Carbs & Rec: Real Men Eat Quiche Lorraine

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

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Originally I was going to whip up a batch of Maple Bacon Doughnuts for the very last Swanson Sunday of VeganMoFo 2014. Aaaaand then Shane made his annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas and returned with several dozen vegan donuts from Ronald’s. I didn’t think my pants would forgive me if I made even more baked goods, so. Real Men Eat Quiche Lorraine it is!

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Carbs & Rec: Moo Pies

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

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If you don’t own a copy of The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, you are seriously missing out.

Exhibit A: this Bacon Cheeseburger from the Heartland.

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“But where’s the (vegan) bacon and (nondairy) cheese?” you’re probably asking yourself. IT’S BUILT RIGHT INTO THE BURGER.

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I just blew your mind, right.

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Carbs & Rec: ALL the Bacon & Eggs I Have!

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Update: Ron & I won a MoFie!

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Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait, wait. I’m worried what you just heard was, “Give me a lot of bacon and eggs.” What I said was, “Give me all the bacon and eggs you have.” Do you understand?
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Ron Swanson is a simple man. He likes pretty, dark-haired women and breakfast food, and frequents strip clubs strictly for the all-you-can-eat buffets. When in doubt, serve him bacon and eggs. Preferably all the bacon and eggs in the house.

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So when Shane and I were brainstorming how to do this quote justice, we came up with two ideas: a) Photoshop a weird collage of all the bacon and eggs I’ve ever made, with a disembodied Swanson head superimposed on top (Shane) or b) actually cook up an oversized platter of bacon and eggs (me).

I was torn, so I did the next best thing: them both!

Exhibit A: The Vegan Bacon & Eggs Poster.

all the bacon and eggs collage (with quote)

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Carbs & Rec: Chris Traeger’s Tofurky Burger Challenge

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

The tenth episode of season three (“Soulmates”) is one memorable episode in an entire season filled with memorable Parks & Rec episodes. And I’m not referring to Tom’s epic prank on Leslie, from which the show gets its title.

(Remember, he signed up for the same dating service as Leslie and convinced her that their software put them at a 98% match?

Priceless.)

Nope, I’m thinking of Chris Traeger’s Turkey Burger Challenge. Faced with alarming health statistics, Chris vows to put healthier fare on the menus in government buildings – including the one that houses the Parks Department. Ron’s not having any of that, so he challenges Chris to a burger cook-off: Chris’s super-fancy turkey burger against Ron’s all-American, all-male hamburger, hold the exotic trimmings. To the winner goes the menu.

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Waffle Wednesday: Chick’ N’ Waffles Party

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

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It’s Wednesday, y’all! You know what that means!

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So Imma change things up this week with a savory waffle treat. Weirdly enough, I don’t think we’ve ever seen Leslie eat a waffle that wasn’t sweet. Usually – arguably – overly so. (Waffle sundaes, anyone?)

Instead of syrup and whipped cream, this one’s got meat and gravy.

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Carbs & Rec: Nacho Momma’s Preferred Source of Energy

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Ron: What are you doing, Andy?
Andy: I’m getting healthier snacks for the shoe shine stand.
Chris is a food genius.
Did you know that the food you eat becomes energy? Yeah.
Boom! That’s spaghetti.
Nachos.
A cookie.
April: That’s my husband.
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Did you know that the food you eat becomes energy? IT’S TRUE! Tasty, tasty energy. And at the rate I’m packing it in, I should have scaled Everest several pizzas ago.

Another fun fact: this is one of my favorite Parks & Rec clips. I mean Andy, right. He is so cute, y’all! I’d just never want to date him, because I’ve seen how he lives, and it is not pretty.

So anyway, I just knew that this clip had to have a meal all to itself this Carbs & Rec. But what to choose?!? Spaghetti, cookies, and nachos are all equally yum. (Okay, so maybe I’m partial to cookies, being part Cookie Monster and all. I promise not to play favorites!)

In the end I went with nachos, because they’ve got the coolest Dwyer moves.

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BOOM! Nachos.

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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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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: 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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Homestyle Thanksgiving Leftovers

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

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

 

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

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

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

 

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Straight-Up-Thanksgiving Burgers & Hunan-Style Sweet Potato Fries

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Alternate title: The Obligatory Post-Thanksgiving Food Post.

 

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Since it was just the two of us – and an exhausted and otherwise occupied pair of cooks we were, at that – Shane and I didn’t go too overboard with this year’s food festivities. It was business as usual for most of the day, and then in the evening we made Thanksgiving dinner.

The main course: Straight-Up-Thanksgiving Burgers (recipe via evil junk food genius Joni Newman), topped with Hickory Smoked Tofurky slices and gravy and served on toasted onion rolls.

 

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OMG y’all, these burgers are AMAZING! They’re vaguely reminiscent of the fried mashed potato patties my mom used to make (in a futile attempt to get us kids to eat up the leftovers. In retrospect, I have no godly idea why we’d shun leftover mashed potatoes in the first place. Kids, who needs ’em.), only infinitely better. In addition to mashed potatoes, the burgers are mashup of stuffing, green beans, and French’s fried onions. SO NOMMY.

We halved the recipe, fried up two patties, and then set the leftover batter aside for later. I reckon we’ve enough left for three or four more burgers.

On the side: extra garlic & chive mashed potatoes and stuffing (my own recipes), as well as Hunan-Style Baked Sweet Potato French Fries with Chili Sauce (recipe via the upcoming The Chinese Vegan Kitchen, which I’m in the process of reviewing).

 

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The fries? Off the cuff! (Kids are still saying this. I’m not asking, I’m telling.) You bake ’em halfway and then fry them to finish. During the last few minutes of cooking, they’re coated in this delicious ketchup-soy sauce-chili paste concoction that’s finger-licking good. Though I must admit that I only used a quarter of the recommended chili paste, since I can’t handle hot foods very well. Shane thought they needed more chili paste, but he also thought we needed pie to wash down all those carbs. WHAT DOES HE KNOW?

I accidentally ate so much that I felt like I was going to die. I seriously had to swap my pants for a bathrobe. And we’re not talking jeans here – sweat pants! That’s how stuffed I was. Probably it didn’t help to snack on fried onions while I was making dinner.

My only regret? Aside from the chest pains, that is? I didn’t have any room left for soy chai ice cream. Homemade, yo!

Eat to the Beat: Swedish Meetballs & AC/DC

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

 

The song: “Big Balls” by AC/DC (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Swedish Meetballs from Cozy Inside, served over fettuccine

The connection: I was going to make a joke about Chris Hemsworth’s balls – thinking that he must surely hail from a Nordic country, if not Sweden proper – but it turns out he’s Australian. BALLS.

 

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All that’s missing is the Hammer of Thor.
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Just when this Italian thought that pasta couldn’t get any tastier. BAM! Along come these Swedish Meatballs to shatter my world view. (I almost replaced “world” with “food” in that previous sentence – until I realized that food IS my world. Mind blown a second time.)

Maybe it’s odd that it took me 34 years to try my first bite of Swedish Meatballs. (Spelled “Meetballs” in Cozy Inside, so this is how I’ll refer to them thusly.) The fact is, it just wasn’t on the menu when I was a kid and, as an adult, I never had the urge to try the stuff. Former fussy eater over here! I wasn’t even 100% sure what made meatballs “Swedish” until I spied a recipe in Cozy Inside whilst compiling my menu for Vegan MoFo. (Hint: it’s the gravy! The sauce is really gravy!)

It turns out that pasta slathered with gravy and served with giant fried tvp meetballs? IS PRETTY FUCKING DELICIOUS. No, wait, that’s an understatement. It’s epically delicious.

 

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Gravy, the sexiest of the sauces.
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The hardest part of this recipe is the “meetballs,” which are made by mixing reconstituted tvp with sauted onions and garlic and vital wheat gluten, among other things. Then you form ’em into balls and fry ’em in a skillet because yum!

I had a little trouble getting my balls to stick together (insert testicle joke here). Normally when I fail in a recipe, I blame myself – I am the amateur, after all – but the directions in this recipe proved a little confusing. For instance, I wasn’t quite sure when I was supposed to add the tvp to the other ingredients, before or after mixing in the wheat gluten. Not that it would have made a huge difference, at least I don’t think. Either way, I ended up adding between 1/4 and 1/3 cup of flour (whole wheat) to soak up the extra moisture and get everything to bind together. Even so, you have to be very gentle when frying the balls, lest some stray bits escape.

 

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cosmo tip #457: If a boy sends you a picture of his penis,
send him a picture of a bigger penis.
Unrelated to Swedish Meetballs, but handy advice nonetheless.
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My suggestion: make the balls first and then keep ’em warm (warm balls, tee hee) in the oven. Put them in a glass baking pan and heat at 200F while you make the pasta and gravy.

Though they proved a semi-PITA, the meetballs are so worth it. Crispy and just the right amount of greasy on the outside, with a soft, melt-in-your mouth center. Amazing! They lose their crispiness when reheated in the microwave, but the leftovers are still pretty damn tasty. Enjoy them alongside any kind of pasta dish – or on a “meetball” sub, pita pizza, or just plain on their own. Go ahead, pop one in your mouth. Twirl it around a little. Give it a gentle nip. You know you wanna.

 

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And my balls are always bouncing,
To the left and to the right.
It’s my belief that my big balls should be held every night.
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Luckily, the rest of this recipe is super-simple. Pasta and gravy (in this case, a mushroomy blend), that’s it. Even a horny rock star could do it!

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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Eat to the Beat: Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos & Lucinda Williams

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

 

The song: “Lonely Girls” by Lucinda Williams (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos from Cozy Inside

The connection: Comfort food, yo.

 

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This burrito might not look like much, but it’ll fill your belly and then some.
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Put your stretchy pants on, ladies, because you’re gonna need ’em! These Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos from Cozy Inside are the ultimate in comfort food. Or brunch food! Or breakfast food! Any of the vegan foods, really.

The title, while enticing, doesn’t quite do this burrito justice: there are not one, not two, but THREE layers of delicious breakfast items packed into this bad boy! Namely, tvp sausage, scrambled tofu “eggs” – and tater tots, too! I KNOW RIGHT! All that’s missing are the pancakes and maple syrup.

 

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My burrito, before I folded it up, thus hiding its savory insides.
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As incredible as it sounds, this was one of the last of the Vegan MoFo dishes I dared make. I mean, it should’ve been at the front of the line, right? But the lengthy, three-dish recipe intimated me. More than a little. Which seems silly in retrospect, because it wasn’t difficult to make at all! The whole thing took less than an hour, and I even had to stop for a break in the middle so that I wouldn’t finish ahead of schedule.

 

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A platter of fixin’s. And this isn’t even all of it: there are still some leftovers on the stove!
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The egg layer is just a simple tofu scramble, fairly similar to what I normally make, but minus nutritional yeast. Naturally I added the nooch back in because CHEESE, and then I upped the ante with a can of sliced mushrooms because I love love love ’em. Near the end, Newman tells you to mix in a little sour cream (I used homemade mayo, but it’s almost the same thing!), which makes for an interesting touch. Gonna have to try that in my next tofu scramble! I made this dish first (while the tvp was reconstituting, naturally! multitasker over here!) and set it aside on low heat while I cooked the other layers.

Up next: sausage made of tvp reconstituted in vegan chicken broth, seasoned, and fried. Very tasty, with a bit of a spicy kick. Hint: it’s the cayenne.

Last but not least is a layer of tater tots, fried and mashed until they reach a hash brown-like state (and they photograph like white rice!). Soooo good, and since it’s a no-brainer, it’s also easy to cook while you’ve got the tvp sausage going.

When done, pile it high in a burrito-sized tortilla, wrap, and consume. Wear a bib, though, it’s messy. Or a tattered sweatshirt! I mean, you’re eating this in bed while crying over Supernatural reruns on TNT, right? (See: song title.)

Shane enjoyed his topped with a bit of guacamole and Sriacha

 

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Shane likes it messy.
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while I slathered a little extra mayo on the insides.

I’ve never photographed a burrito before – but when I saw the photos and got a feel for what worked and what didn’t, I decided to give it another try.

Hence, the leftovers.

 

Leftover Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos from Cozy Inside (0005)

Why so shy, tofu?
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You’ve got to stuff the burrito extra-full with the filling spilling out one end so it’s visible. Duh, right?

Luckily, this recipe makes four to five large burritos, so there was plenty of extra to work with.

P.S. Lucinda Williams is all the awesome and if you’re not already a fan, you should totes give her a try. Ovaries before brovaries!

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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