Wednesday, January 27, 2010

vegan sloppy joes!

Finally, a recipe that's actually mine! This is one of my favorites. I made these over winter break and my omni dad was so cute about them. "What else do you use this vegetable texture protein stuff in?" "If I ate this and didn't know what it was, I'd think they were the real thing!" Heehee. If I ever do a second edition of Generation V, I want to add a lot more recipes, but this is one that's in the book already. If you've never cooked with! It looks like gerbil food when you buy it and sounds like a disease, but fear not. It's pure protein so it has a very meaty texture, and like tofu, it just absorbs the flavor of whatever you cook it with. It's also good for chili, burger patties...I bet it would be good on nachos, too. But this is my favorite. Enjoy!

Sloppy Joes
1 c. TVP
1 ½ c. water
2 T. liquid smoke
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1 T. apple juice and/or 1 T. brown sugar (optional, but so good)
3 T. ketchup (or tomato paste/sauce)
½ c. barbeque sauce

Combine TVP and water in a medium-sized pan. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cook until the TVP has absorbed almost all of the liquid and is tender and reddish-brown. Feel free to add more of any ingredient to taste; as long as you have enough water for the TVP and aren't using 20 parts barbeque sauce per 1 part TVP you can't screw these up. Serves 4 or so.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

vegan yum yum doughnut adventures

As I said in my previous post, I just got Lauren Ulm's cookbook _Vegan Yum Yum_ and can't get enough of it. It has a recipe for vegan doughnuts...that you bake! All the deliciousness of a doughnut, but so much easier and less unhealthy (I don't think any doughnut, vegan or non, can really be said to be 'better' for you than something else...) than you'd expect. Recipe originally here. I didn't have a doughnut pan (why would I) before I found this recipe, but it was around $15 and so worth it for how fun these were to make and share and eat.

Vegan Yum Yum Mini Doughnuts

Dry Ingredients:
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp (scant) Nutmeg
1 tiny pinch or shake Cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Soymilk
1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
Egg Replacer for 1 Egg
4 Tbs Earth Balance

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk. Combine the wet ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until the EB is just melted. The wet mixture should be just slightly warm, not hot. If it gets too hot while the EB is melting let it sit for a minute or two, stir, and see if you can stick a finger in it comfortably. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just mixed. It should form something that's too thick to be a batter and too thin/soft to be a dough. Spray your doughnut pan with nonstick spray (the original recipe said not to, but I had better luck when I did) and drop in by the tablespoonful. Use your finger to spread it around evenly and err on the side of underfilling or else you'll have doughnuts with little muffin tops. Bake for 12-14 minutes until they just barely start to (golden)brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Invert on a wire cooling rack or plate and then decorate to your heart's content. If you are going to roll any in powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar, do so when they're still hot, for anything else wait until they've cooled off. Makes 20.

doughnuts hot out of the oven

cinnamon sugar, chocolate sprinkle, white chocolate (yes, vegan white chocolate exists) coconut, powdered sugar

vegan yum yum tomato alfredo

I am in love with Vegan Yum Yum. I tend to enjoy cookbooks more the more pictures there are, and not only does this have a picture for every recipe, but the recipes themselves are beautiful, creative, and delicious. The other night I couldn't decide between Hurry Up Alfredo and Tomato Basil Cream Sauce so I combined the two. The original Alfredo recipe is here. This sauce has all the wonderful creaminess provided by raw cashews, without the planning and time commitment required in most other cashew cream recipes where you have to soak them overnight. Great texture, delicious flavor, really easy. I'll be making this again.

Vegan Yum Yum Tomato Alfredo (serves 2-3)

1 Cup Soymilk
1/3 Cup Raw, Unsalted Cashews
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
3 Tbs Low-Sodium Tamari or Soy Sauce
2 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine
1 Tbs Tahini
1 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Paprika (smoked is awesome)
1 Pinch Nutmeg
2-4 Cloves of Garlic, optional
Black pepper, to taste
3 T. tomato paste
Small handful grape tomatoes (probably half a regular tomato, seeds and skin and all)
Basil to taste (I probably used 1/2 Tbsp)

Combine everything in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth, though with the raw cashews it's kind of impossible for it to be completely smooth. Some bits of cashew are fine and won't detract from the overall quality. Pour the sauce into a....saucepan and heat on medium, stirring, until warm and thickened.

Friday, January 15, 2010

an open letter to natalie angier

(note: Natalie Angier is the author of “Sorry, Vegans: Brussels Sprouts Like to Live, Too”, which recently appeared in the NYT)

Dear Ms. Angier,
As a lover of nature, I enjoyed your article. The natural world always seems to be far more complex – and far more beautiful – than we can ever really know. But as a longtime vegan, I had a lot of problems with it. For one thing, you present this information as worthy of ethical consideration without ever really stating why, or what this – if it’s so important – means in practical terms for ethical eating. I’m not being facetious. Obviously, I understand that you’re saying that plants are more sentient than we assume, and that this implies that they are worthy of our ethical consideration, since the sentience of the beings we eat is a major factor in ethical eating, for some, the biggest factor. But judging by the title and your hurry to not “cede the entire moral penthouse” to vegetarians and vegans, your article – at least in its practical impacts on ethics – is directed towards vegans only. Are ethics all or nothing? Should we either eat in a way that harms no one and no thing or not try at all? No, and this is not the view your article itself presents. Food choices are indeed complex, and there is no way to be a perfect eater.

Even in a world where plants were as sentient as animals, a plant-based diet would still be the most ethical. Animals don’t grow themselves. They eat plants, too. According to a Cornell University study (, every year, 41 million tons of plant protein are fed to livestock, resulting in only 7 million tons of animal protein for human consumption. The commonly accepted ratio is that it takes sixteen pounds of plants to create one pound of meat. If humans just ate plants directly in a vegan diet, far fewer sentient beings – no animals, and drastically fewer plants (bearing in mind that this is a hypothetical world where plants are entirely sentient) – would be killed overall. As you say, “It’s a small daily tragedy that we animals must kill to stay alive.” We both agree that while it would be ethically ideal to self-sustain, this simply isn’t possible. However, this is no excuse to throw in the towel entirely. Just because we have to eat does not mean we can’t eat ethically, and just because it’s not possible to do absolutely no harm to any other being does not mean we aren’t obligated to minimize that harm as much as is possible and practical.

ooey gooey pumpkin pie brownies

YUM. I got Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero's new book, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar for Christmas and had such a hard time deciding which awesome recipe to make first. This is the holy book of vegan cookies. It has recipes for everything you'd expect (Blackstrap Gingersnaps, Peanut Butter Crisscrosses, Big Fat Crispy Rice Squares, etc.) but also creative and fancy things (Lazy Samoas, Frosted Grapefruit Icebox Cookies, Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies, NYC Black and Whites, etc.). Being so fancy myself, I went for these. It is always time for pumpkin on my calendar. These are decadent but not gut-bustingly rich, and because pumpkin (like applesauce) can do the same job fat does in a recipe, they aren't horrible for you as brownies go.

Pumpkin Pie Brownies

For the brownie layer
4 ounce bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 cup canned or pureed pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tablespoon tapioca flour (or arrowroot or corn starch)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the pumpkin pie layer
1 cup canned or pureed pumpkin
2 tablespoons tapioca flour (or use arrowroot or cornstarch)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used Pumpkin Spice soy)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground allspice

To decorate:

A handful of chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 inch springform pan, or use a 9 inch square pan, preferably lined with parchment paper.
To make the brownie layer: Melt the chocolate. In a large mixing bowl mix together pumpkin, sugar, oil and vanilla. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking soda and salt and stir to combine, then mix in the melted chocolate.

To make the pumpkin layer:

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.

To assemble:

Use a spatula to spread the brownie layer into the prepared baking pan, taking care to bring the batter to the edges of the pan. Pour the pumpkin layer over it, leaving a little room at the edges if you can. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pumpkin layer looks fairly firm (a little jiggling is okay) and has cracked at the edges a bit. Let cool for 20 minutes and then transfer to the fridge to set for at least an hour and a half. Once set, decorate with chocolate chips and serve devour.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

quick hit: vegan teen

Today I did a Google search for 'vegan teen', and this was one of the first results. It's the strangest veg-related website I've seen, and enjoyable for that in itself. Just bizarre. I think this was somebody's final project for Computer Science in eighth grade. The site's design is ignore, but other than that, it offers the only vegan-themed online games I've seen. In addition to driving a hippie van around to pick up tofu, you can also shoot Ronald McDonald in the face with a swordfish. And who doesn't want that?

One question: WHY does Google assume that 'vegan' and 'vegetarian' are synonyms? They are not, O Google. Blah.

Friday, January 8, 2010

vegetable biryani

A delicious, fairly easy, completely non-authentic dish. I modified this from Jamie's Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver, who is to my parents what Isa Chandra Moskowitz or Sarah Kramer is to me: deity of delicious, beautiful food and very directly responsible for their first forays into a new kind of cooking. Fair enough. The actual recipe had amounts, but this is one that you can eyeball and that you'll have to work to mess up. I just estimated what the dish I had would hold.

So, get an ovenproof dish that's more than an inch or so deep. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Make some rice. While the rice is cooking, make some curry - this is great if you have leftover curry you need to do something with, or you can be lazy like me and just make one quickly with curry paste and coconut milk and chickpeas. Rub the inside of the baking dish with Earth Balance and then sprinkle the whole thing with turmeric. Layer rice, curry, cashews (I bet raisins would also be good), and whatever other vegetables you want (or don't want - I bet it would work fine with tofu or even fake meat thrown in, but I can hear my friend Dino yelling at me already so just throw some vegetables in there. It's delicious no matter what) until you get to the top of the dish, but make sure the top layer is rice. Cut about a tablespoon of Earth Balance (cold) into bits and dot the top of the rice with it. Oil a big piece of foil and cover the dish, but leave a little lip so that it doesn't explode. Bake for about half an hour. NOM.

This was so good. The rice on top gets nice and crispy, the cashews get tender, and all the flavors just blend so well. And really, how hard is it to put some rice on the stove, throw some curry paste and coconut milk together in another pan, layer them, and let it bake? I made this with a friend over, while talking to her and watching TV. So easy and so good.