Vegan MoFo Day 15, Post #11: Obama hypothetically coming to a vegan dinner cooked by me

I saw this prompt (OMG, Barack Obama is coming over because he knows you make awesome vegan food! What are you going to make?) and was really upset that I couldn’t think of anything I make that I truly feel is worthy of serving a president.

I have made things that are really impressively tasty by my standards, like for example, this moussaka. I just have trouble thinking of things to pair it with that I would also make. It’s an extremely agonizing decision.

However, I started to think, and I remembered that when Obama came to Rhode Island, he apparently got advised by people to go to a really gross restaurant in RI that’s pretty famous here, called Gregg’s. When I could eat there, the few times we went there I was really disappointed by my meals. The only thing I really liked from there were their cakes. Here is an example picture of one of their cakes, the death by chocolate cake, so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about.

Since I didn’t have enough time to try and create vegan recipes inspired by Gregg’s menu, I looked at the menu, which is huge, and tried to find a few recipes or ideas for veganizing some of the items. This can give you an idea of what Obama may have actually eaten when he went there, but vegan…of course.

I’m going to start with the desserts, since I’m pretty sure some people only go to the restaurant for that thing. After doing some research on their website, it is 6 layers worth of cake, and covered in mini chocolate chips (good luck with placing the mini chocolate chips all over a cake that size! probably better to randomly decorate it with some bigger sized vegan chocolate chips). So, here’s a recipe that looks good for this (and probably won’t put you into a dessert-induced coma after eating a slice). Vegan Death By Chocolate Cake. I haven’t actually made this one yet, and won’t be because it’s not gluten free, but let me know if you try it and it’s good.

Now, I’m going to try and find at least one recipe from almost all the rest of the categories of the menu (except for drinks, breakfasts, Monday and Tuesday special, daily features, seasonal selections, healthy choices, kids, and platters to go–yes, this menu is huge, I’m taking on a lot work for this and the day to post this is almost over, woops!)

Soups and Chowders:

French onion soup is on the menu. I actually almost forgot I made an amazing french onion soup last year for MoFo. Here it is! 

I feel the need to also include a chowder. This is the one I’d choose to make, though I haven’t tried it personally.

Appetizers:

Rhode Island actually has an official state appetizer. Sadly, it is fried calamari. Yes, it’s on Gregg’s menu. Usually this is done here in an Italian kind of style, tossed with a buttery, lemony, garlic sauce with banana peppers or sliced peperoncino. To make this, I’d actually recommend you buy Sophie’s Kitchen breaded vegan calamari, cook it according to directions, and then melt some earth balance and combine that with at least 2 cloves of minced garlic, pour on top and mix together, then fold in the peppers and dip in marinara sauce. It’ll be a pretty accurate RI vegan rendition of this dish, I believe. I’m not sure if the Sophie’s Kitchen vegan calamari is gluten free, so I probably won’t be trying this and perfecting it myself. Let me know if you try it and how it goes. I did have the vegan calamari awhile ago, but didn’t do much with it. I feel that product needs something fancier done to it, so this should be perfect!

There is also Spinach and Cheese dip on the appetizer menu. I highly recommend this vegweb recipe if that’s what you want. I recommend shredding the Follow Your Heart cheese with a grater instead of the way it’s pictured in the recipe, though.

Sensational Salads

Groan…there’s also a  “Calamari Mediterranean” salad here. Basically, based on their description, it is the same recipe as the appetizer I listed above but on a salad with roasted red peppers and sliced black olives. Add some vegan parmesan cheese to make it fancier.

The salads they list are so easy to make vegan that looking up recipes isn’t actually required. I’m running out of time to post this before midnight, so I’ll do one more:

To veganize the Tuscan salad, grill a portobello mushroom, add some roasted red peppers and greek olives, make some vegan feta out of tofu, and place over greens.

Sandwiches with Style

Tuna Melt- I highly recommend this jackfruit version.

Thanksgiving Sandwich. This recipe from Beyond Meat seems pretty authentic. To make it more like we do in RI, I’d also spread some Just Mayo on the bread.

Traditional Club Sandwiches

There’s actually a veggie burger club on the menu (without the bacon, it even says!) Make it better with your favorite brand of vegan bacon or make your own. Their menu says it’s a black bean and corn burger, which many vegan brands have similar versions of, and I bet you can find a recipe to make as well (in the interest of time I’ll leave that up to you).

Since I bet Obama wouldn’t be too impressed with that as a choice, may I suggest veganizing their Buffalo Chicken Club. Fry up some buffalo cauliflower or tofu (my fave recipe can be found here), put on bread with your favorite vegan bacon brand, maybe add some vegan ranch or bleu cheese dressing (this cauliflower recipe has a sauce that to me is pretty close to bleu cheese dressing!)

Gregg’s Favorite Sandwiches

Apparently all their favorite sandwiches are all on Focaccia bread. There are two on the menu that are easily veganized. The Portobello and Eggplant ones. First, find or make some vegan focaccia bread. I have found some good vegan focaccia at wholesale clubs, such as BJ’s in the bakery section believe it or not. Then, slice it into sandwich bread size pieces and either grill a portobello and top it with roasted red peppers, fresh sliced tomatoes, and greens or make a vegan eggplant parmesan and put it in between the bread. I recommend you melt some Follow Your Heart Provolone sliced cheese on top of the eggplant in the latter.

Burgers and “Steaks” Sandwiches

To veganize the Steak Sandwich, I recommend you make this from a fellow MoFo-er.

Dinner Favorites

Maybe Obama would be cool and choose the French Meat Pie, which is amazingly veganized here (it’s even gluten free, so I can still eat it! And one of my favorites of all time).

Pasta

Keeping with the vegan calamari idea (since they have a Crispy Calamari Pasta), do pretty much what you did with the appetizer and salad recipe, but instead of salad, toss everything (including the roasted red peppers in the salad) with thin spaghetti and some olive oil.

Everyday

Chicken Pot Pie is on this menu. I was surprised to see Trisha Yearwood has veganized this and it looks really good.

Voila! There you have a sampling of the menu of the restaurant Obama visited when he was in my small state of Rhode Island and some tips on how to make it all vegan! 

Although, as an after thought, if we are talking classic RI stuff and he specifically came to me for vegan food, I’d make him my RI Vegan Pizza Strips, serve some lemonade or coffee almond milk, a nice salad (we’ve made this one more times than we can count), and my raspberry lime rickey cupcakes I can’t stop linking to and talking about and making.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, friends! I’m done just in the knick of time…and didn’t want to steal anyone else’s photos…knowing me, if Obama actually came to visit me I’d attempt to make a ton of these items to impress him and stress over it so much, haha.

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Jackfruit Sloppy Joe Recipe, slop slop sloppy joes!

Before I get to the recipe I have a funny story to share.

First of all, I don’t think my mother would have ever made sloppy joe’s for my brother and I to eat if it weren’t for my dad’s apparent love for musical comedy CDs.

My dad is famous in our family for several things. For awhile, it was always needing the newest technology to play music or movies with. He had cd players in his cars pretty early on. The other thing he was famous, but still continues to this day, is the sick joy he gets out of torturing his family with the way he listens to music when we are in the car with him. He will make a point to have a bunch of music queued up, and will play the first 30 seconds of each song, until he finds the most annoying song he has, and then listens to that one in its entirety.

Anyways, some time during my childhood, there was the song that all I remember from it was the chorus of “Sloppy Joe, slop sloppy Joe, yeah.” Except, until now, I had somehow thought that this song was either a Meatloaf song or some other classic rock group’s song (as those are probably my Dad’s other favorite types of Musicians). I don’t even know why, it’s obvious that this song was not meant to be serious. After researching for more details of the “Sloppy Joe song slop sloppy joe” (yes that’s what I googled) it was on an Adam Sandler CD. Apparently I was only 9 at the time when this song came out, and I don’t remember any of the other songs on this album. Up until now I hadn’t even realized it was an Adam Sandler song, even though I know all of the lyrics to the Chanukkah songs by heart.

So, as I realized that there did not yet exist a vegan sloppy joe recipe that’s main ingredient was jackfruit, this song popped back into my head and I made it up. The jackfruit ends up complementing the other flavors very well, because jackfruit is a bit tangy, and with the seasonings and sauce almost makes it taste like there are pickles in the recipe. To me it tastes kind of like a fake cheeseburger with no burger or cheese.

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Jackfruit Sloppy Joe Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans jackfruit, drained and rinsed, chopped in a food processor
  • 1 1/2 cups Heinz Chili Sauce or ketchup
  • 1/4 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp turmeric (I’ve been reading all these articles lately about the benefits of turmeric lately, so I try to put it into my recipes as much as I can)
  • 1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce or vegan steak sauce
  • Vegenaise as needed
  • Vegan Kaiser rolls sliced in half

Directions:

  1. Heat oil on medium heat in a large frying pan with cover.
  2. Add in the onions, allow to cook until translucent.
  3. Add in the pepper and garlic and cook until the pepper turns bright green and then softens.
  4. Stir in the jackfruit and allow to cook for a few minutes. Stir for a bit, place the cover on top for a minute or two, and then take off the cover and stir a bit more.
  5. When the jackfruit has heated, reduce the heat to low and add the chili sauce, sugar, seasonings, and worcestershire sauce and stir until combined.
  6. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  7. Spread Vegenaise onto the bun and put a generous amount of the sloppy joe mixture onto the bun.
  8. Try not to make too much of a mess of yourself while eating it.

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Vegan Mofo 2014: Day 15: Meaty Meatless Monday: Jackfruit Tutorial

Hey all!

Today for Meaty Meatless Monday I want to do a bit of a tutorial/guide to cooking with Jackfruit rather than sharing a specific recipe (although I will definitely share some of my favorite recipes for it).

For those of you that don’t know, Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that is popular in regions of Asia, that happens to be, when in the right form, a fantastic faux meat substitute for vegans in terms of it’s texture. It can be used in vegan pulled pork type recipes, bbq, as a crab or tuna substitute, even in a recipe for Philly Cheese Steak, to name a few! It is rich in iron as a half cup has 25% iron, but otherwise has fairly neutral nutritional value. It is similar to tofu in that it can take on whatever flavors you cook it with, with a bit more of tangy, even sweetly sour taste.

I jumped on the jackfruit wagon as soon as I could find a way to get some, and at first that meant purchasing it from Vegan Essentials’ online store. You can find a link to the actual jackfruit here. However, since every vegan I knew in my small state had said they couldn’t find it locally, I at first did not question them, and assumed the Asian Markets had been checked thoroughly since people had said they had looked there. Well, one day I decided to question that and see for myself. And low and behold, The Chinese American Mini Market in Cranston, RI had a big shelf of them, and they were less expensive than Vegan Essentials at $1.35 a can, as well as no shipping costs were needed. Hurray!

Another mistake I see people making is that there are two different types (maybe more, I don’t know) of Jackfruit. One is a sweeter, more fruit-like kind. It typically (if referring to Chaokoh brand which is the most commonly found canned brand) comes in a yellow container, like so:

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This can still be used for other types of recipes, but won’t work if you want to make a shredded meat-like recipe. Notice that the can also says it is in syrup.

Instead, you want to buy young green jackfruit in brine (or water if you find other brands).  I am assuming based on the differences between the two, that this form is not as developed as the other, maybe even not quite ripe yet. Here is a picture of what you are looking for:

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To make it easier to remember though, I made some handy graphics to keep in mind when looking for the meaty type of jackfruit:

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When preparing the jackfruit, you typically want to drain and rinse it before using. The easiest and best way I have found to shred it is to pulse it a few times in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, then it’s a good idea to simply follow the instructions the recipe usually includes that asks you to shred it with a fork, either before or after it is cooked.

Now, on to the recipes!

In books, my favorite recipes using jackfruit are from Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater. She has a recipe for yummy bbq’d jackfruit in the crockpot (which I believe is called Cannibal Corpse Crock Pot) that she also uses on top of a yummy kale salad. She also has a recipe for a sweet potato and walnut jackfruit hash (which she calls “You Don’t Know Jack Hash”) which I absolutely loved. Check her and her book out!

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The jackfruit salad from Bake and Destroy

The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life by Melisser Elliott also has a really great vegan carnitas taco recipe in it.

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The jackfruit carnitas tacos

As far as websites go, here are my favorite, tried and true jackfruit recipes:

The V-Word (a fellow Mofo-er) has a mind blowing recipe for Vegan Philly Cheesesteak.

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Vegan Philly Jackfruit Cheesesteak!

Finally, one of my absolute favorite non-tuna salad sandwich recipes can be found here. It is amazing, and unfortunately gets gobbled up so fast every time I make it that I don’t have any pictures. It was a big hit by itself (without the melt part) at Girls Rock this past Summer amongst the volunteers!

And how could I forget? My very own Jackfruit Chick’un Noodle Soup!

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So, in conclusion, do not be afraid to try jackfruit. It’s really fun to use and delicious, and there are many recipes you can find. I hope this settles some of the confusion you might have had if you are a jackfruit newbie looking to find it and don’t know much about it, as well.

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Vegan MoFo 2014: Day 6! Jackfruit Chick’un Noodle Crockpot Soup!

Saturdays are Soup, Salad, and Sandwich days! Here’s the first entry for a soup recipe!

This soup is the perfect sick day soup. The jackfruit shreds in the soup just like I vaguely remember the real deal to be like. You can add vegan oyster crackers and some nutritional yeast flakes into the soup like I did if you wish. It’s made in the crockpot to make it less time consuming and easier. It takes 6-7 hours to finish, so make sure you time it appropriately.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can young green jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed, chopped slightly
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 10 baby carrots cut into thirds
  • 1 large onion cut into rings
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary crushed between fingers
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 5-6 sprigs worth of leaves from fresh thyme
  • 1/2 lb noodles of choice (I used spiral noodles)
  • Vegan oyster crackers or saltines (as a side or to stir into the soup)
  • Nutritional yeast (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place jackfruit, celery, carrots, and onions in bottom of crockpot.
  2. Pour olive oil on top and stir.
  3. Add all the spices and herbs except for the thyme and mix with a spoon to coat the veggies.
  4. Add broth and water.
  5. Add thyme leaves and give it a good stir.
  6. Turn the crockpot to low and simmer for 6-7 hours. Go about your business until then.
  7. When your soup is pretty much all ready, add the noodles and turn the crockpot to high heat, let it cook for about 10-15 minutes until the noodles are tender.
  8. Turn the crockpot off, taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
  9. Serve the soup in big soup bowls with saltines or oyster crackers, with some nutritional yeast sprinkled on top if desired.
  10. You can easily freeze this in a big container for when you get sick or want it in the dead of winter but don’t feel like cooking…just defrost and reboil or even place back into the crockpot until it’s boiling on high…

Enjoy! Hope everyone’s Vegan MoFo 2014 is going well! Thank you for commenting and being so kind. I try to look at other people’s blogs who are participating but I just started going to school full time and so I don’t have the most time to do that/remember. But I hope to be able to keep discovering more blogs that I like when I do have time! 

Another post about food and Girls Rock! Rhode Island.

Hello hello!

This past week I finished off my time of being the food/hospitality coordinator for the Girls Rock camp.

As you’ve been reading on my blog in the past perhaps, I have done this before for the Ladies Rock camp, which is one of their many programs they offer to women and girls in my state.

The Ladies Rock camp is 3 days long. Many women go from not having any musical experience in what they are trying to having enough to pull off an awesome performance on the third day and wow the crowd that has assembled to support them and cheer them on.

The past two Ladies’ camps I had organized all the food (for campers and volunteers), by getting donations of products and food from restaurants, asking volunteers to cook for us, and cooking and baking a lot myself.

It is very similar to my role at this Girls’ camp, except it is 5 days long, and a team of 25-30 volunteers get a separate lunch from the campers who also get lunches provided from them.

Many volunteers and campers (at Ladies rock mostly) have special dietary needs, like gluten free, vegetarian, or vegan, so I fit in well. It is usually easiest to try to make the bulk of the cooked meals vegan and gluten free, because then they accommodate everyone.

This year’s girl camp took about a full month of planning, organizing, and well, hustling basically, to get it all set up. I was very nervous about pulling it off prior to the start of camp, but it turned out ridiculously amazing by the end of it.

Before you read a bit about what we ate (I might forget some of it as there was so much food and my memory is a bit foggy!) check out this blog that was written about day 4 of camp, there is a section about me and my food and role at the camp (read the whole thing though!)

Monday- Breakfast was mostly bagels and pastries from White Electric (local coffee shop extraordinaire), and fruit. We had vegan chili, tortillas, and vegan brownies I made from this recipe here. Campers had sandwich supplies and lots of yummy snacks! There was also a snack time for campers and plenty of snacks of all types for everyone throughout the day, donated so kindly from Chex Finer Foods.

Tuesday- We had a similar breakfast as Monday. We had this salad I made, this recipe for chana masala , rice, and other various snack and meal options.

Wednesday for lunch? PIZZA DAY! We had a ton of wonderful pizza donated by Providence Flatbread Company! They make gluten free pizza, vegan pizza, and vegetarian pizza, as well as put their own spin on other classic pizzas. It was a huge hit.

rock! gluten free pot pie

rock! gluten free pot pie

Thursday was also a special day. I had made some savory pot pies. One was gluten free and a bit difficult to describe, but it was a gravy based veggie selection with some daiya cheese on the bottom. The next was a broccoli, nutritional yeast cheese sauce, and tempeh bacon one. The final one was the vegan samosa pot pie from the cookbook Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater. I used her crust recipe for all the pies except the gluten free one. For the Gluten free one I made it with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Crust Mix.
There was also a pea and Orzo salad with and without cheese made by a volunteer, and biscotti! The campers received lunch donated from Blaze restaurant, which was really great and generous. Check them out, they are actually where I went for my college graduation dinner and are awesome. They have a great vegan selection on the menu!

For snack Thursday we had an exceptionally special treat. Providence’s own, the world’s first vegan soft serve truck, Like No Udder, paid a visit and donated an ice cream or lemonade to all campers and volunteers. I was ridiculously excited about this, as you can see by the picture below.

vegan ice cream truck!

vegan ice cream truck!

On Friday everything was winding down, but the food didn’t stop coming. I had gotten up ridiculously early because I was so excited, and went to make this jackfruit untuna for the vegans because I was concerned they may need more selection. Since I was up so early, I also had time to make waffles for all the volunteers, which was a big hit. For lunch there was a cous cous salad, 2 different green salads, pasta salad, brownies, cookies, a large selection of fruits, and leftovers! Campers finished off the wide selection of sandwich supplies for their lunch.

I am so thankful to all of the volunteers, businesses (including New Harvest, who donated coffee) and parents or volunteers who helped with the cooking/procurement of food. It was a great success.

Now, last but not least in any sense, I leave you with the culmination of the camp, the grande finale, which is a link to the final showcase! I highly recommend you watch it, it shows why I am involved with this organization quite clearly and is totally amazing to watch.

Foodie (Photo) Friday is back! (sorry it was absent for a bit…I was still cooking though!)

Hey there!

I am still recovering from the weekend where I was very busy…I cannot believe it’s been a week already since the start of the Ladies Rock Camp. It went really well, especially the food, from my standpoint.  Well of course everything went well, but I was focused most on making sure the food was great, and I think it was.

Anyhow! I think I am going to play catch up a bit.

This week I made some Hawaiian Toast (Page 44) for breakfast and Texas Beefless Skewers with Chipotle Peach Glaze (Page 140) from Betty Goes Vegan, pizza english muffins and easy monkey bread (from the Vegan Stoner Cookbook, haha) with a friend, a really good salad several times, and a jackfruit/northern beans “tuna” melt. I don’t have pictures of the monkey bread and pizza English Muffins, sadly…

In weeks prior where I did not get to post, I also made:

  • a Cheezburger Pie from Betty Goes Vegan
  • Cupcakes for my birthday (on October 29) from Chloe’s Kitchen–the spice ones

and other stuff too, but that I apparently did not take pictures of or remember. Ooops.

Here are the details and evidence:

Northern bean/Jackfruit un’tuna melt…
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Bye bye, chickpea untuna sandwiches! This combination beats chickpea faux tuna sandwiches by a landslide! So good and a close flavor from what I remember! I didn’t add any salt and it was recommended to me to not use a whole lemon. I did not use the frying step as listed because it seemed fairly redundant. I just broiled some bread with spinach, tomatoes, and daiya cheddar on it and then put the still hot sandwich mixture inside. The un’tuna salad tastes good when cold the next day, too. Also, I don’t know how this makes just two sandwiches! It makes about 4 for me. If I piled the amount it’d take to halve the recipe on the bread, it wouldn’t hold it all. But this is probably one of my favorite recipes using jackfruit I’ve tried so far.

I rate this recipe:

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Hawaiian French Toast from Betty Goes Vegan Cookbook

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This cookbook has so many amazing sounding recipes, especially for breakfasts. This one immediately caught my eye when I read it. It has both a tropical and cheesy flavor to it, and works out really well when you follow the directions as instructed. I would not change anything about it! It’s so yummy. My non-vegan brother gobbled it up, and I don’t even think he likes French Toast type things much, but no complaints…This definitely deserves a 5 good banana rating!

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Texas Beefless Skewers with Chipotle Peach Glaze from Betty Goes Vegan

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I used Gardein Beefless tips as directed for this recipe. It looks almost too real, which is slightly scary for me. They were oh so tasty, though! I made some cilantro lime rice with corn in it (a frozen prepared bag, haha) to go along with it and it was delicious! When I shared this picture on facebook, it seemed to get more “likes” than usual…I do not know if maybe it is because it looks so convincing as a fake meat, or what, but yeah…It was also pretty quick and easy to make. I am finding that most of the recipes I have tried so far in this cookbook are, which is great and a huge plus for me. The only thing I would recommend with this particular recipe that wasn’t mentioned in the book is to have a baking pan on the rack underneath in case the juices drip out…it was needed and I thankfully thought of it before it was too late…

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Cheezburger Pie from Betty Goes Vegan

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 Well, this was amazing. I used Whole Foods Brand burgers and did not defrost them and they worked fine. The Bisquick and the ener-g egg replacer make this almost quiche-like…which I was very impressed with. I have not been too keen on ener-g egg replacer powder until I used this cookbook and particularly this recipe. I ate it with ketchup, dill relish, and yellow mustard. It was comforting. Amazingly, when I calculated the nutrition facts  it was fairly decent  (at least calorie wise, I was thinking this would be really intense). Visually it is appealing too as you can see, haha!

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Finally, I amnot going to review them because I’m mostly tired now, but I will leave you with some pictures of the cupcakes for my birthday on October 29 which I neglected to blog about. They were from Chloe’s Kitchen.

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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!

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 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.