Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chili-Coffee Rubbed Seitan Sandwich

I know that I've mentioned these sandwiches before, but now I have some photographic evidence...

These sandwiches were awesome. I've made them twice according to this recipe from Peace by Pastries. I love, love, love it! The spicy seitan contrasts nicely with the creamy avocado, and the raspberry mayo adds a nice sweetness and tang that just really rounds out the flavors. The seitan is so packed with protein that I'm nice and full for a long time after and that's always a bonus! This sandwich is so massive that you can't even see the avocado, spinach, or raspberry (vegan) mayo hanging out in there.

To really ace this recipe, it helps if you get the seitan nice and crispy on the outside (but then again, always getting the seitan nice and crispy is the key for every recipe!).

The only other thing I changed about this recipe was I substituted a half cup of really strong, brewed coffee instead of the coffee grounds. I tried it the first time with the grounds, but unless you really like eating the crunchy grounds, I'd recommend the brewed coffee in the marinade. To make it nice and strong, I brewed about 2 tablespoons of freshly ground coffee to one cup of water, and then I used about 3/4 c. in the marinade. I then drank what was leftover, because I'm hardcore like that.

And one last thing, the raspberry mayo makes quite a bit of mayo. If you halved the recipe, you would still have plenty of mayo to slather on these sandwiches. Oh, and it calls for chipotle chiles in adobo, so buy yourself a can and stick what's leftover in the freezer. I rarely freeze things (I HATE freezer food), but frozen chipotle chiles get my seal of approval.

Now, go make these sandwiches! I wanted to eat these so bad that I made and ate seitan for the first time ever (I'm now in love). For an easy homemade seitan recipe, click here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Larabar Giveaway!

Chocolate-Covered Katie is giving away Larabars! If you'd like a chance to win them, click here:

Super Awesome Larabar Giveaway... All New Flavors!

And did I mention it's for a whole case?

Yeah, it's for a whole 'effing case!

And if you're never read her blog before, you should definitely check it out. Although it's on my blogroll at the right of the page, here's a quick link:

Chocolate-Covered Katie's blog.

Go there. Do it. And if all else fails and you don't get the Larabars, it's still a good read!

Labor Day Lunch - BBQ Seitan

I'm not gonna lie, this is gonna be a super lazy post. I spent all day moving (ick) and I'm about to go to bed, but I wanted to share my lunch with the people on the internet...

I figured today was as good a day as any to try out some BBQ seitan. You know, it's Labor Day, people are eating cookout type food, it seemed perfect. I made up a homemade BBQ sauce that was served on two separate things, mine was on seitan though my parents had theirs on pork. I was a little disappointed in the sandwich because the BBQ sauce just didn't have what I was looking for. I wanted tangy and flavorful, but sadly, that particular recipe was not. Since I was at my parents house I had to use their cooking stuff and I couldn't find any oil or spray to crisp up the seitan with (or a skillet large enough), which made me a little sad. Crispier seitan and a better BBQ sauce would've made this sandwich awesome. I'll definitely be trying this again, but with a better recipe.

I still have a pound of seitan left, but I'm making mock chicken salad with that. It's gonna be a real tasty one, with celery, onions, toasted almonds, red grapes... Ohhh yeah.

Anyway, overall the meal was really good and I look forward to eating all the leftovers! Lunch was as follows: BBQ seitan sandwich on a whole wheat bun with poppy seed coleslaw (soooo good), vegan brown sugar and bourbon baked beans, all-natural potato chips, and a dill pickle spear. I rounded it all out with a Coke. It's a holiday so I was gonna have my Coke and drink it too!

The coleslaw was definitely the best part of the meal (besides the baked beans, lol). I made this myself based on a million recipes I've seen. My Dad really liked it as well, we munched it up. It's not too sweet and not too vinegary, which was perfect. Oh, and all these ingredients are approximate...

For a coleslaw whose ingredients are actually measured, and not approximate, please visit this post. There you will find an accurate and updated version of this recipe. 

Super Easy Poppy Seed Coleslaw:
1/2 bag shredded green cabbage and carrot mix
1/2 bag shredded purple cabbage
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. veganaise (I mostly just do enough to coat without making it goopy)
1/2 Tb. olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 Tb. sugar
2 Tb. rice vinegar
2 Tb. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste

1. Mix the cabbages and onion with salt and let sit for a few minutes; then squeeze out any extra water.
2. Add the veganaise, olive oil, sugar, vinegar, poppy seeds, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.
3. Cover and let sit in the fridge for like, at least an hour or two (though we only waited about 30 minutes and it was still good). Give everything a good stir before serving and enjoy!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blackberry-Lemon Power Smoothie!

Here's another high protein smoothie for your tastebuds. I made this after I found organic blackberries on sale at HyVee for super cheap. They also turned out to be really tasty, so I won all around. This is a lot like my other workout smoothie, but the blackberries are powerful and completely change the flavor. After seeing another brand of soy yogurt on a vegan blog, I just had to give it a try. I managed to find some at Whole Foods for a decent price so I thought I'd give it a taste.

And you know what? I'd say it's rather awesome. Definitely, the best soy yogurt I've tried. I've never liked lemon yogurt (even when I ate dairy) because I found the flavor to be off, but Whole Soy & Co. has this lemon yogurt down. It's my favorite flavor!

This smoothie is kind of a twist on the blackberry-lemon flavor combination.

Blackberry-Lemon Power Smoothie:
1 scoop vanilla rice protein powder
1/2 c. coconut water
1/2 (6 oz.) container lemon soy yogurt
1/2 Tb. shelled hempseeds
1/3 c. fresh or frozen raspberries
1/3 c. fresh blackberries
1/2 a frozen banana
Ice cubes and/or additional coconut water for consistency
Throw in some fresh lemon juice or slices if you got it

1. Mix everything in a blender.
2. Drink it up!

The breakdown (in amounts used in the recipe):
Protein powder - 14 grams protein
Soy yogurt - 3 grams protein
Hempseeds - 4 grams protein
Banana - 0.5 grams protein

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The All-Inclusive Cake Post: Caramel Apple Spice Cake


This was the official wedding cake. It's was very moist and very tasty. It's was also pretty easy to make. To assemble it, a layer of whipped cream-cream cheese frosting was spread on each top as a barrier to keep the filling from soaking in. The filling itself was just good ol' fashioned apple butter, made locally with only apples, water, sugar, and spices. It was topped with a caramel glaze instead of a more traditional cream cheese frosting. It was decided that since this is an outdoor wedding (and since the creamy frosting would melt after a while) that a glaze would be best. To decorate, the cake was garnished with whole toasted walnut halves with chopped walnuts as a border.

To create this cake:
1. Prepare whipped cream-cream cheese frosting, then refrigerate.
2. Prepare two 9-inch rounds with parchment paper as instructed in this post.
3. Bake cake.
4. Allow to cool completely before decorating In the meantime you can...
5. Prepare walnuts, then...
6. Decorate

Applesauce Spice Cake:
2 1/4 c. cake flour (or 2 c. all-purpose flour, though I recommend the cake flour)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. EACH nutmeg, cloves, and ginger
A scant 1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) Earth Balance, softened
1/4 c. coconut oil, warmed to liquid, then measured
1 1/2 c. turbinado (raw) sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla (or 1 tsp. imitation vanilla)
Egg replacer for 1 egg
1/2 c. coconut milk (leftover from whipped cream cheese frosting, can use other plant milk)
1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
3/4 c. applesauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and sea salt. Use a whisk to combine.
3. Add the rice vinegar to the coconut milk, stir, and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, cream together the Earth Balance, coconut oil, and raw sugar. Beat in the prepared egg replacer. Beat in the vanilla.
5. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the applesauce. Add the coconut milk mixture very last, beating in to blend completely.
6. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until the cake springs back and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
7. Cool completely before decorating.

A note about this whipped cream-cream cheese recipe: it's more cream-like than buttercream frosting-like. It's good for dolloping, so feel free to serve this with fruit cobblers, pies, breakfast cakes, etc. However, if you're looking for a super stiff icing recipe, this isn't it. Also, this was the first time I ever tried vegan cream cheese. I was a little apprehensive, cause I hate pretty much all vegan cheeses, but this stuff is awesome. I will be using it again and again. Actually, to be honest, I was relieved at how good it tasted. Lol. I won't hesitate to make cream cheese frosting recipes with it in the future (or maybe even put it on a bagel!).

Also, the whipped cream cheese recipe calls for the cream layer of the coconut milk in the can. The easiest way to get the cream out is to put the cans in the fridge overnight. The cold helps solidify the cream and it's a lot easier to remove it. Try and get most of the cream out, but you'll want to leave that thin layer on top of the coconut water. This will help keep your coconut milk milk-like and it will ensure that there is no water in your cream (and really, this cake doesn't taste coconutty at all). 

Whipped Cream-Cream Cheese:
Cream from 1 can of coconut milk, about 3/4 cups (ensure you don't get any liquid, just cream)
1/2 (8 oz.) container vegan cream cheese (I used the Tofutti brand), softened
1/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla (or 1/2 tsp. imitation vanilla)
Dash of sea salt

1. With the beaters on low, beat coconut cream until nice and smooth (about a minute). It shouldn't be runny.
2. Add in the cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, and sea salt. Beat until smooth.
3. Keep covered in the fridge when not in use. If any yellow liquid separates out, you can pour it off. If it's just a little bit you can mix it back in. It won't affect the taste. It should look like this (sorry for the dark photo):

That's creamy vegan goodness, biatch. 

I've whipped dairy cream before. Let me tell you, it's a process. You got to chill the bowl, chill the beaters, beat forever, and then, if it starts to go soft on your and refuses to make peaks, you gotta chill it all over again. Working with coconut cream is so much easier! 

To assemble the cake:

1. Spread each cake top with a layer of whipped cream-cream cheese. The fat in the cream helps keep the cake from soaking up too much of the filling.

 

2. Spread the cake with a nice layer of apple butter. You want to use a kind that is pretty thick (or at least drain of any excess juice). If it's too runny it'll mush out the sides of the cake. I made the filling layer about 1/3 of an inch thick. If it's a filling like pudding or buttercream you can use more.


3. Stack the cake by placing the two frosted layers together. You want the bottom of the cake to be the top. This creates a nice smooth cake top that has a good crumb consistency (makes it easier to decorate). At this point I wrap the cake with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge overnight. Be sure to leave the parchment paper on for now. I also let it stay stacked on the cake pan because it provides a nice base. Putting it in the fridge helps firm up both the cake and the layer of cream and filling.



4. After hanging out in the fridge all night (and about an hour and a half before being served). It was ready to be glazed. I removed the parchment paper from the top and bottom of the cake (don't forget to do that!) and I placed it on a cardboard cake round (the picture shows a small one, but after snapping the picture I changed my mind and placed it on a larger round. That was a much better idea).

Caramel Glaze:
1/2 c. Earth Balance
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. coconut milk

1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Remove from heat after letting it boil about 30 seconds. Don't let it cook or you'll end up with candy
3. Pour onto the cake slowly, while using a wooden spoon smooth glaze using a circular motion. This will keep the top nice and smooth, the layer of glaze even, and it will cause the glaze to run down the sides of the cake (which is desired).

                                                             
 
To make a fancy cake round, cut out a piece of tin foil slightly larger than the round. Using scissors, make cuts in the tin foil that is about 3/4 inch wide. Cut up to about a 1/4 inch of the round. Fold over each section one at a time, pulling tight (but not so tight that it rips). Tape the pieces to the cardboard round.

Here's a close up of the ooey-gooey cakey decadence. To finish decorating the cake I toasted some walnuts at 350 degees for about five minutes. I put all the halves I had on top and I crushed the rest to stick in the caramel that lined the edges. By applying the walnuts to the still warm caramel, you were able to "glue" them on so they didn't fall of the cake. Also, glazes have nice, smooth finishes so they always look pretty with minimal effort! To transport the cake, I bought a cake box in the craft section at WalMart for $2. It made it look more professional and it really made the transport of the cake MUCH easier.


The guests ranted and raved about this cake. They said it was moist and delicious with an excellent flavor. They really liked the caramel glaze (so did I!). It had a slight saltiness to it that contrasted really well with the sweetness of the cake. A lot of people also liked the caramel-coated walnuts (they stole them off the cake board!) and others loved the apple butter filling. I would definitely make this cake again. It was a real winner!
And that's my piece still on the board, I had to snap a picture first!

So How About That Seitan?

So...

I'm a sandwich person. I think I've mentioned that before. Gimmie a plate with everything stuffed between two slices of bread and I'm one happy camper. However, I'm not much of a mock-meat type person (although I was loving me some Tofurky slices earlier this summer). I actually consider myself to be more of a "whole foods" type of vegan. You know, a beans, nuts, lentils type of person. However, I got into a sort of food rut and decided I need to start trying some new things. Among the things I've tried this year for the first time are fresh peaches (I hate canned), red and purple plums (probably my new favorite fruit), tangerines, mochi, Tofurkey, veganaise... the list goes on and on.

Yes, I know, I'm almost 23 and I'm just now trying all those fruits for the first time... But hey, better late than never!

Anywho. I've decided that my diet is very low on the protein scale (cause, well, it is). My hair has gotten a little thin and it's really starting to stress me out. Some people just say I have "fine" hair, but you know how it is. I tend to be overly dramatic and I've pretty much convinced myself that I'm going bald. I'm hoping that by including more vegan protein in my diet I'll get hair equivalent to the model's in the Pantene commercial that's strong enough to pull a school bus.

What's my magic potion?

Well, other than delicious rice protein smoothies and more beans, it's seitan!! I've never made seitan before. In fact, I've never even bought it before. They don't sell that kind of stuff around here (though even if they did, I'm pretty sure my cheap ass wouldn't buy it). However, the last time I went to the health food store downtown I noticed they had a big ol' sack of vital wheat gluten. I bought it, without any plan in mind (which means it sat in my fridge for the next two months). Well, today I did the unthinkable. I made my first batch of seitan. I was majorly encouraged by the Vegetarian Resource Group and an awesome recipe I found on Peace by Pastries. I swear, that girl is gourmet. After reading about her Chili-Coffee Rubbed Seitan Sandwiches, I knew they needed to be in my belly (I'm also pround that she's in the same geographical boat).

Of course, to begin such sandwiches, I needed seitan. After doing a little research, I decided to try the recipe at Post Punk Kitchen. The only difference between mine and their's is that I didn't have any lemon zest (though if I had it, I would've used it), I didn't use as much tamari, I put more garlic in it, and I added some liquid smoke to the simmering broth. Another difference was that I didn't use any nutritional yeast (finished the last of it the night before) and that I added 1/2 cup of garbanzo bean flour to the mix. I remember reading somewhere that adding a bean flour was good because it has more fiber and protein than just the vital wheat gluten flour, and because it helps level out your blood sugar.

I thought seitan making was FUN and EASY as well as a cheap way to get some more protein in my diet. Seriously, when I looked over at my simmering pot of deliciousness and saw a floating chunk of perfectly plumped seitan, I knew I had done good! Please note, I really love garlic and would've added more. Also, this is the first time I made it so this ingredients will adjust later (I'll probably add more liquid smoke the next time around, etc.)

Simple Seitan (based off the recipe at PPK):
Dry:
2 c. vital wheat gluten flour
1/2 c. garbanzo bean flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Wet:
1/2 c. tamari
1 1/2 c. vegetable broth
1 1/2 Tb. tomato paste
1 Tb. minced garlic
1/2 Tb. lemon juice

Simmering Broth:
15 c. vegetable broth and/or water
1/3 c. tamari
1 Tb. garlic
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke

1. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients with a whisk to get it all clump free.
2. In a medium bowl, combine all the liquid ingredients with a whisk (to get the tomato paste unclumpy).
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir together with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated.
4. Turn out onto a flat surface and knead for about five minutes. I did not flour my table because I was afraid my seitan would get tough. I found that it did not stick to the table at all, so if yours sticks you just might need some extra flour.
5. Shape into a log that about a foot long and cut into three pieces. Just let it hang out on the table. I let mine rest for about 15 minutes, I wouldn't let it rest for any less than five.
6. Mix all the simmering broth ingredients in a very large pot. Don't turn it on. Let your seitan rest.
7. Add the seitan to the pot and bring it to a simmer. I never actually brought mine to a boil, I just covered it with a lid on medium high and then reduced it before it started to get to vigorous.
8. Simmer with the lit cracked for half an hour.
9. Turn the seitan over and let simmer for another half an hour.
10. Turn the pot off and let the seitan cool in the broth for awhile.
11. Place covered in the fridge, surrounded by broth, until you're ready to use it.

I don't know why people think the simmering is too tedious. Once it was at a good simmer, I just let it be. In fact, I went and took a shower while it was on the stove. Just saying. It's pretty low maintenance. It really doesn't take any longer than a good soup, and it's actually a lot easier to make!

So, the only thing left for me to do is make that Chili-Coffee Seitan sandwich, as well as my own creation: a seitan sandwich served au jus. That's right. Sandwich heaven.

Ready for the nutritional breakdown?

When you prepare my recipe in the amount directed, you wind up getting three pieces that are about a pound apiece (perfect for recipes!). If each section is divided into four servings, you get, per serving:

110 calories
3/4 gram of fat (that's like nothing!)
17 3/4 grams of protein
8% of your daily iron
3.5% of your daily calcium
1% each of your daily vitamin A and vitamin C

Awesome.