Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving – The Leftovers

Hopefully everyone who is reading my blog in America had a good Thanksgiving. My Teddybear and I definitely ate until we were stuffed, and then he had strawberry ice cream (he’s still an Omni). I was to full to even think about desert. As you can see from the picture above, today this bunny was piggy. I turned some of the stuffing into stuffing patties (with 2 besan eggs and water) and topped them with the Mustard Sauce from VCON. I also had the leftover candied sweet potatoes (topped with Smuckers Marshmallow topping), Ocean Spray crushed cranberries and the Marinated Lentil Salad from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen. Then for desert I had a slice of Mrs. Smith Dutch Apple pie with a cashew cream from here and some walnuts. Oh, well, I had the flu a week or two ago and lost a few pounds; so I need to put them back on. Don’t worry, I don’t eat like this all the time.

Dinner tonight, will be leftovers as well. I get them all, since my Teddybear doesn’t like them. And I’m doing what most of the country will be today with their leftovers as well, the day after casserole. Of course mine will be with vegan dressing, vegan gravy (the Road’s End gravy is really good, by the way) and turkey seitan. Then it will be back to other leftovers in the frig, so that I can cook some new stuff on Monday. I basically cook for planned leftovers, since I more or less cook for myself. My Teddybear has very unadventurous taste buds, and is overly sensitive to capsaicin, so no peppers (even sweet bell peppers) for him. He also likes stuff to be rather bland. Shall we say a challenge. (edit: ate to much for lunch, so will have casserole over the weekend)

I finally got my blog roll up. As you can see, it is eclectic. If you are interested in Japanese food or bento boxes, Just Bento and Just Hungry are great blogs. The author is not vegan/vegetarian but she does do some great vegan/vegetarian dishes from Japan and some of the other recipes can be veganized. If you are into using essential oils, then I do suggest that you check out Nature’s Gift. They have good customer service, decent prices and a good selection of oils and other accessories. The blog The Sustainable Scoop, is more whole foods related, but she does have some vegan/vegetarian product reviews and recipes as well.

Guess that is all for now. See you on Monday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Burmese Tofu-An Introduction

As promised, today is about Burmese Tofu. For those of you not familiar with this product, it is not really a “tofu”. The texture is more like polenta. As the name implies, the origin of this product is the land of Burma, or as we now know it, Myanmar. This is something I found on the PPK site and a few of us have been experimenting with it. The dish today is made with a chickpea version of this dish, but it can also be made with rice flour or even yellow split pea flour. In all cases the technique is the same. I’m not going to give you a primer in how to make it today, since I didn’t take pictures when I made my last batch. However, if you would like the full recipe you can find it over at JohnP’s blog The I-40 Kitchen . Also please check out these links below. original recipe, see link to simplified version above block of completed Burmese Tofu at JohnP’s photostream

some pictures of a scramble

here is a quiche that JohnP made with it

From A-K at Swell Vegan

my flickr photostream of Burmese Tofu dishes (small now, but will grow)

Now I must confess that the way it is cooked tonight is not an original idea by me. I’ve borrowed this from Dawn (Deearess at PPK) over at Veg-Am . When I saw this, I realized that it had a lot of possibilities. Since I didn’t have the spices she used, I used some regular Mrs. Dash, but any seasonings should work. This will be interesting with either southwest or jerk spices. Can’t wait to try those. But here is what I had for dinner tonight. (Recipe below picture)

SBunnies Seasoned Burmese Tofu

Serves 1 (increase as needed)

½ cup rice or other nut milk (add more in splashes if to thick)
½ cup almond flour (use more if needed)
1-2 tsp Mrs. Dash Regular Blend (or favorite spices)
Burmese Tofu

Pour the rice/nut milk into a container. Add the almond flour gradually and stir with a fork or small whisk until thickened. Add more if needed. Add the Mrs. Dash to taste, up to 2 tsp. Stir. Cut some slabs off the tofu block. Coat with seasoned batter and pan fry on medium-low till crispy on each side.

Now this is still a recipe in progress, so if you can make any suggestions please do. I didn’t get the batter just right, but it was still good.

No post tomorrow since it is American Thanksgiving. Teddybear and I are just having Baked Seitan Steaks, corn, potato rolls, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes (these are just for me, he doesn’t like them) and some pie for me and ice cream for him. Nothing fancy, but it is just the two of us and so we don’t need much. At least he isn’t working this year. May be back on Friday, if not then will see you next week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Smoked Paprika Seitan

Sorry, but no Burmese Tofu tonight. I was going through my refrigerator today and realized that I had a some left overs that needed to be eaten. So I thought I would introduce you to your other new friend, seitan.

For those of you that are not familiar with it, seitan is basically wheat gluten that is flavored then simmered/poached, steamed or baked. It was invented by the Zen monks of Japan as a meat replacement. Now some vegans/vegetarians will not eat seitan since the taste and feel can be quite similar to meat. However, if you are not eating tofu, then this will be your primary meat replacer. It is acutally fairly versatile and recipes for it abound both on the net and in vegan cookbooks. However, it does take a bit of practice to get good at making it, since the technique can be a bit tricky. I am far from a seitan expert (at least for now), so if you are having problems, may I suggest that you check out the both the forums at or over at VeggieBoards. Each of these places has recipes as well and at PPK you can get the original baked seitan (at least as far as I know) from Lacheis, the Seitan O'Greatness.

This was my dinner tonight. It is an adaption of a recipe from Rachel Ray for Cashew Chipotle Chicken. I'll put the recipe below, but here are my adaptations. I cheated and used a whole bag of pepper and onion stir fry, green beans replaced the peas, smoked paprika in place of the chipotle and I skipped the cashews since they don't seem to work with this variation as well. I also realized halfway through that I didn't have any water chestnuts, so those are missing as well. The last two replacements are light agave nectar for the honey and dark agave nectar for the maple syrup.

Chipotle Cashew Seitan with Brown Rice Recipe
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, 1/4 onion finely chopped, 3/4 thinly sliced
2 cups quick cooking brown rice
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds seitan meat: cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning blend by McCormick)
2 to 3 tablespoons tamari dark soy sauce, eyeball it
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
10 to 12 water chestnuts, whole
1 cup frozen green peas
3 tablespoons chipotle in adobo (2 peppers and their sauce), available in cans on the international foods aisle or substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons ground chipotle powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin, a palm full
2 to 3 tablespoons light agave nectar, 2 healthy drizzles
1/4 to 1/3 cup real maple syrup, eyeball it
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley leaves, your preference
1 cup raw cashews

1 In a medium pot over medium heat combine 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, and 1 tablespoon butter. When butter melts into oil, add in the chopped onion, cook 2 minutes, then add rice and cook 3 minutes more. Add stock and cover the pot. Raise heat to bring stock to a rapid boil. Once the stock boils, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, 17-18 minutes.

2 While rice cooks, make the seitan. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan, then the seitan. Season the seitan with grill seasoning. Brown the seitan on both sides, season with soy sauce then move off to one side of the pan. Add the remaining onions, garlic and peppers. Cook 2 to 3 minutes then add water chest nuts and green peas and mix vegetables and meat together. Add the chipotles and cumin. Toss to coat. Glaze the mixture with agave and maple syrup and turn off the heat. Add in the chopped cilantro or parsley and the cashew nuts.

3 Top rice with cashew seitan and serve.

Servings: 6
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Recipe Source

Author: Rachael Ray
Web page: Chicken Style Seitan Cutlets, from YRR, but feel free to use your favorite.

Tomorrow, promise, will show you the Burmese Tofu.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Some more housekeeping. I have been playing with the blog elements and have started to add the list of blogs I follow. It is not yet complete, but will be over the next few days.

Now on to the food. I guess the first thing one realizes when you go vegan is that tofu is a common egg replacer. You will see it in both the savory and the sweet. Until recently I thought all that was something I would have to just miss, that is until I happened across this page from the Vegan Society of England. It lists egg replacers and apparently one is just 1 Tbsp of chickpea flour and 1 Tbsp of water and mixed till combined.

If you own VwaV, I am sure you have seen the Fresh Corn Fritters on page 74. I tried this last week using the chickpea egg replacer for the tofu, which my Teddybear and I figured was equivalent to 3 eggs. Just make the recipe as per instruction and use 3 Tbsp of chickpea flour and 3 Tbsp of water in place of the tofu.

As you can see, the batter looks like batter

This is my test fritter in the pan. Now I will tell you that it is way to big. Isa says to use a tablespoon and I read that to be a serving spoon, not the spoon used to stir your coffee. So if you are making these, use the spoon that would be next to your plate, not the one that would be in the mashed potatoes.

This is the fritter after flipping it over. It could have cooked just a bit longer, but turned out just fine.

And this is what I ended up having for dinner. Three of the very large fritters with some leftover Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts from here. I used some Asian Sweet Chili Sauce to add some flavor. They came out great. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The next night the batter was finished up and eaten with some Mustard Sauce from page 94 of VCON, along with some steamed green beans and seitan, made the right size this time. The batter does seem to keep for a few days, so you don’t have to make them all at once. Now I just need to have them at breakfast with some vegan sausage, biscuits and maple syrup.

So you see there are some ways around the tofu problem. In my next post I will tell you about something some of us at PPK have been experimenting with, Burmese Tofu. Which is soy free, just so you know.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Welcome to my blog.

So why have another vegan/vegetarian blog out there. I mean only about 20-30 new ones are started everyday, or so I read somewhere (can’t remember at the moment, will quote if find). In my case, this blog is a reaction to the book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Living”. My complaint about the book is that the author totally ignores soy allergies/intolerances. In a quote from page 33 the author states “Some people find their way to a plant-based died because of allergies or intolerances to foods. Milk, dairy, eggs, shellfish, and even certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts are common allergens and negatively impact millions of people each year in the United States alone.” Did you notice that one common allergen was skipped, soy. Soy is one of the eight most common allergens and therefore is now required to by listed by the FDA on food labels. She talks about lactose intolerance and gluten sensitivity/allergies in the book, but never touches on people who have problems with soy.

Now if you have ever looked at anything labeled vegetarian/vegan and it has a meat replacer or egg replacer in it, 9 times out of 10 that will be tofu or a soybean derivative. It is in mayo, margarine (Earth Balance and the new vegan Smart Balance), cooked goods (most commonly cheesecake), and “mock meats” are either totally soy based or a soy and gluten mix. For those of us that cannot have either any type of soy or just the soy protein, those foods are not available. And since the common token vegan dish anywhere is a veggie burger, this makes it almost totally impossible to eat out since these veggie burgers are usually soy based.

Does this mean that you can’t be vegan/vegetarian and have an allergy to soy or a soy intolerance? Easy answer, no. It is possible, but requires a bit more work. One will have to make one’s cheese, seitan (see-tan), mayo, coffee creamer (or use nut milk/able to find MimicCream) and can forget about eating out. Even if you have a dedicated vegan restaurant locally, they may not have any dishes made with seitan or bean based and most everything will contain soy in some shape or form. They may have a few dishes you can eat, but only a few and those may require some changes to make them eatable. If you are in a vegan unfriendly area of the United States, your options are even less (Chipotle‘s being an exception).

As for me, I am a mostly vegan (about 90+%) and lacto/ovo vegetarian when eating out in Florida (though lactose intolerance is setting in, so not sure how much longer that will last). Thankfully, I am only soy protein intolerant, so soy sauce and lechitan are allowed. For those of you who are allergic and cannot have any soy, I truly feel for you, since it is in literally everything these days. My goal is to show you that you can be vegan/vegetarian and not eat tofu or tempeh. It does require a bit more work, but someone living with food allergies/intolerance is most likely used to that anyway.

There are other things one can use besides soy. Rice and nut milks are common these days, a few companies are now making meat replacers with other products (Sunshine Burgers), thanks to PPK forums I have also come across a new item, Burmese Tofu made with either chickpea flour, split pea flour or even rice flour. I also hope to redo some recipes in common recipe books (VCON, VwaV to name two most popular) and make them with either seitan (see-tan), or another egg replacer. I do use soy sauce, so if you are soy allergic, please feel free to replace it with you favorite soy sauce replacement. If you don’t have one, Bryanna Clark Grogan has one on her website for free.

Don’t know how much I will be posting, since so new to this blogging thing, but will try to be regular. I do have an RSS listing, so you don’t have to check me everyday.

Thanks for coming along on the journey.