Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where The Hell Are You, Jenn ?!?

Well, I'm right here, gosh darn it. You can check out all the lovely new details about my life over on the "Veganize This" official blog. Linky link here:



As for why I haven't posted a recipe, well, the book's almost out, silly bears. I have been busier than a bee gearing up for this (and some other exciting projects).

Plus be sure to read all the way to the bottom of the other post to check out what my wife's been up to. Just as exciting as my life.

Ta ta for now! I'll be back with a recipe next month.

Happy Jew Year!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Vegan Sautéed Shallot, Crimini and Fennel Green Bean Casserole: A Repost, because I said so.


What?! A repost? Jenn's getting that lazy?! No, silly panda. I just happen to make this every Thanksgiving as it's always a hit. And it's a bit of a spoiler for my soon to be released cookbook, so why the hell not. Plus, my life has been crazier than usual in a major way lately, so I give myself full license.

Well, where to begin describing the blissful chaos that is my present life. For starters, I'm back in the Gayborhood! I'm beyond excited to once again be a resident of the city of West Hollywood. I mean, what the hell was I going to do with all my rainbow spandex in the damn Valley? On the downside, it meant I once again had to disassemble my kitchen and place recipe testing on hold, but let me tell you two orgasmic reasons that made the process entirely worth it:

A) My new kitchen has a bitchin' professional oven.
B) I have a KITCHEN ISLAND!

Now, don't be mistaken. I am not rich enough to afford an apartment with an island of granite already built in. No, no. Mine is of the Target.com, assemble-yourself-with-great frustration variety. But it's an island, nonetheless. And it's all mine. On wheels. So there.

What's also been keeping my blogging at bay has been the insane amount of traveling I've been doing over the past month in between and around the moving of apartments.  I went to San Francisco twice, one visit spent dramatically more sober than the other. As I write this post, I lie in one of most amazing, dingy motels Portland, Oregon has to offer. We're having an amazing time so far. I've been to Food Fight!, Hungry Tiger Too, (thanks, SugarHighVegan for taking us there and Quarrygirl for the referral), Vita Cafe (faux turkey benedict-gasm), and tonight I'm off to Portobello. I can't wait to try a level of vegan cuisine that rivals my own. Hopefully I won't be such a baby and leave crying because they show me up.

Of course, there's been quite a bit of crazy (good) in my personal life, too, but I'll save that story for a rainy day.

Three recipes on the slate for next week. Expect a slew of posts before the end of the year, kids.

Happy Chanukah!

Vegan Sautéed Shallot, Crimini and Fennel Green Bean Casserole


* 1 1/2 lbs Ready To Go Fresh Green Beans (recipe follows)
* 1 cup Vegan French Friend Onions
* 6 TBSP Vegan Margarine
* 6 TBSP Flour
* 1/2 tsp Salt
* Fresh Cracked Pepper, to taste
* 1 1/4 cup Imagine Foods Creamy Portobello Soup
* 1/4 cup MimicCreme
* 1/2 TBSP White Miso Paste
* 2 1/2 TBSP Corn Starch mixed with 3 TBSP Cold Water
* 1/4 cup Shallot, diced
* 1/2 bulb Fresh Fennel, diced
* 1 cup Crimini Mushrooms, chopped
* 2 TBSP Vegetable or Canola Oil
* 2 tsp Fresh Garlic, minced
* 1/2 tsp each of Dried Sage, Marjoram and Thyme

To Prepare The Green Beans:
First, make sure your beans are trimmed and ready to go. Place 3 quarts of water in a large sauce pot, and bring to a boil.
Get a large bowl with ice water ready. Keep it in the freezer so it stays chilled. Add 1 1/2 TBSP Kosher salt and the green beans to the boiling water. Cover and cook for about 6 minutes or until crisp-tender and still bright green. Keep an eye on the beans just in case they start to brown before the 6 minutes is up.
Drain beans in a colander, then plunge into the ice water. Drain well, then place a double layer of paper towels in single layer to dry, and top with a double layer of towels.

The Casserole...
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté garlic and shallots for 30 seconds, then add fennel, mushrooms, herbs and spices. Sauté until slightly softened. Remove the pan from heat, and set aside.

Using a whisk, in a very large sauce pan, melt the Earth Balance over medium-high heat. And flour, 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper, and whisk together. Add the miso paste, and blend in well. Pour Creamy Mushroom Soup and MimicCreme in gradually while constantly stirring. Continue stirring until the mixture begins to boil and thickens.

Add the green beans to the rest of the sautéed vegetables and about half of your French fried onions to the sauce pan, and stir well.

Pour that mixture into a casserole dish or pan and top with remaining French fried onions. Bake in oven at about 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the onions begin to brown. Remove. Eat. Let it cool if you're more patient than I am. Enjoy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nutmeg Potato Gnocchi topped with "Parmesan", Basil and Spicy Sherry Heirloom Tomato Salsa

Sometimes, there are weeks where I have entirely no clue what to write about. Then there are the weeks where I want to write about something completely inappropriate or entirely too personal. This just happens to be one of the later mentioned weeks. For your sake and mine, I'll spare you the "entirely too personal", as it has to do with my lower digestive track and it's inadequacies. No, this week we're going to talk about something entirely inappropriate: my addictive personality.

In the past, this has manifested itself in many forms. Ingesting far too many hallucinogens, smoking exorbitant amounts of marijuana...you get the picture here. But as I age, my addictions become down-right unusual. One of the less odd examples is my cleaning neurosis, one of the stranger examples is my addiction to cleaning my ears with q-tips. I swear on my mother's name, it gives me the most euphoric sensation. Other odd addictions of mine include:

1) Crying to the Indigo Girls and Tegan and Sara
2) CVS coupons
3) Wearing only black, short socks
4) Making sure I have no less than 10 pairs of black, short socks...and that every one has a matching sock. If a sock goes missing, I lose my shit.
5) Heirloom Tomatoes. Some people have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I have SPD (Seasonal Produce Disorder)
6) Not wanting to leave the house until the mail arrives. Yes, I'm addicted to receiving mail. My wife has this one, too.

Of course, I have normal addictions like coffee, making lists, and buying clothes. But you have to admit, I'm kind of a weirdo. Anyways, on to what's important...

If you missed my little note last week, I launched two new websites in preparation for my book.

1) VeganizeThis.org
2) A "Veganize This!" News Blog (special shout-out to Vegansaurus.com for posting an interview with me, giving me something newsworthy to write about and some damn good publicity.)

Also, I've started actively using my Twitter account. You can follow me @jennshaggy.

And one last thing before the recipe. If you haven't had the chance and are a Facebook member, I'll love you forever if you follow each of my blogs by clicking here and here

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

Nutmeg Potato Gnocchi topped with "Parmesan", Basil
and Spicy Sherry Heirloom Tomato Salsa

For the Gnocchi...
  • 2 1/4 lbs Waxy Potatoes
  • 2 1/4 - 2 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour, plus more if necessary
  • 1/4 cup MimicCreme combined with 2 TBSP Egg Mix
  • Large pinch of Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 2 TBSP Vegan Margarine
  • 1 package of Dr Cow Tree Nut Cheese (any flavor), cut into shavings
  • Chiffonaded Fresh Basil Leaves, for garnish

For the Sherry Salsa...
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 Shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 4 Heirloom Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small Red Chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 TBSP Sweet Sherry Wine
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBSP Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, chopped

First, make the salsa. Heat the olive oil in a pan that has a well fitting lid over medium high heat. Add the shallot, garlic, heirloom tomatoes and chilli to the pan, stir to combine, then cover with a lid and allow it to cook for 10 minutes.

Remove the lid, pour the sherry into the pan, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley, turn off the heat, then cover with a lid to keep warm until the gnocchi is ready. You may need to reheat it for a few minutes prior to serving.

To make the gnocchi, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the potatoes until very tender but not falling apart. Drain well and peel while they're still warm.

Take some of the flour and spread it on your work surface. Pass the hot potatoes through a food mill, dropping them directly onto the spread-out flour. Take half of the remaining flour, and mix it in very lightly. Make a well in the center of the dough, and pour in the egg yolk mix. Add the nutmeg and knead until the dough is no longer moist, adding more flour if necessary.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into a 3/4 inch thick tube. Then cut the tubes into 3/4 inch pieces. Using a fork, individually roll each gnocchi along the tines to form ridges on one side, and push your thumb into the other side to form a small well.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then drop the gnocchi into the pot. When they rise to the surface, they're finished. Drain well, place in a large bowl, then toss with the margarine until all are fully coated.

Divide the gnocchi into individual bowls or plates, then garnish with the Salsa, Dr Cow Shavings and basil. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just a Quick Note...

Two new sites up...
1)"Veganize This" Blog
2)"Veganize This" Website

Questions, comments, concerns? You know where to find me :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Shrimp", "Sausage", Shallots and Criminis over "Parmesan" Grits

I'm officially going through my quarter life crisis. I've threatened many times, but I finally did it. I let Jane cut my hair shorter, give me bangs, and dye it black, and she did an amazing job. Now I look like a 14-year-old emo kid, but I feel so much more "like me" without the blonde hair. I mean, I was never a cheerleader, I don't tend to be vapid, and I never took an active interest in boys or fashion. Not that that's true of all blondes, but I didn't like that some made those generalizations about me just due to my hair coloring. The only down side is that now I look nothing like my ID, and I have a hard enough time getting into bars as it is. Here's a picture so you can tell me what you think. Be honest. Just remember, I know where you live...

In other life news, we're moving back to the Gayborhood! I'm more excited than a fat kid in a candy store, mostly because I can walk to Whole Foods again.  I also happen to be conveniently located a block from my favorite sex toy shop, which could prove very dangerous to my bank account. What can I say?  I take pride in my collection. Ok, that was definitely a little TMI, but if you've been reading my blog for a while, I'm sure you're used to it. So get over it ;)

This week's recipe was spurred by an interesting reason. When I was visiting Louisiana, I found all these crazy flavors of grits that they don't sell west of the Mississippi.  I was so excited to see grits again, that I bought about 10 boxes.  I had to buy an extra suitcase just to return them safely to Los Angeles. The only vegan one was the Original Flavor, so, luckily for y'all (like the southern throw-back?), I can provide you with this lovely recipe.

Enjoy this one, folks. And remember to wear purple today in memory of those who have taken their own lives just because they were gay or lesbian. It would mean a lot to me.

"Shrimp", "Sausage", Shallots and Criminis
over "Parmesan" Grits

For the Grits...
  • 4 cups prepared Better Than Bouillon's No Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup MimicCreme's Healthy Top Vegan Whipping Creme
  • 1 cup Quick Cook Grits
  • Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1 TBSP Vegan Margarine
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Dr Cow's Tree Nut Cheese (any flavor)

For the Shrimp...
  • 2 TBSP Vegan Margarine
  • 1 large Shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced Crimini Mushrooms
  • 12 oz Field Roast Wild Mushroom Quarter Loaf, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 package of Vegetarian Plus Frozen Vegan Shrimp, thawed
  • 1/4 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Diced Tomatoes
  • Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • Red Pepper Flakes, for garnish

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the No Chicken Broth and Vegan Whipping Cream up to a low simmer. Once it begins to simmer, whisk in the grits and a pinch of salt. Return to a low simmer, stirring constantly. Stirring frequently, cook until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vegan margarine and "Parmesan" cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat a 12-14 inch saute pan over medium heat. Once the pan is heated, melt the vegan margarine and saute the shallots, garlic and criminis. Saute until the shallots are translucent and the criminis have softened a bit, then add the Field Roast. Once the Field Roast has cook through and beginning to brown, add the thawed Vegan Shrimp and saute for about 2 more minutes. Add the white wine and diced tomatoes, then bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over the "Parmesan" Grits and garnish with red pepper flakes, if desired.

Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Grilled Cumin and Epazote Rubbed "Pork" Loin with Cactus, Heirloom Tomato and Pumpkin Seed Salsa


Last night, my Justin Bieber virginity was broken. That's right. I, for the first time, not only heard one of his songs, but saw one of his music videos. I can't say I particularly liked the song, but I did make one observation that I wanted to share: I believe Justin Bieber strongly resembles a butch teenage lesbian. Not that I'm attracted to Justin in any way, shape or form, but he would make one sexy dyke given a small boob job. Maybe one day he'll be featured on one of my favorite websites, Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians.

On a separate note, I think maybe I've been ingesting too many soy products as my doctor told me my estrogen levels are through the roof fight now.  No shock that I'm gay, but tests usually show me to have higher testosterone. The results have been nothing short of hilarious. Not only have there been some physical amplifications that I'm quite pleased with, but I actually caught myself crying to Tegan and Sara after eating 7 mini chocolate bars. Hopefully my body remedies this on it's own soon, because I refuse to live 24/7/365 PMS-ing like when I bawl to the Indigo Girls for hours just before "that time" of the month rolls around.

Hormonal fluctuations aside, I've been very busy ladies promoting a lesbian night, MaNiC, that I wrote about last week. Our kick-off event was nothing short of successful, and this week will be even better. If you're a girl who likes girls and lives in the Los Angeles area, come check it out. This week's theme is "Anonymous Numbers Night" where you'll have the chance to anonymously describe a girl you think is cute, then write your number next to the description and drop the note in a fish bowl.  The numbers will be doled out after midnight, and being the little Yente that I am, the organizers are hoping to create some happy couples. Special shout-out to my homeslice QuarryGirl for doing a post to help us promote.

Have a great week!

Grilled Cumin and Epazote Rubbed "Pork" Loin
with Cactus, Heirloom Tomato and Pumpkin Seed Salsa

For the "Pork" Loin...
  • 1 batch of Vegan Pork (recipe follows), made in one large, loin-shaped piece
  • 1 TBSP Kosher Salt
  • 3 TBSP Ground Cumin
  • 2 TBSP Dried Epazote
  • 1 TBSP Chili Powder
  • 1/2 TBSP Paprika
  • 3/4 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 3/4 tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

For the Salsa...
  • 1 lbs Cactus, prepared and diced (see Kitchen Tip for how to prepare Cactus)
  • 4 small or 3 large Heirloom Tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium Red Onion, finely chopped
  • Handful of Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 bunch of fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 small Lemon or 1/2 large
  • 1/8 cup Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Shaggy's Kitchen Tip:
When it comes to preparing cactus pads, make sure to select small to medium-sized, firm pads. You don't want them to be wrinkly or soft. When you're ready to prepare the cactus pads, put on a pair of rubber gloves. The thorny needles must be removed with a knife or vegetable peeler prior to dicing. Also remove any nodules, the thick stem, and trim any edges off the pad as well. Wash thoroughly after prepared, prior to dicing.


First, make the salsa by combining all of the ingredients and tasting for salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Second, make the rub for the "pork" loin by combining the kosher salt, cumin, epazote, chili powder, paprika, allspice and pepper in a bowl and mixing throughly. Rub the "pork" loin all over with the spice blend (you may not need to use all of the spice blend), then wrap the loin up in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Preheat your grill (or grill pan if cooking indoors) to high heat. Unwrap the "pork" loin, then grill over the hot heat for 7 to 10 minutes on each side.

To serve, slice the loin into 1-inch-thick slices, then top with a few spoonfuls of the cactus salsa.

Pork Chop Style Seitan

“Pork Chop” Seitan Dough:
  • 1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1 cup prepared No Chicken Broth
  • 1 TBSP MimicCreme™

“Pork Chop” Broth:
  • 4 cups prepared No Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup MimicCreme™
  • 1/8 cup Tamari
  • 1/2 TBSP Better Than Bouillon® No Beef Broth Paste
  • 1 cup Pineapple Coconut Nectar (or Apple Juice)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp 5 Spice Powder
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Shallot Powder
  • 4 whole Cloves, ground
  • 3 points broken off of a Whole Star Anise
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 additional cup Water


Take all of the “Pork Chop” Broth ingredients and mix them together in a very large pot. Bring to a boil.

Next, make your “Pork Chop” Dough by mixing and kneading the vital wheat gluten, water/bouillon blend, and MimicCreme until it's completely mixed. It will be a little more wet than most seitan dough recipes. Don’t let this scare you. Squeeze out the excess liquid, and form the mixture into a ball. On a cutting board, roll the seitan into one large "loin-shaped" piece, then drop it into the pot.

Cover the pot, reduce heat to simmer, and let the seitan cook for about an hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the "Pork Loin," and place into a colander to drain and cool until ready to use.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Baked Yellow Zucchini, Leek and Vegan Feta "Omelette" with Fresh Dill and Mint


Ahh, it's good to be home. I just returned from a week-long trip to my wife's home town of Sulphur, Louisiana aka Vegan Hater, Louisiana. I'm just lucky there's a Pizza Hut with a salad bar, or I quite possibly would have starved to death. Stomach pangs aside, I love visiting small towns. It takes me back to my roots. There's something about downing coffee at The Waffle House at 2am that brings back fond memories of post-mushroom trips and drunken teenage revelry.

On one particular trip to The Waffle House around my 18th birthday, I was so shit-face wasted that I accidentally bit a gigantic chunk of my mouth off instead of my waffle, and blood started gushing EVERYWHERE. My best friend starts to panic, and of course my drunk ass just starts laughing and screaming "Emergency! Emergency! Party Foul!". My little sister, only 15 at the time, happened to be with us at the time, so we quickly dropped her off and headed for the hospital. Instead of actually checking into the hospital and going through triage, I just burst through the doors to the ER when a nurse walks out, run up to a doctor, and hold out my profusely bleeding lip.

I think the doctor could obviously smell the alcohol on my breath, and having sympathy for my very underage stupidity, he rolled his eyes, handed me some gauze and said "Apply pressure. It'll heal". And you know what? He was right. It did.

Anyway, I'm way off topic here. Now that we're back in LA, the wife and I are very busy bees. First things first...

All my fellow lesbians in Los Angeles: Jane and I have started a new girls night called "MaNiC" at Skinny's Lounge in the NoHo Arts District. Even if you're not gay, there's an excellent reason to attend because part of the proceeds are being donated to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. And did I mention 2 for 1 drinks until 11pm for all the ladies out there? Come on. How can you beat that.

Our Grand Opening is next Thursday, October 7th at 10pm. You can visit the website for more information here:

http://www.manicskinnys.webs.com/

And also be our friend on Facebook by clicking here:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100001533163006&ref=ts

Oh yes. One last thing. If you haven't "Liked" my upcoming book "Veganize This!" on Facebook yet, help a bitch out by clicking the "Like" button in the right sidebar. Unless you really don't "Like" me. Then we have some serious talking to do.

Have a great week!

Baked Yellow Zucchini, Leek and Vegan Feta "Omelette"
with Fresh Dill and Mint

  • 1/4 cup Long-Grain White Rice
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 3 Leeks, tops removed, split lengthwise and chopped (you want about 2 inches of green included)
  • 3 Zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 3 TBSP Fresh Mint, chopped
  • 3 TBSP Fresh Dill, chopped
  • 2 cups Basic Scrambled "Eggs" Mix (recipe follows)
  • 5 oz Sunergia Soyfoods Soy Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the rice, water and a large pinch of salt to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low, cover the pan and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. The rice should be fully cooked.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. In a large frying pan (that has a lid) over medium low heat, warm two of the tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the leeks, covered but stirring occasionally, until soft. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Once soft, remove the leeks from the pan and place into a large bowl.

In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, heat the oil, then cook the zucchini over medium heat until it softens. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Season with a touch of salt and pepper, then add to the bowl with the leeks.

To the bowl of leeks and zucchini, add the rice, mint, dill, scrambled "egg" mix, soy feta, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.

Grease a 9 x 9 baking dish, then pour the mixture into the dish. Smooth over with a spatula, then bake until golden brown and set, about 35-40 minutes. To serve, cut into squares and serve while still warm.

Basic Scrambled “Eggs” Mix

  • 1 12 oz package Soft Silken Tofu
  • 1 12 oz package Extra Firm Silken Tofu
  • 1/4 cup MimicCreme
  • 3/4 cup "Egg" Mix (recipe follows)
  • 1 TBSP Mellow White Miso Paste dissolved in 1 TBSP Hot Water
  • Dash of Garlic Powder
  • Dash of Turmeric
  • Dash of Yellow Mustard Powder
  • 2 dashes of Curry Powder
  • 1 1/2 Black Himalayan Salt, to taste
  • About 1 TBSP Nature’s Flavor Orange Food Coloring (optional, for color)
Blend all of the above ingredients in a food processor . Taste for salt.


To make the "Egg" Mix

  • 1/3 cup Raw Walnut Pieces
  • 1/3 cup Raw Cashew Pieces
  • 3 TBSP Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Roasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 2-3 tsp Kosher Salt
  • Dash of Garlic Powder
  • Dash of Turmeric
  • Dash of Yellow Mustard Powder

Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor until the just start to stick together. It should smell/taste "eggy" to you when you're finished. Omit the last 3 ingredients to make a bitchin' Parmesan substitute. Also great when sprinkled on tofu when making a scramble.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

White Soy Sauce Glazed Pasilla Pepper, Kale, Chickpea and Chorizo Quesadilla topped with Cilantro Creme Fraiche


I believe that the majority of my readers are under the impression that I must eat like a gourmand on a daily basis. Let me dispel this notion immediately: I am one very apathetic home chef. For example, tonight for dinner I threw some ramen noodles, mushrooms, spinach, vegan chicken and no chicken broth base into a pot and called it a night. It took about ten minutes to prepare, and my lazy ass is completely satisfied. If i made a cookbook of what I actually ate on a daily basis, I think I'd sell about 10 copies. And no one would read my blog.

When I write recipes, I like to not only think outside of the box, but outside of what's considered appropriate for a trained professional chef. I have no training besides what I've read in books. i let my palate do the teaching. I find that I usually have a great deal of success when I test a recipe, and the feedback I receive is 90% positive.

The biggest complaint I receive is that my recipes seem just a tad to overwhelming for novice home chef, but I promise that my book will break it down into easy step-by-step processes that even include shortcuts to eliminate a great deal of the dirty work that goes into the preparation process.

The recipes I'm posting today is one of my more simple ones, that way I don't have to listen to you all bitch and whine...haha how I kid. Actually, the only thing I'll allow you to bitch about the fact is that Whitey McWhiteGirl is making a decent attempt to create an authentic Mexican recipe.

The funny think is, I threw this recipe together with much less forethought than I do most of my other recipes, and I actually believe it to be one of my better ones. It was one of those "what do I have lying around the house that I can throw together" creations. Or, what my grandpa would affectionately refer to as a "Garbage Can Recipe".

I really enjoyed it, so did my roommates, and hopefully you will, too.

Oh, and one last thing. I've created a Facebook page for my book, "Veganize This!". On the left hand sidebar, you can click a pretty little link that will allow you to "Like" the book on Facebook. So get your mouse in gear and show me some lovin'!

Have a great week!

White Soy Sauce Glazed Pasilla Pepper, Kale, Chickpea and Chorizo Quesadilla topped with Cilantro Creme Fraiche

  • 2 TBSP Canola Oil
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 White Onion, chopped
  • 1 14 oz can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 12 oz package of Vegan Chorizo (I used Yves)
  • 1 Pasilla Chile Pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 cups chopped Kale (any type)
  • 2 TBSP White Soy Sauce
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups Vegan Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 4 Large (Burrito Size) tortillas

In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the canola oil. Add the garlic and onions to the pan, and saute until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the chickpeas, chorizo, and pasilla pepper to the pan, and saute until the chorizo is browned, the chickpeas are cooked and the pepper is softened.

Add the white soy sauce to the pan to deglaze, then stir in the kale and saute until wilted. Taste to see if salt or pepper is needed, then remove the pan from heat and set aside.

Take your tortillas, and add equal amounts of the chorizo mixture to one half of the tortilla. Spread the mixture out evenly over half the tortilla. Sprinkle 1/4 cup (or more, if desired) of the vegan cheddar over the filling on each tortilla, then fold the tortilla over to make a sandwich.

You have two options for cooking the quesadilla. One is to cook it in a pan on the stove, the other is to use a George Foreman Grill-type device.

If you're cooking stove top, grease a grill pan with a touch of oil and heat the pan over high heat. Cook the quesadillas one at a time for about 4 minutes on each side, or until all the cheese is completely melted.

If you're cooking on a Foreman Grill, cook the quesadillas individually until the cheese has fully melted and the tortilla is brown.

Cut the quesadillas into 4 slices, then serve immediately garnished with Cilantro Creme Fraiche. These also taste great with pico de galo salsa or guacamole.


Cilantro Creme Fraiche

  • 2/3 cup MimicCreme (or sub 2/3 cup Soymilk mixed with 1 TBSP White Vinegar)
  • 1/3 cup Plain Soy Yogurt
  • 1 small bunch Cilantro, finely diced
Mix the MimicCreme and plain soy yogurt together well, and leave out un-refrigerated for 12 hours. Yes, you read that correctly. It won't kill you...I promise.

Stick in the refrigerator until just before you're ready to make the quesadillas.

Remove from the refrigerator, stir in the cilantro, the place back in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chipotle and Black Pepper Crusted "Steak" Sandwiches with "Cheddar", Heirloom Tomato Horseradish "Mayo" and Watercress

This past week, my vegan immunity powerhouse of impeccable health was crumbled by some unknown virus. My throat was sore, my cough was strong, and there was more mucus coming out of my body than I was aware it could produce. I had "bear head*" for over two days. I couldn't leave my bed for almost three days. I know I was extremely ill because I also couldn't even think about food. That's my red flag. When I can't even pick up a cookbook without growing queasy, I know something's up...and that something was a violent flu that I'll hopefully never cross paths with again.

I'm not used to falling ill. It's been almost two years since any sickness nearly this strong has pervaded my tiger-like immune system. And I am one crabby motherfucker when I'm sick. I couldn't just order Jane around to bring me tea and lozenges because she was equally as ill as I. All we could do was lay in bed together and whine in between coughing fits. I'm sure it was quite a scene.

I used to fake sick all the time as a kiddo, and I was downright GREAT at doing so. Most kids just stick a thermometer under a lamp and call it a day. Not me. I busted out. I would lay a hot water bottle underneath my neck and head to raise my temperature, then hide it the second my mom came in to check my fever. It would raise me to at least 99.5 or higher. I had perfected the fake sneeze like an artform. And, (this is gross...I know) I could make it seem like I'd thrown up in bed by chewing a bunch of food and spitting it on the comforter. I was one crazy 8-year-old. But instead of seeing myself as a young slacker, I like to think that all my days at home taught me how to keep a house together and tidy while the kids are at school. It's all about the light you shed on a situation.

Gross childhood stories aside, I'm back on my feet and back in my kitchen. For this sandwich, I used the new stretchy Teese cheddar, but I'm going to be an ass and recommend using Daiya instead. I just like the taste so much better.

Happy belated Labor Day!

*(You've seen the commercials where the guy wearing the bear head represents that disconnected feeling, right? Alright. Maybe I just like the term "Bear Head".

Chipotle and Black Pepper Crusted Steak Sandwiches with "Cheddar", Heirloom Tomato Horseradish "Mayo" and Watercress

  • 1 batch of Beef Style Seitan, made in 1 large piece
  • Canola Oil, for rubbing "Steak"
  • Kosher Salt, for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Dried Chipotle Pepper, ground
  • 4 Sandwich Rolls, halved and toasted
  • 8 Slices of Vegan Cheddar Cheese
  • Heirloom Tomato Horseradish Mayo (Recipe Follows)
  • 1 bunch of Watercress

Heat your grill, grill pan or skillet over high heat. Rub the big piece of Beef Style Seitan with the canola oil, then rub well with salt, pepper and ground chipotle. Grill the "Steak" on both sides until slightly charred, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the grill or pan and set aside to cool for 4 minutes. Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices.

Place two slices of "Cheddar" on the bottom of each sandwich roll, the place an equal amount of "Steak" atop the "Cheddar". Wrap each sandwich tightly with foil, then place back on the grill or pan for 1 minute on each side. Remove the sandwich from the heat and unwrap it, the add the Heirloom Tomato Horseradish Mayo and watercress to the sandwich. Serve.

Heirloom Tomato Horseradish Mayo

  • 1 large Heirloom Tomato, seeded
  • 1 cup Vegan Mayo
  • 1 TBSP Whole Grain Mustard
  • 2 TBSP Horseradish, drained
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Using a food processor, puree all of the ingredients except the salt and pepper until fully blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Turkey", Tarragon, and "Mascarpone" Lasagna


There's something about being "stuck" in the Valley that's opening my creative doors. True, I also feel like I should run out, bleach my hair, get a nice set of fake tits and some microdermabrasion, but that's just an urge I'll have to resist. Regardless of my newly reawakened creative streak, Jane and I quickly realized this isn't the place we want to live. We've been here only a few weeks, and we already miss the city. I miss waking up to the smell of homeless man and burned french toast. I miss being able to walk to Whole Foods and 7-Eleven. I miss my Gayborhood. And I'm stuck here for a year. Just to placate our longing for city life, we broke into our old apartment last night and smoked some hash. It made me feel a little better. Oh well, I guess that just means I'll have to cook a shit load to take my mind off of it.

I'm trying to comprise my second book of recipes that are less complex than the first. Well, the recipes in the first book aren't really complex. Several of the recipes just have a lot of steps from start to finish. Making the seitan is what I fear will overwhelm readers the most, but it truly is so simple once you try it out. Yes, I use a lot of ingredients in the broths. Deal with it. It's what makes my fake meats taste authentic. Woops, I just got sassy there for a minute. Sincerest apologies.

What I like to much about this recipe in particular is that, aside from making the seitan, it's really simple to throw together. Especially if you do all the prep in advance. And one really great thing to know is that if you're too lazy to make the seitan, just go out and buy a pound of Gardein chicken breasts to use instead. The recipe will be (almost) just as good. You can also just use frozen broccoli (thawed, of course) to skip the whole blanching step. Definitely try to locate the Dr. Cow cheese for making the sauce, though. Just one package of it grated over a Microplane zester will yield way more than you need for the recipe.

Happy Tuesday :)

"Turkey", Tarragon, and "Mascarpone" Lasagna

For the Lasagna...
  • 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 batch of Vegan Turkey, finely chopped
  • 1 batch of Vegan Mascarpone (recipe follows)
  • 3 TBSP Fresh Tarragon, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 lb Broccoli Florets, broken into bite size pieces
  • 1 lb No Bake Lasagna Noodles
  • 2 cups Vegan Mozzarella, finely grated

For the Sauce...
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Margarine
  • 2 TBSP Unbleached White Flour
  • 2 1/2 cups Soy Milk (or other Non Dairy Milk)
  • 2/3 cup Dr Cows Tree Nut Cheese, finely grated
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then saute the onion and garlic until softened but not browned. Add in the diced vegan turkey, raise the heat to high, and saute for about 5 minutes longer. Remove the pan from heat, then stir in the mascarpone and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then blanch the broccoli for 1 minute. Drain in a colander over the sink, then immediately rinse with cold water. Drain well and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the vegan margarine over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from heat, then gradually whisk in the soy milk. Return the pan to heat and bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for 1 minute, then slowly whisk in the Dr Cow cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble the lasagna, first place a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish, then layer in the following order:

1) Layer of Noodles
2) Layer of "Turkey" Mixture
3) Layer of Broccoli
4) Layer of Mozzarella

Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with a sprinkle of fresh tarragon for garnish, if desired. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.


Vegan Mascarpone

  • 1 package Mori-Nu® Silken Soft Tofu
  • 1/8 cup MimicCreme
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar

A stand mixer with a whisk attachment is ideal for this, but a strong arm and a whisk will do the job as well. Combine ingredients in a stand mixer, and whisk together on the highest setting possible (the setting that doesn't leave you covered in tofu chunks), and mix until light and creamy. Chill until ready to use.

Vegan Turkey Recipe

Vegan Turkey Dough
  • 1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1/3 cup No Chicken Broth
  • 1/3 cup White Ale
  • 1/3 cup MimicCreme

For the Broth...
  • 4 cups prepared Better Than Bouillon's No Chicken Broth
  • 2 cups Low Sodium Vegetable Stock
  • 1 cup of Dry White Wine (I use Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 can of Light Ale
  • 1 1/4 cup MimicCreme
  • 1 TBSP Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup Mirin
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Yellow Mustard Powder
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Stalk of Celery, sliced
  • 1 TBSP Mellow White Miso Paste

Combine all of the broth ingredients EXCEPT the mellow white miso paste in a very large stock pot. Bring to a boil, then add the mellow white miso paste and stir until dissolved.

Whisk together the liquids for the dough (No Chicken Broth, White Ale and MimicCreme), then by mix with the vital wheat gluten and knead until it’s completely mixed. Squeeze out any excess liquid, then depending on the recipe you're using the vegan turkey for, either shape into one large rectangle or flatten the dough into a circle and and use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut into four pie wedge “Turkey Breast” shaped pieces.

Drop the dough into the pot of boiling broth, reduce heat to simmer, and cover the pot with a lid. Let the seitan simmer for about an hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

Once done cooking, drain the Turkey Seitan well. Place the pieces (or piece) of seitan on top of a drying rack, then allow it to drain for a few hours to achieve that "dry" element that real turkey has.

Use as directed in any of my vegan turkey recipes, or substitute for real turkey in one of your favorites!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Roasted Marcona Almond, Sun-Dried Tomato and Sage Ricotta Baked Ziti with Miniature Vegan Meatballs

I hate moving more than I hate meat. It's the most pain-in-the-ass process I've ever endured. The worst part about it is that my kitchen is in boxes, and I'm reduced to ordering take-out or making simple stir frys. The funny thing is is that my kitchen required more boxes than any other room in my apartment. At least it'll be all over on Monday, and I can return to my typical schedule of fiendish cooking.

I really have nothing to whine about. Our new home is fantastic. Did I mention I have my own washer and dryer that DOESN'T require quarters? Instant orgasm when I found that one out. I also finally have a yard where I can garden and my pup can run free, so I know how great life will be once I'm finally settled in. And I have a real grill! I am so effing excited to just move and get this process over with.

Life's been great, otherwise. I'm planning a trip to one of my favorite vegan cities: Portland. I plan to stuff myself silly while drinking pint after pint of PDX's great beer. And the best part is, we're driving there. Road trips are at the top of my "Favorite Things" list, and I couldn't be more stoked.

As a teenager, I took more than my fair share of road trips. My favorite one was an extended "Life On The Road" experience that ultimately ended up in rehab. Quite the adventure, indeed. Regardless, I'm looking very forward to 16 hours in a car with my sweetheart, the music blasting and being surrounded by countryside.

On to the food. Baked Ziti was one of my all-time favorite childhood comfort foods. I had to snazz it up a bit for the sake of my ego, but this dish is great when you're craving something hearty and delicious. Give it a whirl..you won't be sorry!

Have a great week!

Roasted Marcona Almond, Sun-Dried Tomato and Sage Ricotta Baked Ziti
with Miniature Vegan Meatballs

  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2/3 cup Marcona Almonds, roasted
  • Canola Oil, enough for coating Almonds
  • 8 oz jar of Sun Dried Tomatoes packed in oil, drained well
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Sage Leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup Dr Cows Aged Cashew Cheese (any flavor), finely grated or Vegan Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil, plus more for "de-sticking" pasta
  • 1 batch of Vegan Ricotta
  • 2 1/2 cups Vegan Mozzarella, finely grated
  • 3 cups Marinara Sauce
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 batch of Vegan Meatballs (recipe follows), made 1-2 cm wide instead of full size, or substitute Nate's Savory Mushroom Vegan Meatballs
  • 1 lb Ziti Pasta Noodles

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the Ziti in a large pot of salted, boiling water until just al Dente. Drain well, toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking, then set aside.

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spread the Marcona almonds out evenly on the foil. Drizzle a bit of canola oil over the almonds, then roll them around to coat fully. Bake for 7-10 minutes, until beginning to brown, then set the pan aside so the almonds can cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, move on to making the "ricotta".

Using a food processor or blender, first blend the garlic and almonds until finely chopped. Add the "ricotta", sun dried tomatoes, sage, Dr. Cow (or "Parmesan"), and a touch of salt and pepper to the food processor. Turn on the machine, and while it's running, pour the olive oil in and allow the ingredients to blend until fully combined. Scrape the sides of the blender or food processor down once or twice during the blending process.

Turn the oven up to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together the Ziti, half of the miniature meatballs, 2 cups of the marinara sauce, half of the vegan mozzarella, and "ricotta", then pour the mixture into a casserole dish. Cover the pasta mixture with the remaining marinara sauce, remaining miniature meatballs and remaining "mozzarella". Bake in the preheated oven for 20 until fully warmed through, then turn on the broiler to the "high" setting and broil until the "cheese" is brown and bubbly.

Allow to cool for a moment before serving.

Vegan Meatballs

"Meatball" Seitan Dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups Arrowhead Mills® Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1 1/2 cups Water mixed with 1 1/2 tsp Better Than Bouillon® No Beef Base
  • 2 TBSP MimicCreme
  • 1/3 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Wheat Germ
  • 3 "Flax Eggs" (6 TBSP finely ground Golden Flax Seed mixed w/ 6 TBSP Water)
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Parmesan
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp of dried parsley
  • 1/3 cup MimicCreme
  • 1 TBSP Vegan Margarine

"Meatball" Seitan Broth:
  • 7 cups prepared Better Than Bouillon® No Beef Broth
  • 6 dried Shitake Mushrooms re-hydrated in 1 cup Water
  • 1/8 cup Tamari
  • 1 Portobello Mushroom Cap, chopped
  • 1 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 Bay Leaves

Okay. First, make sure you re-hydrate your dried shitakes in the 1 cup of water 1/2 hour prior to making the "Beef" dough. Don't discard the water once they're hydrated.

Using a stand mixer (if you have one...by hand, if not), mix together vital wheat gluten, water/bouillon and the first 2 TBSP of MimicCreme well. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring all of the "Meatball" Broth ingredients to a boil. Take the "Meatball" dough and break off little pieces, dropping them into the boiling broth until all the dough has been used. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and let cook for 1 hour. Stir every ten
minutes or so.

Remove from heat, and place a strainer in the sink, and pour the contents of the pot into a strainer. Remove the bay leaves, then let the seitan and mushrooms cool to room temperature. Once cool enough to touch, use a food processor to grind up the seitan and mushrooms until it's a very fine texture.

In a small skillet over medium-high heat, melt the first tablespoon of vegan margarine and sauté the minced garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the garlic, oregano and parsley to the ground seitan, and mix in well. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Once cool enough to touch, move the ground seitan mixture to a large bowl, then add in the flax egg, MimicCreme, breadcrumbs, vegan parmesan and wheat germ. Use your hands to mix well.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet.

Form the mixture into 1/2 inch balls, then bake in the oven until brown and warmed through, about 15-20 minutes.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cracked Coriander Seed and Chai Tea-Rubbed Vegan Steak Lo Mein


I'm turning into motherfucking June Cleaver. First, marriage, now we're moving to a house...in The Valley. That's right. The San Fernando Valley. Have I lost my mind? No. I've been trying to find it since '97. Regardless, I'll finally have a yard where I can garden my little ass off. I've been having wet dreams about harvesting my own kale and basil for years. Just the mere thought makes me tingly all over.

The one thing I severely dislike about moving, aside from all the chaos, is the fact that I can't cook while my kitchen's in boxes. I'm left with no other options except to order *shudders* delivery. I know, I know. I'm a lucky bastard to live in a city where vegan delivery options are aplenty. But I'm such a dweeb about needing to reap the rewards of cooking my own dinner.

So what have I been up to lately besides packing? Well, I've taken a recent liking to the show Weeds. "Gasp!", you say. Jenn aka Stoney McPoterstein has never watched Weeds? Nope, I'd never seen it before. But I've plowed through seasons 1 and 2 so far, and I'd also like to plow through Mary Louise Parker. DAMN what a hottie. All my former pot dealers had names like "Blitz" or "Lo Down" and were built either like line backers or Shaggy from Scooby Doo. Lucky me.

I'm hoping the crazy in my life dies down sooner than later so that I can return to my normal, cracked out cooking regimen. Until then, I leave you with this tasty masterpiece.

Cracked Coriander Seed and Chai Tea-Rubbed Vegan Steak Lo Mein


For the Steak:
  • 1 batch of Vegan Beef Style Seitan (about 6 "Steaks")
  • Light Sesame Oil, enough for coating "Steaks"
  • 1/4 cup Chai Tea Leaves, finely ground
  • 1 TBSP Coriander Seeds, cracked in a pepper grinder
  • 1/2 TBSP ground White Pepper
  • Sea Salt

In a small bowl, combine the ground chai tea leaves, cracked coriander seeds and white pepper well.

Lightly coat each "steak" with a bit of sesame oil, then sprinkle with a touch of salt. Rub each "steak" with an equal amount of the tea leaf/coriander blend, then set aside.

Oil a grill pan or large saute pan well, then heat the pan until it's hot and ready. Grill the "steaks" on each side for about 4-5 minutes until browned and cooked through, then remove from pan and set aside to cool.

Once cool enough to handle, slice the steaks on a bias into this slices, then set aside until the Lo Mein is finished.

For the Lo Mein:
  • 1 lb Spaghetti or Soba Noodles
  • 1/2 cup Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 cup Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 TBSP Canola (or Vegetable) Oil
  • 2 cups small Broccoli Florets
  • 1 lb White Button Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large Onion, largely chopped
  • 1 cup Sugar Snap Peas
  • 1 cup prepared Better Than Bouillon's No Beef Broth, chilled in the refrigerator until cold
  • 2 TBSP Cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves
  • 1 tsp Dark Sesame Oil
  • 1 batch of Cracked Coriander Seed and Chai Tea-Rubbed Steak Strips (above)
  • Black Sesame Seeds

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook noodles until just al Dente. Drain well, toss with a touch of canola oil, and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the seasoned rice vinegar, garlic, ground ginger, and soy sauce. Set aside.

Heat the 2 TBSP of canola oil in a large wok until hot, then add the rice vinegar mixture and broccoli. Stir fry for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms, onions and snap peas and saute until tender.

Combine the chilled No Beef Broth and cornstarch in a small bowl. Pour it into the wok, and allow it to cook until thickened. Add in the cooked noodles, and toss to combine, and allow the mixture to cook until the noodles warmed through completely.

Remove from heat, toss with fresh cilantro and dark sesame oil, then serve topped with slices of Cracked Coriander Seed and Chai Tea-Rubbed Steak.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Orzo with Home-Made Vegan Chicken Apple Sausage, Asparagus , Baby Tomatoes and Home-Made Vegan Ricotta Salata in a White Tomato Sauce

Ok. It's time for one of my Kvetch Korners. I want to preface this story with the fact that both Jane and I are very grateful for all of our wedding gifts. Writing this even makes me feel a little bit Jew Guilty, but I'll just let it slide for humor's sake. So here's what happened...

We received two gifts via mail from Best Buy, both of which we already owned. Both gifts contained gift receipts, leading us to believe that we could easily return the items and receive a gift card to the store. WRONG. We walk up to the customer service register. It goes a little something like this:

Me: We'd like to return these gifts in exchange for a store credit.

Clerk: I'm sorry. We cannot process a return on these items. All we can do is credit the original card on which the purchase was made.

Me: But then the person will know we didn't like their gift. What kind of return policy is that? I have a gift receipt!

Clerk: I'm sorry. It's just our policy.

Me: The store still gets the money if you issue me a gift card, and the gift giver doesn't get offended. No one gets hurt. Is it really that big of a deal?

Clerk: I'm sorry. It's just our policy.

At this point, I'm ready to go Jew on their asses. I ask for the manager, explain in the calmest voice I can muster that "it's just common sense that a gift card should be issued", and finally get my way. I know, I know. I can be a bit of a brat. But for fuck's sake, isn't that the most ridiculous policy you've ever heard of? All I know is that I'll never buy anyone a gift from Best Buy unless I can assure they'll like it. At least I got my damn gift card.

Enough whining for one day. I feel much better after letting off some steam. On to the food. This recipe is a little complex with the sausage making, so feel free to just buy some pre-made vegan sausages to simplify the process. It'll be (almost) as delicious. You can also just use a more simple tofu ricotta instead of doing the whole cheese making process.

Enjoy!

Orzo with Home-Made Vegan Chicken Apple Sausage, Asparagus , Baby Tomatoes and Home-Made Vegan Ricotta Salata
in a White Tomato Sauce

For the Home Made Sausage...
  • 1 batch of Chicken Style Seitan, drained well and cut into small (1-2 inch) pieces
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Gala Apples, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 White Onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP Canola Oil
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • 3 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 3 1/2 cups White Rice cooked in No Chicken Broth (or Vegetable Broth)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Chef's Note: There are many variations to making the sausages if you lack all the equipment in the recipe. See the bottom of the recipe for alternative instructions. There are also some alternative methods included throughout the recipe, so read carefully to find your best option.

After all the seitan and vegetables are prepped, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and saute 30 seconds. Add the onions plus a pinch of salt and pepper, then saute until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown.

Add the "chicken", apples, Worcestershire, ground ginger and a splash of lemon juice to the pan. Cook until the apples are beginning to soften.

Add the rice cooked in no chicken broth, and stir well to combine. Cook until the rice has completely warmed through. Remove from heat.

Using a meat grinder or food processor (see photo below), grind the mixture to the texture of ground beef.


Using a sausage maker attachment for a kitchenaid or other sausage maker, take vegetarian sausage casings and fill each link, twisting off after each links is about 6-7 inches long. Your sausage maker should have specific instructions as to how to make the links, so directions may vary depending on what product you use.

If you lack any of the equipment listed above, shape the sausages by hand by rolling them out on a flat surface, then steam in a steamer basket over boiling water for 35 minutes prior to using as directed below.

For the Orzo...
  • 1 bunch of Asparagus
  • 1 lb Orzo Pasta
  • 3 cups prepared Better Than Bouillon's No Chicken Broth (or Vegetable Broth)
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1 TBSP Kosher Salt, plus more for sprinkling on Asparagus
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil, plus more for roasting Asparagus
  • 2 links of Vegan Chicken Apple Sausage (see recipe above) or prepared Vegan Sausage*
  • 1 batch of White Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Baby Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP Chervil, finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 batch of Vegan Ricotta Salata (recipe follows) or Tofu Ricotta

*Chef's Note: Depending on the type of Vegan sausage casing you use, the cooking methods the casing will allow may vary. Check the casing instructions first to be sure they can endure high heat. If not OR if you're using pre-made sausages, slide the uncooked sausage out of the casing, slice and fry as the recipe indicates below.

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.

Bake the Chicken Apple sausages for 1/2 hour, then up the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 1/2 hour. until firm. Remove the sausages from the oven, leaving the oven on, and set aside to cool. Once cool, slice into bite-size pieces.

Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil, then lay the asparagus out evenly. Brush each spear lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast in your oven for 10-15 minutes, until soft, shaking the roasting pan once or twice throughout the roasting process. Once the stalks begin to brown, remove from your oven and set aside to cool.

In a medium saucepan, bring the No Chicken Broth, water and kosher salt to a boil. Add the orzo, and cool until al dente (still a bit firm to the bite). While the pasta is cooking...

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add and saute the sausage until cooked through and browning, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and asparagus, and cook for 2-3 minutes until all heated through.

Drain the orzo well. Place the drained orzo in a large bowl, then toss with cherry tomatoes, sausage mixture, White Tomato Sauce, chervil and parsley. Taste for salt and pepper. Crumble and top with Vegan Ricotta Salata and serve.

White Tomato Sauce...
  • 3 large or 4 small White Heirloom Tomatoes (or Yellow)
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup White Onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup White Wine
  • 1 dried Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Roughly chop the tomatoes, reserving their juices.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and their juices, and stir/mash the tomatoes as you go along. If you have an immersion blender, use it now to puree almost all of the tomatoes. If you don't, just smash with a potato masher or good wooden spatula.

Once the tomatoes are warmed through and smashed, add the white wine, garlic, bay leaf, red pepper flakes and a touch of salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to a fast simmer.

Allow the sauce to simmer until it has reduced by 1/2, about an hour.

Taste for salt and pepper. The sauce shouldn't be overly salty as White Tomatoes tend to have a sweeter taste.


For the Vegan Ricotta Salata...
  • 2 gallons soy milk, at 90F
  • 
7 tablespoons cultured Coconut Milk Kefir

  • 6 tablespoons Soy Yogurt
2
  • 1/2 tsp liquid vegetable rennet dissolved in about 1 cup Cold water
  • 1/2 cup White Vinegar



Bring and hold the soy milk at 90 degrees F over low heat. Mix the Kefir and yogurt separately with a little of the soy milk to remove lumps, then blend into the rest of the soy milk. Add the rennet solution and mix completely. Let sit until the curds set for about 20 to 30 minutes, maintaining the temperature at 90 degrees F.
Increase the heat to 180 degrees F, stirring constantly.

Once the temperature hits 180, slowly whisk in the white vinegar. The mixture should curdle heavily. Continue whisking while maintaining the 180 degree temperature for about 15 minutes. Then let the mixture sit for 10 minutes undisturbed.

Prepare a cheese-cloth lined colander in the sink. Have some pieces of string handy to tie up the cheese cloth and hang the cheese to dry.
Slowly pour the mixture over the cheese-cloth-lined colander, and allow the curds to cool for 20 minutes.

Tie up the four corners of the cheese cloth together, then hand it by a wooden spoon or stick so that it drains...about 5-7 hours.
You have a few options as to what you can do with the cheese at this point. You can unwrap the cheese from the cheesecloth and:

A) Salt or leave unsalted and use immediately in a recipe as plain Ricotta

B) Salt (or leave unsalted) and press the cheese into a mold using about 10lbs of pressure, then place the molded cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator and allow it to age and become "Ricotta Salata"

Use as you would ricotta salata, ricotta or cotija in your favorite recipe.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Vegan Croque Monsieur with Dijon Dill Aioli


Sorry I've been seriously slacking on blog postage lately. I've been so busy getting ready for my wedding that is just a little over 1 week away! Plus, Jane and I decided to take an impromptu trip to San Francisco for a week, which means I did much more eating than cooking. I had the privilege of trying this new restaurant in Berkeley called "Gather", and their vegan offerings blew me away. Check it out if you ever get the chance.

So what's been up in my life lately? Well, quite frankly, I've actually been allowing myself to be a lazy ass. I know how hellish it's going to be next week, so I've used the excuse of it being my birth month to get some serious R&R. I've slept in, consumed more alcohol than my little body can handle, and just plain grubbed out on my parents dollar. It's been an awesome month so far.

My greedy little ass also received some of the best birthday presents EVER. Jane went way over the top, buying me a new iPod, some kick-ass speakers, and a beautiful piece of art for our living room. My mom bought me a brand new cell phone, which I would have sex with if physically possible. My sister, knowing me all too well, gave me a Whole Foods gift card. It lasted about 12 hours before I used up the whole damn thing. My Dad's paying for the wedding, so he's totally off the hook this year.

By the way, we're registered at the Best Buy Wish List program.

Haha, just kidding.

Well, I wish I had more time to blog today. I've got an entire list of flower arrangements and cakes to sort through for the big day. I promise in July I'll be back with a vengeance!

Vegan Croque Monsieur with Dijon Dill Aioli

  • 2 TBSP Vegan Margarine
  • 3 TBSP All Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Hot Soy Milk
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • Pinch of Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 12 oz Vegan Mozzarella, finely shredded (preferably Daiya)
  • 1/2 cup Dr Cow Tree Nut Cheese, any flavor, finely grated (or Vegan Parmesan)
  • 16 slices White Bread, crust removed
  • 1/4 tsp Shallot Powder*
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 batch of Dijon Dill Aioli (recipe follows)
  • 1 batch of Vegan Ham, sliced thick (recipe follows..see Shaggy's Kitchen Tip below for specific prep instructions)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Finely chopped Fresh Dill, for garnish

Shaggy's Kitchen Tip: When making the Vegan Ham, keep the dough all in one piece instead of slicing it into fours. Then you'll be able to cut thick "deli style" slices from the "Ham".

*If you can't find Shallot Powder, just use 1/2 tsp Onion Powder

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the vegan margarine. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for two minutes. Slowly pour the hot soy milk into the margarine/flour mix, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened considerably. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the vegan mozzarella, Dr. Cow (or Vegan Parmesan), shallot powder and onion powder. Continue whisking until the "mozzarella" has melted, then remove from heat and set aside.

Place the slices of bread on 2 baking sheets. To toast, bake for 4 minutes on one side, then flip the slices over and bake an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown. Leave the oven on once finished toasting.

Leave half (8) of the slices of bread on their baking sheet, and spread them with the Dijon Dill Aioli. Place a thick slice of "Ham" on top of the Aioli. Sprinkle half of the remaining vegan mozzarella on top of the "Ham", then place the second slice of bread atop each sandwich. Cover the tops of the sandwiches with the "cheese" sauce, then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.

Bake the sandwiches in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn the broiler to high and broil 3-5 minutes, until the "cheese" on top is brown, hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.


Dijon Dill Aioli

  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Mayo
  • 2 TBSP Fresh Dill
  • 1 TBSP French White Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

First, place the garlic in a food processor and process until finely minced. Add the dijon mustard, vegan mayo, fresh dill, French white vinegar, and a touch of salt and pepper, then turn the food processor on. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil.

Turn the machine off, scrape down the sides with a spatula, then process a bit longer until fully blended. Taste for salt and pepper.


Vegan Ham

Dough...
  • 1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1/2 tsp Better Than Bouillon's No Beef Broth Paste
  • 1 scant (just shy of) cup Water
  • 1 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 TBSP Beet Powder
  • 1 TBSP MimicCreme
  • About 10 drops Liquid Smoke

Broth...
  • 6 cups prepared Better Than Bouillon's No Beef Broth
  • 1 beer-size bottle of Hard Apple Cider (or 1 cup Apple Juice)
  • 1/4 cup Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids
  • 1/2 bottle of Natural Red Food Coloring
  • 1 TBSP Brown Sugar
  • 15-20 drops of Liquid Smoke
  • 1/4 cup Mirin
  • 1 cup MimicCreme
  • 8 crushed Whole Cloves
  • Dash of Ground Ginger
  • 4-5 Fennel Seeds

Combine all of the broth ingredients in a large pot, then bring to a boil. While it's coming to a boil...

Place the Vital Wheat Gluten in a stand mixer bowl or large bowl.

In a measuring cup, dissolve the No Beef Broth Paste, the whisk in the remaining ingredients.

Make the Seitan Dough by mixing and kneading the Vital Wheat Gluten with the liquid mix on a low speed or quickly by hand. It will be slightly more wet than most seitan doughs. Squeeze out the excess liquid, and form the mixture into a ball. On a hard surface, flatten the ball out, and use kitchen shears to cut four pieces.

Drop the pieces into the boiling broth, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for one hour. Stir every 10-15 minutes.

Allow to cool, then use immediately or store in the refrigerator overnight in an air-tight container with some of the broth.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's My Birthday and I'll Blog If I Want To!


Hatch Chile Chicken Cacciatore

Happy Birthday to me! As I mentioned last year, I'm a fervent believer in not just a birth year, but a birth month. I will celebrate until the calender turns July, and there's nothing you can do to stop me :) In fact, I'm going to take the week off of blogging recipes to relax with my family and have a damn great day. Instead of a recipe, I thought I'd just post that lovely photo to taunt you all.

No long rants, just a little drool worthy photograph.

Have a great week, everyone! I'll be back next week with a phenomenal recipe and one of my typical rambles.

Friday, May 21, 2010

"Chicken" and Okra Fricassee


Well, my stories about my past drug adventures seem to be a big hit here on Veganize It...Don't Criticize It!. I don't want my readers under the impression that I'm some crazy drug fiend...I just happened to have some very wild teenage years. For the record, I've never even touched hard drugs. My personality is so addictive, that I know if I even did one line of coke I'd probably become addicted. This week's story is about a very unfortunate accident that happened when I was 16.

The night started out as a typical night of teenage shenanigans. My friend and I wanted to score a bag of weed, so we went over to our dealers house for a pick up. In true stoner etiquette, I offered to smoke a bowl of my newly acquired herb with the dealer. I go to use the restroom before we smoke, then come back and hit the bowl a few times.

My friend and I get into the car, and it's immediately apparent to me that something's not "all good, man". As I'm driving, I feel like I'm in a video game. My heart starts racing, the back of my head is pounding. My friend looks at my stunned face. "You OK, dude?", he asks. "No, dude. I'm FREAKING OUT!" He starts to laugh, then says "I think we just smoked crack". Another "Oh Shit" moment in my life.

I somehow manage to get my friend home, then drive back to my family's place and just lay down on the kitchen floor. All I could think about was the number 12 and how fast my heart was pacing. My mom eventually walks in and gives me one of those "I know you're on drugs" looks. She asks me if I'm ok, and I say "I'm fine". I laid on the kitchen floor for about another hour, then cleaned my room for the first time in months. It had never been so spotless. I now know much better than to abandon a bowl that I'm about to smoke. Sometimes we learn lessons the hard way.

Anyways, this recipe is based on one my Bubbee used to call one of her specialties: Chicken Fricassee. She would make it for me when I was a little kindelach, then my father took over making it after she passed. It's so great on a cold night when you want a dish that really sticks to your ribs. I know it's kind of addicting, but don't worry. No crack involved :)

"Chicken" and Okra Fricassee

  • 20 small Pearl Onions or Shallots
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 lb Okra, stems removed and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 batches of Vegan Chicken, cut into "Chicken" shaped pieces
  • 3 TBSP Vegan Margarine
  • 2 TBSP Sunflower Oil
  • 3 TBSP All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling No Chicken Broth
  • 1 Bouquet Garni
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 cups White Button Mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup MimicCreme
  • 3 TBSP Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Mashed Potatoes or Rice, for serving

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the Pearl Onions or Shallots in a large bowl, then pour boiling water over top of them so that they are completely submerged. Set aside to soak.

Heat the 1 TBSP of Olive Oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the Okra to the pan and saute for 10-15 minutes, until the "stickiness" diminishes. Set aside for later.

Melt 1 TBSP of the Vegan Margarine with the Sunflower Oil in a large frying pan. Add the "chicken" pieces and cook on high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly browned all over. Transfer the "chicken" pieces to a large casserole dish, leaving the pan juices behind on the stove.

Over medium-high heat, melt a 2nd TBSP of vegan margarine, then stir the flour into the pan juices and melted margarine. Add in the White Wine, and whisk to combine. Whisk in the boiling no chicken broth, bouquet garni and lemon juice. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Allow the mixture to boil until the sauce has thickened, then season with salt and pepper and pour over the "chicken". Cover the casserole dish with a lid, then place in the oven to cook for 1 hour.

Drain the Pearl Onions or Shallots well, then peel. Clean out the frying pan that you used for the "chicken", then add the remaining 1 TBSP of vegan margarine and heat until fully melted. Add the mushrooms and onions (or shallots) to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, turning frequently, until the mushrooms and onions are lightly browned. Add the mushrooms, onions (or shallots) and okra to the casserole dish with the "chicken".

Cook for an additional hour until the vegan chicken is nice and tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the "chicken" and veggies from the sauce and place them in a serving dish. Stir the MimicCreme and Fresh Parsley into the sauce, and whisk well to combine. Taste for salt and pepper. Pour the sauce back over the "chicken" and veggies, then garnish with more fresh parsley. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blue Fried "Shrimp", Morel, Sprouting Broccoli, Ramp and Baby Arugula Salad with a Fiddlehead Remoulade Dressing



My life has me so busy lately that I completely missed my two year blogaversary! Happy belated 2nd blogaversary to me. I can't believe I've been posting here almost every week for two years and I've yet to run out of silly things to talk about. If you've been reading for a while, you know I usually go for laughs, and I suppose my life is pretty funny on a daily basis.

This week, the humor in my world is more about sheer situational irony. Last Friday, I'm sitting at my desk sipping my morning coffee when my phone rings: it's my agent's office. "You have an audition, and it's today", the say. "Great!", I think to myself. I love getting auditions. "What's it for?", I ask. "Jimmy Dean Sausage."

That's when my heart stops. I have an "Oh Shit" Moment. A million thoughts start racing through my mind. Do I have to eat the sausage? Should I even go on the audition? Can I really endorse a product I don't actually stand behind or want to further the consumption of?

Of course, the immediate "go to" answer is to not go. But hear me out on this one: commercials pay a bank load. I've been strapped for cash for months, and booking a commercial would be one answer to my problems. As long as I don't eat it, what's the harm? Well, the harm is that I could end up:

A) Responsible for increasing the death of animals by endorsing a product with my "Sell It" smile
B) Actually increase the number of people who want to consume such products by endorsing it and making something gross look appetizing.

So what did I do? I went to the audition. I got a call-back. I went to the call back. I'm now waiting to find out if I actually booked the damn gig. What I'll actually do if I book is another story, and the thoughts have been plaguing my mind all day. Like I said, my life is funny that way. The vegan in a sausage commercial. Go fucking figure.

Anyway, let's talk about something vegan and delicious. This week, I'm posting a very seasonal, Farmers Market driven SALAD! Yes, the "S" word. I actually posted something light and (almost) healthy. My little sister made the trek up from the OC to L.A. so that she could find herself some green garlic at the amazing Santa Monica Farmers Market, and I took it as an opportunity to score a shit load of great produce. I then set to work on this work or art, and I highly recommend you at least try making the dressing. It's yummy and refreshing.

Have a great week!

Blue Fried "Shrimp", Morel, Sprouting Broccoli, Ramp and Baby Arugula Salad with a Fiddlehead Remoulade Dressing

For the Dressing...
  • 1/4 cup MimicCreme mixed with 2 TBSP Egg Mix
  • 1 cup raw Fiddlehead Ferns
  • The juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped Green Onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped Celery
  • 1 TBSP Horseradish
  • 3 TBSP Whole-Grain Mustard
  • 3 TBSP Yellow Mustard
  • 3 TBSP Vegan Ketchup
  • 3 TBSP Chopped Parsley
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 cup Olive Oil

For the Salad...

  • 1/2 lb Morel Mushrooms, cleaned
  • 2 cups Sprouting Broccoli
  • 5 TBSP Vegan Margarine
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 5 cups Ramps, roughly chopped and stems discarded
  • 5 cups Baby Arugula
  • 2 packages of Frozen Vegan Shrimp, thawed
  • 2 cups Hot Sauce
  • 2 cups Unbleached White Flour
  • 2 cups Blue Cornmeal
  • Vegetable Oil, enough for frying
  • Creole Seasoning (Cajun Blast or Tony Cachere's), to taste
  • 1 large Sweet Onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 3 TBSP Chopped Parsley

Combine all of the dressing ingredients except oil, salt, pepper and cayenne in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Season with the salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Turn the machine back on, and slowly pour in the olive oil while the machine is still running until thick. Add more salt, pepper and cayenne if needed.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the vegan margarine. Add the morels and sprouting broccoli, then toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper, then saute for about 5-6 minutes until the morels and broccoli are softened and browning. Remove from heat and set aside.

Take the thawed Vegan Shrimp, and toss with the hot sauce in a mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, blue cornmeal, and as much Creole Seasoning as you desire. In batches, toss the Vegan Shrimp in the cornmeal/flour/seasoning mix, making sure they're coated completely. Shake off any excess flour.

Heat 5-6 inches of Vegetable Oil in a very deep pot until it reaches 350 degrees. Fry the Vegan Shrimp in batches for about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

For the salad, using a large bowl, toss the ramps and arugula with half of the dressing and a touch of salt and pepper. Place a mound of greens in the center of each plate, then lay a few onion slices over the greens. Place a few shrimp atop the greens, then lay the morels and sprouting broccoli around the mound of greens. Garnish with the freshly chopped parsley.