Sunday, July 31, 2011

summertime rerun

i love summer for so many reasons: gardening, no jackets required, iced tea, reruns on tv, and PESTO!
this beauty of a pie is a veganized black bean and cilantro pesto pizza from aver's. that pizza joint is super innovative, unfortunately the majority of creativity is sourced from animals. one would think that might make me a little sad, until i use my vegan superpowers. (((((pow!))))

i pulled this recipe from the PITA vegan archives, yay! but i've changed it up a bit so the sauce has more punch. i hope you like the revision! pictured above is the pesto on flatbread with seasoned black beans and some daiya cheese. truth be told, the pizza is just fine without any vegan cheese at all!

jewy's cilantro pesto-(goes well with just about everything)

1.5 c. chopped cilantro
2T chopped pickled jalapenos-(fresh would be fine too, but i'm just a fan of the pickled)
1/3 c. nutritional yeast
2T olive oil
juice of a lime
2T finely chopped onion
1 small clove of garlic-(listen up you garly hound, don't overdo it. you want the cilantro to front this rock band of flavors)
1/2 t. salt, or more to taste
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 c. nuts of your choice. different nuts=different flavors. ((((giggling)))) i said "nuts."
1/4 c. water
couple of pinches of cumin
1/4 t. liquid smoke

2T of any of the following for a creamier pesto: plain non-dairy vegan creamer-(if you have mimi creme, this IS the place to use this, 2 T non dairy milk, or 1 heaping T of silken tofu.

put it all together and blend it until smooth, scraping the sides of the blender. If this is too thick, you can thin it with more water, olive oil, or soy creamer/milk.

you know what else is awesome about summer? CONTESTS! don't forget you have until the witching hour tonight EST to enter my giveaway of American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes. so far i have only 17 entries! contest details are here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

squash blossoms!

actually, squash blossom season has run its course. guess who found the USB cable? yay! this was a delicious, experimental, and messy fail--largely because i made the mistake of stuffing the blossoms with daiya cheese-(which melts!), so the finished product collapsed. next time, i'll make it with a cashew chipotle filling that is more bread crumb based.
so first, get your blossoms first thing in the morning. that's right, you're going to have to get up early. rinse them off and put them in the fridge. go back to sleep. now that it's the afternoon you can make these. blot the blossoms off carefully with a paper towel.

hold the blossom carefully in your hand like this...
do you have your filling ready? great! i know it isn't good looking, but to quote justin wilson, "It sure do taste good."

put ONE small scoop of your filling in the blossom. DO NOT overstuff. i know you want to, but one is really enough, stuffy mcstufferton.

pinch the top and gently twist like so. FYI, i like to keep the ends on my blossoms. they make great handles for transporting the yummy to mi boca.
lay the stuffed blossom down with some green onion, and let the sweet lovemaking begin!
tie that pretty thing up. be gentle so you don't break the green onion.
some people like to dip in batter and deep fry, but that isn't necessary. you want to taste the subtle but glorious flavor of the blossom. you can't do that if it is covered in breading. i use a little canola oil and set that burner to medium. i slowly turn it over after a few minutes. the outside should be a nice golden color, but not dark brown. the blossom will sort of look translucent, but the gold color will be brighter if that makes any sense.
the finished product didn't look that great, but the taste was off the chain! there was plenty of leftover filling that made these gnawdorable grilled baby sammiches:
black bean fillin'
1 recipe of alicia's bbq black beans
1 mashed avocado
1/2 c. daiya cheese

for stuffed blossoms, i would really NOT use daiya, but bread crumbs instead. something that will taste good warm n' squishy, but not leak out. woah, that sounded bad.

i can't believe vida vegan con is less than a month away. i am super excited to meet everyone and to eat all of the awesome PDX vegan treats!

don't forget, you have just a few more days to enter my contest to win your own copy of American Vegan Kitchen!

here's to staying cool and finding USB cables. for the love of squash blossoms, stay vegan!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

let me hummus you a tune

Good evening, readers. Jen is still without the necessary equipment to download photos so she has asked various celebrities to sit in as a guest writer for her blog. Since I have been out of work for a while, I cheerfully accepted.
Quid pro quo, what would taste good with fava beans and a quality vegan wine? Fava beans of course. Not many people know this, but after all of that Hannibal nonsense, I decided to go vegan. My favorite afternoon snack has been hummus.
In strict middle eastern culinary terms, hummus is a dish of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and spices. For this dip to truly be hummus, it must have chickpeas. The word hummus is largely inspired by himmus, the arabic word for chickpea. In fact, the world wide web has a number of blogs devoted entirely to this delicacy, and my favorite one is this one.
Now we have all seen people world wide make variations of this dish with other beans. Is it still hummus, even after the transformation into a puree? Depends on who you ask. I tend to think that it is perfectly accptable for a bean identify as a chickpea. We all identify as something else, now don't we? Jennifer has made a version with lima beans-(photographed above), and I found it absolutely delightful.

Which leads me back to my friend and yours, fava. Ziyad distributes cans of small fava beans with spices included. This makes the best bean spread I've ever had, and is a wonderful addition to any dinner party. Not your traditional hummus, agreed--but it is titillating to the tongue with any crudite.

Hannibal's deLecterble Fava Bean Spread

1 can Ziyad small fava beans with spices, drained and rinsed. No worries, the beans will still be spicy.
2T fresh chopped parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
generous pinch of salt and pepper
1 garlic clove
1 T nutritional yeast
1/4 c. olive oil
1/8 c. water

While listening to Chopin, prepare your ingredients and put them all in a blender. Dream of freeing the lambs as you puree everything. Serve with a gourmet crackers, grapes, and a nice vegan Chianti.

Now readers, do not forget Jen's contest to win your own copy of American Vegan Kitchen. Time is running out: tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock.....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

amande product review and american vegan kitchen giveaway!

here's another great vegan yogurt that is gluten and soy free! amande is a product by cascadian farms, which makes buttloads of organic goodies. i was able to get this at the local food bank during my weekly shopping trip. the texture was weird, but the flavor was good and substantially sweeter than other vegan yogurts out on the market. i actually saw intact blueberries, which was also a plus. since this was free, i'm unaware of the retail price and probably wouldn't purchase it unless there was a sale or a coupon available. the website doesn't really say what the product retails for, but does direct you where you can purchase the product locally. i also obtained a larger size of the plain flavor, and i'll report my findings later. i'm planning on using it in some sauces and dressings in the near future.

review: a turntable and a microphone. i'm kind of stingy when awarding big thumbs up for a product, so this is a fair grade and most certainly is not a dismissal. this was tasty, but i don't consume yogurt on a regular basis to be moved enough to give it more than that rating. amande is sweet, does the job for probiotics, is gluten and soy free.

now about this giveaway of american vegan kitchen. i have sung high holy praises for this book many times, too many to count. i scored it about this time last year and have made many dishes from it. this is the cookbook you grab when you want to make classic american food for omnis who are under the impression that vegan food sucks. close your eyes and get centered: fork n' knife reubens, fried avocado wedges, garlicky sweet ribz, chicago style pizza, cinnacrunch muffins, tofu rancheros, and a coffee cake so simple and delicious, it kicks the ass of any other coffee cake in existence. seriously.

i'd tell you more, but why don't you win a copy of this book and see for yourself how awesome tamasin's cookin' is. here's what you need to do to enter:
  • mention this post in your blog
  • mention this post in your social networking feeds
  • leave me a comment and tell me you did one of the aforementioned or both
one entry per person. i'll assign you a number and draw the number from an online generator. contest ends july 31st, 2011 high noon EST. i will post the winner august 1st.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

do you have a cure for summer doldrums?

still can't find the damn usb drive. harumph.

mr. j. does own a galaxy tablet and it has a camera, so until the elusive usb is found, all photos will just have to be taken on it. but the device is his, so it'll be a challenge to get pics. i liken it to being a teenager who has to ask her parents for the keys to the car.

so-this picture is from one of my visits to kalamazoo this summer. my friend got married at the end of may, and while we were in town, i had to stop at shawarma king, my favorite middle eastern eatery of all time. they have an omni menu, but they have vegetarian selections that are vegan by default. super awesome. my favorite thing to get is the vegetarian plate which has hummus, falafel, babaganoush, tabouleh, and comes with a fatoush salad.

the first time i went vegan back in 2000, i remember my ex and i eating falafel at the trojan horse in bloomington, and the waitress letting us know (consequently after many times eating there) that their falafel contains egg. when i asked the waitress at shawarma king about egg in falafel, she looked at me with a furrowed brow, waved a scolding finger, and said, "eef eet is made weeth egg, eet ees not falafel."

so there.

another delight is having turkish style coffee at the end of the meal. for those not familiar with this, it is powder fine coffee grounds boiled in a pan with cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. they serve it in a tea pot with little cups, and the sludge settles at the bottom. it is very strong and you only need a shot or two before you start crawling on the ceiling.

at home, my favorite thing to do is to make a pseudo turkish style coffee. i add the cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon to my grounds and you get the subtle flavor without the sludge. if you're broke like me, it's a great way to doctor up cheap coffee. for an 8-10 cup pot use 1/8 t of ginger, 1/8 t cinnamon, and 1/4 t cardamom (ground).

i need your help to get out of my blogging slump. i know you can't make me write more, i get that. you can help me by telling as many people as you can about this blog and comment. why? well, i get paid for visits. not much, but $3 for every 1,000 hits. normally, i rake in about $5 a month for my blogging which i use to treat myself to a coffee drink, buy felt for crafts, and during 2010 mofo--i wanted to generate 1,000,000 hits so i could donate half my earnings to charity. i didn't even come close to the goal, but had a ton of fun. i ended up donating $30 to my local food pantry.

i want to increase the traffic at PITAV so i can donate on a regular basis to mother hubbard's cupboard. i'd also like to supplement my super slim income. i'm a PT employee, FT parent, and our family needs the extra money. i also need to find a way to generate a few bucks to help me with accommodations at Vida Vegan Con.

you can also help support me by shopping at my etsy store!

as always, thanks for reading. be cool, eat well, and for the love of coffee stay vegan!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Um, we are experiencing technical difficulties...

hey patient readers!
i've been experiencing some technical difficulties that have been preventing me from blogging. i'm working on it, i'm so sorry! i thought i'd post about what i've been doing this summer and am forced to use some old photos because i cannot find my $@*&!ng USB drive to download pics of food that i've made.

the video tutorial on stuffed pancakes? we taped it, but mr. j. accidentally had his thumb on the mic, so you have lovely footage of me making the pancakes, but you can't hear me. call me crazy, but that's no fun.

so this summer i have been (in no particular order)

container gardening-(aka patiently playing the waiting game with heirloom tomatoes) my buddy victoria has allowed me to use her 4.4 acres to grow food in salvaged plastic containers. i've been checking on my babies and have been able to regularly harvest chard and kale. my tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, and squash all have fruits, but are not ready to harvest.

so i've resorted to the farmer's market which is horribly overpriced. i learned of a smaller one in a town several miles west of btown, so i'll check that one out. i've also been utilizing the fresh produce at the local food bank to make dishes with.
my hunt for the super secret paw-paw tree on site at work has availed nothing. no one will come forward with the information so i can find said tree. i'm not stupid, i know it exists. i want a paw-paw! for those of you who have never had one, it's like an avocado, pear, and banana did it and had little babies. they are really delicious.

we moved! yes, i know i just mentioned that. we moved. it was bittersweet. i've lived in that tiny country home for 8 years so we had accumulated a ton of crap. i took two trucks worth of stuff to good will, sent other things to the reuse center at our county's awesome recycling center, gave away our lawn mower and washer/dryer to friends, and the buyer of our home adopted our exclusively outdoor cat. we're finally all moved, but unpacking and redecorating is going to take some time. the new kitchen is smaller but has more counter space AND a pantry! i'll make sure to post pics when i'm done. i got a little too excited and tried to hang shelves by myself last night. they are a bubble shy of plum. poop.
because of the move, i've leaned on more convenience foods than i'd care to admit. my favorite has been the kashi line of vegan foods. i'm also smart enough to freeze half of everything i cook for future events like these that prohibit me from spending a ton of time in the kitchen. the following meals from the following cookbooks freeze well:

appetite for reduction
: eggplant lentil chili, white bean/quinoa/kale stew, chipotle lentil burgers
vegan on the cheap: pasta fagioli, peanutty pumpkin stew, chocolate chip cherry bread pudding
veganomicon: chickpea cutlets, seitanic red/white bean jambalaya, snobby joes
viva vegan: potato/poblano enchilada casserole
because of the intense heat, i have not been wanting to make any baked goods, which means i've been eating a lot of vegan ice cream. i'm quite fond of the coconut milk based ones because they taste creamier. coconut bliss is the best, but is too damned expensive. purely decadent is good, but it's still nearing the $4 mark. mr. j. is great about finding it on sale, but i don't want to pay $3+ for vegan ice cream anymore, so i took matters into my own stubby lil' hands. once i find the camera, i'll post pics, but here's a recipe for vegan cheezecake ice cream. yep, you read that right. now, it DOES NOT have that awesome ice cream texture, but i'm working on it. test it and tell me what you think, honestly. i'm good with constructive feedback so i won't get hurt if you think it sucks. i'm trying to recreate the cocoa fudge from DQ and have been totally unsuccessful.

Jewy's Fudge-My-Suck Cheezcake Ice Dream

1/2 c. tofuti BTCC
12 oz pkg House brand silken tofu
2T lemon juice
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 t salt
1t vanilla

Put all items minus the brown rice syrup in the blender. spray a measuring cup with non-stick spray and measure your BRS, then pour it in--just makes it easier that way. Blend for a few minutes, make sure it is completely smooth. Pour this mixture evenly into small tupperware containers, but not completely full. You'll need room for the fudge ripples!

Oh Fudge! Sauce
* 1 stick EB
* 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 cup your favorite vanilla flavored non-dairy vegan liquid coffee creamer-(I used So Delicious Coconut)
*3/4 c. brown sugar
* Pinch of salt

Melt the butter, add creamer, then sugar, then mix salt and cocoa in slowly so you don't get coco lumpy turds in the sauce. let it come to a soft rolling boil, then turn off heat and set aside.

Let the sauce cool completely and pour even amounts of it in your tupperware containers with the cheezcake ice cream. Gravity will do some of the work, but to get good marbling throughout the ice cream, take a butter knife and swirl it a few times through the mixture to make nice pretty swirls. Stick containers in the freezer. Once completely frozen, take containers out and let thaw for a couple of minutes before eating. This is really rich, so if you can exercise restraint, make your servings about a half a cup.

*to make strawberry cheezecake, throw several large strawberries in the blender prior to blending the cheezecake base.

these would probably make good puddin' pops too.

i'm also getting way stoked for vida vegan con. i finally booked my flight last night and paid my roommate for the room. i can't believe this is really happening! i won't be able to get into town early to see the vegucated movie, but i'll be able to stay f-su and fly out on monday.

i have been catching up on my buffy watching, charlaine harris reading, and am engrossed in this season of true blood. oy!

lastly, i've been working on not one but TWO special secret projects. i can't tell you or i'll get severely beaten. beatings aren't vegan, but they occasionally do happen. the vegans wronged gang up on the offender and take away all of their cooking tools and rare spices. look it up! i'm serious.

so, thanks for your patience, stay tuned, keep your cool, and for the love of supersecretvegan projects, stay vegan!