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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

VeganMofo: Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Not much to say. I dedicate this to RayRay from BjorkedOff for being the hugest/smallest peanut butter lover in the world! Holler.

AutumnVegan's PB&J Thumbprint Cookies are pretty much bomb explosive. I love these so much.

PB&J Cupcakes. Vanilla cuppers with grape or strawberry jam inside. The grape ones have the chocolate jimmies on top.

PBC&J Panini. I used to work in a restaurant. I was a hostess and I dressed up as Foxxy Cleopatra. The chef there created a dessert called PB&J dessert cakes. He got the idea when he toasted one piece of bread in a PB&J sammich and added chocolate chips. Here's what you do for the awesome... Grill a PB&J. Make sure your peanut butter and jelly are cold before starting. Once the peanut butter is gooey, add chocolate. It's best if it's dark so the thing isn't too sweet. This picture looks like sandwich splooge, but it's so frickin good.

And here are the Strawberry Banana Brownies I mentioned yesterday.
Tomorrow, I'm having a pizza party. I swear when VeganMofo is done, I am going raw for a year. I'm still recovering from the Ladies Brunch Hot Dog Roll Ups.

Monday, October 13, 2008

VeganMoFo: Feeding Jessica Stein

One thing my friends know about me is that I am obsessed with all things pop culture related. I am especially good at movies and tv shows. For the longest time I only ever had two dvds...Buffy Season 2 and Fight Club. I cannot tell you how much I watched those. His name is Robert Paulson.

Once I started buying dvds, a collection was born. And I collect a lot. In fact, I just bought Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Garbage Pail Kids Movie today. Why? Because my nearest Best Buy still doesn't have the special edition of Sex and the City. Grr.

Anyway. I think movies and food are intertwined. Most people eat some popcorn when they watch a flick. I go for twizzlers or sour patch kids. I'm digressing though.

Today I made food based on the movie Kissing Jessica Stein. This movie is everything I look for in a film: neurotic, hilarious, feminist, interesting, non judgmental and unexpected. When I was 18 or so, two of my friends told me I had to see this movie. "It's about a woman who is so tired of dating she gets intrigued by a classified ad. Then she finds out the ad is women seeking women...and she answers it anyway," they said. I was thinking it would be lame and predictable. I was wrong.

Kissing Jessica Stein is written by two women, and it is such a refreshing film. So I wanted to make food that would kinda match the tone. Every element has an alleged aphrodisiac in it. I don't have any actual recipes. I kinda cooked organically for the most part because that's what the film is like. Here are the elements:

Pea Salad-peas, roasted red pepper, kalamatas, garlic, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper
Seitan Cutlets w/ Lemon-Rosemary Sauce (over mashed potatoes and asparagus)-I used the Vcon recipe for the cutlets, but I cut back the wheat gluten to 1 cup and added 2 tablespoons each of nooch and chickpea flour.
Helluva Brownies-Okay. If you've seen the movie, you'll remember this. When Jessica gets caught by Liz at the market. Strawberry Banana brownies. I adapted the Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownie recipe from Vcon. Leave out the 1/2 cup of whole chocolate chips, blueberries and blueberry jam. Add a cup of mashed ripe banana to the batter before pouring it into the pan. Drop spoonfuls of strawberry jam on top. Swirl the batter before placing in the oven. Top with fresh strawberries, banana, almonds and chocolate sauce. These were the shizzle, yo.

Sorry no pictures today. I have a flippin sinus headache and by the time everything was done it was dark. Pics coming tomorrow though. In fact, I'm just gonna do a photo blog.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

VeganMoFo: Ladies Brunch Hot Dog Roll Up

So what’s that ladies? You want to bring some real class to your next vegan brunch or tea party? How about stuffing some not dog, bac’n, and cheeze into a soy burger patty? It’s lady like because it’s small on size and big on taste! In fact, it’s so dainty it’ll make you smack yo mama. Tell her I said hello.

I know I was gonna post my Iron Chef entry. However, I have to bow out because my pears are so not popping. Whatchu know bout me? They aren’t ripe and I don’t want to waste my food. Here’s what I’m makin: Raw Spiced Cheezecake with Pear and Cardamom Sauce. I will post about it later this week…as soon as my fruit is ready.

Today, I talk about this monstrosity. After viewing this thread at the PPK, I just had to make it. It sounded so disgusting that I needed to try it. There were some problems with it for me in it's original form, though. First of all, there was no way in hell I was eating something that huge. Secondly, if I didn’t like it I didn’t want it to be wasted. I had the genius idea of making it into mini patties and serving in mini buns about a month ago. It’s a hot dog roll down, if you will.
I didn’t grill these. I fried them in a bit of olive oil, which was the healthiest thing about them. It doesn’t taste bad. It definitely needs condiments, though. It’s a bit dry and surprisingly bland despite all the use of fake products.

I did up a batch of mini hamburger buns topped with poppy and sesame seeds. I can’t remember where I got the recipe. I usually have my hot dogs with mayo on the bun, mustard and dill relish. However, this is more burger-y. So ketchup, mustard and pickle are the way to go.
This was easily the most fun I’ve ever had while cooking. I’m not sure anything can top this. Am I right? Hey ladies! Get funky.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

VeganMoFo: Like Christmas in July

Because there is no justifiable reason for hot cocoa in Texas right now. Well, maybe one reason. Today I did a couple of recipes from More Than Twigs and Berries by PPK regular, JCD. I tested for this zine last year and still hadn't done too many recipes.

Cocoa with Sweet and Sara's toasted coconut marshmallows

My favorites that I tested were definitely the sweeter version of the cocoa, sweet and sour green beans, coconut rice, super ginger version of the ginger veef and the Nanaimo squares. So today I wanted to get back and do a recipe that frightened me. Perogies. I've never had a perogi before. Dough scares me. Seriously. I feel claustrophobic when dough gets stuck to my hands. I don't like it at all.

So I halved the recipe (because it's just me) and I froze half the dough I had. I made the potato and caramelized onion version. It was a combination of yukon golds, red onion and some garlic. I did the boil method and topped it off with melted butter that had fresh thyme in it. It was beyond awesome.

perogi guts
Today is the end of cookbook week. Definite staples for me now are the Curried Split Pea Soup (VWAV), Vegetable Stew with Herbed Dumplings (DEOTS) and this perogi recipe. I know what I'm doing for Iron Chef tomorrow. It's gonna be a raw dish.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I am gonna watch season 2 of The Office. Word to ya motha.

Friday, October 10, 2008

VeganMoFo: Gourmet Wine Tasting

Because cheese crackers are so classy. Let's take a moment and talk about the awesome that is Eco Planet's non dairy cheddar crackers. Those things are like vegan crack. Seriously addictive. Rec-o-gnize!

Anyway. In a couple of weeks I am dedicating a day to alcohol. Today, I wanted to get into wine pairing. I don't know much about wine. I know that I generally like whites and loathe reds. I picked up a Smoking Loon Viognier and a Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon today. I made me a plate of the aforementioned cheese crackers, strawberries, black grapes, Teese and bread soaked in olive oil and toasted.
I basically tasted the wine by itself, took notes on my initial impression, then tasted it with each item. This is totally not scientific. This is me getting my buzz on at 3 in the PM. Here are the results:

Smoking Loon Viognier
Sweet, fruity, spicy

Grapes-Made the wine a bit bitter.
Crackers-Not very good.
Strawberries-Made the wine tasteless.
Bread-Quite tasty.

Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon
Sweet, barrel-ly

Grapes-Made the wine bitter.
Crackers-Really quite tasty.
Strawberries-Super bitter.
Bread-Yum to the max.
At the end of the day, that Viognier is effing great to drink but I'm not about to pair it with anything. And the Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with things, but tastes like booty (b-b-booty). And Teese should not be paired with wine. Blech. Also today I made the Curried Split Pea Soup from VWAV. So stinking good. I'm eating it right now even. This is such a delicious soup. The picture so does not do it justice.
Tomorrow, I'm typing my entry a lot earlier. And I can't wait until Iron Chef ingredients are revealed.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

VeganMoFo: Grape Expectations and Random Things

A duck walks into a bar and says to the bartender: Got any grapes? The bartender looks confused and responds: Uh…no. So the duck shrugs and walks out.

The next day the duck walks back in. The bartender asks: What can I get for you, sir? The duck asks: Got any grapes? The bartender says: No. I told you that yesterday. The duck leaves the bar.

The next day the duck saunters up to the bartender and says: Hey bartender, got any grapes? The bartender is livid: NO, Duck! This is a bar! I do not have any grapes. You come in here again, and I’m gonna staple your beak shut! The duck shakes his head and walks out.

A couple of days later the duck walks in the bar and asks: Do you have any staples? The bartender looks confused: Of course not! This is a bar, Duck. We have alcohol. So the duck responds: Well any grapes?
So last night I decided that black grapes were my favorite. Green are too tart and red are too sweet. It’s a done deal. I’m telling you people: black grapes will turn a room. At my Festivus celebration of 2007, the big hit was my grapes. Go fig.

So I decided to make a list of my favorite fruits…in no particular order.

1. Watermelon-my favorite fruit of all time. In the summer I like to cut it in chunks and freeze it. It is so good that way.
2. Bananas-They can never really go bad. I like to eat them when they still have some green on the top. Otherwise, I use them for cooking.
3. Plums-black are my favorite. They are the least tart to me.
4. Mango-This is the fruit equivalent of sex. Think about it.
5. Black cherries-And now I feel I am being discriminatory when it comes to my fruit. So I also LOVE Rainer cherries.
6. Figs-Are too delicious for words.

And going along with today’s random theme, I did a big order from Vegan Essentials and last week. Pictured below is everything I got today. I love ordering things. It feels like Christmas.

Clockwise from 12: "Meat Free Zone" sign, American Dreamz, Aesop Rock's Labor Days, Sweet and Sara's toasted coconut marshmallows, Teese (which will be used for EVIL), Sjaaks Peanut Butter and Almond Butter Cups, "Veggie Chick" Button, "All My Heroes Have FBI Files" Button, Sweet and Sara's S'mores (regular and pb), Surf Sweets sour Gummi worms (vegan dirt cake, WHAT?!), Lucky # Slevin
I’m running behind a little on cooking. I made Vegan Planet’s Spicy Soy Stromboli yesterday. It wasn’t spicy, but it was very good. Lots of veggies and tofu. My first time making stromboli so the pictures were crap. I didn’t make anything today, but plan to cook two things tomorrow.

Happy Thursday, y’all!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

VeganMoFo: Pro Choice

I just got off the phone with my sister. We were having an interesting conversation about ignorant people thinking Juneteenth is a joke of a holiday. If you want to see me go from calm to militant in a split second, say some stupid shit about anyone’s celebration of freedom. I think acceptance and understanding are the words of the day here. And not just of other cultures, social standings and nationalities…

Talking to my sister made me realize how great I’ve had it. My road to veganism was paved by the family members and friends who stood by and supported my every need. I’ve heard so many horrendous stories about people slipping non vegan products into food or being denied a vegan alternative at family gatherings… All of it makes me super appreciative of what I have.

Sophomore year of high school I had some friends that were obsessed with the ska movement. They went vegetarian and got on my last nerve always telling me “Meat is murder!” as I ate my ham sammich. In fact the more they got into my face, the less I cared about it all. One Fourth of July (and months after my friends had converted back to omnivorism) I sat at my kitchen table holding a chicken leg. That little vein thing was staring me in my eye, and I almost puked. I told my dad I was going vegetarian. My younger sister joined me for the ride.

At the time, my mother was stationed in Saudi. She was worried for us because my father wasn’t really capable of vegetarian cuisine. My sister and I took it slow. We cut out beef and pork immediately. For a few months, we thrived off of tuna helper and ground poultry products. After a while, the smell of chicken and turkey blood haunted me. So we gave up poultry. Seafood was the last thing to go, and it’s still one of my only meat cravings. It took about 6 months for my sister and me to become true vegetarians.

When my mother came back, she made it a habit to always serve a vegetarian option with each meal. My entire family supported us and always made sure we were accommodated for. My family was always about freedom. We could eat what we wanted. We had vocal freedom as long as it remained respectful. Generally speaking, my parents were pretty easygoing and wanted us to form our own identities. And my friends were proud of me. They were always interested in my school lunches. I spent the first year or so eating a ridiculous amount of salads, so I guess I was kinda boring.

The way I went vegan was not my proudest moment. After four years, I broke my vegetarianism. I ate all the seafood I could handle for about a week. I justified every death that filled my belly. Then I got majorly depressed and felt a huge need to repent, so to speak. I told my family I was going vegan the very next day. My sister didn’t join me on this one, and eventually turned omni. I know!

But nothing changed. To this day, my family loves to try all my vegan cooking. My mother always makes sure I have an option when I come to visit. My friends always let me pick the restaurant and make sure to have vegan things on any party menu. In my world, I’m not “the crazy vegan.” The people surrounding me treat me with respect and acceptance of my beliefs. Most of them even swell with pride. Okay. Maybe not..swell. But I do know this: I’ve always had the right to choose and I’m thankful everyday for that.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

VeganMoFo: All the Leaves Are Brown

Not really. But since the tree in my front yard is shedding and the temperature is dropping, I decided to make the Fall Fruit Salad from Vegan Italiano by Donna Klein.

A few things about this fruit salad. First of all, I highly encourage you to get incredibly contrasting colors. I thought I was doing grapes, pink apples (I can't remember what kind) and I believe those are bosc pears. However, once everything came together it looked pretty boring.

There are two issues I have with this fruit salad. First of all, there's not a whole lot going on texturally. Yes, the grapes and walnuts offer pop and crunch. But if you use ripe pears and ripe banana (as the recipe calls for it) then it's pretty mushy. Not in a bad way...but I think I really would have preferred crisp pears.

Secondly, it's a fruit salad with sugar. Granted, it's only a tablespoon...but that just irks me. I don't think there was nearly enough lemon juice to warrant sugar.

Overall, I felt it left something to be desired. It's nothing more than a mediocre bowl of fruit with walnuts in it. This is the only "meh" recipe I've had from this book so I still urge you to get it.

I also posted in Lone Star Plate about a food memory from my high school days. You can check it out here. And I'll leave with a pic to entice you over to the Texas blog.
Senora Pritts' Easy Black Beans served with fried plantains