Month: January 2012

Top Chef Wednesday: Chinese Chick’n & Scallion Pancakes plus Chilled Carrot-Coconut Ginger Soup with Shiitake Bacon


Scallion Pancakes:

From the always amazing what the hell does a vegan eat anyway?

Chinese Chick’n “Feet” Gardein:

  • 1 bag of Gardein Scallopini
  • Sesame oil
  • Chili oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin and blanched
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce (I used a cup and it was a little too salty)
  • 1/3 bottle Mae Ploy
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 ” knob ginger, grated and juiced
  • 1 Thai chili, slit in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon black bean paste
  • Cornstarch and water, as thickening agent

1. In a hot wok, add oils until smoking.

2. Add garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Add Gardein cutlets

3. Season with salt and remove from heat and set aside. Cut each cutlet into 3 pieces.

4. In a large wok, add remaining ingredients, except cornstarch. Bring to boil and reduce sauce by 1/3.

5. Mix cornstarch and water to make a sherry. Thicken sauce with sherry.

6. Toss Gardein pieces into sauce and serve over pancake. Garnish with cilantro and scallion and toasted white sesame seed.


Chilled Carrot-Coconut Ginger Soup with Shiitake Bacon

This vegan soup was surprisingly delicious.  The lemon, nutmeg, and salty mushrooms work quite well. I used one can of lite coconut milk to make it a little less fatty.


Snow Day Pizza

The snow started coming down pretty hard yesterday, so both H & I were home by 2:30 with cups of hot chocolate and vegan marshmallows in our hands. Sassafras was happy for all the extra pettings.


The snow settled down by 6:00 or 7:00, but the roads were bad and it was cold, so we were staying in. We usually go out for dinner on Friday nights, so I had nothing planned. I scrounged around the kitchen to put together a  meal that would keep us out of the snow.

I had one frozen Rossini Pizza from Vegan Essentials.

A package of Trader Joe’s Chickenless Strips

Some barbecue sauce

And a red onion

I scraped some cheese (it’s Daiya) off the pizza, sliced 1/3 of a red onion, and sauteed the chickenless strips until a little brown and coated them in barbecue sauce.  I added the onion to the pizza, then the chick’n and added the cheese back on the pizza. Baked for 20 minutes and voilà! A delicious vegan barbecue chick’n pizza.

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For a side, I made Raw Sesame Kale Salad, which was pretty good. I’ve had raw kale salads before, but this was my first time making one.



Cupcake Wars – American Music Awards

Sticky Fingers, my favorite bakery, was on Cupcake Wars All Stars last Sunday and it won again! Doron Petersan’s strength is her creativity. The other contestants struggled with music-themed cupcakes, but Sticky Fingers put together four clever and delicious cupcakes. The winning cupcakes were served at the American Music Awards after party. I wanted to try the winning cupcakes last time, but many of them had nuts (why do people insist on ruining perfectly good desserts by adding nuts?). This time it didn’t use as many nuts, so I decided to buy a pack of cupcakes. The shipping cost almost as much as the cupcakes, but it’s justified because you have to express ship baked goods. Besides, it’s cheaper than a flight to DC. And trust me, it’s well worth it!

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First up, the Rolling Stones Brown Sugar cupcake: brown sugar cake with rum frosting and brown sugar brittle in a shiny red liner.

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The Johnny Cashew cupcake: chocolate cake with black cocoa frosting and caramel with a chocolate cowboy boot and hat. The cashews were on the top of the cake, so I could pick them off on my side of the cupcake.

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The Chuck Berry cupcake: orange cake with blueberry filling and raspberry frosting.

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And finally, the Salt-n-Pepa cupcake: chocolate cake with vanilla bean frosting and salty caramel.


Now I’m sad they are all gone. I miss living in Columbia Heights!

Edited to add a picture of how they looked on the show (and presumably how they look at the bakery). Photo from Sticky Fingers website.


Top Chef Wednesday: Modern Bibimbap with Lemon-Chili Sauce


Tonight I made Edward Lee’s top vegetarian recipe from the tribute dinner episode. This was seriously amazing. Half of that amazingness comes from the flavors of Ed’s recipe and half from this surprisingly believable tofu fried egg.

This is another recipe that isn’t hard, but is time consuming with all the cutting and prepping. But once again, it is worth it. Everything comes together really well and the texture of the tofu egg is super close to a real egg, right down to the runny “yolk.”

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

It may be a strange holiday to honor on a vegan blog, but I read several interesting articles and recipes today that I wanted to share. It started with an NPR article on food and the civil rights movement. That article led to a blog by Professor Frederick Douglass Opie, Food as a Lens, specifically MLK Through The Lens of Food Part 3: Montgomery, Alabama. (However, if I saw this post earlier, I might have made a pound cake, too). Both posts included links to vegan recipes, and so I made Vegan Goat Cheese, Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Pork Chops with Roasted Garlic Fingerling Potatoes and Onions.

Then this article by Virginia Messina popped up in my Twitter feed, which I found very insightful. I’ve never understood the criticism that vegans care more about animals than humans. These things are not mutually exclusive. And honestly, I can’t understand separating them. So thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr. for all the progress you made in the civil rights movement. We’ve come a long way, but, unfortunately, there is still a long way to go. And thank you, Dexter Scott King, for advocating non-violence towards all animals, human and non-human.

Vegan Goat Cheese, Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Pork Chops

with Roasted Garlic Fingerling Potatoes and Onions 

The filling and potatoes were delicious. The “pork chop” was not bad. H thought it was too juicy for a pork chop.

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Top Chef Wednesday: “Skirt Steak” Tacos with Corn and Black Bean Salad

This was an easy modification: just substitute Trader Joe’s beefless tips for the steak. Everything else is meat and dairy free. This must have been a catering episode because the recipe calls for ridiculous amount of food. I reduced it to something 2 people can manage. There wasn’t much leftover “steak” but lots of salsa so we ate it again on Thursday with “chicken,” I just made a little bit more marinade to toss with the chicken.

This winning recipe is from Susan Feniger on Top Chef Masters. It’s not hard but a little time consuming because there’s like 50 salsas in this meal.


Cumin-cilantro marinade with beefless tips

Corn & Black Bean salad
I hate peeling skin off peppers, but this is really good.

Tomatillo Salsa – the easiest thing in the recipe. Just combine all ingredients in a food processor.


Chipotle Salsa: This is spicy!


And finally, guacamole. A little too limey. I’d start with 1/2 a lime and add more if you need it.


The flavors of the marinade and all the toppings come together really well. This is one of my favorite top chef recipes.


Here are the amounts I used:

Skirt Steak:
  • 1 package of Trader Joe’s Beefless Tips
Cumin Cilantro Marinade:
  • 2 bunches cilantro
  • 1/2 Serrano
  • ½ cup cumin seeds, toasted
  • Juice from 1/2 Lime
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
Corn and Black Bean Salad:
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 poblano, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 red pepper, roasted and diced
  • 2/3 bunch scallions, cut on bias
Tomatillo Salsa:
  • 3Tomatillos
  • 1/4 Onion
  • 3 /4 bunch Cilantro
  • 1/2 Serrano
  • Salt & Pepper
Chipotle Salsa:
  • 1 can Chipotle
  • 1 onion
  • 3 Roma tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 avocadoes
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 small red onions
  • 1/3 serrano
  • Juice of 1 lime (start with 1/2)
  • Salt & pepper

National Champions!

Last night Alabama won its second national championship in three years!  I made vegan cupcakes and I am pretty sure that’s why they won. Either that or Alabama’s dominating defense.


I attempted to do red and white vanilla cupcakes, but I used a natural food coloring and it came out brown.


I drew Alabama As with chocolate ganache.


The cupcakes were baked in houndstooth liners.

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Sassafras was so happy to curl up on his Alabama snuggie and watch the game (because he is not an Auburn fan!)


Roll Tide!

Grilled Daiya and Easy Tomato Soup

Easy Tomato Soup

modified from All Recipes


  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart tomato juice
  • 4 oz. tomato paste
  • salt &/or Italian spices to taste (I used a spice blend that had salt in it)
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk


In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, saute onions in margarine until translucent. Remove from the heat. Stir in the flour so that no lumps remain, then slowly whisk in the tomato juice. Return to the heat and mix in tomato paste. Add salt, spices. Cook until just boiling but turn off the heat before it boils. Use an immersion blender if you want to make it a little smoother. Stir in almond milk and cook until hot.

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Top Chef Wednesday: Texas BBQ Rubbed Seitan with Sauteed Mustard Greens, Home Fried

It’s the barbecue episode. Of course it was coming in the Texas season. The cheftestants competed in teams at the Salt Lick. I actually went to the Salt Lick a few summers ago when I went to Austin for a wedding and all I could eat was potato salad and pickles. And that’s when I was just a vegetarian. This was not a vegan-friendly episode, except for the almost vegan watermelon recipe that won the quickfire challenge. But you don’t need meat for a good BBQ, you just need some good seitan and spices. This recipe is from vegan chef Ayinde Howell.

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