Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Dinner Frittata.

Normally I would make something like this for breakfast to go alongside pancakes oozing with margarine and maple syrup and some smoky tempeh bacon. But when dinner came around I had no idea what to do and wanted something light and easy so I decided to make this. A frittata is kind of a cross between an omelette and a quiche. I don't miss eggs at all but if I wanted something egg-like, I can always make it with tofu. This is one of those recipes that works. The recipe is from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. I like to play around with the filling. Tonight's frittata has onions, garlic, scallions, potatoes, spinach and white squash. I added sliced tomatoes on top for prettiness. Mmmm, mmm, mmm. I served it with a dollop of mock hollandaise which is pretty much a sauce made with vegan mayo, dijon mustard, lemon juice and salt and pepper mixed together. I like to squirt some ketchup in it too to give it a little sweetness as well as color.

If you want this recipe, leave a comment with your email and I'll be happy to share it with you!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tamale Pie and Mock Guacamole.

This was my first time making tamale pie and I'm so glad I did. I found a recipe posted at the PPK forums by 'sneaky' and it was quick, easy and consisted of things I already had in my kitchen. I wanted to make guacamole but didn't have any avocados so I made a mock guac with frozen peas. Came out pretty good! Recipes are below the pics.

Out of the oven. That is polenta on top.

Plated with mock guac.

Tamale Pie

Bean Filling:
1 onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 (15 oz) can refried beans
1 (15 oz) diced tomatoes w/liquid
1 (15 oz) black beans (you can also use garbanzo, pinto or kidney beans)
2 TB chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Polenta topping

3 cups water
1 cup polenta
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350`
In a medium pot on medium heat, add the vegetables and cook until soft. Add the rest of the bean filling and cook while you get the polenta going.
Boil the water, add the polenta and cook until quite firm, but not stiff.
In a large square dish, place the bean mixture and spread evenly. Top with the polenta and spread to cover. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Mock Guacamole

2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 large clove garlic
juice of 1-1/2 limes
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
dash of hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Puree peas in a blender with the lime juice and garlic. Pour into bowl and add the rest of ingredients. Stir to combine and chill.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vegan Desserts.

Yes, it can be done. A luscious pie, a sweet piece of cake or chewy cookie made without eggs, butter or milk! I'm not much of a baker but I realized I have to be friends with my oven when it comes to dessert. Being a vegan, I can't always go to any market or restaurant and buy or order dessert. I have to make my own or go to a store that specializes in vegan baked goods (Mani's Bakery in L.A. have vegan desserts.) But I don't mind having to bake because making your own means you can share with the ones you love or even have a whole cake to yourself, which is what I've done on occassion. ;)

These are just a sampling of vegan desserts I've made over the past year and a half.

Cherry Crumble Pie. I think this is one of the first vegan desserts I've ever made. I made sure to use a store bought pie crust that had no animal ingredients in it. A good one is Marie Callenders brand that you can find in your grocer's freezer. Recipe here.

Dulce Sin Leche cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. These are gorgeous. A moist cupcake with a coconut-caramely flavor and a coconut buttercream topping.

Rum Raisin Cake with Rummy Buttercream. This recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World as well. I just doubled the recipe and made a cake from it.

Mini Cake Donuts. These are unbelievable. Recipe here.

Almond Rosewater Cookies. So soft and chewy and buttery! I veganized a recipe I found here. I substituted Earth Balance margarine for the butter and added sugar for sweetness.

Chocolate Chip Cookies. Gotta have these in your cookie jar at all times.

Peanut Butter Mousse pie with gobs of peanut butter, pretzel pieces and chocolate ganache drizzle. Pie recipe here.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies. I've posted about these before but because they are so amazing I had to share these again. Recipe here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cilantro Lime Pesto

I love pesto and as much as I love traditional pesto made with basil and pine nuts, I like to try other variations too. I've made pesto with broccoli before and it was awesome on pizza. I had a giant bunch of cilantro in my fridge that I thought would be good to use up in one go via a pesto sauce. This was amazing. It has a nice bright flavor with citrus undertone from the lime. Try it on spaghetti!

Cilantro Lime Pesto

1 big bunch of cilantro leaves (discard stems)
1/4 C slivered almonds
juice of one large lime
2 cloves (or more) of garlic
2 TB nutritional yeast (optional)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put the cilantro, almonds, lime juice, garlic and nutritional yeast (if using) in a blender or food processor. Process until all ingredients are broken down. Start adding the olive oil and process until it is the consistency you want it. You may add a bit of water too if you want to cut back on the oil. Just add it a tablespoon at a time so it won't be too thin. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Here's mine. My blender really blitzed my pesto into smooth cream. You can gently process yours so that it has more texture than this.

Tossed with hot spaghetti and pine nuts. Delicious!

Vegan Junk Food

A lot of my friends and family think that I can't eat things like chocolate, cookies, chips and other kinds of everyday junk food. Not true! Though it's true I can't indulge in a milk chocolate Hershey bar anymore, or scoff a whole bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles, there are other options for me when it comes to junk! You can find most of these at your local grocery store.

So yes, I can have long as it doesn't contain milk, milk solids or butterfat. Here are two that I indulge in most often:

This is so delicious. Sweet and almondy marzipan covered in dark chocolate. Mmm.

Chocolove has a few flavors I like. This one's my favorite.

Other notable mentions: Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate w/ Raisins and Pecans, Trader Joes's 70% Dark Chocolate, Ghirardelli Twilight Delight, Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels, Cocoa Pete's Berry Berry Dangerous

When it comes to chips I like these best. They don't contain any cheese, milk or whey like a lot of flavored chips do:

These are equivalent to Cheetos and are soooo tasty!

The perfect salty treats. No cheese or sour cream necessary! Well maybe a really good vegan spinach dip!

Other notable mentions: Original Sun Chips, Whole Foods brand Veggie Chips

Cookies and Crackers!

And yes, Oreos are vegan. :)

Other notable mentions: Vons Safeway brand Fudge Mint cookies, Lorna Doone Shortbread, Nutter Butter

And surprisingly Ritz do not contain milk or butter. They do have hydrogenated oil though which isn't good for anybody but when I want a nice buttery tasting cracker for topping with mock tuna salad or dips, I like these a lot.

Ice cream! Since I don't eat dairy I go for these amazing dairy free ice creams.

For a list of vegan items you can find at your local grocery, go here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another fishy idea: Mock Tuna Salad

Since my last post was about making faux fish, I thought I'd try a different faux fish recipe today. I didn't feel like cooking dinner tonight so I made the 'Tuna Free Sandwich Filling' from Robin Robertson's book Vegan Planet. It reminds me a lot of the mock "chicken" salad I make which basically consists of mashed chickpeas (garbanzo beans), celery, garlic and onion powder, mustard and mayo. This one though has almonds and kelp powder in it which is supposed to lend a fishy flavor. I did not have kelp powder so I substituted flaked seaweed (see note below) which worked very well. I also added sweet relish because it is what my mom always put in my tuna sandwiches (which was pretty much the only kind of fish I liked) as a kid. This makes a very delicious mock tuna salad and I don't miss eating real tuna at all.

First I tried it on crackers. Yum...

Then I made a sandwich with extra mayo and sliced cucumber. Double yum!

Note: To make flaked seaweed, take a nori sheet and pulverize it in the blender!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tofu "Fish"

To be honest, I was not a seafood fan before I went veggie. But for some reason I get cravings for fried faux "fish" now! I think it's because I'm not actually eating those happy swimming creatures of the sea... This recipe is excellent. I got the recipe from a lovely gal over at the Post Punk Kitchen forums. Before you marinate the tofu, you have to steam them first which gives them this really nice, light texture. And the breading is wonderful. They come out so crisp and flaky. This recipe is supposed to be served with chips (fries) which I didn't have today.

Tofu slices in the marinade...left to soak up for several hours.

All fried up. (You can see I accidentally blackened some in the back! That's what I get for leaving the pan too long to watch the Dodger game on tv.)

Plated with tartar sauce, rice, peas and a lemon wedge.

Recipe from Lady Voxx (with my additions noted with a *)

*Double this recipe if you are using a full block of tofu which is what I did. Drain tofu and dry on a paper towel. I used extra firm tofu.*

1/2 block of firm or extra firm tofu, cut into 1 cm slices,
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder*
1 tsp onion powder*
1 tsp miso paste (I used mellow white miso)
1 tsp lime or lemon juice
1 tsp of brown sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced* or 1 tsp garlic powder*
2 tsp flaked seaweed* (1 tsp for marinade, 1 tsp for flour)
olive oil
soymilk, plain
panko breadcrumbs

First, steam the tofu slices for about 7-10 minutes.
While tofu is steaming, prepare marinade. Add 1 tsp. flaked seaweed to the marinade. Mix to form a paste then add olive oil until fairly liquid. Taste and adjust seasonings so it's not too salty or tangy.
Remove tofu from steamer, coat in marinade and leave for a few hours.

Heat a shallow amount of olive oil on medium heat in a saucepan while you do the following:
Get three bowls ready. Fill one with flour. Add the other tsp. of the seaweed to the flour and mix to combine. Fill the next bowl with about 1/2 cup soymilk. Fill the last bowl with panko. Dip tofu slices into flour, then soymilk, then finally in crumbs, making sure each side is completely covered.

Gently pan fry tofu until browned on both sides. Serve hot.

Note: To make flaked seaweed, I took a nori sheet and pulverized it in the blender!

Easy Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup Vegenaise or any brand vegan mayo
2 tsp sweet relish
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 squirts of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and chill for a while.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mushroom Masala

This I've been wanting to try for a long time being the curry freak that I am. So glad I did. And I was lucky to have all the ingredients I needed, which are not very much.

Pictured here: mushrooms, tomato, garlic/ginger, onions, jeera (cumin seeds) and green chilies. Not pictured: earth balance margarine, soymilk, tomato paste, cilantro and garam masala.

Mushrooms going in...

The beautiful end result!

Recipe to be found here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Spaghetti and "Meatballs".

For dinner tonight I decided to try something from a new cookbook I just got called Country Life Vegetarian Cookbook. Along with some tempting loaf recipes (I dig veggie loaves so much.) there are also a few "meatball" recipes, one of which are made with tofu. I decided to try that recipe and use them for spaghetti and "meatballs". This afternoon I made a quick marinara and let it simmer while I made the tofu balls. While they were cooking in the oven, I was able to catch the Dodgers on tv. Yes, they won! (And Casey Blake is still my boyfriend.) Here is a picture of the meatballs cooling out of the oven.

Later on at dinner time I just reheated the sauce and meatballs and put a quick salad together with the "Sauce Rouge" dressing from the same cookbook. Sorry about the quality of photo, it got darker by this time.

It all went deliciously well. The tofu balls were very nice and surprisingly filling. They reminded me of mini tofu loaves. Three balls on top of the spaghetti and sauce was enough for me. Lots of leftovers for tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stuffed Peppers & Creamy Chili Lime Coleslaw

I made stuffed peppers for dinner last night that were pretty awesome and easy to make. They are stuffed with soy crumbles, corn, onions, rice and tomatoes and spiced with cumin, oregano and other mexican seasonings. I originally wanted to use cooked lentils instead of the crumbles but my husband is a big fan of the crumbles. Next time I'll try lentils. I also made a really nice creamy coleslaw with the flavors of lime juice and chili powder to go with the flavors of the stuffed pepper. For dessert we had banana cake. I used this recipe but omitted the chocolate chips.

Stuffed Peppers

3 large green bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise with seeds and membranes removed
2 TB olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 12 oz. bag Morningstar Grillers Crumbles, frozen (you may substitute rehydrated TVP or even cooked lentils.)
1 14 oz. can stewed tomates, broken up and with juice
1 TB taco seasoning, store bought or make your own
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and black pepper to taste
1-1/2 cups white or brown rice cooked
tomato sauce seasoned with a little taco seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Submerge peppers in the boiling water and let them cook for 3 minutes to soften them a bit. Take them out and let cool.
2. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium high heat and saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add the corn and cook for about 4-5 minutes until onions are soft and corn is a little browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. In the same pan on medium high heat, add a little oil and add the soy crumbles. Stir around for a few minutes until all the crumbles are no longer frozen. Add the corn/onion mixture and the stewed tomatoes. Add the spices and continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes or until everything is incorporated and heated through.
4. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add the cooked rice. Mix everything until combined. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Proceed to stuff each pepper half to bursting with the stuffing mixture.
5. Place stuffed peppers in a baking dish and spoon a little tomato sauce on top of each pepper. Add about 1/4 cup water to the baking dish. Bake uncovered for about 30-40 minutes or until peppers are soft and tops get nice and browned.

Creamy Chili Lime Coleslaw

1 small head of cabbage, chopped or sliced thinly
1 carrot, peeled and grated or sliced thinly
1/4 red onion, sliced
Optional ingredients: corn, olives, tomatoes, avocado etc...

1/2 C vegan mayo (Vegenaise preferably)
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp (or more if you want) of chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
You may add more or less of any ingredient to your tastes.
Whisk all ingredients together and toss with cabbage mixture. Chill in the fridge for a few hours.

This is what dessert looked like...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Snobby Joes Tostadas?

This is Veganomicon's 'Snobby Joes' recipe and I was very excited to finally try it. This is a vegan version of good old Sloppy Joes but taken to another level. Instead of using ground meat (obviously), lentils take their place. As I put everything together - cooking lentils, sauteeing peppers and onions... I realized I didn't have any hamburger buns to eat them with! So I improvised and made these "Snobby Joe Tostadas" by lightly frying a couple of corn tortillas in oil and adding corn kernels on top with a shot of hot sauce. Delicious! You'd be surprised how hearty and filling these are. Can't wait to have leftovers tomorrow.

Recipe can be found at the ppk website:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vegan Mac n Cheese!

I've tried ever so many mac n "cheese" recipes and while they all have been good, I always want to try another recipe just to see if it's better. This one did not disappoint. If you haven't been to Vegan Dad's blog, you should check it out. He makes a lot of tasty comfort foods, kid friendly foods and vegan versions of old favorites. When he posted his mac and cheese recipe, I knew that I had to try it. This recipe requires nuts which makes the sauce so much creamier. He uses cashews, sunflower seeds and pine nuts, all of which I didn't have in my pantry so I substituted flaked almonds. It came out very tasty. I think if I used cashews it would have been even better. This recipe is definitely a keeper. You will find the recipe here.

Some pics. Sorry about the yucky flash photos.

Right out of the oven. I baked mine with panko bread crumbs on top. I wish I would have used normal bread crumbs as these didn't brown enough to my liking.

Plate of creamy goodness.

Note: This recipe has nutritional yeast in it. If you're wondering what that is, it is a vegetarian supplement which has a "cheesy" flavor. It comes in flakes or powder and is full of protein and B vitamins.
You can find this online or at Whole Foods market in the supplement aisle or at your local health food store.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another way to use Boca Chik'n Patties.

I do like Boca Chik'n patties that you can find in your grocer's freezer. They're so easy to just heat up and make a sandwich. Well today instead of making chik'n sandwiches, I used them to make enchiladas.

First I pan fry the patties until they are browned on both sides.

I then chop up the patties into cubes and add them to sauteed peppers, onions, mushrooms and spinach and a little enchilada sauce.

All rolled up and ready to be sauced! (Enchilada sauce recipe at the end of this post.)

30 minutes later, we have bubbly enchiladas out of the oven.

Served with a lightly dressed salad on top. Mmm...! I learned to eat them this way from the eat'n veg'n blog.

Easy Enchilada Sauce

1 small onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes, blended in a blender until smooth
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 TB chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic in a little oil. Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin. Stir to coat onions. Add blended stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and water. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Grilled Cheez and Gypsy Soup.

These hit the spot!

I make these sandwiches ALL the time using the "Colby Chedda" Block uncheese recipe from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. They are so good.

Gypsy soup (aka creamy tomato soup)

There's this cafe in Westwood called The Gypsy Cafe. And they have (or had, I haven't been there in years) this creamy tomato soup called 'Gypsy Soup'. I remember it being my favorite thing on the menu, served with 1/2 a sandwich. I never knew what was in it but I think ricotta cheese was what made the soup creamy. At that time I would recreate it at home very cheaply with a can of condensed tomato soup and a tub of ricotta.

I haven't thought about that soup since then but tonight I wanted tomato soup to go with my grilled cheez sandwich. I've never made my own tomato soup before so I decided to just wing it. I brought out stuff from the pantry and fridge and next thing I knew, I was making a creamy soup that reminded me a lot of the Gypsy Soup from that cafe. yeah!

Vegan Gypsy Soup

1 TB olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TB fresh basil, chopped
2 TB soy sauce or more to taste
1 tsp sugar
1 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes, blended until smooth in a blender
2 1/2 cups plain and unsweetened soymilk
4 tsp. (or more if desired) tomato paste
1 TB nutritional yeast (optional)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and saute onion and garlic until softened. Add the basil, soy sauce and sugar and stir. Add the tomatoes and bring it to a boil. Slowly add the soymilk. Add the tomato paste and stir until it is dissolved. You may add more depending on how tomato-ey you want your soup. Add the nutritional yeast if using and ground black pepper. Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until everything comes together and thickens a bit.

Asian Food Night.

So this is what made for dinner last night from some of the stuff I bought yesterday. (Speaking of which I didn't show you all my purchases - I found two cans of coconut juice under the seat in my car!) Anyway on to the food...

I made this simple vegetable stir fry with broccoli, baby bok choy, onions and that mushroom oyster flavored sauce.

Sweet and sour pineapple tofu. I tossed them in cornstarch first before I fried them in oil. This makes them nice and crisp on the outside. Then they get covered in this pineapple sauce recipe here.

Here is the mock chicken from a can experiment. I stir fried it with broccoli and onions in oil and used a black bean garlic sauce. To be honest, this didn't go over very well for me. It had a weird aftertaste that I can only attribute to it being in a can. If you're going to cook with gluten/seitan (aka 'mock meat'), make it yourself. I recommend Julie Hasson's fool proof recipe. It says 'Spicy Italian' but you can easily change up the spices for a different tasting mock meat. And they're in sausage shape but once you slice it up, you can use it for anything!