Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Baked Almond Feta - Vegan Month of Food

Poesy and Plate
(check out the hundreds of VeganMoFo blogs HERE)
My goal: cook and blog about vegan food 20 times
  during the month of September. 

My theme: words and food

"Veganism is not a sacrifice. It is a joy." (Gary Francione)

Well, here it is. My 20th post about vegan food during the month of September. Be sure to click on the link above to check out other bloggers who participated in the VeganMoFo this year. There is some pretty amazing food being eaten out there! 

This baked almond feta comes from Maple Spice and I followed the recipe to the letter, except that I don't have cheese cloth. You can see I used a few coffee filters to drain my cheese. 

Basically, you whirl the ingredients in a blender, drain the mixture overnight in the fridge, shape it and bake it. 

The crusty part of this cheese was especially nice. It held up perfectly as a spread on crackers and it would be perfect in a lasagna or stuffed in some shells smothered in marinara sauce. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Miso Ramen Stir-fry with Greens and Beans – Vegan Month of Food

Poesy and Plate
Vegan Month of Food  2014
(check out the hundreds of VeganMoFo blogs HERE)
My goal: cook and blog about vegan food 20 times
  during the month of September. 

My theme: words and food

This had so much flavor! Delicious and easy to throw together after a busy work day. 

The Bean Eaters
By Gwendolyn Brooks (1963)

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.

And remembering….
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that is full of beads and receipts and dolls              and cloths, tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

This poem almost makes me cry when I read it. You too?

Here’s what you need: (from Appetite for Reduction, Isa Chandra – the vegan goddess of the universe)
1 pound broccoli – stems and florets
8 ounces  noodles (I used ramen, Isa suggests  udon )
1 bunch Swiss Chard, stems removes, chopped
1 C green onions, sliced
16 ounce can azuki beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 C miso
½ C hot water
4 t sesame seeds
Sriracha hot sauce
Sesame oil (my addition)

Here’s what you do:

Cook noodles according to package. Set aside but be sure to keep ½ C of the starchy pasta water. Satue broccoli in a tiny bit of oil until for tender. You can add a splash of water and cover the pan to encourage it. It’s OK if there are a few brown spots. Set aside. In the same pan, gently saute the minced garlic, making certain it does not brown. Add the Swiss chard and onions to the pan. When the leaves have cooked down, add the beans and heat through. Use the hot pasta water to thin the miso and pour this over the Swiss chard. Heat through and mix with the noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds and sesame oil. 

Green Tabasco Sauce - Vegan Month of Food

Poesy and Plate
Vegan Month of Food  2014
(check out the hundreds of VeganMoFo blogs HERE)
My goal: cook and blog about vegan food 20 times
  during the month of September. 

My theme: words and food

“I trust your garden was willing to die. I do not think that mine was – it perished with beautiful reluctance, like an evening star.” Emily Dickinson, in a letter to her Aunt. 1880

My Lucy loves to nibble on strawberries - it's kinda annoying. 

A garden that perishes with reluctance. A few lingering eggplants, ever bearing strawberries that are still blooming, and jalapeno plants that just won’t quit. And then there are my gorgeous Asian pears, just waiting to be picked. I find my little corner of the gardening world to be a paradise of sorts, each and every summer day (and now into the fall.)

I got this recipe from a 'cyber friend' on a "Lutherans Who Love to Cook" Facebook page
 Don't you just love how small and friendly our world is becoming?
Thanks Sandy!! Your recipe rocks!! 

Here’s what you need:
1 pound fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and de-veined
1 ½ - 2 C Vinegar

Here’s what you do:

Place peppers, salt and vinegar in food processor and blend until quite fine and liquidy. Transfer to a sauce pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  After simmering, you may strain the sauce  or return it to the processor and continue to blend until smooth. This tabasco freezes very well. 

Freeze in portion size ice cube trays. Perfect! 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Eggplant Bacon - Vegan Month of Food

Poesy and Plate
Vegan Month of Food  2014
(check out the hundreds of VeganMoFo blogs HERE)
My goal: cook and blog about vegan food 20 times
  during the month of September. 

My theme: words and food

“The Harding White House was frequently bustling with guests during large formal gatherings and small intimate parties. President Warren G. Harding, inaugurated March 4, 1921, favored Eggplant Salad West Coast Style consisting of eggplant slices that were first baked, and then marinated in a mixture of mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Worcestershire and chili sauces. These were presented in a lettuce-lined bowl and garnished with chopped hard-cooked eggs.” (from http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch67.html )

Mr. Smith: “I see we’ve been invited to the White House for dinner next week.”

Mrs. Smith: “I certainly hope Mr. Harding has not included that horrid Eggplant Salad West Coast Style on the menu.”

Mr. Smith: “Yes, I agree! I cannot stomach the thought of eating that slimy purple thing!”

Mrs. Smith: “Maybe we can simply push it around on our plate.”

Mr. Smith: “Or maybe we can say we are allergic to it in all its forms.”

Mrs. Smith: “If we’re lucky, we can slip our portion to the dog.”

Mr. Smith: “Shall we cancel the invitation?”

Mrs. Smith: “Oh, dear, I did so much want to visit the White House…..”

Mr. Smith: “But darling, an EGGPLANT!”

Mrs. Smith: “Alas, we must to the honorable thing and cancel the dinner invitation. How else can we avoid the dreaded vegetable?”

Mr. Smith: “Why MUST Mr. Harding insist on serving EGGPLANT?”

Mrs. Smith: “…sigh….”

 Here's what you need:
One medium eggplant, sliced 1/8 inch on a mandolin
1 T maple syrup
2 T soy sauce
1/2 t liquid smoke

Here's what you do: 
Bake the eggplant slices on an oiled baking sheet at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, turning them over and removing them if they get too brown. You need to watch them closely. 

Prepare the marinade by whisking the remaining ingredients together. 
Dip each slice of baked eggplant in the marinade and return to the baking sheet. Continue to bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 more minutes. Watch the slices closely and turn them over often. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Easy Tofu Bacon – Vegan Month of Food

Poesy and Plate
Vegan Month of Food  2014
(check out the hundreds of VeganMoFo blogs HERE)
My goal: cook and blog about vegan food 20 times
  during the month of September. 

My theme: words and food

“True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which is deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.” Milan Kundara “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”
My husband and I sometimes read the same book at the same time, creating a sort of mini book club. (Our favorite was “Tortilla Flat” written by John Steinbeck. Such lovable characters! Unforgettable! Read it!) 

Actually it’s pretty rare that we enjoy the same type of book, but we’re both big readers. For example, he *loved* the sci-fi classic “Dune” and suggested that I read it, but I could barely get through it and in all honesty, I didn’t really even understand it. Not a lot for the two of us to discuss at our ‘mini book club.’
This summer we decided on “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” by Milan Kundera.  A beautifully written novel about how each decision we make influences our lives.  I think it also had lots to say about finding happiness in the places we find ourselves; finding contentment in what life brings. I found the setting – Czechoslovakia, 1968 – very informative. I think we might equate what happened to the Czechs to what is happening to the Ukrainians right now.

Anyway, I loved all the characters and I especially enjoyed the character of  their pet dog that they loved so very much. The novel takes a sharp turn right at the end, when the dog dies of cancer (sorry for the spoiler, but if you read at all, you know when a dog is in a novel, it’s gonna die….sob, sob….)  Kundera writes at length about man’s ability to show compassion toward animals. This is where we encounter the powerful quote I share today.

Can we love a dog and not love a pig? Could you be open to putting down the bacon and eating tofu bacon? Simple questions to ask yourself

Easy Tofu Bacon : find the recipe HERE

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Vietnamese Sriracha Cole Slaw – Vegan Month of Food

Poesy and Plate
Vegan Month of Food  2014
(check out the hundreds of VeganMoFo blogs HERE)
My goal: cook and blog about vegan food 20 times
  during the month of September. 

My theme: words and food

Affinity by Minnie Filson

I wonder if the cabbage knows
He is less lovely than the Rose;
Or does he squat in smug content,
A source of noble nourishment;
Or if he pities for her sins
The Rose who has no vitamins;
Or if the one thing his green heart knows –
That self-same fire that warms the Rose?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nut Loaf – Vegan Month of Food

Poesy and Plate
Vegan Month of Food  2014
(check out the hundreds of VeganMoFo blogs HERE)
My goal: cook and blog about vegan food 20 times
  during the month of September. 

My theme: words and food

Night is My Sister, and How Deep in Love, by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Night is my sister, and how deep in love,
How drowned in love and weedily washed ashore,
There to be fretted by the drag and shove
At the tide's edge, I lie—these things and more:
Whose arm alone between me and the sand,
Whose voice alone, whose pitiful breath brought near,
Could thaw these nostrils and unlock this hand,
She could advise you, should you care to hear.
Small chance, however, in a storm so black,
A man will leave his friendly fire and snug
For a drowned woman's sake, and bring her back
To drip and scatter shells upon the rug.
No one but Night, with tears on her dark face,
Watches beside me in this windy place.

Day One - Delicious!

I’m pulling out the big vegan guns today with a nut loaf. This is the type of recipe I usually tip-toe around for about a year, glancing at the recipe from time to time, wondering when my husband will be out of town so I can try it – alone, in the privacy of a plate hovering over the garbage disposal in case of a gastronomic disaster. For an entire year, I ask myself, “Too vegan? Too many nuts? Where are the beans? Will I gag? Just plain old too weird?”

Well, first let me say that there is no such thing as ‘too vegan’ cuz ‘vegan’ just means ‘real food in its natural state’. I mean, for example, an apple is vegan.  Let me also say, there’s truly no thing as ‘too many nuts’ is there? Besides, these are pulverized so much that it’s not like eating a mouthful of walunts….crunch, crunch, crunch….no, not at all.

Next I want to say that I did not gag and I did not hover over the garbage disposal. Just the opposite.  I ate the entire 3 nut loaves all by myself. Mr. Living Cookbook never ate a bite. (Maybe I secretly DO harbor a smidge of ‘too vegan’ deep inside? Gotta get over that…..)

Leftovers the next day - still delicious! 

I include the touching poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay because the owner of this delicious recipe is one of three sisters – all three vegetarians their entire lives. I believe this was their mother’s recipe, originally called ‘Mother Eastlund’s Nut Roast.” I was fortunate enough to be given a copy by her son in law. He told me that the sisters were raised near a slaughter house and therefore became vegetarian. (I pause here to wonder what might happen if we all had a glimpse into a slaughter house….hmmmm.)

This nut loaf was frozen, uncooked. It turned out great!
 Just the tiniest bit soggy in the middle, as you might see in the photo. 

Mother Eastlund’s Nut Roast
 (note: This make an incredible amount! Cut this recipe in half and it’s enough for 1 ½ loaf pans, or one loaf pan and one smaller casserole for the freezer. This freezes great!)

2 lbs English walnuts (Diamond brand is best)
½ pkg. herb croutons (such as Pepperidge Farm seasoned)
1 ½ green peppers
4 stalks celery
1 ½ medium onions
Some sprigs of fresh parsley

Grind all of the above in a food processor until very fine

¾ - 1 large can of tomato juice (just keep adding juice till it’s moist but not wet – mine might have been too wet) (Today I added about 8 ounces.)
3 eggs (I used Ener-G Egg Replacer, but I think flax eggs would be better.)
½ t ground marjoram
½ t poultry type seasoning (I used a homemade Chicken-Style seasoning)
Beau Monde seasoning and tobasco to taste

Mix all ingredients and place in a buttered loaf pan
Press 3 T butter (Earth Balance is the best) into the top of the loaf which will create a nice crust
Bake 350 ° for 45-60 minutes or until brown.
Cool before slicing. (Mine was a bit wet in the center, but it didn’t affect the taste. The loaves I pulled from the freezer were also a bit wet.)

Serve with Mushroom Gravy.
(note: double the gravy recipe to have enough to serve over mashed potatoes)
Saute lots of mushrooms in butter until brown. Set aside. In the same pan brown 1 t sugar until toasted, but not burned. Add 2 T butter, and 1 T flour to create a nice brown roux. Add 2 C veggie broth and stir till thick. Return the mushrooms to the gravy.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Better-Than-Tuna Salad - Vegan Month of Food

Poesy and Plate
Vegan Month of Food  2014
(check out the hundreds of VeganMoFo blogs HERE)
My goal: cook and blog about vegan food 20 times
  during the month of September. 

My theme: words and food

One, two, three, four, five
Once I caught a fish alive.
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten
Then I let it go again.
Why did I let it go?
Because it bit my finger so.
Which finger did it bite?
The little finger on the right.
Great little jump-rope thyme for vegans and other fish lovers. Great recipe for EVERYONE! We could not believe how good this is…..actually BETTER than tuna fish salad. It’s natural to crave salt and fat no matter what we eat, and this simple recipe provides both. Don’t be shy with the mayo and be sure to include the celery seeds. (secret ingredient)
A reasonable explanation to avoid eating tuna – please consider all the annual bycatch that is killed when tuna longline fishing occurs. That’s hundreds of thousands of dolphins annually, hundreds of thousands of sharks annually and hundreds of thousands of turtles annually that are carelessly killed just because we want to eat tuna. Don't forget about the hundreds of thousands of albatrosses annually that are also 'non targeted kills.' I don't want to be a part of that ugliness anymore.  Just give the amazing chickpea a chance. You might be surprised – we were. 

No Tuna Tuna Salad (adapted from Colleen Patrick Godreau)
2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 - 3/4 C mayo (Veganaise is the all time best)
1 medium size red bell pepper, minced
2 carrots, peeled and minced or shredded
2 celery stalks, minced
2 T fresh parsley
1 C chopped walnut
1 t celery seed (my addition, and oh so good)

Here's what you do:
Grind the chickpeas in a food processor until somewhere between whole beans but not  mush. Think small flakes. Use the pulse button. Pour chickpeas in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients - adjusting for taste. Salt and pepper at the end. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers - Two Ways - Vegan Month of Food

Poesy and Plate
Vegan Month of Food  2014
(check out the hundreds of VeganMoFo blogs HERE)
My goal: cook and blog about vegan food 20 times
  during the month of September. 

My theme: words and food

Today I share Emily Dickinson’s beautiful poem entitled “Prose.”  I not only think this is her take on the beauty of a lyric poem, but I think it has a deeper meaning regarding her view of being female.  You know, don’t shut us in; don’t make us write prose! Let us flap our lyric wings!

Really, are there any words more simple yet more beautiful than these? The image of a caged bird is always painful to me, so I love to imagine a bird escaping toward the stars.

They shut me up in Prose —
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet —
Because they liked me "still" —

Still! Could themself have peeped —
And seen my Brain — go round—
They might as wise have lodged a Bird
For Treason — in the Pound —

Himself has but to will
And easy as a Star
Abolish his Captivity —
And laugh — No more have I —

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers – Two Ways
Here’s what you need:
¾ C raw cashews soaked for a few hours, then drained
½ sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T Nutritional yeast
1 t cumin
1 T chicken-style seasoning with ½ C water(optional)
½ C veg stock (if not using the chicken-style seasoning)
1 4ounce can chopped green chilis (optional)
10 jalapenos, halved, seeds and veins removed
Olive oil
½ C crushed tortilla chips OR bread crumbs

Here’s what you do:
Brush the jalapeno halves with olive oil and set them aside. Prepare the filling by sautéing the onions and garlic in a bit of oil until softened. At the same time, toast the crushed tortillas chips in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Watch them closely.

Place sautéed veg, cashews, Nutritional yeast, cumin, seasoning, chilies and cream cheese (if using) in a blender. Loosen with a little veg stock or water. I found that the green chilies provided plenty of moisture! Adding more cream cheese will firm the mixture up also.

Spoon or pipe mixture into jalapenos. Bake for about 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Add the toasted chips (press in) and bake for another 10 minutes.  Broil for a tiny while at the end to get a nice toasty appearance.

Second Day:
There was plenty of filling to serve these another day, but I added some cream cheese to the mixture to firm it up. Instead of toasted tortilla chips, I used bread crumbs.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Asian Salad with Coconut Curry Noodles - Vegan Month of Food

A path near my house. 

The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Quintessentially American.
     Rugged New England.
         Mended fences and good neighbors.
                Little calves standing by their mamas.
 Horses that shake their harness bells on a snowy night.
       John Kennedy’s inauguration.
                 Robert Frost.

I think this might be my favorite poem: I love it for its simplicity. I love that it speaks truth to my heart. I love how it challenges me to live my life as I believe I ought, even in the face of pressure to conform. As I write these words I realize that one of my favorite Bible verses, really my life verse, is from the second chapter of Romans the 12th verse. “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

“Way leads on to way,” and we can’t turn back time to re-live our lives. Make the most of every day….and serve your loved ones delicious and healthy food.

This salad is delicious. We ate it for dinner two nights in a row – the second time adding some teriyaki tofu.  And yes, the dressing has 16 ingredients. A simple poem. A complex recipe.

For the coconut curry noodles:
1 can light coconut milk
2 T green curry paste
10 ounces long pasta noodles
2 t olive oil

For the salad:
6-8 C Bib or butter lettuce or Romaine
Cubes or slices of teriyaki baked tofu or other similar protein
1-2 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced
1 -2 ripe mangos, peeled and sliced
½ C salted peanuts

For the dressing: Simple combine all the ingredients and mix well.
2 Cloves garlic – minced
1 T fresh, grated ginger
1 T red onion, minced
¼ C rice vinegar
1 t Dijon
1 1/2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 T honey
1 T soy
1 t sesame oil
1 t Sriracha sauce
2 T sesame seeds
2 T poppy seeds
1/3 C olive oil
¼ C Canola Oil
1 t salt
½ t pepper

Here’s what you do:
Combine the coconut milk and green curry paste in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, simmer for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, cook the pasta according to the package. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over pasta and toss with two forks. Pour the coconut curry sauce over the pasta and set aside.

Prepare the salad by arranging the avocados, mangos and peanuts on a bed of lettuces. Serve the pasta in the same serving dish for a fabulous presentation. Drizzle the dressing over the lettuce part of the salad. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Orange Saffron Paletas - Vegan Month of Food

Poesy and Plate
Vegan Month of Food  2014
(check out the hundreds of VeganMoFo blogs HERE)
My goal: cook and blog about vegan food 20 times
  during the month of September. 

My theme: words and food

maggie and milly and molly and may
E. E. Cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

Here is Michigan we are surrounded by water, so we know what it means to find ourselves in the sea (or ‘lake’ I guess would be more accurate.) It doesn’t matter if it’s a hot August day at the beach or a quick drive by in the dead of winter – Lake Michigan is sure to put us in our place and help us remember how small we are in comparison to all of God’s creation.

This poem seems so old fashioned and sweet to me. How often do we slow down enough to play at the beach, to listen to shells until our troubles melt away? Not enough.

For some reason, in my mind’s eye, little Maggie and Millie and Molly and May are wearing those baby-doll type dresses with smocking and maybe a pocket with an appliqued bunny peeking out. Can you picture them?

Orange Saffron Popsicles (adapted from “Pure Vegan” by Joseph Shuldiner. This cookbook has the most beautiful photos and some pretty glorious food as well.)

Here’s what you need:
¼ C sugar
¾ C water
¼ t saffron threads (or more if you are lucky enough to have them, like me)
2 perfect oranges, zested, peeled and separated into segments
2 C fresh orange juice
¼ - ½ t  Rose water OR 1 t orange flower water

Here’s what you do:
Combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sugar is totally dissolved. Remove from heat, add saffron and set aside to cool.

Prepare the oranges by zesting them, peeling them with a knife so not one speck of the white pith remains, and separating them into segments. Place the oranges, orange juice and Rose water in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Add the saffron water and stir.

Divide equally between popsicle molds and allow to freeze.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sesame-Honey Tempeh and Quinoa Bowl – Vegan Month of Food

Poesy and Plate
Vegan Month of Food  2014
(check out the hundreds of VeganMoFo blogs HERE) 
My goal: cook and blog about vegan food 20 times
during the month of September. 

My theme: words and food

My son built this in a Tennessee river. 

Black Stone on Top of a White Stone, by Cesar Vallejo
I shall die in Paris, in a rainstorm,
On a day I already remember.
I shall die in Paris-- it does not bother me--
Doubtless on a Thursday, like today, in autumn.

It shall be a Thursday, because today, Thursday
As I put down these lines, I have set my shoulders
To the evil. Never like today have I turned,
And headed my whole journey to the ways where I am alone.

César Vallejo is dead. They struck him,
All of them, though he did nothing to them,
They hit him hard with a stick and hard also
With the end of a rope. Witnesses are: the Thursdays,
The shoulder bones, the loneliness, the rain, and the roads...

I don’t like the ‘black stone’ of evil and loneliness that crushes the ‘white stone’ of Cesar Vallejo in this sad poem. I can’t stand the thought of someone standing up to evil only to be struck down.  I wonder if Sr. Vallejo actually had to ‘set his shoulders’ toward some ‘evil’ only to find his way blocked by haters and evildoers? How sad that there are no witnesses except his shoulder bones and the rain. 

I believe this poem is a call to stand against evil when we see it and to be a witness to those that are brave enough to speak out. Don’t create loneliness.

In honor of all things Peruvian, including Cesar Vallejo and quinoa, I offer today’s excellent recipe from Eating Well. I added the green beans for an extra splash of color.

To see the recipe go to the Eating Well web site or simple click HERE