Sunday, January 24, 2010

Teriyaki-glazed tofu with cracked wheat pilaf with tomato and cinnamon

The tofu is the teriyaki-glazed tempeh from Vegan Planet (only with tofu; here's the recipe on Google Books, page 345), and the pilaf is from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Served with baby bok choy stir fried with garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, a little cucumber-sour cream salad, and fried enoki mushrooms. A fancy meal with lots of dishes, but not as involved to make as it might look, and relaxing timing-wise except for the bok choy right at the end.

I keep buying enoki mushrooms and never really know what to do with them, since they tend to vanish in stir fries and soups, but this is a nice way to cook them, just take a piece, clean it, spread it out gently on a hot oiled skillet, sprinkle with sea salt, let cook until the bottom begins to brown, and flip.

The pilaf is delicious; I've made it many times, and leftovers can be turned into a nice substantial Middle-Eastern-type soup with the addition of some stock, potatoes, garbanzo beans, and a few extra vegetables, maybe with a little tahini drizzled over each serving.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Orange and thyme-scented white bean and 'sausage' chili

...from Vegan Planet. I actually cooked this a few days ago, but my photographs were spoiled owing to the fact that I was so hungry I couldn't wait for it to stop steaming. What decided me to try it was really only that I've been craving citrus and had the other ingredients on hand and not a whole lot of time, but am I ever glad I did. And it was even better after a day or two in the fridge. The recipe calls for orange juice, orange zest, and an optional 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur, so it is very orange-y. Which you might imagine wouldn't mesh well with spicy soy sausage and chili powder…but if you imagined that you would be wrong. It's a mesh made in Heaven.

And the recipe is over on Google Books (page 325). So go try it for yourself!

I first spooned the chili over jasmine rice as suggested, but then last night baked it in a casserole with some of the drop biscuits from Veganomicon, and they were awesome too, light and moist and perfect.

This was served with a little salad of grated carrot, orange slices, a bit of olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper, topped with minced radish. Mmmmm, orange….

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Seitan stroganoff

You can probably detect a certain seitanic theme in recent posts—this is partly because I've just made another big batch of chicken-style seitan and am experimenting with different ways to cook with it, and partly because it's just so darn good. This is a seitan stroganoff I made based on some mushroom gravy left over from a meal at my parents', and with one eye also on Robin Robertson's Wheat-meat stroganoff recipe from Vegan Planet. So…mushroom gravy, with a little additional water mixed with tomato paste, paprika, and some tofu sour cream (whipped up from Vegan Planet's recipe), all proportions to taste, over browned chipped seitan and stir-fried onions and green peppers, all served over wide noodles mixed with a little Earth Balance and poppyseeds.

Tasty, easy, and satisfying. There's just something so right about transforming leftovers into something great that is at the same time utterly different from their previous incarnations!

Green barley and kale gratin

Here's a dish I've wanted to try for a long time, and finally my stars were aligned in that I had some cooked barley on hand, some kale in the fridge, and even some leftover béchamel with a vegetable stock base to add in. After everything came together, it seemed to me that I had too much sauce (not Deborah Madison's fault since my leftovers amounted to a little less barley and a little more sauce than she calls for), so I tossed in a few tablespoons of raw couscous.

Ms. Madison writes about this recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, "Not a dowdy dish at all—the kale turns the barley bright green." Well…I'll let you be the judge of that. I can say that the taste was absolutely delicious, so I'll be making this again. I found the recipe here so I'll share it with you (veganized but otherwise unchanged):

Green barley and kale gratin
from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2/3 cup pearl barley, rinsed
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 large bunch kale, about 1 1/4 pounds stems entirely removed
2 tbsp Earth Balance
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups soy or rice milk or basic vegetable stock
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg


In a saucepan, add the barley to 1 quart boiling water with 1/2 tsp salt and simmer uncovered until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, cook the kale in a skillet of boiling salted water until tender, 6 to 10 minutes. Drain, then puree with 1/4 cup of the cooking water until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Melt the Earth Balance in a small saucepan, whisk in the flour, then add the soymilk or stock. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat, until thick. Season with allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Combine all of the ingredients, check the seasoning and transfer to a lightly oiled baking dish or ramekins.

Bake until lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes. If you’ve used ramekins, run a knife around the edges, then unmold them by giving them a sharp rap on the counter. Present them browned side up.

Served here with oven-fried sweet potatoes, a few seitan meatballs (one tip: don't process the seitan too fine, as I did here, or the balls will be dry), and a simple green salad.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Orange seitan

This recipe is from Tofu 666 of What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway? His photographs are so good, and of course he's so talented at plating, that it's still hard for me to believe that for the first couple of years his blog had no pictures at all, but was just, as the blog title suggests, menus or lists of what he and his family ate that day. It's a good place to go for inspiration! Tofu666 doesn't often post recipes, but this one is here, and except for halving it, I made no changes.

I really liked the sauce and will make it often, though next time would like to try zesting the orange instead of cutting up the peel, adding some hot pepper flakes, and using red or orange sweet peppers for the vegetable part. I've been craving fruit and especially citrus lately, and have a lot of it on hand, so that's likely to be soon.

This was served with baby bok choy stir-fried with oyster mushrooms, garlic, and ginger, and, in honour of Tofu666 and his methods, I even molded the jasmine rice into a half-sphere.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mushroom-caramelized onion rolls with carrot-beet salad and red wine reduction

I considered for a while before posting this, but I'm going to refer to it in my post about tonight's much more wonderful meal [which, my luck, appears below this crabby post], so here is (drumroll, please):

The Morel-caramelized onion rolls with truffled beet salad and Pinot Noir reduction from The Artful Vegan...except I used...

yuba for the phyllo dough
no truffles
a mixture of shiitake and oyster mushrooms for the morels
home brew (Shiraz) for the Pinot Noir

...and I'm ashamed to say this little snack took nearly two hours to put together. Was it worth it? My friends, no. It was okay. But by the time the mushrooms were done, the potatoes had cooled into lumps, and the beet-wine reduction, though tasty, looks gross in the photograph and would have looked even grosser on phyllo dough. Maybe if I had swirled it artfully into the horseradish sauce or something. Well, bah! At least I wasn't crazy enough to buy truffle oil for this.

Taco fusion

This is basically the Sensitive New Age Sloppy Joes from Rebar, only I left out all the sweet and sour stuff, changed the pinto beans to blackeyed peas, and adjusted the spices slightly.

What you do is sweat half an onion in your pan, add some crumbled tofu, chopped red and jalapeno peppers, garlic, cumin, allspice, and chipotle pepper, and stir fry on medium heat for a few minutes, then add a little tomato paste mixed up with a few tablespoons of water, some salt, pepper, chopped fresh tomatoes, and coriander, and oh my! Experiment with this type of dry-ish tofu-bean mixture for yourself: it is pure heaven.

This was served in chapatti, which I ended up having to fold in half over the filling like tacos, along with some shredded fresh vegetables and a neat little sauce from The Artful Vegan, which is just horseradish, tofu, miso, and lemon juice. I didn't much like it with the dish it was presented with there, but in this it was utterly sublime. Though messy.

Also on display is a new experiment in cashew cheese, the Brie from Joanne Stepaniuk's Uncheese Cookbook. What's different about it (at least for me)? The inclusion of tofu, and much less agar than she normally uses. It's delicate and not quite but almost a dip. I love it! I've had it for my lunch in sandwiches for the last two days and over the weekend plan to try it as grilled cheese.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vegetarian Yunnan pot

This recipe is from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Authentic Chinese Cuisine. It intrigued me because of the method, which is as follows:

1. In a wok or skillet, quickly stir fry some vegetables (in this case Chinese cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrot, dried and fresh mushrooms, garlic, and ginger) to sear in the juices but not fully cook.

2. Boil noodles.

3. Make a little cooking sauce with the mushroom soaking water, soy sauce, corn starch, and sesame oil.

4. In a Yunnan pot or ceramic dish, layer the vegetables, some protein (I used oriental-style seitan meatballs from the freezer, but you could also use seitan chunks or oven-fried or deep fried tofu; in any case, some separate cooking is required for all of these choices; I had to bake my meatballs to get them hot and crisp), and the noodles in that order, and top with some green onions. Pour the sauce over everything. Here it is right after steaming (note that the larger pot is a regular Dutch oven, and the cute little red pot that Diane gave me for Christmas fits nicely into it: this is the whole recipe, not halved, and made about five cups of stew):

5. Steam the Yunnan pot on a trivet inside another, larger pot for approximately half an hour until the vegetables have finished cooking. Serve hot.

Can you count the pots? I couldn't manage with less than five, not to mention the bowl for the sauce and the serving dish.

What's good about this recipe? Well, in fairness you do have the opportunity to wash most of the pots and clean the kitchen while the Yunnan pot steams. Meanwhile, in the Yunnan pot, the liquids drop to the bottom and cook the vegetables, while the entire dish is infused with the flavours of the different foods in it. Because they are lifted away from the moist vegetables, the meatballs and the noodles arrive on the plate hot but not soggy.

So much Chinese cooking depends on split-second timing or the whole dish is ruined. But this must be the Chinese equivalent of a casserole, where you can prepare everything in the morning, but not cook it until later in the day. I wasn't, however, doing that, so I felt a little foolish standing over the sink washing dishes, and washing, and washing…

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Caramelized tofu with carrot confetti and slivered almonds

Here's a more colourful variation on yesterday's meal—it's the same caramelized tofu, but cut into tiny cubes and cooked with finely diced carrots. Instead of pecans, I tossed in a handful of slivered almonds. Some of the orange from the carrots appears to have got onto the tofu, turning it mango-bright, which pleased me.

The sauce is another Heidi Swanson offering, from her almond soba noodles recipe. It's just a mixture of almond butter, red curry paste, lemon juice, and water, and it was tasty, though it did instantly congeal on the cooked pasta in a way that's quite delightful if you're eating by yourself, as I was, and have a weakness for pasta that gets all clumped together, as I do, but in my opinion this is not a company dish. While the soba noodles cooked, I set the tofu/carrot/almond mixture aside and stir fried first some slivered red cabbage, and then baby bok choy mixed with green onions.

A nice, relatively fast two-pot supper…

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Caramelized tofu with pecans and Brussels sprouts

I'm back, and I'm starving! Heavy stews and pies aren't really my style, even though they're tasty and easy to digest. But they're just so…brown. Someday I'm going to write a cookbook with a focus on colour-coding meals, how you can just disregard the fusty old traditional food groups so long as you take care to have the full range of the spectrum on your plate at least once a day. This meal doesn't do that, but it has several fetching shades of green, which is good enough for today.

The recipe is courtesy of Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, and since the only changes I made were to skip the cilantro and add a few drops of tamari to the tofu, I'll just direct you over there for the directions, since it is her original recipe.

I will say that the tofu part is like…well, garlic-scented pralines, in a good way. It's crunchy! It's savory! It's sweet! And added to the slightly bitter Brussels sprouts, it's perfect. Thank you, Heidi, once again, for a very easy, very lovely meal.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Baked sweet potatoes with leftover leftovers

I guess this is going to turn into a series about using leftovers despite my best intentions, because my fridge is full of them. Today's work of genius was inspired by this wonderful post on Andrea's blog, though I didn't actually use her recipe but rather looked at the picture, read her excellent post, and then scrabbled through the fridge for ingredients I could use to come up with something similar, while using up some things that really needed to be used, it's the old story all over again but like all those trusty old eternal plots, it never really loses its magic.

Specifically, my sweet potatoes were a little past their prime, not really bake-worthy as wholes, so I peeled them and cut them into large pieces, microwaved the lot for six minutes, then coated the pieces in canola oil, wrapped them in foil, and baked them for another ten minutes or so in the toaster oven so they would caramelize a little and develop that rich, baked-for-an-hour flavour. And they did!

Then I had some bean salad that my mom had made the other day and whose leftovers I was heir to. So I fried some red onion with an end of seitan sausage, added half a sweet red pepper and one very hot jalapeno pepper, garlic, salsa, some tomato paste, a little water, a little red wine, some salt and pepper and cilantro, ooh! All from the fridge! Many containers, goodbye! And then the beans…

Meanwhile, I smashed up a small avocado with some Veganaise…

Here are the beans spooned over the hot pieces of sweet potato with some avocado Veganaise on the side, all sprinkled with cashew cheese and sliced green onions. And yes, it was super! And yes, there are...leftovers.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pot pie parade

Happy New Year, everyone! New Year's is probably my favourite holiday. By general agreement, no one in our family goes out on New Year's Eve; we all hit the sheets early, and if that doesn't sound like much fun, you have to be at our respective houses on the morning of January 1, and see us bounding about all sprightly in an otherwise already weary, hungover world. I have several personal New Year's traditions and am a great lover of fresh starts and resolutions.

This year, I celebrated by making myself some very fancy dishes…which I didn't like much, perhaps because I unaccountably lost my appetite for a few days and was just Eating to Live, which was just so pathetic I can't even describe it.

So I was thrown back on comfort food, in which pot pies played (and are still playing) a starring role. Here's the Almost All-American Pot Pie from the Veganomicon, which was really yummy. I used some seitan, but topped it up with reconstituted crumbs from the bottom of a couple of packets of Soy Curls, which was a good use for those crumbs and worked well in the pie (though I did have to add quite a lot of extra white wine, not a bad thing).

Then yesterday my mom and I both took over some shepherd's pie to Grandma Lulu's (mine vegan, hers not) and had supper there with her.

My pie recipe was a combination of the recipes from Vegan Planet and Veganomicon, with the addition of some cooked lentils from the freezer.

And, perhaps finally, tonight I thawed out some leftover corn and white bean stew, mixed it with the seitan pot pie leftovers, topped it with leftover Veganomicon pastry dough, and made another pie--not shown, for shame, though this pastiche of leftovers was the best of all...