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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Pizza Pizza Pizza!

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

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2014-03-23 - Pizza (including Mayim's Crust) - 0009 [flickr]

Last Sunday was pizza night, and we took the opportunity to try out another recipe from Mayim’s Vegan Table – namely, the pizza crust. It’s almost identical to our go-to recipe, minus the sugar (there isn’t any). Consequently, the dough doesn’t rise quite as much, resulting in a thinner, denser crust. Shane was happy to report that it’s still plenty pliable.

Onto Miam’s pizza (top and bottom right) went mushrooms, red peppers, onions, and the pepperoni crumbles from Julie Hasson’s Vegan Pizza. (The extras made some pretty kickass burritos. Just saute with zucchini, red peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and a touch of salt and pepper and serve warm. So good I could cry. BECAUSE I’M OUT.) The other pizza (bottom left) has zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Of course there’s mozzarella Daiya on each. (OF COURSE.)

Neither of the pizzas cooked to the center, though. Possibly this is because of all the juicy toppings, but who knows? Our crust cooked through when reheated in the oven, but Mayim’s remained a little chewy on the inside. Definitely gonna try it again to see if we get different results.

Tasty either way.

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!

The Great CriFSMas Food (and More) Roundup, 2013 edition!

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

It felt like I did a ridiculous amount of baking this Christmas – so, when I went and looked back at last year’s roundup, I nearly fainted in disbelief. (Full disclosure: there may have also been a food coma involved, due to the copious amounts of sugar I’ve been ingesting.) Did I seriously make a dozen plus batches of cookies last year? Little old me?

Fun story: after feeling super-smug and self-satisfied over my achievement of baking FIVE WHOLE BATCHES of cookies in one day, I headed on over to tumblr – where some lady posted about the 40 donuts and multiple trays of cookies she baked in one afternoon. Whoops! There goes my self-confidence!

So anyway, here’s the Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2013 edition! But with bonus x-mas presents and vegan pop culture observations.

First up: the noms. As per usual, let’s start with dessert, shall we? All the cookies are from Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, a review of which I’ll probably have for y’all soon. Unless. Maybe I need to try out a few more recipes? You know, for the love of science and books and all that is holy and sugar-dusted.

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Glazed Rum Raisin Cookies – With their copious amounts of liquor and strong rummy taste, these cookies aren’t for kids. Very tasty and easy to bake, though I opted to make my glaze into more of an icing, so as not to risk the cookies sticking to one another during storage. If you go this route, start out with less rum. I ended up with way more icing than I could use. Or drink! (Yes, I actually tried that.)

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Chewy Caramel Pecan Cookies – SO GOOD! Caramel and pecans, what’s not to love? Well, the cookies’ inherent stickiness, for starters: I had to refrigerate the sheet of cookies for about ten minutes before I was able to peel them from the parchment paper without tearing the cookies to shreds. I wonder if my batter was too wet; the caramel pecan mix didn’t get especially thick, which resulted in a very sticky cookie dough. Further experimentation may be required.

Also, pro tip: these cookies have mad spread, so space them far, far apart. As in four cookies to a medium-sized tray. No kidding!

(More below the fold…)

Minsky’s Pizza in Liberty, Missouri has Daiya cheese!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

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I don’t think this is breaking news but, seeing as I haven’t visited Minsky’s since I lived in Kansas (so, like, five years plus), it’s news to me.

This weekend was the last one of the season for the drive-in we usually frequent (which is incidentally also the last of the four drive-ins around us still open at this late date) – so to celebrate, we picked up a pizza from Minksy’s in Liberty, which is (kinda sorta) on the way there. Actually it’s twenty minutes out, so we had to wrap the pizza in several layers of blankets to keep it warm – but it worked well enough, and we needed those extra comforters to stay warm anyway.

We were happy to see that Minky’s started offering Daiya cheese since we’d been there last and, better yet, at no extra cost. Yay! We were tempted by some of the gourmet pie combos (especially the Nature’s Choice, with artichokes, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and slivered almonds), but decided to go with roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and black olives. Minsky’s was super-generous with the toppings (Daiya like whoah!), and carefully layered the red peppers under the cheese so they wouldn’t dry out. And at $23 it wasn’t that much more expensive than a cheeseless piece of cardboard from Pizza Hut. (The local Pizza Hut? Way stingy with the toppings. Sauce included!)

I only wish there was a location closer to our place. Actually, scratch that. Then I’d be eating at Minsky’s on the daily, spending all my book money on pizza. Probably it’s safer this way, loving them from a distance.

Top to bottom: the leftovers the night of, since we obviously couldn’t grab a decent pic at the drive-in; Rennie, ogling my noms (she nearly snatched the first piece right out of my hand during Thor); reheated leftovers the next day, along with a copy of Appetite for Reduction, which I snagged at the latest library sale for a mere buck. AND it’s in pretty excellent shape for a library discard!

Virtual Vegan Potluck: Pretty in Pink Double Cheese Pizza

Friday, November 15th, 2013

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When I signed up for this month’s installment of the Virtual Vegan Potluck, I checked off the box for “beets please!” without giving it much thought. And then I promptly began to panic: I’ve never cooked with beets before. Never even eaten a beet, in fact! (Well, I’m at least 99% sure, so don’t quote me on that.) Next thing you know, my mind turned – as it always, inevitably does – to pizza.

As it turns out, pizzas are beet-friendly in a multitude of ways. You can blend ‘em up and put ‘em in the dough to turn the crust neon pink. (Bitchin’!) Or perhaps you’d rather cut your beets into fun shapes and arrange them playfully atop a pizza pie. (Crafty!) Mash them up and turn them into a hummus or a pesto and for a tasty and colorful base. (Neat-o!)

 

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Me, I decided to convert one of my favorite homemade cheese recipes into a delicious hot pink mess. Enter the Cheddary Cashew Cheese from Julie Hasson’s Vegan Pizza, which I adapted special for this potluck. Since beets don’t have much of a taste, this sauce may look sweet, but it’s 100% savory, with cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion, and paprika colliding into a plate of gooey goodness. As for the toppings, I decided to keep it simple, since I didn’t want any olives or mushrooms distracting from the pretty pink beet hearts. Just beeting hearts and Daiya cheese, please.

Shane wanted to call this a Bleeding Heart Pizza – and perhaps that would have been a more appropriate title, seeing as how the beets bled all over their pillows of mozzarella Daiya cheese, staining them a glorious shade of pink.

Ah well. Whatever you call it, you’ll be begging for seconds!

 

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(More below the fold…)

Mac-and-Cheese Monday: Twice-Baked Creamy Mac & Cheese with Sausage

Monday, September 30th, 2013

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Well, this is it. We’ve reached the end of Vegan MoFo VII, my friends. It’s been fun, it’s been hectic, it’s been waistline-expanding. And I can’t wait to do it all again in August! (I’m already brainstorming next year’s theme. True story!) Luckily, September 30th just so happens to fall on a Monday – and what better note to end on than one final Mac & Cheese Monday?

This recipe’s courtesy of Shane, who wanted to veganize a macaroni and cheese recipe from his childhood. What he came up with is a kind of mashup of our favorite stovetop recipe, various oven-baked dishes, and a few of our go-to alfredo sauces. The result is a rich and creamy, twice-baked dish with two cheeses (cheddar AND mozzarella; three if you sprinkle a little vegan parm on top!), pan-fried sausage, and a generous helping of breadcrumbs to garnish.

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We used Tofurky brand sundried-tomato sausage, which are mildly spicy. I would’ve liked to have played up the sun-dried tomato angle – may be with the addition of some dry (not oil-packed) sun-dried tomatoes, tomato flakes, or even fresh cherry tomatoes – but Shane decided to take it in another direction. Ah well. Next time maybe?

The sauce also contains cashews and nutritional yeast (and no margarine!), making it slightly healthier than our Creamy Mac & Cheese. Which, if you couldn’t tell by now, if the bar by which we judge all other macaroni and cheese recipes!

Shane’s newest concoction measures up rather well: it’s flavorful, rich, and creamy – and the breadcrumbs give it a nice crunch. Baked mac & cheese dishes can sometimes be a little dry, but this one’s almost (so close!) as moist and saucy as the stovetop version. Definitely one of my favorite experiments.

Mac-and-Cheese Monday - Twice-Baked Creamy Mac & Cheese with Sausage (0019)

Twice-Baked Creamy Mac & Cheese with Sausage

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 vegan sausage links (we went with Tofurky, but you can use your own favorite)
16 ounces (4 cups) elbow macaroni (or similarly sized pasta)
3 cups soy milk
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons corn starch
12 ounces vegan mozzarella shreds (we used Daiya)
8 ounces vegan cheddar shreds (we used Follow Your Heart)
enough breadcrumbs to cover a 9×13 pan
vegan parmesan to garnish (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium. Slice the sausage links into bite-sized pieces and add them to the pan; fry until golden brown. Set aside.

3. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain, rinse, and set aside.

4. In a blender, mix the soy milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, soy sauce, and corn starch until well blended. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat om medium-high until it starts bubbling. Add the cheese shreds and stir until the cheese is mostly melted and blended. A few lumps are fine.

5. Mix the macaroni, sausage, and cheese sauce in a pot until the sausage and macaroni is well coated. Put the mixture into 9×13 pan and cover with a thin coating of bread crumbs and optional parmesan.

6. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. If the breadcrumbs are slow to brown, you can set the oven to broil for the last minute or two – but keep a close eye on the breadcrumbs, as they can burn quickly!

7. Serve warm and gooey!

And lick the plate clean in Kaylee’s memory, okay?

Mac-and-Cheese Monday - Twice-Baked Creamy Mac & Cheese with Sausage (0007)

 
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FIN.

Mac-and-Cheese Monday, I’ll miss you most of all.

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0008)

WOW. Like I’ve seriously been sitting here at my keyboard for five minutes, trying to think of something, anything, to say about this Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie from Betty Goes Vegan, and this is all I can come up with. Just, wow.

I mean, talk about yer vegan comfort foods. This is basically just a giant plate of junk food. And I mean that in the best way possible!

The “crust” is a blend of vegan ground beef (Lightlife, in my case), bread crumbs, A1 steak sauce (A rather common ingredient in Betty Goes Vegan! I bought a bottle just for this cookbook!), red onions, and some other goodies.

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0001)

Press it into a pie plate, bake until golden brown (the directions say five minutes, but I easily tripled that), and then add the potato “filling.”

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0002)

Baked potatoes, mashed into creamy goodness (skins and all!), and seasoned with garlic, nutritional yeast, and veggie broth, then mixed with bacon bits and cheddar cheese.

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0006)

Top with more cheddar, bake until gooey, and dinner is served!

Garnish with tomatoes, pickles, french friend onions, or legit onion rings. (That last is my idea. I tried it with the leftovers and it was hnnng!)

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0021)

Totally worth the twenty dishes it generated. Okay, I’m exaggerating. We’ll call it a baker’s dozen.

And now for the obligatory Dean Winchester gif. BECAUSE PIE!

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Updated to add: Vegan MoFo central is giving away a copy of Betty Goes Vegan to five lucky readers as we speak! Talk about serendipity. Go enter here.

 
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S is for Skillet-Style Lasagna

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

S is for Skillet-Style Lasagna [Betty Goes Vegan] (0006)

In the middle of making this dish – lasagna noodles sticking to the bottom of the pan, tomato sauce splattering every oven-adjacent surface – I thought to myself: “I’ve made a huge mistake.” But when the first bite passed my lips – tender noodles, rich sauce, melty cheese – it pretty much made the whole hour-long affair worthwhile. Worth repeating, actually. This is some forking good pasta, people.

In theory, the Skillet-Style Lasagna from Betty Goes Vegan is supposed to be a rather no-fuss, no-muss, one-dish meal. And while it’s true that it only requires one dish – a skillet, and the bigger, the better! – it’s a lot fussier than the directions let on. I suppose this could be due to my choice of pasta noodles: the recipe calls for mafalda noodles – a sort of mini-lasagna – which I was unable to find anywhere. (And believe you me, I looked!) I briefly considered using elbows or rigatoni, but that felt too much like cheating, so I opted for regular lasagna noodles broken into smaller pieces instead. Some of the mafalda I found online resembles lasagna sliced horizontally – long, thin, ribbon-like strips – while other versions look like shrunken lasagna noodles. At first I tried replicating the thin, frilly noodles, but by the end I was in such a rush that I snapped the lasagna into thirds, resulting in square-ish pieces.

So basically you fry the onions, garlic, and soy meat in a large skillet, and then throw in the pasta sauce, spices, and (uncooked) noodles, along with a little extra water for cooking. The noodles cook on the stovetop, along with the sauce, supposedly in ten to twelve minutes or so. Perhaps the lasagna is thicker than malfada, but I stood over that hot stovetop for at least a half hour before the lasagna was al dente. And it’s not the sort of job you can leave unsupervised, either; more than a few minutes without stirring, and the noodles clung to the bottom of the pan. Dislodging them proved no small task, either – the skillet was so full that more than the gentlest of nudging sent pasta sauce flying over the rim and onto the backsplash. (Exhibit A: My filthy mess of a skillet.)

S is for Skillet-Style Lasagna [Betty Goes Vegan] (0002)

When done, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese (Daiya) and bake at 350F for five minutes or until the cheese is melted. I kept in in an extra five, just to make sure all the noodles were baked through. When all was said and done, a half hour meal took me at least an hour to make.

THAT SAID. This is some ridiculously good pasta. Next time I’ll probably try it with a smaller, thinner pasta – something that cooks in less time and isn’t too terribly difficult to stir. That should speed things along. Also, the soy meat is optional, imho. It makes a nice, meaty sauce, but you could just as easily swap it out for veggies or whatnot. I like veggies, veggies are good.

On the side is a slightly different version of the Green Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic from Donna Klein’s Vegan Italiano. Instead of canned tomatoes and fresh green beans, I used what I had on hand, namely fresh tomatoes and canned green beans. It’s not quite as phenomenal as the original, but it’s pretty damn close. Good enough for me, seeing as my fridge is stuffed with fresh grape and cherry tomatoes from the garden.

I could seriously eat this meal all day.

S is for Skillet-Style Lasagna [Betty Goes Vegan] (0011)

 
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Q is for Quiche (with a Hash Brown Crust!)

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Q is for Quiche (with a Hash Brown Crust!) (0002-18)

Originally I’d planned on making a quiche from either Vegan Brunch (Classic Broccoli!) or Betty Goes Vegan (Quiche Lorraine!) to represent the letter Q – and then Shane brought home a ginormous, 3-pound bag of hash browns. (I needed one whole cup for another recipe. Yeah.) With freezer space at a premium, I got the idea of making a quiche with a hash brown crust. So I hit the internet and, lo and behold: it’s been done before. Yay!

This recipe is a mashup of the hash brown quiche recipes found online and a Spinach Mushroom Quiche I made for VeganMoFo last year. Because I have a slightly oversized pie plate – 10″ versus the standard 9″ – I increased the amount of hash browns used from three to four cups, and added an extra teaspoon each of margarine and olive oil. If you have a smaller pie plate, just use three cups hash browns and two tablespoons each of margarine and olive oil. The salt is optional, but tasty. I like my potatoes with a little sodium, you know?

For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’ll ever make a quiche with a traditional crust again. The hash browns are the perfect complement to the quiche’s egg-like filling. It’s basically the fanciest means of eating breakfast foods for dinner. Universally recognized as a mature and responsible adult, yo.

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Hash Brown Quiche

4 cups hash browns
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon margarine
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, roasted and diced
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed, diced, and pressed to remove excess moisture
1 pound firm tofu
1/2 cup plain nondairy milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional; I used cheddar Daiya)
1-2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
vegan parmesan cheese to taste (optional; see recipe here)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 450F.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the hash browns, margarine, olive oil, and salt; mix well. Grease a 10″ pie plate. Transfer the potato mix into the pie plate and press down firmly, on the bottom and sides, until you have an even “crust.” Bake at 450F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes start to turn golden.

(Pro tip: if the top of the crust isn’t browning fast enough, set the oven to broil and leave it in for an extra minute or two. Be careful not to burn the sides, though! But if you do, just cover them up with the quiche filling; no one needs to know!)

3. As the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onions until soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook on medium heat until the mushrooms are browned to your liking. Stir frequently. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

4. In a food processor, combine the tofu, nondairy milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, chives, garlic powder, and salt. Process until smooth. Sample the batter and add any extra seasonings to taste.

5. In a large bowl, fold together tofu, mushrooms, spinach, red peppers, and cheese (optional). Pour the mixture into the pie crust; top with the tomato slices and a bit of vegan parmesan cheese if desired.

6. Bake at 375F for about 45 minutes, or until the quiche is firm and lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

 
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I is for Inner Beauty Patty Melt

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

I is for Inner Beauty Patty Melt [Betty Goes Vegan] (0004)

Initially I’d planned on making the Irish Stew from The 30-Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe to stand in for the letter I…and then I realized that I had way too many soups and stews on tap, and this was the first to go. Not because it doesn’t sound delicious – it does! – but rather its replacement looks even better. Enter: the Inner Beauty Patty Melt from Betty Goes Vegan.

(Actually it was a bit of a toss-up between this and the Inside-Out Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger – so much junk food, so little give in my pants! – but the patty melt won out since rye bread proved easier to find than vegan whole wheat burger buns. Sorry, bacon cheeseburger. Them’s the breaks.)

So I’d never had a patty melt before, and now I’m afraid I might be addicted. Shane actually made these for dinner – after a day spent outside in 90 degree weather, I was much too tired – and I shouldn’t speak for him, but the recipe looks hella easy. Just mix your vegan ground beef (in our case, Lightlife) with some seasonings, shape into patties (special made to fit the bread perfectly!), and fry along with red onions (which smell heavenly, btw) until lightly browned. Then you stack them into sammies with the rye bread and vegan cheese (Daiya!) and bake at 350F until warm and gooey. After baking, the bread was a little on the dry side, so next time I might add a dab of margarine to each slice, but otherwise? Freaking amazing.

The name of the dish, by the by, comes from the fact that it’s not super-photogenic: “this sandwich may not have all the snazzy colors of a good old-school salad, but it has good personality, and that’s what counts!” I don’t know, I think it’s pretty smokin’. But then I like my food a little sloppy.

Served with a handful of my all-time favorite salt and vinegar chips, because what’s comfort food without a side of comfort food?

 

I is for Inner Beauty Patty Melt [Betty Goes Vegan] (0005)

 
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Bonus Vegan MoFo: Mac-and-Cheese Monday!

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Bonus Vegan MoFo - Mac & Cheese Monday (0001)

I hadn’t planned on finessing vegan mac & cheese into my alphabet theme – but when I saw that Mac-and-Cheese Monday had become an “official” theme, I just couldn’t resist! And, let’s be honest, it’s not like I need an excuse to enjoy macaroni and cheese, mkay.

This is a little different from our traditional (dare I say infamous?) recipe, with its mix of Follow Your Heart and Daiya cheeses. Shane was in the mood to experiment, so for today’s recipe he diluted a Daiya cheddar cheese sauce with vegan broth and added nutritional yeast for an extra cheesy flavor. He used the Cheezy Sauce in Veganomicon as a jumping off point – the result is kind of a mash-up of the two recipes.

It’s not quite as tasty as my old favorite, but it’s pretty close. And healthier, too: Shane calls this one Creamy Mac & Cheese Lite.

 

Creamy Mac & Cheese Lite

(Cheese sauce is modified from the “Cheezy Sauce” in Veganomicon, page 214.)

2 cups vegan vegetable or chicken broth
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon mustard
8 oz (1 bag) Daiya cheddar cheese shreds
13 oz soy milk
4 oz margarine

4 cups pasta of choice (small elbows and shells work well)
3 cups water

1. Heat the vegan broth in a small saucepan, bringing it to almost boiling. Add the flour, and whisk until completely mixed.

2. In another saucepan, cook the garlic and oil for a few minutes, until the garlic is lightly browned. Mix in the broth and stir together. Add the nutritional yeast, whisking the mixture together until smooth. Heat on medium until mixture begins to bubble and thicken.

3. Stir in the mustard, lemon juice, and turmeric until completely mixed. Stir in the soy milk and margarine until mixed. Add the cheese shreds, and stir until the cheese is melted into the rest of the mix. Once fully mixed, put on simmer, stirring occasionally.

4. In a deep skillet or wide, shallow sauce pan, cook the pasta according to the directions provided on the package in three cups water. Stop when about 90% done and drain, leaving a little hot water with the pasta. (This will mostly cook down as you continue to heat the pasta.)

5. Mix the cheese sauce into the pasta, stirring well. On medium low heat, let the pasta continue to cook, until it reaches the desired consistency. Stir constantly during this last step so that none of the pasta or cheese sticks to the pan. Serve warm topped with hot sauce, vegan bacon bits, or more macaroni and cheese!

 

Bonus Vegan MoFo - Mac & Cheese Monday (0007)

 
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C is for Cheesy Fries

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

C is for Cheesy Fries (0002)

Vegan comfort food at its trashiest! This is a really simple, super-delicious dish that Shane I binged on entirely too often in May. (Not to be a killjoy, but this happened.) Basically it’s just frozen fries baked in the oven (deep frying would be too much, even for me!) and smothered in a mozzarella Daiya cheese sauce. I don’t know why, but I vastly prefer mozzarella to cheddar for french fry asphyxiation purposes. If you’d rather swap it out for cheddar (or pepperjack, or whatever floats your boat), that’s cool. I won’t judge.

The cheese sauce recipe makes enough cheese to cover two heaping plates of fries. If you have some extras, better still. It’s easily reheated in the microwave and takes great on nachos, pasta, hash browns – or more french fries. Assuming you’re not still hung over from the first batch.

 

Cheesy Fries

Ingredients

Frozen french fries (enough to fill a baking sheet measuring 10″x15″)
8 ounces (1 bag) mozzarella Daiya cheese shreds
13 oz soy milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
4 oz margarine

Directions

1. Cook the french fries according to the instructions on the package.

2. While the fries are baking, prepare the cheese sauce. In a saucepan, bring the soy milk up to a boil, stirring often and being careful not to scorch the soy milk on the bottom. Once at a boil mix in the margarine, 1 tablespoon at a time. When the margarine is mixed in well, stir in the nutritional yeast until totally blended. Then mix in the cheese shreds, keeping the heat on high. Once the cheese is blended enough for taste, bring the heat down to simmer, stirring occasionally to keep it smooth and creamy. Serve hot on fries (or nachos, pasta, sandwiches, hash browns, whatever).

 

C is for Cheesy Fries (0004)

 
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Product Review: Daiya Dairy Free Pizzas

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

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The Fire-Roasted Vegetable pizza before.
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While Shane was visiting Austin (He got to meet Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes! But he brought me vegan donuts so it’s all good!), I liberated our freezer of the last of our vegan pizzas: namely, the Daiya brand dairy free pizzas, in Fire-Roasted Vegetable and Mushroom & Roasted Garlic flavors. (They also make Margherita and Cheeze Lover’s varieties, but sadly I have not been able to find them in stores.)

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The Fire-Roasted Vegetable pizza after.
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So this proved to be a pretty interesting experiment. The Fire-Roasted Vegetable Pizza was fucking amazing. The crust – which only after the fact did I realize is gluten-free and made of brown rice flour – was paper-thin, with crispy edges and an inside that’s just soft and floppy enough. The crust is awesome, period; doubly so for a gluten-free version.

While I thought the toppings could’ve used a better mix – they include red onion, green and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic – there’s a decent amount of ‘em. Also, just about the perfect amount of cheese: not too little, not too much. I was super-impressed.

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The Mushroom & Roasted Garlic pizza before.
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Two nights later, I tried the Mushroom & Roasted Garlic pizza. What a disaster. Though I didn’t bake it any differently, the outer crust came out dry and hard. On the other hand, the inner crust wasn’t just floppy (like a good NYC thin crust pizza), but falling apart; the pizza completely bottomed out, the inner portion tearing away from the outer ring. The cheese, while bubbly in the oven, cooled off and firmed up within minutes of reaching my place.

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The Mushroom & Roasted Garlic pizza after.
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I’m pretty sure I ended up with the case reject. The crust was kind of funky even before I unwrapped the pizza; I could clearly see two cracks at about 6 and 9 o’clock. Plus the thing was covered in frost – a lot more than on the previous pizza. And it’s not like I’ve been hoarding them; I bought them each at the same time, about a month and a half ago.

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Note the tears in the lower-left and lower-middle portions of the pie.
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So it’s kind of weird. I don’t know how to rate them, whether I should chalk the dud up to bad luck, what have you. My instinct says that these pizzas rock, and I should give them two thumbs up. Or 5/5, on my own rating scale.

I feel like further experimentation is necessary. Thoughts?

fwiw, as per usual, one pizza = one meal, even though the packaging claims otherwise (in this case, one pizza supposedly serves three. LOL!).

Oh, and hey: I resisted the urge to add extra toppings on both pizzas. Yay me!

Product Review: American Flatbread Vegan Harvest Pizza

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

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I’ve been dying to try American Flatbread’s vegan pizza ever since it started popping up on tumblr – but it wasn’t until Shane and I traveled south of the city for a library book sale that we found a natural foods store which carried it. (In our case, Whole Foods.) Man oh man, was it worth the wait! Hell, it just might be worth the drive – a bold statement when you consider that it’s an hour, one way.

The highlight of the pizza is definitely the crust. The company bills it as a handmade, artisan flatbread baked in “earthen ovens formed with clay.” All I know is that it’s delicious. And they aren’t skimpy on the cheese, either – in this case, Daiya.

I made the mistake of adding extra mozzarella Daiya to my pizza (I never thought I’d use the words “mistake” and “Daiya” in the same sentence!), along with grape tomatoes and Kalamata olives;

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as it turns out, more Daiya? Totally unnecessary. American Flatbread is more than generous with the cheese.

Well done, American Flatbread. Slow clapping, I’m doing it.

So here’s the breakdown:

(More below the fold…)

Vegan Pizza Daaaaay!

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

To start we made calzones filled with mozzarella Daiya, broccoli, cauliflower, black olives, grape tomatoes (sadly not home-grown – not yet!), and roasted peppers (red and yellow). You can tell that we’re amateurs when it comes to calzones – both of ‘em leaked a little. Oh well, practice makes perfect – so we’d better keep eating! (Like I need an excuse, pfffft.)

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We had some dough left over, so we washed it down with a Kalamata olive crust pizza. Soooo stuffed.

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Gonna go watch a movie and pass out now mkay.

(Oh and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! I only have like a dozen entries so far, so your odds are spectacular!)

French bread pizza!

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

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There was a huge air bubble in the middle of the loaf, which ended up being a pretty convenient receptacle for extra Daiya cheese. Vegan ingenuity, yay!

Mom’s Morning Casserole

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

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Another breakfast dish from Vegan Brunch – but you probably caught that from the picture. Though I doubt I’d ever be awake and aware enough to assemble this for breakfast, it does make for a mighty filling dinner. What we have here are three layers of goodness: sliced potatoes, a tofu scramble, and seasoned tempeh mixed with red peppers. Or in my case, green peppers and Lightlife ground sausage. It’s a good enough substitute for tempeh in a pinch, though its sticky texture does make it a little difficult to work with.

Believe it or not, I actually used less cheese (Daiya!) than directed: a little more than half a bag, versus the required 1/2 pound. A half a pound! And I thought I had a Daiya cheese problem.

Greek-Style Pizza with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and a Lemon Garlic Crust

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Come on, admit it. When I said that I was super-into Greek flavors lately, you knew it was a matter of time before I threw them all together in a pizza.

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Roasted red pepper sauce, roasted red peppers, black and Kalamata olives, sundried and fresh tomatoes, mozzarella Daiya cheese, and a bit of parsley, all on a lemon garlic crust. So, so good, and a nice departure from my (even junkier) french fry and tater tot pizzas. To make this beast a bit healthier, add some spinach or homemade (tofu) feta cheese.

As per usual, you can find the recipes over on the PPP blog.

Creamy Tahini Broccoli and Pasta Bake

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

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This one’s quite similar to the Baked Macaroni with a Twist, also from The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook. Both dishes feature pasta smothered in a creamy silken tofu sauce, with a super-delish topping made of mixed breadcrumbs and cheese (Daiya).

Naturally, I couldn’t help but tinker with this recipe too. As with the Baked Mac, I added about a half a cup of nutritional yeast for that extra cheesy goodness. This made an already-thick sauce (damn you tahini!) even thicker, so I threw in one half cup of water for good measure. Better, though still a little on the thick side, especially after thirty minutes in the oven. Next time around, I think I’ll make it a full cup of soy milk. But the combination of tahini with nooch? Definitely a winner.

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Whereas the Baked Macaroni has Daiya shreds both on top of and mixed in with the casserole, the Tahini Bake just plops ‘em on top. Big mistake! The shreds in the middle of the casserole stay soft and gooey, while the ones on top can sometimes dry out. Creamy Tahini Broccoli and Pasta Bake 2.0 will definitely be outfitted with some internal Daiya cheese.

Oh, and I also doubled the cheese and breadcrumbs scattered atop the casserole. And since I ended up with more sauce, I used a full pound of dry pasta instead of twelve ounces. Elbows instead of radiatore, but whatever. Pasta is pasta, yo!

You know, just in case you’d like to play along at home.

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The end.