Archive for October, 2011

Tired MoFo

I’m exhausted, so no recipe today, but here are some food photos that will surely satisfy your desire to see food (but they’ll probably just increase your desire to actually eat food).

When will strawberries come back in season? Oh right, May. I promise next year I will do more preserving. Okay, I’ll be honest, I didn’t do any preserving this year! Shame on me.

Black Bear Bakery sourdough toast with pesto-infested hummus (that sounds kind of gross, how about pesto-kissed?), oatmeal and yummy-local cherry tomatoes

Blueberry pancakes with Michigan strawberries and maple syrup (back when I was living in the mitten state)

This MoFo is going to bed. Happy dreaming! (Does that make sense? I’m so sleepy.)

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Chickpea Chili

Local Harvest Cafe puts chickpeas in their chili, and tonight I just happened to have soaked and cooked chickpeas stored in my fridge from yesterday, so I thought “why not”? I took my recipe for black bean and sweet potato chili and used chickpeas instead, along with a few other adjustments. This chili was fun to make, because the chickpeas were already cooked and ready to go, and once all of the ingredients were in the pot, I simmered it for an hour while I walked the dogs, watched TV, and ran to the store (I turned the stove off when I left the house, don’t worry!). And I’m sure the leftovers tomorrow will be even more flavorful and satisfying.

Chickpea Chili

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne (less if you don’t want it too spicy)
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. blackstrap molasses
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 28-oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4-1/2 cup filtered water, to desired consistency
  1. Preheat olive oil on medium high in a large pot. Add onion and red bell pepper and stir for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and spices. Stir constantly for another minute.
  2. Add tomatoes and stir for several minutes. Mix in cocoa powder, molasses and salt, and then add the chickpeas and sweet potatoes. Add water to desired consistency. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes to an hour (or longer), until sweet potatoes are soft.

Yield: 4-6 servings

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Boy, do I have a delicious recipe to share with you! Remember these cookies? You’re probably sick of hearing about them now. Well, I decided to make these again, since I was craving something sweet and didn’t have anything to eat for lunch in the house. Instead of using cashews, almonds, or walnuts, though, I decided to use pecans — a good decision! I also used a combination of maple syrup and sorghum molasses for the sweetener this time, and that really made a difference. The flavors of the pecans, maple syrup, and sorghum molasses (tastes like blackstrap molasses, but it was harvested and produced here in Missouri) really make the cookies. Try this combination, and you can probably use blackstrap molasses instead of sorghum, if you can’t find it.

I’m not going to re-post the recipe (since you can find it here), just make the following changes:

  • Replace the nuts with pecans
  • Replace the brown rice syrup with a combination of maple syrup and sorghum molasses (or blackstrap molasses) — I did half and half.
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (not 1/2 cup, unless you don’t want them extra-chocolate-y and then use less)
  • I also didn’t use the rolled oats this time either, but I was planning on it. I just realized at the last-minute that I was out of rolled oats! I think these are better without the oats, though. They’re more like that classic chocolate chip cookie, with the rich flavors of maple syrup and molasses.

I didn’t use parchment paper, and these really stuck to the baking sheet, so I recommend lightly oiling the pan or using parchment paper. I also recommend storing these in the fridge and eating them cold, if you can resist them right out of the oven!

Yield: 12 cookies

I have no pictures, but I do have this video. Don’t hate me for posting it. John and Yoko were so cute they make me cry (and John would have turned 71 yesterday).

Finch would like to say Happy Week 2 of Vegan MoFo, you silly humans!

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My dad turned 56 this week. I forgot my dad’s birthday two years in a row once, so I am always careful to make sure I call him on his birthday. The problem is I don’t know when his birthday is! For some reason I have the birthdays of my mom, my sister and my brother memorized, but his always slips my memory. Maybe I shouldn’t analyze this too much.

Despite not remembering the actual date of his birthday, I do remember that my mom always made meatloaf on my dad’s birthday, his favorite food! With lots of ketchup. My dad’s quite the classy dude, huh? So, maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that I decided to make Oh She Glows’ Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf last night. It was really tasty. So tasty that I ate more than half of the loaf, I am not proud to say. But everyone deserves to pig out a little bit on Saturday night, right?

I’m not going to re-post the recipe, because Angela does such a great job of explaining the directions (with pictures even). You can find the recipe here. I made the sweet potato version, not the original carrot-apple. The only modification I’d make next time is doubling the sweet glaze — I can never get enough sauce!

I had the leftovers for breakfast this morning, thus succeeding in finishing the whole loaf in 24 hours or less. That’s the second time this week I’ve finished a whole dish in one day. Maybe I should start working out?

P.S. Can you do me a favor? When you make this recipe and discover you love it as much as I do, can you contact my mother and aunt and let them know? They made fun of me all day when I raved about my lentil loaf. Words hurt, mom!

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Happy Saturday! Today, for me, Saturday = cleaning the house and munching on these cookies I made last night and publicly shamed (sorry, cookies!). I take it all back — they are really yummy. And chewy. If you like chewy cookies, then you’ll probably like these. They are “healthy” — brown rice syrup replaces the refined sugar and there’s only 1 1/2 tbsp. of oil (there is a whole cup of nuts — but nuts are healthy and less processed than oil). They are also wheat- and gluten-free (I used gluten-free oat flour). Here’s the recipe I used last night:

Chewy Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

These can also be called “hide the nuts” cookies, because there’s a whole cup of nuts in there but you’d never guess it (unless you can detect the flavor, but, as a recovering nut-phobist, it was more the texture than the flavor I disliked). Hmph. Well, if you want to sneak nuts into a cookie, for whatever reason (not to poison someone!), you can try this recipe. Like, if you want to add some protein-y goodness to your kid’s snack. I dunno!

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. safflower oil (or another neutral-tasting oil)
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds + 1/2 cup raw cashews (you may substitue other nuts, just make sure you have 1 cup total)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup (or any combination of your preferred liquid sweetener(s), just make sure you have 1/2 cup total; the brown rice syrup makes ‘em extra chewy)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (make sure to get gluten-free oat flour, if you want these to be gf)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats, optional (I didn’t use this time; again, make sure they are gf)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or lightly spray with oil.
  2. Blend almonds and cashews in a food processor for 30 seconds. Add oil and blend for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture resembles nut butter. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
  3. Add liquid sweetener(s) and vanilla extract to walnut mixture.
  4. Combine oat flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Add to wet ingredients and incorporate. Fold in oats, if using, and chocolate chips. (The dough will be pretty sticky, so you might need to use your hands in place of a spoon).
  5. Place cookie dough in 2-inch balls onto cookie sheets 2 inches apart (I lightly oil my hands first so the dough doesn’t stick). Bake each cookie sheet for 8 minutes. Let cool for five minutes and then transfer to wire rack. Store in an airtight container (in the freezer, for maximum freshness).

Yield: 1 dozen cookies

These aren’t like blow-your-mind cookies, but they are tasty, healthier than the usual cookie, and pretty darn easy to make!

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TGI VeganMoFo

Do you know “The Heart-Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World”? From Vegetarian Times? I blogged about them a few months ago and posted my adapted recipe here. Tonight I tried making them without the rolled oats for some reason — an impulse decision — and they didn’t turn out as spectacular as before :(. I also replaced the walnuts with a combination of almonds and cashews and used all brown rice syrup for the sweetener instead of 50/50 brown rice syrup and maple syrup (or agave nectar) and I think all of that brown rice syrup made them a little too sticky. (The photo above is from the first batch I made, not the disappointing batch tonight.)

Since I don’t have a cookie recipe to share with you (except the one I posted before), I thought I’d share a smoothie recipe, specifically the one I enjoyed this morning.

The Classic Smoothie (i.e. Strawberry-Banana)

I wonder how the strawberry-banana smoothie came to be — why not raspberry- or blueberry-banana?

  • 1 cup nondairy milk (I make fresh cashew milk = 1 cup water + 6 tbsp. raw cashews, blended)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 large banana
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Blend together until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Yield: 1 serving

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MoFo Blogs

I thought I’d spend today’s post showing my gratitute (that Festive Tart put me in the thanking mood) to the blogs that inspire me. Isn’t showing love to our fellow vegan bloggers what MoFo is all about?

  • Have Cake, Will Travel: Celine Steen and Have Cake, Will Travel are what inspired me to start a blog in the beginning! I discovered Celine’s absolutely gorgeous photographs and witty remarks in the summer of 2009, and I believe it was the Brownie Bites Cookies that sold me on Have Cake indefinitely. I was also intrigued by her use of tahini and the pb/jam combo in baked goods.
  • Oh She Glows: Just click on that little link to the left and you’ll be swept away to a land of bright orange pumpkins and whole foods baked (and no-bake) goods (and plenty of savory dishes to go around too). I love Angela Liddon’s stunning, color-saturated pictures and emphasis on whole, nutritious recipes, and if I haven’t sold you yet, she wrote up this PDF with every recipe you’ll ever need for your first (or eighth — man, I feel old) vegan Thanksgiving meal.
  • Oh, Ladycakes: I know I’m always talking about sugar-free this, sugar-free that, but Ashlae is where you need to go when you just want an absotutely a-ma-zing cookie. And definitely for special occasions, especially when you want to impress your non-vegan (or vegan — vegans need love too!) friends and family. You could also go there for the wit and the oh-so-pretty photographs, if you’re not so into the sugary treats (but c’mon, who isn’t?)
  • ThoraThinks: The blog of a children’s book isn’t where you’d naturally think to go for vegan recipes, but this is no ordinary children’s book. Nathalie posts vegan recipes occasionally, mostly raw desserts, accompanied by mouth-watering photographs, and her specialty is proving to be ice cream! This strawberry ice cream recipe is my motivation to acquire an ice cream maker before next spring. And Nathalie doesn’t use sugar at all in her recipes, so I can enjoy my ice cream with a quiet conscience.
  • Sarbear’s Journey: This isn’t strictly a cooking blog, but how could I pass this one up? Sara is a fellow St. Louis gal and writes with admirable honesty and humor. This is the blog I go to when I’m taking a break from the food (how could I say such a thing!) and am in the mood for all things crafty.
  • And how could I forget Domestic Affair, jae steele’s blog! She doesn’t regularly update it anymore, but the archives go back to 2005. If you’ve read both Get it Ripe and Ripe from Around Here cover to cover 40 million times and need a jae steele fix, now you know where to go (but if you’ve read GiR and RfAH 40 million times, you probably already know this).

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Last night I made Dreena Burton’s absolutely scrumptious Festive Chickpea Tart. I don’t have a photo to share with you all of this yummy-licious pie, but you can find one right here. This pie would be pretty much perfect to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner — and it’s relatively cheap and easy to make, so you don’t need to spend your month’s savings on a Field Roast to impress your non-vegan friends this year (although the Field Roast is pretty darn irresistable, I must admit). Okay, I’m a little loopy from lack of sleep, so let’s skip ahead to the recipes.

Festive Chickpea Tart

adapted from Dreena Burton’s Festive Chickpea Tart

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3/4 cup diced carrots
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups + 1/4 cup cooked chickpeas (separated)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
  • 1 prepared 9″ whole wheat pie crust (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 2 tbsp. walnuts, chopped
  1. Prepare pie crust and set aside (recipe below).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Heat olive oil, onions, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper in a skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the onions soften. Set aside.
  4. Add 1 1/4 cups cooked chickpeas (reserving 1/4 cup), walnuts, lemon juice, tamari or Bragg’s, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to chop everything up, but do not purée it. Transfer 1/2 of the mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
  5. Transfer sautéed onion mixture to food processor and purée until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times if needed.
  6. Transfer puréed mixture to the bowl with the lightly chopped mixture. Add the remaining chickpeas, frozen peas, dried cranberries and thyme, and mix everything together.
  7. Transfer chickpea mixture to prepared pie crust. Combine olive oil and tamari or Bragg’s and drizzle over filling. Sprinkle chopped walnuts on top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
  8. Serve with cranberry sauce or a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Beyond Easy Whole Wheat Pie (or Tart) Crust

I’m always intimidated by pies because of the crust, but this pie crust (adapted from Living Food Junkie) is nothing to fear! And what perfect timing to discover it — think of all of the pies I can make this season. Pumpkin, apple, sweet potato, pecan…

  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. cold water

Preheat oven to 400. Combine flour, olive oil and salt in a medium bowl. Add cold water and use your hands to form a ball of dough. Spread the dough evenly onto a 9″ glass pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool while you prepare the filling. This can be used for sweet or savory pies.

Happy VeganMoFo Hump Day!

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I made this dish from Vegan with a Vengeance for dinner last night, but I replaced the seitan with marinated tofu (also from Vengeance), which means I can cross two recipes off of the list I made yesterday. As promised, I am going to rank the recipes in terms of time and difficulty.

Cold Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Marinated Tofu

Cold Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce

  • time: < 30 minutes (10 minutes for the sauce, 10 minutes for the noodles, 5 minutes or so to chop veggies — as you can see in the photo, I used a red bell pepper and shoots)
  • difficulty: easy! As easy as making a simple sauce on the stove and cooking noodles.

Marinated Tofu

  • time: 2 1/2 hours, mostly unattended (1 hour to press the tofu, 1 hour to marinate, and 30 minutes to bake)
  • difficulty: easy! The majority of the preparation time is inactive.

Last thoughts: just get the tofu pressed and start the marinating, then prepare the sauce and the noodles, then bake the tofu, and everything should be ready at the same time! This is especially good as cold leftovers for lunch the next day.

Do I recommend: yes!

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Pretend that I posted this on October 3. It was all typed up and ready to go, but I fell asleep before clicking “publish.” I didn’t forget about you, MoFo!

Today’s post is going to be about the first vegan cookbook I ever owned (well, maybe not my first, but the first one I got really excited about) and one of my long-time favorites…

I had to steal this picture from the PPK website because my copy has been used (er, abused) so much that the cover is nonexistent. The title page is still hanging in there, but I can only see “Vegan with a Vengeance” and “Rock.” My supportive vegetarian sister excitedly picked this one up for me, raving about the “fronch” toast and tempeh “bacon,” and we’ve been inseparable ever since. I even made room in my suitcase when I was going on study abroad in Athens for six months I love this book so much (I also brought Veganomicon and left it on the plane coming back to the U.S. along with my copy of Thanking the Monkey, but that’s another story).

Despite my devotion to this book, I haven’t made everything in it! Probably only a fraction of the recipes, less than half, if I had to put money on it. I’m one of those people who finds a recipe she adores and then makes it ad nauseam. So, for this post I am going to share my all-time favorite recipes from Vegan with a Vengeance, the recipes I’ve made once and loved but never made again, and, finally, a list of those recipes I’ve kept my eye on but never dove into. And the deal is I have to make all of the recipes on list #3 before the end of MoFo. And since I never made these recipes before out of fear that they would require too much time and effort (i.e. laziness), I will rank them in terms of time and difficulty.

First, the favorites:

  • Scrambled Tofu — a classic.
  • Pancakes — um, look at the header.
  • Carrot Bisque — I’ve served this at potlucks and had people begging for the recipe.
  • Chili sin Carne al Mole — my go-to meal when I want something hearty but not too complicated. And when it’s cold outside.
  • Sweet Potato Fries — a quick and easy snack.
  • Garlicky Kale with Tahini Dressing — I love this combination. Sometimes I over-cook the kale and dip the kale “chips” in the dressing. Okay, I did it once when I accidentally over-cooked the kale. But it was good!
  • Chickpea and Spinach Curry — Another simple but hearty meal, especially good when it’s snowing outside.
  • Brooklyn Pad Thai — this is one of my all-time favorites of the all-time favorites!
  • Raspberry Chocolate Blondie Bars — my step-dad loves these. I served these the first time he came over to meet “the family” and I’m pretty sure these are the reason he decided to propose.

Loved only once:

  • Apple Pie-Crumb Cake Muffins — I served these to my future mother-in-law when she wasn’t feeling well, and she said they were what healed her!
  • Scones — my roommates raved about these.
  • White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup — my BFF Ryan and I made this soup together and decided we’d need to double it next time, we just couldn’t stop eating it! Serve with crusty bread.
  • Spanakopita (Spinach Pies) — Ryan and I made these for my roommates for “Greek night” and they were a hit! Not too complicated, even though the directions seem a little intimidating.
  • Mashed Potatoes with Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy — a must on Thanksgiving.
  • Homemade Gnocchi — it’s really not as tricky as it looks!
  • Gingerbread Apple Pie — just, pie!
  • Strawberry-Rhubarb-Peach Pie — Oh. My. God. Ryan (yes, the BFF) and I made this a few springs ago, served with vanilla Tofutti ice cream. Heaven!

Admired from afar:

  • Baking Powder Biscuits and White Bean Tempeh Sausage Gravy — I have made the biscuits before but not the gravy. I brought the biscuits to Thanksgiving dinner last year — delicious!
  • “Fronch” Toast
  • Matzoh Ball Soup — and what better time than now to try it!
  • Knish Madness: Sweet Potato, Potato, and Spinach-Potato
  • Potato-Edamame Samosas with Coconut-Mint Chutney
  • Cauliflower-Leek Kugel with Almond-Herb Crust
  • Curried Tempeh-Mango Salad Sammiches
  • Tofu Dill Salad Sammiches — the local food co-op in Kalamazoo, Michigan (where I attended college) serves these in the deli, although I always called them “Tofu Dill Bars.” I’m a weirdo.
  • Chickpea-Hijiki Salad Sammiches — Ryan, the devoted BFF that he is, brought me back hijiki from Japan the last time he came to visit, so it’d be a shame if I didn’t make these! Thanks, Ry!
  • Potato and Tempeh Sausage Pizza — I have to make this now that my mother bought me a pizza stone! Thanks, mom!
  • Marinated Tofu — I’ve marinated tofu, just not using this recipe!
  • Cold Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Seitan
  • Green Thai Curry
  • Sweet Potato Crepes with Cilantro-Tamarind Sauce
  • Maple Walnut Cookies
  • Raspberry Blackout Cake with Ganache-y Frosting
  • No-Bake Black-Bottom-Peanut Butter Silk Pie
  • Sweet Potato Pie with Three-Nut Topping

I will make these throughout the month and share my results along with a mouth-watering photo, if everything goes well. I won’t be posting the recipes unless I make significant changes, so go out and get your pretty self a copy. Let’s do this!

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