Posts Tagged VWAV

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.

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VeganMoFo: Comfort Food

Comfort food takes many forms.  There are the comfort foods that have that texture, the one that makes you feel warm and squishy inside, like mashed potatoes and gravy or mac ‘n cheese.  Recreations of childhood favorites are also comforting.  I guess ultimately, most all food is comfort food in some way.

It’s been chilly around these parts, more chilly than I’m accustomed too, and I’ve been craving comfort food.  For some ice cream is probably comfort food, but for me it has to be warm.  Here are the comfort foods I’ve eaten this weekend.

The first meal started with these maple walnuts, which I raved about in this post.  They’re a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and crunchier than any other walnuts I’ve ever had.

I just knew these would be fabulous with sweet potatoes.  I was looking for them at Trader Joe’s and came across their baby sweet potatoes and yams, and they were so cute I had to buy them.  My initial plan was to bake or roast them and sprinkle the walnuts on top, with brussels sprouts on the side, but when the comfort food craving hit I changed the dish for the better.

I boiled the sweet potatoes and yams then mashed them with rice milk, a bit of earth balance, coriander, salt and white pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.  I shredded and sauteed the brussels then folded them in, and topped it all off with the chopped walnuts.  The contrast between the crunchy nuts and the mashed veggies and the hearty flavor were so satisfying.  And overall it was a very healthy dish.  I like my comfort, but I also watch the calorie content.

Yesterday afternoon bf brought a borrowed grill to the house, and we reinstated the weekly tradition of grilling and watching football.  We decided on burgers for ease, and off to the store I went.  I’m not very familiar with the grocery stores in the area yet, and no matter where I searched, I could not find an egg-and-dairy-free-veggie burger.  They had all sorts of Morningstar Farms products, but MF doesn’t seem to have received the memo that it’s notcool to put eggs in everything yet.  Frustrated, I went back to the “specialty” refrigerated area where they keep tofu and veggie dogs.  I knew there weren’t any veggie burgers there, but on second look I noticed tubes of Gimme Lean, both sausage and beef style.  So the store kind of redeemed itself.  With no burger patty making experience, I had bf form a patty for me before he moved onto his beef burgers.  The patties were a little too sticky, and I was afraid they’d fall apart on the grill, so I put each one in a foil packet with a teeny bit of oil, and it worked perfectly.  With all the fixins and a quick coleslaw, this was one fine burger platter.  The only thing that could’ve possibly made it better would be a slice of soy cheese to melt on top.

This morning we made brunch in between football watching sessions.  College and NFL seems to take up just about the whole weekend!  I went with the standby tofu scramble, and VWAV Fronch Toast.

The tofu scramble was pretty standard.  I cooked the mushrooms, peppers and onions first so bf could have some for his omelet, then added in the tofu, cooked for a while and shook on some turmeric and a load ot nutritional yeast.  Then I took a tip from Vegan Dad’s recent post on tofu scramble, and added in a couple splashes of rice milk to keep it all moist.  I never thought about adding liquid, but it does keep it nice and moist, and perhaps a little more “eggy”.  Salt and pepper, and then upon taste testing it was a little flat.  It was good, but this was the point where I might add a little lemon juice or vinegar to a different kind of recipe, for that acidic lift.  Inspiration hit, and I added a few squirts of yellow mustard.  Perfection!  That little tang made all the difference.

For the Fronch Toast I thought I was all set.  I had bread and rice milk, and I always have a fully stocked pantry.  Except having just moved, my pantry is not all there, and I discovered halfway through I didn’t have any cornstarch.  So I subbed 1 Tbs tapioca flour and 1 Tbs Ener-G egg replacer and crossed my fingers, and it worked!  Maybe even better than cornstarch has worked for me in the past.

And finally, since we’re talking about comfort, here is how Jake the cat has spent this afternoon.  I love how cats make themselves into a ball when they sleep.

Then the light became just too much for him.

Well, I’m all caught up with posting food I’ve made.  I’ll probably be eating leftovers for the next few meals, so I’ll have to come up with some interesting topics to write about for VeganMoFo.

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Wrapping Up – Random Meals

I wanted to make this post before I left Gainesville, but as most of us know packing, cleaning and moving is incredibly time consuming.  So tonight I write from Lafayette, Louisiana, where we are staying after our first (very long) day of driving.

I didn’t get to eat all the food from my freezer and pantry that I wanted to use up, but I did what I could.  I’m gonna keep this one short, cause it is close to sleepy time.

First, a truly random meal that was composed of everything I could find in the fridge:  herbed tofu, carrots and broccoli w/ tamari and dill, bulgur pilaf and a strawberry jalapeno corn muffin.  Somehow it worked.

A fairly composed meal almost entirely from the pantry – chickpeas rogan josh, instant mashed potatoes w/ peas and turmeric, and steamed broccoli.

I used this canned rogan josh curry sauce, which I had picked up meaning to try with tofu.  It tasted really nice with the chickpeas though, almost like an Indian-flavored baked beans.

If you look in the background you can see the potato buds that I spilled all over the counter.

It’s always a bonus when your meal resembles a smiley face.  (“Good morning, breakfast!” “Good morning, Peewee!”)

Inspired by Caroline at The Broccoli Hut, I made a breakfast parfait with pieces of bran muffin.  This one also had peach soy yogurt, blueberries and flax flakes cereal.

As moving day got closer, I became less and less inclined to prepare food.  One day I picked up some slices from Leo’s By The Slice.  They have a spot labelled “vegan” on the pizza display and make cheeseless pies a couple times a day.  I think the toppings are at the whim of whomever is making it, so it’s always different.  Sometimes they use tofu, chickpeas or even tempeh, but more often than not it’s just all the veggies.  Often, they line the whole pizza with spinach under the other toppings, which is really good.  A couple times I have gone to find no vegan slices available, but their garden salad is great and the pasta marinara is vegan too, not to mention the rolls and delicious marinara.  So if you’re ever in Gainesville, stop by Leo’s for a quick slice.

I think a lot of pets freak out when you start moving stuff out of your home and shuffling things around, but not Jake.  He enjoyed sitting in and laying on all the newly unoccupied spaces.  This is the bottom shelf of a bookcase, in case it’s not obvious.

Lastly, our friend Nate had folks over last weekend to grill and practice black jack.  I made a “throw everything in a bowl” pasta salad with red onion, carrot, cucumber, artichoke hearts, olives, pimientos, chickpeas, parsley and probably a couple other things I’m forgetting.  The dressing was just vegennaise, balsamic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  It was well received, and made a ton so I had leftovers.

I also made a chocolate pudding pie with a crust from the freezer.  I wanted to try the VWAV chocolate pudding recipe, but I had JUST packed up all my cookbooks.  So I looked it up online, but I’m not going to post a link because A) I’m not sure it’s the exact recipe, and B) it didn’t set up properly.  I’ll try again when I have the book for reference.

The good news was it tasted great, even if it ran everywhere and plated up funny.

It’s bedtime for me here in Louisiana.  We have a couple more loooong days left of driving, then a stop in Las Vegas and possibly a jaunt to Anaheim before we arrive in NorCal.  I’m trying to document as much awesome (read: awful) roadtrip food as possible and will post again when we arrive.  Until then…

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Whirlwind Weekend

Greetings.  I had a great food and friends weekend, and I wanted to write this post Monday morning, but I woke up with a terrible sore throat.  Soon it became the kind of sickness that completely knocks you out, and by nighttime I had a fever.  Yesterday I went to the doctor and found out I have strep throat so I filled her prescriptions, took the pills, and again was knocked out.  Last night I was far too lethargic and nauseous to type anything, so here I am Wednesday morning, pre-med ingestion, to write out this post that’s been hanging over my head then resign myself to another day of boredom and nausea.

When I was in high school, if I spent a Friday night alone I would get really depressed.  Now I find I’m perfectly content to spend an entire Friday night at home cooking, and that is what I did on Friday.  I knew Saturday I was going to have no free time, so I cooked and prepped everything Friday night.  I also made pesto pizza for dinner using farmers market basil and tomatoes and VWAV pizza crust from the freezer.

pesto pizza

Upon taking the crust out of the freezer, I was reminded how awesome I am, because I had included this note to myself on how to bake it, so I wouldn’t have to look it up again.

pizza note

The pesto recipe and tofu ricotta were also from VWAV.  I put the red onion on sparingly, but afterwords wished I had put more on, because it was really yummy.

pesto pizza

Janeen had invited me to brunch Saturday morning, so I got up and finished up the food to take to her place.  I made what I’m calling Monkey Rolls – banana-chocolate-walnut cinnamon rolls.  I made the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from the Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk zine, subbing mashed banana for the pumpkin and adding chocolate chips and chopped toasted walnuts to the filling.  I also subbed canola oil for the margarine in both the rolls and the filling, as Janeen is allergic to soy.  I was most nervous about that substitution, but they turned out great.

monkey rolls

I had intentions of icing them with both vanilla and chocolate and almost skipped the chocolate part for lack of time, but I’m glad I went with both because I think the chocolate icing was the part that really took them over the top.

monkey rolls

I also made what I envisioned to be baked black bean & sweet potato taquitos.  Friday night I made the fillings, which were Refried Black Beans from Yellow Rose Recipes, and a sweet potato mash with lime juice, cilantro and minced chipotles.  Saturday morning I made my first homemade wheat tortillas from this recipe.  I made 12 tortillas instead of the 8 the recipe calls for, to make them smaller.

tortillas

They turned out really well for a first attempt, but they weren’t as pliable as I had hoped.  I wrapped each one around some of the black beans and sweet potato, secured them with a toothpick, and baked for about 15 minutes.  Right around the time I was trying to finish photgraphing and pack up for Janeen’s house, a crazy storm started rolling in and took all my light.  So I skeedaddled to Janeen’s just in time to beat the rain and took the rest of the photos by flash, and candlelight because Janeen is romantic like that.

taquitos

So the taquitos didn’t wrap up as I had hoped, but they tasted really good.  I served them with a quick guacamole and homemade enchilada sauce.  I like the enchilada sauce you can buy at the store (Old El Paso?) but felt like trying homemade.  I figured it couldn’t be too difficult.  I was skeptical about just how much a roux would do for an enchilada sauce, but it really did the trick.  The sauce had a silky mouthfeel that couldn’t have been acheived by just mixing ingredients together.  The only change I made was to add 2 tsp of sugar.  I like a sweet sauce.

Janeen made some excellent potatoes, cooked with a bruschetta mix and mushrooms.  These were really good.

She also put together a pretty fruit plate.

fruit plate

Here’s our candlelit spread.

brunch spread

We had planned a bike ride after brunch, but since it was storming we stayed in and ate like piggies.

brunch

Afterwards we went to watch bf’s band play at an afternoon benefit show, then retired to his house for a bbq.  I came home in between to clean up, and by the time I got there this was the spread on the coffee table.  Normally we’ll have out a bag or two of chips, but apparently that day we were partying like there were 20 of us even though there were only really 8.

chips

And for further exhibit of “how we roll”, here is the top shelf of the beer fridge.  Yes, there are two fridges and one is just for beer.

beer

For the bbq I made Apricot BBQ Sauce from VCon.  I was skeptical about how good this could be with no vinegar and such a small amount of tomato, but this is really good.  Make it now while apricots are in season!

apricot bbq sauce

I used this sauce to baste FatFree Vegan’s Barbecued Seitan Ribz.  So good.

ribz

I also made squash pickles.  You may recall that I first made them a while back, and wasn’t quite happy with the seasoning.  This time I got it right.  Nobody else seems to like these as much as I do, but I do like them.  So if you like squash and pickles, give them a try.

squash pickles

Squash Pickles

2 yellow squash and 1 zucchini, or 4 yellow squash, sliced
1 c vinegar (1/2 c apple cider, 1/2 c white)
1 c sugar
heaping tsp kosher salt
2 c water or enough to cover squash
medium to large shallot, very thinly sliced
1 tsp pickling spice
1/3 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp mustard seed
2 tsp celery seed

Put all ingredients in a non-reactive container and stir. Refrigerate overnight, stirring occasionally.

For crisper pickles, salt the squash slices and let sit in a colander for a half hour. Rinse before adding to other ingredients.

My plate, with some grilled asparagus.

bbq

That’s it for now.  I have friends visiting this weekend and am concentrating on getting well before then.  And maybe going back to work, since that’s how I get paid.

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Birthday Party Foods

Every year for my birthday I have friends over to my place for a little shindig, and this year was a good one.  Friends showed up in force, everyone had a good time (I think), and a cop came by to give up a noise warning!  You know it’s a good party when the 5-0 arrive.  Nevermind the fact that we weren’t being very loud, spent the majority of the party playing board games, and are all well over the legal drinking age…we’re a wild bunch, really.  And while I never expect any presents, I received gifts including a couple bottles of nice wine, some Jameison, and My Sweet Vegan!

My friends made my week by showing me a good time, so the least I could do was feed them.  Please excuse the flash photography, the pictures were snapped fast since people were already over and eyeballing the food.

VWAV Spanakopita in phyllo cups.

spanakopita

Lettuce wrap bar.  Not everyone got the lettuce wrap concept, which is fine because a) I thought it up last minute and had never done it before, b) the lettuce I bought wasn’t as cup-like as anticipated, and c) all the fillings worked just as well on their own.  The recipes for all of the fillings are at the end.

lettuce wraps

Pea Salad.

pea salad

Sesame Ginger Mushrooms.

mushrooms

Savory Carrot Salad (the dressing on this was so good, it’s going to be my go-to balsamic vinaigrette).

carrot salad

Veggies, Stacy’s Pita Chips and Pretzel Chips.  If you haven’t had Stacy’s Pita Chips yet, get them.  Unless you don’t feel like being tempted to eat the whole bag at once.

veggies

A trio of dips, starting with Black Bean Dip with Cilantro & Lime.  I wasn’t impressed with this, so no recipe.  Although everyone seemed to like it okay.  I can do better.

black bean dip

VCON Curried Carrot Dip.  This was really good, but I almost wanted it to be made from sweet potato or squash instead, because that’s what it tasted like.

carrot dip

Roasted Eggplant & Garlic Hummus from Yellow Rose Recipes.  This flew off the shelves like gangbusters.  I had to put out seconds, and it was all demolished.  And just as easy to make as normal hummus, with one extra step.  Get YRR and make this.

eggplant hummus

And the piece de resistance, the birthday cake I made for myself, as all good vegans do.  It’s based on Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream.  Two vanilla layers studded with cookie dough, and a brownie layer, iced with buttercream.  I didn’t get to decorate it like I wanted, mostly because I was short on time but also because I didn’t make enough frosting.  Extra cookie dough balls did the trick.

half baked cake

Money shot.

half baked cake

And my piece, cut bigger than everyone elses.  I could only eat half at first, had to save the rest for later.

half baked cake

If I make this again the only change will be to try to make the cookie dough pieces inside the cake smaller, so they disperse more.  The Brooklyn Brownie, Golden Agave, and Buttercream recipes are from VCTOTW, cookie dough from VWAV.

The recipes:

Savory Carrot Salad

4-5 carrots, shredded
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp maple syrup
dashes of salt & pepper

Whisk all ingredients except carrots together until emulsified. Pour over carrots and stir to combine.

Serves 4.

Pea Salad

3 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup celery, finely diced
2 Tbs onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs each green bell pepper and red bell pepper, finely chopped
3-4 Tbs vegan mayonnaise
2 Tbs relish
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp paprika

Combine all ingredients, chill before serving.

Serves 4.

Sesame Ginger Mushrooms

I made these without soy since a friend is allergic, but 1-2 Tbs soy sauce added to the marinade would be good.

4 cups assorted mushrooms, sliced (I used button, shiitake & portobello)
1 cup vegetable stock or water
1/3 cup cooking sherry
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs minced ginger
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
olive oil spray
1 heaping Tbs cornstarch
thinly sliced scallions
toasted sesame seeds

1. Whisk together the water, sherry, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sugar, salt, dry mustard and red pepper flakes. Pour over mushrooms, cover, and marinate at least one hour, up to overnight.
2. Spray a medium saute pan with olive oil and heat to medium high. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to the pan, reserving the marinade. Saute the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they have released their juices, the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are tender. If the mushrooms start to stick, add a small amount of water to the pan.
3. Meanwhile, add the cornstarch to the reserved marinade and whisk to combine.
4. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the marinade to the pan. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the marinade is thickened.
5. Sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.

Serves 4-6.

And for those of you who’ve made it through the whole post, here’s an adorable picture of bf being a sad clown.

sad clown

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Deluxe Teese Pizza

I plan on making at least two different pizzas with my Teese, and for the first one I decided to go all out and make a “deluxe” pizza like I used to enjoy as a kid.  This is going to be a short post, as the pizza basically took all evening to make and I am pooped!

I started with the seitan pepperoni from Vegan Vittles.  I’ve made FatFree Vegan’s Veggeroni before, and they both came out really well.  If I had to choose I might choose the one I made tonight, probably only because I just ate it and it was delicious.  Jake the cat liked it too.

seitan-roni

I had leftover VWAV pizza sauce in the fridge, and I also made VWAV pizza crust and tempeh sausage crumbles.  On top of that went Bacos, mushrooms, onions and green peppers.  Then finely grated Teese.

deluxe pizza

It may not look like much, but oh man was it delicious.  It tasted junky just like a deluxe pizza you’d get from a chain, but not greasy or disgusting.  My tummy is happy.

deluxe pizza

Stay tuned for more uses for Teese, as well as birthday foods.

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My First Teese – English Muffin Pizzas

Ever since I ordered a log of Teese a couple weeks ago, I’ve been dreaming of the different ways I can use it.  My first choice is pizza, but for whatever reason I didn’t feel like making an entire pizza.  I was considering the options yesterday, and I remembered that my mom used to make us English muffin pizzas sometimes on Sunday afternoons.  I’ve been wanting to try my hand at homemade English muffins for some time, and a search yielded this recipe from The Urban Vegan.  Her pictures look awesome and the recipe seemed sturdy, so last night when I got home I mixed up the starter and let it sit overnight.  I cooked ’em up this afternoon, and check out the nooks and crannies!

english muffins

The recipe made 16, and it’s infinitely cheaper than store-bought muffins, which normally aren’t vegan anyway.  I put most of them in the freezer and can’t wait to eat them toasted with earth balance and jam.

I made the pizza sauce from VWAV, which is a nice, easy recipe, and shredded up a bit of the Teese.  Probably by now everyone has seen the “does it melt?” before and after pictures all over the internet, but just in case you haven’t witnessed the amazingness, here it is.

english muffin pizzasenglish muffin pizzas

I have also successfully answered the question “Does parchment paper turn black under the broiler?”.

Yeah, so maybe my Teese melted a bit too much.  Or maybe I put too much on.  Either way, I call this a total success and Teese has my endorsement.

I enjoyed my pizzas with broccoli dipped in homemade ranch.  This is such a kiddy meal.  Although as I child I would have never eaten raw broccoli trees.

english muffin pizzas

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