rants & recipes

Archive for October, 2009

Vegan Pizza

Posted by trktos on 25-October-2009


Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. And no, we haven’t been fasting for a week. Just a little busy. And more than a little tired of blogging. Today, I’m going to attempt to catch up. And may even post about my awful apple pie from last night. Ugh.

Anyway, Friday, we made pizza. I’d been wanting to use my italian sausage crumbles on pizza for months. Finally got around to it. And, to be honest, I was a little disappointed – they lost a little flavor (I guess 20 minutes at 450 degrees and 5+ minutes under the broiler will do that.) Anyway, the pizza turned out otherwise-ok.

Crumbles on the stove-top:


Follow Your Heart (FYH) / Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella Cheese … see, it shreds just fine, straight out of the package. I’m a little miffed, lately, on behalf of this vegan cheese. When it first came out, people were crazy for it. Now there’s a few newer vegan cheeses and FYH seems to get dumped on all the time. I haven’t tried Daiya but I tried Teese – I went all the way to MD, paid more than for FYH, and to be honest, it was very plasticy and processed. These new vegan cheeses contain palm oil, too. FYH doesn’t. (Edit: Just looked up Daiya and they currently do not list palm oil in their ingredient list, online at least.) Anyway, we eat maybe 1 block of FYH every 2 months. I’ll continue to pick it up right down the road and pay a reasonable price for it.

Shredded cheese:


Pizza sauce – we like this brand from Don Pepino. Mostly because the ingredients are tomatoes, corn oil, salt, spices and powdered garlic.


Sauce, going onto crust:


Toppings – onions, bell peppers and mushrooms:


Sausages join the party:


And finally, FYH cheese. I don’t know what other vegans do with their FYH, but it does melt. For pizza, it helps if it goes on last. This time, I also brushed with a little canola oil. FYH is much lower in fat than dairy cheese, so this may play a factor in its melt-ability. (Next time, I’ll coat with a touch of oil BEFORE putting the shredded cheese on the pizza!)


Pizzas in the oven:


See, I told you the cheese melts:


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Spinach Mushroom and Tomato Quiche

Posted by trktos on 18-October-2009

veganmofo2009Tonight, we’re hoping to have quiche for dinner. I say “hoping”, because it’s still in the oven as I start this post and for some reason, it turned out way-thicker than the picture with the recipe. I used the recommended size pan, and 2 ounces less of tofu, even, so I must’ve screwed something else up.

I used this recipe as a guide. I made a few changes, though … here’s pretty much what I did:


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 cup flour – approx. half whole wheat, half cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil – filled 1/3 cup measure about 2/3 full with canola, rest with sesame oil
  • shortening to grease 9 1/2″ pie plate

I pretty much followed the original directions for making the crust.


  • 1 block extra firm tofu (14 ounces)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • approx. 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Indian black salt

Purée these ingredients to a food processor or blender.

  • 1 lb. fresh spinach, 1 lb frozen spinach – thaw/wilt, squeeze out liquid, chop finely

Sauté the following ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • approx. 8 sun-dried tomato halves, recon’ed, diced
  • mushrooms, diced – I used about 5 fresh white buttons and a handful from a mix of dried, recon’ed
  • 1/2 tsp salt

After I cooked the onion/mushroom mix fairly dry. I removed from the heat and coated with 1 ounce flour and added about 2 tbsp canola oil.

Mix all filling ingredients together, spoon into crust and cook in preheated oven, at 350 degrees, 40-45 minutes.

It turned out ok! The crust, I thought, had good flavor but was a little dry. If I make this again, I would try to use the recommended 16 ounces of tofu and maybe a little less spinach.



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Posted by trktos on 17-October-2009


Tonight, we made crêpes. Or rather, Evin made crêpes. I should be up front and say I don’t know the first thing about a crêpe, having never eaten one before, vegan or non. They’re supposed to be thin, I know that. And ours seemed pretty thin. They were tasty and satisfying. I made ratatouille (using green peppers from our container garden and sun-dried tomatoes) for filling. We ate our crêpes with fried tofu and cheese sauce. The crêpe recipe was from Veganomicon.

Our plate of crêpes:


My crêpe, filled with ratatouille:


Evin’s plate of crêpes and tofu:


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Celery Root!

Posted by trktos on 16-October-2009


One of the goals I had in mind for this month was to cook at least one food we’ve never had before. Another goal is to try to prepare some recipes from my pitifully neglected stash of vegan cookbooks. I drug a bunch of the out a few days ago and while looking through them, I found a soup recipe that called for celery root, which we’ve never (knowingly) had and French lentils which we’ve not cooked either (although, not quite as novel because a lentil is pretty much a lentil, in my book).

French lentils, if you haven’t seen them, look like this:


Kind of marbled and green. And smaller than red lentils. (Actually, probably a similar size to a whole red lentil, which I think are typically split.) They definitely don’t take as long to cook as normal brown lentils. The cookbook said they are lower in starch than brown lentils. And they definitely have a discernibly different flavor.

Celery root, if you haven’t seen one, looks like this:


Strange, gnarled looking things, with the beginnings of celery sprouting from their tops. Peeling these was easier than I expected. But, then again, I was expecting that task to be rather difficult. It was easy with a knife and didn’t “waste” as much root as I anticipated.

Inside, celery roots are white and semi-spongy – they remind me of parsnips a little bit. And they have a distinctly, rather strong, celery-like smell. Or rather, they imparted such a scent to my hands, which still smell, even now.

The texture of the cooked chunks of celery root was not what I was expecting, at all. They seemed to take in quite a bit of liquid and were light and juicy. Maybe like turnips? I’m not really sure why I think that, because I have no idea about what texture a cooked turnip has. (Just now reading at wikipedia – they are also called ‘turnip-rooted celery’, so maybe?)

Anyway, for dinner, I used these two new-to-us foods in “Creamy French Lentils with Celery Root and Garlic”, from The Complete Vegan Cookbook.


A perfect soup for this cold, wet, horrible weather we’re having.

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Blog Action Day and Vegan Mofo

Posted by trktos on 15-October-2009


The topic for this year’s Blog Action Day is Climate Change. What’s this have to do with a primarily-food-blog, you may wonder? Well, in one sense – not a lot. I’ll admit my veganism has very little to do with climate change and environmental issues – as far as personal reasons for choosing not to exploit animals. Animals are the reasons I don’t exploit them. However, veganism has this wonderful side effect of being one of the best things anyone can do – right now! – to help the environment. Our food choices are so mundane that we often overlook them entirely, don’t think too much about them or the power we have to be compassionate AND reduce our carbon footprint with every bite of food we eat.

I follow Vienna Teng on Twitter. She has recently tweeted a few questions about “what’s worse for the environment – chicken or cheese?” and made some references to trying to go vegetarian for environmental reasons, as an effort to reduce her carbon footprint. It’s funny, how, even as we get closer to caring about an important issue, like climate change and our environment, it’s still so easy to overlook the primary players – I’d answer that the cheese is worse for the dairy cow, chicken is worse for the chicken and neither are good for our environment. The great thing is, by going vegan, everyone’s stake is considered! And it’s a mistake to think of veganism as a list of things you can not eat – although, don’t get me wrong – I’m not going all flexitarian-Peter-Singer or anything. But I mean that a vegan diet is not in the least depraved and no more difficult than trying to cook and eat a healthy diet. You’ll learn about lots of delicious foods you’d likely never encounter otherwise. Is it a little more effort than bellying up to the drive through? Well, yes. But that’s a good thing – good for your health, good for the animals AND good for the environment.

Besides, climate change and warmer oceans cause sea snot, and who wants that?

So, on to the Vegan MoFo part of this post …

veganmofo2009Today, I picked up a new-to-me product from WholeFoods – So Delicious Coconut Milk. I have the hardest time getting a truly plain, truly unsweetened, no-hint-of-vanilla-at-all soy milk. And nothing sucks more than not realizing you have even-slightly-vanilla-flavored ‘milk until *after* adding it to mashed potatoes or some other savory dish.

So, this ‘milk was on sale today and I picked up a carton. I tried it with some cornflakes and a tad of splenda because that’s a pretty good test for ‘milk, in my opinion. And, to be honest, this ‘milk had a really weird, hard-to-describe after-taste. It was “open” and “fresh” taste, and not in a good way. Almost chemical-like … I mulled over it, for a while, wondering what was wrong. And then I realized what it needed – salt! And sure enough, salt isn’t listed on the ingredient list, although I think it’s added to most commercial soy milks? Just the tiniest pinch cut the weird taste out completely.  (It should be noted that I have a super-strong sense of smell and this weird taste may not be detectable to anyone else everyone.) This ‘milk hould be great for cooking with. And for cereal, too, once a pinch of salt is added.


For dinner, I was craving something simple and familiar. And something that used some of our newly arrived 10 pounds of sun-dried organic tomatoes (from the best-ever store for sun-dried tomatoes and other tasty stuff). And yes, in case you’re wondering, we can eat 10 pounds of sun-dried tomatoes long before they go bad.

We had eggplant, onions, tomatoes, tofu and rice.


Eggplant may very well be one of my favorite vegetables. Old folks frequently ask me what I’m going to do with eggplants, when they see me buying them. Or if I’m going to fry it. Perhaps it’s because I’m usually buying so many, maybe they think I’m doing my own Close Encounters re-enactment or something.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about cooking tofu, be sure to check out this page about dry cooking. I typically dry-cook my cubed tofu until no more liquid comes out when pressed. Then I fry a little more with added oil, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powders. Yum.

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