November 30, 2010

Vegan MoFo: What the snot is this

It's not a pacman.

It's buffalo mostarella uncheese from The Uncheese Cookbook.  I really wanted a cheeselike substance for a sandwich and didn't want to spend $5 on a tiny block of vegan cheese, so I found a recipe that didn't require agar and had at it.

I was very skeptical while making this "uncheese," and I lacked a key ingredient tahini had gone moldy (gross).  I used some mild miso paste instead and a little sesame oil.  The result was something that tasted very familiar, but definitely not like mozz.  It has become milder and more tasty after sitting in the fridge for a few days.  It's not really a cheese for slicing, as it is very sticky.  It tasted okay in a grilled cheese, but I've seen people have good results on pizza so maybe that's next.  I'm going to go against my better judgement and freeze some since it made a whole lot.

Do you make your own vegan "cheese" substances?  What are your favorites?  If you aren't a lifelong vegan, do you even miss cheese?

P.S. Good bye, Vegan MoFo, see you next year!

November 29, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Thanksgiving Catch Up

Thanksgiving was relaxing and fun.  This year and the last, we hosted Thanksgiving at our little apartment with a few friends.  

A tomato waiting to be sliced up for the salad.  No one ate the salad, except for me and the boy I guess.  Vegetables are delicious, what are people thinking? ;P

I made a quick agave and sesame oil dressing to go along with it.

Spinach and almonds and tomatoes and carrots and thin slices of cucumber!

Next, the cider.
Stash Tea (hometown awesomeness) packages mulling spices.  I wouldn't have bought it, but it was a gift and leftover from last year.  We added it to the cider and brewed it for several hours.  Very tasty.

Mullin' over.

I made a seitan roast, but I only took photos of its making.  Here is the dough after kneading #1.

And the basting broth.  Mm full of paprika and sage and garlic.

I also made the butternut squash dish from Veganomicon.  So good!  I made it with filberts instead of pricey chestnuts.

And homemade cranberry sauce...

The boy made apple pie and apple crisp in addition to my pumpkin cheesecake, which he said tasted like malt.  Hmm, I didn't see that but hey, whatever, it was good and the other cheesecake lover at the party approved.  It's a win in my book.

We spent the evening doing three things: consuming food, consuming cozy beverages, and playing Rockband.  Is there a better way to celebrate our thanks for harvests and plenty?  I think not.

November 24, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Sparkle Ginger Cookies

From VwaV.

These were so rich and warm and not too sweet.  I really liked them and will definitely make them again.  I also liked that they used oil instead of margarine or shortening, which made them a very convenient recipe (and very visiting-omnivorous-relatives-friendly).

The recipe made 40 cookies for me (versus the 2 dozen as stated in the book).  Cookie scrooge am I.

The turbinado sugar was indeed sparkly in the cloud-sifted afternoon light.

November 23, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Pumpkin Cranberry Biscotti

Recipe here.

I only used 2/3 cup of sugar, though.  They were tasty, although very mildly pumpkiny.

I brought them into work and sent some off to my good friend Renee, who recently sent me magical pumpkin muffins and some other treats/treasures including these:

Dapper, no?  But it gets better, because they are useful.  They're a mini cutlery set:

Adorable (drbl).

However, biscotti cannot be eaten with such things.

November 22, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Boring Biscotti Love

I imagine my recent blog love for biscotti is coming off a bit boring, but gaddang I love them!

Cookies are so easy to make, so I've been making eensy recipes and testing out different things.  I made some molassesy biscotti with dried cranberries, and wow!  So good.

Yay, biscotti.  Boo, boring.  Time for some more coffee.  Maybe I can make a big batch of something and bring it to the coworkers.  :D

November 21, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Pumpkin Cheesecake

I haven't made cheesecake since becoming vegan, but it's my all time favorite pie/cake.  So this Thanksgiving, we're having pumpkin cheesecake instead of pumpkin pie OKAY.

It began thusly:

A reduced fat Ralph's brand crapola crust.  Its label even said V for Vegan.  It's weird how pervasive veganism has grown just over the past couple of years.  Anyway, the filling.

I used the recipe from Joy of Vegan Baking for the filling and added a dash of pepper and a bit of molasses.  Molasses makes things awesome.  I didn't want to use "no stinkin tofu" in the cheesecake.  This recipe is awesome because it's all Better Than Cream Cheese.  Yeah yeah yeah.  There are recipes that pretty gaddang similar all over the interwebs though, for instance this one.  But hey, I trust CPG to make a dang fine recipe and so it is.

How do I know?  No, I didn't cut into the cheesecake, but I did have a bit of filling leftover in the bowl and had to have a taste...

The pie filled, it was time to commence baking procedures:
I knew from previous cheesecake experiences to put the damn thing on a pan because those flimsy aluminum pie pans mess a cheesecake right up.

It took 45 minutes of impatience, but the result was worth it:
The thing is not even cracked (a first for me) ...okay, it is wrinkled a little bit, but wrinkles give it a bit of character.

So damned perfect!  It's been so long since I've had cheesecake - the last time was at Shojin for my undergrad graduation.  I can't wait to have some of this terribly caloric stuff on Thanksgiving!  Yay!

We did a lot of Thanksgiving shopping this weekend, and I pre-made some herby dense bread for stuffing and chopped up some butternut squash for roasting.  Yes, the boy did buy a turkey.

November 20, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Interlude and new camera

Busy making things and cleaning up the house in preparation for Thanksgiving, but in the mean time here is a photo of a batch of gingerbread biscotti I made yesterday and have been eating for breakfast/lunch/dinner since... >_<

Approach carefully...

So as not to disturb...

The nesting biscotti.

I had forgotten the simple joy of biscotti with almond milk and coffee.  Nom.

November 17, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Walnut Butter Swirl Banana Muffins

Tasty food can sometimes be seriously ugly.  Observe!

I made my favorite banana bread recipe (always half the sugar or use less, it tastes more banana-y that way) and intended to add a streusel topping with walnut butter, sugar, and margarine.  Instead, the walnut butter melted through the muffins and made tasty crunchy swirls!

Sad looking, but so tasty!  Not that it would improve the appearance of these ugly muffins, but I can't wait for my new camera!  It's so hard to take photos in the evening or early morning when there is no natural light.

November 16, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Cookbooks and DIY Christmas Gifts

Good morning!  Let's talk about cookbooks!

My cookbook collection is by no means an exhaustive library of cookbookery, but I definitely use these books a lot, if only to flip through for ideas and awesome photos!

I don't use the Peta's Vegan College Cookbook much, mostly because I find that the recipes rely heavily on pre-packaged and processed ingredients that are generally way out of my budget.  My first cookbook was the Veganomicon and my latest is Nonna's Italian Kitchen - both awesome books.  I find that Vegan with a Vengeance is my go-to book when cooking for omnivores...chocolate chip cookies and pizza dough, anyone?  Eventually it would be nice to get a more general cookbook that discusses techniques more than recipes, a Betty Crocker/Joy of Cooking book or some other encyclopedic volume.

Meanwhile, I've compiled my own little mini cookbook for the holidays that I'll be handing out to family and friends.  I don't have a lot of money at the moment, but I thought it'd be nice to give out something other than candy and baked goods.
I'm hoping to print this on card stock.  I was too lazy to illustrate, so I grabbed some 200-year-old random engravings and photoshopped them to be vaguely holidayish.

Jaunty pirates can be festive too...

Anyway, hope I'm not coming off as too much of a cheapskate, but when you are literally just breaking even each month, it can be pretty stressful to have to think about gifts... even when gift giving is so much fun.  Sigh.

November 15, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Gyoza!

In an effort to cook more on the weekend and have more easy meals ready for during the busy work week, I made and froze a bunch of vegetable pot stickers or gyoza!

I sauted bean sprouts and mixed veggies (broccoli, bell pepper, beans, carrots) in some mushroom sauce, garlic, and cayenne pepper.  Meanwhile, I defrosted some frozen gyoza wrappers (check the labels on these, sometimes they contain egg).

A tablespoon of filling goes on each wrapper, then simply dampen the edges of the wrapper and fold in half:
After folding over, pleat the edges to seal.
A tray full of gyoza ready to be frozen!  Hoping to have some with soba later this week.

Hey handful of readers - do you have favorite meals that you like to make ahead of time?  I'm a big fan of cooking soups and stews and pizzas for later use, but those get pretty boring after so many repetitions.

November 14, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Chai White Chocolate

I used this recipe to make my favorite chocolate ever...white chocolate!

I added a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper for a slightly spiced white chocolate.  It's so sweet time, less sugar... but wow, it's very good and needs to go in some brownies.

November 13, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Soft Sandwich Bread

I know, I know.  Lots of unhealthy baking lately.  But this is something theoretically more nutritious.

I've mentioned before that my go-to basic bread recipe comes from Dave of Dave's Killer Bread, that amazing Oregonian bakery that makes all things bready and fabulous.

This is a white bread flour and flax loaf - not as healthy as the whole grain loaves that Dave is known for, but it makes fabulous sandwiches and isn't too sweet.


In other news, my favorite shelter cats were adopted this past week!  :o  I'm so happy for them, but also sad that I won't get to hang out with them anymore.  Fortunately I've been making all sorts of new cat buddies and a few are really starting to come around to people.  :3