Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Coleslaw, Chili Cheese Bake

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope this year brings everyone a lot of happiness.

In completely unrelated news, since I'm not hosting any parties, there's no party food. I did have some last year though if you are interested in the Holiday Appetizer Menu. It's got that spinach artichoke dip that I love and is omni-approved multiple times.

Today, we are talking about coleslaw and another casserole!

To make coleslaw, lots of people use a ton of mayonnaise. There's nothing wrong with this, (Vegenaise is what I use) but this leads to a lot of avoidable fat and it is a bit wasteful because a lot of the sauce is wasted. To make a good coleslaw, you don't need a lot of mayo. You need time. I use a fraction of the mayonnaise of traditional coleslaw and I feel it has all the flavor! The salt and vinegar break down the cabbage. Make a day ahead if you will be crunched for time. I do use a bagged mix because I don't eat a ton of cabbage. If you do, then by all means cut your own. For me it's $1.29 for the Publix brand and that's cheaper than buying both red and green cabbage, and carrots. This is one of the FEW times I would ever suggest a bagged mix of anything pre-chopped.

1 lb colw slaw cabbage mix (or make your own)
1/4 - 1/4 + 2 Tbsp Vegenaise or home made vegan mayo
1 Tbsp white vinegear
1 Tbsp soy milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt (add to taste, later)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
dash celery seed (opt) or you can use celery salt and cut back on plain salt

Mix everything except cabbage mix in a bowl until decently integrated. Add cabbage and toss well. It will look like there is no way it's enough liquid. It is.
LET SIT in the fridge about 1/2 hour. Stir well. Let sit another 1/2 hour or more. Fold occasionally so the dry cabbage on top gets the liquid from the bottom on it.

Can easily double this recipe. There will be a smaller volume of coleslaw after the cabbage has broken down. I would still say it makes 4 decent side dishes.

Chili Cheese Bake
I got this idea from a PPKer and tried it myself. It's good!

*12 oz pasta (macaroni, rotelle, something casserole-worthy)
*2 c chili, home made or canned like Amy's. I used My own
*1 recipe Vegan Explosion's Queso, mostly as directed: I also used 1/2 and 1/2 water/soy milk then added about 1/3- 1/2 c extra soy milk.
*Shredded vegan cheese, optional. (I used FYH, about 1/3 block)

Cook and drain pasta, and add prepared chili and queso. Top with optional cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cheap Eating

I was listening to Canadian show [i]As It Happens[/i] and they had a segment on cooking, and talked about a book that is really popular this year. It's called *deep breath* How To Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy, Balanced Diet with Very Little Money and Hardly Any Time, Even if You Have a Tiny Kitchen, Only Three Saucepans (One with an Ill-fitting Lid) and no Fancy Gadgets – Unless You Count the Garlic Crusher.. I'm not plugging this book because I know nothing about it. But it did get me thinking- this is how I generally tend to cook. I'm sure the book's not vegetarian, but the fact that it's outselling Ms. Hottie Chef of the Year herself, Nigella Lawson, says something. The show's host asked listeners to share tips. Since I had to type it out anyway, here they are (and I should follow my own advice!). Please feel free to leave your own comments on cheaper cooking! I need all the help I can get.


*Get a cheap pressure cooker and start buying dried beans. They end up being less than half the price of canned. You can also freeze many of them for later use. Using beans instead of ground meat/meat substitute is also cheaper.

*If you have stores in your area that show their circulars online, you can compare and shop. Here we have Publix and Winn-Dixie that both publish their circulars online. Watch out for 2-for-1 specials. Lots of times this includes canned or fresh vegetables and spaghetti sauces, and store-brand pastas.

*I have found it's cheaper for me to buy spaghetti sauce jarred- even organic with the 2-for-1 special- than it is to make from scratch or even from canned tomatoes. If you have cheap, delicious tomatoes available then by all means. Make a ton and freeze it.

*Many vegetarians/vegans including myself eat what is called seitan (say-tan or say-tahn). It's made from wheat gluten and WAY cheaper if you make it yourself. There are recipes online for it. It is probably about 1/3-1/4 the price if you make rather than buy. Maybe even cheaper than that.

*Regarding other meat substitutes, like veggie "crumbles" that are made to replace ground beef, you can make your own with TVP/TSP (textured vegetable protein/ textured soy protein). You can also make your own veggie sausages.

*Use marinades as sauces. This is easy for vegetarians since there is no risk of salmonella/other bacteria transfer from raw meat. You can reduce most marinades in a pan and top your food with them. You can also re-use your marinades in many cases.

*Don't buy pre-chopped foods. They are ridiculously overpriced. You can get a whole bag of onions for the price of 1 or 2 pre-chopped onions (same goes with bell peppers, generally. Sometimes mushrooms are the same price chopped/whole). It's wasteful of plastic and it takes 10 seconds-1 minute to chop an onion depending on how fast you are. Pre-chopped also tends to spoil faster. Get a sharp chef knife and learn how to chop. This pretty much goes for most convenience items.

*Cook items that are cheaper, like spaghetti and chili, and some casseroles. These can be high in protein and low in fat if you make them that way. They also keep for a while and feed an army.

*Don't buy pre-packaged salads unless they are on sale. Or, you can extend your salad mix by adding some more greens, such as a bulk package of romaine. Iceburg has very little nutrition so stick to darker greens.

*If you like junk food like chips, buy the big bag and take a serving to work with you in a plastic baggie or container. Single-serve items are always more expensive per weight, and wasteful of packaging.

*Store your foods correctly. Here in Florida, it's really humid so we have to wrap everything up or it gets stale. But also, keeping food in tightly-sealed containers keeps bugs out.

*Make a list- make sure you aren't buying and wasting duplicates.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Noodle Soup Oracle!

I stumbled on this today. How cool!

Do you love noodles? Do you love soup? Click and you have a noodle soup suggestion. Be sure to check the Vegetarian Box. Sometimes it suggests eggs, but you can leave them off.

Click Here!

How cool!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Creamy Mushroom-in-Phyllo Appetizers

Sometimes when you wing it, it goes not that great. Sometimes when you wing it, it's really, really yummy! I got lucky last night. I wanted to use cream cheese and mushrooms in a savory pocket. Puff pastry is awesome for some things, but I wanted something really flaky and crisp without as much fat so I got some Phyllo. I had seen Mollyjade's post earlier in the week and wanted to do something with a different direction.

It's not terrible to work with if you do several things:

*Have enough space- make space for the phyllo itself plus space for working with it (I used a cutting board for the work surface)
*Work quickly- you don't have to rush things but the key is that the sheets don't dry out. They are super-thin and pretty delicate but not so delicate that they can't be worked with.
*Don't Let Them Dry Out-Keep a damp paper towel on top of the dough. Wet a paper towel and ring it out really, really well. If the towel is too wet, your layers can stick to the towel and break apart.

3/4-1 lb button mushrooms, chopped small
1 large shallot, minced (can use 1/4 regular white onion, minced)
large pinch dried rosemary
large pinch dried thyme
1-3 tsp soy sauce
about 1/2 c white wine (or vegetable broth)
2-3 Tbsp tofutti cream cheese
small piece of vegan cheese, grated (about 1/4 c. I used FYH Mozz.)
fresh cracked black pepper\
melted margarine, for "buttering"

Melt a little margarine/oil in a large, high-sided pan, and add shallots. Let sweat, but do not brown. Add mushrooms and cook until they release liquid.

Add rosemary,thyme, and soy sauce and continue to cook until almost all of the liquid is almost gone.

Toss in the wine and stir well, getting all the good bits from the pan. Add cream cheese and shredded cheese until smooth. Cream cheese should dissolve and mix in but it's not crucial that the shredded cheese melt.

Add in pepper and salt to taste (may not need salt). If a little bitter, add a small pinch of sugar and mix well.

Let cool, and wrap in Phyllo. I did *every* step in these pictures, so don't be intimidated. I am also left-handed so if you are right-handed, just put the filling on the other side and wrap to the right if it makes you comfortable.

Place sheet on surface.


If using 2 sheets (optional) place 2nd sheet directly on top of first. And butter.

Fold sheet over lengthwise.

Butter it.


Folding it over and over and over

When you come to the end, just add more margarine and fold over.

Place seam side (last side that was open) down, and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, flipping over at the 10-minute mark. They should be crispy on the outside and golden-colored.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Veal" and Ricotta Manicotti

I don't usually like to heavily on any one book, but Bryanna Clark Grogan's books are so good that I would suggest you buy it anyway. *I made the "veal"/"turkey" seitan with the baking method from Nonna's Italian Kitchen. Even as an omnivore, once I knew what veal was, I wouldn't eat it, so it's weird for me to type out. That's why I have to use the quotes, you see. Anyway, the seitan is delicious. I guess you could use a different flavored seitan, but it won't be quite the same. I think a "chicken" or "beef" version would still be very good, though!

You can make this recipe in 2 parts if you like. Make the "veal" filling, the ricotta, and cook the noodles the day before. You can even fill the noodles, cover with sauce, and refrigerate overnight.

Variation- If you'd like to have an all-meat style manicotti, omit the ricotta. I would definitely use the bechamel sauce if you do this. You may also want to try "veal" and spinach.

"Veal" and Ricotta Manicotti (Makes 12-14 Stuffed Pasta Noodles)
1 Package Manicotti Noodles (12-14 noodles), cooked and drained- save plastic cartons
1 recipe of your favorite tofu ricotta (using 1 pkg. tofu, about 1 1/2 c.)
1/2 Recipe "Veal"* seitan, as mentioned above
Favorite Spaghetti/Tomato Sauce (I use what's jarred and on sale)
Favorite Bechamel sauce (optional. You can use all spaghetti sauce.)
shredded vegan cheese (optional)

"Veal" Filling
4 c (or so) small-chopped "veal" seitan (mentioned above, uses the whole amount cooked)
1 average onion, minced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp margarine
2 Tbsp flour
1 c soy/non-dairy milk
2 large pinches salt
2 large pinches sugar
few fresh grinds pepper

Heat 2-4 Tbsp margarine in a large saute pan on MED and sweat onions and garlic. Do not brown, just soften.

Add seitan and cook on MED-HI for about 7 minutes, until heated through and some parts browned. (Not too crispy. Do this in 2 batches 7 min each, please.)

Remove and put in food processor and pulse until pretty well broken down, about the consistency of chunky wet cat food (sorry!!)

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. margarine and add flour. Stir around the pan for about a minute or two. Add the soymilk and stir really well. This makes a thick sauce and also gets all the good bits off the bottom. Add the seitan back to the pan and mix really well with the thick sauce. Stir really well. Remove and fill noodles or refrigerate for later.

Fill The Noodles
To fill the noodles, I would really suggest using a pastry bag. To make your own pasty bag, cut the end off of a ziploc bag. Ta-da! This is also easier if you employ the use of the plastic cartons your uncooked pasta came in. Just set them back in their little trays and they'll stay still.

-Use up all the "veal" filling evenly amongst the noodles. Just kind of make sure it's evenly distributed along the bottom of each noodle. There's plenty of filling.
-Do the same with the ricotta, except try to get it on top of the meat filling and not mix it. For the ricotta, it's easiest if you just pump a little in from both sides, instead of trying to fit the piping bag into the noodle and squirting too much out the other end. Be frugal with the ricotta at first then go back and add more (I didn't do this and had 2 ricotta-less manicotti!).

Cover with bechamel, then spaghetti sauce, or all spaghetti sauce. Cover with shredded vegan cheese (optional).

Bake at 350-375, 30 min. covered. Uncover and bake about 20 min more. Place on top shelf and broil under broiler if using cheese. Watch closely so nothing burns. Adjust time for colder/thawing manicotti. You want the sauce around the noodles to bubble, and the center of each noodle/filing to be hot.

Watch the Sopranos and say "Manni-got!" like they do on the show. Serve with some garlic bread and a nice salad.

For Freezing- Cover baking pan in plastic wrap for easy lifting out- Place a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on bottom, and place in noodles. Freeze and remove in one piece (noodles and sauce), wrapping tightly and placing in a ziploc bag. I use vacuum freezer bags. Day of service: place more spaghetti sauce on bottom of cooking pan, unwrap frozen noodles/sauce, and place in pan. Let defrost in refrigerator. Before cooking, pour on bechamel and more spaghetti sauce. Bake as directed.
I have also heard of people preparing the whole thing, sauce and all, in the pan then just covering with plastic or aluminum and freezing it. It's up to you. Freezing only the noodles with a little sauce saves space.

Italian Pasta Salad with Baked Tofu and Beans

If you're like me, your budget is a little pretty tight and you may need some meals that stretch. Luckily, pasta is there for you. So are canned beans and some tofu.

This pasta salad uses left over baked tofu, which is really firm and delicious the next day cold. Even more protein is added to the mix when you toss in your beans. You can throw in whatever vegetables you like as well. I know some people aren't crazy about leftovers, but generally those people aren't the ones who cook and should say "Gee, thanks for the grub! You are gorgeous!" instead of complaining about leftovers. Just saying.

Italian Pasta Salad with Baked Tofu and Beans
Makes about 4 servings

1/2- 3/4 box small pasta shells
3-4 slabs cold baked tofu*, diced into small pieces (about pea-size)
1/2 can beans (I used kidney beans. Can use any bean you like)
1 carrot, finely grated
1 green onion (include white part), minced
3-4 Tbsp. vegan mayo (Vegenaise), more to taste
2 Tbsp. Italian Dressing (your favorite), more to taste
Cavender's Greek Seasoning
Salt and Pepper (fresh ground)

Cook pasta according to package directions, rinse and drain very well. Place in refrigerator.

Meanwhile, whisk vegan mayo and dressing, and do all of your chopping. Rinse and drain beans if necessary.

Mix everything (pasta, dressing mixture, tofu, beans, carrot, onion) and season to taste with the Cavender's. Go a little easy at first.

Refrigerate for 10-30 min (or overnight) and taste again, adjusting seasoning if necessary.
Can eat right after mixing, but cold pasta salads are better if the flavors hang out for a while.

*Italian Baked Tofu (same as in the link)

1 1b/block tofu, pressed and cut into 8 slabs. (Can double if you wish)
2 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350
Whisk oil and soy sauce very well. Place tofu in a 9x13 pan and pour oil/soy sauce on top, and flip over, coating tofu well on both sides.
Bake 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes. Cool and place in refrigerator, topping with 2 Tbsp. of your favorite Italian dressing, once again coating the tofu. Place in fridge.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Italian Tofu-Polenta Stacks with Vegetable-Mushroom Ragout

This dish has quite a few components, but it's easy to do if you do half of it one day, and the rest the next. It has homemade polenta, dill, mushrooms, and asparagus. I really love the presentation.

DAY BEFORE SERVING- Make Polenta, Bake Tofu, Soften Shiitakes

1/4 c margarine, divided
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 3/4 c vegetable or vegan "chicken" broth
1 c yellow or white cornmeal (I used white)
2 Tb. soy creamer/soymilk
1 large or 2 small green onions, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Line a 8x8 or 9x9 cake pan with saran wrap across the bottom both ways. (so all 4 sides of the pan have saran wrap overhanging.

Melt 1 Tb. margarine, and saute onion and garlic until tender. Stir in broth and bring to a boil.
Stir in corn meal, reduce heat and simmer 10 min., whisking well most of the time.
Stir in cream, green onion, salt, and pepper.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top. Cover with another piece of saran wrap.
Chill overnight or at least 8 hrs.
To cut the next day: Remove SOLID polenta block with the saran wrap overhang. Place on cutting board and cut into 4 quadrants. Next cut each of the 4 squares in half horizontally, so they are half of their thickness (about 1/4"). Can saute as squares, or cut each square into 2 triangles. (I used triangles)

Meanwhile..Italian Baked Tofu

1 1b/block tofu, pressed and cut into 8 slabs. (Can double if you wish)
2 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350
Whisk oil and soy sauce very well. Place tofu in a 9x13 pan and pour oil/soy sauce on top, and flip over, coating tofu well on both sides.
Bake 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes. Cool and place in refrigerator, topping with 2 Tbsp. of your favorite Italian dressing, once again coating the tofu. Place in fridge.

Heat a small pot of water to boiling, throw in dried shiitakes, and set aside for 20 minutes. Cool, drain well, and chop, making sure to remove any woody stem. Put in fridge. You can do this the day of as well if you'd like.

DAY OF- Make Mushroom-Vegetable Ragout, Saute Tofu and Saute Polenta and Tofu

While making this ragout, you want to heat a nonstick skillet to MED or MED HI and saute tofu slabs with the Italian dressing it was marinating in. No need for extra oil. Saute until lightly crisp on each side.
Empty and place on a baking sheet and keeping warm in the oven.
Drop 2 Tbsp. margarine and saute the cold polenta squares or triangles until browned on each side. Also keep warm in oven.

Vegetable-Mushroom Ragout
1 medium succhini, large diced
1 medium yellow squash, large diced
about 12 large asparagus spears
large handful fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 c dried sliced shiitakes, soaking for 20 min in hot water, and chopped
1 large or 2 small button mushrooms, diced
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic, minced
scant 1 c vegetable/vegan "chicken" broth
1/2 c white wine
1/2 c (plus extra) soy cream
1/4 c chopped dill
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp flour

Cut the woody 1/3 of the bottom of asparagus off. Cut each spear into about thirds, making the spear end bigger than the other 2-3 parts.
Cut green beans into about thirds
Boil a medium pot of water and cook asparagus, green beans, yellow squash, and zucchini for 2 minutes. (May need to do 2 batches). Submerge in an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain very, very well.
Melt a Tbsp. margarine and saute softened shiitake and button mushrooms. Remove and place in bowl with blanched vegetables.
Heat 1 more Tbsp. margarine and saute shallots and garlic until tender. Add wine and broth. Cook about 15 min. or until it is reduced to about 1 1/4 c.

Use pan you cooked polenta in, adding 1-2 Tbsp oil/margarine (depending on how much oil you have left in the pan) and add flour. Whisk until it forms a paste, and add some of the broth/wine mixture. Whisk again, while adding the rest of the broth and the dill. This is where you reduce until slightly thickened, and add more cream if you like. You do not want a gravy.
Add the vegetables back, and season as desired.

Stack: Polenta, Tofu, Polenta, Tofu, Vegetable-Mushroom Ragout, spooning in extra sauce.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Chicken-Style" Seitan-Vegetable Fajitas

This recipe really needs to be adjusted to YOUR personal taste, so the measurements are really up to you as far as the marinade goes. I cook the seitan twice, giving it a firm texture and crispy outside.

Makes about 6-7 small tortillas (serves 2 hungry people if you have rice and beans)

1 small onion, cut into rings
1 large unpeeled carrot, cut into coins (maybe 1/8 in thick)
handful (about 3/4 c) broccoli florets, chopped if large
5-6 small button mushrooms, quartered
1-1 1/2 c chicken-style seitan, cut into strips and sauteed
pack small flour tortillas
dry fajita seasoning (opt)

Marinade (equals about a half cup):
olive oil
lime juice from 1/2 decent lime
soy sauce/tamari
dash apple cider vinegar
Green Tabasco Sauce (it's really not spicy!)
agave nectar
garlic powder

You will also maybe want some:

Guacamole (!!! Duh)
Tofutti Sour Cream
Chopped Green Onion

Make marinade to taste. It has a really unique flavor, but it will work. You want it sort of acidic and a little sweet.
Place sauteed seitan in marinade. The longer it sits, the better. At least 30 min.

When ready to cook, have all of your ingredients ready, this cooks quickly like a stir-fry.

Heat a large, tall sided pan (MED-HI) and put a generous amount of canola oil. Heat oil until hot and add seitan strips. Stir frequently. You want them heated through and seared on the outside.

Remove from pan and add more oil and heat until oil is hot.

Add all vegetables and stir continuously for about a minute and add the rest of the marinade.

Cook until vegetables are tender-crisp. Some will have a slightly charred outside.
Adjust heat as necessary. Add a couple shakes of fajita seasoning (optional)

Add seitan back to pan and make sure everything is hot.

Serve immediately. Cover a plate of the tortillas with a wet paper towel and microwave 30 seconds to soften, then fill with the seitan and vegetables.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Swirly Breads- Cinnamon/Raisin & Garlic Italian

I saw that Vegan Dad had some delicious-looking breads on his site, so I wanted to try them. Let me tell you about vegan dad. I like Vegan Dad. He's apparently probably Vegan, and probably also a dad. I don't see as many male vegan bloggers, so it makes me happy. I love to see people taking real concern in their kids' lives/nutrition. Sometimes people forget how much love can be put into the meals they eat. I like the fact that he has good recipes, I like his pictures, and I like that most of the food he makes is kid-friendly. Go, Vegan Dad!

On to the bread.
I'm not a baked goods purist, or any other type of purist for that matter. I like some chunky stuff. I like chunky stuff in my ice cream, I like chunky stuff in my soup. I like chunky stuff in my brownies. Give me texture!

The cinnamon raisin bread is just slightly modified, and I decided to make the other one Italian garlic swirl. I would suggest not halving this recipe even though it makes 2 loaves. Just stick one in the freezer/give it away as a gift. You think your neighbor won't enjoy a nice loaf of bread? You are going to be waiting the same amount of time anyway, and 2 loaves is barely more work than 1. Other ideas for filling include mixed chopped olives, chocolate chips, other spices besides Italian (maybe cardamom, curry spice, jerk rub..Chinese 5-spice powder, even?), maybe pumpkin seeds. Maybe poppy or sesame seeds on top, sunflower seeds throughout, maybe even jam or jelly inside.




1/3 c warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 tsp sugar
2 c warm water
1/3 c sugar
scant 3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp ground flax seed, whisked into 3 Tbsp of water
1/3 c vegetable oil
6-7 c white bread flour OR 6-7 c All purpose flour + 1/4 c gluten flour (opt)

Cinnamon/Raisin: 1 c raisins, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/3 c brown sugar, 1-2 Tbsp softened margarine
Garlic/Italian: 7-8 cloves garlic, olive oil, Rosemary, Italian spice, and garlic powder (*see instructions below)

Stir 3/4 tsp sugar into 1/3 c water. Mix in yeast and set aside until foamy.

Mix together 2 cups water, sugar, salt, vinegar, flax mixture, and oil in a large bowl. Mix in yeast mixture and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Can use paddle attachment on a stand mixer.

Add in 2 more cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough (either by hand or with the dough hook attachment). Knead until smooth. (I let the machine do the work.)

Place dough in a well-oiled bowl, turning to coat the whole loaf. Cover with a towel and let rise for at least an hour, until doubled in size. I put them in a (turned off) oven and close the door (*See instructions for garlic bread below!)

Punch down risen dough and knead for a minute or so to get out the air bubbles. Separate dough into 2 balls and gently fold raisins into one of the dough balls.

Roll out each ball into a rectangle, making sure it will fit your loaf pans. Spray loaf pans with nonstick spray.

For cinnamon/raisin: Mix brown sugar, softened margarine, and cinnamon and spread the paste all over the rectangle. Roll up tightly, tuck edges in, and place in a loaf pan, "seam" side down.

For garlic/Italian: exact same procedure, except with the garlic paste

Let rise for 45 minutes, uncovered. (Once again, I do this in the turned-off oven).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (Don't leave your bread in there, duh). Place loaves in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until loaves are nicely browned and sound hollow when you knock on the bottom. You can brush on some soy milk or oil before baking for more color, but it's not necessary.

Let cool slightly and remove bread onto racks to finish, and make sure to "test" a slice (or 2!) while they are still nice and warm.

*Garlic Bread-
We will be making a roasted garlic flavored paste. While bread is rising the first time, Peel garlic cloves and place in a heated pan with a couple Tbsp. olive oil. You want the pan on the lowest setting possible. We are not trying to saute or sear the garlic. Cover pan and shake every so often.
When garlic is soft and a golden color, pour (with oil) into a bowl, add a pinch of Rosemary, generous shaking of Italian seasoning, and and a little shake of garlic powder. Mash into a paste with a fork. You can also use fresh chopped herbs. Proceed as with cinnamon bread.

A Note About Yeast:
If your yeast mixture does not get foamy, your yeast is dead. Get some new yeast. It could have been age, temperature of the water, or just your bad attitude that killed it. Just kidding. Make sure the water is warm and not hot, because this can kill yeast. And another thing- yeast isn't an animal. So next time a non-vegan Dexter (or your grandma- she's just trying to help!) tells you that yeast isn't vegan, tell them that it's from the kingdom of Fungi and that we can (ethically) eat everyone in the kingdom of Fungi, even though we certainly wouldn't want to eat ALL fungi.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I Have To Post This

Generally this blog is just about food, but damn!


I AM SO PROUD. Congratulations, President Obama.

Look at that handsome first family!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I really like pineapple upside down cake, but most of the recipes available call for cake mix and I don't know of any vegan cake mixes. It's really easy enough to make your own anyway (not to mention less expensive). Don't let the long-looking recipe fool you. It's all ready to go in the oven by the time the oven is preheated. I use coconut extract here for a creamier tropical taste.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

1/3 c earth balance margarine
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp. Brown sugar

1-8oz can pineapple rings in pineapple juice, juice reserved
Maraschino cherries

1 3/4 c flour
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1/2 c water
1/2 c reserved pineapple juice (can use water, but it’s better with juice)
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350
Trace a round 8-inch baking pan (with sides at least 1.5 inches high) onto a piece of parchment and cut a circle to place in the bottom of the pan. Spray with nonstick spray all over the inside of the pan.

Place margarine and brown sugar in a pan on the stove and turn on medium heat, stirring often until both are melted and lightly bubbling. Remove from heat. May be runny. Do not over-boil. (It doesn't have to come together, but if you want it more caramely, you can cook a little longer. Just don't burn it.)

Meanwhile, drain pineapples really well and save the juice. Place rings in pan. You can use a larger can if extra rings are desired. Place maraschino cherries in and around rings in desired patterns.

Pour sugar/margarine over pineapple, careful not to move them around. Spread sugar/margarine evenly around pineapples and cherries.

Make cake mix:
Sift flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
Mix in a separate bowl: vinegar, extracts, water, pineapple juice, and oil.
Add wet to dry, mix well and carefully pour over pineapple/sugar in the pan.

Cook for 25-40 min, checking every 5 minutes after 25. When a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, it’s done.
NOTE: Thank you Lori for mentioning that it took you 35-40 min. My oven was off the day I made this cake.

Let cool most of the way, loosen cake from pan with a toothpick around the edges. Gently turn over onto a plate (It’s easier to put the plate upside down on the pan, and flip the whole thing together). Peel parchment off of the pineapples.


NOTE: Today my oven was acting funky and I had to cook this FOREVER and if this happens to you (the sides are cooking before the center is set) then just cover the sides with aluminum and hope for the best.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Non-Partisan Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

I made these for people at work for something fun. Most of the people I work with are Republican/Conservative and there are a few of us who aren't. I still voted Obama (early voting), but these were a hit across the party lines.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies from The PPK and Buttercream Icing (1/2 recipe) from VCTOTW

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake + "Chicken" Vegetable Casserole

For my 24th Birthday, I made myself a cake. It sounds kind of sad to make your own cake, but the one friend of mine who does any baking and lives in the same state is really super-pregnant and you can't ask a super-pregnant lady to schlep over and make you a cake. My boyfriend's culinary skills mostly extend to pasta, which is okay. So I made my own cake. The recipe is from the now defunct Delicious Choices. I topped it with VWAV Ganache (make 1/2 the recipe).

Raspberry Cheesecake Recipe
2- 8oz pkg Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
2 cups Sour Supreme Sour Cream
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 Tbsp (1 Tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp) egg replacer powder dissolved in 1/2 cup water
1/2 c raspberry sauce (recipe to follow)

Comb. cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar until fluffy.
Add vanilla, flour, and egg replacer/water, beating well after each addition.
Add 1/4 c of the raspberry sauce and mix until swirled, not all the way mixed.
Pour into prepared 8" springform pan. Drop the other 1/4 c raspberry sauce in dollops all over the cake and run a knife around the cake so it's all swirled.

Set in 8" pan in a 10" springform pan.
Pour hot water into 10" pan until 1/2 of the 8" pan is submerged.
Place in preheated 300F oven and cook 1 1/2-2 hours until center is set and sides begin to pull away from pan.
Do not unmold cheesecake until completely chilled. Chill 10 hours or more.

Raspberry Sauce
1- 12 oz package frozen raspberries
1 c sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Place raspberries in a bowl with the sugar and mix well. Let thaw or microwave for a minute so they come to room temperature.
Heat raspberries/juice in a small saucepan on MED-LO until they come to a low boil.
Add lemon juice and heat a minute more, stirring well.

You can press through a sieve to get the seeds out, but I would only do this for garnish on top. I kept the seeds and used the sauce for the cheesecake. There will be some left over.

"Chicken" Vegetable Casserole

I hate the word "casserole". It makes me think of things that are mysterious and maybe too old being thrown in a pot as a last resort before you say "The hell with it!" and go to Taco Bell. It makes me think of people complaining about dinner. It makes me think of cheating by opening a can of something and baking it. Most casseroles don't even look that appetizing...(Even though growing up, I can't really think of one casserole that wasn't good!).. But darn it, I LIKE CASSEROLES.

This one is heavy on vegetables. Use what you have, I had a fair variety on hand.
This fills a 2 Qt casserole dish to the top.

8oz eggless wide noodles, cooked and drained
1 med onion, chopped
3 small/1-2 large carrots, chopped into 1/4" or smaller coins
1-2 stalks celery, diced large (use the leaves, they are yummy)
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 c broccoli florets
1 hand full green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 c seitan, chopped small (can use more, this is all I had)
"Cream of Chicken" soup, recipe below*. Although I got it to gravy consistency and it was more than a can of a certain popular brand would yield
1/2 c extra soy milk
green onion and parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Cook and drain eggless noodles and set aside. Keep water and drop in the broccoli and green beans until bright green and tender. Drain and throw in with pasta.

Saute onion, celery, and carrot until almost tender in a large saute pan. Add zucchini until tender. Add to pasta/vegetables.

Saute seitan until crisp, using seasoning of choice. Add to pasta/vegetables. MEANWHILE, make the "cream of chicken" sauce. Do not cook until very thick, just somewhat thick.

WHen sauce is done, mix everything well and put in a 2-qt baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 min. Can broil the last couple minutes if you want the top crispy. Garnish with chopped parsley and green onion.

"Cream of Chicken" Soup is from Chef Deborah on

Cream of "Chicken" Soup Concentrate
(use as a substitute for same)

2 cups soymilk or rice milk
2 Tbs cornstarch
4 tsps vegetarian "chicken" bouillon powder
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp sugar or other sweetener
1/4 cup "chicken"-style TVP (or plain TVP)
1/4 cup boiling water

Soak TVP in boiling water 15 minutes (then drain).
Put remaining ingredients in saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until
mixture begins to thicken.
Stir in rehydrated TVP.
Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until
mixture is very thick.

Use in casseroles, or thin with more 'milk to make
soup or gravy.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lemony Rice Pilaf with (or without) Toasted Nuts

I really love rice pilaf. I got the noodle/rice method from Mediterranean rice and lentils. I like how this turned out. Even with the 3 Tbsp lemon juice, it's not too lemony. You can omit the nuts but I really like them. Use any combo that you enjoy. I used pine nuts and chopped almonds. I like to use the vermicelli from the Latino market that comes in the small packs. If you can't find them, just break up some angel hair pasta into really small pieces.

Makes 4 generous portions as a side

1 1/4 c white rice
about 1/3-1/2 c vermicelli (small)
2 1/3 c warm water
Enough vegetable bouillon to flavor 2 cups of water
about 1/3 c (total) nuts- whatever combo you like
3 Tb or more lemon juice (add to taste)
few Tbsp olive oil or margarine or a mix of both
oil for cooking

In a medium pot with a lid, heat a bit of oil (maybe 1-2 Tbsp) and brown vermicelli. DON'T walk away from the pot! They burn easily.

When they are light golden, add the water and bouillon. Stir a little so the bouillon dissolves a bit.

Bring to a boil, and add rice. Lower heat to LO and cover: cook 18-20 min, until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, toast the nuts in a dry pan. No oil. Just medium heat until the nuts are light golden, shaking the pan often. Almonds took longer than the pine nuts, so make sure that if you have different types of nuts, you may want to toast in 2 separate batches.

Put rice in a bowl and add lemon juice and margarine/oil and mix well. You can also add fresh parsley if you'd like.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Caramelized Onion and Sausage Ravioli

I'll admit I watch Food Network. Unless it gets too gross, I like to see what's going on in the food world, and that excludes most vegetarians, but we can re-vamp recipes, so it's all good.

Today I saw Giada on Everyday Italian today use won ton wrappers for ravioli. If it's good enough for Food Network's Italian-born poster girl, it's good enough for me. I just didn't feel like making dough today. I'm not linking to her recipe because mine is nothing like it except the "butter". But trust me, it has won ton wrappers! I am using Dynasty brand. I really, really suggest caramelizing your onions. It adds a sweet, deep flavor to the dish. The filling is even better the next day, as proven by my eating it with a spoon.

1 package vegan won ton wrappers
1 pkg (14-16oz) drained tofu, pressed
several Tbsp Vegenaise
couple Tbsp Italian seasoning (enough to make filling speckled throughout)
3 small (one large) onion, chopped
1 Tofurkey Italian sausage, chopped small
lots of freshly ground black pepper

First, start caramelizing your onions in some olive oil. Low heat for a long time. I keep mine on med-lo. This takes about an hour, so you can either skip this step and just saute them if you MUST, or make a lot so you can use them for other things.

Meanwhile-Place tofu in a food processor with Vegenaise, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste, but go easy at first, as you will be adding 2 other flavors. Empty into a bowl and place in the refrigerator.

When onions are done, pulse in food processor and add to tofu mixture. Saute sausage in pan on medium heat. When sauteed, pulse in food processor until pieces are small and uniform. Add to tofu mixture. Let chill until cold and then season to taste again.

Place about 2 tsp. chilled filling into each won ton wrapper and seal with plain water.

Heat water to boiling in a large high-sided pan. This gives the ravioli room, and it heats the water more quickly than a large pot. Place a few raviolis in the boiling water. They are done after a few minutes. The won tons will be pretty translucent.
Drain carefully.

To make Oregano "Butter"
Melt 1/4 c earth balance in a small pan
add 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Cook the oregano for 1 min and add sea salt and fresh black pepper. Drizzle over plated ravioli.