Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tahini Lime Cookies

The recipe is from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I was really happy that John asked for these because I don't think I would have picked them myself. The flavor of Tahiti is not one I associate with delicious, moist cookies. But this is exactly what it produced! They are a very sophisticated cookie and the black sesame seeds give them the daring first impression they deserve.

Here is a link to a recipe posted by another blogger. I did NOT follow her substitutions and the first unqualified them as vegan. She replaced 1/4 cup of the sugar with honey. The recipe calls for 3/4 cup sugar, no honey! She also added a portion of whole wheat flour (that could be good...)and left out 2 Tbsp cornstarch. The other addition that is not in the original recipe is baking soda. Otherwise, the recipe is accurate.

I got this lime zester from Sur La Table in Portland, OR. I really like it! It captures the zest as it is taken from the fruit.

Burnt Broccoli and Tomato Omelets

My second attempt at vegan omelets and this time they tasted and looked much better! This recipe, from Vegan Brunch, produced a less mushy, tougher, more egg-like texture. The taste also mimicked eggs more closely because of the kala namak. By itself, kala namak is very sulfuric tasting and smelling. Much too strong to eat alone. But mixed in with the batter, it definitely reminded both John and I of what cooking with eggs was like! We both sprinkled an additional amount on the finished omelet before eating.

I absolutely loved this faux omelet and thought it would be fun to serve to non-vegans. This is always the debate because we do not have an other vegan friends. John disagreed claiming it was far to different from an original omelet to win the affection of a non-vegan. I say, it is healthier than an egg, less devastating to the environment that an egg, and tastes really good. How can a person not be satisfied. John's reply, "It isn't a real omelet." Fine.

I think the key to this omelet recipe is the turmeric for color, chickpea flour for texture, and kala namak and nutritional yeast for flavor.

We stuffed ours with Burnt Broccoli and tomato, which is exactly what it sounds like. Chopped broccoli and tomato is sauteed in olive oil at high enough heat to crisp it up. We also added a sprinkle of Cheshire Sheese.

The whole process was a bit time consuming but I think that had to do with it being our first time and making smaller omelets because of our difficulties with flipping. Bigger omelets will speed it up in the future.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fettuccine with Basil-Pea Cream and Fresh Tomato and Basil Salad

John and I made fettuccine last night. It was the first time using my "new" pasta roller. John surprised me by ordering it on ebay after the last pasta roller I bought had to be returned. I was less than thrilled to see that it was powder blue and from the 1940's and, well, just old! But, it did roll out pretty fettuccine.

I followed this recipe for the pasta. I have made pasta from this recipe many times and it has always been a success.

The sauce is from Vegan Italiano. I am not a huge fan of peas but John loves them and this really did make a lovely sauce for the fresh fettuccine.

On the side, a Fresh Tomato and Basil Salad also from Vegan Italiano. I made a much smaller batch than the recipe suggested which consisted of 2 tomatoes sliced, 1 small garlic clove diced, 6 basil leaves chopped, salt, pepper, and 1 Tbsp olive oil all mixed together.

Vegan Staples Stock-up

I found so many goodies today while out exploring Vienna. My happiest find, Kala Namak, or Black Salt. It is a pink colored salt, making it difficult to ask for by name in German but we found an excellent Indian Grocery Store that had it along with all this other fun stuff. Starting at the top left, working clock-wise we purchased: black lentil beans, turmeric, peanut butter, coconut oil, canned jack fruit (Not my idea!! John decided he absolutely had to have this!), limes, black sesame seeds (for an upcoming cookie recipe!), kala namak salt, Semolina flour, and finally, Chickpea flour.

Some of these can be found at the regular grocery store, like limes, but this place had such great prices!!!

The fuss over kala namak is for an omelet that I am going to make tomorrow for breakfast. The recipe is in Vegan Brunch. Apparently, this salt has a very sulfuric smell/taste and therefore mimics the taste of eggs. We will see! And my hope is for a much prettier omelet than last time! Fingers crossed.

Vegan Brunch Takes Over My Kitchen!!!

I decided today would be the first day to have a "Brunch Event" as Isa says it should be in the cookbook Vegan Brunch.

In reality, I prepared enough food for guests, which would typically be included in an event. But, as it turned out, it was just John and I! Someday we will live somewhere with friends and have brunch blowouts!

The menu included the following:

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (from Vegan Brunch)

I made the batter the night before to save time this morning. They were very sticky and I think it has to do with the over processing of the gluten?! Maybe. Anyway, next time I will make them the morning of to get a less gummy-like muffin.

Red Flannel Hash (from Vegan Brunch)

Potatoes, beets, onion, salt, and pepper. Sauteed, then baked. Amazing!

Scrambled Tofu (from Vegan Dad blog)

A great recipe for scrambled tofu that will stand alone. It doesn't need veggies or anything else to make it taste terrific. Just wholesome, delicious tofu!

Fresh Fruit (from the Market down the street)

Asparagus Quiche with Tomatoes and Tarragon

Most of the time, I make a recipe, love it or hate it, and never make it again! John has mentioned to me in the past that I should look back and re-make things that we really enjoyed. This quiche would fall into that category. It does take a few hours to put together but it is not time spent constantly focused, instead quite a bit of cooking and cooling time. If time is an issue though, a prepared pie crust and bread crumbs would help.

For the pie crust, I followed a recipe from Vegan Brunch. I was not crazy about it though. It was crumbly and "dusty" tasting. I will, in the future, follow the originally posted crust recipe. As for the bread crumbs, I made a batch of crackers and processed them to crumbs. They add such a fresh flavor.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

My second selection from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar! I had to substitute the maple syrup for agave syrup. I made a Mexican Chocolate pudding for Thanksgiving and these have that same theme, a bit of heat and a lot of chocolate sweetness. I also substituted the cayenne for Mexican chili spice (that is what I bought for the pudding!) It worked out very nicely. The heat started to build a few minutes after finishing a cookie. Here is the recipe.

Baked Risotto with Spring Vegetables

My first recipe from Vegan Italiano and it was fantastic. John loves risotto but it can be time consuming. This baked version was very fast and simple.

I used a cast iron pan so I could take it from the stove top and put it directly into the oven. Preheat 425 degrees. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and cook a diced onion until soft. Add 3 crushed garlic cloves and 1 cup arborio rice. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup white wine and cook until completely absorbed. Add 3 1/2 cups veggie broth, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp lemon pepper seasoning, and bring to boil. Cover and bake for 45-50 minutes.
While this is baking, saute any veggies you would like to add when the baking is completed. I used white asparagus, broccoli, peas, mushrooms, green pepper, and scallions.

The flavor and consistency was delicious and the texture was creamy and had an almost-cheesy-like flavor.

Lentil Salad

I have posted this recipe on my blog previously, but decided to post it again because it is SO GOOD! I made it for lunch today and ate nearly the entire thing!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tortellini with Red Wine sauce and Chopped Chick'n Salad

My second attempt at tortellini and it went much faster this time. I followed this recipe for the pasta and rolled it out by hand. The whole process took exactly one hour. I stuffed it with tofu ricotta (leftover from the last time I made tortellini, stored in the freezer, thawed and it worked out great!)The sauce is from a previous post and taken from a VegNews article. On the side, a chopped salad consisting of bib lettuce, mushrooms, beets, chick'n nuggets, all brutally diced and doused in a Balsamic Vinaigrette. The dressing was made with 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. A nice meal for sitting in front of the TV and watching more Olympics!

Rocky Road Cookies

A picture of this cookie is on the cover and numerous pages in the cookbook Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, so I figured they must be good! Also, when I asked John to pick a cookie he wanted me to bake first, he said, "The one on the cover." I was worried I had done something wrong because it mentions in the recipe how wet the dough will be but I did not think mine was much different from any other cookie dough I have made. They turned out really delicious, very sweet, and the almonds add an excellent crunch. I pressed a few extra almonds on top before baking the cookies. They are very soft, rich and have a brownie-like flavor/texture.

4 New Cookbooks

I took a trip back to the US for the past month. A complication with my visa forced me to leave, but it was so fun to see friends and family and I picked up 4 new vegan cookbooks! My mother-in-law bought me Vegan Italiano. John in 100% Italian and has already requested the risotto recipe! I got a used copy of Vegan Brunch from for a steal of a price. Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the author of the excellent Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and the new Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar is now mine! John has already requested I make the cookies on the cover. And finally, I bought The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes in an effort to cheer myself up one day while in limbo with the visa situation and browsing a bookstore. It all worked out and I am back home in Austria, ready to cook and blog again!