Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Just a quick post to let everyone know - I am moving!  Finally moving over to http://www.abcvegan.com/, where you will be able to find my blog at http://www.abcvegan.com/blog/.  It's been a great year getting the blog going over here, and I hope you will follow me over to my new home.  I intend to dive back in on Monday with the original intent of the blog - to teach the hows, whys, and whats of this crazy vegan lifestyle.  VeganMoFo starts Monday (!), and my theme will be falling right into line with that intention.  Come join me!  :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tzimmes for a Shana Tova 5773

Last year I wrote about my wonderful Rosh Hashanah menu, and gave a rough idea of how to make tzimmes, a quintessential Rosh Hashanah dish.  I don't know what this year's Rosh Hashanah menu will hold since I am on my own with friends for the first time ever, but I do know that I have perfected how to make tzimmes, and I need to share.  I made my mom an early Rosh Hashanah meal this week since we won't be together on the holiday, and happily, this came out exactly as I pictured it in my mind.  Sweet, warm, fall, holiday flavors... yum.

Perfect Rosh Hashanah Tzimmes
(works for Yom Kippur / pre-Kol Nidrei meal too :) )

olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, minced as fine as possible
1 1/2 lb sweet potato (any variety, prefer a non-orange flesh variety just to change up the colors in the dish), cubed
1 lb carrots, sliced into rounds
1 t salt (or to taste)
1/2 t pepper
1 t cinnamon
2 C water
3/8 C sweet red wine (I use our family favorite kiddish wine, Manischewitz Sweet Red Concord)
 +an extra few tablespoons to deglaze the pan
3/8 C lemon juice
1 red apple, cubed
4 figs, cubed

1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium to medium high heat.

2. When oil is hot, add onions.  Saute for approximately 5 minutes, but do not let burn.  After they start softening and turning translucent, reduce heat to a little under medium.  Add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan and keep the onions from sticking.

3. Add minced ginger, salt, and pepper and saute for another 5 minutes.

4. While onions and ginger are sauteeing, chop sweet potato and carrots.  I microwaved my potato for a few minutes to make easier to chop.  I recommend also microwaving the carrots for a few minutes to start softening them.

5. Add another splash of wine to deglaze the pan again.  Add sweet potato and carrots, water, wine, lemon juice, and cinnamon.  Adjust heat to medium low to allow all ingredients to simmer together.  Cover and simmer for at least half an hour.

6. Remove cover, add apple and figs, and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, uncovered.  If needed, add additional water, but I like letting the juices thicken a bit, so don't go too heavy with the water.

Serve over couscous, and enjoy!

Shana Tova!

Early festive table at my mom's - been eating on that table at my Grandma's my whole life :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pesto Hummus

Ok this may be my new favorite recipe.  And that's saying a lot, because I love so many others.  But this one is easy, totally whole-foods based, and is full of bright, fresh flavors.  In the past week I have become addicted to hummus and basil for lunch - does anyone else do that?  Great, whole grain bread, toasted, spread with a thick layer of creamy hummus, fresh-picked basil placed on top.  An easy, filling, summer lunch.  So as I picked basil at my CSA I had this light-bulb moment - how about actually combining them?  And a beautiful thing was born.  I want to just eat bowls of this ... but I'll try to restrain myself and actually enjoy it over the course of the next few days.  :)

Pesto Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
3 T tahini
2 C fresh basil leaves
4 T olive oil
4 T unsweetened coconut milk beverage (The kind that comes in the boxes, not a can of coconut milk.  You could probably use water instead - the liquid is needed, but I used coconut milk just to make it a little creamier.)
1 t sea salt
2 T lemon juice
1/4 C nuts (I used a mix of raw cashews and almonds)
1/2 T sugar

Add all ingredients to a food processor, blend until smoooooth.  Enjoy!  That's it!  :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Savory Cantaloupe Leek Pizza

The first thing everyone says when I tell them I made cantaloupe pizza the other day is, "Oh, so that's a dessert pizza right?"  Nope.  Not at all.  I tried to convince myself that maybe it was, after so many people asked... but it's not.  It's sweet but it's savory and it's dinner and it's *wonderful*.  The first time I made it when I came up with the recipe last summer I loved it so much that I had to immediately make it again the next week because I just hadn't gotten my fill the first time around.  This time I was gifted a free cantaloupe at my local farmer's market.  Normal people might think nice, now they would have cantaloupe to snack on, or for a healthy dessert ... I immediately thought, "Guess it's cantaloupe pizza time!"  Stopped to pick up some leeks,  picked some sage off my window box garden, and dinner was born. 

Like my Tomatillo-fingerling pizza with thyme, this goes beautifully with a glass of refreshing white wine.  The perfect relaxing summer meal, it created just the right peaceful atmosphere for Shabbat dinner.  I hope it finds you enjoying it at a wonderfully perfect relaxing moment as well.  :)

Worst picture ever, but I promise it tastes amazing!
Cantaloupe Leek Pizza

Pizza dough: I use this recipe

4 leeks, chopped
2/3 cantaloupe, cut in small pieces
3 T chopped fresh sage
1 C Follow Your Heart mozzarella cheese, shredded (You can of course use any vegan cheeze you like, but in this case I really like FYH because it's a little less cheezy, and just melds in with the other ingredients.)

1. Make pizza dough according to the recipe above

2. Preheat oven to 500.

3. Saute leeks in olive oil with a little salt and pepper until soft and caramelized.

4. Spread leeks over flattened pizza dough.

5. Saute cantaloupe in same pan, allow juice to reduce somewhat.  Stir in fresh sage and fresh black pepper.  Remove from pan and spread over the pizza dough. 
(You may want to spoon the cantaloupe and sage out of your pan and leave the juice behind.  This isn't always necessary, but this last time that I made it there was more juice than I wanted on my pizza.  I saved the extra flavorful juice and will make something else interesting with it!) 

6. Sprinkle "cheese" over top of pizza.

7. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is golden. 


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cheezy Potato Zucchini Pie

I've been cooking a lot of quick one-offs lately, so I really wanted to sit down and create a solid dish, a meal that would provide leftovers for a couple meals.  I found myself thinking, "If only I had potatoes I could do..." - and then I realized I HAD potatoes.  Beautiful red potatoes from my CSA, and the rest is history.  Combined those with leftover red pepper scallion spread that I had used for my stuffing recipe, and a star was born.  This smelled amazing coming out of the oven, and tasted just as good.  I was blown away by how cheesy and creamy it is, and had to actually remind myself that no, I cooked it my very self and know for a fact that it's vegan.  I wish I had more to say about this one, but I just want to get it out there and share!

Cheezy potato zucchini pie

olive oil
One small red onion, diced
8 red potatoes, on the small side
2 T olive oil
1 green pepper, seeded and cubed
1 medium zucchini, cubed

1 t sea salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
2 T lemon juice
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C red pepper scallion spread

1 C frozen spinach, thawed enough to stir into mixture - optional (Can also use ripped up kale or any greens.  Will change the flavors some but will give you extra greens!)

3/4 C all purpose flour
3/4 C whole wheat pastry flour (can use all AP if you need, but I like getting some whole grains in there instead)
1/2 C crisco
4-6 T cold water

1. If you don't already have it leftover from using for other recipes, prepare the red pepper scallion spread in advance.  The recipe prepares a solid 2+ cups of spread, so think of creative ways to use the rest!  I recommend stuffing.  Or just enjoy on veggies and crackers.  :)

2. Poke potatoes, microwave for 6 minutes to soften.

3. Preheat oven to 450.

4. Heat olive oil in skillet.  Once hot, add onions to pan and saute over medium to medium low heat.  Cube 4 of the potatoes and add to the skillet.  Saute until onions are soft and translucent and potatoes are soft, approximately 10 minutes.  Add the 2 T of olive oil and heat until mixed in.  Remove from heat.

5. While things are sautéing, cube other half of the potatoes, and add to a baking dish with the cubed green pepper and zucchini.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, making sure to keep an eye that nothing burns.  

6. Place the mixture from the skillet in a food processor.  Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and red pepper spread, and process until smooth.  Make sure to stop and scrape down the sides while processing if needed.  

7. Place the mixture from the food processor in a large bowl.  Add all of the roasted ingredients from the oven, and the spinach or other greens if using.  Stir until well combined.

8. Turn the oven down to 375.

9. In another large bowl, combine the flours and cut the crisco into the flours until reaching an even crumble consistency.  Add water as needed, slowly, until reaching a dough consistency.  Pat into a glass 9" pie pan.  (Yes, no need to grease the pan.)

10. Fill the crust with the potato mixture and smooth out so the height is even all the way around.

11. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until filling starts to brown.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thanksgiving in August. Thanksgiving EVERY DAY.

So I have a confession. I may have a small addiction. To carbs. I love my bready, doughycakey foods ever so much.  I can't help it; it runs in the family! There were always cookies at grandma's, and my mom can nibble at a pie crust with the best of them.  Sometimes there's no point in even baking the cookies - there's nothing better than cookie dough right?

Umm, yeah, anyways ... sorry, got distracted, I can ramble about these things for quite a while.  Where was I?  Carbs.  Right.  Along with all the desserts and breads and pastas, there's stuffing. Oh, fabulous, wonderful stuffing.  Who cares about the turkey on Thanksgiving (even before I went vegan), when I can just stuffing alllll day?  I would like to claim I never bought boxes of stuffing just to mix it up and eat as a snack, but that would be a lie.  The thing is, most of those stuffing mixes have chicken or turkey flavor in them, and aren't vegan, so I haven't done that in quite a while.  Today I discovered the answer to my love.  Yesterday I made the creamy red pepper scallion spread from a ppk post from a few months ago.  I'm not sure how well it actually works on flatbread (more on that in another post), but it has some really great flavor, and when I saw the needing-to-be-finished bag of stuffing in my cabinet, I got to thinking....  I haven't been able to successfully make great, moist, flavorful vegan stuffing - maybe this could be the key.

Success!  I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I ate this whole serving in one sitting.  But, as previously mentioned ... that's kinda what I do, and I'm just going to own it and love it.  :)  And now I get to share with you!  I hope you enjoy Thanksgiving in August as much as I do.


2 C vegan stuffing mix - some of the plain Pepperidge farm bags are pretty much just bread cubes and maybe some spices.  Check labels carefully and you will find some.
1 C water
2 T olive oil
1/2 - 2/3 C red pepper scallion spread (You will have extra - use as directed in the original recipe or have some fun, experiment!)

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Mix all ingredients together.  Be careful to mix as little as necessary to get fully mixed; you don't want to end up with paste, but to still have cubes to stuffing.

3. Bake uncovered in a casserole dish for approximately 30-40 minutes.  Exact timing will depend on how moist / dry you want your stuffing to be, and how deep your dish is.  You can also bake covered if you don't want the crispy top that I like.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Chik'n Scallopini ... + KALE

Yes, I am continuing the love affair with kale.  (And continuing the love affair with blogging - twice in one day!!)  This was a quick toss together dinner and I have zero idea of the proportions, so ... not an official recipe.  But it was so delicious (like everything lately!), that I wanted to get it out here.  Give you an idea of what I did, and you can play with it.  Love to encourage eating more greens, and really to encourage getting creative, getting comfortable being in the kitchen and throwing things together - you can come up with great dishes if you just start.  :)

Look at those greens!

This started out with a Gardein basic frozen chik'n patty.  They won't fool an omnivore, but they are really tasty, juicy and with a great, poultry-like texture.  I know I just wrote about not using analogues all the time, but I highly recommend Gardein products when you really need a substitute.

So ... heat olive oil in a saute pan on medium heat.  When at temperature, saute the patty 2-3 minutes on each side and remove from pan.  Remove from heat while you add 2 patties of vegan butter.  Let brown briefly, then add some white wine (1/4 cup?) and lemon juice (3 T?).  Once everything has mixed together, add 3 leaves of kale, ripped into bite size pieces, and stalks removed.  Leave for about a minute or so, long enough to just slightly wilt the kale, turning from a dull green to the bright green you see above.  Add the patty back into the pan and make sure it gets coated with sauce on both sides.  Serve over noodles for a "fancy" meal.  Delish!!

Ok, maybe that kiiinda turned into a recipe.  Kinda sorta.  Let me know if you have any questions, and if you come up with anything fun in your own adventures in the kitchen.  Highly encourage you to get in and play, see what you can come up with, especially when you're just in need of a quick and easy meal.  :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Crackers! Or ... I can do anything. Plus bonus product review: Rosie's Scape-A-Moli

Ok maybe it's silly, but a success in the kitchen can totally turn my mood around and make me feel like I can conquer the world.  In this case, even following someone else's recipe versus the incredible pride of making up my own.  It's been a challenging couple weeks over here, but I must be doing something right since I am blogging for the third day in a row (today with scotch in hand on this lazy rainy day), and loving everything I make.

So today's triumph?  Crackers.  Something I've been wanting to attempt for a while now, but always been scared off by thoughts of large time commitments or just the seeming impossibility, somehow, of making my own.  Don't ask.  I don't know why they seemed so hard.  But they did, and having succeeded, and succeeded in making absolutely delicious ones ... makes my day.  Top that with having perfect, local, fresh farmer's market spread to put on them....  WIN.

No recipe this time, since I followed the recipe here, but I'll add a few of my own notes.
  • These are delicious cheesy crackers (I was craving Cheez-Its!), but the pepper is noticeable, so I would go easy on it next time.  Unless I really want a cracked pepper version, in which case I would add more in order to really emphasize it.  :)  
  • I found that rolling between parchment paper was unnecessarily complicated.  Just flour a surface and your rolling pin, and you should be good to go.  Add a little extra flour if your dough is too sticky, or a little extra liquid (I needed about an extra 1/2 tablespoon) if not sticky enough.
  • Roll THIN. 1/4" is way too thick for crackers, and even 1/8" was a bit thicker than I would like.  I highly recommend poking with a fork as she tries out, to keep thinner and less puffy.  The thinner they are the more cracker-y, and the more likely to be crisp rather than still having some chewiness.  
Lastly... I snacked on them with this:

Image from the Six Circles Farm website

Rosie'e Scape-A-Moli, from Six Circles Farm.  Garlic scape pesto.  Yum.  I tasted this at the Ithaca Farmer's Market in May when I was moving my mom into her new house, and I had to take some home.  As I begin to finally unpack the boxes her moving left me with, I uncovered the jar and seem to be about to finish the whole thing in one sitting.  Or maaaaybe two.  So perfect. Wonderful reminder of the perfect bright flavors of real, whole foods, and why I love them so much.  

Have you ever made your own crackers?  Do you have a favorite recipe?  Let me know what I should try next!  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Grilled Cheeze. Yup.

I'm all about whole foods at this point, and making great dishes with real ingredients rather than manufactured analogues to their non-vegan equivalents.  BUT - sometimes you get hit with a dose of nostalgia, and you just want to recreate those favorite foods of your previous life.  (Like chocolate chip cookies and pot pie. :) )  And I am totally ok with that, and making small deviations from the whole foods path where necessary to fulfill those emotional needs while still sticking to this plant-based diet I believe in.  And what could be more nostalgic than a good old grilled cheese sandwich?  I didn't think that was possible anymore, but Daiya has proved me wrong.  I haven't yet found another brand that melts as well to fulfill that gooey, melty, cheesy, feeling.  But there's a trick.  See below.  :)

Oooey, gooey, cheesy, crispy, perfection.

Perfect Grilled Cheese

2 slices hearty whole wheat bread (You can use old-fashioned white bread if you really want to get back to your childhood, but the flavors are so much richer and more perfect with something with some depth to it.)
1/3 - 1/2 C Daiya cheddar cheese, depending on the size of your bread slices - use enough so that a solid layer in the pan looks like it would more than cover one piece of bread, as it shrinks up
1-2 T vegan butter of your choice (Earth Balance coconut spread is my favorite, lending a buttery flavor and the perfect crispiness)

That's it for ingredients!  You can easily add extra fillings to fancy up your grilled cheese - tomato, kale, anything that sounds good to you, go for it!  But for just the basics, you only need those 3 items.

1. Add Daiya to a small saute pan, and turn heat to medium-low.  Stir frequently, noticing as it starts to melt.  Let it melt enough to start melding together.  (This is the trick mentioned above! Get the cheese oooey gooey and melty before adding to your sandwich.)  Remove pan from heat.  

2. Spread the melted Daiya on one piece of bread.  Add any desired fixings, and add your other piece of bread to make your sandwich.

3. Place pan back on the burner, turning up to medium heat.

4. Generously "butter" both outsides of your sandwich.  It's the butter that will give your sandwich the richness and crispness that makes for a perfect grilled cheese.

5. Add sandwich back to pan, and grill on both sides, flipping after 2-3 minutes.  Flip back again if necessary.  Grill long enough to get perfectly crispy, but be careful to check on it and not let things burn.  Unless you like that!  Like my mother.  :)

Remove from pan and enjoy!!

Note: To round out my meal, I served my grilled cheese with a side of guacamole. Weird but true, and it worked wonderfully! Glad I happened to have those ingredients around....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Potato eggplant curry

I wasn't sure how to start this post ... so I gave up and ate the leftovers instead.  And oh my god.  I had packed them up in a takeaway container that's useful as Tupperware, and eating out of that container I had a very hard time convincing myself that I wasn't *actually* eating leftover takeout Indian food!  So proud.  Especially since I have NO real idea how to cook Indian.  Or rather, I haven't learned how to cook Indian authentically, but I did a wonderful job convincing myself that I do actually know how, because man did I feel with every bite that I was back in one of my favorite restaurants here.  (Indique Heights - they have this wonderful all-vegan section of their menu. :) )  Another one that's wonderful with a glass of chilled white wine - the cool slight sweetness to counter the curry.  Perfect.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tomatillo-fingerling Pizza, with Thyme

I don't have lots to say about this one, other than YUM.  I wasn't sure how tomatillos would do as a replacement for regular tomatoes for pizza sauce, but they worked out absolutely perfectly.  The flavors blended together smoothly, and the tomatillos led to a nice subtle tanginess underneath the light freshness of the thyme.  Goes perfectly with a nice glass of chilled white wine, as you can see in the picture below.  :)  This one disappeared way too quickly....

Friday, August 3, 2012

Have your cake and eat your greens too

...cake donuts that is.  Made with kale. Yup. Kale donuts. It happened.

[Sidebar edit: For those stumbling upon this post here, come find me and this same post over on my new site: A,B,C,Vegan. Adventures will be continuing over there, and the donuts are now for sale!  Check that out, with other goodies, here. :) ]

I know you all know how much I love kale (seriously), but I don't think even I knew that I loved it enough to make it into dessert.  And then this conversation happened.  And my life changed forever.  (My friend posting and commiserating with this picture is what inspired my first comment.)  After the idea of kale donuts was placed into my head I couldn't. stop. thinking. about it.  I googled it and didn't find a single recipe, so while this scared me off a bit, it also made me want to make it happen that much more.  I had just read about making spinach ice cream the day before, so I decided it had to be doable. And taking on the totally absurd and seemingly impossible makes it just all the more satisfying when you succeed.  (Check out the Blog of Impossible Things for more on that idea!)

So I set out to make it happen, and I am damn proud of the results.  Mission. Accomplished.

Want to eat your greens but really just want to eat dessert?  Now you can.  All in one confusingly delicious package.  These are reminiscent of zucchini bread, but different.  A rich earthiness, but blended with warm spices and sweetened just right.  Oh and of course they're vegan.  Obviously.  :)  With the benefits of drinking a green smoothie for breakfast ... how about a green donut instead?  :D

If you're interested in ordering, please go to my donuts (and other goodies) page here.  I can make them with plain glaze, bourbon, lemon, sriracha, chocolate, unglazed... gluten free... thinking of making a pumpkin variety for the fall... the sky's the limit!  Let me know what you'd like, and we'll experiment with making it happen!

Kale donut. Strange but true.

Really dark picture - but look at those beautiful ingredients.  Do all those greens look like they are making dessert?? 

Alien donuts? 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Garden Vegetable White Lasagna

Remember that day I became a chef?  Today is the next phase in that journey.  Today I created my own technique for making a vegan cream sauce.  Maybe it's not actually new, but I've never read it anywhere, so to me, it's my own.  :)  The other day I made this sweet potato "mac and cheese" that was unbelievably good (and I highly recommend trying it!), but it didn't really resemble mac and cheese, other than by color.  But it got me thinking ... what if I started with the same concept ... but put the potato, nooch (vegan shorthand for "nutritional yeast"), etc into my Vitamix and made a sauce?  How could I get that to really be creamy?  A few days worth of mulling it over, and I came up with something that I think could easily be mistaken by an omnivore for a rich creamy white lasagna type sauce.  Wait no - it IS rich and creamy.  But they would never know that there is not a hint of dairy in it.  :)

Mix with some veggies hanging out in my fridge from my CSA, some leftover over penne noodles from the previous dish, and voila! Perfect garden vegetable white "lasagna". (Could easily work with lasagna noodles, just aren't what I used. :) )  Didn't know that's what I was making, but that's what it became, and it's perfect. And best of all?  It's still creamy the next day for leftovers, unlike any other cream (or "cream") sauce I know.  :)

Wow I want to eat this again right now.  Conveniently, I have leftovers for lunch.  :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer empanadas plus kale with tangy miso dressing

In searching for things to make with kohlrabi, I came across this recipe.  By the time I got around to making it, I had of course long used up the kohlrabi.  However I had everything else, and turnips, so I decided to give it a shot subbing them in.  Worked quite well.  :)  If you want to do the same, I just recommend sauteing the veggies for quite a bit longer, as I wanted the turnips way softer than they would end up after just a couple minutes.

In order to make it vegan I simply sauteed only in oil (instead of oil and butter), and left off the egg wash for the crust.  However if you want that finish, you can easily achieve the same effect by brushing the crust with soy milk.

I know I wouldn't be satisfied with just the empanadas without some sort of dipping sauce, so I ended up making up a quick dressing, which I then decided would go really well over kale - another great accompaniment to the empanadas, so I ended up with quite the delicious dish.  Fun to take something that would have been great on its own, and turn it into something really special.

Tangy Miso Dressing
2 T miso
2 T agave nectar
1 T ginger
1 t soy sauce
1 t water (or as much as needed to desired consistency)

Mix all the ingredients and serve over roughly chopped kale.  Serve empanadas over top.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Beanfields chips - comes in nacho flavor! Bonus giveaway included.

Edited, 12/11/12: Find this post and me blogging and working now at A,B,C,Vegan - the current version.  :)

So I had the wonderful fortune to be contacted by Beanfields chips to see if I would be willing to review their chips for my blog.  Upon hearing they had a nacho flavor - the healthy vegan Dorito?! - I happily agreed.  They also sent me extras so that I could host my first giveaway!  So read down for the details on that.

Beanfields chips were just named "Best of Show" by VegNews at the 2012 Natural Products Expo West, so I was of course excited to give them a try.  They are tortilla chips made from beans and rice instead of from corn, and they live up to their award.  I can't think of a great way to describe them other than ... like tortilla chips ... but better.  Really, just based on flavor I would choose the regular sea salt variety over tortilla chips any day.  And they avoid using the corn that we get all day every day in so many products, are gluten free, and have 4 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per one ounce serving - according to their website, twice as much as regular tortilla chips, potato chips, etc.

So how did the nacho flavor stack up?

They were GOOD.  Really good.  I would happily eat them ... well, all day.  However I can't in good conscious call them the vegan Dorito.  There are similarities, for sure, and for someone who is missing Doritos they might be a nice substitute.  But you have to know they are different.  Not as over-the-top cheesy as Doritos, but a more subtle cheesy flavor.  However, I taste tasted them amongst all my non-vegan co-workers, and while agreeing with my conclusions, everyone absolutely enjoyed them.  I think that speaks volumes for the quality of the product.  Everyone said they would happily snack on them all day.  Team vegan FTW!  :)

So about that giveaway.  I'll be sending off 2 of the 6 ounce size bags (including one nacho flavor).  Ways to win:
1. Comment here, telling me *your* favorite vegan snack.
2. Follow me on Twitter (@abcvegan) for another chance to win, and post a separate comment here telling me you did so.
3. Share the link to the post on Twitter or facebook for 1 more chance to win each.
U.S. addresses only please sadly.  I'll use a randomizer to pick a winner on Tuesday morning (June 26th) at 9 AM.  Good luck!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Passover! Excited. :)

Ok, so this is cutting it close to the wire, but I wanted to be sure to get this out while it still has potential to be helpful this year.  This will be my first year keeping Passover vegan, and I have to say I'm extremely excited.  In prior years I allowed myself dairy and eggs for this one week, because I just couldn't figure out how I would do it otherwise, especially given that I am Ashkenazi and do not eat kitniyot for the holiday.  However, this year I can't figure out how on earth I didn't think it was possible before - I have more things to make than I could possible eat in a month, let alone in a week!  :)  I am hoping to pass on some of that excitement to you and encourage you that anything is possible once you really put your mind to it.  (So cliche I know... but it's true!)  I can't believe that I am actually excited for Passover.  The creative spark it has lit feels so wonderful and I'm ready to get cooking!

Vegetarian seder plate, courtesy of Creative Commons here

So a quick sampling of possible Passover dishes, and links where I have them...
  • My lunch today - some sort of quinoa salad / stir fry, most likely topped with some sort of cashew dill sauce, similar to here.
  • Spinach pancakes, that I wrote about here.
  • Want to try veganizing these banana almond butter pancakes with a flax egg for breakfast tomorrow
  • MUST make these "Reese's" peanut butter eggs immediately
  • And also from Chocolate-Covered Katie - I never thought I would miss macaroons, but now that I can't have the store-bought ones (because they all have eggs in them), I feel like I will miss them for Passover!  So I will make my own and they will be awesome.
  • All sorts of dips potentially for spreading on matzah - roasted red pepper based ones, cauliflower and pumpkin based ones, and maybe this raw broccoli "hummus"
  • I'm sure eggplant will figure prominently (now that I've learned to like it!).  Potentially like I wrote about here as a baked dish, here as baba ganoush, or trying this recipe for marinated eggplant that sounds divine.  
  • Some sort of potato kugel, like these simple mini ones, or perhaps something a little more fancy with leeks
  • Here there is another eggplant possibility, for "nutty baked eggplant" and a cashew horseradish cream sauce.  Yes please!  
Suffice it to say that this is just the beginning of the possibilities, and I can't wait to get started! I hope this gives you some places to start too.  Please let me know if you have any favorite Passover recipes that I should try - I'm excited to gather as many as possible.

Hag Sameach!  

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I was just discussing with my brother (as he, the omnivore, made me and my mom a beautiful vegan Shabbat dinner :) ) how guacamole is one of those dishes that seems oh so impressive - but really it is the easiest thing in the world.  This time around I played with it a little bit based (as always) by what I had around.  Also based on the fact that I don't like my guac crunchy, and often recipes will call for diced red onions.  I got a little bit of that flavor by using onion powder (just a little, as onion powder is also not my favorite thing), and created a wonderful easy guac.  So wonderful that I may have eaten the whole bowl for dinner.  I wanted to pass the "recipe" on to you here, because a good guacamole should be in any vegans repertoire.  And it's so easy!


Ready to serve!  And devour.  :)

Single Serve Guacamole
Feel free to increase the portions to have enough to bring to, and be the hit of, a party.

1 avocado
1 plum tomato
2 T crushed pineapple
1 T diced garlic
1 t onion powder
1/8 t cayenne pepper

1.  Cut open avocado, and remove pit.  Scoop insides out and cut up into smallish pieces.

2.  Chop tomato.

3.  Mix avocado, tomato, and all remaining ingredients.  Smash as needed to get guac to your desired consistency.  


Thursday, March 15, 2012


Okay I know it's a week late, but I only got to make these the day *after* Purim, and then went rock climbing outside in the beautiful weather Sunday instead of sitting down to blog.  Sue me.  :)  Figured at that point Purim had already passed anyways!  I will make sure to post this again next year before the holiday starts, but they were too good not to share now.

Hamenstaschen are the traditional food for the Jewish holiday of Purim, representing the 3 cornered hat of the villain of the story, Haman.  Or at least, that's the version of the story I learned.  :)  Whatever the reason, we bake them for Purim, traditionally to deliver as gifts to friends and neighbors.  I always made them with my mom growing up, and I decided this year it was time to veganize the family recipe.  And what a success!  They were a little crispier the first day than I would have liked, but they softened up nicely overnight and were absolutely devoured by my friends who were over for my birthday.  (Yup, I'm a Purim baby - my name is not a coincidence!)  I may tweak the recipe a bit in the future, but it is well worth trying out now.  Hag Sameach! (Happy Holiday! :) )

Makes a little over 2 dozen
Please note: dough must chill for at least 2 hours, so plan accordingly.
3/4 C sugar
2 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 C shortening
1 flax egg
2-3 T orange juice
1 can apricot filling (or filling of your choice - poppy seed is the most traditional but apricot is my favorite)

1. Mix sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.  Work shortening in with an electric mixer.  Add flax egg and orange juice, mixing until a dough is formed.  Start with 2 T of orange juice and add more as neceessary.

2.  Chill overnight or a minimum of 2 hours.

3.  Roll out 1/8" thick on lightly floured board.  Add flour if sticking, and flour the board as well.  Cut into 3" circles.  Please 1 heaping teaspoon filling in center, and pinch 3 edges together, leaving a small opening.

4.  Place on greased or non-stick cookie sheet.  Cover with cloth and set aside for half an hour.  While waiting, preheat oven to 400.  Bake 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  If you have more than one tray, bake one tray at a time on middle rack.


So pretty.  I didn't have a circle cookie cutter, but these worked out quite well.  :)

The old family recipe is actually from the kitchen of a family friend.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry Pie

Today.  Today I became a chef.  4 years ago I started cooking for real, 3 years ago I became vegan, 6 months ago I became a food blogger, and today… today I finally became a chef.  I consider myself a good cook, even maybe a great cook.  I love almost everything I make.  But today it was different.  This *week* it's been different.  I made this tart on Tuesday evening, and it was good, but nothing amazing.  Before even finishing dinner I was contemplating what I would do to it to make it sing.  (Sing?  Think I've been watching too much Top Chef maybe??  :) )  By the next morning I had moved on to making it an entirely different dish, different flavors, same basic techniques.  By today I could. not. stop. thinking. about. it.  My plans for the evening were cancelled, and there were so many wonderful things with which I wanted to fill that sudden gift of free time.  But all I wanted to do, all I possibly *could* do was get in the kitchen and turn my vision into reality.  I have made up dishes on the spur of the moment before, I've even blogged about them.  But this was the first time that I truly had a vision, a creation that I thought about, considered, and put together into something amazing.  I am finally able to take a dish and "make it my own," as the American Idol judges would say.  For the first time in my life I feel like all I need is an idea, no recipe necessary.  And that, I think, makes me finally have graduated to being able to consider myself a true chef.  

Sweet potato and spinach curry pie

olive oil
One small onion, diced
One sweet potato (I used the kind with purple skin and white insides)
One T fresh ginger, diced
2 T coconut oil
3/4 fresh pineapple, cubed
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cubed
sea salt
6 cloves garlic, peeled

2-4 T curry paste, depending on your spice level preference
1 t sea salt
1 t garam masala
1 T lemon juice
1 T rice vinegar
1/4 C nutritional yeast
3 T tomato paste
1 T brown sugar

1 C frozen spinach, thawed enough to stir into mixture

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C crisco
4-6 T cold water

1. Cut sweet potato in half, microwave for 6 minutes to soften.

2. Preheat oven to 450.

3. Heat olive oil in skillet.  Once hot, add onions to pan and saute over medium to medium low heat.  Cube half of the sweet potato and add to the skillet.  Add the diced ginger and saute until onions are soft and translucent and sweet potato is soft, approximately 10 minutes.  Add the coconut oil and heat until melted and mixed in.  Remove from heat.

4. While things are sautéing, cube other half of the sweet potato, and add to a baking dish with the cubed pineapple and red pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt.  Place the garlic in the pan as well, off to the side if possible.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, making sure to keep an eye that nothing burns.  

5. Place the mixture from the skillet in a food processor.  Add the roasted garlic from the pan in the oven.  Add all other ingredients from curry paste to brown sugar, and blend until smooth.  

6. Place the mixture from the food processor in a large bowl.  Add all of the roasted ingredients from the oven, and the spinach, and stir until well combined.

7. Turn the oven down to 375.

8. In another large bowl, cut the crisco into the flour until an even crumble consistency.  Add water as needed, slowly, until reaching a dough consistency.  Pat into a 9" pie pan.  

9. Fill the crust with the sweet potato mixture and smooth out so the height is even all the way around.

10. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until filling starts to brown.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dill Bread

Snowy days in my house meant hot chocolate, snow ice cream, and homemade dill bread.  We haven't had much in the way of snow around here this winter, but I still found myself craving our wonderful dill bread.  Moist and flavorful, it is the perfect bread to snack on all day long, sliced right off the loaf totally plain.  I've also found recently that it is exceptionally wonderful having a thick piece toasted and slathered with Earth Balance coconut spread and peach jam.  Needing only one short rise and no kneading, this is really the perfect bread.  

Thanks to Creative Commons; original image here.

Dill Bread

3 C white whole wheat flour
1 - 1 1/2 C white flour
3 T sugar
1 1/2 t salt
2 pkg active dry yeast (or 4 t)
1 T dill weed
1 C non-dairy milk
1 C water
1/4 C margarine

Mix 1 1/2 C whole wheat flour with rest of dry ingredients.

Add warmed liquids and margarine.  Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.

Add 1 C whole wheat flour and beat on high speed 2 minutes.  

Add enough flour to make real stiff batter, using up the whole wheat flour and then adding the white. (I ended up using a total of 4 1/4 C).

Let rise in a warm place until double in size, approximately 45-60 minutes.

Beat down for 1/2 minute.

Place in greased bread pan.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, until browned and sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove from pan immediately to cool on a drying rack.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Stone Soup Noodles

Do you know the old story of stone soup?  It's a folktale in which travelers arrive in a village with nothing but an empty cooking pot, and the villagers do not want to share any bits of their food stores with which to make dinner.  So the travelers fill the pot with water, add a large stone, and place it over a fire to cook.  The villagers are curious what they're doing, and the travelers answer that they are making stone soup, but it could be even better with a few extra vegetables.  So the one villager gives them a few carrots, another villager thinks he could part with a few seasonings, another villager thinks "I don't need this one onion," and eventually, an amazing soup is born.

This is how I felt the other night making this noodle dish.  I didn't have the element of cooperation that the stone soup story entails, but I did have the idea of adding anything available and coming out with something amazing, so I am calling these my stone soup noodles.  I love what you can create by mixing and matching and seeing what comes together!

Stone Soup Noodles

1 T olive oil
2 T minced garlic
2 C snap peas
1/2 C black beans
1 pound tofu

3 T hoisin sauce
1/2 C onion dip (Tofutti sour cream plus package of onion soup mix - Yum!)
1 t chili oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 T rice vinegar
1/2 C nutritional yeast
1/2 C water

1/3 pound rice noodles, cooked
2 C spinach
1/2 C chopped olives

1. Heat olive oil in large saute pan.  When hot, add garlic and brown for 1 minute.  Add snap peas, and saute for a few minutes to allow to begin to soften.

2. Add beans and tofu and stir.  Then add all other sauce ingredients, from hoisin sauce through water, and mix well.  

3. Add rice noodles and mix well again.

4. Heat dish through and allow sauce ingredients to meld. 2-3 minutes before you are ready to serve, add spinach and olives and allow spinach to wilt.  

Serve and enjoy!

Serves 3-4.