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easy asian tofu
recipes

Quick and Easy Asian Tofu

Hello friends!

Today I wanted to share the super easy Asian tofu recipe from last week’s soba noodle salad. This “recipe” is courtesy Michael, since he has always been better than me at making tofu (and potatoes). I happily concede that fact, because it means that sometimes he cooks it for me, while I put up my feet and browse Reddit (that’s more a fantasy – usually we cook together).

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soba noodle salad
recipes

Soba Noodle Salad: Easy Weeknight Dinner

Just like the chickpeas and rice bowl from last week, I wanted to share with you a really easy meal we’ve made countless times, and it’s reasonably healthy too.

This soba noodle salad is comprised of cooked soba + raw veggies + edamame + Asian-style vinaigrette. It takes me about 20 minutes to make this salad, start to finish.

Soba noodles are the king of noodles. They’ve got some oomph to them, some heft, and they have a wonderful texture and flavor. The only thing with soba noodles is that they need a really good rinse after cooking, since they get very starchy, and the last thing you want is a big clump of sticky soba. I like to rinse it a while (a minute or two), and then again right before I’m tossing it with the rest of the ingredients, just to keep it loose.

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recipes

Chickpeas and Rice: Easy Weeknight Dinner

Easy AND healthy weeknight dinner

“Easy” and “healthy” are two words that don’t always go together, and I admit that I tend to favour the former over the latter. This chickpeas and rice dish, topped with fresh crunchy vegetables and a rich tahini sauce, fits easily into both categories.

Yes, the brown rice needs to cook for 45 minutes. But those 45 minutes take 30 just seconds of actual effort (measure rice and water, turn on stove, wait for it to boil). I say this not only to remind you, but also myself – there are countless times I have waited until I am ravenously hungry before throwing open the cupboard doors in search of food, and 45 minutes seems like an unbearable wait.

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homemade veggie burger
mains, recipes

A Homemade Veggie Burger Recipe: Easy enough to memorize

This is my favorite homemade veggie burger, and the recipe really is easy enough to memorize. The portions are equal and the ingredient list is incredibly short.

These homemade veggie burgers came to exist one day when I was too lazy to follow a recipe. I’ve made so many veggie burgers in the past – bean-based, grain-or-starch-based, nut-based, etc, and the one thing most of them have in common is that they are so complicated. 

When I want a veggie burger, I am generally craving convenience, so I don’t want to spend an hour in the kitchen to make one. 

A long while ago I posted a recipe for sunflower seed burgers, which I used as my template ever since – sunflower seeds are cheap, nutritious, and add that delicious, fatty mouthfeel that a veggie burger needs, and often lacks, especially in bean-based ones. 

Homemade veggie burger criteria:

But this time, I wanted something even simpler, and it needed to meet this criteria:

-taste good (duh)
-have a sturdy, firm texture that is easy to cook (read: doesn’t fall apart)
-not dry
-super nutritious
-be so simple that the method and ingredients could be memorized upon reading once

I’m happy to announce that all of the above criteria were met, and here’s the recipe that you won’t need.  This recipe is easiest using leftover brown rice, and canned chickpeas.

The Easiest Homemade Veggie Burger
Serves 6
This is my favorite homemade veggie burger, partly because it's delicious, but also because it's so incredibly simple to make. And nutritious, too!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sunflower seeds
  2. 1 cup cooked brown rice
  3. 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  4. 1 cup grated carrot
  5. 1-2 teaspoons seasoning (Italian herbs work really well, like oregano and thyme)
  6. salt and pepper (around 1/2 teaspoon each)
Instructions
  1. Using a food processor, grind the sunflower seed into crumbs (some chunks are okay).  Add the brown rice, chickpeas, carrots, seasoning, salt and pepper, and process until a sticky dough is formed.  You'll need to scrape the bowl a few times, since this is a very stiff dough - an important component of it forming it into really sturdy patties.  You can make them as smooth or chunky as you prefer - I like a little bit of texture in mine.
  2. Form the dough into six patties - since it's sticky, damp hands work best.  Cook on a lightly oiled non-stick pan for 5-10 minutes per side on medium-low heat, to ensure it cooks through. Serve with all the fixins.
Oh Waffle http://www.ohwaffle.com/
 

This is a light-coloured patty, so I like to give it chicken-y flavors like thyme, oregano and rosemary.  Dried herbs work fine, but fresh would taste super lovely. 

Enjoy, friends, and happy belated Easter!

xo,
Allysia

mains, recipes

Hail Seitan!

Howdy, friends!  Today I want to talk to you about something very near and dear to my heart.  Seitan is single-handedly responsible for keeping Allysia and I sane through this month of frugal foods.  Don’t get me wrong, we love beans, lentils, and all forms of cheap, natural protein,  but sometimes you just need something different.  Something familiar and friendly, tasty and versatile.  All of these things describe seitan for me.

Obligatory gratuitous close-up shot
Maybe seitan feels so familiar to me because the last time I ate real meat was in 2012.  When done right, seitan seems to be the easiest way to reproduce some of the tastes and textures of meat.  Homemade versions won’t confuse current omnivores, but storebought versions could give a few people a challenge to identify.  Obviously we haven’t been splurging on pre-made seitan this month, but we have learned a lot about creating it ourselves.  With a little bit of experimentation I’ve developed a nice simple seitan recipe that serves as the perfect tabula rasa to twist and change into a great product every time.

Note from Allysia: I am generally a seitan-making failure, either making it too spongy or too dense, but Michael figured out this method that I love, and always eagerly anticipate eating – especially seasoned and fried up in a dry rub.

Blank-Slate Seitan
makes about 4 large-sized servings of seitan, or six smaller servings

Large pot of salted water, boiling
1 cup wheat gluten
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oil (olive or neutral vegetable oil)
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or other acid)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
Black pepper
Additional spices or flavourings (see below)
Directions

1. In a mixing bowl combine the gluten, nutritional yeast, and onion powder.  Mix the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.
2.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir together until the liquid is absorbed.  Remove from the bowl and knead like bread dough for about 3 minutes.  The seitan should be rubbery and soft.  Shape it into a wide flat log that will fit into your boiling pot.
3. Add the seitan to the pot, partially cover, and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook the seitan for 45 minutes.
4. When the time is up, cover the pot completely and allow the seitan to cool in the fridge (while still in the pot).  Let it sit until room-temperature, or overnight.
Sliced seitan cooked with mushrooms and onions to make a sauce-y sandwich
Those who have made seitan before know that it can usually be boiled, steamed, or baked.  Boiled seitan is the most tender of the three, and also the easiest to make (steaming seitan can be quite finicky, and baked seitan can turn out dry). 
As made above, the seitan works well in applications where it is not the centre of attention: diced and added to pasta sauce, stir-fried with a sweet-and-spicy vegetable mix, or, a current favourite, smothered in blackening spices and fried.  If you want the seitan to have a little more of its own flavour you can add some additional flavour to the dough itself.  When using the seitan for pasta sauce I might add healthy amount of dried basil, oregano, and thyme.  An Asian-styled-spin can be given by removing some of the salt and beefing up the soy sauce, adding some toasted sesame oil, and grating in some fresh ginger.  Any flavours that you would add to a dish can be added to this recipe.  Since the seitan is boiled it won’t get so hot as to destroy any delicate flavourings.

Blackened seitan slices served with pureed cauliflower/potatoes and braised carrots
The real trick to using homemade seitan is knowing its strengths and weaknesses.  Since the seitan is fairly soft and moist, it won’t work well if served in a large slab.  It does, however, work great when sliced or diced before it hits a hot pan.  This allows the liquid to be removed from the individual pieces, leaving a great meaty texture.  After this month of frugality is over we may try to find a great baked recipe which may work better served in large pieces.  I don’t think I will be able to rest until I can say that I have made a great-looking, great-tasting seitan steak.  A lofty goal to be sure, but you’ve got to set your goals high.  Until next time.

One more sandwich shot for good measure.
Brunch, Budgeting, recipes

Banana Bread, and Other Eats

Good evening!

Today I wanted to share some more of our recent cheap eats with you (information on our budget goals being here), and so far so good!  I haven’t hit the point of feeling deprived yet, mainly because I still have a small stash of chocolate, and I scored some free kale this week… but also because we made some banana bread for sweet snacking, which came out great (more on that below).

First up is a cauliflower-chickpea curry with rice and lotsa seasoned and steamed kale.  Mike made the curry seat-of-the-pants style like he tends to do – he sauteed some onion, garlic and ginger with a bunch of spices (mustard seeds, curry powder, cumin, coriander, hing, salt), added a little water to the pan, and then threw in a head of chopped cauliflower.  That was cooked, covered, for 30-40 minutes until nice and tender, and then he added the pre-cooked chickpeas in the last few minutes of cooking time.  Once it was done cooking, a bunch of lemon was squeezed into it and we ate it with liberal amounts of Sriracha.

Since there were lots of curry leftovers, we enjoyed it on a rice bowl the next day.  Nutritional yeast was added as a garnish, and we enjoyed it with a generous helping of tahini sauce (tahini, lemon, garlic, salt) and some Sriracha for good measure.  We eat some variation of a tahini bowl about once a week, sometimes more – it’s our Old Faithful.

Another rice bowl we enjoyed was packed with black beans and pan-steamed cabbage, carrots and collards (I know you can’t see the rice and beans, but they’re definitely there), with a fantastic, cheesy sauce made from blending soaked sunflower seeds with a whole bunch of nutritional yeast, grainy mustard, lemon, garlic and onion powder, and salt and pepper.  We also ate this with plenty of Sriracha (are you noticing a theme?), as well as homemade ‘kraut.

I wanted a soup that was classy, super flavorful and brothy, so we made a white bean and greens soup with a LOT of garlic, minced but not too small, onion, and lemon zest/lemon juice stirred in at the end.  It was heavenly, and even better the next day as leftovers.  Plus, we used homemade veggie broth which was made from a giant bag of veggie scraps we accumulated over the week.

To accompany the soup, we had chapati, which is a super simple flatbread that can be thrown together in minutes and is made with flour (we used a mix of white and whole wheat), water, a little oil and salt.  It’s beautiful smeared with margarine, and is a nice alternative to bread if you’re too lazy for making that.

But dessert is the best part!  This banana bread exceeded my expectations, mainly because I “healthified” it – doesn’t taste health-foody though.  I’m just not a fan of quickbreads that are intensely sweet, and besides, overripe bananas are plenty sweet anyway.  Even with just 1/4 cup sugar, these are definitely sweet enough, and the banana flavor is very pleasant and almost floral.

Healthified Banana Bread
Makes 1 9×5 loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup neutral oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup non-dairy milk

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and soda, and salt.  In a separate smaller bowl, stir together the oil and brown sugar until combined, and then add the bananas and milk.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Scrape the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and even out the top.

3. Bake for 30-45 minutes – I know this is a big time frame, but I’ve noticed that I’ve been using a loaf pan that I thought was a normal size, but is probably larger than what most normal people use, so ours was done in 30 minutes.  Stick a toothpick in the loaf in order to see if it’s done.  Let it cool in the pan for 30 minutes or so before turning out on a cooling rack.

Since this loaf uses whole wheat flour, it’s best enjoyed within 24 hours, or up to 2 days, for maximum moistness.

recipes, smoothies and juice, Uncategorized

Gojiccino, the Magic Latte

Hi friends!

First – once upon a time I had a Twitter account, but couldn’t really see the point in it, and thus it got all dusty and unused for a couple years.  But I just discovered its purpose!  To be constantly entertained by hilarious celebrities (including the ones who aren’t trying to be hilarious).  Right?  Right?

In any case, I’m charmed by it and if any of you bloggers use Twitter, I’d love to follow you as they say – feel free to leave your handle in the comments.

So as you may or may not know, I have a tumultuous relationship with caffeine.  I love it – it hates me.  The taste (and oh, the smell!) of a freshly French-pressed black coffee is one of life’s best treasures, but every now and then it turns me into Jittery Monster Allysia, not to be messed around with.  Green tea, another love, does the same.  So does decaf.

It’s been months since I’ve been caffeinated, and it took my body a month of re-calibration (read: a month of being tired every morning) to finally feel normal without it.  And as tragic as life is without precious coffee, I’ve moved on.  As it stands, my favorite caffeine-free sippers are as follows:

1. Rooibos (every now and then I’ll get a rooibos latte at a coffee shop).  I prefer red to green, and I like it plain, though it’s great jazzed up with other herbs and fruits too.

2. Teeccino.  Their French-style blend is my favorite coffee-like drink, made from roasted barley and chicory and other good things – it tastes better than it sounds.  Not a coffee replica to be sure, but it’s dark, bitter and astringent so it calls coffee to mind.  Plus it’s great with a splash of milk.

3. Kukicha. I was introduced to this in the Macrobiotics portion of my schooling, and it’s easily my favorite daily drink.  It’s made from the twigs of tea plants, and it’s caffeine-free since all of the caffeine in tea is from the leaves.  The taste reminds me of a cross between oolong and black tea.

3. Gojiccino.  A magical treat!  So magical!  So complex!  Exclamation marks!  So magical, in fact, that we have to talk about it more in-depth.

There’s this company in Ontario that makes a product called Gojiccino, which I accidentally discovered at a restaurant called Fresh.  You use it as you would an espresso shot in a latte-type drink – a shot or two in some steamed milk.  It kind of blew my mind.  Naturally sweet but not sugary, it’s toasty and bitter, with strong caramel tones, and a magical somethin-somethin that I just can’t place, that piece of complexity that makes the drink intriguing and addictive.

And then I had to go home and make it myself.  The concept is simple enough – toast some goji berries, blend them into a thick liquid with a little hot water, strain, and voila.  It’s not quite as awesome as their product, but that’s because they use magic.  So for those of you who don’t have this drink available near you, rest assured you can do up a delicious home version before it becomes available across North America (here’s hoping!).

No recipe this time, just a general method.  Toast some goji berries on a dry skillet for 15 minutes or so, until they’re soft and dark (even burnt in places).

Toss ’em in a blender with a little water – just enough to get the machine running properly, not so much as to dilute the flavor.

When it’s blended, strain the mixture so it’s smooth (I use a nut milk strainer bag, but a fine mesh sieve should work in theory, it would just be more time-consuming).

That’s it!  Heat up some milk and add a spoonful of the goji mixture to it.  Enjoy immensely.  And support a great Canadian company!  It should be noted that I’m not affiliated with them in any way – this post comes from a pure love of gojiccino.

Happy Wednesday!

Brunch, recipes, sandwiches

Spicy Scrambled Tofu Sandwich: Vegan Sunday Brunch, Episode 55

Guys!  Wanna know something super fancy?

Michael and I are now officially set up to teach cooking classes in Toronto.  So far we’ve got four classes up on the main page, but we’ve got many more in the works – there’s been mad amounts of recipe testing around here.  Our fridge has been constantly happy!  The next goal is to tour with the band, while simultaneously touring cooking classes.  Loud rock music + vegan food = hell yeah, it’s gonna happen.

Onward!  I was craving sandwiches, and it’s Jolene‘s fault for making awesome sandwiches so often (it’s a good thing to be at fault for).  I wanted something savory and meaty and decadent, which Michael definitely accomplished here.  Yeah, I didn’t have any part in creating this one except to happily devour it.  Still counts, right?

Scrambled Tofu Sandwiches
makes enough for 4 hearty sandwiches, with some leftovers for later

Ingredients:

1 package vegan chorizo-style veggie meat

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 block firm tofu, crumbled
1 cup unsalted veggie broth (or use regular broth and omit the smoked salt)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
Black pepper, to taste
4 ciabatta buns, sliced in half
Vegan mayo, if desired
8 lettuce leaves
1 tomato, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
Daiya shredded cheese
Directions:

1. Heat a pan and cook the chorizo according to package instructions.  This usually means about 5 minutes.  When finished, set it aside in a small bowl.
2. Heat the olive oil in the same pan and sauté the onions and red pepper for 4 minutes.  Add the mushroom and garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Crumble in the tofu and sauté for 3 more minutes.
3. Add the broth, wine, green onion, and spices and reduce to concentrate flavour.
4. When the liquid is reduced, stir in the cooked chorizo.  Heat just long enough for everything to be hot.
5. Layer the sandwich ingredients on the buns and top with a touch of shredded vegan cheese.  You may wish to warm the buns a little to soften them a bit before piecing together the sandwiches.

And a messy-delicious interior shot.

So much yum.  I could eat sandwiches all day, every day.

A question for you bloggers – anyone else participating in Vegan MoFo this year?  I was a little apprehensive at first due to being busy, but then Michael talked me into it and as if by miracle, a theme came to me.  Well, not so much a theme as a concept, but you’ll see in a week when it all begins.  This will be my third year participating, and it’s always a blast, if not a challenge to publish a blog post every single day.  But I love challenges!

Hope you had a great weekend and, as of this writing, a great Monday.  Oodles and toodles.

mains, recipes

(The Best) Vegan Fried Rice (Ever)

Hi there and welcome to our second edition of “The Best, Ever”.  The first time around we brought you a truly delicious vegan lava cake.  For this edition we decided focus on a different kind of treat, a perfect blend of salty, sweet, and savory: Fried rice.

My mouth is salivating already!

Every Chinese restaurant can make delicious fried rice, but it always seems impossible to duplicate the results at home.  In some ways this is a good thing: homemade fried rice is almost always less greasy and less salty, and healthy fried rice recipes exist all around the internet.  The downside of these guilt-free versions is that you lose the true fried-rice experience.  That oil and salt is there for a reason!  This recipe focuses on a truly authentic experience, and forgoes any “homemade = healthy” pretensions (though it’s still healthier than most takeout).

Our fried rice adventure required us to pass three milestones: we needed the perfect meat alternative, we needed the perfect rice, and we needed the perfect stir-fry technique.  The part of “meat” in this production was played by our good friend Seitan.  A nice seitan loaf, seasoned properly, is meatier in texture than both tofu and seitan, which is why we’ve used it here as a stand-in for pork.  The rice is an interesting thing: most people think you need leftover rice for fried rice, but we’ve found the perfect way to make same-day fried rice that tastes completely authentic.  The stir-frying technique is fantastically simple, so with no further adieu, let’s go!


Part One: Sweet and Spicy Seitan

4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 inches ginger, sliced thin

1 cup wheat gluten
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 cup cold vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoons dried chili flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, grated
2 inches ginger root, grated

1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions:

1. Place the veggie broth, water, smashed garlic, and sliced ginger in a large pot and set the heat to high.

2. While the cooking broth heats up, mix the gluten and nutritional yeast together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl combine the remaining seitan ingredients (veggie broth, soy sauce, lime juice, chili flakes, oil, garlic, and ginger).

3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Once the liquid has been mostly absorbed remove the dough from the bowl and knead for about three minutes.  It will be very elastic and fairly tough.  Form it into a wide, flat log.

4. When the cooking liquid is boiling place the seitan log in the pot, partially cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook the seitan for 45 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and cover completely.  Place the whole pot into the fridge and let the seitan sit in the broth overnight (see note below).

5. When you are ready to make your fried rice, take the remaining five ingredients and mix them together in a bowl.  Cut about half of the seitan into small slices and toss it with the glaze.
6. Now comes the best part.  Place the seitan in a frying pan set to medium heat.  Dump in the remaining glaze.  The key to getting perfectly delicious seitan meat candy is to fry the seitan for a good, long time, stirring often.  Eventually the sugars will reduce and caramelize, coating the seitan bits in a sticky layer of sweet and spicy heaven.

Seitan bits, ready to be fried.

Note: During the boiling, the seitan loaf will expand and poof up.  This is entirely normal, but mildly alarming if it is your first time making it.  Cooling the seitan overnight will allow it to absorb a little more flavour, but the real reason is to firm it up.  It will originally be somewhat light and spongy, but 8 or more hours later it will be nice and dense – a perfect meat substitute.

Delicious seitan candy!

Part Two: Same-Day Rice

1 cup long grain white rice
2 tablespoons neutral oil (we used grapeseed oil)
2 cups water
Directions:

1. Start the rice in a dry, cool pot.  I know it sounds crazy, but trust me.  Add enough oil (about 2 tablespoons) to coat the rice and leave the bottom of the pot slick.  The rice at the bottom shouldn’t be swimming in oil.  Turn up the heat to medium.
2. Before cooking, the rice will be translucent.  Our goal is to make it opaque.  Stir the rice constantly for 10 – 15 minutes until it all looks solid and white.  My rice got a little brown, but that is what happens when you need to pause and take pictures every few minutes.  This is a technique called “parching” the rice.
3. When the rice is opaque, add the water and set it to high heat.  Do not cover!  Once the rice is at a full boil, give it a quick stir and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Let the rice continue cooking until almost all the liquid is gone.
4. Once the liquid is almost entirely boiled off you can give the rice another stir, remove it from the heat and cover.  The rice should be al dente – firm enough to stand up to a final frying, but not so hard as to be crunchy.
Close-up of dry, raw rice prior to parching.
Parched rice (note the more “solid” white colour of the rice).
This odd technique for cooking the rice may seem a little wild, but it really is the best way to get rice the perfect fried rice texture.  As my cousin said last night, the grains of rice have issues with their personal space: they stand alone, rather than cuddle up and mush together.  Sure, you can always use day-old rice like the restaurants use, but sometimes you need your junk-food fix right away.  This rice works perfectly in any recipe that calls for somewhat dried-out rice: Spanish carne asada, burritos, salads, the list goes on.
Part Three: The Final Fry

About 4 cups of assorted sliced/diced veggies (carrot, broccoli, and cabbage are all favourites)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
Drizzle toasted sesame oil

A beautiful mise en place, if I do say so myself.

Directions:

1. First things first: Fried rice is all about improvisation and last-minute decisions.  Don’t have any broccoli?  Sub in bok choy.  Ran out of carrot?  Omit it entirely.  The best way to decide what to put in your fried rice is to open the fridge and grab a little bit of everything.  Variety is the spice of life and all that.  For us, this meant that our meal involved cabbage, carrot, broccoli stalks and florets, leek, green onion, and zucchini.  Get all of your veggies cut up into nice bite-sized chunks.  Using a wok effectively is a very hands-on experience, so you won’t have time to cut things up during.
2. Grab a wok and add a small splash of high-heat oil.  Grape seed or unrefined sesame work great, but safflower or canola will do in a pinch.  Add a tablespoon to the wok and let it reach a screaming hot temperature.  Here is the secret to good wok cooking at home: that dial that I told you to set to “high”?  Leave it there and don’t touch it until you are done.  I set mine to max and left it.  You need high heat to actually stir fry something without just steaming it.  Trust us on this one.
3. Your ingredients need to be divided up based on how quickly they cook.  Things like broccoli stalks and carrots take the longest.  Drop them in the wok and stir/flip them around for a few minutes until slightly soft.  If you don’t stir constantly everything will burn, so be careful.  A stir-fried utopia will be the reward for your vigilance.
4. Next up is the softer items.  Onion, cabbage, and leeks would fall into this category.  Drop ’em in, stir ’em up, and let them cook for a minute or two.
5. At this point you could add some aromatics, which includes ginger, garlic, shallot, green onion, etc.  Toss everything for another minute.
6. Finally it is time to add the delicates.  Broccoli florets and zucchini count, as well as things like sweet corn and lighter greens.  Toss everything around yet again.
7. Before we can finally eat, we have to toss in the rice.  Add it to the wok and stir quickly, then pour in the soy sauce, dried ginger, sugar, and sesame oil.  Toss everything to coat and voila, your meal is ready.

The first few batches of veggies sizzling, steaming, and popping away.
There are a lot of steps to this fried rice, but it’s not as complicated or time-consuming as it may seem – plus, the reward is an amazing meal (or side dish).  Plate up some of the rice/veggies and spoon on some of the seitan candy.  Top it all with some sesame seeds and maybe a dash of sriracha.  It may not be the healthiest meal, but it is certainly the best fried rice I have had in a long, long time.

A little piece of heaven.

Brunch, recipes

Parfait Pancakes: Vegan Sunday Brunch, Episode 54

Hey there!

It’s been way too long since we’ve made pancakes.  They’re one of those brunchy items I love to rotate, since they’re so easy, and just take a little bit of doctoring to make super classy – like the beet heart pancakes or chocolate orange pancakes, plus countless others (I’ve made a lot of pancakes).  Today we decided on full-throttle sugar rush – pancakes that would be right at home for dessert, because sometimes you’ve just gotta.

So the base is a regular whole wheat pancake, topped with a hefty dollop of coconut whip, drizzled with two different sauces – a raw chocolate sauce, and a raw caramel sauce.  We chopped up some toasted peanuts as a crunchy and flavorful garnish.  The final result?  These pancakes were just as decadent and heavenly as they sound.  Only one thing would’ve have made this pancake even more awesome – ice cream instead of whipped cream.  Yeah, you know it.

Parfait Pancakes
Serves 2

For the pancakes:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch salt
1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons neutral oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the coconut whip:

1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated at least 24 hours (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the raw chocolate sauce:

2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted to liquid
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the raw caramel sauce:

15 soft medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

For the pancakes: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the milk, oil, syrup and vanilla and stir until just combined – don’t over-mix.  Heat an awesome non-stick pan over medium low heat, and add a little oil.  Ladle roughly 1/2 cup batter into the pan (will make 4 large pancakes), cook until the underside is golden, flip, and cook for a few more minutes until both sides are golden.  Continue with all the batter.

For the coconut whip: Spoon out the solidified coconut cream into a large bowl, add the syrup and vanilla, and beat with electric beaters until fluffy.  Place in the fridge to keep it cold.

For the chocolate sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir.  If your maple syrup is cold it might cause the coconut oil to re-solidify, in which case set the chocolate sauce in a sunbeam, or heat it in a saucepan over low heat until it’s melted.

For the caramel sauce: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  We made a larger batch of this so it would fit in our blender, but feel free to cut it in half if you have a smaller blender.

Notes: Using the milk gives this caramel a pale color, so I might try just blending it in water next time for a deeper color, though it is deliciously rich with the non-dairy milk.  I’d also like to give a shout-out to Gabby at the Veggie Nook, whose raw chocolate I used as a launching pad for the chocolate sauce.

It’s also important to assemble these pancakes right before serving, since the warm pancake will melt the cold coconut whip if you leave it too long.  Same goes if you’re using ice cream (which you know you wanna).

The whipped cream gets all melty if it sits on the pancakes for too long – but it’s still a delicious mess.  Oh, if I could go back in time and eat this again, I would.

Well hope you all had a great weekend full of delicious eats, and we’ll catch you next time with a recipe we’re really excited to share!