Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stir fry with Seitan and Sauce

Tonight’s dinner was really simple half a bag of stir fry vegetables, some chopped up seitan and a stir fry sauce. Needed to get the frozen vegetables out of the freezer, since it was taking up space needed to keep the bread till New Year’s Day; so just chopped up one of the Baked Seitan Steaks to go along with it. Pan fried the seitan till crispy, put on a plate and then stir fried the veggies. Once they were ready just put the seitan back into the pan to warm it up, and then put the whole thing over the steamed rice. Covered it in the sauce and instant dinner. And I must have been hungrier than I realized because I ate the whole thing. Which really surprised me, since this is really a lot of food.

Just wanted to let you know that I think the anole managed to escape the apartment on his own. And I figured out how he got in. We have some fairly large gaps around our patio doors and that appears to be where they are coming in. I found a little baby one the size of my pinky finger yesterday and one today that was as long as my hand. They were both scared out quite easily, however. We are using a towel to try an block the gaps at the bottom, but it doesn’t seem to be working; so the TeddyBear and I will have to find something more solid to use. Any ideas?

Our New Year’s plans are simple. Just stay home, watch the parades and football games. I am not planning on any planned meals , and will just have stuff to make up when we are hungry. So far we have bruschetta topping, half a loaf of Italian bread, some hoagie rolls for sandwiches and also some ice cream (Coconut Bliss Chocolate for me, review later). We will most likely have some other things as well, but don’t plan on really doing anything special food wise. At least we don’t have to go looking for the bubbly stuff, since we still have two little bottles of Asti from last year. Neither one of us are big drinkers, so I am really not surprised. We will have a toast at midnight and I might use some the next morning to make a bubbly drink for breakfast. However, no Mimosas, not that I don’t like them, just that they are a bit ordinary. I have some cherry juice concentrate, so that will be what I’ll use, most likely. Just for something different.

That is all for tonight and if I don’t post tomorrow, then hope everyone has a very Happy New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Leftovers

The TeddyBear and I had a wonderful Christmas and hopefully all of you did as well. He had a great two weeks off work, but I am so happy to not be cooking for him on a regular basis. It wouldn’t be so bad if was willing to try more things and wasn’t so picky about what he will eat. But enough of that and onto dinner tonight.

The theme tonight is leftovers, again. I did the fried stuffing patty topped by a Chickpea Cutlet (VCON) and some leftover gravy (Road's End Golden Gravy from the packet). The last of the mashed potatoes was also turned into a fried patty, just to make it easy to eat. On the side are the last of the Harvard Beets and some steamed green beans. Just a simple little dinner, but very filling.

And I have a suggestion for those of you that like the Chickpea Cutlets. I think I have found the way to pan fry them and still get them to have a crispy coating and also get done in the middle. First you have to make sure the cutlets are evenly flattened and the best way to do that is to roll them out with a small narrow glass or a very small rolling pin. This will ensure that each cutlet has a similar thickness from top to bottom and side to side. It will also mean that the top and bottom will be smooth and no indentions will be left from your fingertips. Then when you fry them, do it on a lower heat than you might think is needed. On my stove I use setting 3, which is basically medium-low heat. And when you put the cutlet in the skillet, the skillet needs to have a bit of oil in the bottom and the cutlet needs to be pressed against the pan. This will allow them to be heated evenly from the pan surface. Then you just let each one sit, till they seem crispy on the bottom, from 5-10 minutes, then you turn them over, press them against the pan and let them sit again, till they seem done. This is what I have been doing lately and they almost look like Isa’s picture in the book. If this doesn’t make sense, let me know and I will take pictures the next time.

That is all for tonight. As for this week, it looks like will be posting tomorrow and on Friday, but not on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Baked Seitan Steaks II

Sorry guys, no food today. We are having leftovers, the Black Bean Burgers (VCON) again with oven baked onion rings and some steamed frozen corn. So I am going to give you a treat. An almost impossible to mess up seitan (or so I think). And while I put this combination together, it rests on the backs of two blogging giants, Celine at Have Cake will Travel and Bryanna Grogan at Notes from the Vegan Feast Kitchen. They both, very graciously, have allowed me to post my version of baked seitan using a recipe from Celine and a technique from Bryanna (along with her recipe for “Chicken” Style Broth Powder).

First some history. The seitan recipe comes from one that Celine posted for Baked Seitan Steaks, based on the turkey flavorings used by Sarah Kramer in one of her seitan recipes. I made it a few times and really liked it, since it only makes a small amount and was easy to do. However, it came out “bready” for me. Even with a good bit of kneading it was still “bready” after being baked. Then I was looking at the Seitan “Turkey” recipe of Bryanna’s and did really think about making it. Especially since it looked like the recipe could be halved without any major problems. But the more I looked at what it would take to make that seitan, and how much work it would be by hand and also how much it would make, it just didn’t seem feasible in my tiny kitchen. So in a flash of inspiration I decided to combine Celine’s recipe with Bryanna’s technique of baking the seitan with a broth, with one addition of my own; some chickpea flour added to the seitan.

The first time I tried it, the seitan came out great; even though I forgot both the nutritional yeast and the chickpea flour. It was soft, had a wonderful flavor, a great texture and very moist. In fact that first batch is still in my refrigerator and is still moist, even though it is not stored in a broth. And the best part is that I can make it in my toaster oven in a small casserole; though if one wanted to, it could also be cooked as one big loaf in a small loaf pan as well.

Now while I claim this is almost foolproof, we all know that seitan can be a bit touchy; so I will make no promises. However, Bryanna’s technique of baking the seitan with a broth prevents a lot of potential problems. If you have never tried seitan before, this might be a good recipe to start with, since it is fairly simple. For those who don’t make the “Chicken” Style Broth Powder for the baking broth and use a commercial version, remember that it may turn out saltier than you may like. That is why I say that you only need one teaspoon of the commercial powder and you may also want to skip the salt in the seitan as well. As an added bonus, Bryanna’s broth powder can be soy free, for those of you that are allergic.

Baked Seitan Steaks II

1 cup vital wheat gluten
1 cup water
1 1/2 Tbs tamari (or your favorite soy sauce replacement)
3 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt [optional, if you're watching your sodium intake, since there is tamari already]
1 tsp Vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Or 2 tsp Poultry Seasoning
2 Tbs chickpea flour (optional, if you want it)
1 cup water, hot
2 tsp Bryanna's "Chicken" Style broth powder (see recipe below) or 1 tsp commercial unchicken broth powder

1. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and liquid ingredients in another. Stir together till combined and then knead for at least 5 minutes (edit: dough may feel gritty, don't worry, broth will be absorbed when cooking and grittiness will not be evident in final product). Let seitan rest for 5 minutes.
2. Prepare stock with water and broth powder
3. Shape your seitan in two steaks (I cut the seitan in half with a metal pastry scraper and shape each half). Place steaks in pan and pour broth over them and cover with aluminum foil. Cook in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, turn over and cook for another 30 minutes. Let cool in pan till close to room temperature (about 1 hour). Then place seitan in a storage container and put in refrigerator or wrap in foil and freeze till needed.
4. If using a loaf pan, the put the entire amount of seitan in the bottom of the loaf pan, cover with the broth and then cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil, making a tent over the pan. Place in the 350 degree oven and flip after 30 minutes like above. Take out when done and let cool till room temperature and place in the refrigerator or wrap in foil and place in the freezer.

Edit to add: feel free to double or triple this recipe, it still cooks up very well, if you want a nice loaf to get sliced cutlets or for lunch meat I recommend tripling the recipe and turning the loaf after one hour then testing after a second hour to see if it is done, if not then check in 15 minute intervals until another hour has elapsed, can also make steaks in a multiplied recipe but need to increase pan size, 8x8 for a double recipe, possibly up to 11x17 for a triple recipe, also increase cooking times proportionally

Servings: 4
Yield: 2 big steaks or one medium size seitan loaf
edit: good 7 days in the refrigerator, possibly up to 8 weeks in the freezer (will update if changes)


NOTE: I used to call for 1 Tbs. powder per cup of water, but have found that 2 tsp. works just fine!

I invented this broth powder when I was having trouble finding a natural broth powder here in Canada that actually tasted good! It's cheap and easy to make and has excellent flavor. You need to use twice as much of this homemade broth powder as Seitenbacher, but the sodium comes out about the same.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups or 30 cups of broth

1 1/3 cups nutritional yeast flakes
3 Tbs onion powder
7 1/2 tsp (2 1/2 Tbs) sea salt
1 Tbs soy protein powder (OR rice protein powder)
1 Tbs vegan sugar
2 1/2 tsp. garlic granules or powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp finely crumbled dried sage (NOT powdered)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric

Blend in a dry blender or food processor until powdery. Store in a dry, airtight container .

Use 2 level teaspoons per cup of boiling water.

These are the steaks after shaping and before covering the pan with foil to bake for the first 30 minutes.

These are the steaks after cooking for 80 minutes and being turned over.

These are the steaks after cooking for an hour and cooling in the pan for an hour. At this point you can put then in a container and refrigerate them or wrap them in foil and freeze them.

Hope you all enjoy this. If you are still looking for something for Christmas, it is not to late to make it. I made mine last week and put them in the freezer. All I have to do is thaw them out and reheat it on Thursday.

This may be my only post this week, so I will see you after Christmas and hope all of you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and also a good Kwanza.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Beck’s BBQ Pulled Pork Seitan

First, sorry for no post yesterday. I ended up not cooking dinner since was dealing with some nausea issues. It happens to me from time to time and is worse in the afternoon and evening. The only way to deal with it is to lay down, so that is what I did most of last evening. It is either due to hormones or allergies, but I haven’t figured out what has caused this current bout. It comes and goes, so hopefully it will leave soon.

And on to dinner tonight. We had what was planned for last night, Beck’s BBQ Pulled Pork Seitan. And Becks you have nothing to worry about. It received a “most acceptable” from the TeddyBear, which is about as good as it gets from him. Or to put it another way “He likes it!” I did, however, find that the BBQ sauce got rather thick from sitting in the refrigerator, since I made it early. It had to get hot to properly coat the torn seitan pieces, but after it was, the seitan was easily coated. The seitan was a bit hard to tear (shred), but that was because it had sat in the refrigerator for a day. If you make this in one day, like Becks did, then it will go together easier. Oh, and Becks, I had no problem with the sauce getting thick. It actually got very syrupy while I was cooking it down. However, that could have been because I used orange juice, since that was the only juice easily found. I used the potato rolls from Wal-Mart for my sandwiches (which are still vegan), but the TeddyBear used regular sliced bread. For side dishes we had vegetarian (which are vegan) baked beans from Bush’s Baked Beans and Fingerling Fries from “Vegan Express” by Nava Atlas.

The Fingerling Fries are kind of interesting and really easy. All they are is fingerling potatoes cut in half and then fried in a pan and sprinkled with smoked paprika. The book they are from “Vegan Express” is basically vegan dishes that can be turned into a meal in 30-45 minutes. She has meal plans, interesting tidbits of information and a some no recipe required things. If you are looking for a cookbook of quick and easy to prepare vegan dishes, this is for you. And since it is available as an eBook, you can get it right way, even if you can’t find it locally.

That is all for this week. I am still working on the list of soy protein free vegan products and also a seitan recipe for you. Unfortunately, my tendonitis has also flared up, so that is slowing me down. It looks like next week will be mostly leftovers, so I may hold off till then. Other than these, I may not post at all next week. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Black Bean Burgers

Tonight’s omni friendly dinner is courtesy of VCON, the Black Bean Burgers on page 98. I figured that you can’t go wrong with a veggie burger made of beans. And I was right. They got a very acceptable, which is about as good a review as my TeddyBear gives for anything. I only made a few minor changes to the recipe. Used smoked paprika for the chili powder and since I was out of onion, just used ½ teaspoon of onion powder. Don’t think that affected the taste. Now you will notice that we don’t use hamburger buns. We just have no space to keep them in the apartment and don’t use them very much, so we don’t buy them. The TeddyBear likes using bread anyway. I wanted to make mine easier to eat with one hand (since I eat with my plate in one hand and the computer on my lap in slate mode), so I cut my patty in half and just put each half on a slice of bread with some BBQ sauce. It worked out really well, and will have to remember that for the future. However, I don’t understand how Isa says that you get 6 1½ inch patties out of the recipe. I could only get four, but they don’t seem to thick and did get done as they should be. I think the next time I will actually measure out 2 cups of black beans instead of just using a 15 oz. can of them, the measurement may not have been right.

On the side we had steamed baby carrots and broccoli kinpira from Just Bento. It isn’t really how she does it, since I cheated and used broccoli slaw mix and then just cooked that up with the soy sauce, sesame oil, hot pepper flakes and sesame seeds. If you know of someone who doesn’t like broccoli, suggest they try it this way. It really doesn’t taste anything like you would expect broccoli to taste like. And if you have never checked out either Just Bento or its companion blog Just Hungry and are interested in Japanese or fusion cooking, please go take a look. Not everything is vegan, but Maki does have some interesting items and on some things she will tell you have to make a dish vegan. She is also doing a bento lunch challenge to loose weight in January on Just Bento, so if you are interested in bento lunches and also want to loose some weight, see if you can still get involved.

The tutorials for both versions of the Burmese Tofu are up and links from the sidebar to them. I also put in a link to all the associated pictures in my Flickr account. Hope they help you if you have any problems.

P.S. Sorry the picture is blurry. I must have jiggled the camera and didn't realize it.

Burmese Tofu Tutorial - Chickpea/Yellow Split Pea Flour version

Chickpea/Yellow Split Pea Flour version (1/2 recipe version)

1 ½ cup rice besan (chickpea) flour/yellow split pea flour
4 ½ cup water
Pinch ground turmeric
½ tsp vegetable oil
½ tsp salt


5 qt heavy bottomed pan
Wire whisk (preferably one with a rubber grip handle)
Container to hold rice flour and water while soaking, for ½ recipe at least 6 cups, for full recipe at least 12 cups
Loaf pan (this is what I use for ½ recipes, for a full recipe you will need at least a 12x3 pan)


1. Put the water and besan/yellow split pea flour into a container and stir till combined. Cover container and let sit for 12 hours.

2. After soaking, oil pan and mold for tofu. Pour mixture into pan, add turmeric and bring to a boil. Put on moderate heat and stir with a whisk or large spoon for the 15 minutes. The mixture needs to be kept in continuous motion or lumps will form.

3. Once the 15 minutes are up, pour in the sludge from the soaking container and stir over low heat for 5 minutes. The mixture will thicken quickly. Again keep the mixture in continuous motion to prevent lumps from forming.

4. At the end of the 5 minutes, pour the mixture into the mold and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours to set.

5 . When the tofu is set, slice and use as wish.

Burmese Tofu Tutorial - Rice Version

Rice Version (1/2 recipe)

1 ½ cup rice flour (regular white rice flour)
4 ½ cup water
½ tsp vegetable oil
½ tsp salt


5 qt heavy bottomed pan
Wire whisk (preferably one with a rubber grip handle)
Container to hold rice flour and water while soaking, for ½ recipe at least 6 cups, for full recipe at least 12 cups
Loaf pan (this is what I use for ½ recipes, for a full recipe you will need at least a 12x3 pan)


1. Put the water and rice flour into a container and stir till combined. Cover container and let sit for 12 hours

2. After soaking, oil pan and mold for tofu. Pour mixture into pan and bring to a boil. Put on low heat and cook down water for 15 minutes. Unlike the chickpea version, you do not need to stir since all you are doing is reducing the liquid. A large amount of sludge will be left in the soaking container.

3. Scoop/Pour the sludge into the pan and bring it back to a boil. Once bubbles pop the surface put the temperature on low heat again and stir for 5 minutes. The sludge will thicken the liquid and the mixture should start to come away from the sides of the pan. If it does not, you may need to cook it for up to 10 minutes on low heat.

4. After 5-10 minutes, place mixture in oiled mold and put in refrigerator till set. Needs to sit in refrigerator for at least 12 hours to set properly.

5 . When the mixture is set, slice and use as wish.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sloppy Sams

Tonight’s omni friendly meal is something that I found at Allrecipes.com this summer, it’s called Sloppy Sams. Basically it’s just a “sloppy joes” variation that you see all over the place. These recipes either use tofu, tempeh or TVP most commonly; however this one uses lentils. It doesn’t specify the type, so I just use regular brown lentils, but even red lentils would be fine. Just don’t cook what ever lentil you use so long that they break down, since in this dish the lentils are the meat replacer. It also has chili powder, which I used to just leave out; but now use smoked paprika in its place. This is another recipe that makes a ton of food, but if you need to feed an army and do it quickly, again this is the recipe for you. Since the lentils take 30 minutes to cook, if you start the sauce when they are half-way done, the whole thing won’t take you much longer the 45 minutes max. Tonight we had it with corn, since this is one of the few vegetables that my T.B. will eat willingly and I also had some Harvard Beets.

Harvard Beets are basically just sweet & sour beets. The recipe I used is from Vegweb.com, but again recipes for it can be found all over the web. It is just sliced beets (buy them that way in a jar, it saves you lots of trouble), a sweetener, an acid and some cornstarch. The liquid from the beets is mixed with the other ingredients till thickened and the sliced beets are added in and heated till warm. I never really liked beets till I had them this way, and may never eat them any other way again. If my mom could see me eating these, she would probably not believe it; since I was a picky eater as a child and would never eat beets.

That is all for today. I am still working on the tutorial for the Burmese Tofu, but hopefully should be able to get it up tomorrow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mexican Zucchini

Well tonight is the first of a two week unplanned theme of “What do you feed an omni?” due to the TeddyBear having two weeks off from work. It will have a bit of everything. Basic dishes, seitan, lentils, and comfort food. I am doing Becks Pulled Pork, a “sloppy joes” type dish and also the Black Bean Burgers from VCON. And if this has been planned correctly, we can get through the week without any leftover makeovers, at least until the weekend.

Tonight we start with Mexican Zucchini. I found this up at Vegweb.com this past summer and have made it few times now, however I have no idea why this dish got its name. It is perfect for my TeddyBear since it is simple and has no spices (he doesn’t like to many spices in his food). The ingredients are only zucchini, tomatoes, onion and corn; although I did add some smoked paprika tonight, just for something different. We had it over rice, but you can also have it in wraps, use it as a base for veggie tacos or burritos and the leftovers will find their way in to some quesadillas. I was even thinking that it would be great as part of a scramble or a huevos rancheros. It is one dish that my TeddyBear is willing to easily accept and since it has few vegetables, it is quite nutritious. The best thing is that this is a one skillet meal, so no messy kitchen afterwards. However, be warned it makes a ton. If you are feeding an army and need dinner in a hurry, this might be the dish for you.

That is all for tonight. Might have a few extra posts this week, since need to get a few things up apart from the normal stuff.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Curry Marinated Chick-Fu

The great experiment worked, kind of. The good news is that it didn’t fall apart and dissolve in the marinade (the Curried Tofu marinade from VCON). The bad news is that it wasn’t absorbed by the chick-fu and just kind of sat on top. It baked up alright, but really didn’t taste very good, because all you got was the concentrated spices in the marinade. I guess this means that if we want to season our chick-fu then we need to make a batter of some type, season the batter, coat the chick-fu and then fry it or bake it. The side dish was actually much better. It is the last of the Cinnamon-Spiced Baked Vegetables from La Dolce Vegan that was steamed with the Spiced Lentils & Rice. Not bad actually. If I had more the baked vegetables, it could have been a meal of its own.

And now for some housecleaning. No anole sightings today. Don’t know if he is still here, but I am going to catch him if he is. Vegetation, anoles are related to the skinks you have in Australia. I guess you could call them cousins, but these are from the Bahamas. If anyone is looking for a fairly easy, mostly foolproof recipe for seitan that doesn’t make a lot, will have a recipe up for you in the next few days. I have all the pictures needed to make the tutorial about how to make the Burmese Tofu, both the rice and chickpea/yellow split pea flour versions. That will be up in the next week as well. The TeddyBear is off work the next two weeks, so my postings will be around the theme of “What do you feed an omni?” and I may not be posting everyday, due to us eating a lot of leftovers. I also do not plan on posting for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or New Year’s Eve or Day either. Since these holidays are late in the week this year, I may also not post on the following Friday as well. It will depend on what we ate.

That is all for now and have a good weekend.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Product Review and more Burmese Tofu

Okay, guys. Today you get a bonus. Both lunch and dinner, along with a bit of excitement in the Republic of Bunny today.

First the product review. I had a Sunshine Burger for lunch with the Mustard Sauce from VCON and some celery with peanut butter. Now in case you have yet to hear about the Sunshine Burger products, let me tell you they are just what you are needing to find. The entire line is vegan, organic, soy free and gluten free. Yes, you did read all that correctly. I know, sounds impossible. The company that makes these uses sunflower seeds as their base instead of either TVP or gluten. The variety I’m eating is the Garden Herb, but they also have 3 other varieties as well. If the other three are as good as this one, they are worth it. The patty was well seasoned and really didn’t need anything else on the bread. I just used the Mustard Sauce to add a different flavor profile. However, one could also use a curry ketchup, mustard or a curry mayonnaise as well. Please, do not use BBQ sauce. It really doesn’t work with the seasonings. The celery with peanut butter was really just to round out the plate, because you would not believe how nutritious these patties are. The only bad thing is that they only come three to a box. Now if they don’t sell these in your neck of the woods and you want to try them, Sneaky posted a clone of the Original variety up at PPK forums. So if you can’t buy them, you can make them.

This is what I had for desert today. I only usually have desert with lunch, not dinner. This is the Amazing Hupia (Coconut) Pudding with some thawed strawberries and some walnuts. Since this didn’t get made last week, it got bumped to this week. If you like coconut, this is for you. The recipe is only coconut milk, water and cornstarch. However, if you are trying to watch your weight, then you might want to skip this. Not low in calorie. As for the walnuts, I try to have some everyday. They provide some extra calories, have good fats, and also are a great source for Omega-3s. Besides, I like them.

Dinner again was the last of my previous batch of chick-fu. Again it is coated with the batter I am trying to use up (almost done). The stuffing patties are the last of the leftover stuffing from Thanksgiving. So one more item cleared out of the refrigerator. This was really just to clear up some odds and ends in the refrigerator and make room for next weeks food. And I am so happy to finally be out of that stuffing. Now the question is, do we have more for Christmas, in which case you will see this again till next year. Considering how well the bread in the stuffing mix is seasoned however, I may buy it again and only make a small amount. The rest would be great to use in making a batter for the chick-fu for baking or frying. All I would need to do is run it through my Magic Bullet.

I am making more the chick-fu tonight, so hopefully the tutorial will be up in the next week or two. And tomorrow will be the big experiment, marinating the chick-fu and then baking it. I figured that if it should fail, I would have a great batter for making Socca or maybe use it to make an omelet.

Now for the excitement today. As I was walking in to my kitchen, this morning I went Eek!!!. What was on the wall. Why an anole. How it got in our apartment and then into the kitchen, we will never know. It took me half the day, but he is finally out of the kitchen, but still in the apartment, as far as I know. That picture you see was taken about 11:00 this morning, long after we woke up. Now does anyone know how to catch one of these creatures. And I do mean catch and release. Personally, I think that they are cute little creatures. But not in my kitchen!!!! (was I shouting there) My fear is that he will die in the apartment or that we will accidentally step on him, since he seems to be able to blend into his environment. Any help is appreciated.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Eggplant Bharta

This is another recipe from La Dolce Vegan. And it was really simple and quick. Prep to dinner was about 20 minutes, more or less. Of course, that did include a few cheats. I used frozen, chopped onions; bought pre-chopped tomatoes and ginger juice in place of the grated ginger. And the shortcuts didn’t seem to affect the flavor, either. The hardest thing to do was to prep the eggplant. I didn’t salt it, since was not sure it needed that to be done. I am still getting used to cooking with eggplant, this is only my second dish so far. The first was a vegetarian taco filling from Parade Magazine (really good, but makes a ton, so keep it for parties, bottom of the page). Since I wasn’t sure if the skin should be left on or not, I did go ahead and peel the eggplant (if that was wrong, please let me know). The whole thing only takes about 15 minutes to cook and then layer over rice and dinner is on the table.

The best thing about this dish is that the spices are not over done. It is spicy, but not in a really burn your mouth sort of way. In fact if you were to leave out the cayenne and the hot pepper, (dare I suggest) kids might even like this. That is assuming, of course that they can be enticed to try eggplant. And if you don’t like hot and spicy food, then go ahead and leave out the cayenne and the hot pepper. I don’t think it will hurt the dish at all. Especially since the recipe calls for 1 Tbsp of cumin. However, if you don’t like cumin or Indian seasonings, this is not for you.

Now if you don’t have La Dolce Vegan in your cookbook library and want to try this, don’t despair. Just google “eggplant bharta” and I am sure you will find a ton of recipes on the web. They probably will all be somewhat different, so if one doesn’t sound good to you, then keep looking. I am sure you will find one that does.

The really only bad thing about the dish is that it doesn’t photograph very well. Unfortunately, don’t think there is much I can do about that. Haven’t decided what dinner will be tomorrow night, so you will just have to stop by and see. Until then.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

BBQ Lentils

I know, sounds weird doesn’t it. Well they taste dang good. Who would think that lentils cooked till tender and then have BBQ sauce added to them would be so good. This is something I usually would have for lunch, but felt like having them for dinner tonight, since I am still trying to use up the stuffing and eat some different veggies from time to time. I also didn’t feel like making something new or complicated. Easy is best sometimes. Now I will confess that the rolls you see are not vegan. These are the left over potato rolls from Thanksgiving and the ones at Publix were not vegan, much to my surprise really. The only reason I can think that they have egg and milk is that they must have an egg wash to get brown in the oven. Potato rolls usually don’t need egg, since the potato more or less replaces any need for egg in the recipe. Funny thing though, I was at a Wal-mart Neighborhood Market a couple of days later and their potato rolls are vegan. Who would have guessed. Oh well, know what to buy next time. I would have made them from scratch, but since my kitchen is not really conductive to making bread, had to go store bought.

I also need to eat a least a few servings of lentils every week, since I am anemic. I tried taking vitamins in the past, and wouldn’t you know it, they upset my stomach (just my luck). So I have to treat it with diet. Since I like lentils, broccoli, and even spinach to a certain degree, it is not that hard. I just have to figure out how to get it into my meal plan. I figure if I do this and eat enough of other things, the iron will take care of itself.

The BBQ sauce is something I found at Food TV (if someone could figure out how to veganize the entire recipe, it might be interesting). And another confession, is that it contains Hoisin sauce. I know, made of soybeans, not supposed to eat. However, it didn’t seem to make up a large portion of the ingredients and I wanted to test my tolerance to soy proteins. The good news is that I can tolerate it, but just barely. I can have it about 2x a week and that is it. After this batch, I am not making any more, since I want to have a sauce that won’t bother my stomach. The reason I wanted to try it, is that the base is ginger beer. Since I happen to love ginger beer, I really could not pass up a BBQ sauce based on it. And it is a really good sauce. Kind of thin, but really good. However, I have at least 4 other BBQ sauce recipes I want to try, including the one Becks made up and also one from Bryanna Clark Grogan made with whiskey (yea for Jack Daniels being vegan). It would have been nice to be able to tolerate a bit of soy protein, but I guess that will not be true for me.

That is all for today. Tomorrow will most likely be something new also. I found a recipe for Eggplant Bharta in La Dolce Vegan and just had to try it, since I am trying to eat eggplant, when possible. And it also makes a good one pot meal with hopefully few leftovers. Since I am cooking for two the next two weeks, that will be important.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rice-fu “Fish”-The Recap

Sorry guys, no pictures tonight since dinner was leftovers, the Baby Corn & Peppers Stir Fry. I am also not making a bunch of new food this week, since my TeddyBear has next week off. How he got vacation this time of year in his job (he works for a company that provides back-end office services to banks and credit unions) I do not know, but he did. So next week I guess the theme is “Food to feed Omnis”. I have actually managed to find a few things he likes and Becks I am borrowing your BBQ Pulled “Pork” dish next week. Especially, since I think that your BBQ sauce would throw a lot of people on this side of the big pond for a loop. They would not be happy that a Brit can beat them at their own game. But I digress. He does like (or at least tolerates) seitan, a “Sloppy Joes” type recipe made with lentils, a dish called of all things Mexican Zucchini (possibly because of the corn, don’t know) and a few other things. Might also do a sweet and sour seitan dish as well or a stir fry. However, he is a bit of a challenge on food. Some things he will not eat due to texture (polenta, risotto), he is extremely sensitive to capsicum (the substance that makes peppers spicy) so no green peppers, and he doesn’t like any thing heavily spiced and he doesn’t like to use sauces. Now you ask, how do I cook for him. Well mostly not, since about all he can tolerate after a day at work is a salad and getting him to eat that is a trial. He frankly does not eat enough calories, as far as I know; but he may eat and not tell me about it. The truth, I just muddle through. (update, just learned he has two weeks off since he also has 32 hours of personal days he has not taken, two weeks of omni friendly food it is)

Now on to the rice-fu “fish”. It was and was not a success. It didn’t taste that bad, but it also did not taste fishlike. The rice-fu did not dissolve in the marinade, but it also did not seem to absorb it. however, that could have been because I didn’t let it sit long enough. Next time it will sit in the marinade longer, up to an hour or more. If it dissolves on me, I will have a backup for dinner. And it didn’t dissolve when being fried either. It didn’t get like the chick-fu does, but it did get a bit like the texture of a whitefish. I guess you could say the results were promising but more experimentation needs to be done. That will have to wait till I can get some ginger. I don’t tend to keep ginger around since it will go bad on me before I use it, so I cheat and use Ginger Juice from The Ginger People. That did not work in the marinade well, so need to get some jarred crushed ginger to make this again. Once I am sure it works fairly well, I will put up a picture.

One thing before I go. Would anyone be interested in a product list of ice creams, cheeses, milks and other products that are either soy protein free or even soy free (unusual though it may be). Only reason I’m asking is that I keep seeing these lists on the web of things that are vegan and things that are gluten free are very clearly labeled. Maybe if people saw a market for soy free cheeses and the like, they would be easier to find. If you think it is a good idea let me know and I will get it set up and a link to that page from the sidebar.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thai Curry – Redux

Tonight was the return of the Thai Curry from earlier this week. This time I did it with the chick-fu that was coated in almond flour and then fried. The good news is that after the chick-fu was crispy it didn’t dissolve while sitting in the hot curry. That is good to know, because it shows that the chick-fu is sturdier than we thought it my be. After all the do make a curry with it in Burma and I think they do it with the fried fritters. So this must need a hard skin on it to stay together in a liquid. I just wish we could find a recipe for how they do their curry with this. From what I read it sounds interesting. But back to this dish. Another good thing is that the taste and the texture of the chick-fu do seem to blend with the curry. Which is good, because if they clashed, then this would not have been so good.

An update on the rice-fu. I may have jumped the gun on how well it set up. After taking it out of the loaf pan today, I noticed that it had set up all the way to the bottom at the same hardness. So maybe it just wasn’t set up yet when I used it on Tuesday. I am going to try make “fish” sticks with it this weekend from a recipe I found over at PPK from LadyVoxx, she did it with tofu and I am going to see how it works with the rice-fu. If it goes good, the rice-fu will get a bit gelatinous and resemble fish a bit, if not it will fall apart in the pan or in the marinade. Don’t worry, I have a back-up plan for dinner if this crashes and burns, which I still fear it will.

And not to trump anything, but this blog has now been around for two weeks. Now the trick is can I make it two months. Still have lots of things to try and there are lots of recipes to de-tofu. Speaking of the de-tofuing, I am going to take a big chance next week with the chick-fu. Hopefully it will work, because that then would allow us to do a lot of what people do with the regular tofu. The big chance is marinating it cold and then baking it in the oven. I am even thinking about BBQing it at some point. Just to test the boundaries of what it can do. Just think we might even be able to make sandwiches out of it when cold. I have some other things I want to try also, but those are for the future.

That is all for this week. If the “fish” is a success there might be a post this weekend, if not then the post mortem will be on Monday. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Corn and Pepper Stir–Fry

Tonight’s dinner is courtesy of Lindsay over at the Happy Herbivore . I was checking out the recipes on her site (linked there from somewhere else, just don’t remember) and happened to notice this one. Since I love both baby corn and peppers, it was a no brainer. It also doesn’t make a lot, which is another plus. Now just to let you know, those are fresh peppers sliced by me before they went into the pan. I didn’t cheat this time, because I do like to use fresh vegetables, when possible. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any snap peas and the store and had no green beans in the freezer, so those got left out. To make up for that, I just put in the entire can of baby corn. My market did have fresh baby corn this week, but they didn’t look that good, so canned it was. And since we only have orange juice around here, that was used in place of the pineapple juice, but I don’t think it affected the flavor. And one final change was to mix the cornstarch and water with the sauce base before adding to the pan, cause in some things I am just lazy. And this all came together from prep to eating in 20 minutes. Just right for a quick weeknight meal.

Now I am sure you all want to know (or at least those of you that haven’t had this already), was it good. It was very good. The best thing about is that it is fat free, so a nice recipe to have when one has been overindulging. Definitely something to keep in my recipe box (or my cookbook software , as it were). This would be a great meal to take for lunch and reheat in the microwave. It will work great as leftovers in a wrap, which is how most of my leftovers end up. Makes as easy lunch at home. However, the next time I make this I need to remember to cut the peppers bite size. Leaving them in the strips made it a bit hard to eat.

Lindsey has some interesting recipes on her site. If you haven’t been there already, please go and check them out. She also has two cookbooks, one out and one coming out soon. They are both in PDF, so you get them within a day or two of your order and each one is quite inexpensive. I see her first one has a Soy Free Spinach Quiche, so that alone makes the $5 dollars a good use of your money. I would get it for that recipe alone, since her technique probably has other applications and I need to eat more spinach (don’t we all). She also does not use a lot of tofu, so most of her recipes are automatically soy protein free from the start.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cinnamon-Spice Roasted Vegetables

That lovely picture you see was my dinner tonight. And it was so much better than last nights semi disappointment. At the top under my fork are more of the fried stuffing patties. This time they were done a bit differently. I just moistened the stuffing with some stock from the refrigerator and sprinkled about 2 tsp of chickpea flour on them. As you can see they held together really well. However, part of the reason they got so crisp this time is that I somewhat ignored them while trying to figure out why my internet was out, so they sat in the pan a little longer then they should have, but it didn’t seem to hurt them. On the opposite side of the plate is some more of the chick-fu (or Burmese Tofu made with chickpea flour). It is coated with the same batter I made last week, since it has been sitting in the frig just waiting to be used. This time, the chick-fu was baked instead of fried. It worked out really well. The coating has thickened since being refrigerated and stuck better this time. It also set very well in the toaster oven. Now I could have also fried this, but since I have been doing a low fat diet since 1991, my body can’t handle a lot of fried food anymore. So I baked them instead.

Now the best part of the meal was the Cinnamon-Spice Roasted Vegetables from La Dolce Vegan pg. 193. You would not believe how good these are. With all the cumin, coriander and cinnamon that goes in them, one would think that they would be spicy. But I didn’t find them to be that way. All the vegetables got soft and kind of melted together a bit, especially the butternut squash. And it has so many possibilities for leftovers. According to the book, it can be a meal in it self; but they would work great in a wrap as well. They might even make a great pita sandwich when cold. I also wonder how they would be with some of the chick-fu on top, maybe seasoned with five-spice powder or even some jerk seasoning (possibilities). According to Sarah Kramer this makes 2 large servings or 4 small, but I must not eat a lot since it looks like I will get at least 5 servings out of this. Look for these to show up again. However, there is one bad thing about this dish. It has so much Vitamin A that if one eats it to often, you might turn orange.

And just an endorsement here. If you are looking for a cookbook that is not wall to wall with recipes that contain either tofu or tempeh, La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer is a good one to get. It also has a lot of recipes that minus the soy sauce as well. All the “mock meats” are seitan, but let me warn you that she does seitan a bit differently than you may have seen before (see here for a sample recipe http://www.vegfamily.com/vegan-cooking-tips/seitan.htm). The best thing about this book is that all the recipes make small quantities. So if you don’t want to deal with a lot of leftovers or are feeding a few people this would be the book to get. Also quite a few of the recipes seem to be omni friendly as well. All in all, not a bad book to have in your library.

*sorry I am so late posting but local ISP had a county wide outage and they just got back up

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thai Curry-My Way

The semi appetizing picture you see at the top is what I had for dinner tonight. I made the Green Thai Curry from VwaV tonight and, with some modifications. First I didn’t make the green curry paste from the book, since I can’t find lemon grass easily. I know in Florida and can’t easily find lemon grass. I would have to go to an Asian grocery store and just don’t have any near me. So I used some red curry paste from the refrigerator. I used 3 tsp and it didn’t blow my head off. Must have been the coconut milk. Then I cheated on the red bell pepper and onion and used a half a bag of the pepper stir fry mix. Just easier to deal with and something I use a lot. The last change was using the rice version of the Burmese Tofu I made today. More on that later.

Let me just say that I am now officially hooked on Thai curries. I cannot believe how good they are. Now this recipe is as close as I have ever come to having one and I can’t wait to have it again. What I couldn’t believe is that it didn’t blow my head off, considering how much curry paste was used, it should have. It must have been the coconut milk (said that already didn’t I).

Unfortunately, the Burmese Tofu made with rice flour was a disappointment. It did seem to work alright as it got solid and seemed to set up fairly hard. However, it gets soft and sticky when it is heated. I will put a tutorial later about how to make it (complete with pictures), but I do not think it is versatile as the chickpea version. I am going to try and make fish from it, but am not sure it will work. Hopefully it will absorb a marinade and not fall apart when fried. But that will be next week.

All for now. See you later. Cinnamon Spice Roasted Vegetables tomorrow.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Meal Planning

Sorry guys, no food today. Still working on leftovers. Had them for lunch and will have them for dinner also. For lunch had the Marinated Lentil Salad, cranberries and a casserole made with left over stuffing and left over chickpeas from making Chickpea Cutlets yesterday. Dinner is going to be the Chipotle Cashew Seitan over rice again. But I will be making a few things this week.

Think I said this before, but I cook with the idea of planned leftovers. Basically, I decide what I want to make and then use that to create a shopping list. How much I cook, is dependent on how much is left over still from the week before. I’ll use this week as an example. I plan on making:

Amazing Haupia (Coconut) Pudding
Green Thai Curry (VwaV)
Baby Corn and Pepper Stir Fry from Lindsay over at the Happy Herbivore
Cinnamon Spiced Vegetables from La Dolce Vegan
Molasses Pumpkin Bars (breakfast) from Celine at Have Cake Will Travel
Spiced Lentils and Rice (from Sunday dinner)

Now I still have in the refrigerator from last week:

Mexican Chocolate Pudding (VwaV)
Banana and Walnut Pancakes (PPK recipes)
Chipotle Cashew Seitan
Marinated Lentil Salad from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen
Stuffing from Thanksgiving
Cranberries from Thanksgiving
Baked Seitan Steaks from Thanksgiving

So as you can see, I need to eat up some stuff to have something to store new food. I really try to not eat the same food two days in a row, but things don’t always work out that way. I am also making more Burmese Tofu this week, the rice version simply because I want to try it out. If it doesn’t fall apart when I put it in the Green Thai Curry, then it might turn up as fish sticks next week. (cross your fingers and pray) I will probably have to make some more of the chickpea version also, since I am almost half-way through what was made last week.

I am really looking forward to trying the Cinnamon Spiced Vegetables since it has butternut squash and I don’t think I have had that before. It has actually been on the list for a few weeks, but have been unable to find any precut up squash. However, I was able to score some this week; so now I can try it.

Now I know all that looks like a lot of food and I bet you all think that I am a bit plump or more. Wish that was true. I have actually fluctuated between 125-135 lbs since age 18. I can’t seem to go below 125 and seem to hover around 135. My clothing size hasn’t changed since high school. In fact, I up until a few years ago I still wore clothes that I wore in high school. I just don’t eat a lot, so that is why my weight is fairly stable. Good metabolism helps also.