Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Chicken" Quesadillas

I am always so proud of myself when I come up with a recipe that is all my own. Granted, someone else somewhere in the world may have at some point thought of it too, however I don't know about it, and that means that it's mine. I was making the wonderful vegan mexican pizzas last night and thought that it might be fun to have something else along with it, a quesadilla perhaps. I had some Morningstar Farms Chicken Strips in the freezer, a few extra tortillas, leftover enchilada sauce from the pizzas, and some Tofutti cream cheese. The lightbulb above my head: visible and flashing. The end result: absolutely delicious.

"Chicken" Quesadillas
Morningstar Farms chicken strips (one bag will make several quesadillas)
1/2 C Tofutti cream cheese
1/4 C enchilada sauce
1 tsp each of garlic, cumin, and paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 C vegan cheese (I combined Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack and cheddar)

Combine the cream cheese, enchilada sauce and spices. Saute the chicken in 1 tbl of olive oil until heated through and browned on both sides. Place one tortilla on a cookie and spread the cream cheese mixture across it. Place strips of chicken ontop of the cream cheese mixture, then sprinkle with cheese. I also added a few scallions and jalapenos. Bake in the oven at 450* for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place another tortilla ontop the mixture. Brush the top tortilla while a light layer of olive oil, and cook for ten more minutes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Seitan Reubens, Coleslaw, and Smashed Potatoes

I love reubens, and I just remembered that I forgot to put a nice big slice of Swiss cheese on the seitan reuben I had for dinner this evening. Oh well, probably didn't need the extra fat. These reubens are made with crispy seitan, homemade vegan Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut, of course. They are served on the homemade buns that I make at least twice a week now (Jeffrey loves them). The buns are from Vegan Dad's hamburger bun recipe. I like to make a lot of smaller buns for two little sandwiches instead of one big one. I also like to throw some seaweed gomashio ontop of some of the buns. The Thousand Island dressing is simple:
2 tbl Vegenaise
1 tbl ketchup
1 tbl pickle relish
1/2 tbl lemon juice

Coleslaw is a no brainer, with:
4 C shredded cabbage
1 shredded carrot
1/4 C Vegenaise
1 tbl natural brown sugar
1 tbl rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

The smashed potatoes are also fun:
6 small Yukon Gold potatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes until very tender. Place on a baking sheet and lightly mash the tops with a fork, until the potatoes are coming apart but not completely demolished. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes, then shake some salt and pepper over them. Bake in the oven at 450* for 15 minutes. Shake some paprika over the potatoes and serve.
Yummy dinner.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cheesecake Cupcakes with Blackberry Sauce

I would first like to apologize for the photo. It's awful, but I am not used to taking my photos in the middle of the day by a window with sun streaming in (which I realize is the best circumstance under which to take a photo) but this is the best one I got. I'm sure you'll forgive me.

Rather than make an entire cheesecake, I thought it would be cute to make little cheesecake cupcakes and then spoon a thick fruit sauce over them. It was cute, however it seems that cupcake liners melt, or stick to the molds more, or something equally annoying, when left in the oven for over an hour. Additionally, (and I know this, believe me) there is a HUGE difference between regular tofu and silken tofu. As I said, I know this, but thought that I could get away with using the regular instead of the silken, because I really wanted to make these and had no silken tofu in the house. I wouldn't recommend it.
The cupcakes came out tasting ricotta-ish, not to mention we had to spoon them out of the liners that refused to tear themselves away from the muffin tins. Jeffrey suggested putting them in the freezer. After a day, I removed them and lo and behold, it was possible to remove them from the tins (although not easy and I did ruin a few). They did somehow taste a bit better, as well. So I spooned the sauce over the cupcakes, lined them up in a storage dish, and put them in the refrigerator. It was a good day.

Ingredients (for the cheesecake):
24 oz. SILKEN firm tofu
8 oz. vegan cream cheese, such as Tofutti
1/2 C Turbinado or other granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine ingredients with hand mixer or in a food processor. Spoon into 12 individual cupcake liners. Bake in the oven at 350* for 40 minutes. Let the muffins sit in the oven with the heat off for an additional 40 minutes. Set on cooling rack until completely cool, then refrigerate for several hours. Spoon sauce (recipe follows) on each cupcake and serve.

Blackberry Sauce

1 C blackberries
1/4 C water
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 C sugar

Mash the blackberries, leaving several large chunks. Combine in small saucepan with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then lower heat and simmer until thickened. It should only take a couple of minutes. Enjoy.

"Old School" Peanut Curry

When I first started cooking vegan, years ago, I made a lot of Asian dishes. They were easy. Plus, we love Asian food. I have tried many a peanut sauce recipe in my day, and have tried to emulate the peanut curry sauce from our favorite Thai restaurant, Thai Basil, countless times. Although I still make Asian food once a week or so, the peanut curry took the backseat as I became too frustrated to make the sauce, as it was either too bland or too sweet or too salty or didn't taste enough like peanut butter. So we call it the "old-school" peanut curry, from the olden days of vegan cookery. The other night I gave it a go again, and this sauce is a winner. Too bad I didn't write it down, but I think I can remember. . .

1/2 C coconut milk
1/4 C peanut butter
2 tbl tamari
1 tbl Turbinado or other brown sugar
2 tsp chili garlic sauce, or more, if you like a hotter sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl, then pour into a small saucepan. Heat the sauce until almost boiling. Set aside until ready to use.

I think this sauce would be good on multiple items. Add less coconut milk and it becomes a thicker sauce for dipping veggies or seitan satay. I stir-fried some tofu, onion, garlic, green pepper, carrot, potato and broccoli, then served it over jasmine rice with the sauce ladled over the top.