Vegan Challenge: Day #4

Breakfast: Grits& applesauce 

Lunch:

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Sandwich, donut holes, apple, basic salad with light dressing

Dinner:

I found this recipe on Post Punk Kitchen. The owner, Isa Chandra Moskowitz said this, 

"What's even better than a 30 minute meals is to develop a love for cooking that makes you forget about the clock."

So true!

Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes (Crab Cakes)

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For the Cakes:

8 ounces tempeh (use the nori tempeh if you can find it, but plain soy tempeh is fine, too)

1 cup water

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons Vegenaise

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard (stone-ground Dijon works, too)

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper (I used a green bell pepper)

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

Fresh black pepper

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs (Japanese style breadcrumbs), plus extra for dredging

1 finely chopped nori sheet or 1 tablespoon kelp granules (optional, if you like a little fishiness, which I don’t)

Oil for panfrying

For the Remoulade:

2 tablespoons Vegenaise

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard (stone-ground Dijon works, too)

1 tablespoon hot sauce

2 teaspoons capers (try not to get too much brine)

For Serving:

Lemon wedges

Directions:

Make ahead: Make the entire mixture and the remoulade the night before. In the morning, form into cakes and panfry.

First we’re going to steam the tempeh to get the bitterness out and also to give it some flavor with the soy sauce. Crumble the tempeh into a saucepan in little bits. Add the water, soy sauce, oil, and bay leaf. The tempeh won’t be fully submerged, but that’s fine. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let boil for 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated. Stir once during boiling.

Transfer contents to a mixing bowl, remove the bay leaf, and mash with a fork. Let cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to hasten the cooling process. Make sure the tempeh is barely warm before you proceed, or the cakes may fall apart when you cook them. Add the Vegenaise, mustard, hot sauce, vinegar, bell pepper, ginger, oregano, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add the breadcrumbs and nori, if using, and use your hands to incorporate.

Once you are ready to form the cakes, preheat a thin layer of oil in a heavy-bottomed, nonstick skillet (cast iron is great) over medium heat. Pour a few tablespoons of panko into a bowl. Scoop a little less than 1/4 cup batter into your hands and form into a ball. Flatten between your palms and then roll the sides gently to smooth them. You should have ten 2 1/2- to 3-inch patties. Press them into the panko to lightly coat. They don’t need to be thoroughly covered, just a little bit for some texture.

Fry a batch of five cakes for 4 minutes on one side and flip when dark golden brown. Fry for 2 minutes on the other side and transfer to a paper towel or paper bag to drain. Do your second batch and in the meantime make your remoulade by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Serve with lemon wedges.

I also added about 1/3 cup of chopped red onion and 1 tablespoon of Old Bay to the mixture.

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I didn't have any panko breadcrumbs, so I purchased a box of saltine crackers and made my own in the food processor using half a pack of crackers. Organic panko breadcumbs run about $4, so I purchased the crackers for $3.50 because I can use the rest for peanut butter crackers and with soup. I thought making my own breadcrumbs was quick and more practical.

I also picked up bay leaves (I didn't realize I already had some) and ground ginger.

Adding these items increased my budget from $110 to $118.57.

I can't complain because it's still a lot less than what we usually spend weekly on groceries.

Is anyone else planning to reduce their family's food budget? Let's discuss it in the comments or on Twitter.

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