Monday, June 27, 2011

"Not-Beef" and "Not-Chick'n" flavored Bouillon Cubes & Gummy Bears Giveaway

I promised to do a giveaway when I reached 600 followers on Twitter. Last night I hit 600 so here is the promised giveaway :-)
Thank you everyone for following me on Twitter and thank you for all your support.
I decided to giveaway three of my favorite products by Edward & Sons company:
Yummy and addictive vegan Gummy Bears. They are all natural and organic and the flavors are a nice fruity mixture of apples, apricots, pineapples, blackcurrants and elderberries. These vegan Gummy Bears will bring you back into your childhood and will put a smile on your face.

And my favorite vegan "Not-Beef" and "Not-Chick'n" flavored Bouillon Cubes that I use almost daily. They are far better than regular vegetable broth or vegetable bouillon cubes. I veganize a lot of Czech and American meals that use beef or chicken both as a base and I was never able to recreate the taste with regular vegetable broth. With these "beef" and "chicken" flavored bouillon cubes that are super easy to use I can create traditional taste without using any animal products. I am totally crazy about these bouillon cubes and I cannot imagine cooking without them. Here are some examples of meals that I made using these cubes.

Wild beans and rice dinner- wild rice and white beans cooked with white wine topped with sauteed mushrooms and seitan (using Not-Chick'n).

Vegan gumbo and rice (using Not-Beef)

Lemony asparagus risotto (using Not-Chick'n)

Hungry Vegan Chili (using Not-Beef) recipe here

Czech goulash with bread dumplings (using Not-Beef) recipe here

So, who wants to win some cool bouillon cubes and yummy gummy bears? You have several ways to enter this giveaway. I will pick one random comment on July 4th, Monday evening. You have to leave a comment for each entry option to count, if you leave one big comment with everything in it, it will only count as one. The more comments, the better the chances are to win. This giveaway is open to US residents only (I am sorry, my international readers, but I cannot afford international shipping now).

Mandatory entry:

# Leave a comment telling me what would you like to cook with these bouillon cubes, or if you like gummy bears.

Extra entries:

# Become a follower of this blog and leave a comment that you did or that you already were a follower

# Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment that you did with your Twitter name

# Follow Edward & Sons company on Twitter and leave a comment that you did with your Twitter name

# Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a comment that you did (1 tweet per day is allowed). Include @CzechVegan in the tweets.

# Like Czech Vegan on Facebook and leave a comment that you did

# Like Edward & Sons on Facebook and leave a comment that you did

# Mention this giveaway, with the link, in a blog post, and leave a link to the post in a comment

# For extra 5 entries-make any recipe from Czech Vegan blog, and blog about it. Leave 5 separate comments for the entries.

Good luck!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mock Chicken Cordon Bleu

Kristi @VeggieConverter recently tweeted about her Vegan Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe. Her recipe inspired me to create this amazing and fancy dinner tonight. Surprisingly it was very easy to make. I decided to tweak the directions a bit and I used a different type of vegan bacon.
I sauteed Gardein Chick'n Scallopini in a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes per side. I fried Lightlife Smoky Tempeh Fakin' bacon until the edges were brown and crispy. I topped each Chick'n Scallopini with Fakin' bacon and Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds and baked that for about 10 minutes on 400 F. The cheese melted nicely. The flavors blended so perfectly, I felt as if I was eating a fancy meal at a European restaurant. Next time I will also add sauteed mushrooms on top.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shelly's 9th birthday

Today was a very special day. My English Cocker Spaniel Shelly was celebrating her 9th birthday. And what would a birthday be without a cake, or in this case a vegan cupcake?
I made her cupcake using the strawberry cupcake recipe from the Happy Herbivore's cookbook, but instead of vanilla frosting with strawberries I frosted her cupcake with her favorite peanut butter. She went for the frosting first, of course :-)

I got her a cute present, a doggie donut with miniature cupcakes :-)

And daddy got her a squeaky quail that sounds like a duck :-)

Shelly enjoyed her birthday cupcake and gifts very much. Am I a dork for making a birthday cupcake for my dog? Am I crazy for celebrating my dog's birthday? Do you celebrate your cats and dogs birthdays?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Homemade Almond Feta Cheese

Before I became a vegan I used to be addicted to feta cheese. I used to put feta in all my salads and I used to make a lot of dishes with feta (one of my favorite was potato and spinach dish with creamy sauce and feta cheese). Few days ago Debbie @vegandeb was tweeting about a vegan pizza with baked almond feta cheese. I became curious about making my own homemade cheese from nuts. I have been making my vegan feta cheese from tofu until now. Debbie posted the recipe for the baked almond feta cheese on her blog Maple ♥ Spice. She adapted the recipe from Vegetarian Times Magazine (Almond Feta Cheese with Herb Oil). I remembered that I had a copy of the magazine with the original recipe (and other homemade vegan cheese recipes) at home. After flipping through old issues of Vegetarian Times Magazine, I found the original Almond Feta Cheese with Herb Oil recipe. I had all the ingredients and tools, except for the cheesecloth....... I had to go and buy my very first cheesecloth. Thankfully, I remembered seeing it at Whole Foods so I did not have to go too far to get it. It was very cheap and I was happy to learn that it is reusable. Debbie's version used ground almonds instead of regular almonds, which means skipping the energy and time consuming blanching and soaking steps. What a genius idea! However, I decided to follow the original recipe first even though it took me few days to make. Next time I will be making it based on Debbie's recipe and directions to save time. Here is the link to the original recipe that I used.
This vegan feta cheese is mouthwatering and so delicious, I cannot stop eating it! This stuff is out of this world! It is not as crumbly and firm as a feta should be, the consistency and texture reminds me more of a goat cheese or some other spreadable gourmet cheese. However, the taste is amazing! Salty with a nice garlic kick! When I added little bits and pieces into my Israeli salad and closed my eyes, I swear, I tasted feta cheese. I ate half of the cheese already, some in the salad, some with crackers and some on a toast with tomatoes. I wish I made at least two batches when I made this. I am happy that it turned out so great because I would be really upset if I spent all this time and preparation for something that would taste awful.

Starting with raw almonds........

Blanching raw almonds was a pain in the neck. I poured boiling water over the almonds and let them sit for a few minutes until their skins became puffy. Then I popped each almond out of its skin, one by one......

Beautiful blanches almonds :-) Nice and shiny!

Soaking blanched almonds for 24 hours.

Getting the "magical" ingredients ready.

Pureeing everything in the blender until smooth and creamy.

The recipe called for a strainer over a bowl, but I was crafty and used vegetable steamer in a salad bowl with a lid so the cheese would not make my whole fridge smell like garlic and it would not absorb any smells from other foods.

I spooned the pureed almond mixture into cheesecloth and secured the top. I placed that on top of my vegetable steamer and chilled overnight.

Unwrapped almond cheese before baking. Still very mushy and soft. baking on a low temperature for an hour (I had to increase the time because the cheese was still very soft after the recommended baking time).

Beautiful baked almond cheese topped with oregano oil, basil oil and fresh parsley.

Almond feta cheese with crackers. This stuff makes an amazing dip and spread.

Tonight's dinner: Israeli couscous salad with almond feta cheese. Absolutely delightful!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My ABC's of food

There is a fun "ABC's of food" survey going around the internet. I found this one on Stephanie's blog (The little vegan baker). I changed some of the questions, but most of them were the original questions. Enjoy! I hope to see more of these surveys on my favorites blogs.

A is for Avocado: How do you like yours prepared?

I love Guacamole! In burritos, sandwiches, with chips or just by itself. I also like avocado sandwiches made with hummus, tomatoes and avocado, and seasoned with salt and pepper. And I add avocado to my Dirty Rice recipe.

B is for Bread: Regardless of nutrition, what is your favorite type?

I am a big fan of bread! The best white bread that I have ever had was in Hungary and Slovakia. My favorite rye bread comes from Czech Republic. I love white Italian and French breads that are not very nutritious, but they taste very good and are quite versatile in recipes. I love making my Apple Bread pudding with white bread. I also enjoy the healthy, wholegrain and sprouted breads with tons of seeds and different grains.

C is for Chocolate: What is your favorite kind currently?

Lately, I have been addicted to Go Max Go chocolate bars that are basically vegan versions of non-vegan brand name classics such as Snickers and Milky Way. My favorite is Twilight. I also enjoy Whole Foods brand “Dark chocolate with coconut” often.

D is for Donuts: You might not currently eat them, but what kind do you fancy?

My pre-vegan favorite used to be jelly donuts. I haven’t had a chance to try very many vegan donuts but the ones I tried I loved. They are made by Nutrilicious company and I get them online. Sometimes they also have them at Whole Foods, or at least they have the donut holes occasionally that are great too. I am going to buy a donut baking pan and I will try to make my own vegan donuts.

E is for Eggs: How would you like yours prepared?

I do not eat eggs, I haven’t had an egg in almost 5 years now. As a child I loved eggs sunny side up and semi-soft hard-boiled. I make a killer tofu scramble that tastes, looks and smells like scrambled eggs.

The egg industry is very cruel and vegetarians who eat eggs take a part in this horrible industry where male chicks are thrown, dropped and ground-up alive. Watch this video by Mercy for Animals to see how the egg industry really works.

F is for Falafel: Yay or nay?

Definitely YES! I love Middle Eastern food! If you eat falafel anywhere in the world odds are it will be vegan. I have had falafel in Germany, Czech Republic and USA. I make my own falafel at home and enjoy it with lemon-dill tofu sauce, or tahini sauce.

Falafel and hummus in Prague last year.

G is for Groceries: Where do you purchase yours?

Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Kroger and Publix.

H: is for Hot Beverages: What is your favorite hot drink?

I love hot fruit tea! I have a huge collection of teas from here and from Czech Republic (my mom often sends me fruit tea from Czech Republic). I cannot drink coffee anymore so I enjoy herbal coffee alternatives such as Teeccino and Pero (American version of Caro) with a splash of almond milk. You can read my story about how I kicked my caffeine habit here.

My Pero "coffee"

I is for Ice Cream: Pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.

I love all Purely Decadent’s Ice Creams-especially Cherry Nirvana. I also enjoy vanilla and strawberry ice cream with bananas, strawberries, pineapple, canned peaches and chocolate syrup.

J is for Jams or Jellies: Do you eat them? If so, what kind and flavor?

I grew up on bread, butter and jam open-faced sandwiches for breakfast. I still enjoy jams, sometimes on a warm toast, sometimes on a regular bread. The best are homemade jams from Czech Republic, but here I buy Whole Foods strawberry jam and imported black currant, red currant and gooseberry jams. I am not a big fan of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, I never was and I do not think that I ever will be.

Czech style breakfast: bread with vegan butter and berry jam, and Pero "coffee" with almond milk.

K is for Kashi: Name your favorite Kashi product?

Tuscan Veggie Bake

L is for Lunch: What was yours today?

Stuffed bell peppers (with rice, Gimme Lean Beef-fake ground beef, garlic, onions, Bulgarian spices) and Czech style tomato sauce. Peach mousse (blended silken tofu with canned peaches) and pineapple juice.

M is for microwave: What is your favorite microwave meal/snack?

I try to avoid microwave. I only use it to melt chocolate chips, prepare popcorn and occasionally prepare frozen entrée. I reheat my leftovers on the stove.

N is for nutrients: Do you like carbs, fats, or proteins best?

I wish I could say protein, but carbs win. I am trying to cut back on carbs but being a carboholic it isn’t so easy……..

O is for oil: What kind do you like to use?

For cooking canola oil, olive oil, and toasted sesame oil.

For nutritional support I take Total Omega Vegan Swirl by Barlean’s that is made with organic flax oil, borage oil and DHA algal oil.

P is for protein: How do you get yours?

From everything that I eat: variety of beans, lentils, peas, grains (quinoa is the best since it contains all essential amino acids making it a complete protein), tofu, tempeh, soy products, nuts (and nut butters), seeds, veggies, fruits and other foods that contain amino acids.

Q is for Quaker: How do you like your oats?

Blended into a smoothie with banana, almond milk, agave nectar and cinnamon.

R is for roasting: What is your favorite thing to roast?

Potatoes :-)

S is for sandwich: What’s your favorite kind?

That’s is a hard decision. I love Czech style open-faced sandwiches made with vegan potato salad, Tofurky deli slices and a pickle. I also love mock tuna sandwiches and tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato and vegan mayo sandwiches.

Popular Czech open-faced sandwiches

T is for travel: How do you handle eating while traveling?

I do not travel that much so I do not have to worry about it. However, when I go on a road trip I take sandwiches, hummus, pita bread, veggies, vegan jerky, granola bars and cookies.

I can easily eat at Subway restaurant, Moe’s and Taco Bell. I do not have a problem finding vegan options at most restaurants, or I ask for something off the menu.

Happy Cow website is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant guide with restaurants from all over the world. I love Loving Hut, they have vegan restaurants all over the world. I have to be careful on the plane since my last experience with their “vegan” meals was not very good. First I found a small fly in my salad and that ruined my appetite for the rest of it. The margarine that was given to me contained milk ingredients and the granola bar had honey. Thankfully, I brought tons of vegan granola bars, vegan jerky and candy bars with me.

Loving Hut Vegan restaurant in Prague (one of three locations in Prague)

U is for unique: What are some of the unique foods that you like?

I enjoy black currant tea that my husband hates. He says that it smells like a cat pee :-)

I like toast with vegan butter and Marmite.

I love pickles as a side dish to most foods.

I like chocolate covered pretzels and popcorn drizzled with chocolate.

I like porcini mushroom pizza with truffle oil.

I miss red currants, black currants, gooseberries and fresh porcini mushrooms. They are impossible to find in Atlanta. The porcini that they sell here are imported old and funky looking, and they want $49.99 a pound for them! I used to get my fresh porcini mushrooms from the forest when I lived in Czech Republic.

V is for vitamins: What kind do you take?

I take a multivitamin, probiotics, Omega 3-6-9 fatty acids, extra B12, magnesium drink, plus kelp supplement for iodine.

W is for Wiener Schnitzel: Do you ever recreate this traditional Czech food?

Yeah! I found a vegan version (Boca Original Chik’n patties) that is probably the closet thing to the Wiener Schnitzel in taste and texture that I remember from my pre-vegan days. The trick is to fry it in oil and then squeeze some fresh lemon over it. I love eating it with Czech vegan potato salad.

This is my veganized Christmas dinner that I also like to eat during the year :-)

Loving Hut in Prague makes the best Wiener Schnitzel with mashed potatoes. It is almost scary how realistic it tastes!

The best Wiener Schnitzels at Loving Hut in Prague.

X is XRAY: If we xrayed your belly right now, what food would we see?

Probably still some lunch, and raw broccoli marinated in lemon juice, sea salt and olive oil. And sprouted multigrain bread with vegan butter. And Green Smoothie (pineapple juice, mango and spinach).

Y is for Youth: What foods remind you of your childhood?

Apple strudel, Wiener Schnitzel and potato salad, mashed potatoes, goulash with bread dumplings, spaghetti with ketchup and shredded cheese (yes, you read it correctly-ketchup, not a tomato sauce….), various baked potato and pasta dishes (with layers of cheese, sausages and hardboiled eggs), Langosch, Kolache, apple-bread pudding, soups before every lunch, cucumber salad, sweet bread dumplings filled with fruit, pasta with poppy seeds and sugar, open-faced mini sandwiches with potato salad, porcini mushrooms, red currants, black currants, gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries……….the list would never end :-) I try to veganize most of my childhood favorite foods, especially when I feel homesick.

My recipe for veganized version of goulash and bread dumplings.

Z is for Zucchini: How do you prepare it?

Grilled or as a part of Ratatouille or Ragout dishes. Also breaded and fried sometimes.

Zucchini, eggplant, chickpeas, tomato, lemon and parsley ragout.