Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blog Recipe Cooking Challenge - day 4, week 3

Tonight I made French Lentil and Portabella Stew from FatFree Vegan. The only changes I made were the omission the celery as I was out and put in 1/2 a bell pepper since it needed to be used up and substituting Beluga Lentils for the French. This was fan freaking tastic! Tasty, hearty, rich and thick. The lentils held up nicely and the veggies cooked down perfectly. Overall I quite enjoyed this dish. It was not super photogenic but that is typically a perk, not a requirement of my food! hah

Even my lentil hating husband liked this stew! This was such a great find. I hope to make this pretty regularly this winter.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blog Recipe Cooking Challenge - day 3, week 3

More from VegWeb's Blog Recipe Cooking Challenge! Fat Free Vegan is our blog for week 3 and it couldn't be a better one. I love love love so many of her recipes. I make the seitan ribz and scallopine regularly so I challenged myself to make something different.

Yesterday for Thanksgiving I made the Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake.

I followed the recipe exactly and love the results. Its light, airy and so flavorful. Somehow my bottom layer of cheesecakey goodness did not mound up but flowed up the sides of the pie as the top was added. Interesting and perfect so you get some with every bite! I plan on making this pie again.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blog Recipe Cooking Challenge - day 2, week 2

Another recipe from Vegan Dad for the VegWeb Blog Recipe Cooking Challenge.

Tonight was Pasta Primavera or as he termed it "Clean out the Fridge Pasta".

I tried my best to make the recipe exactly as listed but had just a few minor alterations. First my pasta was egg free noodles since that was all I had in the cupboard. Second I added in some seitan leftover from last night just to use it up some. And finally I added a bit of herbs and spices because this was for two adults, no kids! Into the pot went thyme and smoked paprika just to round out the flavors.

I thought it was very good. Light tasting, creamy and hearty belly full. I quite enjoyed it and shall be making variations of it in the future.

Mine was quite not as photogenic as Vegan Dad's though so you must forgive me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blog Recipe Cooking Challenge

On VegWeb there is a lovely recipe challenge. Each week there is a blog being featured to create a recipe or several from. Unfortunately I missed the first week that featured the PPK. This week though, I did one recipe with a plan to do two more from Vegan Dad!

Today's dinner was Mini Irish Pies.

There were a few substitutions since I did not have chickpeas, beer or corriander on hand. Instead I used seitan, veggie broth with a touch of scotch and left out the herb. As you can see, they turned out fabulous!

Here is some of the prep work, including the pie crust:


Potato topped pies ready to be baked:

I also made some lovely chocolate chip cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar! The recipe was followed exactly but I only baked 8 total, so I wouldn't gorge on them. These are soft, moist, lightly chewy but so very very good. I am excited to bake up the rest of these delights sometime very very soon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

VegWeb Gift Exchange - Sending!

Last week I finally shipped out my package for the Halloween Gift Exchange at VegWeb.

I included so much stuff but only have pictures of the homemade goodies. I did include a lot of my favorite things: PB&Co Maple Peanut Butter, Ghiradelli Chocolate squares, Ola Granola, Halloween towels, cookie cutters and napkins, a can of young green Jackfruit and a Lush Bath Bar. I did also include a shockingly cheap find of whole agar (for under $2 at the Asian grocer)!

I fretted over this apron for too long! But I think it turned out well. The recipients favorite colors were the basis of my fabric choices.

Also included were scones, Lemon Zinger Cookies, brownies, Rice Crispy Squares, and vanilla cupcakes with mini chocolate chips.

Scones full of berries! Cranberries, currants, pomegranate seeds, raspberries and bing cherries. Lovely dried mix I found at Trader Joe's.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Summer trip - Meal 2 at Millennium

So after a day of exploring San Francisco we scheduled dinner at none other than Millennium!

We ordered the Taste of Millennium and shared each dish as it came out. Angel and I both had our own favorites, but honestly, it was all beyond delicious.

We started off with two lovely salads. Both were so good. Angel liked the croutons on the second and I liked the crispy veggies and spiced nuts on the first.
Their dip of the day was a black bean and spice. It reminded me of cinnamon or garam masala. It did not last long as once the bread was gone, we scooped the dip out with our forks.
Course #2 - black bean torte. My personal favorite.
Fried Oyster Mushrooms - Good stuff there!

Their appetizer of the night was a lovely bean dip with a garlic sauce that was the most fantastic dish Angel had ever had. She wanted a whole vat full of this and for the kid who is not a fan of beans, thats saying something remarkable!
Entrees! Stuffed squash with a lovely fried squash blossom. Very good.
A tamale is hidden under all that garnish I believe.
Even their palate cleanser was delicious. Ginger Peach and so creamy!

Another batch of entrees! This was a lovely roulade that Angel didnt share more than a single bite with me.

I know this was fantastic but the name of it escapes me. This was similar in flavor base to the black bean torte appetizer. The sauce underneath was divine.

Dessert was amazing but honestly we barely had any room for much. Luckily it was all mini sized!

My favorite of everything on this plate? The lone lemon poppy seed cookie hiding under a single blueberry. So crisp, buttery and flavorful! This makes me so hungry.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Summer trip - Meal 1 at Herbivore

In June my daughter and I went on a trip. We started in California in the small mountain town I grew up in. After a wonderful week with my Mom & Dad we then drove the three plus hours to San Francisco.

Our first dining experience? Herbivore for Sunday brunch!

We started by trying out their donuts. They were good. Sweet, delicate but cakey. I am not a cakey kind of donuts girl. Overall though, they were good.

We also ordered the veggie scramble with mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes. Oh so very very very good. I loved this beyond measure. The potatoes were divine, the tofu was fantastic and the bread delicious.
We also ordered French Toast with one slice of wheat and one of sourdough. Both fantastic. Angel preferred the Wheat but honestly both were amazing. Both tasted slightly of caramel in their lightly crisp battered state.
Finally the strawberry shake. This was like strawberries made into cotton candy form and then into a drink. Light frothy and oh so tasty.
This was just our first meal in San Francisco! More pictures to come.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Belated Birthday Cake

Sometimes you just have to make your own birthday cake. I did this but found no enthusiasm to take my two layers and cut them in four, fill them with vanilla pudding and frost the whole thing. Instead I went deconstructed last night.

The cake is of course Sexy Low Fat Lemon, topped with fresh strawberries and Soya Too Whip. The cake is tangy, the berries sweet and the whip a creamy hint of vanilla. Lovely and light way to end an evening.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

VegWeb Gift Exchange

Every once in a while the amazing community over at run a gift exchange. This time I received an excellent package from the awesome Humboldt Honey.

1 large Klean Kanteen water bottle - in black of course!
1 loaf of Glazed Lemon Bread
1 jar of homemade Carrot Cake Jam
1 jar of homemade Blueberry Jam
1 Chico Bag - black reusable grocery bag
1 jar of homemade Pickled Garlic
1 knitted Hot Pad
3 comb in hair dyes
1 pan scraper
1 faux egg frother (who cares if it says its for coffee!)
1 skull travel pack of tissues
1 string of stone beads
1 bag of Enjoy Life Chocolate Mini Chips

Now who wouldnt be tickled to have a box appear on their doorstep full of such wonderful love, thought and vegan goodies? I know I was thrilled beyond measure.

This also raises the bar for my gift to my person. I have been working on craft projects but need to step it up a notch I believe. I will post pictures of the items once my recipient receives the package.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Strange dinner combinations

Sometimes you just want certain dishes or flavors for dinner, despite the fact that they in no way shape or form flow together. It happens, I understand. Last night I made a lovely dill potato salad with a large bunch of fresh dill from my local farmers market and fingerling potatoes. It was lovely and slightly paired with the Bahama Rice burgers though they were the Spicy Jamaican flavor, topped with wilted arugula, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. From the oven I pulled out lovely slightly roasted asparagus and zucchini under a good handful of garlic.

But I spent most of my time making zucchini fritters. They kind of look like tentacle monsters or sea urchins really more than pretty patties of green goodness. I simply shredded two of my huge home grown zucchinis, added salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder as well as enough flour to absorb all the liquid the shreds were leaking. After letting this rest for at least an hour I started frying them in about an inch of oil. They are crispy on the outside with a soft and delicately flavored center.

I also attempted a riff on a lovely recipe Angel and I had at Millennium on our trip to San Francisco this summer. I battered oyster mushrooms in a lovely beer, flour, rice vinegar, crumbled nori, salt, pepper and garlic batter. These were fried after I was done with the zucchini urchins. Let me tell you, while I hate oyster mushrooms, these were fantastic. Meaty to the tooth, crunchy, flavorful and addictive. I have leftovers but honestly I dont know if those will be as good as the bites we ate last night hot.

I promise to try to share some of my food photos from our trip soon! Oddly enough, I took pictures mostly of food. haha Imagine that!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Open minded Omni's for dinner!

I recently had some friends come over for dinner that were very open minded omni's who assured me that vegan food was fine for them all. So by the fourth reassurance that they ate meatless frequently I put together a menu for seven; myself, my friends C & M and the guests of honor B & K with their two teenagers.

Because its my favorite cuisine I went with Mexican food. When they arrived my table already had veggies, dip, salsa, chips, and sangria on it.

White Sangria
1 bottle of white wine
1 can 7 up or other lemon lime soda
1 cup Orange Juice
1 peach
2 plums
1 pink Lady apple
1 orange

Mix the beverages in a large pitcher. Peal the orange and cut out premiums. Cut these in half or smaller if you have a large orange or sections. Squeeze the left over pulp over the pitcher for all the juice you can get out of it. Dice up the fruit and add to the mixture. Chill and serve in wine glasses but with small forks so one can nibble on the tipsy fruit at their leisure.

I then put together enchiladas with some quickly fried lime and cilantro marinated tofu, lime & chili sauted veggies and tomatilo sauce. Once these came out of the oven I served them with cilantro lime black beans, salsa rice and avocado salad.

For the enchiladas I simply diced tofu the night before and marinated it in the zest and juice of 2 limes and a handful of cilantro. In the afternoon I removed the tofu from the liquid and shallow fried it to make it crispy before draining and setting aside. Then I sauted up huge amounts of onions, celery, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, jalapenos, broccoli and cauliflower. Sprinkling each batch in the pan with lime juice and chili powder. Then I mixed everything together, rolled it in corn tortillas and slathered it all with green enchilada sauce and baked for 45 minutes at 350.

The black beans were simply one (large) can of beans, drained and rinsed before being tossed in a pan with the juice of two limes and a handful of cilantro leaves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper once its warmed up and serve. So simple yet delicious.

Salsa rice is best made by cooking the short grain rice in veggie stock until done. Then add in salsa and cover for 5 minutes to warm the later up. You can use spicy or mild, saucy or pico as your salsa of choice. Just be sure you love the salsa you are putting on top because if you dont, the result will not be quite to your liking. I typically do the 1 cup dry rice fully cooked and add 1 cup of a deli salsa that straddles the line between pico de gallo and jarred salsa.

The avocado salad is a Ina Gartner recipe available at the Food Network web site. Its always a hit. Trust me! Make it. Make it now.

I did also whip up some guacamole at the last minute but the salad kind of impresses everyone more. All in all, it was a great hit!

For dessert there was plenty of chocolate chip cookies but mostly people were stuffed. I do wish I had taken pictures. Next time they come over, its Italian!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Some tastey photots!

A few weeks ago I felt like making Indian food. So to Manjula's Kitchen I went for veggie inspiration.

This is homemade seitan smothered in Tandoori sauce and shallow fried, rice with peas and caramelized onions and spicy bhindi. Very delish!

Today I made a lovely salad for a BBQ that everyone bailed on. But I get to eat the whole salad so its a win for me! below is the picture I took while testing out the spices in the dressing.
The somen noodles are spun into bird's nests, the diced red bell pepper, cucumber and shredded carrot added and the sauce drizzled on top. I did end up adding some siracha to the sauce and black sesame seeds instead of cashews. But the whole thing is fantastic. Check out the recipe on VegWeb!

I also have two more salads for the failed BBQ but have yet to take pictures of them. Maybe when we eat them for dinner. Just a basic veganaise Pasta Salad and an Avocado Salad with beans, tomatoes and lots of lime. So yummy!

Below are some gardening pictures!

We dug up the plants along the garage that covered half the walkway and windows and made it into a garden! The trellis is to allow the plants places to climb on without unsightly tomato cages.
Yes, that is a stone skull out in front. Im strange. I know and accept this!

My garden, full of tomato plants, string beans, bell peppers and one lonely jalapeno plant. Since this is New England I hope to get veggies around September. hahaha

Friday, April 17, 2009

More cake and bagels!

This is my take on a marbled cake. Alternating layers of chocolate cake and vanilla cake with fluffy buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache. I do have to admit though, I put it together too quickly and it kind of got a bit mushy. I think next time I will let the cake set for a day rather than an hour.

You can see in the slice below how things kind of smooshed into themselves. Not quite a lovely layer of light fluffy cake. But still, very darn tasty!

I also tried my hand at bagels. They were fantastic! Next time I will have to try adding a flavor or seed to the dough. Either garlic bagels or poppy seed sound great to me.