Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Della Salute Cornmeal Crust Pizza

While living in Portland, John and I ordered pizza from Dove Vivi probably once per month. They have 2 vegan pizzas on the menu but will make their other pizzas vegan when requested. All pizzas are made with cornmeal crust. My mom visited us in Portland and we took her to Dove Vivi for dinner. Just a few weeks ago she asked me if I had ever tried to make the crust because she remembered how fantastic it was. The answer was no, until now!

I googled vegan cornmeal crust and found a ton of recipes. I chose the one with the least amount of oil and think that might have been a mistake! The crust had a nice flavor but was flat and a bit dry. I will not use this recipe again, but will keep searching for a balance of health and deliciousness!

I baked the pizza in a cast iron skillet, making it easy to shape. Unfortunately, I forgot the pan had been in the oven when I grabbed the handle. After tears and 5 minutes of soaking my hand in ice water, all was well!

Della Salute is the name of the pizza I copied. It has roasted eggplant, marinated green peppers, caramelized onions, mushrooms, tomato sauce, and herbed tofu ricotta.

For the eggplant, I sliced one eggplant and then cut the slices into four pieces. I let them sit in a sprinkle of salt for a while, then rinsed, mixed with a little olive oil, and roasted for about 20 minutes.

The green peppers were washed, sliced in half, seeds removed, and brushed with olive oil. They roasted until the skins were black and then they were put into a covered dish to "sweat" for a while. The skins then peeled off very easily, they were sliced into thin strips and marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

I followed this recipe for caramelized onions.

The mushrooms were not pre-cooked, only sliced and added to the pizza before it was baked. I cheated on the pizza sauce and bought a box. The tofu ricotta is from the Vegan Home-style cookbook and a favorite for pizza, lasagna, pasta, anything!

Tofu Benny

Even though Isa Chandra Moskowitz says that this is her favorite vegan translation to date in Vegan Brunch, I held out on making it, expecting it to be a huge amount of work. I was surprised to find that it wasn't bad! I did most of the prep work the day before, and that made all the difference!

This was my first attempt at vegan English Muffins. They turned out delicious and I will absolutely make them again. They were not quite as "spongy" as store bought English Muffins but I chalked that up to the fact that they were fresh and natural!

The tofu can marinate overnight. It has black salt in the mixture so the smell is pretty awful while soaking but after cooked, it has that "egg" texture and taste. I bought fresh tofu from the Asian market and it fried to the perfect consistency, crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside.

The Hollandaise Sauce was very rich and creamy and the slice of heirloom tomato added a nice finishing touch.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Homemade Tomato Sauce

I am not really sure why I made this sauce, I have nothing planned for it. But, I bought a dozen organic tomatoes and followed this recipe (minus the carrots and tomato paste). I plan to freeze it until I am ready for it! I think unconsiously, I was reacting to the many articles lately that I have read on the danger of eating tomatoes from a can.

The tomatoes have to be peeled, something I have never done before! It was extremely easy though.

Slice an X in the top.

Boil for 1 minutes.

Drop into cold water for 1 minute and the skins will fall right off!

Panzanella and Pizza Soup

John and I have been in the mood for salads lately and I have never made Panzanella (Tuscan Bread Salad) before. I found a recipe in Vegan Planet. I used a loaf of ciabatta bread, toasted, crust removed, and diced, along with olives, a yellow pepper, and cherry tomatoes cut in half. The dressing is a shallot, garlic clove, red wine vinegar, sugar, oregano, salt, and olive oil processed until smooth in a food processor. We piled this onto chopped lettuce and devoured it!

From Vegan Italiano, I made Pizza Soup to go with the salad. It was so yummy! The base of it is pizza sauce so it really does taste like pizza. It also has mushrooms, onion, and green pepper along with Italian seasonings.

Spicy Veggie Millet with Chickpea Cutlets

The recipe for the millet was easy and fast. I used a zucchini and a yellow pepper, instead of a yellow squash. I also left out the chickpeas due to the fact that I was using the chickpeas for cutlets instead! I have made the cutlets one time before this and loved them but not as much as this time! I finally have wheat gluten (that I brought back with me from the US) and it made such a difference in the texture. I also made the cutlets much flatter this time, and fried them in olive oil versus baking. They were superb!

Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls, Yamroom Rolls, and Spinach Sesame Rolls

I realized that last time I shopped for supplies to make sushi, I bought way too much stuff!!! So, I made another batch of vegan sushi but followed the recipe in Veganomicon for Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls, "Yamroom" Rolls, and Spinach Sesame Rolls. All three were fantastic and very unique.

One the side, blanched green beans with toasted hazelnuts, sesame seed oil, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Rice-Milk Chocolate

I am completely obsessed with Rice-Milk Chocolate! I have found it in white chocolate also! It is creamy, smooth, rich, and bakes very nicely.

Mediterranean Olive Oil and Lemon Vinaigrette Greek Salad

John used to live in Tarpon Springs, Florida and I would visit him every weekend when we first started dating. There is a huge Greek population and many delicious Greek restaurants. This was in my pre-vegan days. We would always get a Greek Salad that was served over potato salad and it was the most amazing thing ever! In my attempt to create something similar, I opted for the Creamy Avocado Potato Salad from Vegan brunch served under greens and Mediterranean Olive Oil and Lemon Vinaigrette dressing from Veganomicon. It was a very delicious salad and a filling, but not too heavy dinner.

Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream

For our 1 year wedding anniversary this month, I made the vegan meal that was served at our wedding! The recipe came from Veganomicon. While planning the wedding, I emailed the recipe to the chef and he did a wonderful job preparing it. This was my first time making it and the recipe made a huge 9x13 casserole and provided leftovers for lunch for a week. It is such a pretty casserole because of the layered veggies.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows

John and I are celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary this weekend and decided to take a short, day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. We did a bit of googling ahead of time to see if eating would be a problem, and there did not appear to be too many vegan dining options, at least discussed online. Plus, the very limited amount of German we have learned was potentially not going to help us, considering they speak Slovak there. We did end up finding a sushi restaurant that had a veggie/noodle and tofu option. But, for train snacks, I made a batch of homemade crackers and Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. A-MA-ZING! I will never understand the European aversion to peanut butter.

Happy Vegan St. Patrick's Day!

I decided to make a feast for St. Patty's Day and it started with Irish Creme Kisses from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I didn't actually make these for John and I but instead, for him to take to work and share with his co-workers. It is becoming a bit ridiculous how easily I can find an excuse to make cookies from this cookbook. The frosting was very sweet, so I put it into a pastry bag and just gave each cookie a pretty squirt. I got really tired of shaving the chocolate, so some had nice, thick curls and some just had broken bits. The cookies have a combo of whiskey, espresso powder, and chopped walnuts that will make these a yearly tradition!

So, the dinner menu consisted of Tempeh Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms, Irish Lemon Soda Bread, and Potato Leek Soup. For dessert, Irish Oatmeal-Apple Crumble with Whiskey Cream Sauce. Here is a picture of my dear husband sitting patiently at the set table while I take pictures of everything!

The mushrooms were stuffed with the Tempeh Sausage from Vegan Brunch. John and I absolutely love this recipe because it resembles sausage in texture and spice-flavor and can be successfully added into so many dishes. It tastes amazing in pasta, on puff pastry, in a vegan omelet, by itself, or stuffed in things!

I had to buy a few ingredients to make this bread, but was SO glad I did! Originally, I was going to make a basic soda bread but felt it was a) not super nutritious and b) boring. After a little internet noodling, I found this recipe and felt it would be perfect with soup. It is slightly sweet, lemon-y, crunchy, and delicious! I discover that Weizenkleie is Wheat Germ and Goldhirse is Millet. I also bought this cute new bread pan! It makes longer, thinner loaves and I think it will be fun for sweet breads like banana, zucchini, etc.

I have made the soup recipe before and it never has failed me. After watching and reading Julie and Julia, I realized there was ONE Julia Child recipe that could be made vegan, this soup. It is so easy but, when cooked for a long time, has the best flavor imaginable. Last time, I used vegan cream. This time, vegan butter. Both turned out equally scrumptious.

And, for dessert, I though something fruit based would be a nice change from the recent overload of cookies and cupcakes I have occupied my time making. The whiskey cream was really, really good! And by really, really good, I mean, "drink with a straw" good.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Flexible Thai Soup and Spring Rolls

I think the soup is called "flexible" because you can add any vegetables you feel like. I added a handful of spinach, a cup of sliced mushrooms, and half a block of tofu, cut into strips. I used a very large shallot and 4 cloves of garlic, instead of 1. For the lemon juice, I used 2 TBSP of the kind in the plastic lemon. For the chili sauce, I used a few squirts of Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce. It is really good stuff and has its own facebook page. Random, yes! It is served over jasmine rice.

I also made spring rolls to go with the soup. I could make and eat these every day! I was first introduced to them by Isa Chandra Moskowitz at a cooking demo. Yes, she is the amazing author of my favorite cookbooks including Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and Veganomicon. They are insanely easy, versatile and great for having people over and making together. For this batch, I included yellow pepper, mushrooms, spinach, green onions, rice noodles, and smoked tofu. I made this dipping sauce but added a pinch of hot sauce and a dash of lemon juice along with a 1 inch piece of diced ginger.

Vegan Sausage and Ricotta Ravioli

For breakfast a few days ago, I made a huge batch of the vegan sausage that is featured in Vegan Brunch and a part of the recipe for Tempeh Sausage Pastry Puffs. There was a ton leftover and I also had leftover tofu ricotta in my freezer that I wanted out. So, I made homemade pasta, rolled out into ravioli sheets and stuffed with the two. It was served with a basic tomato sauce (a can of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, a splash of red wine, oregano, and other seasonings, salt and pepper) and blanched green beans. We also bought a half loaf of Ciabatta bread from the Naschmarkt that lasted about 20 minutes!

Pumpkin Pie Brownies

I might need an intervention soon. I can not stop baking from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. They have invaded my sanity!!! And my waist line! But, pumpkins are going to be gone from the market soon and I couldn't resist this recipe before that happens. I roasted the pumpkin myself and left the chocolate chips off the top (I can't find vegan chocolate chips here.) I also did not have a 9 inch square pan, so I used a pie dish lined with parchment paper. I was so worried about burning the brownie layer that I underbaked everything a bit but no one was complaining about the slight gooeyness of it all!!!

Oat Milk and The Story of Stuff

I was out shopping with a friend, Christina, and she was looking for ingredients to make an amazing vegan dessert quiche. As a substitute for sour cream, she used Oat Milk. I was surprised at how creamy and thick and rich it was. So, when John and I were shopping this weekend, we bought some and we have been eating it with cereal and coffee. It is not extremely expensive and, in my opinion, better tasting and has a better consistency than Rice Milk.

I have also become very dedicated to buying dried beans. After watching a short documentary called The Story of Stuff, I am trying to do better about buying things with less packaging. I am very diligent about taking my own bags when shopping, bringing my green bags when buying produce, and buying as many things in bulk as possible. Spices, fresh tofu, and dried beans are all things I find easily at the Naschmarkt with very little packaging. I have found it is also much less expensive to buy beans dried. I purchased black beans and chickpeas, each bag was €2.80 ($3.84) and will make approximately 18 cups of beans! Hello beans forever!

Along with the beans, I found organic applesauce (for some peanut butter cookies I will make soon!) and Mori-Nu tofu. Very random.

Jackfruit "Carnitas" Tacos

This is what a Jackfruit looks like, in its original form. It is HUGE. Larger than a large watermelon. I had never eaten Jackfruit before, and honestly had never even heard of it.

A few weeks ago, John found Jackfruit in a can. I was less than thrilled and it just sat around for a while until yesterday he asked, "When are you going to cook that Jackfruit?" I have to be honest, I didn't even know you were supposed to cook it! I thought it was canned fruit, like peaches, that you open up and eat. So, I did a little noodling on the internet and found a taco recipe for the Jackfruit and became very curious about it. Apparently, Jackfruit is called "Vegetarian Meat" and used as a meat replacement in many dishes. Interesting.

So, we followed this recipe and I am now a huge fan of Jackfruit! The appearance of the fruit in the pan, after being cooked was alarmingly similar to pulled pork. But, thankfully, it tasted like salsa and spices, and the texture was a bit like eating an artichoke heart.

I could not find salsa verde, so I used regular salsa. We also included black beans, lettuce, olives, and guacamole in our tacos.

Individual Baked Hash Browns

The actual hash brown recipe that is in Vegan Brunch is nothing out of the ordinary. But, the technique for cooking them is really cool! They are baked in a cupcake pan so that each individual serving is top and bottom crunchy, soft on the inside!

Along side these hash browns, I made another round of vegan omelets that turned out so good. They are stuffed with a combo of sauteed veggies.

I also made another batch of the sausage from the recipe Tempeh Sausage Pastry Puffs because it was so good. Only this time, I did not have tempeh on hand so I used soy curls instead. Not as good. I now have a supply of tempeh in the fridge for this purpose.

Raw Ranch Dressing

I do remember what ranch dressing tastes like, even though it has been years since I ate it. I felt like I could see why this dressing would be called ranch, but it really did not taste like true ranch. I think the recipe calls for too much lemon juice because that was the dominating flavor. It was creamy and rich and cool like ranch though. If serving it to non-vegans, I would not call it ranch! But, I would make it again for a salad or even to dip veggies in!

Broccoli Quiche

Another Vegan Brunch winner! Here is the recipe straight from the author's website! I am not a fan of cherry tomatoes (I am completely grossed out when I bite into one and it sort of explodes in my mouth. Ew.) I love the flavor of sliced, roasted tomatoes so that is what my quiche is topped with.

Also, I mentioned in an earlier post that I had tried the Basic Pastry Crust recipe from Vegan Brunch and it turned out pretty terrible. I decided to give it another go. The recipe calls for 1 1/4 cup butter and I feel like that is way too much and what ultimately ruined the first attempt. So, this time I added only 1/2 cup and it turned out PERFECT!!! I am not sure if it is a typo, or my butter is different, or I am insane, but as long as the crust is wonderful, I don't care!

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
dash salt
5 TBSP water

Mix, roll, and press into a pie pan.

Lazy Samoas

I was a Brownie and sold Girl Scout Cookies when I was little so I have fond memories of these cookies! The cookbook Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar has a veganized version that is the exact same flavor but a fresh, unprocessed bite. They were actually not difficult to make and that is a good thing because I technically made them for John but then ate them all myself (and I mean ALL of them!!!) So, I will make more for him in the future. I need to take a break though! After buying 4 new cookbooks (2 specifically for desserts!) my jeans are starting to become difficult to button.

Artichoke-Sunflower Spread

I have wanted to make this recipe for a while because of the delicious combination of artichoke hearts and garlic and sunflower seeds. It also has olive oil, oregano, hot sauce, and salt. All in the food processor and served with homemade crackers, it was a perfect treat for watching a movie on a cold, Friday night.The recipe is from Vegan Planet and the author, Robin Robertson, has a blog of her own right here.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bakery-Style Berry Muffins

Another awesome hit from Vegan Brunch. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup soy yogurt of which I did not have. I did have 1/2 cup silken tofu and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar. I found a blog that identified this as a suitable substitute, and it was! I managed to eat 3 of these, slathered in butter, hot out of the oven. We will see how much longer they last!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Vegan Brunch (for dinner!)

This was going to be our brunch spread this Saturday but we decided to go out of town this weekend, so I made it for dinner tonight instead. All recipes are from the cookbook Vegan Brunch. I think I can safely say I intend to make every recipe from this book based on the awesomeness of the ones I have tried so far.

Normally, when I made some sort of meat-substitute, John comments on how delicious it is but makes sure to tell me it tastes nothing like the "real thing." It has been so long since I have had meat that I always swear soy-bacon tastes exactly like real bacon. Anyway, I made the Tempeh Sausage Pastry Puffs and both John and I agreed, "This tastes like sausage!" It has something to do with the combo of tempeh texture and the seasonings, especially the fennel seeds. We ate the entire batch (18!) and I guarantee these will be making future appearances. My only change next time will be to buy regular puff pastry as opposed to light. They did not puff up as much as the picture in the cookbook but the flavor was so fantastic, like little thin crust sausage pizzas. It was my first baking experience with puff pastry and at first, I was really nervous because the sheets of pastry are so flat! But sure enough, they did puff.

We also had Roasted Butternut Squash. It was easy to prepare and very sweet. Next time, I will throw in a little sage to numb the sweetness a touch.

And finally, Pumpkin Pancakes topped with berries and soy whipped cream. I have made vegan pancakes in the past but like this recipe because a majority of the moisture comes from the pumpkin and therefore they don't need a huge amount of flour. Also, it has a large variety of spices including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves for a scrumptious flavor!

Roasted Beet Risotto

Along with being really delicious, this risotto was so pretty! The recipe is from Vegan Italiano and came together really quickly considering I bought roasted beets instead of roasting them myself.

The ingredients are basic: garlic, onion, arborio rice, olive oil, veggie broth, beets, white wine, salt, pepper, and parsley. The garlic and onion are cooked down in olive oil, and the rice is added. Then it becomes the tedious process of adding 1/2 cup veggie broth at a time until it is absorbed and finally, there is no broth left! It takes about 25-30 minutes. After about half the broth has been added, the other ingredients (beets, wine, salt, pepper) are stirred in. The parsley is added at the end.

We had a chopped chick'n salad on the side. It consisted of lettuce, beets, chick'n nuggets, and left over Italian Tofu Marinade for the dressing.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I have never been to the office John works in, and he asked me to come visit this week so I am going in for lunch today. I thought it would be fun to bring cupcakes (plus, he asked me to!) and my Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook has been feeling neglected lately. So, I made the Hazelnut Cupcakes with Mocha Hazelnut Mouse Filling and they turned out delicious. The ganache on top is made with Ricemilk chocolate!
Here is a picture featuring the inside mocha deliciousness.

And, Vanilla Cookies and Cream Cupcakes. They consisted of this vanilla cupcake recipe, plus 10 crushed up oreo cookies mixed into the batter. The frosting is Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting with 5 crushed up oreos mixed in and half an oreo on top. Yum!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes with Caesar Salad

This is a recipe from Vegan Brunch but I thought it sounded so good with a salad for dinner tonight, so I went for it. I am normally not a fan of tempeh, but this recipe includes a technique for making it less bitter. It worked for me!

I chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and red peppers and covered them in a dressing of 5 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp white wine, and 4 garlic cloves sauteed together. I also sprinkled some leftover bread crumbs on the salad for texture.

I also made the remoulade which was spicy and fantastic!