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Kimchi tofu scramble

“Kimchi is supposed to be one of the hot foods of 2013,” one of my roommates told me as I made a kimchi scramble the other morning.

That’s right: I have a couple of roommates now, one of the many Big Life Changes (BLCs) of 2012. I resisted, but ultimately the allure of cheaper rent and the chance to live in a cute little house instead of a soulless modern apartment building won me over. Plus, living on your own is a little lonely — I guess that’s another BLC: David (my boyfriend of 5 years) and I split up over the summer.

New year, new place, new start.

For the very last brunch of the old year, Dawn, Madeline and I met up at Portage Bay Cafe in South Lake Union. (The original plan was Veggie Grill, but they were closed for the holiday.)

Dawn got an awesome vegan hash (with not quite as much grilled tofu as they should have given her) and I got an amazing kimchi tofu scramble, which I sorta replicated for my first homemade brunch of 2013. You can really use anything in whatever proportions you like (it’s just kinda an idea for y’all), though I thought this tasted pretty good.

Most kimchi is made with fish or shrimp, so make sure you’re buying one that’s actually vegan.

Kimchi scramble

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3.5 oz mushrooms, chopped if they’re big (I used brown beech — Portage Bay Cafe used shiitake)
  • 1 package firm tofu
  • a few shakes of turmeric
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 2 cups kimchee
  • oil to saute

Instructions:

  1. Saute garlic and mushrooms for a few minutes until garlic is browned and mushrooms start to soften.
  2. Add tofu, turmeric, and soy sauce and saute a few minutes more.
  3. Add the kimchi and cook until most of the moisture disappears.

Serve with hot sauce!


Tempeh bacon from Vegan with a Vengeance

I was at Sidecar a while back for a bake sale, and asked Bethany which vegan products she was loving at the moment.

Her answer? Smart bacon and Wayfare cheddar-style spread on toast. Stick the toast in the toaster oven with the bacon, spread the spread on the toast, and top with the bacon.

I bought a package of each and some bread, and ate this for the week. Delicious. The tang of the cheddar contrasted with the bacon’s sharp saltiness and the crunch of caramelized sugars in the toast.

However, Smart Bacon really, really frustrates me — the pieces are difficult to pull apart, and one just doesn’t need that kind of aggravation in the morning.

So, I took a stab at the tempeh bacon from Vegan with a Vengeance (p. 23) — I honestly haven’t cooked much from VWAV, even though it was one of the first vegan cookbooks I owned. I think my mother gave it to me — thanks, Mom!

Isa’s tempeh bacon is really easy to make with ingredients you mostly have on hand, and a fabulous way to work on using up extra tomato paste, which deserves to be a Jerry Seinfeld joke: “What’s the deal with tomato paste? Recipes never call for more than a tablespoon, but the smallest size you can buy is 8 ounces!”

(The solution is to freeze leftover tomato paste. Whatever.)

Anyhow, I ate my tempeh bacon on toast with Tofutti, since Madison Market seems to no longer be carrying most types of Wayfare spread (boooooo) and Sidecar is a trek.

I think I’d balance out the tempeh bacon’s saltiness in the future by serving it with French Toast and maple syrup — it’s not quite as good as Smart Bacon as a toast topper, but still tasty.

Latin American-themed vegan brunch

Erika’s cilantro wheat tortillas, Nicaraguan-style rice and re-fried black beans

Rice, bell pepper mix (frozen or fresh), onion and garlic, boiled on the stove.

Mary’s signature salsa salad

Black beans, corn, chopped cherry tomatoes, diced onions, jalapenos, cilantro and avocado.

Fresh-squeezed grapefruit mimosas

My (well, Jen’s) tamale pancakes

Recipe from That Pain in the Ass Vegan — delicious!

Put it all together, and…

Two happy, blurry, over-exposed, hungry ladies

Tofu scramble in a pocket: tofushky

Tofu scrambles are also one of the best foods on the planet: a filling protein-packed breakfast.

I love tofu scrambles, but can’t really make them at work to eat at my desk, my weekday breakfast eating spot. Tofu scrambles in a pocket — tofu piroshky: tofushky — are a solution; Amy’s makes a good frozen version, but these get expensive.

So, I make my own by placing a tofu scramble in some dough and baking it. I’ve included a simple tofu scramble recipe, but you can use your favorite, or even take your tofu scramble to the next level.

Together, they are unstoppable. A vegan hot pocket. A squishy, savory hand pie. A soy-full bread roll.

Simply:

1) roll out the dough

2) place filling (your scramble) on dough

3) carefully pinch the edges shut.

A note on tofu: I like Small Planet’s organic firm tofu because it is non-GMO (I guess, technically, all organic tofu is non-GMO), compares itself to beer (“The Microbrew of Tofu”), is locally-made (Vashon), and, unlike some firm tofus (I’m looking at you, Whole Foods brand!), is actually quite firm, even when unpressed.

Tofushky

Ingredients:

Bread (from Cooks.com):

  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp  sugar
  • 3/4 c. warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp EnerG egg replacer mixed with 2 tbs water
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour

Simple scramble:

  • 12 oz firm tofu
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • handful of sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbs tamari
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • red pepper flakes and black pepper, to taste
  • other herbs and spices, fresh or dried, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in water and let sit in a large bowl for a few minutes until foamy; add egg replacer, salt and oil.
  2. Beat in flour a 1/2 cup at a time until you can no longer beat it in, then knead in the remainder of the flour (add more if needed) to form a stiff dough.
  3. Knead for 10 minutes on a floured surface.
  4. Let dough rise in greased bowl until doubled.
  5. While dough rises, make your scramble. Saute onion until softened, then add mushrooms and bell pepper and cook until mushrooms have released their moisture. Add Tofu, tamari and spices, and saute for 5 minutes or so.
  6. Break dough into 8 pieces. Flatten each piece, and roll it out as flat as you can with a rolling pin. Place 1/8 of the tofu scramble mixture in the center of the dough, then carefully pinch the edges. I find it helpful to pinch the center together, then pinch from the counter to the middle on both sides. Some filling will spill out, but try to minimize this.
  7. Place tofushky on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until dough turns golden; bake a few minutes longer if you are planning on eating all in one sitting. If you plan on taking them to work, take them out of the oven at 10-12 minutes, then microwave for 30 seconds and place in the toaster oven for a few minutes to reheat.

Apple cinnamon baked oatmeal

I love eating oatmeal for breakfast, and it wasn’t until a recent snow day that I thought to prepare it in the oven instead of the microwave.

Using recipes from Cooking Light and Super Natural Every Day as inspiration, I came up with a vegan version of baked oatmeal that utilizes the local produce Washingtonians have available in winter: apples.

Baked oatmeal is destined to become a weekend staple around these parts. The chewy texture and sweet, nutty flavor of the grains is akin to a healthier fresh-baked oatmeal cookie, and it comes together quickly — sip coffee, catch up on blogs, or do the Sunday crossword puzzle while it bakes.

It also reheats well, so you can munch on leftovers Monday morning while your coworkers enviously slurp the fake-maple instant stuff.

Apple cinnamon baked oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • salt, to taste (1/4 – 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 cups vanilla soy milk or other vanilla nut milk
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 tbs ground flax, mixed in 3 tbs warm water
  • Cooking spray

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine oats, sugar, apple, cinnamon, walnuts, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add soymilk and oil; stir to combine.
  4. Stir in flax mixture.
  5. Pour into a greased 8″ x 8″ pan. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until mixture is set.

Vegan brunch: part deux

Mary, Erika and I got together again on a wintry Seattle Saturday for vegan baked goods and Bloody Mary’s.

The spicy garlic vodka Bloody Mary made a return — Mary knows how to garnish her namesake drink: cornichons, celery, and jalapeño-stuffed olives.

I whipped up a batch of the blueberry biscuit cobbler from Vegan Pie in the Sky – what spectacular contrast between the purple berries and the golden cornmeal: Husky colors! Lemon perks up this traditional dish, and adds a touch of summer, which was needed: it started snowing not long after Mary and I drove over to Erika’s.

Erika made a veganized version of Macrina Bakery’s Squash Harvest Loaf; she used applesauce for the egg and soy yogurt and apple cider vinegar for the buttermilk. It’s chock-full of nuts, seeds and cinnamony goodness, and was almost pudding-like fresh out of the oven. Ah-mazing. Erika even roasted her own pumpkin.

This is just plain coffee, spruced up with warm, foamed almond milk and cinnamon — even the ordinary can be pretty.

Yum.

A (vegan) weekend brunch

The best week ever finished with the best brunch ever.

I’ll get to the brunch in a bit, obviously (this is a food blog, is it not?), but first let me brag about my week.

  • On Sunday, I had another delicious brunch (with probably the best hashbrowns in recent memory) at Highline with the lovely Dawn of Vegan Moxie.
  • On Monday night, my trivia team (operating under the moniker Sgt. Pepper Spray Your Face Club Band) finally took 1st place in trivia at Highline. One whole round was devoted to beer, so the competition didn’t stand a chance.
  • On Tuesday night, the LexBlog bowling team won its first game. I bowled 125 the first round, and then a strike followed by five consecutive spares in the second gave me a grand total of 141, one of my best games ever (and I was on a bowling team with my mom in high school [nerd], so…)
  • On Wednesday night, I finally saw my favorite. band. ever. <3 the renovated Neptune.
  • On Thursday night, I rediscovered an old hobby and crafted something that I’m proud of for my mom for Christmas — be excited, Mom.
  • On Friday, I made my triumphant return to MCDM happy hours and got to chat with some of the most awesome people in Seattle. I also learned how to play game-that-shall-remain-unnamed from one of my favorite coworkers, who, despite working at the same small company, I don’t get to hang out with all that often.

So, this brings us to Saturday and brunch.

I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow over a few drinks watching the Huskies dominate WSU last weekend, Erika and Mary and I decided to get together for food and Bloody Mary’s, along with Erika’s coworker Karen.

Erika lives on one of the upper floors of a high-rise in Belltown with a spectacular view.

Mary made super-spicy Bloody Mary’s, garnished with mini-pickles, celery, and jalapeño-stuffed olives.

Erika made poached eggs on toasted sourdough bread with a tomato/basil/garlic/kalamata bruschetta sauce; she originally intended to add jalapeños, but they were delicious without. You can’t really tell from this picture, but she substituted the poached egg with a slice of boiled potato with a sweet potato yolk for me. Too cute.

Karen (who is big in Taiwan) made fluffy pumpkin pancakes with a homemade apple syrup/sauce — delicious (recipe is below). Karen is vegetarian, but doesn’t buy eggs very often (they go bad faster than she can eat them), so she tries to bake without them.

I made a vegan quiche: spinach and kale with bac’un bits. It would have been better with chopped jalapeño (learning from Mary and Erika), but was pretty tasty.

To be repeated monthly, I hope.

Karen’s pumpkin pancakes with apple sauce

Pancakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine (optional)
  1. Pancakes: stir dry ingredients together. Mix in wet ingredients. Cook in a pan with a little oil — if you don’t know how to cook pancakes, I don’t really know what to say to you.
  2. Sauce: Combine solids. Pour in liquids. Heat mixture and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in vegan margarine, if using. For a more syrupy sauce, use less cornstarch.

Spinach, kale and bac’un quiche

adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14 oz) package firm tofu
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • a few dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • salt, to taste (1 tsp or so?)
  • 6 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch (5 leaves) kale, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • olive oil, for sauteing
  • bac’uns (a tbs or two)
  • single crust (store-bought or homemade)
  • optional: drizzle of the Green Goddess dressing from Appetite for Reduction made with basil instead of parsley.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine tofu, lemon, vinegar, turmeric, nutritional yeast, Worcestershire sauce and salt until well-blended.
  3. Saute onions and garlic until brown; add spinach and kale and saute until completely cooked. Remove from heat and stir in tofu mix. Add salt and pepper if needed. Spoon into pie crust — per above, I topped mine with a drizzle of the Green Goddess dressing from Appetite for Reduction made with basil instead of parsley, because I don’t like parsley.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Pumpkin walnut chocolate chip vegan waffles

“Waffles are like pancakes with syrup traps” – Mitch Hedberg

I don’t really know what to write about these waffles except that they make me want to buy a waffle maker instead of just borrowing Angelo’s.

I could tell you that pumpkin is the quintessential flavor of fall. But you already know that.

I could say that anything Isa whisks up is magic. But you already know that.

I could proclaim that everything is better with walnuts and chocolate chips. But you already know that.

I could reiterate Mitch’s words above and say that waffles are the perfect vehicle for maple syrup, nature’s most perfect sweetener, as their compartments allow for ideal syrup pooling. But you already know that.

So, persuade a friend, neighbor, coworker, someone to loan you a waffle iron if it’s not in your kitchen arsenal, get your hands on a can of pumpkin (throw a few punches if you need to), and set off some autumnal brunch fireworks.

The recipe is Isa’s, halved — I added 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, but there really is no need to modify it.

Because you will have pumpkin left over if you halve the recipe, might I suggest that you make:

Fronch Toast

“I went to a restaurant that serves “breakfast at any time”. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.” – Steven Wright

Ah, lazy Sunday.

That time between waking up and hitting the farmer’s market? It’s called brunch.

I baked bread yesterday and was craving thick-cut French toast. Eggs are a key in regular pain perdu (probably why the Brits call it “eggy bread”), but vegans need to get clever.

Vegan with a Vengeance has a recipe for “Fronch” toast with garbanzo bean flour instead of egg. If you don’t have a copy of VWAV, a) why not? and b) Isa posted the recipe on the PPK.

There’s also a really tasty orange ginger pumpkin French toast recipe in Blissful Bites, but I didn’t have the ingredients on hand this morning.

Serve with tempeh bacon (I’m a huge fan of Turtle Island Foods’ smokey maple bacon tempeh) and Super Troopers-like quantities of maple syrup.

Coconut zucchini bread

It all started with a discussion of dung.

In September, the Woodland Park Zoo sells the scat– zoo doo–  that its animals produce throughout the year. This factoid, of course, was too bizarre not to share in the office chatroom.

Kelly mentioned that her neighbor used zoo doo in his garden. And that her parents might be able to use it in their garden. And that their garden had produced more vegetables than they could eat.

I said I knew someone who could take those vegetables off of her parents’ hands.

The next morning, a zucchini the size of my cat (the little guy, not the grumpy old woman) mysteriously appeared on my desk. How could I ever eat such a behemoth in its entirety?

With David departing for a family road trip, a ceramics class potluck, friends coming over to watch the Emmys and my always-hungry coworkers, zucchini bread seemed like an ideal solution.

But with a twist.

The coconut oil, coconut palm sugar and shredded coconut in my pantry transformed standard zucchini bread into a magical fusion between simple Americana and a tropical breeze. When the batter proved too dry, a small can of coconut milk pulled through to create a moist, not-too-sweet quick bread.

And yeah, Kelly, the zucchini yielded 6 loaves. There’s one on your desk.

Coconut Zucchini Bread
makes 2 loaves

  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 cups palm sugar (or one cup granulated sugar and one cup palm sugar)
  • 1 (5.5) oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 9″x5″ loaf pans.
  2. Combine zucchini, sugar, coconut milk, applesauce, coconut oil, vanilla, and mashed bananas in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine flours, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined; stir in walnuts, currants and shredded coconut.
  5. Pour into greased pans; bake for 50-55 minutes.
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