Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ye Olde Thanksgiving Spread...2011

We vegans really suffer during the holidays... It was rough! All we had to eat was: My delicious stuffed, homemade tofu roast, maple glazed brussel spouts, stuffing muffins, "buttermilk" biscuits, turnip, mashed potatoes, homemade orange-cranberry sauce, and a kick-ass green bean cassarole. NO onions!!! Whoo hoo! My husband made a lucious vegan pumpkin pie, without the use of tofu for those who are squeamish. What will Christmas bring?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Gluten-free pizza (pancake style)

I adapted this recipe from one I found in The Uncheese Cookbook. No, I'm not gluten intollerant (anymore...), but I do enjoy a quick pizza impersonation from time to time. I gave up bread 4 yrs ago, so normally make a rice crust for pizza, but this one uses garbonzo bean flour. It's a batter technique, poured and lightly pan fried in a touch of olive oil. Natually, I refused to follow the recipe "as is", so I put my own spin on it. I didn't like the idea of a bean-ish flavored pizza, so I folded in a lot of nutritional yeast to the batter along with red pepper flakes, basil and oregano. I also melted some Vegan Gourmet's cheese toward the end. I served it with a little homemade tomato-sage sauce (our go-to sauce). My 6yr old daughter loves this, and calls it "that pancake pizza". My husband is more a traditional pizza man (I posted a photo in Feb). He's got a great handle on his homemade vegan crust and pizza, which could rival any non-vegan pizza any day of the week!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Simple Veggie Casserole

My mother in law is one of the most supportive people I know, and while she is a meat eater, she tries very hard to accomodate my little vegan family. THIS has to be my favorite vegetable dish these days...and it is surprisingly simple (according to her). I don't have an "exact" recipe, but I'll explain it as best I can. She's explained her method to me countless times, but it's never the same when I make it. I think I'm a wee bit spoiled knowing that she'll eventually make another for us very soon. Cut veggies, toss with a fair amount of extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, Mrs. Dash (it's just herbs) and Lawrey's seasoning salt to taste. I think that's it. Bake approx 1 hr at 450 degrees. The olive oil creates an incredible buttery flavor. I am seriously craving this right now.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy 6th (vegan) birthday ~ mein liebling!

(Based on the Muzzy language program). My daughter wanted a vanilla bean cake with van-peach frosting. Peach...not my favorite, but I love my kid! The cake was 100% edible and carved from cake. The figures were sculpted sugar, and she devoured "Sylvia" (white mouse) almost immediately. Well, I won't drag on, infact I'm quite out of practice with blogging. I guess I'm easing back into it. Happy Spring, everyone!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Orange Dreamsicle ~ sweet summer nostalgia

Who can deny the nostalgic summer  flavors of orange & vanilla?   The sweet siren song of the ice cream truck, as it speeds by your neighborhood at virtual warp speed...followed by legions of screaming children all desperate for a brief taste of icy bliss.   Pure joy, juxtaposed against those carnival-esque, nightmarish sped up tunes:  Mulberry Bush, Pop Goes the Weasel,  and the like.   I once even heard a freakish version of "I've Got Rhythm"......yep....I'm a hardcore fan of Orange and vanilla.   
I used my own vanilla cake recipe and simply folded in some orange zest right before pouring it into the pan, along with a little pure orange extract.  I iced and filled the cake with orange-vanilla frosting, again just adding a little orange extract to my vanilla frosting, to taste.   (I posted a simple frosting recipe on the recipes page).  Any vanilla cake recipe should work, but please don't use a box mix...scratch baking is so much easier than people think, and the results are worth it!  All you need is a solid recipe and a little know-how...and (while they mean well),  try not to take vegan baking advice from non-vegans...I don't give advice on how to roast a rack of lamb.  ;o) 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fennel Pasta

I was inspired by a Rachel Ray dish a few years back, so I veganized and put my spin on the dish.  It’s now one of my favorites meals to make. My daughter & I love eating the raw fennel.

Extra Virgin Olive oil
garlic, several cloves
2  Italian vegan sausages, chopped
(I usually start with 3, but my daughter likes to sneak the veg sausage)
28 oz can of crushed organic, fire roasted tomatoes
1 large bulb fennel, chopped
2 cubanelle peppers, chopped (remove seeds!!)
White wine (2-3 turns)
fresh basil
salt & pepper to taste
Pasta (any)

In a large pan, brown the vegan sausage in a bit of olive oil. Chop up the fennel and peppers and set aside. Shave some garlic, set aside (the amount of garlic is really a preference).

Remove the veg sausage from the pan and set aside, covered with foil. DO NOT rinse out the pan. Lower the heat to low-med, add some olive oil to the pan and drop in veggies.

Sweat the vegetables, don’t brown or burn them. Drop in the shaved garlic and continue to cook a few minutes. Add the wine, going around the pan 2-3 times, cook a minute or two to boil off the alcohol. Add the sausage to the vegetables. (Boil water for the pasta, and cook).
Add the fire roasted tomatoes, season and let cook down for 10 minutes or so. Pour vegetables over pasta or rice, or do what I do and eat it’s very filling and delicious! 

Fennel Bulb on Foodista

I love 1st birthdays...

I made this cake over the weekend for a lovely couple, to celebrate their daughter's 1st birthday.   (The cake was inspired by a Pink Cake Box design that the mother liked).  The main cake was my rich chocolate cake, with vanilla bean frosting and vanilla fondant.  The mini smash cake was my vanilla bean cake, covered in vanilla bean frosting.  The elephants were sculpted sugar, and all decorations were edible.      

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Zesty Seitan Picatta

I've only made seitan homemade three times, so  I've not yet mastered or beaten it into my "cutlets" probably look more like fillets.  I'm fine with it.  I learn best when I struggle, so I took the LONG way (like I usually do), and used a non-veg recipe for reference.  It tasted very good! The only thing I'd change is the amount of lemon, as much as I do love lemon .  I'm thinking the original recipe (non-veg), called for so much lemon to cover up the taste of cruelty. *wink*   How exactly does one disguise the lonely, bitter taste of rotting in a veal crate...or a chicken having it's beak seared off?  Hmmm...
I made a simple homemade seitan dough, braised it, seasoned and coated it in Panko crumbs.  I then pan seared it for a few minutes on each side.  I  transferred the "cutlets" to the oven at 400 degrees F, and baked for 5 min on each side.   I also made a sauce using lemon and a little white wine & vegan margarine.  My photo didn't do it justice.   My 5yr old was impressed!  She put down her peanut butter and jelly sandwich and said the broccoli was THE BEST she'd ever had.  (I just cooked it on the stove with a bit of garlic and olive oil).  She's my toughest critic, so just for her to say the seitan was great, and that she thinks I am the BESTEST mommy cook good enough for me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fluffy pancakes with pink fairy dust ~

I love when my daughter asks me to make pancakes, she gets so excited.  I have been putting "fairy dust" on her pancakes for as long as I can adds a little magic to her day.  I very lightly drizzled some agave nectar on top for a sweet touch.  I was out of maple syrup, but she preferred the agave.  I also prefer pancakes to be super fluffy.  When I want paper thin pancakes, I (attempt to) make crepes. 
My daughter asks me:   "Mommy, what did one snowman say to the other snowman?" 
answer:  "Do you smell carrots?" 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chickpea burgers over white bean soup reduction

I'm sometimes intimidated by the amazing plating and photography prowess of other food bloggers... so I'm now making an effort.  I made a white bean soup,  reduced it and used it as a bed for a homemade chickpea burger and garnished with a sprig of fresh dill.   It was very good!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fresh Bagels!

After 4 yrs without bread, this is the recipe that really tempted me.  I didn't cave, but my daughter ate 4 in two days!  (Toasted for breakfast, and as sandwich bread for lunch).  I've always wanted to try making fresh (boiled) bagels.   

They didn't take very long, the recipe is rather short and can be viewed  here.   I made a few adjustments from what is written, but it is very similar.  They come out of the oven a nice golden color, a little hard on the outside but very soft on the inside.  

Friday, February 11, 2011


I found a recipe for homemade vegan lunch "meat"  from the Vegan Dad blog, very innovative.  I'm not sure I should post his recipe without permission, so I linked it to his blog.  I made some modifications based on what was on  hand at the time, but it came out GREAT.  My daughter especially loved the way it smelled just prior to adding the vital wheat gluten, she said it smelled like a yummy soup!  We chopped it up and added it to a chickpea & spinach soup, while my husband made a sandwich with mustard.   This is a great way to avoid having to purchase expensive (and often over-rated) store bought slices.  It's not about trying to fake "meat"...for us it's all about variety.

Tofurkey melt
(with tomato-sage sauce)

Easily,  my daughter's all time favorite lunch.  I make a killer grilled "cheese" why not a tofurkey melt? (with pickles!)  Maybe this is unusual, but I LOVED those brick hard grilled sandwiches in grammar school that sat under the heat lamps and were virtually impossible to bite into.  I've always tried to make my grilled "cheese" sandwiches that way.   Not having a heat lamp, I (vegan) butter and grill both sides of the bread.  I grill one side, assemble the sandwich, then return  to pan to grill the other sides.   I've used all sorts of "cheeses", you just  have to let it sit in the pan a bit covered in foil to melt all the way.  Turn off the heat first.   If you leave it long enough, the "cheese" oozes out when cut.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies!

Whoopie Pies...afterall, this is Maine.   These have a wonderful chewy texture.  Let's just say I LOVE my Scottish's the best!   A couple years ago my husband asked for oatmeal-raisin cookies, so I made him some vegan Hermits.  Being me (and not liking raisins in food), I then decided to take a different route and make these.  Oatmeal cookies with cinnamon and just a hint of nutmeg, surrounding a creamy, not too sweet vanilla filling.   The cookies alone go well with afternoon tea.  No day is complete without afternoon tea...and biscuits. 

Chocolate Whoopie Pies!  

Too many Whoopie Pies are all about the filling.  The "cake" is treated as utilitarian, a mere vehicle for an obscene amount of overly sweet, greasy, hydrogenated filling that basically waterproofs the roof of your mouth.   Who needs two inches of filling, or a defibrilator after eating all that?  Some vegan recipes are (although very good) unnecessarily thanks!   My spin is a simplified and super moist version that works well with a creamy, but not too sweet filling.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cookies & Dream cake

Believe it or not, I do not have much of a sweet tooth...but I do enjoy making treats for others.  This was a very popular cake when I first opened my cake business, and a personal favorite flavor combination of  mine.  Cookies & Dream (vegan) with a homemade whipped frosting.  I used Newman-O's, but will try making my own chocolate cookie sandwiches next time.   Super rich Chocolate cake with cookies baked into the batter.  This was a desert torte, so I applied smashed cookies to the outer frosting as well.  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rice Crust Pizza ~ YUM!


As promised in my second post (Vegan Pizza Day), here is the rice crust pizza I mentioned.  I am not gluten free, I just try to avoid yeast.   I'm also partial to a thin cracker crust, and this one has a particular crunch I really enjoy.  We've found by adding the cheese last, you get a much better melt.  It's loaded with toppings, but I'm a bit picky so here's the inventory:  homemade sage-tomato sauce, broccoli, calamata olives, red pepper, vegan bleu cheese, and melting vegan mozzarella cheese. 

Sweets to the sweet

Peep & the Big Wide World
I made this cake for my daughter's 5th birthday last year.  We're all vegan, and I prefer to make my  own cakes and not risk cross contamination.  The design is based on  Peep & the Big Wide World. Everything is handmade and edible.  Chocolate cake with raspberry preserves and vanilla bean frosting, covered in vanilla fondant. 

Chocolate Turtle Cake ~ (no turtles were harmed)

 I recreated flavors from the Turtle candies in a simple, yet decadent (vegan) way.  I took my chocolate cake recipe and layered it with homemade carmel over vegan ganache and crushed pecans.  I iced it in ganache and then did a border of chocolate frosting, to add a little sweetness against the richness of the cake and ganache.  I drizzled homemade caramel and topped with the pecans. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hearty Tofu burger

This burger (for lack of a better word) is covered in sauteed mushrooms using a little white wine at the end, and a bit of melty vegan cheese.  I came up with this recipe because I was BORED with what was available in health food stores and the local supermarket.  They took very little time to throw together, and the variations seem endless.  Let me say for the record that I love tofu. I eat it uncooked as a snack on occasion, and although it roughly translates to "stinky bean curd", I will always be a super fan of this mildly offensive food. 

Homemade Vanilla Bean ice cream

Happy February!  Tonight I discovered that there is nothing like homemade vegan ice cream...5-minute vegan ice cream!   The recipe was another experiment, so I made a very small test batch that went surprisingly well.   My rather crude method will be well worth my nearly frostbitten fingers just to see the look on my daughter's face tomorrow morning.   Although vanilla bean is an all time favorite of mine, I'm anxious to switch up flavors for the next batch.  I do love my Black Label vanilla bean paste!    

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vegan Pizza Day ~ a weekend imperative...

I can't take credit for this beauty, it's my husband's creation...I gave him a basic crust and sauce recipe a few years ago, and he turned it into this masterpiece.    That is vegan melty cheese, by the Vegan Gourmet, and after much trial and error we've found this to be our ultimate favorite.  I'm still unsure how he gets the crust to rise to almost freakish  proportions.   (I gave up bread almost four years ago, so he makes me a rice-crust pizza.   I'm not gluten-free, but the crust happens to be.  I'll post a photo soon.  It's loaded up like his, but on a thin, crackery-crust, made by Chebe).   Vegan cheese is something I could not go without...I mean GOOD vegan cheese, as there are a number of duds out there. 

What's this all about?

Hello.  I should probably mention my deep rooted love/hate relationship with the kitchen.   If I'm given a recipe, my rebellious streak takes over and I'm compelled to alter it in some way.   I can turn into a Jerry Lewis character very quickly, so I've had to earn my talent with lots of experimenting.  I do this when my family is asleep, and often let the expletives fly (or at least in my head when my daughter is awake).   I can't say I remember baking as a toddler, as so many cooks can boast having held a spatula  before they could speak.  I do remember sneaking into my Grandmother's Hermit cookies though, so naturally I would later have to veganize them.   I do have fond memories in her kitchen, and by some odd coincidence we were baking vegan cakes without realizing it.   I've never been afraid of Tofu, and if you are don't need to be.  Tofu is an incredible medium for taking on just about any flavor and many textures.  For the record, I'm cool with meat eating friends, as long as they don't show up carrying a side of beef and a jigsaw.  ;o)   Bare with me on this new journey, I'm by no means a "photographer".  Infact, it's the one elective in art school I regret not taking.   Let's hope I am better at blogging than I am with keeping a journal in one piece and out of the trash.

Stay tuned for photos ~