Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pho and Spring Rolls

Lauren and Daniel came to visit and Lauren requested Pho and Spring Rolls. So..Pho and Spring Rolls they had.

I use this recipe as a base, but I use Better Than Bouillon vegan beef broth, and this time I added a cube of vegan Pho bouillon. You have to be careful to adjust the salt/soy sauce and the liquids used, make sure it is balanced. I just wanted a deep flavor, but the flavor mostly comes from the charred vegetables in the recipe, specifically the anise pods. I am re-posting the recipe here with a few modifications.

Pho from
for the broth...

1 small unpeeled onion, quartered
2 unpeeled shallots, halved (can also use more onion)
8 garlic cloves, halved
a 1-inch piece of ginger, coarsely sliced
two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
2 pods of star anise
4 cloves
8 cups clear vegetable stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce

for the soup ...
about 1 pound rice noodles (I use less)
8 ounces seitan or fried tofu, sliced
6 scallions, thinly sliced
about 1-1/2 cups bean sprouts
a good handful of basil, mint or cilantro leaves, left whole
1 lime, cut into wedges
hoisin sauce
sriracha chili paste

Cooking Instructions

To make the broth, heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, shallots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves and dry-roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to char. Add the stock/bouillon/paste and soy sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes. Strain into a clean pot and discard the solids. Taste the broth and add salt if necessary. Keep warm over low heat.

While the broth is simmering, prepare the rice noodles and if you haven't done so already, cook your seitan or tofu. I like to use beef seitan, sliced thin and seared over high heat on each side. Add a little steak sauce or marinade for the finish.

Place the noodles in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles to cover and soak for 20 minutes OR boil rice noodles until done (happens quickly so stand by) and drain/rinse.

When you are ready to assemble the soup, pour broth into each bowl, add noodles to the broth and set up the rest of the ingredients on a platter. Set in the middle of the table. I like to do it this way, family style so each person gets exactly how much of everything they want.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Spring Rolls

This time, the spring rolls had teriyaki mushrooms, carrot, green onion, rice noodles, and tofu. I soaked some dried shiitakes until tender, then sauteed them with button mushrooms and added teryaki sauce to finish. Tofu was simply sauteed in peanut oil until crispy then cut from slabs into strips. If eating with the pho, you may want to skip the rice noodles, and cut romaine lettuce into ribbons. If anyone doesn't know how to do spring rolls, leave a comment and I will include instructions or a link to instructions. Also, serving on saran wrap adds a real touch of class!(not).
I used Vegan Planet's peanut sauce, but used homemade "fish" sauce and soy instead of all soy. It was fantastic!

Bonus pics!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hawaiian Pizza w/Whole Wheat Crust

You can use whatever crust you want, but I wanted something slightly healthier/heartier, so I did a crust made with 1/2 whole wheat. I also used the May Wah Ham Tube!.

Hawaiian Pizza!
Make crust (below). While crust is rising, cook the ham and prepare the remaining ingredients.

1-8oz can pineapple tidbits (drain and save juice for drinks)
7-8 thin slices ham tube
peanut oil
few sprinkles liquid smoke
pinch whole fennel seeds
1/4 c (or + 2 Tbsp)spaghetti sauce
1-1 1/2 c finely shredded Follow Your Heart Mozz.

In a large pan, heat a bit of peanut oil over med/med-hi. Add fennel seeds and ham slices. Turn over when very lightly browned and add liquid smoke. Remove from heat.

After crust has had 4 minute bake, spread sauce thinly over entire crust. Add 1/2 the cheese, and arrange ham slices to cover whole pizza. Top with drained pineapple tidbits, spread evenly over entire pizza. Top with remaining 1/2 of the cheese. You can adjust cheese level to your preference.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 more minutes. I like to melt the cheese under the broiler. Today I guess I just discovered my broiler has a LO setting, so that's great.
I modified this slightly from this recipe to fit a mixer with a dough hook.

1 pkg. dry yeast
1 c. whole wheat flour or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 to 2/3 c. warm water
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. olive oil (opt)
Vegetable cooking spray

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes, addinng a pinch of sugar if desired.

Combine flours and salt in mixer bowl. Stir in yeast mixture and oil (opt). Add enough warm water to make a moderate stiff dough and mix well with a dough hook. Can be a little dry and piece-y. Cover and let stand 15 minutes (can keep in mixing bowl or new oiled bowl. Cover with damp towel). After the 15 minutes, knead in mixer 3 minutes on low setting.

Divide dough in half. Roll each half in 12 inch circle (or an amoeba, as shown).

Place each on 12 inch pizza pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 4 minutes. May freeze extra crust for later use.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Green Stuffed Shells

I made these shells with more veggies in mind. It was actually supposed to be a lasagna but I didn't have lasagna noodles. I made it with Mean Green Spinach sauce, but about 1/2 the recipe was used, so if you are *just* making this, then 1/2 the recipe.

The Mean Green sauce is VERY spinach-y. If you don't like spinach a lot, then I would suggest to pick another sauce or omit.

Green Stuffed Shells w/Mean Green Spinach Sauce

1/2 recipe Mean Green Spinach Sauce (recipe follows)
1 small batch white sauce (recipe follows)
1 recipe tofu ricotta
3-4 med size piece seitan, chopped, cooked and seasoned (maybe 3/4-1 cup)
pasta shells (I used about 12 but used 10oz tofu. Adjust for your ricotta recipe)
spaghetti sauce for pan
hand full (1 c) chopped broccoli

*Make whichever tofu ricotta you like. Chill in refrigerator.
*Cook seitan until crispy and mix with ricotta. Chill while you prepare dish.
*Cook large pasta shells as directed, and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Do not drain water. Throw broccoli in boiling water and cook a few minutes until tender but not mushy. Chop and set aside.
*Make Mean Green Spinach Sauce and white sauce while shells are cooking (or make spinach sauce the day ahead and chill).
*Pour a little spaghetti sauce in a small square nonstick baking pan.
*Fill cooled shells with ricotta mixture. Top with broccoli.
*Place each shell in pan, and top with Mean Green Spinach Sauce, White Sauce, a little more shapgetti sauce, and optional vegan cheese.
*Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until well-heated through. Broil to melt cheese the last couple minutes, if using. Keep an eye on it.

Mean Green Spinach Sauce
1/2 c packed cilantro (or if you are a hater, just double parsley)
1/2 c packed parsley
1/2 frozen block spinach (makes 2-2 1/2 Tbsp spinach when thawed and squeezed). You could probably also just use 2 lare handfuls fresh spinach
1 c vegetable/vegan "chicken" flavor broth
2 Tbsp. soy milk
1 Tbsp. vegan margarine
1/2- 1 tsp. cornstarch

Blend everything very, very well in a blender and place on low heat until thickened and just barely boiling. Makes a crazy bright green sauce. I would suggest to eat it with another sauce. It's strongly flavored, but good in applications like this.

White Sauce
1 Tbsp. vegan margarine
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 c soy milk
salt and pepper.

Melt margarine in a saucepan, then whisk flour and nutritional yeast until crumbly and toasted. Do not burn. Add 1/4 c soy milk and break down chunks. Add other 1/4 c soy milk and keep stirring until thickened but not too thick. Set aside.