Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vegan Mofo #21 Italian Beef Sandwich... kind of

This last vegan Mofo blog came from an idea of trying to use up some Gardein beef tips we had lying around. Matt mentioned that we should make an italian beef. I was totally down, but admitted that I had never made an actual Italian beef and I actually confuse that with a French dip sandwich. I said I will make an Italian beef sandwich but just do whatever I want with it and not try to mimic what that sandwich actually is. So I give you my version of a vegan riot's
Italian Beef
1/4 red pepper julienned
1/4 green pepper julienned
8 Gardein Beef tips thawed
2 cloves garlic chopped
3/4 tsp fresh rosemary
1 tbs fresh basil
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs California white cooking wine
2 tsp tomato paste + 3 tsp water

-Saute peppers and onion in the pan until tender
-Add beef tips,dried oregano,onion powder and lemon juice
-Keep stirring until tips get browned on all sides
-When tips are sticking to the pan deglaze with white wine
--Mix tomato paste and water in a small bowl and add that mixture to the pan at the end cooking so that it heats and thickens a bit
-Remove from heat and stir in rosemary & basil
-Assemble sandwich

I served it with one of our favorite sides...beans -n- greens

So comes the very end of November. Vegan Mofo was something I had forgotten even existed and for some reason at the ass end of October I jumped on the ppk to look at food porn and was reminded of this. I thought about doing it, talked to Matt, even posted something on facebook, but even then I really wasn't sure I would follow through. I promise Matt heard me talking about it and probably thought I would be done 3-5 posts in. I may have started one or two things in the past without finishing....a few.
I want to thank everyone for all your blog comments. They motivated me and made me want to keep going. I want to thank my friends who messaged me on facebook saying that they were reading and loving it. The people who texted Matt, the co-workers who would randomly tell me they loved last night's post, the mentions of my blog over beers at the bar. THANK YOU! It's hard to do something like this and keep going if you're not really sure anyone is reading or cares one bit about any of it.
I can't end this without thanking Matt who pushed me to keep doing this, gave me great dinner/blog ideas, helped me edit my far too long sentences and poor spelling, and for making me feel great about myself and about something I was doing.
This isn't the end of this blog, just the end of this month. Vegan Mofo was a blast and you haven't seen the end of me....or Noodles

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vegan MoFo #20 Herbed Seuitan Roulade

Woo Hoo! I did what I said I would, and I still have one day left. I promised myself I would post 20 times in November, and I followed through. I'm not gonna say it didn't take some pushing from Matt on days where I just wanted to relax on the couch after work, and for that I thank him.
This recipe I made for the first time on Thanksgiving two years ago. I have tweaked it quite a bit, and tried different fillings, but I'm pretty positive this is the best version so far. The fresh herbs and kale and mushroom filling I feel were the two things that brought this dish to the level I was hoping for. So below is the recipe and first a step by step photo guide to get you motivated. I also have a step by step to making this without a filling, along with photos in vegan Mofo post #9. So if you are really new to seitan, look there first for pictures to guide you through every single step

Here it is, after mixing the dry and wet mix together and rolling it out flat.

After the filling cools, I lay it on top, leaving a little space around each side, so it sticks together when rolled up.

Wrapped in foil and ready for the oven

Here it is out of the oven. It's best to let it cool a bit before cutting, so the filling sets up.

Dinner time!

Roulade Filling

1/2 - 3/4 bunch of kale de-stemmed and chopped
10 0z baby bellas chopped
1 tbs shallots chopped
5 cloves garlic chopped
1/3 cup veggie broth
1 tbs balsamic vinegar

-Saute garlic and shallots together until translucent
-Add mushrooms and cook until all the liquids are out, then add the balsamic vinegar
-Turn the heat to low, add kale. Stir for about a minute until kale has started to wilt. Then add veggie stock
-Place in a bowl in the fridge & use when it's cooled down

Herbed Seitan

Dry Mix
1 Box Vital Wheat Gluten
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
1 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs. thyme
2 tbs. rosemary
3 tbs sage
3 tbs oregano
2 1/2 tbs basil
1 tsp Pepper

Wet Mix
1 1/2 cups Veggie Broth
1 1/2 tbs Granulated Garlic
2 tbs Tomato Paste
4 Drops Liquid Smoke
1 tbs Soy Sauce
1 tbs Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire

-Preheat oven to 350
-Put dry mix together in a bowl and set aside
-Stir wet mix together until tomato paste isn't clumpy
-Pour wet mix into dry mix
Knead the mix with your hands until its a tough dough
- Roll the seitan out until in between two pieces of wax paper until its flat
-Lay cooled filling on top of gluten
-Roll the gluten up and wrap in foil making sure there aren't any holes
- Cook for one hour and 15 minutes, flipping the loaf every 20 minutes. When you press on it and its no longer soggy but firm, its ready to go

As always thanks for reading. It's a time consuming recipe, but totally worth it in the end. Please don't hesitate if you have any questions/comments. See you mofo's tomorrow for post 21 and the end of vegan mofo.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vegan MoFo #19 Cauliflower Mashers Recipe

So here it is, almost the end of November and I'm so close to the 20 posts I told myself I would do for Vegan Mofo. It has been a lot of fun, sometimes tedious and time consuming, but overall a great lesson for me in discipline. It has made me realize how gratifying logging what I cook each day can be, and it has gotten me in the habit of writing recipes, which I have been promising myself I would do forever.
Tonight I'm blogging a recipe that I have been working on perfecting for a long time, and has always been a hit every time I serve it: Cauliflower Mashers. So Amber, Daniel, Marge, and everyone else who has asked for it and my response was 'just throw this in and then this', without any proper measurement, here it is. If there is one recipe I have posted this whole month that I encourage everyone to make, this is it.

Roasted garlic is a key component to this dish, although I add minced garlic to it as well. The two play off each other very nicely.

Here is the cauliflower after boiling in water until fork tender.

These two together blended are just a few ingredients away from a delicious dish.

The finished product with fresh chives on top.

Cauliflower Mashers

1 medium head of cauliflower cut into small pieces
1 bulb garlic
2 tbs minced garlic
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
3/4 cup nutritional yeast

-Cut the top off garlic & drizzle with olive oil and salt & pepper. Wrap in foil and roast at 400 degrees until soft
-In a large pot boil water and when it's boiling throw in cauliflower. Cook cauliflower until you can pierce it easily with a fork. Strain in colander
-Put roasted garlic & cauliflower in a Cuisinart & blend adding soy milk slowly until it's the consistency of mash potatoes
-Return to pot and heat on low temp, stir in nutritional yeast, minced garlic, and your desired amount of salt & pepper.

Ok. Only one more blog to go in order to reach my November goal. That absolutely doesn't mean I'm not blogging anymore. This was just the start. So once this month ends I plan on not only doing food, but also crafting blogs, and of course more Riot pictures/stories. See you tomorrow for the end of my thanksgiving recipes. It will be my herbed seitan roulade, that I honestly think was the best I have ever made. Riot loved her small portion.

See you mofo's then!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vegan Mofo # 18 Stuffing Recipe & A Leftover Idea

As promised here is recipe two from our Thanksgiving feast: Stuffing. It's the one thing that everyone always seems to make way too much of, and although stuffing is delicious, it can be kind of boring after eating it a couple nights in a row. Below I have included a sandwich idea for using up leftover stuffing. Matt used to order something similar at a bar and grill in our neighborhood, so I did my own spin on it

For the stuffing, fresh herbs are absolutely key. I almost had a mini meltdown when Whole Foods and Jewel were out of thyme, until Matt found a small array of herbs in Jewel's organic section. Here is my mix of sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.

Most people buy breadcrumbs but I'm pretty picky about what bread I use. I just toast the slices in the oven and cut them into small cubes.

I prepped all the veggies for every dish ahead of time. When logging recipes it's so much easier just to have everything in front of you and ready for the pan.

This is the stuffing out of the oven.

Thanksgiving Stuffing
10 pieces bread of your choice toasted and chopped into cubes
3 cups chopped mushrooms
2 cups carrots chopped
1 cup celery chopped
1/2 cup shallots chopped
3 green onions chopped
6 cloves garlic chopped
2 cups veggie broth
2 1/2 tbs soy sauce
1 1/2 tbs thyme
1/2 tbs oregano
2 1/2 tsp sage
1 1/2 tsp rosemary

- Saute shallots, green onions, and garlic till translucent
-Add carrots & celery w/ 1 tbs of soy sauce and cook till almost tender
- Add mushrooms and the rest of the soy sauce, continue stirring
-When mushrooms are done remove from heat and add bread cubes, herbs and veggie broth
-Fold everything together until bread is soft and moist
-If not serving immediately put in a 8x8 casserole dish, cover with foil and cook for 30-35 minutes. If you want a crispy top remove foil for the last 5-10 minutes

Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich

Unfortunately my camera died so I was only able to get a crummy picture of this sandwich. The sandwich Matt used to order was turkey with cranberry relish and homemade stuffing served on white bread with mayo. This was years ago but he has mentioned that it was one of his favorites. I decided the roulade I made didn't really mimic turkey so I bought Cranberry & Stuffing Tofurky Deli Slices, substituted the mayo with a thin layer of the cauliflower mashers I'd prepared to give the sandwich a creamy spread, and added a good helping of stuffing. He really liked it and the only thing I would change was I would have made a cranberry spread to go with it.

I also can't finish this blog without dorking out about how much I love our Christmas tree. We put it up yesterday, and for a lady who always thought anything Christmas related was stupid this tree has changed my mind about the whole holiday

Friday, November 26, 2010

Vegan Mofo #17 Holiday Gravy Recipe

So as I promised, I will now start handing out the thanksgiving recipes. Tonight I'm doing my low-fat, simple, gluten-free, and delicious mushroom gravy. The gravy can be a mix of any mushroom combination that you want. I went with white button & baby bellas. The key is to keep de-glazing the pan as you cook the 'shrooms and too keep stirring so they don't get overcooked.

It's a pretty easy recipe to tackle, especially if you don't have to trip over this crazy dog who's just waiting for SOMETHING to drop the whole time you are cooking.

Here they are before going into the Cuisinart.


The finished product, with fresh thyme on top.

Mushroom Gravy

6 cups of chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup chopped red onion
5 cloves chopped garlic
1 sprig of thyme
5 Tbs soy sauce---I use low sodium
1/2 veggie broth
1 1/3 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 Tbs. minced garlic

-Saute shallots, red onion & garlic until translucent adding the thyme a few minutes into the saute
-Add mushrooms and 1 tbs of soy sauce, continue cooking till mushrooms are ready and use 2 more 2tbs of soy sauce to de-glaze the pan and keep stirring the entire time
-When mushrooms are done place in Cuisinart with remaining soy sauce and minced garlic
- Start blending and slowly add veggie broth and soy milk until the gravy is the right consistency
-Transfer back to stove and reheat...top with fresh thyme & enjoy
- I never add measurements for salt & pepper to recipes, because i think every cook has their own idea of how much of those two should go in each dish. That being said for this dish i add A LOT of my rainbow ground peppercorn blend.
Tonight I'm going to use the leftovers to make a Thanksgiving panini ,then putting up our Christmas tree. We bought a 7 foot purple tree today that I can't wait to decorate! Pictures coming soon.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vegan MoFo #16 thanksgiving...well said

Thanksgiving dinner. It always consists of stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and either ham or turkey, right? No. Not always. This is Matt speaking/typing and this is my third vegan Thanksgiving dinner.

I won't lie, I have fond memories of past years Thanksgiving dinners. The turkey, which was the constant staple of the meal was always good. Albeit sometimes dry, but always seasoned well, with the flavor being just there. My mother knows her way around the kitchen, and all of her sides were often excellent as well.

With that being said, do I miss eating turkey or ham for Thanksgiving dinner? No. Below will be posts of what Ranise has made for dinner the past three years I've shared in the festivities with her, with certain modifications, as she is a woman who is constantly searching for ways to evolve in the kitchen, and no matter how fondly I look back at my mother's meal that she prepared for us all, its flavor pales in comparison to the feast Ranise has prepared for she and I, and no offense mom, but no fucking bird had to give its life so us humans could enjoy a good dinner and for that I am thankful...

Above is our Thanksgiving dinner spread. Like Matt said, I have made the same thing every year but this year besides just cooking, I forced myself to write down every recipe. For the next few days I will be blogging each recipe, and showing some creative ways to use up leftovers, instead of just eating the same thing for dinner 4 days in a row.

I made a traditional stuffing with mushrooms and fresh herbs.

These are my somewhat famous cauliflower mashers. I used roasted garlic and fresh chives. I have been promising to write this recipe down forever so now those who have eaten them, and begged me to make them can do it themselves at home.

I also made a mushroom gravy. I'm not a huge fan of cooking with roux's, so this is a healthy version of a mushroom gravy.

The main course was an herbed seitan roulade with a mushroom and kale filling. I used a ton of rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano & basil. This is probably the best roulade I have made and I'm happy that I now have the recipe to add to my book.

I mentioned above that I don't like using roux's, but one thing I haven't brought up before is my style of vegan cooking. I'm a vegan for no other reason than my love for animals. I don't do it to be thin and I think that people who choose this diet for that reason are quick to jump to the next diet, because it's not done for a reason backed by passion. That being said I have revamped a lot of recipes in the past few years and really focused on cooking with minimal fat and unnecessary calories. It's challenging but fun and I like to think that I'm giving myself and my husband the healthiest options possible.

I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving. I had a blast cooking and although writing the recipes was time consuming, I'm really happy I followed through. I also had this little monster at my feet the whole time, and although she is cute, she got in the way THE WHOLE TIME!
That is a garlic peel on her nose that she found while snooping around on the floor. It states that yes, I'm not the cleanest in the kitchen and she is a huge pig! Thanks for reading and see you tonight for recipe 1.

P.S. This blog took forever to do. Is anyone else having problems with the upload picture function on blogger???

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vegan MoFo # 15 Tortilla Pizza

With today being the busiest day I have had all year at work, I decided on something super easy for dinner. I will also be working really early and cooking all day after work so I wanted something quick so I had enough Matt & Riot couch time before bed.

This is the pizza, on two tortillas to make the crust a little bit thicker and sturdier. I topped it with baby portabellas, uptons sausage, Daiya cheese, and the key ingredient: minced garlic.

Here it is out of the oven.

Ready for dinner on our super cute cheetah china.

So although this post is small, the next two days will be full of thanksgiving dishes, and some recipes of a few things that people have been asking me for for a very long time: Roasted garlic cauliflower mashers & seitan roulade will be making an appearance, among others. Roll up your sleeves and put on your aprons, 'cause tomorrow will be an epic day in the kitchen for many of us.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vegan MoFo # 14 My Birthday Dinner

My Birthday was Thursday, so I took a few days off from blogging. I wanted to blog now about the fun I had on Thursday. First I got this awesome tattoo from the very talented Jennifer Trok. She works at Speakeasy Custom Tattoo in Chicago, which was absolutely the most comfortable shop I have ever been to. She is a really great girl just to hang out with, so besides leaving with a new piece of art work, I got to hang out and chat with a friend for a few hours. She also uses vegan ink and is a great Mom to her dog Zero. I would suggest to anyone to go get a tattoo from her.

We then walked to to dinner, first stopping to get Riot a box of dog treats from Doggy Style. They have a lot of vegan dog treats and a homemade cookie bar. According to the kid working, the new gingerbread flavor is really good. I didn't try them, but Riot likes them.

We went to Handlebar for my birthday. We started by sharing the split pea soup. I loved it but didn't remember that I was supposed to be taking pictures until there was only a spoonful left.

Matt got the bbq seitan sandwich with a side of collard greens, which he loved.

We shared a side of seitan sausage. Handlebar uses Uptons Seitan, which you can also buy in the Midwest. They sell a few styles of seitan sausage, and have also started selling pre-made wraps and sandwiches. I have never purchased anything from them that hasn't been great and it's always nice to support a local vegan business.

I got (surprise, surprise) the side salad with vegan ranch dressing. I'm not sure what they put in their ranch, but it's the best I have ever had.

I then had it topped with baked tofu (surprise, surprise).

That's it for now. I did take a few days off, but I promise I'll be back with more tomorrow. Good night now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vegan MoFO # 13 Matt's Lunch

Since I cooked so much last night, tonight was leftovers. I decided to post a little blog about the lunch I make for Matt and what goes in it.

This is his lunch bag from the company Sugar Booger. They sell kids stuff, but there lunch bags are for kids and adults of all ages. I bought it at our favorite store, not only in Chicago, but anywhere. It's called Rudy's Roundup and it's advertised as a modern day general store. If I had to do a write up for the store it would say..The store you could go and find a gift for ANYONE, while shopping there you would spend equal amount of money on yourself. Also included would be that it's dog friendly, owned by one of the sweetest/coolest girls I have met in Chicago and they choose a different animal group to donate to each month. They will donate 25 cents toward the group for any customer who doesn't use a bag when checking out. They were also so generous with donations for the fundraiser I threw for the animal rescue group I help with, and on top of that came and bid on a bunch of silent auction stuff. Did I mention I LOVE this store....Ok back to lunch

Breakfast consists of one Odawalla bar in rotating strawberry/pomegranate, superfood, or berries go mega flavors

one orange juice, preferably this brand and the more pulp the better, but in the little guy's we can only find pulp-free

2 emergency packets, he is cool with most flavors but I have been told to never again get Acai Berry. "It smells like piss," were his exact words.

one sliced apple

one sandwich on whole wheat, right now he is big on the Yves turkey flavor

One Yummy Earth lollipop. I buy the assorted bag so he gets a new flavor everyday.

I usually try to put a special treat in his lunch, strawberry Mamba, which we've found out are vegan

I always write him a funny note in the morning and slip it in his lunch before I leave. I found this in his backpack and thought I could use it as an example. I love making comics, with me, Riot, and my crazy morning hair making an appearance.

That's it for now. I'll be back tomorrow and please feel free to comment. It really makes my day...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vegan MoFo # 12 Breaded Seitan Parmesan & Seitan Meatballs

My husband doesn't cook at all. He loves food movies, cooking shows, & will even flip through my cooking magazines. Besides the occasional grilling, he doesn't and has stated he has no desire to cook. That's completely ok with me since I love to cook and would maybe even get a little pissed if he figured out how to make something better than me. It also means I don't ever have to wash dishes, which is our deal: I cook, he does the dishes and seeing as I hate doing the dishes I feel like I won there anyway.
That being said Matt is awesome in one category of cooking, and that is meal planning. I will sometimes call him with absolutely no idea what to make and he will spew off a few ingredients or ideas for things that sound ok to him. Always asking me if I think that would be good or if it would work. I can't think of a time he has been wrong, and it's actually very exciting to have someone come up with stuff I wouldn't think of. This meal was entirely his idea. It's a take on one of his old favorites, chicken parmesan. He wanted me to try to make it with seitan instead of a chicken substitute.It's served exactly how he used to get it when he ordered it in a restaurant when he was a kid. The only difference is that he wanted spaghetti and seitan meatballs to accompany his parm instead of just spaghetti. So here is my cooking experiment for the night:

I used my usual method for cooking seitan (posted in a previous blog) but rolled the pieces of seitan into balls and wrapped them individually in foil. I added fresh basil & rosemary & some dried oregano & fennel to the dry mix.

This is the first ball, out of the oven & cut open


I breaded the seitan with homemade breading that I had in the cupboard, added fresh herbs to the mix and baked at 350 for about 30 minutes flipping halfway through

After it came out of the oven I topped it with sauce & Daiya cheese and let it melt in the broiler

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Everything plated and ready for dinner

Now I know I have mentioned that my dog's nicknamed Noodles. I call her noodles so often she responds to it. She seriously wont leave the kitchen when any kind of pasta is being made. Vegan & italian, just like her mom. So I couldn't post this blog without these two pictures.

Thanks Mom!
That's it for now. I have a movie to go watch with Mr. meal planner and Mrs. noodles.