Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
Tho I've yet to fully tap into the Italian gene my mom seems to possess that makes her tomato sauce easily the best anyone has ever made...like, anywhere....I really like the way mine turns out just the same.
The key is in having a few hours to really let the tomatoes cook down. I should have increased the sauce I made by half, but live and learn. This just got better each day, the tofu rinotta even creamier with each serving.
Easy Tomato Sauce
2 cans chopped tomatoes (i use no salt added)
4 T tomato paste (i'm in love with the squeeze tube kind. why they ever thought to sell that stuff in a can i'll never know)
1 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic (tho i'm pretty sure i used four or five)
sugar (yup, you heard me)
1. heat oil in saucepan over med heat.
2. add garlic and saute til it releases it's garlicky good aroma, but be careful not to burn
3. pour in two cans tomoatoes. stir.
4. add oregano, thyme, salt, pepper to taste. stir
5. toss in a good couple pinches of sugar (this, for me, cuts the acidity a bit and gives it a flavor i prefer. you won't need very much. it's a very subtle thing)
6. cover and allow to come to a boil, stirring often.
7. reduce heat to med low to low and stir occationally.
8. simmer for at least a few hours (i think mine was on the stove for four hours or just over).
9. use at will.
or serve in layers of whole wheat pasta & tofu riNOTta (baked in a 375 oven for thirty min covered and 25-30 uncovered), with a side of what else, garlic broccoli!
Sunday, July 29, 2007
This is, hands down, my most favorite way to enjoy them, in salad form. I just plate a bed of salad greens (in this case, spinach), some cucumber, place the patties on top, drop on a few extra chickpeas, and drizzle with Vive's recommended Ginger Sauce (on p. 49).
I didn't even get words of praise from the Cap'n (I've made these before), so much as this look on his face after the first bite of total flavor euphoria. These are a real hit.
I didn't have time to chill the mixture in the 'fridge before creating patties and these babies like to fall apart. My secrets in keeping them in tact (mostly, anyway, there's always one that bites the dust) are as follows:
1. Using a 1/3 c. measuring cup really does help give the perfect amount per patty.
2. make patty of that size in your hands and then hold in one hand, pat breadcrumb/sesame seed mixture into each side rather than trying to place in the breadcrumbs/seeds and pick back up. that never works for me.
3. I use a large-ish plug-in griddle for patties (best thing ever for this!) like this. I let them brown at about a 350 setting for 7-9 min and then use two spatulas to make sure they're retaining their shape, pushing in the sides a bit before caaaarefully turning them over (you want to only turn these babies once, if you can help it). once flipped, I use the two spatula technique again to push in around the edges to compact the patty a bit more and keep them from falling apart when it's time to caaaarefully lift them off and onto your plate.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thanks to Dreena's combo of ingredients (tho I admit it took me just short of forever to get my hands on some toasted sesame oil rather than plain ol sesame oil...biiiig difference) and my favorite kitchen appliance, this*, I now have hummus that I enjoy more than any other. It's flavorful and light and oh so very creamy. I've had it just like you see above for lunch every couple of days using up whatever veggies look like they wanna volunteer. Cucumber, organic carrots, and warmed whole wheat pita is easily my favorite combo tho, and I now sprinkle a healthy dose of paprika on top before enjoying.
I'm looking forward to adding different ingredients to this now sure to be staple at our house.
*In coveting this item for just short of forever I managed to swipe it via Amazon.com for only $29.99 when they had a sale. keep your eye on that, folks. it's worth every penny of full price, but who doesn't love a bargain that good? ;) Thanks to Susan for the tip!
3. On day three, even after this lil' vermin has torn thru the bag they're in (don't let her cute 'lookit me all snuggly in the warm laundry' thing she's got goin on fool ya. this lil girl will fight you for your food every time) and licked the glaze off of two of them, devour the last two with a cup o' tea for breakfast.
4. A few days later, put off your workout and make these puppies on a whim.
5. Eat one (or two!) with every meal until they're gone.
I know someone who's gonna have to run a lot harder in the coming weeks.
I'd been wanting to make the scones forever as they were always my favorite treat before going vegan. These are honestly better than any I'd ever had before. Just a little bit lighter and less dry than most and the flavor is subtle but still perfectly orange-y.
This time, I made the cookies from here with walnuts, chocolate chips, and about a quarter cup of raisins this time making them extra chewy and good. As these use oats and whole wheat flour as their base they're not the worst cookies you could make but that cup of sugar is something I should surely work on replacing with something else.
We currently have two very ripe bananas just crying out to be made into banana bread or a creamy pudding but with my current wave of unhealthy treats I'm wanting something healthier. Any suggestions? Gimme your healthiest banana bread recipe even and maybe I'll just run with that!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
VWaV's Revolutionary Omelet sans sauce (tho that roasted red pepper sauce is aMAZing) but with fresh avocado. I love making this omelet and then having leftovers for breakfast for days.
Sweet Potato Latkes with warm cinnamon apples
Fried Seitan O' Greatness slices with a side of grits and millet toast
Lifestream's Hemp Waffles with organic maple syrup, walnuts, and bananas (their Flax Seed Waffle is pretty amazing as well). I love the ease of these, and they're healthy, bonus!
VWaV's Sausage Tempeh Crumbles with FYH cheeze, herbed roasted potatoes, fresh avocado, & fresh mango (this is easily a favorite of mine)
And speaking of the Fauxsage Crumbles, throwing them in some vegan gravy on top of biscuits with a side of fresh fruit? this is another I can't get enough of in the morning. Mmmmmm.
If ya think making vegan biscuits is great (I highly recommend the versions in How It All Vegan and the tip to just mix then spoon into muffin tins rather than try and roll out and cut a biscuit dough. These come out puffy and light and perfect every time and for biscuits? That's sayin somethin!)....VWaV's Fronch toast (made here with whole wheat french bread and served with organic strawberries, bananas, and maple syrup) is simply divine.
But my all time favorite is still the recipe I figured out after weekend brunching at one of my favorite restaurants. If I've said it once, I've said it a MILLION times....
Pan Seared Oatmeal. Quite possibly the most amazing and satisfying (not to mention healthy!) vegan breakfast of all time. Here's how....
Perfect Pan Seared Oatmeal
Make a Day Ahead:
Prepare one cup steel cut oats according to package directions. (MUST use steel cut and not quick cooking/rolled oats)
After removing from heat, add 1-2 T maple syrup and a bit of soy milk to make it creamier but you won't need much. You want to keep it thick.
Place in small plastic containers. (I keep my EB/Smart Balance containers for this. One cup dry will fill about two and a half tubs).
Allow to cool to room temperature in sealed containers before putting in fridge.
The Day of You'll need:
balsamic vinegar glaze*
Remove top from tub and dump out oatmeal. It will be one solid mass having conformed to the shape of the tub. Slice into disks about 3/4 inch thick. work quickly and carefully as it will want to turn to mush the longer it sits out of the refrigerator.
Heat margarine over medium heat in skillet. Place disc(s) of oatmeal in pan and pan sear for 4-5 min per side until golden brown and remove.
Drizzle glaze (in fancy design of your making ;) onto plate and place disc(s) on top of it. Top with walnuts, cranberries, raisins, banana and a quick drizzle of agave nectar.
Enjoy...then come back and thank me for gifting you this most amazing breakfast treat. Everyone I've fed it to is just blown away by how good this is. Thank you, 43rd Street Deli for the inspiration!
*make sure you're using a balsamic vinegar glaze. if you cannot find one you can make one by bringing regular balsamic vinegar to a boil and then until reduced down to a syrup...tho i warn you, you're entire kitchen and possibly your whole house will be overwhelmed with the smell of the acidic liquid. it's not very mild on the nose, so try and get your hands on a ready made glaze if you can.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
1/2 bag Soy Curls
2 carrots, thickly cut
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 zucchini, halved and thickly cut
10 white mushrooms, thickly sliced
1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes, chopped (I used the kind packed in oil)
1/3 c. steamed asparagus, chopped (had some leftover, thought 'why not?!')
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. Creole Seasoning (I'm a fan of Tony Chachere's) plus more for seasoning
2 T nutritional yeast
1 T cornstarch
2 c. soy milk
2 T vegan margarine
6 or 7 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (or 1 tsp. dried, but fresh is best!)
black pepper to taste
*rehydrate soy curls for 10 min in warm water then squeeze dry. toss with 2 tsp. creole seasoning and set aside.
*Whisk together soy milk, nutritional yeast, and cornstarch, and set aside. i think i added about 1/2 to 1 tsp. more seasoning here also but that was just to kick it up a bit after tasting the soy curls after browning, but we'll get to that.
* heat large skillet over med to med hi heat and melt 1 T marg. add onion and garlic, saute for a min or so, add carrot, saute a few minutes more, then add zucchini and mushrooms. saute a bit more until everything is crisp tender and then remove from pan and set aside. I may have sprinkled some more creole seasoning just to barely cover the veggies here as the one I use is not too hot. be sure to taste things as you go so you don't overdo the heat.
*heat remaining 1 T marg. in pan and add soy curls and sun dried tomatoes and saute til browned. *add milk mixture, veggies, and basil to pan and bring to boil, stirring. sauce should thicken up right away.
*remove from heat and serve over bed of pasta, dusted with more nutritional yeast, if ya like!
This was so perfect, I even blew myself away! I had been craving something like the Cajun Alfredo with Veggies that I used to get from Harry's back in my vegetarian days. This? Soooo much better. I don't think I'd change a single thing. We were especially bad tonight and enjoyed some white linguine over the usual whole wheat brand we love.
That leftover asparagus was from this tasty lunch.I finally finished up the TVP in the pantry and made more Vegan Vittles Better Burgers dressed with tomato, Vegannaise, and Nutritional Yeast Mustard (YUM!) on a potato roll (I know, I know,I said no more but I lied! ;), some steamed asparagus with a touch of avocado oil and a quick potato salad (lil' yukons, a couple green onions, minced, some finely minced vidalia, Vegannaise, Dijon Mustard, salt, and pepper. easy!)
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Just thought I'd share a pic from a dear friend of mine who, while not vegan, loves vegan baking and is already smitten with VCTOTW. These are her Vegan Coconana Cupcakes.They're the Agave Vanilla Cupcakes made with coconut extract in the place of vanilla and mashed banana instead of oil. They're topped with a coconut glaze instead of an icing. Don't they look light and delicious?!
She told me to, "feel free to brag about how you've got your omnivorous friend doling out vegan cupcakes round O-town like they are the new pink" and so I am! ;)
Thanks, Girlie! Now, if only we lived close enough to share!
Monday, July 16, 2007
Honey Mangoes Sure, they're not local, they're not organic, and they're not cheap. But w-o-w, are they the sweetest, best tasting mangoes I've ever had. They were on sale at our local grocer and we've scarfed them up fresh and in all kinds of salads.
Amy's non-dairy burritos It doesn't matter how many times I eat them, I love them. I love adding whatever we've got on hand to dress 'em up a bit. This one got 'the treatment' with refried black beans, fresh avocado, marinated tomatoes (in just red wine vinegar, salt, oregano, black pepper, and a teeny bit of sugar) and some fresh cilantro. Now that's my kinda fast food!
and last, but certainly not least....the fact that you can now purchase the newest cd from these guys (Full Moon Circle) for only $4.95 on iTunes and pretty much all the other major music download sites. Worth way more than each measely penny you'll spend. They're not vegan (I can only forgive them this as the lead singer/songwriter/guitarist is my little brother ;), but they're on the right track.
Check out the insert text they asked me to write for them for this disc, One Right Way (the title track inspired by Daniel Quinn's Ishmael), to convey to their listeners just what it is that they're all about...
The world as we know it is not our own. It is a gift, a beautiful spiraling orb of green and blue and life and death that has been governed by the moon, sun, and stars for millions of years. Enter Man and his blind destructive behavior. Our culture today is sleepwalking, believing that to continue doing things the way they've always been done is the human way. We challenge each of you to wake up, to see the world we're gifted with open and compassionate eyes, to make up your own right way, to think beyond your self, your species, and the ways of those before you. Challenge what you think you know, dispel the myth, listen to your heart, be unafraid, and join us in our fight to spread the word that there is no One Right Way to live. Be a Leaver not a Taker. Leave the world a better place for your having been in it. May our music inspire you to do just that as our hope in each of you inspires us to write it.
If you wanna give them a listen before you purchase ('cause I know you're gonna buy the music, how could you not?!), check out their myspace.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Basically I had about 3/4 of a block of tofu thawed from the freezer last night that I drained and crumbled this a.m.. I cooked one cup of millet while sauteeing two stalks of celery, half a small onion, and two huge cloves of garlic with sea salt, black pepper, about a tsp each of thyme and oregano. Then I mixed that all together with 1/2 cup rolled oats, 3 T soy sauce, 1/4 c. nutritional yeast, small bunch of fresh parsley, and a bit of water to bind. I then made patties, patted wheat germ on to both sides, and baked in a 350 degree oven for 30 min, flipping halfway thru.
They didn't hold up as well as the quinoa patties I'd made before but they're just as yummy and full of good things so I was happy with them. I had prepped and frozen a huge bunch of organic kale a while back so I just took some out and boiled it for about ten min, chopped it up even finer after straining out the water, then added a few tablespoons of some leftover cheeze sauce from the other day and topped with a bit of sundried tomatoes. That's my kind of breakfast!
In an attempt to duplicate a perfect chickpea salad I'd thrown together for our trip to TN last weekend, I made this
It's chickpeas, cucumber, celery, tomato, carrot, garlic, parsley, dill, avocado oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. I think what's missing here is the excess of chickpeas I had when I made it the first time. This time is just as tasty, but the texture is a bit off. Out of chickpeas, I decided it's the perfect relish
like this on top of an organic brown rice cake with some Sultan hummus (a Florida brand that is my absolute favorite store bought variety). Oh yeah, was this good!
Speaking of good (with a capital G), I recently ordered the Damn Tasty Vegan Baking Guide. I'd ordered two, one for myself and one for a friend who's lactose intolerant and been loving VCTOTW. I figured this was right up her alley and would make a swell bday present (you didn't read that, Bethie!) ;)
Of course I had to actually make something from the book before gifting it, right?
I went straight to the most sugar filled, gooey concoction within its pages, Pecan Pie Bites....
'cept mine? are Walnut Pie Bites, as the pecans I thought I'd had turned out to be...well, walnuts. Still amazing, tho. I think that I could have stood to back off the molasses a bit. It certainly lends a bit of that buttery flavor, but I think a scant tablespoon would suit my tastes better. These are messy, gooey, and wonderful. Just what I look for in a dessert. Can't wait to try everything else in this one. Thanks, Kris!
Oh...and.....that turkey style seitan roast made into pita sandwiches?
Perfect. Just like I knew it would be. (I swear there are greens in there, too. They just got shoved in the back of the pitas!) Yum!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Thanks to Bryanna's recipe!
I don't have a clay pot or roasting pan so I just tossed my 4.5 qt. crock pot's pot and cover into the preheated oven and roasted for 3 1/2 hours turning twice. After the first turn I was a bit concerned. Where was that sauce that I was gonna end up with at the end? Mine looked a tad dry and I held my breath as I carefully turned it over once...then later again....to this...
Mmmmmm, and I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing it smelled throughout the house as it was cooking. All that yummy garlic simmering in the juice....sigh.
I thought I'd be slicing this the very next day for a sandwich but once lunch went by the wayside as we had a lengthy meeting with our realtor (cross your fingers, we'll need all the help we can get in this market!) I found myself dreaming up this version insteadI thinly sliced it and briefly heated the setian in skillet with the teeniest bit of olive oil, then removed and placed on a bed of brown rice, sauteed some broccoli (shocking, i know!) with a ton of garlic and then deliberately drizzled a quick Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook's easy cheeze sauce, tho, for the life of me, I cannot remember which one...basically chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, water, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme and oregano, olive oil, miso lemon juice. It's tangy and a wonderful compliment.
This was soooo good! I look forward to my lunch tomorrow when I finally make that pita or wrap. Having already munched on this roast while cold a little bit (but froze half so we wouldn't have seitan all week long...'cause we would, ya know!) I know it will be just as good as I've dreamed it up to be in my mind. ;)
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I just found out, however, that there IS a farm not fifteen minutes from our home that uses no pesticides or harmful chemicals (they say they are not certified organic due to cost....how much does that suck!) that specializes in greens, lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, and berries! Sadly, these are not their berries. They are the sweet and lovely but not even close to organic berries from our big chain grocery. I'm hoping they will be the last of the ones I buy there. The cap'n and I are looking forward to visiting the local farm and seeing what they have to offer very soon. Yet another reason I can't wait to move back to a 'big city' and join the CSA there....but for now, yay for local organic growers!
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Anyway! While the pic surely looks entirely too much like the Burgundy Seitan dinner from the other night, rest assured that this version is EVEN BETTER! Granted, this Italian girl is all about the Marsala. I just love the tanginess of it. I've included a kinda recipe as it's something I don't ever measure out so much but easy enough to wing it, even if you've never made it before. This was served, not surprisingly, over a bed of whole wheat pasta and a side of garlic sauteed broccoli. What can I say? We're a couple of broccoli fiends!
Seitan Marsala (serves four)
Your favorite 'beefy' seitan, sliced thin (I used 1/4 Ellen's best unchuck roast in the crockpot)
10 oz. 'shrooms (white or baby bellas are perfect)
1/2 small onion, sliced thin
2c. Marsala cooking wine*
4 T vegan margarine
5-6 T flour
sea salt & pepper
couple pinches parsley (i had dried on hand)
pinch or two rosemary (again, dried)
1. Pour wine in bowl and immerse seitan (add some broth that you store it in as well, this will give you a deeper sauce, and more of it!). Then chop veggies.
2. In a skillet on med to med-hi heat, drop 2 T of the marg. and saute veggies until onions become a bit softer and 'shrooms begin to sweat.
3. While they're cooking, put flour, salt, and black pepper in large ziploc baggie, add seitan, seal, and shake to coat thoroughly.
4. Remove veggies from oven and place in wine/broth.
5. melt remaining 2 T marg in pan and brown coated seitan about 5 min per side and remove (you can keep it in if ya like, but I was low on room in this particular pan.
6. add wine and veggies (and seitan if you removed it) to pan and simmer until sauce thickens**.
Using a quarter of my roast, this made four good servings.
*I've used both the fancy, expensive Marsala wines and the cheapo bottles found in the oil/vinegar section of the grocery store. Honestly? (and I may very well be insulting my ancestors as I type this) I really prefer the cheap stuff. It just seems to give more flavor when reduced versus the more pricey varieties.
**If you just can't wait any longer for the sauce to thicken (read: your broccoli and pasta are done and the wine is reducing but just not working with the flour in there to thicken up fast enough) you can mix one T cornstarch with one T cold water and add that to simmering sauce once you've let it simmer already for about ten min. You want to reduce it a bit before serving to get the best flavor....but sometimes, we can only wait so long! ;)
You could also skip the coating seitan with flour step and just brown on it's own for a healthier version. In this case, I'd definitely rely on the cornstarch/water addition to thicken the sauce up nicely.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
and everyone has become inevitably addicted to their absolute and total yumminess.
1 lb. unsalted raw cashews (when I don't have those and am in a pinch I use a tin of salted and just omit the salt from this recipe)
1 scant T salt
2 T minced fresh rosemary (it's gotta be fresh)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 T vegan margarine
Preheat oven to 350.
Spread cashews on a baking sheet in one single layer and bake for about five minutes, just enough to get them nice and hot.
Melt marg. in micro and whisk in remaining ingredients.
Remove nuts from oven and toss with margarine mixture.
VERY IMPORTANT STEP: walk away.
seriously, you'll want to eat them right then but I promise you that the wait is so worth it.
These get better and better as they sit for a bit and come down to room temperature. Only then will you taste the complexity and blending of the flavors.
I've even had guests scarf down any and all remaining stray nuts for breakfast! They're just that good!
Thursday, July 05, 2007
makes 8 smallish servings or 4 big ol' bowls
2-3 c. plain Almond Milk (depending on how thick/thin you want it)
1 cantaloupe, seeded, removed from rind, and chopped
3 T agave nectar
1 T fresh lime juice
1 tsp. lime zest
lime slices for garnish
combine all but lime slices in a bowl and mix with hand blender (or just toss in regular blender) until desired consistency is reached (i like it reeeeally thin).
garnish with lime and enjoy!
This same night we also used up the last of the seitan roast I'd thawed from the freezer. I sliced it thin and marinated half of that in The Artful Vegan's Peanut Butter Coconut sauce (from their seitan appetizer recipe) and the other in a store bought BBQ sauce.Still sans grill, I skewered the seitan about an hour or two later with some baby bellas, a zucchini, and a red bell pepper, half with the coconut sauce, half with the BBQ sauce then broiled it all, basting as I went.
Would have loved to have broiled it all a bit more but the wooden skewers I'd soaked for as long as my seitan marinated were beginning to burn.
We enjoyed this with some quick brown rice. I knew the BBQ sauce would be a hit with the Cap'n (I'm not the world's biggest fan but it's ok on occasion) and we both LOVED the Artful Vegan's sauce.We're heading up to TN for a family wedding this weekend...be back Tuesday some time with pics of all the yummy vegan foods I'm trekking up there with us! Have a safe and happy weekend everyone!