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Blissful Bites’ Un-Tuna Salad over lightly dressed kale

Published February 12, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

wpid-IMG_20130211_234250.jpg I had been meaning to try out Blissful Bites‘ UnTuna Salad for quite some time now, and had bought the ingredients last week before I left for a friend’s wedding in Vegas. I chose this light, healthy dinner as the first one back purposefully, making it extra healthy by serving it over a bed of lightly dressed kale. The dressing is just a tahini based something I threw together in the small bowl of my food processor, but I’ll include the approximate recipe below.

For the Blissful Un-Tuna, I made a few adjustments. I went ahead and started by pulsing the chickpeas to a slight mash in the food processor, since it was being used regardless. I then used the fine grater for both the carrots (I used 2) and the celery (I used 1.5 stalks). I subbed dijon for yellow mustard, as I always do (I don’t really care about yellow). Surprisingly, I couldn’t find just plain kelp powder in the downtown Seattle Whole Foods, so I used Bragg’s Kelp seasoning. It came out really delicious! Even without having pure kelp powder it was plenty tuna-ish for me, and besides, we just adore chickpeas, so I knew this would be a win.

Garlic Lemon Tahini Dressing
makes about 1/2 – 2/3 cup

2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 c. tahini
1/3 c. water, plus more to desired consistency
1.5 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp. brown rice syrup, or other sweetener to taste, optional
cayenne pepper, optional
Bragg’s kelp seasoning (or salt & pepper), to taste

Directions:

Mince garlic in the small bowl of a food processor. Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste for seasonings and consistency.

* I only used half of this dressing for one large bunch of kale, hence the lightly dressed!!

image And here is a picture of the kittens being sleepy, just for good measure. Check out the belly on Ganon! (Bottom left.)image

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January Raw Kickoff: Day 2 & a Raw Apple Cobbler recipe

Published January 9, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Day 2 started out much like Day 1, with the buckwheat groat porridge, though this time I ran it in the Vitamix until it was warm.

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For lunch I made us some celery soup. You can see most of the ingredients above! It was delicious and the avocado kept us full for a while.

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Dinner came from Matthew Kinney’s Everyday Raw Express. I made the Curried Carrot Slaw, Endive, Pine Nuts, Golden Raisins.

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Only minus the endive, because it is too expensive, with regular raisins, and with ALMONDS instead of cashews for the sauce because Thomas is allergic to cashews. (I do this all the time now as a straight substitute and have had no problems. I’m going to try to make some artisan almond cheese one of these days based off of a cashew recipe.) I served it on romaine leaves as incredibly fresh and tasty burritos. The pine nuts gave this the necessary filling ingredient. The sauce on this combined with the mint was just so flavorful.

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For dessert, I made this apple cobbler, very similarly to the way I made the pear blackberry one the day previously.

Raw Apple Cobbler

2-3 apples, cut into bite-sized pieces
drizzle of raw agave
sprinkle of cinnamon
pinch of ground ginger

1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. raisins
pinch of salt

1. Place apples in a 2-3 quart dish. Drizzle with lightly with agave and toss with spices until lightly coated.

2. For the topping, add almonds, raisins, and salt to the small bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of fruit.

January’s Raw Kickoff: Day 1 & Raw Pear Blackberry Cobbler recipe

Published January 3, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Just like last year, I decided a great way to kick off the new year would be with a few days of raw food. It’s day 2 and I’m feeling great. It’s not a permanent lifestyle choice for me, but a great place to go back to whenever I need it. The holidays usually leave me feeling a little gunky, so I decided to do full raw for 3 days. I mostly used my Raw Food: A handy guide for every meal of the day book as a guide for the recipes for day one. (Except dessert, see below.) The nice thing about making meals like this is, it’s extremely easy to improvise and adapt the recipes. I have other raw books now, but this was the 1st one I ever purchased. It may come off as simplistic for some, but the servings are generous, and the recipes, though not extremely abundant, are easy and taste good.

Though I love eating this way, and there are certainly times when we eat high raw for month periods at a time, produce is expensive. That said, we’ll be going back to eating lots of cheap protein like grains, beans, and legumes after this. 🙂 Speaking of finances, mine should be improving fairly soon though. I start my orientation for work in a week and a half on Monday, January 14th! Which is great because I really want to buy my ticket for this year’s VidaVeganCon in Portland before they sell out! Just look at the amazing list of speakers!!

Okay, okay, now onto the food…

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I bought enough buckwheat groats to last us for about 4 breakfasts. These are cheap enough out of the bulk bins. I soak the amount we need overnight (or in this case for a few days, rinsing daily) and then combine it with apples, cinnamon, dates and a little water.

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For lunch we had this delicious spiced carrot soup. A fairly modified version of Raw Food’s Holiday Season Carrot Soup. Orange juice, carrots, grind of sea salt, dates, figs, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and almonds.  Even though I’m kind of over anything tasting too “holiday” right now, it was tasty. I ran it in the Vitamix until it was warm-hot.

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For dinner, I added some baby kale to this carrot salad, which I had made before and loved. It also had broccoli, tomato, apple, sun-dried tomatoes, raisins, carrots, sunflower seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper.

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We ate so much of this, and we even had a little leftover. (Which became my awesome lunch today!)

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I made this Pear Blackberry Cobbler, based off of some of Ani Phyo’s ideas in her raw dessert book. Her formula seems to be about 2-3 fruits like peaches, pears, nectarines, apples with a little agave and maybe a spice and a crumble consisting of equal parts nuts/dried fruit with a bit of salt. I prefer the fruit cut smaller instead of sliced, and thought the salt was a little too much, so I cut it back for the cobbler I made tonight, but I’ll give you the recipe below with the adjustments I made!

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It was just delicious. We ate all of it!

Pear Blackberry Cobbler

3 pears, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small container of blackberries
drizzle of raw agave

1/2 c. pecans (you can use 1/3 c. I just happened to have 1/2 c., so I figured, why not?)
1/3 c. dates
pinch of salt

1. Combine pears and blackberries in a 2-3 quart dish. Drizzle with lightly with agave and toss until mixed.

2. For the topping, add pecans, dates and salt to the small bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of fruit.

Easy and so very delicious! Stay tuned for day 2 and another raw recipe. 🙂

Winter Holiday Wrap-up: Holiday Feasting & A kitten!

Published January 2, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Thanksgiving Dinner 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner 2012

My holiday cooking this year was a little atypical. Being that we spent Thanksgiving Day driving through Texas, eating seitan sandwiches from Austin’s Counter Culture (delicious!) in a gas station parking lot (above!), I went ahead and made us a nice spread a random day in December.

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Starting in the top left you’ll see my Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts w/Apples & Onions, and some store bought cranberry sauce. Bottom row is my Perfect Pumpkin Pie, a tasty casserole from the Veganomicon, Carmelized Onion and Butternut Squash Roast with Chestnuts, and my perfected Cornbread recipe.

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Hello, gorgeous. You can see all the wonderful casserole here up front. Butternut squash, white beans, and chestnuts combine with caramelized onions and breadcrumbs and sage to give you that taste of stuffing, with a bunch of extra goodness thrown in.

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I’ve always read that it’s better to grind your own flax seed, but I felt just fine about buying it pre-ground and keeping it in the fridge in a glass jar. However, Thomas could only find the whole seed at Trader Joe’s.

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No matter, I scooped out the amount I needed and put it in the vita-mix for a few seconds. Worked like a charm.

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I was ecstatic about this cornbread using my new, super secret (not really) ingredient. And I updated my previous recipe accordingly. Just the perfect combination of salty and sweet, with a nice texture and no added oil.

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Christmas Eve wasn’t all that far away from my impromptu meal, so some of these items were repurposed, including the cranberry sauce, and the very little that was left of the casserole and brussel sprouts.

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But I also made some sweet potato mash and baked up a field roast celebration loaf with some onions and green beans. The field roast was incredible, and we enjoyed eating the leftover slices cold, right out of the fridge.

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For the mash, I simply baked the potatoes during the prep and baking of my other dishes. (1.25 hours) Once cooked through I mashed them with a bit of butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt & pepper.

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I hope you all had a safe and happy winter holiday season! It was a bit sad to be away from everyone we love this year, so I’m actually pretty glad it’s all over. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to travel home for one of the holidays. The bright side was between Christmas and the New Year, we added another member to our family.

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This is Midna, our 16 week old sphynx kitten! She’s the sweetest little baby, and she is slowly but surely starting to put up with Ganon. He came on a little strong on day one, so she’s been hissing and growling at him a whole lot over the last week, but I was super excited last night when they managed to share a blanket together in peace. Today they were running all over the house playing.

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Ganon’s only 2 months older, but he’s about 3 times the size of Midna right now, but she’s proven that she can hold her own! She is one of the sweetest kittens I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing mommy to.

midna

Cream Corn Chowder & Jalapeño Parsley Pesto – Matthew Kenney’s Everyday Raw Express

Published October 5, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Week 1: High Raw mini-theme continues in VeganMofo post #4 with a delicious and filling raw soup and fresh pesto from Matthew Kenney’s Everyday Raw Express, but first…

I’m going to start off by saying sorry for the picture of the finished soup with the big shadow [of me] across the bottom. I tried to clean it up in Photoshop, and it made the soup unnaturally lemon yellow. I do hold an Art degree, but it was strictly in studio arts. No technology.  So I’m going to just go with the fact that I am after all the “camera phone vegan” and hope I’m off the hook until they start making better camera phones!

Since I’m off on a tangent right now anyway, I’ll tell you something else that has nothing to do with this soup, and everything to do with vegan blogging and technology. I realized today that I WILL be in Seattle for the Vegan Vida Con Tech seminar! It’s a pretty steep $150 for a 1 day “on the technical aspects of serious Internet veganism: blogging and social media”, but I think it’d be really beneficial. Two of my soon to be neighbor tweeps, Helen of Vegtastic, and Dawn of Vegan Moxie, are going to be doing presentations. In fact, they both also just gave away free tickets to the seminar, but unluckily, I didn’t realize that I’d be in Seattle for it until today. (Feeling generous? You can donate to my cause here! hah!)

In addition to that, while we’re on the topic of Vegan Vida Con, I realized last night that I had said if we made it out to Seattle this year, then I’d definitely go to Vegan Vida Con in Portland, Spring 2013. And well, now that it IS happening, I’ll be needing to buy a conference ticket soon too! Pretty exciting! It’s going to be held over Memorial day weekend.

And now on to the soup!

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Jalapeño pesto consisted of parsley, pine nuts, lime juice, agave, jalapeño, nooch, olive oil, salt & pepper. It was unbelievably delicious, and made plenty!

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More than enough for two recipes of the soup!

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Soup was made from corn, pine nuts, almond milk, miso, olive oil, lemon juice, agave, salt & pepper.

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I ran it on high in the Vitamix until it was steaming and warm-hot.

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Results:

Wow! Except for the soup being a bit too sweet with the full amount of agave called for in the recipe, this was absolutely incredible!  I did cut back the olive oil just slightly on the first go, as well as added some Braggs to counteract some of the sweetness. The pesto gave this a spectacular contrast, visually, as well as in taste and texture. The pesto seemed to keep really well, because I made another batch of the soup [with less agave] a week later, and I swirled plenty of it in, with no problems! It’s like drinking amazing, spicy cornbread! Like most raw food, it made for a surprisingly filling meal with robust flavor.

I really like this book. The recipes are quick, simple, and flavorful, and best of all, don’t require a dehydrator to deliver professional tasting results. More recipe reviews to come from it! Yum!!

Oh, and before I forget, here’s a picture of our kitten Ganon, doing one of his most favorite activities of all. He’s 15 weeks and extremely exhausted from a long day of sleeping! Gotta throw in a kitten picture here and there for good measure! 😉

AFR Tamarind BBQ, Roasted Brussel Sprouts and our move to SEATTLE!

Published September 28, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

This is something I made months ago! I’ve been ridiculously behind on blog posts, but I think it really all worked out, because October is VEGANMOFOVegan Month of Food, and I have plenty to blog about! October is always the darling of this household’s calendar because of things like pumpkin beers and pie, and of course, Halloween, but this year it’s going to be an extra bit hectic because we will also be preparing for our MOVE TO SEATTLE! I’m flying out to Seattle on October 30th with Ganon (our kitty) and as much clothing as possible, and then coming back in 2 weeks to do the drive with Thomas. We’re very excited, and that extra long road trip will be packed with vegan goodness as we travel from south Florida to New Orleans, Austin, San Diego, LA, San Francisco, and finally Seattle. We’ll even get to spend Thanksgiving in Santa Monica/ LA, which will be VERY cool! 🙂

This is definitely one of my favorite dishes from Appetite for Reduction. I served it over some brown rice, and tossed in some roasted brussel sprouts for an awesome, easy meal that all cooks at the same time! The rice cooks while the other two bake up together. I just swapped their positions halfway to ensure even baking.

The full recipe for the sprouts is in my recipe tab at the top of the page, but I’ll post the simple version here for you too. This lovely, warm, comforting meal was just SO good!

Simple Oven Roasted Brussel sprouts

small to medium brussel sprouts
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste, I used smoked pepper

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven according to directions for AFR dish, and prepare a cookie sheet.

2. Wash sprouts and trim off the brown ends. Remove any yellow or unappealing looking leaves, and cut in half if medium to large in size. Little ones are fine left whole.

2. Place sprouts in a bowl and spray or drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss with hands to coat.

3. Bake right along with tempeh. Don’t forget to switch the positions of the trays halfway! They should be nicely browned and just starting to blacken on top; this is the where the toasty sweet flavor comes from, but keep an eye on them so they don’t burn up!

 

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Ipad Cookbooking & Mac n Trees

Published July 11, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Here’s a good example of what I’ve been up to in the kitchen. So ipad cookbooking is actually pretty convenient, if you have the means. I still use my cook book holder to prop it up, but I no longer worry about it flipping shut. The kindle app works really well on the ipad too, b/c you can click on the links for recipes that require two recipes, and flipping back & forth is easy. (My actual kindle device can’t do all that, so I thought it was worth mentioning.) Another bonus is that you can zoom in and read it from further away.

The Mac n Trees recipe from AFR has sort of morphed into one of my own easy, go to meals. I like to make it with double the pasta and/or an entire bag of frozen veggies, since it makes so much sauce. I’ve also changed the seasonings a bit to suit our taste, most notably with the use of regular and smoked paprikas. It takes no knife work and you have dinner before you know it, not to mention that Thomas loves it! Just make sure you always have a nice stash of nooch (nutritional yeast) on hand! 😀
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Cajun Beanballs & Spaghetti – Appetite for Reduction

Published March 17, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Here’s another yummy meal made from Appetite for Reduction! I’m definitely going to keep this book in heavy rotation for a while. A.) because I need to drop a couple of pounds (not that it’s a diet book, but at least it’s mostly light on oil) and B.) because the recipes tastes really good!

Tempeh cubed and ready to hit the steamer.

About to be mashed into the rest of the bean ball ingredients.

Heading into the oven to bake.

Sprinkled with nutritional yeast & vegan parm. ❤

The recipe consists of three recipes. 1 for bean balls, 1 for the sauce, which is a variation of her basic sauce in this book, just with some cajun spices, and 1 for the general recipe which includes 2 c. of chopped zucchini, for which I subbed cauliflower that needed using.

YUM!

Broiled Blackened Tofu w/ Jerk Asparagus – Appetite for Reduction

Published March 13, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party


Here’s another meal from Appetite for Reduction that we really enjoyed. I took Isa’s suggestion and served it with jerk asparagus, but skipped the butternut coconut rice, and served it with some simple mashed acorn squash instead. I toasted up the squash seeds in a skillet to use as a garnish.

Roasted Acorn Squash Mash & Toasted Seeds

1 medium acorn squash, cut down the middle, seeds removed and reserved

desired seasonings (I used a pinch of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt & pepper)

sprinkle of sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Prepare a roasting pan or cookie sheet, and place squash halves face down. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a fork pierces the skin easily. Remove from oven and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh, mash, and add seasonings to taste.

2. Meanwhile, place rinsed squash seeds and a small sprinkle of salt in a small skillet, and heat to low-medium heat, shaking occasionally until all are toasted and dry.

going in

coming out

I usually cheat and buy the sprouted, pre-pressed tofu, but they were out!

seasonings for blackened tofu

tofu heading in to broil

Mmm, jerk asparagus

made for a pretty plate! 🙂

Veggie Potpie Soup

Published March 12, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Since I was SO behind on posts, I’m going to pepper in a few cooking posts with the restaurant reviews from our recent travels. A few weeks ago I had Thomas pick out a few meals from Appetite for Reduction. Around the same time we also found a cheap bag of TSP (TVP chunks) at WF that we couldn’t resist buying. The two meetup in this adapted version of Isa‘s Veggie Potpie Stew from AFR. The TSP chunks taste even better the next day after soaking up all the flavors. Speaking of the next day, I added 3 cups of water to it on day 2 (it thickens up a lot!),  along with half a bag of frozen, chopped spinach to give it a delicious little makeover as a second dinner. I served it with my drop biscuits for a warm, comforting, healthy dinner. Enjoy!

Veggie Potpie Soup

olive oil for misting

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp. dried sage
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper

1/2 c. split peas
6 c. filtered water + 2 bouillon cubes
1 c. TSP chunks, optional

3 small potatoes, cut into small pieces
1/2 lbs carrots, cut into 1/2″ chunks
3 small zucchini, chopped

1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 c. filtered water
1/4 c. flour
1 c. frozen peas

Directions:

1. Mist a 4-5 qt pot lightly with olive oil, add onions, and raise to low-medium heat. Cook until translucent. Add garlic, sage, salt & pepper, and cook another minute.

2. Add split peas, water and bouillon, and raise to a boil. After 5 minutes, add potatoes, carrots, zucchini, and TSP chunks (if using). Cover and simmer 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Whisk the flour into the cup of water, to dissolve it fully, and add it to the pot along with the last of the thyme and frozen peas. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 more minutes. It thickens up quite a bit, and even more so overnight.


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(4. The next day I added 3 c. of filtered water & half a bag of frozen, chopped spinach.)

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