Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve...resolutions anyone?

Every year I make the same resolutions.

Lose weight, eat better, work out and generally be a healthier person.

I am going to Hawaii in March, so weight loss between now and then is CRUCIAL! Now I know this blog is about JUST THE FOOD, so I will try to make sure to post some healthy recipes, that TASTE GOOD TOO! I'll even try to post some nutritional info on the recipes I post that I get off of the Sparkpeople website, which I also resolve to start using again after tomorrow.

To start off I am having a wonderfully fancy "steak" dinner tonight with good friends to ring in the new year. I am in charge of the vegan "steaks" since several of the dinner guests will be vegetarian or vegan. I used a traditional method of rinsing, kneading and boiling the seitan tightly in cheesecloth, using the recipe in Cozy Inside. The only thing I did differently than normal, was to shape the "log" a little fatter before wrapping in cheesecloth, so that the slices will be larger and more "steak" like.

After boiling, I let the logs rest in their broth to stay moist. Just before serving, I sliced them into nice thick slices, sprinkled with some fresh cracked black pepper and pan "seared" for a few minutes on each side, in just a smidge of olive oil, just to give them a crispy bite.

Seitan is one of my favorite protein foods. It is so versatile and it tastes so good. Other than the fairly high sodium content, seitan is pretty healthy too! It is generally low in fat, high in protein and relatively low in carbs.

A basic search for nutritional facts gives the following info:

A typical 4 oz T-bone steak provides:
Calories: 149.7 (30% from fat!!!)
Total Fat: 5.15 g
Saturated Fat: 2.0 g
Cholesterol: 44.25 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 0.0 g
Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 48.4 g

While an equal sized portion of commercially available WhiteWave brand seitan provides:
Calories: 112.5 (only 11% from heart healthy fats!)
Total Fat: 1.5g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0g
Total Carbohydrate: 4.5g
Fiber: 1.5g
Protein: 27g

So make some seitan, make it often, eat it and enjoy it often! I think you might even burn a few calories kneading and rinsing it!

Traditional Boiled Seitan (from Cozy Inside)
1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
5 cups whole wheat flour
2 ½ cups water (or vegetable broth)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp garlic, minced (dried is fine)
2 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper

In a large mixing bowl mix the flours, slowly add water and form a stiff dough. Knead the dough about 70 times. I do it right in the bowl. Let rest 20 minutes. After resting, take dough, in the bowl, to the sink and cover with water. Knead the dough until the water becomes milky, empty the water from the bowl and repeat. Do this 10-12 times. By the 10th to 12th time, the dough will feel and look like the consistency of brains. After the last rinse, add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, parsley, and pepper. Mix thoroughly, by hand.

Divide dough into two equal pieces. Place one piece of dough in the center of a large piece of cheesecloth and roll in tightly into a "log" shape. Tie the ends to secure. Repeat with the other piece. Place both "logs“ in the broth (recipe below) and simmer for 90 minutes. Remove from broth and set on a plate to cool. Remove from cheesecloth. If the cheesecloth is sticking, run under some water, and it should come off easily. You can store it in the fridge (in foil) or in a plastic container. To keep it really moist, place some of the broth in the container.) Keeps in the fridge about two weeks, or indefinitely in the freezer

Traditional Boiling Broth for Seitan

10 cups water
2 cups soy sauce
10 cloves garlic (chopped in half)
5 whole bay leaves

In your largest stock pot, put all ingredients in and bring to a boil, add seitan pieces and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 90 minutes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Bagels!

This will definitely be a new tradition in the Newman hosehold! HOME MADE BAGELS! They came out better than either of us expected! I made everything bagels topped with garlic, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and salt. Dan made his plain, and he even made a few without holes so he could make bagel pizzas. Here is the link to the recipe, along with some photos so that you too may enjoy some bagels of your own!

Everything bagels are my favorite!

We are way too goofy!

The original recipe was found on THIS website.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sorry it's been so long! I promise to make it up to you with recipes for Mango Salsa, Minty Dog Bones, Maple Corn Fritters and Cedar Smoked Tofu.

I apologize for not keeping up with blogging, but I have a good excuse!

I am not even done yet!

Here it is, Christmas Eve, and I still have baking, knitting and wrapping to finish. It seems I do this to myself every year. I think I am on schedule, but I always end up running out of time!

Anyhow, we went to my mom's house over the weekend to celebrate an early Christmas out on her ranch in Tehachapi. She really does deserve a special mom of the year prize for making sure there was enough for me to eat. She also introduced me as "the Vegan daughter" to her friends and neighbors. I guess that beats some other names she could've given me, right? In Tehachapi, in was an average of about 30-40 degrees while we were there. For me, a SoCal native, that was pretty darn cold. But even in the cold weather, my mom's true nativeness came out and she made a wonderful Mango Salsa that I am going to share with you now. It was so very yummy!

Mom's Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa
1 cup mango, diced
½ cup finely diced cilantro
½ cup red onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt (use more if needed)
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 serrano chili, seeded and veins removed, finely diced
Directions:Mix all ingredients and refrigerate overnight to enhance flavor. Serve with tortilla chips.

Since we brought the doggies up with us to her house, she thought it would be a good idea to bake them some treats too. Here is my mom's secret recipe for Yummy Minty Doggie Bones. She even wrapped them in festive little celo bags and made them in the shapes of gingerbread men. Isn't my mom just the best?

Minty Dog Bones

Minty Dog Bones
Ingredients:1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Water
2 ½ Cups Whole Wheat Flour
½ Cup Oatmeal
2 Tablespoons Dried Mint
1/3 Cup Chopped Parsley
Directions:Mix oil and water, slowly add flour and other ingredients. Roll dough out on a flat surface.
Cut with cookie cutters. Bake 35 minutes at 325 degrees. I usually turn them half way
through to make sure they don’t brown too much on one side. Makes about 2 dozen depending
on the size of your cookie cutter.

For breakfast on Sunday (aka Christmas) morning, we all gathered around the tree to open presents and then we all had a hearty breakfast of Maple Corn Fritters. Yep, I made the manly men eat vegan fritters. Gasp! They actually liked them!

Maple Corn Fritters

Maple Corn Fritters (from Cozy Inside)
makes 4 HUGE fritters or 8 smaller ones
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
1 cup soy milk
¼ cup pure maple syrup (I use Grade B)
Equivalent of 2 eggs (flax eggs or ener-g works well here)
1 cup frozen or canned corn kernels
Whisk together corn meal, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together soy milk, syrup and egg replacers. Add wet to dry and mix well. Fold in corn kernels. Let mixture sit about 5 minutes before cooking. Heat a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet on high heat with about 1 tbsp of oil. Ladle in the batter. Cook as you would a pancake, flipping when the bubbles are popping and the edges are curling. No longer than 1-2 minutes per side. Serve warm, drowning in Earth Balance and maple syrup. Grade B, of course.

And finally, here is a very easy way to prepare tofu. Cedar Smoked Tofu. So simple.

Cedar Plank Smoked Tofu

First, find yourself a food safe cedar plank. Soak it in water for at least an hour, more if you have time. Preheat your ofen to 200 degrees. Slice up a block of extra firm tofu and arrange it on the plank. Place the plank in the oven and bake for at least 90 minutes and up to 3 hours. The outside of the tofu will brown and become firm. The inside will stay moist and chewy. Use the tofu in any recipe. I just diced mine up and mixed it in with some green beans and garlic. YUMP!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More Holiday Baking!

Cardamon Sugar Cookies
(veganized from Cooking Pleasures magazine)
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup margarine
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 egg replacers (Flax or Tofu eggs work well here, or just use Ener-G)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Additional Soymilk or other non-dairy milk to help get the dough to come together (I needed about 1/4 cup)
Spice Mixture:
1/4 cup sugar or sparkling sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
3 dashes salt
Whisk Flour, Baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat 2 cups sugar, butter and cardamom in a large bowl at medium speed for 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg replacers and vanilla. At low speed, beat in the flour mixture, just until blended. Add additional soy milk if needed to get the dough to come together. Place dough on the counter and knead just until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, overnight or up to 2 days. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment, silicone liners, or spray with non-stick spray. remove dough from refrigerator and let stand at room temerature until able to roll but still firm. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/8" thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes. Place on cookie sheets. Sprinkle, liberally, spice mixture onto the cookies. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until pale golden brown at the edges. Let cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Kittee's Peanut Butter Fudge
My mom has been making peanut butter fudge every year for Christmas since I was a wee little girl. It's her specialty. I sent her Kittee's recipe last year, and now she uses this recipe. IT'S SO EASY AND TASTES WONDERFUL! I searched around online to link to it, but couldn't find it. I think I got it off of the PPK last Christmastime. Here is Kittee's Famous Peanut Butter Fudge recipe.
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water (or soymilk)
Grease a 8x8 or 9x9 pan or caserole. In a large bowl, place peanut butter and vanilla. Put the sugar and water (or soymilk) in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Boil hard for exactly one minute. Dump all at once into the peanut butter mixture and stir quickly to blend. It sets up really fast, so pour into the greased pan quickly, and allow to cool completely before enjoying.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Kittee Kake for Kristmas!

Kittee makes the cakes that make people smile. Her cakes embody all that is important about cake. That it be fun, tasty and home made with love! Inspired by her birthday cake, I set out to make a holiday cake that would make the people happy. I am pretty sure it worked. See for yourself:

Did you smile?

Here's an inside shot:

The top two layers are Kittee's "Non-Chocolate Cake" and the bottom two layers are Kittee's "Chocolate Wacko Cake." Both recipes are available in her awesome 'zine, Papa Tofu. It is frosted with my own Creem Cheeze Frosting (Which is simply equal parts Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese, Earth Balance a teaspoon or 2 of vanilla extract, depending on how much I am making, and enough powdered sugar to get the right consistency.) which I added green food coloring to. I decorated it with Christmas themed candies (which were all vegan, as far as I could tell.) and it became the star of the buffet.

I hope I have made Kittee proud.

(There was more food...I'll post about it later, off to work.)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A MonteChristo Reuben?

I was getting the two confused, thinking a reuben was served on French Toast. Apparently I was incorrect, and I was thinking of a MonteChristo, which is served on French toast. Nonetheless, I made this sandwich for dinner tomight. I guess you couls call it a MonteChristo Reuben? I used thw VWAV recipe for Fronch Toast and in between those two golden delicious slices was a pile of thinly sliced and pan fried seitan form Cozy Inside, topped with Sauer Kraut. Super yum!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Holiday Baking Has Begun! (Part One)

I am trying out a bunch of new things this year, as well as some old favorites. I have a slew of baskets and tins to fill, and packages to mail out, so I am starting now (Don't worry, I won't let baked goods sit around until Christmas, lots will be given out this Friday, and then I will do a whole new batch.)

The first thing I made was the Almond-Pistacio-Cranberry biscotti from Veganomicon. SOOOOO GOOOOOD!!! They are not too sweet and have the perfect biscotti shape and texture. Plus, by using the pistacio-cranberry variation, they are already perfectly decorated for Christmas.

Next up are these Agave-Ginger Bites that I veganized out of good old Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. So easy and quick. They are perfect for gift bags. Each recipe makes 240 little cookies!!! They are reminiscent of pfeffernusse, without all the pesky eggs.

Here's the modified recipe I used:
Agave-Ginger Bites
Ingredients (makes 240 bite size cookies)
1/3 cup Agave Nectar
1/4 cup margarine (I use Earth Balance)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 egg substitute (I used ener-g for this recipe because of the beaten egg in the original instructions, but I am sure a flax egg would have worked too)
powdered sugar for rolling

1. In a small sauce pan, combine agave nectar and margarine. Heat and stir until margarine is completely melted. Remove from heat, pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
2. In a seperate bowl sift together flour, sugar, ginger, baking soda and pepper.
3. Mix egg replacement into the Agave mixture.
4. Gradually stir or knead the flour mixture into the agave mixture. (I found I needed a little more moisture to get my dough to come together into a ball, so I added a few tbsp of soy nog.)
5. Cover and chill for at least an hour. (Or overnight if you want to make it a day ahead.)
6. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
7. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion into approximately 10 inch long ropes. Cut each rope into 1/2 inch pieces.
8. Place each piece 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet (I use parchment or silicone liners.) and bake for 6-8 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.
9. Cool on paper towels.
10. Roll in powdered sugar.
Store in an airtight container in layers seperated by wax paper at room temperature up to 3 days. Freeze up to 3 months!

And finally, for today, I made these Bittersweet Chocolate Slices veganized from Cooking Pleasures magazine, which is published by the Cooking Club of America, of which I am a member.

Here's the modified recipe I used:
Bittersweet Chocolate Slices
Ingredients (makes about 3 dozen)
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
9 tbsp margarine, cut up or cubed if you are lucky enough to have sticks (I use Earth Balance)
2 tbsp soy milk (or any non dairy milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
powdered sugar for sprinkling

I was excited to finally make a cookie dough using my food processor! I had never done that before. Hopefully you have a food processor, otherwise I am sure you could make this work with a mixer?
1. Pulse chocolate and half of the sugar in food processor until coarse crumbs form. Add remaining sugar, flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Pulse to combine. Add margarine. Pulse several times. With processor running, add soy milk and vanilla. Process until dough clumps around the edge of the bowl or blades. Place dough on the counter and knead a few times to blend.
2. Form dough into a 9 inch log 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking sheets. Cut dough into 1/4 inch slices and place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes (mine only took 12.) The cookies will puff up and deflate. They're done about 1 1/2 minutes after they deflate.
4. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.
Store in an airtight container.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Last VeganMoFo Entry...

...sad but true. The Vegan Month of Food has come to an end. An era passed. A time gone by. Actually, I am quite relieved. The guilt I was feeling when I missed a post was killing me.

I will end this post with a picture of a burger inspired by one of my testers, Liz. She was at a restaraunt and had a burger she really liked. She described it and asked if I could recreate it. Hopefully this will satisfy her needs. I call it the Fire Roasted Red Pepper Burger.

Here's the fire rosted red pepper getting fire roasted:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

VeganMoFo and what to make next...

Oh my. There are so many things I want to make. Christmas baking aside, I have recieved PapaTofu and Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk 2 and Veganomicon and I want to make new burgers and...

There are so many choices, that I am overwhelmed! I am determined to make at least 2 different burgers before the weekend is over and I want to try at least one recipe from each of the above three books. Since it is Thursday already, I'd better get to cooking!

VeganMoFo, Amazon and Veganomicon

My apologies for falling behind on the 'mofo! I was doing so well up to Thanksgiving and then...

Anyhow. Back in August, I preordered my copy of Veganomicon from Amazon. As I sat reading blog after blog and post after post on the ppk about how wonderful it was and how many wonderful recipes were awaiting me, I just became more and more frustrated as my copy hadn't arrived yet. And to add insult to injury, I kept getting emails from Amazon "Recommending that I purchase Veganomicon based on other books I have already purchased" (They also sent me an email recommending that I buy Cozy Inside, which made me giggle.)

It finally came last week, on the day before Thanksgiving.

I had already planned my Thanksgiving menu, so I had to set this beautiful baby aside until after the holiday. And then there were the leftovers. So finally, I was able to bust it out and break it in. The first recipe I made from the V was the Mac Daddy.

Let me start by saying that Mac and Cheeze has been a favorite of mine since I was a wee little girl. I can eat it all by itself, or as a side...whatever. I love mac and cheeze. I knew that if anyone could come up with an awesome, satisfying, comforting mac and cheeze it would be Miss Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. After all, they are America's Best Selling Vegan Chefs right?

I have never made a Isa or Terry recipe that I didn't like. So, as you would expect, my hopes were extremely high for this, the first of many, from V'con. The results...just okay. It tasted fine, but I felt like there was something missing. But what? Richness and creaminess. It was tangy and tart, and definitely noochy, and I especially loved the idea of the tofu ricotta type texture in the mix, and it certainly didn't lack in flavor...but the cheeziness left me wanting just a bit more.

I made it as written, without any of the variations. I have read others' posts about the Mac Daddy and they have all said it would be better with greens, like peas or spinach. Well, I don't want any greens in my mac and cheeze. I just want mac and cheeze. So, while it was okay, I probably won't be making the Mac Daddy again any time soon. I will, however, mix crumbled tofu into my Macaroni and Cheeze recipe from now until eternity.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

VeganMoFo and the day AFTER!

The day after Thanksgiving is sometimes better than Thanksgiving itself! No stress, no rushing around...just fuzzy slippers, sweats and a big ol' plate of leftovers.

I forgot to post pictures of a few of the other things I made yesterday, so here they are:

Julie Hasson's Pumpkin Spice Cake made into a 2 layer cake with cream cheeze frosting from VCTOTW. Everyone loved the cake. Sadly, I didn't even get to try it, because my husband and I had to leave to go to his mom's house for round two.

The Festivous Loaf, sliced and ready to eat:

And a really horrible shot of the "Vegan Buffet" camera died after this shot, so I didn't get a better one, but it's the only shot of the pumpkin raviolis so I posted it anyways. Also, we got to put our food in the actual DINING ROOM this year, and the TURKEY was shoved onto the little crappy kitchen table. I guess it pays to have a pretty presentation!

All in all Thanksgiving was a success. I wish I could've stayed at Dad's longer, but I had a wonderful time at Dan's Mom's house as well. Now off to put on those fuzzy slippers and get to my leftovers...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Festivous Loaf

Festivous, you know, for the rest of us?   The holiday meant for those who don't celebrate those other holidays and made famous by the memorable Seinfeld episode.  But every holiday needs a signature dish, right?  Alright. Here it is. The one, the only, the Festivous Loaf.

2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
2 cups garbanzo bean flour
2 cups all purpose flour (can sub whole wheat pastry flour here too)
2/3 cup vegetable broth powder (I used vegetarian chicken flavor)
2-3 cups water
Pesto (I used sundried tomato flavor, but any pesto will do)
2 boxes of storebought stuffing mix (prepared with vegetable broth)
4 cups additional vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together the flours with the vegetable broth powder and slowly add in the water. Start with 2 cups and add more if needed. Knead together until a nice smooth dough ball is formed. Knead for 5 more minutes, and then cover and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
While it's resting, prepare 2 boxes of storebought stuffing according to package instructions and set aside. (Most boxed stuffings are vegan, infact they are really just a bag of seasoned croutons or bread crumbs so if you have a favorite stuffing recipe, this would be a good place to use it.) Set aside.
After your dough has rested, roll it out on a well floured surface, trying to keep a rectangular shape...mine ended up being almost as big as the cutting board:

Spread a hearty layer of pesto all over the dough:

Sprinkle on a good amount of prepared stuffing:

Roll that puppy up!

Pour about 2 cups of vegetable broth into a 9 x 13 baking dish, then place the loaf in the dish:

Add the remaining stuffing all around the loaf:

Place in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 90 minutes, basting with the remaing broth every 15 minutes or so. You'll know it's done, when it is firm.


I realized that I didn't even post yesterday, so today you get two posts! First off, I would like to wish all of you out there the warmest Thanksgiving wishes. May all of your families and friends be nice to you when you show up with a vegetable or a festivous loaf rather than partake in the dead bird.

The countdown is on and I think I am on schedule. The festivous loaf is in the oven, and all I have left to do is finish the raviolis and make the gravy and frost the cake.

Here is a picture of phase one completed. All that needs to be done is to reheat and enjoy! Clockwise from 9 o'clock is Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Greek Stuffing, Bourbon Sweet Potato Mash, and Bryanna's Pumpkin Pie:

I will post a tutorial on the festivous loaf next! Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

VeganMoFo and Thanksgiving Preparations

Alright. I went shopping. Did the dishes, and I am ready to start this feast.

My official menu is:
Cozy Inside Greek Stuffing (recipe below)
Ravioli with Pumpkin filling and a pumpkin seed creem sauce (will post recipe soon...)
Festivous Loaf (will post recipe soon...)
Cozy Inside Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes (recipe below)
Bourbon Sweet Potato Mash (I veganized this recipe)
Bryanna Clark Grogan's Pumpkin Pie (recipe here)
Julie Hasson's Pumpkin Spice Cake (recipe here) I am subbing chocolate chips for the fruit and frosting it with cream cheese frosting as a 3 layer cake for my Dad's birthday.

I may also make some bread, and a "fried cheese" appetizer, and if I have time I am going to make Joanna's Green Beans, from Yellow Rose Recipes.

Hopefully I'll be able to out do last year's feast!

Garlic Smashed Potatoes
4 large russet potatoes
½ cup soy creamer
¼ cup vegan margarine
¼ cup vegan sour cream
1 head of roasted garlic (see below)
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Wash potatoes and cut them into approximately one inch chunks. Place chunks into the boiling water and cook until tender, usually 10-15 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Add in the creamer, margarine, sour cream and garlic. Smash with a potato masher until you get your desired consistency. I like mine with lots of lumps. Serve nice and warm smothered with Earth Balance and Mushroom and Onion Gravy. For cheesy garlic smashed potatoes, try adding in a quarter cup of nutritional yeast.

Roasted Garlic

1 head of garlic
Olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove excess outer layers of skin, but do not peel. With a knife, cut the top off of the whole head of garlic, exposing just the tips of the garlic cloves. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Wrap the entire clove in the foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven, let it cool to the touch. Squeeze each clove out and use in garlic smashed potatoes, eat them on their own as an appetizer, spread onto bread, or add into any recipe calling for garlic when you want a milder, roasted flavor. To roast more than one head of garlic at a time, use a muffin tin!

Greek Stuffing
2 1/2 cups uncooked wild rice blend
500 grams vegetable bouillon (2 cubes)
24 ounces seitan, about 3 cups chopped into tiny little pieces, (or any other meat substitute like Boca Crumbles, Textured vegetable protein, or Tempeh sausage crumbles)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup golden raisins
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup pine nuts
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
Prepare rice, according to package instructions adding bouillon cubes to the water. Cook seitan, or other meat substitute, in a separate pan in a smidge of olive oil, until browned. Use about 1/2 of the olive oil in a large pan (I used a wok) and sauté the onions and garlic on medium high heat for about 5-7 minutes, or until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. Reduce heat, add the seitan, then all other ingredients to the pan, mix well and remove from heat. After rice is fully cooked, add to the sautéed ingredients along with the remaining olive oil and mix it all together.

VeganMoFo and the last "Pantry" experiment

This is the last meal of the great grocery experiment of 2007 as it is time to begin prepping Thanksgiving dinner and go grocery shopping!

This "Experimental Loaf" was made to see if it would work. It worked, so now I just need to tweak the thickness of the dough and change the filling so I can make a larger one for Thanksgiving dinner.

Basically it is a dough made with a mixture of vital wheat gluten, chickpea flour and whole wheat flour, rolled out, and spread with an herbed paste then rolled up and baked. When I tweak it to perfection, I will post the recipe.

Now I'm off to work, and after work...I'M GOING SHOPPING!

Monday, November 19, 2007

VeganMoFo and "Pantry" Ravioli

I am almost done with the pantry experiment. I could easily go longer, if it weren't for Thanksgiving, and specific ingredients I need to make certain things. Today I boiled up a HUGE batch of seitan to have on hand for lunches and for Thanksgiving.

I also made ravioli from scratch. I have never done this before, but I had the necessary ingredients so I figured why not. All the recent posts about ravioli really madse me want to try it. My first shot at it was successful. The pasta came out great, and the filling was rich and tasty. My biggest problem was my filling to pasta ratio. Next time I will either make the ravioli's smaller, or put more filling inside!

Rolling out the pasta dough:

Placing the filling:

Ready to boil:

Ready to eat (topped with some jarred marinara):

I followed this recipe, subbing whole wheat pastry flour for the whole wheat, and needing a bit more water to get the dough to come together. For the filling, I just mixed together a can of spinach, drained, with some garlic powder, onion powder, toasted pine nuts and Tofutti better than cream cheese. It was pretty tasty!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

VeganMoFo and "Pantry" Tofu with Cabbage

I had half of a block of tofu in the freezer, and half of a bag of coleslaw cabbage and carrots in the fridge. I defrosted and cut up the tofu, sauteed it with some peanut oil, salt and pepper, along with the cabbage and called it dinner. It was better than I expected!

Other food today included coffee with silk creamer for breakfast, leftover tamale filling for lunch, above mentioned tofu and cabbage for dinner and some soymilk and soy nog mixed with kahlua.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Moment of Silence

Our sweet queen Marci passed away last night. She will be dearly missed. As I look back on her life, she had a long and wonderful one. She lived with me in two different apartments in Long Beach, and with Dan and me in Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa and now Orange. Always spoiled, and always the queen of the castle. She will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Friday, November 16, 2007

VeganMoFo and my first REAL dinner party

After my husband and I got married, we received so many wonderful kitchen gifts, that we wanted to throw a dinner party to actually use them. Seriously, we now had matching silverware and dishes. The only thing we did not have was a kitchen table!!! So we improvised. I placed a hollow core door on top of four TV trays and rustled up 6 chairs and a bench from around the house. I covered it up with a home sewn table cloth, and no one was the wiser.

The dinner menu was green salad, VwaV Stroganoff and french bread. Dessert was yellow cake with chocolate frosting. It was before my food porn days, so all I have is a picture of the table. But since it was also my birthday, no one complained, not even my husband, that everything was vegan. Maybe that is because it was so delicious!

A door on top of a couple of TV trays made a tiny dining area into a huge dining table!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

VeganMoFo and the 10 things I never knew I needed until I was vegan.

Not much culinary action at my house today. I pretty much ate leftovers and coffee, so nothing exciting to report. So, I decided to post an article/list that I originally wrote for CROQ 'zine. I also reprinted it in Cozy Inside, so if you've already read it feel free to stop reading this now.

10 Things I Never Knew I Needed Until I was Vegan

Mama never taught me how to cook. But I always wanted to learn. I always wanted to WOW people with my culinary masterpieces and found myself doing lots of experimenting to the dismay of my friends and family. It wasn’t until I became a vegan that I really learned my way around a kitchen. I was determined to prove that vegan food was “real” food and could be enjoyed by vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

Over the past few years I have come up with a top ten list of things I can’t live without. I didn’t put fresh, organic produce on the list. I figured, vegan or not, these should be a staple in every kitchen. I also omitted tofu and soymilk from the top ten, because, although I use them a lot, I can live without them and still make wonderful meals. So here it is. The top ten things I never knew I needed until I was vegan.

10. Raw Cashews. They are used in so many recipes and sauces that I don’t know how I ever cooked without them. (For example: Dragonfly’s Bulk Uncheese Mix)

9. Bulk Spices. Forget about those dainty little jars. You’ll go broke. Vegan cooking requires a lot more spice than its omnivore counterpart. Find a local health food store or gourmet shop that sells spices in bulk. They are fresher, tastier and cost less than half the price of their jarred cousins.

8. A Coffee Grinder. This handy, inexpensive little gadget has proved to be an invaluable tool in grinding small amounts of nuts and spices into fine powders.

7. Vital Wheat Gluten. Huh? It’s the protein part of wheat. It can be purchased as a flour in most health food stores. It is essential in making Seitan and other fake meats. I don’t like to buy overly processed meat substitutes and prefer to make my own when possible. Seitan is a meaty like food made almost completely out of wheat gluten. (Here’s a link to an easy recipe)

6. Cookbooks. Everything I’ve learned, I learned from cookbooks. After a few months of half assed, junk food veganism, my husband brought me home the “Vegan with a Vengeance” cookbook. It changed my life. Really. Since then I have slowly but surely built up a library of vegan cookbooks. I also buy regular cookbooks and veganize the recipes. (Some of my other favorites include “The Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook” “The Uncheese Cookbook” “Hot Damn and Hell Yeah” and “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World”)

5. Good, Sharp Knives. I never thought this would be so important to me. But, it is. You will make yourself crazy, and possibly cut your finger off with crappy knives. Spend the money. Get yourself a really good quality Chef’s knife. You will feel like a professional chef when using one. And, you will save a lot of time and grief in the process.

4. TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein.) These little flakes of goodness are always in my cupboard. I actually freak out if I get down to only one bag. Look it up on Wikipedia for all the science of how it’s made. I use it at least twice a week. It makes a mean taco meat, excellent in spaghetti sauce, works well as a sausage substitute in breakfast scrambles and burritos, can be flavored to suit almost any dish, it’s high in protein and low in fat, has a great texture and is relatively inexpensive.

3. A Cast Iron Skillet. A pan you never have to wash? Enough said. Seriously, a good cast-iron skillet will make your life easier. They are naturally non-stick, they heat evenly and you can fry, simmer, even bake in them. Did I mention you don’t’ have to wash it?

2. A Food Processor (and/or a Blender.) I used to think chopping, peeling and shredding ingredients by hand was romantic. Sexy, even. Now I think it’s just a waste of time and energy. My food processor has become my best friend in the kitchen. If I only used it to make hummus, it would have paid for itself 10 times over already.

1. Nutritional Yeast.
Some hate it, and some love it. I simply cannot live without it. One of the hardest things for me to give up when I became vegan was cheese. I have tried almost every “fake” cheese out there, and none have ever tasted good to me. Besides being overly processed and chemically tasting, they don’t melt, are too expensive and not readily available. Then I discovered Nutritional Yeast, or as some lovingly refer to it, “the Nooch.” There are many reasons this stuff is number one on my list. It contains vitamin B-12, which is a nutrient extremely lacking in a vegan diet. It is extremely versatile. You can sprinkle it on pasta, popcorn, salads, casseroles, or just about anything, right out of the can. Or use it to make sauces, “uncheeses,” add it to gravies, or mix it with veggies. But the number one reason this stuff is number one on my list is that it tastes so good.

2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, and remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni