Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Some pictures from Thursday.

The faux turkey:

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I used Robin Robertson's recipe for the seitan, and made a pecan/apple sage sausage/orange cranberry/mushroom stuffing.

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Sorry that's so blurry.

Autumn rolls from Veganomicon:

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From the same book, Autumn Latkes and Horseradish Dill Sour Cream:

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Gingerbread Apple Pie from VwaV:

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Pumpkin Cheesecake from VeganMoFo last year (not the cake, the recipe):

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Brandon made the mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts. He also supplied the comedy and beer.

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'Lona supplied the adorable Floridian accent.

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Aaron had seconds. I was impressed. I had one plate and passed out.

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Warren helped clean up by catching everything I dropped on the floor.

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Dessert is always my favorite.

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Taz wants to jump up on the table and join us.

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And Milo's in the potatoes.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

More from the test kitchen

Eggplant Lentil Chili Molé with Fresh Corn and Scallion Cornbread. This was totally worth the week-long hunt for an eggplant.

cornbread_eggplant chili 007

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thoughts on the impending holidays

It's still unseasonably warm here in Minnesota (jean jacket weather; although I have seen what had to be tourists wearing mittens. I mean really? Mittens?) It's 49°. True Minnesotans are still in their flip flops.

I was approved to have Thanksgiving off, but in exchange, I have to work open to close on Christmas Day. It's only 10am to 8pm, and hello? Double time! I think I can skip seeing Uncle John get wasted for one year. Anyway, I've over-promised for Thanksgiving, so I'm thinking about having My familiar kitchen with everything I need, my own wonky oven that won't slam shut and turn itself on auto-clean for no reason, and lots of people for the kitties to love on. Is anyone else hosting this year? Pointers? Tips? I might be testing my ideas out on myself before the big day, just so I can improve on it or talk myself out of making a mess of it all.

For those of you in the Twin Cities, there will be a "Turkey-Free/ Healthy Harvest" Thanksgiving potluck on Sunday, November 22 from 6pm-8:30pm at Lake Harriet Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Avenue S. It's free, and co-sponsored by Earthsave Twin Cities, Animal Rights Coalition, and Alliance for Sustainability. You don't have to be veg*n to come, but they do ask that you bring a vegan dish to share. Bring a place card with the recipe, and your place setting.

I'm playing with the idea of doing cookie boxes for everyone this year, although I recall doing it one year and it was a nightmare. Those of you who feel gypped if they get a homemade present? You have no idea of the tears behind it. Appreciate that shit.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

MoFo comes to a close...

I'm writing to you as I wait for my Li'l Gracie to be delivered from Pizza Lucé. Nope, I didn't make dough this morning, and the stupid bus system effed up my attempt to pick up a ready-made dough or crust at The Wedge earlier, so it was either take a bus up to Lund's for an Amy's and scurry home, praying to blog before midnight, or just order a damn Lucé. They do have the best vegan pizza in town, although Galactic comes awful close just because they have vegan cheesecake. Lucé has the vegan chocolate peanut butter rice krispie bar, which is pretty damn delicious, but it's no vegan cheesecake.

Anyway, this year was a lot of fun. I'm a little sad it's over, but at the same time relieved. I can now come home and have a peanut butter sandwich for dinner if I want, and I can finally get to the mountain of mofo dishes in the sink. Also, I can try to resume sort sort of personal life. I have turned down a couple of dates because I had to go home and blog, and once I'm home, I'm home. It's really hard to get me out of the house again. Unless I have to run up the street for a green pepper, but that's important.

I will try to be a more productive blogger (I know, I know...famous last words). I do love cooking and eating and making people happy by filling their bellies with yummy food, so it should be a no-brainer. Also, stick around if you're interested in what's up with Animal Rights Coalition, because we always have something coming up. Looking to get active, and you live here in the Twin Cities? Become a member and hang out with the coolest vegans in town. Also, you get a subscription to VegNews out of the deal, so it's a win-win.

Where's my damned pizza?

Here's some kitties for you:

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and Bowie, on his 2nd birthday back in June:

And my dinner!!!

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Mmmm. Even now as I am sick of pizza, I would never be sick of that bar.

Happy MoFo!
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Home stretch...

Second to the last pizza for pizza week, and then VeganMoFo is over for 2009. I still don't have much of an idea of what to do tomorrow. Something Halloweeny, I guess. We shall see.

Today's was easy, though. Chipotle Pizza.

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By the way, I can make pizza dough blindfolded, now. I have even stopped measuring as I add ingredients to the machine. In this one, I added one chipotle pepper (from a can), chopped into teeny weenie little bits, and some oregano.

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The toppings are: a spicy Italian pizza sauce, tvp burger crumbles, corn, green peppers, onion, Teese cheddar or nacho cheese, and black olives. For some reason, this one took a little longer. Probably due to using a smaller pan, I was forced to have a thicker crust. Yummy!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baba Ghanoush Pizza

I really didn't know where I was heading with this, but I knew I wanted to use some sort of white bean spread, and sun dried tomatoes. After salting the eggplant, making the dough, and noticing that I had some fresh mint and pine hit me.

Here it is, pre-oven:

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And post:

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Basically, it's a sun-dried tomato pizza dough, topped with white bean pesto, eggplant, spinach, garlic, cherry tomatoes, and pine nuts. Drizzle on a lemon-tahini sauce (I added a little red wine vinegar because I ran out of lemons), and bake at 400° for ten, and then 475° for five. That way, the eggplant and pine nuts get all roasty-toasty.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

French Bread Pizza

Somebody, please find me a vegan cheese that melts. Teese came close, but nope. I am hoping this is something that comes about in the next year. Then again, I usually prefer pizza cheeseless, but the other toppings sort of required that faux dairy topping.

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This was super fast and easy to throw together. I used Muir Glen pizza sauce, Tofurkey Italian Sausage (I usually make my own sausages, but Tofurkey has been on sale everywhere, and it's just been so hard to resist!), green peppers, mushrooms, and Teese mozzarella. Which doesn't melt.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Calzones

I was going to make this as a pizza, but the more I thought about it, the image of a soggy crust piled high with Tofurkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy didn't really strike me as pretty food. So, I got out my little pastry press (which I quickly abandoned in favor of my own fingers*), and made little Thanksgiving dinners in a pocket. This also is my result for Iron Chef Battle: Carrots and Pumpkin. There's a little cooked carrot in there, some mashed potatoes, a couple slices of Tofurkey Oven Roasted Slices, and a dollop of cranberry sauce. On the side is my Pumpkin Gravy, which was a hit at last year's Thanksgiving.

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The money shot.

I know what you're thinking. Where's the forking stuffing? Well, in this recipe, the stuffing is on the outside. I made a whole wheat pizza dough, and added to it sage, lots of black pepper, rosemary, a little celery seed, and some chopped mushrooms. I made this dough with a little extra flour in order to make it easier to roll out thin.

*That's what she said.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Grandma Bettinelli's Pizza

My friend Rana's grandmother makes her pizza with just olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. It sounded so minimally delicious, I was dying to try it. I made the same dough as last night (half all-purpose flour, half white whole wheat), drizzled with good olive oil, covered with thinly sliced cloves of garlic, and baked on a cast iron crêpe pan at 500° for 10 minutes. It turned out very flaky and not too garlicky. The perfect side for a huge salad.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pizza Week!

My best friend is the best because he called me to tell me that Trader Joe's doesn't put L-cysteine in their pizza dough anymore. I was so relieved, because making my own dough can sometimes be really time consuming. Especially when I want pizza RIGHT NOW. Anyway, the news inspired me to do a week of pizzas.

I haven't made it out to TJ's yet, so I did make a half recipe of dough this morning. This is my version of the Greek pizza. Instead of some unimpressive version of tofu feta, I made a lemony white wine walnut sauce. It smells heavenly, and it tastes absolutely deeelish.

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Greek Pizza with Lemony Walnut Sauce

pizza dough (I used the "small" recipe from a Donna German book. Bread machine; dough cycle)
3 slices red onion
handful kalamata olives
1/2 can artichoke hearts, quartered
2/3 cup red pizza sauce

Top your rolled out dough with sauce and veggies. Drizzle with lemony walnut sauce. Bake at 450° to 500° for 10-15 minutes.

Lemony Walnut Sauce:
1 tbsp Earth Balance
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 3 small or two large juicy lemons
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
handful walnuts, ground
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp cornstarch

Melt EB and olive oil. Add lemon juice and whisk over medium heat. Add the garlic, walnuts, and oregano. Keep whisking until hot. Whisk in the cornstarch and wine, remove from heat and stir until thickened slightly. This stuff is also good on French bread.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Minnesota State Muffin?

No idea we had one, or that any state did, but here ya go. Blueberry. This recipe turned out very blue due to using frozen/thawed instead of fresh berries. I also used about 3 tablespoons of ground candied ginger. I'm not even going to offer one to my boss because he thought the lavender cupcakes "reminded him of old ladies." Lord knows what ginger blueberry muffins might do.

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This is another one that I plan to play with and improve on. It didn't seem sweet enough, and it could stand to lose about five minutes off the baking time. They are still good, and certainly hit the spot on a Saturday morning with a cup of joe before going in to work. Ugh. I need a real job.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Jucy Lucy

The whole story of the most famous burger in town can be found here. I knew that the bar that invented it is disputed, but I was always told it was Matt's Bar, right by my old high school. I didn't try the damn thing until I had out of town guests (this was pre-veg, of course), and all I remember is that the entire first layer of my tongue and the roof of my mouth were burned off by the molten cheese inside the burger.

Well, since vegan cheese typically doesn't melt at all, I felt safe. I even dusted off the ol' George Foreman for this. It's easy. Gimme Lean hamburger made into two patties. One slab of Teese cheddar in the middle. Pinch it all around to seal in the cheeze, and throw it on the grill. Really fast and easy.

And, I was right. No molten cheeze. Just hot and yummy. And all the fixins.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Iron Chef: Apples and Peanut Butter

This was almost too easy. Ingredients that already go great together, and it's Minnesota Week, and there's no better time than right now to buy a peck of Honeycrisp apples. The Honeycrisp, developed at the University of Minnesota, is the sweetest, crispest, and most mouthgasmic apple there is. It makes that Red Delicious mushball look like a cat turd. The ones I picked up tthe other day are by far the best I've tasted. It was like the sweetest champagne. If somebody ever makes cider from this stuff, sign me up.

Honeycrisp Apple Crisp

3 large Honeycrisp apples; cored and diced
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup natural chunky peanut butter
1 tbsp Earth Balance

Heat the oven to 375°.

Toss diced apples with lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the sugars, flour, and oats. Cut in the peanut butter. Oh, eff it, just get your hands in there and work it until you have some peanut buttery crumbiness. Grease a medium sized baking dish with the Earth Balance. Dump in the apple mixture. Cover with the peanut butter mixture, and spread it around evenly. Throw it in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the apples are tender, and the top is golden brown. Cool to room temp, and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vegan Nut Goodies

There's a little old lady with one tooth that comes in our store about once a week and buys ten or eleven Nut Goodies. One week, we didn't have any. She was very upset. Then it started... you could almost hear the ominous music playing as the public advanced on our little drugstore like zombies. "Where are the Nut Goodies?" "Why don't you have any Salted Nut Rolls?" "I can't get through the day without one!"

It wasn't until I was told that our store was the hub for Pearson's candy in our district. I knew that Pearson's was widely available in the Twin Cities, since it is a local company, but we keep the damn things in big red barrels by the registers, and if we run out? Every store in the district does, too.

I didn't really miss the Pearson's candies. I have fond memories of their peppermint patties getting all mashed up in the bottom of my trick-or-treat bags, and I am a big fan of caramel, peanuts, and chocolate, but I was lobbying for gelatin-free Starbursts and vegan Snickers that didn't cost $2.50 a pop. But I figured, since it's Minnesota week, why not try my hand at one of the classics. The Nut Goodie. Maple cream center surrounded by peanuts, and covered in chocolate.

The inside of a genuine Pearson's Nut Goodie.

The maple cream is loosely based on the nougat recipe in Please Don't Feed the Bears, but I didn't really measure anything, and used maple extract along with vanilla. It came out kind of grainy, so I beat the stuff until my arm was in serious pain. It turned out more like a maple-y, fluffy caramel. I just mixed the peanuts in, and used a small cookie dough scoop to make plops on waxed paper.

I stuck them in the freezer for a couple of hours. Watched the last hour of From Hell (which I fell asleep in front of last night), and started melting the chocolate.

I used tongs to dip the frozen Goodies in the chocolate. Set them out on waxed paper again, and cooled. In hindsight, I should have used some sort of candy coating, because they didn't turn out glossy, like Pearson's. They are also super melty when you eat them, but who's complaining? Now I need someone to come over and take these away from me. Yum.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Love in a casserole dish

I think when it comes to comfort foods, Minnesotans win the prize. Of course, when your winters come in September and last until April, you need a lot of comforting.

I was trying to locate the most authentic Minnesota Hotdish recipe. Any Minnesotan will tell you how it's made, but it's always different. Everyone's mom made it the right way. My mom, for example, was the queen of tuna noodle hotdish. Not one to lose her cool New Yorker status, she added a tablespoon of curry powder, which I adopted into my own version of said dish. But what the Authentic Hotdishes always include are ground beef, several cans of cream of something soup (mushroom, chicken, celery), frozen peas or corn, and Tater Tots up top. No noodles?

I had to call in my dad on this one. Born in Valley City, North Dakota and having lived in Minneapolis a good chunk of his life, he knows a thing or two about hotdish. He agreed with me; hotdish has noodles. I knew it! I always have had noodles in my hotdish, and usually there's crushed Rip'l Chips on top instead of Tots. He got a second opinion from his wife, who was born and raised in Mitchell, South Dakota. She said hotdish was ground beef, noodles, and soup. "What about Tater Tots?" "Oh, yeah yeah yeah...Tater Tots!" So there you have it. The internet is only half right. Hotdish has noodles and Tots. Chips go on tuna hotdish. Now, then.

Finding everything I'd need was easy. Instead of making my own cream of mushroom soup, I got some creamy portobello soup from Imagine Foods, Morningstar Farms burger crumbles, frozen corn and peas, and instead of Ore-Ida Tots, I got the Whole Foods bougie version called Tater Puffs.

I added some salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme because this stuff is usually bland as hell. This is how we do it in the Cities, yo.

Mmm. Carby.

Perfect for a cold, misty night. I need to arrange some sort of Vegan Church Potluck. Without the church part.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Minnesota Week. You betcha.

For lack of a better phrase, this week was kicked off by a nail-biter of a win by the Vikings. I didn't make anything remotely Minnesotan yesterday, but the spirit was there. Hey, and the cupcakes were purple! Now, I'm flying high on a wave of purple and gold glory until the Vikes get their asses handed to them by the Steelers next Sunday. I'm sending good vibes to Antoine Winfield: get better! Rest! Ice! Compression! Elevation!

And speaking of rice, who doesn't like a big bowl of down home Minnesotan creamy wild rice soup? With the Minnesota state mushroom?

Wild Rice Soup with Morels
Makes a ton

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
5 stalks celery, chopped
1 zucchini, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 quarts not-chicken broth
1 cup fresh morel mushrooms, chopped
(I used dried and rehydrated a half cup)
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried parsley
salt and pepper
1 lb chicken-style seitan, cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice or wild rice blend
1 cup white wine
2 cups soy creamer

Cook the wild rice and set it aside. I used a blend because I wanted a variety of flavor, so use that.

Heat the oil in a stockpot. Sauté the onion, carrots, celery, and zucchini until the onion is translucent. Add the broth, rice, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until carrots are no longer crunchy; about ten minutes. Add the seitan and wine. Cook five minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in creamer. Test for salt. Serve!