Due to COVID there is apparently an over abundance of potatoes in storage right now and due to this the cost of buying them at a fruit stand or grocer should be a lot cheaper than in past. So… let’s get out there and buy us some potatoes.
Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who don’t know how to cook potatoes. I know. I know. It’s something that seems relatively easy, yet, can be frustrating all the same. I am posting a few links to potato cooking basics and a few fancy recipes for those who have their tater skills down.
Since everyone is buying up all of the Vital Wheat Gluten so they can make their own bread flour, and bread flour will likely start hitting the shelves again…. well, you are going to have a lot of Vital Wheat Gluten in your pantry. Time for you to learn how to make Seitan. As a bonus, I’m including one of my recipes.
First… what is Seitan (aka Wheat Meat). Wheat Meat isn’t a new thing, it’s been around for centuries and has been used in Asian dishes for just as long. The term Seitan is newer and yes, it’s pronounced the same as Satan!
Why eat Seitan? It punches a protein punch. 1/2 a cup of Seitan has 46 grams of protein in it. It’s easy to make and is a great meat substitute, plus, as I said earlier… for those of you who hoarded it, you are going to need to use it up eventually!
Let’s make Seitan!
First you will need to create a large ring with salt. Next draw a pentagram in the middle of that circle. In the middle of the pentagram place a white candle… Oops! Sorry, right… we aren’t summoning Satan… making Seitan. Get it together Lizzie!
Here are some really fun videos and recipes! Also, get your kids involved. This will be fun for them!
Makes 4 medium-sized sausages or 6 small. For more sausages, double or triple the recipe.
Preparation 20 minutes
Cook Time 45/50 mins
Tools: Potato masher, Bowl, Tinfoil, Steamer basket, large pot to steam with (can also be done in an Instant Pot), Standmixer (or hand knead until gluten strings form when you pull it apart)
1 Cup black beans (for the best flavour) ¼ Cup vegetable broth 1 TBSP olive oil or neutral oil of choice 1 ½ TBSP soy sauce or coconut aminos or tamari sauce 1 TBSP red miso 2 TSP smoked paprika 1 TSP fennel seeds
1 TSP cumin seeds 1 TSP black pepper 1 TSP red chili flakes 1 TSP garlic powder 1 TSP onion powder
1/3 can Jackfruit (in water or brine, do not use the one in syrup) (make sure to shred/pull apart the Jackfruit pieces) 3 TBSP nutritional yeast (I sometimes add a bit extra to boost the flavour) 1 TBSP potato starch
2 TBSP Chickpea flour
¾ Cup vital wheat gluten + 2 TBSP
In a large bowl or standmixer bowl place the black beans and with a potato masher to mash them until they are creamy (it’s ok to have some beans that aren’t completely mashed).
Add the broth, oil, soy sauce, shredded Jackfruit and miso. Stir well to combine.
Add the smoked paprika, fennel, cumin, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and red chili (and other spice combos you choose). Stir well to combine.
Add the nutritional yeast, potato starch, chickpea flour, and vital wheat gluten to the bowl and stir until it is all thoroughly combined. If you are using a stand mixer, use the dough hook and knead until gluten strings have begun to form.
If mixing by hand, when it gets too hard to stir, get in there with your hands and knead. Knead till you see it slightly stringy (this is the gluten working)
Let rest for approximately 5 minutes.
Quarter the batter, and form each section into a sausage shape. Make sure to pack the dough tightly as you shape it.
Wrap tightly in a sheet of aluminum foil, and wrap the ends to seal the sausage inside.
Repeat with all of the sausage dough. I also give them a roll on the table, after they have been wrapped, to even out the shape.
Prepare your steam basket. Once steaming, add the sausages, and steam for 45 minutes.
If you are using an Instant Pot, steam for 40 minutes, then do a 10-minute natural release and then release the rest of the steam. Make sure you have at least 1 cup of water in the Instant Pot pot before you steam.
Allow them to cool to room temperature.
Once cooled, place the sausages, still wrapped in aluminum, in the fridge to firm for 3 to 5 hours or overnight (this is especially important if you plan to grill them — I usually leave them overnight)
You can reheat, grill, sauté, cook, or do whatever you want with them.
We all have those items in our pantry that we bought ages ago and forgot about. A can of palm of hearts, a box of chana masala mix, that box of gluten free macaroni, that spice mix that you were going to make a dish with… and you can’t remember what it was, the can of pineapple rings about to expire… you all get it. A few of us will also have a few staples such as rice, few cans of beans, tomatoes and some tomato paste. Heck there might even be some flour in there.
I am trying to keep our grocery shopping to a minimum. Because of that we will be shopping our pantry, fridge and freezer to stretch all of what we have to hopefully keep us fed for the next couple weeks. The less we are out, the less likely we will catch COVID-19.
Below are some links to fun YouTube videos on how to shop your own pantry or make recipes with what you have in your fridge. Enjoy and share your yummy dishes with me!
Thanks to all of the people who did panic shopping when this all went down a little over a week ago, many of us are struggling to find staples on the grocery shelves and are resorting to making meals with what ever is in our cupboard, fridge and freezer. This isn’t completely a bad thing, you finally get to use that can of heart of palm you bought a year ago. Why did I buy that again?
I’ve always had to be resourceful when it comes to cooking. I’ve been on my own since I was 18 and money has been hard to come by on many occasions, so I’ve had to be creative with food. I always managed and never went hungry thankfully. There have been a few times in our history where we were going through wars or The Great Depression and putting food in your cupboards was beyond desperate times. During those times, homemakers had to make due with what they could get their hands on. I’ve been researching some of these recipes and below is some of what I found.
If you have kids, this might be a fun thing to do with them!
Ok. Ok. Yes… I was on a roll. Blogging almost every day. Then. Poof. Smoke bomb. I was gone. Don’t worry. I’m not gone. I’m still here. So where did I go?
I didn’t actually go anywhere… However, I did get lost — in my novel.
I’ve been crazy motivated since returning from my parents. There is something about that small town that motivates me to write dark, horrific things. It inspires ghost stories. I’ve been taking advantage of that writing adrenaline rush and have accomplished quite a bit. I actually can’t seem to write fast enough. This is a good thing.
Also, the weather hasn’t really been cooperating. We are still having many, many, many, MANY days of rain. Even with a risk of rain, I don’t want to chance taking my laptop outside. I know I could wrap it in plastic, but I am still paranoid I will get it wet. This coming week is looking a bit better, so I am hoping to get out to a cafe at least a couple times this week. If not… I may need to continue writing from my couch or dining room table.
I’ve also been doing some recipe creation and then testing this week. I have another blog, where I am blogging about food and recipes called Not Vegan, Now Vegan, please check it out!
Today I also FINALLY fixed my bike. It keeps breaking down. It was free and has had a few issues since I got it. In the fall the back tire blew out and I finally got it fixed. I fixed it for a number of reasons. 1. I need to exercise and lose weight. I’m working hard to clean eat, get processed food out of our lives and eat a healthy plant-based, whole foods, vegan diet but that isn’t enough. I need to also be exercising more. 2. I can avoid public transit as much as possible. It’s not a secret that I am not a fan of our public transit. It somehow one an award for being the best transit system, yet is actually one of the most expensive and most inefficient. I’m not sure who else was in the running. But, it is definitely not the best, especially when they shut down huge chunks of the system every weekend. 3. I can go to way more cafes to write Redheads Writing In Cafes. BONUS: I can cycle to our local pool to cool off when summer heats up.
Recently we had a house party for my boyfriend’s birthday. I made an array of hot h’orrorduerves. The table was filled with many delicious vegan dishes such as loaded nachos, complete with nacho sauce, guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Cauliflower BBQ sauce wings, spring rolls, blue cheese dip, spicy sweet chili pepper sauce, cheese ball with chives, veggies, dips, hummus, cupcakes… all homemade. Did I mention… all vegan?
The one thing that caught everyone’s attention was the Cauliflower BBQ sauce wings. Everyone thought they were actual non-vegan wings. Even after I let them know they were not, they still tried them. Loved them. You know that you were successful when everything was gobbled up. All of the homemade food was gone, platters cleaned off, with the exception of some dredges of sauce and a wee bit of the cheeseball.
Quite often I am asked for the recipes for the dishes I make. Either by those who have eaten them or by those who have viewed pictures on my Instagram account. I do often use recipe books or recipes from the YouTube channels or blogs I am subscribed to. More often than naught, I do make things by just tossing ingredients together. This is a skill I learned from my Grandma Betty. A skill that can frustrate others, when you describe a recipe as a handful of that and a pinch of this. It’s definitely time to start writing these things down.
Similar to knitting, I learned to cook when I was ten. Partly out of necessity (to help out my working parents), partly because I loved to experiment with food and cooking was the ultimate experiment. I have always loved cooking and creating recipes. The end results may not always be what was expected and it’s true that our failures, even in the kitchen, teach us to be better at what we are attempting to learn or create.
I was blessed to have two Grandmothers who were amazing cooks. I learned different skills from both of them. Their passion for cooking and baking also became my passion. I learned how to bake bread, tarts, shortbread and pies. I got to watch them smile as they rolled out dough or kneaded bread. Every once in awhile I still get a waft of baking bread and nostalgia.
A few years ago my Aunt Margie copied Grandma Betty’s cookbook and my mom gave me a copy of Grandma Carrie’s recipes. Over time I have been converting them to Vegan recipes. I think it is time to start sharing these recipes.
As I mentioned above, In the beginning, I didn’t have cookbooks to guide me along. I learned how to cook by watching how others cooked. This was pre-YouTube, pre-internet. I KNOW. A time BEFORE the internet! Once I learned the basics, I needed to know more, I wanted to expand my knowledge. This is when cookbooks came into my life. Very often, I would borrow cookbooks from the library. Eventually, I started receiving cookbooks for gifts and then began my collection. A collection that continues to grow.
When I was a child, I grew up in an omnivore household. As a teen, I started to experiment with being a vegetarian and became a full vegetarian when I move out at the age of eighteen. Eventually, I became Vegan. When I did, I purged my cookbooks. I didn’t give them all away and if you looked at my collection, you will still see non-Vegan cookbooks. I still use those cookbooks… and convert recipes to Vegan ones. I have the Betty Crocker Cookbook my mom gave to me when I was a teenager. I also love to collect vintage cookbooks. These can often be vegan recipe conversion inspiration.
My personal style has usually been a horror-themed dinner party menus. The last few parties we’ve hosted have been less on the ghoulish side and I think I need to get back to being more of the horrific hostess. In my collection of cookbooks, I have horror themed or dark themed cookbooks. My next food related blog post will be of that theme. I have also started a food-related blog. You will find all of my future food-related posts at www.notvegannowvegan.wordpress.com.
Sweet Chili Sauce recipe (one of those toss items together and see what happens)
¼ cup water
2 tbsp vinegar
1 garlic (minced)
2 -3 red chili pepper or tsp of chili flakes
1.5 tbsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 tsp cornstarch + 1.5 tsp water
In a saucepan add water and sugar. Heat and stir till sugar is dissolved.
Add garlic and chili pepper or flakes.
Add cornstarch mixture and stir till thick.
As it cools down it will get thicker.
These are some of the YouTube Channels I watch. It is a beautiful mix of healthy and how to make Vegan junk food. For those of my readers who are from Toronto, I will note which ones are from Toronto (easier for getting supplies).
Hot For Food (Toronto)
It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken (Toronto)
The Edgy Veg (Toronto)
Buddhist Chef (Montreal)
Those Annoying Vegans (the first half of the video is the recipe, second half is about Veganism)
Cooking with Plants
Deliciously Ella — (also she’s got a cute British accent)
Raw Food Not Gross (she isn’t just raw food/she is super kooky and fun)
and here as well, though her own channel is way more fun
The Vegan Zombie (because Zombies)
Vegan Black Metal Chef (because fun)
Be Healthy Be Happy
Sian Brown (A very talented musician)
Cheap Lazy Vegan (Canadian)
Nikki Limo’s Tasty Tuesday’s
High Carb Hannah
Sweet Potato Soul
Websites and bloggers (most of these sites you can also subscribe to their newsletters):