Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vegan "Eggs" Benedict Florentine Omelettes with Sage Hollandaise Sauce

Well, readers, I've officially become a domesticated house-wife. How do I know? I had a delightful time pairing all of my lady's mismatched socks today following a rousing 3 hour laundry session. Pitiful? I hope not.

I'm really enjoying my new life in the Gayborhood (aka West Hollywood) so far. To date, my favorite neighbor is a strapping young man by day, a more masculine version of Cher by night. Not that I didn't enjoy life in Santa Monica, but for being the yoga capital of America, it sure did have it's fair share of angry soccer moms fighting for the best tomatoes at the farmer's market that would hiss anything at me except "OM" under their breath. Let's just say I feel a little more in my element here.

This post officially marks my one-year "Blogaversary". I spent a good 2 hours last week reviewing posts from the past 12 months. It was so interesting to notice not only how much has changed in my life, but how much I've grown as a home cook, writer and photographer. If you'd have asked my 5 years ago what I thought I'd be doing today, I probably would have said one of two things:
1) Holding a steady position as an anchor person for a snappy news/talk show (I was a broadcast journalism major for a long 2 months...but in reality I think exactly 5 years ago I was already a drop-out).
2) Harvesting a flourishing marijuana farm in northern California under the code-name "Pimpstress of Mystery", surrounded by people named "Haze" and "Blitz", while fighting off the DEA with my wit and charm.

What a long way I've come, indeed. I decided to reward myself by making one of the things I miss the most: Omelettes. Even as a meat-eater, I never understood people when they said they just needed a *shudders out of revulsion* big juicy steak. I really just miss eggs. And Brie...which I hope to conquer soon. I started off with the Parmesan Blend I use all the time, and just kept altering the recipe until it provided that proper "egg-ish" taste and smell. I think this recipe still needs a bit of work, but for now, it really did the trick.

Special shout-outs this week to was great to see you :) And to QuarryGirl, for being my Guinea Pig with the egg recipe. You both make me smile.

There are several components to making this omelette a Benedict omelette, but you can make this your own way, too. Enjoy!

Vegan "Eggs" Benedict Florentine Omelettes
with Sage Hollandaise Sauce

To make the "Omelette"
  • 1 lb package Nasoya Silken Tofu
  • 1/4 cup MimicCreme (or 1/2 cup Soy Milk thickened with 1 TBSP Corn Starch)
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup "Egg" Mix (recipe follows)
  • 1 TBSP Mellow White Miso Paste
  • Dash of Garlic Powder
  • Dash of Turmeric
  • Dash of Yellow Mustard Powder
  • Dash of Curry Powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 5 tsp Agar Powder
Grease two medium sized skillets with Canola Oil or Non-Stick spray, and set aside.

Blend all of the above ingredients except the Agar Powder in a food processor until smooth. Pour into a sauce pan, and stir in the Agar Powder. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring occasionally.

Allow it to boil for about a minute, then pour into the greased skillets and smooth out evenly with a spatula or spoon. Allow to refrigerate a few hours until completely set.

When you're ready make your omelettes, gently remove from the pan, keeping the set mixture in one piece, by either turning the pan upside-down over a plate, or pushing out of the skillet onto a plate. It will look like this...

Add a little oil or earth balance the the pan, then brown on each side (flipping gently with a spatula) and fill with either the Florentine Benedict fillings, or whatever else tickles your fancy.

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.

To make the Sage Hollandaise Sauce...
  • 1/2 + 1/4 cup MimicCreme (or Cashew Mix)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBSP Earth Balance, melted
  • 1 3/4 TBSP Corn Starch mixed with 1 1/2 TBSP Cold H20
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/8 cup Fresh Sage Leaves
  • Dash of Turmeric
Heat 1/2 cup of the MimicCreme (or Cashew Mix) in a sauce pan over medium high heat until it just begins to boil. Pour into a blender, add salt and pepper, and place the lid on to trap in heat.

In the same sauce pan, whisk the rest of the MimicCreme, Cornstarch and Turmeric together, and heat over medium high, stirring constantly, until thickened/reduced by almost half. Scrape into the blender with the rest of the MimicCreme, add melted Earth Balance, Lemon Juice and Sage, and blend until smooth.

Reheat over low heat or microwave before serving.

To make the Vegan Bacon...
  • 8 oz Super Firm Tofu, drained well and cut into "Bacon" size slices
  • 4 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 2 TBSP Bragg's Liquid Amino
  • 2 1/2 TBSP Mirin
  • About 12 drops of Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 tsp Better Than Bouillon's No Beef Base combined w/1 TBSP H2O
  • Dash of Garlic Powder
  • Dash of Onion Powder
  • 1-2 tsp Canola Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Beet Powder (optional...for color)
Take the tofu slices, and stack in a Tupperware container. Combine the rest of the ingredients well, then pour over the tofu slices. Allow to marinate for a few hours.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a sheet pan with Canola oil, then spread out pieces of tofu evenly. Allow to bake 4-7 minutes on each side, flipping once, until browned...

Dice up and place in the omelette.

For the English Muffin Croutons...
  • 1 Vegan English Muffin, diced into cubes
  • 1 TBSP Earth Balance, melted
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss all of the above ingredients until the cubes of English Muffin are well coated, then bake on a greased baking sheet until brown and crispy.

For the Spinach...
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 2 TBSP Vegetable Broth
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil, enough for cooking (About 1 TBSP)
Combine Vegetable Broth and Lemon Juice, and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a small skillet, then add minced Garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn heat to low, add Spinach leaves, salt, pepper, and Broth/Juice mix, then stir to combine.

Turn off the heat, and cover with a lid until the Spinach wilts.

Drain before adding to the omelette.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lemon Artichoke Cavatelli in an Heirloom Tomato Creme Vinaigrette with English Peas and Vegan Prosciutto

For the past 5 years I've lived in California, I buy myself a planner/organizer at the beginning of January. I don't really make New Years resolutions, but for whatever reason, I tell myself that in this new year my life will be different. It will be organized. I will write down appointments, bills due and birthdays. I might even write down a witty statement or two. Well, lets just say I don't have 5 years of documented paid utilities and chronological poignancy...but I do have a shelf full of empty day planners that report what I did up until about January 15th of 2004-2009.

Spontaneity is the name of the game in LA, and I've really come to embrace it. Except the time 10 cop cars stopped traffic right in front of me on the 101 freeway and an armed criminal ran right past my front bumper. That was a bit much. Anyway...

Just today, I was given the opportunity last minute to have dinner with one of my favorite vegan chefs, Isa Chandra Moskowitz. It was amazing to meet her. I feel like I may have rambled like an idiot, but I can't even care. My first vegan culinary endeavors were provoked by Vegan With A Vengeance, and it was so great to enjoy a meal with a woman that's inspired me in more ways than I can count. So thank you, Isa. You kick some serious ass.

My original topic for this post was going to be all about my new apartment. This is the first recipe I've cooked in my new kitchen, and I couldn't be more pleased with the oven here or the lighting. And I can't forget to mention that 3 of my favorite vegan restaurants will deliver right to my doorstep (cough *Bulan* cough).

I'll save all that for next week. What's important is that I'm finally settled in my new place, which means my blogging will resume it's normal schedule.

PS: Next week is my one year Blogaversary. I'm registered at Sur La Table and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Home-Made Vegan Mozzarella that Melts!

Blog Readers: I swear I have not abandoned you. I started out deciding to take a week vacation due to a scheduled family trip to Las Vegas, and I usually cook my recipes over the weekend. My lady and I piled into my trusty VW Golf, heading East in hopes of instant wealth, quality sinful fun and free vodka. Note delicious vegan food was not mentioned, as almost everyone in Vegas eats meat-fried-meat. Anyway, we were having an amazing time...albeit I was a little bitter because everyone else seemed to be winning money except myself.

On Sunday, we headed over to the Rio because they offer a $10 voucher for their slots. The catch is that you have to use it on slots that are at least a $1 value. We grab some food first, then secure our vouchers. I wander over to the bar for a strong mid-day libation, then notice:


Let me dissect the deeper meaning here: I look no older than 14. For the first 2 days in Vegas, I was carded at least 20+ times per day. Without and I.D., I was reduced to drinking fruit punch in the hotel lobby...and a wasted $10 free voucher! The Jew in me was raging. I start freaking out. I run about 15 circles around the casino, crawling under stools [that people were sitting on] and reaching between slot machines. I check with the Security desk. No such luck. In a state of utter despair, I leave my number at the lost and found, then go outside to mope on the staircase.

Then, by some stroke of magic, my lady exchanges a few words with the Customer Care desk, and my ID is radioed back to safety. Exhausted and still slightly drunk, I thank her profusely.
"Let me just use up my voucher here, then we can go back to our hotel and take a nap."

I run back inside, throw my voucher into a $1 slot, but I accidentally hit the "Bet All" button. "Dammit!" I scream. As if the day could really get much worse. I hit the "Spin Reels" button, and all of a sudden, $$$$$ flashes across the screen. I had hit the goddamn jackpot. Quite an ending to a dramatic day.

And it couldn't have come at a better time. I'm gearing up for a move to West Hollywood, which is the other contribution in my life to blogging sluggishness. Hopefully, I'll be settled in my new kitchen with the next week or two, and I can be back to business as usual.

I also have a new puppy! She's a Jack Russel/Chihuahua mix, and she's adorable :)

Enjoy this recipe, kids. Don't be afraid of the cost of Agar. I cook all the time, and I've yet to go through the entire bottle I bought about a year ago. I can't wait to get my hands on some Carrageenan and really go to town.

Home-Made Vegan Mozzarella

  • 1 package Extra Soft Silken Tofu
  • 1 cup MimicCreme
  • 1/2 TBSP Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Rice Vinegar
  • 4 tsp Agar Powder
Place Tofu, MimicCreme, Kosher Salt, Garlic Powder and Rice Vinegar in a blender or food processor, and blend on high until it's a completely liquid consistency. Place the mixture in a small sauce pan, stir in the Agar Powder, and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

Bring the contents of the sauce pan to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Then remove from heat and pour immediately into a baking dish. Smooth over the mix as if you were making a batch of brownies, then place into the refrigerator for a few hours until completely set.

Use as you would any of your favorite vegan cheeses. It shreds, slices, and even does my taxes ;)