Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Seitan Filet

I was inspired by Tracy of A Veg*n for Dinner. She quite recently posted a recipe on her blog for Seitan Filet Mignon.

Since I had darn near everything the recipe called for with a few minor creative substitutions and a quick supermarket search for vegan Worchestershire sauce, I attempted it. I did replace that sneaky anchovy sauce with a lovely UK brand called HP Sauce that used tomato instead of fish and dates instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup. I also used Penzey's vegetable base instead of 'beef' broth.

I went fancy and served this with slow sauted mushroom slices, roasted herbed fingerling potatoes and steamed broccoli.

I did find it a tich too salty for my tastes, but that could have been the salt in my veggie base and overly salty soy sauce. The seitan was tender, juicy and went quite well with the mushrooms. Even LB thought it was quite good. I have to admit though, it was a lot of work and not my favorite texture of seitan. Perhaps this is doable with a less labor intensive moist bake method. Something to experiment with!

Overall? Dinner was a rousing success! Thank you so very much Tracy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Another faux fish

From the secret test kitchen recipes of Quintess! A baked tofish recipe. This was really yummy as the sandwich but I think I liked these tofu slices best over a plate of rice.

Last week recap

Last week was quiet. LB returned from his five day golf trip on Monday and enjoyed a lovely dinner of Bacon Spaghetti. Of course I inevitably burn the bread so our garlic toast was a bit less than I expected, and a lot more blackened.

Tuesday I made a cheezy sauce and we ate Nachos! Lovely corn tortilla chips surrounding a mound of black beans, refried beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado and of course delish and spicy nacho cheeze. This was so good, I took the leftovers to work and ate them for lunch the next day. Though this is not the most healthy of meals I need to make this again, simply because it is so tasty.

Wednesday was a simple meal that I mostly just opened things for. Onion sauted with mushrooms and garlic, covered in a lovely jar of Portabello Merlot spaghetti sauce, served over Boca chik patties and a bit of pasta. Those pictures were simply not very pretty though I did remember to take them!

The rest of the week was awash of leftovers, baking and eating out. We had Mexican food both Friday and Saturday and it was phenomenal! From sizzling veggie fajitas to savory black beans and rice served beside tostadas.

Dinner last night was simple yet so delicious. Fried potato slices and onions with Tofurky Keibalsa Sausage and peppers. Savory, hearty and hubby and I finished the entire meal happily.

Earlier last week I made cupcakes from VCTOTW. Banana cupcakes with Peanut Buttercream frosting and Chocolate Stout cupcakes. Everyone I shared these with loved them, personally I only licked some frosting from my fingers and the beater so I figured I had eaten enough! This week it Margarita cupcakes to celebrate the upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Luckily a recent purchase will help out greatly. Check out my Cupcake Courier.

This holds 3 dozen cupcakes or muffins securely and easily with four locking latches. It is a bit bulky but honestly I dont think anything else holds this many securely. The space between layers leaves room for puffy muffin tops or a bit of frosting, though honestly, I prefer to bring my frosting in a bag and ice things up as I serve. People love to see adorably sweet mini cakes go from naked to lush tall creations of sugary goodness on their plate. Of course this also allows me to dole out as much or as little (silly dieting people!) as people want.

I hope to bring my camera on the next cupcake excursion but for now, my memories and people's thanks for the goodies shall have to suffice.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Weekend Cookery

Saturday's Lunch Chickpea Salad with veggie dippers.

Sunday's Dinner Beer Battered Tofish w/ batter fried potato and onion. Another of Quintess' excellent recipes. She even included a mayo and tartar sauce recipes!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spaghetti Squash challenge.

Happy Herbivore Food Blog: HH Contest! Free COOKIES!

The contest is what to do with a spaghetti squash. I actually have this same problem every single darn time I buy one of the lovely veggies. So here I sit, contemplating, what am I in the mood for that showcases the delicate flavor and texture of those sweet yellow strands.

First I would roast the two halves on a baking dish with some lovely olive oil, under each half that is face down though, a bulb of garlic should be placed. Slice off the top part and remove as much paper as possible while keeping the integrity of the bulb intact. Roast it for about an hour I would say, at least. Though I typically buy the GIANT squashes. haha

About 30 minutes into that hour toss in some veggies to roast on a separate olive oil drizzled sheet as well. Like some diced zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, portabello mushrooms and onion in that 350 oven. Probably about 1/2c to 1c of each.

Once everything is out of the oven carefully remove the strands of squash and line an oiled baking dish with the squash and toss in the oven for 10 minutes while you prep the next step. Toss the veggies in a heat proof bowl and season with oregano, basil, rosemary, salt & pepper. In a blender puree a block of extra firm silken tofu with a tablespoon of mustard, lemon juice and 1/2c nutritional yeast. Fold the tofu into the veggies, pour into the casserole dish of squash and bake 30 minutes.

This is kind of a quiche, though I expect the tofu will ooze into the squash and make it lovely. It would probably go great with a drizzle of balsamic on it after plating.

Yup, thats what I would do. Now I have to find a spaghetti squash! Thanks HH for the inspiration.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Potato Leek Soup with Caramelized Shallots

Another Quintess Test Recipe. Lovely, elegant and I need another bowl. YUMMY!

Let me just say that helping test upcoming cookbook recipes is a lot of work especially because I am such a slapdash cook but it does yield some yummy dinners! Imagine, me measuring even salt and diced potatoes! My tiny flower bowls are getting quite a lot of use as measured spice cups. Fun and exciting but I dont know that I am cut out to be a secret tester, I have a hard time not divulging the recipe!

Mexican Fiesta Rice and Perfect Pinto Beans

More secret test recipes for VegWeb's own Quintess' upcoming cookbook. Last night I finally got around to testing out two recipes; Mexican Fiesta Rice and Perfect Pinto Beans.

The rice, though due to my own forgetfulness I had to do a substitution, was amazing. Flavorful, mild and zippy with a hint of lime. The beans, as promised, were perfect. Their natural flavor shown through and the instructions had everything dead on to make a perfect bean without that bursting that occasionally happens.

I ate this whole bowl quite happily and am looking forward to leftovers today! It was absolutely perfect when all mixed together.

This morning I also made another recipe by Quintess; Lemon Poppyseed Muffins. Now my hubby eats two mini lemon poppy muffins for breakfast every day. He was heartbroken to learn his favorite muffins, made by Stop & Shop's bakery, had been discontinued. He is right now tasting two of these muffins with his coffee as he plays World of Warcraft.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Chickpea Salad

Lunch today was simple and light, just right for the first truly beautiful and warm New England day.

Chickpea Salad on a Chibatta roll with cauliflower and whole grain chips. Sparkling Grapefruit Izze was to wash it all down.

Now this sandwich spread is so easy, light and yet full of nutrition and taste. I wish I had measured this but alas I was also making another recipe for a mixed bean salad and just sort of boshed things together as I went.

Roughly this is one can of chickpeas (drained, rinsed and then mashed), minced onion, diced celery, veganaise, dill relish, tiny splash of apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, Hungarian Paprika, dill seed, dry mustard and salt. Once this is all together I placed a healthy scoop on a fresh roll and put a handful of baby spinach on top. So yummy. Though the spread does kind of gush out if you put too much on, so dont do that! Not that I know this for a fact or anything. *cough*

Alternatively you could put this in a tortilla, in a lettuce wrap, on salad, as a dip for crudities, on chips or even just eaten with your fingers. I mean spoon, with a spoon!

Now I have to go get another sammich. nom nom nom

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Moong Dal

This Moong Dal was lovely. The split mung beans had a bit more of a chewy, fibery texture than I am used to in dal's but it was good. The tomato topping on the other hand, was phenomenal. Seriously the best thing to put on any Indian dish, I am thinking.

As this is a cookbook test recipe I cannot divulge the secrets contained in that picture. Just let me assure you, it is awesome!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

More Sweet & Sara review

This afternoon I am indulging in some more of my Sweet & Sara goodies. I whipped up a simple soy milk hot chocolate, made with Ghiradelli Premium Hot Cocoa, and topped it with two quartered marshmallow meltaways.

The cocoa is slightly above comfortable sipping level, temperature wise. So I am slurping just a little bit of air in with the hot liquid. My first sip had a small cube of mallow dancing on my lip briefly with its silky soft side. Thus the second sip I braved the heat and sucked in a warmed bite. Its flavor is delicate and almost completely hidden in the rich hazelnut chocolate but its there. Surrounded by a creamy shell that does melt upon your tongue as quickly as you try to keep the flavor there to savor it. The texture is perfect, slightly firm but silky smooth with just a slight sticky thrown in to keep it held together.

While I sip this cup of sheer euphoria I noticed that they do seem to expand slightly in the liquid. Which is great as I wish I had dropped more in there!

I almost want to cry over this warm cup of mellow sugary goodness. With spring arriving my chance, and desire, to drink hot chocolate wanes. Where oh where were you oh beautiful vegan meltaways five months ago?! Weatherman, bring on the rain and gloom of April showers! I need to enjoy these to their fullest!

Monday, April 7, 2008

I jumped on the band waggon!

The Sweet & Sara band waggon that is! My trip to Whole Foods today netted me the last S'more Pie in original flavor and one small tub of vanilla marshmallows. I nibbled on the pie after my late lunch and groaned in ecstasy at the rich chocolate topping, the sweet graham cookie and gooey marshmallow center. These are pretty substantial in size, I could only eat half, and so rich and delicious. Definitely worth the price I paid for it. I have half left in the fridge and now I simply hope no one here spies it and scarfs it down before me. Should I have licked it in an obvious manner? haha

Other things I got today: Vitamins by VegLife and Floradix Iron & Herbs, white lentils, split mung beans, whole wheat pastry flour, brown basmati rice and yes, my favorite LightLife Balgona. mmm soy!

On my way back to work, since this was my lunch break, I stopped in at Penzeys Spices. All I can really say is WOW. I had six jars in my hands before I even scoped out half the store. Needless to say, I bought about a dozen spices, mostly things I was looking for. My haul? From memory as its all safely out in the car: cumin seeds, arrowroot, Mexican Oregano, brown mustard seeds, sumac, Veggie soup base, and ginger. I know I am forgetting some but the pics will clear up what else I procured tonight.

I do have more shopping to do tonight to round out my weekly menu. Maybe I will get home in time to take a reasonable pic of it that isn't super dark. Cross your fingers!

The whole haul:

Just the spices: