Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I've been cooking away this week...trying lot of new things. I had to take a picture of the beautiful colors in my crockpot today - I was making veggie broth and it just looked so bright!! I recently checked out a book from the library called Detox in a Weekend (Maggie Pannell). It's a very interesting book and I will likely use the detox method sooner or later. However, for now I have decided to incorporate some of the super healthy meals in the book into my menu planning. I made a delicious salad today for lunch - a funny but yummy combination of ingredients (artisan lettuce blend, tomatoes, oranges, and asparagus drizzled with olive oil and balsamic). I also made a veggie bean soup that was simple in flavor but tasted really good and wholesome. I also recently checked out Artisan Vegan Cheese (Miyoko Schinner) and am loving trying some new vegan cheeses. The recipes are a little tough to master but I finally was able to successfully make a batch of cashew yogurt. The yogurt separated a bit but all I had to do was whisk it thoroughly to smooth it out. I hope to have some success with many more vegan cheeses!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chick-Un Divan Casserole

Growing up, Chicken Divan was a family favorite - wow my mom made the best divan on the planet!! Over the years, my mom, my sister and I all made slight adjustments to the recipe (making everything from scratch instead of using canned soups, adding spinach to the dish as well as the broccoli, increasing the curry powder in the bread crumbs etc). When I decided to start cooking vegan fare, I decided I must try veganizing this dish and I successfully made a delicious version (see previous blog post for the recipe : I have made the veganized version many times and today I decided to give it a makeover with a few changes to the recipe! The results were fabulous and I might add that this will likely be the way I make it from here on out! My 3 year old ate 3 helpings! This dish is usually served over rice but this time I mixed the rice into the sauce with the broccoli and "chicken" and baked it all together. Wow!!

Chick-Un Divan Casserole

5 T vegan butter
2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened soy milk
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 T faux chicken boullion ( I like Better Than Boullion brand)
2 t curry powder

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until thick paste forms. Slowly add soy milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Continue to stir until thick and bubbly. Whisk in water, boullion, and curry powder. Stir until mixed, thick and bubbly. Set aside.

Remaining ingredients:
4-5 cups cooked brown rice (use 4 cups if you want a saucier casserole and 5 if you want a little less saucy casserole - either way will yield a creamy casserole)
4 cups chopped broccoli
1 package Gardein "chicken", chopped (the scallopini will work, the mandarin or terriyaki will work too, just keep the sauce for another use)
2 1/2 T canola oil, divided
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 1/2 t curry powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t Italian seasoning

Steam broccoli until crisp tender. Run cold water over it to stop the cooking. Place in a large bowl. Add the rice and the sauce (recipe above) and stir to incorporate. Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 T canola oil in a skillet and add chopped Gardein. Cook until browned (about 5-8 min). Add Gardein to the rice mixture. Stir to incorporate. In a separate bowl, combine remaining 1 T oil, bread crumbs, curry, salt and Italian seasoning. Stir until spices, oil and crumbs are well mixed. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and transfer rice mixture to pan. Smooth top. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top of casserole. Bake at 400 for about 20 min or until bubbly. Serve with extra veggies on the side!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Strawberry Parfait

I made several yummy meals this week but didn't do a good job at taking decent pictures! This delightful creation doesn't require a recipe but it was so delicious I figured I would at least post a picture and a "how to". I have recently discovered Almond Milk Yogurt and our family really likes it. It resembles dairy yogurt more closely than some of the other vegan yogurts and is less sweet but more tangy. I made granola this week and strawberries were on sale so a parfait was just waiting to be made. All I did was layer the plain yogurt, granola and strawberries and it was fabulous! Such a delicious breakfast!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Taco Salad with BBQ Citrus Drizzle

Taco Salad is nothing new to fact it is a frequent staple at our house. Everyone in the family likes it and it is easy to throw together. However, my usual taco salad consists of seasoned pintos, seitan crumbles, lettuce or cabbage, salsa, guacamole and vegan sour cream on occasion. I've recently been in the mood to make up fun new recipes so this week I spiced up my taco salad with some citrus-y flare! Turned out pretty yummy!

Taco Salad with BBQ Citrus Drizzle
(makes 2 dinner-sized portions or 4-6 smaller side salad portions)

1/8 cup canola oil
1/8 t garlic powder
juice from 1 lime
1 T orange juice
1/2 T agave
1 T bbq sauce
2 T vegan mayo
2 T fresh cilantro
Combine dressing ingredients and stir or shake until well mixed. Set aside.

4 cups shredded romaine or lettuce of choice
2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
1 large or 2 small avocados, peeled and diced
1/2 cup sliced olives
3/4 cup pinto beans
3/4 cup corn
1/4 t each garlic powder, chili powder, cumin
1/2 t salt
1 T chopped jalepenos (fresh or canned)
2 T salsa
Tortilla chips (I used tortilla chips with a hint of lime - delicious!)

Divide lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, and olives between two large salad bowls. In a separate bowl, combine beans, corn, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, salt, jalepenos, and salsa. Stir to combine. Divide bean mixture between salad bowls. Drizzle with dressing and serve with tortilla chips.

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.