Friday, November 30, 2007

Spicy Jamaican Patties

I am testing out old recipes and decided to change up my Jamaican patties. Normally I make these with TVP granules and tomato sauce along with seasonings but today I was out of TVP. I made this batch out of sweet potatoes, light red kidney beans, onions, garlic, cinnamon, all spice, cayenne pepper, sea salt and curry powder. The pastry is my homemade recipe, which is a basic pie crust. To round off this meal I had a modest salad (romaine, grape tomatoes with Our House Dressing) and an orange sliced up. This has been one of my better lunches in a while.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

caponata, the perfect pizza dough

I am not a big fan of olives but my dad made some caponata while I was visiting and I discovered that, despite having olives, I love the stuff. I made up my recipe that turned out awesome.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
1 medium eggplant (I peel mine, cube it, salt it and let drain for about 30 minutes)
1 medium sweet onion sliced thinly
5 medium cloves fresh garlic finely chopped
14.5 oz can of peeled and petite diced tomatoes
2 tbsp natural sugar (or agave would work)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (more or less to taste)
2 tbsp drained capers roughly chopped
1/4 cup green olives (with pimentos) roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley roughly chopped
Olive oil for cooking

After the salted eggplant has drained for about 30 minutes, rinse off the salt from the eggplant with cold water. Then with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels squeeze eggplant out so they aren't super wet. In a large skillet (I use non-stick) liberally coat the pan with olive oil and fry the cubes of eggplant until completely cooked through and have a nice color on them. In a seperate medium pan, sautee the onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the can of tomatoes, sugar and salt and pepper. Once that cooks for a few minutes, add the cooked eggplant, adjust seasonings and turn off the heat. Stir in the red wine vinegar, capers, olives and parsley.
Some people eat this with toasted bread as a dip. Jared and I had the warm caponata over pasta though and it rocked!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I had a few interested people in my pizza dough to use for the pan fried pizza I made a couple posts back.
With the guidance of my awesome dad, here is a really great pizza dough that I now make in the bread machine. If you don't have a bread machine, you'd have to knead it by hand until it was elastic and let it rise until doubled in size.

1 1/4 cup warm water (not too hot or it will kill the yeast)
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp active dry yeast (or you could just use 1 packet, which is 2 1/4 tsp)
1-2 tsp sea salt (depending on your palate)
2 tsp natural sugar
1-2 tbsp Olive oil (i just do a couple glugs, so this is a guess)

Add the ingredients in order to the bread machine pan. The setting on the bread machine should be PIZZA/PASTA DOUGH (that's what it is called on mine). Once it has risen, you can use it right away or store it in the fridge for a day or two. I shape my pizza by flouring the counter top and roll it out until desired thickness with a rolling pin. I'm sure this pizza dough could be baked in the oven as a traditional pizza but I have only used it in the pan fried method, which is my new favorite way to eat pizza. I made a pizza with some of the left over caponata (reheated).
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

eatin', hangin' & a bread machine

Jared and I went to Florida for Thanksgiving and it was a whirlwind trip. We got to Ocala, Fl to spend Thanksgiving Day with my grandparents, dad and step mom. We left Atlanta so early that by the time we got to Ocala, I was delirious and forgot to photograph the food I brought. We had garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, green beans, corn and banana bread. It wasn't the best spread I ever put out but it was more about having a meal with my family. After we ate, we headed down to Tampa and stayed with my dad and step mom. Besides all the good eats at the house, we made a trip to one of Jared's favorite restaurants in Tampa called Trang (sorry, no website), which is a Vietnamese place with two full pages of vegan options!
I wasn't super hungry so I got three appetizers including wonton soup, sesame lemongrass "beef" and spring rolls (which weren't very pretty).
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
On Saturday, my sister Erin had her baby shower. The shower was at a Mexican restaurant called Red Mesa. The menu was lacking vegan selections but I spoke with the staff and they made me a bean burrito with enchilada sauce on top and a side of roasted corn, red peppers and spinach. I also added some guacamole and it was very tasty! I was so wrapped up in the shower activities that I forgot to take a picture of my food but I did happen to snap a picture of my step mom and sister.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Besides hangin' out with all my family, I also scored a barely used bread machine my dad bought at a garage sale. He got it a while back and has been teasing me about a kitchen gadget he had for me when I came to visit. I was totally thinking it was a garlic press or something small like that and then he brought out this super fancy bread machine. I am one happy girl!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
As soon as I got home I made a loaf of whole wheat agave sunflower seed bread. Yum!!!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a lovely day tomorrow. Jared and I are going to be having Thanksgiving with my grandparents. Then over the weekend, we are hanging out with my dad and step mom, Jared's mom and dad and my sister is having her baby shower on Saturday. So, I will probably not be posting the next few days (although, I hope to still be checking on everyone else's posts).
Anyway, check out this crazy way I learned how to make a pizza. My dad sent me an article about pan-frying the pizza dough in olive oil on the stovetop. I have to say, I enjoyed the crust a LOT more with a crispy, olive oil coated crust . . . Plus, it only took minutes to make it! If you would like to experiment with this, here is the link to the article.
After the dough was pan-fried:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Topped with tomato sauce mixed with tofu crumbles and Italian seasoning along with vegan parm sprinkle cheeze on top. I only ate some of the crust, but Jared said this was an awesome pizza!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Nog Cheezecake


Ever since I heard about the 2007 Holiday Bake-Off at Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe I have been racking my brain as to what I would make. I knew I wanted to try something new, which is brave and bold for a bake-off. I felt a craving of eggnog come over me. Then I remembered my Dad making a Pumpkin Cheesecake, so I decided to start searching for and practicing a vegan holiday cheezecake. Today I made a Vegan Eggnog Cheesecake I found on the Fatfree Vegan Kitchen blog. I followed this recipe exactly this time, just to see what the taste and texture would be like. It rocked, if you are an eggnog fan like I am. Since one of the rules in the bake-off is that if a recipe from another person's cookbook (and I assume also someone's blog) is used, it cannot be an exact copy of the recipe. So, I think I am going to try to incorporate pumpkin in my cheezecake, use brown sugar instead of regular sugar (not bleached!) and use Disaronno Amaretto, which is apparently suitable for vegans. OR maybe I'll just use the Disaronno and add cinnamon in addition to the nutmeg. Who knows . . . I'll come up with something tasty though.
I cannot wait to make a few changes to see if I can win one of the categories in the bake-off! If it doesn't work out, at least I found an awesome vegan cheezecake recipe.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Florida on a plate, biscotti

Last I checked, it's gonna be in the low 30's tonight . . . which is just crazy to me. I decided to warm up by making a wonderful Florida inspired meal of black beans, yellow rice and fried plantains. I grew up eating this food so I still really enjoy eating it, especially with hot sauce splashed all over everything. The black beans had onions, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, tomato paste and a bit of red wine vinegar at the last minute of cooking. The yellow rice is just a pre-seasoned packet of yellow rice that turned out to be accidentally vegan. OHHH, and fried plantains . . . what until the skin turns black on the plantain (trust me!), peel and thinly slice on a bias, fry in canola oil (or olive oil) on low-medium heat until golden brown. Frying on a lower heat insures the sugars develop in the plantains before they burn. If you've never had a fried plantain, you best get ya one and try it now. It's like eating dessert with your dinner. The beans and rice are usually topped with a thinly chopped sweet onion, but tonight we had red onion, which was still very tasty.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I also made the hazelnut-chocolate biscotti from Veganomicon (pg. 241) that turned out pretty awesome. It is not a super sweet cookie but has a deep, rich taste. Making biscotti is a two-step process but these are so worth it if you are a biscotti fan. Even though I no longer drink coffee, these were still good on their own . . . and I'm sure even better dunked in a latte made with hazelnut milk.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


We finally got our hands on Veganomicon and the very first thing we made was the Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls (pg. 47). We couldn't stop there, so we also made a few of our own creations. I did the prep including making the rice, tempeh mixture and cut the veggies. I also made a sweet and spicy dipping sauce that had soy sauce, Thai chili sauce, agave nectar and sesame oil. Jared did the rolling and then I cut the rolls. We were a good team on this!
The Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls were fantastic! They had the Nori seaweed, rice, tempeh mixture (tempeh, Vegenaise, chili and sesame oil), green onions and avocado. I highly recommend you make these. We also made four other rolls that contained some combination of grated carrots, cucumbers, green onions, avocado, spicy tempeh mixture and toasted black and white sesame seeds. Jared was even able to make an inside out roll which was very impressive! It was a lot of work, from start to finish about an hour to make all the rolls. When we sat down to eat, they were gone in about ten minutes!!! My fears of making homemade sushi are gone and we can't wait to make these again!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Village Pizza, Cookies

I haven't felt too much like cooking lately. I think because it's been kind of cold here in Atlanta (30's-60's) which a big change from Tampa, Fl. My warm and cozy comforter has been too seductive to want to get out of bed. So, in times like this, we are thankful to have, Village Pizza, an awesome pizza place that offers up an incredibly delicious vegan pizza. This pizza has vegan mozzarella, faux sausage and pepperoni, onions and green bell peppers (it also comes with black olives and mushrooms, which we skip since I don't like them). Despite some of my food intolerances, I do sometimes eat things that don't always agree with me. Luckily, I didn't feel too lousy after eating this pizza, probably because I rarely eat these things now. Sorry this isn't a very good picture, our camera has been acting up. This picture definitely doesn't do it justice.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Even though I haven't felt like cooking, the baking bug has bitten me. I made two different kind of cookies. The first batch was the Apple Butter Cookies from The Damn Tasty Vegan Baking Guide. These scream cold weather, so if you have this book, give these a try.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I also made up a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I based off of a few different sources. My version is very naughty. They have Earth Balance buttery stick margarine, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla extract, unbleached all purpose flour, baking soda, sea salt and loads of chocolate chips. Next time I will add some pecans or walnuts to these.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, November 5, 2007

PB & J Balls

When we are running low on baking items in the pantry (like flour, sugar, chocolate chips, etc) I make some sort of peanut butter ball since we always have peanut butter in the fridge. I made up this recipe a while back since I was having a sweet tooth attack and have been making different versions of it since, including some with melted chocolate!
Preheat oven to 275
Melt together in a medium pan on medium heat:
2 rounded tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tbsp Earth Balance
3 tbsp agave nectar (you could probably cut this to 2 tbsp)
3 tbsp maple syrup (you could probably cut this to 2 tbsp)
a dash of sea salt
Once all that is melted together, take it off the heat and stir in a splash of vanilla extract. Next, fold in 1 1/4 cups rolled oats and 1/3 cup of either pre-roasted almond pieces or slivered & blanched almonds toasted in a pan.
Spread out the mixture in a thin layer and bake at 275 for about 15 minutes. Take the mixture out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, I spread half the mixture with raspberry preserves and the other half with blueberry preserves. The last step is a messy one. Pinch golf ball sized pieces off and roll into balls. I got 15 balls out of this batch. When I make these chocolate covered, I basically make a chocolate ganache out of dark chocolate chips, soy creamer and Earth Balance (melted together in a double boiler) and dip the peanut butter balls in half way.
The lighter ones are the raspberry PB balls and the darker ones are the blueberry PB balls. I let these cool completely before I start sampling them. They can be stored in the fridge wrapped up or well covered and left on the counter top.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Friday, November 2, 2007

grilled veggie fajitas with guacamole

Probably one of my favorite kitchen items is my large, very heavy grill pan. It was one of our wedding presents and I am so glad we have it. A couple of nights ago I made Jared these fajitas. I cut thin strips of green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, red onion and zucchini that I lightly coated in canola oil, sea salt and garlic. I grilled them on a VERY hot grill pan until they were all soft.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I also made guacamole that had Haas avocados, lime juice, red onion, garlic, Thai chili sauce, hot sauce, sea salt and black pepper.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Luckily I found some very vegan friendly flour tortillas and blistered them up on the grill pan. Stuffed with the veggies, guacamole and a touch of salsa, Jared was in gastric heaven.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket