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.

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