Perfect Pancakes are perfect!

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

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After a long day spent packing up the x-mas decorations (my house looks so naked now! and not in a good way!), I really wanted Shane to make the Blueberry-Oat Short Stack pancakes from American Vegan Kitchen – but it turns out that you have to let the batter sit for at least two hours beforehand, a fact that escaped our notice until dinner time. Oops! Next time, I guess?

And so came Vegan Brunch to the rescue, with the appropriately-titled Perfect Pancakes. So good, y’all! The batter is thin and expands outward when you scoop the pancakes, resulting in large, skinny discs of sweet carbaliciousness. With our usual, thicker recipe, I can only down three pancakes in one sitting, but this time around I polished off five. Double-stacked, too! And they’re so tasty that I wanted more. (Joke’s on me – the recipe only made ten.)

The only downside is that the pancakes are thinner than a blueberry, so the batter might not work so well with fruit. Otherwise, I think we found our new go-to pancake recipe. Perfect Pancakes are indeed perfect.

Lemony Roasted Potatoes

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

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Oh, lemons. You almost make me forget that there are two more months of winter left. ALMOST.

So this little taste of summer comes from Veganomicon. Lip-smackingly good, though I didn’t quite follow the recipe to a V. For starters, it requires a larger roasting pan than I own, so I had to cut down the number of potatoes used. (Maybe by 25%? I eyeballed it.) I meant to also reduce the amount of sauce I made, but forget at the last minute (doh!). Instead I added a little cornstarch to help thicken things up a bit. I also took the liberty of adding some kalamata olives to the mix, since they kick ass when paired with lemony things.

There’s some tomato paste (really powder; I didn’t feel like cracking open a whole can for one measly tablespoon) in there, too, which accounts for the reddish tint of the potatoes. At first glance they kind of resemble baked cinnamon apples!

After 30 minutes of baking at 375F as instructed, the potatoes were still rather tough and crispy, so I removed the cover, jacked the heat up to 400F, and popped the potatoes back into the oven. For another thirty minutes! idk if I cut the wedges too thick or what, but the potatoes required much more roasting than what’s called for in the recipe.

Either way, the result is a super-tasty and filling meal (or side, if you prefer). I meant to serve the potatoes with a fried sausage link or two – but by the time they were finally done, I was so mad with hunger that I had forgotten all about the links. Ah well, next time maybe?

Pro tip: The olives are best when added near the end of the bake time – just enough to warm them up, but not long enough that they’re reduced to a soft mash.

Catch me daddy!

Monday, November 19th, 2012


 

Having tried somewhere in the neighborhood of 31 new-to-me recipes during the course of Vegan MoFo – and having had a gloriously delicious time of it – I promised myself that I’d keep experimenting with new recipes, to the tune of at least one a week. And, just to keep myself honest, I’ll be blogging the results! (Also because, as a vegan, I’m apparently incapable of devouring a meal without first taking and sharing at least several photos of it.*)

This week, it’s the “Mac Daddy” mac & cheese from Veganomicon. I know that Vegan MoFo is over, yet I can’t help but riff off this Janis Joplin song. Pair ALL the vegan foods with groovy music!

 

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I still heart my overly processed, Daiya and Follow Your Heart blend best, but this is definitely my new favorite noochy version. (And believe me when I say that I’ve tried quite a few!) With crumbled tofu (reminiscent of ricotta) for extra sauciness, and just a hint of thyme (genius!), this is a surprisingly rich, creamy pasta dish.

And fairly healthy: the sauce only requires a tablespoon of olive oil (two here, since the recipe is doubled) – whereas, as Isa and Terry point out, many other vegan cheese sauces require a stick of margarine. (And my sauce? Don’t even get me started on my sauce. Sooooo bad for you!) Sadists!

It’s also worth noting that I’m often suspicious of tofu, but it totally works here. It’s almost like it’s part of the sauce!

 

2012-11-14 - Veganom Mac Daddy - 0018

 

All in all, this mac-n-cheese is so moist that I might actually try adding a top layer of breadcrumbs next time around. Usually I find that breadcrumbs dry out an already-parched mac & cheese dish, especially one that’s baked. Not so with the Mac Daddy! He’s smooth, smooth like the blues.

(More below the fold…)

Eat to the Beat: Creamy Tomato Soup with Beer Cheese Bread & Blind Melon

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

 

The song: “No Rain” by Blind Melon (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Creamy Tomato Soup served with Beer Cheese Bread – recipes from Veganomicon and Vegan Junk Food, respectively

The connection: Rubber boots and rainy day soups!

 

Tomato soup and grilled (Daiya) cheese sandwiches: does a more perfect rainy day meal combo exist? I think not! THIS ONE’S FOR THE BEE GIRL! Now a woman! But you get the idea!

 

Creamy Tomato Soup from Veganomicon (0004)

 

Isa brings the soup – namely, a Creamy Tomato Soup straight from Veganomicon. This is a rich, satisfying dish that’s so creamy you could almost mistake it for dairy. (The secret? Potatoes!) With canned crush tomatoes and sundried tomatoes for double to the tomato-y goodness. Seriously, this is a soup for lovers. Tomato lovers! (Oh snap!)

Overall, this is a ridiculously easy meal to make, as soups often are. But there’s a caveat! The whole process will go a whole lot smoother if you have an immersion blender – otherwise, you have to let the soup cool, transfer it to the blender in batches, and then reheat it again. Yuck, right?

I thought I was gonna hafta go the blender route, until Shane whipped out a Thunderstick thingie that he uses to make shakes. I’d totally forgotten that we owned such a device, initially confusing it with the ($2,000!) Hulk Hogan Thunder Mixer he used (and I supposedly broke, though I remember no such thing!) back in the mid-aughts. It may or may not be an immersion blender proper; we’re still investigating. It doesn’t even have a brand name stenciled on its handle! Either way, it did the trick.

Normally I’d pair this with a toasted Daiya cheese sammie, but I decided to go a slightly different route this time: cheese bread! This recipe is from Vegan Junk Food, and I’ve been eying it since I reviewed the book way back in April. (It also doesn’t help that the husband bought some Daiya cheese wedges, ostensibly for toasted cheese, and then ate them all without telling me. Boo!)

 

Creamy Tomato Soup from Veganomicon (0027)

 

As lip-smackingly good as the soup is, it’s the bread that’s the real star of the show. Seriously, it wins all the awards! The loaf proper is just flour mixed with beer and a little bit of brown sugar. Pour it into a loaf pan, top with melted margarine mixed with nutritional yeast, and bake for 45 minutes. By no stretch of the imagination am I a master bread-maker, yet even I was able to pull it off without a hitch.

And the payoff is inversely related to the effort required. This Beer Cheese Bread? Divine. The sugar and beer add just a hint of sweetness, and the cheesy nooch topping I could eat all by its lonesome. (And I did, in crumb form. There may or may not have been some plate-licking involved, and not of the canine variety.) Even if you’re not a beer person – and I’m not – you’ll love this bread.

Pro tip: The leftover slices – assuming there are any – are crazy good topped with a pat o’ margarine, toasted, and served with homemade bruschetta. Don’t say I never did anything for ya!

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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Eat to the Beat: Cheater Baked Beans with Skillet Corn Bread & The Black Keys

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

 

The song: “Lonely Boy” by The Black Keys (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Cheater Baked Beans and Skillet Corn Bread from Veganomicon

The connection: Beans, beans, the magical fruit.

 

Cheater Baked Beans from Veganomicon (0018)

 

This might be the most juvenile food/song pairing of the month. Unless Adam Sandler wins just by virtue of being Adam Sandler, which is not just possible but also quite likely.

I usually stay away from beans – not because they’re not delicious (they are!), but because they make me bloat up like a mofo. (TMI Tuesday, a day early!) But these Cheater Baked Beans from Veganomicon? Totally worth it!

The recipe is ridiculously simple: onions, garlic, pasta sauce, molasses, spices. Cook ’em in a skillet, then add the beans and bake for an hour. So easy my 24-year-old brother could do it! (No offense to the 24-year-old dudes out there, but my brother is hella lazy and also propped up by my parents’ apron strings.

 

Cheater Baked Beans from Veganomicon (0008)

 

…I’m doing the TMI thing again aren’t I?)

Given how few ingredients go into this bad boy, I was surprised at how rich and flavorful the sauce turned out. SO GOOD!

I served it with the Skillet Corn Bread, also from Veganomicon. Don’t let the title fool you – you cook this bread in the oven (preferably in a cast-iron skillet, but I used a glass baking pan). And at the same temp as the baked beans – handy dandy!

 

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The only thing I’d do differently is maybe make the baked beans a lil’ saucier the next time around. For instance, the recipe calls for a 15 ounce can of pasta sauce, but I always buy the larger 24 ounce size. I had half a mind to dump it all in, but I followed the recipe for a change. Now I have 9 ounces of pasta sauce languishing in the fridge and three leftover squares of corn bread that shall remain baked beans-less. Oh noes!

The beans are perfect on their own, but when you serve them over the corn bread, extra sauce is a must. The bread’s on the dry side, though the husband reports that it’s not nearly as dry as some of the corn bread he enjoyed growing up. Me, I don’t think I’ve ever had it before (deprived I know!), so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It’s super-tasty with a pat o’ margarine, too!

Oh, if only I had some No-tella left…

 

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Jayne was trolling for a bite of my dinner – until I whipped out the camera for pictures.
The flash is like her Kryptonite. Ditto: wooden spoons and vacuum cleaners.
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veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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Eat to the Beat: Not-tella & Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

 

The song: “Black Tongue” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Not-tella from Veganomicon

The connection: This vegan nutella is so addictive you’ll be sneaking it by the spoonful – and your black tongue will totally Cindy Brady you!

 

A few months ago – after downing a very expensive jar of Justin’s Hazelnut Butter in record time – I ordered a five pound bag of hazelnuts online and resolved to make my own damn vegan nutella! Using various recipes found on the interwebs, I spent a several consecutive Sunday afternoons experimenting, with little success. No matter what I did (or did not do), the nutella came out the same: thick and pasty and not at all creamy like the name brand stuff. (Not even the vegan name-brand stuff, which prides itself on not being reminiscent of cake frosting – like a certain other non-vegan brand which shall remain nameless. To which I say: what’s wrong with frosting for breakfast, hmmm?)

My spread? Un-spreadable!

And so I despaired, gave up. Decided to use my failed batches in banana ice cream – where they were slightly more edible – and call it a day. That is, until I found the recipe for Not-tella in Veganomicon. (Waaaay in the back. Further. Further. Right…there!) Though it requires some hard(er)-to-find ingredients that I had to order online – namely, hazelnut oil and liquor – I couldn’t resist. Didn’t even wanna. If anyone can perfect the art of homemade vegan nutella, I thought, Isa and Terry can.

 

No-Tella from Veganomicon (1-0011)

Fresh Not-tella with Windmill cookies and Dandies. Fight you for it!
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OH MY DOG, Y’ALL, THIS RECIPE IS GENIUS! Seriously, it worked like a charm. After my second failed attempt I worried that perhaps my food processor wasn’t strong enough; I came to Not-tella expecting a long day of pulsing and resting, pulsing and resting, with little hope of victory. (The authors recommend this, to help prevent overworking your machine’s motor.) Alas, I had a fresh batch of Not-tella within the hour! Rich, creamy, smooth. Oh so spreadable. Even when chilled!

I think the trick is the order in which you add all the ingredients: hazelnuts, followed by extract and the dry ingredients, and finally the soy milk powder and oil. Pulse, add, pulse, add. Crumble, crumble, milkshake.

Every other recipe I’ve seen – and tried – instruct you to process the hazelnuts until they form a thick, oily paste – at which point you toss in the rest of the ingredients all in one big jumble. (Or, worse yet, process everything all at once. The horrors!) When done in this order, I had trouble getting the oil to fully mix with the nuts (etc.) – I ended up with quite a bit of separation, and the oil that did “take” didn’t seem to add any creaminess to the final product. Even accounting for the fact that Isa and Terry’s version uses more oil (we’re talking three to six times more!), I still wasn’t able to go back and “fix” previous batches with the addition of extra oil (and not even when that oil was hazelnut instead of the less expensive vegetable).

Yup, it’s got to be the order. There’s no other explanation!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t temped to go back and retry the original recipes, to see if I can make them work based on the Not-tella – but what’s the point? This is perfection, my friends! Sweet, sugary, chocolatey, nutty perfection. It can’t get any better than this, so why try?

 

No-Tella from Veganomicon (2-0083)

Caution: Your vegan nutella will get gooey in the sun! (So sunbathe away!)
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Enjoy it on bread or on crackers; on graham crackers (maybe with some Dandies?) or sugar cookies. Serve with some fruit so that you can at least pretend it’s healthy. Get crazy and make a nutella and cookie butter sammie! (Just don’t drive or operate heavy machinery, mkay?) Mix in it with ice cream, or put it on top. Me, I can’t stop eating it straight outta the container. Once that spoonful leaves, there’s no chance it’ll make it further than my mouth. SO GOOD.

 

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Gozer, making a brief cameo in order to steal my Not-tella.
(The joke’s on him, I made a quadruple batch! True story.)
Spoiler alert: We’ll see him again on Halloween!
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Hmmm. I’m beginning to regret not ordering the extra value triple pack of hazelnut oil. How could I possibly use all three, I asked myself? Better just to buy one. Ugh so many regrets!

Paired with “Black Tongue” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs because that’s what you’re tongue will look like, when you’ve a batch of Not-tella in the fridge. Also, I just really really really wanted to make this for Vegan MoFo, and this was the first song to come to mind!

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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DawnWatch: NY Times Dining cover on vegan punk chef 1/24/07

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com>
Date: Jan 24, 2007 1:07 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: NY Times Dining cover on vegan punk chef 1/24/07

There is a delightful article by Julia Moskin on the cover of the Dining Section of the Wednesday, January 24, New York Times, headed, “Strict Vegan Ethics, Frosted With Hedonism.” It is about Brooklyn vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the co-author of “Vegan with a Vengeance,” “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World,” and the host of the public-access television cooking show, the Post-Punk Kitchen.

It tells us, “As a vegan and a follower of punk music since age 14, she is also part of a culinary movement that helped turn the chaotic energy of punk culture of the 1970s and 1980s into a progressive political force….The charm of Ms. Moskowitz — in person, in her cookbooks and on her public-access television cooking show, the Post-Punk Kitchen (theppk.com/shows/) — is that she makes even the deprivations of veganism and the rage of punk seem like fun. Like feminism that embraces makeup and miniskirts — the frivolous bits — Ms. Moskowitz’s veganism embraces chocolate, white flour, confectioners’ sugar, and food coloring.”

Moskowitz says, “I would love to live in a world where I knew the eggs came from happy chicken. But in Brooklyn? That’s not going to happen.

And, “I learned knife skills by cooking for Food not Bombs. But I also learned to love Julia Child and Martha Stewart. Vegan food can and must be pretty.”

(More below the fold…)