Friday, October 20, 2017

Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan

Vegan Month of Food 2017
“Lines and Light”
(a line of original poetry or a photo of light every day for the month of October)

Your purple coat hides your secret
At first glance we see beauty
       Shiny and dark and rare and royal
You feel heavy, substantial, worthwhile
      My heart races
I’m tempted by your beauty
Upon taking a knife to you though, I’m weirdly surprised
Your outer-wear belied the truth

Day 20: Deconstructed Dish: Hipster Style Food
(click HERE to see what others are sharing today)

If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you know I love eggplant. The Green Zebra in Chicago serves an excellent roasted eggplant and tomato dish. I expanded it by adding my homemade garlic almond cheese. Super fancy! With a big salad and crusty garlic bread, you have a super hipster meal – serving it on a slate is optional 😊  

The technique for roasting the eggplant is perfection, by the way. 

Here's what you need:
1 large globe of eggplant, sliced 3/4 inch, skin on
1 T olive oil
thick slices fresh tomatoes, about 3/4 inch thick
fresh basil
almond cheese (recipe HERE)
1 head garlic
1 T olive oli
coarse salt

Here's what you do:
Lay the eggplant on a cookie sheet and use your fingers to dab on some olive oil. Repeat  on the other side. Roast in 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, flip over with a METAL spatula and continue until both sides are nice and brown. 

Lay the tomato slices on a cookie sheet and do the same technique for the olive oil. These need to roast for about 2-3 hours in a 250 degree oven. Obviously, this can be done the day before. 

Cut off the tip of an entire head of garlic so that the cloves are exposed. Nestle the garlic in two layers of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap loosely in the foil and bake 400 degrees for abouot 30-45 minutes. After the garlic has cooled a bit, squeeze the cloves out into about 1 cup of almond cheese. Mash with a fork. Maybe add salt? 

Plate everything artistically. Garnish with fresh basil and coarse salt. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Gingered Pear Sauce

 Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line of original poetry or a photo of light every day for the month of October)

I share my pear trees with the neighborhood deer
They give more than they take

  Day 19: A dish with five ingredients or fewer
(click HERE to see what others are sharing today)

Luscious and unique – that’s how you might describe a pear. Combine it with ginger and you have a flavor combination that’s worthy of the Thanksgiving table. That’s where mine’s going.

Here’s what you need:
Ripe pears
1 T fresh lemon juice
½ t -1 t ground ginger
½ t - 1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
(notice - no sugar is needed because pears are naturally sweet)

All these pears came from my very own garden -
 the one I share with the neighborhood deer. 

Here’s what you do:
Peel and slice the pears. Simmer them in about ½ C water until very soft. Add the remaining ingredients to taste. The amount of spices depend on the amount of pears you have. Remember – you can always add more, but you can’t remove any…..ginger is spicy, so start with a small amount. Stir and continue to cook for a few minutes. Allow to cool for a while and whirl in a food processor until it’s the perfect consistency. Don’t allow it to become too soft – you don’t want the consistency of baby food! Remember, this glorious sauce is for your Thanksgiving table.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tracy's Epic Double Chocolate Vegan Tart

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line or two of original poetry or a photo of beautiful Michigan light every day during October)

Day 18 : Chocolate
"Dappled Light"

Well, this was good. I mean really, really good. Imagine an Oreo Cookie crust and a dark chocolate - cashew pudding. Heavenly! Wasn't too tricky to make either....You see, I'm the type of person who doesn't mind using both my food processor and my blender in one recipe. I don't really mind doing these kinds of dishes. (For the record, it's the after dinner dishes that kill me)

I only wish I was hosting a dinner party to have plenty of friends oooing and ahhhhing over my fancy dessert! :) 

Chocolate is so luscious..... I eat it every day!

Here's what you need:
1 package Oreo cookies
1 C butter - divided
2 C raw cashews
3 C soy milk
1 T arrowroot
1 t vanilla
1/2 C sugar (or less)
1 bag dark chocolate chips (use a good brand)
1/4 t salt

Here's what you do:
Pulse the cookies in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. Add 1/2 C melted butter. Press into a tart pan and chill for at least 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, soak the cashews in cold water.  (or don't soak them...I never do.) Place cashews, milk and arrowroot in a high speed blender and create a smooth mixture. Then run this through a fine sieve to remove any stubborn nut  pieces. 

Pour cashew milk into a heavy bottom pot, add the chips and slowly bring to a warm simmer....just enough to melt the chips and allow the arrowroot to do its thickening magic. Add the vanilla. 

Pour over the crust, chill long time, decorate. Voila! Serve with pride. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Zombie Apocalypse Cheesy Potato Enchilada Casserole

Vegan Month of  Food 2017
“Lines and Light”
(a line of original poetry or a photo of light every day for the month of October)

Why can’t I write a poem about a tree?
They are too big for me
Their secrets held deep
Communing with the heavens and knowing the dark places of the earth
They age with a beauty beyond understanding and spread their testimony over me

Day 16 – Survival Food – There’s a zombie apocalypse! 
What can you make from just canned food?
(click HERE to see what others are sharing today)

I love cooking from my pantry and freezer. Some of my best meals have been off-the-cuff inventions from last minute decisions and additions. This combo, from my pantry and freezer, was seriously, seriously delicious. Add some sour cream, salsa, pickled jalapenos, and you have a meal fit for a Mexican/American queen. 

Here's what you need:
canned beans
canned diced tomatoes
canned diced potatoes
canned green chilis
1/2 package taco seasoning
flour tortillas
some sort of nacho cheese (mine was from the freezer ... it was most likely Isa's recipe for cashew queso with red peppers)

Here's what you do:
Saute the onions and garlic. Add the beans, tomatoes, green chilis, and taco seasoning. Also add about 1/2 C water and allow to cook for a while until perfect. 

In another pan, brown the potatoes in a bit of oil. Add the cheese sauce.
Layer it all together... I started with a bean layer and ended with a potato layer. Bake for a while, covered at first and then uncovered. Don't let that top layer dry out. SUPER!! 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

my crummy spice rack

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"

Cloves for friendship
Curry for love
Mint for healing
Paprika for fun
Anise for grandma
Basil for joy
Saffron for Jenny 
and Ginger for me!

Day 15: Spicy!

A few days ago I shared some photos of my brand new kitchen. It is gorgeous! I chose soft white for the cupboards and a cinnamon colored wood for my island.  My granite is called Winter White. It is so soothing to look at and touch. And lucky me, I was able to make my island huge. HUGE. It's so great! I can't remember how I survived without all the electrical outlets! I put them everywhere. 

The only thing I didn't do right when designing the new kitchen, is my spice rack - or better said, the lack of a spice rack. It's terrible! I have no where to put my dozens of spices. Dozens. 

You can see I have three twirling store-bought spice caddies. I had to transfer the spices from their original containers to those round jars and then I used those hideous green labels. I have these caddies in my pantry on the top shelf, and every single time I pull out the shelf, spices go tumbling off the caddy and down to the bottom of the pantry. Oh, joy. Do you notice all the spices just laying around up there. It's horrible. 

The baking-type spices are located in a stupid wooden box on the bottom shelf of the pantry. They are a total jumble. Lucy likes to smell them. Sigh. 

I love my new kitchen, but I can't stand my crummy spice rack. :( 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Artichoke and Carrot Top Pesto Stuffed Mushroom

   Vegan Month of Food
"Lines and Light"
(a line of original poetry or a photo of light every day for the month of October)

Bright orange surprise under dark earth; waiting to be yanked by green hair

Day 14 - Re-purposing Food
Show us what you do with mushroom stems, stale end bits of bread, carrot tops, etc
(click HERE to see what others are sharing today)

Stuffed mushrooms don’t need to be complicated, unless you are making your own carrot top pesto to mix into the stuffing! Seriously, it wasn’t that tricky and since I was planning to make the carrot top pesto anyway, I decided to add some to the mushrooms. Delicious!

I also think stuffed mushrooms can serve as an entre and not only as an appetizer. That’s how we ate them and thankfully, there were plenty for the two of us.

Here’s what you need:
10 oz large white mushrooms, stems removed and minced
8 artichoke quarters, (packed in water) minced
2 scallions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Dried basil and parsley
2 T olive oil – divided
2 rounded T carrot top pesto (recipe below)
2 rounded T cashew parmesan
2 rounded T seasoned bread crumbs
½ C dry white wine

Here’s what you do:
Saute the mushroom stems, artichokes, scallions, and garlic in 1 T oil. Add the herbs and paprika to taste. Salt and pepper is good here too. When the mixture is nice and soft, remove to a bowl and add the pesto, Parmesan, and bread crumbs. Divide evenly between the mushrooms, drizzle remaining olive oil over each cap and sprinkle wine over it all. Bake covered (350 degrees) for about 10 minutes, remove cover and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.

Here's how to make Carrot Top Pesto:
Drop a few garlic gloves into a running food processor. This is a good way to mince the garlic. Add a 1/4 C of sliced or slivered almonds, a bunch of carrot tops (stems discarded), some olive oil and a healthy pinch of salt. Process until kind of smooth. Be ready to scrape down the sides of the processor. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Creamy Red Pepper Sauce

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line of original poetry or a photo of beautiful light every day for the month of October)

'Deep Beauty'

bug upon a leaf
frog under a bush
snake in the grass
sun through a petal
~ look closely ~
dog on the driveway
bird near her nest
spider with her eggs
rain for a tree

Day 13: Sell Yourself- If you were going to market a food you make, what would it be?

This is my famous creamy red pepper sauce. I've been making it for years. It's kinda spicy and very creamy. It freezes like a dream. It's great to make when the red peppers go on drastic clearance. I use it in all kinds of ways: pasta, of course. It's amazing on a pizza or as a dipping sauce. Pour it over burritos for a new flavor profile for your standard Mexican fare.

Take it out of the freezer before you leave for work.

Here's what you need:
6 red peppers, seeded and deveined, chopped in 1 inch pieces
1 large vidalia onion, chopped in 1 inch pieced
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped like the rest
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 C veg broth
1 C raw cashews

Here's what you do:
Place everything in a large pot. Cook for a long time, until everything is nice and soft and ready for the  blender. Allow to cool for a bit. Place in a high speed blender. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Grocery Tips

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line of original poetry or a photo of light every day for the month of October)

Day 12: Grocery StoreTips
(click HERE to see what others are sharing today)
"Light on Dead Redwood"
 Big Basin State Park, California

My biggest grocery store tip? AVOID!!! 
(I seriously, seriously dislike grocery stores.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Kitchen Tour

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line of original poetry or a photo of light every day for the month of October)

The 5:30 call is the crossroad before dawn
A sleep body says, "Not yet."
But then I step outside and pull in the cold air you have given me.
I look up and am reminded that I am alive. 

Day 11: Kitchen Tour
(click HERE to see what others are sharing today)

I have a brand new kitchen! New above, old below.

New kitchen is awesomely white and totally clean (except for when I'm using it....)

I designed a thin cupboard to store a step ladder so I can reach the top shelves.

Cookie sheets above the fridge.

AMAZING pantry....I'm going to talk about this pantry on the 15th. I have just one tiny complaint.

Cupboard in the island for all my appliances - I have an outlet in there as well.
Yes, that's origami on the island.

Gorgeous view from my kitchen sink window.....and by the next Vegan Month of Food, that dead tree will be gone. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Secret Ingredient BLT

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line of original poetry or a photo of beautiful Michigan light every day in October)

Day 10 : Secret Ingredient

"Unfiltered Light on Sand, Grand Haven, MI"

I admit that for vegans, tofurky is NOT a surprise ingredient. We have been eating it for years and years, but I think my hubby has invented the BEST way to use the stuff! So GOOD! We eat them like there's no tomorrow, juice running down our hands and mayo on our chins. We don't care. We keep eating. No time to reach for a napkin....if you set the sammie down, it might fall apart and that would be a we just keep eating. Sandwich after sandwich after sandwich. 

Here's what you need:
1 box peppered tofurky slices
fresh tomatoes
iceberg lettuce
maple syrup
soy sauce
liquid smoke
good, thin white bread (like Pepperidge Farm Sandwich bread)

Prepare to be amazed at this secret way to make bacon for the world's best vegan BLT.

Here's what you do:
Make a slurry of maple syrup (maybe about 2-3 T), liquid smoke (maybe about 1 t), and soy sauce (maybe about 2 t). Use a pastry brush to lightly brush each slice of tofurky. Fry them lightly in a tiny bit of corn oil, flipping once. Brush on more saucy goodness after you flip them. 

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