Monday, December 10, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Apple Sage Sausage Penne

Mid December is a busy time for me.  We are busy preparing dishes for potlucks at my workplace and DH's workplace to celebrate the holidays.  We plan way ahead what to bring and how to bring the dishes.  We feel that it's wonderful to be able to share our vegan dishes to our non-vegan co-workers.  We choose dishes that are easy to reheat, to transport, and is still good to eat at a room temperature.  The microwave ovens at work are usually so busy that even after we reheat our dishes, we may still have to wait before the potluck party starts.

This year, I decided to bring Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Apple Sage Sausage (Field Roast Vegan Sausage).  This dish is easy to make, colorful, delicious, easy to transport,  and easy to reheat.  I even made this dish the weekend before the week of the potluck party and stored it in the fridge. 

I used fresh herbs: fresh sage and flat leaf parsley.  I also used fresh spices: nutmeg and black pepper.  I would recommend the fresh herbs and spices.  The taste is much better using a nutmeg that is grated from a nut than using the already ground nutmeg, for example.

I also used chopped roasted hazelnut as a topping.  The combination of butternut squash, sage, apple sage sausage and hazelnut is incredibly good.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Apple Sage Sausage Penne
Serves 6

3 cups butternut squash chunks (without peels and seeds, about 3/4 inch cubes)
1 lb.  Penne Rigate (dried pasta, can use gluten-free, if preferred)
2 Smoked Apple Sage Sausage, Field Roast Brand, slice to 1/2 inch chunks
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
1 small yellow bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 brown onion, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage (if you prefer dried, use 2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tsp. salt, more for roasting butternut squash
1/2 tsp. freshly grated black pepper, more for roasting butternut squash
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Olive oil

1/2 cup chopped roasted hazelnut

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.   Place butternut squash chunks on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and black pepper.  Use a spatula to combine oil and spices and spread the chunks in one later.  Roast the chunks for about 30 minutes.  Check for doneness.  Depending on the size of the chunks, the squash should be firm but not too done.  If the chunks are too done, they will be mushy when combined with the pasta.  Set them aside to cool.
  2. Heat 4 quarts of water in a pasta pot.  Add salt generously.  When the water comes into a boil, add the dry pasta.  Simmer for 9 minutes until they are al dente and not soft.  The finishing of the pasta cooking will be done later when combined with other ingredients.
  3. Meanwhile, while the pasta is simmering, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on a large wide pot.  Add onions and garlic.  Saute until they are soft and fragrant.
  4. Add red and yellow bell pepper.  Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add Smoked Apple Sage Sausage chunks.  Saute for 3-4 minutes until brown.  Add a little bit of pasta cooking water if they stick to the pan (instead of more oil).
  6. When pasta is al dente, drain, and pour into the pot with other ingredients.  Combine.
  7. Add 1 cup of pasta cooking water, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Combine well and let pasta cook 1 minute longer.  To cook the pasta longer, add more pasta cooking water (1/2 to 1 cup) when water evaporates.  Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  8. Add the roasted butternut squash chunks and chopped flat leaf parsley.  Combine. Then, take it off from heat.
  9. Just before serving, sprinkle with chopped roasted hazelnut.
This dish is reheatable in the microwave and is also good eaten in at room temperature.  Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts after it is microwaved and just before serving.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spicy Vegan Chow Chow

Spicy Chow Chow

I love animals but this is not a blog about chow chow the dog  although I love this type of dog, so cute.  This is about chow chow the relish.  It is a famous kind of relish in southern part of the United States. My idea of trying it came from Michael Symon's  Chow Chow in the show The Chew.  It looked pretty darn good that I got to try it.  I have never heard of chow chow relish before.  It is time to experiment.

I modified the recipe by adding cauliflower and revising the amount of salt.  I used agave nectar instead of sugar.  I also add more fresh jalapenos since I like it spicy.

Chow Chow ingredients from left to right: fresh corn, yellow, red, and green bell peppers, cauliflower, fresh jalapenos, and red onion.
Unfortunately, I could not find yellow fresh corn so I used white corn.  It will be more colorful to use yellow corn.  Frozen sweet yellow corn can also be used (about 10 oz bag).

Spicy Vegan Chow Chow
Serve 6 (makes 6 cups, 2 jars)
Adapted from Michael Symon's recipe

2 ears fresh yellow corn (cut the corn kernels of the cobs)
Note:  substitute with 10 oz yellow sweet corn bag, thawed, if fresh corn are not available
1/2 cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1 medium green bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 medium red bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 medium yellow bell pepper (seeded and chopped_
1 red onion (peeled and chopped)
3 fresh jalapenos (stemmed and chopped)
1 1/2 cups white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup agave nectar
1 Tbsp. table salt
1 tsp. whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1.5 tsp. whole black peppercorn

2 jars with tight lids

  1. Combine vinegar, agave nectar, salt, allspice, cinnamon stick, celery seeds, mustard seeds, and black peppercorns in a saucepan over high heat.  Wait till it boils, then turn it down to simmer for 30 minutes.  Set aside.  Remove cinnamon sticks and whole allspice.
  2. In the video, Michael Symon used a food processor to chop all the vegetables (corn kernel not included). This is a real quick method to chop vegetables. I tried this method but I prefer to chop the vegetables into small pieces with a knife.
  3. In a saucepan, combine corn kernels and cut vegetables with the pickling mixture from no.1.  Add enough water to cover the vegetables but not too soupy.
  4. Bring to a boil with a high heat.  Once it is boiling, turn it down to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Once the relish is cooled down, pour into a jar, seal, and keep refridgerated up to 2 weeks.
Refridgerated Chow Chow in a jar.

What can you use this relish with?  You can use it as a topping of veggie hot dog, veggie burger, or  on a sandwich filling.   My favorite use of it is using it with slaw.  I mixed this relish with cabbage slaw or broccoli slaw.  I don't add anything to it, just combine the chow chow and shredded cabbage or shredded broccoli stalks and carrots (see picture below).   It is a great slaw for those who don't like mayonnaise-based slaw just like DH. 

Broccoli slaw mixed with spicy chow chow.
Furthermore, you can use the chow chow based slaw in a sandwich or veggie hot dog.  Below is my use of this kind of slaw in a BBQ sandwich.  I ate this kind of sandwich at Phoney Baloney's Healthy Sandwiches called Cali BBQ.   This BBQ sandwich starts with 2 toasted squaw sandwich bread, slathered with yellow mustard, topped with BBQ  'beef' steak trips (strips from Trader Joe's combined with your favorite BBQ sauce), and topped with chow chow broccoli slaw and sliced pickles.
BBQ sandwich with chow chow broccoli slaw.

I hope you are as brave as I am to experiment, too!

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Version of Coconut Bacon

Spicy Smoky Coconut Bacon
I was first introduced to coconut bacon when I first visited the Phoney Baloney's Sandwich Shop in Irvine.  My first reaction was WHAT?  How strange? However, after tasting their gluten-free VEGAN ELVIS sandwich which includes peanut butter, banana , house made coconut bacon on toasted whole wheat sourdough , I was sold.  The owner of this shop gave me a taste of  his house made 'bacon' just by itself.  Yum!  I asked him what to put into the coconut flake to make the bacon and he gave some ideas but not a recipe.

I started searching  the Internet and VOILA, many results, this coconut bacon IS popular among vegetarians!  It was first created by Chef Jesse Kimball from the Memphis Taproom, a non vegan chef.  This is what I learned from chubby vegetarian blog.  In Memphis Taproom, Cheff Kimball serves vegan club sandwich with smoked coconut with added spices so it tastes like bacon. Brilliant!

Since this discovery, I've been making coconut bacon at home and use it as toppings for salad, vegetable dish, or just munch them as snacks.  It is also great for BLT or BLAT, or club sandwich.  My version of the coconut bacon includes ground CAYENNE  to add some spicyness.  It adds a bit of bite to it.
Ingredients used from top left, clockwise:  dry unsweetened coconut large flakes, low sodium tamari, onion powder, liquid smoke, cayenne pepper and garlic granules (black pepper, maple syrup and toasted sesame oil are not shown).

I love to use this brand of dry unsweetened organic large coconut flake:  Let's Do Organic.  I know that Chef Kimball uses a fresh coconut and smoke it but I am just too lazy to do that.  This brand of coconut is cut pretty thin.  Although I have also used the Bob's Red Mill brand.  Which ever you can find will be good as long as the coconut is cut thin, the flake is large, and is unsweetened.

Spicy Smoky Coconut Bacon
Makes 5 cups (make a lot all at once and store them in a tight container)

1/2 cup Tamari, low sodium
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. garlic granules
1 tsp. onion powder
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder  (1/4 tsp if you want is SPICY)
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

5 cups dry unsweetened coconut large flakes
  1. Combine thoroughly all of the the marinade ingredients above in a bowl (without the coconut flakes).
  2. Then, add the coconut flakes and gently stir them to combine with the marinade. Stir gently so not to break the large flakes. I like to let it sit for about 1 hour since the coconut flake is dry I want the coconut to soak in the marinade.
  3. After about 1 hours, preheat oven to 325 F. Layer 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil (parchment works better). Then, spray them with canola oil spray.
  4. Layer the marinated flakes, as single layer as possible, on the 2 cookie sheets. Do not pour leftover marinade sauce onto the sheets since we want to bake them to dry.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Take them out and stir. The flakes should be slighly brown by now. 
  6. Then, bake them again for 5 more minutes. At this point keep watching so they don't get burnt. It is easy to burn them so be careful.  Depending on how hot your oven is. Take them out and stir and check. The baked flakes should still be WET but the flakes are BROWNED and all liquid marinade is ABSORBED. If the flakes are too wet, after stirring them, bake them again for another 3-5 minutes but keep checking.
  7. How do you know when they are done? The flakes will still be limp and  brown but not burnt. The flakes should NOT BE CRISPY when you take them out of the oven. They will be crispy during the cooling down process. Leave the flakes on the cookie sheets and let them cool. As they cool they will become crispy and dry. When they are cool, rake them gently with a fork and pick out the ones stuck to the parchment paper or foil. Store in a tight jar and last for 2 months. 

    Note:  if they are not crispy when they are already cool, put is in a 250 F for 5 minutes and then let them cool again.
Spread marinated coconut flakes onto a cookie sheet.

After they are baked, let them cool until they turned crispy and dry.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Quinoa and Arugula Salad with Citrus Champagne Vinaigrette

My blog this time is about flavors instead of spices.   I love this salad  because it has all flavors we are familiar with in one bite: bitter(arugula), sweet(canteloupe or honeydew and orange), sour(champagne vinegar and lime), salty(hickory smoke tofurky or smart bacon or tempeh bacon), creamy(soy feta or daiya cheese) and savory/earthy(garbanzos or chickpeas and quinoa). I've been eating a lot of salad and fresh vegetables as summer is still strong in my area.    It  really is an endless summer!    I am sharing this good and refreshing salad.  It's a light meal in itself and I hope you will enjoy it. 

The following are the ingredients I used in the salad:

From top left, clockwise: fresh baby arugula, cooked quinoa, soy feta, cooked chickpeas/garbanzos, sliced red onion, sliced hickory smoke tofurky, and ripe canteloupe 

About the 'cheese':  In this version, I used Soy Feta by Sunergia Foods, about 1/2 a block.  However, you are welcome to substitute it with other white vegan cheese such asi Daiya Mozzarella or omit it.

About the 'the smoky things':  Our favorite smoky seitan is Hickory Smoked Tofurky Deli Slices.  I sliced and separated them thinly.  You are also welcome to replace it with other smoky vegan bacon such as tempeh bacon or smart bacon from LightLife.

About the champagne vinegar and oil (see picture below):  I found Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar at Trader Joe's that was perfect for this salad dressing.  However, you may find other champagne vinegar at a different store.  I also love to use Roasted Walnut Oil (see below).   You may use any other kind of oil such as olive oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil.

Vinaigrette ingredients: roasted walnut oil, orange muscat champagne vinegar (or any other champagne vinegar), fresh orange juice, and fresh lime juice.
Quinoa and Arugula Salad with Citrus Champagne Vinaigrette
Serve 4-6

Salad ingredients:
2 cups cooked quinoa
6 cups arugula
2 cups ripe canteloupe or honeydew, cut in julienne
Note:  use a ripe melon by choosing a white and creamy color skin (avoid the greenish one)
1 cup cooked garbanzo or chickpea beans
1 cup Hickory Smoked Tofurky deli slices or tempeh bacon or smart bacon
1 to 1.5 cup thinly sliced red onions
Note: I prefer to mascerate the red onions in the vinaigrette so they are not too strong or oniony
1/2 block of Soy Feta, crumbled, optional

  1. Combine the ingredients above, except red onions (see below).
  2. Add vinaigrette (recipe below) and crumbled soy feta.  Add more ground black pepper to taste.

Citrus Champagne Vinaigrette ingredients:
3 Tbsp. oil (can be roasted walnut oil, olive oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil)
3-5 Tbsp. Champagne vinegar (I used Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (without seeds and pulps)
1/4 cup fesh lime juice (without seeds and pulps)
1-2 tsp. agave nectar (depending how sweet is the orange juice)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  1. To make the vinaigrette, whisk oil and vinegar together in a small bowl until it is emulsified and creamy.  Vinaigrette usually has the same amount of oil and vinegar but I added more vinegar in my dressing for a low fat version.  I also added more fruit juices.
  2. Add fruit juices and continue whisking.  Taste and add agave nectar.  If the orange juice is pretty sweet, I only add 1 tsp. 
  3. Add salt and ground black pepper.  Combine and whisk some more.  This dressing is supposed to be tangy, sweet, and salty.
  4. I like to soak the thinly slice red onions in this dressing so they are mascerated and becomes soft before I add them to the salad (about 30 minutes).  This way the onions are not too strong.  If you like strong onions flavor, you can skip this step.
Nutrition Facts (without the soy feta)
Serving Size
1 serving (245.1 g)
Amount Per Serving Calories 214
Total Fat 9.1g, Saturated Fat 0.8g, Trans Fat 0.0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 255mg,Total Carbohydrates 28.8g
Dietary Fiber 3.7g, Sugars 8.9g, Protein 6.1g

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Vegan Boston Cream Pie with Orange Rosemary Custard Filling

Boston Cream Pie with Orange Rosemary Custard Filling
I usually don't blog desserts because I don't usually have a sweet tooth and really love salty snacks instead.  However, this time is an exception since tomorrow is someone's birthday and I challenged myself to make Vegan Boston Cream Pie.  The idea came from the cooking show The Chew where Carla Hall made a Boston Cream Pie with Orange Rosemary Custard filling.  I decided to veganize it.

Boston Cream Pie is not a pie but it is a round cake, filled with vanilla custard, and topped with chocolate ganache.  This Boston Cream Pie is not an original one.  It is one with a twist.   Instead of a vanilla cake, I made an orange flavor cake.  I also add orange flavoring to the chocolate ganache frosting.  I was especially intrigued with the idea of  'Orange Rosemary Custard' filling.  Is it going to be good?  I just got to try it. It was delicious!  DH LOVES this cake (he is the one with a sweet tooth).  He was surprised about the rosemary adding a unique flavor to the cake.  He said, "It's just a hint of rosemary!"  It really makes this cake unique and elegant.

To make the custard filling I used Bird's Imported English Dessert Mix and then add Tofutti Better than Sour Cream to make it more creamy.  I also used triple sec such as Cointreau orange liqueur, orange flavor extract, and fresh orange peels for the citrus flavoring.  Fresh rosemary is very strong and 1 sprig of it was enough to permeate the custard filling.

Ingredients used to make custard and ganache (top left, clockwise):  Bird's Imported English Dessert Mix, fresh orange, Tofutti Better than Sour Cream, Fresh Rosemary sprigs, Orange Extract, triple sec (Cointreau), vegan chocolate chips.
Vegan Boston Cream Pie with Orange Rosemary Custard Filling
Serve 12

Vegan Orange Genoise Cake
Makes 3 layers of 9-inch cakes
I made Bryanna's Vegan Lemon Genoise Cake.  I followed the 1 1/2 recipe to make 3 layers of 9-inch cake (although the original recipe: 2 layers, should be fine, too).  I changed the flavor to  orange by adding fresh grated orange rind of a large orange  instead of the lemon rind.  I used white vinegar instead of lemon juice.   I also used orange extract instead of  the lemon extract.

Vegan Orange Rosemary Custard Filling
Makes about 3 cups

2 1/2 cups soy milk
1/2 cup soy creamer
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 - 4 slices fresh orange rinds, each 3-inches long
5 Tbsp. sugar

2 pkgs/sachets  Bird's Imported English Dessert Mix

1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream

Additional flavoring:
1 Tbsp. grated orange rinds
1 tsp. orange flavor extract
2 Tbsp. triple sec liqueur
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium pot (without the sour cream and Imported English Dessert Mix).
  2. Heat until milk started to boil and sugar is dissolved.  Turn down heat to simmer and let it simmered for 10 minutes.
  3. Use a strainer, strain the flavored hot milk to remove the rosemary and rinds.  Let it cool.
  4. Combine Bird's Dessert Mix and the flavored cooled milk.  Heat and stir until pudding is thickened.  Let it boil for 2-3 minutes.  Take it off heat. Let it cool in the fridge.
  5. Add the additional flavoring: orange rinds, extract, and liqueur.
  6. Add sour cream and combine well.  You may use a hand mixer to mix it really well and creamy.  Set it aside in the fridge until it is time to assemble the cake.

Assembling the cake:
  1. Put a layer of genoise cake on a cake stand.
  2. Add 1/2 of vegan orange rosemary custard filling. Spread it evenly.
  3. Add another layer of genoise cake. Then add the other half of the custard filling and spread it evenly.
  4. Add the final layer of genoise cake.  Set it aside in the fridge for at least half an hour before frosting.

Orange Flavored Chocolate Ganache

11-12 oz good quality vegan chocolate chips
6-7 Tbsp. soy creamer
2 Tbsp. triple sec liqueur
2 tsp. orange flavor extract
Optional: grated orange rinds ( 1 tsp.)

  1. Just before the cake is ready to be frosted (after cake was assembled and sat in the fridge), in a double boiler, melt chocolate.
  2. Start to add 1 tablespoon at a time of soy creamer and alternate with liqueur and orange extract until chocolate becomes a pourable sauce.
  3. Pour chocolate ganache onto assembled cake and spread it evenly on top and sides of the cake.
Store assembled and frosted cake in the fridge until serving time.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Spicy Korean Gochujang Bowl

Spicy Korean Gochujang Bowl

Lately, I have been cooking 500-calories- or-less-per-serving meals that can be served in room temperature since the weather has been so hot this summer.  I use a calorie count website to calculate the calories for each serving.  I've been trying to limit my lunch and dinner to 500 calories or less which still contain nutritious ingredients and delicious but keep me full for long hours.  My breakfast usually is about 250 calories or less.  I do have low calorie snacks of fruits or veggies in between.  Hence, I lost 10 lbs. It's working!

This dish, Spicy Korean Gochujang bowl, is one of my 500-calories-or-less-served-in-room-temperature creations.   I love Gochujang (Korean Hot Pepper Paste)!  I love its hot, sweet, and fermenty taste.  It is so great mixed with sesame oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, and agave nectar.  The paste is thick and gooey like peanut butter.  It can be found in Korean markets.  There is a brand of gochujang sauce called Annie Chun's Gochujang sauce but this was not what I used.  That one is a sauce and not a paste.  It has been mixed with brown sugar,  sesame oil, and other ingredients.  I am making my own gochujang sauce from the gochujang paste I bought in a red tub.  You can use the store-bought gochujang sauce if you'd like and use it on this bowl.  The paste I bought at the Korean market came in a red plastic box such as below.

Gochujang paste in red plastic container.
The ingredients of my Spicy Korean Gochujang Bowl  start with cooked short grain brown rice on the bottom.  Then, it is topped with gochujang scrambled tofu, pan fried baby spinach, pan fried baby bella/cremini mushrooms, sliced fresh Persian cucumber, and fresh grape tomatoes.  Then, drizzled with gochujang sauce/dressing, sprinkled with roasted black sesame seeds, and served with seasoned seaweed lavers.  I am combining fresh vegetables such as fresh cucumber and grape tomatoes with  cooked spinach and mushrooms in one bowl.  Each item in this dish can be prepared and stored separately and bring them to a room temperature before they are assembled to a bowl.  This is a great dish to bring for a lunch without heating it.

From left, clockwise: baby spinach, ginger, gochujang paste in a red container, persian cucumbers, garlic, baby bella or cremini mushrooms, grape tomatoes.  Cooked short grain brown rice, tofu, sesame seeds, and seasoned seaweed laver are not pictured.
Seasoned seaweed lavers have become so popular as snacks. It is so tasty and yummy with rice and gochujang sauce.

Seasoned Seaweed Laver
This is how the Spicy Korean Gochujang is eaten on top of or rolled in a seasoned seaweed laver.

Spicy Korean Gochujang Bowl
Serve 6
Note:  Each item in this dish can be prepared and stored separately and bring them to a room temperature before they are assembled to a bowl. This is a great dish to bring for a lunch without the use of a microwave. 

4 cups cooked short grain brown rice
Gochujang scrambled tofu (recipe below)
6-8 cups baby spinach
8 oz. cremini/baby bella mushrooms, sliced
8 oz grape tomatoes, cut in half, horizontally,
4-5 Persian cucumbers, medium size, slice horizontally
1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
Gochujang sauce (recipe below)
6 Seasoned seaweed lavers
Toasted black sesame seeds

  1. Pan fry baby spinach with 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, sprinkle with a little salt, until spinach is brigh green and wilted.   Set aside.
  2. Pan fry cremini/baby bella with 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, sprinkle with a little salt, until mushrooms are brown and all the juice evaporated.  Set aside.
  3. For each bowl, put 3/4 cup brown rice on the bottom, add gochujang scramble tofu, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber slices. Drizzle gochujang sauce and sprinkle with some toasted black sesame seeds.  Serve with seasoned seaweed laver.

Gochujang Sauce:
2 Tbsp. Gochujang paste
Note: this dish is spicy so to make it less spicy and hot, use 1 Tbsp only.
1 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce/Tamari
1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
1 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar/Brown Rice Vinegar
2 tsp. Roasted Sesame Seeds
2 Tbsp. water

Combine all ingredients above and stir until smooth. 

Gochujang Scrambled Tofu:

1.5 block of water packed firm tofu (20 oz), drained and pressed water out
1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil for pan frying

Marinade sauce for tofu:
2 Tbsp. Gochujang paste
Note: this dish is spicy so to make it less spicy and hot, use 1 Tbsp only.
1 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce/Tamari
1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
1 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Fresh Garlic, finely chopped

  1. Crumble drained tofu with your hands or a fork into a bowl.
  2. Combine all the ingredients of the marinade sauce and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the marinade sauce to the crumble tofu and set a side to marinade for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Pan fry seasoned tofu onto a non-stick frying pan with the 1 teaspoon of sesame oil on a medium high heat.
  5. Leave the tofu alone for 4-5 minutes before stirring.  This will create a brown crispy scramble tofu.  Keep doing this for 15-20 minutes until scramble tofu is dry (all the water evaporated) and tofu is brown.  Set aside.
Gochujang scramble tofu before it is pan fried.

Gochujang scramble tofu after it is pan fried.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories 464  Calories from fat 120, Total Fat 13.4g (Saturated Fat 1.6 g),  Cholesterol 0 mg,
Sodium 564 mg,  Total Carbohydrate 72.3 g, Dietary Fiber 8.6 g, Sugar 13.2 g, Protein 17.7 g.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stuffed Tomatoes and Bell Peppers - Asian Style

Stuffed Tomatoes and Bell Peppers - Asian Style
A while back, I had this dish at a  vegetarian restaurant called One World Vegetarian and decided to make it myself at home.  Apparently, this restaurant does not serve this dish anymore which is too bad since I love this dish.  I think it is originally a Vietnamese dish which uses ground pork as the stuffing.  To veganize it I used crumbled and drained firm tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and mung bean noodle (bean thread noodle or glass noodle or cellophane noodle).  The cellophane noodle acts as a binder  for the stuffing.   In the picture above, I served this dish with sweet and sour sauce and garlicky sauteed baby spinach.  I also serve this dish with steamed brown rice.   The dish is so COLORFUL and use rainbow colors vegetable such as below:

Ingredients from left corner, clockwise:  yellow, orange, and red bell peppers, onion, 1 block of firm tofu, bean thread noodle, fresh shiitake mushrooms, and medium ripe tomatoes.
The sweet and sour sauce is optional.  Without this sauce, the stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers are already so tasty.  The sauteed baby spinach was also a side dish that can be replaced with any other stir fried vegetables.  However, I love a colorful dish and thought that it looks so appetizing to combine yellow, orange, red, and green on my plate.

Stuffed Tomatoes and Bell Peppers - Asian Style
Serve 8

3 medium size bell peppers (1 yellow, 1 orange, and 1 red)
3 medium size ripe tomatoes
9 fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped into coarse bits (including the stems)
1 water packed block firm tofu (14 oz), drained
1/2 large onions, chopped into coarse bits
3 stalks of green onions, chopped coarsely
2 oz dry bean thread noodle  (soak in hot water)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Mushroom Seasonings or Mushroom Powder
Note: I love the mushroom powder from Pistol River Farm
1 tsp. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Ground White Pepper
1 tsp. Salt
Toasted Sesame Oil
Canola Oil or Grapeseed Oil
a 9-inch non-stick frying pan or cast iron pan with a tight lid

Remove the inside of the tomatoes.
Remove the inside of the colorful bell peppers.
The fresh tomatoes were stuffed with tofu, mushrooms,
onions, green onions, and seasonings.
The fresh colorful bell peppers stuffed with tofu, mushrooms,
onions, green onions, and seasonings.

  1. Put the drained block of tofu in a colander under heavy objects (such as canned vegetables) to press out more of the water out of the tofu.  Press for 30 minutes or longer.    You can use TofuXpress but I haven't really acquired this nifty gadget yet and still doing it in the old fashion way.
  2. Soak the dry bean thread noodle in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes.  Then drain the noodles onto a colander.  With a kitchen scissor or knife, cut the drained cellophane noodle into 1-inch strands. Set aside
  3. Cut all the bell peppers and tomatoes into halves.  Remove the stems from the bell peppers(it's ok to have holes on the bottom).  Remove the inside such as the seeds and cut out all the ribs from inside the bell peppers and tomatoes.  Throw away the seeds but save the ribs for the sweet and sour sauce recipe below.
  4. Pour 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil in a frying pan.  Saute chopped shiitake mushrooms and onions for about 5 minutes until they are soft, brown, and mushrooms are dry. Set it aside and let it cool.
  5. Crumble the drained and pressed tofu with your hands into a large bowl.  Add the sauted onions and mushrooms, chopped green onions, all purpose flour, mushroom powder, sugar, salt, ground white pepper, and cut cellophane/bean thread noodle.  Combine thoroughly to form a stuffing.
  6. Stuff each half of tomato and bell pepper with the stuffing (no. 5) up to the rim.
  7. Heat a flat 9-inch frying pan on a medium heat.  Put 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and 1/2 tablespoon canola/grapeseed oil and swirl them around to coat the pan.
  8. Starting with the stuffed tomatoes, put the tomatoes bottom sides(skin sides) down first.  Cover with the lid and leave it alone for 10 minutes.  This is important to cook the tomatoes.
  9. Then, flip them  carefully with a spatula to fry the stuffed sides.  Cover with the lid again and leave it alone for another 5 minutes.  Take the lid off and cook more for another 5 minutes. Carefully remove the pan fried tomatoes from the frying pan, set them aside.
  10. Add more oils (1/2 Tbsp sesame and 1/2 Tbsp canola/grapeseed) into the frying pan. Continue with the stuffed bell peppers, put the peppers bottom sides (skin sides) down first.  Cover with the lid and leave it alone for 13 minutes(bell peppers need more time).
  11. Then, flip them carefully with a spatula to fry the stuffed sides. Cover with the lid again and leave it alone for another 7 minutes. Take the lid off and cook more for another 5 minutes. Carefully remove the pan bell peppers from the frying pan, set them aside with the pan fried tomatoes.

Amount per Serving:
Calories 157157  Calories from  Fat 67, 67 Total Fat 7.5g7.5 12%12, Saturated Fat 1.2g1.2 6%6, Sodium 300mg300 13%13, Total Carbohydrates 19.5g19.5 6%6, Dietary Fiber 2.2g2.2 9%9, Sugars 3.8g3.8,  Protein 5.4g5.4

Stuffed tomatoes, pan fried.

Stuffed bell peppers, pan fried.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
Serve 8
This is an optional sauce to serve with the stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers.

Combine in a bowl and stir:
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
4 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. light soy sauce
2 Tbsp. cooking wine or sherry
1 1/2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1/8 tsp. Ground White Pepper
1 3/4 cup water or low sodium vegetable broth

1/2 large onion, sliced
Optional: the inside of the tomatoes and bell peppers (without the seeds), chopped into small bits.
Toasted Sesame Oil
  1. In a medium pot on a medium heat, put 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil.  Add sliced onions and the tomatoes and bell peppers bits.  Saute until onions and vegetables are soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the combined sauce, stir, and bring it to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes until thickened.  Serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 6666 Calories from Fat 88, Total Fat 0.9g0.9 1%, 1Saturated Fat 0.1g0.1 0%, 0Sodium 385mg38516%,16
Total Carbohydrates 11.7g11.7 4%,4 Dietary Fiber 0.7g0.7 3%, 3 Sugars 8.0g8.0, Protein 0.5g

Garlicky Baby Spinach
Serve 2-4
This is an optional side dish to servw with the stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers.

6-8 cups baby spinach
6 garlic cloves, chopped or slice thinly
1/2 salt
Cracked black pepper
Toasted Sesame oil
  1. In the frying pan used for preparing the tomatoes and bell peppers, heat 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil on a medium high heat.
  2. Add garlic and toast for 30-40 seconds.
  3. Add baby spinach and stir.  Sprinkle salt and cracked black pepper.
  4. Cover with the lid for 1-2 minutes or until the spinach is wilted and soft.
  5. Take it off from heat and serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 6161 Calories from Fat 2222, Total Fat 2.4g2.4 4%, 4Saturated Fat 0.3g0.3 2%,2 Sodium 139mg139 6%,6Total Carbohydrates 4.7g4.7 2%, 2Dietary Fiber 1.5g1.5 6%, 6Sugars 0.1g, 0.1Protein 4.3g


Sunday, August 05, 2012

Vegan Cottage Pie with a Twist

Inspired by the London Games, Summer Olympic 2012, I made my version of English Cottage Pie or Shepherd Pie.  I don't usually like bland casseroles and decided to put a twist into this casserole.   Therefore, this is not the original cottage pie recipe.  You can find the original recipes in the Internet, I am sure.  Usually, cottage pie includes chopped meat, cream, and butter (and some use eggs).  My version is veganized.  The twist was that I use  Roasted Garlic, Hot Hungarian Paprika, and Walnut Oil (instead of vegan butter), and Daiya Shredded Cheddar Cheese.  I have never made this kind of casserole with roasted garlic.  It turned out to be pretty delicious.   The rich flavor of butter is replaced by the roasted garlic and walnut oil.

Vegan Cottage Pie (Shepherd Pie) with a Twist
Serve 6

Filling ingredients:
1/2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil or canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup chopped onions
8 oz mushrooms (button or brown), sliced
3 Tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour
12 oz Crumbles Meatless Ground (Boca Brand)
10 oz  frozen Peas And Carrots
1 tsp Better Than Bouillon No Beef Base, mixed with
1.5 cup  warm water
2 tsp. Hot Hungarian Paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper

Mashed Potato ingredients:
1 3/4 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/2 cup Roasted Garlic, mashed with a fork
1 cup  Daiya Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/3 cup Better Than Sour Cream or soy milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
3 tbsp  Walnut Oil

Note:  There are already some salt in the Boca Crumbles, No Beef Base, and Daiya Cheese.  Therefore, I added a little salt into this dish but you can adjust it to your own salty taste.
  1. Heat a large frying pan or pot.  Add oil to the pan, then, add chopped onions and minced garlic.  Saute until onions and garlic are soft. Add sliced mushrooms saute about 4 minutes.  Add 3 tbsp flour, combine. 
  2. Add Boca crumble and break clumps apart.  Add water and no beef bouillon (combined as broth).  Add the frozen peas and carrots. Combine throughly.
  3. Add the hot Hungarian paprika and black pepper.  Combine the filling and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes with the skin into cubes and put in a pot with enough water to cover the entire potatoes.   Bring to a boil and simmer for about 35 minutes until they are really tender. 
  5. Drain potatoes, while they are still hot, add walnut oil and the  mashed roasted garlic cloves.  Mash the potato until smooth.  Then, add shredded Daiya cheese, tofu sour cream or soy milk, salt and white pepper.  Combine thoroughly.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 3 qt casserole pan with oil spray.  Add the filling into the casserole pan.  Cover with mashed potato topping.  Wet your hands and pat the mashed potato topping into a smooth surface. Sprinkle with more hungarian paprika.  Bake for 35 minutes until the top is brown.
Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size
1 serving (403.1 g), Calories from fat 98
Amount Per Serving:
Calories 341, Total Fat  10.9g
Saturated Fat 2.6g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 761mg
Total Carbohydrates 47.9g
Dietary Fiber 9.4g
Sugars 5.9g
Protein  21.2g
Vitamin A 104% Vitamin C 55%
Calcium 12%Iron 22%

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Vegan Rad Na with Soy Curls

Vegan Rad Na - Thai Crispy Rice Noodle topped with Saucy Stir Fry Veggies and Soy Chicken
Today I am craving for a Thai Noodle dish and decided to make Rad Na which is a crispy pan fried rice noodle topped with stir fry veggies with lots of gravy-like sauce.  If you like gravy or a  thickened sauce on top of a pile of rice noodle, this is a dish you'll like.

Rad Na or Lad Na is a Thai noodle dish influenced by the Chinese culture.  It  is usually made with sliced chicken breast, Chinese broccoli, and mushrooms stir fried in a gravy-like sauce that  is usually made from chicken stock, fish sauce, and oyster sauce (thickened with cornstarch or tapioca starch).   To veganize it, I opted to use Soy Curls instead of Gardein or other chicken substitute.  It is because I just love how Soy Curls soaks up the marinade and spices I used on them.  Of course, tofu can be used also and I recommend 1 box of water packed firm tofu (about 14 oz) to replace the soy chicken.  Or you can omit the soy chicken and double up the mushrooms to be simple and direct.

Rad Na Stir Fry Ingredients, clockwise from top left:  bok choy, onion, oyster mushroom, shiitake mushroom, baby corn, garlic, and soy curls.
To replace the chicken stock or broth, this time I used Bill's Best Chik'nish instead of Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base because I wanted to control the amount of sodium or salt.  The sauces that I used for this dish is already salty enough.  I am afraid if I use salted vegetarian broth this dish will turn out too salty.   Chik'nish is the only vegetarian broth that has no salt in it so it is my preference to use when I want to watch the amount of salt I put into my dish.

The sauces I used are Thai sauces such as:
Vegetarian Oyster Mushroom Sauce, Healthy Boy brand Black Soy Sauce, and Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce.
I bought these sauces at a Thai market I visited a while back (or an Asian market may carry these sauces also).  I used a little bit of bean sauce (pictured below with the noodle) that I have on hand, a Chinese style bean sauce.  I usually use this Thai Yellow Bean Sauce, Healthy Boy brand, but I was out of it.  I also love the Sriracha sauce drizzled on top of this dish as a spicy condiment.

I also found BROWN RICE Pad Thai rice noodle (pictured below).  It works great.  This noodle dish usually uses the wide rice noodle that can be found at the Asian market.  However, I wanted to try this BROWN RICE noodle instead.  I was not disappointed.

Vegan Rad Na (Thai Crispy Noodle topped with Saucy Veggie Stir Fry)
Serve 6-8

Stir Fry ingredients:
3-4 large Bok Choy bundle (4-5 cups) or Chinese Broccoli, washed and cut into 3 inches long
5 oz or 1 cup cut baby or mini corn
5 large fresh shiitake or reconstituted dried shiitake mushrooms, sliced
8-10 fresh oyster mushrooms, sliced
5 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, sliced thinly
1 Tbsp. Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce
1 Tbsp. Black Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp. Vegetarian Oyster Mushroom Sauce
2 - 2.5 cups Bill's Best Chik'nish broth
2 tsp. cornstarch or tapioca starch combined with 3 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
 Note: I don't usually use sugar but all Rad Na recipes use sugar.  I leave it up to you to use it.
Salt to taste
Note:  I found that all the sauces above provided enough salt so I didn't add any salt.
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 Tbsp. Canola Oil or Grapeseed oil
Chopped cilantro (optional)
Sriracha sauce (optional)

Preparation of Soy Curls or Tofu:
1/2 pkg Soy Curls (4 oz dry)  or 1 box firm tofu, drained and cubed
3/4 cup Bills Best Chick'nish broth,warmed (omit if using tofu)
2 tsp. Black Soy Sauce
2 tsp. Vegetarian Oyster Mushroom Sauce
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch or Tapioca starch
  1. If using Soy Curls, soak in Chik'nish broth for 10 minutes.  Then, drain the excess broth if there is any.
  2. Mix reconstituted Soy Curls or tofu with black soy sauce, oyster mushroom sauce, and starch.  Mix and set aside.
Preparation of Saucy Stir Fry Veggies with Soy Curls:
  1. Heat a wok or large frying pan and add oil.
  2. Add the minced garlic and sliced onions.  Stir fry until onion is soft, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the prepared or marinated soy curls.  Stir fry until soy curls are brown, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add all mushrooms and baby corn.  Stir fry for another minute.  Add a little bit of broth if ingredients stick to the frying pan.
  5. Add the Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce, black soy sauce, and oyster mushroom sauce.
  6. Add the Chik'nish broth and white pepper.
  7. Let it come to a boil, turn down the heat, and then add the bok choy or Chinese broccoli.  Combine and let it simmer for a minute.
  8. Add the cornstarch or tapioca starch water combo.
  9. Let it thicken and simmer for another minute.  Turn off the heat.

Preparation of Pan Fried Crispy Rice Noodle:
2 pkgs (8 oz each) Brown Rice Pad Thai noodle
4 tsp. Black Soy Sauce
4 tsp. Vegetarian Oyster Mushroom Sauce
Toasted Sesame oil
9-inch flat non-stick frying pan or cast iron pan.
  1. Soak brown rice noodle in warm water for 8-10 minutes (following the directions in the package).
  2. Drain noodle (don't worry if it doesn't look like it is cooked).  Divide into 2 batches for pan frying it.
  3. Heat frying pan in high heat then add 1 tablespoon sesame oil.
  4. Add half of the soaked and drained noodle.  Drizzle 2 tsp black soy sauce and 2 tsp oyster mushroom sauce, combine with noodle.  Stir fry and spread noodle on a frying pan about 1/2 inch thick.
  5. Leave it for 3 - 4 minutes so the bottom is sizzling and crispy before flipping it to the other side.  Don't worry if noodles are sticking to each other.
  6. Let the noodle becomes crispy and brown on the frying pan for another 4-5 minutes. 
  7. Flip on a serving plate.
  8. Repeat step 3-7 for the other batch of noodle.  The pan fried noodle should look like this picture below.
  9. Serve the crispy pan fried noodle with the Saucy Stir Fry Veggie and Soy Curls on top. Add chopped cilantro if desired.  Drizzle with Sriracha sauce and dig in!

Tips on reheating or eating this as leftover:
  1. I found that it is best to pan fry the noodle just before serving.  It is best to pan fry only the amount to be consumed and save the un-fried noodle in  a tight container if  you plan to eat this as a leftover.
  2. The gravy or sauce tends to absorbed into the veggies and soy curls if it is consumed the next day.  You can add more broth and seasonings to produce more gravy. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Vegan Tallarin Verde - Peruvian Pasta with Spinach Pesto

Vegan Tallarin Verde

After the challenging dosa last post, this one is easy breezy!  You do need a food processor or a blender though.    This is not an Italian pesto pasta dish but it is a Peruvian pasta called Tallarin Verde.   Italian pesto pasta uses a lot of basil leaves.  This dish uses a lot of spinach and a smaller amount of basil leaves.  It is as garlicky as Italian pesto but not as oily.

Vegan Tallarin Verde sauce ingredients from top left, clockwise:  fresh basil, onion, fresh spinach, pine nuts, and fresh garlic.
In my area, recently, Peruvian restaurants start to pop up everywhere, don't know why?  I enjoy visiting Peruvian restaurants since they tend to have 1 to 3 vegetarian dishes.  I blogged in the past about El Misti Peruvian restaurant with Vegan Options.  That's the only restaurant offers vegan options in my area.  This green vegetarian pasta dish served in most Peruvian restaurants are not vegan because there is cheese, butter, or milk in the pasta.  I really love this green pasta and decided to veganize it.  It is easy to veganize it by replacing the cheese with nuts, soy milk, nutritional yeast, and white miso.  There is no need to have soy milk in it if you prefer no soy milk, just replace it with vegetable broth.

I love this pasta to be bright green because it is more appetizing to see it that way on the plate.   It is served this way in restaurants, too, bright green.  However, several times when I made it at home, it became dark green like Italian pasta with pesto sauce.

I was able to make this pasta bright green with a trick.
After several times making it, I learned the trick to make this pasta bright green by using a technique I described below, in the recipe.

I discovered this organic quinoa pasta below and love it.  Since it is a Peruvian dish,  why not using a quinoa pasta for this dish.  After all quinoa is originated in Peru.  The pasta is yellow and the sauce is bright green  It is pretty and glutten-free.

On the side, I served this pasta with a simple dish: sauted farmers market zucchini in salt and pepper.  I also served it with Boca Chik'n Patties, sliced.   They are optional.  The pasta is delicious and nutritious by itself.  I also like to sprinkle some fresh lemon juice on the green pasta.

A variety zucchini I found at the farmers market. Sauted with a little oil and salt and pepper.
Vegan Tallarin Verde
Serve 4

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 onion, chopped coarsely or 1 cup chopped shallots
1 cup fresh basil, packed
4 cups fresh spinach, packed
1/4 teaspoon pine nuts  (use 1/3 cup for a richer sauce)
3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1-2 Tablespoons white miso
Note:  For those of you with gluten and soy sensitivity, check out the Chickpea Miso from South River Miso.  I often use and order miso from them.  They are great!  I usually order them during winter time so the miso stay cool during shipping.
1 teaspoon salt, less if vegetable broth is also salty
a pinch of white pepper
3/4 cup vegetable broth or soy milk
Note: I use Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base

16 oz. dry Spaghetti or Linguini Pasta (quinoa or semolina)

  1. Heat olive oil medium heat  in a shallow frying pan.  Add chopped garlic and onions.  Saute until onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Transfer the cooked garlic and onions into a blender or food processor.
  3. Add pine nuts, nutritional yeast, white miso, salt, pepper, and vegetable broth or soy milk.
  4. Process until smooth.
  5. At this time, the mixture in the food processor or blender may be warm/hot since the onions and garlic were hot from the frying pan.  This is the trick to make a bright green sauce:  wait until the sauce is cooled down.  If you put the fresh basil and spinach into it, the warm/hot sauce will cook the spinach and basil and the color will turn darker green.
  6. When the sauce is cool, add basil and spinach, process until smooth.
  7. While waiting for the sauce to cool, boil pasta according to the direction in the package.
  8. The cooked warm/hot pasta also will heat up the sauce some.  Therefore, to have it bright green, it is important to wait till the sauce cools down.  If you don't mind for a darker green sauce, then there is no need to wait.
  9. Serve immediately.
The green sauce can be stored separately in a container in the fridge for several days.  Then, it is easy to combine with the pasta just before dinner is served.  

Spinach pesto sauce.
It is my preference is to store the sauce separately than combined with the pasta.
Combine spinach pesto sauce with pasta just before dinner is served.

Other Veganized Peruvian dishes:

Yuca Ala Huancaina
Peruvian Cau-Cau  by Bryanna Clark Grogan
Peruvian Green Sauce  by Bryanna Clark Grogan
Many other Peruvian dishes by Bryanna Clark Grogan