Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vegan MoFo - Day 17

Steak and potatoes!

A Traditional 'Steak and Potatoes'

Okay, well, maybe not. Mashed potatoes, sure, with a delicious mushroom gravy, but also roast beets and chickpea cutlets. The cutlets were good, this was time #2 trying them. They were better than the last time but still not my favorite thing ever. I'm going to try baking them next time, and if time 3 isn't the charm, then I guess I
m just legitimately not a fan. They aren't super difficult to make, and tons of vegans freaking love them, which is why I'm willing to try yet again. Everything else was super delicious.

Vegan Mofo - Day 16

From Isa's Appetite For Reduction (same place as the Chickpea Picatta) I made Miso Soba Stir Fry with Greens and Beans. A lot of words, and a lot of yum to go with them. Never made swiss chard before, so it was a pretty great chance to make it, and I love it! This whole vegan thing has been really great for eating the leafy greens, I'll tell you that. I've got some collards in the fridge right now too, pretty excited for them. Anyway, this stir fry is really great for you - beans, chard, broccoli! - and really tasty as well.
Not much else to say. Baby is starting to screamapillar...
Greens N Beans Stir Fry

Vegan MoFo - Day 15

Chili! Cornbread! Yum! A marriage made in culinary heaven.
So the last vegan chili that we made (I made my husband make it for some reason or other, but I was totally the mastermind) was a weird chocolate chili thing that turned out... well, not that great, to say the least. It's one of the few recipes that we have vowed to never make again, which for us is saying a lot since we always vow to make everything again.
This chili, however, was quite delicious. Full of vegetables, obviously, and it didn't use any tvp to make it 'meaty' which I liked, since I kind of hate those allegations from omni types about how vegetarians and vegans just want fake meat. Besides that being untrue, even if it was true, what does it matter? They want meat without the damaging effects on the environment or the cruelty. So there!
I digress. The chili was perfect with just the beans. I upped the amount of chipotle and added some of the sauce from it as well because if you've learned nothing else about us, you know that we likes the spicies.
I was going to include the cornbread as a separate entry because I made it on a different day, but that totally felt like a cheat because, well, it's cornbread and just about the easiest thing to make ever.
Chipotle Chili with Cornbread

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vegan MoFo - Day 14

The weekend of breakfast foods! Today I made scrambled tofu and roast potatoes. Obviously nothing is particularly vegan about roast potatoes - unless you like to roast your potatoes in lard, then I guess tossing them with olive oil might seem pretty radical.
I was skeptical about scrambled tofu - I mean, how exciting and tasty can simply scrambled tofu be when I'm used to marinating and grilling my tofu in pretty strong flavours? Well my skepticism was unfounded, and I don't know how I could ever have doubted Isa's amazingness (recipe from Vegan Brunch btw). They're even yellow because of the turmeric, a dream come true for any omni! I added green onions and mushrooms to this because I love mushrooms and green onions, which worked out well. It was a great breakfast that I hope to repeat many times.
Scrambled Tofu and Roast Potatoes

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vegan MoFo - Day 13

Yesterday saw me taking care of an extreme screamapillar baby, so no new foods were made, though a couple of the maple cupcakes were enjoyed, and a few given to the fine people at the store I used to manage before I was a screamapillar care-taker.
Today (because daddy was home and could care-take!) I made Pumpkin Pancakes and Cranberry Ginger Sauce from Vegan Brunch. Both were delicious, as I have come to expect from this book. I screwed up the pancakes a little because I forgot to add the half cup of water with the wet ingredients and mixed it in after I realized that it was too dry. This made them a bit wetter than they probably should have been, but they were yummy anyway.
The sauce was really easy and would have been just as at home on your t(of)urkey as on the pancakes, as it wasn't overly sweet and if you did happen to find it too sweet you could just reduce the amount of maple syrup added.
Pumpkin Pancakes with Cranberry Ginger Sauce

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vegan MoFo - Day 11

Missed another day. This whole making vegan treats every day thing is a tough gig. At any rate, the most recent delectability is Maple Cupcakes with Candied Walnut and Maple Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World - another Isa and Terry extravaganza.
I overmixed a wee bit on the cupcake batter front, so they're a bit chewier than other cupcakes that I've made from the book, but I take full responsibility. They're super tasty regardless.
As for the frosting, I had to go to Bulk Barn to find the powdered soy milk and then I couldn't tell it from the Wheat Gluten I bought at the same time until I mixed a bit of each with water to see what happened. It was a harrowing 5 minutes, I tells ya. Wheat Gluten frosting does not sound appealing.
Maple Cupcake with Candied Walnuts and Maple Frosting

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vegan MoFo - Day 9

You can't make weiners and beans not look like dog food. I don't care who your food stylists are, it's just not a pretty dish. It's definitely one of the foods that you do not eat first with your eyes, because if you did, you probably wouldn't end up eating with your mouth.
Its ugliness aside, I made 'Cheater Baked Beans' from Veganomicon (the quintessential Vegan recipe tome, if you didn't know). They're great and I'll never buy canned baked beans again.
You must get yourself a nice dutch oven if you plan to make them. My mother (who has bought for us many a very expensive kitchen item - she has great taste) gave us a Le Creuset for Christmas a few years back. It weighs a million pounds, but don't let that deter you. In fact, in my experience, the heavier something is, the better it is. For example, my fat cat
Christmas Snick
Seriously, though, there is nothing better than some literally heavy duty cook / bake ware. Get yourself a nice piece of Le Creuset and you'll have it forever and be in love with it the second you bake something to perfection and then... the best part... take only 30 seconds to clean it. Thank god for enamel coating. This thing is a dream, I tell ya.
Le Creuset
Back to the baked beans... I just threw it in some containers and cut up some Yves veggie weiners on top for a little trip down nostalgia lane. Easy, yummy, healthy lunch.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vegan MoFo - Day 8

Today was a day of two MoFo meals - Carrot Bisque from Vegan With a Vengeance for lunch and Portobello Feijoada with Brazilian Orange Rice (and a side of bok choy) from Viva Vegan.
The carrot bisque calls for 3lbs of carrots. The organic carrots are sold in a 2lb bag. I hate just eating carrots, Ian doesn't like cooked carrots. 'Coloured Carrots' are sold in a 1.5lb bag. Thusly...
Purple Carrot
The bisque was made with coconut milk and curry (besides all those nummy carrots) and makes a great lunch paired with a slice or two of Earth-Balanced toast. The recipe says to puree half, but I pureed the whole thing, which made for a very thick soup. I'm not a fan of half pureed soups though, and the super thickness is awesome when you have a sleeping baby on your lap - it doesn't drip off the spoon at all.
Carrot Bisque

For dinner, I finally decide to crack the lovely Terry Hope Romero's Viva Vegan. There are a lot of strange ingredients in the book, and lots of recipes call for sofrito (well fried peppers and onions with some seasoning) which is time consuming, so I searched one out that called for no exotic ingredients and no crazy extra pre-food process. Other than soaking the beans overnight, the Portobello Feijoada fit the bill - and since I don't consider bean-soaking much extra work, it was perfect!
Not only is this stew-like dish a nice hearty almost meaty meal, it gave me a chance to try out TVP chunks for the first time since going veg. They definitely gave the meal the perfect texture and soaked up the delicious flavours from the stew so there was no weird soy-y taste like I remember those things having when my mom and I tried them many years ago. I would have liked a little extra spice, so next time I'll be making more liberal use of the dried red chile flakes, but otherwise this dish definitely satisfies. It also makes a huge amount, so we'll be eating this for at least a couple more meals. This was also the first time I got to use my liquid smoke, which was highly exciting and very tasty. I served the dish with Brazilian Orange rice (also from Viva) and not so Brazilian bok choy. All in all, a healthy delicious meal that I can see myself turning to again.
Portobello Feijoada with Brazilian Orange Rice and Bok Choy

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vegan Mofo - Day 7

So I missed another day and we ate at the Fat Duck (kindly on Roy's tab!) for lunch and then ordered thai for dinner because I was feeling under the weather and not much like cooking. I made Banana Flapjacks from Vegan Brunch for breakfast, but as my Vegan MoFo is all about the making of foods that I haven't made before, and I seem to make these flapjacks at the very least on a monthly basis, I didn't take pictures or post about it.
Today was a busy day of making food. I made a couple of things for lunches this week, which I will post about when we eat them (suffice to say they are SO EXCITING). For Day 7 I made Veganomicon's Udon with Shiitakes and Kale in Miso Broth. As a side note, then I tweeted about how great it was to cookbook author Isa and she tweeted back! Delightful!
I added twice as much ginger as it called for and didn't even remotely measure the kale, but the end result was great. If you're feeling a bit under the weather, make this soup. If you're chilled to the bone (like after a winter training run I'm imagining), make this soup. If you just want a delicious hearty meal, make it! It's really quick for a weeknight, too, which is great. No complicated ingredients either which is always a plus.
Udon with Shiitakes and Kale in Miso Broth

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vegan MoFo - Day 5

I was a lover of chicken picatta pre-veg. Something about lemon, wine and capers together is just heavenly. I haven't had it since going vegetarian, as I never made picatta myself and no restaurants serve it sans animal. Then, Isa Chandra Moskowitz posts this recipe to her blog. It's from her upcoming book, Appetite for Reduction, which, if anything like her other cookbooks (and judging from this recipe!), will be delightful.
So, chickpea picatta. Yup. Easy, pretty quick, and totally delicious. Not to mention in this case, low fat and super healthy! As noted in the recipe, picatta is regularly served with pasta; I went one further than the mashed potatoes and made them wasabi mashed (with a couple of cloves of garlic, too!). I used almond milk, vegetable broth and earth balance as well, and they were super creamy and delicious.
I substituted spinach for the arugula because I just plain don't like arugula. Spinach was a grand substitute as far as I'm concerned; it wilted not too shabbily beneath the potatoes with the sauce poured over.
I'm just not going to do the rating thing anymore; everything so far has been fantastic so it's boring. Let this be a lesson - vegan food is great and you have no reason not to make yourself some tonight.
Note: our picture isn't as beautiful as Isa's. We don't have lots of food styling practice like she does. If you don't find our picture that appealing, just check hers out, it'll make you want it immediately.
Chickpea Picatta

Vegan MoFo - Day 4

I missed a day. I missed a day and it burns my soul. I missed it because I had a screamapillar baby for much of the day and then I had a social event (trivia!) in the evening which made it impossible to get my Pumpkin Bran Muffins from Vegan Brunch made on Day 3.
But! Day 4! There you were, ready for those muffins to be made! And my, WHAT muffins they are!
Easy to make, as all muffins are, they taste more or less like pie but a tad bit healthier, what with the cup of bran flakes that no pie has ever called for. As a related side note, I totally hate working with molasses, what with all the annoying non-pouringness and stickiness, but it's made up for by the fact that it always brings to mind the 'mole-asses' joke. Gotta love a good mole joke. Or a good ass joke, depending on who you are.
I love Vegan Brunch with a fiery passion. I've made lots of stuff out that book and will for sure be making more, not least amoung them the Pumpkin Bran Muffins. Dare I say, 5 out of 5 om nom noms? I don't think the husband has tried them yet, but I don't care, because I love them and may eat them all before giving him a chance anyway.
As with all bran muffins, these are particularly delish warm, but unlike some, they hold up to a good slathering of Earth Balance at room temperature, too. Just part of their charm.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Vegan MoFo - Day 2

You can be forgiven for thinking that vegan food consists primarily of tofu and other various meat analogues with the occasional daal thrown in for fun. However, trying to recreate an omni (that's you!) fave will sometimes require fake meat - what would chili be without a little tvp for that meaty texture? Just a bunch of spicy beans, I tell you what. But VegNew's absolutely fabulous mac n cheese recipe is a delicious recreation without the blended tofu or nutritional yeast, and was highly approved by my husband, whose reviews of non meat / non dairy foods are not always positive.
The sauce is a blend of cashews, carrots, onion, and potato with various seasonings. As with all recipes calling for a spice, I was a little generous with the cayenne, as we enjoy the spicy side of life. Also, the water that was leftover once the vegetables were soft enough to blend with the cashews was negligible so I added a bit more (probably a quarter cup?) and I used a bit more pasta than required because I don't know what the heck 8oz is from a 900g bag of elbow macaroni so I just used about half the bag.
In future, I will likely add a couple tablespoons of squeezed out horseradish to the crumb mixture that adorned the top and bake it for a few more minutes as it wasn't as crispy as I would have liked, but overall it was seriously delicious and will definitely be made again. Yet another 5 of 5 om nom noms.
VegNews Mac N Cheese

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vegan MoFo - Day 1 a few days late (and several dollars short?)

For Monday, November First, I made Chocolate Orange Scones and Artichoke Rotini.

The chocolate orange scones *would* come together amazingly quickly as stated in the recipe if they didn't have a four week old needy baby to contend with. Do you know what's faster than scones? Zero to screaming for a hungry newborn. I grated the orange zest with him in my lap. It sounds easy, but it really isn't. It doesn't help that I use a microplane, which can grate diamonds, so I was petrified of adding a little grated baby to the mix, which certainly wouldn't end well for anyone and wouldn't be vegan, either. When Daddy came home he got to deal with baby while I mixed the scones and threw them in the oven. The dough was much wetter than advertised - the recipe says to form it into a disk and cut it pizza style before throwing the triangles onto a parchment lined baking sheet. We formed a disk. We cut pizza style. The dough was so wet there was nary a triangle to be found when I tried to move them to the baking sheet. They came up in gloppy handfuls and were unceremoniously plopped onto the baking sheet with many swearwords gushing forth from my mouth. They baked for 15 or 18 minutes (I forgot to look at the clock when I put them in the oven because I was enraged and started washing the bowl with a fierceness known only to scorned scone makers) and came out and looked... perfect. Okay, so not triangular. But they were baked and had (lumpy) shape and hadn't just spread out like cookies, so that was one for the win column. The taste? Delicious! Think Terry's Chocolate Orange but a pastry instead of chocolate. Seriously amazing. I will be keeping this recipe around for the long run. And the texture was great too - fluffier than one would have thought given the pre-baking consistency of the dough. They get 5 out of 5 om nom noms from us.
VegNews Chocolate Orange Scones

For dinner I made How It All Vegan's Artichoke Rotini. Dreena and Tanya are Canadian gals and I bought the 10th Anniversary Edition of the book to support the Canadian economy - afterall, I've lent lots of support to the US vegan community with my purchases of all the books written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero - together and separately.
The pasta dish came together quickly and easily like all pasta dishes should. The marriage of artichokes, capers (yum!), and sundried tomatoes was pretty ambrosial, with no need of added salt and a delicious sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese finishing it off nicely. It was a hearty and satisfying dish, though what was supposed to serve 4 only served us two (the husband had a second helping), but we have a tendency to eat too much in general and always eat two servings of pasta in particular. If I had accompanied it with a salad of some sort it would have made two meals for the two of us easily. At any rate, it was totally delicious and made me really happy I bought the book, and also gets a 5 of 5 om nom noms from us.
Artichoke Rotini


Welcome to Veg*n aMuse Bouche.

So many people have vegan / vegetarian food blogs. I thought I'd join their legions during November 2010 - the month of Vegan MoFo IV. Vegan Mofo (Month of Food) is all about those blogging vegans showing the world why their lifestyle is as delightful as it is through the informative, pervasive and invasive powers of the interwebs.

I'm not vegan - far from it, as an ovo-lacto vegetarian, in fact - but I do loves me some delicious vegan food and cook from one of my many vegan cookbooks on a relatively regular basis. I actually can't remember the last time I baked anything non-vegan, because in actual fact, all vegan baking is equally delicious as (and fluffy as, tender as, etc) non-vegan, so why put the chickens and the cows out if you don't have to?

While the serious vegans will be blogging about serious vegan things - book reviews, veganizing family favorite recipes, restaurant reviews etc - I plan on just making at least one vegan thing per day and posting about it, hopefully with some beautiful food porn to go with. Everyone loves pictures of cupcakes.

What goes on post Vegan MoFo? I don't know, actually. I'll consider it pretty miraculous if I manage to blog this whole month, even if I do manage to do all the cooking / baking I intend to do. This might be a one month / year kind of thing (next year: veganizing my favorite recipes from Food & Drink magazine, one of my favorite pre-veg cooking resources ever!). This might turn into a thing I do. I guarantee nothing. I will provide a limited guarantee that this month I will make every effort to blog about the food I make for MoFo (the limitations being a) that I remember to do so and b) that I don't get too busy with the rest of life as so many bloggers are wont to do).

And with that... onto food!