Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More Recipe Testing

I've tried out the remaining recipes on the list of things that I'm testing for Robin Robertson's upcoming book. They've all been super tasty so I know it's going to be a great book! Here's what I've made: 

Zucchini Frittata

Vegetable Fritters


Provencal Stuffed Mushrooms

Sloppy Portobellos

Sadly, today is the last day of Vegan Month of Food. I do hope you continue to visit my blog. Sometime in January this blog will be moving over to my website Veggiegirl.com. Veggiegirl has been up and running for about 8 years now and it's past due for a revamp!

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Tempeh Scallopini

Growing up, my diet wasn't very varied. I my meals were usually things that came out of bags, boxes and cans. Dinners were usually tacos, hamburgers and fries, chicken cutlets with Rice-A-Roni, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese or pizza. The only fresh vegetables I remember eating was iceberg lettuce, which was always smothered in French dressing. I was still living at home when I went vegetarian, and I pretty much had to teach myself how to cook so I wouldn't starve. So when I was younger I never had any kind of adventurous or "exotic" food and when I was older, I never cooked any kind of meat. I certainly never ate or cooked anything scallopini. I didn't even know what kind of food is usually made scallopini, so I had to look it up. (It's usually chicken.) But none the less, tempeh scallopini looked really appealing to me. 

This recipe is from the Candle Cafe cookbook. It was given to me for my birthday in June and I haven't made anything out of it yet, so it was time to try something. The recipe calls for two blocks of tempeh, which was too much for just Dennis and I, so I only used one block but I cut the pieces smaller than the recipe said. I still made the amount of mushrooms and shallots, because I wanted dinner to be veggie heavy. The tempeh was cut up and then baked in a marinade for half an hour. The shallots and mushrooms were sautéed together and then set aside. After the temepeh was baked, it was dredged in flour (I used brown rice flour) and then fried in the leftover marinade. Then the mushrooms are cooked again in a red wine and lemon juice and served over the temeph. I served the dish with a side of sautéed kale. This dinner was really, really good and I know I'll make it again. It's quite a huge change from the food I grew up on, and now I know that I like scallopini!

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Friday, November 26, 2010

What a Vegan Thanksgiving Looks Like

As I mentioned yesterday, years ago I dumped the Thanksgiving thing with my omnivorous family and I now have a big vegan potluck with my friends. The day is filled with food and fun and it's something I look forward to every year. I was looking back at old photos, and years ago we had a small dinner of mashed potatoes, tofu turkey (from Veggie Heaven), stuffing, stuffed mushrooms and roasted veggies, with cobbler, pie and cupcakes for desserts. I have no idea how it turned into the huge food fest it is now, but I'm not complaining. We always have leftovers for days afterward, so the tastes of Thanksgiving linger on through the weekend.  What am I thankful for? Amazing friends who are great cooks!

It started innocently enough with hummus and veggies.

 The calm before the storm.

 The menu board is missing quite a few dishes. There just wasn't enough room!

The spread.

 I made roasted potatoes.

 Jessica and Greg brought mac and cheese.

 Rachel and Brett brought a Field Roast.

Keith made stuffing.

 My first time making cranberry sauce.

 Rachel and Brett made sweet potatoes.

 And they also made green beans.

 I made maple glazed roasted brussels sprouts. 

 Vann and Joyce made a lasagna.

 "Turkeys" from Veggie Heaven.

 I made stuffed mushrooms. 

Photos of rescued turkeys are the only birds on this table!

Dessert time!

 Jessica made pumpkin pie

 Keith made fruit cobbler.

 Joyce's black rice pudding.

 Rachel made lemon pumpkin cheesecake.

 I made chocolate pecan dream pie.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Time to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is tough day for vegans. It's a day that traditional revolves around a cooked dead bird, and unfortunately most families have a difficult time with the idea of breaking tradition. Traditions tend to revolve around food, and trying to part from them often causes problems and family turmoil. I can't even stand the smell of a cooked turkey let alone the sight of one so I don't join my omnivorous family on Thanksgiving anymore. My friends and I have all broken the turkey-dinner-with-family-tradition and we started our own vegan-pot-luck-with-friends tradition. It's a lot of fun and it's something I look forward to every year.

Thanksgiving wasn't always a day of eating one's self into a food induced coma. It's believed that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 between the colonists and the Wamponoag Indians. The early settlers were dying of starvation and the Native Americans showed them how to work the land. After the first corn harvest, the settlers had a celebratory feast with the natives to thank them. It is not believed that turkey was eaten, but we will never know for sure. But what we do know for sure is that the first Thanksgiving was a celebration of the harvest a grain. Yes, it was all about plant food.

Days of thanksgiving became a tradition for the early settlers, and in later years, many states adopted an annual Thanksgiving holiday. In 1827 magazine editor and writer Sarah Josepha Hale launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. She wrote many stories romanticizing Thanksgiving. Many Thanksgiving "traditions" such as eating turkey and cranberry sauce actually came from Ms. Hale's stories, not from history. So I think that since most of our traditions are made up, we have the right to change them and make our own! So gather with your friends, cook what you really want to eat today and create your own traditions. If you want to honor the original spirit of Thanksgiving, take some time to reflex and be thankful for everything you hold dear.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stuffed Portobellos

This is a Thanksgiving Recipe from Chef Chloe's blog. The photo isn't quite as pretty as hers, but that's okay because it was super delicious. I didn't have cooked rice and I didn't really have the time to cook some up, so I made quinoa instead. And I didn't have a can of lentils and didn't feel like cooking any, so I used a can of black beans instead. I didn't really matter that I made substitutions because it still tasted really good. This is the type of recipe that can't really be "broken". You can make substitutions and it will still taste good. These mushrooms were really filling and they make a great main course. 

I had thought about making these for tomorrow's Thanksgiving potluck feast with my friends, but there will be 9 of us, and that's a lot of portobellos! Instead I'm going to make stuffed criminis. If you still don't know what to make for Thanksgiving tomorrow, I highly recommend these - vegans and omnivores alike will love them!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mushroom Spinach Stuffing

I'm not sure if it's it's the anticipation of Thanksgiving or the need for a little comfort food, but I decided to make a little pre-Thanksgiving dinner with stuffed portobellos, maple glazed brussels sprouts and spinach mushrooms stuffing. In retrospect, I probably didn't need both stuffed mushrooms and mushroom stuffing at the same meal, but what's done is done and what has been eaten cannot be uneaten.

The stuffing recipe is based on a recipe from the Vegan Good Things blog. I say "based on", because I didn't measure anything and I had a box of pre-made stuffing cubes. I sautéed a chopped onion, some garlic, a few celery stalks lots of different kinds of mushrooms and a contain of spinach together and then I dumped it all on top of the stuffing mix along with vegetable broth and then stirred it all together. I think I cooked it for about 45 minutes on 400. It was quite tasty and contained just the right amount of comfort!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life

Instead of talking about food today, I want to tell you about the super awesome new book The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life by Melisser Elliot. Melisser was here in NJ yesterday and I got to spend some time hanging out with her. 

I love this book! There's really nothing else like it out there. It's chock full of info on veganism, nutrition, crafts, shopping and cooking, as well as section with recipes. There are tons of profiles on successful vegan women too. It's almost gift giving season, and I highly recommend giving The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life to the vegan girl in your life!  

In January, I'm going to be revamping my Veggiegirl website and this blog will be moving over there. Once we're all "moved in", I will be raffling off an autographed copy of The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life to one lucky winner. Stay tuned for details! 

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life

Hey all you New Jersey Vegans out there! In case you haven't heard, I wanted to you know that Melisser Elliot will be in Montclair tomorrow signing her new book The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life. Autographed books make great Christmas gifts! Please come out and show Melisser how cool NJ vegans are!
Sunday, November 21 · 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Go Lightly Ecostore
4 So. Fullerton Ave.
Montclair, NJ

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Vegan Thanksgiving: Mashed Potatoes

I've actually only made mashed potatoes one other time in my life. Unless you count those boxes of instant potato flakes. Just like everything else I've written about this week, I never really liked mashed potatoes. Unless they were covered in gravy and butter, of course. It always seemed a little like eating paste. Maybe I didn't like them because growing up they were always made with those boxes of processed potato flakes, and that stuff is rather paste like. Anyway, as you can tell by previous posts this week, my tastes have changed a great deal since I was young and I do like mashed potatoes now. I didn't realize just how much my taste buds have changed until I did this week's posts. It's funny how that happens, but once you start eating whole, unprocessed foods you can really appreciate how things taste.

The first time I made mashed potatoes from actually potatoes it was with a kit from Trader Joe's. I can't remember what was in the kit other than potatoes. (Really, what could have been in it? Herbs? Garlic? All you really need is potatoes.) Mashed potatoes are super easy to make, so I really don't know why I never made them. Simply cut potatoes up into little cubes, place in a pot, cover with water and boil for about 15 minutes, until they are fork tender. Then just mash them up with non-dairy milk, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. I also used some Earth Balance and garlic powder.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vegan Thanksgiving: Stuffing

Just like most of the other dishes I like to make on Thanksgiving, stuffing is something I never liked growing up. It always came from a box and had added sausage. Dennis didn't think he liked stuffing either, but I made it for our first Thanksgiving together and added things like mushrooms and onions, and we both really liked it. It's super easy to make. Just sauté together some veggies, mix them with cubed bread or stuffing mix and broth, add some spices and then bake for about half an hour. You can add cooked rice, veggie sausage, cranberries, raisins and nuts  - whatever you like really. The ingredients are just a matter of personal taste, but if you like bread, you'll like stuffing.

For this dish, I used prepared cornbread stuffing, onions, mushrooms and tempeh (in place of sausage) and pecans to half of the mix, since Dennis doesn't like them. It was quite tasty and I think I'll make it again in the upcoming weeks and experiment with different ingredients.

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