Monday, April 30, 2007

I Am Currently Grossed-Out and Catatonic (Get It? *CAT*atonic?? Bahahaha)

Upon noticing yet ANOTHER cat-hair in one of my food-pics, I came to the realization that my most frequent nosh is probably just that:

Cat hair.

I'm not sure if that's a crime against veganity or what, but it sure is gross. Especially seeing as I only ever notice the cat hairs AFTER I've taken the pics and AFTER I've eaten the food it was stuck to.

I noticed this awhile back but never pointed it out because I figured, do my dear dear readers actually want to KNOW that there's cat-hair pretty much baked into everything I cook? But then I thought, these are the same people who crack up at reports of orange feces and bear-shit cookies (which is precisely why I lurve you all), so why am I even asking this question?

Here's to hoping most of them were from E's plate though. Tee hee.

(Click on the pics for full hair-osity)

(Note: The seitan pic above actually looks like it was ROLLED in cat-hair if you look closely. I just couldn't differentiate between what was ACTUAL cat-hair and what was illuminated cracks and crevices of the actual seitan itself, but I've circled all the possible offenders nonetheless. Either which way: Nast.)

Oh So Nekkid

Apparently I am a moron and left the recipe I was going to post today at home.

Woot fricking woot.

So instead, I'm just gonna post some gratuitous left-over food p0rn, sans recipes (and sans clothes).

*Cuing the obligatory striptease music*

Yumtastic sammich using leftover seitan o' greatness.

What with all the leftover pesto from my pesto-mayo tofu sammiches this weekend, I ended up whipping up lots of sammiches (and veggie burgers) using various variations (redundant, but I don't care). This one was SOOOO damn good (despite the weirdness of trying to get vegan cheddar cheez to melt)--grilled "cheez" with pesto-mayo, tomatoes, and basil.

I fucked up some raspberry-chocolate muffins I was trying to invent--they were damn tasty, but too soft and crumbly. So I figured what the hell--make lemonade out of lemons, or whatever the hell the expression is--so I just crumbled some in a bowl and topped them with the leftover raspberry drizzle from my Raspberry-Drizzled Chocolate Mousse. Delectable.

The banana-pecan pancakes from VwaV. 'Cept instead of pecans, I used almond-chunks. And I also tossed in the obligatory chocolate-chips. Good recipe though. Yes, yes.

E got his wisdom teeth yanked this weekend, so cooking was mostly just about the mushiness of the food. I whipped up a winter vegetable soup from The Vegan Family Favorites (which was a creamy cauliflower/carrot/potato soup) and garlicky mashed 'taters (with the pot-pie gravy from TVFF as well), both by request.

Good, and mushy. Mushy, and good.

(And no, the pine-nuts were not wisdom-teeth booby-traps, intended to catch E by surprise and cause him intense pain. Thems was *my* taters. Fool.)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Raspberry-Drizzled Chocolate Mousse

So the dessert.

I remember my mom drooling over the chocolate-raspberry volcano (or whatever it's called) at Johnny Mango on past occasions, so I figured something chocolatey and raspberryish (but also kind of light, since the spring weather had left us with a delighful soft-weathered kind of day) would be perfect.

And perfect it was. This dessert is super-easy to whip up, super-easy to put together, and yet 100% rich and delightful.

  • 1 cube of Mori-Nu firm silken tofu

  • 1 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 1/4 c. brewed coffee

  • 1 T. maple syrup

  • 2 c. frozen raspberries, thawed and food processed (reserve a handful of whole raspberries as well)

  • 3/4 c. vegan sugar

  • 3/4 c. water


Throw the tofu into a food processer and blend. Melt your chocolate chips whatever way you see fit (I just do it in a pot on the stove--you don't need double-boilers and all that as long as you continuously stir and keep your eye on it), and brew your coffee. Throw the melted chocolate and coffee into the food processer along with your maple syrup and pulse until fully mixed. The mixture will seem soupy at first, but it stiffens up in the fridge. Refrigerate for at least a couple hours.

In the meantime, place your food-processed raspberries, vegan sugar, and water in a small pot on the stove. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat, let cool, and then place in the fridge.

Once the raspberry-sauce is completely cool and the mousse has stiffened up successfully, serve in margarita or wine glasses in layers, from the bottom up:

  1. Raspberry sauce.

  2. Mousse.

  3. More raspberry sauce.

  4. A poof of mousse on top.

  5. Drizzle prettily with raspberry sauce and sprinkle a few whole-raspberries on top.


(Makes (not nearly) enough (heh heh) for two.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Holy Basil, Batman!

So can I just say: the best thing about the encroaching spring is, hands down, the sudden cheapness and abundance of fresh basil at the market. Holy crap.

After having bought a large bunch on Friday morning, I realized that perhaps my absolute favorite smell in the whole wide world is, in fact, the smell of fresh basil. Needless to say I was pleased to return to my car and find that it had blossomed with the lovely warm smell of basil, like an herby bouquet, while I ran into the grocery store. So damn good.

And I of course had to make some pesto with it. Especially after my mom decided that, for the birthday dinner I had offered to cook for her, she wanted me to make her one of my tofu and pesto-mayo sammiches with my vegan mac n' cheez and asparagus with roasted garlic sauce. (Needless to say, I had to make fun of her (at least a little bit) for choosing--of all things--mac n' cheez for her b-day meal, since it's so 12-year old, but hey--it made life easier for me, so I couldn't make fun of her for TOO long.)

Not only did I realize this weekend that basil is perhaps my very favorite smell, I also realized that pesto may very well be one of my favorite recipes to make as well.

I love the smell of walnuts roasting. I adore the crisp scent of basil lingering on my fingertips. I like the meditativeness of peeling garlic and dicing it. I like the soft cloud of cheezy-smoke that wafts upwards as I toss in the nutritional yeast. I dig the hum and whir of the food processor as everything comes together just right. It's just so nice and calming to make for some reason. Maybe because it's so simple and yet yields a result that's so lovely and complex-tasting. And one that tastes EXACTLY LIKE SPRING.

Regardless, I dig it. And I dig the VwaV recipe for pesto in particular, which is the one I use each and every time, it's that good. The only strange pesto hang-up I have is that I like my pesto nice and thick, as you can see from the pics. So I tend to use as little olive oil as I possibly can while still binding it all together into a creamier (but thick) mixture.

End result: bliss.

See: Bliss!

My mom enjoyed it as well, along with all the other numbly sides and whatnot. I was not super-pleased with how the tofu came out (I tried baking it according to a recipe I found on the net, but--though the marinade was yummy, so I'm including the recipe here--the end result was a soggy tofu, even after a) having pressed it and b) throwing it into a frying pan after growing frustrated with its lack of firmness upon baking). Everything else though: *puffing a kiss from my fingertips* MAGNIFIQUE!

And what would a b-day dinner be without dessert? Not much of one.

So yes, I did whip up a yummy dessert. And yes, I plan on posting the recipe. But until then, I'll leave you with this bit of a teaser--what could it be? Oh, what could it be?!?

* * * * * * *


  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice

  • 1.5 T. balsamic vinegar

  • 3 T. soy sauce

  • 1/2 t. dried rosemary

  • 2 T. olive oil (though I'm thinking now that I may have forgotten to add this)

  • Salt and pepper to taste


Mix all the ingredients together. Use it as a marinade for tofu. Or seitan. Or mushrooms. Or your big toe, for all I care.

(Adapted from a recipe from Angelica Kitchen)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Homecooking, E-Style

In a state of undress...

Clothed and a bit embarassed...

Realizing it's way more fun to be nekkid...

The nice thing about the fact that E and I alternate cooking on the weekends (him one weekend, me the next) is that it gets me to eat things that I wouldn't normally eat. Not weird things like, say, bear shit cookies or orange feces or something. But things that I would never go out of my way to make myself, for no other reason than that they don't bludgeon my brain with their potential tastiness the way the things that NORMALLY catch my eye do.

Case in point:

This weekend, E whipped up a pot pie from The Vegan Family Favorites. I have only ever had bites of other people's pot-pie (that sounds *way* too inadvertently naughty), never a whole slice myself (ditto). I've never really had an urge to bake one myself. I mean, this is hardcore home-cooking, but for some reason it is something that I never ever would've made on my own. And this is precisely why I am so lucky to have another pair of vegan cooking-hands around (look at me! 4-handed!)--I got to try out (and realize I really fricking love) something different.

So although I have no recipe to share today, I have a very hearty recommendation: get your hands on The Vegan Family Favorites and try out the pot-pie recipe. You won't regret it. It's chockfull of homestyle veggies, tofu, and a rich and creamy gravy that will knock your socks off. And depending on whether you've got the time, you can make your own crust or just buy one at the store (E found a vegan one at Whole Foods, and damn if it wasn't good). You will end up feeling like you should be rubbing your belly in appreciation and then heading back out to the fields to gather the rest of the wheat harvest together before nightfall. Or something.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Two-Quinoas Salad

So I am back. In black. (In actuality, I'm black in lime green and mustard--it's spring, folks! I'm not wearing black when it's actually been nice and in the 70's finally all weekend!) Anywho, E, the boy, in all his diligence, patience, and computer-savvy wisdom, managed to finally fix my computer this weekend. So PICTURES!! HURRAY!! Long motherf-ing overdue, I must say.

Which means now it's time to play catch up, and I do that by starting with one of my favorite recipes from last week:

Have Cake, Will Travel's Two-Quinoas Salad.

Now one quinoa's good in and of itself--so just imagine how mind-blowing TWO quinoas would be in the same dish.

Yeah. You hadn't thought of the possibility, had you?

Anyways, originally I had just planned on making this dish with regular quinoa only (since I didn't have the "red")--but then I happened to be moseying past some grains and legumes and stuff at the WSM when I saw, guess it, BLACK QUINOA. I'm not sure that it's the same as red quinoa, but I figured, hell, close enough. So I nabbed some.

And lemme just say, if you can get your hands on some, you must, because it's SO. DAMN. GOOD. It's like the wild rice of the quinoa world. Regular rice rocks, but if you can mix it up with some wild rice, well, hells yes, your tummy will be hop-skip-jumping gloriously all over the place. Same with quinoa. The regular stuff is tender and yummy, but add in some black quinoa, and you've got a bit more texture and oomph, a bit more muscle, a bit more crunch, a bit more heartiness. It's good good stuff.

And so is this recipe. What first attracted me to it was the intermingling of fruit and veggies. I was like, Blueberries?? And fricking PEAS???? Um, what?!?? I didn't think it could pull it off, but it totally did. The blueberries and the dressing add a bit of springy sweetness while the veggies and beans add a bit more heft. Talk about good spring yumminess. This is totally totally it.

The only changes I made to the recipe were a) I left out the pecans (they're damn expensive, peeps--and I figured I could live without) and b) I halved the amount of oil. And truth be told, next time I make it, I am probably not gonna use ANY oil at all. Not because it tasted horrible WITH the oil, but mostly because it didn't add too much excitement for me, and I could just as easily do without the fat and calories. I definitely recommend though, if you ARE gonna use it, just using half the amount. Even then, it was a bit oily (though delish).

Variations have been included below...


  • 3 c. cooked quinoa [I used regular and black, but normal alone is fine if you can't find red or black]

  • 1/4 c. raw pecan pieces (optional)

  • 1/4 - 1/2 c. blueberries [I used frozen, just let thaw a little bit before eating]

  • 1/4 - 1/2 c. green peas [I used frozen, just let thaw a little bit before eating]

  • 1/2 cup cooked kidney beans

  • Dressing:

  • juice of a 2 small lemons

  • 2 t. grated lemon zest

  • 2 T. rice vinegar (I used sweetened)

  • 2 T. olive oil (next time I'd omit)

  • 1/4 c. chopped red onion

  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed

  • salt and pepper, to taste


Place all ingredients in a medium sized bowl, and mix.

Prepare dressing in a small sized bowl, and whisk it well. Drizzle onto salad ingredients, and enjoy!

Thanks, Have Cake, Will Travel!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm a Little Veklempt...

Wow, does it suck having a computer with the world's biggest f-ing attitude problem. *sigh*

Needless to say, for those of you who haven't figured it out: I'm still without functional, picture-downloading computerosity and may very well be 'til the end of the week.


I will be back. And with me, I will have the power of thousands (and the power of backlogged recipes to appease you all; speaking of which, lemme just pause to say real quick: Have Cake Will Travel, your Two-Quinoas recipe rocks... but more on that--including pictures--once the comp is back on my side again).

Until then kids, let's sit. And chat.

In lieu of recipes, I want to hear what YOU'VE got to say about things, since I'm always the one yam-yam-yammering away.

So my vegan question of the day is this:

What was the final straw that broke the camel's back and made you decide that there was no way in hell you could do anything BUT start eating vegan?

Talk amongst yourselves...

Monday, April 16, 2007

You Will Read It or My Computer (HAL) Will Destroy You

So my computer done broke (*gasps of horror and shock and shock and horror*), hopefully temporarily. It refuses to upload any of the food-p0rn from my camera, and it's been emailing me death threats every morning. (Ok, mostly just the former and not so much the latter. "Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?") Hopefully it'll be all fixed tonight (*fingers crossed*), but obviously I don't have any glorious food-pics and recipes today to share because of it. (Well, I have recipes, but what are recipes without food pics to entice you? Not much, I'd say.)

So I've decided that in lieu of a recipe today, I'ma post a little write-up about my three favorite vegan-books and why you should read them if you already haven't.



  • The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason, and
    Animal Liberation by Peter Singer

    I'm lumping these two together as they're both by Peter Singer, and they're both necessities. Animal Liberation is old-school Singer and one of the bibles of vegetarianism, so you really should read it. The stats have changed since it was written (and since it's been republished), but philosophically, it still stands strong.

    The Way We Eat is a necessity as well because it is sort of a follow-up to the first book (in that it applies many of its ideas to our suddenly more organic-savvy society of recent years) and it will give you a bit of hope that perhaps things can change after all. Since it was published recently, the stats are all new, and although they reveal that we still need to work harder at changing the way animals are treated in the U.S. (and globally), they also ring of hope with stats showing that things *ARE* in fact starting to change (albeit only little by little).

    For those of you unfamiliar with Peter Singer, he is a brilliant proponent of vegetarianism and of utilitarianism and is, hands down, one of the most lucid, interesting, and argumentantively-coherent philosophers (and speakers--I saw him speak at CWRU last year) alive today. Back in college, one of my majors was philosophy, and let me tell you, I've read some dense and confusing text in my time--from Kierkegaard ("the self is a relation which relates itself to itself") to Heidegger. And I can attest for the fact that Singer is no doubt one of the most enjoyable philosophers to read--he never fails to keep his readers' attention, and he is very skilled at keeping his writing interesting, clear, and well-organized while driving all his arguments home with great persuasiveness. He does not bog himself down with heavy, uninteresting, dense text that could put an insomniac to sleep (granted, this may be due to the subject matter which deals with ethical theory rather than, say, metaphysics, but still...), and he bears witness to the fact that philosophy need not be boring, indecipherable, or incoherent; simplicity can be leaps and bounds more effective. He keeps things light and lively and interesting WHILE MAKING BRILLIANT POINT AFTER BRILLIANT POINT, and that is why I heart him so.

    And lest you think that the only reason I'm yammering on and on about him is because he shares my viewpoint towards animals, let me also state that there are many things I disagree with him on, and yet I still think he is a brilliant man and amazingly talented at what he does.

    So there.

    Read him.

    Some excerpts from Animal Liberation:

    "If a being suffers there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration. No matter what the nature of the being, the principle of equality requires that its suffering be counted equally with the like suffering - in so far as rough comparisons can be made - of any other being. If a being is not capable of suffering, or of experiencing enjoyment or happiness, there is nothing to be taken into account. So the limit of sentience (using the term as a convenient if not strictly accurate shorthand for the capacity to suffer and/or experience enjoyment) is the only defensible boundary of concern for the interests of others. To mark this boundary by some other characteristic like intelligence or rationality would be to mark it in an arbitrary manner. Why not choose some other characteristic, like skin color?

    The racist violates the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of members of his own race when there is a clash between their interests and the interests of those of another race The sexist violates the principle of equality by favoring the interests of his own sex. Similarly the speciesist allows the interests of his own species to over ride the greater interests of members of other species. The pattern is identical in each case.

    The people who profit by exploiting large numbers of animals do not need our approval. They need our money. The purchase of the corpses of the animals they rear is the only support the factory farmers ask from the public. They will use intensive methods as long as they continue to receive this support; they will have the resources needed to fight reform politically; and they will be able to defend thcmselvcs against criticism with the reply that they are only providing the public with what it wants

    Hence the need for each one of us to stop buying the produce of modern animal farming - even if we are not convinced that it would be wrong to eat animals that have lived pleasantly and died painlessly. Vegetarianism is a form of boycott. For most vegetarians the boycott is a permanent one, since once they have broken away from flesh-eating habits they can no longer approve of slaughtering animals in order to satisfy the trivial desires of their palates. But the moral obligation to boycott the meat available in butcher shops and supermarkets is just as inescapable for those who disapprove only of inflicting suffering, and not of killing. In recent years Americans have boycotted lettuce and grapes because the system under which those particular lettuces and grapes had been produced exploited farm laborers, not because lettuce and grapes can never be produced without exploitation. The same line of reasoning leads to boycotting meat. Until we boycott meat we are, each one of us, contributing to the continued existence, prosperity, and growth of factory farming and all the other cruel practices used in rearing animals for food."

  • Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry by Gail Eisnitz

    This book has a less philosophical and more journalistic approach to the issue of meat-consumption in the U.S., but it is *THE* book that pushed me over the edge into vegetarianism. Eisnitz very skillfully captures the atrocities being committed against animals in the U.S.'s slaughterhouses, and yet, she is smart enough to appeal to those folks who don't care all that much about the suffering of animals by *also* focusing on human-welfare issues as well, from the horrendous slaughterhouse conditions workers are faced with (carpal tunnel, deaths) to children dying from E. Coli (due to lack of stringent testing of meat in slaughterhouses). As I mentioned, her approach is a journalistic one, so it is geared towards mainstream readers and is consquently very easy to read--I think I breezed through it in one day. Many of the stats will now be outdated, but there is enough information in there that withstands the test of time and makes all her points just as important today as it was ten years ago.

    Read some excerpts HERE...

*By "die" I, of course, mean "Go read them, shithead."

Thursday, April 12, 2007




Yeah, the remainder of my cooking this weekend was all reruns. (Oh, and a little bit of Nature's Bin yum-bumbly faux chicken-parmesan).

Saturday night, E and I made a nice juicy delish pizza, very similar to the last one I made but topped with pepperoni, garlic, basil, and mushrooms. Good shit.

Then for dinner for the week, I made Steph's Sockarooni Pasta. Have I mentioned how good and yet ridiculously easy this shit is? If not, I am now. I heart this pasta. It makes my inside jump for joy.






Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ribbed for Your Pleasure

Ever so long ago, I tried out a vegan rib recipe that was floating around on the internet. The problem was that I thought I'd accidentally bought the wrong vital wheat gluten--I had bought the flour, and the recipe called for what I assumed was straight wheat gluten. Lo and behold, just the other day I realized that these two things are one and the same. (See The Cook's Thesaurus for more.) Apparently I'm not the only one who didn't realize this, otherwise when I posted that recipe, someone would've corrected my dumb ass.

So, please take note:

Vital wheat gluten flour = vital wheat gluten.

Woot fricking-belated woot.

Anyways, since I'd bought some vital wheat gluten to make ye infamous Seitan o' Greatness, I decided to try making ribz again.

I stumbled across another recipe on-line that used tahini instead of peanut butter which I also thought was intriguing. But the basics of the recipe were different as well, and I knew that I wanted to try out the ORIGINAL ribz recipe that I'd originally botched up in my vital wheat gluten confusion.

So I decided to play with my ribz.

I used the basic recipe that I'd botched up before (but did it correctly this time). And I tried out three variations on what I'd poke into the ribz. The standard recipe calls for you to smoosh a peanut-butter/margarine concoction into these delicious numblies. Tasty, but not so good calorie-wise. So with that in mind, and with the tahini-variation also haunting my brain, I decided to "baste" the ribz the following ways:
  1. With a peanut-butter/margarine mix;

  2. With tahini; and

  3. With absolutely nothing at all (to see if they were just as good low-fat).

You can see the three variations in this before pic. The ones furthest to the left are the PB, the middle are plain, and the ones on the right are tahini:

The end result? I liked them all! Damnation. I kept trying each one to see if I preferred one out of the three, and I could not decide for the life of me. Quite honestly, the ribz recipe hinges on the BBQ you choose to use, at it is the predominant flavor in the dish. But you *CAN* still taste what you choose to "baste" them in slightly, albeit very slightly. Truth be told though, because the BBQ sauce is the overriding flavor, you could easily get away with leaving out the peanut-butter/tahini and it won't really be that noticeable. Plus, it'll be MUCH more healthy for you. But both the tahini and the PB-mix *DO* add a bit off oomph, though not one of absolute necessity.

So good christ what the hell am I saying?

I liked all three variations and couldn't pick a favorite. If you are looking for low-fat though, you can easily get away with making them plain and, as long as you pick out a good BBQ-sauce, they'll be damn good anyways.

That's what I'm saying.

Oh, and next time, I plan to toy with the wheat gluten/wheat flour ratio a bit more. These were much more tender than my original recipe--but I also kinda liked the chewiness of my original recipe. So next time, I'll probably use a bit more wheat gluten and a bit less wheat flour to make them a WEE bit more chewy while still maintaining the tenderness.

So there.

  • 2/3 c. of water

  • 1/2 c. wheat gluten (aka. vital wheat gluten, aka vital wheat gluten flour)

  • 1/4 c. + 3 T. nutritional yeast

  • 1/2 c. + 1 T. whole wheat flour

  • 1 c. BBQ sauce (see recipe below)

  • spices to taste (onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, etc)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mix the wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, wheat flower and spices in a dry bowl. Add the water and knead until almost all of the dry powder is absorbed. Do not over-knead. This dough is really sticky.

3. Form the dough into a flat shape about one-half inch thick.

4. Time for the variations:

  • For low-fat ribz, jump ahead to step 5.

  • For the peanut-butter variation:
    Take about 2 T. soy butter and heat it in microwave until soft. Add 3 T. peanut butter to it, mixing it so that it's consistent throughout. (To be quite honest, I guesstimated on the quantities/ratios of PB and margarine--you can get away with doing the same.) Add one-half of the peanut butter mixture to the top of the flattened dough. Use your fingers to poke the peanut butter mixture deeply into the dough. Do this for about 30 seconds. Turn the dough over and pour the remaining half of the peanut butter mixture onto the dough, again using your fingers to poke into the dough. Jump ahead to step 5.

  • For the tahini variation:
    Smear a few tablespoons of tahini to the top of your flattened dough. (I don't have exact measurements--you just need to use enough that it covers the top decently.) As with the PB, use your fingers to poke the tahini deep into the dough. Do this for about 30 seconds. You can either jump ahead to step 5 now or flip the dough over and do the same to the other side.

5. Use a pizza cutter to cut one-half inch strips of dough. Make them as long or as short as you like them. Lay out on a lightly oiled baking pan. Bake for about 10 minutes.

6. After 10 minutes, use a spatula to turn the "ribs" over. Spoon or brush on BBQ sauce and return to the oven.

7. Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and turn the ribs over again. Spoon or brush on some more BBQ sauce.

8. Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and enjoy your hot, sweet and sticky "ribz!"

(Makes enough for four.)

(Original recipe HERE)

* * * * * * *

This time I also tried out a different BBQ sauce (since I still had some bourbon left over from our Weekend o' Bourbon last summer). It was quite good, though a bit too sweet for my taste--next time I will probably cut the sweet ingredients in half (and use brown sugar instead of a syrup to add a bit of thickness).


  • 1/4 c. tomato paste

  • 1/4 c. cider vinegar

  • 2 T. + 2 t. agave nectar (was a bit too sweet--next time I'm gonna use brown sugar instead and a much smaller amount)

  • 1/8 c. Jack Daniels or bourbon (I used the latter)

  • 1/8 cup soy sauce

  • 1/2 T. oil (I used canola--the original calls for olive)

  • 1/2 T. garlic, minced (I just used garlic powder to taste)

  • 1/2 T. ginger, minced (I just used ginger powder to taste)

  • 1/2 T. dry mustard

  • 1/8 t. pepper

  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper

  • A few drops of hickory smoke flavoring


Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. (If you use garlic and ginger powder instead of the fresh stuff, you can just put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a whisk.) Place in a sealed jar and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: 1 Cup

(Original recipe HERE)

* * * * * * *

Oh, and I made sweet potato fries on the side, but they weren't anything all that complicated, so I'm not including the recipe here. (Suffice it to say, they were cut-up sweet potatoes mixed in a bit of cinnamon and sugar and baked for about 30 minutes or so.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming...

for gratuitous cute cat pics.

(Click on the pics for larger versions)

(She is the only reason that that Crate and Barrel box
did not immediately find a home in the garbage.)

(And yes--it *IS* useful that those bird-videos
have subtitles--my cat is bright and she likes
the edumakation!)

The Brownies of Death and the Cookies of Life


Apparently I horrified some of you (as well as myself) last week when posting E's garlic bread recipe which appeared to use a whole cup of vegan butter. Needless to say, he didn't actually *use* all the butter on the garlic loaf. (Thanks be to Jesus.)

Anyways, I was even *MORE* horrified this weekend when I tried out a peanut-butter brownie recipe from the Vegan Planet cookbook, *AND IT WAS EVEN GREASIER THAN THE GARLIC BREAD WE HAD*. I'm sorry to say, brownies shouldn't even come CLOSE to being comparable to garlic bread grease-factor-wise. And yet, these brownies totally totally were.

In fact, right now, these brownies are sitting on the corner of my desk at work, shamefully hiding themselves from being seen because they *REALIZE* they are ridiculously greasy and are embarassed about it.


Can you say, Blorf?

I can. And it's precisely what I said to myself when, after the brownies had cooled all the way, I sliced them up and began to remove them from my (kick-ass silicon) brownie-pan. The bottom of the pan was shiny like the face of a greasy and pimplified teenager. I held up a brownie to inspect it, and the bottom was about three times darker than the top due to the oil. I promptly placed all the brownies on napkins to absorb some of the oil, but that helped only minimally. When I scrounged up enough nerve to try one again this morning, to see if I might actually be able to offer them to folks, it was like sucking on a large pad of chocolatey-looking butter. I ate the whole brownie (because I am an idiot like that), but that was that. Now I'm just prolonging the inevitable trip to the trashcan.

What went wrong? I've not a clue. I used the precise amounts the recipe called for. And yet, it was a grease-fest like no other grease-fest I've ever seen.

I think I'm swearing off brownies for a while because of it.

Point being: unless someone out there has *had* good results with these brownies and wants to help me figure out what I did wrong, I suggest the rest of you stear clear. Your arteries will thank you.


Sadly, I was attempting these brownies for a friend's birthday, but once I saw the slimy sheen glistening across the bottoms of them, I couldn't rightfully give them to her. Especially since she's getting ancient (she turned 30) and I didn't want to encourage a heart attack. (BURNNNN!) But thankfully, I accidentally found wedged in a textbook of mine, an assortment of dessert recipes that E had photocopied for me. Realizing that I was quickly running short on a) soy milk, b) vanilla extract, c) vegan butter, and d) canola oil, I thanked my lucky stars that this recipe called for PRECISELY the amount of a), b) and c) that I had on hand.

And damn if these aren't good cookies. I added a couple tablespoons of orange zest to them as well because I was in the mood to orangify, and I highly recommend them that way. The only thing the recipe failed to mention (and which is necessary) is that you need to let the cookies harden on the baking sheet for at least 3 minutes or so before you transfer them to a rack. Otherwise, when you go to pick them up, they're just gonna turn to mush in your fingers. I also recommend using a temperature of 375 and baking for 10 minutes. 10 minutes at 350 was turning up barely-browned cookies, but (as always) it could just be my stove. So just keep your eye on them.

  • 1 c. softened vegan (non-hydrogenated) margarine

  • 1/2 c. vegan brown sugar

  • 1/2 c. vegan sugar

  • 1/4 c. soy milk

  • 1 t. vanilla

  • 2-1/4 c. flour

  • 1/2 t. salt

  • 1 t. baking soda

  • 12 oz. semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips

  • 2 T. orange zest


Preheat the oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl, mix the margarine, sugar, and brown sugar until it's light and fluffy. Slowly stir in the soy milk then add the vanilla to make a creamy mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add this dry mixture to the creamy mixture and stir well. Then fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop small spoonfuls onto non-stick cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes (or until tops are lightly golden).

Remove from oven and let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for at least 3 minutes until firm. Place on cooling rack to cool completely.

(Adapted from the COK Kitchen)

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Infamous Seitan Recipe o' Greatness

Mother of god--when I actually have a rare burst of spare time on a weekend with absolutely nothing I'm obligated to be doing, man, do I cook. (And watch way too many movies--but movies are good, what can I say.) This weekend it was ribz, sweet potato fries, orange chocolate-chip cookies, peanut butter brownies, baked seitan, pizza, and Steph's sockarooni pasta. Utter madness.

Where to start?

Well, I guess I'll head off the week with the Seitan Recipe o' Greatness which has spread through the vegan internet community like chickenpox. Or like leprosy. Or like the blustery snow this weekend over the streets of Cleveland.

I've been itching to try baking this seitan since I first saw it, primarily because it was WAY too easy-sounding to make. I've made the VwaV recipe before, but it requires too much effort for someone as lazy as me. Mixing stuff and throwing it into the oven: that's my cup of tea.

And this recipe is the cutest (if a recipe can actually be cute). 90 minutes after tossing this log o' goodness in the oven, it came out all red and pretty and looking like an animal-friendly Pepperidge Farm salty log o' saltiness. It was so cute that I just wanted to keep squeezing its cheeks and mumbling "Oh isn't the little loggy the cutest EVER! So cute, little loggy loggy. A-boo-boo-boo. Is da loggy cute? Yes it is! Loggy loggy."

And it was tasty to boot. Like I've mentioned before, I'm always skeptical when people act like a recipe is the second coming. But man, this was good stuff. I enjoyed nibbling on it all by itself. And it also tasted delightful tossed on a sammich.

My hopes for the future: to try out some variations on the cute little loggy log. But until then, I definitely recommend the recipe, as it is a good (and ridiculously easy) one.

Oh yeah, and months after having baked my vegan ribz, thinking that there was a different between vital wheat gluten and vital wheat gluten flour, I finally realized that the two things are THE SAME DAMN THING. Yeah. I'm a dolt sometimes.

  • 1.5 c. vital wheat gluten

  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast

  • 1 . salt

  • 2 t. paprika

  • 1/4 t. cinnamon

  • 1/4 t. cumin

  • 1-2 t. pepper

  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper

  • 1/8 t. allspice (I skipped this)

  • 3/4 c. cold water

  • 4 T. tomato paste

  • 1 T. ketchup

  • 2 T. olive oil (I used canola because I was out of olive oil)

  • 2 T. vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce--I used soy because I had no Worcestershire)

  • 1-3 cloves garlic, crushed well (I just sprinkled in garlic powder to taste)


Preheat oven to 325°.

In a large mixing bowl mix dry ingredients. Mix the rest of the ingredients (liquid ingredients) in a smaller mixing bowl. Whisk well until mixed.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well, then knead for several minutes.

Form into a log (6-8" long), wrap tightly in foil, twisting ends. Bake for 90 minutes. When done baking, unwrap and leave out to cool all the way. Then wrap it foil or plastic and refrigerate. Slice to use as desired.

[Oh, and belated side-note: For those of you who are vegan or have been privvy to another vegan's gas, you already know that vegans have 100x more filthy disembowelingly nasty farts than the rest of the human race. {{It's the veggies!}} Anyways, this seitan will a) triple the frequency of your gassiness for the day and b) somehow manage to quadruple the raw-egg stench of it to the point that you might actually be able to blind someone with your farts and/or take over the White House with them. I swear, yesterday after eating some of this for lunch, my cats every once in a while would look at me with a "Are you fucking kidding me? Did we do something wrong and you're trying to punish us??" look. So be forewarned.]

Thursday, April 05, 2007

E's Sweet but Sassy Spaghetti, Meaty Balls, and Deliciously Sexy Heart-Attack Garlic Bread

Not only did I cook this weekend, but E did as well. He felt a hankering for italian food towards the end of the week, so he ended up whipping up a very inspired variety of italian cuisine on Friday night.

I have to say: there are a handful of eating habits that I used to possess that I am so thankful have changed. One, for example, is my sudden, fiendish love of beans, after years and years of detesting them. The other (and more relevant one with regard to this meal) is that I've finally gotten over my squeamishness about eating chunky cooked tomatoes. I don't know why I ever *HAD* a squeamishness. But for years and years, I loathed chunky tomato-sauces, and I'd use my handheld blender to zap everything tomatoey into smoothness.

No longer! Needless to say, E's sauce was particularly pleasing to me because it reminded me of how far (and how positively) my tastes in food have changed in just a few years.

Anyways, this is a really damn good sauce. I actually wasn't expecting it to be quite so orgasmically-tasty as it was. (Not that I thought it was gonna taste like regurgitated dog food, but I thought it would just taste like a pretty standard spaghetti sauce.) It took a long time to cook, but the end results were WELL worth it. It was chunky, it was hearty, it was sweet (but not *too* sweet), and it was delightful. I highly recommend.

To go with the pasta, he also whipped up some "meat"balls. When I was little, I had a long-standing hatred of anything meat-related in spaghetti, but I'm happy to say I've grown out of that as well (and I mostly have faux meatballs and faux ground-beef to thank for that). So needless to say, I looked forward to chowing down on some of these as well. And they didn't disappoint. They were flavorful, rich, and a wonderful contrast to the sweeter spaghetti sauce.

Last but not least, E split a half a loaf of fresh italian bread and whipped together garlic bread for us. This was like that so-bad-for-you-that-you-wanna-rub-it-all-over-your-nekkid-body kind of garlic bread that comes in the freezer section of the grocery store and is like 3-inches thick with butter, but WAYYYYY WAYYYY WAYYYY better. (I mean, look at how sexy it looks by candlelight--*picturing it with a bottle of wine, sweet-talking me into the sack*) I kinda miss the artery-clogging breads of yore, so it was nice to eat a veganized (and fresh) version of one, despite the fact that I'm mildly horrified now that I know how much vegan butter he used. Heh heh.

E's Sweet but Sassy Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1 c. chopped onion

  • 1/2 c. chopped green pepper

  • 1/4 c. chopped celery

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 T. olive oil

  • Two 14.5 oz cans of chopped tomatoes, undrained

  • 1/3 c. water

  • One 6 oz can tomato paste

  • 2 T. snipped fresh parsley

  • 1 t. crushed dried basil

  • 1 t. crushed dried oregano

  • 1/2 t. crushed dried marjoram

  • 1 t. vegan sugar

  • 1/2 t. salt

  • 1/4 t. black pepper

In a pot, cook the onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic in the hot oil until tender.

Stir in 1/3 c. of water, tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, herbs, sugar, salt, black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occassionally. Uncover and simmer for 10-15 minutes more until it has reached desired consistency, continuing to stir occassionally.

E's Meaty Balls (*Growr*)

  • 1 pkg gimme lean "ground beef"

  • 1/4 t. garlic powder

  • 1/4 t. dried oregano

  • 1/4 to 1/2 t. fresh, chopped parsley.

  • 1/2-3/4 T. olive oil

Put all the herbs and garlic powder in a bowl with the gimme lean. Mix and mash with hands.

Heat about 3/4 T. olive oil in skillet until very hot. Roll gimme lean mixture into 1.5 inch balls. Place balls in hot oil and fry on all sides, turning often, until browned (that sounds so dirty--growr). Takes about 7-9 minutes.

E's Deliciously Sexy Heart-Attack Garlic Bread

  • 1 c. vegan butter/margarine

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed

  • 1 t. fresh chopped parsley

  • 1 loaf italian bread


Let butter sit out for a bit to soften. Add garlic and parsley to butter and mix well. Slather, quite generously, the butter mix on the italian bread that you have sliced lengthwise. Place bread under broiler until it's just beginning to turn brown on the edges and the butter is melted. Eat. Hopefully do not die immediately of clogged arteries. ; )

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

General Tao's Tofu and Mango-Avocado Spring Rolls

Saturday night for dinner, I *attempted* to finally make spring rolls. I say *attempted* because I was none too pleased with the results--what I chose to stuff them with wasn't bad, but the actual wrapper and the process of rolling them left a lot to be desired. The inside-ingredients ended up being way too loosely packed, and they were difficult to eat. Needless to say, come Monday, I promptly looked on the internet for precise directions on how to roll them (here's a good tutorial). I didn't think it would be difficult, but MAN are soggy rice-papers difficult to manipulate.

Anyways, I ended up packing them with chinese vermicelli rice-noodles, shredded cabbage, lightly-steamed pea pods, mango, and avocado. I definitely liked the variety in the filling, but for some reason they weren't as aesthetically pleasing, taste-wise, as I'd wanted them to be, simply because they were difficult to eat. You can see them in all their flabby glory above. (I think next time I may use a couple wrappers for each roll, to give them a bit more backbone.)

I *DID* really like the thai dipping-sauce recipe that I concocted though, so I will share that here at least. It's kinda salty though, so you may wanna nab some of that nifty low-sodium soy sauce if you want to avoid a headache.

Sweet Thai Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 c. soy sauce

  • 1/2 T. crunchy natural peanut butter

  • 1 t. seasoned rice vinegar

  • 1 t. agave nectar

  • 2 t. water

  • Juice of 1/2 a lime

  • Ground ginger, to taste (I probably used 1/4 t. or so)


Mix everything together. Duh.

* * * * * * * * *

To accompany the spring rolls, I finally decided to make the infamous General Tao's Tofu recipe from the VegWeb that I always hear people raving about. It looked so damn good on people's blogs, that I've been drooling over it for weeks. I was trying not to get my hopes up too high about it, since I tend to be slightly disappointed about things that get overhyped. But damn if people weren't correct.

For some reason I was expecting something a bit spicier and, um, tasting a bit more brown-sauce based (not sure why--I think it's just because General Tso's chicken/tofu is typically that way... spicy spicy), but this sauce was a bit more like a subtle sweet-and-sour sauce. Delightful though. And easy to boot. I was also pleased to note that it made for some DAMN good leftovers. I highly recommend.

General Tao's Tofu

  • 1 box of firm tofu

  • egg substitute for 1 egg plus 3 T. water

  • 3/4 c. cornstarch

  • vegetable (I used sesame) oil for frying

  • 3 chopped green onions

  • 1 T. minced ginger

  • 1 T. minced garlic

  • 2/3 c. vegetable stock

  • 2 T. soy sauce

  • 4 T. sugar

  • red pepper to taste

  • 1 T. white vinegar

  • steamed broccoli

  • 1 T. sherry (optional--I did not use it)


Drain, dry and cut tofu into 1 inch chunks. You can freeze tofu the night before to get a more chicken-like consistency, but it isn't necessary. (I pressed mine as well for about an hour/hour-and-a-half ahead of time.) Mix the egg replacer as specified on the box and add the additional 3 tablespoons water. Dip tofu in egg replacer/water mixture and coat completely. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cornstarch over tofu and coat completely. Watch out that the cornstarch doesn't clump up at the bottom of the bowl.

Heat oil in pan and fry tofu pieces until golden. Drain oil.

Heat 3 Tablespoons vegetable (or sesame) oil in pan on medium heat. Add green onions, ginger and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add vegetable stock, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper and vinegar. Mix 2 Tablespoons water with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch and pour into mixture stirring well. Add fried tofu and coat evenly.

Serve immediately with steamed broccoli over your choice of rice.

Serves: 4

(Original recipe HERE)