Archive for December, 2010
My Current Favorite Food
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Currently, I would list my favorite dish as tofu lettuce wraps. I found a recipe on the Whole Foods i-phone application and decided that I had to give it a try. During my preparations, I discovered hoison sauce, which is possibly the most perfect sauce ever created. It’s sometimes referred to as Asian barbeque sauce, and it’s a key ingredient in the lettuce wrap filling in addition to being used as a dipping sauce after assembly. These lettuce wraps are ridiculously easy to make, and you can check out the recipe for yourself here. When I made them for a party, my secret ingredient was an extra cup of bean sprouts, which I added with the other vegetables. It added a nice extra crunch to the filling, and bean sprouts are just plain delicious.

Oh Paula
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Oh Paula Dean, how I envy you sometimes. I really am the best girlfriend ever. Unbound by concerns for health or ethical food, you blazenly start every  dish with butter, sugar, and shortening. You laugh in the face of high cholesterol and heart disease when you add bacon to everything. You’ve never met a fry daddy you didn’t love. To be clear, I love Paula Dean, and I have read from more than one source that she doesn’t eat her signature food all the time. I believe her, because if she did, she would way 800 pounds and she does not. I also have to give Paula credit, because all of her recipes perfectly capture the audacity of American southern cooking. Naturally, when I wanted to make authentic beignets for Christmas Breakfast, I turned to the master. I took Paula’s recipe for cafe do monde beignets and appropriately veganized it. It was fairly straightforward, and I think that you can achieve good results with the following steps.

1. Replace the eggs with egg replacer powder and pre-mix it before adding to the evaporated milk.

2. To make evaporated soy milk, take 2 cups of soy milk and bring them to a simmer. Let it boil on the stove for 20 minutes, or until it reduces to half its original size.

3. For god’s sake, cut this recipe in half, because even then it made over 2 dozen beignets, and they do not reheat or keep well.

Coquito Christmas
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You may have noticed a lack of posts around here lately, and that’s because THIS is Santa Clausthings have been ridiculous. In addition to working (which would be enough to keep anyone else busy), December has been filled with Christmas shopping, cookies, and lots of working out to make up for aforementioned cookies. I had the Vegan Ladies of LA over for a Vegan Cookie Exchange, which was a tremendous amount of fun. It’s been a real whirlwind of activities, and here we are on Christmas Eve. I just mixed up a very special recipe that I am going to share with you all: Coquito. As I understand it, Coquito is a Puerto Rican egg-nog-ish drink made with plenty of coconut milk. My mom makes it at Christmas, and it’s always delicious. Coquito is best served chilled over ice (this is to mask the taste of the rum), with a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg. It is literally like Christmas exploded in your mouth, so you’d better enjoy, or you may find yourself the center of the classic Christmas Carol Trope.

New Pancakes On the Block
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one pumpkin pancake recipe to rule them all

I already have one pumpkin pancake recipe, and it’s pretty good: rich, pumpkin-y, not too sweet. It uses molasses, which at the time of recipe-creation, was something I always had lying around the house. Now I’ve finally managed to clear the multiple bottles of molasses out of my cupboard, but that doesn’t mean that the pumpkin pancakes need to stop. So, I came up with a new and improved pumpkin pancake recipe. These pancakes are amazing. They’re light and fluffy while still providing the intoxicating tastes and aromas that pumpkin has to offer.

This recipe makes an obscene number of pancakes, 20 to be exact, but that gives me an opportunity to share my perfect pancake freezing tip. Let the pancakes cool to room temperature, and then cut squares of parchment paper, a little smaller than the pancakes themselves. Layer a pancake, a piece of parchment paper, and another pancake. Keep going until you have a stack tall enough that it fits snugly inside of a plastic bag, and slip them inside. When it’s time to reheat, there will be no frozen stuck-together pancakes.  Also, you can reuse the pastic bags as often as you like, since they’re just pancake-freezing vessles now.

Dear Mr. Wynn
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Dear Mr. Wynn, thank you, thank you, thank you for being the first casino in Las Vegas to offer Veganoptions at every restaurant. While I have to request to see a copy of the vegan menu, instead of seeing it prominently displayed next to the main menu, I do very much appreciate having an actual booklet to look at. Also, I very much enjoyed your Money Train Monopoly slot machines, and as a players club member and winner of $30, I will be back.

I’m sure that many of you have heard that the Wynn offers vegan options now. Most of it has to do with Steve Wynn going vegan. I wanted at least one fancy dinner while we were in Vegas, so I dragged my boyfriend all the way to the end of the strip. It was a little difficult to figure out where we wanted to have dinner, because none of the vegan menus are available online.  Our first strop was Stratta, an Italian restaurant on the casino floor. They had a vegan pasta dish and a cheeseless pizza option, which wasn’t all that exciting considering our lunch the day before.

Vegan in Vegas
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A few weeks ago, we spent a long weekend in Las Vegas, which remains one of my favorite places in the entire world. The first time I went to Vegas after going Vegan, I was apprehensive. I was worried that there wouldn’t be anything to eat, and did a lot of research into the matter. That first trip went fairly well, but I stuck mostly to pasta with tomato sauce (and a side trip to Ronald’s Donuts). This past trip, I had the advantage of safety in numbers. Since my boyfriend and I are both vegan, we got to share the challenge and adventure of feeding ourselves in a city known for it’s all-you-can-eat shrimp cocktail. The following is meant to serve as a brief guide of some places that we managed to find food.

Thanksgiving Rambling
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Well, we managed to pull off a fully vegan Thanksgiving without giving anyone food poisoning. Oh that’sright, that’s because I got the food poisoning out of the way before the holiday. I was doubled over in pain, cursing that spinach salad and Mrs. Winston for selling it to me. My boyfriend came through though, cleaning the house and taking care of a lot of the prep. By Thursday, I was hobbling around and the two of us got dinner on the table.

Our sensible Thanksgiving dinner consisted of “turkey” seitan, mashed potatoes, miso gravy, baked carrots, green beans almondine, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I tried to up the healthy vegetable factor with the green beans and carrots and opted out of a sugary sweet potato dish. My boyfriend’s seitan was absolutely amazing. It managed to taste hearty and tangy, almost like meat, without being overpowering or having too realistic of a texture. The meal was rounded out with an apple tart, tofu pumpkin pie, and vegan apple pie. It was delicious, and no creatures were harmed in the making. Most of these recipes have been posted already, but here is the lone holdout: my delicious cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Sauce

2 c. fresh cranberries

1 c. water

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. fresh squeezed orange juice

1 TBSP orange zest

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

Combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When it begins to boil, add the cranberries, orange zest, and spices. Cook for about 4 minutes, until the berries start to burst. Stir in the orange juice and cook a little longer, until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat and chill. The cranberry sauce will become about twice as thick as it cools.