One of the comfort foods that I had begun missing was grilled cheese. It was too perfect with that Velveeta cheese between two slices of bread, fried just right. Well, this past week I tried making grilled cheese with homemade whole wheat bread, Daiya cheese and Earth Balance for "buttering" the outer slices of bread. I also reconstituted tomato soup with soy milk. It was heaven. It was so much like heaven that I proceeded to eat it for the next three meals. When I have bread again, I have a feeling I will continue to eat this grilled cheese.
Lemon Cheesecake Beyond Belief.
I won't mince words. This is the best vegan cheesecake I've ever tasted, bar none. It is better than the cheesecake at The Chicago Diner. It is better than the cheesecake at Karyn's Cooked. It lasts for about two days when one eats it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I've baked it three times in the past month.
Gilding the Lily with Homemade Strawberry Preserves.
The first time I made it, I was a bit shy about serving it naked. So I dressed it with some organic strawberry preserves. It was divine. At two o'clock in the morning, however, once our guests had vacated the premises (along with my sense of propriety) I ate a wedge (almost six inches across) all by itself. There is no need to put anything on this cheesecake but your bare, greedy hands.
The Joy of Vegan Baking
It just isn't kind to dangle this in front of a person without providing the means for prompt gratification. So, on the condition that you promise to purchase Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Joy of Vegan Baking, I'll oblige. Any cookbook that sustains a perfect five star rating across 100+ reader reviews is well worth your $13.57 (even in a recession).
Lemon Cheesecake (Recipe Slightly Modified to Reflect Best Results)
For the crust: Graham Crackers; some Mi-Del Ginger Snaps; 1/4 cup sugar; 5 T. Earth Balance. Process crackers, snaps, and sugar to a fine crumb; add Earth Balance and pulse; press into a lightly oiled 9-inch spring-form pan and bake at 350 for ten minutes until golden.
For the cheesecake: 4 1/2 t. Ener-G Egg Replacer; 6 T. water; 24 oz. non-dairy cream cheese (at room temperature); 1 c. granulated sugar; 1/2 t. vanilla; 4-6 T. lemon juice (the recipe suggests 2 T., but I like a strong lemon flavor, so I doubled it and left the pulp in as well); 2 T. lemon zest (again, I doubled it from 1 T.); fresh strawberries for serving (optional).
What To Do: Preheat oven to 350. Using electric hand mixer in a large bowl, whip egg replacer and water together until thick and creamy. Beat in cream cheese until creamy (about 30 seconds--don't go longer!). Beat in sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest (beat until smooth, but don't overbeat--this will cause cracking on the surface during baking). Pour batter into crust and smooth top. Bake until center barely jiggles when pan is tapped, 50-55 minutes. It is fine if it puffs up a bit and turns golden brown; it will settle as it cools. Cool completely in pan on rack for at least one hour; refrigerate for at least two hours (but preferably 24 hours) before serving.
Warning: People feel very strongly about this dessert. I slipped a slice into Senator Obama's back pocket just as the 3rd debate was drawing to a close. The ensuing scene was deeply disturbing. Bake at your own risk.
To create this fast, simple, and surprisingly good soup begin by softening about a cup of split peas in two cups of vegetable broth. While doing this, sauté a chopped onion, minced garlic, and thinly sliced carrots until soft, all in a large pot. Add oregano and basil, and then five to six cups of vegetable broth. Once simmering, add the softened split peas. Cook until the vegetables are how soft you prefer them. Add garbanzo beans and a lot of spinach. Once the spinach is wilted, the soup is ready. This soup cooks in less than a half hour, needs few ingredients, and can easily be made in large batches and eaten later.
Dazzled! Floored! Dumbstruck! SPEECHLESS, even.
Okay. So I'm not speechless (it would probably take a to-scale model of a Lamborghini Diablo sculped in batter-fried tofu and floating in an Olympic-sized pool of ponzu sauce to render me speechless). But I am indeed dazzled, floored, and stricken by the long-awaited arrival of Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's VEGANOMICON: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. It's true: the implacable post-punk kitcheners who brought us Vegan With a Vengeance and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World have struck again, this time delivering the most comprehensive and accessible vegan cookbook we've ever seen.
Noodles's First Veganomicon: Leek and Green Pea Cassoulet with Biscuits
With over 250 tantalizing recipes built on easy-to-find, reasonably-priced staple ingredients, The Veganomicon covers every imaginable corner of the culinary landscape. Allow me to rehearse the categories in the Table of Contents: Snacks, Appetizers, Little Meals, Dips and Spreads; Brunch; Salads and Dressings; Dressings; Sammiches; Vegetables; Grains; Beans; Tofu, Tempeh, and Seitan; Soups; Casseroles; One-Pot Meals and Stove-Top Specialties; Pasta, Noodles, and Risotto; Sauces and Fillings; Breads, Muffins, and Scones; Cookies and Bars; Desserts; Menus for the Masses. HOLY SMOKES! Get ready for a flurry of new posts!
Moles's First Veganomicon: Tofu Florentine.
I don't know about the rest of you, but one of the things I do to relax is cook or bake. This weekend I was in full force with a curry craving to boot. I just kept adding things as I cooked, so feel free to take out what you don't have/substitute. I'm also a fan of using one pan, so instead of cooking the lentils separately, I cooked them right into the curry. Feel free to cook them separately and add later. Here's how it went down for me:
1 tablespoon Earth balance
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tub China Rose tofu (it's local--you better check it out!)
3-4 leaves of kale
some collard greens
a little broccoli
some carrots (I cut up half a regular (i.e. not baby) carrot)
1 can coconut milk (light or regular)
1 can masapan curry paste (found at Asian Delight, another local grocery store worth checking out)
handful brown lentils
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1. Put pan on stove, medium high heat.
2. Add Earth Balance to pan
3. Add kale and collards to pan, braise
4. While kale and co' cooking, cut tofu into bite-sized chunks and add to pan
5. Crush a clove of garlic and add to pan, sauteeing.
6. Add coconut milk and curry paste
7. While that's cooking, add as much broccoli as you like.
8. Chop carrots and add them to the pan
9. Throw in some brown lentils
10. It's done when the lentils are edible.
11. Stir in some peanut butter at the end (or add maple syrup if you'd rather use that). The spice of the curry plus a little sweet is something I enjoy, but feel free to skip it if coconut milk is sweet enough for you.
Tell Papa to "Hold the cheese!" and then pile it up yo' bad self.
Good ol' Papa John's often offers a carry-out special that can score you a large one-topping pizza for just $5.99 (or thereabouts, depending on the city). We've had great luck getting the Easttown franchise to substitute extra sauce for the cheese on a large mushroom pizza, and then we bring it home and doctor it up with onion, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, and some sliced Tofurky Beerbrats (or whatever else is on-hand).
Here's our method: (1) make the call or order online; (2) pre-heat the oven to warm; (3) chop veggies and fako-sausage; (4) make the pick-up; (5) put the pizza in the warmed oven; (6) sautee Tofurkey sausage slices in olive oil and set aside; (7) sautee veggies and spices together in olive oil (onions first with oregano and rosemary, then peppers, then garlic, then tomatoes, then throw the Tofurky back in for a warm-up); (8) pile on your homemade toppings and kick it into hog-it-all mode for the ultimate impromptu pizza fix.Comments (3)
Adults only--and no animatronic animals!
The exclamation "Pizza Party!" really doesn't do this occasion justice. In truth, it was an all out Pizza Gorge-a-thon. I haven't eaten this much pizza at one sitting since junior high when I won the Grand Prize "Party at Showbiz" for selling 53 magazine subscriptions to a total of five elderly neighbors. My fingers ballooned to the size of toilet paper tubes, and I was haunted for weeks by dark dreams involving "Fatz Geronimo"--the animatronic keyboard-playing gorilla from the Showbiz house band, "Rockafire Explosion".
Silly Rabbit, Fatz is for kids!
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I ate pizza like a child (with banjo-wielding animatronic bears, lots of nappy dead meat, and congealed bovine mammary fluids). When I became a man, I gave up childish ways, and began eating designer vegan pizzas with toppings such as salted lemon puree, roasted beets, walnut pesto, tofu ricotta, and leeks.
Salted Lemon Puree, Roasted Beet, Arugula, Leek
Walnut Pesto, Tofu Ricotta, Mushroom, Tempeh Bacon
Pizza Caprese (Tofu, Tomato, Basil, Garlic, Salt and Pepper)
I discovered this a couple weeks ago when it was unbearably hot and wanted to minimize cooking.
Ingredients (use as much or as little as you want, according to your taste):
tortillas (I used Eden's Live Sprouted tortillas)
Amy's Kitchen refried beans
Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (or make your own)
1. Cook quinoa according to its instructions.
2. Mix everything except the refrieds and tortillas together.
3. Take a tortilla and give it a layer of refrieds.
4. Spoon corn/black bean mix onto the tortilla.
5. Roll like burrito or taco.
A variation on this would be if you didn't want a whole burrito/taco thing to eat, you could tear off pieces of tortilla or pita (either of these toasted or not), spoon on the mixture and eat it that way.
It'll keep you full for hours!
Surf these links to some great ideas!
If you're like the person pictured above, you're so busy raking, carrying around large panes of glass, showing rectangles to clowns, and giving lit matches to babies that you scarcely have time to get dinner on the table! Sure, sure, you're inspired to do better by the sumptuous looking food photos featured on extraVEGANza!, but the lazy ne'er-do-wells who "run" the site hardly ever post the recipes, and you need concrete instruction.
We understand your predicament, and until we have the time to do more by way of recipes, perhaps you can find the cure for what ails you at one of these EXCELLENT vegan recipe blogs (don't let the boring names put you off; the content is usually FAB): Eat Air; Melomeals; Fat Free Vegan.
As you browse their wares, please remember who sent you, and check back with us from time to time to stay abreast of all the other exciting aspects of the vegan lifestyle--it's not just about the FOOD, after all.Comments (3)
Secure Your Pineapple Moustache While Supplies Last!
It may look a tad on the fufu side, but this itsy bitsy little velvet hammer has some serious bell-ringing heft. Get out the blender, and throw in some tequila, some lime juice, some Cointreau (or triple sec), a handful of ice cubes, and a few sizeable chunks of fresh pineapple. Whirl until smooth, drink it up, and keep that frothy tropical stache as a little flavor saver for later.
Moles and Noodles Take Home the Bronze Udder!
It was a close race, but at the end of the day the judges concurred that THE MICHIGAN topped the list of the fourteen chilis entered in this year's contest. Here's the skinny on how team extraVEGANza! worked their Michigan chili magic, rockin' some unlikely special ingredients (chocolate, coconut, coffee, and kale?!?) into the annals of vegan chili history.
Michigan Chili (Write-up by Moles)
I’ll try to remember what we put into the chili, but when Noodles and I started making this, almost anything would go – we just kept sautéing, pureeing, tasting and adding. Though we were inspired by a coffee chili recipe that Noodles discovered. I’ll try to give you the steps and approximate amounts (because we didn’t measure), but you’ll have to taste it as you go along and see what you like. We used 2 quarts of heirloom tomatoes that we canned this summer, which we thought made it extra special.
1. Boil in a medium saucepan:
1 large ginger root, peeled and sliced
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2 cups of water
Let this boil and reduce to about half. When reduced, remove the ginger and garlic and place in a food processor. Keep the water in the saucepan for later.
2. Meanwhile, heat in a large non-stick skillet:
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tubs of China Rose tofu (about 2 lbs), drained, dried and crumbled
1-2 tablespoons Braggs liquid aminos
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ - 1 teaspoon each cinnamon and cardamom
When the tofu gets browned, add:
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
Saute until the maple syrup coats the tofu. Set aside.
3. Brew 4-6 cups strong coffee. Add to the tofu mixture.
1-2 jalepenos, seeded and diced
15 sundried tomatoes, diced small
4. In a large stockpot or dutch oven, sauté 2-3 diced onions in 2 Tbsp oil
Saute until golden, then add:
8 oz mushrooms, sliced.
½ - 1 teaspoon each cinnamon, cardamom
1 tablespoon paprika
Saute until soft, then add:
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
Cook until fragrant, then add the tofu/coffee mixture to the pot.
5. Take 2 quarts of canned tomatoes; drain and save juice from one.
Add the drained tomatoes and the second quart of tomatoes with their juice to the food processor in which you’ve place the ginger and garlic. Puree.
Add the puree to the ginger/garlic water and simmer.
When the mixture has simmered for about 15 minutes, add it to the stockpot.
6. Add to the chili:
2 cans black soybeans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
Let the chili simmer for about 1 hour, adding the reserved tomato juice (or vegetable broth) if necessary. Note: if you don’t use the reserved juice, save it for a vegan Bloody Mary (made with veg. Worcestershire) and drink it while you let the chili simmer.
7. Once the chili has simmered for a while...
We added the following “secret” ingredients and kept tasting it until it was to our liking:
Sciracha hot sauce
Unsweetened coconut flakes (about 1 ½ cups)
Cocoa powder (we used Green & Black’s Maya Gold Cocoa powder)
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
8. At the very end, we added a quart-sized bag of Trillium Haven kale from Noodles’ and Splinters’ freezer.
I think that’s it. I hope I didn’t leave anything out.
9. Presentation / Garnishes
We also made cornbread in 9x13 pans and cut out the state of Michigan with our Michigan and Upper Peninsula cookie cutters (thanks for those, Kelly!) and floated it on the top.
1 tub of Wildwood unsweetened soy yogurt
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh grated horseradish (ours had some beet juice added to it)
1 bunch cilantro, leaves trimmed and diced
Bragg’s and maple syrup to taste
We also sautéed some crumbled tempeh “fakin bacon” until crispy.
From the Mantel to the Plate!
It's time to turn those fall home decor accents into a delectable side for your Christmas feast. Take that acorn squash off the mantelpiece, preheat the oven to 425, and get ready to start mincing garlic.
What you'll need
2 acorn or carnival squash, seeds scooped out and cut into crescents
Salt and Pepper
4 Tablespoons olive oil (plus extra for tossing squash)
2 Tablespoons lime juice
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons cilantro or parsley, chopped.
Here's what to do...
(1) Toss squash crescents with olive oil, salt and pepper; (2) place squash on a cookie sheet or roasting pan and roast in 425 degree oven until soft and getting caramelized (about 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally); (3) while squash is roasting, combine oilive oil, lime juice, garlic, and cilantro (or parsley); (4) when squash is just out of the oven, toss it in the vinaigrette and serve immediately.
Part of a delectable Christmas ensemble near you!
Our festive winter squash joined a chorus of other holiday favorites: pecan and macadamia encrusted seitan cutlets, cornbread stuffing, braised cabbage, and mashed potatoes and gravy.
This recipe comes from the Follow Your Heart Cookbook.
You will neeed...
1.5 tablespoons non-dairy margarine (Earth Balance)
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1.5 teaspoons vegetable broth powder or 1 vegetable bouillon cube
1.5 cups Rice Dream original flavor
1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed
Dash of celery salt
Dash of curry powder
Dash of Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 oz. macaroni or medium shells
3 oz. firm tofu (check out local China Rose)
2 teaspoons canola oil
Here's what to do...
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: In a 1 quart saucepan, melt margarine(Earth Balance) over low heat. Add flour and yeast flakes, and stir until smooth. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add vegetable broth powder and wisk in rice milk, garlic, onion powder, celery salt, curry powder, and pepper. Simmer sauce uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce has thickness of heavy cream. Remove from heat.
Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, drain and cover. Keep warm as you finish the recipe.
In a heatproof, variable speed blender, blend tofu with oil and about .5 cup of the sauce. Blend until very smooth, adding more sauce if necessary for blending. Add blended mixture to the rest of the sauce.
Toss the hot, drained pasta with the sauce and serve immediately.
Note: we modify this recipe just a little bit. We use a splash of vegetable broth instead of the powder, and curry paste instead of the powder. Also, we add some Follow Your Heart vegan cheddar in thin strips to melt on top. We tend to double the recipe too, because you can never have enough shells and no cheese.
Enjoy! Perfect for Thanksgiving...
Put those leftovers to good use!
Black Bean Breakfast Burrito
In case you get around to making the Tamale/Black Bean dinner outlined below, you can use up your leftover black beans in this tasty brunch concoction. And, if you don't know about China Rose tofu, you should. Find it at Harvest Health. Also, if you have access to Hawaiian black sea salt...well, bust it out already!
You will need...
Leftover black beans (unless you were a super bean hound, you should have an ample amount left)
4 flour tortillas (the big kind)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, diced small
2 green peppers, diced small
1 lb tofu, diced small
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 package vegan cheddar (we like Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet), diced small
1/4 cup bottled or homemade salsa
salt and pepper
for fixins: avocado, sriracha hot sauce, vegan sour "cream"
Here's what to do...
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, warm up those beans!
In a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat, heat the canola oil. When shimmery, add the onions and peppers. Saute until soft. Add the tofu and saute until a bit brown (not too brown). Add the seasonings and salsa, stir in and heat up. Add the "cheddar" and keep stirring until it gets all melty and delicious (trust me, it will be delicious). Add a bit of salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, put a bit of oil on a cookie sheet.
When everything is ready to go, get ready to assemble:
a few wedges of avocado
...and roll up burrito style.
Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 9 minutes.
Serve with Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream! and sriracha.
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