Posts tagged ‘veganmofo 2009’
Ok, I know I haven’t had anything fancy to post lately, even with my insufferable insomnia the past couple days (I went to bed at 6am this morning! WTF, mates?) but tonight, with a little help from Ina Garten and the Food Network, I have some beautiful stuff to show you!
Sometimes, when the Barefoot Contessa isn’t filling her food with butter and cheese and meat, she makes some drool-worthy dishes. This roasted butternut squash and arugula salad is one of those. My stomach rumbled when I saw her make it, and it’s a perfect autumn salad, especially for a San Diegan who’s still complaining about the heat (IE me).
I didn’t need to make many substitutions. In fact, I would only have had to leave out the parmesan or make dairy free parmesan to make it vegan in the first place, but I thought some ingredients were a bit unnecessary. And by unnecessary I mean I didn’t have them in my house and I didn’t want to go to the store to get them.
So, as usual, my list of recipe changes:
1. Left out the apple juice/cider in the dressing. The squash was already super sweet, like, caramelized, from roasting with maple syrup. That Ina loves her sugar! I did add a bit more maple syrup to the dressing though.
2. Used garlic instead of shallots.
3. Used candied pecans (that I happened to have lying around from a month or so ago), which were really awesome.
4. I guess I used “good” olive oil? This is one of the things I hate most about Ina Garten. She always says to use “good olive oil” or “good vanilla extract” or “good butter.” Does “good” mean imported? Expensive? Extra fattening?
The sandwich accompanying the salad is a delicious Chickpea-Hijiki sammich, my favorite tuna substitution, courtesy of Vegan with a Vengeance. Since there’s apple cider vinegar in that, too, it complimented the salad nicely. Thanks to the b-fri for the beautiful pic, even with such low lighting!
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.
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.
When I say “easy” brunch, I mean “use what you have in the fridge and throw it all together at the last minute” brunch, but also “not much preparation” brunch and “tastes so good” brunch. I wonder how many times I can type the word brunch before it loses all meaning…
Another time, another place.
The beauty you see before you consists of a bowl of seedless red grapes (on sale and really crunchy and sweet) to balance out the richness of the mushroom gravy from Vegan Brunch (there’s that word again…), the topping that really pulled together the mess of ingredients underneath it: Italian style Tofurkey sausage, sliced and pan-fried with yellow squash and mixed dark greens (mustard, collard, kale, etc.) Some whole wheat toast awaits its true calling of scooping up any leftover bits and gravy. The fresh apple juice from Trader Joe’s we drank with the meal was camera shy, but it also went really well with everything. Even my vegan vitamin (iron, B12, folic acid, vitamin C.) Tasty!
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!
Let’s face it: monkeys know their fruit. But unless there are snow monkeys that somehow store tropical bananas in the winter, monkeys don’t got it all, folks!
I’ve spoken before of how I love bananas with peanut butter on toast or in bread pudding, but never about how awesome they are frozen. Baking sweet things with thawed frozen bananas is kind of a lifesaver when you want something sweet and healthful in a pinch (thawing them makes them mega mushy and easy to mash). Or not healthful…for instance:
These chocolate chip banana pancakes from Vegan with a Vengeance are super fast and make an awesome brunch with a glass of cold soymilk. No syrup necessary!
This banana bread satisfied a craving of mine recently. I hadn’t eaten dessert for almost a month (after a total sugar overload during a visit to New York), and this was just a little stepping stone to getting back on the sugar horse, though I haven’t been eating it too often since. You can find great pictures and an alternate recipe here, though I pretty much stuck to the original.
1. I didn’t have any applesauce, so I used a bit more banana and a little soymilk.
2. Ok, I used a lot more banana. I like my banana bread almost pudding-y!
3. Used a bit less than the 1/2 cup of sugar since the bananas are so sweet already.
4. Used half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour.
Mm mm good. And don’t forget, frozen bananas can be blended with peanut butter and non-dairy milk to make an amazing protein shake, too.
It saddens me to imagine what life would be like if monkeys were strictly carnivorous, so I guess I’ll save my imagination for something else!