Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday Party 11

Holiday Party 11 12/15

Two days of cooking, four hours of eating.

The Main Table from the right-side. On the table along the front (l-r): Stuffed Mushrooms, White Bean Cassoulet, Seitan Bourguignon.

The Main Table from the left-side. Tapenade (w/ batard), bottom left.

Mini-Burger Buns with Poppyseeds, just out of the oven

Plate, Burgers, Plate O' Burgers

Close-Up. The hit of the party.

Triple Tofu (Salad) Tower

BBQ Tofu Lollipops

Tofu Curry In Phyllo Cups

Mushroom Duxelle Bouchée

Baked Artichoke Dip

Roasted Russian Banana Fingerling Potatoes

Lentil and Soyrizo Spoons

Roasted Almonds (w/ Five Spice Powder)

Orzo Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Raw Pizza


Mini-Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberries

Plate... Cupcakes... Plate O' Cupcakes

Eggnog Cookie

(missing: Thumbprint Jam Cookies, Apple Crumb Cake)

Then after all the food was gone -- we played Rock Band until late into the night...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Vietnamese Seitan Baguette with Savory Broth Dip (from Veganomicon)

Dinner 12/14

Vietnamese Seitan Baguette with Savory Broth Dip
(from Veganomicon)

Bringing back another favorite from 2007 -- Terry's recipe for a vegan "Bahn Mi" sandwich from "Veganomicon" (a perfect gift for the vegan in your life).

The sandwich itself is loaded with seitan, cucumbers, vegenaise, cilantro and red onion on a crusty roll. But it's the broth dip (veg stock, lime juice, ginger, garlic, red pepper flake, five spice powder, etc) really shines here, elevating this dish into all-time favorite status.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tofu Piccata, Green Beans

Dinner 10/13

Tofu Piccata

Green Beans

Adapted from the Candle Cafe cookbook. The original recipe uses seitan, we use quickly marinated tofu (in tamari), and coat with seasoned all-purpose flour, then pan-fry. The sauce is the real star though -- lemon and caper infused, it's a good change-of-pace dish.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Orange Seitan, Jasmine Rice, Steamed/Seared Bok Choy

Dinner 12/12

Orange Seitan

Refried Jasmine Rice

Steamed/Seared Bok Choy

The recipe for the Orange Seitan is here -- it's our favorite way to use seitan... The orange zest and juice really make the dish "pop" -- citrus is really effective in the winter when you haven't had it in a while.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pierogies Stuffed with Cabbage and Dill. Wilted Spinach and Button Mushrooms

Dinner 12/10

Pierogies Stuffed with Cabbage and Dill

Wilted Spinach and Button Mushrooms

The spinach and mushrooms were pan-fried in the wok and then deglazed with marsala.

The pierogi recipe is from Liz's family, and I don't even know it -- so don't ask. ;)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Pasta Puttanesca, Brownie Cheescake Torte

Dinner 12/09

Pasta Puttanesca


Brownie Cheesecake Torte

Tonight, we did have dinner first before we had dessert -- although it was difficult to concentrate knowing that two tortes were waiting for us in the fridge...

Yes, the brownie cheesecake torte from Thanksgiving makes a return appearance, in a smaller 6" cheesecake pan.

Here's the recipe for the regular sized version. This is a preliminary recipe -- to be used more as a reference than as a finished recipe. Please no wagering.

Brownie Cheesecake Torte

Nonstick cooking spray
Parchment Paper


16 oz. soy cream cheese (softened to room temp)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 oz. soft tofu
1 tbs. ener-g egg replacer
2 tbs. flour

3 oz. chocolate, melted

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

(chocolate buttercream frosting)

1. Prepare two 9" cake pans. Add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom and give it a shot of cooking spray.

2. Make your favorite brownie recipe (we like the one from Millennium -- p.196 -- if the link is busted, search for it on, enough to divide it between the two cake pans evenly -- and cook until fully done. Cool, and remove layers from pans. Set aside.

3. Using a stand mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and beat on low until combined. Puree the soft tofu first and then add it to the cream cheese mixture along with the egg replacer and flour. Mix until combined.

4. Divide the mixture evenly into two bowls. Into one bowl, add 3 oz. melted chocolate. Leave the other bowl plain, except add an extra 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract. Stir each until smooth.

3. Preheat oven to 350F. Wrap heavy foil around the base an 9" springform pan, making sure the foil comes up at least an inch up the sides of pan with no gaps. Add a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of the springform pan and hit with the cooking spray again.

4. Place one of the brownie layers in the bottom of the springform pan. Pour in the chocolate cheesecake batter. Gently add the next brownie layer on top. Add the vanilla cheesecake batter.

5. Place the torte into a roasting pan large enough to hold the springform pan flat (this is important). Pour enough hot water around the springform pan to come up the side of the pan, but not over the top of the foil.

6. Carefully place roasting pan in the oven, and bake for ~60 min., or until the top layer of vanilla cheesecake begins to turn lightly brown and the middle doesn't jiggle as much.

7. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and run a sharp knife around the edge of the torte to release it from the sides. Turn the oven off, and place the roasting pan back in the oven for 30 minutes. This allows it to cool gradually to prevent cracking on top.

8. Remove from the oven again and let cool for at least another 60 min. on a wire rack.

9. Cover with a paper towel across the top of springform ring without touching the torte and then cover with plastic wrap to seal. Chill overnight. The paper towel absorbs any excess condensation.

9. Remove the plastic wrap/paper towel from the springform pan and remove the torte.

10. Frost with your favorite chocolate buttercream recipe -- i.e. Isa's recipe from VCTOTW. Best the next day, perhaps even better on the second day.

Slightly over-baking is preferred to under-baking, given the structural requirements of the torte.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Dessert 12/08

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
(from VCTOTW)

Some nights, you just skip dinner and go straight for dessert.

(OK, we did have dinner later -- a stir-fry, but you've seen that many times before...)

Friday, December 07, 2007

French Onion Soup, Roasted Tofu Stuffed with Garlic, Roasted Beet Salad

Dinner 12/07

French Onion Soup

Roasted Tofu Stuffed with Garlic

Roasted Beet Salad

It's cold and miserable weather these days, and it gets dark at 4:45pm -- and it's only December.

I love my stove.

French Onion Soup
(adapted from CI)

3 tablespoons soy margarine
6 large yellow onions (about 4 pounds), halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices
sea salt
2 cups water, plus extra for deglazing
1/2 cup dry sherry
6 cups veg broth
6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
1 bay leaf
Ground black pepper

1 small baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
4 ounces shredded soy cheese (about 3/4 cup)


Preheat oven to 400F, with rack in lower-middle position. Spray the inside of a large dutch oven with nonstick spray, and add soy margarine, onions and 1 tsp salt. Cook for an hour, covered, and then remove and stir, scraping the pot. Put it back in the oven with the lid off just a bit and cook for another 90-105 minutes, scraping at the hour mark, until the onions are brown and very soft.

Remove the pot, put it on the stove top, over medium-high heat, and keep cooking for about 15-20 minutes, or until all the onions brown and the liquid evaporates. Keep cooking for another 6-8 minutes until you have a dark crust on the bottom, and then add 1/4 cup water and deglaze. Repeat this deglazing/evaporating process two or three times, and then stir in the sherry and let it cook until it evaporates again.

Add the broth, two cups of water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 tsp salt and deglaze again. Bring to a simmer over high heat, and then reduce the heat back down and let it simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Toss the herbs and season with salt and pepper.

To make the croutons, bake the baguette slices on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until dry and golden.

Service: Fill broiler-safe crocks with soup, top with baguette slices, sprinkle with soy cheese, and broil for about 3-5 minutes until the soy cheese is melted bubbly, and then let it cool for another 5.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tofu Marsala with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Poached Fig Salad

Dinner 12/06

Tofu Marsala with Chanterelle Mushrooms

Wilted Kale

Poached Fig Salad

For the salad, the dried figs were poached in a Riesling mixture -- injecting a nice jolt of flavor.

update: The recipe for tofu marsala has been making the rounds over on the PPK (thanks Tami and katiejayne)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Seitan Stew, Parsnip Puree, Roasted Cipollini Onions, Bistro Salad

Dinner 12/05

Seitan Stew

Parsnip Puree

Roasted Cipollini Onions

Bistro Salad with Radishes

Liz watched an episode of Tyler's Ultimate and decide to take a crack at a bistro-style meal.

Lots of adapting going on here -- (subbing agave for honey, using veg stock, seitan, soft tofu for cream... etc)

It turned out very well -- the only thing I'd "fix" is the amount of liquid to vegetable puree for the stew -- it had a great flavor, but the ratio was just skewed a little too far towards the vegetables.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Eggplant Parmesan, Haricot Verts

Dinner 12/04

Eggplant Parmesan

Haricot Verts

I like these plates...

Bringing back the classics... the eggplant slices are salted for 30 minutes and rinsed off then dried with a paper towel. Next comes the standard three bowl method -- rolled in seasoned flour (salt, pepper, smoked paprika), then into a cornstarch slurry (equal amounts of cornstarch and water), and finally into the bread crumbs (seasoned with salt and pepper plus a little nutritional yeast).

Served over pasta with a quick tomato sauce (onion, garlic, tomato, sugar, salt and pepper).

Monday, December 03, 2007

Seitan Stew in Red Wine Sauce with Green Beans

Dinner 12/03

Seitan Stew in Red Wine Sauce

Green Beans

Tonight's stew is sort of a quick version of the Seitan Bourguignon -- fried seitan, carrots, onion, garlic, herbes de provence braised in a combo of wine/veg stock, thickened with cornstarch. the big advantage over the bourguignon is that this only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Flagolet Bean Soup, Walnut and Grape Salad

Dinner 12/02

Flagolet Bean Soup
(carrot, onion, celery, flagolet beans, veg stock, salt/pepper, parsley)

Walnut and Grape Salad

Yes, it's December... A hearty bean soup offset with a (toasted) walnut and grape salad.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Stir-Fry with Shiitake Mushrooms and Jasmine Rice

Dinner 12/01

Stir-Fry with Shiitake Mushrooms
(tofu, carrot, red bell pepper, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, ginger, tamari)

Jasmine Rice

Either I've been making stir-fries for too long, or that almost looks like a face with the rice making a beard.

yeah, I need two-week nap...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Pineapple and Seitan Pizza

Dinner 11/30

Pineapple and Seitan Pizza
(pineapple, hoisin seitan, smoked potato, cippolini onion, button mushrooms)

Trying out something a little different with the pizza tonight -- sort of a sweet and sour grilled pizza ;)

The hoisin sauce, smoked potatoes and pineapple all came together nicely on top of the pizza and the grilling only helped things. The kids surprisingly loved it -- but we made a more traditional one just in case...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stir-Fry with Seared/Steamed Brussel Sprouts, Jasmine Rice

Dinner 11/29

(tofu, shiitake mushroom, carrot, red bell pepper, ginger, garlic, tamari, rooster sauce, scallions)

Jasmine Rice

Seared/Steamed Brussel Sprouts

We broke out the rectangular plates for the stir-fry / brussel sprout combo -- nice to see them again ;)

These were fairly small brussel sprouts, so I didn't cut them in half to do the sear/steam method. Just keep them moving in the wok so they get seared evenly, turn the heat down to low and give them a little sesame oil/tamari and put the wok lid on for 5-7 minutes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Fava Beans in a Rosemary Cream Sauce, Roasted Broccoli

Dinner 11/28

Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Fava Beans in a Rosemary Cream Sauce

Roasted Broccoli

A familiar story line in 2007 usually starts this way... "Liz picked up some mushrooms at the store..." ;)

Some lovely chanterelles, bluefoot and shiitake mushrooms all found their way into this rosemary infused pasta dish.

The sauce starts with sweated shallots and garlic, 1 tsp of chopped rosemary, about 1/2 cup of soy milk and soft tofu combination, brought to a simmer and cooked down by about half. Then the pasta was added until well coated. Top with the pan-fried mushrooms, fava beans and roasted broccoli.

(if you're looking for "Raw Food Wednesday," it'll return as usual, in January)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tomatillo Enchiladas with Alder-Smoked Twice-Fried Tofu

Dinner 11/27

Tomatillo Enchiladas with Alder-Smoked Twice-Fried Tofu

Another favorite from 2007 -- this spicy tomatillo and poblano sauce matches very well with the alder-smoked twice-fried tofu.

The enchiladas themselves aren't that difficult to assemble, it's just a question of getting the assembly line together. Start with shallow-frying the corn tortilla, then dip the shells in the sauce, then add the tofu, onions and fyh. After rolling the enchiladas up and placing them in the baking dish, just sprinkle a bit more onions, cheese and the leftover sauce on top and bake for 20 minutes or so...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pasta in a Tomato Cream Sauce, Arugula and Spinach Salad with Carrots

Dinner 11/26

Pasta in a Tomato Cream Sauce

Arugula and Spinach Salad with Carrots

After the holiday hoopla, sometimes all you want is a nice simple pasta dish and a salad...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hoisin Seitan, Roasted Broccoli, Refried Jasmine Rice

Dinner 11/25

Hoisin Seitan

Roasted Broccoli

Refried Jasmine Rice

I could eat hoisin seitan / tofu / green beans once a week very easily.

It's true.

The seitan was sliced thinly, stir-fried until crisp and hit with a little hoisin sauce which pulls double duty -- it both flavors and softens the seitan. The base is the leftover jasmine rice from last night that wasn't made in to deep-fried rice balls...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Green Curry Tofu with Deep-Fried Rice Balls and Shiitake Mushrooms

Dinner 11/24

Green Curry Tofu with Deep-Fried Rice Balls and Shiitake Mushrooms

It's deja vu all over again...

We're entering 2007's "Greatest Hits" season -- so expect to see many of our favorite dishes from now to the end of the year...

This dish qualifies on many levels. The "trick" with the rice balls is to use freshly cooked rice, molded into a piece about the size of a golf-ball. The deep-frying (385F) should only go for 45-60 seconds, so what you end up with is a slightly crunchy exterior that holds it all together, with the soft rice inside.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pot Pie

Dinner 11/23

Pot Pie
(adapted from Candle Cafe)

The humble pot pie is one our favorite meals -- despite having grown up eating so many of the frozen varieties in the 70's ;)

At its core it's simply some diced veggies in a light gravy with a quick crust. We added some alder-smoked tofu and seitan, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, onion, garlic, zucchini, deglazed with wine and thickened with flour...

Liz decided to have some fun with the dough (olive oil, flour and salt) and made a lattice top which turned out very nicely

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat For Thanksgiving Anyway? 2007 Edition

Thanksgiving 2007

Here's the rundown

The main plate: Ravioli (remember that big batch we made a little while ago?), Hickory Smoked Apple Cider, Maple Syrup and Bourbon Glazed Tofu Lollipops (recipe below), Bourbon Cranberries, Braised Brussel Sprouts, Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits (adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook p.33)

Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits going into the oven. You keep folding them over and over like puff pastry, cut them into squares and eventually...

...when they come out of the oven, they actually look somewhat like the picture in the book. ;)

We used the Chives in Creamy Sheese plus a little extra fresh chives. The buttermilk was subbed with soy milk + vinegar.

Warm Fingerling Potato and Green Bean Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette. The way the main plate was constructed didn't leave room for potatoes or green beans, so we went with them in the salad. The mustard vinaigrette was a last minute decision, and a good one.

Bread, Pumpkin Pie, Brownie Cheesecake Torte. Every year Liz threatens not to make a Pumpkin Pie, but after one bite, we all manage to convince her to keep the tradition.

Brownie Cheesecake Torte slice. The basic equation: Brownies + Chocolate Cheesecake + Brownies + Vanilla Cheesecake + Chocolate Buttercream Frosting = Win for veganism!

The interesting thing about this one -- you bake the two layers of brownies first -- let cool. Then, in a springform pan, add the first brownie layer followed by the chocolate cheesecake filling, the second brownie layer, finally the vanilla cheesecake layer and bake the whole thing again. The brownie layer is insulated/kept moist by the cheesecake filling on top, but also by virtue of being cooked in a bain marie.

Hickory Smoked Apple Cider, Maple Syrup and Bourbon Glazed Tofu Lollipops:

(no, the title couldn't be any longer if we tried)

1 16oz block of Extra Firm Tofu
Smoker box with hickory chips (optional)
canola oil
1 tbs. tamari

Cut the tofu into eight rectangular cutlets, and using a cookie cutter, cut into 16 circular pieces (Save the tofu scraps and smoke those as well -- then stir-fry for a quick, delicious snack).

Smoke the tofu with hickory wood for 20 minutes. Remove from the smoker and pan-fry in canola oil until golden brown.

Add 1 tbs. tamari cook for one more minute.

Finally add the apple cider/maple syrup/bourbon reduction:

1 cup of apple cider
2 tbs. maple syrup
2 tbs. bourbon
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2" of ginger, cut into 4 slices
1 tsp. black cardamom, ground
1 tsp. mustard seeds, ground
1 tsp. smoked pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika

Add all ingredients to a sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer until the liquid is reduced down to 1/4 cup. Strain and pour over the tofu. Bring to a boil again, turning the tofu often to coat for 2-3 minutes until fairly thick.

Remove from the pan, let cool for a minute, and carefully insert a hors d'oeuvre fork in the tofu. Serve hot

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Roasted Cauliflower with Tamarind Dipping Sauce, BBQ Tofu with Garlic Aioli Dipping Sauce

Dinner 11/21

Roasted Cauliflower with Tamarind Dipping Sauce

BBQ Tofu with Garlic Aioli Dipping Sauce

The day before Thanksgiving is always a busy one on the prep side of things, so dinner was a simple affair -- roasted cauliflower with a quick tamarind/tomato paste/cumin based dipping sauce, and bbq tofu with a garlic/vegenaise dipping sauce.

Then it was back to the salt mines prep...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lentil and Seitan Stew over Fusilli

Dinner 11/20

Lentil and Seitan Stew over Fusilli

Our pressure cooker is one of the best investments we've ever made (right after the smoker box and vacuum-sealer). As many beans as we eat during the year, the pressure cooker is not only a time saver -- all those who have cooked beans the traditional way for hours on end, and they still have a texture like rocks, raise their hands -- but it also helps take the pain from making our weekly batch of veg stock.

This one is as simple as A (pressure-cooked French lentils) + B (fried cubed seitan) + C (stir-fried carrots, onions, garlic) + D (pasta) = nom nom nom.

The best part is that it takes all of 20 minute from start to finish...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Grilled Fig Salad, Pizza Bread, Farro and Kale Soup

Dinner 11/18

Grilled Fig Salad
(with Feta Sheese)

Pizza Bread

Farro and Wilted Kale Soup

Since we bought a couple of wheels of sheese we're trying to find some way of using it -- and this seemed like a good pairing -- the key is to not use too much, using it more as an accent.

The Pizza Bread are ciabatta cut into circles, brushed with olive oil, and grilled, then topped with tomato sauce and mild cheddar sheese.

The salad also features a grilled item (figs) and sheese (feta) with a balsamic vinaigrette.

The soup was a chance to finally use some of the farro we bought at the West Side Market a long time ago -- good stuff on a cold night, very barley-like with the addition of some wilted dinosaur kale

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Breakfast 11/17

(banana, peanut butter and chocolate)

We scored a vintage Krumkake iron on eBay last week. After cleaning it off (it looked like it had never been used) we made breakfast crepes (using the batter from VwaV) on the stove. The filling was banana, peanut butter and chocolate -- Elvis would have approved -- the kids also gave it two thumbs up.