Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vegan Coconut Washboards

...minus the washboard part! The recipe said to press a fork onto the top; I decided that was too much work. It did not make a difference in the flavor and the dough was too sticky. The cookies were so good and John told me I am in trouble because "I know how to make vegan cookies now." The recipe is from the Ultimate Cookie Collection cookbook, and here are my modifications: 1 Earth Balance Buttery Stick (1/2 cup), 1 Earth Balance Shortening Stick (1/2 cup), 2 cups sucanat, Orgran Egg Replacer (the equivalent of 2 eggs), 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 4 cups spelt flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup flaked coconut. Cream the butter, shortening and sugar. Add the egg replacer. Add water and vanilla, mix well. Separately combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Fold in the coconut. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Roll into 1" balls. Form dough into oblong shapes, press with a fork (this is the part I skipped!) Bake at 400 for about 7 minutes (longer if the cookies are bigger). Cool and eat!

BBQ Tofu and Avocado Lentils

I had a nightmare of a day today involving my car, leaving my purse at work, therefore, getting home late and not feeling like making dinner! But, we are on a new budget and eating out is currently being limited! So, it was simple baked tofu, frozen then thawed, sliced, pressed for 30 minutes. It fit perfectly into a 9x13 baking pan and I brushed it with olive oil. I baked it for about 25 minutes and flipped it somewhere in the middle. Then, poured barbecue sauce on top and baked for about 20 minutes longer. I love the texture of tofu that has been frozen, much chewier. One the side, as John called them, "The star of the meal," half an avocado, with a few splashes of lime juice, black beluga lentils, and salt and pepper. The best flavor in the world! I added a bit of steamed broccoli and the meal was complete!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Coconut Bliss

We ate out at a restaurant, Pasta Ravello; great vegan Italian food! For dessert, we ordered Coconut Bliss. I had never tried it but became instantly addicted! It has a mild coconut flavor and comes in many different flavors. It is better than ice cream, in my opinion, vegan or otherwise! I have found it at Capella and it is pricey, but no more so than Ben and Jerry's or other fancy brands. Try it!!!

Baked Ziti Casserole

The recipe is from my Vegan Bites cookbook. I followed it pretty closely with the exception of the tomato sauce, noodles, and the cheese on top. Instead of a jar of tomato sauce, I used 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes mixed with onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, diced onion, and a little sucanat to take away the acidity. For the pasta, I didn't even try to find ziti, I used quinoa macaroni instead. It always comes out really fresh tasting, never mushy like some "healthy" pasta alternatives. As for the cheese on top, I sprinkled sesame Parmesan instead of buying a vegan cheese. I have found they are pricey, and in my opinion, a little bit of a let down. On the side, a tossed romaine salad with red pepper and Annie's Goddess Dressing. The bread is from Hideaway Bakery. Delicious!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vegan Nachos

We went to a Sushi party yesterday. It was loads of fun and I mimicked the vegan sushi John and I made at home a while ago, plus this time added a little vegan cream cheese to the rolls. Apparently everyone had brought avocados and there were a ton leftover, so we ended up taking three very large, ready to be used avo's home with us. I decided to make guacamole and, what goes excellent with guacamole? Nachos! I layered a cookie sheet with vegan corn chips and plopped blobs of vegetarian refried black beans, mixed with a little taco seasoning, on top. This baked at 350 for about 10 minutes. I whipped up a batch of quick melty cheese on the stove top while the chips were getting warm and crispy. The guacamole recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. There are not many vegan recipes in this cookbook, but I purchased it years ago for a brownie recipe! The guac is simple; combine the following: 2 ripe avocados, 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 4 dashes Tabasco sauce, 1/4 cup red onion diced, 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 medium tomato, diced. Mix it all together and it is delicious! I added salsa, diced tomato, and chopped romaine lettuce. We had a great night watching movies and eating Nachos on the couch!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cream Cheese Brownies

After resisting brownies at a meeting last week, I was craving them, and I also had some Tofuti Cream Cheese that needed to be used. So, I concocted a recipe for vegan cream cheese brownies that turned out so yummie! I combined 1 cup Sucanat with 1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread. Separately, I prepared the equivalent of 2 eggs (Orgran No Egg), 6 tablespoons cocoa powder, and 2 tablespoons Safflower oil. I combined the sugar/butter mixture with the chocolate mixture, added 1/2 cup Spelt flour and mixed it all together. I pour a little over half into a greased 8x8 pan. For the cream cheese mixture, I mixed 6 oz. cream cheese, 5 tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread, 1/3 c. Sucanat, the equivalent of 2 eggs, 2 tbsp. spelt flour, and 3/4 tsp. vanilla. I poured this mixture on top of the brownie batter, then added the remaining brownie batter and, with a kitchen knife, swirled it all together. It baked at 350 for about 25 minutes. The picture is blurry and only of half the pan because we had already cut into them!!

Layered Macaroni Casserole

Before I became a vegan, I used to make this recipe frequently, with a meat substitute but all the cheese! It was hands-down our favorite casserole. I recently made it "vegan-style" and like it just as much! The actual casserole comes together very quickly. Making the vegan cheese is a bit more lengthy. Here are my substitutions: a 12 oz. package of Yves Meatless Ground, 8 oz. quinoa pasta (I buy it in bulk from Capella, 2 cups of tofu ricotta instead of cottage cheese and 1 1/2 cups creamy mozzarella instead of the cheddar. For the topping, I used Orgran Brand vegan bread crumbs, Earth Balance Buttery Spread, and 1/4 cup sesame Parmesan. Lots of leftovers and comes out delicious and crispy on all sides when I use my Baker's Edge pan. It was a birthday present last year from John!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Vegan Burgers

I have found two brands of "burgers" that I love!!! The Sunshine Burger has a firm, meat-like texture. It is flavored with lots of veggies, seeds, and spices. The tofu veggie burger is from Trader Joe's and seriously tastes like scrambled eggs!!! I know, that doesn't sound very tasty on a bun with ketchup...But it really is! It has a softer, chewy texture and the flavor is earthy.

I paired the Sunshine Burger with lettuce and Westbrae Natural vegetarian ketchup on an Ezekiel Sesame Bun (my absolute favorite bread company, usually found in the frozen foods section). On the side is a combination of quinoa, carrots, red pepper, and red onion.

The Tofu burger is just bun and ketchup. One the side is steamed broccoli with Earth Balance Butter (my absolute favorite vegan butter!!!) The noodles are something new John bought from Capella. I have not had great successes with vegan mac & cheese. This was just okay. It called for milk and butter, I added a little extra than what the box suggested to make it creamier. Again, just okay.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Black Beluga Lentils and Spinach

I have made the Seitan Marsala before and really love the flavor. I also added chopped white onion this time. It is very easy to make and goes well with many different side dishes. This time, I had black beluga lentils; I buy them at Trader Joe's, pre-cooked. I sautéed garlic, olive oil, and fresh spinach leaves and added the lentils with salt and pepper. It was fantastic because of it was quick, easy, and tastey!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Onion Rings

Not something I would make regularly because of the frying (I used Safflower oil), but so good for once in a while! We made these onion rings along with Sunshine Burgers and a side salad. For the beer, Miller Light is cheap and vegan. This list is very helpful for finding vegan beers for cooking or going out.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wholly Wholesome Vegan Pies

John invited friends over for dinner and being gracious guests, they brought dessert. I was nervous; it is uncomfortable to turn a guests food down! I was immensely grateful when John informed me that he told them I was vegan! Anyway, John has since become semi-addicted to these pies and we ended up buying another one a few weeks later. The peach was excellent, as was the apple. The company's website is a bit outdated because I typed in my zip code in "where to buy" and it gave me a grocery store that has been closed since we moved to Oregon almost a year ago. Regardless, the pie is delicious!

Pad Thai

I love Pad Thai but have never been able to capture the sweet, but tangy, even a little spicy flavor that it has served at a restaurant. This recipe, from Vegan Bites was tasty, even tastier as it got cold, but still wasn't quite as good as ordered from say, Ta Ra Rin! I know, that is a lot to compete with. I used whole wheat spaghetti from Garden Time Organics to "healthy" it up a bit.
6 oz whole grain spaghetti
2 Tbsp lime juice
4 tsp sugar (I used sucanat)
4 tsp tamari
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (separated)
1 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 Tbsp fresh garlic
1 Tbsp fresh ginger
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp peanuts
1/2 lime, cut into wedges
Cook the spaghetti, set aside. Mix lime juice, sugar, tamari, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, water and pepper flakes. Set aside. Heat remaining toasted sesame oil. Add carrots and mung bean sprouts. Cook 2 minutes. Add onions, garlic, and ginger; cook 1 minute. Add spaghetti, sauce, cilantro and cook 1 or 2 minutes. Top with peanuts, serve with lime wedges.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

More Vegan Pizza!

We absolutely love the vegan cheese from Pizza Research Institute but our version never turns out quite the same. John called them to see if they would give up the secret....They said he would have to marry one of them first. I said I would keep trying to master it...and I think I have! Whew! This was a very hodge podge pizza but turned out very rich and hearty. I bought the crust from Capella and added a few tablespoons of fresh rosemary. The sauce was a recipe I veganized from Minus the anchovy paste, substituting homemade sesame Parmesan cheese and agave made it one of my favorite sauces to date! The toppings include Tofurky Italian Sausage, broccoli, mushrooms, red onions, all pre-sautéed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The cheese is Tofu Ricotta put through a blender and pureed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sun-Dried Tomato Falafels in Pitas

I can't remember the last time I made falafel from scratch but I do know it did not turn out this great! Taken from Vegan Bites, it took about 45 minutes to get ready and then about 15 to cook. I bought the sun-dried tomatoes in a jar of olive oil; that saved time.
Food processor the following: 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, 1/3 cup water, 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, 2 tsp garlic, 1 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/8 tsp cayenne. Transfer to a bowl and add 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, 2 Tbsp red onion diced, 2 Tbsp celery diced, 2 Tbsp fresh parsley diced. Mix together and make balls and slightly flatten into thick patties. (the recipe says 6, I thought they were too big and made 8) Fry the falafel patties in olive oil until browned, set on paper towels to drain. I stuffed ours into Ezekiel Pocket Bread and topped with shredded carrots, lettuce, and Broccosprouts. (called for alfalfa sprouts but I am not a fan. These brocco ones were so tasty). The sauce is tahini mixed with a splash of lemon juice.

Monday, May 5, 2008

P "cubed" Pizza

The "cubed" part refers to: Pears, Pesto, and roasted Potatoes. I was initially turned off by the concept of sweet pears on pizza. But my love of pesto, and because we had tried every other vegan pizza from Pizza Research Institute, gave me the urge to order it. And thank goodness I gave it a chance! The pears add so much to the pizza in a wonderful way. I was blown away at how amazing it all tasted together. Their vegan pesto and cheese make me know that becoming a vegan was such a fantastic choice for me! I miss out on nothing!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Avocado Curry

This is my favorite dish from one of my favorite Thai restaurants, Ta Ra Rin. It is on Pearl and 12th. If you ask for "strict vegetarian", they leave out the fish sauce! It is always loaded with thick, fresh avocado slices and the sauce is spicy; even though I order level 1 on the spicy meter! It is a noodle dish and has lots of fresh veggies, like broccoli, mixed in. 5 stars!!!

Vegan Donuts at Saturday Market!

Saturday Market is back and my favorite stand this year is Holy Donuts! The lady running the stand makes the donuts herself and they are delicious! She has many different flavors; I picked a white cake donut with strawberry frosting. I carried it around with me throughout the day before snacking on it, so it was a little smashed. But tasty regardless! I will do a majority of my grocery shopping at the Saturday Market from now through summer, and it is great to know there is ANOTHER vegan option for a quick treat!