden and one batch an Italian flavor with fresh basil from my mom's garden. I haven't made this recipe for quite a while so it will be fun to experiment with it in some new recipes.

Nutty Cheese (Source: 500 Vegan Recipes)
1 oz agar agar powder
2 cups water
2 cups raw cashews, finely ground into powder
3 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 t fine sea salt
½ t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
Prepare loaf pan by spraying with cooking spray. Place the agar agar in water and bring to full boil. Boil for 5 min. Stir often to prevent boiling over. Place remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into the water-agar mixture and whisk until creamy and smooth. Quickly pour into oiled loaf pan and refrigerate until set.

The boys and I headed to one of the local farmers markets this past Saturday and we hit the jackpot on veggies! I got some of the most amazing deals ever!! I spent a whopping $5.50 and got 2 zucchinis, 3 huge cucumbers, about 3 lbs of green beans, a small head of cauliflower, a purple cabbage, and an aloe vera plant! I was thrilled. The green beans weren't pretty and the farmer told me I would really have to pick through them and clean them and that he would give me a good price because they weren't a great crop. He gave me 3 boxes for a dollar! I jumped at the chance, figuring that even if I had to throw out half of them, it was still a great price. Turned out that I threw away maybe 5 or 6 out of the whole bunch - I roasted them and they were delicious!

My parents live in a little town called Marshall - they love living in a small town, which is something I just don't get! I love to visit them there and we always have a blast doing "small town" things like walking to the square, picking peaches in a friend's orchard, or observing the fact that wherever they go, they run into fifteen people they know! LOL. Ok, so maybe that's an exaggeration! We were out visiting them on July 4th and my mom shared some of the bounty she had received from friends in their church - freshly dug potatoes from the garden of these friends! They were all different sizes, mostly small, covered with dirt - truly, right from the ground. I was so excited to try them out. My mom suggested they would be delicious boiled up with some salt, pepper, and butter - simple flavor so as not to mask their fresh deliciousness! I did just that the other day, along with several other taste delights. I scrubbed those beautiful potatoes, then boiled them in salted water. Next I tossed them with sea salt, fresh parsley from my mom's garden, and some cracked pepper and a bit of vegan butter. I must admit, these were the most amazing potatoes I have ever sunk my teeth into. They were creamy and delicious - wow! Along with the potatoes, I made Chili Lime Corn and Tofu (that I made a few weeks ago), roasted green beans (from the farmers mkt), and crispy zucchini sticks which turned out fabulous - a made-up recipe I came up with. A wonderful meal if I do say so myself! So, thank you David and Jackie, for sharing your delicious potatoes with my parents and thank you Mom for passing some along to us!!

Crispy Zucchini Sticks
2 zucchini of yellow summer squash, cut into sticks
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 t sea salt
1 t pepper
1 t garlic powder
1/2 cup soy milk
1 t dijon mustard
1 T flax meal

Combine cornmeal and spices in one bowl. In another bowl, combine soy milk, mustard and flax. Dip each stick in milk mixture and then in cornmeal mixture. Place sticks on greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 15 min or until browned. Serve with marinara sauce

Friday, July 8, 2011

Salad Roll...loaded with the first tomato of the season (from my garden that is!)

My hubby's been working a ton lately and when he works a lot and isn't home to eat with us, I don't cook anything exciting. We eat leftovers and sandwiches when he is gone. Tonight I decided to make a Salad Roll (Growing up, when I lived in Africa, our British friends called them Salad Rolls and that's the name we adopted for them). I finished my last store-bought tomato at lunch today and was thinking a salad roll without tomato would be kinda sad and then I remembered I had a tomato ripce for picking! It was small but delicious - the sweetest tomato I have ever had. I spread vegan mayo and spicy brown mustard on a sub roll and then loaded it with cucumbers, bell peppers, tomato, jalepenos and a drizzle of balsamic dressing. It was fantastic! So, even though this wasn't a cool, special new recipe, I had to share :-)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Red Jambalaya and Cumin Dusted Sweet Potato Coins

I love jambalaya and actually have a recipe I usually make. However, I decided to be adventurous and try and new recipe - being from 500 Vegan Recipes, I knew it was bound to be delicious. It turned out super yummy and required cheap and easy ingredients. I added some chipotle Field Roast Sausage to the recipe to add some heat and substance. Perfect! I served this meal with green beans, garlic bread, and Cumin Dusted Sweet Potato Coins. A very yummy meal. Not very colorful, I know, but some meals just turn out that way!

Cumin Dusted Sweet Potato Coins
5 small/medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 T canola oil
1/4 cup cilantro
2 t cumin

Mix oil, cilantro, and cumin. Add sweet potatoes. Toss until coated. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Arrange sweet potatoes on sheet. Bake at 425 for 20 min or until starting to crisp. Be careful not to burn.

Red Jambalaya (adapted from 500 Vegan Recipes)
2 T vegan butter
2 cups diced onion
2 t Old Bay seasoning
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
1 can (15 oz) tomato paste
1 t smoked paprika
2 t ground black pepper
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 t salt
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
1-2 links spicy vegan sausage (I used chipotle Field Roast - 1 link)
In a large stockpot, melt butter. add onion and Old Bay. Cook until onion is browned. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and spices. Cook 5 minutes. Add broth and rice. Stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 25-30 min or until rice is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.

In a separate skillet, drizzle pan with oil (about 1/2 t) and brown sausage. Sprinkle a few slices of sausage on each serving of jambalaya.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July...and some tasty treats to share

Remember the crispy tofu I made the other day? I decided to make a sandwich out of some of the leftovers. I heated the tofu in the oven so it crisped up again. Then I smeared a sourdough sub roll with Veganaise, mustard, and bbq sauce, added the tofu and some sliced tomatoes. It was delicious!

My mother-in-law's birthday day was this weekend and I made Indian food for her special meal. It all turned out pretty well. The Curried Chickpeas the Greens were quite flavorful. The Cabbage and Pea Curry was yummy, though not bursting with flavor. The Biryani was not my favorite - there was nothing wrong with it but it didn't have much flavor for what was in it!I will post the recipe for the Chickpea and Greens Curry as it was the best from the meal. All of these Indian recipes can be found in Appetite for Reduction. I also made a coconut banana cream pie for dessert which was delicious but soupy - I would modify the recipe next time but the taste was fabulous! I forgot to take a picture and then when I served it up, it was so soupy that it wasn't worthy of a pic! I modified the recipe quite a bit - the original recipe for the vanilla coconut pudding is from 500 Vegan Recipes.

Curried Chickpeas and Greens (modified from Appetite for Reduction)
2 t oil
2 t mustard seeds
1 onion, diced
4 cloves minced garlic
2 T minced fresh ginger
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 T curry powder
2 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 t garam masala
1 t salt
1 (12 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 cups torn kale, removed from stalk
1 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Preheat 4-quart pot over medium heat and add 1 t oil. Add mustard seeds and cover. Heat until seeds pop. Add remaining oil, ginger, garlic and onion. Cook until onion is lightly browned. Add tomatoes to deglaze the pot. Add spices. Add kale and stir. Add beans. Simmer for about 10 min or until heated through and kale has cooked down. I don't like wilty kale so I cooked it until the kale was cooked but still had a crunch to it. Serve over rice.

Coconut Banana Cream Pie
1 single pie crust, baked
1 recipe filling (recipe below)
1/2 cup coconut
2 bananas

Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add coconut. Toast until lightly browned. Removed from heat and set aside. Slice bananas and place in the bottom of the baked pie crust. Prepare filling. Once filling is done, pour over sliced bananas in pie crust. Top with toasted coconut and chill until set. Serve.

1/4 cup plus 2 heaping T cornstarch
1 1/4 cups vanilla almond milk, divided
1 (14oz) can coconut milk
3/4 cup plus 2 T sugar
1 T vanilla

Combine cornstarch and 1/2 cup almond milk and whisk until smooth. Set aside. Heat remaining almond milk, coconut milk and sugar in a pan until it begins to boil, stirring constantly to prevent scalding. Remove from heat and stir in cornstarch mixture. Stir until thickened.

I wanted to make something patriotic-looking for the festivities today so I made this creamy lemon pie. We of course haven't eaten it yet since it is 6am but I did taste the pudding filling last night and it's yummy! We will be enjoying a bbq today with family - we will be feasting on veggie burgers and homemade vegan hot dogs, along with corn on the cob, baked beans, potato fries, veggie sticks, and fruit salad! Then we will finish out he extravaganza with this yummy red, white and blue pie. Happy 4th of July everyone!

Lemon Vanilla Pie with Berries(original recipe from 500 Vegan Recipes, modified a bit)
1 single pie crust, baked
Strawberries and Blueberries for garnish
1 recipe Lemon Vanilla Pudding - recipe below

3 cups almond milk
3/4 cup plus 2 T sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 T cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 2 T lemon juice
1 T vanilla
1 T lemon zest

In a saucepan, heat 2 cups almond milk, sugar and lemon juice. Meanwhile, combine remaining 1 cup almond milk and cornstarch and stir until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to heated milk and continue to cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and lemon zest. Pour filling into prepared pie crust. When cooled, top with sliced strawberries and blueberries. Chill until set. Serve.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Food Review

I wrote a food review for Edwards and Sons last year and the review has been featured on their page - http://www.edwardandsons.org/ - check it out! Or read it on my blog under "Product Reviews" (to the right of the screen). This company makes wonderful vegan products!

I am so eager to try bulger in a couple of recipe but haven't been able to find it in bulk and it's pretty pricey if purchased in packages. I need to make a Whole Foods run! Have a great week...more recipes to come later this weekend I hope :-)

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.