twice-baked crispy gluten

Happy last day of August!

It is that time again, when this blog participates in Tami's Vegan Appetite's Food Network Friday challenge. If you do not know of Tami, she is the fabulously talented author of American Vegan Kitchen, a must own cookbook.

This Friday's challenge was Tyler Florence's Double Dipped Fried Chicken. As soon as I saw fried chicken, I immediately thought of my Twice-Baked Crispy Gluten. This is not any of my typical gluten/seitan recipes since there is nothing in the gluten recipe except vital wheat gluten and water. It is kneaded by hand for a few minutes, allowed to sit for 30 minutes to relax the gluten, kneaded by hand for another few minutes and allowed to sit for a few more.

Then it is portioned into pieces, rolled out thin, thin (the gluten can do that with the above described method since the gluten strands would have been developed) and filled with a savory nutritional yeast-onion-tahini-paprika filling. It is rolled up into the gluten, dredged in seasoned saltine cracker crumbs and baked on an oiled baking sheet. 

At this point it can be eaten as is or, and here is the great part, frozen and broiled on low for 10 minutes when you want some! I make bags and bags of the stuff to freeze and have ready at a moment's notice! It is incredible!

The Twice-Baked Crispy Gluten is crunchy, savory because of the filling, chewy a bit, but not too much and the rolling of the thin gluten pieces around the filling make it happen in every bite. Not to mention that it isn't fried! Some gravy and mashed potatoes is what this loves to be eaten with and it is worth every minute of rolling - which is the most time consuming part. 

We love! love! love! this!

I ship them domestically for a nominal fee :)

Cost Breakdown:
gluten flour: $1
nutritional yeast, tahini: $2
cracker, onion, garlic, spices: $1
Earth Balance and oil: $.50
Total to make 8 pieces:
$4.50

5 out of 5 stars



sugar cookies

I was all excited to make this very yummy, eggless, sugar cookies! They came out so well, that I am going to freeze a few logs of the dough and have it ready to make cookies when I 'need' to.

Everything was hunky-dory, until the kids arrived for the Preteen Lit Group and I found out that two of them are allergic to gluten! Well, back into the kitchen they went and in two weeks I will be posting gluten-free sweets. I knew this was going to happen at some point, and here it did.

My kids had a grand time having all of the leftover sugar cookies, though, as bad as they felt about the group missing out on them. My kids are well acquainted with going somewhere and everyone else enjoying something while they just get to watch.

Cost Breakdown:
flour: $1
Earth Balance: $1.50
sugar: $.75
Total to make 30 cookies:
$3.25



roasted garlic soup

Of all the foods on the planet, I believe I adore garlic the most. I love it in everything, but I have to make sure that my hubby eats some when I do otherwise he gets a little distant.

Garlic happens to be very healthful and so delicious - when properly utilized, that is.

I made a soup for today's lunch that had garlic in the soup itself (using the garlic from making garlic oil) and in the croutons as the garlic oil.
So, so good.

This is relatively a quick soup, but oh so elegant. I gave the soup some body with some cashew milk (only works if it is homemade) and added a few yellow chillies for flavor. To serve, I put some 'queso fresco' (that I had in the fridge, using the same basic recipe that I used for making Feta a few weeks back), some black beans, avocado and tomatoes from our garden, into a bowl, ladled the soup on and topped it with the garlic croutons.

Cost Breakdown:
homemade stock: $1
cashews: $1
garlic, olive oil: $2
queso freso (optional): $1
chili: $.50
black beans: $2
avocado: :1.50
tomato: $1
bread: $1
Total to feed 5 people:
$11.00


banana french toast

The family has loved the 'Fronch Toast' recipe out of Vegan With a Vengeance, so when I saw 'Banana Rabanada' in Vegan Brunch, we had to give it a try. It is French Toast with bananas and cocoa. Now those two are a match made in heaven, so this recipe was bound to be great.

It was. Very simple to make. The only problem I had was with my cast-iron griddle - I should have used a little more fat to keep them from sticking. The sugar in the bananas were caramelizing the toast and making them stick too much.

Cost Breakdown
bread: $3
almond milk: $1
bananas: $1
cocoa: $.25
maple syrup:  $2
Total to feed a family of 5:
$7.25



mocha fudge brownies

Every other Fridays we hike. On alternating Fridays I host a Teen Literature Group. On Literature days I have decided to make a treat for the group and today's was brownies. I made Mocha Fudge Brownies and man were they good! It still bewilders me why people put eggs in these; some recipes I looked at call for 4 eggs! I hope I was able to capture how moist, dense and delicious my eggless brownies are.

There is a bonus...no need to worry about licking the bowl! My kids really appreciate that :) 

Cost Breakdown:
flour: $.50
Earth Balance: $.75
sugar: $.75
chocolate: $2
coffee: $.50
Total to make 16 pieces:
$4.50




seitan schnitzel

European Night

My parents were restaurateurs their entire lives and they operated Hungarian restaurants exclusively. Wiener Schnitzel was on the menu at every place we had that I can remember. Not that Schnitzel is Hungarian originally, but let's face it, Europe is not a huge continent and its countries are not expansive; food travels over borders without much exception.

I haven't checked, so I hope it has been a month since the last time I made fried food. Schnitzel is a breaded and deep fried dish. I made the Tender Seitan and cut it as thin as I could and in a way that got me the biggest slices that I could get. I dredged them in flour, then in diluted yogurt and in a seasoned bread crumb mixture. I deep fried the slices at 390 degrees for 3 minutes. This was a throwback to my childhood - my Dad would serve these huge slices of Schnitzel, almost as big as the plate it was placed on.
I did good.

I served these with parsley potatoes, something my Mom used to make, and with a Hungarian Tomato and Cucumber Salad. The tomatoes are from our garden; they are Hungarian Heart heirlooms. Just thought I'd brag a little.

Cost Breakdown:
potatoes: $3
parsley, Earth Balance: $2
tomato: $2 (from store)
cucumber: $1
onion: $.50
seitan: $3
bread crumbs, yogurt, flour: $3
coconut oil: $3
Total to feed 8 people:
$17.50




grilled pizza

The weather has been so lovely here, in the seventies, no humidity, thinking-about-wearing-a-sweater-in-the-morning type of weather, that I am fearing it is the end of summer and we haven't grilled a pizza, yet! Yikes!

So, tonight, in honor of the ebbing summer days, we grilled pizza. Pizza night is always a cause for great rejoicing in our home, and tonight was no exception.

Grilling pizza is so easy! It is actually easier than baking them in the oven and can even be done indoor on a grill without having to heat up the house. Just because summer is ebbing does not mean it has ebbed.

The key to grilling pizza is to grill one side first, flip and then add your toppings. To help melt our non-dairy cheese, I inverted a metal bowl over the pizza to keep the heat in.

The kids had their usual toppings - pepper-NOT!-i and Daiya cheese-sub, but I wanted something with a little heat.

I made a quick (really) tomato sauce using Bionaturae Organic Strained Tomatoes in a glass bottle because I found out that while Eden Foods does not add BPA to the lining of their beans, there is trace amounts in the lining of tomatoes. I added chipotle peppers to the sauce because I have such an affinity for those smoked little jalapenos. My pizza sang with the melody of sweetness, spiciness, crunch and the grill. Music to my mouth.

Cost Breakdown:
dough: $3
Daiya: $5
tomato: $2
Yves Pepperoni: $3
onion, garlic: $1
herbs, spices, chipotle: $1
Total to make 6 pizzas:
$15.00





bbq tempeh on focaccia


African-Inspired Night

This was another recipe from Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry, 'Open-Faced BBQ Sandwich on Foccacia with Cayenne Coleslaw.' Tempeh is what is being barbecued. I don't know if I've blogged before that my hubby has a few culinary dislikes, tempeh being one of them.

I haven't been able to convince him to give tempeh a try after he had it in a few times in restaurants, but I know that he just hadn't had it prepared the right way. He had the same dislike of Brussels sprouts until I made them and thereby convinced him that Brussels sprouts are not supposed to be bitter balls of blues.

Same deal with tempeh. If you've had bland tempeh, you need to cook it differently. Terry and I concur.

For flavorful tempeh, choose one:
(1) simmer on the stove in a flavorful broth
(2) bake in a marinade or sauce
(3) fry in fat and sprinkle with salt

Most people steam tempeh, to make the it more ready to absorb marinade or to reduce the bitterness. However, if you will be cooking it using method (1) or (2) for at least 20 minutes, steaming it is not necessary - in fact, it's overkill. Save your time!

Since this recipe called for focaccia, I was on the hunt for a whole wheat version. I found it! Super easy to make, especially in the bread maker. Not super low in fat, though; it can't really be focaccia without the 1/4-1/2 c of olive oil. Of course, if you'd like to omit most of the olive oil, I would omit it from the dough completely and drizzle a half teaspoon on a slice just before eating . Maximize the flavor.

This was a great meal, both men in the house loved the tempeh and the focaccia was an all around hit.

Cost Breakdown:
focaccia: $2
tempeh: $6
lime, tomato paste: $1
cabbage: $2
tamari, Dijon, maple syrup: $1
Total to make 7 sandwiches:
$12.00



Focaccia, Whole Wheat Recipe
(coming)

cinnamon rolls

Kate made today's lunch.

She has been wanting to make cinnamon rolls for a few weeks now. I told her she is welcome to make them as long as there is a vegetable dish to precede the meal. She agreed.

This left me with finding an easy and fast cinnamon roll recipe. I remember making one from Baking with Julia cookbook, but as we all know Julia was neither vegan-friendly nor quick. I think that particular recipe took me a day to make.

So I opted for having her make a quick sweet dough, using half whole wheat flour, and the rest using just cinnamon-roll-additions - sugar, cinnamon and Earth Balance. This is a quick dough because it does not use yeast to rise the bread; it has baking powder to do the work. Having Kate make it, it was ready in about an hour, an adult making it, it would be ready in less than 45 minutes, including baking.

Cost Breakdown:
flours: $1
sugar, cinnamon: $1
Earth Balance: $.50
maple syrup: $ 1
almond milk: $.50
Total to make 6 big or 12 smaller rolls:
$4.00





sesame soba noodles

Picnic

This is a dish that was once a Whole Foods food-bar item, as well. I have converted it to include more veggies. All of the kids love this dish and it is perfect picnic food. It is served as a cold salad so there is no problem with keeping it warm.

I added broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers and scallions to the Whole Foods 'recipe.' The dressing is a simple vinaigrette using seasoned brown rice vinegar (different from rice vinegar because of the addition of sugar), tamari (skip it and add salt for soy-free) and roasted sesame seed oil.

Sprinkling some sesame seeds on top rounds this dish out.

Very tasty and simple to make.

Cost Breakdown:
broccoli, cauliflower, pepper, green onion: $3
noodles: $3
oil, vinegar, tamari: $1
Total to make 5 servings:
$7.00





potato-chickpea enchilada

Wrapping up Terry Hope Romero's Viva Vegan! Cook-athon is a Potato-Chickpea Enchilada with Tomatillo Sauce and Mango-Jicama Salad.

Stu-unning. Awesome flavors in the enchilada filling! We only had one dissenter in the family, everyone else loved it. The Tomatillo Sauce recipe has you boiling the tomatillos to remove the skin, but I roasted them instead and blended everything very well so the skins did not become an issue.

The Pine Crema recipe calls for silken tofu, which I do not care for, so instead I made a Cashew Crema for which I will be posting the recipe. This made the entire meal soy free! Love that! 

In conclusion, while some of the flavors of this cookbook need a little getting used to, don't all ethnic cuisines require some adjustment? If they didn't, honestly, what would be the point of eating them? 

Terry has written a great book, full of practical and needful advice regarding Latin fare. She has written creative recipes that my week of cooking has barely scrapped the surface of - 200 recipes is nothing to sneeze at. This is one cookbook that is needed on the shelf because ethnic cuisines are something we should all try to make at home and when it is written by someone who has lived it, then it becomes a treasure trove of yet-untasted flavors and experiences. 

Cost Breakdown:
chickpeas: $2
potatoes: $1
tortillas: $1
mango, jicama: $3
cilantro, lime: $1
peppers, onions, garlic: $1
cashews: $1
Total to make 5 servings:
$10.00




chimichurri tofu

For this dinner, I made three recipes from Terry Hope Romero's
Viva Vegan!: (Link through Vegan.com)

Chimichurri Tofu, Lime and Cilantro Rice and Braised Brazilian Kale. All three recipes were simple to make and tasted great. Our favorite was the kale, to which I added the rest of the chimichurri sauce after the tofu was done marinading in. Also, I used brown rice for the Rice dish instead of the white. It just extended the cooking time, but the flavors were spot on.

We were very pleased with the meal! Another three great recipes from this book.

Cost Breakdown:
kale: $4
onions, garlic, shallots: $3
parsley, cilantro, lime: $3
rice: $1.50
tofu: $2
Total to feed a family of 5:
$13.50



dulce de leche crepes

Okay, so this isn't exactly brunch fare, but I've seen plenty of people serve crepes for breakfast, so why not?

This recipe from Terry Hope Romero from Viva Vegan! was sensational. (Link is through Vegan.com) Not only does she have an excellent crepe recipe, but also a fabulous caramel sauce. I think my kids could have eaten that sauce all by itself!

As I have already blogged about not having a nonstick pan, I don't mind saying I was a little apprehensive. I used my cast iron griddle and it worked great! I don't believe Indians have nonstick for their dosas, so I figured cast iron would work for me, too. It did. I couldn't tilt the griddle like I have tilted a skillet while making crepes before, but even that didn't prove to be an obstacle - spreading the batter with the back of the ladle was efficient.

We served ours with Rice Dream ice cream and everyone was bouncing off the walls in no time (sugar rush :)

Sometimes you can and should have dessert for breakfast.

Cost Breakdown:
Silk creamer: $1.50
brown rice syrup: $1
sugar: $.50
flours: $1.50
  plantains: $3
lime and Earth Balance: $2
Total to make 5 servings:
$9.50


cubano vegano sandwich

Continuing with the Viva Vegan! cook-athon, I made the Cuban sandwich. Kick-butt! The family absolutely loved it and great appreciation was given to Terry Hope Romero.

A very authentic version of the famous Cuban sandwich of mustard, thick bread, sweet pickles and 'pork' (I used soy curls rehydrated in 'checken' like broth, liquid smoke, lime juice, garlic and Whorchestire Sauce because I forgot all about the seitan). Great sandwich!

Cost Breakdown:
bread: $3
soy curls: $3
condiments: $2
Daiya: $2
Total to make 5 sandwiches:
$10.00


viva vegan! + papas rellenas

I mixed my days up a bit so yesterday's lunch happened today.

This is another recipe from Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero (Again, the link is through Vegan.com). It is mini potatoes stuffed with mushrooms and olives. Again there is a sweetness added, from raisins. I'm sensing an ethnic trend.

Since these mini potatoes were hollowed out, and I hate wasting food, I mashed the insides of the potatoes with paprika, almond milk and olive oil, and seasoned it well. This echoed the ingredients in the filling. While the potatoes have a great flavor, the filling was a little dry so the mashed potatoes topped onto the filling after the papas were baked was a welcome addition. And no waste.

Very good flavors over all and a great idea. 

Cost Breakdown:
potatoes: $4
nuts, raisins, olives: $2
mushrooms: $4
onion, garlic, spices: $1
Total to make 15 potatoes:
$11.00


alfredo primavera

When I was in my twenties, many moons ago, I worked with my brother who was the executive chef of some posh restaurant on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. I told you we have this culinary-curse. We worked long hours and were exhausted. Before we'd leave for home after yet another 14 hour day, he'd always make me Primavera Alfredo. Tons of cream and cheese and some vegetables to honor the 'Primavera' part - summer squash, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli.

I had tried for years to make Alfredo vegan. So many recipes with tofu and soy cheese and soy cream cheese - oh! the variations! No good. Hadn't found a single one that was up to par.

Until the humble cashew. As I've blogged before, nuts are our friends. Nuts are healthy, terribly delicious and marvelously versatile - much like soy. Since soy is something I love but know that, say it with me,...too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing, I wanted an alternative. Besides, soy always left a gritty texture in the sauce, unless it was silken and silken tofu and I do not get along. It has an odd flavor that I just can't get past.

On to the Alfredo...easy, creamy and delicious! Just make sure to strain your cashew milk before using it otherwise you will get the same texture as with the tofu - gritty!

Use whatever summer veggies you have (or spring veggies as the name 'Primavera' implies), but if you use eggplant, salt it a little and let it drain for 15 minutes - the eggplant will hold its shape better. Use tomatoes in the sauce cautiously as you are not going for tomato sauce here. In fact, adding them raw at the end is great.

Cost Breakdown:
cashews: $2
nutritional yeast: $.50
summer veg: $5
pasta: $3
Total to feed a family of 5:
$10.50






seitan wrap

I had some seitan in the freezer and an abundance of tortillas. It was only logical to make some seitan wraps.

I used a basic seitan that I made a month or so ago and had it on hand for easy cooking days. I put some veganaise into the wrap and then grilled it. It reminded me of the Rolly Polly Sandwiches that litter the country - only I can eat everything on mine. I added some spinach into my wrap because the kids chose their greens in a side-salad form. Applesauce was their chosen fruit along with some yellow plums from the CSA.

I just got myself a cast-iron panini press - the top press that is. A cast-iron panini press is $400+! Yikes! I am trying to avoid bringing more Teflon stuff into the house seeing as I am trying to get rid of them, so this was my next best bet. In light of my new kitchen gadget, I grilled my wrap to test it out. It worked relatively well, as you can see in the photo. Preheating it is the way to get the top somewhat hot. I'll let you know how it is the next time I use it since cast-iron takes me a little while to get just right. It's like it has a personality of its own that I have to get used to.

Cost Breakdown:
tortillas: $4
seitan: $2
veganaise: $1
salad, spinach: $3
Total to make 4 servings:
$10.00



viva vegan! + venezuelan black beans and rice

First up from Viva Vegan! this week is Venezuelan-Style Black Beans and Yellow Rice with Garlic.

I needed to make Sofrito for the beans - which is almost exactly like Lecso in Hungarian cuisine, minus the tomatoes and paprika. Sofrito is slow cooked peppers and onions (or really any vegetables, but for Latin cuisine it is peppers and onions).

I also needed to make Annatto infused oil for the rice, but it seems my annatto seeds are a bit old as the orange-yellow color did not manifest quite as it has in the past when I've made this oil.The beans were a little sweet and that kind of threw the family for a loop, but I though the flavor quite ethnic and unique. I loved it!

This is having beans and rice in style!


Cost Breakdown:
beans, dry: $2
rice: $1
peppers, onions, garlic: $2
spices and herbs: $1
tomato: $1
Total to feed a family of 5:
$7.00





roasted vegetables

Nothing extravagant today. I was craving summer veggies and my CSA delivered a bunch last week. There are very few culinary treats as lovely as fresh summer vegetables. Japanese eggplant, tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, onions, basil, peppers, oh my!

I sprinkled some balsamic vinegar on them and poured them over some brown rice. I'm still a little tired from the bug, so this was just right.
 Fresh, fast and fabulous.

Gives a new meaning to "Dollar Meal."

Cost Breakdown:
zucch: $1
squash: $1
pepper: $1
onion, basil: $1
tomato: $1
eggplant: $1
rice: $1
Total to feed a family of 5:
$7.00


raw spaghetti and vegan meatball

It sure looks like spaghetti and meatballs! However, it tastes like squash and nuts. Not that that is a bad thing, but in this case looks are certainly deceptive. I suppose when I look at a plate of spaghetti I expect it to be hot and with a deep tomato flavor.

The recipe I used for this meal came out of Raw Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet. The spaghetti sauce called for 1 tomato and 1/2 c of sun-dried tomatoes. Although my mind said 'that's too much,' my hand still added it. I love sun-tomatoes but they dominate! The proportion of fresh v. sun was out of whack. So I remade the sauce, but I was running out of steam, getting tired.

The 'not meatballs' were once again made using nuts and well, ...they tasted like nuts.

I need to stop using raw cookbooks. I need to stop replicating cooked food because I am expecting one thing and another is delivered.

This is getting frustrating. I wind up making two meals on Mondays because the raw is under-appreciated by the kids and it is getting exhausting.

Next week I'm going back to the raw basics. Salad. Maybe an easy soup, and a cracker. Back to the raw-ing board.

Cost Breakdown:
squash: $1
walnuts: $1
tomato and sun-tomato: $2
basil, parsley, lemon: $1
Total to make 2 servings:
$5.00



quesadilla

I realize how important consistent posting is - having learned this not only from my son who makes YouTube videos of unabridged anime, but also from my own experiences of times when I could hardly wait to see the next food being posted on a particular blog. Not that I am trying to elevate Weekly Vegan Menu to any undeserving status; I am merely sympathising.

This past week has been challenging. After a year of living in our current home, having moved across the country, I am beginning to (maybe) foresee us staying here for a while.
Over the past month I have come to embrace our present location and the need to put things in order - sort of a 'summer cleaning.' I have organized, scrubbed and cleansed all possible surfaces. I have culled unwanted or unneeded items. In other words, I have readied my home as best as I can for the coming year.

In addition to all the hard work and exhaustive effort, over the weekend practically the whole family came down with a cold. What is worse  - I did, too. There is not many things worse than the caregiver to also get sick. Plain old sick. 

I am not someone who is intense about keeping my family germ-free. I feel it is important to expose ourselves to germs to allow our immune system a chance to fight off the invaders and learn from it. Our bodies cannot form antibodies without having previous knowledge of the bugs to fight off. BUT, I am not a doctor, so this is all my opinion and not to be taken any other way. **Disclaimer.

Anyway, we got sick and I didn't blog because we just ate whatever we got our hands on, including take-out. 

I am happy to report that a few days was enough for me. Having a strong immune system does not mean you do not ever get sick - it could (see Disclaimer above) mean you get better faster. I attribute that to our lifestyle and diet. 

Since the kids are not in any mood to cook - which I am sure is also due to the idea of it still being summer and they are still out of school - I will be messing around in the kitchen on their cooking days this week.

Because I love to support vegan chefs, and since Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero has just come out (please use my link to Amazon through Vegan.com so Erik gets the commission), I have dedicated most of the menu this week to recipes from that cookbook. They sound enticing and simple enough to prepare. I love Latin food and it is great that someone has created and organized Latin recipes into one convenient format. Now I can at least stop searching and veganizing this ethnic cuisine!

Today's lunch (not from Viva Vegan!) was a simple quesadilla with a fresh tomato salsa. It was excellent!

Cost Breakdown:
tortillas: $3
pepper and mushroom: $3
tomato: $1
lime and onion: $1
Daiya: $.50
Total to make 4 servings:
$8.50



   

chocolate chip waffles

Cat's theory about cooking is, 'when in doubt, make waffles...or pancakes or french toast.' And when really in doubt, add chocolate chips.

Well, she did make some great waffles. What is more, she makes better waffles than I do. She made her batter thinner than I did, so I adjusted the Waffle Template Recipe I have on here.

What else is there to say, really? Waffles are tasty, the kids ate heartily and not a vegetable was in sight. Except the ones in my salad.

Go Cat!

Cost Breakdown:
flour: $.50
almond milk: $1
chocolate chips: $1
baking powder, salt: $.10
sugar: $.25
Total to make 6 waffles:
$2.85
 

lasagna bolognese

I had this scheduled for Sunday Dinner, but we had a guest tonight and she wanted the lasagna - "whatever the guest requests..." is our motto.

This is a favorite of Cat and she is the one who wanted this put on the menu. She likes this one better than the American Lasagna with the tomato sauce.

This is more authentic in that it has a white sauce (bechamel), ground 'meat' and a sprinkle of parm. Although I used Boca for my meat, it is easy to use seitan ground up or even a vegetable - although this I have not been allowed to test yet since I have vegan children who do not like vegetables - ironic, hmm?

The ground meaty sub is cooked for 2 hours on simmer in a creamy broth (this is the bolognese part) and a smooth velvety white sauce tops it in the layers of lasagna noodles. The bolognese sauce, white sauce, noodles and Parma! (a parm sub that is so good for you - having only walnuts (Omega-3 Fatty Acids), nutritional yeast (B12) and sea salt) are the only other components to this lasagna.

This lasagna can be totally soy-free and wheat-free with a proper wheat-free noodle.


It is a hit every time, although I remember the first time making it with some trepidation - it is not a traditional American Lasagna with the tomato sauce and cheese.
Different but just as good, if not better.

Cost Breakdown:
noodles: $3
ground soy: $5
carrot, onion, garlic, herb: $2
cashews: $3
wine and stock: $1
Parma!: $1
Total to make 10 servings:
$15.00

quick cassoulet

What makes a cassoulet a cassoulet? White beans. The rest is preference. Tomato sauce, sausage, duck - or any animal - carrots, etc. Traditionally cassoulets take hours to bake, but it is summer time and there is no room in this house for hours of heat!

I used some Tofurkey for my cassoulet, but had I seen the zucchini lurking in the back of the crisper drawer, it would have usurped the sausage for sure. Other vegetables, especially harder ones like winter squash, turnip, parsnip, cabbage or cauliflower would also have been a fine addition in lieu of the soy.

I topped the cassoulet with breadcrumbs sauteed in a pan with garlic, spring onions and parsley.

It was ready fast and tasted lovely. In the winter I will make a true cassoulet, but for today the Summer Cassoulet was just right.


Cost Breakdown

beans: $4
carrot, onion, garlic: $2
tomatoes: $3
panko: $1
Total to feed a family of 5:
$10.00

kung pao tofu

Asian Night

Kung Pao Tofu was Mikel's favorite dish from Whole Foods when we veganized. At about $10 a container it was something we had to make at home.

Whole Foods did this really neat thing - they put the ingredients on the label. All I had to do was figure out the how much and how to cook it. Easy enough since Kung Pao Tofu is tofu with a sauce and peanuts.

They used brown rice syrup for the sweetener and brown rice vinegar for the acid. Please note that this is an Americanized version of Kung Pao, which originally is not so very sweet; there is a hint of sweetness but it is the vinegar that is the accented flavor in the sauce.

I wrapped my tofu to extract the water and make it absorb the homemade teriyaki sauce as well as hold together when I saute it on my enameled griddle. I love this griddle because tofu does not stick to it - like a nonstick, but safer.


This meal is a great rendition of Kung Pao, even if it is the American version.


Cost Breakdown:


tofu: $4
rice syrup: $1.50
vinegar, tamari, spices: $2
peppers, garlic, scallions: $3
rice: $1
peanuts: $1
Total to feed a family of 5:
$12.50






taquitos

The first on Mikel's cooking list is Taquitos.

Taquitos are too easy to make! No frying need be involved, just a tortilla and some good filling.

The filling can be beans, grains, vegetables, seitan or soy products - soy curls, tofu, TVP. You should have a nice thick sauce to bring the filling together, roll up the tortillas, place them fold down on a sprayed baking tray, sprinkle with a little olive oil and bake until crisp, about 15-20 minutes on 375.

Mikel made soy curls for his taquitos. He soaked the curls in Bryanna's Vegetable stock (about 1 c curls to 1 1/2 c stock). After draining the curls, he sauteed them with onions, garlic and pepper. He made sure the curls had a bit of color on them - important for flavor.

For the sauce he ground 1/4 c of cashews with the remaining stock he used to soak the curls and blended them well, making a cashew-stock milk. Even if you do not use the curls, blend some veg stock (about 2/3 c) with 1/4 c cashews to get the milk. Remember that nut milk (fresh) thickens when heated.

He added this milk to the pan, heated it until thickened and rolled up the filling in his warmed (to make them pliable) tortillas.

We devoured them - barely managing to save David some for his lunch tomorrow.

I am still on my chipotle kick so, I minced a few peppers and added them to a diced avocado with a squirt of lime. Goo-ood!

Cost Breakdown:
soy curls: $2.50
tortillas: $4
cashew and stock: $1.50
avocado and chipotle: $2
Total to make 10 taquitos:
$7.00
(plus $2 for the avocado)

incrediburger with chipotle cream and shaved cucumber

I had these Incrediburgers in the freezer since July and needed something quick to make for lunch. These came out of the freezer, went into the toasted oven, got a little splash of olive oil and tasted fantastic.

This proves that Incrediburgers are great frozen - so go and make yourself a batch to have when you crave a burger.

In case you don't know, Incrediburgers are out of American Vegan Kitchen by Tamsin Noyes.

I made a Chipotle Cream sauce for my burgers using the peppers in adobo - again, I freeze what I don't use of the can to have when I want it - and Better Than Cream Cheese. I seasoned it, sprinkled some cilantro into it and slathered my Incrediburger with it. To keep the party cool, I added some seasoned shaved cucumbers.

They are in a pita because... you guessed it, I had some pita frozen.

You'd think I haven't been to the grocers yet this week!


Cost Breakdown
burgers: $3
cucumber: $1 (sale!)
chipotle: $.50
pita: $2
cilantro and cream cheese: $2
Total to make 5 burgers:
$8.50


peppers stuffed with herbed jasmine rice

Family Favorite

What a lovely meal!
As soon as I saw purple jasmine rice at Whole Foods, I knew it was time to make a stuffed pepper. I bought some gorgeous medium-sized red, orange and yellow peppers to stuff and my CSA  and herb garden provided the tarragon, parsley, basil and chives.

I cooked the rice with a little red lentils and before I stuffed them into the peppers I cooked them almost like a risotto - adding liquid in three stages until the rice was al dente. I then added 2 cups of fresh herbs.

After the peppers were stuffed, I added a 1/4 c of tomato sauce to each pepper and baked them for 1 hour.

Absolutely delicious.

Cost Breakdown:
peppers: $12.00
rice: $1.50
red lentils: $.50
herbs: $3
tomato sauce: $2
Total to make 8 peppers:
$19.00


sofrito crusted corn on the cob over red couscous

I made this light lunch today of Corn on the Cob and Couscous. I slow cooked onions, garlic and parsley and coated the corn with it. I let it marinade while I cooked the beets and peppers for the couscous.

I roasted fresh peppers and boiled small beets. I made the couscous using tomato juice for the liquid, added the veggies and sprinkled the done couscous with roasted slivered almonds. The almonds gave the couscous such a wonderful taste and crunch. Really excellent.

Grilling corn is imperative summer food. If you haven't had grilled corn, yet, you a depriving yourself.

Very tasty and colorful lunch. We were very pleased with the flavors and textures.

Cost Breakdown:
corn $2
couscous: $.50
beets: $2
peppers" $2
almonds: $1
parsley, onion, garlic: $2
Total to feed a family of 5:
$9.50


chipotle mashed potatoes stuffed portobello


When we first discovered veganism, as I have blogged before, the beginning was not just difficult but very unappetising. Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet was one of the first books that made food delightful at last. Tonight's meal was one of our favorites. So much so that after we first made it we had it at least once a week for many following weeks.

Now there are some culinary critics who report that certain foods are becoming a fading fad- chipotle peppers for one -  but I say it is only a fad if you are following the trends of the day and not your own palate. For me the smoked jalapeno is here to stay no matter what a foodie thinks should grace my plate.

Minced chipotle peppers added to mashed potatoes are a perfect palate pleaser. Spicy, smoky and sweet, it is a sensual reminder of delicately balanced food. To get the most perfect mashed potatoes that are not gummy follow a few key guidelines:

1) Cook your potatoes very well, until they are falling apart.
2) Mash without any liquid. After you add liquid do not mash anymore.
3) Add the liquid and stir to combine, almost folding the ingredients together. To get whipped potato's add more liquid. The potatoes will soak it up. 

I accented the tamari in the grilled portobellos by adding toasted sesame seeds to the garlicky green beans. 

David thanked me sweetly for making this. This dish just keeps on giving.

Cost Breakdown:
portobello: $5
potatoes: $4
chipotle: $1
green beans: $3
tamari, garlic, Earth Balance, almond milk: $2
Total to feed a family of 5:
$15.00