Friday, October 30, 2009

Seitan Mignon, MoFo!

Well, if I'm gonna attempt to blog all month for Vegan MoFo and fall short, totally not making my goal of blogging daily, at least I'm going out with a bang!

This is a recipe that I've been drooling over for a while from Tracy's blog. She came out with a cookbook* that I didn't realize she'd put together so, naturally, I bought it immediately (five bucks for a dowload? a STEAL!). Those of you who've frequented her blog may know that she does spectacular things with seitan. This recipe? No exception!

The seitan is boiled in this recipe and the texture is spot on. The au jus is wonderful. My only complaint really has to do with the fact that I've no knowledge of the bouillion she uses (Nutri-Max?) and used the one I have on hand (Better Than Bouillion) in the same ratio, not really knowing if it would make it too salty. It did. It was just this side of edible as is after reducing some of the au jus to spoon on top. I'm thinking that when I make the leftover 'steaks' I can thin the juices out with water and I'm dreaming up a wine based reduction to glaze them with. I'm hoping that will help get rid of some of that salt.

I served this with a quick mashed potato and some dinosaur kale. I have to say that this was the BEST kale I've ever made, hands down. Nothing crazy, totally simple execution. I prepped it(removed stemps and chopped), rinsed it, and boiled it for about twenty minutes. i then squeezed out as much excess water as I could and tossed it with a dressing that was equal parts olive oil, lemon juice, and shoyu. (I made a dressing that was two tablespoons of each ingredient but only used a splash of it in my kale as the portion I cooked was only enough for two people. the rest is in the 'fridge awaiting the next side of kale). I may never eat my kale any other way again. For serious!
Mmmmmm, Kale.

This meal was perfect to end MoFo for me on the eve of Halloween as it was spooky and fun. Spooky in that it eerily mimicked a steak and fun in that it was probably the dreamiest seitan dough I've ever made. I'm looking forward to making this one again and again and just adjusting my broth a bit to get the salt content down.

*I've linked to the post where she offers up this recipe. Make it, you'll be in a hurry to cough up your five bucks for more!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Szechuan Takeout Patties

I get most inspired by leftovers of meals gone awry or just leftovers in general. Evidence of that is abundant on this blog. just look here, here, here and here. I love to have food left over as it means less work the following day, but either a) I am determined not to waste food just because a recipe or idea didn't pan out or b) I just don't want to eat the same thing again and again.

Last night was a case of the former. The night before we were spent from a long day of play. It was a gorgeous day and we took full advantage taking Taylor to the park. Once home, bath time and nightly chores needed to be taken care of so takeout seemed like a GREAT idea. The Cap'n wanted Chinese, and since I was in the mood for tofu, I ordered the Szechuan tofu and a side of veggie Lo Mein. While the Lo Mein was ok (never enough veggies), the tofu was too soft and the sauce for it was passable, at best. I didn't even touch the white that came with it.

Come dinner time last night my leftovers were glaring at me while I prepared to make a quick dinner and I knew I'd have to use them up or just toss them entirely. Heating them in the microwave and eating them that way was not going to satisfy so I created these instead Szechuan Takeout Patties. Certainly not health food they sure were a big improvement. They were actually very good! Basically, I had some black beans and some steamed carrots from part of Taylor's dinner (that kid eats best in the house, she loves simple, unseasoned fare). I mashed up some black beans and added them to the tofu which I also mashed up, removing it from the sauce. Some of the sauce became part of the patties but I didn't really add more than what came along with each little clump of tofu. I tried to get some of the peas and carrots that were in the sauce incorporated into the patties as well. I next grated some fresh ginger because I love the stuff and had some on hand from the samosas. I heated up the white rice and added almost the full pint of that. Once mixed, it was a rather loose and wet mixture so I made a slurry of Ener G Egg Replacer and water (about the amount you'd use to simulate two eggs) and stirred that in.

Having only a flavored Stir Fry Oil to fry them in, I went with that. I think it's peanut and soy bean oil based with garlic, ginger and chili.

I fried them in little patties until really brown. Maybe a couple minutes each side on med/hi heat.

I won't lie and say that they held together fabulously. They didn't. They had to be ever so gently turned and most of them stayed together, but not all of them. The rice got really brown and crispy (yum!) and the flavor of the Szechuan sauce was just barely there, which was nice. Once they cooled they were even tastier! I served them up over some heated leftover sauce and topped with the carrots (like you see above).

I loved them so much that they didn't stand a chance of lasting very long. It was all I could do not to snack on them after dinner. The leftovers were devoured with breakfast cold, right out of the fridge by Taylor and I.

Another leftover success!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gardein's Chick'n Scallopini, a Product Review

I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for any new product I come across that is vegan and makes whipping up dinner easier. Something to shake things up when I haven't pressed my tofu, don't feel like boiling my tempeh, haven't got the time to make seitan and rice and beans ain't gonna cut it is a nice break from the norm. Because of this, I LOVE Soy Curls, have had love affairs with canned seitan patties, and have shacked up plenty with many, many varieties of veggie 'burgers'.

So when I saw Gardein at Publix I was intrigued. It plainly said it was vegan (score!), and appeared to be a versatile product. Low in fat and carbs was a bonus, even if the sodium content wasn't that low (something I try to look for). For an occasional dinner I figured it was worth trying.

The first variety that caught my eye was the Scallopini. Like thin chicken cutlets with a light seasoning and a simple serving suggestion on the back they looked promising.
I decided to follow their serving suggestion on the package, but I didn't have capers (I thought I did!), so I added a bit of brine from a jar of olives. In retrospect I should have tasted as I went because, as the sauce reduced HELLO SALT! these were almost inedible. Totally my fault. I couldn't really vouch for whether the product was good or a bust until I tried them again.
This time I did my go-to marsala but without the mushrooms. I basically heated them in hot smart balance and added a good amount of marsala wine and lemon juice and let it reduce down until it was thick and sticky. I served the two cutlets over just barely heated zucchini pasta that I had tossed with basil pesto.

Pretty good! Basically, these are like Morning Star Farm's Chik'n Meal Starters, but not in strips, in cutlets. They reminded me so much of them that I was tempted to Google as to whether or not this company had anything to do with MSF. I'm not a huge fan of those to begin with, so it's not a total win, but anything in a rich marsala sauce for me is just fine, so it's not a total loss either. I imagine that the sauce makes it for me with this one. Just make a rich sauce or something with a lot of flavor and the flavor will be great, the texture a little soft but overall pretty good for a quick meal.

I did try the Chick'n strips that were breaded also. I made them for my daughter who, as a toddler, could take 'em or leave 'em but that's basically how she feels about most foods. I, on the other hand, thought they were tasty, but devoid of ketchup or agave mustard they have a flavor not unlike veggie dogs which I find odd as they're supposed to mimic a white meat, not hot dogs.

Again, not great, not bad!

I do have the Beefless Tips in the freezer that I still want to try. I'm thinking they'd also be great as marsala or in a stroganoff. If they're great, I'll likely try another variety, if they're just so-so like Chick'n options that I've tried I'll likely just not buy them again.

Sorry I've totally dropped the ball with Vegan MoFo. I've been swamped bridal showers and weddings, oh my! I am an ordained minister and writing the ceremonies is such a labor of love for me to totally labor intensive. I've spent so many hours at the computer that blogging has not been something I've wanted to do. I also spent a LOT of nights making samosas a la VWaV, three dozen for a bridal shower and then six dozen miniature ones for a wedding last Saturday. SIX DOZEN! They're really fun to make up to about three dozen, I say. ;) They were a hit and I'm really glad I could help round out the happy couple's menu, but whew! I'm glad that's over. I don't have a picture of them (tho I just may take one of the dozen or so that ended up back in my refrigerator), but I do have this...

this is what I snacked on while making them. I threw a couple scoops of the filling in a warmed pita and Mmm Mmm Mmm! was able to keep chuggin along. If you haven't tried these babies yet, get to it! They're incredible!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When Life Gives You Dry Seitan, Make Gravy!

So, I've posted about how my attempt at Kittee's scrumptious looking steamed seitan log was a bust (literally, that thing busted right through my foil wrap!) in that it was pretty dry. Okay for slicing really thin and using for sandwiches, okay for nibbling on right out of the fridge, but what I wanted was something hearty and seitan-y for dinner. What to do?
I decided to cut some 1/2 inch rounds and place them in mushroom boullion overnight and all day. My hope is that they would just rehydrate a bit and if that didn't work they'd at least be less dry and Hello! Mushroom Flavor! Yum!
Tonight I dipped those cutlets in soy milk laced with a bit of tabasco, then coated with a mixture of panko, almond meal, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast, garlic salt, and black pepper. Naturally, I fried them to a golden brown after that and served them up to myself and the Cap'n over a bed of steamed spinach and a side of roasted cauliflower and yellow squash.
What's that? I said something about gravy?
Oh yes I did! I have a thing for gravy. I'm a firm believe that basically anything can taste better with a healthy dose of creamy, rich, brown, salty gravy. Luckily, vegan gravy is easily the best gravy I've ever had (or made!). I've posted about it before, I'm not really a recipe kind of girl when it comes to gravy, I just get all the necessary ingredients out in this case, olive oil, flour, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, shoyu, salt, Gravy Master, and about two cups of heated soy milk or a mixture of soy milk and boullion broth (tonight I used the mushroom buillion that I had been soaking the seitan in. come to think of it, broth used to boil seitan would be fantastic here).
Basically, it plays out like so, heat sauce pan and add a Tablespoon or so of olive oil. Depending on how much you wanna make, add, while whisking, up to 1/4 c. flour and then add, again with the whisking, about the same amount of nutritional yeast. It will be a crumbly texture, but the flour and yeast should have absorbed all the oil. Add in very small amounts the heated liquid and whisk whisk whisk away any chance of lumps. It should be very hot. If it bubbles when the bit of liquid hits the pan and you're whisking? GOOD! Once all the liquid is incorporated, add spices, shoyu to taste and Gravy Master to taste (a tsp or so?) This stuff makes the color really rich and adds a hint of flavor and is totally vegan!. Whisking often and keeping an eye on it, bring to boiling until it starts to thicken. Depending on how little flour you've used, it may or may not thicken very well. Tonight mine was not doing so so I whisked a few good splashes of cold mushroom boullion with just under a tablespoon of cornstarch and added that to the boiling gravy. It thickened up immediately (whatever, Martha Stwewart! there's no graininess here, nothin' but INSANE YUM in this gravy!) and I achieved the perfect consistency.
This was sooooo good! The seitan was no longer dry, just really firm. I likened it to the days of old when we would eat shake and back pork chops. The breading was crunchy and satisfying and the gravy...oh, the gravy!
I swear, this was the best gravy I've made to date....but I think I always say that. Proof you don't have to have a recipe or be a seasoned chef to whip up a tasty gravy and make an amazing meal of a mishap!
and Mmmmmm, roasted cauliflower! or roasted any veg really, no gravy necessary!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Steamed Gluten Log

Oh, how I wanted this to work! I have been wanting to steam seitan since Julie Hasson blogged about it here. Not really a fan of the taste of sausage I resisted until I saw Kittee's version here. Look at how plump and juicy that stuff is! Perfection right? Well, mine came out more like this...Dry. It slices well enough and the flavor is great (just enough seasoning to be flavorful but not so much of any one ingredient that it would compete with another in any recipe. very versatile in that way!), but the texture, for me, turned out to be a lot like the Seitan O' Greatness (which I totally had a love affair with, good stuff, just not what I was hoping for texture-wise), only a much larger log. Here are the things I think went wrong with my attempt:

1. the recipe calls for four cups of onion, or two medium sized ones. I had two med-large sweet onions on hand and that's what I used. I diced them fine in the processor and knew they wouldn't measure to be four cups, not even close, two if I was lucky (and I wasn't. sigh), but I didn't really worry about it, just moved on to caramelizing (Mmmmm, at least the house has smelled amazing all day!).

2. once I mixed the wet and dry ingredients, I noticed my dough was super dry and crumbly. It shouldn't just stick together while mixing with a spoon. Adding the last quarter cup of gluten seemed like a really bad idea so I added water until the consistency was better but just adding it and mixing with a spoon wasn't gonna cut it. So, I worked the additional liquid in with my hands and, in the end, felt like the dough was a bit overworked.

2. While I wrapped the seitan up tight and made sure to wrap it in two different directions to make it secure, secure it was not. Somewhere in the last thirty minutes the seitan busted thru and ripped open the foil, leaving it exposed to the steam directly.

So, I used it today for a simple sandwich and Taylor seems to enjoy nibbling on slices of it just fine, but I'm now craving a more moist and juicy variety and I think I'll be boiling some very, very soon.
Until then, I have an idea to revive my dry slabs and will hopefully be sharing the successful outcome in tomorrow's dinner!

oh, and sorry 'bout the lighting in these pics. It's late and apparently the lighting in my kitchen is REALLY yellow. yikes!

Let The Sunshine In....

I have posted about these before (and can I just say, WOW! do I miss the time I once had for creating such elaborate meals and blogging away about them without a care!), but they're one of my favorite things to eat when I have no time to cook so why not throw them into the Vegan MoFo mix?!
Sunshine Burgers!

Sure, these babies taste something like the hippie-created varieties of old did, but I think what I love about these most is that they don't try to be something they're not. They don't attempt to mimic 'real' burgers or resemble meat in any way. They taste exactly like the list of ingredients: sunflower seeds, brown rice, carrots, and herbs. Heck yeah! All good things in my book. I will say that if you don't love sunflower seeds, the Original variety is not for you, as it's the dominant flavor, for sure. I've yet to try the other flavors, Garden Herb, Southwest or BBQ so I can't attest to their yumminess, but this one is a staple for me (and the first 'processed', prepared food that Taylor ever had. She LOVES them, too!). What I also love about these burgers is that they heat up easily on the stove top with no oil necessary, not even a spray!

I like these best on some earthy whole grain bread with sprouts, avocado, tomato and Veganaise. But I liked this one just fine last night on some oat bread with Veganaise, organic ketchup, and diced pickle. This and some Cascadian Farms Spud Puppies and I had plenty of time to chase down Taylor for bed time!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut...

or at least just like making dinner with some.

What a weekend! Friday was a whirl of flower arrangements and ceremony writing, Saturday a beautiful wedding and time with family, today was a day of catching up at home, and with dinner came the realization that I have already failed my Vegan MoFo pledge to post every day of October.

Nuts! So why not make dinner with some of my favorites? Tired and fairly uninspired actually led to an easy and scrumptious meal, Almond Meal Crusted Tofu over zucchini pasta and shredded carrot with peanut sauce. SO tasty!

I didn't have the time or energy to drain, soak in something flavorful, and redrain the tofu. No matter, I like a good tasting tofu just as it is anyway. To add a little som'n som'n I mixed the almond meal with tapioca starch and then a fair number of shakes of Five Spice Powder and some salt. I cut the tofu into triangles and dipped into soy milk before coating then in a hot, oiled pan to brown.

Meanwhile, zucchini was sliced in the Saladacco and carrots (I only had baby carrots in the house and shredding them on the cheese grater was a lot easier than trying to get their teeny goodness cut into ribbons with the Saladacco) and plated. I zapped the veggies in the micro for a minute while I whipped together my go-to peanut sauce.

Peanut sauce is an easy mix of peanut butter with water to desired consistency, grate a clove of garlic and about an inch of ginger into that, add a squirt or two of soy sauce and agave to taste. Done!

Quick, easy, and full of flavor. Doesn't get much better than that!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Leftovers, Revived...They're What's For Dinner!

Ever since making the Southwest Corn Pudding from V'con for the potluck, I've had some leftover ears of corn in the fridge. I'd boiled the few extra ears I had in the fridge and cut it off the cob, not knowing how I'd enjoy it, well, aside from just snacking right out of the container.
I stared at the contents of my refrigerator and was not hopeful. Broccoli, an onion, some more zucchini, the usual condiments, tofu. Nothing sparked my interest to go with the corn. Then I dug in the freezer. I waded thru the frozen fruit, the tempeh, the frozen veggies. I was about to give up and go for a stir fry with a side of corn. Then I found these patties from who knows when! Yay!
They're a southwestern themed patty basically made of rice, flour, gluten, black beans, onion, garlic, green pepper, and Emeril's Southwest Seasoning. I don't even know what it's really called but I know his mug is on the shaker and it has a Southwestern vibe. I remember throwing them together thinking that they'd not be spectacular but would be filling and use up some black beans I had been craving. Like most of my throw together patties I'm sure I baked them for about twenty minutes then quickly fried, i mean, sauteed them for about five per side. Turns out they were super tasty, but I'd totally forgotten there were a couple stashed in the freezer after I'd had my fill of them. (I tend to do that, love something and then eat it til I can eat it no longer). Out of the freezer they did great with a quick spray of olive oil a pan and five minutes per side to reheat. The corn also went in the pan the whole time getting nice and brown on the edges.
I wish I could share a formal recipe with you, maybe even more for my sake as that way there would BE a formal recipe, but alas there is not. There is just the above picture of two little glorious patties on a bed of and topped with pan seared corn and a bit of plain soy yogurt and some FYH cheese. I tried to get the cheese to melt by shredding and putting in the hot pan then scooping it onto the patties and it was almost successful, but just almost. The complete meal, however? Awesome!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Zucchini Rawsta

This summer I dropped sixteen pounds. I think I owe part of it not just to cutting the crazy binging on sweets but also to replacing many pasta dishes with one of my most favorite stand-ins, Zucchini rawsta (and ok, yeah...running every day for 30-40 minutes surely played a large part!). Seriously, I ate TONS of it, still do! Never gets old to me. I've enjoyed it with pesto, tofu alfredo, as a bed on which to top lentils, and other simple dishes. Tonight, however, I enjoyed it simply with a quick tomato sauce.

For a while, I was using a vegetable peeler, and wasting a LOT of zuke since I wasn't peeling the innermost part of the veggie that houses the tiny seeds. Then I braved my garage (black widows, anyone?!) and dug out of the countless bins we've stored there since moving to this house one of my most favorite kitchen tools, the Saladacco Spiral Slicer!

Love this thing. I've only really ever used it for zucchini and carrots, so $24 bucks may seem steep to some, but I've honestly used it SO many times in the few years I've owned it (especially when I'm cooking for others, so fast!) that it seems justified. Plus it's fun and requires no electricity!

I've linked to Amazon for anyone who's interested, but laughed when I read reviews. People have less than great things to say about my beloved kitchen tool, but I'm still really happy with it. It's never given me any problems. I quickly slice the zukes (or whatever) so that I have long pieces that fit in the Saladacco, it locks just fine for me, spin out my veggie, and snack on the 1/4 inch disc that's always left over when it's done spiraling. When making for a large group, I just saved the multiple little discs of 'wasted' zucchini for a salad or snack the next day.

That said, feast your eyes on the benefits of owning that little number...

Topped with a little nutritional yeast (ok, a lot)...

then some super easy homemade red sauce* and a generous sprinkling of hemp seed!

*I was going to link to an entry where I'd recounted my own version of easy red sauce, but I found that it doesn't exist. No real recipe, but I typically make it when I see tomatoes lying around that I fear will go bad if I'm not inspired to eat salads. It goes something like this...

Toss tomatoes in boiling water until skin puckers. Remove and slide skin off of the fruit. Chop. Heat olive oil in sauce pot and add a few minced cloves of garlic. When just browning, add tomatoes. Here I only had two medium tomatoes on hand so I added a can of no salt added tomatoes (didn't drain 'em) to my sauce pot. This made enough sauce for two people ( tonight...and me again tomorrow some time!). Add a bit of tomato paste to get the consistency you want (tho it will thicken up nicely as it simmers, the longer it simmers the tomato paste helps it from being so watery) and a pinch or two of sea salt, some onion powder, oregano, and a healthy pinch of sugar. If you have fresh basil, it's wonderful at the end. And obviously, you can add onion or any veggie you like at the beginning, but I prefer a quick, unadorned variety of tomato sauce. Allow to simmer for as long as possible. The longer the better. I threw this together in a flash at lunch time and it was perfect by dinner. So yeah, that's not a real recipe, but it's pretty forgiving and so fresh enjoyed over the zucchini.

Here's to hoping I figure out what to post for Vegan MoFo in the coming days. I have a wedding to officiate on Saturday for a family member and their rehearsal dinner being hosted at my house this Friday! Sadly, I'm just providing the place to have the shower and they'll be having a BBQ. I won't even be contributing any vegan fare for the event as I also have a beautiful friend's bridal shower to contribute to for Sunday. THAT I'll certainly blog about, but I'll be tempted to try and keep up with the toddler and all the events and Smart Dog it for the meals ahead but for your sake let's hope I don't!

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can......


Monday, October 05, 2009

So Simple, So Good!

More Vegan Caesar (seriously, I've started calling this My Caesar Salad is Better Than Your Caesar Salad), and I have a feeling it will be accompanying many a meal in the coming months.
This time, there was no time for pressing or crusting tofu, but a twice baked potato proved easy and really hit the spot. I baked the potato, cut it in half, scooped out the middle and added about a teaspoon of Smart Balance, a healthy dose of nutritional yeast, about a tablespoon of plain soy yogurt (who needs Tofutti?), garlic salt, fresh black pepper, and steamed broccoli I already had on hand. I stuffed that back into half the potato that it came from (the other half is in tact and will be part of lunch tomorrow!) and broiled it for a few minutes until the top was nice and golden.

Not exactly the stellar, fancy dinner one would typically be excited to blog about, but ya know what? It was SO GOOD. And simple, and cheap, and gluten free, and vegan, and could be thrown together easily while a silly toddler is at one's feet demanding to be held, played with, danced with, and basically just causing a typical 17 month old end of the day ruckus. To me? THAT's something I can sink my teeth into!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Southwest Corn Pudding

In deciding to participate in Vegan Month of Food III, I was at a loss as to what theme I'd base my thirty-one posts on. I figured 'what a vegan eats every day for a month' was pretty much all I could muster up. Turns out, each post thus far (all three, woohoo!) have pretty much been meals that cling to the end of Summer. "But it's October!" you're thinking. I know, but here in the Sunshine State, we let Summer linger.
That said, what better way to embrace the last warm, sunny days of summer than a dish that revolves around corn? Sweet, golden, crunchy corn. I've heard so many good things about Veganomicon's Southwest Corn Pudding that I knew that I'd be bringing that to the Pot Luck Kickball Birthday Party in the Park that we attended earlier tonight. a word? WOW! This stuff is so flavorful and moist, no...velvety...and crunchy but soft, not overwhelmingly southwestern flavored but just enough bite and hint of cilantro to match perfectly with the sweetness of summer corn. yum!
Since this was for a potluck and the original recipe is made in an 8x8 pan, I doubled the recipe and made mine in a 9x13 pan instead*. The only changes that I made were that I limited the hot peppers. In my trip to the grocery store I was met in the produce section by one very lonely jalapeno on the shelves. I opted to use that and one Serrano pepper and left out the cayenne. I would have liked the jalapenos if I could have gotten them and would have used three to capture the flavor, but I like the barely there kick that one Serrano lent to the dish.
Also, there were tons of kids in attendance and I like that it wasn't hot enough to torture their taste buds or their tummies. It was a hit! I only had enough left to take a pic or two for the blog!
No matter where you live or what season you feel like you're enjoying, I highly recommend swiping up any bright, beautiful ears of corn you can find and enjoying this colorful, tasty dish soon!

*I sauteed the corn and red pepper in my giant iron skillet pan and had my heart set on baking it and serving it in that as well, but I think I'll have a post in the future about the woes of trying to work with a less than perfectly seasoned iron pan and how to fix that. Also, carrying that puppy plus blanket, toys, and toddler in tow across a couple sports fields to get to our destination would have been more than I could swing!

Oh, I should also mention that a ppk'er had a great idea for making this dish for a pot luck setting by way of portioning it out in muffin pans and cooking that way to create individual servings. As I'd never made it before, I wasn't sure if it was really going to be more like a bread or a pudding and I didn't want to overcook it and have it be dry. As it turns out, it cooks up like a perfectly moist, soft bready pudding so I think it'd have been fine either way!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Almond Crusted Tofu over Vegan Caesar

Who needs croutons?

Not me! I've been salivating over this dinner for a couple days. I have had a bag of almond meal/flour in the refrigerator for a while now and wasn't sure how I was going to use it. So many people are afraid to make tofu or claim that they just don't know how to make it taste good....but it's SO very easy!
Case in point.....

Bought firm, light tofu. Drained in dishtowel in refrigerator for over a day while totally forgetting that it's in there in need of making. Remember it's ready for the flavoring and whip together two cups of veggie stock with a splash of Shoyu. Cut tofu into steaks, then squares, then placed in air-tight container, pouring stock over them and let sit for a couple hours. Made Caesar dressing a la Bunnyfoot:

2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon vegannaise
dash of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
a few sprinkles of kelp powder
1/3 c. olive oil (not extra virgin, in my opinion, a mild blend is best here)
press garlic or grate with microplaner (my favorite method), add remaining seven ingredients. while whisking, add oil. you can add water if you want to thin, but, more importantly, feel free to doubt or even triple this recipe if you'll want to keep the remainder in the 'fridge...and you will!

drained tofu on paper towels while heating grapeseed oil in pan over med-high heat. Dipped tofu in soy milk then a mixture of about one cup almond meal/flour and 1/8-1/4 cup tapioca starch. place in hot oil and fried for a few minutes per side til golden brown.

chopped, rinsed, and dried romaine lettuce and put in large bowl. add generous dusting of nutritional yeast, generous helping of hemp seed, and about four chopped sun dried tomatoes. tossed with maybe half the dressing (only you know how much you like on your Caesar!).

Added tofu to top and YES! total dinner success. I whole-heartedly urge anyone who loved Caesar salads of old to try this. Sure, I'm a huge fan of my own version you can find here, but I'm really loving the addition of tofu and the ease of components in this one.
Seriously, go wow some nonvegan naysayers with a Caesar dressing that will knock their socks off. You can thank me later!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Day Two, I Was Afraid This Would Happen!

I like to think of myself as someone who embraces whole foods and fills my day with healthy options. Some days, though, are like today where they're filled more with things like soy yogurt, fruit, and coffee for breakfast, leftover Soy Curl Casserole for lunch and something super fast and totally processed for dinner. Tonight it was a matter of firing up the grill and throwing a couple Lightlife Smart Dogs Veggie Protein Links on it.

I've tried my share of veg hot dogs and these are, by far, the best to me. I don't particularly like hot dogs to begin with (nitrites, sodium, fat, and animal parts aside). But sometimes, a little quick stroll down childhood memory lane works in a pinch.I just threw them in some whole wheat store bought buns and, much like I enjoyed them as a kid, topped with mustard only. Before bed I snacked on some more fruit and called it a day.
Not exactly blog-worthy. I will say, however, that if you do like veg hot dogs, this brand is great because they're fat free, low calorie, not too bad in the sodium department, and tastes eerily like the real thing. On the grill, the texture is a wee bit soft but a lot closer than some of the other dogs out there.

I'm planning on something simple but MUCH more exciting (and less processed!) for dinner tomorrow. Here's to hoping day number three gets me back on track!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Vegan MoFo Begins Again!

And this time? I'm gonna join in! I never had in previous years as I didn't trust that I would actually blog every day, and this year seems like a silly time to try since I'm usually running after Taylor and only eating the simplest of things, but hey! Who says food has to be fancy or complicated to be vegan or GREAT?!

So why not celebrate this month and just get real about what a vegan eats, both when they're feeling creative and adventurous or just eating to eat?

The impetus for this change of heart? Behold, Grilled Pineapple.
Mmmm hmmm, it's even better than it looks. I had thrown together a soy curl based mock chicken casserole (will post a recipe when I get the 'cream' of mushroom just right) and was at a loss as to what to serve with it. After scoping out the produce in the 'fridge and my husband's suggestion that we open up the house and eat semi al fresco (our dining room opens up via french doors to the patio), I deemed asparagus and pineapple were in the most danger of going bad if we didn't get to eating them soon.

Enjoying this amazing Florida fall-ish weather where it's sunny but not crazy hot all day and then cool in the mornings and evening made grilling the ideal option for both items.

I tossed the asparagus in olive oil and organic garlic salt (thanks mom, this stuff is SO good!) with a little cracked black pepper.

The pineapple I just sliced and dusted with a bit of brown sugar. That's all, so easy!

Both were grilled until just charred and perfect sides to our meal!

I love how simple something like grilling pineapple is and yet it makes your taste buds sing! It's as sweet as candy but still plump and juicy and tastes like summer in every bite. Yum!

Game on, Vegan MoFo!