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Veganizing The Moosewood Cookbook – Vegetable Stroganoff

As I have mentioned before, memories of cooking from The Moosewood Cookbook go back to when Jim and I were just beginning a family and lived in Lewistown. As a celebration of our first date anniversary, I decided to veganize one of our favorite go-to recipes of that era. Thirty years have passed since we had a small dinner party and video viewing of Gandhi. We ended up talking all night and as morning broke we had our first kiss.

We are celebrating Night of Gandhi #30 and agree the flavors of how I veganized this Vegetable Stroganoff took us right back. It was like sitting together, 3 decades ago, finding new meals in the The Moosewood Cookbook that we loved and encouraged our vegetarian concerns.

This is one of those recipes that I would get frustrated with because it didn’t have all the ingredients listed together in an easy way to make a shopping list. Not the original page title I scanned has “1/2” penciled under the title. I felt that half the recipe easily served 4 adults. My version cuts the original recipe in half, keeps the ingredients together with the different components separated by a dashed line and veganized anything that was animal based – naturally.
Veg_Stro
Vegetable Stroganoff

Ingredients:

—————————–The Sauce
1 1/2 C Vegan Sour Cream (I used Tofutti)
3/4 Vegan Yougert (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Cultured Coconut Milk)
1 C Chopped Onion
12oz Chopped Mushrooms
8 oz Chopped Seitan
1/4 t Salt
1/4 t Dill Weed
Dash of Braggs Liquid Aminos
Paprika
Black Pepper
~ 2 Tb Earth Balance Stick
minced scallions or parsley to garnish
——————————The Vegetables
3 C chopped fresh vegetables
Highly recommend a blend of:
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Carrots
Peppers
Snap Peas or Pole Beans
——————————The Pasta
2 C uncooked pasta (note a LOT of pasta is vegan, just read the label and look for eggs or milk products)

Directions:
The Sauce
Sauté onions, mushrooms and seitan in the Earth Balance until the onions are soft. Combine all of The Sauce ingredients in the top of a double boiler (I use a smaller pot sitting in a bigger pot that has a low amount of simmering water in it). Gently heat about 30 minutes.

The Vegetables
While the sauce simmers, steam the 3 cups of veggies.

The Pasta
Cook the 2 cups of raw pasta in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and add a small amount of Earth Balance.

Assemble the Stroganoff on a platter, pasta on the bottom, steamed veggies as the next layer then the sauce on top of the veggies. Garnish with minced scallions or parsley.
Veg_Stroganoff

A Taste of Thanksgiving

There are so many vegan recipes, Websites and resources available that my mother offered to undertake a fully vegan Thanksgiving this year. It was very generous of her to give up what is typically an omnivore’s table of delights to try a full spread of vegan goodness. I pitched in with a few recipes that I wanted to try and I will give brief reviews of how they went.

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Savory Vegan Corn Pudding
by Vegan Feast Kitchen

The Corn Pudding was to take the place of Mom’s classics Copes baked corn. It was warm, corn based and kind of smooth but just didn’t hit the mark. Partially because I opted to add the red and green peppers. It was a Mexicalli flavor for a Thanksgiving dish, probably because the seasoning I chose was basil and accidentally dumped in too much. I did fish a bunch out but the flavors I stupidly chose just didn’t go we’ll with all of the other traditional Thanksgiving foods. I did use fresh corn and a bit of rehydrated Copes but I think I will chose try to veganize the Mom’s recipe for the winter holidays next time.

Macadamia Nut Brie en Croute by Vedged Out

I didn’t change one ingredient nor instruction of this recipe. Instead of the Spooky Hallowe’en decorations, I chose an autumn leaf pattern for the puff pastry.

This was one of the few Virtual Vegan Potluck recipes that I treated our family to. I wouldn’t change anything about the recipe nor instructions but I would clearly note that it serves a lot of people. We had 7 healthy eaters but maybe only ate about 1/3 of it and it was out all day. Another thing to note, don’t emphasize the “Brie” aspect without mentioning the macadamia nut. When I tasted the pâte, I realized it was very nutty and almost added in another teaspoon of mustard. Like I said, I made no alterations and it was well received.


Stuffed Seitan Roast
based on a recipe by Post Punk Kitchen

Making my own “Tofurky” roll seemed like an overwhelming yet exciting undertaking. When I saw PPK’s recipe for Seitan Roast with Shiitakes and Leeks, I thought it looked amazing. Mom really doesn’t like mushrooms at all. She was being such a good sport about making the meal all vegan, I wanted to go out of my way to make the filling a bit more friendly to her. I adapted the stuffing to be much more like her southern-styled cornbread stuffing but kept the tips that PPK shared about making sure it had enough moisture and salt in it. In honor of Mom, let me call it:

Rita’s Vegan Stuffing:
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance buttery stick
1 Cup roasted chestnuts
1/2 Cup chopped celery
1 medium onion minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 Cup cornmeal and cracker crumb mixture (browned a bit in the skillet)
1/4 Cup vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

I added it to the seitan roll as in the original recipe. The baking time seems to be spot on and it was fine when drenched in vegetarian gravy. Unfortunately I heard Mom mention to someone that she found it to be “tough.” I thought it was just right but I forgot that some folks (well, the ones who decided it was worth trying) might be comparing it to turkey. In all fairness, Arron and Amy eat turkey and know what to expect from seitan and they thought it was pretty good. I loved it!!

Maple Syrup Pecan Pie
based on a recipe by Gazing In

This turned out to be a most attractive pie and I was so excited to use Georgia-grown, paper-shelled pecans that were hand shelled by my Aunt Pat.

I only made a small tweak to the recipe that I don’t think had anything to do with how it was a bit runny at room temperature. I watched America’s Test Kitchen when the station was focusing on Thanksgiving, they had a Pecan Pie featured that day and suggested a maple/ brown sugar filling. Instead of 1 1/4 Cup pure maple syrup, I used:
1 Cup pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon molasses
1 Cup brown sugar

It wasn’t at its best when served room temperature, it was much better chilled.

Pumpkin Pie based on recipes by Post Punk Kitchen and Moosewood Cookbook

This recipe lead me to my happiest victory of the Thanksgiving meal, a custard pie that had a perfect texture tasted like it should! Leave it to Jim to bake up a pie that tasted so much like we have enjoyed for years just by giving a boost by doubling the spices and adding but a tablespoon of molasses to the mixture. It was the Moosewood Cookbook’s No-Fault Pumpkin Pie recipe that we had been making for year. This was to mark one year of no eggs nor dairy in our diet so, instead of veganizing the whole recipe, we opted for trying PPK’S. The crux of it was that it also need a bit more agave as sweetener and to balance the added moisture, we upped the starch and agar agar by again a 1/3.

Of all holidays, this one has a focus around food. It was very moving that my own mom would put aside the butter, eggs and animal products to make me and Jim feel welcome and honored. If my mother-in-law or father felt anything was missing from the meal, I am sure the warmth of visiting family helped to overshadow it. It was surely a day of splendor, sentiment and celebration.

Veganizing The Moosewood Cookbook – Cossack Pie

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Veganizing The Moosewood Cookbook – Cossack Pie

Memories of cooking from The Moosewood Cookbook go back to when Jim and I were just beginning a family and lived in Lewistown. We had 2 other housemates and all of us, except for baby Arron, took turns cooking. It seems our go-to cookbook of choice during those couple of year was The Moosewood Cookbook and each of us had favorites.

I can remember first making this recipe and feeling quite accomplished as it came out of our newly purchased gas oven. Because our one housemate didn’t like mushrooms, it didn’t have the cute mushroom caps on top which I think make it adorable. We all loved this savory pie and I am glad it veganized in a way that I think tasted and held together just like the original:

Cossack Pie

Ingredients:

1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
1/4 lb fresh mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced broccoli
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 finely chopped scallion
3 Tbsp earth balance stick
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp ground caraway seed
1/2 tsp basil
2 tbsp vegan dry white wine
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/3 cup extra firm tofu/drained and pressed
1/4 cup Tofutti Cream Cheese
2 portions of hydrated Egg replacer (like Ener-G)
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp agar agar powder
3/4 cup mixed Tofutti Sour Supreme and unsweetened Silk Soy Yogurt
Paprika

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Remove stems from mushrooms. Slice caps and set aside. Chop stems finely. (Include chopped stems, not the caps, in step 2.)

2. With most of the Earth Balance, saute all vegetables except the scallion until just tender. Salt lightly and add spices. Remove from heat and toss with flour and wine.

3. Puree the hydrated egg replacer and tofu, Tofutti Cream Cheese, water and agar agar powder in a blender; add salt and pepper. Pour this mixture to sauteed vegetables, along with chopped, raw scallion. Mix well.

4. Spread moist vegetable mixture evenly into crust.

5. Saute the mushroom caps in a little Earth Balance for about 5 minutes, until the shrink slightly.

6. Spread soy sour cream-yogurt mixture on top of vegetable filling. Arrange mushrooms caps on top. Dust with paprika.

7. Bake 40 minutes or until set. Let stand 10- 12 minutes before serving.

Millheim Hotel

Millheim Hotel

With the removal of the Millheim Hotel’s balcony I find myself all nostalgic. Although I can find nothing in print, supposedly an accident has forced the owners of the Millheim Hotel to make a decision to take down the old balcony. Local word is that a young daredevil, employed at the time at Camp Woodward, was trying out some parkour moves from the balcony and ended up breaking bones from falling to the street. One goof can spoil things for everyone. I sure am going to miss seeing that balcony.

Millheim Hotel has gone through stages. In the late 70’s it was a really sketchy place but took on new ownership and by the early 80’s had classed itself up. I can remember in 1983 they offered some of the area’s best vegetarian entreés, very Moosewood Cookbook in style, and offered a vast salad bar with healthy side salads with every meal. My best friend Missy and I started stopping in now and then and got just the salad bar that was set up in a claw footed bathtub.

It was one of our trips up the valley when we took along my sister Tracy and her good friend Jane. We were a giggling and jolly crew as Missy navigated the twisting and turning old route 45 in her sporty Toyota Corolla. When we weren’t crawling behind a horse and buggy, Missy would get up to speed and Jane would take her shoe off and make it “fly” out the window. I was the eldest at 21 and we were all pretty silly.

We all got a table in the dining room and read the fancy-shmancy drink specials listed on the cocktail menu. When it came time to order, the waitress never asked for IDs as we all ordered Silver Clouds from the bar. I have to laugh at how naughty we felt at ordering these froo froo drinks since I was the only one that was legal drinking age. The Bailey’s Irish Cream was hardly more than a flavoring because it was mostly whipped cream and other non-alcohlic ingredients.

We laughed and carried on the whole time as we stuffed ourselves from the terrific salad bar and sipped our special drinks. Knowing us, we were probably a little loud and it’s not surprising that we drew the attention of one of the local fellows who was staggering his way through the dining area from the (still a bit seedy) bar. This man was old enough to be any of our fathers but that didn’t stop him from pausing at our table.

“Ladies,” he slurred, “I just want you to know that later we are having a balcony party upstairs and you are all invited.”

We all didn’t know what to say and thank goodness didn’t have time to reply before the waitress admonished the man by name and told him to keep moving. He obliged and made his way either out the front door or upstairs to the balcony area. I am sure we made a humorous comment or two amongst ourselves when he made it out of sight. What sticks out in my mind, and we all still laugh at to this day, was when he came back through the dining are to return to the bar. He walked back by our table, leaned down and reminded us of his open offer with two words, “Balcony party.”

The dining at Millheim Hotel currently isn’t quite what it was in the ’80s. A handful of years ago we would still stop in now and then. At that time they still had the bathtub salad bar but the offerings were much less. I did stop in for a Jameson on my True Emerald Adventure (aka Up the Valley Bar Tour). Another night a bunch of us letterboxers went and the bar told Becky she couldn’t have Rum & Coke with a twist of lime because their “twister was broken.”

They now have a pizza night and the cocktails are priced rock bottom but the balcony is gone and so is a lot of the charm. With the changes going on in Millheim, I have little doubt things will shape up for the Hotel and I look forward to visiting and making more great memories.

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