Archive for January, 2011
Apple Chimicheesecake
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Anyone who knew me between the years 2000 and 2004 can probably attest to my love of Applebees, specifically their apple chimi-cheesecakes. Let me break it down for you: they take about half a pound of cheesecake filling, toss in some glazed apples (you know, to make it healthy), wrap it up in a giant flour tortilla, deep fry it, and roll it in cinnamon. You may think that they stop there, but you still have to add a scoop of full-fat vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. I would estimate that it comes in at 1000 calories, safely.

As a complete tangent, I was just looking up nutritional information online. Applebees has discontinued the chimicheesecake ( a responsible choice IMHO). However, this bullshit site has a user-submitted recipe that they claim comes in at 140 calories. I was so infuriated that I created an account to respond. I mean, come on, a tortilla has 120 all by itself.

Anyway, I made a vegan version that is much lighter, but still not something I would reccomend for the faint of heart. We had it on New Years Eve and paired it with When Harry Met Sally (which was actually a brilliant combination).

Chocolate Chip Cookies!
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A conundrum exists when it comes to chocolate chip cookies at Christmas. On the one hand, they are delicious and always seem to disappear faster than the other cookies. On the other hand, they don’t feel very festive or Christmas-y. Every year, I assemble a Christmas Cookie tray and fill it with different types of Christmas cookies, and every year without fail, chocolate chip makes the cut.  In a way, they are my fallback cookie, in case all of the other cookies come out tasting like dirt. They’re also easily the most accessible of all vegan cookies, because everybody is used to them. A chocolate chip vegan cookie is a must easier sell than, say, a pressed spritz cookie with naturally-colored vegan sprinkles. With chocolate chip, there’s no explaining or hard sell; people just pick them up and munch away.

For these particular chip-filled little darlings, I veganized a reduced-fat recipe by substituting egg replacer for the egg whites (yes, the original recipe uses egg-whites) and using earth balance instead of butter. Helpful hint: melting the butter before using it allows you to use less. It’s some kind of miracle of science or physics that allows you to cut the fat in the recipe, which is a good thing because you will want to eat twice as many of these cookies. They are seriously that good.

Vegan Taquería
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Oh my. When the special Holiday menu went up in place of the vegan taquería sign at the Venice Whole Foods, I was worried that it had gone away forever. But, the food never seems to have disappeared and the sign is back. If you are looking for a place to enjoy delicious vegan Mexican food, then you need look no further than that Venice Whole Foods. They have nachos, tacos, and burritos, all made with a blend of gardein vegan “chicken” and peppers.

My nachos consisted of tofu, black beans, daiya, salsa, and guacamole, and they were AMAZING. At 7.99 a pound, they seemed a little pricey, but I’m getting so used to Whole Food’s pricing structure that I don’t even bat an eyelash at this point. I think we can all agree that Nachos are one of the few foods that are always better when someone else makes them.  So, I’m going to urge you to run, not walk, to Whole Foods and order up some vegan nachos, tacos, or quesadillas, because if they continue to sell, Whole Foods will continue to offer them, and I can rest easily knowing I have a vegan nacho hookup whenever I need it.

Oddly-Shaped Samosas
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Without really meaning to, I turned last week into kind of a curry-themed a purse and a pocket week. We started off with delicious samosas and rounded out our week with a Thai coconut curry(more on that later).  Having eaten my fair share of samosas, I decided that I was obviously qualified to make my own. Rather than rolling out my own dough, decided to take the shortcut of using frozen pastry squares. I did a minimal amount of internet research to put together this recipe, which worked out well as far as the potato filling was concerned. However, I really wish that I had watched some sort of youtube video on how to assemble the little bastards. I started my first samosa will a rolled-over architecture that ended up pushing filling everywhere. Then, my boyfriend modified the technique by creating little pastry purses. They held up better during the stuffing process, but opened up in a very strange way during baking. Luckily, they were absolutely delicious, so they didn’t last long enough for me to really notice how weird they looked. That realization only came a few minutes ago while I was reviewing my pictures.

It’s worth a tangent to discuss the accompanying mango chutney. I’ve heard of mango chutney on all the fancy-pants food network shows, as it seems that chefs are always serving things like “spicy habenero elephant tusk…. with mango chutney” or “tandoori fois gras….with mango chutney” or “roasted duck liver with shaved fennel…..and (wait for it) mango chutney!”. They made it seem like a big deal, so when I was at the Samosa House grocery section and saw a jar of this most-precious condiment, I snapped it up. Now, sometimes I build foods up in my head so much that they are sure to be disappointing when I finally try them. Mango chutney was not one of those foods. It was sweet and refreshing and delicious. I actually could have kicked up the spice a notch on my samosas, because the mango chutney possesses some kind of mystical g cooling property.