tacos

Cat cooked the meal for lunch. With a little coaxing, she managed to make some very good tacos. Simple. Pan-seared Boca patties, a can of pinto beans, refried, sliced avocados, tomatoes, and lettuce, and a bit of Better Than Sour Cream. Satisfying and comforting.


roasted eggplant and leek on cornbread

Another Mikel pick. This is blue cornbread, with melted Daiya and Follow Your Heart, with roasted eggplant and leeks. Basil is the final touch. The cornbread is a wonderful touch - we baked them in a cast iron muffin pan. You have to foodsit (like babysit) the leeks while they are cooking, otherwise, this is a no-brainer, easy, tasty meal. This dish is practically out of Follow Your Heart cookbook by Janice Right.



french toast with caramel apple sauce

The best French Toast recipe we've found so far is in Isa's Vegan With a Vengeance. We topped it with some Caramel Apple Sauce using Granny Smith apples. Yum. Easy brunch meal.




basil stuffed shells


 Happy Birthday, Mikel


For his Birthday Lunch I made Basil Stuffed Shells, Two Ways. Basil Ricotta, and Bolognese Ricotta. I cooked the pasta sauce for 4 hours, easy to do if you get it on in the morning and stir every now and then. I made the Bolognese adapted from Nonna's Italian Kitchen by Bryanna Clark Grogan, which we have used for Lasagna recipes for the past six years. This was an awesome variation on that recipe, using my Basil Ricotta as a base
They both turned out exquisite.





Mikel's cake was the Portal Cake.
The Cake is a lie.
Uh,... you have to be 15, and, or a gamer to understand the reference, I'm afraid.


paprika potatoes

European/Potato Night

I am Hungarian, and I love Hungarian food. It is important to teach my children what their heritage is and what it means. A big part of that is food. Hungarians are know for Attila the Hun and for food. I'd rather it be the latter. According to my dad, we trace our ancestry back 500 years of restaurateurs. Since I do not currently have a restaurant, I can at least impart the love of Hungarian food in my children. It seems to be working because this meal is one of their favorites, although an alternative of it, March of the Grenadiers (mashed, mixed with pasta, and baked), is more of a favorite.

This is, once more, a very easy and quick meal. It takes about 15 minutes by the stove, cooking the onions, and peeling and slicing the potatoes, and then about 30 minutes simmering on the stove. It is a classic Hungarian dish that also has the Chicken Paprikas as the more famous counterpart. This was one of my favorites growing up, and it is turning out to be a favorite of my progeny, too.




eggless tofu salad

Kate chose and made this meal. An oldie, but a goodie. No one seems to sigh when told what is for lunch - always a plus. Again, using black salt (Kala Namak) will give the tofu the eggy-feel, if wanted. Otherwise, the salad stands up very well without it. Oh, and it takes a whole 10 minutes to make. Another bonus. The kids have this as a sandwich; I like it on arugula.

Update: I have not been able to confirm that black salt is not sodium. In fact, there is dispute on the web since no one has done a chemical analysis on kala namak. Although in India it is used at times for medicinal purposes (as most Indian spices are), there is considerable debate regarding the chloride content. To be on the safe side, treat black salt as regular salt and go easy.






eggplant parmesan

Italian Night!

If Mikel had to pick one food to take with him on deserted island, it would be this. It was a little challenging figuring out how to bread the eggplant without eggs and without frying it, but the answer is very simple - yogurt. A thin layer of soy yogurt and then the panko crumbs mixed with some fine bread crumbs and the result is crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. The cheeze is a mix of Daiya and Follow Your Heart, and the sauce is homemade. With the exception of eldest daughter who would like this if it were not eggplant, we all dig this dish.






thai seitan satay

Interesting meal!
 It seems everyone found something different to criticize about this meal. If it wasn't the brown rice, it was too spicy, or he doesn't like tomatoes, or he dislikes peanut butter, which is what the sauce was made of. I guess the only thing we ALL agreed on was:





garlic-lemon, spinach pasta

Whole Foods had this pasta at one point, waay back when. The kids really liked it, so here it is. It is the simple recipes that tend to be the best; really, there is nothing to this one: garlic, pasta, olive oil, lemon, spinach.




I know I've come to the rhubarb party a little late, so I didn't want to make a strawberry-rhubarb right off the bat - although I am sure that is on its way, too, seeing as there are three more bunches in the fridge.
I made a rhubarb-PEACH crumble. Saw the peaches for the first time at Whole Foods yesterday, so why not? I think the kids' favorite part of the Rhubarb-Peach Crumble is the 'crumble.' It is wonderfully sweet, tart and the topping is fabulously crunchy.






cream of cauliflower soup

Mikel approved of the Cauliflower Soup being on the menu - to the chagrin of his eldest sister, who does not care for anything in the brassica family.

The recipe is from Nava Atlas' Vegetarian Soups

The soup was surprisingly easy to make and was done in a flash. Instead of the food processor, though, I used my blender to make it even smoother and creamier. It was excellent; I even put some of the mixed  greens I made this afternoon on it as a garnish. Really tasty and creamy. The recipe calls for some Silk creamer, but I dare say - skip it! The soup is wonderful without that addition.


avocado patty and grilled onions, fennel, and greens

It is Mikel's Birthday Week!
 That means he gets to pick what we eat this week. First choice: Baked 'chicken' patty (I used Cluckphrey vegan brand) sandwich. Although I stay away from being a short-order cook in my home, in this case I customized each sandwich for individual preference. Pictured is mine: avocado, red onions, on fresh sourdough bread, with some Better Than Sour Cream. Yum! My oldest daughter begged for my second half. To accompany it, I grilled some fennel, red peeper, and onions with mixed greens that came in my CSA on Friday.







benedict

Eggs Benedict used to be a favorite of ours. Using tofu to replace the poached eggs can be a stretch...until this recipe. Now Benedict is a family favorite that gets requested at least once a month. However, since it is not exactly a health-nut recipe, it gets made at most once a month. There are a few tips here: to mimic the experience of eggs, use black salt (Kala Namak), but please only purchase it online if absolutely a must - any Indian market will have it for a fraction of the cost - I think I paid $2 for a bag last week. Second, after pan searing your tofu slices, simmer it just covered with water, some nutritional yeast, turmeric, black salt. Drain before putting it on your Benedict. And lastly, the Canadian bacon can be replaced with anything - Fakin Bakin, Bologna from Yves, Tofurkey - as long as it is given a quick sear in your pan. Sprinkle a little more black salt on the assembled dish since the flavor gets lost somewhat during cooking. No worries, black salt is not sodium; it is potassium.

Update: I have not been able to confirm that black salt is not sodium. In fact, there is dispute on the web since no one has done a chemical analysis on kala namak. Although in India it is used at times for medicinal purposes (as most Indian spices are), there is considerable debate regarding the chloride content. To be on the safe side, treat black salt as regular salt and go easy.






seitan scallopini

If you are not familiar with Bryanna Clark Grogan, it is time you should be. Tonight's dinner was inspired by her scallopini recipes in

I made some seitan a few nights ago, and if you are intimidated by making seitan, don't be. (I am in the process of making a video to help you conquer the fear of seitan.) I made a 'light', 'chicken'-flavored seitan, and sliced it 1/4 inch thin. After breading the slices, I pan-fried them until golden, added mushrooms, shallots, and garlic, and about a cup of wine (or Marsala, sherry, or just vegetable broth). I let the sauce reduce and served the cutlets with whipped potatoes and sauteed garlic spinach.

Originally I had the cutlets over pureed baby turnips, but that was a bit much for the rest of the family - too bitter for them - so the picture is of whipped potatoes. If you do use potatoes instead of turnips, consider changing the greens to kale or rapini (broccoli rabe). - it will give a nice flavor contrast. I liked it a lot with the turnips, however, so here is your chance to use up those last turnips in your CSA box. 

quesedilla

Leftovers!
I had some beans and rice leftover, so I made a quick quesedilla, adding grilled peppers and onions. Topped with some Tofutti Sour Cream, it made a fast, delicious lunch that even the kids enjoyed.




georgian potato and seitan filled flat bread

I must admit that this was very close to a knish, but the dough was risen and the filling was outstanding. I diced the seitan and pan-fried it until it was crispy. It was mixed with mashed potatoes that were seasoned with chives and sauteed onions. Everyone thought it was very tasty. Next time I will make some gravy to go with it, but tonight I was sidetracked with making sweets for the kids for tomorrow's end-of-year-party.



Brownies three ways:

Chocolate
Death by Chocolate
Strawberry-Chocolate

Recipes from Sinfully Vegan by Lois Dieterly




... and Almond Toffee Bars



udon, shiitaki and kale in miso broth

This dish, from Veganomicon by Moskiwitz and Romero, has been frightening my hubby - in fact, it was supposed to be prepared on Tuesday night. Since the kids aren't feeling well, I decided I would make it.  Well, it turned out to be delicious! I was very happy with it. The kids were not as impressed, however, bringing the rating down to:




mini pizza

We had a field trip today, but Mikel had requested Mini Pizzas (he was supposed to cook, but was feeling under the weather). So... I melted the cheezes (Follow Tour Heart and Daiya, both Mozzarella style), on the stove, and put them in a thermos. Then I heated up the pasta sauce and put that in a thermos as well. I toasted English muffins, sauteed some pepperoni-style Yves, sliced some onions and olives, and voila! - lunch was ready to go. The kids loved it!



cheeze and spinach enchiladas

This was an absolute hit! With everyone, except my oldest daughter, who does not care for enchiladas or spinach, which removes this dish from the running for her. The rest of us were okay with that, though; more for us! I used half Daiya Cheddar and half Follow Your Heart Mozzarella, shredded, and melted them on the stove, adding the spinach and grilled onions, and a little chili powder. Not only did it melt well, but it tasted creamy and divine. This is a very high 5 stars, only lowered because Daughter Number One doesn't like anything, it seems.


 






three bean salad with sandwich

I made the salad a few hours before we ate it. I adapted it from Fat Free and Easy by Jennifer Raymond. We were out all morning, so a quick sandwich of Tofurkey with Veganaise and the salad was just perfect.

seitan kabobs and patatas bravas

We are still camping.

I had been marinating the kabobs since Friday night, and had half-cooked the potatoes and marinated them as well. At camp, we got the fire going, placed the kabob pieces - seitan, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, elephant garlic, and yellow peppers - in kabob baskets, and grilled them. I highly recommend these baskets; seitan pieces, as well as veg dogs and tofu tend to break apart and fall off the skewers. No more lost tofu to the fire! They should be called 'vegan kabob baskets' as far as I'm concerned. Aldi has them for $1.50 each.

The potatoes were grilled as well, after all, we are camping and B-B-Q-ing, then covered with a spicy tomato sauce I prepared at home. That's right, I tried to prep everything so I wouldn't have to do anything. It worked really well. The kabobs were nicely charred, as you can see in the photo.



cheeze tofu and potato skillet

We are still camping.

For this morning I had precooked the hash browns, and the 'egg' tofu, the cheezy sauce. I heated up the components on the fire (no need to wait for coals - love that!), and assembled them in a skillet. This was inspired by American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyen. The tofu, however, is mine. I like to fake eggs using black salt - a mineral rock Indians use in their cooking; it has an unusual sulfuric flavor and smell - perfect to imitate eggs. The tofu should be pan fried in soy margarine (Earth Balance is best), then add 1/2 c. water, 1 t. turmeric, 1 t. black salt, 2 T. nutritional yeast to the pan, cover, and simmer for ten minutes. Simmering the tofu changes the texture, very much like freezing tofu changes the texture. Drain from the cooking liquid and serve over the skillet of hash browns.



gyros

Gyros!! We love Gyros!

Since we were going camping, I prepared all the food the night before and had everything ready to go on the grill.

Gyros have been a favorite of mine and to recreate them vegan was of the utmost importance. I make the 'lamb' seitan using gluten flour and other flours, and cook it in a broth that is a combination of 'beef' and 'chicken.' After the seitan is cool, I sliced it into thin pieces and marinated it overnight in olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, rosemary, and oregano. At the campsite I grilled the slices until they were crisp, but not dry (important - we aren't trying to make jerky). Tzaziki sauce was prepared at home, and the seitan was assembled in a pita with slices of onions and tomatoes.

So incredibly delicious!



spinach-artichoke, potato gratin

Thursday night is European/Potato night.

Again, a quick and easy dish to make. The inspiration was a recipe from 1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson. I saw the recipe and my mind went "Spinach and artichoke dip!" So, I seared the sliced bottled artichokes in garlic olive oil (saute garlic in the oil and remove the slices before they burn), added the spinach to it, and cooked it until the spinach wilted, returning the garlic back to the pan. After thinly slicing about six Yukon gold potatoes, and making a layer, I added half of the spinach mixture, seasoning the layers as I worked. Another layer of potatoes, spinach, and the last layer of potatoes rounded out the dish. I then mixed about a cup of rice milk with 1/2 cup of Better Than Cream Cheese (I blended it to incorporate the cheese well.) and poured it over the gratin. Covering it very tightly, I baked it at 375 for about an hour and a half. The oven did most of the work. Verdict? All but my oldest daughter loved it. (Spinach is on her no-no list, as well as most of the vegetable world.) Sigh.

Letting the gratin sit for about 15 minutes lets the potatoes rest and the gratin comes out very clean. My youngest asked for some 'cheese' on the gratin, so I put about half a bag of Daiya cheddar flavor on the top and broiled it until it melted (not a necessary component, however). This was a huge hit - only one serving remained.









chipotle chili

Mikel (14), cooked today's lunch. He also baked blue cornbread in a cast iron muffin pan. Excellent! He served it with Better Than Sour Cream.