“Beef” Stroganoff

Ground Beef Stroganoff
(veganized from Emeril Lagasse, Emeril Live)

1 package Lightlife Smart Ground

1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1/2  large yellow onion, chopped

8 oz sliced white button mushrooms

3 cloves garlic, minced

8-10 oz small elbow macaroni, cooked

1-2  cups veggie beef broth

1/3 cup Tofutti Better than sour cream

Chopped parsley, for garnish

In a large skillet, saute onions in a little water until tender.  Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring until the mushrooms have released their juices, about 2 minutes. heat the oil over medium heat. Add the “beef” and essence (and oil if needed to keep from sticking).  Cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the macaroni, “beef” broth and Better than sour cream.   Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly, 5 to 6 minutes.  

Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the mixture onto large plates. Add parsley and serve immediately.  Serves 4-ish.

Recipe:  Emeril’s Essence

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Piggin’ Out in Dixie: Old South Gumbo

My first attempt at veganizing Piggin’ Out in Dixie. The Old South Gumbo recipe calls for a fat hen, ham hock, oysters and butter. Here’s my modification.

Old South Gumbo

  • 4 cups veggie broth (chick’n is good, but anything will work)
  • 1/3-1/2  cup pacific wakame
  • 8 ounces cubed super-firm tofu
  • 1-2 tablespoons of liquid smoke
  • 1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large can of tomatoes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 cup okra
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • paprika (about 1-2 teaspoons)
  • onion seasoning
  • 4 cups spinach
  • margarine (optional)
  1. Mix liquid smoke, soy sauce and vinegar together for a tofu marinade. Toss in tofu and marinate for at least an hour. Soak wakame in 1 cup of water while the tofu marinates.
  2. Stir fry tofu until brown with marinade. Remove from pan and saute onion in the same pan with oil or water. When translucent, add tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. In a large soup pot bring broth to a boil with celery. Add onion/tomato mixture and season with salt and pepper. Drain seaweed (reserving the water) and add seaweed water to the pot, as well.
  4. Add tofu, okra, paprika,  onion seasoning, flour for thickening (to make it easier, scoop out a cup of broth into a bowl and whisk with the flour and then pour into the pot), and margarine.  Stir in spinach. Add a dash more liquid smoke, if desired.
  5. Serve over steamed rice.

H described it as a good summer soup. It’s very light and refreshing.

I bet some hot sauce would be good. I’ll try that with the leftovers.


Pasta Con Broccoli

So this was my first “meh” recipe from Appetite for Reduction. I’m wondering if I did something wrong. Despite using 1/4 cup of sliced garlic plus 3 cloves, this dish had no garlic flavor. Maybe the organic garlic at Jewel isn’t any good?  The dish wasn’t bad, but it has two ingredients that I hold very close to my heart: broccoli and garlic. It didn’t live up to the high expectations I had for it. I also made the basic baked tempeh for some extra protein, which has even more garlic. It helped to pour the marinade over the pasta.

I signed up for a vegan bake sale to benefit Japan.  I did a test run of a veganized version of an Armagnac cupcake recipe I found online.  These are pretty good, but I don’t think I’m going to make them for the bake sale.

Orange & Armagnac Cocktail Infused Cupcakes


  • 3 teaspoons Ener-g egg replacer
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. Armagnac


  • 4 oz. better than cream cheese
  • 1-3 cups confectioners sugar (I use a lot of sugar in my icing, usually 2 times as much as listed. And that is why my frosting is amazing)
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • 2 tsp. grated orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Place paper baking cups in muffin pan.  Whisk egg replacer with water and combine remaining cupcake ingredients in a medium bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and pale, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Spoon the batter into the cups.

Bake 23 minutes.  Remove pans from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.  Pierce some holes in the tops of the cupcakes with a skewer and pour 1/2 tablespoon Armagnac over each.  Then remove the cupcakes and cool on a rack.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Beat in the confectioners sugar for 1 to 2 minutes, adding enough to make it thick, then beat in the orange extract and zest until smooth and light.  Spread the frosting on the cupcakes.

It made 7 cupcakes… a baker’s half dozen?

Top Chef All Stars – Episode 15

I was very excited for the Top Chef finale this Wednesday. Unfortunately, I had to attend a hearing at a school board meeting that went all night long. I didn’t get home until after midnight and didn’t eat anything for dinner much less a delicious gourmet meal. But this morning I learned it wasn’t the finale, which means one more week of Top Chef meals!

Tonight, before we watched Top Chef On Demand, I made Braised Seitan, Kale & Fava Bean Risotto, a kinder version of Antonia’s winning risotto from episode 12.

Here’s my modified version of Antonia’s recipe. Serves 4.

Braised Seitan

  • 6 ounces seitan, chopped (I used a package of Upton’s Natural’s traditional seitan)
  • 1 cup onions, carrots, celery, rough chop
  • 1 sprig parsley and thyme
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 vine ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 1/2 cup Armagnac
  • 3 cups veggie chick’n stock
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 veggie bouillon cubes


  • 1/2 small onion, brunoise
  • 1 cup Superfino risotto
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 -3 cups of chick’n stock
  • 1 tablespoon earth balance
  • 1 can fava/butter beans
  • 1 cup blanched kale chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • soy Parmesan to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped Marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ciabatta bread crumbs, garnish


1. Heat skillet and large pot.

2. Season seitan with salt and pepper. Dust with flour and sear in skillet until brown.

3. Sauté minepoix (that’s the onions, celery & carrots) in pot. Add setian, paste, tomato, parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, red wine, Armagnac, chick’n stock, and bouillon cube. Simmer for 1 hour.


1. In large sauté, sweat brunoise onions. Add risotto. Toast for 20 minutes on low heat until crispy. Add white wine and reduce.

2. Add 1 cup remaining hot chick’n stock slowly and whisk and beat until creamy and cooked.  Add more stock as needed. I used several cups of chick’n and some veggie stock to get the rice cooked and creamy (remember, risotto must spread!)

3. Finish with margarine, fava beans, rapini leaves and lemon zest, soy parmesean.


1. When plating, ladle risotto in middle of plate, spoon seitan  over and sprinkle with bread crumbs and chopped herbs.

And going back to season 3, I made Hung’s Molten Chocolate Cakes Vanilla Crème Fraîche, Raspberry Coulis for dessert.

The Crème Fraîche did not work for me, so I had to use canned rice whip.  Surprisingly, the cake turned out really well with egg replacer and margarine. It’s very rich, but so delicious!

Top Chef Wednesday – All Stars Episode 13

On Friday, we are going on vacation, which means we need to use up ingredients in the fridge before our trip. I had a container of mushrooms that needed to be eaten, so I did a search for “mushrooms” in Top Chef’s recipe finder and settled on Howie Kleinberg’s Mushroom Risotto. It needed a few adjustments. I used Vegetarian chicken broth, margarine, vegan Parmesan topping, soy milk, and truffle olive oil.

I would just like to point out that my risotto spread when it was put on the plate.

Tonight’s Top Chef episode takes place in the Bahamas, which, by the way, is not a monarchy. The chefs went head to head against the winning chef from their season. Mike (seriously?), Tiffany, and Richard are winners, but Carla didn’t cook her rice and Antonio had problems with veal this week (come on, Top Chef! Stop with the veal!)

The elimination challenge was strange. A fire in the kitchen made everyone start over again. Mike, for the first time I think, won a challenge. Richard was second and the girls were in trouble. And then a terrible tragedy occurred! Carla was sent home!! How can Carla go home before Tiffany?! And why is Tiffany even in the finale? How did Mike win?

Birthday Pop Tarts

Yesterday was my boss’s birthday. He usually doesn’t come into the office on Tuesdays, so I brought in birthday pop tarts today. He loves pop tarts and there are two boxes of brown cinnamon pop tarts on the lunch room table. However, gelatin is one of the ingredients in frosted pop tarts. So, I made a vegan version free of animal products and preservatives found in the boxed kind.  They don’t look pretty, but they did taste good.

The big news in vegan baking: Sticky Fingers won Cupcake Wars last night! Sticky Fingers was my neighborhood bakery when I lived in DC and I miss them so much. They did our wedding cake which was amazing. Doron Petersan rocked and made delicious & hilarious cupcakes. Take that, eggs & dairy!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Tonight I made Gumbo z’Herbes from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen with Tabasco-Daiya Cheddar Biscuits and Gimme Lean sausage.

I veganized the biscuits by using Daiya cheese and adding apple cider vinegar to soymilk to create buttermilk. I also used half shortening and half margarine.

For dessert I made whiskey bread pudding.

This was the first time I’ve made bread pudding. Honestly, I never really liked it. H didn’t like my rendition, but I thought it was pretty good…for bread pudding.  I used egg replacer, soymilk, and margarine as substitutes.

New Orleans Fysh Fry

Continuing with the New Orleans theme, we had Beer Battered Fried Sea Seitan Tacos with Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw, a veganized version of an Emeril Lagasse recipe. It was delicious. A salty, greasy mess, but a perfect ending to a crazy Monday. Here’s the vegan how-to.

Hurricane, take two. I bought a passion fruit juice blend thinking it would be red. It was not; it was light brown. The splash of grenadine turned it reddish. It’s a move in the right direction, but it’s still wrong.

Top Chef Wednesday – All Stars Episode 11

Tonight’s home challenge: veganizing Dale’s winning grilled cheese and spicy tomato soup, which has bacon, butter, cream, ribeye and cheese. Piece of (vegan) cake!

Spicy Tomato Soup

  • 1/8 cup tamari
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 head minus 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 4 cups of unsweetened soymilk
  • 2 ounces of Tabasco sauce (or a generic brand that doesn’t come in a wasteful box)
  • 3 ounces of olive oil
  • 3 28-ounce cans tomatoes

Whisk together tamari, liquid smoke and maple syrup (which can make a delicious marinade for tempeh bacon, but works as the bacon replacement here). In a large pot, add onions, garlic, tamari mixture, soymilk, Tabasco, and olive oil. Cook until onions are translucent then add canned tomatoes. Bring to boil then puree with immersion blender or pour into regular blender.

I don’t mean to brag, but this soup is pretty fricking amazing. I suppose Dale gets some credit for creating the recipe, but I just made it better. (You’re welcome, Dale!)

Grilled Cheez

Butter outside of bread, place a layer of cheese on the bread, add some deli slices, another layer of cheese and top with the other slice of bread. Use a foreman grill, panini press or regular pan to grill the sandwich. Chances are you’ll have toasty bread before you have melted cheese.  If this happens, open the sandwich up, remove deli slices and broil in oven until the cheese melts. Remove from oven and spread the cheese around with a knife (so it will be more likely to stick to the tofurkey). Put the deli slices back on and press the bread together.

I had low expectations for the grilled cheez, because I tasted the cheese before making the sandwich and it was really gross. But after it was melted onto buttery bread and dipped into tomato soup, I almost forgot it wasn’t a real grilled cheese sandwich.

Paula Dean and some deep fryers start off Episode 11. Carla couldn’t handle the pressure despite this being her specialty. Richard fried mayonnaise (gross! but totally something Paula Dean would love – smart). Mike stole Richard’s dish and won after Antonia was eliminated for not plating a second serving.

The elimination round revolved around fish, so I didn’t find it very interesting. Tonight’s soup was in Dale’s honor, because Dale and his big ego are gone.

Outback’s Gingerbread Martini – Veganized

I’ve never been to Outback, but when I was searching for a gingerbread martini recipe a couple of weeks ago, I saw a lot of buzz about the one at Outback.  Apparently, it is fricking amazing.  Alas, it has ice cream, whipped cream and Bailey’s Irish Cream, so I will not be making a trip to Outback to try one.  However, here is my veganized version of the holiday cocktail:

  • 1/2 cup soy vanilla ice cream semi-melted
  • 1 shot of vodka
  • 1 shot of Kahlua
  • 1/2 shot of whiskey
  • 1/2 shot of gingerbread syrup
  • garnish with rice whip and cinnamon (and/or a gingerbread cookie)

I mixed the alcohol and syrup in a shaker and stirred in the ice cream.  Poured it into a martini glass; topped it with rice whip and sprinkled some cinnamon over it.  The verdict: it is fricking amazing!  I can’t wait until tomorrow to have another one.

I used SoyaToo Rice Whip Cream, which is the first time I’ve tried this product.  I’ve had the Soy Whip before and did not like it.  It has a weird aftertaste, but Rice Whip is very light with no aftertaste.  It tastes like whip cream.

To counterbalance the high calorie martini, we had another dinner from Appetite for Reduction: Buffalo Tempeh and Mac & Trees.  It was one of the better cheese sauces I’ve made and it’s low in fat (no margarine in the recipe).  It called for brown rice pasta, so it felt a little lighter.  The tempeh is spicy!  There is half of a cup of hot sauce in the  recipe –  she is not fooling around on this.  The spiciness of the tempeh goes well with the mac and cheez.