Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Smothered Seitan Medallions in Mixed Mushroom Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Bok Choy

This seitan recipe is from Vegan Soul Kitchen; it was also featured in Vegetarian Times. I made a few changes. First we halved the recipe, we also cut our seitan into strips and dredged them in flour mixed with a little garlic powder and pepper versus arrowroot powder. I also cooked them in my cast-iron so that I could use much less oil (his recipe calls for over a cup of oil!). I didn't have time to make a mushroom stock and none of the ones at the store were vegan, so I subbed vegetable stock and used only cremini mushrooms because buttons were unavailable; I doubled the amount of mushrooms in the gravy to make up for the lack of mushroom stock. I also left out the cabbage, scallions, and parsley at the last part of the recipe (using only the jalapeno). Ok, I think that's it, I followed the rest of the recipe! For the potatoes we used golden Yukon and mashed them with a little bit of Earth Balance and soy milk and for the bok choy I just sauteed it in a bit of soy sauce and mirin. This was one tasty meal! Nothing from Bryant Terry has disappointed (except for the oil factor, but that's usually easily rectified) and this was another one to add to that list. The fried seitan simmers in the gravy and stock for 30 minutes giving it a great flavor and texture. The mushrooms were awesome, the sauce was awesome, it was just great.

Pan Fried Tofu, Kale, and Stir-Fried Noodles

This another VeganYumYum recipe I found through the iPhone app. I cut down on the pressing time and the marinating time because I was hungry and it still turned out great. I also used half a carton of tofu, because that's all I had left; I just cut it into smaller pieces. I also didn't serve this with the dipping sauce, I just put everything back in the pan together and stirred the sauce (and the sugar) in so everything was coated nicely. I wasn't sure what kind of mustard was supposed to be used, so for the marinade I used ground mustard and I omitted for the dipping sauce. This was very good, it had the perfect amount of sweet and spicy and the tofu had great flavor. There is a little bit of a kale war in my house because I like it to still be crunchy when it's mixed into things while my boyfriend likes it to be soft; I usually leave it crunchy. So naturally, the crunchy kale was his least favorite part of the dish. I had the leftovers for lunch the next day and it was still fabulous.


Whenever I have leftover pesto I like to use it up on either pasta or pizza. This time we went with pizza. I cheated and bought pre-made dough at Trader Joe's, along with pizza sauce from a can. The cheese I made and then we topped it with vegan pepperoni, tomatoes, spinach and dollops of pesto. We served it up with some cantaloupe, or muskmelon if you will--they were taunting me, there were so many of them at the store that I thought they must be ripe early, but alas no; a few more months and then hopefully a good juicy one will be mine for the eating.

The cheese recipe I used for this is from Vegan Vittles. It requires some time. First tofu, nutritional yeast and spices get combined in a blender with a warm agar mixture. Then that has to set in the fridge for a few hours.

After that it can be shredded and used, et voila!

It's quite good and does melt which is pretty cool. Below the pizza is my ginormous silpat (Ok, yeah it's a generic). I have tile counters which can make cleaning flour off of them a huge pain. I have learned, after countless times scrubbing grout and cursing, that anything I need to roll out will fit on that and it's saved me much time and anger in the kitchen. They're like 20 dollars at a well-stocked kitchen store, totally worth it!

Creamy Tomato Pasta and Salad

This was another "quick, throw something together" dinner. Using the handy-dandy (free!) VeganYumYum iPhone app I came across this recipe. I used brown rice spaghetti in lieu of cappellini and I subbed 1 can diced tomatoes for the 4 fresh. As you can see, it made a lot of sauce, but the sauce was good so whatever. I never would have thought of putting Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese into a pasta sauce, so I'm glad Lauren did because this is yummy.

We served this up with some white wine and a green salad piled high with sprouts along with my first stab at making a tahini dressing to rival New Leaf's. The taste was pretty spot on, but it was way too runny. I'll try again and when it's right it will be a happy day.

Polenta Rancheros and Red Kale

Craving something a little bit different I settled on this rancheros recipe from Vegan Brunch. Wow, I'm so glad I did. It was amazing! We were practically licking our bowls this was so good. To make Isa's recipe for only two people, I halved the amounts for the beans and sauce and quartered the amounts for the polenta. I then topped it off with fresh tomato and avocado. The cool fruits on top of this dish were perfect because the sauce is spicy! I didn't need to add hot sauce to this, and that's saying something for me. For the kale, I tried to copy how I had it served to me at Gracias Madre, where it had hints of lime and toasted pepitas tossed in. I added too much lime, but it was still good. This will get made again!

Roasted Portabella, Potatoes, and Salad

My original goal here was to make roasted Portabella pesto sandwiches, however the only ripe tomatoes at the store were cherry-sized heirlooms and it's impossible to buy only 2 sandwich rolls at any of the stores in town (seriously, what am I supposed to do with 8?!), I decided to just serve the mushroom open-face on a slice of sourdough with pesto on it along with roasted potato "fries" and a side salad.

For the mushrooms I used the recipe from Veganomicon. It's hard to believe, but I didn't always like mushrooms (or avocado, eggplant, nuts...), this is the recipe that made me fall in love with portabellas, and it's a keeper. The caps get marinated in a mix of balsamic, wine, tamari, garlic and then roasted to juicy perfection. The pesto is from How it all Vegan.

For the potatoes, I just cleaned and cut golden potatoes into wedges, coated them in a little olive oil, salt, and paprika and roasted in the oven until cooked through and crispy. Trying paprika on roasted potatoes was a new one for me that I'll definitely repeat because it turned out great. Lent a nice smoky flavor to the crispy outsides of the potatoes.

Our salad was just a quick throw-together of spring greens, shredded carrot, golden raisins, and heirloom tomatoes with an apple-cider vinaigrette (from ReFresh).

Zesty Quinoa with Broccoli and Cashews

This is a quick, simple dish, the recipe came from Whole Foods. They have hundreds of recipes on their website, and to top it off they even have a free iPhone app that has them all, easily searchable by vegan. This makes it super easy to find something to make for a dinner and have a shopping list on hand for those days or nights when you're not prepared (My brother and I made this mango and avocado salad to great results when at our parent's place a few weeks ago--we put it over lettuce).

For this quinoa dish I left out the onions, but prepared everything else as written. I thought it was pretty tasty, but my boyfriend thought that it was too acidic (which it is very much so with tomatoes, lemon juice, and wine). Also, there's no way this serves 4 unless it's a side dish; that's half of what it makes in the bowl above. As a main, definitely serves 2.

Curry Chickpea Hummus

While maybe not the most mouthwatering of colors (thanks turmeric), this curry hummus is definitely special. It's from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan which is amazing enough to have an entire chapter dedicated solely to hummus (I think I've now made all but two or three of them; they've all been hits!). I didn't have cashew butter, so I subbed in slightly more than the same measurement of raw cashews--it worked just fine.

First I served this up on a tempeh bacon, avocado, tomato, and lettuce sandwich. It elevated this normally great sandwich to a completely new level! Yum! I took the rest to a friend's house for a game night and most of it was eaten with various chips/crackers. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who think they don't like curry. They've had one kind of curry dish somewhere once and now they've sworn off them. I try to do my part to help these people realize that there are tons of different types of curries (spice and sauce), but it doesn't always work. So, point is: several people wouldn't even try it because "they don't like curry." *Big exhale* Anyway, if making for a crowd that might be something to keep in mind.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jamaican Vegetable Medley with Coconut Rice and Beans

Sorry for the picture here. This dish was so good that we had already dug in before remembering we needed a picture! Both recipes are from The 30-Minute Vegan and both are fabulous. The rice was easily cooked up in our rice cooker with the beans added upon completion and the vegetable and tofu mixture was quickly broiled to tasty perfection. For the rice I used light coconut milk which doesn't impart as much flavor as the full-fat stuff, but it was still really good. The real star here however was the Jamaican Jerk sauce that was on the vegetables and tofu. It used just about every spice on my spice rack and it was unbelievably good. The smell alone was hard to endure as we waited for the broiling to be done. I made a few substitutions to the vegetable medley: omitted onion, used 1 red bell pepper in place of 1/2 green and 1/2 red, added extra mushrooms, and doubled the amount of tofu (we like our tofu) and tomatoes (little bitty ones, so good when roasted). I feel like it needed a little something green in there to balance it out and I'm not sure if the green bell pepper would have done it. Maybe green beans or zucchini? Next time I'll try adding one of those and see how it goes.

Edit: this doesn't do so well as leftovers, it still tasted good but it was soggy.

Banana Pancakes

I'm not a huge pancake fan, most of the time I'd rather have a waffle or french toast (if all I had to choose from were non-pastry breakfast breads). Banana pancakes are the main exception; I love them! Not only because they make me think of this, which is awesome, but because they taste great. This recipe from Vegan Brunch cooked up just great (there's also a recipe for Banana Pecan Pancakes in Vegan with a Vengeance which is decent, but I like this one better). These pancakes are perfectly paired with maple syrup, however there's a particularly good blueberry sauce recipe in VwaV that makes them even more drool-worthy.

Yummy Greens Bowl

Using up what was left in the fridge I came up with this creation. It was more amazing than I thought it would be.

It started with some leftover cooked quinoa; on top of that went greens (1 head bok choy and 1 of chard) cooked in (you guessed it!) olive oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and mirin; mushrooms were cooked until soft (no oil needed for them since they get so juicy); some baked tempeh I had leftover from lunch salads earlier in the week; tahini sauce from New Leaf; and finally toasted sesame seeds. It all came together to be one (OK, 2) big bowl of yum!

The tahini sauce is the house dressing at New Leaf (comes on the New Beet salad which has spring greens, shredded raw beets, baked tempeh, avocado, toasted pepitas and sesame seeds--crazy good). This sauce is amazing on everything under the sun--seriously. I need to find a recipe for something comparable because this stuff is great not only on salads, but on crackers, veggies, and now grain bowls, huzzah! I'll be moving away from Santa Cruz this summer (holla San Francisco!) and will need to definitely work on making my own version of this, once I do I'll for sure post it (I've tried tahini sauce recipes from a couple of cookbooks and they're not even close).

Red Bean Lager Chili and Cornbread

This is another spectacular recipe from reFresh. This chili is chock full of vegetables and the tomato base is flavored with chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, and cinnamon...mmm. Oh, and did I mention it has beer in it? Hell yeah. I think it's quite obvious I like to cook with beer (Chocolate Beer Waffles, Smoky Red Bean and Pepper Gumbo, Tacos, Fajitas); it's a relatively new discovery and it's just so good in so many things. What's also really great about this chili is it doesn't take hours. The tomatoes and beans come from a can while everything else is fresh saving tons of time.

We served this up with some cornbread from The Joy of Vegan Baking. This is our favorite cornbread recipe because it's simple, tasty, and uses a fraction of the oil of other recipes. I wish I had taken a picture of how it turned out this time. I had my boyfriend make it and he wasn't paying attention to what he was doing, so instead of adding 1/2 cup of corn kernels he added an entire can! Like 1.5 cups. It was some super corny corn bread. It tasted fine apart from it not getting quite as crunchy due to all the added kernels. We had a laugh out of it and that's what's more important!

Cauliflower Dal with Panch Phoran and Sauteed Spinach

I was out of state visiting family for a while, but I'm back finally with what we had for dinner weeks ago. This dal recipe is from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen and is super tasty. It's got tons of flavor, it's hearty, and it's filling. Cauliflower is not my favorite vegetable; I'm only likely to eat it if it's cooked into something with lots of flavor and it's soft--this fits the bill perfectly! My only complaint is that it makes too much. When I read a recipe I try to determine how much it's gonna make and whether I should make only a fraction, taking into consideration how many other things I'm making that week, how likely I am to use leftover ingredients, and how likely we are to eat leftovers of said dish. Knowing I wasn't very likely to use a half head of cauliflower I made the entire recipe and we didn't come close to eating even half of it. I served this over quinoa, but next time I wouldn't do that, it's so soupy and chunky that it needs nothing as a base. I really liked the addition of sauteed spinach here. I cooked it up in a bit of peanut oil with some garlic and ginger powder, soy sauce, and a splash of mirin.