Posts filed under ‘dinner’
I made seitan for the first time tonight, using Joanna Vaught‘s recipe from her Yellow Rose Recipe blog. I’ll post the recipe here since the all-mighty intarwebs seems to have failed to archive it. (Hopefully she doesn’t mind that I’m re-posting!)
I have heard soo many good things about this seitan. I made it chicken cutlet style, and now have 20 or so cutlets waiting to be prepped and cooked however I please. Boy howdy I hope I like them! I left out the nutritional yeast and replaced it with chickpea flour, so I probably will.
I was told not to actually let them boil and just simmer them, but I have a flat-top electric stove I am still getting used to, so you could say that was a stove-top fail. Im reely gud at those, aktshually. Supposedly the texture gets rubbery if you do boil them, but I tasted a small piece after they came out of the pot and lo, they had a very pleasing texture indeed! So I guess…be careful of that, but don’t worry too much! Maybe the nooch makes them rubbery; I wouldn’t put a move like that past it.
The cutlets aren’t very pretty in their current state, but I’ll cook with them tomorrow so I can take pictures! What have YOU done with them? (besides breading and frying them like you were the KFC colonel)
Without further ado, feast your eyes upon the recipe:
Chicken-Style Seitan Cutlets
2 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour or chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 T onion powder
1 tsp salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cold water
2 T grapeseed or light olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or microplaned
suggested bouquet garni:
Parisien Bonne Herbes
Place a large heavy-bottomed 4 quart pot on the stove filled with 2-3 quarts of cold water. Assemble a bouquet garni and place it in the pot. I like to use a tea bag designed for loose leaf tea and tie it off with a piece of string, but I’ve also used cheesecloth successfully. You could also just put the herbs directly into the water, which is what I used to do, but then the herbs get stuck to the seitan, and you have to strain the broth into the storage container… it’s a lot easier to just use a bouquet garni and then toss it in the trash or compost.
Combine your dry ingredients in one bowl and your wet ingredients in another bowl. Add wet to dry and mix well, then use your hands to knead the seitan mix gently for a few minutes until uniform and homogenous.
Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll out golf ball sized pieces of seitan dough as thinly as you possibly can. If a cutlet tears a little from being rolled out too thinly, no big deal! Just re-form it into a ball and have another go at it. When it’s very thin, slip it into the cold broth and repeat with the rest of the seitan dough. There is no need to be a perfectionist about this.
When all the cutlets have been rolled out and placed in the pot, allow them to rest in the cold water for 10 minutes or so. Then bring the water to a gentle boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover, and allow seitan to cook for an hour.
When you come back, all the cutlets should be at the top and some will be sticking together slightly. Don’t worry about that. Take the pot off the heat and leave them in the water for at least a half hour, until cutlets are easy to handle.
You can cook with them right away, but I prefer to transfer them at this point to a container with the broth, refrigerate them for a few hours or overnight, and then cook with them later.
You will need “cook” these before eating them. Think of them as you would raw tofu: it’s safe to eat right out of the container, but it needs to be flavored and cooked for maximum taste. The cutlets pictured above were pan-fried in a small amount of olive oil until they began to brown. I took half of these pan fried cutlets and tore them into small pieces to make a chicken salad, and then I marinated the rest in a balsamic-maple syrup-mustard glaze and lightly pan fried them again.
The other day I had no energy for grocery shopping or cooking, so we got out our recently created restaurant spreadsheet (this is the best thing ever; I don’t care how nerdy it is!) and sorted by price range since we wanted something cheap (we can also sort by distance and ethnicity, and we’ll probably add a personal rating system in there, too).
The winner? The Loving Hut, an all vegan Asian fusion (cultish, but not freakish) restaurant only a couple miles away. When this place first opened we lived about 5 blocks away, which was really awesome, but also bad. Any inkling of laziness and we’d be calling in our order or taking a quick walk/ride over. We moved recently, and I’ve been cooking more, so now eating out is more of a treat, and a better cheap treat we couldn’t ask for.
The weather was finally a bit chillier that day, so the b-fri said “bring on the soup!” (Ok, I’m sure he didn’t say those words exactly, but that was the vibe I got.) Pictured above you see a huge bowl of wonton soup with tons of lovely veggies and TONS of wontons. The price? 6 bucks!
Next we have my favorite, the BBQ noodle bowl. Thee most amazing beef-like seitan, rice vermicelli, mint, lettuce, cucumber, pickled radish, and do you see those golden fried cylinders there? Those are by far the best bestest fried spring rolls I’ve ever had. I think they put crack in them, or maybe they lie about using no MSG. And then when you pour that sauce over everything…PURE HEAVEN. I’m really full right now and my mouth is watering. Oh, how much you ask? ONLY SIX FITTY! ($6.50). I don’t know how they do it, but whatever it is I love them for it.
Lastly, here’s a bonus picture of me with the food before the mouth-shoveling began. I had to keep my fist in there while I waited for the picture to be taken, otherwise my face would have been in the bowl.
For the past few months I have been a freelance web designer. I am crazy and quit my job at a fairly large corporation to seek to better myself by learning new skills and building my portfolio, thus enabling me to get a better job where I get to be creative and not under appreciated.
What does this mean? Well, what I thought it would mean is that I’d have tons of time to focus on my professional skills, and be a much more productive member of society, at least in my own space (the last couple months at my job, that whole “working hard or hardly working?” question was always answered “hardly”). What I’ve found is that sometimes I feel much more productive doing housework or cooking a delicious meal rather than doing the work that gets me, oh, you know…money. Unfortunately being a freelance computer anything means I work from home, and therefore don’t always leave the house. Some days I sit at the computer until dinner time and realize I don’t have the ingredients to try that new meal I was planning, and definitely don’t have the energy to go to the store and then cook.
These are the times I cross my fingers and open the fridge with my eyes closed, hoping that when I take a peek I will see at least some ingredients that can come together to make something resembling a meal. The other night I had a block of tofu, onions, garlic, wine and some almost too old crimini mushrooms. Luckily both me and the b-fri are fans of all these things (as long as they’re cooked), so pan-fried tofu with white-wine mushroom sauce it was! After that we scrounged and snacked to fill the rest of our hunger, but I was pretty proud of how quickly this came together.
Feeling the pressure, I used a big plastic ziploc bag and filled it with flour, a bit of salt and some freshly ground pepper, dumped the tofu triangles in and shook. I am not a fan of wasting plastic bags, but the bag was in its second use, I swear! And man is that easier than dredging.
After frying the tofu in some olive oil, I moved it to the oven to keep warm while I made the sauce. I let some olive oil, a diced yellow onion and the mushrooms, some garlic, a tablespoon of the flour mixture, and a bunch of white wine reduce in the pan till it thickened, then poured it over the tofu. Easy peasy! Oh, and tasty, too. It’s nice when something fast can be elegant and flavorful as well. Hooray!
The title is a little much, I know, but this caramelized vidalia onion quiche from Vegan Brunch is so good I want the world to know; even if it takes a cheesy title to make people notice.
I’ll admit now though, I made the crust from Vegan Brunch without doing any research about it first.
The bad: there was a misprint in the crust recipe, which left me using A WHOLE LOT of earth balance. I’ve never made my own crust before however, so I assumed once I let the uncooked dough refrigerate for a while the gooey-ness would be taken care of. I was wrong!
The bad/good: Again because I’d never made crust, I decided to use my hands instead of a pastry knife to mix, which inevitably lead me to add more flour, and again add more flour when I was rolling it out, so it baked up just fine.
The absolute good: the crust was so buttery and rich and flaky (and a bit crumbly) it couldn’t NOT have been delicious.
The picture below shows some fresh steamed broccoli alongside the quiche, perfect for cutting the richness. The cashews processed in with the tofu and onion made the perfect texture, and the cinnamon I substituted for the nutmeg (never been a nutmeg fan, really) complimented the sweetness of the onions beautifully. Next time I’ll add less cinnamon though, I kinda dumped a full teaspoon in by accident. Oops.
Just goes to show though, if you’re making something with ingredients you love, it’s hard to screw up.
If you’re a vegan in San Diego, you’ve probably been to Pokez Mexican eatery. While I can defend neither its customer service nor cleanliness, the vegan options are many, cheap, and by golly they’re real tasty, too!
Potato everything (rolled tacos, enchiladas, burritos, you name it), tofu everything…and though I have ordered many different menu items over the years, I have come to settle on one of these as my Pokez staple: Tofu Fajitas. The b-fri likes to call it Chinese Mexican food because they put lots of garlic, soy, and ginger in the fajita sauce, but I don’t care!@ (and apparently neither does he since he orders it every time now as well.)
I made the above plate, which includes fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, beans, rice, chips, the fajitas themselves (made with San Diego Soy Dairy tofu, super firm and herby), and my favorite vegan tortillas in San Diego. Looks like a lot of food, don’t it? Well, that’s less than HALF of what they give you, and it only costs around 9 bucks! Parking sucks around there, but that’s why we often get take out. Oh yeah, forgot to mention the lightly vinegary cabbage salad on there, too.
Slightly different angle below, just ’cause I can.
I have a secret to tell the non-vegans reading this blog: a lot of vegans still crave very NOT vegan things. Shhhhhh! We’re always striving to create or find substitutes for the things we miss. Some are lucky and forget their old eating habits, but not me! I was practically a cheese connoisseur before taking the plunge.
And it didn’t get any better than my mom’s mac and cheese, so of course I’ve always wanted to find a suitable veganized version. Please don’t get mad, but this vegan don’t like no nutritional yeast, and every recipe I came across had an unfortunate amount included in the recipe list. I’ve never understood the claim that “nooch” makes things taste “cheez-y.” Any amount of the stuff, even a pinch, becomes the most prominent flavor to me. You know how it is…when you don’t like something it becomes the strongest flavor? (Another ingredient like that for me is celery, but I won’t get into that now.)
Anyway, you can imagine my excitement and surprise when VegNews posted this recipe. No nutritional yeast in sight! I’ve made it a few times, once with only a third of the earth balance where I replaced the rest with olive oil, and every time has been better than the last. Boy do I wish starch was really healthy to eat a lot of all the time. Now feast your eyes, then go make it for dinner!
I am seriously in love with Tofu Marsala. I wanna be with it all the time, sing about it in the shower, and share my innermost secrets with it. You really can’t substitute any other wine in Marsala sauce, so do yourself a favor and hit up Trader Joe’s for their fairly cheap selection. If you can’t find it, and don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your town, you might be able to use sherry of some sort, but I can’t guarantee the results! And of course, if you don’t like Marsala in the first place, go make something else!
This night the dish was accompanied by fresh green beans (steamed in the pan after the sauce was poured with a little water) and organic fusilli. I’ve made it a few times now with any sort of green veggies on the side, it all works! I would also be pretty happy without the pasta and some crusty bread instead.
Recipe (a combination of http://veganmenu.blogspot.com/2007/07/tofu-marsala-green-beans-yukon-potatoes.html and http://www.recipezaar.com/Tofu-Marsala-173152):
1/4 cup all-purpose flour + 1 tbsp for thickening sauce
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 (14 ounce) package extra firm tofu, drained, rinsed and cut crosswise into eight 1/2-inch-thick slices (I use super firm from Trader Joe’s, which doesn’t need to be drained)
2 tbsps olive oil
2 large shallots, minced (or an onion, either works well)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 cups sliced cremini/white button mushrooms (about 10 ounces)
1 1/2 cups of marsala wine
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. soy margarine (optional)
On a pie plate (or shallow dish), add salt and pepper to the all-purpose flour and stir to combine.
Dip each piece of tofu in the flour, and turn to coat completely, shaking off any excess.
In a large pan (big enough to fit all eight cutlets) over med-high heat, add 1 tbs. of the oil, and swirl to coat the pan. Gently add the flour-coated tofu pieces. Cook until the tofu just starts to brown in spots, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the tofu from the pan, and put into a very low oven to keep warm.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the sliced mushrooms, shallots and thyme. Stir until they brown, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and tomato paste, stir for 1 minute.
Off heat, add the marsala. Return the pan to the stove, and scrape up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Bring the marsala up to a simmer, and reduce by half, about 5-7 minutes.
Add vegetable broth and flour, return to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and glossy.
Stir in lemon juice, then whisk in margarine, if using.
To serve, spoon over tofu on a bed of pasta, or just by itself!
Luckily, everyone can fall in love with Tofu Marsala without the relationship getting complicated. I promise I won’t get jealous.
Ok, so the title is stretching it a little bit, especially since I’m writing this on a Monday, but I couldn’t resist.
I love soup. I really love soup when the weather is cold and makes your body cry out for it, wanting to be warmed from the inside out for every meal. Living in San Diego can make that difficult when it may technically be winter, but you walk outside into a dry 80 degrees instead of what should be at least low 60s. Come on, southern California!
Anyway, I don’t let that phase me. I make soup no matter what. Usually it’s an amazing lentil that I adapted from this Giada DeLaurentis recipe where I exchange chicken broth for veggie, and add red wine and cilantro, but lately I’ve been experimenting more. Straight from Veganomicon I cooked up a HUGE batch of Tomato Rice with Roasted Garlic and Navy Bean, which you can find the recipe for here and a picture of here.
I guess I must really like tomato soup, because I also created this little beauty of a tomato bisque:
Sprinkled on top you’ll see some toasted pumpkin seeds, a sprig of parsley, and hiding in the depths? A large spoonful of olive tapenade to cut the sweetness. This recipe was adapted from here (with soy creamer instead of yogurt), but the next soup was all my own invention. I like to call it Broccolini Bean.
Since this is really more of an “everything but the kitchen sink” soup (and has rapini, not broccolini in it), I can’t remember the exact recipe. It does have your basic mirepoix, vegetable broth, cannelini beans, rapini, and lots of garlic, but how all those things got mixed into the pot…your guess is as good as mine! It was delicious, hearty, and comforting - that’s all I need to remember.
I wish I had something food related to go with my post title…like pictures of homemade dried plums? Alas, it is only I who wrinkled in time, lacking motivation to blog even with plenty of delicious things to blog about! How about a list instead? After all, lists are fun and useful.
1. Seitan Gyros w/cashew tzatziki sauce – prepared lovingly by my sister for my birthday. I’m pretty sure the tzatziki had crack in it, because I could have eaten a bucket full without stopping.
2. Pumpkin cheesecake – using Fat Free Vegan‘s recipe. Paula made it for me the first time, and then I made it again to take to Napa for Thanksgiving (without the lemon layer). Both were successful and delicious, though the version I made didn’t have as tasty a crust…mostly because it burned. I was all, “pie crust, YA BURNT,” and the pie crust was all, “…”
4. Banana chocolate chip bread pudding from Veganomicon. Holy Moses was this good. Eat for breakfast or dessert!
3. Delicious seitan stew with biscuit topping. I’m not sure of all the stew ingredients, but the biscuit recipe is as follows (veganized from an Alton Brown recipe):
2 c flour (white is the best, but whole wheat pastry flour is good too)
4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
2 T margarine (I use Earth Balance)
2 T shortening (I use Earth Balance sticks)
1 c soy creamer + 1 t vinegar (to equate buttermilk)
Preheat oven to 450.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub margarine and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (the faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the soymilk + vinegar. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto a floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1 in thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2 inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on a baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that’s life.)
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, about 12 minutes, depending on your oven.
For the stew, just put the biscuit dough on top and let it bake that way! Mm mm good.
More to come, but I figure I’m better off spreading things across multiple blog posts.
Sometimes I get inspired and creative when I’m hungry, and think up meals I would like to have based on meals I’ve already eaten.
A month or two ago I was treated by the b-fri’s company to a high end meal at Mr. A’s…one of the fanciest restaurants in San Diego. It even has a dress code! Because it’s so high end, I knew they would be able to accommodate me, but I didn’t know they would go out of their way to treat me like the vegan princess I am…har har. Seriously though, they managed to make a really tasty meal for me that involved mini stuffed peppers and vegan pesto.
For some reason this made me think up an Indian influced meal:
Lentil curry stuffed bell peppers over curried mashed potatoes – with a drizzle of cilantro sauce.
Making the curry took a while, but the end results were SO worth the time. I’ve noticed that homemade Indian food (by non-Indians, at least) doesn’t seem to taste like the food you’d get at an Indian restaurant for the most part, but this curry did! So I have to thank Emma Maher for this recipe. As usual, I made some changes, like substituting red lentils for brown, and using only one tablespoon of curry paste (I used red thai curry paste) because otherwise it would have been too spicy for a wuss like me. I also couldn’t find any canned tomato puree in my local grocery, so I used a can of diced tomatoes instead. Oh, and the final touch…a couple handfuls of roasted pistachios (nutmeats!) for added texture, protein and scrumptiousness.
This meal really built up my cooking character because I actually managed to muti-task. While I was chopping up veggies I had 6 russet potatoes boiling for the mashers, to which I added, once cooked and drained, about a teaspoon of curry powder and a heaping teaspoon of turmeric, along with enough Earth Balance and soy creamer to make a creamy consistency. They also needed a bit more salt and some freshly ground pepper.
Once the curry was done, I washed and cored four red bell peppers (though I think this recipe could easily feed six). I then filled the peppers with curry and put them in a cake pan to bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
While baking, I made a sauce which didn’t turn out quite the way I planned since I used too much oil. I took half a bunch of cilantro and blended it up with olive oil, a little bit of peanut oil (the flavor of which tends to overpower) half a juicy lime’s worth of juice and a light yellow chili.The lighter they are, the less spicy! I also seeded the chili completely, but I don’t think that was necessary. I’d leave some seeds in there next time. The best part about this sauce was the lime juice, since you couldn’t really taste the cilantro, so my suggestion: less oil, more lime! There is a ton of sauce left with which I’m planning to add a bunch of garlic to and use as a tofu marinade.
The meal was a big success! I even invited people over to share it who loved it, which is such a gratifying feeling. Each item tasted great on its own, but they banded together to form Super Meal! Now I’ve got to figure out a sequel…