Sunday, April 25, 2010

Almond Biscotti

My current baking obsession is Biscotti (Italian twice baked cookies). I followed a recipe from Vegan Italiano. Here is a link to the recipe, only it is doubled in this version.

I dipped mine in melted, dark chocolate and additional slivered almonds. Not that the Biscotti needed more flavor, but it just sounded (and tasted!) like a good plan!

This recipe uses applesauce for a significant portion of its moisture, instead of oil. I was very happy about that!

I also made a batch of Mom's Scrambled Tofu from the Vegan Dad blog. On a side note, my mom did tell me that she is almost virtually vegan these days! I am thrilled with this news! Spreading the Vegan Word!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Ultimate Veggie Burgers

Or so Vegan Planet says! The author, Robin Robertson, has the recipe posted on her blog. I used Urad Beans instead of lentils. I bought them thinking they were black lentils, but found I was mistaken! They are delicious and did a nice job in these burgers.

John and I are going to see the band Deerhoof in Bratislava tonight. I am bringing dinner to his office so we can leave right away and thought burgers would travel nicely.

I found traditional hamburger buns at the store and was excited for see they were vegan! I added ketchup, onion slivers, pickles, and lettuce to our burgers. Wrapped up in foil, they were still warm when we were ready to eat them!

I also found Organic Spelt Pretzels (Bio-Dinkel-Brezeln). And, for a little extra green in our diet, I blanched some green beans and referred to them as green bean chips! They were crunchy and a little sweet, and were much more nutritious than other chips I could have bought!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pasta E Fagioli

I found the recipe in the Veganomicon Cookbook. I have never made Pasta E Fagioli before because it just sounded too simple. But, I had all the ingredients (I used linguine instead of tube pasta and garbanzos instead of white beans) and decided the simplicity of it sounded good tonight! I ripped up a few basil leaves for the top and sauteed some spinach in olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes to serve on the side.

Gingerbread Biscotti

My "to-do" list today included things like cleaning my closet and other boring tasks. I have a cold so my energy level is down. Biscotti seemed like the perfect solution because you mix and bake, then rest. Then you come back and slice and bake, and then you enjoy! Simple, spread out, no rush, excellent with hot, soothing coffee or tea! And, an excuse to put off cleaning the closet until tomorrow.

The recipe is from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Here is a link to the recipe posted online. The gingerbread spices mixed with the candied ginger is a magical combination! And, dipped in rice-milk white chocolate with extra candied ginger pieces!!! Delicious. Gingerbread is definitely NOT just for Christmas time around here!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chickpea Cutlets with Veggies and Cheezy Sauce

Chickpea cutlets are becoming a regular around here, and that is rare! I don't often make things more than once. But, I have gotten pretty good at whipping them up and we absolutely love them served with anything! I had a large amount of random veggies in the fridge, all leftover from something. I sauteed them in olive oil and dumped a batch of Cheezy Sauce over them. Heaven!

I also made some chocolate chip cookies. I substituted 1/4 cup flour for a granola/flax seed mix and used whole wheat flour. I added white and chocolate chunks and pecans.

Pierogi (Potato and Mushroom Sauerkraut)

I wasn't sure what to do with the leftover sauerkraut after making Reubens until I saw this recipe in Vegan Brunch! Here is the recipe. I can't recall ever eating Pierogi before, and definitely not making them. They did take a few hours from start to finish but were so flavorful and fun. This was my second time making caramelized onions and I fall deeper in love each time! Where does the sweet flavor come from!?

On the side, a salad with homemade rye croutons, tomatoes, beets, and olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing.

Polenta Rancheros

I had a huge amount of leftover refried beans from my burritos a few nights ago. I used them in an altered version of Vegan Brunch's Polenta Rancheros.

The polenta was cooked in veggie broth with added salt and olive oil.

The Rancheros sauce and Beans was my refried beans with the following: cumin, lemon zest, sage, dice yellow onion, 2 serrano peppers, garlic, tomato sauce, agave, and more black beans.

We topped the polenta and beans with tomatoes and red onions. It was a really comforting dinner!

Cocoa Strawberry Muffins

Originally, they are Cocoa Raspberry Muffins from Vegan Brunch. But, I didn't have enough raspberries for the recipe and did have enough frozen strawberries that were begging to get out of my freezer. The substitute was definitely a success but I can see how raspberries would be a bit better. The strawberries did lose a lot of flavor and the texture was much more gooey than raspberries would have been. At any rate, these muffins were very delicate and moist and lasted less than a day in our house!

Risotto with Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I have been making risotto quite a bit lately because John loves it and I recently bought a huge box of arborio rice. I had high hopes for this recipe, from Vegan Italiano, but it just wasn't that great. It was on the bland side and we think that had to do with the fact that the recipe says to "finely dice" the zucchini. This made the zucchini get lost in the rice and wash away a lot of the flavor. It is a pretty basic risotto but should have had a nice flavor because it included white wine, onion, thyme, pepper, and basil. It was cooked down in veggie broth and had a half cup of both sun dried tomatoes and zucchini. But, a success it was not!

Chocolate Orange Cream Loaf Cake

For my second attempt at catering lunch for John's co-workers, I made this dessert. I didn't get to eat any of it myself but the feedback was very positive and it did smell wonderful!

The cake is a basic vegan chocolate cake baked in a loaf pan. After it has cooled completely, it is sliced into three long layers.

The filling is a combination of sugar, cornstarch, soy milk, orange juice, vanilla, and orange zest. It has a pudding-like texture but did a nice job of holding the layers up and staying in place.

The final step is to frost with Chocolate Ganache (1/4 cup coconut oil, 3 Tbsp soy milk, 1/2 cup chocolate). I didn't do this for a variety of reasons, but left the bowl of Ganache next to the cake and let people spoon it on themselves!

The recipe is from The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes. Along with the dessert, I made Kugel and Lentil Salad.

Three-Bean Burritos

Because of the massive amount of dry black beans I have in my kitchen, and my inability to find vegetarian refried beans here, I decided to make my own. The burrito recipe, from Vegan Planet, calls for refried, black, and pinto beans. I made refried black beans and used a can of kidney and white.

Here is the recipe I followed for the refried beans. Instead of vegetable oil or margarine, I used coconut oil. I did not have marjoram, so that is not included in my version. There are quicker recipes available but I doubt they produce such a creamy, rich product! Before adding the second 2 cups of water, I ran half the mixture through the blender for a smoother texture.

After the refried beans finished cooking, I added the other 2 kinds of beans, salsa, additional chili powder, salt and pepper. This cooked until everything was hot and it was then divided between 4 tortillas, topped with Sheese Smoked Cheddar, lettuce and a bit of diced green onion. I also made a batch of guacamole and sliced some cherry tomatoes for the stuffing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Macadamia Ginger Crunch Drops

I am not really a big fan of eating cookie dough. It just makes me lose my appetite for the finished product! But for some reason, I tasted the dough for these and could not stop eating it!!! After baked, the cookies were equally as delicious. I baked them for a significant amount longer than the 14 minutes the recipe called for, closer to 20 minutes, and added a splash more milk because my dough was very dry. These are without a doubt my favorite cookie to date. Sweet and spicy ginger, crunch-y macadamia nuts, brown sugar-y crisp cookie. YUM!

Reuben Sandwiches with Carrot and Broccoli Salad

Here is the Reuben recipe I followed. Originally, I bought a loaf of Rye bread by accident. I thought it was Wheat bread. So, I intended to make Reubens with that. But, I waited around too long and it went stale beyond the point of use! (except for croutons, of course.) So, I bought these cute little Organic English-muffin-style Rye breads. I didn't have pickling spice, so that was left out. I used my new Rice Mayo for the sauce. I couldn't find a substitute for Swiss cheese but instead used smoked cheddar by sheese. It was a really good combination of flavors.

The salad is a version of this recipe. I shredded my carrots in the food processor to save time. I also added broccoli and pecans. The dressing is Rice Mayo, sugar, salt, and white wine. It tasted very much like a summer salad!

Apulian-Style Bruschetta with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

Last night for dinner we had Roasted Beet Risotto. It is rare that I repeat recipes but both John and I really enjoyed it last time and I had a ton of beets. We ate it with green beans and this Bruschetta from the Vegan Italiano cookbook. It is a really long name but a very simple, basic style with a fantastic flavor. Using a loaf of Italian Bread, like ciabatta, slice it in half horizontally. Bake it for about 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Cut a garlic clove in half and rub it over the baked bread. I added a thick layer of crumbled Sheese Mozzerella to the top of mine and baked it for a few more minutes while the sheese "melted" or in my case, browned.

The topping is a pint of tomatoes, 1/2 cup basil leaves chopped, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. I added a diced garlic clove to mine for the extra flavor. This sits for about 10 minutes and is then placed on the bread. It says that the bread can then sit out for up to an hour. Ours did not last that long!!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

Apparently one day at John's office, there was talk of me making lunch for everyone occasionally. Everyone was willing to pay for the lunch and was on board with everything being vegan. So, today was day one of my amateur catering business! I decided on Tomato-Basil Lasagna Spirals, Panzanella, and for dessert, Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes. I think it went well, and I really enjoyed the experience!

The spirals are really delicious and many can fit into a large baking pan, making it easier to transport. I made another batch of homemade tomato sauce to serve alongside the stuffed noodles. The Panzanella combines the bread and salad making this a filling meal.

The mini cakes are adorable and sweet, caramel and fruit flavored. The original recipe recommends using mini springform pans. I do not own these or have the desire to go buy them, so I used ramekins. I had to cut my pineapple into chunks because the rings were too large. Instead of cherries, I used raspberries for the center. Everything else worked out nicely!

Here is a picture of the caramel sauce and the fruit in the ramekin, before the cake was poured on top.

And, a picture of the cakes fresh out of the oven, pre-flipped!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Dinner: The Vegan Ghost of Julia Child Menu

In the back of Veganomicon, there are menu ideas. Each typically has a main course, salad or soup, and dessert pairing. I selected the Vegan Ghost of Julia Child because I knew it would be as gourmet and fancy as I could handle, and because I have made the salad and dessert in the past, giving me a leg up.

The entree is Sautéed Seitan with Mushrooms and Spinach and Herb-Scalloped Potatoes. It is paired with a Bulgur, Arugula, and Cannellini Salad. For dessert, Heart-Shaped Apple Galettes with Vanilla Soy Ice cream.

Sautéed Seitan with Mushrooms and Spinach
I absolutely love seitan so it isn't hard for me to fall for a recipe that includes garlic and mushrooms and wine and spinach and seitan! I was picking at the leftovers all night.

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes
Okay, first, these potatoes were delicious. Creamy, rich, buttery, and everything you would expect from scalloped potatoes. But, not what you would expect from "herb" scalloped potatoes! John prepared this dish and was so excited by his exquisite layering of the potatoes that he forgot to add the herbs. Missing from the dish is thyme, basil, rosemary, paprika, salt, and pepper! Fortunately, the nutritional yeast, garlic, soy milk, and veggie broth, plus time under the broiler to crisp everything up, provided a wonderful taste! But seriously, just look at that gorgeous layering!

Bulgur, Arugula, and Cannellini Salad (I substituted spinach for arugula)
The recipe says to make this a day, or even two, ahead of time. Mine sat in the fridge for 2 days and the flavor of the dressing was deliciously and evenly marinated into everything. I made half a batch because a full batch makes enough for 8 servings and last time, it went sour sitting in the fridge for so long before we were able to finish it.

Heart-Shaped Apple Galettes

These might be very close to one of my favorite desserts. They are very easy to make and look impressive! Instead of rolling the dough out and cutting hearts with a cutter, I chopped the dough into 6 pieces and finger pressed them into hearts. Their shape is not as defined but it was faster.

The recipe calls for apricot jam. I was hesitant to use apricot jam last time because I didn't think I liked apricots. But, it turned out to be a delicious addition to the crust, spices, and apples. I did switch it up this time because although I enjoyed the apricot jam, I was not able to use the remaining jam before it molded in my fridge. Because there were no smaller jars of this flavor at the grocery store, I opted for a trio of tiny jars in the exact amount necessary for the 6 galettes. The flavors are strawberry, peach, and raspberry.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Three Scrambles in Three Days

I decided to try three of the scrambles in Vegan Brunch this weekend. Because it is a long, holiday weekend, we had time for a new scramble on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

First up, Saturday's scramble was the Basic Scrambled Tempeh. I steamed the tempeh first, removing the bitter taste from it. I have discovered steaming first is the only way that I enjoy eating tempeh. I substituted the Swiss chard for spinach. On the side, peanut butter toast.

On the menu for Sunday was the Pesto Scrambled Tofu with Grape Tomatoes. Tofu sauteed with onion and tomatoes, then covered in pesto! This is John's favorite scramble to date. On the side, Chevapcici, which is a very enjoyable soy based sausage substitute.

And finally, Monday's attempt was the Puttanesca Scramble. I had to practice saying Puttanesca a few times before it stopped sounding like Poo-tanesca because John said that made it sound very unappealing. This was my favorite of the three. It went well with fresh ciabatta bread.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Treats

For Easter, I ordered John some vegan candy from VeganVersand. It was my first time ordering from them, and I was so excited that the box arrived in just a few days. Most of the things available online are also available in stores near to me, but I could see orders coming in handy occasionally. They also sell refrigerator items like cheese and icecream. I am not sure how those survive the shipping, so I think I will stick to traditional grocery shopping for that sort of stuff.

I did order three of their candy bars: Twilight (Milky Way), Jokerz (Snickers), and Mahalo (Almond Joy). I also ordered gummy Cola Bottles. We saw them in a store one time and John commented how much he loved them, so they were a perfect addition.

Besides the Easter treats, I also ordered Rice Mayo and Wheat Gluten. It is called "Seitan Mix" but the ingredients are simply wheat gluten.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tom Yum Thai Spicy Soup

Tom Yum - and it was really yummie. I was not familiar with some of the ingredients, or at least hadn't cooked with them in the past. But, our grocery store sells a set of lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, chilies, and galangal in the exact portions necessary for this recipe. I also saw the ingredients in larger portions in the refrigerator section of an Asian market. I did not put basil in my soup and used a whole can of coconut milk, not half.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cheesy Potato-Chili Gratin

From "The Global Oven" section of Vegan Planet, this recipe was comfort food at its finest! A layer of sliced potatoes, onions and green chilies sprinkled with salt, basil, chili powder, cayenne, and olive oil and baked. Then covered with vegan sour cream, chili, and mozzarella cheese and baked again. It was as delicious as it looks messy in the picture!

I shortened the process by buying organic, canned chili.

On the side is a chopped salad consisting of lettuce, beets, vegan Wiener Schnitzel, red pepper, chickpeas, and an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing.

Tomato-Basil Lasagna Spirals

A fun twist to a traditional lasagna flavor. I had 6 lasagna noodles leftover from last time I made it and followed a recipe from Vegan Planet. The recipe called for 12 noodles but because it is just John and I, 6 was plenty and everything else halved nicely. I was also able to put a portion of the enormous batch of tomato sauce I made this week to use!

The noodles are pre-boiled for about 10 minutes. The stuffing is tofu based with shallots, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, vegan pesto, bread crumbs, salt, and cayenne.

I found tiny asparagus at the grocery store today and pan fried it in olive oil, salt and pepper. I can't even put into words how delicious and fresh it tasted. And to top it off, a fresh loaf of ciabatta.