Category Archives: Asian

Chinese take-out in my kitchen

Our first attempt at vegan spring rolls! We roughly followed this recipe for veggie dumplings. Of course, instead of putting our filling in wonton wrappers we used spring roll wrappers.

We dipped them in our good ol’ standby sweet chili sauce from the Asian market. Here you can see the filling which just looks like beige stuff but it’s really shitake, napa cappage and tofu.

In hindsight, I wished we had added some clear bean thread noodles and carrots to the filling b/c I felt they were missing these things (next time!).

Also, we had a few spring rolls bust open while deep frying them and this was probably due to a couple of things:
(1) we simply used oil to seal the wrapper before frying (if anybody has a better way to seal them pre-fry, we’d love to know!) and
(2) we don’t have a deep fryer so the oil may not have been hot enough.

They were still yummy and good for our first go at spring rolls though!

We had them with Szechuan style green beans (and jasmine rice). I didn’t follow a recipe for this. I kinda just tossed the green beans in a wok with some minced ginger and garlic, hoison sauce, soy sauce, red chili peppers (dried), and some rice wine vinegar. Spi-cey!

Vietnamese Bun

This is fast becoming my favorite warm weather dish. It’s a cold noodle salad (Vietnamese Bun) that can be prepared quickly. All I did was cook up some thin rice vermicelli noodles. Once those were drained and cooled, I topped them with cut up cucumbers, carrots, napa cabbage, cilantro and chunks of grilled tofu. Then I drizzled the whole thing with a light and tangy marinade/dressing and toss. I forgot to do this, but a sprinkling of chopped peanuts on top is the final touch. I like making this in advance and just sticking everything in the fridge (pre-assembly) so that it’s really nice and cold when it’s ready to be eaten.

The dressing I used is the following mixture:

  • 1 1/2 tbls lime juice
  • 3 tbls rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbls agave
  • 2-3 cloves of grated garlic (use a microplane)
  • salt and pepper to taste

I guesstimated on the the amounts in the dressing above so it can be altered to taste.

This dish is sooo good for sitting out on the porch in the sun. The fresh cucumbers and carrots add a nice textural crunch to the softness of the noodles. And since the dish is cold and the dressing light, the dish is refreshing and not heavy…perfect for the coming summer months!

It’s a wrap

This is so quick and easy and the payoff in my belly is beyond words. Here’s what you do to make easy-peasy and cheap vegan “chicken” lettuce wraps:
(1) Take whatever veggies you have on hand that you like and dice ‘em up!

(2) Dice up some vegan protein (we used mock chicken, but tofu, tempeh, and/or seitan would work just as well) or skip this step and just go with a veggie blowout—-the results will be equally delicious!

(3) Stir fry it all up in a wok with some minced garlic and ginger and a touch of cooking oil. Season with Bragg’s liquid aminos, salt, pepper, fresh basil, a little veggie broth if more moisture is needed and whatever tastes good to you!

(4) Serve with various sauces and condiments of your liking (we kept it simple and used store bought hoison sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce and of course some Sriracha sauce), some big iceberg lettuce leaves and diced cucumbers for an added cold crunch.

(5) Pour filling into lettuce leaf, add some cucumbers, drizzle with sauce, roll it up and savor the goodness…..ahhhhhh…..yummmm.

(6) Repeat step (5) until maximum satiation has been achieved and/or until the food is gone.

Whew, some ramen.

A simple homemade ramen: noodles + vegetable broth + water + spices (Chinese 5 spice) + a little soy sauce + carrots + mock chicken + cilantro + cucumbers = YUMMINESS. (click for more)

Wow, has it really been this long? Well, I guess first, I want to thank everybody for the kind words. It really means a lot to me and it warms my heart to know that I actually have readers that genuinely care even though I have not met most. I have made, what I consider, pretty major decisions concerning the direction of my career/life and the good news is that these changes are absolutely what I want. It has just been an uphill battle to get there and I’m not even sure if I’m “there” completely, but I’m more on my way than I was when I last posted.

I have been wanting to post this crazy blow out post of all the food we have made and consumed in the interim. Being the perfectionist that I am, I kept waiting until I would have time to devote to it. But I’m beginning to realize that with this career change, I’m only going to have even less free time. Because I know for a fact there are some people near and dear to me that are interested in veganism and need food ideas, I want to keep the posts going but I’m afraid I will have little time to read and post on others’ blogs as much as I’d like and I just wanted to say that upfront so I’m not that “rude blogger chick”. When (if?!) things calm down, I look forward to seeing what you vegan cooks are up to!

Vietnamese Subs

When I attended NCSU, there was a place right off campus that served veg*n Vietnamese subs that were out of this world and I would eat them at least once a week. So I was sooo stoked to find a recipe for this in my new copy of Veganomicon (which by the way, is quickly getting used and marked up with comments and post-its to hold the place of future recipes I want to try).

Homemade seitan strips (Seitan cutlet recipe from Veganomicon), pan fried with a sprinkle of sugar for some caramelization (pic is pre-fry)….

+ other sandwich fillings of your choice….

+ homemade french bread (+Vegenaise if you so desire) = a really good and filling sandwich!!

There is also a dipping sauce for the sammich so you dunk and eat, but I didn’t take a pic of it. It was good though, you’ll just have to trust me 🙂 Also, the seitan from Veganomicon is easily hands down the best seitan I’ve ever had and it was pretty easy to make.

Bubble Drink

Working 12 hour days doesn’t leave much time for interesting cooking as of late, but I did make a special drink the other day. It is simply soy milk + sweetened ice coffee + tapioca balls (which you can usually find at an Asian market) + ice . Sweet, satisfying and fun to drink!

Of course we’ve been cooking!

So, another week has gone by again with no time to post 😦 . But as the post title says, we have plenty of homemade foods to share. First, I’ll start with the vegan cheesecake which I mentioned several posts ago and finally got around to making. This recipe is the main vegan one that seems to be floating around the internets. It can be found here, and recently the Little Vegan made it too.

Ok, so I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfect. I haven’t had “real” cheesecake in a long time but I seriously think this could pass for the real thing. I made the crust by crumbling cinnamon graham crackers and mixing it with a little bit of canola oil and blackstrap molasses to make it just moist enough to press into a pan. For the strawberry topping, I just warmed up some thawed and halved frozen strawberries with some sugar to taste and pureed half of the strawberries to make a thick sauce. This sauce also went well with some Van’s Belgian waffles later in the week.

After eating these waffles I have now added waffle iron to my long list of culinary wants! (UPDATE: As brought to my attention by Veggiegirl, these waffles are NOT VEGAN! I thought I checked the ingredients carefully, but alas, I am not perfect. I managed to miss the bee vomit (i.e. honey) on these waffles. That is the only non-vegan ingredient in these…why can’t they just take it out?!? Oh well, live and learn! We will not be buying these anymore and all the more reason to get my own waffle iron! 🙂 )

I also tried my hand at another raw dish this week. Every time I go to our co-op I see a raw spinach quiche in their refrigerated section but it costs mucho dinero, so I decided to try and make my own. I used the pecan-spinach quiche recipe I found on this page as a guideline. For the bottom “crust” of the quiche, I blended almonds that had soaked overnight with some spices and pressed it into the plate (which I then let dry out via the method I used for my flax seed crackers). For the filling, all I did was puree about 2 cups of spinach with 2-3 cloves of garlic, a cup of pine nuts, a couple of slivers of avocados, some mushrooms, and spices (nutmeg, salt, pepper, paprika, and garam masala). I topped it with some mushrooms that had soaked in Bragg’s liquid aminos (not entirely sure if this is considered raw or not) and paprika.

I’m not really sure if I liked this or not. I ate about four bites but to me it seemed more like something I would spread on crackers and not something I could eat a whole plate of, so I actually did finish it by eating it with crackers. So technically I didn’t eat totally raw that night but I am glad that I tried the dish and still haven’t given up on experimenting with raw dishes! Hsauce stayed away from this dish because it looked too much like guacamole to him and he doesn’t like guacamole…weirdo!

This week, Hsauce wanted to have “sushi night”. Sushi making is so fun and so incredibly easy and waaay cheaper than if you went out for sushi. Hsauce had already made the sushi rice (refrigerated cooked sushi rice mixed with rice vinegar, some sugar and a tiny amount of salt) while I was at work so all that was left to do was prep some ingredients and start rolling when I got home.

Here you can see some of what we used: avocados, baked tofu, carrots, cucumbers, Sriracha sauce, hoison sauce, and Tofutti cream cheese. We also used some sesame seeds, sweet chili sauce, and homegrown sprouts. When making sushi, we always have two water cups. One large cup of warm water to put the sushi cutting knife in to prevent stuff from sticking to it and another smaller cup of cooler water for our fingers when we spread the sushi rice onto the wakame to prevent it from clumping on our fingers. And as usual, we ended up with a ton of sushi!

Just as pretty as what you pay for at a restaurant don’t you think? We had it with miso soup (made with miso barley, which you can buy in a tub, seaweed slivers, cubes of tofu and mushrooms) which I didn’t get a photo of.

Another Asian inspired meal we had this week was fried rice with grilled tofu. Fried rice is also really easy and works best with day old rice. In this case I had Hsauce make some rice while I was at work and then stick it in the fridge. When I got home I threw some chopped veggies into a wok on medium high with some Earth Balance, threw in the rice, added a handful of fresh basil leaves, some Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and some salt and pepper and was done. Hsauce grilled the tofu slabs which had been marinating in a sweet chili soy sauce marinade all day. I had this dish for leftovers for work one day and my office mate commented on how it smelled “really good”. Yay!

To celebrate the arrival of fall weather (finally!!!), I also made a si
mple squash side one night. I just halved an acorn squash and hollowed out the seedy inside. I then put a few tablespoons of Earth Balance in each half along with a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar, sliced Gala apples, nutmeg, cinnamon and a bit of salt and pepper. I put this in the toaster oven on about 400F for about an hour. When I ate this, I smooshed all the liquidy goodness with the squash to make “sweet mashed squash”.

And this weekend I made some carrot-raisin muffins from VV. As usual, Isa’s recipe came out perfect! I can’t wait to be able to order her new cookbook, Veganomicon.

Oh, for the love of dogs!

Wow, it’s been one of those crazy busy weeks and I’ve had no time to post about the fun time we had last Saturday and of course the foods we’ve been eating (yes! even when you’re busy you don’t have to reach for the take-out menus!).

So starting with last Saturday. We (Hsauce, me and our two rescued greyhounds Miles and Nikko) went to Greyfest 2007 where basically a bunch of rescued greyhounds get together and hang out. There are activities and contests and such, but we mainly went to socialize our dogs with other greys.
The only annoying thing about Greyfest was the disconnect that these greyhound owners had between their dogs, who they obviously loved and cared greatly about, and the food they ate. Case in point, lunch was boxed lunches from Honeybaked Ham!

From what I could see, nearly everyone ate these gross things. Is the little pig at the slaughterhouse really that different from the greyhound you rescued from the race tracks? Please! Make the connection people!

Hsauce and I were the only ones who opted out and brought our own lunch, which I assure you was MUCH better, not only in taste, but also because there was no suffering involved.

Hsauce had a delectable tempeh sandwich that he whipped up that morning.

I had an eggless salad sandwich made with tofu.

We also had kiwis and the ultimate picnic snack, potato chips. For dessert we had Liz Lovely peanut butter cookies!! If you have not tried these yet, I urge you to get thee to a store and pick some up right away (and if you can’t find them anywhere, order from Cosmo’s)!

Nikko even had some fruit off this frozen fruit block.

Despite the uneasiness we felt being surrounded by people petting dogs and eating pigs, we had our own special good time. Miles and Nikko made plenty of new friends and seemed to enjoy themselves. Miles even found his twin! (click here for all the pics from Greyfest)

In other meals, we’ve been able to cook every day even though the week has been crazy. Hsauce helped out so much with the cooking this week! One night, he made fresh spring rolls stuffed with noodles, basil, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce and some cilantro served with sweet chili sauce plus vegan Tom Yum soup made with a vegan soup paste (from the Farmer’s market), coconut milk, mushrooms, and tofu. Yeah, it looks like there is a lot of oil in the soup because there was (from the paste).

Sticking with the Asian theme, he also made sweet and sour stir fry with tempeh, baby carrots, water chestnuts, onions, and pineapples. We had it with basmati rice because we were out of jasmine.

Another night, he picked up a box of Fantastic Foods Nature’s Burger and he whipped up some good old veggie burgers with a side of roasted corn.

I contributed an easy Shepard’s pie this week. I sauteed up some seitan with carrots, onions, peas, tomato paste, veggie broth, some bbq sauce and other spices then spread it in a baking pan. I then layered some flavored mashed taters (Hsauce did the taters) on top and stuck it in the oven for a bit. So easy and so good!

And last night I made another easy dish, pesto! Just throw some fresh basil, lemon juice, spices and pine nuts (or walnuts) in a food processor and toss it with some pasta. We had it with tofu ricotta, fresh tomatoes and some really good whole wheat penne noodles that had flax meal in it (I found these noodles at Kroger’s to my surprise!).

I haven’t baked in awhile but I’ve got my mind set on vegan cheesecake as Hsauce just brought home some graham crackers…stay tuned!

Yum yum salad

This salad was easy to make and was Hsauce’s welcome home dinner from a family related trip*. All the wonderful veggies do not show up well in the picture but here is what’s in it: a layer of fresh mixed greens followed by subsequent layers of baby portabellas, broccoli, heirloom tomatoes, carrots, and pan seared pepper un-steak from the Asian market; a nice drizzle of homemade peanut satay dressing (consisting of coconut milk, freshly ground peanuts, curry paste, brown sugar and lime juice); and finally a sprinkling of garlic croutons and freshly cut scallions. The dressing and the scallions kind of give this salad an Asian flair. If I had had some on hand, I would have added beansprouts, cucumbers, peas and cilantro. I can also see this salad being equally as good with some raw or baked tofu!

*Hsauce’s trip was to Jackson, Minnesota, a small town of “meat and potato” eatin’ folk. While on this trip, he was told numerous times that he needed to eat “manly” food (erm…). Having survived on mainly potatoes (not cooked in butter please) and snacks that he packed, it goes without saying that he loved the salad! He felt more “manly” after eating it…oh, I kid.