rants & recipes

Archive for the ‘spices, flavors’ Category


Posted by trktos on 12-December-2010

A month or so ok, I gave veganizing this gingerbread recipe a shot. It was rather disastrous – way too oily and crumbly. Ever since, I’ve been a little annoyed at that failure (though, granted we didn’t throw it out or anything) … today I decided to give it another shot. The result was much better. Topped with a spicy ginger glaze – yummy!

Gingerbread Loaf


  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • approx 5 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 2/3 cups brown sugar (I used regular sugar and about 1 1/2 tbsp molasses)
  • 1 1/3 cups flour (I used almost all cake flour that needed to be used) – later, I added an additional 1/4 cup flour – this batter is really thin.
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ener-g prepared with 3 tbsp soymilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • some freshly ground nutmeg
  • dash black pepper
  • 1 cup boiling water + 1 tsp lemon juice


  1. Grease and parchment a loaf pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix spices, leavening and flour.
  3. Cream margarine, applesauce and sugar.
  4. Prepare ener-g. Add to fat mixture.
  5. Heat water.
  6. Alternatively add fat mixture and water to flour. Stir until batter is smooth.
  7. Pour into prepared pan.
  8. Bake 30 minutes. Lower heat to 325 degrees. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes.

Glaze was maybe 3 tbsp powdered sugar, 2 tbsp soy milk, 3 tbsp cream “cheese”, 1 1/2 tbsp shortening and maybe 1/2 tbsp freshly grated ginger.

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Spicy Orange Sauce

Posted by trktos on 3-October-2010

Made this sauce tonight, had it with “chicken”, blanched broccoli, roasted cashews and rice. Delish.


  • 5 tbsp orange concentrate
  • 9 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • ~ 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ~ 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 1 clove garlic, microplaned
  • ~ 2 tbsp ginger, microplaned
  • ~ 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • ~ 1 tbsp vegan margarine


  1. Whisk together.
  2. Heat over medium heat, whisking, until thickened and cornstarch raw taste is gone.

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Okra Eggplant Curry

Posted by trktos on 12-September-2010

Had a really yummy Indian dinner tonight … no photo, though – maybe I’ll snap one of the leftovers. But honestly, it wasn’t much to look at. It was tasty enough, however, that I’m sitting here to type it up and will plan to cook it again. (Makes me sad that it’s such a rarity to find decent looking fresh okra here.)

I started with about 8 to 9 ounces of okra. I cut their heads and tails off, sliced on a diagonal and simmer in water plus about 3 tbsp vinegar (which is supposed to reduce the slime). Simmered maybe 5 minutes? Okra was crisp but edible when I drained it.

Whole spice mix:

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp corriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

Heat seeds (don’t burn them) in 3 tbsp olive oil, in a covered pan.

Powdered spice mix:

  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp amchur powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Make a paste of the powdered spices with a little water.


  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled, cubed, salted, rinsed, squeezed
  • 8 ounce cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced
  • 2 small, birdseye-like peppers, diced
  • maybe 1 tsp micro-planed ginger
  • simmered okra

After heating whole spices in oil for a few minutes, add onion, garlic, green onions, peppers and ginger. Add paste of powdered spices. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently.

Add tomatoes and eggplant. I had to add maybe 2-3 tbsp water, to cook at a bit higher heat.

When eggplant is nearly done, add okra.

Cook until all veggies are done, according to your taste.


  • Improvised from this recipe, and this recipe. (Neither of which call for eggplant … I just didn’t have very much okra. But I did have an eggplant that needed to be cooked.
  • Next time, I will add more powdered spices for this amount of vegetables. I will probably add an additional teaspoon of paprika and garam masala.  I may add some mustard powder, too. And more birdseye peppers!

Posted in 0: Recipes, eggplant, indian, okra, spices, flavors, vegetables | Comments Off on Okra Eggplant Curry

Eastern NC Porkless BBQ

Posted by trktos on 23-May-2010

About three summers ago, we made ourselves a clay pot smoker (pretty much just like this one). Here are some photos of ours in action last year. It’s worked really well for us, although we’ve only used it 3 times.

We got an early jump on things this year, though, so maybe we’ll use it more than once this summer. (And I’m sure we’ll look at this post then – note to future selves – smoker temperature between 200 and 210 degrees!)

We used the same pork seitan recipe that we used the first year. Complete with Eastern NC vinegar-based bbq sauce, homemade buns and homemade coleslaw (recipes below). Absolutely delicious!!!

Creamy Coleslaw (based on this recipe)

  • 1 small/medium green cabbage (shredded yielded my about 1lb, 12 ounces)
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 14 tbsp vegan mayonaise (2 tbsp shy of 1 cup – go ahead, use a cup and slightly generous measures of mustard, vinegar and agave – there certainly wasn’t an over-abundane of sauce.)
  • about 2/3 tbsp spicy mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp agave
  • dash black pepper
  • about 1/4 tsp salt
  • celery and mustard seeds

Eastern NC Vinegar BBQ Sauce (based on this recipe)

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • pinch chipolte chili powder

Gently heat on stovetop to dissolve sugar. Best made a day in advance.

Hamburger Buns (based on this recipe)

  • 2 1/4 cups warm water plus 1/4 cup Better Than Milk Powder
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine, melted
  • 4 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour

Bun instruction:

  1. Proof yeast for about 5 minutes.
  2. Knead dough in bread mixer for a few minutes, adding flour if needed but leaving slightly wet dough.
  3. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Dump dough out onto floured surface, kneading in more flour by hand until dough won’t stick to fingers. (I work in more whole wheat flour.
  5. Form rolls (I made about 16?), spacing out in two 9*13 greased pans.
  6. Let rolls rise for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  8. Put buns in oven, turn temperature down to 375.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and leave buns in oven for another 10 minutes or so.
  10. Remove pans from oven, flip buns with spatula and cover pans with foil or a towel – the steam will soften the bottoms so they aren’t crunchy.

Posted in 0: Recipes, bbq, bread, cabbage, main dish, rolls, spicy | Comments Off on Eastern NC Porkless BBQ

Hot Wings

Posted by trktos on 4-April-2010

I’ve been meaning to try this hot wing recipe for a long time … finally got around to it today. They were pretty tasty, although I may tweak a bit, next time.  For one thing, the amount of ‘butter’ in the hot sauce was a little much … too oily even though I cut back some. And next time, I’ll make them smaller, per the instructions. But, overall, they were good and one of my first successful breading attempts. I pretty much followed the recipe, doubled. For spices, I used a teaspoon each of thyme, rosemary, dry mustard and sage. I threw in about 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast and about 1 teaspoon of ‘chicken’ bouillon. Also, heed the note about holding out on the water until the end so you can add as much or as little as you need.

Hot wings – not previously owned – pictured below with roasted cauliflower, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and drizzled in orange ‘honey’ mustard sauce:

Orange ‘Honey’ Mustard Sauce

Mix together the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • 2 tbsp vegan mayo
  • 2 tbsp orange juice

Posted in 0: Recipes, meat subs, mustard, sauce, seitan, spices, flavors, spicy | Comments Off on Hot Wings