Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pizza Day Update

Well, I managed to burn my hand making pizza (actually I was trying to save the crust as the pan fell off the top of the stove), but the result was still a delicious success. Posts will resume once I have full use of both hands.

In the mean time, did you know that Vegan Food Snob is now on Facebook! Check it out.

Friday, January 28, 2011

snowed in

I'm in the midst of a bad storm here complete with snow, wind, thundersnow, lightning and power outages. I've had no power and have but a moment of internet connection. Enjoy these photos of what I've been up to pre-storm. Details to come...

And don't forget, the very first national VEGAN PIZZA DAY is tomorrow!! Let me know how you are celebrating!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

lasagna stoup

I veganized this recipe after my mom made it and promptly called me to rave about it. She thought it could be easily adapted, and well, she was correct. Lasagna stoup is the perfect meal on those days you get home from work late when its freezing out and you need something comforting. It comes together pretty easily, and if you are strapped for time takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. 

Vegan Lasagna Stoup original recipe from Rachel Ray

  • olive oil to coat
  • 1 package Gimme Lean ground beef style (see note) 
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or water + 2 cups
  • 1 can 28 oz crushed tomatoes with basil
  • 1 pound lasagna noodles, broken into jagged pieces
  • Daiya mozzarella to serve
In a large pot or dutch oven heat olive oil over medium high heat. Break up the Gimme Lean in the pot and cook until browned. Add onions, carrots and garlic and cook until pretty soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if desired. The grounds will stick to the bottom a bit so keep scraping with a good spatula. When you add the liquid it should all come up pretty easily. When veggies are cooked, add the veg. broth and 2 cups of water or all 6 cups of water and the tomatoes. At this point you can cover and leave it on a simmer for a while until you are ready eat. If you don't have much time/are starving, cover and bring to a boil. Add your lasagna pieces and cook until al dente. Season again with salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add a nice dusting of dried Italian herbs. Serve in large soup bowls and sprinkle with Daiya mozzarella if desired. 

Note: I use the Gimme Lean basically out of convenience. It's easy and predictable and cooks up pretty well. I'm sure crumbled seitan, tofu or tempeh would make fine substitutions if you don't like the fake meat stuff.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

sweet treats

It's no secret, we like sweet things around here. I have 2 treats to tell you about today. First is, what else, but a cookie recipe, and the second banana bread.

I want to introduce you to my new favorite cookies. Carrot raisin spice chewies. These cookies are the perfect balance of healthy and sugar with a full dose of deliciousness. They take carrots, raisins, coconut, walnuts, flax seeds and spices combined with tons of sugar to make the most mouth watering sweet treat this side of the Mississippi (whatever that means). If you enjoy carrot cake, you will fall in love with these. The recipe is from my new bible, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, by everyone's favorite dynamic duo, Moskowitz and Romero. I'm not posting the recipe because really you should just go out and buy this book already. Seriously.

Now, on to the banana bread. Sometime in the middle of today I had this craving for banana bread. But it wasn't just a craving. It was as if I had turned into a vegan zombie, roaming the streets in search of the perfect banana bread and eating every graiiiin (said in a zombie voice) in my path. Thank goodness for The PPK. Of course Isa would come to my rescue and save me from this zombie takeover. See here for the cure. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to enjoy my banana bread with a tall, frosty glass of soy milk.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

french onion soup

I forgot how much I loved and missed french onion soup until I actually made some tonight. This simple vegan version tastes just like the crock of onion soup you'd get at the diner with the obligatory, overflowing, melted cheese crust on top. The recipe is from Meatout Mondays which is a great resource. If you do not get their emails, I urge you to sign up.

Although this is not exactly a quick cooking soup, it uses pretty basic ingredients and it is very easy to make. Especially if you have a mandolin to slice your onions. If not you can easily use the slicing attachment on your food processor. If you have neither, well, good luck with that. 

French Onion Soup
  •  ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced (or sub 1 more onion)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon white miso (optional, I left it out) 
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 loaf crusty bread
Heat olive oil in large pot. Add onions and sprinkle with salt, stir until onions are coated with olive oil. Cover and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until very tender.
Remove cover and raise heat to medium high; allow onions to caramelize, but not burn, for 15 minutes. Add wine to onions and simmer until it is almost completely absorbed. Add stock, bay leaves, and a good grind of black pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut bread into 1” thick slices. Brush both sides with olive oil, and sprinkle with a touch of coarse salt. Place on baking sheet and broil until both sides are golden and crispy, flipping the slices as they toast. (
Keep a close eye on your bread so that you don't blacken your first batch like I did.)
Remove cover from soup; add miso if using, soy sauce, and more salt and pepper if desired.
Ladle into bowls and top with a piece (or 2, or 3...) of toasted bread. Serve immediately. Feel free to sprinkle a little Daiya mozzarella on top of yours. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up Type Thingy

Ok, so I know it's technically already a new week. But we are straggling along here with this three day weekend, which is not a bad thing. I've been quite sick the entire week (again) but managed to mostly stick to the menu. Let's review...

Sunday- Dinner out- two dear friends cooked us a delicious Indian inspired meal. I only wish I had taken some leftovers home.

Monday- Since T made sauce on Sunday (just for fun) I strayed away from the menu, the smell of tomatoey goodness just really got to me. We had "chicken cutlet parmesan" with linguine. I used Gardein's Tuscan Breasts, covered with homemade sauce, topped with mozzarella Daiya, and baked until the mozz was nice and melty, about 20 minutes. I rarely use fake meat type products, but we had these on hand and it made for an excellent use of the sauce.

Tuesday- Italian Wedding Soup- It was the perfect night for soup, and even though my homemade meatballs disintegrated when they were dropped in, it was still delicious. Highly recommended.

Wednesday-Teriyaki Stir Fry- Ok, the stir fry part of this is basically my signature dish, yet somehow it went terribly, terribly wrong. I used waaaaaaaay too much Bragg's and ginger when making the stir fry so we were left with an immediate feeling of intense heartburn after a few bites. Honestly, we tossed the leftovers, it was that bad. Luckily I know what I did wrong, and will fix it for next time. Stay tuned...

Thursday- Curried Potatoes- Quite successful. Quick, easy and really tasty. So good that we decided to eat the leftovers on Friday night.
Thus completing the "planned" week. I did manage to get my pasta with red onion and kale in on Saturday. In all, I think we did pretty well.

This week is much easier, being a 4 day work week. Sunday began with what else, but pasta. Tonight will be the famous Mac n' Cheese bites from Your Vegan Mom (see here) along with Gardein's Seven Grain Crispy Tenders. (I know, I know. I said I don't use this stuff and here it is again. Just bear with me.)
The remainder of the week consists of French Onion Soup, Chili and Lasagna Stoup (more on this later).

What I am really excited about this week is my brand new Crock Pot! I cannot wait to put it to good use.  I think I'll mostly be making the dog's food in it, but will certainly use it to make oats for the morning (with no rushing!) I'm still looking into other crock pot ideas, so if you have any pass them my way please!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


A few nights ago I was seriously craving cookies. I've been known to begin baking in the middle of the night if a craving strikes me right. Or if someone here begs enough...
So there I was, debating whipping up a batch of cookies at 10 p.m. I decided to make some granola instead, as I'd also been wanting cereal in the morning. It felt like a pretty good compromise.

Vanilla Almond Granola
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance, melted
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325˚F. In a large mixing bowl combine oats, almonds and coconut. In a separate small bowl, thoroughly combine melted Earth Balance, agave and vanilla. Pour wet mixture over oat mixture and mix well until oats are entirely coated. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet, bake 10 minutes. Mix, then bake another 10 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool completely so that oats can crisp up.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mac 'n Cheese & Weekly Meal Plan

Before I get into meal planning, I just want to say if you have not tried the Mac 'n Cheese Bites from Your Vegan Mom (note: I used Daiya cheddar for mine), you are seriously missing out. Words cannot even describe their deliciousness, you just have to try them to know what I mean. These are going to become a weekly (daily?!) staple in my kitchen now.
Mine doesn't look like much, but trust me on this one...
Now. Meal plans. I am not the most organized person. In fact, you could say I'm quite the opposite. However, when I actually do plan meals for the week life is 1,000 times easier. Not just avoiding the "What do you want for dinner?" conversation and physically preparing the food, but also weekly food shopping becomes quite efficient and cost effective. 

When thinking about the week, I plan for 5 nights. This way the work week is covered. You are sure to have leftovers in the fridge at some point for snacks/lunch/the weekend/the night you don't feel like cooking again. If I know we are planning to go out for dinner or get take out, I make that part of the plan. Plus, 90% of the time we make sauce for pasta on Sunday, so that's covered.

Here is my (somewhat ambitious) plan for this week: (as you can see I'm using my new cookbook, Vegetarian Times: Everything Veganquite a bit) 

-Teriyaki stir-fry with seitan, mushrooms, broccolini and noodles
-Curried Potatoes w/ brown rice and spinach salad
-Pasta with red onion, kale, cauliflower, and white beans
-Quinoa and Spinach Soup with a multi grain baguette

Plus I have an acorn squash that's been sitting around for way too long that I'll roast up for one of those nights (pasta night?), even if only for a snack.

You may have noticed I didn't included the days of the week. I generally don't go so far to specify which day I'll make what, but will mentally note the specific days in the beginning of the week. Frankly I've found when I get *that* specific on paper, I often change my mind anyway. So why waste the ink?

Occasionally, (once), I try to also plan breakfast for myself, but I usually end up wanting to sleep in instead, so...
Anyone have any quick and easy (but warming, filling and delicious) breakfast ideas for me? My current fave is steel cut oats with cinnamon and agave. Although it freaks me out a little bit, "quick cooking" steel cut oats are a life saver!

What are you eating this week?

P.S. Really need help getting organized? Try a lobotome. I don't actually use these, but I do think they are pretty nifty. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Italian Lentil Soup

It's a cold, winter night... what's better than soup? How about lentil soup? I used this recipe as a guide, but did my own thing with it. I served this with Italian Feast Sausages from Vegan Brunch and hearty multi grain bread.

Italian Lentil Soup (makes a great New Year's meal as well, lentils are good luck you know!)
Serves a small country

I swear the spinach and tomatoes are in there, somewhere...
  • olive oil to coat pan
  • half a package (~6 strips) Smokey Tempeh, chopped into 1/4" pieces
  • 1 medium-large onion, diced small*
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped*
  • 4 carrots, chopped*
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, minced*
  • 1-2 14 oz cans brown lentils (I used 1 'cause it's all I had, but recommend using 2)
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes w/ Italian herbs
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed with your fingers
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (I used 4 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon w/ 8 cups water)
  • 1/4-1/2 pound small pasta (I used small shells, but elbows would work too), optional
  • 1 lb fresh spinach (just eyeball a few handfuls)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil to serve
Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or dutch over. Add tempeh, cook until nicely browned being careful not to burn the small pieces. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until tender and translucent about 5 minutes. Add a drizzle of olive oil to cook veggies if necessary. Add lentils, cook about 2 minutes then add tomatoes, herbs and veg. stock. Bring to a boil then add pasta. Turn heat down to low and simmer until pasta is cooked through. Add spinach when pasta is still al dente. Remove bay leaves before serving. Dish up, season with freshly ground sea salt and pepper and a drizzle olive oil over the top (really, don't skip the oil, it's delicious). Be sure to have a loaf of hearty multi grain bread to dunk in your soup and soak up all that yummy goodness. You should have enough soup for a week. Or in my case, 2 days.

*Note: I am incredibly lucky to have my very own sous-chef. A few years ago as a birthday gift, I sent T to a "Basic Knife Skills" class. It was great because he enjoys chopping things and using big fancy chefs knives. He returned from the class eager to chop anything in sight to practice his new skills. Now when I need something to be cut up, he is often eager to sharpen the knife and get to work. I benefit from my gift idea, but also have to endure the response of "Yes chef" when I ask him to chop something for me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

My mom has made ice cream cone cupcakes for my birthday since I was 3 years old. Even my dearest friend since nursery school remembers these sweet treats, always decorated with purple frosting. Now with mom way up in NY, and me way down in DC, what's a girl to do? Make them for myself, of course. 

With these special treats, I like to keep it simple (just like mom did), with a basic white cake and vanilla frosting. I used the Golden Vanilla cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World as well as the Vegan Fluffy Buttercream from the same book. Since my copy is still in the mail, I followed the recipes posted hereThere are two different options when making this batter, I used the oil version.

Be sure when making these to use the ice cream cones with flat bottoms. I could only find mini (and gluten free) ice cream cones for some reason, but no matter, I'm an equal opportunity cone consumer. 

When your batter is ready, fill the cones no more than 3/4 of the way full or your batter will bubble over when baking. I decided to err on the side of caution and only filled some half way. The recipe calls for a bake time of 20-22 minutes, however my minis required an extra 2-4 minutes. 

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting them.

I ran out of powdered sugar after using only 1 cup for the frosting. To finish the recipe I made my own by blending regular sugar and cornstarch. I opted to not blend my sugar completely smooth so that my frosting would have a little sparkle to it from the sugar crystals.

Yummm... Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Food

Hello my lovelies and Happy New Year. Did you all eat your Hoppin' John??

Ok, I'll admit it, I had never heard of Hoppin' John until about a week ago. Nevertheless, I decided it would be a great year to begin the blackeyed pea tradition because, well, who doesn't need a little good luck?
I found this absolutely adorable recipe for a Hoppin' John tart here at My Recession Kitchen  and gave it a go. I made the brown rice crust and spinach just as the recipe dictates, but for the Hoppin' John part I had neither the dried beans, nor the time. So here is what I did differently.

First I roughly chopped 2 carrots and sliced about 1/2 of a red onion. I added the carrot, onion and about 3 cups (enough to cover) of vegetable broth to a sauce pan. I cooked this on medium low heat about 5-7 minutes, until the carrots were soft.

I then added 1 can of (rinsed) blackeyed peas. I brought this up to a gentle bubble and added a pinch of sea salt and a few generous shakes of smoked paprika. I let this cook down on a low simmer until most of the veg. broth is cooked down and thickened a bit. As it cooks, be sure to taste and add more salt or paprika as you feel necessary. I wanted mine pretty "smokey" so I added a bit more.

Once the crust was finished baking, I assembled as in the original recipe. Crust, greens, pea mixture on top. Mine was not as pretty as the original tart, but it was delicious.

Ok, so it looks a little weird, but I thought the flavor was pretty excellent. In fact, the bean mixture reminded me of my mom's split pea soup she used to make before I went veg. Mmmm, nostalgia.
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