Eat to the Beat: Vanilla, I Scream Ice Cream with Bing-Bang-Boom Cherry Sauce & The Runaways

Saturday, October 20th, 2012


The song: “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Vanilla, I Scream ice cream topped with Bing-Bang-Boom Cherry Sauce from The Tipsy Vegan

The connection: Boozy vegan ice cream, smothered in boozy vegan cherry sauce – ’nuff said!


Bing-Bang-Boom Cherry Sauce from Tipsy Vegan (0015)


Okay, so maybe it’s gotten a bit chilly for ice cream. Sweater season is upon us, and Thanksgiving is but a month away. But I’m a wild girl! I do what I want. Like eating ice cream. For breakfast! On Christmas morning! Not really, I usually have oatmeal. It’s good for the insides. But I could if I wanted to!

Besides, when I spotted the recipe for Bing-Bang-Boom Cherry Sauce in The Tipsy Vegan, I knew straight away that it’d be the perfect complement to “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways. It’s right there in the name, yo! Bing-Bang-Boom and Bomb! Served with the Vanilla, I Scream ice cream because why not?

This cherry sauce is da bomb; it’d better be, seeing as it took me the better part of the afternoon to make it! Most of that time was spent cooking down the sauce on the stove top – an easy enough task – but the pitting of the cherries? Ugh, so tedious! If ever I make this sauce again, it will only be because I found pitted bing cherries in the freezer section. My nails are stained red (though it looks like they’re filthy with dirt – yuck!) and the little creases of skin where my fingertips meet the nails are sore, brutalized as they were by stubborn cherry pits.

But hey, my mouth is happy – and that’s really what it’s all about, right?

The cherry sauce is really rather simple – just a pound of cherries, some sugar, a bit of lemon juice and peel, and some corn starch to thicken things up. Oh, and a third a cup of brandy for the booze! Delicious as a dessert topping (think: ice cream, angel food cake, sweet bread), it’d make one hell of a pie filling, too.

And you’ll have enough leftovers for a pie, be it a hand pie or a full on cherry pie pie. This recipe makes a ridiculous amount of sauce! (Unless I vastly overestimated the number of cherries in a pound; always a possibility.) I added a few cups to a quart of frozen bananas to make cherry banana ice cream (recipe below!), and still had so much extra sauce that I ended up freezing some for later use. Um, not that I’m complaining, mind you.


Vanilla, I Scream ice cream from Tipsy Vegan (0005)


Less impressive is the Vanilla, I Scream ice cream. Schlimm uses a combination of silken tofu and coconut cream as the base, with vanilla beans and vanilla-infused vodka providing the seasoning. Unfortunately, I could still taste the blah blandness of the tofu underneath it all. I’ve tried silken tofu ice cream before, with great results – so I’m not opposed to the idea. This recipe in particular just wasn’t the best I’ve tried. Probably a few tablespoons of cocoa powder could fix that right up.

On the plus side, it came out rich and creamy, despite whatever doubts I had. I’m used to making ice cream batter on the stove, with the help of a thickening agent such as arrowroot powder. This one uses the blender, and no thickening agent. Even though the batter looked a bit on the thin side, it thickened up nicely in the ice cream machine. Weirdly, it contracted during freezing – usually the batter expands; fill the ice cream machine up past a certain point, and you risk an ice cream eruption! – resulting in less ice cream than we expected.

Pro tip: if you have a quart-sized machine, you can easily increase the recipe by a quarter without running into any trouble, space-wise. (The original recipe calls for 8 ounces of silken tofu, which is silly since most bricks weigh in at ~ 12 ounces. What am I gonna do with an odd four ounces of silken tofu, hmmm?)

Or, if you’re still worried, process it in two batches!


Cherry Banana Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream (0036)


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Eat to the Beat: Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread & The Monkees

Friday, October 19th, 2012


The song: “Hey Hey We’re the Monkees (Theme)” by The Monkees (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (recipe below)

The connection: Is obvious!


Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (0026)

Want a pizza bite? You’ll have to punch the monkey first!

As a kid, I was a ridiculous fan of The Monkees (the sitcom! and the boy band! back before there was such a thing as boy bands!), cheesy as they were. Of course, this was the ’80s (oh how I date myself!), so I met Davy, Micky, Peter, and Mike in reruns. In the ’90s, I fancied myself a hippie, and often looked as though I could stand in as an extra on the show. When I wasn’t dressing all in black lingerie, anyway. Twenty years later, and I’m still nursing a secret crush on…well, I’ll never tell. That’s what makes it secret!

I even have a little plush monkey that plays the cymbals while singing the theme song to The Monkees. It was a x-mas gift from mom – when I was 28 or so. Don’t wanna grow up, you can’t make me.


Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (0014)

Fresh bread, in your face.

So I’ve been meaning to veganize the many Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread recipes I’ve seen circulating the interwebs, and Vegan MoFo seemed the perfect time. I mean, hello! Monkey Bread. The Monkees. Talk about your OTPs.

Though it’s a total pita to make (not difficult, just a little tedious), the final product is amazaballs – so worth it! Basically what you have are 48 or so individual pizza rolls, coated in margarine and spices, and baked together to form one ginormous pizza-cake-shaped-bread-thingie. If you have any leftovers (Doubtful! Shane and I polished off more than half the loaf – loaf? pie? cake? idk! – in one sitting), pop ’em in the oven on a pizza stone or similar at 425F for about ten minutes. That’s just enough time for the cheese to get all melty and gooey again. Good as new!


Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (0043)

The underside of the loaf is a delicious neon, much like your brain on carbs.

I actually made this dish twice. I keep telling myself that the reason for the repeat is because I wasn’t happy with the first batch of photos – but, if I’m being honest, I really just wanted to have Pizza Monkey Bread again! (But still, the second photo shoot? Way cuter! With a treeloot monkey and everything!)


Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (0061)

Itty bitty baby bites! Don’t worry, I’ll be gentle.

Pro tip: Use AT LEAST six ounces of cheese! I trusted my pizza bread to the Follow Your Heart brand and, while there are plenty of haters out there, it melted like a charm. Any block-form vegan cheese will work, though: Teese, Daiya wedges, whatever. The first time around, I underestimated how much cheese could fit in a bite, and ended up with pizza bread tragically lacking in cheesiness. The cheese liquifies as it melts, thus taking up less space – so keep this in mind when considering the optimal cube size.


Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (0064)

Hot oozy FYH action. (It really DOES melt!)

When in doubt: add more cheese! That’s my motto, anyway.

We’re just trying to be friendly,
Come watch us sing and play.
We’re the young generation,
And we got something to say.

You’re dancing, aren’t you? ME TOO!


Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (0018)

Paint me like one of your french rolls.

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Eat to the Beat: Garlicky Spaghetti with Zucchini and Fresh Herbs & Toadies

Thursday, October 18th, 2012


The song: “Possum Kingdom” by Toadies (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Garlicky Spaghetti with Zucchini and Fresh Herbs, served with Garlicky Greens from Pasta East to West: A Vegetarian World Tour (veganized, of course!)

The connection: Garlic, it keeps the vamps away!


Garlicky Spaghetti with Zucchini and Greens from Pasta East to West (0019)


While I could probably design an entire Vegan MoFo theme around pasta – I love carbs that much – I’m limiting myself to three pasta dishes this month. Last week saw Penne alla Vodka Martini from The Tipsy Vegan; this time around, we have Garlicky Spaghetti with Zucchini and Fresh Herbs from Pasta East to West, served with a side of Garlicky Greens (also from PE2W) for extra-special vampire repellent purposes.

Eat this for dinner, and not even Angel himself will be able to breach your defenses. (On second thought, don’t eat this for dinner because ANGEL! On third thought, he was kind of a creepy stalker dude on BtVS…)

Like the Penne alla Vodka Martini, the Garlicky Spaghetti is laced with alcohol – dry white wine, to be precise – the flavor of which is subtle yet noticeable (and very, very tasty). The main veggie in this dish is zucchini, but the author suggests variations for pasta with black olives or sundried tomatoes. I used both, since I love olives and tomatoes just about equally!


Garlicky Spaghetti with Zucchini and Greens from Pasta East to West (0020)


The greens – you can choose between kale, spinach, collard green, and Swiss chard (I cheated and used a prepackaged mix of spinach and other stuffs) – are steamed on the stove top with a bit of olive oil and water, and then drained. I had my doubts, but Atlas won me over. Mine were a little soggy – instead of draining them, I pressed them with a slatted spoon – but otherwise quite good.

In both the pasta and greens, the author uses cloves of garlic, which are then removed after cooking. I just went with minced garlic and left in it, which worked like a charm. Possibly it also resulted in a more garlicky dish, which is also a good thing. I am a garlic fiend!

If this is the price of surviving the vampire apocalypse, I’m happy to pay up.

And yes I like the Toadies – or at least this one song – so what of it? I never claimed to have impeccable taste, mkay.


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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!

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!)

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.


No-Tella from Veganomicon (2-0027)

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!

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!


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Eat to the Beat

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Eat to the Beat: South-of-the-Border Potato Tacos with Avocado Sauce & Beck

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012


The song: “Satan Gave Me a Taco” by Beck (lyrics)

The foodstuff: South-of-the-Border Potato Tacos with Avocado Sauce from Vegan Junk Food

The connection: Feeling hot-hot-hot!


South-of-the-Border Potato Tacos with Avocado Sauce from Vegan Junk Food (0015)


YOU GUYS. I know I say this about all the Vegan Junk Foods, but these tacos are AMAZABALLS.

Stuffed with cheesy (Daiya AND nooch!), jalapeno-laced mashed potatoes and served with spicy avocado sauce (also with jalapenos!), these are the kind of tacos a vegan Mark Pellegrino might treat you to. (Sans aphids, of course, since bugs aren’t vegan!) When Gold says that these tacos are “South of the Border,” she means way south – think Purgatory or lower.


South-of-the-Border Potato Tacos with Avocado Sauce from Vegan Junk Food (0019)


And did I mention that they’re fried? THEY’RE FRIED, Y’ALL. Fried tacos, what evil genius is this!

I have a confession to make: because my taste buds are total wimps, I actually cheated a bit and swapped out the jalapenos for green bell peppers in the potato filling. I enjoyed my tacos plain while the mister got all the spicy avocado sauce to himself. And everyone was happy! The recipe is simple enough to adapt for households of mixed-spice tolerance.


South-of-the-Border Potato Tacos with Avocado Sauce from Vegan Junk Food (0012)


I also used a little more nutritional yeast than recommended, and added some water to the potato filling for more of a mashed potatoes feel. I keep calling them “mashed” potatoes but I’m not sure how much they’re supposed to resemble the whipped, creamy goodness of true mashed potatoes. As it stands, you boil the potatoes in small chunks and then transfer them to a skillet, where you mash and cook them with the other goodies: jalapenos, onions, Daiya, nutritional yeast, and I forget what else. Then you stuff it in the tortillas, fold, and fry.


South-of-the-Border Potato Tacos with Avocado Sauce from Vegan Junk Food (0008)


The whole process isn’t nearly as time-intensive as it sounds. The potatoes take a little while to cook – but you can always make the potato filling ahead of time and then reheat it before serving. Or just make the potatoes – they’re one delicious side dish! The frying goes really quick, with less than a minute of cook time per taco. At first I started out doing two at a time, until I discovered that I had more luck with one per batch: it’s easier to concentrate, with more room to move, and it all goes pretty durn fast anyway.

I meant to photograph my plate with my little devil dog (Peedee the rat terrier!) figurine looking on. But when the time came, I totally forgot – even though I set it right out on my desk (NEXT TO MY CAMERA EVEN!) and everything. So here he is; the devil will not be denied!


Devil Dog (0010)


Fallen Doggeh, tries to lead the mortal dogs into temptation. But with a pile of poo instead of an apple. (The poo represents inappropriate chewing. GO TEAM FREE WILL!)



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Eat to the Beat: A Nada Moo Giveaway & Van Halen

Monday, October 15th, 2012


The song: “Ice Cream Man” by Van Halen (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Chocolate Nada Moo Ice Cream

The connection: I’m like the ice cream, but better: I’m giving it away for free!


One of the perks of moderating pizza and ice cream blogs on tumblr is discovering all these awesome new vegan products and restaurants, including many overseas that I wouldn’t otherwise know about. (I’ve even landed on a few companies’ pr mailing lists!) Nada Moo is one of several newish vegan ice cream brands that people have been raving about – and they were nice enough to send me a packet full of free product coupons: some for me, and some for you!

Unfortunately, there aren’t too many stores in the Kansas City area that stock Nada Moo – and those that do are an hour’s drive from my house! (It’s my fault for moving to the middle of nowhere! The downside of misanthropy.) The husband drives past the general vicinity on his way to and fro work … but he only goes into the office once a week, if that. The window is small, my friends.

The point of my story? So far we’ve only been able to find “Gotta Do Chocolate” locally; we’re still on the lookout for one of the other flavors. If and when I find it, I’ll report back!


2012-08-17 - Chocolate NadaMoo - 0023


On the upside, the chocolate Nada Moo is delicious. (If I have to use the remainder of my coupons on chocolate Nada Moo, I’ll be only slightly disappointed. Two words: Java Crunch!) I’ve come to love coconut milk ice cream even more than the soy-based stuff (with the exception of Green Tea So Delicious with coconut milk – the two flavors don’t play nice together), and Nada Moo is no exception. The chocolate flavor is surprisingly subtle, but smooth; and the coconut milk is a nice complement. I downed the pint in just a few sittings. What can I say, I loves my ice creams!

Now for the giveaway portion of this post! Two lucky winners will receive a coupon for a free pint of Nada Moo ice cream, as well as coupon for $1.00 off a pint.

The coupons don’t have an expiration date – so if frozen desserts during the cold weather months isn’t your thing, you can always hold onto them until next June! (Though I posit that apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream can be enjoyed year-round.)

To enter to win, visit Nada Moo’s website and leave a comment on this post telling us which flavor of Nada Moo you’d like to try. Or just describe your most favorite Vegan MoFo 2012 moment to date. I’m not fussy. Just leave a comment to win!

For an extra entry, tweet a link to this contest and then leave a second comment with a link to said tweet. For example: “Enter to win a #free pint of @NadaMoo #vegan #icecream now thru 10/22! Happy #VeganMoFo!”

The fine print:

  • Due to product availability, this contest is only open to residents of the United States.
  • When commenting, please leave a valid email address so that I can contact you if you’re the winner. (Don’t worry, your email addy won’t be displayed or shared – your info is safe with me!)
  • The contest closes next Monday, October 22 at 8PM US Central time. The winner will be chosen randomly and has 72 hours to respond, after which time another winner will be chosen.
  • Good luck!


    2012-08-17 - Ice Cream Cone - 0003


    Oh, and file under “things I learned while writing this post”: Nada Moo has some seriously ridiculous ice cream recipes on its website. S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches. NadaMoo Neapolitan. Chocolate Ice Cream Pretzel Squares with Peanut Butter Caramel Swirl. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START.


    Update: …and the winners are:


    Jennifer M. and Sara P., both mint people. Check your email, winners!

    Thanks to everyone for playing!

    FYI: I’m also giving away some free Tofutti ice cream over on tumblr. A second chance to win, yay! Now through 10/29.


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    Eat to the Beat

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    Eat to the Beat: Noodle Omelet & Fiona Apple

    Sunday, October 14th, 2012


    The song: “Across the Universe” by Fiona Apple (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Noodle Omelet from American Vegan Kitchen

    The connection: Pleasantville.


    Fiona Apple’s cover of “Across the Universe” appeared on the soundtrack to Pleasantville – a movie in which a 1950’s “soda fountain” plays a prominent role. And so I thought, hey! Why not pair this one with a classic diner dish? (Because I absolutely adore Fiona Apple and wanted to feature one of her songs this month. And this one? I might actually like it more than the original by The Beatles. BLASPHEMY!

    Another aside: Katie at Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk also did a Pleasantville menu as part of her “Dinner and Movie” theme, for which she chose a No Tuna Melt as the entree. This is super similar to a dish I had on the shortlist for this song – maybe it was a chickpea melt? I forget! – so I’m glad I went with something else.)

    Enter: Tami Noyes and American Vegan Kitchen. This book is stuffed full of comfort food, the (nonvegan) likes of which one can find in greasy spoons and assorted family-owned restaurants across the country. With sections like “Rise and Shine,” “Starters,” “Soup of the Day,” and “Sandwich Board,” AVK’s TOC reflects its “down home” roots. (A northerner, I have no idea whether I’m using that phrase correctly – but it feels truthy, down in my gut. Or maybe that’s just the noodles, working their way through my small intestines. It’s anyone’s guess!)

    Tofu Omelet from American Vegan Kitchen (0015)

    Though it appears under the breakfast category, I decided to try the Tofu Omelet for dinner. My kitchen is open 24/7 and the only rule is that there are no rules, y’all!

    The rare veteran vegan who still finds tofu a little sketchy

    (probably this dates back to my childhood, when mom mostly prepared dad’s tofu my cubing and frying it – spongy tofu chunks, ew! – but I’ve made a ton of progress lately, yay!; exhibit a: this post)

    I wasn’t totally sure I’d like this dish. I was so, so wrong!

    The blended tofu base – seasoned with nutritional yeast, tumeric, garlic powder, and other various goodies – constitutes the “egg” portion of the omelet. I love blended tofu (especially when crafted into an egg-like dish); it was the tofu + pasta combo that gave me doubts. No worries – the two play so well together!


    Tofu Omelet from American Vegan Kitchen (0012)


    This is one seriously delicious (and filling!) dish. You bake it half on the stove and half in the oven (pro tip: you’ll need an oven-safe skillet!), similar to a frittata. In addition to the recommended onions and red bell peppers (I used green), I also tossed in some frozen corn for added volume, and served the omelet with a side of steamed veggies. YUM!

    My only complaint is that the “eggs” could use some extra garlic and onion, but I say that about all the foods!

    Now that I’ve licked my plate clean – I’ll be over there browsing the Dessert Case if you need me, mkay?


    Tofu Omelet from American Vegan Kitchen (0030)


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    Eat to the Beat: Peachy Keen Cobbler & Presidents of United States of America

    Saturday, October 13th, 2012


    The song: “Peaches” by Presidents of the United States of America (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Peachy Keen Cobbler from American Vegan Kitchen

    The connection: Obvious connection is obvious.


    Peachy Keen Cobbler from American Vegan Kitchen (0018)


    My very first cobbler! (Is that weird? That’s weird, isn’t it?)

    Given that I’m currently drowning in apples – even after the two raccoon families living ’round here had their fill, the trees are dropping more apples than I could ever hope to use! – I was tempted to apple-ize a peach recipe to go with this song. But this Peachy Keen Cobbler by Tami Noyes (of Vegan Appetite fame!) looked soooo incredibly tasty that I just couldn’t bring myself to tinker with it.

    Truthfully, I think this cobbler would be mind-numbingly good no matter which fruit you use for the filling: peaches. Peaches and raspberries. Apples. Apples and blueberries. Pears. Pears and all the berries. Bring it on!

    The peaches in the base-slash-filling are combined with a tasty mix of flour, sugar, and lemon juice, which stays moist and gooey even after it’s baked. The cobbler portion of the dish is a doughy topping that rises and crisps, forming a kind of pie-like crust. Because this is a messy dessert, it’s fairly easy to make – no finicky pie crust required – with maximum impact. The hardest part is peeling all those darn peaches! (Although if you want to be super-lazy – or if peaches are out of season – I suppose you could always go with frozen or canned. Better than nothing but not the same!)


    Peachy Keen Cobbler from American Vegan Kitchen (0014)


    Also, I would gladly eat the filling on its own. Maybe…heaped atop a bowl of ice cream? Ugh, must go make more peach cobbler.


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    Eat to the Beat: Fried (and Baked!) Green Tomatoes & Paul Young

    Friday, October 12th, 2012


    The song: “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” by Paul Young

    The foodstuff: Fried (and Baked!) Green Tomatoes

    The connection: Fried Green Tomatoes!


    2012-05-07 - Garden - 0008

    A pepper plant in its infancy. Rest in peace, little guy!

    Dog help me, this year I really really really tried to save my garden from the first frost! I’ve been either too lazy or indifferent to care in years past (especially last year, when gardening proved an epic failure anyway), but this year I truly wanted to do better. Our tomato and pepper plants were alive and thriving, giving us more fruits and veggies than we knew what to do with. Since May, I’d maintained a regular schedule of watering and harvesting, rarely skipping a day. Perhaps most importantly, the garden was one of the last remaining visages of my favorite season, which this year was particularly joyful and filled with days of sun and books and dogs and ice cream and other happy things. I did not want to see it end.

    Don’t get me wrong; I adore fall. Just as long as you ignore the fact that it leads to winter. Snow and cold and gloom and countless days of early darkness. Not particularly pleasant for depressive types like me. (Though I do like warm chai and hot chocolate, I must admit.)

    But wait, where were we? The death of my garden! I’ve been obsessing over the weather forecasts since mid-September, with special attention paid to the frost warnings. Our first one was for last Saturday night, and again Sunday – part of a cold snap – after which the daytime highs/nighttime lows would rise back into the 60s/70s and 40s/50s. I figured that if I could protect the plants over the weekend, I’d be able to extend their life for at least a week or two, until autumn came with full force. Though I don’t have any special equipment, I planned to blanket them with all the dog bedding in the house – nothing to sniff at, considering I live with seven dogs and a cat! – and hope for the best.

    Alas, I didn’t get a chance. I went out Saturday afternoon to pick one last round of ripe-ish tomatoes, just in case, only to find the plants beat and battered. Apparently it got just cold enough Friday night to damage the plants – but leave most of the tomatoes and peppers unscathed.

    And there were many! As in about four paper grocery sacks worth. (Ugh, if only they’d had enough time to ripen!) Lots of little grape and cherry tomatoes, but also quite a few Romas and larger Cherokee Purples, too. I don’t plant many larger tomatoes, on accounta they’re more likely to sustain bug damage before they ripen. And for most of the season, they did. But some time around September the bugs stopped gnawing on the tomatoes, and I had begun to hope that I might actually get a few tomatoes from these larger variety plants. Not so much.

    Rather than dwell, the mister and I picked what we could: red to green and everything in between. To give y’all an idea of how many tomatoes were still on the vine, we worked for an hour and only got to about half of them; I didn’t even bother with the smaller green tomatoes. The not-quite-ripe ones went into a sealed paper bag, along with a few apples, the ethylene gas from which will hopefully bring them to fruition. (Does this qualify as a pun? I can has puns?) The uber-green ones? Well, they’re the subject of today’s edition of Eat to the Beat.


    Fried (and Baked!) Green Tomatoes (0010)

    Fried (left) and baked green tomatoes.

    A last minute addition to the lineup, one borne of necessity, fried green tomatoes have been done to death this mofo. (Though I especially like veRAWnica’s “unfried” version, and Katie did a dinner and a movie menu for Fried Green Tomatoes. Good company!) But that’s okay, ’cause I did a little experimenting with baked green tomatoes, so something old, something new (also something borrowed – but sorry, nothing blue).

    There are a dizzying array of batter recipes out there, so I went with a basic cornmeal one for the fried tomatoes. Since they were inspired by the baked zucchini sticks I made over the summer, I decided to use a similar batter for the baked green tomatoes.

    Overall, I prefer baking green tomatoes: it’s easier, not quite as messy, doesn’t create a massive smoke cloud in the kitchen, and makes for a softer, better-tasting tomato. But that’s just my opinion! Try ’em both and be your own judge, jury, and executioner (of tomatoes! muahaha!).

    Okay, my spirits have lifted a bit. Thanks for listening, y’all. Now on to the foods!

    (More below the fold…)

    Eat to the Beat: Penne alla Vodka Martini & The Revels

    Thursday, October 11th, 2012


    The song: “Intoxica” by The Revels (instrumental)

    The foodstuff: Penne alla Vodka Martini from The Tipsy Vegan

    The connection: Booze!


    Back in the ’90s, my dad subscribed to this music club (CMJ! Anyone? Bueller?) – one of the perks of which was a sampler CD of the newest in alternative rock, conveniently sent to our mailbox each month. Quaint, right! Anyway, he always passed the CDs along to me when he was done with them, and it was through one of these mix tapes that I fell in love with “Intoxica.”

    (The Revels is actually a ’60s “surf music” band, which came back into vogue in the ’90s when one of its songs was featured on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Fun fact!)

    The great thing about instrumental music is that it’s like an (almost-)blank canvas – so much is left to the imagination when there are no words to guide you. Whenever I hear “Intoxia,” I picture a mad (yet fashionable) scientist and her hot research assistant, partying it up in the laboratory after hours: Sipping expensive imported champagne from test tubes, exploring some, ahem, “hypotheses” hands-on behind the lab counters. (Maybe they’re even sexologists? WHO KNOWS!)


    Penne alla Vodka Martini from Tipsy Vegan (0008)


    And what better food to fuel their curiosity than something rich and boozy? The Penne alla Vodka Martini from (what else?) The Tipsy Vegan is spiked with not one but two kinds of liquor (vodka and vermouth, to be precise), and the nondairy milk (thickened with cornstarch) adds creamy decadence to the sauce.

    Plus it’s so easy to make, our intrepid, sexy explorers need only a Bunsen burner or two to pull it off. (No not really! But this is a fantasy, so normal rules do not apply!)

    Schlimm recommends using crushed San Marzano plum tomatoes for the sauce – or, in lieu of the name-brand goods, tomatoes not packed in puree, as this makes the sauce too thick. Naturally, the only crushed tomatoes I could find locally list tomato puree as the first ingredient. To compensate, I omitted the tomato paste; I think it worked out rather well. FYI, for those who find themselves facing the same dilemma!


    Penne alla Vodka Martini from Tipsy Vegan (0017)


    Served with a glass of red vermouth, before I realized that it’s for mixing, not sipping. Silly me!


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    Eat to the Beat: Peanut Butter Dog Treats & Queen

    Wednesday, October 10th, 2012


    The song: “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Peanut Butter Dog Treats from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

    The connection: Ralphie turns the big ONE-FIVE today!


    2012-10-08 - Dogs Outside - 0005


    Veteran mofoers! Maybe you remember Ralphie the wiener dog? Since his birthday almost always falls during Vegan MoFo, he’s made at least one appearance every year since I started participating five years ago. And the one year Vegan MoFo was observed in November? He had his eye removed that month! Naturally, mom plied him with delicious foods to ease the pain.

    (For those not in the know: Ralphie had what turned out to be a benign melanoma in his right eye; as it grew it obscured his vision and would eventually start to cause him pain, so we made the decision to have his eye removed. While he did pretty awesome in the year following the surgery, he’s unfortunately experienced age-related degeneration in the remaining eye and is not-so-slowly going blind. He gets around okay considering, but a bout of vertigo earlier in the year kind of sapped him of his confidence. He’s a happy guy, in great health otherwise, but also much more dependent on his humans than he used to be. But still, he’s 15 and loves to dig for critters and go on hour-long walks! Focusing on the positive over here!)


    Peanut Butter Dog Treats from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur (0020)


    In honor of my little guy, this edition of Eat to the Beat is dedicated to Sir Ralphie. With a serenade by Queen, ’cause he and the other dogs are totes my BFFs, and a batch of Peanut Butter Dog Treats from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur because birthdays are for spoiling! (I actually considered making him a full-on cake, but thought it might be too messy and difficult to divvy out. I mean yeesh, some of the smaller dogs can’t even down a biscuit without trailing crumbs on the freshly vacuumed floor!)

    Though The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur is 99.999% people treats, Kelly Peloza was thoughtful enough to provide a recipe for our canine friends too! These Peanut Butter Dog Treats are super-easy to make and consist of just a few wholesome ingredients (namely, whole wheat flour, oats, peanut butter, and water).


    Peanut Butter Dog Treats from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur (0001)


    The dough isn’t really meant to be rolled out for cookie cutters – it’s kind of thick and not very stretchy – but I just bought a few new sets that I was dying to use, so I gave it a try anyway and guess what? SUCCESS! For three go-rounds, then I threw in my rolling pin and shaped the rest into little discs by hand. Which is really better for tiny dog mouths, but not nearly as pretty for pictures.


    Peanut Butter Dog Treats from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur (0008)


    I mean, look! I was able to spell out Ralphie’s name and his age, throw in a few hugs and kisses (xoxo), and even make some hearts, stars, and bones. Adorable right?


    Ralphie, enjoying some early birthday treats (0010)


    I tried taking some pictures of Ralph with his giant platter o’ biscuits, but he wasn’t in an especially cooperative mood. Not surprising, since there was food on the table. I snapped a few quick shots before he grabbed the one and only “H,” effectively ending the photo shoot.


    Ralphie, enjoying some early birthday treats (0027)


    I mean, “Ralpie?” Who the eff is that?

    In keeping with our new birthday tradition, here are Fifteen Little Ralphie Things, one for each year of his life on this marble we call Earth. There are so many more things I love about him – try kajillions – but these are just the first fifteen to come to mind.

    I love you, little guy. Now and forever.

    You, you’re my best friend.

    (More below the fold…)

    Eat to the Beat: Sloppy Joes & Adam Sandler

    Tuesday, October 9th, 2012


    The song: “Lunch Lady Land” by Adam Sandler (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Sloppy Joes (with a side of tater tots and carrot sticks) from Vegan Junk Food

    The connection: “SLOPPY JOE, SLOP, SLOPPY JOE!”


    Sloppy Joes from Vegan Junk Food (0019)

    Sloppy Joes, will make you feel twelve years old again!

    Initially I had hoped to pair this song with Tofutti frozen pizza – partially because everyone tells me that they’re reminiscent of the square-shaped, cheapo pizzas served in elementary school cafeterias across the US (in a good way!), but also because they’d make for a handy little “get of jail free” card for this mofo (in which “jail” = “the kitchen”) – but alas, none of my local specialty food stores carry them. I even have a free coupon, too! Phooey.

    In the end, I’m actually kind of glad I had to make an honest-to-goodness meal. Because, really, how could I pair anything but Sloppy Joes with “Lunchlady Land”? It’s right there in the refrain:

    sloppy joe, slop, sloppy joe
    sloppy joe, slop, sloppy joe
    sloppy joe, slop, sloppy joe
    sloppy joe, slop, sloppy joe

    Sloppy Joe is the hero of this song, fernoodleysakes!

    Browsing my cookbook collection, I was torn between the Sloppy Joe recipe in Vegan Junk Food (TVP based) and the Snobby Joes in Veganomicon (lentils!). So I let the husband do the tiebreaking, and he opted for Vegan Junk Food.


    Sloppy Joes from Vegan Junk Food (0004)

    A closer look at the “slop.”

    Good call! Lane Gold’s vegan Sloppy Joes are delicious and relatively easy to make. It’s been ages since I’ve had Sloppy Joes – well before my vegan or even vegetarian days – but Gold really nailed the taste and texture. The look, even! With the help of lots of tasty seasonings, like onion, garlic, vegan Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, and possibly some other goodies that I can’t remember at the moment.

    The hardest part is messing with the reconstituted TVP (texturized vegetable protein), which you have to soak in a mix of vegan beef broth, and then drain and pat dry with kitchen towels. I was able to get around wasting paper towels (or dirtying cloth ones; I wasn’t 100% sure which I was supposed to use) by pressing the TVP in a small salad drainer/colander. It has smaller holes than normal pasta colanders, so very little TVP escaped. Its tiny size also made it super-easy to catch most of the broth in a measuring cup; you add a little extra to the Sloppy Joe, um, “slop” for extra flavoring. Plan on making soup the next day with your leftover broth!

    Served with tots and carrot sticks because, hello!, cafeteria food! Sweet potato tots would be a nice touch, but too fancy for today’s purposes.


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    Eat to the Beat: Salty Chocolate Pecan Candy & Alannah Myles

    Monday, October 8th, 2012


    The song: “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Salty Chocolate Pecan Candy, made with homemade vegan white chocolate

    The connection: Is chocolate, with a southern pecan twang.


    Salty Chocolate Pecan Candy (0019)


    For this song, I wanted to make something both chocolaty and southern. (Though I suppose a fried peanut butter and banana sammie would have worked just as well!) Chocolate Pecan Pie is the obvious choice, but I didn’t want to be clichéd (or inadvertently eat an entire pie all by my little lonesome. Hey, it’s been known to happen!) After a little searching, I found this recipe for Salty Chocolate Pecan Candy on My Recipes. So Salty Chocolate Pecan Candy it is!

    Ah, but there’s a catch: vegan white chocolate. Anyone who’s been vegan through a holiday season or two is familiar with this holy grail of vegan baking ingredients. Rare and expensive!

    The first bar to come up in my search was The White Bar by Vegan Organica. A 3.5 ounce bar sells for $6.99 on Vegan Essentials. As soon as I saw the price, my jaw dropped: I’d need four bars for the recipe! I’ve spent a tidy little sum of money on foods and utensils that I don’t usually have on hand for this month’s Vegan MoFo meals – but $28 plus shipping on chocolate alone? Ugh, there’s no way I could justify that.

    Luckily, some of the other hits were recipes for vegan white chocolate. Time to get my experiment on!

    For this recipe, I needed to buy cocoa butter, soy milk powder (already on my list for a few other recipes), and a candy bar mold. The first two ingredients were easy enough, but I found myself stymied by the bar mold. For a newb like myself, buying an appropriately sized candy mold can prove a daunting prospect, since manufacturers don’t go into much detail on product listings or seem to have a standard way of describing things. (Sometimes I’m not even sure how many molds I’m buying! I NEED TWENTY LIFE-SIZED VULVAS AND I NEED THEM NOW!)

    In the end, I went with this 3-bar mold by CK Products and sold on Amazon. Pro tip:if you’re using this mold, a double batch of this recipe fills the three cavities perfectly!


    Vegan White Chocolate from Bitter Sweet (0007)


    All in all, vegan white chocolate is shockingly easy to make! Just microwave the cocoa butter (gently, it’s delicate!), stir in the other ingredients, pour into a mold, and chill. My first batch came out perfectly, though my second was a little grainy. Maybe I should have cleaned the bowl between batches one and two? I keep thinking that the batter clinging to the bowl interacted less than favorably with the melting cocoa butter, somehow preventing it from becoming as smooth as it could have been.

    Whatever, I’m not too concerned; now that I know how many batches fill a mold, I won’t be running into that problem again anyway!

    Grains or not, it was still delicious.

    Now for the pecan candy. As easy as the white chocolate is, the chocolate pecan candy is even more of a no-brainer: toast the pecans, assemble the dark and white chocolate in a checkerboard pattern on a shallow pan, and bake until melted. Swirl the chocolate; on go the pecans and salt. Chill and you’re done!


    Salty Chocolate Pecan Candy (0012)


    Unfortunately, the white chocolate didn’t quite melt as expected. As it got hotter, the liquids and solids separated from each other: the liquids, running to one end of the pan whilst the solids stayed put. Possibly this is because I baked the chocolate longer than recommended. You see, I thought that the dark chocolate would liquefy and even out as it melted – but it mostly retained it original shape! So I had no idea it was done until I lost patience and poked it with a toothpick. By that time, the white squares were mostly grainy bits, with airy cells separating them, like in a sponge. All the melty bits had migrated to the sides of the bar.

    I might have gotten better results if I’d stuck to the recommended bake time – but I suspect that the white chocolate still would have separated a bit. It started happening so soon in the process. I’m curious to see if the store-bought chocolate does the same, just not thirty dollars’ worth of curious.

    Though I despaired, I swirled the chocolate as best I could, then added the nuts and salt and popped the whole shebang in the fridge.


    Salty Chocolate Pecan Candy (0031)


    The next morning, a pleasant surprise awaited me. While it’s nowhere near as pretty as the non-vegan version, it’s still pretty tasty: sweet and salty, with toasted pecan goodness for protein! The grainy-but-with-air bits feel weird on the tongue, but they still have a nice flavor. Overall, not a rousing success – but not the epic failure I’d feared, either.

    On another note, I’ve started using some of my old dresses and long skirts as “table dressing” for my food photos. What do you think?


    New Strategy - Dress Dressing for My Food Photos (0003)


    True story: as I was carrying this dress slung over my shoulder, I passed the mister in the hallway. He shot me a strange look.

    “What, don’t you like my dress?”

    “Oh, I thought it was a Pilgrim costume.”

    Snap! Must’ve been the collar.


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    Eat to the Beat: The Hangover Tofu Omelet & Janis Joplin

    Sunday, October 7th, 2012


    The song: “What Good Can Drinking Do” by Janis Joplin (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: The Hangover Tofu Omelet from The Tipsy Vegan

    The connection: In an alternate universe (i.e., my fanfic), some groovy vegan chef made this for a hungover Janis; yada yada yada, the two fell madly in love, moved to Texas, adopted a bunch o’ cats, opened a combination farmed animal shelter-slash-vegan bed and breakfast, made delicious music and beautiful foods, and lived happily ever after. THE END.


    The Hangover Tofu Omelet from Tipsy Vegan (0005)


    I can’t even remember the last time I had an omelet! In my non-vegan life, I was more of a fried egg girl anyway. Omelets and scrambled eggs? Not really my favorite. But the Hangover Tofu Omelet in The Tipsy Vegan looked simple and tasty – not to mention, it fits this Janis Joplin song most perfectly – so I decided to give it a whirl.

    Marsala wine adds the “tips” to this omelet – but the taste is so subtle that you could easily omit it if you don’t have any on hand. (Though this kind of negates the point of the cookbook!) The silken tofu base is also seasoned with nutritional yeast, tahini, onion, garlic, and paprika, as well as a red (green, in my case) bell pepper sprinkled in the middle. Basically you blend everything but the pepper together, and then fry it on an oiled skillet until the underside is golden brown. Fold (the peppers, previously on the top, are now sandwiched comfortably in the middle of the omelet), cook for another minute, and serve warm with a few Lightlife breakfast sausage links.

    All in all, it’s pretty tasty, though methinks it could use a little extra seasoning. Some fresh onion or minced garlic, maybe? Also, I’m partial to the crispy parts, so next time around I might just flip the whole thing over instead of folding it into an omelet. Bonus points for burned parts!

    Pro tip: if your omelet sticks to the skillet and you’re not able to flip it properly: GO WITH IT! Make scrambled eggs instead. That’s what happened to Shane’s omelet.

    The Hangover Tofu Omelet from Tipsy Vegan (0024)

    The recipe only serves one, but you can easily double it to make two omelets. That way you won’t end up with extra tofu going moldy in your fridge. I hate having opened perishable ingredients sitting around, yo!


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    Eat to the Beat: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip & The Donnas

    Saturday, October 6th, 2012


    The song: “Midnight Snack” by The Donnas (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip from Vegan Junk Food

    The connection: “Baby you’ve got the right attitude / You know that [vegan] junk food gets me in the mood”


    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip from Vegan Junk Food (0018)


    I had so much trouble choosing a recipe to go with this song, y’all! Basically anything and everything dreamed up by Lane Gold in Vegan Junk Food is fair game – but the “Savory Treats” section? Shut the front door! Pretzel Bars. Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips. Candied Almonds. Caramel Popcorn. Root Beer Float Cupcakes. Okay, so that last one appears in “Cakewalk,” but given the song lyrics – “And then you made me a rootbeer float / But we finished it before you took off your coat” – I’d be remiss not to include it.

    Of all these oral delights, I decided to go with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip: sticky, sweet, trashy, devoid of any nutritional content – and, perhaps most importantly, easy to make, with no baking or hot appliances necessary. (The last thing you want to deal with when drunk-baking at 2AM is hot oil or rotating blades.) The most dangerous part of this recipe is the hand mixer – and it’s optional!


    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip from Vegan Junk Food (0028)


    Vegan cream cheese functions as the base in this Cookie Dough “Dip,” giving the finished product a decidedly cheesecake-like feel. Gold includes both powdered and brown sugar for double the sweetness, and walnuts and chocolate chips for extra chunkiness. The dip is fairly creamy and smooth right out of the mixing bowl, but you can pop it in the fridge or even freezer for a firmer dessert. (In fact, I’d love to try running a batch of this through my ice cream machine, as I suspect it’d taste even better frozen. Alas, I polished it all off before I was able to test. Boo me!)

    Gold recommends serving it with graham crackers (yes, yes, and yes), but it’s nearly as good licked right off the spoon (or a greedy finger). If you really wanna get weird (and I know that you do!), eat it with potato chips.

    You’re welcome.


    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip from Vegan Junk Food (0009)


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    Eat to the Beat: Nacho Pizza & The Beatles

    Friday, October 5th, 2012


    The song: “Blackbird” by The Beatles (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Nacho Pizza

    The connection: Straight from the Blackbird Pizzeria specialty pizza menu.


    Nacho Pizza, a la Blackbird (0003)


    Of all the specialty pizzas offered by Blackbird, it was the Yukon pizza I most wanted to make. But been there, done that! – and, since one of my Vegan MoFo goals is to try all new recipes, I settled on the Nacho pizza instead. Avocados, jalapenos, caramelized onions, Daiya cheddar cheese – do I have your attention, vegans?

    Since I’m kind of a baby when it comes to hot foods, this pie was all Shane’s. (I got my own Daiya cheese pizza, with fresh tomatoes and black olives – may favorites! – so no worries.) Though he’s never before had avocados on a pizza (we’re not a big avocado family, don’t ask me why), he proved an instant convert. The avocados offered more volume per slice, while the sweetness of the caramelized onions complemented the spicy jalapenos. And who doesn’t love Daiya cheese?

    He’s a moderately spicy kind of guy – when we buy jarred salsa, he goes with medium – and reports that one jalapeno (with two to three rounds per slice) made for a hot enough pizza without going overboard. If you’ve built up a greater tolerance, try two (or even three, dog help ya). The more you know!


    Nacho Pizza, a la Blackbird (0028)


    Nacho Pizza

    (Inspired by the Nacho Pizza at Blackbird Pizzeria.)


    …for a Fluffy White Pizza Crust

    1 cup warm water (110 degrees F / 45 degrees C) [Optional: sub in 1/2 cup of plain soy milk; this gave us a slightly thinner crust.]
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 1/4 tablespoons active dry yeast
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

    …for the pizza

    2 large onions
    2 teaspoons olive oil and/or margarine
    a dash of salt
    1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
    1-2 avocados, peeled and sliced
    1-2 jalapenos, cut into rounds
    Cheddar Daiya cheese
    Red pizza sauce
    Cornmeal or cooking spray with which to coat the pizza stone or pizza pan


    1. To prepare the dough: stir the water, sugar and yeast together until dissolved. Add the olive oil and salt, as well as any extra spices or seasonings. Stir in the flour until blended. Form the dough into a small ball and let rest in large bowl, covered loosely with a towel, anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.

    2. At least an hour before you’d like to start making the pizza, prepare the caramelized onions. (Alternately, you can prepare them ahead of time and store them in the fridge.)

    Peel the onions and remove the top and bottom ends. Cut each onion in half, then slice lengthwise to the desired thickness. Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with olive oil (about two teaspoons) or a mix of olive oil and margarine. Bring to heat on medium-high; when the oil is hot (but not smoking), add the onions, spreading them out evenly in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a dash of salt and, if desired, a tiny bit of sugar to aid in the caramelizing.

    Cover and cook on medium-low for another 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally so as to prevent the onions from sticking to the pan. If they begin to dry out, add a splash of water. As the onions cook down, you may want to reduce the heat to low; you’ll also need to stir the onions more often near the end of the process. If necessary, add a little extra olive oil to prevent them from sticking to the pan. The onions are done once they reach a rich, brown color. (See, e.g, this or this.)

    3. When you’re ready to assemble and bake your pizza, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spread a dusting of cornmeal onto your pizza stone (or lightly coat your pizza pan with cooking spray). Using fingers dipped in olive oil (optional), pat the dough onto the stone, spreading it out evenly.

    4. Add your toppings: pizza sauce, followed by the cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, jalapenos, and avocados.

    5. Bake at 425 degrees, for between 15 and 20 minutes for a single pizza, or 30 minutes for two pizzas.

    6. Enjoy!


    Nacho Pizza, a la Blackbird (0036)


    On another note, check out this awesome tee I scored for just $2 on my most recent trip to Goodwill.

    2012-09-24 - Reading is Delicious - 0001

    The pizza is really a book.

    2012-09-24 - Reading is Delicious - 0004

    Let me repeat: THE PIZZA IS REALLY A BOOK!

    I wonder if the book is hollowed out and stuffed with another pizza, Inception styley? A pizza within a book within a pizza within a book within a bowl of mac & cheese? Who knows! Just throw a dog in there and this is my idea of heaven.

    It’s a kid’s shirt, but a large, so I can just barely squeeze my person into it. Works for me!


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    Eat to the Beat: Peaches & Buttercream Ice Cream & Beck

    Thursday, October 4th, 2012


    The song: “Peaches & Cream” by Beck (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Peaches & Buttercream Ice Cream

    The connection: I would like to lick buttercream off of Beck’s naked body, mkay. Also, the song title.


    Peaches & Buttercream Ice Cream (0085)

    Ice cream party! Second only to pizza parties!

    Okay, so maybe ice cream isn’t your typical autumn snack, and peaches went out of style last season. But I love peaches, adore Beck, and enjoy ice cream year-round. And buttercream, hello! How could I resist?

    (I couldn’t. I am a buttercream addict. It took all of my willpower not to suck down the buttercream destined for this dish in the 20 hours between making it and churning the ice cream. IT WAS A LONG DAY, I TELL YOU WHAT.)

    This is a slight variation on the Vegan Vanilla & Chocolate Buttercream Swirl and Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Ice Cream I’ve made previously. The key is to add the buttercream after the ice cream’s done processing, so that it stays intact and creamy. Otherwise it blends in a little too thoroughly with the ice cream, resulting in a dessert that tastes a bit like buttercream (yum!) but lacks those delicious chunks and swirls of actual frozen buttercream (boo!). Buttercream bits are divine, much like Cockles or soy balls.

    If buttercream isn’t your thing (BLASPHEMER!), omit this part of the recipe to make peach ice cream. It’s pretty damn good, too. But you must roast the peaches! Always roast the peaches, it adds a sweetness and depth of flavor that just can’t be beat.


    Peaches & Buttercream Ice Cream (0063)

    It’s hard to see the chunks of buttercream, since it’s so similar in color to the
    ice cream, but trust me – it’s there! (Until it’s in my belly that is.)

    Peaches & Buttercream Ice Cream


    (Makes a little more than a quart of ice cream.)

    For the peach ice cream:

    1 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla), divided
    2 cups soy creamer (plain or vanilla)
    2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    4 peaches
    2 tablespoons brown sugar

    For the buttercream frosting:

    1/4 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
    1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons barley malt powder (optional)


    Prepare both recipes at least four to six hours in advance of making the ice cream, so that they’ve plenty of time to chill beforehand.

    For the ice cream:

    1. Begin by roasting the peaches. Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the peaches into quarters; peel each slice and remove the pits. Combine the peaches and brown sugar in a large bowl; cover and toss to mix. Transfer the slices to a baking pan (9″x9″ fits perfectly). Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes, or until the peaches are tender. Once the peaches are done baking, flip each slice onto the other “cheek” so that it soaks up some of the juices.


    Roasted Peaches for Peaches & Buttercream Ice Cream (0009)

    Exhibit A: Roasted peaches.
    fwiw, I would also happily eat these off of Beck’s naked body.
    Basically, any of the vegan things.

    2. After they’ve cooled, slice half of the peaches into bite-sized pieces. These will be mixed with the ice cream near the end of the ice cream machine’s cycle – so keep this in mind when dicing them (e.g., make the peach bits about as big as you’d like them to be in the finished product). Transfer them to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready for use.

    3. In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining peaches, as well as any remaining juices. Set aside.

    4. Time to make the ice cream batter! In a small bowl or cup, mix 1/4 cup of the soy milk with the arrowroot powder. Whisk briskly with a fork until combined. Set aside.

    5. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the rest of the soy milk, all of the soy creamer, the sugar, and the pureed peaches. Cook on low heat for about five minutes, whisking briskly. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a slow boil.

    6. Once the mixture begins to boil, remove it from the heat immediately. Add the arrowroot “slurry,” whisking it until the soy milk mixture thickens up. Add the vanilla extract, mixing well.

    7. Store covered in the fridge for at least four to six hours prior to making the ice cream. I usually make the “batter” the day or night before, so it has more than enough time to chill.

    For the buttercream frosting:

    8. Next, make the frosting! In a medium-sized bowl, combine the shortening and margarine; beat with a mixer until well blended.

    9. Add the powdered sugar and beat for about five minutes, or until the frosting becomes light and fluffy. Most likely you’ll need to pause several times to scrape the side of the bowl.

    10. Add the barley malt powder (optional) and vanilla extract and beat for several more minutes, until both are fully integrated into the frosting. Sample to taste and add extra sugar if needed.

    11. Transfer the frosting to a lidded container and store in a fridge. Let chill for at least four to six hours before using.

    For the grand finale:

    12. Process the ice cream “batter” according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. If there’s room in your machine, add the dices peaches near the end of the machine cycle; otherwise, stir in the peaches as you dispense the ice cream. When done, transfer the frozen – but still soft and pliable – ice cream to a large bowl. Mix the frosting in (gently!) by hand. Store covered in the freezer asap.

    Fun variation: for a swirly vs. chunky effect, load the frosting into a pastry bag and add it to the ice cream batter in long, thin strings (preferably as the ice cream maker dispenses the ice cream).

    Super important hint: be sure to keep the frosting refrigerated until you’re ready to use it!

    13. Enjoy as vegan softserve, or store in a tightly covered container for an hour or two for a more thoroughly frozen dessert. Close your eyes and dream of summer. It’s only eight months away!


    Peaches & Buttercream Ice Cream (0094)

    So good I licked all the bowls clean. The dogs also helped.


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    Eat to the Beat: Black Bean Burger with Onion Rings & Kansas

    Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012


    The song: “Carry on My Wayward Son” by Kansas (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Black Bean Burger with Onion Rings from Vegan Junk Food (and actual onion rings from the frozen foods section!)

    The connection: The Monster at the End of This Book


    ** Danger, danger! Minor spoilers ahead! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. **

    For the longest time (try seven years!) I resisted watching Supernatural, reports of its sheer epic awesomeness be damned. A show about two dudebros (literally! they’re dudes who just happen to be brothers!) doing dudely things while searching for their equally dudely absent father? Ugh, thanks but no thanks. The last thing I need on my TV are more men. More Buffys and Xenas and Nikitas, yes. John/Joan Watson 2.0? Fuck yeah! (I vote Lucy Liu for everything!) But white guys? We’ve got enough of those, don’t you think?

    Alas, I caught a few SPN reruns on TNT and fell in love with it in spite of myself. (The widely acknowledged homoerotic subtext being a ginormous bonus. Gay angels are MY FAVORITE!) Fast-forward four months and the husband and I have already blown through six seasons; Season 7 just became available through Netflix, and we’re eight episodes in. (So no spoilers, okay!) We’d better get a move on, seeing as Season 8 launches on the CW tonight. I predict an SPN marathon this weekend!


    Black Bean Burger with Onion Rings from Vegan Junk Food (0023)

    Saving animals, eating things. The family business!

    In honor of the occasion: a little Kansas and a Black Bean Veggie Burger!

    As per Dean – the obedient older son, the “good soldier” who embraces his father’s way of thinking, right down to his style (car: Impala; clothing: black leather jacket) – the SPN soundtrack is super-heavy on the ’70s and ’80s classic rock. Think: AC/DC. Zeppelin. Metallica. Bob Seeger. And Kansas, of course.

    For obvious reasons (see, e.g. THE PLOT), “Carry on My Wayward Son” made its appearance in Season 1, and was used with some frequency in the “previously on Supernatural” opening montages. In later seasons it was replaced by other classic rock standards, but it’s never failed to return for the season finales. If there’s one song I’ve come to associate with the show, this is it – and, judging from the fan vid above, I’m not alone!

    So there are the tunes. What about the food?

    While pie is the obvious – and tempting – choice (shipping Dean with pie is a cult fave in the fandom), I chose the road less traveled with a veggie burger.

    In Season 4, Episode 18, “The Monster at the End of This Book,” Chuck (author of The Book of Winchester – known topside as Supernatural) has a prophecy that Sam will enjoy some sexy time with demon Lilith. This is unequivocally NOT A GOOD THING, as she’s on a quest to break the 66 Seals to spring Lucifer from his cage in Hell. Plus Sam has demon blood pulsing through his veins, and Team Free Will lives in constant fear that he’ll go Dark Side.

    Anyway, in order to prevent Chuck’s vision from coming to fruition, Dean proposes an opposite day: whenever they’re presented with a choice, do exactly the opposite of what they’d normally do. A series of small, seemingly insignificant steps might lead them down a different path. And so, ordering lunch in a diner, Dean forgoes the bacon cheeseburger (world famous: “Oprah’s girlfriend said we have the best bacon cheeseburgers in the country”) in lieu of a “veggie tofu burger.”

    Oh great, I’m thinking. He’s going to get a round disc that resembles cardboard and Dean will take one bite before spitting it across the table and onto Sam because EW TOFU!

    Much to my surprise, Dead is pleasantly surprised by his lunch: “Oh, my god. This is delicious. Tofu is amazing!”

    Score for Team Vegan!

    Except, not so much: ten seconds later the waiter returns to the table. Turns out she gave him the bacon cheeseburger by mistake. You know, Gail’s bacon cheeseburger.


    I want to show Dean that a veggie burger need not be a slab of slimy, tasteless tofu. (In fact they never are! It’s an urban legend circulated by defensive omnivores!) Really, vegan burgers aren’t all that diff from non-vegan burgers: some are meh, others are just alright slathered in mustard and mayo and bbq sauce and relish – and others are like tiny little orgasms in your mouth. Ship that!

    So I went searching through all the vegan cookbooks at my disposal and came up with this: the Black Bean Burger with Onion Rings (served with a side of onion rings, natch!) from Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food. Black beans, bread crumbs, french fried onions, mayo (it’s vegan too!), BBQ sauce, ketchup, chili powder – this baby’s got it all! Unhealthy (though still better for your ticker than an animal meat burger!), decadent, and deliciously trashy, this is the kind of veggie burger non-vegan joints ought to have on their menus!

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    Eat to the Beat: Shepherd’s Pie & Hole

    Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012


    The song: “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran (and covered by Hole; lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Shepherd’s Pie from Cooking Vegan

    The connection: This hearty dish will satisfy carnists of all shapes and sizes. Not to mention the vegans in the house!


    Shepherd’s Pie and “Hungry Like the Wolf” – because both prey on gentler creatures such as sheep. But the joke’s on them, because this “pie” is vegan, yo!

    For obvious vegan feminist reasons (supposedly “shepherdess pie” is slang for meatless shepherd’s pie), I was tempted to make Veganomicon’s Tempeh Shepherdess Pie – but ultimately opted for the Shepherd’s Pie from Cooking Vegan instead. (Maybe I didn’t have any tempeh on hand? Can’t remember!)


    Shepherd's Pie from Cooking Vegan (0002)


    More like a casserole than a pie –

    I was expecting it all to be enclosed in a crust, a la Amy’s brand Shepherd’s Pie; cue: sad Kelly when I realized otherwise

    – this dish features a layer of vegan ground round mixed with celery, onions, garlic, soy sauce, and worcestershire sauce (vegan, natch!), layered with frozen corn and mashed potatoes.


    Shepherd's Pie from Cooking Vegan (0029)


    It was fairly easy to make, minus the mashed potatoes: the husband stepped in as my pinch hitter here, because me and mashed potatoes always end with starchy potato chunks decorating the kitchen and a forlorn woman who vaguely resembles me, cowering and crying in the corner. Pro tip: sub in your own favorite mashed potato recipe, or add some extra seasonings – garlic, maybe, or margarine – ’cause the mashed potato layer in CV’s Shepherd’s Pie is kind of bland. The strong (and not unpleasant) taste of the ground round mix offsets this a bit – but only goes so far.

    I couldn’t find any vegan ground round in my rural MO grocery stores, so I just defrosted six large Sam’s Club-sized Boca Burgers on the countertop and then fried and mashed them until they resembled ground round. I also switched out the celery for carrots because CELERY EWWWWW! Otherwise I think I followed the recipe more or less faithfully.

    The bake time is pretty flexible, and this is the kind of meal you can make a day in advance and store in the fridge until it’s needed.

    I meant to serve it with some warm, buttery (margariney?) dinner rolls, but forgot to thaw them in advance. No matter! This pie has more than enough carbs for everyone, not to mention veggies, protein, and a bit of fat. All your foods on one plate. Hearty, filling, and tasty. Just toss a brownie on top and call it a night!


    Shepherd's Pie from Cooking Vegan (0034)


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    Eat to the Beat: Bacon Egg Salad with a side of Taters and Strings & Suzanne Vega

    Monday, October 1st, 2012


    The song: “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Bacon Egg Salad with a side of Taters and Strings – recipes via Vegan Junk Food and American Vegan Kitchen, respectively

    The connection: Diner food!


    Right out of the gate, and already with the ’90s music! I won’t lie; most of this month’s Eat to the Beat soundtrack isn’t from this decade, or even this millennium. Hole, Beck, Blind Melon, Bloodhound Gang – and The Beatles, The Marcels, and The Monkeys – this is the music I grew up on. Some of it was considered “the oldies” way back then, while the contemporary stuff is now called “vintage.” (Much to my shock and dread!) Not to date myself, but. Fellow 30-somethings, represent!


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    Today’s specials are the Bacon and Egg Salad from Vegan Junk Food, served on a bed of greens with a side of Taters and Strings from American Vegan Kitchen, and set to the beat of “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega. This is diner food at its best! (And possibly its healthiest – despite its title, the goodies found in Vegan Junk Food are generally healthier than the stuff I make myself!)

    To replicate the taste and texture of boiled eggs, Lane Gold uses mashed chick peas, small bits of tofu, and large homemade croutons mixed with vegan mayo, dijon mustard, and relish. Oh, and don’t forget the vegan bacon bits! Though it’s been ages since I’ve had non-vegan egg salad, the result is spectacular. Not quite egg-like (but maybe that’s a good thing? boiled eggs, they smell like feet!), but still delicious. And the texture’s pretty spot-on, too! Easy to throw together in a pinch, you can make it ahead of time for a quick and simple meal. In future versions, I’ll probably thrown in some black olives – I always loved olives in my egg salad – but that’s really the only thing I’d change.


    Bacon Egg Salad from Vegan Junk Food (0005)


    Along with some garden-fresh tomatoes (some of the last of ’em, I’m afraid!), we have Taters and Strings on the side. Baked red potatoes with fresh green beans, baked in olive oil and tossed with lemon juice, parsley, and rosemary. Super-yummy, and also ridiculously easy to make. (Especially since you don’t even need to peel the potatoes!) I usually prefer my green beans canned (so silky soft!), but these were pretty tasty too. I ate my veggies and I LIKED IT! I am officially an adult now.


    Taters & Strings from American Vegan Kitchen (0004)


    By the by, at the last moment I discovered that I was out of Nayonaise. The horror! Luckily, I was able to make my own version with silken tofu. (Available by the case on Amazon. Yay!) Using this recipe for Tofu Mayo as a jumping-off point, I added and subtracted seasonings based on the ingredients list for Nayonaise. The result? Pretty damn close, if I do say so myself. The mustard gives it a bit of a yellow tinge – but close your eyes, and it’s almost like you’re eating the name brand stuff. Not that you’d want to eat mayo by the spoon, ’cause that’s just weird. But if you wanted to.

    This adorable crab plate, by the way? Snagged it for just 69 cents at Goodwill! I never pay more than a buck for a piece of dinnerware, I tell you what!


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