Tuesday, October 28, 2008

VeganMoFo: Tacos

Seitan Tacos w. Sweet Plantains and Seasoned Black Beans

Before Reno got an ear infection last week (and now a stomach virus this week!) I made us a taco dinner. My very first post ever on this blog was about tacos. These were different then those and equally as good and easy. As I get lazier and lazier with every passing week I used a packet of organic taco seasoning that I get at whole foods for the seitan. It's good so I see no reason to do something else otherwise. The seitan was the easy part. Dice and saute then follow the directions on the package. Top them off with some mesclun greens and a mashed up avocado and you've got yourselves a fine main entree.

For the sides I fried up 1 sweet plantain. I had purchased 2 but only 1 was ripe enough to be sweet. I'm actually still waiting for the other one to sweeten up. I also made seasoned black beans. It was nice having it alone as a side dish instead of a main meal with some rice. I'm going to try to do that more often because it made the meal extra satisfying and comforty.

I should be back to posting more regularly now that I'm back from my friends wedding in Ohio and even though Ms. Reno is still sick. They just might be short and make no sense at all but it's still a post. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

VeganMoFo: a break.

Reno (almost 14 months!)

My sweet sweet Reno isn't feeling very sweet. She's feverish and has an ear infection and is on some sorta meds. This is her first real sickness and it's horrible. At least she wants to cuddle which she never wants to do.

I'll be back in a few days when she is feeling better.

Friday, October 17, 2008

VeganMoFo: Peters Dinner

Linguine w. Zucchini, Yellow Peppers, Red Onions, Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Pine Nuts

Sometimes Peter will think up a meal. This was one of them. He was bothering me for a few days about how he wanted pasta with zucchini and maybe yellow peppers in oil w. garlic. He kept asking and asking so I finally made it. I would have made it sooner but the specific ingredients that he wanted in this pasta dinner were not on hand.

My favorite thing about this dish is how the zucchini, peppers and onions are cut in long thin slivers which mimic the shape of the pasta. I also love the pop of flavor the cherry tomatoes give when they explode in your mouth!

The taste was pretty good too. After I took a bite Peter asked what I thought about it and the only word that came to mind was "Healthy". Which to me means that it is good but it also kinda lacks, just a bit, in the flavor and comfort department. Don't get me wrong. There was great flavor in it from the veggies but we have been eating so many richly spiced foods recently that this was kinda a shock to my taste buds. I hate to say it but some freshly shaved Parmesan would have been amazing on this.

I'm off to South Jersey for the weekend. We have a trip to Atlantic City planned, not to gamble, but to go to the clothing outlets to buy Reno the rest of her winter clothes. I'm hoping to get some for me as well.

See ya!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

VeganMoFo: Favorite Dessert part 1

Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies

I like cookies.
I like em a lot.
I like to eat them for breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, afternoon snack, midnight snack and dessert.
I like them crispy.
I like to put ice cream in the middle of two cookies and eat them as a sandwich.
I like to eat raw cookie dough.
I like to eat raw frozen cookie dough.
I like to put raw frozen cookie dough into ice cream.
I like to hide a cookie in a cupcake.
I like taking pictures of cookies.
I like looking at other peoples pictures of cookies.
I like to share cookies with people that I like.
I like to bring cookies to parties, potlucks, or just to the park.

I do not like to eat cookies in bed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

VeganMoFo: Comfort

Leek and Bean Cassoulet

This is one of those recipes from V'con that I've been meaning to make ever since I got this book. Finally I had everything I needed to make it. Really all I needed was some leeks since most of the ingredients I have on hand all the time. This was super easy to make. It did use a lot of pots, pans, bowls and dishes but it was well worth it.

I followed the recipe to the "T" except for the frozen peas. As you may know I HATE PEAS! I'll eat them, sometimes, if they are hidden in foods that I have not cooked myself but if I am cooking, peas will never be added. I used frozen string beans instead. The cassoulet part of the dish was very tasty. The biscuits were so so. This dish reminded me a lot of a dish my grandfather would make which we all called "chicken pa pa". His biscuits were amazing. So all other biscuit recipes have a lot to live up to for me. I'll always remember hanging around his kitchen when he was making his "chicken pa pa". I always wanted to whisk whatever needed to be whisked. It was always the thrill of my day!

All 3 of us devoured this meal. Then we devoured the rest of it for lunch the next day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

VeganMoFo: Crispy

Beer Battered Seitan, Mixed Veg w. Garlic + Tots

This dinner has been approved by all 3 of us. When I ate chicken I loved Chili's Chicken Crispers. Oh how bad they are for you but how delicious they were. After you would eat them you'd declare to the entire table that you would never eat them again because of how horrible you felt afterwards. How quickly our stomach forgets..because you would be back a few months later ordering them again and again declaring that THIS was the last time. I'm glad to say that I obviously have had a "last time" with them even though my stomach says MORE, MORE, MORE!!!

When I'm getting those cravings I turn to this RECIPE from Jess of Get Sconed! Hers is a slightly adapted version of another recipe and mine is slightly adapted from her slightly adapted one. Mostly just extra amounts of some spices and such..it's nothing measured. Anyway..these are quick to whip together and are a cinch to fry. Served with a medley of mixed vegetables and some organic tater tots and you've got yorself a complete meal that won't kill you as quickly as those pesky chicken crispers would.

My one recommendation with the recipe is to 1/2 it. I used about 4 decent sized seitan cutlets cut into strips and I had a ton of batter left over. If I was making this for a party the full recipe would be perfect but for the 3 of us it's just too much.

Speaking of us..Reno ate the entire meal except for the carrots. She was shoving zucchini and string beans into her mouth like it was nothing along with the seitan and tots. The next day I chopped up the tots and leftover veg, again minus the carrots, for her lunch and heated them up. Gobble gobble gobble..she ate it all. My wonderful little eater!

Oh yeah..that's BBQ sauce from a jar that you see creeping under all the food.

Friday, October 10, 2008

VeganMoFo: Favorite Dinner part 2

Rice and Beans w. Zucchini and Tomatoes
V'Con Skillet Cornbread

Another favorite dinner so soon? You bet! I'm glad I did it so soon too because this was the best Rice and Beans dinner I've ever made and I've made many. I use to make kick ass Rice and Beans all the time. Then I noticed that they started lacking in flavor and I didn't know why. I though I was making them the same way I always make them but apparently I wasn't. Then one day not too long ago I taught my Mother-in-law how to make them and she now makes them all the time and they are good! Really good! I'm wondering how I can teach her to make them and she can make them better than mine have been even though we are making them the same way. So last week I decided to take my time making them. The flavor I was missing was all of a sudden back. I figured out my problem very easily. I was quick cooking them. I wasn't allowing for the flavors to develop enough. Understandably with a baby who is now 13 months, quick was what I was looking for but quick doesn't work for delicious Rice and Beans.

Now to last night. I made them again but even better with the addition of small diced zucchini and tomatoes. I cooked the onions and garlic in olive oil until soft and delicious then added a nice helping of cumin and let that cook as well. (It's very important to cook your dry spices. It helps get the rawness out of them and it also then flavors the oil you are cooking everything in then creating a flavored oil. Does that make sense? It does to me and that is what I was taught by some talented chefs that I've worked for.) Then goes in the cans of black beans, not drained, and some salt and is slowly simmered on medium-low heat. Towards the end I added small diced zucchini and tomatoes. I like my zucchini al dente that's why I add it to the end. Cook for a few more minutes, taste for salt and voila awesome Rice and Beans with yummy veggies that will trick any Rice and Bean loving 13 month old who is refusing to eat green veggies all of a sudden. I think you know who I'm talking about.

The beans were topped off with fresh sliced scallions and 1/2 and avocado for each of us on top. On the side was the Skillet Cornbread from V'con. Pretty good cornbread but I've had and made better.

So the moral of this story is to take your time cooking. Rushing things is not alway's good for you.

(That 13 months old was now eating unhidden sauteed zucchini tonight with her seitan! Such a good kid. Next Monday she will surely hate it again.)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

VeganMoFo: Simple


I just right now remembered that I got into a mini argument with a co-worker once about PB&J's. He said that calling them PB&J was incorrect since peanut butter was two words and shouldn't be combined as one when initialed as PB. I can't remember the outcome of that argument. I probably just started yelling cuz nobody talks bad about my beloved PB&J. Nobody!

My PB&J needs to be made with grape jelly, always. Always! Anything other is just plain wrong and I won't put up with it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

VeganMoFo: Favorite Dinner part 1

Vegetable and Cashew Stir Fry

This one was a no brainer when it came to choosing 1 of my 3 favorite dinners. I would make and could eat this at least 5 times a week. You got your fresh colorful veggies and your protein packed cashews all melded together with a thick tamari sauce. How can you go wrong? My sister thought it was wrong because I add garlic chili sauce to it but she's a nut when it comes to spicy foods.

Veggies involved in that fry...

red onions
string beans
red pepper

Other ingredients..

garlic chili sauce
olive oil

There would have been carrots added to the mix but I forgot about them. I also forgot to slice up some scallions for the top.

The tamari glaze is a simple 1/3 cup of tamari with about 2 spoonfuls of cornstarch or arrowroot mixed in and added at the end. It makes for a nice and thick sauce that clings to all the veggies.

Tofu, seitan and tempeh would also lend itself well to this dish.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

VeganMoFo: Produce

"Farmers Market Produce"

I haven't posted a food shopping trip in months and months. I find it fun to see what other people have purchased so I don't know why I stopped.

Today I went to the "farmers market" with my sister after lunch today. I put "quotes" around farmers market because it isn't really one. It calls itself one but the produce does not come from any proper farm that would sell at a real farmers market. It's basically a produce store with cheap fruits and veggies and a few canned sorta goods. Its great for when I need to bring down the amount of money I spend on food. I got the above haul for $50. If I went to my usual Whole Foods and bought all of that it would be close to $200.

What you see and can't see in the pics: lemons, garlic, peppers (red and jalapeno), plantains!!, broccoli, leeks, string beans, radishes, asparagus, brussels sprouts, parsley, onions, red onions, zucchini, cantaloupe, yukon gold potatoes, garlic chili sauce, walnuts, cashews, rigatoni. Possibly more. I just realized that I forgot to buy bananas for Reno. Oh well.

My bouquet of parsley. I actually find it very pretty and wouldn't mind displaying some parsley in my kitchen all the time. That lovely bunch will probably be made into a delicious pesto in a day or two.

I also plan to make the Bean and Leek Cassoulet (sp?) w. Biscuits from V'con. Maybe a pot pie. Pumpkin Baked Ziti for a pot luck, Rice and Beans w. Plaintain Chips and some kick ass stir fries among other things. It will be a delicious and fun comfort cooking week.

Monday, October 06, 2008

VeganMoFo: mustard curse.

Mustard Crusted BBQ Seitan w. Broccoli and Sweet Potato Fries

Seriously. I'm having major problems coming up with a mustard crusted seitan recipe. The first time I tried to make it I had the right idea but just totally went about it wrong just to make it quick. Last night I totally had the wrong idea about how it should be made and continued to go about it the wrong way even though I knew it was wrong. I've never had trouble creating a "crusted" item before. Why so many problems with mustard of all things. The first time I at least actually tasted mustard in the final dish. This time I didn't and I used way more mustard than the first time. I ended up blobbing some BBQ sauce on the seitan cutlets at the end just to give it more flavor. One thing that did work with the weird "crust" was the BBQ sauce. Something about the mustard, rosemary and sauce all worked together. It wasn't what I wanted but it turned out turned happy at the end.

Also what has been up with my pictures recently? First the ugly burrito now this busted pic of some weird seitan. I need to start taking my time with things again and not be in a hurry which is hard with a 13 month old.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

VeganMoFO: Field Roast

Italian Field Roast w. Broccoli and a Multi Grain Roll

My parents have been around the last few days to visit and come to an environmental Octoberfest with us today. It was pretty cool. You can never be too sure what these things are going to be like. There were bird hikes, canoe rides, lots of information on wildlife, recycling and the like. Afterwards we stopped at Whole Foods to pick up stuff for dinner. While the others would be dining on some roasted herb chickens I picked up for myself some Field Roast Sausages. I absolutely love everything I've had from this company. It's sorta expensive so I don't buy them too often.

The Italian ones are great to add to pasta sauces or to join in on family dinners of sausage and peppers.

Mexican Chipotle are my favorite of all the products. I love making dirty rice with them or adding them to chili's.

And..who can forget the Celebration Loaves! I love bringing this loaf to my parents for the holidays. My mom is usually cooking away all day so I need something that I don't have to fuss with much at all and still have a special meal for myself without getting too much in the way.

Friday, October 03, 2008

VeganMoFo: Favorite Lunch part.1

Black Bean, Brown Rice and Avocado Burrito

For part 1 of my favorite lunches I bring you a bad photo of a delicious burrito which I couldn't fully wrap properly because I was hungry and over stuffed it. Just live with it. I love burritos. I like to have everything wrapped up in a tortilla that you can eat with your hands. It's better than a sandwich because you have a better chance of it not falling all over your hands while you eat, depending on the type of wraps that you use. Some are so cheap and brittle that no amount of warming will keep them from breaking which in turn makes hot beans fall and burn your delicate hands. Recently I've been liking the 365 brand of tortillas. Especially the whole wheat ones. They have been wrapping my burritos beautifully recently. Sadly they were sold out the last time I was there and had to get the white flour ones.

Now when I say this is one of my favorite lunches I don't necessarily mean that particular one above. I mean all. Whether it's Chipotle's vegetarian burrito minus the sour cream and cheese or one from the local taco place which has stopped warming up their tortillas for some reason. They are the perfect food especially for lunch.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

VeganMoFo: Gravy

Red-Skinned Potatoes, Kale Mash w. Seitan Topped w. Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy

Why on earth have I never made the Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy from VwaV??? Seriously? It was delicious!! I'd make it for dinner guest even! I have written it on many "this week I will make" lists but still have never made it up until tonight. I have no idea what even made me make it tonight. I just went into the kitchen and started making it not even sure if I had all the ingredients that I needed. I didn't have the lemon but it was still damn tasty without it but I can see where it would work in brightening all the flavors in the recipe. The gravy of course worked great with the mashed potatoes and the lightly fried seitan. I can't wait to use it for the holidays with some nice cranberry sauce on the side.

Another good thing about the gravy and the complete meal..Reno liked it! I've been struggling with her food wise all week. Last week she ate everything green and good for her. This week..nope. Nothing green..nothing very good for her except rice and beans. My maa gave me the idea for putting kale in mashed potatoes, lucky for me I had some kale and potatoes (and garlic). I mashed them up with some Earth Balance and Rice Milk and kept the potatoes and gravy separate on her plate until I knew she would eat it. Then I mixed it all up. I left out the seitan for her because I tried to give it to her earlier and she wasn't too into it. I was using store bought seitan as opposed to the homemade cutlets I usually make. I have to say the brand I usually love wasn't so good tonight so I don't blame her for not eating it. From now on it's only homemade seitan for us. Homemade as in I'm making a triple batch tomorrow and freezing some of it.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

VeganMoFo: Favorite breakfast part 1

Toasted Poppyseed Bagel w. Earth Balance

It's time again. I'm very excited for Veganmofo to be here again. It's a great opportunity to find new blogs and revisit old ones you've forgotten about. I have a few ideas planned for this month. One of them being my favorite breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts. I'm going to try for a top 3 of each. Desserts maybe not since I'm still trying to cut out sugar but we shall see. (Only 4 more days left in my quest to be sugar free for 30 days!)

Favorite breakfast #1: Toasted bagel w. earth balance.

I prefer poppyseed. Never sesame. Sometimes everything. It's such an easy breakfast. It's nice and comforting and not so good for you to eat all the time. I like to have it about once a month. What's missing from this picture (breakfast) is an Iced Latte with a bit of chocolate added. I still have to wait 4 more days until I can have that again. I could have it without the chocolate but then it wouldn't be a favorite.

What's your favorite breakfast?