Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mustard-Battered Tofu, Baked Risotto, and Green Beans

The recipe for the tofu can be found here, but in case you don't feel like clicking on the link:

Mustard-Battered Tofu

1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups unbleached white flour or whole wheat pastry
4 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
3 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 to 3 lb. tofu
3 1/2 cups vegetable oil

• Mix together the salt, onion powder, pepper, garlic powder, flour, and nutritional yeast in a deep bowl.
• In a separate bowl, dilute the mustard with 1/2 cup water.
• Add 1/3 cup of the flour mixture to the mustard mixture and stir. Add the baking powder to the dry flour mixture and mix.
• Dip chunks of the mock chicken into the mustard batter, then drop each chunk into the flour mixture and coat with the desired amount of “crust.”
• Fry the chunks in hot oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet or deep fryer until crispy and golden brown, turning as needed.

I didn't use any nutritional yeast in mine, simply because I was all out of it. I only used one package of tofu (which I'd frozen and then defrosted), and I definitely should have halved the rest of the ingredients. This was really tasty, though, and it doesn't have a really strong mustard-y flavor. Shortly after this picture was taken, I dipped my tofu in ketchup. Mmmmm mustard and ketchup. My boyfriend willingly took all of the leftovers for lunch today, so I give this two thumbs up.

The baked risotto is from Nava Atlas's The Vegetarian Family Cookbook (you can see a little bit of the cookbook peaking out of the top of the picture--woopsie). This recipe was so much easier than making risotto the traditional way. Honestly, the one time I made it "traditionally" before, I didn't really like it. That was just me being picky, though, as I don't really like creamy non-dessert stuff all that much. I still had arborio rice to use up, though, and noticed this recipe and thought I'd give it a try. It bakes for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. At first I thought it wasn't going to work at all, as the first couple of times I stirred it looked remarkably like it had when I first put it in the oven. The last time I stirred, though, it had magically turned into something resembling risotto. I thought it was going to be a little too liquidy, so when I was supposed to add a cup of water at the last stirring, I only added half a cup. It's really thick now, so I probably should have followed the directions, but honestly I kind of liked the texture better than the previous time I'd made risotto.

The green beans are nothing special. They are organic ones from a can. I added black pepper and a bit of liquid smoke. They're actually pretty good for beans from a can.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Double Mushroom Barley Soup

Yet another recipe from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. This was, of course, delicious. I originally had checked this book out of the library to make sure that I liked it. I have fallen in love with it and gone ahead and bought it. I highly recommend it. The double mushrooms in this soup are buttons and dried shiitake. After we spent entirely too much money on the shiitake mushrooms at the health food store, we just happened to go to an Asian grocery store the next day and found them for MUCH cheaper. Lesson learned. I also found vegan spring roll wrappers there, which I am very excited about, but have yet to use.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Chocolate Cupcakes!

This is a basic chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I haven't actually eaten one yet, as I'm saving it for dessert, but I had a bit of the frosting and mmmmmm. The top of the frosting reminds me of a kewpie doll. I finally made was able to use my pastry bag without any catastrophes (I'm still not very good at it, but at least I didn't wind up with a big glop of frosting like I usually do). I got new cupcake liners yesterday. I know that you can't see it very well, but it has these hippie-looking flowers on it. So cute!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Potatoes and Onions, Thai Style

This is another (hit) recipe from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. Potatoes and onions, what's not to love? After it was done cooking, I added some Lightlife Chick'n Strips to make it a meal. It's cooked in coconut milk. My boyfriend said that the texture was pretty close to clam chowder. I wouldn't know, as I've never had clam chowder (or any other kind of shellfish), but now I want to play with the basic recipe to make it into some kind of chowder. I'll never really know if it tastes like clam chowder or not. I guess my boyfriend will have to be the taste tester on that one.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fluffy "Buttermilk" Biscuits

This is another recipe from my boyfriend's momma. I am forever in her debt for teaching me to make some decent biscuits. Mine were always kind of hard and dense before, but not now! Folding them over several times while rolling them out really is the trick.

Homemade "Buttermilk" Biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour (sifted) (I subbed 2 cups all purpose flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt)
¼ cup shortening (I used the spectrum stuff and it worked great)
¾ cup "buttermilk" (soymilk + vinegar)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place sifted flour into bowl, add shortening and use pastry blender or fork to cut shortening into small particles.
Add "buttermilk" a little at a time until a medium-soft dough is formed. (More may be needed if dough is too hard.)
Turn out onto floured surface, and dust with more flour. Pat with hands to form ball. For flat biscuits, roll out and cut. For tall biscuits, fold dough in half and pat down about 3 or 4 times then roll out and cut. Place in pan with edges touching. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 – 13 minutes or until golden brown. Yum!!

Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies

Another cookie recipe from Vive le Vegan. I've made these many times before; they are really awesome. We were grocery shopping this weekend and we walked past the maple syrup. My boyfriend asked if I needed any. I said I was all out, but that it's expensive so it could wait until I really needed it for something. "Or...we could have some more cookies." So the maple syrup went into the cart. And the rest is history.

Caribbean Beans and Rice

This was the first dish we made using the pressure cooker my boyfriend got me for Hanukkah. I must admit that even though I am the one who asked for a pressure cooker, I was scared to use it. Have I mentioned that I scare really really easily? This recipe came from Lorna Sass's Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. If this recipe is any indication of the quality of the rest of the book, it is an AWESOME cookbook. We absolutely loved this dish. I think it was one of my favorite dinners yet. I thought I was going to find black-eyed peas to be an odd addition to a Caribbean dish, but they were really good. The only substitution I made in the recipe was to use two jalapeños instead of a red chili pepper, but that was because I already had the jalapeños on hand and needed to use them up.

Broccoli-Mushroom Casserole

As promised, this is the recipe I shared for the Recipe Exchange. It is actually my boyfriend's momma's recipe. She has made it for years in a non-vegan version. When we were visiting for the holidays, she veganized it for me. I liked it so much that she gave me the recipe for it. The casserole in the picture does not have any soy cheese on it, as I was all out. I liked it just as much without the soy cheese, though.

Broccoli-Mushroom Casserole

5 tbsp. Earth Balance, divided
1/3 cup diced onions
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms - sliced
White pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cooking sherry (optional)
1/4th cup all purpose flour
2 cups plain soy milk
1 cup raw rice, cooked according to package directions
16 oz. fresh or frozen broccoli, cooked until tender
1 cup vegan soy cheese (mozzarella or cheddar style), optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle onions and mushrooms with garlic powder, white pepper and salt, then sauté in 3 tbsp. Earth Balance and 1 tbsp. cooking sherry until onions are tender.

In saucepan, melt 2 tbsp. of Earth Balance, remove from heat and add ¼ cup flour. Stir until blended, it may be lumpy. Add 2 cups soy milk a little at a time, stirring with whisk until smooth. Return to medium heat and stir until thickened. Add mushroom mixture to sauce and stir to combine.

In large bowl, combine rice, broccoli, 1 tsp. salt and sauce. Pour into large casserole dish and sprinkle with soy cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Recipe Exchange

A couple of days ago I received this email about a recipe exchange:
You have been invited to participate in a recipe exchange. (for the 2 names above, vegan recipes or non-meat, vegetarian recipes, thanks!)

Please send a recipe to the person whose name is in the number one position above (even if you do not know her or him), preferably something quick and easy without too many ingredients.

Then copy this letter into a new email, move my name to the number one position, and put your name in the number two position. Only your name and mine should appear on the list when you send out your email. Send the email to ten people. If you cannot do this within seven days, please let me know so it will be fair to those participating. You should receive 36 recipes.It is fun to see where these recipes come from. Seldom does anyone drop out because we can all use recipes. The turnaround is fast because there are only two names on the list. Bon Appetite!
I have enough people now and sent off my email--thanks!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bagel (soy) dogs!

I saw these bagel dogs on bunnyfoot's blog and I just had to try them. They are so cute (and tasty)! I was thinking that my package of Yves' veggie dogs had eight links in them, but after I'd already divided the dough in eight parts, I realized there were only six in the package. Hence the twist of bagel dough you see in the picture. The success of the bagel dogs has boosted my confidence to actually try making bagels. I promised my boyfriend a couple of months ago that I would make some. I should probably deliver on that promise.

Coconut Lime Cookies

One word sums up these cookies: yum! The recipe is from Dreena Burton's Vive le Vegan and boy are these some addictive cookies (especially for my boyfriend. He would close the container and tell me he was done, then I'd turn around a little while later and catch him eating another one). They are light and fluffy cookies. My boyfriend dubbed them albino cookies, as he said he'd never seen a cookie turn out so "white." We're weird, what can I say? We are also in love with the chocolate chip cookie recipe from Vive le Vegan. Boy does Dreena know how to make some awesome cookies. My only complaint is that they tend to use quite a bit of maple syrup. She's Canadian, so I want to say that maple syrup is just cheaper there, but she lives in British Columbia and I've never known that province to be famous for it's maple syrup or anything. Then again, I've never been there, so what do I know?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

General Tao's Tofu

This recipe received such rave reviews on vegweb that we just had to try it. I doubled the sauce because I reallyyyy like sauce. It was really good, but I highly recommend cutting back on the sugar. I didn't use as much sugar as the recipe called for and I still thought it was a bit too sweet. For the tofu, I used frozen tofu for the first time. I don't normally plan meals far enough in advance to have time to freeze and then thaw out the tofu, but I finally got around to trying it. I thought the texture was a little odd, somewhere between springy and gummy, but my boyfriend said he actually liked the texture. He also said that this meal got two thumbs up from a carnivore (his words, not mine....technically he'd be an omnivore).

Posole and Beer Bread

The posole recipe came from Lorna Sass's Short-Cut Vegetarian. This might be one of the easiest dinners I've ever cooked. It's sort of a stew (with tomatoes, hominy, black beans, and corn along with some spices). Apparently posole is another name for hominy, although I'd never heard that name before reading it in the cookbook.

The beer bread was another incredibly simple recipe to go with the posole stew (I really feel the need to add the word "stew" to the recipe's name, as it's more than just hominy). I found the recipe here. I used one of the beers my boyfriend had in the fridge, which was an ice brew. I thought that was synonymous with light beer, but apparently it is not. I could kind of taste the bitterness of the beer, but my boyfriend said that ice brews have a slightly higher alcohol content. We'll have to try this again with a "better" beer. The crust got kind of hard, but it was still soft inside. Maybe I'll just turn the oven down a bit next time.

Time Warp Lemon Squares

These were tastier than they look, I promise. The recipe is courtesy of vegweb. They weren't a pretty yellow color because I used flax as the egg replacer. I'm sure Ener-G would have made them look prettier, but I don't normally use the stuff. It's so pricey. I would maybe buy some to use in recipes like this if they came in tiny boxes for a reasonable amount of money, but I don't want to spend more than $5/box for something that's going to just sit in the pantry for years.
I recently read that to help clean the microwave, you should boil some water in it for a couple of minutes. It helps loosen up the icky stuff stuck in there. To make it smell good, you can add lemon slices to the water, so that's what I did with the lemons after I was done squeezing and zesting them.

Bryanna's Soy Nog Muffins

I kept hearing such good things about soy nog (especially the Silk brand), so I really wanted to try some. Now, I've never had egg nog either, but I was disappointed with the stuff. To me, it had an odd banana-ish flavor that I wasn't expecting. I didn't want to be wasteful and just pour the stuff down the drain, so I was excited when Bryanna posted this recipe for some vegan eggnog muffins. I left the cranberries and pecans out of mine because 1) I'm picky and 2) I didn't have any. My topping wasn't as pretty as hers because I was out of Earth Balance and Smart Balance Light does not create a crumbly topping. It was still tasty, though.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Chickpea Coconut Curry

I am the queen of accidentally making dishes too spicy. Oops. I based this recipe off of an eggplant coconut curry recipe I found on vegweb. I used mochi curry that I got in the bulk spice section of the health food store and two tablespoons full was entirely too much. Lesson learned. I cooked the onion in white wine just to use up some more of it, but I'm sure that wasn't necessary.

Chickpea Coconut Curry

2 cans (15 oz. each) chickpeas
1 can straw mushrooms
1 can baby corn
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon curry powder (or 2 if your curry powder is mild or you really like spicy food)
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup coconut milk
fresh ground pepper, to taste

In large skillet over medium heat, cook onion in white wine until softened. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil (may have to increase heat to medium-high). Once boiling, lower heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.

This made a ton (I would say at least 8 servings), so you might want to halve the recipe if you're only cooking for two people or so. I was expecting the sauce to cook down more, but it really didn't.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Tofu Cacciatore

We got some white wine the other day that my boyfriend didn't really care for (and I'm not much of a drinker, so I wasn't going to like it in the first place). I started looking for recipes we could use white wine in and came up with this one from I thought I had all the ingredients going in, but it turns out we were out of the diced tomatoes, so I subbed some marinara sauce we already had in the fridge. We also used more mushrooms than the recipe called for since we really really really like mushrooms. I'd never had any kind of cacciatore before, but we both really loved this. Yum!

Earth Fare, why must you taunt me?

I have made this dish before, but with some vegan feta that I found at our health food store. When I went in there the other day, though, said feta was nowhere to be found. There was no longer even a place for it. I'd already planned to make this dish, though, so I just wound up using some grated Follow Your Heart mozzarella. Since it was made on the stovetop, it melted pretty well. This time I was actually able to find affordable fresh basil to use, too.

Strawberry Muffins

We went to visit my boyfriend's parents in Nashville recently and I wanted to take some breakfast food with me. I found this recipe in Nava Atlas's Vegetarian Family Cookbook. It is the basic muffin recipe with frozen chopped strawberries added in. I think I added about twice as many strawberries as the recipe said; I reallyyyyy like strawberries. These muffins were really easy and they rose pretty well, too. Often when you find vegan muffins at bakeries, they're really dense, but these were nice and fluffy. It's so disappointing when the only vegan food a place sells really isn't very good.

For so long I didn't eat chocolate....

And then one day I just decided that I wanted to again. I have to say, it sure is good.

These are peppermint patties; I got the recipe from SDGvegan's blog, Vegan-licious (recipe here). These were AWESOME. Mint+chocolate=heaven.

This one is candy cane chocolate bark. I found organic candy canes at the local health food store--yay! The recipe is the Sublime Chocolate Bark recipe from Dreena Burton's Vive le Vegan, but I subbed the candy canes for the dried fruit and nuts. I had fun taking a hammer to the candy canes, and I kind of wished that the noisy guy who lives downstairs had been home to be annoyed by it (but I checked and he wasn't--I wouldn't seriously have sat there banging on the floor if he'd been home. Even though he is rude, I just can't be that rude back.).