Monday, September 29, 2008

my favorite vegans (in no particular order)

john s. hall, poet- i LOVE his work. most people are familiar with king missle's song "detachable penis", although i like many of his pieces. some of my favorites are, "the commercial", "jesus was way cool", "a little restraint", and "take stuff from work".
bif naked-the weird thing is i'm not a huge fan of her music. maybe it's because i have a nerdy girl crush on her. my other favorite vegan grrrls are isa chandra moskowitz and sarah kramer.

YOU! that's right, I LOVE YOU just the way you are. Just by you being vegan, you're one of my favorites, unless you're a vegan douche bag*.
*a vegan douche bag is a vegan who alienates others for not being vegan or vegan enough and enjoys pointing out how something isn't vegan. they typically enjoy smelling their own farts because they are so smug.

billy west, the voice of stimpy from ren & stimpy, and phillip j. frye on futurama. i didn't even know he was vegan until i searched "famous vegans".

weird al yankovic- sure he sings about all kinds of food, mostly non-vegan, but he's a vegan! in addition to his eating habits, i have a soft spot for curly haired dorks who wear tropical print shirts.

Friday, September 26, 2008

my favorite vegan books

i love to read. it's hard to have a fun vegan life without really good vegan cookbooks. these are my die-hard faves.
many say this is the only vegan cookbook you'll ever need, but i disagree. don't get me wrong--it's hard covered, full of mouth watering recipes, and contains some awesome banter from isa and terry. i just need more than one cook book. i can't afford this one right now, but i think chanukkah harry is getting me this one for the challadays. for now, i have it on loan from our public library.
this was one of the first vegan cookbooks i ever read, and i read it from cover-to-cover! my BFF jawzie tried to be vegan once, decided it didn't work for her, and recently sent it to me which was really nice of her. so now i have my very own copy. favorite recipes: punk rock chickpea gravy, fronch toast, waffles, pancakes....well you get the idea, right? props for the food porn.

this was the second vegan cook book i read. i really enjoy sarah kramer's books. the recipes are super easy, and i like the extra stuff included on how to make your own household cleaning items, etc. aside from the gorgeous cover, there are no food porn pics and i must say i don't like that at all. my favorite recipe are the big ben lentil burgers and the yeast free pizza crust is super easy. i also don't own this one.
I also enjoyed la dolce vegan quite a bit. why no food porn, sarah? you are gorgeous and i appreciate all the pictures of you and your friends, but i want to see the food. again, i don't own this one either.

honorable mentions....
vegan freak: being vegan in a non-vegan world- this is good for anyone to read regardless if they are vegan, contemplating veganism, or love someone/is friends with/or related to a vegan. lots of helpful info, namely being responsible for one's own food, and not being a vegan douchebag. there are times where i sensed some elitism which made me frown, but there wasn't so much of it that i hated the book. i was surprised to know that most condoms aren't vegan.
vegan lunch box- very inspiring meal plans for your kids, or for your inner kid. i'd also like to own this book
i'd like to see some of us vegans who keep regular blogs come up with a collaborative cook book, wouldn't that be neat?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

more vegan gems

sorry it's been a couple days, i've been sick. i don't even know what to call this cold: sore throat, throbbing headache that covers most of my head, achy, sweaty, and shivery. if you can come up with a cutesy name for said ailment, let me know. since i've become a parent i've been given the gift that keeps on giving...the flu of the month club, courtesy of my child attending day care. at any given time there is at least one child with a fountain of snot running from their nose and i shudder knowing that at some point enzo has handled something that they've handled.

since snot is gross and probably not vegan, i thought i would shift the talk back to the subject of this blog. i'd like to introduce a couple of vegan gems: the first one is the paw-paw. anyone here ever had one? it looks like a pear did it with a mango and tastes like a mango did it with a banana. the texture is reminiscent of an avocado, and apparently is indigenous to southern indiana where i live. there is a tree on the property where i work and a co-worker came in with one. it was delicious. i'm sure they cost an arm and a leg at the farmer's market.

the second gem is something y'all are probably familiar with--did you know that some store bought cake and frosting mixes are vegan? yup. i discovered this preparing for my son's first birthday party. i wish i could remember the brand name, but when making the vegan cake (recipe from PPK), and the non-vegan cake, i noticed all the ingredients were in the clear, and the only thing that made the cake not vegan was adding the eggs. now, i will say something you already know-just because something is vegan doesn't mean it's healthy. there are tons of saturated fats and chemicals in those store bought items, so i guess it would really depend on who you asked whether the item is vegan or not. i'd rather just eat the stuff that's homemade if you asked me. it's just nice to know that if i get a lazy hair up my bum i can conjure a chemical cake instead. i don't think chemicals=gems, but convenience (on occasion) is a little sparkly, wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

i fell in to a burnin' wing of fire...

i love seitan--but let me be clear, i'm a seitanist, not a satanist. perhaps if the lord of the underworld were an actual chunk of wheat gluten i might reconsider my respective faith, but i'm pretty sure the devil doesn't even exist. i know, i know--this is a vegan blog, and not a religious blog. so anyway, i'm sure these nuggets reign with an iron fist in the fire of hades.

seitan is super easy to make, but can take some time. that's why it's easier to just buy it pre-packaged at the store. i'm begging you to take the time to make it yourself, because you'll save a ton of money. for the cost of one pre-packaged container of seitan, you can buy a box of vital wheat gluten and make several batches of it. easy part: gluten+water=rubbery dough=seitan. the time consuming part is boiling it in the broth. depending on how you make your broth ( i use bragg's, nutritional yeast, garlic, ms. dash, and poultry seasoning for a chicken flavor) will create the flavor of your fake meat. you have to bring the broth to a boil, add the rubbery dough in chunks, and simmer checking on it every 10 minutes for 50 minutes.

once your seitan is cooked, drain and toss it in a pan with frank's red hot, earth balance, crushed garlic, and some tobasco if you want it hotter. blammo! you got some hot "wings". serve pub style with celery stix and ranch dressing. i'm still looking for a GOOD vegan bleu cheez dressing but haven't found one i like yet. note: if you have a wheat intolerance, i guess you could use tempeh, which you'd have to buy pre-packaged. if you're allergic to soy, i guess you're screwed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

beautiful failures

isn't this a pretty dish? we had some squash growing outta our compost pile, so i scooped out the insides, baked them and made a pesto style sauce to mix in with it, and stuffed the squash. a twice-baked thing, get it? they looked really darling, but i didn't like how it tasted. perhaps i was taking too much of a gamble on using basil. anyone else have any successes with making squash that isn't sweet? don't get me wrong, i love the plain ol' brown sugar and butter mixture--it just gets kind of tiring. i've also spiced squash using curry, cinnamon, and raisins. recently i made a coconut curry butternut squash soup from you won't believe it's vegan! i liked it, but it seems like all of my curries-(no matter how the ingredients vary) taste the same. vin told me to not worry, because my curry is delicious. but i want to achieve that really good restaurant curry taste. what to do?

so just curious: what are some of your recipe beautiful failures? i shouldn't be so hard on myself. the recipes aren't disasters, i just need to be mindful that tastes are different. point in case-- i made a tortilla pizza-(ill post the pic later) with home made sauce, eggplant, artichoke hearts, olives, banana peppers, and tofu ricotta. it was gorgeous, and tasty. my husband hated it. then there's the jen hates macaroni hates cheese yuk i made. my son loved it! in my recipe binder i make little notes on when i served the dish and gave it a score based on our family taste buds.

Monday, September 15, 2008

i don't wanna work, i just wanna bang on my timbale all day...

okay okay...i'm confused. when i saw this being made on the food network's itallian cookin' show, the chick said that this was called a timbale, which meant drum in itallian. i looked up timbale on google, and it's a term for a cone shaped mold in cooking and is derived from "thimble". i think it's itallian for "yummy veganized eggplant upside down casserole". this was really pretty and i didn't want to cut it, but we were all hungry. it all fell apart and didn't make neat pie-like slices like the food network lady, but oh well. i think to preserve the prettiness during presentation (sorry for the alliteration), i'll make mini timbales with cupcake tins. i'll let you know how it works out.

anyway, i'm not a recipe person so here's a loose interpretation

  • cooked pasta (the recipe called for ziti, but i used macaroni because it was on sale. i used the fortified stuff that has lots o' protien and fiber)
  • pasta sauce- i made some home made from tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, foodies know how to make sauce, right?
  • peas
  • smart ground seasoned with some sage and fennel seeds. or you can just buy gimme lean sausage
  • follow your heart mozzarella
  • grilled eggplant slices- (a couple large eggplants worth)
  • basil for garnish
  • round casserole pan (the recipe calls for a spring form pan, but us punks use what we can)
so you cook the macaroni and drain. cook the mock meat in a skillet with the peas. mix pasta, fake meat, peas, and sauce (this will look like goulash) and set aside. preheat the oven to 350. take that casserole dish and line the pan with grilled eggplant. it is very important that you grill the eggplant. line the pan so that the eggplant hangs over kind of like long flower petals. make sure the bottom of the pan is covered. okay, put some shredded follow your heart mozzie on the eggplant, then add the goulash mixture, then sprinkle some more on top. fold the eggplant slices over so it looks like a nice little package. take any remaining eggplant slices and cover the top of the casserole with it. you shouldn't see any goulash at all. bake in the oven for 45 minutes. take out of oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. take a plate and put on top of casserole and turn upside down like you would an upside down cake. if you're lucky, it'll turn out pretty. marvel at the pretty. top with some fresh basil leaves and take a picture. if you're feeling ambitious, make some vegan tiramisu for dessert.

i hope that made sense.

vegan surprises

i love finding vegan fare in crazy places. i'm not just talking about potato chips and pop, but something to eat, and something sweet. my spouse scored tix to holiday world in santa claus, in-(about 2 hours south of us). the park is a must if you like roller coasters and water parks--the water park is SO amazing, it's worth the price of admission.

the park has a strict rule about not bringing any outside food into the park with the exception of formula and baby food. this was a huge bummer for me, and i ate a big plate of tofu scrambler that morning to make sure i had something semi-nutritious since i was looking at eating french fries or a (gak) iceberg lettuce salad. imagine my surprise when my hubby said, "hey they have soy stuff on an allergy free menu."

ian's soy cheesy pizza, tofutti bars, and enjoy life snickerdoodles cookies-all vegan. not exactly health food, but i was happy the park had made concessions available for vegans even if it was under the title "allergen free menu." so now y'all have a reason besides bloomington to visit beautiful southern indiana.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

welcome to VHOP

welcome to the vegan house of pancakes-(VHOP). what are the specials, you ask? pictured above are the chocolate chocolate chip pancakes from VWAV, topped with fresh peach slices and maple syrup. i do admit, the concoction sounds a bit odd, but fruit+chocolate=happy, just trust me, okay? they were made with whole wheat pastry flour to be on the healthy side.
these gems are coconut pancakes with pineapple sauce, also from the book VWAV. i felt as if i had been transported to a fancy schmancy hawaiian resort sitting on the balcony in my grass skirt and coconut bra, looking at the ocean, and nomming these faboo flapjacks. i used fresh pineapple to make the sauce and added some shredded coconut on top for presentation.

the best part was knowing that i made these all by myself and no animals were harmed in making or eating these magnificent pancakes. well maybe the dog was jealous, but can you blame her?

Monday, September 8, 2008

what about breakfast?

this will be a series in fabulous vegan food porn pics. many people ask me, "what does a vegan do about breakfast?" i answer, "eat like anyone else." actually, us veg heads eat better because we're not likely to have a massive coronary from eating tons of animal products. pictured here is fronch toast, peach slices, and tempeh bacon from VWAV. i made adjustments to the fronch toast and use an eggless mixture of soy creamer, vanilla, and overripe bananas. it makes an unbelievably gooey dip for the dry bread and browns much better than real french toast. the banana also gives it a nice sweet flavor that makes the toast edible without (gasp!) syrup. the tempeh bacon is crispy and smoky--i could easily eat an entire package. my VERY omni husband even liked this breakfast!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

playing with yer fud

this is the photo of the infamous jen hates macaroni hates cheese mentioned in the nacho disaster, my disaster entry from last week. isn't it pretty? it tasted like vomit. i ended up topping this disaster with some vegan baked beans in honor of my sister-in-law's yartzeit. melanie's favorite meal was mac n' cheese + baked beans, eaten like a casserole. i think it's muy importando to have toys around to talk to or play with while eating dinner.

and here's a meatless meatball sub complete with plastic insect and ancient toy cell phone. i kinda burned the bun while toasting my sub, but it was still pretty tasty---and MESSY! i topped the sub with follow your heart cheese and banana peppers. btw, i discovered i only like the mozzerella version of FYH after trying the yellow style cheese.

Friday, September 5, 2008

buffalo seitan salad

i love a good summer salad. and since summer=hot as hell, what makes the hellish environment more bearable than good ol' seitan? this photo was taken mid-summer after i had harvested some greens from my garden. i topped the lettuces with buffalo seitan and garnished with marigold leaves and vegan bleu cheese dressing. the dressing was a big ol' fail, but it sure looked pretty!

buffalo seitan is super easy to make. take some seitan, earth balance, frank's red hot, and add some chili sesame oil and some crushed garlic for good measure. it certainly ain't no health food, but the lettuces should take care of that....right?!?!?!

btw, this tastes great with a frosty root beer-(or ginger ale if you're chelsea.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

vegan hundred

This list has been floating around the vegan blogosphere for a couple weeks, and I finally couldn't resist it any longer! Hannah from Bittersweet veganized the Omnivore's Hundred list, so we can join in the fun, too! Here are the rules:
1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.3) Italicize any items that you would never consider eating.4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.5) Pass it on!

1. Natto

2. Green Smoothie at Blossoming Lotus

3. Tofu Scramble -the best i've ever had was at Michigan Womyn's Music Festival


5. Mangosteen

6. Creme brulee

7. Fondue-i've had this many times in my pregan days.

8. Marmite/Vegemite

9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush-i heart eggplant

11. Nachos

12. Authentic soba noodles

13. PB&J sandwich-then i found out i have a mild allergy to peanuts.

14. Aloo gobi

15. Taco from a street cart in Mexico and in the US!

16. Boba Tea

17. Black Truffle

18. Fruit wine made with fruit other than grapes-i don't drink alcohol

19. Gyoza

20. Vanilla ice cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes

22. Fresh wild berries

23. Ceviche not traditional ceviche, but seafood salad. i imagine one could make this vegan using veganaise and soy prawns/lobster from mai-wan.

24. Rice and beans

25. Knish

26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper-what are you, insane???

27. Dulce de leche

28. Caviar

29. Baklava

30. Pate-vegan

31. Wasabi peas

32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Mango lassi

34. Sauerkraut

35. Root beer float-i love root beer floats

36. Mulled cider

37. Scones with buttery spread and jam

38. Vodka jelly

39. Gumbo-tofu and it was tasty!

40. Fast food french fries-more than i'd ever need in a lifetime

41. Raw Brownies

42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans

43. Dahl

44. Homemade Soymilk

45. Wine from a bottle worth $120 or more

46. Stroopwafle

47. Samosas

48. Vegetable Sushi

49. Glazed doughnut

50. Seaweed-in a salad

51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi

53. Tofurkey

54. Sheese

55. Cotton candy-in my naive days, i can't stand candy. i'm a chocolate purist.

56. Gnocchi

57. PiƱa colada-sans alcohol

58. Birch beer


60. Carob chips-not a fan of carob

61. S’mores- i have figured out how to make this vegan

62. Soy curls

63. Chickpea cutlets

64. Curry

65. Durian

66. Homemade sausages

67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake-all three in my pregan days. i would love to find a vegan version in indiana

68. Smoked tofu

69. Fried plantain

70. Mochi

71. Gazpacho-i'm eating some right now!

72. Warm chocolate chip cookies

73. Absinthe

74. Corn on the cob

75. Whipped cream

76. Pomegranate

77. Fauxstess Cupcake

78. Mashed potatoes with gravy

79. Jerky Stonewall's is the only kind I like!

80. Croissants

81. French onion soup

82. Savory crepes

83. Tings

84. A meal at Candle 79

85. Moussaka

86. Sprouted grains or seeds

87. Macaroni and "cheese"

88. Flowers

89. Matzoh ball soup

90. White chocolate-i'm not racist, but i think anything other than brown/dark brown chocolate is just wrong.

91. Seitan-praise seitan!

92. Kimchee-i'm leery of some fermented things.

93. Butterscotch chips

94. Yellow watermelon-i've never even heard of this!

95. Chilli with chocolate

96. Bagel and Tofutti

97. Potato milk

98. Polenta

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee-is that the kind made from civet poo? if it is, then count that as a 'never' for me.

100. Raw cookie dough I actually prefer it raw to cooked!

the results: 57 foods i've tried, and 11 "no way, jose". i consider myself pretty open minded about food, but there are things i just stay away from-alcohol, things with a slimy texture, and stuff with animals or animal products in it-(duh!) Everything else is fair game.

Monday, September 1, 2008

moussaka to me baby

i always feel the need to apologize for my food porn. this is a shitty photo, but i assure you the moussaka is not. this is another vegan recipe i improvised and it was so good i could have eaten the whole tray. i really heart me some eggplant. i like making big batches of stuff so i can store extra in the freezer and savor it later when i'm lazy and don't wanna cook. frozen meals also come in handy when a friend has a baby, is sick, or has experienced a death in the family. please, please, i urge y'all to make double batches if you can and freeze it for a friend.