Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Birthdays are fun!

This is the raspberry chocolate blackout cake (or something along those lines) from Vegan With A Vengeance made with blueberry preserves instead of raspberry. The icing is this recipe, dyed with turmeric, cocoa powder, beets and mushed blueberries. I wish I could take the credit, but I did not decorate it! I baked it, made the icing, iced it, mixed the colors, then handed the decorating bag over to my friend Natalie. The picture is of the birthday boy (her man) and pretty much sums him up.

I also bought a non-vegan vanilla cake layer from the Whole Foods bakery (which is where I work) and we iced and decorated that with vegan icing, too.

The vegan one was probably way better. Obviously.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A bit overdue...

I haven't posted in a while because I have nothing to post! Food has been sort of blah, and I'm working mostly nights so I don't get a lot of time to cook-- I just throw something together for lunch with leftovers to take to dinner. Boring!

The picture above is of something I created while in this state (the lunch/dinner state) and although it didn't turn out how I wanted it, I like the idea. Clearly, it's stuffed jumbo shells. Not so clearly, it's inspired by Dreena Burton's pesto stuffed shells-- however, although this looks amazingly and wonderfully delicious, I don't think I could possibly eat that for a normal lunch and not die afterwards. That's the type of food you eat at a party (because food at parties is fat-free and calorie-free by default), but I wanted something quiet. Simple. Easy.

This version has my pesto, tofu and mashed black beans to compensate for my lack of tofu. I will tweak this and use either no beans or white beans if they must be used. It also turned out bland. At any rate, expect a good version of this sometime soon, if I ever get around to using the other half of the box of shells!

The other note-worthy meal I made recently was something I actually managed to cook for Phil and I. I must confess, we've been eating out a lot lately. I've been running a lot in my free time, and he works so much he doesn't have much free time, so we've been lazy as of late. I'm hoping to change that and get back to cooking, especially since money is so tight (we're all feeling it, right?) This was just some marinated tofu (I used one of the marinades from Vegan Vittles) that I baked, and served with a sauce I made by thickening the leftover marinade with cornstarch. The couscous was cooked in vegetable broth and mixed in with sauteed oyster mushrooms, red onions and crispy broccoli. Nothing notable in the salad-- just a salad! We eat a lot of them in this house!

In some final news, check out this ridiculous article in Philadelphia's Citypaper, entitled, Veganomics: Guess whose diet is affected most by high gas prices.

What? Are you living in a cave, Boyce Upholt? Everyone's food comes on trucks, dude, including meat, diary, eggs, etc. The deciding factor is less vegan or omnivore, it's local or imported-from-Mexico.

I'm curious to see anyone elses thoguhts on this article. I didn't think it was necessarily 'talkin trash' about veganism-- it just seems sort of, well, pointless and stupid.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Wow! I love fresh food!

I had a great run this morning. Now it's raining, but pre-rain it was cool and breezy, so I took the opportunity to do my "long" run outside. For my ramblings about my running, see my fitness blog! Otherwise, I will get onto the food.

After my run, I donned my rainboots and raincoat (just in case) and walked over to Philly's best farmers market, which is fortunately only 3 blocks from me in Headhouse Square. I got a pretty awesome haul, though a little expensive at $19-- but the quality is worth it.

My favorite stand is Heirloom Farm, and is where I got the tomatoes, leeks, and that green thing which is a green apple eggplant. The tomatoes were the best deal-- all of those beautiful heirlooms for $5! Also in my findins are chemical-free oyster mushrooms, yellow nectarines, young Swiss chard, and an amazingly tasty baguette. I guess that's actually a lot of really fresh local goodies for $19. Check out how long these leeks are: (!)

I trimmed them and stuck the ends in a bag I keep in my freezer for veg scraps to make broth from.

While we're on the subject of fresh produce, here's a canteloupe Phil and I picked up from a smaller market by us on Tuesday. It was amazing, but part was rotten and it intimidated us out of eating the rest. You never know what you'll get buying local and organic, but it's just part of the fun (cause when it's good, it's so good!)

And dinner that night included local heirloom tomatoes, wax beans and a mixture of oyster and shiitake mushrooms. The green bean recipe is a dish I love from VWAV.

Last but not least, here's the lunch I made today with my market findings:

The nectarine was amazing (my favorite fruit!). I sauteed leeks, Swiss chard and oyster 'shrooms and made a sandwich with them and teriyaki marinated tofu (Fresh Tofu, Inc., a local tofu company. This tofu is amazing and so easy to work with!) The salad is local romaine from yesterdays market (also at Headhouse) and one of those small heirloom toms I got today, with a light olive oil and red wine vinaigrette.

Whew! If you're still here, kudos to you. The moral of the story is that I effin' love local produce. I've been toying with getting a CSA share next year, but I sort of like having more of a selection at Headhouse, so we'll just have to see!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pecan Sandies

A few days ago I saw a recipe for Pecan Sandies, and ever since then I've wanted to make a vegan version. I don't know if I've ever even had traditional sandies, but I imagine them being buttery and dusty and full of flavor. Mmm. I even started thinking about them while trying to fall asleep last night.

Which left one option: make them today.

I wanted to try using semolina flour, since it's a little more coarse then all-purpose wheat flour, and I thought it might lend some sandiness to the sandies. I used whole wheat bread flour because it's what I had, but I'm putting whole wheat pastry flour in the directions. All-purpose would work, too. Finally, I wanted to cut the oil in half, so I supplemented the butter [Soy Garden margarine, actually] with an equal amount of soy yogurt. I'm curious to try subbing out it all, but I'll have to wait until I get some better soy yogurt (see my feelings on this here).

Pecan Sandies
Makes 2 dozen cookies


  • 1/2 c. unrefined sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 c. Soy Garden or other non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 1/4 c. plain soy yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. soy milk
  • 1 egg substitute (I used Ener-G)
  • 1 c. semolina flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 - 1/2 c. coarsely chopped raw pecans, plus some whole for garnish
  • Optional: Flax seeds, raspberry jam.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Begin by creaming together the sugar, margarine and yogurt in a small bowl until smooth. Once lump free, add the vanilla, soymilk and egg substitute. Mix well and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the sugar mixture to the large bowl and stir until evenly moistened. If it's too dry, add another tsp. or two of soymilk. Lastly, stir in the chopped pecans.

Roll the cookie dough into tablespoon sized balls, which should yield about 24 cookies give or take, and set them on a cookie sheet. You have a few options for decorating. Pictured above are sandies with a pecan pushed onto its top. Or, you can make a thumbprint:

For this, literally make a deep print with your thumb in the middle of the cookie, then fill with a drop of your favorite jam (raspberry pictured). Or, try flax:

To make these, just press the top into a dish of flax seeds.

Bake for 10-12 minutes and enjoy with a glass of cold soymilk!

Monday, August 4, 2008

No Egg Salad Sandwich and Grilled Cheese

Last night, when I saw Tofu Mom's post and recipe for her egg-less tofu salad, I knew I wanted to make it within the next couple of days. Well, I made it today, and I highly recommend it. I didn't have celery or pickle or relish, and next time (oh, there will be many next times) I will try it with. But it had so much flavor even without! Perfect cool lunch. I ate it with kale chips and an orange for lunch, and I threw some on some romaine with julienned carrots and Moroccan olives to take with me to work for dinner.

Yesterday for lunch I tried the recipe for Grilled Cheese from Vegan Vittles. The "cheese" is a "melty American cheese", but honestly, it's better than any American cheese I ever had in my pregan days. It uses oat flour, tahini and lemon juice and is delicious. There was some left over so I had cheese toast for breakfast, too. Phil doesn't like most real cheese or fake cheese, so more for me!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Undercover in the morning!

Around 7 this morning, I woke up sort of startled because Phil wasn't next to me (he stayed out late last night with friends). So I got out of bed, walked to the stairs and saw a light on downstairs. I peered down the stairs, and there he was fast asleep on the couch with an empty container of hummus in front of him on the coffee table. I woke him up and got him to bed, the got myself back to bed for a few more hours (I meant to wake up at 8, but it became 9:30).

When I woke up, I saw that there was a half-eaten piece of bread, still bearing hummus, lying on the floor by the couch. I suddenly had an image of an intoxicated Phil struggling to eat before passing out, and the passing-out winning. Well, the bread was covered by ants, which I threw away, but the carpet was still all hummus-y and the ants were having a ball. I followed them across our couch (on the ground, of course), then all the way across the living room to the... front door? No, they weren't going under the door. They ducked beneath our bookcase next to the door and dissapeared.

I pondered this, while taking pictures because I'm weird:

That's fake leather, if you were curious.

Anyways, I lost interest and went out to water the plants, but some movement by the door caught my eye. I found their entrance! They were crawling through a crack in our stoop, which must somehow lead to a place nehind the bookcase? I don't know, weird.

The moral of the story is: ants are good at cleaning up. Once I was done being a camera creep they and the spilled hummus were gone (I was GOING to clean it up, but I wanted to give them some time to scram. I felt bad vacuuming those unsuspecting suckers up!)