Foodie (Photo) Friday #4

Well, this week was rather slow as far as my cooking was concerned. Oh well.

Aside from making my Caesar salad several times this week (see my post before this one for details), the other two meals I cooked this week were jackfruit “carnitas” tacos and quick “buttery” biscuits and a southern black eyed peas skillet.

While I cannot share the recipes as they’re both in published cookbooks, I can share what they the pictures, and a review of them!

jackfruit carnitas tacos

These were from the book The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life by Melisser Elliott. I halved the recipe because I had only one can of jackfruit and it came out fine and made a good amount, still. I used store bought blue corn hard taco shells, put some lettuce inside, the “carnitas” and a cheese sauce I invented which was basically the easiest thing in the world: a 2:1 ratio of tofutti sour cream to nutritional yeast.

As far as the recipe goes,  I was a little concerned at first that it might be too spicy for the likes of me. I can handle spicy, but not straight up full jalapeno flavor. Luckily, after being reassured my Melisser herself on twitter after I announced I was making these, it seemed like my mouth would not be on fire after eating these. The main ingredients are various spices appropriate to tacos, salsa verde (the one I used came in a can, made by a brand called Embasa, and the first ingredient is tomatillos, not jalapenos, phew!) and the jackfruit of course. There’s some other stuff in there too, but I don’t want to give it all away. The book can be found on Amazon and it is a really helpful guide to a lot of vegan girl stuff, not just about food.

This was a better jackfruit experience than my first one which had more of a sweet and overly acidic barbecue flavor that did not go so well with the jackfruit’s flavor.

I liked this one because the spices and sauce really complemented and contrasted the sweetness of the jackfruit. Also, it is the perfect texture for going in the taco. I liked my addition of lettuce and cheese sauce though, as this recipe definitely goes great with various yummy taco fixings.

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yay a 5 good banana rating!

The Southern Skillet Black-eyed Peas with Quick Buttery Biscuits recipe from my (probably favorite) cookbook Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli is one of my favorite recipes I’ve found as a vegan cookbook connoisseur.  It is an extremely comforting dish, and the biscuits don’t hurt that factor one bit. black eyed peas and biscuits

It has cauliflower, black eyed peas, tomato sauce, maple syrup, sweet and savory spices, onions, etc in it. It ends up cooking pretty thick when I make it. I love that because I’m not a big soup eater, but it’s probably possible to leave it more brothy if that is more your style. Either way, it’s delicious.

I like making the biscuits in the food processor because it’s unbelievably easy that way! At least for me, they’re basically fool proof.  Like my conversation on twitter with Melisser Elliott, I also told Chloe Coscarelli on twitter a week ago or so that I wanted to make this again. It’s really pretty rare that I’ll repeat recipes often, but for some reason Chloe’s recipes make me want to make them much more. She was so nice to me and grateful for me sharing how much I love this and the Matzo Brei, and further confirmed why she’s one of my favorite vegan cooking “celebrities,” of sorts. I’m a vegan cooking nerd, deal with it 😛

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Two 5 good banana ratings in one post? Um, yes please!

So that’s basically it for this Food Porn Friday. But before you go, I wanted to tell you that I’m going to be in the midst of trying to perfect and veganizing a really amazing Danish Pastry that you all should get excited about and hope I can figure out! So while I’m working on that there may not be as many original recipes posted, but I may have some other exciting things up my sleeve to share with you! (Like the next salad of the week!)

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Vegan Salad of the week: Vegan Mediterranean “Chicken” Salad with vegan Caesar dressing

Okay, so I’m setting a goal again to eat a large salad for one meal a day as part of my health goals. This easily helps me get enough (or more than enough) servings of veggies daily, and keeps my caloric intake for trying to lose weight easier to manage.

I’ve been experimenting with healthy salad dressings and somewhere down the line someone clued me into this online list of oil free dressings: here. I’m going to experiment with salads based on some of these dressing recipes in the next couple of weeks.

At first when I started making salads, I would stick as many vegetables in it as I could but it took me about 45 minutes to chop everything myself, and was sometimes difficult to force myself to eat with full servings or more of cucumber slices, carrots, etc. It would take me an hour or longer to chew everything, as well, haha. So eventually I reduced the amount of vegetables and went for easier salads.

My favorite salad for the longest time was 2 cups of lettuce, 3-4 sliced sweet gherkin pickles, 4 sliced pickled beets chopped up even smaller, a baked boca “chicken” patty, 1/8 cup raw almonds, and this dressing. But eventually I ate that salad so many times that I’m probably not going to eat it any time soon!

So that’s what lead me to decide to try and invent a new salad every week! Here’s this week’s creation.

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First I made the Caesar dressing from Sexy Tofu, except I added 2 extra tbsp of nutritional yeast because I’m having difficulty meeting my b-12 intake without extra nooch. I try to add more whenever I can, and I don’t think it made it taste bad or anything, it’s still super delicious.

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I’m posing with the croutons while being photographed making the salad, haha

I was going to make my own croutons, but in my search for a good vegan bread to make them out of I got discouraged and also was hungry and planning to make the salad for my next meal, so I gave up and bought some Mediterranean herb flavored croutons that happen to be vegan. I got them from a local grocery store called East Side Market in Providence, it seems to have a good selection of kosher and middle eastern type foods, I think this is why they carry them and that they’re vegan too. They’re actually a product of Israel. They have a distinct taste, are a great, crunchy texture and the spices really give it that distinct kind of Mediterranean taste. I put 4 tbsp of the croutons (they’re very small making it possible to fit them in a tablespoon easily) in the salad.

Basically, the salad is:

2 cups chopped lettuce

2 tbsp of the caesar dressing

4 tbsp mini Mediterranean herbed croutons (if you can’t find this style of crouton, it’d be awesome to make your own croutons, and it’s really easy and delicious. All you do is take a half a loaf of bread of your choice–rye or pumpernickel or a mix works really well, or any bread that isn’t really soft–Cut it up into small chunks, stick in a plastic bag, drizzle some olive oil into the bag, shake to coat the bread with oil, add whatever herbs and spices you like, shake the bag of bread and oil again to coat, and stick in a 275 degree oven, checking every 15 mins until the croutons are completely crunchy!)

1 roasted red pepper chopped small

8 whole black olives

Fake chicken of some type. I bet beyond meat would be really good. I just use a baked boca chicken patty that I cut up small

1/2 tsp vegan parmesan (Okay, so you can make your own in various recipes found in cookbooks and online but I really doubt any of those will taste as parmesan-y as Galaxy Food’s Go Veggie Vegan alternative. I don’t know how they do it but it really does have that sharp parmesan flavor. It’s also a really fine texture which I believe would be difficult to duplicate on your own. But yeah, if you’ve found a good homemade version, let me know! Here’s what it looks like:

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make sure you see the yellow “vegan” text in the right hand corner, because I believe they do make other kinds that are dairy free but not vegan

So that’s my salad I’m eating for this week.

Stay tuned next week to see what new salad creation I come up with. It’ll probably get posted on Monday or Wednesday, but I’m not completely sure yet.

Random post and a delicious autumn flavor breakfast sandwich recipe

Hello there!

I completely spaced out writing this past week’s Food Porn Friday entry. I was planning to write it but then things got in the way. My uncle from Georgia was in town and we went to get Thai food fairly late. By the time we got home and were done visiting, along with my stressful week (I had 2 exams in one day last week! blah) I just crashed without going on to the computer to update. Similarly, I did not have the time or energy to create any original recipes to post here. I’m really hoping this doesn’t become a regular thing, and I hate that I am writing this entry with my excuses for why I didn’t update, but basically, I need to find a good way to juggle being in college. staying healthy, and trying to be creative with this blog (and keep it going and inventive and inspired and promote it, etc). 

That being said, this past week saw me making baked apple cider donuts (recipe here), matzo brei again (recipe here), roasted brussels sprouts with maple syrup and chestnuts (my own recipe attempt that was just “meh” overall so I am not going to post it), apple pie  chia breakfast parfait (recipe here), vegan “chicken caesar salad (my own concoction with this dressing recipe), and a tempeh reuben casserole (recipe here).

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Clockwise from top left: Parfait, Donut, Caesar Salad, Reuben Casserole, and Matzo Brei.

This morning I made the tastiest breakfast sandwich I’ve had in as long as I can remember. It’s very much in touch with seasonal autumn flavors. The recipe is here. I used whole food’s prepared meatless sausage patty, raw baby spinach, and a daiya cheddar slice though instead of what was suggested in the recipe.

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The fake cheddar and pumpkin butter create an amazing taste. The mushrooms meld together with all the flavors and make it even more of a meatier texture. I savored every bite of it until it was gone 😦

I give this recipe 5 good bananas!

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That pretty much wraps everything up that I wanted to say in this entry today.

But before I finish, I wanted to give a glimpse on something I’m working on/worried about: vegan art supplies I can use for making illustrations. It has come to my attention that it’s somewhat difficult to determine whether markers and pens and the whole gamut of arts and craft supplies are vegan or not, and many are not (even down to paper and stuff). For now I want to post a link to this resource that helped me figure out how to do some research on this topic and also made me feel a bit less overwhelmed by that task. Eventually I think a post with various arts and craft brands and their status would be good for me or someone else to compile and share around as a resource, we’ll see what ends up happening.

That’s all for now! Hopefully this new week won’t leave me as busy or stressed and I can blog more!