Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Super Easy Southwest Quinoa

This is one of my favorite dishes, party because it's so easy to make. It also has very few ingredients, and can be easily adapted to whatever you have on hand. I found the recipe in Vegetarian Times a year or two ago.

1-1/4 c. quinoa, rinsed
1 15-oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. frozen corn
1/2 cup salsa
1 t. chili powder
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped (optional)
2 T. olive oil

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in quinoa, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add beans, corn, salsa and chili powder, and cook a few more minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in cilantro and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Top with hot sauce, if desired.

* This is a delicious sauce we picked up at the supermercado at Midtown Global Market.

Carrot Cake

All I have to say about this one is YUM! I'm pretty picky about carrot cake--I don't like raisins or nuts or big hunks of carrot in it, so I didn't include them. Of course, they can certainly be added for those of you who like that stuff.

Carrot Cake
1 c. flour
1/3 c. rice flour
1 c. sugar
1-1/2 t. baking soda
1-1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
3 T. flaxseeds, ground, mixed with 9 T. water
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1-1/2 c. finely shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients and set aside. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine flax mixture and vegetable oil. Add to flour mixture and stir until combined. Add carrots. Spread batter into two greased and floured 9-inch round pans or on 9x13 pan. Bake 35-45 minutes. Let cool, then frost.

Cream "Cheese" Frosting
8 oz. vegan cream cheese
5 T. Earth Balance buttery sticks, softened
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. almond extract
a few drops of coconut extract (optional)
4 c. powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients except powdered sugar, and mix until well blended. Beat powdered sugar in one cup at a time, until frosting reaches desired consistency.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Veggie Pigs in a Pretzel

I got the idea for these little guys from Vegan Dad. They were easy, tasty, and I can't wait to make them for my next party!

Vegan Pull-Apart Caramel Rolls

Preheat oven to 350. Pour half of caramel sauce into an 8x8 baking dish. Cut dough into small-ish pieces and toss into the pan, then cover with remaining caramel. Bake about 30 minutes. Alternately, you can roll out the dough, sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar, then roll up and cut into rolls (proceed as with pull-aparts).

1/4 c. warm water
2 1/4 t. yeast
2-1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. soy milk
2 T flaxseeds, ground, mixed with 6 T. water
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
6 T. margarine, soft

Combine water and yeast in a large bowl and let stand about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the flour, and the sugar, soy milk, flax mixture, vanilla and salt. Mix well. Gradually add remaining flour and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Add margarine and knead until dough is nice and smooth again (it will feel gross and wrong for a while before it's ready). Cover bowl and let rise until doubled, about an hour and a half.

Caramel Sauce
1/2 c. margarine (Earth Balance buttery sticks work well)
2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. soy milk
2 T. arrowroot powder

Combine 1/4 cup of the soy milk with the arrowroot and set aside. Melt margarine and brown sugar in a sauce pan, then add remaining soy milk. Boil 4 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in soy milk mixture.


I've always loved the idea of gyros, but even when I did eat meat lamb wasn't really my thing. In Europe I ate my fair share of veg gyros (or kebabs, as they're known as over there), but I wanted something with a little more substance, and I'm not a huge fan of falafel so I decided to create a gyro with mock lamb made from seitan. It's easy and delicious, so go ahead and give it a try!

1 recipe seitan (below), chopped into smallish bits and pieces
1 small white onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced finely
3 T. olive oil
4 t. cumin
2 t. rosemary
4 t. marjoram
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. water
Cucumber-mint sauce (recipe below)
Lettuce, chopped
Tomatoes, diced
>>> Heat olive oil over med-high heat, then add onion and garlic and sautee until soft. Add remaining spices and continue to sautee for a minute or two, then add seitan. Cook, stirring often, until seitan begins to brown. Lower heat and add water, and cook for about 10 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed. Brush flatbread with olive oil and broil for about 30 seconds (or just stick the bread--no oil--in the microwave to get it all soft and chewy). To assemble: top flatbread with seitan, lettuce, tomato, and a drizzle of cucumber sauce. Fold, eat, enjoy!


2 c. Vital Wheat Gluten flour
1 1/4 c. water
3 T. soy sauce or Bragg
>>> Add liquid to flour and knead for a minute or two, then divide into about six or eight equal parts and knead each one in your hand for a bit then flatten into a disc shape. Bring a pot of water to a boil then add seitan, and simmer for about 45 minute (or you can cover with water in a casserole dish and bake at 350 for about an hour). [note: you can totally skip this step by buying seitan from the grocery store, but just be aware that this recipe makes about three times that of your typical store-bought stuff, so you'll need to adjust the spices accordingly.]

Cucumber sauce
1 small cucumber, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 c. vegan mayo
1 t. red wine vinegar
5-6 mint leaves, chopped
pinch of salt
>>> Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until just a few small bits of cucumber remain.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Vegan Veggie Pizza

There's no better time for a pizza party than the weekend, so that's what we decided to do on Saturday night. It took me like three hours, from start to finish, to make this baby, but it was pretty yummy and slightly inventive, if I might say so. I got the idea from a pretty decent Amy's frozen pizza that I sometimes buy. But eight bucks for a pretty small frozen pizza just doesn't sit well with me, so I figured I could make it bigger and better, for less. I made a whole wheat crust, rolled it really thin, and baked it for a bit before adding the toppings. Instead of the typical tomato-based sauce, I made a caramelized onion base by slowly sauteeing a few thinly-sliced onions with about a 1/4 cup of brown sugar until they are completely gooey and broken down. Then I pureed the mixture and added a bit of red wine and balsamic vinegar. Yum. I love anything that involves caramelized onions! I topped the pizza with diced roasted red peppers, artichokes (I actually used a whole artichoke, rather than the jarred version, for the first time ever! It was quite a process, but definitely a worthwhile experience.), sliced crimini mushrooms sauteed with some garlic, and of course my personal favorite, sliced green olives. Baked it for about 20 minutes, and ended up with a giant pizza, two full tummies, and lots of leftovers.

Oh, here's the pizza that
I was trying to replicate:

Why yes, that IS homemade gnocchi

I know I've found a hit recipe when my boyfriend downs two platefuls in under five minutes. We wanted to make something fun and new for dinner tonight, so I settled on the Gnocchi and Asparagus in Basil Mint Pesto from Isa over on the PPK (I'm beginning to think her vegan culinary skills are not quite of this world). It's a pretty simple dish that combines sauteed onions and asparagus with gnocchi in a lovely, lovely pesto sauce, all topped of with diced tomatoes. The thing that made this meal so exciting to me, besides its deliciousness factor, was that everything was made from scratch. Even the gnocchi. I'm so freakin' proud of myself. Yeah, I'm a dork. I've never attempted to make gnocchi before since it seemed to me on par with making my own pasta, or like, building a computer from scratch--you know, something I possess neither the necessary equipment nor the patience and skill to create. I didn't have a recipe for gnocchi, of course, so I just Google searched for a vegan recipe. I found what appeared to be a really simple recipe on a blog called Spoof (which I definitely have to start reading). Surprisingly, it was probably one of the simplest things I've made: the ingredient list consists of potatoes, flour, and salt. I've had lots of bad gnocchi, especially the kind that can be found in the grocery store. I wasn't expecting much from this, being that it was my first attempt, but the dumplings turned out perfectly chewy and just all around pleasing. Well, I guess I still need to work on the shape/appearance, but I still have lots of dough (or whatever you'd call it) leftover to practice on. Hooray for new favorites!