the second day

February 5, 2009

I swear, if I ever open a vegan restaurant, I will call it Second Day and it will be an homage to vegan dishes that benefit from a night in the fridge. There are just some foods that are better the second day, like chili, stew, seitan, I could go on and on. This gem of a second day dish, is a spin on a Veganomicon plantain stew. It’s sweet, spicy and is loved by the resident omni so you know it’s good. I’ve tweaked this enough I think that I am ready to post my doctored recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 ripe plantain, peeled and cubed
  • 8 plum tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp dried mustard
  • 2 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp dried chipotle
  • 2 tsp agave nectar (you could sub sugar for this)
  • 1 can of light red kidney or pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 spicy seitan sausages cut up in large chunks

In a large soup pot over med heat, saute onions and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, agave and the spices then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add potatoes, plantains and beans, cover and simmer for 25 -30 minutes or until potatoes are soft. You may need to keep an eye on it to make sure that the liquid doesn’t reduce too much. If it does, just add a bit of broth or water. Add the seitan sauage in the last 10 minutes of your simmer. You just want it to heat and soften a bit, but not cook too much. I serve this over millet, but you could use rice or quinoa if you prefer. I happen to think that the unique flavor of the millet lends to the flavor of this dish though. And it goes without me saying, this is better the second day!

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It’s been hectic here with the holidays fast approaching and I just haven’t been able to find the time to post as much as I’d like. I have made some wonderful vegan food these last few weeks and I will definitely catch you up on what I have been doing in the kitchen. Right now I have lavender tea cookies baking in the oven, a favorite of mine from my pregan days that were easily veganized since the recipe didn’t call for eggs. These are perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon or even a cup of chamomile in the evening.

Lavender Tea Cookies

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup Earths Balance softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
a little extra sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350º F. In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and EB. Beat in the oil, extract, baking soda, salt, flour, and lavender. Mix well and form into small balls (3/4-inch). Roll balls into sugar and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Not too long ago I decided to have a few friends over for dinner and I tried out some new recipes that looked a little adventurous. The dinner was a complete success and sadly I didn’t take many pictures, but I will pass on the wonderful recipes I used.

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Menu
Vegan Spanakopita
Indian Marinated Seitan Kabobs
Tzatziki Dipping Sauce
Moroccan Spiced Couscous


Indian Marinade

1 c plain soy yogurt
1 tb paprika
1 ts ground cinnamon
1 tb garam masala
1/8 ts cayenne pepper
1 tb lemon juice
6 tb olive oil
1/2 ts freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c grated onion
1 c water
Marinate cubed seitan (I used a version of seitan o’greatness) for 4 hours, skewer and grill for a few minutes.

Tzatziki

1 c plain soy yogurt
1 cucumber peeled and chopped finely
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 tb chopped fresh mint
1 tb olive oil
fresh ground black pepper

Put the finely chopped cucumber in a sieve and press out as much excess liquid as possible. In a blender, mix the minced garlic with the salt into a paste. Add in the yogurt with garlic/salt paste, add to the drained cucumbers, mint, olive oil, more salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

Moroccan Spiced Couscous
1 1/2 tb olive oil
3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground cilantro
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 handful sliced almonds
6 dates, chopped finely
3 tb golden sultana raisins
1 tb dried onion flakes
1 tsp minced garlic
2 1/2 c hot vegetable stock, I made mine using vegan vegetable bullion
2 cups dry couscous
1 tb chopped fresh parsley

When you are ready to prepare the couscous, measure out the correct serving of dry ingredients into a large bowl, preferably the one you will be serving it from. Add the olive oil, mix thoroughly. Add the boiling stock and mix thoroughly – place a clean tea towel over the top of the bowl and leave for 5 minutes. Fluff up the couscous after 5 minutes & add more liquid if needed. Mix & sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley or cilantro before serving. You could add whatever dried fruits or nuts you have handy, this is just a basic recipe.

another seitanic success

November 25, 2008

It’s been another rough few days in our household. We’ve been sick again. I have no idea what it is, but it keeps coming back like some awful recurring nightmare. The girls are also sick again. Hopefully we can clean the crepe out of this house, air it out, load up on vitamins and finally get rid of this.

My husband has given himself a new nickname, he thinks he’s clever. He calls himself a PTV, part time vegan. Can you see me shaking my head over here? He has been asking more questions about animal rights which is a new development. He’s eaten quite a few vegan meals this week as well. He’s found the seitan love and has had me make a few of the dishes that I made during veganmofo. He’s one of those people that finds what he likes and sticks to it. If he had his way, we’d eat the same things every week. I made another potpie and the country fried seitan this week and we have no leftovers to speak of. I think I’m starting to get to get to him.

Yesterday I decided to try out a new seitan recipe and it’s a keeper. It tastes similar to Bryanna’s turkey soy seitan that I made for my thanksgiving tester meal, but it’s not as much work. I did change a few things with much success, I was a bit worried though. I only used half of the chicken broth powder, 3 tbsp seemed like alot to me. I used applesauce in place of tomato paste, this was the part I was concerned with. I love the seitan o’greatness recipe, but the tomato flavor is a bit much for me at times. I also used fresh ground black pepper instead of white pepper and fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. It was just okay fresh out of the oven, unlike the turkey soy seitan, which was amazing. After chilling in the fridge over night, it is soooo good though! It made a perfect sandwich for lunch today and I’m looking forward to using it in other things. I will be making this again!

I went to a local farmer’s market and bought some produce the other day. I got some zucchini, golden nugget squash, acorn squash, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peaches, rasperries and apples. I was wondering what I should do with all of this. For me, sometimes there is nothing better than a few uninterrupted hours in the kitchen. Cooking is like therapy. I banish everyone from the kitchen and usually I end up with way too much food, but I always feel relaxed and content after a nice long cooking session. Yesterday was one of those days for me. I started off by making Spicy Italian Sausage. It came out mighty tasty. I wanted to use it in pasta dish, but I couldn’t find a recipe that really appealed to me. I took the idea of Susan’s pumpkin and black bean casserole and altered it to fit the ingredients I had on hand. The end result was really good and I surprised myself. It came out more like a lasagna, which was what I was going for. Here’s what I changed in Susan’s recipe –

1 1/2 chopped spicy italian seitan sausage
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon chipotle chile powder
15 ounces canned tomatoes, drained – liquid reserved

3 good sized zucchini sliced lengthwise

1/2 cup soymilk
4 oz tofutti cream cheese softened
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika

In a large bowl, combine the sausage through tomato and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly oil an 8×8 glass baking dish. Line the bottom with 1/3 of the zucchini slices. Cover with half of the sausage mix and repeat another layer of zucchini and sausage mix finishing with last of the zucchini slices.

Pour soy milk into medium sized bowl, add corn starch and wisk until blended. Add reserved tomato juice, cream cheese, salt and paprika and wisk until it’s a little foamy. Pour over casserole, cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. It should be nice and bubbly and zucchini should be tender. Remove foil and bake for an additonal 10 minutes.

Now that dinner was out of the way, I decided to make a cobbler with all of those lucious peaches I bought. I used Isa’s recipe from her PPK blog. I threw in 2 apples for good measure and it was really good. If you haven’t tried this recipe and you have some apples or peaches just laying around, get off your vegan butt and make this! You won’t regret it. I halved the sugar with agave nectar and subbed nutmeg for the allspice.

VeganMofo: The Last Supper

October 31, 2008

 

Well, not really, but it’s my last veganmofo post and it’s all about holiday food. I decided to test a few recipes for Thanksgiving since this will be my first as vegan. I have to say that not only was I happy with the results, but so was the Omni. He even licked his plate last night. I know, who’d-a-thunk? I was considering testing two recipes for vegan turkey, but the first one came out so well, I think I’ll wait until next year to do the stuffed tofurkey. I did some online research and came across a goldmine of seitan recipes by Bryanna, one of which is a thanksgiving style turkey seitan. It takes time, much like a traditional turkey, but it is so worth the effort. The result was tender and juicy with this amazing flavor. I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted for a stuffing recipe, so I took a few and blended them. The result was really good and very easy.

Apple Hazelnut Stuffing

1 cup carrots, grated
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced fresh mushroom
1/4 C earth’s balance (or vegan marg.)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
8 cups cubed bread (I used whole grain, but you could use whatever you have handy)
1 apple chopped
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 350. Melt the margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the carrots, celery, mushroom and onion until tender, about ten minutes. Stir in the seasoning, pepper and salt. In a large glass baking dish, combine the bread cubes, apples and walnuts, then add the carrot mixture and stir. Add broth and stir until everything is moist. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

 Gravy

1 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups Water
1/3 Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1 Cube of veggie boullion
1/2 tsp Sage
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Parsley
1/2 tsp Salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp Bragg’s
In a small sauce pan, lightly brown garlic with oil. Add water and heat to barely boiling then dissolve boullion. Add the remaining seasoning and Bragg’s turning heat to low. Add flour a little at a time using a wisk to blend. This is where I really don’t stick to specifics, I add salt and pepper to taste and maybe a little more water or flour in order to get the desired thickness. My husband loved this gravy and said it tasted almost like the real thing. I use to make a light turkey gravy on Thanksgiving and not the dark brown gravy that others traditional like.
For dessert, I tested two recipes and both came out really yummy. First I made a rustic apple tart that I stole from Vegan Appetite. I can’t rave enough about how simple and delicious this was. I could close my eyes, take a bite and taste autumn. It was so good that the enitre tart is already gone and I just made it yesterday. I did make some substitutions. I replaced the sugar with raw agave nectar, tablespoon for tablespoon and I didn’t have gel, so I used a few tablespoons of flour. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without pumpkin pie. I found a recipe that didn’t include tofu. I’ve had that version in the past and there was a bit of a weird aftertaste. Again, I found a recipe by Bryanna (she certainly knows her shiitake!) and it turned out perfect! I did make both crusts rather than using store bought. I thought I’d try my hand at pastry crust and it was much easier than I thought.

VeganMoFo: Boo and a slap!

October 26, 2008

 

A group of moms I belong too had a Green Halloween party tonight for the kids. It was about homemade or recycled  costumes and healthier treats for the kids. I decided to do the carmel corn from Hooray Vegan and the candy corn from The Urban Housewife. I didn’t want to use food coloring and feed a bunch of hyperactive toddlers dye AND sugar, so I opted to make candy ghosts instead of the traditional looking candy corn and leave out the food coloring. It was pretty time consuming, but they turned out really good and they were just so cute. There was only one other family there that’s vegan, but I wanted to spread the vegan love anyway. I could have opted to buy candy, but no, I have to go all out and make my own. It’s a personal problem I have with parties and bringing food. I always have to do something over the top. On another note, the other vegan mom made this awesome bread that she even gave us to take home! My youngest couldn’t get enough. I’ll have to snag the recipe from her blog  when she posts it!

Oh and you have to try this sandwich I made for lunch today. It was sooo good. I’m thinking of making another one right now. I’m calling it a SLAP! It’s Seitan O’Greatness, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts and mediterranean pickles on Genesis bread. I cannot impart to you how excellent this sandwich was. I sliced the seitan thin and this batch was a spicier one. When paired with the spicey pickles, YUM!

 


So after kicking around the house all day, we’re all still sick over here, I decided that I’m going to change it up next week. I’m going to postpone Vegan Holiday until the last week in this month. I’m taking a page from another blog and her recession proof vegan pantry and I’m going to have a pantry week. I’ll still need to go to the store for diapers, non-dairy and produce, but I’m limiting myself to $35 rather than our usual $150.

After some pantry style inspiration, I came up with last night’s dinner. I used the seitan I had already made up (VWAV recipe). The alfredo sauce I thought was going to be a little trickier, but it came out pretty close, even the Omni said he loved it and the proof was that he took the leftovers for lunch today. Here’s how I did it –

Cajun “Alfredo
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/2 cup soy milk
about 4 oz. Tofutti Cream Cheese
1 tsp minced garlic or mince a clove or two
1 tsp blackening seasoning (or more depending on how spicy you want it)
Salt and pepper

Melt the margarine in a sauce pan. Once melted a bubbling add the cornstarch and soymilk mixture a little at a time stirring constantly. Once all of the milk is added and mixture begins to thicken, add cream cheese and continue stirring. Once cream cheese has melted, add garlic and seasoning and stir well allowing mixure to bubble and then reduce heat. Here is where I added a 1/2 cup of black beans, sliced mushrooms that I browned in a seperate pan and a handful of fresh spinach. While this was simmering, I sliced a few of the seitan cutlets and seasoned them with blackening seasoning. I browned them in a pan with a little olive oil only turning after a nice crust had developed. This was another quick and easy meal. I served it with whole wheat pasta. The entire meal took under 30 minutes.