Tuesday, September 18, 2007

18 Days...

Until I am a married woman!

It's been crazy. There are still a thousand things left to do, but I've got a handle on things!

I hope...

I have had a lot of help from my friends. I have to say that I have found who I consider my best pals, they have been so fantastic during this time that words cannot even describe how awesome they've been.

I know you're all dying to know about the food! Well, here's our menu:

Passed Hors D'ouevres
Carmelized Onion and Eggplant Phyllo Purses
Marinated Vegetables on Foccacia

Stationary Trays
Crudites with Hummus
Fruit Kabobs

Roasted asparagus over mixed greens and cherry tomato tossed with lemon viniagrette

Fried Polenta Triangle with Basil Marinara

Vegetable Terrine
Asparagus & Cauliflower Casserole served with roasted root vegetables and herbed couscous

Spice Cake
Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookies

And to entice you, here are some pics from our tasting...

Thank you for all of your well wishes! I wish you could all be there and have some great food too! I promise to post pics when I get them. I will most likely post something before then. And who knows, I may actually post regularly soon!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Time is FLYING!

I've been a bad blogger. I've been working too late, doing too much for the wedding planning and getting sick at the drop of a hat. This is why I'm not only blogging but I've been taking a bit of a hiatus from cooking. I am so burnt out.

I want to thank you all for well wishes and I can assure you that more food, treats and lots of Sam pics are in store for ya'll who still read me in the future.

Wedding stuff! It has been a crazy struggle. It took us forever to get a date set (October 6th!) because we had issues finding a reception venue/caterer that actually could accomodate vegan menu items. We finally found a lovely venue that was substantially less expensive than many of the options we looked into and it is doubly fortunate that it is a hotel so our out of town guests can have a one stop shop. Flowers and dress are all set as well. (I don't like wedding dress shopping and I think that I would like to remain married if for no other reason than to prevent myself from having to go through that again).

But...I found out later that my dress is famous. Really. I googled the designer and found this picture:

Let me assure you that this head piece is not in consideration.

So that's it!

Now, my blog friends. I need your help. I need help finding shoes for said occaision. My predicament is this: I have big feet and need stable shoes. By stable, I mean wedges, platforms or chunky heels. Oh, and I'd like veg*n shoes as well. The big problem is, I have size 11 hooves. If any of you find something great on the web, please let me know!

Thanks! :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Life sometimes really gets in the way of blogging.

...and cooking!

I've been busy with wedding things, medical issues (I want to return my stomach for a refund), work, gym trips (which don't seem to be making a difference), family things, potlucks (though this is such a good thing) and I haven't been able to post.

It's been a long time, folks!

I haven't been cooking too much beyond tofu scrambles lately, mainly because it's about all my tummy can handle about 85% of the time. I'm fortunate that I can handle some random spicy yummyness on occaision, but definetely not regularly. Here are some of the dishes generated by my kitchen as of late.

Potatoes and Tofu in Miso Gravy from VwaV

This dish is beyond delicious and not too rough on my delicate stomach. If you haven't tried it yet, please do it soon. Be warned though, you might eat the entire pot yourself if you aren't careful.

Quinoa Pilaf with Pan Fried Tofu Nuggets and Esme's Sauce

Another tummy friendly dish. This was just some quinoa I cooked up with some mushrooms, edamame, leftover broccoli and veggie stock. I molded it to look pretty on my plate and added some quickly pan fried tofu. I topped it with a variation on Esme's sauce recipe, which for me just basically consisted of equal parts lemon juice, tahini, nooch, garlic powder, white miso, water & grapeseed oil.

BoringTofu Scramble

This is my default dinner. It's based on the VwaV recipe, only with less spice and lots of broccoli.

Melody's Crazy Delicious Amazing Asian Tofu and Green Beans (test recipe)

This was perhaps the most delicious Asian dish to ever come out of my kitchen aside from the VwaV Pad Thai! I couldn't really indulge in this much without a world of hurt, but M ate almost all of it in one sitting. It was really REALLY good. Restaurant quality. I hope Melody does put out a cookbook or cookzine or something. Her food always looks amazing and this recipe was proof positive that she is a goddess in the kitchen!

Joanna's GI Friendly and Totally Fantasical Lemon Butter Rice and Collard Greens (test recipes)

I've been lax in my recipe testing duties, but these recipes have become staples in my house. The lemon butter rice has this beautifully familiar flavor that reminds me of the Rice A Roni mixes I was addicted to as a kid, except so SO much tastier. The collards are this nice spicy savory bit of yum. Joanna is fantastic. Trust me, when her cookbook comes out, it will be a must have for everyone!

The 3,000 Calorie Pizza

I have no idea of the calorie content. Nor do I want to. It started off simple. Flatbread crust, jarred sauce, sauteed spinach & broccoli. And somehow I decided to put seitan on top. But plain seitan? Oh no. I had to deep fry it. It was like Paula Deen possesed me or something. I made a batter out of soymilk, panko and baking powder. It came out like tempura. I sliced it and put it on top and wow. I didn't eat any of the pizza. I had a few bites of the seitan and it made my tummy angry. It was okay. M was glad that he had enough for dinner and lunch the next day.

So here's the one thing that makes my insides feel really good...

There is a local old fashioned ice cream shop that has a non dairy soft serve mix. You can add ANY of their flavors to it. This was strawberry. I enjoyed it on that one fleeting 70 degree day a few weeks ago. Come back Spring!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Love is...

Spinach Pizza with Red Pepper <3s

Banana Split Pudding Brownies

I stayed home from work yesterday partly because of the weather and partly because I wasn't feeling well. My doctor thinks I have an ulcer so I've been eating some really bland food lately. Poor M has been suffering through steamed veggies and rice for too long! I had to make him something really fantastic, so I made this great pizza and his favorite brownies. Nothing says 'I love you' like some comfort food, right?

Valentine's Day is an extra special day for us. 4 years ago on February 14th, M asked me to marry him in the restaurant we had our first date at. I accepted and have been playing the happy role of fiancee ever since. We're procrastinators, so we really haven't planned anything for a wedding until the past few weeks. We're looking to get married this October. How exciting!

Now for all of my married buddies, does anyone have any helpful hints for the reception/ceremony/etc? I look to you all for guidance! :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

This is how we roll...

Last weekend was the first of what I hope will be many Boston area PPK potlucks. Our theme ingredient was the incredible, edible avocado.

The ingredient provided a unique challenge for me because aside from guacamole and salad/chili/taco/sandwich toppings, I never really do anything with avocado. I absolutely love it. The texture, the buttery richness... It's quite possibly nature's perfect 'junk' food.

After much careful deliberation, I decided to make a variation on an old recipe my mother and other family members have made for years involving spinach, Crescent rolls, and some sort of cheese. There are a thousand ways to make these and they go over wonderfully at parties. And in case you were wondering, Crescent rolls (yes the Pillsbury ones) are accidentally vegan.

Spinach Avocado Parcels

(makes tons-but the recipe can easily be halved)

2 10 oz packages of frozen spinach (I find frozen works better than fresh, but you can certainly use fresh)
2 small Hass avocados
2-3 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 container Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese (Follow Your Heart Cheese would work well in this recipe too-I just couldn't get to WF to get a package)
1-2 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or use a chili or jalapeno pepper)
4 cans Crescent rolls (be careful with the 'store brands' as they tend to contain 'natural flavors')

Thaw spinach in microwave (or on counter) and squeeze out excess water. Heat large pan and saute garlic in oil, cooking spray or water (whatever you fancy-I usually use cooking spray and a little water) over medium to high heat. When the garlic starts to get a little color, add the spices and spinach and mix well. Lower heat to medium. You may have to add some water to the pan to keep things from sticking. Scoop out and chop avocado flesh into small pieces and add to spinach mix. Mix well. Add cream cheese in batches, mixing well after each addition. I know it seems like a lot to put in, but trust me, it's delicious. You might have to add a little bit of water to get everything (especially the cheese) to combine properly. The mixture will be a little watery. Cook over medium to medium high heat until mixture starts to thicken. It will sort of look like a spinachy dip. Cook until it is thickened up (you can pick it up with a spoon and it won't slide off) and then remove from heat.


The only time consuming part of the process is the assembly.

Crescent rolls are an oddly shaped triangle, like so:

Now, I like to make bite sized little minis, but if you like you can make little personal pies, like pasties or hawt pockets and you would just use two full sized rolls. Just lay one down on your baking sheet, put some filling on (watch the narrow end) and put another roll on top and press the edges down to seal. Those are easy peasy.

The smaller version requires you to cut each crescent into two pieces. Two triangles to be specific. Since the shape is a little weird, try to cut them like this.

As you can see, you will end up with one beautiful triangle and one wonky long one. Remember, triangles deserve love too.

I drop a small bit of filling into the middle, about say a teaspoon (sometimes less). You have to be careful not to under or over fill. Then fold over your three points sort of like a little diaper. This process is much easier with the 'perfect' triangles than with the wonky ones. My advice to you is to pull up the short bottom point on a wonky before pulling over the long arms.

Bake at 350 until nice and golden. These reheat well and are always a crowd pleaser.

Here's what the finished product looks like:

Bite size


Photos courtesy of Lolo who also hosted our event. It's always nice to see how pretty my food can look if a talented photographer takes a pic!

So after making an incredible amount of these little puppies you might be left with a lot of the filling left as I was. What's a resourceful person to do? Make a casserole of course!

This was beyond easy, and brought to you by our friends at Trader Joe's (I should get paid for these endorsements, shouldn't I?).

Layered Mexican Casserole (or dip)

1 16oz can refried beans (I used spicy pinto bean)
1 small (10-12oz) jar salsa (I used TJ's Chipotle Salsa)
1 bag frozen corn (I used TJ's Super Sweet Organic Corn-it's delicious)
leftover spinach avo filling (I had about half a pan left)

Grab pan of leftover filling, drop in the whole jar of salsa and mix until well combined. In 8x8 casserole dish (this meal is screaming for some pyrex!) smooth out the can of refrieds into a nice pretty layer. Open bag of corn and make a nice layer on top of the refrieds. Then smooth the spinach salsa mixture on top and smooth out to look as pretty as possible.

I threw it in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes and reheated it at the party. It disappears quickly...

Monday, February 05, 2007

I am never too busy to eat!

Sure, sometimes I'm too busy to post, but I am never and I mean never too busy to eat. My robust form is testimony to that, so without further adieu, I will show you some of the nosh that has been gracing my chipped plates and discerning palate...

Vegan Fried Seitan cutlet sandwich (take out from Masao's Kitchen) with Millet-Cauliflower Porridge and Chickpeas with Miso Butternut sauce.

Acorn Squash stuffed with Lentils and Quinoa on a bed of steamed Collard Greens and adorned by Arame Carrot Salad and Kim chee.

Split Pea Soup, nothing fancy.

Ginger Butternut Lentil Soup from La Dolce Vegan. M took the picture next to Voluptuous Vegan because he thought that's where I got the recipe.

Spicy Black Beans served on a bed of steamed kale

A Chocolate Chip Pancake yearning to be flipped...

Leftover Spinach Avocado Corn Refried Chipotle Casserole with Spanish Rice and an Ezekiel Tortilla

Black and Green Lentil Soup with Kombu

I am nothing if not well fed! And speaking of well fed...

I am so cold I have to go snuggle a warm puppy!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


...to December!

I've been promising to post pics of what I made for my dad's soiree and still haven't quite gotten to it yet!

Until now...

Here's the menu!

Pad Thai from Vegan with a Vengeance

This was received well, but we took half of it home. This is M's favorite, so there was no complaining about that!

Green Bean Casserole

I made up the recipe as I went along for this. I used a couple of bags of frozen green beans, some pureed white beans thinned with some soymilk, and lots of garlic, Earth Balance and thyme. I found the French Fried Onions at Trader Joe's and used the entire canister. This was delicious!

Portobello Stroganoff (with meatballs) from Vegan with a Vengeance

I used the recipe from VwaV for the stroganoff and replaced the seitan with mock Swedish meatballs that I whipped up with some Gimme Lean ground beef style. This came out really well, and people really liked it. People did not like it as much as my real Swedish meatballs, but I have yet to find a convincing version. Give me time.

Chickpea Broccoli Casserole from Vegan with a Vengeance

I made this because it's easy and I love it. It is one of my most favorite recipes ever. People didn't go for it so much. They thought it was quiche. We told one woman that there was no egg and no cheese in it and she took a big scoop.

I had leftovers all week! :)

Tourtiere as inspired by my family recipe (with crust from Whole Foods)

My memere is very specific about how to make Tourtiere. In our family we only use potatoes, no oatmeal. Of course she also only used pork in her recipe, whereas my other memere always used different kinds of meat. My dad's side of the family were more spicy than my mom's side of the family who only used onion as seasoning. I always loved my mom's side's texture, but loved my dad's side's spiciness.

The key, according to my memere is to boil the potatoes with the skin on. So for this I scrubbed 3 medium russet potatoes and boiled them. When they are tender, run them under cool water and gently peel away their skins. Voila!

I used a tube of sausage style Gimme Lean and basically sort of boiled it with the potatoes with some garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, and onion. I just dumped everything into a pot and added a bunch of water and let it cook down and mashed it. That's how the meat version is made, so I figured, what the heck!

It came out amazing. Wow is not the word. I didn't actually eat any of the pie, but I did have some of the filling.

The pie crust was a different story. Crust is the bane of my existence! I tried using a recipe out of Bryanna Clark Grogan's Almost No Fat Holiday Cookbook and it was a bust. I then tried another oil based pie crust recipe off of Vegweb and that failed miserably as well. I called all the Whole Foods in my area and they were sold out of vegan pie crusts, so I settled for one made with butter. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and I didn't feel so bad about it because I was making this for omnis and my dad acutally paid for it. If someone has a good pie crust recipe, please email it to me!

Farfalle with Grape Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade from Vegan with a Vengeance

This was something I threw together because I sort of had the ingredients. I subbed farfalle for the orrechiette as that's what I had and they are so fun! I also used grape tomatoes instead of cherry, and only about half the amount. I didn't have Kalamata olives, so I used the can of black olives I had in my cabinet. All things considered, this tasted excellent! I'm sure it would have tasted better without my substitutions, but it tasted restaurant quality on its own. I think that is the big reason I love VwaV so much! I can totally futz with a recipe and it still comes out wonderfully.

Indian Spiced Rice from Vegan with a Vengeance

This was yummy. It was like something out of a restaurant. Most of it was gone! I was able to sneak some out, but it was only about one serving.

Apple Butternut Casserole

This was inspired by a recipe from Vegetarian Times. It's really really simple and made more delicious by the buttery panko crumbs on top.

It was a lovely affair, and everything I made was vegan with the exception of the pie crust for the tourtiere.

My dad always takes care of snacks (chips and dip and cheese and crackers) and always has his choir members bring dessert. I always make something to bring for a dessert in case the unthinkable happens and people show up empty handed. This NEVER happens, so we always have this dessert orgy. What made it worse was the fact that my dad went whole hog and got a tray of various brownies from the bakery in addition to the multi flavored cheesecake and tub of cookies he usually gets. What he didn't bank on was that his choir members really like to go all out and bring big desserts. There was this huge German chocolate cake, tons of cookies both store bought and homemade, brownies, bars, fudge, truffles... It was like the Million Calorie March!

I made some oatmeal raisin cookies and some Gigantoid Peanut Butter Oatmeal cookies from VwaV...

Even with all of the desserts, they were popular, but I did take half of them home.

All in all it was a success. No one asked any questions so there were no awkward moments!