Thursday, May 26, 2011

here's one tough cookie who is gonna (hopefully) take the cake!

okay. i'm crossing my fingers on this one. i'm knockin' on wood. i'm findin' me a 4 leaf clover and all that happy crappy. here's my idea and finished project for vegtastic voyage's "no talent" vida vegan con ticket giveaway contest. for those of you just catching up with my life, you might ask, "what's a vida vegan con?" do you hear that sound? that's me rolling my eyes at you. it is the coolest gathering of vegan bloggers world wide in portland, oregon. this vegan "it" event of the year has sold out and i've tried everything shy of voodoo to obtain some ticketage.

first, i start with some dough: graham cracker dough from vegan cookies invade your cookie jar and the pie plate shortbread from the same book.
i let those doughs chill and have a snazzy hot photo of me to reference. i normally don't like pictures of myself, but that one i'm proud of. it was from 7 years ago!
i'm all about the process. something my art professors drilled into my thick skull. document the process, jen. okayokayokay.
starting to come together. food is a tough medium to work with. i forgot how much i hate sculpting faces.
here we are, face to face--the pre-baking. i like this better than the finished product.
ugh! i'm frustrated. i feel like i'm looking at one of napoleon dynamite's drawings. for the record, i always feel this way about my work when i've just finished. i end up being okay with it after a few days. turn that %&*(#!ng flash off! i made a vegan cream cheese icing and tinted it with cocoa. i also melted some vegan chocolate chips to paint the darker parts of the portrait.
a little ass kissing is perfectly acceptable. i want to go to vida vegan con! strawberries always tie things together and taste really good with shortbread.
look deep into my eyes. you are under a magical spell. eat well, have fun, and for the love of larger than life cookie self-portrait vida vegan con ticket giveaways, stay vegan!

Monday, May 23, 2011

going bananas. oops, i mean i'm going plantains.

i've lost my mind. i have gone bananas. forking bananas.
wait--those aren't bananas, they're plantains! SCORE!
once again, the local food pantry came through with an awesome gem i could otherwise not afford. the local grocery sells plantains for anywhere from .79 to .99 cents a pound! these were ignored by most of the patrons and dismissed as overripe bananas. although the skins were really black, the plantains were super firm. i read through viva vegan, fried some up and made some wingin' it tostadas with green chiles, kidney beans, plantains, daiya cheddar-(NOW AT KROGER!) louisiana hot sauce, and topped with a little cilantro. i had so many to go through, i made a cinnamony-nutty fried version for breakfast the next day. paired with a good belly shot-(also through the food bank!), i was feisty, fueled, and frolicking through my work day with reckless abandon.

i so needed it. i'm feeling a little down about this whole vida vegan con contest thingy. once again, i didn't win the coveted tickets, but jessica rose western did, and it was well deserved. congrats, jessica! i won't lie, i'm really bummed and trying to not have a pity party about the whole thing. i know many people want to go, and boy oh boy how i've tried! i've submitted for the scholarship because i'm poor-(*and i'm not talking about that kind of working student poor, i'm talking here's the water level and here is my nose), i couldn't afford the half off ticket rate, couldn't afford the reduced ticket rate, and by the time the rate was full price, we got our tax refund, but i had to set my VVC dreams aside because my family and pets needed the money more than i needed to go. so i entered contests. i entered the CB contest and jess's contest. i didn't know about tami's contest at vegan appetite or i would have been movin' and shakin' to enter that one too.

i have an amount of pride in being a vegan on a shoestring budget, but holla to ya honey when events like this come along. being poor really, really, really sucks. i also have an awesome amount of perspective and realize that all of my problems, even the dilemma of being a working class american is a first world human problem. i have a home. it is not foreclosed. i have a family that is healthy. i have food to eat and clean drinking water. i am not an animal in a factory farm. i am not even an animal at some "free range" or "happy" farm. i am a human with an enormous amount of luxuries.

okay, end of pity party. back to cooking. back to the drawing board.

i'm dusting my hiney off and hopping back on the contest horse by entering vegtastic voyage's no talent contest and will create an edible self portrait. i finally have my idea nailed down, and have been busily preparing the work. i'm crossing my fingers on this one--i have just got to win. if i do, it will be the biggest underdog vegan blogging achievement ever.

eat well, be happy, have some perspective, and for the love of plantains, stay vegan!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

this dessert is the bomb

tick-tick-tick. your taste buds are gonna freak out! this was my original idea for the coconut bliss contest, but putting together these dessert treats was a logistical messy nightmare, so i went with that dessert taco.

i call these cookie dough bombs. the idea was to make a giant bon-bon of snickerdoodle cookie dough and chocolate cover a bite of coconut bliss very vanilla. very messy, but oh-so good!

by the way, when i plug a product on my blog, a) i really mean what i say about something being awesome or not so awesome and b) i get no kickbacks whatsoever. i don't wake up from my dreams of bowling with bob barker and weird al to find a fancy vegan care package on my kitchen doorstep containing goodies from companies that carry specialty products. i'm a vegan mom on a shoestring. i make i am constantly looking for things on sale, because i can't afford $6 for a pint of ice cream or $4 for a bag of specialty chocolate chips. do you hear me companies? betta recognize--please think of me when you hang out with santa claus, that's all i'm sayin'.
the best part was cutting them open. yum! to boot, gluten free baby, gluten free. the coating was made from enjoy life chips, the dough was Bob's Red Mill rice flour, turbinado, cinnamon, EB and a few splashes of soymilk.

i let the dough chill in the fridge for a few hours, rolled it out, and cut out little circles. i scooped small spoonfuls on the dough, and wrapped it up like a ball, then stuck back in the freezer while i prepped the chocolate. once the chocolate was melted, i stuck the balls with sucker sticks, dipped in the chocolate, put back on the plate, and stuck them back in the freezer for a second time.

verdict? with the patience of a saint and some more practice i could really refine these and make them better each time. this is the perfect dessert for someone who doesn't want to eat a whole pint of cookie dough ice cream, or if you really want to impress someone with a special treat.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

the full monty: my vida vegan con song contest submission
i'm shameless. i'm funny. here's my submission. i'm hopefully going to this conference. wish me luck, dedicated readers!

kathleen, i hope you have a sense of humor and can understand my submission as nothing but an homage to your body of work.

Vida Vegan Con-(sung to the tune of "Carnival" by Bikini Kill)

This is a song about vegan blogging madness
The "it" event of the year that only the veg heads know about
This is a song about grown adults getting together to discuss nooch, soy, and living gluten free
I wanna go
I wanna go

I wanna go to Vida Vegan Con
But it cost $250 bucks yeah
I wanna go to Vida Vegan Con
And hang out with other vegan bloggers yeah
Blog, Blog, Blog
Blog, Blog, Blog

I'll win that Voodoo Doughnut, if it forking kills me!

Gonna gain 20lbs. while I'm there
Gonna sit in a chair
Recipes and some pie
Feel so good I'm gonna cry
Blog, Blog, Blog
Blog, Blog, Blog

It's in PDX
That's where you'll find me, yeah!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the bounce back: kitchen sink tapas

i didn't win the coconut bliss contest. dang. i'm a big girl-(sniff sniff). congrats to the winner greenbeane who made a cheesecake with not one, but two flavors of CB. pretty impressive.

i have one more shot at scoring tix. i'm entering jess's contest at get sconed. if i don't get it, then that's it. i'll work to make it happen next year.

nothing brings me outta the funk better than hopping right back on the creative horse and cookin' stuff. my family lives on a super tight budget, so it's not often that i get my hands on fancy things. i scored some spring roll wraps at the food pantry-(and like an idiot, threw away the wrapper without writing down the name), some potatoes from the rabbi, and the rest of the stuff was in my pantry. dang, i wish i could remember what brand they were. i'll have to scan the asian market next time i'm in town. i'm sure they can't be too horribly expensive. cheaper than a pint of CB for sure.

i shall call these dearies kitchen sink tapas. i love those spring roll wraps. you can do so much with them--the possibilities are endless! you could do taste of thai tapas-(tofu/seitan in peanut sauce with carrots/broccoli), cauli n' cheez tapas, sweet tapas-(i'm thinking lots of nuts and agave!), mini pies, s'more tapas, etc.
kitchen sink tapas

you'll need
  • package of vegan spring roll wrappers-(the wheat kind, for frying. check ingredients. you could easily make these GF with the rice ones)
  • can of re fried beans
  • can of rotel tomatoes with green chiles
  • one batch of pine nut crema from tery hope romero's viva vegan!
  • 6-10 roasted red potatoes, cubed
  • kale torn to small shreds *optional and for color only
  • canola oil spray

preheat oven for three fiddy. spray a muffin pan with canola oil and set aside. gently separate spring roll wrappers and fold one at a time into squares. they don't have to be perfect. by themselves they won't sit in each section, but once you spoon the filling in they fit nice n' cozy. fill each in the following order in small spoonfuls: beans, crema, tomato/chile, potato and a little piece of kale. remember kiddos, you want the colors of the ingredients to take front stage, so don't put the crema on last unless that makes you happy. bake for about 28-30 minutes, checking to make sure edges don't burn. please-oh-please-oh please let these cool. THE CONTENTS WILL BE SUPER HOT, so please don't turn your tongue into cork by shoving one in your mouth. the nice thing about the wraps having edges that hang over is that they are a cinch to pull out of the tins.

so what are you waiting for? have fun, try this recipe at your next shindig, and for the love of tapas, stay vegan.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

taco embeleso

the only dessert taco i know about is the drumstick in taco form sold at the infamous taco bell. hardly vegan. i'm too lazy to make fried ice cream so forget it. i do have something way cooler than either one of those things.

is it just me, or does this dish look a little um, dirty? this is my entry for the coconut bliss vida vegan con giveaway this year. i'm crossing my fingers like a kid with a vegan willy wonka dream of making it to the conference.(((whistling "i've got a golden ticket!"))) as you all know, i cannot make it there this year because i could not afford the ticket. our animal companions needed vaccinations, and both cars needed minor work. that easily ate $250+. i can't call myself a good vegan if i don't take care of my animals, right? so, i'm not going to sit and pout about it--i'm taking serious vegan action and get cooking. i thought i'd enter this contest and jess's song contest with dashing hopes. will it work? i can only hope. if i do make it, i've had a generous offer from someone who will help me with funding for travel, shelter, and food. isn't that beautiful?

know what else is beautiful? this dessert taco. i've been racking my brain for a name that is catchy and funny. no dice. but when i tried coconut bliss, i couldn't get the word bliss off my tongue. so i went with taco embeleso, which translates to taco enchantment.

dude, i was beyond enchanted with the ice cream all by itself. coconut bliss is hands down the CLOSEST THING to real rich and creamy ice cream, no joke. i used pretty much the last $6 in my bank account to buy it for the recipe, but it was worth every penny. there's only one local place that carries it, and they only carry the vanilla, coconut, and chocolate, so my options were limited for dessert creations. so i thought!

jewbacca's taco embeleso (serves one hungry me, or a loving couple)

you'll need:
  • a cinnamon sugar tortilla-*our grocery store bakery makes vegan ones.
  • 1/2 t of earth balance, divided in two 1/4 t portions
  • 1 t of brown sugar
  • 1/4 c chocolate chips
  • 2-3T of your favorite non-dairy milk
  • additional cinnamon sugar
  • FRESH pineapple slices
  • coconut bliss, vanilla island flavor

first things first: start grilling that pineapple. get out a non stick skillet, set to 5 and put EB in it. get the pineapple good and brown, then add the brown sugar. once cooked, set aside in a small dish. now grill the tortilla in the remaining 1/4 t of EB, making sure to brown both sides. sprinkle both sides generously with add'l cinnamon sugar and set aside to cool. in a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and add the non dairy milk until you get a nice smooth sauce. you could always use a vegan chocolate syrup if you so desire. once your tortilla has cooled, assemble the taco like this: tortilla, two big scoops of CB vanilla island, pineapple, and chocolate sauce. don't be surprised if your tongue turns into a mariachi band.

when you're done, don't forget to lick the plate.

Monday, May 2, 2011

delayed post! pesach noshlings

these aren't my best food photos, but the meal was really nice. i pair things together on my plate that would make plenty scrunch up their nose and go, "really?" yes, really. i ate kittee's gluten free samosas with tsimmes this year for passover. the cinnamon/cardamom went with the spicy curried potato glory without a hitch. i made a coconut, cilantro, and mango sauce to go with the samosas. yum.

my undoing was making them too damned big and mashing the potatoes too much. they didn't hold well as they baked and looked like blobby fritters instead of kittee's pretty samosas. my taste buds did not know the difference. passover is an awesome time for gluten free folk because jews are not allowed to eat anything with wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats. jews of ashkenazi (eastern european origin) must refrain from what is known as kitnyiot-(translates to "little things") which includes corn, rice, and all legumes. if you're a vegan this is doable, but an enormous pain in the ass. last year, i stepped up to the plate and tried it just to see if i could do it. whew! never again. this is the first year in a decade where i did not quasi kasher my home or adhere to refraining from the fab five grains. i wanted to be free from being a slave to tradition. i had a "tater seder" (loaded baked potatoes, asparagus, and cake) in my home with a couple of friends, told a very modified version of the exodus to my toddler, and had a really relaxing time.

jewbacca's tsimmes

1 large sweet potato, peeled n' cubed
1/2 c. prunes chopped or about 8 whole, set aside
1/2 c. golden raisins, set aside
4 cups shredded carrots
1 c. orange juice
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t cardamom
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 c maple syrup
1 t olive oil
couple pinches of salt

preheat the oven to three fiddy. put the sweet potatoes and carrots in a 9x13 glass baking dish. mix the syrup, oil, spices, and pour over the vegetables. disperse the prunes and raisins evenly. finally sprinkle the pinches of salt over the dish, cover with foil, and cook the shit out of the mixture until it is a glorious mushy melding of flavors. this usually takes 60-75 minutes. check it with a fork, baby!

NOTE: leftover tsimmes can be pureed and added to a standard pancake or waffle mix for some bomb-assed waffles. your vegetable hating children will not know what hit them.

NEXT TIME on TPITA Vegan i will AMAZE you all with my very own coconut bliss dessert creation. buckle your tongue's seat belt because it is gonna go for a ride!

remember kids, mediocre food pics are okay as long as the food rocks. be well, eat joyously, and for the love of samosas, stay vegan!