Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Tale of Two Pies

Thanksgiving this year was kinda ridiculous. We had guests coming but they couldn't make it because one of the kids got sick. Era and I had a decent amount of food, but it got done so late that I couldn't photograph it. My kitchen has no overhead lighting. There's one small fixture that is supposed to light the kitchen and dining room. Ridiculous! But the dinner was absolutely delicious and drama free.

Clockwise from top: cornbread dressing, cranberry, mac n cheeze, green beans, wellington w/ madeira gravy, cajun corn maque choux, champ, roasted brussels/sweet potatoes/onions, and seitan roast w/ mushroom gravy.

My absolute favorites were the wellington and the cajun corn maque choux.  These will be staples at every Thanksgiving henceforth!  Ha ha.

What I was really looking forward to was the pie.  In my pregan days I was all about the lemon meringue and pecan.  Of course these are probably the hardest pies to veganize.  I just have to be difficult.  I made Bryanna Clark Grogan's Reliable Vegan Pecan Pie.  Unfortunately, it wasn't so reliable for me.  The filling tasted good, but it really didn't set.  Somewhat disappointing because it means I'm still on a quest for great pecan pie.

What wasn't a disappointment: the lemon pie with cheesecake topping and shortbread streusel.  It was just a combo of a few recipes.  I used a premade crust and baked it according to directions, but took it out a little early.  I used this recipe for lemon filling and let it set.  I topped it with the Mini Ice Box Cheesecake from My Sweet Vegan (leave out the lemon juice and add 2 tsps of tapioca starch).  Then I topped it with the Old-Fashioned Pie-Plate Shortbread recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I didn't add too much because this was my first time making it, but it was good.  After I assembled the pie, I threw it in the oven at 375 until the shortbread turned a little golden.  SO GOOD.

And now for a cocktail "recipe."

Spiced Caucasian
lowball glass
1 oz coffee liqueur (recommended: Kahlua)
1 oz espresso vodka (recommended: Seagrams)
vegan nog

Fill a lowball glass with ice.  Pour coffee liqueur and espresso vodka over the ice.  Top with nog and give it a little stir.  Enjoy the deliciousness.

Triple Caffeinated Caucasian variation: replace regular coffee liqueur with mocha liqueur (recommended: Kahlua).

Perfect for sipping on while you lounge around in your bathrobe.  Mmm.  I hope everybody had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Green Eggz N Hamm and PB&J French Toast Sticks

Green tofu and seitan ham just doesn't have the same ring to it.  Ha ha.  So, for VeganMoFo I was supposed to do a Food Network Friday featuring these two recipes.  It was funny.  I was actually watching Food Network that week (which I rarely do since my class started) and the show was about green eggs and ham and pb&j pancakes!  I was pretty stoked.  It fit in with my food memories theme, but I never got around to making it last month.

This morning I decided to make it finally.  Instead of spending a bunch of time veganizing the recipes, I just went with what I knew.  Plus, it took forever because I made pesto, seitan and pesto jack (more on that later) from scratch before I started making the scramble.  So I opted to make pb&j French toast sticks instead of the pancakes.

For the tofu, I made a scramble out of zucchini, spinach, and red bell pepper (for color).  I salted and sauteed the vegetables until soft and a lot of the liquid was gone.  Then I added the crumbled tofu and cooked for about 10 minutes more.  I turned off the heat and stirred in huge spoonfuls of pesto until it was geen enough for me.

I ended up using Isa's recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance.  I made two changes based on what I had.  I did 2 cups basil and 1 cup spinach.  I also did half toasted sunflower seeds and half toasted pepitas instead of the walnuts.  Era and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I wasn't expecting much from the French toast, but it was so freaking good!  Of course, this means that I didn't write the recipe down.  The batter was simple: So Delicious plain unsweetened coconut milk, some creamy natural peanut butter, chickpea flour, whole wheat pastry flour, cinnamon, and vanilla.  I've gotta recreate this stuff.

I topped it with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and some cherry preserves.  I love breakfast so freaking much!!!!

Back to the pesto jack...I got it in my head to tweak The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook's jack block uncheese.  Last year I made the pepper jack, but I remember it being too oniony.  Plus, I wanted to try to make it feel less jellied.  The result wasn't great.  It wasn't bad, but I upped the cashews and didn't change the other spices enough so the flavor wasn't as well rounded as I'd like.  The texture was better than I remembered though.  I'll post some pics tomorrow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanks4Giving Me Dandies!

I love this time of year.  Some people hate it, but the only thing I really hate are those cinnamon scented brooms that stink up every grocery store.  I love fall/winter/holiday season.  There is nothing cozier than curling up on the couch, downing Spiced Caucasians*, whilst watching Bill Murray's brilliant performance in Scrooged.  I like all the shiny lights and pumpkin love and cornbread dressing with the cranburrrry**.  Oh, I completely forgot to mention that I avoid every store and holiday sale like the plague.  I think this keeps me hella sane.

Today was awesome.  Era and I went shopping for our Thanksgiving menu.  First, we went to Target to replace the food processor that he broke.  Take all my appliances away and I could get by with the food processor.  I felt so lonely without one!

Next, we went to Winco because I love their bulk section and the prices are okay.  Today's discovery: bulk corn chips with flax seed in them.  REPEAT: they frickin have Fritos with flax seed in them!  So good.  I was dreaming of making frito pie with them.  Maybe next time.

Next was Fresh and Easy where they have the inexpensive olive oil.  They also had boxes of cereal on sell for 15 cents!  Era only wanted two.  I would've gotten at least twice that much.  Oh well.

We ended the trip by driving up to Clark's Nutrition, where I bought 2 containers of silk nog, 1 container of rice nog, and West Soy's chocolate peppermint stick (never tried it before).  The holidays are lonely without Holly Nog because that stuff tasted insanely good with some booze.  I also discovered that the place now sells Dandies!  YES!  Now, I just have to figure what to do with them because last time I just ended up eating them out the bag.

This store is getting to be seriously awesome.  They got Teese recently, now Dandies, and looky what I found today:

Yeah, it's a crappy cell phone pic, but that is 1 gallon's worth of Vegenaise!  Seriously.  I contemplated getting it, then realized I don't have an army living with me.  But it's awesome to know I could purchase the stuff if I ever had to make a lot of pea salad!

So, I've finalized the Thanksgiving menu.  It's not mini because I have a lot of stuff to make and it would take way long.  Plus, we're entertaining, yo!

Thanksgiving '09
Mixed Greens w/ Vcon Mediterranean Vinaigrette
Everday Dish TV's Turkey Roast (half recipe filled with cornbread stuffing)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Onions, and Sweet Potatoes (w/ the roast)
Bryanna Clark Grogan's Seitan Wellington (half recipe)
Cornbread Stuffing
Macaroni (sans bread crumbs and veggies)
Irish Champ (doubled recipe)
Cajun Corn Maque Choux (made with Vegan Dad's andouille)
Vcon's Mushroom Gravy
Bryanna Clark Grogan's Pecan Pie
Cheesecake topped Lemon Pie w/ Shortbread Streusel

*tentative title, loosely based on the Dude's love of white russians :)
**misspelled on purpose because you must pronounce it kran-burr-reh

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Breakfast Pizza

Guess what's back, y'all?!  Candy Cane Joe-Joe's!  Guess what I still haven't seen?  Silk Nog.  What the fizzle?  I am starting to jones for my favorite holiday drink which I kindly stole and adapted from Pamela last year.  It currently doesn't have a name.  I'd love to hear any ideas.  I was thinking a spiced white russian, but that's not hilarious or clever.

It's basically a white russian made with espresso vodka, nog, and kahlua.  Last year, I got my family and my sister's coworker hooked on the stuff.  It's like liquid crack.  Hopefully, I can find some nog before Thanksgiving.

Anyway.  Today, I woke up with a burning desire for breakfast pizza!  I remember eating this stuff as a kid every once in a while.  It was my favorite.  I only knew two things this morning: there was no way in hell tomato sauce would touch the thing, and I wanted a biscuit crust.

What I basically did was take this biscuit recipe and press it into the bottom of my dish.  I baked it initially for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees.  Then I layered one thinly sliced russet potato (boiled slightly after slicing and seasoned with salt and pepper), 1/4 cup bacn bits, tofu scramble (with shallots, kale and red bell pepper), and spicy tempeh sausage queso (a recipe I'm working on).  Then I heated it for about 20 minutes.  It was super good.  When I was taking the photo, a bee was trying to attack me.  Good times.  The pizza was greeeeeeat, though.

Tomorrow I'm going to see if I can make some eggnog ice cream, dammit!  I'll try to post the results soonish.  Have a good Saturday.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thanksgiving Ideas

I don't know about you, but I have to plan out what I eat for Thanksgiving every year.  Mostly, I'm looking to make a new tradition for Era and me.  My family was all about the brown until I started asking why we never had colorful dishes for the holiday a few years ago.  Now, I pretty much have to bring the color.

This year I think I really am going to do a mini Thanksgiving.  It will be a lot easier on me and I am just dreading the long cooking process that comes with a traditional feast.  I decided to take a look back at my past Thanksgiving dinners.  I only went back to 2007 because there was no way I'd remember before then.

The way Era and I usually do it is one all vegan dinner for us and we take vegan sides and/or desserts to my parents' house.  My parents always make vegan cornbread stuffing, vegetarian sides, and tofurky for us.

Thanksgiving 2007 Menu
Seitan Wellington w/ Marsala Gravy
Cranberry Chutney
Cornbread Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Maple Carrots
Smashed Potatoes w/ Kale
Macaroni and cheese
Smlove pie (1 for the office, another for the fam)
Pumpkin pie cheesecake (for the family)

You can read about it here.  My favorites from this were the chutney, pumpkin pie cheesecake, and wellington!  So good.

Thanksgiving 2008 Menu
Onion, Pepper, and Spinach Quiche Bites (for the fam)
Pumpkin Baked Ziti (for the family)
Pumpkin Cornbread Dressing
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Mushroom Gravy
Green Beans w/ Walnuts and Shallot Crisps
Classic Chestnut Soup w/ Marsala Mushrooms
Cranberry Sauce
Lemon Bars

What I learned from last year's Thanksgiving is that chestnuts are incredibly expensive, and I don't find them to be tasty at all.  Also quiche bites are the shizzle.  You can read about it here.

This year I am going to try, once again, to make the tofurky meatballs.  I also want to make mini wellingtons, lemon pie, macaroni bites, roasted root vegetables, and some sorta salad.  I'm a little stuck still.  I want a miniature colorful Thanksgiving.

Do you have any ideas?  Preferably stuff that can be made miniature.  Also I despise sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on them so I will never make them!  NEVER!

Also, I started doing an outline for my possible zine.  I say possible because I know how I procrastinate and then forget about things.   Hee hee.  A happy belated World Vegan Day to all!