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Friday, April 9, 2010

a tentative menu

so we are talking about doing a secret vegan dinner club. by invitation some people can buy in to a dinner event that we will put on at my house and this is what i am thinking that i will cook. maybe you can be invited!

vegan dinner party (ideas/possibilities)

   duo or trio of southern inspired sliders on biscuits, texas toast or corn muffins

- sweet potato/tofu burger

- bbq portabello with carmelized onions

- southern style sausage + gravy

- fried green tomato with spicy mayo

entree course:

pass around family style soul food offering-

smothered fried chicken w/ onion gravy

baked mac & cheese

collard greens

dirty rice w/ sausage

fried okra

black eyed peas with chiffonade of kale (hot or cold?)

candied roasted carrots

cabbage & apple cole slaw

corn and arugula salad

dessert course:

bruleed whole peach; halved and filled with homemade vanilla icecream, pecans and lavender scented crumble


strawberry shortcake w/ fresh mint, homemade rosemary icecream


cinnamon sticky buns with cinnamon icecream

Saturday, February 13, 2010

a perfect winter vegan pot pie.

you will need the following:

oven. preheated to 350.

a dutch oven for cooking. i use a 6 quart mario batalli dutch oven. most lines of cook wear from celebrity chefs are garbage but his is actually pretty good and i use my dutch oven quite often. it is my favorite piece of cook wear. this piece didn't cost as much as le creuset but it's getting the same job done.

one yellow or white onion chopped

one parsnip or any other root vegetables that make you happy. turnips would be nice!

carrots. about four large ones or small ones equalling about four large ones. we used a bunch of rainbow carrots that we got at whole foods (getting them from a farmer is cheaper.. whole foods is so expensive yikes) and supplemented with a few big basic carrots that were in my fridge. chop these into small pieces.

a carton or four cups of vegetable broth.

three medium sized russet potatoes. peel two potatoes and cut them into 1-2 inch pieces for boiling. you will use this to make a mashed potato type of thing. wash your third potato and cut it into thin slices to go into your pot pie with your other veggies.

peas. i used a half a bag of frozen ones. if you can get fresh peas i envy you.

one carton or approximately two cups of white mushrooms.

(OPTIONAL) Gardein chicken. we used one bag of the scallopini gardein "chicken" in our pot pie. this is completely optional and i really don't feel like it added that much to the pie. it's up to you if you want a chicken pot pie or a vegetable pot pie. this pie is very flavorful, hearty and filling without the inclusion of fake meat but of course Gardein is delicious in everything. we cut ours (while it was frozen) into small cubes and added it in at the very last minute before the pie went into the oven.

soy milk. i used the unsweetened kind. the regular one would be fine also.

two table spoons of earth balance or whatever kind of vegan margarine you like.

a little olive oil.

all purpose flour

cold water. when i came home from the store i put a big cup of water into the freezer so that it could get cold while i was working on putting groceries away and getting my ducks in a line.

vegetable shortening

spices. we used tumeric, poultry seasoning (don't worry this doesn't have any poultry in it), onion powder, and thyme. plus salt and pepper of course. feel free to use whatever you like but i think that the poultry seasoning is pretty crucial. salt and pepper are also important, of course. from there you can use any flavors that appeal to you!

 more after the jump

Friday, February 12, 2010

where for art thou, vegans?

hi guys!

can you tell me how you are finding this blog? i want even more people to find it! i have two posts coming up.. one is for a vegan vegetable and "chicken" pot pie that is absolutely delicious and healthy and amazing-- the other is for vegan collard greens and fried chicken which i am cooking as i type this.

anyway! say hi and let me know how you found me.


Monday, February 8, 2010

someone made my vegan sweet potato burger!

tezzie who follows me on twitter sent me a message earlier after she made my burger recipe!

and she took a pretty picture of it too! totally a way prettier picture than the ones that i posted. buttt someone ordered me a point and shoot camera from my amazon wishlist and when it comes it will greatly improve the quality of pictures in my blog postings. if you make something from one of my recipes please let me know what you thought and send a picture if you can!

a friend from another site told me that they made this recipe and the burgers fell apart. i didn't have any trouble at all keeping them together in patty form but adding about 1/2 cup of cooked rice to the recipe would probably make them more fool proof.

i am very pleased that people are enjoying this blog and enjoying the recipes. soon i will be posting a vegan pot pie recipe that i came up with a couple of days ago. it was delicious. =)

i noticed that tezzie has some other food pictures in her twitpic. you can follow her @bigdreamsinc on twitter


Thursday, February 4, 2010

a delicious sweet potato, tofu burger!

i still owe you guys a vegan macaroni and cheese/vegan soul food post but that entry is going to be soooo intense so for now i must placate you with this burger that i made in the days following the vegan soulfood extravaganza. i had a giant (the biggest i've ever seen) sweet potato sitting around because i had planned to make a sweet potato casserole with our vegan soulfood but it never happened. the result was this.

to make 2-3 burgers you will need:

one reasonably sized sweet potato. don't get a huge one like me unless you want to be eating sweet potato for a week straight. sliced into 1-2 inch cubes

1/3 container of firm tofu, press the water out with some paper towels and then crumble with your hands

one carrot. grated using a cheese grater thing or minced with a knife.

1-2 stalks of celery. chopped into small pieces. i cut mine in half long ways and then chop it into smaller pieces if its a big one.

1 medium onion. chopped.

a handful of cashews. i dropped them into a blender and so they were all crushed and chopped up into a rough kind of powder.

your choice of herbs and spices. i used salt, pepper, a little sage, a little curry powder, and nutritional yeast. is that a spice? i don't really know wtf it is but i like the way it tastes and vegans are into it.

a little fresh parsley. finely chopped.

buns or bread of your choice.

cheese of some kind if you wanna. condiments are fun. use whatever kind you want. we put mustard, vegenaise and pickles on ours. they were delightful.


i'm not foolin' around guys. that's a ten inch chef knife sitting adjacent to that beast of a sweet potato. it was huge. i used about 1/4 - 1/3 of it.

chopped it up like thissss

when you are finished chopping you want to drop those guys into a pot of rapidly boiling, salted water.

while those are cooking you are going to want to start cooking your mirepoix. this is the part of the blog where i teach you a fancy word.

see this picture..

carrot, onion, and celery-- often referred to as "aromatics" are the flavor base for tons of different stuff.. soups, stews, stocks and other things. in this case they are going to flavor your burger and create nice textures as well. put them into a saute pan while your sweet potato is cooking in the boiling water and cook them until they are softened.

in my case i am cooking them in a crappy non-stick wok--- probably because i was too lazy to wash my saute pan. that's ok though.

when your potatoes are fork soft and your mirepoix (remember that the onion, celery, carrot mixture) is cooked down combine those items in a large mixing bowl with your tofu and cashews and mash everything together with a wooden spoon or a manual potato masher.

season with your choice of herbs and spices + parsley which tastes good and makes everything pretty. everyone should have fresh parsley on hand. you can toss it on top of anything and make it look like you did a really good job of cooking.

taste the mixture as you go to see what kind of flavor you are coming up with. tasting while you cook is really important.

give everything a good stir with a fork to make sure that your ingredients are distributed evenly and form into patties using your hands. i like to make a big ball and then squish it down to achieve a nice even patty.

i cooked my burgers in the same pan that i used to cook my mirepoix. add a little oil to the pan, put the heat on medium-high and let them cook for a couple of minutes on each side until they are golden.

remove from pan and serve them however you like. ours went like this. potato buns, pickles, vegenaise, mustard and a sprinkle of daiya cheese.

these are really inexpensive to make and more delicious and healthy than a gardenburger. ta-da!

if you decide to make this meal take some pictures and show me! let me know what you think. =D

and if you love me and you want to buy me something for my kitchen visit mywish list! my chef knife is dull. need sharpeners!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"the best quesadilla ever"

first i should mention that these pictures were taken using my iphone just like the pictures of the vegan reuben that are in my last post. i have a proper camera that i will use to take pictures once i get a china ball to light up my kitchen. for now these shoddy quality snaps will have to do.

tonight i went to my favorite little locally owned grocery store, figueroa produce, to try some bbq that they have in from some guy named nick. the bbq was okay. i've certainly had better but for "california bbq" it was alright. i might go back on sunday when nick is doing a sampling of his full offering of bbq delights and taste the other items to see if there is something i like better but otherwise i will stick with bludso's which has, by far, the best bbq in los angeles. anyhow, enough about bbq. some of you are probably about to cry thinking of all of the dead animals. nom nom nom.

while i was waiting for my sandwich to be prepared i walked around and grabbed some fresh produce and decided to make a quesadilla.

to most people i assume a quesadilla is just a tortilla with cheese melted inside of it. these people are really missing out. this format can really provide a delicious means to get all kinds of stuff into your mouth. not just cheese. this vegan quesadilla is healthy and really fucking delicious. zane said it was the best quesadilla he has ever had. hence the title of this blog.

you can use whatever is in season and available locally where you are. eating local ingredients is really important to me and should be important to you as well. i had a swell of guilt the other day when i realized that gardein products (a really great vegan faux-meat line) come all the way from canada. you can imagine the strain that this might put on the environment... an environment that is also important to animals.

my ingredients were as follows.

one yellow spanish onion roughly chopped.

four zucchinis. these guys were smaller than i am used to seeing them. if they were average sized then i would have purchased two.

cut them up like so

two fresh jalapenos. sliced. if you want less heat then you should remove the seeds. that's where the big heat is.

one ear of fresh corn.

removed from it's cob with a sharp knife. like so!

three portabello mushrooms. stems removed and sliced into strips.

a couple of tomatillos. if you don't have access to these then you could use a regular tomato but these are sooo delicious. i cut mine into little pieces. 'little' is the technical term. oh and remove their little outer leaf thing first. i don't think you're supposed to eat that!

these are purple potatoes. they are sooo pretty. one of my favorite ingredients to use. if you don't have purple potatoes available at your local grocer or farmer's market then you can use ANY potatoes.

slice your potatoes into thin slices. about twice as thick as a kettle potato chip. i think i used two potatoes. the above picture is misleading.

a little daiya cheese...

and last but not least..

tortillas! these were in size ginormous. also a technical term. ginormous.

heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat while you are chopping your onion. add your onion and jalapenos to the pan and begin to caramelize.

when the onions begin to look clear and magical add your sliced potato.

salt to taste and don't forget to stir occasionally.

in a second pan add a teaspoon or so of oil and over medium-high heat begin to cook your cook zucchini.

allow zucchini a minute or two to get started before reducing the heat to medium and adding your portabellos. season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until mushrooms and zucchini are soft.

in the last moments of cooking your potato mixture you should add the tomatillos.

i used a little bit of daiya cheese on zane's quesadilla and a little bit of non-vegan cheddar cheese in mine. i am convinced that daiya cheese gives me a little bit of a stomach ache but zane loves it. it's also possible that my stomach ache was caused by the fact that the last time i ate it was after consuming a great deal of alcohol and then eating it on about 8 slices of pizza... i will definitely eat it on occasion but i had some leftover cheddar to use so i went ahead and finished it off.

my stove has a griddle in between the burners so that is what i used to melt the cheese and form the quesadilla. if you don't have a griddle then any pan that fits your quesadilla will be fine.

a few sprinkles of cheese is the most that i recommend here. the vegetables should be the star of the show. cheese is just a little treat and helps hold your tortilla in place. do not PILE cheese on or it will get greasy. =(

i folded my quesadilla into a half moon and set my heavy pan that i cooked the potato mixture in on top of it while it was on the hot griddle to help hold it together/press it down.

cut into three or four slices and ta-da! magical vegetable quesadilla. we ate ours with a little bit of fresh pico that i bought at figueroa produce. their house-made salsas are awesome. i was wishing that i had an avocado to slice and put on top. next time..

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

scientists grow bacon from stemcells

so read this:

scientists grow bacon in a lab using stem cells from pigs

apparently some dutch scientists are using stem cells from pigs to grow meat in a lab. let's pretend that said meat is delicious. vegans-- would you eat this? the article says that it has the potential to greatly reduce the need for slaughterhouses if they could make it work. pretend that there are definitely no health risks (aside from the health risks associated with consuming any bacon) associated with this lab meat and that it tastes delicious. does it still violate your morals in regards to your food consumption?

vegan reuben sandwiches

i guess there is some kind of a 'war' happening in los angeles over which vegan restaurant has the best vegan reuben. i have tried two of them so far.

the first (and best) was when zane and i stopped by Locali to grab sandwiches on our way to a movie. their vegan reuben is on marbled rye bread and somehow magically the "meat" slices on it are the same color as actual corned beef. zane remarked that he had no idea what kind of meat they were using. i'm pretty positive that they are using some kind of a standard vegan deli slice and that they are dying it using beets. at least this is what i did.

the second vegan reuben sandwich that we tried was at Follow Your Heart which is a vegan grocery store in the valley with a little restaurant inside. their vegan reuben was pretty tasty but it didn't have pink sandwich meat. maybe this seems silly but i think that a big part of tricking your brain into believing that faux-meat that you are eating tastes like the real thing is whether or not it also LOOKS like the real deal. this is a big part of what made the locali reuben the winner for me.

sometime last week zane asked me if i wanted to go with him to get another delicious locali reuben and i suggested that we make them instead. i don't think that our recipe is exactly perfect yet but i wanted to go ahead and share it anyway. it's pretty fucking good even if it's not as good as i think it could be. i'm really looking forward to making them again and improving upon what we did. i think we have a really solid base recipe that anyone could easily pull off and add to in order to make it their own.

this is what you're going to need:

as much basic tofurkey deli slices as are needed for the number of sandwiches you are going to make. we made about 6 sandwiches and used about 2.5 packs of tofurkey slices. i think we could have packed more faux-meat into our sandwiches.

a few red beets

plain old white vinegar

a jar of sauerkraut. we used bubbie's sauerkraut (available at whole foods) and i thought it was a little too mild tasting. next time we will probably buy a cheap one and hopefully it will be more sour tasting. reubens are sour! some people don't love sauerkraut and if that is the case with you then the bubbie's brand might be your best friend.

thousand island dressing. vegan recipe to follow.

daiya cheese. daiya is the best of all vegan cheeses. it melts and behaves a lot like a real cheese. stretchy and all. you don't have to do anything special to it. pretty magical.

a loaf of delicious rye bread.

earth balance or other vegan margarine.

quarter the beets, drizzle with oil and salt them generously. place the beats into a baking dish and add about 2cm of water to the bottom of the baking dish. cover tightly with foil and place into a preheated 375 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. this will create a dark pink liquid that you can use to dye your tofurkey slices. it will also provide you with some roasted beets that you can put into a salad. beets keep really well so use them the next day to make something healthy to help you get over the stomach ache you might have from eating too many delicious reubens.

while you're waiting for your beets to cook you should whip up your thousand island dressing. you will need----

3/4 cups of vegenaise

1/4 cup of silken tofu

3 teaspoons of finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons of minced yellow onion

2 tablespoons of minced dill pickle

1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon of horseraddish (optional)

1/2 teaspoon of chili oil (optional)

3 tablespoons of ketchup

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon of vegan worcesheshire sauce
(honestly can anyone spell that. i can't!)

put all of that stuff in a bowl together and stir. you can taste and add more or less of any of the ingredients until you get the flavor that you like the best. cover and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble your sandwiches.

when your beets are fork soft and sitting in a puddle of dark pink liquid then they are ready to be removed from the oven. remove the beets from the liquid and set them aside in another container.

allow the liquid to cool in the baking dish. add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the baking dish with the pink liquid and stir with a whisk. begin to add the tofurkey slices to the liquid a few at a time and allow them to soak a few seconds. you may need to flip them over to get them really coated. once they are evenly pink set them aside in the dish and add new slices for dying. a little bit of liquid goes a very long way here.

ta da! vegan "corned beef" all thanks to our friend the beet!

we used our deli slices right away to make our sandwiches. you could marinate them overnight if you like and you could even take it a step further and add some brining spices to the marinade. real corned beef is brined and cooks for a very long time. brining is where a lot of the flavor comes from and i think that next time i make these i will try to brine the deli slices. it might be a disaster. we shall see.

at this point you will be ready to assemble your sandwiches. a couple of final steps before you are ready:

generously "butter" one side of each slice of your rye bread using your vegan margarine.

using your hands squeeze excess liquid from sauerkraut and set into a bowl.

now you are ready to generously load your sandwiches with your vegan corned beef (this goes on first) and then your daiya cheese, then sauerkraut and then lots of delicious vegan thousand island dressing. really you can do it in any order but that's how we stacked ours.

heat a large skillet over medium heat and place the sandwiches into the pan. use another pan or heavy lid to press the sandwiches by placing it directly onto the sandwiches like so

leave them in the pan a couple of minutes on each side until toasty and golden brown. slice in halves and eat!

we served ours with a basic warm red potato salad made with herbs, olive oil, mustard and a little vegenaise.

and here are my happy loved ones with their meat-free vegan reuben sandwiches.

i want to try to use a similar concept to make vegan corned beef hash for breakfast this weekend. if we get around to that we will blog it! thanks for reading and feel free to ask questions if anything was confusing. =D