Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Baking Without Eggs, a Bad Kitty Tip!

Welcome to Tip Tuesday! Today I am in the process of baking more cookies than I have in decades. It is all for a good cause, which is supporting VegCo, the new vegan superstore which is going to open soon (hopefully in Phoenix). So far, my cookies have been tasty, a little rustic, and wonderful. But in the process, I developed my favorite way to replace an egg in baking to date. Best of all, it likely uses things that you already have around the house.

Just combine 1/4 cup of vegan milk with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Mix or whisk until slightly frothy. Use in place of 1 egg.

I have been using this all day and it works wonderfully! It is the best binder for baked goods, does not create an odd taste or texture, and is inexpensive.

Hopefully this helps. Happy holidays and back to baking for me!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Root Beer Marinade and Cranberry BBQ Sauce with RECIPES!

All sliced with lots of Cranberry BBQ sauce!!

Ok, people. It is Saturday and that means it is time for a recipe! I know that Thanksgiving is over, but the holidays are in full swing. Christmas and New Years will both be here before any of us know it, so there are still occasions when you will be making and eating those vegan roasts, such as Tokurky.

As I stated in my last post, if you don’t do SOMETHING with these little seitan footballs, they can be a little heavy and dull. Fortunately, it is easy to invest just a few ingredients and a little time to turn them into something special.  This last week I made my vegan roast a little extra special with a root beer marinade (Yes, THAT root beer) and a homemade cranberry BBQ sauce. It was a little out of the ordinary, but for the most part vegans are more comfortable with the non-traditional foods than others.

If you’re up for just a little work in the kitchen, these recipes are pretty awesome!

Root Beer Marinade for a vegan roast

Enough for 1 vegan roast

9 X 4 glass bread pan
2 bottles of high quality root beer
1 cup diced shallot or 1 cup diced red onion with 4 cloves of minced garlic
½ a red bell pepper, diced
½ a green bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon whole yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt

 Dice the shallot or dice the onion and mince the garlic.
Dice the bell peppers.
Bash the mustard, coriander seeds, and peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or grind quickly in a spice grinder and add.
Add the vegan roast to the pan.
Add the shallot, bell pepper, and spices.
Carefully use the root beer to fill the pan up about 1 inch from the top of the pan.
Place plastic wrap on top and allow to marinade about 6-8 hours.
Turn it over and marinade on the other side an additional 6-8 hours.
Remove plastic wrap and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for 1 hour.
Carefully, turn your vegan roast over, and cook the other side an additional hour.
Remove vegan roast and serve.

Cranberry BBQ Sauce

Makes about 2 cups
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp white peppercorns  
1 cup of minced shallots
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 package of fresh cranberries, about 12 oz
1 cup of juice, such as apple, grape or orange
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

In a pan over medium heat toast the coriander seeds for about 30 seconds until you start to smell them. Remove from heat.
In a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle grind the mustard seeds, peppercorns, and coriander until powdered.
Mince the shallots and garlic.
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the shallots.
Cook until translucent.
Add the garlic.
Cook for about 30 seconds until you smell the garlic.
Add the juice, cranberries, brown sugar, spices, molasses, sea salt, and fresh nutmeg.
Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the cranberries pop.
Reduce heat to low then simmer and cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat, mash or puree.
Cool and serve.  




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Today's Tip: How to cook a vegan roast!!

A vegan roast with my Asian Orange Mariade in the glass dish
Today’s tip is for cooking those vegan roasts. You know, the Turkey-less Turkeys from Trader Joes or everyone’s favorite little football, the Tofurky roast? Many of us will eat these with gusto tomorrow, but cooked improperly these can be bland and dry.

The first time I ever cooked one of these, it was a disaster. I was a decent home cook, but I had just turned vegan. I had no idea what to do with this little seitan oval my mom bought me so I would have a holiday, too. I stared at it, then dusted it with salt and pepper before placing it on a baking sheet and placing it in the oven. What I got out of the oven two hours later was about as tough as a shoe, and had about that much flavor. Luckily, the potatoes turned out ok, and I managed to pour enough of the gravy that came with my Tofurky over everything to manage chewing through it all.

After I met Jason, I learned the great Tofurky (or Field Roast, or Trader Joes Turkey-less roast) secret… you have to marinade! Marinade that faux ‘bird’ overnight with liquid and whatever herbs and spices you love best. Jason makes an infamous nut brown ale roast with herbs, and I make one with root beer! I have also used orange juice and veggie stock.

Start off with a glass bread dish, about 9 X 4. Place in your thawed vegan roast, and then enough liquid to come within an inch of the top. Add your spices and herbs, cover, and allow to marinade about 4-6 hours. Then, flip it over so the other side is submerged and repeat this process.

The next day, remove the cover and roast on 350 degrees for 1 hour, flip the roast again, and cook an additional 1 hour. You are done! Reserve any remaining liquid to spoon over slices of your roast. This will give you a moist, delicious roast to enjoy this holiday.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Orange Asian Vegan Roast Marinade RECIPE and new blog schedule!

Tested with Trader Joe's Turkey-less Roast

Hi everyone! I have been taking some time to make some amazing food. That is what it is all about, right? And yes, I am still working away on my cookbook. Even making and testing 7 extra recipes every week can be a ‘challenge’ (read as a huge pain in the tush and calves, because your legs take a beating with the extra kitchen time). That being said, the food I have been creating is the best of my life! More often than not I’ve been eating away and thinking “Did I really make that? Yes, I did!”
On top of all that I have been working on some special holiday recipes. The first is here, a marinade for all those vegan ‘roasts’ out there. Trader Joes has a Turkey-less Turkey, and then there is the infamous Tofurky, and Field Roast has one as well. Hopefully, by this time next year, we will all be shopping at Vegco here in the valley, but until then, you can still have your roast shipped through veganessentials.com or just run to the store. Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Trader Joes all have vegan options for you!

But once you have that little football shaped lump of seitan, what do you do with it? If you feel like something a little out of the norm, here is the roast for you. Thaw your roast, use this to marinade overnight, then bake the next day!

We will get to the recipe in a moment, but I am reformatting the blog. I think I am going to go to a schedule, roughly as follows:

Tuesday: Tips and Tricks! Basically, this is a place to share what is going on, what new things are working in my life and kitchen, and whatever else is going on.

Thursday: Reviews! What new foods or books are out there, or even cleaning products? A place to talk about fun vegan things.

Saturday: Recipes! Isn’t this why you keep coming back?

So without further ado, here is the recipe!!


Orange Ginger Marinade for a vegan roast

Makes enough for 1 vegan roast

1 glass 4X9 pan 
4 cups of orange juice (fresh as possible)
2 inches of ginger, sliced thin
8-12 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup of soy sauce
½ cup diced onion
8-12 star anise, whole
1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon red chili flakes  
1 vegan roast, such as Tofurky roast or Trader Joes Roast


In the glass pan, combine all ingredients.
Add the thawed Tofurky or Field roast and cover.
Refrigerate overnight for best results.
In the morning, cook the Tofurky for 2 hours in the liquid on 400 degrees.
Allow to cool and slice.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tofo Foo Yong, Osso Buco and Mustard Miso Crusted Tofu! Oh My!!

Every once in a while, you create something epic. It might be a sentence you compose that truly relates your view, a game you write that make your players curse you forever, or a combination of eye shadow that could make Baby Jesus weep at the eleganza! (Ok, maybe, that is just me). This last Sunday, I created some really wonderful food. I made six dishes that were all complex, wonderful and had great taste and texture.

Pictured above is the Osso Buco I made, slowly roasting it for two hours. The smells of veggies, white wine, tomatoes and seitan drifted through our house and outside, creating a shield of great smells around our house. It was a beautiful thing to sniff, and even more beautiful to taste.

I also made Tofu Foo Yong. For those missing Egg Foo Yong, this had a perfect taste and texture. A touch of black salt gave it a hint of egginess and they were bright and fluffy little cakes with straw mushrooms, celery, and green onions. They relished their splash of soy sauce and I served them with rice scented with toasted sesame oil, green onions, and green onions. Oh, the joy!

I was also particularly proud of the Mustard Miso Crusted Tofu with Crushed Peanut Topping. I served it over a bed of Raisin Curry Rice, and it was a joy to nibble on. Between Jason, Eleanor and I, it quickly disappeared.

Most of all, I was proud I actually took the time to write out all these recipes. I am back to work on my first book, which will feature comfort food from all over the world, but will have a lot of Southern recipes. After all, a girl does not get curves like mine without feeding them….  

So enjoy the pictures, while I get back to work. I do want to update the blog. What would you all like more of? Would you like reviews? How about book teasers? More recipes and if so, what? Let a girl know.

Talk to you soon,


Saturday, November 3, 2012

A look back on Halloween and a salsa recipe!

Happy Halloween (3 days later).
A lot of years in the past, my place was THE place to be for Halloween. I have found memories of being in my late teens and early twenties as I spent the better part of the year creating props for my haunted house. I was still living with my mom, and every year the theme was a little different. One year it was spiders taking over, one year zombies (before everyone did it), and one year X-Files. There were life sized ghouls made out of thrift store clothes and scavenged wigs, there were massive hairy spiders and tens of thousands of baby spiders for the spider year, and homemade gravestones. It was epic.
This year, Halloween kind of crept up on our family. Eleanor moved down, but getting ready and having Jason gone both contributed to the precious holiday just sneaking up instead of shouting in. Still, we had fun the way Jason and I know best – we asked friends over and headed into the kitchen. Working side by side we made a ton of great Mexican food. I made the guacamole and salsa. I made a variation of the salsa that our friend Eric likes best. I served it all in the coffin that I found at a yard sale for $10. It was the only Halloween decoration I put up this year, but it held some great stuff!!
If you want to make the salsa, here is the recipe.
Smooth Red Salsa (Cooked Version)
Makes about 4 cups
2 cans of diced fire roasted tomatoes (15 oz) or 4 cups of fire roasted diced roma tomatoes with juice intact
½ of a large red onion diced, about 1 cup
6-8 cloves of garlic
2-3 jalapeno peppers, stem removed only
1 chipotle in adobo
About ¼ cup of lime juice (2-4 limes)
½ bunch of cilantro (about 1 cup loosely diced)
Salt to taste
With a food processor or blender, blend the tomatoes, red onion, garlic and peppers.
Process until mostly smooth, but still has a small amount of texture.
Transfer to a small pot and simmer on the stove on medium low to low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
This allows all the flavors to combine and the garlic and onions to acquire a more ‘mellow’ flavor.
Remove from heat and allow to cool at least 20-30 minutes.
Mince the cilantro and add to the cooled salsa with the fresh lime juice and salt.
Taste the salsa. Add more lime juice or salt as needed.
Cool completely and serve.