Monday, December 28, 2009

It's all about the Bennies -

Since becoming vegan I have developed an addiction for Nutritional Yeast. Its terrible. I can't seem to ever get enough. Any recipe that calls for it, I know I will love, and many a time have ended up putting in more than what's called for.
One of my absolute favorite nooch recipes is Isa and Terry's recipe in "Veganomicon" for Cheesy Sauce. Not only is this amazing drizzled on EVERYTHING, but it works perfectly for a late morning benny. This "ultimate vegan cookbook" also features a Tofu Florentine, a sudo benny that calls for sauted spinach and broiled tofu. This is a great dish that I've found really pleases both omnivores and carnivores alike, however, I've found that using fresh spinach, a big ole' slice of tomato, and blacked tofu instead of broiled really hits home when those benny cravings come crashing in.


I made this a couple of days of ago for the "christmas breakfast" with my boyfriend's family and they loved it (all being very far from veg)! The best part is that it is a snap to make, and really only takes about 20 minutes if you've got a pair of hands helping you ... and did I mention its delicious! All of us (yes, all) went in for seconds and were scraping our plates!! Next time your aiming to please with a breakfast benny give this one a go!!

Cheezy Sauce
-2 cups vegetable broth or water
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-Pinch of dried thyme
-1/4 tsp salt
-pepper to taste
-1/8 tsp. turmeric (i've many a time omitted this due to its non-existence in my cupboard and its completely not necessary, however, it does add a beautiful "cheesy" color to the mix when added!)
-3/4 cup nutritional yeast
-1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
-1 tsp. prepared mustard (i also omit this ... i don't know why ... its just never appealed to me)

Combine the broth and flour in a measuring cup and whisk with a fork until dissolved.
Preheat a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Place the oil and garlic in the pan and gently cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often and being careful not to burn the garlic (a very easy thing to do!).
Add the thyme, salt, and pepper and cook for about 15 seconds. Add the broth, termeric, and nutrional yeast, and raise the heat to medium. Use a whisk to stir consistently. The mixture should start bubbling and thickening in about 3 minutes; if it doesn't, turn the heat up a bit higher.
Once the mixture in bubbling and thickening, stir and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add the lemon and mustard. The mixture should resemble a thick melty cheese. Taste for salt. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep it warm until ready to use. The top might thicken a bit while it sits, but you can just stir it and it will be fine - serve warm.

All right, so that's the recipe from the ultimate book.
and like I said, instead of using broiled tofu, I used blackened tofu - check this out

Blackened Tofu
-1 lb extra firm tofu, pressed
-1/2 cup earth balance melted
-1/4 cup flour
-1 1/2 tsp creole seasoning*
-1 tsp pepper

Cut the pressed tofu into long rectangular strips or triangles (cut the tofu block into four sections from bottom - up)
Mix the four and spices together in a large enough bowl to fit a tofu piece
Dip the tofu pieces into the earth balance on both sides, then repeat into the flour/spice mixture
Place the dipped floured tofu pieces on a heated skillet on high and cook for about 5 minutes on each side (until they become nice and "blackened")
*I've never used creole seasoning before, but on this particular morning found it in the cupboard. Turns out, its perfect with this combo! You don't need too much of anything else since it is booming with flavor, but if you don't have any on hand,  use any type of seasoning/spice combo of your choice 

Now, for a Banging Benny ...

Toast an english muffin (be careful, lots of brands contain milk ingredients)
Butter with earth balance
Layer with a nice bed of fresh spinach
Place a big round fresh tomato slice atop the spinach
Add a piece of blackened tofu to the tower
Shower with cheesy sauce!


DIG IN!!

I made this for 7 people and by doubling both recipes, it was enough for seconds, sating all appetites.

Enjoy!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Joy of Colored Frosting


Christmas cookies are one of my favorite holiday past times . . . let me rephrase that, decorating christmas cookies is one of my favorite holiday past times. Yes, making them is a joy just as any other batch, but the special sprinkles, cutters, colors, and shapes that come along with this holiday season is but to be enjoyed only once a year.
This year, I bought a couple of new cookie cutter shapes .. a moose ( probably due to my sincere homesickness of the last frontier) and a snowflake (a derivative of this homesickness). I wanted to have ambigious "winter" shapes that veared from specific holidays of the season, thus to be enjoyed throughout many but not just one of these short winter days. With the new cutters on the table, some sprinkles, and food coloring all ready to go; a short, easy recipe was called for. I chose Isa Chandra Moskowitz (what else is new) to fill my cookie void.

In Vegan with a Vengeance I used her "Buttery Lemon Cutout Cookies" recipe. The recipe is easy, fast, and requires no "funny" ingredients. The cookies taste wonderful and are provide the perfect dough tinted canvas.
John and I decorated these cookies during Philadelphia's 2009 snowstorm - which couldn't have been more perfect. The icing came out to be a little lite, because I'm always weary of food coloring. They're like a love child between easter and christmas.






Now, for those of you out there who are also weary of food coloring (I don't know why, but there's something a little tooo unnatural for me in those elf shaped droppers) I have good news!!
A recent christmas present, "Babycakes"a cookbook which comes from the delightful animal and allergenic friendly bakery in NYC has some natural food coloring alternatives. This little treasure chest includes amazing vegan and sugar and gluten free recipes. However, besides treats (cookies, cakes, cupcakes, crumbles, scones .. if you love it, they got it) there's also a section on beverages and icings. Now, now, as you can imagine, a book with such lovely ethics is surely not going to grab the little elf dropper from the cupboard and drop in the recommended dosage. They color all of their frosting naturally with these awesome tricks!

Pink/Red: cherry, raspberry, cranberry, pomegranate, or beet juice all work.
Purple: blueberry juice - the more you use, the deeper the purple
Green: chlorophyll (ya know the green pigment in plants....) comes in liquid form at many health food stores!!
Yellow: turmeric - just a pinch!

Now, you may be thinking how these alternatives could change the taste of the frosting - nope. If you've ever had a babycake dessert you know damn well how wonderful they taste and would have no cause to question.

Enjoy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cheese to the Cake

Since I was a small small girl my birthday cake requests have and will always continue to be cheesecake. Ahh, cheesecake to me is the apex of desserts. The combination of sweet, creamy, and rich makes me melt and sends me straight to a feeling of pure ecstasy. Who couldn't love this dessert? Especially with its    multitude of accents: fruit for the semi-healthy guest, chocolate to really seal the deal, caramel to let the cream do its job, pumpkin as a vessel for nutmeg, the list goes on and on to please just about anybody.  I've personally never tasted a cheesecake that I didn't like (or one that didn't like me for that matter). Which has led me to believe that they are pretty easy to make. Have you ever had a bad cheesecake?

Becoming vegan obviously led me upon a small challenge for the next day of my birth. I must master the art of vegan cheesecake. Now, master is a pretty strong word, this I understand, and I am not there yet, but with each bake I am climbing a little higher.
The latest has been a chocolate hazelnut cheesecake that will require a tall glass of soy/almond/rice/hemp/oak milk.
I must warn you, this is not a child's cake. This is a cake that could, and quite possibly might, knock you off of your seat. Enjoy with sincere caution.

Anabell's Chocolate Hazelnut Cheese to the Cake


For the Crust: (works best with a spring form pan)
-14 "oreo" cookies ( I used wholefoods 365 brand Creme Sandwich cookies because they're like $2.00!)
-4 tbsp. butter @ room temperature

In a food processor chop or lightly pulse until the cookies have turned into nice little sticky crumbles!

For the Cake:
-2, 8 oz. packages of Tofutti Creamcheese
-6 oz. of Tofutti Sour Cream
-4 oz. of firm tofu (1/4 of a 12 oz. block)
-1 cup sugar
-1 tbsp. vanilla extract
-1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

Blend all ingredients (sans the hazelnuts) together until nice and smooth.

For the Chocolate Layer:
-3/4 cup vegan chocolate morsels
-1 tbsp. butter
-2 tbsp. coconut milk

In a double broiler melt the chocolate with the butter and coconut milk. Constantly stir to prevent clumping. 3/4 of this mixture will be used as a layer over the crust, and the other 1/4 will be used to swirl into the cake. Now ... onto assembling ...

Assembling the cake:
Preheat oven to 400.
In a spring form pan squish your cookie crust down until the whole bottom is covered with an even layer roughly around 1/4 in. thick.
Pour  3/4 of your chocolate mixture over the entire crust.  Sprinkle your hazelnuts on top of the chocolate.
Pour in the cake "batter". Lift and drop your pan a couple of times to ensure an evenness. With a fork swirl in the rest of the chocolate.
Put in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes. The edges should be a nice golden brown. The cake itself will look/shake like a jello mold. Don't worry. You will need to let the cake cool and set. Let the cake cool for about 1 hour before putting it in the fridge. Then let it sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. The longer it sits in the fridge the better!! (try to go for an overnite adventure).

Look at that chocolate layer - whoo-ee!




a little slice of rich chocolatey heaven...


For another amazing cheesecake recipe with a nice raspberry swirl and graham crust, check out my february archive from 2009! Enjoy!


Me enjoying my finger licking good cake this year. If you don't have the time or motivation to make your own cheesecake and live in the Philadelphia area - check out Govinda's. That's where this strawberry cheesecake gem came from for my 25th! Its loaded with faux whip cream which Im not usually into, but on this occasion with this cake, amazing -!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Make it yourself Tofurkey

We've all seen the faux turkey loaf is the freezer section, the official thanksgiving replacement for us vegans and vegetarians out there. Well, I don't know about you guys, but Im sorry, those blow.  I think they're dry, flavorless, and don't even deserve the name "Tofurkey".  It's not like we've never eaten stuffing or turkey before and think that its suppose to taste this horrible. Yes, Im ragging on Tofurkey's because I've had the real deal. I've experienced a tofu based entree stuffed with real homemade stuffing, and it truly puts the store bought freezer Tofurkey meal to shame. This is also unbelievably easy to make, which leaves no excuse for the vegans out there during this holiday season. If you take the time (the most time consuming part is pressing the tofu ... I mean, come on ...) this truly is a holiday miracle.

I used a recipe that I found on the web @ www.yak.net/fqa/296.html.

John carving the Tofurkey 


But, there are a million different variations, and many other sites that offer great recipes.  You can also look at the tofu as an empty canvas and be totally creative! 
Enjoy!

YUM!! 




What a goooood looking plate!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cake Day 2009

Cake Day. A friend of mine wanted to bake and eat a lot of cake. Naturally, she invited friends over to bake, frost, and sprinkle all day/night.

There was one vegan cake among the 20 or so which decorated the table, counters, and even china cabinet. It was delicious; chocolate with peanut butter smeared on top and topped with raisins lined in a pattern that resembled a collared shirt.
The array of frosting colors and cake creativity could have made Ebenezer Scrooge himself crack a smile and grab a fork.
If you're feeling blue, don't just make a cake, make a cake day.

Enjoy.










Thursday, November 19, 2009

Product Review: Daiya Vegan Cheese

Ladies and gentlemen,
Buckle your seat belts.
I've got some ground shattering, car tipping, roller coaster dropping news!

We've all been there. Perusing the dairy aisle, looking for the infamous faux cheese products. The same players every time ... Vegan Gourmet, Rice Slices (pepper jack is pretty decent), Tofutti Slices, Almond, Soy, Sheese blandness ... and to top it off half of them have casein in them, so really what's the point? I know many vegans who don't even mess with faux cheese because its a lose lose situation.
Well, like I said, Buckle your seat belts because this is gonna rock your world!
It's a vegan cheese that is good! It melts! It tastes like cheese! It looks like cheese! It acts like cheese! It even talks like cheese ...

Daiya baby, Daiya. Its the best I've come across. And the cherry on top, it doesn't contain not only dairy, but no soy or gluten or rice or nuts! S-s-s-say wwhhaat? So what is in Daiya cheese alternative some may ask.... lets take a gander ...

Purified water, tapioca and/or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and/or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil pea protein, salt, inactive yeast, vegetable glycerin, natural flavors (derived from plants), xanthan gum, sunflower lecithin, vegan enzymes (no animal rennet or animal enzymes), vegan bacterial cultures, citric acid (for flavor), annatto.


I mean, that's not bad. But it's wonderful. Currently they are working on a retail launch strategy but haven't made the debut yet and are only selling to food services ... however, Wholefoods at Callowhill uses it to make delicious vegan cheesy dishes (such as cheesy broccoli and cauliflower and quesadillas) but ALSO sells it for 8.99/lb. in the prepared foods department! It comes shredded and I've been eating it by the handfulls. The roommates don't think its that great, but they also frequent di bruno bros ... so ... we can't compare apples and oranges now can we?

Last night I had a beautiful red pepper quesadilla, and for lunch today ... Mac N' Daiya!



If you're in the area and get a craving for cheesy nacho's you know what to do.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Buckeyes are a Beautiful thing

Buckeyes. When I mentioned these treats in front of my roommate he looked at me quizzically and repeated .."buckeyes?". Yes. B-u-c-k-e-y-e-s. Georgia, my loving and wonderfully gifted chef/baker mother, use to make these every year around the holidays. Since I can remember, buckeyes = warm house, cold weather, and endless sledding. Well, living in philly Im definitely not going to get my sledding fix, but the buckeyes are hear to serve at least some of my seasonal craving. I just adapted my moms recipe to a vegan recipe. Extremely easy to do; earth balance in place of butter and vegan chocolate in place of chocolate morsels. Wham, Bam thank you mam.

Perusing the web, I found that not all buckeye recipes are the same and they vary across the board. I'm not saying their's aren't great ... but I've already eaten three of these and I think Im going to skip dinner and go for more! They are dangerously good! I think my recipe might just be better.... the secret ingredient ... rice krispies. Who knew?


Georgia's Buckeyes (yields about 2 dozen)
-1 18 oz. jar chunky peanut butter
-1 stick earth balance
-3 cups powder sugar
-2 1/2 cups rice krispies
-10 oz vegan chocolate morsels

Combine all ingredients together except the chocolate until well blended. Make into balls and set aside. In a double boiler melt the chocolate. Dip the balls in the chocolate and set on wax paper. Cool and store in fridge. EJNOY!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

This recipe has been in my book since 2004. I got it from a woman I was babysitting for whose son was allergic to eggs. While babysitting she asked me to make treats for his soccer game that night. As I was paging through books and eyeing what they had in the cupboard, this one checked out. Pumpkin ... check. Flour .... check. Sugar ... check. It is an insanely easy recipe and the result is awesome!! I immediately copied it down and when I got home jotted it in my "cooking, cooking, baking, baking" book, I suggest you do the same.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
- 2 cups sugar
-1 cup earth balance
-1 (15 1/2 ounce) pumpkin
-2 tsp. vanilla
-4 cups flour
-2 tsp baking soda
-2 tsp ground cinnamon
-12 ounces vegan or carob chips


Preheat oven to 375.
Cream the sugar, e.b., pumpkin and vanilla. Mix until light and well combined.
Mix the flour, baking soda, and ground cinnamon. Stir the flour mix into the creamed mixture. Mix until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Now, you can make cookies or bars. This is the time to decide. It you want to go for the cookies (it yields A LOT) drop by teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Cool on rack. If you're going to opt for the bars - pour batter (which is going to be pretty stiff) into 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for about 25 minutes.
Enjoy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Creamy Tomato Soup

When I say creamy, I mean creamy. This coming from an ex-cream lover herself. This soup is a miracle. As the days are getting shorter and while the darkness and cold start creeping in, this soup could serve as your best friend. Its dairy, soy, and gluten free (so it can be everybody's best friend) only takes 45 minutes to make, and is low in fat! Can I get a "what, what".  This comes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's book Veganomicon, and when they say it's the "ultimate vegan cookbook" they mean it's the ultimate vegan cookbook.  A creamy tomato soup is the comfort of all comfort foods. Here's one for the ages... 


Creamy Tomato Soup 
-2 tbsp. olive oil
-1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
-3 cloves garlic, chopped
-1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (crushed between your fingers)
-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
-1 tsp. salt
Lots of freshly ground black pepper 
-1 lb. waxy potatoes (2-4 average-size potatoes) peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
-1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not the ones packed in oil, the straight up sun-dried tomatoes)
-6 cups water or vegetables broth
-1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (the fire-roasted are especially worth it here)
juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste


Preheat a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onions until translucent, 5 -7 minutes. Add the garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Saute for 1 more minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the potatoes and sun-dried tomatoes. Pour in the water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, lower the heat to medium, cover, and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the sun-dried tomatoes are soft. 
Add the crushed tomatoes and heat through. If you have an immersion blender, use it! If not the good ole' fashion way works as well. 
Heat again, throw some lemon zest (I didn't bother) and bam!
Instead of the lemon zest I topped mine with a nice pesto dollop and bread crumbs. 









Monday, October 26, 2009

Restaurant Review : NYC's HanGawi

I am fortunate enough to have a boyfriend who's parents try their best to cater to our vegan selves. JT Howell is one who aims to please, and did just that when he picked this restaurant in NYC for a Sunday family lunch.
HanGawi  located at 12 East 32nd Street, between 5th and Madison Avenue calls itself "a vegetarian shrine in another place and time". They got it spot on. Walking into the zen atmosphere you must take off your shoes before stepping up into the dining room. The tables are 2 feet above the ground with decorative silk quilted pillows as your seat. Silver chopsticks and a floral engraved spoon are then placed in front of you. I wasn't sure if I should start meditating or to look over the menu. The peaceful servers walk around in traditional korean slippers and robes as they graciously wait to take your order and answer any questions you may have about the menu. All the dishes are vegan, some raw, and they offer organic dishes and an organic/non drink selection.
The drinks range from traditional rice wine cocktails, to sake, to fresh squeezed juice and of coarse a beautiful array of tea. John went for the carrot ginger juice and I choose the rose green tea. Both excellent.
Each choosing a mouth watering appetizer to share our selection ended with: stuffed shiitake mushrooms, vegetable steamed dumplings, kabocha pumpkin pancakes with mung beans, avocado salad with carrot ginger dressing and a combination roll plate -  some were like mini fresh rolls wrapped in a variety of rice papers, while others reached the decadence of sushi.

For our main dish, I got bean curd with kimchi and spicy vegetables. The sauce was a light slightly thickish sesame-soy-gingerish  sauce with the perfect spice on top of onions, ginger, mushrooms, and spinach. Topped with spicy kimchi (YUM!) while the bean curd was separated, each topped with a different flavor accent: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, carrots, scallions, and red peppers.


John got the spicy chili mushrooms. Similar to mine, sans the kimchi and bean curd. Instead a plethora of different mushrooms tossed in a beautifully thick spicy sauce, side of parsley, with a carrot rose, and decorative oranges.


The other main courses at our table included: crispy mushrooms in a sweet and sour sauce, kabocha pumpkin stone bowl rice, and my absolute favorite : grilled todok - mountain root strips in a ginger soy sauce. The grilled todok had a simple taste, similar to a sweet potato, but a perfect almost meaty stringy texture. Served on a stone plate that was still sizzling as it was brought to our table.


Unfortunately our time restrain didn't allow for dessert, however, I was very full from the slice of heaven I had just ingested.
If you're in the NYC area, and looking for not only a wonderful meal, but an all around wonderful experience, I would definitely suggest HanGawi, it has been by far the best vegan restaurant I have been to this year.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yam Fries with Yogurt Dill Sauce

What is the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? I always thought they were the same. Some other people, including my dad, always said that it was a regional dialect, in the north sweet potatoes and in the south they called them yams. I bought this, thinking they call all "pop" cola in the south, so why wouldn't the exchange convert to vegetables.
However, I am wrong, my dad is wrong, and all the others who thought/think they are the same thing. There's all sorts of information on the good ole' reliable world wide web about the difference of these two vegetables. Region does play a part, the yam coming from latin America, the sweet potato is found more north. The yam has more natural sugars in it and can grow up to 7 feet in length!! At About.com: Home Cooking there is some great information along with links that compares the difference between the two.
Well, sweet potato fries and yam fries .... apparently there's a difference.
I picked up some yams. And they really make some delicious fries. A yogurt dill dipping sauce is the perfect accent. This 'pie will yield a giant plate of fries (more than enough for four people) and same goes for the sauce.


Yam Fries 
-2 medium sized yams - sliced into thin strips
-1 tbsp olive oil
-dash of salt
-dash of cayenne

Preheat the oven to 450. Layout the cut, sliced yams on a cookie sheet and drizzle oil over them, toss them so it gets on both sides. Sprinkle salt and cayenne over yam fries. Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes, flip them over and bake for another 10 -15 minutes until they turn golden. If you like crispier fries, lay-off on the olive oil and bake a bit longer.

Yogurt Dill Sauce
-1 cup soy yogurt - I use the silk brand
-juice from 1 lemon
-2 teaspoon dried dill
-dash of salt

Mix all together in a bowl. Serve on the side with fries. ENJOY!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bananarama-Mang-Ding-O

If banana and mango go great together in a smoothie why wouldn't they be just as right for each other in a muffin? My thoughts exactly.

Banana  - Mango Nut Muffins
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
-2 ripe bananas - mashed
-1 cup rice milk
-2 tsp. flax (ground)
-3 tbsp. earth balance
-1 tbsp. agave nectar
-1 champagne mango - peeled and chopped into small pieces
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease your muffin tin (yields 12 small muffins). In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda/powder, salt and nutmeg). In a small bowl mix your wet ingredients including the flaxseed nix the walnuts.  Combine the two and stir using a wooden spoon and add in the walnuts. Spoon into greased muffin slots and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin Stuffed Shells with Jalapeno Rosemary Sauce


 I found this recipe in a book I picked up at the Library - The Complete Vegan Cookbook by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Minday Toomay. I flipped right to this recipe and knew that I would be checking it out. YUM! Did someone say .. pumpkin ... rosemary ... and jalapeno? In this book, the authors have very decadent recipes but simple ingredients, no wacky stuff, with the nutritional information per serving. The layout is wonderful starting with cooking fundamentals that covers techniques, jargon, appliances, and the art of measuring. Then it includes the "essential" foods a vegan should always have in their pantry along with proper care and storage. My favorite is they have a seasonal menu section. With that its just like any other cookbook, but they've got some major stuff going on -- Caramelized Onion and Tempeh Spread, Cauliflower in Coriander Cashew Sauce, Hot and Sour Soup, Mushroom, Oat, and Almond Burgers .. I'm pretty excited to read on!

This recipe was good, but not great. I would spice it up a bit more, it was a bit bland. Granted I didn't add the dry sherry because I didn't have any, but the sauce could definitely use more flavor, I would say, more garlic, a pinch of salt, and something savory like mushrooms. Needless, it's a good meal and very easy to make, and I bet even easier to make great.

Pumpkin Stuffed Shells with Jalapeno Rosemary Sauce
yields 6

The Filling
-2 tbsp. dry sherry
-2 tbsp. olive oil
-3 cloves garlic minced
-2 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
-1 bunch fresh spinach - (i used kale)
-1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
-1/2 tsp. salt
-dash black pepper

You want to start by making the filling. In a large pan heat the sherry, oil, garlic and rosemary over low heat. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts down. Stir in the pumpkin, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

The Sauce
-3 tbsp. olive oil
-2 cloves garlic
-1 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
-3 tbsp unbleached white flour
-1 1/2 cups plain rice or soy milk
-1 tbsp. minced pickled jalapeno chilies - (i used a fresh jalapeno diced..)

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and rosemary and cook about a minute. Sprinkle in the flour and continue to cook another minute stirring constantly. Whisk in the milk, 1/2 cup at a time, then bring to a simmer, and cook until it slightly thickens... about 5 minutes. Stir in the jalapenos and set aside.

In the meantime, you should bring a big pot of water to a rapid boil. Add in 12 ounces of dried jumbo pasta shells and cook until they are  al dente. Strain and run cold water over them.
Preheat the over to 350 and lightly coat a 8 x 12 baking dish with olive oil. Place a pasta shell in the palm of your hand and squeeze the two ends together to open the shells pocket. Place a spoonful of filling into each shell.
Place the filled shells into the baking dish and pour your sauce evenly over them. Cover the dish and bake for 20 minutes.


Enjoy!





Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tofaking Egg Salad

Whoop Whoop give it up for tofu.  Once again this little soybean transforms itself into another mockery of a meal. Egg salad - something I never thought I would crave again ... until I started working at a deli. It's amazing how long something can sit in front of you until one day you find yourself saying .. hmm.. that looks good. Why? Why does a big yella goop of mayonnaise appeal to me? Because I'm from the midwest. That's the only excuse I can think of.
Well here's a big yella goop that I'm going to throw on a sammy for lunch tomorrow and I say you do the same now .. don't cha know.


Tofaking Egg Salad
-1/4 cup veganaise
-1 tsp. vinegar
-1 tsp. mustard
-1/2 tsp. turmeric
-1/4 dried dill
-half an onion - minced
- 1 lb. firm tofu - pressed
-1/4 tsp. cayenne
-salt and pepper to taste

When yer tofu is nice and pressed go ahead and slice and put into a bowl with the minced onion. Crumble the tofu and onion together using a fork. Once you're looking at a nice tofu consistency (egg-like) - mix in all the other ingredients. I would've added celery or pickles and paprika if I had it, but unfortunately that will have to wait until next time I have a hankering for some fakering egg salad (which I hope is quite a while....).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spicy BBQ Seitan Fingers with Basil Aioli


The Belgian Cafe  in Philadelphia has the most amazing Spicy (you gotta ask for extra spice...) BBQ Seitan Wings. I have tried to recreate them time and time again. 
Have I come close ... no ... not yet. 
But what I do get out of the attempt is always a 
finger licking lip smacking good recipe.
In this aim instead of boiling the seitan I baked it.
This recipe came from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's  Seitan cutlets or steaks recipe from their book Veganomicon. They claimed that this recipe had a more meaty rough texture ... exactly what I was going for. Unfortunately I found them to be pretty similar to the boiled seitan, which like I mentioned earlier has the smacking and the licking with the lips and the fingers, but the texture just isn't there. It turned out spongy. How!?!? I ask you... How do restaurants do it? Every time I order seitan its always extremely meaty, roughly textured ... how come mine turns out springy and squashy? Well, I challenge you and dare you to share the secret to unspongiformed seitan. Until then this will do. 


The BBQ sauce, now that's another story. This is my favorite bbq recipe it comes out perfect every time. The more time you let it simmer the thicker and more wonderfully tasty it will be. 


BBQ Sauce


-1 tbsp Earth Balance/veggie oil/ olive oil
-2, 15 oz cans crushed tomatoes
-small yellow onion, chopped
-4 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
-1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
-1/3 cup maple syrup
-dash of basil
-1 tbsp crushed red pepper
-dash of chili powder
- 1-2 tbsp cayenne (depending on your spice desire)


In a sauce pan saute the onion and garlic for a good bit in your chosen oil. Add the rest of the ingredients and just let it cook. 

Once the sauce is done and the seitan has been baked, take the seitan and dip it into the sauce, then dip in  cornmeal and fry them for about 10 minutes. While they were in the pan frying I also poured some more sauce on them, because I like them extra saucy :) 


Basil Aioli


Now let me get one thing straight before I go into this basil aioli. Aioli is traditionally olive oil and garlic .. that's it. The garlic is emulsified into the oil usually by means of a mortar and pestle. Egg has been introduced to make the mixing easier. However, it seems to me that this term is thrown around much to loosely. Basically if you can dip something in it, people tack on the fancy "aoili". I myself am guilty. I just wanted to clear things up incase anybody is ready this saying .."uhh.... that's not a real aoili".. I know. 


-bowl full of fresh basil leaves
-tbsp. olive oil
-1/4 cup pine nuts
-1/2 cup walnuts
-1/2 cup veganaise 
-juice of 1 lemon
-juice of 1/2 lime


Throw all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and creamy. A match made in heaven ... but Im asking ya .. how do you get that seitan meaty!?!














Friday, October 9, 2009

A Curry Party and Everybody's Invited


A couple days ago my roommates and I decided on a veggie curry for dinner. We get this great curry paste from the local asian market for like a buck something and it always spreads itself through a number of dinners. The ingredients on the back are actually in english and there's no funny business going on: dried red chilies, garlic, shallot, salt, lemon grass, sugar, kaffir lime, and spices (coriander seeds, cumin, cardomon). The brand is Maesri and it's called "Red Curry Paste". You can get it in green and I think coconut and spicy, although this stuff is pretty potent on the spice level. 


So with this as our base, we started cooking up some jasmine rice and choppin' veggies. We started by sauteing garlic and onion in about a tbsp. of sesame oil. Then the party started. 
We had red peppers and eggplants from our garden so those would go in. We had baby carrots that needed to be eaten up, cauliflower that was about to go bad, tons of peppers, some green beans -- before we knew it we decided to just throw in whatever veggies we had. There were some frozen peas and corn .. throw 'em in! Brocolli, ginger, throw 'em in! The total count was 12 different veggies. 



      not all veggies present pictured above...


For the sauce we had the red curry paste (about 2 tbsp) mixed with a can of coconut milk. After tasting that we decided it could use a little something. Again, it was a party! We had vinegar come along with the red pepper flakes. Corn starch to thickin' things up a bit. Peanut Butter for that extra kick, and Jamie's homemade nut butter which was pistaschio, cashews, and almonds. But where was that little hint of sweetness? Agave come on in! With this our curry party was complete. We were all a bit skeptical on how it was going to taste... but it was GREAT! I ate so much that after dinner when we went biking I had to pull over and stop for a deathly stomach cramp! I couldn't even imagine what I would do if I was in a body of water ... I probably would've drowned. 





So this time it worked. Throwing everything under the sun (or at least all the veggies in the fridge) in one pot and just going for it. 








Thursday, October 8, 2009

Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Rosemary Biscuits

Known as the "Gold of the Inca's" quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") is one of my favorite foods. I'd take it over gold any day of the week. Typically thought of as a grain, quinoa is actually a seed that comes from a high in amino acid leafy green similar to swiss chard and spinach. Native to South America, quinoa is chalked full of protein - it's actually a complete protein which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. According to whfood.com (which stands for world's healthiest foods) quinoa is well endowed with the amino acid of lysine, which is especially good for tissue growth and repair.
This recipe is awesome. I threw in this and that and it all worked itself out into a nice little melody. Please, do your body a favor and have yourself some quinoa!!


Acorn Squash with Quinoa
(this will serve 4 hungry people, with maybe left overs for lunch)

-1 acorn squash medium in size
-2 tbsp. earth balance
-dash of cinnamon
-2 cups quinoa
-4 cups water
-2 apples - diced
-1/2 cup almonds - diced or sliced
-1 tbsp. maple syrup
-1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
-1 tsp. red miso
-1 tsp. cayenne


Preheat oven to 400. Cut the squash in half, from the stem down. Pull out the seeds and strings. Rub a table spoon of earth balance in each half and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place facing down on baking sheet and cook for about 30 - 45 mns. You can tell if you squash is done if it is soft when you poke it.

While the squash is cooking, place the quinoa and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. AS soon as it starts boiling, turn the heat down to low and let sit for about 15 minutes. When the quinoa is done the water will be gone and it will be nice and fluffy with a pretty ring around it.

Add the rest of the ingredients into the quinoa along with the baked squash when it is done.

**the miso isn't nesessary, but I just used that instead of salt, because I'm kind-of on a miso kick.



Rosemary Biscuits

-2 cups flour
-1 tbsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. salt
-1/4 cup earth balance - room temperature
-1 cup rice milk
-1 1/2 tsp. rosemary


Preheat oven to 350. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together. Cut the butter in using a fork or pastry knife. Add the milk and rosemary and stir until it's all clumped together. Place onto ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

This is a wonderful seasonal meal! It's super hearty with the quinoa and squash, so you may want to serve it with some hot cider! I accidently grabbed the cumin instead of the cinnamon and sprinkled that into my cider. Once realizing (the smell gave it away) that I was sprinkling cumin into my cider, I tried to undo my mistake by also putting cinnamon in, thinking the cinnamon would over power. It didn't, but the result was actually really great! Go out on a limb and with cumin.



Enjoy!

-

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Apple Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


Ahh, fall is here. It's amazing how the humidity just stops as if somebody turned the dial from summer to fall. That's philly from september to october. The second the month turned, so did the dial. The nights became cool and tea and cider are brewing. One of my favorite seasons (along with winter, spring, and summer) I love fall. I love apples and gourds and bonfires and boots.
This is a treat completely inspired by this wonderful season. Originally this was greeted in my inbox as vegcooking.com' s recipe of the week, and I believe that was 2 years ago. I've held onto it and changed this or that because it's so simple and easy. It's a recipe you can just have fun with! So do it.

Apple Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting 



For the cupcakes:

-1 1/2 cup veggie oil
-2 cups sugar (I use 1 1/2 - 2 cups ... I think that's a bit obsessive...)
-1 cup apple sauce
-3 tbsp. vanilla
-3 cups flour
-1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1 tsp. nutmeg
-1 cup chopped/crushed walnuts
-3 cups (equivalent to about 3 apples) chopped apples

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the wet ingredients with sugar (oil, apple sauce, vanilla). In a separate bowl sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the wet mixture and stir by hand until it is thoroughly mixed. The batter should be stiff. Fold in the walnuts and apples. Pour into cupcake liners. Bake for about 15-20 mns.

For the frosting:

-1 tub tofutti cream cheese
-1/2 block of extra firm tofu
-1/2 cup powder sugar
-1/4 agave nectar
-1 tsp. lemon zest

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender. Cool in the fridge.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for a about 20 minutes, then another 40 outside of the pan before attempting to frost them.



I just bought a piping bag and love it!! It makes everything look so much cuter. Put the frosting in a piping bag (go out and get one if you don't own one, I think I spent a total of $1.45 on both the bag ((go for the reusable - not plastic)) and tip) and top with a walnut. These keep in the fridge really well. I think that they taste better when the frosting has hardened a bit.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Anabell's Mango Delight



I won't take credit for this one, but I will take credit for its philadelphia debut.
Last year I visited Philadelphia, PA for the first time ... ever! Coming from Minneapolis to visit John and as a stop over during some adventuring, I was introduced to the Italian Market. John, being a newbie to the city himself, couldn't get enough of this place. Everyday he would come home with produce that he got for a buck here and a buck there. One day he came home with mint and mango. I just so happened to have had made my (and his) favorite dip that involves miso. With a fresh Sarcone's baguette he put together this sammy.....
-mango
-mint
-miso
-mayo (veganaise of coarse)

It was m-m-m-magical. I called it the "Mmmm good!"

Well, at Whole Foods on Callowhill in Philadelphia, my place of business, this very sandwich will be featured for the next couple of weeks!! (Jazzed up a bit, because, well, that's what I like to do... ) I proposed this vegan delight to the bosses and they gave it a go! Changing the name (why!?) you can pick up "Anabell's Mango Delight"... Or better yet, skip spending the $6.49 (!!!!) and make one yourself.

Check it out --

1. Mix some red miso in with veganaise.
2. Spread on bread of choice.
3. Slice up some mango, throw on some mint, and wha-bam.
Easy as 1.2. 3. For the jazzed version, add some asian slaw and spring mix :)
As always, Enjoy.

                ciabatta rolls meet miso mayo 



    mango sammies march two by two



almost.....



and they're in!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tofu Quiche

Tofu scrambles are a thing of the past. I'm always so skeptical to order a tofu scramble, sometimes they can do it, and sometimes they can't. However, if anyplace had vegan tofu quiche on their menu, there would be no question or hesitation. I mean, this is just a good Tofu scramble jazzed up with a crust, really, that's it, and suddenly it's a million times more delicious (personally speaking... I think the fat may have something to do with it....). Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, it all works. Please, Enjoy!!
Tofu Quiche

For the Crust 
-2 cups flour
-1 1/3 cup earth balance
-2/3 cup water 
Preheat oven to 425. Mix all together in a small to medium size mixing bowl. I use a fork to cut the butter into the flour, but if you have a pastry knife the more power to you. Once it is all mixed up , line it in a pie pan (which I don't own) or a baking pan of your choice (I opted for the 8 x 6 glass ).  Set aside. 

For the Filling
-1 block tofu
-1/4 cup red onion, chopped
-1 small red pepper, chopped (ours came from our garden which is why it was a little tiny, but a reg. pepper would do just fine)
-1 clove garlic, chopped
-1 tbsp. olive/veggie oil or a milk substitute
-1/3 cup water
-1/2 cup nutritional yeast
-1 tsp. dried basil
-1 tsp. turmeric
-1/2 tsp. salt
Mix all together is the same bowl you mixed your crust in. You want to make sure you mash up the tofu pretty good. You're going for the look of a scramble here. When you think it's mixed well enough, pour into the unbaked crust and stick uncovered in the oven for about 15 minutes. You want the crust to be lightly browned around the edges. Let cool a few and serve with a side of hot sauce!! (if you're into hot sauce, which I am....)
  yum!