Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Whoa, we are more than halfway through MoFo and this is only the 3rd time I have cooked with pumpkin this month? I need to step up my game, yo!

Remember when I told you yesterday that I baked cupcakes for a coworkers birthday? Well, they came out fucking awesome. I won't lie though, I was shitting bricks on my way into work today with them. I know I am a very capable baker but I haven't brought in baked goods to share with my office in the whole 9 months I have been here. Like I mentioned, I am super lucky to have another vegan and two vegetarians in the office so we always have each others backs. Everyone else is really veg-friendly(though the occasional teasing occurs, but its all in good nature) but I was nervous about how the omnis would react to a vegan cream cheese frosting. The nervousness started last night while I was making the frosting. I eat Trader Joe's "This is not a tub of cream cheese" with my bagels but I've never used it for frosting, I usually stick with Tofutti or Galaxy(the best of the best). I wasn't loving how it was coming out so I added a bunch more vanilla and sugar then I tossed in some cinnamon. After fussing with it for awhile, I was pleased with the results. Almost. At this point, it was a perfectly spreadable frosting but not thick enough that it would hold up to piping it. I was exhausted so I decided to just spread it on and be done with it. The frosting still tastes awesome but isn't as pretty as I would have like. Oh well.

I had my guy taste test the cupcakes the night before because I know he will tell me what he really thinks. He loves vegan cream cheese but I don't think I told him there was any in it until after. I was also worried about them having too much cinnamon, my tastebuds were starting to go a little numb from all the frosting I had to try. His reaction was that the frosting was awesome and went perfectly with the cupcake.

The reaction through the office was the same as well. I'm definitely going to bake more for work now! I love vegan baking success!

The recipe I used is the one I got from Vegan Good Eats, which originally came from Jody of jodycakes. Here is the recipe below, without my frosting modifications (those were done to taste without measuring)

Pumpkin Spice Vegan Cupcakes
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon. vinegar, preferably apple cider
  • 1 cup all purpose flour, preferably unbleached
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup each vegan sugar and packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg and salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
  • Dash of ground cloves and allspice
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line 12 count muffin tin with cupcake papers.
  2. In large measuring cup, combine milk & vinegar to create soy “buttermilk. Allow to sit and curdle while preparing all the other ingredients.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugars and whisk until smooth. Sift together all additional dry ingredients, including the spices and salt into the sugars. Whisk to combine.
  4. In small bowl, stir together pumpkin, applesauce, oil and vanilla.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry, adding soy “buttermilk” last. Combine all ingredients until smooth and pour into the prepared pan, filling cups about halfway.
  6. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the tops spring back to a light touch.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 6 tablespoons Vegan Cream Cheese, such as Tofutti brand
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 2-4 tablespoons soy milk (as needed)
Cream together the cream cheese and butter and add vanilla. Add the sugar one cup at a time. If frosting is too thick, you may slowly add soy milk to loosen up to reach the desired consistency.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Spike's Junkyard Dogs - Boston

This MoFo post is brought to youo courtesy of my lunch today. At my company, when anyone has a birthday, the owner buys us all lunch at the place of the birthday person's choosing. I work in a very small office and am very fortunate to have another vegan and two vegetarians working here. Everyone else is also very veg-friendly. Today we celebrated a co-workers birthday and she chose Spike's Junkyard Dogs, a favorite of ours here in the office.

Here in Boston, we are lucky enough to have 3 Spike's at our disposal, all open until at least midnight (great for those late night adventurers). While they specialize in non-vegan hot dogs, they offer veggie dogs as a no-charge substitute for any dog on the menu, which is friggen huge!!!! The online menu does not do the restaurant justice, they have a full list in-store and on Foodler, where I order most of my dogs unless I am out and about in the city and can stop into one.

With so many topping options it can get a little overwhelming trying to figure out which to choose. While I am not extremely adventurous when it comes to food, I do like to try new and different things regularly and none of their toppings are too over the top, I can't bring myself to switch it up. I always get the same exact thing, call me a veggie dog purist if you want but I love the Irish Setter (ketchup and sauerkraut) with added house mustard and relish. In my opinion, that is a perfect veggie dog. They also happen to use my favorite brand of veggie dog, Lightlife!! Paired with a side of Poodle Fries (curly fries), you've got yourself a fantastic lunch! Especially when the boss is paying for it!

Also, in honor of said coworkers birthday, I was slaved away in the kitchen all night last night making homemade Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting! There will be a post on those to follow!

Quick MoFo Roundup and SPECULOOS!

If I could post about everything I've starred in Google Reader, have emailed myself, or bookmarked so far in MoFo, we'd be here for days. I haven't been commenting on as many blogs as I'd like to either so I thought I'd throw together a quick post about some of the things I am dying to try.

One of the very first things that really caught the attention of my stomach was the Quinoa Edamame Salad over at Eating Beautiful. I am obsessed with the Warm Chickpea Artichoke and Quinoa Salad that I make so this gorgeous salad is right up my alley and I can't wait to give it a try!

If I had to pick one thing to list as my favorite thing about fall, without a doubt it's pumpkin! Especially if it is in baked goods! One of these Sundays I am going to get up early enough to make these Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from Hell Yeah It's Vegan! for breakfast. If I close my eyes and try really hard, I can almost smell them! While you are there, check out the Warm Cabbage Salad that was posted yesterday. It looks fantastic!

The Pumpkin Pie Smoothie over at Veggie Fixation has me craving a smoothie in the worst way. Such a quick way to get your pumpkin fix!

I have never cooked with fresh pumpkin before, I think I've always been a little intimidated by it. Sure, I'll carve the shit out of a jack-o-lantern and roast up the seeds, but that's as close as I've come to cooking with fresh pumpkin in any way. It is definitely something that has been on my list of things to do and I think this recipe for Roasted Sugar Pumpkin & Collard Crustless Quiche from Manifest Vegan is going to be the one to get me to do it! Sugar pumpkins are small enough that I won't feel like a huge failure if I fuck it up, but this recipe also seems straight forward enough that I wont.

Oh, and in other news, my bf scored some Speculoos cookies at the dollar store! He bought them thinking they were biscotti but when I realized and explained with ridiculous enthusiam (more than one should have at 7 am, unless of course you've just discovered a package of biscoff in your bfs kitchen) what he had actually bought, I think he might have thought I was nuts. Until he tried them. I've gotta go to the dollar store asap and clear out their stock.

Also, thanks to a ppk peep, I learned the why they are called Biscoff here in the good ole USA. When you combine the words 'biscuit' and 'coffee' that is what you get and because these are clearly "Europe's favorite cookie with coffee" it only makes sense.

Monday, October 15, 2012

BBQ Chik'n Sammies with Coleslaw and Yuca Patties

MoFo Post #10!!! Halfway there! (Whoooaaaaa, livin' on a prayer) I'm sorry, I had to. 

Fun Fact: Today I learned that when talking about the food, it's spelled Yuca with one c. Yucca with two c's is actually a plant or something. I definitely spelled it with two c's last night. Meh.

Most of the meals I make involve lots of chopping, slicing, dicing, stirring, cooking, etc. I lik hands on meals that I have to tend to from start to finish. It is part of the experience for me, when I put a lot of time, energy and love into something and it comes out delicious, I am happy with myself. Even when I make quick and easy meals for lazy nights, the love is still always there. I can't help it,cooking makes me happy.

I started out today with no thoughts or plans for dinner until a coworker and I started talking about how awesome avocados are and all the things we like to and want to do with them. We spent quite a while going back and forth, sending links to recipes and photos. After that I I had avocado on the brain so when I went over to Trader Joe's on my break I planned on picking one up for a snack and hopefully finding some inspiration for dinner.

As I was wandering around with my single avocado in hand I saw the Chicken-Less Pulled Chicken in BBQ Sauce. I thought it would be tasty on a sub or hamburger roll. When I think of bbq sammies, I instantly think of the toppings I can put on them. And coleslaw. My avocado was no longer going to be used as a snack, I was putting that little fucker on a sandwich. Once that was settled, my mind went immediately to coleslaw and how long it had been since I had made any. Remembering I had a jar of Veganaise in the bfs fridge, I quickly sought out cabbage. Being lazy thought I bought a bag of already shredded cabbage and a bag of carrot shreds. I never ever do that, I always try to grate, shred, whatever else my own vegetables. Again, part of the experience for me.

The chicken had a really meaty texture thought the sauce was a little sweeter and more tomatoey(it's a word now) than I prefer but overall, I loved it and piled on a burger bun with sliced pickle, tomato and avocado, it was fantastic.

I also had some leftover mashed yuca from dinner last night and thought it would be fun to form it into little patties and bake them up. I rolled them into little balls in my hands, flattened them out and put them on a baking sheet in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes. When I went to check on them they weren't really crisping up on the outside and didn't want to let me flip them without falling apart. Instead of giving up, I jacked the heat up to 500 and gave them some more time. 7 or so minutes later they were starting to get nice and golden and I was able to flip them. I baked them for another 10 or so minutes and ended up with something more perfect than the mashed yuca they previously were. They had nice golden tops and bottoms and the insides were so creamy. These would be fantastic alongside some tofu scramble and some veggie bacon for brunch.

From start to finish this meal was so unbelievably easy and delicious and even though I took more shortcuts than I normally would, I was very pleased with myself for throwing together such an awesome meal.

Sorry for the craptastic photos. I didn't have the energy or patience to fuss with lighting or anything tonight.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chili Lime Tofu, Mango BBQ Beans and Mashed Yucca

So I took a little under a week off from MoFo but I'm back. Life was getting a little hectic and expensive so the last real meal (and by real, I mean anything anybody may want to read about) I made was the Pumpkin Baked Ziti. Normally I do a lot of cooking on the weekends but this weekend I was feeling super lazy and I also have been at the bfs with all 3 dogs for a few days so cooking a big meal wasn't at the top of my list.

Speaking of the dogs, we took them to the park today. Before I get to the food, take a look at my 3 adorable vegan pups!

Gizmo - My little princess

Daine - The love of my life

Hero - She is a Dog Meat Trade Rescue and my little mountain goat

Since I wasn't super motivated to put energy into cooking but still wanted a good home cooked meal I wanted to make something super low maintenance but still healthy. My copy of Appetite for Reduction was laying around my guys kitchen so I turned to that for inspiration. I decided on Chili Lime Tofu, Cilantro Lime Yuca, Mango BBQ Beans and some wilted spinach.

When I got to the market I was super distracted so when buying the tofu, instead of grabbing a block of firm tofu I accidentally grabbed the pre-cubed kind. I didn't realize it until the beans had already been cooking for a  bit so I didn't have time to go back. I had to make it work. Initially, before I realized I had bought tiny cubes of tofu, I was intending on a 100% Latin American inspired meal but I modified things a bit and even though the tofu didn't have all Latin flavor, because I used some soy sauce, it was still fuckin' awesome and worked really well with everything else.

When I decided to make the Mango BBQ Beans, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about them. I don't like mango. At all. My guys loves it so I decided to make them. I used to love mango though, in my early 20s (and pre-vegan days)I would make a Thai style mango sauce all the time to serve over non-vegan proteins. Even after I went vegetarian, and then vegan, I would still make the same sauce and serve it with tofu or fake chicken and I still loved it. I don't know what happened, the last year or two, my tastebuds have changed I guess. I did end up loving these beans though, probably because the mango wasn't the main taste in the dish. The sweetness of the fruit complimented what would have otherwise been a really tangy sauce

The yucca, oh the yucca, I love this starchy little tuber so so much. I have only ever had yucca fries with a cilantro chutney dipping sauce, but I could eat my weight in that shit. I already knew the cilantro in the recipe would be a good match but I wasn't sure how I felt about the lime so I made some changes. I did use lime, just a tiny bit though and added a little Earth Balance and a tablespoon or two of Galaxy Vegan Cream Cheese. I did cheat though, I initially had fresh yucca in my cart but once I hit the frozen section and saw a bag of it already peeled, I switched them out.

For the tofu, since I ended up with tiny cubes of tofu, I clearly couldn't press it or dry fry it like I wanted so I decided, after draining them, to toss them in a little bit of chili powder and bake them on a sheet for about 15 minutes to get some of the moisture out. Once they were done I tossed them in a pan with the sauce and cooked it until it was more like a glaze.

When I cook for my guy, I always give him his plate first so he can start eating while I am plating and photographing mine. After about 2 bites, he was hollering from the living room how fantastic it was! Success? Yes! I agree with him, I was super proud of myself when I finally sat down to eat mine. AFR has not let me down yet.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Baked Baked Ziti with Sage Bread Crumb Topping and Pumpkin Cream Sauce

8th day of MoFo, 8th post! Fuck yea!

Remember when I made Pumpkin Ravioli last week and had a bunch of leftover cashew ricotta? The Pumpkin Baked Ziti from Veganomicon was the perfect recipe to use it all up. I really only used the recipe as a guideline since my cashew ricotta already had seasoning and pumpkin in it. The crunch sage breadcrumb topping was fantastic. I didn't make homemade breadrumbs, instead I used panko to give a really crunchy contrast to the creamy ricotta filling. The walnuts in the recipe really step up your standard bread crumb topping too, they will find their way into any recipe I make that calls for a crumb topping in the future.

I did a lot of googling today to try and come up with some sort of sauce to serve over it and was kind of at a loss. After I tossed the ziti in the oven I decided to try an experiment. I put about a half cup of soy cream and half a can of pumpkin puree into a sauce pan and whisked them together, added some soy butter and spices and then let it barely simmer for about 10 minutes. The result was a perfectly creamy pumpkin sauce. Some people might think I'm weird for serving pumpkin sauce over pumpkin baked ziti, but I'm telling you, this shit is cray. It made me wonder why I don't do cream sauces more often, the possibilities are endless. Pureed greens, tomato, basil, sage, really anything you could think of would probably translate really well into the soy cream/butter base. You can make them as thick or as thin as you want and serve them over pretty much anything. Fall 2012 will be the season of the cream sauce!  Probably Winter 2012 too.

For a side I sauteed about 4 cloves of minced garlic in a little bit of olive oil and then dumped in a bag of baby spinach to wilt. This meal was so easy to pull together, especially because of the ricotta I already had made and with all the inactive cooking time while the dish baked I had time to clean up the kitchen and tweak the sauce. I really really suggest you make this dish if you love pumpkin as much as I do.

I'm not normally one for posting recipes that aren't either entirely mine or that I haven't adapted but because I made some changes, I will post it here.

Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Sage Bread Crumb Topping and Pumpkin Cream Sauce
(Inspired by and adapted from Veganomicon)

For the Baked Ziti: 
  • 2 cups of Pumpkin Cashew Ricotta (recipe below)
  • 3/4 lb of ziti or penne
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 3 tblspns olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  1. Preheat to 375 and lightly grease a casserole dish. 
  2. Prepare pasta according to package directions. 
  3. While pasta is cooking heat the oil in a pan and add onions. Cook on med-low heat until caramelized, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Place the ricotta mix into a large bowl, add caramelized onions, bread crumbs and veggie broth. Mix until well combined. Taste and add more spices as you like. 
  5. Pour pasta mix into casserole dish and cover with Sage Bread Crumb Topping (recipe below)
  6. Bake 35 minutes. 

 Pumpkin Cashew Ricotta
  • 1 cup raw cashew pieces
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tblspns olive oil
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • 1 lb firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tblspns sage
  • 2 tspns salt
  • 1/2 tspn nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  1. In food processor add cashews, lemon, oil and garlic. Pulse until it is a paste. 
  2. Crumble in the tofu and process until it starts to resemble ricotta
  3. Add spices and pulse until combined. 

Bread Crumb Topping
  • 2 1/2 panko bread crumbs
  • 2/3 cup walnut pieces - chopped in food processor til they look like coarse crumbs
  • 1/2 cup soy butter
  • 1 tblspn dried sage
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  1. In a skillet melt the butter and add all ingredients. Stir until everything is mixed and coated. 

Pumpkin Cream Sauce

  • 1/2 cup soy cream
  • 1/2 can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup soy butter
  • 1 tblspn garlic powder
  • 1 tblspn sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients and bring to a low simmer while constantly stirring. Cook until butter is melted and desired consistency and taste is achieved. 

(Tiny portion is due to me snacking while cooking and not being as hungry)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Santa Fe Salad-MoFo Post 7!

Just a quick post tonight since I'm helping out at the restaurant I won't be cooking for myself. My pal in the kitchen made me my favorite salad, the one I just to eat several times a week when I still worked here. The Santa Fe Salad on the menu is romaine, corn, black beans, olives and tomato tossed in house dressing, topped with crushed tortilla chips. When he makes it for me he adds grilled soy chicken and avocado. I could eat this salad pretty much everyday. Forever.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Portobello Caps, White Asparagus and Quinoa Salad - MoFo Post 6

Remember when I used to manage a veg*n restaurant? From time to time I will help them out with catering or waiting tables when they are short-staffed on weekends. I love everyone there, it's 3 blocks from my place, the food is bomb and I just generally enjoy being there, when it doesn't involve me being the boss! Today I spent my afternoon catering a wedding with them on a Spirit of Boston Cruise on Boston Harbor. I was scared shitless going into it, not because of the job but because I get seasick. I popped some Valerian Root and made sure I had an empty stomach going into it, just to be safe. I didn't get seasick and actually had an awesome time. Luckily it was buffet style so once we set up and left the dock we had a lot of downtime while the ceremony and cocktails were going on upstairs. Because I live here I don't generally do anything considered touristy but it was so nice to be able to see Boston from the water, I just wish I had thought to bring my Nikon. I did get a few crappy pics on my phone though...

Once I realized I wasn't going to get seasick, claustrophobic or just be generally anxious I started getting really hungry. I was able to snack on some bread and scarf down a bowl of amazing vegan Italian Wedding Soup before we had to start serving. After the festivities, while we were cleaning up, I was able to get another small bowl of soup, half a veggie burger and a tiny piece of vegan Black Forest Cake.

I was done and home by 5 and found myself very hungry again. I don't generally do much on Saturdays except lay around with the bf and/or the pups all day being lazy so being out and about (read: not lazy) about, like a normal person, had me feeling hungry again. I was also feeling exhausted so dinner had to be something that required minimal energy. All I wanted was pajamas, wine and bed. (I currently have all 3 as I write this)

A few days ago I decided this Saturday nights dinner was definitely going to include portobello caps as the main part of whatever meal I ended up with. I also decided, once my bf confirmed we had quinoa, that I would make our favorite quinoa salad so now all I needed was to settle on a side vegetable.

As I was wandering around the market I happened upon some white asparagus. I have never cooked or eaten white asparagus before so I decided to buy it, just for funsies. Also, to be perfectly honest, the tops sort of looked like a penis which made me want to buy it more (food porn anyone?) After all was said and done, I will likely not cook white asparagus again.  Not that it wasn't tasty, because it was, but it required a little more effort than green asparagus and definitely more effort than I wanted to put into a vegetable this evening. I bought it thinking it would be the same as green, toss it in the steamer, sprinkle with some salt and lemon juice and voila, delicious veggies but nope. While I was sitting outside of the market waiting for my cab I decided to google the difference and see if I needed to prepare it any differently ( I should've done this while I was in the market, but whateves). Apparently white asparagus needs to be peeled and is more fragile to handle than it's counterpart. I definitely did not have the patience to peel them by hand so I busted out the potato peeler and like an idiot I was holding the stalks in my hand like a potato peeling them, forgetting their fragility and ended up snapping quite a few. Everything I found said to boil them but I wasn't sure how I felt about that, I hate boiling vegetables, I prefer sauteing, broiling or steaming them. I boiled them anyways, gently.

For the shrooms, I marinated them in Bragg's Liquid Aminos, rice vinegar, vegan worcestershire sauce, olive oil and chopped garlic. I didn't use any measurements, just mixed and added things until it made my taste buds happy. It had the perfect balance of sweet, salty and tang. After I had a glass of wine, they sat for a bit, I threw them in a frying pan with the marinade so it could cook down a bit.

It was pretty quick to pull together once I got the friggen asparagus prepped and turned out the be exactly what I needed after a long afternoon on a boat.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Lentil Sheperd's Pie with Caulipots - MoFo Post 5!

The gray and rainy weather stuck around another day so yet again, I found myself craving comfort food. Thinking back to the Sheperd's Pie I was going to go get the night before, I decided to make some at home. I knew I wouldn't have the patience to cook everything, put it all together in a baking dish and then wait for it to cook some more so I turned to the Upside-Down Lentil Sheperd's Pie and Caulipots from Appetite for Reduction.

This was the quickest and tastiest Sheperd's Pie (vegan or pregan) I've ever made. Being the rule breaker I am, I couldn't follow the ingredients perfectly. I omitted the zucchini, subbed oregano for tarragon, increased the worcestershire sauce(I like a saucy shep pie) and added frozen corn when I was adding the peas. Oh yeah, I didn't have du Puy lentils either so I used green. No bigs. A scoop of Caulipots (also #9 on the PPK 100 list!) topped with a scoop of the lentil mix and a side of steamed broccoli was the perfect meal for a crappy day like today.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cream of Broccoli Soup - Mofo Post 4!

I've been feeling super sluggish and gross lately and couldn't really figure out why until yesterday,  I've been lazy and eating like shit! I must've been in denial. Or too lazy to do anything about it. Welp, I'm done with it. I need energy, I need to get motivated, get moving and eat better. Sure, most of the stuff I post about it is generally healthy but it's the things I don't post about that are weighing me down(literally). I'm closing in on 30, I need to start taking better care of myself.

Even though I sit on my ass at a desk all day, by the time I leave the office, I am beat. Most mornings I get up between 7 and 8 and don't eat breakfast until after I've been settled in at work for an hour or so, usually around 10-10:30. Lunch comes around 1 pm and because of my laziness at night, I don't usually pack lunch so it's off to Chipotle or having something delivered. We always have tons of snacks laying around too so that isn't doing me any good. Neither is all the beer I drink. I don't take vitamins, I don't get enough fruits, veggies, grains or anything healthy really into my body. It's appalling really.

My main, and well, only motive for going vegan was for the animals. I don't do it for my health, I do it for their lives, but that doesn't mean I should put aside my general health in the meantime. It's time to step it up and to help hold myself accountable, I am announcing my intentions here in MoFo. I'm not going on a diet or any crazy exercise regimen but I do fully intend to eat better(not perfectly though, I love cupcakes, damnit) and be more active (with 3 dogs, that really shouldn't be a problem.)

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, lets move on to what's really important here. Food.

It was a dreary and drizzly day here in Boston yesterday so naturally I wanted something warm, filling and comforting for dinner. Before I had my realization I was planning on stopping at my favorite veg*n establishment for a big ol' plate of Sheperd's Pie. It really is a huge portion, more than enough for two people. But so GD tasty. I had to snap myself out of it. What could I make (and blog about) that would hit the spot the way something like Sheperd's Pie would but not leave me feeling full and lazy afterwards? A creamy soup! But not one filled with tons of soy cream, fake cheese or potatoes. After a quick google search, and reading the reviews, it was settled. Cream of Broccoli Soup from Joy the Baker it was!

This soup was unbelievably easy and quick to pull together, which was great because I didn't get around to cooking until after 9pm. The main ingredients are broccoli and cashews. The only thing I changed from her version of the recipe was omitting mustard seed because I don't have any and decreasing the water by 1/4 cup, I wanted it super thick. After I pureed everything in my Vitamix I tossed a piece of a crusty baguette in the oven to warm and threw together a little side salad.

I've got like 3 soup recipes that I always go back to during the cold weather because, well it gets cold and I need dependable soups to warm me up. This one has made the cut and will officially be in the rotation for the next few months.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

MoFo Post 3: Veggies, Balls and Pasta

Just a quick one for today folks.

Sometimes the tastiest meals are the simplest ones, especially when its someone else doing the cooking for you. I really enjoy my role as the cook in my relationship but once in awhile when the BF decides he wants to make dinner for me, I am more than happy to step back and let him do it. Especially because I know what he will be making and I love it. Pasta with meatless meatballs, veggies and sauce. Seriously. So god damned good. Sometimes I wonder if he really believes me when I tell him how much I love it. (Babe, if you're reading this, your pasta dish fucking rocks!)

It requires only a few ingredients, none of which need preparation other than being tossed in a pot or pan and stirred here and there.No chopping, no measuring, no stressing. The veggies he usually uses are Soycutash from TJ's, frozen brussell sprouts and frozen peppers. While the pasta is cooking he tosses them in a pan to steam up a bit, once they are getting cooked, he adds the balls and sauce and finishes letting it all cook. That's it. Once the pasta is done and drained, we dump some into a bowl and pile a bunch of the veggie/ball/sauce mix on top.

He made it for me the other night and since we had half a loaf of Italian bread leftover from Pumpkin Ravioli the night before, I made some quick garlic bread.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pumpkin Ravioli - Mofo Post #2

Day 2, post 2. I'm doing okay so far! Actually I cooked and wrote this on Sunday, but shhhh. Don't tell!

Like I mentioned in MoFo Post 1, I've been dying for fall to be able to cook all things apple and pumpkin. I've already done an apple post so here goes my first pumpkin one of MoFo and the season.

I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday than watching football, cooking, cleaning and drinking beer. All while in a hoodie, leggings and tube socks. During football seasons past, I would only watch the Patriots games and then either before or after, I would spend a bunch of time in the kitchen cooking something awesome. This season I have joined two fantasy football leagues so I pretty much need and want to watch every game, all day. But I also want to be in the kitchen all day. My need to be in the kitchen won over the need to watch football, though I did pop back into the bedroom every so often to get updates.

On the menu was Pumpkin Ravioli, Roasted Garlic Butter Sauce with Sage, Lemon Scented Green Beans, Tofurkey Sausages and Garlic Bread. OMFG. All in all, everything I made literally takes 10 minutes or less to cook but prepping the ravioli took a long ass time. I started the night before by making Cashew Ricotta so all I had to do was add pumpkin puree and some nutmeg.

Initially I had planned on making homemade pasta sheets to make the ravioli with but I knew as soon as I went to bed the night before I wouldn't be up for it. Luckily, I had about 60 round fresh wonton wraps in the freezer that I got from the Asian market not too long ago. Wonton wraps are a fantastic stand in for homemade pasta. But really, nothing beats homemade.Though it is nice to have perfectly round pieces to work with.

I made the Cashew Ricotta  from Veganomicon with a few changes. I used 1 cup cashews, instead of basil, I subbed dried sage and thyme and added about 1/4 cup of nooch. That alone was worthy of any ravioli, lasagna, or just eating it off the spoon. That good. But adding a can and a half of pumpkin puree and 1 1/2 tablespoons of nutmeg really made it go from delicious to amazeballs. It also made WAY more than I needed for 30 ravioli so I tossed it in the freezer. I will be making a lasagna with it very soon.

It took forever to prep each ravioli and by the time I was done I had to do some stretching. Being hunched over the table for an hour killed my shoulders and neck. But every second was worth it once these babies were cooked. I put about a tablespoon of ricotta on each wonton wrap, wet around the edges with water and placed another wonton wrap on top. While gently pushing any air bubbles out, I pressed the edges together to seal them up and then went around them with fork tines just to be safe. There is nothing worse than your ravioli filling seeping out while cooking.

After I was done filling them all, I put them on a baking sheet and left them to sit for awhile in the fridge so I could take a breather. And by breather, I mean I spent another hour cleaning the kitchen on top of the two I had spent prior to even starting the ravioli.

Finally it was time to start cooking everything. While I was bringing a huge pot of water to a boil, I started everything else. These little guys took only 5 minutes to cook and because I filled a few a little too much, I ended up with a few casualties, but it was like 4 out of 30. Not too bad.

I don't really have recipes for anything I cooked today, just kind of winged it. For the butter sauce, I threw a bunch of Earth Balance in a pan with roasted garlic and fresh chopped sage. The lemon scented green beans were just steamed beans with the juice of half a lemon, a few cloves of roasted garlic and a sprinkle of sea salt. The garlic bread was melted earth balance and roasted garlic spread on them. The tofurkey was well, just that. Tofurkey. All in all, asides from all the prep time for the ravioli, it really was a simple meal. And fuckin' tasty too.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Apple Crisp for MoFo!

The leaves are turning and falling, the air is cooler, pumpkin beer is back in stores and I am wearing hoodies again... That can only mean one thing. VEGAN MOFO 2012!

This summer was unbearable, hot and humid all day, everyday. I've been begging Mother Nature to make fall hurry up and get here for months. The only thing I have wanted was pumpkin and apple everything, tube socks and hoodies. She finally listened and I can have them all! While fall only lasts a very short while before the bitter cold starts creeping its way to the Northeast, I am going to enjoy the shit out of it while I can.

I am doing MoFo yet again and while I have failed miserably the past two years, I am not holding on to any high hopes that I will succeed this year, but I will try my damnedest. To get MoFo 2012 started on the right foot, I give you Apple Crisp.

Here in New England, this is the time you want to be out enjoying the turning of the leaves, apple picking, cool breezes and the general awesomeness living here provides. While I didn't pick the apples I used for this, they are from New England.

I had a half dozen small Macintosh apples sitting on my counter that had a few small bruises on them. Sure, they were probably still fine, or even great, to eat, but I have a weird relationship with fruit. I can't get past bruises, cuts, dry spots, etc. I needed something to do with these apples so of course I turned to the PPK. A couple people mentioned apple crisp and it reminded me of being in high school, my favorite days were the days it was offered for dessert.

I made my first ever apple crisp and it was fuckin' tasty! I swore I had an apple corer but when I went to bust it out, it was missing so I sucked it up and cut the apples into slices by hand. Even without the corer, this was super easy. Because my apples were so small, I used the smallest Pyrex I had, I wanna say a 6 x 3? Super easy to double and use a more normal sized baking dish. If you have never made apple crisp, or just haven't gotten around to it yet this season, please, go, do it now. Well, finish reading and then go.

Here is the recipe:

6 smallish apples. Or 4 medium-large sized
1/2 cup flour
1/3 vegan butter - slightly softened
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cups brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Core, slice and peel apples. Arrange in baking dish
  3. In a small bowl cut butter and flour together until size of small peas
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle evenly on top of apples
  5. Bake 30 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is slightly browned and crunchy. 
  6. Let cool and inhale the shit out of it. 

The only thing that would've made this better was some vanilla soy ice cream or cashew whipped cream. Next time.....

Monday, July 23, 2012

Warm Chickpea Artichoke Quinoa Salad

I've been feeling really rundown all day so for dinner tonight I needed something super easy to make that was not only healthy but delicious too. My thoughts instantly went to my new favorite warm salad. The first time I made it was after a picnic I had with some of my PPK pals a few weeks ago. My friends Beth and Adam  brought the Golden Chickpea Artichoke Salad from VeganYumYum. I've had the cookbook for awhile but never thought to make that recipe, and after tasting it I was really wondering why I hadn't gotten around to it before. After I got home from the picnic, I couldn't stop thinking about how good it was so I decided to recreate it. I made it with no parsley or almonds, increased the lemon and added some cooked quinoa. I was hooked, eating it for several days straight.

I decided that is what I was going to have for dinner tonight, but I changed it up even more with a few things I had kicking around in the fridge, making it more awesome than it was but still just as quick. This salad was exactly what I needed to help me start feeling slightly human again. I'm not quite feeling 100% but I'll get there.

Warm Chickpea Artichoke Quinoa Salad
  • 1 cup warm cooked quinoa
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
  • 12 grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 handfuls of pea shoots
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 whole lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a frying pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the chickpeas. Cook while stirring until they are nice and golden. 
  2. Put cooked chickpeas in a medium sized mixing or serving bowl. 
  3. In same frying pan, heat another tablespoon of oil. Add artichoke and tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes and artichokes are warmed through. Add to bowl.
  4. Add  pea shoots, quinoa, lemon juice, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper to bowl. Toss until mixed and pea shoots are slightly wilted.

PPK 100: #23 Camera+ for iPhone

So remember when I said I wanted to do/buy/eat/cook as many of the things on the PPK 100 list as I could before the end of the year? Even though I haven't been posting about it, I am working on it. Slowly. I'm going to start with #23 on the list: Camera+ for iPhone. I don't have an iPhone but I do have an iTouch. The app is slightly different for the touch vs the phone but overall, you get the same types of photos.

I use this app a lot, mostly for pictures of my dogs but I have gotten some pretty sweet food photos too. It gives you some fantastic filtering options to really change the look of the original photo. I highly recommend it to anyone with an iPhone, iTouch or whatever other platform you can get it on. Here are a few of the photos I've taken with it:


Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Vegg! Artichoke Tomato Quiche and French Toast

(Photo from The Vegg)
There are so many fantastic vegan meat, milk, cheese and even candy substitutes out there but there has never been anything that could recreate an egg yolk. Sure, there are recipes out there for vegan omelets and fried eggs, they look fantastic, though I have never been successful or happy with the results when I tried them. It didn't remind me of an egg at all, just weird liquidy tofu. Well folks, we now have The Vegg! Who knew that something with so few (and common) ingredients could completely recreate the look, feel and taste of an actual egg yolk. You can even make it into the shape of an egg yolk! I've been hearing about this product for some time now, and when I got my hands on a sample I couldn't wait to try it out! Once I mixed up the packet with water in my Vita-mix, the results blew me away.

It has been a few years since I have had any part of an egg, but I'll tell ya, the yolk was always my favorite. I had a friend try it who still eats eggs and asked him if it was legit. His response was "too legit to quit." I think The Vegg could definitely hold it down in a blind taste test!

I was going back and forth all week trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to make with it. I finally settled on 3 things that were a must: quiche, french toast and hollandaise sauce.

Let's talk about the quiche. Holy fuck, it was fantastic! I modified my basic vegan quiche recipe to come up with this Artichoke Tomato Quiche recipe. It had the complete look, taste and texture of a non-vegan quiche. Instead of making a pastry crust I decided to go with the box of phyllo dough I've been too scared to use up until now. I have never worked with phyllo dough before and it took some serious trial and error to get it down. I destroyed went through at least 12 sheets of it before I experienced the sweet taste of success. This recipe is definitely a winner, I highly suggest you try it out.

Artichoke Tomato Quiche with The Vegg

  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Vegg powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 package of firm tofu - drained and pressed. 
  • pinch or two of dried sage
  • 1/2 tablespoon of dried rosemary, crushed. 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts roughly chopped, drained and squeeze to remove extra liquid. 
  • 12-14 grape tomatoes, quartered. 
  • 6-8 sheets phyllo dough
  • 3 tablespoons of vegan butter or olive oil. 
  1.  Preheat oven to 350. While the oven heats up, place a sheet of phyllo dough on the counter, brush with melted vegan butter and place another sheet directly on top. Repeat until you have used all the dough. 
  2. Gently pick up the pile of dough and place it over the pie plate and using your fingers, push it into place, getting all around the bottom. Give the bottom a few stabs with a fork or knife, otherwise it wil puff up a bunch while cooking. 
  3. Cook crust for 8-10 minutes and start preparing filling. 
  4. In a blender, mix water, Vegg powder and cornstarch. 
  5. In a food processor crumble the tofu, add the spices and Vegg mixture. 
  6. Pulse until smooth and completely mixed.
  7. Pour into a bowl and mix in the chopped artichoke and tomato. 
  8. Once phyllo crust is pre-baked, pour in the filling and bake for 35-40 minutes. 

 I planned on serving the quiche with a side of asparagus drizzled in hollandaise sauce but sadly, the sauce didn't turn out so well. It was in no way because of The Vegg, it was the Earth Balance. There have been talks of EB having a slightly fishy flavor in recent months but hadn't really noticed. I don't use EB for much more than buttering a bagel before I smother it in vegan cream cheese. Well, last night the fishy taste was really apparent and gross. Once I mixed the sauce together, it certainly had the velvety texture that I remember hollandaise having but even when I added more lemon juice and Vegg, the fishiness still came through really strongly so I had to toss it. I will however, be making it again very soon with a different vegan butter. I am confident that I will be wowed with the results. Because of said confidence, I will post the recipe, but you have been warned: do not use Earth Balance for this!

Hollandaise Sauce
  • 6 tablespoons of premixed Vegg yolk
  • 1 tspn lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl and chill until desired consistency is reached. I think adding some cornstarch to this and maybe cooking it for a bit would help thicken it so you wouldn't have to chill it, but that is something I will try and report back. 

Are you ready to talk about french toast? I am. I used the recipe on their website and it came out pretty good, though I wasn't entirely in love with it. Again, nothing to do with The Vegg, this time it was the bread. I used my favorite sourdough bread but it wasn't the best choice for this recipe, the mixture didn't absorb deep enough into the bread and the edges were a bit too chewy for french toast but the taste was pretty spot on. I'm going to buy a regular loaf of bread and give it another go. Since I am not a huge fan of maple syrup I drizzled them with agave nectar and a raspberry-strawberry puree. Overall, I was pleased and they definitely hit the spot. 

All in all I am so in love with The Vegg. So much so that I want to scream it from the rooftop! Not only do they have a fantastically delicious and realistic product, but 10% of all net sales go directly to a very deserving non-profit animal advocacy group, Compassion Over Killing, from now until 2014.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why I haven't blogged in 5 months...

Because I suck. No, seriously, I do.

I can't believe I have let so much time pass without writing anything but...........My culinary motivation has been pretty much nonexistent lately. I've been talking to a good friend about this recently and have realized mainly why the motivation hasn't been there; I don't often have people around to share food with and I've been lazy. Also, it gets fucking expensive when you are cooking for one but still cook like there is a whole army to feed.

Before, when I was posting fairly regularly, I had people to cook for all the time. I was living both at home and at my best friend Jeremy's house. There was always someone more than willing to eagerly wait while I cooked a fantastic meal and then photographed it before letting them dig in. That is where the excitement came from, sharing my passion with others, not only here but in real life. Seeing the expressions on the faces of my loved ones when I cook something tasty is one of the best feelings to me. Now that I live alone, I cook more for my dogs than I do for myself. The past 6 or so months have consisted mostly of takeout, eating out and cooking boring meals not really worth writing about. Sure, they are delicious but I don't find a lot of pleasure in writing about eating out (unless it's a fantastic new vegan restaurant that needs to be shared with the world) or bowls of rice, fake chicken and veggies.

I have been feeling the itch to really get back into the kitchen and the vegan blog world. Luckily, I now have good reason. I have been reminded of how much I used to love it and it doesn't hurt that the fantastic folks over at The Vegg have sent me a sample of the new Vegan Egg Yolk to review! I am going to be cooking up a fucking storm this weekend and will be photographing it the whole way and will be back to tell you all about it. I've got quite the menu planned so stay tuned, I'm not dead, just lazy and boring.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chocolate Beer Waffles with Sweet Cashew Cream and Chocolate Drizzle.

Do you want a seriously awesome and super easy way to have chocolate and beer at breakfast? Make these waffles! Now!  I really don't use Vegan Brunch enough. Or any of my cookbooks for that matter, but this one has some really tasty recipes in it!

My friend Abbe and I made plans to hang out last night and of course one of the first things we had to figure out was what to cook and so Chocolate Beer Waffles it was! Breakfast for dinner! Yes! My waffle maker is an old Belgian Waffle Maker that makes one huge waffle. I really want to get a regular old waffle maker so I can make tons of waffles and freeze them. Toaster waffles anyone?!
 I'm not a big fan of maple syrup and couldn't imagine how it would taste good on chocolate beer waffles so I started wondering what we were going to put on them. Naked waffles is never an option. Luckily in the book it suggests making Sweet Cashew Cream and Chocolate Drizzle. Both of those recipes call for almond milk but all I had was vanilla coconut milk so we went with that. The coconut milk flavor didn't come through in the chocolate but it certainly did in the cashew cream, which was fantastic! After adding some cinnamon to the cream, it tasted like my favorite cereal, Cascadian Farm Organic Cinnamon Crunch.

I present to you Chocolate Beer Waffles with Sweet Cashew Cream and Chocolate Drizzle!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Doing The PPK 100!

)Photo from )

Sure, it came out on January 6 and its now mid-February but hey, who's keeping track? When this super awesome list of 100 best vegan things/foods/places/recipes/anything in 2011 came out, I read it, I thought to myself on quite a few of the items "ooohhh I want to cook/eat/buy/whatever that!" Then a thread got started in the Kitchen where peeps are starting to keep track of all the ones they can check off their lists as they go along in 2012. I wanna play too guys!!!! I actually did post about my intentions in the thread and am going to come up with some way to keep myself organized on this venture. Other than printing the list and scribbling things off as I go along, then probably losing it and then forgetting all about it.

Yeah yeah, I've started cookbook challenges and Mofo a million times over and not followed through, but this time it's different! There is no set goal, no time limit(okay, well before Dec 31 so I can be ready for next year's Top 100 list, but whateves) and no pressure! I am just going to check things off (and blog about them) as I complete them intentionally, or not, from now until the rest of the year. 

There are a few things on the list I have technically done, but I'm not sure if I've done them in 2012 or event recently enough in 2011 to remember enough worth blogging about. I will not go in order, and I probably wont do more than a few a month, but it will be fun to try out some new things!

So there it is folks, just another little plot to get myself blogging and cooking more. I'm going to go print out all the recipes/links/products that I can definitely achieve and go from there!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Heartbeat at My Feet: A Furry, Four-Legged Love Story

It's Valentine's Day, might as well write a mushy ass post... 

Whether you know me in real life, from the ppk or just from the blogosphere, it's no secret that I love my little vegan dog more than anything or anyone in this world. Every day is an adventure with her and the unconditional love she gives is like no love another person can give. Here is our story....

Almost 2 years ago I was volunteering at a no-kill shelter and a girl I worked with found this adorable little Chihuahua mutt with a sick ass underbite roaming around a park in Quincy. She brought the dog home and was never able to find her parents so she kept her. Then it came time for her to leave for college and she obviously couldn't bring the dog with her and unfortunately(for her, not for me) she couldn't leave the dog at home with her family because she didn't get along that great with the other dog in the house. I heard her story and immediately offered to either adopt her or if the boyfriend I had (and was living with) at the time wouldn't let me, I could bring her to the shelter with no fear of her being put down. The girl brought the dog to the office so I could meet her. It was love at first sight, she had to be mine. I sent a picture of her to Jeremy and asked if we could keep her. Based on the few shitty picture texts I sent him, he said yes immediately. The thing was, we were living with his dad and already had 2 other dogs. We decided to tell him a little white lie, that we were temporarily short term fostering her until the shelter had room for her. The very next day we took her to get a name tag, food and toys, as soon as his dad saw it he knew we had no intentions of giving her up. Luckily for us, he was cool with it. She became our daughter that day and even though we aren't together anymore (we are still best friends) she is still our daughter and we both love her as unconditionally as she loves us. We have no idea exactly what mutt blend she is, except for the obvious Chihuahua in her or how old she is but it doesn't matter. The love and joy she has brought to both of us actually has me tearing up a little right now. (I know right, I actually have emotions?!) Even though she doesn't see him everyday anymore (I got custody in the split), as soon as I say, "Where's Daddy?" or "go get Daddy" her ears perk up, she starts wagging her tail and runs to the door to wait for him.

She is such an amazing little creature... She gives hugs on command, stands up and walks for treats, gives kisses even when you don't ask for them, sleeps in the crook of my arm under the covers every night with me and eats her vegetables with a wagging tail. In fact, I have never met a dog that loves vegetables, especially green ones more than her! Kale, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, beets and dried pineapple rings are her favorite things. I feed her Natural Balance Vegan Formula supplemented with VegeDog products and make batches of homemade wet food for her with rice, beans, steamed and/or pureed veggies. Half of the time she eats better than I do!

She is even learning Spanish! One of my best friend's, Jorge, is her "tio" (Spanish for uncle) and just as she knows "daddy" when I say "Donde esta tio?" she gets so excited! Seeing her reaction when her tio or dad walk into my apartment is priceless every single time. If it's been too long since she has seen either of them she will even let out a few little cries of happiness. It melts my icy black heart.

In the spirit of the "holiday" I hate the most, I decided to give my little baby some Vday love and make her pink pupcakes! But, before I get to the recipe, check out a few of the thousands (literally) of photos I have of her...

Hiding in a tree

Mother Daughter love

Gizmo and Gramps

Going for a ride!

Gizmo and Daddy

Gizmo and my nephew. I swear we did not coordinate their outfits!
Happy Easter

Tired rainy day

Gizmo loves her car seat!

Her favorite pitbull

We did the MSPCA walk

Gizmo and her Daddy

One morning I woke up to her laying like this on my arm. 

Okay now that I have relived some amazing memories going through these photos and killed you with the adorableness that is Gizmo, let's move onto the pupcakes shall we?

Pink Vegan Beet Pupcakes

2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking pwder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup of canned sliced beets with the beet water
1/2 cup veggie broth
Pink food dye. I didnt measure, but not a lot. 
3 tblspns oil. I use olive. 

  • Preheat to 350 and lightly spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray

  • Puree the beets with the liquid, then mix with veg broth oil. 

  • Mix wet and dry ingredients with whisk until combined. 
  • Pour 1 tblspn of batter into mini muffin reservoirs. Bake about 10-12 minutes until toothpick comes out dry. 

Makes about 36 mini muffins.  

This recipe is something I randomly came up with tonight. Gizmo loved them as is but I think next time I will play around with them a little more by leaving out the food dye, adding parsley and carob chips. Or maybe making a carob frosting? Who knows! The possibilities are endless!