Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Without a doubt, my favorite flavor of any kind of dessert is chocolate chip. You can add chocolate chips to pretty much anything and make it 1,000 times better. Think about it: pancakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies, cake, popcorn, granola bars, brownies, cobbler, pie... If there were such a thing as chocolate chip toothpaste, I would buy that shit in a heartbeat. Over the past few years I have made it my personal mission to find what I consider to be the perfect vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe. There have been some good ones, and even some great ones. But only recently have I decided what recipe I've tried that makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Vegan, nice and brown with only a slight firmness at the edges, soft in the middle with lots of gooey chocolate chips. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the perfect chocolate chip cookies!
This looks like a cheesy mid-90's Glamor Shot, doesn't it? They need a boa wrapped around their cleavage, I think.
The recipe is from Kris Holechek's 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes, and they are wonderful. My cookies above contain some walnut pieces, but they are really just accessories for an already lovely stack of sweets. Half brown sugar, half white sugar, too much Earth Balance and lots of delicious. I love you, cookies.
Friday, November 19, 2010
There is one good thing about having a birthday- my loved ones want to take me out for food! I love you, food. And you too, loved ones.
Last Saturday I turned 36 (bleh), and my sweet Ken took me out for dinner at Cafe Sunflower. Sunflower is our usual go-to for special occasions, mostly because the food doesn't come in a paper wrapper, and there's vegan cake. We started off the night with an appetizer of walnut pesto pizza with capers, caramelized onions and artichoke hearts. I could have eaten a pile of this, it was so good. Very oily and briny, which to me is never a bad thing.
For my entree, I chose the ravioli. Each ravioli pillow was stuffed with either butternut squash or tofu ricotta, and everything was topped with a pile of spinach, green beans, mushrooms and tomatoes. I liked this dish very much! (crappy camera phone picture, sorry)
Of course we finished everything off with a piece of vegan chocolate raspberry mousse cake. I had to take a bite before I even took the picture. Can't help myself.
My birthday eve was a grand ol' gut-buster, but it didn't stop there. On Sunday, my best buddy Christy took me out for lunch and cake at World Peace Cafe. I liked my grilled veggie sammich a lot, once I finally received it. Long story, but the service was amazingly bad that day. Christy wrote an honest review of the experience on Yelp, if you care to read more. I didn't take any food photos because we were so weirded out by having to wait almost an hour for a sandwich, but in the end I did like my food a lot, especially the piece of triple layer chocolate almond cake!
On Wednesday, another good friend of mine, Malia, took me out for a belated birthday feast at Queen of Sheba. I love Ethiopian food, though I admit I need to branch out and try different Ethiopian restaurants as Queen of Sheba is the only one I've ever been to. I'm not always sure what I'm eating exactly, only that it's vegan and delish. Here's my pile of yellow lentil stuff, red lentil stuff, lettuce stuff, cabbage and carrot stuff and collard green stuff.
All of the staff there is so incredibly friendly. The waitress overheard us mention that we sat at the same table for my birthday last year, so she was kind enough to bring out a complimentary piece of beautiful (and decidedly not vegan) cake with a lit candle. I thanked her, blew out my candle, and made sure Malia knew she had to eat the cake to make it look like I did. Ha. It was very kind of them to offer the cake, despite the fact that I'm vegan and the cake was not. Malia liked it, so that's good.
Thank you to Ken and all my sweet friends for making sure I stay fat and happy for another year!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Y'all know Vic, right? Over at The Life? He recently posted a recipe for seitan deli slices that piqued my interest, as I've been meaning to try a steamed seitan for a while now. Vic's recipe was really easy to make, and the combo of steaming and baking managed to cook the huge seitan log all the way through, with no doughy softness in the middle. The flavor is nice, if a bit basic. It's going to be fun to play with different flavor combinations, maybe one with lots of tomato, basil and garlic for an Italian loaf? This is about as economical as you can get too. The recipe makes an enormous loaf of protein, maybe two pounds worth if I had to guess. I bet the ingredients cost me around $4.00. I have no doubt that the seitan loaf freezes well, so this is on my list of foods to make and freeze before the baby comes in March.
Go check out Vic's deli slices. Dude's had a vegan cookbook in the works since before every vegan and their mother put one out!
My seitan slices. Sorry about the craptastic picture, cooking at midnight makes for bad lighting.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Since I made this pie a while back, I've seen approximately 5 million MoFo posts about shepherd's pie. Guess I'm not very original! This pie is mighty tasty though, and is a breeze to throw together. Especially when it's the end of the shopping week, and all we have left in the way of produce is frozen veggies. I use Match Vegan Beef for this recipe, but lentils or TVP would be acceptable stand-ins.
Vegan Shepherd's Pie
1 lb Match Vegan Beef, thawed
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
splash of oil
1 cup frozen mixed veggies, such as corn, green beans, peas, edamame, whatever you like.
1 large Russet potato, pre-baked and mashed
Heat oven to 375F and lightly oil a casserole dish. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Throw in the diced onion and garlic, cook until onions are translucent.
Crumble in the Match Vegan Beef, and cook until browned. Add tomato paste, and cook until heated through. Add frozen veggies, and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste, if you like.
Spread mixture into casserole dish, and top with big spoonfuls of mashed potato. Carefully spread mashed potato around to cover top of casserole. (I actually put a thin layer of shredded vegan cheese in between the beef mixture and the mashed potato, and it was freakin' awesome. No very shepherd's pie like, though.)
Bake for about 25 minutes, until top is lightly browned. Enjoy the leftovers on this for days after.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
This is the kind of dinner I make when I start feeling guilty about eating sandwiches for every meal three days in a row. I marinade cubes of tempeh in soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. Toss them into a pan with a bit of hot oil until they are browned, then add some bite sized pieces of kale until just wilty. Serve with quinoa and roasted sweet potatoes and onions.
What's you favorite go-to healthy meal?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
You know what's always a fun time for vegans? Getting together to talk about food, then eating food! Few things are more satisfying to me than a vegan potluck. A whole bunch of great food that you know you can eat, and you only have to dirty one dish of your own. We meet up with a group of vegans around our city each month for either a potluck or a restaurant meal. The potlucks are my personal favorite. This past weekend we had a Thanksgiving themed potluck, and I was stuffed and happy when I left. I made a batch of Joni Marie Newman's Mac & Cheeze, which added much to the carb-fest.
My potluck plate with a slice of cashew loaf, Celebration Roast, garlic & olive oil mashed potatoes, maple roasted brussels sprouts, mac & cheeze, lentil potato stew, and spinach & raspberry salad with basil dill dressing.
I went back for a helping of fruit ambrosia later. Vegans are awesome, aren't we?
Monday, November 08, 2010
Some good friends of ours, Laura and Kevin, have been working their butts off trying to get their fabulous, 100% vegan bakery open for business in the ATL. Though not officially open for business full time, Dough Bakery has been having some fun "Stealth Sundays" where they serve up some awesome food for donations. The first event they had involved Vegan Blizzards made with vegan soft serve, the next event was vegan waffles. Then came my favorite Stealth Sunday so far, vegan sandwiches. These guys hand made their own vegan deli meat, and served grilled sammichs on fresh made breads. So awesome! Last weekends event was pretty great too, where they served vegan breakfast biscuits with tofu "egg", vegan sausage, and vegan cheese along with a good variety of fresh baked goods. Vegans in Atlanta are gonna be super spoiled when Dough opens their doors!
If you happen to live in Atlanta or plan on visiting on a weekend sometime soon, be sure to follow Dough Bakery on Twitter to find out about the super secret Stealth Sunday events!
Friday, November 05, 2010
I know this casserole smacks of Semi-Homemade and is as much authentically Mexican as I am, but hey. It tastes really good!
First, I cut some flour tortillas into thick strips, and place them in a casserole dish in a single layer. A bunch of fresh spinach goes on top of that, then some globs of Nacho Mom's Queso or other cheezy-type of sauce.
Then spoon a layer of whatever kind of filling you want. In this case, I did black beans and diced tomatoes simmered with some quinoa, chili powder, and hot sauce. Top with more strips of tortilla.
Add more cheezy sauce, more bean filling, then top with Cheddar Daiya. Cover with foil and bake on 450F for about 20 minutes.
Top with avocado or soy sour cream, and enjoy!
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Are you familiar with Alicia Simpson's first cookbook, Quick & Easy Vegan Comfort Foods? There are some fun recipes in there! I haven't opened my copy in a while, so I decided to try something new last night. The Tuno Tempeh Sandwiches. Not to be confused with that discontinued crap-in-a-can Tuno, This recipe is a very tasty tempeh based sandwich filling. I liked this recipe a lot, and Ken went totally nuts for it. I made some small changes to the recipe to suit our personal tastes, using chopped dill pickle in place of the sweet relish, and omitting the kelp powder. With lovely Alicia's permission, here is the recipe:
Tuno Tempeh Sandwiches
One 8-ounce package tempeh, any variety
2 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sweet relish
¼ cup chopped red onion
½ teaspoon kelp powder
½ teaspoon stone-ground mustard
¼ cup diced celery
8 slices whole grain or sprouted bread
Simmer the tempeh in stock for 25 minutes. Discard any excess stock and set the tempeh aside to cool.
Grate the cooled tempeh into a medium bowl. Add the mayonnaise, relish, onion, kelp powder, mustard, and celery and stir to combine. Spoon onto the bread and close the sandwiches.
I do like how her recipe instructs the user to "close the sandwiches". See? That's how easy she makes vegan cooking! Haha. Seriously, do try this recipe. Especially if you are one of the many vegans who claim to hate tempeh. I just don't understand hating tempeh, it tastes so different depending on what you use it for. Try it!
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
I'm a sucker for pasta with creamy sauces, especially when the weather turns cool. This recipe from VegNews caught my eye because the sauce is pureed sweet potato! I made some minor adjustments to the recipe, like leaving out the butternut squash. I love squash, but I was working with what I had on hand. I also subbed the soymilk with Mimic Creme for extra richness. What a tasty pasta sauce! Next time I will try it with some greens mixed in, like spinach or kale.
Yesterday afternoon was totally dumb. I tripped up the loft stairs while at work, and fell down. Though I felt fine afterward, my OB doc stresses to always call the nurse if you fall of get in a fender bender. So I made a call to the advice nurse, explaining that I felt okay, no I didn't land on my belly, etc. This lead to a six hour visit to the hospital woman's center, hooked up to a monitor and waiting on bloodwork to make sure my placenta didn't tear. Everything's fine, by the way. Just a waste of an afternoon/evening where I could have been finishing up at work and making a proper MoFo post. Don't you want to know what I ate for dinner at the hospital?
Ken mentioned going to try and find something for us to eat. The nurse informed us of a McDonald's on the second floor, which we nodded at but of course weren't even considering. When Ken said he would check out the cafeteria, she mentioned the McDonald's again. Then a third time a minute after that! Come on lady, we don't give a shit about the McDonald's. Plus, a McDonald's IN A HOSPITAL? Double gross.
Ken disappeared for a while, then came back with a lemonade, Odwalla bar, and a bag of Sun Chips. he said they had a grim looking salad bar, and some suspect pita and hummus with no ingredient labels. A sad state for a place of supposed wellness, am I right?
Have you ever been stuck in a hospital with no vegan food in sight? What was your fix?
Monday, November 01, 2010
I first went vegetarian when I was 17, and vegan about ten years later. Since I haven't eaten any animal flesh in my adult life, there are a lot of popular foods I have never tried. The po' boy sandwich is one of those foods. I have no idea how close to authentic my version is, but I imagine it's pretty far from. But hey- fried stuff on a bun. You can never go wrong with that!
I used these faux shrimp and also a few of these faux chicken nuggets. I lightly battered them in some flour spiked with Old Bay seasoning, salt and paprika. I fried those suckers and served them on a warm French roll with Vegenaise, lettuce and tomato. This tasted really good, but I bet it would have been better with a thicker batter on the shrimp. I purposely avoided that because deep fried things do not go well with my current pregnant state. Heartburn city, I'm telling you.