11 December 2014

Devil Fingers

If you ask many non-vegans, vegans eat "weird" foods. While a number of previously "weird vegan foods" have gone mainstream (kale, anyone?), there are still a number of "weird vegan foods" that aren't really anywhere close to hitting the mainstream food consciousness in a major way. One of those foods is seitan. It's clear that I like the "weirdness" that is seitan. What is also fun about seitan is that the word is commonly mispronounced. The real pronunciation is say-TAHN, However, a lot of people mistakenly say "satan."

For anyone NOT sensitive to gluten, seitan is an awesome food! It's a high-protein option that can replace meat in a number of dishes. Depending on how it's made, it can be stringy (like chicken) or more dense (like beef). If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll have seen my post for how I make my own seitan. That seitan version is toward the "beefy" side of the seitan spectrum. Given that that recipe is "beefy," it only works in some recipes. Thus, years ago, I started making a chicken-style seitan recipe by VeganDad. With this recipe, I slightly adapted another of his recipes (see below) and created what we refer to as Devil Fingers. See, if seitan is mispronounced, and these are kind of like breaded chicken fingers, what better name than Devil Fingers? Plus, the looks on people's faces when they ask what we're eating is awesome. Given that they're also delicious, this recipe is just plain fabulous.

Served with ketchup for dipping and roasted cauliflower on this night. 

23 November 2014

Vegan Scallion Pancakes

Shana and I have totally different comfort foods. It's no secret that Shana loves Chinese food. A couple of weeks ago I was feeling up to the challenge of Shana's ultimate comfort food: vegan wonton soup. Although that particular attempt was close, it wasn't good enough (the wontons are awesome, it's the broth that I'm struggling with). What WAS good enough was my attempt at scallion pancakes to accompany our soup.

In my memory, scallion pancakes are served at every restaurant approaching Chinese cuisine. In reality, I have no idea how Americanized scallion pancakes are (so much of our "Chinese" food is not eaten in China the way we eat it here) and they are certainly not served everywhere. We tend to order them when we find them on a menu, because oniony fried bread is always a good option. Unfortunately, none of the Asian restaurants in our area (we have a couple of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants) serve scallion pancakes. And clearly, since making one new dish isn't enough for a meal, I simply had to take on two.

But wow, am I glad I did! These scallion pancakes were the real deal and they were surprisingly easy, if a bit more hands-on than I anticipated. Regardless, these will certainly go into rotation as an occasional side for Asian-inspired foods.

02 November 2014

Super Simple Breakfast Cookies

Somehow or another I went a whole month without posting - how embarrassing. October is always a busy month for us (we were gone two consecutive weekends in the middle of the month) and this is when the semester really starts to explode. Still, those aren't appropriate reasons to have neglected my blog for a whole month.

With that said, I'm back and cooking all sorts of new things this week. Hopefully some of them will be blog-worthy! I've got something blog-worthy today, though: breakfast cookies! I saw these on a blog I follow and decided I had to make them. They are SO simple and really delicious! Plus, they're full of healthy ingredients (oats, flax seed, bananas), soy and gluten free, take next to no time, and are low in sugar. What's not to love?

30 September 2014

Lazy Dinner Bean Burritos

I'm procrastinating; I should be grading. However, I'm all set for my classes tomorrow and grading just doesn't sound fun (sorry, students, but it's not). I'll grade after I finish this post, I promise.

Since it's Tuesday night, I'm on my own for dinner, which means a Lazy Dinner. In the past couple of weeks, I've been really bad at cooking/eating at home the nights that Shana's gone. More recently, I've been grabbing food at the few places I can eat here in town. That's just silly. With the same effort it takes to drive across town, wait in line, and bring food home, I can stand in my kitchen in comfy clothes and eat delicious dinner for easily 1/3 of the price of me eating out.

Tonight my plan was Lazy Dinner Bean Burritos. This dinner is SO easy and so cheap. You can add whatever you'd like and make this dinner your own. If you need to scale up to make a quick dinner for 6, you can do it. Moreover, there's no need to actually buy things for this dinner, as you can make it with things you'd keep on hand. I did buy one thing for tonight, but that's just because I planned ahead. Had I planned better, I would have added a couple more ingredients. Oh well, that'll be for next time.

12 September 2014

Maggie's Vegan Chicken and Noodles

Last Sunday I woke up really early (just before 6) and couldn't get back to sleep. After tossing and turning for a while, I decided to get up and be productive. For the record, productive on Sunday morning means reading the paper while sipping a single cup of French pressed coffee. After I finished the paper, it still wasn't late enough to wake up Shana, so I decided to do some work. For some low-level background noise, I turned on the TV. I'm not sure how much Sunday morning TV you watch, but there is not a lot on that interests me. I decided on the Food Network.

At this point, I'm not even sure what show I was watching, but I assure you that it was not a vegan-friendly cooking show. Somehow or another, I came away with two new recipes I wanted to veganize. When I mentioned the idea of a vegan "chicken" and noodles dinner to Shana, she seemed cautiously interested. We put it on the meal plan for this week. As the week progressed, Shana got more and more excited and kept saying that she wanted something like the "just boil water" pasta sides of her college days (read: weekend late nights).

Veganized chicken and noodles was on the menu for tonight. I'd come home late after an outing with some colleagues and hadn't had enough time to look up a variety of recipes to get some ideas, which is my general plan when I'm making something new. Instead, I came home, grabbed ingredients, and got to work. The resulting dish ended up being a delicious (and less chemically-laden) version of a comfort food. Shana was in heaven.

05 September 2014

Hot and Creamy Vegan Artichoke Dip

I am in charge of a loosely-organized mostly-social group on my campus that consists of new(ish) faculty. We had a ton of new people arrive this year, so I've planned some events where people can get to know one another. As it turned out, many of the new folks to arrive on campus have small children, so I decided that a late afternoon weekend potluck might be just the thing for those new folk for whom an after-work happy hour would be a scheduling nightmare. (For the record, it was a great success and there were many small people happily running around.)

While talking with Shana about what we should bring to the potluck, she mentioned an old recipe of mine that I hadn't pulled out in a while - a hot artichoke dip. I used to make this all the time while in grad school; it was my go to recipe for bringing to football game viewing parties, someone-did-something-so-let's-celebrate parties, or really any time a group of people gathered together. It was quite popular and always devoured. In fact, I would bring it to a party, set it down, and people would descend upon it, barely talking until it was gone. When we moved to western NY, I ended up making it for a party, but it didn't go as fast. I started making other things, and we just kind of forgot about this recipe. Upon bringing it to this potluck, it was devoured!

Now, this is NOT a good for you recipe. It's high in fat, although because it is vegan, the corresponding non-vegan version would be very high in fat and cholesterol. Anyway, I just thought I would give you fair warning that this is definitely a once in a while type of treat. But wow, what a delicious treat.

23 August 2014

Roasted Garlic Oil Pasta

Once again I'm sorry for the long delay between posts, dear readers. This delay was due to two primary forces. First, my computer was moving so slowly that I honestly couldn't have more than one program open at a time or type quickly because it was generally about a sentence behind me. Ugh. Second, at the end of July I left to go to Spain with some faculty colleagues. Together, the 9 of us walked part of the Camino de Santiago, publicized recently by the movie The Way. We were gone for 12 days, and when we got back, it was directly into retreats and workshops and meetings for the start of the semester.

Now, I'm mostly ready for the semester to start and we have a couple of days without full-day meetings planned. Thus, it's a perfect time to update you on some of the light and easy things we've been eating throughout this past summer. First up is a ridiculously easy dinner that requires just a tiny bit of planning: roasted garlic oil pasta.

I'd been wanting a pasta dish with something on it, but didn't want something creamy and just wasn't feeling like making my red sauce. As I was looking around my kitchen, I realized we had a ton of garlic, and that's when this dish came together. It was a perfect dinner for a summer night because it didn't heat up my kitchen and didn't sit heavily in my stomach. Plus, I'm sure you could put in any number of fresh summer veggies and it would be delicious!