Thursday, August 30, 2012

Raw Lavender & Lemon Cheesecake delicious.

I had to start with a picture because from the description I'm sure you are a little taken aback. Don't worry I was too. Raw? Vegan? Cheesecake???? How is this possible. Well it is trust me. And it is amazing!

While I was with my sister in Portland earlier this summer in line for sorbet at Salt & Straw I discovered a few things I had never known before:
1) MJ loves lemon basil sorbet (whaaaat?)
2) Lavender is edible.

I'll be honest, these two discoveries were made on two different visits. Don't judge me! Now both of these discoveries were pretty surprising to me, but I took the discovery that lavender flavors as well as it smells to heart. I came home and have been on the hunt for a recipe to use lavender in that would be nearly as good as the sorbet MJ let me have half a bite of. Well, not only did I find the perfect recipe on Raw Food Love, but I also think that any vegans missing the creamy, deliciousness of cheesecake will find that this is a perfect substitute and non-vegans can indulge too knowing that the delicious fattiness comes from nuts rather than processed junk. This recipe was a little bit time consuming (including the wait time), but very simple and well worth the waiting.

1/2c dates
1 1/2c nuts (I used almonds)

3c cashwers
3/4c lemon juice
2/3c agave
3/4c melted coconut oil
1 tsp salt
3 tsp dried lavender
1 tsp vanilla extract

The crust
  • First things first, soak both the nuts in water (separately) for as long as you have. My blender is pretty janky so I soaked both the almonds and cashews overnight in the fridge to get them as soft as possible, but 3-4 hours is okay too.
  • On to the crust! Combine soaked almonds (or your nut of choice) with dates in a food processor until you get a crumbly but sticky mixture. Pat down onto bottom of pan like so (see above, I used tin foil because that's all I had on hand but wax paper would probably be easier) and pop into the freezer while you work on the filling.
  • For the filling simply combine all the ingredients and stick in blender until it reaches a smooth consistency. Taste it! Mmm delicious right? (It tasted a bit sweeter before I set it though so don't be too concerned if it tastes TOO sweet.)
  • Pour filling into pan over the crust and freeze or refrigerate until it reaches the desired hardness.
  • That's it! So simple. So good, so bad, but the good kind of bad!
The filling ready to be frozen

So rich & fulfilling.

Spicy Chorizo Sausages

I have been getting so many great recipes from the book Vegan Brunch that I may just have to purchase it to add to my small cookbook collection. However, despite the many great recipes this is definitely one of our favorites. I was initially skeptical because my initial forays into "fake meat" making had been disastrous (Tempeh Crabcakes were a huuuuge disappointment and had to be thrown out. This is coming from someone who HATES to throw away food. If I can reuse it or improve it I will do it.) But I am very comfortable with beans and the recipe looked so easy and didn't have any one-time use ingredients so I decided to give it a try. Wow, did it pay off. These were excellent and so versatile. We ate them with brunch AND dinner. As my friend Mike discovered they taste amazing dipped into Sriracha (his condiment of choice). In the interest of full disclosure, I have never had any pork products before I do not know how they compare to "real" Chorizo sausages.

(Makes 4 large sausages)

1/4 cup cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dry rubbed sage (not powdered)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenn
Getting ready to be steamed
After steaming

  • Combine all ingredients until well mixed
  • Form into 4 sausages (they don't have to be perfect)
  • Wrap in foil like a tootsie roll (see photo)
  • Steam for 40 minutes
  • Let cool and grill or saute for a little bit before serving

Sauteed in olive oil

Completed sausage slices

Brunch! Paired with Cheesy Grits, Smoky Mushrooms & Caramelized Onions

Dinner! Paired with Sauteed Vegetables, Potatoes and Sriracha to dip.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tofu Frittata

Another tofu creation! I was at the library last week and stumbled upon the cookbook, "Vegan Brunch" by the woman who co-authored one of my favorite cookbooks Veganomicon. Of course I had to check it out to see what quick, delicious recipes it contained! I have flagged a few, but the first one to catch my eye was the recipe for 'Tofu Frittatas,' because I had all the ingredients already! It was very quick and simple to make and most importantly MJ has been gobbling these up all week. I'd call them a success :)

 8 oz pkg tofu (drained & pressed)  
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4c vegan mozzarella (I used daiya shreds)
1c spinach
1/2 onion
1 red pepper
2 tbsp rice milk

  • Press tofu for 30-60min
  • Heat oven to 350
  • Chop spinach, onions and pepper
  • Combine all other ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth
  • Mix spinach, onions and peppers into the tofu mix
  • Scoop into greased mini muffin pans
  • Cook for 20-30 minutes (until tops are browned and frittata is firm)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coconut Tofu with Vegetables and Quinoa

I froze so much food before leaving and now I come back to a full freezer! I am literally throwing meals together! Here is one that was a delicious hit (not going to post my miserable fail from yesterday).

I have 5 frozen containers of tofu in my freezer, after I giving 2 away I'm left to come up with 3 dishes. I'm still a tofu-newbie, but WIC gives us 8 packages a month so I am upping my skills (Yes! WIC gives tofu AND soymilk if you get a Dr's note).

Anywho, I had defrosted a package of tofu and was pressing it in between my cutting boards with some cans on top. One of those cans happened to be coconut milk...

Tofu and vegetables simmering in coconut milk
8 oz package of extra-firm tofu
1c canned coconut milk
1 1/2c (+) mixed vegetables
2 tbsp tahini
Olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1c quinoa (pre-cooked)
Dash of chili powder (add more to increase spiciness)

  • Press tofu between paper towels & two plates to get excess water out for 30 minutes.Then cube (lucky me mine came pre-cubed!)
  • Add tahini & olive oil into skillet (or wok if you've got it like that)
  • Sauté vegetables 2-4 minutes (or until thawed out if using frozen vegetables).
  • Add cubed/pressed tofu to pan tossing in oil.
  • Add coconut milk, soy sauce and chili powder. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon remove tofu and vegetables.
  • Stir quinoa into leftover coconut milk and remove from heat.

Ready to eat.

-If you want to cook more quinoa simply increase the amount of coconut milk you add.

-I cook the quinoa and tofu/vegetables separately because I've found that they keep longer that way and I can always use the quinoa in another dish.

-When reheating I added a little leftover coconut milk and reheated it in the skillet rather than microwaving.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Avocado Vinaigrette

I fell in love with a restaurant called the Laughing Planet while in Portland. While they aren't a vegan restaurant i believe every meal can be made vegetarian or vegan. Anyway they are awesome! I recreated this salad I got there myself and attempted an avocado vinaigrette to pair with it. I loved the way it turned out so I used it for a spread on MJ's bread or mixed with vegetables.

2 ripe avocados
1/3c white rice vinegar
1/2c olive oil
1 juice from a lime
5-10 sprigs of cilantro (chopped)
Salt & Pepper

Combine all ingredients (except S&P) in food processor or blender until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste.

So green and delicious!

I used this on salads for myself, but spread it on bread for MJ or as mixed with some vegetables.