Thursday, October 30, 2008
I couldn't find a plain ol' sugar cookie recipe in my cookbooks, and the ones I've made from various Internet and Veg Times recipes in the past ended up hard and crunchy. I like a soft sugar cookie, and I remembered a recent cookie post by Katy at Legally Vegan. She swore this VegWeb recipe for Just Like Granny B's Sugar Cookies was the best thing ever!
And ... oh ... my ... goddess, she was right! These are the best sugar cookies I've ever had. They're soft. They're chewy. They're perfectly sweet and buttery. I will NEVER use another sugar cookie recipe again. Promise.
For Halloween, I'm going to my Me-Maw's Halloween party in the early evening. My grandma throws a family party every year and we eat hot dogs (veggie dogs for me!), chips and dip, and dessert. I'll share posts of my dessert contribution over the weekend. Until then, trick or treat!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
turned-Oakland-based-vegan-chef Bryant Terry at a booksigning at the Memphis Farmer's Market. He was signing his new book Grub: Ideas for the Urban Organic Kitchen, which he co-authored with Anna Lappé (the daughter of Diet for a Small Planet author Frances Moore Lappé).
The front half of the book contains helpful information about the importance of eating organic, whole foods. The second half is made up of Terry's menus for "Grub Dinner Parties." Terry includes menus for any occasion, as well as a list of mixtape suggestions to provide the soundtrack. Not all of the recipes are vegan (a small few even include fish), but many are meat, egg, and dairy free. The others are easily veganizable.
Shortly after reading the book several years ago, I neeeded to plan my annual Samhain feast, in which in dine in memory of all my dead friends and family (not that I have many ... but I like to remember the ones that are gone). Samhain is an ancient Celtic festival that pre-dates the modern Halloween celebration. In one of Terry's Fall menus, I stumbled on a recipe for Spicy South American Seitan Stew and a tradition was born:
This is the third year I've made this stew for the occasion, and to keep it special, I only make it once a year. You can't tell from the picture, but all those chunks are seitan (which I made using gluten flour and besan flour), red potatoes, and fried plaintain slices. It's simmered in a tomato-y, chipotle broth. So, so good!
I highly recommend the book if you don't already have it. It's great for party planning, but it's also nice to pick one or two recipes from for weeknight meals. On another related note, Terry has a new cookbook due out soon called Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African American Cuisine, based on the traditional Southern cuisine he grew up with (sans the ham hocks and bacon fat, of course).
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I used baby limas that I hand-picked earlier this year at Windermere Farms, a small pick-your-own organic farm in Memphis' Raleigh neighborhood. I shelled the beans back in September, but didn't have time to cook them right away. So I froze the beans for later use.
The recipe is a little different than most succotash recipes I've seen. It's baked with flour, soymilk, and chopped celery and onion. I think most succotash dishes are cooked on the stovetop. But Barb is an awesome lady, so I trusted her version would be delicious. Barb lives on The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee (an intentional community of vegan hippies located about three hours from Memphis). When I visited the The Farm last summer (read about it here in the Memphis Flyer), I stayed with Barb and her husband and she cooked some WONDERFUL food!
The succotash was creamy and the tender baby limas almost felt (and tasted) like edamamme. I'm glad I have plenty of leftovers!
This weekend, my friend Sheridan gave me a copy of The Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak! I've been wanting that book forever, especially after seeing all of Veganifer's yummy posts about Stepaniak's creamy cheeze sauce. It also doesn't hurt that The Uncheese Cookbook was also published by the folks at The Farm.
Since I had all the ingredients on hand, I whipped up this Herb & Tomato Cheeze Spread to smother on some crusty bread as a side to my succotash:
I love how it molded to the shape of my Gladware! It's not as hard like a brick cheese, but soft and spreadable. It reminds me of Cheese Whiz, only with thyme, dill, and tomato added. I served it on whole grain bread — the perfect side dish to my tasty succotash!
In honor of that baked assemblage of morning foods, I threw together this Vegan Breakfast Casserole to eat for brekkie throughout the week:
Sorry for the poor picture quality but I was working with some crappy lighting last night. Here's a better shot of the individual slice I ate this morning:
Vegan Breakfast Casserole
4 slices of whole grain or sprouted grain bread, torn into pieces
1 lb. tofu, scrambled (I use garlic powder, nooch, onion powder, turmeric, etc.)
1 package Gimme Lean, fried in slices and then cut into chunks
1 serving of noochy sauce (you know, the nooch, flour, water, Dijon, margarine deal) or use your favorite cheezy sauce recipe
1 large tomato, sliced
Preheat oven to 350 while you prepare tofu, sausage, and sauce. Place torn bread in bottom of a casserole dish. Top with a layer of scrambled tofu. Then add a layer of cooked vegan sausage. Pour cheezy sauce over the top and spread evenly. Top with tomato slices and bake for 15 minutes.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
This time, however, I stirred the boiled whole wheat shells into sauce prepared on the stovetop and voila — Super Creamy Mac & Cashew Cheeze:
I love this stuff! But I'm not gonna part with the recipe, as it will be featured in my upcoming cookbook (whenever that actually happens ... don't worry, it will come, but I am taking my time).
I created a meal out of side dishes to go along with the mac & cheese. I also made this Southern Fried Okra:
I used Japanese okra from my Granny's garden, so it's a little bigger than an average sized okra ... but still tasty. For the batter, I mixed whole wheat pastry flour, cornmeal, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
I also prepared some Baked Green Tomatoes:
I prefer them fried (in fact, I prefer everything fried), but I knew frying two veggies in one meal would be a bad idea. So I prepared these 'maters (also from my Granny) by slicing them, drizzling with olive oil, seasoning them with thyme and salt, and topping them with bread crumbs. Then I baked them at 350 for about 15 minutes.
By the way, I had every intention of making Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes for Iron Cupcake: Earth tonight ... but my plans were thrwarted! I went shopping for something to wear to my ten-year high school reunion tonight (which makes me feel super old), and SHOPPING TAKES FOREVER! By the time I had something cute to wear, Whole Foods (the only place with vegan cream cheese) was closed. And the deadline for Iron Cupcake is tomorrow at noon ... so it looks like I'll be skipping again! Sorry!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Everything is pretty much crammed in here, but it's your typical vegan freezer — Ezekiel Bread and Buns, Boca Chicken Patties (the vegan ones), Amy's Bistro Burgers, Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Chocolate Mint Ice Cream, Ciao Bella Lemon Sorbotto (THE BEST STUFF EVER!), frozen veggies and containers of frozen meals from the recent past. And of course there's the almost-empty bottle of Bacardi 151.
I also took a shot of my inside freezer door, but it was REALLY unattractive ... all frozen veggies in plastic baggies crammed this way and that. So I'm not showing that one.
Since my fridge much more organized than my freezer, I'm going to show you that too. But in exchange, I'd like to start a new meme asking any willing participants to bare their fridges as well.
Here's one shot (click on it for a closer look):
Top shelf is mostly jams, spreads, relishes, and pickles. Notice the big pink jar of pickled turnips next to the tahini jar ... I had to buy some after trying them at a local Middle Eastern restaurant. So good!
There's a couple logs of Teese (thanks Daddy!), some apples, and soy yogurt, as well as Earth Balance and probiotic powder. And lots of leftovers .... I actually even took some out for the shoot cause they were blocking the good stuff. Bottom shelf is iced green tea, cold water (I removed the filter from my Brita pitcher because Memphis has some of the cleanest water in the world ... 'bout the only thing clean in this city, but at least we got somethin'), some German white wine, whole wheat pastry flour, and soymilk. And there's a big ol' butternut squash in the crisper with celery, onions, and dill.
Now for the door (again, click to enlarge):
As you can see, about half of these condiments are hot sauces. That's because my friends who used to live in my house left them behind (Tim was a hot sauce freak!). There's also soy sauce, Liquid Smoke, lemon juice, Vegenaise, my favorite Organicsville Non-Dairy Ranch Dressing (a staple in my house), and Amy's Goddess Dressing ... the bottom shelf is mostly liquor (including Absenthe) left behind by the previous residents.
So, what's in your fridge? I wanna know. I'm tagging anyone who has any of these items in their refrigerator:
1) A log of Teese
2) More than 2 bottles of hot sauce
3) Something pickled that's not a cucumber
4) Packaged condiments from a fast food joint
5) A winter squash
If you have any of these items, take a picture of your fridge, post it, and tag some more people. Or if you don't have these items but still wanna show off your junk, go for it.
Monday, October 20, 2008
She also included an avocado and a tomato in the gift bag so I had all the makin's of a raw pizza for dinner tonight. I used mashed, salted avocado in place of cheese and topped the crust with fresh tomatoes.
Though not pictured here, I also sprinkled the pizza with a little nooch for extra "cheesiness" and a B-12 boost.
Judith's crust was amazing. It had a bit of an Italian herb taste, like real pizza crust. But I don't know what she used in it. I'll have to get her recipe. For now though, I'm just going to enjoy eating homemade raw goodies that I didn't have to make on my own. I have enough crusts to save for the next raw food day (first Tuesday of each month), so expect more raw pizza later on.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
We also snacked on Steph's (a.k.a. Poopie Bitch's) AMAZING Vegan Petit Fours:
cake business and she had to make a crap ton of these for a wedding the day before my party. So she made extras for us! There were two flavors, but I don't remember exactly what they were. One was vanilla-y and the other was ginger-ish. Both were to die for! And so perfect for a tea party!
I made flower-shaped Tofu Dill Salad Finger Sandwiches:
I used the tofu salad recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance and multigrain bread from the Whole Foods Bakery. Then I attempted to cut the sandwiches out with flower cookie cutters. Some looked better than others, but they were still pretty cute.
I also made Walnut Mushroom Paté with Whole Wheat Mini Toasts:
The paté recipe is from the Veganomicon, and it's one that Steph's made on a number of occasions for special events. I'd tried hers and knew it'd be perfect to make for this party. It's made with cremini mushrooms, toasted walnuts, onions, vinegar, and some other spices.
Wes couldn't stay for the party since he burned his hand while cooking biscuits last week, but he showed up early to drop off his super-delicious Vegan Corn Salad:
He combines white corn, tomatoes, red onion, green pepper, and since he's not vegan, he usually adds mayonaise. But this time, he borrowed some Veganaise so me and my crazy vegan friends could eat it. Wes also gave me a temperature-control deep fryer as my birthday gift. I can't wait to deep fry some breaded okra in it!
Oh, and in case you'd like that Georgia Peach Iced Tea recipe, here goes:
1 pint vodka
1 pint light rum
1 pint gin
1 pint peach schnapps
2 bottles sweet and sour mix
Combine in a large pitcher and chill. This makes about 15 servings.
Friday, October 17, 2008
This was soooooo good. It was super-moist and chock full of pecans, carrots, pineapple chunks, and coconut flakes. It may be fall, but this definitely whisked us away to the tropics for a bit. We also had vegan tacos (my family had the meat kind though), but I didn't take pictures because I was too hungry.
My Me-maw, Granny and Pa, mom and dad, and best friend Nathan were all there. I got an iPod from my parents!
I'm a little slow on the technology front, so this is my first MP3 player. I'm so excited! I also got money and a batch of the last summer tomatoes (green and red) from Granny and a cute little light-up fairy box from Me-Maw (I collect fairy stuff).
Tonight, I will celebrate my big day all over again with a Dead Victorian Southern Belle Tea Party. I promise to have pics posted by Sunday!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Well, maybe not the very last ... but definitely toward the bottom of the list. For those who don't know, the Snobby Joe is the Isa and Terry version of a sloppy joe. Instead of using tofu or TVP (like many vegan sloppy joe recipes), these call for lentils seasoned with chili powder, diced green pepper, onion, garlic, and a bit of maple syrup.
It's the maple that really sets the taste apart. They're not at all sweet, as you might expect using maple syrup. Instead, the maple brings out the hearty chili flavor.
I served the sandwich open-faced on two halves of a sprouted grain bun, alongside these Roasted Garlic Potatoes:
I actually bought these new potatoes at the farmer's market about two months ago. But they stayed fresh in my Debbie Meyer Green Bags, which purport to keep produce crisp far past the date.
I quartered the potatoes, tossed with a bit of olive oil, chopped garlic, and Sonny Salt (a locally-produced seasoning blend) and roasted them on 500 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
In the past, my experience with scones has only been so-so. The ones I've eaten (all in my pre-vegan days) have seemed dry and heavy. But these scones were super-duper moist thanks to the mashed banana.
They also contain chopped dates, pecans (which I subbed for the walnuts in the recipe), and no sugar! That's right, no sugar. They're sweetened with brown rice syrup, and since I subbed whole wheat pastry flour for all the flour in the recipe, they're actually pretty healthy. I've been eating these with leftover pumpkin sausage (from the freezer) and iced green tea each morning.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I love a simple pasta sauce made with fresh, chopped tomatoes, especially when it's loaded with garlic. So last night, I made Shellyfish's Grandma's Garlic Gravy Over Whole Wheat Rotini with Meatless Meatballs:
With only five ingredients, this stuff is so simple and satisfying. It just takes a bulb of garlic, tomato paste, parsley, salt, and a few fresh chopped tomatoes, which I picked up at the farmer's market on Saturday (only two market days left before the end of the season!!!).
The meatless meatballs were cheaters though. They're the Light Life brand and they come already rolled up and ready to go. Honestly, I just had some in the freezer that needed to be eaten. They're good though. Thanks Shellyfish!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I microwave 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, and a dash of salt. Then I stir in one or two tablespoons of the chocolate peanut butter after cooking. This time, it didn't seem sweet enough so I drizzled some agave over the top.
Inspired by a post from Shelby at La Belle Vegan, I tried Pumpkin Pie Oats this morning:
This was like eating pumpkin pie for breakfast, only with oats in it (which I guess seems like a rather obvious description, but sue me). I used a bit of homemade pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice), 3 tablespoons of canned pumpkin, Earth Balance, and a liberal drizzle of maple syrup. Suffice to say, I'll be eating this again in the morning.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Also on my plate are Granny's Rape Greens with Turnips (thawed out from the freezer) and a Gardenburger Chik'n Grill Patty (that I also ended up smothering with punk rock gravy).
If you haven't tried the chickpea gravy yet, I can't even begin to tell you how good it is. I seriously could have eaten a bowl full of the gravy by itself. But it was wonderful on the mashed skin-on potatoes (I like mine a bit chunky, as you can see ... no whipped taters for me).
As for the greens, my Granny makes the best greens ever! She usually uses rape greens (although sometimes she cooks turnip greens instead). I've never seen rape greens in stores, but she always picks hers from a friend's garden. They seem to have a milder taste than turnip greens. She also tends to throw in chunks of fresh turnip. Super yummy!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
It all started this morning with Raw Nut Yogurt and Fresh Berries:
From Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in Five Minutes, this recipe calls for processing soaked cashews and almond pulp, water, probiotic powder (which I take everyday anyway), and vanilla bean. I didn't have any vanilla bean, so I used pure vanilla extract. Don't know if that's raw or not. I also added some raw agave in the food processor to sweeten the yogurt up a bit. Then I topped the mixture with fresh raspberries and some blackberries I thawed out from the freezer.
After breakfast, I had my monthly B-12 shot at work, which provided for the energy I was missing by not having my daily coffee. I do drink tea on raw days because I believe that I would die without some caffeine.
For a pre-lunch snack (I was starving by 10:30 a.m.), I munched on this Raw Zucchini Hummus with Celery Sticks:
From Jennifer Cornbleet's Raw Food Made Easy, this hummus subs chopped raw zucchini for cooked chickpeas. The rest of the hummus ingredients — tahini, lemon juice, garlic — are pretty much the same. The result was delicious. I snacked on it after lunch too with red pepper strips and baby carrots.
For lunch, I had the Harvest Salad, also from Cornbleet's book:
With organic baby spinach, a Gala apple, fresh raspberries and blackberries, chopped pecans and a classic oil and vinegar dressing, this salad really hit the spot. I loved the way the sweetness of the apples and berries contrasted with the tanginess of the vinegerette. By the way, I took this photo in my office breakroom. I've recently started using real plates and silverware at the office instead of wasting paper plates and plastic utensils.
Before hitting the gym after work, I snacked on this Go Raw Spirulina Energy Bar:
It was pretty good. Spirulina always tastes a little funky to me, kinda like wheatgrass. But I know it's good for me, and the banana, coconut, dates, and sesame seeds in the bar made up for the algae's weird taste.
That kept me full throughout my workout (it had 13 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein!). When I got home, I whipped up the Latin American Cabbage from Cornbleet's book with a side of creamy Guacamole:
The cabbage (a mix of salted cabbage, red pepper, tomato, cumcumber, onion, cilantro, lime, and olive oil) was pretty tasty. But I think I'll add some agave to my leftovers. I like my slaw a tad bit sweet. The guac was amazing! Unfortunately, the first avocado I cut into had a ton of black spots inside (has anyone else noticed this happening more often lately?). I had to run out to the store in the rain for another avocado. Thankfully, it was flawless on the inside.
After making all that yummy rawness, I settled in to watch the debate in my PJs! I can't believe it's only a month from Election Day! I'm so excited!
Friday, October 3, 2008
To celebrate our eventual victory, my friend Nathan and I had a debate-watching party at his crib in Cordova. I made Joe Biden's recipe for Oatmeal Cookies:
I found it on the internets, but of course, it had to be veganized. I just subbed Energy Egg Replacer for the eggs, and I cut down the amount of oatmeal and raisins cause the original recipe called for 3 CUPS OF OATS!
These were pretty darn tasty! And I made little flags using tiny pics from Google Images and party toothpicks.
I just love Joe Biden! He's super smart and I love his crazy big smile. And well, Obama is a dream! Seriously, if he wins (and he will), this place is totally gonna change for the better.
BTW, if you're not registered, do it before Monday! That's the deadline!
Here's Joe Biden's (Vegan) Cookie Recipe
- 1 cup Earth Balance
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Energy egg replacer equal to two eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup raisins
- nuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, soda, cinnamon and salt together. Beat together the shortenings and sugars until creamy. Add egg replacer and vanilla; beat well. Add flour mixture, oats and raisins and mix well.
Use portion scoop and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes (should be golden brown in color).
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Also, I need to give a VERY special thanks to VKO from Lifestyles of the Chic and the Vegan. When she learned about my impending move, she sent me a bottle of Rescue Remedy for my pets (I have 6 cats and a dog). Cats do not like moving, and a couple of mine are pretty skittish anyway. This Rescue Remedy stuff was amazing. You squirt a few drops on a cat treat and they're instantly rolling around in the floor like nothing has changed. Thanks so much VKO!
My new house has a HUGE kitchen. I'm used to tiny apartment kitchens, but now that I'm renting a house, I get to cook in a grown-up sized kitchen. It has tons of cabinet space, a lazy susan for my spices, counter space galore, and an oven that beeps at you when it's preheated. Here's a pic of half of it:
I just got unpacked last night, so I haven't had a chance to really cook anything big yet. But Friday night (before the move), I picked up this delicious Mushroom Lovers Pizza from DejaVu:
DejaVu is a new vegan restaurant in downtown Memphis. They have daily specials, and Friday night is Pizza Night. This was a personal pan size pizza loaded high with mushrooms, caramelized onion, sun-dried tomatoes, and vegan mozzerella. So good! Tuesday is Vegan Crab Cake Day, so I ate those on Tuesday but didn't get a picture. You'll just have to believe me when I say they were delicious.
Today, I whipped up some Fantastic Foods New England Vegetarian Chicken Noodle Soup with a Whole Wheat Baguette:
A while back, my dad ordred me some vegan goodies from Vegan Essentials. He picked out this soup mix, which comes in powdered form with dehydrated veggies. The back of the bag has add-in suggestions and I chose to make the Mediterranean Chicken Noodle version by tossing in white beans, parsley, and pesto in the last five minutes of cooking. It makes a huge pot (about 8 servings), so I'll be eating this for a few days.
But that doesn't mean I won't be cooking in my new kitchen! I plan on doing some baking tonight ... gotta christen my oven.