Thursday, November 25, 2010

What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat For Thanksgiving Anyway?

What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat For Thanksgiving Anyway? 2010 Edition

Apple-Smoked Tofu Glazed with Calvados, Maple Syrup and Apple Cider, stuffed with Collard Greens and Apples

Braised Brussels Sprouts

Braised Carrots

Bourbon Cranberries

Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds


Pumpkin Pomegranate Layer Cake

We decided after making the apple-smoked tofu recipe last month that it would also work for Thanksgiving, and it proved to be a great choice -- crispy, juicy and full of flavor. This time around we paired it with our Thanksgiving staples of braised carrots, Brussels sprouts and bourbon cranberries.

We had a half of a kabocha squash in the fridge, so we roasted it (25 minutes st 450F) and combined that with veg stock, apple cider and tamari. Also added were sauteed onion and garlic along with, sage, black pepper and a pinch of salt. All of the ingredients were pureed until velvety smooth.

To finish the soup we added toasted pumpkin seeds, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and lightly toasted in a small pan until you can here them starting to pop.

For dessert, Liz made something new -- a pumpkin layer cake with a vanilla and pomegranate liqueur frosting and topped with pomegranate seeds (adapted from "The Boozy Baker" by Lucy Baker). A really nice change of pace.

Of course, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without gratuitous shots of the table. ;)

Left side of the table

Center decorations

Right side of the table

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Deep Dish Pizza with BBQ Tofu

Dinner 11/18

Deep Dish Pizza with BBQ Tofu

We've haven't made a deep-dish pizza in a while. It was epic.

The apple-wood smoked BBQ Tofu and cheddar Daiya only added to the epic-ness.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dessert Round-Up

Dessert Round-up

You may have noticed these pictures over on the Flickr page, but they haven't ended up here on the blog yet. So here are some recent dessert pictures rolled into one post.

Mocha Mamas with Coffee and Kahlua Icing

From "Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar" -- seconds after this picture was taken, half of the rack mysteriously disappeared into another dimension and they were never heard from again. Tragic.

Brandied Pear Cake with Chocolate Chips

The next two are from "The Boozy Baker" by Lucy Baker -- the recipe originally called for white chocolate chips (which none of us are big fans of), but it's a really interesting combo of pears & chocolate that works surprisingly well.

Plum Biercake

Another winner. Don't forget to check if your favorite beer is vegan at

Apple Spice Cake

The last one is an Apple Spice Cake adapted from Martha Stewart. It was perhaps the quintessential cake to wash down with a big glass of apple cider.

*adapted in most cases using flax seeds as the replacer for eggs, soy/rice milk, etc.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shiitake Mushroom Stock

Shiitake Mushroom Stock

We've always felt bad throwing out the woody stems from shiitake mushrooms -- especially when a good deal of the weight (and therefore cost) is considered waste. So in an effort to extract as much value as possible, we started making stock from the stems.

Now that we've made it a few times, I wanted to show you what the (very easy) process looks like.

The first step is to start collecting the stems everytime you trim shiitake for use in other dishes. When you get roughly a cup, it's time to make the broth.

Over med-high heat, add a tsp of canola oil to the pressure cooker, a bay leaf, 4-5 whole peppercorns and the shiitake stems. Cook for 2-3 minutes turning the stems occasionally.

Once you can start to smell the shiitake, add eight cups of water, add the lid to the pressure cooker and bring to 15psi (depending on your make, model and size). Cook for 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to release the pressure.

Strain and store in the fridge for later use.

We've been using it as a base for ramen (like this one from September) with the addition of tamari and kombu, but that's only a (delicious) starting point.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Roasted Kabocha Squash and Cannellini Bean Soup with Fennel Broth

Dinner 11/11

Roasted Kabocha Squash and Cannellini Bean Soup with Fennel Broth

We started by pressure cooking the stems and fronds from a medium sized fennel bulb in eight cups of water for 40 minutes at 15psi. The result was a clear, clean and very aromatic broth. Strain, season and keep very warm.

The kabocha squash was cut in medium dice, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 450F for 20-25 minutes. We love kabocha for two reasons -- one, it tastes great, and two -- it cooks in 25 minutes! ;)

The rest of the soup was a base of minced shallot, garlic and salt and pepper. It was rounded out with a can of drained cannellini beans. Then the hot roasted squash was added to the mix and given a quick stir to combine. Check for seasoning.

Place the beans and squash mixture in a bowl, and ladle the hot broth over the top.*

Garnish with some parsley and serve very warm.

* you could combine the squash, beans and broth and cook them all together for a few minutes, but the you'll lose the roasted aspect of the squash. As long as the broth is sufficiently seasoned, it will come together quickly in the bowl.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Polenta with Apple-Smoked Tofu, Arugula and Chanterelle Mushrooms

Dinner 11/01

Polenta with Apple-Smoked Tofu, Arugula and Chanterelle Mushrooms

The polenta started with 1 cup of fine cornmeal whisked into 4 cups of boiling water seasoned with 1 tbs. of salt. From there we turned down the heat to low and made it like a risotto, adding an additional 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup at a time here and there (don't sweat the timing, just don't let it scorch the bottom of the pan). Finally, we stirred in 2 tbs. of soy margarine, 1/4 cup of microplaned Smoked Cheddar Sheese, 2 tbs. of nutritional yeast, and 1 tsp. of black pepper. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, and check for seasoning.

The chanterelles were pan-fried with olive oil and a splash of tamari at the end of cooking. Then the arugula was wilted in the same pan over medium heat, stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes until most of the water has evaporated.

The tofu was smoked with apple wood for 25 minutes, then pan-fried until golden brown (about 4-5 minutes per-side) and splashed with 1 tbs. of tamari at the end of cooking.