Italian Sausage & Monterey Jack Grilled Cheese

grilled-cheese

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day! Now this is a holiday I can get behind every year. Grilled cheese is definitely one of my all-time favorite comfort foods out there. From my loaded grilled cheese to my grilled cheese with pears and caramelized onions, this is one sandwich that truly has a place in my heart. So when the folks over at Rumiano Cheese sent me some coupons for this momentous foodie holiday, I had to oblige.

Cheese-bricks

When I was out picking up the cheese at Whole Foods, I picked up some Upton’s Italian Sausage seitan. I had a hunch that the cheese would pair well with the seitan and I was right.

I set out to make this amazing sandwich. It’s a special occasion, so I had to go full steam ahead, right?

I sautéed up some onions and cremini mushrooms along with the seitan.

I then buttered up a skillet and also buttered two slices of bread. I piled the bread with cheese and then the onion/seitan mixture and then more cheese. Topped with a piece of bread, and then in to the pan it went.

Whoa Nelly. I birthed a grilled cheese baby. And it was good.

The Monterey Jack from Rumiano was the perfect match for the onions, mushrooms and seitan. I love how all the flavors stand out in the sandwich.

Hope you enjoy it too!

Italian Sausage & Monterey Jack Grilled Cheese
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 package of Italian Sausage flavored seitan
  • Butter
  • Bread (2 slices per sandwich)
  • 1 brick of Monterey Jack Cheese, sliced up
Instructions
  1. Heat up some olive oil in a pan.
  2. Add in the onions and cook a few minutes. Add in the mushrooms and seitan and cook until cooked through and liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a separate pan, heat up some butter.
  4. Butter Slices of bread and make sandwiches, piling cheese then filling then more cheese.
  5. Grill in pan until brown on each side and cheese has melted.
  6. Serve.
  7. Enjoy!

Grilled Cheese Vertical

Vegan Pulled BBQ Seitan

Vegan BBQ Pulled Seitan

About a year ago, a group of kosher food bloggers came together as a group. We call ourselves the Kosher Connection. As a group, we have grown and learned a great deal from each other as food bloggers. We’ve supported each other and have been sounding boards for each other throughout the year. I am so glad we all got together. Since the group started, we have come together monthly for various themed blog challenges. For our anniversary challenge, we are doing a blog swap. Each kosher blogger has been assigned another kosher blogger to seek inspiration from. We are challenged with choosing a recipe from that blogger’s blog and making it our own.

I was super excited for this blog swap. I had no idea what to expect.

BBQ Pulled Beef Busy in BrooklynI was pleasantly surprised when I was tasked with coming up with a recipe from Chanie Apfelbaum’s blog – Busy in Brooklyn.  I mulled it over for a while and studied her blog intently. What would I make? I have already cooked a few of her recipes and all have been wonderful. Her recent recipe for chili and cornbread was amazing! What would I make this time? At first I thought I bought veganizing her Sesame Noodle dish. But I realized that was cop-out for me. I make sesame noodles often and swapping out chicken for tofu wasn’t much of a challenge.

I decided to turn one of her meat dishes in to a vegan dinner. From around the kosher blog world, I knew that her BBQ Brisket was a huge hit. What if I took the flavors of that dish and made it vegan? I knew that I could pull something similar off with seitan. I love that her ingredients are simple and something I would already have on hand.

I played around with the quantities a bit to make it work with the seitan. I cooked up about a pound of seitan in advance – about a day before. You can easily use prepared seitan with this dish as a shortcut. I am so happy I chose to make this dish! The flavor was fantastic and was a huge hit with the family. Even the picky kid ate it, gobbling it up quickly.

To celebrate the 1-year anniversary of the Kosher Connection, we are giving away two prizes from Emile Henry, a Bread Cloche valued at $130 and a 4.2 qt Dutch Oven valued at $170! Use the Rafflecopter below to win- you can enter up to 23 ways! Two winners will be chosen at random.

The contest winners will be contacted via email. They will have 48 hours to respond before other winners are chosen. This contest is open to United States residents over the age of 18

Be sure to check out the rest of this month’s Kosher Connection’s bloggers below!


Vegan Pulled Seitan
 
This recipe is inspired by Busy in Brooklyn
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb. Seitan (homemade or store-bought)
  • 6 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp Hungarian paprika
  • ¾ cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tbsp. vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tsp. ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat up the olive oil in a large saute pan.
  2. Add in the onions and garlic and cook a few minutes, until it softens.
  3. Add a teaspoon of the salt and pepper to that mix.
  4. Chop of the seitan in to thin pieces and add to the pan. Let the seitan brown a bit.
  5. Add in the mushrooms and cook a few minutes.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, the apple cider vinegar, the vegetable stock, worcestershire sauce and the rest of the spices. Pour the mixture over the seitan mixture. Stir everything together.
  7. Let some of the liquid cook off a bit. This will only take about 5-8 minutes on medium-high heat.
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  9. Serve the pulled seitan on buns or in a wrap along with some avocado. A cole slaw would be a great way to give it some needed crunch.
  10. Enjoy!

Vegan BBQ Pulled Seitan

 

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Asparagus and Leek Fried Rice

We recently spent the day in and around Bucks County, PA. This area that stretches from the New Jersey border, near the Delaware River, is simply beautiful. Filled with beautiful farmland, old homes, and adorable little shops and wineries – there is just so much to see. As we were driving to our destination, we passed by a farm that advertised some fresh asparagus. I love asparagus! I got super excited, but we had somewhere to be. I made note of the sign and hoped that we’d be able to buy some of the good green stuff on our way home.

We stopped by the farm on our way back. At first I was disappointed to see that the place appeared “closed.” On closer look though, I noticed a small little shack with open doors that appeared to have farm goods inside. I got out of the car to inspect. They had a small selection of asparagus, herbs, greens and fresh honey available. There was no shopkeeper, but all items were priced and there was a locked box to deposit your money in. Love it! I fished out a few dollars and bought some asparagus! Love this kind of shopping. Further down the road, we stopped at another farm for fresh brown eggs. It was a lovely day!

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I was so excited to use this fresh and local asparagus. Earlier that morning, I had picked up some lovely fresh leeks. I love the way leek pairs well with asparagus. I was thinking about just sauteing the two as a side dish, but then it occurred to me to use the vegetables in my main dish.

Asparagus and Leek Fried Rice
 
Asparagus and Leek Fried Rice
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. rice bran oil or canola oil (or any other high heat friendly oil)
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. crushed fresh ginger
  • 8 oz. chicken-style seitan (or protein of your choice)
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 lb. asparagus, cut to 1.5 inch pieces
  • 4 cups cooked and cooled rice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Start by cleaning your leeks. Slice them in thin rounds and soak in cold water. The sand and grit will soak to the bottom. Blot dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a large wok or fry pan, heat up the oil.
  3. Add in the garlic, ginger and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes to soften a bit.
  4. Add in the seitan chicken or any protein for that matter. Cook for two more minutes.
  5. Add in the cleaned and trimmed leeks and asparagus. Cook for about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the already cook rice. Mix to incorporate well.
  7. Add in the rest of the seasonings. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring as you go. Taste and add additional seasoning as necessary. I love adding some chili pepper flakes and a squirt of sriracha when I eat it,
  8. This dish is very versatile. Feel free to add other vegetables or change up your protein.

 

 

Hong Kong Pan-Fried Noodles with Mock Duck

This month, in our Kosher Connection link-up, we are sharing “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” I had a very hard time with this. There are so many “best things” in my life of eating. Even the Food Network show breaks it up in to categories! If I could do some sort of award ceremony, I could give some special trophy for at least 10 different foods! I don’t have one favorite. I love so many different dishes for so many different reasons.

hong-kong-pan-fried-noodles2

I decided to share with you this one dish today. These Hong Kong Pan-Fried Noodles with Mock Duck are simple to prepare, and it’s a dish that’s pure comfort food. It has a flavor and mouth feel that I crave every so often. This dish brings me back to dinners out with my family at KinhDo Restaurant in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. One of the dishes we often got was this fabulous mock duck noodle dish. More recently, I had a noodle dish at Buddha Bodai in Chinatown that reminded me of this dish. I decided to combine the two.

I trekked out to Chinatown last week to pick up some of the ingredients. Hong Kong Supermarket, one of my favorite stores, carries a huge selection of Asian noodles and sauces that happen to be kosher. With some vegetarian oyster sauce and noodles in hand, I headed back home to make this dish. I was very happy with the results.


Hong Kong Pan-Fried Noodles with Mock Duck
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • 8 oz. Cremini Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 10 -12 oz. of Mock Duck or Seitan, sliced up in to bite-size pieces (You can use more if you like. This is what I had on hand.)
  • 1 package of Hong Kong Pan-Fried Noodles
  • 3 tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
  • 3 tbsp. Vegetarian Oyster Sauce
  • 3 tbsp. Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp. Crushed red chili peppers (optional)
  • 2 cups Fresh bean sprouts
  • ½ cup chopped Chinese chives
Instructions
  1. Boil a pot of water. Cook the noodles for 1-2 minutes, then drain and rinse. The noodles are already cooked and don't need to be cooked any longer than that.
  2. Heat up the oil in a large wok or pan.
  3. Add in the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add in the mushrooms and mock duck or seitan. Cook for around 5 minutes, until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates.
  5. Mix in the cooked and drained noodles. Stir to incorporate. Stir fry the noodles a bit.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the sauces with the crushed chili peppers.
  7. Pour the sauce in to the noodle mixture. Stir well.
  8. Mix in the fresh bean sprouts.
  9. Stir fry another few minutes.
  10. Mix in half of the chopped chives.
  11. Garnish with the rest of the chopped chives.
  12. Serve with some chili paste on the side.
  13. Enjoy!

 

HongKongNoodles

 

VeganMofo: Italian Sausage and Peppers Sandwich

I was at Trader Joe’s the other day, doing my weekly spending binge. I was wandering the refrigerated case and peering at their selection of fake meats. I usually stick to the same stuff each time, but on this trip I decided to check out their Tofurky Italian Sausage. I usually just buy the Trader Joe’s brand, but this one was slightly cheaper and looked decent enough, so I tossed it in my cart.

I usually just slice and saute these sausages with veggies and pasta. I wanted to do something different this time. I thought about the sausage carts near my office. An old coworker of mine used to pick up sandwiches from these carts often. They were cheap eats. While I never really crave street meat, the smell coming from my friend’s sandwich was always pretty good. I am so glad that I chose to recreate this sandwich at home. These were so good. And I highly recommend the Tofurky sausages. These had great flavor, better than some of the other fake sausages we have had. My meat-eating, pepper-disliking husband had three helpings of this! I call that a successful meal!


Italian Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches
Ingredients:

1.5 tbsp. olive oil
1 package of Tofurky Italian Sausage or 1 lb. of Italian Sausage
1 large onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tbsp. red wine
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. chopped basil
1 tsp. oregano (dried)
salt
ground pepper
4 hoagie rolls
Daiya or Mozarella Cheese (optional)

Directions:

Heat up the olive oil in a large saute pan.

Slice your sausage and add to pan.  Cook for a few minutes until browned slightly on edges.  Remove to plate.

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Add the onions and peppers to the pan and cook a few minutes. Add in the garlic and mushrooms. Cook a few more minutes.

Add in the red wine, tomato paste and spices. Stir in and cook for around 5-7 minutes. The peppers and onions should be soft and the flavors incorporated.

Italian Sausage and Peppers Hero Sandwich

Taste and add salt or pepper as needed.

Scoop out the bottom of the hoagie roll.

Layer on the sausage. Top with the peppers and onion mixture.

Add cheese if desired. I had mine with some Daiya Mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top.

Enjoy!

Italian Sausage and Peppers Hero Sandwich
veganmofo

Pad See Ew for You!

I love Vietnamese food first and foremost, but good Vietnamese is not as prevalent on the East Coast (surprise, surprise) as it is back home in Minnesota. So I have moved over to Thai food. Thai food is abundant in my corner of the world, and a good meal along with a good deal can be found fairly easily around these parts. One of my favorite noodle dishes at Thai restaurants is Pad See Ew. It is one of those dishes, that in my opinion, is the test factor as to whether or not the restaurant is worthy of my business. That dish more so than the Pad Thai. It is really basic comfort food, tastes great, and is very easy to make.
Pad See Ew
Ingredients

vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 eggs
1 container extra firm tofu, or seitan
2 tablespoons dark/black soy sauce
1 bunch Chinese broccoli, chopped
1 pound wide rice noodles
fish sauce

scallions for garnish

Make sure you have all your ingredients ready to go, as this dish cooks fast.

In a bowl, pour boiling water over the rice noodles. Set aside.
Heat a wok or large skiller. Add a drop of the oil. Beat some eggs into the hot oil. Scramble and set aside.

In the same pan, toss in your garlic. Add a drop more oil. Toss in your protein – tofu/seitan/dead animal option.


Toss in the Chinese Broccoli. Cook, stirring to get all the veggies cooked and in there. Strain your noodles and add to the pan. Stir and stir some more. Stir in the dark soy sauce. Stir in a tablespoon or so of the fish sauce. Stir in the scrambled eggs. Stir some more. See a theme?

Portion some onto a plate. Dress with a few chopped scallions. Enjoy!

Vegetables+Pasta+Seitan=Dinner

I promised I would a post something on the blog using the seitan. I am sticking to that promise.

My daughter saw me pull the seitan log out of the fridge and got nervous. She asked me if it was food. She politely whispered in my ear that the log o’ fake meat “looks like poop.” She’s right. It doesn’t look pretty. What’s a mom to do? If that isn’t a ringing endorsement, then I don’t know what is!

Tonight’s dinner was easy and tasty. I fooled everyone with the seitan! Even my super picky 8-year-old who complained about the look of the seitan, boldly said that this fake meat stuff was “really yummy!” She picked out all the seitan pieces from the vegetables and ate it. My 3-year-old also gobbled the seitan up.

I had some fresh basil that I had to use. So I quickly threw some basil, garlic, olive oil, and pine nuts into the Cuisinart and chopped away until it became a yummy pesto. I tossed some whole grain pasta into some boiling water and got to work.

In a pot, I sauteed up some garlic, tossed in the cubed seitan (about half a log), threw in some sliced mushrooms, zucchini, peas, and a can of chopped tomatoes. Added in about half a cup of the pesto. Tossed in some shredded Parmesan. Steamed up some broccoli – dinner was done! Under 30 minutes, and I had dinner on the table! Woohoo! None of it came from a freezer! Go me! I highly recommend a dinner like tonight.


Yummy Seitan Goodness

I like seitan, yes I do! I like seitan, so should you! It’s hard to convince people to delve into the world of phony meat products. Carnivores aside, seitan isn’t pretty. Really though, seitan is a wonderful, versatile fake meat product. It’s so easy to make, and so easy to use. There is no reason why you should have to buy those little, expensive plastic tubs of wheat gluten product, when it is so simple to make it at home.

The recipe I am posting is of the baked seitan log variety. Some seitan is boiled, but I prefer it when baked. There are many versions of this recipe out there. After cooking, this seitan can be cut up and cooked up into a variety of phony beef style recipes. I like to chop it up and use in place of meat in stir fries, or pasta dishes. The way I present it below would be great in place of sausage crumbles. You can play with the spice combination as well to get to the desired “meatiness,” or lack thereof.




Seitan – adapted from the Post Punk Kitchen
Ingredients:Dry
1.5 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
a few grinds of pepper
a bunch of red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp allspice
2 tsp garlic powder
fennels seeds
1 tsp. bacon salt
Wet3/4 cups water
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil

It would be great with some liquid smoke, but I didn’t have any. So I used the bacon salt in it’s place. You could also throw in some smoked paprika.

Preheat the oven to 325°. This comes together fast, so be prepared. Have a couple mixing bowls ready, a fork, a cutting board to knead on, and some foil.

Dry Ingredients in one bowl, whisked wet ingredients in the other bowl.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix quickly with a fork.
Turn the blob of dough onto a cutting board, and quickly mix and knead the dough together. You do not want to overknead the gluten, otherwise you may end up with a beef scented piece of shoe leather.


Form the gluten dough into a log and wrap tightly in some foil. Bake in the oven for 90 minutes.

When it comes out of the oven, it will look like this.
Slice up and use in any recipe. I hope to post some recipes this week with my bounty of seitan! Stay tuned!

Seitan Ribs

I like fake meat products. I actually prefer the fake meat to the real stuff. Aside from using crumbled bits of the products in recipes, I haven’t played around with them much. I definitely had never tried to make my own.

I enjoy seitan when it’s made right. I used to buy the prepacked seitan, but the store stopped carrying the kind I liked. The only kind available was not the right texture and didn’t absorb flavor the way I wanted it to. So I went on a seitan hiatus, unless I was in a restaurant that served it.

I have been wandering around on all sorts of vegan/vegetarian blogs recently. I noticed that many people out there are making their own seitan. It looked so easy. Some vital wheat gluten, water, and flavor, and you are good to go! There was no reason I should be paying five dollars for a small container of the stuff, when it costs maybe $2 to make a good sized batch. A few blogs mentioned making seitan ribs. I decided to start there.

Before I share the recipe, I will let you know that I did enjoy it, though the rest of the family was not blown away. I will not give up though. I do intend to play around with the seitan and am determined to get my family to eat it and like it.

Ingredients:
1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini or other nut butter
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1 tablespoon soy sauce
about 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly spray an 8×8 baking dish with canola oil. Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the water with the nut butter, Liquid Smoke, and soy sauce and add it to the dry ingredients. Stir to mix well and then knead lightly in the bowl for a couple of minutes.Put the dough into the baking dish and flatten it so that it evenly fills the pan. Take a sharp knife and cut it into 8 strips; then turn the pan and cut those strips in half to form 16 pieces:


Put it in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. While it’s cooking prepare your grill.Remove it from the oven and carefully re-cut each strip, going over each cut to make sure that the ribz will pull apart easily later. Generously brush the top with barbecue sauce. Take it to the grill and invert the whole baking dish onto the grill (or use a large spatula to lift the seitan out, placing it sauce-side down on the grill). Brush the top of the seitan with more sauce:

Watch it closely to make sure that it doesn’t burn. When it’s sufficiently brown on one side, turn over and cook the other side, adding more sauce, if necessary. When done, remove to a platter and cut or pull apart the individual ribs to serve.

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