Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Swiss Chard Frittata

The more dishes I make from Isa's Vegan Brunch, the more I think that this cookbook is genius! I am not ashamed to say the breakfast/brunch is my favorite meal of the day, so VB and I are a perfect match!

This weekend, I had a bunch of locally-grown swiss chard, and it was obvious how I needed to use it: the Vegan Brunch Swiss Chard Frittata!! This is really easy to prepare and can be made using common vegan cupboard ingredients, and not to mention it is crazy delicious...perfect for a savory breakfast (at morning or at night)!
I served mine with some garlicky homefries, and it was great!! Now I am looking forward to many frittata adventures in the future! God bless you, Isa!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

My lovely friend, Jordan, had her golden birthday yesterday! What better way to celebrate than with cupcakes?! I had never made the Cookies and Cream Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, so I baked these up as her b-day cake/present. If you haven't eaten or made these before, they are the Basic Chocolate Cupcake with crushed sandwich cookies in the batter, topped with the Fluffy Buttercream Icing that has more crushed cookies in the frosting, garnished with yet another sandwich cookie! Heavenly. I used Newman O's for the cookie part, btw. Amazingly good, and surprisingly not too rich or sweet or anything! My only regret is that I hadn't made/eaten them before!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Crunk Feast

Last night, I had myself a crunk-inspired Southern feast for dinner with all the fixin's...

My jalapeno cornbread (I am still perfecting the recipe, but it's close!): Vegan Crunk Bianca's tester recipe for Fried Squash, for her in-the-works Cookin' Crunk cookbook, made with some tasty local summer squash:
Another Cookin' Crunk tester recipe, Boozy Baked Beans, made with PBR, of course:
And all the feast was so delicious!!! Sweet tea was the only thing missing, I'm pretty sure!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

OPF(Other Peoples' Food): Banana Bread and Curry Chickpea Hummus

I have really been in the cooking and baking mood lately, which gets me really excited! Yesterday, I tried out two recipes that came from other peoples' recipe collections...and not just any two people, either! They are both very important!

First up, from Dreena Burton, I made the Curry Chickpea Hummus from her latest cookbook, Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan (aka ED&BV). Sometimes I just crave hummus nothing else will satisfy me! I usually don't use a recipe for hummus, rather, I just throw in however much seems right, but I was flipping through ED&BV and this caught my eye...try it if you haven't yet! This hummus is made with cashew butter instead of tahini and is laced with curry spices and raisins, too! I love, love, love it! I have been eating it non-stop since making it, both on its own and in wraps:

The other person who's recipe I made was my grandma, Bonnie. When she was alive, she was an avid cook and baker, and even owned her own restaurant! I guess it's in my blood to love food and cooking! Anyway, I made my first attempt to veganize her Banana Bread recipe yesterday...and it turned out wonderfully! So, so moist and dense in a good way, with a really nice banana flavor. Success!! This is dedicated to her!

Grandma Bonnies’s Banana Bread Redux (makes 1 loaf)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
1/2 cup canola oil or ½ cup unsweetened applesauce (for a low-fat version)
1 cup organic sugar
2 Tbs ground flaxseed whisked with ¼ cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 very ripe bananas
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a loaf pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate large bowl, cream together the applesauce and sugar. Add flax mixture and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add in the peeled bananas and mash well, incorporating them into the wet ingredients completely. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. If using walnuts, fold in ¾ cup of the nuts into the batter. Be careful not to over-mix this batter, or the bread will not have the proper lift or texture after baking. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and spread top to make an even surface. Evenly sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup chopped walnuts on top of the batter. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
* Tip: If using bananas that are still slightly frozen, add an extra 5 minutes to your baking time!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tester Tostadas and.....drumroll.....My First Homemade Vegan Doughnuts!

So testing recipes for Terry's upcoming Vegan Latina cookbook just gets better and better....tonight for dinner I made the Black-Eyed Butternut Tostadas. Yeah, you heard me right. Black-eyed peas and butternut squash are mashed up with some spices and such to a refried bean texture and spread on crunchy tostada shells. Then they are topped with shredded lettuce, avocado, local salsa, and a few dollops of vegan sour cream. They are like little towers of deliciousness! I served them up with some of the tester Pickled Red Onions, since I eat them with everything these days!

And I made VEGAN DOUGHNUTS!! I got the urge today and had nothing to do, so I went for it! I used a recipe I found on Melisser's blog, The Urban Housewife, for baked doughnuts, and made up my own chocolate glaze. I hear doughnuts are the new cupcakes, and I am OK with that! Topped with some organic sprinkles, these plus a big mug of hot coffee made my evening absolutely perfect!! I even made them with whole wheat pastry flour, so they are kinda healthy! Woo!
Nekkid doughnuts, post-baking....Chocolate-glazed and sprinkled doughnuts....ready for me to attack...
On another note, I tried a new place to eat in Kansas City, the Record Bar! I thought I had found just about all the vegan food there is to be had in KC, but I was wrong! The Record Bar is part music venue, part bar and grill-type eatery. They have several vegan-friendly menu items, too! I went with my momma, before seeing HP6, so we each tried a different entree! Oh, the joys of a dining companion!
My mom got The Moby Sandwich, which was a roasted portabella with TONS of veggies and balsamic vinaigrette (sans mayo) on herbed focaccia. This sandwich was so tasty AND it came with awesome fries and was a big 'ol meal for not a lot of skrill! Very cool. But, being a bar and all, it didn't have good food porn lighting. Not so cool. As long as the food is good, I'm cool with it! I got the Ian MacKaye Pizza! It was their homemade pizza crust spread with homemade lemony hummus and, again, lots of veggies (including whole cloves of garlic! what a dream!) and kalamata olives. Very, very good!! Who knew bar food could be so vegan!?!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hazelnut Toffee Ice Cream!

So I am pretty convinced that summer=ice cream. After trying to come up with some cool/new/delicious vegan ice cream creation, I finally figured out a flavor combo that is just ridiculously good: Hazelnut Toffee Ice Cream!! I had some hazelnuts and some butterscotch chips, and it just made sense! If you are wanting to give this a whirl and can't find vegan butterscotch chips, try using extra chocolate chips, another type of nut, or even white chocolate chips...go crazy! I hope you try this and like it as much as I did!
Vegan Hazelnut Toffee Ice Cream (makes about 2 qts)
2 cups soy creamer
1 cup soy milk, or non-dairy milk of your choice
1/2 cup organic sugar
2 Tbs arrowroot powder whisked with 1/4 cup cold water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups chopped and toasted hazelnuts
1 cup vegan butterscotch chips
1 cup chocolate chips

In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the creamer, soy milk, and sugar. Heat over medium flame until just boiling, then remove immediately from heat. Whisk in the arrowroot slurry and stir until slightly thickened. Stir in the salt, vanilla, and almond extract until well mixed.
Pour into your ice cream maker and make according to manufacturer's directions. During the last 5 minutes of stirring, slowly add in the hazelnuts, butterscotch and chocolate chips. Serve immediately or freeze for later service. Either way, make sure you enjoy it! I'm picturing lots of hot fudge on top.... mmmmm.....

Now, just for a little food porn treat, here's a little delight I had at the Uprise Bakery here in Columbia, which has lots of vegan options and occasionally make a vegan baked good! With all the yummy zucchini in season around here, they made Zucchini Walnut Bread with a Chai Tea Glaze! It is so gooooood! Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee for a late night snack attack or a light breakfast. And it is made in a little mini-loaf pan! Who doesn't love an individual loaf of local zucchini bread?? You would have to be crazy! Or allergic to zucchini....that would be sad.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Black-Eyed Pea and Corn Cakes

Who doesn't love a good fritter?? Well, I certainly do...which is why I was so excited when Bianca of Vegan Crunk posted a fritter made of black-eyed peas (yum) and corn (double yum) as a tester recipe for her Cookin' Crunk cookbook! These little gems are served with a Roasted Red Pepper Creme as a garnish, which compliments them oh so well. These Black-Eyed Pea and Corn Cakes can be served as an appetizer or along with a few sides as a main dish! Can I just say how deeply I am in love with corn?? wow.
I served them as a main dish, with some awesome organic coleslaw on the side....what a great hot summer night's dinner!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Everything's Better When It's Homemade!

There is just something so gratifying about making things yourself! Not only because they usually taste better and are healthier than when store-bought, but when you are biting into your homemade creation, there is a great sense of accomplishment and pride in your hard work. I love this feeling, so this week I tried really hard to make as much as I could from scratch! It was a lot of fun...and tasty, too!

For breakfast, I have been munching on the Bakery-Style Berry Muffins from Isa's Vegan Brunch. These are perfectly sweet and fluffy and satisfying in the morning with a little schmear of Earth Balance and berry jam. This makes me want to try all the VB muffin recipes now! No good vegan could go around tauting homemade goods without mentioning seitan! I love seitan made from scratch! It has such a wonderful flavor and is so easy. Most of my dinners this week have been centered around the Steamed White Seitan, a tester recipe for Terry's upcoming Vegan Latina cookbook. This seitan is supposed to be for chicken- and pork-type dishes, as it has a mild flavor and is spiked with delicious herbs and seasonings.For the first meal in which I used the Steamed White Seitan, I made the Arroz con Seitan, another VL test recipe. This is Terry's veganized take on Arroz con Pollo, a very traditional Latina dish with chicken, rice, and veggies. It was delicious!! First the seitan is marinated and grilled...Then combined with the rice, a delicious broth made with beer, and lots of veggies--including green olives, which I adore!! Very flavorful, hearty, and even nice on a hot summer evening with a side of juicy local tomato slices!Then last night for dinner, I used the seitan for Chipotle Seitan and Potato Tacos, a VL test recipe as well. I love love love tacos, and these were amazing! I prepared these for my friend Sarah and myself, and we devoured every last bite. Perfect on a hot night, with all the heat from the chipotle peppers to make you sweat!
I even made my own Soft Corn Tortillas for our tacos! This was my first time making homemade tortillas, and it was surprisingly easy! These were a Vegan Latina test recipe, of course! I think I will be making these all the time now!
These spicy, savory soft tacos are filled with a chipotle and beer marinated seitan that has been grilled, roasted then pan-fried sweet potatoes, shredded cabbage, the Pickled Red Onions (a VL test recipe I had leftover), and a Lime Yogurt Crema, which is Terry's spin on a sour cream-style sauce....lots of lime and cilantro and yum! I cannot stress enough how awesome these were and how excited everyone should be about the VL cookbook! woo!
And, of course, there's nothing like a homemade pie for dessert! My wonderful friend Cody had a birthday this week, and he requested a peanut butter pie instead of the traditional b-day cake. So I delivered! Celine at the Have Cake, Will Travel blog posed this PB & J Pie recipe not too long ago, and it caught my eye (and taste buds!). I made a homemade whole wheat pie crust and filled it with layers of peanut butter-based filling and raspberry jam. This was awesome! Peanut butter is good just about any way you throw it at me, but this was exceptional! It was even more perfect with some freshly-brewed coffee and lovely company!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Testa Fiesta!

My friend Anna had a birthday party last weekend that was "taco night" themed, so I had a wonderful excuse to whip up some tester recipes for Terry Hope Romero's upcoming Vegan Latina cookbook!! All of the recipes I have tried so far for this cookbook testing have been so flavorful and delicious, and they incorporate a lot of new ingredients for me to try....very exciting!

For my main dish contribution to the feast, I made the Chimichurri Baked Tofu, which uses the Chimichurri Sauce recipe, both Terry test recipes. This was awesome! I had never had anything with chimichurri....kinda like a Latina pesto....and the flavors just explode in your mouth and it is wonderfully spicy and savory and great! We put these in tacos/burritos/our tummies and were all very, very pleased! One guest at the fiesta said this was the best tofu she's ever had! Whoa!
(unfortunately, this didn't photograph as well as it tasted. wah.) For a condiment addition to the spread, I made the Pickled Red Onions test recipe! I love ALL things pickled and I love onions, so this was perfect for me! It is a quick pickling process, where the onions really just marinate overnight in a lime-infused brine....a cheater pickled onion is just as good as a regular pickled onion, folks! Since the recipe made a giant batch, I am still using these up by throwing them in/on just about everything I eat! so gooooood.

While the birthday cake was not a test recipe, it was still incredible! I made the Decadent Almond Cake from Hannah Kaminsky's My Sweet Vegan. The cake is a very moist and richly-flavored almond cake, made with almond meal and other tasties, with a ganache frosting. Since Anna is a big carob fan, I made the ganache with carob instead of the chocolate for which the recipe called. It paired so well with the sweetness of the almond cake! If you have not made this cake from MSV before, you must do so next time you have a cake to make! Everyone will love you. a lot.