Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Back in the day when I was in grad school I used to go to a sub place called Jimmy John's. Even before I was veggie I used to get the #15 gourmet veggie club. The creaminess of the mayo and avocado blends nicely with the acid of the tomato and the crunch of the cucumber and sprouts. This is just a rip off of that sub but with vegan ingredients. I am happy to say that I found a place in town that sells Vegenaise! Woot! Woot! It is really expensive, so we are conserving it like the Depression era, but felt we could spare some for these subs.
I am taking a few days off now that the semester has ended. Time to relax a bit before my summer research and writing program starts up. That means I have more time to make a nice hot lunch. I bought some sub buns and whipped up these sandwiches.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Tonight's meal comes with thanks to Top Chef. If you have been following the season this year you will know that last week Dale and Richard had to make "green perplexed tofu." I was excited since Dale had won a quickfire challenge a few weeks ago with an explicitly vegan dish (see the sidebar). But then Richard got the idea to marinate the tofu in rendered beef fat, causing me to yell at the screen, "Richard! For the love of all that is holy, what the deuce are you doing?!" (or something to that effect). Anyway, the original recipe is on the Bravo website, so I thought I would make a beef fat free version. I made a few other changes as well. The original recipe says to char the green beans with garlic--I thought I would probably just burn them and ruin the whole dish. I also ended up scrapping the crispy eggplant because I was just making a huge greasy mess. And, while I thought the almond-cashew crusted tofu might be good, I did not have time to marinate the tofu, so I thought it would end up being very bland. And, since my boys love rice, I worked that in as well. The end result kind of looks like a Mayan temple. but it was very tasty.
Monday, April 28, 2008
This is one of those dishes that I made up in my head as I rode the bus home. It pretty much snowed all day here (boooourns!), so I wanted something more wintry. Potatoes. Carrots. That kind of thing. Plus, I wanted to work in some of the maple syrup I bought on the weekend. The end result was a mix between scalloped potatoes and a casserole. The boys loved it, I had thirds, and there was only a little bit left when dinner was done.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Sunday brunch is fast becoming a tradition in our household. Today I added crepes into the mix. Son#1 has been asking for them every since I made dinner crepes and he was dismayed to see them not covered in some sweet fruit sauce. Now, I know I said that the dinner crepe recipe would not replace my sweet breakfast crepe recipe, but I lied. I upped the sugar to 1/4 cup, and cut the chickpea flour to a generous 1/3 cup. The end result is less delicate but far less finicky. Add this sauce for super tastiness.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
I am testing recipes for an upcoming cookbook! The author is The Happy Herbivore, and she is churning out recipes faster than I can make them. These, as the name suggests, are a very crispy nugget--my boys pound them back with plenty of plum sauce. If you are interested in the upcoming cookbook (and the over 200 non-cookbook recipes already posted), check out The Happy Herbivore blog for updates.
Posted by Vegan Dad at 9:23 PM
I love this dish because it highlights cloves, which are usually hiding in the background in Mexican cooking. This is a simple dish but tasty which is made even better if you make your own tortillas (which makes it a less simple, of course). I used some store-bought tortillas that where more like pressed sawdust that wheat tortillas. Lesson learned.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Irish Pizza? Yes! This is pizza re-imagined with traditional Irish sausage and potato pie ingredients (plus a few others). I have never had potatoes on pizza before, but it just seemed like a good idea. Turns out, it is a good idea. If you are looking for something a little different then give this pizza pie from the Emerald Isle a try.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
These are a tasty little appetizer for your next fiesta that both kids and adults will love. The potato and cheese provide a salty, starchy and gooey base that is accented by the scallions and hot sauce.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I am blogging from the back porch! We have had spectacular weather the past few days: sunny and low 20s. It is amazing to think that last weekend we had a snow storm. You'd think it was summer around here with everyone doffing their winter clothes for shorts and T-shirts. The lawn is now raked, some seeds are in the garden, and Son #2 has a sun burn on the back of his neck. And, of course, I once again experimented with turning my BBQ into a tandoori oven to make naan. I have never had good luck with naan in the past, but this time was different. The high heat of the BBQ puffed the bread nicely and gave it a wonderful texture. Mission accomplished!
- 6 tbsp water
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
This is really just a variation on this recipe, but with a fancier presentation sure to wow your guests at the next BBQ (or, cookout, for you Americans). The pineapple provides the sweet, the citrus provides the sour, and the grilling just enhances the tastiness.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
You'll have to excuse the picture here because it looks like the crepe is barfing out some spinach. These are very tasty and well worth the time it takes to make them. I have spent the last few days grading many, many essays, which always makes me cranky, so cooking has been my therapy. With my in-laws here to help with the kids I can spend a little more time in the kitchen. The crepes are a variation on Bryanna's recipe. They are perfect for this recipe, but they will not replace my sweet crepes for dessert or breakfast. This recipe makes 16 crepes, so do a half recipe if you don't have guests to feed.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
According to this story, the Canadian government is going to pay pork producers $50 million dollars (read: my tax dollars) to kill 150 000 pigs in order to save the industry by artificially raising prices. Unbelievable. One of my objections to the meat industry is that it treats sentient animals like cogs in a machine, and values profit over humanity. This is exactly what we see here. On the other hand, I am glad to hear that the pork industry is on the brink of collapse.
I think spring is finally here to stay. It's getting warmer, though I would not say it is warm yet. I have been looking for a particularly "springy" dish to make, and this one really fit the bill. Panzanella is essentially a salad (in this case with asparagus, green beans, and cannelini beans) with a lemon dressing and crispy croutons. The recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen, a food blog with amazing pictures and detailed recipes. It is by no means vegan (in fact, once recipe actually adds sausage to an explicitly vegetarian dish!), but it is well worth a look for those interested in the art of food. I pretty much followed the recipe as is, except I cut back on the oil and upped the lemon juice, used thick sliced whole wheat bread for the croutons (nothing fancier to be had in the house today), and used nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese. Oh, I also did not have any leeks, so I used green beans as was recommended. Really, this recipe is modifiable in many way. Go check it out!
I love roasted red peppers, and when blended with roasted tomatoes and garlic they make for a fantastic sauce that is a great alternative to marinara. I put thinly sliced zucchini into the sauce for some extra flavour and colour contrast. And, when paired with this focaccia . . . well, things just don't get much better.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Remember how last week a colleague of mine moved in up the street and I brought Ethiopian food and cupcakes? Well, yesterday she returned all the food containers and baked us these thank you cupcakes. How awesome is that? It looks like vegan cupcakes truly are taking over the world.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
If chocolate makes you happy, then this dessert will make you very happy indeed. I made this earlier in the week, but I should have made it again today because I was pretty bummed out. Check out this pic of today's weather. Gah! The only thing to say is, "what the deuce?!" Anyway, this is a variation of the lemon pudding cake that relies on chocolate chips to make a smooth and rich pudding that you can spoon over the tender cake.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Tonight's self-imposed mission was to make vegan bacon (for a BLT) that tasted good but also had the chewy texture of "real" bacon. I have made tempeh bacon before from Vegan With a Vengeance, which was quite good, but I had no tempeh. Plus, while tempeh has a firm texture, it does not have a chewy texture. I thought seitan would fit the bill. I am not sure what I thought of the end result, but the kids loved it. As you can see, the colour is all wrong--these look more like chicken strips. The taste, however, was quite good. The jury is still out on the texture--it was chewy and crisp, but maybe a bit too chewy. I am going to post the recipe for those who want to play around with it, as I will be doing.
You will all recall yesterday's whiny post about trying to get vegan food at an upscale restaurant. The comments and commiseration starting coming almost immediately, but I was really challenged by Natjenn's observation that "I don't think improvement can happen if we don't speak up." Natjenn was right, of course. Although a good cry fest about about veganophobia certainly is cathartic, it does not create change. So, I emailed the restaurant asking for the addition of a vegan entree to the menu, and providing some links to recipes on my blog. The owner responded today saying, and I quote, "I think it is time that we make room on our menu for at least one fantastic vegan dish." And, in the short term, if I give them a bit of notice that I am coming, they will "come up with a creative vegan dish" just for me. This is great news!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
This is a version of lo mein that is rather tasty, but I make no guarantees about its authenticity. I used what I had in the fridge and was pleased with the end result. I would have liked some green onions, so I have added them to the recipe.
I was out last night for a university-related "business" dinner at one of this city's finer dining establishments. I had eaten there once before, and so I knew there was one thing on the menu I could order: the Pad Thai (yes, I checked to see if it had fish sauce in it). The original dish comes with chicken and pork and shrimp, but they were able to make it for me with tofu. No such luck this time. With that option out of the way there was literally nothing else on the menu I could order. I told the waitress to have the chef make me something without any animal products in it. Sometimes this strategy has worked for me. Once, at a sports bar and grill no less, it resulted in a grilled and thinly sliced portabello mushroom fanned out over roasted potatoes with a side of asparagus and carrots. Last night it resulted in one of the most uninspired and awful dishes I have eaten in a while. The chef threw together artichokes, asparagus, red and yellow pepper, broccoli, and zucchini with rice noodles and what appeared to be 1/2 cup of oil. That's right. No seasonings, no sauce, no garnishes, no real taste. Just an incoherent mess of greasy and slowly congealing food. It was awful. I hate to think what they charged for that "dish." The experience actually highlights a larger problem, namely, the fact that many chefs have no idea what to do if a large chunk of animal flesh is not the centerpiece of a dish. In fact, the meat dishes served last night were pretty much to exact inverse of the food guide with vegetables playing a very minor role. And yet this is considered normal eating.
UPDATE: After writing this rather whiny post, I decided that I would actually do something about the situation. I wrote an email to the restaurant asking them to add a vegan entree to the menu, and that such an entree would have broad appeal to those interested in a low-fat diet. I gave a few links to recipes from my blog to show that vegan food is easy, tasty, and photographs well. We will see what comes of it.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
The past few days have been warm and sunny, and we have even eaten dinner out on the back porch twice! This beautiful weather, combined with reading about Urban Vegan's trip to Mexico, made tacos the logical choice for tonight (well, if sun+warm=tacos makes logical sense to you). I did not have any salsa or any sour cream, so I wanted to make a flavourful taco that did not rely on these ingredients. I'm not sure that rice is a traditional taco ingredient, but it works here. The tofu portion of the dish is a no (added) fat version of the tequila chili lime tofu I made a while back. The rest of the toppings are up to you, but the ones I used here worked really well. The avocado brings creaminess, the mesclun brings earthiness, and the hot sauce gives some bite.
Monday, April 7, 2008
If you don't have kids, or are over the age of 7, you may want to just ignore this post. I was in meetings pretty much all day, and Vegan Mom had a meeting at 6:00 this evening, which left little time for making dinner. No real recipe tonight, just an idea that you can modify however you want. Or, not even make at all. But seriously, the kids loved it.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
A colleague of mine moved in up the street yesterday, so tonight I brought over dinner to help her and her husband out. I mulled over what to bring for quite some time. In situations like this I always feel like veganism is on trial and that this is my chance to present a convincing case to the jury. At first I was going to make something with wheat gluten sausage--perhaps a gumbo or jambalaya. In the end I decided against fake meat and went with Ethiopian since it is already essentially vegan. This way they could enjoy the spices and flavours without having to compare the dish to "real" meat. I made Yetakelt We't and Misr Allecha, injera (from Vegan Lunchbox), and this dish.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Spring is coming to the frozen north! Today was sunny and warm and the snow and ice was melting away like mad. All the snow is now gone from the back porch, so BBQ was the only way to go for tonight's meal. If you have not had grilled pineapple you must try it. I am not the biggest pineapple fan, but this was fantastic. Grilling really brings out the pineapple's sweetness. And, inspired by the Happy Herbivore's quest to "put the veg back in vegan," I supplemented the tofu and pineapple with steamed carrots, kale, corn, roasted red potatoes, and mesclun salad with tomatoes and cucumbers.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Veganomicon strikes again! Tonight's Friday night treat was this subtly spiced and delightfully moist cake with a sweet and crunchy struesel topping. Delicious! I drizzled a thin icing over top to make it a wee bit more photogenic. Besides wanting a tasty treat after finishing my final history lecture for the academic year, I had another motive for baking tonight. In my quest to make veganism more visible and more palatable, I am going to man a vegan baking table at our sons school's annual spring fair. All proceeds will go to the school, and I will include a card with a link to my blog with every cupcake, loaf of bread, slice of cake, etc. I think vegan cupcakes will indeed take over the world.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
I know it says polenta in the title, but I actually just used cornmeal. While I like the heartier texture of polenta, I never did like having to cook it for 20 minutes. Cornmeal cooks in a jiffy and has pretty much the same taste. Tomatoes and polenta go very well together, and roasting the other veggies adds a wonderfully smoky and sweet flavour to the whole dish.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
It must be spring elsewhere because we are finally getting a better selection of produce in the grocery store. This week, it meant cheap mandarin oranges and asparagus. I steamed the asparagus and rolled it with tofu, rice, and a splash of hoisin sauce in a sheet of nori. The hoisin makes the sushi more palatable for the boys who still whine about eating seaweed. The plan for the mandarin oranges was to pair them with chickpeas, almonds, and a sweet and salty sauce. But, I did not have almonds, so I went with cashews. Actually, now that I think about it, this dish is very closely related to the cashew chickpea dish I made in January. That dish was tasty, and so is this one.