Monday, February 27, 2012

Polish Braised Red Cabbage

This is a pretty simple side recipe that's great for weeknight cooking. It leaves you with plenty of leftovers too. I'd combine it with my pierogies for a perfect Polish meal!

Polish Braised Red Cabbage

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1/2 medium head red cabbage, cored, shredded
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine*
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar*
  • salt and pepper, to taste

* Recipe:
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent.
  2. Add in the cabbage and water. Cook until about half the water is gone.
  3. Add in the vinegar, red wine, and sugar. Cook until most of the liquid is gone. 
* Note: Make sure your red wine and brown sugar are vegan!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Southwestern Skillet

I've never actually had a traditional Southwestern skillet before, vegan or otherwise. I'm not a huge fan of spicy foods, Tex-Mex-style food, and I never ate eggs prior to being vegan. My friends wanted to try and make this for a brunch, so behold the Southwestern Skillet.

Southwestern Skillet

* Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
* Cook Time: 30 minutes
* Ingredients (for potatoes):
  • 5-6 red potatoes, cleaned and cubed
  • 1/2 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp parley
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, to coat entire bottom of skillet
* Ingredients (for scramble):
  • 1 package (16 oz.) firm tofu, water pressed out
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp tumeric
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup vegan cheddar cheese, shredded*
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
* Ingredients (for sausage):
  • 1 box (8 oz.) vegan sausage crumbles*
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
* Recipe (for potatoes):
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add onion, garlic, and peppers, and sautee for 1 minute.
  2. Add potatoes and seasonings. Cook until brown and tender.
* Recipe (for scramble):
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Sautee onions until soft.
  2. Add garlic, crumble tofu into skillet, and add spices.
  3. Slightly brown tofu and add diced tomatoes. Sautree for 3-5 minutes or until tomatoes are cooked.
  4. Top with cheese and cover with lid to melt.
* Recipe (for sausage):
  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the sausage crumbles with olive oil and cook until brown.
* Recipe (for assembly):
  1. Assemble by layering potatoes on the bottom of a plate then the sausage and "scrambled egg" and cheese.
  2. Top with salsa and chili peppers if you like spice. Serve with a side of toast. Perfect for brunch for two or as hangover food!
* Note: For cheese, I used Daiya cheddar shreds. One could shred other brands by hand. The sausage crumbles were Upton's Natural's brand that I chopped up fine. One could use Boca crumbles, Yves, or Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage in replacement. Lastly, feel free to add some veggie bacon to this too such as Yves Canadian Bacon or Lightlife Smart Bacon.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Growing up, I had a Filipino nanny named Luz for ten years. As I didn't have grandparents, she was very much like a grandmother to me (I brought her to Grandparent's Day every year at school too). One of my favorite memories is learning how to cook from Luz. This recipe, modified vegan, is a favorite childhood food of mine. Lumpia are a lot like egg rolls, but they are long and thin. They are so good, you could just sit there and eat one after the next, haha. I ate them with vinegar as a kid. Luz taught me many other things other than cooking. Most importantly, she taught me one of the best qualities a person could have in life: Remember to laugh. She was always smiling, laughing, and in a good mood. I keep a framed picture of myself and her on my desk so I can see her everyday. :]


* Prep Time: 20 minutes
* Cook Time: 15 minutes
* Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 package (8 oz.) firm tofu, pressed and drained, mashed*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small green pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts, finely diced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil + more for frying
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • lumpia wrappers*
  • sweet and sour sauce, to taste, to dip*

* Recipe: 
  1. In a deep fryer or a large deep frying pan, add the vegetable oil and bring to medium heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the lumpia wrappers and sweet and sour sauce.
  3. Separate the lumpia wrappers (be careful, they are very thin) and add 2 tbsp or so of the mixture into the center of the wrapper creating a line form across the wrapper.
  4. Fold over the two right and left sides of the wrapper onto the filling. Roll the lumpia wrapper like a rug from bottom to top. Use water to seal the end of the wrapper to the roll.
  5. Fry the lumpia until golden brown on all sides.
  6. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.
* Note: Instead of tofu, one could use finely chopped ground seitan, just veggies, or even tempeh. It is traditionally filled with ground meat. Lumpia wrappers are easy to find at most Asian grocery stores. A variety of sauces could be used for dipping. I made a homemade sweet and sour sauce, but a sweet chili sauce would be good as well as a soy sauce or vinegar sauce. 

This is a good picture instruction guide for rolling lumpia.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Vegan Chicago: Restaurant Review of LooseLeaf Lounge

A few months ago Mercy For Animals worked with LooseLeaf Lounge to create a new vegan menu. This cute cafe already had a great veggie sandwich, the Original Vegan (tomato focaccia, basil pesto [w/o Parmesan], artichoke hearts, black olives, cilantro, spinach, tomato, and red onions). In addition to this sandwich, they added:
  • Chorizo Wrap: flour tortilla, Upton's Naturals chorizo seitan, romaine, avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic hummus and Daiya mozzarella
  • Vegan Grilled Cheese: pumpernickel, romaine, buttery spread, garlic hummus, onion, tomato, and your choice of Daiya cheddar or mozzarella
  • Ground Seitan: pumpernickel, Upton's Naturals ground seitan, romaine, avocado, tomato, red pepper, basil Vegenaise, and Daiya mozzarella
  • Portobello: rosemary ciabatta, portobello marinated in a balasalmic & basil vinaigrette, with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, red onion, and mozzarella (sub Daiya)
  • Eggplant Delight: white ciabata, organic eggplant marinated in a red wine vinaigrette, with basil thyme, garlic, and jalapeno pepper. Served with spinach, tomato, red onions, and mozzarella (sub Daiya).
In addition to sandwiches, LooseLeaf also has salads such as mixed greens, Asian, and hearty veggie. There are also a number of vegetarian soups, though not all are vegan. Vegan soups include miso, lentil, and hearty vegetable. 

I tried the chorizo wrap. It came with a choice of veggies or chips. I got the veggies. The wrap was pretty good. It was pressed such as a panini which toasted the wrap and melted the cheese, adding a nice touch to the ground seitan. I'm not sure the hummus was really needed, though. I didn't feel it and it didn't seem to add anything. Overall, I'd get it again, but I'd love to try a different sandwich. Will be back soon!  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini Cups, Pear Stuffed Heart-Shaped Ravioli in Walnut Sage White Wine Reduction, & Heart-Shaped Raspberry Tiramisu

Ah, Valentine's Day. To me, I always think Italian food is the way to go for this holiday. Last year, I made a lovely dinner of raw kale salad, spaghetti and heart-shaped meatballs, and tiramisu. This year, I changed the tiramisu recipe to a raspberry version that is heart-shaped. Who doesn't love cute lovey-dovey food on this holiday?!

Stuffed Zucchini Cups

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
* Ingredients: 
  • 2 large zucchini
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 package (8 oz.) vegan ground crumbles*
  • 1/2 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 cup tomato basil pasta sauce*
  • vegan mozzarella, to top*
  • vegan Parmesan, to top (optional)*
  • sea salt, to top (optional)*
* Recipe:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions with salt and pepper until translucent. Add the garlic, green peppers, mushrooms, and crumbles. 
  3. Cook for about ten minutes until the crumbles are brown. Add the basil, parsley, and oregano and keep cooking for another two minutes.
  4. Cut the zucchini in about one inch pieces. Using a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out the insides of the zucchini being careful not to take out the bottom. 
  5. Fill the zucchini with the crumble mixture and top with pasta sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
  6. On a lightly oiled cookie sheet, bake zucchini cups for 20 minutes. When done, top with a bit of sea salt.
* Note: For ground crumbles, I diced up a package of Upton's Naturals ground beef style seitan. You can get it around the Chicago area at Whole Foods or otherwise online. If you can't find Upton's, you can use Boca crumbles or Yves brand. The pasta sauce I used was Whole Foods 365 Organic brand. I used Daiya vegan mozzarella. The Parmesan and sea salt are optional, but I would suggest Galaxy topping for vegan Parmesan. 

Pear Stuffed Heart-Shaped Ravioli in Walnut Sage White Wine Reduction

* Prep Time: 45 minutes
* Cook Time: 15 minutes
* Ingredients (for ravioli filling):
  • 2 anjou pears, finely diced
  • 1 whole shallot, sliced
  • 1/4 package (2 oz.) vegan cream cheese*
  • 1/2 cup tofu ricotta*
  • 1/4 cup vegan mozzarella*
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, roasted, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
* Ingredients (for dough):
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp olive oil, for boiling water
  • pinch of salt, for boiling water

* Ingredients (for reduction):
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter*
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh sage, minced
  • 1 cup white wine*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
 * Recipe (for filling):
  1. In a medium skillet, cook the pears and shallots for about 10 minutes over medium heat until they are soft. 
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. 
  3. When pears are cooked, add to the bowl and mix well.
* Recipe (for dough):
  1. Mix the all-purpose flour, the semolina flour, and salt well in a medium bowl.
  2. On a clean counter space, create a mound with the flour mixture. In the center, create a well. In the well, put in the olive oil and water. 
  3. Slowly start to mix and then knead dough until smooth.
  4. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until slightly thin.
  5. Cut the dough with a 3 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter.
  6. Place 1 tbsp of the filling in the center of the dough.
  7. Using water, wipe the edge of the dough. Top with another heart-shaped dough piece. Press the edges with a fork.
  8. In a medium pot of boiling water, add the salt and olive oil, then cook the ravioli until the float (only a few minutes). Let cook for one minute after they start to float. Do not overcrowd the pot with ravioli or else they will stick together.
* Recipe (for reduction):
  1. In a medium skillet, toast the walnuts over medium heat.
  2. Add the butter, white wine, sage, salt, and pepper. Reduce to half.
  3. Stir in the parsley once reduced.
* Note: For vegan cream cheese, I used Tofutti brand. The tofu ricotta recipe was taken from the Veganomicon cookbook. See recipe here. For vegan mozzarella, I used Daiya. I used Earth Balance for vegan butter. Lastly, make sure your white wine is vegan!

Heart-Shaped Raspberry Tiramisu

* Prep Time: 15 minutes
* Cook Time: 20 minutes
* Ingredients (for lady fingers):
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk*
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter, melted*
  • 3 "egg" Ener-G egg replacer (follow box instructions)*
* Ingredients (for custard filling):

  • 1 8 oz. container vegan cream cheese*
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream*
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup amaretto
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar*
  • 2 tsp cornstarch (mixed with 2 tbsp water)
* Ingredients (for coffee mixture):

  • 1/2 cup espresso*
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Grand Mariner  
* Ingredients (for topping):

  • fresh raspberries
  • raspberry jam
  • cocoa powder, to dust
  • powdered sugar, to dust
  • shaved dark vegan chocolate, to top
* Recipe (for lady fingers):
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another small bowl.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Make sure no lumps are in the batter.
  4. In an oiled medium baking dish, add the batter in a level fashion.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and a toothpick can come out clean from the center of the cake.
* Recipe (for custard filling):
  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the cornstarch mixture. Whisk together until no lumps are found.
  2. In a small pot, add the custard mixture and heat on medium heat. When it starts to boil, add the cornstarch mixture.
  3. Turn to low to medium heat and cook for about five minutes. It should look rather thick (rather than runny).
  4. Set aside until needed for building process.
* Recipe (for coffee mixture):
  1. Combine freshly made espresso with Grand Mariner.
* Recipe (for building):

  1. Using a 3 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out hearts from the lady finger cake.
  2. Dip each heart in the coffee mixture on both sides of the cake.
  3. Place one heart on a plate. Top with a layer of raspberry jam and then custard mixture.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 one more time.
  5. Once done adding custard to the last cake piece, top the tiramisu with fresh raspberries, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and shaved chocolate. 
* Note: Make sure all the sugar in this recipe is vegan. You can find marked vegan sugar at health food stores. I used soymilk, though feel free to use any non-dairy milk. I used Earth Balance for vegan butter. Ener-G is an egg replacer one can find in the baking area of health food stores. There are other means of egg replacing such as using apple sauce. For vegan cream cheese, I used Tofutti brand. The sour cream was Tofutti brand. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener used to replace honey. One can find it near the honey in the green/organic/natural section of your grocery. I have an espresso maker, so I just made my espresso for this. They do make powdered espresso that I'm sure you could add water to. It would be in the baking section of your grocer.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chick'n Schnitzel

The schnitzel's origin lies in Austrian and German cooking and is primarily made of pork or veal. It is also prominent in Israeli cooking. Having relatives in Israel, I grew up eating schnitzel, but of course, made from chicken. I loved vinegar as a child, so I ate it with malt vinegar, but ketchup is very tasty with it usually. This is my vegan chick'n version. It is very simple to make and super tasty (definitely a treat food, though). Americans would liken it to chicken fried steak probably. It essentially is that, but saying schnitzel is way more fun, haha!

Chick'n Schnitzel

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1 package of Gardein chick'n scallopini, thawed*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 egg replacements, preparing according to package instructions*
* Recipe:
  1. Combine the breadcrumbs and spices onto a plate. In a small bowl, beat the egg replacements until frothy and clumps are gone.
  2. In a frying pan, add vegetable oil and bring to medium heat.
  3. Smash out the chick'n patties as much as you can without tearing them (the idea behind schnitzel is that it is thin patties).
  4. Coat the patties in flour, then in egg replacement thoroughly, then cover in breadcrumbs.
  5. Fry both sides until golden.
  6. Serve with ketchup or hummus and a side of french fries or mashed potatoes.
* Note: Gardein is a great mock meat alternative to chicken. For egg replacement, I used Ener-G.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Arugula, Farro, & Buttercup Squash Salad

    Arugula, Farro, & Buttercup Squash Salad

     * Prep Time: 6 hours to overnight
    * Cook Time: 30 minutes
    * Ingredients: 
    • 1 1/2 cup farro*
    • 2 cups arugula
    • 1 small buttercup squash, skin removed, cubed
    • 2 tbsp olive oil, more to taste
    • 1/4 medium white onion, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, more to taste
    • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
    • 1/8 tsp marjoram
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    * Recipe:
    1. Let the farro soak for at least 6-8 hours to overnight. I did this per box directions. Follow whatever your farro box or bag tells you.
    2. In a small pot, cook the cubed buttercup squash in 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
    3. While squash is cooking, prepare farro according to box directions to cook. It should end up tender like rice.
    4. In a small skillet, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat and cook onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent.
    5. In a big bowl, combine all the ingredients. Add more olive oil and vinegar if need be until the taste turns out as you like it. 
    * Note: Farro is common in Middle Eastern and Italian dishes. You can find it with the other grains in your grocery. I got my bag at Whole Foods.
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