Wednesday, October 24, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 24: Loaded sweet potato fries

Hey all! Sorry I've been slacking lately. I missed quite a few days and as we get to the end of the month I seem to be getting busier. Hopefully I can get back to posting a little more often!

Loaded Sweet Potato Fries
I got the idea for this from the restaurant Merge in Buffalo. They have a very similar dish on their menu and it was delicious. Unfortunately, Buffalo is about an 8 hour drive from me, so I'll have to settle for this.

1/2 lb sweet potatoes, cut into fry-shaped pieces
olive oil (preferably in a refillable oil mister)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooked lentils (I used green)
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
2 ounces spinach (about 2 big handfuls), chopped
a handful Daiya, or other vegan cheese of choice

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place the sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Spray them with a light coating of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until softened (time will vary based on how big you cut them). You can use this time to cook the lentils if you didn't have leftovers in the fridge already.
In a cast iron pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil, onion, and garlic until the garlic browns. Add the lentils and taco seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally, until the some of the lentils start to get crispy on the edges. Stir in the spinach just to get it wilted.
If you have a well-seasoned pan, you can add the daiya right over the lentils and let it melt in and then use a big flat spatula to transfer to the cooked potatoes. If not (or if you fear you'll make a mess trying to do it in the pan), spoon the prepared lentils over the potatoes, sprinkle with daiya and then return it to the oven until the daiya is melted.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 17: revisiting the past

I was looking over my old posts today and I came across this survey. I did it first back in 2009 for the third VeganMoFo. So I'm doing this survey again to see if any of my answers have changed much over the last three years. My new answers are in red below my old ones

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
Chocolate almond milk is pretty darn tasty.
Chocolate almond milk is still delicious, but my favorite is now the almond milk from Trader Joe's--the original flavored one in the red box in the refrigerated section.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
I was recently lusting over the chicken wings from Vegan Dad, so i'll probably make those at some point this month. Also lasagna and Puerto Rican rice with gandules (pigeon peas)
Pumpkin cookies tonight, loaded sweet potato fries tomorrow, and roasted chickpeas (can't do a month of beans without that!)

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
Salt. NOTHING else, people!
Okay so I used to be popcorn purist. But I recently (very recent, like a month ago) grew to love nutritional yeast. I used to be able to just barely tolerate it. But now I take my popcorn covered in earth balance and nooch

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
Maybe the time I put baking soda instead of baking powder in biscuits. ugh that was so gross.
I think that was the most disappointing because I didn't know anything was wrong until the very end. Most of my other fails have been saved by a generous dose of Sriracha.

5. Favorite pickled item?
Pickles! I don't think I've ever had anything else pickled.
Still pickles, though I have expanded to other pickled items.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
I don't. It's horrible. I keep meaning to put everything on index cards and put them in this recipe box I have, but then I just lose the index cards.
omg it's still terrible. and it's getting worse as I have begun to stray from the safety net of Isa's books and try online recipes.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
I started and then abandoned a compost heap, but I keep saying I'll start it up again!

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?
Rice, garlic, and tofu.
Hmm I'm going to keep the rice, but dried beans would last longer than tofu and garlic seems like a waste of a food item. I want something to fill me up. Let's see...Rice, lentils, and chocolate (all right, so chocolate won't fill me up, but it's too yummy to leave behind)

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
Eating tuna sandwiches on toasted bread with friends at my house. We used to say "one more bite and I'll go crazy!" with every bite until the last one. Then we'd go crazy. Ah, good times.
 This is the same, still!

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
That chocolate peanut butter one from Soy Delicious
Chocolate-cake batter twist on a wafer cone from Lula's

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
Ooh it's between the food processor and the stand mixer. They are both wonderful.
Yes, these two are still on top. I definitely use the food processor more, but I could probably do without it and just do everything by hand. But there is no substitute for a stand mixer when it comes to a really good fluffy frosting.

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
Wait, does garlic count? I guess if it did then, it still does.

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
I don't know if any of the non-vegan books were mine. My first vegan cookbook was How it All Vegan
Same, but I don't really use it that much. I got VWAV just a few months later and I use it waaaaay more.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
Mixed berries (specifically the kind they sell at my farmer's market)

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
Tofu and Quinoa salad
It depends who it is and what I have time for. Tofu and Quinoa salad is still a staple, but usually the first taste of my cooking would be cupcakes or cookies.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
It's been tempeh lately, but usually tofu
Tofu wins for price, convenience, and versatility.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
I'm starting to like to cook brunch more and more lately. I always cook dinner, but having the time to make a big huge brunch is a special treat.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
Empty jars

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Bagels, Boca chick'n patties, and apple pie
Beans (garbanzo, white, and red), Trader Joe's chicken-less tenders, over-ripe bananas

20. What's on your grocery list?
I actually went shopping recently, so I don't need anything now. I'm running low on rice flour, though.
Agave and flour 

21. Favorite grocery store?
Trader Joe's
Yep, still TJ's

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.
Ham and cheese on a croissant. I just don't feel like making croissants ever. They're just so labor intensive.
Same. and crescent rolls are not the same.

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa's because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
Henry and Zelda!
I still love Henry and Zelda but I have become obsessed with The Kitchn lately.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Just plain dark chocolate. But I really want to try the Chick-O-Stick
Plain dark chocolate will always be fantastic, but when I want something really special, Jokerz bars!

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
I bought a wrap from a store near my school. It was like $8, and I was just going home anyway so I could have easily made myself something. But I just had to buy something from them--support the vegan businesses ya know?
I recently put myself on a strict food budget, so I get angry with myself whenever I buy non-essentials and convenience foods. Most recently I bought Lightlife bologna slices, those Trader Joe's chicken-less tenders that are in my freezer, and daiya

26. Ingredients you are scared to work with?
Nutritional yeast because I hate the flavor. So I always have anxiety trying to decide if it can be left out or if it's necessary/not noticeable.
Now I love nooch! but I still have issues with squash. I never used to like squash that much so I just wouldn't cook it for myself, but now I'm part of a CSA and I get it regularly. and I'm sort of freaking out about the three delicata squash sitting in my pantry!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 16: Edamame Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of the quickest and easiest ways to turn leftover rice into something magical. It's fully customizable--you can toss in any veggies you have on hand. I love to add some crumbled tofu because it takes on the texture of egg, which I used to love in pregan fried rice. 

Edamame Fried Rice

1/2 block tofu
1 teaspoon ginger, minced 
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced

1-3 Tablespoons peanut oil
2 cloves garlic
1 large carrot, diced
about 6 small leaves of bock choy, chopped (keep the stems and leaves separate)
1 teaspoon ginger
1 small onion
1 cup frozen edamame, shelled
4 cups cold cooked rice
1-3 Tablespoons soy sauce

In a cast iron pan, crumble in the tofu. Don't crumble it like for tofu ricotta, leave some pieces on the larger side, like dime sized. Add the ginger, soy sauce, and garlic. Dry fry until lightly browned. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the garlic, carrot, bok choy stems, ginger, onion, and edamame. Stir fry until all the veggies are softened. Add the browned tofu and bok choy leaves. When the bok choy is a little wilted, drizzle in another tablespoon of oil and toss in the rice. Let it get a little browned, adding the other tablespoon of oil if necessary. Drizzle soy sauce over the top to taste and continue to cook until it gets a little crispy.

Makes enough to fill a cat-sized pyrex container

Monday, October 15, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 15: Mom's Chili

Hello again! I took the weekend off because I've been sick. But now it's back to work and I've got comfort food to back me up. My mom has been making this chili for years, so I often craving it when I need some soothing food. And as a bonus, it takes about 5 minutes to throw the ingredients together and then 20-30 minutes later, dinner is ready.

Chile con Carne

1 bag Boca meatless ground crumbles
1 sm. onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce
2 (16oz) cans kidney beans, drained

 Mix everything in a pan, cover and cook on low for about 30 min. Remove bay leaf before serving. SO EASY.

Friday, October 12, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 12: National Coming Out Day Treats

Did you celebrate National Coming Out Day yesterday? Did you come out as gay? trans? asexual? genderqueer? pansexual? bi? questioning? none/all/some of the above? Awesome! Whether you choose to come out or not is completely up to you, but today is a day to celebrate who we are. Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, I welcome you to join me in celebrating queer life. 

Oh, and also...rainbows. I'm a sucker for themes, so I celebrate Coming Out Day with rainbows.

First up is
 Chocolate-Covered Rainbow Marzipan AKA "Unicorn Poop"

This idea comes from the wonderful Louzilla, a genius when it comes to all things rainbow. If the rainbow marzipan isn’t enough to convince you, check out her Dumbledore Gayke.  ::swoon::
For her Unicorn Poop, Louzilla made her own marzipan. I didn’t have enough time for that, so I bought tubes from the local supermarket (I needed two tubes to make enough of each color to fill sandwich-sized plastic bags). All in all, these were a lot of work, but the deliciousness made it well worth it. I brought them to share with some of my favorite queers and they were all devoured in an instant.

Next up is Lemon Rainbow Ice Box Cookies, a slightly modified version of the Grapefruit Icebox Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (original recipe here)

½ cup non-hydrogenate margarine
¼ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Food coloring (I use Wilton’s gels)

In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed, cream together the margarine and shortening. Beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, and beat until a soft dough forms.

Separate the dough into 6 equal-sized pieces. Tint each piece a different color of the rainbow. On a piece of wax paper, pat the purple dough into a rectangle, about ¼ inch thick. For the blue and subsequent layers, you want to be careful that the layers don’t run into each other, so it’s easiest if you pat down the dough one small section at time starting at the corners and working your way in, filling in the blank spots as you go.

Once you’ve got all the colors layered, fold the wax paper over and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight (I put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes)

Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from fridge and slice the block into ¼ inch thick slices and place on parchment-covered cookie sheets. The edge slices are going to be wack, that’s ok, just make a few weird looking cookies. Bake 10 minutes (depending how wide your rectangle was), edges should be lightly browned. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies are best eaten while reading excerpts from Cats and their Dykes aloud to your cat
**Bonus points to anyone who realized the multiple layers (hehe) of meaning with these treats. Both treats have to "come out" in a way, because they are not what you'd assume them to be upon first sight. The unicorn poop just looks like normal chocolates at first until you take a bite and reveal the gayness. And most people assume the rainbow cookies are plain sugar cookies until they take a bite and taste the lemon. Deep!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 11: Chickpea Salad Sandwiches, two ways

Have you ever had a chickpea salad sandwich? If not, you’re missing out. These are two excellent variations on the same basic idea: smash chickpeas, add something creamy, flavor it up, and stick it between two slices of bread. Or just eat it straight out of the bowl because it's that delicious

Chickpea Tuna-ish Salad (adapted from this post on the Kitchn)

1 (15 oz) can or 1½ cups chickpeas
¼ cup vegan mayo
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon crumbled nori 
1 tablespoon chopped red onion (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor and pulse two or three times to roughly chop (you can also just do this with a fork). Add remaining ingredients and pulse two or three times more to incorporate. Done.

Chickpeas Avocado Salad (from Two Peas & Their Pod)

1 (15 oz) can or 1½ cups chickpeas, rinsed
1 large ripe avocado 
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
Juice from 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, use a fork to mash the chickpeas and avocado together. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and you're done.

Another guest model today: Junior. He's such a good boy <3 td="td">

P.S. Happy National Coming Out Day!! I'm working on some rainbowy deliciousness that I'll post tomorrow, but for now, have some of these cupgaykes I made a couple of weeks ago:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 10: Pan-Fried Chickpeas, Mushrooms, and Broccoli

Last night I was in the mood for some comfort food. I was going to make the chili my mom has been making for years. I had most of the ingredients on hand already, so I just stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up the missing ingredients. As luck would have it, I left my shopping list at work and got distracted by Trader Joe’s new nacho-seasoned kale chips. Once I got home and realized my mistake, I was too hungry to run out again, so I created this. This is one time I’m glad I made a mistake.

Pan-Fried Chickpeas, Mushrooms, and Broccoli

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
8-10 cloves of garlic, minced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 (15 oz) can or 1½ cups chickpeas
1 bunch of broccoli, cut into small florets (about 3 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons za'atar spice blend
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

In a large pan over medium-high heat, cook the onion with the olive oil until the onion softens. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and have released much of their moisture. Add the rest of the ingredients and turn the heat up to high. Cook everything, stirring and mixing often, 10-15 minutes, until the chickpeas become golden brown and the broccoli is tender.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 9: Cilantro-Lime Rice and beans

Okay so the pictures might not be so pretty, but the food was delicious! The rice was the Cilantro-Lime Rice recipe form Viva Vegan. And then the beans are an adaptation of a recipe I had written down months ago (I don't remember the original source of that recipe).

Cilantro-Lime Rice 

1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 teaspoon salt (only if you're using water)
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, lightly packed
1 green onion, green part only, sliced very thinly

1. In a heavy pot, combine the rice, vegetable stock, olive oil, lime juice and zest, salt (if using), and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cover the pot. Cook for 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice grains are tender.
2. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the rice with the cilantro and green onion. Fluff the rice, working in the chopping herbs. Serve immediately.

Mexican Black Beans

4 Jalapeños, roasted (see note)
 1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons cumin
2 (15-oz) cans or 3 cups black beans
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped and loosely packed

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add onion. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cumin and cook until the garlic turns golden. Add black beans and broth. Simmer until the liquid reduces and beans start to break up a little.. Stir in cilantro and cook for just another minute.

Note: if you have a toaster oven, heat it to 350°F and roast the jalapeños 5 minutes (this time can vary a lot since all toaster ovens have different intensity levels) or until the skins blister and start to turn black. If you don’t have a toaster oven it seems silly to heat a full-sized oven for just a few jalapeños, so try to roast them in advance next time you have the oven on. Then you can just stick them in a container for a few days until you’re ready to use them. 

Monday, October 08, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 8: Quiche Me

There are certain recipes that I just have to make in certain seasons. Last year was the first time I made the Mushroom, White Bean, and Leek Pie from Vegan Brunch. I knew immediately that it was going to be a fall staple.

It's made up of mostly mushrooms, beans, leeks, and walnuts. And since I love pie crust so much, I up the crust-to-filling ratio and split the filling up between to shallow pie crusts. So good.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 7: Cookies!

Today, I'm taking a break from my bean theme to give you cookies.

Isa recently posted these snickerdoodles on the PPK blog. They sounded absolutely wonderful, so I just had to make them. After mixing all the wet ingredients together, I realized I didn't have some of the spices needed for the topping. The autumnal feel of the chai spices is what made this recipe so enticing. After a few moments of panic, I decided I'd sub out for some other fabulous fall-tasting spices. Option 1: pumpkin pie spice. Option 2: speculoos spice, that I had mixed together a few months ago when I made speculoos frosting for cupcakes. Both spice blends are amazing, so I made some of each and both were FANTASTIC. Go make these! Here is Isa's recipe, with my changes noted:

Spiced Snickerdoodles 

For the topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger *
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom*
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch cloves*
*Replace these ingredients with a generous teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice or speculoos spice mix
For the cookies:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the topping ingredients together on a dinner plate. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together oil, sugar, syrup, and milk. Mix for at least a minute, until it resembles applesauce. Then mix in vanilla.
Sift in remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all ingredients are added mix until you’ve got a pliable dough. Get in there with your hands to mix, it’s the easiest way to get the dough to come together.
With clean, moist hands, roll dough into walnut sized balls. Pat into the sugar topping to flatten into roughly 2 inch discs. Transfer to baking sheet, sugar side up, at least 2 inches apart (they do spread a little). This should be easy as the the bottom of the cookies should just stick to your fingers so you can just flip them over onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, they should be a bit browned on the bottoms. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Guest cat model, Sparkle, will attack anyone who tries to take her cookies.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 6: Puerto Rican Rice and Beans

I'm Puerto Rican, so I'm sure my mom would disown me if I didn't include Puerto Rican style beans with rice in my blog. This is pretty much what I grew up on. I posted about the this a couple of years ago here, but it bears repeating. Now, I'm sure every family has a different way of making it, but this is the way my family does it.

Puerto Rican Style Beans 
1 15-oz can or 1 1/2 cups pink beans
1 Tbsp Recaito (scroll to the bottom of my original post for more info)
4 oz tomato sauce
1 packet sazón (see note below)

handful of pimento-stuffed green olives (optional)
pinch of oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the recaito with the tomato sauce for 2 or 3 minutes. Add beans, olives, oregano, salt and pepper and enough water to cover the beans. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until the liquid reduces a bit and everything is hot and the flavors are well combined. Serve over rice.

i can has?
There's another way Puerto Ricans love to eat rice and beans: mixed together and cooked in the same pot so that the rice is yellow. This version often has pieces of pork in it, but it's equally as delicious without . 

Yellow Rice with Beans
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Recaito (see the post I linked to above)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 packet sazón (see note below)
a few pinches of salt and pepper
a handful of olives or diced bell pepper (optional)
1 (15-oz) can red beans, drained
2 cups rice

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and recaito over medium-high heat. Add tomato sauce and sazon, salt, pepper, and olives and cook for a minute. Mix in the beans and rice. Add enough water so that it's about 1 inch above the rice. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 30 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is cooked. The beans will have floated to the top, so just mix them in before serving.

Note: Sazon is found in most supermarkets, with the spanish foods. It's usued mostly for color but it has other spices too. It does have MSG, so if you avoid foods with MSG, you can make your own blend of salt, garlic, cumin, coriander, and saffron. Or just leave it out completely.