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Six years ago, my friend Whitney dragged me to see The Exorcism of Emily Rose. For months weeks after, I would wake in the middle of the night petrified to open my eyes and look at the time in case it was 3 o’clock, which is when the devil supposedly is most likely to possess you.

Every once in a while I still wake up terrified. I wish I was kidding…

Also, I have really intense nightmares of people being attacked after I watch  3 or more episodes of Law and Order: SVU, which happens to be one of my favorite shows. And which is ALWAYS having a marathon on TV. How can I not watch more than three episodes??

So, when my roommates told me that they were all leaving for the holidays after their fall semesters ended and I’d have three weeks on my own, I was excited for about 5 seconds and then I realized, Shit! Who is going to be around to read my demonic statements written in blood on the wall if I get possessed? Or, what if I’m attacked? Whose going to call the Boston equivalent of SVU and make sure I have a hot middle-aged, balding detective with severe anger problems  to help me out (lets not even talk about my crush on Stabler…)??

I was in a serious dilemma here! Thankfully, Melinda (of the Bread Dilemma and the Beet Cupcakes) was apartment searching and needed a futon to crash on. Score!

Melinda!

And THEN, Becca, my old roomie who moved to Cali, was visiting and crashed with us. This was as a perfect scenario: The priests that fly solo in the movies always fail! Two people would be way more successful if an exorcism was needed. A girl needs to plan ahead!

Becca!

Plus, we all like cooking so delicious food was inevitable!  We all chipped in and helped with this Irish Stew:

Vegan Irish Stew

Based on Vegetarian Irish Stew on Food.com

Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 medium onions
1/4 cup flour
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 cup carrots
1 turnip, chopped
1 potato, chopped
1 cup chopped kale
1/2 cup lentils(we forgot to put these in and it resulted in a brothier stew, but it was still delicious!)
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
pepper
1 cup Seitan, cut into chunks

In a large part, sauté garlic and onions in the olive oil until they are soft.  Add the flour and stir until the garlic and onions are completely coated.

Add the remaining ingredients, mix well and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, or until the veggies are done

Cooking with Melinda and Becca was hilarious because neither of them believes in really following a recipe or measuring things. For instance, they went to the grocery store to pick up a few things we needed and instead of coming back with celery, they decided kale was a perfectly decent substitute. I had to keep track of all their changes on the white board in the kitchen so I could remember the recipe when it was time to post it!


Thankfully, the meal turned out awesome, even though we changed half the ingredients and forgot the lentils! AND I didn’t need them to rid any demonic spirits from my life. Definitely a win, win!

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Happy holidays, Wicked Vegan readers!

 

I just wanted to take a moment and say I haven’t gone anywhere…but my computer charger has. Its hanging with my folks in CT. As soon as I get it back and have more then T minus 2 minutes of battery life left, I will resume posting.

 

Until then, I hope you have a happy and safe holidays!

 

Love,

Erin

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Last night, I made Maple Bacon Chocolate chip cookies for a friend’s birthday. You should have seen me trying to make bacon. I think I over cooked it but I was so scared to under cook it and then have him die of some sort of pig carried disease that I made sure it was extra crispy. Unfortunately, the cookies were a hot mess and spread out like pancakes on the pan. When I pulled out one of the cookie sheets, all of the cookies had spread out and mushed together to form one ginormous cookie. I had to cut it with a knife. My baking cheat sheet I found on pinterest says it’s because I had too little flour. I actually added 1/2 c extra flour per tips from online. Worse, I don’t even know if they are good because they have bacon AND butter AND eggs in it. I’m leaving it up to my friends at work to tell me if they are good enough to gift. I’m thinking he’ll end up getting a gift certificate instead…

On the plus side, I had this lovely recipe for dinner and it helped ease the pain of my baking flop. Actually, the two large glasses of Chocolate Peppermint Soy milk with chocolate mint baileys were probably more helpful in easing the pain but I’m still totally obsessed with this recipe. It’s insanely good.

Minestrone Pot Pie with Vegan Biscuits

soup
adapted from How Sweet Eats
makes one 9×13 dish, serves 4-6

drizzle of olive oil

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

1 cleaned and trimmed leek, thinly sliced

1/2 cup coarsely chopped baby bella mushrooms

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash

3 cups raw spinach leaves

3 cups torn kale leaves

1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) peeled whole tomatoes

1 Bay leaf

1 TBSP Thyme

1TBSP parsley

3 cups vegetable broth

Coat the bottom of a large soup pan with olive oil and heat. Add onions and leeks to the pan with a sprinkle of salt, cooking for 5 minutes. Add in mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Stir in garlic, thyme and parsley and cook for 30 seconds. Add spinach, kale, squash, tomatoes, beans, bay leaf and broth. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook f0r 20 minutes, covered. While soup is cooking, make biscuits below and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

After 20 minutes, transfer to the baking dish. Top with biscuits, then brush each biscuit with melted earth balance. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the biscuits are done. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Biscuit
from Holy Cow! vegan

Mix and set aside to curdle:

1 cup very cold soymilk or almond milk

1 tsp vinegar

Mix together:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Add to this:

5 tbsp transfat-free vegetable shortening (like Crisco) or very cold vegan “butter” like Earth Balance, chopped into small cubes.

With a fork or a pastry-cutter, mix the fat into the flour until you have a coarse mixture with no large pieces of fat. If using “butter,” work quickly because you don’t want the fat to melt.

Now add the curdled soymilk-vinegar mixture and mix quickly until the dough comes together.

Make a ball of the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.

Use a round cookie cutter (I used a round drinking glass) and continue with the steps above.

Melinda and I actually used our team work powers to make this meal. She’s crashing at my place for a while. So I bought all the ingredients, Melinda made the soup and biscuit dough, I came home from work and put the soup in the pan and cut out the biscuits and baked it. In fairness, she had the tough part so she gets 2/3 credit for this recipe. It turned out amazing so she totally deserves it.

She’s also responsible for getting me addicted to chocolate mint baileys, which she keeps adding to the hot chocolate she offers me when I get home from work. I’m not complaining though!  In fact, when I bring boys around I hope she hints to them that like the people on Mad Men, I like to come home with a tumbler of booze waiting for me…except instead of scotch, I expect hot chocolate with mint baileys.

But I digress, this soups amazing so go make it.

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Fall Harvest Couscous

 

I swear, I am no longer pretending its fall. I mean…not really. Technically, there are still pumpkins in my house, caution tape from my Halloween party strung across my porch and a Jack-O-Lantern rotting on my porch but technically, I have embraced christmas…well…as much as someone with a heart three sizes too small can. The fact that I’ve had Fall Harvest Couscous everyday this week for lunch, and probably will continue to have for lunch each day this week, is a mere coincidence. I just really love roasted pecans and butternut squash!

Fall Harvest Couscous

Ingredients

1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (you can buy it peeled and cut, that’s what I did)
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced 
1/2 -1 c. sliced baby bellas (the original recipe didn’t call for this but I had some leftover from a different recipe so I threw them in. They tasted great)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper 
1 1/2 cups couscous 
1 1/3 cups vegetable broth 
1 tablespoon Earth Balance
1/3 cup dried cranberries 
1/2 cup pecans, toasted 
Method

Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine butternut squash, onion, mushroom, olive oil, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until squash and onion brown slightly, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool. At this point, butternut squash and onion mixture can be frozen. Defrost in refrigerator for several hours or in the microwave. 

Combine defrosted squash and onion mixture, veggy broth, Earth Balance and cranberries in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add couscous and cover. Take from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in pecans and season to taste with salt and pepper. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Nutrition

Per serving: 410 calories (150 from fat), 17g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 9g protein, 59g total carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber)

 

See, look! I used a poinsettia as a prop in my picture! That counts as christmas spirit right??

Also, Dan, Melinda and I decorated our apartment’s christmas tree last night! There was old school jams playing, hot chocolate spiked with mint chocolate baileys, off-key singing going on…it was a much-needed destresser from the craziness that has been the last few weeks. Plus, now our dining room looks so pretty!

See, I’m so over fall! Just…ignore those pumpkins under the tree, ok? Thanks.

 

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Almond Joy Cake Balls

This week is the third week of the baking challenge that I sort of started by accident two weeks ago. The first week, if you recall, the premium billing department at my work gave me the challenge to cook with dark chocolate and craisin. These cookies were the result. Then last week, my co-worker Sean, reppin’ the enrollment department, picked strawberries. So I made these bars. This week, the secret ingredient was chosen by my friends, Shea and Cashel, who work in the sales department with me. I knew that I had to give them a chance to have a say, in some way, because they are two of the biggest supporters of my baked goods! I can always count on them to try out my stuff and give me feed back, which I always appreciate it! So the ingredient they chose was coconut.

Yeah, I sort of kicked this challenge’s ass!

I ended up making Almond Joy Cake Balls and there is coconut in every part of this little dessert! The cake is a coconut cake with coconut extract and shredded coconut. Then, instead of adding frosting to the crumbled up cake to form the balls, I added coconut milk AND condensed coconut milk (which I made from scratch). THEN, for the chocolate shell, I added coconut oil to the melted chocolate, which helped thin it out and make it shiny…plus, added more coconut flavor!

Like I said, coconut in every part of this dessert!

Coconut Condensed Milk
from Veganbaking.net

2 ¾ cups non-dairy milk (you can use soy, almond, coconut, etc. I used coconut)
½ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the “milk” and the sugar in a slow cooker. Set for high and cook for 7 hours, leaving uncovered the whole time. You should have 1 cup of condensed milk when you are done. Transfer to a bowl to allow to cool. Once cool, whisked in the vanilla extract.

If it cooks down too much, you can add water and food process it until you have 1 cup.

*this can also be done on the stove top. Go to veganbaking.net for the full instructions on that.

Coconut Cake
from Vegan Thyme
makes 2 9-inch round cakes

3 sticks unsalted vegetable margerine (cut into cubes and bring to room temp)
2 cups sugar

5  Ener-G Egg Replace “eggs”
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Line two 9″ cake pans with parchment paper, then spray with non-stick baking spray.

Prepare the dry ingredients in a medium bowl–the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add the room temperature margerine and sugar and beat on medium speed for about five minutes until the mixture is very light and very fluffy. Next, mix together the egg replacer powder with the water. Now, add this to the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the extracts to this and mix well. Next, alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk, starting and ending with flour- it should be about three flour additions and 2 milk additions. Fold in the shredded coconut to the batter with a spoon.

Next, spread the batter in the cake pans.  Bake for 45 minutes. The edges of the cake should be golden brown in color and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool completely. I made them in the morning and let them cool all afternoon. If you don’t let the cakes cook completely, the won’t crumble properly when your making th cake balls.

Almond Joy Cake Balls
adapted from Taste and Tell Blog
makes around 60 cake balls

1 batch of the above coconut cake, cooled
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup condensed coconut milk
about 2 bags of vegan dark chocolate
1-2 tsp of coconut oil (*see note below)
60ish whole almonds (optional)
shredded coconut (optional)

Crumble the cooled coconut cake into a large bowl. Add the coconut milk and the condensed coconut milk to the bowl. With your hands, mix the ingredients in the bowl together until they are well combined. Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 1 hour.

Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil in a double boiler on the stove. Roll the chilled cake balls in melted chocolate and place back on the parchment paper. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and top with a whole almond. Return to the fridge until read to serve.

*note: the coconut oil is a must for making this taste like an almond joy. It’s super delicious. Unfortunately, it also prevents the chocolate from staying hard. If you leaves these out in the open for too long, the chocolate gets really soft, which means you get it all over your hands and mouth. If you anticipate putting these out at a party for a long period of time or bringing them someplace where you can’t store them in the fridge, I would recommend using vegetable shortening. They still taste really good, the shell just doesn’t quite channel the almond joy that way.

Aren’t they so cute?! I know that isn’t the point of a dessert but it certainly adds to it! I liked these because they aren’t as sweet as the traditional cake pop recipe which is box caked + canned frosting = cake pop. 1. Hello preservatives, chemicals and non-vegan ingredients and 2. they are just so sweet! This recipe really lets the cake shine, as opposed to having it masked by frosting. Also, the melted chocolate and coconut oil is SO good.

How cute do they look with their little mini cupcake liners? They would be great as a gift, placed in a cute box. A much more creative, tasty solution to boxed chocolates!

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Welcome back to a normal week. I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving/few days off. Did anyone have any yummy vegan options on Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear about them! I ended up having Cranberry Pear Salsa for an appetizer with some organic blue tortilla chips. For dinner I had tofurkey (yum) with the gravy that came with it (too salty), my mom’s vegan sausage and mushroom cornbread stuffing (best. stuffing. ever), roasted asparagus with a little olive oil and garlic powder and this sweet potato casserole (to die for!). For dessert, I had these snickerdoodles. I don’t mean to brag but my first vegan thanksgiving went pretty smoothly! It helps that I have an awesome mom who was willing to a.) make separate things for me (like the stuffing) and b.) try new recipes (like the sweet potato casserole and salsa). My family kind of rocks.

Now, on to your Monday Dessert! Last week, the premium billing department stepped up and presented me with a challenge: to make a dark chocolate craisin dessert. The result was pretty good. I extended this challenge to the enrollment department but alas, I didn’t hear anything from them! I’m assuming its due to the shortened week but either way, Saturday came around and I had no idea what to make. So my co-worker Sean stepped up after a bit of prodding and proposed Strawberries as the mystery ingredient this week. I feel like I’m on Iron Chef. If you are anything like me, your first reaction to this weeks mystery ingredient was, “Strawberries?! Those are not even in season. That’s going to cost me a fortune!”, especially when I often have to double or triple the recipe I make to accommodate everyone. Yeah…fresh strawberries were  clearly not happening. So I went with strawberry preserves. I’m pretty sure that would fly on Iron Chef!

the uncooked "crumbles"

Strawberry Shortbread Bars
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
makes about 28 (the original recipe says it makes 48 but there’s no way that’s possible)

ingredients

  • cups vegan butter, such as Earth Balance, softened
  • cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Ener-G “eggs”
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped, or 1/3 cup of dark chocolate *
  • 10 ounce jar (2 cups) strawberry preserves or seedless red raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs. Beat in flour.

If you are using Pecans:

After you beat in the flour, stir in the 1 1/2 cups of pecans. Original recipe said that the dough may be crumbly. Mine was not. Put aside 2 cups of the dough.

Press the remaining pecan mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 12×9-inch baking pan. Spread preserves to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Takes the remaining pecan mixtures and “sprinkle” onto preserves. As mine was not crumbly, I broke it into small pieces and dropped them on the preserves (see above picture).

Bake in 350 degree F oven for about 45 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

If you are using Chocolate Chips:

After you have beat in flour, set aside two cups of the dough. Press the remaining dough into the bottom of an ungreased 12×9- inch baking pan. Spread preserves to within 1/2 inch of edge. Take the remaining dough mixture and stir in 1/3-1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips. Break into small pieces and drop them on the preserves.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

So, I did this recipe two ways because I know a lot of people are allergic to or don’t like nuts in their baked goods. For the chocolate version, I opted not to go with chocolate in the bottom crust because I didn’t want it to be a chocolate dessert. I didn’t want the dark chocolate to over power or take the focus away from the strawberry. After all, Strawberries were the mystery ingredient this week, not chocolate! If you are PMSing or IMSing (irritable male syndrome. oh yes it does exist! And I can think of a few guys who are poster children for it (nonameswillbementioned!))  and are craving chocolate, feel free to add more. That’s just what I was feeling at 9:00 last night.

Chocolate chip on top, pecan on the bottom

 I don’t think I’m feeling this 5 day work week ahead of me. Can we do 2 and a half days again??

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Happy Monday, all my lovely internet friends. How was your weekend? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t as awesome as mine. Even though I worked a bit, I went to see the movie Immortals and got to see Henry Cavill’s hot ass on the big screen for 110 minutes. What was the movie like? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. Some sort of war between, er, people?…and Micky Rourke was bad…and, er, there was blood and some Gods?…and all this resulted in Henry Cavill running around with no shirt! Yeah!! It was an awesome movie. I did read that it was the #1 movie of the weekend, though. I’m pretty sure all the girls in the audience will all give it raving reviews, like I did! Clearly!

Your Welcome!

Anyway! Back to the food- Growing up, one of my Mom’s favorite cookies was homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. She seriously makes the best baked goods out of anyone I know besides me  so even I, who hates all things that raisins have even shared space with, would eat them. Granted, I would do my best to pick the actual raisins out but sometimes one would sneak through. The cookie was so yummy though I didn’t care. There was just something so delicious about oatmeal and cinnamon in a chewy cookie.

These cookies are something of an Ode to those oatmeal raisin cookies. They have all the yumminess of my mom’s (oatmeal, cinnamon, chewiness) with none of the crap (raisins) with an extra little twist (peanut butter!!).

In fact, these cookies are so good that when my roommate, Bonnie, walked into our living room, sporting her second cookie and raving about how awesome they were, I had to put the kibosh on anymore cookie eating before I packed them up for work!

These cookies came from the book Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, the founders of Post-Punk Kitchen.  Because this recipe comes from a book, which has copyright laws, I think I need to wait for the ok from Moskowitz and Romero before I can add it to the blog. Until then, I’ll just give you my review of the recipe. How about that?

Ok, So the cookies taste great but they definitely aren’t the prettiest. The batter was super sticky and wet so I had a really hard time rolling them into balls and then rolling them in the crushed peanuts. I ended up using a cookie scoop and plopping them into a bowl with the peanuts  but it was still hard to transfer the dough from the bowl with the crushed peanuts to the cookie sheet. They were too goopy. I made three dozen like this before I was so annoyed I stuck the dough in the fridge. It was only in there for about 15 minutes before I had to put the next batch in but even that short amount of time was a huge help! The cookies still spread out flat though, even when refrigerated. Next time, I’ll chill them longer. Regardless of the dough troubles I had, like I said, these cookies tasted amazing and that is after all, what I was striving for. I did manage to wrestle some away from my roommates to bring to work and so far I’m getting thumbs up all around.

I can’t wait to try some more recipes from this books. Spiced sweet potato blondeis, for instance, would be great for Thanksgiving or the espresso fudge brownies, which would be great for..well…me! I don’t know if I’m going to want to share those…

Keep checking in for the recipe for these. I’ll update as soon as I hear for the authors!

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The Mac and Cheese Dilemma

 

Until about 3 months ago, my cooking skills included:

1. Pouring cereal in a bowl, followed by milk

2. Box Mac and Cheese

3. Baked goods, excluding anything with yeast.

I’ve come a long way since then! I’ve tried brussel sprouts, lentils and balsam rice. I’ve been planning meals and cooking regularly. AND I’ve successfully made vegan bread. Score for me!

But I can’t get the box Mac and Cheese out of my head. I LOVE mac and cheese. I used to always keep a box in my pantry for that rare Saturday I was home, doing nothing and I just wanted to curl up and watch a movie.

And, it comes in fun shapes!! I caved this month and bought a box of the Halloween shaped ones. How can you go wrong with Halloween shapes?

Weirdly enough, though, I didn’t enjoy it! Bats and Pumpkins and Ghost shaped pasta drenched in cheese sauce and I didn’t like it?? How is this possibly??

Maybe it’s because I’ve been putting yummy, healthy, unprocessed foods in me for the last few weeks and I’m getting used to it.  Maybe it’s because after this long stretch of homemade food my body was like, “SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE? WTF, Erin?” Agreed, body. Agreed.

So whats a former boxed Mac and Cheese addict to do?? Find a good vegan mac and cheese recipe, that’s what! Here is my first venture into the vegan Mac and cheese world…

 

Vegan Stove Top-Style Macaroni and Cheese
 from Bittersweet Blog

1 Cup Peeled and Diced Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/4 Cup Shredded or Finely Diced Carrot
1/2 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
1 Clove Garlic, Thinly Sliced
1 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Raw Cashews
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
1/4 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/8 Teaspoon Tumeric (Optional, for Color)
3/4 – 1 Cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
1/3 Cup Neutral-Flavored Oil, Such as Canola or Rice Bran

1 Pound Pasta, Cooked, preferably whole wheat or brown rice.

Place the cut potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic in a small sauce pan, and pour in the water. Set over medium heat on the stove, and bring to a boil. Once the water reaches a vigorous boil, cover the pot, turn down the heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are extremely tender.

Meanwhile, place the cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, mustard, lemon juice, paprika, and tumeric in your blender. Give these ingredients a light pulse just to begin breaking down the cashews slightly. No need to blend together entirely. We’ll do that when the veggies are done cooking.

When the vegetables on the stove are fully cooked and ready, pour them into your blender along with all of the cooking water. Add in 3/4 cup of the non-dairy milk, and turn on the blender to its highest setting. Thoroughly puree the mixture, until completely smooth and lump-free. If you’re using a blender that isn’t so hearty, this could take 6 – 10 minutes. With the motor still running, slowly drizzle in the oil, to allow it to properly emulsify. Check the consistency; if you like your sauce a bit thinner blend in the remaining 1/4 of non-dairy milk.

Pour the sauce over your cooked noodles, and serve immediately.

Makes 6 – 8 Servings

"cheese" sauce

 

I know exactly what you are thinking: “Where the frick is the rue? And what are those vegetables doing in there??”. I know, right! It’s a super weird recipe and I was hesitant to make it. It didn’t have the basic structure of a homemade mac and cheese and the vegetables were a little odd.

I was pleasantly surprised, though! This was a really good pasta dish. Will I be passing it off as Mac and Cheese to my non-vegan family and friends? No. It definitely doesn’t taste exactly like Mac and Cheese. It does satisfy that craving for M&C, though. It was warm and creamy and I threw in some Daiya cheddar cheese to give it a little bit of a gooey texture.

My biggest gripe is, much like Mac and Cheese, it doesn’t reheat exceptionally well. It looses that creamy texture. That is sort of a problem for me because there’s only one of lil’ ol’ me. I can’t eat a whole pot of anything by myself! Left overs are what keep me functioning!

 

Overall, I’d give it a 7 out of 10. I would definitely make it again but maybe with a few open-minded friends to help me eat it so I have minimal left overs. As for you, definitely give it a try! It’s a healthy alternative to all that dairy and chemicals and watching the cream sauce come together is almost as fun as watching the cashew cream come together!!

 

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Friday Morning Fun

Happy Friday, blog friends! I hope your Friday is going better than mine. I’ve already spilt burning hot coffee on my newly washed jeans and my photo editor isn’t working, which means these photos are going to be dark, ugly and mismatching since they are from 2 different shoots. As Liz Lemon would say, Blurg!

ANYWAYS! Yesterday, I teased you with the promise of some ginger lime noodles to go with your green beans and bamboo shoot stir-fry. I’m delivering as promised!

For all  you vegetable savvy people, do you notice something odd about the stir-fry picture above? Specifically with the peas? Yeeeah…those aren’t sugar peas! I definitely grabbed the wrong type of peas from Whole Foods veggy section. But it’s not really my fault that I can’t tell one pea from another. See, I have a sort of fear of peas. I will eat them in a stir fry, smothered in sauce, but I don’t love them. And here’s why:

When I was a wee child, probably around 2nd or 3rd grade, my parents thought it would be a brilliant idea to pit my younger brother and I against each other in a pea eating contest in an attempt to get us to eat them (why we even had peas, I don’t know. My mom recently admitted to hating them). The winner got an ice cream from McDonald’s! A competition? With ice cream?! Clearly, I was all over this! My strategy was to eat multiple peas at a time. This was brilliant because my brother was eating one at a time. Sucker! That ice cream is mine!! Not so fast, though. In what could have been a cunning and strategic move, albeit disgusting, my brother ended up getting sick and throwing up all 10 of the peas he had eaten one by one, which put an end to the competition AND got him a sympathy ice cream. Back then, this was vexing as I was clearly the winner. Now, I can tilt my hat at his brilliance. Well-played, bro, well-played. I still have a hard time with peas though…

Ginger Lime Tofu and Noodles

modified from Howsweeteats.com

1 package of extra firm tofu

marinade/sauce:

4 TBS olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

zest from 2 limes

juice from 2 limes

1 TBS soy sauce

1 TBS olive oil

1/2 bell pepper, chopped

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 clove garlic

1 cup sugar snap peas

1 TBS soy sauce

1/2 pound whole wheat pasta of your choice (I used whole wheat spaghetti)

Drain and press tofu. (I used my Tofu Press, which I’m addicted to, and pressed the tofu overnight). Dice the tofu into desired size. Combine 2 TBS olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger, zest from one lime, juice from one lime and 1/2 TBS of soy sauce and whisk together. Combine the marinade and tofu in a ziplock bag and marinade for 2-24 hours.

Once the tofu is marinated, heat a skillet on medium heat and add olive oil. Add peppers, mushrooms and tofu to the pan and saute for about 6-8 minutes (the tofu can really be added anytime but I like to add it in the beginning so it picks up all the veggy taste).

While peppers, mushrooms and tofu are sauteing, bring pasta water to a boil and cook according to directions, draining and set aside.

You can also begin the sauce. My one problem with veganizing this recipe is that the tofu acted as a big sponge, absorbing all the yummy marinade and sauce and leaving the dish kind of dry. While the veggies and tofu are sauteing and the water is boiling, add the rest of your marinade/sauce ingredients (2 TBS olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger, zest from one lime, juice from one lime and 1/2 TBS of soy sauce) to a small sauce pan. Heat on low. You don’t want it to cook down too much. You just want all those flavors to blend together.

After the peppers, mushrooms and tofu have sautéed for 6-8 minutes, add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add snap peas, pasta and sauce and mix thoroughly.

 

This recipe is actually modified from one that was posted on Howsweeteats.com. Confession: I have a serious blog crush on Jessica from Howsweeteats.com. Even though 99.9% of her recipes aren’t vegan friendly and contain bacon in some way, shape or form, I still adore her website. It’s like my little guilty pleasure in the morning. I go on and drool over all the pretty pictures and get inspired on all the ways I can veganize her meals! Also, she’s hysterical. So there’s that too. Go check out her site… And make this yummy pasta for dinner this weekend!

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Welcome to Wickedvegan.com! I’m super excited that you’ve come to check out my blog.

A quick note into what you will be seeing:

-This blog is dedicated to vegan food that I’ve tried. I’ve recently made the switch from the vegetarian diet I’ve been rocking for 16 years to a vegan one. Surprisingly, its a lot harder then I expected. I’ve had a really hard time sticking to veganism. So to help me stay on track, I’ve decided to launch wickedvegan.com. My thought is that being able to share new recipes that I’ve tried will encourage me to keep cooking and baking vegan.

– I do not make up my own recipes. I’m not quite there yet. I will tweak recipes that I’ve tried and thought were lacking, or I’ll convert a non-vegan recipe into a vegan one, but none of the recipes are 100% mine.

– I’m hoping to post 3-5 times a week but we’ll see how much time I have to devote to this.

– Wickedvegan.com looks pretty simple right now but I’m hoping to give it a sprucing up within the week. I’m having a bit of difficulty finding the proper props for my banner (side rant: why is it I can find lime green, purple, orange and black vampire fangs but no white?! Do vampires now have lime green teeth along with their sparkles? Blasphemous I tell you!) So look forward to that.

 

Now… On with the posts!

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