Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vegan MoFo #26: Soup, Delicious Soup


Soup! Again! So I eat a lot of soup, especially in the colder months. Yes I do. And this is one of my favorites. It is Mom’s Lentil Soup from Yellow Rose Recipes by Joanna Vaught. There are some really great recipes in this little tome. And now I see on Amazon it appears to be out of print. Well, I’m glad I got it when I did then (October 6, 2009 – thanks Amazon!)
Anyway, I won’t be posting the recipe but this is a pretty simple soup. You start with onions, celery, carrot, and garlic. Then you add some red wine, some veggie broth, some Le Puy lentils. There is also tomatoes and thyme. That’s it! And it’s great!  Sometimes the simplest things really are the best.



Friday, October 28, 2011

Vegan MoFo #25: Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge: Hot Italian

This was my first time visiting this restaurant, and let me just say WOW. I was really impressed with the pizza here. All pizzas are served on a thin crust. Usually I like big fluffy crusts but I just might be a convert. The crust had just the right balance of crispy bottom and thin, soft interior. And it tasted great, really flavorful.

First up was a salad pizza. The salad had mixed baby greens, shaved carrots, radishes, olives and red onions. There was supposed to be fennel but I didn’t detect it. Not a big fan anyway. This was served on the wonderful thin crust. What a great combo!
For the pizza, we had the Muti (Vegan Pizza). This had summer squash, mushrooms, olives, cherry tomatoes, arugula, and a light tomato sauce. We also added the optional Daiya cheese. This pizza was wonderful. They put just the right amount of Daiya on. Too much just overpowers the other flavors, IMHO, but this was perfect.
They also had a few vegan sorbettos on offer, but we were too full from our pizzas! I believe they had mango and pineapple flavors. Sounds great, maybe next time!

1627 16th Street
Sacramento, Ca 95814
(916) 444-3000

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vegan MoFo #24: Yet Another Stir-Fry


Okay, this is the second Asian stir-fry I made this week. I do try not to have repeats during any given week but stir-fries sometimes end up as an exception. I just love them so! This particular one is the Broccoli Cashew Teriyaki Tofu Stir-Fry from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. I didn’t make any changes because this recipe is perfect as is so I won’t post the recipe. You’ll just have to get this amazing cookbook for yourself! I hear that Dreena has a new book coming out soon so I am excited about that!
In other news I got myself a new camera! So I hope my pictures will improve a bit. As a new blogger, I am really enjoying learning some new photography skills. I get a lot of inspiration from the wonderful photography I see on other vegan food blogs!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vegan MoFo #23: Blondies!


Since I found a great new way to make chocolate chip cookies recently, I thought I would translate the recipe into a Chocolate Chip Blondie. I was happy with how these came out. Probably a little too happy actually! I was also stoked that I didn’t overbake them because that is a bad habit of mine. For some reason I constantly overbake brownies and blondies. But not this time! If anything these were underdone but I like them gooey so no harm done. In fact my BF and I liked these so much that we ate 2/3 before they were even cool. That’s because these are so amazing when still warm: soft and gooey in the inside with a sugary crackle crust on top. Yum!

Chocolate Chip Blondies

Ingredients:
¼ cup shortening
¼ cup vegan margarine
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tbls water + 1 tbls ground flax seed (or other egg replacer for one egg)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white flour
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup or more non-dairy chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a large bowl, melt shortening and margarine in the microwave. The shortening takes longer to melt so you may want to give it a head start. When melted, add sugar, flax egg, and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix. The mixture will be fairly thick. Stir in chocolate chips.

Line a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray with oil.  Spread batter evenly in the pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vegan MoFo #22: Chinese Noodles with Mushrooms & Cabbage + Orange-Glazed Tofu


Chinese night at my house! Maybe this isn’t all that authentic or anything but it is a delicious meal. I just love Chinese style stir-fries because they are so quick and easy. Easy enough to make two dishes at once!

The noodle dish comes from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop. Let me just say that I love this cookbook! Especially because it is organized by season. Also, this cookbook has recipes from many different cultures. I believe he is more of a connoisseur of Italian cooking, but I like his Asian dishes the best.

Chinese Noodles with Mushrooms & Cabbage
Adapted from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen

Ingredients:
12 oz chow mein noodles
1 tbls + 1 tsp peanut oil, divided
1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
3 tbls tamari or soy sauce
3 tbls hoisin sauce
1 small head green cabbage, sliced
½ bunch green onions, sliced, white & green parts separated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

Directions:
Cook chow mein according to package directions.

Place mushrooms and boiling water in a small bowl. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove softened mushrooms with a slotted spoon and slice. Pour water through a strainer lined with a paper towel or coffee filter into another bowl. Add the soy sauce and hoisin and mix. Set aside.

Heat 1 tbls peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for several minutes. Add cabbage and sauté for 5-10 minutes, or until softened. Make a clear space in the center of the pan and add the remaining teaspoon of oil. Add the white sections of the green onions, the garlic, and ginger. Saute for a minute or two then mix in with the cabbage and mushrooms.

When the noodles are cooked and drained, add them to the skillet along with the mushroom water sauce and the green parts of the green onions.

Cook and stir for several minutes. Turn off heat and serve.
                                                          ____________________________

The tofu is something I have been making for many years so I don’t remember where I got the recipe. If anyone knows, I’m happy to give credit where credit is due. This is one of my favorite methods of cooking tofu and the possibilities for the glaze are endless. Expect to see more variations on this theme in the future!

Orange-Glazed Tofu

Ingredients:
1 lb firm tofu, sliced
Canola or peanut oil
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tbls maple syrup
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced tofu. Fry until brown on one side, then flip, and brown on the other side.

Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Once tofu is browned, pour sauce over tofu. Reduce heat a little and continue to simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Then flip tofu and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and the tofu looks glazed.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Vegan MoFo #21: Fall Veggie Soup


Just a simple soup today. I had not originally planned to make this but I have an upset tummy today so I thought a nice veggie and bean soup would be best. Only time will tell if it truly appeased the stomach gods, but it tasted good and used a lot of fall veggies I already had in my kitchen. We also had crusty bread slathered with good ol' Earth Balance.

Fall Veggie Soup

Ingredients:
1 tbls olive oil
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping teaspoon each of: ground cumin, coriander, paprika, chili powder
Large pinch ground cayenne
1 pound red potatoes, diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
½ pound green beans, trimmed
15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz pinto beans, drained and rinsed
28 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
5 cups water or vegetable broth
2 cups frozen corn
1 tbls lime juice
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat oil in a soup pot on medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and spices and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add a little water to the pot and stir, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom.

Add potatoes and squash and sauté for a few minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, and water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

Add green beans and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add corn and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until all veggies are tender.

Turn off the heat and add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vegan MoFo #20: Pumpkin Pie French Toast


The inspiration for this came to me last year when I made some veganized Pumpkin Pie Bites for a Halloween party. I had leftover pie filling and came up with the idea of using it for French Toast. Excellent idea, if I do say so myself!

 I didn’t have any leftover pie filling this time, so I made up a quick pumpkin pie-like batter. Please note that this recipe will not make a pie! But if you ever do have any extra pumpkin pie filling, you can try that instead. The filling can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days and then used to make yummy toast.


Pumpkin Pie French Toast

Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/3 cup sugar

4 oz vegan cream cheese

1/3 cup soy milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

8 slices of your favorite French bread

Vegan margarine, for frying

Directions:

Place all ingredients except bread and margarine in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and pour out into a shallow container or bowl.

Melt a generous amount of margarine in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Soak each piece of bread in the pumpkin mixture for several moments on each side.

Place the soaked bread in the skillet and fry until brown on one side, then flip, cooking until brown again. Repeat until all slices are done, adding additional margarine between each round.

I recommend serving with real maple syrup!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vegan MoFo #19: Sweet & Sour Veggies with Tempeh (Sugar-Free!)


Yum yum. This dish is inspired by two different sweet & sour recipes, one is from the Real Food Daily Cookbook and the other from Vegan Table. I have been making the Real Food Daily recipe for several years now but wasn’t crazy about the amount of sugar in the sauce. Then I found a recipe in Vegan Table which uses apricot jam instead of sugar. Genius! What follows is my attempt to combo the two. I was very happy with how this came out. The sauce was a bit more on the sour side, so if you like it sweet I recommend adding the optional maple syrup.

This recipe looks like a lot of work but this is a high heat stir-fry so it cooks quickly. You will need to marinate your tempeh for at least an hour beforehand. I saved time by starting the tempeh the night before.

Sweet & Sour Veggies with Tempeh

Tempeh:
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
1 tbls toasted sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced,
1 tsp ginger, minced
8 oz tempeh, cut into four pieces

Stir-fry:
1 tbls sesame oil
½ tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like spicy)
2 small onions, chopped in large pieces
2 carrots, sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 heads baby bok choy, chopped
1 cup corn, frozen or fresh

Sauce:
5 oz apricot jam (I used sugar-free)
¾ cup water
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup water + 3 tbls corn starch
2 tbls real maple syrup, optional (if you like more sweet than sour)

Directions:

For the tempeh, in a shallow dish, combine first 4 ingredients. Add tempeh and toss to coat. Cover and marinate for one hour or more. (I marinated overnight in the fridge).

For the stir-fry, chop all veggies before starting. Heat oil and red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add carrots and sauté for 4 minutes. Add bell peppers and sauté for 2 minutes. Add baby bok choy and corn and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until veggies are tender-crisp.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Place tempeh on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, flip, then broil for another 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut tempeh into bite-sized cubes.

For the sauce, place apricot jam and water in a small pot. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup (optional), and water + corn starch mixture. You can also add any leftover tempeh marinade.

When veggies are tender crisp, add sauce and cubed tempeh to skillet and stir well. Heat for several minutes, or until sauce is thickened.

Serve over rice.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vegan MoFo #18: Ice Cream for Fall!


Ice cream perfect for fall! This Toasted Pecan Maple Ice Cream comes from Fragrant Vanilla Cake. Amy has a lot of fantastic looking desserts but I am particularly smitten with her ice creams. This one is coconut milk based and has maple syrup, toasted pecans, and spices like cinnamon and cardamom. It is just delicious. The only thing I would do differently next time is to place the chopped pecans in a colander to get out the smaller crumbs before adding them to the recipe as it gave the ice cream a somewhat grainy texture. I am sure I will be making this one again!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vegan MoFo #17: Soup & Salad


A common dinner combo in my house is soup and salad. The salad is eaten first and it is usually a big one. Then I follow it with a vegetable soup of some sort that uses what veggies are in season. It’s a great way to get a lot of healthy veggies in one meal!
The salad is a mix of green and red lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, corn, and BBQ Tempeh. The BBQ Tempeh goes really well with this salad. It would also be good on sandwiches or in a wrap. It’s easy to prepare too:

Ingredients: 8 oz tempeh, cubed & 2/3 cup BBQ sauce

Directions: Toss tempeh with BBQ sauce and bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes, stirring once half way through. If you like it saucy, add a little more BBQ sauce after it is done baking. That’s it!
The soup is a favorite around here: the Pureed Spicy Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton.  This soup is just plain wonderful. The flavors of the sweet potato, peanut butter, and red pepper flakes really go well together. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE food that is both sweet and spicy. This soup fits the bill nicely.  I didn’t change much about the recipe, but I did leave the chickpeas out since I already had a protein in the salad.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vegan MoFo #16: Fettuccine Alfredo and BS for BS Haters


Fantastic meal tonight! The pasta is the Fettuccine with Cannellini & Artichoke Heart Alfredo Sauce from Meet the Shannons.   As usual, the Shannons have come up with something truly wonderful. This sauce is a blend of white beans, artichoke hearts, soy milk, nooch, and vegan sour cream, among other things. It’s creamy and hearty and delish. The only thing I changed is to halve the nooch and I garnished it with fresh basil instead of parsley.

Fall is BS season! Brussels sprouts that is. Even if you don’t like BS you might like these. The method is pretty simple:

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1.       Cut woody ends off of each sprout

2.       Cut each sprout in half

3.       Place cut side down in a skillet preheated on medium with a bit of olive oil

4.       Cover and cook for about five minutes, or until almost tender

5.       Uncover, turn heat up to medium-high and cook for a few more minutes, or until nicely browned

6.       Turn off heat and toss with salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vegan MoFo #15: Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies



Okay. So since I went vegan a year ago I have been trying to create the perfect vegan chocolate chip cookie. One that tastes exactly like the buttery ones of yore. My main problem is that I don’t care for the taste of Earth Balance in cookies. GASP! It just doesn’t taste like butter. Sorry to be like that but it’s true. So I’ve tried a lot of recipes with different fats. I like using canola okay but it didn’t brown like I wanted and it didn’t impart a lot of flavor. I tried all kinds of flour/sugar/fat ratios. (You’ve probably realized by now that I am being really picky about this!)

So after many good but not great attempts, I finally decided to try part Earth Balance and part shortening. Because all EB would taste too much like, well, EB, and all shortening would be too neutral. But together? I thought it just might work. I won’t say I’ve reached vegan chocolate chip cookie nirvana just yet, but these are pretty darn close.


Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

¼ cup vegan margarine, room temp

¼ cup non-hydrogenated shortening, room temp

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup white sugar

¼ cup soy milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup + 3 tbls white flour

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

With an electric mixer, cream together the margarine, shortening and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Add soy milk and vanilla and mix. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and beat on low until fully mixed. Mix in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes and then move to cooling rack.


Vegan MoFo #14: Restaurant Review: Café Capricho



First on the list for the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge is Café Capricho. This is a veg-friendly restaurant that I have been meaning to visit but never got around to it. Well I’m glad I finally did.
I had the vegan plate which included a potato enchilada and a soft taco stuffed with butternut squash, corn, and green bell pepper. These were served with black beans and quinoa.

This meal was fantastic. Everything was very fresh and flavorful. The food was not greasy at all which I really appreciated. Also their salsas were great.
The beautiful ruby drink in the back is the Two Rivers Pomegranate Hard Apple Cider, which they have on tap. This cider is wonderful! I liked it so much I went to BevMo right after to get some more for later. Yum!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Liebster Award Love . . .

Thanks so much to Farrah of Carrot Top Vegan for bestowing upon me this award!
“Liebster” is German and means ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but it can also mean ‘favorite’.
The idea behind this award is to bring attention to bloggers who have less than 200 followers and show your support during Vegan Mofo!
The rules of winning this award are as follows:
1.       Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2.       Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3.       Post the award on your blog.
4.       Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!
And the Liebster goes to:
 Check out these awesome vegan blogs! Hope you enjoy the second half of Vegan MoFo!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vegan MoFo #13: Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge 2011



I’m so excited! And I just can’t hide it! *happy dance* Ok, that’s enough of that. That song is just cheezy. If you are picturing me dancing around to that song, please stop. That’s just embarrassing. Plus I’m sitting down to write this so any dancing is more like head bobbing and hip rolling. Maybe that’s not any better. Plus now that song is in my head. Dammit.
Why the sudden 80’s flashback of excitement? I just found out about this special event in Sacramento in which participating restaurants will be preparing special vegan menus for the entire month of October.  Most of these restaurants are not vegan (or even vegetarian) and neither are the chefs but they’re giving it a go! Sounds awesome right? More info HERE and HERE. Maybe the head bobbing doesn’t seem so silly now, eh?

Bonus points that this is happening during Vegan MoFo! I will be visiting as many of these restaurants as I can and posting my reviews on this here blog. Expect to see these posts each weekend for the rest of the month.

If you are a vegan, vegetarian, or a veg-curious type person living in the Sacramento area, please participate in this event! This is a fantastic opportunity to try some great new vegan dishes and to let these restaurants know that YES! there is a demand for vegan food in this area!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vegan MoFo #12: Tahini Lemon Rice & Beans


This dish is kind of strange. The good kind of strange. I have never eaten anything quite like it. Unusual flavor combo alert! Overall I’d say this dish is kind of . . . earthy. Umm, obviously I’m at a bit of a loss as how to explain this one. So, if you like tahini, why not give it a go?

This comes from the wonderful Vegan YumYum cookbook. This cookbook is my favorite kind: the glossy pages + lots of pictures kind. You can also find the original recipe on her blog HERE. I’m posting my modified version below.


Tahini Lemon Rice & Beans

Adapted from Vegan YumYum

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups brown rice

1 bunch kale, deveined and chopped

15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

8 oz seitan, sliced

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup carrots, grated

Sauce:

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup tahini

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Start your rice cooking.

Whisk together all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of oil and add the onions and seitan. Saute for 10 minutes. Add the kale and cook for another 5 minutes, or until kale is wilted. Add carrots and beans and cook for a few minutes or until heated through. Add sauce and heat for a minute or two. Turn off the heat and mix in the rice. Serve. Eat.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vegan MoFo #11: Thai Red Curry


Tonight I threw together a simple Thai Red Curry using veggies I had on hand. It was delish. Pretty much anytime you combine Thai curry paste and coconut milk you are going to have a winner. IMHO.

 I didn’t really measure anything so please consider this recipe to be approximate! This makes a ton of food, probably a generous six servings.

Thai Red Curry

12 oz extra firm tofu, cubed

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ginger, minced

3 tablespoons red curry paste (I like Thai Kitchen brand)

15 oz can coconut milk (I use lite)

2 cups water

1 pound potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

1 cup carrots, sliced

½ lb green beans, ends trimmed & cut into bite size pieces

2 red bell peppers, diced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice

Salt to taste

Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

In a medium sized skillet, brown tofu in a little bit of oil until golden on most sides. Set aside.

In a soup pot or very large skillet, sauté onion in a little bit of oil until softened. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute or so. Add curry paste and sauté for another minute. Add potatoes and stir well to coat. Add coconut milk and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add carrots and green beans and simmer, covered, for 5-10 minutes, or until veggies are almost tender. Add bell peppers and tofu and simmer, covered, for another 5 minutes, or until all veggies are tender.

Turn off heat and add soy sauce, lime juice, and salt to taste.

Serve over rice, garnished with cilantro.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Vegan MoFo #10: Pumpkin Alfredo



Hope you all are enjoying Vegan MoFo as much as I am!

Just a quick post today. For dinner tonight I made the Pumpkin Alfredo from Manifest Vegan. I changed up the recipe a bit by halving the amount of nooch (not a big fan) and adding just a teaspoon or two of agave.  I wasn’t sure what to expect tastewise but it was very good and pretty “cheesy” tasting. I served this with toasted pecans and it really made the dish. The recipe is HERE. We also had a big salad on the side.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vegan MoFo #9: Biscuits & Gravy


Ok. So this isn’t the most appetizing looking picture. But it tastes awesome. This biscuits and gravy is (somewhat) healthier than the typical omni version. It is made with lentils after all. Plus there is a few veggies thrown in for good measure. This recipe comes from the October 2008 issue of Vegetarian Times but it is also available online HERE.

I used soy milk for the milk and for the ranch dressing I made the Crazy-Good Ranch from Chocolate-Covered Katie. Thanks to Katie for the fantastic recipe!

The biscuit recipe is below:


Drop Biscuits Supreme

Adapted from The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook


Ingredients:

1 ½ cups white flour

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (I use pastry)

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon cream of tarter

¾ cup Earth Balance margarine (1 ½ sticks)

1 ¼ cup soy milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar


Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F

Combine the soy milk and lemon juice or vinegar in a cup. Stir and allow to sit.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in the Earth Balance using a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the soy milk mixture. Stir until just combined.

Drop by large spoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet. You should have about 10 biscuits. Lightly shape with your hands to make them somewhat evenly shaped.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

MoFo #8 Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles


Time to reveal the third item I made yesterday. I’m sure you were waiting with bated breath. Ha!
I made the Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I have made these several times before and thought they were amazing. This time I thought I would change them up a bit. Not because they aren’t already great. Mostly because I didn’t have cocoa powder and I was too lazy to go to the store. So I decided to adapt the cookies to use melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder. I was thrilled with how these came out. They are even more chocolaty than the original. Also note that I am generous with the cayenne. I like these extra spicy. It’s like a party in your mouth.

Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
Ingredients:
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
5 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup (scant) sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 2/3 cup white flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp (heaping) ground cayenne
¼ tsp salt
Topping: ¼ cup sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon, mixed
Directions:
In a large bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in short intervals to avoid burning. Add the oil, sugar, maple syrup, soy milk, and vanilla and stir well with a fork. Using a sifter, add the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Mix well.
Form dough into round walnut size balls.  Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar topping and flatten slightly before placing on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes or so, then move cookies to a cooling rack.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Vegan MoFo #7: Baking Day!


Today I spent most of my day baking. That to me is a good day! I am going to a party tonight so I wanted to bring a few things. I often bring goodies (usually sweets) to parties and even to smaller get-togethers. I really love baking but I don’t necessarily want to eat a whole recipe worth of cookies, brownies, or whathaveyou so I get other people to eat them! They don’t complain.

So I made three different things today. I will post today about two of them and save the third for another post.

First off: Homemade soft pretzels!  A few weeks ago I picked up some Vanilla Bean Salt at a small kitchen shop in Half Moon Bay, Ca. When I think of large grains of salt I think pretzels so that is what I made first. Expect to see this salt in other upcoming experiments as well. I was really happy with how these pretzels came out and they were a lot of fun to make.


Buttery Soft Pretzels


Ingredients:

4 tsps active dry yeast

1 tsp white sugar

1 tsp salt

1 ¼ cup warm water (110 degrees F)

4 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

1 tbls vegetable oil

¼ cup baking soda

2 cups water

Salt, for topping

Sugar cinnamon mixture, for topping

Few tablespoons Earth Balance or other non-dairy butter, melted

 Directions:

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast  and 1 tsp sugar in warm water. Let stand for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and add oil and yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead the dough until smooth, adding additional flour as needed, for about 8 minutes. Lightly oil the bowl, place dough in bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 410 degrees F.

Heat water in a sauce pan until boiling. Mix in baking soda and cover to keep warm.

When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope by rubbing the dough between your palms. Each piece should be about 18 inches in length. Twist each rope into a pretzel shape.

Dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution for about 10 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If using salt, sprinkle on before baking.

Bake in preheated oven for 7-8 minutes, until browned.

While still hot, lightly brush melted Earth Balance on each pretzel using a pastry brush. If using sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle on right after brushing with butter.



Goodie #2: Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
These bars are pretty simple: pumpkin, peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar, and spices. The taste is fantastic. I was a little surprised at the texture. These bars are more like fudge than cookie bars. That’s a-ok because they are delish. Hooray for pumpkin season!  You can find the recipe here.



Expect to see a post on the third goodie sometime soon. I’ll keep it as a surprise but I will give you a hint: it involves a beloved vegan authoress, chocolate, and cayenne.

364 days ‘til the next pretzel day*

 *Bonus to anyone who gets the reference!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vegan MoFo #6: Black Bean Chilaquiles


Whew! I’m having a great time looking at all the MoFo posts! I feel like I can’t keep up though. So much to see! Maybe if I took the time to figure out the whole RSS feed doohickey I might do better. As it is, I’ve been trying to get in a letter of the alphabet each day on the MoFo blogroll. Been seeing lots of good stuff out there!  I heart finding new vegan blogs!

This is a food that doesn’t photograph all that well but I swear it is tasty. This chilaquiles uses tortilla chips instead of the traditional day-old tortillas. It’s a great way to use all those little chippies and crumblies in the bottom of all those chip bags that tend to accumulate in the cupboard (or is that just me)?


Black Bean Chilaquiles

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites

Ingredients:

2 cups roughly crushed tortilla chips, divided

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced

15 oz can black beans, drained

15 oz can diced tomatoes, or 1 ½ cups chopped fresh tomatoes

1 ½ cups frozen or fresh corn

2 tbls lime juice

1 large avocado, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups salsa of choice, divided (I like Pace Picante for this)

4-6 ounces Daiya Pepperjack Cheese


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F

Lightly spray a 9 inch square baking dish. Spread 1 cup crushed tortilla chips evenly on the bottom.

In a medium saucepan, sauté onions in oil until softened. Add beans, tomatoes, corn, ½ cup salsa, and lime juice and simmer for about 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pour bean mixture evenly over chips in baking dish. Place sliced avocado in an even layer on top of the beans. Pour ¾ cup salsa on top and spread evenly. Next sprinkle the rest of the tortilla chips. Spread the remaining ¾ cup salsa on top of chips. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for 40 minutes.



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vegan MoFo #5: Matar Tofu


I never tried Indian food until I went vegetarian. I was missing out. I know a lot of people who have never tried it. Again - missing out! This is a very easy curry recipe and if you have never made Indian food at home this is good place to start.  This is also very mild so if you like it spicy you can add more cayenne.

This comes from the wonderful World Vegetarian Classics by Celia Brooks Brown. If you are interested in exploring the many diverse cuisines of this planet then this is a good book to start your journey. There is a lot of great cultural information and the recipes generally are adapted to use ingredients you can easily find here at home.
This dish is traditionally made with cubed paneer, an Indian cheese that retains its shape even when fried. Tofu is the perfect vegan substitute.



Matar Tofu
Adapted from World Vegetarian Classics

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound extra firm tofu, cubed
1 medium onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 cup coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
Pinch of cayenne, or more to taste
2 cups tomatoes, diced small
2 cups frozen peas
Cilantro, for garnish

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cubed tofu and fry until most sides are browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and sauté onions until softened. Add garlic and ginger and stir for 1 minute. Add a splash of the coconut milk, spices, and salt. Stir for one minute. Add the remaining coconut milk and tomatoes. Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the peas and fried tofu. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve over rice, garnished with the cilantro.