apple fest and apple-tastic inspiration

The apple of my eye.

 

I continued my yearly tradition of stopping by the always bigger & better apple fest & tasting at the Portland Nursery over the weekend. Shortage of time and frankly, overwhelming lines, made my visit the quickest yet, but I definitely got what I came for: a variety of tart apples and firm pears, largely including my beloved McIntosh and 3 types of Asian pears. After a couple of grocery errands later in the day, project #1 and project #2 took off.

Project #1: Homemade Apple Liquor

Reason: Because DIY, class, and booze roll together in my life, apple puckers suck, and I’ve wanted to recreate the amber, apple liquor I liked so when I studied abroad in the Netherlands, too many years ago.

Apple Liquor, Day 1

 

 

Step 1 includes vodka, brandy, apples, and patience.

 

Project #2: VWAM’S Apple Sage Sausages, turned Roast.

Reason: I’ve made the original recipe for Jayne’s  seitan sausages a couple of times. The flavor is incredible, and totally right for fall. I tend to make seitan sausages every couple of months, and haven’t made simmered, or baked seitan, in quite some time, so this project merged all the wheaty goodness. I made some changes to the original recipe, like using roasted apples instead of dried, doubled it, and baked it in broth with sliced garlic. The verdict? We’ll see, and so will the friend I gave a loaf to.

 

Pre-baked!! Apple Potato Sage Seitan Roast

 

Project #3: Apple, Asian Pear & Brandy Crumb Pie (adapted from the Apple Butterscotch Pie in American Vegan Kitchen).

Reason: I had fruit and a housewarming to go to! The dual fruits spent a few hours mingling in brandy & maple syrup before baking. Not only was I happy with the outcome of this, it again proved itself bus-ride-worthy. I love that in a pie.

 

Apple, Asian Pear & Brandy Pie

 

dave’s killer breaded seitan

Dave’s Killer Breaded Seitan, Steamed Kale, BBQ Sauce

This very American dinner was appropriately based around the seitan lite from the American Vegan Cookbook.  Of course, the other star is the pride of the Pacific Northwest: Dave’s Killer Bread.

The baked seitan cutlets were breaded with a mixture of toasted, pulverized Dave’s Killer Good Seed bread, freshly ground black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, oregano, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, and sweet paprika. The cutlets were dipped in a water and cornstarch slurry, and then pressed firmly into the mixed crumbs. The cutlets were sprayed with canola oil and baked on parchment paper at 375F for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through and spraying again. They were baked at 425F for an extra 5 minutes for crispy-ness’ sake.

Soon to be breading action

Your dinner is served

steamed kale and blueberries, direct from the new Pioneer Square farmar

I picked up two half pints of blueberries. My berry excitement is about to come to well, fruition this weekend – the first in a series of therapeutic and fulfilling weekend berry picking adventures!

before the surprisingly competitive slashing of prices…

Grilled Seitan and Portobello with Pistou

Grilled Seitan and sliced Portobello with Pistou

pistou

I may not have a garden with fresh basil, or a backyard to grill in, but I do have access to numerous, inviting farmers markets and my handy dandy cast iron grilling pan.  I don’t completely forget about it in the winter; the desire to grill simply springs out this time of year.

Pistou sauce is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. I don’t have one in my life, but I do have blending machines. This post really is all about looking on the bright side and smashing basil.

The seitan is based on the Seitan Cutlets in Veganomicon.  I cooked it as one large uh, dough, and played with the seasonings a bit.  The baking broth included basil, black pepper, and Bill’s Best Chick’nish seasoning.  Both sliced seitan strips and de-gilled portobella mushroom slices were carefully tossed and marinated in 1/2 cup of pistou for 30 minutes prior to grilling.

Basically, pistou is a generous, nutless pesto.  A lot of the recipes online call for fancy cheese, but traditionally, it doesn’t have to.  I stuck with a tablespoon of nooch. Any more, and it would have become cheesy sauce pistou.  Nothing wrong with that, and I believe in pesto mac, but it wasn’t what I was going for with this.  I added the vegetable broth because I didn’t want something incredibly oily, so do what you will.

The Pistou ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable broth, or water
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove of garlic (go for 2 if you’re using small cloves)

Directions: Pulse quickly in your blender or food processor.  You’re not looking to completely puree this, you want some specks of herb left.

This makes about 1 cup of sauce.  Use the leftover pistou as a marinade, spoon onto soup, make a sandwich spread mixed with Vegenaise, or do as I did, and top your favorite dishes.

Pistou

Pistou

Plated, over local green leaf lettuce

Pistou

Mr. Paik’s Favorite Grilled Seitan Bulgogi

After his daughter surreptitiously purchased a controlling interest in Paik Heavy Industries, Woo-Jung Paik’s stress levels were a scary sight. Not as scary as the blank look in Sayid’s eyes these days, but enough that he finally listened to his doctor (Dr. Mittlesomething?) about lowering his semi-worrisome cholesterol.  Which brings us to his personal chef’s Grilled Seitan Bulgogi.

grilled bulgogi seitan

Served with white rice and steamed broccoli raab, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

steamed broccoli raab and white rice

Let’s pretend I snuck into the Paik mansion’s kitchen and stole this guide for a cholesterol-free vegan version of Korean Bulgogi Beef.

The homemade seitan was thinly sliced and marinated overnight in a sauce of soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, dark agave, sugar, minced garlic, grated ginger, green onions, rice vinegar, tons of freshly ground black peppers, and liquid.  I used leftover seitan broth to impart more flavor.  I composed the sauce based on my own taste – please adjust to your own liking.

Bulgogi Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of sherry
  • 2 tablespoons dark agave
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or all 3 sugar)
  • 2 green onions, chopped (I skimped on this)
  • 2-3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
  • very generous pinch  of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup broth or water

Whisk together. Marinate for multiple hours.

The strips were cooked on a stove top grill pan, and basted with additional sauce after the first flip.  They were kept warm in a baking dish with leftover sauce.

This was served with white rice, steamed broccoli raab, and Sriracha

Sawyer’s Southern Spaghetti and Smokey Greens

Southern Spaghetti with Seitan and Smokey Greens

paired with an Australian merlot

We’ve yet to see this side of James Ford, but I know it’s there.  There is one dish in this LOST character’s romancing-and-swindling-the-ladies repertoire, and this is it.

Smokey greens for three reasons: the name, of course, the Southern tradition, and because Sawyer knows greens help you look that good.

There’s really not much traditionally Southern about the spaghetti sauce itself – I simply discovered after a quick google search that a lot of ‘Southern spaghetti’ recipes called for ground beef or chicken and extra heat.  Let’s just pretend that Sawyer’s parents used to eat this in Alabama, before you know who came along.

I browned diced, homemade seitan in a bit of olive oil, added minced garlic, crushed red pepper, dashes of sea salt and pepper, and tomato basil marinara I had made previously.  I let it simmer for a bit, and served it over whole wheat spaghetti.

The greens were the ‘greens mix’ from Trader Joe’s (collards, mustard greens, kale, etc.); sauteed with garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, crushed red pepper, agave, pepper and liquid smoke.

Also a wonderful accompaniment to a good book.

Image Property of ABC!

Last night’s episode touched my heart, for the record! If you’ve seen my previous LOST related posts, you may know that I adore that you know who.

No spoilers, please.

Mr. Cluck’s Outback Roaster Tofu

Hugo Reyes Approved!

(I wish.  But I do figure him for the open minded type - Jorge, the actor, has given love to Sweet & Sara marshmallows on his blog!)

Mr. Cluck’s Outback Roaster Tofu, served with grilled asparagus, since it’s in season in Australia*.

Outback Glazed Tofu

Up to date on LOST?  In case you freakishly haven’t seen this yet, check out the Mr. Cluck’s commercial from Comic Con 2009, featuring Mr. Cluck’s Outback Roaster Chicken, the inspiration for this meal.  As soon as I saw the commercial (just last week, what THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH ME?!?), I knew I wanted to make a vegan version, for fun.  To literally feed my obsession.

I assure you, fellow LOST fans reading this, that it pains me that I didn’t have more time to serve with a side of mashed potatoes, corn, and diced pineapple on top.  I’m leaving for vacation tonight! Alas!

Anyway, here’s what I made:

Mr. Cluck’s Outback Roaster Tofu or Seitan, a Veganized, Copycat, Obsessed Recipe

Ingredients:

  • One pound block of drained, sliced tofu, or large slices of seitan.
  • 1 cup of beer (preferably not pale; I used Session Black lager – yes, it’s vegan!)
  • 1.5 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1.5 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • extremely generous pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of sea salt or seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Directions:

  • Whisk all ingredients together, being careful not to make a mess with beer foam, unless you want to.
  • Marinate the tofu and/or seitan for a few hours, preferably overnight.  Now, I grilled mine on a cast iron grill pan because I don’t have fancy grilling instruments for that oven roasting effect the commercial alludes to.
  • I misted my grill pan with oil, turned to medium heat, opened my window, and grilled on both sides 4-5 minutes for those dark lines.
  • I splashed with more sauce 3 minutes in, on each side.
  • Serve with vegetables, sprinkled with more pepper, a slice of lemon, and enjoy!
  • Smile and think of winning the lottery with sheer luck.

Seitan variation:

I tried out a seitan and tofu variation, both marinated overnight in a sweet, seasoned beer-based sauce.  My friend Maeve, the girl who still swoons over Boone, voted tofu.  I originally figured seitan would hope up better against the sauce, since it’s more chicken-on-the-barbie type.  I think Boone would probably agree with Maeve.

Sauce
Sauce.

Mr. Cluck’s Likes Tofu!!

Image Credit: The Hatch on Zazzle

*not a fact

there’s a recipe for tangerine teriyaki sauce in this post

Tangerine Teriyaki Soba with Tofu, Cabbage and Spinach
teriyaki tangerine soba

I’m giving myself a little pat on the back because this was the best clean-out-the-fridge dinner I’ve made in a while. Really, I’m giving Isa a pat on the back, because I was clearly inspired by test recipes I’ve made for her new book. It’s such a positive influence already! There’s tofu, sautéed cabbage, spinach, garlic,  ginger, and soba noodles, topped with some spur-of-the-moment teriyaki sauce.  I’ve been on a spending hiatus and have been focused on throwing odds and ends into scrambles, stir fries and risotto.

Tangerine Teriyaki Sauce (small amount for 2 servings, double as needed)

  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • juice of one small tangerine
  • dash sesame chili oil (or quick dash of sesame oil and chili paste)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

Whisk together. Heat briefly on the stove or in the microwave. Add to your stir fry after everything is cooked, toss, serve, smile, eat, take a walk, sleep.

If I hadn’t already added a lot of minced garlic and ginger to the stir fry, I would have added it here!

Next up is another hodgepodge dish – Chickpea Breaded Seitan Tenders

chickpea baked seitan

It’s boiled seitan cut into strips, and breaded with a mixture of ground, roasted chickpeas, nutritional yeast and seasoned breadcrumbs.  They were simply dipped into vegetable broth, breaded and baked at 400F for 20 minutes on each side.  Basically, I was on a roasted chickpea kick, and then fell out of it and ground them to make a super-protein-ist meal.

And here’s Zelda doing one of the things she does best, investigating a plate with greens.  From The  Urban Vegan: Sloppy Joes – these were so easy to whip up!

-Sorry, photo unavailable-

They were a little sweet for me, so next time I’d cut down the sugar a smidgen.  Served with grilled creminis and kale salad ala The Ruby Dragon – with avocado, sea salt and fresh lemon juice.  I’ve been on a roll with that this past week!  I really like that the avocado doesn’t brown and I can keep a big bowl of it around.

Coming soonLOST themed party snacks, GALORE.  My friend Susie is in town and we’re hosting Benjamin Linus Throws a Dinner Party this weekend.  Dharma labels make me happy.

warm & comforty foods.

Brussel Sprouts Au Gratin from The Urban Vegan


brussel sprouts au gratin

here’s a showing of what I’ve been cooking in the past month or so.  colder weather & holiday season = comfort foods on the brain.  turning on the oven to roast vegetables and bake tofu is delicious and keeps the apartment warm!

they’re the type of dishes where you want to hug the plate, and then raise your fork.  truthfully, in my heart and stomach, Italian food reigns as the ruler of the comfort food kingdom, but American vegan comfort foods call out, just the same.

Whole Wheat Biscuits from The Kind Diet, Silky Chickpea Gravy from Isa’s test kitchen, roasted brussel sprouts (clearly I let the gravy sit a few minutes here!)

WW Biscuits and Tester Silky Chickpea Gravy

Spicy Collards & kidney beans, Bbq baked super firm tofu

recent dinner

The spicy collards dish above was based on the test recipe for the dish below – Spicy Black Eyed Peas & Greens from Isa’s test kitchen, served with Cornmeal & Nooch baked tofu. Perfect for the days the Bye & Bye is just too far across town from me.

PPK dinner.

More BBQ baked tofu & Brussel Sprouts Au Gratin – the lunch@work edition. I made a double batch of maple sweetened Backyard BBQ sauce from Veganomicon a few weeks ago, and it’s been handy.

lunch @work series

Baked Bean balls from Veganomicon. I eat these with steamed greens and a side of marinara, or happily over whole wheat spaghetti.

chickpea balls

Seitan roast, maple baked carrots, baked potato and mushroom croquette, silky chickpea gravy.

belated tday dinner.

The day after Thanksgiving, I felt the delayed desire to make a seitan roast.  Like my friend Joanna’s amazing seitan roast, I modeled mine after Brian P. McCarthy’s recipe.  I didn’t pull out all the stops and buy cheesecloth and string, but it was still remarkably good seitan. The potato and mushroom croquettes were a mix of leftover mashed potatoes, roasted garlic and a little extra stuffed mushroom filling, formed into patties, rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs and baked.  I remember my mom making a pan fried (mushroom-less), traditional Italian version of these a few times a year growing up. comfort foodz for the win!

Tofu Skin, Tolosana black beans, carrots and tomato with Mexican spices. Burrito filling.

tofu sheets, mexican style

Really serious warm & comforty food – Side Dish Stuffed Mushrooms from my friend Michelle’s Thanksgiving potluck.

shrooms

and…Melty Swiss Uncheese turned Ancho Uncheese Dip from the classic Uncheese Cookbook.

swiss uncheese turned spicy ancho swiss uncheese

so, what’s your comfort food of choice come winter?