Foodie (photo) Friday! My week of cooking in review…

Hey everyone!

I have been trying to have a salad every day (or a meal comprised mostly of raw veggies…) and so I may have by default reduced the amount of meals I cook in a week…although usually lunch is pretty easy regardless of salads…so maybe it is essentially the same.

This week I made three things:

1. Good Gravy Bowl from Isa Does It! (the cookbook by Isa Chandra Moscowitz)

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Instead of putting rice in the bowl, I made mashed potatoes and put that at the bottom, it was really good, savory, and comforting. It is not something that really has a huge “wow!” factor to me but it’s definitely tasty and something I would make again! I’m going to give it 4 good bananas, 1 bad since it lacks the real wowieness…

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2. Butternut Squash Soup made in the crockpot from this recipe

ImageI may have ended up altering this recipe as I didn’t know weigh my squash and had no idea if was a pound, but assumed it was less, and so I reduced everything. For this reason (since I do not know if it was accurate to the original recipe or not) I am not going to give it a rating since I could have changed the flavors a lot. It was good, but I may have put too many carrots into it as the butternut squash flavor seemed weak…I also wished the coconut milk was more smooth in it, but I think that was also due to error on my part maybe.

3. Brace yourselves–Baked Vegan Mac ‘N Cheese Bun Sliders–My own original recipe (to be posted here tomorrow or possibly later on tonight)

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Oh my goodness, have I created a monster! I loved this and I am so proud of myself for pulling it off. It’s been something that has been in my arsenal for awhile now since seeing this on Pinterest. I wanted to create a version that A) was vegan and B) was baked, not deep fried. It’s possible to make it gluten free, and some of the processes that go into making it are fun to involve kids (plus the recipe itself is very kid-friendly!)

That’s it! I will be back here shortly to post the recipe for the Mac ‘N Cheese Sliders soon…

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Foodie (Photo) Friday! I made a lot! Especially from the cookbook Isa Does It!

This week was a big week for my cooking. Not only did I create my own original recipe for a favorite, typically very non vegan appetizer, but I also tested tons of other people’s recipes.

I mostly tried a bunch of recipes from the Isa Does It cookbook though, which I have not found a single recipe that wasn’t amazing or really yummy yet. My only complaint is that the recipe names are not easy to remember because they are usually named after the ingredients and not that creative/specific so I feel like I sometimes write about them and name them different than what is in the cookbook. So apologies if I am not using the actual recipe names to a T, I am currently too tired and somewhat lazy to go get the book and double check! Woops. How unprofessional of me…

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/ Brussels Sprouts and Tarragon Cashew Cream Sauce

The most impressive recipe  I have tried  so far was definitely the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Tarragon Cashew Cream and Brussels Sprouts. I have made my own gnocchi from recipes before, but it seemed so difficult and was such a long process. Maybe my cooking skills have drastically improved over time and I just do things faster and in a more organized time saving manner, but I still think this recipe is by far an easier and simple way of making you own vegan gnocchi from scratch than the previous recipe I tried. It only really takes awhile because you have to bake the sweet potato (or potatoes…but I found a 1 lb sweet potato that worked out very well). The sauce is also simplistic yet has a very fancy flavor/touch to it with the tarragon. And a cashew based sauce makes almost any pasta recipe rich and luxurious. The Brussels Sprouts were the perfect finishing touch, and add to the dish to make it a complete healthful meal.

I love the bowls so far in this cookbook. I think I forgot to post about the cucumber ranch tofu bowl I made New Year’s Eve? Well that was pretty good. Even better was the pizza bowl, though.

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Not the prettiest looking pizza bowls

I used tofurky italian sausages (Which, to my delight, do not contain soy protein isolate in them which I am really trying to avoid as much as possible now.  My nutritionist said she believes that it is that form of soy that causes the most problems for our hormone balance, and it is very highly processed (and typically g.m.o I think?) so it is good to avoid or eat irregularly. Tofu is fine unless you have digestive/other sensitivities to it, whIch I do not.

Anyways, this was absolutely delicious and comforting. The sauce is really, really good. It reminds me of pink (or vodka cream) sauce, which was one of my favorite sauces before I went vegan and I have found difficult to replicate as a vegan despite trying . Actually now this gives me an idea to try and make an even more authentic version of it! Yay!

Paired with the kale (which I actually seemed to cook right for the first time ever…I typically only eat it raw), rice, sausage, garlic, red onions, olives, etc it is just so wonderfully filling and tasty!

My pictures of it are not the prettiest, but believe me, it is so yummy!

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edamame hummus tofu wraps…before I wrapped them 🙂

I also made the tofu wraps with edamame hummus. It somehow tastes kind of like a Japanese-inspired egg salad wrap to me which I thought was pretty cool. I will definitely be making the edamame based (instead of chickpea) hummus on it’s own again multiple times. The tofu was really good too though! I love anything with sesame oil in it, and it crisps the tofu perfectly. Isa Chandra Moscowitz doesa really good job through writing her recipes teaching people the proper methods of cooking her dishes without having them fail horribly. Hopefully I can get there myself too!

I did not use sprouts because when I buy them they seem to go bad too fast, instead I used greens. When I use up the leftovers tomorrow though, I am probably going to use baby arugula. Yum!

Aside from cooking from Isa Does It, I found this recipe on a facebook group I belong to and was intrigued so I gave it a try. Behold, Green Pancakes!

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not the prettiest again but behold green pancakes!

They look kinda gross, but I felt really good about eating them for my breakfast and do not taste too different from unhealthy versions of pancakes…especially when you add some maple syrup, ha, ha. I kept thinking of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham and thinking this would make a good vegan story like that, especially for kids while eating these. So it was fun, healthy, and fed my belly all at once.

Finally, I made a really delicious salad today.

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my delicious salad with chickpea “bacon”

The centerpiece of the salad was the Chickpea Bacon recipe from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! Gosh do I love that book!

I put 2 cups chopped romaine, 1/2 cup baby arugula, 1/3 cup sliced cucumber, 1/3 cup chopped hearts of palm, 1/4 of the chickpea recipe, a slice of red onion that I chopped into smaller bits, 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast, and 2 tbsp Organicville Non Dairy Ranch! I made a similar version for my dad and he really liked it too! He was trying to refuse eating it because of the non-dairy ranch, but now he says I have to make him a salad every day! (Though fat chance…but I will make an extra for him when I have one from now on!)

Ta da! And now you know what I cooked up this week!

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can follow me on these social media outlets where I post related (and unrelated) things to my blog.

Banana Curl, Vegan Girl’s Facebook Page

Follow me on Pinterest (the blog has it’s own board if you just want to follow that)

Twitter

And I think that’s everything for now! I will be adding these to the end of my blog every so often for new people to click on and explore. Also, I love comments and feedback and love it when people spread and share my work I am doing here, so do not be shy about that!

First Blog Post–Happy Vegan Rosh Hashana!

I rarely celebrate any Jewish holidays, as I am not religious at all. However, I grew up loving Russian Jewish food because that’s the ancestry of half of my family, My family  decided to get together this past weekend, and we decided to make food inspired by Rosh Hashana for it, since it starts tomorrow night (The evening of September 4th, 2013) and is close enough to when we got together since we don’t see each other very often.

So when I heard we were doing this, I started looking around for what in my mind was classic Jewish food, with the intention of veganizing it. I looked in a lot of the cookbooks I own by Isa Chandra Moscowitz as she has a lot of good stuff like that hidden throughout her cookbooks (mainly Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengeance) and finally decided on a menu.

I ended up making:

My Reviews of it all:

The “Brisket”

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A rating of 5 good Bananas is the highest rating! Woohoo! Seitan Brisket recipe! This means it was amazingly delicious and I wanted more. This means even my aunt, who eats meat and isn’t used to fake meats at all, ate it and said it was really delicious (especially the sauce)! I would gladly make it again, even though it took me two days  to do so!

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so good, 5 good banana rating!

A few tips if you decide to make it yourself? If using the recipe in the Vegan Sandwiches book for the home-made Moo Free seitan, I cooked it in the slow cooker, that way you can forget about it all day basically and go about  your business as normal. However, place it in the fridge when you go to bed so it’s ready and cool the next day. Then slice and prepare the rest of the stuff on the Earth Balance recipe. I used grape juice instead of red wine (I’m sort of straight edge but I cook with wine occasionally. I wanted to try the grape juice though to see if it worked and it worked amazingly,) I also used white miso for the glaze.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of making your own seitan (I contemplated it) you can try storebought. You could also substitute any beef like basic seitan recipe instead. With either of those changes though, I can’t guarantee you’ll get the same 5 good bananas rating results that I had 😛

The kugel:

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I hate to give my worst rating to a recipe right away, but I’m giving this the rating of one good banana, 4 bad bananas! 😦 Partly this may have been my fault, because I was really spacey the day I made it, and used 3 matzos instead of 4, and forgot the onions, and left out the lemon juice. However, the way the recipe was written it was easy to forget the onions, but the lemon juice was totally my fault. Despite my botched attempt at making this recipe, I think it would not change much had I done it right. It’s a hunch…but the matzo makes it have this weird taste and it just was too spinachy or something. I wish it was better. Like it has the potential to be a bit creamier like a spinach souffle or the like, but it’s really off-putting. I don’t even want to eat the rest of it that is left over… 😦

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the kugel along with everything else on the plate

Oh, and I used a Stop and Shop brand of egg-free noodles. They’re the same shape as the egg kugel noodles, but I verified to make sure they were vegan.

FInally,

The Rugelach!

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Well I’m rating these delicious vegan Jewish Holiday pastries that I grew up with (except not vegan at the time) four good bananas and one bad! It loses one good banana simply because I think they could be slightly better. The recipe doesn’t instruct how to get the classic rugelach shape correctly, which I’m more than okay with because they still taste excellently good, but I think the dough may also need a tiny bit of work, as it’s softer than the real rugelach I remember. Otherwise, it’s basically the real deal. The chocolate filling option is amazingly authentic and so tasty!

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one out of two baking sheets it made of these babies!

It was slightly challenging to clean the food processor after making these, as well as really hard to roll out, I didn’t slightly flour the surface, I heavily floured it. Except for some of the jelly rolls I made unrolling a bit in the middle, though, I am very happy with it. It makes a ton! I made exactly 48 cookies. Don’t eat a ton of them all at once, as they’re about 100 calories a pop (more on how I calculate this later on in future blog posts).

That’s it for this post today! Hope you enjoyed it! And if you’re Jewish (or not), Happy New Year !

P.S.: Since this is my first ever blog post, don’t forget to check out the about me page on my blog here