Thursday, December 20, 2007

I scream, you scream - Wheeler's Black Label Vegan Ice Cream

My new best friends over at Wheeler's Black Label Vegan Ice Cream brought me some yummy samples to review. Wheeler's is a new vegan ice cream and they are trying to find a place to set up a shop here in Boston. This ice cream is seriously the best vegan ice cream I've ever had. It actually might be the best ice cream I've ever had (comparing to non-vegan brands from my pre-vegan days).

They brought me 4 flavors to try: Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin, Pina Colada, and Black Raspberry.

The Chocolate Chocolate Chip was the favorite for both me and my husband. It was rich, full of dark chocolate flavor, and had thick flakes of dark chocolate in it (not positive but we thought maybe we tasted a little almond flavor in the background).

We also really loved the Black Raspberry. I do not even like Black Raspberry and I thought this was great and want to run out and buy more of it. I expected this to be like a sorbet, but it was definitely a creamy ice cream. It had an interesting (but good) flavor that we could not figure out - I thought it tasted a bit like taffy. That is probably why I liked it so much.

The Pina Colada flavor had fresh chewy coconut throughout and actually contained alcohol to make it taste authentic. The Pumpkin flavor was creamy and tasted like freshly grated nutmeg.

When they do find a place to set up shop, I think I will single handedly be keeping them in business. I can't wait.

Here is a pic of the Black Raspberry next to the Pina Colada.

Wheeler's Black Label Vegan Ice Cream

PS - Take a look at their nutritional info comparisons to other ice creams. I had no idea I was eating healthier ice cream!

x-posted to

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter Vegetable Mushroom Ragout on Polenta

Winter Vegetable Ragout on Polenta

Tonight's dinner was a Winter Vegetable Ragout from Everyday Greens by Annie Somerville. This was a very involved recipe and I made parts of it in advance. Even so, it still took me over an hour and a half to make dinner. I started by making a shitake mushroom vegetable stock and a roasted garlic puree in advance. The mushroom stock was then mixed with the garlic puree, sherry, soy sauce, and porcini mushroom liquid (after soaking). After that I made a roux with earth balance and flour and added the stock mixture. At the same time veggies roasted in the oven. 2 large portobellos were brushed with garlic oil, salt and pepper and roasted. Then butternut squash, rutabegas, fennel, potatoes, and onions roasted in the oven with garlic oil, salt and pepper. The vegetables were mixed with the mushroom sherry sauce and cooked. Then some swiss chard was added, and then the portobellos and some fresh herbs went in. I made some polenta while this was simmering and served the stew over the polenta.

Swiss Chard is fun to take pictures of:

Swiss Chard

Is this the most beautiful swiss chard you've ever seen?

Swiss Chard

Snow and Waffles

This is our second big snowstorm this week. On Thursday we got 12" of snow. Today we have gotten about 8", so far. A snowy day makes me think of warm comfort foods: tea, waffles, cocoa, stew. So when we woke up to snow this morning, it seemed like a good day for waffles. Again, I didn't take pics of the waffles because they weren't all that attractive. I'll try to take some nice pics of dinner to get you your food pron fix. We made "Waffles II" from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. We both liked the flavor a lot, but felt like we couldn't get the middles to cook enough. That didn't stop us from eating all of them. Perhaps I needed a touch more flour?

Anyway, since I didn't take food pics, here are some snow pics taken from the safety of inside the house.

This is the roof:

Here is what it looked like after we dug out my cooper (see the sides of the driveway):
Hey look, there's the cooper.

More pics in the extended entry:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Easy Burritos

We went to a movie this afternoon (I am Legend) which meant that we didn't get home to start cooking dinner until about 6:30. Luckily we'd planned ahead and had burrito fixings. Before we went to the movie we put brown rice in the rice cooker so it was ready when we got back. I like to use a 12" whole wheat soft lavash roll-up instead of a tortilla for this because they are soft and larger which makes it a lot easier to roll up without any heating of the tortillas. They taste identical. We had dinner ready in under 30 minutes. I didn't take a picture, sorry.

Serves 4

4 large whole wheat lavash or whole wheat tortillas
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 can pinto beans or black beans, rinsed and drained
baked tofu or seitan, cubed
brown rice, cooked
guacamole (we buy the Whole Foods premade guac in the produce section)
salt to taste
chili powder
1 tbsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet on med-high. Add peppers and onions and cook till soft and lightly browned. Add salt and chili powder to taste (I used 1/4 to 1/2 tsp chili powder - just enough for a little flavor). Cook for about a minute. Add the beans and the tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until warm. Add a tablespoon of water to deglaze if things start to stick to the pan.

To assemble, place a tortilla on a plate. Add some brown rice, guacamole, salsa, and some bean mixture. Fold in both ends and roll up.

Serve with chips and salsa and a salad.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Watch out for the milk in that seemingly vegan cheese

I'm sure I am preaching to the choir here, but I am so annoyed by all of the cheese products that market themselves in such a way that you would assume they are vegan. Here are a few NOT VEGAN cheese products that you should avoid because they contain casein which is a milk derivative.

Veggie Slices
Soya Kass

Squashage Pasta

I'd heard how good the Field Roast vegan sausages were and I'd been dying to try them. Unfortunately the Whole Foods in Framingham doesn't carry them. I stopped at the Whole Foods in Cambridge last week and grabbbed some Italian style Field Roast Sausages while I was there. Once I got them, I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with them. Last night after a mid-day BVA meeting (around 4:30), I didn't know what we were having for dinner and I still needed to go to the grocery but there wasn't much time left in the day. So, in the car on the way back from Boston, I concocted this recipe for Squash-age Pasta in my head for a quick cooking dinner later in the evening. The Field Roast sausages ARE the best vegan sausages I've had. They were yummy!

Squashage Pasta

Squashage Pasta
Serves 5

1 med sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced into 1/2 in cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 pinch crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp (or more) pine nuts
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
2 Field Roast vegan sausages, quartered lengthwise and then sliced (or other brand of vegan sausages ~ 6 oz).
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp+ white wine or mirin
5 oz baby spinach
16 oz whole wheat penne

Preheat oven to 385. Place the butternut squash on a cookie sheet lined with nonstick foil. Add enough olive oil to generously coat the squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, stir the squash and add the garlic, pinenuts, sage, and crushed red pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, stir and then cook for another 15 minutes (total time of 40 minutes). Pine nuts and garlic should lightly brown. If they are cooking too fast, push the squash and other ingedients together in one end of the cookie sheet to protect the squash and pine nuts with the moisture from the squash.

Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile (in the last 5 minutes or so of the squash cooking in the oven), in a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the onion and cook till lightly browned. Add the vegan sausage and cook for about a minute till heated through. Add a couple of tablespoons of white wine to deglaze. Then add the spinach, cover and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir and then cook for another 15 seconds. You want the spinach to just wilt. Add the squash mixture and stir to combine. Here is how it looks in the skillet at this point:

Squashage Pasta

Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot. Add the squash/sausage/spinach mixture to the pasta and toss to combine.