Saturday, February 27, 2010

Beefy Seitan and Mushroom Stroganoff

Wow, it's been too long since I last posted. Didn't intend to take so long and I have definitely been cooking, but life keeps happening and there are only so many hours in the day……

The good news is, the snow melted and we had a sunny day or two. The not-so-good news is, more snow fell this morning, but just a dusting. And the Mac's keyboard went out. The really bad news is that I am selling my horses and it is breaking my heart. Truth is, there are, as I said earlier, only so many hours in the day. And there are only so many dollars in the bank account. That's the biggie - money. Horses are so darned expensive to keep, especially when you have to board them out. That's about all I'm going to say about the horses or I will have to stop writing to cry. Which is the biggest reason I haven't been blogging.

Today's post - Beefy Seitan and Mushroom Stroganoff. I've been meaning to make this and post about it for awhile. I finally got around to making it Tuesday night, and man, is it good! And even better as leftovers. I just finished having it for lunch and my tummy is very full and very satisfied! Now I need a nap………

12 oz. beefy seitan, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cups water*
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces vegan sour cream
12 ounces bag wide egg-free noodles or pasta

*If you have the simmering broth from making Beefy Seitan left, use 2 cups of that instead of the water. It works great!

In a zip-top bag, combine flour, seasoned salt and black pepper. Shake to blend, add the seitan strips, and shake to coat.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until transparent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add the seitan strips and flour then brown for about 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Add the salt, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar and water to the pan and stir to scrape up all the flavorful brown bits.

Simmer uncovered for another 5 minutes. Stir in the sour cream gently for the final minutes of cooking. Do not boil. Serve over egg-free noodles.

I served this with garlicky spinach which is super simple. It goes like this:

Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a cast iron or non-stick skillet.

Sauté 1-2 cloves minced garlic in the oil and add a pinch (or two) or crushed red pepper flakes.

Add one bag of frozen chopped spinach and cook until the spinach is completely thawed, stirring frequently.

Add salt to taste.

It takes like a total of 7-8 minutes.

Anybody out there planning your spring garden? I'd love to hear what you're planting!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Parmesan Substitute

One of the things I really missed after becoming vegan was Parmesan cheese. Here is the best substitute I have come up with. It ain't quite Parmesan, but it does the best job of filling the gap I have found so far!

Almond Parm

1 1/2 cups raw almonds
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp sea salt (more or less to taste)

Yep, it's that simple! Throw it all into a food processor and let it run until it is smooth and powdery. I like it better than Parma, which uses raw walnuts.

For dinner tonight I am experimenting. Shocking, I know.... another concoction. It's one of those soups that happens quite often in my kitchen. If it's left over, it goes in the pot. This one is a bean, barley, and veggie soup with a tahini and miso base. I think it's gonna work but I'll let you know!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lentil-Spinach Pasta and NO MORE SNOW!!

More snow coming. 6-10 inches, depending on which forecaster you listen to. I guess I shouldn't whine. We've had less than a foot here in Kentucky. My daughter still has more than 30 inches in the DC area. But I just need to say I AM SICK OF SNOW AND COLD!! Okay. I feel better - for now.

I am still debating whether or not to post a picture of this dish. Not one of them came out looking the least bit appetizing. But I promise, this dish was yummy. And really quick to put together. I made it twice this week, it was so tasty. Once even for company! So after I tell you that and post the recipe, maybe I'll include the photo at the very end.

Shout out to Linda, Mark, and Alana! We had fun, guys!

Lentil-Spinach Pasta

1 large onion, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup red lentils
3 cups water
2 veggie bullion cubes
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
3 tbs tomato paste
28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1-lb bag frozen chopped spinach
pinch of ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil. Cook onion, mushrooms, and garlic until onion is soft.

Add water and bring to a boil. Add red lentils, return to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and spinach. Add bullion cubes and a pinch of nut
meg. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Serve over your choice of pasta with some Parma or your favorite parmesan substitute.

This was the least bad of the photos......

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tofu Scramble

Back in my pre-vegan days, I didn't like eggs very much. Kind of a carry-over from my pregnancies when I had huge food issues. I couldn't stand the sight or smell of meat or eggs and I craved strange things like powdered sugar donuts and BBQ potato chips. (Yeah, I gained a LOT of weight with both my babies….) The disdain for meat and eggs persisted after my babies were born, so becoming vegan wasn't a huge stretch for me. It was no surprise that the thought of a tofu scramble was never particularly appealing to me. Nonetheless, I have tried several different approaches to this scrambled egg substitute technique, with limited success.

Thursday night's dinner was very different! For some strange reason I was craving breakfast when I got home from work. I mean, the full eggs, sausage, home fries kind of southern breakfast. So, tofu scramble it was. I guess breakfast doesn't usually include roasted broccoli, but I did want to serve a balanced meal. This ended up being so good I just had to post on it. The sauce is really simple but quite tasty, and makes enough to use later for something else. The whole thing qualifies as a pantry challenge, too, since it was thrown together from leftovers and things that have been in the pantry / fridge for awhile. Unfortunately, I didn't remember to take pictures until I was eating the leftovers for lunch on Friday.


For the cheezy sauce:

1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp onion granules
2 cups water
1-1 1/2 tsp prepared mustard
2-3 tbs Earth Balance

Combine the dry ingredients in a saucepan and mix them well. Add the water. Heat slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mix is thick and bubbly. Don't leave this or you will end up with a mess on your hands! When the sauce reaches the desired thickness, stir in the mustard and Earth Balance and set the pan aside.

For the scramble:

2 tbs olive oil
1 cup of chopped green pepper
1 vegan sausage, chopped into small pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tub extra firm tofu, drained well, and crumbled
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp smoked paprika (you can use regular)

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet. Add the pepper, onion, and sausage pieces. Cook for several minutes, until onion is translucent and sausage is well-browned.

Move the sausage-vegetable mixture away from the center towards the edges of the skillet, leaving a round empty space in the middle.

Add the tofu to the skillet and sprinkle the turmeric and paprika over it. Cook until the tofu absorbs the spices and begins to brown just a little. Incorporate the sausage-vegetable mixture with the tofu and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Spoon 2/3 to 3/4 cup (more or less to taste) of the cheezy sauce over the scramble and stir to incorporate.
Use some of what's left for pouring over the broccoli.


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut as many potatoes as you want into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, 2-3 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp garlic granules, 1 tsp onion granules, and 2 tsp salt. Stir to combine. Pour the potatoes out onto a cookie sheet in a single layer and spray them with non-stick spray. Roast for 30-35 minutes, checking periodically, to prevent burning.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Beefy Seitan and a Cheeze "Steak" Sammich

I'm going to have to stop calling my posts part of the pantry challenge. For all practical purposes, the challenge is over, although there are still many unused items left in my pantry. I am starting to have to buy more and more things at the grocery to be able to use those items and still produce balanced meals! That doesn't mean I am not still being frugal. It just means I don't feel like I can honestly call it a true pantry challenge any longer. Either way, I'm impressed at how far we got with it!

This weekend I made some really tasty beef-style seitan. I do n
ot remember where this recipe came from - it is one of those recipes that's been hanging around in one of my binders for ages and I just now got around to making it. I knew I wanted something rich and savory that I could slice up for "steak" sandwiches and fajitas, as well as a Seitan and Mushroom Stroganoff.


1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vital gluten
2 tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups warm vegetable broth
2 tsp Marmite
2 tbs tahini
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tsp Liquid Smoke
2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet

Cooking broth
vegetable broth - if simmering on top of stove you will need 6-8 cups; if baking, 4 cups
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup tomato juice or V-8
2 tbs Marmite
1 tbs Kitchen Bouquet
1/2 to 1 tbs Liquid Smoke

If using the stovetop method, combine the broth ingredients and bring them to boil in a large pot over medium heat.

If baking, preheat oven to 325.

Saute onions and garlic until onion is translucent.

In a bowl, mix seitan ingredients. Add onion/garlic mixture and stir to combine well. You can use a food processor, but I prefer to use my hands. Mix until a soft dough is formed and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead for a few minutes.

Divide gluten into a dozen or so "steaks" and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

If using the stovetop method, slide "steaks" into the simmering broth, cover, and allow to simmer for 1 hour. Do not boil.

If using the oven method, place "steaks" into a casserole dish and pour the broth over them. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour.

Save any leftover cooking broth. This makes a killer "au jus" for "roast beef" sandwiches or can be used as a gravy base.

Here is a delicious toasted cheeze "steak" sandwich with onions, peppers, and mushrooms on a homemade crusty French roll. YUM!