Highlights from This Week

This week has flown by! I’ve been making a lot of soap (catching up after Christmas) and we’ve been enjoying some post- holiday socializing…. so I haven’t been posting much. But don’t think that I haven’t been cooking and baking! Here are some highlights.

Up top is the BBQ Tofu Chopped Salad from Real Food Daily. Amazing, absolutely amazing. I can tell you that it wasn’t because of how I made it, it’s simply the recipe. Every single thing I’ve made from that book has been delicious. Look closely at that tofu. For the first time ever, I had really good grill marks. Pretend you can tell, just to make me feel better. I was crushed that I had to chop it up. This salad is a knock-out and perfect for winter!

We also really liked the Spicy Yogurt Tempeh and Indian Spiced Chard from One Chubby Vegan. That tempeh really absorbs the marinade and the spices in the chard put it over the top. This is a quick and easy meal, too. I don’t do much Indian food (I think this is the first time ever), and it was great. I’ll have to expand my horizons. What fun!

Check out these cookie testers from Autumn Vegan and Garrick: Tiramisu Cookies, Rum Raisin Cookies and Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies. The Tiramisu Cookies disappeared in record time. And they go great with wine, in case you were wondering. That’s double your fun. The Rum Raisin Cookies were a big surprise. We like raisins, but not rum and we loved these cookies! Somehow I think they should put Pirate in the name. Maybe that’s just me.

Apparently I don’t have a picture of it, but we also had the Mac and Cheese from Yellow Rose Recipes. It is my husband’s favorite version so far. I think I’m a little partial to the noochy sauces, but this was delicious and would really please omnis. Hopefully that picture is still on the camera.

Tonight’s dinner: Tofu Marsala with Hashed Brussels Sprouts. I’m trying the YRR marsala recipe. After falling in love with Tofu666′s, it’s going to be stiff competition. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

Brunch and Beyond

Quiche is one of those things that doesn’t always taste right when it’s made vegan style. This Broccoli Quiche is a tester for The Crack of Noon, an upcoming book by Isa of the PPK. The spices were great, the texture is terrific and it really hits the spot. It’s the future of quiche!

This is another old favorite but with a new twist. I made a lot of lasagna when I was in high school. It didn’t take long to put together and we could eat it for a couple days. I’m sure I put meat in it back then (at least sometimes), but oddly, I don’t remember that part. I must be blocking it out in self-defense. Anyway, this is the Spinach Lasagna from Yellow Rose Recipes. As you can tell, I’m loving this cookbook.

For dessert, we had the Creamy Cheesecake from Delicious Choices. It was delicious and creamy, but I’m still on the search for a lighter, fluffier cheesecake. I know where I can get it at a restaurant, but I want to make one. This one was well worth the tofutti that goes into making it. I couldn’t find vegan graham crackers, but I did find vegan gingersnaps. I smashed those up for the crust, which actually worked out pretty well.

Junk Food with Waffles

Ok, I’ll admit it right off. This isn’t the healthiest post I’ve made, but what the hell. Over the last few days, we’ve had some great tasting food and that is what really matters.

Just to make a healthful effort (first impressions are everything, right?), here are the Blueberry Waffles from today’s breakfast. Believe it or not, it’s the chocolate walnut waffle from V’con (minus the cocoa, nuts and chips) with blueberries added. What a delicious breakfast- with perfect waffle crispness which can sometimes elude me.

Next up: tempura. There’s been some talk at the PPK about deep fryers and it had been years (I mean years) since we’d had tempura. I followed Isa’s recipe which is based off Tofu 666′s recipe with club soda. The dipping sauce is leftover Vietnamese Seitan Sandwich dipping sauce just thickened up a little. That ghostly white blob in the back is rice.

Just to round out our junk food weekend, we also had pizza. I made peanut brittle for my husband, too. I hate nuts so haven’t tried it, but supposedly it’s good. I’ll never know for sure. 57 Five Star reviews at Recipezaar can’t be all wrong.

Tonight’s dinner: Spinach Lasagna from Yellow Rose Recipes with my first vegan cheesecake for dessert!

New Cookbook Fun

My copy of Yellow Rose Recipes came before Christmas but with the holidays, I didn’t do much besides flip through it. I just got to try a couple of the recipes… here they are.

This is the Black Bean Soup. The text says it is the only black bean soup recipe you’ll ever need and I have to agree. I was reluctant to try it since I’m kind of tied to my own version, but I had that new cookbook itch. This recipe blew mine away. My husband came home from work and I casually said, “Taste the soup. Let me know if you think it needs anything.” His reply was, “Ohmygod, it’s so good. Let’s eat right now. ” So we did, with the cornbread (recipe below) I always make along side. I make the cornbread in a small cast iron skillet. Feel free to add herbs (rosemary is great!) or to increase the sugar if you prefer sweeter cornbread.

We also tried the Mustard Seitan Cutlets. If anyone knows even a little about my veganism, they know that I’m a seitan fanatic. Try these and you will be, too. They’re easy, quick and would even impress omnis. Full of flavor! I paired it with the Baked Risotto from VeganYumYum for a really fantastic meal.

Dinner tonight: Pizza and Salad.

Dana Sly’s Cornbread
This cornbread not only won the Blue Ribbon at the Iowa State Fair, but was also published by Cook’s Illustrated. Dana was 11 years old at the time.
Serves 9

2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
6 Tbsp. water
1 C all-purpose flour
1 C cornmeal
1/4 C sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. table salt
1 C soy milk
1/4 C canola oil

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the ground flax seed, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the ground flax seed in the water for 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well-combined.
  4. Add the ground flax seed mixture, soy milk, and canola oil to the flour mixture. Beat just until smooth (do not overbeat.)
  5. Turn into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; invert cornbread onto wire rack, then turn right side up and continue to cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer. Cut into pieces and serve.

Looking Forward to 2008

I read somewhere that it is traditional to have a noodle dish for New Year’s. It was an Eastern custom and the long noodles signified long life and all kinds of good stuff. It’s not as if I needed an excuse to do something with noodles or Asian food. I could eat Asian food nearly every day and never tire of it. I’ve been accused of trying to do that with our menus if I tell the truth. Last night’s dinner used a variation on the peanut sauce from VwaV tossed with noodles, topped with a stir fry of broccoli, snow peas, red peppers and seitan.

Over the weekend, I had this terrific idea for a red pepper and portobello panini sandwich, with a side salad dressed with a balsamic maple dressing. Instead, we ended up with this French Onion Soup. The mushrooms didn’t look so hot and the greens weren’t so green. The soup turned out ok.

We also had another version of Tofu666′s Marsala. This time with seitan made from V’con. That seitan recipe is my all time favorite. It helps that it’s so easy, too. From now on, I’m making it in batches 2 1/2 times the recipe size so I can keep some in the freezer. The Marsala is so different made with seitan! It’s an awesome recipe and delicious both ways.

While they aren’t resolutions, I have some goals for 2008.

  1. Eat less sugar (except for cookie testing, of course),
  2. Learn to make sushi,
  3. Learn to make pierogies,
  4. Experiment with more grains,
  5. Exercise once in a while (it won’t kill me!),
  6. Learn to really use our camera so I can take better pictures,
  7. Scour the net for more great vegan recipes from bloggers,
  8. Increase my awareness about my own actions,
  9. Be less reclusive so that I can…..
  10. Be a better advocate for veganism.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year, filled with new experiences and much happiness.