June 24, 2011

Smoked, Slammin' Pasta

Long time, no see, blog!

I typically don't purchase seasoned or baked tofu because it's much more expensive for an easy thing I can do at home, but every time I see this product (Pete's Smoked Tofu from Canada) for a decent price, I buy several packages.

It's super firm, chewy and has the best savory smoky flavor, it's really good sliced thin with crackers.

One day I was making pasta and and nibbling on this smoked tofu when....POOF! I had an idea! Creamy smoked salmon pasta was one of my favorite dishes before I was vegan...so that was what I was aiming for here.

Just a warning, I made this up as I went so the amounts were estimated afterwards.

If you don't have smoked tofu, you might be able to use a baked one with a drop or two of liquid smoke...but you'll have to experiment.
The milk I used was homemade with a blender and straining so that could add some variation to your recipe...please adjust and taste as you go, I hope it turns out if anybody trys it!


12 oz Fettucini Noodles (3/4 lb)
3 3/4 cups cold cashew milk (mine was homemade, but I'm sure you could use a store bought alternative as long as it's unsweetened!)
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp vegan margarine
1 red bell pepper
1/2 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2-3/4 cup diced Smoked Tofu
cooking oil spray
salt and pepper to taste (depends on your tofu brand)

-Start boiling the water for your pasta, 3 quarts water should do the trick.
-Heat the broiler of your oven.
-Slice the red bell pepper lengthwise into strips, spray with cooking oil and place on a cookie sheet under your broiler for a few minutes. Keep an eye on them , they will roast quickly.
-After the pasta water is boiling, add a pinch of salt and the fettucini noodles
-When the peppers have a few black roasted spots, remove them from the oven to cool. I don't normally remove the skins if I'm just going to blend them up..but you burnt the bejeezus out of them, slice the really charred stuff off.

-In a saucepan (one with tall enough sides to accommodate the pasta and sauce) sautee the chopped onion with a spritz of cooking spray over medium heat for a few minutes then add the garlic for the last minute.
-Whisk the cold milk and cornstarch together and add to a blender
-Process the milk mixture with the cooked bell pepper until mostly blended but not completely...a few chunks of pepper are tasty in the finished sauce
-When the onion and garlic are cooked, stir in the margarine and add the milk and pepper mixture, the dill, onion powder and nutritional yeast.
-Bring to a boil for just a moment and then lower to a simmer. The sauce should thicken up.

-Add the diced tofu and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
-When the pasta is finished, drain it and add to the the sauce. Taste for salt and pepper again and serve.

The leftovers were yummy with capers added too!

May 15, 2011

Oui oui.....crepes!

When I went to France 5 years ago (and pre-vegan) a wonderful thing happened....I ate a crepe! Suddenly I was eating them for every meal for the next two weeks. I especially loved the savory variety. It was one of best things I've ever experienced to have a piping hot crepe in your hands and be walking along the Seine. Cue the "ahhh pahr-eee".

So I can't believe it's taken me so long to make a crepe at home, vegan or otherwise. I've had Vegan Brunch since it came out and I guess I just thought they would be difficult or too fussy. Wrong! The recipe was great and it was extremely easy!

I love that the most unusual thing in the recipe is chickpea flour (and I guess tapioca but it said I could use cornstarch which I did) because that makes them easy pantry meals. They cook fast so they are ideal for quick breakfasts and for busy nights.
Perhaps the best thing in my book is their capacity to make leftovers something amazing. I had about 2 tsp of Daiya vegan cheese and 1 1/2 slices of Tofurky in the fridge that weren't enough for a recipe but I couldn't bear to throw out. So into the crepe they went with some spinach and tomatoes. (you don't want them too full, so it was perfect) I could see leftover dahl or a creamy sauce with veggies working great in these as well. I bet the smoky shiitake mushrooms from Vegan Brunch would be awesome in them.
I can't wait to make some vegan Nutella and banana crepes!

Vegan Brunch is on it's way to usurping the almighty Veganomicon in my house at this rate.

Sorry for the picture quality, but the lighting is so bad in my house at night! Boo.

March 28, 2011

Easy Chocolate Banana Cake with Ganache

Ack! I've been really busy preparing for going back to school, so I haven't been doing much on the cookbook challenges or blogging. But I did make this cake last night because I was craving *something*.

I didn't have a lot of ingredients, so I used this simple recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz:


It's mostly pantry ingredients, the only thing I didn't have was almond extract so I put a splash more of vanilla. I only baked one batch, so I cut it in half to make layers. I really wanted a filling but I didn't have ingredients for any sort of frosting or a berry filling. I ended up mashing up a banana with a bit of vanilla soy yogurt and powdered sugar to make a custard type filling. Delicious! The ganache topping was so fudgy, I'll definitely make that again too.

March 1, 2011

Back on the web!

Well, after an unplanned lack of internet service, here I am again!
I've missed out on the cookbook challenges that have been going on, but I'm hoping I can jump right back into it. This week's cookbook is American Vegan Kitchen, which looks great! It seems to be full of classic comfort and diner style foods. I will pick out a few recipes and hopefully get cookin' this week...

To tide you over here are some pizza pictures! I'm using the 1000 Vegan Recipes basic pizza dough recipe, which I really like.

I saw some close-to-expiring Daiya on sale so I caved and bought one bag. The boyfriend loves it so.

This pizza is his, it's a BBQ seitan with onions and Daiya.

You know I snuck a bite ;)

My pizza ( I just wasn't in the mood for Daiya) had truffle oil, mushrooms, basil, onion and some leftover tofu ricotta.


Hmmm, now I want pizza again!

January 13, 2011

Mango BBQ Beans and Cornbread

Another Appetite for Reduction recipe!!!

This time I made Mango BBQ Beans and Fresh Corn and Scallion Corn Bread

First up, the beans:
What I liked:
Really tasty! I loved the homemade BBQ flavor! It was super easy too, once I cooked the dried beans.

What I disliked:
Nothin' really.

What I substituted:
Maple syrup for agave.I ended up using only one TBSP of sweetener (tasting as I went) which was perfect!

My man's opinion:
He said he liked it but would prefer it over something besides rice (my choice of side with it.) Maybe someday I can try the suggestion for mashed yucca!

I also made the Fresh Corn and Scallion Cornbread to go with it:

What I liked:
It was quick and easy to mix up with no weird ingredients.

What I disliked:
It didn't seem to turn out quite like I imagined...it was both dense and crumbly. You can see the weird texture in that first pic. It almost didn't firm up into bread. I gave it about 5 extra minutes from the max time and still it wasn't quite right. I thought it could have used a bit more salt or maybe oil...it sorta tasted low-fat, if that makes sense?? I put a little EB on it after which helped!

What I substituted:
Maple syrup for agave. Frozen corn (thawed as suggested) instead of fresh.

Recipe notes:
Seemed to take a little longer to bake than the recipe said. Of course, my oven could possibly be off temp.

My man's opinion:
Thought it was okay, but he mixed it into his beans after tasting it, haha.

One or two more recipes from this book over the weekend and then I move on to the Veganomicon! :)

January 12, 2011

Thai Tofu, "Cheese-steak", Breakfast Wraps

Continuing on the cookbook challenge theme...tonight I made another recipe from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.


What I liked:
It was quick with no extra steps. I like recipes that do not require pre-marinating the tofu. Also, it was fairly pantry friendly.

What I disliked:
I'm not sure what to say, I didn't absolutely love it. It seemed to be lacking something, but I don't know what. Maybe depth of flavor? I'm not sure. It could have something to do with the fact that I didn't have all of the red pepper it called for, I suppose. It could have also been that I didn't like the brand of curry paste I used. It was okay, but if I was served this in a restaurant I would be disappointed.

What I substituted:
I realized I didn't have a whole red bell pepper when I was already done frying the tofu, so I used what I had (about 1/4 cup) and added some mushrooms.
I also substituted a home made sugar syrup for the agave.

Recipe notes:
After frying the tofu with a small amount of non-stick spray and removing it from the pan the recipe says to add the shallots, garlic, ginger and bell pepper to the oil. I didn't have any oil in my pan at all and I checked the recipe to make sure I wasn't supposed to be adding some, haha. I just added about a tsp of oil.

My man's opinion:
He thought it was good, but not great. He said there was a little too much ginger for his taste. He ate it though.

Would I make it again?
I probably would if I was low on produce because it is quite pantry friendly, except I would tweak it a little. I tried my hardest to stay true to the recipe this first time so I could review it.
Also, I might try a different red curry paste when this one runs out (Thai Kitchen).

I made the SANCTUARY DRESSING recipe also, but I made a measuring mistake on that one, whoops!
I halved it (due to how much silken tofu I had) and accidentally used the full amount of garlic powder. I know that recipe will be good next time I make it. It was so creamy! I used it up though. Here's a salad with it:


I've made a few other things in the last couple of days that definitely fall into the "cheap" category.

First up is poor man's version of the CHEESE-STEAK SANDWICH! A man's wich!

This is just a toasted hoagie roll with homemade seitan, grilled peppers and onion topped with a homemade cheezy sauce.
(Try something like this: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=7057.0 for the sauce. )

Simple, cheap and possibly quick if you already have seitan in the fridge!

Not sure what to have for breakfast? Got 20 minutes? Breakfast wraps are here to wipe your tears away!
Tofu scramble wrapped in a tortilla, so easy! I love it because I can make the tofu and veggies and from there change the spices and sauces for my boyfriend and me. (we like different things sometimes!)

His has a mexican vibe goin' on...tofu scramble, veggies, salsa, 'queso' with chili powder, jalepenos.

Mine has curry powder, extra veggies and the watered down queso with peanut butter added for a sauce (sounds weird, but it's good!)

Yep, still eating pretty good on a budget! Tomorrow I plan to make more recipes from Appetite for Reduction...yum yum yum.

I'm not really hungry, but I wanna eat that cheesesteak again...

January 10, 2011

Irish Stew & Red Beans and Rice...CHEAP!

Hello, hello and happy Monday to you all.

Today I made my first recipe from my new cookbook, Appetite for Reduction (which is by the author of Veganomicon, Vegan with a Vengeance and that awesome vegan cupcake book).

The recipe I chose was the Irish Stew with Seitan and Potatoes.

It was perfect for a cold day! I'm doing a fun weekly cookbook challenge on a vegan cooking forum, so you'll see a lot of recipes from cookbooks in the coming weeks. I'll try to do a mini-review of each recipe!

Irish Stew with Seitan and Potatoes (Appetite for Reduction)

What I liked:
It was very easy and filling. Perfect for a winter weeknight. It was not heavy like a meat based stew, the lemon added at the end made it yummy.
The ingredients were also very inexpensive.

What I disliked:
Nothing at all, it was delicious!!!

What I substituted:
I like the lemon flavor in this, but I also used 2 1/4 tbsp instead of 3 because it seemed like it that was plenty...although who knows, maybe I missed out ;)

I also used a lager for the "ale" cause that's what I had on hand.

Recipe notes:
It seemed like the amount of oil used was not quite enough. After sauteeing the seitan and removing them from the pan, there seemed to be no oil leftover for the onions and spices. I just added some water and it was totally fine, but it could be a problem without a non-stick pan.
It was very true to the time it estimated for the recipe, which is always great!

My man's opinion:
He absolutely loved this and requested I make it again :)

I also made my requisite day-before-payday Red Beans and Rice.
There is no real recipe here...just use what you have! I make it in my crockpot and it always comes out delicious.

All you need is:

Red Beans (kidney beans)
Cajun seasoning ( I used Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning)
Veggie broth or water
Chopped celery and onion (can be left out, just add more spices)
Liquid Smoke (can be left out)
White Rice

Put the beans,celery and onion in the crockpot and cover with about twice as much water or broth. Turn on high and let them cook all day or at least 5 hours. When the beans are nearly done, add as much seasoning as you like, just keep tasting the liquid in the pot. Add a couple of drops of liquid smoke. That's it!!! Sometimes I add leftover seitan or even softened "bacon" bits (omit liquid smoke for this).
Serve with rice, cornbread and greens for a yummy and truly cheap meal!

If you want a stovetop method with the spice mix broken down, this recipe is great too:

The cornbread muffins I served with these are from Robin Robertson's book 1000 Vegan Recipes, a wonderful tome of great recipes!

I love this recipe because it is all pantry ingredients. No soy yogurt or egg replacer needed! That makes it cheap and easy to add to any meal. I added jalapeƱos to the batter this time, yum!

Hope you all survive the coming week...! :)