Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I've been trying not to neglect the recipes in cookbooks that aren't brand new. Veganomicon swooped in and took all of my attention. There are just so many awesome things to make! And even though I've made at least half (if not more) of the recipes in Vegan with a Vengeance, there are still some that I've been wanting to try. Recipes like these samosas! Potato-Edamame Samosas to be exact.


I didn't use edamame, though. I didn't have any and I did have some frozen peas just chilling out in the freezer. (Get it... chilling out? See, it's funny because...) I also had some mango chutney that I'd bought and needed to use so I didn't make my own. That's okay, though. I think I would have regretted it if I had. Not that I think it would have tasted bad or anything. Just these samosas were a hell of a lot of work. It took me like 3 hours to make them. I was exhausted by the time I put them in the oven.

I did find them utterly delicious. It's a nice alternative to fried samosas. And hey - they heat up rather nicely if you want to eat them for lunch the next day! Just beware of the nuclear potato heat in the center if you microwave them. Cut them in half first or something.


Make these when you have some time on the weekend, definitely not on a work night or when you're pressed for time. They're quite yummy, just time consuming.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Orange Pudding Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

Vegan cupcakes take over the world. Again.

I hadn't made any pudding filled cupcakes before, so I admit I was a little intimidated by that. I have no idea why. It's not like the pudding would leap out of the cupcake and start calling me a stupidhead or something if I was screwing things up. Though, that surely would have made the whole cupcake creation much more amusing if they started to berate me as I made them.


I love citrus flavored baked goods, so I have no idea why it took me so long to make these. The cupcakes themselves are so light and fresh tasting. Not too sweet, and not fakey fruity. Pretty awesome. I might even make the cupcakes mini-style for a yummy breakfast treat sometime, actually. They'd even be great for afternoon tea if you're into that sort of thing.

The pudding center is also not too sweet. It's actually just lightly sweetened, which is perfect for being the innerds of these cupcakes, but not really something you'd eat in a bowl on its own. You pretty much just stick your finger into the top of each cupcake to make a hole and then jam your pastry bag right about there, squeeze and bam!, your cupcake is full of pudding. Top them off with a light spreading of orange marmalade and then some chocolate ganache... perfect.

Nakies! This is right after I filled the cupcakes with pudding.

If you make these, don't skip the marmalade part. Trust me, it's part of what makes these awesome. If you're making these for a party or a gift, keep in mind that the ganache should be put on just before you serve them. It won't make it taste weird or anything if you let it sit for a while, but it won't be as pretty. And really, if you're going to all of the trouble to make these, you want them to be as adorable as possible before people start to shove them in their mouths.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ani's Raw Food Kitchen

I've been wanting to try integrating more raw food into my diet, but it's a bit frustrating. It seems that to do raw food properly, you need to spend hundreds of dollars on dehydrators and high-speed blenders and juicers. I think that can really put people off. I now have two raw food cookbooks and both of them need a VitaMix or Blendtec for almost every single recipe in the book. That is disheartening. I think I am going to start saving up to buy one, but I can't really justify spending a few hundred dollars on an appliance just because I think that maybe I'll like eating raw. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I will like it. I tried to eat mostly raw during the last cleanse that I did and I felt fantastic.


The first book I bought was Ani's Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo. I already posted the Coconut Breakfast Cakes, which I really loved. I was trying to make things that didn't need crazy ingredients of expensive appliances. This book is interesting. I really wanted to make some of the recipes, and some just didn't sound so good. I was a bit put off by the massive amounts of pictures of the author throughout the book. There weren't many pictures of the actual food and I definitely think they could have replaced the vanity pictures with actual food pictures. The thing is - the pictures aren't even good ones. They're badly photographed and Ani Phyo looks like she's posing very precisely for every single one of them. It just sort of left a bad taste in my mouth. (no pun intended) I was also a bit annoyed that she feels the need to call things "mylk", "cheeze" and "kream". She explains at one point that this is to make sure that people know that there's not actual dairy in anything, but it just looks like chatspeak to me and that's something I really have a low tolerance for.

I think there is a major problem with some of the recipes, too. Quite a few of them call for almonds or cashews or some other nut. In the beginning of the book, there's a very quick reference that all of the nuts need to be soaked overnight and she's assuming you're going to do that before you make any of the recipes. The problem is that this information is hidden within a bunch of other stuff in the very wordy first section of the book. I don't necessarily think that everyone who buys a cookbook reads all of that. The recipes could have seriously benefited from the addition of the simple directions to soak the nuts as not to confuse people. She also doesn't really make a point that the blender you use should be a high-speed blender and not a regular household type. Yes, I know better, but what about the tons of other people that are going to buy this as their first time delving into the world of raw food who may not know?

The second thing I made from this book is something that I made in the early fall and just forgot to post. This almond yogurt really doesn't work with just a regular blender, which is all that I had. I mean, yeah, you can try it and it'll be okay, but it won't be smooth in any way. I had some cherries that I had frozen from the summer, so I added a generous handful of those to add a bit of flavor. Also, this recipe was in the "Soups and Sauces" section of the book, which I find weird.


Raw Cherry-Almond Yogurt Originally published in Ani's Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo

1 cup almonds
1 cup water, as needed
juice of 1/2 lemon, about 1 Tablespoon
1/2 cup fresh cherries (this is my addition, not in the original recipe)

Blend almonds and lemon juice on high to mix well in blender. Gradually add only as much water as needed to create a yogurt consistency. Add cherries and blend again until there aren't any large cherry chunks.

To serve, use immediately or ferment.

To ferment, pour yogurt into a glass bowl or jar and cover with hemp or cheesecloth to allow the transfer of air. Set your jar in a warm place and allow it to heat up to about 90° to 100° F. You can test the temperatureby sticking your finger in. It should be slightly warm to the touch. Let it sit for about 8 to 10 hours, then taste for tartness. You may need to leave it a couple more hours and taste again; repeat until it begins to taste tart.

You can also take the easy way by adding 1/2 teaspoon of probiotic powder into the blender with the yogurt. The heat from the blending helps the probiotic turn the cream into instant yogurt.

This will keep for three to four days in the fridge, and will continue to get more and more tart over time. You can use a couple tablespoons of overly tart yogurt in your next batch to help start the fermentation process.

Makes 4 servings.

Raw Cherry-Almond Yogurt with Buckwheat Crispies, Coconut and Strawberries

I also tried to make the Buckwheat Crispies, but you really need a dehydrator. Turning the oven on the lowest setting for hours just doesn't work. Mine came out really chewy and definitely not crispy and dried like I think they're supposed to be. This was my attempt to see if I could make some of the raw stuff without buying the expensive appliances. The answer is not really.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I've been in a bit of a food funk lately. I just can't decide what to make. Nothing is jumping out at me and looking all exciting. I've been really into casseroles and stuff like that lately. I've made the Leek and Bean Cassoulet from Veganomicon a few times, not to mention the fantastic Chickpea Broccoli Casserole. Also, a great standard.

I feel like I want to make chili. The problem is that none of the recipes I currently have really get me all hot and bothered. My favorite chili recipe is the one from the original Moosewood cookbook, but that book's in storage. So, I want to try something new. Does anyone have any favorites they'd like to share? I want something that's got beans and would be totally appropriate to crumble crackers into. I think I have this memory of chili from childhood that I'm desperately craving all of a sudden. Please, share! I'm wanting to make a few different kinds in the next few months.

Since I'm asking for recipes and not sharing them, I'll tease you guys with some pictures of the Smlove Pie from Veganomicon. If you're not familiar with the recipe, it's a chocolate mousse pie with peanut butter caramel, maple-candied pecans and a chocolate drizzle. It's amazing, and you can totally freeze it if you can't eat all of it in a few days. It's hella rich, though, so make sure to keep that in mind when cutting the pieces.



Thursday, January 10, 2008

Braised Seitan with Brussels, Kale and Sun-Dried Tomatoes


Oh, Veganomicon, how I love you. I present to you Braised seitan with brussels, kale and sun-dried tomatoes.

This dish came about so interestingly. I realized I hadn't made seitan in ages. I typically make a huge amount and freeze most of it so I can just have seitan whenever I want without having to make it each time. (As a side note, if you've never made your own seitan, you totally should. It's hella easy and way yummier and cheaper than buying it.) I went to the market and bought a bunch of fresh veggies thinking I'd find a way to use them somehow. Turns out I had everything I needed for this, including an opened bottle of red wine I was trying to use up!

Seriously, folks, cooking with wine is great. The alcohol cooks out, so stop worrying about that. The depth of flavor that it adds is unequalled. Pretty much anytime you have to add a little bit of broth to something you can substitute some of that liquid for wine instead. Just be mindful of what kind of dish it is, sometimes red wine is better or sometimes white. Or just be crazy and throw caution to the wind and add whatever wine you want. Just not wine in a box. There is no forgiveness for ever buying that. I don't care what wineries are doing that trailer park crap.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Anti-Fast Food Breakfast

This is something I've been addicted to for quite a while. I've never actually had the real thing, but this is pretty freaking amazing. I usually try not to use meat substitutes and fake cheeses, but this breakfast makes it totally worth it. Seriously, you won't believe how freaking awesome these are once you try them.


When I make these, I'm only making them for myself, so I just make one at a time and store the extra tofu in water in the fridge, pre-sliced. If I'm just making one, I'll marinate the tofu in 1/8 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar.

Egg McVegans original recipe from VegWeb. My changes in this color.

1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package veggie Canadian bacon
vegan cheese of your choice (I used Tofutti singles)
vegan English muffins
non-hydrogenated margarine like Earth Balance

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

After you do that you take a drinking glass which is about the same size around at the top as the English muffins are, cut around the cup (or if you want, press the glass into the tofu) so that the tofu comes out round in shape. Take the round piece of tofu and cut it in half horizontally, so you end up with two circular pieces. Take the two halves and cut those into thirds, so that you end up with six round pieces of tofu that are about 1/2 inch thick. If you don't want to make 6 English muffins you can cut the tofu into four pieces if you like, which will yield a thicker "egg". (I just cut them into squares usually because it's easier and leaves no scraps.)

On a rimmed baking sheet, pour the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt and mix together. Put the tofu on this mixture and coat both sides. Bake for 10 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for another 10 minutes. (Personally, I like to marinate the tofu in the apple cider/olive oil/salt mixture for about 30 minutes before I cook it. I think it makes a better depth of flavor.)

Place the veggie Canadian bacon on a large frying pan on a medium low to low heat, flip it once and don't allow it to dry up, as it will turn up on the edges. It will only take a minute or so on each side.

After the tofu pieces are baked, turn off the heat and place a slice of the vegan cheese on top of each of the tofu rounds. Place back in the oven to allow the vegan cheese to melt for a minute or two.

Toast the English muffins, and butter them on both sides with the margarine. Place one of the tofu rounds and Canadian bacon slices between the English muffin halves, salt and pepper to taste (if you want) and they are ready to eat. (I put 2-3 slices of the Canadian bacon on each one.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Sesame Tamari Tofu

So I've had this idea in my head of what a ton of different sauces should taste like for weeks now. Every time I make something, I'm comparing it to this phantom flavor that I've been jonesing for. That made it even more exciting when I finally created that exact flavor totally on accident. How awesome.


I had some tofu and some green onions leftover from making something else. It got me to thinking that I hadn't made any sort of asianish tofu in a while. Then I realized that I hadn't really ever tried to make a nice tamari-based sauce really. I know, how is that possible, right? I was just sort of randomly throwing things together and ended up with something that is now one of my favorite things. Seriously, this is fast, easy and freaking awesome.

Coating the tofu with flour before you saute it makes the tofu come out really crispy and yummy without doing any yucky deep frying.

Sesame Tamari Tofu

1 block of firm/extra firm tofu, drained
a few tablespoons of flour
2-3 Tablespoons oil for sauteeing the tofu. (Use whatever kind you want. I used olive oil then added a dash of toasted sesame oil towards the end.)
1/4 - 1/2 Cup sesame seeds (depending on how crazy you are and how much you have on hand)
2 Tablespoons sesame oil (toasted or regular, I used toasted sesame oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon powdered ginger or 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
3 Tablespoons tamari
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (you can totally use rice wine vinegar if you have it, though)
dash red chili flakes (or more depending on how hot you like things)
2-3 Tablespoons chopped green onions

Cut your tofu into little cute little cubes. Put the flour into a little bowl. Dump the tofu into the flour in batches, tossing to coat the tofu with the flour. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat for a minute or so. Add the flour-coated tofu and stir to get a little coating of oil on each of the tofu cubes. Saute for about 10 minutes or so, or until the outsides get browned.
Meanwhile, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and stir constantly for about a minute or so. You just want to toast the sesame seeds a little bit. Now add the sesame oil and garlic. Saute for about another minute or so. If you're using fresh ginger, add that now and saute for another minute before adding the rest of the ingredients. If you're using dried, go ahead and add everything else. Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. You really just want to let the sauce heat up and let the flavors blend together. Make sure that it's not boiling, though. If it starts to look like it's going to boil, turn the heat down a bit.

To serve, pour the sauce over the tofu on a plate. Serve with some steamed rice and bok choy or maybe some sauteed peppers. Or hell, just eat it by itself and let your tummy be happy by the yumminess all on it's own.