Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 6: Vegan Cheese is Real (rainbowy) Cheese

Hi, it’s Fluffy the Vegan Unicorn here,

I hope you’ve enjoyed our posts up to now. I hope you realized how important some of the topics are for discussion and to be aware of as we continue towards making a better world for ourselves and animals. I know some of it can be hard to learn about and hear/read, but I feel it is very necessary to address before we can have a magic rainbow unicorn party across the land and seas.

The remainder of this week’s theme posts will be more lighthearted and less serious. Tomorrow I will go back a bit to the initial few days’ sentiments, freeing ourselves of guilt and shame over food and our bodies, and share my vegan dessert food pyramid. On Sunday I will be sharing a unicorn worthy salad, in case that’s more your speed. Unicorns like to make everyone’s different tastes happy.

Today is keeping with MoFo’s Daily theme, Vegan Cheese is Real Cheese. Just because the cheese is dairy free doesn’t make it any less real. Who is to say what cheese really is, anyways? The FDA? USDA? Some kind of patent office? I don’t know, but they fail us all the time.

Last night I inspired Laura with my magic energy to create for me a creamy vegan mac and cheese sauce made of rainbows. While the recipe will still be tweaked a bit further after this post is shared, it is at least, edible and quite a beauty.

The recipe starts by making cashew cream and boiling cauliflower and onions and blending in some other seasonings and nondairy milk. Then you separate the sauces into 5 portions and add color!

This recipe uses all natural powders such as beet for red, turmeric for yellow and orange, and butterfly pea tea powder for blue. Most of these are easy to find, except the butterfly pea tea powder. It also uses fresh spinach blended into the sauce for the green. Laura considered using spirulina but she and I don’t like the taste of it, so she opted for doing the spinach instead.

What even is butterfly pea tea powder? Butterfly pea tea powder comes from Thailand where a type of gorgeous blue flower grows. They make it into tea powder. It is caffeine free and does not have much of a taste. Laura bought it on Amazon because the other websites she found it on were out of the US and charged a lot of taxes and such. Make sure you get the powder and not the dried leaves, although I suppose if you have a good food processor or spice grinder you could make it yourself. A little ends up going a long way, so don’t worry if you see the package and think it is small.

Anyways, without further ado, may I present you my magical rainbow vegan mac and cheese:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into pieces, stem and leaves removed
  • 1 small onion, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water overnight
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp potato starch
  • 1 tablespoon white miso or chickpea miso
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups unsweetened plain nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the red sauce:

  • 1/2 tablespoon beet powder

For the yellow/orange sauce:

  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder

For the green sauce:

  • A handful of baby spinach

For the blue sauce:

  • A little less than 1/2 tablespoon butterfly pea tea powder

For the purple sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon beet powder and 1 tsp butterfly pea tea powder

 

  • 1 lb elbow pasta, gluten-free if necessary

Directions:

  1. Boil cauliflower and onion in water for 10 minutes or until soft.
  2. Blend cashews and water in a blender until smooth.
  3. When the cauliflower and onions are as soft as my unicorn mane, drain them, rinse under cold water, and add to the blender along with the cashew cream.
  4. Add all ingredients up to the nondairy milk. You may need to slowly add the milk instead of putting it all at once to prevent an ugly overflow mess in your blender. Blend until creamy and smooth.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Now for the magic part. Separate the sauce into 5 equal portions as best as you can, leaving one portion in the blender.
  7. Blend the spinach into the sauce that’s in the blender until it becomes a light, natural shade of green.
  8. Stir in the powders to each individual portion one by one until they become vibrant and brightly beautiful.
  9. When the pasta is cooked, grease a casserole or lasagna dish and pour the pasta inside.
  10. Spread out each color of the rainbow in stripes in order of the handy acronym ROY G BIV (except we are not doing the orange and indigo). To make it easier, you may want to start by placing a stripe of the red to the far left first, and then doing the purple to the far right so you know how much space you have for the other colors in between. It would make us all sad if your rainbow was missing colors.
  11. Cook the pasta in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  12. When serving, try to get a taste of all the colors. Just don’t swirl them too much or they become a muddy, poopy, un-unicorn ugly, gross color.
  13. Enjoy this savory rainbow of vegan cheezy goodness!

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Air Fryer Experiments

Hi!

As I mentioned in my last post, I bought an air fryer on sale. What is an air fryer, you ask? Well, it’s basically a healthier version of a deep fryer. It fries food with hot air instead of oil.

Personally, I am still figuring out what works and doesn’t work with it and trying to perfect temperatures and cooking times. I have found that using a lot of liquid batter without any kind of dry coating over it does not work so well. It says you can make donuts in it, but I have no clue how that’d work. I have not tried cooking french fries yet, but I really want to, just haven’t yet.

So far I have fried some soy curls using this recipe here. Those came out excellent, I think I cooked them at 350 for about 10 minutes. I also tried defrosting some Gardein chicken scallopini, coating it in watered down Neat egg substitute coated with vegan/gluten free rice crispy-esque cereal. That was okay, but not that exciting even though I had high hopes.

Then, when I botched a bunch of battered cauliflower, I came up with a splendid idea. But I didn’t have any more cauliflower, so I tried it with tofu. It’s supposed to be like coconut coated fried shrimp, but is made with tofu (and someday I need to try it with cauliflower, too!)

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Here is the recipe for it:

Coconut Crusted Air Fried Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vodka or unflavored soda water/seltzer
  • 2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
  • one bag sweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • sweet chili sauce for dipping
  • 1 block tofu, preferably frozen, thawed, then pressed for 20 minutes

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk in the water, vodka/soda water until a liquid, medium thickness batter forms. Water it down if necessary to be the desired thickness, but it should stay fairly thick.
  3. Cut tofu into smallish rectangles.
  4. Place some of the sweetened coconut into a dish.
  5. Dip the tofu in the batter, then into the coconut.
  6. Delicately place in the air fryer tray.
  7. Air fry for 10 minutes, 350 degrees F or slightly lower if you don’t want it as browned as I did. May take some experimentation as I believe air fryers can vary quite a bit.
  8. Use sweet chili sauce to dip in, and serve with a generous helping of veggies!

I’m sure I’ll discover some new tips and tricks about air fryers soon!

So check back here for those.

Until then, or until another recipe creation strikes!

Take care! xo

 

Peter Piper Picked a (vegan) Jalapeno Popper Pizza Recipe! with cornmeal cream cheese stuffed crust! a lot of alliteration here!

Well now…

With Vegan Pizza Day coming up at the end of the month (June 28 to be exact- rsvp to the facebook event!) I wanted to provide you with a kickass, blow your mind, original recipe for a unique vegan pizza for this occasion.

Today I tested out my idea. I was worried it would not go as planned, but it came out flawless.

Image It has a cornmeal crust made from this recipe, a cauliflower white sauce, sliced jalapenos, daiya cheddar, cream cheese stuffed crust, and a sprinkling of whole wheat breadcrumbs.

Here is the recipe. I have taken lots of pictures throughout the pizza making process to explain what I did a bit better.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cornmeal crust (recipe here)–I let it rise for a half an hour, but it was a hot day so I can’t be sure how long it’ll take you exactly. You will also want a bit of extra cornmeal and flour for when you roll out the crust

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup unflavored almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Sprinkle of white pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp miso (I used chickpea miso)
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

For the rest of the pizza:

  • 4 jalapeno peppers, chopped into slices
  • Daiya cheddar cheese shreds
  • 1 tub plain vegan cream cheese (I used Go Veggie! brand)
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat breadcrumbs

Directions:

  1. Make the dough according to recipe.
  2. Let rise and make the sauce.

To make the sauce:

  1. Steam cauliflower until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place cauliflower and all other ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Place into a saucepan, and on medium heat, whisk frequently until bubbling and thickened a bit.

To assemble and cook the pizza:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Roll out the dough into a large circle. You will want to use extra flour/cornmeal on the surface and on the rolling pin to prevent sticking.
  3. Mix/stir up the vegan cream cheese until thick with a knife if it is separated as mine was.
  4. Using a tablespoon, place little dollops of the cream cheese a short distance away from the edge of the crust (see pictures below for a good idea of what I mean here).
  5. Then fold over the edges of the crust around it, pinching to secure slightly.
  6. Place about 2/3 cup or whatever you need of the sauce. You may need the whole batch, or you may need less, depending on how big your crust is. I used 2/3 cup.
  7. Sprinkle Daiya cheddar shreds around the top, use as much or as little as you like. I used about 1/2 cup.
  8. Place sliced jalapeno slices on top of the cheese.
  9. Sprinkle two tablespoons of whole wheat breadcrumbs.
  10. Bake 12-15 minutes in oven.
  11. Eat! And enjoy, because it’s pretty amazing if I dare say myself.

 

ImageA detailed picture of how I stuffed and folded the crust.

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After being baked and half eaten, a detail of the stuffed crustImage

A picture of a scrumptious baked slice

So there you have it! Hopefully I will be able to dream up some other ridiculous and amazing vegan pizza recipes this month, but we shall see. I do not know how I can top this one! haha

 

mish mosh of things and the week in review of foodie photos (albeit a day late!)

Yesterday there was no post because I was so tired! I had to get up really early and go to an event at the school I plan to go to for Culinary Arts and hopefully nutrition! I got to try out working in a culinary classroom for three hours. I made the quinoa salad that was on the menu, which was nice. I was really scared/nervous and struggled a bit due to that, but I am so excited to learn more, and I learned so much in that short amount of time! It was so enjoyable and went by really fast, there was no time to spare!

I am looking forward to starting in the Fall!

I have decided to try to only use my banana ratings system for vegan products and companies that I try now. The reason for this is because I want to be supportive of people like me or my vegan chef role models even if I don’t love a recipe as much as I would like to. I will still make suggestions and tips and maybe some constructive criticism when necessary, but will try to be more positive from now on. I think that’s fair because I would like the same types of things said about me and my recipes.

I made some really good food this week!

Here are some pictures/descriptions/links to them!

Buffalo Cauliflower (Made without hot sauce!) with dill cashew dip

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This recipe was amazing! I ate so much of it! I love that it does not use bottled hot sauce and instead uses herbs and spices to make your own. This way, I could control the sodium content and it was not ridiculous in that regard. It was extremely tasty, too. I put a little more cayenne in it and it was the perfect hotness. The dip blew me away though! It tastes exactly like blue cheese somehow!! I liked it so much that I am going to make it again this week!

Tempeh Sloppy Joe’s

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My picture definitely lives up to the “sloppy” title. Oops. I found this recipe here.. It was quite tasty and I loved that it had so many servings of vegetables in it! The cooked cherry tomatoes were a great idea. I added black olives (although I did not like how they tasted in it really), chopped scallions, and tofutti sour cream into half a pita. I did mix the tempeh with the sauce.

I think that was it, I had lots of salads and was eating leftovers from last week too!

This upcoming week you should get some really great ideas/inspiration from the recipes I will be cooking from! Or at least, have to wipe up your watering mouth. Hopefully I’ll be able to post at least on Friday, but it depends on my schedule and school stuff!

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!)

Foodie (Photo) Friday-Vegan “crab” cakes, jalapeno popper wrap, swedish meatballs, cauliflower

(I just realized I need to make an illustration to go along with Foodie (Photo) Friday but I have no ideas and no energy at the moment. Maybe I’ll come up with something later and use it regularly, maybe not.)

Yay it’s Friday! And you know what that means? I share all the recipes I made this week (besides my own) and review them and show the evidence.

First I made Tempeh Scramble, Jalapeno Popper Dip, Broccoli wraps from Vegan Richa.

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Basically, I’ve got no complaints about this recipe. It was really good. I used lavash bread for the wrap. It tasted good when I had just made everything hot, and also when I brought it to school for lunch cold. It tastes really good with extra pickled jalapeno slices put into the wrap though, because the popper dip isn’t quite enough. (I didn’t want to use too much of it because it’s sort of high calorie).

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Here’s the popper wrap open with all the goodies inside!

I give these wraps the best rating of all. So,

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Next were the vegan hearts of palm crab cakes from Olives for Dinner which I’ve been seeing posted online everywhere basically.

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These were a bit of a challenge to make like most kinds of pan fried cake type things, except these really didn’t have any binding material whatsoever. However, they totally make up for them in taste. I don’t know what it is about hearts of palm that makes me think it’s like seafood, but yeah. The old bay seasoning probably doesn’t hurt either to give it that kind of a taste. And the scallions and corn pair really well together and make it that much more delicious. The scallions get crispy. The corn flour on the edges gives it an amazing cake-y texture and a sort of tangy buttery flavor? I don’t know but all I know is that I loved the taste of these.

Even my mom who is not a vegan (but is allergic to all sorts of products, some vegan, some not) loved them, and couldn’t believe they were fake. The good thing (for her) is that these are pretty allergy friendly (although I don’t know if they make gluten free panko?) All I know is that I was happy my mom could try them because they didn’t have soy protein, vinegar, regular onions, etc in them.

Also, I didn’t try to make the sauce, and I really don’t think they need any. They’re that tasty without it. I think the sauce would over power some of the amazing flavors.

One banana is lost because of the lack of binding. All but one of these were able to stay fully in tact when cooked. Most of them were more like crab cake crumbles 😦

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That same night I made some curried cauliflower recipe I found on pinterest. I don’t want to post the recipe, because I was not impressed whatsoever. It had way too much pepper in it (which I should have realized and adjusted, I’ll give them that), but otherwise it was nothing like it was described. It used light coconut milk which I thought might get thick and creamy like in the picture I saw of it, but it never did. Here’s a picture of it, but I’m not going to bother rating it because I’m not sharing the recipe (and I feel bad linking to something with a 4 bad banana rating haha).

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Finally, tonight I made Swedish Meatballs from the Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick Goudreau. They looked and tasted pretty authentic from what I remember. I used lightlife gimme lean sausage style as suggested for the “meat” in the ball (teehee). I didn’t have any ground allspice, only whole, so I went outside and basically hammered all the whole allspice I had in a ziplock bag and voila! there was my ground allspice! It worked out pretty well.

I served it over egg free ribbon noodles.

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Yum! This gets a perfect rating yay:

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Well, that’s all for tonight’s edition of Food Porn Friday! Hope you enjoyed this edition, and also I hope you enjoyed my other recipes I posted this week. I’ll be finishing my pumpkin ice cream later on, and I think my brother’s belly is still happy from all the wasabi pea crusted tofu he ate! Check out those recipes below if you haven’t already!