Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jerk Tempeh

This is inspired by Jamaican jerk cooking, but probably not authentic in any way. Any one of the tofu-seitan-tempeh trinity work well with jerk-style spices. Since I'm lazy, I like blending all of the spices together, adding some liquid, and putting it in the oven to roast for 45 minutes or so. True jerk cooking apparently involves grilling. I think this would be fun to try with seitan, which is pretty grill-friendly. The marinade will seem really sharp after it's blended, but the flavors mellow out nicely while roasting - but it's still good and spicy.

1 8 oz. package tempeh, cut into cubes or triangles or whatever
1 smallish onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped (it's all going in the blender, remember)
2 tbsp. sweetener (I used half brown rice syrup, half brown sugar, but anything sweet works)
1 tsp. allspice
2 tbsp. tamari or braggs
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg, or both - why the hell not?
2 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
1 tsp. cayenne pepper sauce or red pepper flakes - anything good and hot...fresh peppers too
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup liquid (this is a work in progress for me, so try whatever - water, beer, veggie broth)

1. I think that's everything. Put all ingredients (except the tempeh, silly) in the blender and hit it. Make sure the whole mess is nice and ground up.

2. In a baking dish, pour the marinade over the tempeh chunks. If you've planned ahead, let it marinate for a couple of hours, but it will still be good if you just throw it in the oven now. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 F, covered with foil the first 30 minutes. The times are pretty flexible - just watch so your marinade doesn't completely dry up - you want a little sauce left over.

3. Serve over your favorite grain. I used cooked brown basmati rice, mixed with 1/2 cup of coconut milk and some steamed green peas. Nummy. It might not be much to look at, but this is tasty stuff.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Triple-Nut Chocolate Dessert

This is an example of what vegans get to eat, folks. It's a peanut butter and chocolate pie, topped with homemade cashew-date whipped topping, and sprinkled with pecans and shaved chocolate. And I hardly even know what I'm doing. This rocks.

Triple-Nut Chocolate Dessert (waiting for a snappier name)
1 vegan graham cracker pie crust
1/2 of a 14 oz. package soft tofu
1/4 cup nondairy milk
1 cup nondairy chocolate chips
3/4 cup natural peanut butter

1. Melt the chocolate chips over very low heat, stirring often.
2. Combine with other ingredients in a blender. Blend until super-creamy.
3. Pour in the pie crust, and chill for at least a few hours.

Cashew-Date Topping
3/4 cup raw cashews
5 pitted dates

1. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat, add cashews and dates, and cover. Wait about ten minutes.
2. Add cashews, dates, and about a half cup of the water to your blender bowl. Blend until super-creamy - you'll have to stop and scrape down the sides a couple of times.
3. Refrigerate until serving time - it gets nice and thick in the fridge. Hint - it's great to eat right now, if you can't wait.

Serve slice of chocolate-peanut butter pie topped with a heaping spoonful of the cashew-date topping. Sprinkle with a few pecan pieces and shave some chocolate over the top - I use a microplane zester-grater thing.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Burritos

Hooray for scrambled tofu, and hooray for burritos. This is packed with fresh veggies, and topped with some really old chipotle hot sauce I dug out of the back of my fridge. It also features those nummy breakfast sausages I made last night.

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Burritos
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 14 oz. package firm or extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
5 small white mushrooms, sliced thin
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 small carrot, grated
1 small zucchini, grated
1/2 cup seitan breakfast sausage (see post below), diced 1/2 inch or so
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tsp. Spike all-purpose seasoning
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. turmeric
1/4 cup water

Flour tortillas
Hot sauce or salsa

1. In a frying pan, saute onions, mushrooms, and garlic in oil over medium high heat for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring often, until the garlic just starts to brown.

2. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cover. Keep on low heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. While the tofu mixture is cooking, heat your tortillas on low until they are nice and pliable - this just takes a minute or two. Build your burritos, top with some hot sauce, and enjoy.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Apple Maple Sage Seitan Sausages

This is my version of the baked/steamed seitan sausage recipes that have been so popular on vegan food blogs lately. I don't know who exactly to thank for the original idea, but thanks. These are a little different every time I make them, but the idea was something good for breakfast, with hashbrowns and pancakes and scrambled tofu. I wanted something with some sweetness and tang to go with all of the spices. I'm trying this with a little lentil flour - partly because I have a big 2 pound bag of it in the freezer, and partly because I think it will help the texture.

Apple Maple Sage Seitan Sausages
Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten flour (Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup lentil flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. dry rubbed sage
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
Wet Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 tbsp. vegetarian chicken broth powder, mixed with water
1 tsp. cayenne pepper sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. tamari
2 tbsp. applesauce
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl; mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
3. Combine dry and wet, and mix for a minute or so, until everything is well combined.
4. Divide mixture into three clumps of equal size. Tear off about 8 inches of aluminum foil, and place one lump on foil about 1/3 from the bottom. Push dough into a roughly cylindrical shape, and roll up with the foil. By pressing down the foil over the dough, it is easy to form a little sausage. Twist the ends of the foil tightly, being careful not to tear foil. Repeat with two other dough balls.
5. Bake for 1 hour. After removing from oven, let cool a few minutes before removing foil. Keep them in the foil until they're ready to eat, since they can dry out without the foil.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Avocado Mango Minty Creamy Smoothie

The inclusion of an avocado makes this smoothie at least a light meal in itself. On the one hand, writing a smoothie recipe seems pointless, since it's like writing a recipe for how to make popcorn or boil water. On the other hand, a good cookbook or blog could be written with nothing but smoothie recipes - so easy, so good for you, so fun to drink. Enjoy.
Avocado Mango Minty Creamy Smoothie
1 avocado, peeled and stone removed
1/2 cup mango chunks
1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
2 cups pineapple-orange juice
1 tbsp. agave nectar or maple syrup
1. Throw it all in a blender and go crazy. If it seems too thick to drink, add a little bit more juice. Garnish with a little mint leaf, a way of saying "this smoothie is so badass, it needs to be garnished with a mint leaf."

Chickpea Soup with Potato Dumplings

When it's probably time to go to the grocery store but I can't really justify the trip, I often fall back on soup. This one was made with odds and ends around the kitchen, and was really simple. I used canned or frozen veggies (except the shallots and garlic), vegetarian "chicken" broth powder, and even the dumpling mix was premade. I am just crazy about dumpling soup - people in my part of the world make some fantastic dumpling soups, and I'm proud to carry on the tradition, vegan style.

Chickpea Dumpling Soup
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large carrot, diced
1 cup or so frozen green beans
1 pint canned tomatoes (made by Mom)
4-5 shallot bulbs, chopped (what's the unit of measurement for a shallot? Clove? I dunno.)
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
2 tbsp. low salt vegetarian chicken broth powder (the kind you can buy in bulk at some stores)
6 cups water, mixed with broth powder
1/2 package of this great vegan potato dumpling mix I found at the busted Sunmart store by my house, prepared according to package directions*
ground black pepper and salt, tamari, or bragg's liquid aminos to taste

1. In a large soup pot on medium-high heat, saute shallots, garlic, and carrots in canola oil for about five minutes, until the garlic and shallots are starting to brown.

2. Add broth water, and bring to a boil.

3. Add prepared dumpling mix in tablespoon sized scoops. Bring back to a boil, and heat for about 15 minutes.

4. Add remaining ingredients - chickpeas, green beans, and tomatoes. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so, and remove from heat.

5. As with just about anything I make, I add a few dashes of red pepper hot sauce just before serving.

* The dumpling mix I used was made mostly of flour and potato flakes, adding only water. I've made great dumplings with ingredients ranging from corn flour to tofu, and nummy cornmeal dumplings too. No matter what kind of dumpling source you're using, you can place them in the soup at the same point and it should all work out.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

This is my first foray into making my own ice cream, and I like the results. The recipe is from A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise, a blog devoted to, yes, vegan ice cream recipes. The Blueberry Cheesecake bowl here tastes great, but I'm looking forward to experimenting with other recipes. The ingredients for this make it a little on the pricey side, especially compared with ice cream recipes I see that call for a box of tofu, a couple of bananas, and some sugar. That said, this was worth the extra expense. The cheesecake taste comes from Tofutti cream cheese, and I used frozen blueberries and fresh lemon juice. I know more fruity ice cream concoctions are on the way. One more reason to look forward to summer! I'll post the recipe here, but I really should go back to work at some point.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Roasted Sweet Peppers with Quinoa Stuffing

Red sweet peppers are usually too expensive, especially now since prices are going up as a result of the our global food economy being, generally, fucked. But these guys were on sale for a buck a piece at the grocery store this week. Hell yeah. They were shaped perfectly for pepper stuffin', and that's what I set about doing.
Pretty basic stuff. Cut the peppers in half, clean out the seeds and ribs, and fill with your grain-veggie filling of choice. This quinoa mix is a variation of a quinoa loaf recipe I make.

Roasted Sweet Peppers with Quinoa Stuffing
1 Sweet Red Bell Pepper
1 cup quinoa, cooked and drained (Cook it in vegetable broth, if you have some handy!)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup ground cashews*
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp. tamari soy sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut sweet pepper in half, from top of pepper to bottom. Remove seeds and white material, whatever that's called. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. The ground cashews and liquid will give the resulting mixture a slightly gooey texture.

3. Use a spoon to stuff each pepper. Add a small amount of quinoa stuffing at a time, and pack in before adding the next spoonful. Fill until each pepper is heaping full.

4. Place stuffed peppers in a baking pan, and sprinkle with a little olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes - covered with foil for the first 30 minutes. If you bake them too long uncovered, the quinoa mixture may dry out a bit too much.

* You can grind the cashews in a blender or food processor, or just drop the cash for a jar of cashew butter. They're interchangeable in this recipe.

Notes: I ate these right out of the oven, drizzled with a little more olive oil. These would be great with a balsamic/olive oil mix, or topped with your vegan pesto of choice. I ate them plain, and they were still pretty tasty.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Napa-Ginger-Tofu Pot Stickers

These were fun. I made Pot Stickers with some of the leftover veggies from yesterday's Hot and Sour Soup. All in all they were pretty easy and turned out well. The filling is napa cabbage, tofu, shredded carrots, shallots, ginger, and garlic. The pot sticker sheets are vegan, although most brands contain eggs - a good place to pay attention to those ingredient lists. The vegan ones worked just fine. I blended the filling ingredients, and thought I was being conservative, but ended up with 30 or so pot stickers. They were fried in a small amount of peanut oil, sprinkling water and soy sauce on whenever I was in the mood. I'll be back with a more detailed recipe.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hot and Sour Soup

The weather tends to dictate what I cook. No baking in the summer, few salads in the winter. It's not a concious thing, just a matter of what the weather makes me want to eat. The last winter storm of the season, I hope, came in this morning, so tonight seemed like a good time for Hot and Sour Soup, from Veganomicon.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Look, food! I made these cookies last week in California. I wish I could claim the recipe as my own, but it comes from The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Coleen Patrick-Goudreau. They were delicious and chewy and all you would hope a chocolate chip cookie to be.
I mean to do more baking before it warms up here in the frozen north. We have one more blizzard coming tonight, so I didn't skip out on the end of winter after all.

Pigs at the beach

Here's a couple of pictures from the farm. On my last day of work, some folks from the pig barn had a big show in the duck and goose pond at closing time. Here's a pig getting muddy and taking a break from playing in the water to investigate why I'm laying down in goose poop on the bank with a camera.

Back in ND with Otter, Maya, Obama

I'm back in Fargo. I'll have pictures from Farm Sanctuary up soon. I made it back Thursday, and drove up to Grand Forks Friday to see the next president, Barack Obama at the ND Democratic convention. I was going to stick around to see Hillary Clinton later that night, but her plane was delayed and I decided to head back to Fargo and my dogs.

Yesterday was April 4, 2008, marking 40 years since Martin Luther King Jr. was asassinated. Obama closed the speech with some thoughts on my favorite King quote, "the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice." King was about justice everywhere, and I think it is no coincidence that Coretta Scott King was a vegetarian. Words matter. Ideas matter. I really hope Obama wins.