Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kiss me, I'm eating a Reuben.

I.  Love.  Corned beef.  (Hash).  But as it got closer to St. Patty's day, the more I began to miss the old ruby slabs.  And while corned beef...well salami too...oh, and pepperoni, are the only meats I miss the flavor of, I knew eating a sad veggie version of corned beef and cabbage was not about to cut it.  So, I decided to go with as fatty a dish I could think of:  A happy greasy grilled Reuben.

On my search for some vegan semblance of corned beef, I came across Vegan Dad's recipe for corned beef seitan, and I never looked back.  I didn't know what the hell a juniper berry was supposed to taste like, but I knew it would be the undoing of my corned beefy dreams.

Making seitan is SO easy.  In fact you should go make some RIGHT NOW.

Uh, my memory is failing me in my ripe old age of 30, but I believe this was the first seitan I had ever made.  Yes, indeed!  It was the March of 2010 that I made my first seitan.  Aw, isn't it so sweet bundled in that foil?!  And it's so rosey!  (Due to the gallon of neon pink food coloring I added, but I digress...)

Rubee's first picture!

Official Reuben Making Station.

I lovingly sliced my pretty pink seitan with a serrated knife and got out my fixins.  Now, I had carefully selected Alvarado Street Bakery's Sprouted Rye bread.  I LOVE rye but Alvarado's version really blew my mind.  Never in my life had I eaten a rye bread with dill and/or celery seeds.  But going without it is definitely a crime!  (aka EAT THIS DANG BREAD.)  

I used Bubbie's saurkraut which is the BEST.  It was perfect for this sandwich, and because it is brined and aged instead of cooked in vinegar it is also probiotic!  Score!  I also made my own Russian/Thousand Island dressing with veganaise, pickles, and Organicville ketchup...which for the record is a hundred times better than Annie's.  AND it's certified VEGAN.  I topped it off with some white cheddar Cheezly.  Product placement much???


Sandwich 1!

Sandwich 2!

The end of sandwich 2!  :(

I later branched out to Irish Stew...which I didn't like too much.  But the bf liked it and I got to make something new, so everybody wins!

Stew fixins!

Finished stew on potatoes with cabbage

Erin go Braughless!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You and Me Baby Ain't Nothin' but Mammals I have been inhaling eggs and cheese like a Flowbee the last few months.  But we were meant to drink milk, right???  We are of an egg so we should be able to revisit it whenever we want.   We ARE mammals, duh!  So, in honor of my struggle to break free from the drug we commonly call "cheese," (it really has a opiate-like effect, okay!), I'll offer up some pics of my Mac Marathon.

But let me give you some background.  I.  Heart.  Macaroni and cheese.  HARD.  My heart literally beats for it and NO comfort food can come close.  Bad day?  Macaroni and cheese.  Feeling sad and chubby?  Mac and cheese.  What?!  ANOTHER sunny day in SoCal???  M&C.  Peanut butter and jelly ain't got shiz on this pair!  So when I first tried becoming vegan, I did not pass go and headed straight to some vegan mac and cheese recipes.  I first tried Veganomicon's Mac Daddy recipe, and while nutritional yeast tastes nothing like cheese to me, I love that it can make a creamy cheeze sauce!  (I now also heart nooch.  HARD.)  The Mac Daddy recipe isn't bright orange and isn't trying to be as cheese like as possible.  And it is really good.  :D

In the year since I had first tried the Mac Daddy, I have accrued quite a number of vegan m&c recipes in order to find my favorite.  My favorites so far always have nutritional yeast (yay, nooch!).  Fake cheese just tastes like barf, soy, and/or yeast.  Murfglopgugaaahhg!  And many have nuts, miso, tahini, lemon juice, and turmeric for a creamy, cheesy look and flavor. 

In a last ditch effort to eat some good m&c, I went to the hot bar at Whole Foods.  With a seemingly endless supply of organic dairy and tasty recipes, they sure know how to fuck up macaroni and cheese!  Gah!  SO HORRIBLE!  As in, full of HORROR!  It was watery and flavorless.  I had to add MORE cheese AND salt.  HORRIFIC!!!

After HORROR MAC, I bought the ingredients to make my favorite mac and cheese.   I like it creeeaamy, so when I found Rachel Ray's stovetop recipe, I knew it was for me!  :)  It turns out great even with lowfat cheese and non-fat creamer!...except I bought 2% milk instead of cream...SUPER SAD FACE.  In the end, I ended up with HOMEMADE HORROR MAC!!! (insert bloodcurdling scream here)

And of course I had to add even more cheese and salt.  Just call me mensa! 

Here are some pics of more entries into my Mac Marathon...

Vegan Smoked Gouda Mac with Caramelized Apples and Onions.

I like the idea, but the vegan version BLOWS.  Read more about it here.

Fat Bottom Bakery's Mac and Cheese

I made it without the breadcrumb topping.  Definitely better baked than straight out of the pot, and with cayenne pepper!!!  My boyfriend HATES creamy foodz so I had to eat the entire ginormous pan myself.  I'm not too sad about it.  Just sad that I couldn't fit into my pants after a week of eating that.

And my favorite thus far, Joni's Cheater Mac'n'Cheese!!!  Although, I screwed up the recipe and used Tofutti cream cheese, instead of Tofutti SOUR cream.  And I measured some other ingredients wrong.  BUT IT WAS SO GOOD!


And me.  With a combover.  Trying to gnaw through the bowl 'cause it's in the way.  GIMME!

I am also trying to overcome my hate for Daiya in order to have a cheesier experience with veegz m&c.  But it really tastes SO NOT like cheese, which is distracting.  More like buttered popcorn and yeast barf.   I enjoy how ridiculously rich it is, and sure, it feels and acts like cheese (almost), but who wants to eat a piece of cheese-like butt?  Well, apparently me!  My Veggie Grill El Dorado is on its way here as I type this.  We'll see how that goes.  Meh...

And a bite from my next post about...


Here's to the hope of a cheeseless tomorrow!!!  Huzzah!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A bull in a chia shop. (Explosive pornorrhea).

Huh. I thought having a blog would be like having a chia pet. I sit and watch, but it’s not growing. I spend quite a bit of time spreading the chia seeds all over my clay kitchen. I cook,prep, wash, and process. I even like organizing the pantry. What can I do with the stuff in the fridge? How can I use that last quarter teaspoon of smoked paprika? How many fresh basil leaves do I need to substitute for a teaspoon of dried basil? The kitchen is my classroom and my sanctuary and I cannot bear to leave it long enough to blog about it apparently!

Having the luxury of being in the kitchen is a something I’ve dreamed about for a decade or so, and ironically, this economic decline is has afforded me the time to educate myself and produce more in my kitchen than imaginable. I almost want to thank millions of mistaken homebuyers and their conniving lenders...but not quite.

I’m not clear as to why I’m drawn to the kitchen. Maybe it is the near instant gratification or the awesomeness that washes over me when I actually finish something. Sure, I had fun in the kitchen as a kid, but I never had anyone cultivating my zeal at a very young age. I liked blue box mac and cheese, ground beef patties with gravy, and peanut butter balls: certainly nothing that was mysterious enough to draw me into the process of c

ooking it. But with the dawn of adulthood (and the Food Ne

twork), I’ve found a veritable seed sprouting in my soul.

However, nothing has sparked my interest like vegan cooking.

I never would have even thought to make this Mexi-mess with animal products. I’m pretty sure my heart would explode upon the first bite.

Soyrizo and tofu, ctate's queso, and cilantro...I could eat this forever...

Nor would I have made fritters and gravy! Fritters from Crawdaddy zine, white country gravy from Vegan Explosion.

Or DEOTS cinnamon rolls! Pumpkin ones!

Vegan cooking is definitely the best way to get the most out of your cooking skills and creativity. While many veggie products need just as big of a laboratory as processed non-veg ones (veggie bologna. Really?), on the veggie homefront we cannot help but to pull out food from its root, and make something out of seemingly nothing. Who knew my most favorite nacho cheese could come from cashews and yeast?

So, to catch you all up on what I’ve been doing in my chia kitchen, here is a grip of porn! (con detalles, por supuesto)

The pastasaurus!

Somehow I had parmesan cheese so I made some non-vegan pesto. Unfortunately, I had forgotten how good it was. Mmm...I digress. So I decided it would be a good time to break out the non-vegan pasta as well. Last year my brother went to study abroad in Florence. My mom went out to visit him and of course she brought me food! (YES!) And what did she bring me??? BLACK spaghetti! I love food, but I might love black things even more. The black coloring comes from squid ink, and while this fact may even initially displease an omni, this was honestly the best pasta I've ever had. It was mild and spaghetti like in flavor (not squidy!), and the texture was so light and just barely chewy. My mind was definitely blown! And the pastasaurus came from my super vegan, kitty loving bf! Rawr! (means "I love you" in dinosaur.)

Smoked gouda mac & cheese

with carmelized onions and apples

I went on a vegan cheese shopping spree, and picked up some gouda Sheese. It was interesting and strangely reminded me of candy...not sure why, and it was quite off-putting, so I decided to make mac n cheese. Not the best idea.

The strange fake goudaness of the casserole permeated the walls and my soul, and I ended up throwing the whole thing out. I had to drown it in dijon mustard just to get it down. It would've been good with real gouda though! Topped with carmelized onions and apples(YUUUUM!). I suggest making a version of this if you like gouda Sheese!

Brushing/dipping the Sheese in liquid smoke would make it more palatable if you wanted to eat it straight as well.

C is for Cookie

And then there is the baking...Baking and I have a love/hate relationship. So my boyfriend made Black & Whites and I made snickerdoodles, both from VCIYCJ. We took them to a New Year's Eve party and tried to keep with the color scheme. We added black gel to the chocolate. They were so

great! Isa suggests eating the B&Ws the same day, but my friend was eating them a week later. These were big and cakey and soooo yummy!

The snickerdoodles were a little gummy and fell apart pretty easily but I blame the awesome looking food coloring!

Just 'cause I can

Grilled pb&j. White chocolate peanut butter from PB & Co. Nifty idea, but it was too Earth Balancy. Maybe a sweeter jelly jam would be good, or using canola oil instead of Earth Balance (blasphemy!)

The best tofu scramble EVEEERRR!

Orange County has an independent natural food chain named Mother's Market. AND they also have a cafe in most of the stores. This comes in handy on those damn-I-wish-there-was-a-vegan-breakfast-place-around-here mornings. I cannot thank my bf enough for this ah-ha moment!

Mother's has seasonal cafe specials. One fine morning the bf and I ended up here and lo and behold (!) the special was vegan benedict!!! I think I peed myself a little. Pretty good hollandaise. Tangy and creamy. REALLY strange looking though. As if they over cooked it, and all the oil separated. Still yummy! But OH! That tofu scramble! I don't like things to taste like tofu. Especially when it comes to scrambles. And frosting. No chalky soyness, please! But this was silky smooth and soyfree!...tasting. I asked the waitress what the scramble consisted of and she explained it was only tofu, mustard, tamari, and garlic. WHAT?! No crack? No gold flakes? No angel tears? ALLELUJAH!!!

Last but not least...
DEOTS tempeh wingz!

Especially good for those who don't like spicy wingz! Mild, baked, and all around num nums!