Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tofu Omelet & Other Success!

Susan's Omelet for one is amazing. I filled mine with tons of broccoli and mushrooms. I think I need to adjust my heat a little (the inside wasn't as set as I would like but still wonderful, honestly) and I think i need to add something like sun dried tomatoes to mine next time to add a little more saltiness but wow, great job, Susan!

I finally tried the homemade buns that Chris has been whipping up for a while. The recipe always seemed so involved but it's actually quite easy....and the results?

perfection! Now, if I could just top toasting them and eating them with Smart Balance and actually throw a patty on there! (I did make the tempeh pecan burgers the first night but the pictures are awful. the patties are good , but I think I'd back off the Liquid Smoke a little next time as it's a bit overpowering for my palette).

With my new love for all things cashew/nutritional yeast encrusted tofu (just dip in a mix of soy and maple syrup, then crust with cashews, nutr. yeast, salt, and pepper), I decided to try baking them instead of frying them first thing in the morning. The verdict?Still super scrumptious AND better for me!

From our football Sunday, I'd forgot to mention that I'd made, easily, the best potato salad I've ever made to go alongside my Tofurkey Deli Sub.New red potatoes, green onion, celery, salt, pepper, Vegannaise, homemade agave mustard, and dill. That agave mustard really gave it a flavor that sent me right over the edge!

Hadn't made sweet potato fries in forever, but had a huge spud in the pantry just begging to fit the bill. I've never had huge success in my baked fries not being a bit mushy so I tried an online trick of baking them w/ sea salt and black pepper first, coating with a bit of brown sugar, then upping the temp, hoping to caramelize and crisp up the outside a bit.All in all, it wasn't entirely successful, but I'd dusted them with some five spice powder just before chowing down and they were reeeeally tasty if not entirely mush-free. the pic sux but I was in a hurry to devour them ;).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Key Lime Teasecake

Once upon a time I had an unyielding love of cheesecake...and anything Key Lime Pie...Key Lime Cheesecake? Yes and PLEASE! So, imagine my glee (and total curiosity) when I stumbled upon this recipe in the new Vegan Vittles.
Key Lime Teasecake. No, it's not cheesecake, or even some tofu'd version of the real thing. It's a creamy, tart, thick, but light dessert that is absolutely to DIE for. The second best part? The only sweetener used is maple syrup. The BEST part? Ya ready? It's made from MILLET! I know, right? Who'da thunk it?
This is the second time I've made this dessert, the first time was for a friend's bday bash where it was devoured in record time by veg's and omni's alike. Seriously, peeps forewent an array of traditional party confections to dive into this yummy dish before I could even think about snapping a pic.

This weekend I made it for family football Sunday. We've decided, each Sunday, to prepare foods which best represent the opposing team (we're 'fins fans). I, obviously, provide a vegan option of whatever they're doing. As Sunday we were set to cream the Jets (we didn't....sigh) it was NY deli fare and, of course, cheesecake...or in my case, Vegan Teasecake!
Oh yeah, by using oat flour in the crust? this one's totally wheat free ta boot!

I even made a single portion for myself to come home to with the extra filling!

As googling Lemon Teascake will take you straight to a page out of The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook that gives up the recipe (apparently, Joanne Stepaniak was smart enough to tuck this gem into both her best vegan books), I'll spare you the link and post the recipe here!

It's for Lemon Teasecake but how can you not wanna try Key Lime?!

Key Lime Teasecake

Prepare crust of your choice. I chose her Granola Nut Crust.

1/2 c. uncooked millet
2 c. water
1/2 c. raw cashews
1/3 c. key lime juice*
1/3 c. pure maple syrup**
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lime extract (lemon works fine here, too)

In a med. saucepan with tight fitting lid, bring millet and water to boil. Cover and cook on low heat until water is absorbed and millet is soft, about 50 min. Meanwhile, grind cashews down to fine. Place ground cashews, key lime juice, maple syrup, vanilla, and extract into a bowl and mix with hand blender or blend to smooth in regular blender. Add millet and blend til as creamy as you can get it. Perfectly smooth is what you're going for and immersion blenders do a great job of this. Pour into cooled crust and allow to sit for 30 min at room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent cracking and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours before serving. I like to keep mine in there overnight. Top with fresh fruit of your choice and serve! I like the contrast of slightly sweet kiwi and blueberries with the tartness of the key lime.

Will keep in the 'fridge for about three days. Soooooo good!

*the first time i made this i bought a bag of key limes and juiced them. the second time? i bought a bottle of key lime juice. note to self: they taste exactly the same. don't make more work for yourself!

**I tend to add the 1/3 c. maple syrup to start and then as i'm blending it, add a little more at a time til i get that perfect sweet/tart ratio i want outta my key lime flavor.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Best Setian I've Ever Had, EVER!

When I first made this meal I was uber excited. Throw together Celine's broccoli pesto. Check. Defrost Kris's garlic rolls from Damn Tasty... and my own homemade red sauce. Check. Nuke a Spaghetti Squash. Check. Dinner was served. It was delicious, filling, but lacked something....Oh! That's right! Protein!

Lucky for me, my latest purchases from veganessentials.com was waiting for me to bust open the box. I'd forgot that I'd thought to try this.
Yup, seitan! From a CAN! The reviews from fellow vegans couldn't be that wrong, right? RIGHT!

I love to make my own seitan but find, often that I rely heavily on great recipes to kind of mask that wheat gluteny taste that is always present. This stuff from Cedar Lake has little sodium (for something from a can, anyway), few ingredients, gives for or five servings of protein punch per can, and man oh MAN does it taste good! I just lightly breaded it and browned in some grapeseed oil and I'll be darned if that stuff didn't resemble pork chops of my youth...you know, minus the pork. hehe. I've already placed another order for a couple more cans and one of the lighter, thinner brothed version.

Friday, September 21, 2007

O(mega) Yeah!

Two things I can't seem to get enough of lately:Big salad of arugula, roasted portobellos, walnuts, avocado, and Becoming Vegan's Liquid Gold Dressing (jump to that recipe now, promise you'll thank me for it!). Seriously, this dressing is not only positively drinkable but, with just two tablespoons, gives you all your omega's and b vitamins for the day!

andLifestream's Hemp Plus or Omega Flax waffles with fresh fruit (this morning it was Flax with peaches!), walnuts, and organic maple syrup.

Easy foods that never disappoint AND are good for you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What We Ate...

While visiting my family in Themiddleofnowhere, VA with nothing but a Food Lion and some nutritional yeast in the pantry to sustain us.... Simple tofu salad (extra firm tofu, Vegannaise - I'd left some there on my last trip we got from glorious Whole Foods 'in the city' - carrots, onion, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion flakes, nutritional yeast, and dill) on whole grain bread sandwich. Vegan's best friend, Beans 'n Rice (black beans, can of crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, chili powder, salt, pepper) over brown rice and a side of steamed broccoli. Perfection! Jess's MacUnCheeze with spinach (this stuff even had my 10 year old nephew raving and you know how ten year old nonvegans love their mac 'n cheese!) with a side of roasted brussel sprouts and some quick tofu (olive oil, brown the tofu, splash some tamari, brown some more, sprinkle generously with NY to coat, toss and cook till just crispy) a huge hit and so very easy! The obligatory Tofu Scramble....this one's a favorite of mine (tofu, onioin, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt, pepper, tamari, NY, and fresh basil) with a side of roasted potatoes with rosemary and thyme. And FINALLY my mom has been asking for a lentil loaf for so long she was suggesting I mail her one! So just for her, a super yummy loaf that turned into more of a pile o' yum when it failed to hold it's shape (lentils, brown rice, carrots, mushrooms, onion garlic, tamari, oregano, thyme, NY, salt, pepper, flour) with some easy gravy (flour, olive oil, NY, lentil water, garlic, onion flakes, gravy starter, and tamari). mom couldn't believe no meat flavored this yummy condiment. and of course, more steamed broccoli.

these dishes, a couple pb&j's and a lot of snacking on fruits 'n nuts and this vegan never went hungry all week long!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Meme Game

Edited to add: tried to post this while away with no luck...but here ya go. I was welcoming my new little nephew, Hylan Stone. He is perfect in every way, and I miss him already!I am not at my own computer to blog of my food and incorporate pictures. What better time to join in the fun and put up my response to the meme that Vegan Noodle tagged me for?! In this meme, you use the letters of your first or middle name to describe yourself with a word.

I don't use my name here and my middle name, Lee, would be entirely too boring...so I'll use a nickname that my friends and family have been known to call me....

B - Bumbling...as is bumbling fool. I am quite possibly the clumsiest person you've never met. seriously. my dad made me wear my shoes in the house as a kid so I'd stop stubbing my toes on things all the time. i seem to have a knack for walking into things, dropping stuff, tripping over my own feet, it's amazing i don't lose little appendages with all my time in the kitchen. honestly, the only time in my life i felt like I'd conquered my clumsiness was as a wildlife rehabber. when it comes to wranglin wild critters? I've got mad ninja skills...but those cages and enclosures and sharp pet food cans? I've been known to have to spend hours upon hours in the ER for encounters with those inanimate things.

R - Rooted....as in to the earth. I'm a terra firma girl. Ironically, as the Cap'n is jet pilot extraordinaire. I? am a true-blue white-knuckled flier. i hate being sucked thru the air in a heap o' metal and am not all that happy out at sea...tho stick me in my kayak on a river and i never wanna leave. but generally, I'd rather be buried alive than forced to bungee jump.

E - Enigmatic. But this is only if you meet me in person and i happen to be rambling on about one of the many things I am passionate about. this is due, I've no doubt, to the fact that my mouth tries desperately to keep up with my brain causing me to attack your ears with a verbal onslaught at breakneck speeds...so many words per minute it can make your head spin. hehe

E- Empathic. I'm what you call 'a sensitive'. I used to think maybe i teetered on the brink of depression at all times. then i realized that i just choose not to be hardened or desensitized to the bad things in the world that surround us. my heart is broken continuously at the volumes of atrocities all around us...but I truly believe that is by carving away at you with sorrow that one will have the capacity to then fill those spaces with equal joy.

Z - ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz....I sleep late. typically, i won't rise before nine to ten a.m. in my defense? i also don't hit the pillow til maybe two or three in the morning. I'm a night owl, always have been.

Y - (boy, my nickname is quite challenging for this meme!) think I'll go with Yearn. i currently yearn for a LOT of things. i yearn to sell our house. i yearn for family and friends closer by and a sense of community. i yearn to start a garden and a business. i yearn to finally get started on those children's book ideas I've been kicking around for ages. I'm full of great intention and am working on the follow thru.

I'm not gonna tag anyone as I won't be home til after Sunday to check in with everyone's blogs. If you wanna play along, please do! I promise to come back with what I've been whipping up for me and my fam while away. When you're out in the country with nothing but Food Lion to stock your 'fridge you really get in touch with your simplest vegan creations....but at least my grocery bill was cheeeeee-eeeeeeap!

Be back soon!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Attack of Max, the Tofu Snatcher

Having leftover nutritional yeast/cashew/sea salt leftover from my garlic rolls, I had a brilliant breakfast idea, crusted tofu for breakfast! I just added a bit more nutritional yeast dipped the tofu steaks in a mix of shoyu and maple syrup, pressed into the ny mix, and pan seared it in a bit of grapeseel oil until browned on both sides. viola!Served with a side of fresh peach and blueberries and a slice of the hearbed bread from the other day with a bit of Smart Balance, this was a FABulous breakfast! Even Max thought so...No really, every time I turned away, he was snagging some of my tofu, see?The best part is that, when I'd look at him, he'd just groom away, happily licking the crusty crumbs from his stealthy paws....I look away and, well...see for yourself! This one will also fight you for broccoli....we don't call him Mad Max for nothin!

video

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Another Damn Tasty Meal

Surprisingly, this is only the second recipe I've tried from Kris's book the Damn Tasty Vegan Baking Guide. Another total success. I made the Garlic Rolls, a yeasty, perfectly tender on the inside, crusty on the outside accompaniment to your favorite meal. Here's one before baking.And here they are after. I followed the suggestion to brush the tops, once cooked, with a bit of melted Smart Balance and dust them with a cashew, NY, sea salt blend. Perfecto!
This same night, I tried my hand at the Horizons Cookbook's basic pan seared tofu recipe. I think I was a tad too heavy handed in applying the spice blend so these were super packed with flavor and will tone it down next time, but the flavor combination was outta this world. We loved it and enjoyed it with some store bought gnocchi (I swear I'm gonna make my own, one of these days!), my homemade red sauce, and a sauted bunch of rappini, or broccoli rabe, with garlic. This was such a satisfying meal. We loved how simple and hearty it was.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lil o' this...lil o' that

Those canned rice 'n beans (this one's pinto and brown rice) with a can of black beans added, topped with fresh avocado, a ribbon Tofutti Sour Cream, my Super Salsa (seriously, people, go make this before tomatillos stop making an appearance, I eat some every day!), and a bit of fresh cilantro. My favorite salad of late, arugula, tons of fresh mushrooms, walnuts, and Becoming Vegan's Liquid Gold Dressing.I also tried something new with Vegan Vittles' savory Herbed Whole Wheat Bread. I never seem to have much luck with bread loaf pan breads. I do better with free form breads. This one was no exception, was a bit too dense and uncooked in the middle.No worries, I just sliced it up and baked the slices in the oven a bit longer til they were cooked thru. YUM!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Year's Worth of Yeast

Nutritional Yeast, that is.

A year ago last August I decided to forgo the tons of tiny plastic shaker bottles of Nutritional Yeast I was accumulating and opted for a 6 lb. bucket of my most favorite ingredient. Lots of people laughed, wondering how I'd ever use it all or keep it fresh.

As you can see below, using it all? totally not a problem. hehe. As for keeping it fresh, since it's already in a opaque, air-tight bucket, safe from light and moisture...and we store it in the pantry where it's cool and dry...it stays fresh no problem. From veganessentials.com (I love this site) I ordered it for just under $50. Fifty bucks for a year's worth? I was fine with that. Recently, I reordered a five lb. bag from bulkfoods.com, got the same Red Star Nutritional Yeast for just $27.30. Theirs comes in a bag but no worries, I just refilled my bucket!

While I still order all kinds of things from veganessentials.com as much as possible, I'm thrilled to find my most beloved NY for twenty bucks cheaper AND I won't start accumulating 6 lb buckets!

If you, too are a fan of nutritional yeast, always make sure you're buying the Red Star brand as it's the only one (that i know of, anyway) totally fortified with all the B vitamins that make this tasty addition a healthy powerhouse. Want more info? Check out Red Star's website and their Nutritional Yeast division.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Simple Corn Chowder for Two

Upon returning home from our weekend trip, I found myself surveying the contents of our fridge. It was slim pickins, but once the Cap'n insisted, after sampling it with me, that I must've added sugar to the leftover corn I'd cut off the cob I knew what had to be done. Sure, I'd never made Corn Chowder before...hell, I'm not even sure I'd ever had it...but with the little bit we had to put into it I knew it would work out just right. Simple Corn Chowder
serves 2
the measurements are approximate, adjusted to how much corn we had leftover to use

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 c. onion, finely chopped

couple pinches celery seed (I often find that I'm out of celery and this works just fine, if you have the fresh stuff, tho I'd say toss in 1/2 c. of that as well)
2 med. carrots, shredded

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/4 c. water

1 tsp veg. bouillon (I'll admit, I'm tired of my veggie bouillon taking over the taste of everything I do so I opted for just under a tsp. of light miso and a touch of the bouillon instead)

1 c. corn (ours was sweet white, previously boiled and cut off the cob)

1 c. plain soy milk

1 1/2 tsp. flour

1/2 tsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper


1. heat olive oil in skillet and add onion, garlic, and carrot, and celery seed sauteing until just tender.
2. Boil water in separate small saucepan, add miso or bouillon (or mixture) and whisk until dissolved. 3. Add veggies and corn to water and simmer until your veggies are tender. this shouldn't take long at all if you cut them up as small as the corn like I did. 4. Add soy milk and whisk in flour. 5. Stir in herbs and spices, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened consistency.

Shouldn't take more than 15 min but I broke down and broke out the immersion blender and whirred it up a bit to give it a creamier texture. (honestly, there are few dishes around here that get made without the help of that thing. easily my most favorite kitchen appliance!)

You can garnish with a tsp of Tofutti Sour Cream stirred in like I did or just enjoy this plain. It got a big thumbs up from the Cap'n and it's easily a new favorite for me. I think it'd be fun to play with smokey or mexican flavors or just jazz it up for a fresh flavor with some dill.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Mmmmm, Leftovers!

That Cashe-so came to be after I'd made the Vegan Vittles Cashew Cheeze to enjoy like sothe Cap'n and I had previously enjoyed a simple meal of pasta and homemade red sauce. I thought the cashew cheeze would be a nice addition when enjoying the leftovers with some broccoli....and it so was!

I wouldn't be me if I didn't jump at the chance to throw various leftovers together in odd combinations just to get them polished off. This is how the remaining pasta ended up being topped with the last of the red sauce (man! the homemade stuff just gets better and better with each day it sits in the fridge, doesn't it?), more cashew cheeze and crumbled quinoa patties. A healthy dusting of nutritional yeast and I'll be darned if this wasn't the tastiest thing I've thrown together in a while!

I am serious when I tell you that I can never get enough of Dreena's stuffed portabello mushrooms from TEV. As I've mentioned before, I don't even need the recipe now to whip them up. This time I subbed out the breadcrumbs in the stuffing for leftover quinoa. OH YUM! since I never put tofu in mine the quinoa was a nice punch of protein even if they were a little wetter than they typically would be. think: juicy! mmmmmmm

And I finally threw some seitan ribz on the George Foreman to heat up some leftovers. I think these were Celine's version that had been marinading in the bbq sauce in our fridge from the last family gathering. I loooooved how they stayed tender on the inside but got that charred harder exterior on the outside from the grilling. With some of the summers bounty of corn and some easily heated up frozen green beans, this made for a really quick meal that was filling and super tasty.

I'm currently blogging this from the FBO in Key West where we've been for the holiday weekend. I don't have much to share about this trip, one...because neither one of us remembered a camera, and two....because this whole island is sooooooo not accomodating for a vegan. there were a couple highlights tho, so I look forward to finding a fun way to share them with you sans my own photos once we're settled in back home. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!