Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another year. Another cake.

Tomorrow (Weds) is Mike's birthday! He wasn't home tonight so I spent the evening making his cake. I like the way it came out this year. Once I get the color frosting mixed up and in piping bags I have a hard time stopping! I think I stopped just in time this year. Here is the recipe for the cake.

Mike's Vegan Birthday Cake

Sunday, May 24, 2009

BBQ Black Eyed Peas over Cheesy Grits

BBQ Black Eyed Peas over Cheesy Grits w/ Baked Sweet Potatoes

Dinner a few nights ago was BBQ Black Eye Peas with Cheesy Grits and some baked sweet potato. I used some cheddar cheesly in the grits. The beans had a ton of Fakin Bacon in them and my house smelled great for hours and hours after we made this... like bbq and fakin' bacon. These recipes are from Nava Altas's book Vegan Express.

Tempehtations review

Lightlife put out a new product recently called Tempehtations. It is pre-marinated cubes of tempeh in three different flavors: ginger teriyaki, zesty lemon, and classic bbq. I wanted this be really great and to be the end to pre-steaming tempeh before cooking it.

I got the ginger teriyaki flavor and added it to a stir fry; served over mixed red and white quinoa. We browned the tempeh, removed it from the pan, stir fried vegetables and then added the tempeh back in near the end along with some sauce.

Lightlife Tempehtations taste test

These tempeh cubes were just ok for me. If you don't want to chop up the tempeh and steam it and possibly marinate it, then this will work ok for you. It tastes alright. I'll just take the plain old plain tempeh. I like the plain because I can get it crispier when I brown it. I also had originally bought these to skewer and grill but the cubes were too small to grill.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Daiya Vegan Cheese Review

Have you heard about Daiya cheese yet? It is not yet for sale at almost any retailers because they are only selling food service sized bags. However, Pangea is taking those bags and breaking them up into smaller bags and selling them to us!! It winds up being expensive with the 2 day shipping and cold pack, so order a bunch of stuff and at least try to make those shipping costs worth it.

I got 2 packages of the cheddar. They were out of the Italian variety. I've been trying to remember what I used to use all that cheddar cheese for before I went vegan and I seriously can't remember. I only remember using it for Mexican food, although I know that can't be right. So, I made mexican food. I made some really simple casseroles just to test the cheese. The casseroles themselves weren't anything you'd want me to share the recipes for.

Meltability: Daiya melts like you wouldn't believe. It melts on top of the casserole in about 5 minutes (so add it at the end) and melts in the middle with no problem at all.

Taste: While it still has a slightly funny vegan cheese flavor, it is much better than most. That flavor seemed to go away when I reheated leftovers.

Texture: awesome. Slight stringiness and a lot of creaminess. When we tasted the taco casserole and the enchiladas we were both shocked to find that what we'd been missing was an element of creaminess. This cheese fixed that.

Overall: B++. If they could get rid of that slight vegan cheese flavor that they all seem to have, I'll up my grade to an A+. And yes, I will be ordering lots more of this.

I'll probably make some quesadillas with the remainder of the cheese. That feels like an ultimate test. Any other ideas you want to see tested instead?

Here are pics of the taco casserole:




Here are pics of the enchiladas:



Veggie Thing Dictatorship - First Post

I recently volunteered to be a Veggie Thing Dictator. Veggie Thing is a website about beautiful tasty vegan food sponsored by CitySearch. I didn't see any Utah entries, so I knew I had to represent. We aren't bursting at the seams with vegan food here in the Salt Lake City area but we do have some good vegan food if you know where to find it. Here is my first Veggie Thing post about Vertical Diner's Fried Chikin and Mashed Potatoes.

If you haven't seen Veggie Thing!, you should go and take a look at all the lovely pictures of vegan food.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What's left in the pantry soup

Mike and I went for a hike today down in Salt Lake (still too much snow up here for hiking). We hit Liberty Heights Fresh on the way home and I picked up this cute little head of yellow cauliflower. I wish I'd thought to take a picture of it. I didn't feel like going to to store today so I started rummaging around to see what odds and ends were in the kitchen. I found onions, 4 red potatoes, 3 carrots, and some broccoli that I'd already cut up along with 3 cups of no-chicken stock. Sounds like soup to me. We had this soup for dinner along with some rolls that I made last week, that were in the freezer, and we had the last of this weeks salad. Here is a pic of the soup:


I don't really have a recipe, but I'll tell you what I did. It is so easy.

I cooked some diced onions in olive oil till they started to brown and then added a couple cloves of minced garlic. After the garlic cooked for about a minute I added the stock.

I then threw in 4 peeled and diced red potatoes, 3 chopped carrots, about 3/4 tsp dried thyme, about 1/4 tsp dried basil, about 1/4 tsp dried tarragon, and some salt and pepper.

I cooked that till tender and then threw in about a cup and a half of broccoli florets and a small head of cauliflower (chopped up of course) and added some more water. I cooked that for about 10-15 min till tender.

Then I used my immersion blender to blend it up well. I added 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (probably would have added more if I'd had more), salt and pepper to taste.

Then, it seemed like it was missing something so I threw in about 2 Tbsp earth balance on a whim, along with a dash of shoyu.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

And now for something completely different

After a week of cooking Mexican food I need to (a) not cook much this week (b) cook really easy things and (c) make something besides Mexican food.  I went with all my cravings for vegetables and pasta tonight.  This is a recipe from Jack Bishop's cookbook, A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen.  It is Emerald Peanut Sesame Noodles (the emerald is from spinach in the sauce) served with roasted yellow beets and asparagus.  For the noodles I used Whole Wheat Spaghetti.  And you can't see it in this picture, but one of the best parts of this dish is the fried scallions that go on top of the noodles.

Emerald Peanut Sesame Noodles

Taco Mania

Last night I made 3 different taco fillings and we had a night of Taco Mania. We ate these fillings with soft corn tortillas along with some lettuce, avocado, and tofu queso fresco. The cumin lime tofu tended to get mixed with the other fillings to make really nice tasty combinations. We also had a little bit of the chorizo potato empanada filling, that we also ate as a taco filling, making taco mania night a night filled with 4 taco fillings!!

Our favorite of the night (although it was hard to choose) was surprisingly the Tequila Spiked Zucchini Potato filling - it was also the spiciest of the bunch:

Tequila Spiked Zucchini Potato Taco Filling
Tequila Spiked Zucchini Potato Filling

2 small Zucchini, julienned **
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp Olive or corn oil
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 small red potato, cut into matchsticks
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp mexican oregano
1 Tbsp pickled jalepeno, chopped
1 Tbsp tequila
1 Tbsp lime juice
salt to taste

Place the julienned zucchini in a strainer, sprinkle with salt, toss to coat and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, potatoes, and bell pepper. Stir occasionally. When the potatoes start to brown and little and are almost cooked, grab handfuls of the zucchini and squeeze hard to squeeze out as much water as you can and then add to the skillet. Add the cumin, thyme, and oregano. Cook for a few minutes until the zucchini is cooked. Add the garlic and jalepeno and cook for about a minute. Deglaze the pan with tequila and lime juice. Remove from heat and add more salt if needed.

** This is my new favorite kitchen gadget! The Oxo Julienne peeler. But keep your fingers well away from this.


Here is a pic of the black bean filling which is a staple in our house:

Black Bean Taco Filling
Black Bean Filling

1/2-1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 reb bell pepper, chopped
1 sm onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 jalepeno, minced
2 cups black beans (drained and rinsed if canned)
1/4 cup water, veg stock, or bean broth (if not canned beans)
salt, to taste
1/4 cup cilanto, minced
1 Tbsp lime juice

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalepeno. Cook for about 5 minutes until onions are softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the beans and the bean broth (or water or stock). Cook for a few minutes. Add lime juice and cilantro and remove from heat. Add salt to taste.


This tofu filling was tasty, but be careful not to let it burn.

Cumin Lime Tofu Taco Filling
Cumin Lime Tofu Filling

12-14 oz tofu, pressed, cut into 1 in cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil

Marinade Ingredients
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cilantro, chopped

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a measuring cup and whisk well to mix in the sugar. Place the tofu in a ziploc bag and pour in the marinade ingredients. Close up the bag and try to remove any excess air in the bag. Place the tofu in the refrigerator for an hour (flip the bag over after 30 minutes).

Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Before it gets really hot, drain the tofu and add it to the pan (otherwise be careful when you add it as any marinade clinging to the tofu will splatter). Cook the tofu for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally until it is browned. A splatter screen might be helpful here to keep your stove from getting too messy.