Monday, March 31, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

You are right-- Shepherd's Pie is not Irish. It's actually Scottish, then English, and can really be found by different names all over the world. It's also not on the menu I came up with... 3 hours ago. But guess what? I don't care. I was going to make bangers but I wanted to finish my leftover chickpea stuff before making another batch of seitan. So I made this, and you know what? They probably eat it in Ireland, too. Meat + potatoes. Can't go wrong.

So I used the four remaining pieces of 'chickpea-en' (worst name ever, see!) from the other day, but you can also use 8 oz. of tempeh, crumbled, or 8 oz. seitan, chopped into little itty pieces. My mom used to make vegetarian Shepherd's Pie when I was younger (and non-veg when I was real young, that's what hooked me!) but I learned to make it myself from a recipe in the Student's Go Vegan Cookbook by Carole Raymond. I modified it slightly and make it from memory now, so I'll post it here. I hope that's okay, Carole!

One more note. Apparently I eat too much salt, which is not surprising at all because I do eat huge amounts, so I am working on adjusting my palate to a less sodium-demanding one. If you are not, you can add more salt, but I think this tasted just fine (plus 1 tsp. is still a lot. I have a long way to go).

Shepherd's Pie
Serves 2-4

  • 3 medium russet potatoes, washed and cubed (I don't peel them)
  • 1/2 c. soymilk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. tempeh or seitan
  • 2 carrots, chopped small
  • 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. frozen or fresh peas
  • 1 c. reserved potato water
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 tsp. dried, rubbed sage
  • 1/8 tsp. mace
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Paprika

1. Place the potatoes in a 2 qt. saucepan and fill 3/4 of the way with water. Bring to a boil, lower to medium-low heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain, being sure to save the water for later. Add the soymilk and mash until creamy, flavoring with salt and pepper. Then, preheat your oven to 375 degrees!
2. Heat oil in your skillet over medium heat (I sauteed in water as per the Happy Herbivore's suggestion). Throw in your onions and cook until soft. Add the seitan, carrots and peas and saute for a few more minutes.
3. Add your spices, stir, then add the 1 c. potato water and cornstarch mixture. Stir over medium heat until it thickens. Lower the heat to a (low) simmer, cover, and let cook for aout 10 more minutes.
4. Spoon the seitan mixture into medium sized, oiled casserole dish. Cover with the mashed potatoes, and for extra color, sprinkle generously with paprika. Stick in the oven and bake until golden! (20 minutes or so).

A New Idea

This idea might not last very long, but I though it might be fun to try to theme my cooking adventures. As much as I enjoy reading the other vegan blogs out there, I'd like to do something that sets me apart, and I'm really not. So I thought I would try to tackle cuisine not normally associated with vegetarians or vegans. Those that come to mind immediately are French, Irish/British, Cuban... just to name a few. I should be able to name more, which is more proof that I need to expand my global-culinary-knowledge.

In the future I'd like to check out books from the library and veganize recipes, but this week I'm using the internet, and I chose Irish cuisine.

Now, looking at the options sort of makes me feel nauseous. I haven't eaten a "meat and potatoes" diet ever in my life, and I don't really want to. But I'm going to anyways. And somehow I'm going to find a way to still incorporate whole grains and a lot of vegetables (I like potatoes, but we aren't lovers or anything).

Here's the menu for this week:

Bangers and Mash (I'm told this is the British name, but the dish still exists in Ireland)
Dublin Coddle
Pea and Ham Soup
Boiled Bacon and Cabbage
Parsnip and Apple Soup

Blech. That sounds disgusting. Wish me luck! Oh, and Phil gets to make two meals of his choice this week, so hopefully we'll get a break at some point. I'll post the recipes and pictures as I go.

Oh, I almost forgot. This is part of the promise I made myself that I mentioned in the last entry, which is: I'm not buying any more vegan cookbooks. Gifts are fine, but for the time being I'd like to use what I've got and learn from other people. Sort of like the mentality behind 101 Cookbooks, ya know? Okay, that's all!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Creamy Pasta With Crispy Chickpea-en

First of all, this morning I woke to a fire in the first floor of my apartment building-- or more accurately, I woke to firefighters, smoke, confusion and panic. Everyone is safe, but I have to say that opening my apartment door to a hallway full of smoke was really scary. But you know what's scarier? The fact that no one's smoke alarms went off.

Anyways, luckily the fire was in an empty apartment so no one was hurt. Also, despite being scared, I knew I was safe because no one was breaking my door down to rescue me-- I mean, it clearly was contained. But the smoke burned my throat like crazy! I couldn't imagine 'fighting fire' as a career. I've always really respected and admired fire fighters, but being in a extremely mild fire-situation and seeing how scary it is really puts their responsibilities into perspective. So, yay for fire fighters! And police officers! Thank you for putting your life on the line to protect others every day. :)

So, now that that's out of the way, I'd like to share today's luch with you. I really need to go grocery shopping, but I had some things I thought I could use, namely frozen peas, pasta, a can of chickpeas, and various types of flour. I keep reading about these mysterious and wonderful "Chickpea Cutlets" from Veganomicon. But I don't have Veganomicon, and I don't think I'm going to buy it, because I made myself a promise recently (more on that later). So, armed with what I've learned recently about making your own faux meat, I decided to make my own. I'll call it Chickpea-en, because that's the worst name I can possibly thing of. Thanks to Vegan Dad for this, as his blog introduced me to the art of steamed gluten.

Makes 6 pieces

  • 1/3 c. vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour (or ww pastry)
  • 1/3 c. bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • pinch of turmeric for color
  • 1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. water

1. Mash the chickpeas well in medium sized bowl.
2. In another bowl, add all of the dry ingredients together, i.e. flours and spices.
3. Add the dry to the chickpeas and cut them together with a fork. Once combined, add the water and knead for up to five minutes, or until the wet ingredients seem well absorbed.
4. Get the water simmering in whatever you use to steam stuff **. Divide into 6 pieces and press flat. Wrap each into a little packet of tin foil and place them into your steamer. Steam for about 30 minutes and you're done.

Here they are just out of the tin packet:

I made a cream sauce from a roux, and I wasn't very impressed by it, so I'm not going to post the recipe. But the peas were a nice touch. I also breaded and baked the chickpea-en just like my baked 'fried chicken' (I didn't fry it this time!) and it dried out so much. I don't think there was enough moisture in it to withstand the oven.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Apple Flax Muffins

I think I'm finally getting the hang of baking muffins, because these turned out really well. I wanted to try something different, but I love my chocolate carob-chip muffins, so I decided to make two half batches. Also, Phil forced his camera on me, hence the close-up. My camera doesn't have that skill, so it's nice to get those pretty flax flax seeds in focus!

Also, inspired by Happy Herbivore, I replaced the oil with apple sauce in both of my muffins. It was a no-brainer in these since they had apple sauce anyways. So moist and tasty!

Here's my half-recipe. Feel free to double for a full one.

Apple Flax Muffins
Makes 6 muffins

  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. golden flax seeds, plus more for tops
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. apple sauce
  • 1/2 an apple, thinly sliced, chopped and peeled
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1/2 c. sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare your muffin pan (i.e. grease it or flour it if you need to).
2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, flax seeds and cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Make a little well in the center and add water, apple sauce, chopped apple and the sugar last. Stir well until moist evenly throughout.
4. Distribute evenly throughout 6 muffin thingies. Sprinkle generously with flax seeds and bake for 20 minutes.

AND EAT! Without guilt.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

When Phil Cooks and Vegan Oytser Sauce

That is what happens when Phil cooks. (plus a huge bowl full of his guacamole and baked tortilla chips he made for me b/c I said I don't want deep fried crap anymore).

Yes, I know what you are thinking, because I am thinking it too: "Why don't you let him cook every night?" He certainly wants to. Actually lately he's been feeling left out in the kitchen, which is why I suggested he make some Mexican food (his favorite). But I started this blog to encourage myself to cook and become more creative in the kitchen. And I was feeling left out before. So I guess we need to find a balance.

Anyways, I don't know what he did and he's at work right now. But we used the seitan recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance which is also on the PPK forums here. He wanted to make 'skirt steak', whatever that is, so we combined forces and sweated stretching it out. It seriously looked like intestines or pig stomach, or something amazing that I will never touch or eat unless someone's life depended on it. He also added some herbs and spices that he had hand-ground in our new mortar and pestle that he loves. It ended up being more like chicken when we cooked it, he says, but I don't really know what he's talking about. We were thinking maybe baked seitan will yield a more steak-like texture-- next time we'll try that.

We used quinoa instead of rice, and a combination of black and pinto beans, and he made some awesome sauce for the seitan. Phil's guacamole is magical, and I think even if he were here he wouldn't tell me the secrets. Delicious! We stuffed ourselves that night!

Moving on-- last night I made a classic 'cleaning the fridge' dinner. And for some random reason, I just so happened to have dried mushrooms (go fig).

So I found a recipe for vegan oyster sauce (recipe at very bottom) on Bryanna Clark Grogan's blog and decided to use it! I'm still on an orange kick, so that had to be included, as well.

As for the stir-fry, it was strange, but I'll give a recipe anyway.

'Chicken' with Oyster Sauce
Serves 2

  • Enough seitan for two people, chopped into pieces
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1/3 c. peanuts
  • 1 large portobello mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. broccoli or other green veg (i used green beans... eh)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, sliced
  • 3/4 c. Bryanna's oyster sauceor alternative
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tsp. oil

1. Heat oil over medium heat in skillet. Add the leeks and garlic and cook until they start to wilt, then add seitan. If you need to, add 1/4 c. water to keep everything from sticking.
2. Throw in the mushrooms and cook about five minutes, or until they are soft. Add peanuts, ginger, and oyster sauce and continue cooking.
3. Roll the orange on your counter, applying pressure-- this makes it yield more juice (i've also heard you can microwave it, but i don't have a microwave). Cut it in half and squeeze the juice of one half into the stir-fry.
4. Once everything is cooked to your preference, spoon it over quinoa or rice and garnish with clices from the other half of the orange.

The leeks make a really interesting texture in a stir-fry. It was delicious!

Until next time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Orange Pesto and Homemade Bread

I have two things to share this evening, and the first is what's in this picture. Forget the fake meat and concentrate on what's below: Orange Pesto.

I was off from work yesterday and I spent the whole day baking. When it was time to start cooking dinner, I wanted something easy but flavorful, and my first thought was, 'Pesto!' It had been a while. Pesto and I used to be good friends, but within the last couple of years Phil and I will more often make a big, tast batch of red sauce and fill our pasta quota that way. But Phil wasn't home, so I decided to change it up.

Once I started making it and I got to the part that requires lemon juice, I reached for my lone lemon and stopped, hand hovering above the fruit bowl. Beneath the lemon lay about 8 oranges, and I couldn't help but wonder what that would taste like. Super weird? I wondered. Probably. But I had to find out.

What resulted was a really subtle sweetness, and you've got to try it, I tell you! I love pesto, and pesto loves me. It's really simple and can be made by taste and sight, but I'll give a simple recipe anyway.

Orange Pesto
(enough for 2-3 servings of pasta)

  • 1/3 c. raw pine nuts
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c. basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • juice of one orange
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • optional: 2 Tbsp. nurtitional yeast

1. Begin by dry roasting your pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat. While you're doing this (just keep an eye on it and shake the pan every now and then. it only takes about 5 minutes) you can prepare, or begin to prepare, your other ingredients.
2. Throw everything, including 1 Tbsp. oil, in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If you want it more creamy, add more oil. Feel free to add more salt and some pepper to taste!

I served this with some homemade bread (see below) and a salad made of baby greens, toasted walnuts and orange sections. The dressing was a homemade red wine vinaigrette (had anyone else ever noticed that Sandra Lee says "vineger-ette" or am the only loser that watches that show? and i hate it, that makes it worse) with a bit of the pesto whisked in for bite. Yum!

As for the homemade bread:

My first loaf! I used Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipe for 100% whole wheat bread. However, she recommends using potato flakes or potato water when proofing the yeast, and I could find no instant potato at silly Essene! Apparently that gives it a lighter texture, so maybe that's why mine didn't rise as much. Regardless, it has really good flavor, and I will do this recipe again with the potato water. I also sprinkled golden flax seeds on the bottom of the pan and on top of the loaf for added flavor, nutrition and crunch!

Bryanna has a lot of pretty awesome information on her website and her blog. Since I really want to stop buying processed stuff (even Tofutti cream cheese, which I worship) and start making as much from scratch as is practical/possible, I forsee her website as being an invaluable resource!

Phil's making dinner tonight-- he's experimenting with seitan for the first time, and I get his homemade guacamole.. yum.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Vegan Baked "Fried Chicken"

I had planned on making completely fat free 'fried chicken', and I did, for a moment. Then temptation got the better of me and I fried them in the skillet. However, I really think they would have been better if I'd left them just baked-- they were crispy, perfectly seasoned, and the oil really just added a gross feeling afterwards. So now I know!

I made my 'chicken' from scratch and I'll list the recipe, but you can use premade seitan if you want. This seitan came out a little spongier than I'd meant-- I'm still new to the seitan thing. Could that be from overcooking? Next time I think I will marinate tempeh and use that instead.

Seitan Chicken

  • 2 c. vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/4 soymilk
  • 6 c. vegetable broth

1. Mix the dry ingredients well, then add the wet ingredients and use a fork to cut the wet and dry together.
2. When the fork no longer does it, knead with your hands for about 3 minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then knead 5-10 more times.
3. Put your broth onto heat, and while it's warming, cut the dough into 8-12 pieces and shape each into a drumstick (is that the right word? I don't remember) shape, if you want.
4. Drop the pieces into the broth, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Now, onto the crispy part.

Vegan Baked "Fried Chicken"
serves 2-3 (2 in our house)
  • 6 drumsticks from above, or whatever you want to use
  • 1/4 c. dijon mustard
  • 1/3 c. instant oats OR regular oats, pulsed a few times in the food processor
  • 1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix together the dry ingredients in a shallow dish or on a plate.
3. Slather the mustard onto your mock-chicken, making sure each is well coated.
4. Dredge the mock chicken through the dry coating, and do your best to get it as covered as possible.
5. Spread the coated pieces of seitan on a baking sheet. I didn't oil mine, but you can if you want (lightly), as it will help to crisp the outside.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, remove, flip each piece over, and bake for 10-15 minutes more.

And voila! It smells good, don't it? Here's where I got bad. I coated them in cornstarch and pan fried them in oil. But since I coupled them with Happy Herbivore's Fat-Free Mashed Potatoes I figure I could have been more bad. I recommend not frying them, though, if you can stand it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sticky Buns and friends

The other day, as I loaded gooey, soft and ..buttery.. sticky buns on a tray at work, I thought, 'Damn. I wish these were vegan.' I know they're bad for you, and I am trying to be healthy, but I don't even remember the last time I had a sticky bun. What do they even taste like? Why are people so obsessed with them, and why do they get angry at me when we sell out? So many mysteries for such a small(ish) gooey thing.

Well, I decided right then and there to make some vegan ones, and upon googling a bit I discovered no vegan sticky bun recipes. Now, I'm sure there are some somewhere, but they didn't get snagged by google, so they did me no good. I did, however, find a vegan cinnamon bun (which is almost a sticky bun, but without the sticky), and I used it for some guidance. That can be found here. Mostly, however, I just adjusted this recipe. My only qualm-- I might add vanilla extract to the dough next time. Also, I didn't have any corn syrup so I used a bit of molasses. In case you ever wondered, they're not the same. Oops. Now I know.

BTW, you want a rectangular baking pan (9x13) for this.

Vegan Sticky Buns-- Hoorah!


  • 3/4 c. warm water (not hot! that kills the yeast)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. soymilk
  • 2 Tbsp. soy margarine
  • 3 Tbsp. applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour

  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2-4 Tbsp. canola oil or melted margarine

  • 3/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 Tbsp. soy margarine
  • 3 Tbsp. brown rice syrup OR honey
  • 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup (or 1 tsp. molasses, if you're me)
  • 1 1/2 c. raw pecans

1. Proof the yeast by stirring the maple syrup into the warm water and adding the yeast. Set it in a warm place (my apartment is so cold that I had to sit it on the edge of the stove with the oven on and the door open a little). It should take 5-10 minutes to get all foamy. If it doesn't get foamy, ditch it and try again. In the past I have shrugged and used it anyways, and that wasn't smart of me. Don't be un-smart, like me. Be smart.
2. I don't have a stand mixer, but if you do, use it. Otherwise, combine the yeast mixture with the soymilk, margarine, applesauce, orange zest, salt, and 2 c. all purpose and 1 c. ww pastry flour. Once it starts to get doughy, dump it onto a pile of the last cup of flour and knead it, working all the flour in. This should take somewhere between 5-10 minutes. It will still be a little wet, but it shouldn't stick to your hands or the counter anymore. Roll it into a ball, flour it lightly, and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for an hour in a warm place.
3. While the dough is rising, you can prepare the filling and the topping. First the filling. It's super easy-- just mix the cinnamon with the brown sugar until it's all combined.
4. For the topping, simply combine all of the ingredients except the pecans in a small saucepan, heat, and stir until combined. Pour into your oiled baking pan and sprinkly pecans all over the top.
5. Cover your work pace with plastic wrap or wax paper, and flour it. Once the dough has doubled in size, dump it onto that surface and roll it out into a rectangle. I sort of eyeballed 12x18". Then, brush the oil or margarine all over it, and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over it all, too. Now for the kind of tough part! Use the wax paper or plastic wrap to roll it up (roll from one of the longer sides, so that there's less to roll and more to cut) coaxing it along but not rolling the actual paper or plastic.
6. Cut it into about 12 pieces and place them side by side on top of the pecans in the baking pan. Now, you have two choices. You can either let it rest an hour, and hope that it rises while it bakes, or you can let it rise overnight. I did the overnight thing, so I don't know what happens with less resing time. Either way, cover the pan with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge until ready to bake.
7. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degree and let the buns settle back to room temperature. Then bake for about 30 minutes-- until golden-- and flip immediately upside down onto a serving plate or baking sheet, or whatever is big enough. And enjoy!

I also want to share what we've been eating lately.

Fettucine Alfredo from this months VT:

VeganYumYum's Crispy Sweet and Sour Tofu:

Also from VeganYumYum, Gobi Matar Masala with Aloo Parathas:
I think that one was a little undercooked-- we were in a hurry. But the parathas were amazing...

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Almost-Perfected Muffins: Chocolate Orange with Carob Chips and Walnut (whew!)

As unappealing as "almost-perfected" may sound, these really are quite delicious. I do think I can make them better-- bigger, fluffier, etc. Perhaps a bit more liquid would do, as these used very little. I also finally figured out that the temperature being too low was the reason for my muffin cave ins... they had been rising and then caving every time. See? I'm learning! It's so exciting.

Another perfect morning pick me up (those carob chips really do it for me!)

Chocolate-Orange with Carob Chips and Walnut Muffins

  • 2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp. Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. canola/safflower/sunflower/coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • 1/2 c. water
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/2 c. carob chips
  • 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
  • oats for topping

1. preheat oven to 400 degrees and oil your muffin pan or muffin cups.
2. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, Ener-G powder and salt. Make sure it's completely mixed (my baking powder is driving me nuts w/ clumps lately).
3. In medium bowl, combine oil, brown sugar, vanilla, orange juice and zest. Mix well, then fold into the dry ingredients gently. Stir the water in last.
4. Once everything is combined, fold in the walnuts and carob chips. If it's too thick, feel free to add another 1/4 - 1/2 c. water. I didn't, but I probably will next time, as they came out pretty crumbly.
5. Divide batter between 12 cups, then sprinkle tops with oats.
6. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes on middle rack, then let cool before eating!

Yum! I love chocolate muffins... especially when they are good for you!

Oh, and I also wanted to share this:

That is the Classic Quiche from Vegan Vittles. I made it last night, adding steamed broccoli for a green veggies boost. It was pretty good! A little sticky, but Phil had leftovers for lunch and he said it was better after he left it in the oven a little longer. I think that, since I used a glass casserole dish in lieu of a pie pan, I should have added 10 minutes or so to the baking time (which i didn't). But it was good enough to try again! I wish I could post the recipe...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Potstickers with Baby Bok and Red Cabbage

This is not traditional in any sense of the word, but I got a craving for potstickers and that craving had to be satisfied. Since all of the wonton wrappers at Whole Foods had egg in them, I decided to make my own. However, this is pretty labor intensive, and I have a pasta roller-thingy that my mom passed on to me, so if you don't feel like spending an hour kneading, rolling and flouring, buy some at an Asian food market.

So, what you're seeing in that picture is leftover 'sausage' (Vegan Dad's recipe), red cabbage, baby bok choi, potstickers (true to their word, they stuck... and tore), and brown rice. Yum! Here's how you do it.



  • 1 package eggless wonton wrappers
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil for potstickin'
  • 1/2 recipe for sausage, roughly chopped
  • 1 c. cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 c. red cabbage, shredded small
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Dipping sauce:
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper

1. Heat the sesame oil in a skillet. Add the mushrooms, cabbage and onions. Saute until soft (4-7 min) then remove from heat.
2. Lay your wrapper flat. Place a spoonful of filling in the center, then a few chunks of sausage. Fold the wonton in half so the edges meet, and being sure to get the air out, press the edges together. Set on a floured plate until ready to fry them. Repeat as many times as you want!
3. When you're ready to cook them, heat the canola oil in your skillet over medium heat until hot. Place the potstickers in the pan so that they all touch the bottom and let cook for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them. You can see the progress by lifting them up, if you need to check.
4. Once they are crispy, add enough water (between 1/2 c. and 1 c.) to cover the bottom. Don't worry-- it's normal for the water to pop and fizzle a lot. Cover with lid and let them steam for 5 minutes or so. Remove the lid and continue cooking until all the water is evaporated.
5. Whisk together the dipping sauce and serve immediately with a side of brown rice, and sauteed veggies. I sauteed baby bok and red cabbage in sesame oil with minced garlic and soy sauce.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bratwurst Sandwich and Potato Crisps with Garlic Mayo

I'm already posting again? You can tell that today's my day off from work and that Phil isn't home, can't you? Well, after this I swear I will record and possibly even redo my webpage, something that really needs to be done. But I had such a yummy lunch that I just to share.

While perusing my normal collections of vegan food blogs, I realized to had almost all the ingredients to make Vegan Dad's bratwurst recipe that he just posted. I've been wanting to try one of his steamed sausage recipes, so I thought, why not! At first I considered going and getting some sauerkraut. In fact, I put on my coat and scarf and walked all the way downstairs, and even started to open the front gate-- then I thought I'd rather saute onions and bell peppers.

I also realized that I really wanted chips or fries to complement the sandwich. See, I'm a fried-potato-addict. One of the hardest steps in my "get healthy project" is walking past a bag of chips. Once Phil and I bought fries at 1 am and ate them in bed (gross, but great), then passed out immediately afterwards. So it's been a challenge to leave my best friend Fried-Potato behind.

So instead I made use of the 5 lbs of russet potatoes I had and made baked fries with virtually no oil (just some Pam on the pan) and a yummy mayo dip.

Bratwurst Sandwich For One!


  • one bratwurst from Vegan Dad's recipe (freeze or refrigerate the other five)
  • half a small onion, sliced thinly into rings
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • half a red bed pepper, sliced into strips
Potato Crisps
  • 1-2 potatoes depending on size, sliced into fries-sized strips
  • cooking spray such as Pam
  • salt and pepper
Garlic Mayo (this makes a good amount, so feel free to cut it in half if you don't want to store it)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp. vegan mayo
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar (not seasoned) or lemon juice
  • 1 -2 tbsp. all natural ketchup
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prepare bratwurst and get them steaming (35 minutes).
3. Evenly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, and lay the potato slices out so that they are all flat and touching the pan bottom. Wrap the garlic cloves in tin foil and place on the baking sheet with the potatoes. Bake for about 30 min, turning them halfway.
4. While the brats are steaming and the crisps are crisping, whisk all of the dip ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside and get your onions and bell peppers sliced.
5. When the brats are done, heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add a bratwurst, covering it in the onions, and cook until the brat is browned and the onions and peppers are soft.
6. Lower the oven temp to 200 degrees. Leave the potatoes in to keep warm, but take out the tin foil packet of garlic, unwrap, and squeeze the roasted garlic directly into your dip. Give it a quick stir, and set aside.
7. Assemble your sandwich either by slicing the brat long-ways and putting it between two slices of whole grain bread with the onions and peppers, or use a hoagie roll. The dip is good on the sandwich, too! Remove the potatoes from the oven when you're ready for them, and drizzle some of the mayo on them.

Now it's time to be productive!

Chickpeas a la King

I don't remember much about the first few years of vegetarianism, which I guess means my mom, who was not a vegetarian, did a good job feeding me (she's the best mom, truly). I do, however, know what meat I never tried as a meat eater, and Chicken a la King is one of them. In fact, I had no idea what it was before I came across 'Chickpeas a la King' in Jo Stepaniak's Vegan Vittles the other day.

Oh, it was heaven.

I served it over quinoa and steamed some peas and carrots for the side.

The recipe is already online here, so I will just post it as well. However, I must say-- if you like this, buy her cookbook! It's vegan comfort food, but healthy. And it's tastes great. I didn't use it much in the past because I've always been afraid of nurtitional yeast. But now we're best friends!


Chickpeas A'la King

Recipe By :Joanne Stepaniak

Submitted by: Sue in NJ

Nutritional info is for regular Rice Dreams rice milk. A fat-free soy or rice milk would give this recipe an even lower fat and calorie count.

1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup red bell pepper -- chopped
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme -- crumbled
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups rice milk -- or low-fat soymilk or other non-dairy milk
1 1/2 cups chickpeas -- 1-15oz can, rinsed & drained
1/2 cup scallions -- finely chopped

1. Sauté the mushrooms & bell peppers in water or veggie broth (original recipe called for oil) for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly so they don't stick or brown. Stir in the flour, then add nutritional yeast and spices and continue cooking & stirring for another minute.

2. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the milk, mixing constantly to avoid lumps.

3. Return to heat to continue cooking. Stir constantly until thickened, then add chickpeas & scallions and continue cooking another 3-5 minutes or until the chickpeas are thoroughly warmed.

4. Serve at once over biscuits, rice, noodles or toast points.

Serving Size : 4

"Use chickpeas, not chicken in this old fashioned entrée. You're bound to get compliments that will make you crow. Serve it over rice, toasted bread triangles, or split biscuits. - Jo Stepaniak"

"Vegan Vittles - Recipes Inspired by the Critters of the Farm Sanctuary"

Monday, March 10, 2008

Carob Chip Chocolate Cranberry Muffins

***Update: Upon eating several of these, I have changed the recipe calling for brown rice syrup. It's too much moisture and weight, causing the muffins to cave, and it carmelized the outside. I would also recommend using fresh fruit or canned fruit (in juice, not syrup!) if you can.***

Alright, it's true-- I'm a breakfast girl. I need it. Without it, I get dizzy, irritated, snacky, and just unpleasant. However, I have one demand when it comes to my breakfast choice (aside from it being vegan) and that is that it makes me feel GOOD. This doesn't include brunch, which can be as filling and unhealthy as it likes.

At any rate, Phil doesn't like breakfast, and on top of that, I wake up really early for work and I don't usually want to make something. So I started making muffins! A batch a week or so, and you're good for breakfast. It's great. I munch in the car, chase it with coffee, and I'm stomach-ache free (i get stomach aches when I eat too much at work, who knows why).

I'm trying to perfect my muffin-making-skills. This muffin is nice because the carob chips offer a little morning-time lift. My batch was with cranberries but I had cherries in mind (none at the store). Also, if you don't want to use brown rice syrup, sub that half cup for 1/4 c. brown sugar and 1/4 c. reg.



  • 3/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. ener-g egg replacer powder (you can probably omit this, but it helps a bit)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. all-natural sugar
  • 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dutch cocoa powder (why Dutch?)
  • 1 c. oats
  • 1/2 c. carob chips
  • 1/2 fresh or canned cranberries or cherries
  • 12-36 raw pecans, depending on how many you want to top each muffin with
  • 1/2 c. soymilk
  • 1/4 c. neutral-tasting oil
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil your muffin pan! Place dried berries in a bowl and fill with boiling water until just covered.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients except the oats, berries, carob chips, and pecans. In a medium bowl, mix the wet ingredients well. Fold the wet into the dry, being careful not to overmix.
3. Drain the fruit. Fold in the oats, carob chips and berries one by one until you have a consistent looking batter.
4. Use a spoon to evenly distribute the batter in your muffin pan (you can also buy foil muffins cups that work without a pan. Just don't forget to oil them!). Then, resisting the temptation to simply eat all the pecans, gently set 1-3 on each muffin.
5. Pop in oven. Bake for 20-24 minutes. These rise quite a bit and don't look or feel done until they cool, so test with a knife or toothpick after 20 min (otherwise you'll get crunchy ones like mine!) and be careful not to over bake. Cool on rack if you have one, or straight in the pan.

And enjoy! I'll leave you with Phil's chili-- his specialty, and my favorite thing to come home to at the end of the day...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tempeh Burgers and Music

I woke up for work this morning at 5:30, did my thing, got to work at 6:15, even dropped by Starbucks for a small one. All along, however, I had a sinking feeling I was scheduled for the PM shift.

And I was.

So I drove home, arriving just before 7am, and flitted about until Phil woke up. Drove him to work cause its rainy. Sat on my butt. Wondered if I should go back to sleep.

Well, I didn't. I recorded the whole day, and it felt great. When I went back to work I was in such a good mood as a result of being so musically productive (even though recording is frustrating for me while it's happening). I wish I could be like that every day! The down side is that recording is incredibly time consuming, and I never really get anywhere if I don't have at least 2 hours to dedicate to it. But it was to have that opportunity today and actually use it.

I took a lunch break and made Vegan Dad's Perfect Tempeh Burgers, which are so tasty. I've made variations on it before but this was the first time I had all of the ingredients (namely the steak sauce. I subbed BBQ sauce before and now I know the difference) and it was really great. I squished it down flat, then stuffed it into a pita and smeared my leftover tofu-olive spread on it, too. Mind you, I actually prepared to make this recipe when planning my meals for this week-- that's how bad I wanted to try this recipe for real. If you've never been to Vegan Dad's blog, I highly recommend you do. It's quite inspiring. Plus he's Canadian! (that's directed to my brother-in-law, should he ever read this). And, if I might add, the recipe is much simpler than it seems and keeps well when wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Carmelized Onion Pizza

Before I say anything else, I want to say this is my first successful pizza dough experience. Something always goes wrong and I end up throwing the ruined dough into the trash, swearing, while Phil stands by with a concerned look on his face. My last attempts was with Isa's recipe in Vegan With A Vengeance, and that especially sucked because there were people over to eat the pizza I screwed up, so I had to go (well, Phil had to go, I won't lie) get store bought crusts from Whole Foods. After that I omitted the yeast and had a weird chewy crust that, needless to say, satisfied but wasn't the same. This time I tried the dough recipe in Student's Go Vegan, and even though something did go wrong, I fixed it (still swearing, but Phil wasn't home yet) and it turned out really well. I think the key was the tip given in the recipe, which is that you want warm rather than hot water, as if the water is too hot, the yeast gets pissed and refuses to cooperate. Kind of like me. For some reason I had to add about 1 c. more flour than it called for. But it was so easy to roll out, and rose like a dream! Go figure.

This pizza recipe was greatly inspired by a recipe from the Student's Go Vegan Cookbook, combined with a spread from Vegan Delights. But because pizza is pizza, and pretty basic, I'm going to give you a general recipe regardless that I hope won't infringe on any copyright laws. It was a tasty pizza, and I did change some stuff, so there.

I also really like making salad dressings, and I got creative with this one-- but it was kind of a failure. Phil *said* he liked it, but I think he and I have different dressing-standards (it's true, I'm a salad-dressing-snob). At any rate, the general idea behind it is:

1/4 c. coconut milk
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
healthy squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. ginger powder
pinch of salt

My issue is that it's not thick enough. To me, a good dressing should properly coat the lettuce without making it wet. So basically this needs more fat. But the sesame oil is too strong of a flavor. So I'm going to say, add another

1 tbsp. canola oil

and maybe more salt and pepper to taste, if you care to.

Not that anyone actually reads this. But you know.

Okay, so the pizza. I ramble, I know.


  • enough pizza dough for one 12 in. pizza, or a pizza crust
  • some sort of spread-- olive tapenade, hummus, etc. (see below for what I did)
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • handful of walnuts, pine nuts, or pistachios
  • 1 tsp. rubbed dried sage
  • salt and pepper
1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Once warm, add the onions and a dash or two of salt and pepper. Keep an eye on this, stirring often and making sure it doesn't stick to the pan. It takes about 30 minutes for the onions to caramelize on medium-low heat, so you can do stuff (like make the spread) in the meantime, but make sure you stir it! Otherwise they won't caramelize evenly, they'll burn, etc.
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you want a thin crust, wait until the onions are done to continue, and omit the 10 extra minutes of rising time. Oil a baking sheet or tin foil, if you are like me and your baking sheet is too big for your stupid tiny oven, and pulled the rolled out pizza crust on it, or roll it out directly on it; whichever floats your boat.
3. If you want a fluffly crust, let the pizza rise for ten more minutes. If you want a thin crust, don't. Smear your spread all over, leaving the crust blank, then top with the onions and nuts of choice.
4. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes or until the crust is nice and dark.
5. Sprinkle with sage before serving.

I can't list the actualy recipe I used for the spread, as it's from Vegan Delights (a very useful cookbook that my mom bought when I first crossed into the dark side). However,

  • tofu
  • roasted cashews
  • black olives
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
blended together makes a PERFECT spread for this pizza. Which makes me think that olive tapenade, or Bobbi's green olive and garlic clove hummus would do nicely, too.

And.. that's that. Yum.

Chard and Pearl Barley Stew

Another from VT, but annoyingly, it's also not online (it's out of the most recent issue, so I guess it's too soon to be archived.) Not that anyone actually reads this, but it's probably kind of annoying to see pictures of food, read about how good it is, but not get a recipe. Well, I will make an effort to do that, but ... this week will be even more annoying, as almost everything I'm making is from cookbooks. The cookbooks I use are listed somewhere on this blog, I think, maybe to the right or something.

I sit down, go through my cookbooks/VT's, pick out enough recipes to feed Phil and me for the week, organize a shopping list, and do it all at once. This week I spent about $25 less on groceries than last week! Hopefully the price tag will continue to go down as I accumulate ingredients that last a while.

I also made up my first baked-good recipe! It wasn't perfect, but a little tweaking will make it great. Once we eat all these (yum) and I can make a new batch w/ changes, look forward to my very own Carob Chip Chocolate Oat Muffins.

Since this blog was beginning to be an ode to VT, I steered clear of it for this week (although everything I made last week from it was delicious!)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Irish Stew and Mashed Potatoes

Sometimes (a lot) I want some Irish comfort food. So on Monday I made this. Picture by Phil out the goodness in his heart!

Sadly, the recipe (another from VT) is not available online, but it's not difficult to recreate. By using these basic ingredients:

-bottle of porter, lager or stoudt
-tempeh or seitan
-fresh thyme
-vegetable broth can have an awesome Irish-inspired stew in no time at all. Serve with your favorite mashed potatoes recipe, and you have a feast!

Thai Tofu Satay with Peanut Sauce

I kept forgetting to post, so I'll do the last few days today.

On Sunday, Emlit (my sister) came over for dinner! What a nice surprise. We talked so much we didn't get to watch the movie we rented (which is how it should be!) At any rate, we made Vegetarian Times' Thai Tofu Satay with Peanut Sauce and it was killer! Since we changed some stuff a bit, and it's already on the web, I'm going to post it here. Hopefully VT won't come after me. The recipe is actually for skewers, kabob style, but because I suck at reading directions I didn't realize this until we were supposed to skewer them. And I don't have any skewers. So we improvised. Also, I've never written down cooking directions, so yes, I know this is kind of convoluted. But I'm trying!

Thai Tofu Satay

  • 3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (or toasted sesame oil for added flavor)
  • 1 10-oz. pkg. firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Small onion of your choice (i used yellow)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed (about 1 1/2 cups)
Peanut Sauce (the delicious key to this recipe)
  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. red curry paste, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar or raw sugar
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
Quinoa Yum
  • 2 c. quinoa (? I used a rice cooker, and just followed the lines. However, quinoa is a 1:2 grain, so 1 c. quinoa cooked with 2. water yields 3 c. cooked quinoa, or thereabouts)
  • 4 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
1. If using a rice cooker, fill to line 1 with quinoa, then to line 2 with water. Add salt and paprika, give a quick stir, and switch on. If cooking in a pot, do the same thing but with the measurements I gave above. Bring everything to a boil, then simmer covered for 15-20 minutes depending on the texture you want.
2. Whisk together soy sauce and tumeric, then combine with tofu and mushrooms in a large container. I used a tuperware, so I could shake it periodically to insure full-coverage. Yum.
3. To make Peanut Sauce: Whisk together coconut milk and red curry paste in saucepan. Whisk in peanut butter until smooth. Stir in sugar, lemon juice and salt, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and cook 5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Heat oil in skillet. Add onion and cook for five minutes, or until soft. Toss in the tofu, mushrooms, and garlic. Stirring often, let it cook on medium heat for about ten minutes-- until the tofu looks done and the mushrooms are soft and spongy. Once this is achieved, lower the heat and move to the next step.
5. Reheat the peanut sauce on low heat and add 1/4 c. water to thin it out. You have two options: either toss in with the stir-fry directly in the skillet, or drizzle it on top after plating everything. Either way, this sauce is so ridiculously good. Serve on top on the quinoa!

The end. It was awesome. We ate it with this.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The first!

I think I've been reading too many vegan-blogs-- that's the only explanation I can give myself for why I have created this thing. I really don't know if it will last, but...

I have been a vegetarian since I was 8, and a vegan since I was 16, but it's not until the last year (few months?) or so that I have really started thinking about being healthy. So I suppose my reasoning is that by having a blog about my food, I will start keeping track of things I try, and such. The same reasoning everyone else has.

The second half is that I want to keep track of my music progress. It's about time that I really make an effort at going somewhere musically. It's frustrating (and inspiring) to see people I know gain success when I'm not, but I know that I haven't really been trying, whereas they have and they deserve it.

So, day one of post.
We're eating leftovers tonight because I made so much food last night-- good thing it's yummy!
As part of my healthy-fest, I rifled through old copies of Vegetarian Times and planned out a weeks worth of meals, then got groceries all at once. What a great way to do it! It's so much less time consuming to have dinner when you 1) already have the groceries, 2)know what you're going to make (and it's good, not a crappy stir-fry [no offense, stir-fry]).

So leftovers tonight are: Lentils with Chickpeas ad Couscous. Since I had it last night, I can safely tell you it could be a bit spicier!

That's all for now!

Though this recipe was already delicious, I thought it could use a little more umph, so I added 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1/2 tsp paprika as well as a 1/4 c. water while reheating. Re-season to taste with salt and pepper and it's great! Better than the night before.

I also forgot to mention that I don't love cooked/baked raisins (cooked are okay, but baked are... blech...) so I replaced the raisins with chopped pears. But you know what else would be great? Currents. I like currents. Or dried apples. Really any dried fruit that you like. Go nuts.