Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Incredible Green Sandwich

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

Recipe: see page 20 of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.
This sandwich uses the Green Monster Bagels from my previous post. It puts some home made guacamole on the bagel along with some fresh spinach and sprouts. It tastes good, and is very fast to assemble if the bagels are already made (that's a little less than 3 hours in itself, so plan ahead). The sandwich did get a little messy after I bit into it. The guacamole squished out the sides, and through the hole at the center of the bagel. The taste was really outstanding when the bagels were still warm from the oven.

Ingredients: avocado, garlic, scallion, jalapeno, fresh cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, fresh baby spinach, sprouts, Green Monster Bagels (recipe on page 178).

Monday, February 25, 2013

Green Monster Bagels

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

Recipe: see page 178 of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.
I made bagels! I've never tried making them before so I'm rather impressed with myself. I didn't realize they are rather simple.

There was a bagel place across the street from my old place and every morning there would be a line of people waiting to get in. Once I got in the door, it was always very humid. The way it was designed, I could see into the kitchen.  There were giant rotating racks that held hundreds of bagels, and I could see the rows and rows of gas jets from the oven. And there was always lots of steam. It seemed so industrial. That's why people were lined up out the door. It was far too complicated to try making something like this at home.

Turns out, not so. These were easy. This recipe on page 178 is for Green Monster Bread, then if you flip over to page 20, there are additional instructions for turning the dough into bagels or sandwich rolls.

The flour has a little bit of vital wheat gluten added to it, which is what gives it stretchiness, and the difference between the bread and the bagels is that the bagels get poached for a bit in a bath of water and baking soda. That's what gives bagels their chewy exterior. It also makes them taste like fresh pretzels. My place smelled like pretzels all day long.

The spinach gives them a light green color on the inside, but I don't think I could taste it. As they bake, the outside turns to an earthy, shiny brown. I was very fascinated with this recipe. I actually pulled up a chair to the oven and watched them bake through the window on the door.

Fresh, they were outstanding. They had that wonderful pretzel smell and taste and they were very chewy. I kept the extras in airtight containers and had them over the next few days, but they weren't as good. The pretzel flavor and the chewiness were gone after 48 hours. Next time I might try storing them in the fridge or freezer.

Ingredients: spinach (or baby arugula), garlic, olive oil, water, all-purpose flour, vital wheat gluten, instant yeast, sugar, salt, canola oil, cooking spray, baking soda.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Seitan Piccata with Olives and Green Beans

This recipe is from the cookbook Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

Recipe: see page 174 of Veganomicon.
It's been awhile since I've made anything from Veganomicon, so I started to dig through it for something that seemed kind of fancy, and this recipe fit the bill. This recipe for Seitan Piccata was really impressive. It's one of those recipes that makes me feel like I'm a decent cook. Maybe that's because one of the ingredients is white wine. I always feel like I'm a real cook if I get to dump some wine in a dish.

So what you have here is some seitan that is breaded then cooked in oil in a pan. Then you have a sauce that is made from shallots, garlic, white wine, vegetable broth, thyme, capers, olives and lemon juice that is cooked down until it thickens. These are served on a bed of mashed potatoes, along with some green beans. Very elegant. It's like something you'd order in a nice restaurant.

Ingredients: seitan (vital wheat gluten, olive oil, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, soy sauce), all purpose flour, olive oil, shallots, garlic, white wine, vegetable broth, thyme, black pepper, capers with brine, kalamata olives, lemon juice, fresh parsley, green beans, (served with mashed potatoes).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Beet-n-Barley Burgers

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

Recipe: see page 110 of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.
This is only the second time in my life I've made a recipe with beets. Or even  eaten beets. The first time was right after I became vegan 6 years ago, and it did not turn out well. But there was a photo of this recipe in the book and it looked quite appetizing so I decided to give it try, and guess what? Beets are my new favorite food!

I wasn't expecting much, but these are outstanding. I've made this three times, and the first two times they were really outstanding. The third time I tried doubling the recipe so I could freeze the extras, and I botched the measuring, and then underestimated the extra time I needed during the first cooking step. They were still okay, but not as good as the earlier efforts. Note to self: always... follow... the... instructions.

The taste is sweet and smoky from the barbeque sauce and liquid smoke. There is a strong barbeque flavor, and the texture is interesting. It's chewy from the barley, but also a little crunchy from the carrots. The patties are sticky, but all of them have been a little crumbly after cooking. I have also been enjoying the burgers without the buns; just frying them up and putting them on a plate.

This burger recipe doesn't try to fool anyone into thinking it is meat. It's just a very tasty, authentic veggie burger, made with real vegetables.

pearl barley, onion, raw beets, green bell pepper, carrot, garlic, black-eyed peas, smoked paprika, cumin, thyme, barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, liquid smoke, ume plum vinegar, salt, black pepper, quick oats, canola oil, burger buns, Vegan mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, pickles, olive oil.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Skillet Lasagne

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

Recipe: see page 78 of Quick-Fix Vegan.
I think I might have tried making lasagne (lasagne is the traditional spelling, lasagna is the American way of spelling it) only a half dozen times in my entire life, so making it in a skillet on the stove top seemed a little unusual to me. I wasn't sure it would work, but this recipe came out quite nice. Really, it's not much different from baking in the stove, except it's faster. I like that I didn't have to turn on the oven and wait for it to preheat. It was just a matter of assembling everything in the skillet.

There are only two layers of lasagne noodles (make sure you get the kind without egg, since most of them seem to include that). Sandwiched between them is the 'ricotta cheese' layer, which is a mixure of crumbled firm tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and spices. The crumbled tofu gives it the texture of ricotta, and the nutritional yeast and lemon juice give it a mild cheesy flavor.

There is an option to use vegan mozzarella or Parmesan on top. I'm not a fan of the faux cheeses so I went with some homemade Parmesan-style cheese, which consists of sesame seeds, nutritional yeast and salt milled together in a handheld electric coffee grinder.

Total prep time was only about 10 minutes, so this was definitely was a quick recipe, and the taste was pretty good too. I think this would be a good stand-by recipe too, for those times when you are rushed and don''t have time to plan dinner. Keep a box of lasagne noodles and a jar of marinara on hand, and then you are only a block of tofu and 10 minutes away from having dinner on the stove.

Ingredients: lasagne noodles, firm tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano, black pepper, fresh parsley, kalamata olives (optional), vegan marinara sauce, vegan Parmesan (milled sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, salt used here).