Friday, August 12, 2011

Walking Table - Crepes

My friend Per and I decided to name our style of dinner parties 'Walking Tables' because generally everyone is up and preparing food together and we just sort of eat stuff as soon as it is ready. So we started picking themes and everyone brings ingredients to prepare their own version of whatever our theme is. We take turns preparing and eating while someone else then works on their contribution. It is fun, social, and takes the pressure off one person to do all the work. ;-)

Our first Walking Table theme was Crepes and it was a huge success! Here is Per featuring one of our crepes (and here is the crepe recipe!):

Here is what each of us came up with:

John: Tofu ricotta, sauteed garlic, mushrooms and spinach:

Per:Asparagus with Hollandaise sauce:

Miriam: Black beans, corn, fresh tomato, taco seasoning, avocado, Sriracha hot sauce:

Courtney: Roasted peaches with cinnamon oatmeal crumble and whipped cream:

Caesar Salad with Eggplant Bacon

This eggplant bacon is definitely something to write home about.

The salad consists of lettuce and a Caesar Chavez Dressing (shallots, cashews, tahini, miso, lemon juice, dijon, capers, water, salt and pepper blended) from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook.  Here is the recipe for the dressing.

The eggplant bacon is very simple (but burns easily and is then disastrous!) and includes only 3 ingredients: eggplant, soy sauce and liquid smoke. The eggplant is sliced, roasted for 8 minutes, flipped, roasted again for 3 minutes, then cooled. After it is cooled, it is dipped in the soy/liquid smoke mixture, roasted for 3 more minutes and ready to eat!

Broccoli Bistro Soup

A super fast, delicious soup recipe. Rosemary and parsnips really make it pop. Here is the recipe from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook.  I sprinkled toasted pine nuts on top.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Thai Green Curry - 2 ways

We make different varieties of Thai curry for dinner at least a few times per week, so we buy the curry paste in large quantities. Recently we ran out of green curry paste and replenished our stock from the Asian market. I was so irritated to realize, after getting it home and cooking with it one time, that this brand contained shrimp paste! Fortunately, the market also carries a brand that is vegan and my friend Miriam was more than happy to take the other off my hands.

We generally make the curry sauce the same: green curry paste, coconut milk, a little vegetarian stir fry sauce, and a little palm sugar. Sometimes a splash of Mirin or soy, sometimes extra ginger and garlic. The veggies are typically onion, bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, and whatever else seems good at the time.

The most recent variations:

Red Rice and 'Veef' (vegetarian beef)

Noodles and Vegan Shrimp

Bread Pudding, Cupcakes and Cookies

Here are a few favorite desserts made within the past few months, all packed into one delicious post.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding from Veganomicon. I made this to take to a brunch and became a fan of bread pudding for the first time in my life.

Chocolate Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I opted for a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of frosting.

Vanilla cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World topped with strawberry jam, a strawberry, and a drizzle of powdered sugar icing (powdered sugar and oat milk).

Dark Chocolate Chunk Marzipan Cookies from the blog 'seitan is my motor'. 

Manhattan Glam Chowder with Tomato-Parmesan Crackers

This recipe has been on my mind since I bought the Appetite for Reduction cookbook. I have never in my life eaten clam chowder so it isn't because I miss the 'real thing'. For some reason, it just appealed to me.

I did learn that Manhattan Clam Chowder is tomato based and New England is the creamy version. I am definitely a fan of a thin, veggie flavor over a heavy creamy one.

The soup was great, the texture was fun (the 'clams' are chewy shitake mushrooms and the 'ocean' flavor comes from nori sheets!) and the crackers added a nice crunch. I followed this recipe but used 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup fine corn meal. I added dried tomato flakes and sesame parmesan to the mix.

On the side, mixed greens, sunflower seeds, marinated red peppers, garlic and olives, and the leftover roasted veggies and chickpeas from dinner a few nights ago. 

Vegan Eating in Malmö, Sweden

John and I recently spent a long weekend in Malmö, Sweden. It is a little over a three hour train ride from Aarhus, Denmark (where we live). We took our bikes, crashed at a friend's apartment, and enjoyed the surprisingly perfect weather all weekend.

Before starting the trip, we checkout out the Happy Cow website and were so relieved to find a variety of vegan restaurants and health food stores. I give Malmö a thumbs up for vegan friendly city.

For breakfast, Chez Madame was a great choice. It had a granola, fruit, salad, and baked goods type buffet. They also make a heavenly soy latte.

I can't say enough about the vegan pizza at Pizzeria AlgarveWe each got a pizza - taco for me, kabob for John - and devoured it. The menu has so many choices and they have homemade sauces to go with each. Without question, this is the best vegan pizza I have ever eaten, in the world.

Here is my taco pizza...

...including melty cheese. 

And the unique kabob pizza. They even have a huge chunk of 'meat' on a big stick that they shave off for the pizza. So authentic. 

We had dinner at Vegegarden one night. We decided to order the pre-set "Dinner for two" menu, which was delicious but way too much food!

On our way to the train station to head home, we stopped at Astrid and Aporna to pick up some supplies. They had a huge selection of vegan meats, cheeses, and goodies. 

Licorice, chocolate, and cookies:

Instant soup (lunch for me on days when I can't stomach the canteen) and rice mayo:

New soy cheeses to try (Mozzerella, Blue, Edam, and White Cheddar):

A smorgasbord of vegan meats (Veef, chicken nuggets, salmon, shrimp, and Tzay: something made by monks):

And dried soy nuggets in a variety of sizes and colors (brown for beef, strips, nuggets and wafers):


An Unintentially Orange Meal

I had a pumpkin that was beyond the point of 'possibly using for dinner tonight' and on to 'if we don't cook this tonight, it is getting thrown away'. So, I made mashed pumpkin, followed this recipe (minus the cayenne pepper), and felt really happy to not see it go to waste. Instead of boiling the pumpkin, I chopped it in half and roasted it in a baking dish with shallow water.

I initially thought I would stuff the pumpkin with a pilaf but decided on a risotto instead. After the pumpkin was roasted it had completely lost its shape and would not have held anything, hence the mashing.

A few days ago I made a batch of sesame Parmesan that I can't get enough of. I googled Parmesan risotto and settled on this recipe for Parmesan-Carrot Risotto that was easily made vegan. Along my vegan parm, I used risotto rice instead of white, veggie broth, and vegan margarine.

Akara, Fufu, and Chili-Tomato Relish

We spent Easter this year in Hamburg with our friends, David and Julia. They introduced us to fufu: a staple food of West and Central Africa. Last time I was at the Asian market grocery shopping, I was really excited to find a box of plantain fufu flour. 

Julia warned me that making fufu can be a bit challenging and it takes practice to get it right. I definitely don't think ours turned out perfectly this time. It had the consistency of very dry, instant mashed potatoes but with a powdery flavor. I think I will get some advice from David and Julia before giving it another go. 

Interestingly enough, while trying to figure out what to make with the fufu, I grabbed the August 2009 issue of Veg News and flipped to the page I, at some point in time, marked with a pink post-it note. It is an article called Marvelous Mali and discusses fufu and other African foods. It was one of those really odd moments of 'way too much of a coincidence to believe'. But it quickly became part of the dinner menu for the night.

Clockwise: Garlic bread, Akara, Relish, fufu, eggplant, roasted veggies and chickpeas

Akara (Black-eyed Pea Fritters) are a nice combo of black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, chile and bell peppers, and lots of spices. They are coated in cornmeal and fried. Ideally, they become round, fried, deliciousness. Mine basically melted and became slop. We determined that they required more of a 'deep fried' technique versus the pan frying that we attempted. We just threw the second batch in the oven instead of frying. They were pretty terrible but at least remained in 'ball form'. 

The Chile-Tomato Relish was fine, but too spicy and nothing to write home about. Below is the relish and fufu (sprinkled with fresh cilantro).

Fortunately, my friend Thea brought over lots of veggies, chickpeas, and bread to save the meal!

The eggplants were sliced, sprayed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, herbs, and paprika and baked. 

We chopped a red and yellow pepper, broccoli, and onion along with some chickpeas, sprayed it with olive oil, sprinkled dried tomato flakes and sesame Parmesan and roasted it. 

And, the best part was the bread! Thea started with frozen rolls, thawed a bit and sliced in half. She spread a layer of dijon mustard, grated a little garlic, sprinkled fresh parsley and sesame Parmesan and baked it. The combo of flavors was fantastic. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tofu scramble and Banana Bread

The thought of catching up has been so overwhelming, so I have neglected this blog far too long. I have loads of pictures and recipes that I am slowly but surely going to get posted...

...starting with breakfast this morning! We were asked to join a group from John's office to hike in a National Park here in Denmark today. To get us started I made a tofu scramble and some banana bread - that also became a nice snack on the hike.

The tofu scramble was a modified version of this recipe. I have a huge batch of sesame Parmesan - that I have literally been eating with a spoon - so I added a huge sprinkle of that, along with dijon mustard, turmeric, salt, pepper, and oat milk.

The veggies were sauteed in olive oil with a sprinkle of dried tomato flakes, basil, fennel, salt and pepper.

And the banana good! I added walnuts, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate chips, and coconut. I sprinkled oatmeal on top. Note: I am not the "Courtney" as mentioned in the recipe. Sheer coincidence.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Banana Pancakes

I decided to give the waffle iron a rest today and found this easy and delicious recipe for banana pancakes! I also added pecans to the batter. We topped the pancakes with vegan butter and agave syrup.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Burgers, Potato Salad, and Veggies

We bought a grill last weekend and last night was supposed to be our first night grilling! Unfortuanately, we didn't have charcoal or lighter fluid. Two trips to the store and we still couldn't get the grill going! So, we ended up cooking the food on the stove and in the oven. Definitely not the same appeal, but  we are more prepared for next time now.

On the menu:
Grillable Black Bean Burgers (I used red beans. They fell apart when cooked on the stove. I would not trust them on a grill.)
Sweet Potato Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing (I used agave, not honey. Next time, I will double the sauce. I like a lot of flavor.)
Marinated Veggies (They were going to be Kabobs but instead were roasted in the oven.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Vegan Bucket List

I subscribe to the VegNews magazine. Since I do not live in the U.S. anymore (and because I love the idea of less trees dying so that I can enjoy the magazine) I receive the electronic version. It took me a long time to get used to it, but now I like it even more. Before, I would fold corners, leave in post-it notes, and more often than not, forget what I wanted to make from the magazine as it got lost in the shuffle. Now, I take screen shots of things I am interested in, want to make and/or buy, and read on the fly. It works out really well for me.

Anyway, I happened to visit the VegNews website today and found this list: The Vegan Bucket List. I think it is fantastic and I want to do everything on it...eventually!

The things I have already accomplished include:

Ask your (non-vegan) family or friends to try a vegan meal, day, or week. It's the perfect birthday gift!

Visit Portland, Ore.’s vegan mini-mall. Leave with a tattoo, cookie, message t-shirt, and a few snacks for the road. (okay, I seriously did consider a tattoo here...even met with one of the artists! But, didn't actually go through with it :-(
Meet your vegan superhero. Whether it’s Gene Baur, John Salley, Kathy Freston, Wayne Pacelle, or Tal Ronnen, go to one of your favorite star’s public events and thank them for their work. (Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Heather Mills)
Be vegan until 6pm, and then stay vegan until the following day. Repeat. (I have been repeating for over 2 years!)
Dine at Candle 79 in New York and Millennium in San Francisco, not on the same night. Go with people whom you truly adore, and feast on appetizers, salads, entrees, drinks, and desserts (multiples of each). Share everything so you get to taste it all! (I am half way here...My dad and I ate at Millennium.)Inspire at least one person to become vegan. (My adorable mom)
Help the environment by opting for a bicycle or running shoes over a car. (I bike to work daily.)
Cook an entirely vegan holiday dinner for your friends and family. (3 Thanksgivings in a row now!)
Start a balcony herb garden.

Become a vegan hostess extraordinaire by throwing holiday parties, brunches, bonfires, barbecues, fondue nights, and so on. (And, we just bought a grill!!!)
Spend a week at The Gentle Gourmet B&B in Paris. (2 meals...Love this place!)
Visit the Chicago Diner and feast on The Radical Reuben, mashed potatoes, and cookie dough peanut butter milkshake.

Find a vegan restaurant in every city you visit, no matter how remote! (Or at least something vegan on the menu!)
Attend (or, even better yet, have!) a vegan wedding. (Not 100% - I grew up in the mid-west! But, we did have a vegan main course option and all dessert was vegan!)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Veggie Potpie Stew

From Appetite for Reduction, John made this for dinner and said it took exactly one hour to prepare, as the recipe states. It was really good; it tasted exactly like what I would expect a potpie to taste like! But, I have to be honest, I did miss the crust. We had bread on the side, but it just wasn't quite the same! Here is the recipe.

Pumpkin Soup, Salad, Veggies and Cobbler

Pumpkin Soup
Even though fall is over and spring is finally here, I can't stop buying the little organic pumpkins that I keep finding in little shops around town.  I made a few alterations to this recipe including: carrot instead of apple/pear and oat milk instead of soy/almond. We sprinkled spicy paprika and cilantro on top. The soup went really well with these Bread Sticks. They are quick, versatile, and have a great texture.

From the Vegan Italiano cookbook,  I also made Asparagus with Tomato Vinaigrette. It sat in the fridge overnight and was very marinated by the time we ate it. It was served at room temp.

I am really in love with this recipe for Roasted Eggplant. It is so fast and tastes really good!

I have made this salad before. In my opinion, it is the perfect combo of flavors: pasta, white beans, sundried tomatoes, fennel, olives, and more. Trattoria Pasta Salad with White Beans.

And, for dessert. Pear Berry Cobbler. This recipe is officially in my permanent mix now! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Special Delivery: Liquid Smoke

My mother in law mailed me two bottles of liquid smoke! I was never able to find it here in Denmark, so this supply should last for a very long time!

Thanks Mom and Neil! We love you guys. 

First recipes I will try now that I have the stuff:
Eggplant Bacon
Chipotle Lentil Burgers

Two dinners from my cast iron skillet

Last week, I made dinner two nights in my cast iron skillet and both turned out quick and delicious.

First, Sicilian Skillet Pasta Pie from Vegan Italiano. Here is the recipe. I did make a few adjustments. Because I was out of olives, I made a batch of seitan chorizo crumbles. Also, I did not have spaghetti noodles so instead I used elbow macaroni. The pieces, obviously, did not 'slice' as the recipe says they should. We spooned portions out and devoured them!

We also shredded a bit of Mozzarella Sheese on top of the monster portions.

Second, Tempeh Helper from Appetite for Reduction. Because I have never eaten real Hamburger Helper, I can't really say whether it is comparable or not. But, it was really good.  I do think I added a bit too much seasoning to my cheezy sauce because it was quite salty and a little overpowering. Here is the recipe

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Anniversary Dinner!

John and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary with this lovely dinner. I did most of the prep work the day before (Sunday) so I could have it on the table at a decent dinner time (Monday). The meal included:

Cashew Nut Loaf stuffed with Garlic and Mushrooms
Silky Chickpea Gravy
Butternut Coconut Rice
Green Beans with Truffle Oil and Sea Salt
Lemon Macadamia Nut Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

So, the loaf is excellent. My mother-in-law made if for Christmas dinner last year and John specifically requested it for this meal. Instead of making a stuffing (an option in the recipe), there is a layer of sauteed garlic and mushrooms in the middle (assembly process shown below). I have always shied away from nut loafs because of a previous, bad experience. Fortunately, this one has turned me back on to the concept.

I used a combo of almonds, pecans, and cashews. For the bread crumbs, I used a combo of panko and crushed spelt crackers (I didn't realize that I didn't have enough crumbs until it was too late to go buy more! But, it worked out very well.)

The gravy is rich and thick and salty and sage-flavored. It went nicely with the loaf.

I do not have a link to the Butternut Coconut Rice, which is a complete shame because it was the highlight of the meal! I am not a huge fan of rice, but I will make this recipe any and every time I can find a butternut squash at the grocery store! It is a combo of garlic and ginger along with sesame oil, shallot, lime, red pepper flakes, and topped off with creamy coconut milk. We also sprinkled toasted coconut on top. It is addictive stuff! And even better, the recipe is from Appetite for Reduction.

The green beans were sauteed in a touch of truffle oil and sea salt.

And finally, the dessert! I bought new cupcake liners (silicon) and was really excited to try them out. They worked very nicely, left no paper waste, released the cupcakes very easily and in perfect shape, and were easy to clean.

The recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The cupcakes are tangy and fruity while the macadamia nuts are crunchy and delicious! I did substitute almond meal for the macadamia nut meal and, in the frosting, coconut oil instead of shortening.

We also had Tofutti Strawberry flavored icecream. Unfortunately, we were very disappointed. The flavor was so bad we are considering writing the company. John even suggested that we somehow got a 'bad batch' because of how awful it tastes. It is reminds me of some horrible chemical strawberry flavoring. It is organic and I am usually not disappointed with the brand (LOVE the icecream sandwiches). But, in this case, we will never buy this product again!