Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's My 100th Post! Let's Celebrate With Wafflewiches!

I can't believe this is my 100th post!! This blog has been so much fun to do! I am also really thankful that people actually read it and even make some of my recipes!

I could not think of a better way to celebrate than to show you Bianca's latest Cookin' Crunk tester recipe: a Wafflewich! It's a fried tofu "chicken" and savory waffle sandwich, and it is heavenly! This down-home treat has a maple Dijon sauce on it for a sweet and tangy kick and is topped with some veggies for that little something extra. I could see this as an awesome brunch or lunch or dinner or breakfast sandwich ( probably because sandwiches are like my favorite food.) or for any time when you want to feel happy and full! When this cookbook comes out and you buy it, make this recipe!

Savory Waffles
Beer-Battered Fried Tofu-Plus-
Maple-Dijon Sauce
Seriously, does it get better than beer-battered fried tofu with maple-Dijon sauce, fresh tomato, and greens on a savory whole wheat waffle?? Well, maybe....If you throw in some awesome coleslaw! I served my wafflewich with one of my favorite homestyle sides, creamy coleslaw. This meal was delightful!
Here's to the next 100 posts!! :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Food, Of Course!

First off, Happy Belated Valentine's Day to everyone! I had a great day with Steven, and we celebrated by taking a walk together, getting a couple's massage together, cooking dinner together, then watching a movie was perfect! I can't imagine a better way to celebrate a holiday than making a meal with people you love. We had a Jamaican-inspired meal...I guess you could say the theme was "One Love," but only if you're super cheezy.
Here's what we had!
Appetizer: Fried Plantains with Agave Nectar
Main Course: Jamaican Jerk Tempeh, Mango-Coconut Sticky Rice, Garlic Sauteed GreensDessert: Peanut-Yam Empanadas

In addition to being happy about the great Valentine's Day events, I am also excited to be living in Columbia again! Kansas City was nice, but it is good to be with my friends and Steven. To celebrate my first night back, we went to dinner at my old ball and chain, Main Squeeze! I miss working there a whole lot, but it is also kinda nice to go there and eat and not have to worry about customers and other stresses! I got one of my all-time favorites, the Good Fortune Wrap. It is seasoned tofu, brown rice, homemade sesame-ginger sauce, carrots, spinach, cabbage, scallions, and sesame seeds all rolled up and toasted in a whole wheat could you say no?? The sesame-ginger sauce makes this a wrap I come back to often!
Good Fortune Wrap

On another note, I think I have perfected my Vegan Monte Cristo Sandwich recipe! woohoo! You should try it out and lemme know what you think...

Vegan Monte Cristo Sandwich (serves 2)
4 slices whole grain bread
4 slices veggie "ham"
2 slices vegan cheeze
2 Tablespoons jam, such as raspberry or blackberry
2 Tablespoons dijon or creole mustard
Nonstick cooking spray, as needed
Bread Batter:
1 cup soymilk
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 Tbs maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Set our four slices of bread. Spread 1 Tbs jam on two of the slices and 1 Tbs spicy mustard on the other two slices. Place half of a slice of cheeze, broken up or shredded, onto each slice of slathered bread. Place slices of veggie "ham" on top of the cheeze, and top with the other slice of bread (so each sandwich has one jam slice and one mustard slice). In a wide bowl or pie pan, whisk together the batter ingredients until well-combined. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. When pan is hot, dip one sandwich in batter and flip to coat completely. Place battered sandwich in hot pan and cook on both sides until the bread is browned and toasted, and the batter has mostly cooked don't want a soggy sandwich!
Repeat with the second sandwich and serve hot, drizzled with maple syrup and dusted with a little cinnamon or powdered sugar!
Note: If the cheeze doesn't melt with cooking in the skillet, place cooked sandwiches on a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 10 or so minutes until it is more melty!!

This makes a perfect brunch entree!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bianca's Back and a Recipe from My Grandma!

I have lots of yummy things to share, so I hope you're ready!
First off, the lovely Bianca of the Vegan Crunk blog is, as you know, working on her upcoming cookbook, Cookin' Crunk. After some issues with her computer situation, her new tester recipes are up...and they are delicious!
The first recipe on the list is.....Sweet Potato Bread! This is by far the best quick bread I have ever made or eaten!! And I have eaten my fair share of quick breads. It is so dense and moist, with a perfect balance of sweet potato and spice is also healthier than most because it is made with very little oil and is made entirely with whole wheat flour! Yes, I even had some for breakfast...slathered with Earth Balance, of course. Sweet Potato Bread, in the pan.
Sweet Potato Bread, sliced and ready to be devoured.

The other recipe for this week was her Granny's Squash Casserole. This is a creamy yellow squash and rice casserole, made with a gravy sauce. It's texture and flavors are really comforting, and it smells just like a creamy casserole I would see at any of my family gatherings! I think I could fool some folks with this one. Anyway, the chewy texture of the brown rice with the soft baked squash is awesome. This makes an awesome side dish with some Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu and Roasted Brussels Sprouts, which is how I rolled with it. I highly recommend!!Granny's Creamy Squash Casserole

Now, a good foodage picture with no recipe...I'm still perfecting it! Last night for dinner, I made Vegan Monte Cristo Sandwiches!!! I loved these in my pre-vegan days, and I even had a veg version at the amazing Chicago Diner, which I also loved. It was high time that I tried making some myself! Well, these turned out so goooooood! I just put some veggie ham with some Follow Your Heart monterey jack cheeze and creole mustard between some whole grain bread that I French-toasted. I had to put them in the oven for a bit to melt the cheeze, but whatever. Then I served it up with some organic black cherry jam, and a side of Cajun-roasted potatoes. Brunch for dinner is the best. Period!
And now, for a veganized version of one of my grandma's recipes: Italian Sausage Ragout. This seems so simple, yet it is so wonderful. I crave this often and have just now decided to give it a shot. It turned out really savory and flavourful!! Perfect with some steamed broccoli....and some sorbet or vegan ice cream for dessert! Unfortunately, I cut my thumb pretty severely (4 stitches worth, thank you!) while chopping the veggies for this dinner, so be careful!! BTW, this copycat version got my grandma's seal of approval! Bonus!
Grandma's Italian "Sausage" Ragout

Grandma's Italian "Sausage" Ragout (serves 4)

  1. 4 Vegan Italian Sausage links, sliced into 1/2" pieces
  2. 1 large yellow onion, diced
  3. 1 green bell pepper, diced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced thinly
  6. 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (I used the kind already seasoned with Italian spices)
  7. 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  10. 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  11. 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
  12. 1/2 lb whole wheat linguine, uncooked

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, pour the onions into the pan. Saute for 5 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the green pepper, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan and saute for 5 more minutes on medium heat to soften. Add in the sliced sausages, tomatoes, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper. Stir until well combined and cover. Turn to medium-low heat and allow to simmer while you make the pasta, about 20 minutes. Make the pasta according to the package directions, making sure you only cook the linguine to al dente. Add the salt and pepper, using more or less to taste, to the ragout mixture, along with 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Stir well and serve immediately over the cooked pasta!

Seriously, try this dish. The Italian Sausages just give the sauce a little something extra, maybe it's love, I don't know. Oh, and I used the Field Roast brand Italian Sausages for mine, but the Tofurkey brand or even homemade sausages would rock, too!

Hey, what are you all doing/cooking/baking for Valentine's Day? I need ideas to steal!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Kansas City + Lawrence Eats!

I really can't believe it has been two weeks since I posted! I would apologize, chalking it up to my laziness, but actually I have a legitimate reason! I am staying in Kansas City for a month-long internship at the Harvesters Food Bank, in the nutrition department...which is in combination with my other schoolwork, so I have been a busy bee with little time to cook or blog. Luckily, I have had a chill weekend so far, and now I can finally catch up! hooray!
This weekend I went to Lawrence, KS (where KU is) to visit my wonderful friend Anna. She showed me around, which means we went to all the good places to get vegan food! Lawrence is a really cool town, and there seems to be a lot of appreciation there for good food...that's how I judge a place, I guess! :)

For my first day, we went to lunch at the Nice Cafe, which is located downtown in a natural foods market called the Casbah. This is some of the best and cheapest food ever!! They specialize in homemade patties, which are another word for empandadas. They are really healthy, too, as they are baked instead of fried and made with whole wheat flour! YES!
I had the Jerk Tofu Patty and the Jamaican Slaw, both rocked my face clean off!! I got the sweet dipping sauce, and I was in heaven.The Jerk Tofu Patty, Jamaican Slaw, and Sweet Dipping Sauce

Crappy inside shot of the Jerk Tofu Patty...

And for dessert, I got a yummy cookie by Ancient Grains, a bakery in Lawrence! They make the best GF cookies I have ever had. I had the choc-choc chip for lunch and the even better oatmeal raisin variety for dinner.Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookie
Anna and her bf, Dan, got the Jamaican Rice and Peas with Jerk Tofu on top, and that sauce on top is the spicy dipping sauce...made with yams! whoa! This was also delicious.Jamaican Rice and Peas, with Jerk Tofu and Spicy Dipping Sauce

And here's the cuties, smooching at Nice Cafe.

For dinner, we hit up Local Burger. This place has every kind of burger you could imagine, all from local sources! They have an awesome vegan Veggie Burger, made with quinoa, so I knew I had to try it. I got it topped with avocado...duh...and got a side of their Progressive Potatoes (aka awesome fries). I was in greasy-vegan food-heaven!Veggie Burger with Avocado on Wheat Bun, with Progressive Potatoes

Then this morning for breakfast, we went to Wheatfields Bakery. This didn't have many vegan options, unfortunately, but they did have bagels...which I love! I got a BIG poppy seed bagel with a schmear of natural peanut butter, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Sometimes you have to get creative. Oh, and they had amazing coffee! score!

Poppy Seed Bagel with Peanut Butter, Honey, and Cinnamon

That was pretty much my weekend in Lawrence...and it was great! We even got to ride bikes and play outside yesterday because it was soooo beautiful! I am blessed.

Ok, now I will tell you about some of the good stuff I've been eating in Kansas City. Believe it or not, KC has its very own all-vegan restaurant, Cafe Seed. The owner/chef even used to work with Isa Moskowitz back when they both lived in Brooklyn! So, you know this lady can cook! One of my favorite things to do is to get breakfast here...especially because they have the best biscuits I've ever eaten. ever. But, last time we went there, they were all out!! NOO! So, we had to "settle" (haha) with other amazing stuff...Belgian Waffle with Fresh Fruit Topping and Veg Sausage Links

Pancakes with Fresh Fruit Topping and Veg Sausage with "Cheese"

My other favorite place to eat in KC is Eden Alley, which is all vegetarian and mostly vegan. It has been around for over 12 years, and it is so wonderful! I think this food could turn anyone to being an herbivore. I especially like their desserts...

Two Berry-More Cake with Fresh Berry Frosting

Raw Apple-Cinnamon Pie with Coconut Crust...Steven's fav.

KC also has some great coffee shops. One of my favorites is Broadway Cafe, which has great everything and even has some vegan sandwiches and pumpkin bread. wow. The other neat place is the Filling Station, which uses Broadway's coffee for their roaster. They make killer soy lattes...Soy Latte from The Filling Station

And lots of people who work there are vegan, so they have some vegan sandwiches/wraps and almost always have a vegan dessert, usually some kind of fruit pie. This particular day, they had a triple berry! More like triple awesome!

Triple Berry Pie

I have only been doing a little cooking since I have been so busy, but here's a recipe I have been working on: Apple-Sage Seitan Sausages...bursting with fresh sage and apples and spices and deliciousness. They aren't quite perfect yet, but they will get there soon! Apple Sage Sausages with Roasted Potatoes and Garlic Brussel SproutsThe inside of a beautiful sausage

And, yes, since I am staying in Kansas City for a bit, and I missing my Steven VERY MUCH! Here we are, being ridiculous and sweet at Cafe Seed.... awww. Last weekend I did get to see him for our one year anniversary, though. Pics to come on those meals!

Whew, that was a long post! I hope you're hungry now!