Friday, December 12, 2008


I have 17 days before we load our stuff on a truck, and I haven't packed a thing. In the interest of procrastination, I thought I'd regale you with tales of holidays past, present and future. This nostalgia was definitely sparked last night when I heard my neighbor's Christmas lights whistling a jaunty tune.

As a child, Christmas was synonymous with joy. I was never really in it for the presents. It was the magic. Santa, kindness, chocolate chip cookies as we sat around the tree. My parents were and still are Christmas fanatics. My dad does the lights, and my mom does the tree. She also hunts down every Black Santa, Mrs. Claus and angel she can find. New ornaments representing me, my sister and my brother go up every year. Since getting married, our husbands can be found dangling from pine tree limbs as well.

When I discovered Santa was fake, the magic died a little. But I made a choice to not let that happen. From the time I was 8 until I moved out of the house, I had an extra special Christmas morning tradition. Just before everybody woke up, I'd sneak downstairs by myself. I'd sit on the floor and stare up at the tree. I'd take it all in. Flashing lights, shiny presents, and scent of fresh pine needles. Then I'd hum along to whatever tune was playing. That was my magic. To sit alone and thank the universe for the day.

This year, I have no reason to celebrate or decorate. It's just me and the dogs. The fun is definitely not here. This is the first time in SEVERAL years that we aren't having a Festivus celebration. It's making me kinda sad. But the truth is...I'm also really happy. My husband will be here in a week...and when he leaves this time, I'll be with him.

And not all hope is lost. We'll be spending Christmas at my parents. A day of feasting on appetizers and getting incredibly drunk. I'm also thinking there will be much Phase 10 and Trivial Pursuit. And I can't forget the food. I'll be perfecting my deviled tofu recipe. I'm planning on bringing it as well as black bean salsa, a pesto cheezeball, and a vegetable tart. Hooray for vegan choices!

What are you making for Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Festivus, Kwanzaa, the holidays?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More Cheeze Please

Ever bought something and gone "Are you serious?" I recently did a huge order from Pangea. I purchased Dr. Cow's Cashew Cheese, Mozzarella Cheezly, and Cheddar Teese. Dr. Cow's was around 7 dollars. Imagine my shock when I opened my package and saw this:
Just so you know, many people have told me I have freakishly small hands. That 3 oz piece of cheeze didn't even cover my entire palm. I find it to be ridiculously overpriced and will be making my own raw cheese from now on.

The flavor was creamy and tangy. There was a slightly sour aftertaste, which really made it taste like cheese. I was never a connoisseur of cheese, but it was slightly funky like walking past the cheese section in Central Market. The product description compares it to good artisanal cheese.

In conclusion, Dr. Cow's is incredibly expensive but tastes damn fine on Triscuits.
Another thing my husband and I fell in love with over thanksgiving break: Lachesis' alfredo stroganoff. By far THE best alfredo sauce I've had. So good. Super creamy and thick. Great flavor.
I'll leave you with a picture of the pepper jack I made from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. It has a nice, delicate shred and melts beautifully. It tastes awesome in potato and bacn tacos. I don't recommend eating it alone because the mustard and onion flavor is pretty powerful.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Get Ya Nog On

Holiday time in the Martin household went like this: deliver Christmas lists to the parents, watch as my sister and mom baked ridiculous amounts of cookies, Christmas light viewing...and the search for the ultimate eggnog ice cream. Seeing as how I am moving to California in about three weeks and I still don't have a working standard fridge (rockin a mini right now)...I'll settle for the ultimate vegan nog.

The debate to end all debates: Silk Nog vs. Vitasoy's Holly Nog. I really wanted to do a side by side comparison because I felt I didn't give the Holly Nog a fair chance to begin with. I judged each nog in five categories: egg nog flavor, creaminess, thickness, spices, and overall flavor. I scored them on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being awesome. And because I wanted to be all professional, I made sure to cleanse my palate. By "cleanse my palate" I mean "I ate cinnamon rolls and white cheddar Cheezly standing up in my kitchen between each taste." It was very Carrie Bradshawesque.

Vitasoy Holly Nog
Egg Nog Flavor: 3
Creaminess: 3
Thickness: 3.5
Spices: 4
Overall Flavor: 3

Silk Nog
Egg Nog Flavor: 3.5
Creaminess: 3
Thickness: 4
Spices: 3
Overall Flavor: 3.5

And the numbers are: Holly Nog-16.5 and Silk Nog-17 with Silk Nog as the winner. Vitasoy's version had a great creaminess and thickness to it, but the spices I found to be a tad overwhelming. With Silk Nog, there was still a creamy thickness AND a better balance of flavor.

I will admit, however, that Holly Nog tastes better in a white Russian. Especially if you use the espresso vodka I mentioned in my last post. I think the extra spices work well when it's added to something because it doesn't disappear in the background.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tofurky Day Redux

It's December already! What the hell? November went by so friggin fast.

And now I present to you the ultimate in Thanksgiving leftover sammiches:
Take two pieces of bread. Slather cranberry sauce on one side and dijon mustard on the other. Place tofurky (or equivalent) on the side with mustard and stuffing/dressing on the side with cranberry. Top both sides with mashed potatoes and gravy. The key is to use minimal ingredients. And serve with pickled okra, which is my latest obsession.
I hope everybody's holiday went well. I spent mine with my husband and family. We did Thanksgiving at my parents. I brought pumpkin baked ziti, the newly revamped and veganized Onion, Pepper, and Spinach Quiche Bites from Vegetarian Times, and some cookies.

The quiche bites were a huge hit. I'm happy to say that the changes I made were most excellent in a Bill and Ted sorta way.

Quiche Bites
1 Tbsp olive oil
nonstick spray
2 Tbsp bread crumbs (I used Panko)
1 10oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of liquid
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
3/4 cup grated white cheddar Cheezly (or whatever cheeze you like)
1/2 cup blended silken tofu
1 tsp arrowroot powder
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 tsp salt
16 2 inch square crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 glass casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and coat the bottom and 1/3 up the sides with the bread crumbs.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and bell pepper, cooking until soft. Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and place in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheeze.

In a food processor or blender, add the silken tofu, arrowroot, almond milk and salt and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture over the veggies and cheeze. Be sure to smooth it down and let it soak into the casserole.

Bake 45 minutes to an hour, until the casserole is a golden brown color. Cool completely before slicing into 16 pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature.
On Saturday, my husband and I had our own vegan Thanksgiving. I made a lot of recipes from the Nov 08 Vegetarian Times. We had tofurkey, pumpkin cornbread stuffing (idea stolen from Wes and made from Crystal's cornbread recipe), roasted sweet potatoes, champ, DEOTS gravy with mushrooms added, VT's green beans with walnuts and shallot crisps, VT's classic chestnut soup with marsala mushrooms (pictured above), VT's cranberry-pecan salad (also pictured above), and the holiday cranberry sauce from Vcon. Twas delicious.
I also made the lemon bars from Vcon after I made a pie from My Sweet Vegan that turned out horribly for me. The lemon part of these bars would make fantastic jello shots. Just sayin'...

Perhaps my greatest discovery this week was white Russians made with soy nog. Thanks, Pamela! I also found Seagram's espresso vodka at the liquor store and it has changed my life. LOVE!

Happy Holidays y'all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Inept Couriers and Easy Cheezy

It's that time of year again when almost every package I order gets lost. My local post office is filled with idiots who constantly deliver mail to the wrong house. I have lost numerous comic books this way. The latest thing is: a cd I ordered has gone missing. Then a netflix dvd disappeared. And all I got was this cellophane bag with my torn netflix sleeve in it. Now UPS let me down. Good thing my neighbor from a street over delivered it to me. It was filled with Vitasoy Chocolate Peppermint Soymilk, Papa Tofu and Vegan De Guadalupe. HOLLA!

The first thing I created was a veganized version of the Onion, Pepper, and Spinach Quiche Bites from Vegetarian Times (Nov/Dec 08,pg 38). I don't have a finalized recipe and probably won't until Thanksgiving. Changes I made: FYH monterrey jack for the gruyere, 1/2 cup blended silken tofu plus 1 teaspoon arrowroot for the eggs, and soy creamer for the milk. I also baked it for an hour because it took that long to brown. The result was good, but kinda sweet. Because the peppers and onions have natural sweetness, I plan to use unsweetened almond milk next time. Also, I will most likely be using Cheezly because people rave about it. I suggest letting these cool in a fridge completely before slicing. Serve at room temperature or hot.
Next up, I made some stuff from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak. Pictured below is the White Bean Boursin. I've never had boursin so I don't know how close it is. This was good though. Herby goodness, creamy, and salty. The umeboshi paste adds a tangy and salty punch. It couples with the creaminess of the white beans and really has a cheesy taste. I advise pairing this with unsalted things. It works great with baguettes and cucumbers.
I also made the Gruyere from the book. Never had gruyere before so I don't know if it compares. What I can say is that it was noochy, bitter from the tahini, and zingy from the lemon. It was good if you like nutritional yeast. It was pretty great in the French onion soup I made. And look how gooey:
Finally, I adapted Crystal's queso recipe and made chili con queso. I omitted the Rotel, added a bit more liquid and added crumbled chipotle sausage. I like this version more with a spicy Italian sausage because it reminds me of the stuff my mom used to make.
I'm getting back into food blog mode. There will be much commenting tomorrow. Also, I will be making pepper jack. Expect to see an original pesto jack recipe in the near future.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Great Cheeze Project

This is a quick entry to let you know what I'm doing and where I've been. After all the mofo stuff, I needed a great sabbatical. I'm still having fridge troubles and won't be able to buy a new one for another two weeks, so my fresh food stash is limited. This is the main reason I haven't been posting. I also still have about two days worth of mofo entries to read. Sorry I haven't been commenting on journals or responding...I just need to find the time to get back into food blog mode.

My next endeavor is an exploration of vegan cheeze. Besides eggs, it really is the hardest vegan substitute in my mind. I was never heavy into it, but I do miss things on occasion. I will be creating, using and reviewing recipes dealing with cheeze in all forms. I'll also be purchasing cheezes for a sort of "face off." Oddly enough, this all started with me trying to recreate the Canadian Cheese Soup I loved so much as a lacto veg.

I'm not going to make this entire thing about cheeze, though. With the holidays coming up, I have a ton of things I'd like to I hope to be back soon.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Iron Chef: Dia de Los Muertos

Whenever people talk about their grandparents I get kind of jealous. The thing is...I never really knew mine. My maternal grandfather died before I was born. My maternal grandmother died when I was seven. My paternal grandfather died when I was thirteen. And my only surviving grandparent is somebody I'm still not sure I want to know. There are issues dealing with my father's childhood and the way she treats my sister. But this isn't about her.
fried seitan, greens, macaroni and cheeze
This is about Grandmommy Peoples and Granddaddy Henry. My mom tells the story of how I first met my grandmother when we were coming back into the states from England. I had an accent then, so my grandmother found me to be quite hilarious. The classic story I've heard again and again is how I looked at her and said "Can I have a biscuit?" Her response was, "Baby, breakfast has been over for a few hours."

There are two memories that I have of my grandmother. The first one happened when I was about five. My sister was still a baby and I was so used to imaginary friends that I loved having other people around. Sometimes I'd ask my mom to play with me, but she thought it was funny to make my Barbies curse and fight each other. This annoyed me. Yes, even as a five year old. When my grandmother came to visit for a week I asked her to play tea party with me. And she did. We sat at the top of the stairs drinking imaginary tea. And I don't know how I knew it, but I felt how happy it made her to be sitting there with me.

The next memory I have is seeing her in the hospital. We moved to Abilene, TX when I was seven because my mom knew her mother was sick. And I remember waiting and watching her die of cancer. It was the first funeral I attended where I had actually seen and talked to the person. It was my first realization of what death truly meant. I have vivid memories of sobbing uncontrollably on the way to the cemetary. So much so that my father and uncle were brought to tears.
kale with sauteed onions and red bell pepper
My granddaddy is a man I didn't know too well. I know that I met him on that same trip back into the country. My dad never really told me stories so I don't know much of who he was. There's this picture that sits in my parents living room of my granddaddy in uniform saluting. I like to think of him like that. What I do remember is that not one birthday or Christmas went by without a card from him. I vaguely remember talking to him on the phone a few times when I was younger. He died of complications from gangrene after undergoing multiple amputations. I don't think my dad has ever gotten over his death.

Both of my grandparents had these long, drawn out deaths. I don't wish it on anybody. When I go, I don't want it to be a slow burn. I want it to be quick and quiet. I suppose I'm digressing. This was a hard entry to write. I cried even as I was thinking about what to make. And I cried again as I conjured up these memories to type them here. The loss never goes away. It gets easier to deal with, but it doesn't cease to exist.
macaroni and cheeze
Today is about remembering who these people were. They were magnificent people and lover's of soul food. Now, soul food can be whatever you want it to be. For me, it's traditionally Black southern cuisine. I think soul food, as a general rule, must start from nothing. Soul food is about barely scraping by and turning your food into a healing salve. Old spirituals, oral traditions and soul food is what gave hope to my ancestors. So I dedicate this to them. And most of all to my grandmother and grandfather. I hope you're both tearing it up in the next plane of existence.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy World Vegan Day!

If you're anything like me, you ate a huge plate of pasta so you could go grocery shopping on a full stomach. Then you realized it's the first of the month. Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Lonestar card carrying people everywhere. I turned around and went home. My local grocery store can barely function on a slow day.

I did end up going to Walgreens where I bought enough half off Halloween candy to put a small army into a sugar coma. I feel like I really scored with the Jujyfruits and Friends. Oh, and sorry about the bad lighting. I took it super fast so I could watch both Underworld movies.
I seriously do not know what I will do with all that candy. I think I'm gonna take some to an election day party. I also got me a bag of Sabritones. They're these chile limon chips that are made out of wheat. I buy them every once in a while. They have a lot of flavor so I can't eat ridiculous amounts of them. I hope you enjoyed your day! I still have a bunch of mofo entries to read so I better start doing that now.
This entry brought to you by Sabritones. The chile limon flavored puffed wheat snack with the authentic taste of Mexico!

Friday, October 31, 2008

VeganMoFo: Fin

So long! Farewell! If I knew how to spell the word, I'd type it right here! Good niiiiight. Good niiiiight. Gooooood niiiiiiight.

It has been so freaking awesome seeing vegans blog on the regular. I have laughed. I have cried. Not really. But the laughing was fun. I've definitely been in awe. It feels a little like what I'd imagine the last day of summer camp felt like. KIT! Stay cool! BFF!

I made dirt cake today. Actually, it wasn't so much "dirt cake" as it was "I spent 5 hours in Midas and didn't have time to go to Whole Foods for ingredients and I had to use up some super ripe bananas" cake.
Aren't the gummi worms cute? And they aren't even sour. After making this, I decided I wasn't going to use the Banyan Foods (based out of H Town) silken tofu for sweets anymore. It has an off taste. Almost bitter.

And I also lucked out as I waited for my car because I discovered a crazy recipe whilst thumbing through GQ Magazine. Mac N Cheeze soup! I veganized it, but I'll get the recipe posted soon.
Well, just wanted to say that it's been fun getting to know so many of you over this past month. I hope to still read stuff from y'all. I'm not gonna lie. I'm probably taking a sabbatical from cooked foods. I may even do the master cleanser because my stomach needs a break. For VeganMoFo, Martin OUT! more thing...HAPPY HALLOWEEN, Y'ALL! Stay safe. Don't eat any unwrapped candy, human or otherwise!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

VeganMoFo: A Little Sumthin' For the Ladies (of the Night)

Besides Tex Mex, I'd have to say Italian is my favorite cuisine. It reminds me of being young. Every Friday night when I was little, we'd eat penne pasta and tomato sauce. It was simple, and I'm not even sure if it was intentional. Those were the days. Family dinner and all that.

Nowadays, I don't consume as much pasta as I used to. This is surprising because my husband could eat it all day, everyday. He can cook exactly three things: enchiladas, fideo, and spaghetti. And the portions that man eats are insane. I don't know how he does it.

My husband and I have been living apart for almost a year now. It was only supposed to be a few months but now it's impossible for him to get here and help move our stuff until December. So this entry is really for him. Era, I'm eating pasta puttanesca and wishing you were here.
I served this with some garlic bread that I made from the French bread recipe in La Dolce Vegan. Topped the pasta with toasted pine nuts...just because. So good.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

VeganMoFo: Vegan Sno Ball Cupcakes

Because it's not snowing in Texas right now, I wanted something that reminds me of pink snow covered landscapes. If you've never had a Sno Ball before, I feel sorry for you a bit. It is the ultimate in disgusting junk food enjoyment.

Last month, I bit into a toasted coconut Sweet and Sara marshmallow. It was at that moment that I wondered why those lovely people haven't made a vegan version of Sno Balls already. Seriously. Their s'mores are basically moonpies...and that is a sweet, delicious miracle in its own right. If you have control of Sweet & Sara and happen to be reading this: banana! That is all. Banana moonpies were THE best.
This recipe was the Frankenstein's monster of desserts. Take Fauxstess Cupcakes, subtract the ganache and squigglies, add ricemellow creme, coconut extract and toasted coconut (dyed pink) and you got it, dude!
Next time I want to try My Sweet Vegan's ricemellow creme frosting because using the creme itself results in sticky, gooey insanity. I also wonder what melting a bunch of toasted coconut marshmallows would result in. And instead of using food coloring, I used maraschino cherry juice. What else was I gonna do with it?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

VeganMoFo: Everybody Loves Ramen

Check it: I got my PPK swap package yesterday. My partner was the lovely Brandi aka gear_shifter.
Included in the package: a gorgeous cupcake apron, chai tea, pacific red ginger soap, apple chips, chocolate mole Lara bar, Black Pearl chocolate bar (dark chocolate, ginger, wasabi and black sesame)...
Also...sea vegetables, handmade magnets, udon soup and teriyaki sauce
"seattle fucking washington" magnet
"the best day of my life" magnet
Well today is dedicated to the broke ass college student staple: ramen. I thrived off ramen when I first became vegan. Back then, I remember most of the soup bases I found were completely free of animal products. Then those jerk faces changed everything. Chicken fat in everything. Boo. So a couple of months ago, I ordered three packs of vegan ramen from Food Fight. The spicy dragon was my favorite.

I usually top my ramen with sauteed tofu and garlic. Then I coated everything in cock sauce. I realize most of you probably call it sriracha, but there's a rooster on it and I'm 12 years old.
Today I fried the tofu and coated it in the teriyaki that Brandi sent me. Super good. Now I feel compelled to buy a case of ramen and reminisce about being 19.

Monday, October 27, 2008

VeganMoFo: Blanket Forts and Cap'n Crunch

My earliest breakfast memory happened around this time of year. Picture, if you will, the late 80s. New Kids on the Block was rockin hard. I'm talking cartoons, coloring books, and sheets. It was a simpler time then. A time of stirrup pants and waterfall bangs. It was a time when you could actually maybe see snow in San Antonio. I couldn't have been any more than 6. I remember it being super cold one day, but I convinced my dad to let me and my baby sister build a fort in the backyard.

It wasn't much of a fort. We just threw some blankets up and huddled below them. We sat in the crisp autumn air, eating bowls of Cap'n Crunch and reading books. That cereal will always remind me of my youth and how freedom really feels. As a kid, you live in this world where everything is a possibility. Everything. And you trust everybody around you.

Then, one day, at the tender age of seven you discover Santa isn't real and that your parents have been lying to you for years. And you never view life the same way again. You feel duped and misanthropic. Trust? Gone. Possibility? Left with Santa and his nonexistent reindeer. And you long for those days of yesteryear when eating Cap'n Crunch in the freezing cold was fun and fulfilling. But you know it will never happen. You will continue on until you pass the second grade and move to the third...and life will only get harder and more complicated. And all you ever wanted was a fort and a bowl of effing cereal!

So. Today I made French toast out of the chocolate babka I made the other day. No pictures because it didn't photograph too well. However, it was freakin good. Here's the recipe for my French toast batter. I usually like mine made out of Texas toast. Because everything's better in Texas!

French Toast Batter
3 Tbsp chickpea flour
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
pinch of cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg
1 cup almond milk (or whatever you have)
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk dry ingredients together in medium bowl. Add almond milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

I encourage all of you to build a pillow fort today for nostalgia's sake. Then cuddle up with a good slasher flick because Halloween is only days away. I suppose there are, at least, a few things that make life good after you lose your innocence. Things that make me happy today: anything related to Joss Whedon, horror movies, teen movies, serial killer books, my puppies, my husband, blogging, John C. McGinley, and the fact that I already voted for Obama. Peace out, suckas!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

VeganMofo: Festivus Fanatic

Today marks the beginning of Food Memories Week. So every year around this time I begin planning our hugest party of the year: Festivus. It started in jest. One year we wanted to have a huge holiday party. About two weeks before the day, we cancelled it in order to have a small wine and cheese gathering. Only, not everybody got the memo. A bunch of friends came over, and we made it work. Festivus was born. Of course, we didn't call it that yet.

I'm a huge Seinfeld nerd. My husband bought me the complete series for our second anniversary. It runs deep, people. Anyway. We decided to make Festivus a tradition for a few reasons. I'm atheist. My husband's Catholic. Our friends range from Mormon to Agnostic. Festivus is fun and light hearted. But mostly, I wanted an all inclusive holiday for the season.

Our Festivus parties are always memorable. I have one rule. It is strictly vegetarian. There are exactly two non vegan things I serve: ranch dip and cheese cubes. I have found that omnis are far more receptive if they feel like they have an option.

Last year, to my suprise, a major hit of the party was a cheezeball I threw together. I had originally seen a recipe like this on the internet, but I couldn't find it anywhere when I searched today. So I just made up some stuff. It turned out well! If you do not like using fake cheezy products, I suggest trying this recipe or the cheddar version. I've tried the original, and it's pretty good.

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Cheezeball
1 pkg non-hydrogenated Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese,at room temperature
1 cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese
1/2 Tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, crumbled between fingertips
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 red bell pepper, roasted and diced
1 cup thinly sliced almonds

Mix all ingredients except the roasted pepper and almonds in a medium bowl. Stir in the roasted pepper. Place bowl in fridge or freezer to firm up a bit (maybe 30 minutes). Take the cheezeball mixture and roll in the almonds. Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm. Serve with crackers, chips or veggies.

And today I felt like discovering unchartered territories. So I have half a recipe for you. Deviled tofu. I will be serving this at my next Festivus. The actual deviled part of this is spot on! I need to work on the tofu part. For now, I'll tell you that I took 28 oz of tofu, pressed them, seasoned them, and baked them. I used nooch, salt, apple cider vinegar and oil. I need to perfect the recipe. Also, I'm fairly certain I only needed one block of tofu.

Deviled Tofu
*Note: This is an old recipe. The updated version can be found here*
24 squares of baked tofu
1 15 oz can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp Vegenaise
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
black salt (also known as kala namak) to taste
1-1 1/2 tsp dill relish, optional

Mix beans, Vegenaise and mustard in a food processor until smooth. The mix should be creamy. If it still isn't add water (1 Tbsp) at a time. Combine bean mixture and black salt in a small bowl. Taste it before adding the dill relish. You can also add turmeric for more of a yellow color if you want. Refrigerate until needed.

To use, just pipe this onto the tofu squares and sprinkle with paprika. This was really, really good!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to practice for feats of strength. Festivus, yes! Bagels, no!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

VeganMoFo: On Holiday

If I believed in being bitter, I'd definitely have something to say about my parents moving back to the U.S. before the accent stuck. I was born in Lakenheath to two Air Force parents. I had an English entire god family. I used to say things like "Mummy, can I have a biscuit?" Then my silly parents moved to Texas. What. The. Frack.

Today, I'm salutin' all willy nilly to the good ol' Union Jack. Fish and chips, yo! Well, sweet potato chips. It's like I married two cultures people!
I'd like to take this time to say it would be really neato if I could be taken back should McCain win this election. Lookit: I love baked beans on toast. Scones are a-ok. Spike is my favorite bleached blonde vampire. I sing Lily Allen songs in the car...IN BRITISH! I'm practically one of you. You owe it to my country! We threw tea in the water for you. It was a misunderstanding. We just wanted a spot of tea. Why the carnage? WHY THE CARNAGE?!
If you look super closely, you can see the nori I attached to the tofu. This was a bit salty. I thought the batter would be bland, but it wasn't. I soaked the tofu in Bragg's. Days like this I wish I hadn't given up beer. I'm definitely soaking the 'fu in beer next time. There is no need for salt really. The batter takes care of that.

I served this with some tartar and ketchup (or catsup) for the sweet potato oven fries. It was pretty much starch heaven!

Friday, October 24, 2008

VeganMoFo: In the Voice of Rachael Ray

Hey guys! Welcome to 30 Minute Meals. A few years ago, I made an interesting pizza casserole. Well dontcha know, decided to make its navigation as complicated as possible so I couldn't find the recipe. Well, I decided to make something for all our veggie friends today. I promise that it is supremely YUM-O!
So, you want to start off with a little EVOO. Add some thinly sliced onion and cook until translucent. Meanwhile, chop all your veggies and boil a pot of water for your pasta. Want to know what I added? You betcha! Garlic, orange and red bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, kalamatas and capers. Get those little guys a cookin'! Then you'll add your favorite spices. For me...that's fennel seed, rubbed sage, salt, and crushed red pepper.
Now you want to add pizza sauce. Use your favorite recipe. Today, I used canned crushed tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, soy creamer, ground cashews, salt and pepper. When everything's done just mix the sauce, pasta and veggies together and throw the whole thing in a casserole dish. Top with soy cheeze if you like...and heat in the oven. How good is that?!
While everything's cooking, I'll take this time to tell you that my family calls red wine vinegar "everyday vinegar." ::snort:: That has nothing to do with this recipe, but it's something you guys should know, ya know? Also Worcestersheershire sauce has everything but the kitchen sink in it! It's got anchovies and juniper berries and-- ERROR! ERROR! Girl, you know it's-- Girl, you know it's-- Girl, you know it's-- Girl, you know it's--

True. Worcestersheershire has nothing to do with this meal. It's just something everybody should know. Like how serving this over romaine lettuce is beyond delicious. Just sayin'.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

VeganMoFo: Banana Cream Pie Pudding

It's banana pudding meets banana cream pie..sorta. This was stoopid good! I discovered some vegan nilla wafers at Dollar General today. They are sweeter and crunchier than the real ones, but they did the job. I super recommend getting a vanilla cookie from Whole Foods or something. It will up the health factor.
Here's what I did. I took a 3.4 oz thing of Jello instant pudding (banana cream flavored) and mixed it with a 12 oz block of silken tofu and 1/2 cup of soy creamer. Then you layer vanilla wafers, bananas, and pudding. Top with soy whipped cream and sliced almonds. Of course, you can use the healthier organic puddings. Just stick to vanilla or banana puddings.
If you aren't eating this right away, then I would definitely spoon everything into individual parfait glasses so you can top with whipped cream right before serving.

And oh happy friggin day. I was finally set to take pictures of my freezer and I discovered that a bag of ice had melted because it isn't freezing properly. I had to throw away A LOT of stuff. But here's what's left...
In no particular order: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, yeast, peanuts, pine nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, raisins, crystallized ginger, cornmeal, shredded coconut, unsweetened chocolate, bag of Sjaak's mini chocolates.
Three kinds of flax seeds. Regular, golden, and ground. Not very interesting. I thrived off of nuts and seeds when I was doing the raw detox. They are very good to have around.

Anyway. Because of my freezer woes, I couldn't make what I really wanted. I promise it will blow your mind. As soon as I get this thing checked out, it will so be on!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

VeganMoFo: Chickpea Croquettes

Well, howdy y'all! I decided to veganize this Paula Deen recipe for salmon croquettes today. It seemed easy enough and didn't require too many ingredients.

So I made chickpea croquettes. I kept the recipe super basic so I didn't stray too much from Deen's recipe. The next time I make these, I will definitely add some bell pepper...maybe even Old Bay seasoning. The recipe is very adaptable to personal tastes. I served these with some tartar sauce. I ran out of dill relish so I had to use capers.

Chickpea Croquettes
*Note: This recipe has only been tested once.  Prepare at your own risk*
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp Vegenaise
juice of 1/2 a small lemon (less if you don't like zing!)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp kelp powder
2 green onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste

bread crumbs
nonstick spray ( NOT try this with oil like the original recipe)

Mash chickpeas in a medium bowl until fairly uniform, but they still have distinct shape. Mix in the Vegenaise, lemon juice, bread crumbs and kelp powder. Stir in the green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat nonstick spray in a medium skillet over medium heat. Divide the chickpea mixture into four balls and flatten into patties. Cover with bread crumbs before frying. Cook until golden brown on both sides.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

VeganMoFo: Stay On The Road. Keep Clear of the Moors.

That's the only U.K. pop culture reference I could conjure. This, my friends, has nothing to do with the crazy characters from An American Werewolf in London. Today I went all international and made some Scottish and Irish fare.

Haggis and Champ. I know, I know. Haggis?

Most people think "blech" when vegan haggis is mentioned. I was at the top of that list. In fact there were at least two things I would have rather done than eat vegan haggis: go feet first through a meat grinder and swim in a pool of natto. Alas, I decided to open my mind. JCD from the PPK gave me a recipe. She said she loved it with potatoes. So I read the recipe and it sounded fantastic. Oats, vegetables, nuts, beans and spices. It's stuffing! What the hell? If I knew that, I would have made it ages ago. I have the American measurements if you are interested in making this.

So to accompany my haggis, I remembered my love of champ. The first time I had it was at Kieran's Irish Pub in Minneapolis. It was bombtastic. I found and veganized a recipe. Top this sucka with a little melted Earth Balance and it's on!

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup soy creamer
1/4 cup Earth Balance
1 bunch green onions, sliced

Cook potatoes in pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring soy creamer and Earth Balance to simmer in heavy small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Mix in green onions. Remove from heat. Cover and let steep while potatoes cook.

Drain potatoes thoroughly. Return potatoes to same pot and mash. Add cream mixture and stir until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover; let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over low heat, stirring often.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

VeganMoFo: Menudo Monday

I took the weekend off by accident. Saturday I was helping some friends move and I spent all day in Austin competing in a poetry scrimmage. Yesterday I was recovering from Saturday.

Speaking of recovering, I was fiending for some vegan menudo on Sunday. I couldn't make it to Green because I lacked any energy to drive anywhere. I ended up eating beanie weenies. Not nearly as fulfilling.

So I spent this afternoon making menudo. I'm about 95% happy with the recipe. I need to fine tune it before I post it anywhere. I don't know how much salt I put in it at all. Plus canned hominy is not of the greatness.

Here it is, sans cilantro because I forgot to get some at the store. It's a little nekkid, but it was pretty damn good. Not too spicy, but it had that nice back of the throat kick

Friday, October 17, 2008

VeganMoFo: Attack of the Killer Vegans

I just got season three of How I Met Your Mother on dvd. I was watching it last night, and my ears perked up when I heard the word "vegan." Shortly after that, I became incredibly disappointed. I often wonder when the entertainment industry will start reflecting veganism as a legitimate lifestyle...and the only one that is truly environmentally sound. How hard is it to come up with the same tired lines about how bad vegan food is? We aren't all granola crunchin', patchouli smellin' hippies! Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I tried to think of all the shows I've seen where veganism was mentioned. Note that I have watched a ridiculous amount of movies and I know I'm missing some stuff. Buffy, Kitchen Confidential, Sex and the City, Felicity (I'm not 100% on this) and countless others have all referenced veganism. Almost anytime veganism is mentioned on television or in the movies it turns to: the food is bad, the people are crazy activists, and/or the people are weird hippies.

Quite frankly, I'm sick of it. There has to be better representation. I feel like we are stuck in the counterculture because there is such a stigma attached to the word "vegan." And the more I think about it, the more I want to wreck shit up! Are you with me? Let's riot! Break some windows! Graffiti some walls! Viva la revolucion, guey!


Okay. Instead of rioting, I'm fairly certain I'm gonna just write Emily Deshanel or Hart Hanson and tell them to make Bones a vegan already. She could explain it with facts about factory farming and pollution and whatnot. Or keep it super she doesn't believe death should be the foundation of life. And if that doesn't work, I'm gonna riot.

And for now, I'll leave you with positive portrayals of veganism:

Pepper Ann-I'm fairly certain her family was vegan. If I remember correctly, they were always talking about tofu. Of course, I might be confusing her family with Patty Mayonnaise's.
House-A vegan couple's baby is dying. Everybody wants to call cps because they think veganism is abusive for the child. The couple responds that they talked to a nutritionist and nothing was wrong with what they fed the baby. House confirms that the baby's ailment has nothing to do with veganism.
Glory Days-Back in '02, when I was a WB whore, Poppy Montgomery and Eddie Cahill starred on a short lived show called Glory Days. This show was effing awesome. I can't remember if they ever actually said Poppy Montgomery was a vegan. But she only ate tofu omelettes and soy lattes. So...another point for the team.
Year of the Dog-This is a great animal rights movie. And I love that Molly Shannon goes vegan. I believe John C. Reilly thinks she's weird for that, but he was a big douche. So, the obvious message was: If you think veganism is weird, then you are a big douche.
Popular-I'm not sure on this one. I'm gonna go ahead and say that Lily is a good portrayal. This show also rocked. Short lived on the WB was the way of my life, man! Put this show on your netflix. It's effing hilarious. Anyway. She was at least vegetarian. I know for sure she was an activist. There was an entire episode dedicated to the pain that lobster's feel when cooked...and they got an award for it too!

And on a serious note...who's down to start a

Thursday, October 16, 2008

VeganMoFo: Sippin' on Some Sizzurp

When it comes to alcohol, I am a vodka girl all the way. I've tried a lot of alcohol in my life. I think most of the time between 18 and 21 was spent drunk or standing over porcelain. I started off with wine coolers and worked my way into liquor. The thing I love about vodka is that it's powerful but the flavor is subtle. Of course, this totally depends on you getting middle to top shelf. Bottom shelf tastes of rubbing alcohol. And seriously...the smell of McCormick makes me gag.

Today, I discovered that Polar Ice makes Huckleberry flavored vodka. I'm drawn to all things purple, so I had to try it.

Now vodka isn't vodka without cranberry juice. I am pretty anti soda. I find that cranberry gives me the sweetness I want without being too sweet. I like 100% juice so I got a cran-grape blend.

My drink of choice is a Cape Cod. It's easy to make, not incredibly sweet and really hard to mess up. Bow down to the queen!

Whenever I want to cut back on sugar or calories, I like a vodka sodas with a splash of cranberry. I accidentally picked up tonic instead of club soda. But it ended up really good. This is a huckleberry vodka tonic with a splash of cranberry.

Other vodka things that rock the casbah: Absolut Los Angeles (acerola, acai, pomegranate, and blueberry) and extra dirty vodka martinis.

And keeping with the posting while drunk theme...I made vegan Bailey's Irish Cream. What the hell am I gonna do with all this? Suggestions?

And I snapped a picture before I got buzzed. I swear I just take bad pictures. This was the first sip of the first drink.

Well, I have a gang of mofo entries to read. I haven't read anything since Monday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

VeganMoFo: It's Amore, Fool

Two things you need to know about me is: 1) I'm crazy and 2) I'm poet. Three things poets love: sex, booze, and late night foodstuffs. While in Madison, WI this year for the National Poetry Slam, I spent many a night outside of Ian's. It was the spot for all the poets. I saw the slices people were getting. Three pizzas I had to veganize: macaroni and cheese, kalamata tapenade and roasted red pepper, and pesto portobello. Now the crazy...

Setting: my kitchen. Soundtrack: Dashboard Confessional's The Swiss Army Romance. Mission: pizza three different ways. Oh, and my fridge is already filled to the max with leftovers.

First up kalamata tapenade and roasted red pepper stromboli. I spread the tapenade over the dough, topped with Teese, and added strips of roasted pepper. Very delicious.

Next I made the mac and cheeze pizza. Word booty. It looks better if you don't walk away. This pie is what I like to call "well done." I halved my mac and cheeze recipe and topped with FYH cheddar, Teese, and cracked black pepper. This picture is darker because the lighting in my kitchen is horrible at night.

I'm saving the best for last, yo! This was amazing. I made pesto portobello calzones. For the marinara I combined 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, lemon juice, pepper, sugar, and Italian seasoning. I spread some marinara, topped with Teese, portabellos and pesto. So friggin good!

Well, the next few days will have nothing to do with cooking. I have some leftovers to work through.