Posts Tagged gravy

32 Before 32

I was so pleased with the results of my 31 Before 31 that I am forging ahead with 32 more goals!  It’s already been two months since my 31st birthday, so I have just under ten months to work on this list.

  1. Go camping.
  2. Run a 5k.
  3. Get fitted for running shoes.
  4. Go to the deYoung.
  5. Go on a hike of at least 7 miles at Mt. Tam.
  6. Build a light box for food photography.
  7. Borrow a non-vegan cookbook from the library and try at least three recipes.
  8. Do five real push ups in a row.
  9. Finalize the list of recipes for my zine idea and work on at least five recipes.
  10. Enter all of the recipes I have printed into Living Cookbook database.
  11. Read at least chapters 5-7 of On Food and Cooking.
  12. Change blog template.
  13. Update blog roll.Build a small collection of props for food photography.
  14. Learn and use a photo-editing program.
  15. Go to a symphony concert.
  16. Finalize the list of songs for cover album project and work on arrangements.
  17. Take a day trip up or down highway 1.
  18. Go to Millennium and order the Frugal Foodie prix fix menu.
  19. Host a dinner party.
  20. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
  21. Watch the eight movies on this list that I haven’t seen.
  22. Volunteer.
  23. Advertise chef services somewhere other than my blog.
  24. Get business cards for blog & chef business.
  25. Complete Pimsleur Spanish program.
  26. Visit a new city.
  27. Visit the Winchester Mystery House.
  28. Do a jigsaw puzzle.
  29. Play tennis.
  30. Get a canning pot and can something.
  31. Find a houseplant I can’t kill
  32. Go to a spinning class.

I’ll do my best to update at least the blog-related goals a few times as the year goes on.

And, since every good post deserves some good food, here are a few dinners I made.  No recipes, but delicious nonetheless.

Mock chicken tacos with slaw, fresh and pickled jalapenos, and refried beans.

Millet with chard, fennel, capers, white wine and hazelnuts.

Biscuits with kale, sausage and mushroom gravy.

Soba, bok choy, shiitake and edamame soup with fried onion and dulse.

Advertisements

Comments (3)

Appetite For Reduction – Review & Giveaway

When I first heard about Appetite For Reduction, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s latest cookbook, I knew it would be right up my alley.  The recipes are similar to how I usually cook – whole foods, high flavor, low fat and calories.  I bought the book a few weeks before Christmas and having been cooking from it since.  Most of the recipes I’ve chosen so far have been based on what has been in my CSA deliveries, and there are a lot more recipes I look forward to trying.

Broiled Blackened Tofu.  You just coat the tofu with the spice mix and broil it.  Simple and tasty!

Butternut Coconut Rice.  Mixing in mashed butternut squash is a smart way to make rice yummy and coconutty without adding a lot of fat.  The only thing I would change with this recipe is to dice the shallot instead of slicing it, because the long slices were  kind of weird compared to the texture of the rest of the dish.

Pineapple Collards.  This maybe doesn’t look too appealing because my ginger was stringy, but the flavor is great.  I just wish I had used more collards, because the pineapple/garlic/ginger combo was a little overpowering.  Plus, I wanted to eat more of it.

All packed up to take for lunch.

Curried Cabbage & Peas, served with quinoa.  The texture on these veggies was great – they were cooked enough to be tender, but still have a bite to them.  The curry flavor isn’t incredibly complex, but the dish comes together really quickly, so I’m not complaining!

Not from AFR – I ate this Romanesco Carrot Salad with the curried cabbage.  The recipe was in my CSA’s newsletter, and it was a nice way to use the romanesco.

Irish Stew with Potatoes & Seitan.  This was a bust for me, but not due to the recipe.  I used the steamed white seitan from Viva Vegan, and even after being sauteed the seitan was squishy like raw dough, and really unpleasant to eat.  I’ve heard about other people having trouble with the seitan recipe, and also others who have had success, so perhaps it was just me.  I picked all the seitan out, and the stew was pretty good.

Tempeh Helper.  This is one I was really excited about.  The recipe is posted here, on The PPK blog.  This is super good!  It tastes like junk food from a box, but isn’t junky at all.  I was skeptical about the technique – you cook the pasta and other ingredients in a pan with a smaller amount of water than normal – but it worked out well.  The pasta came out al dente, and the water cooked off without the dish getting dry.  Next time I want to crumble the tempeh more finely so it’s spread throughout the dish.

The Gravy Bowl, slightly modified.  I know how to put together a “bowl” on my own, but the suggestions in the three-page bowl section are good when you’re looking for something easy to throw together.  Brown rice, baked tofu, steamed kale and collards and silky chickpea gravy.  The gravy is not as flavor-intensive as some gravies, but for a gravy made with 1 teaspoon of oil it’s darned good.

Sushi Roll Edamame Salad.  I’m no stranger to the sushi salad.  I had tried this salad previously at a potluck, so I knew how good it was, which is why I was surprised that mine didn’t taste as good.  I think I put too much green onion in the dressing (maybe my onions were particularly strong), and then added more as garnish, and the onion overpowered the whole thing.  Less green onion next time, and it will be great.

Orange-Scented Broccoli, which I served alongside the sushi salad.  This one was not my favorite; it tasted like ginger, garlic, broccoli and orange separately, as opposed to coming together as one big flavor.  It was more cohesive as leftovers the next day, after the flavors had a chance to meld.  Still, next time I would probably just steam the broccoli.

Morrocan Chickpeas & Zucchini served with Caulipots.  I used some early-season, tender zucchini in this dish.  The flavor in this soup is fantastic.  It’s really easy to make, and turns out with a really wonderful spiciness throughout.  The caulipots (mashed potatoes made partly with cauliflower) were a nice, creamy counterpart.  I looked forward to eating these leftovers each day.

Butternut-Apple Soup and Fresh Corn & Scallion Cornbread.  Sadly, this soup was another dud for me.  It’s not a bad recipe by any means, just a matter of taste.  I think I’m learning that I just don’t like apples in soup.  The cornbread was nice dipped in the soup, and the whole corn kernels made for good texture.

Lastly for today, Yam & Black Bean Soup with Orange & Cilantro.  I wasn’t expecting anything amazing from this recipe, so I was pleasantly surprised that it tastes amazing!  The simple ingredients combine to make one wonderfully tasty soup.  The two serrano peppers really turn up the heat, and the orange juice keeps it fresh.  I baked some corn tortilla chips for dipping.

Considering how much I’ve enjoyed the recipes I’ve made so far, this might be the first cookbook that I end up making almost every recipe from.

Luckily for you guys, my mom is an excellent present-buyer.  She also knew that I would love AFR, and bought me a copy for Christmas, which I am now passing on to one of you!  And, I got the book signed when I had the pleasure of attending a cooking demo that Isa did a few weeks ago.  She made the Thai Roasted Root Vegetable Curry and Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits, both of which I now want to make myself.

To enter to win this copy of Appetite For Reduction, leave a comment on this post with a healthy cooking tip.  It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, just any tip for cooking healthy vegan food.  The contest will be open until midnight PST this Wednesday, March 9, and I’ll pick a comment at random.  Please be sure to include your e-mail address (unless I’m able to find it by following a link to your blog).  I’ll be back on Thursday to announce the winner and show you a few more recipes I’ve made from AFR.  Good luck!

PS – I should mention that this is open to residents of the US and Canada only.  Sorry, everyone else!  If shipping was less costly, I would love to send it around the world!

Comments (55)

Happy Thanksgiving!

…Even though it’s two days after Thanksgiving now.  Happy four day weekend!  I’ve been taking the opportunity to sleep in and take care of business.

This year, for the first time, Dave and I decided to stay home for Thanksgiving.  We invited our friends Tom and Hope over and had a nice, intimate, huge feast.  I even decorated the table like a real adult.

And made a centerpiece, Martha Stewart-style.

We started with appetizers.  This is the Walnut Mushroom Pate from Veganomicon with some crackers, carrot sticks and peppadews (mild pickled peppers).  Tom and Hope’s dog Lucy also came over and I had forgot that she really loves to eat carrots, so that was a nice treat for her.

Since we were sitting down to a real dinner, I included soup and salad on the menu.  For the soup I wanted to keep the flavors simple and express my new found love for cardamom.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Orange Soup with Pistachio Dust

1 large butternut squash (3-4 lbs), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large shallots, quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbs virgin coconut oil, melted
3 cups vegetable broth
1 large orange, zested and supremed
2 Tbs orange liqueur (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp cumin
1-2 pinches cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
5-6 grinds freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
2 fresh sage leaves, minced

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.  Divide the squash, shallots and garlic among the pans, add 1 Tbs of melted coconut oil to each pan and stir to coat the vegetables.  Roast for 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Allow to cool slightly.
2. Place half of the vegetables in a blender, add half of the broth and blend until smooth.  Pour into a large pot.  Place the remaining vegetables and broth in the blender and add the orange segments, orange liqueur, cardamom, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth and add to the pot.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. Heat the soup gently over medium heat, stirring often and turning down the heat if it starts bubbling.
4. Meanwhile, place the pistachios in a food processor and process into the size of fine breadcrumbs.  Add the sage and 1 tsp orange zest and pulse to combine.
5. To serve, ladle the warm soup into bowls and top with the pistachio dust.

Servings: 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 365.04
Calories From Fat (23%) 82.37
% Daily Value
Total Fat 9.73g 15%
Saturated Fat 4.65g 23%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 185.43mg 8%
Potassium 1661.7mg 47%
Total Carbohydrates 66.3g 22%
Fiber 7.74g 31%
Sugar 9.44g
Protein 8.82g 18%

Our salad was the Roasted Fennel and Hazelnut Salad with Shallot Dressing from Veganomicon.  I first made this a few weeks ago and couldn’t find the chicory it called for, so I had it with mixed greens and butter lettuce, and after trying it with chicory I have to say that the bitter greens make all the difference in balancing the sweet elements of the salad.  I also learned that I like whole hazelnuts.  Delicious!

I didn’t want to hold my fellow diners up, so I didn’t get pictures of all the individual dishes.  Here is my plate.

For my “main” I had a chickpea cutlet from the freezer with some cranberry sauce that Hope brought.  The roasted brussels sprouts are this recipe, chosen because I found out that neither Tom nor Hope likes brussels, and I was determined to show them that they’re good.  They both tried them and said they’re okay, but they’re still not brussels fans.  I can try, no?

These rolls are the Homestyle Potato Rolls fromVeganomicon.  Yes, I relied heavily on Veganomicon for our meal.  It’s a great cookbook filled with a lot of fall-appropriate recipes.  Anywho, the bread dough was really nice and easy to work with, and it expanded even while in the fridge overnight.  I served the bread with some herbed butter.  I mean, herbed Earth Balance.

Dave requested chunky mashed potatoes with the skins, and lots of them so he could have leftovers.  I added a bunch of Earth balance, almond milk, truffle salt and black pepper to get ’em tasting good.  Everyone else enjoyed turkey gravy, but I came up with this red wine gravy as my contribution.  It’s not the best looking color of gravy, but it tastes quite nice.

Red Wine Gravy

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup vegetable broth, at room temperature
1/2 cup almond milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 Tbs tamari
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1. Heat a medium pot over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Sprinkle the flour into the pot and whisk immediately to make a smooth paste.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Add the broth, milk, wine and tamari and turn up the heat to medium-high.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Turn the heat down if the gravy is bubbling too much.  Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the nutritional yeast.  Serve hot.

Servings: 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 102.56
Calories From Fat (61%) 63.06
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7.15g 11%
Saturated Fat 0.94g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 262.38mg 11%
Potassium 44.39mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 5.03g 2%
Fiber 0.87g 3%
Sugar 0.18g
Protein 2.28g 5%

And of course, I had to make green bean casserole.  It’s my quintessential Thanksgiving dish.  Dave said that the ones I had made in the past were good but could have more flavor, so I set out to create my own version, and I have to say that it was probably the best green bean casserole I’ve ever had.  I wanted to make everything from scratch instead of using store bought fried onions, and I tried to inject as much flavor as possible at every step.

Green Bean Casserole

1 1/2 lbs green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb mixed wild mushrooms, diced (I used chanterelle, oyster and shiitake)
6 Tbs high heat sunflower oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 large shallot, minced
5 Tbs all purpose flour, divided
1 cup vegetable broth, at room temperature
1 cup almond milk, at room temperature
2 Tbs sherry
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, thinly sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place the green beans in a steamer over simmering water and steam for 20 minutes, until beans are tender.  Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium heat and add 1 Tbs of the oil.  Add the garlic and thyme and saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Set aside.
4. Place a small pot over medium heat and add 3 Tbs of the oil.  Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes, until they are starting to turn translucent.  Add 3 Tbs of the flour and whisk to form a smooth paste.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Add the vegetable broth and whisk to combine.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Once the sauce has thickened slightly, add the milk and sherry and continue to cook, whisking frequently, until thickened.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Combine the green beans, mushroom mixture and sauce in a baking dish.
5. Combine the sliced onion and 2 Tbs flour in a bowl and toss with your hands to coat.  Heat a medium pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 Tbs of oil.  Add the onions and any remaining flour to the pan, stir to combine and cook until most of the onions have browned, stirring frequently.  Pour the onions on top of the green bean mixture and spread evenly.
6. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes and serve hot.

Servings: 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 192
Calories From Fat (50%) 96.94
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.97g 17%
Saturated Fat 1.12g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 30.35mg 1%
Potassium 497.72mg 14%
Total Carbohydrates 20.21g 7%
Fiber 2.73g 11%
Sugar 2.26g
Protein 4.85g 10%

For dessert, I attempted to veganize the Cranberry Upside Down Cake from the latest issue of Eating Well magazine.

It tasted alright, but it refused to upside-down itself from my cast iron pan, so we had it rightside-up.  That’s what I get for making the recipe the first time that day.

We ate, we chatted, we had some wine and Dogfishhead Chicory Stout, and we watched Elf.  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Comments (14)

CSA’s & Laptop Lunches

Geez, it’s been a long time since I posted my foods!  I’ll try to keep my rambling and descriptions short, since I’ve got a lot of pictures!

8-27 CSA:  corn, rosemary, pears, zucchini, cucumber & lavender

onions, figs, tomatoes, beets, squash & honeydew melon

When I got this CSA box, I was actually growing tired of snacking on fresh figs.  Gasp!  I’m spoiled, I know.  I decided to make a poached fig salad, based on a recipe I found online that I can’t find again now!  Which is a shame, cause it was really good.  The fresh figs were poached in a whole bottle of port, then the wine was reduced down to a syrup.  There was also a simple vinaigrette, pisatchios, shallots and faux feta cheese.  The poached figs were STRONG, but good.  I also had some herbed pumpkin seed crackers.

I had taken note of the Teriyaki Quinoa recipe in Eat, Drink & Be Vegan during my August cleanse but didn’t get a chance to try it then.  I’m glad I tried it afterwards, because I love it!  It’s so simple – just cook the quinoa and mix it with the sauce.  I served the quinoa with stir-fried veggies (seasoned only with tamari and ume plum vinegar), and instead of sprinkling with sesame seeds as the recipe called for, I used some sesame gomasio that I had bought for no specific reason.

Quinoa close-up!  Looks like…quinoa…

I had a huge heirloom tomato sitting around doing absolutely no good, and I decided I wanted to slice it up for a grilled cheese sandwich.  There’s a big hole in the middle cause the tomato had a big, tough core that had to be cut out.

I wanted to make bread machine bread for my sandwich and…FAIL.  I modified a multigrain bread machine recipe that I found online and it really didn’t rise at all.  It was edible but incredibly dense.  I don’t know if the recipe was bad or if it was the fact that I used the time delay feature and the ingredients sat there for hours before the machine started mixing.

The cheese in the sandwich is the Gooey Grilled Cheese from The Uncheese Cookbook, which I love.  I also love pickles on grilled cheese.  On the side was broccoli and cucumber with goddess dressing, and oven-baked beet chips.

I had corn and squashes left over from the CSA box, and thought they would make nice side dishes for black-eyed-pea gravy and biscuits.  I have no idea where I got the gravy idea from, but it worked out.

For the biscuits, I used Happy Herbivore’s Whole Wheat Low Fat Biscuit recipe, and they turned out quite well!  I rolled mine out and cut them into circles with a glass though, rather than just dropping them like the recipe calls for.  That way you get the flaky sides, and they’re easy to cut in half.

Gravy close-up!  The gravy turned out okay, but it was a little too acidic and the onions weren’t cooked enough, so I need to work on it a bit before I have an official recipe.  For the creamed corn, I just cooked some corn kernels till tender, blended up some of them in the food processor, added it back to the pan with some soy milk and cooked a bit just to thicken.  The squash and zucchini were sauteed with probably a pinch too much red pepper flakes.

9-10 CSA:  lettuce, thyme, zucchini, swiss chard & grapes

tomatoes, plums, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, garlic & oranges

There’s nothing particularly special about this salad, except that it was topped with Annie’s French Dressing, which I had never seen before and like a lot.

With the abundance of tomatoes in this CSA box, I thought I ought to try my hand at making gazpacho.  I’d had gazpacho before a number of times but never made it.  Turns out it’s ridiculously easy to make!  The blender does most of the work.  I followed the recipe from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons and it was perfect.

On the side is a slice of Bianca’s awesome Whole Wheat Beer Bread.  I grew up eating beer bread, and this totally hit the spot.  I added FYH cheddar and some rosemary just cause I could.  I also totally screwed up and mis-read the recipe.  I thought the bread only baked for 30 minutes, so I pulled it out then, let it cool, and was totally surprised that my first slice was completely raw in the middle!  Then I re-read the recipe – doh!  It bakes for 55 minutes.  The slice on my plate up there went in the toaster oven just to finish, which is why it looks funny, and the rest of the loaf went back in the oven.  Read your recipes all the way through, people!

9-24 CSA:  swiss chard, lettuce, cucumber & more lettuce

beets, tomatoes, red onions, grapes & peppers.  I also got a galia melon but it didn’t find its way into the picture.

Another sandwich, this time on store-bought sprouted bread.  I had an avocado ready to use, and thought it would go perfectly with the CSA tomato and lettuce in a great sandwich.  I was thinking along the lines of a BLT, so I sauteed tempeh then glazed it with soy sauce, maple syrup and liquid smoke.  Delicious!  The sandwich also had red onion jam, spicy mustard and a slice of vegan cheese.  Those nuclear chips in the front there are Buffalo Chips from Food Should Taste Good.  They didn’t really taste buffalo-y, but they were tangy and spicy and good.  If you haven’t tried Food Should Taste Good chips yet, do so!  They feel so much lighter than other chips, and their flavors are fun and imaginative.

10-8 CSA:  arugula, lettuce, acorn squash, more lettuce & baby bok choy

plums, potatoes, apples, oranges, tomatoes, onions, peppers & beets

I haven’t done anything with last week’s CSA box yet, but…there it is.

Laptop lunches!  I don’t have the time these days to neatly pack everything every night, but I do when I can.

9-8 pasta salad, steamed carrots, beanie weenies, cauliflower

9-10 biscuit & black-eyed pea gravy, creamed corn, spicy sauteed squash

9-15 cheddar-rosemary beer bread, gazpacho, baked beans, grapes

9-17 sesame noodles, sauteed cabbage, grapes

9-28 peppers lavender tofu, scalloped zucchini,
slow roasted tomatoes, grapes

10-1 multigrain sesame-beet pilaf, spicy daikon slaw, gf corn muffin, grapes

Bonus Jake.

And armless Jake.

Comments (15)

Sweet Potato Chili & Thanksgiving

All my posts as of late have an “&” in the title.  I will try to find time to post more often and avoid the “ands”!

Last week I wanted to make a big pot of deliciousness.  It’s definitely chili weather here and it’s been at least a year since I last made chili, so chili it was.  I use this as my basic veggie chili go-to recipe.  If you follow the recipe you’ll have a tasty, meaty omni-friendly chili, and it’s great for variations.  It’ll taste good pretty much no matter what you do to it.  I’m trying to stay away from processed food though, so instead of faux meat I diced a huge sweet potato and tossed it in.

To go with the chili I made my whole wheat cornbread and wilted some arugula.

On to Thanksgiving!  This was my first Thanksgiving with bf’sfamily, so I didn’t want to get to crazy with the “weird” vegan food and I stayed fairly traditional.

When I made the cornbread above I doubled the recipe so that I could make cornbread stuffing, using this recipe from Vegan Chef.

This was very tasty!  Everyone else kind of looked at it funny, but that’s fine – more leftovers for me!  The only thing I might change next time would be to use a little less parsley and green onion, and a bit more broth to make it all mush together.

The best green bean casserole, from Fat Free Vegan.  This was a hit with everyone.  Well, at least everyone who likes green beans.

Robin Robertson’s Cranberry Relish.  I’m not a huge cranberry sauce person, but I got two bags for 99 cents, and this recipe looked really interesting, with additions like shallots and red bell peppers.  I liked it a lot, but it’s still not something I can eat a lot of.

My cashew miso gravy.  So good.

It’s very hard to get a decent picture of just gravy.

My plate.  BF’s mom left some potatoes on the side for me to mash with Earth Balance and soy milk.

For my “entree” I made seitan cutlets from VCON.  I have to say, I’m not digging them very much.  It might just be that I left them too thick, but the texture turned out so rubbery I have a hard time eating them.  For this meal I cut one in half to make it thinner, coated it in flour and pan-fried it.  It was pretty good this way, along with gravy and everything else on the plate.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the rest of them that are currently stashed in my freezer though.

Here’s another view of my plate, just because I think the picture turned out better.

For dessert I made Pumpkin Pie Brownies from The PPK, which I have been wanting to try for over a year.

They were really easy to make and the texture turned out great, but I thought they weren’t sweet enough, which is odd for me.  Normally I think desserts are too sweet!  The recipe called for bittersweet chocolate and I used unsweeted, so I’m sure that took a little sweetness away, but I was very surprised.  They were kind of an “adult” dessert, where the bitterness of the chocolate comes through.  If I make them again I will definitely add more sugar, maybe some chocolate chips in the brownies and whipped cream for the top.  Then I think they will be stellar.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am holding my very first contest!  Well…it’s not really a contest…more like a giveaway.  I am approaching 1000 approved comments, crazy!  To thank you all for continuing to come back and read (even when I’m only posting once a week), I will send a package of sweets to whomever posts the 1000th comment!  I won’t say how close I am – it may not even happen for this post.  But I will announce the winner when it happens.

Lastly, I only took two lunches for last week’s shortened workweek, so here they are.

11-24 better than cream cheese & pumpkin butter sandwich on wheat,
celery & carrots sticks, banana pieces, candy cane jo jo’s

11-25 sweet potato chili, cornbread, wilted arugula, a clementine

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is getting into the holiday spirit!

Comments (19)

VeganMoFo: Iron Chef Challenge #2

I found out about the first VeganMoFo Iron Chef Challenge after the fact, since I came in late on VeganMoFo.  I was excited to participate in the second challenge, but I had no idea that the whole thing happened over the weekend!  I already had food and plans set for the weekend.  But the secret ingredients for Don’t Eat Off The Sidwalk’s Iron Chef Challenge #2got inside my head, and I came up with what I thought was a pretty good idea.  So even though I’m way too late to enter the challenge, I give you “Roasted Pears & Brussels Sprouts with Sausage, Mashed Purple Potatoes & Miso Cashew Gravy”.  It’s pretty much fall on a plate.

This was my first time eating purple potatoes, and by golly are they fantastic.  I’m normally a chunky mashed potato type of girl, but I was feeling smooth today, and when whipped in the food processor they took on this gooey texture that worked really well.  And the gravy is kind of amazing, I think at least.  If you’re not up for the whole recipe at least give the gravy a try!  It kind of almost tastes like turkey gravy, I had bf try it to double check.  He says it’s kind of sweet, which I didn’t notice.  I used a mild, sweet miso so I’m sure different misos would yield different results.  Oh, and it’s okay if the pears aren’t completely ripe, they’ll soften up in the oven.

Roasted Pears & Brussels Sprouts with Sausage, Mashed Purple Potatoes & Miso Cashew Gravy

Notes:  The VWAV tempeh sausage crumbles are pretty heavily spiced, so if you prefer a milder sausage use Gimme Lean or reduce the spices added to the tempeh crumbles.  If you like chunky mashed potatoes then just mash manually instead of processing.  I made this for lunch, so it makes four servings of a smaller sized meal.  For a full meal serve with a soup or salad, perhaps my Roasted Garlic, Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup with Caramelized Onions?

1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 bartlett pears, cored & cut into roughly 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
2 Tbs olive oil
1 lb purple potatoes, washed and cut into chunks
1/2 c almond milk
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 recipe VWAV tempeh sausage crumbles or 1/2 tube Gimme Lean Sausage, prepared
1/2 c cashews
1 c water
1 1/2 c almond milk
2 Tbs miso
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Tbs cornstarch or arrowroot
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Put brussels sprouts and pears in a bowl, drizzle olive oil over them and stir gently to combine. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and pour in the brussels and pears, spreading to a single layer as much as possible. Cook for 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
2. Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 10 minutes or until done. Drain, put potatoes in a food processor and let sit a few minutes to cool. Add 1/2 c almond milk and 3/4 tsp salt and process until smooth.
3. Place cashews and water in a blender and blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients (1 1/2 c almond milk through 1/2 tsp salt) and blend to mix. Pour gravy into a medium saucepan, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-high. Cook until reduced, whisking often.
4. Transfer brussels, pears and sausage to a bowl and stir to combine. Plate with mashed potatoes and cover everything with gravy.

Serves 4.

Comments (13)

Decadent Breakfasts & Laptop Lunches

I woke up Saturday morning feeling as one feels the morning after one’s friends have come into town and bought one shots.  On a scale of 0 = no hangover to 10 = the worst one I’ve ever had, I was somewhere around a 3, which is really not so bad.  Anywho, the very first thing I thought when I woke up was that I wanted a “decadent” breakfast.  Decadent is not a word I use, nor an adjective I wish to describe my life (which it certainly does not), but apparently it was a breakfast I wanted.  So I made Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bran.  BF was borrowing my camera to craigslist some furniture, so you get a cell phone shot that is unworthy of the true deliciousness.

I like to plop pb on my oat bran right when it’s done cooking, that way when you stir it in it melts a little.  Some bites are more pb than anything else, and obviously, those are the best bites.  I left the banana chunky and used crunchy pb in this cause I like the texture, but mashed banana and smooth pb would be really good too.  This decadent breakfast is actually really good for you!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bran

1/4 c oat bran
1/2 c rice/almond/soy milk
1/4 c water
banana, chopped
handful chocolate chips
pinch of salt
1-2 Tbs peanut butter

1.  Combine oatbran, milk and water in a microwaveable bowl.  Microwave 1 minute.
2.  Stir in the banana, reserving some for garnish.  Microwave another minute.
3.  Stir in the chocolate chips and salt; microwave another minute.
4.  Stir again, and if a thicker consistency is desired microwave one more minute.
5.  Put the pb on top, and garnish with banana and extra chocolate chips.  Stir before eating.

Sunday morning I woke up with a hearty hunger.  I had been contemplating biscuits and gravy since I had biscuits to use up in the freezer.  I also though I had half a package of Morningstar chick’n strips, so I was thinking white peppery chick’n gravy.  Turns out they were steak strips, and so I made steak gravy.

It doesn’t make for the prettiest picture, but the gravy was so good!  I used the Easy Gravy recipe from Hot Damn & Hell Yeah as a reference.  I subbed rice milk for some of the water, added a dash of vegan Worcestershire sauce, used copious amounts of salt and black pepper, and threw in chopped “steak” at the end.  My singular complaint is that it took FOREVER for the gravy to cook down.  Like, over an hour.  Maybe my roux wasn’t as roux-ish as it was supposed to be, I’m no roux expert.  Even with the wait, this meal was well worth it, especially to use up more bits from the freezer.

I’m starting to freak out a bit about moving.  NEXT WEEK.  Until now it was some thing in the future that I had plenty of time to plan for.  Now it’s next week.  I had a really hard time falling asleep last night.  Partly because we watched the third Lord Of The Rings movie (which was really awesome, but far too action packed for just-before-bedtime), and partly because my mind started obsessing over all the stuff that’s still in my apartment that I can’t take with me.  It’s okay though, there are some people coming by tonight to hopefully by furniture, and I’ve set Friday as the date to cart off all the smaller stuff to Salvation Army.  Until I move it will continue to be simple eats for me, such as dinner from Saturday night.

There was a free preview of some MLB package going on, so we watched baseball all day and grilled lunch and dinner.  Lunch was an uneventful veggie burger.  Dinner was a prepackaged herbed tofu steak with mushrooms, grilled asparagus, a hedgehog potato (stuffed with minced garlic, salt and pepper – first saw the idea here), and grilled zucchini with red onion leftover from lunch.  The grilling gods were not smiling upon us, I think it took over two hours to complete this meal.  So I guess it wasn’t really that simple.  It was mostly due to the Publix Greenwise charcoal we tried to use – It would blaze for 15 minutes or so, then completely die.  We had to finish the potatoes in the oven.

Since there’s been so much on my mind I haven’t been keeping up with laptop lunches.  I still take a lunch every day, but more often I have been throwing stuff in tupperware instead of taking the time to arrange it.  Here are a few from last week.

7-15  chickpea cutlet & tomato parmesan, cherry tomatoes, spaghetti marinara w/
almond parmesan, roasted green beans, peach slices, blackberries

7-16  lima & edamame succotash, onion rings, ketchup, fig bar, blueberry muffin

7-17  bulgur pilaf, cucumber tomato salad, spaghetti marinara w/
almond parmesan, gherkins, dried apples & pineapple

Comments (28)