Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sopranos Sunday Gravy: Lasagne

Well, I decided to take the vegan plunge and join VeganMoFo 2012. What a journey it will be! I have already explored various menu ideas and purchased a few vegan ingredients that I might want to try…..raw cashews, anyone? Stay tuned right here.

Anyway, I thought before October 1st arrives, I would at least mention that I bought “The Sopranos Family Cookbook.” I gotta be honest and say that it’s the total Anti-Vegan experience. The book is a photo album, yearbook, journal and cookbook all rolled into one. The photos alone make it fantastic….remember how crazy Tony’s mother was?  Actually, I probably shouldn’t admit publically that I watched every episode of The Sopranos….don’t want to shock anyone out there.  It’s pretty violent TV, in case you don’t know….but the FOOD!!!  I remember that Tony was always asking for ‘gabagool' which I guess is some sort of derivation of the word ‘capicola.’ To this day, my husband sometimes randomly says, “Gabagool,” which I interpret to mean, “Ah, I see we’re eating Italian tonight, honey.”

Anyway, a week ago I spent a Sunday afternoon making Sunday Gravy. What a heavenly recipe: veal chops, ribs, sausage, pork, beef and lots of tomatoes….brown the meat, add the tomatoes and simmer all day. I did it up the right way and it was EXCELLENT – move over Artie Bucco!

Rob on his his bike....dreaming of lasagne.

You do not eat all that meat on Sunday with the gravy, but rather remove it and use it for different meals throughout the week. What you see here is Soprano Lasagne – in honor of my son, who requested it…..think veal, pork, sausage and meatballs. Dang! What will my new vegan friends think?

Let’s talk more Sopranos after my vegan venture, shall we? 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Outrageous Brownies: Ina Garten

Have you seen this recipe? It’s killer. I mean, really….one pound of butter? While I was melting the butter and chocolate together, I was thinking that there must be some sort of mistake….one pound of butter. … and cups and cups full of chocolate chips. Ina’s unique addition of a small bit of coffee to everything chocolate is not omitted here, she recommends 2 full tablespoons of instant coffee….I only added 1 tablespoon and that’s plenty. This recipe makes an entire sheet pan overflowing with the most decadent and delicious brownies…plenty to share, plenty to store in the freezer and plenty to munch on straight from the oven.

On a personal note: it is very ironic that I am posting a recipe that calls for one pound of butter today because I am actually toying with the idea of joining VeganMoFo for the month of October. Check it out here. Crazy, right? I would LOVE if any of my readers would like to join with me (and 700 other vegan bloggers from all over the world) – what an eating adventure it could be!

The downside for me is that the entire month must be vegan only posts (ahhh,,,, good-bye, my beloved cheese). According to the rules you can’t even sneak in an egg. The other really tough thing for me is that they encourage 20 different posts! That’s a lot of cooking, photos, eating, blogging, posting….. hey, some of us have to work for a living!

Anyway, I am seriously thinking of trying it for the month of October…..I have mentioned that I am constantly on the lookout for the perfect veggie burger and this would force me to narrow that search down a bit.

Your thoughts? Would you discontinue reading my recipes if I took a vegan holiday? Does the thought of Red Lentil Enchiladas make your finger hover over the ‘delete’ button?  Would you be curious to see what I come up with for my 20 posts? Do you want me to find that perfect veggie burger, once and for all?

GTG… brownies await! (and then probably grilled cheese for lunch….I have a hunk of gouda from the Netherlands lurking in the fridge….hubby brought it home from his recent trip. How he loves me!)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Vegan Potato Tacos with Roasted Jalapeno Crema

Last year my daughter lived with a vegan. It was such an interesting journey for both her and me as we learned about what a vegan actually eats. I mean, if you can’t eat any meat, poultry, eggs, cheese, or dairy, including my beloved yogurt….then what’s left to eat??? Surely not lettuce, lettuce and more lettuce??? Or how about soy, soy and more soy? Uh, no thanks.

As it turns out, vegans have a pretty adventurous menu, including beans, beans and more beans…. And some soy…and lots and lots of vegetables.

Honestly, I must admit, it’s a pretty tasty and ultra-healthy way to eat. In fact, I have been known to go on week-long vegan binges…..

These potato tacos are outstanding…. They’re beautiful, aren’t they? The recipe comes from my daughter’s roomie. She made them for a bunch of guys one night, not revealing to them that they were scarfing down soy sausage. The jalapeno crema is to die for! I am totally addicted to the stuff and have been putting it on all kinds of food: sandwiches, burgers, fries, fish, grilled veggies……. I dream about the stuff. Find the recipe here

Here's the lovely Roasted Jalapeno Crema on some fish tacos....

Here's the beautiful Jalapeno Crema on some roasted asparagus....and how about that chickpea burger with my famous roasted tomatoes? KILLER and all vegan! 

Time to get this recipe off my phone and into your kitchen!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Roasted Jalapeno Crema

Why use plain condiments when you can have this? Really. I’m serious. Get to the market and buy some jalapeno peppers. Go to the health food store and get some Vegenaise. You won’t be sorry.

I have been making this about once a week all summer long….serve it on burgers, tacos, fish, grilled veggies, chicken, sandwiches, omelets …the list goes on and on.

1.       Roast a jalapeno on the grill or on the gas stove. You could probably roast it in the oven as well.
2.       Put the charred pepper under some plastic wrap and allow it to sweat for a while.
3.       Scrape off the burned outer skin of the pepper – do not rinse it!
4.       Scrape out the seeds and veins of the pepper.
5.       Mix with Vegenaise and your favorite hot sauce.
6.       Dollop with confidence.

I suppose if you don't want to use Vegenaise, you could use regular sour cream, but there is something  oh-so-perfect about the Vegenaise. I recently learned that Vegenaise is one of Ellen DeGeneres's favorite things....might that sway you??? 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pineapple-Coconut Layer Cake

I'm still dreaming of the pineapple curd which is between the layers of this pretty cake. 

I found the recipe for this BEAUTIFUL cake here at the Eating Well website. When I read the words "pineapple curd" I knew I had to make it......printed the recipe......kept moving the recipe from pile to pile .........(I have places all over the house with piles of recipes that I just *have* to try)........had to  wait for an occasion.....finally decided to make it for a group gathering at our church. Wow! Really good. I admit that I did not use cake flour or white whole-wheat flour.... I just used regular flour and regular wheat flour. Those changes may have made my cake a bit more dense than if I had used the types of flour called for, but no one noticed. The recipe calls for a nifty trick of whipping the egg whites before adding them to the batter which keeps it light.

Using fresh pineapple would have put this gorgeous cake OVER THE TOP!

I had to keep hovering over the dessert table that evening to make sure there was a piece or two left to take home to my daughter!