Friday, September 25, 2009

Biscuits & Gravy!! My new favorite food!

This past weekend was the third installment of my weekly supper club on Sundays! Kind of an underground restaurant kind of thing, I guess you could say. I have been wanting to make breakfast for one of the meals, so I figured this week was better than any! I have also been a little obsessed with biscuits and this was the only breakfast food I could even fathom making.

Here are the fluuuuuffy biscuits.....Then they got smothered in a creamy, rich mushroom gravy! Duh. On the side, I made homemade seitan sausage patties, which turned out brilliantly for my first try, and a Local Potato Hash made with local yukon gold and sweet potatoes, homegrown peppers and tomatoes, garlic, and local onions. This was a superb and filling breakfast...I think everyone else was pleased as well!
And for a nice little after-breakfast dessert: Parfaits! The fruit was a mixture of local peaches, watermelon, and pawpaws....mmmm...and on top was vanilla soy yogurt and a sprinkling of my homemade granola! Perfect ending to a perfect breakfast!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Southern-Style BLT!

I think I've created a monster. All the abundant local produce around me has been giving me all sorts of craaaazy ideas, such as the sandwich I made up today: the Southern-Style BLT! I love, love, love sandwiches on nice days like today, and this just screamed out to be made with all the goodies I got at the market this morning.

Between thick slices of local bread from the Fervere Bakery are tofu bacon, made with local Central Soy tofu, fried green tomatoes from my mom's garden, sauteed garlicky local greens, avocado, and creamy creole sauce (recipe here). Holy moly, this was amaaazing!!! If you have some great local ingredients around you, I urge you to try this out! I served mine with an all-local slaw I made.....mmmmm.....divine!Southern-Style BLT (serves 4)
8 slices thick, whole grain bread

1 pkg tofu or tempeh, thinly sliced into bacon-like strips
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs liquid smoke
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs canola or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper

4 green tomatoes, sliced
1 cup soymilk
1/4 cup cornstarch
a few dashes of hot sauce
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning or other seasoning mix
1 Tbs baking powder
Oil for frying

1 bunch greens (such as spinach or kale), stemmed and roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs olive oil

1 recipe creamy creole sauce or vegan mayonnaise

To prepare the tempeh/tofu bacon: Whisk together all the ingredients except for the tofu or tempeh. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add sliced tofu and cook on each side for 3 minutes until lightly browned. Add the seasoning mixture and reduce to a simmer. Let cook for about 5-8 minutes, until the marinade has cooked almost completely away. Remove from heat and set aside.

To prepare the fried green tomatoes: In one bowl, whisk together the soymilk, cornstarch, and hot sauce. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the tomato breading. In a large skillet or deep pot, heat 2 inches of canola or vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Oil is hot enough when you drop in a little bit of the breading and it sizzles. Dip slices of tomato in liquid then dry mixture and repeat. Shake of excess breading and place tomato slices in the heated oil. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, over medium heat, until golden brown on both sides. Remove from oil and let drain on a paper towel.

In a separate skillet or wok, heat olive oil and garlic together over medium-high heat. When garlic starts to sizzle and becomes "blond," add the chopped greens and saute for about 5-8 minutes, until wilted and a little crispy on the edges.

To assemble a sandwich: On one slice of bread, spread Creamy Creole Sauce to taste. On the other slice, place slices of avocado. On top of the avocado, place the tofu bacon. Then layer the fried green tomatoes and sauteed greens. Top with other slice of sauced bread and serve!!
This kind of looks longish and complicated, but it really does come together quickly!! Great for a lunch or dinner outside on a late-summer day!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Local Food Bonanza!!

This week has been a celebration of the last of the summer produce, especially of local summer produce!! The Kansas City Farmers' Market was bursting at the seams this past weekend with all the bounty mid-September has to offer! I was even more excited for the KC Vegan Crawl this past weekend since I got to showcase all the goods...

My Sunday supper club/underground restaurant/get-together meal:
Vegan Krab Cakes, made with local tofu, veggies, and breadcrumbs
Classic Coleslaw made with local cabbage!
Brown Rice and Local Roasted Corn (not pictured)
And for dessert: Local Peach Cobbler!! This was my first time making cobbler, but it certainly won't be my was amazing! Especially warm, topped with some vanilla soy ice cream!Juicy local peaches under a thick pastry crust made with local whole wheat flour, and toasted almonds...what's not to love??My friend, Dane, had his Sustainability Sunday dinner as well. Here's his spread: Wild Rice topped with Creamy Mushroom Sauce and White Beans, Herb-Roasted Potatoes and Butternut Squash, and Radishes & Carrots baked with coconut oil and ginger...with all locally-grown veggies....mmmm...
And last night for dinner, I FINALLY made something I had been craving aaaallllll summer: Fried Green Tomatoes!! The tomatoes came from my momma's garden, of course! They were breaded with a flour-cornmeal-spice mixture and fried until golden brown. These hit the spot! I just had them as a side with dinner, but I am looking forward to making more of these babies and getting creative!
Before I go, a local restaurant review! Last week my friend, Gabi, and I went to the Blue Nile Cafe here in Kansas City. This is an Ethiopian restaurant in the City Market district which has been around for a while, and I can't believe I hadn't made it there before!! About half the menu is even says "vegan" on the menu for those items! whaaat?! AMAZING food, great atmosphere, and delightful service--I will definitely be heading back soon. They were out when I went, but they sometimes have vegan cupcakes! I must go for those.

Gabi and I shared the Vegetarian Combination Platter, which gave you a little bit of everything on the vegetarian menu, so we got to try a lot of different items. I can't remember what they all were, but check out their website for details. And they gave us plenty of injera, the Ethiopian flatbread used for dipping/eating; spongy teff bread that is super addictive. Done!! I have only good things to say about the Blue Nile Cafe. If you are in the KC area, check this place out for sure to get great vegan ethnic food!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Keeping it on the DL...KC Vegan Crawl!!

This past Sunday commemorated something very special and pretty DL...I started an underground restaurant out of my apartment!! I still need a name, but it is every Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm, and I will be serving one big meal and an awesome dessert, all for under $8! I have been working on the concept and details for about 3 months or more, and it was wonderful to see my hard work come to fruition last weekend. It was crazy to open VegNews this month and there was an article about the exact thing I had been planning for months! Vegans be workin' so harrrrrd! Turnout was pretty small, but I am hoping it will get bigger every week. This all relies on word of mouth, people! If you are in Kansas City or the Missouri/Kansas area, come by! Send me a message and I can give you the details.

For the first week, I made one of my absolute FAVORITE meals: BBQ seitan with all the fixin's. BBQ Seitan (with homemade seitan and homemade bbq sauce), Organic Baked Beans, Whole Grain Cornbread, and Sauteed Local Greens with Garlic (and Hot Sauce!). Soooo comforting and delicious!! Everyone loved it, of course!

And for dessert, I made Oatmeal Butterscotch Pecan Cookies! I made a modified version of my recipe I posted a few months ago....and they were even better than I remembered! Perfection.And just to show you how awesome and veg-friendly Kansas City friend, Dane, is also doing a vegan dinner out of his house every Sunday night, currently called "Sustainability Sundays"! His starts after mine, so it is all friendly between us :) His angle is sustainability in growing, purchasing, and preparing foods, all with vegan ethics in mind. So great! I just had to use this blog to give him vegan props!

This week, he made Local Fruit Pasta with Tomato-Peach Marinara, with local Ciabatta Bread. Not pictured was a Spinach and Berry Salad and Strawberry-Apricot Oatmeal Cookies. He uses basically 99% local ingredients, except stuff like some spices and oil, which is just fantastic! Dane even distributes some literature on sustainable living each week! yay!
So last weekend was the first KC Vegan Crawl, with my place open 11-8 and Dane's 8-11. How could you beat that?! So cheap, so local, so vegan, so good! GO KC!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Zucchini Bread!! With local zucchini!!

Summer just wouldn't be complete without me whipping up some Zucchini Bread made with homegrown zucchini! Here's my favorite favorite favorite new recipe that I came up with earlier this is even more perfect slathered with Earth Balance and drizzled with a little agave nectar! Makes a great breakfast with a big glass of soymilk and a mug of strong black coffee! I think you'll love it, too. Vegan Zucchini Bread (makes 1 loaf)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Egg Replacer for 1 egg
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups zucchini, shredded
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as almonds or walnuts
1/2 cup raisins, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a loaf pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Create a well in the center of the dry mix and add in the egg replacer, applesauce, oil, and sugar. Stir until just combined, being sure to not over mix the batter. Fold in shredded zucchini, nuts, and raisins, if using. Pour into prepared loaf pan and spread to make an even layer. Sprinkle the top with more chopped nuts. Bake for 1 hour, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, and top has begun to brown. Remove from oven and let cool for another hour or two before transferring to a cooling rack. Serve!

I have to give a holla to my friend, Gabi, who gave me the homegrown zucchini for this loaf! Local zucchini is the best, folks! Cherish it while we still got it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tester Times Two and Vegan Brunch Muffins!!

I have been a busy little tester these days! With testing for two cookbooks simultaneously, I have had lots of cooking to do...and I'm loving every minute of it! Here's some recent test recipes:
From Cookin' Crunk testing, which comes from the lovely Bianca of the Vegan Crunk blog: Seitan Hot Wings. Spicy and tangy, just how they are meant to be! Chunks of seitan are battered, baked, and tossed in a buffalo wing sauce. One of my favorite Crunk test recipes so far!! I served the Seitan Hot Wings on homemade Cornbread Buns (thanks to Melisser for the awesome recipe!) for open-faced sandwiches! These were brilliant! Hot wings, my homemade vegan ranch dressing, spinach, and toasted cornbread buns...perfect summery sandwich!
On the side, I sauteed local mustard greens, garlic, and my momma's tomatoes. Fresh and delish.
The next pic comes from Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Latina tester forum: Seitan Chorizo Tacos! While not a test recipe itself, the Seitan Chorizo is a test recipe, as well as the homemade Soft Corn Tortillas. Both are totally drool-worthy on their own.... but paired with baked butternut squash, red onion, green olives, pickled jalapenos, chopped chipotles in adobo sauce, and crispy red leaf lettuce...I think I don't even have to tell you how good these were! Tons of texture and flavor variations make these tacos perfect. When you get Vegan Latina after it comes out, I highly recommend using the Seitan Chorizo just like this!
And lastly, a non-test recipe: Cocoa Raspberry Muffins from Isa's Vegan Brunch! I am trying to work in as much VB I can with all the cookbook testing recipes, but it can get tough sometimes. I am so glad I could squeeze these in my schedule!! Just a little sweet with a little tartness from the raspberries make nice little muffins that are perfect for breakfast or a mid-day snack. With a nice hot cup of tea, of course!