Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Vegan Chicago: Restaurant Review of iCream cafe

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
iCream cafe is a really neat ice cream parlor in Wicker Park. They make the ice cream from scratch in front of you with liquid nitrogen. It's a cool experience for the first time (get it? cool?). They carry soy ice cream base and a variety of vegan toppings to choose from. On Friday and Saturday nights, they're open pretty late, so it's a cute place to get some ice cream after dinner.

You begin by choosing a base (soy ice cream), then a flavor, and lastly toppings. They have candy, fresh fruit, and other toppings like nuts. You can chose to dye the ice cream too (say pink or blue). For a medium ice cream with all the works, expect to pay about $6-7.

iCream also has coffees and teas to chose from as well on their menu. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beer Braised Brussel Sprouts & Greens

Your blog doll has been super busy lately. Sorry for not often posting. Quicky recipe!

Beer Braised Brussel Sprouts & Greens

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
* Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil  
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 cup brussel sprouts, ends trimmed, cut in half
  • 1 cup greens, packed*
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce*
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke*
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup beer*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
* Recipe:
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and onions. Cook until they start to become translucent.
  2. Add the brussel sprouts. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the start to become tender. Add in the greens and garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the liquid reduces almost all the way or until the brussel sprouts can be pierced with a fork.
* Note: For greens, I used a package of turnip, mustard, and collard greens. Feel free to use whatever greens you like. You can find vegan Worcestershire sauce at health food stores and online. Liquid smoke gives dishes a smokey taste (similar in effect to if you add bacon to a dish). Make sure your beer is vegan! I used a wheat beer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Vegan Chicago: Restaurant Review of MANA food bar

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
MANA food bar is a small Wicker Park vegetarian tapas restaurant. I was first introduced to this gem several years ago and have yet to be disappointed. About half their menu is vegan and very inspired by Asian flavors as well as other world cuisines. You can order small plates or large plates of most dishes. I would recommend getting a variety of small plates to try out different items. Don't go overboard, though! Get a couple dishes and see if you are full and then order more if you'd like. The items can rack up in price if you don't do it that way. MANA is moderately priced so expect to pay about $50-$70 a meal with alcohol.

The last time I went there, I took pictures with my iPhone, so excuse their quality. The lighting in the restaurant is not the best. Be warned also that this restaurant is pretty small, so you might be waiting for a table (unless you go during good weather seasons when they have a small outside table area too). 

For appetizers, we had the pickled veggies, caponata, and the sesame noodles, all small sized. The pickled veggies were good - tomatoes, green beans, and mushrooms. I didn't care for the tomatoes as much as the other two. One of my favorite dishes at MANA is the caponata. If you are not an eggplant person, do not get this dish. If you love eggplant like myself, you will thoroughly enjoy this tapas plate. I highly recommend one tries this item! The sesame noodles were pretty good as well. It was my friend's least favorite of the variety of small plates we got, but I'd get it again. In the past, I've also tried the spinach and pear salad and it is also one of my favorites on the menu.

For hot plates, we got the curry dish, ma po tofu, and gyoza, again all small sized. The gyoza are really good - just your standard fried veggie dumplings, but delicious. I preferred the curry dish over the ma po tofu. Once again, if you don't like eggplant, don't get the ma po tofu dish. The lentils in the curry plate were a nice added touch too. In the past, I've had the tofu bulgogi dish and it is one of my favorites on the menu. I highly recommend trying out that plate. My friend also had the tamale and the potato pancakes. He really enjoyed them both, particularly the potato pancakes, but be warned neither are vegan (he's a vegetarian).

If I had to go with a top three favorite dishes at MANA, I would choose: bulgogi, caponata, and gyoza. The sesame noodles run a tie with the gyoza in my opinion.

Be sure to check out this quaint Wicker Park establishment for a nice vegetarian meal!

Pictured: top left - pickled veggies, top right - caponata, middle - curry, bottom left - gyoza, bottom right - sesame noodles.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

A long time ago, I made a seitan Reuben sandwich that was mighty yummy (I also have a California Reuben sandwich with a killer vegan turkey meat recipe). I thought I'd change it up with tempeh this time and a marinade.

Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: up to 24 hours
* Cook Time: 20 minutes
* Ingredients (for tempeh marinade):
  • 1 package (8 oz.) tempeh, cut 1/2 in. slices*
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp mesquite liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp juniper berries*
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
* Ingredients (for sandwich):
  • vegan thousand island dressing*
  • rye bread
  • sauerkraut
  • vegan cheese*
* Recipe:
  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Add tempeh. Marinate for 1-2 hours up to 24 hours.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add tempeh slices (no need to add oil since it is in the marinade). Cook until golden on both sides.
  3. Toast the rye bread. Place vegan cheese on bread. Melt cheese (I toasted on a skillet and the cheese melted that way). Add sliced tempeh, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing.
* Note: The tempeh I used was Lightlife flax seed. I used juniper berries and caraway seeds in the marinade because they are used in corned beef preparations. If you don't have these items, then you could probably omit them. The vegan thousand island dressing I used was my own from a seitan Reuben sandwich recipe I posted a long time ago (Russian dressing is essentially thousand island). For vegan cheese, I used Daiya's wedge harvati. Usually Swiss cheese is used in Reuben's, but I don't know any vegan Swiss cheese. So, I went to another white cheese other than mozzarella.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spinach, Basil Pesto, & Ricotta Lasagna

For ricotta, I usually use a tofu mixture. I saw Tofutti made a vegan ricotta which I'd never heard of store bought vegan ricotta before. I thought I'd make a lasagna out of it! Maybe next time I'll make a pasta. Overall, the Tofutti ricotta turned out lovely in this lasagna. I think I may prefer it over a tofu mashed ricotta mixture. It gave it a more authentic feel.

Spinach, Basil Pesto, & Ricotta Lasagna

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 1 hour
* Ingredients:
  • 1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 container (5 oz.) fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil pesto*
  • 1 tub (16 oz.) vegan ricotta cheese*
  • 1/3 cup vegan Parmesan* 
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg
  • black pepper, to taste 
  • 1 jar Italian herb tomato sauce
  • 1/2 - 1 cup vegan mozzarella shreds*
* Recipe:
  1. Preheat 350 degrees.
  2. In a big pot of boiling water, add a pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil and cook 4 sheets of lasagna noodles at a time.
  3. Combine the spinach, pesto, ricotta cheese, Parmesan, oregano, thyme, salt, nutmeg, and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Spread a layer of tomato sauce in a baking dish. Add a layer of noodles, tomato sauce, and ricotta mixture. Repeat layering this way and finish the top with just a layer of noodles and tomato sauce. Bake for 35 minutes uncovered.
  5. Add the mozzarella shreds to the top of lasagna and bake for another 10 minutes.
* Note: I made the pesto fresh from scratch, but you can opt use store bought. The ricotta cheese is from Tofutti. The vegan Parmesan I use is Galaxy brand. Lastly, the vegan mozzarella shreds I used was Daiya

Monday, September 24, 2012

Vegan Chicago: Chicago VeganMania Festival

This year, Chicago VeganMania added a new workshop: Ask a Vegan Expert. It is a rotating table where every hour there is a different topic. Your blog doll will be answering any questions you may have about vegan home cooking and baking from 2:30-3:30 p.m. For more information, please see their website here. Be sure to come check it out!

Below is the press release for this epically awesome all vegan festival in Chicago! 

The 4th Annual Chicago VeganMania Celebrates with the Vegan Black Metal Chef, Artisan Vegan Cheese and More


After three amazingly successful years, Chicago VeganMania returns as a free, day-long celebration of vegan culture, commerce, community, cuisine and couture. The event takes place Saturday, September 29, between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at a new, bigger location – the Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway in Chicago. The previous three events have drawn thousands of attendees.

Nationally known presenters will be featured at Chicago VeganMania again this year, including YouTube sensation, the Vegan Black Metal Chef, whose hilarious and appropriately disorienting videos have gone viral. In addition to the VBMC, we will be welcoming best-selling author Victoria Moran, who wrote the recent book Main Street Vegan, and Miyoko Schinner, author of the new cookbook, Artisan Vegan Cheese, whose innovative and wholesome recipes are currently featured in VegNews Magazine. In addition, Chicago VeganMania is bringing respected dietician Ginny Kisch Messina and Ellen Jaffe Jones, author of Eat Vegan on $4 a Day

Cooking demos are back again this year, and Chicago VeganMania is very excited to announce that we will be featuring people who are creating some of Chicago’s most innovative purely plant-based cuisine, featuring chef Kendall Huff of the popular Native Foods, Kat Barry of Kat’s Hot Cakes, Chicago Vegan Foods and others. Everything demonstrated and sampled will be free of animal ingredients. [VBMC and Miyoko are giving chef demos]

“We are thrilled to be putting together another event,” says Marla Rose, Chicago VeganMania co-founder. “It is a really positive and fun celebration of vegan culture and community but it’s also very appealing to those who are just curious about the vegan lifestyle. Anyone who enjoys a free, lively festival with diverse vendors, great speakers and entertainment as well as, of course, delicious, healthy food will enjoy Chicago VeganMania.”

Included in the day’s festivities will be our popular Culture CafĂ© with coffee and an alternative milk bar and live music, a full day of Q&A panels addressing everything from vegan health and wellness to using one’s creative talents for animal advocacy, a “Vegan Rock Star” photo booth and cruelty-free swag bags for the first one hundred people through the door.

In addition to all this, there will be a huge food court featuring delicious options from a dozen of Chicago's best vegan restaurants, caterers and food companies, as well as an exhibit hall packed dozens of diverse vendors, featuring everything from jewelry to body care products, candles to high fashion. All vegan, of course! 

Check out Chicago VeganMania's Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Quicky salad recipe!

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: n/a
* Ingredients:
  • 1 (15 oz.) can cooked chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • balsamic vinegar, to taste
  • olive oil, to taste
* Recipe:
  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl. Mix well. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Truffle Mac 'n Cheese Stuffed Heirloom Tomato

When I see fancy adult mac 'n cheese on menus, it's always some kind of truffle mac 'n cheese. So, I thought, why not make that vegan. To be honest, this cheese sauce was pretty good compared to my other disastrous vegan cheese sauces I have made in the past. I was starting to think I'd never get a good mac 'n cheese sauce down. This was a very tasty dinner!

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
Truffle Mac 'n Cheese Stuffed Heirloom Tomato

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 40 minutes
* Ingredients (for mac 'n cheese):
  • 1 (13.25 oz) box whole wheat elbow noodles
  • 5 tbsp vegan butter*
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp sweet rice flour*
  • 2 cup non-dairy milk*
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated*
  • 3 tbsp dry white wine*
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2-1 tsp white truffle oil*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
* Ingredients (for breadcrumb topping):
  • 1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs*
  • 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, to taste
  • 5 heirloom tomatoes (or more)*
* Recipe:
Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
  1. In a pot, cook the elbow noodles in salted water until al dente. Strain, run cool water over then, set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In a deep skillet, add 1 tbsp of the vegan butter and cook the onions until translucent over medium heat. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another few minutes until garlic browns. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 4 tbsp of vegan butter to the skillet and the sweet rice flour. Whisk the butter and flour mixture with a whisk (easier than using a fork or spoon).
  5. When combined, slowly add the 2 cups of non-dairy milk a little at a time, stirring with whisk continuously.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients and continue whisking. Bring to a slight boil, then reduce to low heat (continue whisking so not to get clumps). The sauce should be thick and similar to regular mac 'n cheese sauce at this point. 
  7. In a bowl, add the cooked noodles. Laddle the cheese sauce a bit at a time to the noodles and mix until well combined. Add as much of the cheese sauce as desired, but not too much as to make it soupy. Add the onions and garlic and mix.
  8. In a smaller bowl, combine the topping ingredients (exclude the tomatoes). Add enough olive oil just to make the crumbs stick.  
  9. Cut the top of each tomato and take out the core. Add the mac 'n cheese to the tomatoes then top with the breadcrumb mixture.
  10. Place tomatoes on a small baking dish. Also place the tomato tops in the dish, but not on top of the stuffed tomatoes yet. Drizzle everything with a bit of olive oil.
  11. Put in oven and let bake for about 5-10 minutes until you notice the breadcrumbs starting to brown. Remove from oven and using a fork, add the tomato tops back to the tomatoes covering the breadcrumbs. Return to the oven and let bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the tomatoes seem soft and baked. If it seems like it is taking a while, put the oven on a high broil and broil for 2 minutes or until the tomatoes look done.
  12. Top the baked tomatoes with vegan Parmesan, sea salt, and fresh chopped basil.
* Note: For vegan butter, I used Earth Balance olive oil version. Sweet rice flour can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store. You could try using regular all-purpose flour in this, I would imagine, but the sweet rice flour is good because it has a gelatinous effect that will make the sauce more "cheesy". For non-dairy milk, I used almond milk as that is what I prefer. You could use ground nutmeg, I just happened to have it fresh. Make sure your white wine is vegan! White truffle oil is something that a little goes a long way. Be sparing. Some Italian breadcrumbs contain dairy in them so be sure to check the label. I used Whole Foods brand. Originally, I was going to make this with panko breadcrumbs, but I was out. I still think it would have been better with panko! You may need more tomatoes than what I suggest here. I only made 2 at the time and then two mini bowls baked (using only half of the cooked noodles and a lot of cheese sauce left over). You could make a casserole if you just don't want to keep putting it in tomatoes. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cannellini Beans, Kale, & Brussel Sprouts

This is a simple weekday side dish recipe that I threw together. I had some cannellini beans in the cupboard and frozen brussel sprouts in the freezer. You could do this with fresh brussel sprouts, but I would suggest cooking them a little longer and slicing them in half.

Cannellini Beans, Kale, & Brussel Sprouts

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups brussel sprouts
  • 1 cup dinosaur kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 box (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained, washed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
* Recipe:
  1. In a skillet, add the olive oil and sautee the onions until translucent. 
  2. Add the brussel sprouts and kale, cooking for a few minutes. Add the wine and the wine cook out a bit.
  3. Once the wine has cooked down, add the cannellini beans, seasonings, and pine nuts (toast if desired first). Cook for another few minutes. Don't overcook or the beans will become really mushy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich

Banh mi's are Vietnamese sandwiches inspired by French cuisine. Chicago has several places one can get these tasty meals: Ba Le, Bon Bon Sandwiches, and Nhu Lan. All three restaurants offer vegan banh mi's. I decided to try to create one myself. It turned out really yummy! I even had leftover marinated tofu to put in a salad the next day. 

Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: 1-2 hours
* Cook Time: 10 minutes
* Ingredients (for lemongrass tofu):
Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
  • 1/2 package (10 oz.) firm tofu, pressed, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass
  • 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
* Ingredients (for banh mi):
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup daikon radish, shredded
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar*
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 demi French baguette
  • lettuce leaves, torn
  • cucumber, sliced
  • cilantro sprigs
  • jalapeno, sliced (optional)
  • 1 green onion stalk, sliced
  • vegan mayonnaise*
  • siracha (optional)
  • garlic chili sauce
  • soy sauce
  • lemon wedge (optional)

* Recipe (for lemongrass tofu):
  1. Cut the lemongrass stalk and use the tender parts (not the top). Smash as best you can to get bitty pieces. Using a mortar and pestle may help.
  2. Add the lemongrass, garlic, soy sauce, oils, salt, and pepper to a large freezer bag. Slice the tofu 1/4" to 1/2" thick and add to the bag.
  3. Seal the bag and toss the tofu with the marinade. Make sure it is completely covered. Place in the fridge for at least one hour, the longer the better.
* Recipe (for banh mi):
  1. Combine the carrots, daikon, rice vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Mix well. Let sit in the fridge while the tofu is marinating. This will be a pickled carrot daikon mix.
  2. When tofu has been marinated long enough, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu to the skillet and cook each side until brown, about 10 minutes. Do not add the lemongrass and garlic bits to the tofu in the pan. Leave in the marinade bag. Do not add oil to the pan as the tofu will be coated in oil already.
  3. While the tofu is cooking, cut a demi French baguette in half. Cut the half in half horizontally. Toast the bread on both the inside and outside.
  4. On the bottom piece of bread, lay a piece of lettuce, cucumber sliced, cilantro sprigs, sliced green onions, pickled carrot and daikon mix, and jalapenos (if using). On the top piece of bread, spread some vegan mayonnaise and sprinkle some garlic chili paste and soy sauce (and siracha if desired).
  5. Place several pieces of tofu on top of the vegetables. Place the top piece of bread over the bottom and serve with lemon wedge if desired. Repeat the sandwich building process to the other half of the baguette for a second sandwich.
* Note: Make sure your sugar is vegan! I used Earth Balance vegan mayonnaise. I accidentally did the opposite of how I suggest to build this sandwich in the pictures (meaning I put the mayonnaise on the bottom).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Israeli Couscous Risotto with Mushrooms, Kale, & Herbs

I love risotto and I was thinking why not make it with Israeli couscous rather than rice? Then this recipe was born! If you don't have the fresh herbs, dried ones would probably do just as well.

Israeli Couscous Risotto with Mushrooms, Kale, & Herbs

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 30 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1 package (1 oz.) dried mushroom mixture*
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dinosaur kale, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (optional)*
  • 1/2 medium lemon, juiced
  • vegan Parmesan, to top (optional)*
* Recipe:
  1. In a pot, boil the dried mushrooms until tender. Reserve 2 cups of the mushroom water.
  2. In the same pot, sautee the onions in olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two.
  3. Chop the rehydrated mushrooms and add the mushrooms, kale, herbs, salt, and pepper to the pot. Cook until kale begins to wilt. 
  4. Add the couscous and cook for a few minutes. Add a laddle or two of mushroom water to the couscous. Stir often. Once the liquid has disappeared, add another laddle or two.
  5. Continue adding liquid in this manner until the 2 cups run out. While you are doing this, add the wine, lemon, and milk (if using) as you go too, a bit at a time.
  6. Top with vegan Parmesan if desired.
* Note: One could use a variety of fresh mushrooms in this dish instead. If that is the case, prepare 2 cups of vegetable stock instead of the reserved mushroom water. I added non-dairy milk to this recipe but I really don't think it needs it. I used almond milk, but feel free to use whatever you prefer. The vegan Parmesan brand I like is Galaxy topping.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tabbouleh Stuffed Heirloom Tomato

Tabbouleh is a really great naturally vegan Mediterranean dish. I ended up baking the tabbouleh in a seasonal heirloom tomato which was a major yum! The side dish in the picture is Viana vegan gyro meat over a lettuce with Vegan Miss' tzatziki sauce.

Tabbouleh Stuffed Heirloom Tomato
 
Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: several hours 
* Cook Time: 20 minutes 
* Ingredients:
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat*
  • 2/3 cup tomatoes, diced*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4-1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • several heirloom tomatoes depending on size (4-6)
* Recipe:
  1. Place the bulgar wheat in a bowl and pour 2 cups of boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes. Drain and squeeze out water from the bulgur wheat.
  2. In the bowl the bulgur was soaking in, combine the remaining ingredients and soaked bulgur wheat except the heirloom tomatoes. Add more olive oil and lemon juice as you mix the ingredients to taste.
  3. Place tabbouleh in the fridge covered for several hours. The longer the salad soaks and marinates, the better. Toss before stuffing in tomatoes.
  4. When ready to make the stuffed tomatoes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Slice the top off the tomato. Hollow and core out the middle and place several tablespoons of the tabbouleh into the tomato. 
  6. Place on baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Place the tops next to the stuffed tomatoes, drizzling the tray then laying the tops on top of the olive oil (to prevent sticking). 
  7. Cook for about 10 minutes or so, then remove from the oven and place the tops back on the tomatoes. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the tomatoes look squishy and cooked through. If still not cooked through, broil for a few minutes.
Note: Bulgur wheat is found with grains at the grocery or in the Middle Eastern section. For diced tomatoes, roma or plum would work best.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Portobello Shepard's Pie Revisited

A long time ago, I posted this Shepard's Pie Stuffed Portobello recipe with a not so great photo. This recipe is a revisit of that and revised here and there. It's super nom!

Portobello Shepard's Pie Revisited

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
* Cook Time: 20 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 3 large portobello mushroom caps, stems and "gills" removed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 package (8 oz.) Upton's Naturals Ground Beef-Style seitan, diced*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce*
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 lb. red creamer potatoes*
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk*
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives, minced
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
* Recipe:
  1. Boil the potatoes in salt water until tender with fork. Depending on preference, remove skins from potatoes after boiled.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent.
  4. Next, add the seitan and cook until it just starts to brown.
  5. Add the garlic, carrots, and peas. Cook until the carrots become tender.
  6. After the filling mixture has cooked, add the flour and toss the mixture in the skillet, coating all of it. Add the vegetable broth, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, and thyme. Cook for a few minutes. The mixture should then be a thicker consistency.
  7. After the potatoes are boiled, mash in a bowl with the chives, butter, and salt and pepper. Add more butter to taste, if needed.
  8. Stuff the portobello caps with the mixture from the skillet. Top with a heaping pile of mashed potatoes. (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.)
  9. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Broil for another 2-3 minutes until the mashed potato tops are golden. 
* Note: I used local Chicago seitan company, Upton's Naturals for my filling mixture. If you do not have Upton's, please use another mock meat crumble such as Boca or Lightlife. Worcestershire sauce is not vegan naturally, so look for a vegan variety. I found mine at the Asian grocery store with the fish sauces. Most health food stores carry it. Feel free to use whatever type of potatoes you like. I just prefer red potatoes. The non-dairy milk I used was almond milk as that is what I prefer. The vegan butter I used was Earth Balance olive oil kind.

I posted an entry a bit ago regarding all my various DIY project I do. Just thought I'd post a picture of the vegan bath bomb fizzies I made. I also made some dill pickle spears and pickled red onion. The bread and butter pickle spears and pickled garlic I made about 2 months ago were broken into this week and they were a fan favorite! Everyone loved them.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fried Rice Vegan Style

One of my very first entries on Vegan Miss was for vegan fried rice. I love that recipe still and it has had major success on VegWeb in the past too. I modified the recipe a bit and used brown rice instead here.

Fried Rice Vegan Style

* Prep Time: 30 minutes
* Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice 
  • 1/2 block (14 oz.) firm tofu, pressed, sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup green beans, diced
  • 2 cups broccolini (or broccoli), chopped
  • 2 cups bell peppers, variety of colors, sliced 
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mirin*
  • 1/2 tbsp dried Thai basil (optional)
  • black pepper, to taste
  • sesame seeds, to garnish
  • green onions, sliced, to garnish 
* Recipe:
Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
  1. Chop all the vegetables and get them prepared. While you are prepping, heat 1 tbsp of peanut oil in a wok over medium heat. Once hot, add the slices of tofu and cook on both sides until golden.
  2. Cook the rice while you are prepping the vegetables as well.
  3. Once the tofu is cooked, remove from wok and set aside. Add the remaining peanut oil, then put the onions in the wok. Once the onions start to turn translucent, add the garlic and ginger. 
  4. Next, add in the carrots, green beans, broccolini (or broccoli), and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables start to become tender. Add the mushrooms and peas. Cook through. 
  5. When the vegetables are done cooking, add in the cooked brown rice and tofu. Toss and mix well. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, Thai basil, and pepper. Taste to see if the fried rice needs a little more soy sauce, vinegar, or mirin. 
  6. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.
Note: Mirin is often used in Asian cooking. You can usually find it in the Asian food section of most grocery stores. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thai Marinated Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

This was a spur of the moment weekday dinner recipe. I really enjoyed these. The lettuce balances the oil from the marinade well so it brings the dish some lightness.

Thai Marinated Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour 
* Cook Time: 10-15 minutes 
* Ingredients:
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 dried lemongrass stalk, cut into pieces*
  • 2 dried kaffir lime leaves*
  • 1/2 tsp garlic chili sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp chili oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar*
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce*
  • 1/2 tsp dried Thai basil*
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
  • bib lettuce leaves
  • green onions, sliced, to top (optional)
* Recipe:
  1. In a bowl, combine everything but the lettuce, carrots, and onion. Let marinate for at least half an hour up to 1 hour.
  2. In a frying pan, spoon out some of the marinade liquid and fry the carrots over medium heat until tender. Add the mushroom marinated mixture and cook down until almost all liquid is gone.
  3. Pour the frying pan contents into a bowl with the onions and mix well. 
  4. Take a piece of bib lettuce and spoon 1 tbsp of the mushroom mixture into the center. Top with green onions if desired.
* Note: I used button mushrooms, but feel free to use shiitake or whatever else you may like. Lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and Thai basil are typical ingredients in Thai cooking. You can find them in the Asian sections of some grocery stores and certainly at Asian food markets. Make sure your sugar is vegan. Dark soy sauce can be found at Asian grocery stores. If you can't find it, you could probably skip that step but it's nice in marinade recipes like this one.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Miss Lexy's DIY Projects & Adventures

Farm Fresh Homemade Strawberry Jam
Your blog doll is definitely a homebody. I spend most of my weekend spare time doing things like pickling, jam making, writing and cooking recipes for Vegan Miss, sewing homemade cat toys, bread making, making soy candles and vegan soap, amongst other things. In the near future, I'm trying out wine making for the first time. I'm also going to try to make vegan bath bombs. Many of you probably know about Pinterest already, but this website is such a great resource for a variety of DIY projects. Vegan Miss is on Pinterest if you are not following yet! I thought I would write a picture post with the variety of things I've made in the recent past.

Emily & I at Hill Prairie Winery
I'd also like to mention some fun things to do in the Midwest (beyond Chicago - I could write pages on fun things to do in Chicago!). There are a lot of awesome vineyards in Illinois. Many of them are in southern Illinois near Carbondale. This website has a complete list of vineyards in Illinois separated by region. I don't go down to southern Illinois often, so I'm not versed in vineyards down there. In central Illinois, there is Hill Prairie Winery which I went to with my friend and fellow vegan blogger, Emily. You can read about the awesome spinach & artichoke hummus dip she brought to the vineyard. Super nom!

Trio of Dips at Obed & Issac's
Also to mention in central Illinois, Springfield has recently opened a really fun microbrew downtown. It's called Obed and Issac's. Emily and I had vegan brunch there one Sunday (they made us veggies, potatoes, and toast) and their menu always has at least 2-3 vegan appetizers (or can be made vegan), as well as salads, and a vegan burger. Emily blogged about some of our trips to Obed & Issac's as well. Up north, there is Valentino Vineyards and Winery. I have yet to go here but I recently bought a Living Social deal for a tour, wine tasting, and wine pairing seminar which I plan on using in the next month! Vineyards (and microbrews) are a nice place to relax and enjoy some local, quality wine or beer. It's also nice to be able to escape to nature from the city for an afternoon. 

In Wisconsin, there is a lovely bed and breakfast inn called Inn Serendipity. It's the only vegetarian B&B I am aware of in the Illinois and/or Midwest area. The breakfast menu can also be made vegan upon request. They use their own produce from their organic farm or local food. All energy at the inn is powered by wind or sun. I've been meaning to go to this sustainable inn for some time now and plan on doing so in the near future! I will blog about my adventure to Inn Serendipity once I go.

Homemade Bread 'n Butter Pickles & Pickled Garlic
If you are interested in canning, pickling, or jam making, there is a great book made by Ball called the Complete Book or Home Preserving. Of course, there are many books out there that teach you and give recipes for preserving. If you're a beginner, I recommend this book and if you think you're going to continue to can, that you get a large pot and other utensils for canning. There are kits that come with everything you need. I have the kit made by Ball that I picked up at Lowe's. When summer hits, most home improvement stores and even grocery stores will carry canning items. If you plan on canning whole vegetables, though, you'll need a canning pressure cooker in order to assure safe handling and sterilization. Other items you may need are pectin and pickling salt.

Soy Candle in Antique Teacup
Candle and soap making are fun hobbies! I really enjoy making candles from scratch. It's also incredibly cheap once you have all the appropriate utensils. You can make 30 candles for the price of a couple nice candles at a store. You can get everything you need at CandleScience. I think making candles in antique teacups, tea cans, or jars looks really neat. There are a ton of great antique malls in central Illinois which is where I go to get that kind of stuff. If I tried to get nice teacups in Chicago, I'd spent a fortune. For Christmas last year, I got 17 antique teacups for $15 (granted, without the saucers). They make such cute and personal gifts! Soap making is a little more involved. I'd recommend one start with candle making first. You can get soap making kits and materials from Bramble Berry. You'll probably need a soap mold box too. I do cold process soap making. Palm oil is commonly used to make soap, but you can substitute it out for other oils. Be very careful with lye! You want to be completely covered when you handle it (goggles and gloves too) and make sure all children and pets are in different rooms where they will not disturb you. The stick blender and crock pot you use should be only for the soap making (you don't want to cook with something that's had lye on it, do you?). I don't have any pictures of my soap just yet, but when I do, I'll post an update with them!

DIY Sushi Cat Toys
The sewing projects I do are pretty basic. I'm not the most amazing sewer, I'll admit. The bread bags are really cheap and easy to make and would make such a cute gift once freshly made mini baguettes are in them! You use kitchen towels or scrap fabric to make them. The cat toys are just a quirky hobby of mine. As some of you may know, I am the proud mom to two eyeless kitties. Lucy, a runt Maine Coon (only 8 pounds and 2 years old!), has no eyes at all and Popeye, my main man, has one eye that is about half covered with scar tissue. I've thought about making dog toys but decided that dogs are just too destructive for me to even give my time to it. I'm sticking with homemade dog biscuits instead! Vegan Miss has a doggie carob cupcake recipe from long ago on the website too, just FYI. Cat toys are super adorable and fun to make. I would see them on Etsy and think to myself that I could make that too! I'm a huge fan of vegetarian sushi and Japanese culture (minored in Japanese in college and studied in Tokyo!) so naturally sushi cat toys would be my passion. This website has a tutorial for the sushi toys. Make sure you stuff them with a bit of organic cat nip and/or store them in a box of cat nip to let the toy soak in the scent. My cats adore these toys. And your kitty owner friends will think they're super precious too.

DIY Bread Bags
Some other projects I have in mind over the next 6 months or so beyond wine making and bath bombs are: DIY bath scrubs, homemade vanilla extract, homemade infused alcohol and olive oils, fabric magnets, coffee sleeves, and wire hair bows. If you would like, feel free to follow my personal Pinterest board. Most of my pinning is DIY projects and my dream hobby farm home I hope to have one day! Side note: this book (Vegan Food Gifts) looks totally amazing and I can not wait until it comes out! I hope some of you found this post useful and inspiring. DIY projects are so much fun and can be very rewarding experiences.

Photo credit for the Trio of Dips and Hill Prairie Winery photos: Emily at Running on Vegan.
 
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