Wednesday, October 31, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Tennessee Teacakes

With today, the 2012 Vegan Month of Food comes to a close.   Before getting to today's recipe, let me reassure any concerned readers that posting here will continue until I have completed all 50 states (plus DC, for which I have a very good idea, if I say so myself).   Daily posting has been kicking my behind, so the remaining 20 will follow slowly, perhaps one or two per week.  Anyone who knows me in real life knows I am stubborn and will most certainly finish. 

As I grew up in Tennessee and live in Nashville, there has been a lot of Tennessee food posted on this blog.   So what should I make for this project?  Tennessee Teacakes (or T-cakes) came to mind.  This little confection is somewhere in the middle of the cupcake-to-brownie range.  If a vanilla cupcake and a butterscotch blondie had a baby, this might be it.  Teacakes became quite popular when a local woman started a business making them, with public praise from former Tennessee resident Oprah.  Unfortunately, this business owner died of cancer last year and her bakery closed.

There are a number of recipes online for Tennessee Teacakes.   As this one is apparently quite close to the Oprah-endorsed variety, I took it as a starting point.  Here's the veganized version:

1 c. all purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1 c. brown sugar (the vegan organic kind if possible)
1/2 c. vegan margarine (e.g., Earth Balance)
1 T. vanilla
1/4 t. apple cider vinegar
4 oz. vegan cream cheese (storebought or homemade)
3 T. nondairy milk whipped with 1 T. ground flax until gooey

Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

Combine the margarine and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook until melted.  Whisk in the vanilla, vinegar, vegan cream cheese, and milk/flax.  (You could add some vegan butter flavoring if you want to get crazy.)  Gently stir in the dry ingredients, only until combined.

Pour into 12 lined muffin cups.  The cups should be about 1/2 full.  Bake at 350F for about 15-17 minutes.  If in doubt, a toothpick should test clean.  Dust with powdered sugar before serving.   You might want to double the recipe.  We ate half the batch almost immediately.

Back to the larger project...  The remaining states are:  Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming (with a bonus 51st post for the District of Columbia).   If you have suggestions for any of these, please leave them in the comments!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Indiana: Sugar Cream Pie

Sugar Cream Pie is a famous Indiana dessert, which might make an interesting addition to your holiday table.  If you look around the internet, you can find as many recipes as there are cooks in Indiana, with different methods -- cook the filling and pie crust separately and then pour the filling into the crust, or bake the filling in the crust, or various combination methods.  Some recipes thicken with flour, some with cornstarch. Flavorings generally include vanilla and nutmeg, but sometimes a little something extra.  Clearly one could spend a long time exploring Sugar Cream Pie!  I decided to start from this recipe, with a few modifications:

Prepare an unbaked pie crust, place into a pie plate, and set aside.  Preheat oven to 325F.   In a large saucepan, combine:

1 c. sugar
1/8 t. salt
5 T. cornstarch
2 1/2 c. nondairy creamer (I used So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Milk Creamer)

Heat on a medium burner, whisking frequently, until it just comes to a boil.  Pull off the heat and add:

6 T. nondairy butter (e.g., Earth Balance)
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. vegan butter flavor (see here for more on this)
a bit of yellow coloring, if you wish  (I used a tiny amount of Wilton yellow color paste)

Put the pan back on the heat, and whisk just until everything comes together.  Pour into the unbaked pie crust, and sprinkle with grated nutmeg to taste.   Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until it looks done.  If you cut it immediately after baking it will run.  If you let it cool for an hour or so, it will slice neatly.  It's very good, with a flavor resembling rich vanilla ice cream.   I think it is best cold, but suit yourself!  Cold or warm, it won't last long.

Other Indiana contenders which deserve veganization are persimmon pudding and deep-fried yeast biscuits served with apple butter.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Maine: Dulse Chowder

At first, I thought of making blueberry pie, the state pie of Maine.  However, I was making another pie and needed to shift in a savory direction.  Dulse to the rescue!  Dulse is a beautiful red seaweed that grows in the north Atlantic, including along the Maine coast.  The fine folks at Maine Coast Sea Vegetables have a recipe for New England Dulse Chowder on their website.  It is already vegan, includes no added fat, and only the sodium from the dulse and some miso.  The recipe contemplates large pieces of dulse.  However, I only had flakes, and we were unsure whether we would like the big pieces of seaweed floating around.   The flakes worked nicely, and we both enjoyed this lovely, quick chowder with a gentle ocean flavor.  In the photo, you see it with some of the Vermont Common Crackers from yesterday.   The internet tells me that there is a long tradition of adding dulse to potato soups, and I can certainly see why!   Try it!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Vermont Common Crackers

The Vermont Common Cracker is the canonical cracker to accompany any New England chowder, or so I am told.  As we have a chowder coming up (probably tomorrow), I thought it was time to try these out.  What a lovely, delicately flavored cracker!  I warn you that, if you make these, you may never want to look at a bag of oyster crackers again.

I followed this recipe, which is already vegan, as long as you choose vegetable shortening instead of lard.  I played fast and loose with the instructions and it still worked well.  I didn't let the batter rest for an hour after combining starter and flour.  I didn't keep the extra pieces in plastic bags.  I generally charged forward as quickly as possible, and everything was absolutely fine.  I cut the crackers with an old spice jar dipped in flour, and wound up with well over 200 of them!  Once you try a common cracker, you'll be glad you have so many.

The use of a pasta roller, as given in the linked instructions, was extremely helpful.  The process would have been slower and more tedious without it.   The experience also made me realize that a pasta roller would be a pretty decent biscuit brake for making Southern beaten biscuits, which appear to be a cousin of the common cracker.  I fully intend to use my pasta roller for this purpose, soon (read:  as soon as this MoFo project is over).

If you are afraid of making crackers, don't be!   These were fast (plus the oven drying time) and easy!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

50 States of MoFo: North Dakota: Knoephla

When I looked into North Dakota, I found many appealing options, most drawing on the various European immigrant groups who settled in this state.  I expect I will return to ND to veganize fleischkuekle in due course, but for today, I settled on knoephla, a soup with origins among German immigrants from the Russian empire.  I drew on this recipe with a few changes.

Combine in a large pot:
8 c. water
1 T. nutritional yeast
1 t. poultry seasoning
1 T. vegan bouillon paste
2 chopped ribs of celery
1/2 of a medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped (and/or a couple of carrots)
1 small onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Bring to a boil, and cook till vegetables soften, maybe 15 minutes.    Meanwhile combine:

2 c. all purpose flour
1 T ground flax beaten with 3 T unsweetened nondairy milk until it thickens
1/2 c nondairy milk, plus more as needed.
1 t. salt

Combine until you have a soft dough.  Roll into a rope and cut into pieces the size of the end of a finger.   Tip these into the boiling soup, and cook for about 10-12 minutes, until they are cooked through and rise to the top.

To finish, stir in some unsweetened nondairy milk or nondairy creamer to taste.   I used just a few splashes, but you could go up to the 1 1/2 cups of original recipe if you want your knoephla more milky (or, in the case of creamer, richer).

You could add your choice of vegan protein in place of the chicken found in some traditional recipes - tempeh, tofu, seitan, soy curls, whatever.  We had some Gardein vegan chicken strips in the freezer.  I baked them while the soup cooked, and slipped a couple of them into each soup bowl.    This was an entirely pleasing and hearty meal.  Try it!

Friday, October 26, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Utah: Funeral Potatoes

If you have ever spent time around Utah natives and/or members of the LDS church, you have likely encountered funeral potatoes, so named as they are commonly served at funeral dinners, potlucks, and other church or community events.  A quick glance around the vegan blogosphere reveals several plant-based versions of this obviously beloved recipe.  (Hand over that Cream of Chicken soup, Relief Society sisters! Not necessary!)

A couple of years ago, I bought a cookbook by an LDS vegan, Traci's Transformational Kitchen Recipe Collection by Traci Sellers.  I think the purchase of this book more or less coincided with our move across town.  Thus, I made a couple of recipes, but it remained mostly untouched and this was a good opportunity to take it for a spin.  Traci's interesting version of this hotdish - with the less macabre name of "Yummie Potatoes" -  includes some butternut squash and her homemade "Almondaise."

Recipe notes:  I cut my potatoes in smaller pieces, so they steamed in 15-20 minutes.  I left the potato skins (which, in my case, were thin and tender) in the casserole with everything else.   And I topped it with the author's mother's suggestion - semi-crumbled corn flakes mixed with a little melted Earth Balance.

If you grew up with American casseroles, you will love this.  It is so delicious!  It also makes enough for the stereotypically large Mormon family, so you'll have plenty for days.

Also, as a side bonus, the Almondaise is excellent:  a really thick, rich mayo made from whole almonds, olive oil, water, and lemon juice.  It was easy to make, I have some leftover, and I can imagine using it frequently. Take a look:

This outstanding recipe makes me want to dig deeper into Traci's book!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

50 States of MoFo: New Mexico: Navajo Tacos

Navajo Tacos are composed of a wide variety of toppings on frybread.   Frybread was invented when the US government forcibly relocated many Navajo people to New Mexico in 1864.  The government gave the Navajos flour, salt, sugar, and lard, and they found a way to make bread from these provisions.  It is more or less a large disk of deep fried biscuit.  Frybread has become popular in many states, and is the official state bread of South Dakota.  However, it started in New Mexico.

While the history is sad, the food is good.  We used the very fine recipe for "Indian Fry Bread Tacos" in Michael Natkin's Herbivoracious.  The completely delicious topping picks up many Native American notes with its use of beans, corn, and squash (the "three sisters").  Natkin's book is vegetarian, but vegan options are clearly marked, and many recipes (like this one) can be easily veganized.  This recipe only involved trading out the dairy milk and cheese in favor of nondairy equivalents. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Ohio: Cincinnati Chili

Ohio presents many possibilities, drawn from the range of cultures and peoples who have settled there.  I gave serious consideration to buckeye candy and the Polish Boy sandwich, both of which appear delicious and worthy of future effort.  However, by popular demand (read: pleading from the other half of the household), we went with a known and much-loved recipe for Cincinnati Chili.  This form of chili is served over spaghetti, with a range of optional toppings: cheese, onions, kidney beans, and oyster crackers, as well as more exotic additions.

We are fans of cookbook author Robin Robertson and she has a fantastic recipe for Cincinnati Chili in one of her early books, The Vegetarian Chili Cookbook, which appears to be out of print.  (If you cannot find a copy, it is searchable on Google Books, and you can view the recipe there.)  There is a typo in the amount of TVP.  I believe the intent is 2 1/2 cups instead of 2 1/2 pounds (which would be a dang lot of TVP).  For the cheese, we used some Daiya vegan cheddar, which we had in the freezer, but any vegan cheese will do.  Robin's recipe is a reliable standby.  We almost always have the ingredients, it is forgiving in terms of quantities and modifications, and it is completely satisfying as a solid Midwestern dinner on a cold autumn evening.

Also, here's a shout out to WonderVegan.  I just found her post about a similar 50 States plan from earlier this year.  She has only posted about New Jersey and Virginia so far, but here's hoping she'll do more!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Massachusetts: Boston Baked Beans

Baked Beans are found in many forms.  The Boston sort, usually sweet, without tomatoes, and cooked with bacon or salt pork, are particularly famous.  There is a recipe for a vegan version of these beans which is scattered across the internet.  I cannot figure out where the recipe started, but you can find it here.  The Bakon Yeast is crucial for the proper flavor and I just might have used more than 1 teaspoon!  I bought mine in bulk at an Adventist store, but there appear to be a number online sources.  Should it prove impossible to find, you could use some nutritional yeast and a little liquid smoke. 

I soaked the beans overnight in the fridge and then drained and rinsed, instead of the quicker method in the recipe.  Also, I used about 5-6 cups of water for cooking, and I cooked the beans on low in a crockpot for 10 hours (really!). I overdid it with the water, but I wanted to eliminate any chance of it burning in the crockpot while I was at work.  There was too much liquid (first photo) at the end of 10 hours, so I poured everything into a pot and boiled it for a few minutes until the liquid reduced (second photo).

If I had more time, I would have made some Boston brown bread to go with the beans, but that is a project for another day!

Monday, October 22, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Illinois: Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

While Illinois has several regions, cities with a number of food cultures, and, thus, numerous possibilities, my love for pizza drove me directly to the most obvious choice:  Chicago's justly famous deep dish pizza.   I followed the recipe for crust and sauce given in Peter Reinhart's American Pie:  My Search for the Perfect Pizza.  Reinhart's directions are very helpful and the sauce and crust are already vegan.  An omnivore blogger has posted some very helpful photos and comments (and the recipes) here.

For the cheese, I used some Daiya mozzarella, and a bit of homemade parmesan (from the excellent parm recipe in Miyoko Schinner's Artisan Vegan Cheese).   I'm sure the pizza would have been even better if I had some of Miyoko's mozzarella on hand, but there was Daiya in my freezer and it worked well.   As the cheese is under the tomato sauce, this was a very successful application of vegan cheese.  It melted well, and I don't think most people would notice the difference from dairy cheese.

To make this project manageable on a worknight, I made the dough and sauce the night before.  After kneading the dough, I put it in a covered, oiled bowl and directly into the fridge.  The sauce only required a quick stir.   The dough did whatever it needed to do overnight.  I rolled it out and proceeded without warming it up or giving it any extra rising time.

I found that my pizzas cooked a little faster than the recipe indicated.  I'm sure it varies according to the pan, the crust thickness, the oven, and god knows what else.  Just keep an eye on it, and pull it out when it looks done.  The pizza was awfully good, and quickly devoured!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Maryland Tempeh Cakes

Maryland is famous for its crab cakes.  I've had the "real" thing, back in the day.  Never being much of  a seafood fan, I was not smitten with them.  However, the other half the I-40 Kitchen household is a crab cake fan of the first order.   Thus, we've tried quite a few recipes for vegan clones.  We both really like the Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes from Isa Moskowitz's Vegan Brunch.   If you don't have the book, you should buy it!  However, the recipe can be found online, with the publisher's permission, here.  

Isa's recipe is relatively quick and easy.  I was able to whip it up after work, with enough cakes leftover for lunch today.  With more time, I would have tried to veganize the Smith Island Cake, Maryland's official state dessert, but that will have to be a project for future. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Rhode Island Pizza Strips

For a small state, Rhode Island has plenty of distinctive food, from clear chowder (what it sounds like) to cabinets (an ice-cream drink).  What to choose?  When I discovered that cheeseless "pizza strips" or "bakery pizza" are a Rhode Island thing, that settled the question.  With help from an omnivore Rhode Island blog, I dove right in.  

Make the crust:
Dissolve 2 1/4 t dry yeast in 1 1/4 c warm water.  Gradually stir in 1/2 t salt and about 3 c all purpose flour.  Gradually knead in a little more flour until you have a smooth, tacky but not sticky (think Post-It Note) dough.  It took me about 3 1/2 cups total, but it will vary.  The 4 cups in the original recipe is too much.  Knead about 5 minutes, let rest 5 minutes, and then knead 2-3 minutes more.   Place the dough in a covered, oiled bowl, and let rise for about an hour, until doubled.

Make the sauce:
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes ("Italian" style if your store has it), 1 T olive oil, 1/2 t black pepper, 3/4 t oregano, 2 cloves garlic (sliced very thin), 1 t sugar, and 1 T nutritional yeast.   That's it.  No cooking.  Yeah!

Lightly oil an 11x17 baking sheet, and gently spread out half the dough until it covers the baking sheet  completely.  Spread with sauce and bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes or until it looks done.  Slice into rectangular strips, which are traditionally served at room temperature or cold.   Cold cheeseless pizza?  I love Rhode Island!   You can use the rest of the dough and sauce to make another sheet of pizza strips, or freeze them for future use.  You can also deep fry pieces of the dough and toss them with sugar (regular granulated sugar, cinnamon sugar, or powdered sugar) to make "doughboys" - the R.I. version of zeppoles!

Note:  There appear to be strong feelings about how thick the pizza strip crust should be.  The formula above makes a thin, crispy crust, which I, frankly, LOVED.  If you want a thicker, more focaccia-like crust, use more dough per pan.

I was very happy with the speed and ease of this recipe, and the great results!  Definitely a MoFo make-again.

Friday, October 19, 2012

50 States of MoFo: California: Kind-to-Animal Style

I couldn't take the easy way out with California.  Sure, it's been a hotbed of organic and veggie cuisine for many years.  Sure, I could have gone all Alice Waters on you and made something fresh and healthy and pretty with avocados from Jason Mraz's farm.  But let's take a deeper look...

California is also the home of many of the fast food chains which form the (not-so-)secretly loved underbelly of American cuisine.  They may be bad, but there are times when that food is what we want.   In-n-Out Burger is a California chain which has not multiplied too far from its motherland, and thus forms a pilgrimage location for visitors.  Unfortunately, if those visitors are vegetarian, they have one option (the cheeseburger without the burger) and if they are vegan, pretty much none.  In-n-Out is known for its secret menu, one of the most popular items from which is a burger prepared "animal style."   I decided to veganize this and see what happened.  Given the nature of what I was doing, I opted for processed products.  Feel free to ramp it up and make your own burgers and buns, but somehow processed was correct here.

1.  THE BURGER:   Take a veggie burger (Boca Original Vegan in the photo), and grill it or fry it in a cast iron pan.  Spread mustard onto one side of the burger and grill it onto the burger, so it sticks to it and sort of caramelizes.  Or do both sides if the burger spirit moves you.

2.  THE SPREAD.  This is more or less 1000 Island Dressing, and you should follow your favorite recipe for the same.  I mixed some vegan mayo (more of this) with ketchup (less of this) and a spoonful of dill pickle relish.  (I realize proper 1000 Island should be sweeter, but I am not a huge fan of sweet spreads on burgers, so I went for dill relish instead of sweet and no additional sugar. It was going to be my sandwich after all!)

3. THE BUNS.  Toast on both outside and inside in the oven or in a skillet or on a grill.  The toasty-crunchiness is important.

4. THE CHEESE.  You could make some Miyoko Schinner homemade cheese which actually melts.  However, I used FYH Cheddar, which remains reliably solid.  I put it on top of the burgers, with a cover over the skillet, for a minute or two.  It was warm and soft and pleasant on the burger, although not melty.

5. THE ONIONS.  Chop a sweet onion, and put it in a skillet with oil and a little salt.  Caramelize slowly until dark and sweet.  (Do this earlier.  It takes forever, but the result is worth it.)

6. THE FIXINS.  Tomato, lettuce, pickle slices

To assemble, cover the bottom toasted bun with spread. Cover the spread with pickle slices (plenty), then (in order going up) tomato, lettuce, mustard-grilled burger, cheese, caramelized onions, more spread  (if you can get your cheese to melt, you really want the cheese, onions, and spread mixed together into a delicious mess), then the top toasted bun.

Processed food and all, this was a damn good burger.   (Important Notice:  You can also make fries animal style by covering french fries with vegan cheese, caramelized onions, and 1000 island dressing. Take that, poutine!)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Florida: Floribbean Tofu & Rice

I cast around for awhile trying to determine how to approach Florida.  On Google Books, one can find some charming cookbooks in the "Old Florida" vein, veritable goldmines for retro cooking.  However, I was drawn away by Floribbean cuisine, a fusion style heavily influenced by Caribbean immigrants.    I found a lot of seafood and rice dishes, and thought it would be easy to use similar flavors with tofu.   With some inspiration from this omnivore blog post, here's what we did tonight.   No measuring -- all to taste!  (PS - This one's gluten free for my xgfx pals.)

TOFU:  I pressed a block of tofu, sliced it, and then marinated it overnight in a mix of key lime juice, olive oil, salt, cumin, and coriander.  I slapped it on a baking sheet, and baked it at 400F for about 30-40 minutes, flipping it halfway.

RICE:  I mixed about 5 cups (I think) of cooked brown rice with a small (4 oz) can of Hatch green chiles and a 15 oz can of black beans (drained and rinsed).  I refilled the bean can once with frozen corn and once with chopped papaya, and tossed those in.  I finished it with a few chopped green onions, and a little salt and key lime juice.  (I'm definitely making rice this way again!)

SALSA:  Mix chopped pineapple, papaya, onion, garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro to taste.  Season with salt, key lime juice, and a wee bit of olive oil.  (I'm sure this improves if made ahead, but I didn't bother.)

To plate:  Cover a couple of pieces of tofu with salsa, and place a good scoop of rice alongside.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Gooey Butter Cake from Missouri

St Louis, Missouri is famous for Gooey Butter Cake and there are any number of competing varieties. The recipe below is based on one from Helfer's Bakery in St Louis.  It veganized beautifully into a gooey, tender, delicious cake.

Note on imitation butter flavoring:  The most common brand in US grocery stores is McCormick.  If you call the company, they will tell you that the "artificial flavoring" does not contain any animal ingredients.   If that isn't good enough, there are other brands like Nature's Flavors which are specifically labeled and marketed as vegan.  If you don't want to use an artificial flavor, use almond extract instead.

Make the crumb mixture:
Mix 1/4 c. unbleached sugar, 1/4 c. vegan margarine, 1/4 t salt, 1/4 t. vanilla, 1/4 t. imitation butter flavoring, and 1/2 c. all purpose flour.  Set aside in refrigerator.

Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.   Preheat the oven to 350F.

Make the cake batter:
Beat 6 T nondairy milk and 2 T ground golden flaxseed until it forms a gooey, egg-like texture.  Add 1 1/3 c. unbleached sugar, 1 c vegan margarine, and 1/2 t salt.  Beat on high speed until very light and fluffy.

In a small bowl, combine 2/3 c nondairy milk with 1/2 t vanilla and 1/2 t imitation butter flavoring.  In another bowl, combine 1 3/4 c cake flour (measured gently) and 1 t baking powder.     Gradually add these wet and dry mixtures to the fluffy margarine-milk-flax combo, alternating between them.  Mix on low speed only until just barely combined.  The batter should be very light and fluffy.

Retrieve the crumb mix from the fridge.  Break it up and spread evenly across the bottom of the cake pan.  Pour the batter over the top, and spread gently until even.   Place the cake in the preheated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes until it a toothpick comes out clean.  (For me, this took 50 minutes.)   Allow to cool for 5 minutes, and then flip onto a large cake plate.  (It will be upside down, so the crumb  layer is now on top.)   Dust with powdered sugar, and try not to eat the whole thing.  Really.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Louisiana: Yaka Mein

Years ago, Kittee mentioned Yaka Mein to me.  This is a unique Creole/Chinese fusion dish common in New Orleans.  You can hear a bit more about its possible history here:

Here's how I tackled it, vegan style:

1. THE NOODLES:    Cook 1/2 lb spaghetti according to package directions.  Drain, and toss with a tiny bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

2. THE "EGG":  Stir up a batch of Carol's special vegan omelet batter.  Grease a cast iron skillet and some muffin rings.  Fry thick omelets/patties in the muffin rings.   Quarter them  (or slice however you please).

3. THE "BEEF":  In a greased cast iron skillet, fry some Gardein Beefless Tips (or any dark seitan) with creole seasoning to taste.

4. THE BROTH:  In a pot, combine:  1 quart water, 2 t vegan "beef" broth paste or powder (such as Better than Bouillon No-Beef), 1 T tomato paste, 1 t Old Bay Seasoning, 1 t marmite, 1 t vegan worcestershire sauce, and creole seasoning to taste.

5. THE ONION.   Finely chop some green onions.

To assemble:   Put a big scoop of spaghetti in the bottom of a bowl   Top with the gardein or seitan, and cover with a generous scoop of the broth.  Arrange the omelet pieces on top, and sprinkle with green onion.   Serve with condiments of your choice:  hot sauce, vegan worcestershire sauce, ketchup, creole seasoning, red pepper flakes, etc.

 This made an easy, tasty, and satisfying dinner.  We'll definitely make it again!

Monday, October 15, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Hawaiian Bread

Back in ancient pregan times, I used to like sweet, spongy King's Hawaiian Bread.   As it appears all but impossible to  obtain poi from afar, I thought a vegan version of this bread might make a nice entry for Hawaii.  Hawaiian bread is a variant of Portuguese Sweet Bread, brought to the islands by Portuguese immigrants and Hawaiianized through the use of ingredients like pineapple juice.   There are several copycat recipes floating around the internet.   The following is based upon a couple of them with vegan changes:

4 c. all purpose flour (plus probably 2 c more)
1/2 c. plain soy milk
2 T. ground flax
1 1/3 c pineapple juice
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. ground dried ginger
3/4 t. vanilla
4 1/2 t. yeast
1/3 c. melted vegan margarine

Beat together the soy milk, yeast, flax, juice, sugar, ginger, vanilla, and melted margarine.  Switch to the dough hook and gradually add 4 cups of flour.  Continue adding flour until the ball of dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but is still soft and somewhat sticky.  (It is much easier to do this with a dough hook than by hand, due to the stickiness of the dough.)   Allow the mixer to knead on low for 5 minutes.  Then let the dough rest for 5 minutes.  Finally, knead for 3 more minutes.   Turn into a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour.

Punch down the dough, split into two, and shape into loaves.  Place the loaves in two greased and floured bread pans, cover, and allow to rise another 30-60 minutes until roughly doubled.  Bake at 350 F for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown.  The tops split around the edges, so these were not the most attractive loaves of bread I've ever baked -- but the flavor and texture were very close to the original!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Mississippi Hot Tamales

The Mississippi Delta is home to an odd variant of the tamale, mostly associated with the African American Community.  Great information on the history and preservation of this tradition can be found on the Mississippi Delta Hot Tamale Trail website.    Here's a vegan re-working:

In a skillet mix together:

12 oz. package Boca crumbles (or reconstituted TVP or soy curls, or seitan, or frozen tofu or whatever)
1 T oil
1 t chipotle chili powder
1 t smoked paprika
1 t salt (or to taste)
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t coriander
1/4 t cumin
black pepper and cayenne to taste
(You can crank up the chili powder and cayenne until these are as hot as you want.) 

Fry until everything comes together nicely.

In a bowl, mix:

4 c. cornmeal (maseca isn't really authentic here - use cornmeal)
2 t. baking powder
3/4 c. vegetable shortening
salt to taste  (be mindful of the salt content of the broth you are about to add)

To the cornmeal mix, add enough hot vegetable broth to make a nice dough - about 2 cups.

Spread out a corn husk (soaked in warm water for 2 hours) or a piece of parchment paper.  Spread 1/4 c  of the cornmeal mix on it.  Add 1 T of the Boca crumble mix and then roll  up the husk, fold up the bottom, and tie.   (If you have never made tamales, inspect the photos on the Tamale Trail website for help.)  Stand these in a tall pot, fill most of the way up with water, bring to a boil,  and cover.   (From the photo, you can see that mine were too tall for the pot's real lid.  I balanced a larger lid on top, and it was fine.)  Let boil on a low heat for about 1 hour.  Unwrap and serve!  They are good "dry" or with any sauce you like.  We had them with some leftover tomato gravy from yesterday's post!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

50 States of MoFo: North Carolina Tomato Gravy

While many folks are familiar with some forms of Southern biscuits with gravy (especially the milk-sausage variety, or the red-eye version), there are many more.  Tomato gravy makes a delightful breakfast, and is a fine use for excess tomatoes.  Any leftover makes a great sauce to accompany pretty much anything for supper.  

The Early Girl Eatery on Wall Street in Asheville, North Carolina makes a lovely tomato gravy, which just happens to be vegan.  You can find their recipe here.  I cooked up a batch this morning, and wondered why I don't make it more often.

Friday, October 12, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Portsmouth Orange Cupcakes from New Hampshire

It's a rainy day in Nashville, so pardon the shadowy photo.   Research on New Hampshire revealed the Portsmouth Orange Cake, original versions of which involve one hell of a lot of eggs.  I decided it was wisest to start from a vegan orange cake recipe which I have made before, from the most excellent Papa Tofu Zine by Kittee.  I decided to make one pan of 12 cupcakes instead of a two layer cake, so I cut her recipe in half, and altered some of the flavors to match the New Hampshire recipes:

Mix in a large bowl:
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 c unbleached sugar
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t mace

Mix in a smaller bowl:
1 c orange juice
zest of 1 orange
1/3 c canola oil
1 t vanilla
1 T lemon juice

Combine wet and dry.  Pour into liners in a cupcake pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350F.  

Some of the online recipes for Portsmouth Orange Cake call for an orange buttercream frosting, but I liked the suggestion of serving the unfrosted cake with slices of fresh orange and just a bit of cream (or soy creamer, in our case).    The orange, mace, and vanilla create a lovely flavor, and I think we'll be making these again.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Connecticut Beefless Supper

For Connecticut, I was tempted to veganize the Hartford Election Cake, and I may yet do so in advance of the US presidential election.  However, I am about to be home alone for a few days, and do not need an entire cake to myself.

Thus, I decided to tackle the Connecticut Beef Supper!  In a large ovenproof pot, place 1 chopped onion and 1 T canola oil.  Cook over medium heat until the onion begins to caramelize.   Add 9 oz. Gardein Beefless Tips (or any "beef" seitan, homemade or bought) and stir around for a few minutes.  Add 8 oz mushrooms, chopped, and continue cooking until the mushrooms soften.

Mix 1 c vegan sour cream and 2 c plain soymilk.   Then add about 1/2 c vegan cheddar cheese and 1/4 c nutritional yeast.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Slice 2-3 potatoes into thin slices and layer over the onion-mushroom-beefless tips mixture.   Pour the sour cream mix over the top.   Crumble cornflakes over everything, and transfer to a 350F oven for 60-90 minutes until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked through (stick a knife into the casserole to check) and everything is bubbly.   A hearty and delicious meal, appropriate to the cooler autumn weather --- brown food for the win!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Pennsylvania Shoo-Fly Pie

Shoo-Fly Pie brings memories of summer visits to my aunt and uncle in Pennsylvania.  This sugary bomb was often for sale at Amish baking stands in Lancaster County.

I merged a few online recipes with success:

Mix together:
1 c all purpose flour
3/4 c brown sugar
4 T vegan margarine

Divide this mixture in half, and set one half aside.   To the other half add:

1/2 c molasses
1/2 c corn syrup
1/4 c plain soy yogurt beaten with 1 T ground flaxseed
1 t vanilla*

Then whisk in:
3/4 c boiling water mixed with 1 t baking soda

Pour this into an unbaked pie crust.  Sprinkle the remaining crumb mix carefully over the top.  Bake at 325F for 40-45 minutes until it appears puffed up and set.   Let cool thoroughly before attempting to slice.

*I would probably leave this out.   The molasses flavor is so strong that it drowns out any hint of vanilla, so what's the point?  If using a lighter-flavored syrup like sorghum, it might be a nice addition.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Kentucky Burgoo

Burgoo is a traditional Kentucky stew, often made with wild game or roadkill.  While we will most definitely not take that approach, a what-you-have spirit is appropriate.  Feel free to alter according to the ingredients on hand.

Fry together in a large pot until it starts to caramelize:
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
2 T canola oil

Then add, and continue to cook for a few minutes:
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped

3 small green tomatoes, chopped
4 c. vegan beef-style broth (or any veggie broth)*
1 1/2 c seitan*
A big handful of greens, chopped (I used a mix of mustard, turnip, and kale)
2 T vegan worcestershire
1 T sorghum molasses
1 t chili powder
A few drops of liquid smoke

Bring to boil and cook a few minutes (or longer) until the vegetables are as soft as you want them to be.  (Photo above is from this stage.)  Add 1/4 c. cornmeal (or more if you want it thicker), and continue to cook until the stew thickens.    Serve with cornbread or a biscuit or a spongy piece of white bread.

*Seitan in the photo is the excellent "chicken" seitan from Bianca Phillips' Cookin' Crunk, as I had some in the freezer.  

*I used 1 T of Better Than Bouillon No-Beef Base stirred into a quart of water. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Georgia: The Grant Stack

I am lucky to regularly spend time in Atlanta, which is a wonderful food town.  One of my favorite places is Homegrown on Memorial.  They have a number of vegan options and are always gracious regarding requests.  How can you not love a restaurant which serves Vegan Sloppy Joes with sliced peaches in them? 

I've been intrigued by a non-vegan item on the menu, the Grant Stack:  a sandwich named for Grant Henry, fabulous artist and owner of  Sister's Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping-Pong Emporium.   The Grant Stack is a pile of Southern food:  pimiento cheese, bacon, and fried green tomatoes on Texas Toast.   How could I let this pass me by?

For the pimiento cheese, bacon, and fried green tomatoes, I used recipes from Bianca Phillips' wonderful new book, Cookin' Crunk:  Eating Vegan in the Dirty South.  The Texas Toast is the English Muffin Toasting Bread I mentioned yesterday, sliced thick, brushed with a mixture of vegan margarine, garlic, salt, and pepper, and grilled. 

The Grant Stack is far from healthy, but you will feel so satisfied with life that you will not care!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Colorado: The Denver Sandwich

In looking up traditional Colorado recipes, I found a number of tempting items such as Trapper's Fruit.   However, my fondness for breakfast food drove me to the Denver Sandwich, allegedly invented in Denver in 1907.   The original is a omelet with ham, green pepper, and onion, served on toast. 

I used my favorite vegan omelet recipe, the dry mix for which I always have on hand, with green pepper, onion, and some chopped SmartBacon (as that is what I happened to have on hand).   If one had some seitan ham (e.g., the excellent recipe in Caribbean Vegan), it would work well here, but the veggie bacon was perfectly tasty. 

The toast pictured above is the King Arthur Flour recipe for English Muffin Toasting Bread.   It is a quick, easy, reliable recipe which requires only the use of non-dairy milk to veganize.  Because I cannot leave anything alone, I usually add about 1/4 c of sourdough starter and 1-2 T cornmeal to the dough. 

All in all, this was a fast and delicious breakfast!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Kümmelweck Rolls from Buffalo, New York

If you have spent any time in Buffalo, New York, you have probably heard of "Beef on Weck" - a famous local sandwich made on kümmelweck rolls, which are similar to kaiser rolls, but with a topping of salt, caraway seeds, and pumpernickel flour.  I found a recipe for the rolls on the King Arthur Flour website.   Here is my veganized reworking of it:

3/4 cup water (plus more as needed)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups high gluten flour (this helps get the texture right)*
1 1/3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons dry soymilk powder
2 tablespoons potato flour  (NOT potato starch)
2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
1/4 cup unsweetened soy yogurt

equal parts caraway seeds, coarse salt and pumpernickel flour, mixed until well-combined
*If you cannot get a very high gluten flour like the linked product, use more bread flour, possibly with a spoonful of vital wheat gluten added.
Combine all the dough ingredients and mix by hand or with a dough hook until a nice, smooth dough forms.  You will almost certainly have to add more water or yogurt until you have the right texture.   Knead for 10 minutes, allow it to rest for 10 minutes, then knead another 10 minutes.   Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise for 1 hour.  
Divide the dough into six equal pieces, and shape into rolls.  Place the rolls on parchment or silpat on a baking sheet, covered, and allow to rise for another hour.  Before baking, brush the rolls with a bit of melted margarine, and sprinkle with the topping.    (The topping is salty, so be careful.)   Bake at 425 F for 15-18 minutes.   Remove and cool on a rack.   I find that these rolls stale quickly (in 2 days or so).  Thus, you might want to freeze any which you are not using right away.  
To make a proper vegan Beef on Weck:   Slice open a roll, and pile with thinly sliced dark seitan (or roast-beef-style Tofurkey) and a smear of prepared horseradish.  Serve with a vegan au jus, which you can make from simmering some veggie broth with vegan Worcestershire and Marmite to taste, and some rosemary and thyme.   

Friday, October 5, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Arizona Mesquite Pancakes

When it came time to choose a recipe for Arizona, I was sorely tempted by the chimichanga, which was allegedly invented there.  (I highly recommend making Vegan Dad's Baked Chimichangas.)  However, I decided to branch out and try something new.  Mesquite trees grow in Arizona, and I knew there was such a thing as mesquite flour made from the pods (having heard about it from some gluten-free friends), but I had never tasted it.   The internet quickly revealed many sources and I ordered a pound of the stuff.    It has a wonderful aroma and a slightly sweet taste, and I'm tempted by some of the recipes which came with the flour.  However, I found several recipes online, mostly from Arizona, for mesquite pancakes.  These proved easy to veganize and completely delicious:

1/3 c. mesquite flour
1/3 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. whole wheat flour*
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/4 c. nondairy milk (I used almond milk, but I think any would work)
1 T. oil
1 T. cider vinegar

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, and then whisk together the wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Combine the two, and stir until just combined.  Cook on a hot griddle in normal pancake fashion.  Serve with agave nectar for a full-on desert foods experience!

*I used Sujata brand multigrain atta, which is mostly whole wheat flour, but with soy, chickpea, millet, rice, corn, and barley added.  It's a great product which I picked up at a local Indian market.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Arkansas Strawberry Shortcake

I spent some time trying to figure out what to make for Arkansas.   Vegan blogger and cookbook author Bianca is a native of Arkansas, and she has published many wonderful recipes from her upbringing.  I was tempted by the Huckleberry Buckle on my cousin's partner's site, but huckleberries were not to be found.    And then I discovered Arkansauce:  The Journal of Arkansas Foodways.   What to do, what to do?

I consulted with a friend who is both a native and a current resident of Arkansas, and he recommended strawberry shortcake.   I am told that lots of strawberries are grown in Arkansas, and that there is a particularly famous shortcake served at the Bulldog Restaurant in Bald Knob.  I had my mission, and I was willing to accept it.

I took a good pound of strawberries, and mashed half of them with superfine sugar to taste.    I sliced the other half and stirred them into the strawberry sauce.  Then, I made a batch of pie crust (1 1/3 c all purpose flour, 1 t salt, 2 t sugar, 1/3 c oil, 3 T milk), rolled it out, and cut it into strips.   I placed the strips on parchment, brushed them with almond milk and sprinkled with a little more sugar.  They went in the oven at 425 F until they were nice and brown.  Simultaneously, I toasted some chopped pecans on another pan.

In bowls, I assembled:  a few strips of pie crust, a scoop of vanilla ice cream (Almond Dream, as we had it in the freezer), a generous lot of strawberries, some vegan whipped cream (Rice Whip, in this case), and toasted pecans.   Most excellent -- and very nice with the crispy strips of crust, which made for a quite different texture than the biscuit-type base I have had before.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

50 State of MoFo: South Carolina Rice Breads

Once upon a bygone day, South Carolina produced a lot of rice.  As it was cheap and local, rice was used to stretch more expensive wheat in breads.  As rice production waned in the early 20th century, these rice breads became less common.  My favorite rice bread is philpy, the flatbread pictured above.  It is a wonderful use for leftover rice.   You can use any kind of rice, although I think brown rice gives the best flavor.
 In a blender or food processor, combine 3/4 c COOKED brown rice and 1/2 c nondairy milk. Blend until smooth, and pour into a bowl. Gently stir in 1/2 c all purpose flour (or cornmeal) and 1/2 t salt. You may not need the salt if your rice was already salted. Then add 2 t melted margarine (or shortening or oil) and the vegan equivalent of 1 egg. (For the egg, I used George Burke's formula of 2 T flour whisked with 1 1/2 t oil, 1/2 t baking powder, and 2 T water, but you could probably use a flax egg or Ener-G.) Gently stir to combine and spread in a well-greased 8 inch cake pan. Bake 30 minutes at 450 F.

Here is another rice bread, this time a loaf.   Again, you can use any sort of cooked rice in this recipe.  For the loaf in the photo, I used a mix of red, brown, and wild rice.  If you wanted to be super-traditional, you could use Carolina Gold.   

1/2 lb. raw rice
1/4 c. warm water
1 t. yeast
1/4 c. sourdough starter (optional but nice)
16 oz. whole wheat flour
16 oz. all purpose flour
salt to taste (about 2 t.), unless you cooked the rice with salt

Cook the rice according to package directions for whatever sort it is.   Set aside until lukewarm.  Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.   Mix the yeast, sourdough starter and rice until well-combined.  Gradually add the flour until you have a good bread dough.  Knead for 7-8 minutes, place in a covered bowl, and let rise until double  (which can take several hours).  Punch down, knead for a moment, divide into two loaves, and place in greased loaf pans.  Bake at 350 F for about 50-60 minutes until it appears done.    (The moisture content and loaf size can vary a lot depending on the rice you used, so you simply have to keep an eye on it.)

This works well as an overnight dough, too.  Proceed through the initial kneading, place in a covered bowl and put it in the fridge overnight (or for a few days).  Take it out about 2-3 hours before you want to bake.  Shape the loaves, put them in greased pans and let them rise.  Bake as above.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Alaskan Akutaq

Akutaq is a food common in western Alaska made from fruit and fat mixed together, often frozen or semi-frozen (hence the popular name, Eskimo Ice Cream).  We used non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening instead of traditional but very non-vegan options like reindeer tallow.  Ugh.  We also added sugar, which appears to be common in modern akutaq but could easily be omitted. 

In a food processor, combine:

4 c. fresh berries (or a 1 lb. bag frozen berries - thawed, or they will chill the fat into a horrible lump)
1 c. caster sugar (just grind regular sugar in the processor for a couple of minutes, if you don't have it)
1 c. vegetable shortening
1/2 c. orange juice

When relatively smooth, put it in the freezer to set up.   Due to the fat, it remains fairly easy to scoop and is a tasty (if far from fat-free) dessert!

Monday, October 1, 2012

50 States of MoFo: Tempeh Baked in North Alabama White BBQ Sauce

Years ago, I blogged about the odd mayo-based white barbeque sauce which one finds within a reasonable radius of northern Alabama.  We're not so far away in Tennessee, and I know of one BBQ place in Nashville which uses it (in its omnivore form).   In 2008, I simply suggested tossing the sauce with soy curls - which is good - but for this year's MoFo let's take it to another level of authenticity and bake this stuff onto a protein food. 

Here's an updated sauce recipe:

1 1/2 c. vegan mayo (e.g., Vegenaise)
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 t. lemon pepper (the kind with salt in the mix - or add extra salt)
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 t. prepared horseradish (the refrigerated kind is more likely to be vegan)
1 t. vegan worcestershire sauce

Mix thoroughly.  This is good on all kinds of things  -- used as you would BBQ sauce, or as a dip, or wherever...  You'll have more than you need.

Cut a block of tempeh into pieces.  (I made 8 triangles from an 8 oz block.)  Bring some water to a boil, add salt and lemon juice, and steam the tempeh for 20 minutes.   Place the tempeh in a greased casserole, and spoon some sauce over it.   Bake 25 minutes at 350 F.   Flip, and cover the other side with sauce.   (You can add some roasted red pepper strips at this point, if you want it to look like the photo.)   Return to the oven for another 25 minutes, until it is bubbly and browned.   Serve with some of the remaining sauce on the side.  Enjoy!

(Note:  The sauce recipe above yields a mild result once baked.  If you want a stronger flavor, add more pepper or horseradish or hot sauce or what have you.)