Monday, August 31, 2009

Nufu Tofu and Sweet Potato Cakes

No, you are not misreading the title of this post. That is a new product from Sunergia Soy Foods and it is a tofu made from peanuts and seasoned with wither ginger or herbs and hickory. And how do you make a tofu from peanuts you ask, why just like regular tofu. First you make peanut milk, then you add nigari, then you press it. Viola, peanut tofu. Oh, and it doesn’t taste like peanuts.

For dinner I had BBQ Nufu Tofu with Sweet Potato Cakes and a simple salad. The tofu cooks up just like regular soy tofu and even looks white when one takes it out of the package. It has the same feel and slices up quite easily. Place it in a pan and it browns up, just like tofu would do. After it had browned on both sides, I put some BBQ sauce (Bryanna’s Bourbon Barbeque Sauce, page down to find), turned off the heat and let it sit in the sauce. I don’t know if it soaked up any of the sauce, but since it comes pre marinated and seasoned, that may not matter. The Hickory and Herb did meld well with the BBQ sauce I used, and would most likely work well with almost any BBQ sauce.

On the side I have
Sweet Potato Cakes. This is something I found up at Vegweb. The base is sweet potatoes, but they also have corn and shredded zucchini. Oat flour and panko breadcrumbs act as a binder. If you like sweet potatoes, needless to say, this is a dish for you; since it is a very different way to eat your sweet potatoes. These would be great to bring in a lunch, since I think they would reheat well in a microwave or could be eaten at room temperature.

My other side dish for tonight is just a simple salad of romaine, shredded carrots and grape tomatoes. On top is some Annie’s Naturals French dressing. Annie’s makes a quite good French dressing, which is both vegan and soy free.

As for my kefir experiment, I think I was overloading my system a bit; so I have cut back to only 2 oz a day. Since I don’t want to try to eat the soy yogurt until I have had at least two quarts of kefir, that will push off the final test at until early September. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kefir Experiment Day Two

Day two of the kefir experiment. I have just had my second cup. I must warn you though, that if you try kefir, it does not taste a bit like yogurt. When I took my first sip yesterday, I could not believe how tart it was. And I am drinking the strawberry one (that has pureed strawberries in it). I cannot imagine what the unflavored one tastes like. However, I do understand now why people say that it can be used as a replacement for buttermilk. Not sure if I notice anything yet, but then it has only been two days.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Salads, Seitan, Sandwich and Kefir

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it. And this is only the last two days.

First the salads. It is still hot and humid here in Florida, so salads are still a large portion of what I am eating. My lunch is composed of two of whichever ones I have in the refrigerator at the moment. For today, my lunch was PJs Fresh Corn Salad and Miso Lentil Salad. I have been working on the corn salad since last week. It makes a ton, so if you need something to take to a potluck, this would be a good dish. The Miso Lentil Salad is my protein for lunch and also some probiotics, since the dressing is miso and apple cider vinegar.

The seitan is Dr. Pepper Seitan from Vebweb. I had high hopes for this, but am not really fond of it. Partly because I still have not figured out how to do baked seitan and partly because I don’t really like the BBQ sauce. It just has too much oil for my tastes. On the side is Southwestern Corn and Black Bean Slaw from Healthy Eats up at Food TV. This is a contribution from their vegetarian blogger, who is a regular poster. I am not normally a fan of coleslaw, but this is quite good. And you should try her Papaya Salsa Slaw from her blog Dine Dish Delish.

The sandwich is part of dinner tonight and was inspired by a post this week up at Dine Dish Delish. She had an open face sandwich of naan, spicy mustard, apple and soy cheese. Here I took the concept and made a sandwich of naan, baked eggplant slices and my mozzarella cheese. Once it cooled down enough to eat, it was quite good. On the side is some more of the Green Bean and Chickpea Salad from Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen.

The last thing for today is kefir. For those of you who do not know what kefir is, it is cultured milk that has its origins in the Caucuses Mountains. In doing some research on the web, I discovered that in 2006 some scientists in Taiwan found that (and this is in laboratory mice) it reduced the allergic response to both soy and milk proteins after drinking either soy or milk kefir. That got me thinking that maybe it could help me tolerate soy better, at least enough so that I could occasionally eat it. To that end I am going to drink one cup of the coconut milk kefir for the next 8 days, that would be two quarts, and then eat a soy yogurt to see the results. If it works well, kefir might become a regular part of my diet. I bought the kefir today and will let you know how it is going tomorrow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

I have two people to thank for dinner tonight. One is CCV, for pointing me to Dominix Eggplant Cutlets that are breaded, vegan and soy free. The other is kibbles up at PPK, for pointing me to a recipe for mozzarella cheese that is quite good.

It was because of both of them that I finally got to have something that has crossed my mind since starting to eat eggplant, Eggplant Parmesan. The only reason I have not made this till now is that I didn’t know what to do with the eggplant that did not go into the dish, because I would be making it for one and not two (the TeddyBear would never eat this). CCV did a review of the Dominix Eggplant Veggie Burgers on her blog Chocolate Covered Vegan, and while I could not eat those (they contain soy); it did point me to their Eggplant Cutlets, which solved my first problem. Kibbles started a thread for “favorite vegan cheese” up at PPK and pointed me to this homemade vegan mozzarella that is quite good. All I had to do was add some pizza sauce from a jar and semi instant dinner. And this is even healthier than how I have been eating eggplant in the past, since the cutlets have their skin on them. I’m getting a whole bunch more vitamins and other things I was missing out on before, because I have not been eating the skin.

On the side is a salad from Donna Klein’s The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen. It is the Chickpea and Green Bean Salad from the Salads chapter. Since it is still hot and humid in Florida, I am really scouring all my sources for any salad recipe and this one is really good. It has very simple and basic flavors that blend quite well together. And it doesn’t clash with the Eggplant Parmesan. So I get another vegetable along with some protein.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Salads using Mayonnaise

I have been eating two salads lately that have mayonnaise as part of the salad dressing. One of them is a pasta salad that you would not even realize that mayo was part of the dressing and the other is something I picked up from VeganYumYum.

The pasta salad is called Main Dish Delish Summer Pasta Salad and I found it up Vegweb. Here I am having it with Lentil Rice Salad for a quick and easy lunch. Even though one cannot tell from looking at it, the dressing on the pasta salad does have mayo in it. Of course, with only ¼ of a cup with 8 oz of vinaigrette, you really can’t expect to see the mayo in the salad anyway. By the way, this salad makes a ton and if you are looking for something to bring to work or to a picnic, this would be the perfect thing. No one would ever suspect that it is vegan.

This second salad is something that I saw over at Lolo’s blog, VeganYumYum. It basically is a BLT salad; with raw kale, tempeh bacon (I used mushrooms to make my bacon) and cherry tomatoes. When I saw this, it looked intriguing and I was wondering if my homemade, nontraditional mayo would work. I cut the kale in as thin strips as possible and thoroughly massaged the dressing on them at least 6 hours before eating dinner. By dinner time, the kale was wilted and “cooked” in the dressing. The mushroom bacon is just thinly sliced Portobello mushroom caps, marinated in VWAV tempeh bacon marinade and then fried in a dry pan till crisp. The tomatoes are grape tomatoes, since I like those better than cherry tomatoes. All in all it was quite good, considering that this is most unique thing I have ever eaten.

So as you can see, even a homemade mayo works quite well, in many recipes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Soy Free Mayonnaise

I have been using a lot of mayonnaise lately and thought that this is an issue I should address. For those of us who have problems with soy, mayonnaise is a big issue. If you are soy allergic, you have to make your own, since every commercial mayo (whether vegan or regular) contains soy. For those of us that are soy intolerant, you are only out of luck with the vegan mayos, since they all contain soy protein as an egg replacer. Therefore, what is a person do to; why you have to make your own.

And that is not as hard as it seems. You can make mayo with any decent blender, even a stick blender; if that is all you have available. The only ingredients in mayo (unless it is vegan, of course) is oil, egg, an acid and whatever seasonings you decide to use. The tricky part about making mayo is getting the oil and protein from the egg to emulsify (or combine), which is where most people fail at making mayo. The good news is that if you are making a vegan mayo, it is even easier (or at least I have found this to be true).

If you look on the web, finding a vegan soy free mayo recipe is not hard. I have managed to collect quite a few recipes that I have tried and been fairly happy with using. I have also been making these in a Magic Bullet blender, so if they can be made in that, then you should be able to make them as well. Some of these are nut based; either cashew or almond, and some of these are use a starch as a thickener, such as arrowroot or cornstarch. I even have one that uses flax seeds as its base.

Today I am going to give you all the mayo recipes that I have decided to add to my recipe book so far. Most of them I have tried and they work quite well in any type of dish. However, I will warn you that for the recipes that are nut based, you may want to consider those only if you have a high speed blender. Lower speed blenders may leave pulverized nut pieces in the finished product and while that won't hurt it, you may find them grainy when using as a spread.

Almond Mayonnaise – from Recipzaar, can use ¼ heaping cup of almond flour if don't have almonds, only good for a week or two in the refrigerator

Almond Mayonnaise – from, easy to make, would work better in a high speed blender

Almond Mayonnaise – from, haven't tried since don't keep lechitan around

Bryanna's Delicious Low-Fat Veggiennaise (page down to find)– from Bryanna Grogan, tried but didn't like the consistency that the arrowroot gave it, lasts for a few weeks in the refrigerator

Cashew Mayonnaise – from, was my regular mayo, found that I needed 1 cup of cashews to make it work right, lasts for several weeks in the refrigerator

Low Fat Mayonnaise – also from, my new regular mayo, easy to make, supposed to taste like Vegannaise, good for several weeks once made

Mock Mayonnaise (near the page bottom)– from the web, have not tried since don't keep xanthan gum around

Real Tasting Mayonnaise – also from, uses flax seeds as an egg replacer, need to have the finely ground or show up as specks in the final product

Vegan Mayo – also from, failed on my attempt to sub the chickpea flour for the soy flour, might work in a high speed blender

So there you have it. Hope you find one you and your family likes. Tomorrow I will show you what I have been doing with mayo lately. Including one from Lolo, that you not believe works with a noncommercial mayo.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Two Product Reviews

No pictures of food today, but I did want to let you all know about some fairly new vegan soy free products that have hit the shelves in the last few months.

The first is Soy Free Earth Balance, which I have finally been able to try, even though it hit the shelves in June. After eating it a few times on rolls and using it in a grilled "cheese" sandwich, all I can say is "Wow". This is as good as any margarine I have used and has no aftertaste, at least for me. It melts well, and is somewhat soft even right out of the refrigerator. I haven't tried cooking with it yet, but don't see that as a problem. The people at Earth Balance made it soy-free by not using any soybean oil, replacing the soy protein with pea protein and using sunflower seed lechitan. And they made the container red along with Soy Free on the label, so that you cannot miss it in the dairy section. For those of you that are soy allergic, this margarine is obviously a godsend, since it has no soy products in it at all. I found the price to be in line with the other Earth Balance products where I got it, but this will run you about 4-5 dollars for a 15 oz tub.

The other newer product is from Amy's and it is a soy free Chocolate Cake. (Picture borrowed from Amys website, forget to get one of the box.) I got one this past week, simply because I was tired of making my own dessert all the time. I would say that this cake is easily as good as or better than one could make at home. It is moist, and really tastes like chocolate. The best thing is that is requires no work to make. All you have to do is take it out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator about 2.5 hours before you want to eat it. Then just slice and eat. You could take it out of the packaging, take it to work, feed it to your colleagues and they would never realize that it was not only soy free but vegan. The TeddyBear tried some and pronounced it most acceptable, which for him means that he likes it. And if he likes it, it has to be good (he's a picky eater),

So if these are not in your stores yet, just annoy management till they get them in. And better yet, get as many people as possible to annoy the store as well. In some places they will not stock soy free products because they have the idea that there is no market demand for them. Why don't you show them that they are wrong.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Salads for Dinner

Hi to all of you from hot and steamy Florida (except today it rains, go figure). Summer has definitely set in here with daily highs in the 90s, thunderstorms in the afternoon and tons of humidity. So hot and humid, that for the time being, I have decided to cook and eat hot food as little as possible, especially since I spend most of my days in an unair-conditioned apartment. That means that for the moment, anyway, I am living off of salads. At least I finally have my recipe book back, so that is a bit of help. This past week I made three, two of which make a ton, so I definitely have had enough to eat.

This is what I had for earlier last week. It is two of the salads I made for this week and a simple pizza made on some of my frozen Naan bread. The salad on the right is called a Basque Salad, and is something I found up at AllRecipes. It is a simple salad, with green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and cucumber in a simple vinaigrette. You guys should be impressed, I did all the prep work myself. The salad on the left is a Lentil Rice Salad I found up at vegweb. They’re both really good. The Naan pizza is just Naan, pizza sauce, and a cashew cheese. A very nice dinner to have on a hot night.

The Basque Salad has also been useful and other dishes as well. I have chopped up the veggies and made them into a sandwich. It also works well in a wrap.

As the third salad I made last week is called a Rainbow Chopped Salad, and I found it at Food Network, if you can believe it. It has bell peppers, carrots, radishes, and broccoli in an Orange Oregano Vinaigrette. I’m having it with a veggie burger I found up at vegweb. It’s really easy to make, stays together well, and freezes well. It also lets me put some mushrooms into my diet, since no veggies are stipulated in the recipe..

So as you can see, even though it’s hot and humid in Florida, I’m still eating pretty well.