Nov 30, 2010

millennium (MoFo 20) + book winner

This is the last post of MoFo! Wow! I am done, stick a fork in me!
Over the month we've covered:

And for the last MoFo, I am visiting Millennium in San Franciso.

This is a five-star restaurant in my book and we had the pleasure of dining there a few times while living in San Fran. A bit more on the pricey side, the tasting menu with the wine is the best deal and the best meal to have there. You get the chef's specials paired with delicious wines. The meal runs several courses and leaves nothing to want - even dessert is included.

For my tasting menu I first made the Sesame-Crusted Oyster Mushroom Calamari. These are served with Wasabi Cream and a seaweed salad at the restaurant. I just served it with the wasabi and a little chili oil.

My final course for MoFo is White Bean-Filled Phyllo Purses. These are phyllo purses stuffed with cannellini beans, mushrooms and Italian Tofurkey sausage. They are served over creamy polenta and with Porcini Mushroom Sauce.

My hubby said it was very Millennium-like and he would pay $32 for it.
I told him to fork up the dough.

That's all she wrote - for a few days, anyway. I need to go clean my kitchen and retire the fryer. The kids will mourn ;)

As for the final cookbook winner ...drum roll, please..."American Vegan Kitchen," being sent by the author herself...goes to...
Comment #3
Find me or I'll find you. Congrats!

Thanks to everyone who joined me for this Month of Vegan Food and thanks to all the other hundreds of bloggers who came along for the ride. And thanks to Tami Noyes for the cookbook you gave me to give away! I know the lucky-someone will enjoy it!

(Elvis has left the building...)

Cost Breakdown:

oyster mushrooms: $9
breading: $1
sesame seeds, chili, wasabi: $1
carrots, parsnips, spices: $1
Total to make apps for 6:

phyllo: $3
beans, mushrooms, Tofurkey: $7
porcini, onion, garlic, veg, broth: $6
polenta, nondairy milk, garlic: $2
Total to make 4 servings:

Sesame-Crusted Oyster Mushroom Calamari

White Bean-Filled Phyllo Purses

Nov 29, 2010

pub grub (MoFo 19)

Picture this: you, out at night, with your friends, throwing back a few cold ones, feeling good and having fun. Then you get the hankering for something to eat, always a good thing to do when you're drinking. You grab the menu and see wings, cheese sticks, burgers, dogs, ribs and ...that's about it.

Bar food is not exactly upscale, healthy or vegan, unless you count the bowl of peanuts that have been palmed over a dozen times or the french fries.

Before I settled down, I made a living bartending. Garlic hot wings were my favorite, followed second close by cheese sticks. Wings I've seen before veganized (Chicago Diner is primo example), but I've never seen vegan cheese sticks. 

Hot Wings date back to the Anchor Bar where, during the 60's, the mother made wings for her hungry son's friends. The rest is history. The Buffalo Wings were born. Really that is what hot wings are. I am crazy about garlic, though, so my fried Tender Seitan pieces are coated with hot sauce, Earth Balance and garlic.

I also made a ranch dressing using veganaise. Really easy and very good.

Having had a fabulous learning experience this month regarding the fried aspect of the culinary world, I felt brave enough to attempt Cheese Sticks. I used cashew milk for the "egg" part and breaded my sticks using breadcrumbs, flour and seasonings. The trickiest part is to choose a good vegan cheese. In the picture is Follow Your Heart Mozzarella, but any solid vegan cheese will be successful. Give it a try! There is Teese, FYH and any homemade block of cheese. I tried doing this with Daiya but the vegan cheese has no binding power when just squeezed (I couldn't get the shreds to stay together too long) and so they almost fell apart during frying. Experiment if you wish, but the blocks work great.

Lastly, I needed something that my kids could eat without burning their mouths, so the BBQ Wing was it. I made a simple BBQ sauce using ketchup, sugar, vinegar and spices. I think I reduced it a little too much, though, since it seems a little clunky on the seitan. Sorry.

Anyway, we didn't have any Guinness  dark vegan beer with these, but you are certainly welcome to.

(Elisabeth let me know that there is controversy regarding the veganism of Guinness, so check out the link for a great vegan beer to enjoy with your goodies. Thanks, Elisabeth! I didn't realize Guinness couldn't see through their dark beer long enough to give a consistent answer regarding their status.)

Salud! Egesegedre! L'Chaim! Cheers! 

Cost Breakdown:

hot wings:
seitan: $2
hot sauce, Earth Balance, garlic: $1
veganaise, spices: $1
Total for 20 wings:

vegan cheese: $2
breading, cashews: $1
Total for 10 sticks:

seitan: $2
ketchup, vinegar, sugar, garlic, onion: $2
Total to make 20 wings:

Hot Garlic Wings

Cheese Sticks

BBQ Wings

Nov 28, 2010

chicago diner (MoFo 18)

Chicago Diner is near and dear to us because, one, it is near, we live in Chicago land, and, two, the food rocks. Really. This place is the reason why my kids will endure an hour's drive, for the vegan milkshakes, where my husband always tries to get me to go when we go out to eat and why I have tried to recreate food that is worthy of Chicago Diner.

This is where vegans make pilgrimages and from where the desserts travel to the out fringes of Illinois to grace the shelves of Whole Foods even as far away as Wisconsin.

The place is a bomb and we travel there with loose pants to facilitate the massive influx of food that will be taking place.

In honor of Tamasin Noyes, the author of American Vegan Kitchen (check MoFo 16 for her book giveaway), and the writer of Vegan Appetite, I am first making the Radical Reuben. Marbled rye bread is stuffed with their seitan roast beef, sauerkraut, grilled onions and peppers, cheese and their special sauce. This is one of my favorites as well.

The other sandwich I've made is The Halfpipe. This is David's favorite. His other favorite is Chicken Fried Steak. Basically the sandwich is the same seitan but it is in a sesame seed hoagie roll with crispy onions, lettuce, tomato and twisted chili sauce. This sandwich is so big that they don't give you a side with it - liability, you see.

Their Barbecue Wings and Potato Skins are also radical and they serve super delicious milkshakes. When in Chicago this is definitely a place you must visit.

Cost Breakdown:

bread: $2
seitan: $3
pepper, onion: $1
Daiya cheese: $2
special sauce (1,000 Island): $1
sauerkraut: $1
Total to make 4 sandwiches:

bread: $3
onion, lettuce, tomato: $3
seitan: $3
sauce: $1
Total to make 4 sandwiches:

Radical Reuben

The Halfpipe

Nov 27, 2010

candle cafe (MoFo 17)

Candle Cafe started as a health food and vitamin store. It has evolved into a much loved Manhattan vegan restaurant that also has a sister fine dining place, Candle 79. They serve local, fresh food, all the while being eco-conscious and green. And then there is the food.

They serve a Mezze Platter, with hummus and tabouli, Chimichurri Sietan and a daily assortment of soups. Their main meals range from Teriyaki Seitan to Tuscan Lasagna. In other words, they serve a variety of seasonal dishes.

I chose to make Candle Cafe's World Famous Split Pea Soup. I happen to adore split pea soup and couldn't resist the World Famous one. I added some toasted croutons.

And what every soup needs is a sidekick - a sandwich. The Southwestern Chile-Rubbed Seitan Sandwich sounded right. The seitan is rubbed with a homemade chile paste and grilled. Then it is topped with caramelized onions and chipotle-mayo. This was outstanding. If you happen to have some seitan and chilies lying around, you know what to make.

And don't forget to enter to win a copy of "American Vegan Kitchen" on the T.G.I.Friday's post!

Cost Breakdown:

peas: $1
carrot, celery: $1.50
bread: $1
Total to make 5 servings:

bread: $1
seitan: $1.50
chilies: $1
tomato: $1
veganaise, garlic, vinegar: $1.50 
onion: $1
Total to make 3 sandwiches:

Split Pea Soup

Southwestern Seitan Sandwich

Nov 25, 2010

t.g.i. friday's (MoFo 16) + "american vegan kitchen" book contest

Fried Mac and Cheese

T.G.I. Friday's has been in existence since the 1960's. I hadn't realized this business has been around so long. The place was started by a perfume salesman who thought it would be a nifty way to pick up women. He called it T.G.I.F. to attract the business crowd. It became a hit and other places started copying the concept.
 I also hadn't realized that the Loaded Potato Skins was invented by them. Another surprising thing is that the Potato Skins are not deep fried, unlike their competitors' versions which are. Whew! At least one thing on this tasting menu isn't deep fried :}
The Skins come with bacon bits, and you are more than welcome to add that, seitan bacon or tofu bacon, but you can probably get a nicer flavor using crushed smoked almonds. And if I had any, that's what mine would sport. I have Daiya cheddar on mine and Cashew sour cream, and again, sub what you like or have. The potatoes are first baked, then the center is scooped out, then they are brushed with olive oil and broiled for a few minutes. Top them with cheese, broil until the cheese melts and serve with the vegan sour cream and chives. These didn't last long.
Sometime in the past decade, people decided that even Twinkies should be battered and fried (is it any wonder the U.S. leads the obesity epidemic?) and Macaroni and Cheese did not escape the transformation. Cat requested this one - Fried Macaroni and Cheese. It was either this or the green beans. If you'd like to make the green beans instead, just use the same batter and technique and you will have T.G.I.F.'s Fried Green Beans.
I made a simple macaroni and cheese recipe (use a creamy version). My favorite is Road's End Organics, following their directions except adding enough milk to make them creamy (at least doubling the recommended amount). You can also use one from the Uncheese Cookbook. The stuff is then put into a square baking pan and frozen until hardened. Remove it then and cut it into small cubes. Batter and deep fry. That's it!
Lastly, I had to make something with the Jack Daniel's Glaze Friday's has come up with. It is way too popular for them to omit it from my Tasting Menu. I made the Sesame Jack Chicken Strips using Tender Seitan. The strips are battered, fried and then tossed in the Jack Daniel's Glaze. This is on the sweet side but very tasty. I bet this would even taste great with pan seared seitan strips - as long as they were caramelized enough to have a crispy surface.
Now for my last MoFo Contest.
Tami Noyes of Vegan Appetite and the author of this killer cookbook, is giving away her American Vegan Kitchen for moi. I am very honored to have the privilege to run this contest for this really cool prize!
I mused on purchasing this book for a few months, thinking I do NOT need another cookbook and then Mr. Marcus was giving a few away at and me, not having been one of the winners, thought it must be a sign, and I really DID need it. Long story short, I have been very enthusiastically cooking form it since it arrived. The reason why it is so good to have it is because it contains a bunch of recipes that are featured in diners across the U.S. I had eaten most of the dishes at restaurants before I became veg. It was wonderful to have those flavors again. The recipes are easy and they taste wonderful. I can absolutely say that this book gets plenty of use in my kitchen.
So, leave a comment on this post and I'll pick a winner on the last day of MoFo. Contest is for domestic U.S. residents only and ends Monday night, Nov. 29. Good luck!
Cost Breakdown:
potatoes: $3
Daiya: $1.50
sour cream, chives: $1
Total for apps for 4:

Road's End: $2.50
breadcrumbs: $1
milk, flour, cashews: $2
Total for apps for 4:
glaze: $2
seitan: $3
breadcrumbs, flour, cashews: $3
Total for 3 servings:

Potato Skins

Jack Sesame Chick'n

Nov 24, 2010

FNF - emeril's fish tacos (MoFo 15)

It is that time of month again - FOOD NETWORK FRIDAY - Let's rumble!

Ms. Tami over at Vegan Appetite (yes, the very same one who will be giving away her cookbook, American Vegan Kitchen, on this very blog next week), hosts Food Network Friday. Anyone is welcome to join in! All you need is imagination and desire. Someone picks a recipe from the Food Network and anyone who wishes to participate recreates it vegan. That's it! Send her your post link and Ms. Tami gushes over the wonderful ways we revise top celebrity chefs' recipes. And do a heck of a better than job than they do!

This month, we are making Emeril's Beer Battered Fish Tacos with Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw.

It has been a while since I've tried making fish (except for the Filet of Tofu), and I wanted something other than tofu (I had a sneak-peek at Tami's version and I knew that she was using tofu.

Naturally something from the sea popped into my head. And as far as I know, the only edible vegan things from the sea are seaweed. There are so many different varieties of seaweed, with many levels of strength, that if you've tried seaweed before and haven't liked it, you should keep at it. I mean, if you don't like sweet potatoes are you not going to try Russets or other tubers?

No, I did not fry up a bunch of seaweed... I flavored my seitan with the seaweed when I was preparing it by adding 1 tablespoon of crushed Arame to the gluten before I mixed it. Then I cooked the seitan in a broth flavored with a sack of crab boil - Zatarain's Crab Boil- finally putting the stuff to some good use!

The batter is a simple beer batter, the seitan is deep fried and the taco is topped with Horseradish Coleslaw.

This was excellent. Even the kids (minus Cat) ate it and loved it. The seitan turned out great - reminiscent of the sea but nothing overpowering, and the crab boil gave it that very different flavor that it needed  - after all, this wasn't supposed to be Tender Seitan. I think I shall call it, Sea Seitan. I love alliterations.

I have created a How-To Breakdown  for the recipe, but you may use the original recipe from Emeril (subbing vegan mayo) and just use the Sea Seitan. Treat it as you would fish, just remember that it isn't. It is already cooked, so you are just looking for a golden color for the crust - you don't have to worry about raw fish.

Cost Breakdown:

seitan: $3
tortilla: $2
dressing: $1
batter: $2
cabbage, green onion, cuke: $3
spices: $1
Total to make 6 tacos:

sublime (MoFo 14)

Although I had lived in Fort Lauderdale for close to two decades, those years did not happen to be during the opening of Sublime, a more upper scale vegan restaurant that has been patronized by people such as Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin and Pam Anderson, among others.

It was opened in 1999 by Nanci Alexander and since its opening all the profits have gone toward animal welfare organizations.

That is pretty cool!

Since this is a vegan restaurant, anything is up for grabs. The only disappointing thing I found is that they use Gardein for their Picatta dish - and that is only disappointing because they are a restaurant and should make their own, by golly. That's about it, though. This place sound fantastic and I would not mind heading back to Ft. Lauderdale to partake of their culinary contributions.

First up, we are making their signature appetizer, Frito Misto, cauliflower tempura fried and then tossed in a sweet chili sauce. Really good! The sauce is wonderfully spicy, garlicky and sweet. The tempura batter is excellent.

And then I had to pick a main course - oh, boy - there are so many choices:
Picatta, Sublime Loaf, Grilled Seitan Steak, but in the end I chose the Portobello Tenderloin. How often do you see 'Tenderloin' being described as 'vegan?' This is genius - baked mushrooms, cut to size, reformed in a mold with a tomato comfit in between, covered with a porcini Au Poivre Sauce. I have decided that porcini mushrooms are my new fave.

To accompany the Tenderloin, they make Olive Oil Whipped Potatoes. Not for the fat-conscious individual; it contains a bunch of olive the name suggests.

All in all, you've got to try this place if you are near it. Reservations, not surprisingly, are recommended.

Now, for the book winner. According to, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch goes to.... Comment #2.. I will look you up, but if you see this first, email me (email is on the Profile Page). 

Thanks to everyone who participated!
The next, and last giveaway, is American Vegan Kitchen. In case you've been locked away in an awful meat locker for the past year, and are unaware of Tami Noyes' delicious and easy cookbook, you are missing out and need to check it out now. Tami herself has offered to give this cookbook away for my blog (I know, right!?) and the contest begins on Fur Free Friday. And if you can't wait that long, check out her website, Vegan Appetite - she puts a bunch of her recipes on there. 

Cost Breakdown:

cauliflower: $4
chili sauce: $1
batter: $1
Total to make apps for 6:

portobellos: $8
tomato; $2
sugar, vinegar, herbs: $1
porcini: $2.50
brandy, cashews: $1
garlic, Earth Balance: $1
Total to make 4 servings:

russets: $3
olive oil: $1
Total to make sides for 6:

Frito Misto

Portobello Tenderloin with Olive Oil Whipped Potatoes

Nov 22, 2010

pizza hut (MoFo 13)

Pizza Hut today. I had to pick a pizza to do and so I chose one that my mom and I would order on Friday nights after work. I have mentioned that we owned a Hungarian restaurant (or 6 or 7, just not at the same time), and there is only so much Beef Goulash and Chicken Paprikas one can eat. Vegetarian was not on the menu, unless you happen to be one of those people who think that fish and chicken are vegetables; there is an amazing amount of people that unfortunately do.

We used to order Pan Pizza - crispy crust, fluffy inside, cheese and all the veggies Pizza Hut would pile on. This was my favorite pizza until I moved to Chicago and had Johnny D's.

Today I began with the Breadstick. This made the kids happy because the toppings are parmy-cheesy and herby. Accomplish this using Parma (walnuts and nutritional yest) and a bunch of herbs.

Naturally I had to make the Pan Pizza, but first I began looking around for something unusual by Pizza Hut. Wings? Yeah, but that is coming up on the Anchor Bar post. Pasta? Been there, done that. Then I found a whole bunch of people pretty upset that Pizza Hut is no longer making their Triple-Decker Pizza. This is a pizza with two thin layers, cheese between, sauce on top, more cheese and then the toppings. Okaaaay.

The most difficult thing about making this is the thinness of the crusts. Using very little yeast and a long, cool proofing, and then forking the rolled out dough before baking, makes this possible. Voila - Triple-Decker Pizza Hut Pizza. Why they call it Triple is a mystery to me, though, since there are only two crusts. Perhaps Pizza Hut doesn't employ math inclined folks.

Finally, the Pan Pizza is making a showing. I made one as an original Pan Pizza, but I also made one a little more upscale. David came shopping with me and chose wild mushrooms for his topping. Fabulous! I sauteed the mushrooms with garlic, topped the pan pizza with a porcini-cream sauce and finished it with truffle oil.

No, Pizza Hut never offered this, but I can see it on the menu at Millennium.

Cost Breakdown:

flour: $1.50
yeast, sugar, salt: $.50
soy milk powder: $.50
Parmo, herbs: $1
Total to make 5 app servings:

dough: $2
Daiya vegan cheese: $2
sauce: $1
pepperoni: $1
Total to make a 15 inch pizza:

Pan Pizza:
dough: $2
sauce: $1
Daiya vegan cheese: $2
topping: $1
Total to make a large pizza:

dough: $2
porcini-cream sauce:$2.50
wild mushrooms, garlic: $4
truffle oil: $1
Total to make 15" pizza:



Pan Pizza

Truffle Pizza

Nov 20, 2010

suma veggie cafe (MoFo 12)

Mongolian TVP

I will start by saying that this one is for Veg Spinz, who recommended Chinese Take-Out. While I wholeheartedly wanted to do as she suggested - little Chinese take-out boxes and almond cookies - time caught up with me and the props fell through the cracks. I thank her for the idea and apologize for my lack of follow through. So, do me a favor and go see her site. It is worth it - she is one creative woman!

Where to go for veg Chinese food, you may wonder, since they are in about every city I've lived in (excluding maybe this one, but I haven't look well enough, yet). The one I shall highlight is our favorite in the country, and I think we've been to at least 20 vegetarian Chinese places: Veggie Heaven in Austin, Enjoy in San Fran, Loving Hut (does this qualify) in Orlando, Lucky Creation in San Fran, Shangri-La in San Fran, veg places in D.C. area whose names I can't recall, Veggie Garden in Dallas, etc.

By far our favorite is Suma in Richardson, TX, near Dallas. People who eat here, even die-hard omnivores, love the food. Unfortunately, the criticism by far is toward the owners. They are an old couple. The husband is a little tough, but our family never had any problems with them. In fact, we totally love them! The hubby reminds me of my mom who got very irate if you came in and sat at a dirty table - or didn't tip appropriately. I remember a time when she gave back a tip someone left. It was a quarter and my mom told the woman that she probably needed it more since she couldn't seem to give appropriately.  

This is a great point. As vegetarians and vegans, we need to tip well. Not only do we represent a group of people who need to be seen in a good light, but vegetarian food costs less so if we tip according to the 15% rule, our servers are left with a worse tip and a bad taste in their mouths about veg folks. 

If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to eat out. 

Which is a great segue for my Make at Home meal from a Chinese restaurant.

Lo Mein. Not much to say about this. Noodles. Vegetables. Mouth watering flavor.

General Tso's Chicken is an invention of Americans, whether they were Chinese-Americans or not, it simply does not exist in China. Nonetheless, it is one of the most popular dishes on Chinese menus. They are deep fried chicken pieces with a spicy sauce. At Suma the sauce is very garlicky, too, which we instantly fell in love with. 

Mongolian Beef is also deep-fried, but it can be stir fried. It is thin pieces of beef coated with cornstarch and is stir fried with green onions. This also has a sauce, but it isn't as thick as the Tso's one. I made a How-To Breakdown for this dish.

I made the Tso's with Tender Seitan and the Mongolian Beef with Dixie Diner's Club TVP, but they are interchangeable.

Both meat-style dishes turned out excellent. It was great to have a little piece of Suma to consume today.

Cost Breakdown:

lo mein:
noodles: $3
vegetables: $4
tamari, sauce ingredients: $1.50
Total to make 8 servings:

seitan, cashew, milk, oil: $4
garlic: $1
sauce, ginger, chillies: $2
Total to make 6 servings:

TVP: $4
cornstarch: $1
sauce: $2
green onions: $2
Total to make 4 servings:

Lo Mein

General Tso's Seitan