Friday, November 9, 2007

Vegan MoFo: Stumped!

It's kind of embarrassing that I'm nine days (or, for me, six) into Vegan MoFo, and I'm already out of ideas. No, scratch that; I'm out of topics. I'd love to throw a vegan dinner party and write about that; I'd love to spend a day volunteering at an a farm sanctuary and write about that (that's actually a possibility, if I get a move on this 30 pages paper--but not for a few weeks at a minimum); I'd really, REALLY love to spend all day experimenting with original cookie recipes, but since I'm trying to shed a little weight/not get sick while the rest of my housemates are wheezing, that's not even a vague possibility.

So, even though I've been living off leftovers (supplemented with lots of oranges and antioxidant-rich broccoli to ward off the debilitating sickness that's reigning supreme in my house) and fretting about my reading rather than being brilliant in the kitchen, what I can do is give you recipes. Whenever I create something I love, I write down what I did so that I can make it again. Now, it's all nothing fancy; I'm not these people. But while their creations may be exciting, sophisticated, and gourmet, there's something to be said for cheap, fast, and easy, too.

So, without further ado, here's some schtuff I make:

Forgive the cutesy name of this one. I made this on a day when I missed greasy, drive-through Chinese restaurant Vegetable Fried Rice, the kind with questionable bits of egg in it. Fortunately, I don't miss it anymore, because I created something better:
Tof-egg Fried Rice:
1/3 C brown or wild rice
½ lb. firm or extra-firm tofu
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. soy sauce
½ C. white wine
½ tsp. Indian black salt
pinch turmeric
2 carrots, diced
½ C peas (frozen is fine--I'm not sure I've ever had the privilege of using fresh)
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic, crushed
pinch ginger
canola oil

Press the tofu. After it's pressed, mash it into small or stringy pieces, and marinate in ½ cup of white wine, a teaspoon of the soy sauce, turmeric and Indian black salt. Let it marinade for half an hour on each side, or more.

Prepare the rice as you normally would; set aside.

Heat canola oil in a frying pan, and add the garlic, ginger, and tofu when it’s sizzling. Stirfry the tofu to let it get as brown and crispy as you like before adding the carrots, broccoli, and peas. You can put in a little of the tofu marinade, too. Stirfry the vegetables and tofu for a minute longer before adding the rice, and possibly a little liquid too (oil is the obvious choice—water is alright too). Fry until heated through and slightly crispy, adding the soy sauce as you go. Serves two.

Roasted red peppers are my crack, and tomato soup is a quintessential comfort food. This is kinda like comfort-crack.
Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup:
1 large red bell pepper
2 large tomatoes, diced
½ small onion, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
¼ C. water
¼ tsp. beef-flavored veggie broth (onion works well)
½ C seitan pieces
2 Tbsp. Tofutti cream cheese
1 Tbsp. Nayonaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the pepper into four large pieces, and place in a hot cast-iron pan or grill pan, and roast until the skin begins to blacken and the pieces start to get soft.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion in the olive oil for two minutes or so. When it starts to look transparent, add the tomato, water, and beef-flavored broth powder. When the peppers are ready, chop them and add them to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring; then, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about fifteen minutes.

Uncover, and turn the heat on low. Using an immersion blender, blend until the soup is as chunky or smooth as you like; I like it really creamy. Put back on low heat, and add the seitan pieces. Let it cook until the seitan is heated through, two or three minutes. Remove from heat, and add tofutti cream cheese and nayonaise, stirring until they’re fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2.

This is warm and spicy, but not at all heavy. It's a good food for sick days. Too ugly to post a picture, though:
Curried Carrot Soup:
2 tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. beef-flavored veggie broth
1 tsp. canola or olive oil (optional)
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cups light veggie broth
2 Tbsp. onion flakes
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ C fresh spinach

Saute or smoke the curry powder and broth powder until they’re fragrant (or smokey), around three minutes. When they’re done, add the vegetable broth, carrots, onion flakes, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Partially cover, and simmer until the carrots are tender (30-40 minutes), adding the spinach in the last ten minutes of simmering.

Reduce the heat. Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to blend the soup until it’s smooth. Serve with parsley, if you have it. Serves 2.

There. Now you have all my secrets. Promise not to use them against me?

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