Saturday, September 25, 2010

Comfort Foods

I must be insane. This is the only excuse I can come up with for why I haven't tried more of the recipes from Viva Vegan! Everything I've made from this cookbook has been ridiculously good. This includes the latest foray, Sweet Potato-Chipotle Bisque. Look at how beautiful this soup is!
The coconut creamer I chose to use gave the soup a great creamy taste, which went very well with the smokiness of the chipotles. I made a quick batch of Rustic Olive Rolls from Students Go Vegan. Kalamata olives and chipotles might sound like a strange combination, but they actually went very well together.

For tonight's meal, I turned back to Veganomicon. Chili sounded good, but I didn't want a garden-variety type of chili. Manzana Chili Verde was definitely what I was looking for.

Here, green tomatillos and granny smith apples are the star in the show. And for an added bonus, there are white beans in this chili too! It tasted a lot like a green salsa with lots of yummy goodness added to give it a stew-like consistency. And really, what's not to love about that?  
Both of these meals were fantastic, and something that will definitely end up on our table again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Veganomicon Extravaganza

I've been making a lot of meals from Veganomicon lately. I can't help it, it's such a great cookbook!

I try to make at least one soup every week. This time around I decided on Veganomicon's French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme. Unfortunately, there was an apparent shortage of french lentils in the Pittsburgh region, so I subbed green lentils instead. I don't think it mattered. It was delicious!
Honestly, there's nothing better than a good lentil soup. Please ignore my garish nail polish color in the picture! Some things look better in the bottle ...

Anyway, I'm always up for white beans and mushrooms, so it was inevitable that I'd eventually try Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms (from Veganomicon, of course). This recipe made an enormous amount of beans. It was a very meaty dish (partially because of the beans, but also because of the spices), with the smoky taste of mushrooms. A little less flavorful than some of the other dishes in Veganomicon, perhaps, but still a hearty and comforting meal.
Okay, and sometimes I pick up pre-packaged stuff. I used to have an obsession with the chicken salad from the Giant Eagle Market District. Even now I still sometimes get a craving for chicken salad. I know there are great faux chicken salad recipes out there, but I get lazy. Luckily, I found a great faux chicken salad at Whole Foods. It tastes yummy with a slice of tomato and lettuce, and a little salt and pepper.
They have a faux tuna salad as well, but I was never much of a tuna salad sandwich person.

Tomorrow I'm making something from Viva Vegan, and will definitely post pictures.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Catching Up

Hello again! I had to post a new entry in celebration of all the great new dishes I've been cooking (and eating) lately. There hasn't been a lot of adventurous cooking, as I haven't been in the mood to make homemade pasta noodles or elaborate desserts. But easy-to-prepare food doesn't have to mean boring food.

I continue to be amazed with 500 Vegan Recipes. I've tried half a dozen recipes already, and not one of them has disappointed me. The lemon thyme quickbread recipe is worth the price of the cookbook alone. So, needless to say, I had very high expectations for the Red Jambalaya.

I haven't had jambalaya since becoming a vegan, and I was a little concerned about the lack of sausage or shrimp. I considered adding a link or two of fauxsage, but it turned out that this dish didn't need it. It was perfect all alone, with okra as the shining star ingredient. To make the jambalaya a bit healthier, I used brown rice instead of the suggested long white rice. It was very, very spicy the first day, a little less so the next. This is definitely something I'll make again!

I love white beans. Cannellinis, navy beans, it doesn't matter. I try to make something with white beans at least once a week. This time I tried the White Bean Aioli from Veganomicon. Here's a picture of it spread on French bread.

This dip was very strong, so a little went a long way. It was maybe even (dare I say) a little too strong for my taste, but J loved it.

I celebrated my birthday last week, which meant receving several great presents, including my very own copy of The Urban Vegan. Thank you, Reg!! The funny thing is, I bought this cookbook just the week before for Nina's bridal shower present. I was kind of sad at the time that I didn't have my own copy ... and now I do!

I had to make something from this cookbook right away. I chose Modular Pakistani Kima, which sounds quite exotic but is basically a curry. And wow, what a curry!!! Dynise gives you a few options when making this dish: I chose to add mustard greens for the green vegetable, and a can of garbanzo beans for the protein.There was also a few potatoes, carrots, peas, and an ungodly amount of curry powder. 

I can always tell when J loves a dish, because he exclaims, "Mmm!" This kima rated several "Mmm"s. I agree wholeheartedly.    

My mother and brother came to Pittsburgh for my birthday weekend, and Mom tried her hand at vegan baking with the Peanut Butter Pie recipe from The Kind Diet. I love peanut butter pies, and this one was exceptionally sweet with a melted chocolate base. Unfortunately, the pie had been prepared the night before and then refrigerated, solidifying the chocolate into a hefty chunk. This made it pretty hard to cut the pie into slices. It was still very good, though.