Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A True Southern Meal

The other night, while eating leftover lasagna, my boyfriend told me "I've been looking forward to this meatloaf all night." "Umm...you're eating lasagna." "I know, but I have really been wanting meatloaf, so that's what I'm pretending it is." Cue the vegan meatloaf. I used this recipe (which is actually the first recipe that comes up if you do a google search for "vegan meatloaf"). The taste was pretty good, but it didn't firm up enough, even after sitting for 20 minutes. I would probably search for a different recipe in the future.

The mashed potatoes are this recipe, subbing plain soy milk and Earth Balance Whipped (we hardly ever buy the regular Earth Balance, as we like the texture of the Whipped one, or even of Soy Garden, better...plus, EB Whipped is organic and regular EB is not). The gravy is just the Pacific Foods brand mushroom gravy. I bought the small box of it after Thanksgiving when it was on sale, but it's just been sitting in the fridge ever since. I don't often have a need for brown gravy, so I'm not entirely sure why I bought it.

The green beans are actually from my boyfriend's parents' garden. His momma cans the beans each year. They're so good!

I made a really stupid mistake with the biscuits, hence their lack of fluffiness. My biscuit recipe calls for self-rising flour, and I always sub regular flour with added baking powder and salt. This time, it wasn't until I'd mixed the soy milk into the flour and shortening mixture that I realized I'd forgotten said baking powder and salt. I kneaded it into the dough, but it just wasn't the same. Woopsie.

These are Fig Not-Ins from Vegan with a Vengeance. Before cooking the filling on the stove, I ran it through the food processor. I didn't have quite enough figs, and I wanted them to have a raspberry flavor, too, so I added some raspberry jam to the mixture. It worked nicely! The cookie part is a little harder that I recall Fig Newtons being, but these are still very good. They sure aren't the easiest cookies to put together, though.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

lolo's Crispy Sweet and Sour Seitan

lolo over at the ppk posted about this Crispy Sweet and Sour Seitan. She posted the recipe on her blog, VeganYumYum, and I had all of the ingredients, so I just had to try it. In case you can't tell, I made a batch of seitan recently and I've been trying to use it up. I couldn't decide which of these pictures I preferred, so I posted both.
This was pretty good. I definitely liked the method for making seitan crispy and will try it again with other sauces as well. The sweet and sour sauce was a little vinegary for me, but I think that adding some apricot preserves to it next time will fix that. I also forgot to add the salt, so I'm sure that didn't help.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Another One From Vegan Planet

The actual title of this recipe is "Baked Polenta with Red Beans and Fresh Tomato Salsa," only I used pinto beans and jarred salsa. I had a can of pinto beans on-hand, but only dried kidney beans and I hadn't planned ahead. Plus, pinto beans sounded like they went better with salsa than kidney beans would. I also left out the cilantro in the recipe, simply because I didn't have any, and instead of a small amount of scallions, I used a chopped yellow onion. This was really good. I was worried my boyfriend wouldn't like the polenta, as I fixed a dish using the polenta that comes in a tube a couple of years ago and he didn't care for that stuff that much. Turns out that he loves homemade polenta, though. Yay! Don't be fooled by the title of "baked polenta." You do bake it, but you cook it on the stove first, so you still have the 30-40 minutes of stirring. Now I know how to make grits from scratch, too! I would use white cornmeal for that, though.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Red Curry Seitan and Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

This red curry seitan was such a simple "recipe" (I made it up on the fly). I cut up seitan into bite-size pieces and browned it over medium heat. I added chopped onions and a red bell pepper and cooked them until they were softened. I meant to add a can of straw mushrooms, but I managed to forget it despite the fact that I had it sitting out on the counter. I then whisked approx. 2 teaspoons of Thai Kitchen red curry paste (would cut that back a little next time) into one can of coconut milk. I added this mixture, along with some chopped fresh basil, to the pan of seitan and veggies and let cook until it was heated throughout. Except for the time it took to make to cook the brown rice, this was the fastest dinner I've made in awhile. We had enough for leftovers the next night, which was good because we got home from our day-trip to Atlanta pretty late.

My boyfriend took me to Atlanta this weekend as a belated Valentine's Day present (I was sick on Valentine's Day, so he couldn't surprise me then like he'd wanted to). We ate lunch at Soul Vegetarian, then went to Ikea, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods. At Ikea I got a large whisk (my other one was getting rusty in the handle, plus this new one is silicone-coated so that it won't scratch my pots), a mortar and pestle, a wok ($7!!!), and an apron (also $7!!!). We spent entirely too much money on food, but it was a fun trip. I long to have a Trader Joe's here.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes, from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, of course. So cute! Cutting a Newman-O in half is not as easy as you'd think.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jerk "Chicken" over Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes

The other day I learned that these Morningstar Farms chik'n strips are actually made by Garden Protein International. I have been avoiding Morningstar Farms products for quite some time. For one thing, they make very few vegan products (check this out if you want to contact them to encourage them to cater more towards vegans), but they are also well known for using genetically modified soy. Upon reading on the Garden Protein website that their products are non-GMO, I decided to give these a try. I have mixed feelings on supporting Morningstar Farms. On the one hand, I am giving my money to a company that does things that I disagree with (not that there are many companies that I agree with 100%), but on the other hand, I feel like if vegans don't support new vegan products that come out, the food industry won't see a demand for them and we won't see many new vegan products in the future.

This product was just okay. I wasn't wowed by it, but it wasn't bad either. There is quite a bit of salt in it (but the only other salt I added to the dinner was in the sweet potatoes), but I often expect that from prepared products. Mainly we tried this out of curiosity. I like seitan better, and it's certainly cheaper to make.

I used the jerk marinade from the Millenium cookbook (the recipe was for Grilled Jerk Seitan, if you're looking for it), only I left out the cilantro because I didn't have any. I marinated the defrosted chick'n strips for about half an hour, then took them out of the marinade and cooked them on the stove along with the green peppers for a few minutes. I added the rest of the marinade to that and heated that up. The sweet potato recipe is the one that accompanies the Grilled Jerk Seitan recipe in the Millenium cookbook, although the book refers to them as yams. I never call them yams. The coconut mashed sweet potatoes were definitely my favorite part of this meal. I wish the picture had turned out better, but I didn't realize it wasn't a very good picture until after I'd eaten my dinner. Oops.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Seitan Nuggets

Last week I bought these red potatoes at the produce market and knew that I wanted to roast them. It took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to serve with them, but I finally settled on these seitan nuggets (and green beans). I used the seitan recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, then cut the seitan into nugget-sizes and coated them in some seasoned flour. I let that dry for a few minutes, then dipped them in plain soymilk and then coated them in seasoned bread crumbs. We use the Edwards and Sons brand of bread crumbs. They are expensive, but last for quite awhile. It's so hard to find bread crumbs that aren't full of funk. Even the panko bread crumbs I found at the Asian market contained hydrogenated oil. No thanks! Anyhoo, I baked these nuggets at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then flipped them over and baked for 10 minutes more. They turned out pretty good. I'm sure they would have gotten more of a crispy coating had I fried them, but I try to keep frying to a once-in-a-blue-moon sort of thing.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Chag Purim! (a little late)

"Chag Purim" is "Purim Holiday" in Hebrew. Purim is a Jewish holiday celebrating when Queen Esther saved the Jewish people by foiling Haman's plot to kill all of the Jews (it is the story told in the Book of Esther). The cookies that you see above are called Hamantaschen. They are traditionally served on Purim. There is some confusion over just what the three-cornered cookies are supposed to symbolize. Some say it is Haman's hat, some say his ears, some say his pocket, and others say the name derives from something else entirely. Nonetheless, they are tasty cookies. This is the first time I made a vegan version. I used this recipe, only I creamed together the Earth Balance, sugar, and vanilla first, and replaced the 1/2 cup water with almond milk. I used an all-fruit raspberry jam and chocolate chips as the fillings. This recipe needs some tweaking, as the cookies spread a bit more in the oven than they should have (I'm thinking reducing the baking powder and using one or two "eggs" worth of Ener-G egg replacer might work), but they still taste very good.

The Conclusion of Vegan Planet Week

This is Indonesian-Style Rice with Tempeh. The tempeh is crumbled up, which is why it's not really visible in the photo. This was my least favorite of all of the recipes from Vegan Planet that we tried last week. My boyfriend actually liked it quite a bit, though, so it might just be a personal preference and not a knock on the recipe. The recipe calls for one or two hot red peppers. Said red peppers were nowhere to be found in Knoxville last week, so I used two hot green peppers (I don't know exactly what variety they were...Kroger's doesn't seem to believe in accurately identifying their peppers). I couldn't decide if they were going to be more or less hot than the red peppers would have been. I wound up adding two peppers and I could barely detect any heat in the dish. Maybe the spiciness is what I was missing in this recipe.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Basic Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I am absolutely in love with this peanut butter frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. It's not too sweet like frosting so often is. I swear my boyfriend told me one day that he doesn't really like peanut butter mixed with chocolate, so I hadn't made these cupcakes even though I wanted to (I'm not going to make cupcakes if I don't have someone to help me eat them). Then one day he swore that he never said such a thing and that the cupcakes sounded tasty to him. And tasty they were. With the frosting not being too sweet this time, I can even eat a whole cupcake!

It's Vegan Planet week around here.

Before we go grocery shopping on Sundays, I sit down and pick out a few recipes to make for the week. This week everything I picked was from Vegan Planet. On Sunday night we had Not-So-Dirty Rice, but I didn't take a picture of it because I've posted it on here before. We added mushrooms to it this time, which made it even more awesome. Have I mentioned how much we like mushrooms?

This is a Red Bean and Sweet Potato Curry served over brown rice. It uses curry powder, so it's not exactly an authentic curry, but it was simple to make and pretty tasty. The recipe suggests pureeing a portion of it and then mixing it back in if you like a creamier sauce. I might try that in the future (I was in a hurry the night I made this).

This one is Tofu and Vegetable Lo Mein. I hadn't had snow peas in a very long time and had forgotten how good they were. The recipe said to use either eggless Chinese noodles (that's not very specific...I'm pretty sure there are different kinds of Chinese noodles) or linguine. I went with whole wheat spaghetti since I already had it on-hand. There is shredded cabbage hiding in there, even though you can't really see it. I have no desire to sit there and actually shred cabbage, so I just buy it already shredded for coleslaw. The lo mein was good and, like the other recipes above, simple to prepare. I haven't really come across anything in Vegan Planet thus far that I've found to be complex to make. There will be another recipe from the book coming up here. I think it was an Indonesian rice dish that I picked out.

Cheddar Biscuits!

I've been wanting to make some sort of cheddar biscuit for awhile, and I finally got around to doing it. I used Follow Your Heart cheddar for this, and was surprised at the results (seeing as how I don't think the FYH cheddar tastes like much of anything at all). I used the biscuit recipe my boyfriend's momma gave me, but added 1/2 cup flour and 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder to make up for the extra liquid I would be adding with the melted soy cheese. I didn't think the soy cheese would melt into the biscuits very well if I didn't melt it ahead of time. I melted a cup of shredded cheddar soy cheese into about 1/4 cup of plain soymilk on the stove and added 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast for some extra cheesy flavor. I prepared the biscuits as directed in the original recipe and added the melted soy cheese mixture along with the "buttermilk". I followed the original recipe for baking them. They didn't turn out as fluffy as their predecessors, but were still pretty good.