Sunday, October 12, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Iron Chef Challenge

this week: pears and nuts.

i went with the fairly obvious this week, having nothing exciting going on for breakfast. one of my favorite things to make is the sour cream coffee cake from la dolce vegan, so this was kind of a no-brainer for me.

i veganized this recipe as follows:

Pear Walnut Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1 c. walnuts, chopped
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon

1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. earth balance, chilled and cut into bits

2 medium pears, chopped
2 t. lemon juice

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. earth balance, room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. tofutti better than sour cream

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. oil a 9" square pan and set aside.

mix the topping ingredients together and set aside.

for the filling, cut the margarine into the flour until coarse crumbs form. set aside.

mix the pears and lemon juice. set aside.

mix together the dry ingredients for the cake. set aside.

combine the room temp earth balance with the sugar and mix until smooth. you can do this any number of ways. using a mixer is easiest, but today i just used a whisk. it's a little annoying at first, but once you've gotten the earth balance beaten down, everything comes together. add the vanilla and sour cream. mix until smooth. pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with your favorite wooden spoon until just combined.

spread 2/3 of the batter into the pan. this stuff is sticky so good luck with this part. it seems thin, but it will puff up considerably while baking. sprinkle the filling over the batter. sprinkle the pears over the filling. spread the remaining batter over the pears. like i said, this stuff is sticky and really hard to spread around. you might just want to dollop the batter around. sprinkle the whole thing with the topping and bake for 40 minutes or until it's done. cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

i'm bringing this as dessert tonight. my grandma is in town and i spent all day yesterday putting together a lasagna for dinner tonight. so stay tuned for tomorrow's lasagna post!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Vegan Mofo: My Favorite Restaurant Breakfast

there's really nothing more exciting than being able to wake up in providence and walk across the street to get (vegan! yummy!) breakfast. at home, if i want tofu scramble... i can go to my kitchen. and that's it. there are a couple places within walking distance of michael's, but i am most excited when we head over to julian's for some tofu scramble or tofu benedict.

i have been craving the benedict at julian's for a few weeks now and decided it was time to try to make it myself at home.

i came up with something pretty darn close.

i scooped the tofu straight out of the package with an ice cream scoop. drained it briefly by squeezing it gently, then dried it on some kitchen towels. the 'fu balls were then tossed in cornstarch and pan fried for about 3 minutes on each of 3 sides (fry on the flat side first, then knock it over on one side, then flip. voila. 3 sides.). the tofu was then drained on some newspaper.

while the tofu was cooking, i wilted some spinach in a pan, drizzled with some garlic oil that i had made earlier, then tossed with some lightly fried garlic from when i made the garlic oil.

i toasted 2 very thick slices of italian bread and then plated everything up: bread, spinach, tofu, and drenched everything in a bastardized version of bryanna clark grogan's hollandaise sauce (my version contained some mustard and tarragon). after taking the picture i doused the entire plate in salt, pepper, and ketchup and shoved all of it into my face.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Cider Donuts

one of my favorite things about the fall is going apple picking. when i was younger, apple picking always meant a drive out to one of the farms a little further north and west. there were farm smells mixed with the smell of the fallen leaves and hay and apples and cider and always always always the inevitable cider donuts.

last year, nowheykatie posted her apple cider donuts based off this recipe. from what i remember, she just replaced the liquid in the recipe with apple cider. just make sure you have fresh yeast for these. the first batch i made (the ones you see in the pictures below) came out beautifully, but when i made them with michael a few weeks later, we must have used some older yeast because they never rose and they were greasy and awful. so go out and buy new yeast!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Vegan Mofo: The Best Idea I've Ever Had


i couldn't decide whether i wanted to make tacos or pasta last night. so i made both. it's vaguely reminiscent of hamburger helper. gross... in such a good way. this is what happens when i start running out of food and i'm too lazy to go shopping.

since i didn't really bother making something actually good for dinner, i redeemed myself with a quick apple crisp later in the evening.

and you'll be pleased to know that i went food shopping this evening so that things like taco pasta will not happen again. at least for a few weeks...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Weekend Take-out

first, a cookie update. so, after making cookies all night friday and most of saturday, i wanted nothing more than to continue hiding in bed this morning when the alarm went off at 6:15 am. i mean, it's sunday, for christssake and it's pouring. and cold. who the hell wants to get out of bed to drive to long island? but i had two boxes of cookies on my living room floor that needed to be handed out.

i got to jones beach for the autism speaks walk at about 8:30 and was all set up at the wellness center for autism table by 9:30. i was out of cookies by 11. before the walk even started. i was so busy that i didn't even get any pictures. i had a good time and i was shocked that 100 bags of cookies disappeared so quickly, but now i've got a whole mess of business cards floating around long island. coolness.

so after all of this weekend's craziness, between baking and participating in the iron chef challenge, the last thing i wanted to do today was cook. so take-out it was. the area of northern new jersey that i live in is hardly a vegan haven. there is only one totally vegan restaurant within 15 miles of me and the rest aren't even close. don't get me wrong. i'm not complaining. new york is only 40-someodd miles away so if i need some fancy and vegan, i can just take a trip out there. anyway, despite not having entirely vegan restaurant options, i still have a lot of ethnic restaurants in the area, which are always great for finding vegan foods.

the indian place right around the corner from my house has their vegetarian menu marked clearly and even includes a little green "v" next to vegan items. awesome.

the chinese place around the other corner has an entirely vegan menu in addition to their regular menu. neat.

there is a great sushi place at the end of my street. who doesn't love sweet potato maki?

tonight, it was time for thai. the thai place is a little "far" (7 miles as opposed to the less than 5 miles of the other three places i mentioned above) so it usually gets left out of the take-out options. but not tonight.
i had some really great massaman curry with thai spring rolls. it's so nice to skip cooking sometimes.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Iron Chef Challenge

cookie update: as of this morning, all of the cookies are baked and all but the last 25 are in bags and ready to go. whew! i will post the rest of the pictures and a wrap-up tomorrow evening. but for now: iron chef challenge!

katie suggested an iron chef challenge for vegan mofo. competitors would find out the secret ingredients on friday night and have until sunday afternoon to post what they made with the secret ingredients. katie announced the first secret ingredients, apples and ginger, last night. right away, i thought carrot soup. i wasn't going to participate in this week's challenge because i had all the cookies going on, but it turns out i had everything i needed to make soup right here. it was too easy to turn down.

carrot apple ginger curry soup
this soup is thick and sweet and just a bit spicy from the curry powder and ginger. wonderful for a chilly fall day.

i started by making stock out of frozen veggie scraps. you've heard this before, but it's really easy to save carrot peelings, onion skins, ends of celery, and herb stems in the fridge and then break them out every so often to make stock. this time, i had a ton of onion skins, some leek greens, various amounts of carrot and celery, and what looked like some parsley in my zip loc baggie in the freezer. i dumped it all in my big stock pot, added carrot peelings from the carrots i was using in the soup, some sprigs of thyme and rosemary from the fridge, and about a tablespoon of peppercorns.

i added enough water to cover and boiled away. after the stock had reduced to half, i let it cool a bit.

then i drained the veggies and set the stock aside. easy. time for soup!

1 tablespoon olive oil
12 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
6-8 cups veggie stock
3 apples (any kind), chopped
2 sprigs thyme, plus extra for garnish
2 heaping tablespoons powdered ginger
1 heaping tablespoon curry powder

in a large soup pot, heat olive oil over med high heat. add carrots and onion and cook until they start to brown.

once they're brown and the onions have softened a bit, add the vinegar. once the vinegar as deglazed the pan and kind of evaporated off add 3 cups of the stock.

simmer the carrots and onions for 10 minutes. add the apples. for this, i used 2 macintosh and 1 granny smith. add more veggie stock if you need to - it should come up right to the top of the apples or slightly under. add the thyme (add stems and everything. the leaves will fall off into the soup while it's cooking and you can just fish out the stems before blending), ginger, and curry powder.

simmer for 45 minutes or until the carrots are very soft.

remove from heat and let it cool just a bit. using either a blender, food processor, or hand blender, blend until smooth.

i made croutons out of a leftover hotdog roll i found on top of my fridge. relax, i keep bread in a basket on top of my fridge. it's not like it was just rolling around up there.
for croutons, i cut up the hot dog roll into bits, melted some earth balance in a frying pan, added the bread and toasted lightly. i finished off the croutons by broiling them for 5 minutes. sprinkle with some adobo once they come out of the oven and voila. croutons.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Gluten-Free Cookies

So, I wasn't going to post again until tomorrow or Sunday because I've been working on an enormous project and I wanted to focus on that and post about it once it was complete. But I decided to give a play-by-play for tonight and tomorrow.

I've been making cookies for the upcoming (as in, Sunday morning) Autism Speaks Walk in Long Island. I am in the middle of making 300 gluten-free sugar cookies to give away at the walk.

So far, it's been ok. Last night I did a trial run to see how many cookies I could get out of one batch. I got all of my wet ingredients mixed together and picked up my bag of Bob's Red Mill Baking Mix. I scanned the label to see if I needed to leave out any extra liquids, bake at a different temperature, or anything like that. It was then that I realized I picked up the wrong thing. I had bought the Biscuit and Baking Mix - which is the gluten-free version of Bisquick. What I WANTED was the All-Purpose Baking Flour. Suck. So I figured I would give it a go anyway because what is Bisquick other than flour with baking soda and salt (and a bunch of other crap)? Bob's doesn't have any crap in it, so I just left out the baking soda and salt and proceeded with my recipe. Aside from my over baking the trial cookies, they came out fine! And super tasty!

So tonight I am trying to bang out the first 100, if not more. I'm 2/3 of the way through as of 5:38 pm EST.

This is what my kitchen is looking like so far...

i'll update again tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

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Vegan Mofo is back!

This year it's in October instead of November. Whatever. Bones is on so I'm going to make this quick.

Some of the folks on the ppk are doing a make-it-yourself challenge. The first week they did pita. Last week was jelly/jam. John P brought up pepper jelly and since i had a TON of pepper laying around from my garden and nothing to do with them, I decided to give it a go.

I used this recipe and modified it for what I had on hand. My version is below:

Vegan Mofo Pepper Jelly
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper
1/2 cup or more of chopped green and red banana peppers
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 (1.75 ounce) packages of pectin
5 cups sugar

Place peppers, vinegar, and pectin in a large saucepan. Cook over med-high heat until boiling. Add sugar. Stir until it all melts down and starts to boil. Boil for 1 minute.
Pour into sterilized jars. Seal and process until jars are firmly sealed.

To serve, I like to pour this over Tofutti cream cheese and dip crackers and tortilla chips into it. But I also poured it into some rice last night to spice up plain white rice with veggies.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year!

it's the year of the rat, which is michael's year. although i think this year is an earth rat or some such thing and he is a water rat. i'm not sure how that works. and just because i know you're interested, i am a metal monkey. i like the idea of that.

anyway, i wasn't going to make anything special today because etsy orders were nuts. but i got out of work really early yesterday and i had a decent amount of time to get stuff done. so i decided to make a really simple, doubtfully traditional chinese dinner.

rice noodles (uncut for long life) with kale (green, leafy, money-like!) and shredded carrots (i have no idea what that would mean). i made a sauce out of a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter thinned with some hot water, tamari, and hoisin. for dessert, some mandarins.

i've also had the good fortune of being a tester for another of isa chandra moskowitz's and terry romero's books (are there too many 's's in that?). tonight i made isa's banana everything cookies. seriously, like warm, sweet banana oatmeal. these were so amazing with some tea. i want to eat these next time i'm snowed in. i would be all warm and cozy under my blankets in my zip-up once-piece ducky pjs sprawled on the couch, watching silly things on tv whist eating my cookies and drinking my tea.!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

mardi gras!

one year, i will go to new orleans for mardi gras. one year. as for this year, i just made some dinner...

bbq black eyed pea collard rolls with hot sauce-glazed tempeh over messy rice (all from veganomicon).

for dessert, kittee's king cake. i used the recipe from papa tofu, but kittee posted an updated recipe on her blog a couple of days ago.

up next? i would say chinese new year, but etsy orders are out of control right now and i dont know if i'm going to have time to do any fun dinners for the rest of the week. we shall see though.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

super bowl food. well, in my case, anti-super bowl food. i watched the mythbusters marathon until i couldn't take it anymore. i went for maybe 7 hours or so before i had to turn on the puppy bowl on animal planet. so adorable!
anyway, i may not care about football, but i rather enjoy the food. so for my not-super bowl party i made some chili in the crockpot, potato skins, and some of katie's DEOTS tempeh wingz.
the potato skins were amazing. i looked up a few recipes online and the only one that sounded good was also the one that said i needed to microwave, bake, and deep fry the potatoes. um no. i managed to get away with just baking them. i started off baking the whole potatoes for an hour at around 400 degrees. i let them cool a bit, then halved and scooped, then re-baked the shells at 425 for another hour. i filled these with some shredded cheddar-flavored scheese. if you haven't had scheese before, i think it's worth the $8 or $9 you pay to order it. i wouldn't buy it all the time, but it's nice a couple of times a year for special occasions. i topped the scheese with some bac-os, then popped them back into the oven at 350 for a few minutes. when they came out, they were topped with some tofutti sour cream and dill. yum!

the chili is adapted from vegan planet by robin robertson. i added some extra veggies and stole the idea of adding a bunch of molasses from michael's chili. i let it sit on low in the crockpot for about 10 hours and it just got better and better and more flavorful. i can't wait to try it out again tomorrow!

finally, katie's tempeh wingz. i could eat these every day for the rest of my life. the only thing i do differently is double the sauce recipe and up the hot sauce.

so, yay! for super bowl foods and boo! for the people outside my house setting off fireworks and banging on cowbells and whatnot at 10 pm. is it really that exciting that the giants won? i didn't think so.

up next? mardi gras!