Saturday, October 17, 2009

Food Network Friday: Ravioli Caprese

It's Saturday but I saw it and copied it Friday. That's all that counts!
It's from Giada. Her pasta almost always has eggs in it but this week she did a really veganizeable dish. Her pasta consists of flour and hot water- easy enough.

Sub vegan ricotta (I like pressed tofu, vegenaise, Italian seasoning, olive oil in food processor) and vegan chik'n strips sauteed and also processed in food processor. The rest is vegan anyway. We really liked it, but I am in love with ravioli so it was an easy sell. I love the fresh basil and lemon zest. Try it! I like to freeze ravioli for a quick and yummy meal. Don't forget- use a pepper grinder! It's the best easy thing you can change about your cooking.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Breakfast Burritos!

My honey has been asking for this for years. Don't know why I never got around to it because these are really good! He used to enjoy the Sonic breakfast burrito. This is an homage to fast food burritos, but without as much fat, and without the animals. The recipe has a couple components, but you can make several burritos, so you get a lot out of your effort.

-Use your favorite tofu scramble that uses one block/1 lb tofu(I used VWAV), adding Follow Your Heart Jack cheese/other vegan cheese if you want.
-Bake some tater tots.
-Saute 1/2 tube Gimme Lean sausage style. I fry up fennel seed first, add the sausage and smash with a spoon. I also add a tiny bit of liquid smoke and about 1-2 tsp. brown sugar
-For a bit of a greasy factor, saute onion and pepper in some Earth Balance.

Put it all together in a burrito:
Microwave or put over the burner the tortilla. It makes it pliable. Fill with tofu scramble, onions/peppers, sausage, and tots and roll up- sides first, then roll up.

I like salsa and vegan sour cream. Don't can add jalapenos, olives, hot sauce, whatever you want.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

White Gloves Chicken Salad

I wanted to make a sweet southern-inspired "chicken" salad sandwich. I opted shredded over chopped dice for a more delicate side dish. This is not the savory type that most are used to (which I also really like). This is for a tea party or something equally silly. White gloves and all that. I used Morningstar Farms strips, but who knows, in a year or less, these might not be vegan, either. They recently unnecessarily messed up changed their Crumbles recipe to add milk and eggs. BOO. Tell them that's no good , if you are so inclined.

Note- This is a SWEET salad. If you want less sweetness, cut back the grapes or cranberries. I think the balance is nice, but you may want to add more mayo or heat.

"Chicken" Salad Sandwich (Makes about 3 generous sandwiches, or 2 generous servings for crackers)

1 pkg vegan chicken strips (8oz)
1/4 + 1/8 c (6 Tbsp total) vegan mayo (Vegenaise)
2 Tbsp soymilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp dried cranberries, chopped
2 tbsp minced red bell pepper
2 tbsp (about 1/2 stalk) celery, chopped fine but not quite minced
1/4 c pecan halves
1/4 tsp dried tarragon (opt)
small pinch cumin
small pinch paprika
tiny pinch cayenne (more for more heat)
salt and fresh pepper to taste
optional: green or red seedless grapes, cut into small chinks (I used 5 big green grapes, cut into about 6 pieces each)

Gently saute chik'n strips in good quality margarine on low-med heat. I added a little sherry. You want heating all the way through but not too much browning. You don't want crispy. When heated through, remove from heat and cool completely. Shred (pull apart) by hand- go with the grain, lengthwise. It creates a delicate texture.

Heat the pan again (wiping out any oil) and roast pecans. Set aside, cool, and chop.
Whisk mayo, soymilk, and vinegar while chik'n is cooking. Add all remaining ingredients except chicken, grapes, and pecans and mix well. Fold in chik'n, grapes and pecans. Let chill for at least an hour to let flavor develop.

Toast 4 pieces for bread and add margarine to one side of each piece of bread. Add chik'n salad (you want margarine on the inside of the sandwich). You can line the sandwich with a nice lettuce and tomato. I like chips (the ones here are yummy Kettle Jalapeno chips) or salad on the side.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Peppered Mexican Polenta Towers

I had this dish in my head for about a week. It came once again, from gluten-free cooking, and I really like polenta anyway! My favorite way to eat it is crispy fried on the outside. I thought it would be delicious Mexican style over beans, so here we are! I also got to take advantage of the Farmer's Market and I got heirloom tomatoes and bell peppers at a *very* reasonable price, which I am psyched about! Called "Peppered" because I have mild bell peppers, fried jalapenos, and chipotle (smoked jalapeno) powder.

If you are going to make this, then do the polenta and marinate the tofu the day before. You may even do the salsa w/o the avocado and add it last minute. Don't be intimidated by the length of the recipe, it's just several simple components, and you can do it if I can! Keep polenta and tofu warm in the oven if you need to, while preparing the plates.

Peppered Mexican Polenta Stacks (Makes 4 servings with leftover polenta)

1 lb tofu, cut into 8 slabs and pressed
Tofu Marinade- Wheat Free Soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry(or tequila/alcohol/lime juice), cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, onion powder, water, vegetable oil. Adjust to taste. Water should be used only if marinade needs to be mellowed. Marinate an hour minimum (I like overnight). When ready to prepare, just saute in peanut or vegetable oil. Keep it simple.

3 1/2 c water
1 c polenta corn grits (not instant grits, y'all!)
2 tsp vegan "chicken" broth bouillon*
1 scallion, minced
1/4 c loosely-packed cilantro leaves (measure out then mince)
1 Tbsp olive oil/margarine
salt to taste (I used about 1-2 tsp)

Heat water in a medium saucepan. Whisk in bouillon while heating and heat to boiling. *You can also use premade veggie broth or any other combo bouillon/water. I make mine weak for things like this. Whisk in polenta in a steady stream. Stir often. Add water if polenta becomes really thick. I did about 1/3 cup. Cover and turn heat down, cooking 15 min. Stir often. Add scallions/cilantro and olive oil/margarine and turn heat off. Stir once or twice while polenta cools for 10 minutes in pan. Pour into container and let come to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely firm all the way through. I would say 1 hour minimum in a shallow pan. From here you can cut into desired shape and fry until crispy on each side.

Note: You can use the tubes of polenta that you find in the produce section. However, making it at home is way less expensive and the 20 min you put in can really impress because you added the cilantro and scallion flavor/color.

I usually take refried beans (I have red refried beans, Frijoles Rojos Volteados, Natura's brand) and add stock, but I added a little extra this time. I fried up some red onions and garlic, then blended them with the stock so it would be completely smooth. General ratio is 1 c broth to 1-16oz can beans. I also add a hunk of margarine for flavor/fat since we are using lard-free. Add salt if necessary. These simmer on low for about an hour. Be careful and go slow, the mixture will blend eventually.

Thick slices of heirloom sprinkled with salt and pepper. (I was going to broil these but they are fantastic by themselves.)

Roast 2 red and 2 green bell peppers. Put in a paper bag or plastic container with a lid and let cool. Skin and deseed. DO NOT rinse. Cut into strips to make sure each plate gets some of each pepper.

To keep gluten free, use a GF flour like rice flour. Just chop fresh jalapeno to desired shape (I like strips because it doesn't include seeds), roll in flour, then soy buttermilk (soymilk plus a small amount apple cider vinegar), back in the rice flour and fry. These are for garnishing the top. This is optional but it's fun and pretty and quick. It also adds a punch if your peppers are hot!

Sweet Avocado Salsa-
1 ripe avocado
1 ripe mango
small amount minced red onion (couple Tbsp)
fresh lime juice
handful fresh cut corn kernels

Do your thang! Chop those avocados and the mango, mix all ingredients except avocado. I pulsed in food processor. Fold in avocado so it keeps its structure. Corn is optional, but I like the mixture, and raw corn is really sweet and it ties into the corn in the polenta.

Plate as desired! I did it like this:

Beans on bottoms, polenta, tofu, tomato, roasted red peppers, polenta, tofu, roasted red peppers, fried jalapenos.

My presentation was a little sloppy because we had 5 hungry tummies and I didn't want it to get cold!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mom's Egg Salad

Thanks to the internet, I have a new ingredient in my kitchen- black salt. Read more!

I've decided that "egg" salad is really subjective and it really depends on what type you had as a kid, if you had it at all. This recipe approximates my mom's egg salad. She likes green olives in it, so I grew up with that. I'm a big olive fan so that's great for me. (Funny enough, she doesn't like black olives!). The original recipe contains regular mayonnaise and a little Miracle Whip (the Miracle Whip is why there's a pinch of sugar). I subbed for Vegenaise and Spectrum vegan mayo, but I don't think it's a big deal to make it varied. If you do not like the smell/taste of eggs, do NOT make this recipe with the black salt. It will taste less eggy and more tofu salad-y if you sub regular salt for the black salt.

1 lb firm water pack tofu
1/3 c vegan mayonnaise to start (Mostly veganaise, with some Spectrum vegan, OR your preference)
3/4-1 tsp prepared regular yellow mustard
1/2 tsp black salt
1/4 tsp celery seeds
kosher or sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
turmeric for color (opt)
5 chopped pimento stuffed green olives (opt)
1 pinch sugar

Drain and press tofu really well. (Most of the time I press just for 5 or 10 min, but I did this for over 30 min. You want no water left at all because this can easily become watery. I always use a kitchen towel so there's no waste, and it absorbs better than paper towels)

Mash tofu in a bowl with a fork and add mayo and mustard. Mix. Sprinkle seasonings evenly over mixture and mix well. I ended up adding more mayonnaise. Make sure you crumble up the black salt. I noticed it sticks together so you don't want to bite into a chunk of it. Chill 1/2 hour at least to let flavors develop. Season extra to taste/color preference.

I always had these in a sandwich.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gluten Free Cooking Adventures + Pie Crust Recipe

I'm going to be honest. I've never intentionally made a gluten free meal. I never "had" to. Well, we made a new friend, JL, and he is gluten-intolerant. Also lactose intolerant, which lucky for him is not an issue whatsoever in a vegan kitchen.

I can relate now to people who try to cook for vegans and don't know what they are doing. As a cook, I view it as a challenge and a chance to get my feet wet, not a chore. I think as a vegan, I can sympathize. (Do they really have to put whey in an otherwise vegan cracker/soup/bread? Why is there gluten in almost all soy sauce?) I think instead of lamenting, we should COOK! And once you look into it, you may find foods you never knew you liked. If any GF vegans want to post resources in the comments section, feel free!

I will share another secret. I totally made this crust up and hoped for the best. I feel it turned out well, and I would make it for a pie whether or not it was gluten free. It tasted like a mild shortbread, in my opinion. It could work for pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, etc.

Gluten Free Pie Crust (vegan)

1/2 c whole oats
1/2 c whole unpeeled raw almonds (can probably used roasted almonds)
2- 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar (I used brown sugar)
3/4 c rice flour
1/4 c potato starch
1/2 c cold vegan margarine (make sure it's gluten free. Shortening can probably work, too)

In a food processor, chop the almonds with the oats until fairly fine. I like a little texture. Add sugar and pulse. Then add flours.

Cut the margarine into chunks and add. Process until even texture throughout. Mixture should hold when pressed together. If too dry, add a TINY amount of non-dairy milk or icewater.

Bake 10-15 min in a 400 degree oven. Crust will not be very golden, so don't overcook. It's a little cake-y when hot, but when cooled it's like a crust should be. This picture is a 9-inch plate.
If anyone wants to play with this recipe and report back, I'll post your findings and link to your blog if you have one. I think it would work fine with All Purpose Flour (would NOT be gluten free) and pecans.

In case you were wondering, I made the VegNews chocolate peanut butter cup pie. If using extracts, make sure they are GF. Tones is definitely (it's on my bottle) and I am 99% sure McCormick is.

Here is JL and Rocco (and my Kirby). Rocco is the dog on the left. He's 9 years old and very active and has a lot of zest! The dogs really like him!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Moving-In Chik'n Curry Lentil Soup

Hey All!
I will now be blogging from West NC!

Most of the time I wouldn't dream of including a can of soup in a soup "recipe". It's too boxed-style for me. But we've been going out to eat every day and that's expensive and I just wanted something easy and quick.

You will need:
1 Can Progresso Lentil Soup
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
Yellow Curry Powder(standard curry powder, not special Indian or Thai style curries)
Splash (prob. 1/3 c) coconut milk
Seasoned Salt
1/2 c or so "Chik'n" strips, chopped

Heat skillet/pot and fry onion in a little vegetable oil until softened.
Add garlic and chik'n strips and cook until strips are heated through and a bit firm. DO NOT let garlic burn.
A couple min into cooking chik'n strips, put a good amount of curry powder and let it fry with the chicken.
Add coconut milk and cook until it's basically coating the onion mixture, not too liquidy.
Add can of coup and heat through.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Lasagna (New Version)

One main difference: less liquid = more flavor! This lasagna was made mostly from scratch (everything except the noodles). I also used fresh parsley in the crumbles, the sauce, and on top and I think that made a difference.

1 28 oz can tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
brown sugar

Fry up garlic in olive oil (DO NOT BURN), add everything else and simmer while other ingredients are cooking. Add brown sugar and salt to taste. Add freshly chopped parsley at the end.

Slice zucchini thinly lengthwise. (I did a tempura-like batter and fried them {seasoned flour with ice cold water to a thin batter, shallow fry in a large skillet with plenty of oil}). You can also broil with no ill effects. Just make sure the liquid is cooked out.

Other components:
*Crumbles (I used Morningstar Farms) sauteed up in a little oil, add steak marinade (like Dales), and fresh parsley
*Tofu Ricotta (I used 1 block tofu drained with vegan mayo, added a bit of tofutti cream cheese and sour cream. I then let it drain in a cheesecloth overnight, but that's not too necessary if you don't want the hassle. I would say it drained 3-4 Tbsp water)
*Bechamel Sauce (used Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipe and didn't add salt, can use whichever you like)
*2 roasted red peppers, torn into strips
*2 medium onions, sliced thinly and caramelized

It was totally worth the work because 1. I like cooking, 2. made a BIG pan full. You can freeze or share with hungry co workers.

layers (bottom to top in a sprayed large lasagna pan exactly in this order)
Small amount Red Sauce
3 noodles wide
1/2 of the Tofu ricotta
1/2 of the crumbles
3 noodles wide
2/3 Bechamel Sauce
Fried Zucchini, just one layer
Caramelized Onions
Roasted Red Pepper Strips
3 noodles wide
Red Sauce
Remaining 1/2 Tofu Ricotta
Remaining 1/2 Crumbles
3 noodles wide
Remaining 1/3 Bechamel Sauce
Red Sauce
Vegan Parm to cover (optional)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Neapolitan Remix Cake

I don't only eat cake! This cake was really good!
I used Kittee's strawberry cake and then covered in vegan cream cheese icing, and a nice good portion of Ganache Icing (from VCTOTW and VWAV). Really nice! I put strawberry jam in between the layers for even more strawberry flavor. I had never made a strawberry cake until now.

History of neapolitan

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kids Make Cupcakes!

These are the first or second sweet little chillins to grace my b-log (I am sure Shae is on here somewhere!) My neighbor friend Emma and her pal Jordan came to make cupcakes. My new friend Keenan came just in time to help with the all-needed dispatching!

They had very little help and made these FROM SCRATCH. We cheated on frosting for time's sake. We used Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

L-R Keenan, Emma, and Jordan (with parents' permission)

Monster Face!

Unfortunately my flash isn't working or it would be clearer. Very sweet kids! The dogs really liked them, too.

Friday, May 29, 2009

German Chocolate Birthday Cake, Delicious Indian!

This is one of the best, if not the best cake I've made to date. It was boss! I used Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipe and once again, thanks to padraigin917 on PPK. Bryanna's a proven hit-maker! One layer was the cake recipe from BCG, the other layer was VCTOTW's chocolate cake but using some dark cocoa. I know it's not traditional but it's great. The birthday boy isn't vegetarian, but he's got milk allergies and enjoys my food. I don't want to be a bragger, but everyone really liked it. I'm proud of this cake. Bryanna's mousse is like most vegan mousse that I enjoy and I think it was a nice touch, lighter than a buttercream. I think it went really well.

Next up is the PPK Dal. The roasting spices really made my mouth water. I am not natural at cooking Indian food. My palate can't tell what needs what, but for some reason it seemed really familiar. It's worth it to find and grind your spices. She says you can use mortar and pestle but go ahead and get a coffee grinder for spices.

Next up is a mesh of 2 recipes. I used Bryanna's Paneer and a mix of her Saag and Veggie Kitchen's. I will be going back to that blog again for sure.
My version: veggie kitchen's method, but no ginger, and only 1 jalapeno. Spice mix is 4 cloves garlic, 1 tsp garam masala and 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds. I did Bryanna's cream mixture, and used the 4Tb. margarine called for, for the spices. When cooking after adding the spinach, I only cooked a few minutes, to soften. Don't let it get really dry. I blended the cream and the spinach together.

Don't forget the parathas/roti. I didn't make them, got them at the Asian market in the frozen section. So flaky and good!

All together:

Lastly, I had an Orangesicle Spritzer which is really yummy! Just Orange soda and ice cream. Recipe idea from Michael Chiarello.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You Down with OPB? Yeah You Know Me! Naan, Soup, Crabbycakes

Other Peoples' Blogs, obviously!

Let's Begin.
Isa's Tempeh Crab Cakes

FatFreeVegan's Potato Soup. Easy! Try her pumpkin spice bread. YUM.

Garlic Naan from RecipeZaar. Accompanied here by mixed veg/tofu curry and rice. Use the dough hook, y'all!

Look at my kittays!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Easy Gnocchi and BLT!

This bacon is by no means mine but I wanted to share. It's from Dave over at PDX Cooking Club! Thanks for the recipe, Dave.

It was fun to make. The red spot is red food coloring. Add it to the liquids if you want to add it, instead of adding it after you knead it like I did. The thinner, the better. It was really good fried up and served with pancakes. Here I did a simple pasta salad.




Gnocchi (no pic, sorry).

This recipe is a veganized version of another one I found, but it has been altered a bit. I don't have a gnocchi roller so I just use a fork. The easy part about this is the instant potatoes. Use it all the first day. If you refrigerate and boil the next day, they get soft.

2/3 c instant potatoes
2/3 c boiling water
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer + 2 Tbsp warm water
1 drizzle (about 1 tsp) olive oil
1 tsp salt
1- 1 1/2 c flour

Add boiling water to potatoes, and mixm making sure to well incorporate. If they are too dry, just add 1 Tbsp extra water. Sprinkle salt over potatoes.

In a separate bowl, whisk the 2 Tbsp water, egg replacer powder. Then add the oil and mix again.

Add wet mixture to potatoes and slowly and gently add flour. I used just over 1 c. You want the mixture to be roll-able but the more you work it and the more flour you add, the denser the pasta will be. Go slowly and sprinkle on. Also use a floured cutting board when rolling.

Roll into a snake 1/2-3/4" wide and cut small pieces. Roll on a fork (or just leave in dumpling shape) and boil for a few minutes, until gnocchi float to the top.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Roasted Salsa

Roasted Salsa

Since I couldn’t find a recipe for Moe’s Who Is Kaiser Salsa, I decided to make my own roasted salsa. This isn’t like Moe’s at all, but it is good! Roasting brings out the natural sweetness. You can adjust to your flavor preferences.

10 or so roma tomatoes, cut into about 12 pieces each (quarter lengthwise, then run knife 2-3x across, depending on size)- or equivalent weight other tomatoes
2 extra roma tomatoes
1-2 large onions- I prefer sweet for this, and I used 2
7 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped small
3+ Jalapeno peppers, whole
1 tsp cumin,
2 tsp salt
¼ c light packed cilantro
1 large green onion
Generous squeeze lime juice

Preheat oven to 400:
Place tomatoes on a flat baking sheet or a large shallow baking pan. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and add a pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
Bake 40 min-1 hour. Remove when liquid is a little reduced and skins are a bit crinkly. Let cool completely.

Before you turn the oven off, turn the broiler on. Place jalapenos in a small pan and place on the top rack. Rotate often and char skin lightly. When skin is blistered and a little liquid is released, remove. They will be really fragrant. Place in a paper bag or container covered with plastic until cooled. This traps the heat and steams them and makes the skin easier to remove. Remove stem and cut down one side. Lay flat skin side down, and scrape out the seeds with the flat end of your knife, or a spoon. If you are careful, you can also remove the pepper from the skin.

Meanwhile- saute onions and 6 of the garlic cloves in a large pan on LO. Continue to cook on LO or MED-LO. You don’t want a brown. You can also do this in the oven.

When all are cooled, pour tomatoes (including juices) into a bowl and squish with your fingers.

Pulse onions, jalapenos, cilantro, green onion, remaining garlic clove (raw) and spices in a food processor. This will be sort of thick. I like mine sort of smooth.

Combine with the tomatoes and finely chop the remaining 2 tomatoes and add. Adjust flavors.

NOTE: I used 6 peppers and it was VERY hot. You will have to adjust to your preferences. If you do use 6 peppers, I would double the amount of tomatoes.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pork Wonton Soup

Yum! I found this tasty, cheap "pork" gluten at my local Asian market. So far we've done hot BBQ pork/cucumber sushi. It's delicious grilled with sauce. So I decided to make wonton soup. I wanted the soup to be simple and the dumplings to be the star. Have I said a million times that I love dumplings of all sorts? You can also make these dumplings (do a simple triangle) and pan-steam them. Yum!

"Pork" Wonton Soup
1 can Wu-Chung fried pork, drained and pulsed to crumbles in food processor
2 cups small-chopped green cabbage
2 cloves garlic
1 small dried chili pepper, chopped very tiny
small piece ginger, minced (1 tsp)
2 green onions, chopped
2-3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 pkg vegan wonton wrappers
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy sauce
6 cups water
6 tsp/2 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon vegan "chicken" broth, or vegetable broth.

-Soak mushrooms in hot water for 20 min. If using fresh, saute and set aside. Chop small. Can use water in broth for soup if desired.
-Heat a large skillet and add 1 tsp peanut/other neutral oil. Fry garlic, ginger, and chili pepper for about 30-45 seconds. Do not burn garlic because burned garlic will make everything bitter and it can't be fixed.
-Add "pork", soy sauce, and sesame oil and saute about 2-3 minutes, until mixture is not too wet.
-Add cabbage and a small handful of chopped green onions. Cook until cabbage is tender and wilted. Cool to room temperature or colder before making dumplings.
-Shape dumplings as desired, using 1/2-1 tsp filling per wonton. Do not overstuff.
Here is a great demonstration with 3 different folds, from Cmtoy on Youtube. Video posted with permission.
-Heat water to dissolve bouillon; boil and add dumplings. Add mushrooms and rest of green onion. Cook about 2 min or until dumplings are not starchy-looking, and wrappers have tightened around filling. Finish with sesame oil and extra soy sauce to taste in the broth.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

This Cake. Is so. Good.

This cake's components are: 2 recipes basic chocolate cupcakes, 2 recipes Peanut Buttercream, and Ganache, all from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World

I brought it in to work, and everyone liked it! I work at an omni restaurant and this cake was compared to egg- and dairy-containing counterparts. I was a little upset because on the ride to work, it smooshed up against the carrier :( oh well, it got devoured.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Nachos, Cantaloupe Smoothies, Cooking Idea

I made these nachos from those little tortilla bowls, but any tortilla chip will do. Added this easy, delicious bean dip from Veggie Kitchen (recipe below), nacho sauce recipe from Uncheese Cookbook and changed it a little. You can use any nacho saucy-type recipe you'd like. I added sliced black olives and roasted red pepper, and piped on some sour cream. Topped off with the thiiiiinnest slivers of raw jalapeno w/o the seeds.

Frijoles Negros/Black Bean Dip/Sandwich Spread -Reprinted with author's permission:
Black Bean Dip/Sandwich Spread
3 cups cooked black beans (2 cans)
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced (more to taste)
2 small shallots (2-3 tbs total)
1/4 cup salsa
1 tbs Vegenaise
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
dash cayenne pepper (or to taste)
salt to taste

Partially mash the beans so that they somewhat clump, but still have many whole beans. Stir the remaining ingredients together with the beans and season to taste with salt. The flavors, especially the shallot and jalapeno will mellow and blend with time. The were best eaten the next day, but let them sit, for at least an hour.(uh, that's assuming you can wait one hour)

I also have discovered that sometimes cantaloupes (actually musk melons) aren't as sweet as you'd like, or if they go a little soft but aren't bad...they make really good smoothies! They lend almost a creamy texture to the smoothie. I like to put cantaloupe, a couple ice cubes, water or juice, and frozen or fresh fruit.

And DUH, I never thought of it until I saw it on TV, but use a piping bag when making ravioli. Why did I use a spoon and a finger for so long!?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pot Pie 2.0

There are fewer foods that I like more than a good savory pot pie. It's a casserole in a bowl with a crust! Come on! I would have to say that I'd choose pot pie over regular.

So when I saw Throwdown with Bobby Flay (don't judge me), it inspired me to cook another one, even though it's pretty warm here in Florida right now. I changed the Casserole Queens' Recipe quite a bit and used a basic pie crust recipe (Flour, Crisco, salt, ice water) instead of Puff Pastry, but Pepperidge Farm puff pastry is vegan so you can use that. I am no pie crust queen and don't have much in the way of patience so I just put it on top in pieces. Just do it and call it "rustic" and people won't know you suck at pie crust rolling. Please don't be intimidated by the recipe list- I just spaced it out so it's easier to read/use.

Pot Pie 2.0
2 carrots, chopped (don't peel)
2 small red potatoes, diced
1 c chopped broccoli

2 tablespoons margarine/olive oil
2 c Turkey or Chicken flavor Seitan, chopped

1 small-med onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed
1/4 tsp (or less) poultry seasoning
generous pinch fresh black pepper

2 cups soy milk
1 cup soy cream (can use some or all soy milk to replace for less fat)

1/3 cup beer or wine
1-1 1/2 cups frozen peas


-Thaw puff pastry according to package directions if using. Make pie dough if using dough.
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
-Blanch carrots and broccoli, and boil potatoes until potatoes are fully cooked. Do it in batches if necessary. Drain and set aside.

-Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt margarine over medium-high heat. Add seitan and cook for several minutes. At this point you can chop small like I did, or leave in chunks. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to MED and add celery and onion and cook until tender.
-Stir in flour, salt, tarragon, poultry seasoning and black pepper until flour is evenly coating other ingredients, about 1 minute.
-Add soy milk/cream. Cook and stir until thickened and barely bubbling. Will still be soupy. Stir in beer/wine, peas, carrots, broccoli, and potatoes. Stir well.
-Transfer the hot seitan/vegetable mixture to a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
-Place pastry/dough over the mixture in casserole dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes.

Bonus: Fun Fortune!

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's Love Time

Just wanted to say I LOVE YOU to all of my readers. All at least 11 of you!

It's good to know someone actually reads my blog and/or tries my recipes.

Please keep cooking vegan!

Pamela Cooks

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fancy Macs

I made the delicious Tempeh Reubens last night, and they reminded me of Big Macs from long ago because of the dressing. So I decided to make a vegan, healthier version of Big Mac. We had baked fries and left-over Deli Macaroni Salad from VCON. I really enjoyed them! There's no middle bun, but it doesn't bother me. Also, I used one patty and cut it in half, but you can use two patties if you are pretty hungry.

You Need (per Fancy Mac)

1 (or 2) of your favorite veggie burger
tomato (opt. there is no tomato on a Big Mac as far as I know)
minced white ontion
VWAV tempeh reuben dressing-Below! (I reduce the lemon juice)
lettuce (I used romaine, chiffonade)
1 slices vegan cheese (I like tofutti cheddar slices)

Saute veggie burger(s) in a pan with some oil. If using 1 burger, cool a little and cut in half so you have 2 patties.
Stack it!

Botton bun- cheese- dressing- onion- lettuce- burger-pickle-top bun

Not sure of the exact order as the real thing but I liked it!

Vwav Tempeh Reuben Dressing
(Printed with permission)
1/3 c vegenaise
2 Tbsp. ketchup
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1 Tbsp. capers
2 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
pinch cayenne

Mix ingredients and chill until ready to use.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Choco-tini Fuerte

This is a strong chocolate martini. It makes 3-4 drinks. You can thin it out with more soy milk or ice.
By "shot glasses" I mean the small glass shot glasses that are sold as a pack of 4. Each= 3 Tbsp/ 1.5 oz at the brim.

4 shot glasses vodka (nothing cheaper than Smirnoff or you will be sorry tomorrow)
2 shot glass Kahlua
1 shot glass chocolate syrup
3 shot glasses soy milk
8 ice cubes

Blend in a blender on High and serve. For service as shown, hold a martini glass and rotate while gently squeezing chocolate syrup so it comes out in a thin line. You can also put syrup in a saucer, then dip the rim of the glass in the syrup then in cocoa powder for maximum chocolate flavor.

Don't go crazy. PLEASE get a designated driver if you drink! I don't want you hurting anyone. This is for people who are of legal drinking age.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Ode to Roasted Garlic, Gumbo, and Lover's Pasta

I really love roasted garlic. I could mash it up and eat it plain on bread. It's so sweet and creamy and delicious. I should spring for one of those counter top kind that roasts in 30 minutes, but for now, I have just found a way to do it stove top. All you do is put a whole head of garlic in a small saucepan with a lid, turn it on MED-LO and put some olive oil in there. Turn the heat down to low and just go about your business. Turn over and break up halfway through if you want. The results are as beautiful and sweet as the oven would be.

Next... GUMBO! I had never had gumbo as an omni. To be honest..I always have thought that Cajun/Creole food is kind of unappetizing-looking (sorry!!). To me it looks like they really did go down to the swamp, stuck a ladle in, and served it. But there are other foods that I love (Indian) that are equally not-so-beautiful. You can't always judge a food by its appearance. I was also kind of scared to make gumbo, because okra tends to have a slimy property sometimes, and also I had never made a dark roux. Well,'s worth it! The flavors were deep, and the roux was fun to make. And FYI, no slime. Kittee really has a gem with this recipe. It looks sort of complicated, but just make 1/2 recipe of Julie's sausages the day before and you're fine. Use the other 2 sausages if you want to make my Lover's Pasta below. You may as well make 1/2 or all of the recipe. It's not hard to make, it just has a lot of ingredients. There's no kneading!

Served, of course, with rice. And Cholula! The only non-Sriracha hot sauce I like

Lover's Pasta
This pasta is aptly named for a couple reasons- because both of you should eat it if you will be kissing. It’s heavy on garlic and onion, but if both eat it, you won’t notice. They say garlic boosts the libido, but who knows. This garlic cream sauce is thin. If you want a thick sauce, increase the margarine/flour or decrease the creamer/milk a little.

2 links Julie’s sausage, sliced thick
1 small onion, cut in ½ then in thin half-circles
½- ¾ lb linguini pasta, cooked and drained
All-purpose seasoning (I used Cavender’s today)
1 large bunch broccoli crowns (large florets, about 4 c, use less if you want)

For the roasted garlic cream sauce

1 head roasted garlic cloves, mashed up
2 Tbsp good margarine
2 Tbsp flour
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (opt)
2 c soy creamer and/or soy milk (I like Silk)
Thyme and basil to taste- I did a few shakes of each dried herb
Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare pasta by box directions and drain.

Meanwhile, add a little olive oil to a large high-sided pan on MED heat, and add onions. Cook until a little golden and tender. Add sausage slices and continue until sausages are sautéed and heated through. Season with all purpose seasoning.

Remove onion/sausage from pan and add to a medium bowl. Heat a little margarine in pan. Add broccoli and a splash of water and cook until broccoli is tender-crisp. Do not over-cook. Put into bowl with sausage and onion.

Meanwhile, make garlic cream sauce.
Heat margarine in a small saucepan on MED until it’s melted. Sprinkle in flour/nutritional yeast and whisk constantly until flour is heated through, there are no lumps, and the mixture becomes a little puffy (few minutes). Add about 1/3 of the soy creamer/milk and whisk. It will be very thick. Add the garlic and the rest of the cream while whisking and continue to whisk. Cook until sauce is bubbling but not a rolling boil.

Put pasta into each serving bowl, top with sausage/onion/broccoli mixture. Top with sauce. Garnish with fresh tomatoes if desired.