Archive for the 'food' Category

okara patties and red beans

October 3, 2008

Breakfast: tofu scramble with  1/2 lb tofu, 1/8 zucchini, 1/2 small onion, 1/8 red pepper, small potato, thyme, black pepper, jalapeno, nutritional yeast

Lunch:  2 okara patties with ketchup, soy latte

Dinner: 3 okara patties

Snack: freshly cooked red beans (for tomorrow, but they looked so tasty)

My okara patties were super-delicious.  I didn’t measure anything, but just threw a bunch of delicious stuff together, and it turned out.  I’ll figure out a recipe next time.


Soy milk!

October 2, 2008

I mentioned I was going to make soy milk. I did, this morning. I am very impressed with the results. It does taste soybean-y (I didn’t do very much to mitigate that–I wanted to try a simple recipe first), but honestly I don’t mind the taste of soybeans, and it’s also really rich and creamy.

My method is a combination of many different recipes online, so I will share what I did here. My recipe would have made about half a gallon (see first tip for why it actually didn’t…). Note that a cup of soy beans is about .4 lbs, which means using my 99 cent per pound organic soybeans, half a gallon of soy milk costs about 40 cents to make (instead of, you know, 4 dollars to buy).


wire mesh strainer
cheese cloth
large pot
large mixing bowl
food processor (blender would also work)


1 cup dry soybeans
7 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

What I did:

1. Soak soybeans in a ton of water for about 12 hours.
2. While soybeans are still covered in water (but not so much it splashes all over the place), rub soybeans between my hands to remove skins, and periodically remove skins that rise to the top. (There are recipes on the internet that say the skins float to the top of the water, but mine did not. They did rise to the top of the soy beans, though, so they were pretty easy to remove.) This step is supposed to get rid of some of the soybean-y flavor. I mostly did it because I was curious how well it worked, since I had read mixed reviews. It only took me about 3 minutes to get rid of all my skins.
3. Puree soy beans in 2 cups of the water, until smooth. (Do not over-fill food processor. A lot of air gets added during this step. Mine pretty much doubled in volume.)
4. Pour soy bean mixture into mixing bowl, and add remaining (5 cups) water. Stir.
5. Place strainer in pot, and 8 layers of cheesecloth over strainer. Pour a couple of cups of the soy bean mixture into the cheesecloth/strainer (enough to fill the strainer, but so that you can easily gather the cheesecloth to squeeze), then grab the four corners of the cheesecloth and twist to remove as much liquid as possible. My cheesecloth is not as fine as I’d like, so I got some fun squirting happening here, so I found that keeping my hand around the ball of soymilk mixture was prudent, in order to avoid cleaning soybean pulp off my walls. Once you are done squeezing out liquid, set aside the okara (soy bean pulp left in the cheesecloth), and repeat until you’re out of soybean mixture.
6. Rinse the mixing bowl, and repeat step 5, this time transferring from the pot to the mixing bowl.
7. Rinse the pot, pour the raw soy milk into the pot from the mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients (salt, sugar, and vanilla), and slowly bring the soy milk to a boil (I kept it at medium-high heat and stirred constantly). Boil for ~20 minutes.

–Do not mistake baking soda for corn starch, and think you’re going to thicken the soy milk a bit with it. (I saved most of my soy milk by pouring off and saving the top milk, and discarding the stuff on the bottom where the baking soda had sunk to.)
–Okara, the soybean pulp, is supposed to be good for lots of things, including baking (you have to cook/dry it first for most things), veggie burgers, etc. It has a ton of fiber and a good bit of protein. I am trying an okara-rice burger, we’ll see how that goes.
–If you have better cheesecloth than I have, you probably only need to strain the mixture once.

When I finally actually get to work, I am going to bring a soy latte made with my fresh soy milk. Mmm, delicious.

VeganMoFo and Cheap Food

October 1, 2008

So, there’s this thing called Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo) that’s happening this month, where, you know, lots of people blog about vegan food.  I kept thinking, man, I’m too poor for that, I’ll just end up spending a ton on food.  You know, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on vet bills a month or so ago, and our monthly income since then has been roughly halved (before then too, but it was less of an issue).

Then I realized… vegan food can be really cheap, and healthy, AT THE SAME TIME!!!  I could blog a ton about eating on my budget!  Been done before?  I’m sure it has (and not just the crazy guy who ate for a month on $30 either).  But I’m doing it again dammit.  And you can’t stop me.

So my plan is this… my budget for the month of October for food is $103, including any food, and any food preparation tools I might need to buy (which will not be much–I’m pretty stocked there).  That’s not super-low, I don’t think, so I will keep my usual goal of eating almost entirely organic, as well.  The other part of my plan…. is that I will keep a journal (here) of everything I eat.  Starting today.

But first!  In case you’re interested, here‘s a list of other participants in VeganMoFo, and here’s the cute logo.

Now, on to the first day of cheap food.

Breakfast: Pre-October purchased Amy’s burrito.

Lunch: toffuti cream cheese sandwich (all pre-October purchased; also not very healthy, but I was STARVING)

Dinner: Lentil soup with red pepper, onion, jalapeno, nutritional yeast (pre-october purchased ingredients, except nutritional yeast), with brown rice

Shopping: I spent $27 on food and cheese cloth (for making my own soy milk, since I certainly can’t afford to buy pre-packaged on this budget).  Food included pounds and pounds of several types of beans (including soy, for milk), brown rice, a zucchini, a green bell pepper, two little hot peppers, nutritional yeast, and tofu.  All organic, except not the nutritional yeast (I think?  I don’t know).  I plan to make my own tofu, but the genius that is Susan at fatfreevegan made me realize that I don’t need a fancy tofu making thingy, and I could just recycle a plastic tub of some sort.  I didn’t have any on-hand, so… buying tofu, it is.

vegan fusion philly cheese steak

July 3, 2008

So I bought some Field Roast brand deli meats. I’ve bought their sausages (which aren’t available here) and really liked them, so I figured I’d try this. It was kind of odd, but tasty. I bought the lentil sage flavor. Anyway, then I noticed some FYH cheddar in my fridge that wanted to be eaten, so I came up with this concoction. I call it vegan fusion [because there’s guacamole!] philly cheese steak. I’ve obviously never had philly cheese steak, so I have no idea how it compares (probably not at all), but it is really, really tasty.

There is half an avocado’s worth of guacamole with lime juice and salt, sauted onions, 4 slices of the deli meat, and a little bit of FYH cheddar, fried in olive oil and served on some tasty tasty whole grain bread from a local vegetarian cafe/restaurant/whatever (Benevolence Cafe).

black forest cupcakes!

June 20, 2008

Last week Thursday, David let me know that on Friday there was some picnic thing at work that I was supposed to/allowed to attend with him. Since I did actually want to be able to eat SOMEthing there, I immediately started making potato salad and cupcakes to bring. I had some dried cherries, so I decided to go for black forest cupcakes. (The potato salad was just my normal potato salad, which will show up here at some point, but which is similar to Vegan Dad’s–and no I can’t be troubled to find his post with potato salad, so use google or something if you care.) Everything got eaten (the cupcakes had the “has alcohol” bonus to offset the “vegan” penalty).

Anyway, on with the cupcakes!

I mostly followed the recipe from VCTOTW, but I used dried cherries instead of frozen (and added some water to make up for that, as well as cooking them for a bit longer–until they were soft and plump), and I used the hazelnut cupcakes, with 1/3 cup flour subbed with dutch processed cocoa powder.

I used the hazelnut cupcakes because my Oma (who is german and lives in the black forest) makes black forest cake with at least half hazelnut meal instead of flour. I was somewhat unhappy with how the cake part turned out–it was very tasty, but not nearly as dense and rich as I’d like. Inauthentic. This is partially because I think there needs to be more hazelnut meal than the VCTOTW recipe calls for, and partially because Oma uses melted chocolate, not cocoa powder. In the future, I will experiment with more hazelnut meal, and then possibly with melted chocolate. OR I’ll just call Oma and ask her for her recipe (which I used to have, but lost). 🙂

Oh, also, I added 2tbs kirschwasser to the buttercream frosting (in addition to the other liquids, not instead of anything). I liked the way the buttercream came out better with a bit more liquid, and the kirschwasser I got was very, very weak, so the flavor was still subtle. Probably if you’re using real kirschwasser, you should go with 1 tbs and then 1 tbs extra of soy milk or creamer. (Really I used 1tbs and halved the frosting recipe–half the frosting recipe was enough for 20 cupcakes; yes, 20, each batch only made 10 cupcakes for me. Half a frosting recipe would probably cover 24 cupcakes if you’re a bit stingy and actually manage to get all the frosting into the pastry bag.) I also doused the cake part with kirschwasser instead of making the kirsch glaze, because that’s what Oma does. (Since I was bringing them to an Air Force official function, I did not douse them in nearly as much kirschwasser as Oma uses, though. )

Lastly, as you may have guessed, I used kirschwasser, even though the recipe calls for kirsch brandy. Not really sure what the difference is or if there’s even a real difference, but what Oma uses is labeled “kirschwasser”, so I went with it. (Literal translation is “cherry water,” but obviously it is alcoholic.)

agave cupcakes!

May 5, 2008

I made the Simple Vanilla and Agave Nectar Cupcakes with the Super Natural Agave Icing from VCTOTW. I’m not sure how I feel about the icing–it’s more drippy than I like my icing (but to be fair, I did not give it the overnight sit time that is recommended, just an hour). The cupcakes, though. They are very, very good, and were forgiving of my oven being stupid (more so than some of the other cupcakes from VCTOTW).

The cupcakes are, as you can see, a very neat color.

pancakes, and christmas limas

May 4, 2008

The other day, I finally cooked some of my delicious christmas limas. I wish I had bought more than one pound!!! I added a bit of thyme and drizzled with olive oil before serving. They were so good.

Also, this morning turned out to be one of those mornings where I simply forget to eat. So when I realized around 2pm, I decided to make pancakes. I topped them with homemade strawberry/raspberry syrup. (Actually this is not my normal strawberry/raspberry syrup, which uses frozen strawberries and frozen raspberries… I had no frozen raspberries left, so I used some raspberry syrup instead–the kind that one would ordinarily put in coffee drinks). I will post a recipe for that when I remember to measure while I’m cooking. The pancakes are similar to those in VWAV (I think), but really just thrown together as well.

runner cannellini and fennel soup

May 4, 2008

This is very inspired by the dried fava bean and fresh fennel soup from fatfreevegan, but to be fair, anything I’ve done with fennel is. I’ve always been irrationally very afraid of fennel–perhaps my mother made something with fennel that I hated as a child; I don’t remember, but in any case, I’ve always avoided fennel. When Susan posted that recipe, though, I decide to try it. As it turns out, I couldn’t find fava beans at all, so I ended up making a fennel, leek, potato, and tarragon concoction instead.

After I tasted my runner cannellinis from rancho gordo, I decided that they wanted to be paired with fennel, so I bought some fennel. It turned out that I was right, it was very tasty. The only change I’d make is to use some vegetable broth (or vegetable broth powder), but I didn’t have any, so I didn’t.

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scarlet runner beans

April 30, 2008

My new beans from rancho gordo arrived today. I was tempted to cook the christmas limas, but instead decided to try something I’d never eaten, so I cooked the scarlet runners. I cooked them very simply (salt, a bit of olive oil), so I could really see what they tasted like. They were odd. Perhaps a bit bacony (not that I’ve ever tasted bacon, so what do I know)–definitely a bit smokey. Tasty, though. I ate them with simple polenta.

They’re also quite beautiful before cooking. (After cooking, they are just black and very dark burgandy–but they do keep some of their markings.)

I think next time I cook them, I will try some sort of dip or spread, possibly with kalamata olives (just a few–to avoid overwhelming the smokey taste of the beans).

baked eggplant & spinach ziti

April 28, 2008

My at the time very much not vegan ex-boyfriend introduced me to baked ziti. Recently, I’ve been using it as the lazy way of getting the comforting taste of lasagna with only half the effort. The basic recipe is just boil some ziti (or rigatoni, if your store, like mine, has never heard of ziti), mix with your favorite tomato sauce, bake. I almost always include tofu ricotta as well.

Today’s picture is even less glamorous than previous pictures I’ve posted, but hey, it’s baked ziti. What do you expect.

My original recipe involves covering the ziti for most of the cooking time with aluminum foil, and while I would recommend doing so if you have aluminum foil, I certainly wouldn’t go out and buy it just for this purpose. And since this is the only thing I ever used it for, I’ve stopped buying it. This is, of course, more important if you’re using soy cheese which likes to be covered in order to melt properly.

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