Category Archives: Vegan Recipes

Baked Tofu Steak Recipe

Ann Arbor Food

I have started using Tofu for an easy go to vegan protein course. Tofu does not have a lot of flavor on its own, but acts like a sponge for marinades. This recipe use smoked salt which gives it a “beefy” flavor. I prefer Rosewood Tofu, which is a local Ann Arbor company. It can be found at more local grocers. I suggest making more then you need because this makes for some great leftovers from sandwiches, stir fries, casseroles like vegan pot pie (recipe coming soon), and for a quick heat and eat snack.

Baked Tofu Steak Recipe: Serve 4-6

2 Blocks of extra firm tofu, pressed
2 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of liquid sugar (honey, maple, agave)
2 teaspoon of rice vinegar (or the juice of a lemon or a lime)
4 tablespoons of vegetable stock, or water
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch smoked sea salt (or regular salt)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon sesame chili oil
fresh black pepper

Miso Option: Exchange the soy sauce for 1 tablespoon of miso and mixed with 3 tablespoons of water.


Take out the tofu from package and drain out the liquid. Press each block between two plates and add some weight like a can or two of beans and weigh down for 20 minutes. Drain the water from the plates that is released from pressing. Slice the tofu blocks into three roughly equal size pieces lengthwise, then score the top lightly (do not cut through) in a cross pattern. This will help the marinade to absorb better. Place the tofu in a casserole baking pan. Combine all of the marinade ingredients, and pour over the tofu. Let sit for a 20 minutes and flip a few times.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the tofu and the marinade to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes then gently flip the tofu to allow the marinade to absorb both sides. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the tofu is firm. The trick I found was timing it perfect, so the tofu is firm, yet moist and does not stick to the pan. This may take some practice. I luck out with the batch shown in the picture.

Serve with your favorite veggies, and use leftovers for sandwiches the next day.


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Tofu Steak with roasted sweet potato, and Broccoli

Hot Cocoa Recipe: Snow Day Treat

I am the officially driveway shoveler on snow days for my house. Depending on the amount of snow fall, it can be a lot of work, so to treat myself with a job well done cup of hot cocoa. My recipe is pretty basic. I am not a whip cream on top of hot coco fan. If I have a few mini marshmallows, I would throw a few in.

Note to Self: Get some mini Marshmallows

Hot Cocoa: Serves one

8-12 ounces of milk
Vegan Option: Use Eden soy and rice milk blend (my preference)
1 tablespoon of good quality coco powder
1-2 tablespoons of sugar or less to tastes


Heat the milk in a small pan. Add the sugar and stir. In a small bowl, mix the coco with a little milk, until is forms a thick paste. Mix in the cocoa into the milk and heat till hot, but not boiling.

Serve with mini marchmallows


Chocolate Buttermilk Biscuits

I had a buttermilk biscuit cooking class coming up, and I wanted to offer something different. The idea of making a chocolate biscuit came to mind, so I started tweaking a recipe. The biscuits above is what I came up with. They have a chocolate coco taste with a subtle sweetness, and a flaky texture. They are good by themselves or served with ice cream, and sliced fruit or berries, or a fruit/berry sauce. This recipe is a work in progress. You might want to add less coco powder, or more chocolate chips. Note that the more chocolate chips you add the more dense and fudge like and less flaky your biscuits. My first batch doubled the amount of chips to create a tasty biscuit, brownie, scone like hybrid pastry. It did not know what it wanted to be, but it was good. enjoy. Vegan Option

Chocolate Biscuits: Make 10-12 large biscuits (or 20-24 minis)
(The recipe can be halved)

2 cups of All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoon coco powder
4 tablespoons of white sugar
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips about a 1/4 cup (chopped up) (I like Ghirardelli)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick of chilled butter (8 tablespoons)
3/4 chilled buttermilk plus 2 Tablespoons
1-2 tablespoons of melted butter from brushing(optional)

Preheat oven to 450

In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, coco powder and salt. Pulse to mix. Cube the butter and add to the food processor. Pulse the until the butter is combine to create a sandy mixture.

Pour the content from the food processor into a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk, and the chopped chocolate chips. Mix to form a sticky dough. Dump out the dough on a well floured surface. Fold the dough a few time, but do not over work it.

Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin to a thickness of one inch.

Using a biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits in a straight up and down motion. Do not twist when cutting out the biscuits. Twisting will seal the sides of your biscuits preventing your biscuits from rising and making for tough, flat biscuits. It seems natural to want to twist, but don’t do it.

Place the cut out biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking sheet so that they are close but not touching.

When you have cut out all of the biscuit you can on the first pass of rolled out dough, reform the scrap pieces and roll out again and cut more biscuits until you use all of the dough. I find that there always a small piece left over that is too small to form a full biscuit. I usually roll that into a tube and cook it along with the rest for a “first taste” biscuit.

Once all of the biscuits are on the pan, cook for 10-12 minutes in the center of the oven until golden brown. Brush with melted butter.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, strawberries or raspberries and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

Vegan Option:

-Substitute shortening for the butter
-Use equal parts soy milk to buttermilk and squeeze some lemon juice in it and let it sit at room temp for  30 minutes till it curdles for vegan “buttermilk.”
-Substitute Vegan chocolate chips and Vegan Sugar (look for the “V” label on packaging.)
Note: Not all sugar is vegan.

-Serve with your favorite vegan ice “cream” such as coconut milk, soy, or rice cream varieties.



Buffalo Hot wings(drums) with vegan option

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This is my superbowl tribute meal. It is sweet potatoes, chicken drums with hot wing sauce, and collard. I used drums instead of wings because they are cheaper. Wings have become trendy because of the buffalo wing trend, so it is common to pay about $1 more per pound. If you prefer wings, they can be use in this recipe. I am a big fan of Frank Redhot brand sauce.

Buffalo Chicken Drum Sticks: Serves 6-8

12-18 large drum sticks (3-4 pounds)
1 large bottle of Franks Redhot brand sauce
olive oil or butter
soy sauce (optional)


Preheat he oven to 450. Lay the drums on a large roasting pan with a rack. Brush the drums with olive oil of melted butter, and season with salt. Back for about an hour till golden brown.

For the sauce, in a sauce pan, pour about 3/4 of the bottle in to the pan and heat. Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and stir in. If using add a tablespoon of soy sauce. Alternatively, you can use butter instead of olive oil. Butter is more traditional than olive oil.

When the chicken is done, place in a bowl, and add the sauce. Stir to coat all of the drums. Pour some of the extra sauce on the bottom on top of the chicken.

Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing (optional)

Vegan Option: Tofu “buffalo wings”

I used to make this for potlucks when I was a vegan. The hot “wing” sauce can easily be made vegan, and paired with a vegan protein source like baked/fried tofu or seitan, this can make for a very tasted meat alternative.


2-3 blocks of extra firm tofu, or a 2 pounds of seitan (wheat gluten)
Vegetable oil for frying
One recipe for hot sauce with olive oil option (above)


If using tofu, take each block and place it between two plates. Add some weight on top of the plates to like a can or two of beans to press down the tofu. This will result in liquid being released from the tofu blocks. Pour off the liquid from the plates. Cut the tofu (or seitan) in to long strips, and dry off. Heat the oil in a heavy pot to 350 degrees. I prefer peanut or safflower oil. Fry the tofu or seitan in batches until golden brown. Coat with the sauce and serve.

If you prefer, you can bake the tofu or seitan.

Black Eye Pea and Kale

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Black Eye Peas, Squash and Kale: serves 4-6

3 cans of black eyed peas (or 1Lb dried cooked)
2 onion diced
1/2 large butternut squash 3-4 cups (peeled and diced)
1 bunch of Kale de-stemmed and ripped into small pieces
1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
2 cloves of garlic minced
olive oil few tablespoon
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper

Scallion to garnish


In a large saute pan, heat a good amount olive oil and saute the onions for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the squash, black eye peas, kale, stock, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Simmer until the squash and the kale are done, about 15 minutes. Add more salt to taste. I like to add a little extra olive oil to bean dishes to taste.

Chick Pea Minestrone

This recipe is my whatever-I-had-in-the-house version of a minestrone soup. I am using chick peas which are starchy so I did not include pasta, but feel free to add macaroni. If you add pasta, you will need to add more water and adjust the seasoning.

For a twist, I am included Miso which is a fermented soybean pasted use in sauce and soups and provides a salty, complex flavor. Miso and tomato pair perfectly. I am using a three year old barely miso, but you can use what ever miso you prefer. Miso can be found in most coops.

This is a completely vegan meal, which is a shot out to who featured their vegan Thanksgiving meal on their blog.

Chic Pea Minestrone: Serves 6


2 can of chick peas
1 28 ounce can of dice tomatoes (I like fire roasted)
1 quart of water or veggie stock
2 onions diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 medium sweet potatoes Peel and small dice or 1-2 cup of dice winter squash
2 carrot peeled diced
2 ribs of celery diced
2 bay leafs
1-2 tablespoons of rice vinegar or some lemon juice
1-2 tablespoon miso (or to taste)
pinch of cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste (options)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
salt and pepper

Italian Parsley for garnish.
Olive oil drizzled on top of soup


In a large pot, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the onion for five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the celery, carrots and sweet potato. Cook for five more minute. Add the canned tomatoes and the tomato water, chick peas and one quart of water (or stock). Add the bay leaf and bring the soup to a boil, then simmer. When the sweet potatoes are done, turn off the heat.

Place the miso in a small bowl with some of the soup liquid and mash to a thin smooth paste then stir into the soup. Add salt, pepper, vinegar (or lemon) and hot sauce to taste.

Serve with crusty Italian bread and garnish soup with drops of olive oil, and a few sprigs of Italian parsley.

French Lentil and Kale Soup

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Kale Soup

This Kale recipe is inspired by Diana Dyer’s blog 365 Days Of Kale. Diana is a nutritionist, a gardener, author and cancer survivor. She attributes a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating dark leafy greens like Kale in part to her recovery. I had a bunch of kale in my frig from the farmers market, which made me think of Diana. This soup is vegan, but you can use chicken stock if you prefer.

French Lentil and Kale Soup

serves 6-8 hearty servings or four with left overs for lunch


2 cups of dry French Lentils (can substitute red or green)

1 bunch of Kale, wash and finely chopped (green curly, red curly, dino, or a combination)

1 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes with liquid or 6 fresh large tomatoes diced. (I like fire roasted canned tomatoes)

2 onions small dice

2 cloves of garlic minced

8 -10 cups of water or stock

1-2 tablespoons of Olive or vegetable oil

2-3 tablespoons of Miso*

1/8-1/4 Cup rice vinegar or juice of two lemons

salt and pepper to taste

garnish with chopped scallion and toasted sesame seeds.

*Miso is a fermented bean paste. It can be found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores. There are lighter and darker varieties and a number of variations of grains and beans used. I used a dark 3 year old barley miso for this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite miso or what ever is available.


Add vegetable oil and heat in a large pot. Add the chopped onions and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic and saute for about a minute, then add the kale and stir in. Cook in the kale for a few minutes. You might need to add a little water to cooked down the kale.

Next, add the lentils and eight cups of water, cover and  bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about an hour. The french lentils will take more time to cook than red or green lentils. If using red of green lentil, simmer for forty minutes. Taste the lentil to see if they are soft and not crunchy. Cook more if needed. After the lentils are soft, add the tomatoes and simmer for another ten minutes. Turn off the heat.

Mix some of the soup broth or some water in a bowl and smash up the miso paste until is becomes a liquid. Stir the miso into the soup. Add the lemon juice or vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

No Knead Bread

Ann Arbor FoodNo knead bread baking at home has taken off in the last couple of years. I have seen articles in The New York Times, and Mother Earth News and there are a number of books on the process like Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The idea is that instead of the kneading bread dough in order to develop the gluten (the protein in wheat flour) all you need to do is mix the ingredients, and let the gluten develop through a long rising time.

I have seen and used two methods. The first method is to mix the ingredients together and let it sit out at room temperature for 18-24 hours. Another method is to mix the ingredients and let sit out for two hours to rise, and then place the dough in the refrigerator to develop flavor. The refrigerated dough is made in several loaf batches. The dough can be refrigerated for up to two weeks. A portion of dough is cut off from the batch when you want to make a loaf.

After the dough rises and the gluten is developed, the dough is shaped and allowed to rise again. It can be either baked on a baking stone or placed in a preheated cast iron pan. With the pan method, the dough is placed into a super hot pan and the lid is place on top. About half to three quarters through the baking time, the lid is removed to develop a crisp crust.

Why no knead bread? For starters it is really easy. Most breads require about 10-20 minutes of hard kneading to work of the dough. This may take even longer because you might need to work in batches. That may not sound like a huge amount of time, but the kneading step prevents many home cooks from making bread at home at all. I know I bake bread at home more then ever since I starter using the no knead method, especially after a sold my mixer when I moved.

No Knead Bread Pan Method: 12-18 hour rise time.


3 cups All Purpose Flour

1 1/2 cups of water

1 1/4 teaspoons of salt

1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast


Mix the the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl.

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Stir in the water to form a very wet dough.

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Cover the bowl with tin foil and let it sit out at room temperature for 12-18 hours.

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After 18 hours, you will see a very wet and bubbly dough with large gluten strands.

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Wet bubbly dough after 18 hours

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close up of bubbles

Roll out the dough on a well floured surface. Plat the dough flat into a rectangle shape. Fold the wide sides of the dough over each other like an envelope. Let rise for 2 hours.

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Preheat the your a 5-7 quart cast iron or le creuset pan for 30 minutes at 500-515 degrees.


Open your oven and take the lid off your pan. Place (throw) your dough into the pan seem side up.

Bake for 20 minutes with lid on and then take off the lid and bake for 10-15 minutes with the lid off.

Take the bread out of the pan, and let cool on a rack. It will crack and crackle a little when cooling.

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Sauerkraut Making:Fermentation fun at home take three

Ann Arbor FoodThis is my third Sauerkraut Making post. I am not sure in what order you are reading these. If you are new to making kraut and fermenting, I think it is good that you start out with a good picture of mold. The picture on the left is of mold on the top of the liquid in my batch of shiso garlic sauerkraut. In most cases mold is not a friend of healthy, safe to eat food, but with kraut it is fine. I simply skimmed off the mold, cleaned off the plate and set the kraut back to ferment. By no means does surface mold mean your kraut has gone bad.

More mold Pics

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Skimmed off mold

Tasty Kraut that is safe to eat: Needs some more time to ferment

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Ann Arbor FoodOf course not every batch of kraut has mold. This is a picture of my first batch this year. It is a spicy dulse seaweed variation and only fermented 30-35 days. I could let is go longer, but I wanted to use the ceramic crock for a new batch. I started with 5LBs of cabbage which I usually figure will make 1 gallon, 4 quarts of kraut. I ended up with only 2 quarts and one quart of kraut liquid. This was probably because I used a super fresh cabbage that had a lot of moisture.

When making kraut, make sure to save the extra liquid. It can be used to flavor soups, stews, to brine meat or to add to batches of kraut as a starter.

Two Jars of Kraut and One jar Kraut Juice

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Labeling the Jars: I feel this is an important step to keep my batches organized

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New Batch: Standard Plain Sauerkraut

5lbs of Green Cabbage and 3 tablespoons of salt

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Chopped Cabbage

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Don’t forget to chop and include the cores

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My two gallon ceramic crock with 5lbs of chopped cabbage

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Kraut after being smashed up a little: Fills around half way

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Weighing down my kraut with my one gallon ceramic crock on top

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Sauerkraut Making:Fermentation fun at home take two

Ann Arbor Food I was thinking sauerkraut again when I saw a purple cabbage at the Ann Ann Farmer’s Market. You might recall in the previous post, fermentation fun at home, how some ravenous red cabbage seeking fiend aced me out of my red cabbage last time. I was lucky this time and was able to score some of the red.

My fermentation luck continued as readers might also recall when I was having Breakfast at Selma, and I eyed some shiso in Jeff and Lisa’s front yard. Jeff hooked me up, and the rest is fermentation history.

I usually use a one gallon glass jug to weigh down my kraut, but I have since forked out the extra bucks for some nice ceramic crocks. I used my one gallon crock as a weight inside my two gallon crock where my last batch of kraut is being fermented.

Then I thought to myself, “Self! Why can’t I make another batch and put that one in the one gallon crock and use that for the weight for the two gallon?” Brilliant! I can ferment two batches of kraut in the same space at once. I have yet to test the limits of this stacking method. Can I use a five gallon crock, with a four gallon inside, with a three inside that, and a two inside that, followed by a one gallon crock, with this process continuing and ending with a pint size batch? I call this the Russian Doll Method of fermentation.

Here is a 1/2 gallon recipe. This recipe is a quick summary of the sauerkraut making process. Please refer to my previous post for a full description of the process before you make a batch.

Purple Cabbage, Turnip, garlic and Shiso Seed/leave Sauerkraut: Make 1/2 gallon

1 medium size purple cabbage (2-3 pounds)

2-3 medium sized turnips, washed, and grated

1 1/2 Tablespoons of kosher salt

3-4 cloves of garlic, left whole*

small bunch of Shiso (beefsteak) seeds pods and leafs**

*I put in whole garlic, but they can be smashed or minced for a stronger flavor. Ginger can be substituted or included in this recipe. I wanted to use ginger in fact, but I did not have any, so I used garlic, but you can add other ingredients at anytime.

**Go easy on Shiro seed because they have a powerful fragrance, and can over power the kraut, so that you think you are eating perfume. Shiso Leaf, and shiso powder can be found in some asian markets and use for good results. The fresh seed pods that I am using are not as easy to come by. Here is where being a home gardener comes in handy.

Shredding the cabbage

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Grating the Turnip

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Adding the Aromatics (Shiso seed pod, leaf and garlic): I use whole garlic cloves to reserve them and eat them whole when I feel a cold coming on as a home remedy in winter.

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Shiso plant with seeds

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All of the ingredients in the crock

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Mashing up the Kraut

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After mashing down the kraut, about half the volume

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Putting a plate on top of the kraut, inside the one gallon crock. Put a filled one quart jar on top of the plate, then put the one gallon crock inside the two gallon crock, and top with a towel

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Fermentation Resources: Wild Fermentation By Sandor Katz