Bend it like [no]ham!

Okay… Wow. I wasn’t going to mention it but… That match. Insanity. If I was a fan I’d have cancelled talking about food today and bugged you with some [read: an insane lot of] Fußball [soccer] talk. Lucky for you, I have no idea of soccer rules, team constellations [aside from some handsome players] or else. But you know I like a good theme for my posts so my post-soccer rush [and sugar-fuelled] mind came up with a game plan of soccer-fying this post. So What I ate Wednesday is going for the [taste] goal this week.

WIAW GOES for the goal

The preliminary:  breakfast. While I still tried some recipes from my Pinterest boards I’d been slacking on making any of those from my Sunday posts . Never mind. I made up for that by creating a nice plate. The lineup: Hannah’s Chickpea Polenta Scramble with some bok choy added to it, a tomato [mostly for colour] …

Polenta chickpea scramble_cleaneatingveggiegirl

… and a surprise wing back in the form of cauliflower nuggets to save the meal from a red card by my hungry stomach. Not to say Hannah’s recipe wasn’t good because it’s a delicious alternative scramble. But didn’t hold its shape quite as well as in her pictures and I found the serving size to be on the smaller size [for me]. Likely to blame would be the fact we can’t buy premade polenta in stores so I had to cook and mold my own guesstimating amounts. And apparently it didn’t firm up as well as it looked like after plopping it out of the bowl.

Cauliflower nuggets_hand

While I don’t like tofu scrambles Hannah’s non-soy version made me  decide to allow them to step up into the second round. Tastes change after all so with an open package of silken tofu in the fridge I mashed some of it up with turmeric, smoked paprika and pepper to add to another breakfast. This was on a very snacky non-hungry morning and followed by almond butter.

Breakfast scramble_silken tofu

The leftover silken tofu mentioned was a remainder from one of the most random but delicious lunches in a while. Like ## mentioned before I’m not usually a fan of tofu or fake meats but recently picked up a few products merely out of curiosity. One were those slices of vegan deli meat. It’s no ham but bending the rules [like Beckham] tofu deli slices were a delicious substitute player – [soy] bean ham??

Tofu-Aufschnitt_vegan deli meat

Let’s move onto the semi-finals: Lunch. For whichever reason the idea of carbonara sauce plopped up in my head. On a Sunday with no option to get any special ingredients.  Wheatberries sounded good, a creamy non-tomato-based sauce and peas did so this dish was born: silken tofu cheesy sauce,  wheatberries, peas, the deli meat slices and some cherry tomatoes for a little fresh kick. It was oddly delicious for going about it with no real plan.

Wheatberry, Pea and vegan deli meat bake

Did I mention I really like wheatberries?  Plus, I have a box to use up and that’s why they’ve been my grain of choice lately. Hence also when I spontaneously decided to try this pasta bake for lunch yesterday.  Only it obviously wasn’t a pasta bake anymore.  Either way, the creamy vegan cheese sauce using corn and cauliflower – I have quite a lot of it on hand once more, remember? – was absolutely delicious. I added random vegetables and had to leave out the sprouts that I’m sure take this dish over the top but I had none at hand. Rain tripped a foul in the photography game so my pictures didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped.

Wheatberry casserole

Not a new sweet treat but a sweet[er] first worth mentioning: my matcha latte premiere. Matcha has been on my list of foods to try for months and it’s currently on offer at a whole foods supermarket chain so I jumped at the chance. My verdict after the first leg of this on-going matcha match: still open. I didn’t expect it to be -that- bitter – you can tell I’m generally a green tea newbie – so for now the soy milk foam was my favourite part. Sweetening the matcha right away was key for me. Life was meant to be sweet after all, right?!

Matcha Latte_soy

The finals were made up of chocolate and almond butter but it was a fast-paced game so went unpictured. If you’re wondering about the outcome of this exciting game: it was a tie. Which, yes, if you’re bending the rules like Beckham the ball, is a possible outcome for a final game. Just roll with it. But make sure to take a look at everybody else’s contenders and matches via Jenn’s and Vegan Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: Oh, just a certain soccer game, you know. <- I make myself laugh.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

What are the most unique scrambles you tried so far? I’ve yet to try the sweet [banana] breakfast scrambles but I’m sure there are versions I haven’t even heard of yet out there.

Are you a fan of matcha? If so: what do you use it for? My initial idea was to try it in oatmeal or desserts so I’ll likely experiment soon.

And obviously: did you watch yesterday’s match??

 

 

Meaty yet not [Mushroom Stroganoff]

Sometimes it happes when I’m passing restaurants, bakeries and the likes. The scent of freshly baked goods or a certain dish turns up my appetite making me long for whatever it is in that very moment – and yes, even if I just ate. Don’t tell me you didn’t know that ;).

Sometimes, though, those cravings come out of nowhere yet still need to be satisfied. So here’s to a confession: I’m a convinced vegetarian and don’t ever feel deprived by my choice of foods.  But there are still those days when I crave the hearty flavour of meat, its texture and taste. In consequence I’m finding way to get the meatiness without the meat.

Stroganoff

So when that unshakeable longing for something ‘meaty’ hit on Tuesday I immediately knew what I wanted: Stroganoff. Which is funny because I’ve never had actual Boeuf Stroganoff. But it was the vegan option at my sister’s wedding – then featuring seitan. Only I didn’t have seitan at hand and am generally not the hugest fan of store-bought so I once more resorted to my favourite meaty vegetables again: mushrooms.

Stroganoff

That was the beauty of discovering vegetarian dishes for me: playing with the meaty taste and texture resemblance of certain natural ingredients to create dishes that satisfied without desperately trying to mimic or replace meat. Quickly looking up some Stroganoff recipes online I got to work with what I had on hand and ended up with a satisfying plate of meatless meatiness.

Mushroom Stroganoff

  • olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6-7 mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 100 g/3.5 oz silken tofu
  • 1 heaped tsp [white] cashew butter
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper [optional]
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1-2 medium-sized pickles, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped parsley [I used frozen]
  • 1 tsp of mustard [optional for a more authentic Stroganoff but I don’t like mustard so I omitted it]

1. Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic and let cook for another two minutes.

2. Meanwhile blend the silken tofu, cashew butter, soy sauce and worcestershire sauce.

3. Add the mushrooms to the onions and cook until softended. Mix in the pickles and chickpeas.

4. Pour in the tofu sauce and season with the spices. Stir in the parsley.

5. Serve over either your grains of choice or cauliflower rice.

Stroganoff

Mushrooms instead of meat, added chickpeas, … Once more this is by no means authentic but since we’re already at the topic of strange but good: why bother with traditions? It’s delicious on its own right and that’s what counts.

Happiness inducing today: As it’s still rather early I’ll go with a great Farmers’ Market haul including kabocha [finally again!] and apples – obviously knowing their names.

Do you ever crave foods you’ve never had before?

What are your favourite vegan/vegetarian ‘meaty’ recipes? Feel free to link me up in the comments for when the cravings hit the next time :).

Living up to my origins [Savoury Sauerkraut Bread Pudding]

Will you believe that sauerkraut has not been part of my diet for ages already? Yes, I’m German and here I am confessing that what you’d believe to basically be a staple food for me is not. Maybe my parents didn’t like it themselves or my mum simply didn’t serve it up because she knew me and my siblings wouldn’t eat it. Either way it never made an appearance on our table. Granted, my family is far from typically German – in the way we eat at least. Unless we’re talking winter and specifially Christmas, that is. When my grandma’s Rotkohl [spiced red cabbage] is a must – or somebody is going to throw a fit -, Grünkohl [kale prepared in a special way and stewed with smoked pork chops and a certain type of sausages] and other traditional dishes make an appearance.

Why, yes, I'm totally throwing in a picture of Christmas candles here.

Why, yes, I’m totally throwing in a picture of Christmas candles here.

But I digress. Sauerkraut. With me going vegetarian years ago a plethora of meat-less cookbooks have been finding their way into my parents’ house. One of these had a recipe for an oriental spin on the German classic Semmelknödel served with a side of sauerkraut. It’s one of these dishes that I’ve been preparing numerous times for me and my parents after veganizing it and I can’t get enough.

Semmelknödel

Unfortunately, though, Semmelknödel are a bit too involved to make just a single serving. Yet I’ve found myself longing for this comfort food during the recent colder days. Then I saw Amanda’s post for bread pudding and my mind got spinning … Vegan bread pudding – not that hard to do. Actually, I came up with a sweet recipe for it, too, which I’ll share soon. Back to the savoury, though.

Savoury bread puddingWhen I spotted fresh sauerkraut on a recent trip to the health food supermarket I couldn’t help but buy a bucket on a whim. Thinking about how to use it I remembered above-mentioned Semmelknödel and knew I had to satisfy my craving. Obviously that meant getting some bread – or in my case: a whole grain roll – which was a random way of overcoming a fear food. Feel free to laugh but yes: bread, rolls and the likes are still scary to me. The exact ingredients or nutritional stats? Not shown. And it’s still ingrained somewhere in my mind that they won’t fill me up. Well, I’m digressing again. All I can say is that this did most likely not just fill me up but satisfied my cravings for perfect comfort food. Bonus points for eating it with a side of candlelight. Who says it takes two for a candlelight dinner?

Savoury

Yes, this was taken at another day than the first picture.

Savoury vegan Sauerkraut Bread Pudding

  • 150 g fresh sauerkraut
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • olive or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup passata/tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp smoked red paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 4-5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 whole wheat roll [several days old/stale and preferably with lots of seeds], cubed*
  • 100 g/3.5 oz silken tofu
  • 1/2 tbsp cashew butter or white (!) almond butter [roasted might work but won’t add the same mild and creamy taste]
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 75 g chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1. Sauté the onion in the oil until translucent.

2. Add sauerkraut, passata, 1/4 cup of water and spices. Let simmer at medium heat for about 15-20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile blend the silken tofu, cashew butter, nutritional yeast and 1 tbsp of water. Set aside.

4. When the sauerkraut is almost done cooking, add the mushrooms and let cook for another few minutes.

5. Add the chickpeas.

6. Transfer the sauerkraut to a baking dish, top with the breadcubes. Mix them in just slightly. You still want most of them on top so they’ll stay crisp.

7. Pour the silken tofu mixture on top spreading it over the whole dish.

8. Bake in the preheated oven [175 °C/350 °F] for 20 minutes.

* if you don’t have day-old bread sitting around you can imitate the needed crispyness by microwaving the cubed roll for about a minute

If you want to feel virtuous while eating this you could do so while reading up about the health benefits of sauerkraut ;). Comfort food and good for you? It doesn’t get any better in my opinion. [And no, I didn’t lecture myself on all its benefits and it still was amazing.]

I’m linking up with both Kierston’s Recipe Friday and – because I know some might think of this dish as strange but [more than just] good – Laura’s celebration of all things unsual, too.

 

Happiness inducing today: A chat with a sweet old lady at the Farmers’ Market. She was 80 years old, not at best health anymore but had a great attitude. A happiness inspiration.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

Are there any traditional foods or recipes from your country you didn’t eat as a child but grew to like when you got older?

Do you like sauerkraut? Any favourite recipes?

 

 

 

On the edge of [strange but good] eggy-ness

[Sorry to all fans of yolk porn ;): There’s none of it in this post but something much better … Oh, and sorry for letting you wait that long, Sarah.]

Let’s talk comfort food! To me, that’s what casseroles are: Even when they are as quickly assembled as this one serving one up always has a special feeling attached to it. Memories of family lunches with huge casserole dishes being served to the crowd.

As eggy as it gets the vegan way.

As eggy as it gets the vegan way.

Growing up my mum sometimes prepared casseroles covered with a mix of eggs and milk or cream. The eggs would turn the into a frittata-style fluffy-puffy mass which I actually didn’t enjoy a lot. Even though I still ate eggs back then these dishes never really appealed to me – that’s not to say I didn’t eat them. After all, there were lots of good things hiding underneath :).

Lots of green goodness.

Why yes, I do like to eat my greens.

Weirdly enough, it’s been just these kinds of dishes I found myself craving a lot lately – I’d call it a strange but good craving. Luckily, there’s no need to crack the [egg] shells to recreate this goodness. With a little help from every vegan’s favourite ingredient: Silken tofu.

Blended with a pinch of this and pinch of that … egg-like vegan cheese sauce.

Blended with a pinch of this and pinch of that … egg-like vegan cheese sauce.

The magic is just a minute – okay, maybe a bit longer – away. But really, aside from a bit of vegetable chopping and blending the sauce ingredients the clean-up is the most laborious task in this process. I kept the vegetable mixture very simple in terms of seasonings but if you can obviously jazz it up any way you like.

Assembly - don't forget to make sure you get every drop of sauce ;).

Assembly – don’t forget to make sure you get every drop of sauce ;).

The magic is just a minute – okay, maybe a bit longer – away. But really, aside from a bit of vegetable chopping and blending the sauce ingredients the clean-up is the most laborious task in this process.

Vegan Cheesy Eggy Casserole

6 oz of broccoli, chopped

About 3.5 oz (one small/medium) bok choy, stalks and leaves sliced thinly

3.5 oz carrots, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

Cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tsps soy sauce

1 tsp rice vinegar

Salt and pepper

Cayenne pepper to taste

Oil for sautéing

For the “egg” mixture

7 oz. of silken tofu

3-4 tbsps of unsweetened soy milk [other non-dairy milks might work, too]

½ tsp of granulated onion

½ tsp turmeric

¼ to ½ tsp cayenne – depending on how spicy you like your food

½ tsp smoked paprika

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (this one is key for me!)

About 3 tbsps nutritional yeast

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Clean and chop your vegetables. Sauté garlic in oil until fragrant. Add carrots and broccoli and stir-fry for about five minutes. Then add bok choy and let it wilt. Add soy sauce and rice vinegar. Season to taste.

While the vegetables are cooking, add silken tofu and non-dairy milk to a bowl. Blend until creamy. Stir in spices and nutritional yeast. Add salt to taste.

Layer cherry tomatoes (cut side down though it might not matter) in a small casserole dish. Add fried vegetables and spoon silken tofu mixture on top. Smoothen out and bake for about 20 minutes or until the tofu mixture has firmed up. Serve and enjoy!

Maybe vegan eggy cheesy casseroles are strange … but they certainly are good, too.

Strange but good

Which kind of casseroles do you like?

What are your favourite recipes using silken tofu?