Sunday, January 19, 2014

Slow-Cooked Seitan Stew.

After a long hiatus, we’re back! I actually developed this recipe way back in December, but things got super hectic over the holidays (I know, I know, excuses). 

As you might know, I’m an avid reader of Cooking Light magazine. Although their don’t necessarily cater much to the vegetarian/vegan diet, they have lots of unconventional ideas and tips for creating awesome dishes. 

Like lots of other vegans and vegetarians, I feel that holidays are a bit rough on the non-meat eaters. The main dish is rarely made without some sort of animal protein (in most cases, it’s 100% turkey/beef/what-have-you). When I came across this recipe, I realized that it could be easily transformed into something vegan-friendly. 

Recipe Note: Optimally, you have a 6-quart slow-cooker hanging around. We have a 4-quart, and while we barely managed to fit everything in, I recommend giving the stew more room to cook! Also, re: salt—add it sparingly to start, especially if you’re using store-bought seitan, which tends to be pre-salted.

Slow-Cooked Seitan Stew
[adapted from Cooking Light]

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb seitan (homemade or store-bought is fine!), chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt (add in sparingly to start)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 12 oz nut brown ale (we used this one)
  • 1 1/4 cups (or more) vegetarian stock (I love Imagine’s No-Chicken Broth)
  • 1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced into 1” pieces
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley

1. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a medium skillet, swirl to coat over medium-high heat.

2. Add onions and garlic; saute for about 4 minutes or until onions start to turn translucent.

3. Add the brown ale and scrape pan to loosen browned bits. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Stir in 1 cup stock, salt, and pepper, and bring mixture to a simmer.

5. Carefully pour this mixture into a 6-quart electric slow-cooker.

6. Add seitan, potatoes, carrots, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for at least 7 hours.

7. Combine remaining 1/4 cup stock and flour with a whisk, and stir mixture into the stew. 

8. After 15 minutes (or once stew has thickened), stir in Dijon mustard and vinegar (add more to taste—we ended up doing that). 

9. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and sprinkle with parsley.

10. You’re done!

P.S. This will easily feed 2 people for a week—it’s a lot of food!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lemony Kale Salad.

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Yeah, so I hopped aboard the Kale Train. But you wanna know something? This shit is not only delicious (when prepared properly), but it is just about one of the healthiest things for you. It has tons of fiber, iron (even more than BEEF!), various vitamins (A, C, and K specifically), and is just overall a great foodstuff to put in your facehole. In my humble opinion, it’s way more exciting than spinach. 

This recipe is completely vegan and easy. One tip that will give you a head start on preparing this is using a pre-bagged kale salad mix—I’ve typically used the Harvest Sensations Kale Salad Mix, which you can find at Whole Foods and hopefully other markets as well. But if you can’t find this at your local market, just grab some curly kale (my fave), a couple carrots, and a bit of purple cabbage. 

Another one of my favorite things about this recipe is how easy it is to customize—it can easily be mixed in with other ingredients, like pasta and vegan pepperoni to make an antipasto salad (just throwin’ it out there…).

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Now tell me that doesn’t look delicious. Just try.

Lemony Kale Salad
[serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side]

Ingredients:

  • 1 8 oz bag Harvest Sensations Kale Salad Mix (or proportionate amount of ingredients referenced above)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (I used a tad less)
  • 3/4 tsp ground thyme (or 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme)
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4-5 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

1. Add all liquid ingredients + minced garlic clove to small bowl, whisk thoroughly to combine. 

2. Prepare large bowl with kale salad mix.

3. Combine vinaigrette and salad, toss to combine. (Seriously, it couldn’t be easier).

NOTE: If you’re interested in making the antipasto salad, just follow the above steps, except you can add about 8 oz of cooked twisty pasta (fusilli or torchelli are both good options) and 1 package of vegan pepperoni (I recommend either Tofurky or Yves). The pasta salad is good warm or cold. Be sure to drain the pasta thoroughly so the mixed salad doesn’t get all watery.

WOO! You’re done!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ginger Snaps!

Hi everyone!

Sorry I’ve been away for so long—the past few months have brought some substantial developments: new job, 2 art shows, and me scrambling like a maniac in between! The two shows took up a lot of my creative time, so I wasn’t able to update The Slug Kitchen as regularly as I’d hoped. But the good news is, I have a ton of recipes in store for you guys now that things have calmed down!

On that note, here we go:

I was never a huge spice cookie fan growing up, but now I’m a ginger FREAK. I love ginger ale, ginger-spiced anything, you name it. And I also love cookies, so this seems to be a pretty happy marriage.

While this recipe isn’t vegan from the get-go, you can easily substitute flax seeds, silken tofu, or applesauce for the egg, and Earth Balance for the butter—use your own trusty option of preference! This recipe makes a really good cookie—nice and crispy on the edges while remaining softer in the middle. It also doesn’t have a ton of sugar in it (but maybe that’s where the molasses comes in).

While I like the recipe I originally found, I ended up adding more spices after tasting the batter. The amounts below are what I used, but feel free to modify to your tastes!

Ginger Snaps
makes 18 servings [1 serving = 1 cookie]

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup + 1-2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 heaping tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 egg (or vegan equivalent)
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp (or more) ground ginger (you can also use bits of crystallized ginger if you have some around)
  • roughly 1/4 cup of white sugar for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and ginger.

3. In a large bowl, combine egg, butter, brown sugar, and molasses.

4. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture. 

[NOTE: Before rolling out the cookies, taste the batter to see if you want to add any more spices.]

5. Roll dough into 1” balls and place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. 

6. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, and let stand for at least 5 minutes once you remove them from the oven.

7. Pour yourself a large glass of regular/soy/almond/what-have-you milk, because that is the most necessary accompaniment to this treat.

Enjoy!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Vegan Seitan Stroganoff.

First of all, I am SO sorry this took so long! This has been quite a busy summer, but thanks to all of you for bearing with me. 

I am super excited to share this recipe with you. Beef stroganoff is something that I was introduced to through my mom’s cooking, as her mother was of completely Russian descent. While I do enjoy beets, stroganoff overtakes borscht any day. It’s a rich, creamy, stick-to-your-ribs sort of dish—perfect for those Moscow winters. (Thanks for immigrating over here, Grandma Jeanette.)

One of my favorite things about stroganoff (aside from the indulgent creaminess, that is) is actually the mushroom flavor. When I first went vegetarian, I acquired a brand-new appreciation (and dependency) on mushrooms to act as the new protein I could depend upon. I’ve made mushroom stroganoff a few times, which was perfectly good—but I did notice that a “meaty” element would really help bring the dish up a notch.

After being vegetarian for a few years, I find seitan much more appealing than beef/steak, and thankfully, it’s much healthier and more ethical of a protein than the latter. It’s got a very deceiving texture. Since seitan is  made from wheat gluten, it’s very elastic and chewy, similar to steak, if you will.

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Product Endorsement Alert! I stumbled upon Upton’s bacon seitan at my neighborhood market, and it is literally the perfect addition to this recipe. The bacon flavor is frighteningly authentic, and the strip format makes it easy to cut up and blend with the rest of the ingredients. I also like that I can actually recognize all of the ingredients—my fellow fake meat-eaters will agree that some faux meat ingredient listings can seem a bit dodgy. If this is available in your area, give it a try! The original recipe calls for plain seitan—homemade or store-bought is fine. I used WestSoy when I first made this, and it turned out great.

This dish is best the day it’s made, but also heats up great as leftovers!

Vegan Seitan Stroganoff

[adapted from Vegan Yum Yum]

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz tub Tofutti sour cream
  • 8 oz white mushrooms
  • 8 oz seitan, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tamari/soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • roughly 8 oz penne pasta


1. Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium-low heat. Add onions and sautee until caramelized, for roughly 10 minutes.

2. While onions are sauteeing, begin boiling a large pot of water for your penne pasta, and chop garlic, seitan, and mushrooms. Keep the seitan and mushrooms separate.

3. As soon as the onions are caramelized, add the minced garlic and sautee mixture for about 1 minute.

4. Next, add mushrooms and about 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and add the 1/4 cup of white wine to deglaze the pan. Cook mixture until liquid has evaporated.

5. If you haven’t done so yet, add the pasta to the boiling water.

6. When liquid has evaporated completely, add seitan to pan, along with the entire tub (yes) of Tofutti sour cream and 2 tbsp of tamari/soy sauce. Stir well.

7. Drain pasta (when done cooking) and add to skillet to coat in sauce. Sprinkle pepper and paprika to taste.

You’re done! Let me know what you think!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Vegan Mexican Elote Salad.

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It’s no secret. I love Mexican food and could probably eat it every day if forced. One of the greatest things about Mexican cooking is the prevalence of citrus—there’s almost always a lime involved somewhere, and even if it’s not an official ingredient, you’ll find it as a garnish on the side.

I stumbled on Love & Lemons via Pinterest, and it’s clearly a blog after my own heart. With countless veggie-based recipes and a penchant for tangy, sour flavors, Jeanine and Jack are role models when it comes to food blogging (not to mention their extremely good sense of web/graphic design).

After seeing Jeanine’s Mexican Street Corn Salad recipe, I knew I had to try it (I’m a bit of a corn fanatic). Matt and I ended up tweaking the recipe a lot, and it ended up turning into a vegan version of elote! Elote is Mexico’s answer to the classic corn on the cob—in that it’s often drenched in a variety of powerful seasonings, including mayo, salt, lime juice, cheese, and chili powder. Our version is inspired by all the decadence of this street food treat, but is also vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. (I think it’s also worth mentioning that we’ve made this at least 4 times in the past 2 weeks.)

Vegan Mexican Elote Salad
[adapted from Love & Lemons]

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of organic, whole kernel corn
  • 2-3 limes
  • 3 radishes, chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp Veganaise
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • salt to taste
  • hot sauce (I recommend Cholula)
  • 1 avocado

1. Drain corn and mince garlic.
2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet or medium saucepan, toss in corn and garlic. Turn heat to medium-high. You will want to let the corn brown—this will take roughly 10-15 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently and add more olive oil if needed.
3. While corn is browning, chop scallions and radishes, and tear off cilantro leaves.
4. Once your corn has browned, stir in the Veganaise. (You can use 2 tbsp if you wish, but it’s nice to have a little more fat to flavor it IMO.)
5. Juice the 3 limes into the pot, then add paprika, scallions, cilantro, salt, and hot sauce. Add the last two ingredients to taste.
6. Protip: I absolutely love the addition of avocado to this recipe. To make it count, only add it to the salad once you’re ready to eat, so it stays green and fresh.
7. You’re done! Serve 3-4 as a side, or 2 as an entree. I highly recommend serving this with chips (particularly the quinoa-black bean chips from Trader Joe’s).

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Shelly’s Choco-Coconutty Trail Mix.

Guys, this is my FIRST recipe from scratch!! Like, created all by myself. Ok, there are 5 ingredients in it, but I’m still proud, because this turned out reeeaaaaally well.


In my continuing adventures of Trying To Eat Healthy, I’ve discovered that dried fruits, nuts, and dark chocolate are all great substitutes for sweet cravings. Matt and I had been wanting to try our hand at making trail mix for a while, and we finally decided to do it while grabbing other things at Whole Foods. You can find these ingredients at almost any market or co-op with a bulk food section—and if you can’t find one of the ingredients like toasted coconut chips or dried cherries, just sub in anything that might be good as an alternative (e.g., cranberries, pumpkin seeds). Also, play around with portion size—as long as everything’s at about a 1:1 ratio, you should have a pretty good mix!

P.S. If you’re wondering who Shelly is, she’s that really happy-looking snail with all the yummies at the end of the trail below.

Shelly’s Choco-Coconutty Trail Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 lb raw almonds
  • 1/4 lb raisins
  • 1/4 lb roasted coconut chips
  • 1/4 lb dried cherries
  • 1/4 lb semisweet chocolate chips


1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl, stir until combined.

2. Uh, that’s it.

Enjoy!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Vegan Mac & Cashew Cheese.

I’m about to unleash a dragon.

A rich, creamy dragon.

Ok, that actually does not sound appealing whatsoever

But this recipe is delicious and YOU WILL LIKE IT. 

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I first tried an interpretation of this recipe a few years ago. I am sorry to say that I’ve never been to the OB People’s Food Co-Op in San Diego, but I definitely plan on visiting at some point because this recipe is so ridiculously original and deceiving. Cashew cheese is not necessarily a new vegan phenomenon, but this one makes for a perfect bowl of virtually guilt-free mac ‘n cheese. The addition of red bell pepper is surprisingly crucial—it doesn’t just add color, but also another dimension of flavor. 

And aside from it being much healthier than regular mac ‘n cheese, another incentive is that it’s a cinch to make! You literally just throw 99% of the ingredients in the blender, cook the macaroni, and then mix it all together. You may or may not require a bowl—it all depends on your dignity (I have none).

People’s Vegan Mac & Cashew Cheese
[barely adapted from People’s Organic Food Market]

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups of raw unsalted cashews
  • 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1. Puree all sauce ingredients in blender (this means everything but the pasta).

[Note: After making this a few times, I’ve figured out that it’s best to combine the sauce ingredients in a separate bowl, mix them well, and then add the mixture by thirds to the blender, allowing it to have some room. Adding the whole thing gets messy, and your blender won’t like it.]

2. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.

3. Mix everything together. You can choose to bake the mac and cheese for 20 minutes on 350, but I usually like it the way it is.

4. You’re done!

EDIT: WOW! Thanks so much to everyone who liked and reblogged this post, and also for those of you that actually tried the recipe! I’d love to keep getting feedback, so if you find that something in particular really worked or didn’t work so much for you, let me know! I super super appreciate all of your support—it makes this blog way more rewarding to run.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup.

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My friend and I were both complaining a couple days ago about how butternut squash is no longer in season, now that spring is here. That beautiful, rusted orange squash is probably nature’s best answer to a creamy, delicious soup. Probably.

But carrots don’t really get the credit they deserve. I mean, natural orange foods  all provide significant amounts of vitamin A through beta-carotene, which has been proven to aid in improved vision, skin health, glowing skin, lessened cancer and heart disease risk, and much more. And no, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you can eat as much mac ‘n cheese as you’d like.

This recipe is for a beautiful, hearty soup that can be served as a small side or as a main dish (a healthy portion is really filling). Roasting the carrots gives them that slight caramelized flavor, and the addition of ginger adds another dimension of spice and depth to the mix.

Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup

[recipe adapted from Food52]

Ingredients:

  • 6 to 8 large carrots
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • a sprig (or a few heavy dashes) of thyme (I use ground)
  • 4-6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 1/2-inch long piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • black pepper to taste

1. Peel and chop carrots into roughly 1/2-inch rounds.

2. On a baking sheet lined with oil or parchment paper, toss the carrots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt.

3. Broil carrots until they brown and soften (roughly 20 minutes)—you’ll notice that some of them may caramelize, which is *AWESOME*. Be sure to turn them over with a spatula about every 5 minutes so none of them burn.

4. Bring your veggie or chicken stock to a boil, add the ginger and thyme, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

5. Chop the onion and place in a medium stock pot with the remaining olive oil. Saute the onion over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and beginning to brown.

6. Add the minced garlic and carrots to the onions.

7. Add 4 cups of however much stock you have (ginger and thyme included—our diversion from the old recipe) to the pot with the onions and carrots. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until carrots are soft enough to puree.

8. Use a blender to puree the mixture until smooth (we did it in 2 batches as to not overload the blender). If your soup seems too thick, add more stock or water.

9. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

Nom!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dark Chocolate Energy Bites.

Yup.

They’re a-maze-balls.

It’s no secret that Matt and I both have the stubbornest sweet teeth. It’s all we can do to go a single day without snacking on chocolate chips, baking cookies, or running into the cashier at the small grocery near our apartment, who now greets us with a smile and says, “The ice cream’s over here!”

During the past several months, we’ve made an effort to lessen the amount of sweets we make at home (let’s be real: we are physically incapable of being dessert-free) and to eat more fruits instead. This recipe is a great example of something that is sweet, healthy and enjoyable to eat—all of the ingredients have healthy benefits: antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, strengthened muscles/teeth enamel, lowered cholesterol, and more!

Dark Chocolate Energy Bites
[adapted from Oh She Glows]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole raw almonds
  • about 8 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (we used unsweetened, but if you prefer a sweeter taste, grab some sweetened ones)
  • 4-5 tbsp (or more) semisweet chocolate chips (we swear by Guittard, Dagoba, or Ghirardelli)
  • 1/4 cup raw pecans

Note: The original recipe calls for salt, but we omitted it and didn’t really miss it.

1. In a food processor, process the raw almonds until finely chopped into small pieces—don’t let them get powdery.

2. Remove 1/3 cup of the almonds and set aside.

3. Add the pitted dates into the processor and blend until the date-almond mixture forms a sticky dough. Then add cherries and process again—you will probably need to break up the mixture and process repeatedly as it will be very sticky at this point.

4. Add in the chocolate chips and pecans and process just until they are finely chopped.

5. Pulse in the remaining 1/3 cup almonds for a nice, nutty texture, and add salt to taste if you wish.

6. Roll the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls, and stick in the fridge to let them firm up.

6. You’re done!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Homemade Chai.

If you’re a chai/tea drinker, this one’s for you. Chai is a drink that can vary widely from sweet to spicy to bland to everything in between. This recipe is a great foundation to start with. It’s pretty mild in terms of spice, but you can definitely amp up the amount of cinnamon, cloves, and/or peppercorns for a more intensive base flavor. I find that playing around with different amounts of milk and sugar/honey is useful for figuring out the best mix of flavors.

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1. Combine peppercorns, smashed cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, ginger, vanilla bean and vanilla seeds with 1 1/2 cups water in small pot. Bring mixture to boil.

2. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes have passed, remove from heat and continue to steep for 10 minutes.

[IF DOUBLING/TRIPLING/___ING THIS RECIPE: In addition to multiplying the amounts of ingredients, remember to increase the simmering/steeping times as well. For instance, if you’re doubling it, you’ll simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, and steep it for about 20 minutes.]


3. Add the black tea and continue to steep for another 5 minutes.

4. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into pitcher or carafe.

Now, assemble your drink!

A good ratio to keep in mind is about 1/3 cup of the chai mixture to 2/3 cup of milk (whether it’s hot or cold).

P.S.

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