Tag Archives: vegan mofo

The smallest one was . . .

31 Oct

Happy Halloween — or should I say, Joyeux Halloween, for je suis Madeline:

I figured since my hair is the right shade (though hard to tell in the iPhone photo), I couldn’t go wrong with one of my favorite storybook characters. I threw the main part of the costume together at home (not pictured: white socks and Mary Janes) and then made the hat and assembled the cape at work. Oh the joys of working for an arts organization. Madeline is the third kiddie fiction character I’ve portrayed on Halloween, having been both Dorothy and Alice numerous times. Some ladies embrace the cleavage and high heels on Halloween; I’ve always enjoyed flats and dressing up like a 7-year-old.

Today is also the last day of Vegan Mofo. I’ve had a lot of fun this year, and I hope you have, too! I’m excited that Kale Crusaders featured my Garbanzo Barbecue Sliders today, along with some tasty-looking recipes by other bloggers. Read the post here. Thanks so much!

I’m taking it sleazy easy with today’s post, I would love to hear what you chose for your Halloween costume this year. Leave it in the comments.

So “That’s all there is; there isn’t any more.” Au revoir!

CSA Week 8 and Meal Planning

30 Oct

Hey everyone! I am finally back in town and mostly in commission. I was in the Midwest for a week with my mom, who had surgery. No worries — she’s well! But I’m a little exhausted, as I expected, so the last several posts were all pre-scheduled.

Anyway, I wasn’t in town for the CSA pick-up this week, but my lovely husband sneaked out before the Giants game to bring in our haul. Here’s the picture he sent me of the bounty:

  • Beets
  • Japanese eggplants
  • Roma (?) tomatoes
  • Arugula
  • Butternut squash
  • Bitter greens
  • Purple basil
  • Curly kale
  • Lettuce
  • Swiss chard
  • Pomegranates
  • Parsley
  • Little tiny summer squashes

I’m so, so excited about those pomegranates! Or, rather, that pomegranate since he ate one before I got home. Because the week is kinda crazy, I haven’t made a meal plan, but here are some ideas:

  • Roasted beet salad
  • Pasta or pizza with tomato sauce, eggplant and squashes
  • Polenta with squash
  • Butternut squash lasagna
  • Lentil soup

Nothing too crazy, as you can see. I just need to get back to normal life after a week away.

As for exercise, I got off track with my running plan, so this week I will attempt to pick up where I left off. Here’s to my return to reality!

Every week, I participate in In Her Chucks‘ “What’s in the Box?” link-up. Click here to see boxes from all over!

Basic Lentil Squash Pie

28 Oct

I had high hopes of transforming the veggies left in my kitchen into a glorious pot pie. The crust to be whole wheat perfection, with a nice savory gravy filling out the bottoms. And then I looked in my refrigerator and really thought about how much I did not feel like using a pastry cutter. So my original intention morphed into a much more manageable and totally basic version of a shepherd’s pie:

Sorry. There is no way to make this stuff look pretty in my home after dark.

Basic Lentil Squash Pie

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 teaspoon oil (olive or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup brown lentils
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and stringy bits, and then place cut-side down in a baking dish or on a baking sheet. Roast until fork tender, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Pour in the broth and increase heat to bring to a boil. Add the lentils, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, and bay leaf. Stir quickly to combine, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let cook until the broth is absorbed and the lentils are tender but not mushy. Taste for flavor, and add more herbs, if desired. Set aside.

When the squash is done, let it cool until you can handle it. Use a fork to scrape the flesh into a medium bowl. Add the non-dairy milk (I actually used about 1/4 cup of the Trader Joe’s coconut cream) by the tablespoon until the flavor and consistency are to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce the oven heat to 350° and spray or grease an 8″ pie dish. Pour the lentils in the bottom and top with the mashed butternut squash. Add more pepper to the top, if desired. The layering will look like this:

Bake for 20 minutes. Serves two as a main or four as a side.

While this dish takes a little more time than I generally prefer, it comes together very quickly once the lentils and squash are cooked. You could easily use pre-roasted squash, but I recommend bringing it to room temperature before mashing.

Noodles two ways

27 Oct

Both of these recipes featuring whole wheat spaghetti fall under the categories of “basic and tasty” and “good ways to use up vegetables that are hanging out in the fridge possibly too long.” The first is Italian-style:

Like I said: basic. It features an even simpler version of my Roasted Tomato Sauce (by using fire-roasted tomatoes from a can, but adding in fresh oregano from my CSA basket), a Tofurkey Italian Sausage, roasted zucchini, and crushed red pepper. Quick, easy, delicious.

The second version was a Saturday lunch stir fry-style:

It seems weird to post a recipe for stir fry, since it’s just a bunch of veggies stirred and fried in some oil and then added to noodles or rice or whatever. Instead, here are the ingredients in the order in which they went into the pan:

  • Coconut oil (and as needed two more times to continue the stirring and frying)
  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Soy sauce (and as needed two more times to deglaze the pan and add flavor)
  • Garlic
  • Hot pepper
  • Minced fresh ginger
  • Button mushrooms
  • Swiss chard
  • Cooked noodles

And then we topped our servings with chili garlic sauce for a little more heat and a nice vinegar-y flavor. I’m usually way too skimpy on the oil in stir fries, which renders them a little sad, but this one had between 1 and 2 tablespoons total, I would guess. You may have noticed that I’ve been including more fat in my diet lately. I still consume less of it than the average person, but since I’ve been exercising more, I’ve been ravenous, so I’m finding ways to sneak a few extra calories in. I will start amping up my plant-based proteins, too, once things calm down and I can do a better job of meal planning.

Barbecued Garbanzo Sliders

26 Oct

Things are  a bit crazy at the moment, but I wanted to share a meal idea while I have a sec. This is a tasty, quick, family-friendly lunch or dinner that I whipped up from the dregs, er, remains of a week of meal planning:

Barbecued Garbanzo Sliders

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 a large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small hot pepper or 1/4 jalapeno, minced — optional
  • 6 slider buns or dinner rolls

Pour the chickpeas and about 1/4 cup of the barbecue sauce into a medium bowl. Use a potato masher or something similar to mash and combine the two. Add more barbecue sauce as you go to add moisture. You don’t have to puree — just get everything well combined and a little chunky. Set aside. Now heat the olive oil (or sub in spray oil) in a skillet or small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and the pepper, if using, and sautee for about 30 seconds, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Now add the chickpea mash to the pan, stir everything together, and continue cooking for about three minutes. Serve on slider buns or dinner rolls topped with more barbecue sauce.

Makes six little sandwiches.

We served ours alongside sauteed Swiss chard:

If you were planning ahead and not just throwing together a pantry meal, these would be great topped with avocado, tempeh bacon, and tomato.

And in the interest of full disclosure, the buns were homemade using my sourdough starter. I was planning to make veggie burgers with homemade buns. The recipe I followed — which I now can’t find — just did not work out. It was supposed to make full-sized buns, but clearly it didn’t. I also couldn’t get my sesame seeds to stick, nor did they want to cook all the way through. The final result tasted fine, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a major kitchen stress. Bread baking should NOT be a last-minute activity. Let that be a lesson to me.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

25 Oct

I feel like I’ve been posting a lot of squash lately, but the CSA basket has been keeping me well stocked, so here comes some more!

I was looking for something tasty and a little fancy to do for our nice-ish dinners in last Saturday night. I didn’t want to do the Butternut Squash Ravioli again, so I started brainstorming and decided to stuff it. I stumbled across this recipe from Naturally Ella (a new favorite read) and knew it would be easy to veganize. And it was:

My changes were:

  • Using a medium squash instead of a large
  • Subbing scallions for the shallots
  • Adding a minced hot pepper and two cloves of minced garlic
  • Reducing the quinoa to 1/4ish cup and the water to about 1/2 cup
  • Subbing nutritional yeast for the cheese
  • Adding a handful of chopped raw pecans to the top of the stuffed squash

Otherwise I followed her method. The result was incredibly tasty and more filling than I expected, which was a good thing! We served the squash alongside some sauteed bitter greens and a bottle of Balletto 2011 Pinot Noir.

It was a perfect little dinner at our new table, which we’re still greatly enjoying.

Are you sick of my butternut squash recipes yet? I hope not! I have one more coming your way already, plus an uncooked squash chillin’ in my kitchen.

Chili update

24 Oct

Hey all! I’m travelling for a few days, and so I’ve scheduled some posts in advance. I apologize for the lack of real time, but I will be away from my computer. I will keep checking in with my phone to approve and respond to comments, though, so I hope you enjoy the recipes!

I promised an update to X’s Spicy Portobello Chili, so I’m delivering.

As you can see, it doesn’t look too different:

The method is the same, but here are the ingredients we prefer now:

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Half a large onion, chopped
  • 4 Portobello mushroom caps, cleaned, de-stemmed, and diced
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 15 oz canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes (Muir Glen or Trader Joe’s brands are my preference)
  • 2 cups of cooked black beans
  • 2 cups of cooked chickpeas
  • 4 oz diced green chilies
  • 3 or 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (because we’re crazy!)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Several sprinklings of freshly ground black pepper

The major changes, as you can see, are more beans, more spice (in the form of chipotle peppers), fire-roasted tomatoes (the flavor is so much better), and no extra water unless needed. We like the thicker consistency so much better. We’ve also discovered that half black beans, half garbanzos — and I always cook them fresh at home now — is our preferred combination, though you can feel free to use your favorites. Another thing I never think to do but that would be tasty is some diced red bell pepper added with the onion.

And since this is not a very full post, I will also present another Tofu Scramble Taco with Chipotle:

The method is the same as my Tofu Breakfast Tacos, except that I used 1/4 of an onion instead of the scallion, a chopped chipotle pepper and a little juice from a can of tomatoes instead of salsa, no nutritional yeast, doubled the tofu (and used five corn tortillas) to serve two people, and added some roasted zucchini to the top. Still easy and delicious, though I did miss the noochy flavor a bit.

That’s it. Hope everyone’s having a happy Wednesday!

Native Foods Cooking Demo

23 Oct

On Sunday morning, I woke up early to catch the bus to Westwood for my second Native Foods cooking demo. I attended one soon after my arrival in LA at the Culver City location, which you can read about here.

Anyway, I arrived about 15 minutes early and chose my antisocial seat hidden behind a poll, ’cause that’s what I do. Here’s what the cooking set-up looked like:

While we waited, I had two sample cups of their awesome chai:

And then the Hulk — I mean Chef Kendall — showed up:

Blammo. She was a hoot. Her manner was very engaging, which made the demo very exciting. We got to work trying our first samples: Mummy Meatloaf with Bloody Mary Sauce.

The meatloaf was seitan-based, and it tasted good, but it wasn’t terribly exciting. The sauce, however, was insanely good and really easy. I can see myself attempting a lentil/tempeh loaf and lathering it on, or using it as a tofu marinade, or making a twist on patatas bravas with it. So good!

Next we tried the Dragon’s Blood Punch:

Also tasty, though I’m not the world’s biggest fan of punch. It had cranberry, mixed fruit juice, and ginger ale.

And then we did dessert number 1 — Goblin “Sweet” Bread Ginger Pudding:

This was really tasty. I especially loved the addition of crystallized ginger. I did have to pick out/eat around the currants (raisins’ slightly less offensive but still reprehensible cousin), but I would definitely make this at home with leftover homemade sourdough and maybe chocolate chips instead of the ginger.

And dessert number 2 — Ghastly Gourd Parfaits:

This was tasty, too, but very hard to eat with a fork! It was a tofu-based pumpkin pudding with a spiced cookie crumble.

And then I won $10:

That’s me next to the Hulk

Technically, the people behind me won the $10 gift card. However, they left early — thank goodness, as they were some of the most annoying people I can remember encountering in a while — so I totally cannibalized their winnings. Bwah ha ha. No shame.

I had a good time at this demo, and while I thought Chef Kendall was an amazing host, I would have preferred a better balance of savory to sweet food. I felt pretty sugar-loaded by the time I left.

Since it was Sunday, my bus was only running every hour, so I spent about 55 minutes walking around Westwood. It was beautiful outside — 70s and overcast — so I did a little window shopping, logged two meandering miles, and stumbled across this lovely courtyard:

It was a great start to a Sunday.

Butternut Squash Blondies with Caramel

22 Oct

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that yesterday included some stress baking. Some people drink heavily, others clean — I bake when I’m feeling the pressure. I’d been planning to make a squash-based treat for a couple of weeks now, and Sunday’s moments of “ahhhhhh!” prompted me to get it underway.

Look at that spicy, gooey goodness. I scoured the web for a tweakable recipe and ended up with this one from the Tasty Kitchen. Below is my vegan version.

Butternut Squash Blondies with Caramel

  • 2/3 recipe of Easy Caramel Sauce
  • 6 tablespoons of liquid coconut oil (can sub in melted Earth Balance)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (depending on your preferred level of sweetness)
  • 1/2 cup cooked butternut squash, mashed or pureed (or sub in canned pumpkin)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or use 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg)
  • 1 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

First prepare the vegan caramel sauce recipe above. I’m linking to it because I followed it to a T, loved it, and wouldn’t change a thing. Just a note — you can find cans of coconut cream at Trader Joe’s, if you’d rather use that than the full-fat coconut milk method. If you do, you can skip the first step of refrigerating it for four hours and get right to the caramel-making. Let the completed sauce cool in the fridge for about two hours.

Preheat the oven to 350° F and grease or spray an 8×8″ baking dish. In a large bowl, cream the coconut oil and sugar. I used 1/2 cup, but it’s VERY sweet, so I would probably use 1/3 cup next time. Now add the cooked butternut squash, vanilla, and spice and mix just until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until combined. Spread about 2/3 of it in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Remove caramel sauce from the fridge and reheat it over a medium flame, stirring constantly, for a couple of minutes, until it’s pourable. Spread about 2/3 of it on top of the blondie batter. (Save the rest for ice cream, coffee, eating by the spoonful, whatever you prefer.)

Now top with the rest of the batter, spreading it as much as you can to cover. Mine wasn’t perfect and looked like this:

Bake for 25 minutes, or until it’s golden and a toothpick inserted comes out batter-free (though the melty caramel with leave a trace). Eat it immediately if you don’t mind the sticky mess or let it cool completely to get a more solid blondie, like in the picture above. Both options taste amazing.

This recipe is not at all healthy, but it’s delicious and vegan! You could use pumpkin, as noted, but it’s also a great use for any kind of leftover roasted winter squash — well, probably not spaghetti squash, but you get the idea.

Breakfast three ways

16 Oct

I tend to be in a breakfast rut of some kind or another, which you have definitely seen here (hello, a month or two of overnight oats). I’ve been mixing things up slightly of late, so I thought it would be fun to share three easy ways to get your mornings started off right. We have two different seasonally appropriate oats recipes and one savory pancake. Let’s start with the sweet stuff.

This week, I’m enjoying a new baked oatmeal recipe that I prefer to my old method. I present:

Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup mashed banana (generally two large or three medium bananas)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon liquid coconut oil, optional
  • Handful of chopped pecans, optional
  • Handful of chopped chocolate, optional

Preheat the oven to 375° F and grease or spray an 8×8″ baking dish or pie plate. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, spices, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and salt. Now add the banana, vanilla, milk, and coconut oil if using and stir until combined. Fold in the pecans and chocolate (I used half a square of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate, chopped small, but feel free to use semisweet or chocolate chips or none, of course) if using. Spread in the prepared baking dish to fill the bottom. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top fairly evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, then place the dish under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to caramelize the sugar.

Serves 4.

This recipe is firmer and a little more cake-like than my pumpkin version, but it’s still best eaten with silverware. It isn’t overly sweet, so if you prefer a little more dolcezza in your mornings, feel free to up the sugar or drizzle a little honey or agave on your slice. I made this batch Sunday night and will eat it through Thursday morning. It reheats beautifully.

Here’s another seasonally appropriate oat recipe that serves one:

Butternut Squash Oats

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup cooked butternut squash, mashed
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • A few pecan halves

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, water, and butternut squash. Heat over medium-high until it reaches a boil, then add the oats and reduce to a simmer (low on my hot stove, medium-low on a normal one). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the oats reach your desired consistency, about six minutes. Right before they’re done, add the sugar and spice (everything nice). Serve topped with pecans.

Butternut — or really any kind of sweet winter squash — is very similar to pumpkin in flavor profile, so while it isn’t a typical oatmeal add-in, it doesn’t taste out of place at all. The spices and pecans make it a warming, wonderful breakfast. Plus, it’s a great use for leftover roasted squash that is too scant for a lunch or dinner recipe.

And finally, I offer a savory take on breakfast or brunch:

Zucchini Sourdough Pancakes with Tomato Sauce

  • 1 small zucchini
  • 3 pinches of salt, divided
  • 2 drizzles of olive oil, plus more for cooking pancakes
  • 1/3 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (blended if you prefer that texture)
  • Fresh or dried oregano, to taste (I used three sprigs of fresh, but 1/2 teaspoon dried would be great, too)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 fresh hot pepper, minced or a pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter, freshly fed
  • 3/4 cup flour (I prefer white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Freshly ground pepper

Cut the ends off the zucchini and shred using a food processor if you have such fancy things or a cheese grater. Add to a bowl with one pinch of salt and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until it’s softened. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, oregano, vinegar, pepper, and a pinch of salt and reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

While the sauce simmers and thickens, squeeze the moisture out of zucchini and add to a medium bowl. Combine with the sourdough starter, flour, baking powder, pinch of salt, and drizzle of olive oil just until mixed together. Now heat a skillet over medium or medium-low heat with a little oil. When hot, add 1/4 to 1/3 cupfuls of batter to the pan, careful not to overcrowd. (I did 1/3 cups and made two batches of three pancakes each. Sprinkle pepper over the top and let cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the bottom stops being batter.

Flip and cook another 2 minutes until set. I like to press down slightly after flipping. The pancakes are done when they firm and lightly golden.

Top with tomato sauce and eat immediately.

Serves 2.

These were a fun departure from normal pancakes, and they tasted especially delicious after my five-mile run Sunday morning. If you don’t have sourdough starter, you can also make them using your normal pancake base — just don’t add any sugar or sweet spices.

What’s your favorite breakfast recipe? Are you a savory or sweet fan? I like both, though I try not to add too much sugar to my sweeter breakfasts because then I crave it all day long. I like to use fruit to sweeten as much as I can.

This post has been linked up with In Her Chucks’ “What’s in the Box? #47″!

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