Category: Food & Recipes, Human

Holy Leaning Tower of Eggplant Parmesan, Batman!

Friday, April 18th, 2014

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So I bought an eggplant and then promptly forgot why I bought said eggplant. Long story short, it started to get a little questionable, just hanging around in my fridge, so I decided to try the Eggplant Parmesan Stacks from Mark Reinfeld’s Taste of Europe. You know, since I couldn’t figure out which damn recipe I’d intended to make.

The result was…okay. I think I would have liked it better if I’d skinned the eggplant and sliced it thinner. The skin just didn’t soften up as much as I’d hoped, and the middle of the stack stayed a bit spongy even though the bottom pieces were perfectly tender; mushy, even. It’s a solid recipe though, and I bet I’d love it with green zucchini. The huge ones that spring up in my garden around July. (Mmmmm, summer.)

Anyway, I suspect I’m just not that into eggplant. IT’S SO HARD BEING A FUSSY EATER, Y’ALL.

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Breaking News

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

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So it turns out that those bean balls from the Vegan Athlete Cookbook? Make a pretty awesome burrito after all. And I didn’t even have to rely on Shane to test out my idea.

I quartered a few of the balls and fried them up with mushrooms, zucchini, and leftover roasted potatoes, carrots, garlic, and onion. Ten minutes later and I had one rockin’ burrito. Along with the mushrooms, the bean balls give the filling a hearty, meaty feel. Almost as tasty as it is filling.

In other breaking news, I am seriously considering a burrito theme for VeganMoFo 2014. “Burrito Blowout,” whaddyathink?

Bean Ball Spaghetti from the Vegan Athlete Cookbook

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

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At this point I own more vegan cookbooks than I could ever hope to use in my life – even if I made a new recipe every day, from now until I’m a hundred, weekends included. (The same goes for book-books, so there you go. If I have one addiction, it’s paper. And pizza. And ice cream. And dogs. So four. Four addictions.)

Zoey Sampson’s Vegan Athlete Cookbook is a freebie-for-review that I scored via Library Thing’s Member Giveaway program. (Free stuffs. Make that five addictions!) As per my SOP, the very first recipe I tried was pasta-related: namely, the Bean Ball Spaghetti (really rigatoni) with homemade sauce and store-bought garlic breadsticks.

These not-meatballs are a mix of beans (the recipe calls for pinto; naturally, pinto was the one single type o’ bean that I didn’t have in my cupboards, so I used a mix of light red and great northern), carrots, parsley, garlic, breadcrumbs, and spices. Mix the batter in a food processor, shape into little balls, and bake in the oven for twenty minutes. Pretty simple. If I could suggest one modification to the recipe, though, it’d be to process the wet ingredients first, then slowly add in the dry. My middle-of-the-line food processor struggled to mix everything at once; the batter’s just too durn thick. Or even mix in the dry ingredients by hand, come to think of it.

Also. After baking, Sampson directs you to transfer the balls to the sauce and simmer for ten minutes. I could tell just from gentle handling that the balls weren’t sturdy enough to hold together in sauce. (Not to mention, there were too many balls to fit in the pan! Somewhere in the order of 32 to 36. I kept count, and then promptly forgot. Sorry!) I threw half a dozen in with the sauce just to test my theory and, sure enough, they crumbled even under gentle handling. My advice? Make double the marinara sauce and serve the balls on the side, smothered in the stuff.

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The verdict: it’s an okay recipe – the balls are tasty enough and easy to throw together – but not my favorite vegan meatball recipe of all time. I suspect that Shane will repurpose the leftovers into a burrito of some type. Stay tuned for breaking news.

Fusilli with Roasted Lemony Vegetables and Tofu Ricotta

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

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This is a little something I threw together using scraps of this and that from the fridge: a few miscellaneous Russet potatoes; a just-cut red pepper; the lone surviving green zucchini from a pack o’ three; the last of a bag of frozen corn. If you don’t want to go quite so heavy on the carbs (this dish requires a post-dinner nap, I tell you what), omit the potatoes and double down on the other veggies. Or you can bulk up on the veggies anyway for a greater veggie-to-pasta ratio.

I used the ricotta recipe from The Cheesy Vegan, but there are plenty of tofu-based versions on the web.

 

Fusilli with Roasted Lemony Vegetables

Ingredients

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (dry, not oil-packed)
1/2 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil
2 Russet potatoes, diced into 1/2″ pieces
2 carrots, cut into 1/4″ rounds
1 red pepper, diced
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ slices
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lemon peel

16 ounces fusilli, or other small, bite-sized pasta
tofu ricotta for serving

(More below the fold…)

Zesty Coconut Lime Wedding Cookies

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

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From The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur! Reminiscent of macaroons, but buttery and with a tangy lime kick. I don’t think mine came out quite as crumbly as they should have, but they’re still pretty tasty. (They should be, given the approximate twenty pounds of margarine that went into ‘em!) The glaze is pretty amazing too. The lime is so strong that Rennie’s face puckered when I let her lick a drop off the plate. True story.

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Pasta Primavera with Roasted Vegetables

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

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So this is another one from 101 Gluten Free Vegan Italian Recipes – obviously not gluten-free, since I used regular noodles, but easily gluten-free-enized. The veggies here are roasted, which makes for an easy, no hassle meal: if you’re in a time crunch, slice your veggies up beforehand, and just pop ‘em in the oven as needed. There isn’t any sauce, but the olive oil and lemon juice provide a little extra moisture. If you love lemons like me, sprinkle a little lemon peel on for added oomph.

Sadly this particular cookbook is in desperate need of an editor: the ingredients list calls for nooch, but the directions don’t tell you what to do with it (!). I had the exact same problem with the last pasta recipe I tried. That’s okay; luckily, it’s hard to go wrong with nooch. I sprinkled it on top of the pasta at the same I added the veggies. Tomatoes, zucchini, and roasted red peppers, but feel free to use whatever strikes yer fancy. Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil and bake at 375F (up from the suggested 350) for 30-40 minutes or until tender.

(Not Exactly Gluten Free) Tomato Walnut Pasta

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

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Though this Tomato Walnut Pasta is from Daniel Nadav’s 101 Gluten Free Vegan Italian Recipes, it’s hardly gluten-free, on accounta I didn’t bother using GF noodles. Since I’m not GF, I really just bought this book for the pasta sauce and pizza combos. And it was just 99 cents. And it’s only the third vegan Italian cookbook I’ve heard of, gluten-free or otherwise. So there’s that.

The sauce, which is a combination of tomatoes, walnuts, spinach, and basil, is pretty tasty. Nadav didn’t include any garlic (blasphemy!), so I thew some in there. A little too much, actually – I added several tablespoons of garlic to the saucepan before I realized that the tomatoes I’d picked, cooked, and frozen last October also had garlic in them. No harm no foul. Well, maybe a bit of foulness. Breath-wise, that is. Whatever.

As I’ve been flipping through this cookbook, I’ve found a ton of mistakes. Most are aesthetic – inconsistent font styles, for example – and merely offend the perfectionist in me. But this particular recipe calls for 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast…and then doesn’t tell you what to do with it. (Sniff it? Trippy!) The options are pretty limited: add it to the food processor with the spinach, basil, and walnuts, or mix it right on in with the sauce. I went with the former, although I don’t think it makes much difference in the end. It all ends up on one plate.

Anyway. Good recipe. If you’re half as into Italian food as I am, and willing to wade through editing errors and such, 101 Gluten Free Vegan Italian Recipes might be worth a try. It goes on sale for zero (that’s free!) every once in awhile, so you can always add it to your wishlist until then.

Review coming…maybe.

Adventures in Gluten-Free Pizza: Episode 1

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

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So. The pizza on the left. It’s a mozzarella Daiya stuffed crust pizza with Lightlife pepperoni and black olives. Freaking delicious, but not really germane to today’s post.

The slice on the right represents our very first foray into the world of gluten-free pizza. Not because I don’t love gluten (wheat, yum!), but because I scooped up a copy of Daniel Nadav’s 101 Gluten Free Vegan Italian Recipes when it was just a buck on Amazon. Mostly I just wanted it for the pasta recipes – since they all call for store-bought GF noodles, I can just as easily use the gluten-filled stuff – but I thought it might be fun to experiment with some of the pizza crust and bread recipes anyway. My first attempt? Not very encouraging.

The dough came out perfectly runny, much like pancake batter and, rather than throw good GF flour after bad (it’s not like we have a whole lot to play around with), Shane decided to add some white wheat flour to thicken things up. Hence, this pizza isn’t really gluten-free. And after all that, the crust still came out a little dense and spongy. (Totally edible though. It’s pizza!)

I looked around online and found that Nadav’s ratio of flour-to-water is pretty standard, so I wonder whether the problem was with my flour: I bought a bag of Thai rice flour on Amazon, assuming it was the same as white rice flour, but it’s awfully fine. Maybe the bad was mine?

Anyway, further testing required. (Science!) On top are roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, mozzarella Daiya, basil, oregano, and just a touch of lemon zest. Yum!

Cookbook Review: The Oh She Glows Cookbook, Angela Liddon (2014)

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Deliciously Wholesome Vegan Food

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review at the publisher’s behest.)

Let me begin by thanking Penguin Books for sending me a copy of this cookbook for review about a month prior to its publication date. (Before it was even on my radar, actually.) As an avowed junk food vegan, it’s probably not something I would have picked up on my own – but I’ve discovered more than one new favorite dish in The Oh She Glows Cookbook!

As fans of the Oh She Glows website and blog already know, Angela Liddon focuses her culinary efforts on plant-based, healthy whole foods, free of chemicals and additives. Continuing this tradition, The Oh She Glows Cookbook includes 75 new recipes, as well as more than 25 fan favorites from her blog. Recipes run the gamut, from “power snacks” to smoothies, juices, and teas, as well as breakfast foods, appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, sides, and desserts. There’s a fairly wide variety of dishes to be found, from vegan versions of American favorites (Lentil Walnut Loaf, Grilled Portobello Burger, Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries) to more international meals (Creamy Vegetable Curry, Crowd-Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole, Quick & Easy Chana Masala). Many of the recipes are gluten-free, or include gluten-free substitutions; and Liddon sometimes offers soy-free alternatives, too.

I tried just over a dozen recipes in preparation for this review (and, let’s be honest, because my stomach compelled me to!), including the following:

(More below the fold…)

Immunity-Boosting Tomato Sauce with Mushrooms

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

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and lentils and chia seeds and basil and garlic and – well, you get the idea. Angela Liddon packs her tomato sauce with savory goodness.

So, I’ll be honest: this isn’t my all-time favorite pasta sauce. But to be fair, I am super-Italian, and have been enjoying pasta at least once a week my entire life. I have long since perfected my own dream red sauce recipe. (Spoiler alert: it involves roasted red peppers.) But I have to admit, I love the idea of adding red lentils to pasta sauce, and the chia seeds are a nice extra too.

Well done, even by own fussy standards.

And this is the last recipe on my to-do list before I review The Oh She Glows Cookbook! Check back Monday for the review.

Our Favorite Veggie Burger with a side o’ Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

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2014-02-22 - OSG veggie Burger & Fries - 0009 [flickr]

Two recipes, one oven! Actually that’s not totally true; while the bake times are the same on the Our Favorite Veggie Burger and Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries (both from – you guessed it! – The Oh She Glows Cookbook), the temps are slightly different, and so I ended up baking the burgers in the toaster oven. It totally worked though! Perfect if you’re only serving one or two. The veggie burger batter makes eight patties, so you can just store the leftovers in the fridge for another night. Half a week’s dinner in one fell swoop!

So these veggie burgers are seriously good, y’all. They’ve got black beans (but not enough to upset my uber-sensitive tummy – yay!), grated carrots, sunflower seeds, breadcrumbs, rolled oats, onions, garlic, and some other goodies that don’t come immediately to mind. I topped mine with some sliced tomatoes and pan-fried mushrooms and onions (insert hrng! gif here!).

The fries are rockin’ too. There’s this arrowroot/oil coating that gives the outsides an interesting texture. It’s similar to the Roasted Home Fries, only the Crispy Baked Fries get crispier on accounta they’re easier to spread out on a baking sheet. No overlapping mushiness, yo!

Anyway, if the burritos didn’t sell me on the OSG cookbook, this veggie burger sure did. Gonna go collapse into a food coma now, mkay.

Loaded Savory Oatmeal & Lentil Bowl, The

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

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I totally expected to dislike this dish (fussy eater problems!) but, much to my surprise, I loved it. Like, finished the bowl and licked it clean loved it. It’s even better than the Apple Pie Oatmeal, yo! Plus it’s quick to whip up – just 15 minutes, and it’s so unfussy a recipe that I was able to remove it from the stovetop mid-cooking so that I could feed the dogs their dinner. Very cool.

Shane enjoyed his with the recommended hummus and avocados, while I went with crackers, chia seeds, and avocado toast. This was also my first time trying mashed avocados as a spread, and I was again pleasantly surprised; avocados don’t have a super-strong flavor, so really the spread tastes like whatever seasonings you put on top. In my case, salt and pepper.

(Sunday Morning) Sunrise Scramble with Roasted Home Fries

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

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I’ll be honest: the tofu scramble recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook isn’t my favorite. That said, it’s still a tofu scramble, and tofu scrambles fucking rock.

My main problem? This one’s got both mushrooms and spinach, the excess moisture of which can prove difficult to cook off. As usually happens when I get ballsy and try to put shrooms in my scramble, the tofu ended up a bit wet and mushy.

Plus, this recipe’s a little different from standard scrambles. There’s no tumeric! (I added a dash, hence the yellow eggy color. Couldn’t help myself!) No soy sauce! Only a touch of nutritional yeast! And not a whole lot of spices to speak of!

Still, given the lack of spices this scramble ended up tasty enough. I probably won’t make it again, but I can hardly call it a disaster.

The home fries, on the other hand? Awesome. These are way easier to make than hash browns (I’ve yet to produce a properly crispy batch) and every bit as tasty.

Luxurious (Read: Cheesy!) Tomato-Basil Pasta

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

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I’m pretty sure the “Luxurious” in the Luxurious Tomato-Basil Pasta (found in The Oh She Glows Cookbook) is code for cheesy. And if it’s not, it should be. Put vegan cheese on ALL the things!

This dish is reminiscent of the Spaghetti Cake from Bake and Destroy (and before that, the Spaghetti Pie from American Vegan Kitchen) – only it’s not cooked, of course, and the white sauce is made of cashews instead of tofu. Naturally, the white sauce is combined with red marinara sauce to make a delicious hot pink (traffic cone orange?) mess.

So good, and super-easy to make. The cook time on this one is just 30 minutes, so you can whip it up in a snap. (Though I prefer to let my tomatoes simmer for awhile so that they get nice and tender.)

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

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Another day, another recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook. This stovetop oatmeal dish is packed with hearty goodness: rolled oats, fresh apples, chia seeds, nondairy milk, applesauce, walnuts, coconut shreds, you name it. It requires more energy than I’m capable of mustering first thing in the morning, but seeing as I’m a breakfast anytime kind of girl, this also makes a wonderfully quick lunch or dinner.

The one thing I’d change? Instead of cooking the apples with the rolled oats, I think I’d rather add them to the oatmeal near the end, so that they’d still nice and crunchy and raw.

Supposedly it only serves one, but one batch is more than I can eat by my lonesome.

Also, bonus point for moi: I think this is the closest my food will ever come to looking like the pictures in the cookbook!

Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

(Say that five times fast…and you get a cookie!)

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So this was my first time making gluten free-cookies – or at least that I’m aware of – and I’m happy to report that it was not, in point o’ facts, a disaster. Actually it was super-easy, so much so that the fact that these cookies are GF didn’t even register until the next day. (I know, tsk tsk on me for not reading the entire recipe before tackling it! IT SAYS SO RIGHT IN THE INTRO!)

I was more worried about using the hand mixer, since we don’t exactly have an amiable relationship. Seriously, most of our outings end up with a kitchen covered in cookie dough/mashed potatoes/whathaveyou and me crying on the floor. Usually Shane has to step in to finish the job and prevent me from having a breakdown. But this time around? Smooth sailing. Maybe the beaters just prefer almond and oat flour to whole wheat? Who knows!

These Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are so good that they almost (almost!) make up for the fact that they are the only cookies to be found in The Oh She Glows Cookbook (boo! cookies are the only dessert worth making! I’m telling Cookie Monster on you!). In place of wheat flour, there’s almond and oat, along with almond butter and chocolate chips. Mine came out thin, with just the right crispy-to-chewy factor.

You’re supposed to roll ‘em into balls, but the dough was sticky enough that I spooned it instead, with no real issues. I guess they’re not as perfectly round as they could be, but who cares? My taste buds sure don’t.

Chickpea Salad Sammies

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

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Another winner from The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Perfected Chickpea Salad Sandwiches! The best part about this recipe is how quick and easy it is to prepare – I think I spent more time mashing chickpeas than anything else – thus making it perfect for a weeknight meal in a pinch, particularly when you’ve had a hard day at work and need to smash some of the aggression out. The secret is in the dill – well, assuming you don’t hate the stuff – so don’t skimp!

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15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

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Wow.

I’ve enjoyed avocado pasta before, but this is just…WOW.

The sauce is deliciously simple: avocados, garlic, basil, lemon. (The lemon? It downright OWNS the pasta.) Blend in a food processor, mix with the pasta, and serve.

The hardest part about this dish is the timing: since avocados oxidize quickly (thus turning an unappetizing shade of brown), you want to use the sauce immediately. Or at least if you want to snag a halfway decent photo of it.

This is another recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, but – yay for you! – it’s also available on Angela’s website.

Go! Blend! Eat!

No regrets.

Well, maybe just one: I don’t have any leftovers!

Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

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This was my first time making roasted chickpeas EVER (!), and now I’m totally kicking myself for not trying them sooner. They’re really tasty and easy to make and – here’s the best part – NO SKINNING REQUIRED!

The Oh She Glows Cookbook contains two recipes for roasted chickpeas: a basic version and a salt and vinegar flavor, which you see here. The vinegar flavor comes from cooking and then soaking the chickpeas in white vinegar. (The salt, obviously, comes from salt.) Just the thing if you love salt and vinegar, which I totally do.

(The dogs? Not so much. Finnick and Mags have even been knows to turn up their noses at my salt and vinegar flavored popcorn. In their defense, I’m so heavy-handed with the spices that even Shane has been known to complain.)

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Broccoli & Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burritos

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

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I don’t know why I don’t have burritos more often; aside from pizza, they’re pretty much the flyest finger food out there, and soooo much fun to eat. Seriously, I think the last time I made burritos was for a cookbook review more than a year ago! Such a shame. Note to self: must rectify this immediately.

So I wasn’t quite sure how these Broccoli & Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burritos from The Oh She Glows Cookbook would turn out. I really don’t eat quinoa very often – I’m still working on a two-pound bag I bought several years ago – so yeah. I figured I’d either love it or hate it. (In which case there’s a 99% chance that Shane would be more than happy to eat the extras. Human garbage can, that one.)

Well, I’m happy to report that option A prevailed. As in, this is totally one of my new favorite recipes! The combination of broccoli, sundried tomatoes, onions, and quinoa is tasty, but it’s the cheesy cashew sauce that really takes this burrito to the next level. (Yeah, I left out the celery. Sue me!)

Mine looks nothing like the burrito portrait in the book but I suspect that’s because I’m an amateur when it comes to wrapping burritos. Consider me flummoxed.

As a Saturday Raturday Bonus: A shot of Finnick, begging for food right next to a picture of him begging for food in nearly the exact same spot. How meta.

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P.S. If you’d rather not use quinoa, I bet plain old rice would make an excellent substitute. I’ll give it a try next time around and report back to you. Deal? (The things I do for you people!)