Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes

It's really been too long. Again. 

But hopefully these pancakes will make up for it! They're perfect for any cloudy fall Sunday morning, but also would be great to make for family over Thanksgiving. Just remember to double or triple the recipe depending on how many people you are making it for and how hungry they are! The recipe is a modified version of my regular pancake recipe

Note that because of the sugar content of these pancakes (I guess from the pumpkin and brown sugar?) they tend to go from golden to burnt very quickly, so keep a close watch on them when cooking.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Makes: 12 pancakes
Time: 30 minutes

3/4 cup oat flour
3/4 cup white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon Ener-G egg replacer (this is essentially potato starch)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup soy milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup canned pumpkin

Earth Balance or canola oil for frying
Maple syrup for serving

Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium heat. 

In a large bowl mix together the flours, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and spices. 

In a measuring cup mix together the warm water and egg replacer. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the vanilla, milk, and oil and whisk. Add the pumpkin and whisk until incorporated. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold together gently until mixed, but still with some lumps. If you whisk vigorously, the pumpkin has a tendency to become very chewy and you don't really want that. 

Grease the pan or griddle, and using a 1/4 cup measure pour the batter out into pancakes. Cook until browned, flip, and brown the other side. 

Serve with warm maple syrup. 


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 22: Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel

Today will be my last post of Vegan MoFo. I didn't make it to 30 whole days of posting, but I did make it to at least the cut off of 20 posts. Yay! This was a fun month and I can't believe it's already over! I might take a week or two off from the blog, but will be back to posting soon.

Now, I have two things to say about this recipe: 1) I believe this is by far the least healthy thing I have ever made (this is one recipe where veganizing it is still equally bad for you), and 2) making cinnamon rolls is a pain in the @$$. I started making them at 9:30am thinking I would have a late breakfast. It is now 2:45 in the afternoon and I just finished eating the first one. I would say that it would make it much easier if you started the rolls the night before. Once ready to be baked just stick them in the fridge and wait till the morning. 

That said, they're probably worth both the time/stress and the negative effects to your otherwise super healthy vegan diet. 

There are three main parts to the recipe: the dough, the filling, and the caramel sauce. I am not the sort of person who can just come up with my own original baking recipes, and so I used this Paula Deen recipe (I know, you don't need to say anything about it, none of us are fans, but I figure when it comes to cinnamon rolls, she's probably the best resource around). I veganized it and substituted ingredients to make it into apple cinnamon rolls. Recipe here

For the caramel sauce, I used this super-detailed recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker, but again, I veganized the recipe. (Recipe here). I will briefly describe how to make the caramel, but if you're new to making caramel (and because making caramel is terrifying) you should go to her site for more detailed instructions. Her directions are still applicable despite the vegan ingredients. 

Also, this recipe will make much more caramel than you need, a little over 2 cups. I only used 1 cup for the cinnamon rolls. I wanted the extra caramel to be able to dip apple slices in, and to eat with a spoon. 

OK. So here it goes. 

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel
Time: All freaking morning
Makes 15 rolls

For the Dough
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup soy milk
1/3 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (from here on out known as "Earth Balance")
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast (this should be the equivalent of one packet)
3 1/2 cups flour

In a saucepan bring the cider, milk, and Earth Balance to a boil. Remove from heat as soon as the boiling begins and let cool slightly. Once the cider/milk liquid has cooled to about 100º-110ºF, sprinkle the yeast in, stir, and let sit for a few minutes to activate. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and egg replacer. Pour the liquid into the sugar mixture and stir to combine. 

Starting with 2 cups of flour only, stir flour into liquid until a dough forms. Continue adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky, but is still soft (I ended up using 3 cups total, but you might need more). 

Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, and then place in a greased bowl. You will want to place the dough some place warm to help it rise. My house was chilly, so I heated the oven briefly (up to probably 90ºF) and put the dough in there. 

Let the dough rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. My dough did nothing for the first 45 minutes, because it was sitting in the cool house. Once I put it in the warmer oven, it doubled by the end of the next 45 minutes. 

While the dough is rising, prepare your filling. 

For the Filling
2 cups chopped apples
8 tablespoons Earth Balance, divided
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chopped apple, and sauté the apple for about 5 minutes, until browned. Remove from heat. 

Melt the other 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave or in another pot. 

Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar in a separate bowl. 

Once the dough has finished rising, punch it down. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a 9x15 inch rectangle. Pour half the melted Earth Balance onto the dough, and spread evenly using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture over the butter and smear about evenly. Sprinkle the apple mixture across the dough, drizzle, with more butter, and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar mixture. Make sure that everything is spread evenly.

Working from the LONG side of the dough (I made this mistake) roll the dough up (i.e. your dough should be a 15 inch long roll, not a 9 inch one). Cut the dough into 15 pieces (each piece about an inch thick). 

Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan, and place the cinnamon rolls in 3 rolls of 5. Let rise in a warm place for another 45 minutes (I know. More rising sad faces). 

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake for 30 minutes, until cinnamon rolls are browned. 

While the rolls are baking, make the caramel. 

For the Salted Caramel 
2 cups sugar
12 tablespoons Earth Balance, melted and cut into pieces (yes, this recipe now includes 25 tablespoons "butter")
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoons sea salt, or as the Brown-Eyed Baker suggests, fleur de sel

Make sure that your butter and coconut milk are measured and ready to go near the stove where you will make the caramel. 

In a large saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Once the sugar melts, stop whisking, and instead tilt the pot back and forth to swirl the mixture. Continue to do so until the sugar begins to turn a deep reddish caramel color (again, the Brown Eyed Baker has pictures that will help make this clear. I am not able to multitask like that). 

Once you have gotten the right color, carefully add the Earth Balance to the pot, being aware that it may sputter. Continue swirling the mixture until the Earth Balance is melted. 

Remove from heat and add in the coconut milk, again, mind your sputtering. Whisk to combine. Add the salt and whisk away!

Once the caramel sauce has cooled slightly, drizzle 1 cup over the cinnamon rolls while they are still in the pan. 

You can reserve the rest of the caramel sauce for another use. 

And, voila, you finally can enjoy your cinnamon rolls! It's likely that the calories you burnt making them cancels out the calories that you will consume when eating them. ;)


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Day 21: Thirsty Thursday Ginger Apple Cider Fizz

It is almost Friday! Today, despite the fact that it is the last week of Vegan MoFo (where did September go?!), I am posting the very first official Thirsty Thursday recipe. Thirsty Thursday is a trusty little invention that gives you the burst of ambition, fearlessness, and energy to make it through Friday and finally to the weekend.  

Or at least this probably applies to most people. Me on the other hand, I don't currently get weekends and I probably won't until December is over. I'm still trying to finish my graduate research, which I would like to have mostly wrapped up before I start my real job in a week (at this point this feels impossible). I'm also doing an internship for about 10 hours a week. So it's a lil' crazy right now.

I'm pretty sure that since I moved to Boston I've always had about three different things on my plate. I worked at a cafe, and then at the admissions office to a wildlife sanctuary/local farm. But at the same time I volunteered to work with penguins and did research at a wildlife clinic. And then I did another internship with Humane Society International. And then school started and I had to wrap up that internship, and then I got a graduate research assistant position and then here I am with my thesis, another internship, and my first real job. There's never enough hours in the day and to think about it all makes me sleepy. I have loved all the amazing opportunities that I have been given here in Boston and I have enjoyed every second of it, even on the numerous all-nighters I had to pull during the last year to get my assignments done. But I am also really looking forward to life on a normal schedule, with a normal workload (i.e. 40 hours a week not all hours of the day). And there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Come December my internship will end, with any luck I will have completed all the requirements for graduation, and when I come back to work after Christmas, I can look forward to having exactly one, full-time commitment and a regular adult schedule (with the exception of working with people across the world who are in different time zones, but really, that's fine by me because that's actually really exciting). 

I'm really looking forward to coming home and having the evening to do with as I please. I'm looking forward to relearning how to knit, reading this stack of books that has been haunting me, and working on this blog. And also finding a horse rescue to volunteer at. (I'm. So. Excited.)

So, that said, maybe it makes more sense why there haven't been any Thirsty Thursday posts. Thursday rolls around and it's like, I really don't have the time to drink right now because I have to work until 1 in the morning on this project. So last weekend I was prepared. I took pictures of this drink so that everyone with a normal, structured life could enjoy at least one Thirsty Thursday. So here it is: Fall in a Glass. I give you the "Ginger Apple Cider Fizz" 

The key to success here is to use ginger BEER, preferably Reed's Extra Ginger Brew. If you use something like Canada Dry Ginger Ale all you will get is a cloyingly sweet concoction that will probably make you wish you had never lived come morning. 

Ginger Apple Cider Fizz

Makes: 1 cocktail

Time: 2 minutes

1 shot bourbon
1 shot apple cider
1 1/4 shot ginger beer (NOT ginger ale, preferably Reed's Extra Ginger Brew)
Dash of cinnamon
Cinnamon stick
Apple sliver

Pour the bourbon, cider and ginger beer into a glass. Dash with cinnamon and stir. Add the cinnamon stick and apple sliver to make it pretty, but they're not absolutely necessary. To make the apple slivers simply cut an apple along it's horizontal axis, and then make a cut from the edge, to the center of the little star where the seeds were. You can use this slit to attach the apple slice to the rim of the glass.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day 20: Saag Paneer

I think I have said it before, but Indian food is one of my favorite types of foods, just like India is one of the places I most want to go. Here is my version of Saag Paneer, one of my favorite types of my favorite type of food. Saag Paneer refers to a spinach sauce with cubes of cheese (similar to mozzarella). It is usually served on rice. I made the recipe about a week ago, and then today, when I was preparing to publish it, I could not find it. I was positive I had thrown it away and that I was going to have to publish a post explaining why there was a picture and no recipe. But alas! I found it hiding in the kitchen drawer. Thank goodness.

Here I substitute firm tofu for the cheese, and fry it in Earth Balance to give it a richer taste. Often this sauce is served on rice. For mine, I used brown rice because it is healthier. There are a lot of recipes for white jasmine rice which have a little more flavor added to accompany the saag (or other Indian dish), but for simplicity's sake (this is supposed to be a weeknight dinner) I opted for plain brown rice. You are more than welcome to find a Indian rice recipe and use it to accompany the sauce.

Saag Paneer
Serves 4
Time: 30 minutes

1 pound firm tofu, cubed

4 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, grated
1 serrano, minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound fresh spinach
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup cashew cream*
cooked rice, to serve

First prepare the "paneer." In a large skillet melt two tablespoons of the Earth Balance over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the cubes of tofu, turning every few minutes so that all the sides are browned. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Add the remaining two tablespoons of Earth Balance to the skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Once melted add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and serrano, and sauté until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the garam masala, coriander, cumin, and salt and saute for 30 seconds. Add the spinach, cover and continue to sauté until the spinach is wilted. Add the tomato and cashew cream and continue to cook until the tomato has broken down, stirring to incorporate the cashew cream.

Return the tofu to the pan and toss it with the sauce. To serve, ladle sauce and cheese on top of cooked rice.

*For the cashew cream you can use 1 cup cashews. Soak them in water overnight or boil them. Rinse, and put in blender. Add 1/2 cup water to blender and blend until smooth. This will make about 1 cup cashew cream, so you will have 1/2 cup left over for another dish.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 19: Sausage and Handmade Tortellini Soup

Here is another one of my favorite dishes that my Mom used to make, veganized. To make it simpler, you could substitute store-bought vegan ravioli (or perhaps you can actually find tortellin!). I did have some store-bought ravioli on hand, but I wanted to see about making the tortellinis myself (actually my husband made them while I made the filling and soup). My sense is that making tortellinis from scratch is actually easier than making raviolis from scratch, even though you might not be able to tell that they are tortellinis. ;)

*You will have tortellini left over, probably about enough to feed two people another meal. :)

Tortellini and Sausage Soup
Serves 4
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

For the tortellini pasta
3 cups semolina flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup warm water

Mix the ingredients together until a dough ball forms. Knead the dough for several minutes. Using a pasta roller, roll the dough out into thin sheets. Using a round glass or tupperware with a diameter of about 2 1/2 inches, cut the dough into little circles.

For the tortellini filling
1 cup cashews, boiled in water or soaked overnight
1/2 cup water
1/2 pound extra firm tofu
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Rinse the cashews and place in blender. Add the water and blend until smooth and thick. Using a spatula transfer 1/2 cup of the mixture to a small bowl (reserve the other 1/2 cup for another use). Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and stir to combine.

To make the tortellini, spoon a teaspoon of the mixture into i circle of pasta. Fold the pasta in half over the filling, and press along all the edges, pushing the air out and sealing the filling in. Press your finger on the center of the filling, wrap the two corners around your finger, and press them together until sealed. This will give you the classic tortellini look.

For the rest of the soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fennel bulb
3 Field Roast sausages, I used Apple-sage, but the Italian ones may be tasty too, sliced
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
10 cups veggie broth
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
1/2 recipe handmade tortellini (above)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, fennel, and sausage, and saute until browned. Add thyme and red pepper flakes, and then the broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling add the kale and cannellini beans.  Reduce heat to medium. Once the kale is wilted you can add the tortellini, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until the tortellini is firm and is floating.

To serve
Vegan Parmesan, such as GoVeggie brand

Ladle soup into bowls, being sure to get both broth and goodies from the bottom. Sprinkle with parmesan. Serve with some crusty bread.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 18: Monday Morning Oatmeal On the Go

Here comes another one of those Monday posts. Today's breakfast on the go is oatmeal. I'm sure you know how to make oatmeal already, but what's different here is that you take your oatmeal with you.

Here's how. The best way I have found to take oatmeal with me is by repurposing an old jar. The best size of jar is that of a salsa container, which, I unfortunately did not have this morning and had to make due with some mystery jar that was a bit too tall. I like the salsa jars because they are short and wide, which makes it easier to eat the oatmeal out of.

I usually put all the ingredients in the jar (including the soy milk), put the lid on and throw it in my bag. Then, when I get to my destination I microwave the oatmeal for about a minute and am ready to eat!

I don't really think there's much reason for recipes for single serve oatmeal, it's more for personal preference so I'll just tell you what was in mine.

Quick oats (1/3 cup is usually enough for me)
Sweetened dried cranberries
Slivered almonds
Shredded coconut
Brown sugar
Almond milk

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 17: Sleepy Sunday Brunch Quiche

Quiche seems like a difficult thing but it's actually not that bad. The first time I made this quiche I left the phyllo to hang over the edge of the pie plate (as shown), but the second time I folded the corners towards each other to meet in the center of the quiche. I actually liked this version a lot better, but it wasn't as photogenic. I recommend that you fold the phyllo towards the center as well, so that the quiche has a crust both on the top and the bottom. This is a pretty basic quiche, but you can get fancy and change up some of the ingredients if you like. I think I would like to try making a cheddar cheeze broccoli one sometime.

Also, I roasted my own red pepper on my gas burner. To do this just turn one of the smaller burners to hight heat, and set the pepper on the grate above it. Turn occasionally, once each side has turned sufficiently dark. Once all sides of the pepper have been blackened, you can place the pepper in ice water, to make the peeling process a little easier. Peel the pepper, remove the stem and seeds, and you're good to go. Alternatively, you can use the jarred peppers, I just don't like that they taste watered down and pickled.

Sunday Brunch Quiche
Serves 4
Time: 1 hour

8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed in refrigerator over night
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter
2 shallots, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
3 cups spinach
1 pound firm tofu, crumbled
1 roasted red pepper (see note above), chopped
1/2 cup mozzarella Daiya
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
3 teaspoons Sriracha
3/4 teaspoon black salt

First, prepare the filling. In a medium skillet, melt the Earth Balance over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots and garlic until browned. Add the mushrooms and cook until they have released their moisture. Add the spinach, and cover, cooking until the spinach has wilted. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the tofu, pepper, mozzarella, parsley, nutritional yeast, mustard, Sriracha, and black salt and stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the phyllo dough from the box and roll out flat. Have your 9-inch pie pan ready. Brush the first sheet of phyllo dough with olive oil, then transfer to the pie pan, placing the oiled side down. Repeat with the next 7 layers of dough, remembering to put the oiled side down. Press the dough into the bottom of the plate (it will hang over on all sides).

Spoon the filling into the pie pan and flatten out with the back of the spoon. Fold each corner of phyllo dough towards the center of the quiche, and then press to flatten slightly. It's okay if it's ugly right now. When you cook phyllo dough it makes everything beautiful.

Place in oven and cook for about 20 minutes, until the phyllo is evenly browned and the filling is warmed through (Another great thing about vegan cooking is you don't have to worry that the center of your quiche is still liquid even though the outside is burning, yay!).

Cut into four wedges and serve.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 16: Butternut Squash Calzones with Walnut Sage Risotto and Balsamic Reduction

If you've been reading my posts, you know that I really wasn't ready for fall. I think I am slowly coming to terms with it. I'm even a little bit excited for it! I know it is actually the day before fall officially begins, but I am posting this today so that you have time to grab the ingredients to make these calzones in celebration of the first day of autumn! They are stuffed with butternut squash, kale, balsamic, walnuts, and sage. They're pretty much autumn hot pockets. 

I like these because despite the looks of them they're actually amazingly healthy. They have butternut squash and kale, which together provide lots of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. But the best part is the risotto. Whereas the non-vegan version would have some protein but also saturated fat and cholesterol the vegan version--tofu, walnuts, and pine nuts--replaces the saturated fat and cholesterol with healthy omega-3 fatty acids (plus adds a unique and fall-ish flavor!).  

Roasted Butternut Squash Calzones with Sage-Walnut Risotto and Balsamic-Agave Reduction
Serves 4
Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

For the butternut squash:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium butternut squash, cubed
salt and pepper to taste

For the Balsamic Kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 bunch of kale, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic

For the Walnut-Sage Risotto
1/2 cup walnuts, soaked in water overnight or boiled
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 pound extra firm tofu, crumbled
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Earth Balance
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound prepared pizza dough (I used Whole Foods' whole wheat pizza dough)

For the Balsamic-Agave Reduction
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon agave

First, prepare the butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 400 ºF. Place the butternut squash cubes in in an oven-safe baking dish. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Stir and return to oven. Check and stir at 10 minute intervals until the squash is tender and nice and browned.

Meanwhile prepare the kale and risotto. For the kale, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the kale and cover. Once the kale has wilted, stir in the balsamic vinegar, and set aside.

For the risotto, wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add the Earth Balance and return to medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the shallots and sage and sauté until the browned. Remove from heat. Place the pine nuts, the boiled or soaked walnuts, and 1/2 cups water in a blender. Blend until as smooth as possible (the walnuts will remain somewhat grainy, this will not be as smooth as cashew cream). Transfer to a large bowl. Add the sage, shallots, tofu, and nutritional yeast. Stir to combine.

Cut the pizza dough into 4 pieces. Using plenty of flour, roll each piece until it about a quarter inch thick. Note that because of the way the dough has been cut, you will probably not be able to form a circular piece of dough, it will want to stay in a triangle. This is actually perfectly fine, don't let it bother you.

Once the butternut squash is done roasting, you can begin to assemble the calzones, but before you do, be sure that the oven is still at 400ºF.

To assemble, distribute the butternut squash among the four calzones, placing it on only one half of your triangles. Follow with the kale, and finally with the risotto. Fold the half of the calzone without filling over the filling, stretching so that the dough entirely encapsulates the filling and is in contact along the entire perimeter. With a fork, press the edges of the dough together (see picture above) so that the dough will not come undone. With a knife pierce the tops of each calzone about three times to make room for steam to escape. Place on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil (to help them brown better), and put in oven to cook. Check the calzones after about 15 minutes.Once they have turned golden brown, they are done baking.

Finally (finally!) while the calzones are baking prepare the balsamic reduction, which will be the dipping sauce. In a measuring cup, whisk together the balsamic and the agave. Pour into a small saucepan and heat over high heat. Once the mixture boils, reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced by about half. Remove from heat, and place in fridge to cool. As it cools the reduction will become sweeter and thicker.

Serve the calzones with the balsamic reduction in a small dipping bowl.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 15: Weeknight Wednesday "Egg" Salad Sandwhich

This dinner is for the most hurried of weeknight meals. It takes only 15 minutes to put together, but is healthy and satisfying. Chickpeas give the texture of cooked egg yolk and diced soft tofu gives the illusion of chopped egg white. There's not a lot to it.

"Egg" Salad Sandwich
Serves 4
Time: 15 minutes

For the "Egg" Salad
1 can chickpeas, mashed with a fork
1 package soft tofu, diced
1/2 cup Vegannaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Sriracha
3 scallions, sliced thinly
2 stalks celery, minced
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon black salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon paprika

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

To serve

8 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
1 large tomato, sliced
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
8 romaine lettuce leaves

Toast bread. To prevent the bread from getting soggy with the salad, place a leaf of lettuce between the bread and the salad on both the top and bottom of the sandwich. Distribute the avocado and tomato slices between the sandwhiches, scoop salad onto each sandwich, and assemble. 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 14: Who's Day Tuesday? Fatuma!!

Let me start this by saying that after writing for over an hour, this post has become extremely long. It seems that when you've had such a good friend for such a long time, it's really hard to keep it short, and there's so many stories I want to tell!

Like the time I dragged Fatuma to a Metric concert in Denver and then halfway there realized that my entire wallet was on my desk at home and that meant picking up those will-call tickets was going to be a big problem.

Or that Halloween in high school when we went through a drive thru and I tried to scare the lady at the window by hiding in a gorilla suit and growling when she handed the food to Fatuma (the lady was unfazed).

Or that time she came to Boston to visit me and we had Bloody Mary's and miso soup for breakfast at the Asian restaurant below my apartment because like they say, the hair of the dog...

Or when we used to go to the hippie dippie hookah bar because why not.

Or that time at the Fiery Foods Festival when she ruined a man's life because his hottest hot sauce had no effect on her and when I ended up in the fetal position on a bench because of some salsa while Fatuma tried to feed me Lifesavers, which didn't seem to have any effect.

Or that time we went to see her now-fiancé's band play at a lesbian bar who was having a lube-wrestling contest for a cancer fundraiser.

Or that time when she was the best Maid of Honor a girl could ask for. The list could go on but I should probably stop here.

Fatuma and I met in highschool. She didn't like me at first because I sat next to the girl she wanted to sit next to in physics. (Insert sad face here)

It wasn't until we were lab partners in anatomy that we first became friends. I think the thing I remember the most is that senior year, Fatuma was the only person at school who remembered my birthday. I was having a really miserable day, but she came over and handed me a handmade birthday card, which really meant the world to me.

After high school (good riddance) we both went to the University of New Mexico. We had a lot of the same classes together, and we became even better friends. We ended up both majoring in biology so we got flail our way through plant physiology, physics, and intro to chemistry with an English as a second language teacher who called delta, "darla."

When we turned 21, we were lucky enough to not have classes on Fridays. This meant that we spent every Thursday night at Burt's Tiki Lounge where they sold 75 cent PBR and we danced to MGMT, LCD Soundsystem, and MIA (before they were cool of course) until they flipped the lights on and played Bohemian Rhapsody. Every. Single. Thursday. We've tried to go back since, but it's just not the same. The magic of Burt's on Thursday went right out the door with the DJ when she moved to Chicago, and there are some things that can only be truly appreciated by a 21 year old's heart. (Insert double sad face here)
The other thing is that Fatuma and I think the same things. For example, in high school, we had the same life goal, and that was to own a restaurant, but not just any restaurant. Independently of one another, we had planned the same restaurant. Specifically, this restaurant would have different rooms, and each room would be themed like a different place in the world, and the food would be food from around the world. This shared thinking also manifests in other subtle ways. For example, last January I was in Albuquerque for the month, and every time Fatuma and I went out, we somehow managed to, without any discussion about it, wear almost the same thing. A few times this meant that we had the same color scheme. But one time, as evidenced below, we independently donned our favorite animal sweaters. It's weird. 

We have a shared appreciation for dirty martinis and Manhattan's, which is rare among girls. Every time a girl tells me she likes martinis, I get really excited and I ask her if she prefers vodka or gin, dirty or dry. Usually I get a confused look, and the answer of "strawberry" or something like that and my heart sinks. And I'm not sure I've met another girl who is willing even to tolerate whiskey, but Fatuma, she orders Manhattans, and that's one of my favorite things about her. ;) 

And now that we're both vegans, we get to share our love for vegan food as well, usually at Mint Tulip (my favorite vegan restaurant in the whole world) or Thai Vegan (and if she would come visit me again we could try all the Boston vegan restaurants too! Hint hint wink wink!).

Today, she is sharing her recipe for vegan taquitos. Because she had eaten them all, I tried out her recipe so I could give it a taste and have some pictures of them! They were fabulous! I hope you give them a try!

Seitan Taquitos
Makes about 20 taquitos
Time: 45 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package chicken-style seitan, drained and chopped
1 cup button mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup veggie broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon green chile, chopped (I used red chile powder because I didn't have green chile)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup Tofutti cream cheese
1/4 cup Daiya cheddar cheese
20 corn tortillas

Oil, for frying

Heat oil in skillet and sauté onions and garlic until golden brown. Add the seitan, mushrooms, veggie broth, and spices and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the cilantro, scallions, and tomato and cook until the liquid is almost gone, but not completely dried out. Remove from heat and let cool.

Once cool, place in a food processor and pulse until everything is finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl. Mix in the cream cheese and Dayia cheddar and stir with a spoon until thoroughly combined.

Wrap the tortillas between two moist paper towles and microwave for about a minute and a half so that they are pliable. One tortilla at a time, spoon mixture along one edge and then roll it up.

Fill a pan with oil and heat over medium-high heat. Fry the taquitos on each side for about a minute or until golden brown. Place the seal side down first to keep the taquitos from unrolling. I found it easiest to place each taquito directly into the pan after rolling it, because the ones I set on a plate began to unfurl.

When each taquito is finished cooking, remove from pan and let drain on a paper towel. Serve with salsa and guacamole.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 13: Monday Morning On the Go BreakfastPB&J

Here goes another pretty basic Monday Morning post. I like this breakfast because if you buy whole grain English muffins they can actually be quite nutritious. The ones that I have been buying have about 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Add two tablespoons peanut butter (8g protein) and jelly  and you have a nice breakfast that is high in protein (more protein than two eggs, and for someone at 115 pounds about a third of your daily protein requirement).

So that's a pretty good start to the day, not to mention that the jelly will give you a little sugar rush (shhh.... that's the less healthy aspect but I'm willing to accept that).

So there's not really a recipe, just a toasted muffin, two tablespoons peanut butter, and a tablespoon jam. You can put the halves together, wrap it with a paper towel and secure with a rubber band (from your produce of course! No need to buy rubber bands. If you're vegan and you don't have an excess of rubber bands from your produce you're not doing it right). Done. Enjoy on the subway and you can use your paper towel as a napkin. Ultimate time-saver.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Day 12: Sunday Night Meatloaf

When I was younger, meatloaf was one of my least favorite foods. Along with beef stroganoff and the yolk part of McDonald's Egg McMuffins, and whatever happens when syrup touches bacon or breakfast sausage, it was one of those foods that made me downright and inexplicably queazy. I turn green. I think it was because to me nothing sweet should go anywhere near meat, and the brown sugary ketchup glaze did the unthinkable.

At any rate, now, as a vegan, I sometimes like to see if I can recreate traditional omnivorous dishes. I viewed meatloaf as a challenge. I came and a conquered. This is a meatloaf that I'll definitely be having again, and which didn't illicit the red flags that real meatloaf once did.

Note: Because I still can't stomach when sweet things meet my meat alternatives, the glaze has cayenne in it, rather than brown sugar. If you were a lover of this sweet glaze, I would just add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar and call it good.

Sunday Night Meatloaf
Serves 4
Time: 1 hour 20 min

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 lb seitan (half of the recipe here)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup wheat gluten
1/3 cup parsley
3 tablespoons shoyu
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon mustard

1/2 cup Ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet of medium-high heat. Saute the onion, carrot, and celery until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for an additional 30 seconds, and then add the herbs and saute another 30 seconds. Remove from heat

Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a food processor, grind the seitan until minced. Transfer to a large bowl. Process the sauteed vegetables and add to the bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine. Oil a rectangular baking dish, and begin to form the seitan mixture into a loaf form. If the mixture does not want to stay together, continue adding wheat gluten tablespoon by tablespoon until you are able to form a loaf.

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce (remember the brown sugar if you want it to be sweet). With a spoon spread the sauce across the top of the loaf evenly.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the loaf is browned on all sides.

For the Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved and with tough stems removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Toss in a bowl. Spread evenly in a baking dish, and roast until tender and browned, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. You can roast them in the oven while the seitan is baking, but put them in about ten minutes after the seitan goes in.

For the potatoes
4 medium red-skinned potatoes, chopped (to keep you honest, since no one needs more than one potato
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Spread evenly in a baking dish, and roast until tender and browned, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. You can also roast these while the seitan is baking, but put them  in at the same time as the seitan.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day 11: A Pictorial Guide to Homemade Seitan

Sooo.... I've deviated from my originally planned daily theme. A couple of times at this point. Today is no different. Today I am sharing my pictorial guide to homemade seitan, in preparation for tomorrow's meatloaf. Yes, tomorrow we will have meatloaf. And making tomorrow's seitan today will make that a little easier. So here goes....

When I first started this blog, I made a pictorial guide to making seitan. The pictures were horrible. I'm pretty sure people who saw them were left horrified and hoping that they never ever ever came across this "seitan."

Time for round two, because homemade seitan >> store bought (although, as we will see in a few days, there's nothing wrong with store bought seitan in taquitos). So hopefully this pictorial guide will make seitan look a little bit more appetizing, and a little bit more approachable. It's actually very easy, the only time consuming part is waiting for it to cook. 

For those of you haven't tried seitan, which probably isn't many during Vegan MoFo, but just in case, it's a pretty decent substitute for meat, but the benefit is that you can make it in your kitchen and not feel super suspicious about how it was made. It has a meatier texture and umami taste than tofu or tempeh do. Buddhists have been making it for thousands of years. Another good thing about making it at home is that you can flavor it how you want to depending on what you're using it for. You can either mix herbs and spices into the dough or add sauces to the boiling broth. Experiment and have fun! The other good thing is that you can add nutritional yeast, which supplies extra protein and B12. 

Basic Seitan
Makes 8 pieces of seitan (enough for 8 people), or about two pounds
Time: 1 hour 20 min (20 min active)

For the seitan:
2 cups wheat gluten (I've found Bob's Red Mill to be the best)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (regular paprika will be fine, but smoked is a little meatier)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon veggie broth concentrate (I really like the Better Than Bouillon stuff that comes in a jar)
1/4 cup shoyu or soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (Like Annie's) 

For the boiling broth
8 cups water
2 teaspoons veggie broth concentrate
1/4 cup soy sauce

First, mix together the gluten, nutritional yeast and spices in a large bowl. In a measuring cup mix together the water, broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and olive oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined. Using your hands makes this easier. Once a ball of dough has formed, powder a clean surface with more wheat gluten. **This is the important note you will see below** To make sure that your seitan is firm and not spongy, you need to make sure that it has absorbed as much gluten as it can, and this ratio will change depending on the humidity. For this reason I knead my seitan with wheat gluten until it no longer feels very moist, and until it has difficulty binding to itself. 

Keep kneading until you have incorporated as much gluten as possible, the dough springs back when pressed, and strings of gluten are visible. Cut the dough first into quarters, and then halve each quarter to make eight pieces. Knead these pieces briefly to try and produce a more appealing shape. 

To make the boiling broth, simply add the water, veggie broth concentrate, and soy sauce to a large pot. Drop the seitan pieces in. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Let seitan simmer for an hour until it is firm and no longer gummy in the center (you may have to sacrifice a piece the first few time until you have a good feel for what it should look like!).


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 10: Remembrance and Weeknight Wednesday Carne Adovada

Today is a day of remembrance. Twelve years ago I was a freshman in highschool. I still remember hearing the news on the radio while I was getting ready for school, and then walking out to ask my Mom what the twin towers were, because a plane just flew into one of them.

I grew up in Albuquerque, where you can be out of the city and into the vast expanse of the desert in probably under 20 minutes, even from the heart of the city. There are no skyscrapers. I had never even been to the east coast, and while I had been to Los Angeles, the concept of Manhattan, over eight miles of rows and rows of skyscrapers, well, it might as well have been on the moon. You see it in movies, but it doesn't really exist for you because you can't relate to it and you've never seen it for yourself.

Moving to Boston, and then visiting NYC and seeing the new tower being built made 9-11 a little more real. Michelle and I stopped in a Starbucks right next to the tower while we were there, and it was eerie to think about everything that the walls of that building had seen.

And then there was the Boston Marathon. Obviously, Boston was lucky and the loss of life was small, but during that week it seemed as though anything was possible. Daniel was at work downtown when the bombs went off. My neighbor asked to barrow my cell phone to try to reach his wife who was supposed to have been at the finish line. Then there came the end of the week, when I got a late night text from Jess saying a police officer had been shot at MIT, and then the next morning when I would have been heading to Watertown to meet Jess to carpool to class. I woke up to a text saying, "Stay away from Watertown." The bomber was alleged to be hiding out and Watertown, as well as most of Boston, was on lockdown. Later that day, Daniel and I lost all connection to the outside world. We couldn't make phone calls, use the internet, use the internet on our phones, and the power was out so we couldn't watch the TV or listen to the radio. Neighbors were outside in their cars, because the car stereo was the only way to keep up with what was going on. Meanwhile cop cars drove down the street ominously and black hawk helicopters zoomed by overhead.

The feelings I had that week are hard to explain. One was obviously fear. Fear because I did not know how or when it was going to end. The other was a sense of being trapped, because where does one go? Where is safe? If I try to leave will I be stuck on the freeway? But the hardest one was heartbreak. Watching the images on television and not yet knowing what the death toll was going to be, and seeing blood strewn across a sidewalk that I had walked down countless times left a pit in my stomach. Life is impermanent. It is fragile. And these walls we build around ourselves that make us feel safe and secure? They are illusions that can disappear at the drop of a hat.

I imagine that the feelings I had during that week, strong as they were, cannot compare to what those in NYC must have felt.

But there is something important here, beyond the fear. Every 911 we are forced not only to remember the event, but also we renew our resolve in our reaction to the event, whatever that reaction might be. I remember after 911 reading in the paper some statements from religious leaders regarding what the attack meant on a deeper level. Many of these statements focused on the feeling of pain, anger, and victimization. However, there was a response from a Rabbi that stuck with me. He said something along the lines of "God is not in the disaster, God is in the response."

What is important to focus on in these terrible events is not the darkness that led to them, but the light in the responders, the compassion of people to pure strangers, and the strength of a community to pull together and take care of those in need. For Boston, you could see this in the Google doc where people offered their homes to those who were stranded after the bombings and through photographs circulated of extension cords leading outside of peoples' apartments so that anyone passing by who needed to charge their phones could do so. Amidst the fear was compassion and a common resolve to take care of each other. I believe that this is the most important thing to remember.

Many people internalize the fear, pain, and anger, and resolve themselves to retribution and revenge. This makes me sad. The world is dark enough without us reacting to it with anger, fear, and retribution. On some level, every act of violence and cruelty is perpetrated because of a sense of revenge or entitlement. The 9-11 attack was perpetrated because a small number of people had such strong ideological convictions that their humanity was stifled, and they believed that America in some way deserved the suffering and pain inflicted by 9-11. When we turn around and say that Muslims (or any group) deserves to suffer for whatever act they have perpetrated against us, we are taking the darkness of the world and reflecting it back. It is like holding a mirror up to a mirror, and looking through the long corridor that appears. It eventually ends in black. It gets us nowhere new, and certainly nowhere better. It takes true courage to put the mirror down and learn to forgive, but it is the only way that we can find peace, both with ourselves and with the world at large. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

So today, many people will say, "9-11, never forget." This phrase has always struck me, because, well, never forget what, exactly? Everyone will inevitably finish this phrase with their own interpretation. Obviously, never forget the lives that were lost. But there has always been an unspoken element to this phrase, and that is, "never forget why we must get retribution." For this reason I've always been ambivalent to the phrase. So today I would like to add something to it, and that is, "Never forget, but always forgive." The world has plenty of hate, anger, sadness, and fear. What it really needs is compassion, forgiveness, mercy, and love.

So with that, I'm going to move onto today's recipe. Carne adovada. Carne adovada was one of my favorite dishes growing up. My Mom made it really delicious by putting it in a tortilla and serving it up with guacamole and sour cream. What is it? Traditionally, it is pork that is marinated and cooked in red chile sauce. Red chile sauce is made from red chile pods or ground red chile. This is red chile:

You will often see these hanging red chiles, called ristras, in New Mexico, especially during the fall and chile harvest season. This picture happens to be from our wedding. They're everywhere.

A note about red chile. Having recently been to New Mexico, I picked up a bag of hot, ground red chile at a farmer's market in Santa Fe. Somewhere along the lines I vaguely remember seeing a disclaimer that said not to use this red chile for making sauce as it was too hot. Yeah right, I said. I can handle it. I'm a New Mexican at heart.


I loved it and worked through the pain. My nose ran, my eyes watered, and I got the hiccups. And I enjoyed it because I am a New Mexican at heart. But most normal people are not going to enjoy their dinner if it tortures them and makes them cry. So with that in mind, I'll say one thing. Know your chile tolerance. If you're outside of New Mexico, it's likely that "hot" chile won't even be available to you. If this is your first time making red chile sauce, or your first time with New Mexican food in general, I suggest starting with a bag of "mild" red chile, which should be easy to find. I can find it at my Whole Foods with no problem. If you eat this and have no problems, maybe try "medium." But whatever you do, don't start off with the one labelled "hot" because chances are you will regret it.

Anyways, because I wanted to veganize this favorite, I opted for seitan instead of the pork. As an added bonus, this makes this dinner much faster to make because it doesn't require marination, and it doesn't require a long stewing time to become tender and edible. I basically made the sauce and then cooked the seitan in it until I felt that the seitan had absorbed enough flavor. The sour cream is made from raw cashews.

Okay. Here's the recipe, finally:

"Carne" Adovada Burritos
Serves 4
Time: 30 minutes

For the "Carne" Adovada
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped (reserve 1/3 cup for garnish)
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup red chile powder (see note above)
2 tablespoons flour
6 cups seitan broth (or veggie broth)
1 tablespoon oregano
1 pound seitan, cubed

Before starting the carne adovada, prepare the cashews if making the sour cream from scratch. Simply place the cashews in a microwave safe bowl, cover with water, and microwave on high until the water is bowling. Set aside until ready to use.

Heat the oil in a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add the red chile and the flour, stir, and saute for another 30 seconds. Add the broth, stirring to combine, and then add the seitan. Turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil and then continue to cook at high heat until the sauce is thickened and reduced, about 15 minutes.

Sour Cream 
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

While the carne adovada is simmering, strain the cashews and place in a blender. Add the water, lime juice, and vinegar. Blend until smooth. 

1 avocado
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro 

Mash the avocado with the back of a fork. Add garlic, lime juice, and cilantro and combine.

To Serve
1 cup chopped tomato
1 1/2 cups chopped lettuce
1/3 cup chopped onion (reserved from making the carne adovada above)

1 cup Daiya cheddar cheese
4 flour tortillas

To serve, place the seitan into the tortillas using a slotted spoon. Roll the tortillas, and then using a ladle top each tortilla with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the cheese and broil until melted.

Top with the sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and onion, and enjoy!