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Vegan Tamales

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I based these tamales from the recipe in Veganomicon (the vegan bible). If you don’t yet have it you should buy it now and make tamales.vegan_tamales

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Jimbo’s Cormsbread

cormsbreadAs was evident in my Expectations, Culinary and Otherwise post, I am a little picky about cornbread. Yesterday was one of those days when hot soup and a wedge of cornbread sounded just right. Jimbo rose to the challenge and, with the inspiration of a Skillet Cornbread recipe from Veganomicon, veganized an old recipe we had for Aunt Dorothy’s Cornbread.

Jimbo’s Cormsbread

Ingredients
2 Cups plain soy milk
2 teaspoons chili infused vinegar
2 Cups yellow cornmeal
1 Cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 Cup diced banana pepper rings
8.25 oz can of cream-style corn (most are vegan)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease cast iron skillet and place in oven to pre-heat. Combine the soy milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle. Sift together dry ingredients. Create a well in the center and add the wet ingredients. Mix together until just combined, fold in any additional ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet. Bake for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Optional broil to add golden color on top. Remove from oven, let cool a bit before serving.

Green is Good

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As a customer of Green Bowl, my favorite sauce combination was chosen to be displayed for the month of March! I love my Thai/Peanut/Ginger Soy/ Super Hot combo and winning a $20.00 gift card made me appreciate it even more.

I went in to claim it last night and had a big bowl of veggies with that exact sauce combo to celebrate! I also took a photo of my name and combination on the suggested combos board. I haven’t done too much to win me fame so I wanted to get a shot of it before the month was up.

I love getting the little extra “V” on my stick so my food is cooked separately and away from the meat. The flavors were perfect and the veggies and tofu cooked just right. Jim and I had a great meal out at what is the 2011 Pennsyltucky Veggie award winner for Best Ethnic Restaurant. Looking at all the options they have for vegans and vegetarians, they are going to be hard to beat in 2012.

I couldn’t get enough green and decided to make Manzana Chile Verde from Veganomicon today for lunch. The recipe is out there, if you do a web search, but I won’t post it because I don’t change the recipe at all from what is published, nor have the authors posted it on the internet as far as I can tell. It is perfect and worth the price of the whole cookbook.

Here are a bunch of the green ingredients that go into the recipe. They are just so beautiful together, I couldn’t resist photographing them to go with this color themed post.

Chickpea Cutlets with Garlic Lemon Sauce

The joy of being able to share a recipe from Veganomicon is when it is also out on PPK so I am not spoiling the copyright. It’s very generous of the author to have shared her Doublebatch Chickpea Cutlet recipe. I don’t need to make that many since I get 6 out of the recipe and freeze 4. Maybe if I had a huge freezer I would make a double batch but it worked out just right since I only had 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten in my pantry.

One thing I like about recipes that call for lemon juice and zest is that I don’t feel like I am wasting. I have also taken to zesting a lemon before juicing it and if the zest isn’t needed, it’s small and I freeze it in a snack baggy.

I used the lemon juice for a Garlic Lemon Sauce (recipe below) which I served over some pasta along with the…

Chickpea Cutlets

Ingredients:
1 C. cooked chickpeas
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated with a Microplane grater
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 C. vital wheat gluten
1/2 C. plain breadcrumbs
1/4 C. water
1 Tbs. Bragg Liquid Amino
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. dried sage
spray olive oil for baking sheet

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°

In a mixing bowl, mash the chickpeas together with the oil, garlic and lemon zest until no whole chickpeas are left. I use a potato masher. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and get to kneading the mass for 3 – 5 minutes. You will feel the gluten strands start to elongate.

Have the baking sheet prepped by spraying it with oil. Divide the cutlet dough into 6 equal pieces. To form cutlets, knead each piece in your hand for a few moments and then flatten and stretch each one into a roughly 6 by 4 inch rectangular cutlet shape. Brush lightly with olive oil on both sides and place them on the oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turn them over and bake an additional 8 – 10 minutes until both sides are lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Garlic Lemon Sauce

Ingredients:
4 Tbs. melted Earth Balance Stick
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
dash fresh black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley
1 Tbs. fresh chopped basil

Directions:
In a saucepan, heat the Earth Balance over medium-low heat; add lemon juice, garlic, dash pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Saute for 1 minute; stir in parsley and basil.

To serve, drizzle about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the lemon sauce over each cutlet. Serve with hot cooked pasta.

Vegantine’s Day Manicotti for Two

If I haven’t hammered it home how much I think everyone should purchase their own copy of Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowtiz and Terry Hope Romano, here is another plug. The recipes in Vcon have been obviously tested and retested to the point where you are hard pressed to make any improvements on them. That includes their recipe for Cashew Ricotta. It is perfect in every way.

That said, sometimes I don’t have everything on hand and am in a rush or get a wild hair up my tuckus and take liberties with their tried and true recipes. Such was the case this week when I got it into my head at the last minute that I wanted to make some manicotti for my love this past Valentine’s Day. I didn’t need to make a whole batch and had some fresh basil in the house from the brushcetta I had made the day before so I tweaked the sacred recipe and made it my own. It filled 5 manicotti shells. Read on to find out who got the 5th shell since this was…

Vegantine’s Day Manicotti for Two

Ingredients:
5 uncooked manicotti shells
1 1/2 C. (1/2 jar) of your favorite marinara sauce
1/4 C. Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. almond meal
pinch of salt

Tofu Cashew Ricotta
1/4 C. raw cashews
1 clove of garlic
8 oz extra firm tofu (crumbled, not pressed)
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 C. fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°

In a food processor, blend the 9 ingredients for the ricotta (cashews – pepper) until smooth and creamy. It helps to scrape it down with a spatula once or twice and go back to blending to make sure you get it evenly processed.

Stuff the uncooked manicotti shells with the blended ricotta. Pour a small portion of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 1 quart casserole, just enough to coat the bottom. Place the filled manicotti shells in the casserole and evenly cover with the remaining sauce. (It might look like too much but the pasta absorbs some of it while baking.)

Toss the Daiya, nutritional yeast, almond meal and pinch of salt together and sprinkle evenly on top of the saucy manicotti. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving with a big mixed green salad and bread.
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Birbanto lobbied for the 5th shell of manicotti until he realized it didn’t have a bit of animal derived product in it. “People are the strangest cats,” he remarked. He still blocked our way for attention and insisted to be included in the photo shoot. Our romantic Vegantine’s Day dinner for two, plus cats.

B says it should be called ManiCATti.

Bluff Bourguignon

Mention either “food blog” or “Boef Bourguignon” to folks over the past couple of years and many would make reference to the movie Julie & Julia. It really is a sweet movie but don’t take the word of a food blogger, I am a little partial. This recipe isn’t inspired as much from the scenes in Julie & Julia where they swoon over the thick beef stew as it is from memories of the comfort my mom’s food gave to me as a kid.

On an early autumn Friday, almost 40 years ago, it was a big juicy hunk of stewing beef in Mom’s wonderful vegetable soup that I took a good long look at. My mind waged a battle between how good it tasted and how I didn’t want to contribute to the death of animals any longer. Four decades of incremental steps from that moment has now lead me to trying to replicate some of those meals Mom steadfastly prepared for us; all the flavor and love without personal guilt nor animal ingredients.

My Successful Seitan got me all in a wheat meat frame of mind, mid-January calls for a hearty winter stew. I looked up how others had tackled any vegan Boef Bourguignon. Most recipes I found started with store bought seitan like Gardien but a few mentioned preparing it themselves from the Veganomicon recipe, Simple Seitan (see Isa’s similar Homemade Seitan or Basic Seitan at An Unrefined Vegan).

I got to thinking about the difference between what the flavors of beef stewed in wine and even homemade seitan cooked the same way might end up being. I came to the conclusion that the Burgundy would have infused itself well into the beef during it’s long process of cooking while the seitan would have the flavors of whatever was in it’s simmering cooking broth. I decided to make my seitan by simmering it in a wine and broth combination (2 cups dry red vegan wine, 2 cups stock, 1 1/2 cups water, 1/4 cup soy sauce) to get that flavor well into the wheat meat. I also chose not to make the seitan in a turkey bag they way I made my Successful Seitan.

Upon removal from the simmering solution, my seitan turned out a bit purple on the exterior. This was because the only vegan wine I could find/afford was Sutter Home Cab Sauv. It really didn’t matter because when they were sauted they looked just fine and the taste was so well worth it!

Bluff Bourguignon


Ingredients:

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 6 cups of homemade seitan pieces (see above notes on wine simmering)
• 4 shallots, minced
• 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1-inch pieces
• 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1/2 of a 750 mL bottle of vegan dry red wine (refer to Barnivore)
• 1 cup vegetable stock
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
• 1 large bay leaf
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 15 pearl onions, fresh or frozen, peeled
• 1 pound mixed mushrooms (quartered is traditional, I also included 1/4 C reconstituted Porcini)
• liquid smoke
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 4 tablespoons Earth Balance, divided
• Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add seitan and cook, stirring, until seitan is browned and caramelized on all sides. Reduce heat and add shallots, carrots, and garlic; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.

2. Transfer seitan mixture to a large saucepan; add wine and enough stock to just cover seitan mixture. Add parsley, bay leaves, thyme, and pearl onions; cover and bring to a simmer until vegetables are tender. With a slotted spoon, transfer the seitan, carrots, and onions to a large serving bowl; set aside and keep warm. Make sure the bay leaf stays in the liquid.

3. In a large cast iron skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the Earth Balance over medium heat and saute the mushrooms until they start to release some of their moisture. Add in about 3 drops of liquid smoke and stir another 3 – 5 minutes. Remove mushrooms with slotted spoon and add them into the warm bowl with the seitan and veggies.

4. In the same large skillet, add in and melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance. Add flour to saucepan, stirring until well combined and sauté for a minute so the flour gets cooked and doesn’t taste raw in the gravy. Pour in the wine sauce that the seitan and vegetables cooked in and let sauce simmer, uncovered, until it reaches a gravy-like consistency. Remove bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.

5. Pour gravy over seitan and mushrooms in serving bowl; fold together gently and top with parsley. Serve and enjoy. We thought it would go nicely with a starch like potatoes or maybe a quinoa side.

Successful Seitan

Arron and Amy had told me about boiling their seitan in a turkey bag and I wanted to try it. I combined a few recipes including ones from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Veganomicon. Neither of theirs used the turkey bag and actually I couldn’t find any recipe that did but mine was a success! Thus…

Successful Seitan

Ingredients:

1 Cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 Cup cashews processed into a fine meal
1/4 Cup nutritional yeast
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 Cup vegetable stock
1/4 Cup soy sauce
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1 cheese cloth turkey bag (usually on sale after the holidays for cheap)
food safe twine
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6 cups of vegetable stock

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir the first three dry ingredients together. Combine the garlic, 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and soy sauce then stir it into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. You will soon need to abandon the spoon and get into the bowl with your clean hands to knead the mixture for 3 – 5 minutes. Cover the bowl and allow the mass to rest for 20 minutes while you bring the 6 cups of vegetable stock to a boil in a 4 quart pan.

Form the rested mass of gluten into an 8″ long log and slide it into the cloth turkey bag. Tie it off close to the end of the log and cut off the extra bag. Mine only took about 1/2 the bag so I can probably make another bag out of the scrap.

Place the bagged gluten into the boiling broth, don’t worry if it doesn’t cover it, and reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan all but a crack to allow steam to escape and leave it on a low simmer for 10 minutes. Return and turn it over for another 10 minutes and then again for a total of 30 minutes of simmering. Remove the pan from the heat, turn it over one last time, replace the lid and allow it to sit undisturbed for another 10 minutes.

Remover the bagged seitan with a large slotted spoon and reserve the broth for other uses (like my Plantain, Broccoli & Seitan Stir Fry with Quinoa recipe). Remove the bag from the seitan log. Allow seitan to rest another 10 minutes before cutting to serve or use in any recipe. Allow both seitan and/ or broth to cool before storing.

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