Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Almost Fat Free Hash Browns

Breakfast is one of the hardest meals to eat out for vegans. No eggs, bacon or sausage. Plus most places use milk and butter in their pancakes, waffles, bread & etc. We are usually stuck with two options, fruit or hash browns. It is important to ask if they use butter on the hash browns, and if they can leave it out if they do. Most of the time they might look at you funny, but will do it.

Luckily I love potatoes so I am content with a small order hash browns. However, they are not the healthiest thing in the world. They are usually fried or pan-fried in tons of oil. A few years ago I discovered if you use a good non-stick skillet and a bit of cooking spray that you can get them as crispy as restaurants without all the bad fat.

Every kitchen should have a good non-stick skillet, so I highly suggest investing in one. Like I mentioned before, Michael and I moved into his grandparents old house. I use the non-stick skillet that came with house, and for some reason I cannot find the name brand on it. It works great, so just goes to show you sometimes you don't need to spend a lot of money for a quality product.

This recipe makes 2 servings.

Almost Fat Free Hash Browns
2 small russet potato
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooking spray
Non-stick skillet (Must be non-stick)
1/4 cup water

Wash and peal the potatoes.

Grate the potatoes.

Pat dry with a paper towels. Try to get as much liquid out as possible.

Shape into a large, flat patty. I suggest doing this on a plate.

Spray the non-stick skillet cooking spray and heat over medium heat.

Once it is hot, place the potato patty in the skillet. If you used a plate, you can simply flip it over into the pan.

Add the water and cover quickly. Keep covered until the water is evaporated, usually when it stops sizzling.

Uncover and let it cook until it is golden on the bottom.

Carefully, flip the hash brown over.

Let it cook on the other side until golden too.

Season with more salt and pepper, or anything else you like! You can add condiments and make it the main dish. Or, you can serve it as side with some Tofu Scramble and soy bacon. I sautéed some bell peppers and onions, and added a few spoonfuls of salsa.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Potato Soup

Last week I had a bit of a cold so I wanted to make something soothing. And what could be more soothing that a big creamy bowl of potato soup?

This recipe makes 6 servings.

Potato Soup
1 tsp of vegan butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
6 medium potatoes, pealed and cut into small chunks
2 stalks of celery, chopped fine
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cup vegetable broth
2 cups soy milk
4 cups water
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of sage
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat.

Once the butter melts, add the potatoes. Cook until softened slightly. You can add a little water if they stick to the pan too much.

Add the onions and celery. Cook until the onions are translucent and the celery has softened. The potatoes should be softer by now too.

Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more.

Sprinkle in the flour and mix together well. Let the flour cook for a few minutes.

Pour in the vegetable broth, soy milk and water. Mix well.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Take a potato masher and mash up the potatoes, while leaving some chunks for texture. The soup with thicken slightly as you do this.

Add the sage and rosemary sprigs.

Cook for 1-2 hours, until desired thickness is reached.

Remove the sprigs, some of the leaves will have fallen off.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I garnished with parsley.

Creamy, soothing and delicious!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse Wheat Beer: Part 3


Zombie Apocalypse Wheat Beer: Part 3

Finally! Last Saturday we tried our first batch of homebrew. If you haven't yet, check out Part 1and Part 2 to read about the process of making it.

We cranked open a bottle to have with dinner. It is best to pour homebrews into a glass rather than drink out of the bottle. The yeast sediment settles to the bottom and can upset your stomach. Plus, you can enjoy the beer more out of glass. See the color and smell the aroma awhile you leisurely sip your tasty brew. 

It smelled very banana-y like a hefeweizen should, so I was very happy. And, I was even happier when it tasted like a hefeweizen too! A little bit of spice, a little malty, and of course very banana-y. I was very pleased with the outcome. The only minor addition I would make a orange slice on top. 

We have a batch of California IPA in the fermenter now, I hope it comes out as well as this one did. Once we start developing our own recipes or try a cool kit, I will post another homebrew story. Thanks Michael for my awesome Christmas present!  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tortilla Soup

One of the most popular dishes at the restaurant I work at is the Tortilla Soup. Unfortunately, it is made with chicken and chicken broth, so I have never tried it. On Saturday the cooks were making a giant batch of it and it smelled so good, so I decided to make my own version. No chicken obviously and I used vegetable broth. I added more vegetables too. Pretty easy to make and very filling. I used tortilla strips from my work, but you can make your own or use crushed tortilla chips.

This recipe makes 4-6 servings of soup.

Tortilla Soup
1/2 of a red onion
1 large carrot, grated
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
32 oz vegetable broth
2 cups water
14.5 oz can roasted and crushed tomatoes
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp taco seasoning
1/2 tsp cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
Tortilla strips (or crushed tortilla chips)
Cilantro or any other desired toppings

Heat some oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add the onions, bell peppers, and grated carrot. Cook until the onions are golden.

Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and water. Stir well.

Add the can of tomatoes. Stir well.

Add the oregano, taco seasoning, and cumin. Mix in well.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let it cook for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Once it has thicken slightly, add the salt and pepper to taste.

In individual bowls, put a handful of tortilla strips.

Ladle the soup on top.

You can garnish with some cilantro and salsa like I did, or anything you like. Try some avocado, hot sauce, vegan sour cream & etc.

I was so happy to have this steaming hot bowl on such cold day (I thought California was supposed to be warm!).  I ate this a warm tortilla on the side too. Light but really hit the spot.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse Wheat Beer: Part 2

As I stated in Part 1, the next step in my beer making adventure was to bottle the beer after fermentation. The two or so weeks we waited for it ferment we collected as many beer bottles as we could. This meant drinking a beer with dinner almost every night and asking our friends to save theirs for us. When I asked my boss if I could have the empties from work, he gave me the fabulous advice of using Pacifico bottles. He said to soak them in soapy water and the labels will peal right off. And they did! We also sanitized the bottles with the solution provided in the kit before  filling.

When I got back from Oregon I checked the specific gravity and it was perfect. I waited eagerly for Michael to come home so we could bottle it.

Smelled so good!
It smelled just like a hefeweizen the minute he took the lid off. I was so happy all our earlier issues did not ruin it.

However, just as I thought that, I made another mistake. The instructions say siphon the beer into the other fermenter then add corn sugar packet. I add the corn sugar packet first. It foamed up instantly and I realized I did it in the wrong order.

I quickly siphoned it into the other container.

It was still pretty foamy so I figured it was not that big a deal.

Still foamy, phew!
 Next came the very messy part, the actual bottling. The second fermenter as a little spout on it so we just put it on the edge of the table and started filling. The spout sprayed everywhere at first and it took me a few bottles to get the hang of it. Once I got it down, it still took FOREVER to empty the fermenter.

It actually pours better if you hold the bottle farther from the spout.
As I filled, Michael capped the bottles. Our kit came with a nifty capper tool and bottle caps.
He complained that he only got to do the grunt work.

We probably lost about 2 beers due to the spout spraying. We put some towels on the ground underneath the spout to soak up the mess.

In the end we filled 47 normal bottles and 2 large bottles.

Ignore my messy living room...
The beer needs to carbonate in the bottles for 3 weeks. So Part 3 will be coming up soon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Roti Pizza

You can make mini or personal pizzaz on anything you like---tortillas, english muffins, and even slices of bread. I wanted a crunchy, cheesy lunch the other day, but working in a Southwest cafe made me want anything but a tortilla. Luckily I had roti in the fridge and thought I would give them a try. I discussed my failed homemade roti attempts before so I buy pre-made dough now.

I topped mine with tomato sauce, Daiya cheese and cut up tofurky sausage. You can top with whatever pizza toppings you desire. This makes two small pizza, but can be easily multiplied.

Roti Pizza
2 uncooked roti
1/4 cup pasta sauce
1/4 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
1 Tofurky Italian Sausage, cut into slices
Dry parsley and basil

Pre-heat the oven 450 degrees.

Place the roti on a baking sheet, without them touching.

Spread the pasta sauce evenly between the two roti.

Sprinkle the cheese on evenly between the two roti.

Lastly, top each roti with sausage slices.

Bake for 5-10 minuntes, until the cheese is melted. Like I have said before, vegan cheese does not get bubbly, so do not bake it for too long or it will burn.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the dried parsley and basil.

Let it cool a little before you enjoy!

Thin, crispy and light but topped with plenty of cheesy goodness. I have made an Indian pizza before and I think I am going to make a new version on roti soon.