Thursday, April 25, 2013

Easy Coconut Curry Seitan Stir-fry

Here is a twist on the classic stir-fry using seitan.  I love whipping up a simple seitan for dinner as an option for our protein.  Even though you can make seitan itself as flavorful as you want, I like to keep it simple when I'm using it in a sauce.  That way there's no competing for flavors in the dish.  Because I was making a coconut curry sauce, I knew I wanted our seitan to be a simple one.  See below for that recipe as well as for the rest of the stir-fry. 

Easy Coconut Curry Seitan Stir-fry


Prepared seitan (recipe below)
2 Tbs.canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 yellow onion, quartered and sliced
1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced
2 Tbs. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped small
1 Tbs. green curry paste
1 - 15oz. can coconut milk
1 bunch of cilantro chopped (w/out bottom stems), about one cup


[For the seitan: 
2 cups gluten flour
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients well.  After it comes together quickly, knead a few times, just to make sure there are no dry spots.  Wrap several times in aluminum foil and steam for one hour.  Let cool a few minutes.]

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Slice the seitan in "thinnish" rectangles, about two inches long.  Add the seitan to the pan and cook for ten minutes, or until the seitan is browned on all sides.  Stir frequently.  Salt and pepper the seitan to your taste while sauteing.  Add the onion, cabbage and ginger, and cook for another five or ten minutes, until they are fork tender.  Move the seitan and veggies to the side of the pan with a spatula.  Drop the green curry paste on the cleared side of the pan.  Add the coconut milk to the paste and whisk well.  Stir back in the seitan and veggies into the curry coconut sauce.  Cook for two or so minutes, until it is heated through.  Add the cilantro and stir well.  Ready to eat!  Served over noodles, this makes a complete meal.  Feeds five hungry vegans.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tofu Stir-fry with a Light Asian Sauce

Here is a simple stir-fry with a twist for fun.  I usually make my stir-fries no hassle: quickly sauteed tofu and veggies, sprinkled with a bit of soy sauce.  But, when I have time (an extra five minutes) or the gumption, I will make this slightly thickened sauce.  It adds a bit more flavor, but it is also nice to have a sauce that coats the veggies and sticks to them as you eat your dish.  It makes for a nice, light meal.  Hope you enjoy it!

Tofu Stir-fry with a Light Asian Sauce


2 Tbs. canola oil
2 pkgs. water-packed, extra-firm tofu
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 stalks of celery, sliced diagonally
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped small
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 cups broth
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. corn starch

Jasmine rice


Heat canola oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Drain and slice the tofu into small rectangles.  When oil is hot, add the tofu to the pan.  Cook for about ten or fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tofu starts to brown. Add the peas, bell pepper celery and ginger.  Turn the heat down to medium and cook for another five minutes.  Sprinkle the sesame oil over the ingredients and stir.  In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, soy sauce and corn starch.  Pour in the pan, and stir well.  Cook for another five minutes or so, until the sauce thickens.  Stir frequently.   When bubbling and thickened, turn off heat.  Can add more soy sauce to taste, if desired.  Serve over jasmine rice.  Feeds five hungry vegans several times a year.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dragon Breath Sandwiches

I have made so many sandwiches that I think only I will like, full of odds and ends, strange bedfellows, spicy toppings, and I munch them down, much to my taste buds' and tummy's content. No one else in my family will touch them.  I've thought about posting them, but then I think no one would ever want to make these but me.  However, I've grown bold with my last experiment and choosing to be vulnerable, I'm showing it to the world!  This is me, the real me, the funky sandwich lovin' girl.  I'm going to show my true colors with sandwiches from now on.  I hope you can appreciate them, if not, more for me.  First up: Dragon Breath Sandwiches.

Dragon Breath  Sandwiches


Thick brown bread
Yellow mustard
Seitan (simple recipe below)
White onion, sliced in rings
Good and spicy natural dill pickles, sliced in circles
Sliced pickled jalapenos


[For the seitan, here is a simple recipe:

2 cups gluten flour
2 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbs. canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the flour, water and soy sauce in a large bowl.  It comes together quickly.  Knead just a few times to ensure that there are no dry spots.  Shape into a loaf-like mound.  Wrap in aluminum foil several times, making sure there are no gaps for the seitan to squeeze through.  Steam for one hour.  Cool enough to be able to touch and slice it.  In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Slice the seitan into "thinnish" strips or slabs.  When oil is hot, fry the seitan for about ten minutes, until browned, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper.  When cooked, dab off on paper towels to remove any excess oil before making your sandwich.  You can definitely make this seitan ahead, even by a couple of days, and just have this on hand to  use.]

On each slice of brown bread, spread your yellow mustard thickly.  Add as much of the rest of the ingredients to your liking, the only requirement being that the end result is sloppy and the flavors mix joyfully together.  You know you'll like this sandwich, if your taste buds are tantalized while reading this. Technically feeds five hungry vegans, but only one will eat it, sigh.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter, 2013 and my Four-layered - Coffee frosted - Chocolate Chip - Chocolate Cake!

We had a busy but wonderful Easter celebration.  On Saturday, we went once again to Animal Place like last year, where JK participated in an animal-friendly egg hunt, we all went on a self-guided tour of the pigs, chickens and bunnies, and we enjoyed a lovely picnic afterwards.  The egg hunt is for children two years to seven years old, so JK has only one year left of this event.

We joined a small group for dinner at my parents' home.  I brought my Tropical Seitan Pasta Salad , and we enjoyed burgers, a fruit salad and a green salad.  We also had vegan desserts as well: chocolate chip cookies, fruit cake, and a new cake I introduced to everyone, which I call my Four-layered - Coffee frosted - Chocolate Chip - Chocolate Cake.  It's Easter right?  It has to be something special!  I kept the frosting on the thin side, much to G's utter disappointment, because I thought it was rich enough already.  I'm not a fan of coffee by itself, but I occasionally  like a slight flavor of it in ice cream, and it turned out nicely here, too.  I like the bumpiness of the end result and the bits of brown cake peeking through the frosting.  I could have evened out the tops to make them lay flatter, but I like this look.  It reminds me of old-fashioned times, for some reason, before there were specialty frosting spreaders and electric mixers. This was a  humongous cake, but it was enjoyed by all.  Hope you all had a great holiday, too.

Four-layered - Coffee frosted - Chocolate Chip - Chocolate Cake!

My Easter feast: Boca burger, Tropical Seitan Pasta Salad, Green Salad, Fruit Salad

Our dessert choices: chocolate chip cookies, fruit cake, and my cake.  The licorice that snuck in the picture is from Grandma to little JK.  Artificial flavors and colors are sometimes allowed on holidays, especially if they're from Grandma.  :-)

To make the four layers, place each layer on a cake stand.  With a serrated knife, cut through the cake horizontally, while slowly turning the cake stand.

Here's a slice of that tasty treat!

Four-layered - Coffee frosted - Chocolate Chip - Chocolate Cake!



4 and 1/2 cups flour
2 cups vegan sugar
1 and 1/3 cups cocoa
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. baking soda
3 cups Vanilla Almond milk
3 Tbs. white vinegar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
2 cups vegan chocolate chips

Non-stick spray
Extra flour for dusting


1/2 cup (stick) vegan margarine, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1/3 cup brewed French Roast coffee, cooled completely


For the cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two round cake pans with the non-stick spray and sprinkle with flour.  Tap out any extra flour, and set pans aside.  In a very large bowl or even a large pot, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar and almond milk and set aside to curdle for about five minutes.  Add the oil and vanilla extract to the milk mixture and whisk.  Pour into the flour mixture.  With an electric mixer on low, blend until the ingredients are somewhat mixed.  Turn up the speed to medium and mix for about another minute until completely blended.  Pour into waiting pans.  Pour one cup of chocolate chips over each of the pans of batter.  Take a fork and gently press the chocolate chips down a bit into the batter.  (When baked, the tops of the cakes will be bumpy.  When sliced in half, most of the chips will be in the top half of each cake.  This will make the end result: chippy, not chippy, chippy, not chippy.)  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pans on cooling rack for fifteen minutes.  Remove cakes from pans and finish cooling completely.  When cooled down, chill cakes in refrigerator for at least a half an hour, preparing them for slicing.  When cakes are chilled, place one on a cake stand.  Position a large serrated knife in the middle horizontally.  Slice a couple of inches into the cake, then turn the cake stand, repeating the process.  The cake should be sliced all the way through by the time the stand makes a complete revolution.  If not, just carefully slice through whatever little piece is hanging on in the middle.  Repeat process with second cake.

For the frosting:  In a medium bowl, beat the margarine on low speed until creamed.  Add the powdered sugar and continue to beat on low speed until combined.  Add the vanilla and coffee.  Starting on low speed, mix until blended, then work up to medium speed and mix for another four minutes to thicken.  Place the first bottom layer on the cake stand.  Take about four tablespoons of frosting and put a dollop in the center of the layer.  Spread out the frosting, kind of like spider legs, then smooth out over the layer.  Top with the first top layer of cake and repeat process until you reach the last layer.  Use the same method with the top of the cake.  Frost the sides as usual, just trying to cover as much as you can.  If there's any frosting left over, take turns with the sides and top, frosting away and smoothing out, until there is just enough in the bowl to justify finishing it off yourself.  Because this is so large, it can be sliced rather thinly to serve a lot of people.  Feeds five hungry vegans and family and friends for a few days!