Saturday, December 26, 2009

Look what I got for Christmas.......

This beautiful mixer, which I have been pining for for years, will whirl me into a bread and dough and treat making frenzy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Back from Novelling....sort of......

National Novel Writing Month was not kind to me. Alas, I did not complete the 50,000 word goal, but did make it 20,000, which I am still quite proud of. I will continue writing and have a new goal of 10,000 more words by December 21, set by my encouraging aunt. :) As I am still writing, I will not have as much time to post delicious food. I'm sure all four or five of you that read this blog are bitterly disappointed. ;)

I will continue to post food, just not tonight. Maybe not tomorrow night, either. Jeffrey and I are in the process of buying our first home (exciting!) and planning our wedding (also exciting!) so things are a little busy around here. My wedding dress arrived at my parents' house yesterday and I just CANNOT WAIT to try it on! It's a vintage 30's style dress, and if it works out, we are going to be having a 30's wedding! How fun is that?! My mom says the dress is just as beautiful as it looked online, at the neat website I found: Fun site for vintage and antique clothing.

See you folks soon.......I hope. Here is a picture of an orangutan at the Phoenix Zoo, just for kicks.

Friday, November 13, 2009

On Hiatus

I am participating in National Novel Writing Month, which takes up absolutely all of my time in the evenings. The point of the contest is to write 50,000 words in 30 days, and I am waaay behind. I will not be posting here until after the 30th of November, when my novel-writing is complete and my brain is fried. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Veggie Burgers

I have never made a veggie burger before. I have made black bean burgers, which were just okay, but never a true veggie burger. For some illegitimate reason, I've always looked upon veggie burgers as lifeless, tasteless, and not possibly as good as Boca burgers or Morningstar Farms burgers. But due to a dearth of food in the house and no desire to go out to the store, I made veggie burgers from Vegan with a Vengeance. I really would like to lie and say I came up with them myself, especially since I have NOT been creating many new recipes at all, but alas, they are all Isa's. I fixed them up on homemade buns with Vegenaise, lettuce, pickles, and ketchup, served with sides of french fries and love.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sea Cakes and Buffalo Wings

If you haven't checked out Rhymes with Vegan, I implore you to do so immediately. I don't remember what I was searching for, but while I was searching for it, Meagan's blog popped up. I literally looked at the entire blog in one sitting. I was absolutely captivated by the recipes, pictures, and her Lunch Delivery business, where she delivers food to friends and acquaintances for lunch. Too bad she doesn't live in Arizona. :(

But at least I was able to find her blog and immediately make two of the recipes, sea cakes and tofu buffalo wings. I will say that I may have gone a little overboard on the beer batter, using Arrogant Bastard Ale rather than something a little less "in your face," but it was delicious and VERY filling. The sea cakes were light and tasty, and delicious dipped in "tartar" sauce. I have a feeling I will make both of these dishes often. Check out Rhymes with Vegan, if you haven't already!

On a side note, my left eyelid has been twitching all day. It's been really irritating.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Soyrizo Soft Tacos

Lately, I have not been making too many new dishes. I have been feeling a little mentally tired lately, and have not had too much creative energy. It's really disappointing to lack mental energy, because there are soooo many things that I want to be doing! I have a lot of interests, and I am trying to dig up the creativity to begin working on music and playing the clarinet again. Not only am I mentally exhausted after work, there is simply not enough time to do all of the things that I want to do. For now, I am going to attempt to make more new meals and focus on the music a couple of times per week. Maybe that will change in the future, but I do not want to force myself to do something - I want to enjoy all of my endeavors. :)

Anyway, here are soyrizo tacos. I don't think that I have ever had actual chorizo, but this soyrizo is what I imagine the real thing to taste like. It is so rich and flavorful! I fried the soyrizo in a pan with some olive oil over high heat, so as to char the soyrizo a bit, adding to its authenticy. I then spread it into a corn tortilla (one of the 357 that came in the package I bought) with the usual Mexican accompaniments - lettuce, tomato, avocado, Tofutti sour cream, and some cheese for me. I just can't believe how many corn tortillas came in the package - I have a feeling they will languish in the fridge for quite a while. Good thing I'm not squeamish about expiration dates!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chicken Shawarma

Last week, Jeffrey and I took a road trip to San Francisco. It was amazing, and went by way too fast. On the way, we stopped in San Luis Obispo to eat at The Natural Cafe and stay the night in a hotel. We made it to San Francisco the next afternoon, and had such a blast hanging out with family and friends. We ate at a ton of great places, but of course, I took no pictures. We did go to a place called Weird Fish twice during our stay. They offered lots of fish dishes and also vegan fish (seitan) and chips, as well as a "fish" (seitan) sandwich. Delicious. We also went to Herbivore, before a night of especially drunken debauchery, where I had a giant bowl of curry noodle soup, Jeffrey's sister Amanda had a tempeh sandwich on foccacia, and Jeffrey had the delectable chicken shawarma, which he of course asked me to repeat at home immediately. I did some research on the chicken part to see if there was something other than seitan that I could use, but with no luck. A last minute decision included frying strips of Morningstar Farms chicken strips until they were just tender, letting them cool, marinating them, then frying again until crisp and delicious.

I also finally learned how to make real hummus, as opposed to the chickpea mash that I have been making for years. The secret, I learned, was to combine the lemon juice and tahini until it becomes a frothy cream, then adding the chickpeas, one handful at a time, and blending until smooth and delicious. I should mention, that a decent blender is required for this process. Otherwise, you will be like me, combining said lemon juice and tahini in a crappy blender, pulsing on low and adding water like mad. But anyway, just be careful if you have a cheap blender and not something like a VitaMix, over which I covet daily.

Chicken Shawarma
one bag of Morningstar Farms chicken strips
4 whole wheat pitas
one cucumber, sliced
2 pickles, sliced
2 C shredded lettuce
1 tomato, sliced
1 recipe chicken marinade (follows)
2 c hummus, homemade or storebought

3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tbl lemon juice
3 tbl olive oil
1 tsp curry powder

Cook the chicken strips until just warm and tender. Coat with the marinade and let sit for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, chop cucumbers, pickles, tomato and prepare hummus if making from scratch. Also, shred lettuce if not using the pre-shredded kind.

Fry the chicken on a skillet in olive oil until brown and crispy. Set aside. Warm each pita briefly on the same skillet. To assemble, spread 1/2 C hummus on a pita, followed by lettuce, cucumber, pickle , tomato and chicken. Fold with care, by beginning to wrap the pita from the bottom in the shape of a cone. Follow with aluminum foil and wrap the pita about halfway. Serve hot.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spring Rolls and Stir Fry

I took a little break from any serious cooking last week. I was having a really tough time at work and not sleeping well at all. Fortunately, that passed and I am back to my normal self. With things a a bit less crazy at work (for now) I will have some time to cook new dishes and actually take pictures before scarfing down the food. Yesterday, I made up for a week of dinners like spaghetti and spent a couple of hours in the kitchen making spring rolls and a curry stir fry. I got the idea for the spring rolls from Vegan with a Vengeance, however; I adapted the recipe so I could stuff more goodies into the rice paper.

Let me just say that I love Asian markets. There is one literally down the street from my home, House of Rice, and I really don't know why I don't go there more often. Besides having a bounty of Asian goodies at a fraction of the cost of regular grocery stores, they also have other random items and a lot of pretty dishes and serving plates. There is a larger Asian market a little further in Chandler, called Leelee's, but I rarely make it down there. I should do it more often.

At House of Rice, I picked up a lifetime supply (seriously, it was a lot) of rice paper, a package of vermicelli, a baggie of fresh Thai basil, and a can of "Vegetarian Mock Duck" I found lurking in the recesses of the market. I had to test out a couple of the cans, as some of them were dented, but thought I'd give it a shot. We weren't impressed - the duck was very sweet and as Jeffrey said, "It was just seitan." Next time, I will make seitan myself and save the two bucks.

Spring Rolls (makes 12 rolls)
rice paper
4 oz. vermicelli, cooked, rinsed with cold water, and set aside
2 small carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
1 avocado, diced
1 mango, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 C cilantro leaves
3 large Romaine leaves
1/4 cup crushed peanuts

Set out a pie dish or other flat, shallow pan and fill with tepid water. Soak the rice paper, one by one, for about 15 seconds each, until flexible. Lay out the paper on a plate or cutting board and assemble as follows, right in the middle of the paper: 2 tbl vermicelli, 4 carrot strips, 4 cucumber strips, 4 avocado chunks, 3 mango strips, a strip of lettuce, a handful of cilantro, and a sprinkle of crushed peanut. Be careful when you wrap it. Fold in the outer sides, and while holding them in with your middle and ring fingers, pull up the bottom portion with your thumb and index fingers to cover half of the paper, then roll. Repeat until your ingredients are gone or you are really sick of rolling.

The curry was simply a mix of the mock duck, broccoli, onion, and bell pepper over rice, served with my dad's yummy curry sauce that he makes oh so well (leftover from Sunday family dinner and frozen), and sprinkled with cashews. By the time I was finished with everything, I was tired. I'm surprised I was able to take pictures. Hopefully you won't find them too appalling.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Noodles that were Supposed to be Pancit but were Not

Who knew that substituting wide udon noodles for rice vermicelli would change an entire dish from Filipino to Japanese? A lot of people, probably, but who cares? I am a big fan of udon. My plan was to make the pancit dish out of Vegan Planet, which I did, but I was disappointed in the recipe's lack of onion and garlic, and I would have liked the sauce a bit sweeter and more plentiful. I did throw some creepy vegan shrimp in, along with tofu and seitan, and although I fancy the concept, it's definitely a strange one.

I've been thinking that I want to be more creative in the kitchen and make up more of my own meals. I tend to follow recipes, and although I have been branching out and substituting and actually spending time thinking about what flavors work well together, I still dive for the cookbook whenever it's time to prepare something. All three of you that read this blog, send me your wishes for more creativity in the kitchen in the weeks to come!

On another note, I have downloaded Living Cookbook, which is as exciting as it is overwhelming. The recipe software has seriously everything you could hope for as far as recipe and panty organizing, nutritional information, and a boatload of recipes. The cool thing about it too is that you can tweak the existing recipes to your liking, so for instance if there is a chicken dish that you find appealing, you can edit the recipe to substitute seitan for the chicken (after adding seitan to the ingredient database, of course). I could go on for hours about it, but my real dilemma is whether or not to buy it. It's only $35, however I am a cheap ass and try not to spend money on anything unless I really need/want it. Will I use it on a regular basis? Will I become irritated by its vast capabilities or frustrated when attempting to calculate the amount of zinc in hearts of palm? These are the burning questions, and the days in my trial version are dwindling.....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Faux Eggs Benny

Although I am a huge fan of How It All Vegan, I am not a fan of the nutritional yeast cheese sauce used in the "Faux Eggs Benny" recipe. Luckily, thanks to the likes of Vegenaise, I was able to create a hollandaise sauce that proved to me a more accurate representation of the sauce used in traditional eggs benedict. No offense, Sarah and Tanya. I think you both are amazing and talented, and How It All Vegan, as well as the other books in the series, got me off to a great start in vegan cooking. Since this is really a universal vegan recipe, I feel comfortable posting it.

for the marinade:
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
1/3 C olive oil
salt, to taste

for the sandwich:
2 english muffins, halved and toasted
1 lb. of firm tofu sliced lengthwise and cut into egg-like circles with a cookie cutter, or, as I do not own a cookie cutter, a wine glass (of which I own several)
sliced tomatoes
4 pieces of Smart Bacon, heated on an oiled skillet

for the hollandaise:
1 C soy mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise)
2 tbl lemon juice
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp paprika

Marinate the tofu for half an hour on each side. Bake at 400* for about 20-30 minutes, until the tofu is golden brown. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by combining the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
Assemble the sandwich by placing one piece of tofu on each half, followed by a piece of Smart Bacon, followed by a tomato slice, then drizzled with the hollandaise sauce. I also put some cheese on mine. :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Three Bean Dal, Sweet Potatoes, Onion Paratha, Green Chutney

I recently had the idea to have one night of international food. I am currently looking at some Filipino recipes for experimentation in the next week or so. Last night, I made dal, which is an Indian bean dish, sweet potatoes with cumin and cayenne, onion paratha and green chutney. All of these recipes are easily available online. I made the dal out of Vegan Planet, the sweet potatoes out of my head, and the paratha and chutney from online recipes.

The dal consists of green lentils, simmered in water for about twenty minutes, kidney beans, black beans, onions, diced tomatoes, cumin, cayenne, and cardamom. The end result was creamy and delicious, and FILLING. I also made enough to freeze for lunches.
For the sweet potatoes, I simply peeled two sweet potatoes, chopped them into chunks, and boiled them for about 15 minutes. I then drained them, placed them in a casserole dish, and added some margarine, vegan sour cream, cumin, and cayenne.

The paratha is simple as simple can be, with 1 cup of flour, a pinch of salt, and about 3/4 cup of water. You may find that more water is necessary; just use as much as needed to create a nice, smooth dough. Add whatever fillings you like, there are many options such as potatoes or onions. I chose onions. Then separate the dough into five equal parts, roll out, and fry each "dosi" in a non-stick skillet with a pat of vegan margarine.

The chutney is equally simple. Just combine a large bunch of cilantro, two cloves of garlic, 2 tbl of lemon juice, and 2 tsp of peanuts, whirl in the food processor until well combined, and you have yourself a tasty, fresh chutney. Now drool over the photos, even though the dal kind of looks like poop from far away.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tartines and Seitan and Red Potato Salad

Because I do not watch television, I miss out on cooking shows. Which I have discovered are awesome, not only for inspiration and carnivorous recipes to veganize, but also for handy tips and techniques. Therefore, I feel lucky and grateful that I had the spirit of enterprise to find Food Network online, and thus begin watching. Food Network's website boasts videos a-plenty from various chefs, but I am currently drawn to Barefoot Contessa. The recipes are great, and I have a list of meals to veganize, however my favorite part about the show is Ina Garten, who is just about the most pleasant, adorable woman ever. I like watching her make food for all of her friends and her cute little husband. But I could go on forever.

Inspired by Barefoot Contessa, I made tartines, paired with a main dish salad from The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook, one of my birthday presents from Jeffrey. Tartines are french open-faced sandwiches, usually served as a first course to a meal. Ina's tartines consisted of bleu cheese and tomatoes, and another batch made with smoked salmon and cucumbers. In the spirit of veganizing this, I had to come up with something, and settled on a vegan bleu cheese I found at Whole Foods (which is AMAZING), sauteed mushrooms, and avocado.

I made a loaf of sourdough bread on Sunday, and simply toasted it for a bit in the oven, then layed slices of bread with bleu cheese and sauteed mushroom. Then, back in the oven for ten minutes, followed by a layer of avocado.

The salad was even better than I imagined, with thin, crispy slices of sauteed seitan, red potatoes, shallots, and a dressing of garlic cloves, olive oil, and sherry vinegar.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Taco Salad

I have really been bad, not posting in almost three weeks. I am really going to try to be better. I made a taco salad last week, with various Mexican food leftovers. There always seems to be leftover refried beans in the fridge, and of course there were several tortillas languishing at the bottom of the crisper.

To make the shells, I draped a tortilla over an oven-safe bowl, brushed the tortilla with a little olive oil, and baked it in the oven for about 15 minutes at 375*. I then filled the tortillas with lettuce and Boca meat, then topped it with chopped onions, tomatoes, sour cream, and guacamole. I served refried beans on the side (to dip the shell after its contents are eaten) and a little lemon-chive salad dressing. Delicious.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Portobello Mushrooms with Mashed Potatoes and Fried Leeks

This recipe comes from Vegan Planet, but instead of hollowing out the inside of the mushroom and stuffing it with the mashed potatoes as suggested, I served the potatoes on the side in order to utilize more of that delicious, meaty 'shroom. I also marinated the mushrooms in tamari, olive oil, and crushed garlic. Oh, and I've discovered the goodness that is fried leeks. I'm going to have to do that more often. I had my 'shroom plain with some fried leeks sprinkled on top, and a bit of ketchup. Jeffrey had his on a bun with lettuce and Vegenaise.

Roast Beef and Cheddar Sandwiches

That's right, another vegan take on fast food. When we go to Sunflower Market, we are forced to see the giant pictures of roast beef and cheddar sandwiches plastered on the windows of the Arby's in the complex. So we decided that a roast beef and cheddar is definitely veganizable.

Ingredients (for two sandwiches):
Hamburger buns (homemade or store-bought)
One package of Tofurky Philly-Style Steak
One recipe of Cheez Whiz from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

Toast buns, then spread Vegenaise on each side. Heat up five slices of Tofurky and arrange on bottom bun. Top with a generous portion of "cheese sauce," followed by the top half of bun. I served the sandwich with roasted Brussels sprouts.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I have been meaning to post my pizza recipe for a long time, but the pie is usually eaten before I get a chance to take pictures. I have used several different toppings for pizza in my day, but the most recent and most popular lately is cremini mushroom and sausage-style seitan. I also threw some leftover black olives and jalapeno on as well, and it was delicious. If you choose to make your own pizza dough, which I do, more recently with the aid of a bread maker, you can find a good recipe in Vegan Planet. If you use a store-bought crust, which I used to do, you are still fine. But I think the homemade crust is better.

Ingredients (to make one 12-inch pie):
pizza sauce, storebought or homemade, enough to cover the crust, or more if you like a saucy pie
vegan mozzarella cheese (one again, I used FYH)
sausage-style seitan (from La Dolce Vegan)
five or six cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
whatever other ingredients you may have hanging around

Saute the onion, peppers, cooked seitan, and mushroom in a bit of olive oil for about five minutes. Prebake the crust at 450* for about five to seven minutes. Spread pizza sauce on the crust, followed by grated cheese, then the toppings. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into eight slices and serve.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Chicken" Quesadillas

I am always so proud of myself when I come up with a recipe that is all my own. Granted, someone else somewhere in the world may have at some point thought of it too, however I don't know about it, and that means that it's mine. I was making the wonderful vegan mexican pizzas last night and thought that it might be fun to have something else along with it, a quesadilla perhaps. I had some Morningstar Farms Chicken Strips in the freezer, a few extra tortillas, leftover enchilada sauce from the pizzas, and some Tofutti cream cheese. The lightbulb above my head: visible and flashing. The end result: absolutely delicious.

"Chicken" Quesadillas
Morningstar Farms chicken strips (one bag will make several quesadillas)
1/2 C Tofutti cream cheese
1/4 C enchilada sauce
1 tsp each of garlic, cumin, and paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 C vegan cheese (I combined Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack and cheddar)

Combine the cream cheese, enchilada sauce and spices. Saute the chicken in 1 tbl of olive oil until heated through and browned on both sides. Place one tortilla on a cookie and spread the cream cheese mixture across it. Place strips of chicken ontop of the cream cheese mixture, then sprinkle with cheese. I also added a few scallions and jalapenos. Bake in the oven at 450* for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place another tortilla ontop the mixture. Brush the top tortilla while a light layer of olive oil, and cook for ten more minutes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Seitan Reubens, Coleslaw, and Smashed Potatoes

I love reubens, and I just remembered that I forgot to put a nice big slice of Swiss cheese on the seitan reuben I had for dinner this evening. Oh well, probably didn't need the extra fat. These reubens are made with crispy seitan, homemade vegan Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut, of course. They are served on the homemade buns that I make at least twice a week now (Jeffrey loves them). The buns are from Vegan Dad's hamburger bun recipe. I like to make a lot of smaller buns for two little sandwiches instead of one big one. I also like to throw some seaweed gomashio ontop of some of the buns. The Thousand Island dressing is simple:
2 tbl Vegenaise
1 tbl ketchup
1 tbl pickle relish
1/2 tbl lemon juice

Coleslaw is a no brainer, with:
4 C shredded cabbage
1 shredded carrot
1/4 C Vegenaise
1 tbl natural brown sugar
1 tbl rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

The smashed potatoes are also fun:
6 small Yukon Gold potatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes until very tender. Place on a baking sheet and lightly mash the tops with a fork, until the potatoes are coming apart but not completely demolished. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes, then shake some salt and pepper over them. Bake in the oven at 450* for 15 minutes. Shake some paprika over the potatoes and serve.
Yummy dinner.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cheesecake Cupcakes with Blackberry Sauce

I would first like to apologize for the photo. It's awful, but I am not used to taking my photos in the middle of the day by a window with sun streaming in (which I realize is the best circumstance under which to take a photo) but this is the best one I got. I'm sure you'll forgive me.

Rather than make an entire cheesecake, I thought it would be cute to make little cheesecake cupcakes and then spoon a thick fruit sauce over them. It was cute, however it seems that cupcake liners melt, or stick to the molds more, or something equally annoying, when left in the oven for over an hour. Additionally, (and I know this, believe me) there is a HUGE difference between regular tofu and silken tofu. As I said, I know this, but thought that I could get away with using the regular instead of the silken, because I really wanted to make these and had no silken tofu in the house. I wouldn't recommend it.
The cupcakes came out tasting ricotta-ish, not to mention we had to spoon them out of the liners that refused to tear themselves away from the muffin tins. Jeffrey suggested putting them in the freezer. After a day, I removed them and lo and behold, it was possible to remove them from the tins (although not easy and I did ruin a few). They did somehow taste a bit better, as well. So I spooned the sauce over the cupcakes, lined them up in a storage dish, and put them in the refrigerator. It was a good day.

Ingredients (for the cheesecake):
24 oz. SILKEN firm tofu
8 oz. vegan cream cheese, such as Tofutti
1/2 C Turbinado or other granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine ingredients with hand mixer or in a food processor. Spoon into 12 individual cupcake liners. Bake in the oven at 350* for 40 minutes. Let the muffins sit in the oven with the heat off for an additional 40 minutes. Set on cooling rack until completely cool, then refrigerate for several hours. Spoon sauce (recipe follows) on each cupcake and serve.

Blackberry Sauce

1 C blackberries
1/4 C water
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 C sugar

Mash the blackberries, leaving several large chunks. Combine in small saucepan with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then lower heat and simmer until thickened. It should only take a couple of minutes. Enjoy.

"Old School" Peanut Curry

When I first started cooking vegan, years ago, I made a lot of Asian dishes. They were easy. Plus, we love Asian food. I have tried many a peanut sauce recipe in my day, and have tried to emulate the peanut curry sauce from our favorite Thai restaurant, Thai Basil, countless times. Although I still make Asian food once a week or so, the peanut curry took the backseat as I became too frustrated to make the sauce, as it was either too bland or too sweet or too salty or didn't taste enough like peanut butter. So we call it the "old-school" peanut curry, from the olden days of vegan cookery. The other night I gave it a go again, and this sauce is a winner. Too bad I didn't write it down, but I think I can remember. . .

1/2 C coconut milk
1/4 C peanut butter
2 tbl tamari
1 tbl Turbinado or other brown sugar
2 tsp chili garlic sauce, or more, if you like a hotter sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl, then pour into a small saucepan. Heat the sauce until almost boiling. Set aside until ready to use.

I think this sauce would be good on multiple items. Add less coconut milk and it becomes a thicker sauce for dipping veggies or seitan satay. I stir-fried some tofu, onion, garlic, green pepper, carrot, potato and broccoli, then served it over jasmine rice with the sauce ladled over the top.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Skinny Bitch" - A Rant

I had a feeling that this would happen sometime, that I would post not a delicious vegan meal but a massively opinionated commentary on something I find totally irritating. Today, it will be the book Skinny Bitch. I have not read this book, nor do I plan to. I have read a chunk of this book online and have heard other people talk about it, but have not read the entire "manifesto," as the authors, a former model and modeling talent manager, purport. So here's my beef with Skinny Bitch. It masquerades as a book on dieting and eating well and how to be soooo skinny, however when one opens the book and begins reading, he is inundated with PETA-like information on such topics as cows being skinned alive in the slaughter line and how meat is "dead, rotting flesh." Which it is, but whatever. This not my biggest annoyance with the book, though. It's no surprise that eating well means lots of fresh fruit and veggies, grains, water and avoidance of caffeine and alcohol, among other such naughty pleasures. My biggest problem with Skinny Bitch is that the whole thing is narrated by this accusatory, negative, eating-disorder type voice that throughout the book states things like, "You need to exercise, you lazy sh*t" or "Don't be a fat pig anymore."
All right, how is THAT okay?
I can picture so clearly the minutely chubby teens that pick up this book wanting to drop five before the prom, or whatever, and all of a sudden they are being told not only that if they do not become vegan, they are awful people, but also the constant negative mantra that could easily turn into an eating disorder, or at least a significant eating issue, for already impressionable teens. Again, NOT okay.
After realizing that I was furious with the authors of Skinny Bitch, I did a little more research and read an interview with them. They completely contradict what they solicit in the book by saying in the interview, multiple times, "We are total pigs and love eating all day long. We just make better choices on what to eat." Which really means that they stuff their faces with Rice Dream instead of Dreyer's (and they probably throw it up afterward, anyway), which has the same amount of calories, fat, and sugar and will make you just as obese if you eat enough of it. There is nothing about vegan junk food that is better than omnivorous junk food. It just doesn't make sense to me.
For instance, when I fry up a huge batch of flour-and-cornstarch coated seitan and then smother it in sweet and sour sauce and my white - that's right, white, not brown - rice is glistening with the remaining oil, I do not think for one second that I am being healthy. I do not think that because it is seitan instead of chicken that it will help me lose weight. Granted, these types of meals are few are far between in this household, but I feel sorry for the people who believe the hype in Skinny Bitch and are bitterly disappointed when they don't drop 30 pounds the instant they stop drinking cow's milk. I don't think that everyone was meant to vegan and I also don't think that it's a good idea to get people to jump on that bandwagon with the idea that they will lose a bunch of weight. Speaking from experience, it doesn't always happen that way. People should make the choice to vegan or vegetarian because it suits their views, thoughts, and lifestyle. Not because you think it will help you lose massive amounts of weight.
So these people wrote a follow-up cookbook, too, the bastards. Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. Some of the recipes in this cookbook are the pinnacle of badness. Chocolate pancakes, onion rings, macaroni and cheese, hot fudge sundaes, you get the picture. But they're vegan. So they must be healthy. It is my opinion that vegan junk food is still junk food. Let me tell you, if I ate vegan chocolate pancakes and french fries all day long, I would be morbidly obese. It's all so contradictory. Baaah!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Potato-Cheese Perogies and Brats

Jeffrey loves these perogies like you would not believe. He actually stated, "These are one of the best things in the world." I don't know if he was referring to things other than food, but I must agree, perogies are generally delicious. I adapted this recipe from How It All Vegan and served it with some sauerkraut and a Tofurky brat. Although you should consult the cookbook for the recipe, I will give you my adapted version, as it is a slight bit different.
2 C flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
egg replacer equal to 3 eggs
6 tblsp vegan margarine, softened
1/2 C water

1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled, chopped, and boiled until tender
1 C vegan cheese, grated (I used Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dill
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbl soy bacon bits

Mash the cooked potatoes in a small bowl and add cheese, lemon juice, dill, and mustard. Stir until well-combined. Set aside. Sift together flour and salt, then add egg replacer, water, and margarine. Knead for a few minutes until you have a nice, smooth dough. Separate dough into sixteen small balls. Roll out each ball individually and place 1 tsp of filling into the middle of the dough. Fold over and crimp the edges with a fork. Boil perogies 5 at a time, then fry on each side in a little olive oil for a few minutes each.
While your pan is still hot, fry a Tofurky brat until brown on both sides. Warm up some sauerkraut. Put all the perogies you want on a plate with the brat and saurkrat. Dip your perogies in sour cream and salsa and smother your brat in the aforementioned condiments. Enjoy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Florentine Ricotta Pie

My attempts at blogging every day have failed. In fact, my attempts at blogging at least a couple of times a week have failed. Lately, it seems that we have been having leftovers, or a repeat of something I have already posted, or (and this is the most likely) I simply do not feel like taking photos of the food I just prepared. I would rather just eat it and then lay back and read, rather than scourge the literally dozens of photos I have snapped of the meal, trying to find the best one. Anyway, tonight is an exception. I made Florentine Ricotta Pie from The Uncheese Cookbook. I used fresh spinach rather than frozen and made a pie crust from scratch. Making a pie crust from scratch is not as daunting as some people believe it to be. There are only four ingredients:
1 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C olive oil
1/4 C water
Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the olive oil and water in a small bowl, then add to the dry ingredients. Briefly knead into a uniform dough, then roll out on a cutting board until the dough is formed into an approximate 10-inch circle. Place into a pie plate and crimp the edges. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes before adding the filling and baking again. I also added soy bacon bits to this pie, and I do whenever I am making any quiche-type pie. It's just delicious.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


A few weeks ago, my officemates and I decided to go to Tortas Paquime. We noticed the menu sitting in the lunchroom one day and thought it might be fun to try something new. I was surprised at the mention of "vegetarian" on this menu and therefore became even more excited to try it. Plus, they had waffle fries with melted nacho cheese, and that was the clincher. We thoroughly enjoyed the place, and my torta of avocado, tomato, jalapeno, and mayonnaise was delicious.

I thought to myself, while eyeing my officemates' marinated pork torta, "I could so veganize this." Which I did. I made some bollitos and some beef-flavored seitan. I threw together some chopped romaine lettuce, a mixture of Follow Your Heart cheddar and monterey jack cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, and chopped jalapeno, then piled the whole mess on the bun, after spreading it with Vegenaise, of course.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chili Stuffed Green Bell Peppers

I am proud of myself. I worked a little later this evening, arriving home at 7pm from a meeting on 99th Avenue and Peoria. I had to stop at the store for some soy milk first. Upon my arrival, I fed two whining cats and started the dishwasher, which was completely full. I then set about making homemade chili and homemade rice. I then followed the recipe from Vegan Planet
for stuffed bell peppers, and had it done by 8:15pm. AND I'm sick, to boot! Anyway, these bell peppers are stuffed with a mixture of chili, rice, and vegan cheese (like Follow Your Heart), then doused in a sweet and sour sauce consisting of tomato juice, chili powder, sugar, and apple cider vinegar. I won't post the recipe for the bell peppers, but I will post the recipe for the rice I made (I always make rice this way, in fact). This way of cooking rice was taught to me by my friend Cici, who just happens to be an amazing cook and is studying culinary/restauranty type things in Italy. It's very simple:
Simply chop one clove of garlic and fry it in one tablespoon of olive oil until it is brown. Remove the garlic, but for the love of God, don't throw it away! Munch on it while you're cooking. Add 1 cup of rice to oil and fry it for a minute or so. Then add 2 cups of water (yes, it was sizzle, don't be alarmed), as well as salt and garlic powder to taste. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat to low and cover. Cook for twenty minutes. I really should have taken a picture of the rice, but I forgot. That's okay, I'm sure you know what rice looks like.