Sunday, September 30, 2007

Seitan Pot Pie


I have been lusting after pot pies ever since I saw the one that Isa posted at the PPK the other day. Hers is way prettier than mine, though. I have never made a pot pie before, so this was a bit of an experiment. I think it came out really yummy.

When I went to the market they had asparagus on sale for $1 a bunch. In hindsight, I should have bought a ton of it and just froze it, but I wasn't thinking ahead, I guess. Honestly, I would never have thought to add asparagus to a pot pie if it hadn't been on sale like that. Damn, was that a good idea, though. Seriously, try it. You won't be sorry. Unless you don't add it and then you will be sorry and you'll be sitting there dreaming of little green spears that are so elusive to your tummy. Really, it's going to be this big thing, so just save yourself the heartache and do it.

The other veggies, you can add whatever you like as long as you end up with 1 1/2 - 2 cups of veggies. I just bought a bag of organic frozen mixed veggies that had corn, carrots, peas and green beans. I really wanted peas in the pot pie and there wasn't anymore fresh corn either. That actually just made it a bit faster and easier.

I also made my own seitan for this. I added fresh oregano and sage to it which made for a very tasty seitan. I actually think this is the best batch that I've ever made. I ended up letting it sit in the broth for about 4 hours after it was done cooking since I was making all sorts of things. I think it was something about letting it sit there for so long that really infused it with flavor. I kept eating pieces of it as I was chopping it up. mmmmmmm!

My whole apartment smelled like sage while this was cooking. It was amazing. Roman immediately commented on the awesome smell when he walked into my apartment for dinner. He loved the pot pie and even had seconds! This is especially notable because there are mushrooms in this. hehe. Roman hates mushrooms, but sometimes I don't tell him when I put them in things to see if he notices. He sure didn't with this pot pie. I feel like a little vegan ninja sneaking in the fungi.

Seitan Pot Pie

3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 - 3/4 cup water

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped (I used baby portabello)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup soy milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas, green beans)
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
1 cup seitan
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Preheat oven to 375.

Sift together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the canola oil and mix with a fork. You're going to want to add the water a little bit at a time, mixing between additions. I had to add almost 3/4 cup of water, but maybe you will be able to get away with less. I was using whole wheat pastry flour and I suspect that flour is thirstier than plain old white flour. Once you get a nice dough together, divide in half. Roll out the first half of the dough and place it into a pie dish. I used a 9" pie plate. Poke some holes in the bottom with a fork and bake it for 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, chop up your seitan into little pieces that are about the size of dimes if they were cubes.

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about 5-7 minutes, or until transluscent. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute for another 3 minutes or so.

Add the flour and stir it with a wooden spoon constantly for about 2 minutes. Using a metal or plastic spoon sometimes adds a weird taste, so wooden is your best bet. Add the soy milk and stir until everything is combined and not lumpy. Now add the vegetable broth and stir some more! Yay stirring!


Add the veggies, seitan and herbs to a large bowl. Now add the gravy and stir some more. Pour the veggie mixture into the pie crust that you just baked. Now roll out the top part of the crust and put it on top. Seal it up however you want. Make sure to cut some little slices in the top so that the steam can escape while it's cooking. Otherwise you'll have a big mess on your hands.

Bake for 25 minutes. Makes 6 servings.


Rustic Pink Granny Tart

That's right, I cut up some pink grannies and made a dessert out of them. Grannies are vegan, right? I almost called this recipe "Roman's Nemesis Tart". He hates apples for some reason. Though he'll drink apple cider, which doesn't really make sense to me. This is one that he didn't taste test for me.

I think I actually made this just so I had an excuse to buy the awesome vegan whipped cream at the market.

I actually love to make apple pies, apple dumplings, apple tarts, etc. I don't make them nearly enough, though because an entire pie is way too much for just one person. A friend of mine has graciously offered to take half of this off of my hands, so excitedly I went to the market and started buying tons of apples. Well, okay, only if 8 is a ton.

Pink Lady apples are my absolute favorites, but I usually make pies and tarts out of Granny Smiths. I decided to mix it up a bit this time. If you've never had a Pink Lady, you are sad inside and don't even know it. Seriously, inside of you is a tiny elf using up all of his hankies. All you have to do to relieve his suffering is eat one of these apples. Now that you know about him, you really should do something about it.

These are sweet and tart like the Granny Smith, but they lean slightly more to the sweet side like the Granny Smith lean slightly more to the tart side. It's a great pairing, especially since I just realized that both kinds of apples have something female in the name. Damn, I even make lesbian desserts. I should get some sort of rainbow star for that or something.


Rustic Pink Granny Tart

1 1/2 Cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 Cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons almond meal (or whatever nut you want to use. Hazelnuts would be best)
1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine (like Earth Balance), chilled and cut into dime sized cube-like pieces
2 Tablespoons molasses or maple syrup
2 Tablespoons hazelnut oil (or just add more butter)
a few Tablespoons water to moisten

5 apples - use granny smith or pink lady or a combination of the two
4 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon margarine

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, whole wheat flour, ground almonds, ground flax seeds, baking powder and salt. Cut the margarine into the flour using a pastry blender or a large fork. When the mixture starts to form together and make pea-sized clumps, add the molasses and hazelnut oil. Mix it in until it's combined.

You might want to add a bit of water to moisten the dough a bit more. It really depends on what kind of flour you're using if you're going to need to do this step or not. Whole wheat flour is a little bit drier. I think I used 2-3 Tablespoons. Add the water one tablespoon at a time so that you don't add too much.

Form the dough into a disc and put it onto a sheet of parchment paper. Roll it out until it looks like it's big enough to put the apples on and still have some dough left on the edges to fold over.

Cut the apples into pieces and put them in a big bowl. Stir the maple syrup and cinnamon into the bowl until it's all mixed up. Put the apple mixture into the center of your dough. Dot with some margarine and fold up the sides of the dough. Make sure that you leave a hole in the middle, though!

Move the tart and the parchment paper to a cookie sheet or other oven-safe dish. Bake for 35-45 minutes. This will make 8 servings.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pumpkin Hazelnut Soup


So I bought this adorable little pumpkin a week or so ago. You can only imagine the squeel of glee when I saw pumpkins at the market. That's right - glee. There is no other word to describe it without sounding like Donna Reed. But hey, whatever, I gots me a pumpkin! I had it sitting out in a place of honor for a bit. Every day or so, I'd turn it around while I was gazing lovingly at it trying to figure out what to make with it.

Today my pumpkin turned itself into pumpkin soup, though I'm not sure if it will turn back after midnight or not. The weather in Vancouver has been awesomely fall-like for the past few days, which only made me more excited to make this tonight.


I've been eyeing some of the different oils at the market and decided that hazelnut would be an excellent compliment to pumpkin. If you don't want to buy hazelnut oil then you can skip that part of the soup. I'm going to try and find some other things to cook with it now that I have a whole bottle.


Pumpkin Hazelnut Soup

1 adorable pie pumpkin
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion (yellow or white), chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped sage
4 Cups vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons hazelnut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the top off of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into about 8 large pieces and make sure to cut the stringy stuff off. Lightly coat the pumpkin with canola oil and bake in a 350F oven for about 45 minutes. Let the pumpkin cool and then cut the skin off and cut it into little cubes.

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5-7 minutes. You want it to get translucent and just start to caramelize. Add the grated ginger and grated carrot. Stir and cook for another minute. Add the oregano and sage and cook for another 2 minutes or so.

Add the vegetable broth and stir it up. Now add the pumpkin cubes. Let everything cook until it's just warmed, not boiling. At this point if you have an immersion blender, stick it in the pot and blend everything up. If not, you can use a regular blender or food processor to blend the soup until it's smooth. After it's blended, put it back in the pot if you took it out to blend it. Add the tahini and stir until it's completely combined. Now let the soup simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Don't let it boil, but it's okay if it gets close to boiling. Drizzle the hazelnut oil on top and stir that in as well. Let the soup cook for another minute or two just to let the flavors mix together. Add a little bit of salt and pepper if you want to.

I garnished mine with some pumpkin seeds that I had already, but I'm going to roast the ones from this pumpkin and eat them later on this week.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tuna? Tuno!

Apparently there has been this faux tuna salad recipe going around. Like a virus, baby. A yummy, vegan virus. Lindy Loo is the one that drew my attention to this fabulous recipe. She got it from Compassionate Action for Animals.


I must admit that I was skeptical. Even after reading all of the comments of people trying this, I was thinking there was no way that a bunch of mashed up chick peas would end up tasting like tuna salad. Well, I'll be damned if it doesn't, though. I had one of my coworkers taste this for me to get a frame of reference. He said it tastes like tuna salad to him, and I think he was pleasantly surprised as well. It's always fun when you turn to the guy that sits next to you and ask him to please try your crazy vegan tuno. hehe

Rock on, Lindy Loo for introducing this into my life. It was sooo good. I ate it on some pumpkin seed crackers for dinner and then put it in pitas with some sprouts for lunch the next day. I wish I had doubled the recipe so I could have gotten a few more servings out of it.

One note - some people were saying that kelp powder was kinda icky, so not having used that before, I went with dulse flakes. I haven't cooked with kelp powder before, but if you like it and you have some, then use that. You can could even get all crazy and add some kelp powder and dulse flakes if you like. I think most people left that ingredient out entirely, so don't worry if you can't find that in the store or don't want to spend the money on it. One thing I like to do with dulse flakes is mix them with black and white sesame seeds and a bit of salt to make a yummy sprinkle for stir fry. So if you buy that, there are other things you can do with it. :D

Tuno Salad

1(15 oz.) can chick-peas, drained (or 1.5 c. cooked)
1/8 - 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (I agree that the original recipe calls for way too much mayo. I only used about 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) for mine, so just add it a spoonful at a time until you've added however much works for you.)
1/3 cup minced celery
2.5 Tablespoons minced dill pickle or kosher dill relish (about 1 pickle-slice, give or take)
1/2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 green onion, chopped
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon kelp powder or dulse flakes
pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, mash the chick-peas coarsely with a fork. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Eat on crackers or on a sandwich.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Seattle Yummies


I love Seattle. I wish that I went to visit my friends down there more often. Somehow the weather is always perfect and the day just flows so nicely. For the middle of September, the high 60s/low 70s of the day was purely fantastic. There was a nice breeze from time to time, cooling things off a bit and adding a bit of a feeling of fall in the air.


I had lunch at Pizza Pi with 4 friends, one of which is one of the very few vegetarians that I know. We had fun rearranging the letter magnets on the wall to spell out ridiculous phrases while we waited for our food. The food came rather quickly, even though we all ordered something different.


Everyone either had a calzone, except Roman who had a pizza. I really enjoyed my calzone filled with faux Canadian bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, green olives and black olives. Roman's pizza had veggie pepperoni (which he ordered using finger quotes when he asked for the pepperoni, much to my amusement), green peppers and jalapenos. I forget what everyone else had, but we all pretty much cleaned our plates. I had never had vegan pizza out before, so this was really rather exciting for me.



After lunch we were wanting to sit and have some tea and maybe something sweet so we headed over to Might-O Donuts. I was thrilled because I had wanted to go there anyway, even if it was just to grab an assortment of donuts to go.


The day being so beautiful, we sat at a table out on the sidewalk and enjoyed petting the dogs walking by and shoving the yummy, sugary goodness in our mouths. They were pretty much cleaned out except for a few flavors when we got there. There were a bunch cooling in the back that were too hot to put out yet, but we got to watch them make some cute little chocolate mini donuts.


We ordered a good ol' glazed, mini cinnamon sugar, mini pumpkin, chocolate glazed cake, and a strawberry shortcake. I was going to get some more to take with me for later, but at the last minute I decided not to because I really wanted some flavors that we hadn't already had and they were still being made or cooling. Next trip I'll be sure to get some to bring back to Vancouver.

This isn't food, but I just had to include a picture of my friend's dog, Squid. He was so worn out after a full day of playing and then a walk around Green Lake. He wanted to play more, but he didn't even have enough energy to get up at this point.


Friday, September 14, 2007

The Foundation of Fruit Chips


Tonight Roman and I went to Foundation for dinner. It's the first time that I've been to one of the veg*n restaurants outside of Commercial Drive. Man, oh man, am I glad we went. My bell is still quite pleasantly full from the awesome yumminess. I must apologize for the picture quality, though. I had to use my phone camera for all of the pictures in this post.


Foundation is this funky little joint at Main and 7th. The outside is painted this bright green color and "Foundation" is written in a pseudo-graffiti style. The side of the building as well as all of the walls on the inside are decorated with large quotes in black lettering on a stark white background. They're all nifty stuff about animal rights, human rights and stuff that awesome famous people have said. Stuff that inspires and makes you feel good for trying to make a difference in the world. The tables and chairs were all a mis-mosh of styles and textures. Our table was an old 50s style table with a formica top and chrome banding around the sides. It gave the place a nice, comfortable feel.

Almost everything on the menu is vegan. I think that only the nachos with their cheese is the only non-vegan item, actually. I wish I had remembered to write down the names of the food we had. I'll just have to describe it instead. Roman had a dish with sesame tofu, broccoli, spinach and rice. I tried his tofu and hot damn! was that tasty. I'm not sure what they marinated it in (tamari and some other yummies, I think), but it was out of this world.

Roman placed the wine and the candle around his bowl to help add ambiance.

I had this great assortment of veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini and lots more) on a bed of quinoa and spinach with a spicy coconut sauce. mmmm!


The only downside of the evening was their lack of pie. I was so disappointed to hear that they were out. Hopefully next time they'll have some. :D I was tempted to get some of the dark chocolate fondue with fruit, but I was already so full that I had to get a box for my extras.

Tomorrow we're heading down to Seattle to visit some friends and hoping to hit Pizza Pi and Mighty-O Donuts. I'm salivating just thinking about it. I don't typically eat out this much, but who can resist the vegan restaurants, I ask you. No one who isn't crazy, that's who! Err... no, that would rule me out... errr... yeah... oh, look, shiny!


The vending machine at work sometimes has apple chips in it. I don't get them every day, but I do get quite excited to have a bag of apple chips after lunch. This week, something very weird got added. Being the adventurous type, I decided that I would try this very odd little bag of vending machine wonder.

Behold! The Peach Mango Paradise Chip!


Don't be fooled... they're this weird mixture of rice, potato and fruit. Instead of salt on the outside there's a fine dusting of fructose. It's really not what you'd expect. They look like carrot chips to me, so I kept being surprised when they weren't salty and earthy. Instead they're just slightly sweet, but quite flavorful. I expected them to have the texture of an apple chip or something, but they were much more like one of those Lays Stackers potato chip thingies. Curiouser and curiouser. I liked them, though.

I wasn't sure how well these would go over, but both rows of them in the vending machine were only about two-thirds full.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Matzoh Ball Soup

I just love this crazy old stock pot that came with my apartment.

It's still very warm here. This is my first fall in Canada and I can't believe that halfway through September, it still feels like summer during the day. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the sunshine, but I really, really look forward to fall and winter. There is just something so soothing about spending a weekend inside where it's warm and cozy with a pot of soup simmering on the stove or something wonderful baking in the oven. All the while, the kitties are being all snuggly and your Earl Grey just feels like a hug. Yeah... I'm jonesing for fall in a big way.

I bought a pumpkin at the market the other day! A small, organic pie pumpkin. I was looking forward to it all week last week. I even called the store on Friday morning to make sure that they'd be open late enough that I could go after work that day. I just didn't want to wait to bring that cute little pumpkin home. While I'm deciding what to cook with it (so many options!), it's sitting in a little window nook thingie between my kitchen and living room. (Don't worry, pumpkin pictures are in your future!)

I spent the entire of last weekend cooking. Saturday was the day of the matzoh ball soup. Yum! I wasn't sick, but a friend of mine was, so I decided that she needed a shot of vitamin Awesome. Whenever I don't feel good, I start craving this soup. I don't know what it is about the little matzoh balls that make me feel better, but somehow it does. Since Sara Ramirez refuses to show up at my house to cuddle me better, I guess I have to make do with soup for the time being.

I made the veggie broth from scratch, loosely based on the Golden Vegetable Broth recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. You can really add whatever veggies you want to make the broth. Add a bunch of different herbs if you want a specific flavor. I had some sage leaves leftover from something I made last week as well as a little bit of thyme and some random mushroom and celery bits that I also added. Just be sure not to add too many carrots (like I did last time) or you'll get a very sweet tasting broth. Unless, of course, you like that sort of thing. Another idea is to add some garlic, especially if you're making this because you're sick. I think you can never have too much garlic, but maybe that's why I have such a hard time getting a date...

Golden Vegetable Broth

2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large onion, skin included, roughly chopped
3 whole clove garlic, crushed
2 leaks, cleaned well androughly chopped
handul (a loosely packed cup) fresh parsley
handful (a loosely packed cup) fresh dill
1 Tablespoon olive oil
9 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

In a large stockpot, heat the oil. Saute onions for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for an hour and a half, uncovered. (Sometimes I'll let mine simmer for up to 3 hours)

Let broth cool till it's an ok temperature to handle. Strain into a large bowl with cheese cloth or a very fine mesh strainer. Press the vegetables with a gentle but firm pressure to get all the moisture out.

This will keep in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

(Originally posted at and printed in Vegan with a Vengeance.)

Look how cute my little matzohs are. Awwwww.

I also used Isa's Matzoh Ball Soup recipe from VWAV. The only thing I do differently is add a ton of extra veggies and herbs to the soup. This time I used carrots, celery, parsley, dill, shitake mushrooms and garlic. Sometimes I add peas or greens or whatever looks like it would be yummy dancing around in the soup with the matzoh balls.


Sunday, September 9, 2007

Vanilla Rosewater Halvah Cookies & Chickpea Broccoli Casserole

Okay, so it's not really halvah in the center, but I needed a good name for these cookies that didn't sound like I had put sesame seeds on top or something.


These look all cracked out, but they're soooo good. I got the idea after seeing Bazu's cookies that she got the idea from Damn Tasty Vegan. The other pictures are way better than mine, but since I was sort of experimenting, I think it's okay that they turned out a little wacky. Substituting the peanut butter for tahini made some rich freaking cookies, but in a way that's good because I can't really eat more than a couple at a time.

Next time I make these, I need to add more flour. I think that's why mine are all weird shaped. I sorta realized that I needed to add more flour after trying to shape the first one, but I was tired and didn't feel like remixing the dough, so I figured that it would give me an excuse to make these again. Any excuse to make cookies is a good one.


Piper was watching me make the cookies from on top the fridge. It was so cute, she was like this entire time! I thought for sure she'd jump down to try and help, but she stayed up there and supervised.

If you make these, try adding about another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour. Just add a little at a time until the dough feels like dough and isn't quite so sticky. Also, I added the vanilla bean just because I wanted a reason to use one. You don't have to put that in yours. I just really love the nuances you can get from fresh vanilla. You could also leave out the rosewater if you want. I just like the smell.

Vanilla Rosewater Halvah Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 cup vanilla cookies, crushed to a powder or just use this much extra flour (I used Nature's Path Vanilla Animal Cookies)
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean pod (optional)

1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
3/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup chopped pistachios
1 teaspoon rosewater (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, add the flour, cookie crumbs and baking soda. Stir it until they're all friendly and stuff. In another, larger bowl add the margarine, sugar and brown sugar. Beat that together just until it's combined. Add the soymilk and vanilla extract and beat that sucker for a minute or two so that everything gets mixed and just starts to get a little fluffy. Scrape the vanilla bean pod into the bowl and stir just enough to get the cute little vanilla specks all mixed in. Fold the dry stuff into the wet until everything's combined.

Make sure your dough is like dough and not sticky when you put in your hand and try to flatten it. If it is, add more flour!

To make the filling, beat the powdered sugar, tahini and rosewater until you feel like the sugar has been incorporated into the tahini. Add the pistachios and stir them in evenly.

Take about 2 tablespoons of dough and flatten it into a little circle in your hand or on some parchment paper. Put a generous teaspoon of the tahini mixture in the center and fold the dough over itself, sort of in half. Make sure that there is no filling peaking out, you'll want to mush some dough up over any places that it's peaking out.

At this point, you can shape it into whatever you want. The original recipe said to roll the dough into a ball at this point, but for some reason I decided to make little moons. Everyone else's pictures look way prettier than mine, so maybe you better do the ball thing.


These should be a little ways apart from each other on the parchment paper covered baking sheet because they're gonna spread, especially if you made a wacky shape like I did. Bake them for 8-10 minutes, until they surface just starts to crack and they're turning a bit more golden.

Cool them on the cookie sheet for a minute or two and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack for 5 minutes or so before you start chowing down.

You'll get 2 dozen cookies out of this.


I also finally made the Chickpea Broccoli Casserole from Vegan with a Vengeance. I had been wanting to try it, but the description kinda put me off. Isa, this is not bland to me at all.


I made this for Roman and myself while we were watching Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. Yay for spaghetti westerns and yummy food!

I made a few changes based on what I had read from other people's blogs and the ppk forums peeps when they tried this. Instead of bread crumbs, I took 3 pieces of sprouted grain bread and toasted it very well, let it cool then put it in the processor and made my own bread crumbs.

Stirred up veggies getting ready to be turned into a Chickpea Broccoli Casserole!

I also used 2 cups of veggie broth instead of just one and added an extra tablespoon or two of olive oil. I'm glad I did, it gave it a fabulous flavor. I could taste the olive oil flavor, but didn't notice that there was any extra oil in the casserole.


We experimented with putting some different condiment type things on it. We both loved it just as it was, but it was fun trying stuff. Our favorites were salt-free Spike and Cholula hot sauce. I'm not one to put hot sauce on everything like Roman does, but he was right on with the suggestion to try that on this. I didn't douse it or anything, but it really added a nice punch of flavor.

This reheated really well, too. I ate the leftovers both yesterday and today and I put the last bit in a container to take the work for lunch tomorrow. We got 5 servings out of this (we had seconds the first night or we could have probably gotten 6).

I made a bunch of other stuff, too, but I think this post has already gotten long enough. More of the weekend cooking later in the week.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Polenta Napoleons

I guess a Napoleon is something that's all stacked up. I don't know, but it sounded like an appropriate name. Besides, these are sorta short and squat and I swear I saw a hand in a breast pocket. Yep, there it is. Polenta Napoleons it is.

Oh, these were soooo good. I mean seriously, folks, so freaking good. I was just trying to clean out the fridge and get rid of some leftovers so I just sorta piled a bunch of stuff together. I used up the tomatoes and roasted peppers after the first one of these that I made and I was so completely jonesing for more that I was eating just polenta with pesto on top. Holy crap. Leftovers rock my socks when they turn into awesomeness like this.


The tomatoes I had were locally grown and super duper delicious. I have not had such wonderful tomatoes in ages. That makes all the difference.

I like to buy the tubes of polenta from the market, slice them up and fry them with some potatoes for breakfast. It's already made and super easy to cook with. You can definitely make your own if you're so inclined, just make sure to make it pretty thick.

I'm typically of the opinion that if 2 garlic cloves are good, 4 would be better. Keep that in mind when you're making this. It can be totally free form and feel free to add as little or as much of the tomatoes, peppers and pesto as you want.

Polenta Napoleons

1/2 stick polenta (or make your own equal to about 2 cups)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 Cup water
2 Tablespoons margarine (like Earth Balance)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tomato, sliced with fat slices
a bunch of roasted red pepper (probably about 1-2 peppers worth)
1/4 - 1/2 Cup Pesto (I used the pesto recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance)

Do the roasted red pepper thing or just open the jar if you bought them already roasted.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Put your tomato slices on a cookie sheet and bake them for 10 minutes, flip them over and cook them for 5 more minutes.

Cut the polenta into little pieces and mash them up with a fork. Put them in a pot on the stove over medium heat along with the olive oil. Stir it up and let them get a little bit warmed up and then add the water and mash them some more until there aren't any huge polenta chunks left. Keep stirring pretty often so the polenta cooks evenly and doesn't get crunchy parts. Add the margarine and oregano and stir some more. (When I have polenta for dinner, I like it to be pretty buttery so you can leave out the Earth Balance if you don't want that.) It's like a party in that pan! Keep stirring and cook for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat a little bit if the polenta is cooking too fast.

Now for the fun part! Spoon about half of the polenta on a plate. Put a tomato slice on top. Slather about 2 tablespoons of pesto on top (or more if you're a crazy pesto lover like me). Add another tomato slice, then the red peppers. You can put a little dollop of pesto on top if you feel like giving Napoleon a hat. Besides - there is no such thing as too much pesto!

This will make 2-3 servings depending on how generous you're feeling. If you turn this into 3 servings, you'll probably want to make some veggies or something to go along with this.

Now you'll eat this and wish that you had more, so make sure that you have enough ingredients to make a second one or you'll be sad and no one wants tears in their polenta.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Hot Monkey Pile

So one day I was talking to a friend about food. I realized that most of my recipes don't really have a name and I was trying to be creative. She came up with the name Hot Monkey Pile and then I just had to create a recipe to go with that fantastic name. Nothing like reverse engineering, eh?

My pictures came out kinda crappy so I'll have to try to take better ones when I make this again. Without further ado, let me introduce you to the greatness that is...


Hot Monkey Pile

4 bananas, sliced
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
5.6 oz can coconut milk
1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch
1/8 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

The trick to the bananas cooking without mushing is to refrigerate them. I put mine in the fridge this morning so they were nice and chilled when I went to cut them. Heat the peanut oil on medium heat in a saute pan. Add half of the banana slices. Stir them around so the oil gets friendly with all of the bananas. Add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice and stir some more. Let these bananas cook for about 2 minutes and then add the rest of them. You want to let the first half get a little mushy to give you a little bit of a differing texture to the dessert. Stirring frequently, cook for about 5 minutes or until the bananas start to get bubbly.


Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk and arrowroot (or cornstarch). Whisk everything together until combined. Keep whisking over medium heat. Add the sugar and keep whisking until the mixture starts to get thick. Once it starts to boil, cook for another 30 seconds and then remove from heat.

Spoon the bananas into a bowl and then spoon some of the coconut mixture on top. Throw on some of the peanuts and you've just created a hot monkey pile. :D

You can get 2-3 servings out of this.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

Evil Dead Pizzas

Okay, so pizza isn't really evil. Well, not my pizza, anyway. Last night I had a few friends over for horror movies and vegan yummies. It was rather fun to be having pizza and beer and still being all awesome and vegan.


I'm not one to use soy cheese normally. Once I went vegan, I just started to make food differently and I don't even miss cheese. Whenever I have bought some, I have to try and figure out what exactly to do with it. I've started to buy soy cheese slices whenever I want to make McVegans, but that's pretty much it. Because I wasn't really sure what kind would be best on pizza, I bought two different soy mozzarellas and put one on each pizza. I forgot to take pictures of the pizza before we started eating, unfortunately.

I made pizza crust and pizza sauce from Vegan with a Vengeance. The only thing I tweaked was to use whole wheat pastry flour instead of plain white flour in the pizza crust. The two cheeses I used were Vegan Rella and Vegan Gourmet. I think Vegan Gourmet is the Canadian version of Follow Your Heart cheese. It said so proudly on the package "It Melts!", but that little exclamation point wasn't enough to make it actually melt as you can see.


The Vegan Rella ended up melting too much. It was dripping all over our hands and plate. And I was told "I can't get it off my teeth." I didn't care for the flavor of this one as much as the other either. I didn't really mind the not melting so much. It didn't take away from the taste at all.


The first pizza had the VWAV sauce, Vegan Rella, Yves veggie pepperonis and roasted red pepper. The second pizza had VWAV sauce, VWAV pesto, a layer of Vegan Gourmet cheese, sauteed portabello mushrooms, roasted red pepper and tomatoes. Adding the layer of pesto with the sauce was such a great idea. The second pizza was the best of the two, hands down.

I've had a few people ask how to roast red peppers, so I'm adding the instructions for that. It's so easy and well worth it. Red peppers are awesome on so many things. You can put them on sandwiches, pasta, salads, pizza...

Roasted Red Peppers

First you want to cut the peppers. I usually cut them in half and then cut the halves into thirds. Make sure to knock out the seeds and cut out the white parts. It's easiest to get the white parts out after you've cut the pepper. Do it like this:


Put about 2 teaspoons olive oil into a bowl and add the pepper pieces. Toss them around until they've all been coated. Not like hot oil wrestling, just a little bit. Place the peppers on a cookie sheet skin side up. The broiler in my current apartment doesn't work, but if yours does you can turn on the broiler. Otherwise, heat your oven to 550. Make sure to place one of the oven racks as high up as you can if you're using the broiler. Once your oven has preheated, put the cookie sheet of peppers on that top rack if you're broiling, or in the middle if your oven is lame like mine. You want to cook the peppers until the skins start to char a little. I think I left mine in for about 15 minutes. You want them to look something like this:


After you take the peppers out of the oven, let them cool for a few minutes and then put them in a bowl or a colander and rinse them with very cold water. This stops the cooking and helps to separate the skins so you can pull them off. Don't worry, they really do peel away quite easily.


Yum! Now you can refrigerate these until you're ready to use them.

Coming soon - Vegan Rice Crispy treats and Hot Monkey Pile.