Monday, October 31, 2011

Autumn Apple Crumble (Vegan MoFo Day 31)

There is something magical about apples, raisins and cinnamon combination. To me it represents the end of summer and beginning of autumn in Europe and USA. Apples are cheap, nutritious, healthy, tasty and available almost anywhere. For this Autumn Apple Crumble you can use any apples that you prefer. You can peel them or leave the skins on, either way it will turn out lovely. I love to eat this crumble straight out of the oven, still hot, but it also tastes great cold the next day. You can serve it with a scoop of vanilla vegan ice cream if you like.

Autumn Apple Crumble

3 pounds apples, cored and diced, peeling optional
1 cup raisins
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-2 tsp cinnamon
5-6 Tbs vegan butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Place apples into a large pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, add raisins, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 F. Coat 9x13-inch glass casserole dish or 9-inch round glass baking dish with cooking spray. Put apples and raisins into the dish and toss with lemon juice, cornstarch and 1/3 cup sugar.
In a medium bowl mix flour, oats and the rest of the sugar. Blend in softened vegan butter with your fingertips. The final mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. Start with 5 tablespoons of vegan butter first and add the extra tablespoon if the mixture is too dry or does not stick together well. Blend in chopped walnuts.
Sprinkle the flour and oat crumbs over the apples and raisins. Generously sprinkle with cinnamon and bake 30 minutes, or until topping is slightly brown and apples are tender.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday's dinner (Vegan MoFo Day 30)

When I was volunteering at World Peace Cafe on Monday, one of the things that I prepared was Mango Salsa for their Jamaican veggie burgers. I have never had mango salsa prior to that Monday so I did not know what to expect. I was a bit scared or the jalapeno peppers, but the mango cooled the hot peppers down, and the cilantro gave it a nice touch. I liked it so much that I decided to make some at home tonight. I volunteered again today and when I came home I did not feel like cooking anything complicated. I had some tofu bathing in a lime, soy sauce and sesame oil marinade in the fridge since this morning. I bought the mango salsa ingredients yesterday so I just made the salsa while my tofu flowers were baking. I added lime juice to the salsa for extra zing.
I wore gloves when I was cleaning and chopping the jalapeno pepper and I am glad that I did because shortly after I made the salsa I had to rub my eye and if I had some jalapeno pepper on my hand it would not be a pleasant experience....... I served the baked tofu and salsa with raw avocado slices. What a tasty, flavorful, colorful, fresh and healthy dinner :-) Have you ever made mango salsa? Do you have a favorite recipe?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rosemary dinner (Vegan MoFo Day 29)

I made this dinner entirely from scratch, including the vegan Russian dressing. I roasted some potato wedges with olive oil, rosemary and garlic. And I prepared white bean rosemary puree (I am working on a recipe for that), and vegan Russian dressing from vegan mayo, ketchup, whole grain mustard and pickle relish. It was very good :-)

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Happy Herbivore Cookbook Review (Vegan MoFo Day 28)

Lindsay S. Nixon created a cookbook that is a perfect example that a healthy, low-fat or fat-free vegan food doesn't have to be about eating cardboard and twigs, but rather enjoying delicious, comforting and beautiful meals and desserts.

I was very lucky to win this cookbook through a blog giveaway (on Jayedee's "Life in the lost world" blog), because I was not planning on buying it. I never though that I would EVER bake or sauté anything without the use of oil. I thought it was impossible and I was always worried that cooking and baking without oil would result in a major kitchen fail. That was the reason why I did not want to buy this cookbook, because I was skeptical and scared to cook without added oils and other fats. But shortly after I received the book, all my fears vanished. I am sure that there are other people who make a sour face when they see or hear the words fat-free or low-fat when it comes to a cookbook, but I promise you, you will not be disappointed with The Happy Herbivore Cookbook. I already pre-ordered Lindsay's upcoming cookbook "Everyday Happy Herbivore" .

I have made more than half of the recipes in The Happy Herbivore cookbook and I am slowly cooking and baking my way through it. I know some of the recipes by heart.

This cookbook has it all, from a vegan breakfast omelet "Nomelet" (page 17), autumn inspired Apple Crisp Muffins (page 40) and Pumpkin Bread (page 52), moist Black Bean Brownies (page 209), "meaty" Portobello Steaks (page 148), to comforting Fettuccine Alfredo (page 163) and decadent Strawberry Cupcakes (page 216).

Do you have a hard time getting certain vegan condiments, dressings or fake chicken and beef broth? No problem! You can make your own with The Happy Herbivore. Everything from Nacho Cheese Sauce (page 265), Tofu Ricotta Cheese (page 266), Vegan Mayo and Vegan Sour Cream (page 271), No-Beef Broth (page 279), No-Chicken Broth Powder (page 281) to Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (page 272).

The Happy Herbivore cookbook is full of recipes and great tips and advice for everyone from novice cooks, newbie vegans, to experienced chefs. Each recipe has little icons that suggest something special about the recipe, such as "Kid-friendly", "Omni-Friendly", "Gluten-Free", "Quick" and more.

I love, love, love cookbooks with pictures. The Happy Herbivore is full of colorful pictures :-) I eat with my eyes first and I get more motivated to try a new recipe when I see the picture first. Most cookbooks have few pages of pictures, but this one is full of beautiful pictures, which makes me really happy!

The Happy Herbivore features not only American dishes, but also Indian, Cajun, Ethiopian, Hawaiian, Mexican, and Italian dishes that will make your mouth water. Here are some of my favorite and most frequently made recipes so far.

Portobello Steaks (page 148) are so good that I always double the recipe. I have used them instead of burgers as well. They are "meaty", juicy, flavorful, and very satisfying.

I am very proud of my Czech vegan potato salad and very rarely make other potato salads, with the exception of this Lemon Dill "Potato Salad" (page 189). This salad is fresh, creamy and not too heavy. I love the idea of fresh dill and lemon, this combo gives it extra zing. I usually eat it just by itself, or as a side dish with grilled asparagus or other veggies.

When I first saw this recipe I though: "Yuck! Black beans in brownies?" Well, it turns out that Lindsay is a genius in the kitchen and this recipe is one of her best creations. I made it with oats and with flour and it always turned out nicely. I promise, you would never guess that there are beans in this chocolate brownies. When I first made it I used banana extract instead of vanilla extract and it was amazing, the chocolate and extra banana flavor together were perfect. It does not look thick but it is very filling.

This was one of the first recipes that I made. I saw the recipe picture for Fettuccine Alfredo (page 163) I was so excited to make this I could not wait and had to run into a store for a Silken Tofu that evening. This is soooooooooo good, I could literally bath in this sauce. I cannot even count how many times I made it. One time I even made Bacon Bits (page 137) on top of the pasta. I used crumbled up tempeh instead of TVP and it turned out wonderfully.

Traditional Stuffing (page 195) makes a perfect festive side dish. I served mine with fried seitan and a few times just by itself.

This are seriously the best Oatmeal Cookies (page 205) that I ever had! So moist, chewy and flavorful!

I wish this picture turned out as well as it looked in person, because this Frittata (page 15) was stunning! I used fresh spinach and fresh dill and it was very tasty.

Classic Baked Tofu (page 138) is a super easy and relatively quick way to prepare tasty tofu.
I brush mine with soy sauce so it takes a little longer to prepare, but if I marinade it overnight the flavor improves dramatically. I even add some lime juice or vinegar to the soy sauce for extra flavor experience.

Strawberry Cupcakes (216) are awesome! Sometimes I add some vegan cream cheese to the icing. I made it with raspberries, too. I used this recipe to make my dog's birthday cupcake and I did a guest blog post about it on When I made these cupcakes for the first time, I made a mistake and over-stirred the batter resulting in doughy and dense cupcakes. I learned from that mistake and next time only stirred the batter until just combined (as the recipe directions suggest). The cupcakes came out much better!

Mexican Chorizo (page 147) quickly turned into one of my frequently used recipes because it bursts with flavor. I make it with quinoa and TVP, which both result in amazing taste and texture. The top picture is made with quinoa and served over Cajun Home Fries (page 30) and the bottom picture is made with TVP and served over Tofu Scramble (page 18).
I cook this uncovered so the liquid cooks off faster. I have to admit, I am crazy about the simmering broth for this dish! I make more broth since I always end up eating some of it before I add the quinoa or TVP.

Another dish that I make often is Chickpeas and Dumplings (page 119), but the picture never turns out blog worthy. I make mine with carrots and green peas instead of the suggested mushrooms.

These are all the kitchen tools (plus a knife, pots and pans, baking sheet and whisk) that you need when preparing recipes from The Happy Herbivore. Nothing fancy or expensive, no crazy equipment necessary. This picture is courtesy of Lindsay. This is actually a very authentic picture of tools that Lindsay used in creating this cookbook. How cool is that??!! I bet I could find these in most city kitchens, as well as in beach houses and weekend mountain cottages. I love simplicity in the kitchen and hate buying and storing tools that I only use once or twice a year. This cookbook also uses ingredients that you can easily find almost anywhere and that will not cost you a fortune.
I am so happy that I have this cookbook. Even though I did not totally give up oil and fats, I am cooking more fat-free and low-fat foods now.
By the way, Lindsay is not only a wonderful, talented cook, she is also a kind-hearted, strong, motivated, supportive, encouraging, smart, compassionate and fun girl. I am honored and happy that I became friends with her. She is kind of a life coach for her devoted Herbies. She has brilliant ideas not just about cooking and food, but about organizing your home, minimizing clutter and eliminating negativity from your life and dealing with mean and negative people. Her blog posts are very inspirational and though provoking.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

3 Czech foods that I miss (Vegan MoFo Day 27)

There are many Czech vegan foods and treats that I miss. I try to find American versions and alternatives as much as I can. I veganize many Czech traditional foods, too. Here are some of my favorites that I miss and cannot buy in Atlanta. sadly they cannot be shipped here either, two would not make it without a refrigerator and through the customs and a jar of pickles would break and the cost of shipping would be insane.
I LOVE this Tofu spread (paté)! I could eat this every single day and not get tired of it. The taste is unlike anything made with tofu that I ever tried in the USA. It does not compare to cream cheese spreads or vegan cheeses that I buy here. It has a slightly smokey flavor, but very creamy and delicate texture. It is very smooth and flavorful without any weird tofu aftertaste.
I will try recreating the taste in the future. The ingredients list only says mixture of spices but they don't say which spices. I might contact the company and ask them what they use. They have other flavors, but I like the original the best.
I LOVE red currant but cannot ever find it in Atlanta, Georgia. I had not had any in five years until last year. I miss red currant so at least I buy red currant jam here.
I LOVE Czech pickles! They are the best pickles, better than American dill pickles. The closest thing to Czech pickles that I found here are Polish and German pickles so I buy those.
The combination of bread, tofu spread and pickles in heavenly!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kale salad three ways (Vegan MoFo Day 26)

Here are three dressings that I use for kale salads when I am not making my favorite Garlicky Cheezy Kale. Each dressing will work for 1 bunch kale (about 9-10 leaves).

*Soy & Mustard Dressing

1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbs olive oil
4 Tbs yellow mustard
4 Tbs water

Blend until well combined.

*Lemony Dressing

Juice from 1 lemon
1 Tbs olive oil
salt to taste

Blend until well combined.

*Garlicky Lemon Dressing

Juice from 1 lemon
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste

Blend well until combined.

Remove tough stems from the kale and tear leaves into bite-size pieces. Wash the leaves thoroughly and drain excess water. I used lettuce spinner to get my kale dry which made the dressing stick to each leaf nicely. Pour the dressing over kale leaves. Rub the dressing into kale with your hands, making sure each leaf is covered.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TV Dinner style Mac N' Teese (Vegan MoFo Day 25)

When I got home today I got a surprise package from Chicago Soydairy company. They were so kind and sent me two packs of their yummy Teese Vegan Creamy Cheddar Sauce. Chicago Soydairy also makes my favorite air-puffed vegan marshmallows "Dandies" and a cool cheese alternative Teese Vegan Cheese and Temptation Vegan Ice Cream.
I could not wait to try this Teese Creamy Cheddar Sauce so I made a vegan TV Dinner style Mac and Cheese tonight. I made so much of this stuff that I was able to freeze several portions for later. A perfect vegan TV Dinner that you can just reheat and serve.

TV Dinner style Mac N' Teese

1 pound elbow pasta, uncooked
2 Tbs canola oil
7-oz package store bought tempeh bacon or homemade tempeh bacon (about 15 strips)
1 10-oz Teese Vegan Creamy Cheddar Sauce (use 2 for richer and creamier sauce)
2 cups frozen green peas
salt and black pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute tempeh about 3 minutes per side, until well browned and crispy. Cool just enough to handle and cut into small pieces.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a dash of salt and pasta. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add peas and bring back to a boil. Cook 4 minutes, or until
pasta is tender. Drain, place pasta and peas back into the pot and stir in the Teese Creamy Cheddar Sauce. Heat until Teese gets stretchy, stirring constantly. Add tempeh bacon, season with salt and black pepper and serve warm. You can also add some cooked broccoli and carrots.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Vegan Birthday (Vegan MoFo Day 24)

Today, on my birthday, I was honored to be asked to volunteer in the kitchen of Atlanta's famous vegetarian/vegan "World Peace Cafe". I love this place! Great food, amazing people and peaceful and beautiful atmosphere. And a very interesting fact-this place is run entirely by volunteers. I will blog about World Peace Cafe in the near future. Stay tuned.
I am really grateful for this opportunity. I volunteered with them before, but not entirely in the kitchen. I waited tables, cleaned tables, cleaned the dishes, prepared some simple beverages, served desserts and did a little food prep. Today I was helping prepare food for next week. It was a very interesting experience. I have never prepared food for hundreds of people before, just for a family and friends. I learned a lot today. One of the funny things that I did not know before is that red (orange) lentils change their color with cooking so they are not red anymore, but rather green-brown. I had a great time today and got some new ideas for my own cooking.
If you told me last year that I would be making a gallon of vegan Russian dressing on my birthday I would think you were crazy :-) And here I was making dressings by gallons and other fun things. I was able to experience how a commercial kitchen works and see how much different it is than my home kitchen. I only wish it was not so hot in there, but with the grills and ovens working the whole time and the space being so small it would be impossible to keep the kitchen cool. My volunteering experience gave me a whole new level of appreciation for the hard work that chefs, cooks and waiters do.

Picture source World Peace Cafe (I did not bring my camera to World Peace Cafe today so I had to use a picture from their website)

I had this awesome veggie burger for lunch today. It is the Classic Peace burger that was made with organic oats, sunflower seeds and savory veggies. As a side I had roasted potato wedges. The burger was lovely, great texture, color and taste.

I was so happy when one of my fellow volunteers treated me to a vegan cake. My favorite vegan strawberry cake turned into my birthday cake. I could eat this cake everyday if I had a chance. I shared a piece with my husband at home. Next time I have to buy the whole cake :-)

Yesterday I went to Atlanta Vegan Drinks that were held at Nancy G's Cafe . Chef Khaliq Edwards had prepared a fall-inspired vegan menu that was beautiful, fun and delicious. I wanted to have everything on the menu. Over 50 people showed up. 10% of that evening's proceeds went to Ahimsa House (non-profit organization dedicated to helping the human and animal victims of domestic violence across Georgia reach safety together). We raised about $115 for this great cause :-) Thank you everyone for coming!
I decided to celebrate my birthday that evening even though my birthday is officially today. I had a great time and I was happy to see all my old vegan friends and meet new friends. I missed a few vegan friends that could not make it that evening. The atmosphere was very nice and it did not feel too crowded. Some people were sitting outside on a patio with their dog companions.

For me the highlight of the menu was definitely the Fall-spiced pumpkin creme brulee.
It was my very first creme brulee ever and I was wowed! The spices were just right, not too overpowering and the textures were perfect. The crunchy sugar top with smooth and silky pumpkin tofu pudding made my taste buds very happy.

Fried green tomatoes with "goat cheese," remoulade sauce, candied pecans and micro greens. I got mine without the vegan goat cheese but it was still very good. The remoulade sauce was amazing, I wish I had a big bowl of that to take home :-)

Gumbo with tofu and fresh okra thickened with white bean puree and served with brown rice. This was very good. I have to say it was better than my own gumbo and I usually don't say stuff like this when comparing my own recipes. I have to ask Chef Khaliq what spices did he use because the taste was very different from my own gumbo.

I did not have this beautiful Butternut squash soup topped with toasted edamame seeds, but from what I saw most people had at least one bowl each and loved it. I also did not have Spinach salad with red onions, mandarin oranges, pecans and balsamic reduction and did not get a chance to take a picture of it :-(

A beautiful card from my vegan friends :-)

I wish my Czech and Hungarian family was here to help me celebrate my birthday, but other than that I could not ask fora better birthday.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Czech Sauerkraut Soup aka Zelňačka (Vegan MoFo Day 23)

This is a veganized version of a very popular Czech soup. I used canola oil instead of lard or butter, and I did not add any kielbasa or ham. The meat additions are popular but not always used in this soup. You can add your favorite vegan versions of ham, sausages or kielbasa at the end of cooking. Fry the mock meat before adding it to the soup.

Czech Sauerkraut Soup aka Zelňačka

1-2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbs canola oil
2 cups sauerkraut, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
10 cups water or vegetable broth
salt to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Add sauerkraut, paprika, caraway seeds and water. Bring to boil and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add potatoes, bring back to boil, lower heat to medium and cook 30 minutes, or until potatoes are soft (until you can easily pierce them with fork), stirring occasionally. Season with salt. Serve with rye bread for a more authentic experience.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Some of my favorite blogs and recipes that are on my list to make (Vegan MoFo Day 22)

I love creating recipes, making recipes from vegan cookbooks and veganizing Czech traditional recipes. But I also love making recipes that my fellow bloggers create. I love when someone makes my recipe, I feel honored when someone goes out of their way to make something that I created in my kitchen. That is one of the reasons that I enjoy making recipes from my favorite blogs. Here is a list of my recently bookmarked recipes from some of my favorite blogs. I cannot wait to make these! I am drooling over the keyboard just thinking about it :-) There are more blogs that I love and that I make recipes from and will make more recipes from, but I cannot list everyone here since I would have to create a separate blog just for that. I am sorry if I did not mention your blog. I will try to mention other blogs that I ♥ in my future posts.
Note: All of these pictures are a courtesy of each individual blog that the recipe is from.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chocolate heaven (Vegan MoFo Day 21)

Smooth, creamy rice milk chocolate with whole hazelnuts and dried cranberries-this is heaven! The nutty and crunchy hazelnuts and chewy tart cranberries give the chocolate the perfect touch.

Several weeks ago I won a vegan chocolate Santa from Moo Free Chocolates in their Facebook contest. They sent me Santa and two of their newest chocolate bars.
This British company has won several awards for their rice milk based vegan chocolates. Some of their other products are chocolate advent calendar, chocolate Santa, chocolate pralines, and crunchy banana chip bar. I love the fact that their products are made with fair trade sugar and cocoa and that they use mostly organics ingredients.

The chocolate with caramelized hazelnuts was very good, but not as good as the one with whole hazelnuts and cranberries. The caramelized hazelnuts were sprinkled on the top of the chocolate rather than blended inside the chocolate bar. I did not detect the caramel in the crushed up hazelnuts, or any unique caramelized flavor, but I still enjoyed this bar.

If you live in the USA you can order their chocolate via Vegan Essentials online store.

It is never too early to eat chocolate Santa.................... he was quite tasty!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

GUMBO (Vegan MoFo Day 20)


1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use canola in this recipe)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 cup celery, chopped

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in juice

3 cups fresh or frozen okra, sliced

1 cup frozen corn (optional)

4 cups vegetable broth

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp hot sauce (Tabasco) or more to taste

1 1/2 tsp filé powder (gumbo filé- Sassafrass leaves )

salt and black pepper to taste

To prepare the roux, heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add flour while stirring constantly until oil and flour are well mixed. Cook the roux for a few minutes, until it turns golden brown color, stirring constantly. Add onion, celery and bell pepper, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in all ingredients besides the file powder and hot sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add hot sauce and season with salt and black pepper. Remove the pot from the stove. Sprinkle with filé powder , cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Stir and serve over rice.

Important note about filé powder. You do not have to use it in this recipe, but it gives the gumbo more authentic Louisiana flavor and it thickens it up nicely.

Remember that filé powder should never be added to a pot of gumbo while it is still cooking, but rather at the end when the gumbo is removed from the stove. Otherwise you will get some strange and stringy texture in your gumbo.

If you don't have fresh celery, onion and green bell pepper, you can buy them frozen. Most stores sell this frozen "Trinity" (celery, onion and bell peppers) which is the base for most Louisiana cooking.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

White Bean Cutlets (Vegan MoFo Day 19)

These white bean cutlets make a nice steak, burger or a sandwich "meat" substitute. The recipe is very easy and versatile. I tried adding different ingredients and spices with a great success. The original recipe is soy free which is great news for those who do not like or tolerate soy and processed soy meat alternatives. I like eating them hot with mashed potatoes and gravy (or french fries and gravy), or cold the next day in my sandwiches. They hold together nicely without the use of eggs. I found this recipe in "The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions" by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Czech style dinner (Vegan MoFo Day 18)

Czechs are big on lunch. Lunch is usually the main meal of the day. Lunch is a big family gathering and a big deal during the weekends. During the work week, most Czechs eat warm and filling lunch and for dinner they have leftovers, sandwiches or quick and easy to prepare meals. One of the most common dinners are open-faced sandwiches or boiled sausages (bun-less hotdogs) aka párky. The way we eat hotdogs might be a bit strange to most Americans. We boil them or steam them and serve them on a plate with mustard, ketchup and sometimes horseradish sauce. We serve that with fresh bread on the side. Then we simply dip the hotdogs in the condiments. Sometimes if we feel "fancy" we use silverware.......
This is a dinner that takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. I still follow this Czech tradition, but I use vegan hotdogs.

I even use my vegan hotdogs to make sausage and potato goulash aka"buřtguláš".

I usually buy Lightlife Smart Dogs because they taste good, they are easy and quick to prepare and they are relatively cheap. My heating method is a little different than suggested on the packaging, but I found the hotdogs to have the best taste and to reach the perfect temperature this way. I put a few in a medium size sauce pan with just enough water to cover them all. Then I bring it to boil, lower the heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes until the hotdogs are cooked and warm. If I don't feel like doing all this, I bring some water to a boil in an electric hot water kettle, pour that over some hotdogs and cover for 3 minutes. This method works just fine. The only thing I am not thrilled about is the softness of these hot dogs, I wish that they were a little bit firmer.