Spaghetti Not-Cake

Friday, January 10th, 2014

2014-01-04 - Unbaked Spaghetti Cake - 0002 [flickr]

So remember that Spaghetti Cake I made for New Year’s Eve? Yeah, well, I didn’t even last a week before I decided to experiment with an unbaked version! Turns out, there’s not much tinkering necessary: I just made the pasta sauce (with an added zucchini and roasted red pepper for extra chunkiness; also, in the spirit of cleaning out the fridge!) and tofu-cashew ricotta as instructed and then mixed them both with the cooked pasta and, voilà!, dinner is served! The resulting sauce is kind of like a marinara-alfredo hybrid: rich, creamy, oh-so-hearty, and super-decadent.

Initially the plan was to set some extra sauce aside for dipping (dinner rolls, nom) but, as it turned out, the “meatier” parts of the sauce kind of naturally separated from the noodles when I stirred it all together, so measuring and parsing seemed unnecessary.

Plus the once-baked version requires 45 minutes less bake time AND one fewer dirty dish, so it’s a win-win. There’s no breadcrumb-nooch topping on this one, but you can always sprinkle some homemade parm on there if you’d like. Almost the same thing! Or just toast some nooch and breadcrumbs and use that instead. Tasty either way!

This is one of those rare pasta dishes that tastes better fresh out of the pot, but it’s still damn good the next day.

Cookbook Review: The Cheesy Vegan, John Schlimm (2013)

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

It’s easy being cheesy!

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: The publisher sent me a free copy of this book for review at my request.)

Vegan cheese! No two words in the English language are able to arouse the excitement, the vociferous debate, the unbridled passion of vegans quite like “vegan cheese.” (Except – maybe – “free pizza”!) Whether arguing about the merits of Daiya vs. Teese or swapping our favorite cheesy sauce recipes, us vegans love to cut the cheese. (Sorry I’m not sorry.)

John Schlimm’s latest cookbook, The Cheesy Vegan, doesn’t disappoint. Filled with recipes for cheesy sammies and cheesy pizzas and cheesy pasta dishes and cheesy soups and sides (and an entire chapter of mac & cheese! ONE WHOLE CHAPTER!), there are also a ton of recipes for homemade cheeses: Cheddar. Mozzarella. Brie. Swiss. Feta. Ricotta. Blue. Jack. Muenster. Wine. American. Cottage. Cream. Parmesan. Nooch cheese. You name it! If it’s cheesy, it’s in here.

Better yet, the cheeses are all pretty easy to make: just blend and chill. I’ve been on the fence about whether I should give Artisan Vegan Cheese a try, since (from what I’ve seen) some of the recipes border on alchemy. But these are actually recipes that homemade cheese novices like myself can pull off with some ease!

While choosing recipes to test for this review, I tried to select dishes that would allow me to experiment with a variety of the homemade cheeses. Six weeks, seven cheeses, and thirteen (plus!) meals later, and I think I’m finally ready to do this!

For what it’s worth, I’ve been allergic to milk my entire life – so I’m not exactly the best judge of whether vegan cheeses taste or even behave like their non-vegan counterparts. Luckily, my husband was more than happy to help with the taste-testing and opinionating. (We’ve both been vegan since the mid-aughts and consider ourselves connoisseurs of vegan cheese.)

With that disclaimer out of the way – let’s get cheesy!

(More below the fold…)

Z is for Ziti All’amatriciana

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Z if for Ziti All'amatriciana [Betty Goes Vegan] (0005)

You guys! Can you believe that VeganMoFo ’13 is nearly over? We did it!

To celebrate, I give you this big, steaming plate of Z-is-for-Ziti Ziti All’amatriciana. Only I used penne in place of ziti, on account of we have just about every type of pasta in the pantry save for ziti. That and I’m a big old cheater. Surely you can forgive me, this being the last letter of the alphabet and all?

So this recipe, like many of the others I blogged this month, is from Betty Goes Vegan. The sauce is a mix of diced tomatoes, mashed tofu, and some other goodies. I also threw in some tomato powder and tomato flakes to help add extra flavor to the tofu, but I bet tomato paste would work just as well. (I just didn’t feel like breaking open a whole new can.)

I’m a little fussy when it comes to tofu (in fact, for the letter T I briefly toyed with the idea of writing a Fussy Vegan’s Guide to Hiding Tofu in Your Favorite Dishes, but scrapped it in favor of Tuscan Bread Soup; but, seeing as it’s a question I’m asked with some frequency, I might just write that article anyway) and prefer my tomato sauce without it. Even so, it turned out tasty enough and I licked my plate clean.

The recipe only calls for 1/2 cup of ziti, which even now seems so small as to be a typo. I multipled it by eight and cooked four cups (dried) of penne, figuring that I could set the extra aside if I made too much. I didn’t need to – the sauce coated the pasta just fine. I think three cups might be the sweet spot though. Or maybe I just don’t know my pasta All’amatriciana – is it a dish that’s supposed to be awash in sauce?

Served with a few hearty slices of Easy Olive Oil Garlic Toast, also from Betty Goes Vegan. If enjoying bread with pasta is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

 
null
 

Q is for Quiche (with a Hash Brown Crust!)

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Q is for Quiche (with a Hash Brown Crust!) (0002-18)

Originally I’d planned on making a quiche from either Vegan Brunch (Classic Broccoli!) or Betty Goes Vegan (Quiche Lorraine!) to represent the letter Q – and then Shane brought home a ginormous, 3-pound bag of hash browns. (I needed one whole cup for another recipe. Yeah.) With freezer space at a premium, I got the idea of making a quiche with a hash brown crust. So I hit the internet and, lo and behold: it’s been done before. Yay!

This recipe is a mashup of the hash brown quiche recipes found online and a Spinach Mushroom Quiche I made for VeganMoFo last year. Because I have a slightly oversized pie plate – 10″ versus the standard 9″ – I increased the amount of hash browns used from three to four cups, and added an extra teaspoon each of margarine and olive oil. If you have a smaller pie plate, just use three cups hash browns and two tablespoons each of margarine and olive oil. The salt is optional, but tasty. I like my potatoes with a little sodium, you know?

For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’ll ever make a quiche with a traditional crust again. The hash browns are the perfect complement to the quiche’s egg-like filling. It’s basically the fanciest means of eating breakfast foods for dinner. Universally recognized as a mature and responsible adult, yo.

Q is for Quiche (with a Hash Brown Crust!) (0001)

Hash Brown Quiche

4 cups hash browns
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon margarine
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, roasted and diced
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed, diced, and pressed to remove excess moisture
1 pound firm tofu
1/2 cup plain nondairy milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional; I used cheddar Daiya)
1-2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
vegan parmesan cheese to taste (optional; see recipe here)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 450F.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the hash browns, margarine, olive oil, and salt; mix well. Grease a 10″ pie plate. Transfer the potato mix into the pie plate and press down firmly, on the bottom and sides, until you have an even “crust.” Bake at 450F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes start to turn golden.

(Pro tip: if the top of the crust isn’t browning fast enough, set the oven to broil and leave it in for an extra minute or two. Be careful not to burn the sides, though! But if you do, just cover them up with the quiche filling; no one needs to know!)

3. As the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onions until soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook on medium heat until the mushrooms are browned to your liking. Stir frequently. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

4. In a food processor, combine the tofu, nondairy milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, chives, garlic powder, and salt. Process until smooth. Sample the batter and add any extra seasonings to taste.

5. In a large bowl, fold together tofu, mushrooms, spinach, red peppers, and cheese (optional). Pour the mixture into the pie crust; top with the tomato slices and a bit of vegan parmesan cheese if desired.

6. Bake at 375F for about 45 minutes, or until the quiche is firm and lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

 
null
 
null
 

Tofu Scramble with Roasted Vegetables

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

2013-05-19 - Roasted Veg Tofu Scramble - 0002

This is just a little something I threw together (several times, actually) during the chaos that was May. Leftover roasted veggies in the fridge + about-to-expire tofu = nearly effortless breakfast for dinner deliciousness.

Now if only I could eat my feelings away…

 

Tofu Scramble with Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients

2 large potatoes
3 large carrots
1/2 onion, diced
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to take

1 pound firm tofu, lightly pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon chives (or parsley)
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste (optional)

Directions

1. Begin by roasting the vegetables. (This step can be done an hour or a several days in advance; just store the roasted veggies in an airtight container in the fridge until ready for use.) Preheat the oven to 450F. Wash, peel, and chop the potatoes and carrots. Cut the carrots into largish bite-sized pieces; the potatoes should be slightly larger, as they’ll break down a bit while cooking in the scramble. In a large baking pan, combine the carrots, potatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper; mix well. Spread the vegetables out so that they’re in a single layer. Bake, uncovered, at 450F for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Stir once halfway through. When done, set aside.

2. Lightly press the brick of tofu to drain the excess moisture. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat (add an extra tablespoon if necessary). Add the diced onion and cook for about five minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another five minutes.

3. As the onion and garlic are cooking, place the tofu in a large bowl and mash it with a fork until it becomes crumbly.

4. Pour the tofu into the skillet and mix it in with the onion and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, cumin, turmeric, and the salt. Mix well. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the moisture from the tofu has evaporated. Add the roasted vegetables and chives and continue to cook until the veggies are warm and the scramble is to your liking. Serve warm.

Bacon and Tot Tofu Scramble

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

2013-04-28 - Bacon & Tot Tofu Scramble - 0001

I was craving something unhealthy – but not too unhealthy- for dinner, and this is what I came up with. Tater tots practically scream “junk food” (ditto: pan-fried bacon, vegan or not), but the tofu save this dish from nutritional purgatory.

Normally I’d add some veggies into the mix – corn, carrots, maybe some peppers or tomatoes – but this was right before a shopping trip and my stores were running low. Feel free to add in a cup or two of your favorites between steps 3 and 4. Mushrooms and black olive would go great with this flavor combo, I think.

 

Bacon and Tot Tofu Scramble

Ingredients

3-4 cups frozen tater tots
6 to 8 strips of Lightlife Smart Bacon (or tempeh bacon, if you prefer)
1 pound firm tofu, lightly pressed
1-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon chives
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Cook the tater tots according to the instructions on the package. When they’re cooking, get going on the tofu scramble.

2. In a large frying pan or skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat. Add the bacon strips and cook evenly on each side (or according to the skillet directions on the package). When done, place the strips on a plate lined with paper towels; set aside. Leave as much of the oil – “bacon grease” – in the pan as possible.

3. Lightly press the brick of tofu to drain the excess moisture. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat (add an extra tablespoon if necessary). Add the diced onion and cook for about five minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another five minutes.

4. As the veggies are cooking, place the tofu in a large bowl and mash it with a fork until it becomes crumbly.

5. Pour the tofu into the skillet and mix it in with the onion and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, cumin, turmeric, parsley/chives, and the salt. Mix well. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until much of the moisture from the tofu has evaporated and the scrambled tofu is to your liking. Add the tater tots and mix well. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle it on top of the tofu/tot mixture. Serve warm with ketchup, sriracha, gravy, or cheesy sauce!

Mom’s Morning Casserole

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

2013-04-09 - VB Mom's Morning Casserole - 0002

2013-04-09 - VB Mom's Morning Casserole - 0011

Another breakfast dish from Vegan Brunch – but you probably caught that from the picture. Though I doubt I’d ever be awake and aware enough to assemble this for breakfast, it does make for a mighty filling dinner. What we have here are three layers of goodness: sliced potatoes, a tofu scramble, and seasoned tempeh mixed with red peppers. Or in my case, green peppers and Lightlife ground sausage. It’s a good enough substitute for tempeh in a pinch, though its sticky texture does make it a little difficult to work with.

Believe it or not, I actually used less cheese (Daiya!) than directed: a little more than half a bag, versus the required 1/2 pound. A half a pound! And I thought I had a Daiya cheese problem.

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Scramble

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

2013-04-08 - TOE Scrambled Tofu - 0001

This recipe’s actually a variation on the Scrambled Tofu with Chives and Wild Mushrooms from Mark Reinfeld’s The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe (say that five times fast!). He offers five alternatives in addition to the main recipe, which I like, particularly for scrambled tofu – if you’re only making it one way, you’re doing it wrong!

So this is definitely one of the tastier tofu scrambles I’ve tried. Shane thought he detected hints of sharp cheddar, though I’m not sure what it might be – the tahini, maybe? Otherwise it’s pretty standard scrambled tofu ingredients: nooch, tamari, garlic, onions. Tumeric is strangely absent from Reinfeld’s scramble, but I added it back in for that trippy yellow egg coloring. Also extra: the green peppers, for added volume.

Creamy Tahini Broccoli and Pasta Bake

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

2013-03-28 - VMP Tahini Broccoli Pasta Bake - 0002

This one’s quite similar to the Baked Macaroni with a Twist, also from The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook. Both dishes feature pasta smothered in a creamy silken tofu sauce, with a super-delish topping made of mixed breadcrumbs and cheese (Daiya).

Naturally, I couldn’t help but tinker with this recipe too. As with the Baked Mac, I added about a half a cup of nutritional yeast for that extra cheesy goodness. This made an already-thick sauce (damn you tahini!) even thicker, so I threw in one half cup of water for good measure. Better, though still a little on the thick side, especially after thirty minutes in the oven. Next time around, I think I’ll make it a full cup of soy milk. But the combination of tahini with nooch? Definitely a winner.

2013-03-28 - VMP Tahini Broccoli Pasta Bake - 0009

Whereas the Baked Macaroni has Daiya shreds both on top of and mixed in with the casserole, the Tahini Bake just plops ’em on top. Big mistake! The shreds in the middle of the casserole stay soft and gooey, while the ones on top can sometimes dry out. Creamy Tahini Broccoli and Pasta Bake 2.0 will definitely be outfitted with some internal Daiya cheese.

Oh, and I also doubled the cheese and breadcrumbs scattered atop the casserole. And since I ended up with more sauce, I used a full pound of dry pasta instead of twelve ounces. Elbows instead of radiatore, but whatever. Pasta is pasta, yo!

You know, just in case you’d like to play along at home.

2013-03-28 - VMP Tahini Broccoli Pasta Bake - 0013

The end.

Potato, Tempeh, and Tofu Scramble

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

2013-03-27 - BGV Potato Tofu Scramble - 0005

From Betty Goes Vegan, but with a few minor changes: baked white potatoes in place of boiled red ones; white onions instead of green; and green bell peppers where the red ones should be. Oh, and I baked the Lightlife Smart Bacon instead of frying it and then mixed the pieces right on in before serving. Tasty, though not nearly as much as pan-fried strips.

Overall this scramble’s really good, though I think I overdid it with the olive oil when frying the potatoes – it was difficult to cook off all that moisture once I added the tofu. Next time I might prepare the taters in their own skillet and toss it all together at the end. Also could’ve used more seasonings, but that’s a pretty common complaint with me. Garlic and onions, you can never have enough.

(Sorry if it looks a bit radioactive – I managed to snap a quick pic just as the sun was setting. Days, just hurry up and get longer already!)

Baked Macaroni (and Cheese!) with a Twist

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

2013-03-22 - VMP Baked Macaroni w. a Twist - 0001

Every time I acquire a new cookbook, I inevitably discover another macaroni and cheese recipe I’ve yet to try. This around it’s the Baked Macaroni with a Twist from Robin Robertson’s The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook.

The first twenty or so times I scanned this recipe, I mentally added in some tomato paste or sauce, since the title is suggestive of regular old baked macaroni. Imagine my shock when I actually began to make it and realized that it’s actually good old mac & cheese. Vegan Christmas came twice this winter, my friends.

2013-03-22 - VMP Baked Macaroni w. a Twist - 0009

Surprisingly moist and creamy for a baked mac and cheese dish, it’s the topping that really won me over: homemade breadcrumbs mixed with cheese – in this case, cheddar Daiya. The sauce is mainly silken tofu, but there are some Daiya shreds hiding in there too.

Of course the crispy, crunchy edges didn’t hurt either.

2013-03-22 - VMP Baked Macaroni w. a Twist - 0011

Being the picky vegan that I am, I made a number of modifications to the original recipe. For starters, the cheesy sauce: it doesn’t call for a single flake of nutritional yeast. Blasphemy! Perhaps nutritional yeast wasn’t quite so popular back in 2002, when this book was published? That’s the only explanation that makes sense. Anyway, I added a half a cup, along with several tablespoons of miso and some minced garlic.

Also, you might notice that my macaroni isn’t particularly twisty. While it’s the rotini pasta that makes this mac & cheese do the twist, all I had in my cupboard was boring old elbows, so there you go. Go vanilla or go home.

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

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

2013-03-04 - VSC Greek Frittata - 0001

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

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

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

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

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

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

2013-03-06 - Greek Tofu Scramble - 0005

(More below the fold…)

Curried Cauliflower Frittata and Roasted Green Beans

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

2013-03-01 - VB Curried Cauliflower Frittata - 0007

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

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

2013-03-01 - VB Curried Cauliflower Frittata - 0014

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

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

Cheesy Mac and Greens, Redux

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

2013-01-24 - AVK Mac & Greens Redux - 0008

Remember those Cheesy Mac and Greens from last week? The ones with all the spinach and the fuckery? Well, I remade it as promised, this time using frozen mixed veggies in place of the spinach – though I did serve it atop a bed of spinach greens, because it’s classy as shit. (And also I had some spinach left over from the last batch of mac and cheese, but who’s counting?) I also doubled the recipe, quadrupled the amount of nutritional yeast, and went the super lazy route by using garlic and onion powder instead of the fresh, minced stuff.

The verdict? Awesome. Not only is it easy to make – it took me a half hour, tops – but the pasta is super-cheesy, and with the added veggies you can totally call this a complete, healthy meal. (Macaroni and cheese is a side dish? SAYS WHO!) Stir in some vegan links for protein, or top with bacon bits because YUM.

Cheesy Mac and Greens

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

2013-01-17 - AVK Cheesy Mac & Greens - 0004

Cheesy Mac and Greens from American Vegan Kitchen. Spoiler alert: the greens are spinach! Popeye would be so proud.

This is definitely one of my more favorite cheesy sauces. It’s a stovetop recipe, so the mac and cheese stays nice and moist and creamy (even the leftovers!). In addition to the standard nooch, flour, and soy milk, there are also some bits of crumbled tofu hiding in there, along with sour cream and miso. So many yummy things!

The spinach is okay – it doesn’t get cooked at all, so it’s fresh and crunchy – but honestly? I think I’d like the mac and cheese better without it. The whole time I was chowing down on cheesy pasta laced with spinach, all I could think was

null

Hoodwinked with the mac and the cheese and the vegetables.

Mediterranean Scramble

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

2013-01-12 - AVK Mediterranean Scramble - 0005

 

This is by far the best-looking tofu scramble ever to grace my skillet. With tomatoes (not cherry as recommended, because tragically my garden is long dead, but some sad, colorless romas from the store), black olives (def gonna try Kalamata next time around), red peppers, and spinach. I’ve discovered that I don’t mind cooked leafy greens as long as they’re only heated just enough to make ’em slightly wilty, but still crispy. For spices, there’s nutritional yeast (easily x4 the recommended amount!), basil, oregano, and parsley. YUM!

Recipe via Tami Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen, which gets all the stars.

 

Spaghetti Pie with Arrabbiata Sauce from Tami Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

2012-12-23 - AVK Spaghetti Pie - 0004

2012-12-23 - AVK Spaghetti Pie - 0005

2012-12-23 - AVK Spaghetti Pie - 0024

2012-12-23 - AVK Spaghetti Pie - 0011

 

Oh my dog you guys, this was too good for words. Seriously amazing! It’d better be, seeing as it took me nearly two hours to prepare. Granted, I had to stop in the middle to feed the dogs, BUT STILL.

What with its multiple layers and dizzying array of ingredients, I was more than a little grumpy by the time I popped it in the oven. But now that I’ve got the steps down, I think the whole process will go much faster the next time around. Spaghetti pie, I WILL eat you again!

Plus you can assemble it ahead of time and bake it up right quick come dinnertime. If I’d realized this earlier, I might have made spaghetti pie for Christmas dinner! Oh well. Next year, maybe? (Besides, the stuffed manicotti was awesome, so no complaints here.)

Personally, I wouldn’t call this a pie so much as a casserole (it’s not even round!) but I guess spaghetti pie is a real thing? A diner staple? idk, I’ve never seen one before, but then again my knowledge of cheesy dishes is mostly lacking. Whatever, it’s freaking delicious, and that’s all I need to know.

The bottom layer is spaghetti – or angel hair, in my case – followed by a blended tofu mixture that bakes into a cheesy, ricotta-like topping, and topped off with tomato sauce peppered with tasty little chunks of tvp that taste a helluvalot like ground beef. Whether you count this as a positive or negative is totally up to you, but I’m a fan. Sprinkle liberally with mozzarella Daiya and – voilà! – dinner is served!

As an added bonus, this recipe makes a ridiculous amount of leftovers, so you’ll be feasting on spaghetti pie all week. Yay!

The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2012 edition!

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

2012-12-22 - Gift Cookies - 0003

A basket of chai cookies, oatmeal cream pies, and eggnog cookies for our neighbors.
——————————

You guys, I did so much baking this holiday season! Instead of buying my family the customary vegan treats from etsy, I had the bright idea to make everything my own bad self. (“Make everyone’s presents by hand, she said. It’ll be fun, she said.” reads a mid-December entry in my journal.) Several weeks and a dozen or so batches of cookies later, and I am wiped out. Good thing I have extra cookies to keep me going, eh?

Many of the recipes are from Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which I’m quickly growing to love. My mom gave it to me a Christmas or two ago, but given my awful track record with cookies and other baked sweets, I hadn’t gotten much use out of it. (Until now!)

Much to my surprise, everything came out wonderfully! Not a single burned cookie in the bunch. I think the secret is in the parchment paper. I’ve been resistant to using the stuff in the past, because it feels like I’m wasting paper or something. But it really works! Pro tip: as long as they haven’t picked up any cookie residue, you can reuse sheets of parchment paper several times to save money and resources. This is especially helpful if you’re baking multiple batches of cookies in a single day.

Without further ado, here’s a rundown of all the holiday goodies to pass through my kitchen (and gullet! yay the imagery!) this month. Mostly cookies, but also fancy nuts, truffles, ice cream, pizza, and pasta!

 

2012-12-15 - VCC Chewy Spiced Molasses - 0013

Chewy Spiced Molasses Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur (page 228) – Mine didn’t come out quite as plump and chewy as the ones pictured in the book, but I think that’s because I made the cookies a little smaller than suggested.

Actually, that was a trend pretty much across the board – I ended up with more, slightly smaller cookies vs. fewer, larger cookies (the latter being the norm for me). It was all good though, because the smaller cookies were a better fit for the tupperware I used to pack and ship them. Score!

Chewy or not, these were still super-delish, though not nearly as nommy as some of the other cookies I tried.

(More below the fold…)

you say potato, I say pottata

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

2012-12-20 - VMPC Potato-Tofu Frittata - 0005

 

A few months ago, and on Ryan’s suggestion, I bought a used copy of Robin Robertson’s The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook on Amazon. (Published waaaay back in 2002, I guess it’s what you might call a “classic.”) I really wanted it for the pierogi recipe (mmmm, piergoies), which I’d planned on working into my Vegan MoFo “Eat to the Beat” theme. Alas, I ended up with an excess of posts as it was, so the pierogies – and the cookbook – got pushed to the back burner. That is, until last week when I decided to try out a tofu recipe.

After a bit of leafing (not to mention, cursing my empty fridge and dearth of fresh ingredients) I settled on the Potato-Tofu Frittata. It’s similar to many of the tofu scrambles/omelets I’ve made before, only you bake it half on the stovetop, half in the oven. I love oven dishes – so much easier to time, don’t you think? You know exactly how long it’ll take to bake, and that’s that.

Plus half the tofu is crumbled and half blended, so it really is a marriage of scramble and omelet!

With baked potatoes and melty Daiya cheese, it’s about as delicious as you’d expect. I took the liberty of adding some nutritional yeast and chives because YUM, but those were my only tweaks. I think the end product was supposed to be a little more solid than it was, but that was my fault – I accidentally added all the cheese to the frittata instead of setting aside half to sprinkle on top. Possibly this resulted in a moister, less structurally sound frittata? You got me. Either way, really freaking good.

btw, The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook? From what I can see, it’s basically vegan save for the option to use non-vegan cheese. E.g., none of the recipes contain eggs, so you don’t have to do any pesky substitutions. The more you know!

"This tastes just like eggs!"

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

…was the husband’s exclamation after throwing back one of these omelets in three minutes flat. Seriously, I caught him licking his empty plate before the intro credits to Angel started!

 

2012-12-03 - VJF Potato Soyrizo Omelet - 0010

 

The recipe, as per usual, is from Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food. (Have I told you lately how much I love this cookbook? Because I do! The holidays are coming up and it’d make a great gift for the vegan – or vegetarian, or omnivore; basically any of the food eaters – in your life. Plus it’s small enough that I bet it could fit in a stocking. Think about it okay!)

Anyway, I expected Gold’s Potato Soyrizo Omelet to be comprised mostly of tofu, like all of the omelets I’ve tried previously. Joke’s on me: in addition to tofu, the batter also contains flour and soy milk. The result is an omelet that looks and tastes like eggs (tumeric and nutritional yeast, yo!), but is also vaguely reminiscent of a pancake – complete with crispy, crunchy fried edges. You actually cook it like a pancake – both sides, evenly – and only add the “filling” once it’s done. That way you’re not stuck with any not-quite-done bits in the center (see, e.g., The Hangover Tofu Omelet from The Tipsy Vegan.) Mama likes!

This one’s a keeper, alright.