Saturday, January 19, 2013

Taftfoodmasters Seitan Gyro Giveaway!

Seitan Gyro (picture courtesy of (

Who here loves Gyros and misses them since becoming vegan or vegetarian?  I've never had the meat version, but this Vegan Seitan Gyro from Taftfoodmasters is absolutely amazing!  It is perfectly seasoned.  The texture is lovely and there is none of that "wheaty" taste that I can't stand about most seitan.  I am VERY picky when it comes to seitan as long time readers know and I loved this.  

I had the pleasure of meeting the founder/CEO of Taft FoodMasters, Jessica Taft at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival.  Her passion for her products (she also created an delicious Italian Sausage Seitan) is contagious.  20 years ago, in San Francisco, she had a vegan gyro that she loved so much, it inspired her to create her company.  She pours her heart and soul into this product and it shows.  The flavor and texture is spot on.  We sampled the product at the festival and people LOVED it.  She is in the process of attempting to get her products into Whole Foods (please, do there and ask for them.. it's the only way to create a demand ..and they listen to customers.)..    

I am pleased to announce that she is going to giveaway her products to two lucky recipients!  I am going to run this for 10 days and then draw a winner.  

In order to be eligible, please, like them on Facebook and come back and leave a comment.  You can also get an extra entry if you link back to this page.  I will pick two random winners and you will receive a package with with the Seitan Gyro and Italian Sausage... 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fusion Chinese-Korean Daikon and Chickpea Stew

I planned on blogging about my newest breakfast bread recipe today, but I made this stew on a whim and loved it so much I had to come here and share the recipe with you guys. 

Now, this lovely meal never would have come to fruition without The Boyfriend's inspiration and ideas.  You see, he brought home this Braised Chinese Beef and Daikon Stew from a local market that he loved.  He raved and raved about the daikon, how it became so soft and delicious.  I obviously was not going to taste the stew, but I did smell it, and more importantly, felt it up.  I wanted to get as much information about that daikon, because it fascinated me.  I realized that part of the texture and coating was due to the slow cooking of the beef and release of gelatin.  I thought about ways I could create that; even thinking that I could use irish moss or agar, but felt that nothing would come close to the animal product, so I pretty much decided not to bother with substitutions for the texture, never mind the beef flavor.  I'm sure I could get somewhat close with seitan ,but frankly, neither of us are a big fan and I'd rather just create a dish that is inspired by the first dish than attempt a full replacement of a meat stew he loves.  

Fast forward to today.  I had a #10 can of chickpeas which equals 12 cups of cooked chickpeas. ($2.79 at Costco!)  I drained the liquid, which I saved because I PUT IT TO GOOD USE.  It naturally gels, kind of like chicken stock.. and I knew immediately, I would make the stew.  I bought a huge daikon the other day, along with potatoes and carrots.  

I am attempting to show some restraint with the amount of spices I use and get a feel for Korean and Japanese cooking, so this stew is pretty simple and allows the flavors I do use to really shine.  It does call for Gochujang, which can be found at at well stocked Asian markets.  I used the extra spicy, but you don't have to.  If you really can't find it, you can substitute 2 tablespoons miso and 1 tablespoon Sriacha, but the flavor won't be the same. 

This dish came together in 45 minutes.  I was amazed how fast it cooked. 

Fusion Korean-Chinese Daikon and Chickpea Stew
  • 1 tbsp each mustard and toasted sesame oil (you can use all sesame oil)
  • 1 extra large onion, cut into half moons
  • 1 tsp good quality 5 spice powder
  • 2 large carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large potato, cut into large chunks
  • 4 cups daikon, cut into large chunks
  • 10 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 -2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • pinch salt
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 cups chickpea cooking liquid or liquid from the can
  • 4 inch piece Kombu, cut into small pieces (I used scissors to cut it)
  • 2 tbsp Gochujang
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Soy Sauce to taste (start with 2 tbsp and add more. I think I used around 4 tbsp)
  • LOTS of freshly ground black pepper
Chop veggies and heat a large soup pot to medium heat.  Add oil and saute the onions and 5 spice powder for a couple minutes, then add the carrots, potato, daikon, garlic, ginger, jalapeno and salt. 

Add the chickpeas and gochujang

Now, add the chickpea liquid and kombu ( the kombu was not in the pot yet also, if you don't have 3 cups of the liquid, add vegetable broth)

Cover and cook for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently.  When the veggies are tender and the chickpeas have fallen apart, add 1 cup of frozen peas; taste and adjust seasoning and enjoy! 

So, when I originally made the dish, I hadn't added the 5 spice.  I totally forgot that was a main component of the stew he loved.  He mentioned the next time I made it I should add some 5 spice, and I said I'm going to add some now.  He liked the stew before I added it, but LOVED it so much more after.  I admit, it is really fantastic!  I want to eat another bowl right now.  It is totally stick to your ribs, comfort food, but it is VERY good for you and pretty low in calories and fat considering how hearty it is.  The Boyfriend says that this a really good dish for winter and I agree. :-)  

I hope you guys make this stew and serve it to the people you care about! I wish my kids were here to enjoy a bowl with me tonight.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kongnamulguk (Soybean Sprout Soup) and Tofu, Daikon and Creminis

The Boyfriend introduced me to Maanchi's awesome site a while back, so when I saw some lovely bean sprouts at the store yesterday, I pulled out my phone and looked up her recipe for Kongnamulguk and knew exactly what we'd be having for dinner!  I have not eaten a lot of Korean food in my life, but I plan on experimenting a lot more because WOW, did I love this!  

While I do love my cooking, I am getting bored with it.  I tend to lack restraint when it comes to spices and ingredients, so this pushes me out of my comfort zone a bit.  I didn't follow her recipe totally.  She has 3 recipes on her site for this soup and obviously, I wanted a vegan soup with some kick, so I used Gochujang  which imparted an amazing heat and umami .  I also cooked the soup less than her recipe, because we like a lot of texture in what we eat.  HERE is a link to her recipes.  

To round out the meal and add more protein and veggies (next time I'll be adding some bok choy or other green to the soup)  I made a quick stir fry of tofu, cremini mushrooms, scallions and daikon and a pot of brown rice.  

  • 15 oz bag soybean sprouts (or mung bean sprouts)
  • 5 c water
  • 1-2 tbsp Gochujang (less if you don't want it spicy.  You could also add miso) 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Good quality soy sauce to taste (I added around 1 tbsp)
  • 4 cloves garlic (I increased from s)
  • 1 small onion, sliced in half moons (she used 1/2 onion)
  • 1/4 c toasted sesame seeds, pounded with a motor and pestle 
  • Scallions
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil 
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar (I added this, it wasn't in the original recipe) 

Rinse sprouts, cover with water, gochujang, salt, soy sauce, garlic and onion

Cover and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes

Chop scallions and pound the sesame seeds while you're waiting

Cook up your veggies/tofu (I started my brown rice around 15 minutes before I started the soup) ..  I will share the recipe when I make it again and actually measure what I used. I flavored with sesame oil, soy sauce, scallions, white pepper and fresh ginger. 

Now the soup should be finished; taste and adjust seasoning , add the vinegar, sesame oil, scallions and toasted sesame to the bowl for garnish.  

The broth was VERY spicy (I used the hottest gochugang we could find) so we ate it over brown rice with the veggies and tofu mixed it.  It was a fantastic meal!  Thanks Maanchi for sharing your awesome food with us here in cyberspace! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Grocery Shopping Haul, Prices and Daikon Pickles

Even though I am no longer officially spending $3.33 a day on food, I still pay close attention to prices and am a huge lover of Market Basket.  I've been going to the one in Brockton, MA and it is AMAZING!  I can't believe the selection.  I have even found Teff and FRESH TURMERIC there!  I shopped today spent a total of $52.36.  I am shopping for two and we have a very stocked pantry and I'm not saying we won't buy any more food this week, but we could easily eat this and have an extremely healthy diet for just pennies over $3.33 a day!  

But first, I had to go through the fridge and use up odds and ends.  I had a bunch of Kale and leftover Dahl, so I chopped up the raw kale and put it on top of the dahl.  The kale will cook when we re-heat it. Yum! 

I had this sad, lonely Daikon 

and some almost empty Daikon Pickles

so I combined them; added some garlic, hot peppers and carrots and pushed them down in the brine, which was just re-used good quality pickle brine (commercial). 

Of course, the brine started to overflow, so I snacked on the extra.. yum!

If you love pickles like I do, then you will LOVE how well the brine works with the daikon.  I just adore daikon! 

Finally, I took the leftover 20 Minute Lentil White Bean soup and put it in a smaller container.  This will be a perfect lunch and there's enough broth there to cook up a bunch of kale or collards! 

OK, onto the prices:
  • 16 oz Cremini Mushrooms 2.99
  • Garlic  .42
  • 5 lbs yellow onions 2.79
  • 2 lbs limes 2.49
  • 5 lbs carrots 2.49
  • 14 oz sunflower seeds 2.19
  • HUGE HUGE Daikon 2.12
  • 5 lbs potatoes 1.99
  • fresh ginger .96
  • big bunch kale 1.69
  • big bunch collards 1.69
  • 2 cups peeled garlic 1.45
  • habaneros 1.30
  • serrano chilies .15
  • cilantro 1.29
  • 14 oz firm tofu .99
  • eggplant 1.01
  • 2 cucumbers .89
  • red cabbage 2.01
  • 2 bunches scalions 1.38
  • cheese 2.99
  • Old Fashioned Oats 42 oz 3.99
  • dreamfields lower carb spaghetti 1.89
  • raisins 12 oz 1.99
  • 1 lb dried black eyed peas 1.39
  • 1 lb dried green split peas .99
  • 1 lb dried yellow split peas .99
  • corn tortillas .99
Total: $52.36!

I think I got some great deals and I'm excited about the food I'll be cooking in the next week or so.  Fortunately, The Boyfriend won't be on the road, so he can help me eat all of these veggies! 

..... mmmmmm Daikon Pickles! 

and here's a sneak peak of a Mole like sauce I made yesterday....  we are doing a yummy Mexican feast tomorrow.. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

10 Minute Chili made from leftovers.

This may not be an attractive bowl of food, but the taste is sure delicious and it came together in 10 minutes.

Leftover salsa, veggies and beans combined with some dried TVP (if you don't use TVP, feel free to add around 1/4 cup of cooked grains or a couple tbsp uncooked quinoa) cooked up nicely in nicely in 10 minutes.  I also added some canned chipotle for more heat and flavor.

It made a perfect, single size portion.  I topped it with some of my Smoky White Bean Sauce and some commercial habanero sauce.  I love starting my day with protein and veggie filled savory eats that utilize my leftovers!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Cultured Cashew Cheese Aged 2 Months

I posted this picture on Facebook earlier today and was some questions, so I decided to put up a quick post regarding Cultured Cashew Cheese.   We used our homemade sauerkraut brine to culture this and nothing else.  It aged on the counter for 4 days, then we transferred it to the fridge and it's been doing it's magic, culturing for the last two months or so.  2 cups of cashews and 1/2 cup of brine.  Blended and there ya go.  The flavor is intense, sharp and lovely and we are pleased with the experiment.  This is just one nut cheese experiment we are/will be doing, so stay tuned for more!  

For a super simple Cashew Cheese recipe click here: Nutty Goat Cheese

Vegan Blue Cheese: CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE for a bean based Chipolte 'Cheese' Spread

Monday, January 07, 2013

Cheddar-Scallion Cornbread with Vegan and Gluten Free Options

This Cheddar - Scallion Cornbread was sooo good!  I am going to give the original recipe and also, a vegan version which I prefer.   The inspiration for this cornbread came from watching Diners, Drive Ins and Dives where they featured Dotties True Blue Cafe in San Francisco.  The Boyfriend and I were drooling over their Veggie Chili which they served over this amazing Cheddar Scallion Cornbread.   They also served the cornbread fried in butter and topped with jalapeno jelly.  Well, we were in Vermont for the weekend and we hit up the farmer's market and what do you know, we got some amazing pepper jelly, eggs and cheddar, so I knew I had to try making both the chili and the cornbread.  They didn't give recipes, but they did talk about the ingredients, so we wrote them down and I started cooking!

Just a note, I don't think this would work well as a gluten free cornbread in the bread pan.  I haven't had great luck getting vegan and gluten free breads to cook correctly in bread pans, but you could easily put it in a skillet and substitute Bob's All Purpose Baking Mix for the flour, add an extra 1/4 cup of golden flax meal and 1/4 cup more buttermilk or soy yogurt.

Cheddar Scallion Cornbread

  • 1 cup coarse cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour (or Gluten Free Baking Mix)
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika or chipotle powder if you like it spicy
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs or 1/4 cup golden flax meal mixed with 1/3 cup water (see note for gluten free option)
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk or 1 cup soy yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar or 1/2 cup Nutty Cashew Goat Cheese
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together, make a well in the center; mix the we ingredients (the cheese and onions go with the wet ingredients) together and gently whisk until combined.  
  3. Spray a 8 inch bread pan with cooking spray and pour batter into pan, bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. If you are making a gluten free version, bake in a cast iron skillet or pie plate instead and bake for around 30 minutes. 

Chili recipe coming up soon! 

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Another 20 minute Soup & Utilizing Leftovers

This soup came out really yummy, so I thought I'd give a shout out to some of my favorite methods of cooking: cleaning out the fridge and using leftovers.  The Boyfriend works out of town for the week, so I am pretty much cooking for myself, but I will still utilize my  method of having cooked grains/legumes/sauces on hand allow me to create a variety of meals in less than 30 minutes without sacrificing taste.    This morning, I cooked a cup of dried lentils to use in breakfast bread.  I can send half with him, and keep half here for my breakfast.  I used this base recipe, with oats, apples, zucchini and dried cranberries.  I also used less stevia and added some brown sugar since he is not a fan of all stevia sweetened things.  I should have written down the recipe, because it came out super yummy.  Next time I will.  I just throw things together as I bake when I do the clean out the fridge meals. 

Soo... I had around a cup of cooked lentils left.  I also cooked up a pound of white beans to have on hand this week. (check out Facebook to see what I do with them!)

Earlier in the week, I made 2 Quarts of Marinara and I had spinach and mushrooms that needed to be used up, so naturally, my 20 Minute Zesty Lentil Soup came to mind.  I knew I would add white beans as well.  I sauteed the mushrooms in a bit of olive oil, fresh garlic and thyme, then deglazed with some balsamic vinegar.   I put away half of the shrooms for another dish and added around 10 oz of baby spinach to the pan to cook.  Meanwhile, I added around 1 cup of cooked white beans, 2 cups of Marinara, and enough water to cover.  I brought it to a quick boil, threw in around 1 cup of cooked brown rice, the veggies and a squirt of soy sauce and 1/2 cup of my cashew goaty cheese.  I also added around 1/2 tsp of Italian Seasoning, a couple grates fresh nutmeg and lots of freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.  This was super simple and so very tasty.  I hope that you are inspired to put your leftovers to good use!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Simple No Cook Salsa

I love salsa and my cooked recipe is an all time favorite, but The Boyfriend really likes texture and chunk and freshness, so I have created a super easy recipe that is super yummy and takes about 10 minutes to prepare.  I do used canned tomatoes.  We get a #10 can of San Marzano tomatoes from Costco.  I used around 2/3 of it to make Marinara (I'm using the crockpot today.)  

OK, so as many of you know, I like spicy food, so feel free to seed the peppers, use less of them and leave out the Indian Chili Powder.  

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 28 oz can tomatoes, crush with your hands
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp extra hot Indian chili powder (optional)
  • 3 Serrano Chilies, chopped
  • 1 canned chipotle 
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Mix everything together, and allow mixture to sit for an hour; taste and adjust seasonings.