I'm. Finally. Back!
I apologize for my absence these past few months, but I've been very preoccupied with moving! The process was not as extensive as I expected, although it still took me over a month to finally get everything from point A to point B. Luckily, I'm just about settled.
Not being able to cook in my own kitchen has been tough, but I am slowly adapting to my new one. I definitely like the layout (plus it has an island!). I do miss having a gas range, but I actually don't mind my new stove. The change in temp is pretty immediate, which is all I ever need!
Since tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, I'm going to make my come back with a fusion taco recipe. I was going to feature another dessert, but I'm not really sure I can top last year's Tres Leches Cake! No, I wanted to go savory and simple this year. Tacos are indeed a Cinco de Mayo staple, but they rarely ever look like these.
I filled organic taco shells (which you can always use soft, if you prefer) with a curried tempeh filling. The tempeh is crumbled into a stew of veggies and spices and resembles "beef" when it is fully cooked. The vegetables are those that you may find in a basic curry, such as potatoes, carrots, peas...I added some corn in for sweetness as well.
Japanese curry, in my experience, has always been slightly sweeter and more earthy than Indian or Thai curry. I gave the filling this flavor by adding in a bit of cinnamon and mirin to offset the savory garlic and cumin-based curry spice. The resulting flavor is rich, but not hot. Feel free to add chilies or red pepper flakes to increase the hotness. I left this batch mild to accompany the slightly sweet and acidic cabbage slaw I made as a topping!
Enjoy these with any and all taco fixings, a festive drink, and maybe some guac and chips if you're extra hungry. ;)
It's good to be back! <3
Japanese Curry Tempeh Tacos
Free of: Gluten, Oil (dressing only)
Yield: about 6 servings
Curried Tempeh Filling
Apple Slaw Ingredients
This recipe is a doozy!
I've attempted to recreate the most NOT VEGAN recipe I've ever eaten!
This casserole/dip/frittata/breakfast bake/brunch thing (I honestly don't know what to call it!) is a recipe from my great Aunt. I remember my mom asking for this recipe after Christmas day brunch at her house. I was young...too young to have even thought about being a vegetarian at the time.
The recipe is titled "Texas Fudge". It's literally everything that isn't vegan all mashed into a baking dish and baked until bubbly. It's absolutely artery-clogging but I remember it being sinfully delicious.
It's not something I would ever be able to stomach now. The thought of meat and cheese together alone grosses me out let alone adding eggs into the mix. I thought, though, what about a vegan version?
Scrambled tofu is one of my favorite things on this earth. Why not?!
This version of Texas Fudge is much healthier. It's not the healthiest thing for a vegan to eat, but it's not bad, relatively speaking. It's high in protein, low in fat and is all homemade. The only thing in this recipe I didn't make was the vegan cheese. Although, if you'd like to substitute the vegan cheese for your own homemade vegan cheese or cheese sauce, I'm sure it would be delicious!
I also added in some onion and spinach to give the dish flavor, color and nutrition! Feel free, again, to substitute the veggies or add more! I bet this would be amazing with a ton of vegetables added in. The combinations are endless. Use this recipe as a base for whatever you're feeling!
This is a great brunch dish for a get together with family and friends. You can serve it any way you want to. It's great with crackers, toast, on a plate, in ramekins, whatever you fancy!
Enjoy and don't feel bad! ^_^
Vegan Texas Fudge
It's the last day of VeganMoFo 2015!!!! ='(
I'm very sad to see this month come to an end. Even though I faced a bit of a challenge making sure I posted every day while working full time, I managed to pull it off! Phew!
Although it was tiring, it was the most fun I've had in the kitchen in a very long time. I loved being able to come up with creative ideas (sometimes on the fly...eheh) and see them come to life. Tasting them wasn't bad, either. ;)
Best of all, I got to share my dishes with all the vegan blogging community! I've never felt so supported and humbled at the same time. I think everyone did an amazing job and I want to commend all those who participated!
My final dish for you this month is my answer to the Fusion Challenge: Chipotle Risotto & Beans!
It took everything I had to not make a Japanese fusion dish, but I'm glad I didn't. I have to credit by boyfriend for this idea. He helped me when I was second guessing what to make and he suggested this dish. What an amazing thing.
What I love about risotto is that it's very easy to customize once you know how to cook it correctly. The first time I made risotto, I did it right but it took forever! I didn't prep adequately so I spent forever gathering all my ingredients. Now, I feel that simple is better.
This risotto may look complicated, but it really isn't. I basically took a "rice and beans" approach to this with regards to flavor. I coated back beans in chorizo-type spices and roasted them to give them a little bit of texture.
The beans pair nicely with the creamy risotto. The risotto is a tad spicy and buttery, while the beans are warm and smokey. I garnished everything with some bright cilantro and my goodness it was perfection! The smell of this dish is great just by itself.
Serve this risotto in small portions for an appetizer or larger ones for an entree. You can also make them into arancini. I won't stop you. ^_^
Thanks for reading, everyone! I'm stoked for next year's MoFo already. Keep reading for my rocky adventure into the holiday season! ;)
Chipotle Risotto & Beans
For my rainy/snowy/generally dreary day meal, I'm going to make some broth and put stuff in it.
I love soups of all types, all year round. The best time for soup, though is the fall and winter for me. I love coming inside from the cold to a bowl (or sometimes cup!) of piping hot liquid with deliciously seasoned veggies in it.
Soup is always great, too because its flavors become more concentrated as time goes by. I love to eat soups the day after I make them, when the ingredients have had time to marinate and become more rich. There's nothing better to make you feel at home!
I also love to eat sandwiches and soup together. I like sandwiches by themselves, too, but much more if they're next to a bowl of soup. There's something about eating bread and soup together...it's such a classic combination. I'm going to throw together a sandwich from ingredients that I have on hand, so definitely do the same if you're into the idea! I didn't include a recipe for the sandwich because I think it's a fun thing to play with depending on the ingredients you have at your house and what's in season near you. For me, it's early Autumn and I decided to go a little sweet and savory with sliced apple, caramelized onion (reserved from the soup!) and vegan cheese. You need to indulge every now and then, people! ;)
This prompt was interesting because I really had to think about what ingredients I had in my house already. I always keep certain things in my fridge, like miso, onions, etc. I figured miso soup would be a great thing to make since I almost always have the ability to make it! I tried to make my miso soup a tad different than the normal scallion and tofu combo. My grandma taught me to make miso with whatever I had to put in it. If you have daikon, put that in it. Potato? Put that in. Onion? Yup! So, I figured, what's something cool I can do with onion? Uh, caramelize them! And leeks too? Why not?! =D
This soup recipe is meant to feed approximately 4 people. You can make it stretch if you serve everyone a smaller portion. For a small crowd, though, I'd double the recipe. Plus, leftovers!! ^_^
Caramelized Leek & Onion Miso Soup
Yield: About 4 servings
Free of: Gluten, Nuts, Sugar
My sandwich was:
So, my post for today is featuring a dish that I think Rachael Ray would love if she were to eat a vegan meal.
Why I chose Rachael, you ask?
Well, for one, I love her.
She has been a very influential person for me with regards to how I've learned about food preparation and technique. My parents and I began watching 30 Minute Meals probably 10 years ago by now. That show alone inspired my mom to cook more from-scratch meals since she saw that it didn't take very long. From that point, we made the transition from semi-homemade meals to full scratch-cooking for dinner! What a treat. After that, we started to use products like extra virgin olive oil (or EVOO as Rachael calls it) and fresh garlic almost every day.
Don't get me wrong, my mom did cook from scratch before that point, but it wasn't every day. Normally, she would save scratch meals for certain dishes or special occasions. I don't blame her. Raising kids is hard and time consuming.
But, as my sister and I got a little older, we gave my mom more time to spend thinking about our family meals. At a certain point, I started to help my mom cook. That's where my story as a cook began!
So, as you can imagine, choosing a person to make a vegan meal for today was a pretty easy choice. Rachael Ray has always been someone I've followed. I also love that she embraces food trends as they evolve. She's recognized allergen-free cooking and vegan cuisine on her shows before, which I love. She also offers meatless options for many of her dishes on her cooking shows. She also loves Veganaise, so that's awesome! =D
Oh, yeah, and I hit it with a little organic white wine and made a side of gluten-free garlic bread. ;)
Vegan Fettuccine with "Clam" Sauce
Yield: Approx. 2-3 servings
Adapted from Linguine with Clam Sauce by Rachael Ray
Spread 1/2 Tb of vegan butter/coconut oil on each slice of bread. Sprinkle each one with some garlic powder, to taste. Top them with vegan cheese, if desired.
Pop your bread slices into a 350 F degree oven for about 12 minutes, or until they are toasted and the cheese is slightly melted. Enjoy with some pasta and maybe a little wine. ;)
So, to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox, I've decided to go full throttle Halloween-Thanksgiving theme. Not only is my dish black, orange and green, but it's hearty and savory enough for a celebratory entree. I'd love to serve this at Thanksgiving...what a departure from my normal formula of making a bunch of vegan side dishes. I mean, I don't mind making a meal out of salad, stuffing, potatoes and pie. Not at all!
However, it is nice to sit down to a special and festive entree that will satisfy any stomach. This pumpkin is just that. Not only is it totally adorable and seasonally festive, it's delicious and nutritious. It adds wonderful soft and creamy texture to the toothsome pasta filling. It's quite wonderful, if I do say so.
I may have eaten an entire half by myself.
This pumpkin looks huge in my photo, but it wasn't much larger than my hand (and I have small hands, I swear). I would recommend a 3 pound pumpkin for this recipe. It will serve 2-4 people.
Roasting the pumpkin was actually a breeze. I cut my pumpkin in half length-wise like any other winter squash being used for stuffing, rather than cutting a hole in the top like you would for carving. The pumpkin cooked in only a little over a half hour and was perfectly caramelized and fork tender. Mmmm! ^_^
I decided to stuff my pumpkin with a sautee of shiitake mushrooms, garlic, shallots and baby spinach, all dressed simply in olive oil, salt and pepper. Nothing too crazy here. I didn't want to overwhelm the delicate sweetness of the pumpkin. Also, I decided to use black bean penne pasta because it has a gorgeous black color and it's a great gluten-free and protein-rich product that I had never used before. It cooked very well and didn't disappoint in texture!
Oh, and for a toasty, crunchy treat, I topped it all with toasted sliced almonds. Delicious.
Welcome, Fall. It's been a year and I've missed you so! <3 (Please last longer this year before you give way to the bitter cold, plz & thnx.)
Pasta Stuffed Sugar Pumpkin
Yield: 2-4 servings (2 stuffed halves of the pumpkin)
Free of: Soy, Gluten, *Nuts, optional
Preheat oven 350 F.
Oh, and for dessert, I indulged in a tiny piece of chocolate heaven that I happened upon this afternoon. It was a Fall miracle and I'm so happy I know about this wonderful company that makes amazing vegan chocolate.
Yes, that's vegan rice milk chocolate surrounding pumpkin spice caramel on the inside.
You're welcome. ;D
I'm fortunate enough to live in the Garden State.
Many think of New Jersey as a bunch of factories and a boardwalk here and there. Throughout the state, however, there are so many amazing farms, vineyards and farmers markets. There are so many farms right near my house and they have all been operating for generations. It's an amazing thing to see.
I was excited to go out looking for late summer/early fall veggies today. I had some idea in mind of what I wanted to cook, but I wasn't sure how to tie all my ingredients together. I knew that root vegetables would be available as well as the late harvest of nightshades like tomatoes and peppers. I found some delights that I just had to grab. I also got to pet a cute dog. So, I win.
So, my haul today: a huge red pepper, cute little grape heirloom tomatoes and a beautiful acorn squash. I absolutely love their colors. It says everything about September that I love: light yet filling stews with sweet, vibrant flavor. I had to make a stew. No, I had to make curry!
I have made Indian style curry before, but never Thai. I have eaten some Thai coconut curry at restaurants and absolutely loved them, but I never ventured to make them at home. Today had to be the day. The resulting dish had to be different, though. Something with a local flare and a seasonal spin.
So, I took delicious and hearty root veggies and roasted them (including the acorn squash) to bring out their sweetness. Then, I made a sautee of the tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and spices. Then, I drenched all the veggies with coconut milk (I'm drooling). The result was a velvety, sweet, earthy, slightly spicy stew that was filling without being overly heavy. I also garnished with some freshly made basil oil. Why not?! The flavors were so bright and balanced. What a treat!
Thanks, VeganMoFo for the inspiration. I was just gonna have leftovers for dinner. ;)
Seasonal Coconut Curry with Acorn Squash
My post for today is brief: simple & sweet.
When I eat fresh produce at the end of the summer, I like to keep my recipes uncomplicated. I like to use the late summer fruits and vegetables as quickly as I can. This way, my dishes stay fresh and flavorful and nutritious. The chill of autumn is already in air where I live, so I'm glad I could savor a little bit of summer before I transition into more hearty cooking methods.
This stacked salad that I made is just a hodge podge of fresh ingredients that I found: local organic heirloom tomatoes (they're wonderful!), olive oil marinated baby kale, raw red onion and raw garlic all nestled in between layers of the easiest chickpea salad I've ever made. Chickpea salad is one of those recipes that vegans love to bring to summer barbeques or picnics because it's easy, fast and totally versatile! It's also an easy sell to those who aren't vegan: it's chickpeas in a may-like dressing with some diced veggies! Who could say no?
Well, people who don't like chickpeas, I guess...
My chickpea salad is only 4 ingredients! Well, it's technically 5 if you count water.
This recipe calls for no super-processed ingredients and is very healthy! It's also oil-free but still super creamy. I love the base dressing. I first learned how to make it from binge watching Naturally Delicious by Ann Gentry when I first became vegan. I found her show on television one day and was so stoked that I had "discovered" a vegan cooking show. Little did I know, Ann Gentry is a huge deal. I did learn quite a bit from her instructions. This recipe is my top take-away!
It's a bit of a "dressing hack", if I can say those two words together without sounding too dorky. ^_^'
Easy Chickpea Salad
Serves: approx 4-6 people
Free of: nuts, sugar, oil, gluten, soy*
*Use chickpea miso if you need! The more chickpea, the better, right?
Late Summer Sangria
Yield: Approx. 5 cups
You may sub the red wine for an alcohol-free wine, grape juice, or other juice of your choice!
Feel free to mix up the fruits, too!
If President Obama came over for a meal, I'd like to think I'd keep it real. (Sorry, didn't mean to rhyme!)
I voted for the guy twice, I think he's a rad dude, and he seems pretty down to Earth. I also think he has a cool family and some cute dogs. =P
Political opinions aside, you have to see what I'm talking about right? I don't think President Obama would be one to expect some fancy five-course meal from me. Well, if he did, he would have to say so. ;)
I came up with a dish that the adults and kids would enjoy. I also wanted to create a flavorful dish that was also healthy, since Michelle seems to promote healthy eating awareness. I thought a nice jackfruit dish would be nice...it's something not a whole lot of people have heard of/eaten in this country and it would be nice to introduce to such an influential family something different yet fairly accessible.
I had never heard of jackfruit being used in vegan cooking until I saw the Seabirds food truck on the Food Network a few years ago. They were serving jackfruit in tacos at the time and I was thinking, "Fruit?! WHAT?".
Then, I finally found out how jackfruit can be prepared to be used as a pulled meat substitute when I attended cooking school. The jackfruit itself is best used from a can, as it is already soft and easy to work with. I found some at my local Asian market, and I'm sure you would be able to purchase it online.
Right out of the can, jackfruit seems pretty bland. However, once you chop it up, season it with spices and cook it, it's pretty delicious! The result is a somewhat light but meaty texture that resembles pulled meat. I like that it isn't very heavy like tempeh or seitan. That way, you can garnish it with all the veggies, non-dairy cheese or beans you want and it isn't overwhelmingly filling! Well, unless you want it to be. ;)
Look out, Mr. President! I've got some jacked up tacos for you! ^_^'
Pulled Jackfruit Tacos
Yield: 2 large soft tacos
I'm not a huge fan of sandwiches.
I always like the idea of sandwiches, of course, but I find that I get really full from the bread before I can enjoy any of the goodies on the inside. Sometimes I like to take all the stuff out of the sandwich, eat it, and then have dessert to fill my stomach. That method has worked for me countless times. ;)
However, I went to college in New Brunswick, NJ and I did have a brief affair with sandwiches at that time. Eating as a vegetarian in college left me with few options for food that wasn't salad or pretzels. I always had something to eat at the dining hall, but it was rarely healthy. Did that stop me? Of course not.
One of the foods that my friends and I would grab routinely after every semester as a celebration would be the infamous fat sandwiches from the grease trucks. These bad boys are sandwiches with everything you could ever want (or not want) to eat on them. Protein? Yes. Veggies? Yes. Sauce? Of course. French fries? Duh.
I always got one of three sandwiches there. One had a veggie burger on it, one had some mozzarella sticks and the other had falafel. The last one I ever ate had falafel on it. ::drool::
I decided that if I was going to make a vegan sandwich for Vegan MoFo this year I had to go all-out. So, I went the extra mile and made from-scratch rolls and fried up some cauliflower. This sandwich is going to be the most complete sandwich experience of your life. And you won't need to eat another. Ever.
Makes 3 large sandwiches. You can always make less and save the fillings for salads or snacking later!
Preheat oven to 375 F.
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.