Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ich besorge das Bier.

German food reminds me of fall, and even though it got sort of hot today, the leaves are changing, and I'm looking forward to sweaters and boots. When I picked up a bag of Verisoy Vegan Spare Ribs today at Evergreen, I decided that going with an Asian dish would be too predictable. Enter the sauerkraut.

Of course, after it was all plated and tasted, I realized that this would be even better with Tofurky brats or vegan knackwurst. Also, I've never made vegan spaetzle before, but Bryanna's recipe is (of course) flawless. I made mine with regular unbleached all purpose flour and soy flour. I also used a metal colander to make the dumplings and angered the arthritis gods. It's not easy, and now I'm putting "spaetzle maker" on my Christmas list. I threw in the parsnips because Bryanna did, but I didn't have her recipe for those. I just sort of threw them in the pan.

Vegan Pork with Apples and Sauerkraut with Golden Parsnips and Spaetzle
makes 4-6 servings

1/2 bag vegan spare ribs (about 15), or four vegan bratwursts, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp+1 tsp caraway seed, divided
1 32 oz jar sauerkraut
1 small red onion, sliced
2 tart apples, cored and diced
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 oz German beer (I used a Bavarian double bock)
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced parsnips
2 tbsp vegan margarine
salt and pepper
1 or 2 tsp dried parsley
spaetzle, buttered with margarine and seasoned with salt and pepper and garnished with a little parsley and coconut bacon, if desired.

Heat oven to 350°
On the stove, heat a skillet over low -medium heat and add olive oil. Sauté the spare ribs or brat slices and onion until starting to brown. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of caraway seed. Remove from heat and set aside on a paper towel - lined plate. In a casserole dish, combine the sauerkraut, apples, remaining caraway seed, brown sugar, and beer. Top with the pork/onion mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and cook another 10 minutes. Let rest for five minutes, minimum.

Meanwhile, make your spaetzle and parsnips. Boil the parsnips for about ten minutes, and drain. In your skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons margarine over low heat. Add parsnips. Sprinkle with a little salt, and cook slowly, about ten minutes or so, until they start to caramelize. Move to a serving dish and toss with parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: give each plate a small pile of spaetzle, a scoop of parsnips, and top it with the pork, apples, and sauerkraut.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hungry Vegan Dinner

So, I missed another day. I doubt anyone was keeping track other than myself. I promise to do better next year! I blame wine and muscle relaxers.

I know I've mentioned the Gardein meatloaf before. It's SUPER GOOD. I have now sworn to stop trying to recreate meatloaf, because it's been done. God help me if Gardein stops making it. Anyway, let's say you have some, but want to make it fancy? Well, if you've got some frozen mixed vegetables and some leftover mashed potatoes, you're cooking with gas.

This picture looked a lot better on my phone.

Meatloaf Shepherd's Pie
makes 2 small or 1 large pie

1 package Gardein meatloaf, thawed
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 vegetable broth
1 tbsp vegan margarine
1 tsp cornstarch
 1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp marjoram 
salt and pepper
splash red wine
3 tbsp vegan sour cream
2 cups mashed potatoes

Heat oven to 350°

Make a roux with the margarine and cornstarch over low heat. Whisk in the veg broth, and then the contents of the gravy packets. Crumble the meatloaf slices into the sauce. Add vegetables and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add wine and sour cream. Put into small baking dishes for individual pies, or in one big casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes, spread evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes turn golden. Let rest for five minutes and serve.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Here's a quick and easy one, and people who've never eaten vegan before will think you slaved over a stove for hours. It's really simple. All you need are meatless meatballs (I've seen them in the freezer at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and every co-op in the Twin Cities. I'm using Trader Joe's balls tonight), a small French bread roll or hoagie bun, some leftover marinara sauce, and some Daiya mozzarella cheese. Voila, vegan meatball hero.

Why did I opt for the quickest recipe ever tonight? I have to be up and back at work at 6:45am, and I love sleeping.

Slice open the hoagie roll. Brush with vegan margarine and crushed garlic. Toast lightly. Meanwhile, bake a few meatless balls according to the instructions on the bag. Heat up your sauce. Arrange some balls on the bread, slather with sauce, top with cheese. Broil the sandwich open faced for about two minutes, or until the cheese melts, but before you burn the bread (like I did).

Assemble your sandwich, get a bunch of napkins, and shove it in your facehole.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Seoul Food.

This is a variation on something I make a lot, only instead of pancakes, I put the chicken and slaw inside tortillas.  I wanted to do something a little more involved, so I gave these a shot. These would make a fun appetizer if you make the pancakes tiny, with a tiny bit of slaw and a tiny bit of the chicken, but they can be messy, so having a fork is a must.

Scallion Pancakes with Korean Barbecue Chick'n and Asian Slaw
makes four servings

1 package Simply Balanced meatless Korean Barbecue Chicken, prepared

For the pancakes:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 tsp sugar
1 flax or Ener-G egg
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp shoyu
1 1/2 cups water
6 scallions, trimmed and sliced
2 tsp crushed red pepper

Combine the dry ingredients.  Mix wet ingredients. Combine the wet and dry until just mixed. Fold in the scallions and red peppers. Heat skillet over low-medium heat, spray with cooking spray. With a measuring cup, pour a half cup or so of batter onto the skillet.  When edges turn dry, flip.  Cook for about a minute, and move to a plate.  Repeat with the rest of the batter.

For the slaw:

4 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup bean sprouts
3 heaping tbsp vegan mayo
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp shoyu
2 tsp sesame oil
sriracha to taste
1 tbsp black sesame seeds

Mix all that up in a big bowl.

Serve barbecue chicken with pancakes and slaw.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Feel the burn.

Kids, be careful. Hot oil + water droplets = danger.  I think I'm going to have a scar. On the bright side, my wrist is the only thing that feels burned tonight, because this turned out relatively mild.

Today I'm using Target's Simply Balanced brand meatless smoky chipotle chicken. I asked a friend what he'd make with it, and chili was a suggestion. Chili it is! I used my basics: tomato sauce, chili powder, salt, cumin. .. but then threw in an extra chipotle pepper and some cinnamon for fun.

Smoky Chipotle Chick'n Chili
makes six servings

1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
olive oil
1 package Simply Balanced meatless Smoky Chipotle Chicken, thawed but not combined with the sauce, cut up into smaller pieces
2 14oz cans beans (I used pinto beans and black beans)
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp dried oregano
juice of 1/2 lime 
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (about a tbsp of pepper and sauce)
1/2 cup beer or water
2 tbsp masa harina
vegan sour cream, cilantro, cheeze shreds to garnish

In a soup pot over low heat, heat a tsp or so olive oil. Cook the onion, and garlic for about a minute. Add the chicken. Cook until chicken is starting to brown, and the veggies are soft. Add beans, sauce packets, tomato sauce, corn, salt, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, oregano, and lime. Taste for heat and seasoning. Add the chipotle if you can take it. In a cup, mix the beer with the masa harina, and add to the chili. Cook for five more minutes, and serve with garnishes.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A day late and a dollar short.

Sorry for skipping yet another day of MoFo. I really have no excuse other than laziness, because while I was off yesterday for the Replacements concert, I ended up spending the day doing laundry and binge-watching Criminal Minds.

I owe one more day for Mystery Box, even though it appears Chelsea over at Suzie V. Homemaker skipped it also, so I'll wrap up last week and kick off this week with the same recipe.

For Saturday: Your recipe must include two of the following ingredients: artichokes, spinach, peas, and oyster mushrooms.

Well, even though I have a week til payday, I realized yesterday that I've burned through a lot of my last check with this MoFo business. I have a fridge full of leftovers, but needing to go get all new stuff every day wrung me out pretty quick. I was sad that I couldn't get a t-shirt last night (although I heard the wait was an hour plus at the merch table). I decided to head to Target instead of Whole Foods today, and that's where I came up with a theme for this week when I saw these:

In addition to the Korean Barbecue Chicken, they also had Smoky Chipotle Chicken, and Miso Mushroom Turkey (which I decided to use tonight).

I read a lot of opinions about vegan meats from every person, be they vegan or not. If a vegan eats them, the omnivore sometimes assumes that we need meat and it's our bodies "speaking to us" or I've even heard--multiple times--the "if you don't like meat, why are you eating something that looks and tastes just like it" as if, you know, how dare we. Then I hear from vegans who say things like, "Well, it's okay for new vegans as they transition." Okay. So, I guess I've been transitioning for eight years because I still love this stuff. Also, I didn't go vegan because I didn't like meat, cheese, ice cream, eggs, etc. I loved all of it. I just could no longer justify killing animals for something that's just not needed. And these days, it's even easier. They didn't have Gardein when I went vegan, and Target definitely wasn't putting out their own line of Gardein-type products. Anyone who says it's too hard to be vegan should know that I made it, and I can't stick to anything. It was fairly easy back then, but now, it's ridiculous how many choices there are.

That said, I'm going to do a week of vegan meat dishes, starting with this wrap-up for Mystery Box. 

Miso Mushroom Turkey Hotdish
makes six servings

1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped 
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I didn't get oyster, but had some criminis left over)
2 tsp minced garlic
olive oil for sauteeing

1/2 pound farfalle or other shaped pasta, cooked and rinsed in cool water
1 package of Target's Simply Balanced Miso Mushroom Meatless Turkey, prepared with the sauce set aside
1 14oz can quartered artichoke hearts
1 cup peas
5-6 oz fresh spinach
splash of white wine 
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup walnuts
2 slices bread, toasted and ripped up
1 tbsp nutritional yeast 
pinch salt

Heat oven to 375°.

In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil. Cook the veggies and garlic until soft. Add spinach, splash of wine, and cook until the spinach is wilted. Combine sauteed veggies with the peas, pasta, turkey, artichoke hearts, sauce packets, and thyme. Stir in sour cream until well distributed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Dump into a casserole dish.

In a blender, grind up the ripped up toast, walnuts, nooch, and salt. Sprinkle over the casserole. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust starts to turn brown. Let sit for about five minutes, and serve.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Just under the wire.

For Friday, your recipe must include at least two of the following ingredients: radish root, scallions, and mozzarella.

I had to work second shift today, so I planned to make this before work. Unfortunately, I'm feeling a bit under the weather, so I slept until the last possible minute. I knew I'd be scrambling to make this tonight, when I'm all tired and gross from work, but man. My bed was so awesome this morning/afternoon.

Luckily, I did have a pizza crust ready to go. I wanted to do a pizza, and I had a little hunk of daikon, so I thought I'd see what happened if I made a Thai pizza with spicy peanut sauce instead of marinara.

Before the cheese.

Before the oven.

Thai Chick'n Pizza
makes one extra large pizza

1 pizza crust, rolled out in a pan or use a pizza stone (dust lightly with cornmeal). I used a BIG crust. Too big. I had to squish it into the oven.
1 recipe spicy peanut sauce (see below)
1 red bell pepper, sliced into rings
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
5 green onions, trimmed and sliced
1 small daikon radish (the one I had was about five inches), cut into matchsticks
10 or so pieces of Beyond Meat chick'n, or whatever vegan chick'n you like (about a cup and a half)
1 package Daiya mozzarella (or two cups of your favorite vegan mozz, shredded)
1 cup bean sprouts
handful of dry roasted peanuts
cilantro to garnish

Spicy Peanut Sauce
makes about two cups

3/4 cup natural peanut butter (I prefer chunky, but whatever you like), heated for a minute in the microwave
1 cup full fat coconut milk
splash of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
pinch sugar
sriracha or Thai chili and garlic paste to taste

Mix all that up.

Heat oven to 400°. Spread the peanut sauce over your rolled out dough. Arrange veggies and chick'n on the pizza. Cover with cheese, bean sprouts, and peanuts. Bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

 I wasn't lying about my tiny oven. Notice the side there? That's where the squishing happened.