Friday, December 29, 2006

Leftovers remix and more

One thing I forgot to mention about last night's pizza was that we had quite a bit of the sauce and the tofu mixture left over. We also had some collards that didn't get used in a previous meal (more on that in a bit). So I chopped the collards and cooked them with onion and garlic and a little more of the seitan broth. I also added salt & pepper and Spike seasoning, then I mixed in a little tomato paste at the end. The collards turned out quite fabulous on their own like this, but I mixed them into some cooked penne along with the sauce and tofu, then spread everything into a baking dish and baked at 375° for 25 minutes. Yum yum!

And here's something from a few nights ago. I made the white bean soup with collards that I've mentioned before, and to go with the soup, the White Bean and Tempeh Sausage Patties from Vegan with a Vengeance. The patties were excellent but I have to admit that I think I like the mock sausage recipe that we made on Christmas Eve from Cooking with PETA just a little better. Though the VWAV recipe is certainly a little more original.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bolognese Bread Pizza

We've been thinking lately about veganizing more Food Network recipes. We've done this occasionally in the past and I've noticed in looking at our site statistics that sometimes traffic comes to our blog from Google searches for Food Network personalities. So maybe one day soon this post will get a few hits from people searching for "Rachael Ray pizza recipe". Because this is way better for you and infinitely better for farmed animals than anything Rachael Ray can do. Her recipe for Bolognese Bread Pizza aired recently and it occurred to me that I could easily veganize it.

And I had just the bread in mind too. Last month a co-worker pointed me to an article and recipe in the NY Times for no-knead bread. I tried it and it came out very crusty and tasty, but also very wide and flat. I've thought about making it again and using a smaller pot to contain it and potentially make it rise more, but I figured it'd be great for this pizza exactly as it came out the first time. So I made the bread yesterday and planned on pizza tonight (I had a bit of trouble with the bread recipe - let me know if you want to try it and I'll expand on that). I cut the bread in half across the width and scooped out some of the inside (which I'll dry and make bread crumbs from later), then toasted the bread in a 400° oven for a few minutes. Next I piled on some of the bolognese (recipe below), followed by marinated mushrooms and kalamata olives, and finally a rosemary-tofu mixture very much like the Basil-Tofu Ricotta in Vegan with a Vengeance (1 lb. tofu mashed with olive oil, fresh rosemary, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast and salt & pepper). Then the pizzas went back into the oven under the broiler this time just until the toppings were heated through and starting to brown a little.

Here's what I did for the bolognese:

3 Tbs. olive oil
double recipe of faux beef seitan from La Dolce Vegan (or 1 lb. seitan of your choice)
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
pinch of crushed red pepper
1/3 c. seitan cooking liquid (or veg. stock)
24-oz. bottle of strained tomatoes (or a large can of crushed tomatoes)
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Finely chop seitan in a food processor. Heat oil in a large skillet and add onion and carrot and cook for a minute or two. Then add seitan and cook for several more minutes until vegetables are getting soft and seitan is getting brown. Add garlic, thyme and red pepper and cook another minute, then add seitan liquid and cook for 30 secs. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes or so.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Dinner

This was quite similar to our Thanksgiving dinner I suppose, but different enough. The homemade puff pastry we did for Thanksgiving was split in half at that time, with the 2nd half being frozen for just this occasion. So we again created little turnovers from the puff pastry but this time they were filled with greens (kale and collards) and mushrooms (white button, portobello and shiitake). We also did a couple of Food Network recipes again, namely Emeril's Cranberry Conserve and Tyler Florence's Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas. We cut the sweet potato recipe in half and it's easily veganized with margarine instead of butter and agave instead of honey. We also cut the margarine in half again and it was still excellent. Rounding out the plate were mashed Yukon gold potatoes with roasted garlic and mushroom gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance (I had hoped to use purple potatoes but we couldn't find any).

We thought about having something green on the plate as well, but instead I poked around our various cookbooks and found a nice salad recipe to start the meal. Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven is a book we haven't used much lately, but it has some good recipes in it, like this Onion-Wilted Spinach Salad. Sliced onions are cooked in olive oil with a little bit of cumin seed, then the hot onions and oil are added to the spinach, causing it to wilt slightly. Some lemon juice goes into the equation, along with sliced apple, avocado, salt and fresh ground pepper. Definitely something we'll think about making again.

Oh, and for dessert? Vegan Eggnog Cheesecake from the Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. Susan's already taken quite beautiful pictures of her creation so I don't think another one is necessary here, but I will give the recipe two thumbs up - way up.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Waffles and Sausage

We usually like to do something fun for Christmas Eve, and what's more fun than breakfast for dinner? This time it was PPK/VWAV pumpkin waffles and vegan sausage. We also got a jump start on cooking for tomorrow and made cranberry conserve today and that went well with this meal too. For the sausage we used the recipe in Cooking with PETA. It was the first time we've tried that recipe but it came out really good - especially with a little drizzle of maple syrup on top.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Stir Fry

This was a total clean-out-the-fridge meal. In fact, there was something leftover from each of our last 4 posts. Cabbage from when we made chili, broccoli from the pasta, bell pepper from the calzones, and green onions and marinated tofu from the last post. I saved the tofu marinade too and that plus a little cornstarch made a nice sauce. I threw in a carrot too since we almost always have some on hand and as usual, we had our stir fry over brown rice. It wasn't spectacular, but quite good considering it was thrown together from leftovers.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Noodles & Tofu

Despite all the recipes we've already tried from Vegan with a Vengeance, there are still plenty more good ones we've yet to try. One thing we hadn't made was the marinated tofu - until tonight. I made the baked Asian style marinated tofu and it came out great. I made the tofu to go with a simple noodle dish (Asian Sesame-Soy Noodles) from Nava Atlas' The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet. In this case the 5 ingredients were soba noodles, sesame oil, soy sauce, agave and scallions. I put some noodles on the plate, some tofu on top, and I spooned just a little of the tofu marinade on top. A bit of a brown plate to be sure, but very tasty just the same.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


This is something we've done here before but I was inspired to make calzones again by my blogging friend Bazu. We had some pizza sauce in the freezer from I don't remember when, and we recently picked up some Follow Your Heart vegan mozzarella at the store. I used the pizza dough recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance (but with half whole wheat flour) and we got 8 calzones out of it this time. In addition to the mozzarella, we filled them with a saute of zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper, spinach and garlic and they were delicious as usual. On the side we had some of the pasta left over from the last post.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pasta Marinara with Broccoli

This really isn't all that special but I haven't posted in a few days and I also wanted to give a nod to a book I haven't mentioned before. This is from 150 Vegan Favorites by Jay Solomon, which I think is the first vegan cookbook we bought. We haven't used it very often of late but it's got some good recipes in it. This one is relatively basic but easy and healthy. Just dice an onion and cook in olive oil, add some garlic, then a can of plum tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Cook all that for a bit then puree with a hand blender, then add about a cup or so of kidney beans. Meanwhile start your pasta cooking (whole wheat spaghetti in our case) and when there's about 3-4 minutes left until the pasta's done, add some broccoli florets to the boiling water. Spoon the sauce over the pasta and broccoli and you're done. Or if you like kalamata olives like we do and you have some on hand sprinkle a few of those on top.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Mitch's Vegetarian Chili

This recipe dates back a long time, to when we used to live in Raleigh, NC. There was a place called Mitch's right across the street from the NC State campus (maybe it's still there?) and we'd eat lunch there occasionally and we'd usually get their veggie chili. Then one day the chili recipe was published in the local paper and I clipped it out. We still make it every so often, but I guess it's been a while since the last time because we haven't mentioned it here yet. One great thing about this recipe is that it's almost entirely fat free. That was especially good for today since we had a few friends over earlier for a small memorial service for Violet and one of the items on the menu was apple uglies. So we definitely had our share of fat for the day.

But back to the chili. Tonight I made a couple of very small modifications but I'll just give you the original recipe and you can do what you like with it.

1/4 c. split peas
1/4 c. brown lentils
4 c. chopped green cabbage (about 1/4 of a large head)
2 medium onions, cut into 1/2" dice
6 c. water
2 Tbs. minced fresh jalapenos
4 medium carrots, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. salt
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. cumin seed
2 Tbs. chili powder
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 15-oz. cans kidney beans, drained

Combine split peas, lentils, cabbage and onions in a large soup pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except beans. Bring back to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add beans and simmer another 30 minutes.

This makes a lot so you could easily cut the recipe in half. Or you could freeze half and have a quick meal with it in the future.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Quinoa-Peanut Soup

Just a quick note to second the opinion that this soup from Nava Atlas' Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons is a good one. I was inspired to try this after reading Eat Peace Please a couple nights ago and I'm glad I did. In addition to being yummy, it's very filling too, what with the peanut butter and quinoa and all those veggies too. The only thing I might do different next time is to add just a bit more quinoa since the small amount in the recipe got a little lost with the mounds and mounds of veggies I added.

Hmmm... two quinoa posts in a row. I guess that's because it's a good whole grain that cooks in less than half the time of brown rice.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Quinoa Jambalaya

I used to do something like this quite often way, way back in my pre-veg days and I'd make it with chicken. I don't remember where I initially found the recipe but no matter; it's been changed and veganized over the years and using quinoa instead of rice is yet another twist. Last time I made it with brown rice and it was marginally successful; this time was very good. I didn't measure anything except for the quinoa and liquid. Everything else is approximate but this should be close:

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 block extra firm tofu, cubed
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 c. diced red onion
1 c. diced green bell pepper
1/2 c. diced celery
1/2 c. sliced button mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. (packed) choped kale
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 c. quinoa
1 c. diced tomatoes (with their liquid)
1 c. vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
hot sauce to taste
salt & pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add tofu and cook, stirring occasionally until tofu is brown. Add soy sauce and cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly. Set tofu aside and add remaining olive oil to the same pan. Add onions and a pinch of salt and cook for a minute then add bell pepper, celery and mushrooms. Cook for several more minutes then add garlic, kale, basil and thyme and cook for another minute. Add quinoa and stir, then add stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, hot sauce, salt & pepper and mix well. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 16-18 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaf and serve garnished with parsley.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ginger Hoisin Soba Noodles

It figures. I talked about scaling back and now 2 nights in a row I've made something I deemed blog-worthy. This idea started with the Ginger Hoisin Rice Noodles recipe from The Everyday Vegan. We didn't have many of the veggies called for in the recipe so we changed that up based on what we had on hand, and we also used soba noodles instead of rice noodles. What we did have on hand worked well too - carrots, broccoli, red cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and cashews. I did the sauce straight from TEV and it came out really good (hoisin sauce, tamari, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, corriander and crushed red pepper).

Dessert was great too - a parfait made with Darlene's special peanut butter pudding and carob pudding. The puddings are pretty simple; just silken tofu, powdered sugar, a little vanilla extract, and then peanut butter or melted carob chips (chocolate chips work wonderfully too).

Dilled Vegetable Barley Soup

Well we did try out a new recipe last night - another one from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas. We thought about making this as a starter for our Thanksgiving meal but decided that we had enough already. So it made a good dinner last night with nothing else but slices of whole wheat baguette. Like many soups, it starts out with a mirepoix, which is a fancy way of saying onions, carrots and celery sauteed in oil. There's also some garlic in there along with a diced potato (a yukon gold in this case). The recipe also calls for a small can of crushed tomatoes but all we had in that department was a can of whole fire roasted tomatoes and that made a fine substitution. There's the barley of course, and the liquid was the last of the vegetable stock and seitan broth left from Thanksgiving. I even found some fresh dill trying to make a comeback in our herb garden since it's been unseasonable warm here of late (though suddenly not so anymore). Oh, and I threw in some kale to up the good-for-you factor even more.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Scaling Back

No, we're not going anywhere. We are however, deciding to post a little less frequently. It seems we're repeating ourselves more and more often and unlike some people, we don't have the creativity or motivation to make something different every time we cook. Nor are we equipped to consistently produce amazing, gourmet meals. Oh, we have our moments, but with a year's worth of archives up now we feel like it's time to scale back a bit (and hopefully you can find plenty of ideas in said archives - along with plenty of evidence that vegans aren't just eating veggie burgers and salads for dinner every night).

For the last year, we've posted about everything from the fun and interesting to the mundane. In the forseeable future anyway there will be less mundane but that inevitably means fewer posts. For example, the last 3 nights we've had Tofu-Dill Salad Sammiches from Vegan with a Vengeance, gone out to eat at Maharaja and had red lentils with spinach (pictured above), all of which we've written about before (in some cases more than once). And really, how many times can we post about gnocchi anyway?

So with apologies to those of you who have enjoyed all of our 6+ posts a week for the past year, for now I think we'll shoot for something on the order of half that. We really appreciate all of you reading and leaving us wonderful, supportive comments and we hope you'll continue to do so. And now maybe we'll even have time to read and comment on all of your awesome blogs more often.