Saturday, October 31, 2009

Japanese comfort food and my awesome Halloween costume

Stewed daikon radish in a sweet miso sauce with a side of inari wrapped sushi rice. The thick daikon really needs to cook for awhile (like 1-2 hours) to get soft throughout, but it's worth the wait. The texture is strangely like pineapple, but not stringy or sweet. The sauce is miso, sake, mirin and kombu dashi.
Sushi rice stuffed into inari wrappers which are thin fried tofu pockets. They are a bit sweet and pair well with the sour vinegar of the sushi rice. I'm a vegan post punk rocker chick. I really just wanted to wear tatoo sleeves, a purple wig, and the magnetic face stud. The Praise Seitan t-shirt was just a bonus.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Health food vs. Junk food

This lovely rice bowl comes from The Pump Energy Food which has a bunch of locations in NYC. I'll post anything where you can get tofu as a regular option. The supercharged plate is brown rice with baked tofu, spinach, tomatoes, guacamole and a "cool green" sauce which is cucumber, mint, parsley, and lime sauce.Oh, yes and the Doritos. Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos are vegan and they sell them in the bodega in the basement of my building. Danger. These bad boys are really good.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Seitan buffalo fingers with blue cheese dressing

Hot wings, vegan style.

The buffalo chicken fingers are from a tester recipe. I froze them and they reheated nicely in the toaster oven. Tami's awesome book American Vegan Kitchen will be out in February, but you can pre-order it now!

The blue cheese dip is some Blue Style Scheese mixed with veganaise. The hot sauce is Frank's Red Hot which is my favorite wing sauce. The celery is just to make it feel like I'm having something healthy.

Peanut butter and jelly oatmeal

Here's another quickie...

I usually make oatmeal at work for breakfast with some rolled oats and raisins, but I ate all the raisins yesterday and forgot to bring more in. I did have some peanut butter left at the bottom of the jar and I had some Crofter's superfruit spread in the fridge. It's the Europe blend with black currants, pomegranates, morello cherries and red grapes.I tried to make the PB & jelly all in a yin and yang formation, because I thought it would look cool, but I gave up because I was hungry. I don't bother to microwave the oats. When I have it boils over into a big mess and I hate to wait around to stop and stir every 30 seconds. I don't like microwaves anyway. Even though it's not instant, just cover rolled oats in hot water and let it sit for a few minutes. By the time it's softened it's a good temperature to eat and you won't burn your tongue first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Invasion of the Vegan Cookies!

Isa & Terry's new book is almost here! I preordered from Amazon and got shipping notice that it should arrive by Saturday. Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vegan Marshmallows

Vegan junk food rules. Sweet & Sara smores are awesome. This is the peanut butter flavor.I came across the sweet & sara marshmallows and smores in the grocery store near my work. Gotta support vegan companies when you see their products right? Perfect afternoon snack.

I also really like Suzanne's Specilaties ricemellow creme. You probably need to schlep to a health food store for this or grab it when you're shopping online. It's available from the usual vegan retailers, food fight, cosmos, and pangea. I'm sure ricemellow is great in frosting, fluffernutters, and rice crispy treats, but honestly, I ate most of it with a spoon. Don't worry, it wasn't all in one sitting or anything.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Green bean fries with ranch dressing

I got some giant end of the season green beans from my CSA. So I oven fried them with a good bit of olive oil and ate them with a side of ranch dressing.
I mixed some Penzeys Buttermilk Ranch Dressing mix with some tofutti sour cream for the dip. Although the name says buttermilk, the mix ingredients are all vegan: salt, bell peppers, garlic, onion, sugar, black pepper, parsley, thyme, basil.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Woo-hoo, I made the MoFo round-up!

Whew, I made the Tuesday MoFo round-up with my gnocchi and cilantro pesto. Rock on.

If you haven't been keeping up with Vegan MoFo HQ, now is the time to check in on it!

How else would you know about the vegan Doritos? Huzzah! I found them in the convenience store in my office building, but if you don't see them at a store near you, you can order them at Vegan Essentials.
or all the vegan Halloween candies?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Meatless Monday Gnocchi with cilantro pesto

This dish just sort of happened. I wanted gnocchi, but I kind of wanted something Mexican and needed to use up some cooked pinto beans and some cilantro that was threatening to wilt. Voila gnocchi with cilantro pesto.

Prepackaged gnocchi (I'll save homemade gnocchi for anther time)

1TBS olive oil

1/2 cup quick sofrito
1 cup cooked pinto beans
1 cup cooked leafy greens
1 cup canned tomatoes with juice

Quick sofrito:
2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
1/2 green pepper
1 small bunch cilantro

1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Boil water for gnocchi. Blend together almonds and nutritional yeast and set aside. Blend together sofrito ingredients. Add olive oil and 1/2 cup sofrito to pan and saute a few minutes to soften. Blend together pinto beans, greens (I used kale) and tomatoes. Add blended ingredients to saute pan with sofrito and heat thoroughly. Cook gnocchi and add to sauce pot to coat. Top with almond/nooch topping.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Slower Delaware style "chicken" and dumplings

Today's dish was inspired by two other bloggers. Matt at My Veggie Kitchen created the ultimate chicken flavored broth. Jeni at Heathen Vegan had some stew with dumplings and was discussing what the British and Americans call dumplings vs. biscuits.

Inspiration hits.

Chicken and Dumpling dinners are the annual fundraiser of many a Delaware organization. My church had one, I think the other was the Lions Club or something. So this usually is made to serve a crowd in a church basement or a school cafeteria. What makes these dumplings special is that they are slippery dumplings. Another colorful name for this dish is "yardbird and slicks." Honestly the chicken was never my favorite part anyway, so I'm just making the broth and dumplings, but this would be great with some chicken style seitan thrown in. Really the best time to make this would be after you've made some chicken style seitan by using the cooking broth. I wanted this NOW, so I took the shortcut. I had to cut my mom's secret family recipe by 1/3 or I'll be eating this until Halloween, but this can easily be multiplied for a crowd.

"Chicken" and Slippery Dumplings

4 cups chicken flavored broth

1 cup all purpose flour (plus about 1/2 cup more for keeping dough from sticking)
1 tsp salt
2 rounded TBS shortening
1/3 cup warm water

Boil broth. I heated up last weeks freegan broth with some chickpeas, celery, carrot, and 1 TBS poultry seasoning and 1 TBS Herbes de Provence, then strained it before adding the dumplings. Add salt to taste.

Mix together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in shortening. Add water a little at a time to form a dough ball. Break off 1/3 cup sized pieces and roll out paper thin with lots of flour to keep from sticking. Cut into small rectangles about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. They don't have to be perfect, in fact a few trapezoids and squares make it interesting. Make sure each dumpling is well coated in flour. This helps thicken the broth as well.

Drop the dumplings in the hot broth and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Serve in shallow bowls. The dumplings stay rocket hot for awhile, so resist the temptation so start slurping them down right away.

Any leftovers will suck up lots of the broth so it won't be quite as gravyey, but I actually enjoy it the next day (or several days) as well. This is some serious rainy day comfort food!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blossom NYC vegan meet up for Farm Sanctuary

I tell people I write a vegan cooking blog. Vegan eating blog would be more accurate.

Last night I went to a NYC vegan eat-up event at Blossom to support the Farm Sanctuary. Both Blossom locations were donating 10% of each bill to the sanctuary.

Thanks to all the eat-uppers for snapping shots of their food. I really didn't eat all this...

Appetizers!I had the black-eyed pea cake. Crispy cake of yukon gold potatoes and black eyed peas, served with chipotle aioli. Yum! This might have been a special, I don't know what it's called, but I had a bite and it was tasty. The base was a light pastry and it was topped with mushrooms. Potato leek soup. Wish I got that! It was a cold and stormy night... Cape Cod Cakes. A blend of hiziki seaweed, tofu, potato, herbs and spices, served with a vegan tartar sauce. These are also super yummy, I had them the last time I was here.
Ravioli with Cashew Cream. Spinach, mushroom, and pine nut filling. This is good, too. There's not a whole lot in the filling, so it's a good appetizer size.
Entrees! Seitan Scaloppini. Seitan cutlets in a white wine, lemon and caper sauce, served with mashed potatoes and sautéed kale. This is one of Blossom's signature dishes. I got the Port Wine Seitan. Seitan cutlets pan-seared in a sauce of port wine and mushrooms, accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes, tempura onion and sautéed garlic spinach. This was the perfect warming comfort meal for a fall evening that felt like winter! Vegetable Mezze Plate. Our Chef’s preparation of fresh vegetables accompanied by spiced quinoa. You really can't beat piles of perfectly roasted vegetables.
Hickory basted tempeh. Looks good! A couple people got this and really enjoyed it.

Fun evening with excellent food and great company to support the farm animals.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Birthday Dinner at Dirt Candy NYC

I had a lovely birthday dinner last night at Dirt Candy. It's vegetarian, but they'll make all the dishes vegan. They even ask if you're vegan when they seat you!
We started with the Jalapeno Hush Puppies with maple butter. YUM!
Kimchi Doughnuts with watermelon radishes, cilantro and wild arugula

Asparagus Paella with artichokes, morels, saffron tomato broth. The top of the rice was crispy like a rice crispies cake, and when you break it off and it goes snap crackle and pop in the broth!
The ninja had Onion Soup which had cheese, and Crispy Tofu and Broccolini with orange beurre blanc. Yes, the ninja actually chose tofu and he really liked it. The vegetables are great, but the sauces really shine.
Although the desserts at Dirt Candy looked good, there were people waiting for tables and it was super rainy and cold out, so we opted to walk down a few blocks to Lula's Sweet Apothecary.

I had the cookies & cream.

The ninja had the strawberry cheesecake on a sugar cone.

All in all a very good vegan b'day. Cheers!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Copycat gift cookies...

So I'm off to visit my 84 year old first cousin once removed* and her 92 year old husband. What to bring for the oldies but goodies...hhmmm...this is tough...cookies! Yes, everyone likes cookies, so let's go with an everything cookie adapted from the recipe from the canister of walmart oatmeal. I was too lazy to look this up before making them, but here's the original everything cookie recipe. The everything cookie II
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup applesauce
2 TBS soy milk (not sure this is necessary, but I used it anyway)
2 tsp vanilla

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (ground to a powder)
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

In a separate large bowl mix together the oil, sugars, applesauce, soymilk, and vanilla. When well blended add the flour mixture and blend together. Add the oats, and mix, add the choc chips, walnuts, raisins, and cranberries, and mix together after each addition.

Drop by tablespoonfull onto ungreased cookie sheets. They don't spread much so leave about an inch of space. Bake 13-15 min. Let cook on cookie sheet for about a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.

I totally stole the tea box from Isa, but the ancient ones don't have the interwebs, so they'll think I'm a total genius that I invented this myself.

*Just in case anyone is wondering, my first cousin once removed is my mom's first cousin. The once removed is the generation skip. Her kids are my second cousins, etc.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Practically Freegan Vegetable Broth

Here's one version of veggie broth I make on a regular basis. No, I'm not suggesting any dumpster diving. It's mainly comprised of vegetables you've got sitting around that haven't quite gone bad, but you aren't really going to use them in anything before they do go bad. Or the parts of veggies you would otherwise throw away. My theory is that if I'm not making broth once a week, I'm probably not eating enough vegetables.

Obviously, you can use the same perfectly good veggies to make broth. Then you can use the veggies in whatever soup you're making as well. When I use the freegan version, I really do use just the broth. I drain out all the veggies and toss them.

Onions/shallots-that 1/2 onion you stuck in the fridge and forgot about, or the one at the bottom of the root vegetable bin that has one bad spot, but the rest is good. Cut off and throw away the bad part. Save the skins and the end parts from onions you are using in the freezer.

Carrots-those limp ones hanging around the vegetable drawer or the half bag of baby carrots you keep meaning to take into work for a snack, but they've been in there awhile and don't look so appetising. With fresh, save the green tops and any peelings from carrots you're using in the freezer.

Celery-same as for carrots. Also when you buy celery get the whole stalk. It's usually even cheaper than the "hearts" or the cut up ones, and you just take the bottom 3 inches and throw it in the freezer with the other broth parts. From the farmer's market celery usually has a lot of leaves on top as well. Take care not to use too much celery in the broth unless you're making celery soup. It does tend to take over.

Leeks/scallion-save for broth most of the tops, and the very bottom and the first few layers of the "good" white part at the bottom.

Potatoes/sweet potatoes/squash-save the peels in the freezer for broth.

Corn cobs-save for broth

Broccoli/Cauliflower-save the leaves and the stems you don't really want to eat (you know you just want the tops with your dinner.)

Kale, collard greens, any other leafy greens- save the chunky stems
Mushrooms - save the stems or throw in a few dried mushrooms for a stronger mushroom flavor.

Herbs- parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, cilantro. Just keep in mind what kind of soup you plan to make. If you want a basic broth, leave out the herbs until you're actually making the soup.

There are a few items I don't use. I try to keep out seeds, so I don't use the cores of things like peppers. Also I skip the skins from eggplant which can make the broth bitter. Some recipes suggest not using cabbage or asparagus, but I've used both and the broth is still fine. They're just strong flavors. You can use apple peels, but the broth will be extra sweet.

Here's the vegetables straight from the freezer. Onion, carrot peelings, celery parts, the stems from turnip greens, some summer squash and the peel from a winter squash, and the greens from some leeks.

My two favorite additions for basic broth are kombu (seaweed) and bay leaves. The kombu magically makes the broth taste good without additional salt and the bay leaves give it nice rounded out flavor. Bay leaves you can get at any grocery store (or my mom's backyard) and you can find kombu in the Asian section of a well stocked grocery store. Kombu is fairly cheap, a $3 bag from the Asian store will last quite awhile.

Cut all the veggie parts into smallish pieces. Usually about bite sized is a good rule of thumb. I break corn cobs in half. Put it all in a big pot and cover with water. Add the kombu and bay leaves and let simmer about an hour. Drain and enjoy plain or in your favorite soup recipe. Freeze any amounts you don't plan to use within a week. Obviously, to thaw broth for use in recipes, just put it in a pan and heat it up.

All the simmering veggies.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Soy-tan dream cutlets from 1,000 Vegan Recipes

Robin Robertson has a new giant book of vegan recipes. 1,000 Vegan Recipes to be exact.
Tonight I whipped up the soy-tan dream cutlets to add to my leftover mexcellent rice bowl. A mix of tofu and wheat gluten with a little spices, this is a super fast way to get some seitan into a weeknight meal. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Fast, easy and delicious.

Veganism's 1 second of fame

For anyone who DVRs the Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men, you may notice the producer, Chuck Lorre's vanity card for the one second it flashes on the screen at the end. Typically a rant at network executives, politicians, or show-biz types and frequently censored, I have to pause and take a minute to read this guy's thoughts on life.

This week's Big Bang Theory VC featured the line "Veganism is the new 'tastes like chicken.'" I thought it was funny.
Dead is the new unambiguous. Bipolar is the new undecided. Heavily armed is the new born again. Bald is the new head... and the new crotch. Hairy is the new face. Sheepishly admitting to having an STD is the new flirting. Purell is the new face of fear. Finding the time that's right for you is the new impotence. The smiley-face emoticon is the new "sincerely yours." Smoking is the new outdoorsy lifestyle. Looking forward to insanely expensive private schooling, thousand dollar a week nannies and soccer is the new yuppie birth control. Misinformed is the new patriotic. Veganism is the new "tastes like chicken." Serotonin uptake inhibiting is the new crowd control. Texting is the new talking. Talking is the new singing. Singing is the new hubris. Gay marriage is the new "be careful what you wish for." And finally, and only because I really need this to catch on, fifty-seven years old is the new forty-five.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Vegan Ice Cream - Lula's sweet apothecary NYC

I'm in love with NYC vegan ice cream shop Lula's Sweet Apothecary. I make special trips the east village just to get some treats. New York Egg Cream! No eggs. No cream. It's pretty much chocolate soy milk with seltzer, but yum! No unnecessary waste; they use metal straws. I bought some for my smoothies.The ninja got the bubble gum flavor on a cone.

Root beer float! They use an organic root beer which is clear instead of root beer colored. Served with a cool metal straw/spoon.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Meatless Monday - Mexcellent rice bowl

Dress up your rice and beans. Here's a mexcellent rice bowl of chipotle sausage, pinto beans and rice. Feel free to experiment with whatever you've got on hand. A great Mexican meal can be made from just a few pantry staples. You could also stuff this into burritos if that floats your boat. Mexican Rice
1 Cup long grain brown rice
2 Cups water (or whatever the directions say for your rice)
3 TBS green salad olives
1 TBS capers
1/4 cup sofrito*
1 TBS annatto oil**

Seasoned Pinto Beans
1 vegan sausage link (like Chipotle Field Roast)
1/4 cup sofrito*
2 cups cooked (or canned) pinto beans
1 can tomatoes (I use Rotel-tomatoes & green chilies)
1 small can chopped green chilies
1 tsp adobo seasoning***

Chipotle Mayonaise
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 cup vegan mayo

I cook my rice in a rice cooker, but you can do this on the stove top, just follow the package instructions for the rice and add the extras.

While the rice is cooking, brown the chipotle sausage with the sofrito, then add the beans, tomatoes, green chilies, and adobo and let simmer. In a small side dish mix together the chipotle powder and vegan mayo.

When the rice is done, dish it out into bowls, and spread sausage bean mix on top. Top with chipotle mayo or vegan sour cream.

*If you don't have sofrito on hand (you really should make some) you can put in a little onion, garlic, and bell pepper if you have it.

1 big onion
1 big green bell pepper
1 big red bell pepper (or orange or yellow)
1-2 heads garlic (10-20 garlic cloves)
1 bunch cilantro
1 cup chopped tomato (fresh or canned-drained)

Chop everything in a food processor. Store in 1/2 cup portions in ziploc bags in the freezer. If you can find culantro-my grocery store calls it recoll-throw in a few leaves as well.

**Annatto oil

1/2 cup corn oil (or olive oil or whatever oil you like or have on hand)
1 TBS annatto seeds

Heat oil and seeds on medium heat until seeds make sizzle-pop sound. Remove from heat, strain and use oil for Latin flavor and red/yellow color. I use corn oil because it stays liquid in the fridge. Look for annatto (achiote) seeds in the Latin section or with the spices.

*** You can buy, or make your own adobo seasoning, or if you don't have any, use a little onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and cumin.

Adobo seasoning:
2 Tbs salt
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs black pepper
1 Tbs Espazote (or oregano)
1 tsp dried lemon peel
1 tsp cumin (optional)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

CSA soup

What to do with all these fall veggies? Make soup! All local and super fresh.
I'm sure it would be good chunky, but I'm a real a fan of the potage. A mix of veggies and a potato cooked on the stove top, then thrown into the vita-mix to make a super smooth creamy soup. Oh so satisfying on a fall weekend afternoon.

There's no recipe besides use what you have and what you like.

Today's soup is a mix of onions, carrots, celery, leeks, cauliflower, carnival squash, and potato. I also used some broth I made last week, so it was really rich and vegetabley. The only seasoning I used was about 1 tsp spike and a little parsley on top.

Add a salad and some bread with Dr. Cow cashew cheese and you've got a light, but satisfying meal. I always feel very French when I have a nice potage with salad and bread.
I'm also watching Luc Besson's The Fifth Element on HBO and I forget just how much I like this movie. The futuristic fashion is fantastic and I love the cat that sits around and watches TV all day.

Vegetarian Dim Sum House meet up

Dim Sum is the perfect New York City brunch. Big table with good company sharing small dishes is a great start to the weekend. Most regular dim sum features a lot of scary meat dishes, but the same style easily transfers to vegan dim sum. The Buddhists are on to something. Even if they did steal our tables. :-)

This NYC vegan eat up was at Vegetarian Dim Sum House in Chinatown.
Mmmm rice rolls. My FAVORITE dim sum item is rice rolls. We got the fake shrimp and the mushroom ones. Both were really good. I don't remember what this is actually called, but it was fried and stuffed with vegetables like cabbage. It was good whatever it was.Treasure Balls with assorted flavors. Everyone likes balls, but I'm not sure what the assorted flavor is supposed to be. I thought it was a pretty neutral flavor stuffed with something resembling mashed potatoes. Good, but Treasure Balls? Really, who comes up with these names?
The top dish is the turnip cake. Unexpectedly really good, and served with the dipping sauce at right.Sticky rice in bamboo leaves, Pea shoot dumplings, and steamed buns. Inside shot of the pea shoot dumpling filling. Mmm steamed buns. Fried banana dumplings.
The inside of the fried banana dumplings. I'm glad I saved room for these. YUM!
Again another super fun vegan eat up outing. I think I might have overdone it on the take out this week. I'll have to cook something soon!