My 30-year old A/C and Grilled Portabello “Burgers”

We live in a two bedroom townhouse, and yes, it feels like we’re walking all over each other, but for several reasons we’re here for a few more years. We moved in between my last two law school finals three weeks before Turbo was born 5+ years ago with the intent to move in 3-5 years. Oops.

That said, my air conditioner is original (1980) and the design of our home makes circulation abysmal. We’re also sort of cheap  frugal, which translates into not running the A/C, thus making stove and oven use problematic. Somehow, the heat from those permeate our house within seconds, but the A/C can take all day to cool this place down – go figure.

And now that you have my HVAC history, you will understand why many of my upcoming posts have everything to do with our grill or outdoor cooking or un-cooking. On any given hot day, you might find a Crock Pot or a rice cooker going on the back deck, or the grill fired up to bake bread, grill pineapple, make pizza, cook up fajita veggies, or even make cobbler.

And, since vegan grilling seems to be an undiscovered art, I’m on my way to discover it. We’ve already covered some of the best vegan burgers on the planet, but they’re fussy and I don’t have time for fussy this summer. I need quick – super quick. And I need something that omnivore company can try without needing to go looking for bacon.

Enter the Grilled Portabello Mushroom Burger. Or is it Portabella? Nobody seems to agree, so we’ll not worry about it. Just eat it. It’s hearty, and meaty, and not trying to pretend it’s something else. Matt found the recipe and I veganized it, which didn’t take much effort. After three tries we still love them. Matt’s brave parents even ate them without complaint and confessed to liking them! So feel free to head to your cousin’s 4th of July barbeque with these in tow, and I promise even the most die-hard meat-eaters will look enviously in your direction. (And sorry the pictures are lousy – these deserve so, so much better.)

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Grilled Portabello Mushroom Burgers, Veganized!

  • 2 tablespoons brown spicy mustard
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (probably optional, but use 1-2 T, then add water to 1/2 c, then emulsify)
  • 1 teaspoon Real salt (local first!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 4 portobello mushroom caps
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • Loaf of Somer’s Seeded Sandwich bread, sliced 1/2 -3/4″ thick – see modifications below
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • Lettuce – enough leaves to make it count
  • 1 tomato, sliced thin
  • Any other tasty veggies – roasted red pepper, sprouts, cukes – all would be tasty

Directions

Combine mustard, vinegar, oil or oil and water mixture. salt, pepper and hot sauce in blender, and whiz up until combined, Reserve two tablespoons of marinade and set aside. Place caps into a baking dish and pour remaining marinade over top. Use a brush to make sure all caps are covered with the marinade. Set aside and let marinate up to 2 hours, but 15 minutes will do.

Remove the portobellos from marinade and place gill side down on a preheated gas, electric or charcoal grill over medium-high heat. Grill 3 to 4 minutes per side – longer if mushrooms are super fresh, fat and juicy.

In a medium bowl combine 1/2 cup vegan mayo and the 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade.

Spread the flavored mayonnaise onto sliced bread and top with portobellos. Serve with sliced onion, lettuce and tomato.It will drip and be soggy, so lean over and keep a napkin handy!

My sweet Mods to Somer’s seeded sandwich bread:

Makes 2-9×5 loaves, a bit squat, but that’s okay. And seriously, this bread is so fast that it’s faster to make than to go to the store, especially with three kids! And cheaper since I don’t buy anything else…

Quick Sandwich Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 4 C. whole wheat flour (I grind organic hard white wheat pretty fine, which keeps it light)
  • 2 C. unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • Scant 1 T. active dry yeast
  • 2 heaped t. Real salt
  • 2 2/3 C. warm water
  • 3 T. vital wheat gluten (extra to make up for all-purpose flour instead of bread flour)
Directions:
In your kneading apparatus or with your hands, combine flours, yeast, salt, vital wheat gluten and water. Knead for 10 minutes or until elastic and smooth. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two 9×5 loaf pans with parchment paper (like a sling) and spray the ends of the pans with non-stick spray. Divide in half and shape into two long skinny loaves, pressing them into the loaf pans so the dough is pushed into the corners and even. Let rest for 20 minutes. Brush top of loaves with a bit of olive oil, and using a serrated knife slash diagonally a few times across the top to keep it from breaking open while baking. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45, minutes or until crust is golden brown. You can also put some hot water in a pan in the oven to help it rise just a bit more – one of those no-knead artisan bread tricks. Remove from pans and let cool on cooling rack (you don’t want soggy bread). 

A Salad Sandwich on Seeded Bread – Tasty Tuesday Series

It’s Tasty Tuesday and sometimes I can’t decide whether to have a salad for lunch or a sandwich. So instead I make a salad sandwich. 🙂

When you make a sandwich do you get in a rut and stick to basics or mostly go for the fail-safe PB&J? If so, it’s time to branch out with a sandwich that’s anything but mundane. I fell in love with many foods when I lived in Australia for 2 years (15 years ago). However, my favorite lunch go-to was the salad sandwich on seeded bread, not that they don’t have seeded bread here in the USA, but almost all bread you buy here is sweetened, whereas bread in Australia is never sweetened unless it’s an intentional sweet bread…. Got it?  This sandwich is inspired by my favorite little sandwich shop in Sydney on George Street near the Queen Victoria Building.

Salad Sandwich Possibilities:

feel free to add whatever veggies suit your fancy

Seeded or wholegrain bread (seeded bread recipe below), Romaine, spinach or baby lettuces, Beets, sliced or shredded, raw or pickled, Carrots, shredded, Bell pepper strips (bright colors are sweeter and yummier), Alfalfa or other sprouts, Avocado Slices, Cucumber Slices, Tomato Slices, Red or White onion thinly slivered, A slice or two of Cashew Cheez A sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground black pepperSpread possibilities: Hummus, house dressing, dijon mustard, miso cashew ranch dressing, sriracha bbq sauce, sundried tomato pesto. This particular sandwich had the miso cashew dressing, dijon mustard AND sriracha bbq sauce. Divine.

Quick Seeded Bread

Ingredients: 2 C. white whole wheat four, 1 C. unbleached organic bread flour, 1.5 heaped t. active dry yeast, 1 heaped t. sea salt. 1 1/3 C. warm water. 1 T. vital wheat gluten

Seed combo: a T. of each; flax, chia, sunflower, millet (ok, this is really a grain), black sesame and white sesame.

Method: In your kneading apparatus or with your hands, combine flours, yeast, salt, vital wheat gluten and water. Knead for 10 minutes or until elastic and smooth. Shape into a round ball and place on a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. Let rest for 20 minutes. Brush top of loaf with water, sprinkle seed mixture over the top. Make some slashes across the top with a sharp knife, bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown

What do you put on your sandwich?

Vegan Hot & Sour Soup & The Breadmaker “Aha” Moment

It’s Somer Saturday and I figured 6 days in the raw was plenty. I admit I did end up sneaking a slice a toast, but I will tell you more about that in a minute. Part of my motivation for going raw was that my kids and I got pink eye, a vomiting bug and colds all in one week (maybe it was some insanely mean super virus?)….And my husband was out of town for most of it (lucky him). I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t eaten raw I would have laid in bed most of the week, but instead I was able to function fairly well. Then the icing on the cake, Friday afternoon while playing on the play-set swings in my backyard with my 3 year old, we had a collision of sorts and I ended up nearly putting my tooth through my bottom lip. I shall spare you the gory details, but let you know that I typically handle other people’s injuries amazingly well, I’m like a superhero and always know what to do with a calm and collected manner. However, when it comes to my own blood, especially copious amounts of it, not so much… it’s like kryptonite. I get woozy, and I nearly faint. Anywho….It was this “kick in the head” that motivated me to break the raw fast and eat something warm, comforting and easily slurpable past a fat lip.

Vegan Hot and Sour Soup

4 C. Vegetable Stock

2 T. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)

1 T. miso (I used yellow, pretty sure most varieties will do)

dash or two of cayenne pepper

1 C. shitake mushrooms, slivered

2 T. Cornstarch

1/2 package Mori Nu silken tofu (extra firm) cut into 1/2 inch dice

2 T. finely grated ginger

3 scallions, sliced on the diagonal

3 T. rice vinegar

1 small can bamboo shoots, drained

1 small can water chestnuts, drained

1 t. sesame oil

pinch raw sugar

2 T. wood ear mushrooms (Chinese fungi, if you can’t find them, just omit them)

Method: Add all ingredients to soup pot. Bring to a low boil then let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes over low heat. Great for a swift kick to the head, colds or whatever else ails you.

Now for the Breadmaker “Aha” moment. My friend Emmy at emmycooks.com posted a breadmaker recipe this week. In her post she asked if anyone had a 100% whole wheat breadmaker loaf, and if they would like to share the recipe. Well, as you know I had posted a 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf recipe earlier this week. I decided to scale it down and test it out start to finish in my breadmaker to see how it would fare, on the express function. That’s right folks, 100% whole wheat vegan sandwich loaf in less than an hour flat (58 minutes to be precise). It would take more time, money, stress and gas $$ to drive to the store,  select the loaf, pay for it, and drive home. FOR REALS. Now you know why I had to cheat on my raw food week and have a slice of toast. AMAZING! Here is the scaled down version in case you don’t want to do the math 😉

Breadmaker Express 100% Whole Wheat Vegan Sandwich Loaf

1.5 C. warm water

2 C. whole wheat flour (from hard red winter wheat)

1 C. white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour

2 T. agave or pure maple syrup

1.5  heaping t. yeast (each measured and heaped individually)

2 T. vital wheat gluten (great for higher rise, less dense bread)

1.5  t. kosher salt

1.5 t. lecithin (make sure yours is soy based, makes bread soft without the addition of oil)

Method: Dump all ingredients into a bread-maker. Press express function. Walk away. Return in 58 minutes for delicious hot bread. Huzzah!

Vegemite is Vegan

It’s Tasty Tuesday…. and it’s my day to post and I realize I haven’t made anything particularly delicious or profound that  I haven’t all ready posted. Bummer.

Enter the Vegemite Sandwich, yes it’s the same one as in Men at Work song “The Land Down Under” (Do you like how my counter-top is still smattered with flour from my artisan bread obsession?)

I lived in Australia for 2 years in my early 20’s and went to University there. Funnily enough, before I moved to Australia, I had been a vegetarian for two years for health reasons. The first night I spent upon arrival in Sydney was at a friend’s house who had spent hours making a fancy dinner…..that was full of ALL KINDS OF MEAT. There was a lamb and rocket salad, a beef lasagna with bechamel, a broccoli salad with bacon and pancetta, I’m pretty sure there were some prawns present too. I was trying to be polite and eat bits of rocket that weren’t touching the lamb and did the same with the broccoli salad. I am sure my host thought I was pretty rude and after all her prep, I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was a vegetarian. It probably looked pretty suspicious that after only eating a few bites of her lovingly prepared meal I completely devoured several slices of her chocolate mud cake for dessert. Sorry Shona & Richard!

I’m digressing! While in Australia, I fell in love with the Vegemite Sandwich, I would pack it for lunch almost every day while at Uni and would have it on whole grain bread with a smear of margarine and a slice of tasty cheese (yes the cheese was tasty, but in Australia that’s what it’s actually called). I also met and married my sweetheart while I lived there.

I stopped being a vegetarian while living in Australia because I was living with family members who weren’t vegetarian and preparing separate meals was too difficult.  Now that I’m back on the vegetarian bandwagon for serious health concerns and have taken it to the extreme by going vegan (or plant-based) , I am finding it harder and harder to walk next to the meat aisle in a grocery store. All my reading and recent education have convinced me that I will be vegan for life, not just for my health but because I feel like it’s better for the planet (and the animals, who really probably don’t want to be eaten). I’m okay with that because I’m loving the plant-based lifestyle and feel better than I have in years, so that makes me pretty happy!

One thing that Vegans need to supplement their diet with is Vitamin B. You can get it from Nutritional Yeast, from a vitamin supplement, or if you are really brave, you can get it from Vegemite. If you’ve never had it, the best way I can describe it is that it’s a savory spread that tastes a bit like concentrated soy sauce. My husband says it could last through a nuclear bomb and still retain its nutritional content. My daughter asks me to pack it in her school lunch nearly every day. We are a Happy Little Vegemite loving family!

Don’t spread it thick like peanut butter, you will gag! You just need a very thin smear! For those of you who love Earth Balance, a little smear of that would be good too.

It’s a beautiful tasty thing.

A little bit of History off the back of my Vegemite Jar: “Vegemite – Australian Born and Bred. The Vegemite story started in 1923 after war had delayed supplies of imported yeast extracts. [Marmite perhaps?] Fred Walker, a business visionary and founder of Fred Walker & Co. enlisted the support of Dr. Cyril P. Callister, a brilliant young scientist, to create an Australian made yeast spread. After many attempts they developed a spread that would fit the bill. But what to call it? The company could not decide so they ran a fair way to decide the winner. Fred’s daughter Sheilah [SO Australian!] pulled a name from a hat. That name was “Vegemite” and an Australian icon was born. At the same time Fred Walker joined forces with a Canadian, James Kraft, to start a joint venture company- [who thought Kraft was American? Me!] The Kraft Walker Cheese company. Vegemite has been made in Melbourne since 1923. And it is from here that we continue to put a rose in every cheek.”

Week 9: Chronicles from March 4, 2012

So, we have technically finished our 60-day Vegan Challenge. We celebrated by having a little strawberry ice cream with our vegan chocolate cake last night. Boy, was it sweet and very, very creamy. It wasn’t bad, but I compare the amount that was sufficient last night to what it used to take and I’m astounded I could ever eat that much!

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll slow down on the full veganista thing since I’m starting to lose my ability to be upright for very long. And yes, I can only blame myself for not exercising as much with this pregnancy as the last two, but I can’t do a lot to remedy that at this point, so simplify, simplify, simplify. But I think we’ll all be surprised how much we stick with a whole foods, plant-based diet mostly because we love it.

Sunday:
• Black bean and veggie (thank you Red Iguana) burritos with guacamole, fresh salsa, spinach & cheese for the kids – one of those meals where I never feel I’m lacking something
Monday:
Somer’s BBQ Seitan “Ribz” – I told Matt we were having ribs and he raised an eyebrow at me, to which I responded – with a “z” at the end, and he started throwing all sorts of letters into ribs to make them sound more vegan – wribz was probably the final outcome.
Asian Coleslaw – yum!
• Roasted baby potatoes, baby carrots (surprise find at our garden two weeks ago!) and onions – all seasoned up yummy (my favorite part of the meal)
Tuesday: – I looked at the menu and didn’t really like what I saw, so I squinted my eyes, did a few quick internet searches and had one of my best “experimental” dinners in a long, long time.
Everyday Red Lentil Dal – I added lemon juice at the end, and a lot of salt (I’m sorry, I know it will kill us!) and had to cook ours down for probably 15 more minutes to let it thicken up. And I added cilantro – I used to hate it but after pregnancy #1, I loved it – who knew?
• Brown Basmati Rice Pilaf – recipe below. I used a combo of a few different recipes and while it served it’s purpose as a good base, it didn’t stand alone very well. I think it needed more pomp than I gave it.
• Sauteed cauliflower with golden raisins, almonds and saffron – recipe below, because it was AWESOME!
Wednesday:
• Black Bean Soup with optional cheese, recipe below
• Leftover Coleslaw and Fried Potatoes
Thursday:
• Tempeh Reuben Sandwiches (shhh, we put swiss on them, but don’t tell anyone), the recipe is sort of below, but I winged a lot of it. We ALL loved these.
• Sweet potato fries
Friday:
• GROUPON NIGHT! Dasks for vegan gyro and vegan falafel – both pretty good, but just couldn’t compare with O’Falafel. It’s not even worth trying to compare, really.
Saturday:
• Grilled Pizza Night – peppers, onions, olives, sundried tomatoes, broccoli, some with mozzarella (which nobody – even the kids ate), some without cheese, some with Daiya
I love cooking pizza on the grill on the pizza stone. It makes awesome pizzas and in the summer it doesn’t heat up the house. It’s quick and delicious.
• Grilled Asparagus (skewered GIANT spears like a raft and grilled with olive oil, salt, and lemon pepper until tender – who knew you could make brush-cutter asparagus good?)

Brown Basmati Rice Pilaf
Based loosely on this recipe
Ingredients
• 1 Tablespoon olive or sunflower oil
• 1 ¼ t. mustard seed
• ½ onion, diced
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ½ t. cardamom
• Dash of cloves
• 2 cups long grain brown rice
• 3-1/2 cups water
• 1 c. frozen peas, defrosted
• Juice of one lime (give or take)
• Chopped cilantro for garnish
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Rinse rice in a fine-meshed sieve and drain well.
3. In the bottom of a French Oven, heat oil together over medium heat.
4. Add mustard seed and cook until popping
5. Add onion and cook for 1 minute.
6. Add salt and spices to the onion and cook for an additional minute.
7. Add rice, stir well to combine, and toast together for 2 minutes.
8. Add the water, and bring to a boil. Stir the rice once, then cover and place in the middle of the oven.
9. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove from oven, stir in peas, and let sit, covered, for an additional 10 minutes or until dinner is ready
10. Fluff rice with a fork, stir in lime juice and cilantro, and serve
This could probably be modified in a hundred different ways

Sauteed Cauliflower with Golden Raisins, Almonds & Saffron
Adapted from “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” by Mark Bittman
Ingredients:
• 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
• 1-2 T oil for sauteing
• Small handful golden raisins
• Small handful sliced almonds
• pinch of saffron
• salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Steam cauliflower until just tender – don’t overcook since you’ll be cooking it during the saute process. In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add steamed cauliflower and cook until florets begin to brown, adding the raisins, almonds and saffron. Continue cooking until everything is a nice dark golden brown, and serve hot! So good. So, so good.

Black Bean soup
Adapted from a Food Network version
Ingredients
• 1 -2 T. olive oil
• 2-4 T Bac’uns or other bacon substitute
• 2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
• 6 garlic cloves, pressed
• 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium vegetable broth
• 1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons ketchup
• 2 teaspoons vegan or regular Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 2 quarts (or 7-8 c.) black beans, drained but not rinsed
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• ½ bunch cilantro
• juice of 1/2 lime
• Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
• Sour cream, optional for garnish
• Grated cheddar, optional for garnish
Directions
Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot, add Bac’uns and cook until a bit crispy, add onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes. cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve with the garnishes.

Tempeh Reuben Sandwiches
Adapted from THIS Food Network Recipe
Ingredients:
Sauerkraut:
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, thinly sliced
• 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
• 1-2 c sauerkraut, drained (as much as you think you’ll use)
• 1 sweet apple, grated
• Generous pinch allspice
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Russian Dressing:
• 1/4 cup vegannaise
• 1 tablespoon ketchup
• Dash hot sauce
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives and/or fresh dill
• 2 teaspoons capers, chopped
• 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the Sandwich:
• 8 oz package of Tempeh, sliced thinly
• Seasonings (to taste): liquid smoke, caraway seeds, dijon mustard, soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
• 8 slices rye bread
• Swiss cheese – sliced, optional
• Vegan butter or butter
Directions:
For the sauerkraut:
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the sauerkraut, apple, and allspice, season with salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Cook until sauerkraut is tender, lightly browned and all the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes more.
For the Russian dressing:
Mix all the dressing ingredients together, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Sandwich:
Preheat oven to 350 – 400 degrees (I used the temperature needed for my sweet potato fries). Place tempeh in shallow baking dish, and brush with selected seasonings to give it your preferred pastrami flavor. Bake until warm and flavor is absorbed (I guessed with this whole sandwich, so who knows what happened).
Heat frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Layer rye bread with Russian dressing on both sides, sauerkraut, tempeh, and optional cheese. Butter the outside of the bread and cook on griddle until heated through, flipping to get crispy, crusty sandwichness.

Favorite Meals and Recipes so Far

I know, I’m posting a lot, just trying to play catch up since I have been doing this now for nearly eight weeks and have a lot of recipes/ideas backlog. So here are my favorites and yes, some of the recipes use some oil, not there yet! Feel free to omit the oil or replace it! I have been water sauteing my veggies or sauteing them in vegetable stock the last couple of weeks. For baking I have been using applesauce or bananas to replace equal parts oil. Getting the hang of it!

Moroccan Lentil Soup
2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (can be omitted)
2 large onions, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaped t. ground coriander
2 heaped t. ground cumin
1 t. turmeric
1 t. smoked paprika
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
6 C. vegetable broth (I love better than bullion’s vegetable base, just mix with water)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 C. dry red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1/2 C. chopped parsley
1/4 C. chopped cilantro
Juice of one lemon
Cook all ingredients except last 3 on stove-top for 30 minutes in large saucepan or in crock-pot on low for 6-8 hours. For texture variation you can pulse it a few times with a stick blender. Add lemon, parsley and cilantro just before serving. This recipe is adapted from my husband’s sister. She made it at our house one time, it was utterly divine. It is one of my favorite meals, I could eat it at least once a week. I really like sticking it in the crock-pot because it saves kitchen time and it thickens really beautifully.
Flax Pancakes
1 to 1 1/2 C. Almond Milk (depending on how thick or thin you like your pancakes)
2 T. Flax seed
1 banana, quartered
1 C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (regular whole wheat flour works too)
1 T. Pure Maple Syrup
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. kosher salt
Blend first 3 ingredients in blender until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and pulse til just combined. Cook 1 minute each side in medium-hot skillet. Serve with sliced fruit and drizzle with a little pure maple syrup. My daughter came home from school the day I made these and wanted me to make them again for an after school snack!
Vegan Bechamel
2 T. Earth Balance Spread (or vegan margarine of your choice)
2 T. Cornstarch
3 C. Unsweetened Almond milk or non-dairy milk of choice, just not sweetened!
4 T. Nutritional Yeast
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 minced garlic clove
Melt earth balance spread in small saucepan. Add minced garlic and cook til soft. Combine soy milk and cornstarch in a small bowl, then pour into saucepan. Stir until slightly thickened. Add remaining ingredients.
Uses: Crumble a block of tofu into this to make the white layer for lasagna (or blend it together for smoother texture), I made this with a red Portobello mushroom sauce and whole wheat noodles and it was lovely. Add a couple more tablespoons of nutritional yeast for macaroni and cheese sauce. For stronganoff add 1 T. Dijon mustard and serve with fettucine whole wheat noodles and sautéed onions and mushrooms.
Insanely Good Vegan Bear Claw Ice Cream (Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cashews and Chocolate Chips)
1 C. Coconut Milk (from a can, not a carton)
1/4 C. agave, or pure maple syrup
1/3 C. Cocoa powder
4 dates, pitted
1/2 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
3 C. ice cubes
1/2 C. roasted, salted cashews
1/4 C. dairy free dark chocolate chips (at health food store or ghiradelli, just read the label)
I used my blendtec to make this but you can probably still make it in a food processor if you don’t have the blendtec or vitamix. Blend or process all the ingredients except ice, cashews and chocolate chips until smooth. Add ice and blend or process until smooth. Stir cashews and chocolate chips in by hand. If its too soft, freeze for 30 minutes then enjoy!
Garbanzo Bean Salad
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 minced clove garlic
couple of fresh basil leaves torn (if I don’t have basil, I will just use the dried herb)
2 T. Balsamic Vinegar
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.
Combine all in a bowl. I could eat the whole thing for lunch! You can also add celery, cucumber or any other crunchy stuff. Really light and refreshing.
BBQ Seitan Mock wRibz
I originally got this off a blog called fatfreevegan.com– they got it from veganchef.com I adapted the recipe after making it a few times. I usually double the recipe because we really like it and it makes tasty foccacia rib sandwiches for the next day-  I can’t get enough of it. Usually seitan has to be endlessly boiled or steamed. This recipe you just bake it. Super Easy. It doesn’t taste exactly like meat, but is meaty enough to almost feel guilty. The kids like it too.
1 C. vital wheat gluten
1/2 C. almond meal (leftover from making homemade almond milk)
2 t. smoked paprika
2 T. nutritional yeast
2 t. onion powder
1 C. water
2 T. almond butter
1 T. liquid smoke
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. crushed dried thyme
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. spike
about 1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, I LOVE bull’s eye, it has sugar, but is one of the only store brands that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup and tastes amazing, but I know I need to make my own healthier version…
Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly spray an 8×8 baking dish with canola oil. When I double it, I bake it on a big cookie sheet. The original recipe calls for hand kneading. I’m too lazy and dump everything in my food processor with the dough hook. Do not put the BBQ sauce in the seitan, its for brushing on top.  Once fully kneaded, dump it into your pan and press it down until it meets the edges. Cut into 16 strips. Bake for 20 minutes. Slather with BBQ sauce and broil for 5 minutes or until it the sauce starts to darken and form a nice glaze. Serve with baked potatoes doused with vegan ranch and a green salad or some steamed broccoli. Have also made oven fries a few times with this.
Mexican Mountain 2.0 with 2 enchilada sauce options
this is a recipe my dad made all the time when I was growing up. It’s kinda like a mexican lasagna. I just adjusted it so that I could still make it without the meat and without the cheese, sigh. I make either enchilada sauce depending on whether or not I have fresh salsa. This would also work with tomatillos for a green sauce…. Yum. I also used this same recipe last week and did enchiladas instead of layered tortillas. Both versions were big hits with the whole family.
enchilada sauce 1
2 t. cumin
1 T. chili powder
3 c. veggie stock (i use better than bullion vegetable base for everything now, it is currently at costco!)
1/4 C. tomato paste
1/4 C. whole wheat pastry flour
salt and pepper to taste
brown spices in small saucepan until fragrant. Add veggie stock and flour then stir in tomato paste. Cook until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary
enchilada sauce 2
2 cups fresh (or in my case often freshly prepared salsa that was then frozen and defrosted) salsa (salsa is just tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro, lemon, salt)
1 1/2 C. water
1/4 C. whole wheat pastry flour
2 t. cumin
1 T. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the same as above.
Creamy Sauce and other layers
1 block silken tofu
1 clove minced garlic
1 can black beans drained and rinsed (can also use refried beans)
whole wheat tortillas or corn tortillas
4 T. nutritional yeast
1 t. garlic salt
cilantro for garnish
sliced olives
diced green onion
blend silken tofu with garlic and 1.5  cups of the enchilada sauce you made (whichever option you choose) add nutritional yeast and blend until incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Put some enchilada sauce in the bottom of a round pyrex. Layer tortillas with black beans or refried beans and some enchilada sauce. Add tortilla, layer with creamy sauce. keep layering until you run out of ingredients. Last layer has enchilada sauce topped with creamy sauce. Cover with sliced olives, green onions and cilantro. Bake 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with guacamole and green salad.
Engine 2  Panini’s
Watched Rip make these on “Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue” It’s kinda like a “Fork’s over Knives part 2″ and is currently streaming on Netflix and is a quick watch at 52 minutes. He says to use whatever veggies you have, so this is our variation. So So tasty, the hummus really does melt and taste like cheese.
2 slices whole wheat bread (I use a softer variety like Harper’s Homemade that is still 100% whole wheat)
Hummus
Kale or spinach
shredded or matchstick carrots
avocado
tomatoes
sliced zucchini
sun-dried tomatoes
lemon zest
Layer the bread with a THICK layer of hummus, top with veggies of your choice, sprinkle some lemon zest on. Squish together and put in a hot frying pan (yes, you really don’t need to add oil, the bread browns beautifully without) Put a plate or round casserole dish on top of your sandwich and weight it with something else heavy. Rip uses a 15 lb weight in the film, I used my glass container full of dried black beans. After about a minute check it to see if it’s browned enough, flip and brown the other side. Really satisfying, really, really good.
Eggplant Sourdough Lasagna
Yes it’s eggplants and sourdough, in a LASAGNA. It’s a divine trilogy of 3 of my favorite things and no, sadly,  I wasn’t the creator. The recipe is here http://veganyumyum.com/2009/05/rustic-bread-eggplant-lasagna/ The only things I would do differently next time is use a homemade whole wheat sourdough and try to roast the eggplant without oil, I think the recipe could handle it. Pure Genius Lolo!
15 Minute Veggie Pizzas
Sun dried tomatoes
tomato paste
italian herbs, fresh or dried
sliced zucchini
sliced mushrooms
sliced red onion
whole wheat greek style pitas
baby spinach
julliened carrots
diced tomato
olives
bell pepper slices
garlic salt
nutritional yeast
This is great for nights when you are in a hurry, when you haven’t got time to make a homemade whole wheat crust and you have lots of veggies you need to use up. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Top greek pita with a spoonful of tomato paste, sprinkle with garlic salt and italian seasonings or fresh herbs. Use whatever veggies you have and go to town, above is just a short list of toppings I have used. I let my kids create their own. Top off with a good sprinkling of nutritional yeast. Bake for 10 minutes until veggies are  lightly browned.
Maple Glazed Seitan Almond Neat Loaf
Can I just say wow? I finally figured out the seitan thing! This is SOOOO good. I paired it with Baked Millet Risotto and Wilted Spinach Salad (below). It was one of those dinners where everything came together beautifully and made me really really happy!
2 C. vital wheat gluten
about 1 C. almond meal (I used the leftover almond meal I had strained from my homemade almond milk, see Amanda’s recipe here), you could also just process 1 c. raw almonds really finely then omit the almond butter below.
4 T. nutritional yeast
2 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. pepper
1 C. almond milk
4 T. ground flax seeds
2 T. soy sauce
2 t. Dijon mustard
2 t. vegan Worcestershire
2 T. almond butter
2 t. liquid smoke
1 onion, finely diced
2 minced garlic cloves
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. kosher salt
couple dashes of hot sauce
Yes, this is A LOT of ingredients, but each add their own component and make the dish AMAZING. Water saute the onions and garlic with the dried thyme until translucent. Then combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients in the food processor using a dough hook. Process until smooth and all ingredients are well mixed. Divide into 2 pieces and form 2 loaves. Place on a foil lined baking sheet. Glaze with half of the following: 1/2 C. heinz organic ketchup, 1/4 C. pure maple syrup, 1.5 T. braggs raw apple cider vinegar. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes, brush on remaining glaze and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Baked Millet Risotto
4  1/4 C. water mixed with 1 1/2 T. better than buillion vegan no chicken base
2 bay leaves
1 T. earth balance spread
1 finely minced onion
2 C. millet
2 minced garlic cloves
1/8 t. turmeric for color
1/4 c. dry white wine or veggie broth (yes, I confess sometimes I sin when i cook)
2 T. nutritional yeast
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine water, buillion, nutritional yeast and bay leaves in a small sauce pan. Let simmer on low while you prepare the other ingredients. Melt earth balance in large saucepan, add onion and cook until golden. Stir in garlic, turmeric and millet. Cook and stir for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add white wine and cook until absorbed. Spread millet mixture in a round casserole dish. Pour liquid stock over. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaves before serving. The millet is lovely and nutty, with a tiny bit of crunch. It’s a nice alternative to brown rice.
Wilted Spinach and Roasted Vegetable Salad
1 summer squash, sliced
10-15 grape or cherry tomatoes
1/4 red onion, finely minced
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
6 C. baby spinach
1 t. red wine vinegar
1 t. agave
Combine squash, tomatoes, red onion, salt and pepper and olive oil in a small baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees until veggies start to brown. Remove from oven. Combine with spinach in a large bowl. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and agave. Salt and pepper to taste again. Serve.
Roasted Ratatouille
This recipe is adapted from my America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
2 globe eggplants, peeled, cubed and salted, then put in a strainer while you prepare the rest of the veggies
3 zucchini or summer squash cubed
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, drained with 1/3 c. juice reserved
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
5 minced garlic cloves
1/2 t. dried thyme
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
Drain and rinse eggplant to remove any bitterness. Combine all ingredients except basil and toss in large bowl to coat. Roast 60 minutes in a 400 degree oven until golden and browned, stirring once halfway through. Can be served over rice or noodles, but we like it best on homemade foccacia as roasted ratatouille and foccacia sandwiches.
Fast Foccacia
2 C. unbleached flour (I like king arthur or wheat montana)
2 C. whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat (wheat montana)
4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 T. active dry yeast
2 T. Vital wheat gluten
2 t. kosher salt, divided
1.5 C. warm water
dried italian seasonings, rosemary
I cheat on this recipe (ok, all my bread recipes) and use a old bread maker that I bought at Savers. It just kneads  really well and when it’s done kneading, I take my bread dough out and bake it in my own oven. Now you all know my bread secrets. Shhh! Combine flours, water, gluten, yeast, half the salt and half the olive oil in the bread maker. Let knead until a lovely dough forms.  At this point, you can continue to let it rise in the bread maker or you can remove it and let it rise in a bowl on the counter-top, I typically leave it in so I don’t end up with more dirty dishes. After the dough has doubled in size (about 30-40 minutes) I punch it down and smooth onto a large baking sheet that has been lightly oiled. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees.  Roll out if necessary to reach edges. put divots in the dough with your index finger. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with remaining salt and the italian seasonings and rosemary. Put foccacia in the oven and turn the temperature off. Let rise for 15 to 20 minutes more. Without removing the bread, turn the oven to 350    degrees and bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top.

One delicious sandwich, please.

01-09_6156-1024x768
We had an impromptu visit by some friends the other night, and it was very welcome. (We played a new game, and Matt won, even though he had no idea what was going on for the most part.) The only catch was that for dinner, I was planning on having sandwiches – not your average entertaining food. With a mostly empty fridge (except for the carrots and a whop-load of milk), I sucked it up and made the sandwiches. The ingredients were good, and the plan was a clean one – a combination of a recipe and my husband’s ideas, and the execution was very simple. Let’s just say, simple worked in our favor, as did a lot of luck. And then I ate it again the next day for lunch. I’ll probably have it for dinner tonight.
01-09_6139-1024x768
Hot Pastrami with Sauerkraut and Jarlsberg
01-09_6145-1024x768
8 slices rye bread
16- to 24-oz thinly sliced pastrami – the Costco stuff is excellent
Sliced Jarlsberg – enough to cover the face of all 8 slices of bread
Sauerkraut – drained
Honey Dijon mustard
3 T melted butter
01-09_6147-1024x768
1. Arrange your 8 slices of bread on a board.
2. Spread a thin layer of honey mustard on every slice of bread.
3. Arrange your cheese so every slice of bread has some – you will have cheese on the tops and bottoms of your sandwich, lucky.
4. Arrange your preferred amount of sauerkraut on four of the slices with cheese, we used about 1/4 c. each.
5. Spread another layer of honey mustard on the kraut.
6. Top with pastrami.
7. Put the top on the sandwich – you know, that slice with just mustard and cheese?
8. Butter the top of that sandwich.
9. Put it butter-side down on a hot pan. , and weigh the whole thing down with something heavy; a dutch oven does nicely.
10. When the bottom is nice and golden, butter the top, and flip it. Weigh it down again.
11. When the new bottom is nice and golden, remove and ENJOY!
01-09_6152-1024x768
The nicest comment was from my friend who said – “Now, why do we go out to expensive meals again? This is better.” I agreed. And cheaper. And I could (and did) do it in my PJs.

One delicious sandwich, please. Ruebens…

01-09_6156-1024x768
We had an impromptu visit by some friends the other night, and it was very welcome. (We played a new game, and Matt won, even though he had no idea what was going on for the most part.) The only catch was that for dinner, I was planning on having sandwiches – not your average entertaining food. With a mostly empty fridge (except for the carrots and a whop-load of milk), I sucked it up and made the sandwiches. The ingredients were good, and the plan was a clean one – a combination of a recipe and my husband’s ideas, and the execution was very simple. Let’s just say, simple worked in our favor, as did a lot of luck. And then I ate it again the next day for lunch. I’ll probably have it for dinner tonight.
01-09_6139-1024x768
Hot Pastrami with Sauerkraut and Jarlsberg
01-09_6145-1024x768
8 slices rye bread
16- to 24-oz thinly sliced pastrami – the Costco stuff is excellent
Sliced Jarlsberg – enough to cover the face of all 8 slices of bread
Sauerkraut – drained
Honey Dijon mustard
3 T melted butter
01-09_6147-1024x768
1. Arrange your 8 slices of bread on a board.
2. Spread a thin layer of honey mustard on every slice of bread.
3. Arrange your cheese so every slice of bread has some – you will have cheese on the tops and bottoms of your sandwich, lucky.
4. Arrange your preferred amount of sauerkraut on four of the slices with cheese, we used about 1/4 c. each.
5. Spread another layer of honey mustard on the kraut.
6. Top with pastrami.
7. Put the top on the sandwich – you know, that slice with just mustard and cheese?
8. Butter the top of that sandwich.
9. Put it butter-side down on a hot pan. , and weigh the whole thing down with something heavy; a dutch oven does nicely.
10. When the bottom is nice and golden, butter the top, and flip it. Weigh it down again.
11. When the new bottom is nice and golden, remove and ENJOY!
01-09_6152-1024x768
The nicest comment was from my friend who said – “Now, why do we go out to expensive meals again? This is better.” I agreed. And cheaper. And I could (and did) do it in my PJs.