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Below are the 18 most recent journal entries recorded in Softcore Veg*'s LiveJournal:

Sunday, August 26th, 2007
1:29 pm
Problems with Jasmine Rice
Sunday, August 26, 2007

I really like the nutty under taste that jasmine rice has. The problem I have is cooking it. It always burns if I follow the package directions.

We have 5 different types of rice in the house right now and all of them have different cooking instructions. They differ in the water rice ratios, the cooking time, the resting time and if the rice is added before or after the water is brought to a boil. All the other rice works just fine if I follow the package directions. The jasmine rice does not.

On Friday Robin and Marlene used jasmine rice in their dinner. They also burned the first batch. The second they doubled the amount of liquid and it was sticky but did not burn.

So with two different brands of jasmine rice that we had on hand I tried a bit of experimenting in the kitchen this morning. Six setups, all 1/2 cup batches of rice. Using the amount of water each package called for 5/8 of a cup for one and 3/4 cups for the other brand. I prepared them in three ways: Rice rinsed and left standing in clean water for 5 minutes; not rinsed with butter added; and rinsed with butter added. Maybe I should go back and do a rinsed standing with butter added. Yet I do not think I would get different results.

Looking at the information on the Internet for jasmine rice it indicates that it should be less sticky than other types of rice and that the water ratios on the packages are typical.

All the tests failed. That is to say that the rice ended up scorched and at least to me to be under watered. It ends up being very sticky, only a little less so when the butter was used. Oddly the rice that was rinsed and soaked in clean water was the stickiest for both brands. The rinsed but not left in water for 5 minutes was the least sticky for both brands.

I have tried making the jasmine rice in different pots with varied height to width ratios and material/coating types. The taller more slender pot with a non stick coating works best, as it does for other rice types, yet it still has the same general results, under watered and/or scorched.

Kelly and Cindy have made jasmine rice using a dedicated rice cooker and have gotten the same type of results we have.

Brand A
1/2 cup of rice, 5/8 cup water, add rice bring to a boil covered, add 1 Tbs butter (optional but recommenced), simmer covered at lowest heat to maintain simmer 20 minutes, rest 10 minutes, fluff.

Brand B
1/2 cup of rice, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 Tbs butter (optional), add rice bring to a boil uncovered, simmer covered 25 minutes with low heat, rest 10 minutes, fluff.

Cheri has been doubling the amount of liquid called for on the package when cooking the jasmine rice. While it is still sticky it does not scorch and uses up all the liquid.

Around here jasmine rice runs 2 to 2 1/2 time the price of other rice so it would be nice to know how to prepare it right.

So what are we doing wrong?

Why can't we follow the package directions and get a good batch of Jasmine rice?

Any hints on this would be well received.

Posted to my journal ( short_line2 ) and softcore_veg

Current Mood: frustrated
Sunday, July 1st, 2007
5:35 pm
Vegetarian reasons

Interesting! According to this I mostly identify with taste/texture opposition to eating meat, and secondly animal rights concerns, which to me "taste/texture" is much lower in terms of "why I don't eat meat." Though I think it is because I have disagreements with a lot of the current "what animal rights means you should do/believe in" arguments, but almost always can say I'm not tempted to eat meat, I don't think I'd like the taste, etc. etc. My Mother says she thought I might've because when I was little I ate piles of vegetables and very little meat. So, cool, feel free to take the survey no matter your current diet.
Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
2:41 am
salsa rice + lime seitan
Rice and seitan cooking time: 1 hour.
Combining time: 15 minutes, at most.

Cook 1 cup brown rice (to make 3 cups cooked) until almost ready, when it gets to that "let stand for ten minutes" part, add pineapple salsa (about 16oz, or to taste) and let stand.
Prepare seitan as directed here, using 1/4 of the total amount made. Slice and saute in margarine until crispy on each side. Add about 1tbsp. lime juice and cook another 3-4 minutes until juice is absorbed.
Personally, I like to chop the seitan up into pieces and mix into the rice, so it comes as an occasional BURST of lime, but you don't have to. And is occasionally nice with vegan cooking to have meals requiring a knife.

If you happen to have 3 cups of cooked rice on hand, that works just as well. Use a bit less (maybe 1/4 less) salsa if you use white rice.
You don't HAVE to use pineapple salsa, just happens to be one I like.
You can substitute whatever you like for margarine, I bet olive oil would work fine.
Prepared 'faux meats' that would be good: plain wheat meat. Veat. I don't particularly like the Morning Star "chicken" meal starter strips, but if you do, they'd probably work. LifeLite ones probably taste good, though.
You could add garlic (chopped, when sauteing) or cilantro, if you want another flavor in there.
2:40 am
Follow Your Heart
The other day, my boyfriend (Chris, omnivore) and our to-be roommate (Sarah, vegetarian) were out foraging for dinner at the local Wegman's. We decided to make some noodles and "cheese" with broccoli and some ground "beef."
Wegman's doesn't sell that boxed noodle and "cheese" stuff, and I didn't like it the one time I had it anyway. We decided to try Follow Your Heart brand cheddar.
Now I'd tried Follow Your Heart once before and rated it "okay" - not really worth the price and out of the package, tastes exactly the same as what I can make with Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. So, cooked the noodles and the broccoli, and everyone tried a sliver of Follow Your Heart:
Chris: Blech!
Sarah: It's uh, kind of slimey.
Me: And grainy.
But, being adventurous, Sarah and I chopped it up and added it to some margarine, then threw in some basil for good measure.
Added it to the noodles and broccoli, and threw in some veggie crumbles. YUMMY. Tastes like actual cheddar cheese sauce. Still pricey, and only for special treats, but DANG that tasted good. Even Chris voted it a success.

Now I need to re-try some of those Ultimate Uncheese block cheeses, see if they melt into tasty.
Thursday, May 10th, 2007
1:06 pm
One of my classmates came up to me and says this:
"So my daughter is going vegetarian, I think, she hasn't eaten meat for two months. And she's doing it all wrong."
"Oh?" I ask.
"I don't think she gets enough protein. What do you do for protein?"
So another classmate (who does eat meat, but very sparingly, I think I've seen her eat meat once in the two years I've known her) and I go into all the dietary sources of protein. I bring up soy. The inevitable response:
"I don't know, my mother had breast cancer that was estrogen receptive, so I'm worried about soy."

So, okay people, here's my opinion on the subject of soy and breast cancer:
There haven't really been any conclusive studies that link breast cancer to soy consumption, or define excessive soy consumption (or even what constitutes excessive) as making breast cancer worse or increasing the likelihood of resurgence of breast cancer. Soy isoflavenes do appear to mimic estrogen so there is a concern and it is being studied, never fear. However, a woman is 28 times more likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer. Soy HAS been shown to lower LDL levels, the bad cholesterol linked to heart disease. It is not a huge decrease, not enough to really warrant the "ADD SOY TO EVERYTHING!" mania, but is a positive for soy.
There is no single wonder miracle food to prevent cancer and every other disease, however, I think soy is significantly less dangerous than a lot of other foods.
Sunday, April 29th, 2007
6:28 pm
Seitan Recipe
Made seitan the other day and came out fabulously.
1 Box Hodgeson Mill Vital Wheat Gluten (6.5oz, 1 and 1/4 cup)
1/4th cup of nutritional yeast
2 tsp. powdered vegetable broth
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cumin

1/4th cup soy sauce
1 cup of water

Combine dry ingredients well. Combine wet ingredients in separate container. Add wet ingredients slowly to dry while kneading until it forms a slightly soppy dough - you may not need the entire amount, or may need a little more water. While kneading, start a 2qt. pot of water boiling. I put into the bread maker to knead, but you can do so by hand. This time, I forgot about the dough so it had moved to rise cycle, so about 30 minutes of kneading. Dough should be very elastic, shiny, and kind of resistant to kneading. (NOTE: I usually throw in another 1/2 cup or so of soy sauce, or a cup of vegetable broth)
Cut dough into pieces, usually 3-4. Add to boiling water and turn down heat to rolling boil for 40 minutes.
Immediately remove seitan and place in covered container. If you allow it to sit in the water it will get spongy. You can use immediately in a recipe, such as stir fry. Or it'll keep in the refrigerator about a week. Can be frozen as well, not sure how long on that one. You can also grate it for use as "ground beef."

This turned out very dense, (as opposed to spongy) exactly as I like it. I'm going to attribute it to the longer kneading time. The flavor was exceptional, I was actually nibbling on it cold before cooking it into something.
Sunday, April 8th, 2007
3:51 pm
I use way too much of this stuff. One day I'll get around to growing it, as I've killed two plants of it and even if I buy the fresh I tend to not get to half of it and subsequently feel bad about wasting it.

Anyway, the other day I made some of the SoyBoy raviolis, then fried them in olive oil (a perfect way to make a very healthy food less healthy) until crispy, then added some lemon juice and basil and cooked just until thick. SO GOOD.

Yesterday - and I finished eating today - I made whole wheat pasta, some pesto (from Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook) and steamed some broccoli and edamame - tossed together to make a delightfully green meal.
Sunday, April 1st, 2007
12:47 am
Book Reviews
I'd like you guys to review these books for me. Keep in mind I am a college student who is a beginner vegan, so I want to start simple and work my way up. I am hoping these cookbooks will have a whole range of skill recipes. Scarcity of items and price are not dealbreakers, but please mention these things.
=>The Everyday Vegan by Dreena Burton
=>Vive le Vegan! by Dreena Burton
=>Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann
=>Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
=>Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
=>How It All Vegan!: Irresistable Recipes for an Animal-Free Diet by Sarah Kramer & Tanya Barnard
=>The Garden of Vegan: How It All Vegan Again! by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard

& I wasn't planning on getting the third book, but sway me?

I'm also going to get Intro to Animal Rights by Greg Francione.

xposted a bit.
Wednesday, March 28th, 2007
3:20 pm
I'm in the process of turning vegan at the moment, in that I'm not buying any more products with eggs/dairy etc in but am still in the process of using up the ones in my cupboard (it feels too wasteful to just chuck them, is that weird?) but I had a workman come round to my flat today and it raised a point I haven't really thought of before: What do you give the handyman (or woman, mine just happens to be the husband of my landlady) in his tea?

I know soy milk is ok in tea but I'm not that keen on it generally so don't have it in. I really like rice milk, but that seems weird in tea. I quite like my tea black now so it's not a problem for me, and my friends can like it, lump it or buy their own, but what about for the one offs? I happened to have a load of those tiny milk things you get with complimentary teas (free you say? Why thank you, I'll have two!) so I put that in his drink but they'll run out and then what? What's best?

I don't want to buy more dairy but I like my workmen and somehow can't imagine the ones who come round to be fans of hippy food. They gently mock my sprouting beans on the window sill! I know it's my house my choice but it seems rude to not have something that is so expected in British culture. It's not going to keep me awake at night I was just curious what other people do?
Monday, March 5th, 2007
6:55 pm
Welcome new members / kitchen devices
Looks like we got a few new members, welcome!

For fun, what kind of kitchen gadgets do you have? Which do you use on a regular basis? Any particular reason you do?

I have a combination blender and food processor, which I don't use very often due to: not having a dish washer, so it is annoying to clean, and I think it is breaking down - my ears ring after using it! :P

Also have a bread maker, which I use primarily for seitan these days.

And a microwave, which right now is mostly reheating foods, but the week my stove broke I got really good at making pasta and rice and just about anything else in!

Anyone else?
Thursday, February 15th, 2007
12:26 pm
tofu jerky
Has anyone had any luck making tofu jerky? I tried the recipe from How it all Vegan, using my oven since I don't have a food dehydrator, and while it tasted OK, it was not at all a jerky-like consistency. I want that tough, but still chewy consistency of beef jerky, but all I got was slightly shrunk marinated tofu. I cut the slices 1/4 inch thick like the recipe said, and while the tofu shrank lengthwise, it didn't seem to get much less thick, and that was way too thick for jerky. Does it work better if you slice it thinner, or if you actually use a food dehydrator?
Wednesday, February 7th, 2007
1:29 pm
Bitter cold + healthcare work seem to join forces this time of year to destroy my hands. Any hand lotions recommendations? A favorite I used to use was Eucerin but I'd prefer to avoid lanolin products these days. Any old cheapy lotions don't seem to really work, and I'd love to find a good product that isn't tested on animals.
Any thoughts?
Avoiding artificial/natural scents isn't a big deal to me, but if you have thoughts on that subject do share!
Monday, January 15th, 2007
9:05 pm
What kind of cookbooks do you have? Which do you find useful? Which have you tried but haven't found useful?

I have a lot of cookbooksCollapse )
8:56 pm
Parmesan "cheese" recipe
This is basically from Joanne Stepaniak's Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

1/2 cup blanched almonds
2 tbsp. nutritional or brewer's yeast
1-2 tsp. light miso
1/4 tsp. salt

Process almonds in a food processor until fine. Add other ingredients and process until blended together. Makes roughly 1 cup.

I use the blanched slivered almonds that you can buy in bulk. I didn't find specific 'light' miso, and switch back and forth between using mellow white miso, which keeps the color closer to parmesan or barley miso which is darker and has a stronger flavor. I use a little more salt than the original recipe, usually. I also prefer to at least double the batch and have had good luck up to quadrupling. According to my omnivore boyfriend, it tastes like that good "real" Parmesan cheese and prefers it to taste strong. The recipe book also says you can use sesame seeds which may require being ground in another appliance, so I haven't tried it that way yet.
Friday, December 15th, 2006
1:27 pm
my favorite holiday recipe
since it's the holiday season (otherwise known as the time for eating lots of yummy food), i thought i'd share my favorite holiday recipe. it's generally my vegetarian contribution to either thanksgiving or christmas dinner.

i generally make butternut squash lasagna based off of that recipe, but with some modifications. i usually use organic baby spinach in place of the swiss chard because that's what's easy to find where i live. i also generally replace the milk with soymilk (unflavored) just because too much dairy sometimes doesn't agree with me.

it's pretty easy to vegan-ize the recipe though. i've made it both dairy and gluten-free by using rice lasagna noodles and rice flour in place of the regular lasagna noodles and flour. i've used soymilk and vegan margarine in place of the milk and butter, and left the parmesan cheese out completely. it doesn't have quite the same flavor without the parmesan cheese, but the white sauce made just with the soymilk, margarine, flour and herbs/spices still comes out tasting really yummy. i have never tried using any sort of vegan parmesan cheese substitute, but if anyone tries it, i'm curious how it turns out.

another frequent modification i make is to use whole wheat lasagna noodles in place of regular. the whole wheaty flavor of the noodles works well with this kind of lasagna.

i've also tried this with frozen already mashed up butternut squash and basically just skip the roasting and just thaw the squash and stir in a smidge of salt and it comes out fine.

i've even tried it with kale instead of chard or spinach and while not my first choice of green to use in this recipe, it's definately one of the only times i've actually found kale to not taste horrible. i know it's good for you, and when i get it from my CSA farm i try to use it, but i mostly have to force myself to eat it, and in this recipe it tasted halfway decent.

as a side note, does anyone else have recipes that make kale taste good? i just don't like the really strong flavor of it in most cases.
Sunday, November 26th, 2006
6:23 pm
Beef Substitutes

(these are the average prices at my local Wegman's, prices are probably going to vary depending on store/location)
Morning Star Beef Crumbles: 12oz/$3.29
Not spectacularly tasty, relatively unflavored. The texture is good. Easy to use.

Morning Star Steak Strips: 8oz/$3.99
They're okay, neither the flavor nor the texture are very impressive. Like they're chicken strips, I found them to be kind of soggy.

Litelife's Smart Menu Steak Style Strips: 8oz/$3.99
I'm a big fan of these. They probably intended for fajitas. Nicely flavored on their own and absorb other flavors well. Only prohibitive part is the price, so these are more of a special treat.

Nate's Meatless Meatballs: 12oz/$4.99 (not at Wegman's, little natural foods store)
These were very good. Highly recommended. Didn't get tough with cooking. I think I've had the classic ones, not too sure on the other varieties. On the pricey side, however.

Mo's Kitchen, Steak: 8oz/$3.99 (not at Wegman's, found in Shaw's Grocery)
Flavor is okay, kind of wheaty - needs lots of marinade. Not vegan, has whey protein. Texture is okay, similar to other veggie products that have whey protein. It has a fat ring, which is somewhat odd. BF and I opted to toss the ring. Not really worth the cost.

Burger substitutes: admittedly, I'm not huge on burgers, so I haven't tried lots of these. If anyone wants to add recommendations.

Morning Star regular burgers "Grillers": 10oz / 4 patties / $3.29
Like the crumbles, nothing spectacular but these are the basic 'burger analogs.' Will work for your cookout or whatever.

GardenBurger Vegan: 10oz / 4 patties/ $3.59
I haven't tried the other varieties for a long time, far as I know they're pretty good. I like the vegetables in the veggie burgers but I know other people don't. The other varieties contain cheese.

Litelife SmartMenu Burgers: 11oz/$3.99
Very "meat-analog," not overly flavored. Once again, okay to just throw on a grill or microwave when everyone else is having burgers.

Please add more!
Saturday, November 18th, 2006
4:06 pm
Big Book of Chicken Substitutes:
(feel free to add your own, or correct mine as needed)

Wheat Meat by White Wave:
Tasty, you get a big block, cut off chunks for yourself. This is seitan pre-packaged and processed and one day I aspire to having my seitan taste just as good. Completely vegan, too, if I remember right. Wheat gluten.

Chik'n Patties/Nuggets by Boca Burger:
Very realisitc breaded patties. Lots of processing too, though, if that bothers you. There is a spicy version I prefer for, say, mexican recipes. Recently changed their recipe to all vegan. Soy, mostly. I usually find this is the cheapest of the chicken substitutes.

Chicken Strips by Smart Life:
I like these a lot. 'Fajita'-style strips. Flavored well, good texture, good for tossing into anything. They're expensive here though (not like the others usually aren't, more per unit though). Vegan, soy.

Veat by Van International:
These are so good, even if the 'breast' one is slightly disturbing. Highly realistic, flavor and texture wise. This is rather expensive and not entirely vegan, as it has whey protein. This is one of the few chicken substitutes I could just heat up and eat, no need to season heavily.

-insert trendy contraction of chicken- by GardenBurger:
Honestly, I think the texture is closer to fish patties than chicken. Non-breaded, so it works better for slicing into dishes. Not highly flavored. Vegan. Soy.

Meal starter 'chicken' strips by MorningStar:
I'm not a big fan of these, tasted like boiled soggy chicken more than anything else. Pretty sure they're vegan. Kind of pricy, as they're really only good for one meal. Soy-tastic.

Chicken products by Morning Star:
These are pretty tasty, always breaded. Meat eaters adore these, very good for convincing people veggie foods aren't evil. Especially the buffalo wings. Contains eggs and milk-products.

Making your own seitan:
Very tasty, as vegan as you want, as flavored as you want, cheap. Good tip: use the 'chicken' vegetarian broth. I tend to oversalt with soy sauce and stuff, but one doesn't need to. I always need to cover mine, not that great for just munching on, but I will aspire to!
Friday, November 17th, 2006
1:57 pm
This community was created when, even in veg* communities not intended for debate, a debate would start. And it would be very little civil disagreement and a lot of arrogance. Many people I know are interested in some aspects of vegetarianism, but are scared away by the "militant" attitudes, the "eating their young" behaviors and the lack of acceptance of different viewpoints. So I would like for this community to be for the people who are interested in a reduction of animal suffering, in the broadest definition I can come up with.

Thanks for looking.
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