Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gigantoid Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

This cookie holds fond memories for me. It was the first vegan cookie I ever made; it was also the cookie I would make for people to show them how amazing vegan cookies are! The recipe is from Vegan With A Vengeance. I have had many people tell me these cookies are evil because they taste so good and the recipe is oft asked for. For a long time I was always asked to bring a batch of these cookies with me to any gathering I attended.

I hadn't made these in well over a year (from above, I had made them a lot and had gotten a bit tired of them) and we were in the mood for some cookies last night. Having no chocolate in the house these seemed like a sensible option. Do yourself a favor: if you've never made these before try them out!

ps. that's not a dinner plate, the cookies are about 3 inches wide though!

Garlic and Kale Soup

Mmm...this one was a winner. Also from this month's Vegetarian Times (it's easy to tell what I was reading before going to the grocery store), this was a yummy soup with kale, shiitake mushrooms, wheat berries, and lots of garlic. This requires some planning ahead to let the wheat berries soak, but otherwise comes together pretty quickly. I served it while the kale was still a bit crunchy because that's how I like it (my boyfriend said he would have preferred it softer). The kale does get softer as it sits, so for leftovers it will be soft; the soup does reheat nicely.

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Collard Greens and Chipotle Black-Eyed Peas

I'd been wanting to make this recipe since I first received Get It Ripe and finally got around to it recently. It completely met my expectations of greatness!

I used two different kinds of sweet potatoes, 2 white and 2 orange. The maple syrup brought out their sweetness beautifully and while everything else was cooking I was happy to continue "tasting" these. The collards were simply steamed and required nothing else for this dish because the potatoes and beans had so much flavor. The beans (which I had some trouble finding dried and not canned--available at Staff of Life) were cooked with zucchini, onion, chipotles and several spices. I didn't particularly care for the flavor of the beans on their own, but added to the collards and potatoes they were yummy--a very nice contrast of flavors here (spicy and sweet).

The one thing I was disappointed with was how much food this made. It says "serves 4" but I had enough food for a small army. I would say this feeds at least 6 very hungry people. We ended up having to waste quite a bit because we just couldn't eat it anymore (I even made a wrap with these and hot sauce one day to try a different way to eat it).

Soy Nugget Wraps

I've been making these wraps since college and they're still satisfying! I use Trader Joe's soy nuggets (any vegetarian chicken nugget/strip will work) and cook per package directions. While they're cooking I chop tomatoes then place them in a dish to roast alongside the nuggets. Once cooked, take a warmed tortilla and spread a creamy style dressing inside (we used Caesar) then add lettuce, chopped soy nuggets and tomatoes. Wrap up, cut in half and serve with hot sauce!

Vegetables Korma and Sauteed Spinach

This Vegetables Korma recipe is also from this month's Vegetarian Times. It was mediocre. I had already been running around to several stores (the drill having to go to multiple groceries to find everything needed for the week) and was tired of looking for the perfect pack of frozen vegetables for this, so I went with a bag from Trader Joe's that included corn, red peppers, and edamame. Admittedly, not the best vegetables for an Indian inspired dish. I will take some of the blame for this failing, but the sauce which I didn't tweak wasn't all that great either. It was made from tomatoes, ginger, and onions. It tasted mostly like onion and just didn't go down well. The other items included, besides spices, were chickpeas and almonds. I served this over brown rice.

The spinach was the saving grace of this dish. I just cooked it up in a drop of oil with soy sauce and mirin. As long as there was enough spinach in each bite it tasted alright. Anyway, as you can guess I don't recommend this recipe, not even to try and make it better.

Kale Sesame Soba Noodles

This 'lil beauty from Get It Ripe was super fantastic! It has lightly cooked kale, arame, and soba noodles all mixed together in a sesame oil dressing. I used less noodles than called for (6 oz instead of 8) and next time would use even less; I really like the flavors of the kale and seaweed together. I also used one less tablespoon toasted sesame oil for the dressing and added crushed red peppers. I ate this for lunch for several days and was left extremely satisfied. This is a new favorite!

Red Pepper-Carrot Soup

After roasting the red bell peppers for this soup from this month's Vegetarian Times the rest comes together pretty quickly. It is nicely spiced and beautifully colored. I served this up with some toast with a roasted garlic butter spread (mash roasted garlic add melted Earth Balance, stir, then place in fridge and allow to harden). Perfect warming soup for this time of the year!

Cucumber and Cilantro Salad

Here's another recipe from 500 Vegan Recipes. The flavors of cucumber and cilantro go so well together that I can't believe I never thought of it! I ate a bit by itself and then tossed the rest into a green salad with some flax oil. If everything were chopped smaller I think that this would make a fantastic filling for a slight alteration of a cucumber sandwich

Cast-Iron Deep Dish Pizza

As soon as I heard of the fantastic idea of using a cast-iron skillet to create a deep dish pizza I had to try it. I got the crust and sauce recipe from 500 Vegan Recipes. We loved the sauce! It was a creamy white sauce. I topped the pizza with whole basil leaves, Trader Joe's chicken-less strips and tomato slices; next time more garlic is needed. The crust was a little disappointing because it was so thin--not really deep dish. For the next endeavor I'll need to find a dough that rises more to give us the true deep dish experience. Overall though it tasted great and we had no trouble polishing it all off.

Monday, January 11, 2010

TLT sandwich

Using the Tempeh Bacon recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance it's pretty simple to throw these together. I cut my tempeh into shorter strips than suggested because otherwise they just seem to fall apart for me. It's also important to make sure that only nonstick cookware is used to cook these or it'll be one big mess (I've done that before). I just picked up a cast-iron skillet so I used that to cook the tempeh and it worked great. With the smaller strips I usually end up with enough for about three sandwiches.

I really love the taste of red pepper miso mayo with this, so that's what I use instead of Veganaise (the miso mayo also complimets Tofurky deli slices really well). We also slapped on some spinach and tomato and that was that. Served it up with half an orange and a pickle spear. Yum.

Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

This cookie is from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. This was the first recipe I tried from it before it was even published; Isa was so kind as to post it on her blog. I made them the first time in addition with some lemon tea cookies as a thank you gift for a group of people I was working with. They were both big hits. This chocolate cookie especially. The first time I made them I halved the cayenne because I wasn't so sure about it--I'm not a big fan of chili and chocolate together--and it was still too much for me. Other people loved them, but I couldn't even eat a whole bite of one. Hello, gag reflex. However, the texture and the flavor seemed really great until the cayenne kicked in, so I wanted to try them again without any cayenne.

So that's what I did this time. Much better. Without the cayenne this is a nice crispy cinnamon and chocolate cookie. That's a winner in my book!

Toasted Quinoa and Lime Baked Broccoli

To use up the remainder of our broccoli from the baked potatoes I decided to try the "Basic Broccoli" recipe from Alternative Vegan. It consisted of a lemon juice marinade (I used lime) that was tossed over the broccoli and then the broccoli was baked. I'd never cooked broccoli this way, and to my delight it tasted great! It did lose its heat really quick, but it's cold out now and that happens.

The toasted quinoa recipe was from The Vegan Table. I halved the recipe and it still made enough for two dinners and lunch the next day. I left out shallots and instead added half a green bell pepper. This was a very nice, lightly spiced quinoa recipe and the addition of the almonds and cranberries gave it that little something special. Toasting the quinoa prior to cooking gave it a nice taste and it also had the added bonus of making the house smell amazing.

Cheezy Broccoli Baked Potatoes

When I don't really feel like cooking, but also don't want to go out this is a great option. Once the potatoes are almost done I just steam some broccoli and whip up some cheeze sauce, and we're good to go. This is also an incredibly satisfying and filling dinner. I use the cheeze sauce recipe from How it all Vegan because it's my favorite at the moment, it uses no butter and very little oil while having a great taste.

Chili Pumpkin Cranberry Risotto

So I kinda screwed this up. I've made it before, so I know the recipe is good and that this was my fault. I was on the phone while I was cooking and therefore not providing my risotto adequate attention. I added my cooked squash (butternut instead of pumpkin) at the wrong time--too early--and it got stirred so much that it fell apart and became a little soupy. I actually preferred the puree to the chunks, so next time I might halve the amount of squash and add it as a puree instead. I also swapped green chiles (serranos) for red, and kept the seeds because we like things spicy.

The flavors in this risotto compliment each other so beautifully; I love it. This makes a whole lot, luckily for us mine firmed up a bit after sitting in the fridge so our leftovers weren't quite as soupy.

Fantastic Fajitas

Fajitas are always a nice quick option to get a tasty veggie-filled dinner on the table. My two favorite veggies for fajitas are zucchini and portobello mushroom. Those are the two I used here. I just slice them up, add a sliced jalapeno (the seeds could be removed if that's too spicy) and chopped garlic. I then toss all that with the juice of a whole lime and a tiny amount of olive oil. This time I also added a tiny bit of mexican beer and adobo sauce from a can of chipotles becuase I happened to have them in my fridge. I then heat up either a grill pan or a wok, depending on how much I'm making, and heat everything up. While the veggies are cooking I heat up some refried beans and warm the tortillas. If I have an avocado on hand I usually make guacamole too. Then we just fill our tortillas to our heart's content!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pomegranate Cosmopolitan

I'm usually a beer gal, but every once in a while nothing will serve like a frilly girlie cocktail. Last monday I received a bit of bad news, it was one of those times I needed to drown some sorrows and lift my spirits by having some. I whipped up this little beauty, and it's mighty tasty.

Pomegranate Cosmopolitan

makes one cocktail

1 oz vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz pomegranate juice
splash of lime juice

1. Add everything to shaker. Mix.
2. Pour. Serve.

If you were looking to dress it up a bit a lime wedge or berries would make a nice garnish, or a lime peel swirl or pomegranate seeds tossed in the drink would be lovely.

Fettucine Alfredo and Peas

These were the first "real food" recipes that I've tried from The Urban Vegan, and there are a lot that look great. I went with this pasta recipe because it was quick and used what I had lying around. As you can see I didn't have fettucine, so it's spaghetti alfredo, but whatever. This was very good, very fattening, but good. It was a little sweet, but I'm guessing that was due to the soymilk we had (Trader Joe's regular, it is sweetened). I don't think I'd make this again unless it's a special occasion; it used almost an entire stick of Earth Balance (6 tablespoons) for a little over two servings. That's a bit more fat than I like to have in my dinner (let's save that for dessert shall we?!).

I have a feeling these peas would have been amazing if I had used fresh peas. They were gently cooked with garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. However, I only had frozen peas, so that's what I used. They were dry and chewy, as frozen peas usually are. I just tossed them into my pasta and then they were easy to eat!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year and Coffee Cake

First of all, welcome to Twenty-ten! Now...

Look at that crumb topping, and the mini chocolate chip layer! Oh, and there are raspberries in there too! This recipe is from Vegan Brunch, and despite having some hiccups, turned out well. I picked up a springform pan at the local kitchen store the other day and this was a perfect recipe for it. I'd never used one of these pans before, but after breaking one of my other cake pans (my crappy IKEA knives actually cut right through it, yeah crazy) I decided to try this little baby out. If you've never used one before it's pretty awesome, just unhinge and the cake slides right out.

It also helped me save this cake from ruin. I baked on the upper end of the allotted amount of time. I then stuck in a toothpick and was greeted with gooey raspberry and chocolate, not so good for determining doneness. So, I took it out. Isa says to let it sit for an hour before eating, but we were starving, so after about twenty minutes I tried to cut slices out. The whole middle was still a gooey doughy mess. Luckily, I was able to just refit the outside of the pan back on, throw it back in the oven and disaster averted! It took an extra twenty minutes to get it fully cooked. To check I just stabbed and then swirled the toothpick to make sure it was definitely done in the center.

After getting it fully cooked and cooled (of course not an hour, like 20 minutes) we were able to dig in for real. It was a fabulous combination. I don't know if this would even be worth it if it didn't have chocolate. I loved that the chips got really crispy as it melded with the crumb topping. Fabulous!