Friday, September 27, 2013

Cilantro Lime Cashew Sauce

V is for Vegan and S is for Sauciness



Whoa. If you like cilantro and lime you will LOVE this sauce. I guess once you conquer the basic cashew cream sauce, you can flavor it in any way you please…..and this pleased me very much.

(I used a bunch of frozen veggies from my freezer. Onions. Corn. Roasted red pepper. Flageolet beans.) 

Here’s what you need:
1 C raw cashews
½ bunch cilantro – leaves and stems
1 lime – zest and juice
½ t salt
¼ t cayenne pepper
1 C water
2 T cider vinegar
1 T olive oil

(I spread on a bit of refried beans. Topped each with the sauteed veg. Rolled and placed in oven proof dish. I put a bit of salsa underneath so the burritos don't burn.)

Here’s what you do:
Place all in a high powered blender and watch what happens.



Note: I tried pouring the sauce over the burritos both before and after baking them. I preferred it cold much better….and check out the unnatural color it turned when it was baked!  You could pour this over stuff, like I did here. Or you could spread this on tortillas before making bean burritos or quesadillas. It would be great as a fresh dip and even thinned out as a salad dressing.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Strawberry Cupcakes

V is for Variety and M is for Muffin….or is that Cupcake?





Welcome to the Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo)  I intend to post 20 times during the month of September – all about vegan food. Check out the gals who organize the project here, and search out other fantastic vegan bloggers. I decided on the theme of “V is for Variety” because, honestly, once I quit the chicken breast – my food choices exploded! Join me!

What’s the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? One is for breakfast and the other is for dessert? Not in my book; I like them both at all hours of the day.

These were excellent and came directly from “The Joy of Vegan Baking,” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. They were surprisingly tender and the strawberry taste is very prominent. Isn’t that raspberry just about the cutest thing you ever saw?

Here’s what you need:
1 ¾ C white flour
1 t baking soda
1 C granulated sugar
½ C canola oil
1 T distilled white vinegar
1 t vanilla extract
8 ounces frozen or fresh crushed strawberries

Here’s what you do:
Mix the flour, baking soda and sugar. In a different bowl, combine the oil, vinegar and vanilla. Add the strawberries. Carefully pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix – do not overmix.
Scoop into prepared cupcake tins, about half way full – I use cupcake liners and spray them. Bake for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool completely before frosting.



Buttercream Frosting:
½ C Earth Balance nondairy butter – room temperature
2 C powdered sugar
1 ½ t vanilla
2 T nondairy milk
Food coloring

Strawberries or raspberries to decorate

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Homemade Pasta with Incredible Mushroom Sauce

V is for Variety and H is for Homemade



Welcome to the Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo)  I intend to post 20 times during the month of September – all about vegan food. Check out the gals who organize the project here, and search out other fantastic vegan bloggers. I decided on the theme of “V is for Variety” because, honestly, once I quit the chicken breast – my food choices exploded! Join me!


One of my favorite memories is making pasta with my kiddos when they were little. How they loved turning the crank and catching the fresh noodles. Everyone had to have a turn. Flour all over the counter. Trying not to fret over flour on the floor. Accepting the thick, ugly strands of pasta along with the super long thin ones. Playing around with different colors of dough: green from spinach, red from beet juice, orange from baby food carrots. Watching them devour what they had created.




Nowadays I can get a batch of pasta done in about 1 hour, and that’s including the 30 minutes you need to rest the dough.  Practice makes perfect, as they say.











This pasta was very soft, which surprised me because it called for semolina instead of regular flour.  I always thought semolina was harder flour, but I do think we cooked it a bit too long, and as you probably can tell from my photo at the top of this post, we mixed it too vigorously, so it broke apart. But none of that bothered us. I am definitely making this again – especially the sauce!










Here’s what you need for the pasta:
2 C semolina flour
2 T olive oil
1 T water
½ -3/4 C silken tofu (replaces the egg, which you don’t really even need. The tofu helped create a really silky dough)
1 t salt




Here’s what you do for the pasta:
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it all comes together. Wrap in plastic and allow to rest for about 30 minutes. Cut dough in quarters and run it through a pasta machine. Don’t overcook it….maybe 2-3 minutes at most!




Here’s what you need for the Incredible Mushroom Sauce:
Minced onions – to taste, but don’t be hesitant to load them on
Dried oregano
Minced garlic
Portabella mushrooms – remove the stem and gills and slice
Shitake mushrooms – remove the stem and slice
White button mushrooms – sliced
¾ C dry red wine
Fresh tomatoes – lots!
Fresh basil



Here’s what you do for the sauce:

Sautee the onions for a few minutes. Add the oregano, garlic, mushrooms and some salt. (A great trick to enhance the oregano is to rub it between your hands which releases all the beautiful oils of the dried leaves. Sprinkle the herb directly on the onions and you will love what a difference this makes to the flavor.)  Continue to cook the onions and mushrooms for a bit. Add the red wine and fresh tomatoes. Cook until it all gloriously comes together. Maybe 30 minutes or so. Add fresh basil at the end. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

What Vegans Eat

V is for Variety and W is for What Vegans Eat



Welcome to the Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo)  I intend to post 20 times during the month of September – all about vegan food. Check out the gals who organize the project here, and search out other fantastic vegan bloggers. I decided on the theme of “V is for Variety” because, honestly, once I quit the chicken breast – my food choices exploded! Join me!

Recently I mentioned to a friend that I have been eating a vegan diet for almost an entire year and his response was probably pretty typical. "Vegan?? What do you eat?"

I went home and roasted two trays of red peppers and cooked a huge batch of garbanzo beans. It felt as natural as can be. It's what vegans eat.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pear Frangipane Tart

V is for Variety and I is for INA - vs - ISA 



Welcome to the Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo)  I intend to post 20 times during the month of September – all about vegan food. Check out the gals who organize the project here, and search out other fantastic vegan bloggers. I decided on the theme of “V is for Variety” because, honestly, once I quit the chicken breast – my food choices exploded! Join me!

I am literally sitting in my comfy chair watching Ina Garten on my DVR making a huge dessert for Jeffrey – 6 egg yolks, 1 C heavy cream, billions of sticks of butter. I am sure it tastes great, but with those ingredients, you can only eat a tablespoon before you reach your quota of fat… and my god… shouldn't we consider that cholesterol level for at least a mili-second? Come on, Ina!  



I am also literally sitting in my comfy chair going through my photos and drooling over this BEAUTIFUL pear frangipane tart from IsaChandra (Post Punk Kitchen). No butter. No eggs. No cholesterol. No guilt. Totally 100% VEGAN and incredibly awesome.  I literally made it twice last week with pears from my backyard tree. How cool is that? Go right ....HERE.... to see the recipe and literally, do NOT change a single thing....literally. 



(I also just literally knocked over an entire bottle of beer on my husband…. but that’s another blog post.)



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Life in France - a book review

Anyone out there interested in participating in the Vegan Month of Food 2013?  (VeganMoFo) The fun starts in September. You can see my VeganMoFo2012 posts by clicking here. 

I just finished reading “My Life in France” by Julia Child. I unabashedly admit that I never tire of Julia – her wit, her phrasing, her unexpected interjections of French, her whoops and hallas (is that a word?); her love of life – or rather joie de vivre?– her love for Paul, for her sister, for quirky  people and most of all, her understanding that a meal is an event which (if properly treated) might never be forgotten.  She repeatedly recounts unique meals while living in France- from a simple piece of fish to the most unbelievably ridiculous pressed duck– according to her, the best meal of her life and the best food in France. (Follow this- the duck is smothered to death in order to retain the blood; it is then partially roasted and pressed until the blood and other fluids drain out. They are mixed with wine and bits of the organs from the duck. “The height of elegance.”…… Whatever…...)

“My Life in France” is a quick and pleasant read, especially if you like food and France and Julia Child. Her voice is strong and clear:  “When [Paul and I] read an article about the horrifying effects of TV on the American home life, we asked [our in-laws] if they had bought a television set yet – they hadn’t-- or if they knew anyone who had – no, again. Did our nieces and nephew feel left out of the gang for not having such a machine? ‘No… for the moment.’”  These words spoken in 1949 – worlds before Julia’s entrance into the American TV scene, into my DVR, and into my heart. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Potato Crust Pizza

V is for Variety and Y is for Yes, those are potatoes in that thar pizza!



Welcome to the Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo)  I intend to post 20 times during the month of September – all about vegan food. Check out the gals who organize the project here, and search out other fantastic vegan bloggers. I decided on the theme of “V is for Variety” because, honestly, once I quit the chicken breast – my food choices exploded! Join me!

Really exciting news for me last week! My Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookie post made the VeganMoFo Round-up! BAM!  I couldn’t believe my eyes! Check it out right ….HERE…. I am pretty geeked about this! So fun! And such a great recipe from Post Punk Kitchen, so you know it’s a winner!

These guys are really good.....but only consider making them if you like a hit of spice!


I also messed around with a potato crust pizza twice last week – topped it once with roasted tomatoes and onions and the next night with fresh tomatoes and summer squash from my garden.


Check out the size of those beets!

Shred some Yukon potatoes and onions. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit for about 10 minutes. 



Wring out every bit of water from the potatoes, add some grated garlic, salt,  pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and some vegan parmesan cheese.


Bake for about 20 minutes in a cast iron skillet and carefully flip over! It took lots of patience and some fiddling with a metal spatula. Oh, so worth it. 


 Slide the crust back into the hot skillet and voila! Put on your toppings and bake for another 10 minutes or so. I do not recommend any kind of sauce because you want to keep that nice crispy crust. 

The inspiration for this excellent pizza came from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen. Thanks Beate!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Vegan Parmesan Cheese

V is for Variety and D is for Dang Best Craziest Thing



Welcome to the Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo)  I intend to post 20 times during the month of September – all about vegan food. Check out the gals who organize the project here, and search out other fantastic vegan bloggers. I decided on the theme of “V is for Variety” because, honestly, once I quit the chicken breast – my food choices exploded! Join me!


I guess if you are eating the real, authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese – you know, the official cheese from the official region in Italy – you can skip over this post. But if you are eating the dry dust from the green cans, please continue reading. You can tell if you’re eating the real cheese because its name is stamped on the rind; you can tell you’re eating the imitation cheese if it comes in a green cardboard can. You can also tell you are eating the real stuff if you are paying $15.00 per pound; it’s fake if it costs only $2.79 and can be found at the Dollar Store….in a green cardboard can.

Now, I know it’s the Vegan Month of Food, and I truly want to honor all the rules: post 20 times and talk only about vegan food. And so far, I am doing great. But I will confess that I do indulge in a bite or two of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese once in a while. Why? Cuz it’s awesome. And no nasty comments from you militant vegans out there….I am trying my best and that’s all anyone can ask!

In the meantime, check out this crazy recipe for vegan parm. It’s actually pretty darn good. I mixed it in with some Israeli couscous, roasted tomatoes and fresh basil from my garden.

Hey, if you are still using parm from a green cardboard can with a shaker top – STOP it! Try this instead! It’s better for you and it’s wholesome and it’s salty and it’s nutty and it tastes better than what you’re currently choking down!



Here’s what you need:
¼ C nutritional yeast      
1 C raw cashews              
1 t salt

Here’s what you do:
Process in a high speed blender until a powder is produced. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Sprinkle away!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

V is for Variety and C is for Classic




Welcome to the Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo)  I intend to post 20 times during the month of September – all about vegan food. Check out the gals who organize the project here, and search out other fantastic vegan bloggers. I decided on the theme of “V is for Variety” because, honestly, once I quit the chicken breast – my food choices exploded! Join me!


Classic. Beige slacks and a black turtleneck. Gin and tonic with a twist of lime. Alfred Hitchcock movies. Cary Grant. New York City. Madison Avenue….Don Draper (oops….my mind just wandered a bit). Tuna Noodle Casserole. Marvin Gaye and Motown. Jackie Kennedy. Pepto-Bismol. Daytona Beach. Fondue. Wedgewood China. Cocktail parties. Houndstooth. Tomato soup and grilled cheese. Birthday parties. Hymn sings. Bobbed hair. Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

Here’s what you need (recipe from “The Vegan Table” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, pg 258)
9 T Earth Balance or other non dairy butter, melted and divided
¾ C brown sugar
¾ C unsweetened pineapple juice, divided
(there’s just the perfect amount of juice in a can of sliced pineapple)
1 can sliced pineapple (20 ounces)
¼ C maraschino cheeries
1 ½ C all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
½ t salt
½ C granulated sugar
¼ C non dairy milk
6 oz non dairy plain or vanilla yogurt
½ t vanilla extract

Here’s what you do:
Melt 5 T butter, with brown sugar and ¼ C pineapple juice. Pout into a greased 9 inch spring-form pan. Arrange pineapple rings and cherries in syrup in a decorative manner.

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Pour in remaining ½ C pineapple juice, milk, yogurt, remaining 4 T melted butter, and vanilla. Don’t overmix. Pour cake batter over pineapple rings. Place spring form pan on a baking sheet to help catch any juices that escape. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Note: most of the juice leaked out of my pan onto the baking sheet, so I spooned it off and plopped it back on the top of the cake. I recommend lining the baking sheet with foil to help with sticky sugary clean up!

Cool cake for about 10 minutes, run knife carefully around the edge, release the spring and invert cake onto a plate so pineapple rings are facing up.

RAVE reviews! Thanks Colleen! 


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

BLT - vegan style

V is for Variety and B is for Bacon



Welcome to the Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo)  I intend to post 20 times during the month of September – all about vegan food. Check out the gals who organize the project here, and search out other fantastic vegan bloggers. I decided on the theme of “V is for Variety” because, honestly, once I quit the chicken breast – my food choices exploded! Join me!


Is it just me, or has the American public gone crazy-bonkers over bacon? You see it everywhere nowadays: ice cream, chocolate, puddings, cakes, sprinkled on top of just about everything. Maple cured, sugar glazed, deep fried, peppered.  I've seen it wrapped around turkeys, chickens and pork roasts. I've seen it on pizzas, in soups, and of course on top of triple-decker beef burgers dripping with cheese and mayo.  All of a sudden it seems very 'manly' to eat as much bacon as you possibly can, and woe to those of us who do not choose to partake! Wimps! Turncoats! Sissies! Un-American! What's happening here?

I suppose there was a time in our history when bacon was a viable choice for a low cost protein on the plate; maybe during the depression years, served with cabbage or on white bread. Back in the days when women saved the bacon grease to reuse it. But I am telling you, those days are gone. Let them go! Look to your future. Put down the bacon. 

My mom used to make us toasted open face bacon and American cheese sandwiches and I remember that I loved them, but I did not eat a pound of bacon in a sitting! Rather, a slice or two - just enough to satisfy that craving that we humans have for fat, sugar and salt. True, bacon can satisfy that! But so can other foods, and with much less damage to our bodies. 

I could not believe my taste buds when I took my first bite of this sandwich. Fat - check! Sugar - check! Salt - check! I made these BLTs twice last week - it's that good. The second time I served it wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.....HEAVEN! :) drool ...I am telling you this tastes like bacon, but seriously, better somehow. 


So what is tempeh? It's actually soy beans and sometimes other grains (like brown rice or barley) that have been fermented and pressed into a square. You slice it and dice it and you're ready to roll. It's an ancient food and it's eaten all over the world, (except, apparently, by Americans who are eating pounds of bacon). You can saute it, marinate it, grill it. It has a super nutty and chewy taste. LOVE!  





As I set this sandwich down in front of my husband, we exchanged these few words: 

I said, “Vegan rave about this.”
He said, “When vegans rave, we must listen.”

Then we each ate two sandwiches. 'Nuff said.

Oh...here's the recipe! Zillions upon zillions of thanks to the awesome Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Monday, September 9, 2013

Romaine and Sesame Seed Pesto

V is for Variety and R is for Romaine Pesto


Welcome to the Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo)  I intend to post 20 times during the month of September – all about vegan food. Check out the gals who organize the project here, and search out other fantastic vegan bloggers. I decided on the theme of “V is for Variety” because, honestly, once I quit the chicken breast – my food choices exploded! Join me!



“You can make pesto from anything!”

“Really? Anything?”

“Yes, just take a green ‘basil-y’ thing, add some type of toasted ‘pine-nut-y’ thing and some seasonings. Plop it all in a food processor and watch what happens. ”

“Sounds too good to be true.”

“Try it! You’ll like it!”

“How about romaine lettuce, sesame seeds, lemon zest, garlic, hot pepper flakes and olive oil. Oh, and salt.”

“Go for it! Add in some sun dried tomatoes at the end for a nice tangy bite.”



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Warm Lentil Salad

V is for Variety and P is for Puy 



Welcome to the Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo)  I intend to post 20 times during the month of September – all about vegan food. Check out the gals who organize the project here, and search out other fantastic vegan bloggers. I decided on the theme of “V is for Variety” because, honestly, once I quit the chicken breast – my food choices exploded! Join me!

Have you discovered the French lentil, also called Le Puy?  I found them at the local health food store and I’m thrilled! They have the most beautiful blue-green color and a really gorgeous dark swirl running through them. They take longer to cook than the more common brown or green lentil and what’s really special about them is that they retain their shape. You are left with a great toothy bite and chewy feel - perfect for salads.  And with 30% of their  calories from protein, you can’t beat them! Lentils are super high in daily iron and they help lower cholesterol. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals, like folate and magnesium, plus - they are super cheap! Love your body - Eat lentils! 

This salad is perfection! If you like lentils, you will LOVE this! And if you are a Dijon lover - you MUST make this! I do suggest serving it with something plain because the dressing is really tangy and tart. I shredded a yellow squash and a carrot and I chose not to dress them, which was perfect. A side of rice or beans would work as would a simple green salad, but again, I suggest that you don't over dress it. 



Here’s what you need for 4 servings: 
¾ C French lentils
1 bay leaf
1 ½ C vegetable stock or water with some vegetable bouillon
1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
1-2 carrots, diced
1-2 celery, diced
4-5 sun dried tomatoes, diced
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T Dijon

Here’s what you do:
Rinse and sort the lentils. Simmer them with the bay leaf in the vegetable stock for about 40 minutes. Drain the excess water.

In the meantime, sauté the onion, carrot and celery until soft and starting to get some color. Add the sun dried tomatoes. Set aside.

Whisk together the red wine vinegar and Dijon. Combine everything gently and enjoy! Best served warm. 

(printable recipe) 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Japanese Soba Noodles with Toasted Sesame Dressing

V is for Variety and J is for Japanese Soba Noodles



Welcome to the Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo)  I intend to post 20 times during the month of September – all about vegan food. Check out the gals who organize the project here, and search out other fantastic vegan bloggers. I decided on the theme of “V is for Variety” because, honestly, once I quit the chicken breast – my food choices exploded! Join me!


Getting sick of all the peanut sauces on every Asian noodle salad? Me, too.  I love those dressings, but I was ready for a change and I think I found it. This was especially great on a super-hot evening. I messed around with a few dressings and ingredients from various places and came up with this beautiful salad. Light and cold and refreshing. Totally satisfying. I will save the peanut butter sauces for winter when I crave something more substantial. No kidding, this was excellent.

Here’s the scoop on this great salad:
Japanese soba noodles (aka buckwheat noodles), cooked according to package. Drain and rinse them.
Grated carrots
6 ounces snow peas, blanched and cut in pieces on the diagonal



½ seedless cucumber, grated and wrung dry in a clean cloth
 Scallions, white and green part, sliced
Firm tofu (optional) (I used Wildwood Teriyaki Tofu), about 6 ounces, cubed
¼ C chopped fresh cilantro






For the dressing, whisk all this together.
¼ C rice vinegar
1 t sugar
1 T fresh ginger, grated
1 T honey
2 T soy sauce
1 T toasted sesame oil
2 t hot chili sauce 
2 T canola oil
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