Carbs & Rec: Sex Bites

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

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Quick! When I say “Parks & Rec,” which foods pop into your head?

Waffles? Check.

Eggs and bacon? You betcha.

Mac & cheese pizza? Hells yeah!

Bananas? Say what now!?!

Believe it or not, the unassuming banana has a long and storied history on Parks & Rec. From that one time Leslie demonstrated safe sex practices for Pawnee’s seniors with the assistance of a ginormous yellow banana,

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to Ron Swanson’s somewhat epic aversion to this healthy fruit,

bananas have made multiple appearances on Parks and Recreation.

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Waffle Wednesday: Banana Split Waffle Sundaes!

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

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Leslie Knope likes her waffles like she likes her Ben*: served in a short stack and smothered in whipped cream.

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For this year’s MoFo, I really wanted to recreate the gorgeous tower of whipped cream that always seems to find its way onto Leslie’s waffles. Unfortunately, none of the alternative food stores in my area carry the cans of SoyaToo whipped topping that would help me pull it off. (Or any vegan whipped cream, for that matter. Boo!) Instead I opted for the next best thing – making my own using coconut cream.

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Carbs & Rec: Better-than-Chicky Catch

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

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“Fried chicken is fri-fri chicky-chick. Chicken parm is chicky chicky parm parm. Chicken cacciatore? Chicky catch. I call eggs pre-birds, or future birds.”
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Tom Haverford’s ability to play fast and loose with the English language is legendary. I can only wonder whether Tom knew, way back in season three, that his Haverfoods would one day become a reality with the opening of Tom’s Bistro. Or Tom’s Bi, as the unfinished signage read on opening night.

Since Tom’s Bistro is an upscale Italian joint, you best bet that his Chicky Catch is on the menu. Here I’ve veganized the dish, with a little help from ethnic vegan and gardein meatless chicken strips.

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Mac & Cheese Monday: Five-Cheese Baked Pete-aroni and Cheese

Monday, September 8th, 2014

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This is a VeganMoFo special straight from the kitchen of Pete Oglini (of Pete’s Petezaria fame!), Pawnee’s own 3-star, Yelp-rated chef. The very best in “ethnic dining,” at least according to Leslie Knope’s definite guide, Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America.

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Because the residents of Pawnee love their cheese, this epic mac & cheese dish contains (count ’em!) one-two-three-four-five (five!) kinds of cheese:

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Carbs & Rec: Epic Breakfast Bowl

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

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When it comes to Ron Swanson, there’s only one way to do breakfast: epically. Preferably with ALL THE BACON AND EGGS you have. (Don’t worry, WE ARE SO DOING THIS! Just not today.)

Waffle Wednesdays may be dedicated to Leslie Knope and her BFF J.J. (don’t cry, Ann; waffles may own Leslie’s stomach, but you will always have her ovaries!), but Sundays are all about Ron and his undying love of meaty, cheesy, eggy breakfast foods. Just don’t call it brunch, else he might pop you one in your smart, fancy, foreign mouth.

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In this vein, this morning I present to you the Hearty Breakfast Bowl from Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food – with a few extras, that is. What’s in the ginormous cast iron skillet (Ron Swanson speak for “bowl), you ask?

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Carbs & Rec: Insanely Good Messy Brownie Bites

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

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I would like to be president someday, so no, I’ve not smoked marijuana. I ate a brownie once at a party in college. It was intense. It was kind of indescribable, actually. I felt like I was floating. Turns out there wasn’t any pot in the brownie.
It was just an insanely good brownie.
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I won’t lie: for a second or two (or sixty), I was super-tempted to recycle my not-pot brownies (of VeganMoFo 2012 fame) for this post. I mean, they’re kind of perfect, right? The thyme looks like marijuana, but it totally isn’t! But because I’m not a cheater and (perhaps more to the point) those brownies didn’t photograph particularly well, I decided to make an all-new recipe instead.

I kind of wish I’d went with option A, y’all.

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In theory, the Mini-Rocky Road Brownie Bites from Betty Goes Vegan sound epically awesome: individual, mini-cupcake-shaped brownie bites stuffed with mini Dandies marshmallows, chocolate chips, and roasted peanuts, each with its own crispy round edges and delightful muffin tops.

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Artfully arranged with the least scrappy of the bunch on top.
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In practice? They made me cry. And not in a good way.

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Carbs & Rec: J.J.’s French Toast Dipsticks

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Hay rides. Dunking booths. Corn mazes and concerts under the starlight. Giant pumpkins and even gianter pumpkin pies. The scent of fried foods wafting through the air, mingling with animal poop, and clinging to your hair, your skin, and your clothing…long after the fourth wash. Ahhhh. The Pawnee Harvest Festival. That’s the stuff.

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(Just be glad that computer monitors don’t come with scratch & sniff capabilities. NOT YET.)

Staples of the Pawenee foodie community Sweetums and J.J.’s Diner each have booths at the festival, along with with (much-loathed) Sue’s Salads, (somewhat obscure) Happy Harriet’s House of Heaven, and one-two-twelve different sandwich shops. But wait! There’s more!

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As if J.J.’s breakfast foods aren’t enough to satisfy your yearly quota of saturated fats, there’s a whole boulevard which consists of nothing but deep fried foods. It’s called – wait for it! – Deep Fried Boulevard: “Eight full blocks of Howell Drive (from Racine to Tellenson St.) will feature nothing but fried foods! Fried dough, fried meats and cheeses, fried sandwiches, fried fruit, fried foods that have themselves been fried again – if you want to eat it, we’ll fry it!”

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Though the show itself is light on the details, I like to think that J.J.’s maintains a second booth on Deep Fried Boulevard, where it sells these deep fried French Toast Dipsticks…among other things. (Deep-fried vegan mac & cheese, can I get a holla?!?)

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Carbs & Rec: Happy Cauliflower Day! (Belated, but still.)

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

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Technically Cauliflower Day was yesterday, but I would have had to preempt the very first Waffle Wednesday in order to make it work, and that simply would not do! As much as I love cauliflower, sweet breakfast food trumps it every. single. time.

Also a technicality: Cauliflower Day celebrates the first AND LAST time that Leslie and Ben ate cauliflower together. Leslie did not care for it. So really, this dish should feature broccoli, pizza, ice cream, or some other food that isn’t cauliflower.

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But wait! Stay with me here.

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Waffle Wednesday: Chocolate Beer Waffles with a Sweet Cashew Cream & Chocolate Drizzle

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

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“We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, and work. Or waffles, friends, work. But work has to come in third.”
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It’s no secret that Our Lady of Breakfast Food Leslie Knope has an especially ooey, gooey spot for waffles. And why not? Crispy on the outside, soft and pillowy on the inside, waffles kinda sorta rock.

Consider the evidence:

– They’re a breakfast food – and why would anyone ever want to eat anything other than a breakfast food? (Idiots.)

– Roll them up, stuff them with your favorite tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, and hash browns, and voila! Breakfast tacos!

– The teeny weeny squares make the perfect tiny traps for your syrup, margarine, whipped cream, and/or icing. Take that, pancakes!

– Who needs bread when you’ve got waffles? Open-faced Tofurky and gravy sammie, anyone?

– Breakfast food for dinner is objectively the best.

– After you’ve finished your waffle dinner, chase it with a waffle sundae. Vanilla ice cream, coconut whipped cream, dried cherries, chopped walnuts, sliced bananas, maybe an insanely good brownie or two – go crazy. Knope you can!

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In honor of the lady who puts the “carbs” in Carbs & Rec, I’m dedicating each and every Wednesday to waffles. Maybe with a bonus day thrown in here and there because WAFFLES! Seriously, I found so many amazing waffle recipes that it was hard to whittle it down to just four. Plus Shane is on waffle duty, so a dinner of waffles means a night off for me. Score!

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Carbs & Rec: Jailbird Scones

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Let’s take a moment to celebrate one of the most epic friendships in sitcom history: Ann Perkins and Leslie Knope.

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Carbs & Rec: Cold Puppies

Monday, September 1st, 2014

“Zerts are what I call desserts. Tray-trays are entrées. I call sandwiches ‘sammies,’ ‘sandoozles,’ or ‘Adam Sandlers.’ Air conditioners are ‘cool blasterz.’ I call cakes ‘big ol’ cookies.’ I call noodles ‘long-ass rice.’ Fried chicken is ‘fry-fry chicky-chick.’ Chicken parm is ‘chicky-chicky-parm-parm.’ Chicken cacciatore? ‘Chicky-cach.’ I call eggs ‘pre-birds,’ or ‘future birds.’ Root beer is ‘super water.’ Tortillas are ‘bean blankets.’ And I call forks ‘food rakes.’” – Episode 3.10, “Soulmates”
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Old-ass grapes. Bear Drool. Brit Bagels.* If you can stuff it in your face, odds are that Tom Haverford has a Tom Haverfood-ism for it. In fact, Tom’s fly food wordplay is such a hit with fans that it’s spawned a website (tomhaverfoods.com), a tumblr (tomhaverfoods.tumblr.com), and a twitter account (@TomHaverfoods), all of which proved instrumental to me meeting my 30-post quota for the month. Chances are, if it’s not a breakfast food, then it’s probably a Tom Haverfood.

To kick of VeganMoFo 2014 – and the week! – I come bearing Chili Dogs. Or Cold Puppies, as Tom would say.

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The chili recipe is an old one from Vegan Dad, which I’ve been meaning to try for forever. You guys, I don’t think I’ve ever had a chili dog before! Sad but true, and as of today, rectified. So the chili is a pretty delicious mix of chocolate, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cumin, and vegan Worcestershire sauce, for a smoky and savory flavor. I also like that it uses TVP instead of beans, because the latter upsets my tummy. (Stomach: Calorie Cannibalizer.)

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Carbs & Recreation: Veganizing Pawnee, one plate at a time!

Monday, September 1st, 2014

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This year’s VeganMoFo theme was kind of a no-brainer. With the upcoming season of Parks and Recreation slated to be the last, this is the perfect time to celebrate one of my favorite shows in menu form. Plus, THE FOOD!

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From Leslie Knope’s well-documented waffle obsession to Ron Swanson’s meaty masculine manly man-meals; to Ben’s disastrous attempts to sell his adopted town on the merits of calzones, and Leslie’s efforts to distract him from the pig in their living room with the promise of pancakes, food is arguably a minor character in Parks & Rec. Along with Donna Meagle (everyone’s favorite office manager), I hope J.J.’s Diner gets a spinoff. On the food channel. With music by Andy. (Someone please make this happen!)

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