Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sriracha Peanut Butter Fudge + Variation

Yes, you read that right. I put sriracha in fudge. Why not? Sriracha is an asian hot sauce, and peanut butter is often used in asian recipes. Makes sense to me. So how was it? Pretty awesome, if you ask me. When you first take a bite, you mostly just taste super sweet peanut buttery goodness. But as the silky fudge melts into your tongue, the heat starts to make itself known. Then your mouth and throat is pleasantly warm and tingly. It’s fun!

I made half of this recipe with sriracha, and the other half I left plain and then topped with melted chocolate and coarse sea salt. If you try this, don’t leave off the salt! It really pulls the whole thing together.

I should admit here that I had a problem with this setting up properly (still tasted great!), but I know what I did wrong and the directions below should get you the right result. You can always refer to the original recipe (linked below) to make sure.

Peanut Butter Fudge Two Ways
Adapted from Allrecipes

½ cup Coconut Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup non-dairy milk
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

3-4 tsp sriracha

1 ½ oz non-dairy chocolate chips
Coarse sea salt

Melt margarine in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add brown sugar and non-dairy milk. Keeping heat on medium, bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter.

Place powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour peanut mixture over the top. Beat until smooth with an electric mixer.

Line two 8x4 inch pans with parchment or plastic wrap.

Pour half of batter into one pan.

Add sriracha to remaining batter and beat until well mixed. Pour into second pan.

Melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Spoon melted chocolate on top of plain fudge and spread evenly. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Refrigerate fudge for at least an hour. Cut while still cold.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Black Pepper Fettuccine with Chardonnay Sauce

When I saw this recipe in the Jan/Feb issue of Vegetarian Times, I knew I had to make it. First of all, I have been to  the Ravens restaurant and the food was amazing. Secondly, I have recently discovered a great appreciation of all things black pepper. (My favorite potato chip is Kettle’s Salt & Black Pepper). Thirdly, the BF loves cream sauces so I knew it would be a winner (it was).

I simplified the veggie prep a bit by leaving off the spinach and red pepper called for. Instead of grilling my asparagus, I roasted it. I also used quite a bit more pasta than the original recipe; I had a feeling the sauce was too much for the measly 3 oz of pasta called for.  Lastly, I soaked my cashews in water for an hour beforehand so that they would blend up extra creamy.

This meal was absolutely delicious – the cashews gave the chardonnay sauce a wonderful silky creamy texture and made it pretty filling too.

Black Pepper Fettuccine with Chardonnay Sauce and Roasted Asparagus
Adapted from Vegetarian Times

1 cup cashews
½ cup water
½ cup soy milk, or other non-dairy milk
1 cup Chardonnay wine
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 ½ tsp ground black pepper

12 oz linguini (or fettuccine)
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed

Cook pasta according to package directions.

To make sauce: Soak cashews in water for an hour or so. Drain, then add to blender with ½ cup water and soy milk. Blend until very smooth. This may take several minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat Chardonnay over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup.  Stir in cashew mixture and remaining sauce ingredients. Keep warm on low heat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.

When pasta is done, toss with sauce. Serve with asparagus on top.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tahini Veggie Stir-Fry with Sriracha Tempeh

Yum! Last night I threw together this easy stir-fry with the veggies I had hanging out in the fridge.  For the protein I made tempeh marinated in a tamari and sriracha sauce and then broiled it for some nice browning. I tied it all together with an asian-inspired tamari-tahini sauce. Served it all over brown rice garnished with green onions and extra sriracha. I liked how this turned out and the BF was pretty ecstatic about it. Success! I can actually cook without recipes. Awesome.

The instructions look kind of complicated but it all comes together pretty quickly. To save time, you could start your tempeh the night before. Enjoy!

Tahini Veggie Stir-Fry with Sriracha Tempeh

8 oz package tempeh
¼ cup tamari
2 tbsp water
1 tsp roasted sesame oil
2-3 tsp sriracha
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp peanut oil
1 large onion, diced large
2 carrots, sliced
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 head romanesco, chopped (or broccoli)
½ head green cabbage, sliced
2-3 green onions, sliced (for garnish)

3 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp water

Slice tempeh into four pieces. Combine all marinade ingredients in a shallow dish. Toss tempeh with marinade and let sit for at least one hour, or overnight.

Place marinated tempeh on baking sheet. Pour a little extra marinade on top. Broil for five minutes, then flip, adding more marinade. Broil for another 5 minutes.

Stir Fry:
Chop all veggies ahead of time. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots and sauté for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes. Add romesco and sauté for 5 minutes. Add cabbage and sauté for a few more minutes, or until veggies are tender crisp.

Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add to skillet, along with the tempeh. Heat for a few more minutes, or until sauce is thickened.

Garnish with green onions and serve with extra sriracha at the table.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Leek, Tofu, and Almond Stuffed Portobellos + Wheatberry Salad

Mmmm Mmmushrooms. This is one of my favorite stuffed mushroom recipes. These mushrooms come from Moosewood Cooking for Health. They are filled with a mixture of sautéed leeks, slivered almonds, grated tofu, and a little thyme and tamari for seasoning. Pretty simple really, but yummy and satisfying. 
I served this with a quick wheatberry salad I threw together. I cooked up some wheatberries the day before to save time. Then to the cold grain I added dried cranberries, walnuts, baby spinach, and diced red onion. To dress, I used 1 tablespoon olive oil, the juice of a small lemon, and salt and pepper. And it was great. I just love love the chewiness of wheatberries!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mac and Cheese Tease

Ok. It’s like this. This Mac and Cheese is freaking amazing! This is one of the best Mac and Cheese’s I have ever had. Notice I did not say this is one of the best VEGAN Mac and Cheese’s I have ever had. This baby needs no such distinction. It can stand with the rest of them. For reals.
This is not your mother’s mac and cheese. This mac and cheese is gourmet. It’s fancy. It has spices and fresh herbs and a decadent roux sauce. This mac and cheese tastes like cheese without any modern trickery. No Daiya here, no Tofutti. This is just real food and it’s real good. Not only that, but this is a baked mac and cheese. So it has that sublime crunchy carmelized goodness on the edges and some crunchy toasty breadcrumbs on top. Underneath that is a treasure trove of chewy noodles and just the right amount of creamy cheesy sauce. Hell yes.

Now that I have built this up I should admit that I will not be posting the recipe here. The creator of this beautiful beast deserves all the credit, and maybe your hard-earned dollars. The price of the book is worth it for just this recipe alone. This is the Bajan Macaroni Pie from Caribbean Vegan. Well done Taymer Mason, WELL DONE.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mini Break Weekend: Monterey

Last weekend the BF took me to Monterey for my birthday. It was just lovely! The weather could not have been nicer – high 60’s and sunny. Nice! We stayed in a beautiful B&B called Old St Angela Inn. I was really happy with this hotel! It was located a block from the ocean and about ½ mile walk (along the coast) from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The rooms were very charming and we had an ocean view. I was even able to fill up on vegan fare at their breakfast buffet even though I did not make a special request. Sweet!

Old St. Angela Inn

The first day we walked around on the coastal trail. It was a beautiful day.
We also drove out to Carmel to Gallery 21, a gallery dedicated to the work of Eyvind Earle. I absolutely adore his work and had not had the pleasure of seeing any of his paintings in person. I hope to one day buy one of these prints for my own home!
Gallery 21
On Sunday we walked over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and spent most of the day there.  I hadn’t been to the aquarium in several years so I was excited to be there again! My favorite part is the jellyfish, but we also saw sea otters, penguins, and a new seahorse exhibit.

After a long day at the aquarium, we stopped for dinner at Tillie Gort’s Café. This is a very vegetarian friendly restaurant and they even have vegan baked goods! I had the tofu scramble, which had tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions. This was served with black beans and brown rice. I also added some tortillas and salsa on the side (I was very hungry). The food was amazing - this was one of the better tofu scrambles I have had. For dessert we had vegan carrot cake! Since this is one of my favorite cakes I was stoked that it was one of the options. They also had a vegan chocolate cake.

All in all it was a terrific trip!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vegan German Chocolate Cake

It was my birthday yesterday! So I made myself a vegan version of my favorite cake – German Chocolate Cake! (BTW, my second favorite is Carrot Cake).  I had a lovely birthday weekend as well, which I will be posting about in the next few days. But on to the cake! What could be better than a moist, chocolate cake covered in toasty coconut and pecans? I can’t think of anything. The cake portion I got from allrecipes HERE. The changes I made were to double the recipe and bake in two 9 inch round pans for 35 minutes. I also reduced the salt a tad, to about ¾ tsp for a double recipe.  And the best part is below: The Frosting!

Coconut Pecan Frosting
Makes enough for a 2 layer 9 inch round cake

2 ½ cups sweetened coconut
1 ½ cups pecans, chopped
¾ cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
12 tbsp vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
¾ cup non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Spread coconut and pecans on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Stir, then bake for 5 minutes more.

In a large saucepan, melt sugar and margarine on medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until frosting is very thick and sticky. You should not see any liquid at the bottom of the pan.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so, then frost cake while frosting is still somewhat warm.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tomato and Leek Linguini + Pesto Tofu

This is a super easy dinner perfect for a weeknight meal. The sauce for this pasta comes together in the time it takes to boil the noodles. Pretty nifty, eh? Plus it’s pretty delish if you really like leeks, which I do. I served this pasta with a locally made pesto tofu, which I talked about in this post. I prepared the tofu very simply by spraying with olive oil, dusting with freshly ground pepper, and broiling for 5 minutes on each side. I also dusted everything with vegan parmesan, which I hadn’t really tried before. While it doesn’t taste exactly like dairy parm, it does fill that void by adding some salty savory seasoning. Yum!

 Tomato and Leek Linguini

12 oz linguini
1 tbsp olive oil
4-5 medium leeks, sliced (3-4 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
28 oz can diced tomatoes
Vegan parmesan (optional), to taste

Boil linguini according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add leeks and sauté for 10 minutes or so, or until softened. Add garlic and sauté for a minute or two more. Add thyme, salt, pepper, and tomatoes (with juice) to the pan. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Once pasta is done, add drained pasta to pan with the sauce and mix well.

Serve dusted with vegan parm, if desired.