Book review: “Rabbit Food” cookbook has a lot of info and cute drawings »
I’ve been sent an adorable copy of Beth Barnett’s cute new cookbook, Rabbit Food, to review, and it contains much more information than simply recipes, which is good because I had to modify substantially the savory recipes I made. I’m a bitch, sorry!
That being said, I’m a big fan of “Beth Bee,” as I understand she goes by. This book is accessible to vegans, vegetarians, and omnis, as the preface says: “I know that not everyone using this book will be vegan or completely vegetarian. This book will not self-destruct in protest. It’s happy you’re at least at the table!” However, it’s worth noting that a few recipes contain honey.
The book’s zine roots are apparent in the by-hand illustrations and spiral binding:
MOUSSE ≠ MOOSE, sillyhead!
The book goes on to discuss the vegan perspective on the food supply, health considerations, and the history of food in North America, a section that is highly fascinating and covers the food practices of indigenous peoples up to now. Then it gives you some tips for starting your first garden, whether urban or regular. The last bit before you get to the food (which is what we’re waiting for, right?) shows you how to sew your own reusable grocery bags and produce bags, the latter of which is, to me, a novel idea.
The breakfast, soup, entree, drinks, and sweets recipes include such tasty gems as Easy Baking Powder Biscuits and Almond Gravy, Split Pea & Potato Soup, Tofu Pot Pie (recipe below), Nutritional Yeast Cheese, and Cocoa No-Bake Drops.
While the sweet recipes were winners, it is my opinion that fresh onions and/or garlic would be a welcome addition to almost every recipe. Some recipes half-ass it with onion and garlic powder, but I really think the fresh versions are worth the trouble.
I will now share this Tofu Pot Pie recipe from the book with you. While it looks a bit involved and has a lot of parts, it really doesn’t take too long to make. You can mix the crust and/or cook the tofu in advance, even. Sadly, it could use some modifications that seem so obvious to me now, so you’ll see a few spots where I edited it below.
A light burned out in my kitchen, and I can’t reach it. Deal with it.
Tofu Pot Pie
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain “milk”
pinch of salt
Mix everything together; knead. Set aside while preparing filling for pie. Then preheat the oven to 450 F.
Separate the dough into two slightly unequal pieces. Roll out the larger piece between two sheets of parchment paper (do this, trust me) and then lay it into the pie pan. Cover the crust with foil, fill it with dry beans or pie weights (do this too, trust me!) and bake it for 7 minutes.
Remove from oven, and set aside the bottom crust and the extra dough.
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 vegetable bouillon cube
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. salt (EDIT)
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute because Trader Joe’s does not carry poultry seasoning, or lime juice, for that matter)
diced minced onion
Boil water, add the bouillon cube and oil, mix together flour & yeast and then add SLOWLY while whisking, stirring out lumps. Add diced onion last. Stir and cook on low to medium heat until thick. Set aside. IGNORE THIS.
Saute your onions in a saucepan with the vegetable oil until they are nice and soft; otherwise your pot pie ends up with crunchy onions, which, when in a soft, soupy setting, fully gross me out. Do not—I repeat, DO NOT—add your onions last as the recipe mandates.
Add water and bouillon cube and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. While you wait, mix the other ingredients together. Once water is boiling, whisk in the dry mixture little by little. When it gets thick, remove from heat.
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 lb. firm tofu, cubed
Shake to mix everything but the tofu together in paper or plastic bag. Add tofu cubes and shake to coat well.
1 lb. breaded tofu (from above)
2 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup chopped potato
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup diced onion (EDIT: To make this easier and faster, instead of celery, carrot, and peas, I just used two cups of “ghetto veggies.”)
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed (EDIT)
1 tsp. salt (EDIT)
In a large skillet with 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, sauté everything on medium heat. Stir frequently, cooking for about 20 minutes total, or until the potatoes start to soften up. They don’t have to be completely done, as they will cook more in the oven. Remove from heat and mix in the gravy from Part 2.
Y’all, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over five years of vegan cooking, it’s never trust a recipe without garlic. Here’s what you really want to do: In a separate skillet with 1 Tbsp. of the oil, saute the tofu, flipping as much as you can, until it gets nice and brown and crispy.
While you’re working on that, heat the remainder of the oil in another, much larger skillet. Saute the onions and fresh celery, if using, until they’re soft (maybe 8 to 10 minutes). Add the garlic and salt, and stir until that shit is fragrant as fuck. Then add the rest of your veggies and continue cooking until everything is cooked through. Mix in the tofu and the gravy.
N.B. You will need a big-ass skillet, and don’t make the mistake of using cast-iron on your tofu (royally fucked that up myself).
For assembly (FINALLY)!
Decrease oven temperature to 375 F. Then pack all the filling into the pre-cooked bottom pie crust in the pie pan. Pat down the filling to remove pockets of air. At last!
Roll out the second half of the pie crust dough (between the two pieces of parchment paper). Drape and position the top crust dough over the filling, and pinch it together at the edges with the bottom crust. Using a sharp knife, cut a few decorative vents in the top.
Bake your pot pie at 375 F for 30 minutes.
Vegan MoFo: Pumpkin Oatmeal »
It’s motherfucking pumpkin season, folks. Every year around this time, I gorge on the sweet squash by inserting it into as many concoctions as possible. The amazing flavor and lovely color herald the fall holidays, my favorites. So when I woke up this morning with a headache brought on by far too much wine last night, I needed something sweet, bright, and comforting. Hence this pumpkin oatmeal was born:
Pumpkin Oatmeal for One
1 cup water
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 can pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. agave nectar (or maple syrup, or sugar, or whatever)
assorted pumpkin-esque spices (allspice, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg—OR just some pumpkin pie spice)
Put water in saucepan and bring to a boil. When it’s boiling, add everything else, and reduce the heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s as runny or dry as you like. Add raisins or nuts or something if you’re nasty. Eat away your hangover.
Vegan Mofo: BBQ Soy Curls! »
How great are soy curls? They’re the greatest, right? To me, they taste like slices of chicken breast, without all the gross fat and tissues. They’ve got this amazing texture, and unlike some vegan meat products, they’re super great for you. Basically, they’re dehydrated soy protein made from whole, non-GMO soybeans that are slowly cooked and stretched and dried and BAM. They’re also high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, with 10 grams of protein in every serving. All that, and they’re SO EXTRA DELICIOUS. They really are! And I know I get excited about everything, but even Meave likes them! And she really doesn’t like everything! So there you go, proof that you have to try them: Meave’s Seal of Approval! Oh, and I just learned from Mandy in the comments that they’re gluten-free! They’re the perfect food!
Now that I’ve sold you on soy curls, I’m gonna give you a bomb recipe for them. It’s straight ripped from Julie Hasson, because she’s in Portland, the Land of the Soy Curl, and is a brilliant recipe inventor and chef, and the lady knows what’s up!
All you do is this:
Soak your soy curls in hot water, like it says on the package. You can add some vegan chicken broth into the water to add some extra delicious flavor, if you’d like. Once they’re hydrated, you need to squeeze out the extra water from the soy curls. It’s satisfying. Then, you take the soy curls and put them in a frying pan with a little salt and oil. Once they’re fried up and a little crispified, add in your favorite BBQ sauce and cook for a couple more minutes until it’s all gooey and delicious.
Eat it from the pan, serve it in a bowl with veggies and rice and vegan ranch (like in Grant Butler’s extra great Oregonian piece! Read it!), or on some bread in a delightful BBQ sandwich, like I did. I used Wildwood Garlic Aioli, fancy pickles, lettuce, pepperoncinis, and some salt and pepper. It looked kinda like this brilliant BeerBQ soy curls sandwich that Jess at Get Sconed made:
You want it now, right? YEAH YOU DO. If you’re in S.F., you can find soy curls at Rainbow, or if you live somewhere else/better/worse/different, check out this list of where to buy, or you can buy them online directly from the beast. It’s six bags for $28 (including shipping), that’s like $4.65 a bag, which is a pretty good price, I think. Plus, it’s hella soy curls and you’re gonna want to put them in EVERYTHING, so don’t hate, celebrate! With soy curls!
For today’s Vegan MoFo, I thought I’d share my absolute favorite way to eat greens these days: massaged kale salad. It’s so easy, so simple, and so ridiculously delicious, plus it’s insanely good for you. Make this tonight, you will be so happy.
1 bunch kale—I used lacinato, or dinosaur kale.
Handful sun-dried tomatoes
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Prep your kale by stripping it from the stems and ripping the leaves into regular, smaller pieces. Wash and dry, and throw it in a bowl.
Sprinkle some salt—less than a teaspoon, I don’t measure—onto the kale. With your two hands, knead the salted kale until it shrinks roughly 50 percent in volume, and looks glossy and dark. Maybe five minutes?
In your preferred serving bowl, mix the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the kale.
Dice the sun-dried tomatoes, and add them to the kale.
If your pepitas aren’t toasted, heat them in a pan until browned and good-smelling. Add them to the kale.
Toss the whole bowl until everything is nicely mixed. Add salt and pepper—this salad takes pepper really well!—and mix again. Taste, adjust seasonings accordingly, and serve. Soak up the accolades, because everyone loves this and people who’ve never eaten raw kale before will praise your culinary genius. Graciously accept these compliments.
A few notes: I find one bunch of kale serves two comfortably; if you want to eat exclusively this, you might want the entire bunch to yourself (I often do) (I am a kale monster). I also find that red wine vinegar substitutes for the lemon juice quite well, but as balsamic is milder, if you want to use it, maybe add more. Also, if you don’t want to turn your cuticles/under your nails green, wear gloves while working with the kale.
Massaged kale salad! It’s the best!
Vegan MoFo: Margherita toast! »
More often than not, my easy vegan recipes come from a random craving that needs immediate satisfaction. Margherita toast is no exception: One autumn afternoon in 2010 I had a serious hankering for pizza—not greasy, drippy, stringy-cheesy pizza, but hearty, rich, and healthy: whole grains, chunky veggies, fresh greens, and tons of flavor. With no vegan pizza options in the vicinity, I rolled up my sleeves, opened my refrigerator door, and decided I’d have to get creative. Margherita Toast was soon born, and has become a simple staple in my household ever since.
Depending on the portion, it can be a snack or a full meal, and the flavors are full and rich enough to satisfy cravings for the not-so-super-healthy pizza varieties. Read on, and drool accordingly!
A couple slices of bread (whole grain is obviously best; sprouted is even better!)
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground salt and pepper
Fresh greens (I like arugula, but spinach, mizuna, broccoli rabe, etc. all work too)
vegan cheese alternative (I love Daiya, any flavor)
Fresh or dried Italian spices (basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.)
Get creative! Maybe some olives? Mushrooms? Artichoke hearts?
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place one or two (or more!) slices of bread on a baking sheet or sheet of tinfoil. Spread a spoonful of sauce on the bread if you like, or just leave it plain. If you have a taste for cheese, sprinkle a little handful of Daiya (whichever flavor you like) on each piece of bread.
Then lay three or four tomato slices on each piece—slice ‘em thick if you like it hearty, or thin if you prefer a more subtle tomato flavor.
After the oven has preheated, put your creation on the middle rack and let it toast for about 12 minutes, depending on your oven—it may take as little as 10, or as much as 15.
Yank those bad boys out of the oven before they burn, and sprinkle some finely chopped fresh or dried herbs if you’re into it, then toss a good handful of greens on top of the whole mess. Follow that up with a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper, then a drizzle of olive oil over everything. Let it marinate for a minute or two—be patient!—and then feast.
With all the fresh, real, simple ingredients combined, you’ve created a serious taste of Italy. Win!
Vegan MoFo: Monday! »
I had grandiose plans for my last vegan MoFo of entry this month. Grandiose! But what do I do? I sign up for a Monday post, knowing full well (but thinking maybe this time will be different) I work all weekend and will not be able to put anything (recipes) together by Sunday night. Silly me. So I give you the tired, frantic, vegan girl’s dinner.
I like to think of the stove as not a mess, but abstract art.
What we have here:
Thinly sliced zucchini sauteed in olive oil, salt and pepper,
VegeUsa Black Pepper Steaks
I like this kind of dinner because it’s fast, convenient, and reminds me of the meals my fam used to eat together, except without all the slaughtering to get to my plate! Go veganism!
Vegan MoFo: Rachel’s Amazing Super-Fast Oatmeal
I eat the exact same thing for breakfast about 97 percent of the time. Why? Because it’s awesome, and also because there’s nothing worse in the morning than having to make decisions. Actually, the cat peeing on your bed or a car alarm going off for hours are examples of worse things, but why make life harder, you know?
I make a non-instant, microwave version of oatmeal with awesome stuff in it. It’s super-healthy, keeps you full, and takes only five minutes, including prep!
Disclosure: the photo above is not a photo of my breakfast. It’s a photo of someone on Flickr's breakfast because a) they're a way better photographer than me (come on guys, you've seen me try to shoot food) and b) I forgot to take a photo of my breakfast.
1/3 cup rolled oats (NOT quick-cook or instant. Glue-city!)
About 2 Tbsp. chopped date pieces (to taste)
Sprinkle of salt
2/3 cup water
Sliced almonds (Or even better, those chopped and roasted ones you normally grind into almond butter that they seem to sell nowhere on Earth but the Berkeley Bowl. I’ll love you forever and even pay you back if you wanna mail me some of that, SO GOOD.)
Mix the oatmeal, salt, water, and date pieces in a microwave-safe bowl. The date pieces (or other dried fruit) are key: They break the surface tension and help keep your bowl from overflowing (science!).
Microwave for 3 minutes. Important: You may have to experiment with your power-level settings here. If your oatmeal overflows and pisses you off, then set the power level lower. I used to have a shitty microwave and it just worked, but now I have a stronger one and have to set it to Power Level 7.
Let cool for like a minute, then sprinkle with cinnamon, flax oil, and almonds to taste. I guess you could use other nuts or whatever but I’m almonds all the way, baby. Sometimes when I’m feeling really crazy I sprinkle on some chia seeds, but watch out, those like to nestle between your teeth and make you look dumb when you get to work even though you really did brush them, you swear.
Enjoy the deliciousness! Also cinnamon in the A.M. helps you be less hungry all day (Dr. Oz says so)! So do fat and protein! It’s really awesome!
You’re welcome. Now you know what to have in the house for me when I come visit.
Vegan MoFo: No Cookie cookies! »
A complete review is forthcoming once I get used to my new schedule (I got a new full-time job, guys! Also, I’m so very tired), but for now I’ll show you what I’ve been eating pretty much nonstop for the past week and encourage you to go out and raid your local health food store for some right now:
Vegan MoFo PLUS: Tofu Xpress makes amazing antipasto! »
The cool dudes over at Tofu Xpress were kind enough to send over a unit for review, and I was so pumped about using the nifty gadget that I decided to incorporate it into my Vegan MoFo recipe. Talk about slicing two carrots with one knife!
The Tofu Xpress is a fully dishwasher-safe, easy-to-use, gourmet kitchen tool. Though it was created to remove moisture from a traditional block of tofu, it can be used for other foods that need pressing as well. To use, place a block of firm or extra-firm tofu into the container, attach and lock the lid, and let it do its job. Most of the water will be gone after an hour or so, but you can leave the Tofu Xpress in the fridge overnight, or however long you’d like.
Once pressed, tofu becomes easier to grill, marinate, stir fry and bake and results in richer flavors and increased versatility. After food prep, the machine is easy to clean and store, with only two, corrosion-resistent parts. Miraculous! After searching for some relatively simple pressed-tofu recipes, I was thrilled to find the perfect project: Marinated Tofu Cheese.
After pressing a block of extra-firm tofu for 48 hours (I wanted to be sure!), I chopped it into small blocks and tossed it with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, fresh basil and rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. After making sure it was well combined, I packed the whole mixture into a Mason jar, topped it up with more olive oil, and let it sit in my fridge—patiently—for almost four days to soak up all the goodness.
Today, I picked up an Italian loaf at a local market and packed it, along with about half of my ready-to-devour mixture, and headed into work. After tasting the antipasto goodness myself, and gathering feedback from my foodie coworkers, the consensus is that my first Tofu Xpress experience was indeed a GREAT success!
Next time I’ll add a few whole cloves of garlic to the marinade, but aside from that it was truly delicious and rich. One of my coworkers said she’d even love to serve it at a party! Win! Can’t WAIT to try another recipe!
[Tofu Xpress image via Rollin’ Oats Market]
Vegan MoFo: Cheesy Eggplant Casserole! »
It’s Vegan MoFo time—that special time of day when you get to see what your favorite vegan bloggers are eating for dinner. So exciting! Today—Cheesy Eggplant Casserole, a.k.a my version of eggplant parmesan.
Blob of casserole
Usually when I make this dish, I make Italian-style cheese, but today I made a tofu ricotta. Mine came out tofu scramblish; I should have looked up a recipe, but we learn from our mistakes, right?
Gluten-free penne pasta
Not pictured: olive oil, salt, pepper, agave syrup, wine.
This is a multi-stepper, as it calls for cheese, eggplant, pasta and marinara sauce. An easy way to cut down on the prep of this recipe is to buy pre-made marinara and vegan cheese, but I wanted to show you all of it from scratch!
Boil your pasta. I used gluten-free because I could use a little less gluten in my life. Preheat oven to 375.
Cut eggplant into 1/3-inch slices and lightly coat each slice with some olive oil, salt and pepper: I did this by putting tossing them together in a bowl. Place on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, or until eggplant is tender and lightly browned. This will cut down on your bake time dramatically. When they are done, crank up oven to 400!
While that’s going on, make your marinara, or doctor up a jar of the pre-made stuff! I like onions, garlic, mushrooms,* and spinach in mine. I sauteed all that stuff together, in olive oil with, then added a 28 oz. can of tomato sauce. I then filled the empty can 1/4 of the way up and added that, plus a drizzle of agave nectar. I let my sauce come to a boil and simmer until reduced ever so slightly. Season to taste! I used 1 1/2 Tbsp. of both Italian seasoning and salt, plus 1 tsp. pepper.
Tofu ricotta time! I mushed up my tofu and added salt, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Italian seasonings, garlic, olive oil and pepper to taste. It’s all right. Send me your tofu ricotta recipes, please and thank you.
Find a casserole dish. Put in a bottom layer of pasta, then a layer of sauce, a layer of eggplant, a layer of cheese, a layer of eggplant, a layer of sauce, and a top layer of cheese. DONE! Now bake at 400 until eggplant is fork tender, especially the bottom layer. I like mine practically falling apart with tenderness. This takes about 20 minutes, sometimes a little longer.
Done! Layers upon layers of deliciousness.
*Mushrooms! I sauteed mine before everything else, with red wine. It’s an extra step but worth it if you have the time.
Cooking on medium high until all wine is absorbed!