Monday, May 17, 2010

Marley's Hemp Granola

It's been a while since I've made some granola and I really wanted one with lots of big chunks (that's how I love it!). I normally use the recipe from How It All Vegan which has great flavor but never forms chunks. This time I tried a recipe from Vegan Fusion World Cuisine and subbed brown rice syrup for the maple syrup because I've heard that that helps make it stickier and forms more chunks (plus I'm still out of maple syrup). I also subbed canola oil for the safflower oil. But, yes, hello chunks!!

I had to break this up quite a bit and ate some of the burned pieces while doing so, yum. This was fairly simple to prepare and gave me another use for my hemp seeds (til now I'd only used them for Spicoli Burgers from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan). This will be excellent with soy milk or yogurt and some fruit. I'm also drooling over the possibility of putting it on this banana soft serve from Choosing Raw (processed frozen bananas--the consistency of frozen yogurt!).

This is super sticky while it's cooking so I would recommend parchment paper or a Silpat while baking it up.

Bush Berry Parfait

My brother came across this lovely looking dessert from Tofu 'N Collards on the This is Why You're Thin Blog (I have a post on there too!). We were hanging out the other night and after getting stuffed on awesome burritos from Chipotle we hit up the store to buy everything for this. Adding Tofutti Better than Sour Cream to get the tart flavor of yogurt is pretty genius. I really liked the "yogurt" base, although maybe a tad sweet. The frozen mixed berries we found had strawberries mixed in, so those we chopped up while cooking them to make the syrup, but I think the berry layer would have been really good all blended up. We put these in the freezer for a few hours before eating so that it would be more like frozen yogurt; the flavor was excellent, but biting into a whole frozen berry was no fun, so that's why I think the blending would make that better. It made 4 perfect-sized servings and was enjoyed by all (including someone a little freaked out by vegan foods).

Quinoa Spaghetti with Pecan-Crusted Seitan and Kale

This was one big plate of yum! This is the pecan-crusted seitan from The Kind Diet (her recipe comes from Candle 79) that I had wanted to make the other day, but didn't have the time. It was the weekend, so three hours of marinating time was just fine. I served the seitan over quinoa spaghetti noodles and simple marinara sauce from Veganomicon. For the kale I just sauteed it with a tiny bit of peanut oil, then added garlic powder, soy sauce and a splash of mirin. I ended up changing the seitan recipe quite a bit because some things I didn't have on hand (orange juice) and for others the amounts just seemed wasteful (the marinade and the dry mixture for dredging before frying). Here's my take:

Pecan-Crusted Seitan

serves 4

2 loaves seitan from Viva Vegan! (1/2 recipe, about 1 pound), cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices

1 6oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup umeboshi vinegar
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon dried Italian Herb mix (rosemary, oregano, basil, whatever strikes your fancy)
1 tablespoon dried tarragon

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup ground pecans (I blended in the dry container of my Vita Mix)
1 tsp dried Italian herbs of choice

olive oil, for frying

1. Combine tomato paste through tarragon in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer marinade to a dish and add seitan slices. Coat on all sides. Cover and place in fridge for at least 3 hours.
2. After marinating, combine flour, salt, pepper, pecans, and herbs in a small bowl.
3. Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet (enough to cover bottom).
4. Dredge seitan pieces in dry mixture and coat on all sides. Add to skillet and sautee until golden brown on both sides.

These were fantastic and tasted great over pasta. Enjoy!

Sunday Brunch: Scrambled Tofu, Roasted Potatoes and Strawberries

Groceries were getting a little low: no cereal, no bread, no sugar, no maple syrup. So, not wanting a smoothie, savory was definitely in the cards for breakfast this morning. I decided on the scrambled tofu and roasted potatoes from Vegan Brunch. The potatoes are super simple, just cut them up, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss in the oven for a bit. It's been a long time since I actually followed a recipe for scrambled tofu, and I'm glad I did. Over time I tend to start adding less and less spice because I stop measuring and the flavor starts to go downhill, because well, there isn't much anymore. This one is great! Basic with garlic, thyme, cumin, turmeric and nutritional yeast. It was bursting with flavor. I topped it with some habanero hot sauce and it was fabulous. We also had some amazing strawberries. This is the first basket I've gotten that is super sweet and juicy. Yay for strawberries and all the other fruits coming into season!

Pasta with Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce and Broccoli

I was craving roasted garlic something fierce. After looking through some cookbooks and finding nothing to my liking I decided to make a sauce and toss it with some noodles and broccoli. It turned out quite good. My boyfriend covered his in Daiya and declared that excellent.

Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce

serves 3ish

20 cloves garlic, roasted
2 Tablespoons Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
4 Tablespoons Soy milk
4 Tablespoons Soy Creamer
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
pepper, to taste
extra virgin olive oil

1. Roast your garlic cloves: preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a piece of foil pile peeled garlic, drizzle with olive oil. Roast for ~20 minutes, until soft.
2. Cook pasta of choice (1/2 lb) according to directions. If adding a vegetable, prepare that as well (I steamed broccoli)
3. Add all ingredients, except EVOO, to blender. Blend thoroughly.
4. When pasta is done, drain, return to pot and add sauce (add veg also, if using). Stir to coat. Drizzle with EVOO if desired.

The pasta I used was a vegetable mix from Trader Joe's; the noodles were beet, spinach, and I can't remember the rest but it was good, and cute to boot!

Risotto with Oyster Mushrooms, Leeks, and Green Peas and Ume-Drizzled Baby Bok Choy

I had another little ingredient mishap in the kitchen with this risotto dish from The Kind Diet. Arborio rice is something I usually have on hand, so when I went to the store after work I picked up all the fresh stuff needed and headed home. When I went to cook, the jar I keep the Arborio in was empty...I opted instead to make this a brown rice risotto (which Alicia suggests, but offers no additional directions). Had I known that was what I was going to be doing before starting I think that this would have gone much better. I would have cooked the brown rice first, then added the other ingredients, but alas I had already started before realizing I was going to be needing to use brown rice. So, I added liquid like Arborio and let it cook for a bit, then added more, it took forever and I was out of liquid (5 cups!) before my one cup of rice was even cooked all the way through. I just served it al dente, so it was a bit disappointing. The flavor was good, but not as good as other risottos I've had so I don't think I'd revisit this one. Instead of fresh mushrooms I used dried (a mix of oyster and others) and added the water I used to rehydrate them to my water that was used for the rice. I also used additional leek in lieu of onion because I already had it chopped up and I like leeks.

The bok choy however was amazing. It was lightly steamed then tossed with ume vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, black pepper, and toasted sesame seeds. I will definitely be preparing bok choy this way again. Super yummy.

Seitan and Broccoli in Spicy Orange Sauce

So, I made my own seitan! For the first time ever! I'd been a little intimidated, but after hearing that it really is easy and since it's so expensive in the stores, I went for it. I followed the recipe for the red seitan from Viva Vegan! to fabulous results. It's a little messy in the beginning, but then I ended up with 4 loaves like the one above. It was absolutely delicious. So much more flavor than the packaged variety, a better texture too. I'm converted, I will always make this from scratch now if possible.

My original plan for dinner was to make pecan-crusted seitan from The Kind Diet (on loan from the library), but that needed to marinate for three hours and I just didn't have the time for that. I did plan accordingly later in the week, so that will be coming up.

Instead I made the seitan in spicy orange sauce from Vegan Fire & Spice. I steamed some broccoli and threw that in near the end as well. This dish was nice and simple, tasted great over rice, but was nothing amazing. I would have liked if the sauce got a little thicker. It had corn starch in to thicken it, which it did, but it was still pretty runny even after cooking for a bit. I didn't want to overcook the broccoli that I had already added, so I pulled it off and served it as is. I also didn't think this was spicy at all, so I added sriracha to mine.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

So this is take two on the banana muffin. I was really craving one last week so I made the Cocoa Banana Flax Muffins from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan and was a little disappointed. They tasted alright and they had lots of good stuff in there (flax, oats, bananas), but it just didn't hit the spot. In the words of my boyfriend (and muffin modeler above): "it had too much going on." I didn't even get a picture; this is the first thing I've made from Dreena that I didn't love, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

However, this muffin from Get It Ripe totally hit the spot! It's great. It's got a lot more banana (4 medium ones mashed) and the wonderful bonus of chocolate chips. I used mini chocolate chips and they turned out adorable. These muffins use the bananas and maple syrup as the sweetener. It was simple and I dug it. These muffins will definitely get made again, and since it uses so many ripe bananas it's perfect for when you haven't been so diligent in the banana eating department, or when the weather just gets really warm and everything in your fruit bowl ripens like crazy (aka: now)!

Garlic Daiya Pizza Chips and Salad

There used to be this one pizza place my family would always go to as a special treat because of this thing called Garlic Chips. It was basically a pizza, but instead of sauce the dough was brushed with olive oil and then topped with garlic, herbs, and cheese. It was seriously one of the most amazing, fattening things on earth. Their vegetarian pizza wasn't all that great IMO, but these things were so good. Realizing that Daiya could be the key to recreating this magical food item I set about recreating it.

Garlic Daiya Pizza Chips

-1/2 recipe Cast-Iron Pizza Dough (500 Vegan Recipes; any dough, enough to make 1 small pizza should be fine)
-olive oil, for brushing
-5 cloves garlic, chopped
-Italian Herb mix (I used a Pampered Chef mix consisting of rosemary, thyme, lemon peel, and salt plus some dried basil)
-Daiya Italian style cheese

1. Prepare pizza dough.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
3. Roll out dough and place in cast-iron skillet, or pizza stone/baking sheet.
4. Brush top of dough with olive oil.
5. Sprinkle chopped garlic on top of olive oil. Add herbs to preference. Top with Daiya.
6. Place in oven for 15 minutes, until just starting to brown and bubble.
7. Set oven to high broil and let brown for 1-2 minutes longer, don't let it burn!
8. Remove from oven, cut into squares, and devour.

This was incredible. We ate our way through the whole thing over the course of the evening. I served it up with a salad using whatever we had in the fridge with a dressing from Oh She Glows, and some red wine. The dressing was fantastic, I liked the tanginess, and it made more than enough for two salads.

Sauteed Plantains

While at the Mexican supermarkets the other day I picked up a ripe plantain to try my hand at cooking one up. There's a recipe in Viva Vegan but it uses a lot of oil, so I followed the instructions I found at Healthy.Happy.Life instead, which is the same thing I realized just using less oil. It's pretty simple, but it was my first time, so I was approaching with caution. Having never made plantains before I thought that this would be more dessert-like than it was, but no, it's definitely more a side or mix-in for a main dish instead. Although, I bet doctored up with some sugar, nuts, or chocolate it would be a fantastic dessert.

Kathy (H.H.L.) has some fabulous looking recipes using plantains (this Mexican Couscous Power Bowl looks great) as does Terry in her cookbook, so next time I'll try something a little more complex.

I just realized there were a whole bunch of firsts for me recently: jicama, hijiki, chia seeds, and now plantains. Fun stuff! My friend Kelly over at Kohlrabi and Quince is trying one new food a week (this week is hominy) and blogging about it, maybe I've been inspired!

Yummy Greens Bowl Variation

I had some New Leaf tahini dressing in the house, so I decided to make another bowl with it since it turned out so well last time. This time I used freshly cooked quinoa, 1 bunch kale, 8 cremini mushrooms, shredded carrots, cilantro, sesame seeds, and dressing. The kale I cooked up with some soy sauce, mirin, 3 cloves garlic and 1/2 knob ginger chopped, and a little water. The pieces of ginger and garlic gave it a nice zing that wasn't as noticeable when they were minced last time. For the mushrooms I tried to impart a few more flavors for them since my bf didn't like them last time, so I cooked them in a little bit of peanut oil, then when they were cooked poured in a little sake and let that simmer. Once everything was cooked just assemble and serve. I could see this being really good with lots of other dressings too, we just really like the tahini one.

Chickpea and Hijiki Salad Sandwich

This is another recipe I'd been wanting to try out for awhile now. I finally tracked down hijiki at a store so I scooped up a little bit of it so I could make this sandwich from Vegan with a Vengeance. It's supposed to be reminiscent of a tuna fish salad; I don't think it tasted anything like that (although it's been awhile), but it was really good. It's made up of mashed chickpeas, Vegenaise, minced onion (I used onion powder and some garlic powder as well instead), shredded carrots, apple cider vinegar, pepper, and hijiki. I don't think the hijiki added all that much in flavor. I've seen other recipes that use nori flakes, so maybe I'll try one of those next time. Also, there have apparently been studies showing that arsenic levels are higher in this seaweed and some people have advised against consumption. I didn't use all the Vegenaise called for and I still think it was a bit too much, I also think it could have used some mustard. But, piled up on some toasted bread with avocado, cucumber, and sprouts it was delish. I ate this up with some grapes for lunch and will be able to get many more sandwiches out of the leftovers.

Overnight Oats

Um, words can't even describe how ridiculously good this was. I first saw these on Erin's blog, Vegan Homemade, last week. The original recipe came from Angela at Oh She Glows. The base is non-dairy milk (I used soy), vanilla, chia seeds, mashed banana, and oats. That all sits in the fridge overnight for the oats and chia seeds to soak up the milk, then in the morning add maple syrup, nut butter (I used almond), whatever (I also sprinkled with cinnamon), stir and enjoy. And I did. This makes a large serving and it kept me good and full well into lunch time. I can think of many other mix-ins that would probably be fabulous, berries anyone? Angela also has some variations on her site: banana split, banana soft serve, and chocolate protein. The layered soft serve one looks incredible. This was my first time trying chia seeds, well other than to grow a chia pet (yes, I used to have one, shuddup). I didn't buy a lot because I didn't know what I'd think of them, but I'll definitely have to pick up some more so that I can make this amazing breakfast more often.

This is what it looked like before I put in the fridge for the night:

And, here in the morning with my mix-ins before stirring it up:

If you try this out let me know what you put in and what you think!

Oven-Baked Chimichangas and Mango-Jicama Salad

I just got Viva Vegan! in the mail and couldn't wait to bust into it. Unfortunately for a lot of the recipes some hard-to-find ingredients (for me, if you are blessed with a bevy of ethnic groceries then you could be in luck) are needed. However, these items are mostly pastes and spices, so once acquired they should last awhile and allow for lots of delicious Latin eats. I scoured the local Mexican supermarkets and found a few things, but a handful of others I needed to order online (AmigoFoods has a great selection). So, while I wait for the rest of my items to arrive I made this salad to go with chimichangas from 500 Vegan Recipes. Both of these were very good. This was a little bit of a high-maintenance salad, seeing as both jicama and mango are not the easiest thing in the world to prep. Terry has a great primer on cutting mangoes in the book, and I watched this video to see how to tackle the jicama since I've never prepped it myself (the lady is a little creepy, but they get the job done). However, once that's taken care of it's simple with just some lime juice, mint, and cilantro. The chimichanga recipe was so good. The fillings were a tofu mixture, black beans, and salsa-cheese sauce.

The crispy tortilla was the best part though. So tasty, and luckily deep-frying as per usual chimi's wasn't necessary to recreate that. Great dinner!

Red Chard Frittata

I've been wanting to make this frittata since I first saw it in Vegan Brunch. Last weekend I had some chard that needed to be used up so it worked out perfectly. I don't know if I just suck at making these or if it's just not possible, but my frittatas never stay together. I go to plate them and it just falls apart, it's more like a fancy baked tofu scramble. Which is fine, it still tastes amazing, but it's disappointing to see the pretty slices in the book and then look at the pile on my plate. The flavors were great in this, simple and tasty. We ate this with some Earth Balance smothered toast (put the frittata on the toast--yum).


I had a mad craving for some snickerdoodles after reading so many posts about all the vegan bake sales that have been going down. I'm not a fan of plain sugar cookies, but put some frosting or some cinnamon-sugar on there and I'll apparently gobble them right up. I used the recipe from Vegan Yum Yum (there is a very similar one in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar). Because the dough gets refrigerated for an hour after mixing this is a bit of a delayed indulgence, but the wait is definitely worth it--they came out great!

There was no exact proportion in the book for the amount of cinnamon or sugar to roll on the outsides, so I just sprinkled a little of both on a plate, mixed it up and went with that. Also, when I went to smush them from ball form to cookie form with a fork a lot of the edges broke and those four in the pic above were the best-looking. That was a little disappointing, but obviously doesn't matter once you get them in your mouth. These didn't seem to stay fresh very long, after a couple days they were quite crispy. We just chowed down on them and finished them up (poor us), but it's definitely something to keep in mind for the future.

Note: I believe Lauren has a recipe for these on her blog, but the site is not working today so I can't post it.

Kale Chips!

I made these when I first stumbled upon the recipe, but seeing them in the latest VegNews as a VegWeb award winner I was craving them so badly that I had to make them, like now. They are just as advertised: a seriously addictive snack! The crispy bits are so good...if you haven't tried this yet and you like kale you need to get on it. Be careful with the salt though, a little goes a long way.

I ended up just eating these for dinner along with a kale and pear smoothie (1 large leaf kale destemmed, 1 banana, 1/2 pear, 1 cup frozen pineapple, and 1 orange-might need some water to get it all going depending on your blender) and it was fantastic! Oh, I also ate the other half of that pear...another thing I didn't use to like, yum!

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

This was one of the first vegan (on purpose) dishes I ever made way back when. It's from Vegan with a Vengeance and not only is good it's super easy and quick. It's just a simple tomato base with tons of spices thrown in; it always turns out great. I've been getting begged for white rice around here because I usually never buy it (opting instead for brown rice or quinoa), I caved and served this up with some white basmati.

Seeing all those chickpeas makes me remember that I also didn't use to like these little guys either. Before I got to college I was not a fan (what the hell was wrong with me), now they're a staple in our house. It's amazing how much tastes change and once I went veg and then vegan so many more things started tasting good that never had (avocados, mushrooms, nuts...); it's a good thing too, because otherwise I have no idea what I would live on.

Bow Ties with Broccoli Pesto

This lovely green concoction came from last month's Vegetarian Times. Cooked broccoli is used as the base in lieu of fresh basil. Mint, parsley (I subbed cilantro), and hazelnuts also make an appearance in this perfect-for-spring dish. I thought that this was super good, but a tad garlicky for my taste, which hardly ever happens as I love garlic. I'd suggest using less if you're not a huge fan. If I were to make this again I 'd add some chopped red bell pepper and maybe some zucchini or tomato, because bite after bite it got a bit boring with no other flavors or textures going on here. The addition of extra veggies would definitely spruce this up!

Also, I had a little trouble finding hazelnuts at the store. I finally asked an employee and he was able to track some down for me, but they were called filberts. Tricky...

Panko-Crusted Tofu with Raspberry Tamarind Glaze

I thought I had finally gotten my hands on all the ingredients to finally make this dish from The Urban Vegan and I was so excited. Then I realized I didn't have apple juice. I texted my boyfriend to pick some up on his way home, and alas he forgot. Rather than running back out I instead subbed berry dessert wine and it turned out alright, I'm guessing the apple juice would have been a tad sweeter which would have been complimentary, but this still turned out mighty tasty. The fruity elements in the sauce went really great with the tofu and I loved the crispy panko coating. I was thinking too much about the sauce while cooking though, and so I cut my tofu incorrectly (it's supposed to be in lovely triangles) and also let it burn a little bit (whoops). Nonetheless, this still got all eaten up as the leftovers were great for lunch the next day. I served this up with a grain blend from Trader Joe's (leftover from stuffed acorn squash) with some spinach thrown in just at the end. This will definitely get made again, I'll just be sure to grab some apple juice next time.