15 October 2012

Veggie Curry Potpie - VeganMoFo #15

Potpie with curry-spiced sauce? Yes, please. I won't share the recipe here as I've posted one version of it in the past. Here it is: POTPIE. Instead of making my own crust, I used a sheet of puff pastry (check your labels, some are VEGAN). I use the basis of the original potpie recipe and I changed it up.

  • topped with puff pastry
  • insides: potatoes, carrots, onions, parsnips, chickpeas, peas
  • spices: curry, coriander, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • added a little extra almond milk and broth
  • bake at 400 degrees F for about 40-45 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the puff pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes before eating.
Here's the progression of dinner:

14 October 2012

Beets - VeganMoFo #14

I cannot even express to you how many pickled beets I ate today. Let me just say that I think I may have a permanently stained tongue and a forever-fuschia tongue. This sweet little lady at the farmer's market had quart-sized jars of homemade pickled beets and I couldn't resist. I bought one jar. Once I got home, I couldn't stop eating them, so I went back for another jar. Alas, she was already gone for the day. I guess I'll have to try to find her next week. I need my fix. I'm getting the shakes.

On a separate note, what happens when you eat too many beets? Am I going to poo red? Should I be worried?

13 October 2012

Scramble from Heaven - VeganMoFo #13

Fuck. I had the BEST breakfast ever this morning. My mummy and I went out for breakfast at a little veg-friendly diner at the Flint Farmer's Market. I got my usual, the Tofu and Brown Rice Scramble. I got sassy and asked if I could add a bunch of veggies to it, and they were super cool about it. So, I added broccoli, spinach, carrots, onions, mushrooms and potatoes. Add to that some sourdough toast with vegan buttah and I had a breakfast sent from above (or wherever). Whatever the case, it rocked my morning to the core. I can never go back to the plain scrambles now.

Happy MoFo!

11 October 2012

Vegan Surprise - VeganMoFo #11

The Mr. and I recently attended a local art walk, and we found these vegan chocolate almond cupcakes for sale. All proceeds go to benefit the Flint HorrorCon, which is coming up on the 20th. I would have taken a better photo, but I skarffed it down in about 30 seconds. I love making my own cupcakes, but it sure is nice to have someone else make them sometimes.

These cupcakes had a chocolate cake topped with a chocolate almond frosting. You could smell the almond extract, and it matched perfectly with the chocolate. NOM.

Happy MoFo!

10 October 2012

Pub Pickles - VeganMoFo #10

I didn't make these, but I ate the shit outta them. A friend of mine's fella works in a restaurant/pub and made me a vegan version of their famous fried pickles. I am told the breading is made of flour, beer, soy milk, and spices. They are tremendous. I am a lucky chickpea. My friends spoil me. Actually, we spoil each other. I keep them supplied in vegan treats, and they make me yummy savories in exchange.

Happy MoFo!

09 October 2012

DrinkyDrink - VeganMoFo #9

Coconut Mojitos? Yes, please. Some girlfriends and I went to a little indie restaurant for dinner and, while my food was not spectacular or noteworthy, these coconut mojitos were mind-blowing. I had several. Fear not, I had a DD. I don't know the measurements used, but I know what was in them.
  • Coconut rum
  • Mint leaves
  • Simple Syrup
  • Lime juice and slices
  • Soda/seltzer water
You need to make these.

Happy MoFo!

08 October 2012

Easy Weeknight Dinner - VeganMoFo #8

Recently, the fella and I discovered that Gardein has started making these Crispy Chik'n Filets, so (of course) we had to get them. I decided after a long day at work that I needed to make an easy dinner. I baked up the filets with some spices (poultry seasoning, garlic salt, pepper). I made some spaghetti with jarred sauce (again, I added some spices) and mixed in a boatload of Parmela (vegan parm). Add a bit of homemade garlic bread, and you have a super easy, quick meal.

Now, I'd like to do a quick review of the Gardein Crispy Chik'n Filets.

Flavor: Yummy. I thought it tasted better than real chicken. Then again, I haven't eaten an animal in years, so I don't know. My Mr. is an omni, and he absolutely loves them. Between these and the Gardein crispy tenders, I just may be able to convert him. I digress. The flavor is excellent, and the breading has a nice flavor. I do love adding some poultry seasoning to mine, along with a little pepper, but we also liked them without any additional seasoning.

Texture: Nice and crispy breading outside. Slightly flaky "meat" inside. The chik'n looks like white meat chicken. NO GRISTLE! Ahhh, the joy of meat replacements. No guessing about the weird chewy bits.

Sauce: We didn't use it. I stuck with my old standby sauce that we both like.

Ease: Basically, these are the easiest part of dinner. You just pre-heat the oven, cook these for 10 minutes on one side, then flip and cook another 8-10 minutes. So damn easy.

Now comes the obligatory message about this review:
I bought the product myself. Gardein has not asked me to do a review. I really like the filets and I highly recommend them.


07 October 2012

Brussels,Tatoes, and Chickpea Cutlets - VeganMoFo #7

I woke up to a freezing house and dreaded getting up to get ready for work. I just couldn't drag my ass out of my nice, cozy,warm bed. But, my dears, I have responsibilities. I started shivering as soon as I left the comfort of my blankets, and it seemed I couldn't get warm all day long. Cold days means comfort food cravings. Who am I to deny myself comfort? How many times can I type "comfort" in this post?

Potatoes=comfort food (I grew the potatoes in giant pots in my yard this summer)
Chickpeas cutlets=comfort protein
Brussels sprouts=comfort cabbages

So, yeah. That's what I made.

The sprouts:
I've learned that I can make super yummy Brussels sprouts in my cast iron skillet instead of roasting them in the oven. They cook a lot quicker and they are generally perfect. Just heat some oil over medium heat and, once hot, add your sprouts. Sear them until they start to caramelize. Then, I put a lid over the skillet and steam them for about 4 minutes.

The chickpea cutlets:
The cutlets are on page 133 of Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I will say that I've made them quite a few times and I change up the recipe pretty much every time. I use the cookbook as a guide for the basic ingredients, but I change up the spices and such. Here's one of my main changes, though: I use steak sauce instead of the soy sauce called for in the recipe. Why? It fucking rocks, that's why. I also add some very finely diced red onion, maybe 3-4 TB. I also suggest using smoked paprika instead of regular paprika, as well as adding a little poultry seasoning. Don't worry, it doesn't have poultry in it...just spices. The recipe says you can either pan-fry or bake the cutlets, and I always bake them. This time, I made them thicker than I usually do, and it was a great idea. They didn't get dried out, and they were a bit chewy. Bonus tip: dip them in steak sauce.

Mashed potatoes: 
Peel and dice some potatoes. Boil them until they're fork-tender then drain them. Mash in some almond milk and vegan butter. Add a little salt and pepper. Pig out and get a carb-coma.

Happy MoFo

06 October 2012

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Biscoff Frosting - VeganMoFo #6

I've been meaning to make something tasty with Biscoff spread for months, but never got around to it until today. I decided to make a dozen of these Vanilla Bean Cupcakes that I found on The PPK website this morning. It just so happens that I had 1 single vanilla bean left in my spice cupboard, so I took the plunge. I made some of the tastiest vanilla cupcakes I've ever had. My only complaint is that vanilla beans are so expensive or I'd buy them more often. If you get the chance, though, definitely make the PPK's vanilla bean cupcakes. Their recipe comes with a chocolate ganache topping, but I wanted to attempt a  Biscoff fosting instead.

The frosting gave me some trouble. I couldn't get it to be as firm as I wanted it, without getting really foamy in texture. I'll just have to keep working on it. Because it isn't yet perfected, I don't have an exact recipe. Here's what I used, though:
  • about 1/2 cup Biscoff spread
  • about 1 TB room temp vegan butter
  • about 2 TB shortening (to make it creamy and hold its shape)
  • about 2 cups powdered/confectioner's sugar
  • about 3-4 TB almond milk
You just blend it all together with a hand mixer until nice and smooth-ish and to your liking. Mine tasted spectacular with the vanilla bean cupcakes. The texture was mostly smooth, but a bit softer than I prefer. After I piped the cupcakes, I let them set out for about an hour for the frosting to firm up a bit and hold its shape.

Here are some photos of the cupcake progress:

05 October 2012

Two-Lentil Dal (a la Robin Robertson) - VeganMoFo #5

Perhaps you haven't heard of her, but Robin Robertson is an excellent vegan cookbook author. She recently (September 2012) published a cookbook titled Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker, and this is the first dish I've made. I'm not sure what it was supposed to look like, but I do know the dal tastes excellent with some rice and my homemade vegan garlic naan. The texture of my dal was similar to refried beans....thick, slightly lumpy, almost creamy. I have no idea if that's how it was supposed to be, but I did end up cooking mine 9 hours while I was at work, so that may be to blame. Regardless, we LOVED IT!!

If you haven't noticed before, I tend to always alter recipes, and this one was no different. I added in a few tiny carrots from my garden, along with a bit of my favorite curry powder. Because I started cooking this at 9:30 am and didn't get home until 6:30, It may have been slightly overcooked, but it was still 100% delicious. Like, insanely delicious. The recipe called for cardamom, and I will admit that I was skeptical. I'd only really ever used cardamom in sweet treats and zucchini bread. It turned out perfect, though, and I'm interested in adding it to other curries in the future.

I think the only other change I might make in the future is to add a little wedge of lemon when I serve it. Lemon is such a perfect complement to lentils, especially Indian-spiced lentils. Unfortunately, this isn't my recipe to share, but I do highly recommend that you check out Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker  from your local library (hey, I can't help it; I'm a librarian) or just splurge and buy it. I am so excited to try a ton of the other recipes now!

Happy MoFo, everyone!

04 October 2012

Rice Salad - VeganMoFo #4

Rice Salad. Never had it before. So, I invented it. It was pretty good, too. I am known for my pasta salad among my social circle, and I wanted to try something new. I pretty much just made my pasta salad with rice instead of pasta. Don't ask me why because I really don't know.

It all started with some leftover white rice and some raw veggies in the fridge. Add in some spices and some vinaigrette and kapow! You have rice salad. Don't eat it cold out of the fridge or else the rice will be hard. I used cold rice, then let it warm to room temperature. PS- mine turned pink from the purple carrots I microplaned.

What I used:
  • 2 cups leftover white rice
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1/3 cup minced bell pepper
  • 1 medium purple carrot (or orange), microplaned or grated
  • vinaigrette of your choosing, I usually wing it and make my own on the fly
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of coriander powder
  • garlic powder or very finely minced garlic clove
What you do:
  1. Mix everything together in a bowl and adjust your seasonings as needed. 
  2. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and let sit out at room temp for 1 hour. If you are making it ahead, cover and put in the fridge. Then let set out 1 hour before serving. You want room-temperature rice.

03 October 2012

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies - VeganMoFo #3

Craving sweets lately? You're not alone. The cooler Autumn weather makes me crave the comforts of my childhood, like mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and yes, COOKIES. Who doesn't love cookies, really? I prefer my chocolate chip cookies kind of simple and with lots of toasted walnuts. Don't like nuts? That's just wrong.

Here's a trick I learned a long time ago to really make your cookies rock: toast your nuts before you add them to the dough. I lay mine out on a cookie sheet and bake them at 375 for about 6 minutes. Then remove them from the oven and set out for a few minutes to cool. Kapow! Your nuts are toasty.

So, depending on the size of your cookie scoops, this makes close to 2 dozen. I used a 2-TB scoop and it yielded 18 cookies.

What I used:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup room temp vegan butter
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 egg substitute (I used Ener-G egg replacer)
  • 1 cup plus 3 TB flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 bag chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (optional, but recommended)
What I did:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. I toasted my nuts while I made my cookie dough.
  2. Using a stand mixer or a hand beater, cream together the sugars, vanilla, and the butter until well mixed and sort of creamy looking.
  3. Add in the egg, flour, baking soda, and salt and beat until combined with no dry spots. 
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips and the walnuts, if using. 
  5. Scoop out onto a baking sheet covered in parchment or a silicone mat. If lining with foil, you may want to very lightly spritz the foil with cooking spray. I kept mine about 2-3 inches apart because they will spread out some. If you like a flatter cookie, you may want to smoosh the scoops down just a bit before baking.
  6. Bake for 7-11 minutes, until golden around the edges and still soft in the middle (soft,but not raw). Then remove from oven and leave on pan to cool about 5-10 minutes. If you like a crispier/crunchier cookie then,by all means, bake them longer. We just prefer a crispy edge with a chewy interior here.

02 October 2012

Chickpea Salad on Crackers - VeganMoFo #2

Chickpea salad is the shit. You should probably make some. It's insane on crackers. It's killer on toast. Hell, it's great on a spoon. No matter how you eat it, I assure you that you'll dig it. One can of chickpeas makes enough for 2 sandwiches or an entire sleeve of crackers. It will keep for at least 24 hours in the fridge, but I can't imagine that it will even last that long. Be warned: chickpea salad is insanely addictive.

I have made this so many different ways, but the following is my basic version. Add whatever you want: celery, seaweed, whatever. Go forth and create food!

What you need:
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 Tb vegan mayo (I prefer Vegenaise)
  • 1 TB mustard
  • 1 dill pickle spear, chopped (also good with a spicy dill spear)
  • 1 tsp pickle juice
  • 2-3 TB minced red onion
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce or aminos
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of fresh dill (optional)
  • 2 TB sunflower seeds (optional)
What you do:
  1. Pile everything into your food processor and whir it until it reaches a consistency you dig. Adjust your seasoning and chow down.

01 October 2012

Lazy Breakfast - VeganMoFo #1

You caught me. I forgot to buy groceries for the start of Vegan MoFo. I spent yesterday tiling my kitchen and completely spaced the fact that MoFo started today. So, what I did was have a super lazy breakfast. I baked some canned crescent rolls (check labels, some are vegan). They aren't healthy by any means, but they are good in a crunch. I added some nuts for a few healthy fats. These were a Germack brand mix of salt and pepper pistachios and cashews (they're called Castachios).Germack is a local Detroit nut company that roasts stellar nuts. No joke. They rule.

Now, I have to get my ass in gear and get to work. Ah, the life of a librarian.

Happy MoFo 2012