Saturday, September 19, 2015

Vegan Mofo #24: Brussels/Belgian Waffles...

Well, this is my last Mofo Post. Today I leave for Vacation and I won’t be back until October. I had a lot of fun this Mofo, I really enjoyed veganizing non vegan recipes. I surprised myself a lot, and found new and interesting ways to combine food, and flavor. I even got to try out a few ‘new to me’ cooking methods, such as flambee!  It’s been a fun ride, unfortunately I didn’t get to veganize all the reicpes I had intended, nor did I get to veganize foods from all the countries I’d wanted. I had really hoped to have more cultural variety but I got kind of hung up on Irish and French cooking, I don’t know why.  Maybe when I come back from my trip I’ll keep going with the veganizing, who knows.

Anyway, for my last recipe I decided to make Belgian Waffles. When we were in Brussels there were waffle shops literally everywhere, you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a waffle shop or a frites stand, and I loved it! What cool street food right? Interestingly what we call Belgian Waffles here in North America are quite different then what a true Belgian - or Brussels Waffle - really is. Actual Brussels waffles are made a little more complicated by the addition of yeast, it isn’t as simple as whipping together a standard pancake batter and sticking it in a waffle iron. Traditional waffles also use a lot of fat in the form of eggs and butter, so I was really interested to try a vegan version.

I wouldn’t call my experiment perfect, they were a little more dense and bready then I had anticipated, however using yeast that’s only to be expected. Flavor wise however these were amazing! Seriously, my husband said they were some of the best waffles I’ve ever made, and that’s a big compliment.

Now, to serve you can’t simple pour syrup on them, because that’s not how they do it in Belgium, what you need is an assortment of fruits, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce. Some people even top their waffles with ice cream. My personal favorite combinations were Banana and Chocolate or Strawberry and Chocolate Hazelnut. For this recipe I used what I had on hand, Raspberries and made up a Chocolate Peanut Butter Sauce. A big dollop of Coconut Whip wouldn’t be the worst idea on these!

Brussels Waffles 

5 Cups All Purpose Flour
½ tsp Sea Salt
7g Active Dry Yeast
2 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Soy Milk
1 Cup Melted Non-dairy Butter
Ener-G Egg Replacer, enough to equal 6 Eggs

- Combine Flour and Salt in a Large bowl.

- Sprinkle the yeast and Sugar over top

- Using a hand mixer beat together the Ener-G and Milk until foamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the milk mixture and fold to combine.

- Add in the melted butter and combine until a dough forms. It might seem a bit loose, not like a bread dough, pretty squishy, and that’s okay.

- Lightly grease a clean bowl with a bit of nonstick spray. Pour the batter/dough into the clean, greased bowl. Then cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.

- Preheat a waffle Iron. Use the setting just below half way. (This is important!) When the iron is preheated add enough batter to fill it. Now the batter will be very sticky and stretchy, just use your spoon to break it off from the rest of what is in the bowl. Close the waffle iron and cook until your iron beeps. Do not open the iron before the waffles are done.

- Remove the cooked waffles from the iron, and add the remaining dough to the iron. You’ll probably get 8 waffles out of this recipe if you have a 4 waffle iron.

- Serve waffles with fruit, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or any of your favorite assorted toppings. They also taste great with a bit of powdered sugar and non-dairy butter.

Enjoy! See y’all In October!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Vegan Mofo #23: Seitan with Blackberry Sauce...

I’m telling you, there is something about fruit in savory dishes that just gets me. The idea of seitan steak covered in blackberry sauce just sounded to good to pass up. The original French recipe calls for Venison medallions but I think beef seitan works just as good. I’ve had venison plenty of times growing up and I don’t like it, never did so I didn’t bother with trying to make my seitan taste like venison, any richly flavored seitan will do I think. It’s so much tastier this way anyway!

It might sound weird to you to serve blackberry sauce with seitan but trust me on this, give it a try and you’ll be amazed. This sauce is so flavorful, it will literally blow your tastebuds out of your mouth! Plus the recipe is relatively simple yet elegant enough for you to make to impress company! How can you go wrong?

Seitan with Blackberry Sauce 

4 Beef Style Seitan Cutlets
3 Tbsp nondairy butter
20 Pearl Onions Blanched and Peeled
8oz Fresh Blackberries
3 Tbsp Blackberry Jam
1/4 Cup Red Wine
1 2/3 Cups Vegan Beef Stock or water mixed with Vegan Beef Bouillon
1 Tbsp All Purpose Flour

- Heat 1 Tbsp of the Butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the Seitan Cutlets and fry on each side for 8 minutes until nicely browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

- Heat remaining butter in the pan, and add the onions. Saute for 15 minutes until nicely golden brown and beginning to caramelize.

- Meanwhile in a small pan combine the blackberry Jam with 3 Tbsp of water. Whisk until smooth and then bring to a boil, add in the fresh berries and simmer for 5 minutes until berries are soft and beginning to break down. Set aside.

- Add the Wine to the pan and boil for 30 seconds. Add the Stock and simmer until reduced by half. About 10 minutes.

- Melt the remaining Tbsp of butter in a bowl, then whisk the flour into it. Add this into the stock and simmer for two minutes constantly stirring.

- Add in the Blackberry Sauce and stir to combine. Pour the sauce over the cooked seitan steaks and serve with your favorite side. Something simple like garlic roasted potatoes works well.

Vegan Mofo #22: Seitan Stew from The Hague...

When we were in The Netherlands back in March we stopped in the Hague on our way from Brussels to Amsterdam. It was it was only scheduled to be a pit-stop, a one day adventure, a chance to see the Peace Palace, some other historical landmarks and the Girl with the Pearl Earring. I had not intended to fall in love with The Hague, but I did. The people there - and everywhere in The Netherlands really - were so friendly, the city was so calm and peaceful, a really nice change of pace from busy Brussels and crazy Amsterdam. I wish we had been able to stay their longer, and I wish we could have eaten more of the local food.

Our trip to The Netherlands inspired me to check out some books on Dutch cooking, and in one of those books I found a recipe for ‘Duck Stew from The Hague’ That sounded interesting to me, and since I’d already tailored my go-to seitan Chicken recipe to be a bit richer as a stand-in for Duck I thought I’d give this stew a try. It didn’t turn out quite like I thought it would, but it was still good. I have the feeling that it is lacking something though I can’t quite put my finger on what. I’ll have to play around with it in the future to get it just right, but overall I thought the experiment went well. The stew was tasty, and rich, and I liked the combination of red wine, olives, mushrooms and onions. Put olives in anything and I’m bound to eat it.

Seitan Stew from The Hague

Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Nondairy Butter
1 ½ lb’s Chicken Style Seitan
1 Large Onion Diced
2 Cups Vegan Chicken Broth or 2 Cups Water + 2 Vegan Chicken Bouillon Cubes
1 1/4 Red Wine
1 tsp Dried Tarragon
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1 tsp Sea Salt
Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 ½ Cups Pitted Green Olives
1 Leek (White and Light Green Part Only) Sliced
2 Cups Button Mushrooms Sliced
6 Garlic Cloves Minced
1/4 C All Purpose Flour
½ Bunch Parsley Minced

- Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add seitan and brown on all sides. About 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.

- Melt the nondairy butter in the pan, add the onion, and leek. Saute for 5 minutes until tender.

- Add the Mushrooms, and Garlic, saute for another 5-10 minutes until veggies are soft.

- Add in the flour, and stir to combine, coating all veggies.

- Add in the stock, wine, olives, seitan, tarragon, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 40 minutes.

- Add parsley and stir to combine. Serve in large bowls with toasted bread and extra parsley for garnish.

Vegan Mofo #21: Seitan aux Pruneaux d’Agen...

I came across this recipe in Joanne Harris’s book “The French Market” and found it interesting. The original recipe calls for Rabbit which I have no idea how to veganize since I’ve never eaten it before but I thought seitan would make a good stand-in. I love the idea of cooking savory dishes with fruit, and so the combination of seitan and prunes really got me thinking. A bit of Googling told me this is a pretty popular recipe in Southern France where Prunes from Agen are a pretty big deal. I like interesting culinary traditions so I was excited to give it a try. Obviously the original recipes call specifically for prunes from Agen but you can use any large plump pitted prunes, California Plums are what I used and it worked out great. I know it probably sounds weird to you, but give it a try, you might be really surprised.

Seitan with Prunes 
(A.K.A Seitan aux Pruneaux d’Agen) 

2 Tbsp Nondairy Butter
4 Garlic Cloves Minced
2 Bay Leaves
1/3 C Brandy
2 Stalks Celery Diced
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
2 Cups Red Wine
1 ½ lb’s Beef Style Seitan
25 Pearl Onions
2 tsp Liquid Smoke
20 Agen Prunes (or Large Dried California Plums) Halved
Sea Salt and Black Pepper as Needed

- Heat a small pot of water over high heat, when boiling add the onions. Boil 1 minute then drain and drop into a bowl of iced cold water to blanch. Slide off the skins and put the onions aside.

- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Melt 1 Tbsp of the nondairy butter and cook the seitan until brown on all sides. In batches if necessary. About 8-10 minutes. When browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

- Heat the remaining nondairy butter in the pan and add the peeled onions. Saute for 5 minutes until golden, add the garlic and celery. Saute another 3-5 minutes until celery is soft.

- Pour the wine into the pan, and add bay leaves, thyme, and the browned seitan back with it. Let come to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.

- Add in the Brandy, the Prunes, liquid smoke and season with salt and pepper as desired. Let simmer another 20-30 minutes.

- Remove from the heat, taste for seasonings and adjust as needed. Remove the bay leaves and serve with mashed potatoes and peas as I did, or whatever your favorite side dish. Some crusty bread wouldn’t hurt either!

*** Note - Unfortunately this recipe is my best approximation as I didn’t actually write anything down while cooking. Since I made this several days ago I’m relying solely on memory here.*** 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Vegan Mofo #20: Entrecote a la Bordelaise...

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Entrecote a la Bordelaise is a classic French dish, simple yet elegant as so many classic French dishes.  Apparently there is a bit of a distinction between Entrecote a la Bordelaise and Entrecote Bordelaise. The first being a dish of seared steak served in a red wine and shallot sauce, the second being a seared steak dish served with raw chopped shallot, and no wine.  I liked the idea of the wine sauce and so that’s why I decided upon veganizing this version. The original recipe uses bone marrow as an ingredient, since there is no real way to veganize that I didn’t bother trying and I don’t think the dish suffers from the lack of it. I suppose if you want a ‘richer’ sauce you could simply add more fat in the form of oil or butter to make up for the lost marrow, but really, it isn’t necessary. In French Entrecote basically means rib steak, or more generally it’s known as a prime cut of meat, so I recommend using good quality seitan, or really good home-made seitan cutlets. Again for this recipe I made The Gentle Chef’s Filet Mignon seitan, and it turned out so good!

Entrecote a la Bordelaise 

2 Tbsp Nondairy Butter
3 Shallots Diced
2 Cups Red Wine (Preferably Bordeaux)
1 Cup Vegan Beef Stock or 1 Cup Water with 1 Vegan Bouillon Cube
1 Tbsp Parsley Minced
4 Beef Style Seitan Cutlets
Olive Oil as needed.
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

- Splash a bit of olive oil in a large saute pan and heat over medium high heat. Add the Seitan Cutlets and cook for 5-8 minutes per side until nicely browned. Remove the steaks from the pan and put on a plate.

- Melt the butter in the pan and add the shallots.  Saute for 7 minutes or until they are soft.

- Pour in the wine and simmer until reduced by two-thirds.

- Add the stock and continue to simmer until reduced by half.

- Season the sauce with salt and pepper, and parsley.

- Pour the Sauce over the Cooked Steaks and serve. I served our steaks with Boulangere Potatoes but you could serve then with any roasted, boiled or mashed potatoes too.

Vegan Mofo #19: Irish Leek and Cheese Soup...

Leek and Cheese Soup is kind of like the Irish version of French Onion Soup. Quick and easy to make using staple ingredients; warming on a cold night and comforting any time of year. I don’t really know where it comes from, but it’s probably been around in one form or another for ages. All I know is that I was interested in making it from the first moment I saw it listed in an Irish cook book.

Irish Leek and Cheese Soup 

3 Large Leeks, Washed and Sliced
1/4 Cup Non-Dairy Butter
*** 4oz your Favorite vegan Cheese
2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
6 Cups Vegan Chicken Stock or Water mixed with Vegan Chicken Boullion Cubes
1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
1 tsp Sea Salt (More or Less to taste)
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
Additional Grated Vegan Cheese for Garnish (Optional)
Sliced Green Onions for Garnish (Optional)

- Melt the nondairy butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the Leeks and saute for 10-15 minutes until softened.

- Add in the flour and stir constantly for about 2 minutes until leeks are well coated.

- Add in the salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and mustard. Stir to combine.

- Slowly add in the stock, stirring to blend. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil. Then Reduce heat, cover the pot and let simmer gently for about 15 minutes.

- Add in the cheese. And let simmer an additional five minutes. If the cheese melts and blends in so be it, but if it doesn’t fully melt it’s kind of nice to have strands of gooey cheese within the soup.

- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then serve garnished with additional vegan cheese and green onions if desired, serve with a hearty brown bread that you can use to sop up the soup.

*** Note - The Original recipe uses Irish Farmhouse Cheese, and specifically suggests Cashel Blue. However you can use any flavorful, sharp vegan cheese you can find. I used Provolone. I bought the slices and just broke them up into little squares. The squares somewhat clumped together to form little cheese lumps in the soup which I liked, as it very much resembled the picture of the original soup. But, use whatever vegan cheese you like, shreds or slices, doesn’t really matter either.***

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Vegan Mofo #18: Toulousaine Sausage and Bean Salad...

I don’t know how traditional this recipe is or how common, but after doing a bit of googling I found there are all kinds of recipes for sausage salads in Toulouse, the ingredients vary but usually it’s a vinegar mustard dressing, and has beans and sausage. This particular recipe I found when flipping through an interesting book called “The French Market” written by Joanne Harris and I thought it sounded so good that I wanted to try and veganize it, just to see how it was. I think it ended up being really good, and even my husband loved it which amazed me since he typically is no fan of beans, certainly not this many beans all at once!

I love the simplicity of the dish, I love both the bold and subtle flavors, the creamy beans mixed with the chewy sausage. Loved it over a bed of greens though you can simply eat it as is without the lettuce. Obviously the original recipes call for sausages from Toulouse, but in liu of that Harris recommended Italian Sausages so I went with my favorite, Field Roast.

Toulousaine Sausage and Bean Salad
(AKA Salade Toulousaine) 

4 Vegan Italian Sausages
1 15oz Can Chickpeas Rinsed and Drained
1 15oz Can Navy Beans Rinsed and Drained
1/4 Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
1/4 tsp Dried Sage
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
4 Ripe Tomatoes
Lettuce, Arugula or Mixed Greens for serving (Optional)

- Heat a bit of Olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Slice the sausages into rounds and fry in the oil until browned on both sides, 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and place on a plate.

- Place the Chickpeas and Navy Beans in the same pan. Add the Oil, Vinegar, Mustard, Sage, Salt and Pepper. Mix to combine well and then cook for about 5 minutes until heated through.

- Add the tomatoes to the beans, mix well, and cook about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and place the bean mixture into a large serving bowl. Add the sausages and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

- Line serving bowls or plates with a bit of lettuce or mixed greens, then top with 2 generous scoops of the Sausage and Bean Salad. Enjoy Hot, at room temp, or cold, I personally liked it best at room temperature.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Vegan Mofo #17: Boulangere Potatoes...

This is a classic French Gratin dish that tastes similar to scalloped potatoes but doesn’t make use of a lot of heavy cream or butter. The name apparently translates to ‘Potatoes in the Style of the Baker’s Wife’ and the story goes that French families used to make this dish then take it down the baker or the Boulangere to be cooked in the big ovens. Who knows if that’s true or not, but it’s kind of a fun story no?

Anyway, it’s a simple dish - even if it takes time to cook - and it’s super tasty, a great accompaniment to any hearty fare, and a nice alternative to the richer gratin’s out there.

Boulangere Potatoes

2lb’s Potatoes sliced thin on a mandolin
2 Large Yellow Onions sliced thin on a mandolin
2 Tbsp Parsley Minced
2 Cups Hot Water mixed with 1-2 Vegan Chicken Bouillon Cubes
1oz non-dairy Butter Cubed
Sea salt and Black Pepper to taste

- Preheat the oven to 350'F

- Grease a large glass baking dish and place a layer of sliced potatoes in the bottom. Top with a layer of sliced onions and season with salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of parsley. Over top of this place another layer of potatoes and keep layering in this fashion until you run out of ingredients or space.

- Pour the stock over top and dot with the butter. Season the top lightly with salt, pepper and any remaining parsley.

- Place in the oven and bake for an hour (maybe a little more depending on your oven) or until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown.

- Remove from the heat, let cool about 10 minutes and serve.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Vegan Mofo #16: Seitan a l’Orange...

I’ve never had Duck a l’Orange before, because I never liked duck, but there was something really intriguing to me about trying to veganize this recipe. I thought it might work out well with seitan in place of duck and since I had some ‘duck’ style seitan left over from making the Duck with Raspberries I thought I’d give it a try. I have to admit I was really skeptical about it, because I had to really play around with the cooking method and times, and I wasn’t at all sure it was going to be any good, but much to my surprise it turned out really, really well. The sauce is so flavorful and on a nice juicy piece of seitan it works so well. Though I imagine the sauce would also be a nice accompaniment to tofu or tempeh as well.

Certainly there is a bit of work involved in a recipe like this, but that’s French cooking for you right? The end result is worth it, so I hope you give it a try. Enjoy your seitan a l’Orange with some simple sides like rice and broccoli as we did, or potatoes and asparagus.

Seitan a l’Orange 
(AKA Canard a l’Orange, AKA ‘Duck’ a l’Orange, ) 

2-4 Homemade or store bought Chicken Style Seitan Cutlets
5 Large Oranges
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1-2 Tbsp Minced Fresh Mint Leaves
½ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 Cup Grand Marnier
4 Tbsp of Nondairy Butter + 1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp Cornstarch

- Preheat the oven to 300'F

- Grease a glass baking dish that’s large enough to hold your seitan. Slice two of the oranges into thin slices. Line the bottom of the glass dish with the slices from one orange. Place the cinnamon sticks over top of the oranges and sprinkle with mint. Layer your seitan cutlets over top, and then top those with the remaining orange slices.

- Roast in the Oven for roughly 30 minutes.

- Meanwhile zest and juice the remaining 3 oranges.  Heat a small pot of water over high heat. When it’s boiling blanch the orange zest Refresh under cold water, drain, and set aside.

- Heat the sugar in a saucepan over low heat until it melts and caramelizes, use a whisk to whisk the sugar a bit so that it caramelizes evenly. When the sugar is a rich brown add in the vinegar, but be carefully as it might splatter.  Boil for three minutes then add the reserved orange juice and grand Marnier. Simmer the mixture for 2 minutes.

- Remove the seitan from the oven, and pour a third of the sauce over the cutlets. If using 2 cutlets place 2 Tbsp of Butter on each Cutlet, if using 4 Cutlets place 1 Tbsp on each cutlet. Then Sprinkle the cutlets with about a quarter of the orange zest. Place back into the oven and roast for another 30 minutes.

- Mix the Tablespoon of cornstarch with a bit of water and whisk to combine. Slowly add it into the pot with the sugar, vinegar, juice mixture. Increase heat and simmer, whisking constantly until the sauce has thickened. Add in the remaining tbsp of butter and the orange zest stir to combine and turn off the heat. Set aside.

- When the seitan is ready, remove it from the oven. Place one cutlet on each plate, and top with as much sauce as you like. FYI the sauce also tastes great over broccoli and rice!

Vegan Mofo 15: French Onion Soup...

When we were in Paris we went to this incredible vegan restaurant. I don’t recall the name of it at the moment - I’ll have to consult my travel notes because I do plan to post about it at some point - but while there I had the most incredible French Onion Soup. Seriously, I’ve had some decent vegan French Onion Soup before but it never quite lives up to expectations in my opinion. This soup however was out of this world amazing! It had such a rich flavor, and I loved that instead of using Nutritional Yeast or shredded store bought cheese that they melted on top, the soup actually had slivers or shavings of vegan cheese right in the soup. Large thin squares of vegan cheese, that hadn’t melted in, but were soft and melted easily when they hit the tongue. It was such a good soup, such a different experience that ever since getting back I’d been thinking of trying to recreate something similar at home. Well, this year’s Mofo provides the perfect opportunity, so here’s my take. I think it turned out really well, though it doesn’t quite live up to that restaurant soup I had. Something tells me, no French Onion Soup ever will, and how can you really beat French Onion Soup eaten in France anyway, right?

French Onion Soup 

2 Tbsp Nondairy Butter
1lb Yellow Onions Sliced
4 Garlic Cloves Minced
1/3 Cup Plain All Purpose Flour
8 Cups Vegan Beef Stock or 8 Cups Water + Vegan Beef Bouillon Cubes.
1 Cup Red Wine
2 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
1 Tbsp Marmite
Sliced Baguette
Sea Salt if needed
1/4 tsp Black Pepper or more to taste
Vegan Cheese sliced into thin squares. (I used Provolone.  In France they use Gruyere, but there is not vegan Gruyere on the market. You can really use any flavorful vegan cheese that isn’t mozzarella or cheddar. Havarti or Swiss would be good in place of Provolone)

- Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium high heat and add the onions. Lower the heat and cook on low for about 25 minutes stirring occasionally until golden brown and beginning to caramelize. .

- Add the garlic and flour to the pan and stir continuously for 2 minutes.  Gradually blend in the stock and wine, bring to a boil.  Add the Bay leaf, thyme, pepper, marmite and season with salt if desired. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

- Preheat the broiler. Place the baguette slices on a broiler sheet and toast on each side for a minute until golden. Remove from the oven.

- Add the sliced cheese to the soup and let simmer for 5 or so minutes just to let the cheese incorporate and blend. It’s okay if it melts in, but if it stays in tact that’s good too.

- Divide the soup into serving bowls, break the toasted baguette into crouton sized pieces and top each bowl. Taste or seasoning and add more salt or pepper as desired.

Enjoy with a glass of wine and a nice side salad.