Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fishy Sticks and Chips

To prepare for this dish, I went out and bought a bit of kelp powder for the fish sticks recipe. I don't know if it was that or the garlic powder, but my cat's nose did not stop working. The aroma was just incredibly good, for all of us! Shuma the cat even jumped on the counter while i was preparing the breading mixture, the smell was so good. And so fishy, i gather!

This breading mixture was perfection. What a great mix of smells and flavours. The almond slivers added a nice texture as well. We opted to fry the sticks because there was a miscommunication in our household about how long they would take. J put the potato wedges in way before i was ready to bake the sticks.
The frying may have lead to some of the breading to fall off, but it was such a good flavour in the end, i didn't mind at all. To sound like a tv chef, the tofu was cooked to perfection - it was soft in the middle and oozing with flavour outside.I will happily make this dish again, but probably the baked version. The only thing i changed was i added thyme and 'seafood seasoning' instead of dill and onion powder. Because i didn't have those but i had these.

On the side, we had potato wedges that were baked with rosemary springs. I made a simple tartar sauce that was a bit runny but i was happy to use those little party pickles my mom bought me, ahem, months ago! And, the best way to finish this off is with a nice glass of Guinness.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Fish n Chips

I opted for the fish sticks since Shawn hates chickpeas and I wasn't interested in shredding veggies anyway...

Ingredients gathered:

I wasn't sure that Shawn's little one serving door prize blender could handle crushing almonds, so I picked us up a coffee grinder. It worked brilliantly.

Ready for dredging:

Frying up:

Shawn's oven doesn't work and I wanted to make fries in the toaster oven, so we opted for frying the fish sticks. Shawn kept making me add more oil, so these were definitely not winning any health awards. ;)

Oh but the taste awards.... Yes, yes, yes. (See the pretty flowers Shawn got me? With eucalyptus, my favorite!)

I need to go leave a comment on Jennifer Shmoo's blog. Shawn wanted me to be sure to mention that these fish sticks were way better than the excellent ones he had at my favorite Portland restaurant. (picture here)

Oh, and I though you guys would get a kick out of this comic.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Breaded Tofu Sticks

Although I plan to make both recipes, I decided to make the Tofu Fish Sticks tonight.

The alterations:
  • had no dried dill for the coating.
  • used whole almonds and crushed them in the processor.
  • used regular paprika instead of sweet.
  • added about 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast. just because.
  • no kelp.
  • The tofu was pressed for about half an hour.

Crummy coating


Faux Fish Sticks all in a row

sticks all lined up

Vegan Tartar

vegan tartar sauce!

Vegan Tofu "Fish" Sticks

I took Carla's suggestion and made the tofu slices thin. The tofu didn't need a full half hour in the oven and the texture was really good. The only other modification I would make to the coating is to lessen the amount of salt.

These will definitely make it into a semi-regular rotation and I'm looking forward to trying it with tempeh!


"Chicken" fingers

I don't really like fish, so I decided that I would think of these as chicken fingers instead of fish sticks. I messed with the recipe, too, kind of.

I used a different recipe for the coating, which I made up. I used corn meal, gram flour, paprika, chili powder, pepper, and salt.

Then I followed the rest of the steps.

My complaint would be that the tofu wasn't as firm as I would have liked it to be. But, just about everything tastes good when you dip it in barbecue sauce.


Friday, January 26, 2007

tofish n' chips

There was a rumour this would be the recipe this week and I got started early, for once! The recipe calls for slivered almonds then says to grind them, I bought ground almonds to save a step.

I carved out fish shapes free-hand, I tried to make this guy smile. I don't have subconcious desires to eat fish, I just thought it was cute!

Finished fishies on cooling rack:

I made some with small heart shaped cookie cutters. They're more like "nuggets." The leftover tofu from the cutouts can be used for a tofu scramble later, or a stir fry.

Made tartar sauce with nayonnaise and a tiny bit of relish:

This is something I'm going to make again and again and again. They taste like the Zoglos tofu cutlets, because I didn't use the kelp the recipe called for. Baked some potatoes and sweet potatoes, squirted it with lemon....mmmm. I spent many of my childhood summers on the Gaspe coast eating cod fish, so this was sentimental.

I made most of mine thin and a couple thick, the thick ones weren't as yummy because there was too much plain tofu taste. Know what I mean? I can't remember the measurements, think about how much plain tofu you want to taste when you're cutting it up!

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Faux Fish!

We haven't done too much in the way of "faux" here, which is a nice way to represent veganism. However, sometimes it is nice to give the faux a chance. I've been interested in mocking it up fish-style and I've found 2 recipes that might be of interest:

Vegan Faux Fish Cakes

Tofu Fish Sticks

And here's a recipe for vegan tartar sauce, if you swing that way!

Vegan Tartar Sauce by Eric & Lynn.
This one tastes better than the commercial version and doesnt have any eggs or egg yokes!

1 tablespoon of lemon juice
4 tablespoons of pickle relish,
2 Tablespoons of finely chopped onion, or onion powder or garlic powder to taste.
One tablespoon of vinegar.
Blend with 1 1/2 cup of Nayonaise or Eggless Mayonaise.
Let sit for awhile to blend the flavors.


Mock Makhani

I actually followed this recipe pretty closely and used all ingredient it called for, except I used tofu instead of seitan, and roti bread instead of naan.

Cinnamon on sauteeing onions is my new favourite smell! It smelled nice when I added the rest of the ingredients, too.

I had a wee portion and loved it. The peanut butter was a nice touch, I forgot about it by the time I tasted it, because all I could see was the tomato, so it was a nice surprise. Peanut butter, how do I love thee, let me count the ways... Ellie says it tastes better the next day, so I'm looking forward to lunch!

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

My First Seitan Dish

We made 'Mock Butter Chicken' last night, or more appropriately, Earth Balance Seitan. Doesn't have the same ring does it? Anyway, having never had this dish before (that's two recipes in a row now!), i wasn't sure what it would taste like. I even looked up 'real' butter chicken recipes to see what was in them....yup, pretty much right on.
For use, the fragrance of the spices was magnificant. I walked in the house to J making the seitan and already i knew that things were coming along nicely. We had never made anything with seitan before, and we bought a box of instant seitan. He added the recommended flavours and we cooked it for approximately 45 minutes. It wasn't too chewy at all. I rather liked it. We have quite a bit left over so i'll make another dish with it today or tomorrow.
The sauce was fun to make. Like Stagflation, we used plain soy yoghurt - i actually don't know why it calls for sour cream because Indian dishes typically have yoghurt in them anyway. I think the only critique i have is that there was too much peanut butter taste. I would use less, or use ground almonds, like some other recipes call for. J said it would have been nicer to use something to sweeten it, and i bet the almonds would have helped there. We also didn't add the tomato paste but had a good can of crushed tomatoes - maybe too much too?
I loved this dish - the colour, the aroma, and most of all, i got to make seitan!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"butter" "chicken"

Hi guys! I've been reading all your posts since you started, but I haven't had the time to join in until now. I was really excited to make this since Shawn and I love Indian food and are still on the hunt for good recipes. Plus, as with my knitting, I love having the pictures to look back on what I did. Gathering all the ingredients up beforehand was a new experience for me. I usually start the rice, then start the "meat" browning, then pull out and chop up anything I'm going to add. But I always love the ingredients shot, so here it is. (Forgive me for the honey peanut butter.)

Onions softening:

Shawn demonstrating our high tech spice grinder:

We were at his house and I haven't brought my mortar and pestle over yet, so blunt end of can opener it was.

With the garlic and ginger:

I doubled the garlic because I always double the garlic. Just like I always double the vanilla.

With the rest of the spices:

Turns out we didn't have enough paprika. Oops.

With the seitan, tomatoes, and sour supreme:

Shawn said, "Don't add sour cream, you'll ruin it." (Only he says ruin like "run.") I looked in the fridge, but we didn't have any yogurt to substitute. Plus, I LOVE sour supreme, so I added it anyway.

The finished plate, with basmati rice and naan with cumin:

The verdict: I'm going to put cumin on my naan forever now. The dish, we liked, but we didn't love it. We do a lot of Thai peanut sauces and even after adding some extra red pepper to his, Shawn thought it was pretty bland. He also was disappointed in the seitan to tomato ratio - that there were way too many tomatoes. I actually didn't have mine last night, (I had already eaten) so I had mine for lunch today. It was definitely better the next day and with lots of salt and pepper. I had a lot of fun making it, it was definitely a delicious lunch today, and we have one more serving left over that I'll probably have for lunch Thursday, but it's unlikely we'll be making this one again.

Monday, January 22, 2007

not Butter not Chicken

The first thing I thought when I started making this meal was that it was so easy to prepare. Even though I make simple curries on a regular basis, I somehow have it in my head that indian=complicated. Maybe it's just the seemingly long list of spices.

Mocked Chicken Makhani ingredients

I used Green Cuisine's Wheat Cutlets seitan rather than making my own.

Mocked Chicken Makhani

I really like cooking things in the wok.

Mocked Chicken Makhani

We ate the curry with brown basmati rice and spinach naan. The flavour of the sauce was really nice and smooth and the texture was comforting. The peanut butter was a really nice addition to the sauce, creating an even deeper, more delicious smell.

Sadly, I think I don't like seitan. It was a bit rubbery and spongey. Maybe it's the brand, or maybe I should have cooked it separately first. Has anyone tried this brand before who can tell me if they feel the same way? Or maybe I just need to make seitan myself. Or use a different protein.

In any case, I loved the flavour and definitely plan to make this again. The boy commented that the sauce was very much like the non-vegan version. I just finished off some leftovers with chickpeas added. I also think that the sauce would make a great potato curry!

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

"butter" "chicken"

This was really delicious. I followed the recipe, pretty much, except for the fact that I used plain soy yogurt instead of vegan sour cream.
It wasn't very spicy, but I don't think this dish generally is.
I had some of it with naan, and some inside a chapati roll. Both were good. I'll probably bring the leftovers in with rice. I will definitely make it again.


Friday, January 19, 2007

GladCow's "Butter Chicken"

While in Vancouver, the boy had vegetarian butter "chicken", which was his favourite indian dish as a meat-eater, and it looked and smelled really good. Since then I have been obsessed with trying to find a veganized recipe. Well, I got one. Summer Keightley (aka GladCow) has generously allowed us to test out her vegan "butter chicken" recipe that she developed for her 2nd cookbook, which is in the works now! If you like this recipe and need something to tide you over until the cookbook is released, her first awesome cookbook can be found here! Pimp pimp!

Mocked Chicken Makhani
This is an Indian dish also known as Butter Chicken. I use a chicken flavored seitan, and vegan margarine instead of butter. It is so good that I end up eating until I’m uncomfortably full, and then I eat more. If I hadn’t made it myself I would wonder what addictive substance had been added!

3 T vegan margarine
1 onion, thinly sliced
¼ t cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t ginger, minced
½ t turmeric
1 t paprika
1-2 t chili powder
1 T ground coriander
2 c seitan, diced
¼ c peanut butter
15 oz can tomatoes w/ juice
1 T tomato paste
½ c vegan sour cream

Melt margarine in a large saucepan or frying pan over medium high heat. Add the onions and cinnamon and sauté until soft. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium, and then add the spices. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, while stirring. Add the seitan, peanut butter, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the sour cream and heat through. Serve on rice or with naan.

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Seitan-based recipes?

Does anybody have any seitan-based recipes for this week that we could try? Or, objections to making something that involves seitan?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Now I've Had Jerk Tofu!

Having never tried anything 'jerk' before, it was hard to know if we did a good job. Our neighbours, who we have a weekly dinner with, assured us that it was indeed the familiar 'jerk' flavour. Regardless, it was a tasty dish for us. The best part of making this dish was the wonderful smell of the marinate. It was fantastic!
We decided to make the jerk tofu recipe into a roti dish, so we made rice and peas, and sauted onions and zucchini to put in rotis with the tofu. J also bought amazing Ginger Beers to go with this too!

The only thing i would do differently is marinate the tofu for longer than the suggested hour. I felt that it didn't soak up enough. We did water down the rest of it into a sauce to put in the rotis, so that was nice.
All in all: Yum Yum.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

just a bit of a jerk

Hiya! I marinated tofu slices in the Jerk Tofu mixture, but forgot to add the hot stuff! No jalepenos at the store, I was going to use chille paste I already had, but forgot. Forgot the cayenne too! WTF? Grilled the tofu:

And sauteed collards with garlic:

Not pictured: I roasted butternut squash and carrots with cinnamon. Served it up:

It was delicious even though it wasn't truly jerk.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Jerk tofu sandwiches

I've never made my own jerk anything from scratch, so I thought that this should be interesting.

I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be frying the tofu along with the excess marinade, so I did.

I decided to eat the tofu as a sandwich, with some veganaise. It was really tasty, though not terribly spicy. Still, I enjoyed it a lot.

Next time, maybe instead of jalapeno peppers, I'd use things like scotch bonnet peppers. Also, topping the sandwich with other vegetables, like, tomato, might have been nice.

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