Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo (with cashews!)

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

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Fettuccine Alfredo with a cashew- and pine nut-based cheese sauce. So good! Not that hard to make, either (says the spouse who didn’t cook dinner this time around. Hey, I’m busy baking holiday cookies over here!)

The recipe’s from Tami Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen, which I’m really digging. Every time I crack it open I find one, two, twenty more recipes I want to try. Spaghetti Pie, Italian Seitan with Fettuccine, Handitos, Fried Corn Salad, Homestyle Mac Salad, ugh. Someone kill me now! Or come to my kitchen and make me some yummy vegan foods. Either way.

Before I found Vegan Junk Food, I’d never tried Fettuccine Alfredo, vegan or otherwise. Ridiculous right? Especially considering my last name! Anyway, I only mention this because Lane Gold’s version is my only point of reference. I like the Fettuccine (really Linguine) Alfredo from VJF better, but it’s hardly a fair comparison – Gold’s recipe, loaded as it is with soy creamer and cream cheese, isn’t quite what you could call “healthy,” while Noyes’s version is hella better for you.

Still, this is definitely something I’ll make again. Or make once, since technically Shane made this one. But you get the idea.

Homestyle Thanksgiving Leftovers

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Normally I wouldn’t bother blogging my leftovers – but seeing as the gravy’s a new recipe, let’s have a gander, shall we?

 

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Naturally, the gravy was the first of the Thanksgiving foodstuffs to go. But mashed potatoes and stuffing just aren’t their best unless they’re drowning in gravy – so for the leftovers, I made a double batch of Homestyle Gravy from Tamasin Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen. It was fairly easy to make (it’s gravy!), but super-tasty. A very high nom-to-effort ratio, is what I’m saying. With tons of seasonings – including soy and Worcestershire sauce – it’s definitely one of the more flavorful gravies I’ve tried. You can see all the yummy bits in the above photo: onions, garlic, rosemary. Too shy to make an appearance: thyme, nooch, and sage.

In fact, I started to get worried during the taste-testing phase that I’d added too much soy and/or Worcestershire sauce – but the strong taste of the gravy is tempered by all the delicious vegan food it’s served with, so no worries. (But if you’re planning on chugging hot gravy from a mug? Maybe go easy on the soy sauce, hmmm?)

This year’s dinner was so amazing that I’m finding it hard to say goodbye. Until next time, Thanksgiving Burgers. I will see you in my dreams.

 

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Eat to the Beat: Vanilla Espresso Shake & The White Stripes

Monday, October 29th, 2012

 

The song: “One More Cup of Coffee” by Bob Dylan (and covered by The White Stripes; lyrics)

The foodstuff: A Vanilla Espresso Shake from American Vegan Kitchen

The connection: Espresso-flavored milkshakes – my kind of coffee!

 

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This milkshake was inspired by the shakes served at Strong Hearts Cafe in Syracuse, NY, which American Vegan Kitchen author Tami Noyes visits frequently on her way to Vermont. While I don’t need an excuse to indulge in frozen desserts – be it soft serve, ice cream cookie sammies, sundaes, milkshakes, whatever – an espresso-flavored shake is the perfect partner for this Bob Dylan song. I gave up hot coffee ages ago – I took my coffee with so much sugar and soy creamer that I started to fear for the integrity of my teeth (“Want some coffee with your sugar?”) – and so coffee-flavored desserts are the closest I get to the stuff nowadays.

The Vanilla Espresso Shake is about as lip-smacking good as you’d expect. Coffee crystals, vanilla ice cream, vanilla soy creamer, and vanilla extract – that’s it! Bliss can be yours in 90 seconds or less.

For the ice cream, I used the Vanilla, I Scream! from The Tipsy Vegan, which I had left over from last week. I was right: the coffee and (extra) vanilla flavoring completely eradicated the “blah blahness” of the silken tofu I complained about previously. Score! I know what I’ll be doing with the rest of it, wink wink.

 

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Supposedly this recipe serves two, which is kind of laughable: it doesn’t even fill up one medium-sized glass! (And I added a little extra creamer, too!) The milkshakes you find at, say, The Chicago Diner are easily double this. Not to imply that I could have eaten more; one recipe was enough for me. But split this with a friend? NEVER!

 

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re: today’s soundtrack, I chose the White Stripes cover of “One More Cup of Coffee,” cause it’s creepier and thus more appropriate for the season. Best described as charmingly awful, Bob Dylan’s singing voice – which I love! – just doesn’t suit this song the way Jack White’s does. IMHO! No haters!

 

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Eat to the Beat: Noodle Omelet & Fiona Apple

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

 

The song: “Across the Universe” by Fiona Apple (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Noodle Omelet from American Vegan Kitchen

The connection: Pleasantville.

 

Fiona Apple’s cover of “Across the Universe” appeared on the soundtrack to Pleasantville – a movie in which a 1950’s “soda fountain” plays a prominent role. And so I thought, hey! Why not pair this one with a classic diner dish? (Because I absolutely adore Fiona Apple and wanted to feature one of her songs this month. And this one? I might actually like it more than the original by The Beatles. BLASPHEMY!

Another aside: Katie at Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk also did a Pleasantville menu as part of her “Dinner and Movie” theme, for which she chose a No Tuna Melt as the entree. This is super similar to a dish I had on the shortlist for this song – maybe it was a chickpea melt? I forget! – so I’m glad I went with something else.)

Enter: Tami Noyes and American Vegan Kitchen. This book is stuffed full of comfort food, the (nonvegan) likes of which one can find in greasy spoons and assorted family-owned restaurants across the country. With sections like “Rise and Shine,” “Starters,” “Soup of the Day,” and “Sandwich Board,” AVK’s TOC reflects its “down home” roots. (A northerner, I have no idea whether I’m using that phrase correctly – but it feels truthy, down in my gut. Or maybe that’s just the noodles, working their way through my small intestines. It’s anyone’s guess!)

 
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Though it appears under the breakfast category, I decided to try the Tofu Omelet for dinner. My kitchen is open 24/7 and the only rule is that there are no rules, y’all!

The rare veteran vegan who still finds tofu a little sketchy

(probably this dates back to my childhood, when mom mostly prepared dad’s tofu my cubing and frying it – spongy tofu chunks, ew! – but I’ve made a ton of progress lately, yay!; exhibit a: this post)

I wasn’t totally sure I’d like this dish. I was so, so wrong!

The blended tofu base – seasoned with nutritional yeast, tumeric, garlic powder, and other various goodies – constitutes the “egg” portion of the omelet. I love blended tofu (especially when crafted into an egg-like dish); it was the tofu + pasta combo that gave me doubts. No worries – the two play so well together!

 

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This is one seriously delicious (and filling!) dish. You bake it half on the stove and half in the oven (pro tip: you’ll need an oven-safe skillet!), similar to a frittata. In addition to the recommended onions and red bell peppers (I used green), I also tossed in some frozen corn for added volume, and served the omelet with a side of steamed veggies. YUM!

My only complaint is that the “eggs” could use some extra garlic and onion, but I say that about all the foods!

Now that I’ve licked my plate clean – I’ll be over there browsing the Dessert Case if you need me, mkay?

 

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Eat to the Beat: Peachy Keen Cobbler & Presidents of United States of America

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

 

The song: “Peaches” by Presidents of the United States of America (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Peachy Keen Cobbler from American Vegan Kitchen

The connection: Obvious connection is obvious.

 

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My very first cobbler! (Is that weird? That’s weird, isn’t it?)

Given that I’m currently drowning in apples – even after the two raccoon families living ’round here had their fill, the trees are dropping more apples than I could ever hope to use! – I was tempted to apple-ize a peach recipe to go with this song. But this Peachy Keen Cobbler by Tami Noyes (of Vegan Appetite fame!) looked soooo incredibly tasty that I just couldn’t bring myself to tinker with it.

Truthfully, I think this cobbler would be mind-numbingly good no matter which fruit you use for the filling: peaches. Peaches and raspberries. Apples. Apples and blueberries. Pears. Pears and all the berries. Bring it on!

The peaches in the base-slash-filling are combined with a tasty mix of flour, sugar, and lemon juice, which stays moist and gooey even after it’s baked. The cobbler portion of the dish is a doughy topping that rises and crisps, forming a kind of pie-like crust. Because this is a messy dessert, it’s fairly easy to make – no finicky pie crust required – with maximum impact. The hardest part is peeling all those darn peaches! (Although if you want to be super-lazy – or if peaches are out of season – I suppose you could always go with frozen or canned. Better than nothing but not the same!)

 

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Also, I would gladly eat the filling on its own. Maybe…heaped atop a bowl of ice cream? Ugh, must go make more peach cobbler.

 

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Eat to the Beat: Bacon Egg Salad with a side of Taters and Strings & Suzanne Vega

Monday, October 1st, 2012

 

The song: “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Bacon Egg Salad with a side of Taters and Strings – recipes via Vegan Junk Food and American Vegan Kitchen, respectively

The connection: Diner food!

 

Right out of the gate, and already with the ’90s music! I won’t lie; most of this month’s Eat to the Beat soundtrack isn’t from this decade, or even this millennium. Hole, Beck, Blind Melon, Bloodhound Gang – and The Beatles, The Marcels, and The Monkeys – this is the music I grew up on. Some of it was considered “the oldies” way back then, while the contemporary stuff is now called “vintage.” (Much to my shock and dread!) Not to date myself, but. Fellow 30-somethings, represent!

 

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Today’s specials are the Bacon and Egg Salad from Vegan Junk Food, served on a bed of greens with a side of Taters and Strings from American Vegan Kitchen, and set to the beat of “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega. This is diner food at its best! (And possibly its healthiest – despite its title, the goodies found in Vegan Junk Food are generally healthier than the stuff I make myself!)

To replicate the taste and texture of boiled eggs, Lane Gold uses mashed chick peas, small bits of tofu, and large homemade croutons mixed with vegan mayo, dijon mustard, and relish. Oh, and don’t forget the vegan bacon bits! Though it’s been ages since I’ve had non-vegan egg salad, the result is spectacular. Not quite egg-like (but maybe that’s a good thing? boiled eggs, they smell like feet!), but still delicious. And the texture’s pretty spot-on, too! Easy to throw together in a pinch, you can make it ahead of time for a quick and simple meal. In future versions, I’ll probably thrown in some black olives – I always loved olives in my egg salad – but that’s really the only thing I’d change.

 

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Along with some garden-fresh tomatoes (some of the last of ’em, I’m afraid!), we have Taters and Strings on the side. Baked red potatoes with fresh green beans, baked in olive oil and tossed with lemon juice, parsley, and rosemary. Super-yummy, and also ridiculously easy to make. (Especially since you don’t even need to peel the potatoes!) I usually prefer my green beans canned (so silky soft!), but these were pretty tasty too. I ate my veggies and I LIKED IT! I am officially an adult now.

 

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By the by, at the last moment I discovered that I was out of Nayonaise. The horror! Luckily, I was able to make my own version with silken tofu. (Available by the case on Amazon. Yay!) Using this recipe for Tofu Mayo as a jumping-off point, I added and subtracted seasonings based on the ingredients list for Nayonaise. The result? Pretty damn close, if I do say so myself. The mustard gives it a bit of a yellow tinge – but close your eyes, and it’s almost like you’re eating the name brand stuff. Not that you’d want to eat mayo by the spoon, ’cause that’s just weird. But if you wanted to.

This adorable crab plate, by the way? Snagged it for just 69 cents at Goodwill! I never pay more than a buck for a piece of dinnerware, I tell you what!

 

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VeganMoFo 2012 & Cinnamon Flapjacks

Friday, September 7th, 2012

In case you haven’t heard, this year VeganMoFo is going down in October. (Yay! No Thanksgiving carcasses in my VeganMoFo blog feed! Seriously omnis wtf?) Isa & company were nice enough to call it early, which I really appreciate because PREPARATION. I already have my menus planned out, and I’m EVEN DOING A THEME! You can tell from the all-caps that I’m entirely too excited about this. Also, I love to eat; eating is my favorite.

As for the theme, I’m pairing up meals and desserts with music. What it lacks in originality, it more than makes up for in sex, nooch, and rock n’ roll. Fun times!

Added bonus: this year I’m using VMF as an opportunity to try out some new recipes from all the vegan cookbooks I’ve been hoarding, but rarely use. I went through about eight of the newest acquisitions and compiled a list of recipes I’d like to try; I ended up with about four times as many ideas as I needed, no surprise there. (My eyes, they’re nearly as big as my stomach.) Then I matched my top picks with some of my favorite songs, and now I have 42 different foods to make in just 31 days! (Some of the recipes are legit meals, with sides and everything. Look at me, I’m a grownup!) Can we say “frazzled”?

Anyway, in the meantime I’m trying out some of the “rejected” recipes. Like these Cinnamon Flapjacks from American Vegan Kitchen! (I was lucky enough to win a free copy from the author, Tamasin Noyes, over the summer. Shake enough giveaway trees and something’s bound to fall on your head!)

 

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Made with vanilla yogurt and sweetened with maple syrup, these pancakes are seriously delish. They’re light and fluffy, yet surprisingly…substantial. (Dog, I make the worst food critic. I don’t know how to describe all these food feelings I’m having!) Served with strawberries and blueberries because I’ve got to eat as many of these suckers as I can before they disappear forever. Okay, not forever, just until next June-ish. It just feels like next year.