Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vegan BLT

Now, I haven't had bacon in almost 20 years, so of course I don't really know what it tastes like anymore, but this substitute is definitely delicious, and works really well in a sandwich. It has a salty, smokey flavor, with a bit of sweetness added in the form of maple syrup. So good! I used to make it with tofu, which is totally fine, but then one day I decided to try it with some seitan I had made and had sitting in the fridge. Even better!

So first I made a batch of seitan from scratch. The recipe makes quite a bit, so you can keep the extra in the fridge or freezer for other recipes.

Basic Seitan

You will need:
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1.5 to 2 cups water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce or 1 teaspoon salt
Large pot filled with water. (The seitan doubles in size as it boils, so make sure you have lots of room! You can add vegetable stock or some salt to the water to enhance/maintain the flavour of the seitan.)

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Mix the soy sauce or tamari with the water if that's what you are using. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stay out by adding only 1.5 cups of water, and gradually add more, until you get a doughy consistency. It will be a little more "spongy" and wet than regular dough, but you don't want it saturated with water. Squeeze it to remove any excess water. Cut into pieces that are about 2 inches square. They won't all be the same, and they won't be uniform, but that's okay.
Drop pieces in the pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Drain, and allow pieces to sit in colander over pot for a few minutes to let the excess water drain.

Seitan "Bacon"

You will need:
Approximately 5 pieces of the seitan that you made. About 1 pound or so.
1.5 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon tamari
2-3 teaspoons pure maple syrup (depending on the sweetness you like)
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/8 cup nutritional yeast

                                                                  Above: 5 pieces of seitan

Next, slice into pieces about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick, and toss with 1.5 tablespoons of canola oil. Place on baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment, as I have yet to buy silicone baking mat!). See picture below.

 Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from oven and flip pieces over with tongs. The pieces will be starting to brown nicely, but will still be quite soft.

Bake for another 15 minutes. The pieces will now be a little more brown, and somewhat crispy, but not hard. See below picture:

Combine the tamari, liquid smoke and maple syrup in a medium size bowl, and toss the pieces of seitan until the liquid is absorbed and all of the pieces are coated. Sprinkle on the nutritional yeast and toss until the yeast has been dissolved and is evenly distributed amongst the seitan.

To make a BLT, simply toast 2 pieces of your favorite bread, spread on your favorite vegan mayo (mine is vegenaise.) Add lettuce, tomato, and the seitan bacon. Enjoy!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kale Chips

If you have never tried kale, it is a must have in any diet! Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties and kale is also considered to be anti-inflammatory. It is a good source of calcium, which is great for vegans!:) There are many ways to prepare kale; add it to soups, stir-fry, steam it, add it to fruit smoothies etc, but if you are looking for a different way, these kale chips are perfect! They are crispy, with a touch of salt and seasoning. a great alternative to traditional potato chips!

You will need:

1 large bunch of kale
2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
1/8 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder/granules
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/4 cayenne
(You can leave the chipotle and cayenne out if you aren't a fan of spicy food.)

Preheat oven to 200. Baking these works best if you line the baking pan with parchment paper. I reused mine 3 times, as it took 3 batches to bake these.
Wash kale, and pat dry and make sure there is no water left on it.. Separate leaves from the stems, and rip into pieces that are approximately 3 inches squared. The kale will shrink when it bakes. Toss the pieces in the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Sprinkle the dry mixture over the kale pieces and mix until it is evenly distributed amongst the kale. Place pieces on baking sheet (they can be touching, as they shrink as opposed to expanding like cookies), and bake for about 30 minutes. Check them and if they require more baking, flip and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Once baked, slide off baking sheet onto a plate or large bowl. Mine have never lasted more than a day or two, but I always leave them in the open air, as putting them in a sealed container could make them go softer? I'm not sure.... haha.. but like I said, they never last that long anyways!:)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Easy Vegan Caesar Dressing

If you are vegetarian or vegan, and love caesar salad, this recipe is for you! Traditional caesar dressing contains anchovies or anchovy paste, so obviously it isn't acceptable for vegans or vegetarians. I have made this a few times for my caesar salad loving boyfriend, and each time he is amazed by how much it tastes like the original. Plus it doesn't contain any cholesterol, eggs, or dairy, so it's good for those who are trying to avoid cholesterol, or for those who have an egg or dairy allergy. I don't have a picture of the dressing on it's own, but we made "chick'n" caesar wraps the other night, so I have a picture of the whole shebang:)

You will need:

1/2 cup Vegenaise (or your favorite vegan mayo)
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1/2 teaspoon vegan worcestershire
small pinch of sea salt
pepper to taste (I put about 1 tsp, but I like pepper)
1/2 tablespoon vegan parm (optional)

Place all ingredients into a blender (or I used a magic bullet), and blend for about 1 to 2 minutes. You want all ingredients to be well  incorporated. Easy peasy! :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Crispy Crunchy Cinnamon Cookies

I was craving some crispy cinnamony deliciousness the other day, so I threw together this simple, yet delicious recipe. I had some friends/family over, and the cookies disappeared! I'll take that as a good sign:)
You will need:

1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup vegan granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup flour (all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
extra sugar for top of cookies

Preheat oven to 375 and either have a greased cookie sheet, parchment lined cookie sheet or a silicone baking she lined cookie sheet ready.
Cream together sugar and margarine. Add the cinnamon and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder and then add it to the wet mixture. Combine until you have a doughy mixture. Roll dough into balls (about 1 tablespoon worth), and place on prepared cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork, and the top with a sprinkle of sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. If you like a softer cookie, you can remove after 11 minutes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Multi-Purpose "Cheese" Sauce

                      Baked mac 'n "cheese" with broccoli and cauliflower

So tonight for dinner I decided to try making some vegan macaroni and "cheese" (and keep track of the recipe!). Well I did it! I wrote it all down, and it ended up turning out really well! At first the cheese sauce was meant only for this dish, but once I tasted it, I got the urge to try it with a tortilla chip. So I got some out of the cupboard, and once I tried it, I wanted more and more! It was good just as is, but it would be really good to if you added some tex mex seasoning or some chopped jalapeno peppers (the jarred kind). Yum! Can't wait to do it that way and have nachos and "cheese" dip!

Basic "cheese" sauce recipe:

2 tablespoons vegan margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup Silk creamer for coffee (plain)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup daiya cheddar style shreds
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon curry powder (unsalted, basically turmeric, so that will do to)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Melt the margarine in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk constantly. Add the Silk creamer slowly, while whisking, and then add the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, while whisking on a regular basis. Now add the Daiya shreds and allow them to melt. Keep whisking! Now add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and curry powder. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and serve! Like I said, this can be used for pasta, over veggies, for nachos.... whatever you like! Add additional spices to your liking! Enjoy:)

To make the baked mac n cheese, I simply cooked 2 cups of macaroni and about 2 cups of broccoli/cauliflower mixture. Once they were "al dente", I mixed them together with the cheese sauce in a baking dish. You could add another half cup or cup of Daiya and stir it in at this stage if you want that "stringy" mac n cheese effect. I then crushed about 20 saltine crackers (multi grain or whole wheat), and placed them in a frying pan with 2 teaspoons of melted margarine, and mixed them together until the margarine was evenly distributed. I then sprinkled the cracker mixture on the macaroni mixture and baked at 400 for 15 minutes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Peachy Muffins with a Pecan Topping

Hello! Hope everybody had a great holiday break:) Mine was good..... hectic as usual, but all in all, good. My sister bought me "La Dolce Vegan" by Sarah Kramer for Christmas, and I just made these muffins the other night. They definitely aren't health food, but they are vegan, and they are delicious. They are definitely healthier than most store bought muffins for sure!

                                        Recipe taken from "La Dolce Vegan" By Sarah Kramer
You will need:

1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup sugar (raw cane or brown)
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1.5 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil (I used canola)
1/4 cup milk (I used rice milk)
Equivalent of 2 eggs (I used EnerG egg replacer)
1 cup frozen peaches, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly oil 12 muffin tins, or line with paper liners (I oiled, as I like the way the muffins turn out, plus no waste). In a small bowl, mix together the "topping" ingredients. Set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the dry "muffin" ingredients. Once combined, add in the oil, milk and egg replacer. Mix until just combined. Mine seemed a bit dry, so I added another 1/4 cup of milk. Fold in peaches, and spoon evenly into muffin tins. Sprinkle each muffin with topping mix. I'd recommend pressing the topping mix into the batter a bit, as mine kind of fell off once baked. Bake for 20 to 25 min or until a toothpick or knife come out clean. Let cool completely before removing from pan. Makes 12 muffins.
I was toying around with the idea of changing up the topping a bit, and substituting half the flour for oats (slightly ground), using brown sugar instead of granulated, and using vegan margarine instead of oil. Just an idea! Let me know if you try it! I'm also going to try making a more "tropical" version of this muffin! Can't wait..... mmmmmmmm :)

* Note
Just a side note about all the recipes I make. I use organic ingredients whenever possible. Whenever sugar is listed, it is always a vegan version of brown, granulated or icing sugar. Regular white sugar is usually processed using bone char which comes from animals. Plus white sugar is way more refined, and stripped of all it's natural properties. For salt, I always use sea salt, not table salt. Regular table salt is similar to refined sugar in the sense that it has been stripped of it's natural minerals. Sea salt is a more "whole" version, and doesn't strip your body of it's own minerals. You can get sea salt that is finely ground, just like table salt.