Friday, February 27, 2009

i like to be prepared

my regular vegan chocolate go-to is kroger valu brand chocolate chips. they're $1.15 a bag. but when i feel kind of fancy i like either one of these chocolates: ghirardelli twilight intense dark chocolate or green & black organic dark chocolate. both are accidentally vegan and a little pricey, but my awesome spouse is the coupon king and we can get a good deal on them every now and then. they both are so rich with dark chocolate goodness, they have that fruity-dark-sweet taste i like so much out of a good quality chocolate. i like to be prepared and make sure i always have chocolate on hand. i know that's an awful cliche, but it's so true. i have to have a little bit every day.
another thing i need to get ready for is passover. it's just around the corner. for 8 days i'm not supposed to have any of the following grains: wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats. this year i really want to do things right eating wise and not have kitniyot-(means 'little things' and includes corn, rice, and BEANS). what the hell is a vegan supposed to do without soy and other kinds of beans?
since most of you faithful readers are vegan, you know what it a pain in the ass it is to read labels for animal products. now imagine having to increase the effort to look for those extra ingredients. why am i doing this again? oh yeah, to remember my people were slaves in egypt. sometimes i feel like i'm a slave to the details instead of remembering what is truly important about the holy-day. but ah, i digress. this ain't no jewish blog. it's a food blog. if you're curious about the details, veg family has a really nice article about does vegan=kosher right here.
most people assume being vegan means kosher, but it doesn't. the laws of kashrut are complex, baffling, and at times pretty stupid. when meat is labeled as "kosher" there is a claim that the animal was killed in a humane manner, which we all know isn't true. what about the conditions for the employees? not much different. Agriprocessors, the biggest kosher meat plant in the US recently declared bankruptcy after being charged with hiring 389 illegal immigrants. kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth, eh?
coming up next: pictures from a vegan oneg, featuring CCV's s'more muffins.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

the belle of the ball

ever go to a potluck and get jealous because your dish wasn't the hit? this simple dish was the belle of the ball at february's vegan potluck at boxcar books. it was the first time i went, so i was a little nervous about meeting people i didn't really know and thought i was a bit too chatty. the dinner was held late in the evening during enzo's prime-time witching hour, so he had a melt-down five minutes prior to us leaving. even though i analyzed my behavior all the way home, i decided that i'll still go back because i need to have live interface with other vegans.

i brought my tried and true mujadara-(i did sub millet for rice and fava beans for lentils, and it worked out great!), and there was some gluten free pasta dish with marinara sauce. i took pictures of everything, but this was the only photo that turned out well. pictured above is an awesome vegan bruchetta: french bread topped with pureed white beans, olive oil, oregano, garlic, sea salt, and topped with luscious tomato and basil slices. the guy that made it said he had it done in 30 minutes. there's something to be said about simplicity.

the potluck is a monthly event and is sponsored by deep roots animal sanctuary.

at this very moment, s'mores muffins are cooling in the kitchen. pictures will be posted this weekend. i sampled one and i must say they are awesome. chocolate covered katie is having a chocolate giveaway. anyone who mentions her contest or tries one of her recipes and blogs about it, gets entered. i'm all about the free stuff!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

...and you will bring them aboard the ark, two by two!

i know it's a stretch, but i often entertain myself with wondering what would happen if the stories in the bible were really real, especially the flood. it's such a phenomenal story. now imagine if noah had brought two big 'ol honkin' loaves of bianca's sweet potato bread along for the adventure. we'd have some very satisfied holy peeps.

since this is a test recipe, i can't reveal the ingredients other than the obvious sweet potato. lemme just tell you this: the bread is nice and cakey, and would most def make awesome muffins. you could probably top the muffins with a cream cheez icing and pass them off as cupcakes. delish. my toddler son won't touch a veggie to save his life-(and don't get me started on how sad this fact makes me), happily scarfed down this bread.

now that, is a miracle of biblical proportions.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

happy mardi-gRAW

i've never been a huge fan of mardi-gras. don't get me wrong, i love me some greezy food every now and then, but i have a huge aversion to being around large populations of obnoxious drunkards. some people love to partay, but i'm kind of a fuddy duddy when it comes to gettin' jiggy with it. i don't think i'm agoraphobic; i'd just rather curl up with a good book or play a game of scrabble with a few friends.
so i'm gonna go opposite of the fried food parade and eat mostly raw today, in honor of mardi-gRAW. many of my fellow vegan blog buds have really been talkin' up the raw food thing, and i'm diggin' it. i just don't have the time or resources to do the raw thing very often. i don't think i'd ever go completely 100% that way, but i've been trying to find ways to incorporate more raw foods into my diet. my biggest complaint is how hungry i feel when i eat raw all day. how do you guys do this? technically speaking, i don't truly observe the mardi-gras holiday anyway. us jews have our own fried food holiday--chanukkah.
then i discovered these babies. made by the organic food bar inc. these are a nice change of pace from a lara bar. so far i've tried the chocolatey chocolate chip and the fiber chocolate delite (which has an amazing 14g of fiber compared to the 2g in the regular bar).
as far as flavor goes, they're good--but i must admit i like larabars better. for example, the raw organic bars are very sticky and i was worried that i'd wreck my orthodontia at one point, but nothing happened. i think the fiber chocolate delite would be very good if it were rolled out using a rolling pin to make a thin sheet to wrap around apple slices: raw candy apples--YUM! i'll have to try that next time.
price-wise, they are 25 cents cheaper than larabars. i managed to get a couple on clearance at kroger's for 79 cents and you really can't beat that for an organic raw product. another plus: i've never seen a lara bar that can beat the fiber content of the fiber chocolate delite. 14 gs=awesome. they have a kid's line too, and i'm really curious about those! and they have a really cool contest going on about sharing your story in exchange for a phat trip. i'm all ova that!

Monday, February 23, 2009

the motherload of all crunkness: the wafflewich

yesterday was detention sunday. armed with some vegan crunk recipes, i headed to my other part-time job with a mission: get these recipes tested on my down time after serving the kids their meals. mission accomplished! shown above are battered n' fried tofu slices to make the creation featured below--
now, i've always thought the whole southern chicken and waffle combo was the stuff of legends. people don't actually eat that stuff, do they? in a sammich? get the hell outta here! actually, i remember watching tapeheads with john cusack and tim robbins and there was a commercial for a chicken and waffle place in that movie. what was the name of that place? well anyway, shown above is the chicken-fried tofu wafflewich. it is two special marinated, battered, and fried planks of tofu slapped on a savory waffle with some fixin's and a secret special sauce. it was very good, but too much for this yank. i felt like a snake that had eaten a bowling ball. the lighting was atrocious in the cafeteria so the photos looks awful. my apologies.
ahhh, another money shot of the sammich. this bebeh was at least 5 inches thick. in fact, i had to have my jaw bone surgically removed so i could open my mouth wide enough to eat it. remember the commercial where the catch phrase was, i can't believe i ate the whole thing? i think it was for antacids or something. shortly after eating the sammich, i thought guinness book of world records would call me offering up an award for eating something so monumentally awesome.

Friday, February 20, 2009

pimpin' leftovers ain't easy

yeah, not a very original entry. some leftover butternut squash lasagna topped with that cheez sauce from the UUC, and some grilled eggplant i pimped with sun dried tomatoes, spinach, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. not a bad freezer purge meal.

i really could never tire of that cheez sauce. i learned today that too much nooch is bad for you. i'm so sad because nooch replaced my addiction of ranch dressing from my pregan days. i was reading an article about it by jo stepaniak on her website, but now i can't find it. anyway, you're only supposed to have 2T per day. i don't think i eat that much every single day, but i'm pretty sure there are days where you could cut me open and i would bleed nooch. i'll have to be mindful of that.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

filly cheeze no-steak sammich

i've been scoring some neat-o-fake-meat-o vegan fare at the food bank recently, and i'm puttin' it to good use. pub grub day two--there you have it, the filly cheez no-steak sammich. i took a whole grain bun, grilled it and put some vegainaise on it. i used tofurkey's philly no-steak slices and grilled that too with some peppers and caramelized onions. i used the cheez sauce from p. 68 in the ultimate uncheez cookbook.

i've never had a real philly cheese steak, so i don't know if it tasted like the real thing. i do know this: it was foodgasmically good. i paired this baby with some smart choice pringles (which are vegan, who knew?) and washed it down with a ginger ale. not the healthiest meal on the planet, sure BUT no cows were killed for this delicacy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

sometimes you just gotta...

...have a nice greezy sammich. well, this isn't made entirely of grease. all the fat is good fat. i went to the trouble to pair this buffalo seitan sammich with celery stix and vegan baked beans. i just didn't want to try to fool you into believing that the sub was health food. i took some seitan, and bathed it in a nice gravy of frank's red hot and earth balance, and put it on a multi grain roll with some veganaise. who says you can't have some nice pub grub while yer vegan? if you can imagine it, it can be veganized. note: some things shouldn't be veganized, like haggis. blech.

next up: vegan filly cheez no-steaks. yeah, another awesome sammie.

Monday, February 16, 2009

birthday yum-yum parte dos

on the day before my birthday, my department made me some vegan treats. featured above are chocolate chip cookies from vegan planet and a mixed bean salad. the salad had pintos, great northerns, black beans, red onions, red peppers, spanish olives, capers tossed in a vinegarette dressing. it was awesome. the cookies were very hard, so i had to dunk them in tea to soften them up so i wouldn't wreck my orthodontia. BTW: i gave the mochi to my supervisor for that very reason. i just can't bring myself to trash 5 grand worth of dental work. after those puppies come off i'll probably dine on giant rocks. are rocks vegan? guffaw.
now for the birthday lunch on my actual birthday: we went to samira , an afghani restaurant on the square for the lunch buffet. i hadn't gone there since becoming vegan because i wasn't sure if they used butter in their vegetarian dishes. my vin called ahead and got the clear. they only use butter and honey in the baklava. featured above is spiced rice, a stew with potatoes and okra, yellow dal, and fresh cucumber salad.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

birthday yum-yum part one

this is just one of a couple entries about how i spent my birthday. the pizza is from max's place, a pizza joint that's been open for a couple of years. i had no idea they offered vegan cheeze on pizza! i ordered mine with said cheeze, sun dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts.
here's how you know i've really made it to the other side of veganland: i thought they put too much cheez on the pizza. it masked the beautiful flavors of the tomatoes and artichokes. i never thought i wouldn't like cheez. i mean, i do--i just find it unnecessary at times. in my pregan days, i was a total ranch slut and cheeze ho. no wonder i couldn't taste anything. if you find yourself at max's just let 'em know you want light cheez. unless, you like it like that. no worries, i don't fault you for it.
there i am, talkin' to mahself, wearing my birthday t-shirt from t-shirt hell. it's two pez dispensers making out and it says "pezbians" on the bottom.

Friday, February 13, 2009

let me carmelize your onions: no, that's not a euphemism for anything

today is my birthday, so i'm gonna keep it short. i'll post pics of my perfect day later.

how do i get these onions so gorgeous? i cheat.

you'll need
  • 2 onions preferably vidalia
  • olive oil (2-3T)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • turbinado
i wish i had taken pictures of the process. skin your onion and cut the ends off. now cut the globe in half and lay each half cut side down on a chopping board. now take your knife(having a good one really helps in this case) and you'll have two half globes. now very carefully, make thin vertical slices going from right to the left of the half globe so you have nice wispy strips of onion. in the mean time, you should be heating the oil in a pan, i like to use a non-stick pan. cook the slices, making sure to get them nice and bathed in the oil. keep the heat on medium, you don't want to burn them. once they start to get translucent add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar and keep cooking. after a few more minutes add a t of turbinado and cook a couple minutes longer. the result: beautiful strips of golden gorgeousness.

i use these onions to top mujadara, but you can use them for anything really. they make gnarly sammich toppers, or mix with a maple mustard dressing recipe for a very wowza dressing that is sure to impress your friends.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

on-the-fly stir fry

this meal wasn't as good as it looked. i scored the veggies and noodles at the food bank. i sauteed the veggies and noodles in some hot sesame oil, sweet chili sauce, and a splash of bragg's. it was okay, but a little too carrot intensive for my tastes. i had never had yellow carrots before.

i'm bummed that i can't replicate that type of stir fry flavor that can only be experienced by getting food at an actual chinese restaurant, or having your own personal chef. the veggie pot stickers-(vegan, brand name was Ling-Ling) were a freezer purge item. they tasted like freezer burn-- i should have thrown those away, but i didn't because i hate wasting food.

now about those noodles: they are called tofu shirataki noodles and are made by house foods america. this is a good noodle for those who can't have gluten. it was a nice change of pace from rice. they reminded me of ramen noodles. they come in a refrigerated package. i suggest draining and lightly rinsing the noodles before eating because i thought they smelled weird. don't worry, i checked the package and it hadn't expired. i think these would be really awesome in a vegan egg less drop or hot n' sour soup. i'll have to try that next time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

picasso tacos

i knew my $43k art degree would pay off one day. i present the picasso taco. it's a blue corn taco shell filled with brown rice, black beans, carrots, onions, corn, and mild salsa. the outside is decorated with cheez sauce from the ultimate uncheese cookbook on pg. 68, dollops of chipotle soy sour cream, avocados, and spanish olives.

since i have braces, i stuffed all the taco shells in a casserole dish and poured generous amounts of store bought (ack!) salsa verde and mild salsa. i covered it with foil and baked for 35 minutes at 350. so the shells were mushy. so it was kind of a hybrid between wet burrito and taco. once my braces are off i plan on eating an entire buffet of the crunchiest foods i can find.

after taking a taco out of the casserole dish, i did all the decoratin' and whatnot. the best part was the eatin' of course!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

happy birthday boxcar books!

some people are pretty lucky if they live in a huge metro area where vegan luxuries are a plenty. there are even luckier people that have it made and live in portland where the rivers flow with soymilk, the streets are paved with nooch, the trees grow vegan doughnuts, and bob barker personally wakes you up each morning. i'm not one of those lucky duckies, but i'm grateful to live in the coolest oasis in the midwest: bloomington, in. i love living in this town. she's such a beautiful gem in a junk drawer. if you've never been here, may i suggest a road trip? as long as you don't come during little 500 or hilly hundred, you should be good. if you are a bicycle enthusiast, then those two festivals would be right up your alley. i don't really consider little 500 to be a celebration of bikes, but as an excuse for the students and townsfolk to engage in acute alcohol poisoning all week. summer is the best time to visit because all the students are gone.

we have a volunteer run bookstore and community center: boxcar books. they had their 7th birthday party and there was a massive vegan dessert bounty. i didn't think to bring my camera with me so all photos were taken with my camera phone. here are some of my favorite highlights from the spread: pictured above are vegan buckeyes, YES vegan buckeyes.

i'm usually not a fan of putting balls in my mouth-((((giggling like butthead)))), but these raw junior chocolate coconut balls were to die for!
this photo doesn't do this dessert justice. these lemony strawberry cupcakes were absolutely adorable. the chick that baked them was even cuter. of course i didn't openly flirt with her. just in my brain.

my plate: a wrapped choco-peanut butter chip bar for vinnie, a vegan buckeye, chocolate pudding cake (sweetened with some kind of fruit, very good), and some vegan carrot cake with cream cheez frosting. NOT pictured, but lounging in my belleh were bites of the following: lemon bars, and a chocolate chip cookie.

Monday, February 9, 2009

i heart my chop wizard

i love my chop wizard. choppy-choppy-chop-chop. i got the idea to get one from vegannifer. i'm so glad chanukkah charry made it possible. if i could practice polygamy, i would marry this fine kitchen instrument. we would walk along the beaches, enjoy candlelit dinners, and of course chop fruits and veggies into uniform pieces. this has saved me mucho time in the kitchen.

i tried to post pics from an anniversary party i attended on saturday that had the motherload of vegan spreads. i wasn't smart enough to bring my camera, so i took pics with my shitty camera phone. when i tried to transfer the pics to my food porn pics at home it wouldn't work. so i'll have to work the kinks out and post that in the next couple days.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

help me mochi-wan, you're my only hope

i scored some of this at the food bank. i understand this is a japanese puff pastry of sorts, and that should be enough of an explanation. i still don't know what the hell to do with it. has anyone else made anything with this? is it better to make it sweet or savory? will it wreck my orthodontia? i've posted a thread on the post punk kitchen, but i figure maybe not all of you readers go there. so tell me, what DO i do with this?

xo jewy

Saturday, February 7, 2009

incredible hulk soup

this is what i made for myself in the midst of a cold: incredible hulk soup. it's just a package of fresh leaf spinach, garlic, ginger, bragg's, curry,cardamon, aesofetida, plain soy yogurt, and some leftover imagine veggie broth in a blender. i sauteed some onions and added the puree to the pot until it was warm. it wasn't the greatest tasting soup, but i didn't have the energy to play around with it--you know how it is when you're sick. i'm sure it could have been better with some more planning. this soup warmed me up on the inside, cleared my sinuses, and made me smell like an indian grocery for a few days. i served it with some buttered and grilled kangaroo flat bread.

Friday, February 6, 2009

made on monday, gone by friday

yeah, the title of this entry says it all. most of the time i make one major dessert a week and freeze half of the recipe so we can nom on it later. this poor pan never made it to freezer land. one rule i live by: i NEVER skip dessert, even if it's an apple or a cup of hot cocoa. life is too short to not have a little sweetie at the end of the day. or in this case it would be for breakfast and the end of the day.

these are the pumpkin cheezcake squares from kittee's zine papa tofu. let's just say my spouse had two servings and i had four or five from monday to friday. pretty pathetic, eh? i'd rather say pretty pumpkiny awesome.

this is a perfect fall or winter dessert. the recipe calls for applesauce--i didn't have any around, so i pureed some pears that i had in the freezer. it tasted just fine.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

pardon the dust

this is an old photo, before my camera died in december. we have a baked potato, soy sour cream, fakin' bacon bitz, a chickpea salad with napa cabbage, and some roasted daikon radishes and apples. it was a mixed plate for sure, but i was a hungry-hungry hippo and wanted a little bit of everything.

we're going through a major freezer and pantry purge, and i've been sick. i haven't been a rockstar in the kitchen this week. on monday i did make some pumpkin cheezcake squares from kittee's cookzine papa tofu. i'll post those soon.

here's what i have in the freezer:
lots of frozen homemade meals-soup, lasagna, etc.
roasted pumpkin
firm tofu
chipotle peppers
3 pepper blend
persimmon pulp
various kinds of tortillas
cilantro pesto
white beans

pantry items:
tomato sauce
kidney beans
black beans
no-chicken stock

any suggestions for meals? i'm thinking of making the chelsea-(dedicated to chelsea) which is a layered casserole of tortillas, rice, corn, and beans topped with salsa, soy sour cream, and cheez sauce.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

i love cheezcake

this is another recipe from the ultimate uncheese cookbook by jo stepaniak. this is the lemon teaesecake with crunchy granola crust. the crust was awesome, but i didn't think the teasecake was all that great. because it is fairly low in sugar and has millet and cashews as the cheesecake base, it would make a good snack or dessert after your lunch, but i wouldn't serve it at a potlucks or for guests because it isn't very decadent. i used a cookie cutter for presentation purposes. another suggestion is to serve it with fruit on the top, which i would definitely do if i were to serve it for guests. i think kiwi and apricots would go good with this dessert.

other cheez updates: remember that buffalo mostarella (aka donny MOST-arella) i made a month ago? it works okay out of the freezer if you're shredding it for pizza-(you must do this in a frozen state, as the cheez is soft prior to freezing and you can't really shred it) , and it doesn't taste good after it is completely unthawed. it doesn't melt well. if i had to give this cheez a grade it would be a C-.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

pomegranate bbq tofu

you should be licking your fingers as you look at this photo, no?

i didn't use the VWAV recipe for this tofu. here's what i did: i took vegan crunk's leftover marinade for her tempeh bacon (i can't tell you the recipe) and added some other ingredients plus some pomegranate juice. boiled the stuff until it became a sweet, sticky sauce. brushed it on some store bought grilled tofu and baked it until it was nice and chewy. it was soooooo good.

Monday, February 2, 2009

who's the king? shawarma king!

i gave my husband the weekend to goof off and play video games in his undies. i know that's a little more information than you wanted to know, but there it is.

i took the baby, went up north to kalamazoo, and spent some time with friends. a bunch of us met on friday night at shawarma king on westenedge. that place is the ONLY place you'll catch me eating falafel. SK is my favorite restaurant. the westenedge ave. location has a buffet for both omnis and veg heads. featured on my plate are two HUGE falafels-(just slightly smaller than tennis balls), babaganoujh, hummus, fatoush-(that's a salad in a lemon/olive oil blend with bits of fried pita), potato wedges, and moujadara-(spiced lentils and rice topped with caramelized onions). i have NO IDEA how that restaurant gets the hummus so smooth. it is so light and airy, i'd swear i was eating chickpea mousse. NOM!

it was really nice to just sit with friends and talk. i had to cut the evening short because the bebeh was starting to have a melt down. the restaurant was kind of warm and it was nearing his bed time. fellow bloggers with children should know this is an awful combination.

the next night i went with some friends to applebee's--and to confirm, there isn't much for the vegan to eat. duh. even if you're vegetarian, there isn't much to select from as they've removed their veggie burgers from the menu-(WTF?!?!?) anyway, i'm pretty crafty so i had french fries with salsa, guacamole, and some steamed broccoli. it doesn't take much to make me happy.

on the way back to indiana, i stopped and picked up sweetwater's doughnuts for my spouse and co-workers. they were voted one of the top 10 doughnut shoppes in the US. they don't carry any vegan doughnuts for now, but i've sent the owner-(my spouse's childhood friend) a letter suggesting they test market them at the stadium drive location. i backed it up by saying the college community from WMU would surely have vegans craving doughnuts. if any of you blogging buddies are feeling ambitious, i would ***heart*** it if y'all would go to their website and make that suggestion as well. if they get enough suggestions, they'd have to do it, right? or am i just being too hopeful?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

it's okay to be a little snobby

**note: sorry i've been away for a few days. i was out of town and just got back a few hours ago. i'll post pics from my favorite restaurant, shawarma king in the next post.

i don't like vegangelicals or vegan douche bags, although most of the time these people are one in the same. i don't want to talk about my veganism in a way that alienates other people. i want veganism to be an inspiring topic, and i'm happy with the way i eat. even though some vegans can be really elitist, i will say this: i love snobby joes. they kick all other sloppy joes asses. this veganomicon recipe states they are "snobby" because they think they are better than the other sammiches because they aren't made with meat. my omnivore spouse loves these. i could easily eat five. this recipe is awesome for more than just the it-ain't-made-of-meat reason:
  • it doesn't take long to make
  • lentils are a super food--FIBER!
  • this tastes better the next day
  • cheaper to make than sloppy joes
  • this recipe is a potluck pleaser
i make mine on a grilled bun and serve 'em with home fries and a frosty ginger ale.
what's your favorite sammich?