Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vegan MoFo: An overdue Thanksgiving Meal

I had to get this post in before this glorious month of vegan eatery is finished. I told you guys before Thanksgiving what my menu was and I stuck with it, right down to the last crispy onion atop my atop my green bean casserole.

Aside from the dessert, a double-layer pumpkin cheesecake from Fatfree Vegan, my entrée and side dishes all came from Rhymes With Vegan. A "turkey" roulade made from seitan and tofu, a green bean casserole with a homemade, soy milk based cream of mushroom soup, and a corn pudding, or scalloped corn. I also used her recipe for Grandpa Earl's stuffing. Bangin'!

Some thoughts- We all know the most glorious thing about a Thanksgiving meal is the abundance of leftovers. What to do with those leftovers? Tybrus made a quick Tofurky fajita dinner one evening that was wonderful! He seasoned the leftover tofurky with lime, chipotle powder, and cumin.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Dill & Mint "Chicken" Salad with Grape Tomatoes

I got the idea for this dish when I glanced through an issue of Simply Delicious. I found a recipe for Chicken Salad with Pear Tomatoes and Tarragon. I was intrigued with the lack of mayonnaise in this chicken salad, vegan or not.
As a youngin' the only parts of a standard chicken salad I didn't enjoy were the grapes, typically added for sweetness. I tended to want a more savory salad. This recipe subs grapes for tomatoes, which reserves some sweetness but in a savory way. I used grape tomatoes instead of pear ones; clever, I know.

I also subbed dried mint for tarragon. For one thing, I have never cooked with tarragon and am not really all that familiar with its flavor. I've heard it has a licorice taste. Bleh. I thought mint would pair nicely with the tomatoes and poultry spices.
"Chicken" Salad with Grape Tomatoes and Mint

1 1/2 cup TVP chunks
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tbs Bragg's liquid aminos
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 large bunches scallions, sliced, white parts included
2 tsp dried mint, crushed between your fingers
1 tsp dried dill

Some thoughts: This salad would go wonderfully over a spinach salad. I know firsthand. Also, you could try blending it briefly in a food processor.

Vegan Mofo: Nog

Ah, liquor. This fall, I generally avoided liquor, especially dark ones, because it was so god damned hot. Rum is one of those perfect winter time liquors because it wraps you in a force-field of drunken warmth that freezing temperatures simply cannot penetrate. A rum blanket, if you will.

Rum 'n Nog

1 oz dark spiced rum, like Captain Morgan, or something
1/2 cup-3/4 Silk Nog
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 nutmeg

Combine all ingredients.

Some thoughts: I used Silk Nog, but I definitely prefer Rice Dream Nog. It's spiced and flavored much better. Silk Nog just tastes reminiscent of egg yolks. Bleh. Also, I recommend doing a cinnamon sugar mixture for a little sweeter confection.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vegan Mofo: Word Play

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?
Dairy products. I wasn't sure I could completely avoid using Parmesan cheese or using milk for cereal. But, I did! Hooray for me.

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?
There were a few vegetables I didn't really enjoy as a child like brussel sprouts and cabbage. I now love both!

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?
I'm pretty excited about all vegan food.

What beverage do you consume the most of on any given
Toss up between plain old water and coffee. Usually Sumatra.

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?
I don't go to a lot of vegan food gatherings. I usually only bring food to family dinners where I need to otherwise I won't have anything to eat. My favorite story about this is when I brought a vegan broccoli and cheese casserole to Thanksgiving dinner with my boyfriend's family. When I went back for seconds, it was gone! His family demolished it! And, no one knew it was vegan.

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?
I don't like mixing fruits with dishes that are intended to be savory.

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?
Ramen noodles. Steamed rice and frozen veggies. Baked goodies.

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?
Hummus and seitan.

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?
Soy and rice cheese.

Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?
I snack to a fault. Lately it's been mostly fruits and veggies with some kind of bean dip.

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?
Mushrooms, olives, bell pepper, onion, and tomato slices. Artichokes are welcome, too.

What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?
Mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, spinach, kale... And, strawberries, honey crisp apples, clementines, red grapes...

What is the best salad dressing?
As long as you put Annie's Goddess dressing on it, it's perfect. But, I usually like green salads with grape tomatoes, chickpeas, and red onion.

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
Chickpea salad. Or, if it's for breakfast, margarine and homemade blueberry preserves.

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?
I don't really have a standard soup I make when I'm sick because I'm so rarely sick. The last soup I made due to illness was about a year ago and it was a chickpea and tempeh stew in a tomato base.

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?
Red velvet with a Tofutti cream cheese frosting!

What is your favorite kind of cookie?
Chocolate chip coconut. Or, Molasses.

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?
Tofu stir fries. Generally really easy and yields a lot of leftovers.

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?
My boyfriend is not a fan of eggplant or any kind of sweets. Also, no one in my family will humor tofu.

How long, in total, do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?
In the morning, about ten minutes. Usually just to make coffee. In the afternoon, I usually just microwave leftovers, so another ten minutes. For dinner, I can spend up to three hours preparing, cooking, and cleaning.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vegan Mofo: Quick Corn Stew

Sorry about my recent hiatus. The semester is coming to a close and my work has been piling up. My fall break has finally arrived and I find myself in a constant perpetual daydream about the rapidly approaching festivities. Tofurky Day is upon us!

Last year, I was fortunate enough to enjoy two meals. My first consisted of the following:

-Vcon Chickpea Seitan Cutlets with red wine gravy
-Cheezy Broccoli Casserole with a Golden Cracker crust
-Carob Cream Pie with a graham cracker crust
-standard mashed potatoes and salad

The second meal was especially wonderful mostly because I didn't have to cook a damned thing! My mother is my cooking idol. She knows how to cook just about every vegetable perfectly and is really awesome and considerate when it comes to accommodating me at family dinners. This meal consisted of:

-Herbed Tofu loaf with stuffing
-Mashed potatoes and gravy
-roasted assorted veggies
-Apple cake

All courtesy of my mother, mind you.

This year, I have every intention of going all out. I plan on doing every classic Thanksgiving meal. This year's menu will consist of:

-Sausage Stuffing from Rhymes with Vegan
-Green Bean Casserole from RWV
-Scalloped Corn from RWV
-Tofu Turkey from RWV
-and, Pumpkin Cheesecake with Oatmeal cookie crust from Fatfree Vegan

I think one of the reasons I'm so excited for Thanksgiving this year is because I recently began adhering to the dietary standards of the Eat to Live diet. It's the first diet I've actually been able to stick with. I don't have terrible cravings for any contraband pasta or sweets. I also don't feel hungry in between meals. While I am a little upset that I can't eat as much avocado as I'd like, I enjoy the simplicity of all the meals. Did I mention this is a really cheap diet?

As a break from eating raw foods during this most unforgiving of Novembers (with the exception of today!) I decided to whip up some of the quick corn stew in the book. I had to make it from memory seeing as I didn't have the book on me. I cheated and added a tablespoon of Bragg's liquid aminos, but soy milk chowder soups tend to be too sweet by themselves for my liking. Sorry, Furhman.

Eat to Live Quick Corn Stew

2 cups soy milk
1 tbs whole wheat flour
1 medium potato, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 large onion, diced
1/2 tsp dulse
2 tbs dried vegetable flakes
1/4 Mrs. Dash Seasoning
1 tsp Butter Buds
1 10oz bag frozen corn

Heat 2 cups of water and soy milk together on a low flame. Mix in flour, dulse, vegetable flakes, and seasoning. Add the diced potato, carrot, and onion and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Add frozen corn until it defrosts and the sou comes to a boil again.

My two cents: I didn't add the two cups of water. I thought it would be too watery for a stew and take away a lot of flavor. I generally find soups with a soy milk base to be, but this was rich an hearty. Instead of dulse I used kelp. It's just what I had on hand. And, it had a great chowder taste. I didn't use the seasonings suggested. I'm still not entirely sure what they are, to be honest.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vegan MoFo 2: Paella or a Risotto? You tell me.

I must confess, I did not make this dish today or even this month. Not even last month. I made it when I decided to try chard for the first time this past summer, when it was still in season. I opted for rainbow chard because, seriously, it's such a beautiful green. The inspiration for this dish was similar to both risotto and paella- I hydrated the rice with broth instead of water, I threw fresh veggies in to steam and cook within the rice instead of serving it on top, and it had a creamy consistency that typically characterizes those two dishes.

This recipe is my favorite kind. It involved throwing in a random assortment of vegetables that can be found in any vegan's fridge. Rice dishes are a great, one-pot way to use up a good deal of produce.

Random Dinner/Lunch Rice

1 cup short grain brown rice
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 bunch rainbow chard, leaves chiffonade and stems diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 cup frozen peas
2 tsp paprika
1 tbs Bragg's liquid aminos
1 tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried paprika

Saute onion and garlic in 2 tbs olive oil on medium heat in a small pot until onions are soft and translucent. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes give off juice. Add brown rice and broth, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook rice for about 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except for peas and cook for another fifteen minutes, covered. Add peas and cook an additional 10-15 minutes, yes, covered. Serve with some kind of legume or tofu.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vegan MoFo!!!!!1: Chili Dawgs, Dawg

Finally, an entire month dedicated to the delicacy that is vegan food. I'm happy to announce that I've been cooking quite a bit lately (so has Tybrus!) I am, however, a little sad to admit that I haven't been getting pictures of the food and I certainly haven't been taking measurements to give you folks an accurate and full proof recipe.

This meal came to be when I bitched for three days straight about wanting a hot dog heaping with chili and topped with lots and lots of coleslaw. Tybrus was kind enough to oblige me as a post-work surprise. It was delicious. Tybrus' cooking strength really is cooking comforting, sports bar junk food. For example, hot tempeh wings and anything barbecued.

I would also like to tell everyone about a vegan mayo break through: Spectrum's vegan eggless mayo is the forkin' stuff. It doesn't have that gross Miracle Whip dressing taste and is the perfect topping on any sammich (or in this case coleslaw.) I'm a mega-mayo-snob so the fact that I praise this product should speak volumes.

Again, this was a recipe from Tybrus so I have nothing for you, folks. I'll be more prepared next time around.