Monday, October 31, 2011

Vegan Mofo 14: Thanksgiving Dress Rehearsal

Last night I decided to do a Thanksgiving dress rehearsal. We usually go to Jesse's aunt and uncle's house for Thanksgiving and like to bring something veg to share. I always try the recipes beforehand so I can be sure they will be delicious. First up: Pumpkin pull-apart rolls!

These were pretty easy as far as bread goes and tasted delicious!

Then I tried making Harvest Pies. Here is the butternut squash, cranberry and shallot mixture after it came out of the oven.

Potato, carrot, onion, spices and white wine on the stove.

The pies before going in the oven.

The final product: one roll, one pie (with vegan gravy that was superb) and a salad. This dinner just tasted like Thanksgiving. So comforting and warm and yummy. I also made a pumpkin pie but its crust was a disaster. Thank goodness my copy of Vegan Pie in the Sky is on its way to me!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vegan Mofo 13: Tempeh Sloppy Joes

I made Sloppy Joes for dinner the other night on a whim. It was snowing (?!?!) outside and I wanted a quick comfort meal. The truth is, however, it was really on a whim because I had never had them before. Even in my pre-veg days, I have never eaten red meat. When I was first given a hamburger to try, I told my Mom it looked like worms and that was that. I did, however, grow up in a house where these were made from time to time. I wasn't sure that I would actually like them since they had the same smell as the animal ones I had grown up around.

The verdict: These are awesome. I love having another way to use tempeh, especially because I don't love it on its own and this is an easy way to get more protein. I also like the veggies in there and the fact that I get to eat these on a burger bun! The recipe came from this post on the Vegan Dad blog. I highly recommend giving these a try!

Sautee green pepper, onion and celery.

Add grated tempeh that has been steamed with soy sauce.

Add spices and sauces.

The finished product!

Serve with roasted brussel sprouts and sweet potato tater tots.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vegan Mofo 12: Kaya's Kitchen

Last weekend Jesse and I took a road trip to New Jersey for a comedy show. Before the show, we took a small detour to Kaya's Kitchen, a vegetarian restaurant in Belmar. The menu is very extensive and it took me a long time to decide what to order. It's rare that I can order from the entire menu, especially one so big! We started with wildberry iced tea and some bread and olive oil. Then I had the Thai Sweet Potato Soup, which was sweet and spicy and very comforting:

Jesse began his meal with the cajun tofu salad. It had seasoned grilled tofu, greens, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, pickled red onion, sunflower seeds, sprouts and a cucumber ranch dressing. People, this is a small:

For his entree, Jesse had the "Acapulco Loco", which was diced veggie nuggets, peppers, corn, onion, black beans and broccoli in a spicy Mexican chipotle lime sauce over rice.

I was in the mood for a sandwich, so I tried the "Island Grilled Tofu Sandwich", which was Jamaican jerk tofu. Mmm.

To finish, Jesse got a vegan mint cake. Perfect ending to a great meal. We will be back for sure!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vegan Mofo 11: Tired and Stressed Edition

Some days, I come home from work totally exhausted. It's been a crazy week (and it's only Wednesday...oy!). I had no energy to make something super involved, so I tried the "hummamole" from Quick-Fix Vegan. It's pretty versatile because it's relatively plain. It's basically plain hummus with a whole avocado thrown in. It was good as a dip for veggies, but I think it would be delicious as a sandwich spread!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vegan Mofo 10: Favorite Vegan Cookbooks

Let me begin by saying I own a TON of cookbooks. Like more than any reasonable human being will ever need. However, I justify this because it's the only thing I collect AND I read them like they are novels. Because of this, I own vegan and non-vegan cookbooks. I love food writing by Melissa Clark (her red lentil soup with lemon recipe is my all-time favorite!), Claudia Roden, Molly Wizenberg and Dorie Greenspan. For obvious reasons, I only cook very infrequently from these books since very few recipes are vegan-friendly. Mostly, these books sit very pristinely on the shelf.

I do, however, cook like a mad woman from all of my vegan cookbooks. The pages are stained and wrinkled from lots of cooking love. I wanted to share with you some of the ones I use the most, but I should be clear: this was like choosing my favorite children. Here are five of my favorites:

1. Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz : I love all of Isa's books, but this one is really stellar and right now it's probably my favorite out of all the cookbooks I own. It is so overused in my kitchen (and by that, I mean dirty and crumpled!), that I would feel awful even asking Isa to sign it if I ever met her. I've tried many, many recipes from here and each one has become a regular part of our menu rotation: Try these: Chimichurri tofu, buffalo tempeh, butternut rice, pineapple collards, vegetable korma.

2. The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau : This was one of the first vegan cookbooks I owned. The lemon bars are what really convinced me that you don't need butter, eggs or milk to have amazing desserts. Colleen's work is crucial and I appreciate her attitude toward veganism so much. Also check out her other cookbooks, which are gems as well.

3. Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson : Robin is probably the single most prolific vegan cookbook writer (and, ahem, I own most of them!). I've never had a recipe of hers that wasn't great. This book in particular has some wonderful recipes. Try: spanokopita (life changing!), samosa pie, and tropic of tempeh. I also like this one because this is Jesse's cookbook, meaning about once a week he makes us something from here. It's a win-win for me!

4. Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm : This is how every single cookbook should look: great instructions and beautiful color photographs for all of the recipes. One of my favorite meals is the chili lime tofu with collards and quinoa. I use the dry-frying method she details in that recipe at least once a week. I still mourn the fact that she doesn't update her blog anymore! I still use it for culinary inspiration. Come back, Lauren, come back!

5. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman : I know, I know--this one isn't entirely vegan and I also know some people have strong opinions about Bittman. However, this is a great reference book. There have been times in my life that I've purchased produce or a spice that I didn't know what to do with and this book saved the day. His app is also great for when we're traveling and need a veg recipe on the go.

What are some of your most beloved cookbooks?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vegan Mofo 9: Quinoa

I've been trying to get better at making quick, delicious weeknight meals. This is mostly because I like to go to the gym around 8:30 pm. This week I tried another recipe from Robin Robertson's Quick Fix Vegan: Tropical Quinoa. Quinoa, black beans, mango, red pepper, spices, garlic, onion, lime juice. Yum!

I served that with some barbecue baked tofu.

Delicious dinner in about 30 minutes!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vegan Mofo 8: Tofu and Brussel Sprout Goodness

I recently stumbled across this recipe for Tofu and Roasted Brussel Sprouts in a Sweet Chili Sauce. It contains all of my favorite ingredients, so I figured I would like it. In fact, I own the cookbook that the original recipe came from: Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. It's one of my favorite cookbooks for vegetarian inspiration, but many of the recipes intimidate me. This was a great introduction. It was easy to make and tasted gourmet, so I highly recommend it.

Prepping the green onion and the shitakke mushrooms.

Marinating tofu in the delicious sauce.

Tofu and vegetable mixture cooking.

The final product, served over brown rice.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vegan Mofo 7: Quick-Fix Vegan

Last week I received Robin Robertson's new cookbook, Quick-Fix Vegan, in the mail. I love her recipes. They are almost always easy, full of normal ingredients and tasty. First up? The harvest cookies. Think of a spice-filled oatmeal cookie with walnuts, dried cranberries and golden raisins (though I used regular because my Whole Foods didn't have them in the bulk bins).

These are no more difficult than a batch of regular oatmeal cookies but taste ten times better.

The entire house smelled of autumn spices: cinnamon, all-spice, etc.


I also made her Moroccan-spiced pumpkin soup. I think next time I will use two cans of pumpkin for some more heft and maybe use an immersion blender to puree the bits of onion. It is not much to look at, but it had a real depth of flavor that I didn't expect. The recipe also calls for topping it with some pistachios, which I left off.

I would like to cook pretty much every recipe in this book. Next up might be the "hummamole" (a mix of guac and hummus) and the tropical black beans and quinoa.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vegan Mofo 6: Pumpkin Pasta!

This weekend I went out to a pumpkin festival at an orchard just outside of Washington, DC. Once I saw the field of pumpkins, I knew I needed to cook some more with this delicious vegetable!

I remembered seeing a recipe with pumpkin on Chloe Coscarelli's website and came across a recipe for Creamy Pumpkin Penne with Crispy Sage and Toasted Pecans. If you haven't tried her recipes before, get to it! Her panang curry and harvest-stuffed portobello mushrooms are to die for. I can't wait for her cookbook to come out in 2012!

This is super easy but looks complicated and decadent. You make pasta and toss everything else in blender. Voila!

I added peas to ours so that there was something green. I also left off the pecans (forgot to get them at the store!) and the crispy sage, but it does have fresh sage tossed throughout. It was creamy without leaving you with a gross feeling. I definitely recommend this one for a great autumn meal.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vegan Mofo 5: Good Vegan Eats

Some snapshots of what I've been eating lately:

Ridiculously amazing vegan pizza from Whole Foods: thin whole wheat crust, extra garlicky sauce, roasted tomatoes, artichokes, kalamata olives, squash, zucchini, spinach and Daiya. This may be the best pizza I've ever had. And it was $3.

Curry noodle soup (rice noodles, spicy curry broth, kale, sprouts, cilantro, basil, carrots and edamame) with spicy tofu from Java Green. The perfect lunch!

Brown rice sushi with cucumber and avocado.

Tofu bibimbob (brown rice, mixed veggies, pickled radish, baked tofu), also from Java Green

Butternut squash ginger and orange soup from Color Me Vegan, topped with cilantro, orange zest and green onion

"Tropic of Tempeh" from Vegan on the Cheap: rice topped with coconut curry tempeh, carrots, red pepper, onion, pineapple and a yummy sauce.

I've eaten these things AND lost 8 pounds in two weeks. Life doesn't get much better than that!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vegan Mofo 4: Sunday Night Dinner

I am a football widow. During neglect season...I mean, football season, my Sundays are pretty empty. Jesse joined a fantasy football league this year, which means that unlike previous years where he only watched Saints' games, this year he has a reason to see them all. I decided that because of that, I'm bringing back the Sunday dinner. It gives me something to do and ensures that I get to see him for at least a little bit on Sundays! This past week we had:

Roasted brussel sprouts. We love them, so I make enough that we can have leftovers. I sprinkled them with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder and baked them on 375 until they were brown and soft.

For the first time ever, if you can believe it, I cooked with tempeh! The Buffalo Tempeh recipe from Appetite for Reduction just looked too delicious to pass up. I used the already cooked tempeh from Trader Joe's. Here it is marinating.

Then you cook it in a pan with a little non-stick spray while reserving the marinade.

In the last five minutes, you add the marinade to let it cook down.

I also made this Lemony Kale Salad recipe that I found in the Oprah magazine. I know how healthy kale is. I've tried it baked and I've tried it in soups. I just don't really care for it. This salad is the exception. When kale is massaged, it gets a new texture that I find much better tasting. Since this recipe calls for hemp seeds, you get an extra protein boost as well! It's amazing and I highly encourage you to try it out.

Dinner is done!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vegan Mofo 3: Choco-Chai Coffee Cake

Oh my goodness. When I saw this recipe in The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes by Kris Holechek, I could not resist giving it a try. After all, I am a serious fan of anything that includes this:

Seriously, I am a chai fanatic.

And at the end, you get this decadent but airy cake topped with some chocolately goodness. It would be perfect to take to a brunch or to give to someone that needs some chai chocolate amazing cake in their life. Next time I might try adding some more spices to mine since even with soaking five tea bags in the warm soy milk, the cake only has a mild chai flavor.

Warning: It makes a LOT. And your house will smell amazing and you will be tempted to eat it all. However, if you are trying to get healthier like me, have a tiny piece, give a big piece to your boyfriend and then gift the rest to a vegan co-worker!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegan Mofo 2: Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes

The weather finally shifted this weekend in the greater Washington, DC area. The air was cold and crisp. While on a grocery shopping trip at Trader Joe's, I saw a huge display of all things pumpkin. I grabbed a can of plain pumpkin puree (okay, so I grabbed a few!) because I like to put it in just about anything this time of year. When we returned home, I hit up my cookbooks to find something delicious to make. The winner? "Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes" from Julie Hasson's Vegan Diner. I've owned this cookbook for several months but I haven't made anything from it just yet. If all the recipes are as good as this one, I need to get moving on making some more!

The recipe called for a mix of ground ginger, all spice, nutmeg and cinnamon. You really can't go wrong when you mix these with some pumpkin.

First you mix together the dry ingredients. In the background, you can see my cookbook stand, which felt frivolous at the time, but is by far the best $24.95 I've ever spent.

You mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and then combine the two.

Voila! Autumn-y spiced pumpkin goodness. These will be making many repeat performances in my kitchen this fall!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vegan Mofo 1: The Newest Mofo on the Block

Today begins Vegan Mofo! You can read more about what it is here, but basically this means that for the month of October, I'll be blogging a lot. And each of those posts will include something about vegan food, whether that be a new recipe or a review of a cookbook, product or restaurant.

Since this is my first time doing this, there won't be any sort of theme, other than the fact that we just made a commitment to keeping a vegan kitchen (which really only meant getting rid of the eggs that Jesse, my boyfriend, likes to make French toast with and the parmesan cheese I was sometimes cooking with). I'm excited to get back in the kitchen and create some yummy looking stuff. I'm also excited to use more of my many, many cookbooks. This past month has included a lot of introspection and evolution in my thinking on veganism and I'm hoping to include some of that as well. If you are new around here, some of my favorite things include my Vitamix, the Food for Thought podcast, avocado, yoga, Latin American film, Sweet and Sara marshmallows, reading lots and lots, Boston Terriers, and traveling anywhere and everywhere. I live with my boyfriend and I'm currently trying to get healthier.

So please, come along on this journey with me. I promise to try to post a wide array of things if you promise to read it. Happy cooking!