rants & recipes

Archive for August, 2010

Strawberry Ice Cream

Posted by trktos on 31-August-2010

This past weekend, we made ice cream. (We made some pancakes, too, but, well, Evin’s were passable and mine … not so much, so that’s probably all I need to say about that effort.)

We’ve had some very pricey freeze-dried strawberry powder for a while and we finally used it. Our ice cream recipes are all fairly similar, but here’s the ingredient list anyway.


  • 1 8-oz bag frozen organic strawberries (saved out about 1/3 for adding later)
  • 1 box aseptic extra-firm tofu (minus 2 tbsp for my pancake attempt)
  • about 3 tbsp mimic cream (opened for my pancake attempt, and 3 tbsp were left over from freezing the rest)
  • 1 1/2 cups (unsweetened) soymilk
  • 1/8 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/8 cup lecithin granules
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1/4 cup sugare
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 40 grams Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup strawberry powder
  • 1 tbsp tapioca powder (intended but forgotten)


  1. Chopped reserved berries for adding later.
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients in blender until smooth.
  3. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.


  • I didn’t like the frozen berries in this … tasted like frozen, unsweetened chunks of red ice. Next time, I’d blend them all.
  • We left this ice cream in the ice cream maker, put the whole maker in the freezer. It’s the first time we’ve ever done that, usually remove to bowl. Finding this works much better (for this amount of alcohol, especially¬† – canister probably insulates from the on/off cycle of the freezer?) Ice cream has seemed to melt slower this time. Hence a photo, with no puddles visible at all. (And this was about photo number four!)

Oh, and we also made tempeh again. This time, our new temperature probes behaved perfectly and we were NOT alarmed out of sleep in the wee hours of the morning. We let the tempeh go for closer to 24 hours this time and the result was much darker than before. I was surprised, to find that frying this tempeh, in a little (safflower) oil, yielded the closest thing to eggs I have tasted since going vegan. Really hard to describe … it was the taste of eggs but somehow, not at all the way indian black salt tastes of eggs. Which leaves me thinking that crumbled, fried homemade tempeh plus a pinch of black salt (and other tofu scramble ingredients), would make a pretty awesome egg dish.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted by trktos on 22-August-2010

Last weekend, I wanted to bake “something” … you know that feeling when you are craving something sweet but don’t really know what? Well, I finally decided on chocolate chip cookies. I pulled out my Joy of Vegan Baking cookbook and dusted it off. I’ve had it for ages and never made a single recipe out of it but, honestly, the real reason I bought it was the picture of chocolate chip cookies on the cover – they look SO good!

So, I was excited – I happened to have all the ingredients on hand (which is no small feat, a bag of vegan chocolate chips surviving around here long enough to be used in a recipe!) and I had the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever – I mean, the ingredients were even given in grams, just how I like them.

I was in for quite a disappointment however – the cookies ran like mad and were a big, oily, crumbly mess. I couldn’t believe it. I followed the recipe pretty much to a T (ok, so I over-ran the teaspoon of vanilla just a little bit – that could not possibly account for the horrid outcome). Anyway *those* cookies got packed away, in copious amounts of napkins, like deep-fat-fried-cookies and were semi-edible, after the napkins wicked off some of the oil and the cookies cooled in the ‘fridge.

Anyway, now it was a bit personal … not only had that cover photo done a thorough marketing job on me, I am totally convinced there’s no way those photographed cookies were made from the recipe inside. Just not possible. The dough was too wet and too oily.

The only thing left to do was to try again. This time, not ignoring the little voice in my head going on about “the dough’s too wet!”. And calling in some reinforcement – from Alton Brown, no less.

The results, this time – so much better! Photo-worthy, certainly.¬† There’s maybe room for a tweak or two but 100% improvement over last weekend’s attempt!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance, melted
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 150 grams white sugar
  • 170 grams brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp Better Than Milk Powder
  • 4 1/2 tsp ener-g egg replacer powder
  • 2 3/4 cup flour (I used about 1/2 each bread and all purpose – next time, I will use all bread flour, per Mr. Brown’s recipe)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 to 2 cups vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used roasted cashews)


  1. Combine all but flour, baking soda, chips and nuts in stand mixer and cream.
  2. Allow mixture to cool a little (from melted ‘butter’).
  3. Mix together flour and baking soda.
  4. Combine flour and wet mix into a dough.
  5. When nearly combined, fold in chips and nuts.
  6. Cool dough in refrigerator before baking.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  8. I used a 1/4 cup measuring up to scoop out dough. I made 13 cookies from a single recipe.
  9. Form dough into a ball, place on parchment-lined cookie sheet, silpat or non-stick pan and flatten slightly.
  10. Bake in oven for 10-14 minutes.
  11. Cool on sheets for a few minutes. Remove to racks to finish cooling.

(2nd photo by Evin)

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Oven Chicken Seitan

Posted by trktos on 17-August-2010

I don’t know if I’ve posted about it, but we’ve been trying to engineer a new cooking method for seitan sausages – one that doesn’t use much aluminum foil. Our new hardware consists of cannoli tubes, silicone rubber bands and silicone cork stoppers … so far, it’s been a bit of a failure and has left me a little disgusted with the steam cooking methods.

So I was looking for another way to cook seitan … I am not crazy about the stovetop method, for one, because it takes a long time but also because the recipes tend to rely on the broth for flavor and you’re left with copious amounts of rather pricey, waste liquids. Sure, you can freeze and use in gravies and soups but, apparently, we don’t make enough gravies and soups for that to work out so well, for us.

In my search, I can across this recipe. It takes 2 hours, plus prep – still a long time, but it’s fairly easy and the amount of broth leftover is totally manageable and not pricey, compared with, say, 6 cups of broth, half of which is soy sauce and marmite. (I added some more soy sauce, nutritional yeast, spices and flour and made a good amount of “chicken” gravy from the leftover broth.)

(Ironically, this recipe also calls for, and wastes, aluminum foil. At least, though, the foil wasn’t rolled and twisted up and was mostly reusable for leftovers. Never mind that we don’t typically use foil for leftovers.)

Chicken Seitan, makes 2 ‘loaves’


  • 1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp powdered sage
  • ~ 1 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 vegetable broth cubes, grated
  • black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Broth Ingredients:

Over each loaf, I poured:

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • grated 1/2 vegetable broth cube


  1. Combine non-broth ingredients.
  2. Knead for about 10 minutes in electric mixer/bread machine.
  3. Form into two loaves.
  4. Place loaves in greased loaf pans.
  5. Top each loaf with broth ingredients.
  6. Cover pans with foil.
  7. Bake in pre-heated 325 degree oven for 60 minutes.
  8. Remove, flip, recover with foil.
  9. Bake additional 60 minutes.


  • This was a little soft/soggy on the outside while being a little too dense in the middle, but had pretty good flavor and browned nicely, in a little oil.
  • Next time, I will try to add something to give it a little “open texture” – maybe oats or cooked rice?
  • I will experiment with decreasing the garbanzo flour a little, too.
  • It could have used a little more salt, maybe 1-2 tsp in the dough mixture.
  • It reminded me of the cubed chicken in chicken pot pies and would probably work well in a vegan pot pie recipe.

More Notes:

  • I now make this with 2 tbsp garbanzo flour, 2 tbsp oats, 2 tbsp tapioca granules in place of the 1/2 cup garbanzo flour.
  • I’ve been leaving out the vegetable cubes, both in the ‘meat’ and broth, and have been happy enough with the result, especially if destined for a flavorful sauce-based dish.
  • Making this with 180 grams of wheat gluten was my usual. Today, I used 215 with a more “traditional” texture. I need to experiment more with increasing the flavorings, for 215 grams of gluten.

Pictured with mashed potatoes, sweet peas, and ‘chicken’ gravy made from the leftover cooking broth:

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