Weekly Wednesday Round-Up – Raw Pasta, Pita Pizza, and Whole Foods

I want to start doing a weekly Wednesday roundup of yummy meals I’ve made. Basically anything I’d put in the PPK’s Food Porn section, but doesn’t deserve an entire blog post.

One of my first raw food meals ever (not counting salad)! Spiralized zucchini and rich marinara sauce.
raw pasta

The mini restaurant inside our local Whole Foods has a vegan sandwich! It’s toasted sour dough bread with balsamic tomatoes, arugula, onions, and basil hummus. Served with a side of roasted red skin potatoes.

Whole Foods sandwich

Fried tofu (from Whole Food’s hot bar) and mashed cheezy bacon potatoes.
fried tofu and potatoes

Pita pizza with mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, and nutritional yeast.

pita pizza

Veggie stir fry with kale, tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms all piled on top of brown rice. rice stir fry

Crispy Ritz Tofu

As I was scrolling through Pinterest the other day, wasting precious hours of my life, I came upon an intriguing sounding recipe. It was Crispy Ritz Chicken. It struck me that I’d never actually tried cracker coating tofu before. And through a little experimentation, this recipe was born!
Ritz tofu

Crispy Ritz Tofu

Based on a recipe by For the Love of Dessert

Ingredients:

1 14 oz. package of extra firm tofu, drained and well pressed

2 sleeves of Ritz crackers (I used the Roasted Vegetable flavor)

1 & 3/4 cups plain soymilk

1 teaspoon lemon juice

3/4 cup vegetable broth or vegan “chicken” broth

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2.5 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

3 tablespoons margarine

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Start by thoroughly pressing the tofu.  Set the oven to 450 degrees and lightly mist a baking sheet with spray oil. In a small bowl, mix the soymilk and lemon juice together, then set aside.

Cut the tofu into cutlets of whatever size you desire (I got about 8 medium sized cutlets). In the food processor grind the crackers into a fine crumb and add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Place the crumbs into a shallow bowl. Begin coating the tofu cutlets by dipping them first into the soymilk mix and then the crumbs. Continue until all the cutlets are coated, then place on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, flip tofu, then bake another 10 minutes.

While the tofu cutlets are baking, create the gravy. In a saucepan mix the vegetable broth, soy sauce, onion powder, and black pepper. Bring to a small boil. Thoroughly mix together the cornstarch and cold water, making sure there are no lumps. Pour into the broth mixture and whisk thoroughly. Continue to cook over medium heat until sauce has thickened and there are no lumps. Take off the heat, and whisk in margarine.

Plate the tofu and top with gravy. This is great served over rice and veggies.

Not So Sharky “Shark Cutlets” (Vegan MoFo #14)

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Storm Thief by Chris Wooding focuses on two young thieves, Moa and Rail, whose story begins in a chaotic city afflicted by storms that rearrange reality. These mysterious “probability storms” cause changes, big or small, and the citizens of Orokos live in fear of them. One of those citizens who knows the reality of that fear is Rail, who lost the use of his lungs during a storm years ago, and now must wear a respirator. He and Moa are, quite literally, partners in crime. They retrieve (aka, steal) items for a crime boss in the ghetto they live in.

While working on one of these missions, Rail and Moa stumble upon a map that holds the key to the mysterious heart of Orokos. With this, they might be disable the ancient machine that causes the probability storms, escape the island without being killed by the sea guardians, or just use it to buy their way out of segregation and the ghetto. Either way, these two face a journey full of hardships and uncertainty.

Inside was a low, circular room, hot and heavy with the scent of aromatic smoke. In the centre was a square bar where cooks took orders from the clientele. Rail ordered each of them a heaping plate of shark cutlets and pumpkin mash. The food arrived with complimentary mugs of cold tuzel, a spicy drink that Moa loved when she could get it.

They took their plates to a small booth and sat opposite each other. Moa attacked the food with an indecent appetite. Rail was forced to eat much more slowly, lifting his respirator between bites. He hated eating in public, but they both needed a rest and a good meal. It had been an exhausting journey.” – Storm Thief (hardback) page 70

I’ve never had shark before, so this was a harder recipe for me to come up with. I’m assuming it’s fishy tasting, but that’s just about all I know. I tried looking up vegetarian/vegan recipes, but to no avail. So the following recipe is probably nothing like shark, but it sure is tasty!

shark cutlets and pumpkin

Tofu Shark Cutlets

Ingredients

3/4 cup yellow onion, minced (about 1 small onion)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 4.5 oz. can of chopped green chiles

1 14 oz. package of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed extremely well, then cubed

1.5 cups of water

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon seaweed powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

8 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup margarine

1.5 tablespoons dried parsley

2 teaspoons salt

Black pepper, to taste

2 cups panko bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large pot add water, ginger, garlic, seaweed, turmeric, chili powder, salt, and cumin. Bring to a boil and then add the tofu cubes. Turn down to medium heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes, then drain and place in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, boil water in a large pot and add potatoes. Boil for about 15 minutes, or until soft then drain. In a pan saute the onion in oil until they are golden brown and fragrant. Add the onions and canned chiles to the bowl with tofu. Gently mix everything together.

Put cooked potatoes in a bowl and mash with margarine, parsley, salt, and black pepper.

On a non-stick surface, place 1/4 cup of the potato mixture. Pat it out into a circle (about the size of a veggie burger) then place 1 to 2 tablespoons of the tofu mixture in the middle. Put another 1/4 cup of potato on top, and pat into a covered mound (similar in size to a small fist).

Roll in bread crumbs and place on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the potato mixture and tofu.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

shark cutlets inside

Pumpkin Mash

Based on a recipe by Steamy Kitchen

Ingredients:

2 medium russet potatoes, cubed

1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon margarine

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoon original soymilk

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Boil a pot of water and add the potatoes. Boil for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain potatoes and coarsely mash with the remaining ingredients. Then transfer to a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

Breakfast of Witch Fighting Champions (Vegan MoFo #3)

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The Last Apprentice – Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney is about Tom Ward, a young seventh son of a seventh son who is apprenticed to the local Spook. Spooks are fighters of the dark who battle witches, ghosts, boggarts, demons, and even the Fiend himself. As Tom starts his apprenticeship, he learns about all the things that go bump in the dark. His learning focuses on witches especially since they are quite common in this area. There are blood witches, who like to drain blood for ceremonies and occasionally drink it, and also bone witches, who will cut off the thumbs of enemies for spells. The Spook warns Tom that the easiest way to identify a disguised witch is by her pointy shoes.

One day, during an errand run into town, Tom meets a young girl named Alice. She seems fairly harmless and nice, but there’s one problem. She wears pointy shoes. Despite this, Tom has a hard time believing the girl could be capable of harming anyone. Since he has no friends since moving in with the Spook, he decides to befriend the girl.

Soon the Spook has to travel due to a job in another town. He leaves Tom in charge of the house, and promises to be back within a few days. Almost immediately, things take a turn for the worst. It’s not long before Alice is back, and Tom has a promise to keep to her. Through trying to keep his word and an unfortunate beginner’s mistake, Tom releases one of the most feared witches in the County, Mother Malkin. As she begins to terrorize him and his family, and without the wise guidance of the Spook, Tom must learn to fight the dark on his own.

“Yes,” I said “it was the very best breakfast that I’ve ever tasted. And I’m sorry for coming down too early and I promise that it won’t happen again.”

At that, the Spook grinned so much that I thought his face was going to split in two; then he clapped me on the back and led me out into the garden again.

It was only when we were outside that the grin finally faded. “Well done, lad,” he said. “There are two things that respond well to flattery: boggarts and some women. Gets them every time.” – The Last Apprentice – Revenge of the Witch (hardcover) pages 94-95

In the Spook’s home is a boggart that cooks, cleans, and protects the property. While it is a friendly boggart (most of which in the book are not), it does not like people coming down to breakfast early or insulting its cooking. The result is the offender either getting boxed in the ears or their food being burned. In honor of the boggart’s breakfasts, I’m made breakfast food for lunch today (since waking up early to cook an actual breakfast is over rated).

boggart breakfast

Plated up is some cheesy tofu scramble (this tofu recipe with a handful of Daiya), Gimme Lean sausage patties, and a drop biscuit with strawberry preserves.

Noms Catch Up

Okay, so I know my blogging has been inconsistent, but I am determined to change that. I’ve had a super busy semester at school, plus lots of other responsibilities to worry about. But I have decided that I need to make time for blogging because it’s something I really enjoy doing.

This post is to catch up and share all the pictures of food I’ve taken up to this point. It’s not a ton because I haven’t been eating a lot that’s “blog worthy”, but I’ll hopefully have more to post soon.

The falafel plate from the Purple Onion. It’s vegan as long as you ask for no cheese on the salad. It comes with a side salad, falafel, wild rice, pita bread, hummus, and fruit. Really good food, for a fairly reasonable price ($9).

Falafel Plate (2)

Here is some tomato veggie couscous I made for a potluck. It’s couscous cooked in canned tomatoes and seasonings, with garbanzo beans and broccoli mixed in to make it more filling. It’s a good thing this makes a whole meal (protein, carbs, and veggies) because, like I expected, there was nothing else vegan available at the potluck.

Coucous bulked upI’ve been trying to slowly, but surely, work through my Pinterest food/recipes board. On there, was a lovely recipe for avocado hummus. I was excited to try it, and when I went grocery shopping I got all the ingredients, except garbanzo beans. Apparently the local grocery store doesn’t carry garbanzo beans, canned or dry. So I had to make do with cannellini beans. The dip was really great tasting, but with a much creamier texture than traditional hummus. It was almost sour cream-like because of the smoothness. I can’t wait to try it out again with the garbanzo beans.

White Bean Dip

Only recently have I discovered the joys of spaghetti squash. I’d heard about it before, but never gave it a try. Peter and I went out to lunch with some friends to Ruby Tuesday and the only vegan menu item was the spaghetti squash with zucchini (without the parmesan cheese). I tried it and loved it! Since then I’ve tried it several different ways and they’ve all been tasty. Below is some spaghetti squash with sauteed kale, tomatoes, and marinara sauce.

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Spanish brown rice and black beans mixed with canned tomatoes and chipotle chili. Super simple, but super yummy.

Brown Rice and Black BeansWhile visiting home for the weekend, my sister took me out to eat at a great Asian restaurant in Hunstville called Panda. The server knew which tofu was vegan or not (a definite plus) and so we got the veggie and avocado sushi for appetizers, and then the house bean curd which is served with rice, snap peas, broccoli, and water chestnuts. The food was great and the portions were huge, so both of us got an extra meal from the leftovers.

Panda Sushi

Panda Tofu

Dorm Noms

I finally got a camera cord, yay! Well actually I got a camera cord a few weeks ago, but I’ve been too busy to blog until now. School work is taking up more time this semester, so my posts will be more sporadic but will probably have a lot more stuff covered in them.

Here’s what I’ve eaten so far this semester:

Carrot cake muffins from a recipe on The Flaming Vegan.

Seasoned black beans mixed with Daiya on top of chipotle tomato rice.

The local eatery, Eclipse Coffee and Books, has added several new vegan items to their menu and I decided to try them out.

First was the couscous and quinoa salad. Gotta be honest, I don’t really like the texture of pearl couscous or quinoa, so this wasn’t a huge hit for me. It had a great taste, kinda spicy with a citrus-y undertone, but the texture was a deal breaker for me. The coconut macaroon cookie from Alternative Baking kind of made up for it though.
Although the first vegan dish was a bit disappointing, the second definitely wasn’t! They added a veggie burger to their menu and it is fantastic. It’s made with quinoa and beans and is served on rye bread with your choice of toppings. I got mine with lettuce, tomato, mustard, and ketchup.

I guess Eclipse’s burger got me in the mood for sandwiches, because a few days after that I tried my hand at making my own veggie burgers. I very loosely based it around this recipe, but made lots of changes.

I mashed up a drained can of black beans, added about 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup diced onions, 2 tbsp taco sauce, and some Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy. Then I formed them into four patties and cooked them in an oiled  skillet for a few minutes on each side. They were sooo good. After making these, I may just stop buying pre-made veggie burgers altogether. I need to make another batch and test whether they can withstand freezing very well. I ate my sandwich on a onion bun with pickles, tomato, and some Vegenaise mixed with Sriracha.

I broke out the slow cooker this weekend too and made some Mom’s Chili, seen here topped with some Tofutti sour cream.

On Saturday I spent time with my friend Skye and her lovely mother Sally. We went to Whole Foods and ate lunch at their cafe. I got fried tofu (with ketchup), a seasoned mixture of black eyed peas and butter beans, and a grain salad with millet, barley, and brown rice. It was all really yummy and I will definitely be going back their to eat soon.

And also for dessert at Whole Foods I got a double chocolate vegan cookie, woot!

Fall is the Season of Blogging

Well  summer has come and gone, thank goodness! As much as I like having nothing to do, I have desperately missed school and Montevallo. And for some reason when I have nothing to do, I don’t blog either. It may seem strange, but when I’m back at school (even with homework and projects to do) I have much more drive to blog just for the fun of it.

But just because I didn’t write this summer doesn’t mean I didn’t photograph all of my good meals. Here’s what I enjoyed:

Super veggie salad with mixed lettuce, avocado, tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, a chopped Boca chick’n patty, and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Baked tofu that had been dipped in a simple coating of flour/soymilk with tons of seasonings and topped with caramelized onions.

I realize this salad (can it really be called a salad if there’s no lettuce?) isn’t the prettiest dish around, but it sure was tasty. A tortilla bowl with beans, spiced veggie crumbles, nacho cheez (made with Daiya) and guacamole.

I also found out that the cardboard braces in the tortilla shell box make fantastic crowns! That is me modeling it below with my serious face on.
Summer is the perfect time for an ice-box pie. So I made this cherry cheez-cake pie. It’s just a simple homemade graham cracker crust layered with a mix of cream cheez, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar, then canned cherry pie filling. Super simple and fast, but really good.

Here’s yet another salad. This one has mixed lettuce, red onions, tomato, smoked tofu, and kalamata olive Greek dressing. I (sadly) can’t remember the name of the dressing brand, but I bought it at Earth Fare. It is by far the best salad dressing I’ve ever had, so if I can find the name I’ll be sure to share it here.

And this summer I also experienced something wondrous: I ate my first peanut butter cup since going vegan four and a half years ago. My traveled to Cullman, AL to visit my friend Seth and while we were there we found Justin’s organic peanut butter cups. They are less sweet than the traditional Reese’s Cups that I remember, but the dark chocolate and natural peanut butter were phenomenal together. Definitely worth the long wait to find something this good.