Sunday, July 25, 2010

Eggplant-Potato Moussaka from Veganomicon

I started off planning to make some veggie lasagna so I went hunting for the pine nut cream recipe in the Veganomicon. The pine nut cream actually goes with the Eggplant-Potato Moussaka, so I switched gears and decided to make moussaka. As instructed, I tried reading the recipe aloud three times and clicking my heels, but following the recipe was almost as easy.
I'd already roasted eggplant, zucchini, onions, and garlic, so this was even easier to make than lasagna. I just roasted the potato layer, simmered the sauce, and blended the pine nut cream. Layer it all together and pop in the oven.

The pine nut cream gets a little crusty on top and really seals the deal on this dish. Totally easy and delicious.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Grilled veggie panini with Daiya mozzarella

Oh the trendy panini, how I love thee. I got way too many veggies going on from the CSA with loads of zucchini, squash, and eggplant and I need to start getting creative on ways to use them. Daiya cheese melts so well and really rounds out the panini experience.

I have the older version of this cuisinart panini grill that I like, but from the Amazon comments it looks like this updated one is even better.

Off to watch more Avatar, the last Airbender...gotta love cartoons where the main character doesn't eat meat! I haven't seen the movie yet.
Don't miss this giveaway Vegan Crunk Bianca is giving away soap nuts on her blog.

Also remember to renew your Veg News subscription. This month's 10th anniversary issue features a gorgeous Peter Max cover, but only on the subscriber issue. It also has the 10 top vegan blogs, articles by Joshua Katcher and his sister Joelle, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Terry Hope Romero, Robin Robertson, Hannah Kaminsky, Dynise Balcavage and more. It also showcases the top veggie cities where of course New York Rules!!! There's Vegan Drinks, Veggie Prom, Veggie Pride Parade, Lula's Sweet Apothecary, Moo Shoes and 42 vegan restaurants! Go NYC!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Steamed Red Seitan from Viva Vegan and more

It's yet another rice bowl of Mexcellence. This one is topped with steamed red seitan from Viva Vegan. The sauce is tofutti better than sour cream mixed with aji panca.The aji panca is not too spicy, but has a really nice red peppery bite that is more bitter (in a good way) than a red bell pepper.

Now for the seitan...if you haven't made steamed seitan yet, what are you waiting for? If you haven't gotten a chance to pick up Viva Vegan yet (yes, you really do need another vegan cookbook, it's Terry Hope Romero awesomeness...) just google "steamed seitan" or check out the PPK post On Sausage and Community. Steaming seitan is slightly easier than boiling it (honestly, I've never bothered baking seitan) and it has a nice finished texture. Because you wrap each steak up in aluminum foil, it keeps it's shape as it expands when steaming. Also I think it breaks apart a little better if you want to make crumbles out of it. I made these a few days ago when it was a little cooler, and I think they are even better after chilling in the fridge. Lemon lime aid is a summer must. Limes were 12 for $2 at the store, so I had to get them even without a plan for them. The lemons were organic, so I grabbed that bag, too, though I don't think they were as cheap. Instead of letting them linger and go bad in the fridge, I juiced them and kept the juice for other things. Here's the freegan part...instead of tossing the peels after juicing, plunk them in a large pitcher, cover with water, and pop in the fridge. By the time the water is cold, it's infused with all the juice you didn't quite get out of them and the oils from the rinds. You can add a little sweetener if you like, but I dig it straight up. Cool and refreshing.

Fast and easy pickles.

My CSA has been providing me with way more cucumbers than I know what to do with. My mom used to can pickles, but I wasn't really into making that much effort on a hot day to preserve them. So I pulled out Vegan Deli by Joanne Stepaniak and found an easy Garlic Dill Pickles recipe. You just slice the cukes, pack them in a jar with seasonings, garlic, dill, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and bay leaves. Boil some water with salt, then pour over the cukes. Ball makes plastic lids that fit their jars and also fit lots of other jars from other commercial products. Classico spaghetti sauce and Zukay salsa are 2 jars that I know the lids fit. Yeah, I know plastic is evil, but it's easier than messing with the metal 2 part canning lids and you're going to reuse them forever.

Oh and in other exciting vegan blogger news...River is back at Wing-It Vegan and Halloweegan is on!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rockin' the rice bowl

Burrito schmurrito, all you need is rice bowl. Mexcellent rice, pinto beans, avocado, salsa, and tofu sour cream with a splash of lime.The secret to eating more grains and rice really is a fancy rice cooker. I don't have a microwave at home, so not only does it cook perfect rice every time, it also reheats beautifully in a snap. The secret to amazing Mexcellent rice is sofrito. Sofrito is a mix of onions and peppers that adds the perfect seasoning to any Latin American cooking. Most people have their own special way to make it (mine originated from Daisy cooks,) but it's basic components are onions and peppers. I don't cook it first, (Terry's recipe in Viva Vegan calls for cooking the sofrito) but it usually ends up cooking anyway in the final recipe. I generally use a sweet vidalia or maui onion so it's less overpoweringly oniony if I leave it raw for guacamole or something. My new addition to the sofrito this time is aji peppers. I haven't been able to find them fresh, so I finally broke down and got the jarred ones. My local grocery store has a pretty good selection of Latin American items. The aji peppers are about the same spiciness of a jalapeno, but a little bigger and with a different flavor.


1 vidalia onion
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
2 aji peppers
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch culantro (recao)

Chop all ingredients really fine or throw into a food processor. I do mine in batches in a mini food processor and mix them together. Keeps a few days in the fridge, or forever in the freezer. I save sofrito frozen in 1/2 cup portions in ziplock snack bags.

Mexcellent Rice

1 cup long grain rice
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup sofrito
1/4 cup green salad olives
2 TBS capers
1 good pinch saffron (optional, but makes the rice yellow)

Mix all ingredients together and press the on button on the rice cooker, or cook on stovetop according to rice directions.

I also made some monkey bread. This came from a mix that happened to be vegan (yay!) but it's pretty easy to find a vegan version. Essentially you could use any quick bread recipe and just take balls of the dough, dunk in sugar, and pop into a pan. Top with a sugar and melted earth balance mixture then bake at 375 for 30 minutes, and voila, monkey bread. I have a ton of zucchini, so maybe I'll try out a zucchini monkey break later this week. I'm all for sneaking vegetables in unusual places...