1 ingredient: (spoiler alert- it's watermelon)
I realize we have lived through the cupcake fad and are on to... what are we even on to right now besides kale and juicing? Churros, maybe. Anywhoo, as I have always been one to zig at a zag- here's my retro ode to 2006 with a recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. It's a pretty simple one, using the topping from Sexy Low-Fat Vanilla Cupcakes p(41) on the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes (p33). We had friends over for dinner, and (as per usual) I went a bit over the top with the main course and needed a simpler desert. Boyfriend to the rescue, he actually did the baking on this one, I just made the icing and dressed them up for the party.
The cupcakes have been on here before (in the Boston Cream and with a simple Chocolate Ganache. I have to say, the topping on this iteration really classed them up, though. You need to prepare it just before serving (or the cakes would get soggy). It's a raspberry preserve on top of the cake with some artfully stacked berries (standing on their heads for your entertainment), and the icing drizzled over. All in all, a bit sweet on top, but the cupcakes themselves aren't too sweet so it's a decent balance. A+ #1 and totally toddler-friendly (though she was more concerned with playing with the cat then eating- smart kid.)
Okay, clearly I've reached the point of only cooking Isa recipes, this one is from Appetite for Reduction (p226)- and, I feel I don't even have to say it at this point- it's f*ing fantastic.
This really seems more like a curry to me, the korma's that I have had at restaurants taste not as coconut-y/ curryish. However, that is not a bad thing, this one is flipping delicious. I did a small amount of changes to the recipe, I at least doubled the curry powder, as I thought it didn't pack enough of a punch (I have come to realize that I like things pretty intensely flavorful). Also, I thought it was odd that the garam masala was listed as going in with the rest of the spices early in cooking. I once was making Creamed Lentils and really didn't get the importance of spice timing. I put the garam masala in at the start and the dish was nearly inedible. The same amount of the spice that- usually, when added at the end of cooking, subtly compliments the other flavors- became a big, fat, bossy, pushy, a-hole- bowling over all the flavors to the point that it tasted like you were eating a spoonful of the stuff with some lentils on top. Not a good thing at all. So, in the spirit of live and learn, I did the exceptional act of disobeying Isa and held the garam masala to the end (which worked out great)
This will become a go-to Indian night staple, me thinks, as it whipped up far faster than Aloo Ghobi. We also ended up skipping any rice with this since it was on the thick side and didn't really need it.
This is the Fusilli Roasted Veggie Primavera from (of course) Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Appetite for Reduction. Losing weight can never hurt (especially since I gained about 15 lbs the past few years), and all of the recipes in this book are lower in calories and nastiness than your average meal. This one made me feel good about my life choices, for sure.
I was a bit surprised that there was no sauce to speak of with this, I expected it to be a bit on the dry or dull side. Turns out that the freshly roasted veg is so flavorful and juicy that it doesn't lack anything in the sauce department.
The recipe calls for a pile of roasted vegetables, which were damn pretty in all stages of cooking this (see photo). I also swapped butternut squash for yellow, since it's oddly what the store had (yellow is more in season). There was zucchini, asparagus (which I held on putting in till the last 10-15 min b/c it was so spindly), Red bell, red onioin, cherry tomatoes and garlic. Other than that, it was pretty simple (oregano, thyme, olive oil, salt, black pepper and balsamic).
Keeping it pretty simple really accentuates the flavor of the veg. The cherry tomatoes were fantastic, hitting one of those was like having a really fresh Italian sauce since it was combo'd with the aforementioned spices.
This will be a staple for sure, probably more when fall comes around though, as it needs a hot, hot oven and my apartment is 88 degrees in the shade today (though there's always the grill!)
The Compassionate Cook pancakes pre-mixed in a ziploc. I had the soy milk, water, oil and vanilla along and mixed it up there in the woods. Those were the best mother f-ing pancakes that I ever had. At the time, I thought it was because we were cooking and eating pancakes at a campsite in the middle of Yosemite valley, and I'm sure that was a bit part of it. However, when I got home, I made stovetop pancakes with the same recipe on that same skillet, and there, in the middle of my apartment in Los Angeles- were the 2nd most amazing pancakes that I ever had. Which proved beyond a doubt that it was the skillet's doing. I have used it since for stir fries, it's particularly amazing at browning tofu (for particularly wet tofu, I have baked it in the skillet and it is to die for). It comes in handy for most everything (though I read that tomato based dishes are a no-no in it). I seasoned it once, and it could use another round of that when it cools off enough to put the oven on (I followed the Martha god's instructions from her Cooking School book, but she has instructions here). To convince you of the magic of it, I challenge you to try this potato recipe. It's great with a tofu scramble or savory breakfast. I would even go as far as to serve it on the side of a comfort food dish like Salsbury Seitan. It is insanely good! Like eyes into the back of your head good. There are crispy pieces of potato that are as crunchy as chips, and then the softer centers that are so creamy and good that any condiment just gets in the way. Also, it's quite easy, you'll need: • 1 bag (use about 9*) of the small tri-color potatoes at Trader Joes. If you don't have one close by, most stores have something like this, it has the small variety of white, yellow and purple potatoes. • Salt and Pepper to taste • Butter or vegan margarine (one of the bi-products of going back to vegetarian vs vegan is that I started to use butter, I'm not proud, but it may be what makes these so amazing). • your magic cast iron skillet Wash potatoes well and slice about 9 of them width wise depending on size varying from paper thin to about 1/8" thick max. There's a magic combo of how many you can use without crowding the pan and making it too hard to get the right consistency and crunchy parts that you're after- too many potatoes in the pan and it won't get there. I mix the colors up after slicing because it's prettier that way Heat the skillet on medium heat, put a few pats of butter or margarine in the pan and then layer the slices all along the bottom. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the first layer and put 3-4 more pats of butter or margarine on top. Repeat for 2 more layers of potatoes. I haven't timed how long this takes, but it's awhile- at least 30 minutes. What you'll need to do it let those taters sizzle away in the pan and flip when you have some browning and crunchiness on them. They will start to clump, fall apart a bit, there will be some stuck together, free those up from time to time to get everyone some quality skillet time. you'll know they're done when they've shrunk down a bit and there are some curled up crunchy bits in there coupled with what looks like scalloped potatoes. Test for salt and pepper, season if necessary and serve immediately. These re-heat okay, but there's nothing like them when they're fresh out of the amazing wonderous cast iron skillet!
waffle maker on the planet, coupled with the best recipe for waffles (modified from Vegan Brunch- it's the Buckwheat one but since I didn't have buckwheat flour, I used 1/2 wheat, 1/2 unbleached, and it makes for waffle greatness). I have my fave tofu scramble recipe from http://www.powells.com/biblio/17-9781551521879-0, there's the crepes from Vegan Brunch, but that requires thought before hand to get a couple pints of berries or bananas (worth it when I remember), but also not a brunch to have weekly. Pancakes (which, actually, my faves are from The Compassionate Cook, but I seem to have never blogged about those). And if I am low on ingredients, lazy, or in a hurry to get someplace- it's just cereal. So, next week, I pledge to delve further into vegan brunch and do the benedict or the puff pastry tempeh thing, something jazzy. For this week, I needed to work with what was in the kitchen and created this iteration of a scramble. It was good, I would like to experiment and use the extra ultra firm and kind of dry tofu- as this was a bit moist but the flavors were spot on, and it was a great way to start the day! I recommend a cast iron skillet as I do for a lot of dishes these days, since it's a short cut to amazingness. 1 package extra firm tofu 1 can black beans, drained and well rinsed 1/2 onion, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic- smooshed through a press 1 med-large tomato, finely chopped 1T tamari 1t dijon mustard 1/8 t smoked paprika (secret ingredient, don't skip it, it adds a lot of smoky goodness) 1t nutritional yeast 1T sun dried tomato-infused oil salt and pepper to taste Sautee the onion in 1/2 the oil. Combine spices, garlic, tamari, mustard and nutritional yeast and whisk around with a fork until well combined. When the onions are soft approaching translucent, crumble the tofu into the pan. Add in the spice mix, I use tofu bits to get every last bit out (saves washing a spatula). Let that cook until the color is bright yellow-gold and the tofu is drying out. Add tomatoes and well rinsed black beans. Add the sun dried oil as needed to keep the dish from sticking too much. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until dish is dry enough and some tofu is browning. Serve with toast or corn tortillas- I wouldn't kick some potatoes out of bed with it either.
here is similar to what I made, and has a video that shows essentially how to prepare these. I used a kitchenaid for the egg bit, and truth be told- I never use eggs for anything and was a bit grossed out by that. I think if I make them again, it'll be a vegan version (I'll be sure to report how that comes out). I did the ziplock "piping bag" trick and I worked great. They baked to perfection, poofed, and were a hit at the dinner that I brought them to (the toddler started eating them by diving her face onto the top of one and licking the chocolate... success!). I used a vanilla bean ice cream and made the chocolate sauce (Martha again) here- directions are "step 6". These look deceptively complex and really make it seem like you're a superstar gourmet pastry chef, when in actuality, they are easier than making a cake.
Okay, I would simply describe the recipe for the Skillet Stir Fry from Isa Does It. But, I feel that I have called out so many of her recipes, that this calls for something more... a love letter. Dear Isa, Where do I even start? Your recipes have convinced throngs of my friends and family that I'm an amazing wonder chef. You have taught me how to take a pile of mush with gluten flour and steam it to make f-ing sausages. Your Brooklyn Pad Thai is to die for. Because of Vegan Brunch, I am a master crepe chef. To say nothing of cupcakes that no one at any party believed were vegan. You gave us Appetite for Reduction- a calorie conscious book with the most amazing title ever. But then my life led me away from hour + long cooking endeavors and into 12+ hour days at work. Experimenting with recipes, weekend trips to the farmer's markets and veganism in general all fell by the wayside. I had nearly given up on cooking, my beliefs and this sad, old, neglected food blog. Until...Isa Does It came out- a massive tome dedicated to meals that could be prepared in about 30 minutes. I had become a firm believer in "good things take time" from my RFD book, but every thing I have tried from this book- the Summer Seitan Saute, Potato Leek Soup, Beefy Asparagus Stir Fry, etc- all are SO tasty and so flipping easy. I have had to revise my earlier stance on good food needing a long time to cook. And this- the wonders of the cast iron skillet and perfectly browned tofu. I mean, without you, Miss Isa, I could be out on the streets eating french fries from a fast food chain and pairing it with frozen pizza. You have elevated my
cooking life. And for that, I am forever grateful and fatter.
Ohmehgawd! These are fantastic (apologies for the bad photo)! They are from Isa Chandra's Isa Does It book, and are the Bistro Beet Burgers (p82). They are flavorful, they do what few veg burgers do- coagulate nicely, and they aren't a boat load of work. I made "slider" size burgers to be sure that they cooked all the way through and made them on a cast iron skillet (which I am forever loyal to). These were also served up on pretzel buns (or a sliced pretzel baguette), which elevates any burger to amazing heights (ala Kumas Korner in Chicago <3 )
Beet Burgers. If you're a newbie to beet roasting like I was, there's directions here.
Okay, if the last two posts didn't sell you on Isa Does It, this has to! This dish, like the others is nearly devoid of seasoning, but is so intensely flavorful, it tastes far more complex than it is. I used homemade seitan (RFD recipe), and followed the recipe to the letter with the exception of adding the bean sprouts that I forgot to get at the market. This has a lovely sauce with fresh mint and basil in it, there's a good amount of ginger in the stir fry along with garlic, asparagus, cashews and the seitan. All combine for a really delicious stir fry that lets a lot of the flavors come through (not overly saucy or gunky like some recipes are). My only change would be to either lessen what I call the high notes (the soy sauce, mint, ginger) and intensify some deeper ones- I think sesame seeds would work really well in here, a few tablespoons are gonna get added in next time. But on the whole, I loved it- especially how it whipped up so fast. Also, I served it over quinoa vs rice (a theme of mine lately), and loved the texture that added in. A+
Again with the Isa Does It! This is the Potato Leek soup from the book, and it's really good! It reminded me of broccoli cheese soup a bit, similar texture (very creamy), and almost flavor, even. I was happy to have the "Martha Stewart's Cooking School" book to refer to- it had been awhile since I cooked with leeks and I checked it about prepping them. She suggests cutting them and then rinsing them in a bowl of cold water since dirt gets trapped in between all of the layers of ... leekness in them. It's 1,000% right- my bowl had a pile of dirt at the bottom the first time they were washed. The soup was a huge hit, directions super straight forward, and like the other recipe from this book, it whipped up relatively quickly. I did wish I could think of a good complimentary food to serve with it, the flavors get a bit overwhelming/ tiring by the end of the bowl. I had a sun dried tomato olive oil dip for bread, but bread was too bland with the simple potato flavors. Dunno, but let me know if you have any ideas.
New year, new cookbook (yay!). This one was on my pre-order list (though I never pre-ordered it, got it for xmas this year) because it's by Isa Chandra Moskowitz who is probably my favorite cookbook author (Vegan Brunch, Vegan with a Vengeance, Appetite for Reduction, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, etc etc). Though her recipes aren't usually weeknight friendly (there's some for sure, but most are the longer labor and love over kind). Anyway, this is the inaugural run of this book, the "Summer Seitan Sauté". Selected not because of the season, but because of the ingredients in it and lack of spices since I wasn't cooking at home in the comfort of my spice cabinet. This is a really solid, good dish and whipped up in under an hour- totally doable on a weeknight. I used storebought seitan (I know, I know), and it was still really delicious. It was a weird almost stir fry but really southwest flavored meal with the jalpeño and corn and lime juice in it. The corn added sweetness and with just salt and pepper added to season, all of the ingredient's flavors really came through. I had it over quinoa with sliced avocado on top (which added a great creaminess to it), though she recommended rice and guac (maybe next time, as I'm sure I'll make this again). Stoked to try another recipe from the book soon!
I had never tried Crepes from Vegan Brunch because there is a rather intimidating "letter to a young crepe maker" inside which very sweetly reassures Ms Chandra's readers that crepes are not to be feared but are manageably easy to make. I, however, took the need for her to write this "these are no big deal" calming letter in the cookbook as a surefire sign that these were hell on earth impossible to make. Turns out- they're either super easy- or I am a crepe chef genius that just discovered my purpose in life. They were perfect deliciousness and I will now subsist on nothing but crepes filled with anything at all because they are fantastic! One more reason Vegan Brunch rules- I can't wait for Isa Does It to come out!
Quarrygirl blog post pointing to this recipe for Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos. You'll need a crockpot for this recipe, but it's insanely simple to put together (essentially throwing everything into the pot- the only "work" is chopping an onion and mincing the garlic). After my first try at it, I'm not 100% that it's exactly what I was going for. It's really good, but I think I'd like to alter the flavors a bit. I suspect that my 'meh' feeling has to do with the tomatillo salsa. I think it's a bit bright and I'd like a deeper flavor to these, so maybe I'll experiment with salsas first and then spices if that still wasn't it. Overall, though, it's very good, and kind of a miraculous transformation from what you take out of the can to the end product!
I found this recipe online while perusing for something to make a food swap that a co-worker and I organized at work. I was telling her about the LA Food Swap at Reform School that I had gone to, and she suggested that we do one at work. Months later (I've mentioned that we're pretty busy there)- we finally did! To digress a tad, it was super fun and a total success. We had 13 rsvps and ended up with 10 participants. I have a photo of the loot here, which was all fantastic. So, back to what I made here (and for the swap)- Stone Fruit Compote. The recipe is from the trusty Martha (here.) Say what you will about her, but her peoples do the legwork and test all the recipes well. I have only made a few of hers (mostly boozy drinks), but they were all amazing. For the compote, I made a few variations, and I think that the mixed one was best. I had made; pluot only, and a mix of pluot, nectarine and the "dinosaur egg" mystery fruit that they have at the farmer's market. Todays' was recreated with the previous pluot/ nectarine mix and the addition of plums added in. These photos are both the beautiful ingredients (texted to a friend who said it looked like potpourri), and the finished compote. This photo shows it over greek yogurt (sorry, I'm back to vegetarian vs vegan again), though you could serve it on pancakes, coconut ice cream, etc. It has a slight wintery feel with the cinnamon, allspice and anise flavors, but still utilizes all the tasty stone fruits in season right now. Also, as a side note, if you look closely, you'll see a Ginger Lemon Cordial in the center of the swap photo. That was also mine, and was a HUGE hit. Partially because I brought bourbon and made a cocktail with it, but it was also great in club soda as a light summer soda. That recipe is here. It also has the side benefit of making your house smell like you live inside a lemon when you make it (win/win!)
Hey stranger! Yeah, it's been awhile. I think I mentioned last time how all-consuming my job is. So much so that I rarely cook now and when I do, I never think of photographing or talking about it anymore. Until today :) I'm home sick, and had to get up and feed myself. I had seen Isa Chandra's post about Chickpea Salad Sammies the other day and decided to try them. It's a super simple, fast recipe (here: http://www.theppk.com/2013/07/chickpea-salad-sammiches/) that made for a darn fine lunch. I would like to experiment with other mayos (I used Veganaise) and spices/ flavors. This is pretty clean and simple- but still, tasty. Hope to see you again soon!
I'm slowly working my way through every single recipe in this book! These were fantastic and were a huge hit with some non vegan friends, which I thought was great since the cream is tofu based. I tried PPK's tip of subbing 1/4 of the flour in a recipe for coconut flour (they said that it makes everything taste like a Twinkie)- which I have to say, it kind of did! I was concerned about these in the batter stage. I used the superfine sugar that the cream calls for in the cupcake batter. I had never heard that the superfine sugar creams with margarine in 1/2 the time. So, I think it was over mixed? What happened is when the liquid was added, the fat would not mix in. It was totally seperated. I should've probably started over with wet ingredients at that point, but since I made a total of 10 recipes yesterday (Easter), I was lazy and just added in the dry ingredients.
They were minorly sunk in, but were fine otherwise, and once filled and ganached- totally fine. There were less sunk in cupcakes in the bunch, but I served the pretty ones to our friends and was left with these potholed ones for the photo.
The cream was surprisingly good, I did add some vanilla to it to counter the tofu taste though. All in all- another fantastic cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!