Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Casserole & Oat Bran Muffins

I like to make a casserole on Sundays; something that I throw in a baking dish and pop in the oven while I go about my household duties. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that this casserole of quinoa bean burritos is my old standby. Instead of serving them as a burrito, I just cut into the casserole and served up little squares of layered tortilla, quinoa, spinach, red peppers, corn and beans. The topping is Daiya cheese with a vegenaise/lemon juice/chili powder drizzle. The drizzle made the Daiya get all melty and cheezy.

Just out of the oven. Look at that topping!


Later in the day I made oat bran muffins with a recipe I found in The Vegan Family Cookbook. I haven't had a proper bran muffin since before I went vegan and what I remember was that they were dark brown, sweet, sticky and full of raisins. While good and wholesome, these muffins were not that. So I'm asking my fellow vegans, can you point me to a recipe for a bran muffin that I described? I need to go through my cookbooks...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lentil-Vegetable Soup with Red Wine and Miso

It's soup time! This is adapted from the "Lentil and Escarole" soup in The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen cookbook. I swapped escarole for kale and added potatoes, summer savory, red wine and red miso paste. It also has onions, garlic, celery and carrots. So hearty and delicious!

Edited to add: This soup gets very thick the following day and turns into stew! Yum!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Moong Dosa.

Hard to believe, but I've never had dosa before. Yesterday at work my co-workers were raving about the ones they ate at a south indian restaurant in San Francisco. It got me in the mood to try this dish out. I bookmarked this recipe a while ago in hopes of making it and tonight was the perfect night. I prepared the batter in the morning after soaking a bowl of moong dal (mung beans), red lentils and rice in water overnight. I also prepared a masala filling from "Flavors of India" cookbook which has onions, chile, potatoes and spices like cumin and mustard seed. I tried to make coriander chutney (from same book) but made it too watery so I added some vegan mayo to thicken it up. I would have used soy yogurt but didn't have any.

The first dosa was a failure.

But the rest after that turned out much better. I know I could have made them thinner like they're supposed to be but I just don't have the skill just yet!

The end result: Pretty dosa filled with spicy potatoes and onions.

My dinner plate. It was delicious! I do want to try authentic dosa at an indian restaurant soon. This was a fun experiment.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Eats.

Happy Monday all! Don't worry, it'll go by fast! That's what I tell myself every Monday anyway. After a nice walk this morning with the dog, I had a bowl of Farina hot cereal (cream of wheat) with blackstrap molasses, maple syrup and cinnamon. Not so pretty looking but it was very good.

I made a big batch of this red bean jambalaya from 1,000 Vegan Recipes last night. This will be lunch and possibly dinner today. It's a pretty good recipe though I did change a few things like using yellow pepper instead of green, jalapeno instead of mild green chiles and I omitted one can of the crushed tomatoes because I didn't have any. I guess it would have been more tomatoey with it but I liked it this way.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Monte Cristo Breakfast and Pizza/Salad Lunch

Hope everyone is enjoying the tail end of the weekend. This was breakfast today. Monte Cristo sandwich which is basically french toast slathered with Vegenaise and stuffed with veggie ham and melty dairy-free cheese then sprinkled with powdered sugar. Served with a cup of illy. Yummmm. In case you're wondering, I used Lightlife Smart Deli Veggie Ham and Tofutti American dairy free cheese. My recipe for this sandwich here.

Lunch: Take-away sundried tomato-garlic pizza with added Daiya cheese plus spinach salad with orange-dijon dressing from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. Served with half a banana and pomegranate white tea.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lemon Poppyseed Muffin Bread

It's been raining for the past week and it even hailed this morning. I made this lemon poppyseed bread to welcome back the sun and whattya know, the sun just came out right now!

This is the lemon poppyseed muffin recipe from The Chicago Diner cookbook. It's less hassle for me to just throw the batter into a loaf tin. This beautiful bread is a result.

So good with a spread of margarine and blueberry jam.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Orange-Ginger Hoisin Tofu

This is a take on Vegan Dad's Pan Fried Tofu with Plum Glaze. I didn't have any plum sauce and I was trying to figure out what to use instead when I remembered a neglected jar of orange-ginger jam that I had in the fridge. The jam's awful on toast but perfect for a sauce like this. It came out really great: crisp pieces of tofu covered in a sweet gingery sauce served with rice and steamed broccoli.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Chicken" Fricot Part 2

A while ago I made an attempt to re-create a traditional Acadian fricot and while it tasted excellent, I thought I'd revise it a bit after getting feedback from my husband. His mother made this dish often and he said that it needed turnips and also had to be simplified: in other words, no mushrooms, no garlic, no zucchini. So here is what I did:

Vegan "Chicken" Fricot

2 TB Earth Balance margarine
1/2 tsp. Vegemite
1 large onion, cut into chunks
3 carrots, sliced
1 turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
3 small potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4-5 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp. white miso
2 tsp. summer savory
salt and pepper to taste
1 TB cornstarch mixed with a little water to dissolve
4 Gardein vegan "chicken breasts" (I used the "scallopini" style)

Heat margarine and Vegemite in a pot until it melts. Add onions, carrots, turnip and potatoes. Stir around and then add vegetable broth, miso, summer savory and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then add the cornstarch/water and lower heat to simmer until vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan and brown "chicken breasts" on both sides and sprinkle salt and pepper over them. Cut into cubes and add to stew.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Channa Masala and Peas Pillau

I was going to crack open 1,000 Vegan Recipes again tonight for dinner but felt a strong pull towards Indian food. I haven't made channa masala in a while so I gave into it. I paired it with peas pillau from Flavors of India cookbook and called it dinner. Delicious!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Things To Eat With Tea.

My cousins came over today for tea and a Doctor Who and Robin Hood marathon. When I have tea parties, I always make food to go along with it. I kept it simple by serving onion bagels with Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese and Joni's tofu egg salad sandwiches. Delicious!

You also need cakes with tea! I opened up 1,000 Vegan Recipes again and made the Spicy Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze. It's a moist chocolate cake spiced with cinnamon and cayenne and covered in dark chocolate. Very decadent and chocolatey.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thai "Kanom Jean" Spicy Red Curry

Yeah baby. This was exactly what I was in the mood for tonight. A fiery red curry with soft tender vegetables and tofu, flavored with coconut milk, lime leaves and lemongrass atop a mound of "Kanom Jean", aka somen noodles. If I hadn't run out of somen noodles, I would have eaten much more! I ate two bowls for the record. It had broccoli, tofu, mushroom, red bell pepper and frozen butternut squash that had cooked down into a pulpy meltingly tender mush. It gave the curry a great texture.

Basic curry for "Kanom Jean" (Lemongrass and lime leaves can be found at Thai grocers or online.)

Somen noodles aka "Kanom Jean"
2 TB canola oil
2 TB Thai red curry paste
2 15oz. cans of coconut milk
2-3 cups water (use less for creamier curry, more for less creamy)
6-7 kaffir lime leaves
3-1" pieces of lemongrass
Assorted chopped vegetables: broccoli florets, mushrooms, red peppers, butternut squash cubes, carrots etc.
mushroom soy sauce
1-1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. rhizome powder
7 oz. firm tofu cut into 1" cubes

Cook somen noodles according to package directions. Set aside.

Heat oil in a pot and add curry paste. Cook for a few minutes then add coconut milk, water and vegetables. Bring to a boil and add lemongrass, lime leaves, mushroom soy sauce to taste, sugar and rhizome powder. Lower heat and cook until vegetables are almost tender. Add tofu and simmer until vegetables are done. Serve over cooked somen noodles. Note: Do not eat lemongrass and lime leaves. You can pick them out if you want but I just eat around them. :)

A note about Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Leaves: These items can be kept in the freezer. I have a small bag of lime leaves and lemongrass cut into 1" pieces that I keep in the freezer and only use what I need. They go straight into the cooking pot frozen!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I'm certainly cooking my way through 1,000 Vegan Recipes aren't I? I highly recommend this book by the way. It's got everything covered in simple straightforward format. This is the cornbread recipe which turned out perfect. Moist with beautiful corn flavor. I like to serve it with Earth Balance margarine and agave syrup. This will go perfectly with the big container of four alarm chili I made last night. Can't wait.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Four Alarm Chili

Ok so I had a bunch of mac n cheeze leftovers in my fridge and I had every intention of eating only that tonight but then I had this genius idea of making chili...

...the Four alarm chili from 1,000 Vegan Recipes that is...

...and combining it with the mac. Now it's Four Alarm Chili Mac! Super good. The chili is going to be even better tomorrow. I have used up all the mac so I might turn it into taco salad or just having it with cornbread. We'll see!

Veggie Grill!

Last Friday I met my good friend Cami and we headed out to lunch at Veggie Grill as a treat for her birthday that just passed. This was her first time trying out the food and it was great! Here are some pics I stole from her camera. Today only after 4pm, they have a special for a free meal for your Veggie Grill Virgin friend! Bring in a friend that has not dined at VG and they get a free meal! I'd go if I didn't have so much leftovers in the fridge!

Vegan mac n cheese (delicious!) with "Carne Asada" burger.

This was my Chinese Chik'n Salad. So fresh and so clean.

NACHOS! They do great things with Daiya vegan cheese here.

Kim and Cam after a huge meal. Satisfied and happy!

Oh and check out these really bad vegan cakes we got from Whole Foods. Note to self and every vegan out there: "DO NOT buy Fabe's brand from WF bakery EVER."

Chocolate fudge cake. Dry horrible mess.

Banana cake. Dry horrible mess.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Smoothies, Baked Mac and Cheeze

Started my day off with a delicious peanut butter banana smoothie. This was like eating dessert!

This is the baked mac and cheeze recipe from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. It was pretty good. There are no nuts in this recipe so it wasn't as creamy but still very satisfying with a side of steamed broccoli.

For dessert, the mango lassi also from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. Very nice, thick and creamy. I couldn't finish the whole thing though. It was too much so I saved the rest for breakfast tomorrow.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Breakfast Burrito and Thai Take-away.

Breakfast in bed. Tofu, tomato and potato scramble in a flour tortilla with vegan mayo/ketchup sauce. Yum!

Dinner provided by 'The Vegan Joint' in West L.A. We started out with crispy spring rolls that were perfectly fried and stuffed with vegetables.

The "mushroom soup" which was coconut milk based. You can't tell in this poor photo but it also has tofu, bamboo shoots, lemongrass, lime leaves and celery as well as mushrooms. My husband was craving this and he loved it. It was very good.

Spicy Mint Noodles with tofu aka "Drunken Noodles", aka Pad Kee Mow. Yum. Not very spicy though! For American palettes maybe but in my Thai household, this wasn't a bit spicy. But still, everything was delicious and satisfied our junky Thai food craving.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Walnut "Chicken" Salad

Sandwich adapted from the tempeh-walnut "chicken" salad from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. I changed it up a bit depending on what ingredients I had today. Instead of tempeh, I used chicken-less strips (like Trader Joe's brand or Gardein) and chopped them up into bits before adding things like Vegenaise, celery, walnuts, dijon, lemon juice etc. I left out the red bell pepper because I didn't have any and used extra celery instead. It was very tasty on soft white bread. I think I may make this for my next tea party.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Broiled Kabob & Quinoa

I just got a great cookbook, 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson. There are so many great things in it that I can't wait to try. I l have a few of Robin's other cookbooks and I really enjoy using them. I love her recipes because they are very straightforward and usually don't call for any hard to find ingredients. I made the vegetable kabob recipe and used tofu instead of seitan and I broiled instead of grilled. The marinade is a wonderful mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and herbs. They were perfect with a side of fluffy quinoa. Because I like condiments, I served the kabobs with a side of homemade bbq sauce. I adapted the sauce recipe from an old Susan Powter recipe book that I have.

BBQ Sauce

2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 onion, chopped
1 cup tomato juice or V-8
1/2 cup ketchup
3 TB balsamic or apple cider vinegar
1 TB lemon juice
2-3 TB brown sugar
1 TB dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)

Heat olive oil in a small saucepan. Add onions and saute until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chicken-free Stew

I got the idea to make this stew from my late mother-in-law. She used to make Acadian chicken fricot for my husband and he enjoyed it very much. I never knew what the recipe was but I wanted to make something that was reminiscent of that. I looked up some fricot recipes online and the important ingredients were chicken, potatoes, carrots, broth and summer savory. To make it vegan, I used sauteed cubes of tofu to add a protein element to this warm, comforting stew. This picture shows what the stew looks like right out of the pot. If I had waited a bit, I believe it would be thicker.

Chicken-free Stew

2 TB Earth Balance margarine
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp. vegemite
1 onion, chopped into large chunks
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp. white miso paste
1-2 tsp. summer savory
salt and pepper to taste
1 TB cornstarch mixed with a little bit of water to dissolve
7 oz. firm tofu, cubed

Melt margarine and vegemite in a soup pot and saute mushrooms until they give off liquid and are cooked. Add onions, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, garlic, vegetable broth, miso paste, summer savory, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and add cornstarch/water mixture. Lower heat and simmer until vegetables are tender and soup has thickened. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a pan and saute cubes of tofu until browned. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them while they saute. Drain tofu cubes on paper towel and add them to stew.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Heart Falafel.

Falafel: heaven on a plate for most vegetarians. It's one of my favorite foods to eat, especially at middle eastern restaurants. There I get to indulge in these fried balls of chickpea perfection. At home though, I don't fry and instead bake them until golden brown. I like to serve them inside pita along with fresh tomato, lettuce and creamy garlic cucumber sauce (Vegenaise, lemon juice, garlic, cucumbers, salt, pepper, paprika, cilantro). So delicious and also cheap. I have ton of leftovers for tomorrow and possibly the next day.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Meatless Monday.

I go meatless everyday, but would you be willing to do it once a week? My family are all onmivores and I'm happy that they are willing to eat much less meat than before because of me. My husband usually eats about 50-60% vegan but had a meat-ful weekend of steak and sausage pizza and bacon etc that he woke up this morning saying "I'm not eating any meat this week. I feel horrible!" Of course this made me happy but I would still be happy if he had said that he would cut out meat once a week which is what made me think of "Meatless Monday". What a difference it would make if everyone in this country, in this world gave up meat one day a week?

Tonight's meatless dinner was something very simple as per request of the husband. Baked potato, beans, steamed broccoli and salad. The beans are Heinz beans that we get from a store that sells british foods. Not the fanciest dinner in the world but cheap, delicious and filling.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Vegan Helper!

Made a big giant pot of my vegan style "hamburger helper" and a loaf of mexican chocolate cake. The pasta was crazy delicious. At the end when I combined the pasta with the sauce, I mixed in about a half cup of Daiya vegan shredded cheese and it gave the dish a creamy consistency. It reminded me of the Hamburger Helper that had the cheese sauce in a little pouch that you add at the end. I can imagine this being a kid friendly dish. This will be plenty of food for the weekend.

I didn't get a good shot of the whole cake so here's a slice of it on my dinner tray. It was really moist and nicely spiced with cinnamon and cayenne!

3 years!

It's my three year vegan anniversary and I have to say, things have only gotten tastier and tastier. Still enjoying and celebrating food more than ever. Having this blog made me appreciate all the food I eat even more. In the past three years I was able to try new foods, remake old favorites, even turn non-veggies onto my food. I've heard a lot of "Wow, this is vegan?" "It's so good!" which makes me happy. If I can convince someone that animal-free food isn't devoid of flavor or appeal, then I think I'm doing a pretty good job here!

Every now and again I get questions like "Do you feel like you're restricting/torturing/punishing yourself?" The answer is obviously no. I still eat for pleasure and just because I choose to exclude animals from my diet does not mean I can't enjoy and relish in the experience of eating and sharing. As for torturing myself, absolutely not! I no longer see animals and animal by-products as food so I don't crave them or want them anymore. Yes, I remember how meat tasted and yes, it was very tasty but that was then, this is now. I now crave beans, lentils, rice, pasta, vegetables and a slew of other foods that I can turn into delicious meals.

So here's to another year of food, food, glorious food!