Friday, February 29, 2008

My first sourdough bread!

I'm sorry I've been neglecting this blog. Sometimes life gets in the way, and sometimes I'm just lazy about updating. I've started a new job, which I really like. I still cook on a regular basis, but sometimes I just don't feel like taking a picture. Also, we have several favorite meals, and there doesn't seem to be much point in blogging about a recipe I've already featured on here before.

Until recently (read: when I made these loaves), I'd never had sourdough bread. My boyfriend kept raving about it, though, and when we found some dry sourdough starter when we are at the new Whole Foods in Nashville, he begged me to make it. It took me awhile to get around to it, but I finally did. Truthfully, I didn't get successful bread until the second try. Ideally, the starter should be doing its thing at around 80-90 degrees. The instructions that came with mine said that if it was too cold in your home, to put it in an oven with only the oven light on. I'm sure that would work just fine, except my oven is old and does not have such a light (but oh what I wouldn't give to have an oven that had one!). As such, it took my starter longer than the instructions suggested it would to actually be viable. In my sourdough ignorance, I tried to use it before it was ready and man was that dough tough. And it didn't rise; not one bit. So I threw it out, waited several days (and a couple of more feedings) and actually got my dough to rise. Woohoo! I'm told the sour flavor will grow stronger over time, but my first (okay, technically second) attempt was certainly not bad. And now that I've got the starter going, my boyfriend says he wants to try making the next loaf.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Rare Salad

I don't eat a lot of salad. I don't know why, as I like it just fine. Sometimes I get salads at restaurants, but rarely ever do I make them at home. I've been eyeing the Caesar salad recipe in Veganomicon, though, and I finally got around to making it today. The only other time I've tried capers (which are in the salad dressing), I didn't like them. It wasn't just a mild dislike, either. I found them completely unappetizing. Nevertheless, I got it in my mind that I wanted to try this recipe. I have no idea whether or not I still dislike capers on their own, but I loved this salad dressing. I never ate Caesar salad before going vegan, so the only thing I have to compare this to is the vegan Caesar dressing at a local restaurant called Sunspot. It's been awhile since I had that stuff, but I think I like this recipe better. It's creamy and tangy and, well...just plain good.
I made the roasted garlic croutons per the Veganomicon recipe as well, but I used cracked wheat bread. I was going to buy French or Italian bread when I went grocery shopping, but all the stuff that Earth Fare had, which they supposedly baked in-house, contained L-cysteine. Seriously, Earth Fare.....what gives? Is that really a necessary ingredient? (Hint: the answer is no.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Indian Yumminess

I'm fairly certain that there isn't much you can do to potatoes to make me not like them. Even so, these Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes from Veganomicon still rank very high on my list of favorite ways to eat potatoes. And as a bonus, they're not nearly as bad for you as a baked potato loaded with Earth Balance and Tofutti sour cream.

To go with the potatoes, I made Red Lentil-Cauliflower Curry, also from Veganomicon. I am so glad that we have discovered a love of cauliflower. This recipe made a ton, but that's okay because it was delicious and we enjoyed eating the leftovers. I didn't serve it with any rice at first, since we had the potatoes alongside it, but once we ran out of potatoes, I made Saffron-Garlic Rice (yet another Veganomicon recipe) to go with it. Garlic is pretty much one of our favorite things ever, and we can't get enough of that rice recipe. I used to love those Near East rice pilaf mixes, but they are horribly high in sodium, so I never felt very good about eating them. I now found a yummier replacement, and it's less expensive to boot.

Clearly this is not part of the Indian meal, but this is the Skillet Corn Bread from Veganomicon, which I served with chili. I was intrigued by the jalapeño-onion variation, but it calls for putting cooked jalapeños and onions on top of the cornbread mixture. I like my jalapeños mixed into the batter, so that is what I did. This was my first time making skillet cornbread. My boyfriend had an old large cast-iron skillet that I never used because he had cooked meat in it. We got a wire brush attachment for our drill and removed the old seasoning so that I could re-season it and use it for vegan stuff. I guess I did a decent job of seasoning it, because the cornbread didn't stick at all. Yay! I love my "new" skillet. It sure is heavy, though. The skillet cornbread turned out great, even though I strayed from the recipe a bit. I was running a little low on plain soymilk, so I made up the difference with some plain soy yogurt. I'm always playing with new cornbread recipes, but I think I'll be sticking with this one now.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'm a slacker about posting, but not cooking.

While the veggie burger recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance is still our favorite, I just had to try the black bean burger recipe from Veganomicon. These turned out very well, and the flavor of the burger wasn't overpowered by the bun and condiments and whatnot, which is always a plus. These were also much less time-intensive than the VWAV recipe, so when I want some veggie burgers but don't have much time to devote to making them, I'll definitely turn to this recipe again.

And yes, those are baked beans that you see on the plate along with the bean burgers. I was having a rather forgetful day. See, I made these burgers and even went so far as to make the buns from scratch. In all the time that I was opening and closing the fridge that day, I never once noticed the leftovers from the evening before sitting on the top shelf of the fridge just waiting to be eaten. I'm the one that made dinner the night before, so how I could so easily forget about having done so, I don't know. It wasn't until I went to put away the leftover burgers after dinner that I noticed the other leftovers. Woops. And the baked beans were because I was going to serve broccoli with dinner, but forgot to cook it until it was too late.

While we were in Portland, I got a copy of Yellow Rose Recipes. This crispy beer-battered seitan was the first recipe I tried from it. It was messy to make, but very good. I actually liked it better the next day, but I think that was because I like seitan better after it has been in the fridge overnight. I made the seitan for this recipe (also from YRR) the earlier in the day, so it didn't sit in the fridge for all that long. I look forward to trying more recipes from YRR. Right now I'm eyeing the mustard-crusted seitan, since I still have more seitan to use.

The new issue of VegNews contains a macaroni and cashew cheese recipe. I don't usually get VegNews (I'm not really big on magazines), but I saw some pictures of the recipe in the Food Porn section on the PPK and really wanted to try it. I found a variation of the recipe here. I'm so glad I tried it. This might be my new favorite vegan mac and cheese recipe. And, for those of you that don't care for nutritional yeast....don't worry, this recipe doesn't call for any!

These are the jelly donut cupcakes from Veganomicon. Sorry, no inside pictures. These are so neat. You put a spoonful of jelly on top of the batter and it sinks down into the middle during baking. Apparently a lot of other people have trouble with this (the jelly either doesn't sink at all, or it sinks down to the bottom), but they worked just fine for me! I also like that they don't have any frosted. Granted, I like frosting, but it can be a lot of work, so it's nice to have cupcakes that are delicious and pretty without it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We went to vegan heaven!

Before the holidays, my boyfriend called me from work one day to make sure my calendar was clear for MLK weekend. He was buying plane tickets for us, but wouldn't tell me where. Turns out, he got us tickets to Portland. Woohoo! He said that was a really hard secret to keep, and everyday and he wanted to break down and tell me where we were going. He did finally tell me a few weeks before the trip, so that I could plan where I wanted to go (and have any clue what to pack). I didn't take a ton of food pictures while we were there; I'm still a bit shy about taking pictures of food in restaurants, but we did get a few.

Bamboo Fries from Nutshell. Warning: These are so good that it is really easy to eat too many of them and then be too full to enjoy your actual dinner.

Jamaican Barbeque Plate from Nutshell. Very good (especially the stuffed orange and the dumpling things), even if I didn't eat much of it due to the bamboo fries.

Tandoor Fire Roasted Vegetable Plate from Nutshell:

Salad from Blossoming Lotus (I tried beets and liked them! I didn't like the salad dressing, though.):

My boyfriend's dinner at Blossoming Lotus. It was the chef's special; I think it was teriyaki.

BBQ Tempeh Platter from Blossoming Lotus. Their tempeh is awesome! I want to know their secret. We also got a small thing of soft serve ice cream (chocolate almond) there, but for some reason didn't take a picture. I must have been too excited about the soft serve.
Blossoming Lotus wasn't actually on my list of places to eat while we were visiting, but we walked by it one afternoon and it was packed and looked really good, so we decided to go there for dinner that day. I'm so glad we did. It was delicious. Sure, the atmosphere is a little odd, since you're eating dinner in a yoga studio and all, but it was kind of nice to eat dinner in a quiet restaurant.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Mission 3: Butternut Squash

Mission 3 of Operation "Let's Eat Some New Vegetables" had us eating butternut squash. Normally I'm not much of a squash fan, but I'd heard such good things about butternut squash that I decided to give it a go. This recipe was simple. I just cut the squash in half (which wasn't nearly as difficult to do as it is with spaghetti squash), then roasted it cut-side up at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes (until fork tender). I'm not sure if it matters whether you roast it cut-side up or down, but thought it was worth mentioning. I scooped out the squash and mixed it with a bit of brown sugar. It's that simple. And really, it tasted pretty close to mashed sweet potatoes. The texture was a little bit different (read: stringier), but otherwise it would have been difficult to distinguish the two.

Technically this was mission 4 or 5, but I don't have photographic evidence of the other vegetables we tried at my boyfriend's parents' house. We had fried yellow squash (which is really sautéed, not so much fried) and turnip greens. We both liked the homegrown squash, which was much softer and melt-in-your-mouth-y than I expected it to be, but only I liked the turnip greens. This is why you won't see much in the way of greens as part of Operation "Let's Eat Some New Vegetables." My boyfriend finds them bitter and just doesn't like them. Spinach was a stretch for him. He liked it at first, but said he started to find the leftovers bitter. I don't taste any bitterness in spinach, but to each his own.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Leek and Bean Cassoulet With Biscuits

How on earth do you post pictures side-by-side in blogger?

Anyhoo, this is the leek and bean cassoulet with biscuits from Veganomicon. This dish is comfort food at its best. It's a sort of vegetable stew with biscuits baked right on top. Yummy! My boyfriend tried to convince me that since he'd never had leeks before, that this should count as Mission 3 of Operation Let's Eat Some New Vegetables, but I voted him down. After all, we eat onions all the time and they are both from the same genus. I didn't pick out a new vegetable at the store the other day, so there probably won't be a new mission until after New Years (we are going to visit his parents in Nashville all next week).

Something I have noticed about Veganomicon is that when they tell you approximately how long a recipe will take from start to finish, they are actually right. That might sound like a small thing, but someone the times are rarely right for other cookbooks, so this makes me happy.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mission 2: Spinach

Mission 2 for Operation "Let's Eat Some New Vegetables" brings us the mushroom and spinach strata from Veganomicon. I am pleased with myself for getting my boyfriend to eat spinach without complaint. Normally he's quite scared of the stuff and has even pleaded with me not to add it to lasagna. I picked out this recipe to make before we went grocery shopping yesterday. When we were in the produce section, I simply said that I needed some spinach and picked some out. He did not even question what I was going to do with it. I was already working on the recipe when he came home from work, and he said that it smelled good. Not once did he balk that it contained spinach. And....he loved the dish! (As did I.) It uses blended up soft tofu (with some other ingredients) as the base of the custard, which is poured over the vegetable and bread cube mixture. I should have taken a picture of the whole dish, as it was pretty neat looking.

The spicy yogurt tempeh is a test recipe for frecklefoot (another ppk member) of One Chubby Vegan. It was tasty and I was glad to find another tempeh preparation that my boyfriend likes (although I think his favorite will always be tempeh wingz....I can't really blame him on that one). Mine didn't turn out to be all that spicy at all, though. Most of the other testers have reported that theirs was, though, so either some of my spices weren't as hot as theirs, or I just like things spicier. Either one is certainly a possibility. I will still make this dish again, but will add more spice to it probably. I'd also like to try baking it. I tend to like to try the same recipe both pan-fried and baked, to see which we prefer.

We have finally finished all of our stuffed mushrooms (there were several meals between the previous post and this one). They were good, but I was getting kind of tired of them. Perhaps that's why people usually serve stuffed mushrooms as party appetizers, as there are more people around to eat them.

Operation "Let's Eat Some New Vegetables"

This is our first meal from Operation "Let's Eat Some New Vegetables." Said new vegetable is cauliflower, mainly chosen because 1) we never use it and 2) it was on sale at the grocery store. I got the idea for popcorn cauliflower from mollyjade on the ppk forums. You cut the florets off the head of cauliflower, toss with olive oil, and roast at 400 degrees F, stirring occasionally (which I did not do...woops), until the cauliflower is soft and the edges begin to caramelize (approximately 45 minutes). Serve sprinkled with seasoned salt or your favorite seasoning. It really did remind me of popcorn (probably due mostly to the seasoned salt, but still). Mission 1 from Operation "Let's Eat Some New Vegetables" was a rousing success.

I served the cauliflower with tempeh wingz from Issue 1 of Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk and some stuffed mushrooms. Said stuffed mushroom recipe was just kind of made up, mainly because I was missing ingredients for just about every stuffed mushroom recipe I found. They were good, but there sure were a lot more mushrooms in that package than it looked like at first glance. We had enough mushrooms to fill both a 9x13" and an 8" square glass baking dish.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sesame Tofu

Somehow this picture slipped through the cracks when I was looking through all my backlogged food pictures. I got the recipe for sesame tofu from the Whole Foods' website, and the only change I had to make was subbing agave nectar for the honey (and I left out the scallions because I did not have any). This was good, but I don't know if I'd make it again. I think I'm just not a huge fan of sweet sauces at dinner.

And here's some more....

I finally got around to trying the pumpkin cinnamon rolls from the second issue of Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk. I have no clue why I waited so long to make these, because they are awesome. They were nice and soft with just a hint of pumpkin flavor. For those of you who haven't ordered the second issue yet, she put the recipe up on her blog. The only change I made was I used a 9x13" pan, as a 9" square pan just seemed to small to me. Normally I like my cinnamon rolls covered in cream cheese (Tofutti non-hydrogenated, of course) icing, but these were good with just the glaze.

For Hanukkah, I made the potato latkes from Veganomicon. Sorry I didn't get a very good picture of them. These were good, but I am undecided as to whether I prefer latkes with or without matzah meal. They had more body this way, but still...I'm just not sure. I like both, though. Last weekend we had a family Hanukkah celebration in Columbia, SC. We spent the night at my parents' house in Greenville, then drove down to Columbia just for the day on Saturday. I brought the leftover latkes to serve with dinner Friday night and my dad really liked them (I'm sure Momma would have, too, but she wasn't there...she went to go help out my sister with her new baby). At the family Hanukkah celebration, they made me some vegan latkes before they fried the non-vegan ones. My aunt even made me vegan cookies (Mexican wedding cookies from The Joy of Vegan Baking, which she got me for Hanukkah).

I brought some dessert with me to the family Hanukkah, so there were vegan cookies galore. I got this sugar cookie recipe from A Veg*n for Dinner. I didn't use any food coloring for the icing, though, as I avoid artificial colors and the natural food colorings are just too expensive for me right now (and I've never seen them locally anyway). I also made the sparkled ginger cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance, but I didn't take a picture because I've also blogged about them before. I have learned that my family is scared of the word ginger, but if I call them "molasses cookies," they are okay. Crazy people.

This is the hot and sour soup with napa cabbage and woodear mushrooms (I may have muddled that name up a bit) from Veganomicon. My cabbage was being stubborn about coming off the head of cabbage neatly, so I cut it up in the food processor instead. The only other time I've had hot and sour soup was at a restaurant in Richmond, VA called Panda Veg. It was good, but homemade is better (and quite simple). Awhile back we were at a Whole Foods and we found this little package of dried woodear mushrooms for a reasonable price. We'd never even heard of woodear mushrooms, but we bought them anyway, then couldn't think of a use for them. Veganomicon arrived and ta-da, finally a recipe that calls for them. This soup is both spicy and filling and the leftovers reheat well.
Hanging out behind the soup are some homemade fried wontons. They would have been spring rolls, but I was having a ton of trouble with the rice paper wrappers. I got so frustrated that I defrosted the wonton wrappers that I had in the freezer and decided to use those. I know that wontons are normally boiled, but I already had the oil all set to fry, so I just went ahead with this. They actually turned out pretty well this way. The filling was napa cabbage, red cabbage, dried shiitake mushrooms, Morningstar Farms chik'n strips (they'd been hanging out in the freezer for quite awhile, so I figured I might as well use them in something), soy sauce, sriracha sauce, ginger, and garlic.

I'm still here. No, really, I am.

I have been a really lazy blogger in the past month. As you can see from all of these pictures, though, I haven't been so lazy about cooking and baking.

We went to my sister's house in North Carolina for Thanksgiving. In addition to the vegan Thanksgiving meal I brought with me, I also brought some blueberry muffins for breakfast. I want to make the ones out of Damn Tasty, but I didn't have any soy yogurt. I found this recipe on VegWeb. I had all of the ingredients and it got such good reviews, that I figured it was worth a shot. The results were...meh. Despite turning out fairly pretty, if I do say so myself, the muffins weren't very flavorful (okay, they were downright bland) and were rather crumbly. I definitely don't plan on trying that recipe again. I don't know...maybe they'd be better with a teaspoon of vanilla and some sort of binder.

For Thanksgiving, I made whole wheat dressing/stuffing from homemade bread. I didn't really follow a recipe on that one, just looked at several different recipes to get a basic idea of what I should do, then went from there. This turned out well, but I should have let the bread dry out a bit more before I used it.

I also made the holiday cranberry sauce from Veganomicon. It got rave reviews from everyone who tried it (even my incredibly picky-eater sister tried it...I was impressed). I also made the mashed spiced sweet potatoes from Veganomicon, but I didn't take a picture because I've blogged about them before. They are so simple and everyone loved them, too. My brother even ate sweet potatoes for the first time. Have I mentioned that my siblings are not very adventuresome eaters? My brother's girlfriend is getting him to try new foods, though. One day, I will get my siblings to actually eat vegetables (besides corn, which they already eat).

This is the rustic white beans and mushrooms from Veganomicon. This recipe made a TON. I would probably cut it in half the next time I make it (and I will make it boyfriend saw me make it, but didn't get to have any because he went to his parents' house for Thanksgiving. He said it looked good and asked me to make it another time, though.). I was going to have this as the main part of my Thanksgiving meal, but my boyfriend insisted on getting me a Tofurky when we were at the store. I do like Tofurky, but I sure can't get it to slice very neatly. Every time I try, the stuffing crumbles and spills right out. I think their stuffing recipe could use some work, personally.

One night I decided to be adventurous and make homemade sweet potato gnocchi. Oy, what a pain. I have no idea how people manage to shape gnocchi into anything remotely attractive-looking. It tasted good, but was a little gummy. It also made quite a bit and there is more waiting for me in the freezer. I served it with a homemade sundried tomato cream sauce, but I didn't write down what I put in it and it's been a couple of weeks now, so I don't remember. I know I used pureed canellini beans as the base, though.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Veganomicon and Beyond

I know I've posted plenty of pizza on here, but this time I made the sauce from scratch! I used the marinara sauce recipe from Veganomicon. It was so simple and, despite the short list of ingredients, made a very flavorful sauce. We ate the rest of the sauce on some gnocchi. I think I enjoyed this sauce more than the bottled sauces I've tried, and it is much cheaper to make.

Can you tell just how much I love Veganomicon? This is the Saffron-Garlic Rice, served with Morningstar Farms chik'n strips and sautéed bell peppers. My boyfriend said this might very well be his favorite rice yet. Garlic and onions can do no wrong around here.

I think I have a problem. I am addicted to testing recipes for others. These Buffalo Breakfast potatoes are a tester recipe for Frecklefoot over at the PPK. You can check out her blog here.
I did something silly at the grocery store recently. Even though Texas Pete hot sauce has never failed me, I bought the generic stuff because it was cheaper (not that Texas Pete is all that expensive). Little did I know that the generic stuff has no spice to it at all. It shall henceforth by known as "not hot sauce". So, these potatoes tasted great, but it was all tang and no heat whatsoever. I'll definitely be making them again, but with a different hot sauce in the future.

Sadly, the vanilla-yogurt pound cake is all gone. We were in need of another dessert last night, so I chose the Chewy Chocolate-Raspberry Cookies from Veganomicon. My boyfriend was skeptical, but in the end the cookies won him over. He said he would have eaten the whole batch if I'd let him. The introduction to this recipe in Veganomicon says that they are wonderful as ice-cream sandwich cookies. I'll be trying that this summer!

Friday, November 16, 2007

More from Veganomicon

I served the leftover ED&BV Kinda Corny Muffins with Veganomicon's Chile Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu. I did the baked version, but forgot to spray the tofu with oil, so it was a tad bit dry. The flavor was still very good, though, and I would make this again. I am sure I would also like it fried, but I was trying to be a bit healthier. There was tons of extra coating, so I battered and fried (yeah, so much for the healthy thing) some mushrooms. My boyfriend came in the kitchen, found me coating the mushrooms, and said, "oooh, somebody loves me!" (He'll probably kill me for repeating that, but he meant it to sound goofy, I promise.) We had the carrots with the Black Creek Ranch Dressing from The Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook. It's peeking out of the top right corner of the picture...I don't know why I didn't take a purposeful picture of it. It's really good and so simple.

For dessert we had the Vanilla-Yogurt Pound Cake from Veganomicon. I haven't had pound cake in, least a decade, but the wait was most definitely worth it. This might just be one of my favorite desserts yet. It's so moist and full of flavor. We still have plenty left, but already I want to make another. The strawberry sauce on top is homemade. I don't follow a recipe for it, but it is frozen strawberries, sugar, a splash of orange juice, and a cornstarch slurry.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kinda Corny Muffins

For my first recipe from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, I chose the Kinda Corny Muffins. I subbed all purpose flour for the spelt flour, though. A lot of the recipes in this book call for various flours that I just don't normally keep on-hand. I support the use of whole grains and know that I most definitely need to use more, but I wish she had advised when it was okay to substitute a different kind of flour. Luckily, all purpose flour subbed in just fine. Because I just can't leave well enough alone, I also added in some chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I probably should try a recipe as-is before adding in ingredients, but I really liked the chipotles in these. My boyfriend ate four muffins, plus part of mine that I wasn't finished with, but made the mistake of leaving half-eaten on the shared plate. I'd say these get two thumbs up from us.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Questions and Answers

I found this list on Food Snobbery is my Hobbery and thought it would be fun to answer it.

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
Blue Diamond vanilla almond milk. I really wish that it had more vitamins and such added, though. Next is Soy Dream vanilla enriched.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
Home-style potato rolls from Veganomicon
Chile Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu from Veganomicon
Adzuki Bean and Millet Burgers
I want to make something from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan, too, but I need some inspiration

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
Melted Earth Balance and nutritional yeast. I used to really like Braggs and this Thai seasoning, but I bought what I thought was the same Thai seasoning recently (Frontier Co-Op brand) and it makes me sneeze when I get anywhere near it. D'oh.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
Well, the chocolate cake I posted about yesterday sure made a mess of my oven on the first attempt, but the results were still edible (and tasty!), there was just less cake than there was supposed to be.
Hmm....I once tried to make baingan bharta (an Indian eggplant dish) and the spices in the recipe I followed were just all wrong.

5. Favorite pickled item?
Kosher dill pickles

6. How do you organize your recipes?
I have some in Mastercook (I'd love to share Mastercook recipes with people, if anyone wants to trade) and some on index cards in a filebox. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd combine them all into Mastercook.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
I really want to compost, but it's not so feasible right now since we're in an apartment. We're planning on doing it once we get a house, though. For now, I use the garbage disposal when it's appropriate, and the trash when its not.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?
black beans, rice, and hot sauce

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
Breakfast for dinner! It was so exciting anytime we had it, even though I now realize that French toast, pancakes, or especially oatmeal for dinner meant my parents didn't really feel like cooking that night.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
Purely Decadent Turtle Trails (it got me liking pecans!)

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
Cuisinart food processor

12. Spice/herb you would die without?

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
Molly Katzen's The Enchanted Broccoli Forest (but I hardly use it...any suggestions?)

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
My parents have really liked the bumble berry and apple pies I've made for them. And really, who wouldn't like pie?
As far as non-desserts, it's hard to say. I serve pretty much everything I make to my omni boyfriend (I don't like calling him omni, though...I feel like I'm calling him names), but he's used to vegan food and a bit more open-minded about it than some of my other non-veggie friends would be.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Tofu, then tempeh as a very close second. I definitely like both of them more than seitan.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
My mixer, some happy hippie soda, and the Shabbat candlestick holders

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Vital wheat gluten, homemade whole wheat bread, corn

20. What's on your grocery list?
black beans and chickpeas (so far)

21. Favorite grocery store?
Locally, Earth Fare. I also really like Whole Foods, but we don't have one here (closest is 3 hours away). Same goes for Trader Joes.

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.
My aunt just gave me the recipe for my great aunt's cinnamon cookies. I plan on veganizing them.

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa's because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
Squirrel's Vegan Kitchen
Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen
Get Sconed
Now that I've figured out this whole Bloglines thing, I'm reading a lot more. I was too lazy to check each one before, and now Bloglines does it for me!

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Pretty much any dark chocolate with mint bar. Mmmm.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Agave nectar

26. What food are you embarrassed about liking?
Babyfood applesauce. I don't know what it is about it, but it's so much better than the regular stuff.

Your turn!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Chickpea Cutlets=Love

These are the famed chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon. Somehow mine never look like everyone else's, but we like them as is. This time I baked them rather than pan-frying them. It's not pictured, but I served it with our favorite mustard sauce (dijon mustard, vegan mayonnaise, agave nectar, sriracha sauce, and just a touch of hot sauce). The roasted potatoes (and onions and garlic) were made by my boyfriend. The green beans came from a can. One of these days I'll learn to cook my own green beans. I was going to serve these with the home-style potato rolls from Veganomicon, but I wasn't feeling well and took a nap when I should have been preparing the yeast dough. I still want to make them, though. I saw some pictures of the potato rolls somewhere (can't remember where or I'd share the link with you) and it really made my mouth water.

Hot Fudge Cake

My boyfriend's momma recently gave me this recipe. She said it originally came from Taste of Home magazine. I veganized it and changed the pan size, as it called for a 12x12 pan, which is a pretty rare size. The first time I made this, I wasn't thinking clearly and decided to make it in an 8" square pan. I briefly considered putting a cookie sheet underneath it in the oven, as I suspected it might overflow, but for some mysterious reason I rejected that plan. Boy, was that a mistake. Sugary chocolate goo seemed to have surgically implanted itself on the bottom of our oven. I had to scrub....and scrub....and scrub to get that stuff off. On the plus side, our oven has never looked so clean.
I do not know the science behind this recipe, but somehow you wind up with a wonderfully gooey chocolate sauce underneath a layer of chocolate cake. Who can say no to that? Well, diabetics and celiacs can I'm sure, but you know what I mean.

Hot Fudge Cake
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/8 cups sugar
9 tablespoons cocoa, divided
3/4 cup soy milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 cups hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar with 3 tablespoons of cocoa. Stir in soy milk, oil and vanilla until smooth. Spread in ungreased 9x13" glass baking pan. In small bowl, combine brown sugar and 6 tablespoons cocoa. Sprinkle over batter. Pour hot water over all, do not stir. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Serve warm.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk, Issue #2

This is just a friendly public service announcement to let you know that Issue #2 of mrsbadmouth's zine, Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk, is now available. You can order it here.
I didn't test too much from it this time around, as things have been busy, but I still highly recommend it!

Tofu Paprikas

When Isa posted this tofu paprikas dish on her blog the other day, I just had to try it. I'm not even sure why, since I had never heard of the dish before and I don't normally care much for cream sauces. Nevertheless, she somehow sold me on the idea. This was really tasty. The sauce wasn't too heavy, which I think is what I normally dislike about cream sauces. My version didn't have much spice to it, which I suppose means that my Hungarian paprika wasn't very spicy. I'd like to try this again with a hotter paprika. I think I should join Spicy-Food-Eaters Anonymous.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Best Pumpkin Muffins

Despite my awesome new cookbooks, I haven't forgotten about my other ones. These pumpkin muffins are from Vegan with a Vengeance. They taste great and are very aptly named (although they are technically the only pumpkin muffins I've ever had). They rose really well and my boyfriend wants everyone to know that he had something to do with that (he helped me make them and now thinks he is the king of sifting. The wine he was drinking while helping me might have something to do with the claim.). I am taking these with me on our trip to NC that I mentioned in my previous post. I prefer to bring vegan food with me so that I don't have to rely on others to provide food I can eat. It seems that when I do bring food along, there is also other food I can eat. If I don't bring stuff with me, there is nothing for me to eat. I have learned just to bring food along, just in case.

Hot Sauce-Glazed Tempeh and Mashed Spiced Sweet Potatoes

I can't put my copy of Veganomicon down! Dinner last night was hot sauce-glazed tempeh, mashed spiced sweet potatoes, and steamed broccoli (obviously the latter was not a Veganomicon recipe). The tempeh was so good. Ideally it should be grilled, but I followed the broiling instructions since we don't have a grill or grill-pan. It is spicy without being unbearably so, and the tempeh had a great texture. I love tempeh, but my boyfriend only seems to like it in certain applications...this was one of them. I'd like to try tofu in the same marinade. And I want a grill pan (or a grill, but we don't have anywhere to put that until we move).

The mashed spiced sweet potatoes might just be my new favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. I think I found a winner to bring with me to Thanksgiving (even if my family doesn't actually like sweet potatoes). I am really looking forward to the leftovers of this meal. There are actually only leftovers because I instructed my boyfriend to leave me some so that I could take it with me on our short trip to North Carolina. I have a new nephew (my first!) and we are going to his bris tomorrow.

Meet my new nephew! He was born on October 29th (18 Cheshvan). 5 lbs 15 oz and 18 inches long. I can't wait to meet him tomorrow!

Barbecue Tofu Sandwiches with Herb-Scalloped Potatoes

I finally got my copy of Veganomicon!!! I did a little dance at the mailbox when I opened it and found that my books (I got Eat Drink & Be Vegan as well) were FINALLY there. Word to the wise: don't preorder books from Amazon. Apparently their policy is first-come, last served. We preordered the books in mid-August. I knew that they were going to ship together, so if one came out first (which ED&BV did), I would have to wait for the other to come out before they would ship. It took Amazon almost three weeks after Veganomicon was released to ship my books. Calling or emailing them resulted in garbled messages that didn't even apply to my situation. Amazon, your poor business practices have lost you yet another customer. Preordering books is supposed to mean that we get them as soon as they are released, not that you offer them for sale on your website to other customers before you have fulfilled all of the preorders.

On Friday night I made barbecue tofu sandwiches (served with hominy). For some reason I didn't love these sandwiches, even though I liked the barbecue tofu on its own, and I liked the homemade whole wheat bread (I used this recipe, substituting maple syrup for the honey). We had leftover sandwiches for Saturday night, but needed something to go with them. I found the herb-scalloped potatoes recipe in Veganomicon. We had all the ingredients on-hand and LOVE potatoes, so this was the first recipe I tried. I'd never had scalloped potatoes before, but these were great. I told my boyfriend that and he said that these were better than most scalloped potatoes. High praise. I can't wait to try more new recipes!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Neverending Baked Ziti

I got it in my head last week that I wanted to make bazed ziti. I don't know why, since I'd never had baked ziti before (and neither had my boyfriend) and I didn't have a particular recipe in mind. The results turned out really well, but dear gosh what was I thinking when I made a whole box (16 ounces!) of pasta. I thought we were never going to finish this.

Baked Ziti
Serves 8-10 (so you might want to cut this in half if you're not cooking for a small army)

16 ounces ziti pasta, cooked according to package instructions
1 jar of pasta sauce (might want a bit more if you like your Baked Ziti on the saucy side)
15 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained (or however much one thing of tofu weighs)
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 ts dried basil
3/4 ts dried oregano
1/2 ts garlic powder
1/4 ts onion powder
1/4 cup plain, unsweetened soymilk
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
Mozzarella soy cheese, shredded or grated

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place tofu in large bowl and mash with fork. Mix in the vegan mayonnaise. Stir in nutrional yeast, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add soymilk and stir again.
Place a few tablespoons of pasta sauce on the bottom of a glass 9x13" baking dish.
Add mushrooms and remaining pasta sauce into the bowl and stir everything together. Stir in cooked pasta, then pour the mixture into the baking dish. Top with soy cheese and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and broil for 3-5 minutes.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Thin Mint-Esque Cookies

This is such a simple recipe, but they taste so good. You'll want to hide the rest of the cookies from yourself because they're so addictive (much like the Girl Scout version, even though it's been years since I had them). I stumbled across the recipe on RecipeZaar awhile back.

Thin Mint-Esque Cookies
1 1/2 lbs. chocolate (dark, semi-sweet...whatever you'd like....I usually just use a bag of vegan chocolate chips and cover as many of the crackers as I can)
1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil (or 1-2 teaspoons peppermint extract)
72 Ritz-type crackers (I usually use Late July the picture are the Whole Foods brand)

1. Melt chocolate, either in the microwave or in a double-boiler.
2. Stir in the peppermint oil/extract.
3. Drop crackers one at a time into the chocolate mixture, being sure that the crackers get completely coated.
4. Place on wax paper to harden. (I put them into the freezer for a few minutes, then store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container.)

Tamale Pie

This tamale pie was a difficult dish to photograph, especially since it wasn't exactly a pretty dish in real life, either. It was good, though! I based it off of this recipe. I didn't have all of the ingredients that the recipe called for, so I just used that as a jumping off point. I'll write up what I actually did, instead. Even though this is called tamale pie, it doesn't come out in neat slices (or at least mine didn't). You'll need to spoon it onto plates.

Tamale Pie
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB oil
1 ts chili powder
1/2 ts cumin
1 15 oz. can refried black beans (I used a spicy version)
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I would have used pinto beans if I had them)
1 ts salt
2 TB tomato paste
1/2 c frozen corn
1/2 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
2 c boiling water
1 c cold water
1 1/2 c cornmeal
1 ts salt
1/2 ts chili powder

Sauté vegetables for filling. When onion becomes translucent, add spices and crushed garlic.

Add refried black beans, kidney (or pinto) beans, and tomato paste into vegetables. Add remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings and set aside.

Stir cornmeal into 1 cup cold water. Then stir cornmeal mixture into 2 cups boiling water. Add crust spices. Cook and stir until thick.

Press 2/3 of the cornmeal mixture into the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9" pie plate. Pour the bean mixture into the crust. Top with remaining cornmeal mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Apple Almond Crumb Pie

Here's another test recipe for Julie Hasson: apple almond crumb pie. The crumb topping is actually supposed to have sliced almonds in it, but I like my almonds ground up, so that's what I did. I think apple pie may very well be one of my favorite desserts, and this recipe was certainly no exception. Lucky for me, it is apple season. I am really enjoying the crumb topping options Julie has for many of her pies, as my favorite part of the pie is definitely the filling rather than the crust.