Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Banana Heaven

I don't remember if the folks responsible for Vegan Fusion World Cuisine call this one a custard or pudding, but I know what I call it....Heaven.

For the gajillionth time I was staring at some reeeeally ripe bananas just barely hangin on and smelling up my kitchen, knowing I didn't want any kind of banana bread or cake or muffin. What to do?

I just so happens I had all the makings for a killer dessert, thanks to Vegan Fusion. It's basically a silken tofu based pudding with banana, maple syrup, cardamom, and cinnamon. Half of it is mixed with melted chocolate and then you layer each half in a dessert or parfait dish. It looks in this picture as though there isn't much in the way of the chocolate portion, but don't be fooled! It wasn't that easy to pour in without it pretty much glopping up in the middle. Mmmmmmmmmmm, chocolatey center!!!! The banana layer is smooth and light and has lots of banana flavor. The chocolate layer is rich without being too rich and, once put in the fridge, firms up a bit to give a nice contrast of textures.

Topped with fresh cut strawberries and toasted sweetened coconut and WOW! This stuff is seriously goooooooood! (the recipe calls for some fresh mint as well, but I hadn't any and had to skip that part, but I'm sure it's made even more tasty with that addition!) I'm typically not a huge fan of tofu based desserts, but this one is so full of flavor and creaminess, you get all of the protein soy goodness with none of the sometimes overwhelming tofu chalky taste.

I halved the recipe, which said it made three servings, but my version made four perfectly sized helpings.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Broccoli Bisque

Ok, so the picture kinda sucks, but this creamy, hearty soup from Vegan Vittles is amazing! It comes together in a flash and is really delicious. The ingredients are super simple (saute onion, garlic, potato, then broccoli then blend in soy milk, seasoning, and almond butter). I added some nutritional yeast and continued to add more steamed broccoli pieces to this one as I enjoyed the leftovers.

This bowl of yum, easily, will become a cool-weather staple around here. I'm a sucker for creamy bisques and, with this one, you don't have to worry about it being fattening as it's the potato that lends the creaminess. It's full of green broccoli goodness and, next time, I think I'll even try adding some cauliflower or carrots....or both!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vegan Bar Food

I've been enjoying my entirely too fattening Vegan Blue Cheese Dressing by way of these
Vegan Buffalo Sammiches! Basically, I just rehydrate some Soy Curls (now also found here), lightly coat with flour and saute til golden brown, take off the heat, add some wing sauce, stir, and pile on a wheat bun with lettuce, tomato, and Blue Cheese. I seriously cannot get enough of these.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When a Salad's Not Just a Salad

Before becoming vegan, I was that girl who, when dining out, would always order blue cheese dressing on her salads. Sure, they'd taunt me with interesting fruity vinaigrettes and other creamy variations but I always went back to the sure-bet goodness I've known and loved since childhood. When I became vegan I knew that it'd be time to give up my favorite,dreamy guilty pleasure and I'd finally be forced to get to know other dressings to wow my taste buds when enjoying a fresh bowl of this...or so I thought. But I'm here to tell you that you can still indulge! I, on a whim, after my brother (aka the blue cheese kid) had been going on and on and on about his culinary quest to come up with the most perfect homemade blue cheese dressing, thought....'hey! why can't I try a vegan version of that?!'. And girls and boys? I totally did with winning results!

Enter the fabulous Sheese, which until now? I didn't love. I actually thought it to be a total waste of money when I opted to try the Cheddar flavor from I'd since written off Sheese and hadn't thought about it again. But then I remembered they had a Blue Cheese variety and the reviews were all pointing to 'try this now!' so I splurged.
The resulting dressing I came up with is not even close to low fat. In fact, this is something you don't wanna eat all the time. But if you wanna kill a craving? I highly recommend you whip this stuff up and wow all the blue cheese lovers you know by turning your salads like above into this...I mean just look at all that creamy goodness!so, without further ado...

Just As I Remember It But Vegan! Blue Cheeze Dressing

(this will make a ton, so cut it in half if ya like. it's what I did)

8 oz. Sheese Blue Cheese
3/4 c. Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream

1 1/3 c. Vegannaise

1 tsp. vegan Worcestershire (i used a scant tsp. i didn't wanna overpower it or turn it brown)

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

splash of lemon juice

pinch of sugar
soy creamer (you won't need much)
black pepper to taste

crumble up your Sheese and add the rest of the ingredients except creamer. break out the stick blender or put all in a food processor and process til smooth and creamy, adding a splash or two of creamer til you get the consistency you want.

i'm still wanting to try out my little brother's version. His, when made vegan, will certainly be a muuuuuch lighter creation and a LOT less fattening. I know it involves soy creamer, the Sheese, lemon juice, a bit of sugar, basil, olive oil and water to thin it out. Seems simple enough. I'll get back to you on that one, for sure! enjoy!

Green-wa, oh yeah!

Not every day can one crack open a sleepy eye, the sound of the surf in their ears, and this in their line of vision without even lifting their head off the pillow, step into the shower and start their day with this magnificent view* But ya know what one can do? One can crack open a copy of the genius vegan cookbook Yellow Rose Recipes and create this magnificent dish in a flash and enjoy all the things that are good in the world (or at least the vegan diet!) in this yummy number, Green-wa!
(yeah, my camera died just as I was about to snap a pic....sure, I could wait to have another serving before posting, but why not highlight Joanna's beautiful shot from Yellow Rose Recipes?)

We all know what a powerhouse Quinoa is, but if you're like me, you often run out of interesting ways to serve it that truly tantalize your tastebuds. Look no further, this stuff is incredible, packed with the protein of quinoa and full of green goodness of spinach, peas, and cilantro! I added a touch more salt to mine and think that next time I may even take her suggestion and amp up the curry a little more and use coconut milk for the yogurt. Either way, treat yourself to some Green-wa, it's reeeeeeeeally good!

*Sure the little one's arrival is four and a half months away, but the Cap'n and I decided we'd take advantage of the amazing winter warmth we've been having in Florida and get away for what may be the last time before she joins our crew. We hit our favorite spot just south of St. Augustine Beach and (of course, since she was technically along for the ride on this trip, her name just HAD to be put in the sand before the tide came up to greet her!) spent three glorious days soaking up the coast we love so much. Happy to be home with our furry bunch I got back needing something inspiring in the kitchen for dinner that would make me miss a little less the sound of the surf in my ears while I puttered around the kitchen. This totally did the trick!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sunshine-y Day

Thanks to Veganomicon and the 82 degree high we had here yesterday (isn't winter grand?). I've always been one of those peeps who sleeps in more often than not so when you've seen me highlight an amazing breakfast? It's pretty much been more like brunch for me....until now. Seems pregnancy hormones not only have me up throughout the night but have me up bright and early with no hope for catching any extra Z's.

So, yesterday I did what any hungry vegan with some morning time on her hands would, I cracked open Veganomicon and finally made a brunch dish (for breakfast!) that I'd been eyeing, the Tofu Florentine. Mine's served with some herbed potatoes rather than the steak fries as all we had was red potatoes in the pantry.

Having just polished off some of the leftovers this morning I gotta say....this stuff is Sooooooooooo Gooooooood! I love the tanginess of the braising liquid for the tofu and am totally smitten with the nooch sauce. All in all? a perfect meal!
So, if you're not fortunate enough to live in the warmer climates through the winter months (I know, I know some people actually even like snow! crazy!), grab your copy of the 'con and warm yourself up with this sunshine on a plate some sleepy weekend morning. You'll be so glad you did!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Vegan Fusion World Cuisine

Otherwise known as Blossoming Lotus' beautiful contribution to vegan fare...or, one of the few amazing vegan cookbooks I gifted myself this year for Christmas. I'm totally wowed by the presentation of this book, the thoughtful quotes and messages that are strewn about, and the careful, loving way each thing is offered.

Jumping right in, I tried their version of a tofu scramble this morning (I know, I know, way to really get in there and try something new ;)I enjoyed their heavy hand in using turmeric and paprika, but also added a heaping tablespoon of mustard seed to mine when sauteeing the onions and garlic, went heavy on the nutritional yeast (they called for a teaspoon....a teaspoon! please!), and then followed their suggestion and topped mine with crumbled tempeh strips (a quick recipe also from the book, from their cool section in the back of their staff's easy favorites), then made it more my own by garnishing with some Toffutti Better Than Sour Cream, fresh avocado, and a little chopped fresh basil.

This was hearty and yummy (i'm a total sucker for trying everyone else's version of tofu scrambles), and I'm looking forward to enjoying the leftovers in wraps in the coming days.

Wanting more light fare in my diet after the holidays laden with sweets and starches, I threw together a 'what's in the fridge' salad of spring mix greens, cuke, carrots, mushrooms, tomato, chickpeas, and avocado and drenched it in their very light Green Goddess Dressing.
I'm a HUGE fan of making my own dressings and seldom like bottled varieties, but I often whip up a recipe only to be disappointed. This one? no disappointment AT ALL. There's no oil in this recipe (tho it does call for a cup of Vegannaise), but it's sooooo light and the basil and parsley are subtle yet flavorful. I went easy on the salt but also added a bit of agave which, I thought, really enhanced the flavor more to my liking.

I've been thinking of this dressing ever since and am excited to whip up a chickpea salad with it tomorrow for lunch, yum!

Happiest New Year, everyone!
A wish I failed to send out in my last post. I blame the fatigue. Seriously, all those books that tell you that the second trimester is a magical time of renewed energy? They so totally lie ;)
But I can't complain, I've just begun to feel her moving quite frequently. It's a beautiful and amazing thing, and I think it's what's inspired me to get my weary butt back in the kitchen so stay tuned!