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:

kitterz 001

kitterz 002

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

And my dinner!!!

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luce 002

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.

chipotlepizza 001

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.

chipotlepizza 002

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:

babapizza 002

And post:

babapizza 004

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.

frenchbreadpizza 002

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.

frenchbreadpizza 001

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.

calzones 001

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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.

greekpizza 001

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.

blueberrymuffins 003

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!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Football snacks

I have to work every Sunday. Thank heavens I have a friend that will send me Facebook updates on the game, otherwise I would be super depressed.

Today, I don't have to be in until 2:00pm, so I made a quick lunch of bar food. I didn't cook anything. The wings are from Health is Wealth, and the potstickers are from Trader Joe's.

The reason beer is consumed during games? Because otherwise your tongue would burn off.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

National Chocolate Cupcake Day

Even though I had an eggplant waiting in the wings, I decided that today had to be recognized. I would have made these this morning and brought them in for my coworkers, and a late Boss's Day gift (ha), but I can't peel myself off the sheets before 11:00am. It was a dead sprint to midnight to get these puppies done.

So, besides the obvious cheating by using food coloring for the frosting, where is the violet? Well, mixed right into the batter is a handful of culinary lavender that I picked up a few months ago. I'm a little worried that my cupcakes are going to make my coworkers sleepy. Or suddenly want a bubble bath and a glass of wine.

In case you're wondering, that's a Skittle on top.

Friday, October 16, 2009


I got the weirdest list of foods when I tried to research for this recipe. Artichokes? Rosemary?

I finally settled on Indigo as somewhere between blue and purple, which gave me a little leeway in the color spectrum. I felt that cooked cremini mushrooms, red kale, and black mission figs fit the bill. Also, it was all I saw at the Wedge in the three minutes I had to pick something out before I was late to work.

What do you think?

All day long I wondered. Soup? Stew? Dessert (ew)? Then I remembered the box of arborio rice I picked up at Trader Joe's on a whim. I just had to replace the bottle of white wine I thought I still had, but apparently was consumed Tuesday night. Yep.

Black Mission Fig Risotto with Lemony Red Kale
Makes about 6 servings

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups heated broth
2 tbsp Earth Balance
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
about 10 black mission figs (fresh), stems removed, and quartered
1 tbsp dried parsley
salt and pepper
1 bunch red kale
1 lemon's worth of juice
2 tsp olive oil

In a large saucepan, heat the Earth Balance. Sauté the onion until translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms. Stir to coat, and cook for a minute or two, until the mushrooms soften. Add rice. Stir to coat. Add wine, and cook, stirring, until the wine evaporates. Add two cups of broth. For the next 15 minutes, add a cup of broth and stir until reduced and absorbed. Once all the broth is poured in, add the figs and parsley and cook until the risotto is done. Salt and pepper to taste.

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil. On lowish heat, sauté the kale for about a minute. Flip the leaves around with a pair of tongs. Drizzle with lemon juice, and cook until wilty.

Serve risotto over kale. Yum!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

There is no blue food

I was glad to find a blue dish in this house, since the "blue" food I made is actually not blue at all.

I finally whipped out the Pancake Puff maker (also known as an aebleskiver), and experimented a little. I only had two large blue potatoes, so I decided to do a trial run with some sweet potato. Turned out good, and figured out the perfect flame to cook them without making a big black puff. So then I make a blue potato pancake batter. Still blue. I drop the batter into the pan,

See how it's blue, but once it starts to cook, it turns a teal color? God dammit.

Then I pour on the wild blueberry sauce, which has turned a rich merlot color. Sigh.

So, it's true. Blue food does not exist.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Green day, green girl.

Those of you that know me and Paula know that when we get together, and there's alcohol involved, it can get ugly. There was broken glass out in the damn hallway of my building. As Pizzy put it, "We did good."

Well, I certainly did not feel good this morning. My 38-year old body is not bouncing back like it did fifteen years ago. Also, I'm an idiot for drinking not just red wine, but vanilla vodka-ginger ales, white wine, and a couple of Bell's Two Hearted Ales. Kill me. Then my boss called and wanted me to come in. Not happening. It was all I could do to get up and pee today, let alone do anything else. But like a good little vegan mofo'er, I soldiered on.

Linguine with Pistachio Pesto, Italian Sausage, and Grapes.
(thanks to Isa for the edamame idea)
Makes 6-8 servings

1 lb linguine
1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1/2 cup shelled edamame
2 cloves garlic
handful fresh basil leaves (about a cup, packed)
1/2 cup water
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
2 Italian sausages (I used Tofurkey), diced
2 cups green grapes, halved

Boil the pasta and set aside.
Throw the nuts, edamame, garlic, and basil in a food processor and turn it on high. Pour in the water while it's going, and drizzle in olive oil until it reaches a desired consistency (I used about 1/3 cup. It ain't diet food). Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a small pan. Add the sausage, and cook for about two minutes. Add the grapes. Cook about three more minutes until heated through and the sausage bits start to brown a little.

Add pesto sauce to the pasta and toss. Add the sausage and grapes. Check for salt. Serve.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Curry Matches the Drapes

This is my friend, Paula. I made this dish for her.

This is what I'd call a Massaman Island Curry. Tofu, yellow peppers, coconut curry, pineapple, and bananas. But since it's been dedicated, it's called The Curry Matches the Drapes.

Paula is moving back home to Rapid City at the end of this month, leaving me drinking buddy-less. I told her to come by tonight and I'd cook for her. How appropriate to have my lovely flaxen-haired friend over on yellow night. Now she can say she has a recipe named after her when I'm rich and famous. Yeah.

Love you, Paula. xoxo

Now, back to the serious drinking...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Good morning, sunshine!

I woke up to the sound of Mischka chattering at the window. Expecting to see a bird out there, I noticed that it was snowing. Great, big clumps of the stuff. Not the mere dusting we got on Saturday.

I am totally unprepared. I need boots. I need a new winter coat. I need a hat, fer chrissakes. Where is all the stuff from last year, you ask? Either ill-fitting, ugly, or not particularly vegan as I try to replace all my pre-gan stuff. I found two mismatched mittens. I don't have time to run to Target before work, but I totally had time to make a batch of warm muffins. Gingery Carrot Orange Muffins, actually.

These turned out good, but not as orange-y or gingery as I'd like. I'll try them again with zest of two oranges, and either fresh or crystallized ginger. Powder didn't do this justice.

But they are still tasty, and I'll give some to my neighbor and the unappreciative losers I work with. I definitely need more vegan friends.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rainbow Week Day One: Red

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Ed showed up with about two pounds of fresh raspberries from his garden. I tasted some, and couldn't believe it. I never knew they could taste so good. I immediately froze some of them for this week, but had no idea what to make until today.

Raspberry Tomato Basil Gazpacho (and raspberry sangria)
serves 2

2 ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 tbsp chopped red onion
1 slice bread (I used 1/2 a pita)
2 tbsp chopped cucumber
1 tbsp of fresh chopped basil
2 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup red wine
1 cup water
salt and white pepper to taste
Cucumber and basil to garnish

Put everything in the blender (my VitaMix made quick work of this, but you may have to add ingredients one by one to a normal blender) and turn it on high until liquified. Add water as needed to reach a desirable consistency. Add salt and white pepper and taste. It should be fresh, but not bland. Garnish with cucumber slices and a sprig of basil. Eat. Make sweet love on red satin sheets.

That picture was hard as hell to take without completely wrecking my bed. Bowie has a thing for those sheets, and likes to roll around in them.