Monday, December 22, 2008

Creamy Tomato Soup and Grilled Teese

This is like tomato soup for grown-ups. None of that weak Campbell's soup! This is way more intense but still hits the right spot when you're looking for comfort. This soup is especially good if you live near Chicago, it's the middle of winter, and your furnace stops working. It's even tastier when you find out that you probably won't have heat for another 24 hours. Trust me, I know. This soup staved off frostbite during 2 very sad (and cold) days of my life.

If you make this soup, I would definitely recommend using some fire-roasted tomatoes. Fire-roasted tomatoes are something I only recently discovered but I absolutely love them and I am on a one-woman mission to make other people love them too. They sound all special and fancy but I'm able to find them at my local supermarket (admittedly, they also have a large selection of non-gluten flours so this might not be everyone's experience). The recipe also calls for sun-dried tomatoes but specifies that you shouldn't use the ones packing in oil in jars. But all the recipes I found for making your own sun-dried tomatoes either involved putting them outside (I don't think the freezing cold and 3 hours of sunlight would help much) or putting them in the oven for 12 or so hours. So... I just used the jar ones.

Tucked behind the soup is a grilled Cheddar Teese sandwich. I've been pretty happy with the cheddar Teese, although I think it would be more accurate to call it American Teese as it tastes, looks, smells, and feels exactly like those American single slices of cheese that come wrapped in plastic. It also seemed to re-solidify pretty quickly after melting, which I don't remember happening as much with the Mozzarella Teese. Anyway, it makes some seriously delicious grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Leek and Bean Cassoulet

I ended up being pretty disappointed with this Leek and Bean Cassoulet. It had so much going for it! It smelled fantastic, looked pretty, and was filled with tasty veggies. Yet, somehow, it was like having a mouthful of bland. It probably didn't help that I didn't cook the biscuits enough - no one likes biscuits with doughy middles!

It also called for a lot of cornstarch, so the leftovers were a pretty gross-looking and congealed. I know that this problem is easily fixed by stirring some water or vegetable broth slowly into it, but it looked so unappetizing and hadn't tasted that great to begin with so I didn't bother.

This dish seems like it has been very hit-or-miss among other vegan food bloggers, so I guess it's just a matter of taste. If you're looking for wintery comfort food, I would recommend trying Isa's Chickpea Noodle Soup instead.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thanksgiving

Yes, I realize that Thanksgiving was a week ago but after cooking a ridiculous amount of food and then eating mostly leftovers for the following days, I couldn't even think of what I'd made without groaning and having phantom back/foot aches. But I've finally recovered so here goes!

Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of most of the things I made because everything was so hectic. I even had to hold the stuffing for several minutes after it came out of the oven (using oven mitts, of course) because there was just nowhere to put it. This was my biggest culinary undertaking and I emerged victorious!The Home-Style Potato Rolls are delicious and adorable. They also nearly gave me a mental breakdown. The dough was ridiculously sticky, something that wasn't very noticeable until after it had risen the first time. I ended up adding at least 4 cups more flour (almost twice as much as the recipe called for) and reworking the dough made the rolls a little bit tougher than they were probably supposed to be but I don't think anyone noticed. The important thing is that I didn't cry into the dough, no matter how tempted I was. I topped them with poppy seeds or toasted sesame seeds and left a few unblemished for my seed-hating brother. The best thing about these is you can pull them apart into three pieces. Neat!

Mini-falafel with tahini dressing! I was really proud when I came up with this as an appetizer. I've made falafel more times than I've made anything else so I am fiercely proud of my work on this front. I can't remember the size exactly, but they probably had about the diameter of a quarter. The tahini dressing also came out great, although I think people were skeptical of it due to it having a heavy garlic/balsamic vinegar taste, which I loved but other people don't love garlic as much as I do (how they can live with themselves, I'll never know).

One of the other appetizers was the Mediterranean-style Cashew-Cucumber Dip from V'con (served with sliced pita bread). I've made this dip for various social occasions and it has always been a big hit. It's a great way to show your family that appetizers don't need to be covered in cheese! The texture for this one wasn't quite right. I suspect that I didn't squeeze enough of the juice out of the grated cucumber (I was rushed! And stressed!) so it was a tiny bit liquidy instead of its proper form - hummus' sexy cousin.

I also made:
- apple pie
- mashed Yukon Golds with Earth Balance and almond milk (I wanted to make roasted garlic mashed potatoes but was shot down. Someday!)
- The Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole from FatFree Vegan (I made some slight modifications so it would be gluten-free: arrowroot instead of flour and I skipped the crumb topping in favor of extra fried onions. I think this was the most successful/popular dish on the table.)
- roasted applesauce from Vegan with a Vengeance
- vegan stuffing/dressing

It was an intense several days, to say the least.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Maple Walnut Cookies - Gluten-free!

I accidentally started my Thanksgiving cooking early (what, that doesn't happen to you?). I meant to make a half-batch of these as a test run but, oops, made a whole batch. This happens to me every time I mean to make a half-batch of things, I should just give up on that dream. Fortunately, cookies freeze really well.

On a night filled with pies and pumpkin-y grossness, I wanted there to be a dessert my dad could eat. I also plan to force other people to eat them so they can be astonished that, yes, Virginia, gluten-free and vegan cookies are delicious. And if people start talking about what a culinary genius I am then, well, so be it. That's my burden to bear.

These cookies were great! Your kitchen will smell like syrup when they're baking, but the maple flavoring isn't overwhelming at all. The batter smelled and tasted too maple-y, but don't be put off by that, the flavor really becomes much more subtle after baking. The biggest obstacle with gluten-free baking is the texture, which was barely noticeable especially with all the chopped nuts. I think that only people who are familiar with gluten-free baking would be able to tell that these weren't made with wheat flour.

Recipe!:
- 1/2 c canola oil
- 1/4 c pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp molasses
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp maple extract
- 3/4 c sugar
- 1/4 c rice or soy milk
- 2 Tbsp tapioca starch [I used this] or arrowroot or corn starch
- 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour [I used a 1/2 c each of quinoa flour, brown rice flour, and oat flour]
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 c chopped walnuts
- 3 dozen walnut halves [I mostly used pecan halves because it is hard to find whole walnut halves]

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease three cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.

Combine the oil, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla and maple extracts, and sugar in a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. The oil will separate a little but it's okay. Add the soy milk and tapioca starch and mix until the tapioca is dissolved and the mixture resembles caramel.

Add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Fold in the chopped walnuts.*

Drop by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Press a walnut [or pecan!] half into the center of each cookie. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let sit for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.


* My batter was really liquidy, which I've read is a fairly common problem. Just add flour (a couple tablespoons at a time) until it is not so runny. I added 1/4 c more tapioca starch and 2 Tbsp brown rice flour and that worked perfectly.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Taco Salad

Oh, duckies, I have been shamefully neglectful of you since VeganMoFo ended. But! Election stuff! Also, general laziness! I am full of other excuses but let's move past this, shall we?

Here we have a delightful taco salad. I loooove taco salad. And while this taco salad was very, very tasty, making it was one disaster after another. First, I had to throw out my sour cream because it was moldy (I just opened it a couple of weeks ago!), then I realized that my avocado had taken a turn for the worse, and when I turned my last tomato over I saw that it was moldy.

Did I get through this tragedy? Uh, of course I did. Obviously. That's why I'm here. Anyway! I think everyone should own Yellow Rose Recipes because almost everything in there is simple and tasty. This salad was no exception. I especially liked that there was a recipe for taco seasoning, versus just buying a little seasoning packet. My modifications: when eating a single serving (so, in a separate bowl), I added salsa and crumbled up corn chips. Mmm!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 31: Apple Pie-Crumb Cake Muffins

It's the last day of VeganMoFo! I managed to post every weekday so, hey, good on me. Now I will return to my usual schedule of posting, eh, when I feel like it. I hope to post at least twice a week, but sometimes I get lazy or my pictures don't come out as nicely as I'd like. But I digress. Onto the food!

Apple Pie-Crumb Cake Muffins! I've been pretty immersed in politics lately and baking is the best way to decompress. And I cannot resist muffins with crumb toppings (c'mon, we all have weaknesses). Next time I will make these with a little extra grated/chopped apples because they kind of just taste like cinnamon muffins with little apple surprises. Which might be the point!

A reason why muffins are so great: You can freeze them. As much as I love muffins, I usually can't eat a whole batch. Well, I could but, blah-blah, self-control, can't have a muffin for every meal, blah-blah. Just toss some of the muffins into a ziploc bag or tupperware, freeze them, then microwave when you are ready to eat. They don't really lose anything in texture or flavor and won't get all moldy. Because no one loves a moldy muffin.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 30: Hash Browns

Everyone likes hash browns (quite frankly, I refuse to acknowledge anyone who doesn't). However, hash brown lovers can be pretty fairly split into two camps: shredded or diced. While shredded is okay, it also always reminds me of greasy dinners and ensuing tummyaches. Diced hash browns win it hands down for me. These are the hash browns I grew up with and would look forward to on lazy Sunday mornings. The only difference is that now they're fried in olive oil instead of butter.

Recipe for my perfect hash browns: Bake russet potatoes (other potatoes are fine, but russets are "authentic" or whatever). Peel and dice potatoes. Fry! Hash browns should be a dark golden brown (I like 'em crispy). Slather in chili sauce and devour. If there are leftovers, you have failed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 29: Fresh Mango Summer Rolls and Peanut Sauce

I thought about making these all summer but... whatever! I can make summer rolls during the fall! It snowed the day I made these, which was depressing - but these brightened everything right up!

These were so easy to make. I thought that rice paper wrappers would be harder to work with! There were only two (small) problems: the first couple wrappers got stuck to themselves but that didn't happen any more after I got used to handling them; the wrappers soak two-at-a-time and sometimes they would get slightly stuck to each other - they just needed to be gently pulled apart though and no ripping occurred.

I could barely taste the mango in these. I don't know if it's because they're not really in season or because I loaded up on the rice noodles and bean sprouts. This recipe could be easily modified - shredded (or matchstick) carrots and cucumber would be especially nice.

The thing that pulls this recipe together for me is the peanut sauce. I didn't use Isa's peanut sauce recipe but instead used the recipe I got from my aunt. When I think of peanut sauce, this is what I think of.

Here is the recipe (I don't know where my aunt got the recipe or if she came up with it herself so, if it's yours, sorry):

- 4 garlic cloves (I really like garlic, but if you are not such a fan then you should cut back)
- 4 tablespoons onion, chopped
- 1 cup peanut butter (I like to use crunchy - for texture - but creamy is fine)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup coconut (I usually just use a whole can. But only use a cup if you want it less creamy and more peanut-y)

Combine the garlic and onion in a food processor until well chopped. Add peanut butter, lemon juice, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper. Blend briefly. With motor running, slowly add coconut milk through feeder tube. Process sauce until smooth and well blended, scraping sides as needed. Heat on the stove or in the microwave until warm.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 28: Cashew Crème Pear Tart

I think that this is the first baked good that both my dad and I have been able to eat without any modifications. The cashew crème is probably my favorite part of this dish. I am maybe guilty of eating the pear topping first and then diving into the rest.

This was pretty easy to make - especially because I opted to use cashew butter instead of grinding cashews into butter myself. Oh, the center of the tart is chopped up pieces of pear. I thought the tart looked a little... under-dressed without it (Can you tell that I like writing "tart" this many times? Because I do.). This tart is best served warm.

The only major issue that I had with this dish is that I had to cook it more than twice as long as stated. It is supposed to take 22-25 minutes to cook - mine spent about an hour in the oven. I don't know how this could have happened! I use an oven thermometer so I know the temperature was right. I used an 8.5" spring-form pan instead of the recommended 9", but that couldn't have added 40 minutes in baking time. Was this a weird fluke? A misprint? Help me out here!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 27: Survey!

Is it exploitative to use a picture of my dog to lure you in?
This survey comes from Jess at Get Sconed!

1. What was the most recent tea you drank?
Probably Earl Grey, but I haven't had tea in a couple weeks.

2. What vegan forums do you post/lurk on? If so, what is your username? Spill!
I've been a member of the PPK for awhile although I don't post or comment. I like forums as a resource but I don't really like the format - participation-wise, at least. I think my username is just Stephanie Anne.

3. You have to have tofu for dinner, and it has to be an Italian dish. What comes to mind first?
Lasagna with the cashew ricotta from Veganomicon. Not the most original but sure to be delicious.

4. How many vegan blogs do you read on an average day?
I don't know exactly because I use a feedreader. I really like organizing all the blogs I like to read through a feedreader but I comment a lot less than I would if I went to the actual page. Guilty admission!

5. If you could hang out with a vega blogger that you haven't met, who would it be, and what would you do?
There are a lot of people who I would like to cook for me.

6. If you had to base your dinners for a week around one of the holy trilogy - tofu, seitan, or tempeh, which would it be?
Seitan, I guess, although I don't use any of them very often.

7. If you had to use one in a fight, which would it be?
Frozen tofu. Especially if you cut finger-grips along the edge - perfect for throwing!

8. Name 3 meals you'd realistically make with that tough protein of choice!
This is going to seem like a cop out, but I don't know. I prefer meals based around beans or mushrooms.
9. What a recipe in vegan blogland that you've been eyeing?
Thanksgiving Burgers from Just the Food.

10. Do you own any clothing with vegan messages/brands on them?
I own the cowhugger totebag and hoodie from Herbivore (it's so cute, I can't help it), a couple other shirts from Herbivore, a hoodie that is too big, and, my personal favorite, the "Don't be a jerk, go vegan" shirt from Food Fight (it has a drawing by the brilliant Nicole Georges!).

11. Have you made your pilgimage to the "vegan mecca" yet? (Portland, duh)
I was there for a week in June and loved it. I'm planning on moving there, but I'm having an impossible time finding a place to live.

12. What age did you first go vegan? Did it stick?
I went vegan when I was 20. I've only been vegan since March but, yeah, it's sticking.

13. What is the worst vegan meal you've had? Who cooked it?
I don't think I have any horror stories. I don't really go out so that probably helps. But whenever anyone has made something for me, it has been great and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when people cook things or buy food just for me.

14. What made you decide to blog?
I figured it would encourage me to make and eat different things. I'm usually the only person who eats the food I make so it's nice to feel like I'm making it for other people too. I also used to be really into photography when I was in high school and was looking for a way to do more.

15. What are three of your favorite meals to make?
- Soup. I like the smell and sounds of simmering soup!
- Pie! That's a newfound love.
- Pretty much anything that involves sautéing.

16. What dish would you bring to a vegan Thanksgiving-themed potluck?
Stuffing. It's a family recipe (... I think) and one of my all-time favorite foods. I've never had stuffing that tastes half as good as this one.

17. Where is your favorite vegan meal at a restaurant? How many times have you ordered it?
Pad Thai from Siam Thai (a local Thai restaurant). I've been eating there for over 4 years and used to go there probably at least once a week in high school. I've probably ordered it over 20 times. They make the best tofu that I've ever had so it's hard to not keep going back! I recently found out that you can get deep-fried tofu with their stir-frys and, holy crap, it's brilliant. It's totally spoiled me though - other Thai food doesn't live up and other tofu... is just a disappointment.

18. What do you think the best chain to dine as a vegan is?
I don't think I've been to a chain restaurant since going vegan.

19. My kitchen needs...
More counter-space and storage. And a billion gadgets.

20. This vegetable is not allowed in my kitchen...! I think that pumpkins are technically fruits but whatever, they can stay the hell away from my kitchen. I don't have a problem with most fruits and vegetables. Spices are what tend to get to me - cloves, allspice, fennel seeds, ugghhhh.

21. What's for dinner tonight?
Mango Summer Rolls from Vegan with a Vengeance with peanut sauce.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 24: Coconut Milk Ice Cream


The other day, my dad called me from the health food store and asked if I wanted any coconut milk ice cream. I selected mint chip (which I never had any fondness for previously but wanted very badly) and cookie dough.

The cookie dough ice cream is also gluten free - a nice touch. It was good, but I think I prefer Temptation's cookie dough ice cream. The problem with Purely Decadent's cookie dough is that the chunks of dough are too big for my taste. I ended up breaking the chunks into smaller pieces before eating, which was an annoying extra step (I mean, I already have to take the ice cream out of the freezer, take the lid off, get a spoon, and scoop it! Now this?!).

The mint chip was wonderful and I've already picked up a second carton. The ice cream is white, as compared to the more typical light green. I guess this means that other companies either dye their ice cream or use actual mint leaves. There are thin swirls of chocolate throughout that weren't too overwhelming (Wait, how can this be called "mint chip" ice cream when there are no actual chips? I will continue to investigate this disturbing matter.). It seems like a lot of ice cream has way more chocolate than necessary but, considering my chocolate intolerance, I may be slightly biased.

I've also had Purely Decadent's chocolate coconut milk ice cream and the coconut one. I have been very impressed by this line so far and it's nice to find tasty vegan ice cream in local stores. That's right, the vegans are taking over grocery stores, one freezer case at a time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 23: Concord Grapes

I tried concord grapes for the first time a couple weeks ago and discovered something. You know how grape candy and grape medicine always have that really fake grape taste? Turns out it's not so fake, it tastes like concord grapes. It's like eating candy! Candy that has a sour and seedy center.

Trying new produce is fun and something that I didn't really get into until I went vegan. In related news, I bought my first pomegranate today! We'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 22: Apple Pie

A couple weeks ago, my dad and I went to an orchard and picked up a couple bags of fresh apples. Mostly because I really wanted to make an apple pie. I have never made a pie before! And getting a slice of vegan apple pie around here is probably impossible. So I made my own!

I made a double recipe of the pie crust in Veganomicon and for the filling I used a Betty Crocker recipe. This pie was perfect and tasted exactly like I imagined it would. I had read some disparaging comments about vegan pie crusts but this crust was flaky and browned up nicely. You can see that the edges got a little extra-toasty - Betty Crocker recommends wrapping foil around the edge and removing it 15 minutes before the pie is finished cooking. I chose not to follow that advice because I like the edges of my food to be a little extra crispy (pies, cookies, casseroles, not soup, latkes, etc.).

A couple posts ago, I said that making donuts is more fulfilling than making other desserts. I am going to have to amend my statement because nothing is more fulfilling or delicious than pie.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 21: Roasted Applesauce

I had some leftover apples after making an apple pie (which I'll post about tomorrow) and they were already peeled so I thought, hey, roasted applesauce! I've been meaning to make it for awhile and the perfect opportunity finally arose.

I usually don't like warm applesauce, but this was perfect. I'm sure I will be making this many times this fall. I ended up thirding the recipe and it made two good-sized servings.

The little disc sticking out of the applesauce is one of my favorite treats since I was a child: take leftover pie crust dough, liberally sprinkle cinnamon sugar over it, and bake until the edges are lightly browned. Best eaten a couple minutes after they have come out of the oven. You might be okay eating them later, but they've never lasted that long for me.

Recipe!:
3lbs McIntosh (about 10) [I used Empire apples - I think tart apples work best here]
juice of 1 lemon [I skipped this]
2 tablespoons canola oil
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp lemon zest [skipped this too]
pinch ground allspice [skipped this, blech, allspice]
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400°.

Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1 inch chunks. Sprinkle with the lemon juice. Set aside.

Combine the oil, maple syrup, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest in a glass baking dish and whisk together. Add the apples and toss to coat.

Roast until the apples are very tender, about 25 minutes or so, turning once after 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and mash [I used my ricer instead]. If you prefer smoother applesauce, you can pulse it a few times in a blender or food processor. You can serve this warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 20: Beanie Weenies

Did you know that some people have not encountered the wonder that is Beanie Weenies? Maybe you are even one of those poor wretches. Or maybe you call it "Franks 'n' Beans", which is even more deplorable than never tasting it.

This is a very quick meal - perfect for lazy days and rainy nights. Just open up a can of baked beans (or make your own), heat it up, toss in some vegan hot dog pieces, and you are good to go! I used Yves hot dogs, although I'm not that impressed with the texture or the flavor (if there is a brand that you think is better, let me know!). I fried the hot dog pieces until they were crispy on the outside in order to reduce the "meh" texture as much as possible. A couple months back, I tossed some grated Teese, which melted nicely but a cheddar flavor would be preferable.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 17: Potato Mushroom Blintzes

This recipe can be found if you search for it in the googlebooks version of Veganomicon (although how someone could be vegan and not own V'con is beyond me).

I saw a picture of these blintzes on someone's site, decided to try them, and bought the ingredients several weeks ago. Fortunately it takes a little while for potatoes and mushrooms to go bad because I kept putting off making them. Making my own crepes just seemed like such a daunting task! But lately I've been realizing that everything I think will be too hard actually ends up being pretty easy. Granted, these crepes were extra easy because I had my dad make the actual crepes (in a small, non-stick frying pan - who needs crepe pans?!) while I worked on the filling (I'm pretty sure I made the crepe batter too. I do things! Shut up!).

These were savory and held up very well during the couple of days they spent in the refrigerator. You could probably successfully reheat them in a microwave, but it only takes a couple of minutes to re-fry them. You don't even need to add any oil! I ate most of them smothered in applesauce, but for the picture I used sour cream (Follow Your Heart, I think) and some fresh chives.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 16: Carrot Salad

I picked up this pre-made carrot salad by Totally Vegan from my local health food store. I don't have the recipe, but I think this would be pretty easy to replicate because you can find the list of ingredients HERE. It says that there are only 2 servings, but I was able to make 5 sandwiches with it (and the bread I use is fairly wide).

I'm always nervous about trying carrot-y things because it wasn't long ago that I hate-hate-hated carrots. I certainly did not hate this carrot salad though. It was a very nice change from my usual chickpea salad. I'll be picking this up again for sure and I encourage everyone who doesn't live around Chicago to try a hand at making it yourself!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 15: Apple Cider Donuts

Original recipe from Vegan Hedonism, modifications from the PPK.

For some reason, I find that making donuts is more fulfilling than making other desserts. To be fair though, I've never made a fancy layer-cake. Oh, I bet making petit fours would be nice too. What was I on about? Sorry, my brain is scrambled from watching the debate and the spin afterward.

These donuts definitely matched my expectations. I prefer cake donuts but these were tasty (y'know, for yeast donuts). I would have preferred for the apple taste to be a little less subtle. If I make these again, I would try adding tiny pieces of apple to the batter.

This is a very simple recipe and could easily be modified to make pretty much any kind of donut. Except cake donuts.

My dad insisted that I post a picture of the mini donut because he made it (and proceeded to get very giggly about it). So, there you go, old man!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 14: Peanut Butter Cups

The recipe is Celine's and it can be found HERE. The only change I made was to add a heaping tablespoon of creamy peanut butter to the chocolate.

I made these when I was trying to figure out if only large amounts of chocolate made me feel sick. Eating one of these made me feel a little bit "bleh" but it was worth it! My dad helped me make these and I think both of us really enjoyed using paintbrushes to cover the mini-cupcake liners with chocolate. Is it art? Is it dessert? Why not both!

These did not take very much time to make, even counting the time of the chocolate chilling. I kept them refrigerated after making them, as they tended to melt fairly quickly.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 13: Creamy Cauliflower Soup

I was worried that this soup was going to be a little bland because, while cauliflower is completely delicious, it is not the most flavorful of veggies. This soup was wonderful and very easy to make. The best part of the soup is that you add cauliflower florets after pureeing the rest of the soup. I prefer my soups blended, but I would like to have a little bit of texture so this was perfect. And both of my parents liked it so it's very omni-friendly.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day 11: Chickpeas Romesco

The next couple of pictures are kind of crappy because I forgot to change the ISO from 1600 back to 200. So they're kind of noisy and funny looking. Myyyyy bad.

I put off making this for awhile because it seemed kind of complicated. It was definitely quick and easy to make though! The best part was probably roasting the red peppers because (a) it made the whole house smell like delicious roasted peppers and (b) open flame!!!

Despite how easy it is to make, this is still a really fancy-tasting recipe. Especially good for dinner parties, but also great to make just for yourself.

Recipe!:

1/2 cup sliced almonds
28oz can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted are especially good)
2 roasted red bell peppers
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 shallots, minced finely
1 red serrano chile, seeded and minced finely
1/4 cup white wine or vegetable broth
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper

Using a food processor, grind the almonds into very fine almost powdery crumbs. Place in small bowl and set aside.

Puree the tomatoes and roasted peppers until smooth. Pour mixture into a large bowl and set aside.

Preheat medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Sautee garlic, shallots and chile in oil until shallots turn golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour in the white wine to dissolve any browned bits of garlic stuck to the bottom of the pan. After a minute, add the tomato/pepper mixture, vinegar, sugar, thyme and rosemary. Cover, bring to a near boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the ground almonds and stir the mixture until they are completely combined. Fold in the chickpeas and simmer uncovered for 20-25 mins, until the sauce is slightly reduced and the chickpeas are very tender. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and allow to cool for 5-10 mins before serving.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 10: Easy Ranch Dip

This is the Easy Ranch Dip (with some veggies and cream cheese spirals) from Vegan Lunch Box. It was okay, although it didn't taste like "ranch" to me at all. "Ranch" seems like a weird thing to name a flavor. Which came first, the dressing or the cowboys?

Oh, right, this is a food blog, not a space where I wax poetic about word origins and cowboys. I prefer thicker dips (like hummus or the cashew-cucumber dip from V'con) so this didn't really do anything for me. It was fun to put beans in a blender though.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day 9: Cream Cheese Spirals

Cream Cheese Spirals from Vegan Lunch Box.

These are like miniature herbed-biscuits. It's a very simple recipe! Which I forgot to copy down before returning the book to the library. Oops. Basically, it's whole wheat flour and soy milk (and probably a couple other things) mixed together into a dough. Roll the dough out, spread cream cheese over it, and then top the cream cheese with herbs! I used basil, parsley, and... something else green. I also cut off the very tops of some broccoli and added that with the herbs. The broccoli was definitely noticeable in the finished product and very enjoyable. Roll everything up, slice into 20 or so pieces, and bake in the oven!

I ate almost half of them immediately after they came out of the oven.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day 8: Spicoli Burger

I was a little apprehensive about the Spicoli burgers from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan because they are mostly made up of brown rice and hemp seed nuts. Basically, I was worried that the burgers would be too "healthy" tasting. My worries were quickly allayed after my first bite. This burger might be the definition of "good and good for you" (actually, most of Dreena's recipes fit that).

These refrigerated very well. You could microwave these, but I prefer to re-fry them for a couple minutes (with no added oil!). They are perfect on a toasted bun slathered with dijon mustard and Vegenaise with a big slice of tomato. They are also good cold with mustard smeared on top (what? Sometimes I am lazy.). They're very omni-friendly, as evidenced by both of my parents enjoying them.

Recipe!:
2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 c. onion, diced
1/8 tsp. sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 c. red bell pepper, diced
2 c. cooked short-grain brown rice (additional rice is called for later)
1 c. shelled hemp seed nuts (Manitoba Harvest brand is great!)
2 medium cloves, garlic, quartered
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. tamari
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage leaves
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 c. cooked short-grain brown rice
1/4 cup flour (any kind will work)
2 Tbsp. olive oil (for frying)

1.) In a fraying pan on medium heat, add oil, onions, salt, & black pepper, sautéing for 3-4 mins. until onions start to soften.
2.) Add bell peppers & sauté for another 5-6 mins., until onions are fully softened.
3.) In a food processor, combine 2 c. rice, hemp seeds, garlic, ketchup, tamari, mustard, oregano, thyme, sage, salt, & onion/pepper mixture. Purée until fairly smooth, scraping down sides of bowl if needed.
4.) Transfer to a bowl & stir in remaining rice.
5.) Refrigerate for at least 30 mins. to firm up.
6.) Remove from fridge & form into patties with hands.
7.) Place flour evenly on a plate & lightly dust both sides of each patty, shaking off excess.
8.) In a frying pay on medium-high heat, heat oil.
9.) Add patties, 3-4 at a time, & lightly flatten with a spatula.
10.) Cook for 6-9 mins. on each side, until golden & a crust has formed.

Yield: 8-10 patties

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 7: Vegan Love

This entry isn't about food, it's about how awesome it is when your friends go vegan.

My most darling friend, the dazzling Jenni Crowley, went vegan a month ago. I maybe threw my hands in the air and did a little dance and squeal when she told me. This was really wonderful for me because I don't have any vegan friends (or even vegetarian friends. Or... friends at all. Whatever!) and it's nice to have someone to get food-nerdy with, even if she lives 850 miles away (the world is a cruel place, children).

Jenni just started a blog: Jennicakes. It's in its very beginning stages right now, but she will be writing adorable things and also about her adventures of going to school for baking and pastry arts.Here is a picture of us back in May. I'm on the left, making crazy eyes. She's on the right, making wonky eyes. Hooray for vegan friends!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 6: Chocolate Cake

Isa posted this on her blog awhile back (recipe here!). It looked very yummy and, for once, I had all of the ingredients on hand so hooray! Little did I know that this cake would spell disaster for me. Read on!

Okay, first I should write about the cake and not my turmoil. This cake is simple, yet fudgy and decadent. Usually I only make ganache as a topping to drizzle on buttercream icing, so I was expecting something much thinner. Instead it was thick and wonderful (OR WAS IT?!).

Onto my pain! The chocolate-overload that is this cake managed to set off some sort of latent chocolate intolerance or allergy or something else equally dreadful. I'm pretty sure that it's just an intolerance and not an actual allergy (my family has a lot of food allergy experience), so that's good. I think if I only eat a little bit of chocolate every once in awhile then I'm fine. For example, the little chocolate shavings in ice cream don't bother me, but cake/brownies/cookies and even my beloved chocolate hemp milk are going to have to be shelved for the time being. Don't worry! We can get through this. Together.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day 5: a Survey

This is a neat survey from Food Snobbery is my Hobbery (which is totally one of my favorite blog names). I'm a bit grateful for a day off from writing about food because I feel like I just say that same thing over and over again. And, yes, I'm trying to lure you in with pictures of my dog, Maeve.

1. Name a song that involves food in some way.
Milkshake 'n' Honey - Sleater-Kinney

2. What criteria do you use when choosing a new cookbook to buy?
I usually flip through it and if there are lots of things that I want to make, then I buy it. Pictures are a big plus. I read a lot of vegan food blogs and get introduced to new cookbooks that way.

3. What did you eat today?
Chickpeas Romesco. An apple with peanut butter. A blintz with applesauce.

4. Name a vegan food that you know exists but you have never tried.
haggis.

5. The Food Network just called and needs you to start your new show tomorrow. What will the title of the show be?
Eat Me.

6. Favorite hot sauce or other spicy condiment?
I am not really into hot sauce. I've been trying to up my tolerance for spicy things though!

7. How old were you when you became vegetarian/vegan?
16 - vegetarian. 20 - vegan.

8. Favorite vegan cheeze?
Teese, but the only other kind I've had is the FYH mozzarella. I really want to try Cheezly and Sheese though.

9. Cutest baby animal?
Deer.

10. Favorite type of jam/jelly/marmalade/preserves?
I go through phases, but lately I've really been enjoying peach-raspberry jam from the farmers market.

11. Do you take any vitamins/supplements?
I have a multi-vitamin that I take every once in awhile.

12. What food/dish most embodies the Fall season?
Casseroles. Or pretty much anything that spends over an hour in the oven.

13. What food would you have a hard time living without?
Mushrooms. Or onions/garlic.

14. Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
Tea. It would be hot chocolate, except chocolate has been giving me tummyaches lately.

15. It's 10PM and you're starving. What do you eat?
Cereal. Or a burrito.

16. If you have an animal companion, what is his/her favorite food?
I don't think Maeve has a favorite food. What she really likes to do is tear the stuffing out of toys. She doesn't eat the stuffing, but she sure is cute.
17. Worst injury you've gotten in the kitchen?
For awhile, I was always bumping my right arm against the side of the oven. I think my oven was trying to hug me because it was so glad that I was baking such delicious things inside of it.

18. When you have a food-related question, who do you call?
My dad. Or the internet.

19. Summer is ending- What food will you miss most?
Delicious tomatoes.

20. What snacks do you keep in your purse/backpack/desk at work?
I don't usually carry snacks with me, but if I do then it's probably some cereal tossed into a ziploc bag.

21. Favorite soup to make on a rainy day?
I really like the Amy's no-chicken noodle soup. Except I've been having a hard time finding it lately. Also, the creamy cauliflower soup from Vegan Lunch Box and the carrot bisque from VwaV.

22. What's your favorite combination of fresh vegetable and/or fruit juices?
I can't remember the last time I drank juice but peach juice would definitely have to be involved somehow.

23. Favorite brand of root beer?
I don't drink sodie.

24. Make up your own question!
Favorite kitchen utensil?
My Wusthof santoku knife. Oh, and silicone spatulas.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day 4: Maple-Mustard-Glazed Potatoes and String Beans

I never would have thought of combining maple syrup and dijon mustard, so I have to thank Isa for introducing me to one of my favorite flavor combinations (there is also a really great maple-mustard dressing in V'con).

It does take 75 minutes to cook, which may put some people off, but really, you pretty much just stick it in the oven and then take it out and mix it up every 25 minutes. Easy. Peasy. ... One-two-threesy.

I've made this several times and each time it was very successful. Even my vegan-skeptical family members really enjoyed it. It's definitely a great fall/winter dish (having your oven on will warm up your house! the food will warm up your belly!), although I also like to eat it straight-out-of-the-refrigerator and cold.

Recipe!:
- 2 lbs. small Yukon gold potatoes (halved, about 1 inch pieces) [I don't know if other people buy freakishly small Yukon gold potatoes, but it only takes 4 potatoes for me to get to 2lbs., so I just chop up the potatoes into bite-sized pieces]
- 1/2 lb. string beans, halved, ends cut off and discarded [I used frozen green beans]
- 1 yellow onion, thickly sliced [I used a large yellow onion because, mmm, onions]
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 T. tamari or soy sauce
- 1/4 c. pure maple syrup
- 3 T. Dijon mustard
- 2 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. Put the potatoes in a 9x13 inch casserole dish (or rimmed pan). Stir together the remaining ingredients until the mustard is dissolved. Pour over the potatoes and mix well. Cover with foil and put in oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, add the green beans, and toss. Turn oven down to 350 and cook for 25 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and toss again, cook for 25 minutes more uncovered. Let them cool down a bit after they are cooked so that the sauce becomes more sticky. Best served at room temperature [or cold, I swear].

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day 3: Beats a BLT Sandwich!

From Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan
Holy crap, this sandwich filling is completely delicious. Tempeh bacon + tomatoes + avocados all smashed up and mixed together? Why was I not invited to this party earlier?

I've had tempeh bacon in the past, but I've never cooked it myself (I used Lightlife's "fakin' bacon"). The best part of cooking it myself is that I can cook it until it is actually crispy and just slightly burned, which is how I like everything that I fry/grill. I was a little bit short on tempeh bacon pieces for the recipe because I kept snacking on finished pieces while frying the rest. Taste-testing is a crucial part of cooking! Everyone knows that! Don't look at me!

This is one of those sandwiches that gets better with each bite. Until the very end, as you will be emotionally devastated when you realize that it is all gone.


Recipe!:

- 1 package Lightlife "Fakin' Bacon" Tempeh (about 1-1 1/4 cups)
- 1 cup tomatoes - chopped, seeds and juices lightly squeezed out [this was my favorite part - well, after eating the bacon]
- 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups avocado - diced small
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- 1/8 cup green onions - chopped
- 1/8 cup fresh parsley, cilantro, or basil - chopped [I used parsley]

In a non-stick frying pan, cook tempeh bacon according to package directions [or longer, if you like it crispy]. Let cool, then chop [it was easier for me to just break off small pieces]. In a large bowl, combine tempeh, tomatoes, avocado, lemon juice, salt, pepper, green onions, and parsley and mix well (squishing some avocado pieces helps to hold ingredients together). Season with additional pepper and/or more fresh herbs if desired. Spread mixture evenly on a slice of bread. On another slice, spread vegan mayonnaise [Vegenaise is the best choice, obviously], top with lettuce, and sandwich the two slices together.

Now, devour it as quickly as possible.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 2: Seitan Portobello Stroganoff


The Seitan Portobello Stroganoff from Vegan with a Vengeance is one of my favorite meals EVER. One of the best things about stroganoff is how flexible it is. I don't think I've ever made it the same way twice. For example, the first time I made it, I didn't have any seitan so I just added more mushrooms (I also hadn't yet been introduced to the wonder that is Red Star nutritional yeast. Now that we've met, we are in love and couldn't be happier.). You can serve it with whatever noodles you have on hand or, and this is my favorite way, spoon some stroganoff (I affectionately call it "strogie") onto a big pile of mashed potatoes and mix it all together. Mmm... comfort food. Even my picky brother liked this recipe, though he ruined it by putting butter on his noodles.

I'm going to have to congratulate myself on getting a pretty decent photo of the stroganoff. From most angles, it just looks like cat vomit on noodles.

Oh! Hello to all the new readers who found me through VeganMoFo. Comments! Excitement!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

VeganMoFo. Also, Huge Peanut Butter Cookies. YES.

October might be one of the best months of the year solely because of VeganMoFo (Vegan Month of Food). My goal is to post every weekday but um... I don't know how likely that is. I do have a backlog of things to post (that I was maybe saving for this month, shut up) so, hey, who knows?


Onto the food!

Big Gigantoid Crunchy Peanut Butter-Oatmeal cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance.

I am going to tentatively state that peanut butter cookies are my favorite kind of cookies. But in order to declare it my favorite, I will first need to taste every kind of (vegan) cookie in the world. A mission!

Right. So. Holy crap, these cookies were so good. And huge! The recipe even says that it makes "about 12 huge-ass cookies". How could I resist? I tried to do a little size-referencing by photographing it with my hand. I could only eat half of a cookie at a time. My sugar tolerance has dropped since going vegan, which is probably a good thing but it makes me feel old.

Recipe!
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup natural crunchy peanut butter [I used salted peanut butter, but cut back on the added salt]
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk [I used plain soy milk and added a little extra vanilla]
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two cookie sheets.

2. Toss together the flour, oats, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oil, peanut butter, sugars, soy milk, and vanilla.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix. The dough should be very difficult and moist. Pack a 1/3-cup measuring cup with dough, pop out and roll the dough into a firm ball and flatten just barely on a prepared cookie sheet, spacing the dough balls well apart. Lightly grease the bottom of a glass or heavy ceramic pie plate [I used the bottom of a Pyrex mixing bowl]; press the cookies to flatten to a 1/2-inch thickness. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cookies have puffed a bit and are lightly browned. Allow to cool for at least ten minutes before moving off the cookie sheet. [Leaving them to firm is really important - I was worried that the cookies weren't quite done, but after leaving them for 10 minutes they were perfect]

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Enchilada Casserole

Recipe from FatFree Vegan.

Casseroles are great because you just throw a bunch of stuff into a Pyrex dish, pop it in the oven, and in an hour or so, you have dinner! Admittedly, I am kind of obsessed with Pyrex so that might account for some of my casserole-love. I also really like to mix all my food together.

This enchilada casserole was exactly what I wanted. And it's also one of the few things that my entire family can (and will) eat. I omitted the jalapeño (I forgot to buy one) and served the casserole with spanish rice and corn. Oh, and I skipped the olives because... yech. Olives are one of the few things that I can't stand to eat. There were lots of leftovers that were perfect for lunch or a late snack for the next several days.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler


I slightly modified the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance for this cobbler because I only had 5 peaches (the recipe calls for 8) and a crapload of tasty blueberries. Plus, blueberries and peaches are soulmates and they want to be together. In a 450° oven. True!

This cobbler was way tasty and even my little brother (who spurns most of my baked goods) gobbled it up. The only downside was that I didn't refrigerate it so it wasn't so good after 3 days. Fortunately, there was only one piece left. So refrigerate! Or eat really fast.

If you google "peach cobbler" and "vegan with a vengeance", googlebooks will give you the recipe. And then your conscience will hiss at you to buy the book. Oh, and here's a hint! Slice the tops and bottoms of your peaches with a little "x" - they'll be easier to peel that way. Then blanche them for 30 seconds or so, maybe less. I had a hard time getting the pit out because the peaches were a little squishy, so I might have blanched them for too long.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Carrot Bisque


Up until 2 years ago or so, I wouldn't eat anything with even the smallest amount of carrots in it. Look how far I've come! One day I had some carrots in soup, then I had it shredded on salads, and suddenly I'm peeling so many carrots that my hands change color!

This soup was a big hit with my whole family. It's basically just carrots, curry powder, and coconut milk - what's not to like? The taste surprised me, I was expecting it to be super-carroty but it was actually somewhat sweet and savory (probably due to the coconut milk).


Ingredients:
3 lbs. carrots, peeled and diced into a little smaller than half-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbl. peanut oil (vegetable oil will do)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt
a few dashes fresh black pepper
3 c. vegetable broth or 1 bouillon cube dissolved in 3 c. water
1 (13 oz can) coconut milk
1 Tbl. maple syrup

Directions:

In a stockpot over low-medium heat, cook the carrots and onions in the peanut oil for 7 to 10 minutes; cover and stir occasionally. You want the onions to brown but not to burn, although if they burn a little bit it's not the end of the world. Add the garlic, curry, salt, and pepper; saute for 1 more minute. Add the 3 cups of broth, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

Add the coconut milk and bring to a low boil. Turn the heat off. Use a handheld blender to puree half the soup [I pureed the whole soup]; if you don't have one, then puree half the soup in a blender and add it back to the soup pot. Add the maple syrup and stir. Serve hot.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Vegan's Hundred

A list of 100 things a vegan should eat before they die, courtesy of Hannah!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!

1. Natto
2. Green Smoothie
3. Tofu Scramble
4. Haggis
5. Mangosteen
6. Creme brulee
7. Fondue
8. Marmite/Vegemite
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Nachos
12. Authentic soba noodles
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Gyoza
20. Vanilla ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Ceviche
24. Rice and beans
25. Knish
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Caviar
29. Baklava
30. Pate
31. Wasabi peas
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food french fries
41. Raw Brownies
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
43. Dahl
44. Homemade Soymilk
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Stroopwafel
47. Samosas
48. Vegetable Sushi
49. Glazed doughnut
50. Seaweed
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Tofurkey
54. Sheese
55. Cotton candy
56. Gnocchi
57. Piña colada
58. Birch beer
59. Scrapple
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Soy curls
63. Chickpea cutlets
64. Curry
65. Durian
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu
69. Fried plantain
70. Mochi
71. Gazpacho
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies
73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can
76. Pomegranate
77. Fauxstess Cupcake
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
79. Jerky
80. Croissants
81. French onion soup
82. Savory crepes
83. Tings
84. A meal at Candle 79
85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and “cheese”
88. Flowers
89. Matzoh ball soup
90. White chocolate
91. Seitan
92. Kimchi
93. Butterscotch chips
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti
97. Potato milk
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Raw cookie dough


So I still have a long way to go, but at least there's nothing I won't try. I like the idea of working my way through this list because there are lots of things that I would like to try, even if they are kind of scary [natto and raw scotch bonnet pepper, I am talking to you].

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sloppy Joannas

I'm not exactly a connoisseur of vegan sloppy joes but I've tried quite a few recipes and, while they were all nice, I hadn't been able to find a recipe that really delivered what I wanted. Until now!

These sloppy joes are TVP-based, which I found a little intimidating because I had never used TVP before. My worries were unfounded though, as the resulting texture and flavor was definitely superior to my previous faux-beef crumbles attempts. Plus I'm pretty sure a bag of TVP is cheaper than the crumbles.

Sloppy Joannas are also very omni-friendly. I brought some in for a luncheon at work and was (pleasantly) surprised at the end of the day when I found the tupperware nearly empty. I received several compliments - one of my omni coworkers even said that she went back for seconds.

I made a couple small changes from the original recipe: I added a couple squirts of ketchup and 2 tablespoons or so of maple syrup. I opted to only put in 8oz. of tomato sauce and skipped the cayenne pepper completely (I prefer my sloppy joes to be sweet-ish, not spicy). All in all, great vegan comfort food.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Veggie Bite

Veggie Bite is a 100% vegan fast food restaurant. I went to the South-side location because it's only about 25 minutes away from me. The big question I have is - why didn't I know about this months ago??

The first time I went, I had the Fajita Wrap. I don't know what I was expecting, but this thing was huge. I ended up eating it over the span of three meals. I could have eaten it in 2 meals, probably. I bet I could have eaten it all in one go if I fasted for a day or two beforehand, but I'm not that dedicated to fajitas (yet!). It was so delicious though. Messy, very messy, so don't try to eat this in a car or riding a bike, but fine as long as you have a napkin on hand. The most impressive part was how well-proportioned all the ingredients were! There is nothing worse than biting into a wrap and getting a mouthful of iceberg lettuce (well, maybe biting into a wrap and getting a mouthful of cockroaches or something would be worse). Not a problem here!

My friend Andrea ordered the Buffalo on Rye. She described it as, "Delightful!" I had a bite and the fake chicken was really good - way better than Boca. Although it freaked me out a little. I think that if it came from a restaurant that was not completely meat-free then I would have been very suspicious.

I also ordered some BBQ nuggets (this is a sad picture) that I think were baked BBQ tofu. These smelled so good in the car-ride back home and they did not disappoint. I don't think that they are meant to imitate meat at all and I liked that especially.

Andrea and I also split a very tasty strawberry shake (although I don't think anything will beat the shake I had from Sip in Portland).

I don't have any pictures from the second time I went to Veggie Bite, but I'll write about it anyway.

I ordered a burrito and was pleased to find that it was distinctly different from the fajita wrap, although equally large. I think it was wrapped in a spinach tortilla - fun! Green!

My brother ordered either a chili dog or a chili-cheese dog, which he was pleased with but didn't seem crazy about. He also had a gyro and he was VERY happy with that. The only problem he had was that the pita fell apart.

There are still several things on the menu that I would like to try and I am excited to visit Veggie Bite again.

Banana-Pecan Pancakes


You know how the top of banana bread is the best part and, while the rest of the bread is also good, you are the most excited about eating the top? It might be just me, but I'm right. These pancakes taste exactly like the top of banana bread. I ate a few of them with Earth Balance and syrup, but then I ate the rest unadorned and cold. I prefer the latter! I think the recipe was only supposed to make 9 pancakes, but I easily ended up with 15 or so.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt


Admittedly, I am not a big fan of yogurt. But it is full of cultures that are good for my belly so when I heard about So Delicious' new coconut milk yogurt, I was interested. I really think So Delicious is onto something with using coconut milk (they also have a coconut milk ice cream line that is tasty).

I've only had the Strawberry-Banana so far and it was very yummy. I don't know how the consistency compares with other yogurts (it's been... quite a while since I've last had yogurt) but I wasn't nauseated by it - major plus! I ate it very quickly, as opposed to how I used to eat yogurt, which was very slow and I was reluctant to take each bite. I let my dad have a bite (he thought it was good, if a bit sweet) and then I remembered that I neglected to tell him what flavor it is and he is allergic to bananas. Oh well!

Conclusion: This yogurt may cause you to attempt patricide, but it's worth it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tamari Roasted Chickpeas


This is the first time I have used one of Dreena's recipes and it left me asking myself why I didn't make this sooner. Chickpeas and agave nectar? Be still, my heart! The recipe is very easy and, while the chickpeas do take a little while to cook, the recipe itself is not time-consuming. I predict that these chickpeas are going to be making many repeat appearances - in my tummy.

You can find the recipe on Dreena's website (Tamari Roasted Chickpeas) or find the recipe in Eat, Drink, and be Vegan.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

We've been getting some fantastic peaches from the Farmers Market this year. Very juicy, but a little too tart for my tastes. What to do, what to do. Add agave nectar! Put it all in a teacup and eat it in a garden (any garden - peaches and agave nectar in a teacup trumps trespassing charges).

Brussels Sprouts from Vegan with a Vengeance.
I never had brussels sprouts as a child, so I don't have the aversion to them that many people do. I think anyone who claims to hate brussels sprouts should try this recipe. Vegetables should not be steamed or boiled into a mushy mess! They should be roasted and covered in garlic! And then taken to the seaside.