French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

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It was pretty cold and rainy over the weekend – perfect soup weather, in other words. I wanted to try something a little different, but I’d pretty much exhausted the options in Vegan Italiano. Luckily I have about 90 other cookbooks stashed away in my pantry! A little browsing and I settled on the French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme from Veganomicon.

Sadly, I only had half the required French lentils, so I had sub in a cup of brown and red lentils. (I figured while I was mixing lentils, why not go all the way with a trifecta?) The cook times on the green and brown vs. red lentils are a bit different, but it’s hard to overcook red lentils; they just break down and give the soup a rich, thick consistency that I love. Green lentils have more of a peppery flavor, so perhaps the soup wasn’t quite as flavorful as it should have been. Even so, I think it worked well enough.

Plus I kind of skimped on the paprika; I’m hardly its #1 fan, but I think maybe this is one dish it shines in. Next time I think I might go with the full amount and see what happens. (Worst case, Shane gets the soup to himself and I make a quickie pita pizza!)

Isa and Terry promise that this is “the last lentil soup recipe you will ever need” – and, while it was pretty damn tasty, I’m still partial to the Red Lentil, Lemon, and Rosemary Soup from Cookin’ Up a Storm. There’s nothing quite like slurping warm rosemary and lemon from a mug.

Vegan Christmas Cookies Infiltrate Your Gift Basket

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

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Admittedly, our Christmas cookie game was a little on the weak side this year; all I wanted to do was binge-watch The Closer and shovel potato chips down my gullet. But we always make a gift basket for the neighbors, and Shane insisted on keeping with tradition even if it meant he made everything himself. The horror, right? So we compromised and split the work.

For a change of pace (and also because I’ve all but exhausted the holiday options in The Vegan Cookies Connoisseur), I decided to pull the recipes from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. This was my first time baking from it, and I was curious to see how Cookie Jar would stack up next to my well-worn, much-loved copy of Connoisseur. Which I honestly cannot recommend enough.

As per usual, we planned to make more than we needed – that way, if one of the recipes didn’t come out quite right, we’d still have enough cookies to fill a good-sized tin. (It’s never come to this, but it doesn’t hurt to have a Plan B.) Best-case, we’d end up with some leftovers to enjoy ourselves. (A-hah! Our true motivation.)

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No-Bake Pecan Chocolates – A cross between a cookie and a candy bar (cluster?), these no-bake pecan chocolates are super-easy to make and keep well – so basically they’re the perfect choice for a bake-a-thon such as this, since you can make them ahead or in a pinch. They’re okay-tasting; not my favorite, but not my least favorite either. (Shane liked them more than I did.) The brown rice syrup is a little overwhelming, threatening to drown out the chocolate and pecan flavors. Also they’re very sticky, though this isn’t necessary a negative; unlike the oh-so-delicate PB Crisscrosses (see below), these bad girls should hold together well during shipping.

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Peanut Butter Crisscrosses – These were by far my favorite of the bunch; so much so that I claimed all the extras for myself. (They don’t call me Cookie Monster for no reason, okay.) The instructions say to cook these directly on a greased cookie sheet – no parchment paper allowed! – which had me sweating bullets. (Barenaked cookie sheets and I have a history, and it is not pretty; more often than not, it ends in ashes and tears and broken dreams.) But it worked! Not a burnt or broken cookie in sight. In fact, these are thin and delicate and deliciously crumbly, in stark contrast to the thick and hearty peanut butter cookies I’m used to. So good, but tricky to pack (pro tip: let them chill overnight).

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Chocolaty Crinkle Cookies – I’m still on the fence with these. They’re easy enough to make, but go much faster if you have a partner – one person to scoop the dough and another to roll them in the two (two!) different piles of sugar (white and powdered). And while they’re actually kind of addictive, with a rich, fudgy center, I swear they have a slightly funny aftertaste, similar to the No-Bake Pecan Chocolates. Maybe it’s the dark corn syrup I’m tasting? idk, I’ve never worked with it before.

Thankfully, dipping them in vanilla buttercream helps. The taste, if not your general mood and energy.

Note to self: Must make these into cookie sandwiches some time.

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Irish Creme Kisses – Alcoholic cookies ftw! I love me a good frosted cookie, and Irish Creme Kisses are no exception. These cookies are a little on the stout and fat side, so I had to thicken the icing substantially to prevent massive runoff. Other than that, the recipe went off without a hitch.

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Peppermint Mocha Brownies – This is the only non-cookie dessert we made this year. It was kind of a last minute executive decision, so decreed because we had the time and also miscellaneous ribbon candy to spare. All but two squares got shipped off the the neighbors; enough for Shane and I to each get a taste. These are kind of interesting, kind of like a fudgy brownie with a crispy candy topping. Not the kind of dessert I’d have a lot, but perfect for this time of year. (Recipe via Fried Dandelions.)

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Finnick and Rennie can has kisses?
Or, How the sausage is made. (The sausage being gourmet food porn photos.)
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Making Not-tella with Hazelnut Flour and a Recipe for Vegan Nutella Swirl Ice Cream!

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

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Behold: Hazelnut flour!
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Along with a giant honking bag of red quinoa, the nice people at IFS Bulk also gave me 48 ounces of hazelnut flour to play around with! Prior to this, it didn’t even cross my mind that hazelnuts might come pre-ground, flour style, similar to almonds, cashews, and the like. But they do! And of course I used the flour to make my absolute favorite: vegan nutella!

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My precious!
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So far the only recipe that’s worked for me is the Not-tella from Veganomicon – which, you might recall, I rocked to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs a few VeganMoFos back. Anyhow, it’s the only version I’ve tried that actually results in a readily spreadable, creamy nut butter. And while it can be a little tough on ye ole food processor, it’s 1000% worth it.

Still, I wondered if maybe swapping out the whole hazelnuts for hazelnut flour might make the process a wee bit easier? After all, it’s the whole filberts that really make my food process jump and dance and just generally send me into a panicky tailspin. Once they’re processed, things go much more smoothly from there.

And you know what? Hazelnut flour FTW!

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Ooey, gooey, and spreadable at room temp.
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I made a couple of batches of Not-tella – one for ice cream, one for licking from the spoon – and each time the process was pain-free. I didn’t even have to take a break to let the motor rest. From now on it’s nutella with hazelnut flour for this girl.

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The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2014 edition!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

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You guys, I baked so many cookies this year, I’m having trouble keeping track of them all! In addition to sending a basketful to our omni neighbors, I also mailed a giant box to my parents. They’re in the midst of a remodel, and the entire first floor of their house is pretty much unusable. Luckily my mom’s sis is conveniently located next door, so they’re been crashing at her house a lot.

(Fun story: I sent all their gifts to my aunt’s house – since they’d have to lug everything over there anyway – and Every. Single. Package. was delivered to my parents’ house instead. I.E. THE WRONG HOUSE. I expected that of USPS, but UPS? COME ON GUYS.)

Still, I thought cookies would be a nice gesture, seeing as they don’t have a kitchen of their own at the moment.

Plus we got to eat the extras our own bad selves, so bonus.

As per usual, most of the cookies were from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which I pinky swear I’ll review this year. I had a few pretty epic fails, but overall I’m happy with my progress – I get better and better at cookies every year!

 

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Bacon Maple Biscuits for the dogs from Emma’s K9 Kitchen. With accidentally vegan bacon bits & lots of love! These smelled amazing when baking, but also lost their festive reddish hue. Not that the dogs much care. (The giant ones are for my mom’s big guy, Copper.)

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Carbs & Rec: I MADE CREPES!!!

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

We are getting down to the wire, Pawnee, and I am pulling out ALL THE STOPS.

(Just wait until you see what I’ve got planned for Tuesday.

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For realsies!)

Today on Carbs & Rec, I attempt to do something I never thought I would-could-should do: make crepes!

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And – spoiler alert – it was not a total disaster. Not a tear was shed nor a crepe destroyed.

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Waffle Wednesday: ‘Christmas in September’ Gingerbread Waffles with Butter Rum Sauce

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

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So today is officially Christmas in September as we observe this Waffle Wednesday with a heaping stack o’ Gingerbread Waffles from Vegan Brunch!

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Actually, I write this post from the sweltering heat of July, back when I thought that VeganMoFo would fall in August; and while Christmas in July does sound better, it is what it is. A waffle by another other name is just as sweet. No really! I nearly passed out not ten minutes in to dinner. I don’t even think I made it through the first commercial break of The Americans.

Leslie Knopes what I’m talking ’bout.

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These waffles are true to their name – they taste just like warm, cozy gingerbread, and are so yummy that you could probably eat ’em undecorated with no regrets.

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Carbs & Rec: I’m Sorry I Adopted ALL THE ANIMALS! Pancakes

Friday, September 19th, 2014

“How did you sleep? I adopted 32 cats and dogs.
Do you want pancakes? I’m going to make pancakes.”
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Remember that time Bradley Whitford threatened to cut the Parks Department budget, but Leslie inadvertently convinced him to take the money from the animal shelter instead? Then, in a fit of guilt, she adopted all 32 animals – dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and YES THAT IS A PIG – and offered to make it up to Ben with a pancake breakfast? OF COURSE YOU DO. I know that because, if you’re an animal person, no doubt your parent/spouse/roommate was side-eying you during the entire scene, praying to the great dog above that it didn’t give you Any Ideas. Let’s just say that, for the next week, Shane was afraid to leave the house.

Naturally, and because she is not a heartless monster, Leslie found a way to resolve the situation to everyone’s satisfaction: she convinced her opponent Bobby Newport to fund the animal shelter with just a small portion of his Sweetums fortune. Everyone wins, including the usually indifferent April Ludgate, who finds her true calling: helping the animals of Pawnee.

“I think I may have found a project I’d actually enjoy doing: helping these cats and dogs. They should be rewarded for not being people. I hate people.”
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April throws an adoption fair; one lucky dog gets a new girl (yay!), but on the downside, a woman abandons two cats.

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Carbs & Rec: Sloppy Adam Sandlers

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

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Today’s featured meal may be a Tom Haverfood, but imma break with protocol and stick to non-Tom gifs for a change. Because HOLY HELL are there a ton of Haverfoods on the menu, and I want to give some of my other favorite characters a little face time. Like April and Jeremy Jamm! Just not in the same frame ’cause I adore April and would never play her like that.

So Adam Sandlers are what Tom calls sandwiches (along with sammies and sandoozles) – and what better sammie to represent Mr. Sandler than (*drumroll please*) SLOPPY JOES?!?

SLOPPY JOE, SLOP, SLOPPY JOE!”
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Yeah, that’s right. You knew the Lunchlady Land jams were coming. (AGAIN.) You know me so well, mofos.

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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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O is for Old-Fashioned Chelsea Waffles

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

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So these waffles from Vegan Brunch were inspired by a certain (unnamed) NYC diner’s Chelsea waffles that Isa and her brother enjoyed as kids. Since she’s not privy to the chef’s secrets, Isa decided to recreate them her own bad self.

The magic ingredient? Barley malt syrup, which gives the waffles a wonderful malty taste. I had to special order a bottle from Amazon, which is now occupying valuable real estate in the fridge, but you know what? Totally worth it. Barley malt is the same thing I use to flavor the cream in vegan Twinkies (but in powdered form), so that should give you an idea of how awesome these waffles really are.

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I topped mine with maple syrup and fresh strawberries, which was tasty enough; next time around, though, I think I’ll stick with strawberry syrup or perhaps make my own berry sauce. The maple syrup and barley malt seemed to compete with each other for top billing in a way that the strawberries and barley malt did not.

In lieu of barley malt syrup, you can use maple syrup as a sweetener – in which case, methinks maple syrup would be the perfect choice of topping!

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J is for Jam Swirl Coffee Cake

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

J is for Jam Swirl Coffee Cake [Vegan Brunch] (0016)

This is another letter that was originally slated for a soup or stew – Jewish Beef Stew from Veganomicon, to be exact – but was jettisoned for a dessert, mostly because I’m a sucker for the sweet stuff, but also on account of the heat. 90 degrees plus is just too hot for soup, okay! Also, I have so many tomatoes to use up that dinner these days usually consists of pizza or pasta – anything and everything I can jam a tomato on. Menu, full. Try again later.

My heart was torn between the Coffee Cake (the Jam Swirl variation, to keep it on theme!) from Vegan Brunch and the Jean Luc Cupcakes (with an Earl Gray cake and ginger-orange frosting!) in Betty Goes Vegan, but seeing as my cupcake decorating skills leave something to be desired, I decided that the cake would be the safer option. I don’t even own a pastry bag, yo! (Someone please send me a cake decorating kit? Mom?)

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I don’t think I’ve had coffee cake before – I know, the horror, right? – so I don’t have a point of comparison, but hot damn! Is this cake un-freaking-believable or what!? The yellow cake is soft and moist, while the crumbly topping adds an extra shot of sugary sweet goodness. And the jam swirl is pretty genius. I did a cherry-strawberry combo and it was pure perfection.

And the cake! It slid right out of the pan! That never happens to me. My baked goods tend to fight me, but not this time. Some of the topping fell off when I transferred the slices to their respective plates, but hey, whaddya gonna do? Crumbles gotta crumble.

There’s also an amazing looking raspberry chocolate version – raspberries in the batter, chocolate chips wedged between the cake and crumbles – that I simply have to try. Ugh, too bad the letter R is already spoken for. Damn you Rosemary Vegan Chicken and Olive Orzo!

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Bonus Vegan MoFo: Mac-and-Cheese Monday!

Monday, September 9th, 2013

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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!

 

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Banana Rabanada (Baked, Not Fried!)

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

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According to Isa, Banana Rabanada (otherwise known as Brazilian French Toast) is a traditional Christmas dish in Brazil. Thick slices of bread are coated in a banana custard and then pan fried, much like the French toast I so loved as a kid (with eggs assuming the role of banana, of course). The recipe featured in Vegan Brunch includes a custard-like batter made of overripe bananas blended with vanilla, nondairy milk, and cornstarch. Though I’ve never been a fan of French toast recipes that replace egg-based batters with bananas – they always have the weirdest aftertaste – I decided to give this recipe a try anyway. Since the bananas take center stage, perhaps their presence wouldn’t seem so out of place here. Makes sense, right?

I did make one major modification to Isa’s recipe. Ever since discovering the awesomeness that is baked French toast (courtesy of Vegan Junk Food), I’ve been reluctant to fry French toast ever again. So messy! And slow! And dangerous, what with that hot oil flying everywhere.

I hit the google to see whether anyone had tried modifying this recipe for baking, but no one had; the closest hit I found was a query on Isa’s Pumpkin French Toast recipe concerning baking vs. frying. The many recipes I saw for bread pudding (new to me!) proved encouraging, especially in their similarity to baked French toast – the main difference being that pudding uses pieces of bread instead of whole slices. Anyway, I figured a little experimentation couldn’t hurt.

So I soaked the bread – seven slices of old Italian – in the batter as instructed (plus three tablespoons of sugar for added sweetness), and then baked it using Lane Gold’s method: 30 minutes uncovered at 350F. And it worked! Most of the batter soaked into the bread and the remaining liquid thickened up into a custard- or syrup-like consistency. In the picture above, the top piece is flipped upside-down to show the gooey banana underside, while the tops are dusted with cinnamon and cocoa powder. Not shown is the maple syrup I smothered it with some thirty seconds later. The syrup mixed with the cinnamon and cocoa powder to create a mini river of deliciousness I can only call awesome sauce.

Probably this version isn’t as decadent as the original, with its fatty fried exterior – and it’s not nearly as good as the baked French toast found in Vegan Junk Food, which is sticky sweet with sugar. But it’s also hella healthier than either, with less fat and sugar, and a serving of fruit to boot.

Bringing Flapjacks Back

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

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In Vegan Brunch, Isa declares her intent to bring the word “flapjacks” back. I’m down! Especially if it means pancakes for dinner. In this case, Banana Flapjacks.

This stack is pretty good – cakey and chewy, with a definite hint of bananas – but it’s the sauce I’m super-excited about. The first batch of strawberries I bought this year turned out to be a bust (tasteless!), so I decided to turn them into sauce. I had trouble getting it to thicken in time for dinner, so as a shortcut I tried the old “arrowroot slurry” trick I always use in soy-based ice cream. Instead of the usual soy creamer, I went with coconut, and added some coconut extract for good measure. Voilà! Strawberry daiquiri sauce! Definitely gonna have to replicate it with a proper recipe.

Bet it’s amazing on ice cream too. Yeah, it’s always about ice cream with me. That or pizza.

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.

Vegan Slow Cooker Greek Frittata – and a Tofu Scramble Recipe!

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

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Even though I’ve owned it for a few months now (Shane and I bought it as an early x-mas present to ourselves!), I haven’t had much occasion to use Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker. Some of the recipes look quite appetizing, but most of ’em require so much advanced planning! I know, I know – that’s kind of the point of crockpots: slow cooking and all. But the plan ahead type, I am not.

So yada yada yada, I decided to give the Greek Frittata a try since I had some tofu that needed eating and the whole process is relatively short, at just two hours of cook time. Plus I loved Isa’s Curried Cauliflower Frittata and wanted to see how a slow cooker version would measure up. Turns out that frittatas? Are better baked in the oven.

The Greek Frittata is tasty enough – I love the combination of spices and veggies, minus the overcooked spinach (but then again we all know how fussy I am when it comes to cooked greens!) – problem is, it didn’t quite bake all the way through. While the edges crisped up nicely, the middle portion remained soft and mushy (kind of similar to the cheesy tofu layer in this Spaghetti Pie). Removing it from the slow cooker – mine’s a deep one – was a straight-up hot mess.

Overall, it was edible, though nothing to write mom about.

Still craving a Greek Frittata, I decided to try combining Robin’s recipe with Isa’s, i.e.: Robin’s ingredients + Isa’s cooking method. Then I realized that I’d have to chop the peppers and olives super-small so that the frittata would hold together, and quickly nixed the idea. Instead, a Greek Tofu Scramble, complete with big, meaty chunks of veggies. And spinach! I even kept the spinach! But I added it in the last minute of cooking so that it doesn’t get overdone.

The result? νόστιμα! (That’s Greek for delicious.)

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Curried Cauliflower Frittata and Roasted Green Beans

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

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The pictures kind of suck (ugh I can’t wait for summer, when the daylight lasts past dinnertime!), but this Curried Cauliflower Frittata from Vegan Brunch does not. It’s reminiscent of a tofu scramble, but baked into an adorable pie shape.

If it looks a little crumbly, probably it’s because I failed to cut the cauliflower small enough. Isa says to chop it finely, but I wasn’t sure whether she meant ‘fine for a cauliflower,’ or ‘fine, period,’ so I ended up chopping it halfway in between the two. Guess I’ll have to get more zealous with the knife next time.

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Served with a side of Roasted Green Beans from Veganomicon. Tasty, though I had to cook them at least twice as long as instructed to get that nice, crispy-on-the-outside, soft-and-buttery-on-the-inside effect.

Come to think of it, it might be time to upgrade my oven. Any volunteers?

HOMEMADE BAGELS!!!!

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

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Holy shit, I did it! I really did it! I made from-scratch bagels that are every bit as delicious as those you’d find in a bakery – crispy and chewy on the outside, with soft, warm, fluffy pillowtop innards – and on the first try, at that! A smug, self-satisfied grin, I’m wearing one. Seriously, if I knew it was this easy, I would have done it years ago – decent bagels being damn near impossible to find in Kansas City.

Turns out that bagels are almost shockingly easy to make: knead the dough, let it rise, shape into bagels, boil, bake, cool. The whole process takes a few hours, but it’s really a no-brainer. If you have ready access to fresh bagels, bully for you! Probably it’s just easier to buy them. But if you’re stuck out in the sticks like moi and craving a taste of New York (home!), this is a game changer/life saver.

The recipe’s from Vegan Brunch, which so far I’m loving. Sadly, there is but one bagel recipe in the whole book, and it’s just plain old plain bagels.* Where are the onion, the sundried tomato, the cinnamon raisin? Hello carb frustration! Help me google, you’re my only hope.

On the plus side, VB includes a number of tips for “doctoring up” vegan cream cheese to make fancy schmancy NYC flavors. In the interest of spring cleaning, I used an old packet of garlic herb seasoning I had sitting around, and it worked like a charm. I’m not really one for plain cream cheese, but the flavored stuff is downright addictive!

* With variations for sesame and poppy seed-topped bagels – basically you just roll the bagels in the seeds prior to boiling them, and then proceed as is. I tried this with minced onion, but most of the onion fell off during the boiling stage. I had more luck sprinkling them on the bagels after boiling – while the bagels are still a little wet – and pressing down gently but firmly to get them to stick. The more you know!