Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day - New England Boiled Dinner

In Boston on Saint Patty's Day, you can expect many people will be preparing a New England Boiled Dinner.  It is a simple dish where you boil veggies like cabbage, carrots, potatoes and onions along with corned beef.  Why is that Irish?  Well even though the original dish in Ireland was made with bacon, the Irish immigrants here in Boston often chose corned beef because it was inexpensive.  Back at home, corned beef was a luxury item.

You might be wondering why I am writing a post about boiled dinner when I wouldn't actually eat corned beef.  The answer is simple.  I've always wanted to make corned seitan and Saint Patrick's day seemed like the perfect excuse.   Not to mention, I'd have left over seitan to make vegan Reubens. 

After researching for awhile, I chose the Chicago Diner recipe.  You can find it towards the bottom of this Vegetarian Times article.  It is brilliant because the seitan gets the pink color from beet juice and the pickled flavor from pickling spices as well as pickle juice.  I decided to use the liquid from pickled beets to amp up the pickley goodness.

The vegetable mix I chose was cabbage, red potatoes, carrots, and onions.  Some folks add rutabaga or celery too.  I boiled the veggies in broth for seasoning, and plated them with the seitan.  The reason I didn't boil the seitan with the vegetables is because I didn't want to dilute the goodness it had going on. Pickley goodness.

The dish turned out beautifully and we enjoyed our Irish inspired meal with a side of mustard.  The seitan was also AMAZING in the Reuben sandwiches which I shall post about next week.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza With Tofu Blue Cheese

We aren't really big football fans, but when it comes to Super Bowl parties you can't beat the food.  One of our favorites is buffalo sauce and we love tempeh wingz. While seeking inspiration at Keepin' It Kind, I saw a recipe for Buffalo Cauliflower Wing Pizza with Tofu Blue Cheese Spread and knew instantly we would be enjoying this on game night

The recipe takes some time between breading/cooking the cauliflower, making the cheese and baking the pizza, so plan accordingly.  I found that the breading didn't stand up well to the sauce and it stuck to the pan.  Honestly I'd probably skip that step next time and just bake the cauliflower in the buffalo sauce first.  Then top the pizza and bake again. This would save a bit of time and make cleanup easier.

The tofu blue cheese is awesome. It would be great on a salad.  Since I'm bad at following recipes to a T, I skipped the kelp.  Though I am no friend to seaweed, it's hard to imagine anyone would miss it here.  There are plenty of other flavors to enjoy.

When you combine the tofu blue cheese with cauliflower in spicy/sweet buffalo sauce, you get one ridiculously amazing pizza. 

Don't wait for the next Super Bowl to try this out. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Jammy Quinoa Coffee Cake (Gluten Free)

We were getting together with friends for a game/movie night and I planned to bring a snack when I saw Tami's blog post about Jammin' Qunioa Crumb Cake.  One of our friends has Celiac and this recipe stood out because so many flour ingredients were already gluten free.  I figured I'd take a stab at converting the recipe to be completely gluten free.  It worked out perfectly and everybody loved this delicious coffee cake.   The flavors were balanced and it wasn't too sweet.  The cake was moist and delicious.  

I wouldn't hesitate to make this again, though might use Earth Balance instead of coconut oil for the topping.  Speaking of the crumb topping, we really dug the crunchy quinoa.  

The recipe is not mine, but was adapted from Tami's blog linked above.

Behold the jammy goodness.  

Jammy Gluten Free Quinoa Coffee Cake


3/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour mix (I used Bob's Red Mill)

3/4 cup quinoa flour

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup plain unsweetened non dairy milk

1/3 cup melted refined coconut oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


2/3 cup jam

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

3 packed tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons quinoa

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons melted refined coconut oil

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Whisk together the flours, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl. Stir in the milk, coconut oil, and vanilla until combined. The mixture will be thick. Spread and press it into the baking dish evenly. Spread the jam evenly over the dough.

To make the streusel, combine the flour, sugar, quinoa, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the oil, and stir until mixed. Spread the mixture on top of the jam layer, gently pressing it in. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, the center should not be jiggly. Pull a bit of the paper away from the crust to be sure it is lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bavarian Pretzels Veganized

We're huge fans of soft pretzels.  The last go around we tried making them with pizza dough and even did the baking soda dip before cooking to create the brown crunchy crust.  The results were quite good.  

Last week, I was really excited to see an article on Tasting Table for Bavarian pretzels with a recipe.  It isn't tough to veganize at all.  Just use vegan butter and skip the egg wash. Oh and, of course, find a vegan Pilsner. 

We wandered around the liquor store with the Barnivore site loaded on our phones.  Our choice was Mama's Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blue's Brewery.  Hopefully no one will judge us too harshly for picking a Czech Pilsner instead of a German one.  Maybe we'll try Pilsner Urquell next time.

The dough is definitely stiff, so I was glad to have a mixer that could handle it and save my muscles for making the pretzels.  Other than that, the instructions were a dream to follow and there was even a video to show how to roll them out properly.

We tried a couple of different toppings including plain kosher salt, sesame seeds, and za'atar.  Anyone who knows me is quite aware of my mustard addiction.  On the side of the plate you see 4 mustards we tried with the pretzels: Raye's Winter Garden, Trader Joe's Provencal, Trader Joe's Black Currant, and plain store brand dijon.  Neither of us cared for the black currant.  Raye's Winter Garden is one of our favorites, if you can find it.  They are located in Maine!

These pretzels are by far, the best we have ever had.  We can't wait to make them again.  Sorry SuperPretzels, you are no match. 

See the pretzels below and check out the recipe on Tasting Table to make your own.  Thanks Andrea Slonecker for sharing, your pretzel cookbook is on my wish list.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tons of Strawberries

Tons may be an exaggeration, but we planted about 50 baby strawberry plants last summer.  My girlfriend diligently fought the evil weeds and the tiny berry plants began to take over the garden.  Now, with hardly any effort on our part, the weeds barely have any room to grow! 

Last year, there weren't many berries and the creatures in the yard got to them before any were ripe enough to eat. This year, we managed to pick more than 15 pounds...even with the inevitable berry carnage committed by critters. Birds loved to take one bite and leave the rest to rot. We had a fat, happy squirrel that would actually eat the green ones. 

What did we do with all those berries?  Well, a couple of pounds are frozen.  I shared some with a co-worker who will trade us blackberries soon.  During the week, we made lots of smoothies and...of course, I started baking.

There was a delicious strawberry rhubarb crisp.  I used the recipe on C'est La Vegan, but want to warn readers that the berries need to be mixed with cornstarch or some thickener before baking.  The flavor was wonderful, but too soupy!

One night, I decided we should have strawberry shortcake.  As a child, I remembered these round yellow sponge cakes my parents would buy.  No idea if they are vegan, but corn bread seemed like a tastier way to go.  I went with the recipe for Sunny Corn Muffins from the ppkblog.  Isa never steers me wrong.  

Half the batter went into a muffin pan and the rest into a donut pan.  Corn-donuts worked out like those sponge cakes and I could pile the berries in the middle and put whipped cream on top.  The muffins looked just as impressive sliced with berry and whipped cream filling.


Side note:  My girlfriend still asks when I am making the corn donuts again.  They were great just plain.  One evening she even mashed up a broken donut into the soupy rhubarb crisp.  I made a face and refused to try it at first.  After much cajoling, I relented and it was surprisingly good. 

The other recipe I tried was Strawberry Bread from The Misfit Baker blog. It has a beautiful color and nice flavor.  It is very mild though so I could see adding some chopped berries to the batter. 

Unfortunately, strawberry season is over.  However, blueberry season is starting up.  We went to the farm and picked almost 10 pounds today.  (Our blueberry bushes aren't producing fruit yet.)  Soon you'll see posts about the blues!

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Jackfruit “Pulled Pork” Sammiches with Pickled Red Onion

I saw the recipe for Jackfruit “Pulled Pork” Sammiches with Pickled Red Onion posted on KeepinItKind.  It is from The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook which was released this July!  I'm always hearing/reading about jackfruit and to be honest, I've been afraid to try it.  These sandwiches looked amazing so I decided to finally give it a go.

Locating jackfruit was my first hurdle.   After a couple of failed attempts, I finally located canned jackfruit at the Indian grocery.   Beware: there are two kinds.  For savory recipes, the young jackfruit in brine is the one that is needed.  The ripe jackfruit in syrup is too sweet.

Making the pickled red onion was pretty simple, however I managed to accidentally use brown sugar instead of regular.  In the end, I really dug the extra flavor from the molasses.

Though I was initially worried about working with the jackfruit, shredding it was simple.   The home made sriracha bbq sauce is spicy on its own, but quite nice balanced with avocado and the sweet pickles.  That means 1/4 cup of sriracha (the lower end of the scale from the recipe) was more than enough for us. 

All in all we loved these the first day.  The next day we made leftovers when a friend was visiting and she thought they were amazing as well.

I'm looking forward to getting the cookbook (and cooking more with jackfruit)!

Jackfruit “Pulled Pork” Sammiches with Pickled Red Onion

Monday, July 01, 2013

Oreo Cookie Pancakes

These crazy pancakes caught my eye when I was browsing vegan recipes on Pinterest.  When I clicked through, I ended up at a blog I hadn't previously encountered entitled Minimalist Baker.   There are a multitude of neat recipes there.  Before I got too distracted, I bookmarked the pancake page.

Now I like Oreos, but my girlfriend loves Oreos.  Obviously, I needed to make these pancakes for her as soon as possible.  Believe it or not, I even managed to keep it a surprise.  Sunday morning, I followed the recipe from Minimalist and made this mildly decadent breakfast. 

I say mildly decadent because it is a small batch, just enough for two people.  In addition, the batter doesn't have much sugar and the cream is coconut based so they aren't cloyingly sweet.  The flavors balance well.  We loved them.

The recipe was a little tricky for a couple of reasons.  First, the dry/wet ratio is off.  Normally pancakes are 1:1 flour/milk.  This recipe was the same, but the 1/4 cup of cocoa powder made the batter too dry.  I slowly added more milk until there was a proper consistency.  Second, be careful multitasking by making batter and the frosting at the same time as the recipe suggests.  When the frosting is close to done, it is easy to over process and the coconut oil starts to melt too much.