Monday, October 17, 2011

Great Northern Falafel

One type of bean that I always keep in the cupboard is great northern. They're by far the cheapest beans regardless ofr where I go grocery shopping. This version of a falafel is little mushier than traditional garbanzo falafel. All of the flavors are still there, though. I drizzled a lemon tahini dressing and a cucumber mint dressing over the pitas. Super tasty!

White Bean Falafel
2 cups cooked or canned great northern beans
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
2 tbs whole wheat flour
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for frying

Combine beans, onion, garlic and spices in food processor. Pulse ingredients until well incorporated. Don't over process, you don't want it to be too mushy. Put processed ingredients into a large bowl and add flour, salt and pepper. Incorporate well. Add more flour if your mixture is too mushy. Take tablespoon sized portions and roll into balls. Fry in olive oil until golden brown all over. Serve in a pita, duh. Deez balls are also great on salads.

Cookout Fare

This summer, Tybrus and I hosted a cookout. We're not much for dinner hosting mostly because iwe don't own a kitchen table.Plus, we have a really hyper puppy with the force of a truck.  It was a new experience, and it inspired me to hunker down and buy a table. Eventually. We served traditional cookout foods: seitan ribz, potato salad, spinach dip and my friend Jess even made her famous pasta salad. It's official title is "that pasta salad that starts fights." Sure, this happened in July and not during Vegan MoFo, but it's not too late to get outside and fire up that grill one last time before we get to frigid temperatures. 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Thick-Ass Peanut Butter Frosting

I recently got contracted to make cupcakes! Well, I have been before, but this was the first time I got paid for it! Thus, my culinary career begins! (Not.) Two of my friends recently celebrated their three-year anniversary. Or maybe, it was four. Well, obviously we're not that close of friends. But, if you ask me to bake for you, I don't care how well we know each other- I'll do it. And, it will be delicious. The cake and frosting recipe were both from VCTOW. Why would I use another? I started out ambitious with the frosting by piping it, but that shit is exhausting.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vegan Mofo: Breakfast Taters

First off, I'd like to apologize for all of the super awful pictures I've been sharing with you lately. There seems to be something wrong with my Canon Rebel XS. Every time I attach my flash to it, the flash doesn't go off. Has this happened to anyone else?

Terrible and unappealing images aside, these potatoes were  fantastic! I did standard potato spices: garlic, paprika, crushed red pepper and some nooch. The city I live in is partaking in the Occupy movement that began on Wall Street. Saturday was my morning to make breakfast for everyone! I served this and someone brought instant grits to serve with it. This made for some full and happy protesters.

Also: A friend and I made cat signs. Here are some of our catchy slogans.

1. Anar-kitty: Smash Catipalism!
2. We ain't kitten around!
3. Wall Street Fat Cats
4. We are the 99 purr-cent!

Vegan MoFo Day 8: Uninspired Mac 'n Cheez

This mac 'n cheez was uninspired because I've made it a thousand times before. I used the recipe from Vcon, but added a heaping tablespoon of tahini to make it richer. Mac 'n cheezes are great for dinner after a long day at work when you don't feel like being on your feet for another hour to make dinner. Steam some veggies to go with it, or if you're real patient, bake it with bread crumbs atop.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 3: Mock Beef Lettuce Wraps

I have become completely obsessed with lettuce wraps after trying the delicious Hoisin Mustard Tofu Lettuce Wrap recipe from Appetite for Reduction. They're light, but oh, so filling, and they have the most wonderful texture. Crunchy lettuce, rich fillings. Nom! Lettuce wraps are best, in my opinion, when flavored with Asian spices.

Mock Beef Lettuce Wraps
1 tbs canola oil
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs minced ginger
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp cracked red pepper
1 cup TVP
1 tsp Not Beef Better Than Bouillon paste
6-8 piece of iceberg lettuce

In a large skillet, saute onions in oil until they become translucent. Add bell pepper and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Add spices and cook and additional 2 minutes. Add TVP and stir to coat in spices and veggies. Add bouillon and water, and cover. Cook until TVP has absorbed all of the broth. Fill lettuce pieces and roll up. Serve with peanut dipping sauce. I used San-J's Spicy Peanut Marinade. Yum!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 2: Curried Corn Chowder

One of the best things about Fall is being able to eat soup again. Soups are versatile, and I've been trying to create more of my own recipes for them. Curry and corn go surprisingly well together because of how sweet the corn is. I used soy milk to make my soup creamy, but I recommend using coconut milk if you've got it. 

Curried Corn Soup
1 tbs oil
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
2 small potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
3 cups frozen corn kernels
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy milk or coconut milk, or more depending on how creamy you want it
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, saute the celery in oil for about 2 minutes. Add the carrot and garlic and saute for another 3 minutes. Add spices and coat the celery, carrot and garlic with them. Add potatoes, carrots and brother and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until you can pierce the potatoes with a fork. When the potatoes are done, remove pot from heat. Add soy milk and blend with an immersion blender. You don't to blend too much, just enough to make it slightly creamy. Stir and return pot to heat for about 2 minutes. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 1: Orzo in a Butternut Sauce

Hello all! Let us embrace the awesome that is October. Fall is here, leaves will soon be red, pumpkins are at their peak and VEGAN FRIGGIN' MOFO. There are countless other reason why October is near and dear to me, but for now, let's focus on the good eats. I've been trying to hit up the farmer's markets in my town as much as possible before they disappear until Spring again. Last week, they finally started selling squash! I opted for some butternut instead of pumpkin because my bag wasn't big enough to carry one. It resulted in a tasty orzo recipe with a rich butternut sauce! I certainly prefer standard pastas to orzo, but this was a nice way to force me out of culinary snobbery.

Butternut Squash Sauce
1 small butternut squash
3 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 box of orzo
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs Earth Balance
1 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup soy milk
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel, seed and dice your butternut squash. Put in a 9x9 casserole dish and combine with olive oil and garlic. Salt and pepper it, and roast it for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook your orzo according to the package. When the squash is finished, add it and the remaining oil in the casserole dish to a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, minus the soy milk. Blend while adding the soy milk in a steady stream. You can add more or less soy milk depending on who thick you want your sauce.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Eats

This summer has been filled with a good balance of staple recipes and new culinary adventures. This summer I cooked over and open fire for the first time while camping. Sure, all I did was open some cans of vegetables and beans and throw it into my trusty cast iron skillet, but it was a step beyond roasting veggie dogs on a skewer over a campfire. (Which I did my fair share of as well.) I also made sushi for the first time this summer!
plum sake, you cruel mistress.
 Sushi is the perfect summer food. The only cooking involved is steaming the rice, and two nori sheets worth of sushi yields enough to feed 3-4 guests. I kept it simple for my first try, using a filling of carrots, cucumber and avocado. Next time I think I'll try the spicy tempeh filling from Vcon.

check out the steak fries! recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray.

 Tragically, I'm a regular viewer of 30 Minute Meals. Ray Ray has passed some nuggets of culinary knowledge down to me over the years and this is perhaps one of the most useful. 30 minute homemade fries! I don't really like buying prepackaged, frozen fries. They're expensive in comparison to their natural counterpart and you an't control the sodium/oil content.
wannabe 3D steak fry shot.

Scrub your potatoes and the slice them lengthwise in half. Cut each half into 5 strips and parboil the strips for 5 minutes. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Place a cooling rack over a backing sheet. Coat your parboiled and drained potato slices in oil, salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings you want. I chose rosemary. Arrange the slice on the cooling rack and bake for 25 minutes. To channel my inner Ina Garten- how easy is that?

gratuitous homemade thousand island dressing shot.

I've probably made these biscuits and gravy over a hundred times. It's such an easy, reliable one. It's the recipe from the Vegan Girl's Guide to Life and I feel no need to use another recipe ever again. The gravy in the recipe is just a plain white gravy, but I added some mushrooms for texture and what not.

I really need to make more recipes from Appetite for Reduction. Most of the recipes are cheap to make, super easy and super tasty. Plus the meals are light which is quite welcome in the dense Appalachian heat. I made the Every Day Chickpea and Quinoa Salad. I never keep raw cashews in the house and even if I did, Tybrus would surely scarf them before I had the opportunity to cook with them. I used almonds instead and it was still good. My only additional vegetable was grated carrot.

I've been eating more oatmeal lately. Mostly because I've been really broke lately and oatmeal is much cheaper than cereal. But hell, I could use the fiber. My everyday oatmeal is topped with agave, walnuts and cranberry. So... what's everyone else been eating?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Afghan Potato Salad

Forget that mayonnaise covered crap this 4th of July! My new favorite potato salad recipe is Afghan potato salad! It has chickpeas for added protein and a tangy green sauce comprised of scallions and cilantro. Try experimenting with other beans, though! I've used butter beans in the past. Also, swapping out the cilantro for flat leaf parsley would work, too.

My obsession with Afghan food started last year when a friend of mine took me to an Afghan restaurant in Fairfield, Ca. I don't remember the specific dishes I got, though I remember parts of them. Potatoes, lentils, cauliflower, and an acidic green condiment that I couldn't get enough of.  I began scouring the interwebz for Afghan restaurants and sadly, they were few and far between. Luckily I found this recipe which contained an identical sauce to the one at the restaurant! Try it out folks!

Tofu Cookery: Teriyake Tofu

When I was in Seattle I had the pleasure of going to a bookstore called Twice Told Tales in Capitol Hill. This place ruled. While there I purchased The Sims 2 Deluxe Edition for $1 (and it actually worked) and Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler for $3. I had been interested in this cook and wanting desperately to locate a copy ever since Isa posted about it on the PPK. She did a few posts on cook books that she had been influenced by (one of which, I ended up getting for Xmas) and this had been one of them. It was first published in 1982 and reminds me so much of all the older cook books my mom had handed down to her by my grandmothers. My copy shows signs of loving from previous owners, and I look forward to cooking more recipes from it. The delivery of the recipes is totally old school; it lists the ingredients with the steps, perhaps to avoid confusion or to appease the cook who refuses to read the recipe in its entirety before diving into the cooking aspect of a recipe.

Teriyaki Tofu
from Tofu Cookery
Cut into 1/2 " slices:
2 lbs tofu

Make a marinade of:
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tsp honey (I used agave, duh!)
2 tbsp fresh ginger root, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
1 medium onion, diced small

Let tofu slices stand in marinade for 2 hours. Drain and reserve marinade. Dip tofu slices in a mixture of:
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Brown floured slices in 1/4 cup oil, adding more as necessary. Reduce heat, pour in reserved marinade and simmer for 10 minutes.

Per serving: Calories: 246, Protein: 12 g, Fat: 16 g, Carbohydrates: 16

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another Potato Soup

One of the greens I'm growing in my garden this year is turnip greens. I had never had turnip greens before and quite frankly, I was a little put off by them because of how bitter everyone said they were. I feared my culinary capabilities wouldn't be enough to mask the unpleasant bitterness often associated with this prickly little green. I was tarded.

I'm a big fan of creamed spinach so I figured a creamy vehicle would be the best way to try this new green. Sure, potato soup sounds a little too heavy for mid June, but I was excited to already be harvesting vegetables from my garden. So take that.

Potato Soup with Turnip Greens
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 tsp ground rosemary
2 cups tightly packed turnip greens, stemmed and chopped
1 tbs margarine
1 tbs flour
3 cups vegetable broth
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped

In a large soup pot, saute onions and garlic in oil until onions become translucent. Add celery, carrot and rosemary and saute for about 5 minutes, or until carrots become soft. Add greens with 1 tbs of water and cover veggie mixture to steam the greens for about 3 minutes. Add margarine and flour and stir constantly for about 1 minute to coat vegetables. Slowly add in the broth while stirring the vegetables. Bring broth and veggie mixture to a boil and and the potatoes. Cook until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.

At this point you have some options with what you do next. You can a) eat the soup as is, b) add 1/2 cup nondairy milk or cream to make it richer, or c) use an immersion blender to make it thicker and creamier. I opted for b and c. I certainly recommend substituting whatever greens you have on hand as well!

Monday, June 6, 2011

My garden brings all the boys to the yard...

And damn right, it's better than yours. Well, maybe not. I live on the second floor of a duplex. My backyard is a shared space where tons of neighborhood cats and dogs track through all day, err day. I would've like to have a full fledged garden this year, but that would simply be out of the question. Luckily Ty's parents bought him two earth boxes for his birthday! We are currently growing collard greens, turnip greens, peas, kohlrabi, and spaghetti squash. We think something might be sprouting up from our previous neighbors garden they planted last year. If our calculations are correct, it would be summer squash. And that would be fantastic.

Peas and kohlrabi

Mah greens is 'splodin!

A single baby tomato

We are also about to plant some windowsill herbs. One day while I was watching the Food Network, Sandra Lee gave me a great idea. Plant your herbs in empty soup cans! Now, it's a little too hot outside to be eating soup. Plus, most canned soups have mushy contents and too much sodium. However, it's not too hot to drink. Ty and I have accumulated quite a few beer cans this year and have a nice little recycling system in full swing. We're planting some beer can windowsill herbs this week!

Seattle Wrap Up

I returned a few weeks ago from Seattle! I was visiting one of my very good friends who lives there. While I was only in town for a week, my host had a food agenda for me that packed the week full of nomz. There was a tasty restaurant in store every day for me with dishes ranging from Asian to hardy home cooked.

The first place we stopped was at a vegan institution known as Pizza Pi. In my three plus years as a vegan, I have not once had a calzone. Until I went to Pizza Pi. While a bit pricey, the calzones are the stuff of legends and well worth the $12 I spent. I opted for the Southwestern Pizza turned calzone, and I can't for the life of me remember what my comrades ordered. I was a little preoccupied with the tasty morsels that lay ahead of me.

My absolute favorite restaurant we visited was the Wayward Cafe. Hardy food with a home cooked feel. I felt like I was back in my Southeastern kitchen. I made it a point to always order something the referenced southern livin' in the title. For instance, I ordered the Country Fried Burrito during my first dining experience (yes, there was more than one.) It was comprised of chicken fried seitan, hash browns, and grilled onions and peppers. Topped with country gravy and soy cheese.

Ty got the Monte Cristo: two slices of french toast with grilled "turkey" and "ham." Topped with powdered sugar.

My friend went with the Very Veggie Omelet.

The last restaurant we hit up on our journey was an all vegan Asian restaurant called In the Bowl. Ty got the see-through noodle with veggie prawns.

I got the tom yum soup with tofu.

My friend got the eggplant fried rice with tofu.

I hope this made you hungry and perhaps a tad jealous.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Arugula & Almond Pesto!

I bought arugula for the first time a few weeks ago while I was in Columbus for the day. All the snobby Food Network stars that I compulsively watch seem to use it more than any other green. Usually when I see that arugula is a key component of a recipe, I simply sub spinach. But, this time, I felt like splurging. To my delight, the health food store I work at recently started carrying organic aurgula for a really good price! Needless to say I've been keeping arugula in the house.

I recently did a semi-raw diet. I say "semi-raw," but what it really was was an unprocessed food diet with a lot of fresh fruit and salads. I mostly subsisted of cooked whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. I stocked up on tons of almonds and never got around to using them while I was on my diet. I figured the creamy texture of the almond would pair well with the elegant and peppery arugula. (Really, I didn't have any other green or nut in the house.)

I certainly recommend substituting whatever nuts or greens you have on hand in this recipe. And, please spare me the puns.

Arugula & Almond Pesto

3-4 cups arugula
1/2 cup almonds
1 tbs lemon juice
1-2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Blend, duh.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale 2011

This year, I participated in WVBS! It was my first time ever, and it was amazing. We donated the proceeds to the Little Victories Animal Rescue Group based out of Ona, WV. We raised a total of $648, but the total combined with the shelter's t-shirt sales was about $950. It was a huge success for the puppies and kitties, and I'm so glad we did it. I definitely hope to make this an annual event in which Little Victories benefits. 

Ty and I being industrious.

Banana biscotti dog treats. Not vegan, but vegetarian. Not like the puppies would've cared anyway.

Fruit and nut bars.

Epic cupcake display.

Cookies 'n cream cupcake. VCTOW recipe.

The three top sellers.

Pumpkin bread.

Strawberry muffins.

Pumpkin scones.



Lavender blueberry muffins.

No-bake cookies.

Strawberry coffee cake.

Shortbread cookies.

Red velvet cupcakes with Tofutti cream cheese frosting. VCTOW recipe.

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

Lemon poppy seed cookies.

Oatmeal walnut cookies.