Sunday, December 30, 2007

Spicy Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

I was having a hankering for lettuce wraps and decided to make my own. I used to order the tofu lettuce wraps at PF Changs, but I discovered that they're NOT vegan (the chef in Las Vegas told me that there is something in the sauce that is derived from an animal). Any-who, I wanted to make something along those lines, but rather than tofu I experimented with tempeh and the result was delicious!! 

You'll need....

- 1 package of tempeh. I used the five grain type from Turtle Island Foods.
- 1 head of lettuce (Traditionally lettuce wraps are made with iceberg lettuce, but I used a healthier variety of lettuce and it tasted great.)
- 1 lime
- 1/2 bag of fresh, uncooked bean sprouts
- a kick a** marinade (see below for my suggestion)

First I created a marinade for the tempeh, which I also used to cook the tempeh. The amounts are approximate. I put the marinade in a plastic container that had a lid, so I could shake the tempeh around and get it all nice and covered with tasty goodness.

Kick A** Marinade: 
- 1 heaping tablespoon of crushed garlic
- 1 or 2 hot peppers finely chopped (I used a red and a yellow hot pepper without the seeds)
- 2 scallions chopped up
- a few shakes of sesame seeds
- a few shakes of chili oil
- 5 or so grinds of pepper
- 1 tablespoon ( depending on your spice level you may want to reduce this amount) of chili paste (you can get this from an asian market, I used one with black beans and chili)
- 1 to 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce (I used the one from Trader Joes with the sesame seeds)
- 1 to 3 tablespoons of vegan oyster sauce (I got this tasty sauce from Food Fight)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 or 2 teaspoons of ginger powder
If you want to take this up a notch....add a couple of shakes of red pepper flakes. Yowza!

Cut up the tempeh into very small cubes. Add tempeh to marinade a little at a time, fully coating the tempeh with the marinade. Store in fridge for 45 minutes to an hour.

Sauté mixture. Add one or two more tablespoons of vegan oyster sauce as you saute. 

Place a nice size scoop into a lettuce leaf, squirt a little lime on top, put some bean sprouts on top and wrap. Depending on the type of lettuce you use, your wrapping technique will vary. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Banana Coconut Chocolate Pie

The coconut pie I made for my family was such a hit that I experimented with a variation of the same thing. This new version is pretty darn tasty and I had to hold myself back from devouring a giant piece last night. 

You'll need 1 store-bought (vegan) chocolate-cookie pie crust (I got mine at Food Fight).

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Meanwhile in a large bowl....

-Add two soft bananas (they don't have to be mushville)
-1 container (drain water) medium-firm tofu
1 heaping tablespoon of vanilla
2 to 4 tablespoons of real maple syrup
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 heaping tablespoons of vegan cream cheese

Mash all the contents together and mix around. Then add the following and stir thoroughly.....

1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded (unsweetened) coconut (I used Bob's Red Mill)
3 squirts of vegan chocolate syrup (I got this at Food Fight too) 

Pour contents into unbaked pie crust. Smooth it out as you go so that it all fits into the pie shell. 

Squirt the vegan chocolate syrup on the top in a swirl formation. Use a fork to move the syrup across the top, swirling the chocolate into a pretty pattern. 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. 

Cool on rack for an hour and refrigerate. You can eat it a few hours later, but it tastes better the next day. 

Monday, December 17, 2007

Flax and Cornmeal Flapjacks

I have no idea what the exact amount of the ingredients were, but these flapjacks turned out healthy, hearty and yummy. I just threw stuff in a bowl and viola. I'll try to recreate what I did....

Heat up griddle

In a medium size mixing bowl add the following (I used a bowl the a pour spout, if you have one I'd use it) - 

2/3 cup medium coarse cornmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)
1/4 cup (maybe a tiny bit more) flax seed flour/meal
2 to 3 pinches of baking powder
3 to 4 pinches of baking soda
4 or 5 grinds of sea salt
3/4 cup very hot water - mix all contents together with whisk

Now add approximately 2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil - stir
Then add approximately 1/4 cup soy milk - stir. If mixture is not runny enough for pancakes then add a little more soy milk. Don't make it too runny, just enough so that it will pour nicely. 

Pour out mixture on to griddle, making 8 small flapjacks. 

Serve with vegan margarine, sliced bananas, chopped walnuts and maple syrup. 

Eggplant Lasagna (Sans Noodles)

My local grocery store has had killer deals on eggplants lately, so I've been going a little nuts in the kitchen experimenting with the delectable, purple veggie. I came up with this recipe based on flavors that I was in the mood for. It's kind of like a veggie lasagna, because it is a layered dish that's baked; however there's no pasta in this dish. 

Pre-heat oven for 350 degrees

- In a large frying pan or wok saute the following (line the pan with olive oil): 

1 heaping tablespoon of crushed garlic

1/2 large sweet onion - chopped (small bite sized pieces)

1 medium size eggplant (cut into thin slices and quartered)

4 or 5 grinds of sea salt

4 or 5 grinds of pepper

3 or 4 shakes of paprika

3 or 4 shakes of dried basil

4 or 5 shakes of red pepper flakes

2 good shakes of seasoning salt

- Saute until all the eggplant pieces are soft. 

- In a large rectangular baking dish add contents in this order....

1. Pour 1/4 jar of spaghetti sauce (I like Trader Joe's organic marinara) lining the bottom of the pan (pour in more if needed to cover bottom f pan)

2. Add sautéed mixture evenly across pan as the next layer

3. Dabble 1/4 of spaghetti sauce here and there

4. Add 1 package of fake ground beef as the next layer (frozen is fine)

5. Place fresh spinach as the next layer (I used approximately two large handfuls of spinach)

6. Slice 8 to 12 medium sized mushrooms. Use enough mushrooms to form a complete layer over the spinach. 

7. Pour the remaining sauce over the mushrooms, covering them as a full layer. 

8. Grate soy mozzarella and sprinkle across the top. 

Bake uncovered for approximately 35 minutes. 

I served this dish on top of seasoned, sliced, baked polenta.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tomato and Eggplant Pate

I love eggplants!! I created this pate the other day and it was a hit. 

- In a large frying pan or wok saute the following (line the pan with olive oil): 

1 heaping tablespoon of crushed garlic
1/2 sweet onion - chopped (you don't have to make the pieces too small)
1 medium size eggplant (cut into thin slices and quartered)
4 or 5 grinds of sea salt
4 or 5 grinds of pepper
3 or 4 shakes of paprika

- Saute until onions are golden and the eggplant is soft and thoroughly cooked through. Set aside to cool. 

- In a food processor add the following: 

1/3 can of tomato paste
3 to 6 tablespoons of sun dried tomatoes 
12 to 20 kalamata olives
The sauteed mixture (if it is still warm, that's okay)
A few grinds of salt
A few grinds of pepper
3 to 5 shakes of red pepper flakes
Olive oil (Add a couple of pours - don't go crazy) 

- Blend mixture. If too thick, add more olive oil. 

- Blend in more salt and pepper until you get the right balance. Remember, you can't take away, so only add a little at a time. Blend and sample. Add more olive oil, salt and/or pepper until it tastes just right. I'd sample it with a salty chip so that you don't go too nuts with the salt. 

- Put pate into the refrigerator (I used a glass bowl). The pate will become more flavorful as it sits and cools. Also keep this in mind when adding salt and pepper. 

Friday, December 7, 2007

Coconut Pie with Chocolate Chips

I cooked a vegan spread for my family the other day. They loved everything, but the pie was crowned the number one recipe of the evening. The pie was made with stuff I had around the house, so I'm not exactly sure of the quantity of some of the ingredients. I'll do my best. 

Pre-heat oven for 350 degrees.

In a large bowl add the following: 
1/4 cup soy egg nog 
1/3 container soy cream cheese
2 tablespoons of vanilla
4 or 5 grinds of sea salt
1/8 to 1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 heaping spoonful of brown sugar
1 container of tofu (regular or firm) - drain water first

Mush all the contents together with a fork

The add the following and stir until everything is well mixed: 
1/2 cup or more of shredded coconut (unsugared, raw)
1/4 bag of vegan dark chocolate chips (I used the large ones from Trader Joes)

Next, pour the pie contents into -

1 store bought vegan graham cracker crust pie shell

Then bake for 40 to 45 minutes. 
Remove from oven and cool on rack. 
It's best if you can refrigerate over night; otherwise let it refrigerate for a few hours before eating. 

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Zesty Spicy Seitan Loaf

Every once in a while I come up with a new variation of seitan. Today I wanted to do one that was spicy and flavorful without having to marinate it after it has been made. I didn't really measure much, except for a few key ingredients, so some of the stuff you'll have to wing, depending on the level of spice you can tolerate. 

First: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Meanwhile: In a frying pan saute the following - 
a few shakes of olive oil (to grease the pan)
1/2 sweet onion
1 heaping tablespoon of crushed garlic
8 or 10 twists of ground pepper 
4 good shakes of taco seasoning
4 shakes of dried red chili pepper seeds
(once the onions are soft and browned, remove from heat and set aside)

In a food processor add the following: 
3/4 cup water
1 can tomato paste
4 or 5 shakes of tamari
2 or 3 shakes of Braggs
2 to 4 shakes of chipotle hot sauce
2 to 4 shakes of cayenne hot sauce (tabasco sauce would be fine too) 
3 or 4 squirts of organic ketsup
2 hot peppers (remove seeds first)
sauteed onion mixture 
(blend until mixture liquifies) 

In a large size bowl: 
2 cups vital wheat gluten
3 or 4 shakes of taco seasoning
6 or 8 shakes of paprika
3 shakes of cumin
4 to 6 grinds of sea salt
6 to 10 grinds of ground pepper
(Stir up dry ingredients, then fold in wet ingredients from food processor. Stir until dough forms and all ingredients have become fully mixed in the dough)

Kneed dough with hands a few times. Let stand for 5 minutes and kneed a few more times. 

On a large piece of aluminum foil, place the dough in the center, first shaping into a loaf with your hands. Once the dough is on the foil, continue to form into loaf if needed. 

Wrap the loaf up in the foil and bend the ends over. 

Bake on rack in oven for 1 1/2 hours.  Take out of the oven and open foil, place on cooling rack. Once cool store in oven or eat while hot. 

Seitan can be used in sandwiches, soups, fried, sauteed, etc. 

Cranberry Sauce With A Twist

I love HOMEMADE cranberry sauce. It is one of the easiest things to make; so I'm baffled as to why anyone would eat cranberry sauce out of a can!! Besides, have you ever looked at the ingredients of canned cranberry sauce? YUCK! Here's a little twist on cranberry sauce that I came up with. It's sweet and tart, but not too much of either. 

In a saucepan add the following ingredients: 

1 bag of whole cranberries
1 apple, cut into small pieces (depending on how chunky you want it - you can have tiny to bit size pieces)
1 orange: squeeze all the juice over the cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water

Cook for about 12 minutes starting from high to medium heat as the mixture starts to boil. Keep an eye on it, you don't want it to boil over. You'll hear the cranberries popping as it cooks. Stir it occasionally. Cook for about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat to cool. Within an hour to an hour 1/2 the sauce should no longer be runny and is ready to be served. 

Monday, November 26, 2007

Creamy Split Pea Soup

I've made split pea soup a bunch of times, but this particular mixture of ingredients had my husband in soup heaven. It didn't seem all that special as I was making it, but it did come out really nice, so I figured I'd record what I did. 

Bowl the following in a saucepan until almost all the water is gone: 
1 1/2 cup dry yellow and green split peas (equal mix)
3 1/2 cups water
6 to 8 mini-carrots (whole)

When the water is getting low add the following and keep cooking on medium for a few more minutes: 
a scallion (cut in thirds, to fit in sauce pan)
one heaping teaspoon of minced garlic
cayenne pepper (a few shakes)
red pepper flakes (5 shakes)
paprika (8 good shakes)
seasoning salt (a couple shakes)
salt (5 grinds)
pepper (8 to 10 grinds)
Braggs (4 shakes)

Pour the entire mixture from the saucepan into the food processor. Add the following: 
1 heaping tablespoon of vegan margarine
Tamari sauce (5 or 6 shakes)
1 1/2 cup water
Blend until creamy. If the mixture is still really thick then add a little bit more water. Don't go crazy, you want it a little thick. 

Pour the blended mixture back into the saucepan and re-heat. 
Add 1/2 bag frozen sweet corn and stir.

Cook until heated thoroughly. 

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Asparagus and Mushroom Soup

It was raining out and I didn't feel like going to the store, so I looked around the fridge and came up with this recipe. 

First: Steam one bunch of asparagus, remove from heat once they start to become soft. Do not let them get too soft. 

Meanwhile: In a frying pan, line the bottom with a thin layer of olive oil and saute 1/2 large sweet onion (chopped) with a big spoonful of crushed garlic, ground pepper, sea salt, paprika. Saute until soft and browned. Set aside. 

In a soup pot: Saute sliced mushrooms (6 or 8 medium to large sized mushrooms) with a little olive oil, paprika, ground pepper and sea salt. Set aside. 

Take each piece of asparagus and cut the tips off. Set aside the tips and put the rest of the asparagus in the food processor. 

Add the following to the food processor and blend until creamy: 
2 1/2 cups soy milk
several shakes of tamari
a couple of shakes of Braggs
the sautéed onions

Put the soup pot on medium heat- add a 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons of vegan margarine. 
Stir in a tablespoon of gravy thickener - saute
Pour in contents from food processor and heat. 

Add seitan pieces  - 8 to 12 small chunks (optional, but highly recommended for hearty soup) 
Add the asparagus tips


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Faux Meat Balls

Last night my husband and his friends were hanging out. It was getting closer to dinner time and I wanted to make something that would feed three hungry guys and myself. I came up with this idea on the fly, just based on stuff I had around the house.

First: Cook up 1 cup of brown rice.

In a food processor blend the following until creamy:
4 large mushrooms
1 can (drained) white northern beans
2 handfuls of spinach
4 to 5 heaping spoonfuls of sun dried tomatoes
sea salt
ground pepper
red pepper flakes
basil (I only had dried on hand, but I added a bunch)
1 can tomato paste
3 or 4 scallions
1 heaping spoonful of crushed garlic

Pour creamy contents into bowl.

Stir in the cooked brown rice.

Add quick cook oats (dry) and stir (probably around a 1 1/2 cups)
Stir in breadcrumbs (I used matzo crumbs) (probably around 1 cup).

Keep adding oats and breadcrumbs until the consistency is thick enough to form into balls. If they're still a little sticky, use a couple of spoons to shape the balls.

In two frying pans, add a little olive oil on the bottom and then place the balls around the pan so they're not touching. Brown the balls and flip over. Add a little water to the pan and cook with a lid on the pan. The cooking time is rather short, probably around 7 to 10 minutes.

Serve with catchup, BBQ Sauce or hot sauce. My guests experimented with a variety of toppings that I suggested. This recipe made a ton of food, which was promptly gobbled up in its entirety.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Curry Tofu and Potatoes

I bought some yellow curry a while back and have been wanting to try it out. This idea came to me the other day and it turned out rather yummy. You'll need a baking dish. I used a round ceramic one, which worked perfectly. 

You'll need: 
Three large red potatoes (or substitute w/ another type of potato)
A sweet onion (1 small or half of a large)
Two big handfuls of mushrooms
A heaping spoonful of peanut butter
1 block of extra firm tofu (I like the extra firm, high protein tofu from Trader Joes)
Tamari Sauce (to taste)
Olive Oil
Paprika (to taste)
Gravy thickener (flour will do) (2 1/2 to 3 heaping tablespoons)
Vegan Margarine
Sea Salt
Ground pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Yellow Curry (2 to 3 tablespoons)
Curry Marsala (powder) 1 to 2 tablespoons

First: Cut up 3 large red potatoes into thirds and boil. 

Cut the onion into small pieces - saute in skillet with olive oil. Add parika, pepper flakes, ground pepper and sea salt. Once caramelized, set aside. 

Slice the mushrooms into flat pieces. 
Cut the tofu into small cubes

In the skillet, push the contents to the edge, leaving an empty space in the center. On medium heat, add two hefty tablespoons of margarine, then stir in 2 tablespoons of gravy thickener, 1 cup of soy milk, sea salt, pepper, curry, curry marsala, and peanut butter. You can add more soy milk, but add more gravy thickener so the gravy doesn't become runny. Stir until it thickens and the peanut butter is melted. Pour gravy mixture into baking dish. 

Scatter the tofu on the bottom of the baking dish. 

Place the mushrooms on top of the tofu, making a new layer. Shake tamari sauce all over mushrooms. 

Drain potatoes. Mash with 2 hefty tablespoons of margarine and soy milk (don't go crazy - or they'll end up too runny, you want them to be sticky). Add paprika, sea salt, ground pepper and mix. Scoop out mash potatoes and place on top of the mushrooms as the final layer. 

Bake at 350 to 375 degrees (uncovered) for 35 to 40 minutes. The gravy mixture will get bubbly and the potatoes will get a little crisp at the peaks. 

Scoop and serve. 

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Baked Spinach Manicotti and "chicken"

This idea came to me today. I've been craving Italian food and wanted something more decadent and rich than spaghetti.

This dish knocked the socks off of my husband and I. We both had to force ourselves to not take a second helping!! As a side dish, I served steamed veggies (beets and zucchini) which was a nice, light compliment to the rich main dish.

The picture doesn't do it justice, but I need to start adding pictures to this blog. I took this picture after the food had been in the fridge for about an hour, so it doesn't look that yummy anymore. Believe me - it REALLY is tasty.
Pre-heat oven to 350 to 375 degrees

Stuff you'll need:
1 box of Manicotti (cooked - follow directions on box)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I used one called: Sweet & Tangy Tomato)
1 large baking dish (I used Pyrex) - bid enough to hold all of the cooked manicotti squished together, but not on top of each other
1 bag of frozen (fake) "chicken"
Vegan cheese (1/2 block)
(Items for food processor)
1 block of firm tofu
1/2 to 1/3 bag of spinach
3 sprigs of fresh basil
freshly ground salt (to taste)
freshly ground pepper (to taste)
sun dried tomatoes (in oil) (3 to 4 large spoonfuls)
Kalamata olives (a few full spoonfuls)
1 scallion
1/4 to 1/3 cup pine nuts
olive oil
1 large spoonful of vegan margarine
1 pepper (I used an orange bell pepper, but a yellow one would work too)

Blend all the ingredients in the food processor. Add olive oil to make wet but not too much to make it oily. Blend until creamy and no lumps remain.

Pour 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the pan

Fill each pasta tube with the blended mixture. (I was not talented in this step, so I ended up slitting them down the side, applying plenty of mixture and then putting it back together) Lay the pasta in the pan, repeat this with each pasta tube. Move tubes around if needed to make them all fit. I crammed them together and it was fine.

Pour the remaining mixture across the pasta.

Take the faux "chicken" and lay the pieces around the top.

Pour the rest of the spaghetti sauce over the top

Shred the vegan cheese (I'd use a mozzarella or jack) over the top.

Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Chicken" Chowder

Chowders are great for cold or rainy days.

My hubby was sick the other day and I created this soup to make him feel better.

I used fake chicken, but you can leave it out and it would still be a hearty chowder (potato and corn).

Cut up 4 to 5 small red potatoes in small cubes. Boil on stove.

In a food processor blend the following:
1/2 sweet onion
10 or 12 baby carrots
a heaping spoonful of crushed garlic
seasoning salt
Cayenne pepper
hot pepper flakes
a few spoonfuls of olive oil
a cup 1/2 of plain soy milk
Dill weed
ground pepper
ground sea salt

Remove boiled potatoes and drain - set aside.

Pour blended mixture in soup pot. Add the following as soup cooks:
vegetable soup bullion cube
a few spoonfuls of gravy thickener or whole wheat flour
a huge, heaping spoonful of vegan margarine
a cup of water

As soup cooks, add more soy milk until desired thickness. You can add more water too, but don't go crazy with the H2O or you'll get a runny consistency.

1 frozen bag of fake chicken - cut into smaller pieces. Toss into soup.
Toss in the cubed potatoes
Toss in a 1/3 bag of frozen sweet corn

Cook into thoroughly heated.

I've made numerous variations of this. I've made it with leeks rather than sweet onions, which are cooked in the soup rather than blended. Hot peppers can be added for a spicy version. Dumplings make a great addition. Red bell pepper adds a nice flavor too. If you like mushrooms, add those too. Here's a picture of a variation on this chowder concept: 

Monday, October 15, 2007

Eggplant Spread

I just created an eggplant spread that was totally easy and super yummy.

Stuff you'll need:
1 eggplant
1 or 2 green onions
1 hot pepper
crushed garlic
pine nuts
kalamata olives
sun dried tomatoes
seasoning salt
fresh ground pepper
sea salt
olive oil
lemon juice
fresh basil
Slice up an eggplant (I did fairly slim pieces) and then cut the slices into quarters.
Pan fry the eggplant with olive oil and sea salt. Cook on medium heat until eggplant is soft, but not mushy.

In a food processor add the following:
a few scoops of sun dried tomatoes
10 to 15 kalamata olives
1 or 2 green onions
1 hot pepper
a giant tablespoon of crushed garlic
a couple handfuls of pine nuts
a few sprigs of fresh basil with the stems cut off
seasoning salt
fresh ground pepper
sea salt
add in pan fried eggplant
pour in olive oil (don't go crazy - add as needed to keep substance creamy, not greasy)


TIP: Tastes great with chips, bread, or as a pizza topping.
1 small lemon (Don't go crazy with the lemon juice, you just need enough to help balance the flavors)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lentil Hummus

I just came up with this recipe for SPICY lentil hummus. I've never actually heard of hummus made from lentils, but I went for it anyway. Mmmmm, mmmm - cheap and yummy!!

First -
Cook one cup dry lentil with a few cups of water.
Cook on medium high.
If the water is absorbed before the lentils are fully cooked, then add more water. Don't go crazy with the water.
Once all the water is absorbed and the lentils are soft, put aside to cool down.

Second -
In a food processor add the following:
a hefty scoop of crushed garlic
one or two hot peppers (take out the seeds unless you're a MAJOR spice fiend)
a few shakes of cumin
a couple of shakes of all spice
a few big shakes of seasoning salt
grind in some pepper
grind in some sea salt
5 or 6 good size shakes of paprika
4 small shakes of Indian Spices (I used two shakes of two different types - Masala blends)
around 1/4 cup tahini
scoop in the cooked lentils
lemon juice (add until you get the balance right)
olive oil (add until you get the balance right)

Blend until creamy. If the hummus is too thick, add more olive oil. If the hummus seems flat in flavor, add more lemon juice. Additional salt might be required, but if you plan on using salty chips, you might want to lay off the excessive salt.

Try your hummus as you go until you get the flavor you like. Don't double dip your chip!!

Keep in mind that the flavor will be brought out as it cools in the fridge.

Black Bean Burgers

In a food processor toss in the following (Blend mixture until there are no chunks):

1/2 an onion
1 can of black beans (drain all liquids first)
1 or 2 hot peppers
1 or 2 hefty scoops of garlic
toss in a few handfuls of walnuts

In a bowl (stir until everything is mixed together):
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
a few shakes of cumin
a few shakes of taco seasoning
a few shakes of paprika
rolled oats (quick cooking) - this is the binding element, so you'll need to add more if the burger is too thin to form into a burger)
flax seeds

Add wet contents to the dry contents, mix thoroughly.
Stir in frozen corn for an added flavor.
Form into patties.

You can either bake or fry patties.

TIP: Top with salsa, vegan sour cream and sliced avocado.

Seitan Picatta

Picatta is tangy and not for all palates. But if you like lemon and capers then you'll probably enjoy it.

In a frying pan, saute the following:

10 mushrooms sliced chunky style(use your favorite ones, I used a meaty variety. If you use a portabello, one would suffice)
2 green onions - chopped
heaping tablespoon of crushed garlic
5 or 6 twists of freshly ground sea salt
olive oil (enough to keep the pan coated but not greasy)

In a separate frying pan:

Coat pan with olive oil
add in a few giant scoops of whole wheat flour (if you have a gravy thickener you can use this alone or in addition to the flour)
heat and mix very quickly until it starts to brown slightly
add lemon juice (amount depends on how tangy you can take it)
a few shakes of cumin
Ground pepper
white wine
a little water (add a little as you go- until you get desired thickness and taste)
capers (several hefty scoops)
Stir until thick then add contents from other frying pan.

The empty frying pan can be used for the next step; add enough olive oil to coat the pan. Keep the gravy mixture on low and stir occasionally as you make the seitan.

In one shallow bowl, mix up one or two egg replacers
In a second shallow bowl, add whole wheat flour.

Dip seitan slices into faux eggs to coat, then dip in flour to coat and place in pan. Repeat until the pan is full with seitan.
Cook seitan on med-high. When the seitan starts to get crisp, flip pieces over. The seitan will cook very quickly.

Tip: Serve on a bead of brown rice, place seitan around edges and pour gravy mixture on top.
Tip: Serve a vegetable on the side, such as asparagus.
Tip: You can use my basic seitan recipe to create the seitan slices to be used in this recipe.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Vegan Comfort Food: Mock Meat Loaf

I've tried making mock meat loaf a few times using the fake ground meat and they always came out too wet. The other day I created a mock meat loaf by pure experimentation and I came across one tasty surprise.

I'm really not sure how much of each ingredient I used, but it filled up an entire loaf pan (that was on the long side - IKEA - got to love them).

Dry Ingredients (put in bowl first)
flax seeds
flax seed flour
rolled oats (quick cooking)
soy flour
Cajun spice
sea salt
ground pepper
red chili flakes
wheat germ
seasoning salt

Wet Ingredients (blend in food processor)
1 sweet onion
5 mushrooms
vegan Worcestershire sauce
organic ketchup
soy sauce
teriyaki sauce
hot pepper
walnuts (okay - these are not wet, but they need to be blended)
crushed garlic
cooked brown rice

Add to Dry Ingredients and stir until coated
Crumble one block of firm tofu
crumble one block of tempeh (I used the five grain type from Turtle Island Foods)

Add blended ingredients
Stir in blended ingredients, if it is too wet add more oats and flour. If it is too dry, add in more ketchup and teriyaki sauce.

Once thoroughly mixed, pour info loaf pan. Squirt Ketchup all over the top. Cook at 375 degrees for an hour. Let cool for 10 minutes and then slice.

Best part: the mock loaf tastes great the next day - even cold. You could make a yummy sandwich.

The Be-Bop Way: To prepare this dish, embrace the ingredients that you love and cook with them. If you don't like certain ingredients, then don't add them. However, keep in mind that you need a good balance of wet and dry to make this loaf otherwise it might turn out too mushy or too tough. If you don't want to add oats, be sure to add lots of breadcrumbs or something that will hold the loaf together.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What Do Vegan's Eat??

People (who are not vegan) always ask me, "what can you eat if you're vegan?" So if you're wondering...

  • Fruits and veggies: Mostly organic, fresh and raw. I do cook veggies, but I try to eat 50% raw at least 5 days a week.
  • Grains: Such as brown rice, couscous, quinoa, mock meats, breads, pasta, etc.
  • Legumes: Such as lentils, black beans, refried beans, butter beans, black-eyed peas, etc.
  • Sprouts: You can get a variety of sprouts and they're packed with nutrients.
  • Herbs: Yummy goodness. Fresh ones are the best.
  • Soy: Tofu, miso, tempeh, soy ice cream, soy sour cream, soy whip cream, soy milk, soy cream cheese, soy cheese (jack, cheddar, etc), fake meats, etc.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts and pine nuts are my favorites to cook with.

Basically anything that is plant based and does not contain anything derived by an animal. The food I eat is loaded with flavor and full of compassion for our earthly friends.

Trader Joes has a new labeling system, where they put a V on a bunch of their vegan items. They don't have everything labeled yet, so if it doesn't have a V it may still be vegan. Check out their list of vegan items.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What's Be Bop Vegan Cooking?

I enjoy cooking in a free form way that reminds me of Be Bop. I start with a structured idea (recipe), read it thoroughly and then toss it aside. I might jot down some notes (perhaps key ingredients or ideas I have to make it better) then I go into the kitchen and start cooking. I'm forced to cook with feeling and instinct.

My cooking reflects my passion for particular flavors and combinations of ingredients. I'm no longer locked down to a strict recipe and I'm able to use whatever I have in the house to improvise. This experimental way of cooking vegan food is fun and exciting. Meals never get boring because the same menu item never tastes exactly as it did before.

Super Easy: Seitan - goes with all types of meals

Seitan can be used in place of meat for a variety of flavorful meals. Seitan is made from gluten, so if you have issues with wheat, you should pass on this recipe.

A lot of recipes for Seitan are either heavy on the Asian flavor or have a tomato base. Both types are yummy, but are rather limited in regards to the types of different meals you can make from them. I came up with a recipe for Seitan that has the right flavors that can be used with all types of dishes, such as Mexican, Soul Food, Italian, Asian, Indian, Mediterranean, BBQ, etc.

Dry Ingredients (add to large bowl first)

1 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten (I use Bob's Red Mill)
6 or 7 hefty shakes of paprika
2 or 3 shakes of garlic powder
5 to 10 shakes of ground pepper
4 or 5 shakes of seasoning salt
1 or 2 shakes of All Spice
3 to 7 shakes of red pepper flakes
8 to 10 grinds of sea salt (using salt grinding mill)

Mix around using whisk. After thoroughly mixed, add wet ingredients (tip: to make sure all the flavors are blended; mix wet ingredients in separate bowl and then add to dry ingredients)

Wet Ingredients

8 to 10 shakes of Tamari
3 to 6 shakes of Braggs Liquid Amino
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
3/4 cup cold water

Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. As dough forms, kneed dough with hands 4 to 5 times (in bowl). Let the dough sit.

In the meantime, using a soup pot (or a large cooking pot such as one you'd use for spaghetti) heat up water (fill the pot 2/3 up with water) with a few scoops of crushed garlic.

As the water heats, place dough on cutting board and kneed 2 more times. Stretch the dough and slice off thin slices. The slices can be a variety of sizes. I'd go thinner than thick. Long pieces will be easier to cook with later (approx. 2" long is adequate). As the water starts to bubble, drop the dough pieces into the water. Once the water reaches a full boil, turn down to a medium to med. low heat for an hour.

Drain seitan in colander and let cool. Store in refrigerator. If you do not use the seitan within a week, freeze for future use. Seitan always tastes better after its had a chance to sit (a few hours to 1 day will really bring out the flavor)

The seitan will have flavor on its own, however when you go to cook with it I'd recommend using sauces or a marinade. Have fun.

Easy Cooking: Tortilla Soup

I made this recipe by guessing what should be in vegan tortilla soup. I never made the non-vegan version, but the challenge wasn't hard at all. In fact, this is so easy to make that when I need a meal made in 20 min and have the hankering for something hot and spicy this is the recipe I like to whip up.

Tortilla Soup

1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can no fat refried beans
1 can vegetable broth
1 sweet onion (med)/(green onions work great too - I'd use two)
1 stalk of celery (optional - tastes fine without it, but if you have it on hand, toss it in)
2 heaping spoonfuls of crushed garlic
1 heaping spoon full of salsa
a few shakes of hot sauce
a few shakes of chipotle Tabasco
a few shakes of red pepper flakes
a few shakes of oregano
a few shakes of paprika
2 heaping spoonfuls of chili powder
tortilla chips - for topping
fake chicken cut up into pieces (1 bag)
1 3/4 cups frozen or fresh sweet corn
1 avocado for topping - sliced thin
cubed faux cheese (for topping) - fake Monterey jack with jalapeños

In food processor blend: (if you don't have one - get one, otherwise, you'll have more of a chunky soup.....if chunky is your thing - go for it)
diced tomatoes with green chilies
sweet onion
crushed garlic
hot sauce
chipotle Tabasco
chili powder

In a large soup pot:
On medium heat start cooking the blended mixture along with vegetable broth.
Add oregano, pepper and red pepper flakes
Cook thoroughly.
Add refried beans and stir to mix until creamy
Dice fake chicken into 1 inch long pieces - add to soup along with corn
Increase heat and cover. Allow for mixture to boil but not a rolling boil.

Ladle soup into deep soup bowls. Arrange sliced avocadoes, tortilla chips and fake cheese on top.

Optional: If you have a can of black beans around, throw those in too (while the soup is cooking). They'll give your soups more substance if you want more of a hearty soup.

Optional: If you're a spice freak, toss a couple of hot peppers into the food processor, sans the seeds unless you're a masochist.

Keep in mind - most of the flavoring stuff is optional. Once I was out of garlic and it came out fine. As long as you cook it with love in your heart, you're golden.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Vegan Shirts

I have a variety of designs that I created for Vegans (printed on T-shirts, mugs, etc). Please check them out by clicking the link (Vegan Shirts).