Apr 30, 2011

Vegan Scotch Eggs

These took some time to prep, but they were fun to assemble. Crunchy and savory on the outside, and quite eggy on the inside, they were worth the work- and I must say, very satisfying to cut open!

 For the "White," I drained and pressed firm tofu, then cut them into six or seven 1/4" slices (about 2 packages).  Then I marinated them in 1 1/2 C. water, 2 T. nutritional yeast, 1 tsp. black salt, and 1 tsp. regular salt for about an hour.  Then, I patted the slices dry with a paper towel and carefully transferred them to a sheet of plastic wrap.  Don't worry if they crack a little!

For the "Yolk," I cut about 2 C. yukon gold potatoes into cubes of similar size, and boiled them until tender.  Then I drained them, added 2 T. nutritional yeast flakes, 2 T. Tofutti cream cheese, 1 tsp. black salt, 1 T. olive oil, and 1/4 tsp. tumeric.  To soften the cream cheese, I whipped it with the olive oil before mashing everything together.

As shown above, I spooned the "yolk" on top of the tofu slice, then used the plastic wrap to help form it into a tube.

I then cut each tube into thirds.

The surrounding "sausage," consists of:

1 15oz. can chickpeas
1 15oz. can black beans
1/2 C. dried toasted onion
1/3 C. nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 C. chopped celery
1 T. soy sauce
1/4 C. water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. rubbed dried sage
1 tsp. dried fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1 C. panko bread crumbs
1 C. vital wheat gluten

Put everything except bread crumbs and wheat gluten into a food processor, and blend until almost smooth (looks like creamy oatmeal).  Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.  Mix in bread crumbs.  Mix in wheat gluten, then knead for a few minutes until fully incorporated.

To form the Scotch Eggs:

Take a golf ball sized portion of the sausage dough and flatten with fingers until very thin.  Encase your vegan egg (as shown above), making sure to press the seams tightly with both hands.  Roll your scotch egg in panko bread crumbs, and deep fry until deep golden brown.

I dipped them in Vegan Hollandaise sauce from Veganomicon- yummy!

Apr 23, 2011

Apr 16, 2011

Vegan Ham and Yam Cracklins

Meat analog. Is there any less appetizing way to describe vegan meat? Just using the word "meat" doesn't seem right either, given that our diets are meat-free. I propose we come up with another name- an entirely new word, perhaps. Something that sounds yummy, and not like something a replicator on the Starship Enterprise would produce. Any suggestions?

How about saplatein?
Etymology: from the root words, satisfying, plant, and protein

Or maybe protegan?
Etymology: from the root words, protein and vegan

Anyway, it's not meat that I crave- it's the texture. Chewy, dense, tender, and fibrous... yes, fibrous. If you look closely at any good faux chicken or beef on the market, you will notice... fibers. Without them, the wheat gluten and soy protein only offer a good chewy texture, but no fibrous texture. On the ingredients labels of faux meats (another term I really hate) from Taiwan, I've seen everything from mushroom and pea fiber to ambiguous "vegetable fiber." The mouth feel of these saplateins (hey, maybe it'll catch on!) is definitely different than the homemade seitan I'm used to- much more like real meat. SO... I thought I'd experiment a little.

Scouring online, I found that there are really no sources of "vegetable fiber" on the market for this type of use. So then I got to thinking about vegetables that are naturally tough to chew and fibrous, even when cooked. One of my first thoughts was celery. It's very fibrous as well as inexpensive... nice!

Although this is in no way just like ham, it turned out delicious, and with great texture ( I couldn't stop eating it). If you look closely, you can see the little strands of celery poking out. It's a subtle textural thing, and I think I will experiment with other types of fiber in future batches too. Corn, asparagus, and peas come to mind.

Yam Cracklins
One of the best parts of a roast is the crunch of the "skin." Pork cracklins was one of my Filipino Mother-in-Law's favorite foods, and I remember having it once or twice before I went vegan. It was crunchy, fatty, and savory. This version is A LOT less fatty, even though it's deep fried, but it offers a good satisfying savory crunch that complements the roast, or can be eaten by itself.

Vegan Ham Roast (Serves 4-6 people)

1 1/2 C. celery (roughly chopped into 1/2" pieces)
1 C. onion (also roughly chopped)
pinch of salt for saute
7 oz. firm tofu (1/2 of a 14oz. block)
1/2 C. water
1/4 C. soy sauce
2 tsp. liquid smoke
3 T. tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
2/3 C. nutritional yeast flakes
3/4 tsp. salt
2 C. vital wheat gluten
extra virgin olive oil for brushing

Maple Glaze
2 T. maple syrup
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1) Saute celery and onions in a dry non-stick pan at medium-high heat with a sprinkling of salt. This will help get most of the moisture out of the vegetables, leaving the fibers more condensed. Do not add any oil or water. Stir often- if it starts to brown too much, turn down the heat. When the onions are translucent and very little steam is coming out, turn off heat and set aside.
2) In a food processor, mix all other ingredients except for the wheat gluten and olive oil, until smooth. 3) Add the celery and onions to the food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are finely minced. You don't want it too chunky, otherwise it'll be more like meatloaf (the resulting mixture looks like creamy oatmeal).
4) Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl, and add the vital wheat gluten. Mix until fully combined, then knead for a few minutes.
5) Form the soft dough onto a large sheet of aluminum foil. Fold up the sides snugly, but not extremely tight, as it will expand a little while cooking.
6) Pressure cook on a rack above water for 30 minutes, up to an hour if steaming.
7) Transfer the roast to a casserole dish or pan, and open the foil. Cut a shallow criss-cross pattern on top with a sharp knife. Brush on a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil, and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
8) Whisk together the Maple Glaze with a fork. Brush generously onto roast and bake for another 15-20 minutes until caramelized.
9) It will be done when it's no longer soft and bounces back to the touch.

Yam Cracklins

Skin of 1-2 yams (I picked longer ones) to make about two dozen strips
1 C. water
2 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. your favorite grilling herbs (thyme, black pepper, lemon zest, etc.)
1/4 C. nutritional yeast flakes


Peel the yams with a good vegetable peeler to make the strips. Save the yams for another dish.

Mix the marinade in an appropriate container. Lay strips to soak for about an hour (or longer).

Heat oil to fry, then pat strips gently with a paper towel to remove excess liquid. Fry until golden and crisp, then drain to remove excess oil.