Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vegan Cheese Sauce on Steamed Broccoli Florets

I wanted to have some cheese sauce on my broccoli florets but I didn't have any cheddar cheese on hand. However, I did have nutritional yeast, annatto powder and soy milk on hand, so I made a "cheez" sauce out of that.
Annatto is a natural coloring agent derived from annatto seeds in the achiote trees. When used as a coloring agent, the powder gives off a yellow to orange tint.
I added mustard for an extra kick in flavor, to imitate the zesty taste of cheddar cheese.

Vegan Cheez Sauce
5 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp flour
1 cup low-fat unsweetened soy milk/unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 tsp annatto powder
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil on medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 3 minutes to create a roux. Stir in half the cup of milk and whisk until smooth; whisk in the remainder. Add in the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickens, then season to taste. Done!

I served mine over steamed broccoli florets and baby potatoes, served with some veggie chicken patties.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Creamy Spaghetti of Lobster and Breaded Veal Scallopini

My family flipping loves shellfish, especially lobsters and since the lobsters were on sale for 7.99/lb, I went and bought two for merely 50 bucks. Instead of boiling the dears alive (ahaha, gotta love my vegetarianism!), I gave them a quick death by piercing a knife swiftly into their head and between their eyes. I placed the lobsters in a pot with minimal boiling, salted water and steamed them for around 15 minutes. When cool enough to touch, I cracked them open, took out all the succulent meat, cut them into to chunks and set aside for the sauce. For extra lobster richness and flavor, I also scooped out the brains and reserved them for the sauce (sounds gross, I know, but it is soooo worth it!).
I made a simple béchamel sauce (that is actually vegan so that I could later use in my own pasta dish) and reserved it.While I boiled my spaghetti noodles (which were basil and tomato flavored), I sauteed some garlic with olive oil and the brains in a frying pan until aromatic and added in a splash of white wine, cooking it down as I added in the lobster meat. Season lightly with salt and pepper before spooning in the bechamel sauce, letting all the flavors mingle and simmer on low heat. As soon as the pasta was al dente, I scooped the pasta into the sauce and mixed it together with a ladle of the pasta water, which helps the sauce adhere to the noodles. Stir in some freshly chopped flat-head parsley (aka Italian parsley) and serve hot.
I served the spaghetti of lobster alongside breaded veal scallopini, topped with brussel sprouts that were cooked in a balsamic vinegar reduction. It's a very low-in-fat meal since the sauce is made with low-fat soy milk and olive oil rather than whole milk and butter. The breaded veal were fried lightly in grapeseed oil, so the fat content there is also low. Nutritious and delicious!!


Vegan Béchamel Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 cup low-fat unsweetened soy milk/unsweetened almond milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil on medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 3 minutes to create a roux. Stir in half the cup of milk and whisk until smooth; whisk in the remainder. Leave to simmer until thickens, then season to taste.

For my own veggie dinner, I had breaded eggplant rounds (I LOVE EGGPLANT) and a baked tofu and eggplant spaghetti with the vegan béchamel sauce. The baked tofu is a recipe that I tried out by The Vegan Zombie, and he has got me hooked. I've always disliked cooking with tofu but this baked tofu recipe is absolutely something I will make again.


To wash it all down, my brother made us a refreshing, non-alcoholic beverage that is to DIE for! It's called Targa 911 and it is soooo goood!

1 1/2 oz. orange juice
1 1/2 oz. passion-fruit juice
3/4 oz. pineapple juice
3/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. non-alcoholic grenadine
1/2 cup ice

Stir all ingredients together in a cup or use a shaker. SO GOOD.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vegan Quesidllas

This is another Vegan Zombie Recipe (adaption). Fresh, healthy, and delicious!
Watch the recipe video here

I added bell peppers and replaced the tofu for fake chicken burgers in mine.

Vegan cheese!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Vegan: Broccoli and Spinach Stuffed Pizza

I follow a vegan cook on Youtube called The Vegan Zombie and he had a recipe for stuffed pizza that I could not resist trying out. Since vegans do not eat/use any animal by products like cheese, milk, honey and the such, I was very excited to find that his pizza still contained cheese; vegan cheese. The product is called Daiya, a non-diary, cheese-flavored creation that melts and stretches just as real cheese would. The ingredients for the v-cheese included tapioca flour, coconut and safflower oil, pea protein and flavorings that made it taste like mozzarella/cheddar/or pepper jack. And the awesome part is, there is absolutely no cholesterol. I would justify it as a guilty pleasure. 
I picked up a bag at the Canadian Superstore for just $5 bucks and there was plenty left over after my pizza. The taste of it before cooking was alright, not great but after it was melted down, I could eat the gooey goodness forever!
The pizza was loaded with spinach, broccoli, garlic and onions on top of my homemade pizza sauce, covered with Daiya and covered with my whole wheat pizza crust. Brushed with extra pizza sauce and baked. YUMMMM!

Visit for more information on Daiya.
Visit The Vegan Zombie video for the recipe.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vegetarian Shepard's Pie


Yves' Original Veggie Ground is one of my favorite vegetarian protein alternatives. I use it in everything that calls for ground beef and it works.
I used this deliciousness in a yummy vegetarian Shepard's Pie, loaded with some simple vegetables and topped with Parmesan mashed potatoes. The recipe I included below can easily be made vegan with a few adjustments. Mmm, mmm, good!

Potato Topping
3 large russet potatoes or creamer potatoes, peeled, cleaned and cut into chunks
2 tsp salt

1 tbsp butter or olive oil
2 egg yolks (can be excluded for vegans, just add around 2 more tbsps of milk)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
5 tbsp milk or unsweetened diary-free milk (soy, almond, oat, etc.)

Place potato chunks into a pot and fill with enough water to submerge potatoes. Add in salt. Cook uncovered on high heat until potatoes are cooked and can be easily mashed against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Drain and reserve potato water if you would like to use it instead of veggie broth for the filling.
Mash while still hot until smooth, and stir in the remaining ingredients.

Mince Filling
1 tbsp olive oil
half an onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 packages of Yves Original Veggie Ground*
1/2 can of corn, drained**
2 carrots, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas

1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 cup veggie broth or reserved potato water
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add in garlic and onion, cooking until aromatic. Add in the veggie ground and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring to break up the chunks. Add in the veggies and stir to incorporate.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, cornstarch and veggie broth until combined. Stir into the mince filling and simmer on medium heat until it thickens slightly. Stir in thyme, rosemary and season to with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Celsius.
In a casserole dish, press mince filling into the bottom of the dish and gently scoop and spread the potatoes on top. Sprinkle with 5 tbsp of Parmesan cheese (or bread crumbs) and fork the topping in criss-cross patterns.
Bake until topping turns golden brown and crispy.

*For anyone who do not have Yves or vegetarian ground where you live, 4 cups of crumbled extra firm tofu can be used as a substitute. Since tofu is bland, make sure to pat the tofu dry and season lightly after you crumble it (1 tsp paprika powder, 2 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp water).

**For convenience, the vegetables in the filling can be substituted for frozen or canned mixed vegetables.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hollow Bread- "Banh Tieu"

This deep-fried bread is a common snack in Vietnam, usually eaten with steamed glutinous rice cakes. I made a few batches for a ceremony at my local temple, and in less than 1 hour, they were all gone. I am proud. :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Poached Egg Bites

I was hungry...and I did not feel like cooking up anything fancy. I had homemade bread in my fridge, free-range eggs and sun-dried tomato paste. In a desperate attempt to throw something together for a late night snack, I toasted thick slices of the bread, poached some eggs, and whipped up a simple sweet n tangy mayo spread. THE SPREAD WAS DIVINE. And it is so simple, it's ridiculous! Definitely making a jar of this for future sandwich usage.

Sweet n' Tangy Mayo Spread

 ¼ cup Canola Oil Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Japanese Mayo (Kewpie Mayonnaise)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp stone ground mustard
1 tsp ground black pepper
Whisk all ingredients together. Done.



Look at that yolk!