Archive for February, 2009

Pasta and More Cupcakes!

Yes I am still here and still keeping a vegan diet for almost a month now, woot! I haven’t been cooking much because I’ve been really busy at work but luckily there is a Whole Foods walking distance to my office so I have been able to feed myself tasty vegan food. I’ve also been eating at Flore a ton. Their food is delicious, fresh, and they have consistently great service! If you live in Los Angeles and haven’t been I highly recommend you give them a try. Sorry I have no pictures but I recommend their burrito and their homemade hot sauce.

I did make some cupcakes this weekend because I needed my chocolate fix! The recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World:

Chocolate Cupcake with Peanut Buttercream

Chocolate Cupcake with Peanut Buttercream

I can’t rave enough about how good these are. I shaved some chocolate to decorate the tops because I like my cupcakes to look pretty.
I also made this pasta with grilled vegetables (asparagus, brussel sprouts, tomatoes) and fresh basil which I picked up at the Farmer’s Market on Sunday:
Penne with Grilled Vegetables

Penne with Grilled Vegetables

It was a great weeknight dinner – fast, easy, and delicious. Til next time…
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Tempeh Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Avo Wrap, and Homemade Granola.

Tempeh Bacon Wrap

Tempeh Bacon Wrap

Look at that Tempeh Bacon – isn’t it lovely? Again another recipe from the bad ass book, Vegan with a Vengeance! If you don’t have it yet, what are you waiting for? Easy, delicious vegan recipes from Isa – who totally rocks!

And speaking of people that rock, if you haven’t been to Have Cake, Will Travel you need to read this blog! Fabulous photos, great recipes, oh and fabulous photos – did I mention that already… I made some granola following this recipe.  I subbed some stuff because I didn’t have everything – I used whole wheat flour, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut oil, and some dried mixed berries. Did I tell you that I love her pictures? Here’s my attempt at a nice picture like Celine’s (not close but they say imitation is the best form of flattery!)

Homemde Granola!

Homemade Granola!

I never knew granola was so easy to make! And you know exactly what is in it, and its cheaper, oh and did I tell you it was delicious!!! Thanks Celine, I will never have the store bought stuff again!

Marinated Asian Tofu v2.0 and Cupcakes!

So I’ve been in the kitchen cooking like a fiend and can’t eat everything fast enough! I definitely eat better now and more frequently since dedicating myself to veganism and am having a blast trying out all kinds of new recipes. So first up is a salad I made for lunch to use up some of the tofu from the other night:

Grilled Tofu Salad

Grilled Tofu Salad

The dressing is what I like to call “Nooch Crack”! I’m telling you, it is addictive  – whenever I make a batch I find myself putting it on everything. Its proper name is Hollyhock Dressing and you can find the recipe here. Seriously, go make it, you won’t regret it…

Next up are vegan cupcakes – yes that’s right cupcakes! I’ve never been much of a baker because its always seemed restrictive to me (I don’t like to measure stuff) but these were actually really fun to make! They are Coconut Lime Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World , of course. Here they are coming out of the oven:

Naked Cupcakes!

Naked Cupcakes!

 And here is one fully decorated (my first time!) 

Coconut Lime Cupcake
Coconut Lime Cupcake

Isn’t it adorable?! And OMG they taste so good – you can fool anyone with these – they taste just like those fancy boutique cupcakes that are all the rage, but they are better for you because they’re vegan. I had so much fun making and decorating these. I totally got a sugar buzz because I ate so much! One out of the oven because it was “ugly”, then had to try the frosting, then I messed one up because I’ve never used a decorating tip, then more frosting that oozed out of the bag… you get the picture. I think there is one right now in the fridge tht is less than perfect…

Vegan Pancakes, Oh My!

So today for breakfast I made pancakes from Vegan With A Vengeance. I followed the basic recipe and then decided to add some chocolate chips at the end because it was just that kinda day!

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Slathered them in Earth Balance and some agave – YUM!! I made only half the recipe because I was eating alone and I got 3 nice sized pancakes but they were so good I wish I would have made more!
For dinner I made roasted sunshine squash soup. Sunshine squash is also called orange kabocha. I got it from the Hollywood Farmers’ Market which if you’ve never been, you must go. Its open year round and it is one of the biggest in Los Angeles! So for the soup I roasted the squash (split in half) in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Took it out and let it cool. In a large saucepan I added a little oil, 1 diced onion, couple cloves of garlic minced, half of a red bell pepper diced, and some grated ginger. Once sauteed, I added some veggie stock and some water (I didn’t measure!) and brought that to a boil. I added a pinch of salt & pepper, some chili powder and some nutmeg. Once it was boiling I added the squash, turned the heat down and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. I tasted it for seasoning and then stuck in the handy dandy stick blender and pureed until smooth.
Roasted Sunshine Squash Soup

Roasted Sunshine Squash Soup

Can you see that color – now I see why its called sunshine! And the squash is very sweet, smooth, and not stringy. I need to go scout some more of these babies out at the FM on Sunday!

Tofu Scramble – I Can’t Believe We Just Met…

I have to admit that breakfast/brunch is easily my favorite meal category. I’ve always loved to wake up on the weekends and make a big scramble with potatoes, eggs, veggies, and practically everything in the fridge, throw it in a tortilla, add hot sauce and I’m happy! I thought those days were over now because I am not eating eggs or cheese anymore. Much to my surprise, I am happy to report that is not the case – enter the tofu scramble! 

So being a vegetarian for years and dining at a lot of vegetarian/vegan restaurants in LA, I am not going to sit here and tell you that I’ve never had tofu scramble, and good ones at that. I just have never made them myself.  Wow was I surprised when I followed the super easy recipe in Vegan With A Vengeance  for Tofu Scramble. Not only did it look like scrambled eggs, it tasted and had the texture of them too and its cruelty free! And as an added bonus, nutritional yeast tastes like cheese! I was in heaven! Take a look:

Tofu Scramble

Tofu Scramble

I had it with Field Roast’s Smoked Apple Sage sausages and toast. It all tasted fantastic and while I was taking the pictures I just wanted to eat it! Here’s a close-up:
What I really liked about this recipe is that it can be very easily changed up by adding different veggie/herbs/spices combos. I can’t wait to experiment! But just following the basic recipe it is really, really good. I mean I took the pictures, put the camera down and hoovered it! I can’t quite remember if I chewed before swallowing let alone be mindful of what I was doing – good thing I was alone… Here’s the result after several seconds if I recall correctly:
All Gone!

All Gone!

 
Looking at the pictures again is making me hungry! I need to run to the store to get some tortillas… Til next time.

Marinated Asian Tofu!

Marinated Asian Tofu and Coconut Rice

Marinated Asian Tofu and Coconut Rice

Tonight for dinner I made Marinated Asian Tofu from Veganomicon . The inspiration came from this Get Sconed! post from several weeks ago. My tofu is not as pretty as Jess’ but its not bad for my first time grilling tofu. This recipe is quick, easy, and delicious. Just press your tofu, get the marinade going, chuck it all in a bag, and a little while later grill. I probably left it marinating for several hours because I got busy and almost forgot that I was making dinner! So the tofu really soaked up all the flavors and was fantastic.

I also made coconut rice – 2 cups of jasmine rice, 1 can of lite coconut milk, 2 cups of water, zest and juice of a small lime – put it all in the rice cooker and a little while later I had sweet, sticky, fragrant rice! The veggies are Trader Joe’s  frozen Soycutash. This whole meal was very flavorful and super easy to make.

So now that I’ve been trying to blog what I am eating I just want to say “THANK YOU” to all of the countless vegan blogs out there – this is hard work! Not only do you have to prepare the food THEN you have to place it attractively on a plate, try to get a decent picture before the food gets cold, and then you can actually eat your meal! And that all happens before you start the post…whew…it is great fun though and I can see why people enjoy it, I certainly am!

Now I have to go back to brainstorming about what I’m gonna prepare next…til next time.

Happy Vegan Day!

Today, February 1, 2009 is my official turning vegan day. I have been a vegetarian for many years and I recently decided that I needed to finally take the plunge and go vegan. The obstacle for me has always been cheese – give up meat and dairy, no problem. Cheese, wait…that’s dairy??? That was always my issue. Well I’ve made the commitment to not let cheese take over my life so as of today – no more cheese!  

I’ve been reading many vegan blogs and vegan cookbooks in the last couple of weeks and trying new recipes and have realized that I don’t really miss the cheese. In the process I have become completely addicted to vegan blogs. Most provide a wealth of information – tips, recipes, and endorsements of products by real people. So far, no one has led me astray and all of the stuff I’ve tried has been great! I’m like a wide-eyed kid in the kitchen – completely amazed that ” I made that” and it tastes better than the “regular” version. I think I’ve been driving my partner crazy by obsessively grilling her “did you like that?” and she’ll respond and then 5 minutes later I’ll reword the same question 🙂 She’s been vegan for a while so it is not that magical for her as it is to me.

So here are some of the things I made this weekend – first off I baked these cookies. I got the recipe from Joni’s blog . I only had crunchy peanut butter so I used that instead of the creamy kind, they still had a great texture.

PB&J Thumbprint Cookies

For dinner tonight I made Black Bean Burgers. I kind of just made up the recipe myself  from the inspiration that is Joni’s Blog (see below the pic). I served them with baked sweet potato fries!

Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burgers

 

Yields aprox. 6 burgers

 

15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 med. onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

½ cup red bell pepper, diced

1 tbs. olive oil

2 cups mushrooms, diced

½ tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. cumin

½ tsp. chili powder

3 tbs. ketchup

3 tbs. hot sauce

1 cup breadcrumbs

 

Directions:

Heat a medium skillet or frying pan over medium heat and add oil. When oil is hot add onions, garlic, jalapeno, and bell pepper and sauté for a few minutes. When the onions are translucent add mushrooms. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes until all vegetables are browned. Set aside and let cool.

 

In a food processor add rinsed and drained beans, the sautéed vegetables, all of the spices, the ketchup, and hot sauce. Process for a few seconds and scrape down the sides. When it is well incorporated start to add breadcrumbs a little at a time. Process for a few more seconds and check the consistency. You may need to add more or less breadcrumbs until the mixture is neither too wet nor too dry. The mixture should be a good consistency for forming patties. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning to your taste.

 

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and put in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place a silicon mat, parchment paper, or lightly grease a cookie sheet. Form the dough into balls and press into patties of the desired size.  Bake for 15 minutes and then flip the burgers and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

 

Well, I guess that’s it for today. Not bad for a first post from a blog newbie!