Thursday, March 26, 2009

Grilling like a Villian

Spring is just around the corner (I swear its coming) and with melting snow and daylight hours increasing, grills are getting ready to be fired. Vegan friends have no fear, here is an extremely simple, cheap and delicious item you can bring along to get charred up that will even have your carnivorous friends drooling and asking for more. This recipe was first introduced to me at a BBQ from some friends about 3 years ago for they were catering to vegetarians and to my vegan self at the time. Their original recipe called for eggs, but at that time we used energy egg replacer. Since then the ‘pie has been modified to what I would call perfection. Being obsessed with Frank’s Red Hot (the only hot sauce) I whip up my favorite aioli to go along with these, this pair = bread +butter! As always, Please, enjoy. Moooove Over Beef Black Bean Burgers -1 can black beans (or roughly 1 1/2 cups cooked & drained black beans) -1/2 green pepper (optional) -1/2 onion - chopped finely -lots o' garlic -dash o'salt -2 tbsp. ground flax seed -1 tbsp. water -1 tbs. chili powder -1 tbs. cumin -1 tsp. chili powder -1/2 cup flour or bread crumbs If baking these babies preheat your oven to 375 and lightly oil a baking sheet. In a big bowl mash up your beans real good until they are thick and pasty. Add the finely chopped onion, green pepper and garlic and stir it in. In a smaller bowl mix your flax seed with the water and all of the spices. Stir into the beans. Mix in bread crumbs or flour to keep them from being too sticky. Add more flour/bread crumbs or even oats if you feel the consistency is too sticky/running for your grilling likes. Baking - divide into patties and bake about 15 minutes on each side. Grilling - divide into patties and here each one say 'mooooove over beef, wese the new white meat!" as you place them on the grill for about 5-10 minutes (use your best judgment). My Favorite Sauce Just like watching Lost at Ray's and a series of green lights on my bike, this sauce is one of my favorite things. Whether as a dressing for this burger, salads, veggies, whatever needs a little spice in its life (I think this could be the spice of life). -1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. veganaise -1 tbsp. lemon juice -1/2 tsp. horseradish (the real stuff please...) -1/4 cup Franks -1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar -1 tsp. dill -1tbsp. ground flax seed -1 1/2 tbsp. tahini Mix together and dress up the table! A note about Raw.... So John and I had another "raw" day this past Sunday. We actually put in the time to prepare a gorgeous and delectable meal. Red Beet Ravioli. The recipe came from Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis's book "Raw Food Real World". We actually followed the recipe pretty dead on (which is rare and still substitutions were made here and there almonds for cashew etc..) the only main obstacle was not owning a mandoline, so ours turned out more like Red Beet mini Sammies instead, which were still awesome and surprisingly extremely filling! I couldn't even finish my plate. Below is a picture of them, and if you ever want to try a raw recipe I highly recommend this one, it's pretty easy and can be done without all the fancy raw gear.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Cupcake A day Keeps the Doctor Away

All right. I have two kick ass simple as they come recipes.
First my ultimate favorite dish to make and also something I crave probably once a week. Thai Peanut Pasta. Its a "fusion" dish with a bit of thai/american influence, made with pad-thai noodles which cook in like 3 minutes - beautiful for when you're super hungry and just want to eat!! Also, I cooked this meal for 6 very hungry people, which yeilds a lot!!! (but not enough for me to have leftovers for lunch...hmmfff.) So if you're just making it for yourself or a couple of people cut the 'pie in half .
Thai Peanut Pasta
-1 bunch of scallions
-8 cloves of garlic
-1/4 cup ginger chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper chopped
-1 tbsp. seasame oil
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-2 packages of rice noodles
-1 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
-1 cup soy sauce
-1/4 cup agave nectar
-1 cup of water
Boil a large pot of water, while waters getting hot, in a large frying pan or wok heat up the sesame and olive oil. Throw in the garlic,ginger, and jalapeno and saute for about 5 mns on low-med heat. When the water starts to boil, put the noodles in only for about 2-3 minutes, while these are cooking throw in the scallions and saute them in the mix (2-3 mins.) Drain the noodles and add them to the saute mixture. Add the pb, soy sauce and agave nectar. Stir and mix very well, add water to lighten the load, I use a cup but if you like a more runnier sauce add more, thicker sauce add less (rocket science I know...). and WHA BAM! My all time favorite dinner. Quick, Easy, Deliscious, who could ask for anything more? Who could ask for anything more? Top it off with a slice of lime and bean sprouts for the ultimate real deal.
and now, beautiful, light not too sugary but there's a lot of sugar in the recipe:
Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes!
I have this recipe labled in my cooking book as "Best Vegan Chocolate Cake in the World". I don't remember exactly where the recipe came from, I'm pretty sure I got it from some months back. Well, it never fails. It is the best vegan chocolate cake in the world. Moist and light with a tofu mousse that tastes like heaven! This time I decided instead of making the entire cake (I didn't feel like putting in the whole effort of cake, mousse, ganache, presentation, blah blah blah) So I made cupcakes and used the mousse for the topping. AWESOME! They're great. So go ahead, eat one of these babies a day and I don't know if it will keep the doctor away, but it will sure take your mind and taste buds to a wonderful place :)
For the Cake:
-1 1/2 cup flour
-1 cup sugar
-3 tbsp. cocoa
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. vanilla
-1 tbsp. distilled vinegar
-5 tbsp. margarine (earth balance)
-1 cup H2O
Preheat oven to 350. Using a fork combine all dry ingredients. Stir in the wet and mix well. Put the water in last. Pour into cupcake pan with liners and bake for 30-35 mns.
For the Mousse:
-1 block silken tofu
-1/3 cup sugar
-1/4 tsp.salt
-1 tsp.vanilla
-2 tbsp. cocoa
In a food processor or blender, blend the tofu until smooth. Add the sugar salt and vanilla. Blend. Add cocoa and blend until smooth.
When the cakes are done, let them cool a good 1/2 hour + some before even attempting to add the mousse. Put the mousse in the fridge until you want to cover the cakes for extra goodness.
Emily below enjoying this nice little gem, so please, do the same!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Smashing Spinach Basil Tofu Burgers

Oh MY! How time fly's when you're not having fun and working!! Alas, this past weekend not only was a busy work filled weekend but we had the pleasure of having not only one but three guests come and stay with us in the city. And what's better than having company?? Having company who cooks yummy vegan food while your away at work!! My friend Arielle gets all the credit for this masterpiece. The burgers are soft, hold a wonderful flavor and who, tell me who, doesn't like using a muffin tin for purposes other than muffins? Since I was away at work, she left me a note with the recipe, so here it is verbatim: Anabell - I don't really measure, all measurements are approximations. Always taste while cooking! Spinach Burgers (for medium size food processor) -3-6 pesto ice cubes or 1/2 cup fresh pesto :
Pesto Recipe
-lots of basil (grocery bag full of leaves)
-1/2 cup pine nuts (toasted is nice)
-2-3 juiced lemons
-1/4 cup olive oil
-salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
-honey or agave nectar to taste
-4 cloves of garlic
Process everything and keep in ice-cube trays in the freezer
Burger Recipe:
-4 blocks of tofu
-3/4 cup nutritional yeast
Put in as much spinach as you can in the processor without overflow. You may want to add a little more honey or agave nectar to taste. Preheat oven to 350. Taste mix and make sure its yummy. Spoon mix into muffin tins (olive oil if they're not non-stick) if you only have cookie sheets you may make burger sized heaps on an oiled sheet.
Bake to desired firmness. 30-50 mns. *If using a cookie sheet, you may opt to flip your patties mid way.
Serve like a burger on bread/bun, veganaise, hot sauce, personal choice fixins : lettuce, tom, onion etc...
THANK YOU ARIELLE!!! She also included a shopping list if the pesto is already pre-made, but the only thing you really need to get that may go out of the realm of a typical muffin shaped burger is the nutritional yeast, tofu, and spinach.
Please give it up to Arielle and make these super simple and delicious burgers.
Tonight: Four Course Vegan Dinner at the Belgian Cafe! Happy Two Year's to John and me :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Beet and Yellow Pepper Lasagna

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?? If a lasagna doesn't have cheese, noodles, or tomatoes in it, is it still a lasagna??
These my friends are questions I'll leave up to you to answer. Personally, The reason why I called this dish a lasagna is because my roommate Rachael's lasagna inspired me to make it. I'm not going to say I was jealous when she was spreading ricotta and homemade buffalo tomato sauce over thick lasagna noodles, I'm just gonna say, I wanted it. There's something about lasagna that hits home for me. Maybe it was my childhood fascination/obsession with Garfield, maybe its my mom's kick-ass vegetarian lasagna, but when I see cheese bubbling over sauce in a 9 x 13 baking dish, I want to eat it all and curl up inside the pan.
This recipe hits home. The beautiful color comes from the beets and the "cheese" on top is an almond nutritional yeast blend that's awesome. The texture of the entire dish is well rounded, the beets serve as almost a noodle. The best part of it is its still messy like lasagna where you'll need fresh bread (I used a french baguette and homemade sour-dough) to sop up the leftover sauce on your plate. Please, enjoy.
Anabell's Bring it on Home Beet and Yellow Pepper Lasagna
For the "cheese/ricotta" topping:
-3/4 cup raw soaked almonds
-1/2 cup nutritional yeast
-1/4 cup Rice milk
-3 tsp. veganaise
-1 tbsp. lemon juice
Throw all ingredients into a food processor and blend until well mixed, totally ok for the almonds to still be chunky to give it a nice texture. Put it in the fridge.
-3 small beets - peeled and sliced thinly
-2 yellow bell peppers sliced
-2 tbsp. olive oil
-2 bunches scallions - chopped
-3-4 cloves of garlic - chopped finely or pressed
-1 tbsp. parsley
-pinch of salt
-1/2 cup rice milk
-2 tbsp. flour
-1 cup veggie broth
Preheat oven to 350.
In a sauce pan saute the scallions, garlic, parsley and salt in olive oil. When they turn tender and start smelling delicious (about 5-7 mns on med-low heat) throw in the rice milk and flour and stir until it starts thickening. You don't want it too thick, you'll only need to keep it on heat for about another 2-3 mns if that.
Toss a little olive oil in the bottom of a 6x8 baking dish and layer the bottom with beets. On top of the beets spread your saute mix then a layer of yellow bell peppers and top it with another layer of beets and another layer of yellow bell peppers. Pour in 1 cup of vegetable broth*** and cover. Bake at 350 for about 30 mns. After 30 mns. take out and spread your "cheese" layer on the top. Cover and put back in the over for another 20-30 mns. Serve with bread.
***a note on veggie broth
My household has been collecting all of our veggie scraps and throwing them in a ziplock bag that we keep in the freezer. We throw everything in there: onion peels/skins, garlic skins, ends of carrots, beet greens, bell pepper cores/seeds, herbs, whatever, anything and everything veggie related. When one or two bags are full we fill a soup pot with water and throw our frozen scraps in and maybe a couple dashes of celery salt or garlic powder. Bring to a boil and simmer for a long time (2-4 + hours). Strain and BAM! Veggie broth. Its awesome, we always have veggie broth in our freezer for whenever we need it. That stuff is expensive!! So just save your scraps and never worry about paying for veggie broth again!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Snow Day, Dip and Smoothies

Unlike Alaska or Minnesota, my past places of residency, here in Philly 6 inches of snow qualifies as a "snow day". School's out and in my case that means work as well. SNOW DAY! What used to be known as a spring dusting now gives me a free entire day... oh what to do.....
I have to admit it is cold. The only way to stay warm on a cold snowy day, bake of coarse. I wanted to make a lot of simple dishes and use ingredients we had in the house, especially leftovers. The menu: Gingerbread, Oatmeal Carob Cookies, and Almond Curry Dip.
The gingerbread turned out all right. Next time I make it I'm going to spice it up a bit by adding something sweet and fruity, either orange zest or craisens, something to that sort. However, if you earth-balance it then top it with craisens... YES! Now, I once again used Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer's recipe from "How it all Vegan!". However, I wasn't like I said early super impressed. For the egg substitute I used ground flax mixed with water, and I think an applesauce or banana would've worked better and given it a rounder fruity finish with the tangy ginger and bitter molasses. So that's my advice. The equation = 3 cups flour + 2 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp salt + 1 tsp all spice = sift together in big bowl. + egg replacer for 2 eggs + 1/2 cup oil + 1/2 molasses + 1 cup soy milk + 1 tsp vinegar + 3-6 tbsp fresh grated ginger (for me the more the better!!) = mix together until "just" mixed. Fold in crystallized ginger or walnuts if you're into that sort of thing, which I'm not.
Bake 350 in an oiled loaf pan for about 50 minutes (I would check it around 40 and see how you're doing). Wha-La!
Oatmeal Carob Cookies
I asked my roommate how he liked the cookies. His response was, " they were good except I thought I was going to break a tooth". Whoops. I thought I would go out on a limb and try a recipe that I found on a "Go Vegan" handout. It sounded too simple to be good, and I was right. I like the cookies, but by no means are they dressed to impress. Not worth writing it down, but thought I'd still share.
And now, what I'm really proud of ...
Almond Curry Dip
Oh my god! SOOOO good! Addicting. Check it. We had left over green curry paste in our fridge for over a month. I was sick of looking at it. John and I had also been soaking some raw almonds for a raw food day that we were going to test out, unfortunately that didn't go to plan....soon. soon. So, I've got a bowl of raw soaked almonds and a bit of green curry paste. What do you do?? Throw 'em a food processor and hope for the best. And by god, I got the best. The curry gives it a nice spicy kick, then I threw in just a drizzle of agave nectar to have a sweet balance, along with veganaise and rice milk to make it nice and creamy :) This dip could be used as a sandwich spread, it would go awesome with chickpeas in a wrap with spinach and carrots. It's great to eat alone by the spoonfuls (although that just seems weird for some reason.. gluttony?) so go ahead and spread it on crackers, serve at a party, use it for veggies, its an all around awesome concoction that will be a new regular in our fridge.
In a food processor (or blender) mix together the following :
-2 cups raw soaked almonds
-1 1/2 tbsp. green curry paste
-2 tbsp. veganaise
-3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
-1 tsp. turmeric
-1 tsp. salt
-5 tbsp. rice milk
-just a lite drizzle of agave nectar around a couple of times
Mix until nice and smooth. There will still be chunks of almonds that gives it a pesto-y texture.
Spread the love!
And a note on Smoothies...
I just wanted to throw in a little blurb on the importance and value of smoothies! They are the best breakfast, snack, treat, whatever. I encourage and dare everyone to drink a smoothie once a day. Get to a nice smooth for your smoothie you can use a soy yogurt (which I'm not a fan of) so I just throw in silken tofu. This way I've got my sugars with protein to accomplish anything! I've tried to have one everyday and have been doing pretty damn good. They're quick, easy, and depending on what you throw in (peanut butter, tofu, etc..) can be quite filling. (just try to avoid making them at early am hours if you have sleeping roomies in close proximity, lindsay and mia this in my Internet apology). Today's smoothie : papaya, pineapple, mango, and ginger! Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.