Cranberry-mushroom sietan roast.

Just last week, my good friend Miranda / @irresistiblyvegan mailed me a full-size FIELD ROAST. From the american west coast, to smack dab in the centre of Canada. It was packed with ice packs and and bubble wrap and everything. I was floored and her kindness. I feel something to do with me texting her in complete devastation about Field Roast not being shipped into Canada anymore had something to do with it {read Field Roasts commentary here}.

I know it won't take me long to polish off that 10" mound of nirvana. So I sorted out a recipe for a cranberry and mushroom seitan roast, to help tide me over after the gluttonous consumption. This reminds me VERY much of Field Roast's apple and sage breakfast links, except I added in pulsed mushrooms, onions and cranberries. 

The base of this recipe is vital wheat gluten. It's also referred to as wheat gluten, gluten flour, or vital wheat flour. Bob's Red Mill explains it best, "[...]Vital Wheat Gluten is made from the protein found in the endosperm of the wheat berry, containing 75% to 80% protein. When combined with water it becomes highly elastic and has a taffy-like texture". This is the base of a HEAP of your favourite vegan chinese dishes that contain vegan friendly meat alternatives.

..What are we looking at cost-wise, though?

  • Bob's Red Mill - 632g at Sobey's = $8.99CDN / $1.44CDN per 100g 
  • In Bulk - per 100g at Bulk Barn = $1.20CDN per 100g (being extremely mindful of their $3 of a $10 purchase coupon quite often in full effect.. student and senior's day too) 

Because this recipe calls for about 1 1/2 cups, you're looking at about $2. Plus the cost of spices, which isn't heaps. Besides, aren't we paying $3.50 for 8 thin slices of this stuff?

I found this roast, straight out of the oven, to be really spongy and chewy (in a good, sausage-y way), but once I let it set in the fridge overnight, it firmed up and shaved wonderfully. I have MORE than enough to sauté for breakfast sandwiches, or dice up for pizza and kolaches.

Ingredients I
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp mustard powder

Ingredients II
3/4 cup cold vegetable stock or 3/4 cup cold water + 2 tsp powdered vegetable broth
4 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chopped basil

Ingredients III - Pulse into very small bits and set aside
5 mushrooms
1/2 an onion, equaling about 1/3 cup
5 tbsp fresh cranberries

Heat your oven to 325F. Get a cookie sheet ready with two pieces of tin foil, stacked on top of each other, that are about the size of your cookie sheet (which ought to be at least 9x9")

In a large bowl, whisk together Ingredients I. In a small bowl, whisk together Ingredients II then immediately stir in Ingredients III. Incorporate your wet mixture, into your dry mixture. Begin by mixing in with a fork, then work with your hands until a moist, slightly sticky dough forms. If you need a bit more VWG at this point, add a teaspoon over top your dough ball. Knead for at least 3 minutes to activate the gluten.

Transfer your dough to your tin foil. Shape into a log that's about 8 inches/20cm long. Roll up like a Tootsie Roll and twist the edges, being mindful not to wrap too tightly, as the roast will expand a little upon baking.

Bake for a total of 90 minutes, flipping the roast to a new side after each 30 minute interval.

I sliced my roast up the following morning and immediately made the saddest sandwich of everyone's youth: meat, earth balance, nayo and mustard. I can't fake sick and watch Price is Right this morning, but that's only because it's Sunday.

Peppermint gingerbread drop cookies.

Amy from @TheVeganRunnerGirl is at it again with #TheVeganCookingClub, featuring holiday cookies as a theme this round. I haven't made gingerbread cookies for a month of Sundays so I figured it was about the right time to sort out gingerbread drop cookies. These have an optional bit of crushed candy canes that get baked on top, which nicely accompanies the rich, gingery, molasses drop cookie. 

Makes 24 3-inch cookies

Ingredients I
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp non-dairy milk
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp freshly grated cinnamon

Ingredients II
2 cups white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

optional - crushed candy canes, on a plate, to top before baking

Preheat oven to 350F.

In your mixer, cream all of Ingredients I together for 2-3 minutes on a medium speed.

In a small bowl, whisk together Ingredients II and slowly add into your mixer.

If topping with crushed candy canes: Using a 1-tbsp ice cream scooper, scoop dough and release dough into your hand. Lightly dunk the the cookie's top into the candy cane mixture, and place on the cookie sheet, candy-side-up. Arrange 3 x 4, totaling 12 cookies to a sheet.

If nixing the candy cane topping: Using a 1-tbsp ice cream scooper, scoop dough and release dough onto the cookie sheet, arranging cookies 3 x 4, totaling 12 cookies to a sheet. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. The cookies will be a little darker on the bottoms, and the candy cane topping will have melted into the crevices of the cookies, and will harden upon cooling. Let cool on the cookie sheet for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Vegan vegetable korma.

Holy smokes. A vegetable korma recipe that actually tastes like vegetable korma. No dairy here, just coconut-cashew cream. Serve alongside basmati rice, top with slivered almonds. This recipe serves 6-8.

Ingredients I - curry paste 
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp coarsely ground pepper
2 tsp masala
2 tsp white sugar
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 garlic cloves or 2 tsp minced garlic from the jar
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp canola oil
1 green chili, seeds taken out
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup water

Ingredients II
2 tsp vegan butter
1 onion, diced - about 3/4 cup
1 red pepper, julienned
1 white potato, cubed into 1/2" pieces (steam beforehand to save you some time later on) 
1/2 cup carrots, sliced/cubed/etc (steam with the potatoes)
1/2 cup snow peas
3/4 cup broccoli, cut into florets 

Ingredients III - cashew cream - soak these together overnight/at least 3 hours
3/4 cup raw cashews
1 - 14oz can coconut milk


In a small blender or food processor, puree all of Ingredients I

In a small pot, add in the butter from Ingredients II. Once the butter starts to sizzle, add in the paste you just made. Allow the flavours to come 'round for a few minutes, then add in your vegetables. 

Stir occasionally for 5 minutes while you make your coconut cream.

To make your coconut cream, throw the coconut milk + cashews in a blender until smooth and creamy. I used the same blender for my cashew cream, as I did to make the paste. Nothing to it but a quick rinse. Add coconut cream from Ingredients III to your pot, stir, and serve once the vegetables are thoroughly cooked through. 

Serve with rice, quinoa, couscous, etc. Top with some slivered almonds.

Pumpkin sugar cookies.

Remembering I have a pretty dandy mixer, I was on the hunt for a real decent sugar cookie recipe. My pal Dana posted a recipe some time ago for Pumpkin Sugar Cookies on her blog, that I've had bookmarked for a little. Sure enough, it was a winner! I followed this recipe to a tee, and added in 2 tablespoons fresh, grated ginger. This recipe made 18 cookies, and while there's not heaps left, they keep very nicely.