Vegan Rice ‘n Cheese

Once when Sam had to leave for work I insisted he eat something.  The problem was we didn’t really have anything to eat besides some leftover rice.  Still in the pot…

So, I did what any sensible person would do:

We had leftovers.

It basically came down to this:  hot chili oil + soy sauce + sesame oil + nutritional yeast.  Throw it on top.  Spoon into mouth.  Easiest thing in the world but trust me, it tasted like a sheer gold mine.  Kudos if you actually have warm rice.  Gives a more mac ‘n cheese feel.

I decided that all around, this might be a boring post.  So I also included a picture of what to do if you find yourself in a similar predicament:

Step 1:  Make or Find Rice

Step 2 & 3:  Gather Ingredients and Dump on Rice

Step 4:  Eat.  Enjoy.  Relax a bit.  Think about your next meal.

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I like to eat simple and easy foods.  If you notice, I don’t give any explicit amounts for ingredients it is simply because that is completely up to preference.  In my experiences…

2 1/2 Cups  Cooked Rice

1 TBS          Soy sauce

1/2 TSP       Sesame oil

1/8 TSP       hot chili oil (for heat)

3-5 TBS      Nutritional Yeast or “nooch”


I like mine to be a bit on the salty side.  The Korean in me absolutely loves that heat and sesame oil taste – mixed with soy sauce and you have my personal rice concoction.

Experiment.

By the by, Sam agrees that it tastes like mac ‘n cheese.  Aside from the nutritional yeast (which can get a little spendy) it’s a relatively cheap meal.  I like that.

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Today’s post was really short, and before you go (if you came down this far) I’d like to spend some time talking to you.

“Hunger is the best spice” – I heard that once from a video game.  I was playing Tales of Symphonia:  Dawn of the New World.  But isn’t that so true?  When you are hungry, or even thirsty, just about anything you have next has such a profound impact on you.

That morning we didn’t eat anything in particular.  Sometimes we are bad at looking after ourselves in that regard.  This morning we just didn’t feel like eating and got so sidetracked that we forgot until the last hour.

I don’t like letting Sam leaving without eating because the job requires quite a bit of manual labor at times.

Somehow, this simple rice with toppings made us feel really indulgent.  It felt special.  And it just came out of randomly throwing things together.

Since, I have recreated this recipe several more times to check if I were delusional.  I am not, I am proud to say.  It definitely tastes the best if the rice is warm – it helps being out the toasty sesame flavor and makes it a lot easier to mix it all together.

And this brings me to my closing questions:  what’s the most random thing you ever made?  How did that turn out?  What did you learn from it?

Leave your answers in the comments below as well as any suggestions!

 

Easy Vegan Salisbury Steak Recipe

If you can, always eat GREAT food.

My goodness, doesn’t the taste of delicious food make your toes curl?  It keeps back the huff and puff of mundane life transforming it into something extraordinary.

And the best part?  I didn’t even make it!  (Not dinner at least).  My boyfriend Sam made it – and has been busy in the kitchen since we purchased some vital wheat gluten.  Also known as the key component for seitan or meatless meat.

Long ago when I introduced Sam to veganism and meat substitutes, our interest in seitan was piqued.  Especially after those Field Roast hot dogs.  But I never really gave much thought to making my own – that seemed way too taxing.

I was wrong.

While the original recipe is from Isa Chandra’s website, Sam made it even more simple my nixing a few ingredients.  Less ingredients means less work!


Meaty Meat Meat Wheat


1 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten

3 TBS Nutritional Yeast or “nooch”

1/2 Cup Vegetable Broth

1/4 Cup Soy Sauce

5-6 Cloves Garlic

Simmer in…

5 Cups Vegetable Broth

1/4 Cup Soy Sauce

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NOTE:  This is salty – to adjust this, swap out some of the broth for water and cut down the soy sauce in the simmering broth.  You could also change the amount in the seitan, but I think modifying the broth will work just as well because it’s going to absorb it.

Instructions

  1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix together the vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the soy sauce, broth, and garlic in another bowl.
  4. Add your liquid mixture to your dry ingredients and begin kneading the dough.  Isa Chandra directs you to knead it for 3 minutes.  If you wanted a tougher meat, you can knead longer.  Like bread.
  5. Cut into pieces and shape each loaf to your liking.  Maybe patties, little nuggets, bread loaves.  Do it to it.
  6. Pour simmering broth into a baking dish and lovingly place your seitan inside.  Wish them well.  They grow up so fast.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.  Take out and FLIP.  Be careful not to splash yourself with the liquid.  Flip away from yourself.  Put them back in, they’re not ready! Bake for another 25 minutes.
  8. Enjoy.

I cooked up some rice in the ol’ InstaPot.  Then we plated our steaks (I had mine with some homemade ketchup – new recipe).  As a nice little bonus, the leftover simmering soup baked down into a nice gravy which we poured over top.  Delectable.

And there you have it.  Really simple seitan.  The longest part is the bake and that’s something easily remedied with timers and some good anime.  My recommendation?  “Sakamoto desu ga?” or “Haven’t you Heard?  I’m Sakamoto.”  Extra silly but that’s just how we like it.


Ingredient Highlight


So I’m not the kind of person to buy broth and keep it around.  And while I do like the ease of bouillon cubes I’ve found even better.  You might have heard of it.  It’s called “Better Than Bouillon” and don’tcha know?  They have a vegan one too!  Try it!


Did you also think that making your own seitan would be difficult?  What recipes did you try?  Comment below and let me know what you think.

; 3

Making Homemade Ketchup (Catsup)


Pump-sup?  Cat-kin?  Pumpkin catsup?  Still don’t have a good name for that…

After going vegan I haven’t bought catsup.  Sam and I neglect to buy catsup every grocery trip, but we aren’t going out of way to avoid the stuff either.  (Though honestly, some store brands have really questionable ingredient lists).  Oftentimes when we make our black-bean burgers or homemade fries we grab the veganaise and mustard and say, “Man, I wish we had some catsup!”

No more!  A couple days ago I tasked myself with two things:  1) finish off the pumpkin puree lifelessly laying in the fridge and 2) research recipes to make catsup.  Simple concept:  use pumpkin instead of tomatoes.  In my head I was dreaming up tomato alternatives – we don’t normally buy them and I didn’t think to purchase any cans of tomato product.  Pumpkin… has a similar sort of consistency.  It’s a bit more fibrous and stringy but that could be remedied by blending more intensely.  Pumpkin also has a rather subtle test (bland really) and that would definitely affect the flavor.

I was pretty confident:  hit the tangy with some vinegar and get a little sweetness in with some sugar.  There is a bit more to it than that – like a spice blend.  During my research I found that I wasn’t really far off the mark.  I was however surprised at the listing for some of the spices used – cinnamon, cloves, onion powder, garlic powder.  The recipe I am showing you was adapted from this one on Wellness Mama.  What really led me to this decision was ease.  Seriously, just chuck it all into a blender and blend?  I’m down.


Pumpkin Based Ketchup

3 Cups pumpkin puree

1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1 1/2 TBS of Blackstrap Molasses

1 TS Sugar

1 1/2 TS Salt

1/4 TS Pepper

1/8 TS Chinese Five Spice Blend

3 cloves of garlic

Water to thin


Directions?

Blend it all together!  This is pretty thick sauce and you will probably need water to help thin it out so it will blend.  Add only 1-2 TBS at a time until it blends.  When it is done, transfer to container and let it sit overnight.

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I must admit that these are all estimates to what I used – for I did not record them and did fumble around with the spices until I got a taste I liked.   Which is what the recipe from above is born from.  My boyfriend (my awesome guinea pig) loves it!  He agrees that it is not a perfect imitation but hits the same flavor bases and is really quite delicious.

If you happen to try the recipe above, I offer you my notes:  when I originally made this I used too much Chinese Five-Spice (consists of cinnamon, cloves, anise, star anise, and ginger).  Or at least too much for my initial liking.  Because I am not a huge fan of licorice (unless it’s Red Vines) I didn’t really dig the strength of the licorice-y flavor prevalent throughout the sauce.  After letting it sit overnight though, I appreciate the kick it adds.

Now, feel free to adapt it to your own needs!  Don’t have or want to use ACV?  Use regular.  Need more garlic?  Add more garlic!  In all honesty, it’s just a sauce that you can tailor to fit your own needs.  In the future, I’d like to try making different flavored “ketchups”.  I don’t have any ideas at the moment besides lemony, but there is a whole world of possibilities that has just opened up to me.

~*~

A long, long time ago, my family used to live on a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Life there was unhurried.  Time went by so slowly to little 9 year old me.  Considering there wasn’t much to do outside of going to the playground again (I was so over the playground) and my brother had to be outside, we’d often walk into town and visit the Youth Center.  Because our parents insisted.

There were two really cool people at the Youth Center – the “cook” who made the fries and the older kid who showed us “fry sauce”.  By mixing together mayo and ketchup you can obtain one of the most indulgent, delicious dipping sauces known to humanity.  When he first told us about it, I thought he was lying.  I legitimately thought he was trying to prank us seeing as he was a couple years older than us.  That and he kept looking back at his friends and had this really suspicious grin on his face.  I also really disliked mayo at that time.  And anything new.  But as soon as I decided to “show off” and be brave… I was pleasantly surprised.  My life forever changed!

Now let me tell you an embarrassing story!  Once, I went there and saw a friend working on one two?  Four?  Anyway, she was working on the computer typing up a report for school about Amelia Earhart.  She had a friend working on the computer across from her typing a report on Eleanor Roosevelt.  Trying to be friendly, I sat down and talked to her and tried to introduce myself to them.  They, unsurprisingly, were not particularly happy to distracted but weren’t rude.  Eventually I signed onto the computer next to them, and out of boredom, typed a “report” of my own smashing together their leading ladies’ stories.  Without understanding they were two separate people.

I even asked my friend for her thoughts because I thought I was being oh so clever!  What I had wanted her to comment on was my typing skills (it was something I was learning in school).  Of course, my report was terribly inaccurate which she read aloud and she and her friend laughed about.  Aw man, thinking back to it makes my cheeks sting with embarrassment!  At the time I actually wanted to cry and later I shied away trying to find Steven so that we could leave.

We stopped going eventually.  Steven and I heard some rumor about a kid who visited there that had stabbed someone with a screwdriver and I made sure to let my parents know.  Other than eating fries, I didn’t really enjoy going there.  Too many kids I didn’t know or care to know.  Really loud.  Things that didn’t sit well with younger me.


Do you have a special sauce that’s tied to your childhood?  Have you ever tried recreating those if they weren’t readily available?  Let me know below!  Or let me know if you hate my recipe and think it is not the bees knees.