November 17th, 2009


Japanese-themed dinner menu: soba, miso-glazed sweet potatoes

Here's a Japanese-ish menu I made for a couple of pescatarian friends (one of whom is a professional chef) over the weekend. I had two menu options, one a more European one featuring a centerpiece of mushroom-potato cabbage rolls, but my friend requested soba so here is what I served.
  • Nori Crisps
  • Miso-glazed Sweet Potatoes with Toasted Black Sesame (recipe follows)
  • Soba with Mushroom Dashi (from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian) and Scallions, topped with Parsnip and Broccoli Tempura
  • Silken Peanut Butter-Chocolate Pie (or whatever it's called) from VwaV [This seems like an anomaly, but since it's tofu-based and actually tastes a lot like the black sesame ice cream I ate once at a Japanese restaurant I figured it would fit in. Plus it's a delicious vegan dessert and that's good enough for me. My guests had no complaints.]
They're not drinkers so we just stuck to sparkling water. If I'd had more time I would have gotten some green plum juice to go with it. Also, if I'd had more time I would have added a simple salad after the noodles. As it was the chopped scallions on the soba were the only fresh vegetable on the menu.

My friend the chef had good things to say about the miso sauce on the sweet potatoes and asked how I made it. Here's what I did (all measurements are approximate, as I was basically flying by the seat of my pants):
  1. Boil 3 sweet potatoes (1-2 inch diameter) in their skins for 15-20 minutes. You should just be able to stick a fork into the center when they're done.
  2. While they're cooking, toast about 2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds in a dry skillet for about 5 minutes, shaking often, until they start to smell good. Remove from heat and set aside. Then make the sauce: measure out 1/4 cup red miso into a medium bowl, thin with 1/4-1/3 cup boiling water, stir until smooth. Add approx. 2 tablespoons mirin and a teaspoon or two rice wine vinegar.
  3. When sweet potatoes are finished cooking, drain and peel as soon as they are cool enough to handle, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Add miso sauce, mix gently (no need to be too thorough). Sprinkle generously with toasted black sesame seeds. Serve.
pink and phones and fat

Tamale Fillings?

Every year in the fall, the women in my family all get together on a Saturday to make tamales. Our "tamale day" is this upcoming Saturday, and rather than the usual cheese & chili variety, I was wondering if anyone knows of any other vegetarian or vegan friendly fillings. Cheese is ok but not necessary. Bonus if they are traditional fillings/recipes.

Thanks in advance!

seitan question

I've been through the tags, and am considering making zaftigvegan's Happy Chicken Kiev, assuming I can find all the ingredients (not so easy in the rural south, let me tell ya).

I've never made seitan. In an urgent buying trip last month, I bought Vegan Planet as it was the cookbook most conducive to my reading style (what good is a book you won't read?). Money's tight, so I'll not be buying any books I can't gift until after the first of the year. VP has a basic seitan recipe that involves a lot of rinsing.

Seitan veterans, I ask you, would you recommend I try making plain seitan first to get a feel for it or should I jump head first into my goal recipe? Somewhere in the middle?

Any "how-to" or "how-not-to" suggestions also welcome.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin-Cranberry Spice Cake

For Thanksgiving, my family asked me to make this cake they found in the paper. The recipe looks fine, but I want to veganize it so I can also enjoy some. I'm not exactly sure how to do that, since I've never really veganized anything before. I've always just followed a vegan recipe.


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[I wasn't sure about tags. If you need to change them, please do.]