Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Panko Stuffed Mushrooms - Veganomicon!

While searching for something fresh and new to try for the old-standy party appetizer, Stuffed Mushrooms, I came across this Asian inspired recipe in Veganomicon

photo by Chef ~Jen~ @ REcipezaar

So many ~Stuffed Mushroom~ recipes are drizzled in butter, or contain the obligatory "canned" crab in the stuffing. And, here in good ol' New England, most stuffed mushrooms I see at parties or receptions are filled with SAUSAGE... (those crazy Italians!!)

I firmly believe these tasty little bites pass they test for both vegans and meat-eaters alike!  And if daikon isn't an ingredient on your every-day pantry list, (I know it's not on mine too often), I subbed water chestnuts with no problem at all

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photo by me :)

These would be a great starter for an "Asian themed" meal, as they can easily be prepared in advance (nice to know!! ) ^_^

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bacon with a Vegan

Ok, so this weekend, I thought I'd try my hand at making my own Veggie Bacon.  I've seen countless recipes in cookbooks and on the web, and generally, there seem to be two Vegan "Camps".  Camp Tempeh, and Camp Tofu. 

So which one to make...

Although the Vegan with a Vengeance (VWAV) recipe has always been in the back of my mind, I wasn't really in a tempeh kinda "mood".  I also wasn't on the ball enough to make up the marinade ahead of time, as sometimes I am lazy...

So I found this recipe by my online cooking pal, Chef "Sharon123" over at Recipezaar!  It's made using tofu, and as an added bonus, does NOT require overnight marinating.

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Let me tell you, this stuff is GOOD.  I loved the flavor of the soy sauce, liquid smoke and brown sugar SO MUCH, that I was even hesitant to add the nutritional yeast at the end, as the recipe stated.  Do yourself a favor and DON'T skip it.  The strips of fried tofu taste great with the simple marinade, but the nutritional yeast coating, sprinkled on at the end of the cooking time, totally MAKES IT!!

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I nibbled on three pieces on their own, I really couldn't get enough.

But then I decided to give my tofu bacon a bit more purpose, and made this:

Tofu Baco BLT: Toasted wheat bread slathered in Veganaise, topped with leafy green lettuce, and slices of a gorgeous red tomato

Tofu Bacon

And, my two favorite guys!!  Pic posted here, just cuz... ^_^

Friday, October 2, 2009

Farewell, My Summer Love...

The fruits of the Summer are becoming a dying breed, so I probably won't be seeing too many more of these gorgeous babies:

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And so, for my last two deliciously juicy pints of local grape tomatoes of the Summer, I went for plain and simple:

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I sliced the tomatoes in half, drizzled them with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkled them liberally with salt, italian seasoning, (a bit of Sandwich Sprinkle by
Penzeys), black pepper and crushed red pepper.  I added to that four cloves of fresh garlic, squeezed through my garlic press and mixed gently. 

By the time I boiled my whole wheat pasta, the flavors had combined nicely.  

If only I had some fresh basil left... Maybe next time! ^_^

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Creamy Cucumber Salad Dressing

For my first VeganMoFo post, I'd like to share a funny story from my childhood, and a quick and simple salad dressing...  I am a HUGE fan of making my own salad dressing from scratch.  Have you ever read the lables on some of those bottled dressing in supermarkets!?!? Half of them are utter garbage. It literally takes two-minutes to wisk up a vinaigrette in your own kitchen, and it tastes a WHOLE-lot better that the mass produced mixtures of cheap oil, water, MSG and other wretchedly unnatural chemicals sitting on our super market's shelves.
And now for my embarrasing childhood story.  In my pre-veggie loving days, as a young child, my favorite salad dressing was none other than CREAMY BACON... (yes, my arteries harden just thinking about it).  I don't even think Wishbone makes this stuff anymore...

Anyhoo, in honor of the "Creamy Bacon" salad days of my past, I give you this: 

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**Some notes: I like to use 2 small (pickling) cucumbers, rather than 1 large because of the seeds. IF using a large or non-organic cucumber, make sure there is no wax on the peel, and scrap some of the seeds out! For a thicker, creamier dressing add more cashews and less water; for a thinner, lighter dressing add more water and fewer nuts.

2 small cucumbers, chopped (peel and all if organic)

1/2 cup cashews, soaked

1/4 cup water (more or less depending on how thick you like)

1 lemon, juice of

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (to taste)

1 tablespoon agave nectar (to taste)

2 tablespoons dried dill (or 1/2 bunch fresh)

1 tablespoon sea salt (to taste)

1 tablespoon black pepper (to taste) 

1.  Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender, adding water as needed.

2.  If using fresh dill, blend 1/2 of it at first, them add the rest after the cucumbers and cashews are smooth!

3.  Dressing will thicken in fridge.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Farewell to my Farmer's Market (at least until next year)

The University where I work sponsored a beautiful Farmer's Market every Friday, since the first week of school.

Today, in honor of the campus "Eat Local Challenge," was the final one of the season.  Our campus community came out it great droves from the hours of 11 - 2, to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, home made breads and jellies.  I, for one, am quite sad to see it go...

So for my final haul, I picked up these:

Photo taken with iPhone, sorry...

I see in my future... warm whole wheat pasta, topped with these halved tomatoes, olive oil, basil and lots of fresh garlic... (and crushed red pepper too, cuz that's how I roll)


October has been deemed the "Vegan Month of Food" by the veggie blogosphere.  For the entire month, vegan cooks and bloggers will post their various musings about the wonderful world of vegan cooking. 

Come check out all the tasty stuff that made in my kitchen for the month of October!!  My original blog and website, made on my Mac, is here.  I have not abandoned it, however it's much easier to connect with the other vegan friends on here using this format...

Isa Chandra Moskowitz, creater of the Post Punk Kitchen (PPK) website, and author of such amazing cookbooks as Vegan with a Vengeance, Veganomicon, and the newest, Vegan Brunch, is the master behind this amazing collection of culinary inspiration. Isa modeled this event after NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, held yearly in November). (which I think is pretty darn cool...)

Read more about the inspiration behind this event in an interview with her: Here! from Veg News

so much to think about...what should I make tonight?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Farmer's Market Fun

This recipe was inspired from the lovely little butternut squashes at the Farmer's Market last week.

I used my recipe: Sweet Potato Curry With Spinach and Chickpeas as a base, switched the sweet potatoes for butternut squash, and added a can of coconut milk, and came up with this!

Butternut Squash Coconut Curry

Butternut Squash Coconut Curry

1 onion, chopped
1-2 teaspoon canola oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
curry powder, salt and pepper for sprinkling over squash
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can light coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
basmati rice or brown rice, for serving

1. Place cubed butternut squash on a foil lined baking sheet, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Sprinkle generously with curry powder, salt and pepper, and roast at 350 for 35-45 minutes, or until tender. You still want them to hold their shape when added to the curry, and not be mush :>.
3. While squash cooks, heat 1-2 tsp of canola oil over medium heat.
4. Add onions and a little bit of salt, and sauté 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
5. Next, add the curry powder, cumin, coriander and cinnamon, and stir to coat the onions evenly with spices.
6. Add tomatoes with their juices, and the chickpeas, stir to combine.
7. Next, add the spinach, stirring to coat with cooking liquid.
8. When all the spinach is added to the pan, cover and simmer until just wilted, about 3 minutes.
9. Add coconut milk and gently stir to combine.
10. Finally, add the roasted butternut squash to the liquid, and stir to coat.
11. Top with fresh chopped cilantro (optional) and serve over basmati rice (I like brown basmati).

I did take the time to toast and grind whole cumin and coriander, but feel free to use the already-ground versions of these spices as well.

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Also, roasting your butternut squash with some salt pepper and curry powder brings a wonderfully deep and caramelized flavor to your curry.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NY System - Hot Weiners Vegan Style

Call me crazy, but I somehow felt the need to veganize these wretched things!! And ya know, they turned out quite amazing, if I do say so myself...
For those of you who have not had the pleasure: New York System "Hot Weiners" are a Rhode Island classic. hmmmm... did I just say that??
Well, in a way they are. Most folks in little RI have gorged themselves late-night on these dogs, (sometiems known GAGGAHS - or gaggers for non-Rhode Islanders) at some point in there life. I, myself, might be the one exception. Wanna see a real one??

WARNING, not for the faint of heart:

Let me expalin what these are. If you happen to walk into Olnyville’s New York System and order: “THREE ALL THE WAY" you will get: a hot dog served on a steamed bun, then topped with quite a "distinct" flavor of meat sauce, mustard, raw minced onions and celery salt, prepared in a batch of six on a man's forearm. Sound good?
OK, so WHY?? I say “because...”
My inspiration for the "meat" sauce flavoring was from a number of different recipes I found on the web.

I took bits I liked from here and there, and came up with this:

•2 tablespoons margarine
•1 yellow onion, minced
•2 tablespoons chili powder
•2 tablespoons paprika
•1/2 teaspoon allspice
•1/2 teaspoon curry
•1 teaspoon dry mustard
•1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 cup TVP or 12 ounces soy crumbles (I used Boca brand)
•1 cup water, more if needed
•20 tofu hot dogs (I like Smart Dogs)
•1 teaspoon salt
•20 hot dog buns
•minced yellow onion, for topping
•celery salt

1.In a medium saute pan over medium heat add, margarine and 1 minced onion.
2.Saute till translucent, but do not brown.
3.Next add chili powder, paprika, allspice, curry, dry mustard and cinnamon. Then add veggie crumbles, stir thoroughly and cook for 5 minutes, add water and simmer over medium to low heat for 30 minutes, adding more water if pan gets dry.
4.Bring water in sauce pot to a boil, add slat, remove from heat and throw in the veggie dogs for 3-4 minutes.
5.Serve dogs in steamed buns, topped with "meat" sauce, mustard, minced onion and a shake or two of celery salt.

NY System Hot Weiners - Veganized

Please DO NOT omit the raw onions, yellow mustard OR the celery salt. This is what makes these dogs a classic Rhode Island treat, whether it's vegan or not!!