Creamy Polenta with Barbeque Seitan Sauce

As you know we LOVE polenta over here 🙂 What is not to love; creamy, smooth corn goodness! And what makes this even better is a deelish, hearty sauce over top 🙂

Just a couple of past polenta dishes: Vegan Creamy Polenta with Sausage and PeppersMushroom and Kale PolentaPolenta & Shallot SquaresPolenta with Nectarine-Blackberry SalsaPolenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato SauceSlow Cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles and Polenta Vegetable Casserole.

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Creamy Polenta with Barbeque Seitan Sauce

1 1/2 cups water, divided
3 teaspoons tamari, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon stone-ground or Dijon mustard
8 ounces coarsley chopped or grated seitan
4 cups cooked polenta (see recipe)

Heat 1/2 cup water and 1 teaspoon tamari in a large pot. Add onion, pepper, and garlic and cook until onion is soft and translucent. Add remaining 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons tamari, tomato sauce, sugar, chili powder, vinegar, peanut butter, mustard, and seitan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Spoon the cooked polenta into bowls and top with the sauce. Enjoy 🙂

Marisa’s Babies Blessing Party

Candle 79 is one of the best restaurants ever as far as I am concerned! It’s on the UES so a bit of a hike for us, but makes the ultimate date night spot. Romantic, Cozy and deelish!! Check out my review from 2009.

But I went there for a very different reason recently. I had my fabulous Babies Blessing Brunch Party there. SO much fun, a bunch of beautiful girlfriends and the best food to celebrate the almost arrival of our little kiddos 🙂 Benay, the manager, was amazing in helping me set up this event and everything went super smooth. The food of course was deelish!

My mom made fabulous favors: Super cute planters all prepped with organic soil and seeds and a super cute flower on top 🙂 So perfect!!

Thanks ladies! Such a great day to celebrate!!!

We had a great menu!

APPETIZERS


Guacamole Timbale
chipotle black beans, caramelized onions, cucumber-jicama salsa, tortilla chips, ranchero sauce

Steamed Dumplings
seitan, shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, sesame-soy-ginger sauce
Angel’s Nachos

corn chips, mozzarella, tomatoes, refried pinto beans, chili-grilled seitan, guacamole, salsa, tofu sour cream, romaine lettuce

ENTRÉE


Stuffed Avocado Salad
baby greens, quinoa, zucchini, cucumber, radishes, black beans, toasted pumpkin seeds, grape tomatoes, chipotle-avocado dressing

Black Bean-Pumpkin Seed Burger
mixed lettuces, avocado, polenta fries, chipotle ketchup


Home-Style Pancakes
seasonal fruit, cranberry butter, gingered maple syrup

Wild Mushroom-Squash Risotto
cashew cream, pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs, frizzled leeks

Seitan Picatta
creamed spinach, grilled potato cake, oyster mushrooms, lemon-caper sauce

Check out my version of this famous dish 🙂

and then Dessert 🙂

Live Sweet Potato Parfait
nut granola, huckleberry ice cream


Cannoli
vanilla cream filling, coconut-chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate sauce


Apple Cranberry Pie
toasted oat crumble, french vanilla ice cream, berry
coulis, candied almonds

There were lots of fabulous beverages going around. I was super happy to have ordered the Coconut-Mint Frappe avocado, coconut water, agave, mint, lime. AMAZING!! I have been craving this drink ever since!

Picnic Perfect Chicken-less Salad

Truly deeeeeelish!! Perfect picnic food! This was great to have in the house. I doubled the recipe and had it for lunch several times. Packs a punch of flavor! YUM! There are a bunch of ingredients in this dish, but it comes together sooo well!

Picnic Perfect Chicken-less Salad
adapted from Healthy, Happy Life

1 package Trader Joe’s Chickenless strips
or 1 1/2 cups of grilled seitan, firm tofu or tempeh
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped thinly
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 small orange, diced
1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
2 Tbsp dried Tarragon, chopped
4 Tbsp Vegenaise, heaping
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juiced or 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup flat parsley, chopped
3-4 Tbsp sunflower seeds, roasted/salted
2 scallions, chopped thinly
optional: 3 Tbsp Arrowroot powder (natural thickener)
optional: 1 tsp cayenne
*Add more Vegenaise if you want a richer creamier chickenless salad

1. Saute, grill, bake or microwave chicken-less strips or seitan/tofu/tempeh. Chop into small cubes. Place into medium sized bowl-set in fridge to cool while you prep the other ingredients.
2. Clean and chop celery.
3. Finely chop tarragon.
4. Shred and chop cabbage. Dice and de-seed orange. Zest and squeeze lemon.
5. Add to a medium glass bowl:
Protein: chickenless cubes or seitan/tofu/tempeh cubes.
6. Add olive oil. Stir oil into cubes.
7. Add celery, orange, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, paprika, cabbage, parsley, sunflower seeds, parsley and scallions. Mix well. Fold in veganaise and tarragon.
8. Add optional arrowroot powder gradually and fold into salad. Add optional cayenne and more black pepper to top of salad.
9. Press salad firmly into bowl, cover and place in the fridge for a half hour to chill. Chill overnight if you have time.
10. Serve! Add to sandwiches, pitas or eat with hearty grain crackers. Picnic perfect!

Parent’s Dinner Party – Vegan Seitan Piccata, Creamed Spinach & Creamy Polenta

YUM YUM YUM!!! If you want a meal to impress here you go 🙂

Candle 79 is one of my favorite vegan restaurants! And one of my fave dishes there is the Seitan Piccata.  I adapted this dish from their recipe and it was super deeeeelish! I am sure this sauce would work on tofu, tempeh, etc…  soooo yummy!!

I knew both our dads love Creamed Spinach and Polenta so I wanted to make it for them vegan style 🙂 It was super creamy and super amazing!! I doubled the recipes below to make sure we had enough and we were happy to have some left over! They were sooo good!

I love meals where people are like…”How is this vegan?!” This wasn’t the most low-fat of meals but it sure was amazing!! Creamed spinach and creamy polenta is not everyday food for us, but it was perfect for a special occasion.

I LOVE my warming drawer! Everything was ready to go for dinner, yet I had a clean kitchen perfect for the party!

This made a lot of sauce! Was great for meals that week as well 🙂

I cooked this down a little further, but it was still so rich and creamy! YUM!

YUM! Polenta Goodness!

Vegan Seitan Piccata
adapted from Candle 79 in NYC
Serves 6
1. Dredge seitan cutlets in flour, shaking off excess.
2. Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in skillet over high heat. Sauté cutlets in oil 30 seconds per side, or until crisp and golden brown. Remove seitan from skillet, and drain on paper-towel-lined plate.
3. Add remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil to skillet, and return to high heat. Add shallots, onion, capers, and garlic, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently. Whisk in wine and lemon juice, and cook 3 to 5 minutes more.
4. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 1 minute to combine flavors. Whisk in parsley, margarine, salt, and pepper. Pour over seitan cutlets, garnish with large caper berries or lemon slices, and serve.

  • 6 seitan cutlets, rinsed and drained (I used 12 cutlets – Gardein Lightly Seasoned Chick’n Scallopini)
  • Whole-wheat flour for dredging
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 Tbs. drained capers
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine  (I used red instead)
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs. nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Large caper berries or lemon slices, for garnish, optional

Vegan Creamed Spinach

  • salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach
  • 3/4 cup soy creamer
  • 3/4 cup plain soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • grated nutmeg
  • fresh pepper

1. Large pot of water with salt – boil
2. Put spinach  for about a minute then drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, then chop spinach
3. Place oil in broad saucepan on medium-low, add flour and cook stirring consistently till golden, then stir in creamer/milk
4. Add spinach and bring to a boil until spinach has absorbed most of liquid and sauce is thick, about 15-25 minutes
5. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and season to taste

Vegan Creamy Polenta

  • 1 cup vegan creamer
  • 1 cup plain soy milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse cornmeal
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • fresh ground black pepper

1. In a medium saucepan bring the creamer, soy milk and the water to a boil.
2. Add the salt and then gradually add the polenta while stirring.
3. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, stirring constantly.
4. The polenta should be smooth and large bubbles will pop on the surface.
5. Cook until very thick but not stiff, about 5 to 7 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and add earth balance and pepper.
7. Enjoy!!

Quick Seitan Stir-Fry

Here is a super fast and healthy dinner! Colorful and yum! You can serve this over brown rice or quinoa or just enjoy on its own.

Quick Seitan Stir-Fry

1/4 cup white cooking wine
1/4 cup water
1-2 tablespoons Hunan sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon agave
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
8 ounces water-packed seitan
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 cup baby spinach

1. Whisk wine, water, hunan, cornstarch, agave, lime and salt in a small bowl.
2. Heat 3 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add seitan and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, 4 to 7 minutes. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, ginger and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots and pepper; cook, stirring, about 1 minute.
3. Whisk the sauce again; add it to the pan and stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp and the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in spinach and toss till wilted. Serve and Enjoy.

before adding the spinach

VEGAN CHIK’N CASSEROLE

The word casserole is so funny to me, it brings me right to the 1950’s in my mind with horrible thoughts of tuna casserole dishes. But I can assure you this is a deelish, compassionate one dish wonder! YUM!! I always LOVE Bryanna’s recipes! Her Bechamel sauce is divine!! Super versatile and super deeeeelish! Great to have a vegan recipe for this 🙂

VEGAN CHIK’N CASSEROLE
Adapted from Bryanna’s Vegan “Chicken” Divan Casserole
Serves 6-9

  • 2 lbs. broccoli, cut into small pieces and steamed crisp-tender
  • 2 cups grated vegan “cheddar” (preferably Daiya cheese)
  • 3-4 cups strips of any vegan “chicken” substitute (I used Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips)
  • 2 Tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups vegan white sauce or Bechamel sauce(Bryanna’s Recipe is below)
  • 1 cup Tofu Sour Creme
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Saute the “chicken” sub in a large pan with the Earth balance and chopped garlic.
  3. Spread the steamed broccoli in the bottom of 9 x 13″ baking pan. Cover that with the “chicken” sub. Sprinkle with salt and grind pepper over that to taste. Spread 1 cup of the vegan “cheese” over the top (save the other half for the top of the finished casserole).
  4. Mix the bechamel sauce with the sour creme and lemon juice, stirring well. Drizzle this evenly over the casserole and smooth it out. Sprinkle evenly with the breadcrumbs and then spread, sprinkle or dot with the remaining “cheese”.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes and serve hot.

BRYANNA’S DAIRY-FREE BESCIAMELLA (BECHAMEL OR WHITE SAUCE)
makes 2 cups

  • 2 Tablespoons dairy-free margarine or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 to 3 Tablespoons unbleached flour (depending on thickness desired)

Blended Mixture:

  • 1 cup soy, almond, or rice milk
  • 1/2 cup extra-firm SILKEN tofu or regular medium-firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 “chicken-style” vegetarian broth cube (or enough for 1 cup of liquid), crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a large pinch EACH of freshly-grated nutmeg and white pepper
  1. Place all of the Blended Mixture ingredients, EXCEPT the nutmeg and pepper, in the blender and blend until VERY smooth.  Set aside.
  2. Melt the margarine in a medium, heavy saucepan and whisk in the flour.  Whisk it over medium-high heat for a few minutes, but remove from heat before it starts to change color (you want a white “roux”).  Scrape this into the Blended Mixture and blend for a few seconds, then pour the mixture back into the pot.  Stir over medium-high heat until it thickens and boils; turn down and simmer on low for a few minutes.  Whisk in the nutmeg and pepper.

Sesame Seitan

I wanted something simple and quick and this was perfect! If you have a little more time and want a more filling and colorful meal definitely use this recipe in a stirfry. When draining the seitan, reserve the marinade to be used with the veggies as well. Alone it is not the prettiest, but it was definitely tasty! I served this with my deelish Maple Squash Mash.

Sesame Seitan
Serves 4

1 pound seitan, cut into small pieces
2 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
4 Tablespoons lite tamari or soy sauce
4 tablespoons water
2 Tablespoon minced ginger
2 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoon sweetener
4 teaspoons five-spice powder

Combine all ingredients except the seitan together for the marinade. Marinate the seitan in the sauce for 15 to 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease a baking sheet, drain the seitan and put on baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Eat as is or use in a stir-fry.

‘Chicken salad’ sandwich

Ahhhh Skinny Bitches! I love those fabulous ladies, Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin! They have had the most amazing impact on the vegan movement and helping people eating a healthy vegan diet. Everything I have made from them has been amazing 🙂

This ‘Chicken salad’ sandwich recipe was quick to make and the perfect quick fix for lunches. You can eat this salad or bread, put it on lettuce wraps or eat it straight.

‘Chicken salad’ sandwich
Recipe from ‘Skinny Bitch in the Kitch’

Makes 3 or 4 sandwiches

• 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon coarse nutritional yeast
• 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
• 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 2 cups chopped or shredded vegan chicken strips or chunks (thawed, if frozen)(I used seitan)
• 1/4 cup halved (quartered if large) seedless red grapes (optional)(I did not use grapes)
• 1 celery stalk, finely diced
• 1/4 small red or white onion, finely diced (I used shallots)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
• 6 to 8 slices vegan whole-wheat bread

  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, yeast, agave nectar, salt, curry powder and pepper. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, grapes (if using), celery, onion, and parsley. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the chicken mixture, tossing gently.
  2. Spread the chicken salad on 3 or 4 slices of bread, top with remaining 3 or 4 slices, and serve.

Channukah Pot-luck part 2

And the fun continues….

Pot-pie is so comforting and deelish. I figured everyone else must love it as much as me, so I made this for the pot-luck. It was vegetarian but I used faux-chicken and I think everyone really liked it.  But I know we were happy to have some as leftovers 🙂

I used a 13×9 glass baking dish, but in the past I have also used 2 8×8 glass dishes so I could bake one and have the other one in the freezer for an easy cooking night. But of course if you are feeding a crowd, go with the larger dish.

It was easier to make both the crust and the filling the night before and kept them separate and covered. So all I had to do the night of the party was roll out the dough and cover the filling before baking. Simple 🙂

Sorry I didn’t get to take pics of the pot-pie sliced up, but trust me, it was gorgeous and scrumptious!

For the 2nd dish I also made my version of Dina’s Chili-lime Ginger Tofu in Coconut Basil Broth with Rice Noodles. I almost never repeat dishes, and I have made this one 3 times in the last month. This is a real winner!

Shannon brought over some gorgeous sides to go with the entrees. Yum! Grilled Aspargus, Citrus & Cranberry Quinoa Salad (love quinoa!!) and roasted veggies. Thanks!!

Channukah Pot-Pie: I sense a tradition starting!

Pasta and Tofu

Asparagus

LOVE quinoa!

Vegetarian Pot Pie
8-10 servings

  • 16 ounces faux-chicken, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup frozen corn
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter (use Earth Balance)
  • 3-4 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), Cleaned well and sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (soy cream)

Herb Crust
Recipe from Bon Appétit
Makes 1 crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (earth balance)
  • 1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons (about) ice water

Make the crust first:
Blend first 5 ingredients in processor until herbs are very finely chopped. Add butter and shortening. Blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Using fork, mix enough ice water into flour mixture to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into rectangle. Cover and chill 30 minutes. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.)

Then begin on the pot-pie:

  1. Butter or spray your baking dish. I used a 13×9 dish (as mentioned above you could use 2 8×8 dishes as well).
  2. Bring the broth to boil in a large pot; reduce heat to low. and add faux chicken for 3 minutes. Skim them out using a slotted spoon and cool before cutting and then add to baking dish. Add carrots and potatoes to the broth in pot. Simmer uncovered until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Skim them out and transfer to baking dish. Add corn and peas and cook for about 3 minutes. Transfer to baking dish. Strain and reserve broth.
  3. Melt butter in same pot over medium heat. Add leeks, onions and thyme. Sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Stir in broth and white wine. Increase heat to high and bring to boil, whisking constantly. Add cream and boil until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, whisking frequently, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour gravy over mixture in dish. Stir to blend. Cool 45 minutes. (Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  4. Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out crust dough on parchment paper to a rectangle that will fit on top of dish. Using paper as aid, turn dough over onto filling. Trim the dough that is hanging off the sides and tuck dough edge inside dish. Roll out dough scraps to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into fun shapes. I used Magen David’s (Star of David’s since it was a Channukah party) Brush bottom of cutouts with water and place on crust; cut slits in crust to allow steam to escape.
  5. Bake until crust is golden and gravy is bubbling, about 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Pre-cooked pot-pie

Cooking the pasta

Check out the haze of steam on the pasta!

Super Fast Veggie Stir-fry

I am sure everyone has those nights where they need to throw dinner together quickly or you have an abundance of gorgeous veggies in the fridge you have to use up soon. Here is a great go to stir-fry recipe that I throw together when I need something like that. Super fast, tons of nutrition and really deelish! Of course you can substitute any veggies you have in the fridge for what I have used. The same goes with the seasonings. Also I tend to just pour on the ingredients so the measurements are not exact and you should season to taste.

stir-fry side

Super Fast Veggie Stir-fry

1 tablespoon canola
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced
1/2 lb snap peas, cleaned
1/4 head of red cabbage, chopped
8 ounces of mini portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 package of seitan or soy chicken (I used Morningstar meal starters chicken)
3 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons agave
2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon ginger powder (or fresh ginger)
1 teaspoon Sriracha

    1. Heat the oil in a wok or large pan and add onions and garlic and sauté for about 2-3 minutes
    2. Add the red pepper, snap peas, cabbage, mushrooms and soy chicken and combine well
    3. Add the mirin, agave, tamari, ginger powder and sritacha and mix well
    4. Continue to sauté for another 4 minutes or until the veggies reach your desired texture
    5. Taste and adjust seasonings, Enjoy 🙂

stir-fry top

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