Tuesday, August 31, 2010

aw, fork it. just fork it.

this is the fork and knife reuben sammich from vegan american kitchen. i cheated a little because i used store bought seitan. it was a pretty awesome sandwich, truly required the use of a fork and knife, and i'm sure it would have been even better had i made tami's seitan recipe. the part i like best is the unique sauce. i was expecting the traditional thousand island sauce, but this cashew based cream really ties the room together.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

something fishy

are you ready kids? aye-aye cap'n. i can't hear you!

(((((whistling)))) who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
who's home was destroyed by the likes of BP?

seriously, there hasn't been a better time to consider giving up seafood. i can't believe that the FDA is trying to report that eating anything out of the spill site is remotely safe. good thing to be vegan right about now, wouldn't you agree?

plus underwater creatures are just cute. cute, i tell you! just look at a flounder or crab and try to disagree with me.

i was inspired by a recipe i saw on the dallas vegan blog about a year or so ago and decided to make my own vegan krab cakes. here's the thing: i've never eaten a crab cake before, so i have no real reference as to what one should taste like. i used one of my employees as a guinea pig and he said they were good. i thought they were too, and amazingly fish like. i was sad for a moment and wished i had written the recipe down, but then i got happy because i realized i remembered most of it, so give these a try and lemme know what you think!
vegan krabby patties

  • white beans, about 2 cups worth. (i make my own, then freeze-canned would be fine, just rinse to remove the salt and icky bean water)
  • 1 pkg super firm tofu-i used west soy. press the heck out of it
  • 1T nori flakes-( i took some nori and put it in my coffee mill. it cleaned out fine)
  • 1 or 2 fish peppers, sliced, seeded and super finely chopped
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 salt free lemon pepper seasoning

using a food processor or potato masher, mash together the white beans and tofu until you get a sticky mess. add spices and nori. set aside. shape into patties and roll in a mixture of corn meal, cayenne pepper, and onion salt-(proportions? i just eyeballed it. go easy on the cayenne-no more than a pinch or so. you don't want it to dominate)

you can fry these patties for a few minutes on each side in some canola oil OR take the LF approach and bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 for about 10 minutes on each side. photoed above are the krabby patties shaped and baked in muffin tins, then served with a barley, kale, and carrot blend.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

it's getting all kinds of chile in this bidnezz!

i realized i should have posted my new mexico chile sauce recipe with this post. shame on me. as aforementioned, i'm struggling with tomatoes in the garden this year, but i have not been lacking in the chile department. i saved random seeds and i've been growing two different kinds of green chiles, and one fish pepper plant. i've also been growing swiss chard-(aka eternal spinach). fun fact: did you know chard is in the beet family? true dat, it just lacks the root vegetable. good thing too, or i wouldn't eat it. i can't stand beets. i know--how could a good vegan not like beets? i just don't. i also don't care for radishes or okra. what does chard have to do with this post? not much of anything, i guess i got sidetracked.
so what do i do with all those chiles? aside from the new mexico chile sauce, i make a mean salsa verde:
close up! totally tricked out baked potato loaded with my husband's cheater chili, salsa verde, cheez sauce, and accompanied with some garden of eatin' blue corn chips.
totally tricked out potatoes from a distance. how pretty.
i took the omlette recipe from american vegan kitchen and filled it with vinnie's cheater chili and topped with cheez sauce, and salsa verde. delicious! i will say, there is a definite learning curve to making vegan omelets. first of all, get it out of your head that this will taste like an omelet. think of this more as a tofu crepe. perhaps i did something wrong and that is why it tasted moister than i would have liked and was harder to cook. the filling probably had something to do with it as well.

vinnie's cheater chili
  • jar of commercial spaghetti sauce-make sure it's vegan!
  • 1 can kroger's organic mixed beans
  • 2 t cumin

rinse beans and throw everything in a saucepan.

my mean green salsa verde

  • 4 tomatillos-(good sized ones)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic via garlic press
  • 1-2 green chiles, diced
  • just a splash of lime juice if you have it, cider vinegar if you don't
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1T or so of fresh chopped cilantro

Thursday, August 19, 2010

i heart heirlooms

not all tomatoes are created equal. did you know that there are over 7,500 varieties that exist? i'm a big fan of heirlooms. this year has been tough--don't get me started on my bad luck streak with tomato gardening this year, or i'll cry. i did have one big, perfect, blue ribbon beaut that made all of it worth while. above is my favorite, the gold medal. it weighed a little over a pound and tasted like heaven.
look at that gorgeous red marbling in the interior. i'm incredibly snooty about my tomatoes and refuse to buy any in commercial grocery stores unless i'm really really really really desperate--i refer to those as "robo" tomatoes. sure, they look like tomatoes, but have been treated with a special gas to hasten the ripening process. they taste like watery, mushy, air.
here is said gold medal tomato on a sammich with veganaise, pickles, and onions. i served this with some cauli-slaw. the slaw recipe is easy: green onion, dill, shredded carrot, cauliflower, apple cider vinegar, veganaise, salt, and pepper. toss together and chill.
taco salad with my signature heirloom tomato salsa.
let's step away and really take in the beauty of it all. complete with a green chile. i've had really good success this year with chiles: i'm growing a couple different kinds of hot green chiles and an amazing fish pepper plant that makes the best homemade sweet chile sauce.

i don't have a photo of it, but here's my standard recipe for new mexico style green chile sauce:

  • 2 cups diced green chiles
  • 1 cup of veg. stock
  • 1 super small sweet onion
  • 2 t cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1T olive oil or EB
  • 1T flour
  • 1-2 t of bragg's

saute onion and garlic in oil or EB. add chiles and stock. simmer for about 15 minutes, adding any extra stock as needed. it shouldn't look like soup, but not like gravy either--somewhere in between. after 15 mins, cool and run in the blender. goes great over burritos but i put this on veggies, rice, potatoes, etc.

Monday, August 9, 2010

breakin' the law, breakin' the law....

eating these caramel pecan bars aren't illegal, but they could very well be. THIS is the dessert you make for doubting omnivores--DO NOT, i repeat DO NOT try to convert the masses with chocolate chip cookies, try these bars instead. imagine this: i've made a batch of these twice since owning the book vegan cookies invade your cookie jar: once before my braces were removed, and once to celebrate them coming off. hoooeee! rob halford was in my kitchen singing as i popped one in my mouth. the po-po crashed down the door. a DEA agent took a bite and proclaimed that these were unlawfully good. soon there was a nationwide ban and the only use permitted by law was for medical use. mary louise parker started making extra money by distributing said bars to bored suburban housewives then opened her own covert operation posing as a coffeehouse.

if you are making these for a chocolate fan, i'm sure you could sprinkle a few chocolate chips on the top of the confection fresh out of the oven and swirl with a butter knife. even though i'm addicted to chocolate, i'll hold back. one doesn't want to mess with perfection.

getting my just desserts

as many of you know, i love dessert. so much that i would eat it for all five meals per day. who eats five meals a day? me. i am way too dependent upon delicious commercial vegan ice creams. there's nothing wrong with that--it's just expensive and it's processed!

so i took my love for dessert and the brief season of freestone peaches and made my own lovely concoction. i've often been inspired by chocolate covered katie with her passion for frozen fruit and made this!

peachy keen

1 big giant freestone peach-(really any peach will do. yellow or white doughnut peaches are pretty rad as well. in that case, you'll need two or three of those)

skin the peach. yes, you can skin a peach. don't ask me how, it's a delicate process. take your time. the more ripe the peach is, the easier it is to skin. put it in a dish. put a couple tablespoons of your favorite vegan coffee creamer and pour it on top. sprinkle with cinnamon, agave nectar, and some crushed almonds. put in the freezer for about an hour. it shouldn't be frozen, just really well chilled.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

creative menu planning

rarely do i have the luxury to develop a menu and shop for what i want. i usually plan my meals around what i have in the cupboard and what i get from this awesome food bank. although my husband and i work FT we lack a surplus of money needed to buy decent groceries. it's pretty sad, but a reality for many americans. we're too "rich" for programs that we could benefit from, but this pantry is very awesome because a) they have really good nutritious whole foods, b) we do qualify, c) they make thursdays a priority for the disabled, pregnant-(that was me!), and lactating-(that's me!), and d) if you can't make it there--you can get someone to proxy shop for you. shown above and below are some seasonal staples at the pantry: tofu and corn. MHC always has tofu, veggies, and tons of bananas and you can take as much as you'll use in a week. i freeze my bananas for baking, smoothies, and to puree for my youngest child who just started solids. above is some tofu that i southern fried via a test recipe from vegan crunk. her southern vegan cookbook is getting published, and i'm pretty sure that recipe made the cut.
just look at that crispy breadly goodness! i paired it with some fresh corn salad make with steamed corn onthe cob, green chiles/green onions from my garden, lime juice, cayenne, cilantro, and a touch of salt. the corn dish was deliciously simple and ain't bad heated.
this was a dish i made with white beans, wheat pasta, kale, basil, garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, and mushrooms. nursing moms: did you know kale will increase your milk supply and basil will decrease it? true dat. i served this tasty combo on some fresh leaves of swiss chard from the garden. i served it hot, but the dish is just fine cold. perfect pantry cleaner potluck sort of thing to have.

do you menu plan, or do you base your meals on what you can get on sale? talk to me about your favorite time smart, pocket book sensible meals.