Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas Preview Meal!

This past Saturday, at my weekly vegan brunch at my place, I decided to spread a little holiday cheer and make a pre-Christmas dinner for everybody! It was fabulous, and I think it did the trick to get everyone in the Christmas-y mood!

It was very similar to my Thanksgiving meal, actually, but with a few changes...
Homemade Seitan Roast with Apple-Sage Stuffing
Agave-Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Vegan Green Bean Casserole
Golden Onion Gravy
Candied Ginger Cranberry Sauce

It was truly a feast! And a celebration of local foods...the sweet potatoes, apples, and garlic were all locally-grown! And btdubs, I have been meaning to post my recipe for the Homemade Seitan Roast, but I lost the paper I wrote it on! Bummer! I'll keep looking for it and give it out as soon as I find it! Wish me luck :)The true stars were, of course, the pies for dessert!
We had Pecan Pie, recipe from the Vegan Feast Kitchen blog! With local pecans! Yeah! And Pumpkin Pie, using my recipe from the Thanksgiving post a while ago. Pumpkin Pie just screams holidays to me! And I used local pumpkins, that I pureed myself and everything. Oh, a you already probably know that is all homemade crust. Duh.
Just typing about this is getting me pumped for my real Christmas dinner coming up in two days!! Woo hoo!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Breakfast is the Bestest!

Well it's been a while since I posted...I've had a cold for a few days, but I'm feeling much better now and ready for blogging!

This past weekend was another edition of the KC Vegan Crawl. At my underground restaurant, which I am now doing on Saturdays btw, I served breakfast....because it's the best meal EVER!
One of my favorite breakfast meals is Breakfast Burritos, so that's what I served! These burritos were big and delicious and perfect for a chilly Saturday afternoon! They were whole wheat tortillas stuffed with scrambled local tofu, homemade seitan sausage, shredded Follow Your Heart vegan cheddar, and organic spinach!! So goooood! I also made some Homemade Salsa to go with them. On the side, I served Garlic-Roasted Local Potatoes, which rocked! It's just not breakfast without potatoes. Am I right or am I right?!And, since it's just not a meal without dessert.....DOUGHNUTS!!! Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Doughnuts, to be exact! These were my first ever homemade fried doughnuts! I have made baked ones before, but there's just something soooo satisfying about a hot, fresh fried treat. mmmmmmm.
I used a modified version of one of my grandma's recipes for Glazed Potato Doughnuts, and they turned out perfectly! I just have to share a recipe, because people ate them up faster than I could make them in my little Fry Daddy! So great! These have been veganized and kinda healthified for your pleasure....make these asap! You don't necessarily need a deep fryer; you can use a large pan or wok for the frying. Go! Vegan Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Doughnuts
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup soymilk, scalded
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1/4 cup vegan sugar
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes (I used local sweet potatoes, and they were perfect)
2 Tbs flaxseeds, ground and whisked together with 1/4 cup water
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 lb powdered sugar
6 Tbs water
1 tsp maple extract
1 Tbs vanilla extract

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Set aside until the yeast forms a foamy layer on top of the water. In a large bowl, combine the scalded soymilk, shortening, sugar, and salt. Whisk together, and then set aside to cool until lukewarm. Stir in the proofed yeast, mashed sweet potatoes, and flaxseed mixture. Mix until just combined. Sift in the flours, 1 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and then knead until you have a smooth, satiny dough. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn over the ball so the top is lightly greased; this will prevent the dough from drying out. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll to 1/2" thickness. Using a 3" doughnut cutter, or biscuit cutter and a mini round cookie cutter, cut out your doughnuts until no more dough remains. This should produce about 3 dozen doughnuts and doughnut holes. Place cut doughnuts on lightly greased cookie sheets. Cover and let rise for another hour to double in size.
While these are rising, whisk together the powdered sugar, water, and extracts to make the glaze; whisk well until no clumps remain. Set aside.
Heat oil in deep fryer or large pot, to 375 F. Fry each doughnut for 1 minute per side, until lightly browned and puffed. Drain on paper towels or newspaper. Drop hot doughnuts into glaze, then set on cooling rack until glaze has set.
Serve warm with coffee or hot cider for an out of sight wintertime experience!!!! Yields: 3 dozen doughnuts/holes.

Now quit reading and go make some doughnuts!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Vegan Cookies Have Invaded My Cookie Jar: Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

Vegan cookies have officially invaded my cookie jar. Well, they would if I actually had a cookie jar!! My current life goal is to make all the recipes in VCIYCJ by Isa and Terry. Last week I made the Spiced Sweet Potato Blondies, this week, it's the simple and perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. Mmmmmm....
Is there really anything more beautiful than warm, homemade chocolate cookies...straight out of the oven and dying to be devoured with a tall glass of cold soymilk...and then to share them while snuggling under a cozy blanket? I think not! Go make these. Now! If you don't have the book, you can find the recipe at Seriously, go!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sunday Funday!

This past Sunday was filled with snow flurries, tasty food, and beautiful friends. In case you haven't read some of my past posts about Kansas City's Sustainability Sundays. Basically, every Sunday my friend, Dane, and I serve up vegan, locally-grown food from our houses--underground restaurant style--and talk about sustainability. It. is. awesome. We have great people come out to eat and support the cause! I serve lunch and Dane serves up dinner, so we each get a break from cooking for one meal. It's a good thing.

There was even a special guest at my lunch this week: Miss V from the blog Miss V's Vegan Cookbook! She is another KC vegan blogger, but you've probably already checked out her blog. If not, then you should!!! I was so glad to have her join in the food and festivities! Yay Miss V!

Lunch this week was one of my favorite meals: Arepas! These plump little tortilla-like cakes are stuffed with black beans, fried plantains, and Latina Shredded Seitan (actually a tester for Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Latina cookbook!). I served them with Garlic-Lime Braised Local Greens and avocado. So, so flavorful and goooooood.Dessert was suuuuper exciting....because it was the first recipe I have made from Isa and Terry's Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar!!!!!! I was so excited to get this cookbook and I was NOT disappointed! At all! I made the Spiced Sweet Potato Blondies and let me just tell you that these are perfect. There's really no other way to say it. I even got to use local sweet potatoes in them! yeah! Everyone was sooo in love with these! I used walnuts and vegan butterscotch chips in mine, and served them with a lil' scoop of So Delicious vanilla ice cream! omg.omg.omg.For dinner, Dane served up Peanut Noodles with Broccoli, and some fresh cucumber. Sweet, salty, spicy, and awesome! Dessert wasn't photographed, aka I forgot, was also fresh and tasty...chocolate-peanut butter dipped pineapple! What a treat!On another note, I just have to rave about a sandwich I put together last week, what I am deeming The Thanksgivingwich!!! This fantastic monster of a sandwich was full of all my Thanksgiving leftovers: sliced Seitan Faux Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Creamy Onion Gravy, and Sauteed Greens, all between locally-made Farm to Market Bread! Heaven in a sandwich for suuuure. Now if I had only saved some stuffing to pile on it....nah, too much. :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

KC Eats: Blue Koi!

So I have blogged before about some amazing places for vegans to eat in Kansas City...Blue Koi is one of the restaurants I have mentioned for its great vegan selection. But until last week, I hadn't even eaten there myself! Well, I went once and now I'm totally hooked!!! The staff is extremely knowledgeable about which items are vegan or could be made vegan, which makes me immediately feel at ease when I sit down to order. Also, tons of the menu items are already labeled vegan, which is even better!! The prices are in the 10-15 dollar range for an entree, but TRUST me on this, most of them are good for two meals. And I can eat a lot! So really, it's like 5 or 6 per meal...not too shabby considering this is some flippin' amazing, all fresh and homemade, pan-Asian food!!
I have now gone to Blue Koi twice in two weeks, and I plan on going much, much more!
On my first trip, I went with my friend, Chelsea...who is awesome btw :)

I got the Vegan Delight: a noodle soup in a sweet miso-ginger broth with carrots, cabbage, daikon, mushrooms, tofu knots, rice noodles, and fried tofu. Holy moly this was extremely flavorful, very mild in spice, and warming to the body and soul. I am in love with this dish. Perfect.Chelsea got the Ants on a Tree with Tofu: rice noodles stir-fried with tofu, cabbage, mushrooms, other veggies, and a spicy soy-based sauce. So, so good. It had a nice balance of heat, saltiness, sweetness, and savoriness. mmmm.....For our dessert, we split the Sesame Balls, the only vegan dessert Blue Koi currently has. It is basically a little mochi ball stuffed with red bean paste, coated in rice flour and sesame seeds and deep fried. So many good things all in one little ball!!! Then, to go even more over the top, they give you their Sweet Plum Sauce to dip them in. Seriously like an Asian version of a jelly donut. I could not get enough!! And for being fried, they were not greasy at all! So light and airy and absolutely delicious. Best dessert from a restaurant I've had in quite a while! On my second visit, which was for lunch today, I took my mom since she had never been to Blue Koi before! Crazy!

She got the Tofu with Braised Mushrooms: Wheat noodles topped with a saute of mushrooms, fried tofu, and a savory soy-based sauce, topped with cilantro and scallions and served with a garnish of house-pickled cucumbers. So delicious. She was very, very pleased! Not spicy, but very flavorful and salty and goooood.
For my meal, I ordered the Tofu with Black Bean Sauce! I seriously think I almost passed out this was so wonderful!! It is fried tofu cubes (which were huuuuuge!), red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and fresh jalapeno stir-fried with a spicy and sweet black bean sauce. Served with perfectly sticky and fluffy all at once rice. yum. Just so, so, so many awesome flavors all together and perfectly executed. Not too greasy or sticky or any -y that it could have been. Divine is all I can say!! It made perfect leftovers for dinner tonight, too! Bonus!!
If you're ever in Kansas City or live nearby, Blue Koi is definitely a place you should check out! I don't think you'll be disappointed. Ever. At all.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Super Sustainability Sunday

Yesterday's Sustainability Sunday, aka the KC Vegan Crawl, was so great! Tons of people came out for tons of great food!
It was even more super special because I busted out the Fry Daddy! yessssss!

For lunch, I served Homemade Black Bean Burgers topped with braised chard and garlic, caramelized onions, and homemade chipotle vegan mayo, all piled onto a homemade Cornbread Burger Bun, courtesy of Melisser from The Urban Housewife blog!! I served them with Sweet Potato Fries...that were actually fried! yeah! The chard, onions, corn in the burgers, and sweet potatoes were all locally-grown, too! Even better!I got some of those adorable little red diner baskets during my trip to Denver, at a thrift store, so I served the burgers and fries in those! How cute, right?!

Dessert was Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from Isa and Terry's Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World! I had leftover homemade local pumpkin puree from Thanksgiving's pumpkin pie, so this was an obvious and amazing use for it! I used my own Cinnamon Buttercream recipe for the frosting, and this turned out to be one freakin amazing little cupcake!

Then last night was Dane's turn to whip up some more vegan goodness!
There was a great turnout, so tons of people got to share in the yumminess!
For dinner, Dane served a Rice, Bean, and Veggie Burrito topped with Sweet Potato Butter and Sauteed Local Bok Choy. On the side were Rosemary Roasted Potatoes and Ginger-Brown Sugar Baked Local Radishes. So much good fooooood!
Dessert was Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches--with Strawberry-Sunflower Seed-Oat Cookies and Homemade Vanilla Vegan Ice Cream. There was also a Vegan White Cake for a birthday cake!There were a couple of peeps' birthdays this week, so we celebrated them all together with some tasty vegan cake!Now for some random pics of people having good food and fun at Sustainability Sundays! Dane, cooking it up in his kitchen...It also happened to be a moustache party as well, so those of us who didn't already have a natural moustache drew one the lovely Chelsea here!
More food and good times to come next Sunday for sure! KC Vegan Crawl baby! It's gettin out of control big!! yay!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanxgiving Part 2: Anatomy of a Pumpkin Pie

So I am of the belief that Thanksgiving just cannot be without pumpkin pie. Call me crazy, but it's just how it is! This is my recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Pie, made with local pumpkin. I am sure you could use canned pumpkin puree, but it really just wouldn't be the same!!

I'll also give you a brief step-by-step on making the puree. Hopefully you'll try this for your next fall/winter celebration!

Step 1: Buy 1 medium or 2 small pumpkins from your local farmers' market.

Step 2: Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds/stringies.

Step 3: Roast pumpkin at 350 F for 1 hour until soft.
Step 4: Remove the "meat" of the pumpkin from the skin and puree until smooth in a food processor.

Step : Place pumpkin puree into a cheescloth or thin towel. Put the cloth into a strainer set over a bowl and allow to drain overnight. This helps to achieve the right thickness/consistency of the puree.

Step 6: Make pie crust, poke with fork all over. Or open package of premade crust and poke with fork all over.

Step 7: Make pie filling.

Pumpkin Pie Filling (for 1 pie)
2 cups pumpkin puree

1 box silken tofu

1 cup sugar

2 Tbs molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger powder

2 Tbs arrowroot whisked together with 1/4 cup non-dairy milk

In a food processor, puree the silken tofu until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Gently fold ingredients together until well combined. Pour into unbaked pie crust of your choice, preferrably homemade!

Step 8: Pour pie filling into pie crust and bake at 350 For 1 hour. Cover with foil for the first 30 minutes, then remove foil halfway through baking. Step 9: Allow to cool at room temperature overnight or for at least 6 hours to allow the middle to "set."

Step 10: Slice pie, and enjoy....even better, of course, with a little vegan whipped cream or ice cream!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanxgiving Part 1: The Spread!

I love, love, love Thanksgiving! Some of my favorite foods are served at this feast and it is always so much fun to cook for hours and hours and see everyone's delighted faces at your hard work! This year, I went all out and made eeeeeverything from scratch...even the faux turkey! Over the next few days, I'll be posting some of the recipes, so as to not overwhelm in one post, so keep an eye out for all my Thanksgiving recipes!!

The Spread: Homemade Seitan Faux Turkey with Savory Onion Gravy, stuffed with Apple-Sage Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes with Chives (my grandma made these vegan for me! with chives from her own garden!), and Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts...

The garlic, bread for the stuffing, apples, chives, and brussels sprouts were all local!The Seitan Faux Turkey RoastI also made Candied Ginger Cranberry Sauce!! I'll give you my recipe below.

Candied Ginger-Cranberry Sauce
3- 12 oz. bags fresh cranberries Juice and zest of 2 lemons Juice and zest of 1 orange 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped 3 cups water 1/2 cup sugar 2 Tbs brown sugar or molasses 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1/8 tsp cloves 1 cinnamon stick 1/2 tsp salt

In a large saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the ginger and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add the chopped ginger and let simmer for 15 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Remember to remove cinnamon stick before serving. Serve warm or chilled. Best made the day ahead of time to let thicken and enhance the flavors!

My grandma made vegan Mashed Potatoes with Chives for me! Thanks, granny! You're awesome!Local Garlic-Roasted Brussels SproutsSavory Onion Gravy! I love gravy boats!!And because Thanksgiving is just another word for pie: Pies!!!

First is a Pecan Pie, made with locally-grown pecans!! Check out that homemade crust, ya'll!! It was superb, if I do say so myself :) The recipe for the pie filling came from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Vegan Feast Kitchen, because it's amazing! The pie crust is my own creation. And then there was Pumpkin Pie! The recipe will be coming tomorrow, along with a step-by-step on doing the pumpkin puree from scratch! The pumpkin is local, from the farmers' market, and the pie crust is the same as the pecan pie above. This is even better with a big dollop of vegan whipped cream, of course!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sundays Are For Love.

Yesterday was so awesome!! The Kansas City community really came out and supported local and sustainable foods! The meals hosted by both Dane and myself were very successful....and delicious!! For my lunch, I served up some veganized Italian foods, while Dane's dinner was a potluck this week! Fun fun fun!

I served Roasted Vegetable Lasagna for the main dish, and it was great! Layers of whole wheat lasagna noodles, homemade cashew ricotta, homemade marinara sauce, and roasted local veggies!! The top is Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella. Taaaaasty!I served the lasagna with a Caesar Salad--homemade dressing AND croutons, too! The bread for the croutons came from a wonderful local bakery here in KC, Fervere! Yeah!Dessert was Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti from Veganomicon. This was a huge hit!! Probably because these are some amazing cookies!! Duh!
Now, onto the potluck! Everybody brought amazing dishes, all vegan, too! Here are some highlights:
Dane made an Apple Pie, with local apples, of course
A lovely salad with ALL local, freshly-picked veggies! Also, local bok choy with red chilis!Yes, there was a Tofurkey! Two, to be exact. These things are so surprisingly good! We topped them with some pomegranate seeds! Yum.
I made a Shepherd's Pie! The bottom has homemade seitan and lots of local veggies, the topping is mashed potatoes...made with local potatoes! I loooooove this dish; it's just so wintery!Our friend, Adam, brought some Roasted Potatoes, with onions, garlic, and rosemary!
Vegan Pumpkin Pie!
Awesome siblings, Chelsea and Matt Huff, making some Cranberry Chutney! delish!!
There was even some awesome Rosehip Tea!Everyone sharing in the yums...Our gracious host, Bryce, who makes pretty much anything possible because of his big heart and hospitality! The potluck was at his house! Thanks, Bryce!!
Jim Button is enjoying a tasty Pumpkin Bisque....
The spread...including my Cinnamon-Chestnut Bread Pudding, and Harvest Bread (from Fervere Bakery) with agave whipped Earth Balance! Yes!Adam Brumback, showing his love for the food and the people!
More amazing people around amazing foods...And the lovely Chelsea Ringler! Always a Sustainability Sunday supporter!! Yeah, there was even organic soda. haha!
Neil, digging into the goodness.
Everyone got soooo full and sooooo happy! :)

And everybody helped out, which made it even more amazing!!
Including Emily Lodigensky...

A, great....time was had by all!! Let's hope next Sunday is even better!

Yay food and yay sustainability!!