Sunday, November 28, 2010

VeganMoFo: Veggie Lasagna and German Chocolate Cake

I don't make lasagnas often. I usually save them for either a special occasion, holiday or when I'm really craving one. I was really craving one today so I made this lovely thing this morning. It's got cashew ricotta, broccoli, spinach and mushrooms. I also sprinkled almond/miso/nutritional yeast mixture on top. It was perfect.

I had two pieces already!

Today is husband's birthday and he requested german chocolate cake. I've used this recipe before. Comes out moist and delicious every time. I can eat the coconut/pecan topping on it's own it's so good.

Recipe here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

VeganMoFo: Survey! Survey!

Yanked this from Mo's blog.

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?
Cheese. I used to love it but now I can live without it. There are some good vegan substitutes now. When I feel the need, I get some Daiya or Follow Your Heart vegan cheese for pizzas and lasagnas, etc.

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?
Eggplant big time. I used to not like it at all. But when I went veggie, I found so many ways to make it interesting. My undying love for middle eastern food has rewarded me with some beautiful eggplant dishes.

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?
Seitan. I've made it a few times and I liked it ok. There are times I hated it. I just can't get over the sometimes rubbery-ness of it. I don't mind eating it at restaurants if they can make it well. Otherwise I don't bother.

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?
My spinach artichoke dip.

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?
No not really.

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?
Sweets! I can sit there and think about a cake and then go in the kitchen have it ready in 30 minutes flat whenever I feel like and that is a dangerous thing.

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?
Cookies and Cakes. I know there are vegan desserts out there but I'd rather make them myself. Also homemade salsa and refried beans are the best.

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?
Vegenaise which is the best vegan mayo out there. It's not that expensive though.

Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?
Yeah I like snacks. I splurge on plain potato chips every now and then.

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?
Mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, garlic, olives, onions.

What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?
Potato. Cantaloupe.

What is the best salad dressing?
I like to whip up a quick one of olive oil, dijon mustard, garlic, red wine vinegar/or balsamic, salt and pepper.

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
Heinz beans! Earth Balance margarine. Fruit jam especially fig or blueberry.

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?
Lately it has been Manestra, a greek orzo and tomato soup. It's so good and easy to make.

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?
chocolate with vanilla frosting.

What is your favorite kind of cookie?

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?
Some kind of macaroni pasta with roasted vegetables or potatoes on the side.

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?

How long, in total, do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?
An hour maybe.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

VeganMoFo: Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you all are having a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Had a wonderful dinner with my husband, parents and brother today. I spent most of the day cooking up some great food. I wish I had taken more pictures but I was so busy!

This is a shot of Susan V's vegan green bean casserole. I absolutely love this. I don't miss the ones I had as a girl, you know the one with canned green beans and cream of mushroom soup! This one uses fresh green beans and a made from scratch creamy mushroom base, without the dairy!

Whoa baby that's a loaded plate of food! Let's start on the left and go clockwise: Tofurky roast slices covered in "giblet" gravy, cranberry and mandarin sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and orange herb gravy, green bean casserole, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, dijon glazed carrots. It was all DELICIOUS. I'm happy that as a vegan, I'm not missing any comfort foods that I remember from Thanksgivings past. I've pretty much covered all the bases.

Can't have Thanksgiving dinner without dessert! This is Bryanna's pumpkin pie with a delectable maple sweetened cashew cream. FIVE STARS. I loved this spicy custardy pie. Looking forward to leftovers!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

VeganMoFo: Nachos

Quick dinner of homemade nachos with refried beans, jalapenos and fresh salsa. I used the Nacho Cheez recipe from The Ultimate Uncheese cookbook. It's very smooth and creamy with a nice kick from the cayenne and other spices in it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

VeganMoFo: Navajo Stew and Dumplings

I have been so lazy for MoFo it's not even funny! There were a few dishes I opted out of blogging about because they were disgusting (the blandest rice casserole on the planet) and a few that I felt were too ordinary (beans on toast?). So today I was determined to make something new that I have never tried before. I veganized a navajo stew recipe from a southwest indian cookbook and instead of using mutton or whatever it was, I added extra vegetables and black beans. I also gave it a kick with chipotle chili powder. This stew is very rich and flavorful and the cornmeal dumplings were a nice touch. It is also good on top of plain rice.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

VeganMoFo: Puff Pastry Calzones and Coconut Cake

This weekend was great. Got to see a good friend from long ago yesterday, went out to a movie with husband today (we saw an excellent documentary called Marwencol) AND I got to make some delicious food.

These calzones were a cinch. I had puff pastry in my freezer that needed to be used as well as 1/2 a tube of Gimme Lean vegan sausage. I cooked it up with onions, garlic, mushrooms, spinach and olives and seasoned with fennel, sage, italian herbs, crushed red pepper and filled puff pastry with the mixture along with Daiya vegan cheese. So freaking good!

Vegans can get excited about vegan cheese again, thanks to Daiya. Melty and gooey. It worked so well in these calzones.

Yesterday I thought to myself "I want coconut cake". I went into the kitchen and 30 minutes later, I had a beautiful snow white frosted cake with delicious coconut flavor! I need to make this more often and maybe do it in layers next time with some kind of lemon filling. Cake recipe here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

VeganMoFo: Double Carb Dinner.

Hello! It's Friday! I'm so happy it's the weekend. We usually go out on Friday nights but tonight we decided to stay in and make dinner. I made the Miso Macaroni from The Veggie Lovers Cookbook. It has this unusual sauce made from miso, broccoli, veggie broth, onions and other stuff. It's very simple and tasty. I also made roasted potatoes wedges for some extra carbs yay!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

VeganMoFo: Lazy Weeknight Dinners.

My husband got me a pizza for dinner tonight. It was great because I really didn't feel like cooking tonight. Mushroom, onions, no cheese please. I added some homemade pesto that I had hanging out in my freezer. Was yummy.

This was last night's lazy dinner. Leftover lentil-chickpea fritters, lebanese rice pilaf and sauteed kale with balsamic dressing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

VeganMoFo: Revamping Lentil Soup into Chickpea-Lentil Fritters

I love turning boring leftovers into a completely different meal the next day. Last night I made a very simple greek style lentil soup (recipe I got from The Olive and The Caper cookbook) and had a bit leftover so I revamped them into fritters that I made into a sandwich. Worked out great.

Here's the soup which was flavored with oregano, thyme and olive oil.

Here are the fritters made into a pita sandwich. I simply drained the leftover soup in a sieve to get all the liquid out and mashed them with cooked chickpeas. I then added chopped onion, cilantro, breadcrumbs and flour to bind the mixture. I shaped them into patties and fried them in grapeseed oil.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

VeganMoFo: Mediterranean Dinner Party Food.

I had a fantastic dinner party last night with a beautiful buffet of food that I FORGOT TO PHOTOGRAPH! I was so mad at myself when I realized after we had eaten. So I present to you the leftovers. In front: heirloom tomato bruschetta, green beans with sundried tomato and olives (Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen recipe), spanakopita (Vegan with a Vengeance recipe) and Greek 'gigantes' lima bean casserole (Greek Vegetarian cookbook recipe). Not pictured: roasted lemony potatoes. They were delicious and were gobbled up so fast.

For dessert I made the baklava from Tables of Lebanon cookbook. Great recipe with perfect results every time.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

VeganMoFo: Tofutti Cheese Quesadilla, Cilantro Basil Pesto Spaghetti

A quick quesadilla I made this morning with Tofutti American style vegan cheese. If I had a superior vegan cheese like Daiya or Follow Your Heart, I would have used those because they melt much better. But this did just fine for my breakfast.

1 bunch of cilantro + a handful of fresh basil + slivered almonds + garlic + olive oil + lemon juice makes a great pesto. I tossed it with thin spaghetti and added a smattering of olives. Very quick, easy and tasty weeknight pasta dinner.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

VeganMoFo: Orzo and Veggie Soup

I'm sorry guys, I've been so lazy! I was hoping that when MoFo came around, I'd be making these elaborate menus, cooking them early in the mornings before work and taking lovely shots of them in the natural light of day. It seems that weekends are my only time to get into it. I've been so wiped out every day from work that all I want to do is come home, throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and call it dinner. That's pretty much what I did tonight. Luckily this soup was absolutely delicious. I'll share the recipe with you. It's quick and easy, perfect for a weeknight meal.

Orzo and Veggie Soup

3 TB olive oil
1 tsp. oregano
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 rib celery, sliced
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes or whole (just chop them up first)
1 TB tomato paste
4 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 cup mixed frozen vegetables (I used a mix of carrots, green bean, lima beans, corn and peas)
1/2 cup orzo

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium high. Saute garlic, onion, celery and oregano until soft. Add diced tomatoes (with juice), tomato paste, water, salt and pepper, sugar and frozen vegetables. Bring to a boil, add orzo then reduce heat to medium. Simmer until pasta is tender about 10 minutes..

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

VeganMoFo: Thai Sukiyaki

Today my MoFo dish is Thai style sukiyaki which is a big bowl of mung bean noodles, tofu, vegetables in a broth flavored with soybean curd sauce, aka "sukiyaki sauce". My mother made this especially for me and I was sooo happy to eat it. Here is mom's recipe:

Thai Sukiyaki Recipe (from mom)

Water for broth
Thai "Healthy Boy" brand mushroom soy sauce
salt, pepper, minced garlic, pinch of sugar
cubed tofu
veggies: sliced green onions, mushrooms, bok choy, chinese broccoli (gai lan) or regular broccoli, napa cabbage, celery...whatever you want!
mung bean noodles aka cellophane noodles, bean thread noodles. In Thai, "woon sen"
Thai "Pantainorasingh" brand sukiyaki sauce

Make soup broth for 2 servings:
Boil a few cups of water (a small pot), add mushroom soy sauce, salt, pepper, garlic, a pinch of sugar. Add vegetables and tofu and cook for a while until veggies are tender. Add more mushroom soy sauce to taste if needed.

Meanwhile soak mung bean noodles in cold water until they soften and expand in size. Mung bean noodles are usually sold in 4 small bunches in a package. 1 bunch is good for two people. If you want more noodles go ahead and use 2 bunches. Then boil water in separate pot and cook them for however long it says on package. It's usually not very long because they are so thin.
More about mung bean noodles/bean thread noodles here.

Put a serving of drained cooked noodles in each bowl and pour broth/veggies/tofu over. Add 2-3 TB of Thai sukiyaki sauce to the bowl and stir through. The more sauce, the spicier it will be.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Welcome to VeganMoFo!

Hiya! Today is the first day of VeganMoFo! What is VeganMoFo? It's short for Vegan Month Of Food and this whole month a bunch of food bloggers including myself will be posting like crazy all the beauteous deliciousness of vegan cuisine. There are something like 500-ish bloggers participating in this which is just fantastic. This year will be my 3rd year of joining in the celebration. Hope you enjoy! Check out the blogroll for a complete list of MoFo-ers!

Today is also World Vegan Day and to celebrate I made red chile burritos! The red chile sauce is made from dried ancho and new mexico peppers that were rehydrated in water, then pureed and simmered with cumin, oregano and salt to make this lusty brick-red sauce.

These were the fillings for the burritos: tex mex couscous and refried beans. Recipe for couscous below.

Tex Mex Couscous

3 roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno
1 TB olive oil
2 TB lime juice
salt to taste

1 cup water
1 cup couscous
1 cup chopped spinach, optional

Blend tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, olive oil, lime juice and salt until fairly smooth, it's ok to have a few chunks. Set aside. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan, add couscous, stir and cover for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and add blended sauce and toss. You may add chopped spinach at this point.