Vegan product of the week: Alnatura Vegetable Tortelloni

I recently spotted these in the whole foods section of dm, so I decided to give them a try. Anyway, I love whole grain pasta.
So I cooked them according to directions, and since I didn’t feel like making a sauce, I covered them in shredded Volcano (my favourite vegan cheese of all time – I like all things hot and spicy) and put them in the microwave (something I usually only do to popcorn) to melt the cheese.
They were not bad. I believe they would actually have been better with a real pasta sauce after all. But they were a nice quick supper. I just think I’ll save the rest of my cheese for toasties. (Pic of the – very ugly – result to follow as soon as I find a way to get it off my moribund mobile!)

[Edit in November: I warned you – they’re pretty ugly. And the lighting is bad as hell.]

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My favourite Beans & Rice

Hey, I dug out a picture for you! This is my favourite Beans and Rice recipe, and it goes like this:
I usually start off by cooking some brown rice (which I love for its nutty flavour). It takes about 40 minutes to cook, so if you take your time chopping vegetables, it will be ready along with everything else.
In the meantime I chop a medium-sized to large yellow onion and a clove of garlic, which I then sauté in some olive oil (add the garlic after a couple minutes; it doesn’t take as long). Then I add a cubed orange bell pepper (orange ones are my favourites; anyway, I love orange food) and sauté everything a bit more. Then I cover everything with veggie broth and add some herbs and spices: salt (of course), a teaspoon of thyme and oregano each, some black pepper, some cayenne pepper to taste, and a dash of tabasco sauce and one of liquid smoke. When I’m in the mood, I’ll also add one pickled chili pepper, chopped to tiny bits (I don’t like them when they’re not chopped really small).
I bring this to a boil and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes, then add a drained can of kidney beans (because I’m too lazy to soak and cook dried beans – also when I decide to make beans and rice, I don’t want to wait until the next day) and turn up the heat again until it’s back to a simmer. As soon as the beans are starting to get mushy and disintegrate, it’s time to check the spices one last time, then serve the beans with the brown rice. Yum!

In your face, Starbucks!

Today I woke up and thought, hey, what I’d really like to have for breakfast is one of those things they have at Starbucks, only a lot better, and vegan. So I made myself some porridge with soymilk, using a spoonful of my grandma’s homemade berry preserves as a sweetener, added a cubed apple, and stirred in an almost equal amount of this very creamy soy vanilla yogurt once it had cooled down. The result is far from pretty but absolutely delicious. Next time I’ll take the time and shred the apple first, though. I bet that will make it even better. (Pic of my own version to follow!)

[Edit in November: It might not be pretty, but it’s yummy!]

2011 Anti-Hangover Stew

Greetings from the depths of a sea of paperwork (and cold remedies)! Although I still can’t take any new pictures and post them, I thought I’d make up for their absence and mine by sharing a recipe I came up with on the first of January (quite unsurprisingly). It’s my 2011 Anti-Hangover Stew, and it does quite a good job at that. (You may thank me the day after Halloween or the next upcoming birthday party.)

1 can (400g / 14 oz) diced tomatoes
1/2 small red onion, diced
2x 1 empty tomato can, filled with water
2 heaped teaspoons broth powder
soya chunks (or soy curls, or TVP), rehydrated
OPTIONAL (BUT VERY YUMMY): SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS!
1 wooden spoon-ful red curry paste (I had an astonishingly mild variety that was rather more sweet than hot – so please feel free to reduce the curry paste and substitute the rest with sweet red pepper flakes)
sichuan pepper, a pinch or two, ground (best spice in the world!)

Sauté the onion in a big pot, using a tiny amount of olive oil, then add everything else, cover and let simmer for about half an hour.
Add a cup of frozen edamame, cover again.
Ten minutes later, add about a pound of your favourite frozen veggies, preferably Asian style mixed vegetables (or whatever else you can find in your freezer).
Let simmer for about 15 minutes more while you’re waiting for that aspirin to kick in (or whatever).
And that’s it. (Pic to follow ASAP!)

Interview with myself pt.2


(image source)

Vegan MoFo Survey!
(copy/pasted from veganmegan.blogspot.com)

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
For tea or coffee: (Alpro) soymilk. For baking: coconut milk.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
For MoFo: some alternative take on cinnamon rolls, seitan Zwiebelrostbraten (more or less a roast with onion gravy), mochi.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
Sriracha hot sauce. Seriously. (I have it on the side and dip my popcorn in.)

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
I once made a banana cake that turned out like a very dense… rubber banana or something. I never used that recipe again.

5. Favorite pickled item?
I don’t really like pickles. But if I have to choose the least offensive one, it’s baby corn.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
Half-filled notebooks, the occasional recipe file in every hidden corner of my hard drive, and heaps and heaps of loose sheets and printouts. So actually that should be: I guess I don’t.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
Everything goes where it belongs. Glass, metal, paper and plastics are going in their respective recycling bins, compostable stuff goes in the compost bin. There’s not much else left.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)?
I do hope my island will have some fruits and veggies growing on it, hopefully including some coconuts. So I’ll bring seitan, edamame, and tea. I don’t think you’ll have to come and save me very soon. (Especially if I can also bring my “desert island books”.)

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
Helping my grandma bake her famous chocolate-filled sponge cake.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
Mango from Amorino.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
Probably my hand-held blender.

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
Salt, actually. I guess I use a lot of salt. But my all-time favourite spice is sichuan pepper. (The taste! The frangrance!)

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
Maybe my pregan GU party cookbook. I used to make that cheese and cherry tomato quiche a lot.
My first vegan cookbook was Vegan Planet, shortly followed by Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengeance.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
I don’t know if it’s technically a jam, but chestnut. Followed by my grandmother’s homemade plum jam.

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
bazu’s Fesenjan.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Smoked tofu.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
“Nachmittagsessen” (in the middle of the afternoon).

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
A stack of vegan cookbooks, my kitchen scales, and a lot of jars and other containers. (My small fridge sits on the floor and serves as a kind of kitchen cupboard / work and storage surface.)

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Pumpkin puree, edamame, broccoli.

20. What’s on your grocery list?
Flour, soymilk, — actually, I haven’t gotten very far.

21. Favorite grocery store?
My local Indian grocery.

22. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.
That sponge cake my grandma used to make. Unfortunately she’s having trouble remembering the recipe.

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa’s because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
Seitan is my motor, I guess. Mihl is the Queen of Bread (among other things).

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
If “accidentally vegan” counts (and I declare it does): (original red) Twizzlers. I’m positively addicted to them (but can’t get them here).

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Uh, I don’t know. Usually, crispy nori snacks is as fancy as it gets.

26. Favorite pumpkin thing to eat?
Pumpkin soup, drizzled with pumpkinseed oil, preferably with some croutons as well.
And then, of course, all the cookie / cake variants.

Tea Time!

vanilla-chai

I’m currently enjoying a cup of Vanilla Chai from The London Tea Company. It comes in pyramid bags, and it says, “Gourmet * Organic * Ethical” on the box (although they don’t provide any further information on that, or if they do, it must be very well hidden). It’s rather intense – even with a lot of soymilk you still get a strong taste of ginger and vanilla (pieces of which you can see inside the pretty mesh pyramids – which I am told are actually made from cornstarch, so they are biodegradable). I personally prefer their herbal infusions (especially the Strawberry Mint one), but a cup of this vanilla chai is very welcome on a coldish autumn evening.

Liebster Blog Award

I just got the Liebster Blog Award from Lauren of Where the Veggies Are! Thank you so much!

“Liebster” is German and means ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but it can also mean ‘favourite’.
The idea behind this award is to bring attention to bloggers who have less than 200 followers and show your support during Vegan Mofo!

The rules of winning this award are as follows:

1. Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!

Doing this, I learned at least two things. It’s really hard to choose favourite blogs, and I don’t have a clue how to find out how many followers a blog has if it doesn’t say so right on top. I know I had to disregard some of my usual favourites, since they have apparently just jumped the 200 mark. If I have unintentionally included someone with a huge following, please feel free to correct me. I’m not web-savvy enough to find out any other way.
Anyway, here we go.

And the Liebster goes to:

These are some amazing blogs participating in Vegan MoFo. Skillful, funny, compassionate, and featuring some really great food photography the likes of which I can only dream about. Keep up the good work, bloggers, and most of all, enjoy yourselves. I know I am. :)