Vegan Benedict – AGAIN!


I just can’t help it, vegan benedict (tofu florentine, whatever you like to call it) is just one of my favorite breakfasts. It is in fact one of my favorite prepared meals altogether. If there is a vegan restaurant that serves this dish for breakfast I always order it, even if there are other delicious breakfast options. It’s just that good. Obviously, one cannot just go out to breakfast all the time, especially for such a basic dish. I’ve tried a couple different versions in the past but this is by far the closest to the real thing, not to mention it was super easy.This attempt came out really well. Satisfying and yummy all at once. The cayenne gives it a bit of a kick and all the flavors compliment each other wonderfully. I suppose that is the nature of the dish. Definitely a perfect way to start the morning. I ended up having a bit of hollandaise leftover and just mixed it with some tofu to make a tofu salad sandwich, which was also excellent.

I really love how this recipe came out but I think I’ll continue to experiment.

Vegan Benedict

sourdough english muffins
spinach
tofu
tomato (I used roma), sliced
olive oil
hot sauce
garlic minced
onion powder
salt
pepper
vegan hollandaise (recipe follows)

To prepare the tofu, slice into 1/2 inch slabs. Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into a pan and warm over medium heat. Add minced garlic and let brown a bit before adding the tofu slabs. Sprinkle the onion powder, salt and pepper onto the tofu to taste. Pour a bit of the hot sauce on the tofu as well. Let cook for about 5 minutes or until slightly browned and flip carefully onto other side. Again season the other side of the tofu with a bit of hot sauce and let cook until brown. Flip one last time and lower heat. Add the spinach, a large bunch, into the pan and stir until softened.

Vegan Hollandaise

1/2 cup vegenaise
2 tsp dijon mustard
lemon juice from 1 small lemon
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
approx 1/4 tsp turmeric (for color)

Mix all the ingredients until combined.

Toast the english muffins and spread with a bit of Earth Balance. Lay a slab of the tofu on top, then a slice of tomato, then spinach and top with the hollandaise.

Enjoy!

 

Onion pie and vegan cat food


Let me start off by saying that I don’t like onions. I understand that they provide a good deal of flavor to certain dishes but if given the option, I would more often than not go without them. I really wanted to make a savory pie though and even though this was nothing like the recipe I envisioned, I came across this recipe and decided to try it.The end result was delicious. It was something like eating sweet onions on a cheezy biscuit crust. I even had seconds. It’s not necessarily something you would want to have for dinner all the time and could probably have used some greens to go along with it but was insanely good. Check out the recipe below.

Onion Pie
Recipe adapted from How to be a Domestic Goddess.

topping:
2 very large yellow onions
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Earth Balance
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 oz soy cheddar cheeze, finely shredded
salt and pepper to taste

crust:
1 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer
2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup soy milk including 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, left to curdle
1 tsp dijon mustard
3 Tbsp Earth Balance, melted
1/2 cup soy cheddar cheeze, finely shredded

For topping: Cut onions into large pieces. Heat olive oil and Earth Balance over medium heat. Add onions and saute for about 30 minutes, covered and stirring occasionally. When the onions being to soften, add the salt, pepper and thyme. Continue to cook until the onions are quite soft and browned on the edges.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9″ pie dish with Earth Balance.

Put the onions into the pie dish, sprinkle with soy cheeze and set aside.

For the crust: Mix the soy cheese, flour, baking powder, nutritional yeast and salt in a bowl. In a separate dish, beat the egg replacer and water together until frothy. Combine the soymilk/vinegar mixture, egg replacer, melted Earth Balance and mustard. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir. The dough will be fairly sticky. Remove from the bowl and stretch out as if you were making a pizza crust about the size of the pie, being careful not to tear holes in it. Lay on top of onions in pie dish and seal edges.

Bake for 15 mins then turn down heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 mins or until the crust is golden brown. Let sit for a few minutes after removing from oven then place a large plate on top and flip the pie upside down. Slice and enjoy!

And on to the cats…When I decided to adopt cats, one of the big concerns in our household was what to feed them. Being vegan, it didn’t seem right to feed them non-vegan food, but being that they are naturally carnivores, it was important to give them proper nutrition. So far their diet is a bit of an experiment and a combination of vegan and non-vegan cat foods.

The vegan option that seemed the most promising was some supplements made by Hoana that you make into your own cat food. It comes with a bunch of recipes from kibble to rice and tofu mix. I went with the recipe for seitan as seen below.

kittie seitan


It maynot be the prettiest meal, but isn’t that far from something that I would eat myself. I made some very simple seitan, by just boiling some chunks of vital wheat gluten mixed with nutritional yeast in water with a bit of soy sauce for an hour. If I had a vegetable stock without onions or garlic in it I would have probably used that. In the future, if I have more time, it would be possible to make the stock and would make the seitan itself more flavorful.

I tore up about 3 cups of the seitan into even smaller pieces and mixed them a sauce made of 4 tsp VegeKit, 1/3 cup nutritional yeast, 1 Tbsp olive oil and a bit of soy sauce.

 

 


The verdict? They really like the stuff! I was surprised after hearing quite a few people say their cats wouldn’t eat vegan cat food. I can understand where this general misconception would come from since a lot of people wouldn’t take the time to make food for their cats. For example, they really don’t like the canned vegan cat food I ordered and won’t eat it unless it’s mixed with something they do like.Since the seitan chunks are a bit more chewy than just plain cat food, Mochi (the grey one) has taken to batting them around on the floor while she eats. Personally I’m fine with this. If a cat were going to eat a live mouse, they would probably play with their food just the same. Meeme on the other hand likes to lick most of the ‘sauce’ off the seitan before she eats it. Every time I have fed them this, it is all gone by the morning. I’ll definitely have to try some of the other recipes but this is a total success.

A bit of craft


Today I’m bringing you all a completely food free post (eek!) but I’m just too terribly excited about my new lamp to wait. I had been wanting to put another light in one corner of our living room that was a bit dark. I often lay in read in this corner but the nearest light is one that shines directly into your eyes and is more distracting than helpful. Because of the layout of the furniture in the area, it seemed to me that the only option was to hang something from the ceiling.

I had been casually browsing for ideas of something to make for awhile when I found an option in a copy of ReadyMade that seemed like it would bring enough additional light while also being simple to make. My initial attempt did not come out as planned and I almost caved and hung some Ikea china balls that were hidden away. I did a little research to solve my problems and used just a mix of glue and water instead of fabric stiffener to hold the form.

I love this lamp! The warm tone of the yarn I used brings a warmth to the light in the area as well as diffusing it from feeling like a raw lightbulb. I’d like to make a few more in other sizes and textures to add in the area.

Here is another little stuffed octopus from the holiday season. There’s something really rewarding about making stuffed animals. It’s as if you’re adding life to your home. This little guy went to live with my nephew in Las Vegas.

Coming in the future, I have a few kittie creations to share…

2009!


I know it’s a new year (first post of 2009 in fact) but I still have a few things left to share from 2008. For the holidays I tried to create as many gifts as possible instead of buying them. I made a handful of stuffed animals, knit projects and of course holiday cookies. While I started all of these ambitious tasks well in advance, there’s only so early that you can bake cookies without delivering them stale to their recipients. I had decided on snowflake sugar cookies and had even acquired some edible glitter to decorate them. Unfortunately, this cookie baking session was doomed from the start. I burnt whole batches and had other mishaps including dropping an entire sheet on the floor while burning my hand. In the end, the beautiful glittered and iced cookies I had imagined did not come into fruition. I’m pretty sure the end product still tasted good though, even if it wasn’t as pretty as I would have liked.

Immediately following the new year was Shawn’s birthday. To celebrate he got the dessert of his choice, which ended up being peanut butter cup cupcakes. I think my favorite thing about these guys is getting to say “cup cup.” Ha! As you can see, they’re chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling/frosting and peanut butter cups on top. They turned out super good. I think next time I will have to try a different way of frosting them so that they can have an entire peanut butter cup on top (and not look ridiculous). Also, I’d love to make the peanut butter frosting a bit more fluffy. It’s a great consistency for the filling but a little dense on top.

Meeme and Mochi
Also, we got two new additions to our home. We adopted two 4 month old kittens from the shelter. They’re adorable, loving and playful and I couldn’t be happier with them. Despite not looking alike, they’re actually sisters. I’m sure they will be making some appearances on this blog in the future. In fact, little Mochi is desperately trying to help me write this by walking all over the keyboard.

Holidays, NYC and lots of dessert

homemade cinnamon bun

It is the last day of 2008! Had to squeeze in one last delicious post before the new year. I’m excited for all the projects and plans coming up. I know it’s going to be an awesome year.

Before moving forward, I’m going to have to look back for a moment as the past weeks have been terribly busy and I haven’t had a chance to show off some of the treats we’ve been indulging in. I made the above cinnamon bun from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I’ve been dying to make these, but was a bit scared off by the prep time. Since I have had a couple of days off, I finally had a chance to indulge myself. It was extra inspired by smelling the Cinnabon in the airport the day prior. Despite the fact that those things are quite possibly one of the most disgusting creations ever, the sure do smell good.

I ended up over cooking my buns a bit, but I think this may have had a bit to do with using new cookie sheets. They still tasted awesome, and were even better reheated the next morning with coffee.

peppermint cookies and cream cupcake

For my family Christmas party, I opted to bring cupcakes rather than anything to actually eat for dinner. It worked out rather well as a bunch of my cousins happened to make vegan vegetable dishes. I made peppermint cookies and cream cupcakes. The cupcakes themselves came out amazing, perfectly moist and chocolaty. I still can’t decide if I liked the peppermint in the icing though, it was good, but perhaps too much. Maybe not though.

cookies and cream cake

Shawn and I went back East to spend time with his family for the holidays. It was super exciting for me to show up and see snow on the ground.

I feel very lucky to have so many vegan restaurants in Los Angeles to go to, but it’s nothing like going to NYC. There’s just a different style of vegan/vegetarian restaurant there. The other thing that gets me super excited is getting to have some Vegan Treats. Pretty much every vegan restaurant in the area serves their desserts and there is honestly nothing like them. Over the summer, Shawn and I made a pilgrimage to their storefront in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where I was even more blown away by their selection of French pastries.

On one of our days in the city, we had lunch at Curly’s. I had a toastie with tomato, which is basically a vegan grilled cheese with red pesto and of course tomato. It was one of the most satisfying lunches. Simple and tasty and exactly what I wanted. Shawn had the Suno melt. I’ve had vegan tuna melts before, but have never been impressed. I only had a bite, but this was super good. Of course, we had to get some dessert, and I insisted on a cookies and cream cake, freshly delivered from Vegan Treats the previous day. The cake was moist and the frosting light and fluffy. Honestly, exactly how cake should taste, sweet and rewarding.

peanut butter cheesecake 

The night before we left for home we went out to dinner at Caravan of Dreams. We split nachos and muchroom ravioli with an almond cream sauce. The nachos were really good and basic. Tasty but nothing special. The ravioli on the other hand was super good. It was nice to have something different and something unlike anything we usually eat. It was light and subtly flavored. Oddly enough it was served with slices of avocado, which actually complimented the dish really well. My only complaint about the place was that it was very expensive. Not the kind of place that would be worth eating on a regular basis, but ok for a special occasion. On the other hand, it’s the kind of food that makes you feel good after you eat it.
cookies and cream brownie
For dessert we walked down to Atlas Cafe for some more Vegan Treats. Shawn got a slice of peanut butter cheesecake and I had a brownie with cookies and cream frosting. I can’t express how much I really love Vegan Treats and wish that it was also on the West coast. Everything was so good. We saved a bit of our treats and ordered sandwiches which we saved for the plane the next day.

At some point we also made a quick stop at Moo Shoes and Babycakes. I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me, but after some more sampling, I’m really not a fan of Babycakes. Their desserts just don’t quite fulfill my sweet tooth. I can’t really pinpoint what it is about them that I don’t care for. The best way I can describe it is that I always feel a level of excitement when I enjoy a really good vegan dessert. Babycakes just doesn’t give me that thrill. I also am not a fan of their prices at all. Some cupcakes cost nearly $5 and that seems outrageous to me.

So that’s about it for 2008. Many exciting things to come in the future. I hope everyone had lovely holidays and Happy New Year!