Monday, April 30, 2012

Beefless Beef Stroganoff

As I mentioned in my recipe post of country fried steak with gravy, I only used half a can of Worthington Multigrain Cutlets for that recipe. The other half I saved in the fridge and made this recipe with a few days later. I didn't want to just coat and fry the cutlets, so I thought the seitan steaks chopped up would be good in a beefless beef stroganoff.

Again, I'm not aware of any seitan steak products like these. Most seem to be made like crumbles or pieces. For this recipe, you could easily use West Soy seitan pieces. You could make your own seitan cutlets to achieve the same results in this recipe (and you would have leftover seitan for something else). Here is my seitan cutlet recipe.

Beefless Beef Stroganoff

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1/2 can (4) multigrain cutlets, drained, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream*
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk*
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 package (8 oz.) ribbon noodles* 
* Recipe:
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add noodles and cook until slightly al dente (around 8-10 minutes).
  2. In a large frying pan, heat oil and saute onions and seitan until the seitan starts to brown.
  3. Add the mushrooms and sautee until soft.
  4. Combine the milk and cornstarch.
  5. Add half the green onions and cook until soft. Once soft, add sour cream and milk mixture.
  6. Season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Reduce to low heat and allow to simmer until thick.
  7. Add noodles directly from the boiling water to the stroganoff. Stir until completely coated. 
  8. Garnish with the remaining green onions and serve.
* Note: For vegan sour cream, I used Tofutti. I like almond milk, but feel free to use whatever non-dairy milk you enjoy. For ribbon noodles, I used Eden Foods Organic Spinach Pasta Ribbons. Traditionally, stroganoff is made with egg noodles and these are somewhat similar.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Country Fried Steak with Gravy

As I mentioned in my review of Chicago Health Foods store, I go there somewhat frequently. Worthington brand vegetarian foods is kind of a retro company... it's been around for decades and is owned by Loma Linda Foods. A lot of their products are not vegan and you usually just don't see them in stores. Chicago Health Foods store carries a few of their canned items and several frozen items. The multigrain cutlets are vegan, so I thought I would check it out. First, these are basically seitan steaks in a can. Second, canned seitan? Yeah... I mean, I guess it could be worse! So, I thought the best way to tackle canned seitan would be by making a country fried steak and breading it. I will also be posting a recipe for beefless beef stroganoff that I made with these multi-grain cutlets too. Now, I have to say, as far as canned seitan goes, this is really good! It was awesome in both dishes I made (I used half a can per dish). So, breaded or non-breaded, I enjoyed it. I imagine it would be really good breaded sort of like katsu or pork tenderloin and put in a sandwich too. Oh, and despite in the picture on the can the cutlet is breaded, it is not. It is seitan steaks in juice. Just FYI.

As a note, I'm not sure what you could use to replace these Worthington cutlets. I'm not aware of anything quite like them that isn't something like a Gardein chick'n patty. All seitan products I know of are crumbles and pieces, not cutlets. You could do this if you make your own seitan, though! Here is my recipe of cutlet-style seitan.

Country Fried Steak with Gravy 

* Prep Time: 1 hour
* Cook Time: 20 minutes
* Ingredients (for country fried steak):
  • 1/2 can (4) multigrain cutlets, drained
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk*
  • 1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1-2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 tsp paprika
  • 1-2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 egg replacers, follow box directions*
  • peanut oil, for frying*
* Ingredients (for gravy):
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil, from frying cutlets
  • 2-3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp soy butter*
  • 3/4th cup non-dairy milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

* Recipe (for country fried steak):
  1. Prepare butter milk by combining the milk with vinegar. Let stand in the refrigerator for 5 minutes. Soak the cutlets in the butter milk for a minimum of an hour, the longer the better. 
  2. Using 2 bowls, add half of the flour and spices to each. In a third bowl, mix the eggs according to box directions. Set up bowls in a line: flour, eggs, flour.  
  3. Add enough oil to a frying pan to come up half an inch and bring to medium to high heat.  
  4. Once oil is hot, place cutlet in first flour bowl and coat completely, shaking off excess. Then place it in the egg bowl, again coating completely and shaking excess. Place in final flour bowl, once coated, shake excess and place in oil. Repeat for each cutlet. If the egg mixture seems too thick, add a little extra water to thin it out. 
  5. Cook until each cutlet is golden brown. Place on a wire rack with a paper underneath it to catch excess oil (or place on plate with paper towels to drain oil). 
  6. Reserve about 2 tbsp of oil for gravy, keeping the dripping from the dredge. 
* Recipe (for gravy): 
  1. In the frying pan you used to make the country fried steak, add the flour to reserved oil from frying and whisk together until slightly thick. It should be a pudding consistency. If it is too thin, add more flour a teaspoon at a time until thick.  
  2. Add butter and allow to melt.  
  3. Whisk in milk. Add salt and pepper. Reduce heat and allow to thicken. If too thick, add more milk, constantly whisking until the gravy is slightly thinner than desired. Do this because it will thicken as it cools. 
  4. Pour over mashed potatoes and country fried steaks. Serve with greens.
* Note: For non-dairy milk, I used almond milk. Feel free to use whatever kind you wish. For egg replacer, I used Enger-G. Peanut oil has a high heat capacity and it is really great for frying things. If you have a nut allergy, you could still use regular vegetable oil. For soy butter, I used Earth Balance with olive oil.

For sides to this recipe, I made mashed potatoes and greens. I have recipes for these on Vegan Miss: mashed potatoes & greens.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baked Tomato with Tofu Spinach Basil Ricotta & Panko Topping

Before I begin, Vegan Miss is now on Instagram! Follow "veganmiss".

I had 3 organic tomatoes sitting in my fruit bowl and had been pondering what to make with them. Too much tomato in a salad isn't my taste and there were not enough to make a good sauce for pasta or lasagna. Then I thought, hey, why not core them and bake like a pepper? I used a ricotta filling that could be used in a vegan lasagna and topped with panko for a nice crunchy finish.

Baked Tomato with Tofu Spinach Basil Ricotta & Panko Topping

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
* Ingredients (for filling):
  • 1/2 block firm tofu (12 oz.), mashed
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp spinach, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp non-dairy milk*
  • 1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp vegan Parmesan*
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
* Ingredients (for topping):
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, to taste
* Ingredients (remaining):
  • 3 or 4 medium tomatoes
  • olive oil, to top
  • vegan Parmesan, to top
  • salt, to top
 * Recipe:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the tofu and add the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix well.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Add enough olive oil just to make the crumbs stick. 
  4. Cut the top of each tomato and take out the core. Add the filling to the tomatoes then top with the panko mixture.
  5. 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.
  6. Put in oven and let bake for about 5-10 minutes until you notice the panko starting to brown. Remove from oven and using a fork, add the tomato tops back to the tomatoes covering the panko. Return to the oven and let bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the tomatoes seem soft and baked.
  7. Top the baked tomatoes with vegan Parmesan and salt. 
Instagram photo
* Note: For non-dairy milk I used almond milk. Feel free to use whatever you like. The vegan Parmesan is optional but I enjoy it which is why it is in this recipe. I used Galaxy topping.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kasha Varnishkes

Being half Russian and a quarter Polish, I enjoy my kasha (buckwheat). Here is my kasha pilaf recipe that my aunt veganized for me. This is another simple Eastern European dish that I enjoy. I think it would go good with pierogies and cabbage!

Kasha Varnishkes
* Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
* Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil or vegan butter*
  • 1 cup buckwheat (kasha)
  • 2 "egg replacers", follow box instructions*
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup bow-tie pasta, cooked
* Recipe:
  1. In a deep skillet or large pot over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil or butter and cook the onions and mushrooms until the onions are translucent.
  2. In a bowl, combine the egg replacer and kasha. 
  3. Add the kasha mixture to the skillet and cook until the kasha starts to toast or brown further. 
  4. Next, add the vegetable stock, salt, pepper, and bring to a boil. Let the kasha cook covered until tender.
  5. Add in the cooked bow-tie pasta and the remaining olive oil or butter. Combine well.
* Note: I used olive oil for my version and for egg replacer, I used Ener-G.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Product Review: Follow Your Heart Tartar Sauce, Horseradish Sauce, Caesar Dressing, & Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing

Follow Your Heart has come out with a bunch of new products lately including a variety of salad dressings like creamy garlic, honey mustard, lemon herb, Caesar, sesame dijon, sesame miso, thousand island, oil-free French dijon, oil-free citrus poppy seed, oil-free tamari miso, and the list just keeps going on. They now also have sauces and marinades like barbeque sauce and balsamic vinaigrette sauce. Also new is their own sour cream and cream cheese. Of course, there is always their line of cheeses and vegan mayonnaise varieties.

From Vegenaise, they have made a variety of different sauce like the tartar sauce, horseradish sauce, and pesto mayonnaise. I have to admit, I fan girl-ed a bit when I heard and saw Follow Your Heart come out with so many new products at once (so awesome). I found the tartar sauce, horseradish sauce, and a bunch of their salad dressing at my local grocery store in Chicago, Treasure Island. I'm sure they are at health food stores and Whole Foods around the nation by now. 

The tartar sauce is not bad. It's not as good as the horseradish sauce, but it isn't anything I would say is super special. If you want convenience, this is your sauce for vegan seafood-y type things like my tempeh crab cakes. I liked my lemon dill tartar sauce better. You could easily make it with Vegenaise too.

The horseradish sauce is pretty tasty. I'm a fan. Once again, this is purely for convenience I would imagine because you could just make this yourself with some vegan mayo and horseradish. Out of these two sauces, if you are going to try one, I recommend picking up this one. It's tangy and delicious.

Now, I've tried two of their new salad dressings, the Caesar and the citrus poppy seed. I really enjoyed the Caesar. I'm not sure if there are even other vegan Caesar dressing on the market, but this did not disappoint. I would most definitely buy this dressing again. I have my own Caesar dressing, but this is a quicky solution. The citrus poppy seed was kind of your run of the mill poppy seed dressing. Nothing too special. It is nice that it is oil-free. I wasn't over the moon about this dressing and probably wouldn't buy it again in order to try one of the others Follow Your Heart just came out with.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mango & Lychee Tofu Stir-Fry

Down in Springfield, IL, I like to get the mango dish at Osaka. See my review of the restaurant here. I get a lot of Thai here in the city, but I never see a mango entree like I do down in Springfield which is disappointing! I tried to recreate it, but alas Osaka's is better, I think. Here is the recipe anyways (I added lychee too)!

Mango & Lychee Tofu Stir-Fry
* Prep Time: 15 minutes
* Cook Time: 30 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1/2 package (12 oz.) firm tofu, triangular cut
  • sesame oil, for cooking, to taste
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1/3 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1/3 cup red and yellow bell peppers, sliced
  • 1/4 cup baby corn
  • 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 can (14 oz.) mango pieces
  • 4 lychee (from can), sliced*
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar*
  • 1 tbsp vegetarian fish sauce*
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp lychee juice (from can)
  • 1 tsp mango juice (from can)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh parsley, to top
  • green onion, sliced, to top
* Recipe:
  1. Before starting the recipe, prepare all the vegetables so they are ready to go in the wok when needed.
  2. In a wok, fry the tofu on both sides until golden in some sesame oil. Set aside.
  3. Add more oil and fry the onions until translucent. Add the rest of the veggies in order of what takes longest to cook (i.e. carrots first) and salt and cook until tender. Toss in the tofu.
  4. In a bowl, mix the liquid ingredients for the sauce. Add to the vegetables and cook until reduced in half.
  5. Top with parsley and sliced green onion and serve with rice.
* Note: Lychee is an Asian fruit that can normally be found canned and in the Asian aisle of the grocery. You could choose to make this with just mango if you want. Make sure your sugar is vegan. Vegetarian fish sauce is something you can find at an Asian grocery store, usually. It may be called vegetarian oyster sauce as well. You could make it yourself too.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Vegan Chicago: Review of Chicago Health Foods Store

Chicago Health Foods store replaced Maple St. Market a little while ago and I admit, I hadn't been in really since the change in ownership. Maple St. Market was not far from my apartment and school, so I used to go in there every once in awhile to pick up some odds and ends (say if I ran out of vegan toothpaste and didn't feel like going to Whole Foods for it, stuff like that). It was your general health food store, more geared towards hygiene products and supplements, if anything. The owners were not friendly and rather off-putting. They had a sandwich bar at one point and changed it only to a juice bar eventually. I wasn't too sad to see Maple St. Market close. 

Now, Chicago Health Foods store is an entirely different story. I go in here all the time. It's nice to support a local health food store versus giants like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. The new owners are way more friendly and helpful. They redid the inside layout and it looks much better and brighter. The place carries a variety of hygiene products, a lot of them vegan, like shaving lotion, shampoo and conditioner, soaps, face products, lotions, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. They also carry candles and incense in this area. The middle section of the store has all the supplements and raw powder products. There is your standard selection of every vitamin you can imagine, powders like wheatgrass and spirulina for juicing, and protein powders. There is a snack wall with a whole slew of different types of chips and crackers.

Towards the back is the small food section. On one side, there is the frozen section with a bunch of vegan options like Amy's dinners, Tofurky pizzas, Tofutti ice cream bars and pizza, meatless burger patties, and frozen vegetables. The thing I like about Chicago Health Foods store is that they have somewhat obscure vegan products that you don't always find other places like the Tofutti pizza and their "Marry Me" ice cream bars. On the far back wall is the refrigerated section with vegan cheeses, butter, various drinks, and a line of their own pre-packaged food like raw cauliflower salad, raw kale salad, curried seitan, etc. I really like their raw cauliflower and raw broccoli salads. In the middle of this back area are packaged food items like spices, breakfast foods, canned food, pasta and grains, dried fruit and nuts, etc. 

Lastly, Chicago Health Foods store has a small sandwich spot inside and a juice bar. I may be addicted. The sandwich menu is primarily vegan with a seitan sandwich, veggie wrap, housemade black bean burger, and a falafel sandwich. There are vegan smoothies and of course, juices, as well as vegan soft serve (Chicago's own Temptation). The seitan is from Soul Veg and you can add vegan cheeses (they have several different types) like Daiya and local cashew cheese company, Ste Martaen. The seitan sandwich kicks major ass. It comes with a delicious vegan basil aioli (made with Vegenaise). I get it with Ste Martaen cheese to call it a meal. The black bean burger is huge for $5. It's also really good. I come in this place when I don't feel like making a meal for myself and know I'll have a tasty vegan sandwich for lunch!

Seitan Sandwich

Chicago Health Foods store also does monthly lectures and demonstrations. They vary from month to month on the topic, but all are health-conscious related. I recommend you check out this health food store if you are in the Old Town or Gold Coast area!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shaved Golden Beet & Mustard Green Salad

I picked up some golden beets the other day at the market and I thought I would make a salad out of them. Regular beets tend to be really earthy in flavor, but golden beets are much less intense with that grass/soil taste. If you don't like red beets, you may like the golden ones!

Shaved Golden Beet & Mustard Green Salad

* Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
* Cook Time: n/a
* Ingredients:
  • 3 small golden beets, shaved
  • 1 small lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 bunch mustard greens, stem removed, chopped
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1-2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
* Recipe:
  1. Shave the golden beets and place in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and let it soak the beets while you prepare the rest. This will soften the beets a bit.
  2. Add the mustard greens, onion, garlic, lemon zest, and almond to the beets. Mix.
  3. Add the dijon, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix the salad well.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Product Review: Daiya Jack Style Wedge Cheese

Daiya, the vegan shredded cheese geniuses, came out with a new line of wedge style cheeses not too long ago. I got the jack style wedge from Vegan Essentials. Honestly, I was never a fan of jack cheeses when I ate dairy, but I thought I'd give this vegan version a try. I tried a piece raw and it had a really strong flavor that hit my tongue. I wouldn't recommend just slicing off a piece and eating it. I melted some on a Boca patty the other day for lunch and I really enjoyed that. Much better when melted. It melted really well - much, much better than some vegan cheeses tend to do. That strong flavor subdued a bit once it was melted too. Also, I freeze most of my vegan cheeses because I don't get around to using them quick enough usually, and the Daiya wedge freezes nicely just like their shredded varieties. Freezing it didn't effect its taste or melting capabilities. Overall, I'd be open to try the chedder wedge for things like sandwiches. Not sure if I would personally like the havarti style. The new wedges are nothing too ground breaking, but it's always nice to see new vegan products coming out.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Vegan Chicago: Restaurant Review of Soul Vegetarian East

Like many other Groupon users, I waited until the last night to use my Groupon to Soul Vegetarian East Restaurant over on the south side of Chicago. There are a number of soul vegetarian type restaurants on the south side, but this one is the most talked about and the oldest. Other restaurants include: Sistah's Vegan Restaurant, Brother Tim's Vegetarian Fast Food, and Yah's Cuisine

Both times I've been to Soul Veg the wait has been awfully long. I will admit the first time was also with a Groupon within a week of it expiring and this last time was the night it expired, so my wait time may have been altered due to that. From reading Yelp reviews, though, it seems like the service is always pretty slow and the servers are rather scatter-brained. 

Aside from the restaurant, there is a juice bar and a take out bar. The take out bar has various kinds of salads, seitan, greens, etc. The juice bar is pretty much your standard juice bar with carrot juices, green juices, and additives of wheatgrass and spirulina.

Before I begin, let me just say that this is southern cooking. It isn't healthy, even if it is vegetarian. A lot of it is fried or it is made of seitan. They do have salads which are pretty awesome. More on that later.

To start, my friends and I split the battered cauliflower. Pretty much most vegetables battered and fried are tasty and the cauliflower didn't disappoint in this aspect. It is definitely something to be split among 3-4 people, though, because it would be too much fried food for just two people. Other appetizers on the menu are more battered things like mushrooms, onion rings, fries, and tidbits (seitan).

We got a side of carrot supreme salad which was absolutely amazing. If you get anything at this restaurant, get this salad. For $4.50, it could have been a meal! It was gigantic and packed full of awesome veggies. We got the creamy garlic dressing with it and I'm thinking they use fresh garlic because it was super garlicky, but the creaminess balanced it out.

For sandwiches, we had the East Coast BBQ Roast Sandwich and the Hand Burger. The BBQ sandwich was as to be expected: messy. They use their signature seitan tidbits and coat them in their own bbq sauce. Overall, it's a good kind of messy sandwich. I'd get this again for sure. My friend had the Hand Burger and he said it's the best veggie burger he's ever had (and he's an omnivore)! It is made out of lentils and various spices. My only problem with the sandwiches are that they come with no sides. It feels a bit like an incomplete meal to just have a sandwich. Of course, you can order a side, but you get what I mean. The last time I was at Soul Veg, I got the gyros and I didn't care for them too much. It was too dry for my taste. They sell their Jerusalem Steak sandwich and Tofu Salad Sandwich at the local Whole Foods here and those are pretty good even pre-packaged. I imagine having them fresh at the restaurant is even better. 

My other friend had the dinner special. This dinner was something like $12 and for that price, there was SO much food. All three of us could have eaten this for dinner and been stuffed. It came with greens, steamed broccoli, breaded tofu (think catfish fillet style), a whopping piece of lasagna, and a choice of soup or salad (he got the soup, bean curd veggie, with fresh cornbread). I've had the greens from Soul Veg before and I always find them a bit too musky from the liquid smoke they use. I only use a pinch of it when I make greens and that may be why (if I even use it). Otherwise, they are perfect. The steamed broccoli was pretty standard, tender and healthy. Now, this breaded tofu business. Wow, you would think it was real breaded catfish strips the way they have it done up. I've never had breaded fish like that in my life (what? I grew up in San Francisco. Fresh fish from the ocean... who breads that?!). One of my friends who was with me is from the south and the other grew up eating breaded catfish and both of them were as impressed as I was with the breaded tofu. They have a breaded tofu sandwich and I bet that thing is amazing. The lasagna was alright. I didn't love it or hate it, but I wouldn't order it again. Just wasn't my thing - something about the taste of it. My friends liked it though. Lastly, the soup and cornbread were really tasty. I've never had bean curd soup before (I've had bean curd in Chinese dishes at restaurants before, though) and this was a great introduction. The cornbread passed the Southerners test from my friend meaning it was pretty damn good.

We had tons of food and took a lot of it home so we couldn't possibly have dessert. I had a Beta Green juice drink from the juice bar, so I suppose that was my dessert (carrot and spirulina juice). They do have soy ice cream and a variety of cakes and pies for dessert, though.

Our fair city of Chicago is blessed with the Vegan Food Truck. It is run by the people over at Ste Martaen (one of the best vegan cheese companies out there, trust!) and Soul Veg. You can get a number of Soul Veg's sandwiches and entree's on the food truck. Also on the truck are goodies from Canary Confectionery, a local vegan baking team. It is run during lunch and dinner hours and their menu changes daily. Find them in the city or request they come to your area through their Twitter account or Facebook account. They also sometimes make Saturday day trips up to Milwaukee. Check their Twitter and Facebook to find out when.

One last note: the Soul Veg mac 'n cheese. Aside from their carrot salad, this stuff is addictive. It is, hands down, the best vegan mac 'n cheese I have ever had. I challenge someone to find a better one. Seriously, this stuff will change your life.
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