Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Banana Split Pudding Brownies

So I ran across the recipe for Banana Split Pudding Brownies about a week or so ago.  I decided I wanted to make them.  I had 5 ripe bananas here in the house, but I didn't save one for the top.  That was partly because I wasn't sure how the banana would be tomorrow.  There is no way that my sons and I can eat an entire pan of brownies in one evening no matter how good the brownies are.  Not to mention, how many calories do you think are in this pan of brownies?  You can find the nutritional information for each piece here.
The picture above is before they were popped into the oven.

This recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance.  The banana "pudding" looks a little strange, but it cooked up nicely.The picture of the brownies on amazon.com is much more pleasing to the eye than my plain pan of brownies above.  If you go here, look at image 11.  It is awesome looking and when I make these to take to work, that's how mine will look.  But for tonight, mine look good just with the topping and some chocolate chunks thrown on top. And, it tastes great!  It got the seal of approval from my sons.  That's all I need. :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Use Up Your Veggies Chowder

I wanted to make soup tonight, but I didn't know what kind of soup I wanted.  I had bought some hominy to make a soup, but alas, I have no clue where the recipe is that uses the hominy.  :::smackin' mah forehead:::  So, I started flipping through an inch tall stack of recipes that I had printed out with the intention of making them.  I happened upon Chickpea Gumbo from Fatfree Vegan.

I had all good intentions of making the recipe as is, but then ... I needed to use a half head of cabbage that I had and I needed to start using some of the potatoes I had bought.  I also wanted to use up some seitan I had in the freezer.  I wanted it to be a little spicier.  So, I ended up loosely following Susan Voisin's recipe but turning it into my own, which I feel is more of a chowder.  It's not as thick as a gumbo.  I also ended up making a WHOLE LOT MORE than I intended to.  I'll be freezing some of this soup.  Here's what I put in my chowder.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 28 oz. can diced petite tomatoes
1 14 oz. can diced petite tomatoes with onion, green pepper, and celery
1 4oz. can of mild green chilies (chopped)
1 32 oz. carton of organic mushroom broth
6 cups of hot water mixed (heated in the microwave)
1 no salt added veggie bouillon cube
1 no-chicken bouillon cube
3 Russet potatoes, diced (any white potato would work)
2 cups of chickpeas (I cooked dry beans in my pressure cooker yesterday and froze them)
1 16 oz. package of chopped okra (frozen)
1/2 head of cabbage, sliced very thinly
8 oz. of seitan, diced
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried jalapeno flakes
2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon diced garlic (dried variety from Penzey's - equivalent to 2 cloves)
1 teaspoon Hickory flavored Liquid Smoke
1/2 teaspoon of Siracha hot sauce (boy IS it HOT!, so I only used a little)

I used my Vidalia Onion Chopper to chop the onion, celery, green pepper, and potato, so all of those veggies were a consistent size, I'd say 1/2" squares.  I also chopped the seitan to the same size (1/2" square).  I started out cooking in a 5 quart pot, but ended up having to transfer it to an 8 quart pot as the cabbage was just overwhelming the smaller pot and I needed to add additional water to cover it (the 6 cups of water includes the extra water).  I did the usual with the holy trinity, and then added everything else, covered it, and let it cook for had to be an hour, stirring occasionally.  It took it 20 minutes to boil and then I turned the flame down to just simmer the soup.  I let it simmer until the brown rice was done.

I had this over brown rice, but this would be equally good without the rice.  Also, I added a splash of Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce.  In fact, I'll be taking this to work for lunch and I won't bring the rice.  It's enough without the rice to be a satisfying and filling meal.  I like it a lot.  I'll definitely be making this again, but I'm sure I'll be cutting the recipe in half because it made a TON!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Seitan and Brussels Sprouts with Pantry BBQ Sauce

I was all set to make Seitan & Broccoli with Pantry BBQ Sauce tonight.  I had 3 balls of Savory Seitan in my freezer, so I pulled one out and defrosted it in the microwave.  I had 3 stalks of broccoli that I needed to use ... a day ago.  :::sigh:::  Soooooo, I improvised.  I looked to see what other veggies I had.  I pulled out a pound of Brussels sprouts and about 6 oz. of sliced mushrooms.

I followed the recipe pretty closely, except that I added the Brussels sprouts to the pan after the onion had cooked.  Then, I added the mushrooms after about 5 minutes.  I totally forgot to add the garlic, but it was good without it. Finally, I added the sliced seitan.  Some of it actually browned, but mostly it didn't get real brown, just nice and hot.  I added the sauce and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.  VOILA!  The most delightful dinner.  I did not put mine over rice, but just ate it as is.

I have to say that the BBQ sauce was a very nice compliment for the Brussels sprouts.  In fact, I think this BBQ sauce would be good on a lot of foods, including burgers.  It is very tasty!  This was an excellent choice for dinner.  I'll definitely make this again with any veggie I happen to have on hand.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

Almost two weeks ago, Laloofah, who writes one of the blogs I visit on almost a daily basis, Mehitable Days, wrote a blog and described how she was given a One Lovely Blog Award.  I read the blog entry, and had actually been back to that blog entry many times so I could visit each blog she listed.  After visiting that entry at least a half dozen times, I discovered that she had mentioned my blog.  I have to say, I was shocked and 100% delighted.  I still find it hard to believe that people read my blog and actually return to read it again, so this was just very unexpected and still puts a very goofy smile on my face.  Thank you so much, Laloofa.  :::big goofy grin:::

There are responsibilities that I inherited with this award, which are to profusely thank the giver of the award and link back to the award giving blog (Mehitable Days, Mehitable Days, Mehitable Days).  Did I say that I received the One Lovely Blog Award from Laloofa at Mehitable Days?!?!?!  :::chuckle:::

OK, what I didn't tell you is what I love about her blog.  I don't remember how I found it.  I think it was from someone else's blog that linked to her blog.  Once there, I was hooked.  Laloofah gives some food reviews and provides recipes, which I love.  But what I love more is her love for life, including the animal life around her.  This one blog entry, Josie's Tale & Townie Deer was the first entry I read and it was a big one for me.  It's Josie's story, including a picture of her leg, permanently damaged from being shot, and another one of the gash above her eye from a dog fight.  Laloofah's and her hubby's enormous hearts touched me and still do.  I have rescue dogs as well, and it's something I'm as passionate about as I am about my sons.  After reading that story, I read many other stories and watched videos of the dogs with the deer, and have loved all of Willow's expressions.  So, if you have never visited Mehitable Days or just haven't visited it in a while, I strongly encourage you to go visit it because it is definitely One Lovely Blog and more.

One of my responsibilities is to tell you seven things about myself. This would mean seven interesting things about me, not just that I'm female, right?!?!  Hmmm ... OK, I'll take a stab at it, but I'm not saying these things will be interesting.  :::smile:::

The NCAA tournament has a special meaning for me every year.  It's not because I absolutely love college basketball and can't live without it.  In fact, I watch very little college basketball until the NCAA tournament.  Nope, it's because 20 years ago, my youngest son was born on the first day of the NCAA tournament in 1991.  I was in labor all day long, and from 11 AM on, my (then) husband (I'm single now) turned on the NCAA tournament and I watched it all afternoon until Derek was born at 5 PM.  After he was born, I started watching it again and actually, it was on until 11 PM that night when I finally went to sleep.  So, the first day of the NCAA tournament reminds me of one of the most joyous days of my life. :)

I make stained glass items. The above stained glass window panel is the second thing I made.  It's about 2½ to 3 feet tall by 1½ to 2 feet wide.  It's been hanging in my front window for a LONG time.  I've made marblescopes (like kaleidoscopes), MANY sun catchers, including Barney (the purple dinosaur).  Making stained glass items is surprisingly easy to do.  I make baby afghans for the pregnant women at work.  I've even given the girl at the local pizza joint one the first time she was pregnant. I like to crochet, and like my stained glass career, I like to give my handiwork away.  I like how it makes me feel to give to others.  Plus, I figure that between the stained glass and the crocheting, I may have a back-up plan if I ever need one.  HA!  I don't think either one would support me.

I cook food for my dogs all of the time.  This week, I made them brown rice with carrots, sweet potatoes, and some buffalo meat I had in my freezer from my omnivore days (nearly a year ago now).  I throw the ingredients in my rice cooker, press cook, and VOILA!  I have an entire rice cooker full of dog food.  A lot of times, I don't put any meat in it, but put garbanzo beans in it.  The dogs LOVE garbanzo beans in food and as a snack tossed to them.  Actually, they love the food I make more than they like commercial dog food.  They hate the vegetarian dog food I've bought, so if they eat vegetarian, it is because I've made it.  My homemade food is the only food that I know they will not pass up.  Most people I know have never made dog food for their dogs and quite frankly, have never even considered it (and I'm betting they would think I am nuts :). 

I kidnapped my son.  My oldest son, David, was afraid to learn to ride his bike.  David would use a scooter (looked like a skateboard with a tall handle), but that was woefully inadequate to use to go "riding" with his friends.  When David was 12, his father and I conspired to "kidnap" him and take him and his bike to the parking lot of his father's job on Saturday.  His dad took him presumably to go get fast food for lunch.  After they left, I threw David's bike in my trunk and went to the parking lot.  His father brought him a few minutes later.  When David saw the bike in my trunk, he said, "OH NO!!!" and started backing away.  We told him he wasn't leaving until he knew how to ride it.  David got on the bike and with the first push, he was a pro.  He just needed a place away from all of his friends to find out that he already knew how to balance (I'm guessing because of riding his scooter).

I am totally afraid of roller coasters and refuse to ride them.  The only roller coaster I can remember riding was a kiddie roller coaster with my sons at a traveling carnival in the strip mall parking lot up the street.  I did it for my sons, but I hated riding it.  UGH!  NO ROLLER COASTERS!
I was in the 1972 flood in Rapid City.  The picture above is of me and my dad's mother on our way out to Rapid City.  We were on vacation, camping in a trailer (we pulled behind our car), and the flood took out the bridge and we were stranded for a few days.  We had to evacuate our trailer in the middle of the night and go to higher ground.  We stayed in a church basement with a lot of other people.  It was a scary night.  The National Guard flew in supplies and vaccinated us against typhoid.  Of all of the places to go to for vacation, we were at the one where a natural disaster occurred.

I report people for animal abuse.  I'm sure a lot of people do this, but I'm equally sure that a lot of people do not do this.  I think people see animals being abused and hate it, but don't take the next step.  There is a house I drive by on my way to work and on my way home from work every day.  I can see the back of this house and its backyard.  These people have 4 dogs and a huge fenced yard.  Yet, they chain the dogs just far enough apart so they most the dogs can do is pass each other when they walk around in a circle.  There are 4 distinct circles worn into the yard.  There is no shelter for the dogs outside of a couple of plastic dog carriers thrown into the yard.  Those provide absolutely no protection when it's below 0º or in a blizzard or when it's 95º in the scorching sun.  There are no trees for shade in the yard.  Sometimes, I see a blue, hard plastic kiddie pool in between two of the dogs (which provides a solid block of ice in the winter), but I don't see what's provided (for water) for the other two dogs.  I never see food bowls, although I do think they feed the dogs.  I've reported this home 3 times now.  Always after I report them, the dogs aren't "chained" up, but can run free in the yard and they let the dogs out.  So far, after the third time I've reported them (for leaving the chained dogs out in the worst snow storm and blizzard Chicago has had in decades with no shelter), they have been treating the dogs better.  I absolutely HATE driving past that house because I know these people will eventually return to chaining the dogs up for countless days, but I am compelled to watch over the dogs.  I never used to take the "next step" and actually report people, but I'm tired of people abusing animals.  It makes me sad and tired.

OK, ENOUGH about me.  That was incredibly hard.  Here are 15 blogs to whom I'm giving the One Lovely Blog Award.  These blogs have provided me with many hours of enjoyable reading, tips, and cooking ideas.  These are in absolutely no particular order.

This blogger hasn't had a new entry in nearly a year, BUT, I have made a couple of fantastic dishes from this blog.  While there are no new posts to read, I still haven't gone through all of the older posts, and I still have more recipes to try.  I got the recipe for Vegan Filet Mignon (excellent) and for Seitan Turkey with Stuffing (the meal that prompted my sister-in-law to tell me I should be a vegan chef) from this blog.  

This is NOT a vegan blog.  This IS one of the loveliest blogs I look at.  This blog gives me all of the down home goodness of baking and cooking of days gone by.  I have adapted some of the recipes listed by Sue and Myrna by using vegan ingredients instead of the non-vegan ingredients listed.  I can spend hours looking through the stories, tips, and recipes listed on this blog.  Just know if you go there that it is not a vegan blog, but it is a very lovely blog.

Thank you, again, Laloofah for giving me the One Lovely Blog Award.  It's been a challenging, but fun, task of sharing things about myself and choosing 15 blogs that I discovered and recommend.  At the top of my list is your blog.  I'm sure anyone who reads it will enjoy it as much as I do.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fork-and-Knife Reuben

This post will be parts 2 and 3 for my St. Paddy's Day meal, which I'm actually eating tonight.  My dinner of choice is the Fork-and-Knife Reuben out of American Vegan Kitchen. Last night, I sliced the Savory Seitan ball into thin slices.  I made the marinade and put the seitan in it to marinate overnight and all day long today.
The seitan was ready to cook when I got home tonight.  First, I made the sauce and put it in a bowl in my fridge to chill while I cooked the seitan.  I have a huge skillet that accommodated all of the pieces of seitan since I was only making a half batch.
After it had heated through for 7 or 8 minutes, I added the marinade and cooked it until the marinade was almost gone.  I didn't have any rye bread, so I used double fiber bread.  I spread Dijon mustard on one slice, added a layer of seitan, added a layer of sauerkraut, and then added a drizzle of the sauce.  The recipes only calls for the sauce on the outside of the sandwich once it's done, but I HAD to put a generous drizzle on top of the sauerkraut.
Next, I popped the sandwich in a parchment bag and put it in my Rocket Grill to grill for about 2 minutes.  What came out was perfection!
I drizzled more sauce on the finished sandwich, grabbed a fork and knife, a cold beer, and sat down to enjoy my creation ... compliments of American Vegan Kitchen and Tamasin Noyes, of course! :)  This is a most excellent cookbook.  I have loved everything I've made out of it. I highly recommend it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Savory Seitan - St. Paddy's Day Part 1

My goal is to make Fork-and-Knife Reubens in American Vegan Kitchen (p. 106) for St. Patrick's Day.  However, knowing what I do about cooking for a vegan diet, I figured I should start looking at preparation NOW.  :::chuckle:::  Actually, I have to keep the office open for OT on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so I wanted to get a jump.  Tonight, I made Savory Seitan (p. 5) in American Vegan Kitchen in preparation for my Reuben dinner on St. Paddy's Day.
I'm making the slow cooker version.  I only needed to form 4 balls out of the dough, which was easy enough.  My dough was stickier than I'm used to (for homemade seitan), but I forged ahead.  It's in my slow cooker for the next 8 hours (really longer if you count the "warm" time it will have while I'm still snoozing at 4:30AM).  I did not have any veggie broth in my house, so I used 2½ cups of No Chicken broth (Imagine), 4 cups of water with 1½ teaspoons No-Chicken Better than Bouillon, and 2 cups of water with ½ No-Beef bouillon cube.  How does that sound for variety? :::chuckle:::  I had to add the last (no-beef variety) so that the water would cover the seitan balls as stated in the recipe.  After three hours in the crock pot, the seitan balls have grown.
After slow cooking all night in the VersaCooker, my seitan looks like it's done.
Since this is the first time I made the Savory Seitan recipe, I'm hoping it looks like it should.  It looks good to me.  I saved the broth and stuck it in my freezer to use to make more seitan or to use as a gravy base.  I only kept one seitan ball out and froze the other three to use in future dishes.
So, my seitan is prepared for the Reuben sandwich for St. Patrick's Day. I'll be making the marinade, probably tomorrow, as realistically, I have to work until 7PM on St. Paddy's Day, and I won't feel like cooking at 8PM when I get home, so I'll eat these on Wednesday.  I'll also make the Reuben Dressing on Tuesday night and put it in the fridge until Wednesday.  I'll marinade the seitan all day on Wednesday and then pull it all together when I arrive home.

I have wanted to make these Fork-and-Knife Reubens for a LONG time (ever since I got the cookbook a while back), and now, I'm finally doing it.  I cannot wait!!! 
I leave you with a shot of Kobe, "My Girl", the one who had ACL surgery at the end of January.  She has stolen Skittles (my Yorkie) bowl of food (after Skits ate most of it) and took it to the living room to polish it off.  Kobe is the smartest dog I've ever owned.  I totally love her, but then, I love my other two dogs, too.  :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cabbage "Noodle" Soup

Cabbage is 39¢ a pound this week.  That irritates me as I JUST bought a head of cabbage last week for 99¢ a pound.  :::sigh:::  Although I had not used the cabbage I bought last week, I bought another head of cabbage.  That means, I have a cabbage backlog that needs to be used.  So, I decided to make Susan Voisin's Cabbage "Noodle" Soup today.
The recipe is easy to follow and relatively quick to pull together.  I sauteed a Mirepoix until the onion was soft.  Then I added water, spices, cabbage, and chick peas.  I doubled the cabbage and used ½ head versus the ¼ head in the recipe.  I also increased the water by 2 cups.  Finally, I added 1 teaspoon of No-Chicken flavor Better Than Bouillon.  I covered this and let it simmer about 45 minutes until the veggies were tender.  Then I added the remaining ingredients.
VOILA!  I have a pot of very healthy soup that has less than 120 calories.  I can eat this without guilt.  The next time I make this, if I double the cabbage, I'll be doubling the chick peas as well.  Chick peas are my absolutely #1 bean.  LOVE THEM!  So do my dogs.  They hang out in the kitchen and I toss them chick peas for a healthy and low calorie doggie snack.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spinach, Mushroom, and Veggie Crumble Lasagna

I have  been wanting to make a vegan version of lasagna for a while.  It didn't appear to be a difficult thing, but I knew I would have to make my own vegan ricotta out of tofu.  The last time I made lasagna, I made a vegetarian version with zucchini and eggplant.  I did not enjoy that.  This time, I wanted to use spinach and mushrooms.  Because I had to go to the store to get some firm tofu (I only had silken thawed in the fridge), I also got some veggie crumbles to add.
I started by sauteing yellow bell pepper and onions.  Then I added a half a package of sliced steak mushrooms.  (Next time, I'll chop the mushrooms versus leaving them sliced.)  After the mushrooms were cooked, I added some veggie crumbles and let that mixture cook for a few minutes.
My next task was to make the tofu ricotta.  I used a combination of recipes, one recipe was out of Veganomicon.  The other recipe was on VegWeb.com.  I thought I had fresh basil, but I didn't and of course, I forgot to pick it up at the store.  So, I used some dried herbs and added the Tofutti Cream Cheese at the end.
I used no-cook lasagna noodles.  They actually turned out very good.  I layered sauce, noodles, tofu ricotta, mushroom/veggie crumble mix, and frozen spinach, thawed.  Then I repeated the layers until the baking dish was full.
I baked this at 350º for about 50-55 minutes.  It came out hot and delicious.
Here's a loose recipe for what I did.

Spinach, Mushroom, & Veggie Crumble Lasagna

Preheat oven to 350º

1 package no-boil lasagna noodles

1 24 oz. jar of your favorite sauce

1 14 oz. package extra firm tofu
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced (I used Penzey's dried ... I was being lazy)
½ teaspoon oregano (I used a Penzey's Pasta Mix)
½ teaspoon dried basil (or 10 leaves fresh)
¼ teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast  (I used a little over 3)
6 to 8 ounces Tofutti cream cheese (I used 5 or 6 oz.)

Squeeze water out of tofu chunks and crumble into bowl.  Add lemon juice through pepper.  Squeeze tofu until it resembles the consistency of ricotta cheese.  Add olive oil and stir with a fork.  Add nutritional yeast and stir in with a fork.  Microwave the cream cheese for about 20 seconds, so it's softer and easier to incorporate into the "ricotta."  Refrigerate until ready to use.

½ yellow onion, chopped
¼ cup diced bell pepper (color of your choice)
5 oz. sliced mushrooms, chopped
½ cup of veggie crumbles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Heat olive oil in a pan.  Add onion and bell pepper.  Saute until soft.  Add mushrooms.  Saute until mushrooms lose all of their water.  Add veggie crumbles and saute for 4 to 5 more minutes.  Turn off heat and set aside.  Put spinach in a colander and press all excess water out of it.

Prepare 8" x 8" square baking dish.  Put one cup of sauce in the bottom.  Add a layer of lasagna noodles.  Top with 1/3 of the tofu ricotta mixture, 1/2 of the mushroom/veggie crumble mix, 1/2 of the spinach, and another cup of the sauce. Repeat layer.  Add a layer of lasagna noodles, rest of the ricotta mixture, and rest of the sauce.  Cover with foil.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and cook another 10 minutes.  Let set for 5 minutes before serving.

I'll leave you with a shot of Jordan.  Jordan is a completely submissive dog when she comes in from outside.  In the spring, her paws are always FULL of mud.  Tonight was no exception.  I had already cleaned her paws, but she was still laying in the middle of the kitchen floor waiting on who knows what.
 And here are Jordan and Kobe waiting around for something tasty to drop.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wine-Infused Mushroom Gravy with Brown Rice and Crunchy Sweet Brussels Sprouts

I cooked forever tonight.  First, I made my sons their dinner, then I started on mine.  I threw some brown rice and water in my rice cooker so whenever my meal was done, the rice would be ready.

I had a pound of sliced mushrooms in my fridge that had to be used TO-NIGHT or I was going to have to toss them.  I searched for an hour or more to find something that I thought would be good.  I finally settled on a dish from the Fat Free Vegan website for E's Super-Awesome Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms.  But, once I started dicing and slicing, I wasn't so sure.  I decided to shred the Brussels sprouts instead of just halve them, and then I decided I needed to do something altogether different.
First, I sauteed the onions.  After they were soft, I added the mushrooms.  They cooked for about 10 minutes and were soft, but were still quite watery, so I cooked them another 5 minutes or so.  I turned off the burner and added a couple of tablespoons of flour.  I used white all-purpose, but only had a tablespoon or less of that.  Since I was feeling lazy and didn't want to go to my flour stash, I grabbed the closest thing to me, which was oat flour.  I made sure the mushrooms were coated.  I added a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast and stirred to coat the mushrooms.  I added a tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce, 1 no-beef bouillon cube, and 2/3 cup of water.  I turned the burner back on and let the mushroom gravy simmer.
The bottle of Pinot Noir was sitting next to the pan, so I thought, "What the heck?" and I added a healthy splash of wine to the gravy.  I let the gravy simmer until the liquid was reduced and it was a bit thicker.
While the gravy simmered, I turned my attention to the slivered Brussels sprouts.  I had decided that I would make Crunchy Sweet Brussels Sprouts. However, I like my Brussels sprouts to have a bit of a kick, so I added 1/2 teaspoon of red cayenne pepper to liven them up.  It did, but just a bit.
I sauteed the Brussels sprouts in a little olive oil until they were bright green and a little wilted.  I'm thinking I cooked them between 8 and 10 minutes total on a medium burner.
Once the Brussels sprouts were done, I added a healthy handful of craisins and about a tablespoon or so of slivered almonds.
All that was left was to dish the rice, gravy, and sprouts on my plate and refresh my wine.  And, so I did and enjoyed every morsel! :)

Here's what I did for the mushroom gravy.

Wine-Infused Mushroom Gravy

16 oz. sliced mushrooms (I used regular button mushrooms)
1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, diced (I forgot this and used 1 teaspoon of garlic powder)
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1-2 tablespoons of flour
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce (can use Braggs)
1 no-beef bouillon cube
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup red wine (I used Pinot Noir - Blackstone about $9 a bottle)

Heat a large skillet.  (I used a wok.)  Add the olive oil and heat until warm; add onions.  Saute the onions in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until all moisture is released and reduced by half.  Sprinkle with flour; stir to coat mushrooms.  Add nutritional yeast and stir to coat the mushrooms.  Add soy sauce, bouillon cube, water, and red wine.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and is the desired "gravy" consistency.

This is good over brown rice, potatoes, or seitan.  It makes enough for 2 to 4 servings, depending on how greedy you are.  :::chuckle:::  Enjoy!
I'm closing with My Girl, Kobe Bean.  Her surgery scar (ACL surgery) is still visible on back leg and she still limps a bit, but she's getting better.  She's My Girl. :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cinnacrunch Muffins

Today was a cookie exchange at work.  Did I make my cookies and take them in?  Ummm  :::kicking dirt with toe:::  nope, I sure didn't.  Do I have a good defense for not taking them?  Wellllllll ... no.  I just didn't make them.  There were 11 of us exchanging cookies, so I did get 10 bags of 3 cookies each.  No, make that 8 bags of 3 cookies each, 1 bag of 3 small muffins, and 1 bag of 5 very small, but very tasty orange cookies.  :)
So I decided to make muffins for breakfast for the cookie exchange group instead.  Tomorrow morning, I'll be taking Cinnacrunch Muffins on page 19 of the American Vegan Kitchen cookbook.  I decided to make these late.  I made the Crunch topping around 8:30 PM.  That means it finished baking at 8:45 PM.  Since it had to sit for 2 hours and cool (harden), that means I just now put my muffins in the oven at 11 PM.
I followed the recipe exactly, and I thought that the ingredients would be exact, but I found that I have a cup and a half or so of leftover crunch.  The recipe states it will keep for up to two weeks if kept airtight, which it is.  I don't have enough to make another batch of muffins, but I do have enough to sprinkle on oatmeal or use on a baked apple.  I seriously doubt that anyone at the office will even suspect that the muffins are vegan.  I read on someone's blog that these are the muffins you take to work when people at work are giving you grief about what you eat [as a vegan].  I believe it.  :::chuckle:::

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Latin Baked Tofu with Dirty Red Beans and Rice

Tonight I cooked two new dishes.  I made Latin Baked Tofu from Cadry's Kitchen.  I believe the recipe is actually from Viva Vegan with a few modifications.  I made it exactly as the recipe appears on Cadry's Kitchen, but I used a different beer and hot sauce. I also made Dirty Red Beans and Rice from 500 Vegan Recipes.  OK, I didn't have any red beans.  I could have sworn I had a can of them, but alas, I did not.  So, I used pinto beans.  I also used a brown rice mixture instead of long grain white rice.  I rarely eat white rice and I don't keep it in the house.
I baked the tofu for 20 minutes in olive oil and soy sauce.  I have used lower sodium soy sauce for years, so I don't notice any difference in flavor.  After the initial 20 minutes, I flipped the tofu and poured the marinade over it.  My pan was way too big for this as I didn't end up with any sauce by the time the baking was done.  However, the tofu still had a nice flavor.
While the tofu was baking for the final half hour, I started making the Dirty Red Beans and Rice.  I sauteed the onion, green pepper, and celery. While the trinity was sauteing, I put the rice, beans, water, soy, and a low sodium vegetable bouillon cube in the rice cooker.  
After the trinity was done cooking, I added it to the rice cooker with the rice and beans. 
 All I had to do at this point was close the lid to the rice cooker and press "cook" and let it do its thing.  I love the rice cooker.  It makes cooking rice dishes a no brainer for me and frees me up to concentrate on other aspects of the meal.
About 40 minutes later, the rice was done.  Since I used a mixture of brown rices, it took longer to cook, but I like the extra nutrition I get from using brown rice.  The tofu had finished baking and was in the oven keeping warm, so as soon as the rice was done, I was ready to dish it up and eat.
The finishing touch for me was to add a splash of Louisiana Hot Sauce on the rice.  It was the hot sauce brand I used for the Latin Baked Tofu, so I thought it would complement the meal and it did.  I didn't use it on the tofu, but it was heaven on the rice.
I'll definitely make this again.  It was an easy to make meal that didn't have a foot-long list of ingredients.  It was nice for a Saturday evening meal.  I'm thinking I can just add some vegan sausage to the rice and make some cornbread or other fresh bread and it would be a fantastic meal all by itself.