Tuesday, October 11, 2016

PPK Wisdom: Terrible Archining of Veganisms awesome history and our weirdo family

Lots of knowledge was shared over at The Post Punk Kitchen form and while our supreme leader is moving on to better things we are going through the process of trying to preserve our little piece of the internet.

I am looking into more professional and complete archival options with my classy library data science friends but for now, I am just doing what I can to try and save some stuff

Colander Sprouting Method
The colander method is basically find any colander where the holes are small enough that the seeds you want to sprout don't get through them - at least till they've grown enough. Most cheap plastic ones work too! Even for alfasprouts! :)

Put the seeds in lukewarm water overnight in a cup or the like. Drain it then and put them in a colander (or several if you're making lots of sprouts). Then find a soup plate or the like to put under the colander(s). Stack them one above the other if you are using several. Morning and evening you then hold the colander - or the colander stack - simply under the water tap to rinse them and let most of the water drain. Shake them a bit too. Empty the soup plate from any excess water before and after the rinsing. Simple as pie ;)

Astrid aka Helgonblomma
Seitan O Greatness
  • 1.5 c. vital wheat gluten

  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast

  • 1 . salt

  • 2 t. paprika

  • 1/4 t. cinnamon

  • 1/4 t. cumin

  • 1-2 t. pepper

  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper

  • 1/8 t. allspice (I skipped this)

  • 3/4 c. cold water

  • 4 T. tomato paste

  • 1 T. ketchup

  • 2 T. olive oil (I used canola because I was out of olive oil)

  • 2 T. vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce--I used soy because I had no Worcestershire)

  • 1-3 cloves garlic, crushed well (I just sprinkled in garlic powder to taste)


Preheat oven to 325°.

In a large mixing bowl mix dry ingredients. Mix the rest of the ingredients (liquid ingredients) in a smaller mixing bowl. Whisk well until mixed.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well, then knead for several minutes.

Form into a log (6-8" long), wrap tightly in foil, twisting ends. Bake for 90 minutes. When done baking, unwrap and leave out to cool all the way. Then wrap it foil or plastic and refrigerate. Slice to use as desired.
Burmese (chickpea tofu) John P

This wondrous stuff is the subject of one of my most-read posts on the PPK Forums. By the power of the interwebs, and the work of a number of PPKers and bloggers, the original recipe has been simplified. See what happiness we can make by working together! So you don't have to weed through the kerjillion posts at the PPK, I will condense the collective wisdom for you:

3 cups chickpea flour
9 cups water
1 t. vegetable oil
1/4 t. turmeric
1 t. salt

Mix the chickpea flour and water, stirring well. Allow this to sit out at room temperature for 12 - 24 hours, loosely covered - no more stirring.

Prepare a container for your finished chick-fu, lining it with cheesecloth. (Do this now, you will have no time later.)

To a large pot, add the oil, turmeric, salt, and most of the chickpea mixture. There will be a very thick sludge (sounds lovely!) in the bottom of the chickpea flour bowl - about a cup or so. Leave this in the bowl for later. You want to have just enough liquid left with the sludge so that you can pour it into the pot later.

Bring the pot to a boil and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring constantly. (I mean it.) Take the pot off the heat, arm yourself with a study whisk, and add the sludge (mmm!) from the bowl to the pot. Beat the crap out of it until it is combined smoothly. Put the pot back on the heat, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring constantly. You will get tired, complain, and want to stop. It will get very thick. Don't be a baby. Keep going.
When done, pour into your prepared container - fast! It starts to set up quickly. Let cool and refrigerate until fully set.

You can make this in smaller amounts. I have done 1/2 and 1/3 of the original amount. You will need to cut back the cooking times slightly. Also, the last few minutes, when things are getting really thick, are more difficult with a smaller batch. So it goes. I say make the big batch and freeze what you can't use.
Esme's Special Sauce
In a small bowl mix up the following in equal parts:
Soy Sauce (I always use tamari because it’s my favourite thing ever)
Olive Oil
Nutritional Yeast or Mustard
Lemon Juice or Vinegar
A few cloves of Garlic.

Toss with hot, cooked pasta. That’s it, you’re done! It’s excellent with greens, I usually have it with steamed brocolli. My favourite thing about this sauce is how incredibly versatile it is and how I usually have the ingredients for it on hand. When I made it today I didn’t have any tahini or lemon so I used peanut butter and lime and it made quite the tasty peanut sauce. I make it all the time when I’m short on time (or not, it’s so good). 
Lachesis' Alfredo Sauce 
The Real Alfredo Sauce by Lachesis
½ cup Earth Balance
2 cups unsweetened soymilk
1 package extra firm tofu (Mori-nu, in the tetra pack, appr 12 oz)
1-2 tbsp white cooking wine
2 tbsp onion powder
2-3 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp sea salt
1-2 tsp black pepper (to taste)
pinch of nutmeg
2-4 tbsp arrowroot powder (more or less, as needed.. it should be creamy and the Earth
Balance should not separate)
Combine all of the ingredients except the arrowroot powder into a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth. Put the mixture into a pot on medium-low heat. In another container mix the arrowroot powder in a little of the sauce mixture. When the sauce in the pot is nice and hot, whisk in the arrowroot mixture. You can turn up the heat a little, but don’t let it boil. When it thickens and just starts to bubble it is done.
Alfredo Stroganoff
First marinate the mushrooms. They soak up the flavor pretty fast, so you don’t have to marinate them for too long if you don’t want to.
Mushroom Marinade Ingredients
1/3 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp Tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup water
Mix and let baby bellas or creminis marinate while you make the Alfredo sauce.

Some stuff from the Will it Freeze Thread
Isa's marbled banana bread and muffins, Yes! Moon and others have had success.
Cucumbers for gazpacho: YES!
Chickpea cutlets, Yes! Share your methods below
Cooked beans, yes!: Most folks here seem to make a big batch and freeze small containers or portions (in cooking liquid i believe?)
Isa's beet burgers (and likely all other veggie burgers) Yes! steps in link
Lime juice/zest (likely all citrus)
Mirepoix DeneRose posted in the pantry thread that they freeze mirepoix so share your secrets!
Tomato sauces/soups/chillis/curries and other saucy mixed vegetable dishes: Yes!
Brown Rice, cooked (pg2) Chicki shared this recipe form Pressure cooking today
Salsas: Yes, but they will be waterybirdsonawire suggests draining the salsa before use if you find it watery
Seitan: I have seen numerous ppkers mention freezing seitan so share your tips/tricks/methods below
Veggie Scraps, YES! PPK method use a freezer bag to house onions skins, vegetable peels and bits/ends when the bag is full boil contents with bay leaf and pepper corns for homemade broth (avoid bitter veg like cabbages cauliflower etc or only in small quantities) the broth can also be frozen into icecubes or larger containers for future use

Minatomachi's Leftover curry paste, tomato paste and chipotle in adobo sauce freeze well. Which is good since I never use the whole jar or can in one go.

Blanched fresh broad beans freeze well. I like that since I only have access to them in early fall.

Fresh hot peppers, lemongrass, ginger and turmeric freeze well.

I keep all my nuts and seeds in the freezer so they don't get rancid. I also keep cooked diced tomatoes in the freezer because I make them myself in batches. Same for cooked beans (without their cooking liquid.)

Fresh herbs freeze, but I only use them in dishes where they'll be cooked, because they become too limp and soggy for salads or such.

I also put peeled and seeded raw winter squash pieces in the freezer when I have some leftover from a squash too big for the recipe I'm doing. It becomes soft like it's cooked, but otherwise it works.

Bread crumbs (or loaf ends for making bread crumbs) work too, as well as nut-based parmesan.

Fresh ho fun noodles don't freeze. They turn into a sad, sad mush.

I just dump all the peppers, lemongrass, ginger and turmeric into a container (I break or cut bigger pieces of ginger into smaller knobs before). I haven't had dryness problems, but I unfreeze them before using. They get a little soggy, but it's workable (when partly unfrozen, they are easiest to chop or grate, but my timing is generally not that good).

Concerning curry paste, hot sauce and chipotle, I freeze them in a candy mould or any very small mould since I use them in small quantities. Then I umold the frozen pastilles and keep them in a jar. When I need one, I take one from the jar with a spoon and put it in the fridge or microwave it.

I transfer tomato paste to a small jar and freeze the jar until I'm ready to use it. I do the same for applesauce since I make a batch for use in baking instead of eggs or oil.

vijita I freeze a tonne of chilis this time of year. Every type of chili I can find fresh. I hoard 'em and if I have enough room in the freezer they'll keep me going all year! I freeze them whole too. If you must deseed, it's really easy when they're just a tiny bit defrosted. I keep all my dried chilis and lemongrass and ginger etc in the freezer too so my freezer is more like an explosion of fresh aromatics than the place where old loaves of getting-stale sliced bread go to die.
Efcliz Also in case people don't know the absolute best way to use ginger is take it right from the freezer as a knob and grate it on a microplane right into the dish, skin and everything.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Vegan Frugality: How to be a Cheap Vegan (basically a subject close to my heart)

I know in the past I have raved about The Cheap Vegan Zine (which is sadly out of print) and from time to time I share budget or frugal friendly tips. The reason for this is both a passion for great whole foods being accessible and attainable for everyone but also from the very real economical situation I grew up in and find myself in today. Nova Scotia is one of the worst places for food affordability and quite often I see Stephanie (of Cheap Vegan Zine Fames) and my shared bane faux frugal tips. Mock money saving ideas that cost more then they save, or cheap meal plan ideas for 1$ a day which is frankly not attainable for many people due to local food prices, other economic factors like shift work (hours available for cooking), access to transportation/printers/internet and other resources that factor into comparison shopping and other things like initial disposable income or a well stocked pantry (not everyone has a well stocked pantry to start with or enough $$ up front to buy the much cheaper 10 kl bag of flour or other bulk items).

But enough about the politics of food and affordable living, onto the real money saving and cutting down on food waste stuff. One of the best tips from The Cheap Vegan Zine is a simple one: Recycle your Leftovers! Something I have talked about before and other blogs has tackled (perhaps accidentally). This serves a few purposes: 1) cuts down on food waste 2) saves you time and often money by using something you've already made to make something new 3) saves you from eating the same damn thing for weeks on end. Which when your cooking for a smaller crowd can be helpful because honestly who wants to make 1/2 recipe of chili or w/e just because you live alone, no one that's who.

I loved the ideas given for re-purposing soups or stews into casseroles then into veggie burgers and other tips.But I always wished there were more examples given, so I present you with some stuff I have been cooking lately which you may or may not have already seen on Instagram!

Inspired by this post of Mofo's past from Vegan Sparklers : Cauliflower Tandoori Lettuce Wraps.
I made a modified version making my own Vegan Tandoori paste using Coconut Yogurt & spices I had it is loosely based on this but with fresh ginger, added the zest of the lime and red pepper flakes.

The Finished Product!

Looks impressive, but was a bit bland/mild for my taste. So the next day before moving onto the lettuce wraps I basted the cauliflower directly with my homemade rub and baked it again in the oven (which was better but got to be a bit bitter in areas where the spices were thickly applied).

The Vegan Sparkles post already had one step of recycling leftovers built in, roasted cauliflower steaks, rice and cucumber raita for diner. Then lunches or dinners later using all  last the diner components w/tomato to make lettuce wraps. Same meal with a different application and super fast because you already made it last night.

I did mine a bit differently because white rice is nutritional cardboard and I wanted more veggies I made a vegan turmeric rice w/peas but used it the same. I also steamed some carrots and sauteed in vegan butter and added hot sauce to my wraps because I found the spice was a bit lacking and it didn't need the raita otherwise.

I took this concept yet one step further this afternoon by throwing the whole dutch oven with the roasted cauliflower head leftovers onto the stove with some additional water, 2 chopped carrots and 1 diced potato. I poured the water over the cauliflower to rinse off the spices into the bottom and build a sauce for the curry, put the lid on to let the vegetables steam/boil (position the cauliflower on top if you can!). And in a separate pan I sauteed an onion and 2 garlic cloves with salt and pepper and added them on top once they were cooked. Because the cauliflower had been a bit better on my second bake attempt (likely from me applying too much paste!) I added salt and a bit of sugar to the curry as it cooked until the bitterness subsided. The water and other vegetables helped too. You can also curb bitterness with coconut milk or other vegan dairy products.

Cooking it down for about an hour with the lid partial ajar adding more water or stirring as needed. Once the liquid was reduced and the veggies were cooked I added a sprinkle or Vegan Butter and Flour to build up the gravy, cooked until it thickened and voila meal 3 Vegetable curry simply cut the cauliflower into chunks and serve with leftover rice and more cucumber raita.

You could easily make this curry with any vegetables or bulk it up with beans or tofu/tempeh/seitan/tvp leftover you have hanging around. Or if you prefer a soup simply add additional water or broth  (tasting for seasoning) to thin it out. Even a Dahl style dish with lentils. This curry is a bit more of a Japanese style with the diluted spices, added salt, and roux thickened sauce. If you have access to it you could also bulk it up with coconut milk (or add the coconut milk and blend it into a bisque), since coconut milk is a bit more $$ I stuck with the water.

1 dish, 3 meals which if I had any more left I could also add oats and blend the curry into a burger which might still happen. OR blend the curry/vegetables into a thick sauce/gravy for tofu/tempeh/seitan or other dishes. This is also a good tip if you have picky eaters who don't like vegetables you can still get the nutrients. If you do go the blended sauce (or pureed soup route) and there is still too much for you to eat (or you get sick of curry style dishes) freeze the sauce/soup into ice cube trays and use this recycled curry as a flavour booster or starter for your next meals. Once frozen you can pop the curry ice cubes into a freezer bag and you have your own veggie fueled curry paste (flavour & nutrients!).

Bonus Points: Since I am not a huge fan of Vegan Yogurt I added the rest to my homemade tandoori paste and readjusted the spices stirred it together and tossed it into the freezer for future use (marinating tofu or tempeh, as a rub or curry/soup base).

I also took the bag of marinade (since it used a whole fricken expensive can of coconut milk!) and threw that in the freezer. You can reuse most marinades a few times before they need to be thrown out and freezing can help prolong their life. Or take a tip from Isa's VWAV and use leftover marinades to build sauces, gravies, dressings, or soups/stews. In fact I could have defrosted the leftover marinade to bulk up my curry but I really want to try it out on tofu.

Possibilities are endless and you just have to experiment. Sometimes even when things don't turn out or live up to your expectations you can still turn them around into something you'll enjoy.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Veganmofo 2016: I finally have instagram

Now I too am port of the cool kids and have finally gotten Instagram for the blog and personally.
I will be doing some Veganmofo-ing both here and on the instagram plus likely posting more day to day photos of food posts that feel out of place on the blog.

check it out here and if you are a ppker/vegamofoer or have a vegan food instagram let me know in the comments so I can follow you back.

or @vegannotjustgreens

Monday, September 26, 2016

MiniMofo: Signature Dish Bruschetta!

Trying to pick just one signature dish was a little daunting and as my kitchen is still a work in progress I figured I would go with a classic I started making in Middle School Simple and rustic bruschetta.

I remember this being pretty much the only thing I ever made that my mom would willing eat, in fact she now makes it pretty regularly which for someone as picky as her is a huge HUGE success.

While the recipe often changes based on whats available its a pretty simple and intuitive dish to make.
Thankfully my mother hand delivered me some glorious tomatoes, garlic and basil from her garden shortly after I moved in so I have been enjoying this all week!

-Fresh tomatoes diced(home grown is best!)
-Fresh Basil (although I have in the past used dried italian seasoning & basil) 
-Fresh Garlic Minced
-Onion diced
-Virgin Olive Oil
-Balsamic Vinegar
-Red wine Vinegar (use sparingly!)
-Crusty vegan bread!
Glorious colours
Toss together in a bowl your diced veggies and minced herbs, make sure to mix everything up well before adding in the oil and vinegar. Toss as you add to make sure you get a nice even coating and add in some fresh cracked pepper and salt.

The key is to allow the tomato mixture to sit as the salt will draw out some moisture for you, keep tossing it occasional and taste it until you get the perfect balance.

Meanwhile slice your bread and preheat the oven to broil (or at least 400 degrees) the high temperature allows the bread to toast while just warming or slightly charring the tomatoes and onions. You could also toast the bread by brushing it with olive oil and garlic then top it with the raw tomato mixture, but I prefer to cook it.

You can see in the photo I make mine a bit soupy on the bottom so I can toss the dressing over the veggies. I like to strain the mixture a bit when I top the bread and then spoon/drizzle the oil/vinegar dressing over top as it bakes.

Voila! Perfect summer fare.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Renters kitchen: A new dilema.

As you know we recently moved and one thing we discovered while trying to unpack is our new kitchen is equip with remarkably tiny cabinets. Which when they were empty we didn't notice.

Here are a few photos of the kitchen layout, our entrance is on one side of the kitchen along a big stretch of empty wall and the rest of the kitchen is built along the adjacent wall.

It looks decent enough, until you attempt to place diner plates or pots into the cabinets. The drawers you see there can only hold 1 large or medium size pot (which is inefficient so I am trying to find alternative places to store them, notice they are hiding with the bowls.).

A common theme with the storage for cabinets here is narrow but deep. Special award to the tiny areas next to the oven. Which are about 2-3 small tinfoil rolls wide but a good 2 feet deep. Normally I put baking trays in the warming drawer of my oven but the cabinet there is so narrow I am unsure what else would fit.

In fact we have a really nice deep pantry just next to the fridge. Seriously its almost 4 feet deep!

However as you can see things can get a bit lost in there and you kinda have to pull everything out to get what you are looking for or even see what you have. Thankfully my large dry good storage jars help a lot with this process but I am looking to the internet to find solutions that don't loose us valuable shelf real estate.

Hallway Closet of appliance banishment.
So far I am negotiating to get my pegboard approval to make use of the giant empty wall and provide a home to pots and pans.
I have also bought a small kitchen cart on wheels to hopefully reclaim some of the counter space and we have put an industrial shelf into our storage closet down the hall to house the appliances.

So if anyone out there has any brilliant ideas or solutions to my ever dwindling counter space or spice storage I will take all the help I can get!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Veganmofo 2016! Dusting off the old blog

So 2015 and 2016 have been a whirlwind of shitty life occurrences but after just moving to a new place with my fella I am hoping things are turning around. So although I am currently off on a workplace injury which leaves me pretty apartment bound and immobile (for now!) VeganMofo is on the horizon! And as I am currently laid off in addition to being injured I feel like this year will have me aching for something to do so let's dive into MOFO Season Y'all!

More info on Vegan mofo can be found at the command centre Veganmofo.com

So to start things off they are issueing Mini Mofo challenges to wet our appetites round one has a deadline of Sept 27 so I am getting a late start but I will be polling past roommates and friends to figure out what my signature dish is! And I will try and have a post ready for you all and maybe also unpack my new kitchen so we can all get cooking!

**I have also dabbled a bit with fixing the broken theme on here, sorry! let me know what you think, it seems to still have some formatting issues for larger images. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Veganmofo: Breakfast on the run! 2015

 Short post today, as I over slept and need to head out to the restaurant. Thankfully I had cold coffee in a jar in the fridge (Screech coffee in fact! Pretty tasty) so coffee was fast.

And my roommate was making oatmeal chocolate chip muffins before she left for a conference. So Veganmofo-ians, I bring you a short post of my breakfast before I left for work.

Might not have been the fanciest but it was pretty darn good.

Happy Mofo!