Saturday, January 29, 2011


alas, the post you've been waiting for... a lump of brown dough! who am i kidding? it's saturday and you're probably sleeping in, or just getting up by now. what's this? it's--BEANCON! that's right, bean bacon. sounds wonky, sure but trust me this is good stuff. i'll admit i was something of a bacon freak when i was little and occasionally i still miss it. now that i know what real bacon is made of, i find alternatives when i want a chewy, crunchy, salty, and smoky sumptin'-sumptin'. vegans are lucky like that: we can make bacon out of anything. i'll post the recipe at the end of this post. the picture shown above is after the dough has been made and chilled overnight. you don't have to chill it, but if you don't use the whole recipe you can rest easy because it is perfectly safe to store in the fridge.
roll the dough out flat with a lightly floured rolling pin and cut strips with a pizza cutter.
finished product laying next to terry hope romero's mojo seitan from viva vegan. i used both to make the cuban sandwich recipe from the same book.
another beancon shot!
mah punk rock panini press: a griddle for cookin' and plates/aerobic weights for squishin'.
finished sandwich served with red pepper strips and the aji sauce from viva vegan. note: that sauce is so tantalizing, my taste buds freaked out, died, and became zombies who's hunger could only be satiated by the sauce. seriously, this peruvian condiment should be illegal--it's that good.
another money shot of finished cuban sammie, despues a gigantico bite-o.

and now for the recipe:

BEANCON! (you have to use an exclamation mark)
this amazing all purpose treat is so rad that kevin bacon decided to change his last name to beancon and made kyra sedgwick change her last name too or he'd file for divorce. pigs everywhere were saved from slaughterhouses, and babe personally wrote me to tell me he nominated me for a nobel peace prize. beggin' strips, henceforth became "beancon" strips.

of course this didn't really happen, but it makes for a great story, wouldn't you agree? NOTE: this isn't going to mimic bacon. this is an approximation. not bacon, not ham, and not beans--it's beancon.

you'll need:
  • 1 can vegan refried beans (check for lard!)
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t sage
  • 1/2 T liquid smoke
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 1/2 c. jen's bread crumb mix* (any will really do, but i use a blend of vegan triscuits, ww bread crumbs, a pinch of salt, and rice crispies ground to dust)
  • 1/2 c. vital wheat gluten

preheat the oven to three fiddy. get your dry ingredients together: that's everything EXCEPT your beans, ketchup, oil, and liquid smoke. now mix wet and dry into a nice dough. if it's too dry, throw an extra T of ketchup or really cold water. spray a cookie sheet with canola oil spray or grease with your favorite NH shortening or oil. take the flattened strips from above and arrange on cookie sheet. bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for another 7-10. this will be crispy, but a little chewy in the middle. dough refrigerates just fine. you could probably pan fry this, but i haven't tried to do so. goes well with pancakes and syrup, and makes gnarly sammiches.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

so far my blogging goal hasn't been going that well...

yeah, so that whole 'i'm-gonna-blog-at-least-three-times-a-week' thing ain't going so well. i'm hoping to change that soon. pshaw. this is my last week working full-time, and i'm looking forward to my return to part-time status so i don't have to feel so rushed when putting dinner together for everyone. point in case: the sandwich hanging out above this paragraph. that's a fridgey feng shui sort of thing i threw together that gave me a couple hours of heartburn. i took some spinach, onions, and peppers--sauteed them all and threw it with some yves vegan peperoni slices and rice vegan cheese on a toasted bun, sort of a vegan ode to quizno's. would i do this again? sure, it wasn't a bad sammie; however, i would skip the rice vegan slices. most vegan cheeses suck and i have just learned to go without most of them, but i thought i'd give that brand a whirl because i got it on clearance once. it doesn't melt. it just bubbles up and toughens a bit. one could very easily end up with a pseudo rawhide chew if they weren't careful.

now here's a fast meal i could eat 5 times a week: snobby joes from veganomicon paired with some fast oven fries. to make the fries, just sliced a baked potato about 1/4 thick, massage with a teeny bit of olive oil, salt, pepper them, and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for another 7-8 minutes. not a potato chip, not a french fry. something in between those two worlds. snobby joes are awesome, the recipe makes quite a bit, it freezes well, thaws well, and makes my daughter deliriously happy. here she is in a post snobby joe stupor:
kind of reminds me of nick nolte's mug shot, only happier.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

you can't say that anymore...

apparently one cannot say "win!" anymore. it's passe.

i say, "whatever." which is also passe.

i'll tell you what isn't old news: this soup--the red lentil and root veggie dal from appetite for reduction. i know, i know--low fat?!?! anything i've tried that is low fat usually tastes like dirt, but hear me out: this ain't no old school weight loss cook book full of gross recipes that make you hungry five minutes later. this is a whole foods cook book that isa wrote for herself and decided to share with everyone. i'm glad she did. many of the recipes can be made in a flash if you're a busy beaver like moi. this soup is incredibly filling, savory, and didn't taste like cardboard. bravo!

i've tried the following so far:
  • red lentil and root veggie dal- WIN!
  • i can't remember the name of the dressing, but it reminded me of annie's goddess dressing- WIN!
  • roasted apple/butternut squash soup- not for me. i found this to be odd, since i like this combo in baked goods. just not soup.
  • sanctuary dressing-WIN! if you miss ranch dressing this is for you. great dip for veggies and bread sticks.
  • savory broiled tofu-SUPER WIN and SUPER EASY! ***tip: make a few batches to use throughout the week. makes great reubens.

Monday, January 17, 2011

i shall be afraid no more!

okay, i'm sick of being afraid of agar. sick of it! what's agar-agar? for the omni set, it's a clear seaweed that makes stuff into jello. to some it's known as kosher gelatin, but you'll find it at your local health food store, co-op, or asian market listed as agar-agar. i took the plunge because i wanted to make the black bottom peanut butter silk pie from vegan with a vengeance in the worst way.
here are some tips to get over your fear of this silly little flake:
1) figure out which form the recipe calls for-powder or flake. in this recipe she doesn't specify, but it is flake.
2) soak the flake in water for about a half hour BEFORE BOILING it. it won't really look like it has changed much, but i read somewhere to do this prior to boiling it because it softens it.

3) as it cooks in the water-(and you'll want to get a nice slow boil going before simmering low) it will look like shredded soap flakes. keep a stirrin', even though you're not sure how it will turn out. have some faith.
4) here it is in all its boily glory. note: in this case it is possible to burn water, so watch yo' self! turn the heat down and keep stirring. you want your liquid to reduce to about a 1/3 of a cup-(mine was slightly more for the recipe). it will develop a bit of a skin on top, but don't freak out. keep stirring the mixture. once your time is up-(um, about 10 minutes give or take from the time you start cooking to finish) pour the mixture in the blender-(careful not to burn yourself) with the rest of the pre-blended pie filling ingredients and WATCH the thickening magic happen. it's pretty cool!

here's a shot of the final product. the pie cooled overnight in the fridge. it was awesome.
find a dish you've been wanting to make, and get over this silly fear!

Monday, January 10, 2011

what can be made into a pancake?

if it can be pureed and made into batter, i will make a pancake out of it! these are just a few of my IVOP (international vegan house of pancake) faves. featured above is my most recent experiment from xmas: roasted butternut squash and apple pancakes. this was a nice seasonal pancake. i'll post the recipe once i tweak it a bit.
these were the stuffed ones from vegan MOFO 2010. the one above was filled with cinnamon struesel.
also stuffed from vegan mofo 2010. i filled that one with a nice quincey kitchen sink compotey thing. there is definitely a learning curve to stuffed pancakes. i'll have to do a vlog on that sometime. once i find the damned video camera!
let us not forget my own creation: the magic cookie bar pancake. i entered this one in a contest and lost. i was robbed, i tell you--ROBBED! one bite of these pancakes and you'll be doing commercials for diabetic supplies right along with wilford brimley.
i made these when i first went vegan. i think maybe the recipe was from VWAV? i thought, hey--do peaches and chocolate go together? yep.
coconut pancakes with pineapple sauce from VWAV during my first year as a vegan.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

dueling rancheros

i like a good mash up: take someone's take on something or another and play with it. sure, sure food is great as pictured in a cook book; however, i just can't resist messing with perfection. 'tis the way of a wacky artist. this is a post of two rancheros--two must enter, one must leave. pray tell, who will win?

the one above is my regular scramble topped with tamasin's ranchero sauce from american vegan kitchen mixed with pinto beans. i love tami, but like my scramble better. ((((whispering "don't hate me, tami!"))))) i also like the ranchero sauce with beans in it rather than in the scramble itself. the fun don't stop there, because i topped that mountain off with some fresh guac, cilantro, and a lime wedge to keep it classy. rancheros wouldn't be rancheros without a tortilla too, so you can well put that in your burrito and eat it. actually you eat this with a knife and fork. no burrito rolling actually takes place.
here's my version of the butternut rancheros from isa's blog. it's not as pretty as hers. i still used tami's sauce instead of isa's. the recipe makes a bucket load of it and i was too hungry to make anything else. besides i'm not isa, and isa ain't me and the world still goes round and round you see. i served mine over bulghur. the photo is not blurry, that's some serious steam you be lookin' at.

so, which one won?

while the scramble pleasantly sat on the gut for most of my saturday, i'll have to say that i really enjoyed the butternut version better. it was filling and a nice mix of sweet and savory. both are great ways to have brunch, but i think the butternut rancheros make a better dinner.

verdict? go nuts for the butternut. sometimes you just need a break from scrambles.

Monday, January 3, 2011

losing my cookies, um i mean my mind.

family favorites from VCIYCJ: sugar cookies decorated by blasto, chocolate crinkles, and ginger snaps. anyone notice my lovable gay rights gingersnap all the way to the right?

here's the thing: i've been trying to write this entry for a @#%*&ng week. a week! i had it all planned out, i'd blather in my daria-esque meets martha stewart voice about all the great stuff i got for x-mas, how much fun i had making cookies out of vegan cookies invade your cookie jar with my son, and how santa had a jolly good time eating said cookies.

pictured above: close up of ginger snaps and chocolate crinkle cookies

then life happened. someone got sick in our house again-(pink eye part 1), again-(pink eye part 2/stomach flu part 2), and again-(sinusy sort of mcdeathy thingamabob). mr. j and i have figured that someone in our house has been sick for the past 3.5-4 months. we don't even know where one sickness ended and the other one began! we're avid hand washers and everyone received flu shots this year. fess up: who made the voodoo dolls of me and the fam? boo! did i mention we have our house on the market so i've had to make it look 'presentable' at all times? yeah--i'm having a blast.

then i had other stuff to do because i haven't figured out how to clone myself and put my clones to work so i can sit around in my underwear all day cooking, reading, and playing with my children.

the chocolate crinkles are my absolute fave. it's like a gooey chocolate cookie and a brownie did it and had cookie babies!

i'm at 85% health now and have been putzing around in the kitchen. coming up will be a smash up on a couple of rancheros recipes, an ode to pancakes, and some more cookie shots from the vegan cookie connoisseur.

oh yeah, i can't forget about appetite for reduction! i'll probably talk about that too. fat activists, it ain't whatchoo think so don't get stabby and think that isa has sold out. hardly the case. this is an amazing whole foods cookbook. i've tried a few recipes and enjoy them quite a bit.

keep visiting and eat well!