Vegan MoFo Day 5: Post #5: Best Sandwich Ever: Pretzel Bun Po’Boy from The Grange in Providence, RI

Today I’m¬†excited to bring back a feature of my blog that I haven’t done in a long time. That is, to bring back some of my drawings. Since my favorite vegan sandwich happens to be something I can no longer eat due to being gluten free (well, who am I kidding, I don’t really eat sandwiches anymore, which makes me sad!) I couldn’t just snap a fresh picture of it. Adding to problem, is that this sandwich is from a local vegetarian/vegan restaurant in my state. So, I wasn’t going to go there, and buy something I can’t even eat just to get a good picture of it. No, that’d be pure torture.

So instead, I drew a picture in homage of this sandwich. It’s from a restaurant called The Grange. If you’re ever visiting Providence, I recommend you go to it. And get in touch with me, I’ll happily meet up with you and we can talk about vegan (and also vegan gluten free, if you’re into that!?) food the whole time. They have really great brunches. Just sayin’.

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The picture I drew basically describes it perfectly, although it is hard to describe the oyster mushrooms to do them any justice. The salty and smooth pretzel baguette along with the veganaise (which I guess, according to the menu is actually “remoulade”, house made pickles (or at least I assume they are, they’re good, and taste almost homemade), and mushrooms makes the perfect combination for a sandwich. I seriously would do almost anything to make myself be able to eat gluten again so I could have one more of these. Alas… ūüė¶ I will need to find a new favorite dish that is also gluten free at this awesome restaurant.

Thanks for reading!

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Christmas Re-cap

Oi. So the school semester finished Sunday the 21st and I was a bit of a mess. After that, I barely stopped. It was a whir of wrapping presents, menu planning, grocery shopping (multiple times, ugh), spending time with family, cooking, etc. Since then I haven’t really stopped either, until today…Thank Goodness.

Remember my menu? I stuck to it pretty closely with a few adjustments.

My mom actually made the salad and the eggplant Christmas Eve which was great. She actually helped so much with the cooking which was a big relief because even as I write this now, I still feel like I am recovering from being so stressed during school.

First, we had the greek salad:

Isa Does It Greek Diner Salad

Isa Does It Greek Diner Salad

Then we had the main course, which for me was a piece of Spanakopita pot pie and the eggplant parm.

Spinach Pot Pie

Spinach Pot Pie

Spinach Pot Pie-Inside

Spinach Pot Pie-Inside

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

The dessert I was making for Christmas Day got screwed up because my mom was trying to teach me a trick with the roll cake but forgot how to do it the correct¬†way and it fell apart ūüė¶ So we decided to save the mud pie for Christmas day, and instead would have¬†the vegan peppermint stick ice cream I had made…The frosting for the cake was already made, so we¬†ended up making some of the crumbled up cake, ice cream, frosting, crushed peppermint candies, and chocolate syrup into sundaes. Everyone was obsessed with the peppermint stick ice cream, and I really don’t blame them! It was so good. It’s been requested that I make it again.

Vegan xmas Ice Cream Sundae

Vegan xmas Ice Cream Sundae

Then on Christmas morning we had my famous pretzel bread pudding for breakfast:

Pretzel Bread Pudding

Pretzel Bread Pudding

For an appetizer I made the Hummus Pomodoro with Warm Pizza Crust from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen which was so good. Everyone really loved it, and my grandmother was telling me I selected some really good tomatoes, haha.

Festive hummus, pizza bread slices not pictured

Festive hummus, pizza crust slices not pictured

For dinner, here was my plate:

Clockwise from top left: Caramelized onion mashed potatoes, Gardein Holiday Roast, creamed spinach, and glazed carrots

Clockwise from top left:
Caramelized onion mashed potatoes, Gardein Holiday Roast, creamed spinach, and glazed carrots

And for dessert? Well, my grandmother decided to leave before we had it, so while I was waiting for my mom to take her home, I ended up whipping up a surprise. I had so much frosting leftover from the botched cake that I decided to make whoopie pies:

Whoops, I made Whoopie Pies

Whoops, I made Whoopie Pies

And we ate them along with the mud pie! (two gross but delicious sounding “pies,” haha)

Mud Pie!

Mud Pie!

This was also the first year I barely got any cooking related gifts. ¬†Believe it or not, I’m okay with that. This is because:

A) I have way too many cookbooks and am now trying to make my own cookbook zine so I’m mostly eating my own creations.

B) I have pretty much everything I need in the way of utensils, though I did get a new measuring cup set and a cool little frosting thingy for decorating cakes and stuff in my stocking.

C) I am trying to also eat a bit healthier, so candy and junk food¬†isn’t wise. Although, I did get a package of peppermint Bark Thins and Supercandy (they are vegan and basically gum drops with tons of B vitamins in them) in my stocking.

D) Apparently my love of working out has almost overtaken my love of cooking, at least, gift wise. I got some cool workout gear this year!

I do hope to use the two Whole Foods gift cards I got for presents for some food-related goodies/healthy foods! Yay.

Happy holidays everyone! I will probably not be posting until after the New Year, so I hope you all have a happy one!

Vegan MoFo Day 28: Sunday Brunch: Pretzel Bread Chia Pudding and Date Caramel Casserole

So I already posted this, but I’ll post it again in case you missed it because it’s relevant. I’ve been making food to share with my classmates at my college program as a part of my project I’m working on. Recently, they wrote about me in their “student snapshots” and actually took pictures of me unveiling this dish I’m about to post the recipe to now. It was a big hit. Take a look.

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This is the type of brunch dish that is so good it amazes people. It’s also the type of dish where when you eat it you are¬†gasping a bit. I literally said “Omm nom” when I first tried it, I think. It was so good that no one who wasn’t vegan even cared that it was vegan. I’m sorry for bragging, but honestly I was actually a bit shocked at first at how good this thing I invented came out.

It has a lot going on, but trust me, it’s so good.

It’s a bit of a pain if you need to make the pretzels just to make this dish, but if you want pretzels too, then it’s a great decision. Just reserve at least 2 days before you plan on having this.

My family has a tradition for certain holidays to make the most luxurious, elaborate, and fancy brunch recipes for certain holidays like Christmas morning and such, and this is definitely already on the menu for that!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 homemade pretzels from my¬†recipe here
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 batch caramel date sauce (recipe¬†from the pretzel recipe here)
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance, melted

Directions:

  1. Break up pretzels into small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour almond milk over this mixture and coat well. Let sit in the fridge overnight.
  3. The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, mix the chia seeds, arrowroot, water, sugars, vanilla, and spices together.
  5. Place the pretzel mixture into a casserole dish, and fold in the mixture you just prepared in the medium bowl.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  7. Take out of the oven and drizzle both the date caramel and melted margarine over the bread pudding.
  8. Dig in!

Vegan Mofo 2014: Pizza day! (Day 26) Walnut Meat Cheeseburger Pizza!

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I think this is one of the prettiest pizzas I’ve ever made. So many colors and it was amazingly tangy, cheesy, crunchy and meaty all in one bite! The crust is the same pretzel crust that I made on this pizza¬†too, because I realized it’s my favorite pizza crust now whether it’s pretzel dough or not.

Oh man, I made this awhile ago and now I want it again. My mouth is watering thinking of it, but I am also feeling a bit lazy today, so that’s not going to happen.

ūüė¶

Ingredients:

One batch pretzel pizza crust dough (recipe here)

1 batch of the walnut meat (recipe here)

Sauce:

1/2 cup canned tomato sauce

  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp ume plum vinegar (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard

Other fixings:

  • 1 dill pickle, sliced into thin circles
  • 3/4 cup daiya cheddar cheese shreds
  • 1/2 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage

Directions:

  1. After making the batch of walnut meat, turn the oven up to 450 degrees F.
  2. Roll out the dough into a large circle and place on a pizza pan.
  3. Combine the sauce ingredients and spread across the crust.
  4. Sprinkle the walnut meat all over.
  5. Place pickle circles around the pizza.
  6. Sprinkle 1/2 cup daiya cheddar on top, then sprinkle the lettuce and cabbage, and top with another 1/4 cup of daiya.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes.

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Vegan MoFo Day 23: Too Good Baked Goods Tuesdays: Soft Baked Pretzel with Date Caramel Dipping Sauce

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I love these pretzels so much. The date caramel sauce makes them even tastier. The best part is though, that once you make a batch of these, if you set aside four of them, you will be able to make the most amazing bread pudding casserole when I post the recipe for the next Sunday Brunch post. I can hardly contain myself.

If this recipe makes too many for you (it can make 14-20 pretzels) you can halve it or make the whole thing, bake them, and then freeze some of them to eat later.

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I’m starting to get sad that Vegan MoFo 2014 is almost over! I’ve met so many awesome people from different blogs and my blog has been doing really well. Boo ūüė¶ But I’ll save my sorrows for now, since there is still a full week left! Gotta give thanks where it is due!

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Pretzel Ingredients:

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (2 packages)
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons baking soda
  • 4 -6 tablespoons Earth Balance(melted)
  • to taste coarse salt (optional)

Caramel sauce ingredients:

  • 8 medjool dates, with pits removed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup original flavor coconut creamer
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar

Directions for pretzels:

  1. Mix yeast with lukewarm water in large mixing bowl until the yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add to the yeast mixture the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved; add flours and stir with a spoon until combined or mix in a standing mixer with the dough hook attached.
  3. Knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Let rise in the bowl with a towel covering it for 30 minutes.
  5. Around the time the dough is about to be ready, prepare a baking soda water bath with 4 cups warm water and 4 tbsp baking soda in another bowl. Stir this mixture often until ready to use (once you form the dough into pretzel shapes they will be dipped into this and baked).
  6. When the dough has risen, break dough into 14 even sized small balls, and then roll each ball into a snake/coil shape. There is an art to this that I have discovered. First, you knead the ball of dough and roll it around in your hand to soften it. Then you start to roll into a coil between the palm of your hands, focusing on the ends. Then you stretch it out by pulling it to elongate it, and roll it out more with the palm of one hand on a flat surface.
  7. Shape into pretzels…it’s pretty easy to figure it out, but you lay the coil down horizontally and curl the two ends in the middle so that they overlap.
  8. Dip the pretzels into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet (you will need at least two).
  9. Cover the baking sheets with a towel and allow pretzels to rise again 30 minutes. This is a good time to preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes.
  11. Upon taking out of the oven, immediately brush with melted earth balance.
  12. Sprinkle with salt if desired, immediately after applying the earth balance. Allow to cool completely before eating.

For the date caramel sauce:

  1. Place dates in a small bowl and cover with the water. Let sit at least one hour.
  2. Blend all ingredients in a blender until it is as smooth as you can get it.
  3. You can heat this up on a stovetop before serving if you want, but it isn’t actually all that necessary.

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This post was brought to you by Vegan MoFo 2014, and the letter ‘P’

Vegan MoFo 2014 Day 12: Soft Pretzel Dough Crust with Faux Pepperoni, Tofu Ricotta and Caramelized Onions

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First of all, Friday’s theme was inspired mostly by the Aquabats’ song, Pizza Day. Here is a link to it on youtube. It’s a fun song, and it is indeed the best day of the week.

This pizza is really delicious, that’s all I can say. Although I cannot really tell the crust is actually pretzel crust as I had intended it to be, it is the yummiest, easiest to make, and most bread-like type of crust I’ve ever made for¬†a pizza. It’s now my main crust I go to any time I want to make pizza.

Recipe for Pretzel Crust Faux Pepperoni Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Basil Tofu Ricotta

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

For the caramelized onions:

  • 1 large sized sweet onion, chopped into ring slices
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or Earth Balance
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

For the ricotta:

  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 – 3/4 tsp salt depending on your tastes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp water

For the pizza:

  • 1/4-1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 10-15 slices prepared vegan pepperoni¬†

Directions for the dough:

  1. Mix yeast with lukewarm water in large mixing bowl until the yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add to the yeast mixture the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved; add flours and stir with a spoon until combined.
  3. Knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Let rise in the bowl with a towel covering it for 30 minutes.
  5. Prepare the rest of the pizza ingredients while rising. If you need more time after the thirty minutes rising time to keep preparing the pizza ingredients, you can place the dough in a plastic bag after it has risen in the fridge until ready to use.

Directions for the onions:

  1. Heat the oil or Earth Balance on medium high heat in a large frying/sauté pan with a cover (do not place the cover on top yet).
  2. When the oil is heated, add the onions and toss to coat in the oil.
  3. Let cook, stirring every so often in a single layer.
  4. Once starting to brown turn the heat to a lower temperature. Stir every so often.
  5. Add the brown sugar after about 20 minutes of cooking. Be careful because they may start to caramelize fast at this point.
  6. You’ll want to cook the onions like this for around 25-30 minutes covered, continuing to stir occasionally but not frequently.

Directions for the ricotta:

  1. Place everything but the tofu and water into a food processor and pulse until combined and pasty like a pesto.
  2. Add tofu and pulse until combined.
  3. Add the water.
  4. Scrape down the sides with a spatula to get everything further combined, and pulse again. Repeat this step as necessary.

To assemble the pizza:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Roll out the pretzel pizza dough into a thin circle, with extra flour on the surface.
  3. Place on a round pizza pan, or other type of pan if you don’t have a pizza pan.
  4. Spread the sauce on the pizza first.
  5. Add the desired amount of ricotta onto the crust. You don’t want to use the whole batch. About 1/2 cup of it is a good amount, but you can do what you like/think will be good. Spread it around with a rubber spatula on top of the sauce.
  6. Spread the caramelized onions on top evenly.
  7. Add the pepperoni slices.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or more if needed.

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