Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kitchen Sink Pasta

While quick and easy might be the theme, saving money is the goal. So, tonight I wanted something that was not only easy, but also available without a trip to the store. In this house, that inevitably means Mexican food, but I also wanted to use the tomato sauce that was slowly aging in the fridge and the pounds and pounds of pasta spilling out of the cupboard. So, I came up with this: some kind of mexican-y pasta. (That was kind of anticlimactic.)

1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup roasted salsa
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
A couple dashes of Cholula (or another hot sauce)

Combine in sauce pan and heat on low for 10-15 minutes.
"The Meat":
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 package frozen pepper/onion mix
2 handfuls frozen sweet corn
2 vegan sausages, torn into big chunks
1 package of pasta (cooked according to directions)

Saute pepper/onion mix and corn in a small amount of oil until water evaporates. Add garlic and sausages. Cook until the sausage gets a little crispy. Add cooked pasta to the sauce. Serve pasta topped with veggie/sausage mixture. It helps if you can eat it on your porch in 70 degree weather. I'm just saying...

Presto! Pesto.

I'm starting to feel like the theme is quick and easy (which *ahem* is nothing like yours truly). But, given it's the end of the semester, I guess I'm not surprised. So, a couple of nights ago I defrosted on container of pesto (I make a huge batch and then freeze portions in leftover Tofutti cream cheese containers) and broke out the soy curls and gnocchi.
1. Saute: 1/2 white onion (cut into thin moon slices) until translucent
2. Add: 2 cloves garlic (minced) and 1 bag frozen cauliflower (chopped)
3. Once cauliflower is heated through, add: 2 small zucchini (sliced), 2 cups rehydrated soy curls, and 1 package cooked gnocchi
4. Cook 2-3 more minutes, then add a 1/2 cup of pesto. Cook until everything is heated through.

There you have it: fast food at the palace.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Green Curry

Yet another curry and coconut dish: green curry, tofu, cauliflower, squash, and edamame. This one Josh made days ago, took a picture, and then talked about putting it on the blog.It never actually made it to the blog under his volition.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Yesterday we were still recovering from the party. Since I had no desire to go to the store and not an iota of creativity in me, I flipped through some cookbooks looking for recipes that called for ingredients that we already had. This Coconut Red Lentil Soup from La Dolce Vegan was the winner. Served over rice, it really hit the spot. Unfortunately, it also really looked like puke. The picture does not lie. But, can you ever really go wrong with coconut and curry?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Black Bean Salsa

So, last night was our housewarming party and it was a smashing success. A lot of people opted to bring booze instead of trying their hand at vegan fare, but there was still plenty to go around. I think we had about 40 people here--along with 2 dogs that thrilled the cats to no end. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures. I just didn't feel like spending the party behind the lens, so there isn't documentation of the food or festivities. But, I did make a spinach, artichoke, and Teese quiche, which turned out edible despite the fact that I completely forgot to add the cornstarch. And, Josh made some delicious black bean salsa.
If he ever gets off his non-blogging ass, he might actually take the time to leave the recipe that goes with this picture...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spinach Salad with Tempeh

Tonight I was dining solo (Josh's company had a party celebrating Earth Day, so he was MIA), and I wasn't feeling like doing anything fancy since I spent most of the day cleaning and getting ready for our party Friday. And, because I'm feeling stubborn about losing weight at the moment, I decided that a spinach salad was just what I needed.
Clearly, it didn't take much effort. Simply layer the following ingredients on top of each other in the order listed:

Handful of fresh spinach
1/2 cup tabbouleh w/ mint and pistachios (from this month's Vegetarian Times)
3 strips of tempeh (pan fried in oil, tamari, minced garlic, and coriander)
A drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette
Diced Avocados

Vegan Chipotle Ranch

Today's post-run snack: veggies and chipotle ranch. I made a big batch of regular ranch and chipotle ranch the other day, which is great to have around for quick snack. But, I'm kicking myself for not thinking to put it on last night's taco salad.
In a food processor, combine:
1 lb. silken tofu
1 1/2 cup vegenaise
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, torn into little pieces
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. rice syrup
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 chipotles in adobo sauce

Monday, April 21, 2008

Taco Salad

Well, the winter has been unkind to me. I've managed to put on 10 pounds since the holidays, and even riding 120 miles and running 10 miles last week couldn't put a dent in it. The scale did not budge. It didn't even flutter in one direction or the other. So, I thought I'd try to eat something that can at least be construed as healthy (we tried a new mac and cheese recipe last week and a delicious coconut curry, which apparently undid my best efforts at exercise). This taco salad* is simply TVP and kidney beans with salad fixin's. Simple, but good.
1 cup TVP
1 cup water
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 tbsp. tomato sauce
1 tbsp. Cholula (though I suppose any hot sauce would do)
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. hot paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt to taste

Small head of green lettuce
1 tomato, diced
1/2 avocado, diced
vegan sour cream
cilantro for garnish

In a frying pan or skillet, saute the onions in a small amount of oil until they are golden brown. While the onions are cooking, boil the water in a medium sauce pan. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat and add the TVP. Stir until the water is absorbed. Add the kidney beans, tomato sauce, Cholula, and spices. When the onions are done, add them to the TVP mix and stir well. Put the TVP on top of a bed of lettuce and top with sour cream, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and a dash of hot sauce.

*Inspired by Yellow Rose Recipes.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Caramelized Banana Brownies with PB Frosting

So, I came across this recipe while I was perusing some food blogs the other day. Since Josh likes peanut butter and bananas (the understatement of the year), I thought I'd try to veganize this. In actuality, it wasn't difficult. I simply used the cream cheese frosting recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and added 3 tbsp. of peanut butter. And, since the brownies already have bananas in them, I simply used another banana for the binder instead of the egg the brownie mix called for (and I replaced the regular cream cheese with Tofutti).

The brownies turned out very sweet and I think the recipe could use some more tinkering--like not adding the 1/4 cup of sugar with the cream cheese and caramelized bananas. It's hard for me to say how good they are--since I don't really like chocolate and my sweet tooth is nonexistent--but Josh liked them. I should warn you, however, that even he could only eat one. They are very rich.
To see what these should look like, there's a picture on the original post. Baking isn't really my thing and a smushed chocolate bananaey looking thing is about as good as it gets when it comes to me and baking.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tofu and Hummus Pita

Today was a lovely 78 degrees and I decided to spend it running along the Creek with Polly (who actually preferred to run in the creek). It was the first time this year I had to slather on sunscreen and it felt fantastic. Anyway, I decided to put off the stacks of work I have backing up and plans for an elaborate meal in order to enjoy the day. Instead, I thought I'd just throw something simple together that didn't require the oven. It almost worked.

Since Josh made hummus yesterday, I thought I'd make something to go with it. (A note about the hummus: Josh followed the recipe in the new Cook's Illustrated. They were testing recipes for really smooth hummus and it came out good last night. We added jalapenos to spice it up a bit and put in the fridge. Unfortunately, it acquired the consistency of paste overnight....but it still tasted good.) I threw together a marinade for some tofu and let it soak for a while before coating it cornstarch and frying it. However, the tofu wasn't the right consistency, so I threw the whole skillet into the oven on 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so. It came out crunchy, I'll give it that. In the end, I just threw the hummus, tofu, cucumber, tomatoes, and spinach in a pita. It was actually quite good (though I didn't let the tofu marinate long enough and then baked it too long).
To make the marinade, just blend the following ingredients together*:

1 cup OJ
1 cup Olive Oil
3 tbsp. Lime Juice
2 tbsp. Agave Nectar
1 1/2 tbsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp Cayenne
A couple cloves of fresh garlic
Fresh Ginger

*Most of these measurements are approximate, since I have a bad habit of not measuring things...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lime (the restaurant)

After VegFest, the punk rock flea market, and a mad dash across Denver on our bikes that ended with us watching the bus to Lafayette pull away as we rode up, we decided to waste some time in Denver. Eventually, we found ourselves in Larimer Square.
In essence, Larimer Square is like a little piece of downtown Boulder--all pricey boutiques and dimly lit restaurants. But, like Boulder, it has its charms. One of those charms is a restaurant called Lime. While Lime first appears to cater to hipsters (as opposed to two bedraggled, just off our bikes ruffians) who want to be seen, I was pleasantly surprised to notice, upon closer inspection, that the table clothes were at least covered in paper. We decided to give it a shot. For dinner, I had the appetizer tamale plate which was delicious. The masa was light and fluffy, while the sweet corn was just sweet enough. The red chili that came with it added some smokiness that went well with the sweet corn.
Josh had the chimichanga that they made with beans and fajita veggies instead of meat. While it came out the first time with cheese, they were really good about taking it back and making sure it came out right the second time. He apparently thought it was worth the wait, since he cleaned his plate.
I did have two disappointments though. My mojito came out with about three pieces of mint in it, which left it tasting pretty plain. And, the chips they serve are way too heavy to start a meal. They serve chips that remind me of the chips that Whole Foods packages (thick, oily, and delicious for about two bites) and after half a basket I was already full (this from a girl who can eat many, many baskets of chips and still have room for dinner). But, for those of you who likfe Tequila, they did bring us complimentary shots of Tequila in hollowed out limes. Sadly, they were wasted on the likes of us...

Vegfest Denver

So, yesterday was Vegfest and I was too tired and too full to post a blog last night. The turnout was fantastic. Several hours before it was even over, Dan said they'd had 600+ people come through the door (and, by the way, a hearty thanks to Dan for bringing us Vegfest). The Ritz Carlton was a lovely location, the food was great, and the participants even better. The food vendors set up around the periphery of the room and the line to indulge was almost enough to make us forgo the food (that and the tofu scramble we foolishly cooked for breakfast). Watercourse, Leaf, Govindas, Black Cat, and many others served up delicious food, though Watercourse is still my favorite.

There were also tables selling everything from cookbooks to bike maps (thanks Bike Denver!) to subscriptions to VegNews to Shoes to Photography. The consumer in me was thrilled and managed to walkaway with a bag full of goods and a bit of a shopping high. And, while I appreciate the work of animal rights activist groups, their tables at events like these always leave me a little confused. I can't imagine that anyone at VegFest needs to be convinced that Factory Farming is cruel and should be stopped, and I can't help but feel sometimes that we're preaching to the choir. But still, after filling our bellies and emptying our wallets, we left better than we came.

Anyway, here's my parting shot: a parting shot of veganboyjosh and Josh Herbivore. Until next year...

Friday, April 11, 2008

"Egg" Salad

Tonight was another easy night. Neither of us felt like cooking and I made some of this "egg" salad yesterday because we had some herbs that were looking like they were on their last leg. The recipe is from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. Looking through that cookbook, I had some initial reservations, but the recipes are simple and delicious (at least the 5 I've tested so far). Though I simply wrapped the "egg" salad in a tortilla with sliced cucumber and fresh spinach tonight, I also made a batch of it--served on crackers--last month for a party. It was a huge hit with every cohort at that party. It has become my go to food.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Grilled Cream Cheese

Today was a very long day and it was simply a continuation of yesterday. All told I've spent the past 36 hours reading, commenting on, and talking about student drafts. 35 of them. Josh is basically in the same boat, since he's still not back from work. In fact, I think I prefer my boat.

As a result, I was looking for something easy, satisfying, and delicious.* I turned to the old standby: grilled cream cheese sandwiches. They're as easy as they sound. Take two pieces of sourdough bread, spread butter (I prefer Soy Garden) on the outside, Tofutti cream cheese on the inside, and top with chopped fresh basil and two slices of tomato. For best results, use a cast iron grill pan. I also paired it with a simple spinach salad so I could at least pretend that it's somewhat healthy.

*Looking at this picture, I just want to say that this sandwich is better than it looks. Like me, it doesn't seem to be photogenic. And unlike me, this sandwich is damn near perfect.

Soundtrack: Beauty and the Beat by the Go Gos

Monday, April 7, 2008

It Ain't Easy Being Green in the Big Easy...

...and, by green, I mean vegan. Or even vegetarian.

But, as I found out this past weekend at CCCC, it certainly isn't impossible either. While I'd been warned that New Orleans was a barren wasteland of veggie friendly food, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this wasn't exactly true. With a combination of luck (mostly wandering around aimlessly peeking into courtyards and onto balconies) and the help of a very friendly local vegetarian, I managed to compile a who's who of vegan options in NO:

--13 (517 Frenchmen St.): Walking by, I noticed the sign they had out front. The special for the day was a barbecue tofu and spinach wrap. I walked no further. While I went for the tofu and potato breakfast burrito, which was good, I caught a glimpse of their tachos (tater tots made into nachos) that someones had ordered with sauteed veggies instead of cheese. She said they were as delicious as they looked.
--Bon Ton Cafe (401 Magazine St.): There is not a single vegetarian item on the whole menu. BUT, they do have a veggie jambalaya that is vegan, laden with brussel sprouts, and divine. All you have to do is ask.
--The Gumbo Shop (630 Saint Peter St.): They offer two NO's specialties in vegan versions: Gumbo and the Po-Boy.
--Bennachin (1212 Royal St.): An African restaurant that has many vegan dishes, is affordable, and you bring your own wine.

Unfortunately, I had time to check out two of these places. Rumor has it there are also a number of Middle Eastern restaurants that serve vegan fare (Lebanon's Cafe), though I didn't have the time.

One last note: the Kitchen Witch directed me to all these places (except 13) and has a charming cookbook shop to top it all off. I definitely recommend swinging by to checkout the vegetarian section and cavort with her dogs. Plus, she knows how to hang a welcome sign. (631 Toulouse St.)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Vegan Pizza

It's no secret. Even before I went vegan, I didn't particularly like pizza. I think working at a pizza place (even if it was just doing delivery) cured me of that affliction. This, however, is the best pizza I've had since going vegan and for many years before that. To get to the point, it's basically VwaV crust and pizza sauce topped with red onion, pineapple, homemade pepperoni, and the new Teese vegan cheese.

As others have pointed out, Teese melts better than FYH and has a "cheesier" taste. Unfortunately, straight out of the fridge it basically disintegrates in your mouth, but the cooking possibilities far outweigh that drawback. In other words, melt it or cook it and you won't be disappointed. As you can see, neither of us were.

Soundtrack: Ziggy Stardust