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Vegan Gourmand’s Baked Vegan “Corned Beef”

Reuben Sandwich1

Image above: Reuben Sandwich made with this Vegan “Corned Beef” recipe.

 

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Here is my go to Corned Beef recipe. Enjoy!!

Dry Ingredients

1 ¼ cup wheat gluten

1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp red pepper (optional)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice

Wet Ingredients

1 cup cold water

½ cup kidney beans, mashed

1 1/2 tsp coarse ground mustard

2 Tbs vegetable oil

1 tsp ginger root, very finely minced

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 Tbs brown sugar

1 Tbs tomato paste

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients, wheat gluten through the allspice.

Dry

3. In a medium bowl, mix together remaining wet ingredients.

Wet

4. Combine the wet and dry mixtures together until well-blended, knead the mixture for few minutes to condition the gluten.

Dry & wet Combi

Seitan Ball

5. Stretch dough out from the ball then shape dough into a flat square like a slab of corned beef and wrap tightly in aluminum foil, folding the ends and corners to seal.

Seitan Wrap1

Seitan Wrap2

Seitan Wrap3

Seitan Wrap4

6. Bake for 35 minutes on a cookie sheet then turn over and bake an additional 40 min.

Seitab Cooked

7. Let cool fully; slice thin and serve. I use a meat slicer to get it thin and a consistent thickness.

Seitan Sliced

Servings: 4

The way I enjoy this the most is in a Reuben sandwich with Field Roast’s Vegan Chao Cheese, Vegan Thousand Island Dressing (See recipe below) and of course Sauerkraut all on good Rye bread. (I like Dave’s Rockin’ Rye)

Reuben Sandwich Pan

Reuben Sandwich1

 

Easy Vegan Thousand Island Dressing Recipe

  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise (I like Vegenaise best)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • dash salt
  • 3 tbsp sweet pickle relish

Mix well and enjoy!

Counter Culture Resturant Review

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While in Austin Texas a couple weeks ago,  I made it a plan to stop into the Vegan restaurant Counter Culture. The restaurant is located just east of down town at 2337 E Cesar Chavez St Austin, TX 78702  If you are looking for James Beard award-winning fine dining, this is not your place.  But if you want down home comfort food that will knock your socks off (and your cowboy boots), this place is for you. (The food looked much better in person than in the pictures below, lighting for pictures was not the best for my camera phone)

The restaurant is in an old brick building, the owner has done a nice job of creating a comfortable diner restaurant feel with an option of eating outside on the patio if you like.

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We were greeted immediately upon entrance by a very pleasant young lady. All the staff there are friendly and make you feel at home. Up front they have the daily specials nicely scribed on a chalkboard. They also have a board that continually thanks the customers.

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All their food I was told is made from scratch. They even make their own faux meats and all their own sauces and dips, even the ketchup. Also, most of their desserts are sweetened with dates, not sugar.

Their menu is a comfort food extravaganza as it would be in any diner. Also, every item on the menu if applicable, is marked with a designator indicating a special dietary needs category. An (R) means it is at least 95% Raw. A (GF) indicates it is gluten free. A (SF) means it is soy free and a (E2) indicates it is Engine 2 diet friendly. This makes eating here on a special diet easy.

The first day I visited. (Yes, it was so good I came back for breakfast the next day.) I ordered the Philly Seitan Sandwich with a side of Curry Quinoa Salad. The bread was soft and fresh, the cheeze sauce was warm and had a nice cheesy flavor everything on this plate was great.

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Philly Seitan Sandwich with a side of Curry Quinoa Salad (You get your choice of one side)

My companion ordered the Mac & Cheeze. I was told it was their best seller on the menu and one day I was there they sold out of it. It was also cheesy and had a great flavor. It was topped with a bread crumb topping. I was told by my companion that it was one of the best vegan Mac & Cheeses she had ever eaten. My other companion ordered the Sausage Sauerkraut Sandwich. She was also very very happy with her meal. The sausage is made in-house.

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Mac & Cheeze with a Ceaser salad and potato salad (You get your choice of two sides)

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Sausage Sauerkraut Sandwich with a Ceasar salad. (Your choice of one side)

We ended that day’s lunch with desert. I had the Brownie Sundae. it was out of this world good. The brownie was soft but not too soft. I am not a big sweets fan and the brownie was not real sickening sweet like brownies can be. I believe that this is because they use dates to sweeten their desserts, it was outstanding. We also had their Coconut Cream Pie, OMG another home run!

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Brownie Sundae

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Coconut Cream Pie

The next morning we arrived just before they opened to try their breakfast/brunch. We enjoyed a nice conversation with a local gentleman that was waiting to pick up his pre-ordered Christmas Dinner.

We ordered the East Side Quesadilla, Breakfast Burrito, and Seasonal Omelet.We also ordered two sides just so we could taste. A side of potatoes and one Egg Nog pancake.

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East Side Quesadilla and Roasted Potatoes with homemade ketchup

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Breakfast Burrito and Orange, Kale and Ginger juice.

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The Seasonal Omelet and Egg Nog Pancake with Cranberry Drizzle

All the food we had was outstanding!

The flavors were right on and presented well. The fruit was fresh and full of flavor. The breakfast burrito was huge and just as big on taste.

I was told by my companion that the Quesadilla was the best breakfast she had ever eaten, including non-vegan breakfast.

The omelet was light and fluffy full of fresh vegetables. Everything was so good that there was talk about driving up from San Antonio where we were staying later in the week just to get some more of the Counter Culture fare.

In a state that is known for and runs on Texas BBQ, Counter Culture is a breath of fresh air and a mouth of fresh food.

If you are ever in Austin Texas and in need of some good old Vegan comfort food then Counter Culture is a must eat at destination.

Counter Culture on Yelp

Vegan Tater Tot Casserole

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Mom’s old tater tot casserole is a comfort food icon and a dish that will warm the recesses of your heart. It was sure good tasting and full of love but not all that good for you.

Well, now you can enjoy this all-time favorite without the unhealthy side effects. Here is a recipe that hits all the taste buds as well as the texture and mouth feel. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Ingredients:

1 32oz bag Tater Tots
2 tablespoons Vegan Butter (Earth Balance is the brand I use)
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups plain almond milk or other vegan milk (I use almond milk)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt (optional) (I use seasoned salt)
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 portobello mushroom, diced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups ground crumbles
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

Process:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add flour, stirring until a paste then cook for 1-2 minutes, don’t let it brown.

On medium-high heat; slowly add broth and then the milk a little at a time constantly whisking.

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Mix corn starch with cold water in a small bowl until it becomes a slurry. Add in cornstarch 1 tablespoon at a time, while heating to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to low, then taste. Depending on the saltiness of the broth you used, you can add 1 teaspoon salt and some black pepper to your taste.

In a skillet, saute the diced mushroom in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until soft.

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Add cooked mushrooms to the soup mixture.

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Then, saute onions and garlic in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, till onions are clear. Be sure not to scorch or burn the garlic because they will become bitter.

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Brown ground crumbles in a little oil then combine it with the onion & garlic mixture, also add the frozen vegetables to this mixture at this time.

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In lightly oiled 12″ x 8″ casserole dish, layer with the crumble mixture on the bottom, then the mushroom soup on top of that, and then completely cover top with frozen tater tots.

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Bake uncovered for about 55-60 mins. At the very end you can broil the top to brown the tater tots a bit more if you like them more crispy. Serve warm!

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Portobello Vegan Trattoria Review

This last 4th of July weekend I traveled to the most Vegan friendly city in America, Portland, Oregon. While I was there I was determined to sample some of that cities great Vegan fare.

I ended up at the Portobello Vegan Trattoria, an Italian Vegan restaurant. It is located at: 1125 SE Division ST Portland OR 97202

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When we arrived with no reservations on a Friday night around 6pm. We asked for a table and were told that they were all booked up and the wait would be about an hour and a half unless we wanted to dine at the bar. My party and I where hungry and so we agreed to sit at the bar.

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The menu offered a limited amount of plates but this is a Trattoria which in Italy is larger than a cafe but smaller than a full restaurant and so the menu reflected that nicely.  The offerings hit some of the traditional Italian fare. Gnocchi, ravioli, manicotti and much more.

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They have a tasting menu, for $38, where you choose any three items from the menu and one desert. What else would any self respecting food blogger do than to order the tasting menu while reviewing a restaurant? I was there with two other people, so we all ordered the tasting menu and snuck tastes from each others plates, you know… so I could review a wide variety of their offerings.

We started with a basic kale caesar and an order of roasted rainbow carrots. Both were very good. The ceasar salad dressing was outstanding, they sell it there by the bottle. We were told that the portion sizes where a little smaller because it was the tasting menu size.

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In my Italian family gnocchi is the king, the dish of all dishes, served only with pesto and not red sauce, so one of the first things I look for on a menu at an Italian restaurant is the gnocchi and if its served with pesto or red sauce. Portobello serves a gnocchi that is the best I have had this side of my grandmother’s homemade gnocchi. They add a few wonderful twists by first pan crisping the gnocchi leaving it a bit caramelized and crispy on one side as well as adding some finely chopped broccolini and a few cherry tomatoes, wow! It was so good I ate half of it before remembering to snap a photo. (This happens way too often to me it seems).

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Seeing manicotti on the menu was a surprise to me because manicotti is mostly cheese and in my opinion is hard to make Vegan and still have that rustic Italian flavor and mouth feel. Well Portobello has done it well. Filled with spinach creamed cauliflower topped in marinara sauce and sprinkled with walnut parmesan.

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I also ordered the breaded abalone mushroom with potato celeriac gratin, wilted spinach and dill lemon dressing. It was good but reminded all of us of a piece of English style fish & purple potato chips.

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On to the desert.

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One of us had the salted caramel sundae. It was salted caramel ice cream, caramels sauce, hot fudge, coconut whipped cream and candied walnuts. It was so good. All the flavors worked so well together and was not too sweet as to make you want to put down the spoon for a break.

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We also enjoyed a s’more baked alaska.  It was a meringue (made from aquafaba) covered chocolate ice cream with a graham cracker bottom. (It is not on the website menu pic above). Again, another outstanding desert. Spot on!

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My understanding is that they change their menu items occasionally. While on Yelp looking at the reviews for Portobello I saw photos (290 of them) of plates that some of which were not offered the day we were there. All in all I will be back again. It was high quality food with friendly service and the only all Vegan Italian restaurant I have seen. 4 and a half stars out of 5.

The Impossible Burger – 100% Vegan

Impossible Food’s has made a 100% Vegan burger that looks, cooks, tastes and smells like ground beef and even bleeds like a real burger.

It is rumored that it will be offered in selected restaurants in New York, Los Angels and San Francisco first. Then eventually it will be sold like ground beef in the stores and on the menu in other restaurants in the U.S.

From what I have seen it may be too realistic in flavor, look and taste for some Vegetarians and Vegans to stomach. It is so realistic it even bleeds juices when it cooks.

Google tried to buy this company for 200-300 million but was unable to come to an agreement on price. While Microsoft’s Bill Gates has invested in the company.

The possibilities for the use of this product are endless and I can hardly wait to try some as a burger, meat balls, or meatloaf.

Check out the companies website.  I am sure they will be creating even more impossible foods very soon!

 

Ben & Jerry’s Vegan Ice Cream Is Out!!

It comes in four flavors!

Here is a link to their website: B & J Website

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Vegan Gourmand’s Beefless Stroganoff

Growing up in a non-vegan household in the 70s, my mother would make beef stroganoff. As a kid I really didn’t care too much for it but it was what was for dinner so I ate it. Now, as a Vegan adult somehow I find it to be a comfort food for me. I haven’t had a stroganoff since I was a kid but thought it couldn’t be too hard to replicate a beef stroganoff with all the creamy flavors but as a vegan dish. So here is the recipe I finally came up with and enjoy when I get in the mood for beef stroganoff. It has all the flavor notes and rich creaminess I remember as a kid. Enjoy! Side Note: I know I usually always post images of my recipes but the last time I made this I was soooo excited to have some I completely forgot to take any pictures, sorry….sometimes my stomach overrides my brain.

Ingredients:

1 package (4-5 cups) of your favorite pasta, I use Barilla Rotini (or I like to make garlic or regular mash potatoes and pour the stroganoff over the top)

1/4 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance Soy Free)

1 medium sweet onion, diced

3-4 Portobello mushrooms (I have also used Gardein Beefless Tips instead of mushrooms, although you do need to change the process a bit, cooking & browning them separately from all the other ingredients)

3 large garlic cloves, minced

Olive oil or vegan butter for sauteing

1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (Just read the ingredients on the bottles at the supermarket to make sure it does not have anchovies in it, some brands do, some don’t. I use the Kroger Brand)

1 12oz tub of vegan sour cream (I use Tofutti Sour Supreme Brand)

2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth (I use organic Vegetable broth)

2 heaping tablespoons of powdered vegan beef style broth seasoning (I use McKay’s vegan special instant broth and seasoning)

2-4 tablespoons of corn starch with water for thickening

Directions:

Start to boil your pasta.

Rinse and clean mushrooms then slice them either in chunks or strips.

Saute the onion and mushrooms together in a little olive oil or vegan butter until onions are translucent and mushrooms have cooked their liquid out.

Add the minced garlic and continue to saute for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a medium sauce pan or large skillet add broth and whisk in the powdered vegan beef style broth seasoning then bring to a boil, then lower heat to med-low and add the Worcestershire sauce.

Combine the mushroom mixture into the broth mixture.

In a small bowl or cup mix some water with the corn starch to make a thin slurry. Stir the slurry slowly into broth and then turn the heat back up to a slow boil, stirring constantly. Do this until you get a thicker consistency.

Turn down heat to low and stir in the 1/4 cup vegan butter until incorporated.

Stir in the vegan sour cream until completely incorporated. Do not allow it to boil. Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately over noodles or mashed potatoes.

 

 

 

 

Allie’s Vegan Cafe & Pizzeria – Review

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As I travel the country I try to sample the areas Vegan restaurants and sometimes I find the most outstanding Vegan restaurants, and some times not so outstanding Vegan restaurants. But when I find those outstanding ones I like to tell everyone about them and so it is with Allie’s Vegan Cafe and Pizzeria. Opened March 2015

“Allie’s is a family owned, born out of passion to share delicious, healthy food. The entire menu is vegan, locally sourced and organic whenever possible, with many gluten free options.”

All cheeses are made in house.

“Cheeses are made by hand in small batches. This yields a firm cheese that can be grated and melted onto pizzas.”

The plant-based meats are Gardein brand. The Ranch & Caesar dressings are also made in house and soon the ranch will be bottled for sale due to the demand.

Allie’s to my knowledge is the first Vegan Restaurant in Spokane Washington! Congratulations, this town really needed some Vegan options. Spokane is a large hunting hub for the northwest. Allie’s had a lot of bests for me. Best vegan pizza, Best vegan sausage gravy and best chocolate chip cookies.

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How did I find Allie’s? Well, the story goes like this: It was dinner time as I drove into the town of Spokane. And, so I did what any self respecting Vegan does when they are hungry and in a unfamiliar city, I Goggled “Vegan restaurant in Spokane Wa”. I was not really expecting much to come up because I had been there before and had not found any Vegan restaurants. But to my stomach’s wonderful surprise I saw a listing for Vegan pizza. It was not only a listing but a listing with 5 stars from 19 reviews, you hardly ever see that! This led me to quickly go to Allie’s Pizza on Yelp and look them up, finding a average of 4.5 stars from it’s 31 reviews.

The Pizza / Food

So of course I quickly called in an order for a half Italian “sausage” and half BBQ “chicken” pizza. 15 minutes later I was sitting down eating one of, if not the best Vegan pizza I have ever eaten. And I have eaten a few Vegan pizzas in my life. It struck me soon after I had devoured the pizza that I should have snapped a quick picture of the pizza, but it was too late. (Check out the food photos on Yelp)

The crust on this pizza was wonderfully, thin but not too thin, golden and delicious, a quality product.

“Dough is made daily and allowed to cold ferment for two days for best flavor and texture. Hand tossed then baked in a brick oven”

The sausage was so close to the real thing that if I did not know it was Vegan I would swear it was the real thing. The BBQ “Chicken” pizza had a smokey sweet BBQ sauce on it and the Gardein chicken was warm & tender. And for all of you who want a gluten free pizza they have that also. I will have to get back soon to try all their other Pizzas they offer like the Mac & Cheese pizza and Thai pizza along with a few others.

They also offer salads & bread sticks. Beverages include, fresh organic juices, lemonade & iced tea as well as espresso using almond, soy, hemp, coconut and rice milks. They also offers local craft beer on tap as well as wine. Oh! And don’t forget the desserts! Homemade cheesecakes & fresh baked cookies. The chocolate chip cookies are to die for! I must say that they are the best tasting vegan chocolate chip cookie I have ever eat’in.

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Sunday Brunch

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On Sundays between 10 AM & 3 PM they only offer a brunch menu. I went back two days later on my way back home and ate brunch there.

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We had the fried “chicken” with sausage gravy accompanied by rosemary potatoes.

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Pumpkin Pancakes topped with a fruit compote and whipped “cream” accompanied by tofu scramble. (not shown)

The food again was very good. The sausage gravy was so naughty good! Yes.. I said naughty.

The Cafe

The cafe is located at 4803 N Nevada Street in Spokane Wa. 509-321-7090

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                                                                                        Atania Gilmore

Atania Gilmore is the owner of Allie’s. As Atania and I talked she explained her passion for healthy vegan food and her hopefulness of helping people become more educated and healthy eating and living a vegan lifestyle. She also talked about the benefit to the earth and animals.

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She even has a small book store on one wall of the restaurant where she sells vegan cookbooks and books on health.

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The main seating area is bright and inviting with wooden floors and local art that is for sale displayed on the walls.

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So if you are ever in Spokane Washington and need to fill your stomach with some great vegan food, stop in and say hello to Atania and family. They will take good care of you and your taste buds will thank you.

Beyond Meat Beast Burger Review

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I was excited to try Beyond Meat’s Beast Burger because I have had their “Chicken” and enjoyed it very much. (I made Fajitas with it and it was very tasty)

So I purchased a box of burgers from my local Whole Foods store and brought them home for a burger night.

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I opened the package to find the burgers vacuum packed and sealed, fresh and ready to grill. They were already sporting the iconic grill marks right out of the package.

Burger

 

I opened the package, brushed them with peanut oil and grilled them on an indoor electric grill until they were hot and ready for a bun.

I fixed it as a classic burger, you know Vegenaise, mustard, catsup, lettuce pickle and tomato.

I am sad to say that there was no fireworks when I ate this burger, actually it tasted like a MorningStar Farm’s Grillers Prime pattie, which I do not like and are not vegan anyway. It was a little dry and tasteless.

So I guess if you enjoy the MorningStar Farms Grillers Prime but want a Vegan version of it then Beyond Meat Beast Burger is the one for you.

I still prefer and immensely enjoy the Field Roast Hand Formed Burgers. In my opinion the Field Roast burgers are the best Vegan burger on the market today. And I think their Chao Cheese is also the best vegan sliced cheese on the market today. See my quick short review of both of the Field Roast products by clicking HERE

Well I will have to say with a little disappointment that I will not be buying anymore Beast Burgers, which for me turned out to be definitely a bust instead of a beast.

 

 

Vegan Gourmand’s Baked Vegan “Corned Beef”

Reuben Sandwich1

Image above: Reuben Sandwich made with this Vegan “Corned Beef” recipe.

So I have been on this journey for a while now to find a good Vegan Corned Beef recipe. I think finally I have put together one that will satisfy any Vegan craving for the revered Reuben sandwich.

Dry Ingredients
1 ¼ cup wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp coarse ground mustard
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp red pepper (optional)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice

Wet Ingredients
1 cup cold water
½ cup kidney beans, mashed
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp ginger root, very finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs tomato paste

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients, wheat gluten through the allspice.

Dry

3. In a medium bowl, mix together remaining wet ingredients.

Wet

4. Combine the wet and dry mixtures together until well-blended, knead the mixture for few minutes to condition the gluten.

Dry & wet Combi

Seitan Ball

5. Stretch dough out from the ball then shape dough into a flat square like a slab of corned beef and wrap tightly in aluminum foil, folding the ends and corners to seal.

Seitan Wrap1

Seitan Wrap2

Seitan Wrap3

Seitan Wrap4

6. Bake for 35 minutes on a cookie sheet then turn over and bake an additional 40 min.

Seitab Cooked

7. Let cool fully; slice thin and serve. I use a meat slicer to get it thin and a consistent thickness.

Seitan Sliced

Servings: 4

The way I enjoy this the most is in a Reuben sandwich with Field Roast’s Vegan Chao Cheese, Vegan Thousand Island Dressing (See recipe below) and of course Sauerkraut all on good Rye bread. (I like Dave’s Rockin’ Rye)

Reuben Sandwich Pan

Reuben Sandwich1

 

Easy Vegan Thousand Island Dressing Recipe

  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise (I like Vegenaise best)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • dash salt
  • 3 tbsp sweet pickle relish

Mix well and enjoy!

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