Today, my dad gets to do three things he loves: smoke a cigar, drink some Rémy Martin, and have lunch at the Indian restaurant he loves in Fargo. Since I can't be there, I'll celebrate my own way: by making a dish that my dad made for me a lot as a child.
Rich, cheesy, and comforting, Carbonara is perfect for a crisp autumn evening. I've never written down the recipe, because I've always just thrown it together. But I'll give it a try.
Pasta alla Carbonara
for one or two
cooked pasta of choice (spaghetti is most common)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced thin
4 strips of vegan bacon, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp margarine
3 tbsp vegan cream cheese or Daiya mozzarella
1/3 cup soy creamer or unsweetened almond milk
splash white wine
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp vegan parmesan cheese if desired
salt, pepper, fresh parsley
In oil, cook the onion, bacon, and garlic until bacon is browned and onion is translucent. Add margarine, cheese, and milk. Stir until cheese is melted. Add wine and peas. Heat through. Add vegan parmesan (I use a mixture of sea salt, walnuts, and nooch). Salt and pepper to taste. Toss with pasta. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Today, my dad gets to do three things he loves: smoke a cigar, drink some Rémy Martin, and have lunch at the Indian restaurant he loves in Fargo. Since I can't be there, I'll celebrate my own way: by making a dish that my dad made for me a lot as a child.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Sometime in September, after I found out that Mofo was October this year, I started to plan out my themes. I seriously considered a week of cheesecakes. I'll probably do it at a future date, but I think I scrapped it this year because I knew that I was going to have to buy new jeans after Chain Restaurant Week, and eating the equivalent of a truckload of Tofutti wasn't going to help matters. Next year, I'll do some healthier stuff and top it off with Cheesecake Week, 'kay?
I actually made this for a party tonight, but it was postponed. I'm sort of glad, because the huge party became a small dinner party, and I got to go home with leftovers. Yayah! I am very happy with how this turned out, and after watching Paranormal Activity tonight, I'm fairly sure the demon has moved from my kitchen to my camera. This was the best picture I took, and look how I cut it off on the top there. Fucking amateur.
Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake
1 chocolate cookie crust (I used Keebler--it's vegan!)
1 8-oz pkg Tofutti cream cheese
1 asceptic box extra firm silken tofu
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp almond extract
1 can cherry pie filling
Whipped topping, chocolate shavings if desired
Preheat oven to 350°. Place crust (keep in the tin) on a cookie sheet.
In a food processor, blend together the cheese, tofu, sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, lemon juice, and almond extract. Scrape the sides with a rubber spatula and blend again. Pour into crust. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. You don't have to use a waterbath, since you'll be covering up any cracks with the cherries. Once baked, cool the cake to room temperature, and then chill, covered, for at least an hour. Spread cherry pie filling over the cake. Chill until time to serve. Excellent with whipped topping of choice (we used Soyatoo, but chilled whipped coconut cream would be good, too), and chocolate shavings if you wanna be fancy.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Last Thanksgiving, I added vanilla and cardamom to the cranberry sauce, and made it AMAZING. I wanted to recreate that, but in a dessert. This is so, so delicious. It's also super quick, because I used canned whole cranberry sauce. I highly recommend pairing this with So Delicious Dulce de Leche ice cream.
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped almonds
1 stick margarine (1/2 cup)
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cardamom
Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 9"x9" baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, almonds, and margarine. Work it with your hands until it's all crumby. Spread have the crumbs in your pan. In another bowl. combine the cranberries, vanilla, and cardamom. Spread over crumbs in the pan. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on top. Bake 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
exploded caramel apple cookies or melted turtle brownies, you do this.
This is of course after furiously slamming the brownie pan on the counter and yelling "FUCK" at the top of your lungs because you're convinced that your goddamn kitchen is cursed and/or you've completely lost all of your cooking skill somehow. This has been a weird week for me. I wonder if it's some strange hormonal thing because not only can I not cook, but I've gone back and read some things I posted on other sites and it's like a fucking illiterate teabagger transcribed for me. I was tempted to just throw in the towel, but instead, I took the day off from Mofo, made some spaghetti, and slept for about thirteen hours. This morning, I took a couple of my melted brownies, and made the above sundae. The rest are going in the freezer until I figure out what else to do with a baking fail other than toss it in the garbage with what Mischka left on the floor this morning.
God. Why didn't I do a garlic week or something?
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
This was a whole lot of work for only one decent looking cookie.
So, I made these caramels (minus the cardamom), and I veganized this apple cider cookie recipe (I used Earth Balance and flax eggs), and my cookies exploded and there's caramel all over the cookie sheet and oh fuck THIS. That one is the only one worth taking a picture of. Since I have plenty more cider mix (I only made a half batch, THANK GOD), I might try this again, and instead of caramels inside the cookies, I'll just drizzle some caramel on top.
But I will tell you this: They are pretty damned yummy. I might just crumble them up and mix them into vanilla ice cream.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Is everyone aware that Megan Fox recently gave up veganism because she "couldn't gain weight?" Yeah. I had this reaction. Anyway, I have four words for Megan Fox: Mint Oreo Fudge Cremes. See, mint Oreos were already awesome, and vegan, and then they went and covered those fuckers in chocolate. Are you kidding me? These things are like Thin Mints, only BETTER. I always pick them up when I go to Target and feel like a pathetic junkie on the bus as I rip the package open.
Here's another nice surprise: Jell-O cook and serve pudding? Vegan. I shit you negative. It appears that the instant puddings are as well, but the cooking-required ones actually set using non-dairy milk. Now, I highly recommend using almond milk, because soy just doesn't set right, and it tastes funny. But the one thing about this find that's extra awesome? It makes bitchin' vegan ice cream.
So, I made up a batch of chocolate pudding this morning (using Silk Pure Almond vanilla-but the dark chocolate makes an even richer pudding), put plastic wrap over IT (to eliminate the skin on top) and refrigerated it. When I got home, I dumped it in the ice cream maker with 20 or so smashed up mint Oreo Fudge Cremes, and a teaspoon of peppermint extract to make it extra minty.
Flavor: check. Texture and mouthfeel (I hate that word): check. Weight gainable? Oh, check. Come to mama.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
This week might do me in, weight-wise. I have a serious weakness for sugar, and in fact, it's the downfall for me whenever I try any kind of "diet" or weight loss regimen. As soon as I start to do great, look good, feel confident...I stifle it all with a half gallon of So Delicious Dulce de Leche. I'll admit again, that if good vegan ice cream didn't exist, I couldn't have kept this shit up for six years.
This week I was going to tackle candymaking. I went out and got a bunch of chocolate and corn syrup, and then don'tcha know, someone else did it last week. I learned that I have a massive ego and don't want anyone to think I'm copying, and (as you all know from my bleeding all over the blog yesterday) I learned that I should just focus on things this week that I can do somewhat blindfolded. Well, except for Saturday's recipe, which I'm very worried about.
This one I pulled out of my ass during the Vikings game, because, if you saw that piece of shit, you'd be distracted, too. The batter came out very mousse-y, and it leavened like a sumbitch. The frosting is cream cheese frosting, mixed with melted chocolate, and poured all over the cake. Sweet Lord. Serve this warm with (what else) your favorite ice cream.
My cream cheese frosting heart started to melt.
Pumpkin Sour Cream Chocolate Cake
Makes one 9" round cake
1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
1/4 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9" round cake pan (8x8 square) with baking spray.
Whisk together the wet ingredients. Work quickly, because the chocolate will start to harden when it hits the other liquids, so try to mix it up as best you can. In a separate bowl, blend the dry ingredients well with a whisk or spoon. Gradually add the dry to the wet, and mix. The batter will be fluffy and mousse-like. Spread in your pan with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes (do the toothpick test). Cool for 10 minutes, and make frosting.
1/2 can Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Frosting (it's vegan!)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Microwave for one minute, then stir until blended. Pour over cake.
I'm glad that the only bad thing about this cake is that I took awful pictures of it. I was in too big a hurry to inhale it.
If any of you are poo-pooing the idea of store bought frosting or using cake mixes, then this week may not be for you. I haven't had many run-ins with the vegan police, but I do know that Lindsay over at Happy Herbivore recently renounced the "vegan" title because people were questioning where her sugar was sourced, etc. I do know that she also uses honey, which is a whole 'nother can o' pectin gummy worms, but as for the sugar thing and the questionable ingredients on cake mix labels, I have this to say: If I make something from scratch that I serve to other vegans, I use organic sugar. I don't make shortcuts. When I'm making something for me and the thankless bastards I work with, or my vegan friends who feel similarly, I'll cut corners and use "accidentally vegan" store items. So far, the only people who have nitpicked me about such things have been non-vegans, who seem to think there is a purity rule. The way I see it is, when it comes to things like sugar that may or may not have been processed in bone char, when the day comes that there are no animals being used, then there won't be by-products. There is no purity test. But if you really do stress out about these things, I will post ingredients lists for you.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
This MoFo has been...a learning experience. I refuse to say "failure," although a lot of the things I have made have not come out tasting as I'd hoped, or outright disappointed me. I guess I should be relieved that the plan I had for next week (candy) is being done this week by someone else (right down to the exact items I wanted to veganize). Part of me feels frustrated that now I have to come up with other ideas, but I'm also somewhat glad because this month seems to be jinxed. I've forgotten things in pictures, I've forgotten ingredients when blogging recipes (only to go back and edit after posting that shit all over the place), and I haven't taken any time off work, thus making grocery shopping, cooking, and blogging something that is just more shit I gotta do instead of something I normally look forward to. I'm also feeling incredibly anxious about tackling things, when I used to feel challenged and excited. Sucks, huh? I guess the only thing I can do is soldier on, finish the month, and resolve to experiment more with things. Starting with this Tarte Tatin.
It started off so well. The caramel was perfectly amber, and then at some point, it burned. If I have anything to teach anyone about veganizing, it's that vegan versions don't take long to get to where they need to be. Case in point: caramel. I put the apples in long after I should have, and cooked it longer on the stove than I should have.
The inside, which was perfect.
I ended up scraping off the burnt sugar on top, and served this with vanilla ice cream, and it was good (not awesome).
What I learned about this dessert is that I can skip the long caramelization process called for in the original recipe. Simply melt, stir, bake. Since everything happened so fast, it can happen in the oven. I'll be tackling this again. Trust me.
Friday, October 21, 2011
My parents were very close friends with a lovely German man named Wolfgang, who made this dish every time we visited, for he knew it was my father's favorite. His secret ingredient was vodka, but I think I've made do with a splash of white wine and a tablespoon of brown rice miso for that "boozy" flavor. I'll admit, I sure did love these when I had them the first time. I think I came up with a pretty damn good homage. Here's to you, Wolf.
Vegan Königsberger Klopse (German meatballs)
Serves 4 healthy appetites.
For the Klopse:
1/2 package Gimme Lean hamburger
1/2 package Gimme Lean sausage
1 tbsp brown rice miso
2 pieces of bread (I used Rudi's multigrain oat), or a large kaiser roll
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Tear up the bread, and douse in hot water. Strain and squeeze out excess. Mix well with other ingredients. Form into 8 meatballs with wet hands. If the mixture is too sticky, add a little flour.
Preheat oven to 350°
In a hot, oiled cast iron skillet, brown the klopse on all sides. Remove klopse and set aside.
For the gravy:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp margarine
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups hot not-beef broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp brown German mustard
splash of vodka or white wine (maybe 1/4 cup)
1 tbsp drained capers
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
In the same pan, heat the oil and margarine. Whisk in the cornstarch. Add the broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, capers, and wine and whisk well. Bring to a boil. Add klopse. Remove from heat and put pan in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven. Stir in sour cream. Cool, then serve over mashed potatoes, or with warm potato salad with vinaigrette.
I think this is one of my best. It was EVEN MORE DELICIOUS after being in the fridge all day. But that could be the Oktoberfest beer talking.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
I didn't want to do the thing that EVERYONE mentioned. Spanakopita. I wanted to try something different; something I've never had. I think I found it in these cookies.
They go perfectly with a glass of sweet white wine, or a cup of citrusy tea. They're a bit dry, so a beverage is a must. This would be perfect to serve at a shower or other hen party, where dainty cookies are usually called for.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies*
1 stick Earth Balance, softened (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup superfine sugar (I just put regular crystal sugar in the Vitamix for a few seconds)
grated zest of one organic orange
1/2 cup corn oil
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semolina
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup Just Like Honey or other honey alternative
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, sesame seeds, or caster sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, superfine sugar and orange zest. Gradually mix in the oil and beat until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, semolina, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves; beat into the fluffy mixture alternately with the orange juice. As the mixture thickens, turn out onto a floured board and knead into a firm dough. Pinch off tablespoonfuls of dough and form them into balls or ovals. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Cool on baking sheets until room temperature.
To make the syrup: In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the water, white sugar, honey alternative, cinnamon stick and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick. While the mixture is boiling hot, dip the cookies in one at a time, making sure to cover them completely. Place them on a wire rack to dry and sprinkle with walnuts, sesame seeds, or sugar. Place paper under the rack to catch the drips. Keep finished cookies in a sealed container at room temperature.
*The recipe I veganized says 5 dozen, but I made mine a little bigger.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The only smart thing I did today was prepare the filling for these empanadas before leaving for work. Otherwise, I'd still be in the kitchen, and this blog entry would be late. I'd also be STARVING, because I spent my entire lunch break on the phone with T-Mobile, crying over the latest piece of shit phone they've sent me. This time, the phone won't charge. I was lucky enough to find my old flip phone and charger so I can at least talk and text until my new piece of shit arrives tomorrow. I think the woman I spoke with at tech support told me three times that I'll have to cough up $55 if the phone is actually damaged; as in, I broke it. I know, I know. I hate this shit. I want Credo to get some decent droids (or iPhones), and then I'm dropping this Motorola Charm piece of junk off the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.
Anyway, the empanadas turned out great. Thanks in part to this handy little gadget that I got for $1 about ten years ago, but finally used today:
As for the filling, I think the traditional Spanish recipe calls for beef, hard boiled eggs, and raisins. Oh, and sofrito, of course. I used Trader Joe's soy chorizo, potatoes, and dried cherries. I made a simple tomato sauce with minced onion, garlic, green pepper, white wine, and paprika. Instead of making dough, I used puff pastry. Baked at 400° until golden brown (about 15 minutes), and I had time to blog!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Who knew that my favorite soup as a child, fresh out of the Chunky can, had a Polish history? I knew they were into their pork over there, but I guess I never associated anything edible with Poland other than kielbasa.
I think all of us have made this before. Split pea soup with onion, celery, potatoes, and carrots. Maybe some vegan ham, if you have some around. Maybe cook it with a little beer or sherry, to bring out the heart of the soup.
I woke up feeling like shit, and all I wanted today was soup. I wondered if this would be too heavy, and maybe it was, but it's the perfect dinner to curl up with when it's 40° outside.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Photo credit: Star Tribune
King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway are in town this week. I had planned to make something different this morning, but when I heard this was their last day in town, I figured I should give the Motherland some props and do up some lefse.
Of course, "motherland" would be a misnomer for me, since my mother is English and Irish, and my grandpa was the Norwegian ingredient, but my Grandma Ruth was one hell of a lefse factory, despite being German.
Here she is with my dad. AWWW!
I wish I'd spent more of my childhood learning kitchen tricks from my grandma. By the time I'd wrestled much alone time with her, she'd already gone through my numerous cousins and was becoming a "back of the box" chef. I remember telling her how much I looooved her pineapple upside-down cake, only to have her tell me that it was actually Barbara Mandrell's recipe, and she got it off the back of a box of cake mix.
But there was one thing she did from scratch that I looked forward to every year. Lefse. Perfectly thin, perfectly cooked, and delicious with butter and sugar. I knew there was no way I could make my lefse as perfect without years of experience, but I will tell you, it tastes even better with Earth Balance and organic raw sugar sprinkled on it.
This recipe makes a pretty good pile of lefse, but if you want to bring a ton to a family party, I'd double or triple it.
Vegan Norwegian Lefse
Makes about a dozen pancake-sized lefse
4 lbs potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 Tbsp margarine
2 1/2 Tbsp soy creamer or plain soymilk
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp sugar
1 cup all purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
Cover potatoes in cold water and cook until fork-tender. Push through a ricer, or mash gently with one of these. A regular masher can make the potatoes too gummy. Mix in the margarine, creamer, salt, and sugar. Refrigerate until room temperature. Once cooled, add flour and mix in with your hands (wash them, you dirty punk!). Tear off a golf ball-sized chunk, and roll it into a soft ball in floured hands. On a floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll that sucker out as flat as you can (feel free to take bits out of the dough bowl for spackling any tears). Cook lefse on a HOT cast iron griddle or crepe pan for like, 15-25 seconds or until it's lightly browned. You'll get the hang of it. Turn, cook an additional 10 seconds (really), and move to a plate. Keep the stack warm with a towel until you're finished.
Lefse can be served rolled up with vegetables, Tofutti cream cheese, or whatever you like. I still prefer them the traditional way: buttery and sweet.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
I love lasagna. I think I've made that pretty apparent in past postings (click "lasagna" on the tag cloud). But this one...oh boy. This one is a monster. I used 'Furky Italian Sausage, burger crumbles, pistachio pesto, a rich, white wine bechamel, and a hearty marinara. I highly recommend using boiled noodles for a lasagna this rich, because oven-ready ones don't soften up quite enough in a fat-heavy dish. I had one piece, and I don't think I can move much for the rest of the day. I did think ahead and placed a cookie sheet under the pan in the oven, because it did, in fact, erupt a little.
I don't know why I do this to myself every MoFo. My best friend even said, "Why don't you do a week of healthy recipes?" BORING. Would you rather look at a plate of brown rice and steamed vegetables, or a tower of Daiya, pasta, and processed faux meats? Would you rather hear me talk (rather self righteously) about how healthy vegan diets are and how I am such a perfect person? Hell no. You want to show a picture of a giant slab of Monster Lasagna to your "tasty tasty murder"-joke making coworker douchebag and have him say, "Whoa. I'd eat the hell out of that."
Saturday, October 15, 2011
You know who's naughty? This guy.
Bowie, doing yoga.
I have never yelled, "Get offa there!" so many times in a week. I've had to close off the bathroom for the first time since he was a kitty for a) stuffing the bathmat under the tub, b) unraveling a whole roll of toilet paper, and c) knocking a teacup off the counter and breaking it. He has taken to chasing invisible prey across my bed in the middle of the night when I have to work at 6:45am the next day, he's scratched up the inside of the doorway from the hallway to the living room, he's knocked over every trashcan in the house looking for God knows what...I'm just about at the end of my rope. Anyone want a slightly used, slightly feral, adorable tabby? Your only requirement is returning to your bed after your shower for belly-rubbing time. His belly. But he gives a good backrub if you let him sit on the back of your office chair. Ahhh...sigh.
BUT, you know what's nice? These:
Gingerbread donuts with candy cane sprinkles
I need to work on these. I was not perfectly satisfied with how these turned out, and wonder if a gluten-free dough would work better (the dough for these was very elastic and hard to shape). I'm going to try another batch sometime after MoFo and edit this entry to include a recipe. People I shared them with liked them, but I wanted a nice cakey donut, and these came out sort of quick-bread-y. Too moist, or something. I think it's the pumpkin. I veganized this recipe, and need to figure out how to make them more gingerbread-y. It didn't seem like enough molasses. I will say they were damn tasty with coffee.
Friday, October 14, 2011
This would be a fun thing to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers, or you could make it for the big meal itself, if you'd like. Even better, you could just make this for dinner anytime, because if we all love Thanksgiving food so much, why do we have to wait until November?
Stuffing, that's why. I went to Whole Foods and Target today, trying to find bags of bread cubes to make stuffing. No one had any (well, Target had Stove Top, but we all know what's wrong with that), so I knew that I would have to make do with bread, a low oven, and lots of herbs. It ended up working out quite well (dry herbed up bread slices in the oven, chop them up, add to cooked celery and onion and douse in broth). I used a Pillsbury seamless Crescent dough tube. Yes, vegan! No, not healthy! But what exactly about Thanksgiving is healthy? That's right. As for the bread I used to make stuffing? Who else but Rudi's. There's a contest below, so pay attention!
Thanksgiving Pinwheels, naked.
And gravied up!
Makes 6 small servings
1 tube Pillsbury Seamless Crescent Dough, rolled out
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 1/2 cups stuffing (make it extra moist)
6-8 slices Oven Roasted Tofurky slices
3/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce (mix it up in a bowl to make it spreadable)
1 batch pumpkin gravy
Heat oven to 375° Spread potatoes over the rolled out dough, leaving a two inch space at one end (you'll need to seal it). Place Tofurky slices on top of the potatoes. Spread stuffing over that. Spoon cranberry sauce over it all. Roll up into a giant burrito and seal with wet fingers (do not pinch the ends). With a sharp knife, cut the burrito into twelve pinwheels. Place pinwheel disks on a cookie sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with pumpkin gravy.
Now, since Rudi's AGAIN saved my ass, I'm giving away another prize pack! You'll get a coupon and a nifty sandwich box, yo. For your grilled Daiyas and PB & J's, son.
Just go like Rudi's on Facebook and in the comments here on this post, tell me what your favorite part about Thanksgiving is now that you're veg/vegan (assuming you weren't born that way!). I'll announce the winnah (US only, sorry!) on Tuesday, so you have ALL WEEKEND plus Monday to enter. Okay? Okay.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Yeah, not much scary about these cookies. However; I do think it was cute that while I was mixing in the chips and nuts, this song came on the radio: I used this recipe, but added chocolate chips and chopped pecans to it. They didn't spread very well, and kind of came out the same shape as when I dropped them. Lesson learned for subsequent batches. I wonder if oil would work better than margarine? If I can improve on these (I'm already thinking that oats are needed), I'll bring them to all the parties I'm invited to this year. :>/ Upon cooling, these are delightfully chewy and go GREAT with coffee.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I was unsure what to make today. I almost did picnic food: hotdogs, burgers, potato salad, etc. Then I thought about a flag cake. Then I thought, let's make a mess! You know, because nothing says "God Bless the USA" quite like hot pink and turquoise cupcakes. Oh well, they taste delicious, at least. I used Jennifer's recipe for fluffy white cupcakes over at Schmooed Food, split the batter into thirds, and used food coloring. Apparently not enough of it. It doesn't mean I think any less of this country. However; if things keep getting worse around here, I may just be snowshoeing my way over the Canadian border by the end of 2012. Just sayin.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
My favorite part about Easter every year as a child (aside from the new stuffed bunny and basket of candy) was the brunch buffet we hit every year. Fruit, pancakes, waffles, and all the various animal parts and secretions. I still love brunch, and often make a big production when I get a weekend day off. Since I had to work today, I made brunch for dinner. That's right! Brinner, y'all.
Tofu omelet (I used chickpeas instead of chickpea flour because I hate the way that shit tastes) with asparagus, Daiya, and ham, multigrain waffles with berries, bagels with Tofutti cream cheese, and a mimosa (which I drank while trying to take pictures).
And much like when I was a kid, going up for foursies at the buffet, I'm totally stuffed. I wish there were fancy vegan brunch buffets in every fancy hotel.
Monday, October 10, 2011
I have a hard time with Valentine's Day. On one hand, I love all things romantical and gooshy and sappy. Chick flicks make me cry. On the other hand...I haven't had the pleasure of experiencing a sweet, romantic V-Day. Well, other than the ones I throw for myself. The closest I came to one was being told (while being dumped for someone else), "If this had lasted, I would have given you the Valentine's Day you deserve." Gee, thanks. *slams head on the desk*
This is something that failed, but I managed to cover it with enough frosting to disguise the fail. Apparently, veganizing cake mix isn't a snap like I thought it would be, at least not nearly as easy as brownie mix is. After 45 minutes in the oven, this red velvet cake had become an erupting volcano. I took it out, scooped out the unbaked part, sculpted it, and threw it back in for about ten minutes. The white top layer is cheesecake, which came out kind of thin. I put the two together, spackled it all together with cream cheese frosting, threw some berries on top to hide the cracks, and voila! Perfect for a romantic weekend with your lover, or one night with your bad self and How I Met Your Mother reruns.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
This week's theme is holidays. I'm glad I came up with seven holidays that are easy to find traditional and/or original ideas for, and still leave some holidays to fend for themselves (wtf do people eat on Labor Day?).
New Year's Day is all about good luck. Hoppin' John is a traditional southern meal eaten in the south on New Year's Day. The peas symbolize coins, and the greens (collards, etc) served with the meal are the color of money.
This is also another dish I can use that giant vegan ham to season!
You guys, this turned out so yummy! I was pretty scared to improvise with a dish I've never had before, but from reading the various recipes I found online, it stays pretty true to tradition (except for the veganness and the sherry). The sherry added a snap that was needed. Some HJ recipes call for vinegar, but I thought this would give it the right kick. Like my totally 80's champagne flute?
Vegan Hoppin' John
Makes 4-6 servings
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup diced vegan ham, diced or vegan sausage, cut up
1/2 lb dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
2 cups veggie broth
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cayenne
few twists fresh pepper
1 tsp liquid smoke
couple handfuls collard, mustard, or turnip greens or chard or kale, shredded
splash of sherry
steamed rice for serving
Heat oil in a largish pot. Cook the veggies for about five minutes, then add ham. Cook until veggies are tender and the ham is browned. Add broth, peas, and spices. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for about 40 minutes or until peas are creamy and tender (you may have to add liquid periodically; stir often!). Stir in greens and heat through. Add a splash of sherry and stir. Serve over rice.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
One last chain restaurant to go, and who could forget Olive Garden? There are a million things on the menu that could be easily veganized with cashew ricotta and Daiya, but I saw this soup that already had kale in it, and knew that it would be delicious no matter what.
Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana is mostly sausage and potatoes, so I knew I'd have to buy some faux meat. I had no idea I'd be using the WHOLE tube of Gimme Lean. I'd say save this for a somewhat special occasion.
Vegan Zuppa Toscana
1 lb vegan Italian sausage
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 lg onion, diced
2 tsp crushed garlic
4 strips vegan bacon, diced (optional; I used Smart Bacon and it didn't hold up well. Tempeh maybe)
5 Not-Chicken broth cubes
10 cups water
1 lb peeled, sliced potatoes (about 3 large russets)
1 cup cashew cream (I used Mimicreme but soy creamer would work)
1/2 bunch kale, washed and cut into thin strips
Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and crushed red pepper. Break the sausage apart into bits while it's cooking. When done, dump inot a bowl and set aside.
In the same pot, heat 1 tbsp oil and add onion, bacon, and garlic. Cook on low for about 10-15 minutes until onion is soft. Dissolve the broth cubes in 2 cups hot water, and add to the pot with remaining 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, then add potatoes. Cook for 15 or so minutes or until potatoes are cooked. Remove from heat. Stir in cashew cream, sausage, and kale. Heat through. Serve.
Friday, October 7, 2011
The first time I saw the commercial for Applebee's "Stacked, Stuffed, and Topped" menu, I thought the people in it were saying, "I liked being stuffed," "I like being topped," etc. Of course I laughed a lot because I'm 12.
Just watch the first five seconds, because then it gets gross.
One of the items on this menu was the Chicken Parmesan Stack. I decided to make it because I had all the stuff in the house. My apologies to my friend Melissa, for whom I promise to make a Maple Butter Blondie in the near future for letting me use her deep fryer. I was going to make the blondie for MoFo, but I am too many bus rides away from vanilla soy ice cream, and I already had to leave OccupyMN due to a stiff neck and back.
Fairly easy. Make some fettucine alfredo (sauce is easy with some Tofutti cream cheese, roasted garlic, a little salt, basil, pepper, unsweetened soy milk). Deep fry some Gardein chicken scallopine (I made a seasoned batter with flour, soy milk, sage, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper). Melt some Daiya mozzarella on the fried chick'n. Spoon marinara over it. Top (heh) with some more Daiya or parmesan alternative and fresh parsley. Voila. This took me all of 20 minutes. Of course, it'll take me a week to burn it off. Good thing I didn't make a pan of blondies.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Everybody on the intertubes goes on about how delicious the artichoke dip at TGI Friday's is, so I remade that shit long ago (in my pre-vegan years), and called it Heart Attack Dip. It was pretty loaded from what I can recall. I think the whole point was to not be able to stir it once it went in the oven because it was so packed with cheese. I think I heard a lot of hearts breaking when I went vegan, and some of my closer friends realized that I would no longer be making this dip. Well, I do still make this dip, thanks to Daiya and Tofutti!
Not-Heart Attack Dip, and some zebra butts.
Today was a hard day. This comforting dip, some French bread, and the company of a good friend who can share the struggles and joys of being an AR activist were just what I needed. Well, that and smoking a big fat bowl and watching some Arrested Development. You know, if I were into that kind of thing. *whistling*
So, if it's not Heart Attack Dip anymore, what do I call it?
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
No, not exhausted from MoFo. Exhausted from working what seemed like a thousand days in a row, with today being the last night, as well as the busiest. I plan to sleep like the dead tonight. I am so grateful to Morning Megan for making this before work today, because there is no way I can face the kitchen right now. I need sleep. But first...
I remember going to Bennigan's twice in my life. Both times, I got the Monte Cristo. I'm a big fan of savory + sweet, so a French toast sandwich with all kinds of salty, meaty, cheesy insides that could be dipped in raspberry jam was just what the doctor ordered. I was nervous to make this, but it turned out better than I'd expected. I was out of Daiya cheddar, so I used Vegan Gourmet jack cheese and Daiya mozz. I also added Vegenaise (of COURSE), smoked Tofurky slices, and some fried up slices from this:
I know. Laugh it up. But this shit is amazing. I was never a big fan of ham when I was a meat eater, but I sure do like this all sliced up and fried with a little smoked paprika. It'll be making an appearance in another theme week; don't you worry. If you live near an Asian market, I recommend picking one up.
The bread I used is from Rudi's, of course. One thing about Rudi's bread is that it never lets me down. It's so hard to find whole wheat bread and buns that are vegan (a lot of them have honey), but almost every kind of bread of Rudi's that I pick out is vegan and delicious. I find them to be a brand I've come to rely on pretty heavily, so I was even more impressed when I asked if I could do a giveaway with some of their products on my blog during MoFo. Using the poker vernacular, they were all in!
So, if you'd like to win a Rudi's prize pack (coupon for a free Rudi's Organic loaf and a super cool sandwich container), go "like" Rudi's on Facebook, and then come back and leave a comment! Also, anonymous comments and guest comments with no contact info won't be in the running. Sorry, but I am way too busy to go tracking people down. I'll be announcing winners for this as well as the Wayfare winner next week. Since I get so few comments, I want to make it more interesting by dragging it out. *wink*