Posts Tagged VWAV

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.

Comments (26)

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

Comments (19)

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.

Comments (9)

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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Tres de Mayo

My friend Hope had a graduation party on Saturday (congrats, Hope!).  With Cinco de Mayo upon us, and considering none of our circle really go out on Mondays, she dubbed it Tres de Mayo.  Her boyfriend Tom, who is quite a cook, told me he was going to go with a taco bar setup, and Hope was readying margaritas and Mexican beer.  Tom confirmed that I would be able to eat the tortillas, refried beans, pico de gallo, and his most excellent guacamole.  Yes, that would be more than enough to fill me up, but you know me – I always go overboard and I like to get all fancy.  So I made some foods and hauled them over to the party.

I’ll start with the Breakfast Veggie Chorizo from VWAV.  This stuff is goo-ood.  It took me longer to cook the liquid off than the directions said, but that’s alright.  It was probably the first time I’ve cooked with tvp where I didn’t burn it to the bottom of the pot!  There were two vegetarians at the party (an unusual occurrence for me) who greatly appreciated it, and vegan-skeptic Tom even filled a taco with it.  Granted, that was after a few beers…

chorizo

I whipped up this Jalapeno Salsa from Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings.  It couldn’t be easier – chop, cook and blend.  And it tastes great!  I left the seeds in one jalapeno and seeded the rest, and that provided a really nice medium level of heat.

jalapeno salsa

Why do my first two pictures kind of look like upchuck?

Moving on, I made a Mexican Slaw for our Cinco de Mayo party last year that I had to make again.  I don’t know where I got the recipe from – probably a magazine many years ago, so I’ll post the recipe.  The hardest part is peeling and shredding the jicama.  I was going to use my food processor, but for the life of me I couldn’t find the shredding blade.

mexican slaw

Mexican Slaw

Serves 8.

1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs orange juice (from 1/2 an orange)
2 Tbs lime juice (from 1 lime)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
dash of cayenne pepper
1 (10-oz) package finely shredded cabbage
1/2 lb jicama, shredded (2 cups)
1 large carrot, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together olive oil and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl.  Add shredded cabbage and remaining ingredients, and toss to coat.  Cover and chill slaw mixture at least 4 hours.

My dad gave me a huge bottle of sangria a while back, and I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to get rid of it.  Tres de Mayo fit the bill.  I mixed in sliced lemon, orange and lime, brandy and triple sec, and served it with club soda to thin down the strength a tad.  I couldn’t confirm or deny the vegan-ness of this, but wine is an area I sometimes choose my vegan battles.

sangria

Here’s my plate from the taco bar, which was truly impressive.  My tacos had refried beans, chorizo, guac, jalapeno salsa, pico de gayo and dashes of Tapatio, slaw and chips on the side.  I had a couple more tacos as the night went on.

taco bar

I also wanted to make a dessert.  I immediately thought of a Mexican Chocolate Cake (scroll down a bit) that I printed from Yeah, That Vegan Shit last year around Cinco de Mayo.  I was thinking about adding cayenne and cinnamon flavors to chocolate.  I was also thinking about cupcakes, because I didn’t think Tom and Hope would appreciate having 20 extra plates and forks to wash.  Then I got to thinking about Green and Black’s Maya Gold Chocolate, which also has orange in it.  I decided to make Maya Gold Chocolate Lava Cupcakes, with the sauce from the original recipe acting as a filling in the cupcakes.

Unfortunately, I ran short on time and tried to microwave the sauce and that just didn’t work AT ALL.  So the cupcakes got a dressing of powdered sugar and went to the party mostly naked.  They were well received, but I thought the sauce was the missing part that would knock everyone’s socks off.

maya gold cupcakes

Luckily, a few of them survived the party and the next day I got to completele my experiment.  I was right – the cupcakes are good plain, but the sauce takes them to the next level.  I based the sauce on the ganache from VCTOTW, mostly because I knew I could depend on it being the right consistency.

maya gold lava cupcake

Maya Gold Chocolate Lava Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Cupcakes:
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs white vinegar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs canola oil
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
powdered sugar for decorating

Sauce:
6 oz. Green & Blacks Maya Gold Chocolate
6 Tbs soy milk
3 tsp sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line and/or lightly grease 4 cupcake pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and spices.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vanilla extract, vinegar, canola oil, water and sugar. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Using a 1/4 cup measure, fill the cupcake pans to about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Place the soy milk in a small saucepan and bring just to a light boil. Add the chocolate and sugar and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Set aside to come to room temperature.
6. When cupcakes and sauce are cooled, fill the cupcakes. Put the sauce in a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip. Poke a finger into the middle of each cupcake and move it around to make a cavity. Fill the cavities with a small amount of sauce, and garnish with powdered sugar.

Note: This will also make 2 9-inch layer cakes – bake for 30 to 35 minutes then use the sauce as filling and topping.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Corn Chowder

I was a little broke last week, and didn’t go to the grocery store for a while.  So I made a trip today and stocked back up on both fresh food and some pantry staples.

groceries

The plastic tub on the left is organic raisins, and the bags on the right are from the bulk bins – nutritional yeast, flax seeds, almonds and pistachios.  I spent more than I wanted to, but this plus what’s in the fridge should last me quite a while.  And the only real splurge is the Tings.  I can’t pass a bag of Tings without buying them, so it’s kind of a good thing that the store rarely stocks them.

I used some of these groceries plus some of the veggie stock I made Sunday to make VWAV Corn Chowder.  It’s really good.  There is a corn chowder recipe in VCON too, but I went with what I saw as the “classic”.  I was worried that the rosemary would be too strong, but everything blended really nicely.  The recipe says it’s even better the next day, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

corn chowder

I love that this is so healthy.  Only a tablespoon of oil in the whole thing.  I ate it with Lightlife Fakin’ Bacon strips.

corn chowder

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Fronch Toast

I like putting more effort into breakfast on weekends.  Weekdays only afford time to pour a bowl of cereal or zap some grits.  This morning when I woke up it was raining and I was still groggy, so it felt perfect to read a couple chapters and then make breakfast.  I had expiring strawberries and bread in the kitchen, and thus was born Fronch Toast with Strawberry Syrup.

fronch toast

The Fronch Toast is in VWAV.  For the strawberries I just sliced ’em up, heated in a small saucepan with a tablespoon or two of sugar and a pinch of salt, and stirred occasionally.  The fruit releases its juice, then it thickens up.

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Four Dinners

So after the brunch and eating brunch leftovers for a day or two, I still had leftovers to deal with, including at least a pound of asparagus, some roasted and some raw.  As much as I love asparagus, I was quickly getting tired of it.  I didn’t have much money to grocery shop until the next payday, so I made some kitchen transformations.

I’d been wanting to make calzones for a while, but I never have the time to do a full-on yeast-risen crust.  I’ve tried a couple “quick” crusts before and never had much success, but I thought one more try might do the trick.  So I let the dough rise for just a short time and hoped for the best.  They turned out pretty well!  By no means was it the best calzone or crust I’ve ever had, but for having dinner ready within an hour including my slow kitchen pace, I was very pleased.  The dough even poofed up a bit in the oven, check out the outside crust!

The fillings were chopped spicy italian seitan sausage, roasted asparagus, red onion, red pepper, shredded carrot, nutritional yeast and marinara.  I normally like to have the marinara on the side and dip, but I didn’t have much left so inside it went.

Quick Calzones

Makes 2.

1 tsp active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbs olive oil
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup bread flour
fillings

In a medium bowl dissolve yeast in the warm water and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, olive oil and flour. Add more flour as needed to form a workable dough and knead a couple minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes, during which the dough should rise a bit. Preheat oven to 400 F. Divide dough into 2 portions. Using a rolling pin and extra flour, roll each portion to about 1/8 inch. The dough should be double the desired calzone size. Layer fillings on half of each piece of dough, leaving a half inch around the edges to seal. Fold dough over onto toppings and crimp edges. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 15 minutes.

Note: Any combination of all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour or bread flour will work.

After using up most of the leftovers in the calzones, I still had some red potatoes and a bunch or raw asparagus to deal with.  I knew I wanted to mash the potatoes.  And I knew I didn’t want any more asparagus in asparagus form, so I decided to turn it into soup.  I made a really good creamy asparagus soup a while back, but it used potatoes as the creamy part, and I can’t do two potatoes in one meal.  I poked around online and found some nice looking recipes that used a “milk” broth thickened with flour, but I didn’t have the patience for that.  Then the sausage gravy from VWAV popped in my head, and I decided that white beans and asparagus would probably blend nicely together.  And they did.

This soup is pretty mild, spice-wise, which was what I was going for.  And it tastes good enough that you probably won’t mind that it resembles a bodily secretion.


Cream of Asparagus and White Bean Soup

Serves 2-3.

½ large yellow onion, sliced
½ tsp minced garlic
2 cups water
2 Tbs chicken-style broth powder
¾ – 1 lb asparagus, thick ends removed
1 15.5 oz can white beans, drained
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place onion, garlic, water and broth powder in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes. Add asparagus and simmer 7 more minutes. Place remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor. Carefully add asparagus mixture and blend till smooth. Pour soup back into the pot and heat a couple minutes, until warmed through.

That got me through the end of the week, until payday.  Then I ate like a piggy all weekend and ate out Monday night, so Tuesday I was craving something super healthy.  Bean salad was sounding really good to me, but the one I normally make is pretty plain, and I wanted to pack as much good stuff in as I could.  So I came up with Mediterranean Four Bean Salad.

Served with baby spinach and wheat pita.


Mediterranean Four Bean Salad

1/2 16 oz bag frozen petite lima beans, thawed
14.5 oz can green beans, drained
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
15.5 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
15.5 oz can kidney beans, drained
6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
Juice of a large lemon (about 1/4 c)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
heaping Tbs dried parsley
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil

In a large bowl, combine first eight ingredients (lima beans through red onion). In a separate bowl whisk together remaining ingredients (lemon juice through basil). Pour dressing over bean mixture and stir to combine.

Serves 6-8.

I’ve had my eye on the jerk recipe from VWAV for quite some time, but for some reason I always thought it would be complicated.  It’s not.  At all.  It’s about as easy as they come, if you have a blender.  I’ve been on a tempeh kick, so it became jerk tempeh.

Our local Jamaican joint makes really good vegan food, and it’s always super spicy and pretty oily.  And a tad pricy for me.  They serve entrees with rice and peas, cabbage and carrots so I decided to try to healthify that.  Again with the help of the internets (and having nothing to do at work) I learned how to make rice and peas, and adapted it for brown rice. 

I also steamed some collard greens, which I have decided I like WAY more plain and steamed than kale.  Oh, and next time I make the jerk I’ll double the sauce, because really, that’s the best part and there should be enough sauce to drown everything else on the plate.

Jamaican Brown Rice & Peas

Yeilds 6 cups.

2 c medium grain brown rice
14 oz can coconut milk (1 1/2 c)
2 1/2 c water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
few dashes freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbs chicken-style broth powder
15.5 oz can pigeon peas, drained (sub kidney beans if you can’t find them)
1 whole green onion (3 or 4 green parts), finely chopped, some green pieces
    
reserved for garnish
habanero/scotch bonnet pepper

In a large pot, mix together the first eight ingredients (rice through broth powder). Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the pigeon peas and green onions, stir, then place the hot pepper whole on top of the mixture. (The pepper will not make the rice spicy, it only provides flavor.) Simmer 30-35 more minutes, or until liquid has been mostly absorbed. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes. Remove the hot pepper, fluff and serve.

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Fancy Ladies’ Brunch

I enjoy having people over for a meal, but I always overdo it.  I know I do, and I still do everytime.  I like to impress though…so I try.

I invited my lady friends to come for a brunch.  I wanted it to be a little fancy and a little springy since it’s already pretty warm here in Florida.  I spent the week before planning and cleaning, and the whole day before and morning of cooking.  Here’s what I came up with.

(One of my friends is allergic to soy, and one has celiac, so I wanted to label each dish so that they would know what they could eat.  Hence the “gf” and “sf” on the cards.)

PPK Coffee Cake – http://www.theppk.com/recipes/dbrecipes/index.php?RecipeID=123

Fresh Fruit Salad with Agave-Lime Dressing – http://www.greatpartyrecipes.com/fruit-salad-recipe.html

(I subbed agave nectar for the honey called for, equal amount.)

Mini “Muffins That Taste Like Donuts” from Vegan Vittles, made gluten free, and Mini Orange Poppyseed Muffins, also gluten free – http://www.meatlessmonday.com/site/PageServer?pagename=recipe_more_070219

Mini  Bran Muffins from La Dolca Vegan

VWAV Herb Roasted Potatoes with Homemade Ketchup

Fatfree Vegan’s Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches – http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/12/mini-crustless-tofu-quiches.html

(I omitted the green pepper and added a box of thawed frozen spinach to the blender.)

Julie Hasson’s Spicy Italian Sausages, made breakfast link size – http://www.everydaydish.tv/Recipe%20Pages/Spicy_Italian_Vegetarian_Sausage.html

VCON Blueberry Corn Pancakes, made gluten free.

VWAV Ginger Pear Waffles (successful first waffle attempt!)

Roasted Asparagus Bundles – http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_33069,00.html

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Juice Bar.  There was also coffee.  And two more bottles of champagne.

The spread.

My (first) plate.

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