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Posts Tagged ‘Vegan MoFo’

On a whim, I bought some coconut milk ice cream last night. I opted for Coconut Bliss ice cream, choosing Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge. How could I not?

Oh my goodness. It was delicious — a sturdy enough chocolate flavor, not too sweet but avoiding bitterness, with chunks of real (!) hazelnuts. The coconut flavor from the coconut milk was subtle but added a richness to the chocolate and really brought out the hazelnut flavors. The texture was incredible, possessing a smoothness and creaminess that, although light, didn’t feel airy.

Best of all, Coconut Bliss is totally vegan and free of soy, dairy, and even sugar. It’s sweetened with agave syrup, which is supposed to be a more stable sugar for the body, evening out any blood sugar spikes that would normally happen. Agave has the added bonus of being totally vegan, for those of you for whom that is an issue. Apparently, too, coconut milk offers “better” fats that work with the metabolism, so don’t get scared off by the seemingly high fat content. The ingredient list is simple, and I easily recognized all its components. With its fair trade chocolate ingredients thrown in there, this seems to be the most well thought out and conscientious ice cream I’ve ever had.

This is absolutely my new favorite ice cream. The richness of the texture and flavor, combined with the responsibility Coconut Bliss takes for the quality and production of its ice cream, totally sold me. I can’t wait to try the other flavors (which include Cherry Amaretto and Mint Galactica).

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I woke up this morning. It’s October. It’s been October for a week now. And what was the thing that got me out of bed?

Pumpkin! It’s pumpkin-flavored-coffee-drink season!!

Decaf pumpkin soy latte. Seasonal flavored goodness.

And, of course, the (October) February Lady Sweater continues apace. I’ve got a few more inches left on the body and then it’s on to the arms. I may be a convert to top-down knitting for sweaters. Call me an instant gratification fiend. Go on, do it!

Decided to commit a little time tonight to a more epic dinner, since the boy’s been a little stressed. How very domestic of me. Enter: vegan “chicken” Caesar salad from Veganomicon, complete with home-made dressing, home-made croutons, plus some of the delicious tofu I keep making that I just can’t get over.

I loved the tanginess of the dressing, plus the fact that, hello, my salad dressing is made of to-freakin-fu so I can eat as much of it as I want. The croutons were a little tedious, but a good adventure. And this tofu keeps performing! It was the perfect complement to the lemon of the dressing, and cut the intensity of the garlic nicely.

He and I both reek to high heaven right now, but it was worth it.

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Friends, colleagues, fellow vegetarians and vegans alike,

Do you struggle with tofu? Do you feel as though you’re one of those infomercial people in black-and-white, wrestling with preparing tofu? Have you gotten your hopes up for a broiled, steamed, fried, or baked tofu recipe, hoping this could be “the one,” only to be met with disappointing results?

Well, join me in the color part of the infomercial. I think I have figured out how to make tofu perfectly, every time.

I’m going to walk you through the steps. No monthly payments.

1. Procure some tofu for yourself. I used this:

I’ve found that tofu that comes with minimal water is usually the tofu that has the best texture. Tofus that come in plastic containers seem to hold more water. Obviously, you want extra firm or firm tofu.

2. Cut your tofu into 1/4 – 1/2″ slices.

This will give you a high surface area to volume ratio (crucial for flavor absorption and crispiness), but also give you tofu that, in the end, is good for anything.

3. Freeze your tofu for a few hours! This helps to really firm up the texture and give it a very chicken-like texture — I like a sturdy tofu. This is a departure from how I was taught to make this tofu, and I think it’s an improvement.

4. Thaw your tofu.

5. Marinate your tofu.

Marinade recipe: juice of 1 lemon PLUS 2 – 3 Tbsp of soy sauce, PLUS a little water if you don’t have enough for your tofu to soak up. You could add minced garlic to this, or red pepper flakes.
Let this sit for at least an hour, turning regularly to make sure it is evenly coated. You should see that your tofu is getting darker, because it is soaking up the marinade.

6. Dredging time! Put some (1/2 c?) nutritional yeast into a container a little bigger than your tofu slices, add a piece of tofu, shake to coat, flip, repeat until all the surfaces of the tofu are covered in yeast. The nutritional yeast will soak up some of the moisture, so you may have to flip a few times.

7. Frying time. Heat a frying pan, with enough oil to coat, over medium-ish heat (depends how hot your burner is). Fry each piece until golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Flip. Repeat.

Hooray! Tasty tofu with a bit of a crust. Should keep at least a week — probably way longer — in the fridge.

Ideas for using:
– eat with your hands
– use on a sandwich
– slice up in salads (I did this last night and I think it’d be good in a “chicken” Caesar)
– add to a rice bowl for some extra flavor and protein
– substitute for breakfast “sausage”
– eat with ketchup and a little hot sauce instead of “chicken” nuggets
– make “chicken” parmesan

Go forth and make tofu! I’m looking forward to cooking amazing tofu from here on out…

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My dad recently asked for some instructions on how to cook kale. I’d showed him before, but he needed a written step-by-step.  I figured I’d share this how-to! A lot of this is informed by Greens Glorious Greens, which is the best cookbook (as far as I’m concerned) if you want to get eating some photosynthetic goodness.

Kale is a great source of all kinds of good things for vegans and meat-eaters alike. It’s full of calcium — more than a glass of milk! I love making some to throw into a bowl with some brown rice, miso-tahini sauce, and tofu.

Without further ado, I present you with a wordy post on:

HOW TO MAKE KALE!

1. Buy kale. Go for local and organic (it’s available almost year-round at any farmers’ market). Get whatever looks happy to you! I like the curlier sorts with red/purple stalks because they’re pretty and the curliness gives it a little more texture. However, it may be more difficult to get every little last bug out. I figure that possibly accidentally eating a few aphids is better than for sure eating a lot of pesticides. Of course, you must:

2. Bring your kale home. Store wrapped in a paper towel in a bag in the crisper drawer. I’ve had kale stay good for at least two weeks. When it’s K-Day:

3. Wash your kale. I fill my sink with some cold water and put all the kale leaves in. Kale and other greens cook down a LOT so one bunch is actually not too much for two people. I sometimes eat a whole bunch all by myself. If there are a lot of aphids (they can be greyish), put a little salt in the water. They should fall right off. Swish around, pull them out, and dry.
– This is a good time to start boiling water. Get out a wide pan with a lid and put 1/2″ – 1″ of water in it (about 1-2 cups). Any less than that and it may burn; any more and you may pull out too many nutrients. As it boils:

4. Cut your kale. I go for 1/2″ to 1″ wide strips. I don’t take the rib out but I do trim the stalk at the bottom. Some people don’t like ribs. I really don’t find them an issue. I will sometimes cut the leaves in half along the rib if they’re big leaves. I guess taking the rib out would inevitably cut it into half anyway… Bring the kale to the stove and:

5. Cook your kale*. Put the kale into the now-boiling water and cover. It will take about 5-7 minutes to get the kale the way you want it. Check every few minutes and give it a teeny stir to make sure nothing’s sticking. If you like the flavor and texture, turn off the heat and:

6. Drain your kale. BUT!! The liquid the kale cooked in holds a lot of the nutrients — in the pot likker/liquor. I put a colander over a wide bowl and use that to drain the kale. Let the water coot and drink it later; take the kale out and:

7. Make your kale delicious. It really only needs salt and maybe some lemon juice and pepper. Maybe toasted sesame seeds? It will take well to anything kind of acidic (red wine vinegar will also be good).

Now go make some kale! A cup of cooked kale has more calcium than a glass of milk… and adding the lemon juice adds Vitamin C, which helps your body absorb the calcium, and if you drink the pot liquor… you’re in great shape.

*There’s a lot out there on the internets that will tell you to saute your kale, or maybe suggest you add citrust to it when it cooks. Don’t believe it! It won’t go all radioactive on you, but it will make your kale ugly. Leafy greens have acids in them which, when released by cooking, turn them a boring brownish-green color; adding your own acid will have the same effect. By boil/steaming in water, you’re reducing the concentration of these acids in the kale, while simultaneously diluting the flavor compounds in the kale that make it taste bitter. Hooray cooking science!

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Ugh. It appears that a weekend of traveling and one drink too many has left me sick. What’s a girl to do?
I have been playing this game all day in bed. Go doggy, go! Gotta say, it’s a good way to amuse myself.

But on the food front:

I’m whipping out one of my favorite vegan cookbooks, How It All Vegan. This cookbook, Garden of Vegan and La Dolce Vegan are my go-to cookbooks and have been with me since high school. They’re well-loved, with oil stains, pages falling out, writing all over my favorite recipes.

When I’m sick, I always get myself some kombucha and mix it with pomegranate juice and nurse the mixture all day. I figure there are enough antioxidants in there to give my body what it needs to fight the ickies. I’m also a fan of, early in the getting-sick process, mincing some garlic and putting it in a spoon, then covering that with honey and swallowing everything. It sounds weird but it is a good way to get raw garlic without killing your stomach.

So I’m whipping up a batch of Jana’s Winter Sicky Soup, which appears in How It All Vegan. I’m hoping it does the trick.

Ingredients:

1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled & cubed
4 medium carrots, sliced
1/2-1 c burdock roots, sliced
1/2 dandelion ROOT (I almost got leaves), chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
4 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
8 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
8 c vegetable stock or water
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp curry powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
3 lemon slices
4 whole leaves of collard greens, roughly chopped
1/4 c miso
1/4 c green onions, chopped (garnish)

In large soup pot, saute the squash, carrots, and burdock and dandelion roots in oil on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes or until ingredients are tender. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic and cook 5 minutes more. Pour in the stock and add the cayenne, curry, salt, rosemary, lemon, and collard greens and simmer on medium-low head for 40 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in miso*, and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with green onions. Makes 4-6 servings.

*Miso should never be boiled, as it will destroy all the good stuff in it.

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I introduce to you, the food that powered me through college:

There’s a reason my breakfast today is arranged in a heart shape: I love this quick, simple, healthy, vegan! breakfast. It requires little hands-on time — perfect for rushing out the door to an 8am class — and is sturdy enough to sit in your stomach until there’s time to get a real meal.

Preparation is simple. Toasted bread (I used sourdough), plus some margarine. I use Earth Balance because it is trans-fat free and the best for any kind of vegan cooking/baking. Once the margarine has melted, sprinkle nutritional yeast on top. The yeast will soak up the moisture from the margarine, and that’s when you add MORE.

The result? A cheesy delicious meal on the go. Please note that it’s really good on bagels. This would also make a good accompaniment to soup, especially if you were to add garlic bread spices.

Hooray Vegan MoFo!

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I just found out today from For the Love of Guava about Vegan MoFo, a blog movement from The Post-Punk Kitchen — the same kids that brought you Veganomicon. This is my most recent vegan cookbook purchase, and a regular in my kitchen, so hell yes I’m in!

The idea is simple: one blog post every weekday for the month of October about vegan food. I’ve been getting back to my vegan roots lately and limiting the amount of dairy I include in my food, in an effort to eat more grains, tofu, vegetables… and not frustrate my digestive system.

So here’s to delicious vegan food! I can’t wait. I retroactively tagged my yummy tofu recipe as Vegan MoFo, since it is totally vegan and incredibly delicious. And in October!

Today’s (vegan!) dinner: Sarah-riffic Fried Tofu, brown rice, miso-tahini sauce (a Veganomicon recipe), kale, and avocado.

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I tell you, lunch is a hard meal for me. I’m hungry, but lazy. I want something tasty but uncomplicated. What’s a girl to do?

Enter today’s tasty lunch creation: a (vegan) tofu avocado sandwich with miso-tahini dressing!

It’s got tofu! Avocado! Delicious spread! Totally filling, totally delicious, totally vegan.

“How can I make this tasty concoction?” you ask. Well. I will tell you. Here is my “recipe,” or at least how-to guide.

Start with the TOFU.
1. Get yerself some tofu. Firm or extra firm, so it’ll hold up to frying. (Silken or soft tofu is best left for smoothies and stuff.)
2. Slice the tofu into 1/2″ rectangles.
3. Mix together some (1/4 c?) soy sauce and some (1/4 c?) lemon juice. You could add minced or powdered garlic if you want. This is your marinade.
4. Let tofu marinate for, well, however long you want. I left it in for about 45 minutes and it got sufficiently tasty.
5. Coat the tofu in nutritional yeast*.
6. Fry the tofu over medium-ish heat in a hot pan with some canola or olive oil until golden brown. Flip. (Lather rinse) repeat.

While the tofu’s marinating, you can mix up your miso-tahini sauce. I got this recipe from Veganomicon, one of my favorite vegan cookbooks.

MISO-TAHINI SAUCE
1/4 c miso (I used white but I’ve used red and brown to fine results)
1/4 c tahini
Mix together with some warm water until desired consistency is reached. Note that this will thicken significantly after being refrigerated. I add olive oil and/or lemon juice to thin it down.
This sauce is good on everything: salads, sandwiches, greens, rice…

From there, put some miso-tahini sauce on your toasty bread (I like sourdough, which is also usually vegan), add some sliced avocado (I used a whole avocado because I LOVE it), and finally put in a tofu slice.

Eat! Nummers. You could also add sliced tomato (if it’s in season) and/or some lettuce for added vegetable points.

*Nutritional yeast is yellow/orange-ish flakey stuff you can get at a health food store. It has a cheesy flavor and is also really good for you. Not the same as yeast you use in bread. Bad mistake.

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