Sunday, March 30, 2008

Animal Rights 2008 National Conference

Hey fellow vegans - 

Are any of you going to the Animal Rights 2008 National Conference in August (14th-18th) right outside of DC? My husband and I bought our tickets yesterday.  The sooner you sign up the cheaper the tickets. The hotel that is hosting the conference is offering extremely affordable room rates. Getting there is the expensive part. If you come across cheap airfare please let me know!! 

At the conference Dennis Kucinich will be presenting along with around 9o other speakers. There will be workshops, video presentations, activism outreach, vegan food and shopping!! 

I'd love to hook up with fellow bloggers, vegan enthusiasts, readers of my blog, etc. at the conference. If you plan on going let me know! We can hang out and stir things up. 

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tempeh, Lettuce and Tomato

I finally found hamburger buns that are free of whey and high fructose corn syrup, from a company called Rudi's Organic Bakery. These delicious buns were my inspiration for a vegan twist of a BLT. 

I really like the 5 Grain Tempeh from Turtle Island Foods. I cut it into thin slices and pan fried them. I lined the pan with extra virgin olive oil.  Then seasoned the slices with coarse ground pepper, cajun spices and seasoning salt. Once they started to get crisp, I flipped them and seasoned their other side (I added a little more oil to the pan). I flipped them one last time to get them crisp and coated with flavor. 

On a lightly toasted bun I spread a little veganaise. Then I stacked the tempeh, sliced tomato and lettuce. Simple yet REALLY tasty. 

UPDATE (06/01):  My husband and I LOVE these sandwiches. I've been making them lately with Dave's Killer Bread (Good Seed - toasted slices). I've also made these with vegan cheddar slices added and/or avocado slices. Soooooo yummy!!! 

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sweet Potato Fries

These fries are baked and have so much flavor that ketchup is definitely optional. 

You'll need a big pan or cookie sheet. I'd line it with parchment paper to make the clean-up a snap. Plus it will allow you to pick up the fries and move them without messiness. If you've never used parchment paper - get some! 

Modify  the number of potatoes used, depending on the size of your pan/cookie sheet and the number of peeps you're going to feed. For up to three people I'd use two medium sweet potatoes. 

Pre-heat oven for 400 to 410 degrees. 

- Peel the potatoes

- Slice potatoes into stick "like" shapes. I always have an odd assortment of shapes, such as short, rounded edges, skinny, etc. The various shapes will cook up differently - some will be crispy, others will be soft in the inside (a potpourri of flavor sensations). 

- Place the potato pieces on cookie sheet (or pan) so that they're not overlapping.

- Lightly pour extra virgin olive oil over the fries (don't make them greasy, just enough to make them wet)

- Season the fries (be sure to oil the fries before seasoning). I dust the fries with sea salt (or seasoning salt), dill weed, coarse ground pepper and paprika. For extra zip I also use red pepper flakes and/or a blend of cajun spices. The spicy mixed with the sweet tastes really good!! 

- Bake for 20 to 35 minutes. If you like your fries extremely crispy then cook around 30 to 35 minutes. I like mine soft and plump, so I usually pull them out around 20 to 25 minutes. If you're unsure of how long you should cook them, pull them out of the oven periodically and sample a fry. You can always flip the fries mid-way, but I never do. 

- After removing from the oven, pull up the parchment paper and give the fries a good shake. All the seasoning and oil will mix together to get the fries nice and coated with yummy goodness. Serve right away. 

Friday, March 14, 2008

Top Veggie Blogs

My blog received an honorable mention for the Leftover Queen's top veggie blogs. Yeah! She noted my spunk and fun attitude. Thanks, Jenn! (aka Leftover Queen)

Spicy Black Bean (Hummus) Dip

I had a bag full of fresh, organic jalepeno and wanted to make a spicy dip with them. Since black beans go so well with jalepeno, I created a cross between hummus and bean dip that is rather yummy. I started out making a single batch but it tasted so good that I ended up doing a double batch (which by the way tasted even better the next day after it had time to chill). The instructions below are for a single batch. 

In a food processor blend the following and chill to serve: 

- 1 can (drained) black beans (I used organic, low sodium)

- 3 green jalepeno (seeds and spine removed)

- 2 to 3 teaspoons of lemon juice

- 3/4 to 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic

- 2 to 3 of shakes of coarse ground pepper

-  2.5 to 3 heaping tablespoons of tahini 

- somewhere around 2 to 3 teaspoons of extra coarse sea salt (add more to taste)

- 5 or so good shakes of cumin

- 5 or so good shakes of paprika

- 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil

- 4 to 6 shakes of chipotle hot sauce (This really depends on your level of spice tolerance; you may want to blend and add until you get to the level of spice you like. I like the Bufalo brand pictured above and it contains no traces of actual buffalo. This stuff also tastes great in guacamole.)

My husband begged me to add this to my blog so I wouldn't forget the ingredients. I hope you find it as tasty as he does. 

The dip tastes great with the new veggie chips from Trader Joes. 

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Savory steamed dumplings: Sweet potato, shiitake and mock duck (gluten)

My Dad turned 89 last week and we had a large gathering at my house. I made all of the food; which was all vegan. It was carnivore approved and no one missed any of the flesh or (milk) puss they were used to. I made a variety of foods and my guests nagged me to give them the recipes. Since they all came from my head, I need to blog as much of the dishes as I can before I forget. 

One of the show stoppers was my steamed dumplings. These little suckers are a little time consuming to make, but well worth it. If you've never made asian dumplings, I'd suggest watching a tutorial on the web. If you google it, you'll find step by step images and video on how to stuff and fold the dumpling. When buying the dumpling skins, make sure they are the round ones (the square ones are for wonton and the thickness is different) and vegan (some brands contain egg). 

I used to make one dumpling at a time, but I found it easier to lay out as many dumpling skins as you can (I used an extra large cutting board as my base), place the stuffing in each, then fold (you must wet the rim of the dumpling before you fold and pinch the skin edges together). You will need something to steam the dumplings with. I use the traditional bamboo steamers, which is placed in a wok. The wok contains the water which then steams the dumplings. I line my bamboo steamer with parchment paper. The dumplings peel right off and there is no cleanup. I also flavor the water in the wok with miso and/or large chunks of sea salt. 

Dumpling contents:
Put the following in a food processor.....
- 1 large sweet potato (cooked: either bake ahead of time or pop in the microwave until soft)

- 1 handful of shiitake mushrooms (I used fresh ones, however if you use the dried ones make sure you rehydrate them enough to be soft)

- 1 can of mock duck (wheat gluten) drained (you can use your own seitan, but this stuff has been perfectly flavored for the job)

- a couple of shakes of dark mushroom soy sauce (this stuff is the bomb! - it has a rich, salty flavor that brings out the flavor of the mushrooms)

- a couple of shakes of vegan mushroom oyster sauce (this stuff is also the bomb - it has a sweet taste that will bring out the flavor of the sweet potato)

- a few shakes of thick ground pepper

Pulse in the food processor until everything is chopped up. You want a thick consistency, not creamy; so don't blend the mixture. You might want to open the food processor between each pulse to push the contents down. 

I stored the mixture in the fridge for 24 hours to bring out the flavor. If you don't have that much time, you can probably start stuffing the dumplings whenever you want. Just make sure that the mixture is at least room temperature or colder. If you used a hot potato, you'll need to wait until the mixture cools. 

Now start stuffing the dumplings. Each dumpling will only hold a little dollop of the mixture, so you can make around 25 or so from this recipe. Don't over stuff the dumpling or it will tear. 
Serve warm, with a dipping sauce (although they're so tasty you don't really need extra sauce). I prefer sweet chili sauce or hoisin (plum sauce). However, tradational dipping sauce is fine too, but is salty rather than sweet.