Tuesday, October 27, 2009

For Daiya: A Collage of Love

I have a new love. Her name is Daiya and she is beautiful. She is vegan cheese, and I love her. She provides me with delicious vegan pizza and macaroni and cheese that tastes even better (because it tastes like actual cheese and not powdery nonsense) than silly KD (even though we all loved KD before we met Daiya).

Here is a collage in the form of a recipe that Daiya took over and made sacred. The recipe is by the brilliant FoodEater and can be found on the blog To Live and Eat in L.A. I modified the recipe in the following ways: I put 2 tbsp of Earth Balance, 2 tbsp of whole-wheat flour, 1 3/4 cup soy milk, and 4 slices of regular Tofurky. The next time around, I might adjust the ratio of pasta to cheese and increase the amount of pasta (or slightly--no, no reducing the cheese. Muahaha).

Enjoy :)

Vegan in Suburbia

P.S. Behold the STRINGS of vegan cheese!!!! (I'm not normally one to use multiple exclamation marks. Please bear that in mind.) And behold my drunken photo skills on the last photo. Ha ha. Drunk on cheese.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Viva Granola + Daiya + Pizza in My Tummy = Love

Let the photos speak for themselves. Tasty vegan cheese is finally here.

So it was a simple recipe. I followed Betty Crocker's (haha. My mom has this ancient book with really simple recipes, most of which are easily veganized and sound scrumptious) recipe for whole-wheat crust, threw on some canned tomato sauce (how un-Italian of me, I know) left over in the fridge, sliced mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and Daiya Italian Shreds, and voilà: Heaven in pizza form. (Next time, I'm totally putting more cheese.)

By the way, I got my wicked fix of cheese from Viva Granola Vegan Store. Check 'em out!


Vegan in Suburbia

Splashing Photos onto a Page with a Few Accompanying Words

Hi, friends!

I hope everyone is having a pleasant week so far. I've been somewhat slaving over an essay that I submitted today (yay!) in my Petrarch and Boccaccio course, so I haven't had time to blog or do anything other than the usual utilitarian stuff on my computer. But here I am, just peeking in to do what the blog title states: splash some photos onto my blog! I just realized that it's 12:30 a.m. (where did the night go?), and after an almost 12-hour day at school, it's probably best I hit the sack sooner rather than later.

So here are photos with brief descriptions :) I guess we could call this a food diary of sorts....

And I ask your forgiveness for my nonexistent photo-taking skills and my ineptitude at figuring out a decent layout for this barrage of photos. Blogger seems to have changed the way photos are added to blog posts and if it was annoying before, it's even more so now. Well, at least Blogger provides me with a free spot for photos....

Fat-free whole-wheat pancakes by Happy Herbivore

(They have an orange tint because I added about a cup of puréed pumpkin to the batter.)
Maple-kissed Pumpkin Muffins by Happy Herbivore, moist and simply lovely. (Make the pumpkin variation of the sweet-potato recipe.)


Individual Pumpkin Muffin, about to be kissed by me!

Maple-kissed Sweet Potato Muffins by Happy Herbivore. These guys smell suspiciously of bran muffins, and I am in love with this characteristic of them. (As a kid, I somehow loved bran--I've always been special--and would relish eating the muffin top off bran muffins my mum used to buy. This muffin allows me to reminisce, even though it's a lot healthier than the bran muffins my mum and I used to consume.)

Two mildly different angles for this fabulous Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I made this for Thanksgiving at Matt's house. It pleased me that his family went crazy for it, because no one in my family likes pumpkin pie. It's quite satisfying to bake something with seasonal ingredients, so I guess that's the main reason why I baked this, even though I'm not crazy about pumpkin pie myself. For tradition's sake (tradition set by whom?), it's worth it. And darned good with vanilla ice cream, even though all the supermarkets either didn't carry or were out of soy ice cream. Weird! That never happens....

Maritsa and her family had recently ordered a whole bunch of Indian food, and she was telling me that they ordered vegetarian shahi korma at my favourite (Indian) restaurant ever, Pushap. I tried Indian food for the first time when I went vegan six years ago, so I'd never tried shahi korma before because of the cream it contains. So, Maritsa, brilliant as she is and confident in my optimism (maybe not in my ability, though) to veganize dishes, challenged me to create a vegan shahi korma dish. So together we did some research and found zero results for vegan recipes. So I gathered inspiration and compared and combined recipes from a few sites, mixed and matched some cream replacements--namely, plain soy yogourt and a can of coconut milk--, used veggie broth, added soy curls for extra protein (and to mimic whatever meats can be in shahi korma. Gross that they use lamb), and added some baguette bread for good measure. It was ridiculously tasty, and although my sister said it did not taste like "the real thing," she went for seconds, and that's as good a compliment as any. Oh, and please excuse the photos. It doesn't make for a very appetizing-looking dish, but trust me--it is.

These doughnuts were godly. They are Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Doughnuts by VeganYogini. I used Cocoa Camino Dark Chocolate with Orange Zest. They were so good that my uncle insisted on taking three home. And he did. In the first photo they are naked; in the second, they are dressed in pumpkin glaze.

Scrumptious Mushroom Stroganoff à la Happy Herbivore. It didn't last very long at Thanksgiving among the vegans.

Maple-glazed Veggies by Happy Herbivore (I used butternut squash and soy curls). This was awesome--simply said! I'd never had butternut squash before, and I have to say that this was a very pleasant way to eat it.

It's hard to tell by looking at it like this, but this Apple-Pecan Crumble was splendid. The recipe is in The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.
This is my Thanksgiving plate that I didn't think I would finish. And this is proof that I am better as a cook or baker than as attractive dining company. Hmm.

 My very content vegan lover (he is wearing his glorious Battlestar Galactica t-shirt--that I have as well! Frakking right!) and, in the next photo, a happy veggie sister with a sneaky-looking me.

And, last but not least...

I finished my plate! (and had a wicked workout the following day)

Thanks for reading :) and have a pleasant rest of the week,

Vegan in Suburbia

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Circle of Life

Whoa--two posts two days in a row? What's gotten into me? No, I haven't been cooking more; I've just been documenting my cooking more often.

It sounds like I'm going to be talking about something very deep: "The Circle of Life"? Ah, yes... The circle of life of a banana in my house, that is. Here's something worth knowing about me (yeah, right): I detest bananas. I have in the past, but I will never be seen eating a raw banana. I cannot stand the texture of it in my mouth. The fact is, however, that I eat bananas every single day--sometimes two a day! I put half a banana in my oatmeal every morning, and for a late-night snack, I often make a PB & J sandwich with banana slices, or I make what I call "Banana Sandwiches" with banana slices as the outer part and peanut butter or apple butter or vegan chocolate spread as the luscious inside. Mmm...

Where does the circle of life come in? Well, bananas to be used in banana sandwiches and oatmeal last only as long as they have scant brown spots. When they get mushy, not even my oatmeal gets to enjoy their presence. The end of the life cycle of bananas results in Banana Heaven: BANANA BREAD!

Welcome to Banana Heaven :)

I've been using the banana bread recipe off of vegcooking.com since 2005, but I have tweaked it to be lower in sugar and higher in tastiness. Simple enough, no? (Recipe follows the photographs.)

Walnut banana bread (above and below), with a vagrant raisin sitting inMmmm... Can you see the layer of peanut butter in the middle?Peanut butter and raisin banana bread, above and belowI saw Brandy the Dog lurking behind my photos, so here she joins in the fun.Vegan banana breads become friends despite their differences.

Here it is:

Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Makes 1 banana loaf

(Approximate calorie count: 183 calories per 1/12 banana bread, excluding raisins)

3/4 cup firm silken tofu (I usually make 2 banana loaves at a time and use up the entire Mori-Nu package)
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (I use about 1 and a half medium-sized bananas)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
splash of non-dairy milk, if needed
a handful of raisins (optional)
2 tbsp. natural peanut butter (i.e. the kind that has "peanuts" as its only ingredient), liquidy

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.
2) Grease the loaf pan with vegan margarine or oil.
3) Blend the tofu in a blender until smooth and creamy. You can whip it, too, if you don't feel like dirtying a blender.
4) Pour the tofu into a large bowl and beat in the sugar, oil, vanilla, and bananas.
5) In the same bowl or a different bowl (can you tell I don't like washing dishes?), mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
6) Beat everything together; then fold in the raisins. If the batter looks too dry, add a splash of non-dairy milk and mix it in.
7) Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the loaf pan.
8) Drizzle the peanut butter over this bottom layer. Spread it gently with the back of a spatula or spoon.
9) Gently drop the rest of the batter over the peanut butter so that it is mostly covered.
10) Bake for 50-60 minutes. Make sure to do a toothpick test before removing it from the oven.

Enjoy :)

Vegan in Suburbia

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Early October Dinner and German Apple Cake


I'm in the midst of doing research prior to writing an essay on Francesco Petrarca's Canzoniere, so this post will have to be short and sweet. I will actually keep to my word, because "I'll keep it short and sweet" is usually followed by a novel. (It's true.)

Last night, before going to bed, I received an e-mailed newsletter from the lovely Susan Lowry at veganoccasions.com, talking about a new recipe on her web site. Whenever I scan a new recipe, the first thing I do is take a mental inventory of which of the ingredients I have on hand. For ths recipe, I had everything, and it was an Indian recipe with lots of spices, so the fact that I had every ingredient was, well, freakin' awesome. I had to make a few tweaks, though, because I had lots of cauliflower and no black beans, so I replaced the original broccoli with cauliflower and used cannellini beans in the place of black beans.

As an accompanying side dish, I made a salad with my Nonna's bitter lettuce from her garden with a Maple Sesame dressing from Vegan Yumyum, which I received in the mail on Tuesday. I didn't take photos because this salad of tomatoes, bean sprouts, black olives, and sesame seeds really looked like any other, but I promise you that it was delicious.

I whipped all of this up especially because my Mum had worked outside all day, uprooting flowers in the garden in preparation for winter, and she was tired; my sister would be getting home only at 7 after a dentist appointment after work, so I was eager to let them do the least work possible (though I did insist she do the dishes).

So, without further ado, the recipes and the photos.

Broccoli black bean and rice curry
(I served mine atop prepared millet I had in the freezer)
Vegan Yumyum's web site (for info on where to get the book--the recipe is not listed there. Sorry!)
And, as a bonus, since I had no time the other day to document my creation for the Vegan Bake Sale at Concordia on Wednesday, here are photos of very pretty apple cakes. The recipe is by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and is in her cookbook The Joy of Vegan Baking. The recipe is so simple that after making it once, I memorized the recipe. And it's so deliciously simple that I've made this cake six times since I went apple-picking two weeks ago. So, feast your eyes on German Apple Cake. (I made two, and you'll notice that the circular one is darker on one side: that's because my Mum--well, who doesn't?--prefers the cake with extra brown sugar and cinnamon on top.)

Have a great weekend and happy Thanksgiving long weekend to all you Canadians ;)

Vegan in Suburbia

P.S. Short and sweet?! Oi, I fail!