Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cheezy Sauce - Veganomican (p.214)

The authors call this a quick, tangy, flavorful and low-fat sauce suitable for dressing nachos, pasta, and veggies.

2 c. veggie broth or water [I used veggie broth]
1/4 c. flour
1 TBL. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of dried thyme (crumbled)
1/4 tsp. salt
several pinches of fresh ground black pepper
1/s tsp. tumeric
3/4 c. nutritional yeast
1 TBL. lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared (versus unprepared, come again?) yellow mustard [I used the contents of one packet that comes from Chinese takeout, which was a gift from M upstairs bootleg, I know]
1) Combine the broth or the flour and whisk until mostly dissolved.
2) Saute the garlic in the olive oil and gently cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often and being careful not to burn the garlic (Burning garlic stinks!)
3) Add thyme, salt, and pepper and cook for about 15 seconds. Raise the heat to medium. Use a whisk to stir constantly. The mixture should bubble and thicken for about three minutes (Crank the heat if it doesn't. CRANK IT, hahah DP).
4) Once the mixture is bubbling and thickening, stir for about 2 more minutes. Add the lemon juice and mustard. The mixture should resemble a thick, melty cheese.
Pour the sauce over your goodies (no, not those goodies, you perv!) and serve hot!

This cheesy sauce was on the spicy side, which may be attributable to the fact that I used veggie broth rather than water as my main liquid. Also, I did not precisely measure the turmeric, so this pungent spice might explain why the sauce came out so spicy. It was an interesting, robust flavor, and if I remember correctly, not as creamy as the other “cheese” sauce I made awhile back.

There is some sauce left, and I am curious to see how it tastes after a day in the fridge. Perhaps the sauce will mellow out a bit. It’ll probably be a nice dip for some cauliflower and other veggies. And because of the spice factor, I can see this sauce being good for nachos. Mmm, I am thinking about this sauce paired with the Toffutti Better Than Sour Cream, which would balance out the spiciness. In terms of making "cheese" sauce again, I am going to experiement with different recipes first before trying to tweak this recipe.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Potato “Cheese” Perogies – How It All Vegan: Irresistible Recipes For An Animal Free Diet By Tayna Barnard and Sarah Kramer – p. 113.

2 medium or large potatoes, cubed [I used golden potatoes, and peeled them first]
1.5 c. soy cheese, grated [I used cheddar]
1 TBSP. lemon juice
1 tsp. dried dill [I used thyme because I did not have dill]
Dash of pepper

1.5 c. flour
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Egg replacer equal to 2 eggs
4 TBSP. margarine or veggie shortening
Sour cream for garnish [I used Tofutti brand “Better than Sour Cream” ... quite possibly a new obsession]
1)In a medium pot of water, boil the potatoes until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Drain. In a medium bowl, combine the potatoes, cheese, lemon juice, mustard, dill [or thyme in this case], and pepper. Mash well with a potato masher or fork [A fork works fine]. Set aside.
2)In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, and egg replacer. Cut the margarine into the flour until well blended. If necessary, add water if the dough is dry. Divide the dough into 16 balls and roll each ball into 3-inch circles. Put 1.5 TBL. Of potato mixture in each center. Fold dough over and press edges down with a fork.
3)In a large pot of boiling water, add 3 or 4 perogies at a time and cook for 5 minutes on low boil. Remove perogies with a slotted spoon and serve with “Sour Cream”. Alternatively, fry the perogies [I used a little olive oil] in a frying pan until crispy.

Commentary to come at another time (i.e. after laundry and bill paying, welcome the real world, ladies and gents)

So these perogies were pretty good save the dough. The dough recipe is not one I would ever repeat because the dough was tough and chewy. It really wasn't pleasantly textured at all. Also, the recipe did not yield enough dough for the amount of filling made.

On the other hand, the potato filling was delicious. I picked up a brick of vegan cheddar cheese (Unfortunately, I forgot the brand and the wrapper is long gone in the garbage!) The potato cheese filling got deliciously melty after cooking. In fact, at a later date, I made the potato cheese filling in a larger quantity and served it as mashed potatoes, that were well-received by my guests.

The boiling method vs. the frying method...I had no real preference. Though, the fried ones are more photgenic, methinks. EL, we will have to make perogies together sometime!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Baked Acorn Squash and Apples - Online

Today at the supermarket I picked up an acorn squash to try something new. SA got me hooked on spaghetti squash, but I wanted to spice things up a bit. I stumbled upon this recipe for Baked Acorn Squash and Apples at the PostPunkKitchen website. It looks like a promising site for all things vegan.

When cutting the squash in half, an article from, Acorn Squash Cooking Tips , recommends microwaving the entire squash to ease the slicing. Also, the article recommends cutting the squash in half through the stem end to the point, rather than across the diameter. The internet is great for learning how to cook (vegan and otherwise)! Its full of handy information!

The recipe did not include walnuts, rather, the addition of the nuts was suggested by a person in the comments section of the article. Always concerned with the protein content of my diet, I forged ahead and added two fistfuls (haha my coworkers) of (wal)nuts to the apple mix! How nicely the walnuts browned in the oven! In the future, I might omit the canola oil from the recipe - it didn't seem to add much to the dish, with the exception of unnecessary fat...there didn't seem to be any functional benefit of the oil...

There is a recipe for Glazed Acorn Squash on the simply entails adding orange marmalade and butter to the squash. Might try this for my next experimentation, and will veganize the recipe by using my Smart Balance Light. Again, the reviews of the different versions of Smart Balance butter sub is to come!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Time Test

Why is the time on all of my posts wrong?

Lemon Bars - Veganomican (p.244)

This was somewhat of a disaster, albeit a comical one. Please read about my trials and tribulations below.


1.75 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. confectioner's sugar, plus more for dusting the finished product
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 c. non-hyrogenated vegan margarine

1.33 repeating (1 and 1/3) c. water
3 TBL. agar flakes [Found them at Whole Foods in the Asian section]
1.25 c. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. tumeric
2/3 c. fresh lemon juice [approximately 3 medium sized lemons]
3 TBL. arrowroot powder
1 TBL. finely grated lemon zest [Thanks to NMcL's skill on the box grater...I think she used the 2nd smallest grate]
1/4 c. soy milk
Prepare the crust:
Pulse flour, confectioner's sugar, and cornstarch in a food processor. Add the margarine in spoonfuls and blend for 8 to 10 seconds and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle mixture into the prepared 9 X 13 inch prepared (aka lightly greased baking pan) and press firmly into an even layer with slightly raised sides. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350. Bake the unfilled crust for 25 minutes. Remove from oven then cool.

Prepare the filling:
1) In a sauce pot, soak the agar in the water for 15 minutes.
2) Zest the lemons and squeeze the lemon juice. Mix the arrowroot in the lemon juice to dissolve.
3) After the allotted time for soaking the agar, turn on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes or until the agar is completely dissolved [it took MUCH less time for my agar to dissolve]. Add the granulated sugar and tumeric, and boil until they have dissolved (approximately 3 minutes). Turn down the heat to medium, add the arrowroot mixture, then add the lemon zest and soy milk. Whisk constantly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens (approximately 5 minutes). It should not be rapidly boiling, but low bubbling is OK.
4) Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Let cool for 20 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, until the filling is only slightly jiggly and has set. Sprinkle the bars with confectioner's sugar, cut, and serve!

Holy lemony goodness. This were extremely robustly flavored - You must be a lemon lover in order to enjoy these bars.

I had severe technical difficulties in creating this recipe. Nothing to cry over, only events to laugh over.

First, upon coming home from Whole Foods (This recipe required a special trip for the agar flakes), I realized that I did not have arrowroot powder, as I thought I did...Not to fear, I fooled myself. A simple google search revealed that cornstarch is a perfect substitute for arrowroot (Joy of Baking) but, I warn you, do not be fooled yourself! The lemon filling using cornstarch in place of the arrowroot did not have a desirable consistency - despite chilling for 3 hours, the consistency remained too jiggly and jelly. Despite the funky consistency, the flavor was robust and lemony-delicious. The other comical aspect of making the filling was that on more than one occasion, the filling boiled over the pot and unto the stove top. Need to improve my kitchen finesse still!

The crust was also another mini disaster. The vegan butter substitute, Smart Balance Light, has a very creamy, spreadable consistency. Therefore, the dough the reference produced was very creamy, and not very dough like... it was more like a batter consistency. So, I impulsively dumped in another 3/4 c. flour to thicken up the batter. Still, since the Smart Balance Light is so creamy, the texture never became "coarse meal" -like, as the recipe suggests it would. In my next post, I am going to investigate the differences between Smart Balance and Smart Balance on the lookout for that post in the near future!

The other space cadet thing I did when making this recipe was a result of not carefully reading the recipe before proceeding. If you read the recipe (what a concept, haha!) you will note that you are supposed to bake the unfilled pie crust then let it cool before filling the crust with the lemon filling. Being the space cadet I have become post-college life, I poured the lemon filling into the unbaked pie crust, with the intention of baking the entire dish. Fortunately, I realized my error before putting the entire dish into the oven! So I ended up scraping as much of the lemon filling off of the unbaked crust as possible.

Such a disaster of a vegan experimentation! I learned a lot of baking lessons. I am not sure I'd bother trying to make this dessert again, since I am not a huge fan of lemon-bars, but if I did, I'd do many steps differently, haha. Just a short brainstorm of independent variables (yes, I went there) to experiment with:
1) Will arrowroot give the lemon filling the desired consistency?
2) Will Smart Balance margarine (Regular version, not the Light) give the crust the desired consistency? Will Earth Balance Margarine (the favored brand by the authors) give the crust the desired consistency?

The lemon flavor was truly out of this world, although the consistency of the filling was off. As far as the crust, the addition of the flour worked, but the crust was not especially good. This baking experiment was a big silly mess!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lime Peanut Noodles with Seitan, Kale, and Carrots - Vegan Yum Yum (p. 197)


1 package wide, flat rice noodles (10 oz.) [Trader Joe's package was a little bigger - 13.25 oz. if I remember correctly...Therefore, I was generous in my measurements for the rest of the ingredients]

1/4 c. low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2.5 TBL. lime juice, fresh
1 TBL. sugar
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
1/4 tsp. ginger powder (optional) [I opted in]
1 to 2 tsp. canola or peanut [I opted to use peanut]
2 cups of kale, shredded [I deveined the kale first, then just tore it into bite-friendly pieces]
1.5 c. seitan, cut into strips [I used an entire package of West Soy brand, which is in a blue 8 oz. cardboard box]

1 large carrot, shredded [I used a box grater; seriously considering purchasing a large food processor with a grating blade...]
2 handfuls of cashews, crushed
1) Cook rice noodles according to package. Prepare peanut sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, PB, lime juice, sugar, chili flakes, and ginger powder.
2) When finished cooking, rinse noodles with cold water. Drain well. Use kitchen shears to cut noodles into bite-friendly pieces, then set noodles aside.
3) Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add kale and cook until cooked through and browning in some parts. Add seitan strips and carrots, and then turn down heat a bit.
4) Add noodles, sauce, then crushed cashews. Serve!


WHAT THE HELL IS SEITAN? I have seen seitan used as an ingredient in quite a few recipes and have been intrigued. It looks gruesome, but is pretty awesome. According to the package, "seitan is a low-fat, high-protein alternative to beef and poultry." Its vegan, cholesterol-free, and has only 1 gram of fat per serving! It is made from wheat gluten. The seitan was tasty, but it still freaks me out a little.

The yield on the recipe was easily enough for 4 to 5 people. Next time, I’d reduce the recipe by half because as is, I have leftovers up the wazoo.

Playing around with the proportions would result in a healthier version. As is, the recipe is fit for a carbohydrate queen. Next time, I’d add much more kale and carrots – I might even try to make this a kale-based dish, rather than a noodle-based dish (that is, having kale be the main ingredient and the noodles the accent ingredient, rather than vice versa).

The seitan coupled with the cashews lends a lot of protein to this dish! (Ma, where’s the PROTEIN?!) Overall, it was a decent dish.

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip - Veganomicon (p. 64)


2 c. sun-dried tomatoes (dry ones, not packed in oil)
2 c. boiling water
1/2 c. slivered or sliced almonds
1/2 c. cooked white beans [The authors recommend using navy beans...I find it ironic that navy beans are a type of white bean...Anyway, I couldn't find navy beans so I used butter beans instead]
2 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
1/4 olive oil
2 TBL. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt [I omitted this]
several pinches of fresh ground pepper
1) Place the tomatoes in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let sit and soak for 15 minutes.
2) In a blender or food processor, grind the almonds to a powder. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the tomatoes from the water (do not discard the water) and add them to the almonds. Add the remaining ingredients and puree, adding up to 1/4 c. of the tomato water. Scrape down sides as necessary.
3) Cover, chill for at least an hour, then serve. [The authors recommend using this dip as a spread on a grilled veggie sandwich - I dipped carrots and Triscuits]

COMMENTS: Beware when eating this dip! B sampled just a taste of the dip and ended up cracking a tooth! I am so sorry! The culprit must have been an almond piece...? WTF.

The dip was overly garlic...2 cloves was way too intense, in my opinion. For the sheer fact that someone chipped a tooth, I am reluctant to make this dip again. But if I did, I'd use a single garlic clove. Or, maybe I'd use two ROASTED garlic cloves instead!

To make roasted garlic, take an entire bulb of garlic and peel off as much outer skin as possible. Chop off the top. Spread a little olive oil on the top, making sure to coat each individual clove. Wrap in foil and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes. I baked mine for about 35 minutes, and next time, I'd roast it for even longer, so the consistency becomes spreadable, as people purports it does. Roasted garlic is absolutely delicious and tastes a lot more mild than the raw version.