Monday, July 30, 2007

Red Curry Tofu, Summer Fruit Salad

Tonight I made red curry tofu. Since we can't get awesome Thai food around here I have mastered, at least to our liking, red curry. I use a red curry paste that has dried red chili, garlic, lemongrass, shallot, salt, galangal and kaffir lime peel. I cook the paste in canola oil, add coconut milk, natural sugar and a splash of soy sauce (to replace the fish sauce). I fried up some tofu and sauteed cabbage, onions and carrots. I served the tofu and veggies slathered with the red curry sauce with steamed jasmine rice and green onions. Yum!
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Also we had this summer inspired fruit salad with strawberries, peaches and blueberries with a light dressing of lemon juice and agave nectar.
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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Homemade Tomato Sauce, Fried Eggplant Casserole

I make homemade tomato sauce about every 2 weeks. I can usually get about 3 meals out of one batch of sauce. My sauce actually freezes wonderfully. My favorite tomato to use for this sauce is canned Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes. I saute sweet onion in olive oil until translucent, then throw in several cloves of garlic. Once the onions and garlic are super soft I add about 1/3 of a bottle of wine (whatever we have in the fridge . . . I have used whites and reds, both great) this time I used a Cabernet Sauvignon. Once the wine cooks down I add the tomatoes, sea salt, black pepper, natural sugar, and the following dried herbs: oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary and marjoram. After everything cooks together for 1-2 hours I blend it all up with my handy immersion blender and throw in tomato paste for richness. This isn't the greatest picture but its tasty!
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To use some of the sauce I made this fried eggplant casserole. The eggplant was soaked in salt water to leach out the bitterness. I made a flour coating out of unbleached white flour, corn meal, corn starch and garlic salt. I also made a "eggy" coating with ground golden flax seed and warm water. I dipped the eggplant in the flour coating, then in the "eggy" mixture, back into the flour mixture and then fried in both olive and canola oil. I also boiled up spaghetti and added some of my sauce to it. There was a layer of fried eggplant on the bottom, then a layer of sauced spaghetti and a final layer of fried eggplant which was topped with sauce and Vegan Gourmet Alternative Mozzarella Cheese. Since everything was cooked it was just baked enough to get it bubbly and the cheeze melted.
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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Chinese Buddha

After a failed attempt to see The Simpsons Movie today we decided to go
out to lunch. Jared and I aren't huge fans of Chinese food but we love
this place in midtown Atlanta called Chinese Buddha. They have a meat
eaters menu and a vegetarian menu which is cool but a lot of their
vegetarian food does have eggs in it so we still have to ask a lot of
questions. This is a place we would take our parents to when they come
to visit since it would please a lot of palates.
I got Sesame "Chicken" with steamed rice.
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Jared got "Beef" Satay with steamed rice.
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Friday, July 27, 2007

Cinnamon Apple Muffins, Banana Berry Smoothie

I'm on top of the world! We finally got a new stove. No more baking goodies in my convection oven. In celebration of our new stove, I made these cinnamon apple muffins, recipe from La Dolce Vegan!: Vegan Livin' Made Easy by Sarah Kramer. I had to add more soy milk than her recipe called for since it was almost impossible to combine everything. They turned out lovely! These are especially awesome with a bit of whipped Earth Balance.
My favorite part is the pecan/walnut crunchy topping.
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To supplement my muffin treat I made a smoothie with frozen banana, fresh blueberries and hemp milk. Very creamy!
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Aglio E Olio

Translation: garlic and oil. This pasta dish traditionally has anchovy fillets, which was obviously left out in my lunch version. In addition to the garlic and olive oil it also has fresh parsley, sea salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper with angel hair pasta.
Quick, simple and delicious!
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Layered Bean Dip

Growing up, my mom made a killer 7 layer dip that had refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, onion and shredded cheese. This dip made an appearance at every football party, cocktail party or family function. It was ALWAYS a hit. Today I made a smaller version of this with homemade refried beans (pinto beans, chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder, sea salt, black pepper, agave and canola oil), diced onion, diced tomatoes and homemade guacamole (avocado, fresh lemon juice, agave, sea salt, garlic, sweet onion and jalapeno). Served with tortilla chips, this rocked our socks off!
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cheezy Gemelli Bake

Tonight I made a mac and cheeze dish with gemelli pasta, which are short rods twisted together in a spiral pattern. The cheezy sauce was made from a margarine and flour roux seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, ground mustard and a pinch of turmeric for color. Hemp milk and soy milk were added to the roux and nutritional yeast stirred in at the last minute. I added the cooked gemelli pasta and cheezy sauce together, added to a baking dish coated in margarine and topped with fresh bread crumbs I toasted with olive oil. Since the dish was already cooked, it was just baked off to get a brown top and sides.
So good!
As to not be totally out of control we had a salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, grated carrots, celery and green onions topped with a homemade miso dressing that had miso paste, fresh lemon juice, soy sauce, water, sesame oil, grated ginger as well as black and white toasted sesame seeds.
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Double Chocolate Cookies

I made Jared these cookies to take to work with him . . . oh, and
because I wanted a cookie. These aren't a gooey cookie but they would
make an awesome cookie base for ice cream sandwiches if I made them
again. They have both dark chocolate cocoa powder and vegan chocolate
chips. Jared is going to have to take some soy milk with him to help wash these down.
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Monday, July 23, 2007

Tomato Two Ways Bruschetta

Jared and I had a late lunch yesterday so we weren't up for a huge dinner last night. On nights like these, I make this bruschetta. It has cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, fresh garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, agave, sea salt and black pepper on toasted crusty bread from the farmers market. Sometimes I put fresh basil in but we didn't have any.
These are actually very filling and a perfectly light summer snack.
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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Coconut & Cinnamon Rice Pudding

Oh my, this was pretty awesome. It was just coconut milk and turbinado sugar heated up a bit with cornstarch and a little soy milk slurry added in, cinnamon and left over short grain Japanese rice. Oh and a splash of vanilla at the last minute.
So rich, decadent and naughty but so worth it!
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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Athens, GA: The Grit, Clocked

So, Jared and I decided to check out Athens today, which is about an hour from where we live. We researched places to eat and decided upon The Grit for brunch and Clocked (couldn't find a website for them) for a late lunch. I was a bit disappointed with both meals over all, although they had good points to them.
My dish was very exciting on paper. It was Potatoes and Veggies with grits and biscuits . . . ALL VEGAN! The grits were creamy and delicious and the biscuits are some of the best I have ever had (except for my Grammie's). The main dish had way to many green peppers, which I am not super wild about anyway, the potatoes were not cooked enough and the whole dish was too heavily powdered with nutritional yeast.
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Jared had better luck with his plate, which was Tofu and Veggies. He had potatoes on the side with his and they were seasoned nicely but again, not cooked enough.
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All and all, The Grit has a lot of potential. We would try them again, but maybe for dinner instead.
On to Clocked. This was a diner style place. Just about everything on the menu could be made vegan, which is cool in theory.
Here is a picture of Jared (he didn't know he was being photographed) waiting for our food. Very cool decor. I mean, they had velvet wallpaper!
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I got what was promised to be a Philly Cheeze "Steak" which when I think of a philly cheese it has thinly sliced "meat" and a cheesy sauce. I know a cheeze sauce would be kinda hard but the cheese on this wasn't very good. The "steak" was just a veggie burger. I felt cheated. There were peppers and onions too which were okay. The french fries were pretty good as they were actual hand cut potatoes. I got mine with this amazing Basil Jalapeno "cream" sauce to dip my fries in. Pickles were pretty good. Dills, sliced thick.
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Jared got a Patty Melt which had a veggie burger, grilled red onions, Russian dressing and some kind of vegan cheese on a marble rye. He said it was good but something he could have made at home. He also got french fries.
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I'm not sure I would repeat Clocked . . . Maybe for some fries and that creamy Basil Jalapeno "cream" if we were out late.

Friday, July 20, 2007

apricot oat bread

This turned out to be a sweet and dense bread that would be lovely for breakfast. As the bread gets a bit stale I was thinking this bread would actually taste awesome crumbled up in a stuffing.
I ground up 2 cups of rolled oats in my spice grinder until is resembled course flour. That was added to 2 cups of unbleached white flour, 1 tbsp of baking powder and 1 tsp of sea salt. The wet ingredients were 3 tbsp pure maple syrup, 2 tbsp canola oil and just shy of 2 cups of soy milk. I cut up 12 dried apricots and added them to the flour mixture. The wet was poured into the dry, evenly pured into a loaf pan and baked at 450 in my convection oven, since the big oven doesn't work. About half way through baking I brushed the top with some canola oil for a nice brown top. Altogether it was baked for around 45 minutes . . . I kept checking with a tooth pick until it came out clean.
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

grilled veggie penne

We had some asparagus and eggplant that needed to be used up so I grilled them on our grill pan. I also re-hydrated sun dried tomatoes in boiling water and once reconstituted, covered them in olive oil to stay moist. I boiled up some penne rigate and sauteed several cloves a garlic in olive oil. I added the penne, grilled asparagus & eggplant, sun dried tomatoes and fresh parsley to the sauteed garlic. Sea salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper was also added. The dish was topped with pine nuts I toasted. Pretty good way to use up veggies.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

double decker tostada

Tostadas were/are a staple at my Dad's house. This holds true in Jared's and my house to this day. These are a little different than what me and Dad make in that I buy tostada shells instead of using corn chips. Also Jared and I like double deckers. The bottom layer was a tostada shell with homemade refried beans (pinto beans, onions, garlic, chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin and sea salt blended with my immersion blender), another tostada shell and meatless crumbles that have salsa and taco seasoning. Then the double layers are covered with tomatoes, sweet and green onions, lettuce, homemade guacamole (avocado, jalapeno, sweet onion, lemon juice, sea salt, agave and tomatoes), salsa, sweet Thai chili sauce and Rex Sauce which is my Dad's secret tostada vinaigrette. Sounds like a lot but everything works so well together. Dad likes his with pickled beets which I always forget.
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corn chowder, a literal midnight snack

Tonight I made corn chowder. It wasn't the best batch I ever made but Jared ate 2 big bowls so I guess it wasn't that bad. It had leeks, sweet onion, carrots, celery, garlic, red potatoes, fresh corn, fresh parsley, veggie stock, soy milk, cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, sea salt and black pepper.
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The problem with insomnia is the midnight snacks that come with it. I made a half grilled "ham" sandwich with cranberry sauce and Vegenaise.
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Monday, July 16, 2007

tofu fingers, roasted cauliflower, sliced cukes & tomatoes

I wasn't too motivated to get in the kitchen today but I managed to come up with a winner. I made these tofu fingers with strips of tofu coated in a pancake like batter and fried in canola and olive oil. The batter was made out of unbleached white flour, corn meal, corn starch, baking powder, garlic salt and agave. Very good!
On the side I roasted cauliflower with olive oil and sea salt, sliced up some cucumbers and tomatoes.
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Jared's big salad

Jared made us a big salad yesterday for dinner. Elaine (on Seinfeld, duh!) would have been proud!
Jared's big salad had romaine lettuce, sugar snap peas, carrots, red onions, green olives and raspberries. He also made a vinaigrette which I think had lemon juice and olive oil. I know the vinaigrette had raspberry preserves, because it was my idea. Even though I am not a huge fan of olives they weren't so bad in this salad.
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Saturday, July 14, 2007

raspberry peach topped waffles, Green Sprout

It's Saturday, so that means I made waffles this morning. This is one of the tastiest and easiest recipes ever. It has 1 cup of unbleached white flour, 1 tbsp baking powder and a pinch of salt with 1 cup soy milk, 1 tbsp agave nectar and a splash of canola oil added to it. This is a fluffy waffle batter so we have to stir it up every time we add batter to our waffle iron. The topping was a a couple of spoonfuls of raspberry preserves mixed with a splash of maple syrup with a perfectly ripe peach and raspberries stirred in.
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We were running around today and went to Green Sprout for lunch.
I got Orange "Chicken" and
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Jared got "Shrimp" and broccoli. They nailed the shape, color and texture of the shrimp, which freaked me out a bit.
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Friday, July 13, 2007

kitchen appliance wish list

If I had a huge kitchen and a lot of money, these are some things I'd want. The first two I will get eventually, but the last three are things I don't necessarily need. That's why these lists are fun!

1. Ice Cream Maker. I borrowed my dad and step mom's once but I wasn't too excited about it at the time. Now that we buy a pint of vegan ice cream just about every week, its getting pricey! Plus, there are some flavor ideas that just aren't in the stores like blueberry pie or peach cobbler that I'd like to master.
I'd like the smaller Cuisinart® Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker that makes 1.5 quarts of frozen delights.

2. Bread Machine. My dad emailed me that they got a bread maker and I have been jealous ever since. I use to not be a huge fan of bread however fresh baked bread from the farmers market has changed my tune. Fresh bread goes stale quick so we only get it when we go to the farmers market which is at best twice a week and have to pretty much eat it within a day or two. I would like fresh bread several times a week. Bonus is that we know exactly what is in our bread.
I don't have an opinion really on what brand I want. Just one that works really well.

3. Rice Cooker. We have a veggie steamer that has a bowl to make rice in, which we use at least once a week. A dilemma I have is on the nights I make steamed veggies and rice is it is hard to coordinate. If I do the veggies 1st, they get cold (and we do not have and do not really want a microwave) but if I do rice 1st it gets too sticky. It would just be easier to have one for veggies and one for rice, for me anyway.
Cheap is the way I'd go here. I would like one that keeps the rice warm though.

4. Deep Fryer. This would be a total glutenous purchase but would come in handy. I could make all sorts of awesome fried treats like onion rings, tempura veggies and corn dogs among may other things. I am not sure that I would actually ever buy a fryer but that is why its on a wish list and not in my kitchen.
Don't they make a Baby Fry Daddy or something?

5. Dehydrator. So, yeah, this is on the opposite end from a fryer. Jared loves dried fruits and I think it would be fun to make our own. Plus I always see some pretty amazing raw recipes I'd like to try that call for a dehydrator. I know I could probably mess around my convection oven on low temperatures but since this is a wish list, a dehydrator is going on here.
If I ever got a dehydrator, it would be one I found at a garage sale or something.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

macaroni salad

I grew up eating macaroni salad. Feeling nostalgic today I made this macaroni salad for us to eat over the weekend. I boiled some elbow macaroni for about 7 minutes. While the pasta boiled I diced up a large carrot, a rib of celery, a couple green onions, 1/4 of a medium red onion and fresh parsley. I made a dressing with about a 1/2 cup of Vegenaise, a tsp of dill pickle juice and 1 tsp of olive juice (both to thin out the Vegenaise a bit and add a salty vinegar bite) along with a dash of the following: celery salt, natural sugar, cayenne pepper and black pepper. I cooled off the macaroni, added it to the diced up veggies and poured the dressing over the macaroni and veggie mixture. After this was all combined I had some for lunch! It isn't a heavy macaroni salad most people are use to, but it is delicious.
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first off

My husband Jared has been a vegan since September 2006, and I only recently became vegan, about 2 and 1/2 months now. We have quickly become incredibly passionate about living as vegans. My favorite way to spend time is to recreate our non-vegan favorites, and I have to say it has been very satisfying. I love to cook and being able to cook has made being vegan easy and has saved Jared and I tons of money since we rarely eat out now. We live in Decatur, GA, which is about 15 minutes away from Atlanta, and we do have a variety of places we can eat, at least compared to Tampa, FLA, where we recently moved from. Even though we do have places we can eat, they are very rarely strictly vegan places, which means we still have to ask lots of questions and aren't completely trusting when we get our food.
This blog will be a forum for me to showcase my delicious homemade vegan meals, share recipe ideas, discuss local restaurants when we do eat out and some of our favorite places to shop.