Wednesday, December 31, 2008

PURE Bar: A Product Review

I was sent some PURE Bars to review them on the blog. So . . . here is my review. PURE Bars are organic, vegan, raw energy bars created by Veronica Bosgraaf after her daughter decided to become a vegetarian. Nutrition-wise, these bars have a lot going for them: 4-5 grams of fiber, 6-7 grams of protein, high in omega 3s, organic, raw, and no refined sugar. I was sent three flavours: Apple Cinnamon, Cherry Cashew, and Wild Blueberry. I chopped each up into 5 pieces and passed them around after dinner to get the kids' thoughts. They weren't really crazy about them, to be honest. Son #1 tried a nibble from each, Son #2 had a few bites, and Son #3 ate them all. I found them a bit on the pasty side, and not particularly "fruity" tasting. I noticed on the website that there is a Chocolate Brownie and a ChocChip Trailmix bar, and I have a feeling the kids would have liked these flavours better. That being said, the bars were still good, and you have to appreciate how much nutrition is packed into each one. They would be perfect for a snack while on a hike, or on a long car trip through non-vegan territory (i.e. just about everywhere).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Roundup

With the cookbook(s) done and the trip back home for the holidays done, I finally have some time to blog again! No real recipes in this post, I am sorry to say, just a tour of some of the gastronomic holiday highlights.

First up, birthday cake (sort of). If you have been reading this blog for a while you know that I decorate a cake however the birthday boy wants for his special day. This year, under the influence of the Christmas cards arriving daily at our door, Son #1 requested a gingerbread house. Vegan Mom and I thought it would be a good idea to let each kid at the party decorate his own house, so I made these four houses (thankfully, Son #1 only had one friend over for a sleep-over party, plus his two brothers). I used the same recipes as last year, except I tried something new for the icing to hold the houses together. I heated 1/3 cup of light corn syrup in a small pan, then added enough icing sugar to form a thick paste. I let it cool a bit, then rolled strips of it in my hands to create a mortar-like substance. It held really well.
For Christmas dinner with my in-laws I made the roast from Everyday Dish. No pic, I am sorry to say. I found the whole thing rather disappointing--bland and tough. For Christmas with my parents I made seitan cutlets cooked in apples, apple juice, roasted chestnuts, dried cranberries, and thyme. The recipe was rather like this one, and was very tasty.
Here is an apple frangipane tart that my sister-in-law made. My plan is to veganize this puppy in the near future, so stay tuned for that.
Other dishes in the recent past that were simple and tasty but not novel enough to warrant their own post: red peppers, onions, garlic and seitan chunks (could be tofu), and rotini tossed in olive oil, nooch, and plenty of basil.
Rice vermicelli, tofu, and bok choy in and orange ginger sauce. Kind of like this recipe.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Vegan Dad Cookbook: The Printed Version

Over the holidays I made a black and white (and pictureless) version of my cookbook, for those of you who want an actual book you can hold in your hand. It's not as flashy as the .pdf version, but it has all the recipes. You can always look up the recipes on the blog if you want to see what the dish looks like. I have also made a black and white download available for those who want to bypass the colour printing altogether.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Vegan Dad Cookbook

"This is the dad you always wanted, only he makes a better meatloaf." -Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Making vegan food the whole family can enjoy seems like a daunting task. No more! The Vegan Dad Cookbook contains over 120 recipes that take kids’ food beyond the veggie dog. From brunch to dinner, Vegan Dad has you covered with dishes from around the world as well as good ol’ fashioned comfort food. This book provides the answer to that daily question, “what’s for dinner?”

Downloads of the cookbook are available at for $10. The book is 144 pages, full colour, indexed (the best I could), and contains selected recipes from my September 2007 to June 2008 blog postings. If you would like to purchase a copy but don't have a credit card, send me an email at the address listed in the bottom right hand column of the blog.

Please note that the .pdf file is formatted for 2-sided printing.

(I decided against the paper copy because it would have cost about $5o.)

Here is a pic of the copies I printed and bound for my family.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Creamy Corn Soup

If you are a low fat vegan type you probably should stop reading now. As I was putting the cookbook together (almost done!) I noticed how much of my food is related to some childhood memory. This soup is no exception. I always got to choose my birthday dinner as a kid, and I usually asked for tacos and corn soup. The original is made with cream and milk, so I used soy milk and coconut milk. It's pretty rich, but also pretty tasty. We always garnished it with corn chips, but I didn't have any on hand.

Serves 5-6
- 3 tbsp margarine
- 3 cups plain soy milk
- 1 cup soy creamer
- 4 cups corn
- 1 can coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchen--it is less "coconuty" for stuff like this)
- salt and pepper to taste
- corn chips to garnish

1. Melt margarine over medium heat in a large pot. Add soy milk and creamer and bring to bubbling.
2. Add corn and return to bubbling. Simmer for 5 mins, stirring regularly.
3. Add coconut milk and season to taste with salt and pepper. (I like a good amount of pepper to contrast the creaminess). Do not boil.
4. Serve garnished with some corn chips.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Tale of Two Breads

I haven't bought a cookbook in a long time, but recently I treated myself to two new ones. The first is Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I have been eyeing this for a while and thought it would be a good purchase, what with the bakery business and all. This book is all about both the science and the art of great bread. Today I made this stollen, a German Christmas bread. I am going to do a little Christmas baking for the teachers at the boys' school so I wanted to take this for a trial run first. I'm usually not the biggest fan of the candied fruit in fruit bread/cake, but this is really good (probably because the fruit is soaked in rum first). If you have the book, I subbed a flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seed whisked in 3 tbsp of water) for the egg, and margarine for the butter.

The other purchase was Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, a book that, in essence, says that Reinhart is full of crap. All the kneading, gluten development, sponges, and starters are unnecessary. All you need to do is mix together a simple dough and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you want to make bread, you shape a chunk into a loaf and bake it. The results are actually pretty good. The flavour is not a good as more complex recipes (like Reinhart's) but for easy everyday baking the work to taste ratio is quite good.

So if you are in the mood for some baking, I recommend these books.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

On Feeling Like a Deadbeat Vegan Dad

I really have been neglecting the blog lately what with all my extra time going into finishing up the cookbook. I am starting to feel pangs of guilt, like a negligent parent. I miss the regular postings and interaction with you all. I also feel bad that I have not been offering any ideas for the impending holiday season.

On the cookbook front, things are moving along nicely. I have shown the draft to my inner circle of 7th level vegans, and a friend from grad school is copy editing as I type. I have also received a kind offer for help with the cover photography. More on that later.

Things have been plenty busy around here, even without a book to finish. Much time has been spent shovelling the ludicrous amount of snow that has fallen. *sigh* And to think that winter has not even officially started.
I also baked up a bunch of lemon currant rolls for the Christmas bazaar fundraiser for the boys' school.
Business at the bakery is brisk, and I feel like I am honing my baking craft. I have also been trying to make soy yogurt. No success so far.And, I do have a few recipes to post. I will get to them this week.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Cookbook is Almost Here!

Good news! I have finally finished the rough draft of the cookbook. I need to do a few edits and all that, but it is almost ready to go on sale. I had no idea it would be so much work!

The book's near completion raises the question of how to sell it. I was planning to integrate Google Checkout into my blog, but it is not available to Canadians (grrr). PayPal looks complicated, so I was thinking of selling it through eBay. It already has a PayPal option, and I can place a posting on both the Canadian and American site. I'm not sure how the whole thing works when you are selling a digital file, so if anyone has some advice I would be much obliged.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Multi Grain Bread

As promised, here is my multi grain bread recipe. The bread looks pretty much the same as when I posted before, so I am reusing the picture. My kids love this toasted in the morning and have given up their regular diet of cereal.

- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 cups whole wheat bread flour

- 1 1/2 cups 7 (or 12) grain cereal
- water

- 1 tbsp yeast
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup rye flour
- 1/2 cup kamut flour
- cereal from above, drained
- 3-4 cups white bread flour
- 1 tbsp salt

1. The night before you want to make the bread, whisk yeast into warm water, then whisk in flour until smooth in a large bowl. Cover and set aside over night. Also, place cereal in a bowl and cover with water. Cover and let sit over night.
2. To make the dough, whisk yeast into the water, add starter, rye and kamut flours, and cereal (after being well-drained in a fine mesh sieve). Add 3 cups of the bread flour and the salt, then bring together into a rough dough. Turn out onto the counter top and add enough of the final cup of flour (I never use much) to make a slightly tacky dough. Knead for 10 mins, until smooth.
3. Place in a large bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place. Punch down, and press down/stretch on the counter top into a rectangle. Fold like an envelope, rotate 90 degrees, and repeat. Shape into a ball and return to the bowl. Let rise until doubled.
4. Cut dough into 2 pieces and shape into two loaves. Cover and let rise until almost doubled.
5. Heat oven to 450 degrees with a pizza stone on the middle rack. Place a cast iron pan on the bottom rack,and get some water boiling in a kettle. Transfer loaves to a peel dusted with cornmeal and slash tops with a razor. Slide loaves onto the stone, and pour 1 cup of water into the pan. Bake for 10 mins.
6. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and remove cast iron pan. Bake for 25-30 mins more, until crust is a deep golden brown and loaves sound hollow when thumped on the bottom. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pizza Rolls

Tonight's recipe idea comes from Jen, one of my bakery customers (thanks, Jen!). It is so easy and such a great idea I can't believe I haven't seen it before. I also wish I had thought of it myself. Ha! The dough is adapted from Isa's pizza dough in Vegan With a Vengeance, which she is letting me post here (thanks, Isa!). It tastes even better if you make it the day before and let it rest in the fridge overnight.

- 1 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cup whole wheat bread flour
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp oil

- tomato sauce
- your favourite pizza toppings

1. Mix sugar into the water and stir in yeast to dissolve. Set aside for 10 mins to proof.
2. Whisk together flours and salt in a bowl, then add yeast mixture and oil. Bring together into a soft dough, then knead on a floured surface for 8-10 mins, until smooth. Add in flour if dough is too sticky.
3. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch dough down and knead for a few mins, then return to the bowl. Let double again, or place in the fridge to use the next day.
4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a muffin tin. Roll dough into a large rectangle, 24" x 8". Slather with a layer of tomato sauce, followed by your toppings.
5. Roll up like a jelly roll, then slice into twelve 2" sections. Place into muffin tins. Bake for 12-15 mins, or until golden and baked through. Let cool for 10 mins before serving.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cajun Meatloaf with Sweet Bourbon Glaze

I had a hankering for my meatloaf recipe tonight, but decided to spice it up a little since I really enjoyed the Cajun dish from a few nights ago.

Makes 10 mini meatloaves.
- 2 8.5 oz pkgs tempeh, coarsely grated
- 1 large sweet onion, coarsely grated
- 4 cloves garlic, finely grated
- 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp sage
- 2 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp seasoned salt (or to taste)
- cayenne pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp HP sauce (or A1)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- water (if needed)

- generous 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp mustard
- 3-4 tbsp bourbon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 x 13 baking pan.
1. Mix grated tempeh, onion, garlic, flour, and spices in a large bowl.
2. Add in sauces and oil, and enough water (you may not need any at all) so you are able to mash everything up with your fingers. Knead/mush/mash for a few mins to mix everything well.
3. Divide dough into 10 pieces and shape into small loaves. Place into oiled pan, and spray lightly with oil. Bake for 15 mins.
4. While loaves are baking, bring glaze ingredients to bubbling in a small saucepan. Let thicken a bit. Spoon over baking loaves. Bake loaves for 15 mins more, then scoop excess glaze back over the loaves. Bake for an additional 20-25 mins, or until glaze is thickened and darkened.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tofu and Sweet Potatoes over Cajun Quinoa

When the weather outside is frightful you have to turn to food to warm up. This dish makes use of Cajun flavours to transport you to the Bajou in the middle of the winter weather. You can serve this over rice, but I went with quinoa if only because it's fun to say "Cajun quinoa." To make it I cooked 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water. When done, I added 1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsely and a few dashes of hot sauce.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups diced sweet potato
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu, diced
- 1/3 cup of water, plus more as needed
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- cayenne pepper to taste
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 can coconut milk

1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Saute onion, celery, green pepper, and bay leaves for 5-7 mins, until onion is soft and translucent. Add potatoes and fry for 2 mins. Add tofu, water, and spices. Cook uncovered for about 10 mins, until potatoes are beginning to soften. Add a few splashes of water to keep everything from sticking.
2. Add coconut milk to the pan and bring to bubbling. Simmer for 10 more mins, until veggies are cooked through. Season to taste and serve.

Here is the view out the back door these days.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Earthlings: A Movie Review

The kind folks at Evolutus PR sent me a DVD copy of Earthlings to review. After watching it, I am not sure whether to throw up, cry, or a mixture of the two. Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, and written and directed by Shaun Monson, this documentary packs a visual punch that is bound to impact anyone who sees it. Maybe I am just a major weenie (I've been told that a few times), but I actually had to watch the film over the span of a few days because I could only handle so much at one time. Most of the footage is undercover camera shots from slaughterhouses, factory farms, animals testing sites, puppy mills, circuses, and zoos. The film questions the assumption that humans are superior to animals, and compares our species-ism to the other "isms" that have blighted humankind's past: racism, sexism, etc. It then shows, in graphic detail, the gruesome results of our desire to make animals service our perceived needs (food, clothing, entertainment, and research).

And now for the film critic part: while the film has an incredible visual impact, I felt that it lacked a variety of voices that makes documentary film-making interesting. Shaun Monson's commentary is at times monotonous, and other times hyperbolic. No one was interviewed for the film, so Monson via Pheonix is the only voice we hear. I personally found it a bit tiring, even though I agree with what the movie is trying to say.

That being said, Earthlings makes a valuable contribution by exposing what goes on behind the purposefully closed doors of the animal-harvesting industry. It reinforced my commitment to veganism, and I can see why they call the film "the vegan maker."

For friends and family who read this blog and would like to see the film, drop me a line. I would be more than happy to lend it out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Seitan with Apple Squash Chutney

This probably isn't actually a chutney, but it sounds better to say it is. I served this with some chicken-style seitan (this stuff that I blogged about before), but you could serve it with tofu, or a chickpea cutlet, perhaps.

Makes enough to top 8 seitan cutlets
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 leek, thinly sliced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups diced butternut squash
- 2 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup water (plus more as needed)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp cinnamon

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute leeks, celery, and garlic for 8-10 mins, until soft and translucent. Add squash and fry for 2 mins.
2. Add apples, raisins, water, salt and pepper, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Bring to bubling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20-25 mins, until squash is cooked. Stir occasionaly, adding water, if needed. The chutney should be moist, but not runny.
3. Serve over a seitan cutlet, or a slice of tofu.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bread in the Works

I took a stab at developing a multi grain bread this weekend. It's not quite right, but the basic idea is there. I soaked multi grain cereal for a few hours, then added it to a blend of white, whole wheat, rye, and kamut flour. Full recipe coming soon.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winter Vegetable Pie

It has been a crazy past few days of home renovating, so I am sorry to say I have not been very creative in the kitchen. But now, with all the saws, screwdrivers, ladders and paintbrushes put away, it was time to create something tasty in the kitchen. With winter weather upon us, root vegetables are abundant in the grocery store, so this dish makes good use of them. The quantities are variable here--it's better to have too many veggies than not enough so add more if needed.

- 10" pie crust (top and bottom)
- 1 large Yukon gold potato
- 2 parsnips, peeled
- 2 turnips, peeled
- 2 carrots
- 1/2 rutabaga, peeled
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 leek, thinly sliced
- 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
- 1 celery stalk, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 3/4 cup soy milk
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp sage
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 tbsp chicken-style broth powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Get a few inches of salted water boiling in a large pot. Slice potato, parsnips, turnips, carrots, and rutabaga as thinly as possible. Cook in the boiling water for 1-2 mins, until veggies are softened but still somewhat firm. Drain veggies and rinse in cold water.
2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute leek, onion, celery, and garlic for 5-7 mins, until softened. Add flour and mix well. Slowly add soy milk and bring to bubbling. Add spices and broth powder and adjust seasonings to taste.
3. Lay a few layers of veggies in the bottom of the pie crust. Top with 1/3 of the onion mixture. Repeat. Repeat again, then top with a final layer of veggies. Top with the crust. Bake for 40-45 mins, until crust is browned and sauce is bubbling. Let pie sit for 10 mins before cutting and serving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

I have a serious problem. I can't stop making muffins. Once you get the basic proportions down of wet to dry, you can ad lib to your heart's content. Muffins have now become a staple on my lunch, and they come in handy when I need an energy boost after a squash game. I am going to noodle around with the recipe in the future--I think oat flour, spelt flour, etc, would work just as well as the wheat flour.

Makes 12 muffins
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup oat bran
- 1 cup oatmeal (plus extra for muffin tops)
- 1 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp maple extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin.
1. Soak raisins in hot water.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, sugar, spices, salt, and bran in a bowl. Mix in oatmeal. In a separate bowl, whisk together soy milk, oil, and extracts until well-blended.
3. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just moist. Divide batter into muffin tins and sprinkle some oatmeal over each muffin. Bake for 18-20 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Here is the view from my front porch. This is pretty much how things have looked for the past week or so. Makes you want to curl up by the fire with a cup of tea and a muffin.

Monday, November 17, 2008

On Why I Won't be Blogging Every Day Anymore

My life has seemed impossibly busy over the past year, and recently it got even busier. Yes, that means additional responsibilities on top of teaching, writing a book, trying to get tenure, taking care of 3 kids, cooking, cleaning, putting together a cookbook, running a home bakery, and blogging on daily basis. Something has to give. In this case, the daily blogging. My plan is still to post 4 times a week or so, but I just can't keep up my current pace. There are, of course, 471 other posts for you to sift through. They're not all gems, but there are some great recipes I would like to revisit and I'm sure you will enjoy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sweet Potato and Carrot Muffins

You may have noticed a that my mom posted a message a few days ago asking for a carrot or zucchini muffin recipe. Well, here you go, Mom.

Makes 12 large muffins
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup wheat bran
- 1/4 cup oat bran
- 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
- 1/3 cup canola oil (or applesauce)
- 1 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1 1/2 cup cup finely grated carrot

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Soak raisins in hot water.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, sugar, spices, salt, and bran in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together sweet potato, oil, and soy milk until well-blended. Mix in grated carrot.
3. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just moist (over mixing makes for tough muffins). Batter will be thick. Divide batter into muffin tins and bake for 20-24 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fennel and Mushroom Lasagna

I love lasagna but I rarely have the time to make it. I have learned that, like pizza, you don't need to top it with cheese (or cheese substitutes) to make a great lasaga. I make mine nice and saucy so it does not dry out and have yet to be disappointed. The fennel is a nice flavour addition here, and the sausage and mushrooms provide great texture.

- 9 lasagna noodles
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 small red pepper, diced
- 1 small yellow pepper, diced
- 8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
- 5 king oyster mushrooms, sliced
- 3 vegan Italian sausages, chopped
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 recipe tofu ricotta
- 2 jars spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1. Cook lasagna noodles as per the directions on the box.
2. While noodles are cooking, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute fennel for 10 mins, until softened and lightly browned. Add peppers and saute for 3 mins.
3. Add mushrooms and spices to the pan and mix well. Add a few splashes of water to the pan to help steam the mushrooms. Cook for 5-7 mins, until mushrooms are soft and liquid is reduced. Add sausage and mix well. Remove from heat and let cool.
4. Assemble the lasagna. Cover the bottom of a large baking dish with spaghetti sauce and top with three noodles. Spread half of the tofu ricotta on top of the noodles, and top that with half of the mushroom mixture. Top with more spaghetti sauce and then three more noodles. Repeat.
5. Cover the top noodles with a thick later of spaghetti sauce. Cover dish with foil and bake for 60 mins. Remove foil and bake for 30 mins, or until sauce has thickened. Let sit for 20 mins before cutting and serving.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Seitan Vindaloo

This is a great Indian dish with a nice kick to it. You can adjust the heat by adding more or less chili flakes--the way I have it written here will clean out your sinuses but was mild enough that the kids still ate it.

- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1" piece of ginger, chopped
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp oil
- 3 cups chopped beefy seitan
- 1 1/2 cups water (plus more, if needed)
- 2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp tumeric

1. Put everything from the onions to the oil in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Cook for 15-20 mins, until browned and reduced to a thick paste.
2. Add seitan, water, coriander, and tumeric to the pan. Bring to bubbling, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 20 mins, adding more water, if needed. The seitan should be tender and the sauce thick(ish) and smooth.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Maple Banana Walnut Muffins

Tonight is bakery night so just a small post about muffins (again!). We had about 25 old bananas clogging up the freezer so I thawed them out and made a whole whack of muffins. These are just a variation on my hearty apple muffins and protein power muffins. I also tried to make a banana walnut pudding cake (yes, I am a one trick dessert pony) but I need one more try to get it right.

Makes 12 large muffins
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup wheat bran
- 1/4 cup oat bran
- 2 cups pureed banana
- 1/3 cup canola oil (or applesauce)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp maple extract
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin.
1. Whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, sugar, spices, salt, and bran in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together banana, oil, extracts and syrup until well-blended. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just moist (over mixing makes for tough muffins). Fold in walnuts, chocolate chips, and hemp seeds (if using).
2. Divide batter into muffin tins and bake for 18-20 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sweet n' Sour n' Hot Tofu n' Noodles

I bought a pineapple a while ago and it has been sitting on the counter begging to be made into something. So, I decided to pull out the juicer and use it as the base for a sauce. I am not the biggest pineapple fan, but this dish is quite tasty and very easy to make on a busy night. I like the addition of heat to a fairly standard sweet n' sour sauce--you can always add more curry paste if you want it hotter.

- 150g noodles
- 1 1/4 cups pineapple juice
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
- 1 tsp yellow curry paste
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 pkg tofu, cubed
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 4 green onions, sliced

1. Cook noodles as per the directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile whisk together pineapple juice, hoisin sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic sauce and curry paste. Whisk in cornstarch.
3. Heat a wok over med-hi heat. Add oil and fry tofu cubes until golden. Add green peppers and fry for 2 mins, until softened but not soggy. Add sauce to the wok and bring to bubbling. Add cooked noodles and mix well. Add some salt, if needed. Let sauce thicken and coat the noodles. Stir in green onions and serve.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Irish Soda Bread

As promised, here is the recipe for Irish soda bread. The recipe was easily veganized from Martha Day's Complete Baking. The original recipe calls for twice the flour which makes for one huge loaf. This recipe is half the size (which is still plenty big) and I have converted the grams (which the original recipe calls for) into cups. I'm pretty sure cream of tartar is not a traditional ingredient for soda bread, but it does make for a nice texture.

- 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 1 1/2 cups soy milk
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. Whisk flours, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar, and sugar together. Rub margarine into the flour until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk soy milk and lemon juice together. Add to dry ingredients and mix together into a soft dough.
2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth. Shape into a circle about 2 inches thick. Dust with extra flour and transfer to the baking sheet. Mark a cross in the top with the handle of a wooden spoon.
3. Bake for 40 mins, or until risen and firm.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Irish Stew

Following the stew theme started last night, I went for a more familiar Irish stew tonight. I was disappointed to find out that most Irish ales are not vegan (Guinness as well) because they use isinglass to filter the beer. Most lagers, though, are vegan, including Harp's. The stewing beef is Bryanna's beefy seitan, an old-school simmered seitan that is wonderfully tender.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups cubed beefy seitan
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 cup lager
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 1.5 lbs cubed potatoes
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp sage
- salt and pepper to taste
- water
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup soy milk

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for 5-7 mins, until soft and translucent. Add seitan and fry for 2 mins. Add vinegar and soy sauce and cook until liquid has been reduced.
2. Add lager and wine to the pot and cook for 10 mins, uncovered, until liquid reduces a bit and no longer smells so boozy.
3. Add carrots, potatoes, spices, and enough water to almost cover everything. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to bubbling, cover, and simmer for at least 30 mins, until veggies are soft.
4. Mix flour into soy milk and add to pot. Bring to bubbling to thicken. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with Irish soda bread to mop up the sauce (recipe tomorrow).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ethiopian Stew

This isn't any particular Ethiopian dish, but rather is a stew inspired by Ethiopian flavours. I was craving something hearty and this really hit the spot.

- 1/2 cup yellow split peas
- 3 cups of water
- 4 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1" piece of ginger, minced
- 2 cups chopped seitan (or 1 can of chickpeas), optional
- 1 lb cubed potatoes
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 tbsp berbere (or more)
- 1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes, with juices
- 2 cups chopped green beans
- 1 cup red lentils
- water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 six oz can tomato paste

1. Rinse split peas and place in a pot with the 3 cups of water. Bring to boiling, cover, and simmer until soft. Drain off excess water.
2. While peas are cooking, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add spices and fry for 1 min. Add onions, garlic, and ginger, and fry for 5-7 mins, until onions are soft. The spices may stick to the bottom of the pot, so periodically add a splash of water to the pan to deglaze.
3. Add seitan (if using), potatoes, carrots, and berbere. Fry for 2 mins. Add tomatoes, beans, lentils, and cooked split peas, and mix well. Add enough water to the pot to cover the veggies by about 1/2 inch. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Bring to bubbling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for at least 30 mins. Stir periodically to keep lentils and veggies from sticking.
5. Stir in parsley and tomato paste and cook for 5 mins.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Baked Tofu

I was in the mood for some home-style cooking today (vegan home-style, of course). Usually that means baking something in the oven, or making a huge pot of something mushy. The former won out tonight and I went with baked tofu, baked sweet potatoes, assorted veggies, and rutabaga. I was never a big fan of rutabaga as a kid (and my sons are carrying on the tradition), but now I love it mashed with some margarine and maple syrup.

- 1 pkg extra firm tofu, cut into 6-8 thick slices
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- few dashes of hot sauce
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup vegan chick'n broth powder
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. Whisk together soy milk, lemon juice, and hot sauce in a bowl. Set aside to thicken.
2. Mix bread crumbs, broth powder, flour, and seasonings in another bowl.
3. The trick to breading in keeping one hand wet and the other dry. Dip a tofu slice in the soy milk mixture and drop into the bread crumbs. Shake the bowl (i.e. to toss the tofu in the bread crumbs) with your other hand. Use that hand to remove the tofu and place it on the baking sheet.
4. Repeat with remaining tofu. Then re-dip the breaded slices and toss them again in the bread crumbs. Add more liquid, if needed.
5. Bake 12 mins per side, until crisp and golden. Serve with the sauce of your choice.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

King Oyster Mushroom Curry

I am using curry in the most generic sense here because I am not sure what else to call the dish. Its origins are a fish dish in an Indian cookbook I have. There really isn't a vegan substitute for fish, but I thought I would try king oyster mushrooms for something different. In the end, I was a little disappointed with the mushrooms because they were rather tough. Chickpeas or tofu would work just as well with this sauce.

- 4 king oyster mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
- 1" piece of ginger, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- salt to taste
- 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup veggie broth, or water
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Mix tumeric, salt, and lemon juice together. Toss mushrooms in mixture and set aside for a few mins to let the liquid soak into the mushrooms.
2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry mushrooms for about 5 mins, until they begin to soften. Remove from pan.
3. There should still be oil left in the pan. Make sure there is still about 2 tbsp. Add sugar to the pan and stir until sugar caramelizes. Add onions, ginger and garlic and fry until a nice golden brown (about 8-10 mins).
4. Add spices and mix well. Add tomatoes and cook until they reduce into a paste. Add enough water to get the consistency you are looking for, and season to taste. Stir in cilantro and add mushroom back to the pan. Cook until mushrooms are done. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Semolina Bread

I was all wrapped up following the election last night, so sorry about the lack of a post. I am able to vote in Ohio, and as an American historian I was extremely interested in the outcome. Plus, whatever happens in the U.S. has an impact on us here in Canada. I was also reminded that while we Canadians often pride ourselves in our diversity and in thinking we are more liberal-minded than our neighbours to the South, we have yet to elect a person of colour as Prime Minister. We have had only one female PM (for four months, when Brian Mulroney quit), but she was soon defeated in the 1993 election. Our latest election was almost entirely a slate of white guys.

I am busy with the bakery tonight, so just a small post about a failed bread recipe. I thought I would experiment with a semolina yeast bread to go with some pumpkin soup. The end result was nice and soft but far too dry, I thought. The crust sucked all the moisture from your mouth, and the next day the loaf was pretty hard. I shan't be making it again.

Back tomorrow with another great Indian recipe.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Seitan Madras

When Vegan Mom and I were married over a decade ago, we quickly fell into a fairly mundane weekly routine of meat-based dishes. We then decided to try a vegetarian diet to force ourselves to explore new cuisines, methods, and ideas. It was then that we discovered Indian food, and it remains my favourite cuisine.

- 3 cups cubed seitan (or 1 pkg of tofu, cubed, or one can of chickpeas)
- 1 six oz can tomato paste
- 1/4 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1/2 tsp ground fennel
- 1" piece ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 onions, halved and sliced
- 4 curry leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Mix together tomato paste, spices (including garlic and ginger), lemon juice, salt, and water.
2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan and fry onions and curry leaves until deep golden brown (about 15 mins). Add seitain (or tofu, or chickpeas) and fry for 3-4 mins.
3. Add tomato-spice mixture to the pan and bring to bubbling. Add cilantro, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, until sauce is thickened (15-20 mins).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Perfect Fresh Whole Wheat Pasta

With a little experimentation I came up with a much better fresh whole pasta than my first attempt.

- 1 cup semolina flour
- 1 cup all purpose whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp ground flax seed
- 7-8 tbsp water

1. Whisk together flours and salt. Whisk flax into 7 tbsp of the water until it begins to thicken.
2. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour the flax mixture into it. Mix wet into the dry and bring together into a dough. Add more water, if needed. The dough will be tough but you should be able to knead it without any pieces falling off.
3. Wrap in a slightly damp towel and let sit for 20 mins. Roll and cut with a pasta machine.

I made this recipe again, and this time I sifted the whole wheat flour, then ground the leftover bran and germ in my coffee grinder (which I use to grind flax seeds, etc.) and added it to the dough. It worked very well and made for a smoother dough.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Seitan over Maple Squash and Sweet Potato

Have you ever looked in the fridge and wondered what in the world you were going to make for dinner? Especially on the day before shopping day? Sometimes the results can be surprising. This dish was wonderful and was perfect for a cool Canadian autumn day.

Serves 4
- 4 large pieces chicken-style seitan, or tofu
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tsp poultry spice
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 1 celery stalk, sliced
- 1/2 butternut squash, diced
- 2 medium sweet potato, thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable or chicken-style broth
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp ground thyme, or to taste
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat margarine in a frying pan over med-hi heat. Mix flour and poultry spice together and dredge seitan or tofu in the flour mixture. Fry for 3-4 mins per side, until golden. Remove from pan.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add onions and celery to the pan, and add a little more margarine if needed. Saute for 5-7 mins, until soft and translucent. Add squash and potatoes to pan and cook until both begin to colour deepens.
3. Add broth, maple syrup and thyme to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to bubbling. Place seitan on top of potatoes. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 mins, basting seitan with the liquid, until potatoes and squash are cooked. Add more liquid if needed.
4. Serve seitan over a bed of potatoes.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

We are getting ready for Halloween around here, so just a quick post to wish everyone a sage and happy Halloween. Supper will be Creamy Mac and Cheeze (a fast and easy go-to meal on nights like this). Instead of the fancy jack-o-lanterns I did last year, I had the boys design their own. Son #1 came up with the angry design, while Son #2 did the smiley face--I think it reflects their personalities perfectly (ha ha). I will be taking the kids around tonight dressed as a chef--appropriate, I think.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chick'n in a Marsala and Rosemary Sauce

Here in my corner of the Great White North vegan convenience foods, other than Yves, are hard to come by. Stuff like Morningstar Farms and Boca are nowhere to be found. Sometimes it would be great to reach into the freezer and make a quick and easy meal. So, I was excited to see these PC faux chicken breasts in the freezer section. There are actually really good. I would not want to eat them everyday, but it was great to have some ready-made faux meat on hand. The so-called chicken is made with Gardein, which I hope isn't some super-evil, Dupont-controlled, test tube, unnatural, over manufactured product because I would like to keep buying these. The extra bonus is that they are $12.99 for 8 pieces--cheaper than the actual chicken breasts PC sells (for once).

- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp margarine
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups cubed chick'n seitan
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
- 3/4 cup marsala wine
- 1 tbsp ground rosemary
- 3 cups thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- pasta

1. Heat oil and margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for 5-7 mins, until soft and translucent. Add seitan and cook for 2 mins.
2. Add tomatoes, wine, and rosemary to the pan and mix well. Bring to bubbling and simmer for 5 mins, until sauce reduces a bit. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 mins, or until cooked through. Add tomato paste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cookbook and Bakery Update

I am busy baking bread tonight so just a wee update on the cookbook (and on the bakery, as some requested). I am approaching 100 pages for the cookbook, and plan to have the whole thing ready for download by late November/early December (Christmas shopping, anyone?). As mentioned before, the cookbook is just recipes from the blog for those of you who would like a paper copy to keep in the kitchen instead of the laptop. Since my recipe list keeps growing daily, this book will feature recipes from September 2007 to June 2008. My plan is to do another book next year.

As for the bakery, business is trotting along. I am having fun and find it relaxing to make bread after a day of work. Since September I have baked 97 loaves of bread and cinnamon rolls for a customer list of ten (I only bake 2x a week). I think I could take on a few more customers. Some nights are busy with me baking 10 loaves; others are slow with only 2 loaves in the oven. I certainly would not rely on a small home-based bakery to ensure my financial security, but I enjoy it and make enough money to make it all worth while. And, I am spreading organic vegan bakery love around the neighbourhood.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Maple and Apple Cider Caramel Corn

Planning to have a Halloween party? Need some vegan treats to serve? Enter caramel corn with a hint of maple and apple cider. Prepare to have your friends praise your treat making abilities. (Son #1 helped me stage tonight's photo)

- generous 1/4 cup popping corn
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tbsp Earth Balance margarine
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp apple cider
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
1. Pop popcorn and place in a large bowl.
2. Place sugar, corn syrup, margarine, maple syrup, and cider in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the margarine melts and the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to med-hi and bring to bubbling. Without stirring, bring mixture to 118 degrees Celsius, increasing heat as needed. Keep a careful eye on it (or nose, rather) making sure it does not burn.
3. Remove mixture from heat and stir in baking soda and salt (it will foam like crazy). Pour over corn and mix well.
4. Transfer and spread over prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 mins, mixing/turning after 4 mins to further spread caramel coating. Bake until coating looks glossy. Again, make sure it does not burn.
5. Remove from oven and let cool. Break into chunks and serve.

Chunks of caramel corn are great for a party because guests can get a handful without having to fiddle with individual pieces of popcorn. If you want individual pieces, place caramel corn back into the mixing bowl and keep tossing the caramel corn until the coating cools.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fresh Whole Wheat Pasta

As promised I experimented with making a whole wheat pasta tonight. Let me just say from the outset that this is not a 100% whole wheat pasta, so some people might be disappointed. I'm pretty sure that a pasta made from all whole wheat flour would turn out pretty badly. My first attempt was to replace the white flour in this recipe with all purpose whole wheat flour. That was a failure. My flour is pretty coarse and so the dough never came together and kept breaking apart with all the bran and wheat germ. That batch went into the garbage. My next attempt was to add wheat germ and bran to the regular recipe--this worked out much better. The dough was more finicky that the regular version, but still cooked up great and had a good texture and taste.

Makes 1 lb of pasta
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
- 2 tbsp wheat germ
- 2 tbsp wheat bran
- 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
- 1/2 cup tepid water, plus 1-2 tbsp more

1. Whisk together flours, germ, bran and salt (if using) in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Put water in the well and slowly incorporate the wet into the dry, making a rough dough, adding more water if needed.
2. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth dough (5 mins). The dough should not break apart or crack, so wet your hands if the dough seems too dry. On the other hand, try not to make it too moist. The dough should be smooth and fairly tough.
3. Roll into a log and wrap in a slightly damp towel. Set aside for 20 mins to let the dough relax. Roll and cut as per usual.