13 April 2013
How do you like to make your vegan grilled cheese?
11 April 2013
07 April 2013
Tofu Egg-less Patties
Raw Mini Carrot Cakes
First, add some raw sugar to the bowl of a food processor, and process until it makes a fine powder. Remove to a bowl and set aside. (I added a tiny bit of cornstarch, which is not technically raw, but it's standard in confectioner's sugar to help thicken frosting.)
The next day, remove and discard the paper cake liners; they should have absorbed any excess moisture. The cakes should now be firm and easily hold their shape, and the icing should be thick and spreadable and no longer runny. Spread the icing onto the cakes and top each cake with a walnut half. Keep these cakes refrigerated until you are ready to serve.
27 March 2013
I've tried my hand at making veganized corned beef since my very first meat-free Saint Patrick's Day. I've had varying degrees of success with making corned beef-style seitan from scratch, but not only is is time consuming, most of them turned out to be disappointing. I've pretty much reached the conclusion that I despise seitan (sacrilege, I know). I've tried it every way you can think of: simmered, baked, steamed, seared. Nope. Do not want. So this year, my quandary was this: I'm not making seitan, but what should I do about the corned beef? It was an annual tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. My mom would whip out the vintage, original model Crock Pot (which I have since inheritied) and cook us up our usual Saint Paddy's Day meal.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Couldn't I just make, like, a beef-less stew or something? No. You are wrong. I make stew all winter. Boring. And cabbage rolls? Not Irish, friend (unless you stuff them with corned beef, which brings us full circle). Not that corned beef is even necessarily Irish. No one eats it very often on the Emerald Isle, and certainly not on Saint Patrick's Day. When I visited Ireland years ago, my home-stay family all had a good laugh when I asked them about it. Traditional fare would be cál ceannann (colcannon), maybe, or some gammon (ham) with whiskey sauce. No, it is a distinctly Irish-American tradition to eat corned beef (mairteoil shaillte) on Saint Patrick's Day. Well, I am an Irish-American girl and proud of it. America has come a long way from cursing its Irish immigrants with foul names like "white n*ggers." And, much like Mexico's Cinco de Mayo, Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life have embraced the Irish holiday as their own... because it is another excuse to drink in excess.
But back to the beef. I considered corning some tofu, as it seems others in the blogosphere have done, but it just didn't seem right to me. Then I stumbled upon this recipe at I'm Not Vegan But They Are, where the blogger used pre-made Tofurky deli slices marinated in beet juice to mimic corned beef/pastrami. She notes that she did not marinate the slices in any of the usual pickling ingredients, but that's just the direction where my mind was headed. Genius! No, it's not going to yield a nice, solid block of protein to bring to the table, as a loaf of seitan might. And I know processed convenience foods – even meat-less ones – are not ideal, but this stuff tasted more like corned beef than anything I've eaten since eating actual corned beef. The leftovers made an awesome sandwich (see below) and and even more awesome hash for breakfast with some fried onion and leftover boiled potatoes (photo below). I think it even tops my previous version, which caused The Great Vegan Corned Beef Hash Debacle of 2012. It's that good.
Here is a picture of the Tofurky slices marinating. The cabbage, potatoes and carrots are in that Crock Pot over yonder cooking way with some pickling spices. I brined these babies for 3 days, and they got better and better with every nibble I stole in secret. Note the vibrant pink color from the beet juice. (The pinkness in real corned beef is caused when saltpeter [sodium nitrite] reacts with proteins in the cow blood.) Later on, I decided to stick them in the oven, hoping to make the texture a bit firmer and less flabby. The texture did improve, but cooking them diminished a good bit of the marinade's flavor and muted the pink color as well.
I was really worried what W might make of the weird pink slices I presented to him. But, to my surprise, he actually really liked it! He even asked for seconds of everything. Below is the spread we enjoyed. The pink-ish/purple-ish blob at the top of the plate was a relish I made to use up the beets I'd bought for their juice: I just grated them and tossed them with some oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Sobhlasta! (Delicious!) And, of course, we could not forget the sóid arán (soda bread).
I kind of hate Valentine's Day because it's so pointless. I fully expect W to be super nice to me all year, not just on one random holiday designated for romance. And yet, I find myself getting into it every year. Here are pictures of this year's V-Day dinner. Sorry it's so late... but it's not like anyone really cares!
Now for the grub. I went for a classic steakhouse-style theme. It got harder and harder to take pictures by candlelight as the night wore on...
and silky soft within. Served with a creamy roasted garlic
and lemon aïoli dipping sauce.
sparkling white wine mixed with crushed ice.
perfection in vegan butter. Served with a decadent pan sauce
enriched with shallots, cognac and
then finished with snipped fresh chives.
If you're anything like me, the term "chicken and waffles" calls to mind a classic of the soul food tradition: crispy, fried bone-in chicken atop a tender-on-the-inside, crisp-on-the-outside waffle, all doused in sickly sweet maple syrup. To be frank, I never understood the concoction. I've eaten it in my pre-veg*n life. In fact, I ate it at Sylvia's in Harlem, home to some of the most famously delicious soul food in the country. And it just didn't do it for me.
Now, my mom sometimes made "breakfast for dinner" for my sister and me when we were little, particularly when my dad was away on business trips. (He hated "brinner." It was okay; more for us.) It was a rare treat, and it the young Gothic Homemaker palpitate with great joy. And, if I'm being truthful, the sight of a preheating waffle iron still incites in me lovely pangs of nostalgic bliss. But the random mash-up of chicken (savory dinner fare) and waffles (sweet breakfast fare) never quite gelled for my palate, personally.
So, imagine this Jersey girl's surprise to find that there is ANOTHER KIND OF CHICKEN AND WAFFLES. As I am wont to do, I was futzing around on the Interwebs one evening – and on this particular evening, the cupboard was pretty bare – when I hit upon this Wikipedia article on chicken and waffles. (Don't ask how. My cyber wanderings are vast and mysterious.) Pennsylvania Dutch chicken and waffles? I think you'd have to be from Pennsylvania Dutch country to have ever heard of such a thing, but please tell me if I'm wrong. I'd never heard of such a thing. Even Wikipedia deemed it worthy of only a one-sentence mention. This kind of thing is so up my alley. I have a fascination with learning about (and veganizing) dishing from all around the globe. You can imagine how I get when I learn that there are regional foods from my own native country which are foreign to me. I love it! It's like pondering the far reaches of deep space, then realizing there is a wealth of uncharted territory in the depths of the ocean on your own little planet. So, long story short, I decided I was going to go make vegan Pennsylvania Dutch chicken and waffles.
Most recipes I Googled (and my "most" I mean the two I found) were pretty straight forward: stew a chicken, make a roux, then use the stock to make gravy and serve over a waffle. I obviously bypassed the issue of making a stock from scratch, so it all came together in 20 minutes (not including the six millennia it takes for my waffle iron to preheat, or the time it takes to present it with pagan offerings to urge the "ready" light to come back on between waffles). It was pretty scrummy. Even W, who was more than dubious at first, thought it was pretty awesome. The best thing to which I could potentially compare it might be chicken pot pie, only much less fussy to make. And so, dear reader, I have learned that breakfast and dinner foods can coexist peacefully, and it was a valuable lesson to be had.
Spray a non-stick skillet with oil/cooking spray to coat, then heat over medium-high. Season the “chicken” cutlets all over with salt and pepper, then on both sides until lightly browned; remove to a plate to cool. Add the margarine to the skillet and heat until melted and starting to sizzle. Add the onion and bay leaf, and sauté until the onion softens. Stir in the flour, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the bouillon and almond milk. Add the carrots, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, poultry seasoning and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and the carrots are tender. Meanwhile, shred the cooled “chicken” into long strips, then stir them into the thickened sauce.
Re-stir the rested waffle batter briefly and use it to make two waffles. (If your batter has gotten too thick, add a splash of very hot tap water.) Spoon the “chicken” and sauce over the waffles and serve immediately to avoid your waffles getting all gross and soggy.
12 February 2013
11 February 2013
Ah, the ubiquitous hot pot, perfect on the cool winter’s night (with a cup of warm sake, of course). However, there are some very traditional ingredients in this Japanese dish that can be hard to come by in the States:
28 January 2013
While the cauliflower bakes, combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan, whisk well to combine, and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Simmer the sauce until it is thick and syrupy.
Spray a large, non-stick skillet with nonstick cooking spray to coat the bottom. Heat the pan over medium-high, then add the peppers. Stir-fry the peppers until lightly seared and crisp-tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the pineapple.
When the cauliflower is finished in the oven, add it to the pan with the peppers and pineapple. Pour the sauce over the top and simmer over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce coats everything evenly. Serve over brown rice, if desired.