Waffle Wednesday: ‘Christmas in September’ Gingerbread Waffles with Butter Rum Sauce

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Waffle Wednesday - 'Christmas in September' Gingerbread Waffles (0011)

So today is officially Christmas in September as we observe this Waffle Wednesday with a heaping stack o’ Gingerbread Waffles from Vegan Brunch!

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Actually, I write this post from the sweltering heat of July, back when I thought that VeganMoFo would fall in August; and while Christmas in July does sound better, it is what it is. A waffle by another other name is just as sweet. No really! I nearly passed out not ten minutes in to dinner. I don’t even think I made it through the first commercial break of The Americans.

Leslie Knopes what I’m talking ’bout.

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These waffles are true to their name – they taste just like warm, cozy gingerbread, and are so yummy that you could probably eat ’em undecorated with no regrets.

(More below the fold…)

Carbs & Rec: French Fry Pizza-That-Is-Harder-To-Eat With a Side of Ranch Dressing

Friday, September 12th, 2014

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Carbs & Rec - French Fry Calzones With Ranch (0017)

Ben Wyatt and calzones. If there’s one ship I ship harder than Leslie and waffles, this would be it. (I’m totes playing it cool here. BEN + CALZONES 5EVAH!)

Calzones first make a cameo in the episode “Ron & Tammy: Part Two.” In a last-ditch effort to make the Harvest Fest happen, the Parks & Rec crew resort to bribery a la a pizza party in order to convince the police department to provide free security for the event. Ben suggests calzones, thus leading to a running gag about calzones being disgusting and pointless (the worst food ever invented!), much to his chagrin. (Quoth the Police Chief: “What the hell is wrong with this guy?”)

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(More below the fold…)

Deep Dish Apple Brown Sugar Pie

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

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This would have been the last of the untried apple pie recipes from my giant stack o’ cookbooks – had I not went out and bought a copy of Betty Goes Vegan! That’s okay, though, ’cause I have just enough frozen apples left for one more pie. Serendipity! (In case you’re keeping score at home, this one is from Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food.)

So this was definitely the most problematic crust I’ve worked with (says the girl who never has any luck with sweet pie crusts). First it was too sticky, then too dry, too sticky, too dry – you get the idea. I finally settled on too dry, rolled it veeeeery carefully, and used a giant pizza spatula to scrape the discs off of the countertop. The bottom one wasn’t too bad – I molded it into the dish with my fingertips – but the top piece proved a hot mess, with cracks running every which way. You can kind of see how the crust further split apart while baking.

The whole thing just collapsed into flaky pieces when I cut into it, so today’s sexy individual slice/crossectional photo is of the leftovers. Incidentally, the pie is hella easier to cut when cold.

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The good news is that it’s tasty as fuck. The flip side of having such a messy, flaky crust is that it virtually melts in your mouth. You can’t really tell from the photo, but there’s also a glaze-type topping of soy milk and sugar on the pie which really elevates it to the next level. If anything I’m glad I tried this recipe just for that extra-juicy pro tip. Put sugar on ALL the pies!

Vegan Junk Food French Toast Mashup!

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

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This leftovers mashup dish combines the best of two worlds, both of which hail from the Lane Gold Vegan Junk Food ‘verse: the prep method from her Sticky Caramel Baked French Toast, paired with the flavors of her nearly-as-awesome (fried) Eggnog French Toast with Butter Rum Sauce.

After I made the Eggnog French Toast last month, I ended up with a ton of extra Butter Rum Sauce. For a while I used it as a dipping sauce for a half batch of gingerbread cookies I’d made (the leftover dough from the Gingerbread Cookie Dough Ice Cream; hello, old recipes!). Then I got to thinking: why not use it in place of the Caramel Sauce to make Baked Eggnog French Toast? After all, both mixes contain the same basic ingredients, namely sugar and margarine. And for the top sauce, I used straight-up So Delicious coconut milk nog in place of soy milk (cutting down on the thickening agents appropriately), for more of that sweet Christmasy eggnog taste.

And it worked! Sweet, sticky eggnog french: IN THE OVEN! No hot oil required.

So here’s how you do it.

 

Baked Eggnog French Toast

Ingredients

1-2 cups vegan butter rum sauce (I used the recipe in Vegan Junk Food, but you can find similar recipes online, e.g.); make sure it’s thick, like maple syrup
6 thick slices of Italian bread
1 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of salt

Directions

1. Lightly grease a 9″x12″ baking pan. Pour in the butter rum sauce – about a cup, or just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Arrange the sliced french bread in the pan, so that no pieces overlap.

2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the nog, nooch, flour, cinnamon, and salt; whisk well to combine. Pour the nog mix over the bread. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour prior to baking.

3. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, or until most (but not all) of the nog has cooked away and/or thickened into a syrupy consistency. Serve immediately!

 

Cheesy Beet Green Chips

Monday, December 31st, 2012

2012-12-08 - Cheesy Beet Green Chips - 0009

 

Tucked away in that huge shipment of greens I won were several containers full of beet greens. I like them okay in salad, but only in moderation; they start to get a little overpowering at 30% concentration and up. (Fussy eater, who me?)

Luckily, they make for mighty fine veggie chips! Inspired by the oh-so-delicious Cheesy Kale Chip recipe in Vegan Junk Food, I decided to see if the same could be done with beet greens. Success! Turns out beet greens are worlds yummier when slathered with olive oil, coated in salt and nooch, and baked into chip form. Who woulda thunkit?

As far as kale chips vs. beet green chips go, I think I have slight preference for the former – but the margin is razor tight. Both are pretty freaking good. And not that hard to make! Keep reading for the recipe.

FYI: A 12 ounce bag of beet greens equals about two and a half batches, or eight cups of finished product. The more you know!

 

Cheesy Beet Green Chips

Ingredients

6 cups beet greens
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cover two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the beet greens, olive oil, nutritional yeast, and salt and mix well. (Gold recommends using your hands to massage the oil and spices into the kale – but I found that a large spoons also work well. As you stir, press down gently on the greens.) If it looks like to need more olive oil to help the nooch “stick,” drizzle a little extra directly onto the “naked” greens as needed.

3. Arrange the greens on the cookie sheets, divided evenly and spread out in a single layer. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, stopping to flip them halfway through. If some greens are still a little wet or wilty after 20 minutes, bake them in addition two-minute increments (after removing those chips that are done, of course). Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, but chips are best enjoyed immediately as they lose their crisp over time.

Pro tip: Pour the finished chips right into a container by gripping the parchment paper at either end and pulling them up to form a “funnel.” That way you don’t lose any noochy goodness on the counter!

 

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I’m undecided as to whether this chip is shaped liked Santa’s ‘stache or a vampire bat.
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The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2012 edition!

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

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

 

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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…)

Nog for breakfast!*

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

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I have been waiting nearly a year to try this recipe, people!

(Seriously! Though VJF was released last December, I didn’t get a copy until February – a month or two after the stores stopped selling vegan nog. THE TORTURE.)

It’s the Eggnog French Toast with Butter Rum Sauce from Vegan Junk Food. While ooey, gooey, and totally nom-worthy, it’s not quite as noggy as I’d hoped: the flavor of the Butter Rum Sauce totally overpowers the nog batter on the french toast.

I bet this would taste even more amazing topped with a nog-inspired icing instead. Maybe swap out the water for nog in this recipe, or use an eggnog extract instead of vanilla here. (Is eggnog flavoring vegan? I have no idea. Must investigate further!)

Still a pretty awesome french toast recipe, though the Sticky Caramel Baked French Toast will forever be my favorite. Key word: BAKED. Hot oil splatter be gone!

* Actually I had this for dinner but who’s counting?

"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!

 

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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.

Prepare to be shocked and amazed.

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Salt & vinegar potato chips! IN THE MICROWAVE!

 

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Told you so.

I had some potato slices left over from the Rosemary Potato Pizza, just sitting in the fridge waiting to grow mold. (Actually, I’m kind of surprised they didn’t – go bad, that is. They were in there for nearly two weeks before I found the time to try this recipe out. I stored them in a Tupperware container with just enough salt water to cover the slices; strangely, they still looked good as new, but had sucked up much of the water.)

Anyway, since a second potato pizza just wasn’t in the cards, I decided to make them into potato chips using the recipe for Salt & Vinegar Chips found in (where else?) Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food. I was a little skeptical that microwaving potato slices for a mere three to five minutes would magically transform them into crispy potato chips, but – as per usual – I was happily wrong. This is some serious witchcraft right here.

While the final product doesn’t have quite the tangy punch that I prefer (the accidentally vegan Cape Cod Salt & Vinegar chips are my favorite; once, when I was having trouble finding them locally, I ordered an entire case online – something I don’t recommend unless you’re part of a food share program!), these chips are crazy good nonetheless. Plus they don’t sit heavy in the stomach the way so many oily, store-bought chips can. They’re kind of like kettle chips, only lighter.

For obvious reasons I can’t share the recipe, but it’s as simple as this: peel (if necessary), clean, slice (use a mandolin!), season, and microwave (on a plate lined with parchment paper). Use a tablespoon of olive oil per potato, plus any other spices your heart desires. Be sure to flip halfway through. The chips will crisp up within a minute of removing them from the microwave. IT’S THAT EASY.

I thought I’d like my chips a little on the brown side, but found that the light gold ones are my favorite. Do sample the first batch to see what you like, and adjust the cook time accordingly.

 

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P.S. This is what happens when you let two potatoes touch. They form a single beautiful winged potato chip. Fly little spud, fly high! You’re freeeeee!

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: Cheesy Kale Chips & Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

 

The song: “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Cheesy Kale Chips from Vegan Junk Food

The connection: Battlestar GalacticaSeason 3, Episode 10, “The Passage”

 

Kale Chips from Vegan Junk Food (0015)

 

So this is one of those food-song pairings which is less obvious and thus requires a lengthier explanation. As much as I love Battlestar Galactica and could ramble on and on about it for days, I’ll try to keep it short and simple. This is a food festival, after all.

For those who aren’t fans (OH MY GODS WHY NOT? YOU ARE MISSING OUT EPICALLY!), the basic premise of BSG is this: after a decades-long truce with the Cylons – sentient robots built, enslaved, and oppressed by humans – the Twelve Colonies are attacked by their “children” (now evolved into android form). Humanity is destroyed. Decimated. Entire cities and planets are colonized by the Cylons – or wiped off the map altogether. The ~50,000 human survivors – most of whom were off-planet, traveling in spaceships, when the attack occurred – flee, with the Cylons in hot pursuit.

At turns, the Cylons aim for the extinction of the human race – or peaceful (yet dominant) coexistence with them. Meanwhile, the humans want nothing but to escape the Cylons; to find a new planet to settle and rebuild human civilization. The duration of the four-season show follows our “heroes” (not really; not always) as they search for the mythical planet of earth, supposedly settled by their ancestors so many centuries ago.

While BSG touches upon a number of heavy topics – democracy, warfare, slavery, civil liberties, abortion – the themes of home and family can be found throughout. Forced to live on cramped, uncomfortable ships for years, some of them subjected to horrific working conditions, the survivors are just that: surviving. Nothing more; for many, less, as war, disease, and hunger ravage the population. The hope of finding a new planet to settle – a new home – is all that sustains them.

In the meantime, they must learn how to make do with their actual homes: the warships, prisons, and luxury liners that carry them through space. (Even in wartime, inequities persist!) The survivors find friends, forge alliances, fall in love, start families. They struggle to find normalcy in the midst of a perpetual emergency.

 

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Though they do eventually find earth, it’s a shell of a planet, ravaged by nuclear warfare. Uninhabitable; in no better shape than the planets they fled. (Oh, humanity. Will you ever rise above your violent nature?) While their faith is shattered, they keep searching. What else is there to do but forge on? In time they find a new earth – earth as we know it – and at long last they stop running; they settle the planet, together, humans and Cylons alike. Among the refugees is young Hera, a human-Cylon hybrid – the first – who will one day come to be known as Eve.

In my own mental BSG soundtrack, “Home” is the very first track (followed at a close second by History Repeating), and for obvious reasons. Home is where you find the people you love. Home is where you are, where you want to be. Home is where you make it, but not always in the place you imagined it.

And how does the kale figure in, you ask? Season 3, Episode 10 (“The Passage”) saw the fleet facing starvation after their food stores were contaminated. In search of sustenance, they stumble upon the “Algae Planet,” which has “an abundance of primitive plant life in the form of waterborne algae which the refugee fleet stop to harvest for food.” While the mission doesn’t go altogether smoothly, the fleet successfully replenishes its food supply. Naturally, much grumbling about the lackluster menu ensues.

 

Kale Chips from Vegan Junk Food (0022)

 

Even though it’s actually algae they harvest, I can’t help but think of kale every time that episode comes to mind. But not in a bad way! I’m convinced that there would have been much less complaining about the food if only they just knew how to prepare it properly. Too bad they didn’t have any nutritional yeast (or Lane Gold) on hand!

Which brings us to the Cheesy Kale Chips from Vegan Junk Food! I tried to make these months ago – back when I was reviewing the book – but the husband accidentally brought home cabbage, and it was all downhill from there. Luckily, the second time’s the charm – once I had a bunch of honest-to-goodness kale to work with, it was smooth sailing. The kale is seasoned with olive oil, salt, nutritional yeast, and cayenne pepper and baked until crispy. A pretty standard recipe, I think, and very tasty. Addictive, even.

They don’t quite taste like tortilla chips as Gold promises, but they’re still good! And healthy! (Seriously, where’s all that junk food I was promised? Wink, wink.)

Just remember to remove the stems – ALL OF THEM. Seriously, even the teenty tiny tertiary baby stems! I left a few little veins intact, and had to eat around them, so tough and gross were they.

 

Kale Chips from Vegan Junk Food (0028)

 

The leaves – dissected as they are at multiple points by the stems – will be much smaller, but also easier to work with.

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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Iron Chef/Eat to the Beat: Rosemary Potato Pizza with Garlic Sesame Sauce & Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

 

The song: “Gimme Pizza” (Slow Jam) by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (original)

The foodstuff: Potato Pizza with Garlic Sesame Sauce (recipe below)

The connection: P.I.Z.Z.A.

 

Y’all, I’ve been wanting to incorporate pizza (my favorite!) into these Iron Chef challenges for some time now – but tragically, none of the ingredients have really screamed “pizza.” (Which is weird because pizza, much like ice cream, never fails to make me scream. And cry and moan and a few other things that are too obscene to mention here.) Until this weekend, that is!

Two words: potatoes and sesame.

 

Rosemary Potato Pizza with Garlic Sesame Sauce for Iron Chef (0021)

 

Two more words: potato pizza!

To start, I made a basic white pizza dough (my go-to recipe!), with a little garlic powder mixed in. The crust is dusted with a bit of rosemary-infused olive oil, then stacked high with several layers of paper-thin, salty Yokon Gold (or, in my case, red skin) potatoes, also seasoned with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and, voilà, an Iron Chef inspired pizza for four!

Since this is all so basic it feels rather like cheating, I also made a Garlic Sesame Sauce: silken tofu, blended and dressed up with sesame seed oil, tahini, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, and a few other things. I used the Sour Cream recipe found in Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food as a jumping-off point, testing and adding ingredients until I had something that was a little bit sesame, a little but garlicky. Not half bad, if I do say so myself!

It’s meant to be drizzled (or plopped, as the case may be) on the pizza post-baking

 

Rosemary Potato Pizza with Garlic Sesame Sauce for Iron Chef (0041)

 

or served on the side as a dipping sauce,

 

Rosemary Potato Pizza with Garlic Sesame Sauce for Iron Chef (0063)

 

but you could easily use it like a more traditional pizza sauce. Cut the olive oil in half and add the sauce first, followed by the potatoes, olive oil, and optional sesame seeds. Easy as pie! (Because it is a pie!)

The pizza’s pretty great on its own, but I like the sauce because it helps to add a little moisture to what can sometimes be a dry pie. (Mashed potatoes work wonders too!) Got leftovers? Don’t fret! The sauce also makes for a tasty dressing, dip, or sandwich spread.

We also made a pretty epic Bruschetta Pizza, a slice of which you see on my plate. (When we make pizza, we ALWAYS make two. One for everyone!) And yup, I’ve got a recipe for that too!

You’re welcome.

(More below the fold…)

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

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012


 

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

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

The connection: Feeling hot-hot-hot!

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Devil Dog (0010)

 

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

On that note: HAPPY TACO TUESDAY, Y’ALL!

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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Eat to the Beat: Sloppy Joes & Adam Sandler

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

 

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

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

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

 

Sloppy Joes from Vegan Junk Food (0019)

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

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

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

Sloppy Joe is the hero of this song, fernoodleysakes!

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

 

Sloppy Joes from Vegan Junk Food (0004)

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

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

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

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

You’re welcome.

 

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

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

 

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

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

The connection: The Monster at the End of This Book

 

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

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

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

 

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

Saving animals, eating things. The family business!
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In honor of the occasion: a little Kansas and a Black Bean Veggie Burger!

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

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

So there are the tunes. What about the food?

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

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

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

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

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

Score for Team Vegan!

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

Dickballs!

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

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

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

Monday, October 1st, 2012

 

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

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

The connection: Diner food!

 

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

 

Bacon Egg Salad from Vegan Junk Food (0002)

 

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

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

 

Bacon Egg Salad from Vegan Junk Food (0005)

 

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

 

Taters & Strings from American Vegan Kitchen (0004)

 

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

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

 

Make Your Own Nayonaise (0010)

 

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Cheesy Popcorn & Angel:

Friday, September 14th, 2012

this is the life!

 

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Y’all, this popcorn was SO GOOD!

The recipe – popped on the stovetop and topped with a mix of nutritional yeast, mustard powder, and salt – is from Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food. (Shocking, right?) Simple, easy, delicious.

So freaking delicious I polished off an entire bowl by myself before the third commercial break!

In fact, Shane even commented that this was a less tedious process than breaking out the popcorn machine, since the element takes so long to heat up. This after hemming and hawing when I asked him to make me a batch.

Nope, I didn’t even have to pop it myself. Like I said, EASY.

 

Vegan Veggie Ranch Pizza

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Ranch dressing! On a pizza!

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I have seen the hidden valley, and it is divine!

Seriously though, this pizza? THIS PIZZA.

With diced zucchini, carrots, broccoli, and green peppers, vegan bacon bits, and mozzarella and cheddar Daiya cheese.

One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream with Chocolate Fudge Sauce

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

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One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream, topped with homemade Chocolate Fudge Sauce
and Good Morning Granola, also homemade
(the recipe’s from Cooking Vegan by Vesanto Melina & Joseph Forest).
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Banana ice cream, does a more perfect vegan junk food exist? Healthy, inexpensive, easy to make, no special equipment required – and it counts as a serving plus of fruit, to boot! Bananas, my new best friends.

As many different flavors of banana ice cream I’ve made, it occurred to me that I’ve yet to post a basic recipe. Consider that oversight seen and rectified! This One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream recipe is delicious when made as is, but it also offers an excellent jumping off point for creating your own signature dish. Nuts, nut butters, dried fruit, fresh fruit, frozen fruit, chocolate goodies, vegan sweets, you name it – all make for yummy additions. Go wild.

To get you started, I’ve included a bonus recipe for Chocolate Fudge Sauce! I started with the Fudge Sauce recipe found in Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food and modified it to fit what was in my pantry. The result? Thick, rich, chocolately … this sauce is addictive, and galaxies better than the store-bought stuff. Standing over the stove top may be the last thing on your mind in this heat, but trust me – it’s sooooo worth it.

 

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Banana Ice Cream: serve with fresh berries for a healthy summertime treat!
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One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

Ingredients

2 to 5 overripe bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen

(Two bananas yield one generous serving. Four to five bananas make about a quart of ice cream.)

Directions

1. Put the bananas in the food processor and pulse until smoothly blended. Most likely you’ll need to stir them by hand several times, as the frozen chunks tend to gather and become “stuck” on one side of the bowl. If necessary, add a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer to get things moving!

Alternately, you can allow the bananas to defrost on the counter top for 30 to 60 minutes beforehand, so that they’re easier to work with. Before putting them in the food processor, break them up into smaller chunks with a butter knife.

Note: Since introducing extra liquids (such as non-dairy milk) into the mix results in a slightly icier finished product, I prefer defrosting to non-dairy milk. If you’re in a hurry, pop the bananas in the microwave for 20 to 45 seconds instead.

2. If the bananas aren’t sweet enough for your taste (sometimes this happens if you freeze them before they’re sufficiently ripe), add a bit of sugar to taste. Any sugar works fine – white, brown, etc. – but I find that powdered sugar results in a smoother blend.

3. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container. Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or pop the ice cream in the freezer for an hour+ for a firmer dessert. Store any leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container. If the frozen banana ice cream proves too hard to scoop, microwave it for ten seconds to help loosen it up (or let the container sit on the counter for ten to thirty minutes prior to eating, depending on room temp).

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