Friday, April 29, 2016

"Butter" Chicken Pizza

In what is easily one of the yummiest things to emerge from my kitchen, I made up a "butter" chicken pizza yesterday.

I'm a fan of Spice Goddess, which I'm glad to state doesn't require a subscription to The Cooking Channel if one lives in Canada. Bal seems ridiculously approachable and is the first person I've seen truly demystify Indian cooking. So, yeah, I'm in love. Well, when I was watching an episode a few years ago, she whipped up her No-Butter Chicken, which uses yogurt in place of butter and which she swears tastes just as rich as the real deal. Needless to say, I'm a big fan of anything that adapts buttery-richness into a form I can eat without gut-wrenching pain.

So it came to be that when I found myself with a wealth of coconut yogurt to start finding uses for, I remembered Bal's promise of delectable, spicy goodness and got to work. I also whipped up a batch of her garam masala for use in the no-butter chicken recipe. The chicken recipe is a hit and I honestly don't know how I'm going to avoid the temptation to make it practically daily.

And yeah, it's fantastic as a pizza topping. I didn't use any other toppings and can't get over how satisfying yesterday's lunch was.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Vegan Buffalo "wings"

This is easily one of the more "out there" concoctions I've ever made. I've been meaning to try making The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions' Baked Seitan Cutlets for a while now and — given that the recipe blurb states that these are crispy — thought I'd kill two birds with one stone (no actual birds were harmed in the making of this recipe, vegans!) and try pairing it with their Toffalo Hot Wings recipe's sauce.

I should note that, due to a mild nut sensitivity on my part, I've been using sesame oil whenever their seitan recipes (I've been dabbling in a few of them, over the past few weeks) call for it. Also, I don't have any of the bespoke hot sauce on-hand, so I used sriracha instead. Consequently, I found that adding only 2 Tbsp. of garlic powder was necessary, but also had to add a little over ¼ tsp. of cider vinegar to get the tang common to Buffalo sauce. Sadly, I slightly over-baked the seitan (which is now cooling in a sealed plastic container in the hopes that the residual steam will tame some of the crust).

The verdict: while I like both of these components, they're only passable when paired. Looks like I'm going to have to be inventive to use these up. Fortunately, I've decided to make myself pizza for the remainder of my lunches this week! There should be plenty of opportunity to be satisfied with these items.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

First highly successful batch of vegan seed cheese!

This batch uses Miyoko Schinner's recipe for Sharp Vegan Cheddar Cheese as its jumping-off point, but I've broken pretty radically from her recipe to allow for my food sensitivities, so I thought I'd post my version here.

  • 1 ½ c. pine nuts, soaked ~8 hrs. (I also used up about ¼ c. of hemp seeds in this batch)
  • ½ c. nutritional yeast flakes
  • ⅜ c. coconut yogurt
  • 1 T. genmai miso
  • ½ t. salt
  • 4 ½ T. agar flakes
  • ⅜ t. xantham gum
Blend the first 5 ingredients until smooth, starting with the pine nuts. Allow to culture until a cheesy "tang" is achieved (this batch went overnight, about 12 hours).

Pour the agar flakes into a small saucepan with about an inch of water. Heat to boiling, whisking frequently to dissolve the agar flakes. Add the xanthan gum and whisk to combine. Pour the cultured mixture in to the pot and cook on medium-low until the mixture is glossy and is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pot/leaves well-defined streaks in the bottom of the pot. Pour into a mold (I used a small metal cake tin with a push-through base) and allow to cool completely. Transfer to the fridge to chill.

When the "cheese" has chilled, de-mold and store wrapped in parchment paper and a baggie in the fridge.

As an additional note for anyone looking to replicate this, do not add the oil called for in Schinner's recipe — I got a gloopy mess of a "cheese" for my last batch. This was especially tragic given that the flavours were spot-on.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What?! Meat(free)-balls!

I picked up some vital wheat gluten during my last trip to Ambrosia so that I could start experimenting with meat- and soy-free proteins. My copy of The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions has several interesting recipes, including their Meatfree Balls recipe. I made up a batch of those today and had them for brunch. The recipe calls for these delectables to be steamed for the last 8 minutes of cooking time in a barbecue sauce and — sure enough — during my tasting of these treats with various condiments, Diana Sauce provided, far and away, the best flavour profile, followed by ketchup. The texture of these was surprisingly (but not unpleasantly) chewy. I'm looking forward to experimenting further!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dal on a vegan chickpea "omelette"

The dal recipe I blogged about previously has become a lunchtime staple for me. Sadly, I keep forgetting to add extra salt during the cooking process, but that's — mercifully — easily remedied with a salt shaker. Also, I have now made this with apple cider vinegar for the acidic tang as well as just tomato (Bruce's suggestion) and I greatly prefer the former.

This week, I'm attempting to go vegan and refined-sugar free, so yesterday I whipped up a batch of my ice cream base to serve as my sweet, chocolate-y fix. Dinners for the majority of the week will be Tex-Mex, which I usually veganize for my purposes (last night's dinner: refried beans, sautéed onions, avocado, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cilantro, salsa, guacamole and coconut yogurt on a whole wheat tortilla) and I had two grilled Daiya sandwiches for brunch.

Today, I thought I'd whip up some dal. Different this time: I used half of a dehydrated ancho chile for spice, rather than a bit of cayenne powder. It made for a nicely medium dal. For as long as I've got ancho, I'll be using that in this recipe! Also, I got around to trying Cooking with Plants' vegan omelette after a disastrous first attempt at making another YouTube channel's chickpea egg. As long as you resign yourself to the fact that these are nothing like eggs, Anja's version is quite good (the first I tried is basically a thick, dense chickpea pancake). I have yet to secure "black salt"/kala namak, so it's possible that simple addition would change my mind about how egg-like this is, but I suspect not — the texture is most certainly not a spongy protein. Still, this one made for a fast and delicious base for today's dal.