Foodie (Photo) Friday #6-Philly Cheese Jackfruit Steak, Jalapeno Poppers, and Garden Vegetable Bechamel Lasagna

Well, well, well. It’s another edition of Foodie (Photo) Friday! I’m having some technological difficulties so the photos will be larger than normal, because when I try to resize them within wordpress I am getting a blank screen.

I have some good ones to share with you this week! I also just started the process of making some cupcakes for my birthday weekend, but those aren’t photo-ready yet.

First off, is this amazing Philly Jackfruit Cheesesteak sandwich from the “V” word blog. Recipe here. Image

This recipe really had a “wow” factor. I’m now officially in love with jackfruit after seeing how versatile it is! I may have possibly had a cheesesteak once or twice as a non-vegan, but it never was much of my thing anyhow. But now that I am a vegan this was a fun thing to make, and it was delicious in it’s own unique way. The spices were spot on I thought, I would not even know what spices to use to recreate this dish were I the one creating the recipe. The onions are also perfect. I think I cooked it all for a bit less time than suggested because I do not like too strong of a blackened flavor, and perhaps my stove gets too hot, but the steps worked out great to get a really crisp yet chewy texture out of the onions and jackfruit. I will definitely be making this again when I have more cans of jackfruit. I only made two servings because I wanted to only use one of my two cans. Oh well…

ImageI definitely give this recipe:

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The Jalapeno Poppers were from the cookbook The 30 Minute Vegan.

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They were supposed to be a healthier version of the classic snackfood/appetizer. I am not sure how unhealthy typical poppers are nutritionally, but after calculating the calories and other information for these, I wasn’t all that impressed really with the numbers. But I wanted them so I ate them anyways. These are baked, not fried. They certainly fulfill any craving you may have for this sort of food. I had never worked with 10 jalapenos at a time though, and scooping out the seeds and veins with a serrated knife was not exactly easy. I kept breathing in some of the fumes and gagging/coughing/sneezing. So if you make these, remember to use caution with the peppers haha. The coolest part of these is the way you attach the bread crumbs to the outside of the pepper so it can stick when baked. You coat them in a mixture of tahini, soy sauce, and water. It works amazingly. However, for the cheese filling, I highly recommend you use at least 2 tbsp of vegan cream cheese to help the cheese and spice mixture meld together more easily inside the peppers. Otherwise the daiya falls out really easily. I didn’t add the red onion to the cheese mixture because it sounded weird, but oh well.

I rate this recipe:

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It was really good but had some flaws.

Finally, the Garden Vegetable Bechamel Lasagna. Oh.My.Gosh.

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This was delicious. I first made the tofu herb ricotta. I tasted it and could barely stop myself from eating it all before I even made the lasagna. I was really skeptical of the idea of including butternut squash in this. I usually hate butternut squash, but had never tried it roasted, so I did that. I tried a piece of just the squash when it was finished roasting, and I actually liked it! So that’s a plus for this recipe: discovering how I like butternut squash cooked!

There are also caramelized onions, garlicky spinach, daiya cheese, the bechamel sauce, and nutritional yeast, along with the lasagna noodles of course. This took me a long time to make. So many dishes were used. I would recommend this dish for when you really want to impress someone, and not as an everyday dish, because it’s so elaborately time consuming. It is totally worth every bite, however. I had trouble fitting all three layers that you were supposed to do into the dish, so I just made two layers which worked out fine. I wouldn’t have had enough stuff to make a third layer, and even then, it was towering over the dish.

This is so deserving of a 5 good banana rating.

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That’s all for today! Stay tuned next friday to see what I cooked up!

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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!

Foodie (Photo) Friday is here (and almost over, haha!)

This week I only made about 3 big meals and had leftovers the rest of the week (except for breakfasts which was mostly french toast and other un-exciting stuff).

First, I made the Indian Buffet Trio (Saag Aloo, Chana Masala, and Vegetable Biryani) from the Chloe’s Kitchen cookbook.

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It was really good, all of it but I especially love the Saag Aloo that’s made with cashew cream (which came out awesome in itself!). I think I may have slightly messed up the Chana Masala by being forgetful. I really like the biryani, the raisins make it really good and I normally will not touch them ever…so that was a nice surprise.

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I give this a 4 good bananas, 1 bad rating

I also made jackfruit for the first time! I made a bbq pulled pork style crock pot thing from the newly released cookbook by Natalie Slater, entitled Bake and Destroy. The dish is called “Cannibal Corpse Crock-Pot” which I think is pretty hilarious. I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of just the pulled jackfruit, but I did take a picture of it when I made another entree from the cookbook called simply “BBQ Salad.” It’s kale, red beans, onions, garlic, the jackfruit, brown rice, and vegan ranch dressing.

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I rate the salad 4 good bananas, 1 bad, but the Cannibal Corpse Crock-Pot by itself would probably get a 3 good banana rating

The jackfruit itself is quite surprising. I had it alone in a sandwich to get a good idea of how it is by itself. It’s texture is not as “meaty” as people have been saying, in fact pineapple may have more of a meaty texture than jackfruit. Though, it does give a good shredded pork appearance. It’s also quite tangy and sour. Personally, I don’t think using a ketchup based BBQ type sauce was the best idea to pair it with, just because I have problems with acid reflux, and so it was a bit too acidic all combined. I might try it with a more typical type of BBQ sauce some other time and see how it goes. I do have another can I want to try and experiment with!

In the salad though, it was much better. All the flavors combine and it is just really yummy! I particularly like the ranch because it’s thick and mixes well with all the other flavors. It’s also the first recipe that I cooked the kale properly with (I usually make it raw because I can never cook it so it’s hot enough).

Finally, I was really craving a good delicious vegan Mac and Cheese but I was skeptical that I could find a good recipe for it. I hate most of the kinds I’ve tried so far, especially at some local restaurants where it’s popular (I won’t name names haha). I found a more cashew based recipe from Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick Goudreau and it was sooooooo amazing. I didn’t bake it but I bet it would be amazing baked. It gets even better as it’s reheated in leftovers.

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This definitely gets a perfect rating! I’m so picky with vegan Mac and Cheese and this one’s worth it!

I hope you all enjoyed this edition of Food Porn Friday! These pictures should give you something to drool over until next week! Or perhaps I’ll have the time to create a new recipe or blog about something else before Friday! We’ll see, I’ve been busy with the start of the school semester and am still adjusting to being back.

Foodie (Photo) Friday!

Starting this week, every Friday I plan to post pictures of the food I’ve been making (with recipes and reviews, if possible) since the last Foodie (Photo) Friday entry. This first entry has a bit more than a week’s worth (and some things I made may be missing because they have been included in my other blog posts or I couldn’t get a good picture of it before I ate it all), but they’ll typically convey a week of food making. Some weeks will probably have way less food in them than others, if I eat a lot of leftovers or prepared vegan foods, so keep that in mind. Aside from writing this blog, I also go to college and do other stuff. heh.

 So without further ado, let’s get foodie:

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Cajun quinoa cakes with lemon dill sriracha remoulade

Cajun Quinoa Cakes with Lemon Dill Sriracha Remoulade

Recipe here

Review: Meh. These were very difficult to cook, because they didn’t mold together very well and I didn’t want to add more flour (my own fault though probably). The quinoa cakes themselves were pretty good, although keeping them in the oven like the recipe says to do dried them out considerably more after they were fried. So they became very crispy and…not moist which would have been tastier. The remoulade was gross, in my honest opinion. I do like sriracha, but I guess I’m not a “Sriracha Lover.” Also, have you seen how much sodium is in 1 tsp of sriracha? As someone who is trying to improve her blood pressure, this is not a good thing. My bottle of it has 2,500 mg in one TEASPOON! And this recipe called for 1/4 cup! So if I ever wanted to make this again I’d try and use less sriracha. It was way too spicy for me anyhow. I think maybe a tbsp would be better than a 1/4 cup!! But even then, I think I should personally avoid it. I just like to try people’s original recipes first before I tweak anything in it (unless I know they’re using way too much salt, pepper, oil, etc and the recipe will be okay without it)…

Anyways, I’m gonna rate this a 3 good banana, 2 bad rating, mostly because the quinoa cakes themselves were decent.

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Spinach Artichoke dip

Spinach and Artichoke dip

Recipe here

(my photo is the main picture there because there were not any pictures uploaded yet until I did! but I didn’t create the recipe)

I ended up adding a 1/4 cup daiya cheddar shreds to the recipe. It is quite good, and is pretty healthy. I’m not sure how to describe this recipe but there were no issues with the directions or ingredients and it is pretty standard tasty spinach artichoke dip. I wish I could find a recipe though with silken tofu that doesn’t have a strange after taste, but thems the breaks, I guess 😉

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Pretzel burger slider

Pretzel Burger Sliders

Recipe from Vegnews Magazine August 2013 Issue (No link, sorry!)

Okay, first of all the pretzel buns were difficult to make but I will not complain about that because I knew that would be the case…My only regret is that I didn’t follow the recipe carefully enough and probably left out two pretty crucial ingredients which is probably why they do not look exactly pretty. But they came out good enough to eat. The slider burgers are decent, but a little chewy because they have a cup of vital wheat gluten in them but don’t boil or precook them in any way before baking. They were also really moist. They taste good with the whole package, but probably not by themselves or in a different presentation. The smoked cheddar sauce recipe that was suggested to make in the recipe series was my favorite. The last time I made one of the other burger recipes in this section of the magazine the pepper jack cheese sauce was good as well, so I expected the cheddar to be good too, and it did not disappoint. I wish I could find a way to make it less lumpy, though.

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Baked Zucchini Fries with Bloomin’ Onion Dip

Baked Zucchini Fries with Bloomin’ Onion Dip

Recipe here (note: to veganize use 2 flaxmeal eggs or powdered egg replacer and water to an egg white thickness, vegan Parmesan, vegan margarine, vegenaise, agave or bee free honee)

My only complaint really (which is kind of a big one) is that these take forever to make. And they don’t translate very well with the flaxmeal eggs, if I make them again I may try using unsweetened almond milk instead and see if the panko coating sticks better. However, the caramelized onion “bloomin’ onion dip” is what makes this recipe worthwhile. It is amazingly yummy.

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Matzo Brei

Matzo Brei

Recipe here (by my absolute favorite cookbook author, Chloe Coscarelli)

I’ve never had an actual matzo brei before. I’m assuming it maybe is made with eggs and is sort of like an omelet? That’s the picture I get when eating this delicious vegan dish. I did make a few changes, I only used 1/4 tsp salt and pepper, and reduced the oil for the veggies in half because it also had 4 tbsp of margarine in it (to keep it fairly healthy). My only real complaint of any sort is that it might be even tastier if the matzo in it has a bit of a crunch left in it. I let it get completely soggy, and I don’t know if it’s supposed to be that way, but I bet it’d be yummy with a slight crunch! I ate this for breakfast and loved it, and my non-vegan brother did too! 🙂

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That’s all for this Friday’s (the 13th! good luck!) edition of Foodie (Photo) Friday! Let me know if you try any of the recipes I linked to and how you liked them/whether you agree with my reviews, etc! Bon appetit! (As my brother would add, “Don’t eat your feet!”)