Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dishes Men Like: Mystery Cheese Ball Spread, Imperial Salad, & "Beef" and Mushroom Casserole

Ah, Dishes Men Like. I decided to give another few recipes a whirl out of this book. Honestly, I am floored with how good they turn out despite a) 1950's food in general was never deemed all that good and b) it's veganized 1950's food! This salad dressing was very tasty, the cheese ball actually tasted like bleu cheese, and the casserole was a huge hit.

Mystery Cheese Ball Spread
* Prep Time: 1 hour - 24 hours
* Cook Time:  5 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1 6 oz. package soy bleu cheese*
  • 4 oz. vegan cream cheese*
  • 1 tsp white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce*
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
* Recipe:
  1. Combine the bleu cheese, cream cheese, onion, and Worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate for at least one hour, up to 24 hours.
  2. Form the mixture into a large ball. Roll around in mixed up parsley and walnuts. Serve with crackers.
* Note:  For soy bleu cheese, I used Sunergia Soyfoods. You can order it online. For cream cheese, I used Tofutti. For Worcestershire sauce, I used The Wizard's organic brand.

Imperial Salad

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 15 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup vegan sugar*
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • water
  • 3 strips veggie bacon*
  • 4 tbsp salad oil
  • 1 large head of lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
* Recipe:
  1. Combine the first seven ingredients in a measuring cup; add water to fill up to 1 cup mark.
  2. In a small skillet, fry up the bacon in the salad oil until tender.
  3. Chop the lettuce and place in large bowl. Add onion.
  4. Tear the bacon into small bits.
  5. Stir contents of the cup; combine with fried bacon and oil.
  6. In a small sauce pan, heat the mixture and simmer. Do not bring to boil.
  7. Pour over the lettuce and onion. Serve immediately.
* Note: For vegan sugar, I used Florida Crystals. For veggie bacon, I used Lightlight

 "Beef" and Mushroom Casserole with Sour Cream

* Prep Time: 15 minutes
* Cook Time: 40 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 2 bags of Gardein Beefless Tips*
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream*
  • 4 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 oz. cooked fusilli noodles or cooked rice
* Recipe:
  1. In a large skillet, add the olive oil and heat. Add the beefless tips and brown for a few minutes. Remove the meat and add the garlic and onions. Cook until the onions are translucent.
  2. Blend in flour, add sour cream, and cook, stirring constantly until thickened.
  3. Return meat to pan, add remaining ingredients, mix well.
  4. Turn into greased casserole dish, bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
  5. Serve over noodles or rice.
* Note: Gardein is a great brand you can find just about anywhere now. This recipe called for steak so this is what I used instead. It turned out amazing. For vegan sour cream I used Tofutti.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Vegan Chicago: Mercy For Animals Feed-In

This past weekend, I held a feed-in for Mercy For Animals in the Wicker Park area of Chicago. Ste Martaen and the Vegan Food Truck folks helped us out by catering sample sizes of BBQ seitan and vegan mac 'n cheese. The feed-in was pretty successful considering the bitter cold (below freezing!). Not as many people showed up as I had hoped, so we did not have anyone holding our usual colorful banner that reads, "Free Vegan Samples". We had two people passing out the samples with a leafleter near them and then others leafleting the remaining corners of the street cross section.

The food was well received with many people curious about non-dairy mac 'n cheese. One man was quite hesitant but I urged him to just try it out and he was quite surprised that it tasted like "real" mac 'n cheese. His buddies then followed in suit by taking samples as well. Many people also asked where one can get more vegan food like this and of course we told them all about the vegan-friendly options in Chicago. Ste Martaen packaged these samples in a great way. Instead of the activists using gloves and passing out the food, they came in prepackaged containers eliminating this need for gloves and food prep. People could just take a sample, stick it in their pocket, and eat it later if they wanted. This really helped with peoples desire to take the food, I think.
Leafleting went well. We passed out more leaflets than food it seemed like totaling 300 MFA Compassionate Choices. Actually, the leafleting went more smoothly than the feed-in aspect of this event. We met a lot of fellow vegetarians and vegans who were excited to see MFA out doing this event.

Overall, great event and thank you for those who came out during this super cold Saturday in Chicago! Also, many thanks to VegFund for funding this feed-in.

For more information on how to host your own feed-in in your city, please check out Mercy For Animals guide. If you live in Chicago and would like to get involved with MFA, please email me at

And how could I post an entry about giving away free, delicious BBQ seitan and mac 'n cheese without posting some recipes? For a stellar mac 'n cheese recipe, check out this one on VegWeb. Also, check out my BBQ seitan recipe here

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vegan Chicago: Restaurant Review of Earwax Cafe (Reopened w/ New Menu)

Earwax Cafe in the Wicker Park area of Chicago is a landmark place. They recently released in mid-February that they were closing their doors on the last day of the month. It was truly a sad time. Their menu was always fun, tasty, and really vegan/vegetarian-friendly. It was a great place to get a Sunday brunch any time of the year. A week after they closed, they reopened! Apparently, the uproar was so much so that they found themselves in a position to open their doors again, albeit with a new menu. I am assuming this had something to do with their closing - their previous menu. I would say it was too large with many options and I can see how that would cause a fall in business. So, the week the reopened, I was super excited to try this new menu. 

For starters, my friends and I started out with the seitan croquettes. While the description says it is fried golden with a lovely dip... it wasn't at all impressive. The croquettes were not fried golden and the dip was nothing more than pureed green vegetables. The seitan had no spices to it and overall, it was in dire need of salt. I'd sincerely give them 1/5 stars.

Next, we shared the blackened salad. It was a decent salad with interestingly shaved carrots (though a bit impractical where one needed a knife to cut them). I'd say my only flaw I found with it was the lack of dressing, although I like a little more than most. The ranch is vegan, by the way. The salad gets a 3.5/5 stars.

Lastly, we shared a black bean burger and the seitan rueben. For the black bean burger, we added vegan cheddar, mushrooms, and caramelized onions. I really think this was the best part of the meal. It came with a perfect one person portion of fries. The texture of the burger was great and the add-on's made it a pretty damn good. The seitan rueben, on the other hand, was not as good. It was dry and severely lacked thousand island sauce. It would have be tasty if it just had more sauce! This sandwich also came fries. The fries were good. Not too crispy, but not underdone. The black bean burger gets a 4/5 stars. The rueben gets a 2.5/5 stars.

We were too full to have dessert, though I do not know what was vegan on the dessert menu (didn't ask). My assessment of the new Earwax menu is that it is not that great. The former menu was much better. What I would have done was downed the original menu. This new menu is just not up to par with what I remember fondly. If someone asked me to check out Earwax now, I'd honestly say to walk up the street to the Handlebar because the food is just better. I will add, though, that it is nice to see a vegan-friendly restaurant back in business! 2.5/5 stars for the new Earwax.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Meatout 2011: Chick'n Bacon Ranch Sandwich & Greek Salad

Meatout is a worldwide event run by FARM that takes place yearly. From their website, "On (or around) March 20, thousands of caring people in all 50 U.S. states and two dozen other countries get active to host educational events for Meatout- the world's largest grassroots diet education campaign. Activists distribute free food, educate their communities, and ask their friends, families, and neighbors to "kick the meat habit” and explore a wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains." 

As a part of the activism for Meatout, they have asked me and many other bloggers to hold an e-event by posting a special recipe on their blog today, March 20th. In honor of this, I decided to make a rather simple but delicious meal.

Chick'n Bacon Ranch Sandwich

* Prep Time: 5 minutes
* Cook Time: 15 minutes
* Ingredients (for sandwich):
  • 1 Gardein Chickn Scallopini patty*
  • 2 slices of Lightlife veggie bacon*
  • 1 romaine lettuce leaf
  • 1 slice of vegan cheese*
  • 1/4 of avocado, sliced
  • 1 bun*
  • 1 tbsp vegan ranch (or to taste)
* Ingredients (for ranch):
  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise*
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or to taste)*
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp garlic red wine vinegar
* Recipe (for ranch):
  1. Combine all ingredients. Mix well.
* Recipe (for sandwich):
  1. In a small skillet, fry the chick'n patty until golden brown on each side.
  2. In the same skillet, fry up two slices of veggie bacon until slightly crispy on each side.
  3. Again in the skillet, toast the insides of a sliced roll until crispy.
  4. Construct the sandwich by bottom bun, lettuce, chick'n, bacon, and cheese. Microwave the sandwich so the cheese melts. Add the avocado and ranch. Top with the remaining half of the bun.
* Note: Gardein is a great all vegan product that can be found in most grocery stores now. I used the Chick'n Scallopini because I wanted to have a "chick'n breast" on my sandwich. One could also have used a Boca chickn patty or another brand. Lightlife makes a vegan bacon that is pretty good. Again, one can find it in many grocery stores. For cheese, I used a local brand of vegan Muenster. The company is called Ste Martaen and they have a great line of cashew cheeses here in Chicago. They also happen to co-run the vegan food truck which is awesome! The bun I used was a ciabatta bun, but feel free to use a hoagie roll or something else. For vegan mayonnaise, I prefer Vegenaise over other brands. Their dressing mayonnaise works so well to make ranch. Lastly, for the milk, feel free to use any non-dairy milk.

Greek Salad

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: n/a
* Ingredients (for salad):
  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup black olives
  • 1/3 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium vine tomato, chopped
  • 1/3 large cucumber, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy feta*
* Ingredients (for dressing):
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, juice squeezed
  • 2 tbsp garlic red wine vinegar

* Recipe (for salad):
  1. Chop all the vegetables and combine well in a bowl. Take half the vegetables and place in one bowl, the other half in another bowl.
  2. Top with 1 tbsp soy feta on each bowl.
  3. Lastly, add the salad dressing to each bowl.
* Recipe (for dressing):
  1. Combine the oregano, salt, pepper, lemon, and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive until combined.
* Note: For soy feta, I used Sunergia Soyfoods brand. It's pretty good. Feel free to skip this part if you don't want to order it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Irish Festivities: Stew, Brown Bread, & Stout Cake

The stew and brown bread recipes were adapted and veganized from a cookbook I picked up in Ireland last year, Irish Soups & Breads. It is a traditional book full of interesting recipes and facts. The stout cake with stout ganache I came up with on my own, though!
Irish Beefless Beef Stew w/ Fluffy Dumplings

* Prep Time: 15 minutes
* Cook Time: 45 minutes
* Ingredients (for stew):
  • 1/2 seitan recipe, cooked as directioned, ripped into chunks
  • 1 leek, light green and white parts chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small-medium white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 2/3 cup porter beer*
  • 7 1/2 cups vegetarian "beef" broth*
  • 1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tbsp tiny white onions, peeled
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • flour, for dusting seitan
  • olive oil, for frying seitan pieces
  • 2 tbsp soy butter*
  • 2-3 tbsp parsley, to top
  • salt & pepper
* Ingredients (for fluffy dumplings):
  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup white breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 "eggs" prepared by Ener-G instructions*
  • cayenne, to taste
 * Recipe (for stew):
  1. In a large pot on medium heat, let the butter melt. Add the leeks and onion. 
  2. After onions become translucent, add the carrot and celery. Cook until tender.
  3. Next, add the caraway seeds, beer, broth, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Cook for 20-30 minutes.
  4. While the stew is cooking, prepare the seitan pieces. In a medium pan, heat the olive oil. While olive oil is heating, roll the pieces of seitan in flour. Brown them in the olive oil and add to the stew.
  5. Add the mushrooms,tiny onions, and fluffy dumplings to the stew. Cook for another 10-15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf when done cooking.
  6. Top soup with parsley when serving.
* Recipe (for fluffy dumplings):
  1. In a bowl, combine flour, breadcrumbs, and cayenne.
  2. Mix the egg in a small bowl. Add into the flour mixture followed by the butter. Combine well.
  3. Form into small dumpling shapes and add into stew about 10-15 minutes before it is finished cooking. 
* Note: I used a porter beer because I couldn't find a vegan stout on hand that wasn't a chocolate stout. If you can find a non-chocolate stout that is vegan, please use that. Check Barnivore to make sure it is vegan. For vegetarian "beef" broth, I used Frontier broth. The soy butter I used was Earth Balance. Ener-G is a type of egg replacer.

Brown Bread

* Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
* Cook Time: 55 minutes - 1 hour
* Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups course whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup wheat germ
  • 2 "eggs" prepared by Ener-G instructions
  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
* Recipe:
  1. In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
  2. In the well, add the soy milk, olive oil, and "eggs". Mix the batter well. If the mix is too thick, add a little more soy milk if necessary.
  3. In a greased bread pan, add the batter and smooth the top. Make two diagonal cuts on the top of the bread. 
  4. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes.
  5. Take out of the oven and test to see if done. Bread to cooked by tapping the bottom; if it sounds follow, it's done. One could otherwise use a kebab skewer and poke down the middle of the loaf. If it comes out clean, the bread is done. If not, bake for another few minutes and re-check.
* Note: The mashed potatoes that the bread is with in the picture are made via my recipe here.

Chocolate Stout Cake w/ Chocolate Stout Ganache

* Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
* Cook Time: 50 minutes
* Ingredients (for chocolate stout cake):
  • 1 cup chocolate stout beer*
  • 1 cup softened soy butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 "eggs" prepared by Enger-G instructions
  • 2/3 cup vegan sour cream*
* Ingredients (for chocolate stout ganache):
  • 1/4 cup chocolate stout beer
  • 9 oz. vegan chocolate chips
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract

* Recipe (for chocolate stout cake):
  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients in the well and combine well.
  2. In a greased cake pan, pour the batter in. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.
  3. Check the cake after 40 minutes to see if it is done. use a toothpick or kebab skewer and poke the cake to the bottom of the pan. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake it done. If not, place back into the oven until cooked.
* Recipe (for chocolate stout ganache):
  1. Bring a small pot to boil. In a small pan, place the chocolate chips inside. Place pan over the boiling water and stir while the chocolate melts. Add the stout and the vanilla extract.
  2. Once cake cools, top it with the ganache.
* Note: Most stout is not vegan. Please make sure you check Barnivore before you make this cake. There are a few stouts out there that are vegan. Don't use Guinness! For vegan sour cream, I used Tofutti

Well, there you have it. I hope you all have a great holiday! Irish blessings from your part Irish blog doll. xo

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pear, Walnut, & Soy Bleu Cheese Salad w/ Pear Vinaigrette

As promised, here is a recipe for a yummy salad. I also have some soy feta that I want to make a Greek salad out of, so be on the lookout for that too. In the next few days, I will be posting my St. Patrick's Day recipes.

Pear, Walnut, & Soy Bleu Cheese Salad w/ Pear Vinaigrette
* Prep Time: 5 minutes
* Cook Time: n/a
* Ingredients:
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/4-1/3 cup white onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 medium pear, sliced or chopped
  • 1/3 cup soy bleu cheese, chopped into squares*
  • 1/4 cup pear nectar, or more/less to taste
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, or more/less to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  * Recipe:
  1. Combine the arugula, onion, walnuts, pear, and soy bleu cheese together. Place in two salad bowls.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the pear nectar, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Mix. While mixing, pour olive oil into the dressing. Feel free to add more pear nectar or vinegar, to taste.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salads. Enjoy!
* Note: The soy bleu cheese is a brand called Sunergia Soyfoods. It wasn't bad! I've never seen or had soy bleu cheese before, so I was really intrigued. I ordered it online from Pangea.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mac and Beer Cheese Soup

So, I post a lot of "vegan junk food" recipes on here mostly because I enjoy veganizing the impossible, so to speak. This leads me to believe I am not too self reflective of my personal diet on here! These recipes I post on Vegan Miss are mostly fun weekend projects. Now, because I feel I've done too much junk stuff in the recent past (with the exception of maybe my raw kale salad which I am truly obsessed with), I've committed myself to making a few salad posts coming soon. Be on the look out!

Mac and Beer Cheese Soup
* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 30 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp soy butter*
  • 1/3 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 1/2 large stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegan bacon, chopped*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/3-1/2 cup lager*
  • 1 1/3 cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk (+ 1/3 cup almond milk)*
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, mixed with the 1/3 cup almond milk until lumps gone
  • 1 10 oz. roll of vegan melting cheddar cheese*
  • vegan Parmesan, to top, optional*
* Recipe:
  1. In a large pot on medium heat, let the butter melt. Add the onions and cook until they become translucent.
  2. Next, add the carrots, celery, garlic, broccoli, bacon, salt, and pepper. Cook until the become soft.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, beer, macaroni, milk, and flour mixture; stir. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Lastly, add the cheese and mix well. Simmer on low for five minutes. Top with vegan Parmesan if desired.
* Note: For soy butter, I used Earth Balance with olive oil (my personal favorite kind of their brand). For vegan bacon, I used Upton's Naturals vegan bacon. Alas, one can not buy it in stores. It is for food vendors only, though I get it through the Chicago Vegan Co-Op. One could use Lightlife brand instead. Make sure the lager is vegan on Barnivore. Of course, one could also just take out the beer all together if one wants. Almond milk is just what I happen to prefer. Use any sort of non-dairy milk you like. The melting cheddar cheese I used was Teese brand. I'm sure one could cook down Soy Kaas or even Follow Your Heart. Lastly, the optional Parmesan I would suggest is Galaxy topping.
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