Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vegan MoFo: Pasta with Chickpeas and Roasted Broccoli

As per my mother's request, here is a peek at what I had for dinner tonight. I was really not in the mood to cook, and this was pretty easy to throw together.

I sauteed an onion, garlic and basil in some olive oil, the added a can of chickpeas. I boiled some pasta, roasted some broccoli in the oven, and threw the whole thing together and topped it with some fresh lemon juice. The only thing that would have made it better is whole wheat pasta, but this was a pretty easy meal with some quick protein I plan on making again.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vegan MoFo: Perfect Pancakes

Cookbook: Vegan Brunch

Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Result: I messed with this recipe quite a bit, and by the time I was done I realized I had essentially made the pancake recipe from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. Ah well.

I replaced the all purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour, replaced the maple syrup with agave nectar, and threw in some frozen blueberries and ground flax seeds for good measure. Why not.

They turned out pretty well, which is a small victory, considering I actually suck at making pancakes. For some reason they usually turn out gummy when I make them, and fall apart. Only the first two pancakes disintegrated today, and the texture was fine, so I will be using this recipe again for sure.

Vegan Mofo: Candle Cafe Pumpkin Pudding

Cookbook: The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant
Author(s): Bart Potenza & Barbara Scott-Goodman

I got this book for my birthday from my buddies at wor
k, and there are so many fantastic recipes I had no idea where to start. The last night my Mom was here and we were cooking dinner, I decided to throw this together because I had most of the ingredients on hand, and if you have been reading this blog you know I can't resist anything involving pumpkins.

I replaced cornstarch for the arrowroot or powder or kuzu powder the recipe called for, so I am not sure if the taste was affected or not. All in all it was a fine desert, especially when topped with a little vanilla-coconut ice cream. It could have been a tad sweeter, so with a little more maple syrup added and maybe some straight up vanilla soy ice cream (minus the coconut which didn't pair so well) dusted with cinnamon I could see this being a lovely vegan holiday desert.

Vegan Mofo Day ?: Two Soups

I am done with saying which MoFo day it is, I have clearly not been true to the whole MoFo project.

We are still enjoying the benefits of having my Mom here this past week- especially the two soups that she left in the freezer! The first was The Barefoot Contessa's recipe for Lentil Vegetable Soup, and the second was Robin's famous Yukon Gold Potato Soup.

Both are naturally vegan, although we added fake-chicken bullion cubes to both to try them out. I'm so glad soup season is officially here!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 12: Breakfast for Ma- Banana French Toast

I know, I am cheating with the days... Whooops.

This is not a cookbook entry, but it is a recipe I have made before and posted on the blog. Here. Today I caramelized some bananas to top this French toast, which I made with a vegan "water" challah I smuggled from work... It was a great way to start a busy day.

(Robin's verdict: The breakfast was awesome!

Vegan MoFo Day 11: Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux

I am waaaaaay behind on the MoFo-ing, so I am posting a bunch of stuff in one day- hopefully it will make up for my absence. I have a good excuse, though, my Mom is in town!!!!

Vegan Soul Kitchen

Author: Bryant Terry

Result: I have made this recipe before and talked about it here. It's a lovely and tasty way to prepare oh-so-good for you collard greens quickly but with a lot of flavor. Tofu cubes tossed in vegan Worcestershire sauce and sweet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, and onions were put in the oven to roast to complete this yummy fall meal.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mate Tea

It's full-blown fall here in New England, but a hectic pace and huge transition has left me with too little time to make anything worth blogging about despite the abundance of farmers markets and local harvest produce. However, I did recently take a time out to at least see what fall looks like, and during my break I got myself this mate tea. For those who may not know, mate is the national drink of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay and it has more antioxidants than green tea (196 active chemical compounds vs. 144). While it does have caffeine, it also has plenty of B5 vitamins, making it a good pick me up. The combination of mate and leave-color appreciation made me, well, pause to think about the changing of season and the abundance that is so obviously in the air...

Vegan MoFo Day 10: Lower Fat Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Crystallized Ginger

Cookbook: Veganomicon
Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

I have been reading this book, and have really been enjoying it. It's a charming book of recipes and the stories of how they came about, written by the Molly Wizenberg, the person behind this lovely blog. Anyways, in the book, she describes in vivid and delicious detail a recipe for crystallized ginger and chocolate chip banana bread. I read this chapter on Monday, and have been obsessing about making this bread ever since. I had bananas, I had chocolate chips, I had crystallized ginger, it was only a matter of time.

So, tonight was the night. I couldn't really justify coming hom
e and baking a loaf of old school banana bread loaded with sugar and fat, so I decided to give this recipe from Veganomicon a try. The resulting bread was not as moist as I had hoped for, but it did reveal that chocolate, banana and crystallized ginger are a surprisingly fabulous combination. I will be trying them together again, but probably in a different banana cake/bread recipe.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 9: Spanish Rice

Cookbook: Betty Crocker's Cookbook
Author: Um.... Betty Crocker?

Result: Yeah, um, this took a really long time. I guess because I thought my handy dandy way of cooking rice in the oven would work for this recipe- not so much. After 25 minutes in the oven, we still had crunchy rice and a lotta liquid. I was able to pull the whole mess which included
the rice, tomato sauce, water, spices, a green pepper and an onion out of the oven and put it back on the stove where it should have been in the first place and salvage the recipe.

So, in conclusion, making your own Spanish rice (inste
ad of using a box mix) is a good idea. Just use the stove. Yay Taco Tuesday!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 9: Blackberry Ice Cream with Cyrstallized Ginger

Cookbook: Veganomicon
Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

I think the relationship with my new ice cream maker could potentially be a dangerous one. To jump into the world of vegan ice cream making, I used the recipe for basic vanilla ice cream from Veganomicon, but used the option to add blackberries. This required letting the blackberries bubble away on the stove with a little water, cornstarch (it called for arrowroot powder but I didn't have any on hand), a pinch of ginger and agave (it called for sugar, I'm a rebel). The ice cream base was made of coconut milk, soy milk, silken tofu and vanilla extract.

The whole process was very messy but easier than I thought it would be. When the ice cream was done on the mixer, I put it in the freezer for a few hours.

After dinner, I scooped some out and topped it with some crystallized ginger to give it a little kick. I will be honest, it was a little on the too sweet side, and it wasn't quite as tart as I had hoped from the blackberries, but it was all in all FANTASTIC. I had feared it would taste tofu-ish, but it didn't, the result was some of the creamiest ice cream I have had since I went vegan four years ago. I will keep perfecting this and other recipes, but the ice cream making is off to a fabulous start, and a new obsession has begun.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 8: Birthday Goodness

I know, again, not a recipe. Ashley's gonna kill me. Ugh. I need to get it together- and I will, tomorrow, when I make blackberry ginger ice cream with my new ice cream maker!!!!!!!!!!!! But today, the vegan food marathon weekend continues, with delicious vegan french toast at brunch, and some serious vegetarian dim sum in a few hours.

Besides the ice cream maker, which is gift enough in itself, my wonderful bf also got me a new camera!!! The blog is saved from horrible, orange tinted blurry pictures! Phil saves the day! I tested it out on some of the goodness we got at the farmer's market this morning. Mom, you will notice one of my new bowls is featured.

Yes, I bought myself a pumpkin. I probably won't even cook with it, it's so cute and perfect...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 7: What I am Having for Dinner- Candle 79 Seitan Piccata- Mofos!!!

A mix of sheer exhaustion combined with the fact I know I am about to go out for lots of yummy vegan food this weekend for my birthday has made me a negligent Vegan MoFo-er. Anyways, technically I don't even own this cookbook, nor have I ever cooked this particular dish myself, but I have had it twice in my life at the restaurant, so I feel that I am an authority.

Cookbook: The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant
Author(s): Bart Potenza & Barbara Scott-Goodman

Last time I was home my family and I went out to dinner at a fancy Fren
ch restaurant. The question arose of what everyone would like to have for their last meal if they were about to be executed, and this was my choice. I have made other seitan piccatas for myself (the one from Veganomicon is pretty good), but this is honestly one of the best things I have ever eaten. I only get to go to Candle 79 a couple times a year, but I always order this because it is rich, crunchy, tangy, olive-y, potato-y goodness.

If you don't live in NYC or aren't visiting anytime soon, make this fo
r yourself. I also found the recipe online here, so I you don't even need to buy the cookbook. But seriously, if you are a vegan, you should at least once in your life make the pilgrimage to Candle 79 and have the piccata- it's pretty much criminal not to.

This picture is clearly from the cookbook. I don't have the confidence yet to bring my camera places and take pictures of what I eat like a real food blogger... I know, I am a wuss.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 6: Swiss Chard Frittata (with Kale instead!)

Cookbook: Vegan Brunch
Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Result: It's been a long day. I was fixin' to come home and just make a simple tofu scramble, but I came across this recipe in Vegan Brunch and had a thought- if I made this, it would mean less time spent standing over the stove! I had all of the ingredients on hand (except for the chard), so I decided to use the rest of the bunch of kale I got this past weekend from the farmer's market instead. The whole thing was indeed very easy to throw together, and all things considered it was a pretty healthy recipe with almost no fat (with the exception of the oil the garlic and kale were sauteed in).

The finished frittata crisped up nicely on the outside and had a pleasant and not too mushy texture on the inside- which is good because I loathe mushy tofu. The kale worked OK, especially on the top parts where it became reminiscent of kale chips. However, I would definitely be interested in trying chard next time, the kale did become a bit overly wilted and brown on the inside of the frittata. In the end the whole thing kind of fell apart when I took it out of the pan and resembled a tofu scramble anyways, which was just fine with me. I ate it with a toasted sprouted bagel topped with apple butter, and was a happy camper. I love breakfast food for dinner and am looking forward to trying more recipes from this book soon...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day5: The Art of the Non-Soggy Sandwich

OK, I am veering from my cookbook plan today... I am super tired. But, I did throw together a mock tuna fish sandwich for lunch tomorrow, using my own recipe I made up in my head. Basically I used what I had on hand- I mashed up half a can of chickpeas, threw in a tablespoon-ish of Vegenaise, teaspoon-ish of dijon mustard, a small spoonful of relish, and a few dashes of kelp powder.

But the point is not how I make a mock tuna fish sandwich. The point is how I pack it. Nothing gets me through a crazy morning at work more than knowing I have a yummy filling lunch waiting in my bag. Nothing is more disappointing than opening up my lunch and discovering the sandwich I lovingly packed has become a soggy mess. Ick.

Time and experience has taught me the best way to pack a sandwich for lunch that includes a filling like mock tuna or egg salad is to pack each part individually. Wrap the bread in foil (you can pre-toast it, or toast it at work if that is an option), and put everything else in a Tupperware container. Assemble at work. It may seem like a lot of tedious effort, but it's worth it!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vegan MoFO Day 5: Lentils and Rice with Carmalized Onions and PIta Crisps

Cookbook: Veganomicon
Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

This is another recipe I made a year or so ago with my Mom, and remembered fondly. Well, I remembered the flavors fondly, the mushy red lentils that dissolved during cooking, not so much. I decided to give it another go this evening, using some French green lentils I had in my pantry. These lentils held together much better, and there was no mush! The cloves, allspice and cinnamon added to the rice and lentils while they simmer makes the kitchen smell divine, as do the onions roasting in the oven. The whole meal takes over an hour to cook, and by that time after being stuck in my tasty smelling apartment, I was ready to eat!

The pita chips are perfect for scooping up the rice and lentils, and are so simple to make. If you have never made your own pita chips, do it now. Go to the store, buy some pita, cut it up, brush it with olive oil, shake your favorite spices on top, bake it, and enjoy. You won't be sorry. Trust me. We also threw some kale in the oven at the same time to make some kale chips, just for kicks.

I asked my taste tester for some concluding thoughts about this recipe. He deemed the meal "highly delicious," and commented, "I would eat it again." W
orks for me!

I've been giving the Veganomicon a lot of love. My other cookbooks might be getting jealous, but I can't help it, it truly is the Mother of all vegan cookbooks.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 4: Creamy Yellow Potato Soup with Rosemary Oil and Crispy Rosemary

OK, this is kinda cheating- I made this soup on Monday. But we ate leftovers all day and are about to head out for some brick oven (vegan) pizza and olives... Will hopefully be back to cooking tomorrow after work!

Cookbook: Vegan Soul Kitchen
Author: Bryant Terry

Result: An easy, quick(ish) and comforting soup. I love that you make a fresh rosemary infused olive oil first, and then use it to saute your onion and garlic and finish your soup. Homemade veggie stock gave this extra flavor, and cumin gave it an interesting kick you won't find in traditional potato soup. The recipe says to put the soup in the blender in the end and then put it through a strainer or something, but I used my immersion blender and it turned out just fine. All in all the soup still isn't as great as the one my Mom makes (that's a pretty high standard though), but I will definitely be making it again.

I couldn't decide if I wanted to serve the soup with bread or a salad, so I made a salad pizza. Great combo!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 3: Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits; Apple Wrapper Pie

Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits
Author(s): Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

I had made this recipe about a year and a half ago when I was at home with help from my mom. I remembered it being delicious and very comforting. It was pretty good again this time, although it lacked a little bit in flavor, so I added some more salt. It was still a little bland, but over all a filling fall meal with a good dose of protein (I added the suggested seitan).

Apple Wrapper Pie
Cookbook: Betty Crocker's Cookbook
Author: Um.... Betty Crocker?

Result: I love having people over for dinner because it always gives me an excuse to make a pie. I turn to my handy-dandy Betty Crocker cookbook whenever I need a really basic recipe, and it always comes through for pies. I wasn't in the mood to make a double crust pie today, but had a request for pie made from some apples scored at the Farmer's Market this morning.

The "Wrapper" pie is an easy and perfect solution when you want pie but don't want to put in a whole lot of effort, and don't want the fat that comes with two pie crusts. I sub Earth Balance soy butter for the shortening the recipe calls for, but the result is still a flaky and delicious crust, and I highly doubt most people can tell the difference... We enjoyed this puppy with some vanilla coconut ice cream.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 2: Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Cookbook: Babycakes
Author: Erin McKenna

Result: It probably does not pay to be a cheapskate. I opted to leave out the xanthan gum in this recipe because it was $10 at Whole Foods, and I was not in the mood to pay that much. I used some ground flax seeds mixed with water to replace it (as a binder), and that worked OK, but the batter was kinda runny and lumpy. Not sure if that was because of the xanthan/flax switch up, or the recipe itself.

I chose this recipe because I was craving some pumpkin muffins, as it is now October, and I find very few things more adorable or perfect than pumpkins. I looked through a few of my cookbooks, but every recipe I found called for a lot of sugar. This one only called for 2/3 cup of agave nectar, and 1/2 cup of coconut oil. The muffins were a little less sweet than your traditional pumpkin muffin, and I would probably throw some raisins or chocolate chips in next time. But, all in all they turned out moist and pumpkin-y, and made 16 muffins! Pumpkin muffins for breakfast for all, all week!

Vegan MoFo: A Cookbook A Day!!!!!!!

I know it's already the 2nd day of Vegan MoFo, but I have an idea finally!!!!! Yay! I hope someone notices!!!

So, I have a lot of cookbooks. Most of them are vegan, a few of them are not but still have a lot of great recipes. I have so many, and buy them so often, and I don't think they all get enough love and attention. So, copying "Julie and Julia" a little bit, I will try to attempt to cook one recipe a day from one of my cookbooks. I have a pretty busy month ahead of me, so hopefully I can stick to the plan...

As a side note, my camera is really starting to crap out on me and taking blurry and out of focus pictures... My bday is next week, so here's hoping I get a new one...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

DIY Veggie Stock

I am sure a lot of people have much more exciting things to do on a day off then sit in their apartment making homemade vegetable stock, but I am not one of them.

Whether you are a vegan or not, chances are you use vegetable stock in your cooking from time to time. Sure, it's convenient to grab some prefab stock at the store, but read the label on one of those sometime- ick!

If you really want to make your food taste extra yum, you have to make your own stock. Luckily, it's pretty easy. There are lots of great resources out there on how to make your own, I particularly enjoy this post at vegan yum yum.

In my neighborhood, I can grab a huge thing of "soup greens" for about a buck fifty at the corner deli. Sadly they are not organic, but I can get a bunch of carrots, celery, onions, leeks, turnips and parsley for cheap. Does this type of thing exist outside of Brooklyn? I find it magical.

Anyhoo, basically I just chop up the aforementioned soup greens and throw them in a some heated olive oil in a large soup pot as I go. I then add eight or so whole peeled cloves of garlic, any fresh herbs I have on hand (this week it was rosemary), a few tablespoons of tomato paste and a few tablespoons of tamari. And salt and pepper, of course.

Finally I add about ten or so cups of water, bring the whole thing to a boil and then down to simmer for an hour or two. When the veggies look very brown, pale and sad I strain the broth a few times, let it cool, then freeze it or put it in the fridge for a couple of days.

It sounds complicated, but it's pretty easy peasy, and strangely therapeutic to make your own stock. And it really does make a world of difference in soups, sauces, etc.