Archive for the 'Breakfast' Category

Sticky Rice Ball (Ci Fun Tuan)

Sticky Rice Ball Ingredients

Happy Lunar New Year!

Traditionally, a vegetarian dish called jai, also known as Buddhist’s delight, is eaten on the first day of the new year. I’m not actually breaking with tradition as one doesn’t eat jai all the livelong day (I guess you could but I’m not going to). For breakfast, I made a sticky rice ball.

In Chinese, it’s called ci fun tuan, a sticky rice ball/roll made of steamed glutinous rice with a savory filling. While it’s a popular Chinese breakfast item for those on the go, I didn’t grow up eating it on a regular basis.

The one time I vividly remember my mom making something like it was when my sister was still studying at the library around dinnertime. So mom made a rice ball with meat inside of it and made me take it to my sister where it was surreptitiously eaten after a bit of giggling.*

Sticky Rice Ball

As you can see, I need to work on my technique as I had a few thin spots. I was trying to make the rice a thinner layer so it’s not this giant carb bomb.

Originally, the shape was to be a roll. But I had to really squish to get it to stick together and a ball shape was just easier to make. Ci fun tuan from a store have a thick cellophane wrapper, I only had flimsy plastic wrap, so I used parchment paper to shape and wrap up for on the go eating.

Sticky Rice Ball Inside View

The pretty pink color is from sautéed beet greens. I also subbed in Hodo Five-Spice Tofu Nuggets, and fried seitan (found at the Asian supermarket) for the more traditional ingredients of pork floss, pickled mustard greens, cruller, and sichuan vegetable. Other possible veggie fillings: seitan sausage, sautéed mushrooms, really anything that’s not too saucy otherwise it’ll just drip all over. And no one wants that.

* I’m neither advocating nor endorsing eating in a public library.

Sticky Rice Ball (Ci Fun Tuan)
Makes about 4-6 balls depending on size

1 3/4 cup glutinous rice (using the measuring cup that came with the rice cooker)
1/4 cup jasmine rice
A variety of strongly flavored fillings such as baked tofu, seitan sausage, sautéed greens and/or Chinese dried mushrooms

Cooking directions is for use with a rice cooker with a 5.5 cups capacity. Using the inner pot of the rice cooker, rinse the rice in several changes of water until the water is clear. Add enough water to cook the sweet rice as indicated on the inner pot. Let the rice soak in the water for 2 hours before cooking.

Cook the rice according to the rice cooker directions. Allow the rice to cool enough to handle. It’s easier to shape the rice when it’s warm. Lay a piece of parchment paper or heavy duty cellophane in your hand or on a flat surface if that’s easier. Place a scoop of rice on it and spread out, add whatever fillings. Add another layer of rice on top. Using the paper, shape into a ball or tube, pressing firmly until it’s tight and compact.

Make it as big or small as you like. I like mine with a minimal amount of rice, I don’t mind eating carbs but I don’t want to eat a lot of it at one go so I try to use the least amount of rice I can get away with.

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Rice Cooker Vegan Frittata: A Guest Post at Vegan Miam

Rice Cooker Vegan Frittata

Guess what? We’re going for a visit today! I’m so excited to be guest blogging over at vegan miam, one of my favorite blogs. Rika + Doni travel the world over searching out the very best in vegan eats.

From Paris to Thailand and points in between, they make me want to pack my bags and hop on a plane. Back home in Oregon, they cook up delicious meals such as Gochujang Tofu Pickled Cucumber Bowl and Taco Beer Flatbread Pizza with Roasted Corn Poblano.

Today, I’m sharing a vegan frittata made in a fuzzy logic rice cooker, let’s click on over for a visit and the recipe.

Vegan Cream Cheese and Coconut Bacon Bagel

Vegan Cream Cheese and Coconut Bacon Bagel

In the midst of the busy holidays, I managed to cook up a batch of coconut bacon for the first time. After trying a bag of Phoney Baloney’s Coconut Bacon, there’s no way my wallet was going to survive that addiction.

Especially not when it’s so easy to make at home. I actually made it while visiting at my parent’s house, everyone was wondering what I was making and why did it smell like bacon. Although all of the little kids came sniffing around, not one would touch the coconut bacon. The adults all liked sampling it but I don’t see anyone giving up regular bacon anytime soon. Oh well, more for me.

I used the recipe from Fettle Vegan but halved it as my parents have an extra small built-in wall oven. A full baking sheet pan doesn’t even fit, just a half sheet and there’s not much clearance on the sides. It’s a little like baking in a toy oven but with coconut bacon as the treat.

My First Cookbook

Vegan Cinnamon Toast

I got my first cookbook in grade school, Peanuts Cook Book, cartoons by Charles Schulz with recipes by June Dutton. It was one of those Scholastic books that you order through the public school; so excited when the box of books finally arrived in the classroom and so impatient for the teacher to pass them out.

I found the book while cleaning out some old things at my parent’s house. Just flipping through it brought back all sorts of memories. Apparently, I liked to write my name in my book and circled the recipes that sounded good. I suspect I really got it for the cartoons – interspersed with the recipes are food or eating related Peanuts comic strips.

Peanuts Cook Book

The only recipe I remember making is Security Cinnamon Toast, using either the toaster or the broiler. I’m pretty sure I went with the toaster method since I made it all by myself without any supervision – after making the toast, spread with butter right away and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Today, it’s whole grain toast and vegan butter, but still super easy and diy-kid-friendly.

Scrambled Tofu with Stewed Tomatoes

For fun, I veganized Sally’s Scrambled Eggs with (or without) Stewed Tomatoes. It was not one of the circled recipes, I can’t imagine wanting to eat canned stewed tomatoes as a small child. With a kitchen counter overflowing with fresh tomatoes, there’s no need to reach for the canned stuff. And with tofu instead of eggs, there’s nothing left of the original recipe but the idea – stewed tomatoes actually goes really well with scrambled tofu.

Do you remember your very first cookbook? How about your first vegan cookbook? Mine was The American Vegetarian Cookbook from the Fit for Life Kitchen by Marilyn Diamond (vegetarian is in the title, but it’s also vegan). Though it has fallen along the wayside now that there’s a seemingly endless stream of new vegan cookbooks hitting the market. An embarrassment of riches of the best kind.

Scrambled Tofu with Stewed Tomatoes

Scrambled Tofu
There’s no shortage of scrambled tofu recipes in cookbooks or online, use your favorite or the basic recipe below.
1 package extra-firm tofu, well drained, pressed and crumbled (I used a tofu press)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
Black salt (Kala Namak) – optional

Heat a skillet to hot and add a little bit of oil, swirl to coat the pan. Add the tofu and then the spices, cook to your desired level of doneness. Sprinkle with black salt if using.

Stewed Tomatoes
1 1/2 cups garden fresh cherry tomatoes, diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/4 small white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of butter
Sugar to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, heat the butter. Add the onion and celery, cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.

Top the scrambled tofu with the stewed tomatoes and serve immediately.

This post also contains Amazon links, I get a few coins tossed my way if you click on any of the links and make a purchase of anything.

Savory Brownies

Savory Spinach and Mushroom Brownies

I was inspired by a stack of savory brownies I saw at Bello Mundo Cafe, a cute little coffee place in San Luis Obispo, CA. Sadly, they weren’t vegan. I had stopped in on my way back to the Bay Area hoping for a vegan cupcake but got a sugar-free vegan fruit and nut bar instead. But I couldn’t stop thinking about those savory brownies (a 4-hour drive with nothing else to dwell on).

I have a square baking pan, buried way back in the cupboard. I could dust it off and try to make my own. So I did. Now, I’m not sure exactly what a savory brownie should taste like, having never tried one before.

Mine came out with an eggy kind of a taste, sorta like a crust-less quiche but denser. Is it suppose to be like that? I donno know, but it sure was good.

Savory Spinach and Mushroom Brownies

Easy to make with the potential for many flavor combinations. I used what was available at the local farmers market – fresh spinach, shiitake mushrooms and leeks. Pulled from the fridge, I crumbled in slices of smoky maple bacon tempeh which added extra little bits of savoriness.

Savory Spinach and Mushroom Brownies
Makes 9 pieces

1 medium-sized leek, white and pale green parts only, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh spinach (about 6 ounces cooked)
1/2 package Turtle Island Smoky Maple Bacon Tempeh, crumbled
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup soy milk or other non-dairy milk, divided
1/2 cup firm tofu, water pressed out
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a skillet or wok until hot, lightly drizzle with olive oil and sauté the leek and garlic until done. Transfer to a dish and set aside. Heat the skillet again and sauté the mushrooms until cooked, drain any water and set aside.

Sauté the spinach until just wilted. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Squeeze out any water and coarsely chop.

In a food processor or blender, combine the tofu, 1/2 cup of the soy milk, nutmeg, thyme and nutritional yeast, process until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the vegetables, tempeh, tofu and the rest of the soy milk and mix well. Pour into a well-greased 8-inch square baking pan and spread evenly.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, let cool before slicing.

Savory Oatmeal with Crouching Tiger Spicy Tofu

Savory Oatmeal with Spicy Tofu

Today, I guinea-pigged for you my hare-brained idea of Chinese food leftovers as a topping for savory oatmeal. I will now be eating all of my leftovers like this. It’s tasty, quick and so simple and easy.

Enjoy your favorite Chinese food the day before, something with a flavorful sauce. Either dine-in, take-out or homemade. I had a lunch special (I’m lazy like that) – fried tofu sautéed with vegetables in a spicy sauce at Crouching Tiger Restaurant in Redwood City, CA. Bring home the leftovers, make sure to get every drop of sauce into the box.

Savory Oatmeal with Spicy Tofu

Make a serving of Trader Joe’s Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats or other oatmeal, zap the Chinese food leftovers in the microwave. If there’s big pieces of vegetables or tofu, cut into smaller bite size pieces.

I’ve never understood why some restaurants won’t cut their veggies into easier to eat pieces. Especially when using chopsticks and it’s extra slippery with the sauce and all. The worst is baby bok choy but I digress.

Scoop/pour the now ideal bite-sized Chinese food onto the oatmeal, see top photo. Stir to combine if desired. Breakfast is served.

Related Post
Savory Oatmeal

Savory Oatmeal

Savory Oatmeal

With the end of fresh summer fruits, I’ve been wondering what to put on top of my oatmeal. I can’t eat it plain. I had heard about savory oatmeal being similar to jook (also known as congee or rice porridge), and with cooler weather finally setting in, it’s time to give it a whirl.

But it’s going to have to be something very simple, super quick, and easy enough make half-awake. I’m thinking leftovers.

I had extra roasted trumpet mushrooms and carrots. There was red potatoes too but I ate them while waiting for the oatmeal to cook. It wasn’t even a long wait – 8 minutes, using Trader Joe’s Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats.

Warm and tasty for wintery mornings, savory oatmeal beats out the sweet version, at least until summer rolls around again. I’m already thinking ahead to other toppings like leftover Chinese take-out, especially those dishes with a lot of sauce. Savory oatmeal with Kung Pao Tofu, anyone?

Vegan Chocolate Muffin From Pamplemousse

Vegan Chocolate Muffin From Pamplemousse

Vegan Chocolate Muffin, from Pamplemousse Pâtisserie et Café in downtown Redwood City. As their one and only vegan pastry item, it might as well be a chocolate muffin.

Nice chocolate flavor but it didn’t seem quite like a muffin. It was more like eating a little chocolate cake. Not that I’m complaining or anything. But it certainly made me think what’s the difference between a muffin and a cupcake (other than the lack of frosting and a muffin top).

I shared the muffin with my sister’s kids who could care less about whether it’s actually a muffin or a cake. Instead, through chocolate-muffin-covered-teeth, my niece declared, “You can’t even tell it’s vegan!”

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