Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms

So I am very proud of this one! I usually at least loosely follow a recipe when trying new things but today I struck out on my own and it turned out great! So here it is guys. Ethical Eats take on Stuffed Mushrooms, with pesto and "feta". If you try it let me know how it goes.!

It started with the realization that my herbs growing outside would soon be killed by frost. So I said "Carpe Herbum" and decided to use a bunch of my garden's fresh herbs!


Package of large white mushrooms There were about 6 or 7 I think)

  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • basil
  • parsley
  • chives
  • cilantro
  • 1 table spoon flax seed
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 table spoons of medium tofu (Well one package actually)
  • 2 tables spoons of veganaise
  • 1/4 tea spoon of raw sugar
  • 1 table spoon of nutritional yeast

Combine all ingredients but mushrooms into a food processor or blender.... Play around with the flavor. I used what I had around the house and it was fantastic. Lemon juice, pine nuts, cashews etc would be awesome in there as well as jalapenos.


Making "Feta"

crumble tofu onto cutting board and sprinkle tofu with salt and cover with paper towels to dry out.

Saute tofu in earth balance or (veg. Oil) with a table spoon of nutritonal Yeast and flax seed on med-high until golden and crispy.

Lemon juice would be good. I did not have any.

Cut out the stems to hollow out the mushrooms and preheat the oven to 350.

mix your pesto and “feta” together. I only used about 3 table spoons because I then blended the stems with some almond milk and remaining pesto and made a pesto cream for pasta

Dollop your mixture into your caps, and bake for about 15 mins! ( my oven is tiny and old may be shorter if you have a spiffy new oven)

mmmmhmmmhmmmhmhmhm good!


Egyptian Lentils and Rice

Let me start this post by geeking out about the Vegan Recipe Search Engine. A coworker of mine who isn't even vegan told me about it, and it is wonderful! You can look up recipes you get a hankerin' for, or do what I often do and search based on a main ingredient you have if you want to do something with it and need ideas. That was how I found this recipe, which I've modified here some for this post. The combination of cumin with cinnamon is intriguing and delicious.

Egyptian Lentils and Rice

4 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Cup brown lentils
1/2 Cup brown rice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cumin
5 Cups water or vegetable broth

Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a Crock Pot or slow cooker and set it to high. Chop the onions small, then add them to the slow cooker and let cook for 15 minutes. Add the lentils, rice, spices, and broth or water. Cook on high for about 3 hours or until the rice and lentils are soft.

You'll notice that there is much more broth than necessary, and the dish seems more like a soup. Strain the dish to serve, and keep the extra broth. You can add a couple tablespoons of cornstarch to it to make a savory gravy! Or, if you'd rather not, just use about 3 cups instead of 5 to begin with - I've never experimented to find the right volume since I love having the extra broth to use gravified with soysauge and biscuits, or bread.

No pictures since I'm an awful photographer. The link to the original recipe though has some pix.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What do vegans feed their pets?

I get this question frequently. I am vegan and I keep two cats and one dog. Are they vegan too? The answer for me is no.
I honestly have always felt a little bit strange about it though. I mean I love snakes but I could never keep one because I personally would feel horrible feeding it mice, but when the dead animal comes prepackaged and cubed I am OK with it? This topic is complicated.

Feeding animals whether you are vegan or not is complicated! First off commercial pet food is bad.
I mean really really bad! What are our alternatives though?
The BARF diet (sounds delicious!) which consists of Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
I have thought about doing something like this. The problem is I really can't convince myself to buy meat. Not even for my pets. Also this diet is scary. We have always been taught that commercial pet food is the best thing for our pets. Shaking this feeling is hard!

There are people who actually do feed their dogs a vegetarian diet. This also scares me. I am not an animal nutritionist so I really have no idea whether this is a healthy diet or not, but it scares me even more than BARF does.

There are also people who feed their pets homemade but cooked food. Don't forget the kitties too!

Back to my dilemma. For now, I still feed commercial pet food. However, since my dog has the privilege with living with vegans I try and supplement her dog food with healthy vegetables. Why do that? Well same reason we should eat fresh veggies of course-- fiber and vitamins to name a few! Here are some basic guidelines for what to avoid feeding your dog. Stella enjoys carrots, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms ect. I sometime give her ground flax seed for her coat.

The cats remain skeptical.... But Stella is a real fan!
(Click the photo below to enlarge and check out that driblet of drool dangling down.... dang!)

So my jury is still out but what do YOU think? Vegan or omni what do you feed your pets and why? I would love to hear other perspectives!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fried Seitan

I don't remember exactly how I originally came across this recipe at The Voracious Vegan a year ago, but it will always be a favorite. It was one of the very first recipes that actually worked for me the first time I tried it, which gives it huge bonus points, and it's delicious (which also gets a lot of points).

Seitan is basically a dough made with vital wheat gluten, which is wheat flour minus the starch. It's a great source of protein, especially for vegans who are allergic to soy (but, uh, not so great for vegans who are allergic to gluten). It can be seasoned in ways to mimic 'meaty' flavors or seafood if you like those tastes, or if you're cooking for omnivore friends who are skeptical that anything vegan could taste 'good', or if you just want something savory or are tired of people asking you how you get enough protein.

This recipe was taken from The Voracious Vegan, with extra preparation notes by me. It looks complicated, but if I can do it, anybody can. She made sandwiches with hers; I like cutting mine into smaller pieces to make it "chicken nugget"-style. And one time I dipped them in hot sauce and made "buffalo wings". You don't even have to fry these - once the seitan is cooked you can add it straight up to any dish you think would benefit from it.

Fried Seitan
1 ½ Cups vital wheat gluten (one of those little Hodgson's Mill boxes you can find in most groceries these days is right about that volume)
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (if you do not have, then just replace with three more tablespoons of vital wheat gluten)
¼ Tbsp cumin
½ tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp lemon pepper
½ tsp chili powder
½ Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (Worcestershire sauce usually contains anchovies, check the label)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp non-dairy milk
¾ Cup cold water

5 Cups water
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

For the seitan, combine the dry ingredients first and mix well. Next add the wet ingredients quickly and knead the dough with your hands until everything is worked together. Separate the dough however you want for what you plan to do with it later. If you want it in 'cutlet' style, divide it into the number of pieces you want and shape it how you like. If you want smaller nuggets, you can either do the above and cut the pieces up later, or roll the dough out into a snake and cut it into little discs.

Unshaped ball of gluten dough.

Prepare the cooking broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Simmer in the pieces of dough in the broth, covered, for 15-20 minutes. Stir every so often, as the seitan will float to the top of the broth and you want it to soak in all the flavor it can.

I forgot how much gluten was in just one of those boxes of it, and wound up making a double batch. Oops.

Once finished, drain the broth and allow the cooked seitan to cool. You can either stop here and use the seitan as is (stir-fry, roast it, make tacos with it), or go on to deliciously fry it.

Further ingredients and preparation:
Dredge the seitan in the wet mix first:
¼ Cup water
¼ Cup non-dairy milk
3 Tbsp stone-ground spicy mustard
½ tsp garlic powder
dash of lemon pepper
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (you can replace with flour, but if you do make sure to up the spices a bit)
½ tsp cumin

And then dredge the cutlets in the dry mix:
1 and ¼ Cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
4 Tbsp nutritional yeast (omit if you must, replacing with flour, but up the spices)
1 tsp paprika
3 tsp baking powder

I triple-coated mine in the dry mix, and it seems to work well. Fry the dredged cutlets or nuggets in peanut oil (or vegetable oil if you are allergic) on medium heat until they're golden brown and crispy. That's it!

With everyone else here being such a great photographer, I sometimes feel anxious posting images taken with my puny cellphone. I promise these taste better than my pictures make them look!

These are soo good. One final trick that you can do with them is to make vegan hot wings out of them if you'd like. The only reason I didn't this time is that I'm out of veggie margarine. Enjoy!