Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Seitan Casserole with Pumpkin & Salsa Verde Cornbread Topping

Confession: I’m still obsessed with pumpkin right now. I know I should be moving on to Christmas goodies by now but I’m still stuck in fall. I’ve been so busy eating pumpkin that I haven’t had time to post! Ok, no, that’s not true, I’ve just been busy.

Pumpkin shouldn’t just be limited to sweets either – I enjoy it in savory dishes as well. The original recipe for this comes from the A Veggie Venture blog. My veganized version is below. This is darn good stuff, BTW.  You can use another salsa if you don’t like salsa verde, but the salsa should be pretty smooth (not chunky).

And yes, I know I have like five different fonts on this post but I am having computer issues and if I spend one more minute trying to fix it something is going to break - either my sanity or my laptop. So, please forgive the bad formatting and enjoy the recipe!

Seitan Casserole with Pumpkin & Salsa Verde Cornbread Topping 
Adapted from A Veggie Venture

Seitan Layer
1 tbls olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pound seitan

15-ounces canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup salsa verde
1 cup frozen corn
15 ounces canned pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large deep skillet, saute in oil the onion and seitan until onions are soft and seitan is browned. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Transfer to a low casserole dish. I used a 2 ½ qt dish.

1 flax egg (1 tbls ground flax + 3 tbls water)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
3 tbls canola oil
1/2 cup salsa verde

2 cups flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, whisk together the flax egg, brown sugar, pumpkin, oil and salsa. Separately, whisk together the dry ingredients, then stir into the wet mixture. Using two spoons (or a cookie dough scoop) place small dollops of the cornbread batter atop the Seitan Layer. Bake for about 40 minutes or until Seitan Layer is bubbly and the Cornbread Layer is fully cooked. Cover and let cool for about 10 minutes.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Recreating an old favorite: California Crepes

When I was a vegetarian I frequently went to a restaurant called Crepeville in downtown Sacramento. They serve up some really great savory crepes. Since going vegan I have been unable to enjoy my old favorites. The restaurant is very vegetarian friendly but I don’t even need to ask if their crepes are vegan, I know they are usually made with eggs and/or milk.

So I decided to create a vegan version of my favorite crepe, the California Crepe. The original crepe is made with provolone cheese, onions, spinach, sun-dried tomato pesto, and avocado. I was really happy with how my vegan version came out! This also got rave reviews from the BF who has also consumed many a Crepeville crepe as well. Success!

I served these with the Diner Potatoes from Vegan Brunch.  The crepe recipe is also from the same book but I reduced the amount of agave since these were being used for a savory meal.

Vegan California Crepes
Makes 6 crepes

1 batch of crepes, or enough to make 6 crepes
1 medium onion, diced
1 bunch spinach, chopped
½ cup sun-dried spinach pesto (or plain pesto)
1 large avocado, sliced
½ package Daiya Mozzarella shreds

Make your crepes first, then set aside.

Heat a small skillet with a little bit of oil and add the onions. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and cover until spinach is wilted. Remove cover and turn up heat to evaporate most of the liquid. Salt to taste.

Now you are ready to assemble the crepes. For each crepe, sprinkle some cheese in the middle, then add a large scoop of the onion/spinach mixture. Top that with some pesto and then add two slices avocado. Roll crepe into a burrito shape.

Once all crepes are assembled, heat a skillet on medium heat. Add crepes and brown for several minutes on each side, or until cheese is melted.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Buckwheat Soba with Butternut Squash, Smoked Tofu, and Cilantro

The flavor combo of this dish is very intriguing. This pasta features onions, butternut squash, smoked tofu, and cilantro in a light miso broth. Sounds weird huh? Weird but really really good. What I like about this dish is that you can really taste all the different flavor elements – and they do actually work together.

This recipe comes from Vegetable Heaven by Mollie Katzen but I changed a few things. Mainly I used cilantro instead of basil because basil season is over and I also added garlic for a little extra flavor. This recipe is going into my favorites box (the one in my head) and I will be making this again in the future. It doesn’t hurt that this is a very easy dish to put together either!

Buckwheat Soba with Butternut Squash, Smoked Tofu, and Cilantro
Adapted from Vegetable Heaven

1 heaping tbsp white or yellow miso
1 ½ cups hot water
1 tbsp peanut oil
2 large onions, sliced
½ tsp salt
4 cloves garlic, pressed
¼ - ½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 small butternut squash, diced
8 oz smoked tofu, diced
½ cup cilantro, chopped (or basil)
8 oz buckwheat soba noodles

Cook noodles according to package directions.

Combine miso and water in a small bowl and mix well.

In a large, deep skillet, sauté onions in oil for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Add salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered for 10 minutes.

Add garlic and red pepper flakes, sauté for 1 minute. Add butternut squash, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until tender.

Add tofu and miso/water mixture. Cover and simmer for a few minutes, or until noodles are done.

Add noodles to pan and cook until everything is heated.

Turn off heat and toss with cilantro. Serve.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Thanksgiving with Soul

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I cooked this year for a small family gathering. I’ve done this a few times before, and I usually try to make fall-inspired foods that are relatively reminiscent of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. But this year I decided to do something a little different – Soul Food! I figure it’s still on theme because Soul Food is real American food. Right? Right.

So, without further ado,
My Thanksgiving menu!

Hottie Black-Eyed Peas and Greens - Appetite for Reduction
BBQ Tofu
Crisp Green Beans with Roasted Shallots and Pecans – Vegan Soul Kitchen
Candied Sweet Potato Discs and Apple Slices – Vegan Soul Kitchen
Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins
Maple Pecan Pie – PPK, with homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream

So how did it turn out? Awesome! The two recipes from Vegan Soul Kitchen were really amazing, BTW. If you have the book I highly recommend you give them a try.

And Isa’s Maple Pecan Pie?  Freaking fantastic. This pie is made with caramelized sugars which add an amazing depth of flavor and not-over-the-top sweetness.

All in all, it was a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hearty Irish Stew

This is a wonderful stew, full of earthy mushrooms and root vegetables, flavored with yeasty beer and miso. I was really happy with this and will make it again in the future. This truly hearty stew comes from the March 2011 issue of Vegetarian Times. I added beans to the recipe to make it a complete meal. I think white beans would be best but all I had was chickpeas so that’s what I used.

 Hearty Irish Stew
Adapted from Vegetarian Times

1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium leeks, white parts only, sliced
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 large carrots, sliced
5 red potatoes, diced
1 ½ tsp dried thyme
2 tsp tomato paste
15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
½ cup lager
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ head green cabbage, finely chopped
15 oz can chickpeas or white beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp miso
Salt + pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a soup pot on medium heat. Add leeks and sauté for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt and sauté for 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

Add carrots, potatoes, and tomato paste and sauté for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium-low for 35 minutes.

Whisk lager and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Add to pot and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Add cabbage, beans, and miso and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, or until cabbage is wilted. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Crepes with Apple Cinnamon Filling

At our house we like to have something special for Sunday breakfast. We have a lot of apples accumulating in the fridge right now, so we decided to make a crepe filling. At my house the BF always makes breakfasts (everything else is made by yours truly). The crepe batter is the one from Vegan Brunch. The apple filling is pretty simple to make but tasted great.

Apple Cinnamon Filling (for crepes)

5 tart apples, peeled and diced small
¼ cup sugar (white or brown)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbls water + 1 tbls cornstarch, mixed

Combine all ingredients except the water/cornstarch mixture in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes, or until softened. Add water/cornstarch mixture and simmer for another few minutes, or until thickened.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Green Curry Noodles

I must confess I’m not feeling very chatty this evening but I did at least want to post about my dinner because it was easy and yum yum. Once again, curry paste and coconut milk are the stars of the show. Enjoy!

 Green Curry Noodles with Veggies & Seitan

1 tbls peanut oil
1 large onion, diced
8 oz seitan, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3-4 tbls green curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
4 cups water
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped
1 medium head broccoli, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
6 oz angel hair pasta, broken into thirds
3 tbls soy sauce
Green onions, chopped (optional), for garnish

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and seitan and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add curry paste and sauté for another minute.

Add coconut milk, water, and veggies. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add broken pasta to skillet and stir well. Make sure most of the pasta is submerged. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until pasta is al dente.

Turn off heat and stir in soy sauce. Serve garnished with green onions, if desired.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Indian Night!

Tonight was Indian food night at my house! Yum! I have had the cookbook 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer for quite a while but never made anything from it. So I decided to finally give two recipes a go. I am trying to make a conscious effort to use some of my more neglected cookbooks so good for me! This is a pretty awesome cookbook by the way. Although it is not vegetarian, there are hundreds of vegetarian recipes. Included in that number are about 30 pages of paneer recipes, which in vegan translation means 30 pages of tofu recipes. Awesome.

On to the food. I decided to make the Punjabi dum Aloo (Baby Potatoes with a Carmelized Onion Sauce, p. 554) and the Simia Mirch Paneer (Cashew Cheese with a Bell Pepper Sauce, p. 289).

The potato recipe consisted of baby potatoes cooked in a sauce made of red onions and tomatoes, and was seasoned with Serrano chiles, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. I’m not going to post the potato recipe because I didn’t change much and also because the recipe was very time consuming (about 90 minutes). Although these potatoes were very good, I don’t think they were 90 minutes good. If you know what a mean!

The Paneer (read: tofu) recipe, on the other hand, was out-of-this-world delicious. I changed quite a bit about this recipe, including adding coconut milk. This makes a lot of sauce for the tofu – I think you could double the tofu or add veggies here if you would like. If there is one recipe I hope you will try on this blog, it’s this one. Yes, it’s that good.

Simia Mirch Tofu

¼ cup raw cashews
2 medium yellow or red bell peppers (about 12 oz), chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
2 serrano chiles, not seeded, sliced
6 cardamom pods
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
Pinch of cayenne, or more to taste
½ cup full fat coconut milk
12 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
1 tbls soy sauce
1 tbls rice vinegar
1 tlbs peanut oil
Cilantro, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine cashews, bell peppers, onions, chiles, cardamom pods, and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine cubed tofu with soy sauce and rice vinegar in a bowl. Toss to coat and allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add marinated tofu and fry until browned on most sides. Remove from heat.

When bell pepper mixture is done, puree until smooth with an immersion blender or blender. If using a blender, be careful! Hot liquid + blender = potential explosions!

Pour blended sauce back into saucepan. Add salt, cayenne, coconut milk, and tofu. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until heated through. Taste for salt.

Serve over rice, garnished with cilantro if desired.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tempeh Paprikash

Super easy but delish dish tonight. This is a simple paprikash made with tempeh, lots of mushrooms, and a creamy paprika/wine/sour cream sauce. I used Tofutti brand sour cream for this. You'll notice that I added some lemon juice. This is because I don't think Tofutti is as sour as the dairy variety. I also think this would be even better with some homemade vegan sour cream. Maybe I'll try that next time.

Tempeh Paprikash with Ribbon Noodles

12 oz package ribbon noodles
8 oz package tempeh, cubed
1 tbls tamari or soy sauce
1 tbls dry sherry
1 tbls olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbls ground paprika
1 pound mushrooms, sliced (I used crimini and portobello)
½ cup water
½ cup dry sherry
1 cup non-dairy sour cream (I used Tofutti brand)
1 tbls lemon juice
Salt & pepper, taste

Prepare noodles according to package directions.

Place cubed tempeh in a bowl with the tamari and 1 tbls dry sherry. Toss to coat and allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Heat a large skillet with the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the tempeh and fry until brown on most sides. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Lower heat to medium and add onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add paprika, water, and sherry. Turn up heat to high and reduce liquid for a minute or two.

Add mushrooms, a pinch of salt, and toss to coat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add tempeh back to pan, cover, and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix sour cream with lemon juice.

Turn off heat and add sour cream mixture to pan and mix well. Add noodles and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday Night Out: Andy Nguyen

Andy Nguyen is one of the older vegetarian restaurants in Sacramento. We used to go to this restaurant a lot but now that there are move veg-friendly choices we don’t go so often anymore. We’ve tried quite a few items on the menu over the years and most of them are very good.

This time we tried one of their new specials, the Tempura Garlic Fries. These were huge fries dipped in a garlicky tempura batter and then deep fried. These were delicious!

For the main I had the Self Nurturing Chow Fun which was veggies, soy beef, mushrooms, and chow fun noodles in a sweet sauce. I thought this dish was a little overly sweet but overall really tasty.

The BF had his usual favorite, the Peaceful Existence Clay Pot. This is veggies and various soy meats served in a thick curry broth.

Overall, we like Andy Nguyen but it is not our favorite. The restaurant has a very nice atmosphere and I think this is a great place to take the omni’s because the food is something that everyone is familiar with. Their soy meats are also very good if you are into that sort of thing. Although this restaurant is vegetarian, all items that are vegan or can be made vegan are clearly marked on the menu.
2007 Broadway
Sacramento, Ca
(916) 736-1157

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sunday Brunch at Sugar Plum Vegan

Last Sunday we finally made it over to Sugar Plum Vegan for their Bottomless Brunch Plate. This is an all-you-can-eat vegan brunch buffet for $12. On my plate was a tofu scramble with sautéed veggies and Daiya, biscuits and gravy, and roasted potatoes. Also available at the buffet were pancakes, fresh fruit, muffins, and salad. They also had vegan donuts for sale!

So how was the food? Pretty darn good. The scramble was packed with veggies which I loved. I would have preferred a more firm texture but it was seasoned really well. The biscuits were soft and fluffy and the gravy had a nice peppery bite. The roasted potatoes were nothing fancy but were delicious.  I didn’t have room for much else but I did have a part of a muffin (good) and some fresh fruit.  All in all I was very happy with the meal and I will probably visit again. Next time I’ll try a donut too!

2315 K Street
Sacramento, CA
(916) 706-3302

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Creamy Sweet Potato Peanut Stew + Cornbread

This delicious stew is from Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero.  This stew is made up of potatoes, onions, bell peppers, spices, peanut butter, and tomatoes. I changed it up a bit by using sweet potatoes instead of potatoes. It’s what I had on hand and I think they go great with peanut butter! I also used the optional chickpeas instead of TVP. Lastly, I partially pureed the soup before adding the chickpeas to make it extra creamy. I thought this had a wonderful flavor. Next time I might add a bit of cayenne for a bit of heat.

On the side I made a vegan cornbread. I had a bit of canned pumpkin left in the fridge so I used that in place of an egg. You really can’t detect a pumpkin flavor but it makes the bread wonderfully moist.  You could sub apple sauce or a flax egg if you don’t happen to have extra pumpkin around.

Vegan Cornbread

½ cup white flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup cornmeal
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup soy milk
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup canned pumpkin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients with a fork. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet. Stir until just combined. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Indian-Spiced Lentils with Persimmons & Spinach

This unusual combo was inspired by a recipe in the June 2011 issue of Vegetarian Times. That particular recipe called for rhubarb. Back then I did make it with rhubarb and it was excellent. But rhubarb is long out of season. What is in season is persimmons. We get these Fuyu persimmons in our CSA box (more about our wonderful CSA in a future post) every year and I never know what to do with them. These are the firm variety of fruit; they are supposed to be eaten like an apple and unfortunately are not the soft type (Hachiya) that are so great for baked goods. I don’t really like the Fuyu persimmons but I had the brilliant idea of using them in this lentil recipe.  I would definitely make this again. I love it when I come up with tasty ways of eating foods I am not usually fond of.  Yay!

Indian-Spiced Lentils with Persimmons & Spinach
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbls mustard seeds (yellow or brown)
1 large red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbls fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Large pinch of ground cinnamon
1 cup Le Puy lentils, rinsed
3 ½ cups vegetable broth, divided
3 Fuyu persimmons, peeled, cored, and diced small
5 cups (packed) baby spinach, chopped
Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium-low heat. Add mustard seeds and cover. Once seeds start to pop, cook for about 2 minutes.
Remove lid, add onions, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and spices and sauté for a few more minutes.
Add lentils and 3 cups broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add persimmons and last ½ cup of broth and simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 5-10 minutes. Salt to taste.
Serve over rice and garnished with cilantro.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Friday Night Out: Boon Boon Café

Almost every Friday night the BF and I go out to eat. It is a way to celebrate making it through another week. So I will often be posting about these adventures on the weekend.  At least when we visit a restaurant I haven’t already written about here. Don’t want to get repetitive.
This week we visited Boon Boon Café. This is a place we have been to many, many times. Enough times that the waitress knows our usual. We always get the Sesame Tofu, which is battered and fried tofu with a sweet sesame sauce. Lately the waitress has been giving us a little of each of their three sauces so we can have some of each. They are: orange, sesame, and Korean BBQ. It is hard to decide which is my favorite between the BBQ and the sesame. The BBQ is more like a spicy sweet and sour sauce and is delicious.
The second dish was the Pad Woon Sen Tofu, which is jelly noodles with veggies and tofu. This was our first time ordering this one (usually we get the Cashew Nut Tofu) and I really loved the jelly noodles!
When you look at the in-restaurant menu, this place doesn’t appear to be super veg-friendly. But they will make most dishes with tofu instead of meat, just ask! Also, with any Asian restaurant, you may want to ask about any fish or oyster sauce that may be lurking.
Overall we love this restaurant (hence the many visits)!
3022 Stockton Blvd
Sacramento, Ca
(916) 456-4647

Friday, November 4, 2011

Enjoying food again + Pumpkin Loaf

Perhaps you have noticed that I have been M.I.A the last few days. The thing is that I got a nasty cold and that means I really didn’t care about food. Not cooking it, and not eating it. There’s nothing like a cold to make you completely apathetic to even your favorite past time. Not that eating is my favorite past time . . . .well, ok, maybe it is.

Also, I always feel like a bit of a failure when I get sick. I’m a pretty healthy vegan who eats a TON of fruits and vegetables. Shouldn’t I have a more kick-ass immune system? Apparently not. My resistance does not seem to have changed much since trading in burgers and fries for tofu and kale. Oh well. At least I feel a million times better in the day to day. Small comfort when hacking up a lung though.

Enough whining! I think I’ve done that enough over the past week.

This is the first thing I made in the last week just for the pleasure of eating. And it’s damn good stuff. Sure there’s nothing terribly revolutionary about a pumpkin loaf, but I swear this one is extra good and moist. Hope you give it a go.

Pumpkin Loaf

½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¾ cup canned pumpkin
2/3 cup soy yogurt
1 flax egg (3 tbls warm water + 1 tbls ground flax)
¼ cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup white flour
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
Pinch of nutmeg
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix sugars, pumpkin, soy yogurt, flax egg, oil, and vanilla extract with a fork. Add flours, spices, baking soda, and salt and mix until no white steaks remain. Some clumps are okay.

Lightly oil a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and pour batter in pan. Bake for about 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove loaf onto a wire rack.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vegan MoFo is No Mo'

Well, Vegan MoFo has come to an end. I really enjoyed this event and I'm glad I got this blog up and running in time to participate. I have tons of new recipes to try, found some new favorite blogs, and even connected with some local bloggers. Awesome! While I am taking a short break to catch my blogging breath so to speak, I wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone that stopped by. I will be continuing to post regularly in the future so I hope you will stick around!

See more of us in a future post!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vegan MoFo #26: Soup, Delicious Soup

Soup! Again! So I eat a lot of soup, especially in the colder months. Yes I do. And this is one of my favorites. It is Mom’s Lentil Soup from Yellow Rose Recipes by Joanna Vaught. There are some really great recipes in this little tome. And now I see on Amazon it appears to be out of print. Well, I’m glad I got it when I did then (October 6, 2009 – thanks Amazon!)
Anyway, I won’t be posting the recipe but this is a pretty simple soup. You start with onions, celery, carrot, and garlic. Then you add some red wine, some veggie broth, some Le Puy lentils. There is also tomatoes and thyme. That’s it! And it’s great!  Sometimes the simplest things really are the best.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vegan MoFo #25: Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge: Hot Italian

This was my first time visiting this restaurant, and let me just say WOW. I was really impressed with the pizza here. All pizzas are served on a thin crust. Usually I like big fluffy crusts but I just might be a convert. The crust had just the right balance of crispy bottom and thin, soft interior. And it tasted great, really flavorful.

First up was a salad pizza. The salad had mixed baby greens, shaved carrots, radishes, olives and red onions. There was supposed to be fennel but I didn’t detect it. Not a big fan anyway. This was served on the wonderful thin crust. What a great combo!
For the pizza, we had the Muti (Vegan Pizza). This had summer squash, mushrooms, olives, cherry tomatoes, arugula, and a light tomato sauce. We also added the optional Daiya cheese. This pizza was wonderful. They put just the right amount of Daiya on. Too much just overpowers the other flavors, IMHO, but this was perfect.
They also had a few vegan sorbettos on offer, but we were too full from our pizzas! I believe they had mango and pineapple flavors. Sounds great, maybe next time!

1627 16th Street
Sacramento, Ca 95814
(916) 444-3000

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vegan MoFo #24: Yet Another Stir-Fry

Okay, this is the second Asian stir-fry I made this week. I do try not to have repeats during any given week but stir-fries sometimes end up as an exception. I just love them so! This particular one is the Broccoli Cashew Teriyaki Tofu Stir-Fry from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. I didn’t make any changes because this recipe is perfect as is so I won’t post the recipe. You’ll just have to get this amazing cookbook for yourself! I hear that Dreena has a new book coming out soon so I am excited about that!
In other news I got myself a new camera! So I hope my pictures will improve a bit. As a new blogger, I am really enjoying learning some new photography skills. I get a lot of inspiration from the wonderful photography I see on other vegan food blogs!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vegan MoFo #23: Blondies!

Since I found a great new way to make chocolate chip cookies recently, I thought I would translate the recipe into a Chocolate Chip Blondie. I was happy with how these came out. Probably a little too happy actually! I was also stoked that I didn’t overbake them because that is a bad habit of mine. For some reason I constantly overbake brownies and blondies. But not this time! If anything these were underdone but I like them gooey so no harm done. In fact my BF and I liked these so much that we ate 2/3 before they were even cool. That’s because these are so amazing when still warm: soft and gooey in the inside with a sugary crackle crust on top. Yum!

Chocolate Chip Blondies

¼ cup shortening
¼ cup vegan margarine
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tbls water + 1 tbls ground flax seed (or other egg replacer for one egg)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white flour
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup or more non-dairy chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a large bowl, melt shortening and margarine in the microwave. The shortening takes longer to melt so you may want to give it a head start. When melted, add sugar, flax egg, and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix. The mixture will be fairly thick. Stir in chocolate chips.

Line a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray with oil.  Spread batter evenly in the pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vegan MoFo #22: Chinese Noodles with Mushrooms & Cabbage + Orange-Glazed Tofu

Chinese night at my house! Maybe this isn’t all that authentic or anything but it is a delicious meal. I just love Chinese style stir-fries because they are so quick and easy. Easy enough to make two dishes at once!

The noodle dish comes from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop. Let me just say that I love this cookbook! Especially because it is organized by season. Also, this cookbook has recipes from many different cultures. I believe he is more of a connoisseur of Italian cooking, but I like his Asian dishes the best.

Chinese Noodles with Mushrooms & Cabbage
Adapted from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen

12 oz chow mein noodles
1 tbls + 1 tsp peanut oil, divided
1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
3 tbls tamari or soy sauce
3 tbls hoisin sauce
1 small head green cabbage, sliced
½ bunch green onions, sliced, white & green parts separated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

Cook chow mein according to package directions.

Place mushrooms and boiling water in a small bowl. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove softened mushrooms with a slotted spoon and slice. Pour water through a strainer lined with a paper towel or coffee filter into another bowl. Add the soy sauce and hoisin and mix. Set aside.

Heat 1 tbls peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for several minutes. Add cabbage and sauté for 5-10 minutes, or until softened. Make a clear space in the center of the pan and add the remaining teaspoon of oil. Add the white sections of the green onions, the garlic, and ginger. Saute for a minute or two then mix in with the cabbage and mushrooms.

When the noodles are cooked and drained, add them to the skillet along with the mushroom water sauce and the green parts of the green onions.

Cook and stir for several minutes. Turn off heat and serve.

The tofu is something I have been making for many years so I don’t remember where I got the recipe. If anyone knows, I’m happy to give credit where credit is due. This is one of my favorite methods of cooking tofu and the possibilities for the glaze are endless. Expect to see more variations on this theme in the future!

Orange-Glazed Tofu

1 lb firm tofu, sliced
Canola or peanut oil
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tbls maple syrup
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced tofu. Fry until brown on one side, then flip, and brown on the other side.

Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Once tofu is browned, pour sauce over tofu. Reduce heat a little and continue to simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Then flip tofu and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and the tofu looks glazed.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vegan MoFo #21: Fall Veggie Soup

Just a simple soup today. I had not originally planned to make this but I have an upset tummy today so I thought a nice veggie and bean soup would be best. Only time will tell if it truly appeased the stomach gods, but it tasted good and used a lot of fall veggies I already had in my kitchen. We also had crusty bread slathered with good ol' Earth Balance.

Fall Veggie Soup

1 tbls olive oil
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping teaspoon each of: ground cumin, coriander, paprika, chili powder
Large pinch ground cayenne
1 pound red potatoes, diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
½ pound green beans, trimmed
15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz pinto beans, drained and rinsed
28 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
5 cups water or vegetable broth
2 cups frozen corn
1 tbls lime juice
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil in a soup pot on medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and spices and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add a little water to the pot and stir, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom.

Add potatoes and squash and sauté for a few minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, and water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

Add green beans and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add corn and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until all veggies are tender.

Turn off the heat and add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vegan MoFo #20: Pumpkin Pie French Toast

The inspiration for this came to me last year when I made some veganized Pumpkin Pie Bites for a Halloween party. I had leftover pie filling and came up with the idea of using it for French Toast. Excellent idea, if I do say so myself!

 I didn’t have any leftover pie filling this time, so I made up a quick pumpkin pie-like batter. Please note that this recipe will not make a pie! But if you ever do have any extra pumpkin pie filling, you can try that instead. The filling can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days and then used to make yummy toast.

Pumpkin Pie French Toast


1 cup canned pumpkin

1/3 cup sugar

4 oz vegan cream cheese

1/3 cup soy milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

8 slices of your favorite French bread

Vegan margarine, for frying


Place all ingredients except bread and margarine in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and pour out into a shallow container or bowl.

Melt a generous amount of margarine in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Soak each piece of bread in the pumpkin mixture for several moments on each side.

Place the soaked bread in the skillet and fry until brown on one side, then flip, cooking until brown again. Repeat until all slices are done, adding additional margarine between each round.

I recommend serving with real maple syrup!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vegan MoFo #19: Sweet & Sour Veggies with Tempeh (Sugar-Free!)

Yum yum. This dish is inspired by two different sweet & sour recipes, one is from the Real Food Daily Cookbook and the other from Vegan Table. I have been making the Real Food Daily recipe for several years now but wasn’t crazy about the amount of sugar in the sauce. Then I found a recipe in Vegan Table which uses apricot jam instead of sugar. Genius! What follows is my attempt to combo the two. I was very happy with how this came out. The sauce was a bit more on the sour side, so if you like it sweet I recommend adding the optional maple syrup.

This recipe looks like a lot of work but this is a high heat stir-fry so it cooks quickly. You will need to marinate your tempeh for at least an hour beforehand. I saved time by starting the tempeh the night before.

Sweet & Sour Veggies with Tempeh

¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
1 tbls toasted sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced,
1 tsp ginger, minced
8 oz tempeh, cut into four pieces

1 tbls sesame oil
½ tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like spicy)
2 small onions, chopped in large pieces
2 carrots, sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 heads baby bok choy, chopped
1 cup corn, frozen or fresh

5 oz apricot jam (I used sugar-free)
¾ cup water
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup water + 3 tbls corn starch
2 tbls real maple syrup, optional (if you like more sweet than sour)


For the tempeh, in a shallow dish, combine first 4 ingredients. Add tempeh and toss to coat. Cover and marinate for one hour or more. (I marinated overnight in the fridge).

For the stir-fry, chop all veggies before starting. Heat oil and red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add carrots and sauté for 4 minutes. Add bell peppers and sauté for 2 minutes. Add baby bok choy and corn and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until veggies are tender-crisp.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Place tempeh on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, flip, then broil for another 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut tempeh into bite-sized cubes.

For the sauce, place apricot jam and water in a small pot. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup (optional), and water + corn starch mixture. You can also add any leftover tempeh marinade.

When veggies are tender crisp, add sauce and cubed tempeh to skillet and stir well. Heat for several minutes, or until sauce is thickened.

Serve over rice.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vegan MoFo #18: Ice Cream for Fall!

Ice cream perfect for fall! This Toasted Pecan Maple Ice Cream comes from Fragrant Vanilla Cake. Amy has a lot of fantastic looking desserts but I am particularly smitten with her ice creams. This one is coconut milk based and has maple syrup, toasted pecans, and spices like cinnamon and cardamom. It is just delicious. The only thing I would do differently next time is to place the chopped pecans in a colander to get out the smaller crumbs before adding them to the recipe as it gave the ice cream a somewhat grainy texture. I am sure I will be making this one again!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vegan MoFo #17: Soup & Salad

A common dinner combo in my house is soup and salad. The salad is eaten first and it is usually a big one. Then I follow it with a vegetable soup of some sort that uses what veggies are in season. It’s a great way to get a lot of healthy veggies in one meal!
The salad is a mix of green and red lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, corn, and BBQ Tempeh. The BBQ Tempeh goes really well with this salad. It would also be good on sandwiches or in a wrap. It’s easy to prepare too:

Ingredients: 8 oz tempeh, cubed & 2/3 cup BBQ sauce

Directions: Toss tempeh with BBQ sauce and bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes, stirring once half way through. If you like it saucy, add a little more BBQ sauce after it is done baking. That’s it!
The soup is a favorite around here: the Pureed Spicy Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton.  This soup is just plain wonderful. The flavors of the sweet potato, peanut butter, and red pepper flakes really go well together. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE food that is both sweet and spicy. This soup fits the bill nicely.  I didn’t change much about the recipe, but I did leave the chickpeas out since I already had a protein in the salad.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vegan MoFo #16: Fettuccine Alfredo and BS for BS Haters

Fantastic meal tonight! The pasta is the Fettuccine with Cannellini & Artichoke Heart Alfredo Sauce from Meet the Shannons.   As usual, the Shannons have come up with something truly wonderful. This sauce is a blend of white beans, artichoke hearts, soy milk, nooch, and vegan sour cream, among other things. It’s creamy and hearty and delish. The only thing I changed is to halve the nooch and I garnished it with fresh basil instead of parsley.

Fall is BS season! Brussels sprouts that is. Even if you don’t like BS you might like these. The method is pretty simple:

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1.       Cut woody ends off of each sprout

2.       Cut each sprout in half

3.       Place cut side down in a skillet preheated on medium with a bit of olive oil

4.       Cover and cook for about five minutes, or until almost tender

5.       Uncover, turn heat up to medium-high and cook for a few more minutes, or until nicely browned

6.       Turn off heat and toss with salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice