Monday, January 27, 2014

Coconut Coconut Coconut

Huzzah for coconut! Here's a double feature.

First, I made a batch of Heidi's coconut milk dressing and put it on salads for days.

I also made a spicy sour cabbage-lentil red curry soup with Thai red curry paste. I sauteed things in virgin coconut oil and cooked the soup (with mushroom, cabbage, and lentils) in the slow cooker, adding coconut milk to the citrusy broth. Sometimes the things I make with the explicit intention of being healthy are a little underwhelming, but this was legitimately delicious.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Black Bean Pasta Breakfast

We wanted something savory for breakfast one weekend, so I made this noodle soup. It's pretty basic--a little pho-inspired, with star anise in the broth--but the textures were what made it unusual. I used silken tofu and these black bean noodles that when cooked had the texture of chewy cheese. The only ingredient in them is black beans, so I'm not sure how this was possible. It was not unpleasant.

'beef' broth with star anise, etc. (like this one)
dried mushrooms
fresh herbs
silken tofu
black bean pasta (this one)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

crepes, hash browns, brunch, brunch

The past month or so has been a brunchy one. While I still can't make roasted potatoes right, no matter how hard I try, there have been some other successes, largely out of the Vegan Brunch cookbook.

We did crepes. Sweet fillings and savory fillings. Followed the recipe to the letter, and when I added 3 TB of liquid too much, it stopped working! Sometimes it pays to trust in what other people have already tested. In the sweet crepes with cashew cream cheese, we actually used leftover cranberry sauce I found in the freezer from Thanksgiving, which I really liked because it wasn't very sweet.

And the same cookbook has a brilliant little recipe for individual baked hash browns in a muffin tin. These actually turned out better than when I've made them on the stove--really nice and crispy on the outside without being burned, and fully cooked on the inside! I added extra oil because the headnote talked about how much healthier these were than usual, but don't do it! Mine were actually a bit too greasy. A really well-tested recipe, once again.

And one more brunch with pancakes from Vegan Brunch, roasted mushrooms, pan-fried potatoes, and fresh-squeezed juice.

Friday, January 17, 2014

P.E.T. (Pumpkin Eggplant Tofu)

I made this dish to compete with replicate a stir-fry that Zippy had gotten as takeout from a local Thai restaurant. It's clearly a pretty improvised and flexible recipe. As with any stir-fry, you want to be conscious of how long different ingredients will take to cook (and how cooked you want them to be). You deal with this by pre-cooking them and/or by adding them at different points in the process.

Next time I make this, I will keep track of times and amounts so that I can share the recipe more accurately.

P.E.T. (Pumpkin Eggplant Tofu)

eggplant, chopped
more oil
bell pepper
pumpkin (winter squash)
vegetable stock
rice wine (mirin)
tamarind extract
sesame oil
basil, chopped

Fry eggplant separately until soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large wok or frypan, saute onion, garlic, ginger, chilies.
Add celery and carrot.
Add mushroom and bell pepper.
Add tofu and pumpkin and eggplant (already fried).
Add simmering/deglazing liquid: veg stock, rice wine, tamarind extract, sesame oil.
Cover and cook on low about 5-8 minutes until squash is tender but not mush. Stir in basil. Serve with rice.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Here's the bacon recipe we had at Thanksgivukkah (inappropriate?). I have to admit that I was skeptical up until I started frying the strips. Prior to that, it was kind of floppy and bread-like. And I would like to find a way to have fewer bubbles in the dough; I think that would also make it less like bread.

But when they started sizzling, it was like a magical transformation. You could plug this as cholesterol-free bacon, pareve bacon, etc., but mostly I was just amazed to have created bacon! It proved too delicate for the bacon-wrapped dates I'd planned on, so we just cooked it up in slices as a random side.

This recipe was really easy to pull together, requires few special ingredients, and can be frozen in chunk form-- just thaw it before slicing and frying.

The suspiciously underwhelming loaf

Seitan Bacon

Red Dough:
1 c vital wheat gluten
1/4 c chickpea flour
2 TB nutritional yeast
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp black pepper
2/3 c warm water
3 TB soy sauce
3 TB maple syrup
1 TB tomato paste (I sometimes use ketchup)
1 tsp liquid smoke
White Dough:
1/2 c vital wheat gluten
2 TB chickpea flour
1 TB nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c warm water
1 TB canola oil

1. Mix the doughs up and form into balls, each one separately.2. Break the red dough into 4 pieces and the white dough into 3-4 pieces. Flatten each piece and layer alternating colors on top of each other. This is your time to be creative. Once you have a big block of dough lay it on an oiled cutting board. Place another cutting board/saran wrap on top. Press your dough for at least 30 minutes.
3. After your dough has been pressed bake at 300F for 45 minutes. Your seitan will be a bit undercooked but this is what you want. It makes it easier to slice and it will pan-fry better.
4. Slice into bacon strips and pan fry to the desired crispness you like. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

"Takeout-style" Channa Masala

My friend Amanda isn't vegan, but she always makes this chana masala recipe when she needs a go-to vegan dish. And I am definitely okay with that.

The main jist of the slate article from which it comes is that you need to buy a few spice mixes to get that authentic* Indian flavor. I went out and bought the chana masala spice blend, but I used the garam masala I already had made, which, yes, lacked a few ingredients like mace (huh?).

Spices aside, this recipe was also a bit sweet, because of the sugar added. I'm not sure which recipe I prefer (this one here, or this one, or this one, or this one...). Oh, and a HALF recipe made a ton, so I've halved everything below.

*you know what I mean. Another time, let's problematize authenticity til the cows come home. 

Takeout-Style Channa Masala
(from slate)

1/2 lb (1 c) dried chickpeas (or 3 c cooked/canned)
3 TB grapeseed or peanut oil
1/2 TB cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 small fresh jalapeƱo, seeded and minced
2 TB ginger-garlic paste
4 fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 TB ground channa masala spice blend
1/2 TB ground garam masala
1/2 TB ground cumin
1 tsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp amchoor (dried mango) powder
cooked basmati rice for serving (optional)
chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

1. Put the chickpeas in a large pot and add enough water to cover them by 3 to 4 inches. If time allows, soak the chickpeas for 8 to 12 hours. Put the chickpeas over high heat and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the chickpeas are tender, 1 to 1½ hours if you soaked them, about 2 hours if you didn’t. When the chickpeas are mostly tender, add a few large pinches of salt to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, put the oil in another large pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the cumin seeds and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onions and season with salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the turmeric and jalapeƱos and continue cooking until the onions are tender, another 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, channa masala spice mixture, garam masala, cumin, and sugar. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and saucy, about 30 minues.
3. When the chickpeas are tender, drain them, reserving about 1 cup of their cooking liquid. Add the chickpeas and the reserved cooking liquid to the tomato mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice and amchoor powder. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot, over basmati rice and garnished with cilantro, if desired. (Leftover channa masala can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to several days.) Serves 5-6 (and this is a half recipe!).

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Nuggets and Ranch

Hi folks. I made some nuggets following this recipe, and some ranch following this recipe. This post is basically adventures in things white people eat. Ranch has always terrified me somewhat. And I'm sure someone somewhere has written something like this about ranch--that condiment so distinctive, it no longer needs the noun 'dressing' to follow its originally adjectivalness.

I added some of Clare's awesome adobo seasoning to the breading mix for these nuggets... but otherwise I pretty much followed the directions. The final product? A little too gummy to pass for chicken, but at least I know exactly what went into it!

Chickie Nuggets 
(from my vegan cookbook)

Nugget Ingredients:
1 c Chickpeas, Drained
1/4 c Almond Flour
1 TB Ground Flax-seed
2 TB Nutritional Yeast flakes
1/2 tsp Poultry Seasoning
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Seasoning Salt
1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper
1/2 14-oz. Block Extra Firm Tofu, Previously Frozen, Thawed
2/3 c Vital Wheat Gluten
1/2 c Filtered Water
1 TB Soy Sauce
2 TB Hot Sauce
Nugget Coating Ingrdients:
2 TB Ener-G Egg-Replacer Powder
1/2 c Filtered Water
1/2 c Panko Bread Crumbs, Plain or Whole Wheat
3 TB Wheat Germ
1 TB Ground Flaxseed
1 TB Almond Flour
1 TB Nutritional Yeast
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Lemon Pepper
1/4 tsp Seasoning Salt
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Cajun Seasoning
2 tsp Canola Oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and chop them until they resemble a course meal. Then add to this the rest of the dry ingredients for the nuggets (that includes the tofu), except for the wheat gluten. Pulse this a few times and dump it into a medium sized mixing bowl. To this add the wheat gluten and mix together. Now in a coffee cup mix together all of the wet ingredients for the nuggets. Pour into mixing bowl and mix this with your hands for a few minutes to activate the wheat gluten.
3. Lay out a sheet of wax paper to place the nuggets on. Measure out 1 tablespoon of the nugget mixture and place on wax paper and shape it into about a 1 1/2 inch nugget. Repeat until all the nuggets are made.
4. Now mix together the egg replacer and water, with a fork, in a small mixing bowl. Place the dry crumb coating mixture into a food processor and pulse it a few times to get the oil to coat the crumb. Put this into a medium sized mixing bowl. Take the nuggets and dip them in the "egg" mixture, then dredge them in the crumb mixture. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake covered with tin foil for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook another 15 minutes, then take them out and flip them over and cook 5 minutes on the other side. Let them cool for 5 minutes before eating. Note: It's best to have someone help you make these so that 1 person can have their hands in the wet and the other keeps their hands in the dry.


Ranch Dressing
(from the ppk)

1/4 cup vegan mayo, homemade or storebought
1/4 cup unsweetened unflavored almond or soy milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh chopped chives


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Stir-fried tofu, peas, and cauliflower with coriander and cumin

I don't remember why this happened, but a while back I made a variation on Suvir Saran's "stir-fried cauliflower and potato with crunchy bengali spices." Instead of potato, I used a combination of dry-fried tofu (1 block, cubed) and green peas (2 c). What a great combination! The peas added freshness and a popping texture, and the tofu was chewy.