Saturday, January 31, 2009

Back to the Pantry

Even after my pantry purge in most of November, I seem to have as much if not more junk in my trunk, er stuff in my pantry.

So here we go again. I'm soaking some dried beans and making some broth. I'm trying to save some squash that was trying to grow itself in my kitchen.

What to do, what to do...pasta, pizza, bread, chickpea cutlets, maybe some brownies. I really should bake more. I'm going to set out to make some stuff that I can take into work for lunches (and probably dinners) this week.

More the mean time, here's the almost instant chickpea soup I tested for Robin Robertson's Vegan on the Cheap coming out soon. Who doesn't need fast and easy, cheap vegan eats?

And if you didn't already think I was crazy, today's cooking soundtrack is currently on Air Supply. Yes I said it. Air Supply. My mom used to put on records and cook when I was a kid. Next up is, don't laugh, Dan Fogelberg.

Just so I don't lose all my cool points with my easy listening confessions, check out the new PETA ad that was banned from the Super Bowl. 'Veggie Love': PETA's Banned Super Bowl Ad

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chili ninjadillas and Annatto Oil

Chpotle chili ninjadillas. The secret to the ninjadillas really is the annatto oil. It's just achiote seeds steeped in oil. It lends a little flavor a LOT of color to Spanish or Mexican food. Fry up the tortillas in a little oil and they get all crispy and yum. Topped with chipotle vegenaise.

Achiote or annatto seeds are really small and hard little seeds that come from the achiote tree cultivated in tropical South America and Southeast Asia. Annatto is used as a commercial all natural food coloring. It's also much cheaper than saffron for adding that splash of orangish color to Spanish rice and Mexican food. The seeds alone aren't much on flavor as a berry (I just tried one for your benefit,) so are best extracted through oil. Even the oil only has a slightly different flavor, but the color is amazing.

For the annatto oil, I put 1/2 cup of corn oil in a pan and then 1 TBS annatto seeds. Set on medium heat and when the seeds start to sizzle remove from heat and strain out and toss the seeds. Don't heat for too long after the sizzle or the seeds get black and the oil turns kind of green. If this happens, toss and start over. I store the annatto oil in the refrigerator in one of those Good Seasoning salad dressing containers you get with the dry mix.

I originally picked up annatto seeds from Penzeys, but I have found it in the spice or latino section of normal grocery stores. If you see Goya, you can probably find it. They do make prepared annatto oil, but I haven't tried it since I'd already figured out how to make my own and it's really simple.

I use corn oil because it stays liquid in the refrigerator and seems pretty mexicanny anyway, but you can use any kind of vegetable or olive oil.

I've only recently discovered the beauty of annatto oil when I was trying to impress my mother in law by making Spanish food for lunch this summer. This was one of my first blog posts.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Stuffed Peppers

Yep, there's more of the crunkin' chipotle chickpea chili and corn caserole. Stuffed peppers! I mixed some rice in with the chili, then layered the chili and corn caserole in the peppers.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pasta Fazool!

Yeah, I took Italian and I know it's really pasta e fagioli, which is literally pasta and beans, but pasta fazool just has that old world New York Italian flavah.

From Robin Robertson's upcoming cookbook Vegan on the Cheap. Pasta fazool is fast and easy comfort food.

Vegan Drinks sprouting up everywhere

Check out the latest additions to the Vegan Drinks family:

Salt Lake City Vegan Drinks: Meets the first Monday of the month at the Vertical Diner. (Next event: Monday, February 2 from 8-10pm.)

DC Vegan Drinks: Meets monthly at the Science Club. (Next event: Thursday, February 12 from 7-9pm.)

Philly Vegan Drinks: Meets monthly at Horizons. (First event: Thursday, February 19 from 5:30-8:30pm.)

Los Angeles Vegan Drinks: Meets monthly at different locations. (Next event: see

Cleveland Veganz: Next event Kan Zaman January, 24th at 10pm followed by bellydancing at 11:30.

Coming Soon: San Francisco Vegan Drinks

To learn more about the above events, visit There's also tips for starting a vegan drinks in your area

The next Vegan Drinks in NYC will be held on Thursday, January 29 from 7-9pm at Angels & Kings Bar.

Happy Vegan Drinking & Meeting in 2009!

The Vegan Drinks (NYC) Team

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Potato soup pancakes with tempeh bacon

When I was a kid we used to have leftover thanksgiving gravy over waffles for dinner. In Tara's family they have potato soup with waffles. Well I've got Bianca's pancakes and potato soup and it's like the 2 were made to be together. I ate this for brunch, with tempeh bacon but it's definitely one of those any meal combinations. Weird, yes. Totally awesome, heck yeah!

Friday, January 16, 2009


Get ready to tap into your inner Cliff Claven and try out for Jeopardy online. I did it last year and obviously didn't make it, but someday, oh yes, someday you will see me on Jeopardy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Since I got called out for not being a socially conscious enough vegan for buying freakin' payless shoes, I decided to throw down some cash at Herbivore. T-shirts, a sweatshirt, zines, cookbooks, stickers and buttons. Now I'm feelin' like more like a righteous vegan. And I just kinda wanted to wear "praise seitan" at the gym.*
Then I'll be scoring more righteous points at Komedy for Karma featuring Janeane Garafalo, Gary Gullman, Dan Piraro and maybe Dave Attell in NYC on February 11th to benefit the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.

*I haven't actually been to the gym lately (there's one across the street from my job) but now I have some incentive.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Country Potato Soup

More crunkin' goodness. Creamy potato soup with tempeh bacon.

I'd write more, but the ninja and I are "organizing." OK, looking for the PS3 receipt that I think I remember saving, but can't find in all the usual receipt finding places. Of course this leads to going through all the other crap that has managed to accumulate. It's a feng shui space clearing marathon.

Check out some strongbad if you need further entertainment.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Testing 1 2 3

Being a tester is fun.

Here's more things to do with chipotle chickpea chili and corn casserole.
Stuff it in a jacket potato.Add some quinoa and stuff it in a burrito.I made some tempeh bacon, too.
And tested Robin Robertson's Walnut-Dusted Fettuccine with Balsamic Vegetables..

All this deliciousness helps me to endure another seriously gruelling week ahead at work. Peace out.

Oh, and my veganversary was 1/8/09. One whole year and lovin' it. Thanks to all my blogger friends. You are awesome and inspire me every day. Thank you.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Oh, yes I did...corny chili fries

Long day at work again. Let's see...I've got chili, corn caserole, and home made fries are in the oven. What to do, what to do. Yes, I mixed the chipotle chili with the creamy corn caserole and topped the fries with it. Yum.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Juicer and chili fries

Check out Gina at Vegan Strong. She is giving away a juicer! Click here and leave a comment for a chance to win.

Tonight, I made Bianca's awesome Chipotle Chickpea Chili. Then I made some fries and smothered them with the chili. Topped it off with tofutti Better than Sour Cream. The finest Irish nachos!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mmmm...Corn casserole

Tonight, I made Bianca's yummy corn caserole. This is some serious Southern love cookin'. The ninja loved it. The photo doesn't do it justice.

I had it with fries and leftover ravioli, so I didn't even get a photo of that starch fest, but the corn casserole was the star.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Update Dark Days Challenge #7 - Butternut squash ravioli

Move over chef boy-ar-dee.

Butternut squash ravioli:

Pasta dough (I used the rest of the dough from last week-about 1/2 the recipe)
1 Butternut squash peeled and cut into chunks
1 small red potato diced

I roasted the squash and potato in some olive oil with some salt and black pepper. Let it cool and then mashed it with a fork. I was going to blend it smooth, but I liked the crunch of the roasted potatoes. The potatoes were cut smaller than the squash, so were crunchier. I totally forgot the maple syrup in the squash filling (it's sweet anyway, so who cares.)

I rolled out the pasta into thin strips about 3 inches across. Then cut off a square and filled with about 2 tsp filling. I didn't get precice measurements and I can't say I was totally consistent. I'm just happy they got sealed and none of the filling burst through the dough.
Let's just call them rustic.
Then I dropped them 6 at a time into boiling salted water.

I sauteed a little garlic in olive oil and added a little basil. I tossed the cooked ravioli in the oil and plated. When I reheat the rest of these later, I'll probably just fry them in the garlic basil oil. Fried ravioli is one of the greatest leftovers.

There's a scene in Cranford where Dame Judy Dench talks about how her father made the childeren do an exercise when writing their journals. At the beginng of each day they would write what they planned to do and at the end of the day write what actually happened. Things rarely turn out as you expect.

Original Post:

Dark days are getting slim pickins'.

I still have some pasta dough that's been chillin' in the fridge. I managed to save most of a butternut squash that was trying to plant itself on the kitchen shelf. The seeds were starting to turn all black, so I didn't get any squash seeds to roast.

My local find of the week was some maple syrup. I'm going to put that in the ravioli filling, too.

The squash is roasting now, but I'll post photos and results when this actually gets completed. One of these weeks I won't wait until the last minute to post...yeah, that's a new year's resolution that is not likely to happen.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Southern pecan pancakes

Bianca at Vegan Crunk is testing out some recipes for her cookbook and this week is Cinnamon Pecan Waffles. Being a tester is the perfect project for me. I get to buy stuff, cook stuff, and eat stuff like it's my job. My mom, the cookbook aficionado, is impressed I'm a tester. Mom also called this morning to check what I did in our last batch of fridge bread dough. I should have just pointed to my blog post, but I told her anyway.

OK, so the test recipe has morphed into pecan pancakes because I don't have a waffle iron and the ninja says he's allergic to cinnamon. It's even more the smell than the taste, so I avoid cinnamon candles and baking with it (rest stops with Cinnabon are particularly annoying-thanks New Jersey*.) But if the ninja puts up with all my vegan quirks and subjects himself to endless experiments in cruelty free cooking, I suppose I can't complain about his one normal ingredient issue. I was actually going to buy a waffle iron, but mom says she thinks she has an "extra" one somewhere in the house, so maybe I'll get one...eventually. I know I had one, but I think it went in the great purge from Boston.
The griddle is the cuisinart pannini grill. It would be better if one of the sets of plates was for waffles, but it's OK for pancakes. I must have the hit settings right (400 degrees), because the pancakes cooked perfectly. The thing is generally a little temperamental, so I won't actually recommend it as a necessary gadget. Now that I've dug it out, guess it should get some play as a pannini press, but I'll have to get to that later.
The pancakes were fantastic. I powered down 4. The recipe makes 8 waffles, but I made 20 pancakes with 1/4 cup batter each. Use a tablespoon measure for perfect silver dollar sized pancakes. I know what I'm having for breakfast all week.
In case you were wondering, maple syrup does "go bad" if you leave it opened in the cupboard too long (could have been there up to 4 years.) Mine had a layer of slimy mold on it which is apparently harmless and can be skimmed off. I did pick up some new syrup and it's local! Produced in Conesville, New York 135 miles away.

*Side note to the NJ rest stop...on the way back from DE after Christmas, I was getting my BK veggie burger (no mayo) and turned to stare into the eyes of a familiar face. I looked away and as we walked away, subtly turned to the ninja and said "hey, I think that's Elliot Spitzer." The ninja then turned around, waved, grinned, and said something like "hey, howya doin'" and Mr. Spitzer nodded in recognition. He was with his family and was driving a minivan.

While I'm at it, I also saw Russel Simmons in Union Square on Halloween. I have no appreciation for hip hop, but I know a good vegan when I see one.