B is for Best of: My Favorite Posts of Vegan MoFo VII!

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013 Mosaic

With Google Reader dead and buried, I was wondering how I’d manage to navigate the hundreds (thousands?) of Vegan MoFo posts this year. As it turns out? Not very well. Haphazardly at best. I tried using randommofo at first, but it seemed to run rather slow for me. (Though my own internet connection could very well be to blame; dog knows it’s seen better days.) Instead I used the blogroll at VeganMoFo to hop from blog to blog. Functional but not very efficient. Hopefully Shane can come up with something better for next year. (If you’re reading, Shane, get on it!)

So anyway, this list is as sad and scrappy as my Vegan MoFo travels – so feel free to add to it in the comments! Is there a recipe you’re itching to try? A blog whose theme had you loling? A post so epic that you just have to share? Do it! I’m afraid I missed out on way too much this year.

Even so, it was fun. Let’s do it again in ten months, shall we?
 

Recipes (aka, Kelly’s To-Do List)

  • Mo Betta Vegan represents with the bacon cheddar cheeseburger to end all bacon cheddar cheeseburgers (vegan or not!), lustily dedicated to the one, the only (well except for when he was cloned by a shapeshifter!), Dean Winchester. Mine looks like health food in comparison.
  • AfroVeganChick gave me a new way to use up some garden-fresh tomatoes (no small feat, considering how many years I’ve been growing them!): Warm Roasted Tomato & Spinach Pasta Salad. Now that I’m done with my Vegan MoFo cooking, this one is moving to the front of the queue!
  • Speaking of tomatoes, this Roasted Tomato Soup from Vegan Urbanite looks tasty as heck.
  • These Apple Butter Donut Holes sure would make history class more interesting.
  • File this one under “Why didn’t I think of that!?!”: Sweetcorn Ice Cream, courtesy of Hasta La Vegan. (I’m not gonna lie, I’m slightly in love with zher’s choice of graphics.)
  • Someone make me these One-Bite Salted Brownie Cookies & Caramel Frosting Sandwiches? Pretty pretty pleeeease?
  • Irish Coffee Whoopie Pies & Whiskey Frosting, aw yis.
  • I pretty much love everything Tuxedo Cat ate this month (we have the same taste in junk food!), but I’m especially intrigued by the No Mayo Potato Salad. So healthy I can eat it by the gallon!
  • Purple Yam Buns, what!
  • Cooking from Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans (another one for the wishlist!), Jess at Get Sconed! put Shepherd’s Pie on a pizza. Yup, I’m definitely doing that.
  • I usually prefer cookies over cake, but I’d make an exception for this Double-Layer Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream from hell yeah it’s vegan!.

    (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.

     
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    Y is for Yoga Cookies

    Saturday, September 28th, 2013

    Y is for Yoga Cookies [Chloe's Kitchen] (0017)

    Rolling the dough for these cookies, I was reminded of the scene in Firefly when, upon trying repeatedly and unsuccessfully to sneak a bite of her Ice Planet, River Tam infamously complains: “My food is problematic.”

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    So named because Chloe frequently enjoys them as a post-workout snack, the Yoga Cookies from Chloe’s Kitchen are as tasty as they are a pain in the ass to make. The components can be separated into two parts: the dough proper, and all the extra add-ins (rolled oats, walnuts, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and raisins – replaced here with dried cranberries because yum), which the dough is supposed to bind together.

    Problem is, there wasn’t nearly enough dough to properly perform this most important task. Assembling all these delicious bits into cohesive cookies was difficult at best, and progressively more so the further I got into the process. The last two cookies were so unstable that I dared not try to flatten them, lest they crumble back into their individual parts. And at the end of the day, I was left with enough bits to form one more cookie, but not nearly enough dough to hold it all together.

    Y is for Yoga Cookies [Chloe's Kitchen] (0001)

    Instead, I sprinkled the leftovers – which resembled uncooked granola – onto a bowl of strawberries. Spoiler alert: it was ridiculously good. So much so that I’m thinking about turning this into a granola recipe!

    The cookies stabilized a bit once they were cooked, but not enough that I could easily handle them without pieces of walnuts and flakes of coconut breaking free left and right. Still, they’re damn good cookies, and I think I’d like to give this recipe another go. Next time I plan on either increasing the dough by 50% or cutting down on the rolled oats by a like amount – I think that ought to do the trick.

    Y is for Yoga Cookies [Chloe's Kitchen] (0020)

    Since these are a yoga-themed snack, I really wanted to photograph them with my “downward dog” (really play bow) rat terrier figurine, but he was a little too big for this project. Instead I used one of my many (many many many) dachshund trinkets, who conveniently comes equipped with baskets to carry all your vegan goodies. He’s not performing any yoga pose that I know of – in fact, that arched back looks so unnatural that I suspect a real dachshund back might snap if stretched that way! – but he’ll have to do.

    Y is for Yoga Cookies [Chloe's Kitchen] (0025)

    Incidentally, my ratio of dachshund to rat terrier figurines is so skewed that it’s actually a little comical, considering I’ve only been owned by one dachshund in my life – compared to six rat terriers.* Rat terrier nicknacks just aren’t that common, whereas dachshunds might be the single most popular breed for collectibles. Wiener dogs are hilarious, yo! Everyone loves a sausage doggeh.

    * Now that Ralphie’s gone we really look like breed snobs, but really it’s just because terriers are so common (and thus commonly abandoned) in the Midwest. You can’t throw a homemade biscuit in the pound without being trampled by a pack of ’em, I tell you what. Mags and Finnick are the only two who we adopted specifically because of their looks – and that was because of Mags’s resemblance to dear Kaylee, not her “charming” rat terrier personality per se.

    Y is for Yoga Cookies [Chloe's Kitchen] (0022)

     
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    X is for Xaver Suppe (Xavier Soup)

    Friday, September 27th, 2013

    X is for Xavier Soup (0010)

    And so we have arrived at the letter X! X, which is the bane of every blogger who attempts an alphabet theme, vegan or otherwise. X, which usually results in baked goods bound together with Xanthan gum. X, which is a pretty badass letter and really should have some equally badass desserts to go along with it. Someone get on this, okay?

    My only real option for this dish was, ironically, a Catholic soup that’s traditionally served on St. Francis Xavier’s Day. (Ironic because I’m not just an atheist, but an apostate to boot. And yeah, that’s probably not the correct use of the word “ironic,” but wev. I live by my own rules!) It’s a pretty plain dish, just dumplings in clear chicken broth. Yawn, right? I added some veggies to make things a bit more interesting, but it’s still rather understated. Also less canon, but whaddya gonna do?

    I based the veganized version on this recipe from Catholic Cuisine, using flax eggs as a substitute in the dumplings. Since I halved the dumpling recipe, there’s a rather odd amount of eggs: one egg and one egg yolk, the latter which the internet tells me is equivalent to one half of an egg. The quantities are a little weird, but it works.

    My only other experience with dumplings being the Seitan and Herb Dumplings from American Vegan Kitchen, I wasn’t quite sure how the dough would – or should – turn out. Tami Noyes’s dough is dry enough that you can roll it out on the countertop, but this batch proved much stickier. At first I tried making marble-sized balls with an (improvised) piping bag, as suggested in the original recipe, but quickly gave up and did it by hand. If you go this route, grease your hands to prevent the dough from sticking to them. It’s far from foolproof, but works much better than flour!

    The finished product is…okay. Kind of like chicken noodle soup, but with dumplings in place of noodles, and a little plainer all around. Me, I think I’ll stick to vegan chicken noodle soup in the future – it’s heartier, and hella easier to make.

    Served with a freshly made loaf of Kalamata Olive Bread. I doubt that this pairing is in keeping with tradition, but so what? KALAMATA OLIVE BREAD!

    X is for Xavier Soup (0012)

    Xaver Suppe

    Ingredients

    …for the dumplings

    1.5 tablespoons ground flax seed + 4.5 tablespoons water (or an egg substitute equivalent to one egg + one egg yolk)
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour (plus extra as needed)
    1/4 cup margarine
    1/4 cup soy milk
    1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese (less?)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    a pinch of nutmeg
    1 1/2 teaspoons parsley

    …for the soup

    8 cups vegan chicken broth
    1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
    1 large carrot, diced (optional)
    1 celery stalk, diced (optional)
    2 dried bay leaves
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    1 tablespoon parsley

    Directions

    1. First, prepare your egg substitute. In a blender, combine 1.5 tablespoon ground flax seed + 4.5 tablespoons water. Pulse for about a minute, or until fully blended. Set aside.

    2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the flour, margarine, soy milk, and parmesan cheese. As the margarine melts, stir until the flour forms a solid dough. Work in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley, and egg substitute.

    3. Put the mixture into a piping bag with a big nozzle and pipe marble-sized balls onto a greased tray. Alternately, you can do this by hand, rolling pieces of dough into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

    4. Next, make the soup. In a large stockpot, bring the veggie broth to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Whip in the arrowroot powder and then add the carrots, celery, bay leaves, and onion powder. Simmer for about ten minutes, or until the carrots start to become tender. Remove the bay leaves and add the dough balls. Cook for five to ten minutes (cook time will vary depending on the size of the dough balls), or until cooked all the way through. Add the parsley and serve hot.

     
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    W is for White Bean Pizza

    Thursday, September 26th, 2013

    W is for White Bean Pizza [Vegan on the Cheap] (0005)

    Tuscan White Bean Pizza, that is! This recipe’s courtesy of Robin Robertson’s Vegan on the Cheap, which I’ve owned forever but haven’t had much occasion to use yet. (Seriously, I’ve accumulated enough cookbooks at this point that I could cook from them once a day for the rest of my life and never run out of new recipes. It’s a wonderful problem to have, anyway.)

    Both the dough and pizza recipes are super-simple: the white sauce is all of five ingredients (salt and pepper excluded) and the dough, even less. My only modification was to double the sauce; one batch hardly seemed sufficient to cover a pizza. I figured that, if I got stuck with any leftovers, I could always use ’em as a dip. Also, I ran the mashed white beans through a food processor for an ultra-creamy sauce; the hand masher just wasn’t doing the job.

    On another note: there are just a few days – and letters – left. Any bets on what I’m making tomorrow?

     
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    V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie

    Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

    V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0008)

    WOW. Like I’ve seriously been sitting here at my keyboard for five minutes, trying to think of something, anything, to say about this Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie from Betty Goes Vegan, and this is all I can come up with. Just, wow.

    I mean, talk about yer vegan comfort foods. This is basically just a giant plate of junk food. And I mean that in the best way possible!

    The “crust” is a blend of vegan ground beef (Lightlife, in my case), bread crumbs, A1 steak sauce (A rather common ingredient in Betty Goes Vegan! I bought a bottle just for this cookbook!), red onions, and some other goodies.

    V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0001)

    Press it into a pie plate, bake until golden brown (the directions say five minutes, but I easily tripled that), and then add the potato “filling.”

    V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0002)

    Baked potatoes, mashed into creamy goodness (skins and all!), and seasoned with garlic, nutritional yeast, and veggie broth, then mixed with bacon bits and cheddar cheese.

    V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0006)

    Top with more cheddar, bake until gooey, and dinner is served!

    Garnish with tomatoes, pickles, french friend onions, or legit onion rings. (That last is my idea. I tried it with the leftovers and it was hnnng!)

    V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0021)

    Totally worth the twenty dishes it generated. Okay, I’m exaggerating. We’ll call it a baker’s dozen.

    And now for the obligatory Dean Winchester gif. BECAUSE PIE!

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    Updated to add: Vegan MoFo central is giving away a copy of Betty Goes Vegan to five lucky readers as we speak! Talk about serendipity. Go enter here.

     
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    U is for The Ultimate Corn Chowder Experience

    Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

    U is for The Ultimate Corn Chowder Experience [Betty Goes Vegan] (0005)

    I don’t know if the corn chowder found in Betty Goes Vegan can rightly be called THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE – mostly because I haven’t tried nearly enough corn chowder recipes to consider myself the arbiter of such titles – but it is pretty damned good. It gives my own recipe a run for the money, anyway. With two kinds of corn and potatoes (creamed and frozen and fresh and hashed, respectively), it’s almost as hearty as it is easy to make. The secret ingredient? Lemon pepper, the presence of which is subtle yet unexpected. (But you can always add more for that extra kick. I did!)

    Along these lines, I paired the soup with the Lemon Pepper Garlic Bread, also from Betty Goes Vegan. Sounds a little weird, but lemon on garlic bread? Crazy good. Genius, even. But then I’ve been hooked on the stuff (lemon pepper; though I am addicted to all the breads, too) since I discovered it last summer.

    U is for The Ultimate Corn Chowder Experience [Betty Goes Vegan] (0009)

     
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    T is for Tuscan Bread Soup

    Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

    T is for Tuscan Bread Soup [Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook] (0003)

    So this meal started out as the Tuscan Bread Soup from Robin Robertson’s The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook – but I tinkered with it enough that I’m no longer sure it qualifies as either “Tuscan” or a “bread soup.”

    First up, the white beans had to go, on accounta beans make my belly bloated and gassy. I replaced those with a cup of mini pasta shells. And celery? Ew! It’s so stringy, like a coil of dental floss. I swapped that out for carrots. I also used fewer onions and more garlic, ’cause that’s how I roll. And more broth – vegan chicken instead of vegetable, since that’s what’s in my cabinet – so there would be leftovers. Fresh tomatoes, too; ’tis the season! Of course I just had to make the bread garlic, which I then served alongside the soup rather than under it; I just couldn’t bear the thought of diluting its extra-awesome garlicky flavor. (With minced garlic AND garlic powder. That’s what I’m talkinbout!)

    This soup was so kickin’ that I decided to write down the modified recipe, since it’s definitely something I plan on making again. Probably it’s a little more in the area of a minestrone now, but that’s okay. A soup by any other name.

    T is for Tuscan Bread Soup [Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook] (0010)

    Some Kind of Soup, Not Necessarily Tuscan Bread Soup

    (Adapted from the Tuscan Bread Soup found in Robin Robertson’s The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook.)

    Ingredients

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 large white onion, diced
    3 tablespoons minced garlic
    4 cups grape tomatoes, halved
    3 large carrots, diced
    8 cups vegan chicken or vegetable broth
    3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
    1 teaspoon oregano
    2 tablespoons parsley
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 cup miniature shells (or the teeny tiny pasta of your choice)

    4 large slices French or Italian bread
    4 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons minced garlic
    a dash of garlic powder

    Directions

    1. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil on medium. Add the onion and cook on medium until translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and reduce the heat to medium low. Continue to cook for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes release some of their juices.

    2. Add the carrots, chicken broth, and spices. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to simmer for another fifteen minutes, or until the carrots and tomatoes are to your liking. (I prefer mine on the tender side.)

    3. While the soup is cooking, prepare the garlic bread. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, minced garlic, and garlic powder. Spread onto the bread and let sit until step #4. When the soup’s nearly ready, bake the bread at 450F for five to ten minutes, or until the bread is golden brown.

    4. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Add the miniature shells and cook for about five minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Remove from heat and enjoy while hot. You can either pour the soup over the bread in a large bowl, or serve the bread alongside the soup for dipping.

     
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    S is for Skillet-Style Lasagna

    Saturday, September 21st, 2013

    S is for Skillet-Style Lasagna [Betty Goes Vegan] (0006)

    In the middle of making this dish – lasagna noodles sticking to the bottom of the pan, tomato sauce splattering every oven-adjacent surface – I thought to myself: “I’ve made a huge mistake.” But when the first bite passed my lips – tender noodles, rich sauce, melty cheese – it pretty much made the whole hour-long affair worthwhile. Worth repeating, actually. This is some forking good pasta, people.

    In theory, the Skillet-Style Lasagna from Betty Goes Vegan is supposed to be a rather no-fuss, no-muss, one-dish meal. And while it’s true that it only requires one dish – a skillet, and the bigger, the better! – it’s a lot fussier than the directions let on. I suppose this could be due to my choice of pasta noodles: the recipe calls for mafalda noodles – a sort of mini-lasagna – which I was unable to find anywhere. (And believe you me, I looked!) I briefly considered using elbows or rigatoni, but that felt too much like cheating, so I opted for regular lasagna noodles broken into smaller pieces instead. Some of the mafalda I found online resembles lasagna sliced horizontally – long, thin, ribbon-like strips – while other versions look like shrunken lasagna noodles. At first I tried replicating the thin, frilly noodles, but by the end I was in such a rush that I snapped the lasagna into thirds, resulting in square-ish pieces.

    So basically you fry the onions, garlic, and soy meat in a large skillet, and then throw in the pasta sauce, spices, and (uncooked) noodles, along with a little extra water for cooking. The noodles cook on the stovetop, along with the sauce, supposedly in ten to twelve minutes or so. Perhaps the lasagna is thicker than malfada, but I stood over that hot stovetop for at least a half hour before the lasagna was al dente. And it’s not the sort of job you can leave unsupervised, either; more than a few minutes without stirring, and the noodles clung to the bottom of the pan. Dislodging them proved no small task, either – the skillet was so full that more than the gentlest of nudging sent pasta sauce flying over the rim and onto the backsplash. (Exhibit A: My filthy mess of a skillet.)

    S is for Skillet-Style Lasagna [Betty Goes Vegan] (0002)

    When done, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese (Daiya) and bake at 350F for five minutes or until the cheese is melted. I kept in in an extra five, just to make sure all the noodles were baked through. When all was said and done, a half hour meal took me at least an hour to make.

    THAT SAID. This is some ridiculously good pasta. Next time I’ll probably try it with a smaller, thinner pasta – something that cooks in less time and isn’t too terribly difficult to stir. That should speed things along. Also, the soy meat is optional, imho. It makes a nice, meaty sauce, but you could just as easily swap it out for veggies or whatnot. I like veggies, veggies are good.

    On the side is a slightly different version of the Green Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic from Donna Klein’s Vegan Italiano. Instead of canned tomatoes and fresh green beans, I used what I had on hand, namely fresh tomatoes and canned green beans. It’s not quite as phenomenal as the original, but it’s pretty damn close. Good enough for me, seeing as my fridge is stuffed with fresh grape and cherry tomatoes from the garden.

    I could seriously eat this meal all day.

    S is for Skillet-Style Lasagna [Betty Goes Vegan] (0011)

     
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    R is for Rosemary Vegan Chicken and Olive Orzo

    Friday, September 20th, 2013

    R is for Rosemary Vegan Chicken and Olive Orzo [Betty Goes Vegan] (0001)

    So this is a rather simple, easy dish from Betty Goes Vegan. With pan-fried vegan chicken strips, red peppers, Roma tomatoes, green zucchini, Kalamata olives (not enough, imho, but I say that about all the things), and orzo pasta – one of the more underutilized pasta shapes, if you ask me. (Love that baby pasta!)

    The rosemary is rather understated, so you may want to add a little more, depending on your tastes. Ditto on the salt.

    Overall, a nice filling weeknight meal. I’m stuffed.

     
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    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.

     
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    P is for Potato Salad

    Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

    P is for Potato Salad [Betty Goes Vegan] (0006)

    I have so many potato salad recipes filed away that its inclusion under the letter P was pretty much predestined. (Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about pizza! Just relocated it.) Betty Goes Vegan alone features three different versions: Classic Deli Potato Salad, German Potato Salad, and Curry Vegan Chicken and Potato Salad. I chose the Classic Deli Potato Salad because it’s classic – it says so right in the title! – and you can’t go wrong with the classics. Also, it was the easiest of the three. Lazy, who me?

    This one calls for Vegenaise, of which I bought a brand spanking new jar just for this purpose. Normally I’m a Nayonaise gal, so I was a bit skeptical. But it’s not half bad! At least not in potato salad – which, to be fair, is one of the few places I use vegan mayo. Actually, it’s pretty damned tasty when flavored with nooch, mustard, soy sauce, and all the other goodies that go into this dish. I also added some salt and, next time around, will probably throw in some pickles, too. Aside from potatoes and mayo, it’s the single most important potato salad component, imho.

    This recipe doesn’t make a whole lot so, if you’re cooking for a potluck or picnic, triple or even quadruple it. The hungry masses will thank you.

    P is for Potato Salad [Betty Goes Vegan] (0003)

     
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    O is for Old-Fashioned Chelsea Waffles

    Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

    O is for Old-Fashioned Chelsea Waffles [Vegan Brunch] (0004)

    So these waffles from Vegan Brunch were inspired by a certain (unnamed) NYC diner’s Chelsea waffles that Isa and her brother enjoyed as kids. Since she’s not privy to the chef’s secrets, Isa decided to recreate them her own bad self.

    The magic ingredient? Barley malt syrup, which gives the waffles a wonderful malty taste. I had to special order a bottle from Amazon, which is now occupying valuable real estate in the fridge, but you know what? Totally worth it. Barley malt is the same thing I use to flavor the cream in vegan Twinkies (but in powdered form), so that should give you an idea of how awesome these waffles really are.

    O is for Old-Fashioned Chelsea Waffles [Vegan Brunch] (0003)

    I topped mine with maple syrup and fresh strawberries, which was tasty enough; next time around, though, I think I’ll stick with strawberry syrup or perhaps make my own berry sauce. The maple syrup and barley malt seemed to compete with each other for top billing in a way that the strawberries and barley malt did not.

    In lieu of barley malt syrup, you can use maple syrup as a sweetener – in which case, methinks maple syrup would be the perfect choice of topping!

    O is for Old-Fashioned Chelsea Waffles [Vegan Brunch] (0008)

     
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    N is for Not a Morning Person

    Sunday, September 15th, 2013

    N is for Not a Morning Person (0001)

    You don’t ever want to meet me in the morning. Cranky. Ill-tempered. Easily frustrated. Incapable of even the smallest bits of conversation. And hungry: ravenously so after a night of hard sleeping. Nestled under a pile of dogs, sleep for me is like mini-hibernation. And I don’t emerge without a fight. (Shane’s probably reading this and thinking “Okay, so how is this different from the rest of the day?” Silencio!)

    Breakfast, as you can imagine, is mostly a big pain in the ass for me. I’ll never understand how people can so easily shake off their sleepiness and hold hunger at bay while they cook a leisurely, labor-intensive breakfast. Pancakes and waffles? As far as I’m concerned, they are strictly dinner foods.

    In order to keep things as simple and brainless as possible (seriously! Morning Kelly is a total zombie! But less fun!), I usually stick with the exact same breakfast until I tire of it. For a long time it was protein shakes; then I did a stretch of bagels with jam and almond butter. My longest run – more than a year! – was with cinnamon sugar oatmeal dotted with bits of dried cranberry. That was delicious, but even pizza eventually elicits groans if you eat it at every meal. (Blasphemy!) My latest kick is cereal, specifically bran flakes.

    I know what you’re thinking: boring! Why not just eat a flap of cardboard, right? But there are plenty of ways to dress it up.

    For example, the idea of putting nondairy milk in cereal mostly turns my stomach. I’ve had galactosemia my whole life, and just never got into the habit of putting milk in my cereal as a kid. (Soy milk being more of a rarity in the 80s.) Soggy flakes? No thanks! Instead I like to use fruit to add some moisture to an otherwise bone-dry dish. In the bowl above you can spot some apple chunks, but when they’re seasonal I prefer blueberries. They make quite a mess in my teeth, but man is it worth it. Also good is apple sauce, especially when paired with some granola. It’s even drier than bran flakes (if that’s possible), so it helps to absorb some of the liquids in the applesauce. And a scoop of banana ice cream is a delicious treat during the summer months.

    If there’s a box in the cupboard, I might also toss in a handful of Strawberry Awake cereal – sweetened rice and wheat flakes mixed with dried strawberries. Since it’s more expensive, a quarter cup is a nice compromise. Keeping costs down, yo!

    What about you guys? What’s fueling you on this fine September morning?

     
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    M is for Milkshake, Strawberry Vanilla

    Saturday, September 14th, 2013

    M is for Milkshake, Strawberry Vanilla (0001)

    Giant milkshake is giant.
    ——————————

    (Working subtitle: “My milkshake frees all the cows from the stall.” Not really, but it’s nice to dream.)

    “But wait! I thought you were vegan. Vegans can’t have milkshakes!”

    If you’ve been vegan for more then ten minutes, most likely you’ve been subjected to some variation of the above. “Vegans can’t eat pizza! Pizza has cheese.” Or, “Does bacon suddenly not come from an animal anymore?” (as you chow down on soy strips). Omnis, prepare to have your minds blown: vegans have developed versions of nearly all the foods you enjoy. Cheese. Beef. Milk. Eggs. Chocolate (which is naturally vegan!). Caviar, even. And yes, ice cream. You know what that means, people: IT’S MILKSHAKE TIME!

    This is just a little something I threw together one morning after coming home from an especially hot and sweaty walk. (Yup, I eat milkshakes after working out. I’d eat them during, too, if only they’d stay frosty in the sun.) I wrote up a recipe, but don’t feel obliged to follow it; milkshakes are more fun when you improvise.

    Hint: I bet a tablespoon of chocolate or strawberry syrup would taste amazing swirled in here.

     

    Strawberry Vanilla Milkshake

    Ingredients

    1 cup nondairy creamer, plain or vanilla
    1/3 cup nondairy milk, plain or vanilla
    4 ice cubes
    2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
    2 hearty scoops nondairy vanilla ice cream
    2 hearty scoops nondairy Neapolitan ice cream (vanilla or strawberry are also excellent choices!)
    1 big fat straw

    Directions

    1. In a blender, combine the creamer, milk, ice cubes and strawberries; process on high until smoothly blended. Add the vanilla ice cream and mix on low for ten seconds or so.

    2. Pour into a large glass; add the extra ice cream. Enjoy – and try not to give yourself an ice cream headache!

     
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    L is for Lavender Pancakes

    Friday, September 13th, 2013

    L is for Lavender Pancakes [Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food] (0015)

    BOO berries!
    ——————————

    Fancy schmancy, right? Luckily, these Lavender Pancakes from Alicia Simpson’s Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food (say that five times fast!) are, as the title suggests, both quick and easy to make. In lieu of fresh lavender flowers, you can use dried lavender (I have a huge container of the stuff courtesy of bulkfoods.com) and, if you’re out of soy yogurt, just swap it out for an equal amount of silken tofu (it’s a by-the-case steal on Amazon).

    L is for Lavender Pancakes [Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food] (0005)

    Naked pancakes are naked – all the better to show off their airy, fluffy goodness!
    ——————————

    The pancakes are delicious – light and fluffy, with slightly crispy edges – and pair quite well with blueberries. Since they’re out of season (sob), I opted for a canned blueberry pie filling-slash-topping. I mean hey, it’s only been sitting in my pantry for five years now. What’s the rush?

    L is for Lavender Pancakes [Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food] (0018)

    Getting all June Cleaver up in here.
    ——————————

    It’s rather early in our relationship, but already I can tell. You and me forever, Lavender Pancakes. 4EVERAH!

     
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    K is for Kelly’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Thursday, September 12th, 2013

    K is for Kelly's Choc Chip Cookies [Vegan Cookie Connoisseur] (0017)

    With no fewer than six different chocolate chip cookie recipes (not to mention a chocolate chip cookie cake!), you’d think that it would have been difficult for me to choose just one from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. Alas, it was a no-brainer: I went with Kelly (Peloza’s) Chocolate Chip Cookies, since I belong to the not-so-elite club of Kellys, too. (Growing up there were at least half a dozen other Kellys in my grade. Half of them were also Kelly Anns!)

    A veganized version of a cookie Kelly enjoyed in her childhood, this is a chocolate chip cookie unlike any other I’ve tried. It’s light and airy, and basically bakes as-is: the cookies don’t expand at all in the oven.

    At first I was concerned that the tops of the cookies didn’t bake all the way through – they seemed a little soft and chewy, like cookie batter – but they firmed up well enough overnight. Still, next time I think I might shoot for smaller cookies, and flatten them down with the palm of my hand before baking. These are some super-thick cookies, since they more or less retain their original shape.

    Either way, super-tasty, much like every other recipe I’ve tried from this book. If you like cookies – and c’mon, let’s face it, you know you do! – you should totally give it a try.

    Next on my to-do list: the Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies. Or maybe the Root Beer Float Cookies. SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM!

    K is for Kelly's Choc Chip Cookies [Vegan Cookie Connoisseur] (0030)

     
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    J is for Jam Swirl Coffee Cake

    Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

    J is for Jam Swirl Coffee Cake [Vegan Brunch] (0016)

    This is another letter that was originally slated for a soup or stew – Jewish Beef Stew from Veganomicon, to be exact – but was jettisoned for a dessert, mostly because I’m a sucker for the sweet stuff, but also on account of the heat. 90 degrees plus is just too hot for soup, okay! Also, I have so many tomatoes to use up that dinner these days usually consists of pizza or pasta – anything and everything I can jam a tomato on. Menu, full. Try again later.

    My heart was torn between the Coffee Cake (the Jam Swirl variation, to keep it on theme!) from Vegan Brunch and the Jean Luc Cupcakes (with an Earl Gray cake and ginger-orange frosting!) in Betty Goes Vegan, but seeing as my cupcake decorating skills leave something to be desired, I decided that the cake would be the safer option. I don’t even own a pastry bag, yo! (Someone please send me a cake decorating kit? Mom?)

    J is for Jam Swirl Coffee Cake [Vegan Brunch] (0012)

    I don’t think I’ve had coffee cake before – I know, the horror, right? – so I don’t have a point of comparison, but hot damn! Is this cake un-freaking-believable or what!? The yellow cake is soft and moist, while the crumbly topping adds an extra shot of sugary sweet goodness. And the jam swirl is pretty genius. I did a cherry-strawberry combo and it was pure perfection.

    And the cake! It slid right out of the pan! That never happens to me. My baked goods tend to fight me, but not this time. Some of the topping fell off when I transferred the slices to their respective plates, but hey, whaddya gonna do? Crumbles gotta crumble.

    There’s also an amazing looking raspberry chocolate version – raspberries in the batter, chocolate chips wedged between the cake and crumbles – that I simply have to try. Ugh, too bad the letter R is already spoken for. Damn you Rosemary Vegan Chicken and Olive Orzo!

    J is for Jam Swirl Coffee Cake [Vegan Brunch] (0011)

     
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    I is for Inner Beauty Patty Melt

    Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

    I is for Inner Beauty Patty Melt [Betty Goes Vegan] (0004)

    Initially I’d planned on making the Irish Stew from The 30-Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe to stand in for the letter I…and then I realized that I had way too many soups and stews on tap, and this was the first to go. Not because it doesn’t sound delicious – it does! – but rather its replacement looks even better. Enter: the Inner Beauty Patty Melt from Betty Goes Vegan.

    (Actually it was a bit of a toss-up between this and the Inside-Out Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger – so much junk food, so little give in my pants! – but the patty melt won out since rye bread proved easier to find than vegan whole wheat burger buns. Sorry, bacon cheeseburger. Them’s the breaks.)

    So I’d never had a patty melt before, and now I’m afraid I might be addicted. Shane actually made these for dinner – after a day spent outside in 90 degree weather, I was much too tired – and I shouldn’t speak for him, but the recipe looks hella easy. Just mix your vegan ground beef (in our case, Lightlife) with some seasonings, shape into patties (special made to fit the bread perfectly!), and fry along with red onions (which smell heavenly, btw) until lightly browned. Then you stack them into sammies with the rye bread and vegan cheese (Daiya!) and bake at 350F until warm and gooey. After baking, the bread was a little on the dry side, so next time I might add a dab of margarine to each slice, but otherwise? Freaking amazing.

    The name of the dish, by the by, comes from the fact that it’s not super-photogenic: “this sandwich may not have all the snazzy colors of a good old-school salad, but it has good personality, and that’s what counts!” I don’t know, I think it’s pretty smokin’. But then I like my food a little sloppy.

    Served with a handful of my all-time favorite salt and vinegar chips, because what’s comfort food without a side of comfort food?

     

    I is for Inner Beauty Patty Melt [Betty Goes Vegan] (0005)

     
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    H is for Hush Puppies

    Sunday, September 8th, 2013

    H is for Hush Puppies [Vegan Comfort Food] (0011)

    Back when I was a young’un, and our house was a stone’s throw from all sorts of fast food joints, my family used to eat takeout from Long John Silver’s with some regularity. Mostly at my grandmother’s behest; she loved the fish fries. I never liked “seafood,” even in my omni days, but I did envy them the hush puppies something awful. Like most of the battered foods, I couldn’t have them on accounta the milk, to which I was allergic (and probably still am, though there’s no use in getting tested, since now I choose not to consume it for ethical reasons). So when I spotted a recipe for Baked Hush Puppies in Alicia Simpson’s Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food, I knew I’d found my H!

    As it turns out, I have no idea if these taste like the mass-produced thing. That’s what happens when you’ve no point of comparison. (Duh!) Shane was no help, either, as he can’t even remember the last time he had a hush puppy. They’re tasty enough; a little on the dry side, so you might want to serve them with something saucy – or, better yet, with a side of vegan ranch dressing. (Yes, that is the sound of me kicking my own ass after the fact.) Not bad, though I’m still left with a craving for the deep-fried version. But that would hardly qualify as “low-cal” vegan comfort food now, would it?

    Photograped on my Four Friends dog plate because PUPPIES! (It’s actually an advert for a tomato company, but who cares. This makes much more sense, okay.)

    H is for Hush Puppies [Vegan Comfort Food] (0001)

     
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