Archive | December, 2011

Anti-Vegan Thoughts With The Pennsylvania Dutch

30 Dec

Several weeks ago I made Tempeh Reubens. It was my first time making tempeh and to be honest, I wish it was different. I’ve eaten tempeh a couple of times before in a sandwich that was so delicious and complex, but I had no idea what tempeh looked like or tasted like until I purchased my very own package.  For those of you who are not in the know – it looks gross, period.

But not all was lost with the Tempeh Reubens, I made homemade Thousand Island dressing which was amazing and learned a valuable lesson – only make half of a recipe that you are trying for the first time because if the recipe sucks or the food is yucky and you do not want to be wasteful you  are stuck looking at leftovers in the fridge until they spoil. No bueno.

Believing that you must try something new at least three times before writing it off forever I decided to give tempeh another chance.

This time I used a Tempeh Bourguignon recipe as my inspiration

Several thoughts entered my mind:

  • This looks disgusting
  • Why didn’t I half the amount of tempeh and double the amount of carrots
  • I wonder what it is supposed to look like

What It's Supposed To Look Like (photo courtesy of Vegetarian Time)

  • Mine doesn’t look like that
  • What should I serve it with?
  • What do they serve beef bourguignon with? Answer: on it’s own, with rice, with mashed potatoes.
  • Jordan hates rice and we’ve been eating too many mashed potatoes


I wonder if we have any egg noodles.

HALLELUJAH!!! We have (Pennsylvania Dutch Homestyle) egg noodles. Now at least if the bourguignon sucks we can have noodles, I love noodles.

Now if only someone could invent eggless egg noodles.

Special Note To Jordan: Tempeh soaked in red wine looks like sausage, mull over that while you figure out how to make vegan pepperoni without the use of beets. Actually, you could boil beets and use the water to soak the beet color into the tempeh. Brilliant!


Pretzel Bites

29 Dec

Who knew pretzels were easy to make… and so tasty! You have to make some this weekend, I insist. All you need to do is mix and knead the dough, let it rest, portion out pretzel bites, boil 30 seconds, and bake for 15 minutes. Seriously, it’s that easy!

On Tuesday we had Philly Cheese Sandwiches, recipe courtesy of Mama Pea from Peas & Thank You. If you are not familiar with her, get familiar; she has an award winning blog and is one of my favorites  to follow.  Everything she writes is witty, she has super cute pictures of her girls who love dressing up in costumes mid-day, and her recipes are to die for. As is that wasn’t enough, she connects with her fans. Frankly,  I hate when bloggers or cookbook authors have Facebook pages or websites that allow you to post questions/comments and they do not respond, what is the point of using social media if you are not willing to engage with your audience? Lucky for me, Mama Pea understands these medias and actively participates.

I came across this recipe when I was trying to decide what to add to this weeks menu. It was a huge hit and I’m sure it will be making regular appearances.

Philly Cheese Sandwiches (adapted from Peas & Thank You)

Pretzel Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2T vegan margarine, melted
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • coarsely ground salt

Combine water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit until foamy, about five minutes.  Add melted vegan margarine, flour and salt, and using a dough hook, knead dough for five minutes, adding more flour if necessary, until dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and let rise for an hour.

Once dough has risen, separate it into four-six equally portioned dough balls and form into ovals.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bring the 10 cups of water and 2/3 cup of baking soda to a boil in a large stockpot over high heat.  Once the water is boiling, drop the dough into the water for 30 seconds then transfer to a greased sheet pan. Sprinkle with coarse salt and repeat. Bake for 12-14 minutes until tops are golden brown.

Sandwich Filling

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 T lemon juice
  • 3 T  balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T  Worcestershire sauce (vegan if it pleases you)
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 3 portobella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-1/2 red onions, sliced
  • 2 green bell peppers,  sliced
  • Cashew Queso (or your favorite non-dairy cheese)

In a large bowl or baking dish combine garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, Worcetershire sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Whisk together. Add vegetables and marinate for at least one hour.

In a large skillet saute vegetables until softened and browned. Be sure to drain off marinade before sauteing.

To serve you can either toss the vegetables with the cashew queso and pile high onto the pretzel rolls or spread the rolls with the queso and pile on the vegetables. And if you don’t have any cashew queso around you can always use your favorite non-dairy cheese.

Bon Appetit!

Mexican Fiesta Xmas

26 Dec

This year we celebrated Christmas by having a Mexican Fiesta. It was just the two of us so I opted to skip the sombreros and pinata and just made some tasty food. On the menu was Tortilla Soup, Quesadillas, Guacamole, and Burritos. Nothing too fancy, except for the queso used in the quesadillas. Transitioning into the world of veganism has been hardest because of my love of cheese, it’s been hard to stay away (she said as she munched on some stuffed crust pizza). For you non-vegan’s out there you may find it hard to believe that they even offer non-dairy cheese products… they do, and I think they are disgusting, they look gross, taste weird, and smell horrendous. I keep thinking that one day in the future I may find appreciation for these cheezes, but for now, I’d rather have the real thing or nothing at all.

Enter – the queen of all that is tasty in the vegan world: Isa Chandra Moskowitz of Post Punk Kitchen. Several weeks ago she posted a photo of nachos that looked amazing, this photo was followed by a recipe for Cashew Queso. I cannot get over how good it is. HOT DAMM!! Vegan recipes are much more exciting than anything I’ve cooked before. It is unbelievable that you can take cashews, vegetables, spices, miso, and nutritional yeast and make a cheesy dip that tastes better (and less gelatinous) than anything you can get from a jar. Once you are done making the queso be sure to dip a tortilla chip directly into the pot to taste for seasoning or spread it on some tortillas and make quesadillas.

Cashew Queso (adapted from Post Punk Kitchen)

1c cashews

2c vegetable broth

2T miso

2tsp cornstarch

1T olive oil

1/2 red onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2tsp cumin

1stp chili powder

2T nutritional yeast

1/4tsp salt

Soak cashews in water for two hours, minimum. Drain and place in a food processor. Puree until mostly smooth. Add broth, miso, and cornstarch. Puree until very smooth.

Preheat a pot and saute onions and peppers in oil until soft. Add garlic and saute for one minute. Add vegetables to the food processor along with remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Place cashew mixture in pot and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Be sure to stir or whisk often.

Weekly Menu Dec 24

24 Dec

This Sunday people around the world will celebrate Christmas. I was raised Jewish and feel pretty indifferent to all of the holiday celebrations. A typical Jewish Christmas includes Chinese food and a movie, since we don’t enjoy Chinese food as much as we used to we have decided to celebrate with a Mexican Fiesta. Why stop only in Mexico? This week we will take a culinary trip around the world.

  • Veggie Burgers w/ Purple Slaw and Loaded Baked Potato Soup (California)
  • Tortilla Soup, Quesadillas, Guacamole, and Burritos (Mexico)
  • Thai Red Curry (Thailand)
  • Tomato & Rice Soup with Focaccia (Italy)
  • Philly Cheese Sandwiches (Pennsylvania)
  • Rasoi Restaurant (India)

And because I have the week off from work I will also be making Chocolate Chip Brownie Waffles, Energy Bars, and Sweet Potato Oatmeal Casserole.

Philly Cheese Sandwich

Weekly Menu Dec 17

17 Dec

This week Jordan volunteered his culinary opinion, hallelujah!

  • Fajitas w/Veggie Crumbles
  • Mushroom Stroganoff with Noodles and Chard
  • Spinach Pies
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Crazy Burger

Weekly Menu Dec 10

10 Dec

I have to work late several nights this week so the menu is light. I hope that I am able to make dinner each night this week.

  • Sloppy Joes with Slaw
  • Pizza with Tuscan White Beans
  • Mushroom Ragu
  • Thai Red Curry
  • Chili with Cornbread

Update: Truth be told I did not stick to this weeks menu and ate on campus several nights this week. Frankly this week was very disappointing. Fortunately, Jordan loved the Mushroom Ragu and I cannot get enough of the Thai Red Curry.

Weekly Menu Dec 3

3 Dec

This week I am hoping to expand my culinary horizon and enjoy cooking with some new soy products, tempeh & tofu.

  • Baked Teriyaki Tofu Miso Soup, and Pineapple Fried Rice
  • Tempeh Bourguignon
  • Pad Thai
  • Veggies & Dumplings
  • Single Serving Brownie

"Meat" Loaf with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Single Serving Brownie

Pad Thai