Monday, January 31, 2011

seitan piccata

seitan piccata is a meat-free version of a tangy italian dish typically made with chicken. this recipe (adapted from veganomicon) uses just one pan, is a nice twist to typical comfort food and also great for entertaining.


6 seitan cutlets (roughly 6"x2" and 1/2 an inch thick)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt an pepper
extra virgin olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of a heavy duty large skillet
3-4 shallots, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups veggie broth (if you made the seitan, you can use the broth you've stored it in)
1/4 tsp fresh thyme leaves (you can use dried if fresh isn't easily available)
1/4 cup capers with a bit of brine
1/2 cup kalamata, nicoise, or other black olive variety, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. add the olive oil and allow to get hot, but not to smoke. place the seasoned flour into a shallow dish and dredge half of the seitan cutlets so they are completely coated in a layer of flour. carefully add them to the hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. once browned, remove from the oil and wrap in foil to keep warm. repeat the process with the other 3 cutlets and when they're done, keep them wrapped in foil as well. do not reduce the heat in the skillet, and if most of the oil has been soaked up by the cutlets, add more to coat the pan (the residual flour from the cutlets will help thicken the sauce).
saute the shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes or until softened, but watch them closely to prevent them from burning. add the wine to the mixture and raise the heat to bring it to a boil. once boiling, add the veggie broth and thyme. allow it to come to a boil again and wait for it to reduce by half (about 10 minutes). add the capers and olives to the sauce once it has thickened and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes. add the fresh parsley and lemon juice and remove the pan from the heat.
serve each cutlet covered in sauce, and keep in mind that this dish is great accompanied with garlic-y mashed potatoes and a blanched green veggie like asparagus or green beans. enjoy!

Friday, January 28, 2011

sloppy josephs

sloppy josephs are a wee bit more refined than the stuff that comes in a manwich can. these messy numbers are made with ground beef style gimmie lean (a meat free pseudo sausage) which is very low in fat, but high in protein, making these a nice alternative to sloppy joes for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb gimmie lean, ground beef style
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 medium sized yellow onion, finely diced
1 orange bell pepper (any color will do), finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
salt and pepper to taste
buns (i used multigrain ones from trader joes, but anything will be fine)

in a large saute pan over medium-high heat, saute the gimmie lean in the olive oil, breaking the log up into as many small pieces as possible. i used a stainless steel pan and the gimmie lean did stick to the bottom, but both the balsamic and the tomato sauce and paste are highly acidic and excellent pan de-glazers. if you are worried about the bits at the bottom getting too brown, scrape them up as best as you can and feel free to turn down the heat to medium. once the sausage log resembles ground beef crumbles, add the balsamic vinegar and scrape up the bits at the bottom (if you can't get them all, don't worry, the tomato stuffs will help). add the onions and peppers and continue to cook for about 5-7 minutes. once the onions and peppers have softened, add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. add the spices, tomato sauce, and paste and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. add the maple syrup, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. allow the mixture to rest for a few minutes while you toast some buns and make sure to serve a heaping scoops, the sloppy part is where all the fun is. enjoy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

kitchen sink soup

i've recently become an assistant in a series of cooking demonstrations called tuesdays in tuscany. yesterday's demo was all about italian soups and i got to go home with some of the unprepared loot. a bounty of chard, kale, celery, carrot, basil... all of which, if you ask me, scream soup. i made use of some other stuff i had lying around, and voila the kitchen sink soup was born.

ingredients (these things are just what i happened to have on hand, anything goes for a kitchen sink soup):

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
10 cups liquid (you can use 10 cups of veggie broth, or a blend of broth and water)
2 red potatoes, diced
1 cup red lentils (these will disintegrate into the soup and give it a heartier body)
1 cup brown rice
2 cups italian kale, removed of stems and roughly chopped
3-4 cups swiss chard, removed of rough stems and roughly chopped
1/4 cup diced parmesan rind, optional (the rind of the parmesan gives soups a salty bite, but it can certainly be left out if making a vegan version of the soup)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup italian parsley leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

in a large pot over medium-high heat, heat up the olive oil and saute the onions, carrots, and celery. once they have softened a bit (about 5-7 minutes), add the minced garlic. saute an additional minute or two and add the balsamic vinegar to de-glaze the bottom of the pot. the vinegar will not only lift up the good browned bits from the base, but it'll also add depth the flavor of your soup. add the liquid, potatoes, lentils, rice, kale, chard, and parmesan (if using) and bring the mixture to a boil. once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. once the rice is tender, stir in the basil and parsley and remove the soup from the heat. garnish with whole basil or parsley leaves and a sprinkle of parmesan. enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

meatless dip

if you've made seitan, or have an excess sitting around and are wondering where to start, this meatless dip sandwich inspired by french dips and italian beefs, is juicy, spicy, and oh so chicago. what makes it oh so chicago? the giardiniera peppers of course. i didn't realize until leaving chicago that true giardiniera (the delicious stuff packed in oil) was not readily available every where else. in eugene, the closest i've come to finding the stuff is large cut cauliflower and carrots packed in brine. what am i supposed to do with that? certainly not put it on a delicious sandwich...
anyway, this sandwich is super simple, and i have to say that no photo will accompany this "recipe" because it's not a pretty one. it's one you'd want to eat on a somewhat questionably clean bar stool, wearing a shirt you don't mind getting a bit stained.


1 baguette, cut sub style
about a cup of seitan, cut into strips
giardiniera peppers, packed in oil
sriracha chili sauce (the asian bright red hot sauce with a rooster logo), optional
1 cup veggie broth (if you made seitan from a previous recipe on this blog, you can use the broth you cooked the seitan in), warmed

in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, brown the seitan strips so that they develop crispy parts, about 5-7 minutes. open up the baguette, and lightly toast it. when it's warm, layer a generous amount of seared seitan. top the seitan with giardiniera peppers. if you are using mild peppers, or if you want to kick up the heat of your sandwich, add a few stripes of sriracha, but if you've never used it before, watch out, it's hot stuff.  at this point your sandwich is basically ready. you can either dip it into the broth like a french dip, or douse it in broth like an italian beef. just keep in mind that both the french and italians alike would probably scoff at you for either method. ah well, they don't know what they're missing. enjoy : )

Sunday, January 23, 2011

homemade seitan

seitan is my favorite meat substitute, but i don't buy it that often because when compared with tofu, it's quite expensive. it is made from wheat gluten which is extremely elastic and gives the seitan a nice hearty texture. and unlike tofu it can be made flavorful from the start. this recipe, adapted from vegonomicon makes a about 12 large setian cutlets, and it does take some physical exertion, but i recommend making a large batch and freezing extras if necessary.

(shown here on a warmed pita, cut into strips, pan seared, and topped with greek yogurt, cucumbers, italian parsley leaves, a squeeze of lemon, and salt and pepper. super simple and very satisfying)

broth ingredients*:

24 cups veggie broth
1 cup balsamic vinegar

cutlet ingredients:

5 cups vital wheat gluten
2 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/3 cup ground flax
1/2 tsp freshly grated pepper
2 cups cold veggie broth
1 cup low sodium tamari**
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 gloves of garlic, finely grated
zest of 2 lemons

preheat oven to 350 F.

in a large pot, prepare the broth by combining it with the balsamic and bringing it to a boil. once boiling, turn off the heat and keep covered.

in a large bowl, combine the gluten, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, flax, and pepper. in another bowl combine the cold veggie broth, tamari, olive oil, grated garlic, and lemon zest, and mix well. pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until large clumps start forming. the gluten has hydrophobic tendencies, so combining the wet and dry ingredients may seem difficult. once the clumps begin to form, continue to knead the dough by hand until all the dry gluten has been incorporated (about 3 minutes). transfer the dough from the bowl and form it into a rough log. slice the log into 12 pieces, by cutting it half, then cutting each half in half, and cutting each of those in thirds. take each piece, knead it, and stretch it out as much as possible without ripping it apart. the cutlets should be about a little less than 1/2 an inch thick. you may need to throw your body into this, and you may be a bit sore the next day, but it's definitely worth it.

once your cutlets are ready, take the prepared veggie broth and put about 6 cups each into 4 9x13 baking dishes. arrange 3 cutlets per dish, bake them for 30 minutes uncovered, flip them and bake an additional 20 minutes. remove the cutlets from the oven and place them in a colander to drain, but do not discard the broth. extra seitan can be stored in the cooking broth, and the broth can be used in recipes to come!

*alternatively, half the broth can be prepared and re-used, by baking the cutlets in 2 rounds. this works well if you don't have 4 baking dishes.

**i was going to make this recipe soy free by using bragg's liquid aminos, but that contains soy protein. feel free to make the substitute.

to corrie: thanks for inspiring tim with diffusers : )

Friday, January 21, 2011

chocolate coconut donuts (soy and dairy free)

i was going to wait a bit before posting these donuts, but i decided there are much worse things in the world then back to back donut posts. and for those of you tired of fried things, don't despair, homemade seitan's coming up next!

donut ingredients:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour (unbleached if possible)
1/4 cup unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 tablespoon soy free earth balance, melted*
1 tsp vanilla extract
canola oil for frying

glaze ingredients:

1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk
4 tablespoons soy free earth balance*
4 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped (i used theo's because it didn't contain dairy or soy lecithin)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

for the donuts: in a large bowl, beat together the egg and 1/2 cup of sugar until pale and creamy. add the coconut milk, melted earth balance, and vanilla and mix well. sift the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt directly into the wet mixture and mix until just combined. cover and refrigerate for as least half an hour, but no longer than an hour.
in the meantime, prepare a deep fryer (or heavy saute pan) with canola oil set to 360 F, arrange a floured work space for rolling out the dough, and line a cookie sheet with paper towels to absorb excess oil from the fried donuts. 
once the donut dough is ready to roll out, roll it 1/2 an inch thick and cut out donuts and holes with a 3 inch diameter cutter or circles. fry in batches of 2-5 (depending on how large the surface area of your oil is) for 1 1/2 minutes, then flip and fry for an additional minute. allow the oil to return to 360 F between batches to prevent soggy donuts. 

while the donuts are frying (or immediately after they've finished) begin the glaze by combining the tablespoon of water and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. when the sugar has completely dissolved, but not yet begun to boil, add the coconut milk and earth balance. when the mixture is hot, but not boiling, remove it from the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate. allow the chocolate 30 seconds or so to heat up before stirring the mixture. once all the chocolate is incorporated, add the vanilla. allow the glaze to thicken for about 20 minutes before dipping the donuts. 

this is a good time to toast the coconut. i used a toaster oven because it's such a small amount of coconut and it's easier to monitor. if using an oven, set it to 325 F and allow the coconut to toast in a single even layer for about 7 minutes or until lightly golden.

when the glaze has thickened, dip the donuts on their flatter sides and sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes. serve immediately : )

*butter or regular earth balance can be substituted

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

buttermilk donuts

deep fryers are magical because they have the power to change lives for the better (sorry joseph, but it's true). the recipe for these buttermilk donuts comes from a williams-sonoma cookbook titled donuts (how appropriate) and they are the first of many donuts to come. 


1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour (if you can find unbleached stuff, go with it)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

canola oil for frying
confectioners' sugar for dusting

in a large bowl, sift together the first set of ingredients, and set aside. in another large bowl, mix together the egg and granulated sugar until pale in color. add the buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla and mix well. slowly add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until they just come together into a soft dough. gather the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for half an hour.

while the dough is chilling, line a baking sheet with paper towels to absorb excess oil from the fried donuts, prep a space for frying (set about 2 inches of oil to 360 F, either in a deep fryer or heavy saute pan), and another for rolling out the dough (a generously floured surface). when the dough is ready, roll it into an approximately 10 inch circle that is about 1/2 an inch thick. with a 3 inch donut cutter (or 2 circle cutters), cut out as many donuts and holes as possible. re-roll the scraps and repeat cutting out as many donuts as the dough yields.

when all the donuts have been cut, slowly lower the first batch (about 2-5, depending on the surface area of the oil) into the hot oil and fry until golden brown (about 1 1/2 minutes), then flip and fry for an additional minute.  repeat with additional batches, until all the donuts and holes have been fried, allowing the oil to return to 360 F between batches.

arrange the finished donuts in a single layer and using a fine sieve, dust generously with confectioners' sugar.

enjoy with coffee and friends!

Monday, January 17, 2011

buffalo things

these buffalo things were inspired by the buffalo things at vita cafe in portland, and it's a bit absurd that more restaurants don't serve these little wonders...

thing ingredients:

1 16 oz package of firm tofu
unbleached flour (about a cup)
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp paprika
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk (i used unsweetened soy)
salt and pepper to taste
(canola oil for frying)

sauce ingredients:

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp tabasco sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste

dipping sauce ingredients:

3 tbsp buttermilk
2 tbsp plain greek yogurt
1/4 cucumber, finely grated
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 tsp dry dill
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste

set deep fryer with 2 inches of canola oil (or pan with 2 inches of oil) to 360 F.

these things turn out best when the tofu is not overly moist. after removing the tofu from its packaging,  squeeze out as much liquid as possible without ruining the shape of the brick. cut the tofu into strips and additionally squeeze those. then take the strips, sprinkle them with salt to draw out some of their moisture, and wrap them in a single layer with an absorbent cloth napkin or towel. apply direct pressure with a plate and weight set upon the strips and allow to drain for at least 1 hour. once the tofu has been thoroughly drained, cover each strip with a coating of flour. take the flour coated strips and dip them in a mixture made from 1 beaten egg and 2 tablespoons of milk. the battered strips are then dipped in an additional layer of flour. for the second coating, add the 1/2 tsp cayenne, tbsp paprika, salt and pepper to the remaining flour. once the strips have been floured, battered, and re-floured they are ready to be fried for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until nicely golden brown. remember to allow the things space to fry, overcrowding the oil will reduce its temperature and result in soggy things. ick.

once your things are fried, they are ready to be coated in deliciousness, but it's better to have the dipping sauce made before coating the things to maintain their crispiness. for the dipping sauce, combine yogurt, buttermilk, cucumber, garlic, dill, cayenne, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. mix well. ta-da!

to make the buffalo sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat, then add the tabasco, vinegar, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. toss the things in the buffalo sauce, and serve immediately with carrots and celery for dipping.


Friday, January 14, 2011

cauliflower soufflé

when visiting chicago over the holidays, i received a lot of complaints about the lack of posting going on, so i'll start by formally apologizing for misleading everyone into thinking i have stopped eating. the reason for the lack of posts was due to poor lighting. however, tim made me light diffusers for christmas (thanks tim    : ), so now i can cook and bake and eat at night, and still share wonderful recipes with all of you. this recipe for cauliflower soufflé  is an auntie shmounie classic (tak for sharing!) and perfect for jumping back into the blogging world.

i should've taken this photo immediately after removing the soufflé from the oven because from then until when the photo was shot, some oomph disappeared into the night... still delicious though.


1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
90 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (apx 1/2 cup)
1/2 liter low fat milk (a little over 2 cups)
6 eggs, separated
butter for greasing dish
bread crumbs for sprinkling
salt, pepper, a dash of paprika, and a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg

preheat oven to 200 C (392 F)

grease the bottom of the soufflé dish** and sprinkle a layer of bread crumbs to coat. layer the cauliflower florets into the dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. set aside.

in a medium saucepan, continuously whisk the milk and flour over medium to medium-high heat until doughy in consistency. add salt, pepper, paprika, and nutmeg to taste. set aside and allow to cool.

once the flour and milk mixture has cooled, mix in the egg yolks. in a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a stand mixer, egg beaters, food processor, or an immersion blender (anything that will prevent whisking them by hand), until they form a meringue and hold stiff peaks. gently fold the meringue into the doughy mixture*** and pour it upon the cauliflower. sprinkle the top with salt, pepper, and a layer of bread crumbs and place it in the center of the oven. allow to bake uncovered for approximately 45 minutes to an hour or until the top has browned nicely.

serve with grated cheese and enjoy!

*i first made this recipe with auntie shmounie in denmark and thus used metric measurements. i have included estimates for american measurements, but would suggest using the metric versions for greater accuracy if possible.
**using a dish specifically designed for soufflés really makes a difference. i didn't believe it until i tried making this dish in a regular ceramic piece of bakeware. the pop that is so signature to soufflés just never happened...
***if the mixture is too thick, it can be thinned by stirring in a little more milk.