Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Merry Xmas!

So we are going to be hosting our first family Xmas at our little green house in Long Beach.  I will be doing most of the cooking for a predominantly carnivore guest list.  I have been prepped in that they "don't eat anything weird".  Which means, "we don't like to eat your vegan crap."

Bwahaha (cue evil laugh)

My sister-in-law will be bringing the pot roast, but that will be the only non-vegan item on the list.  Everything else will be vegan, and I don't think they will know what hit em.  I'm sure they won't be able to tell the difference, and I will be posting all the recipes in the next few days.

On the menu:
  • Cashew Nut Patties - my family's specialty, although I had to change a few things to remove the dairy and eggs
  • Better Than Blair Split Pea Soup - the tried and true favorite
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes - I have never made these before, so hopefully they turn out okay
  • Potato Salad - the crowd pleaser
  • Tofurkey - unfortunately the store bought kind, didn't have time to make one from scratch
 Stay tuned for my recipes!  I'll let you know if everyone cleans their plates ;)

Thanksgiving Treats - Hail Seitan Style (better late than never)

see my little tofurkey there in the far left center?
Between working three jobs, playing in a band, and taking ten units of science courses at the local community college (I had finals y'allz!), I super duper lagged at posting the next two recipes. 
I made vegan mashed potatoes, a homemade "turkey", and fig and "bacon" stuffing.  At thanksgiving, my mom placed her regular fully loaded mashed potatoes next to my vegan variety, and did a blind taste test with all the fam.  One of my aunties came over to me later and said, "Jackie, I didn't even get a chance to taste your vegan mashed potatoes, my plate was too full".  When I asked her what crock pot she grabbed them from, she pointed to the vegan one.  Ha, she was fooled!  This xmas, my mother and I are only going to serve the vegan style potatoes.  Shhhhh.... don't tell the old folks......

Thanksgiving Tofurkey with Fig and "Bacon" Stuffing


For the Tofurkey:
  • 5 14-oz. tubs extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tsp. ground dried thyme
  • 2 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 2 tsp. italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • crushed red pepper (as spicy as you like it)
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the marinade:
  • 1/4 -1/2 cups low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
For the stuffing: (you can use your own recipe if you would like)
  • 1 loaf day-old Italian or French bread, cut in 3/4‐inch cubes (about 10 cups)
  • 3/4 c.  chopped walnuts
  • 1 stick vegan butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 package diced vegan bacon
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 1/4 cup vegan chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning or ground sage
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried figs
  1. Bring the tofu to room temperature, place between two paper towels or dish towels and squeeze tofu of excess water.  After tofu has been dried, break it up into small bits and place them in a processor.  Process them little by little until smooth, then put it in a large bowl and mix all the seasoning.  Taste the tofu to make sure it isn't too bland, this is where you can add a little more if it is.  If you make it too salty, just add more tofu!  Feel free to experiment! 
  2. Place some moist cheesecloth or paper towels into a colander.  The colander should be the shape that you want your tofurkey to be (the first time I tried it the colander was too large, and my "turkey" came out flat.  So find a small, domed colander). 
  3. Drop the tofu inside the colander and press it into the sides and bottom of the colander - really squish it in there.  Now put a plate right on top of the tofu press it down gently. Use a heavy object to place on top of the plate (I used my 5 lb. dumbbell that hasn't been getting much use this time of year). This is to help the tofu drain excess water through the colander. Place this inside the refrigerator overnight (at the very least). This helps the tofu to absorb the seasoning well too.

For the stuffing:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread bread cubes over 2 large baking sheets. In large skillet over medium‐low heat, toast walnuts for 3‐4 minutes, shaking pan several times; set em aside.
  2. In same pan melt 3/4 of the butter stick over medium heat, add garlic and rosemary, and cook 1 minute more.  Pour this deliciousness over bread and turn it to coat. Bake for 10‐15 minutes until goldenish.
  3. Meanwhile, in same pan over medium heat fry vegan bacon until brown then remove and set it aside.  Add last 1/4 butter stick and onion, and over medium‐low heat, stir onions until clear. Mix toasted bread and onion in large bowl with broth, parsley, seasoning, and pepper. Stir in pancetta, walnuts, and figs. Place into a 9" x 13" baking dish and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until goldenish on top and desired crispness.
For the marinade:
  1. Whisk/mix all the ingredients for the marinade until combined.  Easy no?
For the tofurkey assembly:
  1. Your oven should still be 375 from the stuffing. Drain the tofu water from the plate on which you placed the colander.  Remove weight and plate from colander.  Now scoop some tofu from the center. Make sure to leave at least 1-2 inches on the sides and bottom.
  2. Now fill this hollow with the stuffing, and top the stuffing with the scooped out tofu.  Make sure to smooth the surface and level it out.
  3. Take a pie plate large enough to cover the colander opening on top of the colander.  Mine was a 9 inch plate.  Hold tightly, and slowly invert colander onto the plate so that tofurkey drops gently onto dish.  I had to have my boyfriend hold the pan as we flipped it over.  It was sooo scary, I thought for sure I was going to drop it.  Now slowly remove the cheesecloth from the tofu.  Can you see the white dome now?  Baste the tofu turkey with the prepared marinade and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Baste again. reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 1 hour or so, basting as many times it strikes your fancy.  When it is done, you will see a crisp tofu crust over the top (just like in a real turkey!)

Friday, December 3, 2010

White Bread Yo!

It is so easy to make your own bread.  I'm serious.  You don't even need to buy some crappy breadmaker or anything, and it costs less than a dollar a loaf.  FOR REALZ!

old guy
the supremes

And everyone loves white bread!  Even this old guy and 
the Supremes!

So why aren't you going to make it yourself already!  Here's the recipe, it will make two loaves.  It's so easy it will make your head explode.  And best of all?  It is totally vegan! 

White Bread Yo!
  • 2 cups warm water (think hot tub temperature)
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cups white sugar* (depends on how sugary you want it)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups bread flour (it is cheaper than all purpose flour, but you can use pretty much any flour you want)
  1. In a big ass bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water (make a sugar jacuzzi!) and then stir in the yeast.  Remember, yeast is a living organism, so if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast.  Allow to "proof" until the yeast resembles a creamy foam.  It will kinda smell like beer and bread, and will get hot.  Don't stir it or disturb it until it foams up to a head, about 15 minutes or so.
  2. Mix the salt and oil into the foamy concoction.  Mix the flour in one cup at a time, and knead the flour into the mixture.  Sprinkle some flour into the bowl, and knead the dough until smooth.  Kneading is an art form, basically grab both ends of the dough, smash it into the middle with your palms, then turn it 90 degrees and repeat.  Do this until it doesn't stick to your hands anymore.
  3. Take the dough out of the bowl, wash it, and then sprinkle oil all over the bowl.  Put the dough ball back into the bowl and roll it around to coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl and dough ball with a damp cloth.
  4. Go watch some Bad Girls Club,  It is going to take about an hour or so for the bread to rise.  Or go be a productive mama and do some laundry.
  5. Once it has risen, you get to take out your aggression and punch the dough ball down.  This is seriously fun.  Knead the beaten ball for a few minutes, and then divide in half.  Smash the dough down into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans.  Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes, or until the dough has risen 1 inch above pans.  This gives you time to change your facebook status update to "Guess who has two thumbs and is making their own bread - this guy!"
  6. Bake this sucker at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  There is nothing better than fresh baked bread.
Real picture from last night's breadstravaganza:

*little known vegan fact - white sugar is not always vegan, they use animals bones to bleach out the sugar to its white consistency - check to make sure!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stick To Yo' Ribs (vegan) Shepherd's Pie

This is also called "cottage pie" and here in the good ol' USA it is often called "cowboy pie".  Basically, this is the epitome of comfort food, I served it for dinner tonight to two carnivores and they were totally pumped!

If it's good enough for Gene,
it's good enough for me!

Stick To Yo' Ribs Shepherd's Pie (or Cowboy Pie)
Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Serves: 6 people

Especially yummers when served with a fresh garden
salad and glass of red wine!
Mashed potato layer:
  • 5-6 Russet potatoes (or whatever you have on hand), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 3 Tbl vegan "butter"
  • 3 Tbl vegan "cream cheese" or "sour cream"
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bottom layer:
  • 2 Tbl vegan "butter"
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 7-10 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced (or more to your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more for your taste)
  • 6 oz of beer
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar-style Daiya cheese (THE BEST VEGAN CHEESE ON THE MARKET!)
Homemade Seitan (or 1 package vegetarian ground beef substitute if you are a lazy chica):
  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 2 cups vegan beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black mesquite pepper
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • throw in whatever savory herbs you have on hand!
  • Make the Seitan first dummy!  It takes the longest to cook.  Take all the dry ingredients - the herbs and vital wheat gluten and mix it in a bowl.  Add the 2 cups of broth to the dry ingredients.  Start to knead!  Keep kneading until it isn't sticky (you might need to add flour to your hands to keep it from sticking).  Cut the gluten into 2x2 inch squares.  Dump all the gluten into a boiling broth:
    • 6 cups of H2O
    • one block of vegan beef bouillon
    • 1 Tbl Bragg's Aminos
  • Let the gluten cook in the broth (about an hour).  Adjust the temperature so it doesn't boil over!  Let it cook whilst you make the rest of your stuff.
  • Place the potatoes in a pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil (medium high heat).  Again, watch the temperature so it doesn't boil over (now you are watching two pots, so be careful yo!)   Cook the potatoes about 20-25 minutes.  Drain those bad boys out when they are tenderoni!
  • Stir in the mayonnaise, soy milk, butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper into the potatoes, and mash the crap out of them with whatever you have until they are smooth and fluffy.  Set them aside for later.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and spray down your cooking gear with olive oil.  Now, I prefer to make individual pies, but you can use a big pie tin if you would like.  It's all good sista!
  • Now for pan numero tres:  Heat the butter in a large pot, and cook in the onion, carrots, celery, peas, mushrooms, bell peppers, and tomato until softened (about 10 minutes).  Stir in garlic and all your spices.
  • Reduce the heat, and stir in your gluten (or veggie ground beef).  You probably won't use all your gluten, save the rest for stir fry later in the week!  Cook it up, until the mixture is hot all the way through.  If you are drinking a beer (or your boyfriend is drinking one), steal it, and pour half of that sucker into your veggie mix.
  • Spread the veggie/gluten mix into the bottom of the baking dish, and top it with the mashed potatoes, smoothing them into an even layer.  Sprinkle the top of the the potatoes with the shredded cheddar "cheese".
  • Bake the pie (or pies) in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted and slightly browned (about 15 minutes).  The pies will be hot as hades, so be careful when you try and shove them in your mouth.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why Seitan?

Wheat gluten, also called seitan (pronounced saytan), wheat meatMock Duckgluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from the gluten of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.
Wheat gluten is an alternative to soybean-based meat substitutes such as tofu. Some types of wheat gluten have a chewy and/or stringy texture more like that of meat than most other substitutes. Wheat gluten is often used instead of meat in AsianvegetarianBuddhist, and macrobiotic cuisinesSimulated duck is a common use for wheat gluten.
Wheat gluten is most popular in Japan and China, where it was first developed, as well as in the cuisines of other East and Southeast Asian nations. In Asia, it is commonly found on the menus of restaurants catering primarily to Buddhist customers who do not eat meat.
Seitan was first popularized in western nations during the second half of the 20th century through its promotion by proponents of the macrobiotic diet. In some areas of the West, prepared wheat gluten is available only in Asian markets and health food stores, although gluten flour is commonly available in supermarkets.

Better Than Blair Split Pea Soup

Sorry, it's just when I personally hear the words "pea soup", I cannot get this image out of my mind.  So now when you are cooking (and eating) this delicious vegan soup, you will not get this picture out of YOUR mind.

Now....on to the recipe!

This soup was made completely from scratch.  I am just going to guess on the amounts, because I eyeballed everything.  Oh yeah, and it is completely VEGAN!

Those carrots are supposed to be
artistic, they look a little disturbing.

Better Than Blair Split Pea Soup


  • One 1 lb. bag of dried yellow split peas (yellow so the soup won't look so much like the picture above)
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 8 cloves of garlic (more or less depending on the amount of vampires in your house)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2-4 bouillon cubes of vegan chicken broth
  • a few Tbls. of KAL nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • thyme
  • olive oil
  • 11 cups of water
  • 3 bay leaves

  • First, chop up all your veggies (the carrots, celery and onion).  Mince your garlic.  Throw some olive oil in a large pot and smother it with all your chopped veggie goodness.  Sauté the veggies until they get soft.  Add your crushed red pepper flakes here.  They are super spicy so be warned, I add a ton but I like to feel the burn.
  • Dump in your water, peas, bouillon cubes, nutritional yeast, and bay leaves.  I put the yeast in there for flavor and for the nutrients (yet again, another win-win).
  • Bring this concoction to a rolling boil.  Once you get it boiling, bring it down to a gentle simmer and add some thyme (just a few pinches should do the trick).  Add two or three bay leaves while you are at it.
  • Stir occasionally.  Go back to your living room and watch some Project Runway.  But don't forget to check on the soup every now and again!
  • Okay, now it should be okay to taste.  Make sure you TASTE THE SOUP BEFORE YOU SEASON IT!  If you dump a bunch of salt n pepa on your soup before the old taste test you could end up being very bummed out.  Taste it, add some spice and be done with it.
  • Heidi has just announced "and that means [contestant name] you are out.  Auf Wiedersehen".  So it must have been about an hour or so.  If the peas are soft, then it is time to take the soup off the stove.
  • If you have a hand blender, you can use it now to get your soup to cream up.  Otherwise, you can eat it all chunky like or you can put it bit by bit into your blender.  It's up to you (and whatever resources you have).
  • Voila!  You have soup!  Toast some bread, throw some Tofutti sour cream on the top and enjoy!
Serves 4-6
Prep time: 1.5 hours
Your base ingredients: "chicken soup" and yellow split peas

Saute, flambe, and sashay!

What happens when you slice onions.
No pain, no gain.