Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Vegan Finger Foods, a Book Review, a Recipe, and a Giveaway!

Okay, seriously? A whole book dedicated to vegan finger foods? Yes, please.  I find it so inspiring that there are now vegan cookbooks for almost every niche...and more are being written as we speak!  There used to be a time when I could buy every single new vegan cookbook that came out.  Now I simply can't keep up.  It is so flipping wonderful.

I'm the kind of girl that thinks everything tiny is just adorable.  So, when I found out that Celine and Tami were writing an entire book dedicated to mini foods, I just about peed my pants.  Let me tell you, they delivered.  With everything from Zucchini Cups (page 30) to Goji Berry Cacao Bites (page 151) there is something to suit every taste.  I really love just about everything this book has to offer.  Creative recipes, beautiful photography, a clean layout that makes it easy to use, a comprehensive index, a handy list of menu suggestions in the back, and a quick intro that let's you get right to the recipes.

Simply put, this book has made me the vegan version of Cher's character, Mrs. Flax, from the movie Mermaids, who only makes finger foods.  Only, I am now armed with some of the best finger food recipes ever.  Mrs. Flax couldn't lay a finger on these finger foods!

Celine and Tami were kind enough to allow me to share a recipe with you to get your fingers warmed up and ready for action.  So enjoy these gorgeous little swirls,and then head out and buy a copy of Vegan Finger Foods for yourself.  You won't be disappointed.

Spinach Swirls from Vegan Finger Foods by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen.  Photo by Celine Steen.
Spinach Swirls
These easy little spinach bites are an impressive part of an appetizer spread. Try to resist eating the filling with a spoon, but we won’t blame you if you do. Serve these with our Quickie Marinara (page 16).

For the dough:
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) warm water
1 teaspoon Sucanat
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup (120 g) white or regular whole wheat flour
1⁄2 cup (63 g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon Italian herb blend
1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Nonstick cooking spray

For the filling:
3 cups (90 g) finely chopped spinach
2 tablespoons (15 g) nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper

To make the dough: Stir together the water, Sucanat, and yeast in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes, until the yeast bubbles. Add the flours, oil, Italian herb blend, and salt. Mix on low until the dough forms a smooth ball, about 6 minutes. (Alternatively, knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes.) Add an extra 1 tablespoon (8 g) flour or (15 ml) water if needed to make a cohesive dough. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray.

Round the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl, turning so the oiled side is up. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into an 8 ≈ 10-inch (20 ≈ 25 cm) rectangle.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5).

To make the filling: Stir together the spinach, nutritional yeast, oil, and pepper in a medium-size bowl. Spread half the filling evenly on each rectangle. Roll from the 10-inch (25 cm) side, pinching the dough together as you go, including the ends and the last edge of the dough, so the swirls don’t unwind in the oven. Cut each roll into 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices, and place on a baking sheet with the filling side on top, and against the baking sheet.

Bake the rolls for 18 to 22 minutes, until lightly browned and the centers are cooked. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Yield: 20 swirls

The fine folks at Fairwinds Press were kind enough to offer up a copy to giveaway to one of you, lucky readers!  Simply follow the prompts below to enter.  US and Canada only.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Two For Tuesday: BBQ Seitan Ribs and Deli Style Macaroni Salad

Well, I missed Meatless Monday, so I figured I'd give you two for Tuesday!  With Summer almost in full swing, it's time to dust off those grills and dining al fresco.

BBQ Seitan Ribs from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions
Barbecue Seitan Ribs
Nothing says summertime like a rack of seitan bbq ribs!

3 cups (432 g) vital wheat gluten flour
1 cup (120 g) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (30 g) nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons (16 g) onion powder
1 tablespoon (8 g) garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups (470 ml) water
1/2 cup (125 ml) barbecue sauce, store-bought or homemade
1/4 cup (60 ml) steak sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) liquid smoke
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
2 cups (470 ml) additional barbecue sauce for baking and grilling
6 bones (See note below)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).
Line a 9×13-inch (23 x 33-cm) baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients.
Add wet ingredients to the dry and knead for 5 minutes.
Let mixture rest for 20 minutes.
Shape mixture into a large rectangle, to fit in the pan, with at least an inch of space around the edges.
Push the bones through the mixture, at equal distances from each other.
Pour additional 3/4 cup (180 ml) barbecue sauce into the bottom of the baking pan.
Place “rack of ribs” in the pan.
Spread another 3/4 cup (180 ml) barbecue sauce over the top.
Cover pan tightly with foil and bake for 90 minutes.
You can enjoy these as is, or refrigerate for later use.
To reheat, fire up the grill to give ribs extra smoky flavor and grill marks. Brush with 1/2 cup (125 ml) even more barbecue sauce while grilling!

Finger Lickin' Good: Disposable bamboo chopsticks or even Popsicle sticks work wonders here, but if
you want to kick it up a notch, try food-grade cedar cut into 1/2-inch x 6-inch (1.27 x 15-cm) “bones,” makingsure to sand down any rough edges. Whichever you choose, start by soaking them in a mixture of 2 cups (470 ml) warm water mixed with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) liquid smoke to add some smoky flavor to the ribs. For an edible set of bones, try taro root. Although this method will yield edible “bones,” they will be more flimsy after cooking, thus requiring a fork and knife for eating.

Yield: 6 large ribs

Deli Style Macaroni Salad from Home Cooked Vegan Comfort Food

Deli Style Macaroni Salad
This is the kind of macaroni salad you could EASILY serve to an omnivorous group at a potluck or get togetheror Saturday afternoon barbecue, without anyone ever questioning the veganocity. It’s chock full of crunchyveggies and coated in a creamy, tangy dressing.

1 pound (454 g) elbow macaroni, prepared according to package directions
1 bell pepper (red, green, or yellow), cored, seeded, and diced
1 cup (160 g) diced red onion
1 cup (48 g diced green onion or chives
1 cup (100 g) chopped celery
1 cup (110 g) shredded carrot
1/4 cup (60 g) sweet pickle relish
1 cup (224 g) vegan mayonnaise, store-bought or homemade
1/4 cup (60 ml) apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons (30 g) prepared dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried dill, or 1 tablespoon fresh
Salt and pepper to taste
While pasta is boiling, prep vegetables and prepare dressing.
To make the dressing, whisk together mayo with cider vinegar, mustard, and dill.
Once pasta is cooked, strain and run under cold water to cool. Return to the pot.
Add chopped veggies, relish, and dressing to the cooled pasta and toss to combine.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Yield: 16 servings

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Throwback Thursday! Breakfast Style Chicken Fried Seitan Steak Smothered in Sausage Gravy

Throwin' back this Thursday to 500 Vegan Recipes, Celine and my first book together.   It's fun to look back and see what VegNews had to say about the book way back when!  And as Celine and I just started working on our fourth book together (Can you believe it's already time to write The Complete Guide To Vegan Food Substitutions, Volume 2?) it was predicted the two of us would go on to write recipes together for a long time to come.
“The collaborative effort of two established bloggers, 500 Vegan Recipes provides curious chefs with an impressive range of recipes, from classic to contemporary. Celine Steen, creator of the popular blog ‘Have Cake Will Travel,’ teams up with seasoned cookbook author, blogger (‘Just the Food’), and colleague Joni Marie Newman to deliver everything from hearty breakfasts to every type of savory entrĂ©e imaginable. The quickest of flips through the 500-page guide will have you salivating with tempting titles that turn run-of-the-mill dishes into a memorable affair, such as Pumpkin Tofu Scramble and Peanut Brittle Cookies. Helpful icons indicate gluten- and soy-free dishes, low-fat recipes, and recipes for time-crunched cooks. With a spacious layout and 20 well-organized chapters, 500 is easy to navigate—the difficulty lies in choosing a recipe. … A successful first venture for the duo, it certainly won’t be the last." —VegNews Magazine
It is a book that, sadly, has no pictures. But, we do have a flickr group set up for it!)  But what it DOES have is 500 recipes, and this little gem is just one of them (even though it is technically two).

Breakfast Style Chicken Fried Seitan Steak 
Smothered in Sausage Gravy
This is a breakfast version of chicken fried steak. The coating on the steaks is a sweet and savory crispy crunchy coating. Serve up with a side of scrambled eggs, the same ones from the Hearty Breakfast Bowl and the gravy is the White Sausage Gravy, soon to be posted. Indeed this is a time consuming recipe, but you can make the seitan cutlets ahead of time and fry them up when you are ready for breakfast. I would be lying if these steaks didn’t make for a nummy breakfast sandwich as well. Just pile one in between 2 pieces of toast and slather it with gravy. If your feeling extra adventurous, add a couple of slices of Hickory Smoked Breakfast Strips for good measure.

The seitan cutlets make a pretty nice meaty main course pre-coating as well.

For the cutlets:
2 cups (288 g) vital wheat gluten flour
1 cup (120 g) whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon (7 g) garlic powder
2 tablespoons (14 g) onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup (30 g) nutritional yeast
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable broth
1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce or tamari or Bragg’s
1/4 cup (60 ml) steak sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) liquid smoke

For the boiling broth:
6 cups (1.41 L) vegetable broth
1/2 cup (120 ml) soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 bayleaf

For the crispy coating:
1 cup (235 ml) plain soymilk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
1 cup (36 g) sweet corn cereal such as cap’n crunch, crushed into a powder
1 cup (125 g) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
Oil for frying

For the White Sausage Gravy:
2 tablespoons (28 g) nondairy butter
1/4 cup (31 g) all purpose flour
2 cups (470 ml) vegetable broth
1/4 cup (60 g) nondairy sour cream
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 steak from above recipe, cut into tiny chunks

To make the cutlets, mix together vital wheat gluten, whole wheat pastry flour, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and nutritional yeast in a large mixing bowl. Mix together vegetable broth, soy sauce, steak sauce, oil, and liquid smoke in a separate bowl. Add wet to dry and knead into a dough. Knead for about 10 minutes. You can do this right in the bowl. Allow to rest for about 20 miutes to allow gluten to develop. Divide into 7 equal pieces. Form each piece into an oblong patty about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick.

Add all of the broth ingredients to a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Carefully place each patty into the simmering broth, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Return occassionally to gently stir and prevent steaks from sticking to the bottom and eachother.
Remove steaks from broth and set aside. Reserve one steak to be used in the gravy.

Prepare the crispy coating. In one shallow dish mix together the soymilk and lemon juice. It will curdle and become like buttermilk.
In a separate shallow dish, mix together the crushed cereal, flour and spices.
Use a deep fat fryer, or a frying pan filled with oil to equal about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) heated to 350°F (180°C).
Take one steak, dip into the buttermilk mixture to coat, then into the cereal mixture for a nice thick coating.
Carefully place in oil and fry until golden brown and crispy.

To make the gravy, melt butter in the bottom of a saucepot over medium high heat. Add flour and stir to make a light golden roux. Stir in vegetable broth and continue to stir until there are no lumps and mixture is thick like gravy. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream, pepper and cut up pieces of reserved steak. Stir until thick and creamy and smooth.

Serve by spooning gravy over chicken fried seitan steaks.

Yield: 6 servings
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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, or remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni