Category Archives: food

veganmofo 11: Waffle Love

I’m out of the office this week so that means that I’ve been terrible at veganmofo posts.  But here’s one.

I’ve always longed for a waffle iron or waffle maker.  But I’ve always been too cheap to buy one.  I finally sucked it up and bought one last Saturday.  And I got to use it at a brunch I hosted for some friends on Sunday morning!  I made the raised waffles and ginger pear waffles from Vegan Brunch and VWAV, respectively. 

Raised Waffles: These are amazing.  Seriously, they’re like waffle-shaped slices of fresh bread.  The yeast really gives it a bread-y taste.  It’s just chewier than bread, of course.  As you can see, I wasn’t very good at figuring how much batter to put into my waffle iron, even using measuring cups and following instructions.  I got a lot of non-rectangular cut-off waffles.  Whatever, it didn’t affect the taste any!

Ginger Pear Waffles: These had an awesome ginger-y flavour.  Couldn’t taste the pear flavour quite as well but they were still pretty good.  I don’t think pears are in season now anyways lol.

Reasons why I love my waffle iron:

  • Faster than making pancakes
  • Easier than making pancakes – pour waffle it and let it cook on its own, no need to worry about flipping the waffles

Last night, I saw a banana-oatmeal-raisin waffle recipe in VWAV or Vegan Brunch (I think).  I have a ton of bananas at home so I think I’m going to try that next.

And I haven’t run since Saturday since my band was in a studio recording during the weekend and I got 5 hours of sleep Sat and Sun night so I didn’t feel like running Sun and Mon morning.  I’m also working an hours’ drive (or so) away from home right now, so by the time I get home it’s dark and I’m too tired to run 😦  Last night I was super sleepy on the entire drive home so I decided not to run.

Sadly, I stepped on the scale this morning and I swear I’ve put 5 lbs on from the lack of running.  Ack!

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veganmofo 10: The Battle With Yeast

I know, I’m a post behind.  No worries, I will make it to 20 before the end of mofo.  Hopefully.

Yeast scares me.  It’s picky, needs water to grow, and it’s alive!  Sort of. 

The first time I tried to make bread was the rosemary foccacia recipe out of V-Con.  It was a disaster.  The bread didn’t rise at all because I put the yeast in boiling hot water.  I don’t differentiate very well between warm and hot.  If I say I want a warm drink, I really mean I want a hot drink.  Anyway, the dough didn’t rise.

The second time, I boiled some water and let it sit.  It was still too hot.  The bread did rise a bit but I don’t think it rose as much as it should have.  As a result, the bread wasn’t soft enough and didn’t have very many air pockets.

So I did what any geek/nerd/techie would do.  I bought a food thermometer.

And I made pizza!

Technically, it’s the flatbread from Chef Chloe’s blog, but… technicalities!  It was amazing (although I discovered that yeast has a taste.  Am I crazy?)  I still managed to screw this recipe up although the yeast worked out perfectly.  Note to self: yeast works best in what I would define as “almost room temperature water”.  It doesn’t even qualify as warm.

Anyways, I handwrote out the ingredients and a sketch of the steps.  I added a cup of water to the yeast.  Then added another cup of water to the flour mixture.  See the problem?  Too much water… ugh.  So I doubled all the ingredients (except the yeast – it was my last package and besides, what was I supposed to do… add another cup of water to another package of yeast?)   Either way, doubling the rest of the dough ingredients worked out well.  The flatbread was all yummy and amazing and the combination of butternut squash and apples is seriously the best thing ever. 

And now, I have another excuse to re-make this recipe – to try out the flatbread with the right ingredients!  Ha!

I also made cinnamon raisin bagels:

This is from the recipe on Bankrupt Vegan for veganmofo!  It turned out okay although as you can see, I had issues getting my bagels to stay in a circular shape.  I also don’t know what I did wrong, but not all of the dough cooked right, there’s some darker spots you can sort of see that aren’t cooked.  I don’t know if I boiled them too long or something.

But they taste pretty good so no complaints 🙂  Unfortunately, I have decided that I absolutely hate kneading dough.  Ugh.  I need one of those bread machines or something!  Yeah… I have too many gadgets in my kitchen already… eek!

veganmofo 9: Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Living alone is terrible for veganmofo posting.  See, living alone means that when I make a dish, the leftovers feed me for days and days.  While I’m perfectly happy eating the same thing day after day, when the theme of my veganmofo month is “new things in November”, it means I don’t have a whole lot to post about.  But here’s something.

One of the things I love most is bread.  And one of my favourite breads is cinnamon raisin bread.  Unfortunately, upon my recent discovery that most commercial cinnamon raisin breads have honey in them, I’ve sort of avoided buying them.  With my newfound interest in baking (which, by the way, is probably terrible for my waistline but I’ve been too scared to step on a scale after all those cookies), it seemed like a good challenge.  I picked a recipe that didn’t require yeast (since I was out): Cinnamon Raisin Bread

It didn’t turn out too bad but the taste of the whole wheat flour is definitely present (does anyone know if whole wheat flour goes stale?  I’m pretty certain the bag I’m using is from 1999 or something like that).  It’s also more like a banana bread in terms of density (no yeast, remember) than commercially produced loves of cinnamon raisin.  Nevertheless, it’s great with a smear of margarine and I’m sure would be terrific with jam or peanut butter.  If I had any.  Oh great, now I want to go buy some.  Thanks.

I thought about baking a loaf of yeasted cinnamon raisin bread (now that I bought a small jar of yeast) for um… comparison purposes… but I dont think my waistline can take that.  I’m waiting for veganmofo to be over for one reason: I can stop feeling this compulsion to cook and bake things.  Looking at the blogs just makes me want to make more stuff… not helpful!

The other reason I wanted to post this was to say: look!  sun!  We’re heading into winter and the gloomy days are beginning to outnumber the sunny ones, particularly last week.  After the snow last Friday, I was very excited for sun during the weekend.  It’s been sunny since then.  Sadly, I’ve mostly been at work.  Ah well.

veganmofo 8: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

After commenting about how oatmeal raisin cookies are my favourite cookie ever, I had to give them their own post.  I’ve never tried to bake a vegan version of oatmeal raisin cookies.  In fact, I only recall making oatmeal raisin cookies once for christmas and they turned out like rocks.  That sort of turned me off baking them forever.  That was back when I didn’t realize that cookies are supposed to come out soft from the oven because they keep baking.  More importantly, oatmeal raisin cookies are better chewy.

But, I think I have found the oatmeal raisin cookie for me, and it only took one (sort of two) attempts.  It’s the recipe from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan!

 

I made these for the first time last Friday.  I didn’t like the first cookie I tried from this batch.  But they sort of grew on me and I ate five of them one Sunday morning so I think they’re a hit.  There is a slight undertaste to them that I think comes from the Earth Balance I used.  I will have to try them using Becel Vegan margerine.  I find the Becel has a more “neutral” taste, for lack of a better word.  The Earth Balance has a very specific taste and smell that I haven’t quite managed to get used to.  I’ve also been informed that I need to try the original whipped version of Earth Balance because it is better and tastes more like butter.  I just won the EB coupon from Miso for Breakfast so I’m going to pick up some of that from my grocery store and try that instead!

On Monday, I was in the mood to bake and I made the carrot raisin muffins from VWAV.  I soaked the required raisins, then started to grate carrots and realized that I only have enough carrots for half the recipe.  So I made half the muffins:

I know it looks like I almost got 12 muffins, but it’s because I also ran out of large muffin liners and therefore ended up using the medium ones so I have 10 medium sized muffins.  They were yummy and delicious too.  The best thing is that they’re not very sweet as they’re meant to be breakfast muffins.  Plus I can pretend that I’m being healthy eating them because they have carrots in them!  Oh, and they stuck to the liners on the first night but they’re great now. 

Back to the oatmeal raisin cookies: After the muffins, I realized I still had half the soaked raisins left and what can you do with raisins after you’ve soaked them?  I’m sure I could have just dumped them back in the fridge, but the oatmeal raisin cookies from last Friday were already gone (yeah, I eat too many cookies… shh) and I wanted to try them with becel margarine.  Anyway, I made half the recipe for the cookies from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan and got 4 cookies (I know there’s 3 in the picture.  I may have already eaten one by the time I took the picture).  This time around, the dough was stickier (the first batch, the dough was drier/more crumbly) and the cookies spread a little bit more (although still, they don’t spread much).  Anyway, I LOVED this batch.  The cookies are exactly how I like my oatmeal raisin cookies to taste and the right amount of chewiness!

In addition, the undertaste I described from the first attempt is now gone!  So, Becel margarine for my baking, it is.  I know, I know, it’s not as healthy as Earth Balance.  But I’m not typically someone who slathers margarine over everything so I’m sure that I will survive.  In addition, this time around, I made sure to fill the butter to the brim of my cup (last time i might’ve been 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon short) and I think that helped with the consistency of the dough.

And… I only have one cookie left now. 

So if you love oatmeal raisin cookies as much as I do, run and go try this recipe!

veganmofo 7: Sweet and Sour Tofu and Vegetables

This dish was originally inspired by the Thai Tofu and Veggies dish from Vegan Express.  Upon closer inspection of the ingredients, it finally hit me that it was really a curried tofu dish and I didn’t feel like curried tofu.  I’ve been in a sweet/salty mood lately rather than in a spicy, curry mood (thus the lack of Indian dishes).  I tend to go in cycles.  I will spend a couple of weeks cooking mostly asian, then a couple of weeks grilling and baking everything.  Then a couple of weeks making Indian food.  Then a couple of weeks not wanting to make anything and eating pasta and jarred sauce with random veggies.  Rinse and repeat.

Right now, I’m (obviously) in the middle of an Asian food thing. 

Back to the recipe.  I didn’t feel like a curry dish.  So instead, I recalled a sweet and sour pineapple dish my mom used to make which relied on… ketchup.  Yeah, weird.  My dish wasn’t quite as ketchup-y and was more of a stir-fry so I didn’t want such a heavy ketchup taste since that kind of a taste tends to wear thing pretty quickly.

Sweet and Sour Tofu and Veggies

Keep in mind that the amount and types of tofu and veggies are pretty interchangeable.  As you can see, I like to throw pretty much any vegetable that fits the theme into my dish.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup green peppers
8 oz block of extra firm tofu (you may want to dry fry these in a bit of soy sauce first… but I like tofu any way in stir fries)
1 diced tomato
1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms
1/2 can of baby corn, cut or halved
3/4 cup diced canned pineapple (or fresh if you have it but keep in mind that fresh pineapple tends to be a bit sour so you may need sugar in your sauce)
1/2 cup frozen cut green beans (I prefer fresh but I had a bag of this in my freezer)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp corn starch
Water

Heat olive oil in a pan.  Add onions and saute for 2 minutes.

Add carrots and green peppers and saute for 2 minutes.

Add tofu and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until tofu begins to brown. 

Add tomatoes and white mushrooms, cook for another 2-3 minutes, until tomatoes start to look cooked.

Add the remaining vegetables and fruit (baby corn, green beans, peas, pineapple) and ketchup, teriyaki sauce and soy sauce.  Add water to thin out sauce.

While the dish cooks, add water to the corn starch until the corn starch can fully dissolve in the water.  When the sauce in the pan begins to boil, add the corn starch mixture slowly while mixing, until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.

Remove from heat and serve with rice or noodles.

veganmofo 6: Asian-Inspired Foods

Let me start by saying that I suck at making complicated Asian dishes.  Unless it’s vegetables with oyster/mushroom sauce or some tofu dishes, I probably haven’t been able to get it right yet.  I can’t even make noodle dishes from dried noodles correctly.  They’ve always been somewhat of a disaster.  (Fresh noodles are okay though)

So this post is dedicated to Asian-Inspired Foods.

Vegetable Dumplings with Szechuan Noodles: The vegetable dumplings are from a recipe on Sugarlaws and were delicious.  The only thing about the dumplings is that at some point, you have to either mash or cut up the cooked carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.   I elected to take a pair of scissors and try to slice through everything since I realized that a bit too late.  In the future, after cooking the veggies, I will either take a potato masher to them or a pastry blender or just take a knife and chop them all up before adding the sauces.  The szechuan noodles are inspired by this recipe but I added snow peas (ends cut off and sliced), water chestnuts, carrots, celery and mushrooms and omitted the chili sauce, peanuts and cucumbers.  I felt that there was a bit too much soy sauce and would probably cut back on that the next time around.  Plus my skills at dealing with dried noodles sucked here too.  I needed to soak the noodles longer or something.

Fried Rice and Sweet-Chili Tofu: Simple fried rice with teriyaki and soy sauce with the sweet chili tofu I blogged about on day 1.  I’m not sure why this is here… I’m usually pretty good at making fried rice 🙂  It’s one of my favourite dishes – so simple and a great way to use up whatever leftovers from the last few days.  I know most people make fried rice from scratch but one of my favourite ways to make fried rice is to take dishes from previous days, chop them up into small pieces and throw the food along with the sauce into a fried rice recipe, mixing all the flavours and sometimes adding new ones.  It adds an extra dimension to fried rice and makes it different every time rather than following the same set recipe.  Makes it faster to cook too!  Plus then you’re not stuck eating the same leftovers for days on end.

Yaki Soba with Dumplings and Sweet Chili Tofu: Yeah yeah, I’m addicted to that sweet chili tofu.  The yaki soba is from this recipe with the appropriate vegan modifications (replace worcestershire sauce with vegetarian worcestershire).  I added carrots to my dish too.  My sauce turned out too watery but it’s my fault – I failed to read the part where it says to let the sauce caramelize.  In addition, I’d whisked my sauce together in a tofu container and a lot of the sugar got left in the container so I’m not sure that my sauce would’ve caramelized correctly anyways.  Lastly, I used rehydrated shiitake mushrooms… which absorb a lot of moisture.  I found the sauce pretty vinegar-y and with every bite of mushrooms, it felt a bit like drinking vinegar.  Next time I’ll add the sugar straight to the pan last and only whisk the liquid ingredients together.  I’ll also cut down the rice vinegar to 1/4 cup rather than 80ml (which is 1/4 cup + 1/3 of 1/4 cup).  The dumplings were stuffed with chopped up napa cabbage and shiitake mushrooms and grated carrots sauteed in some soy sauce and sesame oil.  They didn’t have enough soy sauce or sesame oil. 

Also, we had our first snow on Friday:

It didn’t stick around, which was a blessing since it was pretty brutal.  In fact, it was super nice yesterday (Sunday) – you’ll see in my future posts of some food from Sunday that it was really sunny.  I went for my long run and it was gorgeous, one of those perfect run days!  I wasn’t even wearing gloves (Although my pullover has cuffins) and my fingers didn’t even freeze!  Sadly, I think I got another blister on my toe from the run.  TMI, but I have this toe that’s a year-round blister.  Ugh.

Coming up this week: More baking (Which I’ve already eaten a LOT of), and a recipe for a sweet and sour veggie stir fry.  Also, my new spice “rack”!

Sort of related: I now have a ton of leftovers in my fridge from all the cooking I’m doing.  I can’t even freeze the leftover soup because I’ve run out of those 2 cup containers I have for the freezer (I may have to go pick up a couple more or something).  Also, I’m now about 6,000 words behind on nanowrimo from where I wanted to be today.  Whoops.

veganmofo 5: Vegetables and Slow Cookers

As an omni, I loved my slow cooker.  Meat just takes so long to marinate and cook etc etc and the slow cooker solved all of my problems.  I don’t like to spend more than half an hour cooking on weeknights since I get back late most nights so I tend to cook on weekends and maybe once during the week and throw everything in the fridge (or freezer). 

When I decided to be vegetarian, I sort of stopped using my slow cooker except when I wanted to make soup stock (my crockpot is bigger than all of my other pots).  I mean, vegetables don’t take that long to cook and I didn’t like cooking on weekdays anyways.  One thing about being vegetarian for me: I like to put a LOT of veggies in everything.  I will often look at a recipe and double all the vegetables, halve the beans and omit most of the oil.  Problem: Chopping vegetables is a pain.  It takes way too long.

But I digress.  Recently, I found the book Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker and figured hey, I can eat more new different foods during the week rather than making large batches during the weekend and eating the same thing all week.  And I rediscovered how awesome my slow cooker is at the same time.  So I bring to you a post on meals made in my slow cooker.

From Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker:

Moroccan-Inspired Vegetable and Chickpea Stew: I used 3 fresh tomatoes rather than canned tomatoes and omitted the olives (which I don’t like) and parsley leaves.  I don’t really like using canned tomatoes. 

Black Bean Soup: Added celery, sweet potato and an extra carrot, took out a can of black beans, subbed 1 ginormous tomatoes for the canned and used 3 cups of vegetable stock rather than 4.  I’ve decided that I want an immersion blender.  Yummy but I might omit the sweet potato next time… I can’t figure out what it adds to the recipe.

From some combination of various online recipes:

Slow-Cooker Chili

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can corn kernels

Saute the onion, garlic and the carrots, celery and bell peppers with the olive oil for about 3-5 minutes.

Add salt, black pepper and chili powder and saute for another couple of minutes.

Pour into slow cooker and add all other ingredients except the corn kernels.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Add the corn kernels in the half an hour.  (To be honest, you could probably put them in from the start and it isn’t likely to make much of a difference).

(PS: I bought one of those magnetic spice racks to mount on the inside door of my cabinet… I’m so excited!  There’s tons of little canisters dying on my counter now.  Goodbye giant bulk barn bag of spices!)