Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Vegan's Hundred

This is the vegan list in response to 100 things every omnivore should try, by BitterSweet.

I got an 84/100. Looks like I have a few things to make!
Update: Oct 09: 88/100

1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!

1. Natto
2. Green Smoothie
3. Tofu Scramble
4. Haggis
5. Mangosteen
6. Creme brulee
7. Fondue
8. Marmite/Vegemite
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Nachos
12. Authentic soba noodles
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Gyoza
20. Vanilla ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries

23. Ceviche
24. Rice and beans
25. Knish
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper (pureed)
27. Dulce de leche

28. Caviar
29. Baklava
30. Pate
31. Wasabi peas
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam

38. Vodka jelly (Jell-o)
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food french fries
41. Raw Brownies

42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
43. Dahl
44. Homemade Soymilk
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Stroopwafle
47. Samosas
48. Vegetable Sushi
49. Glazed doughnut
50. Seaweed

51. Prickly pear (I've eaten cactus, but not sure what kind)
52. Umeboshi
53. Tofurkey
54. Sheese
55. Cotton candy
56. Gnocchi
57. Piña colada
58. Birch beer

59. Scrapple (Did grow up with it in the house though)
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Soy curls
63. Chickpea cutlets
64. Curry
65. Durian
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu
69. Fried plantain
70. Mochi
71. Gazpacho
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies

73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can
76. Pomegranate

77. Fauxstess Cupcake
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
79. Jerky
80. Croissants
81. French onion soup

82. Savory crepes
83. Tings
84. A meal at Candle 79
85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and “cheese”
88. Flowers

89. Matzoh ball soup
90. White chocolate
91. Seitan
92. Kimchi (might be my most hated food)
93. Butterscotch chips
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti

97. Potato milk
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Raw cookie dough

How about you?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


"Geez Vegan Ronin," you may be thinking, "you've been quiet for a month and now a flood of delicious recipes! I may have a mind explosion trying to figure out which one to make first!"

I may have been quiet faithful readers, but I was not dormant. I am returning to the States in a few days and want to make sure this will tide you over for a week!

I have plenty of things lined up for you! But tonight I must continue to prepare for my vegetarian cooking demo for some Japanese housewives! Maybe you'll learn a thing or two from it later =)

Enjoy the many recipes!!!

Shoujin ryouri

"Shoujin ryouri (精進料理) is a type of vegan cuisine that was developed by Japanese Buddhist monks. It is based on a foundation of vegetables and rice, and various vegetable proteins."

It is also amazing and amazingly hard to find on average in Japan, because the Japanese love to make the EXACT SAME FOOD but put fish stock in it (stocks, sauces, soups, dips, EVERYTHING).

So if you are in Japan, head up to Koya-san in Wakayama Prefecture which is littered with vegan monks and shoujin ryouri abound!

Before we get to cooking, lets take a look at some real traditional shoujin ryouri (top left, clockwise):

Dinner:Gomatofu (sesame seed block), green konyakku, rice noodles, fruit, mustard dipping sauce, beer, wakame soup with tofu skin and gluten balls, oily soup (in center) with tofu skin and veggies, hot green tea, pickled vegetables, rice

Dinner:Soba (buckwheat noodles) with mushrooms, pears, vegetable tempura, stuffed tofu, koyadofu (dried tofu), konbu seaweed

Breakfast: tofu burger, wrapped seaweed, stick potatoes with plum sauce ("eggs"), soy jerky, miso soup with gluten chunks, hot green tea, rice, pickled veggies, cold greens (center)

Lunch: gomatofu, veggie & fruit tempura, tempura dipping sauce, hot soba soup, cold veggies: koyadofu, konbu, veggies, tofu burger & soy jerky, rice, pickled vegetables, and cold greens (center)

After eating all this amazing food, I wanted to make my own version of shoujin ryouri... so I did!

Black goma tofu, dengaku eggplant with extra sauce, tandoori veggies, rice with beans and grains, soba noodle soup with gluten balls (fu), tempura & curry salt, tempeh bacon, stir fry rice noodles

Tempura: sweet potato, kabocha pumpkin, broccoli, mushrooms with mix of curry powder & salt to dip them in, tempeh bacon, rice noodles stir fry (soy sauce & sesame oil)

Tandoori veggie kebabs: Mix of tandoori paste and oil which I marinated tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and tofu, then grilled.

Dengaku Eggplant: Dengaku- sweet miso sauce is a mix of miso, sugar, mirin and stock. Placed on eggplant then grilled with sesame seeds on top.

Goma tofu: Actually, there's no tofu in it! It is sesame seeds crushed an pressed together to look like a block of tofu. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi. It is one of my favorite foods.

Let this bring inspiration to make your own mini-feast!!! The only thing that's holding you back are how many plates you have =)

British Scones

British scones are different than American scones. They're not flaky and are more like a soft, slightly sweet biscuit. Eat them warm with jam! British omni-monkey approved.

Vegan Scones by Charlotte O'Leary

8oz self-raising flour*
1 tsp baking powder
1½oz soya margarine, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp caster sugar
150ml/4¼fl oz soya milk, plus extra for glazing
To serve
strawberry jam

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, and rub in the soya margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add the sugar and mix together thoroughly.
4. Make a well in the middle of the mixture, and slowly pour in the soya milk, stirring with a metal spoon. Bring the mixture together until it forms a dough.
5. Generously flour a large board and knead the dough for five minutes. Roll it out to a thickness of about 2.5cm/1in and, using a fluted 9cm/3in cutter, cut rounds from the dough.
6. Place the rounds on a greased and floured non-stick baking tray, and glaze the top using the extra soya milk.
7. Cook in the top of the oven for about 15 minutes, until a deep golden brown colour.
8. Leave to cool.
9. Serve with strawberry jam.

This recipe is from the BBC vegetarian recipe site.

*Make your own self-rising flour, Mix:
1 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Pot stickers

a.k.a. gyoza or Chinese dumplings

This recipe is pretty organic, working with what you have! I think mushrooms make a pretty good filling (in lieu of fake meat), I added some tofu just to bulk it up.

Mushrooms (pack), diced
Onions (1/2), diced
Tofu (1/2 block), drained & crumbled
carrot (1/2 stick),
sesame oil*
small bowl of water

Pack of pot sticker wrappers**
oil for frying

*Sesame oil really makes this meal, so try to use it!
**Big grocery stores don't really carry vegan wrappers, but little Asian stores do.

1. Stir fry all the veggies and tofu together with a little sesame oil until all the vegetables are soft and the liquid is gone. Remove from heat.

2. Place about a small tablespoon size scoop of filling in the middle of a wrapper.

3. Dab your finger in the bowl of water and rub along half of the edge of the wrapper, making a semi circle. This will keep it together.

4. Bring edges together and pinch together while trying to make sure the air is pressed out. (There are also pot sticker presser which makes it a little easier!).

5. When you are finished, heat a frying pan on medium heat. Place pot stickers in pan and cover with a lid to steam the top (you will not flip them).

6. When the bottom is nice and brown, flip them out onto a plate!

Serve with a soy dipping sauce!

Maple smoked tempeh bacon

Just a nice little snack!

1 pack of tempeh
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp Chipotle Tabasco sauce (or liquid smoke)
1/4 tsp salt

1. Cut tempeh into strips

2. Mix soy sauce, maple syrup, Tabasco sauce, and salt in a shallow bowl or container.

3. Place tempeh strips in mixture to soak.

4. Marinate for one hour, turning at least once.

5. In an oiled frying pan on med-low heat, fry tempeh strips for about 5 minutes each side until crispy!
Place in toaster over and toast til crispy!

Eat by themselves, in a sandwich with lettuce & tomato, in a salad, etc!

Tofu Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu, a fried pork cutlet, is a very popular dish in Japan. Imagine my surprise when I opened up The Asian Vegan Kitchen by Hema Parekh and saw its fatty fried vegan twin staring back at me! You use freeze dried tofu (called "koyadofu") which gives it a nice texture when rehydrated. It even passed omni-monkey's taste test. It's a little work, but SO worth it!

This is the exact recipe from The Asian Vegan Kitchen and you NEED to go buy this AWESOME book RIGHT NOW!!

"8 cakes koyadofu, about 6 ounces (170g) in total
All-purpose flour for dusting
1 C (125g) all-purpose flour
1/2 C (120 ml) water
1 C (100g) breadcrumbs (panko)
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Shredded white cabbage, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Tonkatsu sauce

2 C (480 ml) dashi stock
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon mirin
1/2 inch (1 cm) cube fresh giner, peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon grated garlic

I used 5 large blocks that was about 6oz/170g

1. Soak the koyadofu cakes in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain.

2. In a saucepan use a large pan!!, combine the simmering sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Put in the drained koyadofu and simmer for 8-10 minutes over medium heat, until all the liquid is absorbed.

3. Dab the koyadofu in the dusting flour. Mix 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup of water to make a thick paste. Dip the floured koyadofu in the flour-and-water paste, then roll each cake int he bread crumbs. Set aside.

4. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 350F (180C). Slide the breaded tofu pieces into the oil in batches and deep-fry until crisp and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot with shredded cabbage, lemon wedges, and tonkatsu sauce."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Eggplant Rice Bowl

"Gyuu-don" in Japan is a popular beef rice bowl. Gross I know. But don't worry! A super tastier & healthier rice bowl is ready to take it's place as Number One!


makes 4 bowls

2 medium Asian eggplants (or one regular large eggplant)
1 onion, chopped
1 C "dashi" (konbu, wakame, or vegetable stock)
1/4 C + 1 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp mirin (rice vinegar)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 C water + 2 Tbsp cornstarch

Short grain rice, cooked (bout 4 cups)

grated ginger (the kind in the tube. or pickled ginger works well too)

1. Cut eggplants in half

2. Grill the eggplants until the skin is wrinkly and just starting to char.
Try broiling them in the oven, or on a high temp close to the heat source in your toaster oven. For a last resort, try a creme brulee torch!

3. Place them in an ice bath for 5 minutes.

4. While waiting, place dashi stock, soy sauce, vinegars, and sugar in a pan on medium heat and bring to a simmer.

5. After the ice bath, peel the eggplants and discard the skins (the smell will tempt you, but don't eat them yet!)

6. Cut each eggplant in four long strips and then cut those in half, giving you 8 pieces.

7. Add eggplant and onion to broth. Simmer for 10 minutes.

8. Slowly pour in the cornstarch/water mixture. Stir constantly until it thickens.

9. Pour over rice. Top with scallions and ginger. Dig in! (Oh it's so good!)

No eggplants? No worries! Use any veggies on hand with the same sauce.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lentil dahl with sweet veggie couscous

Oh, such a wonderful little lunch!

A veggie sandwich with homemade big bread and tofu mayo.
Sweet Couscous from the McDougall Diet online cookbook.
Lentil Dahl by Gellian McKeith's You Are What You Eat.

Lentil dahl with vegetables

Serves 4

1 cup of red split lentils per person

1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground coriander
pinch of cayenne
½ a cauliflower
1 stalk of broccoli
½ a turnip
1 tsp garam masala
nori flakes

Put the lentils in a large pan with PLENTY of water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that appears.

Turn down the heat, add the spices, except the garam masala, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the chopped vegetables, tamari and garam masala and cook until the vegetables are soft.

Serve the dahl on top of the rice and sprinkle with nori flakes.

I obviously used brown lentils just fine and 1 cup makes a TON. If you want lots of leftovers, go ahead and double it! I also just used veggies at hand & no nori.

Sweet Couscous
Servings: 2
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes

1/3 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup couscous
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 tablespoons brown sugar*
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Let rest for 3 minutes. Top with sliced bananas, if desired.

*Original recipe calls for honey.

Oh man, this is so good! The contrasting tastes with steamed vegetables and the dahl on the side are amazing!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Omni Dinner Pleasers #2

Another successful dinner party where omnis eat delicious vegan food without even realizing it!
Hopefully this will be many in a continuing series that will inspire you when you need to impress!

Mexican Herb Biscuits
Salad with sesame dressing
Taco Casserole
Mexican Rice

I started with a spin on the two big winners (biscuits & croutons) of the last Omni Dinner series.


Mexican Herb Biscuits (Ronin Recipe)
I altered the spices to include oregano, garlic, cumin, and paprika.


Fresh salad with croutons
Lettuce with avocado, tomato, onion, homemade sesame dressing (Ronin Recipe) and homemade garlic-rosemary croutons.
Bread, olive oil, garlic powder, rosemary
Lightly rub bread with oil, shake on garlic powder and rosemary. Rub into the bread. Cut into squares, place in toaster oven oil side up. Toast until light brown.

*Main 1*

Taco Casserole (Ronin Recipe)

I cannot tell you how many times I have made this for all sorts of occasions, and it always goes down so well. It really is a staple in my recipe repertoire because it is so EASY and FLEXIBLE!
This time I used kidney beans, onion, peppers, stewed tomatoes, and corn plus one packet of taco seasoning and some hot sauce (baked in 2 small pans).
Served on the side:
Salsa, Avocados, Onions, Tomatoes, Lettuce, and hot sauce of course!

*Main 2*
Mexican Rice
(not pictured)

Prepare and start cooking rice as you normally would. Half way through the cooking process, stir in:
Stewed tomatoes, mince onion, garlic powder, salt, dash of paprika, dash of turmeric, and mixed chopped vegetables (corn, carrot, peas...). Add more spice as desired.
Finish cooking as usual. Give it a good stir before you serve. MMMM!


A.K.A.: Creme Caramel or Custard.

Vegan box mixes of flan are actually fairly easy to find. Try checking the Latin food section (Goya brand is vegan). Just follow the box directions and use soymilk!

Here is a recipe for Vegan Caramel Flan by VegCooking Blog. I have not tried this to know how good it is.

Sit back and enjoy the compliments!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sesame Dressing

Zomg hrksjfkdsjfdkdhhd drrooooooooooool

1/2 C Mayonnaise (Vegan Ronin recipe!)
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp golden sesame seeds

Put them all together and stir!
Refrigerate and store in an airtight container.

Oh man this is SO GOOD on salads. Boring lame salads no more!

Ronin's fav: lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, sesame dressing and garlic/rosemary croûtons.

Vegan Mayonnaise

This was created as sort of a mish-mash of various recipes and suggestions.
It is OMNI-APPROVED. Two weeks later, Omni-monkey is still impressed by its flavor.

1 tub of soft or silken tofu
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard

1/4 C oil (vegetable, canola, your pick)

1. In a food processor or blender, mix everything BUT the oil until nice and smooth.

2. Turn processor/blender ON. Through the opening at the top of most processors/blenders, SLOWLY drizzle the oil in a small stream.
*This lets the fats emulsify together to bind & thicken*

3. After you have finished pouring all the oil, CONTINUE letting it blend for another minute.

4. Check for taste (mainly salt). The consistency will still be a little runny. THIS IS NORMAL!

5. Transfer into an airtight container. CHILL at least one hour. The consistency should be thick and spreadable.

This will keep at least a couple of weeks if stored properly. Makes around 2 cups.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Vegan cooking for the omni family

Yes you too can wow your omni family! Bold flavors will erase any doubts they ever had!
Use this as a template to pump up your own hearty meal.

Sage biscuits
Fresh salad and croûtons
Polenta with roasted red peppers
Homemade ravioli
Garlic Brussels sprouts
Fresh fruit in phyllo cups

Sage Biscuits

Recipe here
Fast and easy and a crowd pleaser!

Fresh salad & croutons

Use any combo of veggies for the salad. The croûtons are what really make this!
Bread (fresh is best!), olive oil, garlic powder, rosemary
Lightly rub bread with oil, shake on garlic powder and rosemary. Rub into the bread. Cut into squares, place in toaster oven oil side up. Toast until light brown.

Garlic Brussels Sprouts

How to clean & cook Brussels Sprouts:
Rinse them well. Chop off the stem and peel off the outside layer of dirty leaves. Make an X with your knife in the bottom of the stem (to cook evenly). Steam for about 5-8 minutes (until they are bright green). You could also boil them for a little less time.
While sprouts are cooking, prepare a skillet with a splash of oil and minced, fresh garlic over medium heat. When sprouts are done, add them to the skillet. Roll around in the hot garlic for about one minute. Serve immediately.

*Main 1*
Polenta with roasted red peppers

Make polenta according to box (if using cornmeal, use corn mush recipe and let it rest & cool). Use a boullion cube/broth for extra flavor. I chopped pre-bought roasted red peppers and mixed them into the much before it set. I used decorative cookie cutters to cut out designs from the peppers for the top.

*Main 2*
Handmade Ravioli

Dough: Recipe here. I added chopped basil to this. Maybe because I only had regular unbleached flour, but I needed a lot of extra flour to roll it out in my machine.

Filling: Basil, soy chorizo, roasted red pepper. (I really wanted a faux-meat free dinner. Ideally, I would have used a mushroom/artichoke filling, but my aunt is allergic to mushrooms.)

Assembly: Pass a piece of dough a few times through a pasta roller, setting the dough to get thinner one or two times, until you have a long piece of dough. Repeat. Place 1.5-2 tsps of filling on top of one strip of dough, every few inches. Brush water around the edge of the filling. Place second dough strip on top, pressing down around the filling, sealing it in while pressing the air out. Take a ravioli stamper (or cookie cutter) and cut out ravioli.
When finished, boil only a couple minutes until they float to the top.
Refrigerate or freeze any extra non-cooked ones.

Sauce: I make a 4+ hour sauce that is totally worth the time. For basic instruction, watch it here. (I will have a post completely about it soon.)

Fruit filled phyllo cups

Prepare phyllo (thaw & layer) according to box directions. To make cups, press into a muffin pan.
Fruit mix: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries (chopped), apples (chopped). Toss with lemon juice (to prevent browning and to add flavor). Sprinkle with cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg.
Opt- add brown sugar or agave nectar (suitable for diabetics) for some sweetness.

Spoon into baked cups right before serving.

Let the feast begin!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Vegetarian Chinese Chicken

I randomly stumbled across this recipe and it sounded interesting. It certainly didn't taste like chicken, but maybe Chinese chicken is just a fun thing to call it. It was tasty at any rate! It was chewy with a nice bite of soy sauce and can be eaten burrito style if you wish! Thanks JenYu's grandma!!

Just look at the simple ingredients!

1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced thin and squeezed dry
1/2 cup bamboo shoots strips, squeezed dry
2 pkgs of dried tofu skin sheets
1/2 cup soy sauce
dash sesame oil
1/4 cup sugar



Getting ready to roll it up

Dinner is prepared!