Category: Food & Recipes, Human

Chocolate Cherry Chunk Ice Cream

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

2014-10-27 - Chocolate Cherry Chunk - 0001 [flickr]

This flavor was inspired by Purely Decadent’s Cherry Nirvana flavor which, according to the internets, has been discontinued. (Boo!) Not that it much matters to me; while Kansas City is home to a surprising number of health food stores (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Green Acres, to name a few), their selection of vegan foods is uniformly sucky. Just before Halloween Shane trekked down to Overland Park in search of So Delicious’s holiday-flavored ice cream pops (Pumpkin Spice and Candy Corn), and he came home empty-handed. Also MIA: Amy’s Daiya Cheese Pizzas; Nayonaise; and Tofurky frozen pockets. WTF!

/ rant.

Anyway, this Chocolate Cherry Chunk Ice Cream is in Cherry Nirvana’s ballpark, but I came up just short of nailing it. The cherry flavor isn’t quite the same, possibly because So Delicious uses a higher-quality cherry extract than I. But the chocolate-covered cherry bits are gangbusters! Pro tip: you may want to make extra for snacking.

The frozen ice cream proved difficult to scoop, but that was totally on account of the frozen bits of chocolatey goodness; the ice cream itself is smooth and creamy. For easier scooping, you can set the chocolate cherries aside and sprinkle them atop the ice cream just prior to serving. Either way. Awesome.

(More below the fold…)

Sweet Potato Latke Fail!

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

2014-11-08 - VHC Sweet Potato Latkes - 0002 [flickr]

After a pretty respectable streak in the kitchen, I encountered an epic fail with the most unlikely of suspects: latkes, which don’t usually prove much of a challenge at all. The Sweet Potato Latkes from Vegan Holiday Cooking – a 50/50 blend of shredded sweet and russet potatoes that looks so amazing in the gourmet food photo from the cookbook – came out more like hash browns. These guys could not hold a patty shape to save their lives. Like, not even close. I put a ball of batter in my palm to flatten it out, and it just crumbled everywhere. Not to mention, they didn’t even rival the neon orange color of the latkes pictured in the book.

Not wishing to waste four potatoes (or all the effort spent grating them), I did the obvious thing: made them into baked hash browns! Basically I followed the alt. baking instructions, adding about 15 minutes to the recommended bake time. Since I needed two cookie sheets to hold all the potatoes, I tried a little experiment: the first cookie sheet I lined with parchment paper, while I lightly sprayed the other with Pam. The results? Nearly identical. Go figure.

You’re supposed to top the mini latkes with a dab o’ almond creme fraiche – but, seeing as the recipe is so similar to the one featured in the Roasted Squash Soup – i.e., the one that already didn’t work for me once – I skipped it altogether. Good thing, since there were no latkes in need of garnishing after all!

2014-11-10 - Latke Tofu Scramble - 0001 [flickr]

For what it’s worth, the leftover potatoes made a wonderful add-in for a tofu scramble. Pictured above is a scramble with mushrooms, onions, red peppers, tomatoes, and about a cup of hash browns (fried separately for maximum crispiness). So good, I’m not even 100% sure I can call this a fail.

Candle Cafe’s Roasted Cauliflower and Fennel Soup

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

2014-11-06 - VHC Cauliflower & Fennel Soup - 0004 [flickr]

Another hella tasty soup from Vegan Holiday Cooking! The title’s pretty self-explanatory: the base consists of roasted cauliflower (2 heads) seasoned with fennel (3 bulbs). Simply roast the cauliflower and fennel, then cook it with the soup stock for bit; blend and serve! I couldn’t find any fennel bulbs locally, so I used a mix of dried fennel seeds and ground fennel instead: 2 teaspoons of seeds and 1 teaspooon ground fennel.

If you want to be extra-fancy, you can serve it with truffle oil to garnish.

Deluxe Tofu Scramble

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

2014-11-05 - SRJ Tofu Scramble - 0001 [flickr]

Okay, so, confession time: I did not follow this recipe – found in Simple Recipes for Joy – to the letter. I tried, I really did, but I just could not bring myself to mix the spices in the 4 to 5 recommended tablespoons of water before adding them to the tofu scramble. The tofu of which? IS NOT PRESSED! Madness, right?

I don’t know about you guys, but I usually have a problem with too much moisture in my scrambles – especially if I add veggies with a high water content, like mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes. Granted, this recipe calls for none of these things (though I did add a little of each, in the interest of cleaning out my fridge), but still. Four tablespoons? That’s a lot of water, yo! I would say try one tops, since the recipe is absent the one tablespoon of soy sauce I usually use. But no more!

Otherwise I really liked this Deluxe Tofu Scramble. The spices are a mix of cumin, nutritional yeast, tumeric, thyme, paprika, chili powder, salt, parsley, and coriander – which is a new one for me. The taste is a little fresh and different from what I’m used to. Definitely gonna remember coriander for my next impromptu scramble!

Candle Cafe’s Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Tofu Dumplings Potato Gnocchi

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

2014-11-04 - VHC Roasted Red Pepper Soup - 0001 [flickr]

This might be my all-time favorite soup, you guys. AND I FREAKING LOVE SOUP! It’s like Candle Cafe’s roasted red pepper pasta sauce, but drinkable!

So there are four roasted red peppers in this bad girl, along with corn (I didn’t have any peas, so I doubled up), leeks (or scallions, in my case), onions, veggie stock, and basil. The recipe includes instructions for making your own tofu dumplings by hand, but I took a shortcut by using premade potato gnocchi instead. It turned out aces.

I’m not gonna lie; after my last red pepper fiasco, I was a little nervous about roasting my own, even if my method had served me well up until last week. But I seeded and sliced the peppers as usual, divided the slices between two glass baking pans, drizzled them with about a tablespoon of olive oil each, and then roasted at 425F for about 40 minutes. The skins? Peeled right off. Smooth as silk! Or whatever the vegan equivalent is. Satin, maybe?

I reused the roasting oils – now infused with sweet peppery goodness – in the soup. Zero waste! (I even left the skins to the insects outside.)

Cookbook Review: Vegan Eats World, Terry Hope Romero (2013)

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

“What if the world was vegan?”

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this cookbook for review from the publisher.)

Wherever it’s eaten, meat basically remains the same – it’s plant foods that transport our senses. Apply those flavors to vegan staples such as seitan or tofu and even straight-up vegetables, and the possibilities? If not endless, pretty darned expansive.

As a semi-reformed fussy eater, I was both nervous and excited when Da Capo Press offered me a copy of Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World: 300 International Recipes for Savoring the Planet for review. (Waaaay back in May, to celebrate the book’s release in paperback. I’m SO SORRY it took as long as it did, you guys!) Nervous because I knew that many of the recipes contained therein would fall outside my comfort zone and challenge me to try new things – and excited for the same.

The recipes in Vegan Eats World run the gamut: there’s everything from soups and sammies to spring rolls, dumplings, and pierogies. Crepes, breads, and pies, of both the sweet and savory persuasions. Tofu scrambles, gyros, curries, and noodles. French tarts, Greek lasagna, Ethiopian tortes, and Egyptian soup. Romero traverses the globe in search of traditional dishes to veganize and otherwise “hack,” combining different ingredients and foodstuffs in exciting and unconventional ways. The result is a hodgepodge of recipes which hail from South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and are as mouth-watering as they are varied. There’s literally something for everyone here!

(More below the fold…)

Candle Cafe’s Homemade Pappardelle with Spinach, Portabello Mushrooms, and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

2014-10-26 - VHC Roasted Red Pepper Sauce - 0005 [flickr]

Confession time: I did not make this pasta from scratch! I am way too lazy for that. However, the roasted red pepper sauce is homemade (do they even sell such a thing in stores?), and furthermore I roasted and peeled the peppers all by my little lonesome. And it took forever, I might add!

Usually I seed and slice them prior to roasting, which is always in olive oil and a glass baking dish. (The olive oil is awesome for reuse in pasta dishes, since it’s infused with pepper juices!) With this method, the peels practically fall off the roasted pepper slices.

This recipe instructed me to spray the whole peppers in Pam, roast them, and then seed, slice, and peel. Instead I compromised by seeding and slicing them, spraying them lightly with Pam, roasting them, and then peeling them once cool. Or at least I tried to: after 40 minutes in the oven, the edges had crisped up so much that the skins were basically melded onto the peppers. It took me 45 minutes and much finagling just to peel half of them! After that I tried a Hail Mary: I roasted them a second time in olive oil, like I would normally. That helped to loosen the skins from the edges a bit, but it was still a struggle to get them all off. Never again! From now on it’s olive oil for this girl and her peppers. (Though I’m sure the other method would have worked well too. Or at least better than the weird Frankenstein process I came up with.)

ANYWAY. The resulting sauce was crazy delicious. I threw some cornstarch in there to thicken things up, but otherwise I followed the recipe to a T. As for the spinach/mushroom mix, I did include spinach but chose not to cook it. (Wilty greens, ew!)

SO GOOD. I need to make red pepper sauce more often, y’all.

Quickie Apple Strudel

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

2014-10-26 - Apple Struedel - 0001 [flickr]

2014-10-26 - Apple Struedel - 0004 [flickr]

You guys, I was so worried that this apple strudel (recipe courtesy of Elepahntastic Vegan) would be a disaster! I used an old odd-sheet of puff pastry that’s been bouncing around my freezer for ages; the expiration date was a year and a half past, so I’m not exaggerating when I say that it must be a few years old at least. I know, I’m so bad!

Anyway, after I defrosted the dough I had trouble prying it apart. After much nudging and hand-wringing, I cut it half to expedite the process; that gave me two wildly misshapen and differently-sized pieces. One of them – the one closest to the opening of the package, I think – was a bit dried out, while the other was super-wet and moist. I slapped some margarine on the dry one, slathered apple pieces coated in cinnamon sugar on top of it, and then covered it up with the moist piece, which was by then the larger of the two. A little crimping and 25 minutes at 375F later, and I had an apple strudel that was as tasty as it was ugly. Yay!

I dusted it with a but of powdered sugar and enjoyed half for lunch and half later that night for dessert. I think it could stand to have more apples – I was afraid to push it too far, lest I have an exploding juices situation on my hands – but otherwise it was pretty good. Next time I think I’ll also do a wash of some kind for extra sweet goodness.

Not too bad for ten minutes of work! (Woulda been less, but see: “problematic dough.”)

Candle Cafe’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Almond Cream and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

2014-10-24 - VHC Butternut Squash Soup - 0001 [flickr]

My very first dish from Vegan Holiday Cooking! I decided to make it a practical one, so I chose a recipe that requires two of my current arch nemeses (butternut squash and apples, which are conspiring to make my fridge/freezer burst open at the seams). Seasoned with cinnamon, sage, rosemary, and chile powder, this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is topped with an almond cream, as well as pumpkin seeds toasted with lemon juice and cinnamon.

The soup is hella tasty and easy to make; no problems there. The almond cream was a little trickier; mine didn’t get terribly creamy and didn’t look much like that in the fancy gourmet food photo. Actually the difference in aesthetics isn’t terribly surprising; my almonds had their skins intact, hence the variation in color. But it also seemed a little heavier that Candle Cafe’s version, even with extra water added. When I plopped a little into the soup using an ice cream scoop, it just sank right to the bottom, with only a tiny bit staying afloat. Kind of like an iceberg! It still tasted great, though; ultimately I just blended the unused cream with the leftover soup and enjoyed them as one. Why use two containers when one will suffice?

Also, you might notice that those are not pumpkin seeds perched atop the almond cream. Right you are! I didn’t have any, so I subbed in pecans instead. I think they worked just as well.

My to-do list for Vegan Holiday Cooking is more than a dozen items long, so stay tuned for more!

Turkish Zucchini Pancakes (with leftover White Bean Farro Soup!)

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

2014-10-18 - VEW Turkish Zucchini Pancakes - 0005 [flickr]

Along with the pesto for Sunday’s Butternut Squash Pizza, these Turkish Zucchini Pancakes from Vegan Eats World feature the very last of this season’s home-grown zucchini. (Yay! I did it! Now I can go back to stuffing my fridge with junk food!) Other goodies include carrots, white and chickpea flour, scallions, onions, and – an unexpected surprise for your taste buds – dill!

I’ve made zucchini pancakes about a million and twelve times now, but these are the best I’ve had in recent memory. Maybe it’s because I actually took the time to wring out the zucchini shreds in a towel instead of just throwing them in a colander and leaving gravity to do all the work? Whatever, I’m not complaining. Plus the leftovers heat up nicely in a frying pan or on the griddle.

I served them with leftover White Bean Farro Soup, the picture of which came out much prettier (and clearer!) this time around.

2014-10-18 - VEW Turkish Zucchini Pancakes - 0001 [flickr]

Roasted Butternut Squash & Pesto Pizza

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

2014-10-19 - Butternut Squash & Pesto Pizza - 0001 [flickr]

C’mon, admit it: you KNEW this was coming. Every time I find myself with an abundance of produce, I invariably figure out a way to put it on a pizza (P.I.Z.Z.A.).

Before trying my hand at a butternut squash pizza, I did a little googling to see what others have done; this is kind of a mashup of some of the ideas I found. The roasted squash was heavily influenced by the Fall Harvest Butternut Squash with Almond-Pecan Parmesan from The Oh She Glows Cookbook – and the Farfalle with Zucchini, Mint, and Almonds from Vegan Italiano provided the inspiration for the pesto recipe, which is much more moist than usual. The liquidy pesto is insurance against the oven, which always dries my pesto pizzas out more than a little bit.

The result is hella tasty, and definitely one of my best uses of butternut squash to date.

(More below the fold…)

Peach Green Tea Ice Cream

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

2014-10-16 - Peach Green Tea Ice Cream - 0001 [flickr]

One of my all-time favorite flavors of green tea (second only to *maybe* jasmine) is peach. Recently it occurred to me that I’ve yet to make peach green tea ice cream, an oversight I took to rectifying immediately. Luckily, it was pretty simple: just process some canned peaches and syrup into a slurry and use it in place of the soy milk. Peach Green Tea Ice Cream in a jiff!

If this was the beginning of summer, I might have used fresh roasted peaches in place of the canned stuff. Sadly, it is not. (Sob. Snow is just around the corner, y’all! Get me some sun lamps stat!) But feel free to use ‘em if you’ve got ‘em!

Also, 1 1/4 cups (or 1 cup post-processing) is about six slices shy of a full 15 ounce can. I was tempted to use the whole shebang, but worried that it’d be too much batter for my one-quart machine to handle. It can be hard to tell, since some batter expands more than others when frozen. As it turns out, it fit with very little room to spare. If your bowl is larger than mine, go ahead and use the full can. Or don’t! The leftover slices taste amazing when served alongside the finished product.

(More below the fold…)

White Bean Farro Soup with Chickpea Parmigiana Topping

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

2014-10-15 - VEW White Bean Farro Soup - 0003 [flickr]

You guys, this might be my favorite Vegan Eats World soup yet! It’s super-hearty, with farro wheat berries (my first ever time trying them! and they are AWESOME!), tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and cannelini beans (or great white northern, in my case; forgot to go shopping, OOPS!). Spinach or escarole is optional; I shredded mine into little itty bitty pieces so it wouldn’t get all wilty and slimy. (HATE cooked leafy greens.) It gave the soup a nice, festive Christmasy feel and kind of overruled the need for parsley. Way tasty, all around.

The topping is an Ethiopian/Mediterranean mashup involving cooked chickpea flour and lemon juice to make a tangy, parmesan-like garnish. It pairs most excellently with the soup and adds an unexpected kick. So good!

I’ve already claimed dibs on the leftovers.

Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew and Oven Pommes Frites

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

2014-10-14 - VEW Seitan Stew & Frites - 0001 [flickr]

Continuing with our “enough onions to cry a small army to sleep” theme is this Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew from Vegan Eats World. This one’s got 3 yellow onions – a full pound and a half! My eyes were aching for hours after dinner, no lie. Even though I cheated and just used two onions. I KNOW I AM THE WORST.

Also present: carrots, homemade seitan, dark beer (vegan, of course!), mushrooms, and various spices and seasonings including but not limited to thyme (a ten on the savory spectrum), brown sugar, and tomato paste.

2014-10-14 - VEW Seitan Stew & Frites - 0006 [flickr]

The broth is quite gravy-like, making this stew the perfect topping (or dip!) for oven-baked fries. I don’t know why I don’t make my own fries more often, y’all; do it right, and they are tastier than the frozen stuff by far.

2014-10-12 - VEW Seitan Coriander Cutlets - 0001 [flickr]

Shane was nice enough to make the Seitan Coriander Cutlets ahead of time, along with a batch of 5-Spice Seitan for his own snacking needs. (He likes to put them in burritos, along with some rice and beans.) The former are oven-baked while the latter recipe uses a steamer. He was happy with the results, but wasn’t so crazy about the amount of aluminum foil he burned through. Experiments with boiling the cutlets are forthcoming. Stay tuned!

Tenacious Tart Tatin

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

2014-10-10 - VEW Tenacious Tart Tatin - 0002 [flickr]

Now that I’m knee-deep in apples, so begins my annual autumnal tradition: trying each and every apple recipe I can get my hands on. In the case of this Tenacious Tart Tatin (also known as a French Caramelized Apple Tart), it also means knocking another dish off my to-do for reviews list. It’s from Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World, and is not nearly as fussy as its sounds.

While the recipe does require a few rounds of waiting for stuffs to freeze (the olive oil and then the crust), I was able to spend that time peeling and chopping apples for storage over the winter. You need fresh, firm apples for this recipe, and I worried that my scrappy, home-grown fruit wouldn’t make the cut. Soft apples are prone to devolving into applesauce, you see. (Applesauce: also on the schedule for this month!) But I offset that by slicing my apples on the large side, which seemed to do the trick.

For all its wonderful flakiness, the crust is pretty easygoing. You’re supposed to bake it in a springform pan, which I don’t have, so I just used a regular pie pan. (But not glass, on accounta the rapid change in temps.) I had some trouble slicing and serving the first few pieces of the finished tart, but otherwise it worked just fine.

2014-10-10 - VEW Tenacious Tart Tatin - 0004 [flickr]

This is a seriously sweet tart, even by my standards. You cook the apples along with the caramel on the stovetop (they taste almost poached when done – so good!), transfer them onto the tart, and then drizzle the caramel on top of the whole shebang. And there was so much caramel, y’all! I wonder if maybe I should have held some back.

2014-10-10 - VEW Tenacious Tart Tatin - 0003 [flickr]

The apples made the house smell heavenly, and the scent even coaxed the dogs out of their rainy-day stupor – as evidence by a shamelessly begging Rennie in the above photo.

Yes, I let her lick my plate. ALWAYS.

Greek Creamy Lemon Rice Soup with Yogurt Naan Griddle Bread

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

2014-10-04 - VEW No Govlemano & Naan Bread - 0003 [flickr]

One upside to the end of VeganMoFo? I can finally turn my attention back to the many other tasks I neglected throughout most of September. Like finally reviewing that copy of Vegan Eats World that Da Capo Press sent me all those months ago! (I’m so sorry you guys, really. The time just got away from me!)

Since the weather’s starting to turn chilly, I decided to concentrate on the soups: starting with this Creamy Lemon Rice Soup! Subtitled “‘No’ Govlemano,” this is a veganized version of the “zesty [Greek] classic egg-lemon chicken soup.” Which I’ve never had (I don’t think I ever tried an egg-based soup in my omni days!), so I can’t really comment on its authenticity vis-à-vis the original – but I can say that it’s delicious: thick and creamy, with pureed white beans and both orzo pasta and arborio rice, the pairing of which adds multiple textures to the dish. And the lemon is unexpectedly awesome.

2014-10-04 - VEW No Govlemano & Naan Bread - 0012 [flickr]

I decided to pair it with naan bread, mainly because I wanted to see if I could do it. I don’t have such a hot track record with breads, you see. But the naan turned out to be super-easy to make, even if baking it in the cast iron skillet did smoke up the house a little. (Worth it!) I couldn’t find any vegan yogurt locally – it seems to have plummeted in popularity lately – so I used this recipe at Oh She Glows to make my own. I know, right! How cool is that?

2014-10-06 - Naan Bread Pizza - 0001 [flickr]

The leftover naan is perfect for baking individual quickie pizzas, pita pizza styley. The bread is a little thinner than pita and results in a floppier crust, but no complaints here.

2014-10-08 - Naan Hummus Sammie - 0001 [flickr]

Incidentally, the flexibility of the bread also makes it awesome for hummus wraps. (Or is this considered a sammie?) Naturally I overdid it with the fillings, so that the bread stood no chance of staying put when folded, but trust me when I say that it works even better for this purpose than the (thicker, less pliable) pita bread I normally use.

This is definitely a recipe that’ll be entering into regular rotation ’round these parts. Ditto: the soup.

Fall Harvest Butternut Squash with Almond-Pecan Parmesan

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

2014-09-25 - OSG Fall Harvest Squash - 0003 [flickr]

You guys, if I hadn’t already given The Oh She Glows Cookbook five stars, I’d do it on the merits of this recipe alone. SO GOOD! Yet so simple!

It’s basically just butternut squash (duh!), diced and roasted with garlic, parsley, kale (not pictured here; I was all out!), and a chunky parmesan mixture of nutritional yeast, almonds, and pecans. Since I omitted the kale and roasted the nuts ahead of time, I was able to skip the second, shorter round of roasting altogether.

Liddon recommends serving this with Field Roast’s Smoked Apple Sage Sausage to upgrade it from a side to a meal, but I found that Tofurky’s Chicken Apple flavor works just as well. Simple pan-fry it, fold into the finished squash, and enjoy!

Serves two very hungry, very gluttonous adults.

Carbs & Rec: Long-Ass Rice with Creamy Lemon-Zucchini Sauce

Monday, September 29th, 2014

null
null

I promised myself I wouldn’t make any pasta dishes this VeganMoFo. Well, besides the Chicken Cacciatore. And that crazy deep dish mac & cheese pizza. Oh, and also the five-cheese macaroni and cheese I made for Mac & Cheese Monday a few weeks before that. YOU GET THE IDEA. I pretty much live on the stuff the rest of the year, and trying new things is part of the point of my themes. A minor one but still.

AND THEN.

A copy of Sharon Gannon’s (then-upcoming; now recently available) Simple Recipes for Joy unexpectedly appeared in my mailbox.

null

(Thanks, Avery Books!)

And, in a fortuitous twist, I found a ton of recipes (okay, six) that call for pounds of zucchini (LITERALLY), which was really pretty great because at the time my garden was spitting out zukes faster than I could pick them.

(More below the fold…)

Carbs & Rec: Real Men Eat Quiche Lorraine

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

null

Originally I was going to whip up a batch of Maple Bacon Doughnuts for the very last Swanson Sunday of VeganMoFo 2014. Aaaaand then Shane made his annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas and returned with several dozen vegan donuts from Ronald’s. I didn’t think my pants would forgive me if I made even more baked goods, so. Real Men Eat Quiche Lorraine it is!

Carbs & Rec - Real Men Eat Quiche Lorraine (0003)

(More below the fold…)

Carbs & Rec: I MADE CREPES!!!

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

We are getting down to the wire, Pawnee, and I am pulling out ALL THE STOPS.

(Just wait until you see what I’ve got planned for Tuesday.

null

For realsies!)

Today on Carbs & Rec, I attempt to do something I never thought I would-could-should do: make crepes!

null

And – spoiler alert – it was not a total disaster. Not a tear was shed nor a crepe destroyed.

(More below the fold…)