Daily Vegan Lunch for 20 December, 2013: Lemon Bok Choy, Tofu, and Mushrooms

lemon bok choi, mushrooms, and tofu IMG_3851
INGREDIENTS:

3 mini bok choys or one normal sized bok choy
1/2 cup dried black fungus, also known as cloud ear mushrooms
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup extra-firm tofu, cubed

4 cups vegetable broth
Reserved mushroom soaking water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic (about 2 teaspoons) minced
Half a lemon’s juice or to taste
1 – 2 teaspoons lemon rind (I used the same lemon I juiced)

DIRECTIONS:

Wash the bok choy and pre-soak the shiitake and cloud ear mushrooms in water until they expand, about fifteen minutes.  Once the mushrooms expand, cut the cloud ears in half and de-stem the shiitakes, slicing them into smaller pieces.  Cut the tofu into cubes.

Prepare the broth.  Combine veggie broth (you can also just use water and salt), soy sauce, and garlic in a large pot.  Add the bok choys, cloud ears, shiitakes, and their soaking water to the pot.  Bring to a soft boil at medium high heat and immediately turn down to medium.  Allow to simmer for about three minutes.  Add the tofu cubes.

Use a lemon zester or the fine side of a grater to make lemon zest (the yellow outside skin is the zest).  Squeeze the lemon and stir the strained juice into the pot.

Serve over cooked rice, ladling the broth over it and sprinkling everything with a little lemon zest.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 18 December, 2013: Seitan Fried Wonton Soup

You do not have to fry these wontons.  I kind of wish I had not fried them because this would have been a fat-free soup except for the optional dash of sesame oil.

vegan wonton dumpling soup IMG_3848

MAKING WONTONS:
1.Take the wonton wrapper (watch out because some brands contain eggs.  These are the simplest kind from the Asian grocery store.  They have three ingredients: water, flour, and salt) and dab water on its four sides.
vegan wonton dumpling soup seitan

 

2. Fold wonton in half and pinch open sides shut.

IMG_3843

3. Fold one corner over.

IMG_3844

 

4. Now fold the other side to make a little envelope.

IMG_3845

 

Voila!IMG_3846
INGREDIENTS:

1/2 a package of wonton wrappers, about 25 – 30 squares

FOR THE SEITAN FILLING:

1.5 cups cooked seitan (I used yesterday’s recipe!)
2 legs celery, roughly chopped, about 1.5 cups
3 green onions, roughly chopped, about 1 cup
1 tablespoon soy sauce plus 1 teaspoon sugar OR 1.5 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce

FOR THE SOUP:

8 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Dash sesame oil
3 cups bok choy or baby bok choy (or any other choy, like ong choy, just buy what’s on sale) chopped
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms and water for soaking (save water to add to soup)

1 cup oil for frying wontons and a small, high-heat proof pan, I use cast-iron

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the mushrooms in at least 1 cup of water until they expand fully, about fifteen minutes.
In a blender or food processor, combine seitan, celery, green onion, soy sauce and sugar OR vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce.  Pulse the blender until the ingredients are finely chopped and almost pasty.

Now make the wontons as you see in the photos above.  Optionally fry them in oil by bringing the oil to the smoking point in a shallow cast iron pan and dropping them in for only about 20 seconds each side.  Get them out of the oil quickly or they will burn.

To make the soup, combine broth, sliced and de-stemmed shiitake mushrooms and their soaking water, soy sauce, and bok choy in a large pot on medium-high heat until choy starts to wilt slightly.
Add the dumplings.  If you did not pre-fry the dumplings, allow the dumplings to simmer in the soup for about 5 minutes.  Finish with a dash of sesame oil.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 24 November, 2013: Roasted Walnut Shiitake Dressing Stuffed Squash

This roasted walnut, mushroom, and panko stuffing would be perfect for Thanksgiving.  I was really happy to find out these squashes I bought from the grocery store were local.

vegan mushroom dressing stuffed squashvegan mushroom dressing stuffed squash
INGREDIENTS:

2 small or 1 large acorn squash

1.5 cups walnuts
2 cups onion, chopped
1 tablespoon oil
1.5 cups celery, chopped
1.5 cups broccoli florets, chopped

1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water at least 20 minutes
1.5 – 2 cups panko or breadcrumbs
Up to 1.5 cups vegetable broth or saved mushroom water to moisten

DIRECTIONS:

Wash outside of squash, poke holes in it, and then roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  I save the seeds to roast and salt on a cookie sheet, yum!

Roast walnuts in a dry pan on medium heat until they give off a wonderful fragrance, about 5 minutes.  Don’t let them burn but it is okay to let them brown.  Add oil to the pan and onions.  Fry the onions for about 1 minute and add the broccoli and celery.

Chop the mushroom into small bits and add to the pan.  Add panko or breadcrumbs and mix well.  Add mushroom water and/or broth little by little and stir until the mixture is moistened.

Cut the cooked squash in half and remove the seeds by scooping them out with a spoon.  Stuff the squash halves with walnut-panko dressing.  Broil at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes until top browns.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 22 November, 2013: Two Mushroom Rice Noodles

double mushroom noodles vegan double mushroom noodles vegan
INGREDIENTS:

1/2 package of thin rice noodles
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups white or yellow onion, sliced
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted in water for at least 20 minutes
1 cup dried cloud ear mushrooms a.k.a. black fungus, reconstituted in water for at least 20 minutes
3 cups cabbage, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons soy sauce OR vegetarian mushroom “oyster” sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

DIRECTIONS:

Boil water in a medium sized pot, take off heat and add noodles.  Soak noodles for 5 minutes and drain, set aside.

Fry the onions in a pan in the oil at medium-high heat until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add cabbage and sauté until cabbage begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.  Add drained mushrooms (save water for a later use) and stir fry for about a minute.  Add noodles and soy sauce or mushroom oyster sauce to the pan and stir gently until mixed.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 24 October, 2013: Sticky Rice Cake Stir Fry

Sticky rice cakes (tteok) are also a thing in Chinese cuisine. This is based on a Chinese New Year recipe. The tteok I used are Korean but from what I hear they’re virtually the same if they are a Chinese brand.

chinese rice cake stir fry

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon oil
1.5 cups firm tofu
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cabbage, sliced
2 cups sliced bamboo shoots from a can, drained
2 cups sticky rice cakes, pre-soaked for 2 hours plus or boiled for 30 seconds in water
2 cups dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted in water for 30 minutes plus
1/4 cup soy sauce or to taste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons vegetarian mushroom “oyster” sauce, vegan Worchestershire sauce, or salt to taste

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-soak mushrooms, drain and slice them small to prepare them for use. Set them aside. Pre-soak tteok or boil them, also set them aside. Drain and crumble tofu, chop cabbage, drain bamboo shoots, and generally prepare everything to be dumped into a large stir fry pan at once.

Heat a large stir fry pan or wok with oil in it to medium high heat. Add the tofu and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Stir fry tofu until it is slightly brown. Add each of these, waiting about a minute between each addition: cabbage, bamboo shoots, mushrooms. Lastly, add the tteok, the remaining soy sauce, sesame oil, Chinese cooking wine, and garlic. Stir well. Add the tteok. Taste test it and add vegetarian oyster sauce or salt if needed. Serve topped with green onions.

You can also omit the tteok entirely and serve the stir fry over rice.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 30 September, 2013: Yuba and Shiitake Spring Rolls

vegan yuba shiitake spring rolls IMG_3468

INGREDIENTS:

8 rice spring roll wrappers or banh trang

2 cups yuba, soaked and reconstituted
6 shiitake mushrooms or about 1 and 1/4 cups, soaked and reconstituted

1 julienned or shredded carrot (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 chopped green onions
2 teaspoons oil for frying

PEANUT SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon chili sauce or 1 teaspoon Sriacha
2 teaspoons agave nectar or 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar

pinch salt

DIRECTIONS:

Make the dipping sauce by mixing together all peanut sauce ingredients and whisking with a fork until well blended. I cheated and microwaved the sauce for 30 seconds so I didn’t have to fork whip it as long. Set the sauce aside.

Soak and drain the mushrooms and yuba 15 minutes.  Drain them and chop off the mushroom stems.  Slice the mushrooms into small pieces and tear the yuba into bite sized chunks.   Heat the oil in a small pan on medium heat and add garlic to the oil, wait about 30 seconds.  Add the yuba and the mushroom along with the tablespoon of vinegar and soy sauce.  Cook the yuba and mushroom 1 more minute and then remove from heat and let it cool.

Chop and lay the veggies out on a cutting board or plate along with the cooled yuba and mushroom mixture.  Fill another plate shallowly with lukewarm water. Lay a spring roll round into the water. Once it absorbs a little water (about 15 seconds) flip it over and let it soak about 15 more seconds. Lay the softened spring roll paper on a cutting board and fill it with about 3/4 cup worth of various ingredients, do not overstuff. Roll it up burrito-style, tucking in the ends. Let it sit on the cutting board so it can seal while you make the other rolls.

Cut rolls in half to serve.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 19 August, 2013: Seaweed-Wrapped Mushroom Cutlet a.k.a. Vegetarian Unagi

seaweed mushroom cutlet

Modified from Japanese Cooking: Contemporary and Traditional by Miyoko Nishimoto Schinner

I had the honor of meeting Miyoko Schinner at this year’s Naperville Veggie Fest. She is the amazing author of several cookbooks, including the mind-blowing bestseller Artisan Vegan Cheese. She is on the verge of opening her own restaurant in the San Francisco area.

These seaweed and shiitake cutlets are billed as Vegetarian Eel over Rice in Miyoko Schinner’s book (highly, highly recommended). I don’t find them similar to any kind of dead animal food, including eel. Unfortunately, I have eaten eel in my life. Eating an eel is disgusting and wrong and doesn’t even taste very good. In the past I have noticed that if there is a dead fish sushi tray being passed around, the eel (unagi) is the last item to disappear. Probably because it looks gray/black and nasty and it has a pronounced fish smell if it is not very, very fresh. I also find the idea of eating a squid or an octupus revolting not because even though the taste is much better than eel, I will never again kill and eat such magnificent, intelligent creatures.

These cutlets have all the salty-sweet greatness of Japanese restaurant food without the grotesque aspect of eating a beautiful sea creature. They are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The saltiness is balanced with a sweet tare sauce. How lovely it is to taste the flavors of the sea without resorting to violence against the wonderful animals who live there.

Makes 4 cutlets

INGREDIENTS:

10 dried shiitake, soaked in water for 20 minutes and drained
1/3 cup wakame seaweed, soaked in water 20 minutes and drained
1 cup yuba (tofu skins, available in most Asian grocery stores) soaked in water 20 minutes and drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar or 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
3 tablespoons mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
2 tablespoons oil

TARE SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons sugar or 2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon konbu powder (make konbu powder by grinding konbu squares in a coffee grinder or blender)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

White or brown rice, to serve
4 sheets of nori

DIRECTIONS:

Make tare sauce by combining sauce ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.

Cut any hard stems out of soaked shittake mushrooms. Place reconstituted shiitake and wakame in a food processor and process until they are chunky. Add the yuba to the processor last and continue processing until all ingredients are minced but not yet a paste. Scoop the mixture out of the blender and add mochiko. Season it with soy sauce, cooking wine, and sugar or agave nectar, taste testing it until it is right.

Divide the mixture into four equal portions and divide the portions onto nori sheets, folding up the corners to make a square packet/cutlet. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a pan until it is near smoking hot. Fry the cutlets on medium-high heat in the oil. Turn the heat down to medium and flip them. Drizzle the cutlets with a tablespoon of tare sauce as you fry them for extra flavor.

Serve over rice with more tare sauce.