Monday, December 31, 2012

Orange Juice Glazed Tofu

Another glazed tofu post, this one I made a long time ago but never got around to posting. The coconut milk, orange juice, soy sauce and mirin reduce down to a syrupy glaze that makes this tofu inhalable--and it must be eaten with rice! Now that I know what I do about GMOs, I'd buy an organic mirin, since the Kikkoman brand has high fructose corn syrup as one of the first ingredients. The recipe also uses a little Sriracha--I doubt its GMO free, but the good news is, OrganicVille makes one! See? There's a solution to every problem.

The recipe for this glaze is inspired by Dave's Party Potstickers on Food Network's Recipe Showdown.  I've used it several times with frozen veggie potstickers and everyone loves it.

The method is similar to my other glazed tofu, but there's a lot more glaze. Oh, and I always use fresh orange juice with oranges from farmer's market or the organic section at the grocery store. I stopped buying orange juice when I heard about flavor packets. And you could totally sub the mirin with more orange juice. Here's the recipe!

Orange Juice Glazed Tofu
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup organic mirin
2 Tb organic soy sauce
1 ts organic Sriracha
2 Tb chives
1/2 ts onion powder
1/2 ts garlic powder
1 15.5 oz Extra Firm Wild Wood Sproutofu
Olive oil for frying

Slice the tofu and press the water out using a heavy bottomed skillet and several paper towels.

Combine  the first eight ingredients. Heat the olive oil on medium heat and wait until the oil is shimmering, but not smoking. It should sizzle when the tofu hits it. Arrange the slices of tofu in the pan of hot oil and allow to sit, undisturbed, until tofu is golden underneath. Flip tofu and wait until the other side is golden underneath. When both sides are appropriately crisp, pour in the glaze and watch it sizzle. It will seem like a lot, but soon it will reduce down to the thick, dark syrup you see in the picture. Leave the heat on medium or turn it up to medium high to speed up the process. Cook until liquid is reduced.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Vegan Homemade Raviolis With Macadamia Nut Alfredo

Last night I was perfectly willing to sit on the recliner and do absolutely nothing, but Jason kept insisting on doing something fun, like make raviolis. It was thursday night, which is the one night a week Ava goes to Oma and Papa's house. So there I was, sitting on the recliner, telling Jason we could just eat leftovers, when he continued to talk about doing this fun activity. We had the semolina flour from a time we tried it out before, a bunch of veggies for the filling, macadamia nuts for the Alfredo, and a jar of red sauce. Knowing I wouldn't have to go to the store was one incentive to get started--now all I had to do was get off the recliner. 

Two hours later we were blessed with raviolis that were both fluffy and dense, filled with carrots, cauliflower, and spinach, and topped with the perfect balance of Alfredo and red sauce. Not only that, but we had a great time doing it. It was the perfect date night activity! 

Jason was in charge of the filling, and I was in charge of making the dough. Then we ran the dough through the pasta machine together, working in perfect harmony. You know you make a great team when you don't have to talk to each other--you just know what the other person wants you to do. We used the famous Vegan Pasta recipe from Vegan Dad. I would love to use whole wheat or even sprouted whole wheat flour, but Jason wanted to be a little wild so we used white flour, along with the semolina. Oh, and I doubled the recipe to make 40 circles, which made 20 raviolis. I had some leftover filling so you could even triple it.

So here's what you need to know about making dough. First, if its a little dry, add a touch more water. As you run it through the machine, there will be holes. Don't worry. Fold it once, then run it through again. You will eventually get a smooth sheet. Our method was to divide the dough into small pieces, make small sheets, then cut out small circles using something round. I used the other side of a posticker making tool like this one, but you could use the rim of a glass or ramekin. Once I got all my circles, I spooned a tablespoon of the filling onto one, placed another circle on top, then sealed the edges with a fork. 

My wonderful husband doesn't measure, but sometimes its fun to do away with the teaspoons and just shake it! Here's a rough estimate for the filling.
Veggie Filling for Ravioli
5 carrots
1 head of cauliflower
a bunch of spinach
garlic powder
onion powder
dash of cayenne
olive oil for frying

Pulse carrots and cauliflower in the food processor. Saute in olive oil until veggies are soft. Add salt and spices. Stir. 

Add spinach and stir until wilted. Add more salt and seasonings if needed.

I made the silky smooth Alfredo, so I do have exact measurements for that! 
Macadamia Nut Alfredo (Makes enough for 20 raviolis)
3/4 cups raw macadamia nuts
3/4 cups filtered water
1 Tb olive oil
1/2 ts salt
1/2 ts onion powder
1/2 ts garlic powder
1-2 Tb chives

Blend in a high powered blender until smooth. Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

How To Have A Vegan Thanksgiving in 2012 And Beyond

Saturday was our third annual Thanksgiving party for our friends, and once again it was a huge success! My in-laws who live by us come too. Thank goodness for all my mother-in-law's appliances! Cooking for a little over 30 people, including lots of kids, is a song and dance with oven space. I utilized her crock pots, large roaster, and this awesome green pot for my gravy. 

I have this party a week or two before Thanksgiving Day as a way to reclaim the holiday, and invite others to share our "plant happiness." I never get tired of hearing people's amazement at how vegan food actually tastes good. During the party, I heard my awesomely open minded friends talk about having meatless mondays in their home, and others talk about trying their hand at vegan cooking, just for fun!

Preparation for the event was highly orchestrated and spread out over two days, but it was surprisingly easy. I couldn't have done it without my sioux chef/husband! Keep in mind that you have to actually like cooking in order to all this, but even if you don't throw a huge party, you can scale one of these dishes down and bring it to your next Thanksgiving get-together. My mother-in-law has already requested the sweet potatoes for our regular Thanksgiving. Keep in mind these recipes serve about 30 people. 

The photos above were taken before going into the oven, so imagine a crispy topping. Here's the recipe round up...

Mashed Potatoes
7 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1 cup veggie broth (Pacific brand makes tiny one cup containers so you don't have to open a whole quart sized box)
3 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup salt (it seems like a lot, but it serves a lot)

Boil the potatoes in an extra large pot until fork tender. Drain, return to pot, and add other ingredients. I allowed my potatoes to sit in the strainer for a while before mashing, so a lot of the water evaporated.

Mash or beat with a mixer, but don't over beat.

I then put the mashed potatoes into the base of a 5 quart crock pot, put the lid on, and stored it in the fridge to bake the next day. The manufacturer's website says its oven safe up to 400 degrees.

About an hour before the party started, I baked it at 400 degrees for about 45-50 minutes, including pre-heating time. When it was done, I inserted it into the crock pot unit and left it on the low setting.

Biscuits (not pictured)

This is how I veganize the single recipe, before tripling it...

  • substitute the 3/4 buttermilk with 3/4 ts apple cider vinegar, and enough almond milk to make 3/4 of a cup. Let it sit for 5 minutes or so to curdle.
  • substitute shortening with Spectrum Organic Shortening. Its non-hydrogenated, and I only use it for certain applications, where a solid fat is needed. 
I first mix the dry ingredients, then blend them with the shortening in the food processor. Then I put it all in a big bowl, add the "buttermilk," and stir with a big strong fork.

Drop big dollops onto a large baking sheet at 400 degrees for 17 minutes.

For the party, I baked them in two rounds, along side the mashed potatoes. When they were done, I put them in a 7 quart crock pot and left it on the low setting. This saved me oven space, so I could use the regular oven for my stuffing and sweet potatoes.

Cornbread Stuffing
1 recipe corn bread, made the day before (recipe below)
1 package Arrowhead Mills Organic Stuffing Mix
1 cup olive oil
3 cups diced yellow onion
3 cups diced green bell pepper
3 cups diced red bell pepper
3 cups diced zuchini
4 cups corn kernels
3 Tb salt
1 Tb garlic powder
1 1/2 ts poultry seasoning
1 quart box of veggie broth (4 cups)

Saute all veggies except for corn in olive oil until transluscent. Add veggie broth, crumbled corn bread, stuffing mix, corn, and seasonings.

Put it into an extra large baking dish, cover, and store in the fridge until its time to bake.

Corn Bread

This is a veganized recipe from the back of Bob's Red Mill Cornmeal. I wouldn't use this cornbread on its own, but its great in my stuffing! The doubled recipe is...

2 cups corn meal
2 cups AP flour
2 Tb sugar (evaporated cane juice)
8 ts baking powder
1 ts salt
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups almond milk

Mix dry ingredients in one large mixing bowl, mix wet ingredients in another. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until incorporated. Do not over mix. 

Bake in a 9x13 in pan at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Sweet Potatoes
Everyone's favorite!

5 lbs sweet potatoes
3/4 cups Spectrum Organic Shortening (I think coconut oil would be great too, if you don't mind the slight coconut taste)
6 Tb agave nectar or any other liquid sweetener 
3/4 ts salt
3/4 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw walnuts
3/4 cup AP flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 ts salt
3/4 cup shortening

Bake sweet potatoes on a sheet pan at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours, or until fork tender. Allow to cool, then peel. It should come right off. No need for a peeler.

Mash together potatoes, shortening, agave, salt, and almond milk. Spread into a lightly greased 9x13 in casserole dish. 

In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. 

In a food processor, pulse nuts until crumbly. Add dry ingredients and continue to pulse until incorporated. Add shortening and pulse again until a gorgeous crumble topping forms. Sprinkle it onto the sweet potatoes, cover, and store in the fridge until ready to bake

Bake at 350 degrees for an hour, including pre-heating time. 

I know tofurky plays into a lot of stereotypes about vegans, but its fun for Thanksgiving, and everyone thought it tasted like turkey! I think it looks and tastes a lot like dark meat. The key is cooking it right. 

I used 3 tofurkies this year. For each one, rub it down with...

1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tb soy sauce
1 ts garlic powder
1/2 ts poultry seasoning
1 Tb green onion

Wrap with lots of tin foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, including pre-heating time. 

Here's my genius idea below. Thats right, I combine the tofurkies with the veggies in my mother-in-law's big roaster. Trust me, I need all the extra oven space I can get.

Roasted Veggies
4 huge heads of broccoli
1 huge orange beet
1 huge multicolored beet
3 regular red beets
sprinkle of green onions
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tb salt
sprinkle of pepper

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, including preheating time. I could have cooked them for a little less time, but as you can see they were combined with the tofurkies. They were still great. 

Classic Thanksgiving Gravy
This is my classic gravy recipe, plus the gravy that comes with the Tofurkey. I had three packets.

1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup brown rice flour or AP flour
8 cups low sodium No Chicken Broth (You can use low sodium vegetable broth)
1 cup cup nutritional yeast
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2-1ts ts salt
2 ts garlic powder
2 Tb Aromatica Organics Garlic Pepper Blend (it's available at Costco)

On medium heat, make a roux with the olive oil and flour. Add remaining ingredients, but start with 1/2 ts of salt, and add more later if needed.

Increase heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. 

Let simmer for 40 minutes. 

Add extra gravy packets, then add more salt if needed.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gluten-Free Tofu Nuggets

It sure has been a while since posting. I had to walk away for a while, but it feels so good to be back. It was like a part of myself was missing without blogging. I think a lot of it might do with my anxiety about perfection. But hey, at least I can admit it. I want this to be an authentic place where you, the reader, can see what I feed my family. I might not be able to blog about everything I make, but I really, really, really want to blog about a lot of it. So, forgive me if its not always the perfect picture or setting! These nuggets made me a star at last night's Halloween party, along with my BBQ sauce inspired by The 30-Minute Vegan. I have some very open minded meat eating friends who I love to impress, and they love being impressed=) First, the recipe for the nuggets...

Gluten-Free Tofu Nuggets
1 3/4 cups bread crumbs (I like Real Foods Corn Thins pulverized to a powder in the food processor. See my review of these here. You could also use corn flakes or panko bread crumbs)
1 Tb salt
1/2 ts each onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and mustard powder
15.5 oz packages Wildwood Extra Firm Tofu (it comes in a double pack, so you should have a total of 4 blocks of tofu. Trader Joe's brand is basically the same thing.)

1/4 cup mustard
3/4 cup filtered water
1/2 cup brown rice flour

2-3 Tb Olive oil (For the sheet pan)

First, slice your tofu into nuggets. Lay the pieces on a couple of paper towels over a large cutting board. Top with a couple more paper towels and press to get the water out. You could lay a heavy pan over it to make sure the water is pressed out well.

Now, mix your mustard, water, and brown rice flour. Of course you could use regular flour if you are not gluten-free.

Prepare mixture of crumbs, salt and seasonings. I put mine in a large tupperware so I can shake the tofu around in it.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a large sheet pan with the olive oil.

Dip a nugget into the mustard mixture, shaking off excess. Then drop it into the crumbs, shaking it around to coat. Shake off excess and arrange on the sheet pan. Proceed with the rest of the nuggets.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown underneath. Flip, then continue baking for about 15 minutes longer, or until they are appropriately crispy.

Oh, and I can't forget about the BBQ sauce! Jason says its our only barbecue sauce from now on, which is great for me because its so easy to make!

Quick and Easy BBQ sauce
1 cup organic ketchup
3 Tb Molasses or 2 Tb agave or 2 Tb honey
2 Tb soy sauce
1/4 cup filtered water
1/2 ts each onion powder and garlic powder
1 ts paprika
1/2 ts liquid smoke
1 1/2 ts apple cider vinegar
1 ts dijon mustard
2 Tb olive oil

Mix and enjoy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fresh Coconut Water

When I first discovered the wonders of coconut water, I would buy it from a shelf at the store. But our ancestors did not drink from a shelf, they drank straight from the source.

This is where my local Flea Market comes in. If you have one in your area, I highly recommend checking it out. Mine has a man that does all the work for his customers. He cuts the coconut open, pours the water into a plastic bag, then cuts the meat out and puts it in another plastic bag. I bought five coconuts and drank one right away. When I got home, I put the remainder in these pint sized jars, and they are currently in my freezer. Now I get the convenience of those shelf stable coconut waters without the killer pasteurization!

Each coconut yields about a pint, and they are 3 dollars each. The meat can be used for milk, butter, cream, or compost.

You can thaw one out by just putting it in a water bath. It should thaw fairly quickly. Do it before your morning workout so its ready and waiting for you!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Salty Parmesan~Vegan Style

Remember the sprinkle parmesan in the Kraft container? This is WAY better, but dairy free. The recipe is too simple. Makes enough for 3 people.

Vegan Parmesan
1/2 cup whole, raw, cashews
1/4 ts salt
1/2 ts nutritional yeast

Blend in a Magic Bullet or food processor until it turns to powder. Enjoy!

Cashew Cream

Got a recipe that calls for heavy cream, but made the awesome decision to kick dairy? Have no fear, cashew cream is here. The recipe is simple.

1 cup raw, whole, organic cashews
1 cup filtered water

Blend in a Magic Bullet or high powered blender. Can it get any easier?

The Simple Things: Refried Bean Quesadilla with Green Tomatoes

Perhaps this is too simple to post, but its tasty, so who cares? Here is what you need:

1 Rudi's Spelt Tortilla (I love these because they are whole grain, but don't look like it) Edit: Just found out these have honey, FYI
1 can organic whole pinto beans
1/2 ts salt
1 Tb freshly minced garlic and serrano chiles mixed together
Green tomato slices
Avocado (optional, well everything is optional!)

Drain beans and pulse in the food processor with salt, garlic and chiles. Arrange your quesadilla, grill, and enjoy. (I used a lightly oiled panini press)

Butterscotch Pudding Choco-Chip Bars~Ooey Goey Style

I know I do this a lot (bake chocolate chip cookies/bars) but can you blame me? I'm getting more into raw foods these days, but something about baking keeps calling me back. I had a few packages of Dr. Oetker's pudding mix, so I figured why not make one of those pudding cookie recipes? I used the excuse that I was doing it for Ava, who has been doing a great job with her potty training. I let her choose the flavor of pudding, and she chose butterscotch. Here is the recipe I easily veganized.

I used Spectrum Organic Shortening for butter, but I'm sure coconut oil or any butter will do. For the eggs, 2 Tb flax plus 6 Tb water blended in the Magic Bullet. Of course, I only use organic sugar and whole wheat flour. Try it with chocolate pudding for a double chocolate treat!

Oh, and I pressed it into my special brownie pan which is 7x11in. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 minutes.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Glazed Tofu

This is something I was addicted to for a while. I love it cold the next day for lunch! I also like to chop it up and put it in a salad with apples and candied walnuts. Here is how to make it a la carte. Oh, and I used a 15.5 oz package of Extra Firm Wildwood SprouTofu. It comes in a double pack. The recipe makes just enough for my husband and I.

Step 1: Press water out of the tofu. 
The sliced tofu is actually underneath this pan, between the paper towels. This is how I  get the excess water out. 
Step 2: Make the glaze
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 Tb agave nectar
1 ts salt
1/2 ts garlic powder
1/2 ts onion powder
1/2 ts mustard powder (optional)
lots of pepper

Step 3: Pan fry the tofu

  • Heat enough oil to cover the pan on medium heat
  • Wait till oil is shimmering and hot. It should sizzle when tofu touches the oil
  • Allow tofu to fry until golden underneath. Don't play with it too much. Just let it get crispy.
  • Flip and continue to fry the tofu until golden underneath.
  • Pour over the glaze and watch it bubble, bubble, toil and trouble=)
    • Allow to deglaze for another ten minutes, until a sticky syrup forms.

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    No-Cook Nacho Cheese Sauce

    What better way to resurrect my blog than with my famous nacho cheese sauce? Its basically the one from my first post, but this one uses cashews instead of pine nuts, and a little more water for blending. If you decide to use pine nuts, just use 3/4 cup of water. I actually haven't made it in a long time, mostly because I've made it too many times, and I always like to try new things. Don't let that stop you though! My brother in law from the military was here visiting several months ago and when they came over for dinner, he asked Jason, "whats for dinner?" Jason responded with, "nachos." His brother then asked, "How does that work?" I couldn't wait to blow his mind. Sure enough, he loved it. I love surprising omnivores. He really didn't understand how nuts could make cheese, but what can I say, its magic=) Here's the recipe!

    1 1/2 cups cashews
    1 cup filtered water, or 3/4 cup if you are using pine nuts
    3 Tb freshly squeezed lemon juice
    3 Tb nutritional yeast
    1 ts white miso paste
    2 ts salt
    1 ts garlic powder
    1 ts onion powder
    1 ts paprika

    Simply blend until creamy! I recommend a high powered blender to have in your life. I have a Ninja Pro.

    Here it is on top of a tofurky chili dog from when we went camping last summer, which shows how long I've been making it.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Banana Butter from Chocolate Covered Katie

    This fluffy concoction isn't dessert, its breakfast! Sweetened with the wholesome goodness of a frozen banana, the recipe comes from the famous Chocolate Chocolate Covered Katie. I personally use 1/4 cup of peanut butter with 1 frozen banana. Just whip the two ingredients in a magic bullet and its done. Mine is spread on sprouted grain toast. Plus, I added to the decadence by first spreading my toast with coconut oil and a sprinkling of Himalayan sea salt. I know, I'm bad, but at least I didn't drizzle the whole thing with maple syrup=). Oh, and if you're interested in winning a million...I mean a hundred dollars from, check out Katie's post for ways to enter. I know I could sure use it!

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Brown Rice Crispy Bites All Dressed Up

    I know this is my third sweet post in a row, but I swear this is not just a dessert blog! I made these for a party and saved these for myself. They are a version of my other brown rice crispy treats, "dressed up" with a top layer of chocolate. Before I get into the recipe, I'd like to thank all 28 of you for following my blog. My transition to a vegan diet was a transition in my heart, mind, and soul. I find that I am happiest while sharing my new vegan heart with others through good food, hence, the reason for this blog. I want to help newbies, vets, the veg curious, and those who just want a meatless monday. So thank you again for your readership; it means the world to me. Oh, and I will post more savory foods in the future! Here's the recipe for my Brown Rice Crispy Bites.

    8 cups brown rice cereal
    1 1/2 cups unsalted almond butter
    1/2 cup coconut oil
    1 cup organic brown sugar
    1 cup agave nectar
    2 ts vanilla
    1/2 ts salt
    2 cups dairy free chocolate chips 
    1/4 cup non dairy milk
    1 ts vanilla
    1/4 ts salt

    1. Line a 9x13 in brownie pan with tin foil.
    2. Combine almond butter, coconut oil, brown sugar, agave, 2 ts vanilla, and 1/2 ts salt in a large pot on medium heat. Use a whisk to stir frequently.
    3. When mixture begins to bubble, continue stirring for another two minutes.
    4. Turn off heat and incorporate the cereal.
    5. Pour mixture into the lined brownie pan and press surface down with a rubber spatula.
    6. Melt chocolate chips, non dairy milk, vanilla, and 1/4 ts salt together in a double boiler. (Mine is a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water)
    7. Spread evenly over the rice crispy mixture and allow to cool for 1 hour. Speed the process up by putting it in the fridge.
    8. Turn it out onto a cutting board and remove tin foil. Cut into squares and enjoy!

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Back To Basics: The Chocolate Chip Cookie

    Happy New Year everyone! Yesterday I had a blast reviewing all the recipes I've saved since going vegan about two years ago. Its kind of like reminiscing with your spouse about when you first met. I remember the first thing I learned while exploring a plant based diet was, "wow, deserts are so easy!" They are no different from egg and dairy deserts, and often better. Vegan cookies don't have to taste like breakfast bars either. These Chocolate Chip Cookies from Post Punk Kitchen have an outer crunch reminiscent of Famous Amous, and a melt in your mouth center. Put them side by side with standard non-vegan cookies, and you will wonder why eggs and dairy were ever put on such a pedestal. I've made these several times, and always use whole wheat or spelt flour instead of all purpose. Don't be afraid of using whole grain flours in baked goods. They still come out delicious! The recipe calls for a Tb of tapioca starch, which I actually had today, but I've used arrowroot powder in the past with great results. Cornstarch should work fine too, according to the reviews on her website. Oh, and you won't be needing any Earth Balance Butter to make these cookies.

    When it comes to sugar, I always use organic, natural cane sugar. Its just like regular sugar, but its a slightly brown hue, and slightly less processed than the typical white stuff. I love Florida Crystals brand because the packaging is eco friendly, and its sold at a very affordable price at Smart&Final. Today, I found that I did not have anymore cane sugar, but had a bag of Florida Crystals Demerara Sugar. It was a great substitute. Its a rich, golden sugar with a hint of molasses.

    Isa Chandra, the creator of Post Punk Kitchen, is the author of many famous vegan cookbooks, and is a great resource when it comes to vegan baking. If anyone out there is considering a more plant strong life for their New Years resolution, rest assured that cookies are NOT off the table. Just follow the link above for the recipe!