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Back again!

Wow, I've let this thing lie dormant a long time! Sorry about that - I have a new job far from home, and with the commute and everything, I just haven't been too focused on blogging about food. In fact, I've totally forgotten to take pictures of most of the cooking I've been doing. This post won't make up for all the time I've been away, but hopefully once I get an apartment in the city where I'm working, I'll be able to do a better job.

All I have this time are sweets - Blackberry Cobbler and Carrot Spice Muffins. We'll start with the cobbler.

Blackberry Cobbler

I have a monster blackberry bush in my backyard - and I do mean a monster blackberry bush. It stands taller than my father, who's 6'2", and is longer than three people of average height laid end-to-end. And this thing lives. It spreads. Cut it back, it will only grow faster. My family and I have always been at its complete mercy.

Fortunately, in late summer, it blooms, and then supplies us with massive amounts of sweet dark fruit. Usually, my mom bakes pies with all our blackberries, but I've never really tried playing with them. This year, I decided to give it a shot.

Blackberry Cobbler


1 3/4 cups unbleached white wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp turbinado sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance
3/4 cups soymilk
3 cups blackberries
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch


1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 tbsp of sugar. Cut in the Earth Balance until the mixture is crumbly. Add soymilk and stir until just mixed.

3. Mix together berries and sugar in a saucepan over low heat.

4. Mix cornstarch with 2 tbsp cold water and add to the saucepan. Heat until bubbly.

5. Pour berry mix into greased 9x9 baking dish. Add the biscuit mixture to the top of the berry mixture by spoonfuls. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

(original recipe from here)

Blackberry Cobbler

The other day, Himself told me that we had about 12 carrots in his refrigerator, and we really needed to do something with them. For the life of me, I couldn't think of what to do with 12 carrots? Spiralize them onto a salad? Make a very carroty stir-fry? Eat them raw as a snack? Himself had the brilliant idea to juice the carrots, but what to do with the pulp... I always feel so bad about wasting fruit and veggie pulp after I've juiced, and I didn't want all that dried-up shredded carrot to just go to waste.

Well, while surfing vegan food blogs, I came across the perfect solution to my carroty problem: Susan V's Carrot Spice Muffins.

Carrot Spice Muffins

These were wonderful. I had to mod the recipe itself a little: it doesn't actually seem to call for enough liquid to incorporate all the dry ingredients, so I added some fresh carrot juice and a little soymilk, and that made it work beautifully. I also used three different flours: whole wheat pastry flour, unbleached white flour, and chickpea flour. The muffins were dense, but with a lovely crumb, and soooo tasty. I definitely know what to do with any surplus carrots from now on! Score another point for Susan V and her remarkable fat-free vegan recipes!
I'm back! with a slightly pockmarked report of the culinary end of last weekend's trip to Chicago.

The adventure started on Saturday the 28th, at a funky little coffeeshop called Atomix, next door to the vinyl toy and figure shop, Rotofugi, which was so high on Himself's list of Places I Must Go In Chicago. I ducked into Atomix because I was parched, and was amazed to find that it was incredibly vegan-friendly. Way beyond mere soymilk for your lattes, they had vegan cookies, muffins, and sandwiches - and a lot more, besides! I desperately needed water, but once I saw the selection, I knew I had to grab something else, too. So Himself and I split a chocolate Soy Shake (soy ice cream + soymilk, as it was described to us) with a doubleshot of espresso in it. Two straws, two spoons, too yummy. We really wanted to try a muffin or something, too, but we had to save our appetites for...

The Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. This had been recommended to us as the place to get our genuine Chicago-style pizza (which we had to try). And it did not disappoint. Well, it did, kinda - but not really, in the end. But I'll get to that in a sec.

This was our appetizer, the Mediterranean Bread:

Mediterranean Bread from the Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co.

They say that this stuff, which is like a giant sheet of thin deliciousness topped with cheeses, herbs, and spices (plus, unfortunately, giant hunks of dehydrated onion, but whatever - I dealt with it), is by far the best-seller of the entire restaurant, and we did, in fact, see just about every table in the place (it was packed) topped with one at some point in the night. Ours was very yummy. I'd have liked it better without onions, but, again, whatev.

We each got a 1/2 lb. Vegetarian Pizza Pot Pie as our entree:

1/2 lb. Vegetarian Pizza Pot Pie from the Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co.

Here's where the disappointment comes in. According to the menu, the veg version of the Pizza Pot Pie is just dough (option of whole wheat or white - awesome!), homemade plum tomato sauce, cheese, and mushrooms (ugh). So I ordered mine without mushrooms, of course - but no other veggies are available to sub in. I really wanted spinach or green pepper - something to justify all the dough and cheese - but once I got my little pie and dug in, I forgot all about my disappointment. WOW is this stuff amazing. And you know what it all really came down to? The sauce. I don't know how they make it, but that plum tomato sauce is a heavy contender for my favorite pizza sauce of all time. Soooooo good. I have decided that I really need to experiment with making my own plum tomato pizza sauce.

For breakfast on Sunday, we hit up The Chicago Diner. This was, by far, the best place we ate on our trip. I'd heard rumors about this vegetarian haven, but the buzz paled next to the actual experience of the place. First of all, the servers are sweethearts. Secondly - THE FOOD. Good blog, I wish I could've spent a week in Chicago just so that I could eat at the Chicago Diner every single day and get the chance to try all their food. As it was, we only got to go the one time - but I swear, I'm going back to Chicago one day, and I'm going to eat at the Chicago Diner as many times as I possibly can without making myself absolutely ill.

Our appetizer was the BBQ "Ribs", served with a vegan ranch and BBQ sauce. Mmmmmm...


And our entrees - Himself got the Sweet Potato Quesadilla (sweet potatoes, black beans, spinach, soy cheese, all in a spinach tortilla, served with oniony guac and so-so salsa), and I went for the Tofu Florentine (tofu scramble and spinach on a sprouted grain English muffin, topped with nooch-based "Hollandaise" and served with reeeeeeally good homefries):

Sweet Potato Quesadilla from the Chicago Diner Tofu Florentine from the Chicago Diner

Oh! Did I mention that we had to wade through the 2008 GLBT Pride Parade to make it to the Chicago Diner? Talk about your amazing experiences on the way to breakfast. I grabbed a rainbow sticker from a Whole Foods representative and wore it with pride (heh) all the way until dinnertime.

Whole Food Pride! Me sipping coffee at the Chicago Diner during 2008's GLBT Pride Parade

Dinnertime brought us to Karyn's Cooked, and the biggest culinary disappointment of the trip. It was such a nice place, and I'd heard such wonderful things about the all-vegan menu, but...ehhh. Nothing was actually bad; it was all just a little...boring.

For starters, we had the Beet Juice Sangria (pretty good), and Himself ordered a basket of fried tofu, broccoli, and zucchini that I ended up getting sick on (my own damn fault, since I know my hernia hates fried food, and I ate three whole pieces from the basket):

Beet Juice Sangria from Karyn's Cooked Combo Basket (Broccoli, Tofu, and Zucchini) from Karyn's Cooked

And our entrees, which neither of us were crazy about. I had the Green Enchiladas (potato-filled corn tortillas topped with soy sour creme, refried black beans and Spanish rice on the side), which were super dull and poorly seasoned, and Himself got the "Meatball" Sandwich, which I actually thought was pretty okay, but which he found dull and dry.

Green Enchiladas with Refried Black Beans and Spanish Rice from Karyn's Cooked

So, yeah, unfortunately, I don't think we'll ever go back to Karyn's; at least, not Karyn's Cooked. I'd still like to try her raw food sometime, at her other restaurant.

Moving on to Monday morning, we ate breakfast at Mercury Cafe. I started out disappointed; I'd heard they were pretty vegan-friendly and had good breakfast options, but I was wrong. Bagels and cheesy sandwiches were pretty much our only options - fortunately enough, those were really, really good. So the food quality at Mercury ended up redeeming them a little - plus, they serve Intelligentsia coffee, which is amazing.

As for dinner...we didn't plan it this way, but it just so happened that we were in Chicago smack-dab in the middle of Taste of Chicago 2008. We heard from a lovely little vegan at the shop where we rented bikes on Monday afternoon that it actually was possible to eat vegan at Taste of Chicago, and even easier to eat ovo-lacto, so we canceled our dinner plans and hit up Taste after our bike ride.

It was more crowded than I like, and there was an annoying carnival food sort of atmosphere, but I have to admit, the food was spectacular, and Himself and I ate very well from a variety of different vendors with veg options. Top Three favorite items consumed?

1. Stuffed Spinach pizza from Bacino's

2. Taro Fries with Sriracha from Tamarind

3. BBQ from the famous Soul Vegetarian

Tuesday morning, we needed an early breakfast, and Tempo Cafe ended up fitting the bill perfectly. Once again, not vegan - but hands-down the best spinach and feta omelette I've ever consumed. They serve the omelettes in a skillet on top of potatoes, and the potatoes pretty much sucked (bland, crusty, and too abundant). But I ate the hell out of my omelette. It was ponderous in its goodness.

Overall? I'm annoyed at how little vegan food we actually ate on our trip to very vegan-friendly Chicago - but, admittedly, it's our own fault. We could have eaten vegan anywhere, we just didn't. We got our pizza and our omelette on and got on with our trip. If I ever make it back to Chi-town, though, I'd like to be a little bit tighter about being a good culinary vegan.

While I'm posting, I might as well talk about Himself's birthday cake. He's turning 27 this Tuesday, and, as last year, he asked me to make him a birthday cake. This year, he specified three wants: chocolate, orange, and booze. So, after heavy consideration, I decided to modify Susan V's Chocolate-Orange cake to include both orange schnapps and bourbon. And, of course, hats go way, way off to Susan V for yet another incredible fat-free vegan creation. This cake wowed me, my mom, my dad, Himself, and all of Himself's very non-veg friends who tried it. I'm not going to re-post the recipe, just say that, really, the only changes I made to it were to make my own makeshift soy yogurt (I couldn't find any), to replace half the orange juice called for in the cake with orange shnapps, and to make the two glazes with booze instead of other liquids.

Here's the finished chocolate-orange cake, before I glazed it:

Chocolate-Orange Cake, pre-glaze

And after I'd glazed the cake, first with a cocoa glaze involving a little more orange juice and orange schnapps, and finally with a very simple powdered-sugar-and-bourbon glaze:

Chocolate-Orange cake with Orange Schnapps Cocoa Glaze and Bourbon Glaze

Mmmmm, so good. I made two batches of the batter and made cupcakes with the second one, and those came out perfectly, too. Try this recipe, seriously. No one will believe it's fat free. No one will believe it's vegan. Everyone will believe that you are a god or goddess of baking.

All right, it's past my bedtime. Hope you've enjoyed all this!

Huge catch-up post!

Himself and I are leaving for Chicago tonight; a little vacation during which we intend to eat some fantastic food. Don't worry, there'll be pictures!

I've been so busy with trip prep, on top of the fact that I'm switching jobs, that I haven't had time to post pictures or recipes lately. So this post's aim is to make up for that. Here's some of the food I've been cooking and eating over the past two weeks:

First, this post's only recipe. Last week, Himself was overworked. One day, he had to work 9 hours at his day job, then had to work 6 hours at Barnes and Noble, all in one day. I felt like doing something nice for him, since I knew he was running himself down. I scoured my pantry for ingredients, and without having to buy a thing, I prepared these absolutely amazing Lower-Fat Peanut Butter Cookies. Seriously, these might be my new favorite cookie. I definitely think they're the tastiest cookies I've ever personally baked. And the best part about them? They're healthy; so much healthier than your average peanut butter cookie - even the vegan varieties! These are hearty and sooooo tasty, all without a single crap ingredient, or too much fat! Of course, it's impossible to have a peanut butter cookie with no fat, but this might be as good as it gets.

Lower-Fat Peanut Butter Cookies


1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
turbinado to garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 325.

2. Mix all ingredients except turbinado in a bowl until well-combined. It might be very difficult to mix everything in, but keep at it; the result is well worth it.

3. Lightly grease a baking sheet and spoon balls of dough onto it. Spread them out to make cookies about 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with turbinado.

3. Bake for just 5-8 minutes, until the bottom of the cookies are a nice golden-brown.

Makes 12-18 cookies.

(original recipe from here)

And now for all the other food pr0n!!

Mocha Chip Pancakes, from Father's Day breakfast.

Mocha Chip Pancakes

Himself's South-of-Philly "Cheese"steaks, with Teese. On the side are my homemade Spicy Baked Yam Fries - always a hit. One of these days, I'll post that recipe.

Himself's Philly Teesesteaks and my Spicy Baked Yam Fries

This past Friday, I finally got around to using that Seitan Quick Mix I bought.

Homemade Seitan

The mix itself is just vital wheat gluten and flax seed, so I added all kinds of stuff: Liquid Aminos, nutri yeast, cayenne pepper, Sriracha, cumin, even a little cinnamon. I also wrapped my dough in foil and baked it instead of boiling it. It still came out slightly blander than I would have liked, but still extra tasty. Here are two things I used it in, a tofu scramble and a crazy tasty pizza, both from this past Saturday:

Tofu scramble with homemade seitan Whole wheat pizza with spinach, garlic, red pepper, and homemade seitan

And here's Sunday night's dinner: Green Curry with Broiled Tofu, featuring broccoli, green pepper, and fresh basil. Vegetable lumpia (ehh...not so hot) on the side.

Green Curry with Broiled Tofu, Vegetable Lumpia Green Curry with Broiled Tofu, Broccoli, Green Pepper, fresh Basil

My spectacular dinner from Monday night, hands-down one of the most "wow" dishes I've prepared in a long time: Chipotle Seitan and Spinach over Spaghetti Squash. Divine!

Chipotle Seitan and Spinach over Spaghetti Squash

Tuesday morning breakfast for me and Himself: pancakes with fresh blueberries, based on the same no-fail recipe I used for the Mocha Chip Pancakes earlier, and the Espresso Chip Pancakes from a previous post - the one I got from Susan V. for Apple Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes. Best pancake recipe ever? I daresay.

Fresh Blueberry Pancakes

I joined a 12-Week Challenge at my local YMCA, and one of the challenges within the Challenge is to try a new vegetable. This is a tricky task for me, as a vegetarian, but on Tuesday night, I ventured out and bought a Chayote squash and steamed it, using it in the following lovely meal: Steamed Chayote Squash with Baked Chipotle Tofu and Roasted Red Pepper over Red Quinoa.

Steamed Chayote Squash, Baked Chipotle Tofu, and Roasted Red Pepper over Red Quinoa

The squash was very nice, an excellent summer veggie. Raw, it tasted like a cross between zucchini and cucumber, and would be really good on salad. Steamed in a little organic veggie broth, it was tender and delicious. Red quinoa, by the way, is pretty damn awesome.

All right, I'm officially caught up! Now I can go to Chicago with impunity. Look for a Veggie Chicago post when I get back!!

Trying new things!

jackofallgeeks was in town this past weekend. We had a really, really late night of dancing and partying on Saturday, so on Sunday morning, I made us what I figured would be a good hangover breakfast (even though I, surprisingly enough, was not hung over), the Tofu Florentine from the Veganomicon:

Tofu Florentine with Teese

I nixed the Cheezy Sauce (I may not have been hung over, but I was lazy) and melted some Teese under the broiler instead. This was a gamble, since jackofallgeeks is very partial to his animal flesh, and claims to dislike tofu. I told him he just hadn't had it prepared properly, and as it turned out, he enjoyed having tofu for breakfast. Maybe not as much as he'd have enjoyed a serious Eggs Benedict, but... ::shrugs::

I've been begging Himself to make more of his Cheesesteaks now that I've got more Teese. Sunday night, however, my poor darling was still hurting from the night before, so I decided to cook while he took an after-work nap.

I've had a bag of fake shrimp - one of my very favorite fake meats - hanging around my freezer for awhile, waiting for me to figure out what to do with them. For Sunday's dinner, I decided to veganize a Mexican dish I enjoyed only once as an omnivore: shrimp fajitas. Terrible pic above, I know, but they were delicious as hell. Aside from the "shrimp", the fajitas contained shredded carrot, broccoli stems, three colors of bell pepper, and spinach. I served them up in Food For Life Sprouted Grain Tortillas and made my very own refried black beans to serve on the side. Everything was great!

Monday morning, I decided to whip up a batch of Simply Organic Chai Spice Scones. They were ridiculously easy, the back of the box containing both an omni recipe and a vegan recipe for preparing the scones. I threw everything together and tossed the scones in the oven while I showered and got ready for work. They were done when I was!

Simply Organic Chai Scones

These were, unfortunately, just okay. I think I'd like to try buying another box of them and making them again, and this time fooling with the vegan recipe a bit. The recipe on the box just calls for the scone mix, ground flax seed, and water - but that way, the scones really come out just tasting like flax seed. I like flax seed, but I'd have preferred its flavor to have hung out more in the background so I could taste the subtle spice of the scones themselves. Next time, I think I'll do a vegan riff on the omni recipe, maybe use Ener-G Egg Replacer.

Finally, I present my dinner last night:

Nachos with Soy Curls and Teese

Nachos with blue corn tortilla chips, Teese, diced red pepper, and! and! and! my first-ever attempt at using Soy Curls! Ohhhh man, these things are amazing. I soaked mine in boiling water with some Braggs and just a touch of lemon juice, squeezed them out, then tossed them in a dry spice mixture of nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and thyme. I seared them in a skillet until they were nice and brown, then served them on my nachos. They were SO GOOD. I may never use Morningstar Chik'n Strips again. I love how simple the Curls are, with no additives or preservatives - they make the Morningstar product's ingredient list look like a chemistry set. I screamed about them to Himself last night, and now he can't wait to try them. I'll have to think up something really good to make for him with them...

So that was my food this weekend! Now I'm off to figure out dinner for myself tonight.
I just recieved my most recent order from Vegan Essentials. Half of me is thrilled, and the other half is heartbroken. Here's why:

I ordered:

Simply Organic Chai Spice Scone Mix - because the ingredient list on this is beautiful, plus I can't resist chai-flavored anything. I can't wait to make these.

Another pound of Teese - because it's awesome.

Seitan Quick Mix - because I'm still kind of nervous about making my own seitan 100% from scratch, but I'm very interested in making my own seitan. So this might be an excellent "gateway" product.

Soy Curls - because I've read a lot about these and how awesome they are.

and finally, these:

Booja-Booja Vegan Champagne Truffles

Vegan Champagne truffles. Just typing those words makes me quiver a little. I have loved Champagne truffles for years now. They are the Grand Champion of truffles in my book, and I used to never turn down an opportunity to have one. Unfortunately, they're usually even worse than regular chocolate truffles for you, because ordinarily, they're made at least partially of white chocolate - which is all cocoa butter, sugar, and some kind of milk product. So I've been denying myself Champagne truffles.

Then I found the Booja-Booja Champagne Truffles on Vegan Essentials and just about collapsed in a pearl-clutching swoon. Vegan. Dark chocolate. Champagne Truffles. It was like somebody had granted my heart's every chocolate desire, and I bought them immediately.

This is what I found when I opened the box this morning after refrigerating my truffles overnight, so they'd be nice and cool:

...and what happens to those Champagne Truffles when they're shipped out in summertime. :(

I thought I was going to cry. Somewhere in the two-day trek my Vegan Essentials package took, the summer heat overwhelmed my delicate little truffles, and they melted into three solid bricks. Distraught, I knew that I had no real recourse - Vegan Essentials does warn about heat damage to food product, and sells these little cold packs for just that purpose, but I didn't buy one. So I was stuck with melty truffle-bricks. Not sure what else to do, I took a knife down and sliced a tiny chunk off the end of one brick, just to taste it.

All I can say is, the Booja-Booja company must make truffles of incredible quality, because even melted by heat and recoagulated by my refrigerator, the chocolate I tasted was so. crazy. delicious. Without question, the best Champagne truffle I've ever tasted. The flavor was sublime.

So, I had to learn a hard lesson about getting things shipped from VE during the summer - but not too hard a lesson. I still get my perfectly healthy Champagne truffle indulgence, only in a less-pretty form. And, really? I'm so very very not worried about aesthetics when it comes to Champagne truffles. :3

BBQ Tempeh and Peppers, Starbucks

Yep, I couldn't resist the tempeh last night:

BBQ Tempeh and Peppers with Steamed Kale

Along with my tempeh craving, I had a bit of a jones for barbecue sauce. "Good luck finding one with no high-fructose corn syrup in it," said Himself. He knows that HFCS is one of those food additives that, like MSG, I prefer to avoid strenuously. And, while I didn't know this before, apparently it's really hard to find barbecue sauce that doesn't contain the junk.

Fortunately, thanks to Harris Teeter, I found this. It was a pretty good sauce. Nowhere near spicy enough for me, but that's what adding your own stuff as you cook is for, am I right?

Anyway, yes, this was a quick and easy meal that was righteously satisfying. I almost served it over couscous, but it would've been too much food. As it was, the plate pictured above was just right.

BBQ Tempeh and Peppers

1 block tempeh, cubed
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 serrano pepper (optional - leave out if you're not a total heat freak like me), minced as finely as possible
1/2 bell pepper of choice, cut into strips (I used 1/4 of a red bell and 1/4 of a green)


1. Set oven to 375.

2. Put your cubed tempeh in a saucepan over medium-high heat and add water 2/3 of the way up the tempeh. Add a little bit of Liquid Aminos or tamari if you like. Bring water to a boil and simmer tempeh for 10 minutes. Drain.

3. Put the tempeh and bell pepper strips into a small baking dish. Stir the minced serrano (if using) into the barbecue sauce, then pour the sauce over the tempeh and peppers, stirring to coat everything well.

4. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir, and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes. Serve immediately, with greens or a grain or both or neither.

Serves 2-3

Now I'd like to talk about Starbucks' Doubleshot. No, I'm not talking about this crap, I'm talking about the thing they'll make for you in stores now: a couple of shots of espresso, some of their Classic syrup, and milk of choice (yes, they will give you soy if you ask, and they don't charge me any extra!), shaken and served with ice. I tried one of these for the first time yesterday and it kind of rocked my world. I had them leave out the Classic (which just tastes sickly-sweet to me), and I liked it way more than Starbucks' regular iced coffee. Their espresso just tastes so much more rich, and even has a little sweetness all on its own.

This is bad, though, because I'm one of those people who had to work hard to become a girl who drinks her coffee black. I started out as one of those "a little coffee in my cream" types, and I loooooved my coffee sweet. I finally got off the syrups and moved to turbinado sugar, changed my cream for soymilk, but for the past year, I finally achieved regular black-coffee-drinker status for the most part - and I've really come to like it, assuming the coffee itself is quality, and thus tastes good on its own. I'm still tempted a lot to add soymilk to my drug of choice, but usually only a little bit. Well, one of these Doubleshots contain about as much soy as I would put in three Tall coffees. And even though it tastes really good, now I've got to fight to stay unattached, and only get a Doubleshot now and again as a treat.

Tonight is the first Thursday of the month, which means that Rajput, my favorite local Indian restaurant, is having its monthly Vegetarian Buffet. Himself and I are going, even though it's rumored that we're going to have to fight a territory war with most of PETA's employees. ::slips on her brass knucks:: Rajput is extra-special because they have an entire vegan menu instead of just one or two piddling vegan dishes scattered amongst the paneer and clarified butter. In particular, they do a killer Palak Chana (spinach and chickpeas). I really hope it's on the buffet tonight. :9

Easy as 1-2-3

Himself and I had a TV night last night, but I had a Pilates class before that, so we agreed to eat seperately instead of our usual set-up of me cooking something for the both of us. I needed something fast to whip together before heading over to his place for Metalocalypse, Venture Bros., and last week's Top Chef (yes, I watch Top Chef. Yes, I think it's gross and stupid how every single "protein" must be some gratuitous cut of meat. But still - GO RICHARD! GO STEPHANIE!), so on my lunch break, I headed out to my favorite semi-local grocery haven, the Organic Food Depot, and picked up a box of 123s & Chreese (I know the box says 123's, but I CANNOT ABIDE the use of apostrophe-s as a pluralizer in anything but punctuated abbreviations. Can you tell I'm a stickler for English?) I'd been meaning to try the stuff anyway, and I figured - why not?

I also had some kale and baby spinach that was threatening to go bad on me, so I steamed all that and stirred it into the 123s.

123's & Chreese with Steamed Kale and Spinach

This was really...boring. I mean, dull as hell. Hardly any flavor to those 123s. I ended up cracking a lot of black pepper over my bowl, adding a little Liquid Aminos, and finally stirring in a teaspoon or two of Sriracha, just so it wouldn't be so damned dull. I've still got the other serving of the 123s in my fridge, but I don't feel like eating it. Maybe I'll call my brother and tell him to eat the rest for lunch. I'll have to come up with something else for dinner tonight. I'm thinking tempeh...

Chocolate Coma Cookies, and why not vegan?

My mother is big into two things:

1) Mysteries
2) Audiobooks

Usually, she combines the two and ends listening to audiobooks of mysteries. I'd like to say Mom has fantastic taste in her mysteries, but unfortunately, she's lately taken to filling her ears with the sort of genre-nonsense that has padded the pockets of, pardon me, very sub-par writers like Diane Mott Davidson.

For the unfamiliar, Diane Mott Davidson is one of a recently-spawned batch of mystery writers who include EXTRAS! in their novels. These EXTRAS! include, depending on the writer, everything from crossword puzzles to cross-stitch patterns to recipes for hot cross buns. These books are so ridiculously tailored to the stay-at-home-gotta-watch-my-stories-if-it-weren't-for-chocolate-I'd-slit-my-wrists-for-lack-of-satisfaction-in-my-life types, it makes me ill.

Can you tell I feel strongly about this? ^__^;; Ahem. I'm sorry; I really don't mean to spark a possible flame war with any Davidson fans who might stumble across my little corner of the Intarrwebs. I really am a very tolerant person when I'm not blogging. Point is, my poor mother reads these books and enjoys them, and I guess I can't hold that against her, 'cause she's my mom and I love her and I'm sure there are people out there who question my taste in reading material too.

ANYWAY. Diane Mott Davidson, in particular, fills her books with recipes. Usually they're either incredibly fatty entrees or incredibly fatty desserts, and it's rare to find one that doesn't involve eggs or dairy or a whole cholesterol-clusterbang of both. Mom's taken to making some of these desserts once or twice, and her favorite are the Chocolate Coma Cookies from Davidson's novel Tough Cookie. These are, I have to very grudgingly admit, some damn good cookies: like the best chocolate chip cookies you've ever eaten, with the added flavor surprises of toasted almonds and tart dried cherries. They are really delicious, in spite of the fact that they are horrible for you and not vegan in the least. Well, Mom decided to make another batch of them yesterday, so last night, I managed to convince her to let me make them - and make them vegan. I think of it as my very own smirking revenge against Diane Mott Davidson and her ovo-lacto-fat-fat attack against everything I'd call literature.

Vegan Chocolate Coma Cookies

Let me just say: HOLY CRAPPING CRAP, THESE THINGS ARE FATTY. When I made the substitution from butter to Earth Balance, it turned out that half a tub is called for. So I said uh-uh, because I like my arteries, and subbed out half the called-for Earth Balance for nice organic unsweetened applesauce, and the cookies, yes, still came out awesome. So - I'm going to post the plain old regular veganized recipe for these things, but yeah, for those of you who believe as I do that NO RECIPE EVER should require HALF A TUB of Earth Balance (or, indeed, a half-pound of any fat), feel free to play with applesauce. It works, people. Might sound weird, but it does. Use it. Do it. Or, y'know, use half a tub of Earth Balance. I don't control your arms.

"Up Yours, Diane Mott Davidson" Vegan Chocolate Coma Cookies

1 cup blanched slivered almonds
4 oz. vegan bittersweet chocolate bar, chopped into chunks no larger than chocolate chips
1 cup dried tart cherries
12 oz. vegan semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 pound Earth Balance, softened (the sticks might work better for this than the stuff in the tub)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
egg replacer for 2 eggs (I used 2 tbsp ground flax seed, whisked with 6 tbsp water)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets.

2. In a nonstick pan, toast the almonds over medium low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5-10 minutes, until they have just begun to turn brown and emit a nutty aroma. Set aside and allow to cool.

3. In a large bowl, combine the cherries, chocolate chips, and oats, and set aside.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.

5. You can do this next part by hand or with a mixer. If you decide to go the mixer route, here's what you do: in a large bowl, beat the Earth Balance until creamy. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg replacer and vanilla. Beat the mixture until well combined, about a minute. Add the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt to the mixture and beat at low speed until well combined, less than a minute. If you decide to do this by hand, just mix everything well with a spoon.

5. Add chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, cherries, oats, and nuts. Using a sturdy wooden spoon, mix well by hand, until all of the ingredients are throughly incorporated. Using a one-tablespoon scoop, measure out cookies onto sheets, leaving two inches between cookies.

6. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until the cookies have set and are slightly flattened and light brown. Cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes, then transfer on racks to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies. Try - just try not to eat them all inside of an hour.

Thinking about a Vegan Food Month.Collapse )


I know this place has been kinda dry on the photo front lately, so I thought I'd make up for that a tiny bit with three things I cooked over the past week.

Here's my second-ever batch of my Spicy Risotto, made to satisfy a craving of mine last week:

Spicy Risotto

And here's a guilty little cheese-covered cheat I made this past Saturday: Spinach and Kale Enchiladas with roasted poblano, wrapped up in my all-time favorite enchilada and burrito wrapper, Food For Life's Sprouted Grain Tortillas. Seriously, if you've never tried these things, you're missing out. They've got a great hearty texture and an al dente-like "bite" to them that's incredibly satisfying. They beat regular whole wheat tortillas all to hell, and drop-kick the plain old bleached nasty hydrogenated white flour tortillas right off this planet.

Anyway, these were awesome enchiladas, even if they weren't vegan (mea culpa, mea culpa...). I whipped up some spicy black beans on the side. Great, great dinner.

Enchiladas de Col Rizada y Espinaca (Kale and Spinach Enchiladas), with spicy black beans

Finally for this entry, we have a slightly more muffiny version of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World's Lychee Cupcakes, made to celebrate my one-year anniversary at my job. I replaced a little bit of the AP flour the recipe calls for with whole wheat flour and bulked them up a little that way. So far, all the co-workers I've had try them have loved them, even though most of them haven't a clue what lychee is. :3

Lychee Cupcakes

Aaaand that's all for now. I know, I know - I've been pretty remiss with this thing of late, and for that, I'm sorry. I just haven't been cooking anything too terribly exciting recently. I do hope to change that soon, though.

Also! Coming up at the end of this month, Himself and I are taking a four-day vacation to the Chicago area, where we hear there's some killer vegan food to be found lurking amongst the acres and acres of deep-dish pizzas. So, expect a full report of that in early July. Nothing like something to look forward to...


Well, I fell off the wagon; the juice fast wagon, that is. I made it almost three whole days, but I just couldn't hack it. Maybe I was just detoxing really hard, but the lightheadedness, nausea, etc. was too much for me by Day 3, and I went back to eating food.

Here's the good news: I still love my juicer, and I still intend to use it regularly. I think fresh juices are going to make wonderful meals for me throughout the summer. Also! I think I'm going to try to do one- or two-day long juice fasts every week, or one every two weeks. That way, maybe I can get my body accustomed to the powerful effects of fresh juice and be able to handle a week-long fast at some point in the next few months.

In the meantime, I've discovered a love of beet juice. It's got such a fun (BRIGHT! MAGENTA!) color, and tastes great, especially paired with apples and carrots, as in the Beetroot Frappe Cocktail recipe I posted in my last entry. I also liked this combo, which I made for Himself and myself for breakfast this past Sunday morning:

Susur Smoothie

1 small beet, scrubbed
3 red apples, de-seeded
2 tbsp frozen raspberries
6 ice cubes

1. Juice the beet.

2. Juice the apples.

3. Place in a blender with the raspberries and ice. Start on a low setting and switch to a higher setting for about a minute. Serve.

(recipe from reFresh)

I've got a lot of organic produce (purchased for the juice fast) to get rid of yet: kale, lemons, frozen mixed berries, parsley, carrots, celery, Gala and Red Delicious apples, ginger, and cucumbers. I'm thinking that dinners this week are mainly going to be liquid. Tomorrow night, I'm thinking of doing this:

All Green Vegetable Cocktail

1 handful green kale
10 stalks parsley
6 stalks celery
1 lemon, peeled
1 cucumber, peeled

1. Juice the kale.

2. Juice the parsley, celery, and lemon.

3. Juice the cucumber.

(also from reFresh)

And then on Thursday, pre-gym trip, I want to use up as much of everything as possible and make

The Kitchen Sink

2 cups spinach
1 leaf kale
1 handful parsley
1 Granny Smith apple, de-seeded and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 kiwi, peeled
1 inch piece ginger, peeled
½ cucumber, chopped

1. Juice ginger.

2. Juice apples and carrots.

3. Juice kale, spinach, celery, and parsley.

4. Juice kiwi and cucumber.

(from here.)

Somewhere in there, another Beetroot Frappe Smoothie will be made, too. Because beet juice = yummmm. ♥



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