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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spicy Vegan Pepperoni Seitan

I take only 1% of the credit for this, the remaining howevermany percent going to Radioisotope at Sparkpeople, Joanna Vaught, and Julie Hasson (y'all can fight over proportional credit).

By mashing together Radioisotope's fantastic pepperoni spice recipe (she uses tofu) with the steamed seitan sausage numminess of Joanna and Julie (and a little wingin' it on my own), I came up with a pretty decent pepperoni.

Dry ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo or soy flour (replace with another 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten for firmer pepperoni)
  • 1 T paprika
  • 4 t ground black pepper
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 t Frontier vegan beef broth powder
  • 2 t smoked paprika
  • 1 t crushed red pepper
  • 1 t anise seed, crushed
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t ground mustard
  • 1 t cumin

Wet ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups water (opt: replace 1 cup of water with your fave broth and delete the broth powder, above)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 t liquid smoke (or sub 1-2 t smoked paprika in addition to the 2 t smoked paprika above)


  1. Put a steamer's worth of the water on to boil. I use a stock pot with probably a quart of water.
  2. Mix the dry stuff.
  3. Mix the wet stuff.
  4. Mix 'em together. The dough is really easy to work, so you don't need to dirty up the mixer. Just throw it in a bowl and mix it with a spoon or by hand. Hand-mixing bonus: pepperoni-flavored fingers.
  5. Using a 1/2-cup measuring cup, scoop out a hunk of dough. Drop it on a piece of foil (Julie suggests muslin as a less-waste alternative). Whip out your trusty bamboo-placemat-that-thinks-it's-a-sushi-mat to shape the foil-wrapped dough into a sausage shape. Alternatively, you can just use shape the dough manually, but what fun is that?
  6. Repeat until you're out of dough.
  7. Arrange your soon-to-be pepperoni sausages in steamer trays and steam them for 30-40 minutes.
Let 'em cool. Fridge 'em. Slice 'em. Eat 'em. Why not dig out the springform pan you bought for that ill-fated cheesecake experiment and make a stuffed pizza?

Tip: If you're using a food processor to slice your pepperoni, freeze the sausages for half an hour or so first. The sausages are a little soft, but they're moist enough to take a good freeze without getting unworkably hard.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Convenient, Easy, Probably Unhealthy Tofu Toaster Scramble(r) Ripoffs

This one's a no-brainer. A very tasty no-brainer.
  1. Go to your friendly Asian grocery
  2. Go to the tofu section
  3. Find the packages of "Age Tofu" (formally "Agedashi tofu," sometimes written "AgĂ©," pronounced -- without irony -- like "ah, gay tofu"). 
You'll see little puffs of fried tofu about the size and shape of playing cards and 1/4-1/2" thick. At Uwajimaya today, these were four for a buck and change or a dozen for three bucks and something. 

If you're a sushi fan, you may know these as the puffs that are bisected, sweetened, and filled with sushi rice to make Inari, which is Japanese for "the only thing a vegan can grab with any confidence from the sushi conveyor belt/train/boat."

Age tofu isn't naturally sweet, so when you buy it in the store, it's pretty much a naked omelet already. To start making it into a tasty breakfast treat, you can do any of these:
  • Cut it in two pieces; open the cut side of each piece with your fingers to make two small pockets
  • Cut an opening along one edge; open the whole thing with your fingers, keeping the other edges intact, to make the whole thing one pocket
  • Slice it down the middle like you were slicing a hamburger bun, fillings-retaining pocket effect be damned
Now that you have some fillings-ready tofu, fire up some fillings. 

Fillings suggestions:
  • veggie ham and veggie cheese
  • sauteed onions and mushrooms, with or without veggie cheese
  • thinly sliced mushrooms and fresh herbs
  • veggie sausage and cooked or canned potatoes
  • peppers and onions (vegan Denver)
  • spinach with veggie cheese and herbs (vegan Florentine)
  • creepy, frozen or vacuum-packed veggie meat substitutes from the Asian store with suspiciously misspelled ingredients lists, grilled
Because the finished omelet cooks for under a minute in the mike, you'll probably want to saute, steam, or bake anything that needs more heat and TLC (like onions, potatoes, peppers, or anything frozen) before you use it in the omelet.

Stuff the stuff into the tofu and cook, using one of these methods: 
  • Nukerowave oven: wrap in a paper towel and cook for 45 seconds
  • Oven or toaster oven: Wrap loosely in foil and bake at 400F for 5 minutes 
  • Pan-fry: medium heat for 4-5 minutes (the fried tofu already has enough oil that you shouldn't have to spray the pan)
Enjoy with some million-grain toast and Earth Balance with a side of Walla Walla onion hashbrowns.