Showing posts with label TVP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TVP. Show all posts

Dec 23, 2012

biscuits + mongolian seitan

Continuing with Catt's Birthday Week choices, above is a Meat Pie made with broccoli and ground TVP and below that is Mongolian Seitan with green beans. 

The biscuit has had me thinking; whenever I see a commercial for those biscuits in a tube, the result from the oven is a flaky, layered biscuit, one which the happy consumer can effectively tear off layers of goodness. 
I wanted to recreate that effect.

 Over Thanksgiving I was messing with making my own puff pastry, which requires multiple folds of buttered dough. I brought this same technique to biscuit making, rolling the dough out and folding into fourths about a dozen times. This is the same way that puff pastry achieves its many layers, except puff pastry requires a ton more vegan butter and a cooling-off period between each folding occasion.  

This biscuit is a poor-man's puff pastry, in that it uses a lot less butter and there is no cooling period required between folding. If you look at the biscuit in the picture, you will note that indeed this works - the biscuit (with the help of baking powder) rises and you can even peel the individual layers off. 

Mongolian Seitan is deep fried seitan (or TVP) in a garlic-ginger sauce with green onions. I added the green beans because I didn't have enough green onions and I simply wanted to add some veggies to the dish.

Both were very successful and Catt enjoyed her week of meals.

Happy Solstice Everyone! 

Oct 3, 2012

applebee's make over

Applebee's is another of those casual-dining chain restaurants. Very much like Chili's, T.G.I.F and The Cheesecake Factory. Applebee's was among my first make overs in my first year of MoFo. That time I recreated their Oriental Chicken Salad and Ribs. This time around I took up the challenge of Grilled Shrimp 'n Spinach Salad. This salad tosses shrimp, peppers, onions and spinach in a hot bacon vinaigrette. 

Bacon and shrimp are the problem children here. I could have replaced the shrimp with tofu or seitan (more cost effective), but I decided on hearts of palm. I marinated the palm with a little dulse, a seaweed, and used Bac'uns for the bacon. Typically tvp doesn't stand up to cooking in liquid because it looses the crunch, but because this was a hot dressing, I cooked the Bac'uns in the oil before adding the vinegar. This worked out perfectly.

After the hearts of palm marinated, I sauteed them to a golden brown.

Disclaimer. The result was not shrimp. But it was delicious. The palm was a bit vinegary because it is pickled and the dressing was smoky and the bac'un in it crispy. The almonds add another crunch to the dish and the veggies are just right. Nothing is overwhelming and there is a hint of the taste of the sea. 

Applebee's charges $10.99 for a serving.

Cost Breakdown

spinach: $3

hearts of palm: $8
tomato, pepper, onion: $3
almonds, dulse: $1
spices, oil, vinegar, Bac'uns: $2
mustard, smoke, sugar: $1
Total for 4 servings:

Their charge per Serving: $10.99
Make-Over cost per Serving: $4.50


Feb 17, 2012


It just may be that by the time I post all of the Chinese New Year meals, the next Chinese New Year will be upon us. I'll make this the last recipe from this particular week, and am only posting it because these Potstickers were darned fine! Especially for having contained TVP, which can have an adverse taste. I made about 40 wrappers and they were loved by the family. A bit of rice and the dipping sauce was really all this needed to make it a complete meal. Many appetizers are just fine as main dishes with the addition a few extra sides. 

My family likes the steam-fried potstickers. Making these little guys really is just as easy as making any meal as long as you have an assembly line going. Fill 5 wrappers at once, pleat all 5 before proceeding and place them on a floured tray while you complete the rest. Have the dipping sauce ready before you even begin because once you have these cooked, the masses will be scarfing them before you have a chance to even gather the ingredients.

To cook potstickers, have your pan very hot, add some oil, add your potstickers, flat side down, and cook until golden. Then add 1/4 cup water, cover with a lid and cook for  a few more minutes until the wrappers are done. Crispy and delicious! Like these...

Jan 3, 2012

island burger

Liz, a terrific lady over at Cooking the Vegan Books, and a fellow cookbook tester, suggested I get Caribbean Vegan by Taymer Mason, since we share the love of island food and the love of Habaneros (or is that Scotch Bonnets?) 

I open up my adventure of this cookbook with a burger. Mikel asked for a burger to be on the menu and this satisfied both of us.

The Island Burger uses TVP for the burger base. Nice and easy, I thought, that is unless you are one of those people who cannot stand a huge list of ingredients; this one recipe has over 20 ingredients. I do not mind the list of ingredients since I know it can sometimes take a bunch seasonings to make a dish great.  As an additional work-load, you are asked to make one of the ingredients in the ingredients list - Bajan Seasoning.  There is also a recipe for the Barbecue Sauce that goes on the burger and a recipe for the bun - Salt Bread - that the burger goes on. 

Naturally, the only way to tackle a recipe with this much to do is to:

 (1) come to terms with it - it isn't going to get shorter unless you cut something out, but, then how do you know what to cut out without affecting the result? 

(2) plan to make it at the right time. Don't make a recipe like this in the middle of the week while the kids are crying for food and you've just come home from work. Which includes planning a Weekly Menu (name of this blog- check out the tab "Weekly Menu" to get some complete weekly menu ideas. Once you are good with both (1) and (2), the task isn't work, but instead becomes fun.

The recipes in this book feed my yearning for the fiery little pepper, but since I can't get Scotch Bonnet peppers as readily as Habanero peppers (and I can't really discern the difference between the two anyway- even Ghost Peppers have that same flavor profile to me), I use them interchangeably. 

It seems to be an authentic cookbook worthy of the islands and worth the effort. Many times cooking something out of your comfort zone can seem challenging. However, consider that once you have met the challenge the first time, you can easily do it again.

If you are jonesing for a burger, but you don't have this book, try this one.

Dec 19, 2011

flautas and taquitos

Is it a Flauta or a Taquito? 
The two Mexican food dishes can be mixed up at times since they are both rolled, fried, stuffed tortillas. The difference, and hence the names, are due to the type of tortilla used. Flautas are made using flour tortillas and Taquitos are made using corn tortillas. 

Making the filling and rolling them in the tortillas can be time consuming parts of this meal, but even then it is one of the simplest to make. I made a filling using textured vegetable protein, but seitan, beans or vegetables are outstanding choices, with refried beans being the simplest of the bunch. 

Make sure to first heat the tortillas in the microwave in a stack (wrapped in damp paper towels) or individually right on stove top to get them warm. Warm tortillas bend and don't break. Roll them in the filling and either pan-fry them in oil or bake them as I did. 

Serve these with guacamole, salsa and vegan sour cream. 
They are crispy and filling.

Cost Breakdown
tortillas: $3
TVP: $1
Daiya: $1 
broth, onion, garlic, spices, flour: $1.50
sour cream, avocado, salsa: $2
Total to make 16 with garnishes:

Aug 25, 2011

FNF - slow roasted pork with coconut curry and fresh slasa

Food Network Friday

This month's Food Network Friday, hosted by Tamasin Noyes of Vegan Appetite, American Vegan Kitchen, Grills Gone Vegan (soon) and another surprise coming up next post, is Slow Roasted Pork with Coconut Curry Sauce, Corn Tortillas, Fresh Tomato Salsa over Basmati Rice.  Try saying that ten times!

Once you read over the recipe, you will note that at the end the disclaimer tells us that this is a restaurant recipe that has been readjusted to the home cook and that they take no responsibility for the quantities specified in said recipe, so don't blame them. Seven pounds of pork butt and 50 ounces of coconut milk sent up red flags. Nevertheless, I persevered and calculated how much TVP I would need to substitute said pork butt. Why anyone would want to cook the rear of anyone else is beyond me. Anyway, according to my Dixie Diners' instructions, 1 pound of Chicken (Not!) makes 3.5 pounds of meat. Not pig, I know, but neither is it chicken. Therefore, I would need 2 pounds of TVP to replace the 7 pounds of meat. Adjust for fat, and perhaps we are talking 5 pounds of meat. Maybe less.

In any case, to make the same amount of protein that the recipe calls for, I wound have needed to cook EIGHT cups of dry TVP. First off, we are not feeding an army or extended family overstaying their welcome, second, the cost would be outlandish. No thanks. I used 3 cups of Dixie's Chicken(Not!) to rehydrate to 2 pounds of the equivalent in meat. This amount was more reasonable for a family of five.

The funny thing is, I did use the 50 ounces of coconut milk because the recipe didn't cut the milk with any broth or water and I didn't want to lose any 'authenticity.' I didn't even cut the massive 1/4c of sesame oil it called for. I have hardly ever used more than a tablespoon of the stuff since it is so strong. Now that I have been your tester, you may very securely lessen the overage. It is intense. 

After rehydrating the TVP, I ripped each individual 2" piece apart by hand, to mimic the pulling. I braised, as suggested, the pieces in the 50 ounces (about 4 cans) of coconut milk, used a massive amount of curry paste (around 2/3 cup) and did not balk at the 5 tablespoons of minced garlic. The ginger is where I drew the line and took only a 2 inch piece and sliced it thick. I have my limits.

I braised the stuff for 2 hours, during which time the TVP softened considerably, the sauce thickened and the flavors were great. 

As for reviews from the family, they were mixed:
"I don't like coconut. I'm not hungry"
"This tastes just like Panang."
"I don't like this."
"This is nothing like Panang, except that they both have coconut milk."
"Boys, don't fight!" (Directed at Dad and Son by Mom.)

Now is where the recipe gets interesting! 
On top of all this, make a fresh jalapeno salsa (huh?) and roll it all up in a corn tortilla. Did we detour to Mexico? Sound like one of those challenges on the Next Food Network Star where they had to fuse the foods of two ethnicities that had gone very wrong? ... it could have been, but strangely... it was...good. Maybe all the coconut fumes got to me, but if you wrap it all up in the tortilla, it is bueno.

(Before I forget, that salsa was enough to feed a restaurant!)

Cost Breakdown:

TVP: $3
coconut milk: $7
seasonings and spices: $3
curry paste: $1
ginger, garlic, fermented beans, sesame oil: $2
cilantro, peppers, onion: $2
tomatoes: free (garden)
rice, tortillas: $2
Total to feed five people? 

We have moved! In blog, in life, in location, in most everything! 

Over the past month our family has moved to a new house and as anyone who has ever moved before knows that, it, well, sucks, good as it is. It is like Spring cleaning, but you have no choice. It is amazing how much stuff accumulates in less than a few years. If you don't move much, I encourage you to purge every Spring and Fall - great times to clean your house and yourself.

The new (home)school year is starting and I have two teens in college! They are very excited - one is taking Japanese and the other Japanese and English. They are 14 and 16 respectively. Yes, I am proud of them, but it is important for everyone to know that your high schooler can take college credit courses - don't make them wait if they don't have to; it is a wonderful, encouraging and self-satisfying reaffirmation of themselves. Great confidence booster!

The blog has had a face-lift because I want to emphasize that there is a new turn of events. I have noticed my lack of drive, lack of time and lack of direction over the past few months. There are many recipes I want to put out here, especially my revised seitan recipes. Overall, a new time for it all. 

Since my kids have adopted a college, it is my turn to Adopt A College as well, and you should too! I will be leafleting while they are in class and hope that you will jump on the college-train, too~ if you would like to join me, just email me.

See you next post -when I will be unveiling new secrets~

Mar 6, 2011

brewpub tater-tot pie

Rounding off the PPK week of American Vegan Kitchen we nod a bit to homeschoolers - I made Tami's Brewpub Tater-Tot Pie, a variation of which the Duggars are famous for.

When we first started homeschooling, we were enthralled by a show - 14 Kids and Pregnant - or some such title. It was about a homeschooling family (which is what appealed to me). This was shown on TLC and since then the family has had 5 more kids and acquired a TV series, 19 Kids and Counting. Since then I have lost all respect for TLC (hint: Palin, the Wolf-killer). As for the Duggars, their contribution to our family was limited to their Tater-Tot Casserole - a concoction of ground meat, condensed canned mushroom soup and fried, molded potatoes. Surprisingly, they endorse a cookbook titled, Two Sisters Cookbook - a vegan cookbook.

I know I need not say this, but Tami's version dwarfs the Duggars'. In fact, Tami's version is more a play on Sheppard's Pie with tater-tots than a Duggar's version of cheap food.
No offense meant.

I changed up the tots - Tami calls for one pound of tots, cut in half. I used two pounds, whole. I think she specified this in her book to lower the calorie and fat content, but I know my kids and they thought I was being skimpy with the tots as it was.
No surprise there.

So, to warp up the book, Tami's is a must have, something I have stated before; while I have not been tempted by most cookbooks, this one, to my benefit, I was tempted by.

Yum. Period.

Cost Breakdown

tater-tots: $4
TVP, spices: $2
carrot, onion, celery: $1.50
tomato paste, broth: $1
Total to make 6 servings:

Mar 4, 2011

21st century tacos

Continuing with the American Vegan Kitchen and PPK cookbook challenge, today's dinner was 21st Century Tacos.

These are made with TVP granules, tomato sauce and spices.

Yeah, well, who does not know how to make a simple taco? and what is so special about this taco recipe? I was thinking the same thing when I was perusing her recipes. Luckily, I needed something pretty simple and quick to make and so I thought a taco recipe was ideal.

Like most of Tami's recipes, this one delivered with ease, simplicity and flavor. These surprised me. I thought I was going to make your old run-of-the-mill tacos, and instead I made a spicy (to taste), flavorful and totally gourmet taco filling. The toppings, of course, are up to you. I put lettuce, tomato, sour cream (vegan), olives and onions on mine. Fabulous!

I sauteed the reconstituted TVP before I added the tomato sauce to enhance the flavor more.

A note about Tami's recipes: while the list of ingredients are longer, most of the ingredients are spices and flavorings that need to be added at the same time. Just measure them into a small container and add them when needed.
When 7 out of the 10 ingredients are spices, the list only seems long.

Cost Breakdown

taco shells: $3
TVP: $1
tomato sauce, spices and flavorings: $3
toppings:  $2
onion, garlic, peppers: $1
Total to make 12 tacos;

Jan 29, 2011

southwest wheat-meatloaf

This recipe, Southwestern Wheat-Meat Loaf, is out of American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes. This was terrific, held together and the flavors were wonderful, but the gravy she recommends you serve with it, Jalapeno Gravy, is worth its price in gold. I exaggerate not when I say we were all licking our plates. Just make sure to toast your flour with the nutritional yeast when making the roux. A golden roux (cooked for about 5 minutes) with the nutritional yeast and the adobo sauce combination gives this gravy such a unique and lovely smoky flavor.

I served it with garlicky Swiss chard and mashed potatoes. There was hardly anything left over to put away. Saved fridge space.

Cost Breakdown

TVP, gluten, seitan, flour: $4
oil, veg. broth, nutritional yeast: $2
potato, chard: $6
spices, chipotle: $1
onion, pepper, jalapeno,garlic: $2
tamari, corn, ketchup: $1
Total to make 5 servings:

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

Oct 26, 2010

japanese noodles and steamed buns

Asian Night

Cat is responsible for tonight's meal. She asked me to make some kind of Japanese Steamed Bun. She called it Nikuman.

This steamed bun is filled with ground pork (TVP) and Japanese spices - ginger, tamari, etc. I was very happy to make this for her since what teenager is not immersed in the Japanese culture in some way thanks to video and computer games. That is all very well, but I needed something else to make with it since steamed buns just didn't seem to be enough.

Caramelized Japanese Noodles with vegetables also came to the meal. Now caramelizing something that is moist is a little challenging and while given more time I'm sure I would have been able to get the job done better, three hungry kids just wanted food - caramelized or not!

The buns weren't all that difficult to make, but when there is a dough involved it can seem a little much. What is easy about this dough is that it comes together in a bowl and doesn't need to be rolled out, just spread out with your hands, sort of like a pizza dough being worked by hand.

The noodles were very easy - soba, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots (or any vegetable you want), and the caramelizing sauce - sesame oil, vegetarian stir-fry sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic and brown sugar.

Everyone loved tonight's meal.

Cost Breakdown
oil, stir-fry sauce, vinegar, tamari: $1
bamboo shoots, ginger, garlic: $1
broccoli, carrots, mushrooms: $4
flour: $.75
nut milk, brown sugar: $1
TVP: $.75
noodles: $2
Total to feed a family of 6:

Oct 16, 2010

chinese crispy vegan pork

Asian Night

Tonight I made a meal based on a recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Authentic Chinese Cuisine cookbook.

I am a huge fan of Bryanna and her website, Vegan Kitchen Feast, and I love this book. I read a few of the reviews on Amazon about this book and I even made a recipe from it that was being critiqued by a customer and I did not have the same experience that she did.

Which brought to mind the importance of seasoning food.

Many folks who are just starting out on the 'health' road via vegetarianism also cut out salt - something that they had not done before. This does not only make food bland, but it makes vegetarian food bland - and then it is vegetarianism that gets the ax, not the true culprit - salt.

If you are just beginning to be veg, it is important that you not sabotage your new diet by not making it taste as good as it can.

If you are fresh off the processed-foods-wagon, just eating freshly made food will automatically lower your sodium drastically without the need to eliminate all salt. Then in time, when  your palate adjusts to the new menu as well as the lower sodium in your new food, you can continue to rid yourself of even table/cooking salt.

So, please season your food. You are already doing well by cooking your own whole food, so don't undermine your chances of success.

Tonight's meal used TVP chickn cutlets. In order to rehydrate your TVP properly, it must be soaked in boiling liquid for two hours. Once the liquid boils you do not have to keep cooking it, but you do have to soak it for a long time otherwise it will be tough in spots.

I have made a How-To Breakdown for this and it will be up this weekend.

Everyone loved it, with the obvious "I don't like peas," " Ginger is too spicy!" etc.

Cost Breakdown:
TVP: $6
onion, garlic, ginger: $1
pepper, peas: $2
tomato paste, tamari: $.50
rice: $1
Total to feed a family of 5:

4.5 out of 5 stars

Sep 15, 2010

cheezy nuggets and potatoes

Mikel cooked today.

He baked Cheezy Soy Nuggets and Potatoes with Parma!, a vegan parm-sub that is made with walnuts (high in Omega-3 fatty acids) and nutritional yeast (high in B12). This is one of the recipes the kids are cooking for their 'Domestic Arts' class, and although it isn't chock full o' vegetables, it is baked not fried and uses wholesome ingredients. Except for the Daiya, which Mikel chose to add.

No surprise, all the kids loved it and there was not a single potato or crumb from the nuggets left.

The TVP is chiken cutlets that have been reconstituted in Bryanna's chicken-style broth (see recipe page) and allowed to sit in the broth for a few hours. This is very important in order to reconstitute the cutlets properly. Then they were dredged in a fresh bread crumb and Parma! mixture and baked.

Cost Breakdown:
cutlets: $4
potatoes: $3
Parma! and Daiya: $3
bread, parsley: $1
Total to feed a family of 4:

Jun 16, 2010

corney chili dog

Kate made the meal today. She wanted chili and she added corn because she loves corn. Hence, Corney Chili Dogs. The chili is mildly spicy, topped over a grilled veggie dog. Nothing too complicated here; even the chili was ready in a half hour. Because chili gets better with age, like I do, Dad's lunch tomorrow will be better than ours. 

Cost Breakdown:
 package of veg dogs: $3.50
1/2 package of buns: $1.50
Batch of Chili (freezing half)
TVP and beans: $3
onion, pepper, garlic, spices: $3
corn: $1
green salad: $3
 Total to feed a family of 5:
(Half of the cost of the chili.)

May 12, 2010

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.