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.