Friday, October 31, 2008

general tao's tofu & veggies

the original recipe is one of vegan folklore on i made some serious modifications to the recipe, partially because the original calls for so much sugar. i do realize that general tao's sauce is sorta sweet anyway, but i just couldn't bring myself to do it. so, although vegweb was the inspiration, below you will find miss v's own less sweet general tao's tofu & veggies.

  • 1 container of extra firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1½ tablespoons sesame or coconut oil
  • 1½ tablespoons ginger (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1-1½ tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup vegan hoisin sauce
  • 1 pkg. (16 oz.) vegetable stir fry medley (or more)

tofu prep:
gently squeeze tofu to drain initial water, and then press to rid it of excess moisture. to press: place two layers of papers towels on a plate, place tofu on towels, and another two layers of paper towels on top. put on another plate, an top with a can of veggies or something for a weight. so basically, you will have plate-towels-tofu-towel-plate-weight. let stand for about 15 minutes. after pressing tofu, cut tofu into 1-inch cubes, and freeze. this gives the tofu a firmer and 'meatier' texture. be sure and thaw for at least 4 or 5 hours prior to making recipe.

after thawing, place tofu on paper towels again to remove some moisture that will drain off. on a large plate, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. put tofu cubes on plate and press into cornstarch. sprinkle the other 2 tablespoon of cornstarch on top, and gently roll tofu around until it's lightly coated. heat sesame or coconut oil in wok on 350 (medium-high heat).
drop tofu in and let brown on each side for about 4 to 5 minutes. after about 20 minutes of browning (if needed), turn the heat up to 400 (high) and crisp up the tofu. pull out and place in bowl. if you follow the tofu prep instructions, you should have nice crispy cubes, *scarily* similar to chicken.

in wok on 350, heat ginger, garlic, chili oil, rice vinegar, agave nectar, chili garlic sauce and soy sauce. after about 30 seconds, put in the vegetable medley (i use asparagus stir fry). then add in about 1 cup of a pepper strips medley. after stir frying veggies for about 5 minutes, add the vegetable broth and hoisin sauce. turn up heat to about 375 and cook for about 7-10 minutes, until sauce has thickened. turn off wok, and immediately drop tofu in and stir up.

top with sesame seeds and serve with rice. i add additional siriacha sauce to my bowl because i like a lot of heat. so although it's not as sweet as traditional general tao's, this is soooo good and to me it tastes exactly like chinese take out. total kitchen time is about an hour, and i'd say it serves about 3-4, depending on the appetites involved.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

simply cinnamon apples

we went to an apple festival earlier this month, and got all these wonderful organic and locally grown apples. it reminded of how simple 'recipes' can be so awesome.

we had so many....

  • 2 golden delicious, cored and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1-2 tablespoons cinnamon

stir, eat.

if you are feeling on the non-raw side, pop the bowl in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. it tastes just like the yummy insides of an apple pie.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

potato enchiladas

a few years ago, i bought a can of potatoes, and it changed my potato life. they are in the canned vegetable section, and just look like baby peeled potatoes. they are super quick to heat up and throw in anything (like my previous kraut & potato recipe). i used them here to make potato enchiladas.

  • 1 can whole potatoes
  • 1/2 can re-fried beans
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons burrito or taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 block (5 oz.) vegan gourmet pepper jack cheese
  • 14 oz. enchilada sauce
  • 4 or 5 8" whole wheat tortillas
  • vegan sour cream & black olives (optional)
in bowl, mash up potatoes, beans, onion powder, garlic, burrito seasoning, nutritional yeast, and salsa. heat up each tortilla in the microwave for about 10 seconds right before you fold them up - it makes them more flexible for rolling. put two scoops of the potato mixture into the middle of the tortilla and fold one side over the mixture. then fold in the sides, and finish rolling up the enchilada. continue with the rest of the tortillas.

place the enchiladas in a glass baking dish, and pour enchilada sauce over the top. spread the shredded pepper jack cheese over the top, and add the black olives if you want. bake in the oven at about 360f° for about 15-20 minutes... pull out when the cheese starts to melt and the enchilada sauce is bubbly. use a spatula to serve, and top with sour cream if you please!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

kraut potato medley

i'm going to hermann, missouri at the end of this month for octoberfest, and it has been putting me in mind of my favourite german food: sauerkraut. i made this the other morning when i was craving some sort of breakfast scramble, and the leftover sauerkraut from my pizza was calling my name.

  • 1 can whole potatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup (or more!) sauerkraut, drained well
  • 1½ tablespoons onion powder
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegan bacon bits
slice up the potatoes into round coins about 1/4 inch thick. cook on high in a non-stick skillet until they start to brown a little on the edges. i don't use oil or butter as i try to keep things healthy when i can, but that might speed up the browning process if you don't care about that stuff.
add everything else to the skillet and continue to cook - about 5-10 minutes until everything starts to get crispy. in this picture, i used tastefully simple's bacon bacon... but i've also grown quite fond of j&d's hickory bacon salt (be careful - the original and natural flavours aren't vegan). it's 0 calories - woot!

Friday, October 17, 2008

lentil paella-jambalaya

although this dish doesn't have any large chunky vegetables, it very much reminded me of the veggie paella i had in spain a few years back. but i also thought it was sort of jambalaya-y with the cajun spices. whatever you want to call it, it was bowl-licking good.

  • 1 ½ cups cooked green lentils (approx. ¾ cup dry)
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 vegetarian bouillon cube
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 bag frozen pepper strips (or 1 ½ cups fresh)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons zatarain's creole seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

after cooking lentils according to package, heat olive oil on medium in large skillet. in a separate saucepan, dissolve veggie bouillon cube in three cups of water. after oil has heated in the skillet, add the lentils, garlic, and onion powder (or real onions, if you can stand them). sauté the lentils for about 4-5 minutes, then add about 1/4 cup of the veggie broth. toss in in the tomato, jalapeno, and pepper strips (i prefer fresh peppers, but i only had frozen on hand). continue sautéing for about 3-4 minutes more, then add the rice, remainder of broth and zatarain's seasoning.
simmer about 5 minutes, stirring often. once the water is about 80% absorbed, turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes more.

voilà - you should have a a nice lentil paella-jambalaya.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

kraut spring rolls

i have a confession. i have an unnatural obsession with sauerkraut. i didn't actually try it until about two years ago, and i've been scarfing it down in massive quantities ever since. maybe i'm making up for lost kraut time, but i could (and often do) put it on everything.

place one spring roll wrapper on a flat plate and run warm water for about 10 seconds over each side (until it feels flexible enough to roll). if it softens too much it will tear easily, so make sure it retains a little bit of its starchiness. on the same plate, place half of the ingredients near one side rice paper and make a small fold over them. fold in the sides, and then finish tightly rolling up the rest of the roll. it's sort of a burrito style roll, if you know what i mean (i always forget to take pictures of the process). repeat with the other wrapper and remaining ingredients.

for the sauce, i prefer 1 part rice vinegar to 1 part nama shoyu/soy.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

cabbage soup

i got sick this past week. i was hungry all the time, but i wanted something warm, comforting and easy to swallow. oh, and easy to make since i didn't have much energy. i made a cabbage soup that served all my needs.

  • 1 pound cabbage, shredded (i use dole coleslaw mix)
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste
  • 9 cups water
  • 1 veggie bouillon cube (i use knorr)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cajun seasoning
  • 3 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoon onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1½ cups textured vegetable protein
  • *(or boca ground crumbles)

in a large stock pot (approx. 8 qt), bring everything but the tvp to a boil. lower temperature to medium low, cover, and let simmer for about 40 minutes. add the textured veggie protein and cook for another 15 minutes. check the water level often and add more water or spices if necessary.
makes about 6 hearty bowls of soup (which equals a lot of leftovers if you are trying to kill a cold).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

the apple carrot juice

i made this juice a few times over the summer, but i hadn't touched my juice machine in about two months. however, thanks to maggie at dog hill kitchen, i'm now the proud owner of everyday raw by matthew kenny. thanks maggie! - go check out her blog here.
as i was saying, i was re-inspired to make juice. although this recipe is not in his book per se, i'm posting it because it was one of my first juice experiments (note the super-simplicity), and because i'm excited to try out some new raw recipes!

  • 4 granny smith apples, cored
  • 3 carrots, peeled
core and chop up the apples to fit in your juice machine, then stick the carrots through.

as you can probably tell by my recipes, i don't like things that are super-sweet. i love using granny smith's for their tartness, but feel free to substitute your favourite apple.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

sichuan green beans

this recipe was inspired by a spontaneous late night dinner at bolings, a fantastic chinese restaurant in kansas city. two days later i was at the asian super market buying sichuan peppercorns and chili oil.

  • 1 pound of green beans
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ground sichuan pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)

steam green beans for 5-7 minutes - they should still reserve some of their crunchiness. heat peanut and chili oil along with garlic and ginger in a wok at about 350f° (medium-high). drop in green beans, and stir fry for about 5 minutes. add in the rest of the ingredients, and continue to stiry fry for about 10 minutes more. top with sesame seeds and serve (with rice if ya like).

Thursday, October 2, 2008

creamy baked pasta

in my last post, i mentioned that i don't buy a lot of faux cheese products, but i do sometimes splurge. i say if you are gonna do it, do it up big! so here is a triple threat - complete with vegan sour cream, cream cheese, and mozzarella. i don't make these types of recipes too often - a girl has to watch her waistline - but i certainly enjoy treating myself with warm comforting dishes every once in a while.

  • 16 oz. whole wheat mostaccioli
  • 3/4-1 whole green bell pepper
  • 3 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons italian seasoning
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 6 oz. tofutti 'sour cream'
  • 4 oz. tofutti 'cream cheese'
  • 5 oz. vegan gourmet mozzarella (shredded)
cook and drain pasta according to instructions on box. make pasta sauce by combining tomato sauce, paste, water, garlic, onion, italian seasoning (i use penzey's spices) and salt/pepper in a medium sauce pan. heat on medium-high until sauce starts to simmer aggressively, then lower heat to medium-low, cover, and let it simmer lightly for about 15 minutes, stirring often. this will be a thicker sauce since it is going into a casserole type dish. add in the softened cream cheese and sour cream, and heat on low for about 5-10 minutes until you have a nice creamy red sauce.

now the fun begins.

in a 9x11 glass casserole dish, use about three tablespoons of the sauce to coat the bottom (prevents sticking). layer 1/2 of the mostaccioli in the dish, then layer 1/2 sauce, 1/2 green pepper and 1/2 of the mozzarella. then repeat with the other half of the ingredients.

pop in the oven at 350 f° for about 25 minutes, until the sauce starts to bubble and the cheese begins to melt. pull out and cool around 10-12 minutes before trying to serve, although in my house we only make it about 5 minutes.