Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lasagna and Caesar Salad

After seeing a picture of Matt's lasagna over on his blog "My Veggie Kitchen," I had to try it. It looked so saucy and amazing. Oh, and it was! I used his Bechamel replacement for cheese instead of grated vegan cheese. I was a little afraid because it was very liquidy when I poured it on, but as you can see above it turned out really nice and firmed up well.

I used no-boil noodles and it worked out great. I also added some extra spinach and garlic and used crushed fire-roasted tomatoes in lieu of diced because that's what I happened to have in the cupboard. This is by far my favorite recipe for vegan lasagna yet. It had a lot of sauce, which I like. I'm also not a fan of a lot of the mock meats, some other recipes call for the ground round or crumbles and those have an off flavor to me that I'm not fond of.

I served this with Caesar salad and took the opportunity to make my own croutons, something I've never done before. For the dressing I used the recipe from reFresh; it's a lot less complicated and uses less oil than most other recipes I've seen. We've made it before and it's incredibly good. It also lasts a while, so it can be stored in a resealable container and use it again (which is good because it makes a lot). The croutons were roasted garlic and came from Veganomicon. I just roasted the garlic while the lasagna was baking. Then I cut up the bread and after about 25 minutes pulled out the garlic. I made the oil mix for the croutons, mixed them up, then put them in the oven to cook while the lasagna was finishing up. While the lasagna cooled I had a chance to put get the lettuce ready for the salad, then the croutons were done. When we make Caesar salad we like to have the lettuce and croutons coated in the dressing, so we put everything in a bowl with a lid, shake it up, then serve. Yum!

Curried Rice and Beans Stuffed Zucchini

This recipe from Vive Le Vegan! was one of the first I made after becoming vegan. I had borrowed the cookbook from the library and this was the one recipe I had a chance to make from it. It was fabulous. I received the book for Christmas, so I was happy to make it again. Zucchini this time of year are small, so it was more smothered zucchini than stuffed, but it's great anyway. The filling is a mixture of grains, raisins, beans, curry paste, tahini, molasses, spices, and cashews. It seems like they wouldn't come together beautifully, but they do!

I added a little less than the called for grains and a little more than called for beans, because that's how I roll. This recipe uses pre-cooked cold grains, so any kind you have leftover will work perfectly and this can come together extremely quick for a good weeknight dinner.

Chickpea Stew

This is another recipe sent to me by my mom. I changed it up a bit so that I could use canned chickpeas and tomatoes, and therefore make and have it on the table in less than 5 hours with things I had on hand. It was really tasty. The flavors blended together really well. I also got to try out the new immersion blender that I received for Christmas, so that was fun. Below is my cheater version:

Cheater Chickpea Stew

serves 3-4

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups vegetable stock or broth (I used 2 cups water and 1 veggie boullion cube)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 lb. yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
Salt to taste

1. Add broth to a large pot over medium heat. While heating add chickpeas, tomatoes, potatoes, and all spices except salt
2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender
3. Blend slightly with immersion blender (or transfer half to blender, blend, and return to pot)
4. Taste and adjust salt if necessary
5. Serve

We ate this over brown rice, but any grain or Indian bread would serve. It would be great with cilantro, as the original recipe suggests but I didn't have any.

Pumpkin Pie Brownie and Apple Studel

So, this is not a very good picture...I made these brownies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and Apple Strudel from The Joy of Vegan Baking as our Christmas day desserts. I didn't have a chance to photograph the strudel. Both of these were baked at my house, then transported 45 minutes to my brother's, then back. So, they were a little worse for wear.

The brownies were interesting. Good, but interesting. I had to bake them about twice as long as the directions to get the pumpkin pie topping to set enough. They were extremely rich, so unless you have a whole bunch of people who are into this combination it will be difficult to finish them before it's time to toss. After eating some Christmas day I gave over half of them away to family and friends and we still couldn't finish what was left.

The strudel is a real winner. I've made it the last three Christmases now; I guess it's gonna be a tradition. It pleases everyone and when I ask what I should make for dessert for Christmas that's now the answer I get. The first year I made it I was with my extended family (about 15 people) and it was gone so fast that I only got one bite of apple left over from someone's plate. The only thing to be aware of is that the phyllo dough needs to thaw for 5-8 hours. Last year I forgot about that and microwaved it so I could use it. It was a pretty ugly strudel, but it worked. This year I remembered and things went much smoother.


My mom first made this when I went out to visit her earlier this year. She subscribes to Rachael Ray's magazine and whenever she finds a good-sounding vegan-friendly recipe she saves it for when I visit (it's really cute). Anyway, when she made this I just loved it! It reminded me of a grown-up version of Spaghettio's with the Israeli couscous serving as the O's. I messed with the recipe a bit to use what I had on hand and I did not prefer my substitutions. I used more zucchini in place of the cucumber which gave it a more wintry feel, but made it not as smooth of a soup. I also didn't realize that my diced roasted tomatoes had green chiles in them, so yeah, those went in too. It still turned out good, but not as good as I remembered. I'll have to revisit this one when I have the correct ingredients.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sparkled Ginger Cookies and Mexican Wedding Cookies

These ginger cookies are from Vegan with a Vengeance and they're a favorite in our house. They're beautifully spiced (ginger, cinnamon, and clove) and bedecked with a sugar topping. They have a nice winter feel so they made it into the Christmas cookie bags I put together for everyone at work.

The second cookie in the cookie bag are the Mexican Wedding Cookies (or Snowballs) from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I'd never had these before but they seemed appropriately festive. They were mighty tasty I have to say. Messy, but tasty. I used a combination of pecans and hazelnuts for the chopped nuts. This recipe made so many cookies: 3 cookie sheets of balls, something like 75 cookies; it was supposed to make 36, so I guess I made them small, but I followed the directions with 1 teaspoon per ball. The size worked well, allowing many cookies per person and perfectly bite-size cookies (they're quite cute). It also took me probably close to half an hour to roll all those balls. These bake longer than any other cookie I've made before, about half an hour.

I can't even think about eating anything with sugar in it now. Hopefully everyone likes their treats! Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas Cupcake!

So, I decided to put my colleagues in a perma-sugar rush for Christmas this year...

First up, cupcakes. Because honestly, what occasion doesn't call for them. I started with the chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and added 10 chopped up candy cane Joe-Joe's from Trader Joe's (basically candy cane Oreos). I also used the buttercream frosting recipe from VCTOTW and threw in mini chocolate chips at the end. To top it off is some crushed candy cane and a piece of candy cane. Pretty, yes?! I'm not sure how well they'll fare making it to work tomorrow, but they'll still taste fine. I've had problems the last couple times I've made frosting from this book, it's just a tad too runny. I need to remember to either add more sugar or less soymilk, hopefully that will fix this problem. Alright I've written that down, we'll see if I remember for next time.

Up next...cookies!

Lemon Orzo with Mushrooms and Pine Nuts and Roasted Asparagus

In the midst of frenzied holiday baking (see next post) for my coworkers I managed to throw something together for dinner tonight...served at about 9:15. But hey, better late then never. The orzo recipe comes from Rachel Ray's website. My mom clipped this from her magazine when she came to visit once and we made it together. Good memories and good dinner. I subbed cremini mushrooms for white and use a lot less olive oil (less than a tablespoon will do you to cook the mushrooms) and pine nuts (to taste) than suggested. I also omit the parsley. We ended up with a bit too much orzo because I just used the rest of the box rather than have a tiny amount left uncooked, so this could have used more mushrooms...but whatever (it was just nice to see something that wasn't covered in sugar and would be filling).

To roast the asparagus I just trimmed the ends, coated in olive oil and lemon juice, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Then just broil on high for about 5-10 minutes, tossing once, until crispy. Yum.

Broccoli Red Lentil Dal

I used the leftover broccoli from the broccoli and mushroom bake to whip up this bad boy, also from Vegan Yum Yum. This was pure deliciousness in a bowl. So good! I even thought it was spicy enough, which is rare for me; so if you don't like spice you'll want to tone down the chili flakes.

The Indian spices within the dal went so well with the broccoli bits and the bit of soymilk added for creaminess. I added about 1/3 of the suggested soymilk because I ran out, but I liked it that way. We just ate this with some toast, but it would be fabulous with any other Indian dish or some rice. If you have this book, make this!

Marmalade Tofu with Kale and Lemon Pearl Couscous

I knew I wanted to make this recipe the first time I saw it reading through Vegan Yum Yum. It looks and sounds so good. Plus, I love me some kale. Oddly enough, or maybe not so oddly enough, I had never had kale before going vegan (or chard, collard greens, mustard greens...I love that my world got opened up to all these wonderful greens!).

This made a very good dinner, and pretty quick to put together too. I thought the tofu was a bit too sweet, but my boyfriend thought it was great (it was his favorite part; mine was the kale). I left the kale with a bit of crunch to it to have the contrast between the soft tofu and Israeli couscous. Luckily this recipe is also on the Veganyumyum blog, so you can find it there and try it for yourself. I'll probably make this again, but next time I'll use a little less marmalade and a little more I don't know yet (soy sauce? chili sauce?).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Broccoli Mushroom Bake

When a cold knocks you down and out of the kitchen it's best to start back up nice and easy. So, for dinner tonight I went with a casserole. This one from Vegan Yum Yum, served quite nicely. It's a mix of broccoli, cremini mushrooms, orzo, onion, and a nutritional yeast based sauce. It's coated with some breadcrumbs and baked. It was good, nothing amazing, but good. I especially liked that the entire stalk of broccoli was used, not just the florets. I only recently found out that the whole stalk is edible. All those years of wasted broccoli stalks...better late than never I suppose.

This didn't take too much time to put together. Also, while it's baking there's time to do the dishes!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chickpea Noodle Soup

I caught a cold last week. I'm guessing that someone was kind enough to bring it into the office because there were four of us sick at the same time (and that's only out of nine). I didn't feel much like cooking, but some warming, filling soup sounded like just the thing to help me feel better. Enter this winner from Veganomicon. It's got a great simple, but not too simple taste. That makes it great for when you're feeling under the weather, but don't get me wrong it's also great when you're not.

The broth is a combination of stock, water, and miso paste; the filler is made up of onion, carrots, chickpeas, mushrooms, and noodles. The recipe called for soba, I subbed udon because that's what I had on hand. I also left out the celery seeds, don't have them and probably never will.

I'm feeling much better now. I can't say it was all the soup, there was also a lot of sleeping and tea, but it definitely helped.

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Alright, we have a winner! These are the best chocolate chip cookies I've had as a vegan. Maybe even ever. These are from VCIYCJ, and they're fabulous. I like my cookies more crispy/crunchy and less cakey; this along with multitudes of chocolate chips is where they really deliver. They use canola oil instead of Earth Balance, which also makes them a lot easier to make. They do end up a bit oily, especially prior to baking, and I'm sure they're one of the most fattening things on the planet, but they're worth it (sometimes). I omitted the tapioca flour, because I didn't have any, and they still turned out great, I probably should have subbed all-purpose to make the wet:dry more correct; I'll try that next time.

Anyway, if you're looking for a great chocolate chip cookie recipe this is it!

Smoky Red Bean and Pepper Gumbo

This is a dish we've made before and will definitely continue to make in the future. It's just so good. This gumbo is from Veganomicon. It's got lots of tomatoes and bell peppers in it (5 bell peppers!). It also has beer in it; it always makes me feel badass to cook with beer. The smokiness is due to roasting the red bells and tomatoes, and a bit of liquid smoke. It's got a nice, thick, stick to your ribs texture thanks to chopped okra.

I serve this over a small pile of white rice. Luckily we had a couple extra people over to help us eat this. We still ended up with a lot left over though. I think that cornbread would also taste great with this.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lemon Bars

Prior to being vegan I had actually never had a lemon bar before. So, these aren't anything that I missed or could make a good comparison for. However, these little beauties from Vegan Cookies and Veganomicon are good! As soon as my boyfriend looked through VCIYCJ all he could think about and want were lemon bars; unbenownst to both of us this recipe was also in V'con (I've never made a dessert from that book actually, so I didn't notice these there until the other day). I finally remembered to get fresh lemons at the store--now he's happy.

Just a warning, these guys require about 4 hours to make and set, so if you want them for a special occasion, prepare ahead. First the crust is made, refrigerated, and baked.

The filling comes next. Other than zesting and squeezing the lemons, this part's pretty simple.

The filling gets poured over the crust and it goes into the fridge for the next three hours. Of course, my boyfriend couldn't wait that long and cut out a piece after about two. These really don't last that long, it's been two days and the crust is already starting to get a little soggy. Be sure to have plenty of friends around to help you eat these, or I'd suggest making only a half batch.

Mustard Green and Roasted Yam Soup with Pistachio Corn-Crusted Tempeh

This soup from Vegan Soul Kitchen was all that a good soup should be. It was warming, filling, and tasty. The bitterness of the greens was tamed by the sweetness of the yams and the apple cider vinegar spiked broth accentuated both superbly. After roasting the yams and cooking the mustard greens this cooked for an additional 25 minutes; if I made this again I wouldn't cook it quite so long, everything got a bit mushy. Still good, but I'd like to try it again with the vegetables holding up a little better.

We paired the soup with Pistachio and Cornmeal-crusted tempeh from Vegan Fusion World Cuisine. This is the first thing I've made from this book that I didn't love. I feel like the topping would have been better on tofu (which is listed as an optional preparation), because even though the tempeh was marinated it was still a bit dry after topping and cooking to direction. It also didn't stay warm for long enough to even eat. Steaming the tempeh prior to prep may have improved on this. I made a couple of substitutions with this recipe: yellow corn meal for blue and regular corn chips for blue corn. I probably wouldn't make this again as there are so many other great tempeh recipes in this and other books.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Biscuits with White Bean and Tempeh Sausage Gravy

This is another favorite here in our house. The biscuit recipe I get from The Joy of Vegan Baking, I like this one because it doesn't use shortening, which I prefer not to use whenever possible. The gravy recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance.

For the gravy, the tempeh is cooked up with some spices (I double the crushed red pepper) first and then pureed white beans, olive oil, and water are added. The resemblance to white gravy is uncanny--although this version is protein-packed and cruelty free! I have made this dish for more non-vegan than anything else. They've all loved, so it has great crossover appeal as well!

Taco Night

These tacos (Chipotle and Beer marinated Seitan and Potato) are from the October 2009 VegNews. The recipe is by Terry Hope Romero and I imagine it would be included in her latin cookbook due next year (working title: Viva Vegan!). These are really fabulous; the flavors are amazing. Next time I will double the amount of chipotle though, these were nowhere near spicy enough for me.

The seitan marinates while the potatoes roast, and then both get cooked up for the main filling. We served them up taco bar style with all the fixin's: lettuce, tomato, cilantro, refried beans, hot sauce, and Tofutti Better then Sour Cream. These are messy, but they're lick your fingers good!

Zucchini Date Muffins

I had planned to make these muffins from Get it Ripe to take in the car with us for our trip, but time got too short. So, I made them when we got back. These require a fair amount of prep: pitting, chopping, soaking, and then mashing the dates, and grating 2 cups of zucchini. They turned out quite good though. They're sweet, but not overly because the dates and zucchini supply the only sweetness, and they have a nice crunch thanks to the added flax seeds. I was able to find some spelt flour, which is what the recipe called for, so this was also my first time baking with that. It gave a nice, somewhat earthy flavor here; the muffins tasted a bit like a bran muffin, even though there was none.

Spiced Cocoa

Mmm...cocoa. One of the best things about cold weather (others: fires and sweaters). Until I became vegan I had never made cocoa from scratch (like a lot of things) before, always relying on little paper packets. Big mistake. Quick to make in a saucepan and worth every minute.

Spiced Cocoa

makes ~2 cups

1/8 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch salt
1/3 cup hot water
2 cups soymilk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine cocoa, sugar, spices, and hot water in a saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until boiling, then stir about a minute more. Add soymilk. Heat through. Remove from burner. Add vanilla and serve.

Variation: leave out cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Instead, once removed from heat add 1/4 tsp mint extract.

Yes, this is great with vegan marshmallows! I'd really like to try it with soy or rice whip too.

Mexican Tofu Scramble

First day back from our trip (we went to Magic Mountain and Disneyland), I wanted a nice hearty breakfast, something that I hadn't had in a few days as it's hard to get as a vegan while traveling. I roasted some potatoes, cooked up some black beans, and made a tofu and salsa scramble. So good, so filling, so exactly what I wanted.

For the potatoes: Peel and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Lay out on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and a little salt. Mix around. Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Stir and flip as best you can, then cook for about 10 minutes more.

For the beans: I just pour a can of black beans into a pot (juices included), then add lime juice, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, and hot sauce. Cook on medium until hot, then turn down to low until the rest of the food is ready.

Tofu: my basic tofu scramble recipe, add salsa.

There we go, pretty simple, but tasty. Tortillas probably would have been a nice addition.

Brownie Bites

This was the first recipe I tried from The Urban Vegan. Yum, in a word. In several, these were rich, chocolaty goodness. I didn't have two of the flours called for (soy and spelt), so I subbed a couple different ones (chickpea and all-purpose), but everything worked out just fine. Although, I did have to bake these for about 20 minutes instead of the 8 specified; I don't know if this was due to the subbing or not. I also didn't add espresso powder, and just added a little more cocoa powder.

These were the perfect size (mini muffin sized), and had a great consistency. There were also chunks of chocolate mixed in. Needless to say these didn't last too long.

Broccoli, Mushroom, Tofu Stir-fry

We were heading out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday, so it was getting down to pretty slim pickings in our fridge and pantry. This was Asian Shiitake Tofu from The 30-minute Vegan. I subbed creminis for shiitakes because that's what we had on hand. Their suggestion was to serve over quinoa; I just cooked up some Thai rice noodles and threw those in. The flavor was really good, however I didn't take into account how much liquid the rice noodles would take up, so it could have been saucier. All in all, a nice quick dinner and plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day (just added some more soy sauce and some hot pepper sauce prior to heating up).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Citrus Glitters

These little sparkly beauties also come from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. They're a lovely citrus version of a sugar cookie.

I was not a fan of the preparation for these cookies. It required using a hand mixer; mine is crazy and always makes a mess (I place a towel over the mixing bowl and use that to keep most of the flyaway contained. The resulting batter then resembled wood shavings, it was very odd. I just had to take a handful of the crumbles/shavings and start pressing them together and they would stay, but I'd never seen anything like it before.

Sugar cookies aren't my favorite, but these were definitely an improvement on the traditional.

Macaroni and Cheeze

I decided to make this for dinner the other night because my boyfriend was having a bit of a rough day and it's one of his favorites. After making this the first time I was asked to make it at least once a week for about a month, it's a little less now, but yes it's that good. This version (our favorite) comes from Vegan Yum Yum.

I make a few changes to Lolo's recipe. Instead of 1/3 cup of Earth Balance I use one tablespoon, mix everything in the blender, and then add soymilk to desired creaminess. We usually end up eating the entire thing between the two of us and I didn't like the idea of that much fat, plus the soymilk makes the cheeze a little thinner and better able to coat the noodles. I also use a lot less breadcrumbs on top, just a light layer along with the pepper and the paprika. Overall, this is one fabulous dish. It doesn't take too long to prepare and it's mighty tasty!

Grilled Cheeze

While perusing the used section at a local bookshop I came across Vegan Vittles. I flipped through it and saw this recipe for grilled cheeze sandwiches. That and the low price tag encouraged me to buy it. This is now our go-to recipe when craving that gooey, comforting sandwich of our youth, it's fabulous. The cheeze is quick to whip up in a saucepan, then it's just spread on the bread and grilled to perfection. In the past we've paired these wonderfully with tomato soup and cream of broccoli soup.

Vindaloo Vegetables over Rice

Sometimes it's nice to keep your evenings wide open by doing all your prep work earlier in the day and relying on your slow cooker to do all the rest of the work. I usually end up making chili in mine, but this time I wanted to try something different. This is from Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. It was essentially a vegetable stew with an Indian flair; cauliflower, green bell pepper, onion, carrot, zucchini, and kidney beans with a spicy tomato base. I was supposed to add frozen peas a bit before serving, but I forgot. Regardless, it had great flavor and was perfectly filling.

Every time I look through this book I'm reminded of all the interesting and unexpected dishes that can be made in a slow cooker, I'm definitely going to have to experiment more with this.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Orange Agave Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just a warning: we might be a little cookie crazy here for a while. I just got Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and the holidays are quickly approaching, I will probably be making food stuffs for most of my local friends and colleagues.

This was the first recipe I tried from VCIYCJ, honestly they're just alright. The flavor is great, with the orange and chocolate coming together (how can you argue with that?!), but they're quite dry. They don't seem like they would be because they don't crumble, but you'll definitely need to be drinking a thing (or two) while eating these.

One of my cats, Brody, enjoyed watching me make these. He lies around in such a silly position (on his back with all his paws up; he turned a little bit to look at me while I took this pic) that I had to include a picture of him.

Anyway, there are all sorts of amazing sounding cookies in this book, it was really fun to read through and imagine the combinations. I'll be trying a different one next time.

Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes

After reading on multiple blogs how amazing these little guys from Vegan Brunch are I just had to try them out. Have to say they're pretty darn tasty. I've never had a crab cake before (in fact I'd never even seen one until the evening that I made these--I went to a work function and that was one of the appetizers, they looked spot-on) so I can't say how these fare similarity-wise, but I don't think anyone who enjoys tempeh would be disappointed.

I did have a little trouble getting the cakes to stay together while I cooked them. These three were the prettiest, and that's why they got their photo taken. Just a tip if you're planning on making these: make sure you have plenty of oil in your pan and that it's hot before you drop the cake in. They seemed to be more prone to breaking when they didn't start cooking right away. I'm a little oil-phobic when I cook, so I had to add more to make these work.

Chickpea and Artichoke Heart Salad

This was my second time making this salad from Vegan Yum Yum, and it's definitely a keeper. It fulfilled a craving that I didn't even know I had. I now make sure I always have a can of artichoke hearts around so that I can make this if the mood strikes. It's made up of stir-fried garbanzos and artichoke hearts with some ground toasted almonds mixed in. The oil from cooking the beans and hearts serves to keep it moist, then some lemon juice and salt is added. It tastes so good and can easily be a meal all in itself!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chocolate Chip Spice Cookies

Craving some chocolate, I looked through some recipes until I happened on a cookie recipe that sounded so good: Chocolate Chip Spice Cookies from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. I'd only tried one of Dreena's cookie recipes up til now and it was amazing (You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate Cookies), so I was excited to try another one. She uses less granulated sugar and subs in maple syrup and agave nectar in a lot of cases, along with much less oil or butter than usual, which I like. These are a spin on a chocolate chocolate chip cookie with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves--a good cold weather cookie. They were heavenly, and I know that they will not last very long in our cabinet. Luckily for when we're craving more this recipe didn't take too long to throw together so they can easily be made in less than 20 minutes.

Italian Feast

Oh, spaghetti. Comfort food at it's most basic. This is spaghetti and beanballs from Veganomicon. The balls are made from mashed kidney beans, garlic, herbs, tamari, tomato paste and some vital wheat gluten to hold them together. They're then baked (or fried) so they're nice and crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They were really good. We served them with brown rice spaghetti and a batch of mushroom marinara sauce (also from V'con). I also made up some stir-fried spinach with lots of garlic and some garlic bread from one of our local natural foods stores (New Leaf sells their own vegan garlic bread). I didn't have any other use for spare baguette and my freezer is already full of bread crumbs so my boyfriend went and picked up these after discovering I was out of yeast at home and partly through cooking (my original plan was to make garlic breadsticks; I'll still have to try that though).

Served with a glass of red wine this was incredibly satisfying.

Stuffed Acorn Squash and Roasted Asparagus

This was a delicious fall-evening meal. I hadn't been planning on making stuffed squash but the store had them on sale for 99 cents and they're just so cute. First I set some grains to cooking. I used a harvest mix from Trader Joe's that had Israeli couscous, red quinoa, orzo, and baby garbanzo beans. To fill both halves of the squash it'll take about 1 cup of cooked grains. I also cooked up some mushrooms, spinach and red bell pepper. When the grains were cooked I added them to the veggies, then threw in some cranberries and sliced almonds. I scooped this mixture into the cut, cleaned squash. The squash halves were then set in a baking dish, covered with foil and baked at 400 degrees until soft (depending on the size of your squash this could take anywhere from 40 minutes to over an hour).

Cutting the squash in half presented a challenge all its own. I have really cheap knives (IKEA), and so it took me a good amount of cursing and slamming of the squash for me to get it open. Be warned, they're tough little guys when they're raw. I scooped out all the seeds, cleaned them, sprinkled with salt and then cooked them along with the squash, removing after about 20 minutes. I then dumped a few of these on the cooked squash, and ate the rest--yummy.

For the asparagus, we just trimmed the ends, set on a baking sheet, and drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. They need a good mix around with your hands to coat and then they're ready to roast. I waited until the squash had been in for a little over 20 minutes then set the asparagus in there too (same time I took out the squash seeds). The asparagus comes out flavorful and crispy; roasted asparagus is just so wonderful!

This was a super-filling dinner. We didn't even come close to finishing our squashes. I wrapped up the uneaten portions and put them in the fridge, they might become soup sometime later this week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Vegan 100

So, this started with Hannah over at BitterSweet. This is her veganized version of The Omnivore’s Hundred, which is a list of 100 edible things to try before you die. I thought this sounded like fun, so here we go!

The hyperlinks take you to information for some of the more obscure items and anything in parentheses was added by me.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!

1. Natto
2. Green Smoothie
3. Tofu Scramble
4. Haggis
5. Mangosteen
6. Creme brulee
7. Fondue
8. Marmite/Vegemite
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Nachos
12. Authentic soba noodles
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea (Loving Hut has great ones)
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (mmm...Olallieberry)
19. Gyoza
20. Vanilla ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Ceviche
24. Rice and beans
25. Knish
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Caviar (ech...even the vegan version sounds gross)
29. Baklava
30. Pate
31. Wasabi peas (not a fan of wasabi)
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food french fries
41. Raw Brownies
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
43. Dahl
44. Homemade Soymilk
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Stroopwafle
47. Samosas
48. Vegetable Sushi (Mobo is a great place to go)
49. Glazed doughnut
50. Seaweed
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Tofurkey
54. Sheese
55. Cotton candy
56. Gnocchi
57. Piña colada
58. Birch beer
59. Scrapple
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Soy curls
63. Chickpea cutlets
64. Curry
65. Durian
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu
69. Fried plantain
70. Mochi
71. Gazpacho
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies
73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can
76. Pomegranate
77. Fauxstess Cupcake
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
79. Jerky
80. Croissants
81. French onion soup
82. Savory crepes
83. Tings
84. A meal at Candle 79
85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and “cheese”
88. Flowers
89. Matzoh ball soup
90. White chocolate
91. Seitan
92. Kimchi
93. Butterscotch chips
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate (well, with cocoa powder)
96. Bagel and Tofutti
97. Potato milk
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (I don't like coffee either)
100. Raw cookie dough

Alright, so that's my version! I learned about some great new foods and will definitely have to try some. This was a great idea, take some time to check out what you've tried if you have the chance.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Spicy Tomato Chickpea Soup and Biscuits

This delightful, very filling, soup is from Vegan Yum Yum. It had a nice spicy, almost curry-like, flavor from the chickpeas and spices that were simmered and then blended together. It was perfect for this chilly, overcast day. Browning the chickpeas also imparted a nutty flavor that was very nice.

We also made some biscuits to go with the soup. These were a variation on the fancy biscuits from How it all Vegan; I left out the green onion and dill and used thyme, basil, and rosemary instead--turned out great.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Stuffed Mushrooms and Zucchini Roll-ups

We were heading to a little get-together with some of my school friends last night, so we whipped up a couple of appetizers to bring along. Both of these are from The 30 Minute Vegan. We were also busy earlier in the day so I wanted a couple of things that wouldn't take too long, both of these fit that bill nicely.

The mushrooms were stuffed with a mixture of the stems, Tofutti cream cheese, red bell pepper, spinach, nutritional yeast, and some spices. I left out the onion it called for, and after mixing in the food processor it was too runny, so I added additional spinach, nutritional yeast, and threw in some bread crumbs; after mixing again it was a perfect consistency. They turned out quite lovely with the bubbly brown bits on top. I didn't have a chance to try these while they were still warm, which is when they probably would have tasted their best. They were still quite good at room temperature though. Many people liked these and asked what was inside.

The zucchini roll-ups were extremely good. They consisted of strips of zucchini rolled up with an herbed tofu ricotta. I had a little trouble getting them to stay rolled prior to baking (the zucchini was too firm and I didn't want the strips to break), so I just lied them out on the baking sheet and then rolled after baking. We also stuck toothpicks through them so that they would stay rolled during transport and for ease of serving. I also drizzled these with olive oil and sprinkled with salt before serving. I think I ate like half the plate of these myself--so tasty. When I make these again I will half the tofu mixture that is used as the filling. I didn't place it all on the strips before baking and then when rolling up a lot just fell out, so there was a fair amount of it wasted which I didn't like. But, all in all, a success!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rainforest Stir-Fry

Wow. Oh my God, wow. Those were the words that escaped my lips after taking my first bite of dinner tonight. This little gem is from reFresh; everything I've made from this book has been great, this was spectacular. The main part of the stir-fry consists of tofu, baby bokchoy, and tomato. I left out red onion because I'm not a fan, and added some mango chunks and jalapeno. After these are warm and the greens are wilted, cooked soba noodles and a spicy mango sauce were added. The mango chunks I added were the remnants from making mango juice for the sauce (I couldn't find plain mango juice at the store so I just put half a mango in my Vita Mix and blended it up--it was more puree, but it got the job done). The sauce also consisted of grapefruit and lemon juice, jalapeno, some more liquids, an entire bunch of cilantro, and then some corn starch to thicken it up a bit. After mixing, it just needed to come to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes; this left plenty of time to prep all the other ingredients.

It was served with orange slices to garnish. This dish was fantastic. It had sweet, it had savory, and it had spicy--amazing. The only things I think might make it more amazing are the addition of mushrooms (which I'll try next time) and maybe some bean sprouts on top for a bit of a crunch.

I halved the recipe and still made a whole lot. Before the veggies had cooked down my wok was overflowing (it's cooked in half-batches in the book). We'll be having this for lunch tomorrow and I'm quite certain it will be great served cold as well!