Vegan MoFo Day 10 – Angel Food Cake

10 10 2012

Happy National Angel Food Cake Day!

Here’s a little fact about me:  I HATE ANGEL FOOD CAKE.  I’ve hated it since I was a kid.  And it’s a good thing, too, since angel food cake is one of the vegan baking holy grails… as far as I know, nobody’s really come up with a wholly satisfactory way to replace all those egg whites and have it taste like something other than yuck.

In case you’re not a baker, angel food cake is a type white sponge cake made super light and airy with whipped egg whites.  It’s pretty bland and really only makes an appearance on most peoples’ tables as a base for strawberry shortcake.  Personally, I prefer my shortcake with sweetened biscuits.  Partly because biscuits are awesome and easy to make, and partly because I really hate angel food cake.

I’m boycotting this holiday.  So is Merry.  This is how she feels about angel food cake:

Apparently both of us are more the devil’s food type.

So in honor of how much I hate angel food cake, here is a list of five other things I also hate as much as angel food cake. (In case my theme makes it less than obvious, these are links.  You should click them.)

  1. Celery
  2. Exercise
  3. Candy Corn
  4. The Color Pink
  5. Shock Collars

Have a great night!





Vegan MoFo Day 9 – BBQ Sandwiches!

10 10 2012

Happy (Belated) National Hoagie/Hero/Grinder Day!!!

This is my favorite food holiday so far.  I just finished celebrating, and I am SO FULL.  I want to go down and eat the leftovers straight out of the fridge.  I want to put all the food IN MY MOUTH, even though there isn’t any more room in my stomach.

To start things off, Julie Hasson is a goddess.  If you don’t know about Julie, visit her blog at http://www.juliehasson.com/ or check out her amazing cooking tutorials here: http://www.everydaydish.tv/ or on YouTube.  And Julie’s cookbook, Vegan Diner, is probably my most used, most loved cookbook.  If you like diner-style comfort food you owe it to yourself to get this book.

The reason that I’m reminding everyone that Julie is a goddess is because I decided to make Barbecue Soy Curl Po’Boys to celebrate National Long Sandwich With Many Names Day.  And I used both of the BBQ sauces in Julie’s book.  And they were SO GOOD I licked the very last fingerfuls of sauce out of the pot before I washed it.

You can find Julie’s recipe for Rough Rider BBQ sauce here.  I made the spicy variation, which added a really wonderful heat on the back end of the sauce.  It’s pretty sweet on its own, so I recommend the variation unless you really don’t like spice.  I also made her Carolina BBQ Sauce to drizzle over the BBQ soy curls and cut the sweetness of the Rough Rider sauce a bit.  She recommends it in the book… and usually if someone recommends it in their own book, it’s a good idea.

To make my BBQ soy curls, I rehydrated the curls, strained out the soaking water, and sauteed with the Rough Rider BBQ sauce.  It looked like this in the pan:

Seriously, you all know by now that I’m a pretty crap-tastic photographer, but even I can’t make these look bad.  They’re that good.

Since neither of the sauces I made had any garlic in it, I made a simple garlic vinegar slaw to add to the sandwiches.  I used the half-head of green cabbage left over from taco night; a quarter of an onion I found hanging out in the fridge, diced; three cloves of garlic (I like garlic A LOT) smashed through a garlic press; seasoned rice vinegar (I wanted sweet and mild, not sharp, but you could use apple cider vinegar); and a generous amount of salt and pepper.  I let it sit and meld while everything cooked.

Then I assembled my sandwich.  Here’s the end result:

I used a sourdough baguette for the bread because when I lived in Louisiana I fell in love with po’boys on baguettes.  I love the chewiness a baguette brings to this type of sandwich.  A generous layer of sauced soy curls, a drizzle of Carolina BBQ sauce, and a heap of garlicky slaw.

Soooo goood.  These are going into regular rotation at our house!

 





Vegan MoFo Day 8 – Fluffernutter!

9 10 2012

First things first, MoFo-ers!  I am officially a day behind on my holidays.  Blogging every day is more challenging than I thought it would be… my deepest respect goes out to all the year-round bloggers out there who manage to juggle jobs and family and fun and still take fantastic photos and write blog posts that make me laugh and make me hungry!  I leave for work at the crack of dawn or before and I get home at about 6pm, and I can’t even imagine having their energy!    So in the spirit of MoFo, which is all about having fun and celebrating amazing vegan food, I’m trying to cut myself a little slack.  So don’t be surprised if I miss a day now and again and have to catch myself up later.  I promise I’ll get all the holidays… I just might be a day or two behind!

Yesterday was National Fluffernutter Day!  I had to look this one up.  Apparently the fluffernutter was invented in New England once commercial marshmallow fluff came into being.  The name came from the marketing department of the company that made the fluff, in an attempt to make marshmallow fluff seem like part of a well-rounded meal.  A fluffernutter is basically a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich on soft white bread.

 

We used Ricemellow Creme (which I was pleasantly surprised to find at our local health food store)  and chunky peanut butter.  I’m a smooth peanut butter girl myself, but the dude of the house likes crunchy so that’s what we had in the pantry.  The bread is a soft white Italian loaf that we got at our local grocery store.  I probably should have used Wonder Bread to be authentic, but I just could’t do it.  Even the thought of Wonder Bread makes me die a little on the inside.  (Plus I have no idea if Wonder Bread is vegan.)  With the Italian bread, at least I know I’m going to use the rest of the loaf for delicious noochy toast.

Unlike noochy toast, which is a fantastic idea, I was pretty skeptical about the fluffernutter.  I’m not sure why it seems so weird to me; peanut butter and marshmallow on, say, a graham cracker or something sounds pretty good.  But something about putting it on bread just sounds yuck.

The ooze factor was definitely there when we cut it in half.  It had grilled cheese level ooziness.

If we would have spread the fluff any thicker, it would have been a big, sticky mess.

So how did it taste?  It tasted like peanut butter and marshmallow fluff on soft bread.  Sorry, I can’t think of anything more clever.  It was actually pretty bland for an item with such an interesting name.  If you do decide to try it, I recommend you use smooth peanut butter… the peanut bits were the only thing in the sandwich that weren’t smooshy, and it sort of kept the sandwich from melting in your mouth the way it was trying to.  In fact, I might try to recreate this another day using a smooth chocolate nut butter, Ricemellow Creme, and a sweeter, more dessert-y bread.  In a panini press.  There’s some definite room for improvement from the original, and a grilled dessert sandwich just might do it for me.

The upside of this experiment is the word “fluffernutter.”  It has become the unofficial replacement swear word at our house.  We’ve spent the last day telling each other to fluff off and laughing hysterically.  Simple pleasures.  :-)

Today is both National Moldy Cheese Day, and National Submarine Sandwich Day.  Tomorrow I will bring you a delicious Sub Sandwich! See you then!





Vegan MoFo Day 7 – Milkshake!

7 10 2012

Happy National Frappe Day!

Did you know that in New England, a frappe is the same thing as a milkshake?  I didn’t until Wikipedia told me.  I thought I was going to have to make some foofoo coffee drink that I wouldn’t really enjoy (I like simple coffee), but then I found out that I was going to get down with my ice-cream self.  It made my day.

So through the magic of Google, I discovered that somebody actually loves strawberry milkshakes enough to buy a domain name.  http://www.strawberrymilkshakerecipe.org/.  See?  And that kind of dedication demanded my respect, so I used their recipe as a starting point.

I had everything in the house, with a few tweaks.  I used frozen strawberries, vanilla Coconut Bliss ice cream, and vanilla soy milk (left over from the flan).  Because I was using a flavored soy milk I left out the sweetener, and because I was using frozen strawberries I left out the ice cubes.  A couple of minutes in the Vitamix and I had a strawberry milkshake frappe!  I haven’t had one in years, so to celebrate I immediately gave myself an ice-cream headache.

I think I’m going to celebrate this every year.





Vegan MoFo Day 6 – Spaghetti!

6 10 2012

Image

Happy National Noodle Day!

There are so many ways to enjoy noodles that it was almost hard to narrow down what to do to celebrate.  But since yesterday was a full day of work followed by Apple Betty AND Flan, I decided to keep today simple and share one of my all-time favorite recipes.

I used to be a HUGE fan of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated.  I still enjoy them but don’t subscribe anymore since about half the recipes are centerpiece meat dishes, which isn’t really my cup of tea now that I don’t eat meat.  So I catch the show on PBS when I can, since I like the techniques and reviews, and I’ve kept all my Test Kitchen cookbooks and Cooks Illustrated back issues.  The spaghetti sauce we make regularly is the Quick Tomato Sauce from Cook’s Illustrated, which is naturally vegan if you replace the 2T butter with Earth Balance.

You can find the recipe here:

http://thereviewlady.blogspot.com/2009/03/cooks-illustrated-quick-tomato-sauce.html

Seriously, make it.  It takes 15 minutes, and it’s absolutely delicious.  Perfect for a weeknight dinner with a salad and bread.  Plus it’s super modifiable.  Usually we add a good sprinkle of red pepper flakes in with the onions, or you can add sauteed mushrooms, olives, or whatever you have that you want to use up.  Because it’s such a quick sauce, you’ll want to pre-cook any additions and add them while the sauce simmers… both because they probably won’t cook through before the sauce is done, and because you really don’t want to add any extra liquid to this sauce or it’ll be too watery.

And I know it sounds weird to grate the onion on a box grater.  It will make your eyes cry so many tears, but it really does make all the difference in the sauce so don’t skip that step the first time you make it.  I’d also suggest following the original recipe the first time, since it’s really good and will give you a better idea of what you’re working with if you decide to modify it later.

My better half was in the mood to try a Puttanesca sauce tonight, so we took our standy recipe, above, and added about:

  • 2T drained capers
  • 1/4C roughly chopped olives (kalamata are traditional, but we used a Greek olive mix that we had in the house)
  • 1/2t-1t red pepper flakes
  • 1T olive brine from the jar

We added all of these ingredients right after we added the crushed tomatoes to the pot.

Puttanesca also traditionally uses anchovies, and we just left them out rather than replacing them.  To make up for that savory flavor, I suggest a good sprinkling of nutritional yeast on your finished spaghetti, or vegan parmesan if you have some.  I used nutritional yeast, because I love it and rarely have any commercial vegan cheese in the house.

Here’s the finished dish:

 

The garlic bread was a loaf of french bread, halved horizontally, coated with Earth Balance, garlic salt, granulated garlic, and dried parsley and then broiled until brown.  Pretty much everyone’s standard garllic bread recipe!

It turned out pretty good, but I prefer the original recipe (plus a half teaspoon or so of red pepper flakes, added with the oregano) to this variation.  Fun to try, though!

So go forth and make yourself some spaghetti!  Use the recipe in the link and you will have a delicious plate in front of you in less than a half an hour.  There are still a couple hours of National Noodle Day left to celebrate!





Vegan MoFo Day 5 & Belated Day 3 – Apple Betty & Flan!

6 10 2012

Yesterday was National Apple Betty Day!  And to celebrate I made Apple Betty.

There are actually two types of Bettys.  There’s regular Betty, which is fruit baked with a buttery crumble topping, and Brown Betty, which uses cubes of buttered and toasted stale bread (usually a layer of fruit on the bottom, then a layer of spices and buttered bread, then more fruit, then spiced buttered bread for topping).  I am phobic of soggy bread, so I went with a regular Betty.  I took the recipe from one of the old Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks, from somewhere in the 1970’s, and mixed it up a bit.  Here’s what I did:

Apple Betty

  • 4 medium-large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4″ thick slices (you could use a mixture of Grannys and another baking apple you like)
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1/2 C  light brown sugar
  • 1/2 C  granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour (you could easily use a different flour here)
  • 1/2 C  Earth Balance, refrigerator temperature

First peel, core, and slice your apples.  I used the 1/4″ setting on my mandoline, but you could do it with the slicing blade of a food processor if your processor will cut thick enough, or with a knife.  Toss the lemon juice with the apple slices to keep them from turning brown, then mound them in an 8×8 glass casserole dish.  (You could really use any kind of oven-safe dish here… a pie plate would work well too.)  The number of apples you use is pretty much up to you… I found that 4 medium-large apples was about right for my dish, but if you use more or less it won’t mess up the recipe.

Then combine the flour, sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl.  Cut up your stick of Earth Balance and add it in.  Rub the margarine into the flour/sugar mixture with your fingers to make big crumbs of sugar/flour covered margarine bits.  You could easily do this in a food processor too, or with a pastry cutter.

Pour the topping over the apples, covering the whole thing with crumbles, and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until your apples have softened and the topping has browned and crisped.  Depending on your pan, start checking at about 20-30 minutes.  I cribbed the cooking time out of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, which told me 45 minutes and that was WAY TOO LONG.

Here is the end result:

Now remember I said that I used a 45 minute cooking time, which was too long?  Well, the apples in my Betty disintegrated.  I essentially ended up with Applesauce Betty.  It looked a little gross, and my preference is for firmer fruit, but it actually tasted SO GOOD.  It was a really great contrast between the sweet, crispy topping and the slightly tart fruit.  I love fruit desserts, and this was so much better than I expected!

See?  Applesauce with topping.  Looks yuck, but tastes fantastic.  I’ll definitely make this recipe again, only with a shorter cooking time, because it was really easy and absolutely delicious.

I didn’t post this yesterday because I also celebrated a belated National Caramel Custard Day, which was on the 3rd, and by the time I was ready to refrigerate the flan I was ready to fall asleep on my feet.

So happy belated National Caramel Custard Day!  In honor of the day, I made the Vanilla-Coconut Flan from Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero.  If you like latin food, you should really get this cookbook.

Now I started working on this while the Betty was in the oven, and I had worked a long day before, so I wasn’t at my best in the kitchen.  The first time around I way overboiled the agar powder and it turned into small bits of rubber in my pot.  The second try my agar boiled fine, but I managed to boil the pot over once I added the soy milk and coconut milk.  But I persevered and had six little flans in my fridge last night!

And fair warning (which Terry emphasizes in the book): melted sugar is the hottest substance on earth, except possibly for lava and molten lead.  Don’t get it on yourself!  I managed to drip a tiny bit on my left index finger while I was pouring the caramel into the ramekins, and I have a blister the size of a pencil eraser today.  It hurt like crazy, so beware!!!  Don’t do that!

Today we tried one of the little flans.  It came out of the ramekin perfectly, and the caramel turned saucy just like it was supposed to.

Now I have never had dairy and egg-laden flan.  Based on what I’ve seen, though, I suspect that the texture on this flan was just a bit firmer than a dairy custard.  That could well be a side effect of overboiling the mixture, I don’t know.  Still, these came out pretty good!  Even though making them is a bit time consuming and filled with burning caramel danger, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be!  And it’s pretty!  I love individual desserts because you don’t have to share and can poke people with your fork when they get too close.

I’ll be back tonight, since today is National Noodle Day.  Not sure how I’ll celebrate yet, but you can bet I will!!!





Vegan MoFo Day 4 – Tacos!!!

4 10 2012

Happy National Taco Day!

Also, happy National Vodka Day, and to our Swedish friends, Happy Cinnamon Roll Day!  Because of my work schedule I could only do one of the three celebrations, and since I can’t resist a taco…

We have a lentil taco recipe in our household that we’ve been using for years.  It’s a really good recipe and offers itself up to endless variations.  The recipe used to be available on allrecipes.com, but it’s not there anymore.  Fortunately, it lives on in our house!

Lentil Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1 C   diced onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 t   oil, for sauteeing
  • 1 C  brown/green lentils, rinsed
  • 2.5 C   vegetable broth (low sodium if possible, or you can use water if you don’t have broth)
  • 1 T   chili powder
  • 2 t   cumin powder
  • 1 t   dried oregano  (if you feel lazy, you can replace the chili, cumin, and oregano with a packet of taco seasoning)

In a large skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil until soft.  Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin powder, and oregano.  Saute for 1 minute.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes.  If your lentils are older or stubborn, you may need more time, but this usually works for us.  Use as you would any taco filling!

It doesn’t get any simpler, so to spice things up a bit we tried something we’d never done before.  We made tortillas!  Let me tell you, the first time you make your own tortillas, you’ll smack yourself in the forehead for not doing it sooner.  I’d post a recipe, but there are recipes for corn tortillas all over the internet and on the back of the masa package (we used Maseca) and they are all pretty much the same.  It’s basically corn masa, warm water, and salt.  You knead everything together into a firm, pliable dough, make walnut shaped balls, and smash them into tortillas with a tortilla press.  You could also use a rolling pin to flatten them out, but I splurged and treated myself to a press.  The aluminum ones are inexpensive, and after today I know we’ll use it often.  Besides I had a groupon for a local kitchen supply store to use up, and what better to use it on than a tortilla press?

I also made cabbage salsa.  So good!  I made enough to have extra to take to work and eat on my morning break tomorrow with tortilla chips.  The recipe I used is a loose conglomeration of lots of recipes all smushed together to my liking.  Here’s the rough outline:

Cabbage Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small head of cabbage, roughly shredded with a knife (you could use a food processor, but I like the pieces a bit irregular)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and chopped (you can leave the seeds in for more heat, if you prefer)
  • juice of 1 medium lime
  • 1-3 T juice from a jar of pickled jalapenos, to taste (if you don’t have a jar of jalapenos lurking in your fridge, or if you don’t want a little extra heat, a splash of vinegar would work fine too)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a large bowl.  Adjust flavors to taste.  This is good right off the bat, but even better after a few hours or overnight when the flavors have had time to meld.

So here they are, our delicious lentil tacos with homemade corn tortillas and all the fixins!

Every day should be taco day!  And seriously, go buy some masa and make yourself a batch of homemade tortillas!   For under $3, you can purchase enough masa to make a hundred delicious tortillas!  DOOO EEEEET!!!

!!!








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