Saturday, November 04, 2006

O Wow! Pumpkin Tunnel Cake, a Vegan Bundt Cake

Finally, I am able to make this new recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan's new newsletter. My first impression when I inverted the cake to the serving plate was " O WOW!" It was a perfect and beautifully shaped bundt cake! I was so happy that I baked such a beautiful cake, I ran outside to our side yard with the hot steaming cake to show it to DH (he was planting plumeria trees). Here is the picture after I drizzled it with vegan caramel and chopped toasted pecan:

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Here is a picture of a slice. I would have eaten it with Soyatoo! but I was out. :-) I guess I like that Soyatoo! a bit too much... :-)

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The cake was delicious, full of pumpkin flavor and spices, and it was moist. We both love it. It was so tasty with the vegan caramel topping. The 'tunnel' is made of silken tofu, cashew, crystallized ginger bits, and lemon juice flavored. It is called Lemon-Ginger Tofu Cashew Creme Cheeze filling.

Here is a picture after the cake is cut:

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Now, here is a teaser for you! I am not giving out the recipe. This recipe is for Vegan Feasters (subscribers) only. Yes, Bryanna only gives out recipes like this to her subscribers. I have been a vegan feaster for a long long time and I have had so many surprises like this from her newsletters. It doesn't cost much to subscribe and you will get tons of recipes. It is well worth it. If it looks like I am advertising it, you got that right, I am! :-) That's because I want to spread out her good and proven creations and also that she deserves it! So, what are you waiting for?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Vegan Sweet Potato/Yam Waffle with Toasted Pecan

Fall weather is here: cold in the morning and night, warm 77 F during the day, a typical Southern California fall weather. This kind of weather makes me want to eat pumpkin something. I just received the new Vegan Feast newsletter from Bryanna and saw her recipe of Vegan Pumpkin Tunnel Cake. Looks yummy! I really wanted to make it but my body was not up to it. I just came back from a business trip to Las Vegas for 3 days and didn't have time to go to the market to buy all the ingredients for it. I thought I had enough pumpkin in the freezer (left over from making pumpkin something in the past) but it turned out that it was not enough to make the cake.

This morning I thought about making Pumpkin Waffle to use that little bit pumpkin I defrosted. I made this waffle from a recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance cookbook before and it was really good. It turned out that the recipe asked for a whole can (15 oz.) pureed pumpkin. Yaik! No pumpkin waffle either. What to do? What to do? Then, I saw my kitchen basket full of sweet potatoes/yam (you know, the orange kind). This will do! I saw Rachel Ray's $40 A Day show last night and she was eating Sweet Potato Pancake with Toasted Pecan butter in Charleston. I surely could make waffles out of those potatoes I thought.

I microwaved 3 small sweet potatoes (about 15 oz) until they were soft (pierce with forks first otherwise they may explode). I changed the Pumpkin Waffle recipe (less oil and use whole wheat pastry flour, etc.) ...and.... Voila! Sweet potato Waffle was born. DH was surprised that I didn't make Pumpkin Tunnel Cake as I said, nor Pumpkin Waffle as planned, and was served Sweet Potato Waffles. He will never know what he is going to get, will he?

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No pumpkin after all but this waffle turned out to be very very good. It was spiced with pumpkin pie spices (I love those spices) and sweetened a little bit with brown sugar. My kitchen smelled wonderful and spicy while the waffle was cooking and the smell lasted the whole day (didn't need to light a pumpkin spice candle). I also prepared the Toasted Pecan 'Butter' (Earth Balance) and served the waffle with this yummy 'butter', pure maple syrup and Soyatoo! (from last blog). It was soooo good I had 2 large waffles (a no no according my WW leader), I couldn't help it. :-)

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Vegan Sweet Potato/Yam Waffle with Toasted Pecans
Makes 6 large waffles (my waffle maker is the 7-inches Villaware, round)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour or unbleached flour
Note: you may use 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour instead of part pastry flour and part all purpose
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cup soy milk (depending how thick your pureed sweet potatoes)
15 oz pureed cooked sweet potato/yam or 3 small sweet potato (about 15 oz)
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 pecan halves

1/4 cup Earth Balance

Pure maple syrup

  1. If using fresh sweet potatoes: Pierce potatoes with a fork, microwave for 6-7 minutes or until soft. Let it cool. Peel and puree with a potato masher. Otherwise, the easy way is open the can.
  2. Toast pecan halves on a dry frying pan, turning them and watch them until they are very toasty and brown. Chop them with a knife. Mix 2 tablespoons of chopped pecan with the 1/4 cup Earth Balance.
  3. Preheat your electric waffle maker.
  4. Measure and sift dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Add the remaining chopped pecan to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Mix 2 cups soy milk, mashed sweet potatoes or canned sweet potatoes, oil, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Use an immersion blender or a hand mixer, beat or mix the liquid ingredients and mashed potato until smooth.
  6. Combine the liquid mixture and dry ingredients together until well mix. The batter should be thick like muffin butter. If it is too thick add more soy milk.
  7. Spray the hot waffle iron with canola oil spray bottle, Pour about 2/3 cup of waffle batter and set a timer for 6 minutes for each waffle or following the instructions of your waffle maker. You may need to use the oil spray for each waffle. For a very crispy waflle set the timer to 8 minutes. Serve it warm with toasted pecan 'butter' and pure maple syrup. Top with Soyatoo, if desired.

Note to Gaia:

About Soyatoo!, I didn't have a problem with the can as you said. Did you turn the can totally upside down when using it? DH told me that if using the can in an angle it may not work as properly as if it is vertically upside down.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Soyatoo! and Gimme Lean 'Sausage' Roll

I updated this blog with an easy solution for the Soyatoo can. I have been having problem trying to work the Soyatoo cans. Lots of time, the whipped soya cream will not come out. Anonymous posted a solution on one of the comments below. Thanks so much! This is very helpful.....

"Anonymous said...
Anyone having issues with Soyatoo, here's a quick fix:I once bought it and it stopped working half way, this was because I put it back in the fridge and when I took it back out (then left it for 10 minutes as suggested) it still didn't work and all that came out was the propellant. I found the solution a few days ago, the Soyatoo needs either a very long time to soften from being in the fridge or (if you're impatient like me :P) run it under hot water.It really works wonders within seconds. You can tell if it worked by shaking it, if the cream is loose inside, it worked. I haven't found it to ever need more than a few seconds under the water though."

I haven’t blogged for a while due to ‘cooking laziness’…he he…. Yes, I have suffered this disease for a few weeks. After I enjoyed my vegan birthday and someone else’s cooking, we have been eating out a lot. We live in the city so it is easy to find vegetarian or vegan restaurants around us. At home, we have been eating a lot of sandwiches and soups and store-bought vegan stuff.

Talking about store-bought vegan stuff, see what I just bought: Soyatoo! the vegan soy whip in a can.

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I have heard about this product months ago from Bryanna’s Newsletter Subscribers’ forum and have been waiting for it to appear at the Whole Foods near me. I finally saw it at this store and bought it. Amazing, soy whipped cream? Yes, I can squirt it out like regular whip cream out of a can. It has lighter texture than regular whip cream. I was satisfied with that and liked the taste. The only thing is that the whipped soy cream doesn’t stay up as long as the regular whip cream. After a few minutes, it sort of became a melty looking cream although it is still creamy. Pictured is a blackberry shortcake I made, topped with Soyatoo whipped soy cream.

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This coming Thanksgiving, vegans are able to enjoy vegan pumpkin pie with Soyatoo whipped soy cream on top. Dreamy!

The second item I enjoyed lately is the Gimme Lean from LightLife. Inspired by Albion Cooks’s blog entry: Vegetarian English Sausage Roll (September 13, 2006), I bought Gimme Lean ‘Ground Beef’ style and made a vegan sausage with it. I should have bought the ‘Sausage’ style but I could not find it. So I decided to add my own ‘sausage’ flavoring to the ‘Ground Beef’ style. I rarely use this product and in the beginning I didn’t like it. But somehow, I think, this product was improved and now I like it. I bought Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry or Aussie Puff Pastry (which is vegan) and filled it with the gimme lean sausage. The result was very good. It was really easy to make and enjoyable as snacks with spicy mustard.

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Vegan Sausage Rolls
Makes 24 2-inches rolls
Printable Recipe

1 Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style
½ to ¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup soy milk
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried crumbled sage
¼ tsp rosemary
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp salt

1 pkg Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry or Aussie Puff Pastry
Preheat oven to 400 F.

Soak breadcrumbs in soymilk for a few minutes. Then, add all sausage ingredients to mix them well with your hands. Form little sausages (about 2 inches long) and roll them with your hands.

Prepare puff pastry according to the manufacturer’s directions. Roll each sausage in puff pastry sheet with a little overlap, cut sheet, and seal the overlap with your fingers.
Lightly coat baking sheets with olive or canola oil (use spray if you like). Bake the wrapped sausages in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My Vegan Birthday !

My birthday was long gone but the memories of it are still lingering. I am so very glad to tell you all about it cause it was really a romantic day. Thanks to DLH (dear loving husband) who made my day so beautiful. Just the two of us, we spent the day in LA (if you are a single girl and looking, I highly recommend to get a hubby like him but not him since he is mine :-) ).

I was blessed with a beautiful weather on my birthday on a Sunday. No more unbearable heat and humidity days lately. That day, especially, it was a sunny clear day in the 70's. Yay! DLH doesn't cook (that's one thing he doesn't do but suits me just fine) and I don't want to cook on my birthday (no dishwashing either) so we splurged on eating out for a day and enjoyed someone else's cooking for a change. DH paid for all the meals, drove, and arranged the itinenary since it was my day. I just had to look pretty and enjoyed the day.

Real Food Daily(RFD), West Hollywood (Vegan Organic Restaurant):
We traveled for about 1 hour (with no traffic) to West Hollywood. We noticed that driving to LA area on Sunday mornings is the BEST time. Looks like a lot of LA people are going out late on Saturday nights and wake up late on Sundays. There was NO TRAFFIC! Another YAY!

Hence, when we arrived at RFD about 10:00 am, the restaurant was still closed. We could see people were hustling inside for the preparations to open. At about 10:05 am, the manager opened the doors and we were the first customers. This restaurant opens early on weekends to serve brunch and that's what we were having. We started with organic soy latte before our meal. They were yummy coffee! DH ordered The Weekender (2 french toasts, tofu scramble with soy cheese sauce on top, potato fries, vegan butter, and real maple syrup) Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting and I had the Southwestern Omelet (tofu omelet filled with blackbeans and soy cheese, potato fries, 2 slices of thin rye bread, and vegan butter). Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
There were no eggs, butter, and milk in this brunch. My cousin who lives in Beijing, China was amazed when she read my blog that I could make chocolate mousse out of tofu. Wait till she reads this blog! Yes, vegans can make everything out of tofu. People in China will be amazed.

Lake Shrine Temple, Pacific Palisades (SRF Temple and Ashram Center)

After brunch, we had time to kill before our visit to Lake Shrine Temple(opens to the public at 12:30 pm). We walked to Beverly Center, a shopping center/mall in Beverly Hills about less than 1/4 mile away from RFD. We just did a window shopping and walking our brunch off. It was a beautiful shopping center but full of shops we couldn't afford.

Then, we drove to Pacific Palisades by way of Sunset Blvd. It was an interesting journey since we passed Hollywood, Beverly Hills (passing the stars' homes), Bel Air, and Brentwood. We basically were heading toward the ocean since the temple is very close to the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Pacific Coast Hwy. We couldn't miss the temple because the building is very distinctive with white domes roof with golden lotuses on top, white walls, and golden lotuses on top of pillars. We heard about this temple from a friend and wanted to visit the 10-acres gardens with a spring-fed lake in the middle.

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It was indeed a serene and tranquil garden in the middle of LA craziness. This lake was built in 1950s so I could not imagine how peaceful this place was at that time. The garden was full of foliage, waterfalls, beautiful flowers, and statues. They also have koi fish, swans, turtles, and ducks. The temple itself is erected high on the hills above the lake overlooking the Santa Monica beach.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting We spent about 3 to 4 hours there walking around the lake, the temple, and visited the museum and book store too. We noticed that some of the visitors/tourists were speaking foreign languages so this temple must be famous in other countries. Funny, that I had never heard of it until recently.

Here are some pictures of the garden, temple, and lake:

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Busaba Thai Vegetarian Kitchen, Los Angeles
After walking for hours (5 p.m. now), I was famished and ready for our next meal. We drove to Los Angeles' famous Melrose Ave. Thai cuisine is my favorite cuisine so my request was to try this restaurant after I read the review from Vegetarian Paradise. We were surprised that this restaurant was located near M Cafe de Chaya, a macrobiotic French Japanese restaurant serving no meat, eggs, and dairy. We love M Cafe too for breakfasts, lunches, and especially for their vegan cakes and pastries. Vegetarian Paradise also did a review of M Cafe.

At Busaba (this restaurant serves lots of vegan dishes), we ordered Wonton Soup (wonton skins stuffed with shiitake , tofu, veggie shrimp, and spinach) Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting and Seaweed Rolls (seaweed stuffed with tofu, glass noodles, carrots and shiitake, served with sweet and sour dip) Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting as starters. Wow! They were DELICIOUS! We liked them right away. The wonton soup and the rolls were very tasty.

Then, we proceeded with our next item which was Tofu Larb Salad (tofu flavored with lime dressing, ground toasted rice, chili flakes, red onion, served on a bed of salad).

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YUM, YUM, YUM! This was my favorite. It was very SPICY. I meant HOT SPICY so for some of you this could be too FIERY. I loved it though! I was not named Spice Island Vegan for no reason (DLH called me that) The lime dressing gave this salad very sour and refreshing taste and yet it was a bit sweet and spicy. DLH said that it tickled every taste buds in his tongue.

Our next dishes were Busaba Special: Crisp Fish with Green Apple (crispy vegan fish served with fresh green apple, cashew nuts, red onion, chili, cilantro and a chef special dressing),

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Spinach Mushroom Sauce (spinach sauteed roasted garlic and chili with tofu and mushroom sauce, not pictured), and a bowl of brown rice. We loved the veggie fish dish. It was not as spicy as the tofu larb salad but the taste combination (sweet, sour, and spicy) was a winner also. We knew then that we will come back to this restaurant.

By now, we were stuffed but my birthday won't stop here without a sweet ending. No, no, we didn't eat desserts after all that food :-) but we bought vegan pastries to take home from M Cafe across the street. We were so full that we didn't eat our desserts till the next days. Here were my birthday vegan pastries from M Cafe: Chocolate and Banana Napoleon pastry (I can't even say the French name of it) Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting and Chocolate Tart (DLH favorite)Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thanks so much, DLH, and I love you so much! I truly enjoyed my day and will cherish this memory for more than a day.

P.S. : I want to say thank you to friends and family who sent birthday greetings: Carolina in England, Arie in Jakarta, Indonesia, mother-in-law in Missouri (HI MOM!), aunt Lotte in Netherland (who called me early Sunday morning), my mom who lives near me, aunt Lanny in Toronto, Canada, and Lia in Beijing. Love ya all!

Friday, September 15, 2006


I was tagged by primaryconsumer for a meme that's going around (it started over at The Traveler's Lunchbox- you can see the original post here). You have to pick 5 things you think everyone should eat before they die.

My first thought was tropical fruits. I grew up in a tropical island for 17 years eating a large variety of fruits that I was disappointed with the Western Hemisphere's choices of fruits. The fruits that I grew up with are so unusual to North Americans, I don't even know their English names for some of them. I really miss them and can't get all of them here in the US. I tried to get descriptions of the fruits (with pictures) I grew up with from the Internet as much as I could but some of them couldn't even be found. These are the fruits: salak (snakefruit), rambutan, jambu (wax apple or jawa apple), duku, sawo (sapodilla), sirsat (annonaceae), mangostene, blimbing (star fruit or carambola), durian, lengkeng (longan or dragon eye), mangga (mango), nangka (jackfruit), degan (young coconut) and papaya. Some of them, such as longan, rambutan, young coconut, star fruit, mango, papaya, and durian can be bought in Asian markets in my area. Although, not all varieties of fruits of the same kind are available here. For example, there are different types of mangoes and bananas in Indonesia and I only can get 1 or 2 kinds of mangoes and bananas here. They are imported from South America who doesn't have all of the varieties Indonesia has.

Another thought was Indonesian desserts or dishes flavored with screwpine leaves (pandan) and palm sugar (gula jawa). I missed the smell and flavor of fresh screwpine leaves. What I can find here are the frozen ones and they are not as strong as the fresh leaves. Like vanilla, it is the best smelling essence for desserts made with a mixture of coconut milk and palm sugar.

Here is my list of 5 foods people should try before they die

  1. The King of Fruits: Durian. I don't know why it is called the king of fruits. I think because it is the smelliest fruit in the world that it is banned from airlines, hotel, and all kinds of public places in Asian countries. People describe this fruit as 'smell like hell but taste like heaven' which is a perfect description for it. If you don't grow up with it you will need to acquire the taste, get used to the smell, and learn how to love this fruit. But once you love it, you will be missing it. You can search the Internet for 'durian' and find all kinds of stories how people describe their first encounter experiences with this fruit. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
  2. The Queen of Fruits: Mangostene. I can't find this fruit in the US, haven't had it for 26 years, and missed it. It is considered to be a medicinal fruit and has a delicious unique flavor. The mangostene juice is sold in the Internet for its healthy qualities. I didn't even know about the healthy characteristics until I read about it in the Internet. I just know that it tastes so good.
  3. Fresh Young Coconut. Hhmmm.... the taste of coconut juice(not coconut milk) and young coconut meat is so good. It is now available in my area and is sold in Asian markets. The raw foodists have made this fruit popular recently. Here is an interesting picture and movie how to open a young coconut(skills acquired to open this fruit): how to open a young coconut. Lately, I found out that Whole Foods in my area carry it. I don't know about WF in other locations though. The Indonesians usually add shaved ice and rose flavored syrup on top of a mixture of young coconut meat and juice. I usually eat them straight from the fruit.
  4. Desserts or dishes flavored by screwpine leaves (pandan). Indonesian desserts usually are flavored with pandan instead of vanilla extract. Indonesians use coconut milk and palm sugar (gula jawa) to make the desserts rich, tasty, and decadent. The original recipes of the desserts usually do not contain eggs and butter; mostly, they are vegan. But due to Western influences, new recipes with eggs and butter came out in the last decades. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Pictured is an Indonesian Pandan and Coffee Flavored Jello/Agar-agar Mold dessert. Fresh pandan leaves are great for flavoring rice and curries too.
  5. Tempeh. Just like tofu, tempeh has become popular lately in vegan and vegetarian world. This is one that either you love it or you hate it. I grew up with tempeh so of course I love it. The key to try tempeh for the first time is to eat a fresh tempeh. If you try tempeh that has been frozen for months, you more than likely will hate it. Frozen tempeh can be bitter and dry. The fresh tempeh is absolutely wonderful.

I am adding a site that has pictures of
Javanese Fruits (this is the url: ). This is quite an interesting site. Not only fruits were displayed in this site but also Javanese vegetables and snacks. I just kept clicking Next, page after page. These are the fruits, vegetables, and snacks I grew up with. There are clear pictures of exotic fruits in this site. Hhmmm...seeing them made me missed them more and I only can see the pictures. :-(

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Success! Veganized Indian Grain/Squaw Bread

For those of you who are experts in baking bread, this may not be much to be proud of. But for me who grew up with rice and noodles, baking bread is a mystery. My experience has been hit and miss. I don't know how many times I threw away a flat ball of dough because it didn't rise. After such an experience, I usually shy away from trying for a while. Then, I bought an automatic bread machine so I wouldn't fail. But it turns out that I don't like breads baked in a machine. So far, I have used my machine to make the dough and let it rise only ('dough' cycle). It works pretty well and I have never failed in baking bread since.

However, this time, the recipe for this bread is too big for my bread machine and I didn't want to cut it in half. I wanted to bake 2 loaves and freeze one. To tell you the truth, I was challenged to do it the traditional way like a real baker. Of course, I cheated and had help from my Kitchen Aid mixer to knead the dough. I was not so industrious to knead the dough with my own hands. Are you kidding? Look what I did! I pat myself on the back for successfully baking such really nice looking loaves. Naturally I have to blog it and show off!

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I have always loved dark colored breads with molasses such as squaw or pumpernickel. It is hard to find them in bakeries and I don't know why. Maybe because they are a bit sweet and people just don't buy them. I like my bread a little bit sweet and this must be an Asian thing. I searched the Internet for a recipe and found one but it is not vegan since it uses honey, milk powder and butter. It was easy to veganize it; though, I love the result without missing the butter, honey, or milk powder. I used half maple syrup and half molasses to replace the honey. Next time, I want to use all molasses since I like it a bit darker. I also thought that it was too sweet and will reduce the brown sugar.

For brushing the top, I used a cornstarch glaze which was Bryanna's idea, posted a while back in her newsletter. Instead of using egg whites, I used water and cornstarch, cooked until thickened and cooled. Then, I brushed the top of the unbaked loaves with this mixture to give the top a 'shine' and to allow the toppings (like rolled oats) to stick to the bread while it is baking. I baked one with rolled oats topping and one without.

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We have eaten this bread as is, warmed in the oven, and topped with Earth Balance. We have also used it as a sandwich bread and pictured below is 'Turkey' Avocado Cranberry sandwich I prepared. I used Tofurky Deli Slices Hickory Smoked 'Turkey' (my favorite), Organic Reed Avocado slices, Organic No-Sugar Cranberry Sauce (store bought), Vegenaise, fresh tomato slices from our garden, and lettuce leaves. I love the combination of cranberry sauce, seitan turkey, vegan mayonnaise, home grown tomato slices, and squaw bread.

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Servings: 32
Yield: 2 loaves
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

Adapted from a recipe I got from the Internet, I veganized this bread and turned out to be really good. Instead of honey, I use maple syrup or molasses. The brown sugar, raisins, and maple syrup gives sweetness to rye-whole-wheat grain bread. This bread is yummy for a sandwich or just with a dab of Earth Balance. This bread is a bit sweet and you can reduce the brown sugar if you like to reduce the sweetness.

Printable Recipe

2 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable or canola or safflower oil
1/4 cup organic maple syrup or organic molasses
1/4 cup organic raisins
5 tbsp organic brown sugar
2 pkgs active dry yeast (1/4 oz. per pkg.)
1/4 cup warm water (110 F degrees)
2 1/2 cups organic unbleached flour
3 cups organic whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups rye flour
1/2 cup soy milk powder
2 1/2 tsp salt

For toppings:

1 tbsp melted Earth Balance
1/2 cup water
1 tsp cornstarch
rolled oats

  1. Combine water, oil, molasses or maple syrup, raisins, and 4 tablespoons brown sugar in a blender. Liquify.
  2. Soften yeast in warm water with remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Let the yeast dissolved in warm water for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl sift together all the flours. salt, and soy milk powder. Place molasses or maple syrup mixture and yeast mixture in a mixer bowl. Add half of the flour mixture. Beat with dough hook of your mixer. Gradually stir in the remaining flours to make soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Let it knead for about 10 minutes. See tip.
  4. Place dough in lightly greased bowl and turn to grease surface. Cover and let rise until double (about 1 1/2 hours).
  5. Punch down and let it rest 10 minutes. Divide into 2 loaves and place into 2 lightly greased 9" by 5" bread loaf pans OR divide into 4 round loaves and placed on greased cookie sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let it rise in warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).
  6. Prepare topping: heat 1/2 cup water with cornstarch, mix well, and let it simmer till thickened. Let this mixture cool. Just before baking, brush both loaves with the cornstarch mixture and sprinkled with rolled oats on top.
  7. Bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 30-35 minutes. Brush with melted Earth Balance and cool on racks.

    Nutrition Facts
    Nutrition (per serving): 142.0 calories; 18% calories from fat; 2.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 155.8mg sodium; 109.5mg potassium; 25.8g carbohydrates; 1.5g fiber; 4.5g sugar; 24.3g net carbs; 3.0g protein; 2.8 points.

    Cooking TipsI could not use my bread machine to knead the dough since this recipe is too big for it. You can cut the recipe in half to knead it in your bread machine. I kneaded the dough in my Kitchen-Aid Heavy Duty mixer. This mixer almost could not do the job to knead dough for 2 loaves of bread. I was afraid that it would start to smoke but fortunately it didn't. I wish I have a Bosch mixer. Oh well!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Buddha's 'Mock Peking Duck' or Mu Shu Tofu?


Buddha's 'Mock Peking Duck' or Mu Shu Tofu? Vote for one and tell me why! I voted for the 'Mock Peking Duck'. I love the crispyness of the yuba. DH likes both but voted for the Mock Peking Duck too. It is like the bad versus the good or the devil versus the angel, the Mock Peking Duck has more fat and is addicting but the Mu Shu Tofu is low fat and good for you. I suppose to eat the Mu Shu Tofu only since I am in Weight Watcher and counting points! :-) Oh well, I am bad!

The idea of making the 'Mock Peking Duck' dish came from reading Bryanna's blog: Buddha's "Roast Duck" with Yuba. I followed her recipe and served it 'Peking' style ( pictured on the left, above) on a fresh thin pancake or crepe( spring roll wrapper that I bought from the Chinese market), topped with thinly sliced scallions, and drizzled with 'Duck Sauce'. Here is how mine came out after it was fried crispy, before it was cut:

I followed Bryanna's duck sauce recipe also but added 2 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp. water to thicken it. This sauce was very good.
I found this fresh Spring Rolls wrapper or Mandarin thin crepe in a Chinese market. This was how I started thinking about making the Mu Shu Tofu. Then, the 'mock duck' idea came later on. For those of you who have ordered Mu Shu anything in a Chinese restaurant should know what this crepe looks like. I know some of you may not be able to get it in the areas where you live, especially, if you don't live in a city. However, if your nearby Chinese restaurant serves Mu Shu, you can ask them where to buy it. Most restaurants don't make the thin crepe themselves.
I adapted the Mu Shu Tofu recipe from Bryanna's 'Authentic Chinese Cuisine for the Contemporary Kitchen' cookbook (Mock Peking Duck recipe is in this book too). Bryanna's is not Chinese but her recipes are pretty authentic. I am very impressed and using this cookbook all the time in my kitchen. Mu Shu Tofu recipe is printed on page 126. You can also make Mandarin Pancakes yourself and follow her recipe on page 88 but I haven't tried this myself. I thought I'll save it for later if I ever live in the 'boonies' and can't get the fresh crepes from a nearby Chinese market.
Here is how I made it ( I didn't use the scrambled tofu as listed in the recipe but I used my smoked baked tofu):
Mu Shu Tofu
Adapted from Bryanna's Authentic Chinese Cuisine cookbook
6-8 servings

Printable Recipe

5 dried Chinese black mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms
1/2 small cabbage, shredded(about 4 to 5 cups)
1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled, shredded
2 cups slivered smoked baked tofu, recipe in previous post
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp brown or yellow bean sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry (I used Aji-Mirin)
1 tbsp mushroom soaking broth
1 tsp unbleached sugar
24 Mandarin Pancakes
Hoisin Sauce (store bought)
In a separate bowls, soak the dried mushrooms in a boiling water for 20 minutes. When they are soft, drain them, reserve some of the soaking water for the sauce above. Discard the stems, cut into sliver.
Heat a large wok or heavy skillet over high heat until it's very hot. Add the sesame oil. When the oil is hot, add the tofu slivers and stir-fry until they are brown. Add slivered mushrooms, cabbage, and carrots. Stir-fry for a few more minutes. Add the sauce ingredients and toss well. Add green onions and mix.
Serve with Mandarin Pancakes. Each diner places a bit of hoisin sauce on the pancake, add the mu shu mixture, rolls it up, and eats it with their hands.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Simple Summer Fare: Vegan Korean Banchan Dinner

We had hot weather last weekend, AGAIN! Aargh! Fall, please come quickly, I am ready for you! I decided to make a simple Korean meal so I don’t have to turn on the oven. I just boiled a few fresh vegetables and seasoned them. I also pan fried marinated Soycurls™. I served these with kim chee that I made a week before. BTW, these dishes can be served slightly warm or at a room temperature so they are great for a picnic or traveling. This kind of style where the dishes are served on small plates or amounts with rice are called Banchan.

The Koreans use a lot of sesame oil and sesame seeds in their seasonings. There is a Korean market within a walking distance from our house that sells lots of toasted sesame seeds and gallons of sesame oil. Sesame seeds and oil are healthy. If olive oil is heavily used in Italy and Mediterranean, sesame oil is the equivalent in Korea. Sesame seeds are a good source of calcium, copper, and full of Omega 6. Here is an article that describes all about it: Open Sesame!

Sesame seeds and oil are delicious! For those who have cooked with sesame oil, don’t you think so? I used brown and black sesame seeds on top of the steamed brown rice.
From the top (clockwise) I made Pea sprouts and Carrots salad, Seasoned Boiled Spinach, Seasoned Soybeans Sprouts, Spicy Gochujang Soycurls™ , Steamed Short Grain Brown Rice, and Homemade Kim Chee. DH loves the Seasoned Soybeans Sprouts very much. It is best to use fresh vegetables for this meal. We are lucky enough to live close to Asian markets that provide lots of fresh pea sprouts, beansprouts, spinach, and napa cabbage.

Gochujang is Korean Red Pepper and Bean Paste. I bought this at the Korean market and as far as I know only Korean market sells it. This paste is a condiment and a seasoning for cooking. The use of it is just like American ketchup but it is spicy and hot. Here is a picture of a tub of Gochujang that is commonly sold in the Korean market. I love the fermented taste (it is miso like), the spicy, and a bit sweet taste. I used Soycurls™ which seem to absorb gochujang and other the spices very well.

Now, about kim chee, for those who do not know what kim chee is, here is an info about kim chee. It is considered a national dish of Korea. It is a spicy, sour, and fermented napa cabbage spiced with Korean red pepper, salt, garlic, and ginger. Other kind of vegetables can be used also such as cucumber, green onions, Chinese mustard green, daikon, etc. The Korean market near our house is like a 'house of kim chee'. They sell all kinds of kim chee. However, I was told many times that there is shrimp paste or fish flavoring in store-bought kim chee that usually is not listed on the product label. I don’t know for sure whether this is true but I haven’t bought kim chee from a store for a long time. Julie Hasson provided me with her husband’s recipe of kim chee and I have made it several times at home. It is really good.

Printable Recipes

Pea Sprouts and Carrot Salad
Serve 4

2-3 cups fresh pea sprouts
1 cup grated and peeled carrots

Salad dressing:
½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
½ cup aji-mirin
1 tsp roasted sesame oil
1 tsp organic sugar

Mix pea sprouts, carrots, and ¼ cup salad dressing or more, just before serving. Save the rest of the salad dressing for next meals.

Seasoned Boiled Spinach
Serve 4

3 bundles fresh spinach, clean leaves and break off the roots
2-3 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp roasted sesame seeds
¾ tsp sea salt

Boil about 6-8 cups of water. Put fresh spinach leaves into the boiling water. Push them down until all covered and submerged in the water. Let it simmer for 2 minutes. Drain in a large colander and immediately rinse with cold water until the spinach is cool. This is to stop the cooking process and to sustain the fresh green color. Squeeze all the water out from the spinach. Combine spinach, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and salt in a bowl. Use a fork to break the spinach apart while pouring sesame oil and other ingredients.

Seasoned Soybean Sprouts
Serve 4

1 lb fresh soybean sprouts
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions/green onions
2-3 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Korean red pepper flakes
½ tsp sea salt

Boil 3-4 cups of water. Put fresh beansprouts into the boiling water. Push them down until all covered and submerged in the water. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately rinse with cold water until the sprouts are cool. This is to stop the cooking process. Squeeze all the water out from the sprouts. Combine sprouts, scallions, sesame oil, Korean red pepper, and salt in a bowl.

Note about Korean red pepper or Kochu Garu: This kind of pepper can only be found in Korean market. This is different than the red pepper we put on pizzas or other dishes. I really don’t know the difference (maybe a different kind of chili pepper that grows in Korea?) but it is different. Those of you who knows about it please let me know.

Cucumber Pickles
Serve 4
On the side, I also served this cucumber pickles. It is refreshing.
2 Japanese/Korean cucumbers, sliced horizontally
2 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp organic sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Korean red pepper flakes
Mix cucumber and all the ingredients together. Let it sit in the refrigerator until ready to be served.

Spicy Gochujang Soycurls™
Serve 4

6 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger or about 2 tsp grated ginger
3 tbsp dark mushroom soy sauce (you can use light soy sauce)
3 tbsp gochujang
1 tbsp aji-mirin
2 tbsp organic sugar
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp ground sesame seeds (grind them in a small blender or coffee grinder)
2 tsp sesame oil

3 cups dry Soycurls™, reconstitute them in warm water as instructed on the package, then squeeze the water out

Put all the marinade ingredients in a small blender. Blend until smooth. Alternatively, you don’t have to use a blender, but you have to mince the garlic and ginger very fine. Mix all the marinade ingredients well. Marinade reconstituted Soycurls™ with the sauce for about 15 minutes.

Just before serving, pan fry marinated Soycurls™ on a non-stick griddle or a cast iron frying pan until hot and a bit blackened. You can use canola oil spray from a can or 2 tsp or more of sesame oil to pan fry them.

Jay’s Kim Chee
Makes a lot, about 1 gallon I think

This is a great and quick kim chee recipe I received from Julie. You need to wait a while before you can enjoy it because you have to wait for the fermentation to take place. However, once it is done, you can enjoy it for weeks to come. Summer time is the best time to make kimchee because the weather is warm and the kim chee ferments quickly.

2 cups water
2 tbsp sweet rice flour *
2 medium heads napa cabbage, sliced into 1-inch or larger pieces
2 ½ tbsp kosher salt (see my note about Korean salt below) *
4 to 5 tbsp Korean hot red pepper flake (see my note about about Korean red pepper)*
¼ cup minced ginger
¼ cup minced garlic
½ cup thinly sliced scallions or green onions

In a saucepan, whisk together water and rice flour until smooth. Heat over medium heat, whisking continuously, until mixture thickens and starts to simmer. Remove from heat and let cool off a bit. Add pepper, whisking well.
In a very large bowl, add cabbage and sprinkle with salt, scallions, ginger and garlic, tossing to mix. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Pour cooled sauce over cabbage, tossing well.
Let cabbage sit at a room temperature for a couple hours (you can refrigerate it right away, but the flavor is better if you let it sit out for a few hours first). Toss well and place in a large glass container and refrigerate.

* All of the ingredients are available at the Korean market

I usually let it sit in a room temperature overnight in summer and 2 nights in winter. However, be prepared of the stinky fermentation smell, so put them in your garage or outside in the patio. I also have a refrigerator in my garage where I store my jars of kim chee.

Note about salt: Do not use iodized salt or table salt to make kim chee. The best kind is sea salt or kosher salt. I buy this kind of salt in Korean market. The fermentation of the cabbage is derived from the salt and its combination with garlic, ginger, and red pepper.
Here is an article about how it all work in cabbage fermentation: Cabbage Patch Chemistry
Here is an artilce about kim chee and more tips how to make it: Got the Hots for Kim Chee

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sushi Party: Vegan Temaki and Inari Sushi

More sushi? That's right, I am sushi crazy at this moment. This time I made 2 different ones: Inari and Temaki sushi. Inari sushi is made of seasoned aburage or tofu pouches (the brown pockets) filled with sushi rice. The Temaki Sushi (the cone shape one) is a hand-rolled sushi which is great for a sushi party. I'll tell you why later! Both kinds were filled with brown rice and quinoa mixture from my previous post: Vegan Quinoa and Brown Rice Sushi and Cavi-Art.

It is easy to order Inari sushi in any Japanese sushi bar or restaurant. Most of the time, the chef can prepare you some. It is considered vegetarian by them but I know that usually fish broth is used to cook and season the tofu pouches. It is only a miniscule amount but it is not pure vegetarian. You have to ask! The Japanese market also sells the seasoned tofu pouches (ready made for Inari). But again, guess what is used to season them? Yes, bonito flakes or broth! So, please read the ingredients if you are concerned of buying a pure vegetarian product. I seasoned my own aburage (recipe below). Un-seasoned aburage or tofu pouches can be bought in any Japanese or Asian market. It turns out that I need to buy frozen ones since the refrigerated ones may have been on the shelves too long. They can become moldy as I found out. Yuck! The Korean market near me sells it in frozen section.

The Temaki sushi or hand-rolled sushi is great for a sushi party. This kind of sushi is only good to eat when it is freshly made (unlike the ones rolled in a bamboo mat). If Temaki sits for a while, the nori becomes tough and chewey. Therefore, instead of rolling them ahead for your guests, put your guests to work! The ones who don't want to do it can enjoy your pre-made Inari and bamboo rolled sushi pieces you prepare ahead. But most of the time, everyone wants to participate. You can pile all the fillings on a tray (as pictured below), prepare a bowl of sushi rice, and put them in the middle of the table. Each guest should be supplied with a damp hand towel to wipe their sticky hands from rolling and a small bowl of water to glue the nori together. Then, the host or hostess (ME!) can demonstrate how it is rolled and how to make the cone shape with the sushi rice and the filling in the middle.

Anyone can be taught to roll a Temaki; after all, I was able to teach DH (dearest husband) who doesn't cook but likes to eat. He did pretty well, too! It is fun if you are with good company who likes sushi and enjoys something different. It should be a fun thing to do for a small group gathering where you want to have some conversation to catch up with old or new friends.

The Temaki filling from the top left, clockwise, are: seasoned shiitake mushrooms (recipe below), seasoned aburage (recipe below), sliced Japanese cucumbers, shredded carrots, seasoned and smoked baked tofu (recipe below), organic avocado, and nori sheets (cut in half).

Below are small recipes to prepare for Temaki and Inari sushi:

Printable Recipe

Seasoned Shiitake Mushrooms
6 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup mushroom soaking water or vegetarian broth or kombu dashi
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoon aji-mirin

If using dried mushrooms, cover mushrooms in warm water until softened for 20-30 minutes. Discard stems from mushrooms and sliced them thin (1/4 inch thick). Place the rest of ingredients in a sauce pan, bring it to a boil, then, simmer mushrooms in this mixture for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Seasoned Aburage (tofu pouches)
8 pieces thin deep-fried tofu pouches/aburage (store bought! don't try making it yourself)
1 cup mushroom soaking water or vegetarian broth or kombu dashi
2 tablespoons organic sugar
2 teaspoons mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

Boil about 3 or 4 cups of water. Remove from heat after boiling. Put thin tofu pouches in hot boiling water to remove the excess oil. Soak and dip for 2 minutes. Drain the pouches in a colander. Squeeze the water out after they are cool a bit.
In a saucepan, combine the rest of the ingredients and let it boil, stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer the tofu pouches in this mixture for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let it cool. Let the pouches soak in this mixture until ready to use. Squeeze the broth mixture out and cut each pouch lengthwise to make two open pockets. Seasoned aburage is ready to be used in Inari sushi.

Inari Sushi
1/2 recipe of brown rice and quinoa sushi filling (recipe in previous post)
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup frozen green peas
16 pieces of seasoned aburage pockets (from above)
1 teaspoon dulse flakes, optional

Blanch carrots and green peas in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain, rinse with cold water to retain the color, and let them cool. Mix carrots and green peas with the sushi filling. Add dulse flakes, if desired, and mix well. Fill the aburage pockets with 2 to 3 tablespoons of sushi rice.

Smoked Baked Tofu
1 to 1 1/2 lb. extra-firm tofu
3/4 to 1 cup water
1/4 cup dark Superior brand mushroom soy sauce
Note: regular soy sauce will do but this dark mushroom soy sauce is my preference. It makes the baked tofu dark chocolate brown but the inside is light cream color. Pretty and delicious!
2 tablespoon maple syrup or organic molasses
1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke

Slice tofu about 1/3-inch thick lengthwise. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a plastic container with tight lid in which you can soak all of the tofu slices in this marinade sauce. Marinate the tofu slices for 24 hours in refrigerator. Bake drained marinated tofu slices on an oiled cookie sheets for 10- 12 minutes in 400 F oven. Flip and bake the other side about another 10-12 minutes. Let them cool before use.

As you can see, it is not that hard to prepare. Now, if you want to learn how to roll a Temaki sushi, please let me know and I'll invite you to our sushi party. We can have conversations while rolling so we'll know each other better and become lifelong friends!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Native Foods' Vegan Jungle Boogie Bars - our favorite!

We have boogied down with these bars for so long now. I said WE because I started baking these bars from The Native Foods Restaurant cookbook and then DH ended up baking them more often later on. They are actually DH's favorite and this time he actually made the bars pictured above and I decided to finally blog them. It has becoming his job to bake them and he does it very well.

The first time we tried the boogie bars was actually at the Native Foods restaurant (we are lucky to live only 10 minutes from the restaurant). They so good that I bought the cookbook because the recipe is in the book. Since then we make them at home often. Although, time to time, when we dine at Native Foods, DH still buys one to take home. I can't believe how addicted to boogie bars he is!

The bars are loaded with maple syrup. I think Canadians would love them. They are not cheap to make since real maple syrup is not cheap. Plus, I have all organic ingredients in our pantry that usually are not cheap. Other than maple syrup flavor, the bars are moistened with banana, oil, silken tofu, and shortening. I know, it is not low fat at all (I haven't yet de-fatenized it). Other ingredients are vegan chocolate chips, shredded dry coconuts, sliced almonds, flour, and rolled oats (sliced almonds for on top too). They resemble blondies but not quite like them. You just have to buy the book, bake them, judge them yourself and boogie down. But don't blame us if you'll get hooked. They can be stored in the freezer too (wrap them individually) but the best time to eat them is when they are freshly baked.

DH is an expert to bake these. His tips are to bake them longer (the recipe says 35- 40 minutes, he bakes them for 50 minutes), don't over mix when combining the liquid and dry ingredients (just fold them gently with a spatula), use a metal baking pan, and reduce the maple syrup about 1/3 cup.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Millennium Chocolate-Almond Midnight - Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie

Yum yum yum! That's all I can say about this chocolate mousse pie. A bite of this pie, your tongue will fly to cloud no. 9. The creamy chocolaty mousse on top of a cashew crust was served with raspberry sauce/couli and almond pralines. Since I bought the Millennium cookbook, I have had a strong desire to make this dessert but I didn't want to make it just for the 2 of us. DH invited few vegetarian ex-coworkers to our home for vegan Japanese cuisine (guess who did all the cooking). Finally, I took this opportunity to make this mousse pie. Our guest was so impressed and said, 'If you didn't tell me that this cake is made of tofu, I would not know it!'. Oh, I love to hear that! Tofu rocks!

Yes, this mousse pie is made of tofu, 2 boxes of Mori-Nu Lite Extra Firm silken tofu! 2 cups Tropical Source Vegan Chocolate Chips were added to it. The crust underneath it is made of cashew, flour, and a bit of sugar. The crust was baked blindly first. Then, the silken tofu, melted chocolate chips, vanilla extract, sugar, are blended in a processor and poured into the baked crust. Then, I baked it for about 35 minutes. It was that easy!

I made the almond pralines and raspberry sauce myself too. The recipes for the pralines and raspberry couli are in the cookbook too. The Millennium restaurant in San Francisco serves this dessert at their restaurant every night. It has become their customers' favorite. I have never visited the Millennium but I would love to, one day.

DH doesn't like the raspberry sauce served with it but I do. The combination of chocolate and raspberry is my favorite. Fortunately, we had leftover and happily finished the leftover. It is not heavy as mousse with real milk/cream and I am sure that the calorie is half of the real mousse. It is so decadent that I don't miss the real mousse. It is long gone now but we still dream about it!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Vegan Quinoa and Brown Rice Sushi and Cavi-Art

As you can tell, I am still in Japanese cuisine mood! I made vegan quinoa and brown rice sushi this time. I have been making sushi since the days before I became a vegetarian (10 years ago) . After becoming a vegetarian, veggie sushi was one of the first dish I tried to make. However, last week, it was the first time I used quinoa and brown rice mixture (following WW Core) in sushi. The result was amazing!

The idea came from a recipe of a Sushi Salad (Bara-Sushi) with Quinoa and Brown Rice from Bryanna's newsletter. I was thinking that I can roll this mixture and make rolled sushi. I added some vegan 'fish eggs' in the sushi. Yes, there is such a thing! I can't believe it myself when I first heard about it from a friend that I had to order some. They are basically fake caviar made of sea vegetables. Check this out: Cavi-Art . It was invented by a mistake according to the story. BTW, only the Black and Yellow lumpfish are vegan. I used the yellow lumpfish in the rolled sushi and the black ones on top. Professional chefs use this fake caviar in their dishes, vegetarian or not. Probably, it is due the high price of real caviar.

The pale green glob is wasabi. I used natural wasabi powder I bought from health food market. Most wasabi out there contains green food coloring. The natural wasabi is pale but there is no additives in it. The Japanese market sells wasabi in a paste form in a tube like toothpaste too but I prefer the powder form without food coloring.

The pinkish rose is Japanese pickled ginger that I bought from an Asian market. The idea of making a rose out of pickled ginger came from my favorite sushi cookbook: Vegetarian Sushi by Brigid Treloar. This cookbook contains artful designs of vegetarian sushi and garnishes with lots of picture. I just love it! The recipes are mostly vegan except some that use omelet. What helped me the most was the technique to make sushi rice (brown or white). The rice has to be hot while the seasonings (rice vinegar, sugar, mirin, and salt) are poured into it. Then, you have to fold the rice with over and under motions while your other hand (or your loved one's hand) is fanning the rice with a fan. I usually use my left hand to fan and my right hand to stir and fold. It is quite a challenging! Just like when you try to draw a cirlce with the right hand and a square with the left hand at the same time. After a while, the sushi rice becomes cool, shiny and sticky. The technique really works!

Vegan Quinoa and Brown Rice Sushi
Makes 32 sushi pieces
Printable Recipe

Sushi Rice:

2/3 cup short-grain brown rice cooked in 1 1/4 water
1/2 cup quinoa cooked in 1 cup water
3 - 4 Tbsp. Organic Seasoned Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Aji-Mirin (or other kind of mirin)
3/4 Tbsp. vegan sugar
1/2 tsp salt


Shredded carots from 1 carrot
Thinly sliced peeled and seeded cucumber from 1 cucumber
Sliced avocado from 1 avocado
Yellow lumpfish and
Black lumpfish Cavi-Art

4 Nori sheets
a small bowl of water to wet your finger
Natural Wasabi Powder
Soy sauce

  1. Mix natural wasabi powder ( 1:1 ratio) with water to create a thick paste. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes (if you use it right away after mixing, it could be bitter).
  2. Cook brown rice for 45 minutes. 30 minutes after the brown rice has been cooked, cook Quinoa in simmering water for 15 minutes, remove it from heat and then let it sit for 10 minutes. This way the brown rice and quinoa will be ready almost at the same time.
  3. Combine brown rice and quinoa in a shallow glass bowl. Add all the seasonings for sushi rice (rice vinegar, mirin, salt, and sugar) and fold the quinoa and brown rice with over and under motions with a rice paddle while fanning the rice at the same time to cool it off. After about 5 minutes, the mixture should be cooler, shiny, and sticky. Taste the rice. Add more rice vinegar or salt if necessary.
  4. Use a sushi bamboo mat layered with a piece of saran wrap on top it, place the nori sheet on top of it (shiny side down).
  5. Divide quinoa and brown rice mixture into 4 equal parts. Layer 1 part of rice on the lower half of the nori and pat it down with your hand (using saran wrap helps for the rice mixture not to stick onto your hand). Cover only about 1/2 of the nori (lower half) with rice mixture.
  6. Pile filling lengthwise on the middle of the rice mixture.
  7. Lift the bamboo mat and fold all together to form a log on the lower half where the rice mixture covered the nori. Squeeze tight the bamboo mat evenly. Wet your finger with water and dab about 1 inch of the edge of the nori on the upper half.
  8. Release the bamboo mat and plastic wrap from the sushi log. Roll the sushi log to the upper half of the nori. Use the bamboo mat if necessary to tighten the roll. The upper half of the nori should stick to the log.
  9. With a sharp knife, cut the log into half. Then cut each half equally into 4 pieces.
  10. Repeat for the previous step to make 3 more rolls.
  11. Serve with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger.
I even taught my co-worker to make this during lunch time at work. My co-worker bought frozen already cooked brown rice from Trader Joe's and I cooked the quinoa at home. Then, we reheated both grains in a microwave. By golly, it worked! I really like the shortcut to buy the frozen brown rice from Trader Joe's! She thought that the fanning of the rice mixture was so much fun. She also said that someone really needs to show her how to do the technique because she would not able to follow just from a recipe. That made me thinking that I can start a cooking class and quit my job (just kidding).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Vegan Teriyaki 'Steak', is it possible?

Yes, it is possible if you know Bryanna. I am her no.1 fan and a long time vegan feaster who follow her creations in her newsletters. Her recent newsletter features 'vegan steak'. So here it is, my use of her 'steak', and of course, I have to make it Asian style. Above in the picture are teriyaki 'steak' (DH called it Japanese Kobe Teriyaki Steak), teriyaki 'pork cutlet' (Bryanna's recipe too), and teriyaki 'eel' (using store bought vegan fish). These were marinated in my own wasabi teriyaki sauce and bbqued in my Cuisinart panini bbq grill/griddle. When I was eating meat, I love teriyaki anything and since I became a vegetarian I realized that I missed the flavor and texture of bbqed teriyaki instead of the meat and the blood in it. Bryanna's creation of faux steak has satisfied that cravings in me.

I know some vegetarians(non-vegetarians) are disgusted with faux meat or mock meat but I am with Bryanna in this. We are having fun creating faux meat or fish that it has becoming a culinary art. It adds more variety to the dishes that we create eventhough we already have a lot of ways we can do with vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. We play with wheat gluten flour, soy flour, tofu, and yuba to create mock meat and fish. Bryanna is definitely the 'Queen of Faux Meat'. She can create seitans that the results were almost too real. I learned so much from her (even flew hundreds miles to attend her cooking vacation in 2004) in making faux meat that I bought 25 lbs. vital wheat gluten flour and have been making so many different kind of seitan since.

I can't post the 'steak' recipe since it is reserved for vegan feasters only (who subscribes to the newsletter). I am posting my wasabi teriyaki sauce recipe which I created after I bought SoyVay Wasabiyaki sauce. Soy Vay has delicious sauces but this time I made my own to save money and honestly I can't stand the challenge of not recreating it at home. Here is the recipe:

Wasabi Teriyaki Marinade/sauce
Printable Recipe

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/2 cup Aji-mirin or Japanese cooking wine
1 cup water mixed with 4 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup organic apple juice
2 tbsp organic molasses or other sweetener
4-5 tsps wasabi powder
1 tbsp brown sugar

Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil on a skillet on a medium high heat. Add minced garlic and chopped onions. Saute for several minutes until onions are soft.
Add soy sauce, mirin, apple juice, molasses, and brown sugar. Let it come to a boil.
Add water and cornstarch mixture. Let it come to a boil again.
Add wasabi powder and turn off heat.
Transfer to a blender. With the top off or the middle part of the blender off (this is to prevent accident in blending hot mixture) and use a kitchen towel to cover the top and hold it with your hand, blend the teriyaki mixture for several minutes until smooth (carefully, start from the lowest setting of your blender and go the the puree setting).
Let the sauce cool before storing it in a bottle or jar. Keep in refridgerator for months.

Servings: 16
Yield: 3 cups

Nutrition FactsNutrition (per serving): 31.9 calories; 24% calories from fat; 0.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 2.1mg sodium; 63.4mg potassium; 4.9g carbohydrates; 0.1g fiber; 3.3g sugar; 4.8g net carbs; 0.1g protein; 0.7 points.

We ate the teriyaki with pan fried cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and a bowl of steamed brown rice. I am going back to eating and cooking Japanese again. Japanese cuisine is the one cuisine I missed the most in terms of eating out (in my area, there is no Japanese vegetarian restaurant that I know of or any Japanese restaurant who serves vegetarian food).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Blueberry Raspberry Pine Nut Pie for 4th of July!

I haven't posted a blog for a long time. We have been on vacations to South Utah and Las Vegas for 1 trip and to Missouri to attend a family wedding for another trip. Then, I got a severe cold from a virus that I caught from the flight home from Missouri. Yaik!

Finally, here is the first bloggable item I made today. Berries are in season right now and I bought some to make a 4th of July pie. I was planning to take this pie to a 4th of July block party at our neighborhood tonight. Hence, it looked so good. DH and I were going to cut a piece and share it between us to try it out first before we served it to our neighbors because I have never made it before. Well, this plan didn't work well! We ate half of the pie in 1 sitting! After my 1st bite of the first piece, I kept getting another bite etc. etc. DH questioned "Where is my bite?" I gave him 1 bite and that was it, I finished the rest of the piece so he decided to cut his own piece. Then, I cut another piece after I ate my first piece. DH did the same, too. There you go, half a pie was gone in minutes. It is not that we are pigs but this pie is so goood! There is no way we will go to the party with half eaten pie so we decided to keep the rest for tomorrow(for us) and go empty handed to the party. Thankgoodness, bringing a dish was not required.

This recipe came from Love, Eric cookbook by Eric Lechasseur (see my previous post: Strawberry Mousse Cake). It is a 'wheat-free' recipe. I have never used spelt flour before and was surprised of the result of the pie crust. It was a great pie crust made of spelt flour, maple sugar, and safflower oil.

This pie is not low-fat because of the pine nuts which has 17 g of fat per 1/4 cup. It is deliciously rich but not too sweet. The blueberries compliment the rich filling. The original recipe use blueberries only but I added raspberries to make the pie red, white, and blue for the 4th (the pine nut filling is white).

I changed the recipe a little bit because I don't have grapeseed oil on hand. I replaced it with safflower oil. I also didn't use the glaze because I don't have kuzu and it still tastes yummy.

Here is the recipe:

Printable Recipe

Blueberry Pine Nut Pie (Makes 6 servings)
by Eric Lechausser (Love, Eric cookbook)

For the pine nut filling:1 1/2 cups pine nuts
2 oz. silken tofu (Mori-Nu brand)
4 tbsp. organic apple sauce
1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp safflower oil

For the pie crust:1 3/4 cup spelt flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup maple sugar
1/3 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup water

For the blueberry topping:1 1/2 cups fresh organic blueberries
1 cup organic apple juice
1 tbsp kuzu or tapioca flour
1 tbsp agar flakes

To prepare the pine nuts:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200F
  2. Roast the pine nuts lightly on a baking sheet in the oven just until lightly golden color, approximately 4 to 5 minutes (or toast pine nuts on the stovetop in a skillet).
  3. Transfer roasted nuts to a food processor and grind into a fine powder.
To make the pie crust:
  1. Increase oven temperature to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, emulsify the wet ingredients then combine with the dry mixture.
  4. Knead quickly and allow dough to sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Roll out the dough to fit six 4-inch pie shells or one 8-inch pie shell. Bake pie crust for 10 minutes and set aside. ( I think he meant bake it blindly. I also use a fork to make tiny holes on the unbaked crust first before baking)
To make the pine nut filling and pie:
  1. Add the remaining ingredients to the pine nuts in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into the pie shell. Bake for 20 minutes. (I baked mine for about 30 minutes since I use a 9-inch tart pan).
To make the blueberry topping:
(I actually didn't make the glaze and just arrange blueberries and raspberries on top of the baked pie)

  1. In a saucepan, combine the apple juice with the agar over medium-high heat. Simmer until agar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve the kuzu/tapioca with 1 tablespoon of water.
  3. Whisk the kuzu/tapioca mixture into the apple juice and continue cooking and whisking until mixture thickens.
  4. When it has fully thickened, turn off the heat.
  5. Add the fresh blueberries to the saucepan and stir the mixture with a spatula.
  6. Pour over the baked pie.
  7. Allow the pie to cool before serving.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Dessert: Strawberry Mousse Cake

This dessert was not an impromptu one like the dinner entree and salad in my previous posts. It was planned as soon as I received Love, Eric cookbook by Eric Lechasseur sent by mail. This cookbook has beautiful pictures on almost every page. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves to make vegan desserts.

How I found the cookbook was another story. Julie, my friend in Oregon, recommended M Cafe De Chaya, a macrobiotic restaurant, in Los Angeles. We went there last month for a casual dinner to celebrate our anniversary. The dinner was great but I fell in love with their vegan macrobiotic desserts and pastries. A huge glass display case filled with European style desserts and pastries and they are all VEGAN. Oh my! My DH had to ask the guy behind the counter if it is true that there is no egg or dairy in ALL of them; although, there was a big sign hanging above 'NO DAIRY, NO EGGS, AND NO REFINED SUGAR'. It was confirmed that they are vegan. I pointed the sign to DH but he said, 'I have to ask and make sure because it is unbelievable!' True, it is unreal! We as vegans are so used to go to a bakery or patiserrie and just drool on what's on the display case and wish that they are vegan. But not here, at M Cafe, we can order whatever we want as long as our wallets can take it.

These are the kind of desserts I love, too. Growing up in Asia, I don't particularly appreciate American desserts since they are too sugary for me. Asian desserts are generally not very sweet. I thought it was just me for being 'not a dessert person' but actually it is just that I don't enjoy sugary desserts. Now I remember that I used to go to Little Tokyo in Los Angeles and visited their bakeries who serve French-Japanese cakes and pastries. I LOVE those! After being a vegan, I can't buy them anymore because they contain dairy, eggs, and gelatin. But now, I am not deprived anymore, M Cafe De Chaya has done it with their desserts! We bought many desserts and pastries to take home that day for breakfast and snacks the next day. They had to be eaten within 2 days, so we couldn't buy too many. We will come back to M Cafe for sure.

I was raving about the restaurant to Julie and thanked her so much for her recommendation. I talked about how the desserts were totally my style. She emailed me that their Chef wrote a cookbook about vegan macrobiotic desserts but she forgot the name of it, Eric something, she said. Cookbook? You know me, I determined to get it so I searched the Internet and Amazon. I finally found out the title. Julie also found the website for me: Obviously, I had to buy the cookbook and bought it straight from the Chef. It didn't take me long to try one recipe.

The picture of my cake is not exactly the same as in the book since I am not a professional photographer. This picture I took is not as good as the cake. This cake is so elegant and delish! The strawberry mousse was lightly sweet, smooth, and creamy. The vanilla genoise cake has a soft and delicate taste. Overall, the cake is not very sweet. If you are used to sugary American desserts you may not appreciate this kind of cake which is more of a French style dessert.

There is no refined sugar in this cake. The ingredients used were maple syrup, brown rice syrup, organic apple juice, and organic strawberry jam (all fruit). The mousse is made of Mori-Nu tofu, fresh organic strawberries, tahini, organic apple juice, and agar flakes.

I already plan to make my next desserts from this cookbook which are going to be Blueberry Pine Nut Pie and Upside-down Berry Cake (I was thinking maybe for the 4th of July). I thank Eric for creating such a wonderful and beautiful vegan desserts to enjoy!