Friday, September 25, 2009

creamy dill pasta salad

i have never found a store-bought vegan ranch that i like, so i have taken to the habit of making my own. there are plenty of recipes you can google - i just use a pretty typical combo of mayonnaise, red wine vinegar and spices. one day i was mixing up a batch and was feeling a little dilly, and it put me in mind of a creamy dill pasta dish. this is super easy to make, and perfect for potlucks and parties. and because it's so creamy, it doesn't make a big production of being vegan.

  • 12 oz. uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 oz. of vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 ¼ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 ¼ tablespoons pickle juice
boil the macaroni noodles according to package directions. while noodles are cooking, halve your cherry tomatoes and dice your cucumber. once the noodles are done cooking, drain and rinse with cold water. pour into a large bowl, and add the olive oil. this will help keep the noodles from sticking together and prevent them from sucking up all the dressing. toss in the tomatoes and cucumber with the noodles.

to mix the dressing, you can use a magic bullet or blender, or you can whisk by hand in a jar. combine the dressing ingredients (mayonnaise through pickle juice) and blend/whisk together. i prefer to use nasoysa nayonaise, but feel free to substitute you favourite vegan mayo. after it's mixed, test the dill flavour. sometimes i add more pickle juice - remember that the flavour will mellow a bit once combined with the noodles. if the dressing is too thick, add a little more soymilk or lemon juice, but be sure and rest test for the dill quality.

add half of the dressing with the noodles, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. also chill the remaining dressing. during this time, the noodles will suck up a lot of the dressing so only adding half the dressing at first will yield a creamier result. before serving, add in the rest of the dressing and toss.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

double decker B-L-FGT

i've always loved the BLT, but with the cooler weather all summer, my garden tomatoes didn't ripen like i'd hoped. when life gives you lemons, make lemon drop martinis! i used the fried green tomato recipe from vegan yum yum, the shiitake bacon that bianca blogged about, and made a big fat double-decker bacon, lettuce, and fried green tomato (B-L-FGT) masterpiece.

  • 1 medium green tomato
  • 6-8 shiitake bacon strips
  • 3 large leaves of lettuce
  • coarse ground mustard
  • nasoya mayonaise
  • 3 slices whole wheat bread
first make your shiitake bacon. in addition to this great recipe, i like to grind up vegan bacon bits into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle. i add about a teaspoon of that to the wet soaking mixture for the mushrooms, it lends just a smidgen more of a bacon flavor.

while the mushrooms are cooling, go ahead and start making your fried green tomatoes. you'll want four tomato slices, which is about one green tomato. once they are fried and draining, pop your whole wheat bread in the toaster. for a double decker, a thick multi-grain is necessary to handle the size of this sandwich. on two of the toast pieces, coat one side with nasoya nayonaise and coarse ground brown mustard.

next, assemble your sandwich: lay one toast slice with mayo/mustard up, half the bacon, two fried green tomatoes, and half the lettuce. place a second slice of toast with mayo/mustard up, remaining bacon slices, two fried green tomatoes and remaining lettuce. top with your final slice of toast.


Monday, September 14, 2009

curry in a hurry

work has been crazy for me lately, and i've honestly not felt like cooking complicated meals when i get home. i've been eating a lot of easy meals, and i thought this one was one of the more blog worthy. the only catch is that for an quick and easy meal, you'll want to have your curry powder made ahead of time, or buy some. i made my several months ago and keep it in a spice jar.

  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups sliced cabbage
  • 1 carrots, julienned
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice

for the curry powder:
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 3/4 tablespoon cloves
  • 3/4 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 3/4 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
to make the curry powder, put all seeds (everything through the fenugreek) on a cookie sheet and place in the oven on 300 for about 15-20 minutes. alternately, you can put it in a cast iron skillet and heat on a medium stove top. once seeds begin to pop, wait about another 20 seconds before you remove them. put the toasted seeds along with the rest of the powdered ingredients into a magic bullet or the old fashioned mortar and pestle. grind into a curry powder.

cook brown rice according to directions. meanwhile, slice all the veggies up and place in a non-stick skillet. heat on medium high for one or two minutes, until the garlic starts to brown a little. add in the curry powder and onion/onion powder. the juices from the tomatoes and veggies should provide enough liquid to make a thick sauce. if not, add in 1/4 cup of water or coconut milk. when the green peppers are tender and cabbage is translucent, remove from heat. serve over brown rice.

make 2 dinner servings.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

hot mustard asparagus

my mom is a pretty cool chick. she is super supportive of my vegan lifestyle, and that's saying a lot considering we live in the heart of meat and potatoes land. she's always willing to go out for a vegetarian or vegan meal, and even requested veggie sushi for mother's day. this year she went to ireland and managed to bring back some vegan hot irish mustard from avoca pantry - which rocks because i love mustard and i love spicy foods. so hats off to my mom and all her rockin'ness.

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons hot irish mustard*
  • 2 tablespoons hot scottish mustard*
i saved a few pounds of the asparagus that my brother gave me, so i this made from thawed asparagus (notice they are less stiff). however, i can say that i'm mighty impressed with how well they taste after a month or two of being frozen. cut the woody ends off your asparagus and coat with at least three tablespoons of hot mustard (*work with what you have, but make it spicy)! i also had some hot scottish mustard from arran, and the two worked very well together. if you are using fresh asparagus, you may need to add a little olive oil if necessary or reduce baking time.

if using frozen (and thawed) asparagus, bake for 25 minutes on 375°f, flipping once. kick the broiler on high for about 5 minutes and spread a little additional mustard on top before serving.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

grilled pizza

this was a fun foodie experiment that turned out awesome! i had heard of grilled pizza sometime in the past year, and was determined to make it this summer. i was not disappointed. nice crispy pizza with a wonderful grill flavour - you can't beat it! the timing on the grill is the most difficult part, and i've typed up detailed instructions below.

  • 1 batch of pizza dough
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • yellow squash
  • zucchini
  • green bell peppers
  • red bell peppers
  • marinated artichoke hearts
  • mushrooms
  • black olives
  • banana peppers
  • vegan cheese (optional)
for the pizza sauce (makes two):
  • 2 small cans tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • onion powder
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • pinch of salt
make your sauce and dough first. the sauce is super easy and thick. for the dough... well, i'm not going to lie. i used a package mix, which is usually not my style. however, my kitchen was torn up because i'm getting new counter tops and a new sink, so there wasn't any working room and everything was covered in dust.

while your dough is resting, prep your toppings by chopping them into pizza-sized bits. put them in a vegetable grill tray and cook over medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes. if you don't have a grill pan, you can create a pouch out of foil and cook them in there, but they won't have as much of the "grilled" flavour.

when your toppings are done cooking, roll out your dough into a circle or square, about 9 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. if your tough gets too thin, it will tear on the grill. put some flour on a plate and lay your dough on top. coat the top with a thin layer of olive oil - about one tablespoons worth. keep your grill on medium high heat and spray with olive oil or another nonstick spray. in one quick motion, flip your plate over so the crust lands oil-side down. while it's cooking, coat the top side with the other tablespoon of olive oil. check the bottom often for burning and flip as needed. you will likely only need to cook the crust for 1-1½ minutes on either side.

once crust has cooked, remove from grill. spread sauce, toppings and whatever cheese substitute you are using. i opted to forgo the cheese during this test run since i typically have a hard time getting it to melt. once pizzas have been assembled, carefully place them back on the grill on low heat this time. to really accentuate the grill flavor (and melt any cheese you are using), close the lid. continue to cook on low until they start to brown a little on the outside of the crust, approximately 4-5 minutes.

it may seem a little complicated for pizza, but the flavour is so worth it.