Archive forApril, 2011, Po’Boys, a bread recipe, and Jeremy

This post is going to take a sad turn, so the first thing I want to do is give you some very good news. The website the world’s been waiting for, whether they knew it or not,, has gone live today. The brainchild of Kittee of Cake Maker to the Stars, Allyson of Manifest Vegan, and Jessy of Happyveganface, is the first major source of vegan and gluten-free recipes, tutorials, information, and community. I’m very excited about it (and not only because I have a tutorial available there), and I think you will be too.

Now onto less happy things. There’s a recipe after this and you are welcome to scroll down and skip the depressing stuff. Mark and I recently learned that one of our good friends passed away a while ago. Today would have been his 33rd birthday, so I chose today to make a small tribute to him here. I lived with Jeremy for a little over a year, and Mark lived with him for a total of several years, in I believe three different states. I’m still processing this news – it doesn’t seem real. One thing I’ve been doing a lot of is looking at old pictures. I know the vast majority of you didn’t know him (and I hope those of you who did aren’t finding out through this post; if you are, please email me or Mark), but I wanted to do something to mark his birthday and celebrate our friendship.

Jeremy in Washington Square in NYC, where we were visiting him for his birthday, in 2003:

Jeremy at the infamous party at V’s place:

Jeremy being silly – I think he’s actually pretending he’s Mark here (speaking of Jeremy and Mark, it was during an instant messaging conversation with Jeremy that I coined Mark’s nickname Smark; I accidentally typed, “it’ smark” instead of “it’s Mark”, then started laughing and declared I was going to start calling Mark Smark. AND I DID):

I really hesitate to post this one because it’s awful, but it’s the only picture I can find of the two of us together (this is what happens when you are the one who takes all the pictures) (but at least I’m wearing a Praise Seitan shirt!):

These are my favorites though; you can probably guess why.

This is the best because no one other than Mark and I was ever brave enough to pick Tigger up – especially when he was outside, as he tended to get testy out there. This was before Jeremy moved in with us, so although he wasn’t a stranger to Tigger, this was still an extraordinarily brave thing for Jeremy to do. And Tigger didn’t care! Amazing!

Now for the recipe. Jeremy’s mother lives near New Orleans, and Jeremy and Mark lived together in New Orleans for a while, and Jeremy loved New Orleans cuisine. So to honor him on his birthday today, I made Po’Boys. I used the recipe in American Vegan Kitchen (which is a great cookbook, by the way). Apparently the bread is very important in Po’Boys. I found this recipe on The Fresh Loaf and have veganized it for your pleasure. I hate using bread recipes written with volume, not weight, measures, but, hey, at least you won’t need a scale for one of my bread recipes. This bread is fast and easy (I’m not used to making breads that don’t take at least two days!) and can obviously be used for many sandwiches and purposes other than Po’Boys. But it made a damn fine Po’Boy, according to this girl who has never had an actual Po’Boy in her life.

Po’Boy Bread

6 (possibly up to 7) cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (this is one packet if you buy them that way)
2 Tbsp dry soy milk powder (I keep a cannister of Better Than Soy Milk on hand for baking purposes and milk emergencies)
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 cups warm water (not hot, it will kill the yeast)
1 Tbsp vegan margarine

Put the yeast, soy milk powder, salt, sugar, and 2 cups of the flour into the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk together. (I don’t bother mixing dry ingredients before adding others because it’s not necessary with my mixer, but it also doesn’t hurt, so I’m telling you to do it anyway.)

Add the water and margarine.

Mix on low speed (on Kitchen Aids, use the paddle attachment) for two minutes. It will be very soupy.

Add the rest of the flour in 1/2 cup increments as you continue to mix. This is how it looks after about half of the rest of the flour has been added:

If you have a Kitchen Aid, switch to the dough hook about the time you are adding the final cup of flour. Continue to mix another minute or two, adding additional flour if necessary to form a soft but not tacky dough. I took it out of my mixer so you can see the texture, but leave yours in.

Cover the mixer bowl and let rest for 15 minutes. Then mix again for 10 minutes. (Speed 2 on a Kitchen Aid. I think I did 5 minutes on Speed 1 in my Bosch and 5 minutes on Speed 2, but a Bosch Speed 2 is different than a Kitchen Aid Speed 2.)

Place in a greased bowl and cover with a plate, or use a fancy dough rising bucket like I have.

Let rise until doubled …

… then gently de-gas by pushing it back down (don’t “punch” it; that’s no way to treat a bread dough!).

Cut it in half with a bench cutter or serrated knife and flatten each half into a rough rectangle. Cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Use your fingers to pull and press each half into a rectangle about 10″x16″.

Roll up each rectangle to create a log about 16″ long. Seal the ends and the bottom seam by pinching them closed.

Tray them on a half sheet pan, using a Silpat or parchment paper.

Cover with a damp tea towel and proof for about 45 minutes or until nearly doubled in size. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Score by slicing 1/2″ deep cuts at a sharp angle.

Spray liberally with cold water.

If you can, prepare to steam your oven. I do this by having a (non-seasoned) cast iron pan on the bottom rack of the oven. It must be preheated with the oven; I just keep mine in the oven at all times; it’s dedicated just for this use (which is why I didn’t bother seasoning it). Just before loading the bread, carefully pour 1 cup of water into the steam pan and quickly close the oven door. Please use heavy oven mitts when you do this; steam burns. Then load the bread as quickly as you can. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. You can rotate the pan at 20 minutes for even browning. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack before slicing.

Here is the crumb:

Rest in peace, Jeremy. You are greatly missed, and I’ll especially miss talking about books with you. We shared many meals together and I wish we could have shared this birthday meal for you together as well.

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Shirataki with peanut sauce, and a bag-making extravaganza

I spoiled my appetite for dinner a second time this week, and so wanted something very small and very quick later, and yet also wanted to feed Mark. I had some tofu shirataki in the refrigerator, and decided to go that route. Shirataki noodles were all the rage a year or two ago, with their 20 calories and very low carbs. I don’t make them that often because honestly, they don’t fill me up. But they seemed like the perfect thing when I wanted to eat something small not long before going to bed. I used three packages because I knew Mark would eat two. Here’s what I did.

Tofu Shirataki with Peanut Sauce and Veggies

3 packages tofu shirataki
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets and steamed
1 bell pepper, red, orange, or yellow, chopped
2 cups napa cabbage, chopped
5.5 oz baby corn (Super H sells these adorable 5.5 oz cans of these)

Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 oz coconut milk (Super H sells 5.5 oz cans of this too, which is great when you don’t need much)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
1 large clove garlic, grated
squirts of sriracha to your taste
juice of 1 lime

Remove shirataki from package and rinse very, very well in a sieve – this stuff has a funky odor you need to get rid of before using. Place in a pot, cover well with water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Put all of the peanut sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, adding some water if necessary to thin. Set aside.

Heat some oil in a wok, then add the bell peppers and baby corn, frying for a couple of minutes. Add the broccoli and cabbage and fry another few minutes. Next, drain the noodles and add them to the wok, stirring well and frying another minute or so. Pour the peanut sauce over the noodles and stir well.

I just wish I’d had something red to use for a better presentation!

So in news you probably don’t care about, I’ve been on a bag-making kick this weekend. First, I had this awesome fabric I had been considering using for my lunch bag but didn’t, so I made farmers market totes/grocery bags out of it. I LOVE this fabric. Each of the bags reverses to both green peppers and tomatoes. Adorable!

Next, I needed a tote for the beach. As I mentioned in my last post, Mark’s family lives near Folly Beach in Charleston, so we spend a lot of time there and I need something to lug my towel, books, and sunscreen around. I had a linen/cotton blend fabric leftover from a previous project that I used for this.

The inside is a cute squid and seahorse fabric, but I only had a fat quarter of each of two matching colors, so the lining is two different colors, but I think it ended up being even cooler that way.

I got all crazy and added a pocket to this one. Since I didn’t have any more squid fabric, I used a matching seahorse fat quarter I had to line the pocket. I left the selvage on the linen fabric because I liked the fringe effect.

I’m quite pleased with my beach tote and can’t wait to use it. You can’t really tell, but behind the tote it is STORMING! We’ve gotten so much rain today! (Which is partially why I spent all day making bags.) I’ve been getting alerts about coastal flooding and tornadoes all day. BAD DAY FOR THE BEACH. A girl can dream, though.

Next up, a smaller tote with bats and glow-in-the-dark skulls. You may not know this about me, but I’m a closet goth. I don’t really identify as a goth, but I have loved bats and Halloween and haunted houses and dark things since I was a kid, and I’m not kidding, black has been my favorite color since I was about 3. AND I LOVE BAUHAUS. IT’S TRUE. Oh, and I may have possibly met my husband in a goth club. I guess you could say I have gothic tendencies. I live with snakes and lizards and other things that go bump in the night!

Basically I made this tote just because I loved the fabric. And I DO need a book tote. This will also be good for keeping in the car and using as a bag when I need to run into a store for a couple of things. Lined with a cool red fabric I used for Christmas gift bags.

Yesterday I had to go to the fabric store to pick up nylon webbing for the straps for the retro veggie bags because I didn’t have enough fabric to make the straps. While I was there, I found these fruit fabrics for 50% off. I already have a ton of reusable grocery bags, but they’re getting kind of grungy and they aren’t the kind that launder particularly well. So fruit grocery bags it was! Green apples reverses to red apples, oranges reverses to bananas, and grapes reverses to cherries.

Finally, I declared our house a paper-towel-free zone a long time ago, but I’ve noticed that our cleaning person keeps bringing in contraband paper towels and using them to clean. I bought her cloth paper towels from etsy, but I don’t think they were big enough for her. And then at the opposite side of the spectrum, I have Mark, who thinks nothing of sopping up spilled beverages (and he spills a lot of beverages) with our best bath towels. So I took a yard of cotton flannel that I never used in the rag quilt I’d intended it for, and cut it into 12″ squares. I made a total of 16 cloth paper towels; some were a bit longer on two sides in order to use up all the fabric. Then I had fun trying out every overlocking stitch on my new sewing machine to finish the edges. Good times. I folded them up neatly and put them in a basket. Then, because I think part of Maria’s resistance to the cloth paper towels is she doesn’t feel right leaving soiled items behind her, I found a little pail and labeled it “DIRTY” so the used ones have a set place to go. I stored both the basket and the pail under the kitchen sink with the cleaning supplies, so hopefully they’ll be seen and used by anyone who needs to clean stuff around here. We’ll see if anyone other than me and the cats follow through.

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Old Bay Soup

Mark and I are just back from a 5-day trip to Charleston to visit his family. When we arrived home, I was famished and there was no food in the house, so I had to go to Wegmans and do some grocery shopping, after which I quickly shoved a frozen burrito and some chips & salsa down my throat so I didn’t pass out from hunger, effectively spoiling my appetite for dinner. Then around 9, of course, I wanted something else to eat, but didn’t want to eat a huge meal. I also wanted to have something to take to work for lunch tomorrow. So, as is my wont, I made a big pot of soup. Today’s feature: Old Bay soup. Which is basically just a soup I dumped a bunch of Old Bay into. I’m a Baltimore girl, but since I haven’t eaten seafood in 22 years, I have to get my Old Bay fix in other formats…and soup’s a favorite.

I was hungry and not thinking of saving the recipe, so even more than usual, these amounts are estimates. Soups like this one are very much taste-and-season-as-you-go.

Old Bay Soup

1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
a couple of squirts of Bragg’s liquid aminos (or a tablespoon or two soy sauce)
1 tsp dried seaweed, your choice (optional; I used wakame)
6 cups vegan broth or water + vegan bouillon (your favorite flavor)
1/3 cup bulgur
1/3 cup long- or medium-grain rice (or 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed – as I was eating it I wished I’d used quinoa!)
diced “meat” of your choice – I used Gardein Chick’n Scallopini, but any seitan, tofu, young jackfruit, or commercial vegan “meat” will work, or you can just skip it
1/2 tsp kelp powder (optional)
handful or two green beans, trimmed and chopped or french-cut
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1/2 tsp thyme
1-2 Tbsp Old Bay
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat some oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and celery seed; cook until the onions are soft. (If your “meat’ needs to be browned, add it with the onions as well.) Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until bulgur and rice are cooked, about 45 minutes. Season to taste – you probably won’t need any salt as Old Bay is very salty.

So, as I mentioned, we just returned from Charleston. A tidal stream runs past Mark’s mom’s house, and I was visited by ducks each morning as I sat on the porch and ate breakfast.

There is also a pond about a block from the house, where about a minute after you arrive, turtles will swim up to you. They’re huge!

The most startling and surprising wildlife I saw, though, was Din! Din was Mark’s cat when Mark and I met. He gave Din to his parents when he moved in with me because Tigger and Brachtune would have killed Din. Well, Din never forgave either of us – she hates us – and sometimes we don’t catch a single glimpse of her the whole time we are down there. She’s getting braver and has been making appearances after a day or two, but this is the first time I’ve been able to capture her on “film”. Here she is peeping around the corner to assess the situation. Very exciting.

I showed a little too much interest in her, so she ran under a chair for safety. Big sissy.

Mark’s family lives near Folly Beach, which is home to the Morris Island lighthouse.

And here we are being cute in front of the lighthouse:

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A few weeks ago I was looking around for something different to do with rice and came across this recipe. Since I always have orzo on hand for adding to soups, I decided to make something similar. I was startled when I took a bite of it later: it tasted exactly like Rice-a-Roni. Which was surprising to me because I haven’t had Rice-a-Roni in over 20 years. I never would have thought I’d remember what it tasted like. In fact, I had forgotten Rice-a-Roni even existed. (Does it still exist?)

“Did your parents ever make Rice-a-Roni?” I asked Mark.

“No, why?” he asked.

“Because this tastes just like it.”

“I’ve never heard of Rice-a-Roni,” Mark claimed. “What is it?”

Well, I’ve never heard of not having heard of Rice-a-Roni, but I dropped the subject. But when we were washing dishes later, I started to sing, “Rice-a-Roni….”, and Mark chimed in happily, “the San Franciscan treat!”

“I thought you’d never heard of it,” I accused him.

“Well, now that you’re singing it, I know it. Whatever it was, it was awesome. Make it all the time.”

So, Mark, here I am making it all the time. Or every few weeks anyway. This is a quick and easy side dish. I’ll have no problem making it whenever Mark wants it.


1/2 cup orzo
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
3 or 4 scallions, white parts minced, green parts chopped, separated OR 2 tsp dried minced onions
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed OR 1 tsp garlic powder
2 cups vegan “chicken” broth
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
parsley – fresh would be awesome if you have it; dried if not

If using, chop the green part of the scallion, and mince the white part.

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the orzo …

and stir to coat, …

… then saute until it’s beginning to turn golden.

Add the white part of the scallions or the minced onions and the garlic or garlic powder. It tasted a lot more like packaged Rice-a-Roni when I used the dried minced onions and garlic powder, by the way. Continue to saute until the orzo is completely golden.

Add the rice, broth, and soy sauce.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes or until all of the broth is absorbed. Stir in the green parts of the scallions, if using, and the parsley.

I served it with frozen veggies. JUST LIKE MOM USED TO MAKE! And a marinated and grilled Gardein chick’n scallopini, drizzled with sriracha. (Just like Mom never made!)

So, today is Tigger’s birthday. Look how nicely he poses for the camera! (This photo is particularly remarkable because I took it myself; it’s not as if there were someone behind the camera getting Tigger to look in that direction. He just knew to do it.) Tigger would let me hold him just like this for as long as I wanted, in fact, he begged me to. He’d even dance with me. Happy Birthday, Mr Sims. I miss you.

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