Saturday, June 14, 2014

Kale Salad in a Cucumber Cup

Kale, kale, kale! Everyone is talking about the health benefits of kale and it is suddenly a staple on restaurant menus.  Curly kale is popular, but there are so many varieties like Red Russian or Dinosaur.  All I'm gonna say is that I liked kale before it was cool.  Have you always loved kale or are you a recent convert?

One of the latest assignments for my Plant Based Rouxbe course focused on kale.  We learned about the different ways to wilt raw kale for salads.  One of the suggestions for our wilted leftovers was a kale, radish and avocado salad. 

Often times I find that some dishes are too salty for me, so I skipped it here. For this salad, Rouxbe also had a tasty recipe for a sesame, sunflower seed and spice topping.  The cucumber cup looks really pretty and wasn't too difficult to put together...though there may or may not have been mild cussing involved.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Last weekend, my girlfriend procured two cans of Young's Double Chocolate Stout.  Though I'm not a fan of dark beers, I asked that she save some so I could make Chocolate Stout Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule.

When I searched through old blog posts, I noticed that I had mentioned making these before in 2006.  Apparently, I didn't care for the recipe much at the time, though I may have baked them too long.

This time around we both loved these cupcakes.   They have a rich chocolate flavor and are uber moist.  Cocoa powder, sugar, flour and a little bit of oil make a delicious chocolate crumble on top.

You might have noticed the silicone liner in the photo.  I received these Cupcake Liners from The New York Baking Company on Amazon to test and review.  These were quite nice compared to another brand I tried in the past.  There's a full review of mine over on the product page, so I won't bore you with it here.

Instead I'll tell you these are definitely one of my favorite cupcakes from Isa's book.  I'm glad I gave them a second chance.  If you haven't tried them yet, add them to your list. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Red and White Quinoa Kale Salad

Quick update: Recently added Forbidden City Bistro to the Vegchic New England Dining Blog. Check out the post and delicious photos over at

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the Rouxbe Plant Based Cooking Course which I have been excited about starting.  It actually began while I was camping up at Acadia.  I broke out my Kindle, wrangled up a wifi connection, and was able to watch the intro videos.  It is nice that the Rouxbe site works on many platforms and I didn't need to bring a laptop with me.

The first homework assignment was documenting the preparation of my go-to dish.  This was designed to get students accustomed to the photo/upload/grading process.  A portion of the grade was based on a photo of our mise en place.  This is a term I had heard before but never really understood.  For anyone who doesn't know, this is a French phrase which means "putting in place."  Gathering all of your ingredients and getting them ready to go before you start cooking prevents rushing around, trying to simultaneously measure, cook, chop, and add ingredients in time.  It also means you don't get half way through a recipe and notice you are out of cashews.

Here's a photo of my mise en place.  Any ideas as to what I am planning to prepare?

Late last year, I was a recipe tester for an upcoming cookbook titled Going Vegan: The Complete Guide to Making a Healthy Transition to a Plant-Based Lifestyle (Available August 2014).  Our absolute favorite recipe from this book is the Red and White Quinoa and Kale Salad.  The ingredients are fresh, the sauce is wonderful and you can enjoy this as a side or a meal.

Here's the finished product.  Normally, I'd steam the kale.  This time I tried massaging in the the sauce.  It is great either way!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spicy Smoky Toasty Cheeze Sandwiches

The folks over at Daiya posted a grilled cheeze contest and I thought it would be fun to submit an entry.  My girlfriend was also happy about this because she got to taste test.

You can find my recipe over on their site.  Who knows, maybe it will win.

I'm also posting a copy here as blogspot is a bit more flexible with the formatting.

To be honest my tester was a little dubious of horseradish and grilled cheeze, but she was a convert.  Without hesitation, I can say this is one of my favorite sandwiches ever.

Spicy Smoky Toasty Cheeze Sandwiches
Smoky portobellos with Daiya Provolone and creamy horseradish aoili to add a little kick = one incredible sandwich.

Makes 2

2 Provolone style cheeze slices
2 portobello mushrooms
2 slices of purple onion
1/2 cup fresh spinach
1/4 cup vegan mayo
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried dill
1 1/2 tsp horseradish
1 tsp capers
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp tamari
splash olive oil
splash balsamic vinegar
Earth Balance for toasting

Remove gills from the mushrooms, then cut portobellos into slices just under 1/4 inch thick. Cut the slices in half so the mushroom pieces are the almost bite size for the sandwich. Throw the mushrooms directly into a pan on medium heat and let them start cooking while you prepare the sauces.

Smoky Mushroom Sauce: Combine tamari, liquid smoke, splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.

Use a spatula to stir the mushrooms. When all of the liquid has cooked off, pour the sauce into the pan. Continue stirring until the mushrooms are coated and again the liquid has cooked away. Turn of the heat and put mushrooms aside.

Horseradish Aoli: Combine vegan mayo, lemon juice, horseradish, dill, and capers. If you like more spice, feel free to add extra horseradish.

Spread Earth Balance or margarine on two slices of your favorite bread. Spoon some aoli onto one slice, add half the mushrooms, some purple onion, 1/2 the spinach, a Daiya Provolone style slice and cover with the last slice of bread. Toast in a pan a few minutes on each side. Repeat to make second sandwich and enjoy.

Wow! You are still reading this post?  Superb.  This week I'm beginning the plant based certification course over at Rouxbe.  I'm very excited to start with basics and then progress along completing more than 120 hours of course work.  Chef Chad Sarno will be teaching and there will be some high profile students in the class, like Jason Wrobel. I'm hoping to learn and a share a lot which means more frequent posts.  Stay tuned! 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Vegan Reubens

As mentioned in my previous blog post, the leftover corned seitan from the boiled dinner was used to make Reuben sandwiches.  A typical Reuben consists of corn beef, swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and sauerkraut on grilled rye bread. 

The Chicago Diner's recipe for their Radical Reuben (including the corned seitan and Russian dressing) can be found over on the bottom of this page from Vegetarian Times.

We used some vegan rye from our local bakery and Daiya Swiss slices to put together these amazing sandwiches.  While the bread was toasting, I would heat up the seitan in a pan and let the swiss melt over the top.  Assembly was easy, just use a spatula to deposit the melty seitan and cheeze onto the rye.  Then add some dressing, chopped fresh cabbage and/or sauerkraut.

The delicious Radical Reuben

The time investment is worth it, go make same seitan and enjoy your own Reuben or head to the diner if you are in Chicago.  We just got back from visiting a friend in the Windy City, so I'll post some pictures of our meals at the Chicago Diner soon.

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.