Posts tagged with vegan:
Soup is always a staple dish at Thanksgiving and Christmas in our house. I’m not really sure when it all started but we eat it after the relish tray and before the main meal. We usually put it in coffee mugs because there aren’t enough bowls and we just walk around the house eating soup and conversing. It’s always homemade too. Thanksgiving soups we always change up a little bit, but Christmas soup is usually Lentil Stew and my Aunt Sharon usually makes it. It is the only thing she every makes from scratch for a get together so it’s sort of a big deal. We used to have Clam something or other on Christmas and I never went near it, now that the vegans are in control of the menu (and the cooks of the family) things are much better!
Here are some reasons to serve soup at holiday get-togethers - consider starting a new tradition:
- Serving soup gives the cook(s) more time to get dinner on the table because everyone gets to eat a little something, and if you make this soup it’s pretty hearty.
- Non-vegan family members will not be intimidated by it or give you a lecture about being vegan (do people still do this???) because of the food you bring/eat there.
- You can make soup the day ahead of time or super early that morning and keep it hot in a crock pot - that way people can serve themselves and you know it’s ready.
- Soups are the funnest thing to make. Maybe that’s just my opinion but you really can’t mess up a soup - especially when you have a recipe.
- 2 large butternut squash
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- olive oil
- 2 yellow onions
- 3 carrots
- 1/2 head of celery (about 5 stalks)
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground mustard
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- vegetable broth
- 1 can coconut milk (or the boxed, drinkable stuff for lower fat content - but I recommend full fat canned coconut milk)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes. They don’t have to be perfect, but they should be about the same size. Toss them with olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour, tossing them every 20 minutes or so.
***When I make this soup, I roast the squash the night before since that is the time consuming part and that way all I have to do is throw everything together in the morning.
Heat some oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery. The soup will be blended so you don’t have to worry about the size and cut of the vegetables. Keep in mind - the smaller the cut is the faster they will cook and the easier it will be to blend them. Also - the leaves of the celery stalks are very flavorful and I love using them in soups - so don’t throw them away!
Let the carrots, onion and celery cook for 5-6 minutes and add the garlic and spices (turmeric, ground mustard, paprika and coriander). Stir well to coat and cook until onions are translucent and veggies are soft.
Add the butternut squash. Add enough broth to just barely cover the veggies. This is supposed to be a thick soup, so I like to simmer everything in just enough broth and when I blend it I add broth as needed to get the velvety consistency I’m looking for. Add the coconut milk and cover. Reduce heat to medium low and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes. It doesn’t need long because the squash should be cooked through from roasting it.
Remove from heat and use an immersion blender or blend the soup in batches using a regular blender. Add more broth as needed to achieve a creamy, velvety soup. Taste for salt or pepper.
What did you do on Thanksgiving?
Maybe everyone has had it with pumpkin? I hope not. This is not a cake-y, sweet and cinnamon-y pumpkin dessert - this is dinner. And it’s fast and easy. This sauce takes 10 minutes to make and will be satisfying and healthy for everyone. It’s a great way to spruce up a weeknight pasta dish.
- 4 Tbs margarine
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1-2 cups vegetable broth
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
Melt the margarine in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Let it cook for a minute. Add the yellow onion and toss in the margarine. Let cook about 3 minutes, the onions should be almost translucent and a lot softer than at the start.
Add the garlic and dried sage. Cook for 1-2 more minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic or sage burn.
Add the pumpkin puree and 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Stir or whisk very well so everything is creamy and the pumpkin isn’t clumpy. Continue adding vegetable broth in intervals until the sauce-like consistency is achieved. Once that consistency is achieved reduce heat to low and add the nutritional yeast, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Keep warm until your pasta is done and toss all ingredients together.
Once upon a time I wrote this post about an easy to make, satisfying pasta that would surely impress dinner guests, but my internet crapped out and I lost the whole thing. So this is round two for this post, and I’ll be honest, it’s not going to be as good as the original.
Gnocchi is a traditional Italian pasta that is made out of potatoes. They are referred to as “potato pillows” sometimes because they are supposed to be light and fluffy. In my experience (homemade, store-bought or from a restaurant) a better way to describe them is to compare them to a soft dumpling. I found this recipe in Vegan Cooking for Carnivores and modified it a little for my own purposes. It was surprisingly easy and fast to make, although a little messy.
I forgot to take a picture of the final dish before stuffing my face, so that little bowl is all that was leftover! You get the idea.
- 4 Russet potatoes (about 1 lb), peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 Tbs egg replacer plus 1/4 c warm water
- 2 Tbs almond milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (weird but it works!)
- 2 1/4 c flour
- olive oil
Preheat oven to 400F.
Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft - 5 to 10 minutes. Drain them and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes - this removes any excess water.
Use a potato ricer, colander, cheese grater or whatever you have that has small holes, to push the potatoes through. This ensures that there are no lumps. Combine with the egg replacer mixture, milk, salt and nutmeg. Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. If the mixture is too dry to come together add a drizzle of olive oil.
Rip or cut off chunks of the dough, about 1/6th, and roll it out into a rope. The rope should be about 1/2 inch thick and then cut it into 1/2 inch long pieces (I initially cut mine too long). Whatever size you decide to cut them, stick with because they will cook unevenly if they are different sizes.
Lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet until you are ready to boil them. They only take 3 or so minutes in salted boiling water. When they rise to the top you know they’re done.
For the Sauce:
- 6 Tbs margarine
- 4 gloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 c -1 1/2 c white wine
Start by melting the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Let the butter continue to bubble for 3-5 minutes.
Add the onion, cook until almost translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
Add the wine, about 1/2 cup at a time. Let the wine reduce slightly before each addition. The longer you cook the sauce, the more it will reduce. So if you’re cooking it in 20 minutes you only want to add 1 cup of wine, if you’re letting it cook for an hour add more wine.
When you boil the gnocchi, do so in small batches (6 pieces at a time) and transfer the cooked gnocchi to the sauce pan. Turn the heat down to low on the sauce and let the gnocchi soak it up while they wait for the rest to cook.
This recipe is Rigby approved.
I don’t drink enough smoothies. Think about it - they are quick and easy to prepare, you can make them a day in advance, they travel well and are easy to drink while driving, they are healthy and fill you up! I’m the type of person who likes to feel like I’m eating, so sometimes smoothies don’t cut it as an entire meal. Lately I’ve been so busy and working so much that I skip meals regularly, and I think smoothies will be my solution.
Green smoothies are my favorite because I’m sneaking in a bunch of spinach or kale without blinking an eye.
- 6-8 oz almond milk
- 3/4 c frozen mango chunks
- 1 banana
- 1 c raw spinach
- 1 Tbs hemp seeds
- 1 small slice of lemon or a squeeze of fresh juice
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If you’re using kale instead of spinach be sure to blend for a little longer so you’re smoothie isn’t gritty.
My brother lives in Kansas and for some reason we never make it out there to help him celebrate his birthday. But he still needs cake. My grandma used to tell us that it’s a crime to not eat cake on your birthday. I whole-heartedly agree. I have never tried to mail cupcakes because I can visualize what the package would look like when it arrived at the destination. A mess of frosting and crumbs. If I received this package for my birthday I would assume it was some sort of sick prank. Don’t worry - there is a solution. You just bake the cakes in mini mason jars and put the frosting in a zip lock bag so all your friends or family have to do is cut off the corner and they can pipe it right on their cupcakes.
- one recipe vanilla cupcake batter (I use the one from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)
- 1/2 c jelly (I use strawberry, but use your own favorite)
Prepare the cupcake batter according to the recipe directions. Add the 1/2 c jelly to the batter at the very end and gently fold it in. It’s okay if it’s not completely mixed in. The jelly should be visible in ribbons almost - as if it’s swirled into the batter like a marble cake.
Spray the mason jars and fill them 2/3 of the way with the batter. Bake at the recommended temperature (usually 350F). The bake time will likely be longer than if you baked them in cupcake tins. This is because the glass jars aren’t as good at conducting and holding heat as the metal cupcake tins. The jars hold a slightly higher volume of batter as well. It should take about 20-25 minutes to bake through.
Allow to cook at room temperature.
Peanut Butter Frosting
- 1/2 c peanut butter (creamy)
- 1/4 c vegetable shortening
- 1/4 c room temperature margarine
- 2 1/2 - 3 c powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tbs almond milk
Cream together the peanut butter, shortening and margarine until smooth and cohesive. It’s important that the margarine is room temperature because it will blend a lot better. Cold margarine will remain slightly clumpy.
Add the sugar one half cup at a time while the mixer is on low. Turn up the speed and beat for 1-2 minutes.
Add the vanilla and one tablespoon of the milk. Beat for another minute. If it looks thick, add another tablespoon of milk.
Taste the frosting and add more sugar or milk to get the right texture or flavors.
Store the frosting in a zip lock bag and when the cupcakes are cooled put the lids on the jars. Wrap the jars with plastic bags and mail ASAP! To make everything extra special make cute labels and a homemade card out of scrapbooking paper. These cupcakes are guaranteed to win in flavor and charm.
AH! I have been so busy lately! I haven’t posted a single thing in over a week. I have a lot of things to share, but you’ll have to be patient. Life is crazy right now and by the time I sit down at my computer my head is throbbing and the words don’t come out.
But in exciting news - we are opening a new restaurant!!! So that’s where my time and brain power is going. The restaurant will opening ASAP and there is still a menu to develop, staff to hire and train, distributors to find and blah blah blah the list goes on! Anyways - don’t expect too much from me in the coming weeks. I know it’s Thanksgiving but you’ll have to fend for yourselves. Tofurky roasts aren’t that bad right???
(JK they are horrible)
Dream about recipes for PBJ cupcakes, Kahlua buttercream, pumpkin rigatoni, and much more…
The subject “shortcuts” has come up a few times in the last week. Mostly involving the kitchen, but I’d like to explore at least some of the aspects in which shortcuts come into play in my own life.
To start with – the kitchen is full of shortcuts. Admittedly I use them on a daily basis. I think the important thing when considering shortcuts is to conclude which ones are detrimental to the end product and which ones have comparably good results.
There are many factors that go into my decision to take the easy road versus the one requiring more work (and usually more dishes). The most determining one for me is time and energy. What else do I have going on that day? Did I work all day (frequently going a long time between meals aka I’m starving!!)? How long is it going to take me to do it the “correct” way? Another major factor is money. Sometimes the “correct” ingredients are out of my budget. Sometimes I still use these ingredients but I use less of them than is recommended. Finally (not really, just the last one I’m going to talk about) is convenience. At first I wanted to say laziness, and I suppose that’s true, but laziness encompasses the entire gamut of reasons for taking shortcuts (energy – self explanatory, time – make time, money – work harder!). Convenience – do I have the ingredients on hand? I hate last minute grocery store trips (I love grocery shopping, but only when I’m alone and can seriously wander (mind and body)). I proudly thought that I rarely use shortcuts in the kitchen, but I use canned beans, canned condensed soup in my chili (it makes it so much better), concentrated veggie stock, store-bought almond milk, etc.
This sends me on a slight tangent – we don’t think of using those products as a shortcut, because we don’t think about how they’re made. The grocery store is a modern day farm. That’s where people think their food is from. I am accustomed to reading ingredients because I’m vegan and I care about what’s in my food, but honestly I am totally ignorant as to what policies most companies have and where the products they use are grown or harvested. And it’s disappointing. Our government is messed up. Nothing will be accomplished through the government. We can’t rely on them to enforce proper treatment of animals or vegetables (GMOs, contamination). The only say that we get, that actually counts, is where we spend our money. And not just where, but on what products, brands, farms, etc. There is such a disconnect about food and how it gets to our table. I think a lot of people assume (myself partially included) that it will cost too much money to align our moral thoughts on eating with our actual eating behaviors (outside of being vegan).
My mom is a kitchen shortcutter. She will be upset with me for saying this, but oh well. She doesn’t like making messes. Neither do I really, but in the kitchen it’s necessary. The consistency and texture of a batter or sauce could depend on grabbing that extra bowl to premix some ingredients in. I could easily through a bunch of veggies and beans in a crockpot in the morning and call it chili, and it would be good. But it would be so much better if I sautéed the onions, and added the garlic and peppers and other veggies to layer flavors. I would add the spices so they can toast and form a paste with the veggies and oil. Then I would let it simmer for a while as if it was in the crockpot. This method develops so much more flavor, it seems silly to just throw everything in a crockpot. But it’s easier and faster and there’s less mess, who can really argue?
In all the ways I can call my mom out on being a kitchen shortcutter she can call me out on being a craft shortcutter. I think that there is an important lesson here. She uses shortcuts in the kitchen because she doesn’t really know better, she doesn’t have the experience or passion for cooking to read articles and recipes and listen to podcasts all day. I on the other hand spend most of my time and energy thinking about food, reading about it, writing about it and making it. I like crafts, but I have a short attention span and get frustrated very easily. Things need to be easy because I lose it when the project isn’t working out the way it’s supposed to or if I have to take out stitches just to stitch them again. I get so frustrated because I don ‘t have that foundation of knowledge that’s necessary to solve the problems that arise.
I take shortcuts in house cleaning more than anything. It’s probably once a month that I actually clean the house properly and curse myself for being lazy the rest of the month. The only room of the house that gets cleaned competently on a weekly basis is the kitchen. I really hate messes and clutter, but I am so exhausted after work and cooking dinner to think about cleaning the house that I have conditioned myself not to think about them. I hide them or concentrate the mess or clutter to one area. Then on a really bad day I have a minor panic attack and start feverishly cleaning. That’s the way it goes.
If you’ve ever dreamt about a moist, fluffy chocolate cake with great depth of flavor that only dirtied one bowl and required no frosting - look no further. This cake started on a weeknight whim - a need for chocolate that required very little effort. I had also seen a picture of a citrus cake in a magazine at my grandma’s house earlier that day. It was gorgeous, the yellow lemons, oranges, and pink grapefruit like lace work on top of a vanilla looking cake. This is the start of many of my experiments, I see or hear something and I can’t stop thinking about it, I get bored and I try my hand at it. This is what I call fun.
- one recipe basic chocolate cake batter (I recommend the one from Joy of Vegan Baking)
- 1/2 Tbs cinnamon
- 2 oranges, zested and then peeled and sliced (see cake)
- 1/3 c melted margarine
- 1/2 c brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 (or whatever the recipe recommends).
Start by preparing the recipe for the cake batter as recommended, except add the ground cinnamon and zest from the oranges with the dry ingredients.
Whisk together the margarine and brown sugar until cohesive. Pour into the bottom of a cake pan. I used a spring form pan, but a regular round or rectangle pan will work fine. Line the orange slices in the melted butter and sugar mixture. It’s okay to overlap them,aq just don’t layer them.
Pour the cake batter on the orange slices and bake for 35-40 minutes. The cake should bake at the same time/temperature as it normally would. When the cake is done, let it cool for about 15 minutes and then flip it onto a plate. It should come right out, and guess what? It’s ready to serve!!!
The New York Marathon is this weekend, so it seems fitting that today’s post will be about running. If nothing else, it’s a gorgeous day for a run (I wish the weather was super crappy so I don’t care about not being able to run).
One of our regular customer’s at the Café is a marathoner and he is a constant source of running motivation for me. He started making me think about the NY Marathon earlier this week with his post about tips on running it. If anyone reading this is running this Sunday, they should definitely check out his blog.
A family came in today for lunch, and you could tell they were from out of town. I can always tell when people are from out of town. Out-of-towners order way too much food. They were a family of four – mother, father and two children. Right before they left the Café, we started talking about where they’re from/where they’re headed. Turns out the parents are both running the NY Marathon and both the children are running a 5k fun run. All are vegan. I (of course) recruited the family for our Strong Hearts Run Club and wished them luck. Something about that family makes me happy, I talked to them for just a few minutes, but I could tell they were good. I mean they are vegan AND runners.
After work I took Rigby out for a long walk (the next best thing to a long run). I like to listen to NPR when I take her for walks by myself because it helps clear out my mind. I was lucky enough to catch a story on running. Kenyans running to be precise. At this point in my running “career” I have heard numerous explanations as to why Kenyans are the best runners. This story covers most of the ones I’ve heard before, but also adds a new one – mental toughness. At first I was skeptical, because I know I’m pretty tough. I did have two older brothers growing up (I still do, but they are nicer now). I think, in general, runners and other athletes need to have this innate mental toughness and stubbornness that doesn’t let you quit until you physically can’t move despite the amount of pain you’re in. This is true for Kenyans, but for a specific tribe it goes even further. According to the article, the Kalenjin tribe (where all of the top runners in the world are from), have an initiation ritual that teaches young boys and girls to “withstand pressure and tolerate pain.” They start by crawling through African stinging nettles, and then get beaten on their ankles and knuckles, and finally they are circumcised with a sharp stick. This is when they learn about pain. Not only that, but they aren’t allowed to complain, cry out, or even wince or grimace in pain. Then they start to run. The young boys are sent to a healing hut and when they leave they are told not to walk, they are told to run everywhere.
I think that this is so different from what we see in America because we are such an independent country. If a community in the US had a tradition like this (even half as graphic) not only would it be stopped by the law, people would rise up against it. Young boys and girls would decide it was worth it to be considered an outcast or coward if it meant they got to skip out on the torture. Admittedly all I know about this topic is what I read in this very short article so it’s possible that kids do rise against the “system” in Kenya.
The article does end on a positive note, stating that the next generation of Kalenjins would hopefully be taught perseverance through techniques other than painful initiations. They will likely still dominate professional running, and we will all have to come up with a new explanation as to why they’re so amazing.
Here is a recipe for a 30 minute hearty tomato chickpea stew that’s healthy, filling and easy to make (in case you’re running the marathon).
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 green pepper, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c chopped carrots
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- pinch of sugar
- splash of wine (optional)
- 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1- 15 oz can chickpeas
- 2-4 cups vegetable broth
Saute the onion and pepper in some olive oil. After about 3 minutes add the garlic, carrots and spices. Cook for 3-5 more minutes, until the veggies release liquid and start sticking to the bottom. Add a splash of the wine and stir well. Toss the potatoes, tomato paste and chickpeas in the pot. Add enough vegetable broth to just cover all of the veggies. If you want it thinner, add some more. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Test the potatoes and carrots to see if they’re fork tender. Serve with some hearty bread or other grain.
It’s a meal in itself. Perfect for Sunday - it’s supposed to be COLD!
Sometimes we just need things to be easy. On most days my exhaustion level is so high by the time I get home from work that the littlest thing can set me into a 20 minute rant or whine fest. Since I usually have Sundays off from work I have been using them to prepare for the week. It helps me save energy, time, and money. I just plan out what I am going to make for dinner so I can make one big grocery list and avoid going to the store 5 more times that week. I try to prep whatever I can so not only do I have dinner all planned, but it’s partially started! Taking the extra half hour at the beginning of the week to plan out meals and write a grocery list is definitely worth it.
(After finishing the Empire Half - not keen on my photo being taken)
- one batch coconut bacon - recipe at Vegan Yack Attack (I didn’t have smoked paprika, so I just used regular and increased liquid smoke to 2 tsp)
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes (2 medium potatoes), cleaned and cubed
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- olive oil
- onion powder
I made this recipe as my post race meal - an example of how preparing can make things simple enough to do when you can’t (more like don’t want to) walk. I prepared the coconut bacon the night before and stored it in a zip lock bag on the counter. I also cut up the potatoes and stored them in the fridge covered in water.
Start with the coconut bacon - follow the recipe on Jackie’s website. One tip would be to marinate the coconut flakes in the smokey bacon marinade for at least an hour. I physically rubbed the marinade into the coconut as well. I ended up burning some of my “bacon” too, so use the cookie rule and pull it out of the oven right before you think it’s done. Those 30 extra seconds could be the death of your bacon.
Heat up some olive oil on medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the potatoes and onion. Let them cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add a good pinch of onion powder, salt and pepper (if you have fresh herbs lying around they would be a great addition at the end to finish it up - especially rosemary). After about 3-5 more minutes add the garlic.
Add about 1/4 cup of water and cover the pan. This will help remove any spice or food stuck to the pan but also cook the potatoes through. When the water is all evaporated or absorbed, remove the cover and toss a big handful of coconut bacon in. The potatoes should be cooked through and everything should have a nice golden color on it.
Serve with tofu scramble, pancakes, tacos, whatever really!