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.