Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ubiquitous Holiday Post!

First, Happy Holidays! May you be surrounded by who and what you love in good health and good cheer.

Now, onto food!

Which of course would be made better with pics but I have yet to purge all the pics from my camera and thus, we are without food pr0n. Sorry! I hope to be able to slap some in a bit later today. Honest!

Brunch. mmmm Last weekend I made brunch from Vegan With a Vengeance. Scrambled Tofu and Herb Roasted Potatoes. So darn good. The cookbook always returns an awesome finished product no matter which recipe I pick or how I mangle creating it.

Chickpea Cutlets. This is the third time I have made them and they just keep getting better. This time I used the VitaMix to smoosh up the chickpeas. It is a fine line between mash and hummus, but luckily I did not cross it! I also kneeded the dough for about 7 minutes. Ok fine, the KitchenAid mixer kneeded it as I did dishes but I supervised! Then into the oven they went. Oh so darn good. Chewy, crispy as I made them thin and so tasty. I would eat these ever day.

Quiche of which there will never be a pic of. Why? Because the two of us scarfed down the entire pan in one sitting. Christmas Eve dinner was so good, we had no leftovers. Which is saying something as I really do NOT know how to cook for only two people. First I started with a simple batch of Jasmine Rice simmered with a veg bullion cube. Next I sauted up half an onion, four cloves of garlic, one bunch of chard and 15oz mushrooms (10oz white button and half a 10oz container of Baby Bellas). My VitaMix then pureed up some Extra Firm Silken Tofu with olive oil, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, mustard and basil. The rice went into the bottom of a casserole dish (to which I should have slathered in Earth Balance but didn't), the tofu mixed into the mushrooms and it all went atop the rice. Bake for 45 min at 350. Oh so darn good.

Christmas morning dawned with me climbing out of bed before 9. *Sigh* The urge to bake and the inability to sleep combined to result in a plethora of products. I made Banana Bonanza Bread, one batch of yeast bread turned into a sweet loaf and a savory bunch of mini loaves, VCTOTW chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting, Gingerbread dough (which is still in my freezer! meep), lunch for LB of Mac & Cheese w/ MSF Veg Dogs & Peas, lunch for me of Tempeh smokey strips lettuce and veganaise on a mini loaf of savory bread, dinner of Lasagna in case friends came over, garlic bread, salad and warmed wine.

Of course despite all this, I have to make chocolate chip cookies for A when she arrives. Thankfully our friends did come over for some holiday cheer and I loaded them down as they left.

My Lasagna was basically just a toss together kind of thing. Tofu Riccota from Uncheese Cookbook, sauted mushrooms and spinach layered over a simple sauce of Fire Roasted tomatoes (canned but I blended them up a bit to make it saucy!). I did top it with some soy cheese at the end. So darn good but not a creamy lasagna. I think I may have to play with it a bit more and get it creamier. Perhaps an easy white sauce over the tofu. I do have leftovers of which I will have to take the pictures of, because we ate about 7pm and I was starving!

All in all? Lots of cooking. But as I have the rest of the year off, it doesn't seem like a bad thing. Happy holidays all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


What is it about winter that makes you crave some warm, rich and flavorful soup? My ultimate comfort soup is Seitan 'n Dumplings. With not those puffy biscuits but warm slippery lumps of broth soaked goodness. My mother used to make dumplings on a 50/50 egg to flour ratio. I spent years as a vegan wondering how to replicate this. Luckily a friend from a now defunct message board came up with my salvation.

So without further drooling, here is the recipe for Krista's Soggy Dumplings!

2c Flour
1t Baking Powder
1t Salt
4t Earth Balance Margarine
1 1/2c Unsweetened Plain Soy Milk

Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the Earth Balance. Gradually add soy milk until the flour is all absorbed. The dough is sticky, thick and not at all liquidy. Drop thin flat dumplings into boiling broth. Once they come to the surface you can dish up a bowl or let it simmer for 10-20 minutes.

I added these to a lovely onion, celery, carrot and leek soup. Unfortunately I had no seitan so I added a can of Navy beans. Made things creamy and focused all the attention on the sweet carrots and lovely dumplings. Man, I love those things.

Hopefully this picture isn't too washed out, unfortunately my monitor is!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

mmmm Bread!

I was inspired by A Veg*n for Dinner's bread post. Though I am not quite capable of winging it that much, I based it off of the Outrageously Easy Big Bread I have made in the past. I started at 7:30pm and made half a batch of bread. Below is my rather long loaf and some little animal friends. A Bear who will make a great sandwich tomorrow and a poor little bunny who did not even get to cool down. LB and I ate Mr. Bunny while he was still glistening with buttery goodness.

mmmm buttery (read: Earth Balance margarine) goodness!

And a close up of our favorite yeast friends! Don't they look delicious?

My first experience making a yeast bread was taught to me by my mother when I was about 12. She led our 4H cooking group and we made large sized teddy bears out of an entire batch of dough. They got raisins for eyes, nose and belly button. Since these guys are (were) so little, I did not do more than puncture the appropriate spots. Sorry little animal breads, I will find something suitable next time!

I also whipped up a batch of Fudge that is sitting in the fridge right now awaiting a proper consistency for me to cut it into chunks and devour it. Though I might bring some into work. Just to prove I can be nice. When I want to. I did make this with Silk Mocha Soy Milk. It sounded like a good idea at the time! Will let you know how it tastes, with pictures later.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My secret recipe

So we all have that one recipe. Something woefully unhealthy, chalk full of things not normally kept in the house but so darn good you just have to indulge once in a while. Well, this is mine.

Now, you may be thinking; 'That doesn't look like much.' but you would be sadly mistaken. Its rich, creamy, savory, decadent and just damn good. This recipe came about four years ago. Each time I make it its slightly different because I am a chaotic cook who rarely measures and almost never writes anything down. My husband, who I call LB, always asks for this as his special request meal. When his mother makes the omni version of this, spaghetti carbonara, its full of bacon, egg, cheese and cream. Personally I have never had the omni version so I tried to extrapolate from the scent and look for a vegan version.

Vegan Bacon Spaghetti
2T Olive Oil
1/2 med Onion, Diced
2 boxes LiteLife Smart Bacon, separated and sliced into 1/2" strips (or Seitan bacon)
Garlic, Diced (5 cloves is my normal amount)
8oz Shitake Mushrooms, Chopped
8oz White Mushrooms, Chopped
10oz Baby Bella Mushrooms, Chopped
1c Water
1 Veg Bullion (Knor Veg)
Spices to taste: Thyme, Garlic, Pepper
Spaghetti or Angel Hair Pasta (2 large handfuls, broken in half)
4oz Vegan Mozzarella cheese
4oz Better Than Cream Cheese
2c Unsweetened Soy Milk, plain
1/4c Vegan Parm or Nutritional Yeast

Saute onion and smart bacon in a large pot over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute 1 minute more. Add in 1/2c water to deglaze the pot and then add the mushrooms. Stir gently and as infrequently as possible because stirring breaks up the bacon.

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta to preferred done-ness. Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside.

Add the remaining 1/2c water to the mushroom mix along with the bullion and spices. Simmer on medium low for 5 min or until the cheese sauce is done.

In the pasta pot, bring 1/2c soy milk up to medium heat, add cubed soy cheese, cream cheese and parm. Stir well to incorporate. Gradually add the milk as the cheese melts and the sauce thickens. Once all the milk is incorporated, gently add in the mushroom bacon mixture and stir. Next add in the pasta and fold in gently.

Keep on a low temperature for five minutes for the sauce to set. Serve with garlic bread and a hearty appetite. This serves six. Sometimes.

I am completely sure that this could be all homemade. But it is so much work as it is already. It would be a two or three day job to make this without store bought vegan cheese or Smart Bacon. Doable, but I am way to lazy for that.

Now you have my secret recipe, be careful with it, its power should only be used for good.

Tortilla Soup

Some times, you crave something warm, savory and just a bit tangy. That describes Tortilla soup perfectly. It is lush with flavors of tomatoes, peppers, beans and lime.

Then you top it with fried corn tortilla strips, avocado, green onions and lime. What more could you want? A second bowl full!

Tortilla Soup
2T Olive Oil
1/2 medium Onion, Diced or Minced
1/2c Celery, Diced (heart w/ leaves preferred)
1 Bell Pepper, Diced
1-3 Hot Peppers, seeded and diced
1 Lime, zest and juice
Garlic (5 cloves)
8c Water
2 Bullion Cubes (Knor Veg)
2c Beans; soaked dried cooked beans or rinsed canned
28oz Petite Diced tomatoes, canned with juice
1c Corn, frozen kernels

Optional toppings:
Corn Tortilla, julienned and fried
Green Onion

Saute the onion, celery, bell pepper and hot pepper in the oil till the onion is translucent. Add in garlic, lime zest and juice, saute making sure not allow the garlic to burn. Add in water, bullion, beans, corn and tomatoes.
Add spices to taste; cilantro, garlic, salt, cumin, chili powder and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes or more.

Serve topped with a lime slice, fried corn tortilla strips, green onion and avocado.

For whatever reason this soup slipped off my menus. That made me sad when I realized it. Its so tasty, so full bodied and so darn easy. The fried tortilla strips actually take longer to make than the actual soup chopping and sauteing. Well, mine do because I use very little oil and do them in batches. Plus I like to salt mine after I pull each batch from the oil. They are like a little special treat just to crumble into the soup and get a crunchy zippy bite.

Make this soup. Make it tonight!