Saturday, December 30, 2006

Beer Bread

I think I saw how someone on the PPK mentioned that they had made the Quick Sundried Tomato Bread from Donna Klein's Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen cookbook. So I thought I would give my bread maker a rest and instead make this quick bread with a bottle of Kyle's beer. Kyle suggested that I use the Bud Light that he bought, given that it was an American cookbook and the lower alcohol might have been more suitable for the recipe, so that's what we did. The author said the bread was done in 45 minutes and she was right! It rose really well, and tasted great with margarine. I'll put in a little salt next time, but that's the only thing I'd change.

In the time it took to make the bread and bake it, Kyle and I took down all of the Xmas decorations :(

Friday, December 29, 2006

Good Baked Goods!

I was a busy baker just before, during and after Xmas. First, I have to give many thanks to Melissa for her blog on vegan nanaimo bars. They were delicious! And way better than the original version with the tartrazine-laced custard powder which resulted in the gross yellow layer. My mom was a skeptic at first, but insists that they become a new Xmas baking tradition! I'll have to remember to measure the icing sugar next year however, as I made the frosting layer a little too thick, so my chocolate tops wouldn't stay on each piece.

Another Xmas tradition is to make cinnamon buns. Here they are both unglazed and with frosting:
Here's my recipe - I used a bread maker since I'm lazy and don't often have time to knead:
Sarah's Cinnamon Buns
½ cup pure, warm water
½ cup warm soymilk
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
Egg replacer equal to 1 egg (1 teaspoon ER plus 2 tablespoons pure water)
4 tablespoons margarine
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1. Add all ingredients, in this order, in the bread machine. Set to dough cycle.
2. After dough cycle is complete, let remain in bread machine to rise for one hour.
3. Remove from bread pan. Roll dough out into a 14-inch by 18-inch rectangle. Spread another 4 tablespoons of margarine and sprinkle ¼ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon on dough. Roll into a jelly-roll shape. Cut roll into 16 equal slices. Arrange slices into a greased 9x13 inch casserole or 2 greased pie plates. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour (or refrigerate overnight, bring to room temperature and bake).
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Make icing with 1 cup of icing sugar, 1 tablespoon margarine, 1 teaspoon soymilk and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Serve warm.

I also created some blueberry muffins since Loblaws had 1-pint containers on sale for $2.99! I didn't want the berries to go to waste, so I made two batches. I didn't write down what I did, but it's a basic whole wheat blueberry muffins with a crumb topping. Lemme know if you want the recipe and I'll type it up.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bread Head

Ever since the demise of my bread-machine, I've been obsessed with making bread the pre-automated way. I ordered The Bread Baker's Apprentice and am enjoying it thoroughly. On his blog, Peter Reinhart mentioned the No-Knead Bread recipe from the New York Times, which was also mentioned on the PPK boards. I had to try it.

Here is the dough after rising for 18 hrs.

I recommend you skip all the steps relating to flouring a towel, and instead use a Silpat or parchment to transfer the dough to the pot. Much easier.
Here is the bread after baking in a Le Creuset dutch oven.

And here is a photo of the crumb. I love big holes in bread, something I could never get using bread machine recipes.

The next day, I made Fronch Toast from VwaV using the leftover bread.

And paired it with the best spinach salad recipe I've found to date. Use vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

How to Build a Turkey (Vegan, of Course...)

After making a way-too-dense seitan loaf at Thanksgiving, I decided to go with an old standby: Tofu Turkey, which has been served on numerous occasions. However, this time, I decided to use seitan instead of tofu. I even tried to sculpt the 'hind legs' or whatever those lumps are on a traditional turkey. Here are some assembly pics, as well as the recipe that was originally from Vegetarian Times:

I first laid down slices of seitan on a parchment-lined cookie sheet:
I then formed the stuffing around it:
I then draped homemade pastry over top (and formed 'hind legs' with seitan and stuffing inside), then brushed with vegetable stock:

Once baked, it looks delicious, and much tastier than the 'real' thing!

Combined with a number of other items, it made a delicious Christmas feast!

Here's the recipe in case I've persuaded you to try it next year:


2 - 1 pound loaves bread
2 tablespoons margarine
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 large stalks celery, finely diced
1 large onion, finely diced
pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sage or celery salt
½ cup Egg Replacer/water combo (about 2 tbsp egg replacer with the rest comprised of water)
½ cup vegetable broth
3 good size pieces of seitan (I used about half of a recipe for VwaV's Seitan)
pastry for a single-crust pie

1. Break bread into 1 - inch chunks; dry in a large bowl, uncovered, for at least 8 hours or overnight.
2. Melt margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot, celery and onion; sauté, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Transfer to a large mixing bowl; cool to lukewarm. Add pepper, bread cubes, sage (or celery salt), egg replacer and broth. Toss to combine; set aside at least 30 minutes to allow liquids to soak into bread.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Arrange overlapping slices of seitan on parchment paper in a row; mounding in centre. Press stuffing mixture around seitan to cover completely. Wet hands lightly, and press into a neat oval shape.
5. Roll pastry sheets out to 1/16 - inch thickness; arrange, overlapping slightly, to make a large rectangle. Seal edges with dabs of water.
6. Drape pastry over mound; trim excess away around bottom. Use scraps to cut out decorative shapes (leaves, apples, etc.); attach with dabs of cold water. For a shiny crust, brush pastry lightly with veggie broth. Bake 1 to 1 ¼ hours, covering pastry with foil if it browns too much.
7. Transfer ‘turkey’ to a platter. To serve, cut straight down through pastry, stuffing and seitan to make neat 1-inch slices. Serve with gravy.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gingerbread Mania!

Only four more baking days before Christmas!

First up, Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies from the PPK. They were super, and for a healthier version, I would use nuts instead of chips next time. They were that chewy.

And then four dozen (I lost count) Gingerbread cookies made from Bryanna Clark Grogran's Gingerbread recipe. Delicious!

For a glaze I used icing sugar and 1/2 soy creamer, 1/2 water.

I liked the star-snowflake pattern:

And here are Pete and I captured in an oven-baked moment. Ah, gingerbread love.

Peace on Earth, everyone.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Baking Continued

Some other items from our grocery shopping included the procurement of ingredients for VWAV's Jerk Seitan, which, if you haven't made it, is absolutely FANTASTIC

and BBQ Pomengranate Tofu, which is also very very good

as well as Earth Balance margarine and non-hydrogenated shortening for Christmas baking! Here are my first goodies:

The recipe is modified from a newspaper clipping from the '80s pasted into my mother's strawberry-fabric covered recipe notebook, so I'll reprint without giving proper credit to whomever composed it.

Peanut Butter Candies

1 cup Earth Balance margarine
4 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 cups smooth natural peanut butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 bag vegan chocolate chips

Cream margarine, sugar and peanut butter. Mix in graham crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 and 9x9 baking pan (or a really big cookie sheet - it makes that much) to a thickness of about 1/4". Melt the chocolate and spread over mixture. Refrigerate until set and let warm to room temperature before cutting into squares.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I've Overdone It

I made many homemade gifts this year, and have a lot of basket wrapping ahead of me:

Scary thing is, all of the more material goods are under the tree, and it's jam-packed already! I live alone, so I think that's just nuts that I could be giving that much stuff! Tonight, I painted a plate with a cat motif as a gift for my aunt. I was pretty impressed with myself, as it certainly beats last year's attempt at creating glass art:

And now onto food. This weekend, my mom, Sam and I made nearly 1000 cookies. It took 12 hours straight, but it was well worth it! Here are a few of them:

Orange-Carrot Cookies (my fave)

¾ cup Earth Balance margarine
1 cup sugar
Egg replacer equivalent to one egg
1 cup cooked, mashed carrots
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
Juice and rind from 1 organic orange
1 ¾ cup icing sugar

Cream margarine and sugar in a large bowl. Add egg replacer, carrots and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt, then add to sugar mixture, stirring until combined.

Drop onto greased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Combine rind with icing sugar. Slowly add the juice of the orange, stirring until correct consistency. You may not use all of the juice. Frost cookies with icing mixture while slightly warm.

Sugar Cookies

½ cup shortening
½ cup sugar
Egg replacer equivalent to one egg
2 tbsp soymilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

Using a mixer, cream together shortening and sugar; beat in egg replacer, soymilk, and vanilla.
Blend in combined dry ingredients using a wooden spoon to form a ball of dough. Chill dough in a flat round shape wrapped in plastic wrap, if necessary.

Roll dough between two large sheets of parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and place on a greased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes until golden.

Cool, and frost with icing in various colours to match shapes.

Makes 3 dozen, depending on size of shapes.

Cranberry Crumble Bars (my second fave)

1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups quick cooking oats (not instant)
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup melted Earth Balance
¼ cup corn syrup
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind

In large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and baking soda. In small bowl, combine melted butter and corn syrup; stir into dry ingredients. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture; pat remaining mixture into a greased 8-inch square baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until very lightly browned.

In bowl, combine cranberry sauce, lemon juice and rind. Spread over base, and sprinkle evenly with reserved oats mixture; pat down lightly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely on rack. Cut into 25 squares.

Chocolate Topped Crunchies

Crunch Base:
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 tbsp corn syrup
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp melted Earth Balance
½ tsp vanilla
2 cups bran flakes

4 squares semi-sweet chocolate or equiv. choc. chips
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, 2 tbsp peanut butter, margarine and vanilla; mixing well.
Add cereal, mixing well. Press into greased 8-inch square pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate and peanut butter, and spread evenly over baked layer. Cool and store in the refrigerator; cut into bars.

Makes 32 1-inch bars.

Ginger Crinkles
(I was too lazy to put them on a plate - so the pic is through the container)

2/3 cup vegetable oil
Egg replacer equivalent to one egg
4 tbsp molasses
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
2 ½ tsp ginger

Mix oil with sugar. Add egg replacer and beat until fluffy. Stir in molasses.

In another bowl, sift together dry ingredients, then add to molasses mixture.

Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, dip in sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dinner and Dessert in an Hour

Thanks to Tracy's shopping trip, I was able to borrow some pomegranate molasses to try BBQ Pomegranate Tofu from VwaV. I was really surprised how easy it was for this dish to come together, since you had to bake the tofu, make the sauce from scratch and cook some rice to serve it with. But it all came together in about an hour's time, but the effort part only took about 20 minutes. In between baking tofu and stirring the sauce, I had time to make the easiest dessert on earth. My own Hot Fudge Pudding Cake. This recipe is great for so many reasons: A) It gets made right in the pan it's cooked in, so there's no cleanup, B) I always have the ingredients on hand, and C) It makes it's own sauce with no stirring required!

Try it, and you'll see how good and easy it is:

Sarah's Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons + ¼ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup soymilk
½ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup Sucanat
1 ¾ cups hot water

Measure flour, the 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into an ungreased 8x8 square baking pan or 2-quart casserole dish. Stir with fork.
Combine soymilk, maple syrup, oil and vanilla, then add to flour mixture. Stir until smooth. Spread evenly in pan.
In a separate bowl, mix Sucanat and ¼ cup cocoa powder. Sprinkle over batter. Pour hot water over sugar and cocoa, and do not stir.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Mixture will form a cake and sauce in pan. Let stand for 15 minutes to cool.

I served it with Soy Delicious ice cream:

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Yesterday I wanted to make a loaf of bread for dinner to eat with the Creamy Squash Soup I was making from the latest issue of VegNews. At lunch I put all the ingredients in my bread machine and set the timer so the dough would be ready at 5pm to take out and bake. When we got home from work I looked inside and the powdered yeast was still sitting on the top.

I tried again today and the dough cycle just doesn’t start. I think the motor is burned out.

Since I like hand-shaped loaves and pizza crust the best, I asked Sarah if she thought I should just buy something to “knead” the dough, like a kitchenaid mixer? I rarely bake square loaves.

Her response:

That is sad.

I thought about the kitchenaid option, but remember that you still have to do all the proofing work. The dough cycle does all that for you. So just keep those extra steps in mind if you go that route.

Oh, I forgot to tell you the happy ending!

We dumped out the ingredients to test the breadmaker without them. After determining the machine was kaputz, instead of throwing the stuff out, I just kneaded it together, let it proof in the oven for 45 min, then shaped into a loaf and baked for 25 min. It was edible!

Thus my analysis:

New breadmaker = $200
Kitchenaid mixer = $300 (but oh, so sexy)
Book = $30

I think for now I’ll research a bread-making book and just try the old-fashioned way for a while.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Kowloon in Ottawa

On the weekend, Pete and I went on a whirlwind city grocery shop. We hit all the places we never get to and places we've never been to stock up on those hard-to-find vegan ingredients that our local suburban grocery stores don't carry.

One mega stop was an Asian grocery store downtown, the Kowloon Market. It reeks of fish, but has some great buys, including the best fresh tofu and the cheapest silken tofu around.

I made this dish by coating the tofu in cornstarch and sauteing, then topping with spicy peanut sauce. Super easy.

Kowloon carries a variety of asian veggies, including my fav, lotus root. I love it sauteed in a little oil, with soy sauce and a sprinkle of cayenne.

And they have soy sprouts and other goodies for a homemade thai soup.

We also picked up nori sheets, frozen vegetarian dumplings, soba noodles and tapioca pearls for bubble tea. I'll post the rest of our finds soon!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sister's Seitan Saves Dinner!

Kyle told me that I need to improve my time management skills when it comes to grocery shopping, as I'm there what feels like a million times per week. The man had a point. So this week, I decided to plan out my meals for the entire week, and vowed to wait a whole seven days before heading back to one of the many grocery stores that I frequent.

Problem was - I did my meal planning just for me. I totally didn't do meal planning to account for my boyfriend eating at my house (which is not a rare thing) nor the fact that I would have to serve Sam a meal as well. This oversight came to my attention tonight, when Kyle indicated that we would hang out, and I realized that he probably wouldn't want a Tofurky-avocado-tomato-red onion-lettuce sandwich, which I had planned on eating myself tonight.

So I decided that I would make a salad that caught my attention from Healthy Cooking for Kids, as I had purchased the ingredients as part of my grocery time management plan. But I was stumped as to what else to serve, since I had originally planned on eating that with my sandwich! I had been eyeing a recipe on the PPK site, but by the time I would get home from work, I wouldn't have time to make, cook and cool the required seitan from VwaV. Fortunately, Tracy e-mailed me today and indicated that she'd made way too much seitan for her and Pete to eat in a week, so I managed to snag a few pieces! Problem solved!

The result: Amazing Sham Chowder thanks to Pamela on the PPK. I also added some chopped onions to the celery/pepper combo, then added the flour to make a roux before adding in the liquids. I also seasoned it with thyme, celery seed and bay leaf, since I didn't have Old Bay seasoning and didn't even know what goes into that. It was AMAZING! Kyle thought it was good. I told Tracy and Pete to swing by on their way home from work tomorrow night to get a couple servings as a thank-you for the seitan.

And the salad was pretty tasty too. It was called Garden's Gift Salad from the aforementioned Shelley Null book. It featured cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and avocado with a lime-rosemary-basil balsamic vinaigrette. Tasty! I plan on serving it again tomorrow night when Sam comes over before we go see The Holiday movie!

Looks like my grocery time management plan worked out after all, since I'll be able to entertain twice - all unplanned!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Greece-Italy-France - All in One Night!

I think I'm coming down with a cold, but that didn't stop me from making a tasty meal! I made one of my favourite vegan salads that is meant to mimic a caesar salad. No idea where I got the recipe from, but it involved ground almonds, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. No anchovies there!

For the main course, I made a quick and tasty comfort food from Shelley Null's Healthy Cooking for Kids. I didn't really realize that it was mostly vegan until I bought it years ago, and I thought it was a great book for a fussy vegan like me, who sometimes acts like a big kid. These are Mario's Stuffed Shells - basically, I puréed extra-firm silken tofu with garlic and onion powder, and spooned it into cooked jumbo pasta shells and arranged in a greased 9x13 pan. I covered it with a jar of pasta sauce, put foil on top, and baked for 30 minutes at 450 degrees.

For dessert, I had made Glazed Orange Scones from VwaV. Wow - amazing. They are very similar to a favourite Xmas cookie that my family makes, so it was almost like getting an early taste of what will come when I do my Xmas baking next weekend! Kyle, Tracy and Pete taste tested, and the feedback was very positive. Given my success as a scone maker, I'm going to try and make a pumpkin scone next, since Kyle has been buying them lately from Starbucks, and I want to see if I can compete with them!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Only Iron I'll Touch...

After buying my new waffle iron, I decided that I would make Pumpkin Waffles from VwaV first. They were tasty little suckers, but I think I'll add some wheat gluten or powdered egg replacer next time to make them a little crispier. I love the fact that my waffle iron makes 4 waffles at time, and the fact that this recipe makes a whole pile too! I have 6 leftover waffles in my freezer right now, which will be delicious to reheat on a lazy weekend morning.

I can't wait to try all of the other waffle recipes in VwaV! I love that book and my new waffle iron so much. If only I could love my clothes iron as much. Waffles are way more fun than burnt blouses.

Friday, December 01, 2006

December 1st = 1st Batch of Holiday Treats

As promised, since it's December 1st, I made Skor Bars. Now I've never eaten a Skor chocolate bar, but apparently these are similar in terms of a sweet and flaky layer which is covered in chocolate.

They are really easy. My friend Sam came over (who is known for making a big mess in the kitchen - she usually ends up covered in something or other, and making my kitchen a mess in the process!), and we made the first Xmas treat. She made the traditional non-vegan version with salted butter and brown sugar, whereas I used Earth Balance and Sucanat. I asked her to taste the difference and she said they are similar, but the vegan version is a bit saltier. I didn't notice, but maybe there is a low-sodium Earth Balance out there? But then again, she makes guac with very little salt, whereas I dump a pile in, so perhaps I should seek a second opinion. I'll ask Kyle next time he comes over, although I hope he's not still traumatized from last week's sodium overdose with the basil pesto on the Isa Pizza.

Here's the recipe:

Skor Bars

1 sleeve of soda crackers (preferably unsalted)
1 cup Earth Balance
¼ cup Sucanat
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup ground almonds

Place aluminum foil on a cookie sheet that has sides and lay the crackers tightly together (it’s better to use a really good non-stick cookie sheet and avoid using the aluminum foil as it tends to stick to the cracker base after cooking - omit the foil if you have a good non-stick sheet).

Melt the Earth Balance and add Sucanat. Mix with an electric beater until smooth. Quickly pour hot mixture over crackers and spread with a knife to cover all the crackers. You will see that the two ingredients will separate quite a bit, so try to distribute as evenly as possible.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

When finished baking, remove the pan from the oven and press down on the cracker surface with a fork if the crackers have shifted on top of one another a little bit - you want a single layer. Sprinkle chocolate chips overtop the melted cracker mixture. Spread the chocolate as it melts over the entire cracker surface. Sprinkle with ground almonds.

Refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze until chilled (or, if you've had an ice storm like we had today, place cookie sheets on the pile of ice that's covered your car - that will cool them off in 15 minutes).

If necessary, peel the foil off the bottom of the crackers and break up into small to mid-size pieces.

Here's the result:

The other night, I made my favourite fastest meal ever - Asian Noodles with Edamame in No Time from the September 2005 issue of Vegetarian Times. It honestly takes 15 minutes (including time to bring water to a boil!). The only thing that requires real prep is the onions - they have bagged carrots already cut into matchsticks which is a way better consistency than if I had grated them. I of course make a few subs - for the sauce, I use 2 tbsp each of the rice vinegar and sesame oil and omit the water, and for the pasta part, I use spinach instead of watercress. I make the noodles/edamame/carrot combo, then when I'm about to drain it, I put a PILE of spinach in the colander, then drain the noodles on top. The hot water wilts the spinach and I then transfer everything back to the pot and add the rest of the stuff. Very easy. I also can't believe there's 21 grams of protein per serving!!!

Stay tuned for more Xmas baking and recipe sharing - my mom, Sam and I are having a cookie-making blitz on December 16th and 17th, so my blog entries will be filled with treats!