Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sweet Treat Chocolate Truffles - Vegan Unplugged

You didn't think they'd forget dessert in the apocalypse didya?  Vegan Unplugged has 9 easy peasy desserts to cheer up your palate in any emergency.  These yummy truffles are ready in a flash and are full of chocolatey peanutty goodness.  I ended up rolling them in coconut for no other reason than I found a package of coconut when I went digging for the chocolate chips.  These ingredients need to go in the 5 day meal box!

These confections benefit from some light refrigeration, but if that's not available I assure you they are super yummy at summer room temperature (says an anonymous party who slurped a few down before waiting for them to chill!)

Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Walnut Sauce - Vegan Unplugged

Yet another great Vegan Unplugged meal that I would make any day! Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Walnut Sauce is a neat twist on the normal tomato based pasta sauces.  Sage and pumpkin pair together perfectly and the toasted walnuts give it some protein and crunch.

Another hit!  So easy and delicious!

White Beans and Greens Soup - Vegan Unplugged

Sure you can buy soup already in a can, but homemade soup made from stuff that was originally canned puts you in control of the flavors!  This white bean and greens soup from Vegan Unplugged is comforting and delicious.  I didn't have any cool shaped tiny pasta, so I used orzo.  This is a meal in a bowl that is perfect hurricane fare.  I'm gonna need a second helping.

It didn't need them, but I added potatoes just because I'm fascinated by potatoes that come in a can.  Just a note on canned spinach.  It's really important to taste it and rinse it before dumping it in any dishes.  Even if you lose some in the colander, it's better to make sure there's no dirt in it.  Nothing ruins a bite full of delicious soup like biting into grit.  I rinsed well and mine is A-OK.

This is a photo from the courtyard of my complex.  Yeah I know we're not supposed to go outside, but this was done in total safety.  I don't think I get to call this the eye of the storm, since it's now a Tropical Storm it's just the center, but we got some blue sky and a glimpse of the sun a little while ago.  We're just getting sporadic high wind and intermittent heavy rain now as the storm moves out.

We never lost power despite my Vegan Unplugged preparations, but lots of people in CT and NJ are cooking over candles.  There's also flooding in low lying areas.  I'm near the top of a big hill that leads to the Hudson so I'm safe and snug indoors.

Mom was not hit by the Tornado in Lewes, DE even though it was only about a mile away.  I don't think anyone was hurt and sorry for whoever's house got demolished.  Mom lost power in the late evening, but got it back by this morning.  

Best of luck to everyone dealing with the effects.  Be safe and let me know if I can bring you some soup!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Last Resort Lasagna - Vegan Unplugged

This is one of the easiest lasagnas I've ever made.  Vegan Unplugged rocks it again.  I cooked the lasagna noodles with the fuel efficient boil-and-let-them-sit method.  Then layered them with some cheater (Ragu) sauce and a delicious tofu and white bean seasoned "ricotta", and topped with a little nooch.  

I'm finding that the best way to do this is to cook on low for about 20 minutes, then let it sit for a bit (while I took a shower before the major rains really started), then reheat again on low for another 10 minutes.  I found after the first 20 minutes, the sides were boiling while it was still cool on the top center, and letting it sit in the cast iron pan with the heat off did the trick.

Mom lost power in Delaware, so I'm figuring at some point I will too and will need these easy pantry recipes.  No need to wait for disaster, though, this is a perfect everyday recipe.  The ninja was impressed with the balance of flavors and knew it wasn't real cheese, it just looked like cheese, but liked it anyway.  He's going to share with a neighbor who's girlfriend evacuated with the cats and left him to guard their basement apartment from flood and mayhem.  Sharing vegan food is the way to go!  

Nicoise Salad - Vegan Unplugged

I'm really digging Vegan Unplugged.  For lunch I had the Nicoise Salad.  There's no cooking involved, so this can be assembled super quick. The salad is a light summer lunch which is good since it's still really hot and humid despite getting the beginnings of the Hurricane Irene rains.  No lettuce needed and the tiny white beans give it nice body and are quite filling.  The basil vinaigrette dressing is so easy you'll wonder why people ever buy salad dressing.  

Don't fear that if we lose power I'l have eaten my entire stash box; I've got plenty of reserves.  Armed with the five day meal box and Vegan Unplugged, I'm feeling really prepared for the upcoming ridiculous weather.

Be safe.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Layered Tortilla Skillet - Vegan Unplugged

I'm going to keep plugging Vegan Unplugged!  We haven't lost power or anything, but I really wanted to try out the Layered Tortilla Skillet.  I think you can find shelf stable tortillas that you can probably keep in a box for a few months, but I got some relatively fresh ones that won't last that long, so I figured this would be a good one to try.  It's kind of like a Mexican lasagna that you can make on the stovetop.  I have a gas stove, so I can still light it if the power goes out.  I also have an indoor propane gas burner I can use in case of Armageddon.

I made a few adjustments since I had some fresh veggies.  I used green salsa which turned out to be too spicy for the ninja so he'll have to survive on PB&J and ramen noodles.  I was pretty hungry and only ate about 1/4 of it, so it really could serve 4.  I also had bigger tortillas than called for so each tortilla was a layer.

Here's my modified version:

1 TSB olive oil
1/2 vidalia onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 sm can diced green chilies

1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp taco seasoning

2 cans pinto beans
1 24 oz jar green salsa (divided 1 cup + 2 cups)
5 medium soft taco sized flour tortillas

In large skillet or dutch oven, saute onions, pepper, and green chilies. Then add chili powder and taco seasoning and cook until fragrant.

In a medium bowl, mash up the pinto beans, then add the cooked onion pepper mixture and mix in 2 cups of the salsa.  Add remaining 1 cup salsa back to the pan and lay a tortilla on top.  Cover tortilla with bean mixture and continue to layer remaining ingredients.  Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes.  I ended up cooking it too long and burned the bottom a bit, but it's still delicious.

Layered Tortilla in a 3qt Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven
Slice into quarters with a sharp knife and serve in a shallow bowl.

Yummy layers of beans and chilies

Vegan Unplugged

I'm a fan of a good survival guide.  Vegan Unplugged (updated version of Apocalypse Chow) is a great practical how-to for getting by in comfort (well for your belly at least) if you find yourself without power for a few days.

Of course I should have made my 5 day survival kit when I when I bought the book, but there's nothing like the drama of a little hurricane to blow some wind in your sails.  Yup, I was one of the crazy people who went grocery shopping today.  Except I had a plan: The Vegan Unplugged 5 day meal box shopping guide.  No need to wait for disaster.  Get your vegan survival kit ready.

I'm now ready for Comforting Corn Chowder, Kitchen-Sink Capellini, White Beans & Greens Soup, Black Bean Chili, Nicoise Salad, Curry in a Hurry, Texas Twister Caviar, Five-Minute Couscous Salad, Layered Tortilla Skillet, and a whole bunch of other fast and easy recipes to get me through any crisis.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Creamy cheezy summer mac & veg

This is one of those dishes that evolved as I was making it.  I wasn't trying to make mac & cheese, but here it is.  Pretty darn tasty, too.
Summer Veg Mac & Cheese

Elbow macaroni
Olive oil
Summer squash
Red cherry tomatoes (quartered)
Orange cherry tomatoes (quartered)
Peppers (banana peppers and some long not spicy ones)

Nutritional yeast

Tofu Ricotta:
Lemon juice

The sauce:
In a large saute pan, saute garlic in oil, add squash, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and cook until the squash is softened.  Add the basil and salt to taste.  

Cook macaroni according to package directions and when done scoop the noodles into the pan reserving some of the pasta liquid.  Mix in the pasta and add some pasta water and a big heap of nutritional yeast and mix together.  

Whiz together tofu (I used silken) and some lemon juice, basil, and salt.  Turn off heat on pasta and add tofu ricotta mixture.    

Sunday, August 7, 2011


It seems almost a shame to make jam with these lovely gooseberries.  They are delicious just plain like a blueberry or grape.  Not too sweet and they have a really nice pop as you bite on 'em.
The gooseberry comes nestled in its own papery wrapper like a tomatillo.      

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer is for hot dogs

I've had a few veggie dogs in my time.  Some pretty good, some not so good.  This time 'round I gave the Tofurky franks a try.  

Good texture and nice flavor.  Can you tell it's a veggie dog?  Yes.  Do you care?  Not really, especially if you slather it in mustard, vidalia onions, and a little veggie chili.