French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

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

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

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

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

Vegan Christmas Cookies Infiltrate Your Gift Basket

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

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

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

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

And you know what? Hazelnut flour FTW!

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

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The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2014 edition!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Cookbook Review: Vegan Eats World, Terry Hope Romero (2013)

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

“What if the world was vegan?”

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this cookbook for review from the publisher.)

Wherever it’s eaten, meat basically remains the same – it’s plant foods that transport our senses. Apply those flavors to vegan staples such as seitan or tofu and even straight-up vegetables, and the possibilities? If not endless, pretty darned expansive.

As a semi-reformed fussy eater, I was both nervous and excited when Da Capo Press offered me a copy of Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World: 300 International Recipes for Savoring the Planet for review. (Waaaay back in May, to celebrate the book’s release in paperback. I’m SO SORRY it took as long as it did, you guys!) Nervous because I knew that many of the recipes contained therein would fall outside my comfort zone and challenge me to try new things – and excited for the same.

The recipes in Vegan Eats World run the gamut: there’s everything from soups and sammies to spring rolls, dumplings, and pierogies. Crepes, breads, and pies, of both the sweet and savory persuasions. Tofu scrambles, gyros, curries, and noodles. French tarts, Greek lasagna, Ethiopian tortes, and Egyptian soup. Romero traverses the globe in search of traditional dishes to veganize and otherwise “hack,” combining different ingredients and foodstuffs in exciting and unconventional ways. The result is a hodgepodge of recipes which hail from South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and are as mouth-watering as they are varied. There’s literally something for everyone here!

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Turkish Zucchini Pancakes (with leftover White Bean Farro Soup!)

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

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Along with the pesto for Sunday’s Butternut Squash Pizza, these Turkish Zucchini Pancakes from Vegan Eats World feature the very last of this season’s home-grown zucchini. (Yay! I did it! Now I can go back to stuffing my fridge with junk food!) Other goodies include carrots, white and chickpea flour, scallions, onions, and – an unexpected surprise for your taste buds – dill!

I’ve made zucchini pancakes about a million and twelve times now, but these are the best I’ve had in recent memory. Maybe it’s because I actually took the time to wring out the zucchini shreds in a towel instead of just throwing them in a colander and leaving gravity to do all the work? Whatever, I’m not complaining. Plus the leftovers heat up nicely in a frying pan or on the griddle.

I served them with leftover White Bean Farro Soup, the picture of which came out much prettier (and clearer!) this time around.

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White Bean Farro Soup with Chickpea Parmigiana Topping

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

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You guys, this might be my favorite Vegan Eats World soup yet! It’s super-hearty, with farro wheat berries (my first ever time trying them! and they are AWESOME!), tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and cannelini beans (or great white northern, in my case; forgot to go shopping, OOPS!). Spinach or escarole is optional; I shredded mine into little itty bitty pieces so it wouldn’t get all wilty and slimy. (HATE cooked leafy greens.) It gave the soup a nice, festive Christmasy feel and kind of overruled the need for parsley. Way tasty, all around.

The topping is an Ethiopian/Mediterranean mashup involving cooked chickpea flour and lemon juice to make a tangy, parmesan-like garnish. It pairs most excellently with the soup and adds an unexpected kick. So good!

I’ve already claimed dibs on the leftovers.

Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew and Oven Pommes Frites

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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Continuing with our “enough onions to cry a small army to sleep” theme is this Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew from Vegan Eats World. This one’s got 3 yellow onions – a full pound and a half! My eyes were aching for hours after dinner, no lie. Even though I cheated and just used two onions. I KNOW I AM THE WORST.

Also present: carrots, homemade seitan, dark beer (vegan, of course!), mushrooms, and various spices and seasonings including but not limited to thyme (a ten on the savory spectrum), brown sugar, and tomato paste.

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The broth is quite gravy-like, making this stew the perfect topping (or dip!) for oven-baked fries. I don’t know why I don’t make my own fries more often, y’all; do it right, and they are tastier than the frozen stuff by far.

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Shane was nice enough to make the Seitan Coriander Cutlets ahead of time, along with a batch of 5-Spice Seitan for his own snacking needs. (He likes to put them in burritos, along with some rice and beans.) The former are oven-baked while the latter recipe uses a steamer. He was happy with the results, but wasn’t so crazy about the amount of aluminum foil he burned through. Experiments with boiling the cutlets are forthcoming. Stay tuned!

“Like an Egyptian” Lentil Soup

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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The Season of Soups continues with the “Like an Egyptian” Lentil Soup from Vegan Eats World. Super-yummy and easy to make, with lentils (green, brown, black – take your pick!), carrots, fennel (love!), cumin, coriander, and onions.

Lots and lots of onions: one yellow onion, added directly to the soup, and three red onions, caramelized first. My eyes are still recovering from all the onion-induced crying, y’all.

2014-10-12 - VEW Egyptian Lentil Soup - 0001 [flickr]

Looks like BRAAAAAAAINS!
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I kind of cheated, though; my skillet could only easily fit two onions at a time, so I got a little lazy and just went with two red onions. I think it was just about perfect; any more and it might have skewed the onion-to-lentil ratio in favor of the former. Then I’d have to rename this “Like an Egyptian” Onion Soup. So much paperwork.

An interesting side note re: the onions – you cut them in half and then slice them into half-moon shapes. These totes look like noodles once they’re added to the soup. It’s a little disconcerting. But also not a little tasty.

Tenacious Tart Tatin

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

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Now that I’m knee-deep in apples, so begins my annual autumnal tradition: trying each and every apple recipe I can get my hands on. In the case of this Tenacious Tart Tatin (also known as a French Caramelized Apple Tart), it also means knocking another dish off my to-do for reviews list. It’s from Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World, and is not nearly as fussy as its sounds.

While the recipe does require a few rounds of waiting for stuffs to freeze (the olive oil and then the crust), I was able to spend that time peeling and chopping apples for storage over the winter. You need fresh, firm apples for this recipe, and I worried that my scrappy, home-grown fruit wouldn’t make the cut. Soft apples are prone to devolving into applesauce, you see. (Applesauce: also on the schedule for this month!) But I offset that by slicing my apples on the large side, which seemed to do the trick.

For all its wonderful flakiness, the crust is pretty easygoing. You’re supposed to bake it in a springform pan, which I don’t have, so I just used a regular pie pan. (But not glass, on accounta the rapid change in temps.) I had some trouble slicing and serving the first few pieces of the finished tart, but otherwise it worked just fine.

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This is a seriously sweet tart, even by my standards. You cook the apples along with the caramel on the stovetop (they taste almost poached when done – so good!), transfer them onto the tart, and then drizzle the caramel on top of the whole shebang. And there was so much caramel, y’all! I wonder if maybe I should have held some back.

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The apples made the house smell heavenly, and the scent even coaxed the dogs out of their rainy-day stupor – as evidence by a shamelessly begging Rennie in the above photo.

Yes, I let her lick my plate. ALWAYS.

Greek Creamy Lemon Rice Soup with Yogurt Naan Griddle Bread

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

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One upside to the end of VeganMoFo? I can finally turn my attention back to the many other tasks I neglected throughout most of September. Like finally reviewing that copy of Vegan Eats World that Da Capo Press sent me all those months ago! (I’m so sorry you guys, really. The time just got away from me!)

Since the weather’s starting to turn chilly, I decided to concentrate on the soups: starting with this Creamy Lemon Rice Soup! Subtitled “‘No’ Govlemano,” this is a veganized version of the “zesty [Greek] classic egg-lemon chicken soup.” Which I’ve never had (I don’t think I ever tried an egg-based soup in my omni days!), so I can’t really comment on its authenticity vis-à-vis the original – but I can say that it’s delicious: thick and creamy, with pureed white beans and both orzo pasta and arborio rice, the pairing of which adds multiple textures to the dish. And the lemon is unexpectedly awesome.

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I decided to pair it with naan bread, mainly because I wanted to see if I could do it. I don’t have such a hot track record with breads, you see. But the naan turned out to be super-easy to make, even if baking it in the cast iron skillet did smoke up the house a little. (Worth it!) I couldn’t find any vegan yogurt locally – it seems to have plummeted in popularity lately – so I used this recipe at Oh She Glows to make my own. I know, right! How cool is that?

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The leftover naan is perfect for baking individual quickie pizzas, pita pizza styley. The bread is a little thinner than pita and results in a floppier crust, but no complaints here.

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Incidentally, the flexibility of the bread also makes it awesome for hummus wraps. (Or is this considered a sammie?) Naturally I overdid it with the fillings, so that the bread stood no chance of staying put when folded, but trust me when I say that it works even better for this purpose than the (thicker, less pliable) pita bread I normally use.

This is definitely a recipe that’ll be entering into regular rotation ’round these parts. Ditto: the soup.

Carbs & Rec: Sloppy Adam Sandlers

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

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

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

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

(More below the fold…)

Carbs & Rec: Happy Cauliflower Day! (Belated, but still.)

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

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Technically Cauliflower Day was yesterday, but I would have had to preempt the very first Waffle Wednesday in order to make it work, and that simply would not do! As much as I love cauliflower, sweet breakfast food trumps it every. single. time.

Also a technicality: Cauliflower Day celebrates the first AND LAST time that Leslie and Ben ate cauliflower together. Leslie did not care for it. So really, this dish should feature broccoli, pizza, ice cream, or some other food that isn’t cauliflower.

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But wait! Stay with me here.

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Vegan Eats World this entire pan of Pastichio Vegani.

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

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As if The HappyCow Cookbook wasn’t keeping me busy enough, Da Capo Press sent me a copy of Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World for review. Two cookbooks at once; the insanity right? I can barely juggle one at a time.

Originally published in 2012, a shiny new paperback edition of Vegan Eats World came out a few months ago. I liked the original cover well enough, but I’m seriously digging the paperback version. You know what I want to see on the cover of my cookbook? Food, food, and more food. Please!

Since I’m a seriously fussy eater, I figured the international bent of Vegan Eats World would provide a nice challenge for my taste buds. I already have a list several pages long of the recipes I want to try (and a corresponding shopping list several miles long!) – but of course, my very first is a pasta dish. OF COURSE. Greek Eggplant Lasagna, otherwise known as Pastichio Vegani, eggplant optional.

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This lasagna, you guys? Totally my favorite. Of all the times. For starters, it doesn’t call for lasagna noodles, so no laboring over a giant, steaming hot cauldron, gently stirring giant lasagna noodles while whispering a prayer to the great Spaghetti Monster in the sky that they’ll come out with minimal rippage.

The top, cheesy, crispy layer is what Romero calls an “almost-Bechamel topping” (I hadn’t heard of Béchamel sauce until earlier this month, and now I’m seeing it everywhere!). It’s a tofu and cashew-based cheese that’s cooked until it’s firm and crispy brown on top. You guys! I could seriously just eat the cheese by itself.

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Then there are two layers of pasta slathered in a roux sauce (again, the roux is so surprisingly tasty that I could eat it as is) separated by a layer of chunky veggie sauce with mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. The sauce has a special surprise: a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon, complemented by the nutmeg in the almost-Bechamel topping. I have to admit, I was a wee bit nervous putting these two spices in pasta; it’s not my usual way of doing things. But the end result was pretty awesome: the cinnamon gives the sauce an extra kick that’s spicy, but not hot; and the nutmeg just rounds the cinnamon out. Hella good.

My favorite part, of course, are the corners:

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Next time I’m totally gonna make this in a brownie pan. THEY’RE ALL CORNERS!

So yeah, my first attempt from Vegan Eats World? A massive success. Luckily, there are only a few more Mediterranean-style pasta dishes here, so even if I play it safe and stick with pasta to start, sooner or later I’ll have to move on to more adventurous (to me!) fare.

Lemony Roasted Potatoes

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catch me daddy!

Monday, November 19th, 2012


 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

 

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

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

The connection: Rubber boots and rainy day soups!

 

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

 

Creamy Tomato Soup from Veganomicon (0004)

 

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

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

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

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

 

Creamy Tomato Soup from Veganomicon (0027)

 

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

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

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

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

 

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

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

The connection: Beans, beans, the magical fruit.

 

Cheater Baked Beans from Veganomicon (0018)

 

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

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

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

 

Cheater Baked Beans from Veganomicon (0008)

 

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

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

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

 

Skillet Corn Bread from Veganomicon (0003)

 

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

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

Oh, if only I had some No-tella left…

 

Skillet Corn Bread from Veganomicon (0002)

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

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

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

 

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

The foodstuff: Not-tella from Veganomicon

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

 

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

My spread? Un-spreadable!

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

 

No-Tella from Veganomicon (1-0011)

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

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

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

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

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

 

No-Tella from Veganomicon (2-0083)

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

 

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!
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Hmmm. I’m beginning to regret not ordering the extra value triple pack of hazelnut oil. How could I possibly use all three, I asked myself? Better just to buy one. Ugh so many regrets!

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

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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