Monday, December 6, 2010

Stuffed Crust Pizza

Stuffed Crust Pizza


* Prep Time: 1 hour
* Cook Time:
15-20 minutes
* Ingredients (for dough):
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp yellow cornmeal & flour (used to dust counter to roll out dough)
* Ingredients (for pizza filling):
  • 1/2 package Upton's Naturals All Natural Italian Sausage*
  • 1 package mozzarella flavored Daiya*
  • 1/2 package mozzarella flavored Teese, cut into slices*
  • 1/2 package Lightlife Pepperoni slices*
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup (yellow or white) onion, sliced (optional)
  • vegan Parmesan cheese*
  • dried basil, for taste
* Ingredients (for sauce):
  • 1 8 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


* Recipe:
  1. In a separate bowl, combine water, sugar, and active dry yeast to activate yeast and let sit for at least 5 minutes.  
  2. In a mixer, add the dry ingredients and mix on a low setting using a bread hook. When the yeast is ready, add it to the mixer with the olive oil. Let the dough form in the mixer until it forms a uniform ball and starts to climb the bread hook. (If you do not have a mixer, then combine the dry ingredients with the bowl of yeast, kneed until smooth.)
  3. Remove and let stand for about 45-50 minutes or until it doubles in size. You want the crust to be more fluffy for your end product, so you should allow more time for the dough to rise.
  4. While waiting for the dough to rise, prepare the other ingredients. To prepare the sauce, add all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and let simmer on low heat until ready to use, stirring occasionally.
  5. In a lightly oiled skillet, add the seitan and lightly brown. Prepare the mushrooms (and onions, if using) now while you have the time.
  6. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and then use the the cornmeal and flour to dust the counter. Form an even roll.
  7. Stretch the dough to fit a round pizza baking pan and allow some dough to hang over edges. Lightly dust with flour to prevent the dough from sticking.
  8. Preheat the oven to 450°F. 
  9. Cut the Teese into short 1-2" sticks about 1/4 inch thick. Line the edge of the pizza, overlapping the teese just slightly. Once the Teese is in place, take the extra dough hanging over the edge and fold over the Teese to seal it.  Add the the sauce followed by the toppings, then the Daiya cheese and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle dried basil over the cheese for a little added flavor. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until crust is a nice golden brown.
  10. Remove and let cool enough that you can handle. Slice and enjoy!


* Note: Upton's Naturals is a local Chicago seitan company. They sell their faux meats here in Chicagoland. You could use other seitan-style meat crumbles such as Boca Ground Crumbles, Gimme Lean Sausage by Lightlife, or Yves Meatless Ground Round Original. As many of you have heard, Daiya is great. You can find it at Whole Foods as well as vegan websites such as VeganEssentials.com. Teese is a local soy cheese made by Chicago Soydairy. You can order it online from vegan websites as well. I used these two types of cheese for this pizza specifically since they melt well and taste good. Please try to use these brands if you can get a hold of them. For the pepperoni, I used Lightlife's Deli Pepperoni. You could also use Yves Meatless Pepperoni. Lastly, for vegan Parmesan I used Vegan Topping by Galaxy Nutritional Foods which you can also find at your local health food store or places like Whole Foods.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shephard’s Pie Stuffed Portobello

This recipe was a spur of the moment thing this week. It was really good! These were accompanied by my really awesome vegetable soup I made earlier this week and a salad.

Shepard's Pie Stuffed Portobello


* Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
* Cook Time:
25 minutes
* Ingredients:


  • 2 large portobello caps, stems & "gills" removed
  • 1 8-10 oz bag of frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 lb red creamer potatoes, peeled & quartered
  • 1 8 oz Upton’s Naturals Ground Beef seitan*
  • ½ onion, diced
  • Pinch of salt (to sautee onions)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup vegan cream of mushroom soup*
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp vegan soy butter*
  • ½ cup almond milk*
  • 2 tbsp dried or fresh chives
  • Vegan Parmesan Cheese, as need*
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil (for cooking seitan)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
* Recipe:
  1. After potatoes are peeled and quartered, place the potatoes and garlic cloves in a sauce pan with water at least an inch above potatoes. Salt and bring to a boil.
  2. Once the potatoes are soft enough to stick a fork into and they break apart, remove from heat and strain the water. In the sauce pan or a separate bowl, add the boiled potatoes, soy butter, almond milk, and chives. Mash to a smooth consistency.
  3. While potatoes are boiling, start to prepare the filling. Heat a skillet with the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and pinch of salt; sweat until the onions are translucent. Next, crumble the seitan into the skillet and brown. Time to add the peas and carrots. Add the peas and carrots to the skillet and cook until tender.
  4. While the vegetables are cooking, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  5. In a cup, mix the cornstarch and cream of mushroom soup until the cornstarch is evenly mixed. Add to the seitan mixture and stir until even coated. Cook for just a few minutes until the soup has thickened and remove from the heat.Using a spoon, start stuffing the mushrooms with the seitan mixture. Be sure to pack the mixture in so that all the gaps are filled.  Top the mushrooms with the mashed potatoes liberally; you are basically sealing the stuffing in. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top and place in the oven to 10 minutes on the top rack.
  6. After 10 minutes, place the oven on broil and let the tops brown, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.
     
* Note: Upton's Naturals is a local Chicago seitan company. They sell their faux meats here in Chicagoland. You could use other seitan-style meat crumbles such as Boca Ground Crumbles. For cream of mushroom soup, I used Imagine Foods Natural Creamy Portobello Mushroom soup. For soy butter, I used Earth Balance. Feel free to use whatever type of non-dairy milk you want. I just keep almond milk at home over soy milk, etc. Lastly, for vegan Parmesan I used Vegan Topping by Galaxy Nutritional Foods. You can find the soup, soy butter, and cheese at your local health food store or places like Whole Foods.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Deep Dish Pizza

Many people think it is impossible to veganize certain things. I am to prove people wrong. With the exception of something such as say oysters rockefeller, most things can have meat and dairy-free alternatives. The task at hand this time was vegan deep dish pizza and it was successful!


Deep Dish Pizza

* Prep Time: 45 minutes
* Cook Time:
20 minutes
* Ingredients (for dough):
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp yellow cornmeal & flour (used to dust counter to roll out dough)
* Ingredients (for pizza filling):
  • 1 package Upton's Naturals All Natural Italian Sausage*
  • 1 package mozzarella flavored Daiya*
  • 1/2 package mozzarella flavored Teese, cut into slices*
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup (yellow or white) onion, sliced
  • vegan Parmesan cheese*
* Ingredients (for sauce):
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


* Recipe:
  1. In a separate bowl, combine water, sugar, and active dry yeast to activate yeast and let sit for at least 5 minutes.  
  2. In a mixer, add the dry ingredients and mix on a low setting using a bread hook. When the yeast is ready, add it to the mixer with the olive oil. Let the dough form in the mixer until it forms a uniform ball and starts to climb the bread hook. (If you do not have a mixer, then combine the dry ingredients with the bowl of yeast, kneed until smooth.)
  3. Remove and let stand for at least half an hour or until it doubles in size.
  4. While waiting for the dough to rise, prepare the other ingredients. To prepare the sauce, add all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and let simmer on low heat until ready to use, stirring occasionally.
  5. In a lightly oiled skillet, add the seitan and lightly brown. Prepare the mushrooms and onions now while you have the time.
  6. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and then use the the cornmeal and flour to dust the counter. Form an even roll and cut in half. Lightly oil one half and place it in a zip lock bag in the freezer for another day.
  7. Roll or press out the dough into a circle that will fit in a round, 9 inch cooking pan (I used a spring form pan for this). Lightly oil the baking pan and lightly dust with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Place the dough in the pan so that it climbs up the sides to make a wall.
  8. Preheat the oven to 450°F. 
  9. Begin layering the ingredients. To keep it authentic, add the seitan sausage first, then the mushrooms and onions. Sprinkle a layer of vegan Parmesan cheese. Now for the cheese: add half of the Daiya for the next layer, being sure to spread it as evenly as possible. Then add the sliced Teese followed by topping it with the remaining Daiya. Sprinkle oregano over the cheese for a little added flavor. Add the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove and add a layer of the sauce. Place in the oven again and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  11. Remove and let cool enough that you can handle and remove from pan. Place on a cutting board, slice, and serve.


* Note: Upton's Naturals is a local Chicago seitan company. They sell their faux meats here in Chicagoland. You could use other seitan-style meat crumbles such as Boca Ground Crumbles. As many of you have heard, Daiya is great. You can find it at Whole Foods as well as vegan websites such as VeganEssentials.com. Teese is a local soy cheese made by Chicago Soydairy. You can order it online from vegan websites as well. I used these two types of cheese for this pizza specifically since they melt well and taste good. Please try to use these brands if you can get a hold of them. Lastly, for vegan Parmesan I used Vegan Topping by Galaxy Nutritional Foods which you can also find at your local health food store or places like Whole Foods.




Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vegan Tokyo

In the summer of 2008, I lived in Tokyo studying an intensive Japanese language course (4 hours a day) to finish my minor. I apparently took no pictures of the vegan restaurants and food I had there which is a shame. So, I am posting pictures from Google image search and my own personal photo's of the country and my experiences.


Living in Japan is tough as a vegan. Really tough. Sometimes you just had to try your best to make sure there was no fish broth hidden away somewhere in your meal, but it was oftentimes trying to do this. Language differences and your host/grocer's idea on veganism has a lot to do with this. So, I went out to find the restaurants in this vegan dining book to Japan I had.


In Harajuku, there were a number of vegan places. First, there is Brown Rice Cafe.  This place was my all time life saver in Tokyo. It was close enough to walk and they had a take out counter, so I could eat something that I knew was vegan. We could not cook in our dorms which was so horrible for any vegetarian or vegan. The only thing we had was a hot water maker for ramen, but 99.9% of the instant ramen in Japan is fish broth based. Brown Rice Cafe had a small cafe as the name implies as well as the take out counter which also had organic, natural products for sale. From my recollection, the food was very good. They have an English menu too.


Catty-corner from Brice Rice Cafe, there was a microbiotic/vegan and vegetarian-friendly/eco-friendly health food store and cafe. It is called Natural House. The health food store sells vegan products such as mock meats and cheeses.They also sell fresh produce. I was lucky to be able to talk to a sales clerk that spoke good enough English to realize why I was struggling and staring at the nutritional value of things like bread and using my kanji dictionary. So hard. Not fond of those memories! haha. She would tell me what had eggs or milk in them. Very nice of her. The cafe was good. I used to study and spend the afternoon munching on my lunch and drinking tea or coffee. They had a really good mushroom stir fry dish that I liked very much. Oh, and they have a vinegar drink! I LOVE vinegar. I have some crazy irrational love of vinegar and cornichons (fermented foods are my favorite...). So, this was MY drink!
Another Harajuku vegan place was der Akkord bakery. They have specifically marked vegan breads  there. Very good quality bread and freshly baked. Definitely worth checking out.


In Shibuya, there is the really awesome Vegan Healing Cafe. This is where I found my Vegan Restaurant Pocketguide book. A lot of Tokyo is small side streets where you weave in and out of them onto other small side streets until you are completely turned around and have to find a main road again just to figure out where you even are. On one of these side streets, a group of us were walking around the shops and suddenly I see a big sign that says, 'VEGAN". I literally squeaked out loud and went running to the sign. It was Vegan Healing Cafe. I was SO happy! I, at last, found veganism in Japan. This was the first vegan restaurant I found and thankfully, it was early on in my study abroad. I bought the book there and had many nice meals there through out my time in Japan. It was my first experience with texturized soy meat too. I had no idea what it was, but I liked it. I even brought some home with me because I didn't even know you could get it in America! Mmm. The owner was so nice too. She could tell just how I excited I was about her restaurant. She had vegan and animal right literature out by the cash register too (mostly PETA leaflets in English and Japanese). 


My 21st birthday was when I was in Japan. As this is a huge birthday in America, I wanted to properly celebrate it. The legal drinking age in Japan is 20 (they never card you anyways), so it wasn't big news there. In London, for my 20th birthday, I got a vegan chocolate cake at the brand new Whole Foods there at the time. In Tokyo... I thought I would be cake-less. To my surprise, I found vegan birthday cakes to order! Such a crazy thought, honestly. DevaDeva Cafe makes vegan birthday cakes to order (place your order 10 days in advance). The trip to get this cake was a great adventure. I had to take several trains waaaay on what seemed like the outskirts of Tokyo and then go on a hunt for this cafe. Street signs in Japan are not marked well (or at all sometimes). After wandering around for almost three hours on many side streets, I found this place. It was on the second level. Of course. I wasn't looking up for a sign; I was looking at the ground level. I remember I took a Starbucks break in this long hunt and ended up having an early dinner at DevaDeva because it just took so long to find! The cafe had quite a menu and they sold little snack foods (pre-packaged and baked goods they made) at the cash register. 


The picture of me is of my birthday party at our study abroad group's favorite dive bar by the dorm, Foods & Bar. Yes, it is called, "Foods & Bar". Amazing. Did you know they give you edamame, popsicles, and wasabi peas as bar food in Japan? Haha. Well, as many of you know, the Japanese sort of interchange their "r"'s and their "l"s. My name is Alexis. It sounds like Arexis in Japanese. Behold my mistaken cake. It was banana bread cake as we found out that night in the bar.
I had the amazing opportunity to go to New York Bar while I was in Tokyo. Have you all seen Lost in Translation? If you have not, you must! It says so much about Tokyo and the Japanese people. Well, New York Bar is within the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Throughout the movie, Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson go to this bar in the middle of the night because they have bad jet lag. There they meet and become friends. The view is one of the most spectacular things you have ever seen. It was an epic birthday moment that I will never forget. Here we had very well crafted martini's and listened to live jazz.
 
This is a picture of part of my host family in Japan. We are at a botanical garden several hours outside of Tokyo.
Of course, no blog post on Tokyo is complete without picture of Shibuya at night. And here you are. Always busy, always alive. ♥ 
One of the nights in Tokyo, a group of us went to a ninja restaurant. Yes, you read correctly, a ninja restaurant. Only in Tokyo. It is called Ninja Akasaka. It is built with trap doors and you dine in a dungeon. You are each served like a 8-10 course meal. They accommodated my veganism very nicely too! I don't remember all what I had but it was really crazy food presentation. Oh, the waitresses and waiters were dressed up as ninja's and the menu's were on scrolls. The picture of the tree thing is not vegan, but that is definitely a dessert. The soil is chocolate, I believe.
 
Couple useful phrases:   
1. "Watashi wa bejitarian/bigan desu." - I am vegetarian/vegan.
2. "Taberarenai mono ha..." - I don't eat...
niku - meat
sakana - fish
shifudo - seafood
niwatori - chicken
gyunyu - milk
chizu - cheese
tamago - eggs
machimitsu - honey
bata - butter
mayonezu - mayonnaise
sakana dashi - fish stock
3. After finishing your meal: "Gochisosamadeshita!" - Roughly, thank you for the good food (hard to translate).
4. "Ie, sakana wa shokubutsusei dewa arimasen, sorera mo dobutsusei desu." - No, fish are not plants, they are animals too.


Lastly, if you are at a conbini (convenience store), look for onigiri (rice balls) filled with umeboshi (pickled plum) or konbu (thick seaweed). There should also be nori maki there and the vegetarian ones are easy to spot with cucumber and konbu. Pickled vegetables in small trays are available at most. If you dig on natto (fermented soybeans), you'll find it here too. Natto is really good for you, but it is an acquired taste and quite frankly, it's pretty gross.


And there you have it in a good gist. Vegan Tokyo!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Southern Food Gone Vegan



For this blog post, I made quite a variety of different southern foods (of course, gone vegan). This posts includes recipes for country fried seitan steak, my mom's mashed potatoes, southern greens, biscuits and gravy, and coconut rum cake. A lot in one post, but I had a theme going on!


I also forgot to mention regarding my travel abroad in the summer that I attempted to find a vegan restaurant in Brussels, Belgium, but it was only open for lunch! Disappointing, I know. It is called Den Teepot and is only open from 12-2 p.m., Monday-Saturday. The downstairs is a small, natural, health food store. I ended up getting some sushi instead that night in Brussels.


One other important thing to note before moving on with the recipes is that this week (Oct. 24-31st) is the 5th annual World Go Vegan Week! So, for all you fellow vegans out there, Happy National Vegan Week! Eat with plant-based pride. :D


Country Fried Seitan Steak


* Prep Time: 24-36 hours
* Cook Time:
3 hours
* Ingredients (for seitan):

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp red wine
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek seed
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten flour  
  • 10 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce 
* Ingredients (for country fried seitan steak):

  • seitan steaks
  • 1 cup bread crumbs*
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning*
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • flour*
  • almond milk* 
  • vegetable oil
* Recipe (for seitan):
  1. Combine wheat gluten and nutritional yeast flakes in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine all the rest of the ingredients in a blender.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the bowl. Mix well. Let the wheat gluten mixture rise for a few minutes.
  4. While you wait, add the vegetable broth and soy sauce into a big pot. Mix. Do not turn on stove yet.
  5. Form the wheat gluten mixture uneven semi-round masses. You want it too somewhat resemble a "steak" for the rest of the recipe.
  6. Put the seitan into the pot and now turn on the stove to medium heat. Place pot cover on, but allow some room for the steam.
  7. Cook for 2 hours, rotating the seitan here and there.
  8. To store, keep the seitan in the broth mixture and refrigerate.
* Recipe (for country fried seitan steak):
  1. Combine the bread crumbs and all the spices in a bowl. In another bowl, place the flour. Lastly, place the almond milk in a third bowl.
  2. Dredge the seitan steaks in the flour, then dunk in the almond milk (make sure all the flour was saturated), then in the bread crumb mix. Repeat with all the steaks.
  3. Wrap the now seasoned steaks in tin foil and put in the freezer for at least 4-6 hours but preferably up to 24 hours. This helps the seasoning stick better when you fry it.
  4. Heat up a semi-deep skillet with vegetable oil. Once hot, place steaks in the skillet, enough that they all fit (if you have to do batches, do that). Fry each side until golden.
* Note: For bread crumbs, I used Whole Food brand crumbs. Any brand is fine, but check to make sure it's vegan. I can't stress this enough. You'd be surprised just how many bread crumb brands contain milk. Old Bay Seasoning is a poultry and seafood seasoning that is often used in making crab cakes and fried chicken, etc. The seasoning itself is vegan, don't worry! It is just a nice extra touch to add to this seasoning to give the flavor profile an extra uumph. You can find it in the spice section of most grocery stores. I used plain old all-purpose flour for this, but feel free to use whole wheat flour (especially if you use whole wheat bread crumbs, which I did not). The same goes for the almond milk. Feel free to use soy or rice or even hemp! Almond milk is just what I keep in my fridge. :]


My Mom's Mashed Potatoes


* Prep Time: 5 minutes
* Cook Time:
40 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 8 (or more!) red creamer potatoes*
  • 7 tbsp soy butter
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • fresh rosemary, to garnish
* Recipe:
  1. Place washed potatoes in a pot of water and boil until tender.
  2. Once tender, strain the potatoes until warm (but not cold or extra hot!).
  3. Place potatoes in a large bowl and mash with fork until thoroughly mashed. Add in the butter and spices. Combine until well mixed. Taste to see if you need any more butter or other spices. It should be buttery and one should get a hint of that garlic salt and nutmeg.
  4. Garnish with fresh rosemary.. 
* Note: Feel free to use any type of potatoes, but I find these to be the most tender and tasty for this recipe.




Southern Greens


* Prep Time: 5 minutes
* Cook Time:
20 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch collard greens, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy butter
  • 1/2 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke*
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
 * Recipe:
  1. Wash the collard greens and chop them up into bite site pieces. Set aside.
  2. Heat up skillet with the olive oil. Place the onions in and let them sweat until they start to get translucent. Add in the garlic and then the butter. Now add in the collard greens.
  3. Once all vegetables are in, add the spices, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, and vegetable stock.
  4.  Let simmer until most of the liquid is gone. I prefer my greens a little crunchy, so I let them become almost over done. It is up to the chef as to when one wants to stop cooking. If you prefers them just tender, watch the greens until you can pierce with a fork.
* Note: Liquid smoke is used to give it the greens an almost bacon-y feeling. Obviously, we are not using bacon, so look for Colgin's Liquid Smoke in your grocery.





Biscuits and Gravy


* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time:
20 minutes
* Ingredients (for biscuits):
  • 2 cups flour*
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (+ 1 tbsp)*
  • 1/4-1/3 cup soy butter
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar*
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
* Ingredients (for gravy):
  •  3-4 tbsp soy butter
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small white onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup Upton's Naturals Italian Sausage-Style Seitan (1/2 package), crumbled well*
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 4-5 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1-1 1/2 cup almond milk, more to taste*
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground corriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
* Recipe (for biscuits):
  1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in one bowl. Place in the fridge.
  2. Combine the almond milk and the vinegar in a bowl. Place in fridge and let sit alone for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  
  4. Combine the almond milk mixture with the dry mixture, then add in the butter. Do not over kneed! Combine to get most (if not all) of the lumps out but don't go over board. Only use a fork!
  5. Place in the fridge until the oven is ready. In the mean time, grease a baking sheet.
  6. In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp almond milk with 1 tbsp vegetable oil.
  7. Form the dough into small balls and place on baking sheet. With a brush, lightly brush over the dough. This will give it a golden look when it comes out of the oven.
  8. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Some ovens take longer. Check on them after 8 minutes and see where they are at. The biscuits should look golden brown with firm tops.
 * Recipe (for gravy):
  1. In a skillet, add the soy butter under medium heat. Place the onions in the pan and stir-fry until translucent. Add the garlic, sausage-style seitan, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Cook until tender.
  2. Add in the flour. The vegetable should look like a flour-y crumbled mess. This is good right now!
  3. Next, add in the almond milk. If you do this step the other way around (adding the milk before flour), you'll get a lumpy disaster. Not good.
  4. Add in all the spices and mix well. The gravy should be relatively thick, but not too much so. It also should not be like a dressing, thin. If too thin, combine a little more flour in a bowl, add soy milk, mix well (get those lumpy's out), then put it in the gravy. If too thick, add more almond milk.
* Note: It is incredibly important that the ingredients of the biscuit dough stay very cold before going in the oven. This is how they become fluffy. Make sure the dough stays in the fridge until you are ready to bake it! For the biscuits, I used all-purpose flour. Again, please use any non-dairy milk you prefer (for both biscuits and gravy). Instead of vinegar, you may also use 1 tbsp of lemon juice, if that is easier. For the gravy, I used a local Chicago seitan company called Upton's Naturals. If you have a grocery near you that carries flavored seitan, use that. Tofurky makes an Italian sausage that would work in this recipe. Just cut it up into tiny pieces.
 
Coconut Rum Cake (with Coconut Frosting)


* Prep Time: 20 minutes
* Cook Time:
40-50 minutes
* Ingredients (for coconut rum cake):
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz silken tofu
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut rum*
  • 2 cups vegan white sugar*
  • 1/2 cup soy butter
  • coconut shreds
 * Ingredients (for frosting):
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup soy butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch (mixed with water)
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut shreds
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
* Recipe (for cake):
  1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. Combine coconut milk, vanilla extract, tofu, rum, and soy butter in another bowl. Mix well. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Combine well until no lumps are present.
  3. In two greased baking pans, place half of the batter in each tray.
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  5. Cool to frost. 
* Recipe (for frosting):
  1. Combine coconut milk, butter, shortening, extracts, and salt in one bowl. Mix well. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with just enough water to make it dissolved entirely when you mix. Add this to your wet ingredients.
  2. In another bowl combine sugar and coconut shreds. Add the wet ingredients. Mix well.
  3. Put covered in fridge until ready to frost your cake.
* Cake Assembly: 
  1. Take one cake and frost it entirely. Place the second cake on top of the frosted cake and now completely frost this second cake. Cover the layered cake with coconut shreds.
* Note: For rum, I used Malibu Coconut rum. You can feel free to exclude this from your recipe if you choose. Make sure you are using vegan white sugar! Whole Foods carries marked vegan white sugar, but if all else fails, use raw cane sugar.




Phew, done typing all those recipes! I hope you try some out and enjoy them! In other news, I adopted a new kitten about a month ago and named her Lucy. She is 100% blind (missing both eyes) and is very sweet and active. Popeye, my other blind cat (3/4th blind or so), has gotten used to her and they play with each other now. My house is one blind kitty central! to special needs pets. 


A couple weeks ago was Chicago's annual vegan celebration, Chicago VeganMania. It is an all day, free event where vegan vendors, musical artists, restaurants, authors, doctors, etc. come to sell their things or speak about whatever it is they do. It is an event you don't want to miss as a vegan in Chicago. This year's was super fun! I got the shirt I've wanted for a while, screen printed by the talented Dan Dunbar, which says, "Vegan Cupcakes, Fuck Yeah!". After the event, Mercy For Animals held the official after-party which I spent over a month helping to plan. It was at the Funky Buddha Lounge. Good times raising money to help the animals.


Lastly, I started using Chicago Vegan Co-Op and I received my very first order on Saturday. I bought Upton's Naturals gyro seitan, pastrami seitan, bacon seitan and Ste Martaen (another local Chicago vegan company) colby and smoked gouda cashew cheeses, along with a spinach quiche from them. My freezer is packed! I'll be eating sandwiches for months (not complaining). Check out the co-op if you live in the Chicago area. The picture is of Upton's Naturals pastrami and bacon with Ste Martaen colby cheese on fresh French bread from Whole Foods.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vegan London: Part Three

Finishing my blogging about my adventures in veganism in Western Europe... I give you Vegan London: Part Three. Part's One and Two are posted from 2009. In 2007, I lived there for a time. It is hands down my favorite city in the whole wide world, plus it is super vegan-friendly! 


My first night, I went to my favorite vegan-friendly restaurant in London, Mildred's. It is located in the always fun Soho district. For starters, I had the special vegan salad, the quinoa salad. It was really good! For my entree, I decided to try something British - mixed mushroom, porcini, and ale pie served with fries and mushy peas. Mmm! For dessert, I had a real chocolate-y delight: raspberry chocolate truffle.


On Sunday, I went to Spitalfields Market. It is a vintage and one-of-a-kind mecca. I <3 Spitalfields. They have, literally, arena size marketplaces with all sorts of neat DIY vendors and vintage stores all around. Near the markets is Brick Lane which is a famous Indian and Bengali neighborhood. Therefore, it is super vegan friendly! I had a cheap lunch in a restaurant on Brick Lane and spent the afternoon in Spitalfields and walking down Brick Lane, trying street food as well. Those cupcakes and yummy desserts are not vegan, but boy were they cute to look at!


Covent Garden is a very touristy area of London. Trying to find Neal's Yard in Covent Garden is a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It's hidden somewhere in the midst of old cobblestone side streets and between tall buildings. After much searching, you will find it tucked away and be inspired by its vegan and organic goods! In Neal's Yard, there is the famous Neal's Yard Salad Bar, World Food Cafe, and Neal's Yard Remedies. Neal's Yard Remedies has many great vegan, organic skin and hair products, soaps, oils, etc. I use them myself and I love it. I first found them when I lived in London and have been using it since. They have sellers in the United States too. When I lived in Japan, to my surprise, I ran into a Neal's Yard Remedies store in Shibuya!



I love having lunch in the park. It is especially fun in one of London's many beautiful parks. I chose to have some Japanese take out (Wasabi - it is a popular chain in London) and eat my lunch on a park bench in Green Park. I had curry tofu and noodles.





While wandering around Soho trying to find a good veggie place for dinner, I ran into a newer vegetarian restaurant that was not there three years ago. It is called Zilli. There was the restaurant and they have a smaller cafe next to it. The food was really good, but the service was awful. To begin, I had organic bread with olive oil and hummus and a mixed green salad. For entree, I had tofu sausage with spring onion mash, mushroom gravy, and mushy peas. To finish, I had organic tofu & limoncello cheesecake with chocolate ice cream. 


Afternoon tea is a must in London. I was determined to find a vegan afternoon tea place. The Flemings Hotel was just across the street from me and guess what? They had vegan afternoon tea! It wasn't that great, but it was a good start.


The last vegan restaurant I tried was 222 Veggie Vegan Restaurant. It wasn't the easiest place to find or get to by the tube. I had to walk 15 minutes each way from the tube in the pouring rain. The food was homey and good, though! To start I had cream of asparagus soup with bread and garlic bread. For my main dish, I had seitan stroganoff. 




 I <3 London!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vegan Ireland

When one thinks of Ireland, they do not really think of too many vegan-friendly things. I was determined to have good vegan grub when I was in Ireland. The tour I was on took us around the majority of the Republic and breakfast/dinner was included. If I had to eat one more serving of only potatoes, toast, and beer, I was going to cry. Too much starch! So, before I left America, I did some research on vegan-friendly restaurants in each of the cities we were to stay at. Below are my findings...
HappyCow.net was my friend in this quest. While I was in Killarney, I found the only vegan-friendly place listed, Stone Chat


 To start, I had the house salad which was filled with lots of great vegetables! It was very tasty.




For my entree, I had the mushroom stir-fry with tofu. The mushroom sauce was quite good. I really enjoyed this as an entree (huge fan of mushrooms) and it was such a great meal change from what I had been eating for 3 days.


After Killarney, we headed to Galway for two days. I got a terrible cold while in Galway and I think a lot of it has to do with the weather change (90 degrees to 60 degrees via one plane flight) and the fact that I was eating crap instead of the real meals that I'm used to. So, I skipped a day of touring the Irish countryside to sleep and explore Galway on my own. I found the only vegan-friendly restaurant there and had some hearty, cold-curing food. Food For Thought was a quiet, homey sandwich bar where people come in for a bit of food and tea to get out of the rain. It seemed like the perfect place to do some reading or homework.

 Vegetable soup of the day with black bread.

 
Vegan shepherd's pie with side salad. The pie tasted a bit like a breaded ratatouille to me. I really loved the soup and it was so great for my cold. This place changes their menu daily in order to try out new things for customers. I really loved Food For Thought! Definitely my favorite vegan-friendly restaurant in Ireland.


The last big city we stopped in for a few days was Dublin. To my surprise, there are not many vegan-friendly restaurants in Dublin listed on Happy Cow. I would think it being the capitol that there would be more. I chose to try Cornucopia Wholefoods. It was similar in set-up as Food For Thought. It's a lunch type spot where they change their menu daily. It is located in a busy part shopping part of Dublin, just off of Grafton St. Here I chose the curry with two types of salads, a microgreens salad and a cabbage type salad.




For more information on vegan dining in Ireland, check out Happy Cow, Vegan & Vegetarian Guide, and VegGuide.Org.


For good measure...
Me in Ireland at the Cliffs of Moher! Smiles.
 
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