Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Went Apple Picking!

You know it's fall when you finally get to go apple picking!!! Fall is my absolute favorite season...what's not to love?? Sweaters, beautiful weather, squash, apples, and bonfires. Perfect! On Sunday, I went with Steve and a bunch of friends to an orchard about 30 minutes outside of Columbia, and we picked a literal butt-load of apples! I could barely carry all of them! There are about 6 or 7 different varieties, too! This was so much fun...the perfect combination of celebrating fall and local food! Hooray! I, of course, want to bake with these bad boys, so I need your help! Any good recipes for desserts using apples? Help me out! :)

In other food happenings, we also had our traditional Sunday breakfast at Cafe Berlin this weekend! I had one of my favorites: the vegan breakfast burrito! This isn't on the menu, like the slinger I had, but Steve, Eli (the chef), and I came up with this as an amazing alternative to the breakfast burrito already on the menu...filled with meat and eggs and cheese. boo! This creation is a big tortilla filled with scrambled tofu, tempeh bacon, roasted red and sweet potatoes, cilantro, spinach, and a drizzle of maple syrup...served with a side of their homemade salsa! I always load mine with a healthy dose of hot sauce and wash it down with a biiiiiig 'ol mug of fair trade coffee! aaaahhhh perfection!Last night, I was feeling some comfort food, particularly some nice southern dishes. I had a few more ears of local corn and some local okra to use up, so I already had a good start on dinner! I made the Blueberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce from the PPK Blog and used it with sliced seitan(I even got to use up the last of my local blueberries in this dinner! score!). If you haven't made this, please please please do it! So sweet and spicy!!! I served it with ears of roasted local corn...slathered with Earth Balance and sea salt...homemade whole wheat biscuits, and my oven-fried okra. Outta this world! Steve couldn't stop raving, either! The okra tastes a lot like my grandma's real fried okra, but it is much, much healthier! Try it out next time you get okra from the market!

Oven Fried Okra (serves 2-4...depends on how much you like okra!)

1 lb fresh okra, sliced into 1/2" rounds

2 Tbs canola oil

1 tsp hot sauce

1/4 cup soy milk

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the soymilk, oil, and hot sauce. Add in the okra and coat with liquid mix. Let sit for 10 minutes to absorb the liquids. Add in the dry ingredients, and stir to coat with dry mix. Spread okra in an even layer on the prepared cookie sheet and place in oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until coating gets crispy and brown, and you can smell the yummy okra. Serve warm with any of your favorite southern meals, especially bbq seitan :)

I may love the big city, but homestyle cooking is still one of my favorites!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Breakfast for Dinner!!

My favorite meal in the world has got to be breakfast for dinner!! It is genius, because breakfast food is the best kind of food and you get to make and eat it when you aren't all tired and cranky! Brilliant.
So for dinner tonight, I made Blueberry Pancakes, Gimme Lean Sausage, and Roasted Potatoes. Not the most veggie-filled meal, but it's still healthy :) I promise! For the sausage links, I just used the tube of sausage from Gimme Lean and formed it into links, then pan-seared them in a skillet. To make the roasted potatoes, I diced russet and sweet potatoes, then tossed them with oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme and roasted them for about 30-40 minutes. Super easy, but super tasty!! These pancakes are simply perfect: fluffy and light, yet hearty and not overly-sweet. Plus, they are all whole grain, so you can feel good about eating them for dinner! I used locally-grown organic blueberries in mine, so they were absolutely divine!

Blueberry Pancakes (serves 4)
1 T flaxseeds
1 1/2 cups rice milk, or milk replacer of your choice
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup corn flour
2 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup organic sugar
2 cups blueberries (if frozen, thaw first)

In a blender, blend all of the wet ingredients together until the flaxseeds are completely ground. In a large bowl, sift all of the dry ingredients together. Gradually pour the wet mix into the dry mix and gently stir until just combined. Do not overmix!
Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick spray. When skillet is nice and hot, measure 1/2 cup of batter and pour onto the skillet. Spread out the batter to make pancake about six inches in diameter. Drop 10 to 15 blueberries evenly on the pancake as it cooks. Let the cake cook for a few minutes, until it starts to bubble on the surface, then gently flip pancake over to cook the other side for a few more minutes. When browned on both sides and not doughy in the middle, transfer to a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm. Repeat the cooking process seven more times until all the batter is gone, making eight pancakes total. Serve warm topped with maple syrup and more blueberries. WWWOOOOOWWWW!

Here's a nice stack of nekkid blueberry pancakes, ready to be dressed with warm syrup!

For the grand occasion of the first presidential debates, I thought I should celebrate by baking a yummy dinner and eating some delicious baked goods! I made the Date Crumb Squares from the Candle Cafe Cookbook. Ever since I ate at the Candle Cafe when I visited New York in May, I often think about that restaurant and how amazing the food is! I finally broke down and ordered their cookbook online! Thank goodness I did, because there are so many great recipes in this, you should definitely check it out!! Anyway, these bars are really tasty! A new way to use dates is always good...underused for sure! The crust is sweet but not too much, and crumbly in a way reminiscent of a nice apple crumble. They are actually quite healthy, so make up a pot of hot tea...perhaps Earl Grey...and dig in!

Date Crumb Squares (makes 12)
1/2 cup dates

4 cups oat flour

4 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup safflower, or canola, oil

1 cup maple syrup

1 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp sea salt

The day before making these bars, soak the dates in a cup of warm water to soften. Drain, put the dates in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, and walnuts and mix well. In a separate bowl, blend together the wet ingredients and salt. Combine the two mixes together and mix well. Press half of the mixture into a greased 12 by 6 pan. Spread the pureed dates over the dough, then top with the remaining half of the mixture and press down to make an even surface. Bake for 30 minutes until the crust is lightly browned. Let cool, then cut into squares.

That's not all I baked this week....

I also baked a batch of lavender chocolate chip cookies!! God I love these cookies! They are even more perfect dipped in vanilla hemp milk!! This picture is Steve's hand doing just that! To make these beauties, make the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from the Joy of Vegan Baking, and add 1 cup of dried lavender flowers to the batter when you add the chocolate chips. Holy crap! Whoever first thought of combining chocolate and lavender deserves a kiss on the mouth.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Moroccan Tagine

I got this perfect and beautiful local eggplant yesterday to make one of my absolute favorite fall dishes: Moroccan Tagine! I have made this for a few years and I am certain it gets better every time! And since I bought the newest issue of Vegetarian Times recently that happened to feature Moroccan cuisine, I have had it on the brain... I often make this recipe so I can eat it for one meal and have another portion for a leftover dinner the next night, but last night I shared my meal with my friend Anna, who had never had Moroccan food it was a treat for both of us!
I served the tagine over whole wheat couscous and drizzled it with a cucumber raita sauce. This meal is seriously divine...and awesome on a chilly fall night!
Tagine for Two (serves...2!)
1/2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, minced
1 medium carrot, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 small eggplant, diced...and for God's sake leave the peel on!
1 small sweet potato, diced...also with skin on. come on people.
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, quartered
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup chopped tomato
4 kalamata olives, sliced
1 can garbanzo beans
1 cup chopped greens--I like kale or spinach especially
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 T turmeric powder
1 T cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne, or paprika if you're not into heat
pinch of salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, until it starts to brown and caramelize. Add in the green pepper, carrot, ginger, and garlic, and saute for 2-3 more minutes. Add in the eggplant, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and spices and cook for 5 more minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice to deglaze the pan (adding a little water if needed), then stir in the garbanzo beans, olives, artichokes, greens, and raisins and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 more minutes, covered. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over fluffy whole wheat couscous and drizzle with Lemon Cucumber Raita sauce (recipe below)!
**I also like to add zucchini, cabbage, or peas sometimes, but this combination is my favorite!
Lemon-Cucumber Raita (Serves 2)
1/4 cup plain soy yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
pinch of salt and pepper
1 clove garlic
Put everything in a blender or food processor and puree together until it has a smooth, creamy consistency. Chill for an hour or so before serving. Serve drizzled over Tagine for Two!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mock Duck! And Foods From the Weekend

Tonight, Steve and I were adventurous and tried a new product that we found at our local Asian market, Chong's...Vegan Mock Duck! I had heard about this before, but was hesitant because I typically don't eat canned foods, and it sounded really bizarre, but I figured I should give it a shot!

The mock duck is made out of wheat gluten and seasonings, and it tastes slightly sweet and salty. It was actually really good! I liked the chewy texture (which freaked me out at first...look at the fake duck skin-looking piece! weeeeird, man!) and it had a lot of protein to keep me satisfied! I roasted it in the juices that were in the can along with it...and I served it with some Natto Chutney I bought at Clover's Natural Market:

To make a whole Asian-themed meal, I served the roasted mock duck with vegetable fried rice (loaded with local veggies and organic brown rice!) and sesame-glazed local green beans. This meal truly hit the spot, with the perfect balance of fresh from the veggies and savory from the sesame and mock duck! yuuuuuuum!!For lunch the other day, I used the Smoked Tofu from Tree of Life to make a TLT sandwich...a perfect way to celebrate local tomatoes while I still can! I of course spread it liberally with Vegenaise to make it a perfect sandwich!
This weekend, Steve and I visited my family in Kansas City. Lucky for us, one of my all-time favorite restaurants...which happens to be in KC: Eden Alley! This wonderful restaurant is located on the Plaza, and focuses on healthy foods made from as many local and organic ingredients as possible. They also have an awesome selection of raw, soy-free, and gluten-free foods to meet everyones' needs! Eden Alley has really creative and eclectic menu items, and clearly labels which items are vegan or can be made vegan! That always makes me appreciate a restaurant more!! If you are ever in Kansas City, check this place out!!!
My mom had the corn fritters, which were topped with a smoky black bean sauce and a smoky chipotle aioli. Of course, she let me have a bite, and they were great! A southern feel and wonderful flavors made this so tasty...I want to learn how to make some like these!Steve had the sweet potato burrito, one of our favorite menu items! It is a big flour tortilla stuffed with hummus, brown rice, and roasted sweet potatoes, then topped with fruit salsa on a bed of greens. This is crazy good!!
I had the spinach-mushroom loaf with a side of roasted sweet was getting chilly out, so this seriously hit the spot!! For dessert, my mom ordered the vegan creme brulee! I had to try it, of course, and it was really nice...not too sweet or anything! And now I can cross that off my vegan 100 list :)
Steve and I both had the "Pollack cake," which was a coconut vanilla cake with chocolate chips, drizzled with vanilla and chocolate frosting. This was sooooo moist from the coconut and the frosting was so creamy and good! wow.

Sunday was my grandma's 69th birthday, and my family asked me to make the meal for her birthday dinner...I was honored! For the older crowd, I picked comfort food, with a healthy twist! They really liked it all, so I was pleased...

To start off the meal, I served a loaf of the 5 Olive Bread from Whole Foods: And we also had a nice green salad with sunflower seeds as an appetizer: For the main meal, I made garlic mashed potatoes (no gravy, sorry!!), olive oil-roasted green beans, and Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon...the ultimate in faux meats, I think! Everything turned out just wonderfully and we were all very satisfied:
But there was still room for dessert, of course! What would a birthday be without cake, I always say!! I wanted something simple, yet rich...with chocolate for my grandma! I made the Decadent Almond Cake from Hanna's My Sweet Vegan. oh lordy. make this cake for your next birthday. or any party really. or Monday. just make it! the almond flavor is soooo wonderful and it so moist and has a great mouth-feel. I made the ganache out of carob instead of chocolate, so I could force my family to be adventurous...and I loooooove carob!
I served the cake with Purely Decadent's Pomegranate Chip ice cream. No one would ever guess that this was not "real" ice cream, I swear! The fruity flavor was perfect and it went so well with the richness of the almond cake! A match made in heaven!The cake and ice cream together, the way it always ought to be!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yay for Potlucks!

On Tuesday night, my friend Kat had a bunch of people over for a vegetarian (and mostly vegan!!) potluck! I love the idea of potlucks: everyone sharing their great food and talking and spending quality time together and eating that great food. What more could you want?? Plus, Kat works for PETA, so you know she's a cool girl!

I made my FAVORITE tofu salad recipe...I'll share the recipe some other time...and it was all eaten by the time Steve and I left! I'd say that's a good sign! Here was my potluck plate, sans dessert:I had (clockwise from the top) a teriyaki noodle and broccoli dish, an Indian dal with jasmine rice cooked in with it, quinoa tabouli, whole wheat pita wedges with hummus, my tofu salad, and some slices of baguette I brought from our local Uprise Bakery! (There were also some chips and homemade salsa and guacamole, as well as some local melon, but those were just nibbles....) Then there was dessert! Kat made a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, and another guest made this amazing peach crisp that we ate warm! I cannot remember the last peach crisp I had, and I have never had a vegan one before, so I was supremely pleased needless to say! Plus, she used local peaches! DUH!!

A few nights later, some friends gathered for art night (a weekly artsy fartsy gathering among some friends) where we made paper mache things that will be turned into pinatas next week (I won't say what I made, but it's not PG.) For our gathering, I had to bake something, because that's the kind of weirdo I am. So, I went with my favorite thing pretty much ever: Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars from Isa's Vegan With A Vengeance!! You seriously can't go wrong with these. Crowd pleaser and mouth pleaser. Cakey and gooey and fudgy and sweet and fruity and chocolately and vanilla-y. Too many "y's" to mention, really.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars (makes 12-16)
For Raspberry Layer:

2 cups frozen raspberries

3 Tbs tapicoa starch

1/4 cup cold water

1/3 cup sugar

For Blondie Layer:

3 3/4 cup flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

6 oz. vanilla or plain soy yogurt

1/4 cup milk substitute (I used Silk creamer. damn!!!)

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs canola oil

2 cups sugar

1 Tbs vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan. Make the raspberry layer: In a saucepan, combine all of the raspberry layer ingredients and stir until the tapioca starch has dissolved. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a low boil, stirring often. do this for about 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and gooey. Remove from heat and make the blondie layer.

To make the blondie layer: In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, in batches, until a dough forms. Set aside 1 cup of this dough. Spread the rest into the greased pan. Spread he raspberry goo layer over the blondie layer, then sprinkle half of the chocolate chips over the raspberry layer. Drop the remaining blondie dough over the raspberry/choc chip layer...spread out so it covers a lot of the top, but there is still some pretty pink goo showing through. Sprinkle the other half of the chocolate chips over the top of everything. Bake for 35 minutes, then let cool and serve. Be careful, though...these are so delish that they pose a hazard to your health. From Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan With A Vengeance

Why don't I just eat these for every meal???

Also, I tried a new food last night: PawPaws! These JUICY fruits have a more tropical origin, but the ones that Steve and I ate were locally grown here in Mid-Missouri of all places! I didn't know what to expect, but I was freakin floored by these things!!! The taste is almost like halfway between a mango and a banana, and the texture is like a really soft papaya or mango, without the stringy bits. They are soooo sweet and have almost a vanilla-like flavor. In the words of Joey Lawrence: whoa!!! :) Here's the inside of the gooey and yummy.
Here are the pawpaw seeds...they were stuck in the fruit randomly throughout, and were easily removed. They were the size of big kalamata olives, but felt like buckeyes. weird.
And here they are all innocent and ready to be eaten. You know you want one!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mezze Platter!

Tonight's dinner was an amalgamation of different yummy Mediterranean-based items, aka a mezze platter! I love the idea of having a little taste of everything, to give your taste buds more of an adventure than the average meal, and it is also a great way to clean out your fridge :)
The mezze platter that Steve and I shared for dinner was awwwwwesome and consisted of: muhammara (recipe from Vegetarian Times), warm whole grain pita bread, roasted local eggplant with garlic and olive oil, local cucumber slices, chopped local tomato, soy feta from Sungeria Foods (!!!!), kalamata olives, and Vegan Dolmas from Whole Foods (they come in a jar, packed in a lemony-olive oil brine. omg.) This was wonderful, and I was so happy to have foods like dolmas that I rarely get to enjoy!

Close-up of the delicious Vegan Dolmas

Close-up of the roasted local eggplant and Sungeria Foods' soy feta

All of the goodies together on my Mezze Plate!

On another note (or two...) yesterday's tradition of meeting at Cafe Berlin for breakfast was another amazing experience! For the record, breakfast is the best meal. Anyway, since Steve and I are such regulars there, and we are pretty well-known for our food habits (crazy vegans!), the head cook there, Eli, has made us up a few specials things every once in a while. Cuz we're cool like that. Yesterday, he whipped us up a vegan version of a Slinger. This breakfast was big and savory and hearty. WOW.

For those of you who don't know, a slinger is a popular diner breakfast dish, and it originated here in St.Louis to be exact! The general idea is this: hashbrowns piled with scrambled eggs, chili, cheese, sometimes salsa or sour cream, then flanked with buttered toast. Sounds like a heart attack just waiting to happen, right?! But none of that crap would do for us!! Our customized vegan version of the St. Louis Slinger was so much better: Roasted home fry potatoes (red and sweet), scrambled tofu, veggie chili, sauteed greens and red onions, then a garnish of fresh scallions and cilantro, then flanked with whole wheat toast that was eventually slathered in organic strawberry jam. Top that off with a hot cup of organic fair trade coffee and good friends, and I'm pretty sure that breakfast will be your new favorite meal!!!

St. Louis Slinger...vegan-style!

For dessert tonight, we had the Chai Latte Cupcakes from Isa and Terry's Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (duh.), which I topped with some Vanilla Buttercream Frosting before dusting with the cinnamon-cocoa mixture. These are especially yum when paired with some chai tea. Not to tell you what to do...but do that!!

Chai Latte Cupcake

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chili and Cornbread--and other stuff, too!

Today being a rainy, dreary day put me in the perfect mood for making one of my favorite comfort meals: chili and cornbread! I love the combination of the sweetness from the cornbread and the spiciness of the chili. it's perfect.Tempeh Chili (with some Tofutti Sour Supreme)

Tempeh Chili (serves 8-ish hungry peeps)

2 T canola oil
2 yellow onions, minced

1 green pepper, minced (reds work here, too!)

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 jalapenos, minced

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 cup tomato paste

1 can red kidney beans

1 can pinto beans

2-8oz. packages tempeh

1 T hot sauce

1/4 cup Bragg's or tamari

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup chili powder

2 T cumin

1 T paprika

2 tsp cayenne

2 tsp chipotle powder

1/2 cup cocoa powder

In a large pot, heat 2 T canola oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and peppers until softened, then add the garlic, jalapeno, and spices, then reduce heat to low. Saute for 10 minutes. Add in the crumbled tempeh, return heat to medium, and saute for 5 more minutes. Stir in the cans of tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, Bragg's, hot sauce, and cocoa powder. Bring this all to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve piping hot with a dollop of vegan sour cream and a chunk of cornbread!

A slice of cornbread with Earth Balance and agave...

Whole Grain Cornbread (serves 8 to 12)

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 Tbs baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 Tbs sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup applesauce

2 cups soymilk

1/2 Tbs apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup water (to rinse out blender left-overs)

1 cup corn

1 jalapeno, minced (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a 9 by 13 pan. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Fold in the corn and jalapeno. Blend the wet ingredients, except the water, together in a blender. Pour in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Pour water in blender and swirl around to get all the leftover batter, then add to bowl. Combine everything until just mixed, but do not over mix! Bake for 2o to 25 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm, slathered with lots of Earth Balance and agave nectar!!

My slice of whole grain cornbread, served with some roasted local squash and breadcrumbs!

A few days ago, I made my favorite Thai Peanut Noodles for dinner, and it was really pretty...but I forgot to post about it! I used mugwort soba noodles, baked tofu, and a saute of garlic, ginger, onions, cabbage, carrots, and broccoli, then topped with my creamy, spicy peanut sauce that I have posted about before. If you've never had a good peanut sauce, give this one a try! For reals.

Thai Peanut Noodles

I have also made some delish desserts this week. I think frosting may be the most important part of a good treat, I must confess! Earlier in the week, I made the Toasted Coconut Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Holy Moses I loved these! I even made my own chocolate-covered espresso beans for the garnish...I was proud :) These are wonderfully paired with a nice mug of Tahitian Vanilla Hazelnut Yogi Tea with some Silk creamer and agave!!

Toasted Coconut Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate-Covered Coffee Beans

Thursday night, I made an AMAZING batch of Banana Brownies with Peanut Buttercream Frosting, based off of a recipe that I like to make at work. Probably the best brownies I have ever made. The peanut butter-chocolate-banana combination is HEAVEN. Yay for over-ripe bananas! And frosting!!
Banana-Chocolate Chip Brownies with Peanut Buttercream Frosting

Banana Brownies (makes 12)

2 large bananas

1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 c canola oil

1 cup soy milk

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp sea salt

2 tsp baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a 9 by 13 pan. Blend bananas, sugar, vanilla, oil, and soymilk in blender. Pour into a large bowl. Sift in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into oiled pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely, then frost with PB frosting!

Peanut Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening

1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine

1 cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 T soy milk

2 cups powdered sugar

Cream the shortening and margarine together until well combined. Add in the peanut butter and combine some more. Sift in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, adding in the soymilk between batches. After mixing the second cup of powdered sugar, add in the vanilla and whip for about 5 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use, then spread on cooled banana brownies.

Steve's hand, getting ready to put his brownie into his hungry belly...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Egg McVegans and Jamaican Food

I have had more time and energy over the past week or two to cook...probably because I have been working I have made some pretty tasty food! It's funny that when school started, I actually wanted to start cooking more! I guess I won't complain!

A few days ago, a few friends and I went to go see our future vice president, Joe Biden, speak here in Columbia. It was really awesome and a great chance to see some history happen...but we had to be there at 6:30 in the morning!! I am a morning person, but this was crazy! It was worth it though, because I made us Egg McVegans to eat while we waited in line in the cold... now I think I would get up early for anything, just to use an excuse to make these! I got the idea for making these from the recipe off of Broke Ass Vegan's blog ( It's not exactly the same, as I made a few modifications to how I like my breakfast sandwiches, but the idea is basically the same (I guess I should thank McDonald's, too...nah.) Egg McVegans:
1 package Sprouted Wheat English Muffins, toasted
6 Vegan Cheese Slices
1 log Gimme Lean Sausage
1 lb. block Extra Firm Tofu
6 tsp Veganaise

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 T olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Slice tofu into 6 equal slices and place in bowl. Let this marinate for about 20 minutes. Remove tofu and bake at 35o F for about 20 more minutes, flipping halfway through baking. While tofu bakes, form sausage into 6 patties and place in heated, greased skillet and cook til brown on both sides. To assemble the sandwiches, place vegan cheese slice on one side of split English muffin and a smearing of Vegenaise on the other side. Place in oven to get melty for a few minutes. Remove from oven, then place a slice of the tofu "egg" and a sausage patty on the cheesy side. Top with the mayo side and put in oven for 2 minutes to get everything all nice and happy together. Then enjoy with a big pot of piping hot coffee!! Makes 6.

Egg McVegans

Here we are (Me, Anna, Steve, and Danny) waiting in line to see Joe Biden...happy about coffee, food, friends, change, and love...

I have really been wanting to try some things on the Vegan's 100 list that I had not had before, so this week I decided to make fried plantains! Thank goodness for this list, because these were great! I went with a whole Jamaican theme for the dinner, and it was freaking delicious!!!

Jamaican Jerk Seitan

The Jamaican-inspired dinner consisted of: Jamaican Jerk Seitan, Coconut-Curry Quinoa, Fried Plantains with Agave, and Steamed Greens. Steve and I were both blown away at how good this simple and filling meal was! I made the Jerk Seitan recipe basically like I had before, based off the Jamaican Jerk Tempeh recipe from The greens were simply steamed and I dashed them with some hot sauce and nooch, for good measure. For the quinoa, I just made 1 cup of quinoa per the directions, and about 5 minutes before it was done, added 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1 Tbs curry powder. wow!! I didn't look up a recipe for the fried plantains, so I just made one up and it turned out perfectly! I think you should try it, too! Fried Plantains:I just heated up some canola oil in a skillet and placed the plantains (cut in half then sliced lengthwise) in the pan and sprinkled them with some salt and cayenne. After browning on both sides, I drizzled them with the agave nectar and served them hot. I could have eaten my weight in these things!!

Here's the whole thing all pretty and plated:

It's only halfway over, but this week has been great so far! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Soul Food

With the blessing of having a day off of both school AND work (!!) I was able to prepare a real meal for a few friends and myself. Some good 'ol soul food was just what we needed, too!
I have been dreaming about the Blueberry Chipotle Barbeque Sauce that I saw on the PPK blog last week, and I just got a package of Soy Curls from my Pangaea order...the combination was just obvious to me! If you haven't made this super sweet and spicy and tangy and smoky sauce that Isa posted, then you must! immediately if not sooner! I'm sure it would go well on anything, like tofu or tempeh, but it went perfectly with the mildly-flavored and chewy-textured Soy Curls! Here they are up close and personal:

Here is the recipe, courtesy of the PPK Blog!
Blueberry Chipotle Barbeque Sauce (makes about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch chunk of peeled ginger, minced
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup veggie broth or water
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 to 3 teaspoons chipotle powder
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
Salt to taste

Preheat a sauce pan over medium heat. Saute the onions in the oil for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and ginger, saute for a minute more. Add the blueberries, veggie broth and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the chipotle, molasses and sugar. Lower heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes, until it’s reduced by about half. It should be nice and thick. Adjust sugar and salt if you need to. Turn the heat off and let sit for about 15 minutes before using, stirring occasionally. (from Isa at the PPK blog)

I served the BBQ Soy Curls with some organic steamed kale and Mac'n' Chreese from Road's End Organics...whole wheat macaroni noodles+ nutritional yeast cheezy sauce= love! Herethey are in their lovely box, ready to be cooked:And here's everything all together... a perfect meal! A little taste of Southern-style food really is good for the soul :)