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apple sprout!
Every so often (in fact, very often), on those days I have left my apartment with a slog in my step or even just no specific inspiration for the day to come except possibly another coffee and another ride on the bus… I will check my little metal mailbox and see personal mail inside.  And instantly I’m five and it’s my birthday and I’m grinning cheekily and cracking open a pretty envelope and the day is, so to speak, saved.  Needless to say I was happy to see my copy of Swell Vegan’s cookzine last week!  It’s beautiful, first of all – the covers are home-silkscreened in a burnished gold on creamy green card – and inside are 15 absolutely enticing recipes.  I’ve already tested a spare few (the Maple Mustard Chili Tofu, Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers, and OH the Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones with that gooey maple glaze!) and been really impressed each time.  The recipes are easy and vibrant, definitely on the healthy side and did I mention delicious?  The only thing I’ve made since getting my copy is Sarah’s Savory Baked Tofu, but of course that was perfect too, even when I just eyeballed the measurements to make a 1/3 recipe.  I actually really like the way A-K’s food tastes, there’s something really great about it.  
some past swell food…

Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones – as WannabeVegan mentioned, these are worth the price of admission, I’m 100% serious about this.  Consider the price of a huge batch of the best scones you’ve ever eaten, then factor in being able to make them again and again each fall (or anytime), plus a few tempeh recipes and that just makes sense, doesn’t it?

Maple-Mustard-Chili Tofu – this recipe keeps wanting to be made and then I remember I don’t have maple syrup and then I am sad, because the maple flavour is vital and really delicious.  The salad underneath it was weird (artichokes and grapes, huh past self?  WEIRD!!) but that tofu was addictive.

And the first thing I tested were the Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers, which are a combination of some of my favourite things ever (almond butter, leeks, millet and sweet patats), in a more-ish kind of spicy burger.  You gotta eat these fresh, they crumble in the freezer (unless the recipe has changed, and A-K you can correct me if I’m steering anyone wrong here?), but they then turn into taco salad crumbles.  So not bad!

The latest dish!  Sarah’s Baked Tofu on some rice & millet, steamed vegetables, and a lemon-y sesame-thai dressing from the Millenium Cookbook that livened up broccoli like crazy. (It’s the dressing from the Chilled Soba Salad if anyone’s wondering).  Straightforward looking, but take a bite from this and it’s got zingy depth.  Serve it to omnis.  Mention whole grains and steamed veg and lean protein and then let them try it and giggle when they go all “ohhhh.  Wait, this is good!”  At least, that’s my secret plan.  Swell will be my secret recipe weapon, I’ve got the Mole Roasted Cauliflower on the mind to make next. 

Oh, and I made the Lemon Zucchini Bread and the batter was great and then the most disastrous thing happened ever.  My oven had the audacity that afternoon to turn into a dehydrator, resulting in the most depressing baked thing I’ve ever had the misfortune of creating.  It turned this beautiful lemony-sweet cake batter into a block of chewy (albeit tasty) crust with raw lukewarm uncooked battergoo inside.  I weep tears.  No, actually, I threw it out.  And I NEVER do that.  So um… word to the wise, before risking a lemon zucchini bread make sure your oven works, or else microwave yourself an end piece and put enough Earth Balance on it so you don’t notice you’re eating liquid cake… errr. yeah.
That’s a horrible way to end a supportive post!  But it happened.  It’s my funny story.  :)
PS: A-K you rock!

I came home to this sight the other day. It was kind of funny, actually – I’d just trudged home through a blizzard with visions of hot stew in my head and what do I find but the storm decided to join me in my kitchen!

Ha, it was okay. I managed not to step in any of the puddles and was very very thankful for the crockpot stew I had put on the night before. Yeah, I actually used my crockpot! *shock* my mom would be proud. I had actually been so busy that I acted the great cliche and took it down off the highest shelf I have to put some veganomicon cholent-style ingredients together the night before.

I’m actually not sure if I’m sold on the tarragon + caraway thing… but it was warm and hearty and perfect at the time. (ie: full of potatoes). I added tabasco and corn, too.

Earlier than that (or later? oh I don’t remember. sometime!) I made vcon lemon & pea risotto with roasted red peppers.

I don’t know why people complain about leftover risotto! I actually thought this was tastiest cold out of the fridge, slurped up like cold lemony pudding. I’m weird, yes. I tried Risotto al Salto too, to try it (basically fried up like a fritter), which was fine. But nothing on the ice-cold stuff!

I posted about hoecakes before, so there isn’t much to say about the big yellow thing on the plate – except maybe to amend my recipe to stress than fine cornmeal should be used in a hoecake. This one was coarse which did NOT work anywhere near as well, but ah you learn. The interesting bit, at least to me, is that grayish dip-like blob in the corner. It was very tasty! It’s black bean & orange dip from ED&BV, and it’s a little sweeter than a regular b.bean dip and really great on wraps and things.

In the midst of being busy I made some muffins to take to school. I wonder why I decided to make jammy muffins to put in my bag? Ha ha, anyway, they’re hearty jam-dot muffins from Fran Costigan’s second book. They’re okay… I like that there’s lots of toasted oats and sesame in them, and my mom’s homemade plum jelly. A wee bit heavy, but I subbed some stuff so it could have been my bad.

Over christmas my dad bought me some veggie burgers for christmas eve Burger Night (woohoo!), which happened to be Amy’s California Burgers. They’re soooooo good! They don’t taste a blessed thing like fakey meatstuff, but they DO taste like toasted bulger and mushrooms and loads of other great all-natural things. I had some on buns, and some on salad with tahini dressing and both ways were awesome. I had the last one today though, and I don’t know what to do because I never buy pre-packaged food for myself but I think I’ve fallen in love!

And finally… we call this an economic birthday, or a belated one, or whatever. It’s a full moon tonight and though it’s neither of these boys’ birthdays (although it’s close), it’s definitely always a good time for a chocolate jalapeno cake with ganache topping and strawberries inside. Yeah, I know!! It’s another Extraveganza cake recipe and holy schlamoli, it’s SO tender and delicious and soft peppery perfect, I tried a whole bunch of it that stuck to the cake tin. ^_^;

Word to the wise: the recipe mentions nothing about de-panning this cake, and in fact implies that it shouldn‘t be, I think, at least when you read the icing recipe along with it. I did anyway and it was a total headache cause it was so fluffy and sticky (and criminally delicious. did I mention that?), but I think it came through the operation 97% intact. Minus the chunks I ate. (I’m starting to think that being able to fix cake disasters is as useful as baking one that tastes good… :P)

Anyone else notice how the stuff on top kinda looks like a crab? Not planned! But I like it.

This was the result of a hankering for an old-fashioned face-stuffy burger, and did it ever deliver on that. I made some crusty kaiser rolls, some straightforward black bean burgers (with rye flour and tortilla chips instead of white flour and breadcrumbs), put a bit of mayo and pepper on it and it was absolute perfection.

Oh yeah, and pomegranate salsa is like salsa with pink jewels in among the spiciness, and it really really works.

I also tried soygurt for the first time last week (in order to make that harissa yogurt swirl for the fava soup) and I loooooooove it. I didn’t eat cheese as an omni, I ate YOGURT, and loads of it, so I don’t know why it took me this long to grab the blue tub and add it to everything. This almond butter-lime dressing was so easy and yummy!

And speaking of soy… the other day a half block of firm tofu practically jumped into my blender and went “eeeeeeh! add sugar and lemon to meeeee!”. And who was I to argue? I baked this one, and added a pinch of nutritional yeast which sounds weird but gives it depth (just a pinch). The texture was perfect too… it sliced off into tart little “wodges” which in my odd mind is the exact word for an ideal slice of cheesecake. I wish I could live off of this stuff!
(oh and it was about 4″ across. I love mini tins!)

Finally I made Juineve’s creamy eggplant and roasted pepper soup with zaatar crackers. I doctored it a bit, roasting the vegetables and added tomatoes and a splash of sherry, and wished I had made more, it was so luscious. Thumbs up!

Yum! Amazing! Could I gush more? I should! I was fortunate enough to be a tester for the very talented A-K of the Swell Vegan blog, and I’ve just fallen in love with her Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers with Millet and Leeks! They’re so delicious, with a sweet note of almond butter, some spicy mexi-kick, a nice meaty bite and very easy to make. I usually douse my burgers in nayo and ketchup, but not this time! Condiments like that t’would be sacrilege in this case, as they’re plenty flavourful enough on their own (though her suggestion of guacamole would be verrrrry nice, I’m thinking). They firm up nice, too!

Aren’t they pretty? There was much (much) finger licking going on during forming of these things. I can’t wait to get on the scone recipe….

And yesterday I wanted lentil soup but also not to work very hard, so I made the vcon Ancho Lentil Soup. Which was good, but I kinda wish it were spicier, or the ancho flavour more pronounced (and I used a huge one). Or even had vegetables in it of any kind? The pineapples were a fun touch, though.

Aaaaand, I promised myself a bar of Terra Nostra Rice Milk Chocolate on Zombie Jesus Day but got sidetracked by florentine’d tofu and other foods that AREN’T CHOCOLATE (insane, I know). So I fixed that and bought a bar, and woah! This is some special milky-mouth-melt action! I think dark is still my absolute favourite, but it’s an utter treat to reach into the chocolate drawer (yes, I have one of those – usually 2 or 3 bars open at any given time… for emergencies!) and pull out milk chocolate. *grin*

I have no idea if I got the Isles in me. Me mum says I do, but that could be wishful thinking and a tendency to believe that a british heritage means ALLLL that area had a hand in the genetic making. But yeah… doesn’t mean I can’t pretend. Although this shamrock charm cookie thing is a one time deal – bloody blasted darned canapé-sized sugar cookies take FOREVER, plus icing time. I had ghostly premonitions of my life as an unappreciated mother-of-two slaving over bakesale wares to limited applause. Never again! (but adorable. very very adorable.) I used NoWheyKatie’s recipe from the ppk (I can’t find the link, though! ;_;), and added lime juice and zest to make them, um… more green.

Lunch today – I ran out of pita and a little light went off in my head, ’cause I have a few kilos of whole wheat flour sitting in my kitchen and I ought to be making chapati way more often. Not to mention that the flavour and texture are loads better than most storebought pitas. I dumped leftover potsticker dipping sauce all over this and the chapati stayed watertight! Go fresh bread, eh? There’s also a leftover kidney bean burger in there, plus sriracha and other trimmings. Oh, and green beans (I added them later). Call me weird, but they absolutely sing on sandwiches. Maybe not the best *shape* for it, but they’re all like, “woah, what’s that crunchy niceness?”

Veganomicon roasted eggplant and tomato stew with chickpeas, with soft poppyseed polenta – this fulfilled a craving I’ve had stored away since the last time I made polenta (and kinda botched it). At 17. So I’ve been craving polenta and roasted vegetables for a long time. The whole thing was awesome, probably so especially good because I roasted the tomatoes along with everything else. I want to make this again, actually. Maybe right now. :P
(Oh, and when you microwave the leftovers for just a bit too long, everything melts together and becomes absolutely LUSCIOUS.)

And this recipe has been at the top of my list since I first got the V-con – the greek-style tomato-zucchini fritters and cashew cucumber sauce! Holy cremini, they are exactly as wonderful as I wanted them to be. They are rich little fritters of awesome, and they have mint in them! (also, the tofu-paste itself is an experience not to be missed — don’t let me put you off the whole idea, but man, did it look/feel like grey cookie dough!) I’m gonna par-bake a bunch and have them in the freezer, I get this feeling they’d sub in for falafal really nicely. Oh, and the cucumber sauce got licked off of every implement that came into contact with it (spatula, spoon…. yes, stickblender. …. unplugged, though! :D)

I’ve been sooooo sick this week. Fever, headache, chills, nausea, all that stuff. Plus I think the mineral spirits I use to thin my oil paint have been making everything twice as bad…. X_X

But uh…. you’d think I would stay in bed or something, and eat white rice (as sick food goes my roommate swears by vegetable broth with little pasta stars – kinda tempting, actually!)

But no. No, I’ve been cooped up and damned if my deadened tastebuds won’t appreciate the only thing I can do to pass the time (reading is out due to double vision, ha ha ha *SIGH*)

The black bean burgers (oh yeah, everything in this post in Veganomicon. For the record) actually hit the spot! It was one of those better stomach days, and it was nice to get something classic into me. I think that’s what the flavour of these are – they won’t smack you in the face with anything distinctive, but I actually don’t like when veggie burgers taste like hemp or rice or almonds. These taste like… burger!

Chickpea noodle soup = MAGIC SOUP

I had NO appetite that day. I have no idea what possessed me to make soup. But I did make it, and I took one bite and it was like my mom had wrapped a blanket around my shoulders…. amazing stuff.

The mushroom and spinach strata was okay. I don’t think it was substantial enough for a dinner and I think I may have burned something or not used enough bread (the parts with bread were pretty good). Everything was kinda tasting bitter to me that day anyway. *shrug*

And this morning I made the chocolate-hazelnut biscotti (with almonds instead), for a friend teaching english in Korea. Right now she’s helping clean up after the December 6th oil spill… washing the shore one pebble at a time. (I think she definitely needs chocolate in the mail, yes?)

K, I should probably go make some plain rice now… or soup with pasta stars… I am eyeing the chipotle black bean recipe…… ahhhhhhhh!!!

Yum, yum, croquettes! K, I think I’m seriously obsessed with any food that comes with a dip and can be eaten with the fingers.

(Broccoli-millet croquettes with white bean aioli from the Veganomicon)


Then I had to try my hand at making some fake meatstuffs, ’cause there’s something just so empowering about that, ne? And having seitan in the freezer is just a nice feeling.

The spices are so pretty I could never have planned or expected them to be as incredibly universally exquisite as they are right there. And yeah, I added fennel ’cause these are Italian sausages, not no sissy lame-boy regular saussices.

Finished sausage! There was another one but I ated it real quick, since the foil broke on it and it was all misshapen and puffy and ummm… smelling really good. Thank you Julie Hasson!

And finally, the least sexiest of all the photos and yet so the tastiest — I made my first baba ganouj yesterday and it was to DIE FOR. I squeezed out all the stringy bits with my hand and squished it and squished (with my clean hand) until it was perfectly whippedy smooth, and then I mixed in the lemon/tahini/salt&pepper/garlic/parsley and then I toasted up some garlicky pita chips and then I had a dinner of awesome simplicity.
(moral: I love eggplant. lots!)

See, if I blog I don’t have to write essays… (oh, the logic that sustains me XD )

Sooo… I made the cutlets. And I think I confirmed my suspicion that I’m not the biggest fan of Knife & Fork style dinners… I also discovered that I actually DO own a steak knife, which I needed to eat these. They were good, I guess, but I only really started to enjoy myself once I scraped the mustard sauce off and started eating everything with my hands. Basically, there was a lot of hype, and I think if I had heard absolutely nothing about them I’d be pretty impressed, especially with the texture, but I don’t think I’ll even be making them again. Or if I did, I’d make them into nugget-sizes and dip them in a creamy tofu dip, which I think would match them like a charm.

The v-con mustard sauce itself was pretty good, just not on top of anything, which is probably due to sheer salt content (broth, grain mustard, my low-quality sherry wine, soy sauce, AND caper brine are all basically made of salt and that’s like 95% of the recipe). I liked it out of a spoon, and I think it’ll make a killer mustard-y sandwich spread tomorrow, but it was kinda too thick and strong to use as a sauce. Dreena’s lemony green beans and potato smashers get A++++, though, I liked those best of all.

I also made the ED&BV Supercharge Me! Cookies this morning, and zomg, they have come to waggle their deliciousness at all the other, more unhealthy cookies that have come before. Cause they’re A-W-E-S-O-M-E. They don’t taste like health cookies at all, they just taste spelty tender and chewy, with a faint hint of toasty coconut and nutty butter chew… dear, I could eat a whole pan.

I’ve decided to start seriously working through the V-con and my Dreena books, as you might be able to tell. I’ll have to quash my desire to experiment haphazardly with my own recipes for a while, but I’ll probably learn more about cooking this way (or at the very least start grocery shopping with an actual plan). I’m hoping that one day, someday, I can say to my grandkids that “yes, I made EVERY recipe in that there book. Who knows why! Now let’s go climb a mountain cos I’m vegan and insanely healthy for an old lady, woooo!” (or something like that X)

So I woke up and the windows looked like this: ^

In an ideal world I would have had the gumption to make it to my painting theory class. But it’s a record blizzard and I’m well, a flake. Plus it’s my last class before vacation, so nertz to walking in the snow for an hour!!!

I went shopping for dried papaya instead. :DDDD

The happy-surprise portion of the morning was discovering that the old-school apple drying worked! I can’t believe it only took 1 night! They’re a little on the thin and fragile side though, so I’m trying again with thicker slices this time, and I’m leaving the peels on because A: they taste good and B: skins are punk, haha.

Due to apple-having and papaya-buying I finally got to try Cassie’s amaranth bars, which I should probably call Spelt Bars because I couldn’t find amaranth flour at all, but whatever now I have a bag of spelt flour to play with! I haven’t tried one yet cause they’re all wrapped with plastic and ready for throwing in my bag on the way out the door, but they smell great, and I lovelovelove that there’s no added sugar or oil in them. It’s basically like my usual bag of trail mix except they’re chewy and oaty and if you put foil on them they would sell for $1.49 each.
(my version is made with dates, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, apples and papaya, yum!)

Also, last night I tried the awesome tofu patties from Tofu For Two, and I had to stop myself from eating all the mash from out of the bowl, seriously! There were some structural problems, but I drained the ‘fu without being told to and I halved the recipe, so it’s definitely my fault and sprinkling some extra water and soy sauce in there fixed it pretty well. And once they were cooked the texture was good and chewy with sun-dried tomato tahini goodness all over, which nicely masked my lack of sauce-making ability for another night. hee.

PS: my oven got fixed !! ^____________^

I started hardcore veganing in august, and yes I have a computer full of pron so I’m leaking it out!! Happy Mofo everybody!!!

an overly crispy attempt to recreate Garibaldi Biscuits (british, delicious, very discontinued ;_;). When I was little my mom called them “squashed fly cookies”, and apparently that wasn’t just her twisted and humorous mind — that’s actually what they go by in britain! awesome.

creamy cauliflower soup, with turnip, white beans, potatoes, onions… pretty much anything white I could find. *excellent* with toasted pumpkin seeds on top.

eggless egg salad (from the ppk), with homemade crusty rolls.

The aforementioned crusty rolls (and crusty breads)! My first time using a poolish/starter, and soooooo worth it. Depthful, crunchy chewy yeasty best-bread-ever kinda worth it (I changed the recipe to be mostly whole wheat, and I can only imagine that made it even more flavourful).

Banana oatmeal chocolate chip bars from The Garden of Vegan. These are a throwback to the LAST time my oven died, as it’s a microwave recipe, and actually I think nuking them makes them chewier and more brownie-like (a billion thumbs up on this recipe).

White bean and escarole soup with rye-garlic croutons. Kinda bland, but that’s my fault for getting the recipe off of the internet, from among about 7 or 8 nearly identical versions. The croutons helped a lot.

Graham (gwam) crackers! Very very very good. I used raw coarse sugar instead of regular white and it made the texture really interesting and gave them a burnt caramel flavour. I love how they’re not very sweet, these are probably actually my favourite cookies ever.

Broccoli-almond-tofu stir fry. Okay, super basic, but extremely nommish. (and it’s a pretty picture!)

Black-eyed pea patties with sunflower sprouts and limeade. And barbecue sauce, cause that stuff is liquid yum, and have you ever tried sprouts with bbq sauce? Made for eachother, I swears.

And, as recently as last night – banana-chocolate pudding! I am so loving this pudding-for-dinner business I started doing recently. It’s really no worse than a plate of creamy noodles in terms of nutrition (actually probably better), and there’s something so fabulous about throwing a huge bowl of pudding in the fridge, going out for a night of what-have-you, and knowing you have velvety chocolate spoonlove to savour when you get home. (although last night it was so cold by the time I got back I nuked tomato soup with beanballs + broccoli in it instead – I could easily live off of tom-soup with a rotating roster of guest vegetables/grains).

more bonanza laterz! I still have a lot of pictures. :D

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