Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vegan Mofo Vegan Iron chef challenge part 2

All the sweetness of part one left me craving salty, savory fried food, but hey, we're having Moroccan for dinner, so that's healthy, right? lol So I figure what better way to cure the craving than with some good old fashioned slightly altered Puerto Rican cuisine. And by slightly altered, I mean swapping bananas for the plantains. Green bananas mind you, or they'd probably fall apart in the pan. Piononos (which ironically also means pinwheels) were one of my favorite foods when I visited the island of enchantment. So here it goes:

Last night when I got home from the store, I took an 1/8th of a cup of the coffee beans, ground them up, and tossed them in with some annatto in a 1/2 cup of olive oil. Shook the hell out of them, and let them sit. Everytime I'd walk by it I shook it, to make it orange, and give it a lil more coffee aroma.

Start by making a basic recipe of sofrito:

2 large tomatoes ( I used one large red, a medium orange, and a small yellow)
1.5 onions
1.5 green peppers
1 red pepper
a head of garlic
a bunch of cilantro

Basically, take the seeds out of the peppers and toss the stems and puree the hell out of everything else. It makes a ton, but it's so damned tasty, I'm sure you'll have no problem finding uses for the rest :)

Take 2 big ass cuts of seitan (cuz seitan comes in cuts, right?), grate them with a cheese grater. Saute them in coffee bean and annato infused olive oil (about 2 tbsp of it?), throw in 3 heaping tbsp of sofrito, and one pkg of sazon.

The batter, take 1/8th of an extra firm refrigerator pkg of tofu, mix with 1/2 cup of all purpose flour, and 3/8ths cup of milk, add a 1/4th tsp of garlic salt, and mix well in the food processor.

When the seitan picadillo is "done" remove from heat, take the rest of the coffee and annato infused olive oil and bring to medium high heat. Take 3 green bananas and slice into 3-4 lengthwise strips. Very carefully (cuz bananas are bitchier than plantains) fry and flip them.Sprinkle with a little garlic salt. Let cool. when cooled, take 2 pieces and toothpick them together to form a circle. Fill with the batter one one end, and then some of the seitan picadillo mixture. Then top with more batter, let fry for about 3-5 minutes until the dough is solid and slightly golden. Flip and repeat. This should make 5-6 piononos depending upon the size of your bananas. And you'll have about a cup and a hlf of picadillo left over for Tuesday evening :)

VeganMofo Vegan Iron Chef Challenge #2

I was slightly over excited by the second VeganMofo Vegan Iron Chef challenge of Banana and Coffee. So I decided to make two entries. The first being Wake Yo Ass Up Banana Pecan Caramel Pinwheels. Which are baking as I type this.

2 over ripe bananas mashed
1/4 cup earth balance
1/3 c plus 1/4th cup very strong coffee
2 1/4 tsp yeast (equiv to one pkg)
4 1/4 c flour
1/3 c demerara sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Caramel sauce
2 c sugar
1/2 cup earth balance
3/4 c almond milk
2 tsp corn starch

1/4 c pecan pieces

The dough recipe was modified from the dough recipe for maple and brown sugar pinwheels from Veganomicon.

For the coffee, I boiled 1 cup of water with 1/8th cup of freshly crushed bold roasted coffee beans in a borosilicate glass container that I typically use to make foamed milk for lattes. Mixed the crap out of it, strained it and put it into a measuring cup to cool. I proofed the yeast (once the coffee was slightly warm to the touch) in the 1/3 cup of coffee with a pinch of sugar. This was quite the interesting experiment. I'd never proofed yeast in coffee before, and the yeast and coffee got along well, very well. The yeasty rising bubble grew about 4 inches in the 10 minutes that I had it sitting out, and the smell, unlike the typical yeasty water smell, was reminiscent of a stong ale, with a color like a chocolate yerba mate latte.

While you're waiting for the coffee to cool, combine the milk, earth balance over medium heat in a pot or sauce pan until the margarine is melted, once melted, I threw in the sugar, so that it wasn't all giant crunch crystally, and let that cool. Once cooled, mix the dry ingredients, and add the wet (including the remaining 1/4th cup of coffee) and the mashed bananas. If the dough is still sticky, add a little more flour. Once mixed, let rise in a warm, draft free place covered for 1 hour. While the dough is rising, make the caramel sauce. Mix 1/4th cup of the milk with the corn starch.In a pot (or sauce pan) melt the earth balance, then add the almond milk, and 2 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil for 4 minutes, remove from heat, and throw in the almond milk and corn starch mixture, stirring constantly. At this point, I threw it in a pre-frozen bread pan to speed up the cooling process, and get it to that ooey gooey spreadable consistency quicker, and popped it into the freezer for 10 minutes to cool and then transferred it to the fridge. When your rising hour is up, knead and punch the dough down and roll out into a huge rectangle.

Once rolled, and the caramel is cool enough to spread or drizzle, spread it all over the dough, going end to end on the longest part (you'll roll it up by the shortest side to shortest side, so that you get more rolls) then sprinkle with 1/8th cup of the chopped pecans.

Then roll her up, I use 2 pieces of parchment paper "seamed" down the center of the roll to make rolling it up easier. Once you have that 1/2 inch dry edge rolled up, roll slowly until completely rolled.

Then gently slice into one inch thick pieces and place in greased cake pan. Let rise again for 20-30 min. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool while making the frosting.

Caramel frosting

3/4 c powdered sugar
2tbsp earth balance
2tbsp almond milk
4 tbsp caramel sauce

This is easy, dump them all in the food processor and turn it on until they're smooth. Spread over cooled rolls, sprinkle with remaining 1/8th cup of pecans, and drizzle with 2 tbsp of the caramel sauce creating a cross hatch effect. And eat :) These were well reviewed by my self and my test panel (cuz 5 year olds are picky!)

Look for part 2 of the challenge (after the sugar coma, I needed something savory.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vegan MoFo Hump Day :D

Woo hoo! We made it to the half way point, which is both sad and exciting, but i know I've found a lot of great new blogs to follow with tons of new recipes to try. I jumped on the vegan hump day virtual flash mob team ,and am also sharing this great song by Leslie Hall (I'm too computer illiterate to figure out how to actually attach the song on here, but here is a link) Veggies. Enjoy your Friday! I am sooo looking forward to this weekend! Pumpkin patch in the morning Zombie walk in the evening. Hopefully little man gets over this nasty cold he caught right quick. Today he is having a marble party/pajama party at school. I must have asked him about 50 times this morning if he was really supposed to wear pj's to school. Surely this is one of those things that they should send a note about, right? Turns out grandma dropped the note in her car when she picked him up yesterday :/ Grrr. I interrogated my little man for nothing this morning.

Lyrics by fellow Vegan Leslie Hall :

I eat the finest cuisines, in the finest of places Stuff my mouth full and always say thank you. But if it's raised in a cage, and it can't even move, if it's hormone filled and in a bad mood. I'm gonna pass on that. Reach for something better. The only milk I'll drink comes from the nipple of a soy bean. Veggies make you live forever, and they seem to taste much better. when they're cooked and grown with love. So give a chef who knows what's up a hug. Momma just can't seem to get it, Papa he just rolls his eyes. When I tell them I'm much healthier, they just say that it's all lies. But beans, nuts, fruits and veggies can really fill the belly. Get you vitamins you need, shiny hair and extra speed. Don't take that meat-wich any further, I want a marinated, deep fried, hand-tied mushroom burger. I like it! We gotta stand strong for our feathered furry sometimes scaly animal friends and their little babies. 'Cuz I wouldn't want to live in a cage in a dark warehouse killed at an early age. Pumped full of hormones, sleeping in my feces. Never met my mother, raised by machines. Never get sunshine never get green, but that's just me. [That girl loves fruit leather.] So ask us what we're eating. Delicious and repeating, fruits and veggies are so nice. With a slice of tempeh, yes, I'll have that twice. Don't forget the legumes!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Half way there...

It's been a long week, but thankfully today was the halfway mark. After a long day of work, apartment searching, Dr. visit (stupid varicella vaccination in Nebraska), playing tech support for my grandparents (whose internet is still not working an hour and a half later, I swear something was not connected, and that the Cox technician took a cable with him after he visited them that morning for 5 minutes and told them to buy a new modem), it was time to work on little man's poem of the week (Mary had a little lamb) and do his homework assignment to go with it (he actually enjoys these, finding words that rhyme, tapping out the beats, and counting things within the poem), it was time to settle in for dinner. I mentioned on Saturday that I had something else in store for the remainder of the pumpkin roasted red pepper filling for the ravioli, and here it is:

Kale and potato tacos with pumpkin roasted red pepper nacho cheese

I took medium sized potatoes, peeled, diced and boiled for about 10 minutes until slightly softened. Drained them, seasoned with garlic powder, cumin, and a little salt, and lightly pan fried in olive oil until slightly browned on all sides, at this point, I tore up about a half a head of kale, and threw it in the pan with the potatoes over low heat, meanwhile, in a sauce pan, I combined the remaining cup or so of the pumpkin/pepper mixture, added 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1/4 cup of nooch, and liberally shaked in some hot sauce ( I recommend doing this to taste), mixed the crap out of it, let it just start to boil, and turned it down to low while i waited for the potatoes to finish cooking. I warmed up 7 tortillas (fajita size) and then filled with the potatoes and kale mixture, drizzled the pumpkin cheese across the top, and topped with diced red and yellow tomatoes. Little man never eats tomatoes (though he is a devout fan of tomato sauces) and he ate both colors of tomatoes and asked why I don't make these everyday! <3 I think we found a new Wednesday favorite!Link

Monday, October 10, 2011

And so the week begins

Little man headed back to school with a yummy lunch of the remains of the challah that I didn't take spread with sunflower seed butter and cherry jelly, sesame sticks, and blackberry applesauce, and an Adam and Eve apple and veggie juice. I took the rest of the challah, made a few more open face peace in the middle east sandwiches, and then proceeded to finish off the container of dill-tziki sauce :/ I knew it wouldn't make it past 24 hours.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Peace in the Middle East open face sandwiches

Due to the morons who live below us fighting in the middle of the night almost daily this week, and screwing up my sleep schedule, I passed out around 11:30 Saturday and woke up to screaming at 3 am and was unable to fall back asleep. So I decided to force some vegan propaganda on veggies and make fatoush. Only I realized around 6 am that I had no sumac, onion, or lemon. So I got creative. I still had a half loaf of challah. Had made some amazing dilly-tzatziki sauce (crazy easy, it's just one container of vegan sour cream, a grated cuke, a little garlic, and a whole lot of dill) which I typically eat the entire container of within 24 hours of making it. I'm told it will last up to a week in the fridge, but it's never lasted in mine more than 36 before it's in my tummy. Little man (thankfully according to my greedy side) doesn't like it. He refuses to try it. I even tried telling him it's pickle yogurt with no sale. *his loss* So I shredded up some of the flat leaf parsley from the farmers market, shredded some mint, sliced 2 tomatoes and a cucumber, threw in some garlic, and lightly drizzled with olive oil. I'm calling these open faced sammies peace in the middle east. I honestly think that if all the feuding assholes sat down together and ate these, great things would happen. But anyway, take a slice of challah (I'm sure Italian bread or a French loaf would work, but you'd have to rename them), spread liberally with the dill-tziki sauce, and shower with the not quite complete but still insanely delicious fatuosh.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Farmers market feasts

We hit up the farmer's market today. Sadly it was the first time I've made it this year, and they're closing up soon :( Big scores of the day were 3-5 lb organic pie pumpkins for $1 each, organic cukes for $0.50 a piece, amazing "uncertified organic" tomatoes (red, orange and yellow) for $5 a bag, roughly 12 tomatoes I think, incredible dill, fresh italian parsley, mint, and both chili peppers and cayenne peppers to make some home made hot sauce from the sweet little (now certified, I'm so happy for him that he finally made it to being officially organic) French guy. Dinner today was home made pumpkin and roasted red pepper raviolis (see pic). I used the ravioli dough recipe from, for the filling I used 1/4 of a pie pumpkin that was baked, pureed with 1 roasted red bell pepper (seeded and peeled) 1/4 cup toasted peppitas, 1/8 cup toasted sunflower seeds, 1tsp italian seasoning, 1/8th block extra firm tofu ( I added this last to make it have a crumbly texture) 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and a clove of garlic. This makes a ton, and even with making a double batch of the dough, I still have about half of it left over (and for a purpose, check back on Wednesday evening to see why). Then i roasted 3 of the larger red tomatoes, mixed with italian seasonings, and mashed/strained for a farm fresh marinara sauce. Topped with freshly ground gomasio mixed with a little nooch :) And a slice of challah with some earth balance sprinkled with the gomasio nooch as well.Link

Friday, October 7, 2011

Shana Tova

So I finished up 2 loaves of challah this morning and made some cholent (slightly modified from the Veganomicon recipe, I swapped out the beans and used seitan instead of tvp) to go with it. And now I think I am completely out of fresh veggies, save for a lonely green pepper who I want to stuff with something. Not sure what yet, but I will stuff him :) I need to do a farmers market run tomorrow, I think it's the last weekend they're open. Or at least I hope that it is. I haven't been at all this year.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


So my lunch today was left over Malaysian curry with white rice. (First pic is a close up so you can see the tofu, onions, carrots, potatoes and green peppers. Little man had steamed rice with a splash of soy sauce, yogurt, carrot sticks and giant green olives, and a fruit strip, with Vanilla silk. Making challah dough to bake in the morning. Kind of wishing I had some tonight...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vegan Wednesday :D

Today was a smorgasbord of vegan yumminess. I would feel like a glutton, but there was no breakfast, save for a coffee with a little soy milk, so I'm don't feel so guilty. Lunch was some amazing falafel with curry fries from Amsterdam Cafe (I only wish they'd buy some Vegenaise to serve with the fries) See pic of my girl eatting her falafel. She's not vegan, she's only lacto-ovo, but in light of veggie month, it is my mission to convert her :D After we picked up little man from school, she took us out for Sorbetto from ECreamery. I had the lemon and lil man had the Raspberry, covered in rainbow-y gmo laden breakfast cereal. He enjoyed it though as you can see from the pic. He is not half asleep though, it's just so good that it even makes a little man's eyes roll back in his head :) Dinner for me was curry noodle soup, a vegan egg roll, and some amazing fried tofu with Malaysian yellow curried veggies. Isn't the daikon rose cute?! This loveley feast was from Crystal Jade. Every Wednesday, they give you free curry noodle soup with your dinner, and they give a discount for paying in cash. They are willing to make anything on the menu vegan, and when Aunt Shirley is working, she'll come out and give tutorials on how to make the veggie garnishes. The boy loves her because last time we were there, she "rewarded" him for bring in 8 new customers to date by bringing him a free fried banana. I was skeptical of these too, but she brought 2 kinds (one vegan, one veggie), basically it's part of a banana put in a vegan egg roll wrapper and fried, then drizzled with chocolate sauce or honey. I was always curious what they were and why they were more than the cheesecake on the menu, and now I know :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday. Grr.

Monday is my least favorite day of the week. Well, maybe Sunday evening is, because I know that it's back to the grind. I saw on a show (I think it was Dr Oz maybe?) that Sunday depression is an actual condition. Maybe I'll run with that theory. Regardless, I was delighted that I made a lot of Matzoh Ball soup yesterday to have enough left over for lunch on my long work day. Thinking about those plump little balls made me a little more pleasant, oh that, and the strawberry yogurt from Whole Soy. According to their website, they have a new key lime flavor that I would love to try, but sadly have only been able to find the basics (strawberry, peach, blueberry, raspberry, plain) around here. Couple the yogurt with the Good Belly blueberry acai that I had for breakfast, and my tummy was happy. Little man loves good belly too, he calls it the yogurt smiley juice. (If you buy it by the individual serving 4 packs, the little mouth opening/vent holes is a smiley face that is adorable.) If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it. It's kind of like juice crossed with kefir, minus the creaminess of kefir, but with all of the tang, and of course it's vegan :) Little man wanted to keep it simple for lunch today. He had a peach yogurt from wholesoy, vanilla Silk, sesame sticks, and a pomegranate fruit strip.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weekend Recap

It was a long weekend. A long weekend indeed! Most of last week, and all of Friday and Saturday were spent sewing and setting up for Fashion on Fire, which was a benefit fashion show for the local chapter of the Black Firefighters Association. The show was fabulous, and featured garments from 8 other local designers and myself. I had the pleasure of working with 10 amazing models (2 of which are relatives) one of them being my little man, who finally decided to walk on his own (he has always walked with someone else before.) I will share some of the runway photos as soon as the photographers get them up, and I get permission to link to them. Dinner this evening is Matzoh Ball soup from the recipe in VWAV, and home made veggie broth loosely based off of the recipe in VWAV. We didn't have any leeks, so I subbed cabbage, and I used red onions (I did have yellow and white, but the red look so darned pretty cooking with the carrots, cabbage, and celery) and the broth came out amazing!