Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tofu and Kumquat Shish Kabobs, Pot-Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Cumin, Potatoes with Mint and Cilantro Sauce, Apple Spice Layer Cake

Dinner 4/29

Tofu and Kumquat Shish Kabobs

Pot-Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Cumin

Potatoes with Mint and Cilantro Dipping Sauce

Persian Cucumbers


Apple-Spice Layer Cake

A meze kind of meal... the tofu for the shish kabobs was smoked with hickory, marinated with a splash of tamari and rubbed with a spice rub:

Spice Rub

1 tbs. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. black cardamom, fresh ground

The tofu and kumquats were put on the skewer and grilled until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes, turning every couple of minutes. The kumquats (which were also smoked) were some of the nicest one we've ever had... Pro tip: don't bite into them right after removing from the grill, unless you like a hot & sour citrus blast in your mouth -- just sayin' ;)

One thing we have plenty of in the herb garden is mint. The dipping sauce was for the potatoes (and we tried on the shish kabobs as well). It's sort of like a mint chimichurri sauce.

Mint & Cilantro Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup mint, chopped
2 tbs. cilantro, chopped
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tsp. agave

1/4 cup olive oil

Put the first six ingredients into the blender and slowly add the olive oil until it emulsifies. Check for seasoning, and pour into a individual serving bowls for each person.

The yummy eggplant and tomato dish was from the May 2010 F&W from Paula Wolfert.

The (tiny) Persian cucumbers were simply sliced and sprinkled with sea salt.

The Apple-Spice Layer Cake is from Martha Stewart's "Baking Handbook" (pg. 161) -- subbing soy sour cream, agave, soy milk, flax seed, soy margarine for the usual suspects... on top are caramelized "Lady Apples."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fava Beans and Ramps with Fettuccine, Zucchini Fritters with Tomato Sauce

Dinner 4/26

Fava Beans and Ramps with Fettuccine

Zucchini Fritters with Tomato Sauce

The organic fava beans were rescued from the grocery store as the produce guy was bagging them up to toss out -- apparently we were the first people to ask about them since they've been in the store. The outside of the fava beans were a little wrinkled to be sure, but the insides were pristine, as you can tell from the picture. As a bonus, he sold two giant bags to us for a substantial discount. So, produce score, yay! ;)

We also bought most of the local ramps they had and used a portion in the mix along with nutritional yeast, white wine, salt, pepper and the fava beans. Rounding out the plate was our daughter's favorite side dish: zucchini fritters with tomato sauce.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Roasted Garlic Custard, Pom Pom Mushrooms, Green Beans

Dinner 4/25

Roasted Garlic Custard

Pom Pom Mushrooms

Green Beans

We went into dinner with a vague idea, but no real firm recipe, for making the custard (or flan, if you like). As far as experiments go, I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.

The Pom Pom's were sliced and pan-fried with a spash of tamari and pepper at the end of cooking. The green beans were seared in a hot saute pan until starting to show some color. Add 1/4 cup of mushroom stock, 1 tbs. tamari and pepper to taste, turn the heat down to low and put the lid on, until they are finished cooking, about 5 -7 minutes.

Roasted Garlic Custard
makes four 4oz. servings

Roasted Garlic

1 head of garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper

Cut the tips off the garlic head, drizzle a wee bit of olive oil over top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook in a garlic roasted or aluminum foil pouch at 350F for roughly 1 hour.

Reserve four whole pieces of the roasted garlic.


4 4oz. ramekins
1 tsp. soy margarine
2 tbs. seasoned breadcrumbs (breadcrumbs, salt, pepper to taste)

Coat the ramekins with the soy margarine, then add the seasoned breadcrumbs and roll around to coat the bottom and sides. We usually pour the breadcrumbs into the next ramekin as we go, so as not to waste any.


12 oz. box of soft tofu
1/3 cup of Mozzarella Teese, shredded
1 tbs. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 head of roasted garlic (see note)
salt and pepper to taste

Keep the oven at 350F.

In a blender, mix the soft tofu, Teese, cornstarch, baking powder, nutritional yeast, salt & pepper to taste and the rest of the roasted garlic. Process until smooth.

Feel free to add more or less of the roasted garlic, depending on how big the head was to start with, and how much you like roasted garlic. ;)

Pour the mixture into the ramekins until they are roughly 3/4 full. Tap the ramekins down on a cutting board to get rid of any air bubbles.

Add one of the reserved garlic cloves in the center of each ramekin and push under the surface.

Place the ramekins in a roasting pan, and place in the oven. Add hot water (a tea kettle with a spout works wonders here) about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Close the oven door, and cook in the bain-marie for 30 minutes.

Carefully remove the ramekins from the oven and let cool for 4-5 minutes on a rack. Run a knife along the edge to help release the custard.

To serve, invert on the plate.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tofu Scaloppine, Braised Baby Artichokes

Dinner 4/21

Tofu Scaloppine

Braised Baby Artichokes

The tofu cutlets were smoked for 25 minutes with alder wood and marinated with 1 tbs. of tamari for 10 minutes. The tofu was then coated using our standard three pan method. The first pan held 1/2 cup of all-purposed flour mixed with garlic salt and pepper to taste. The second pan was 1 tbs. of cornstarch whisked together with 1 tbs. water to make a slurry. The final pan was 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1/4 ground pine nuts and the zest of one Meyer lemon.

The cutlets were then fried in a saute pan over med-high heat with 1 tbs. of olive oil until golden brown on both sides (about 4-5 minutes per side). They were removed from the pan and put on a rack over a sheet pan and baked for 10-15 minutes at 350F to finish cooking.

While the cutlets were in the oven, we made a quick sauce which involved the leftover oil from frying the cutlets, plus 1 tbs. of leftover seasoned flour from dredging to make a roux. Added to that was 1/2 cup of white wine, 2 tbs. of Meyer Lemon juice and 1 cup of veg stock, plus 1 tbs. of tamari and pepper. The sauce was poured over the cutlets.

The baby artichokes were trimmed, cut in half and braised with a mix of lemon juice, white wine, veg stock, and seasoned with parsley, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Seitan and Three Lentil Stew, Pom Pom Mushrooms, Braised Leeks

Dinner 4/20

Seitan and Three Lentil Stew

Pom Pom Mushrooms

Braised Leeks

A slight twist to our usual recipe -- we were running low on French lentils, so we added an equal amount of green and brown lentils to the mix.

Start with 1 tsp. of olive oil in the pressure cooker, add half of an onion (studded with three cloves) and cook the onion until it starts to show some color. Add the lentils, stir to combine and scrape down the sides. Add enough veg stock to cover by about 1" or so -- any extra stock left over after cooking will only help the stew. Pressure cook for 16 minutes at about 7.5 psi (first ring on some pressure cooker models).

While the lentils are cooking, cube 8oz. of seitan and pan-fry along with the other half of the onion, two carrot (sliced on the bias), 3-4 cloves of garlic (minced) and 2 tsp. herbes de provence, salt and pepper.

Add the lentils into the stew, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Tonight the stew was topped with Pom Pom (a.k.a. Lion's Mane) Mushrooms sliced thickly and pan fried in olive oil with salt and pepper.

Rounding out the plate was braised leeks...

Braised Leeks
serves 4

4 leeks
1 tbs. soy margarine
salt and pepper

First, trim the tops and bottom of the leeks, using as much of the white/light green parts as you like (the leftover bits are fantastic in making stock). Clean them by soaking in water and make sure you get the hidden dirt that likes to hide near the tops. You may need to lose a layer or two on the outside of the leeks to accomplish that. Cut the leek into roughly 3-inch sections.

Place the leeks in a small saute pan and add the water until it reaches halfway up the side of the leeks. Add the 1 tbs. of soy margarine, and bring to a boil. Cover loosely with the lid and continue to cook over medium heat until the water has just about evaporated.

Turn off heat, remove the leeks and place in an oven-proof gratin dish. Pour the remaining liquid out of the saute pan into the oven-proof dish. Season with salt and pepper and place into a 350F oven for 15-20 minutes until the leeks begin to caramelize. Serve hot.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vegan Iron Chef 2

Vegan Iron Chef 2*

Yesterday was the second Vegan Iron Chef competition at Kent State. The secret ingredients were quinoa, local kale, ramps and Gardein (one of the sponsors). This year, VegiTerranean chef Scot Jones stopped by with Chrissie Hynde while we were cooking to say hello and asked if we could make an extra plate for Chrissie. We were so glad we made a little extra of everything. ;)

This is the version of what we sent over to her, as well as the "reserve" table -- people who donated money for the opportunity to eat all eight courses. The judges plates were slightly different, but I didn't get a shot of those before they had to go out to their table.

Here's the original test plate idea from last night. I realized about 2am that it was going to be too big of a portion for the judges who were probably going to be very full by the time they got to our plate. So, we streamlined as above.

There was a huge crowd this year (easily 200+ people) -- and a special thanks to Niki, as well as Laura and John, for driving down and hanging out while we were cooking.

The most often asked question -- "what are those?" while pointing to the yellow beets.

Second most asked question -- "is that your car in the parking lot with the TOFU license plate?"

The final result was "deja vu all over again," with the team from VegiTerranean winning, Molly Aubuchon second, and us in third (out of eight teams), exactly how it was last year.

* must. resist. urge. to. say. electric. boogaloo.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tortelloni, Cremini Mushrooms, Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

Dinner 4/13


Cremini Mushrooms

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

Tortelloni are like tortellini, only bigger and stuffed with ricotta (a crumbled block of extra-firm tofu mixed with salt, pepper, nutritional yeast to taste) and cooked baby spinach (with shallots and garlic). The twist was that we used round wonton wrappers as the dough -- it worked like a charm! They were dropped in boiling, salted water and finished by rolling around in a pan of soy margarine and parsley. This may be our new favorite pasta dish... ;)

The tortelloni were served on a bed of sliced cremini mushrooms (pan-fried 7-8 minutes with olive oil, pepper, and a splash of tamari at the end of cooking) along side Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower (tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, roasted at 450F for 15 minutes).

Monday, April 05, 2010

Shiitake, Chanterelle and Hedgehog Mushrooms en Papillote, Grilled Asparagus

Dinner 4/05

Shiitake, Chanterelle and Hedgehog Mushrooms en Papillote

Grilled Asparagus

As if getting chanterelles wasn't special enough, we also scored some hedgehog mushrooms!

To celebrate, we made this recipe again adding fettuccine as a base, a splash of white wine and subbing soy margarine. The best part, as always, is cutting into the package and releasing the aroma.

The mushrooms were paired with another spring staple -- grilled asparagus. They were blanched for 2-3 minutes in salted water, then dropped in a quick marinade of olive oil, tamari and pepper, then grilled until slightly blackened.

We've never had hedgehog mushrooms before (the hedgehogs are the ones on the right hand side) -- they kind of look & taste like chanterelles and worked really well with the shiitake and chanterelle in the package.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Mushroom Risotto, Orange-Glazed Hickory-Smoked Grilled Tofu, Grilled Maitake Mushrooms, Braised Carrots, Grilled Asparagus, Peach Pie

Easter Dinner 4/04

Mushroom Risotto

Orange-Glazed Hickory-Smoked Grilled Tofu

Grilled Maitake Mushrooms

Braised Carrots

Grilled Asparagus

Yukon Gold Potato and Green Bean Salad with a Maple Syrup Vinaigrette over Mixed Greens


Peach Pie

As it is with most dinners, the final plating gets decided about 10 seconds before we actually start laying the food down -- we don't want the food to get cold while hungry people are waiting around -- so the camera is ready to go and less than 3 minutes later, we're eating... As a photographer, this really focuses your mind. ;)

Seeing the ring mold in the drawer earlier started the idea of a stack of the risotto and then it only made sense to add the grilled/glazed tofu and maitake mushrooms on top. Rounding out the plate were the braised carrots and marinated/grilled asparagus

The stack started with a base of risotto that was cooked with mushroom broth -- in this case shiitake mushrooms stems that we've been saving for the last month. They were pressure cooked for 40 minutes in 8 cups of water which yielded a surprisingly rich and fragrant broth. The risotto technique comes from Andrew Carmellini -- add half of the mushroom stock and let it cook for 7-8 minutes, add the second half of the liquid and cook for another 7 minutes, and finish with nutritional yeast, soy margarine, salt and pepper.

Next, the tofu was hickory-smoked for 25 minutes, then marinated (1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup tamari, 2 cloves of garlic smashed, 1 tbs. agave, 1 tbs. ketchup and pepper to taste), then grilled, about 5-6 minutes per side, turning once for nice grill marks. The tofu was brushed with a glaze (1/2 cup of orange juice, 1 tbs. brown sugar and 1/4 tsp of ground clove, whisked together over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens) and put on a rack on a sheet pan and put in the oven for 10 minutes at 350F, flipping once and basting again half way through.

The last part of the stack was the maitake mushrooms, using the same marinade as the tofu, and then grilled along with the asparagus.

The salad was a Roasted Yukon Gold Potato and Green Bean Salad with a Maple Syrup Vinaigrette over Mixed Greens -- which is rapidly becoming the de facto holiday salad ;)

We had a lovely peach pie for lunch at the Vegeterranean last week and Liz decided to make the switch from our ubiquitous carrot cake -- a great choice (and pie).

It wouldn't be an Easter dinner without a few gratuitous shots of the table decorations...

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Quinoa and Mushroom Burgers, Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Dinner 4/01

Quinoa and Mushroom Burgers

Oven Fries

It's spring break, the weather is unusually summer-like and we have a little extra time to try out some new dishes this week, so this seemed like the right day and time to riff on a Martha Stewart veggie burger recipe. We subbed 1 tbs. of ground flax seeds in place of the eggs and nutritional yeast in place of the parmesan.

The burgers were accompanied by Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato oven fries (tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, 450F for 40 minutes, flipped after 20 minutes).