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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

WHAT WE ATE DURING A 3-DAY POWER OUTAGE AND MORE VEGAN BREAKFAST BLOGGING

Best Blog Tips UPDATE THURSDAY NOV. 30TH: We had more snow Weds. night and the power went of yet AGAIN at 8:30 PM! It went back on at about 10:40 AM this morning. I added some new photos at the end of this blog post. BCG

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Me walking down our driveway; photo by Brian Grogan

NOTE: Why does snow cause such havoc in the lower mainland of BC and Vancouver Island? Because we don't get it very often! People aren't used to driving in it, it's often quite heavy and wet and breaks trees, which cut power lines (and there are ALOT of trees!), and cities don't have much snow-removing equipment. BCG
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Tamale square from the freezer, reheated. I had experimented with a baked casserole made from real (but vegan) tamale dough with a vegan "chicken" filling sandwiched between. It was okay, but tasted undercooked and "stodgy". I had frozen two leftover pieces in the corn husks that I lined the casserole with, and I steamed them for our lunch on the first day. I had some of the red chile sauce left to serve with it, and I added some melted vegan mozza. The steaming really improved the texture and flavor...yum! I will be playing with this further!  UPDATE 2011: The completed recipe is actually in my new book, World Vegan Feast!  For "vegan butter", try my new recipe for palm oil-free "Buttah". PS: Our beautiful little cat Tina, in photos below, passed away.

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What DH calls a "Boiled Dinner"-- an Eastern Canadian phrase that sounds unappetizing, but is actually "comfort food"! I cook sliced savoy cabbage and julienned carrots in vegan "chicken-style" broth, and serve with steamed potatoes and veggie sausages (in this case, Tofurkey "Keilbasa")-- mustard and vegan butter on the side.

(Oh-oh! The power went off for a minute or two as I was writing this [it's snowing again], and I lost some of it-- I'll keep trying and save more often! Update: It did it once again, but Dh came in and said the Hydro guys were working up on the corner. )

We have had two weeks of intermittent power outages on Denman and Hornby Islands, due to underwater hydro cables being repaired, and wind. But then we had a snow storm and the two islands (and much of BC's Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, which is not used to this sort of thing, and there are never enough snow plows!) lost power for two or more days.

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Our poor plum tree!

There were also little local lines down, and that's what happened to us-- a beautiful big old maple tree on our road split in half and fell on the power lines, which were dragging near the ground in the driveway of one of our elderly neighbors. Since there were so many emergencies, we were out of power for 3 days, only getting it back yesterday morning around 8 am. (They did come and cut the tree off the line and make it possible for us to drive on the road.)

It's a bit of an adventure at first, and we were well into the swing of it from the week before, but during those past outages, we got the power back before dark. This time it was different-- it gets dark so early up here (around 5 pm) and gets light so late in the morning, that it gets pretty dreary.

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Tina, one of our 3 cats, likes to play in the snow, but now I think she wants us to "turn it off"! UPDATE 2011: Unfortunately, our sweet little Tina succumbed to a fast-acting virus the next winter.

We had the bathtub full of water for washing and flushing the toilet (we do have a back-up outhouse, too);

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View of the outhouse from our back deck, taken Nov. 30th

I had containers of drinking water; we have a good wood heater and candles (our one remaining kerosene lantern was acting up), and of course, flashlights (I kept a little one hooked to a belt-loop on my jeans!), and a battery-operated radio. We have a little butane stove and lots of food in the house.

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Frying French toast on the butane burner by candlelight.

They plowed our road, so, though we have to walk up and down our quite long driveway to where the car is parked, we can get out and about. So, we have no reason to complain, really, but after 2 days we were having to remind ourselves that we are MUCH better off than most of the world, and to quit whining! (I know you Prairie and eastern Canadians are laughing at us!)

The worst part was the lack of light in the morning and evening. We would light about 6 candles and sit reading at the table, but would get so sleepy that we hit the sheets at about 8:30!

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The lonely-looking tire swing beside the forest, viewed from our front deck.

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We did eat pretty well, though. The first day I felt like baking! But, of course, no oven. So, I made candy! I hardly ever make candy, but, I was bored! The first thing I made was my "Double Nut Clusters", which I sometimes make for Christmas. DH was in 7th heaven! Here's the recipe:

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BRYANNA’S DOUBLE NUT CLUSTERS
Makes about 20 candies

As I’ve said before, I’m not much of a candy-maker. I like easy candy recipes, and you can’t get much easier than this! High in fat, though.

1 cup semi-sweet organic dairy-free chocolate chips (you can use the naturally-sweetened ones)
1/2 cup any nut or seed butter (I used peanut butter because that's all I had, but hazelnut or almond butter is delicious!)
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs coconut oil
1 cup chopped toasted nuts of choice (I used walnuts)

Combine and melt the chips and nut butter with the maple syrup and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. When the mixture is smooth, stir in the nuts. Drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper or parchment on cookie sheets. Refrigerate until firm.

Nutrition (per candy): 127.6 calories; 66% calories from fat; 10.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 2.3mg sodium; 77.9mg potassium; 8.9g carbohydrates; 1.4g fiber; 1.9g sugar; 7.5g net carbs; 2.8g protein; 3.1 points.

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On the third day I made these:

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Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S LOWER-FAT "HOT RODS" (NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE-OATMEAL DROPS)
Makes about 36

This is a recipe my kids used to make-- I lowered the fat and upped the chocolate flavor.

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened organic cocoa powder
1/3 cup soy or other nondairy milk
1 1/2 cups oatmeal (old fashioned rolled oats)
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened grated coconut
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
unsweetened finely-grated coconut for coating the "Hot Rods"

Blend in a saucepan the sugar, cocoa and "milk". Bring to a boil, stirring now and then. Boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly over medium-high heat.

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Cooking the mixture over the butane burner.

Stir in the oats, peanut butter, vanilla, coconut, and dates.

Drop by tablespoonfuls on cookie sheets lined with parchment or waxed paper. Let stand until cooled and firm. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Nutrition (per candy): 56.3 calories; 23% calories from fat; 1.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 4.3mg sodium; 72.3mg potassium; 10.2g carbohydrates; 0.9g fiber; 7.0g sugar; 9.2g net carbs; 1.2g protein; 1.1 points.

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Now, for the breakfasts....

One morning we had Shredded Wheat, but another morning I made an apple version of my Orange-Cranberry-Bulgur cereal:

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BRYANNA'S APPLE-CINNAMON-BULGUR CEREAL (A Weight Watchers Core Plan recipe)
Serves 1

This is a delicious breakfast cereal with lots of fiber (both soluble and insoluble), and good fats.

1 cup water
1 small apple, organic and unpeeled, cored and chopped
3 Tbs bulgur wheat
1 Tbs oat bran
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 Tbs golden flax seeds, ground

Mix the water, bulgur, oat bran, ginger, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Take off the heat and let sit for a few minutes, covered, if it isn't thick enough for you.

Stir in the flax seed. Serve with your favorite non-dairy milk and a little brown sugar or the sweetener of your choice.

Nutrition (per serving): 191.2 calories; 12% calories from fat; 3.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 257.1mg sodium; 301.3mg potassium; 41.1g carbohydrates; 10.2g fiber; 11.3g sugar; 30.9g net carbs; 5.7g protein; 3.3 points.

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Then I made French Toast again, but a different version, and not so low-fat!

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BRYANNA'S CRISPY PANKO-COATED VEGAN FRENCH TOAST WITH POACHED APPLES
Serves 2

Panko is a type of Japanese bread crumbs, made from French-type bread and quite flaky. It makes a wonderful crispy coating.

NOTE: For a lower fat recipe (when the power is on!) you can baked the coated slices on dark cookie sheets sprayed with a little oil from a pump-sprayer at 500 degrees F for about 5-10 minutes per side, or til golden on both sides; and poach the apple slices in a few tbs. apple juice instead of brown sugar and vegan butter.
Nutrition for lower-fat version (per serving): 347.8 calories; 8% calories from fat; 3.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 566.1mg sodium; 465.4mg potassium; 67.5g carbohydrates; 13.1g fiber; 23.6g sugar; 54.4g net carbs; 5.7g protein; 6.4 points.

3 small apples,cored and sliced (peel only if the skins are unsightly or sprayed)
1 Tbs vegan butter
1 Tbs brown sugar
4 slices bread (not a heavy bread), hard crusts removed
7/8 cup non-dairy milk
1 Tbs sugar  (or maple syrup)
3/4 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 Tbs vegan butter
OPTIONAL:
a vegan whipped topping

Whisk together the batter ingredients. Soak the bread slices in this mixture in a medium-sized shallow baking pan, coating both sides of the bread thoroughly until all of the mixture is soaked up.

In the meantime, melt the first Tbs. vegan butter in a large nonstick skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the sliced apples and toss, then turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and poach until they are softened. Stir in the brown sugar and set aside.

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Poaching apples by candleight on my butane burner.

Spread the panko (breadcrumbs) in a shallow dish and coat the soaked bread on both sides (add more panko if necessary).

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Heat the last 1 Tbs. vegan butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bread slices and brown on both sides until golden and crispy.

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Serve each serving (2 slices) topped with half of the poached apples, and some whipped topping, too, if you like!

Nutrition (per serving): 473.7 calories; 29% calories from fat; 14.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 688.8mg sodium; 489.2mg potassium; 74.2g carbohydrates; 13.1g fiber; 30.2g sugar; 61.1g net carbs; 5.7g protein; 9.9 points.

PHOTOS FROM NOV. 30TH:

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Night snow scene

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Tina trying to decide whether to go out or not

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Tina makes a decision and exits the "cat door", while Brian rounds the corner to photograph some snow scenes.

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Soup cooking on the woodstove

Stay warm!

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

OUR POWER WAS OUT FOR 3 DAYS!

Best Blog Tips Sorry I haven't blogged, but I had not access to a computer! The power went on just as I was leaving for work this morning! So, I am at work and can't download pictures or anything. Tomorrow I will blog the photos and recipes that I made when the power was out, on my little butane burner and the woodstove!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

GETTING MORE CREATIVE WITH BREAKFAST

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Scrambled tofu

I'm tired of my breakfasts, for the most part. It was never my favorite meal to cook and, lately, I'm ashamed to say, I've had alot of Shredded Wheat! The occasional oatmeal with apples, which used to be my standard.

So, the day before yesterday I decided to challenge myself to make a variety of low-fat vegan breakfasts and post them maybe once a week on this blog. I'd love to hear about your breakfasts, or maybe even start a vegan meme on this theme!

The day before yesterday I had the scrambled tofu pictured above, made with my scrambler mix, green onions, mushrooms, red peppers, and a sprinkle of soy bacon bits, along with a piece of DH's homemade bread.

Here's the tofu scrambler mix recipe:

Printable Recipe:

BRYANNA'S HOMEMADE TOFU SCRAMBLER MIX 
This makes enough for 56/ 1/2 cup (4 oz. tofu) servings!

THE MIX:
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup onion powder
4 tsp curry powder
4 tsp salt
4 tsp turmeric
4 tsp ground cumin

Mix in a DRY blender. Store in a covered jar.

Servings: 56
Yield: 1 and 3/4 cups

Nutrition (per serving)
: 10.7 calories; 13% calories from fat; 0.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 167.6mg sodium; 61.1mg potassium; 1.5g carbohydrates; 0.7g fiber; 0.3g sugar; 0.8g net carbs; 1.3g protein; 0.1 points.


TO MAKE TOFU SCRAMBLERS:
Use 1/2 T. mix for each 4 oz. (about 1/2 c.) firm (regular, NOT silken) mashed tofu, or 1/4 c. mix for each lb.. (Shake or stir mix before measuring.) Use medium-firm tofu or even silken tofu if you like it softer.

Mix it in well and scramble in a nonstick pan, sprayed lightly with oil from a pump-sprayer, until nicely eggy-yellow and the consistency you like, OR, you can cook it, covered, in a sprayed microwave-proof glass dish, sprayed with oil (12-13 oz. takes about 5 minutes).
Servings: 1

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving, made with 4 oz. reduced-fat extra-firm SILKEN tofu):
53.9 calories; 15% calories from fat; 1.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 251.9mg sodium; 127.3mg potassium; 2.7g carbohydrates; 0.7g fiber; 0.7g sugar; 1.9g net carbs; 9.2g protein; 1.0 points.

FOR ULTRA-CREAMY SCRAMBLERS:
mix in 1 T. vegan mayonnaise (if you aren't counting calories), or, a couple of T. of soymilk.

**You can add some chopped veggie "Canadian bacon" or "ham", or veggie "bacon" chips or bits (I soak mine in boiling water and then drain, for a more ham-like taste and texture). You can add sauteed or steam-fried onions, green onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, etc., if you like. IN THE MICROWAVE, I just place the chopped veggies in the bottom of the dish, put the tofu on top, and cook as usual, then mix in the veggies.

Scramblers can be used in breakfast burritos (along with some vegan cheeze, such as Tofutti Soya-Cheese, if you like) made with wholewheat flour tortillas, topped with salsa; or to make vegan "Huevos" Rancheros, among other things.

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Yesterday I had an unusual craving for cottage cheese with pineapple!???! So I made my tofu "cottage cheese" from my book "Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause". Just the ticket with a piece of cinnamon toast! Had it today, too, with a soy cappuccino, 'cause I'm in a hurry to get to town (THE POWER IS GOING TO BE OUT ALL DAY!!!) to go shopping.

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Tofu "Cottage Cheese" with pineapple

BRYANNA'S TOFU "COTTAGE CHEESE" 

This is delicious with chives and/or chopped vegetables, or with pineapple tidbits.

1 lb medium-firm tofu, mashed coarsely and drained
2/3 cup firm or extra-firm SILKEN tofu
1 Tbs lemon juice
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar or alternate
OPTIONAL:
1/ 14 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained

Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. of the salt on the mashed tofu in a medium bowl. In the food processor mix the silken tofu, remaining salt, sugar and lemon juice until VERY smooth. Scoop into the bowl with the mashed tofu and mix gently. Refrigerate.

Servings: 5
Yield: 2 and 1/2 c.

Nutrition (per 1/2 cup):
86.1 calories; 47% calories from fat; 4.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 306.2mg sodium; 157.2mg potassium; 2.7g carbohydrates; 0.3g fiber; 0.6g sugar; 2.4g net carbs; 9.4g protein; 2.1 points.

NUTRITION FACTS WITH 14 OZ. CAN PINEAPPLE TIDBITS (DRAINED) ADDED:

Nutrition (per serving): 133.7 calories; 30% calories from fat; 5.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 307.0mg sodium; 255.6mg potassium; 15.1g carbohydrates; 1.3g fiber; 11.9g sugar; 13.8g net carbs; 9.8g protein; 2.8 points.

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I know, I know-- alot of tofu! Just felt like it this week!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, USA FRIENDS!


Enjoy!

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

STORMS, AND BAKED ORANGE FRENCH TOAST WITH BUMBLEBERRY SAUCE

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Baked vegan French Toast with "Bumbleberry" Sauce and Soyatoo vegan whipped topping


We actually had a whole day without power outages yesterday! But there is another big storm coming, so it's "batten down the hatches" time again!

(See a picture of a BC ferry fighting the storm on Weds. Click on the photo for a larger view.)

Our little islands (Denman and Hornby) have an additional problem. Here is the explanation from BC Hydro:

"Service to Denman Island is provided as three-phase, at 25,000 volts using three relatively old submarine cables that are near their end of life. An extra cable (fourth) is used as a spare cable for back up and is relatively new in comparison. Service is continued from Denman Island to Hornby Island.

BC Hydro initiated a planned outage on Sunday to test the condition
of the four undersea cables that serve Denman Island. Service was restored back to normal later that day after successfully completing the tests. On Monday, in the early morning, one of the undersea cables faulted and resulted in a power outage. We switched power to the fourth or spare undersea cable and re-energized the circuit. Later that same day, a second undersea cable faulted.

The service to both island's is now at single-phase, 14,400 volts.
For residential customers this means business as usual. However, for commercial customers such as the Co-op and schools, that use three-phase power, the current service is insufficient and requires a three-phase diesel generator. We are working with those customers for short-term solutions.

With the age and condition of these failed cables, they must be replaced. BC Hydro is now developing a plan to replace all three of the original aged submarine cables (approximately 6000 meters), as well as the two failed cables, with new cables with more capacity. This will improve reliability to the islands. BC Hydro will be removing the failed cables, lay the new cables, and tie in the new equipment to return Denman and Hornby to three-phase power. At this time we are unsure how long this process will take, but we hope to begin the seven days of work beginning Monday. There will be a few planned, short duration outages during this work. We will update you on Monday with more information, and the planned outages, as the plan comes together.

Thank you for your patience.

The outage on Wednesday and Thursday was due to extreme winds and trees contacting our lines. At one point on Wednesday we had just over 200,000 customers without power throughout the BC Hydro system."

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Oh, well-- what can you do? Just be prepared.

In the meantime, I'm getting this blog done!

We had a kind of fancy Saturday breakfast this morning-- baked (therefore lower in fat) vegan French toast with berries and whipped "cream", and soy cappuccinos!

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I used the vegan whipped topping in a pressurized can, Soyatoo, which is quite delicious! It comes from Germany and is trans-fat-free!  (UPDATE: I now prefer the whippaple version in the tetrapack box.)

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BRYANNA'S BAKED VEGAN ORANGE FRENCH TOAST WITH “BUMBLEBERRY” SAUCE
makes 6 slices

Kids (of all ages!) love French toast. This recipe eliminates the usual eggs, milk, and butter. High-fiber, essential-fatty-acid-rich flaxseeds (and a little powdered egg replacer) take the place of eggs.

This is an orange-flavored version and is topped with a mixed-berry (that’s what “bumbleberry” means!) sauce containing very little sugar! The whipped topping is optional.

This method is handy for cooking for a crowd— just multiply the recipe as needed.

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6 slices slightly stale light sprouted wheat bread (such as Silver Hills)

BATTER:
1 c. non-dairy milk (I used soymilk, but nut milk would be yummy! If you use Almond Breeze or So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage (both Original), the nutrition facts are just about the same.)
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
1 T. golden flax seeds (whole)
2 tsp. powdered egg replacer (Ener-G or Orgran)
2 tsp. grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla or vanilla paste
1/4 tsp. salt
A few gratings of nutmeg
OPTIONAL: 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

BUMBLEBERRY SAUCE:
3 cups frozen mixed berries, thawed
1 1/2 Tbs. vegan sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbs. water or juice
OPTIONAL: 2-4 tsp. grated orange zest

Preheat the oven to 500°F.

Blend together the batter ingredients in a blender until smooth. Soak the bread slices in this mixture in a 9x13” glass pan while the oven heats up. Turn the slices over a few times to make sure they are evenly soaked.

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Place the soaked slices on a nonstick or lightly-oiled DARK cookie sheet (dark pans brown better), sprayed with oil from a pump sprayer. Spray the tops a little bit, too. Bake 10 minutes in the bottom third of the oven (use convection, if you have it),

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then turn and bake about 5 minutes more, or until golden and crispy on the underside.

WHILE THE FRENCH TOAST IS BAKING, make the Bumbleberry Sauce. Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly; OR microwave in a medium, deep microwave-safe bowl (deep in order to avoid splashes) for about 2 minutes, or until thickened and bubbly.

Serve hot over the French toast.

VARIATION:
Overnight French Toast: Soak the slices in a double recipe of batter (in an oiled shallow baking dish) overnight in the refrigerator. (You can use a crusty bread, cut 1/2" thick, if you like.) Then cook in the oven, as above.

Servings: 3
Yield: 12 half slices


Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving):
351.1 calories; 10% calories from fat; 4.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 474.1mg sodium; 539.1mg potassium; 68.0g carbohydrates; 17.6g fiber; 23.9g sugar; 50.4g net carbs; 4.6g protein; 6.6 points.


Enjoy!
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Monday, November 13, 2006

POWER OUTAGES, CRISPY GINGER COOKIES, AND SEITAN GALORE!

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Big, crisp ginger cookies with a glass of homemade soymilk

Okay, this is Take 3! I’ve been trying to write this blog entry for quite some time now, but the power went off AGAIN! So, I’m writing this on Word, which saves automatically every minute, and I hope to actually post it soon!

It began yesterday, with a planned outage, supposedly to check the underwater cables between Denman and Hornby Islands and the Big Island (Vancouver Island). Power went back on in the afternoon and we thought we were all set. I got up at midnight and the power was off again! No storm. We woke up early and phoned BC Hydro…got their automated message that they were investigating and it should be on again at noon. Of course, it was a Stat Holiday today (for Remembrance Day, which was actually on Saturday), so you couldn’t get a human being on the phone! Long story short-- power went on again at 9:15 am; off again at 10:20; on again at 2: 35, and since then it’s been off and on about 4 times, with dimming in between! Arrrggghhh! I’m taking a chance having the computer on at all. I’ve sneaked in a shower and some laundry.

DH worked at the bakery today, which was challenge because, though the ovens are propane, they need electricity for the proofer and slicer and mixers. They eventually got a generator in, but could only use one machine at a time, and had to knead LARGE batches by hand at times.

It has been very quiet these last two days, but I had time to organize a lot of papers and do a good, long weight routine! We are actually in pretty good shape for outages, with an emergency outhouse, a butane cooker, candles and kerosene lamps, a plug-in phone, etc… But water is tricky, as we are on a well with an electric pump. If you aren’t prepared, you have to pray for rain and collect water in buckets! (Luckily, it rained today!)

Anyway, last night, while the power was on, DH requested ginger cookies. I shouldn’t be making cookies while I’m doing WW, but… it was treat! I took an old recipe of mine and cut the fat in half by substituting corn syrup for 1/2 the Earth Balance. I also cut out the chilling step for the dough and just rolled the soft dough in sugar. They are crispy and delish!

BRYANNA'S BIG, CRISP GINGER-MOLASSES COOKIES
Makes 24 cookies
Good dunkers! Idea: replace all or some of the the corn syrup with applesauce and perhaps get a softer, chewier version. 

1/4 cup vegan butter (UPDATE: try my homemade Palm-oil-free Vegan "Buttah")
1/4 cup corn syrup (you can get organic corn syrup in health food stores)
NOTE: You can try replacing the corn syrup with golden syrup, agave nectar or brown rice syrup-- not sure that it will give the cookies the same texture, though.
1/2 cup brown sugar (you can get the organic variety)
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/2 Tbs baking soda dissolved in 2 T. water
2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tbs powdered ginger
3/4 tsp each cinnamon and allspice
1/4 tsp salt
unbleached sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cream together the Earth Balance and the sugar in a medium bowl, then blend in the corn syrup and molasses. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and spices. Add the dissolved soda to the molasses mixture, then the flour mixture. Mix well.

Have two large greased or nonstick cookie sheets ready. Also have a flat soup bowl or plate with some unbleached sugar in it ready. Scoop balls of the dough about the size of a large walnut out with a tablespoon and drop them into the sugar Carefully turn the blob of dough until it's covered with sugar and more-or-less round. Place the dough mounds on the cookie sheets with plenty of room between them (they spread).

Now, if you want thin cookies, press them down with the bottom of a smooth glass dipped in sugar (as in picture).

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If you want them thicker, leave "as is".

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the bottoms are slightly browned. Place the pans on racks and immediately cut the cookies apart from eachother with a table knife, and then, with a thin spatula, loosen them from the pan. (If you don't do this right away, it will be hard to get them off the pan after they cool!) Allow to cool on the pans on the racks for about 10 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the pan and place on racks. Store in a tightly-covered container after thoroughly cooled.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 103.1 calories; 17% calories from fat; 2.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 128.5mg sodium; 230.6mg potassium; 21.0g carbohydrates; 1.3g fiber; 9.3g sugar; 19.6g net carbs; 1.4g protein; 2.0 points.

Before baking:
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After baking:
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I’ve been working on seitan recipes:
UPDATE, NOVEMBER 2014: Obviously, my plan for a seitan cookbook never materialized.  I still have plans for it, though.  If I can't find a publisher (and the ones I've talked to seem reluctant because of the gluten-free mania), I may just do it as an e-book.  Any ideas?

"Neatballs" are an invention of mine to make vegan "meatballs" that don't fall apart in a sauce. This time I also made them into "keftas" (ovals).

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Uncooked vegan "neatballs" and "keftas" (or "lady's thighs"!!)

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The same, rolled in flour and ready to bake

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Baked

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Cooking the keftas in a cumin-tomato sauce-- they plump up nicely!

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Ready to be devoured!

The following pictures are of my tender, sliceable vegan "pork tenderloin" roast, which I rubbed with a garlic-herb mixture and I also inserted slivers of garlic into it when I baked it before serving.

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I invented a vegan "kebab meat" and made shish kebab with it on Saturday. DH LOVED them!

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Cooking and flavoring the "kebab meat"

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Marinating

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Ready to grill

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Ready to eat!

Enjoy!

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Thursday, November 9, 2006

A CREAMY PEA SOUP, DUTCH PUMPERNICKEL BREAD, AND WHAT TO DO WITH TOMATILLOS!

Best Blog Tips I haven't been blogging much-- been updating my website, and catching up with work in general (except for housework, which is slated for this weekend-- oh joy!)! But I have been cooking quite a bit, working on recipes for the next newsletter, and making seitan .

This morning I made another soup from Deborah Madison's soup book and it was very tasty!

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MY VERSION OF DEBORAH MADISON'S CREAM OF SPLIT AND FRESH PEA SOUP 

This is another recipe I tried from Deborah Madison's book "Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison' s Kitchen" (here's another one I veganized). Again, I lowered the fat by 3 Tbs. in total, and veganized it by using my homemade Tofu Sour Creme instead of half-and-half and lemon juice. I added more flavor by using a good vegetarian bouillon instead of water and salt. (I also eliminated the 2 Tbs. parsley because I didn't have any!) This soup gave me a chance to try out the smoked pimenton I bought in Portland.

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Here's a picture of the smoked paprika on the left.

1 cup green split peas, soaked in hot water while you prepare the veggies
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, scrubbed and diced small
1 large stalk celery, with leaves, chopped
2 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp smoked pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika-- I used the hot version)
6 cups chicken-style vegetarian bouillon (I like Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Vegan broth paste)
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup Tofu Sour Creme
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbs vegan butter (here's my homemade palm-oil-free version)
1 cup light wholewheat bread cut in small cubes

Put the split peas on to soak in hot tap water while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a soup pot, heat the oil; then sauté the onions, carrots, celery, half the rosemary, and bay leaves over medium heat, stirring often, until softened and a little browned. Stir in the garlic and smoked paprika and stir-cook for a few minutes more.

Drain the split peas and add them to the pot with the broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down, cover and simmer for 1 hour, or til the peas start to break up. Add the frozen peas and cook for a few minutes.

Puree the soup in the pot with a hand immersion blender until smooth (or blend in two batches in a blender. (Caution: take the middle part of the blender lid out and cover it with a clean, folded tea towel while blending-- this prevents explosions of hot soup!

Add the Tofu Sour Creme and lemon zest to the soup and stir well while heating gently. taste for salt, pepper, etc. You can add more smoked paprika, lemon juice, lemon zest,e etc., according to your taste.

Melt the Earth Balance in a nonstick skillet. When hot, add the bread cubes and toss over medium-low heat for 6-8 minutes, or until crisp.

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Add the remaining rosemary, a pinch of salt and a few drops of lemon juice and stir until crispy again.

Serve the soup with a few croutons on top.

Servings: 6

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 234.5 calories; 19% calories from fat; 5.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 214.7mg sodium; 559.6mg potassium; 34.4g carbohydrates; 11.9g fiber; 8.6g sugar; 22.5g net carbs; 14.3g protein; 4.3 points.

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As you can see in picture of the soup, I ate this soup with some thin slices of that dark Dutch rye pumpernickel bread that comes in sort of blocks. My dad used to buy that for us and we ate it with cream cheese and lots of other things. It still reminds me of him! I could eat it like candy, even though it's very nutritious. Actually, it's not hard to make:

BRYANNA'S DUTCH PUMPERNICKEL BREAD
2 small loaves
If you've never tried those little loaves of firm, dark, thinly-sliced pumpernickel bread that you see in delis, you're in for a treat! If you have some sourdough starter, it's really easy to make. It's chewy and moist and keeps well. You can start it the night before and let sit overnight to ferment. Here's a link to my post on vegan sourdough starter.

3 Tbs dark molasses
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
1/2 Tbs salt
1 Tbs oil
1/2 cup fresh, bubbly sourdough starter (you can use any sourdough starter-- see link above for info)
2 1/2 cups rye meal, coarsely-ground stone ground rye flour, or pumpernickel flour

Stir together the molasses, boiling water, bulgur, salt and oil and let stand until lukewarm. Add the remaining ingredients and let sit in a warm place for at least 8 hours. Knead the dough briefly, flouring the board with whole wheat flour, then press into two greased fruitcake loaf pans (3x5"). Cover with foil and let stand 30 minutes (you won't notice any rising). Set in a cold oven, turn it to 275°F. and bake for 2 hours. Turn out on a rack to cool, covering with a clean towel. The bread will keep, well-wrapped for several weeks, or can be frozen (slice first). Slice very thinly.

Yield: 20 small slices

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per slice): 72.1 calories; 12% calories from fat; 1.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 171.9mg sodium; 184.2mg potassium; 14.5g carbohydrates; 3.6g fiber; 0.2g sugar; 10.9g net carbs; 2.4g protein; 0.8 points.

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Now this doesn't go with the recipes above, but my friend Holly Walker grew some tomatillos in her garden and gave me some. Here's what I did with them:

SALSA VERDE (A Weight Watchers Core Plan recipe)

This was delicious! This recipe is adapted from one from Steve Raichlen's "Healthy Latin Cooking".

1 lb fresh tomatillos, husked and cut in half
1 small onion, chunked
2 Tbs sliced pickled or canned jalapeños
2 large cloves garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup vegetarian bouillon

Heat a large heavy skillet, such as cast iron. Add the cut tomatillos, onion, jalapeños, and garlic. Toss over medium-high heat until they are browning.

Pour the vegetables in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until it's a slightly chunky puree. Taste for salt and pepper.

Refrigerate before serving.

Yield: 2 cups

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per 1/4 cup): 14.3 calories; 17% calories from fat; 0.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 0.7mg sodium; 95.8mg potassium; 2.9g carbohydrates; 0.8g fiber; 1.5g sugar; 2.1g net carbs; 0.4g protein; 0.2 points.

Enjoy!

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