Easy Peasy Spaghetti Pie

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Cashews are one of my favorite nuts, if only because they pop up in so many vegan cheese recipes. And with their rich, savory, vaguely cheesy flavor, it’s no wonder why. (Gawker even rated them the Second-Best Nut of All Time. “Cashew: A crescent moon of flavor / In the night sky of nut jars.”)

In addition to some pretty rad dried strawberries, Gourmet Nuts and Dried Fruit also provided me a five pound bag of raw cashews to play around with.

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Naturally, I made cheesy pasta!

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So I was first introduced to the concept of Spaghetti Pie by Tami Noyes, by way of her most excellent cookbook, American Vegan Kitchen. (Seriously, this is one of a handful of cookbooks that I can’t recommend highly enough.) Since then, I’ve encountered variations on this theme in a number of places. (See, e.g., Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater.) Over time, I’ve plucked elements from each recipe and smooshed and mashed and cobbled them together to create a version that’s a) easy; b) mostly sticks to ingredients that I’m likely to have on hand; and c) is still super freaking delicious.

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Spaghetti pie (or cake, or whatever you want to call it) typically has a bottom layer of pasta (either plain or lightly coated with sauce), followed by a tofu-based, ricotta-like cheese (this is where the cashews come in!), and then topped with pasta sauce and either vegan mozzarella cheese or some other bake-able topping, such as breadcrumbs mixed with nutritional yeast. You can get as complicated as you want; for example, by hand-roasting red peppers and then simmering them in your own special red sauce for a full day beforehand. One of my favorite things about this recipe is its versatility: sure, you can go all gourmet when time allows – but if you’re in a pinch, swapping out the special sauce for store-bought stuff saves time time without sacrificing quality (well, not too much, anyway).

Without further ado, I present: Kelly’s Easy Peasy Spaghetti Pie. (Yeah, I know it’s hot out. Still worth it.)

(More below the fold…)

Blueberry-Oat Short Stack (minus the blueberries; boo! winter)

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

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At first I assumed that the blueberries in this Blueberry-Oat Short Stack recipe (found in American Vegan Kitchen) were actually baked into the pancakes, but it turns out that I was wrong. Instead, fresh blueberries are one of the toppings, along with margarine and maple syrup. Naturally, this presents a bit of a problem: it’s March in Missouri and I couldn’t sell my soul for a pint of fresh blueberries even if I wanted to. I briefly considered making the blueberry sauce on the opposite page (Yankee Cornbread with Blueberry Sauce) – using frozen berries, of course – and then laziness overtook me. (See: March in Missouri. SAD, I has it.) So what I ended up with is more of an Oat Short Stack, sadly lacking in blueberry bling.

Anyway, these pancakes are tasty enough. The batter’s made of vanilla soy yogurt in addition to soy milk, resulting a fluffy pancakes that have an almost cake-like consistency. You could definitely throw some berries in the batter without any problems – the pancakes are thick enough to support ’em.

Surprisingly, the oats aren’t at all noticeable; they blend right into the background. I guess they have plenty of time to soften up, since you prepare the batter a few hours ahead of time. I made it the morning of, and dinner took all of fifteen minutes to prepare. Not that throwing the batter together takes much effort, but some nights every little bit helps!

That said, after the taste bud-exploding awesomeness of Isa’s Perfect Pancakes, these kind of pale in comparison. But then I’m partial to super-thin pancakes. If fluffy, thick stacks are your thing, you should give this one a try.

Besides, breakfast food: what’s not to love?

Seitan Brew Stew (now with homemade Savory Seitan!)

Monday, March 4th, 2013

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As I was throwing this together – and I use that term casually, as though it didn’t take me a good 45 minutes to prep all the ingredients! – I wasn’t entirely sure I’d like the combination of beer with tomato juices. The tomatoes were the last thing to go in, and at that point the stew seemed so perfect – just the right amount of smoky and savory – that I was worried about fudging it up. That, and something about beer and tomato juice just sounded sketchy to me. But hey, I’m a fussy eater; it’s in my nature to turn up my nose at just about everything!

Which begs the question, why this recipe? Well, Shane made a batch of seitan in the slow cooker last weekend, so I had four half-pound loaves to use up. (This stew calls for a pound, and I froze the rest.) Necessity.

Turns out that beer with tomato juice, rosemary, and thyme? Pretty tasty! Throw in a pound of potatoes and some carrots, and you’ve got yourself one hearty pot of stew!

The ingredients are reminiscent of Dinty Moore’s Beef Stew, which I loved as a kid. Omit the tomatoes and replace the beer with vegan beef broth, and it could be a dead ringer. You know, minus the actual death. Note to self: must try sometime.

Both recipes – the Seitan Brew Stew and the homemade Savory Seitan – are from American Vegan Kitchen, which I reviewed last week. And I’m still motivated to try new recipes: that should tell you just how much I love this cookbook!

fwiw, the seitan was really easy to make, and doubly so since we went with the slow cooker variation. Not only is it less hands-on than the baking method (wherein the cutlets are fried prior to baking), but you don’t have to waste any aluminum foil either. It does take 7 hours longer to bake though, so planning ahead is key. Shane started his a bit late in the day, and had to stay up past his bedtime to remove the roasts from the crock pot. Don’t be Shane!

Cookbook Review: American Vegan Kitchen, Tami Noyes (2010)

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Three Words: Vegan Comfort Food!

five out of five stars

I was lucky enough to win a copy of American Vegan Kitchen through a giveaway hosted by author Tami Noyes on her blog, Vegan Appetite. I can’t even tell you how glad I am that I did, since I probably wouldn’t have given it a try otherwise. Not because the recipes aren’t enticing (they are! some epically so!); rather, I own way too many cookbooks as it is, many of which go largely unused. I’m happy to report that this hasn’t been the case with AVK.

With chapters devoted to breakfast foods, starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, main dishes, sides, and desserts, it was difficult to know where to start. (The Dessert Case. Always start with dessert!) Cue: the old adage about one’s eyes being bigger than one’s stomach.

So far I’ve made about two dozen recipes – some of them multiple times! – including the following:

Mediterranean Scramble (page 23)
Noodle Omelet (page 25)
Summer Waffles with Lemon Sauce (page 36)
Cinnamon Flapjacks (page 37)
Vegan Sausage Links (page 41)
Mighty Miso Soup (page 73)
Loaded Baked Potato Soup (page 74)
‘Big Soup’ Minestrone (page 77)
Seitan and Herb Dumplings (page 134)
Italian Big Bowl (page 137)
Italian-Style Seitan with Linguine (page 138)
Fettuccine Alfredo (page 140)
Spaghetti Pie with Arrabbiata Sauce (page 141)
Brewpub Tater Tot Pie (page 152)
Margherita Pizza with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (page 157)
Cheesy Mac and Greens (page 164)
Stovetop Mac and Cheeze (page 165)
Taters and Strings (page 165)
Homestyle Gravy (page 167)
Mom’s Apple Pie (page 178)
Apple Butterscotch Pie (page 180)
Peachy Keen Cobbler (page 184)
Vanilla Espresso Shake (page 198)

I blogged each of these as I went, so I won’t rehash each and every dish here. (But you can click through the recipe titles to read more.) Instead: a highlights reel!

American Vegan Kitchen Mosaic

With the exception of the Peachy Keen Cobbler – the only dish I didn’t love, though that’s probably owing more to the fact that I’m not much of a cobbler girl than any deficiency in the recipe – I’ll likely make all of these dishes again. The Homestyle Gravy has become a staple in our kitchen (put gravy on ALL the things!), and Noyes’s Minestrone is by far the best version I’ve tasted. The Brewpub Tater Tot Pie and Loaded Baked Potato Soup are nothing short of inspired. (But be careful of the potato chunks in the latter – those suckers can get HOT! Best to cut them a little smaller than recommended.)

AVK features not one but two apple pie recipes, both of which are scrumptious. The crust is a bit on the delicate side, and thus hard to work with, but then again I’ve yet to find a pie crust recipe that I truly love.

Likewise, each of the two macaroni and cheese recipes are good, and healthy too – one even includes spinach! (Heads up, parents of veggie-averse kids.)

(More below the fold…)

Apple Butterscotch Pie

Monday, February 11th, 2013

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So this is the second of two apple pie recipes from American Vegan Kitchen. The Apple Butterscotch Pie uses the same crust recipe as Mom’s Apple Pie (obvs!) – which, as you might recall, I had a little trouble with last time around. Here I reduced the water to two tablespoons (vs. the recommended five), which seemed to do the trick: I didn’t have to add any extra flour this time around. The dough was easier to work with, but by no means perfect. Prone to tearing and impossible to lift up, I had to do most of the rolling and stretching once the dough was already in place in the pie pan.

But you know what? Totally worth the trouble, even without the butterscotch chips. (They’re supposed to go on top.) I know, I know; butterscotch is kind of the whole point of the recipe, right? But I didn’t have any butterscotch chips on hand, and Noyes gives a second option using brown sugar, so I went with it. No regrets!

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I had tons of trouble coaxing the first slice from the pan, though. I made a total mess of it, but hey, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Namely: oven-baked apples coated in a cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg-lemon syrup. Yes please.

Next time around I think I’ll give the apple pie recipe in Vegan Junk Food a spin. I think I have enough frozen apples for five or six more pies, so hopefully I’ll be able to find a kickass crust recipe before I’m done.

Errr, not that I have to use all those apples in pies. But let’s not kid ourselves, okay?

(More below the fold…)

Seitan and Herb Dumplings

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

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From American Vegan Kitchen!

I can’t even remember the last time I had dumplings, y’all. Back when I was a wee little thing (okay, not so little; my nickname was Jelly Belly Kelly for a reason, you dig?), my mom used to make sauerkraut and dumplings for my grandmother – complete with a side of liver (ew!), which stunk up the house something awful. I don’t remember liking it much: not the sauerkraut, not the dumplings, and certainly not the liver.

Besides, I thought dumplings were stuffed with goodies, instead of being baked in them? Kind of like pierogies plus!

Point being, I was curious to try the Seitan and Herb Dumplings recipe in AVK, just to see if my feelings vis-à-vis dumplings had changed any in the intervening twenty-five years. Besides, if I didn’t like it, there was a big fat bowl of leftover fusilli sitting in the fridge with my name on it.

Turns out, dumplings aren’t half bad. Since I have no idea what a dumpling is supposed to taste like, I can’t be 100% certain that I nailed it. The outsides of my dumplings were soft and mushy, having absorbed all the stewy juices they’d been simmering in. Makes sense! It was hard to tell if the innards were done, though. They seemed a bit…spongy, maybe? Not bad, but dense. I think I like ’em, but in moderation. Maybe five to a bowl? Yeah, I’m specific.

The stew (or is this a soup? idk!) is really hearty and flavorful – quite good! Surprising, given that there aren’t too many spices in it. Must be the thyme. And the seitan – I lazed out and used store-bought, but AVK does include a few homemade seitan recipes – is reminiscent of the beefy chunks in Dinty Moore Beef Stew. (Oh, how I loved that stuff in my omni days! One Christmas my aunt even gave me a huge Costco size as a stocking stuffer.) Even if I don’t go for the dumplings, I’ll most definitely make the stew again.

Belly, full. Pants, off. Or at least exchanged for sweatpants. I’ll leave it to your imagination, reader.

‘Big Soup’ Minestrone with Baked Garlic Bread and Herbes de Provence

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Say that five times fast!

Today’s meal is three recipes in one, namely: ‘Big Soup’ Minestrone from American Vegan Kitchen, seasoned (in part) with Herbes de Provence from The 30-Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe (yup, another new cookbook for me to play with!) and served with a side of Baked Garlic Bread from Vegan Italiano. Oooh-la-la.

First, the soup. Hot damn, THE SOUP.

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A delicious, slow-cooked pot of goodness including white beans (or tempeh, take your pick), diced tomatoes, green beans, carrots, onions, garlic, pasta, veggie broth, and red wine. The seasonings are many – seven, not including the spice mix Herbes de Provence, which Wiki describes as “a mixture of dried herbs typical of Provence.”

Since it’s not something I normally keep on hand, I was lucky that my newly acquired copy of The 30-Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe had a recipe for it. (Serendipitous!) So that’s at least another seven herbs right there.

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While the soup was simmering, I also threw together some Baked Garlic Bread: Italian bread topped with sauteed garlic, parsley, salt, and olive oil and baked in the oven for about five minutes. So easy, with a most excellent taste-to-effort ratio.

In fact, I think I like this even more than the Skillet Garlic Bread from the same cookbook: the minced garlic is much more difficult to burn this way. Plus, it’s a little less oily, so it doesn’t sit as heavy in the stomach. Just as tasty though!

Cheesy Mac and Greens, Redux

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

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Remember those Cheesy Mac and Greens from last week? The ones with all the spinach and the fuckery? Well, I remade it as promised, this time using frozen mixed veggies in place of the spinach – though I did serve it atop a bed of spinach greens, because it’s classy as shit. (And also I had some spinach left over from the last batch of mac and cheese, but who’s counting?) I also doubled the recipe, quadrupled the amount of nutritional yeast, and went the super lazy route by using garlic and onion powder instead of the fresh, minced stuff.

The verdict? Awesome. Not only is it easy to make – it took me a half hour, tops – but the pasta is super-cheesy, and with the added veggies you can totally call this a complete, healthy meal. (Macaroni and cheese is a side dish? SAYS WHO!) Stir in some vegan links for protein, or top with bacon bits because YUM.

The Italian Big Bowl will bowl you over!

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

(What I did there, did you see it? Ugh I know. SO CHEESY.)

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Allow me to introduce you to the Italian Big Bowl from Tami Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen. Loaded with white wine, kalamata olives*, sundried tomatoes, red peppers, fennel seeds, and other scrumptious goodies, you will want to scarf this pasta by the bowl, Italian or not. Plus it only took me a half hour to make, start to finish. I rule!

There are also some homemade vegan sausage links hiding amongst the pasta and veggies. You guys, I made my very own sausage links! From scratch! There’s no stopping me now.

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Vegan sausage is shockingly easy to make – all you need is a steamer and a few hours to spare. This recipe’s from AVK and mostly contains ingredients you can find around the house – flour, tofu, liquid smoke, copious amounts of wheat gluten, assorted seasonings and such. Mix dry ingredients, blend wet ingredients, then combine and shape into link-like masses.

It’s the last step that’s the most difficult. Noyes suggests using aluminum foil to shape the dough into links – but I rolled it between my hands, letting the excess fall down vertically, and gravity did most of the work from there. In the likely event that a link breaks at the midpoint, just roll into a ball and start over. Your dogs will be captivated.

Noyes includes instructions for a variety of homemade vegan meats, so there’s no need to use the processed, store-bought versions in her recipes. Cool, yeah?

After we polish this batch off, I’m going to (finally!) crack open Vegan Brunch and try some of the fancier sausage recipes contained therein: Cherry Sage. Chorizo. Italian Feast. And, oh yeah, Tempeh Bacon. After that, homemade bagels. THE FINAL FRONTIER. Actually, no, that’s pierogies, but drama.

* Speaking of kalamata olives, can you believe that Amazon sells them by the jug! I KNOW! No more paying $9 a pound at the local grocery chain’s salad bar. Most important discovery of 2013 so far.

…because a bachelorette party isn’t complete without waffles!*

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

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In honor of the return of Parks and Recreation last week, Shane and I made waffles. Actually, he made waffles while I supervised from the couch. Mostly this consisted of me pointing out the gross amount of batter spillage coming out the rear of the waffle iron and spit-balling ideas for a leak-proof waffle maker. He may have had his headphones on at the time, so it’s quite possible that I was talking to myself. Whatever, managing is hard work!

Also, the timing of waffles and DVRed Parks and Rec was totally coincidental, but the post title struck my fancy so there you go.

So anywho, these are the Summer Waffles with Lemon Sauce from American Vegan Kitchen.

(“Summer” waffles served on autumnal dinnerware and photographed on a table decorated for Christmas – yup, that about sums it up. Quite fittingly, the only season that’s missing is spring, whose arrival seems an impossibility come January. Curse you Midwestern winters!)

The waffle recipe is pretty basic I guess; it’s hard to say, since we don’t make waffles all that often. (See: our crappy waffle gadget.) But the sauce is different! Basically just lemon juice mixed with powdered sugar, it seems like it’d be just as at home on a plate of sugar cookies as a stack of breakfast foods! It’s very similar to icing, is what I’m saying. Unlike traditional syrups, it sits on top of the waffles instead of soaking into them. If you like your waffles crunchy, you should totally give it a try.

* Penis-shaped, of course.

Cheesy Mac and Greens

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

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Cheesy Mac and Greens from American Vegan Kitchen. Spoiler alert: the greens are spinach! Popeye would be so proud.

This is definitely one of my more favorite cheesy sauces. It’s a stovetop recipe, so the mac and cheese stays nice and moist and creamy (even the leftovers!). In addition to the standard nooch, flour, and soy milk, there are also some bits of crumbled tofu hiding in there, along with sour cream and miso. So many yummy things!

The spinach is okay – it doesn’t get cooked at all, so it’s fresh and crunchy – but honestly? I think I’d like the mac and cheese better without it. The whole time I was chowing down on cheesy pasta laced with spinach, all I could think was

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Hoodwinked with the mac and the cheese and the vegetables.

Happy National Pizza Week!*

Monday, January 21st, 2013

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Did you know that it’s National Pizza Week? ME EITHER! At least not until the day of, otherwise I would have held a contest or giveaway on fuck yeah vegan pizza. Oh well, there’s always next year. Or next week. Every day is vegan pizza day, is what I say!

Yesterday Shane and I celebrated by trying a few new recipes from two of the cookbooks we’re working through: Vegan Italiano and American Vegan Kitchen.

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First up: Pesto Pizza with a Semolina Crust from Vegan Italiano. Where to start? The crust is tasty – crunchy and medium-thin – though not discernibly different from some of the other crusts we’ve made. According to Klein, semolina flour is supposed to have a nutty flavor, but my unsophisticated palate didn’t catch it.

The pesto isn’t half bad, but I was afraid that the recipe didn’t make enough to cover the pizza, so I tossed a half a cup of walnuts and an extra tablespoon of olive oil in for good measure. Personally I prefer sundried tomato pesto, but I’m not complaining.

Topped with Roma tomatoes at Klein’s direction. Kicking myself for not adding more!

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Then there’s the Margherita Pizza with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce from Tami Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen – which includes recipes for the pizza, dough, and sauce. Yum!

The dough’s delish, though again not all that different from what we normally make. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. Funny story: we didn’t realize until after we’d assembled the pizza that the recipe makes two pies. (No wonder we had “extra” sauce.) So really the crust was twice as thick as it should have been – but alas, it’s about the same thickness as our go-to recipe, so all’s good.

As for the sauce, it’s a mix of diced tomatoes and roasted red peppers – a little spicier than what I’m used to, but quite good! You can put it on the pizza direct from the stove top (chunky!), or run it through a blender or food processor for a more uniform sauce. I chose option #2.

Topped with Roma tomatoes, mozzarella Daiya cheese (of course!), and basil.

Food related holidays, they’re my favorite.

* Belated! Turns out I’m a week late. Old gif is old.

Italian-Style Seitan with Linguine (Sike! It’s really fettuccine!)

Friday, January 18th, 2013

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Can you believe that this is my first time trying seitan? Wacky, right? Limp and pallid, a seemingly undifferentiated mass of gluten – uncooked seitan just never looked all that appealing to me. Cooked it looks so much more appetizing, but I never had the impetus to get to that point. Until I started drooling over the Italian-Style Seitan with Linguine recipe in American Vegan Kitchen, that is.

All in all, this dish is a lot like some of my old pasta favorites: veggies sauteed in oil (and other savory liquids) and served atop a steaming plate of noodle-shaped carbs. In other words, delizioso! With kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, red peppers, mushrooms, garlic, basil, and oregano because this is Italian style, yo!

The recipe also calls for spinach, but I skipped that step because I’m an adult and can totally do that. I adjusted the amounts of some of the other veggies to my liking (read: pile on the olives and tomatoes like they’re going out of season!) and added veggie broth AND white wine. The recipe calls for either or, but I mixed the vegetable bouillon in with the pasta water before adding it to the veggies. Double the savory goodness!

For some reason I was expecting the sauce to be more, ahem, saucy – hence the rolls, to sop up the extras – but the pasta and veggies absorbed most of the liquid. Still tasty though!

 

Mighty Miso Soup (still needs a sidekick)

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

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Yet another dish from the pages of American Vegan Kitchen (I’m on a roll, yo!): Mighty Miso Soup. Filled with carrots, scallions, orzo, and mushrooms and seasoned with miso (duh!), veggie broth, soy sauce, ginger, chili oil (or paste in my case), and five spice powder, this soup is mighty delicious. (Minus the bok choy. I’m not particularly fond of cooked leaves!) Not hearty enough on its own, we served it with some store-bought, accidentally vegan “egg” rolls. Five minutes in the toaster oven and they’re good to go!

Though I really liked this soup, I found it to be a bit on the salty side. Which is weird, because sodium and I are BFFs. Next time around, I might swap out some of the veggie broth for plain water. Otherwise, it’s a winner!

Also, am I killing it re: my pledge to make at least one new dish a week or what? Public failure, quite the motivator.

 

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Mediterranean Scramble

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

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This is by far the best-looking tofu scramble ever to grace my skillet. With tomatoes (not cherry as recommended, because tragically my garden is long dead, but some sad, colorless romas from the store), black olives (def gonna try Kalamata next time around), red peppers, and spinach. I’ve discovered that I don’t mind cooked leafy greens as long as they’re only heated just enough to make ’em slightly wilty, but still crispy. For spices, there’s nutritional yeast (easily x4 the recommended amount!), basil, oregano, and parsley. YUM!

Recipe via Tami Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen, which gets all the stars.

 

Mom’s Apple Pie

Friday, January 11th, 2013

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Truth be told, I don’t remember my mom every making pie from scratch. After-school cookies? Check. Elaborately decorated birthday cakes? Yes ma’am. Ginormous cookie cakes for school celebrations? I was the most popular kid that day! But our pies? Always started out frozen.

I imagine that mom’s pies, if she ever made them from scratch, would look hella prettier than anything I can manage. That’s okay, though, because it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And inside this pie is thoroughly edible. If you know what I mean. Ahem.

Anyway, the recipe’s from Tami Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen, which I’ve cooked from so often that I may as well do a review. (So let’s just say one’s forthcoming, i.e., as soon as I plow through the entire dessert case chapter.) As far as apple pie goes, it’s sound but somewhat standard: apples, sugar, cinnamon, etc. Delicious, nutritious (hah!), dependable apple pie.

I’ve yet to find a pie crust recipe that I truly love, and the one featured in AVK is no exception. For starters, I think I used too much water; whereas 2-3 tablespoons would have sufficed, the recipe calls for five. As soon as I added it, the dough got sticky and whatever ball the food processor had working quickly disintegrated. I tried correcting with a little extra flour, but by then the food processor was pooped, so I had to do it by hand. Even then, I don’t think I added enough flour, as the dough proved difficult to work with and kept ripping apart when I handled it. Note to self: add liquid gradually next time!

I spite of my early difficulties, the dough baked into a golden, flaky crust of pure scrumptiousness. Worlds better than some of the crust recipes I’ve found online.

On second thought, maybe I can perfect it with a little tweaking? Only time and (repeated) taste testings will tell. Luckily, I still have fifteen pounds of apples in the freezer, give or take, so I am good to go.

 

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Spaghetti Pie with Arrabbiata Sauce from Tami Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

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Oh my dog you guys, this was too good for words. Seriously amazing! It’d better be, seeing as it took me nearly two hours to prepare. Granted, I had to stop in the middle to feed the dogs, BUT STILL.

What with its multiple layers and dizzying array of ingredients, I was more than a little grumpy by the time I popped it in the oven. But now that I’ve got the steps down, I think the whole process will go much faster the next time around. Spaghetti pie, I WILL eat you again!

Plus you can assemble it ahead of time and bake it up right quick come dinnertime. If I’d realized this earlier, I might have made spaghetti pie for Christmas dinner! Oh well. Next year, maybe? (Besides, the stuffed manicotti was awesome, so no complaints here.)

Personally, I wouldn’t call this a pie so much as a casserole (it’s not even round!) but I guess spaghetti pie is a real thing? A diner staple? idk, I’ve never seen one before, but then again my knowledge of cheesy dishes is mostly lacking. Whatever, it’s freaking delicious, and that’s all I need to know.

The bottom layer is spaghetti – or angel hair, in my case – followed by a blended tofu mixture that bakes into a cheesy, ricotta-like topping, and topped off with tomato sauce peppered with tasty little chunks of tvp that taste a helluvalot like ground beef. Whether you count this as a positive or negative is totally up to you, but I’m a fan. Sprinkle liberally with mozzarella Daiya and – voilà! – dinner is served!

As an added bonus, this recipe makes a ridiculous amount of leftovers, so you’ll be feasting on spaghetti pie all week. Yay!

I wish diners had this when I was a kid! *

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

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Another stop on our ongoing quest to try every vegan mac & cheese recipe in existence: Stovetop Mac and Cheeze from (where else?) American Vegan Kitchen. (Which actually features TWO macaroni and cheese recipes, dontchaknow! I will see you again next week, nooch.)

It’s pretty tasty, though my own super-unhealthy version still has my heart. Noyes’s recipe is mostly soy milk and nutritional yeast (plus a quarter cup of olive oil), so it’s way better for you. Also, there’s basil, which is new. I can’t recall ever adding basil to mac & cheese before. Good stuff.

True story: Saying that I want macaroni and cheese is the single most effective way to get Shane to make dinner. The man’s got priorities.

 

* Forever eating french fries and salad.

 

This isn’t your grandmother’s Shepherd’s Pie!

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

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And the hits just keep on coming! In what’s proven to be yet another winner from American Vegan Kitchen, Tami Noyes gives us her unique spin on a Shepherd’s Pie: the Brewpub Tater Tot Pie.

 

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The traditional bottom “meat” layer is made of tvp reconstituted in veggie broth and flavored with vegan beer (!), among other things. In place of the mashed potato layer that I find so annoying to make: tater tots! It doesn’t get any easier than this, people.

Noyes instructs you to cut the tots in half – probably so you’ll use less and end up with a healthier dish – but that’s just silly! And not nearly as tasty! We like our tots nice and curvy, thanks.

Anyway, superamazingexpialidelicious. Finnick agrees!

 

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Finnick’s fear of the camera seems to disappear when the food comes out. Strange, that.
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Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

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Another dinner cooked up in the American Vegan Kitchen! Tami Noyes’s Loaded Baked Potato Soup is somewhat similar to various potato soups I’ve tried in the past, with one notable difference: you bake the potatoes beforehand and leave the skins on when you add them to the soup! Interesting, right?

The result is a tasty, chunky soup that really is reminiscent of baked potatoes. (More so if you top it with sour cream and vegan bacon, which I failed to do here. Sadly, we were out of sour cream and forgot to defrost the bacon. Boo!)

The only thing I’d do differently next time around is cut the potatoes into smaller chunks. As it turns out, scooping 2″ pieces of potatoes out of hot liquid and trying to bite them in half while still steaming? Kind of dangerous.