Thursday, December 27, 2012

Retro KFC-Style Sandwiches

This recipe is from Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen.
Recipe: see page 95 of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.
Oh mercy, this was a really tasty recipe.

I wasn't expecting much because I've never successfully made seitan. It always comes out kind of spongy, and it feels like I am eating a chicken-flavored sponge. Usually I just buy Trader Joe's Chickenless Strips, which are vegan, but the taste is very bland. Happily, this is now my go-to recipe for chicken-flavored seitan.

These sandwiches consist of two recipes from the book. Before you make the sandwiches, you need to make the faux-chicken No Cluck Cutlets on page 181. There is a lot of flavor in these. Part of it is in the dough, and then it is baked in broth where more is absorbed.

According to the book, these can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or put in the freezer for up to three months. The recipe makes 10 cutlets that are about 4 inches wide after cooking. I thought they were too small after I rolled them out, but after they baked in the broth they expanded to sandwich size.

The cutlets are then dredged in a spicy batter made from nondairy milk, flour and herbs, then covered with crumbled cornflakes and fried in a pan. That gives the cutlets a crispy coating, which contrasts nicely with the chewiness of the chicken-flavored seitan. These go on sandwich buns along with lettuce, tomato and a sauce that is made from vegan mayonnaise, pickle and red onion.

One of the things I noticed about the recipes in this book (I've made 8 so far), is that they tend to have BOLD flavors, and that's definitely the case here. It's fairly spicy (cayenne), and it has that strong chicken-flavor (McKay's Vegan Special Chicken Style Instant Broth and Seasoning is the bouillon I used).

I still enjoyed these the next day, after they were reheated, but the best way is to eat them fresh, right after they have been fried and the coating is still crispy. The cornflake coating loses the crunchiness after being in the fridge, but still tastes pretty good.

I'm a little afraid to figure out the sodium in each sandwich, because I know that is going to be a little high.  So I might not have these on a regular basis because of that, but just based on taste, I'd say this is another winner from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.

(for sauce) vegan mayonnaise (Vegenaise used here), red onion, dill pickle, ume plum vinegar, white pepper.

(for seitan) vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, chickpea flour, soy flour, garlic, onion powder, white pepper, vegetable broth, dry white wine, olive oil, vegan chicken-flavored bouillon powder (McKay's Vegan Special used here), dried thyme, mustard powder, onion powder, salt

(for fried coating) cornflakes, dried parsley, dried thyme, onion powder, sea salt, mustard powder, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, all-purpose flour, nondairy milk (Trader Joe's Unsweetened Soy Milk used here), canola oil. 

(for sandwiches) burger buns, shredded lettuce, tomato.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Peppermint Pinwheels

This recipe is from Very Vegan Christmas Cookies by Ellen Brown.

Recipe: see page 46 of Very Vegan Christmas Cookies.
Very minty. Like a candy cane, but in cookie form.

Ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, Earth Balance, peppermint oil, Ener-G egg replacement powder, red food coloring.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Crunchy Peanut Butter and Cherry Thumbprint Cookies

This recipe is from Very Vegan Christmas Cookies by Ellen Brown.
Recipe: see page 67 of Very Vegan Christmas Cookies.
Here are some more cookies my mom made from the new cookbook Very Vegan Christmas Cookies.

I am always suspicious of peanut butter cookie recipes because too many aren't very peanut-y. I don't like subtlety. I think if you are going to make peanut butter cookies, make them super peanut-y, and this one doesn't disappoint. It's very intense. I think that's because the ingredients include peanut butter AND roasted peanuts.

Now, I'm not sure why these cookies are called Crunchy Peanut Butter and Cherry Thumbprint Cookies because they aren't crunchy. They are soft and chewy, but the texture of the chopped peanuts does give them a little crunch, so maybe that's it. I should mention they are a little crumbly too. I don't think that's a problem because they taste so good.

I would leave off the candied cherries and make these year round as regular peanut butter cookies. It's a good recipe, not just a good Christmas cookie recipe. These are now my #2 favorite peanut butter cookie, behind the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, which are simply amazing.

Ingredients: peanut butter, roasted peanuts, Earth Balance, brown sugar, flour, vanilla extract, Ener-G egg replacement powder, candied cherries.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Nutty Wedding Cookies

This recipe is from the cookbook Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

Recipe: see page 157 of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.
Here are some more vegan cookies my mom made for Christmas. These are good cookies. They are similar to Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cakes.

Ingredients: powdered sugar, Earth Balance, non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, sugar, extract, flour, non-dairy milk, pecans.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Almond Biscotti

This recipe is from Very Vegan Christmas Cookies by Ellen Brown.

Recipe: see page 57 of Very Vegan Christmas Cookies.
My mom made cookies from the new cookbook Very Vegan Christmas Cookies by Ellen Brown, so between now and Christmas I'll be showing you a few highlights.

First up is the vegan Almond Biscotti. This tastes really good. It is soft and chewy, except for the slivered almonds, which give it a nice little crunch. There is a strong almond flavor that comes from the almonds, almond meal and almond extract, as well as the icing which is almond flavored with almond milk and almond extract.

A lot of the recipes in the book specify 'soy margarine'. There is only one brand I could find that is actual soybean margarine and that is called Willow Run, but that wasn't available at any of the local stores so she used Earth Balance, which has soy as an ingredient. I'm not sure if that makes a difference, but the substitution worked and the result was great.

Thanks mom!

slivered almonds, almond meal, white flour, whole wheat pastry flour, unsweetened applesauce, sugar, soy margarine, almond extract, vanilla extract, confectioners sugar.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Vegan Bierocks

This recipe is from Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen.

Recipe: see page 88 of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.
Sorry it has taken so long to post another photo. Here's the deal, I've been meaning to make this for the last two weeks and have had a can of sauerkraut out on the kitchen sink all this time. I got sick and lost my appetite, and every time I looked over and saw that can of sauerkraut waiting for me it made me woozy.

I've never had sauerkraut before. I don't know why I was being such a baby. Even after I got better, about ten days ago, I didn't want to go near it for fear it would make me barf. I have no idea why. People can be weird about their predispositions about certain foods, and I'm no different. But I was committed to giving this recipe a shot, and the picture of bierocks in Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day was too tantalizing to resist.

Bierocks are a German-inspired sandwich, which is also popular in Argentina. I was reading on Wikipedia that they are similar to pierogis, which are also from Eastern Europe. Bierocks are fresh baked buns with meat, cabbage, sauerkraut and carrots baked in the center as a filling.  In this vegan version of bierocks, the meat is replaced with tempeh.

I didn't think I would like it, but this was really tasty. The bread contained caraway seeds and beer, so it kind of reminded me of fresh rye bread, dark and hearty, but not too strong. The filling was tangy, as the flavors of the mustard and sauerkraut really came through, and combined with the tempeh everything was soft and chewy. Fresh out of the oven, with the smell of the bread, a cold beer and some mustard, these were amazing.

The recipe makes 8, and they store well and can be kept in the fridge until they are ready to be reheated, but they are definitely better served out of the oven because of the fresh bread smell.

Even though it feels like an extra effort (most of the cooking time on this recipe is waiting. Waiting for the tempeh to marinate, waiting for the bread to rise...), it's worth it because you can knock out a week's worth of lunch sandwiches at one time.

(for filling) tempeh (Trader Joe's Organic 3-Grain Tempeh is used here), sauerkraut, vegetable broth, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, tamari, onion powder, cumin seeds, paprika, fennel seeds, lemon pepper, garlic, vegan Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, onion, green cabbage, carrot, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper. 

(for buns) all purpose flour, light brown sugar, instant yeast, sea salt, caraway seeds, dark vegan beer, nondairy butter (Earth Balance used here).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Carnitas Sandwiches (vegan)

This recipe is from Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen.

Recipe: see page 129 of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.
This closes out my week on the Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day Blog Tour, the new cookbook from Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen, but the tour will continue on for the next two weeks.

You can see a lot of photos related to the book and blog tour on the  Pinterest board for Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day that I set up. I will be adding to it in the future as I continue to find available photos to pin and as I make recipes from this book.

Traditional carnitas are made from pork. The translation of carnitas to English means 'little meats'. Look at that. This recipe really does look like pulled pork, but... it is made from canned young green jackfruit.

I discovered canned young green jackfruit earlier this year when I was reading about the famous jackfruit tacos on the Seabirds food truck here in Orange County, California. I tried making my own version and they never turned out very well.

So I was excited to see this recipe in Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day, and as I read it, it became apparent to me what I was doing wrong. I was pulling the jackfruit apart and frying it and adding some spices. In this recipe it is cooked and marinated before going into a skillet. That makes a lot of difference, and gives it a much better flavor throughout.

BTW, make sure you use 'canned young green jackfruit'. You DON'T want fresh jackfruit. I have read this is extremely pungent. Canned may be the only way to find green jackfruit in the United States, and it is preferred in recipes like this because it is odorless and tasteless. The flavor will come from the spices and marinades that are used in its preparation. I found it here in Southern California at the 99 Ranch grocery stores.

The carnitas have a strong citrus taste that comes from the orange juice and lime juice. They are also a little sweet from the brown rice syrup. The sandwich also includes a layer of guacamole and 'chili creme'. The creme is based on silken tofu, lime juice and cilantro and packs a lot of flavor.

I've only made 8 recipes from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day, so I'm not going to pretend to review it, but I will tell you the three things I find most impressive about the book.

First is the sauces. The four recipes I've made that have had dip, sauce, creme, dressing, or spread, etc in them have all been outstanding. A lot of intensity. I keep wondering what the shelf life of these are because I just want to keep them around in the fridge for general use. I'm hoping at some point Tami and Celine will do a book just on sauces, etc.

The second most impressive thing about this book is the number of color photos. The book features 55 full color photos of the recipes. These aren't generic stock photos, these are Celine's photos, shot for this book to illustrate these recipes. As far as I can tell that was a record at the time this book was published two months ago. It appears the new book Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread by Jennifer Katzinger has photos of every recipe, as does the recently published Very Vegan Christmas Cookies by Ellen Brown.

Fair Wind Press is publishing this book. They also did last years The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester, which had 40 full color recipe photos. Historically, most vegan cookbooks have been low-budget productions, so this is pretty ambitious. I hope Fair Wind keeps this up, and I hope it raises the bar for some of the other publishers.

The third most impressive thing about this book relates to the very first thought I had after I received it and flipped through the pages..... "I could open my own vegan sandwich shop and use this book for all the recipes".  (BTW, secretly there are 3 fantasy businesses most men want to own. A bar, a driving range, or a sandwich shop).

I shied away from buying this book because I was expecting it to be too basic. Like what could the authors tell me about a sandwich? I know how to spread mustard and cut tomatoes and lettuce. This book goes far beyond. I keep using the word ambitious, but it is appropriate.

I won't be doing any more posts until after Thanksgiving, but when I'm back I want to continue with a few recipes I'm really interested in, but didn't have time to make for the blog tour this week, like the North End Grinder, the German-inspired Bierocks, the Unfishwich, the Retro KFC-Style Sandwich, the Party Monster, and the Dagwood Special.

(for carnitas) canned jackfruit, orange juice, onion powder, garlic, lime juice, tamari, hot sauce, dried cilantro, cumin, brown rice syrup, olive oil, shallot.

(for chili creme) silken tofu, olive oil, lime juice, sea salt, onion powder, fresh cilantro. 

(for sandwiches) guacamole, sandwich  rolls.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Peanut Butter Brownie Sandwiches

This recipe is from Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen.

Recipe: see page 171 of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.
All this week I have been participating in the Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day Blog Tour, the new cookbook from Tamasin Noyes (American Vegan Kitchen) and Celine Steen (Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites).

You can see a lot of photos related to the book and blog tour on the  Pinterest board for Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day that I set up . Hopefully that will give you a better idea of the types of sandwiches you can make with this cookbook.

One of the interesting things about this book is that it features a few desserts in sandwich form. There are recipes for Sesame Berry Ice Cream Sandwiches, Mango Butter and Ginger Whoopie Pies, Oreo Wafflewich, and this one for Peanut Butter Brownie Sandwiches.

I am absolutely awful when it comes to making baked goods like cookies. My oven cooks things unevenly. Anything towards the corners on a cookie sheet will come out much darker than what is in the middle of the sheet. I've tried rotating the sheets midway through cooking, and putting them on different shelves. Everything always bakes unevenly. I don't do baked goods that often, so I suppose it's not a big deal.

So, I'm not really sure these brownie sandwiches baked the way they are supposed to. They look pretty, but they seemed kind of dense. I went back and made sure I used the correct flour (a common error I seem to make), and everything was in order. I liked the taste, but when I bit into it, the brownie was so dense and heavy that it smooshed out all the peanut butter from the inside, and I had that all over my hands and very little icing was still inside the sandwich.

I put the rest of them in the fridge for a little while before taking them over to my parent's house, and that made the peanut butter icing harden up a bit. My mom and dad loved them, and the peanut butter didn't smoosh.  Not sure if I made them right, but as long as people like them, right?

Tomorrow I will be doing the Carnitas Sandwiches from the book, which are made with canned green jackfruit. I've got that marinating in the fridge right now.

(brownies) nondairy butter (Earth Balance used here), brown sugar, vanilla extract, plain nondairy yogurt, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sea salt.

(frosting) creamy salted unsweetened peanut butter, vegan shortening, powdered sugar, vanilla extract.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Apple Tempeh Triangle Dippers

This recipe is from Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen.

Recipe: see page 157 of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.
Every day this week until Saturday I am participating in the Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day Blog Tour, the new cookbook from Tamasin Noyes (American Vegan Kitchen) and Celine Steen (Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites).

Just another reminder, I have set up a Pinterest board for the book Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day so you can see some of the recipe images from the book and various blogs, including my own. As of today it is up to 24 images, and counting. Hopefully that will give you a better idea of the types of sandwiches you can make with this cookbook.

Today I am going for the Apple Tempeh Triangle Dippers, which is one of the recipes that uses some of the batch of Tempeh Bacon I made yesterday. This is a fairly quick recipe if the Tempeh Bacon is already prepared.

I like working with puff pastry. It makes me feel like I've made something fancy and beyond my meager cooking skills. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry is vegan, and that's what I used here.

The Tempeh Bacon, which has a mild barbeque flavor, gets chopped up and added to a mix of chopped apples, lemon, cinnamon, and pomegranate seeds, which is then baked inside the pastry. It's a nice mix of smoky, sweet and tart.

There is a nice contrast of textures too: the flakiness of the pastry and the seeds that add bursts of juice as you bite into them.

The pastry is good by itself, but the dipping sauce takes this to another level. It's essentially grenadine syrup, but much better. Grenadine is pomegranate juice, sugar, and a little bit of orange flower water. These days, commercially sold grenadine is made with high fructose corn syrup which gives it an odd little metallic aftertaste. There is none of that here because real maple syrup is used as the additional sweetener. The dipping sauce is insanely sweet.

The recipe is called Apple Tempeh Triangle Dippers, but really, the flavor of the pomegranate dominates.

Come back tomorrow when I will have a plate of Peanut Butter Brownie Sandwiches waiting for you. Dessert sandwiches. Yum!

(for triangles) apple, pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, cinnamon, all purpose flour, vegan puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm used here).

(for tempeh bacon) tempeh (Trader Joe's Organic 3-Grain Tempeh used here), vegetable broth, maple syrup, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, tamari, cumin, coriander, sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, liquid smoke, olive oil. 

(for pomegranate maple dipping sauce) pomegranate juice, maple syrup, lemon juice, cornstarch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tempeh Bacon

This recipe is from Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen.

Recipe: see page 179 of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.

There are a few different recipes for meat alternatives in Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day.

"Gobbler Slices" is a seitan that simulates luncheon meat in sandwiches like the "North End Grinder", "Dagwood's Special Sandwich", and "The Party Monster".

"Mushroom Tomato Slices" is a seitan cold cut analog that features sun dried tomatoes, porcini mushrooms and black-eyed peas.

"No Cluck Cutlets" replaces chicken in sandwiches such as the "Rachel" (a variation on the Reuben), ""Retro KFC-Style Sandwiches", and "Puff Pastry Pot Pie Sandwiches".

"Moo-Free Seitan" is a versatile seitan recipe that is used in "Pittsburgh Steak Sandwiches" (a take on the Philly Cheesesteak), and the "Wingwich" (a Hot Wing sandwich), as well as a number of others.

There is even a recipe that uses tempeh to try to approximate fish sticks so you can make the "Unfishwich", which may be a variation on the famous McDonald's Fishwich sandwich.

And then there's bacon.

First, let me say, I enjoyed this recipe. I am a fiend for tempeh. I love tempeh and have it at least 3 times a week. It's high protein, high fiber, and when bought from Trader Joe's, comparatively cheap ($1.69 for 8 ounces, AND it's organic. That's cheaper than a can of organic beans around here. AND that's about $4 less than a brick of tempeh at any of the major chain stores).

In this recipe, you set the tempeh strips in a smoky flavored marinade overnight, then bake it in the oven the next day, then store until you are ready to fry them up and serve them.

Maybe it's the nature of the Trader Joe's tempeh, but I've never seen it really absorb any kind of marinade, ever. The strips are only a quarter of an inch thick, so the marinade doesn't have far to go to permeate the entire slice, but it just didn't make it. I cut one of these open after marinading and baking and it was still white on the inside. That may be why the flavor was mild, which was a bit of a letdown. I wonder if another brand of tempeh may absorb better.

It has a smoky and mildly sweet flavor. The marinade stuck to the outside, so it does have a little flavor.  It tastes more like tempeh in a light barbeque sauce than something approximating bacon. I don't know if the flavor was worth the overnight wait, and the additional step of baking before frying.

Like I said, I still enjoyed it, but the term bacon is kind of misleading. It's a loaded word that comes with a lot of expectations. I wouldn't serve this to an omni bacon-lover and say 'this is a vegan version of bacon'. I'd never hear the end of that. I'd say 'this is smoky tempeh', or 'hickory tempeh'. I wouldn't use the term bacon. 

Ingredients: tempeh (Trader Joe's Organic 3-Grain Tempeh used here), vegetable broth, maple syrup, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, tamari, cumin, coriander, sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, liquid smoke, olive oil.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Welsh Rarebit (vegan)

This recipe is from Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen.

Recipe: see page 48 of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.
This week I am participating in the Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day Blog Tour, the new cookbook from Tamasin Noyes (American Vegan Kitchen) and Celine Steen (Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites).

I have set up a Pinterest board for the book Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day so you can see some of the recipe images that are floating around the interwebs. It has the photos that I am shooting for this blog, as well as some of the photos made available on Pinterest by other bloggers on this book tour, and a number of photos from the book that were shot by Celine Steen.

Yesterday I made the really outstanding Chickpea Shawarma. and today is Welsh Rarebit.  This was the first recipe I saw when I cracked the book open for the first time, and looking at the ingredients list, I suspected the authors might be nuts. Beer... nutritional yeast... oatmeal... stale bread... What the hell is this 'rarebit'?

Well, it turns out the traditional version of Welsh Rarebit is a gooey cheese, mixed with mustard and Worcestershire and sometimes thinned out with beer, baked on top of old bread. A fast, cheap, open-faced sandwich from Wales.

For some reason, I've always equated 'rarebit' with 'rabbit'. I think that's because there is an old Bugs Bunny cartoon called 'French Rarebit'. Have you seen this one? Bug Bunny is in France, and there are two chefs fighting over which one is going to cook him. Bugs turns the table on them, dresses them up as rabbits, then cooks them in the oven with a stick of dynamite instead.

It's alarming how much of my education has come from cartoons and comic books.

Anyway, cheese toast. I can get on board with that.

The recipe specifies a vegan lager beer. I consulted this Guide to Vegan Beer from VegNews magazine. Dos Equis is the one I went with because it seemed to be the only one I could find locally.  I was able to track down vegan Worcestershire sauce at Viva La Vegan grocery store in nearby Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Once I had the ingredients, this was very quick to prepare. All of the sauce ingredients are combined in a blender then cooked on the stove a few minutes so the cornstarch can thicken it up and make it gooey. This gets poured on the stale crusty bread rolls, then baked in an oven until the cheesy topping browns a bit.

It's cheesy but has a very intense, deep hearty flavor that comes from the lager beer, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire. It's savory and salty. The recipe suggests serving it with pickles, brown vegan steak sauce (according to PETA, A1 Steak Sauce is vegan), caramelized onions or figs. I have another photo below that shows the Welsh Rarebit with pickles and A1 (I really liked that).

Nutritional yeast is one of those foods with a polarizing flavor. I like it because it has a cheese-like taste, and since I don't eat dairy, that's close enough. Really, nutritional yeast doesn't fool anyone into thinking they are eating dairy cheese. So if you make this, don't go into it thinking it is going to taste just like gooey cheddar cheese. It cheesy, but in that uniquely interesting nutritional yeast kind of way.

I am going to continue doing a recipe a day from Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day until Saturday. Tomorrow I am going to try out the Tempeh Bacon recipe. So, check back in.

(for sauce) unsweetened plain soymilk (Trader Joe's used here), vegan lager beer (Dos Equis Lager used here), nondairy butter (Earth Balance used here), paprika, garlic, sea salt, onion powder, Dijon mustard, tahini, nutritional yeast, vegan Worcestershire sauce (The Wizard's Organic Vegan Worcestershire Sauce used here), quick-cooking oats, cornstarch.

(for sandwiches) stale crusty bread rolls.

Welsh Rarebit (vegan) with pickles and A1 Steak Sauce from the cookbook Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chickpea Shawarma

This recipe is from Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen.

Recipe: see page 131 of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.
Welcome to week four of the six-week Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day Blog Tour. This is a new cookbook from Tamasin Noyes (American Vegan Kitchen) and Celine Steen (Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites).

This week I will be making some of the sandwiches from the book and sharing my thoughts and photos. I will be doing one sandwich a day from today until Saturday. I won't be doing a contest (sorry!), and I won't be sharing any of the actual recipes from the book (again, sorry). But please check out some of the previous and upcoming stops on the tour if you are interested in those, as well as reviews and interviews with the authors.

This sandwich sounded interesting to me, and it was one of the few ones from the book where I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, including the nondairy yogurt, which I never have, and which was in the fridge and pushing the expiration date. So I made this sandwich with a sense of urgency.

This was relatively quick to prepare, which is good, because some of the other recipes in the book are a little intimidating to me in terms of prep time. Being a fan of comics, I'd really love to make the Dagwood Special sandwich (named for the elaborate super-tall sandwich creation made by the character Dagwood in the comic strip Blondie), but it requires two different types of homemade seitan, and a tempeh bacon recipe that has to marinate overnight.

Usually I end up trying to figure out what to make for a meal about 10 minutes after I become hungry. So that kind of long-term meal planning hasn't really been part of my process.  I really want to make the Dagwood and will eventually, but I was relieved to find a recipe I could make on short notice, with ingredients I already had on hand.

I thought this was really tasty. It wasn't like anything I've ever had before, and I mean that in a good way. It's Indian-inspired and has got a little bit of heat from the curry powder and is tangy from the nondairy yogurt and lemon. The chickpeas get cooked in a mixture that gives them a thick pasty coating. That could have been a meal in itself.

The coated chickpeas get assembled on the sandwich along with some shredded lettuce, tomato,  parsley and a tahini dressing that is really outstanding. This is going to be my standard go-to recipe for tahini dressing from now on. It's creamy and tangy and lemony and has a little bit of zing from the garlic and red onion.

This is a vegan sandwich with very intense flavors. I love it.

Tomorrow I am going to make Welsh Rarebit from Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day. I have no idea what that is, but it recalls another old comic strip. Winsor McCay was an American newspaper cartoonist in the early 1900's, and one of his most famous comic strips was called Dream of the Rarebit Fiend. The storyline consisted of characters who, after dining on rarebit, would fall asleep and have bizarre dreams and nightmares. And then, in the last panel, they'd awaken and regret they'd eaten rarebit.

Mmmmm. And now there's a vegan version. I've got to try this.

See you tomorrow for Welsh Rarebit.

(for chickpeas) medium curry powder, chickpeas, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, unsweetened plain nondairy yogurt, olive oil, garlic, onion powder.

(for dressing) tahini, unsweetened plain nondairy yogurt, water, lemon juice, olive oil, red onion, garlic, salt, pepper.

(for sandwiches) shredded lettuce, pita bread, tomatoes, fresh parsley, lemon wedges.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mojito Pinto Beans

This recipe is from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester.

Recipe: see page 68 of The Vegan Slow Cooker.

Ingredients: pinto beans, mint, lime, rum (Myer's Dark Rum used here), cumin, tomato paste, vegan chicken-flavored bouillon (recipe for this is in the book and consists of onion, carrots, celery, thyme, parsley, pepper, salt, nutritional yeast, water).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Kidney Bean & Butternut Jamba Stew

This recipe is from the vegan cookbook Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Recipe: see page 256 of Appetite for Reduction.
I LOVE this recipe. It is spicy from the cayenne and mildly sweet from the butternut squash, and it has a great contrast of textures. The butternut is so smooth, it really feels like it is melting in my mouth.

I'm a compulsive list-maker, and going through my notes, I realized there is only one other recipe I've made this year that I loved as much as this, and that was the Tofu Scampi with Spinach from Quick-Fix Vegan. This recipe definitely makes my list of favorites.

Early in the summer I put two butternut squashes into my garden. I've never grown those before, and it seems some types of vegetables are hit and miss for me, but these turned out great. Between the two plants I was able to harvest 17 butternuts. I was kind of intimidated trying to find recipes that would use them all up, but no more. I am going to be making this recipe a lot more.

Ingredients: kidney beans, butternut squash, white basmati rice, canned whole tomatoes, yellow onion, green bell pepper, celery, olive oil, garlic, bay leaves, paprika, cayenne, thyme, oregano, vegetable broth, salt.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

White Bean and Basil Soup

This recipe is from the cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.

Recipe: see page 88 of Quick-Fix Vegan.
Good soup. It's got a wonderful aroma from the fresh basil, and the chunks of sun-dried tomato give it little intense bursts of flavor.

Ingredients: white beans, yellow onion, carrot, celery, garlic, dried basil, fresh basil, vegetable broth, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, black pepper.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kung Pao Chick'n

This recipe is from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester.

Recipe: see page 117 of The Vegan Slow Cooker.
Here is another very good recipe from Kathy Hester's book The Vegan Slow Cooker. And yes, it tastes as good as it looks.

The 'chick'n' in this Kung Pao recipe is vegan chicken-flavored seitan. There is a recipe for this in the book, but I've never had much luck making my own seitan, so I just went with Trader Joe's Chickenless Strips, which is seitan by another name. In case you are new to veganism, seitan is a vegan alternative to meat that is made from vital wheat gluten and spices. It is very high in protein and fiber, and low in fat. And unlike meat, there is no cholesterol. I've never seen it in the major grocery stores, but Trader Joes has chicken and beef flavored versions, and both are vegan.

The sauce on this Kung Pao is thick like a gravy, and the spiciness is very mild. There is only a little bit of heat added, and the recipe lets you choose between a little bit of red pepper flakes or Sriracha (Mmmmm, Sriracha.). I went with the red pepper flakes and it wasn't nearly has hot as I remember Kung Pao from my days as an omni. I added a shot of cayenne when I went to heat up the leftovers, and that made my eyes water, so I made a note to punch the recipe up a little when I make it in the future.

And of course, there are some wonderful textures here. The chewiness of the seitan-chick'n, and the crunchiness of the water chestnuts and peanuts. Very nice recipe, and very quick to prepare.

Ingredients: bell pepper, mushrooms, water chestnuts, vegan chicken-flavored seitan (Trader Joe's Chickenless Strips used here), vegan chicken-flavored bouillon (recipe for this is in the book and ingredients are onion carrots, thyme, parsley, water, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, celery), cornstarch, sesame oil, peanuts, steamed rice, (Sauce): ginger, garlic, soy sauce, water, red pepper flakes (or sriracha), rice vinegar.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Split Pea and Apple Soup

This recipe is from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester.

Recipe: see page 52 of The Vegan Slow Cooker.
I got a little over-excited last week when the temperature here in the Los Angeles area dipped into the 70s. The temperature in my loft hadn't been below 80 since June, so I was thinking "Chilly! Autumn! Soup Weather!" And then the temp shot back up into the 90s.

But my brain already flipped into soup-mode, so I went ahead and dug up some interesting recipes from my cookbooks.

I think this is going to be my new go-to recipe for split pea soup. I had been making it with a big chunk of potato, but this recipe does away with that and uses a peeled apple. It's not as thick as pasty as my old soup, and it is mildly sweet. Even though the instructions said to give it 6-8 hours in the slow cooker, it was done after four hours. Good recipe. I'll definitely make it again.

Kathy Hester, the author of the book, has posted the recipe for this on her Healthy Slow Cooking website.

Ingredients: split peas, apple, lemon juice, carrots, celery, thyme, balsamic vinegar, coriander, nutmeg, garlic, bay leaf, water, vegan chicken-flavored bouillon (a recipe for this is included in the book and contains onion, carrots, thyme, celery, parsley, pepper, salt, nutritional yeast and water)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Seitan Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

This recipe is from the cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.
Recipe: see page 118 of Quick-Fix Vegan.
This is another good, fast recipe from Quick-Fix Vegan.  The most time-consuming part was slicing the onion and tomato. The tangy tzatziki sauce really makes this.

I think a key to this recipe is to use fresh pita bread. I've used pita that was from a bag that was opened 3 days previous, and it split when I went to fold it. I also tried steaming a pita for a little bit to make it more pliable and that made the bread rubbery. So, I think fresh is the way to go.

Ingredients: seitan (Trader Joe's Beef-less Strips used here), tomato, lettuce, red onion, pita bread, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, black pepper, olive oil, rosemary, oregano, salt, vegan yogurt (Whole Soy & Co. Plain Yogurt used here), cucumber, garlic, fresh dill, salt and pepper.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stovetop Fruit Crisp

This recipe is from the cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.
 Recipe: see page 194 of Quick-Fix Vegan.
This was tasty, and fast to prepare. It is sweet from the peaches and berries, and a little crunchy from the granola. It is a fruit crisp, but the twist is that it is made on the stove-top in a skillet, rather than in a pan in the oven. I was a little worried about this sticking to the pan and burning, so I kept an close eye on it, but the bottom still burned. I just served the top part.

I have stainless steel pans, so the clean up took a little bit of work. I think I would be nervous about making this in a Teflon skillet, out of fear it would still burn and damage the surface.

Ingredients: fresh peaches, berries, granulated sugar, fresh lemon juice, cornstarch, granola, all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger, vegetable oil.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chard and Red Lentil Soup

This recipe is from the cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.

Recipe: see page 101 of Quick-Fix Vegan.

Ingredients: red lentils, chard, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth (Trader Joe's Low Sodium Vegetable Broth used here), onion, carrots, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, olive oil, salt, black pepper .

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Summer Pasta with Red and Yellow Tomatoes

This recipe is from the cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.

Recipe: see page 72 of Quick-Fix Vegan.

Ingredients: farfalle pasta, zucchini, yellow squash, baby spinach, red grape tomatoes, yellow grape tomatoes, cannellini beans, fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, scallions, black pepper, salt.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Artichoke Hearts with Garlic and Capers

This recipe is from the cookbook Vegan Fire and Spice by Robin Robertson.

Recipe: see page 63 of Vegan Fire and Spice.

Ingredients: artichoke hearts, capers, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper, fresh parsley, dried bread crumbs, salt.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tofu "Scampi" with Spinach

This recipe is from the cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.

Recipe: see page 44 of Quick-Fix Vegan.
I'll tell you how much I like this recipe. I made it for lunch yesterday and right after I finished I wondered if it would be weird to make it again for dinner. So I didn't. I woke up this morning and wondered if it would be weird to make it for breakfast. So I didn't. But I did make it for lunch again. It is really good.

I'm not much of a fan of tofu, but this does it right. The outside has a crispy shell that is made from the cornstarch and spices, and the inside is soft and chewy. And then you have the creamy chewiness of the spinach and the tangy zest of the lemon juice and white wine. Dulse flakes are one of the ingredients. Dulse is a type of seaweed. That gives this dish a 'taste of the ocean'. Really outstanding. I wonder if it would be weird to make it for dinner tonight.

Ingredients: extra firm tofu, fresh baby spinach, olive oil, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, dry white wine, fresh lemon juice, cornstarch, dulse, black pepper.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Two-Tomato Pastry Purses

This recipe is from the cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.

Recipe: see page 29 of Quick-Fix Vegan.
It's near the end of summer and the tomato plants in my garden have started dying out. I realized I haven't really used any tomatoes in this blog recently, so I scrambled through my cookbooks to find some tomato recipes before the rest of the plants go.

This is another recipe from Quick-Fix Vegan. It has some fresh cherry tomatoes with sun-dried tomatoes, and olives, scallions and basil that are cooked down then placed in little pastry squares and folded over. I'm not sure if the 'purses' are supposed to stay closed during cooking. All of mine opened up. Still looks nice either way.

This was a good appetizer. The puff pastry is fluffy and crisp, and the filling is very sweet and tomato-y. This recipe makes the kitchen smell great while it is cooking.

This was the first time I made this, and start to finish it took about 50 minutes. The oven needs to warm up, the puff pastry needs to thaw, and the filling needs to cook on the stove top, then cool before being put into the purses. With practice I might be able to get that down to 35 minutes, but the first time through it wasn't a quick fix. It's a lot of time to spend on an appetizer. Still tasty though.

Ingredients: oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, scallions, garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, black pepper, vegan puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm used here).