Friday, December 22, 2006

Brazil Nut "Cheese" and GF Snickerdoodles

I've got one more recipe to bake up this afternoon when I get home from work, but I decided to hop on and post quickly at lunch. (Just in case I don't have time later.)

Tonight my family is having a Chanukah party and I'm bringing a couple of items. Last night I followed an interesting recipe I saw in Vegetarian Times for Brazil Nut Cheese.

It is very simple. Soak Brazil nuts in water overnight and then food process with salt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and water. After that roll it into a ball and squeeze out extra moisture. Then roll it in fresh herbs and bake it in the oven. Serve it drizzled with olive oil.

I'd give this recipe 9.5 stars out of 10. It is a tiny bit salty for my taste, so next time I will cut down the salt and likely it will be 10! The picture really doesn't do it justice. I sliced it open so you could see the center.

This is the kind of thing I've missed a bit as a vegan. Spread this on a veggie sandwich and you have one heck of a lunch!

One of the people attending the party tonight has Celiac, so I wanted to be accommodating. I know what it is like when I go to party and can't eat anything. I'd decided on Snickerdoodles, but now I had to veganize and make the recipe gluten free.

The recipe I used was from allrecipes.com. First, I replaced the eggs with Ener-G egg replacer which is gluten free. (I normally use Bob's Red Mill replacer which contains gluten.) Then I replaced the flour with Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix. Everything else stayed the same.

The first batch of cookies was too soft after 8 minutes, so I put them back in for 2 extra minutes. Later, I learned that the cookies need to rest for a few minutes before removing them from the sheet. S0... If you like crunchy cookies, cook for 10-11 min. For softer ones cook for 8-9. Wait before moving them from the cooking sheet.

I hope you all enjoy the holidays!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

News, Kale, and More..

First, I saw this article in various places via email and online. If you haven't read it yet, it is worth the time.

The UN released a new study with findings that say: The cattle industry produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=20772&Cr=global&Cr1=environment#

Onto food stuff...

After our offbeat Thanksgiving, I did make up a more traditional vegan T-day plate.


You'll notice roasted yellow beats, sauteed beet greens (with garlic), a small portion of mashed potatoes, half a roasted sweet potato with cinnamon, and some slices of Celebration Field Roast. Tommy loves sweet potatoes and field roast. This was my first experience with cooking up the beet greens. I liked them!

The Field Roast is a great. It is a seitan roll with butternut squash and apple stuffing. I'm a huge fan of this product and look forward to this time of year when it is easy to find Field Roast in the store. The Field Roast Company also makes seitan sausages that I'd highly recommend. Their site lists a new vegan cheese which I'm looking forward to trying; however, I've been unable to find any locally.

This week I purchased some kale in order to try out a new recipe for Bean and Kale scramble that I found on FatFreeVegan. Generally I avoid kale, with the exception of one recipe I posted about previously.

This looked interesting, so I gave it a go. I included the optional mustard. The dill, soy sauce, and mustard made this dish quite flavorful and I'd cook it again.

So, I had some leftover kale and decided try out Kale Chips which I'd filed away a long time ago. The recipe is very simple. Chop up the kale, toss with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes (or until crispy) at 350 degrees. Wow, this couldn't be any easier and I love the crunchy kale chips! They are great plain and I also tried a few different toppings including vegan parmesan shaker cheese and creole spice seasoning. This recipe idea is a keeper.

I'm still limping around, so I'm cooking less than I would like, but I am keeping up with everyone's blogs.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

A quick lunch time post...

I've been MIA yet again.

I'm actually recovering from a snowboarding injury. I managed to hurt my knee pretty badly. (Figures it happened, so early in season.) Fortunately, lateral movement is good/not wobbly. I'm doing my best to stay off it and we're hoping it heals on its own in 7-10 days. Otherwise, I'll need to get an MRI on it.

Needless to say, I didn't get much cooking done while lounging around with my leg up and ice packs on my knee. Though I do have 2-3 posts waiting for me upload. I'll try to do that tonight.

For now, I thought I'd share a t-shirt that I found amusing. The site that sells it, does not have a veg agenda which is kind of funny. If you want one, they are on sale at threadless.com.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Zombie Chickens

Normally, I don't post much as far as animal rights news. Today I was at a website (no connection to veganism) where this article was linked.

The egg industry sickens me and anyone who believes that eating eggs causes no harm to chickens, need to read articles like this.

The first paragraph:

In this rich agricultural region of Northern California, ranchers have been turning chickens too old to lay eggs into compost at a rate of a half-million hens a year.

But some chickens not properly euthanized have been seen crawling out of the compost piles, earning them the name ``zombie chickens'' -- and hatching a debate over what else might be done with them and other ``spent hens.''

Link to the full article.

Those poor animals. After a years of laying eggs in tiny cages and being deprived of basic necessities, they are suffocated and then buried alive. All this, so that people can eat eggs. Can you imagine how scared those poor creatures must be, after clawing their way out of compost heap filled with other dead brothers and sisters?

News like this is so frustrating and I'm not even sure what I can do to help. Living by example and sharing information are the first steps though.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More Soup and Thai Tofu Salad

Last night I made creamy cauliflower soup. Of course I changed the recipe a tiny bit. In the end I didn't add the soy milk as I thought the soup is creamy enough. I also pureed only 3/4 of it because I like the chunks of cauliflower. Lastly, I didn't add the nutmeg. This is because I have been adding different spices each time I have a bowl. At lunch, I just added salt and pepper. With dinner, I added garam masala. Yum!

Here is the recipe, it was posted on a veg Yahoo group I am part of.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

28 oz of vegetable broth
1 large head cauliflower --cut into pieces
1 med potato -- peeled and diced
1 med onion -- diced
2 tsp vegetarian bouillon
1 cup plain soy milk (optional according to Jody)
1/4 tsp nutmeg (also optional according to Jody)
salt and white pepper -- to taste

Combine vegetables, broth and bouillon in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cook until the vegetables are soft (20-30 minutes). Puree (in blender, food processor, or with hand-held blender). Return to pan, add remaining ingredients and heat to desired serving temperature.

I also made Thai Tofu salad. The recipe caught my eye when I was flipping through one of those paper cookbooks they have by the cash register in the supermarket. I wasn't sure about peanut butter and tofu together, but this is great. I'd planned on making a wrap with my soup tonight, but the package of wheat wraps had seen better days. I tossed the green spotted wraps and just had a scoop of tofu salad beside my soup.

Here is the recipe for that as well. I'm looking forward to making a sandwich with this tomorrow.

Thai Tofu Salad

1 package of extra firm tofu
1/3 cup peanut butter
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice

1/8 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp hot pepper sauce
¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup sliced green onions
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Drain tofu. Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic powder, and hot pepper sauce. Mix well. Add tofu, bell pepper, onions, and cilantro. Stir with fork until well mixed and tofu is crumbly.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Where O Where Has Jody Gone?

I've been lurking around at everyone's blog, but really haven't taken the time to comment or post. Work has been busy and I've been sidetracked by some personal stuff as well.

It was great to see so many wonderful veg*n Thanksgiving meals as I made the blog rounds. This year was rather nontraditional for me. My father and his girlfriend were called out of town on short notice and that changed the family Thanksgiving plan. I ended up heading over to my aunt's for a late lunch, rather than having a big gathering. We decided on an Asian theme. She made stir fried tofu and veggies. I brought spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce based on a recipe from Vegan Cooking School.

The past few weeks, I've been eating pretty simple meals that include salads, marinated tofu and veggies, or fruit/oatmeal. Though I took some pics, it seems silly to post them. The cool weather makes me crave soups and often times I have a cup of soup with my lunch. Last week I made tomato lentil soup. It looked so pretty in the leaf bowl.

Tonight I have a creamy cauliflower soup, cooking. I'm looking forward to trying this new recipe which I will post soon with a photo. I'll be trekking around and commenting on other blog later. Hope everyone is doing well.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Chickpea Patties and Cupcakes

This morning I met a friend for breakfast at Garden Grille Cafe in RI. I had a tofu scramble with portabellas, spinach, and sun-dried tomato. After that I had to go pick up bird seed for Tommy. When I went to get the bird seed, I found that one of my favorite sporting good stores is going out of business. I stopped in hoping to find snowboard boots, but they didn't have my size. Though, I lucked out and found a great winter jacket for almost 70% off. When I got home, I did some yard work. A few trees had branches out close to the house, so I sawed off the offending limbs.

Tonight I made the Moroccan Chickpea patties from Vive le Vegan. Thanks to Leslie for the idea. I thought I had bad experiences with fennel in the past, but this fennel tasted nothing like I remembered. It wasn't bad, even raw. Verdict on the patties... I liked them, but they were a bit difficult to keep together in the pan. Honestly, the mix was just fine on its own without breading or cooking into patties. I'd use it as a dip or make sandwiches with it in the future.

Last weekend, I made the chocolate stout cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The were ok, but not great. This was probably my fault as I made them without out cupcake papers and potentially cooked them too long. This weekend I made chocolate cupcakes and filled/frosted them with the peanut butter cream frosting. These were spectacular. The frosting and the cakes are perfect and perhaps taste even better than any cupcake I've had in the past (vegan or not). Yay Isa! The first photo of the cupcake came out a little funky, but I am posting both pictures.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Thanks Jen for the info on vegan Halloween candy. Unfortunately, my sister picked up Halloween candy yesterday and it is the non-vegan kind. Next year, I will get Twizzlers or something. Though I know Twizzlers have glycerin in them. Glycerin is not always vegan and it doesn't say vegetable glycerin. I assume if they made PETA's list, then they checked out the source.

Anyway, I've cooked quite a bit since I got back. I've been bad about posting. Last weekend I saw Bryanna's Waffle Iron Hash Browns on VeganCyclist's blog. Since my waffle iron has never been used for anything other than waffles, I gave them a try. They were delicious, even Tommy thought so. If you don't have a waffle iron, VC made her's in a panini grill and they came out a-ok.

What else... I had recently picked up Bryanna's Authentic Chinese Cuisine: For the Contemporary Kitchen. Originally, I planned on making soup; however, I saw the recipe for Dan Dan Noodles and tried those. These were awesome. As I was cooking them, I was wondering if the strange mixture of ingredients would work. They totally did. I've got leftovers waiting for dinner tonight! The only change I made to the recipe was adding some broccoli. With the extra veggies, I was able to make three meals out of it, instead of two. Tommy dug these noodles too, though I think she is wondering why I haven't cooked tofu or seitan in awhile.

Lastly, Halloween stuff. I was visiting Yeah, That Vegan Shit and saw these awesome bloody finger cookies that she made. I gave them a try for today's Halloween party at work. The only change I made was using jam instead of red frosting. When I make these again, I'd put the almonds on before baking the cookies. The severed fingers were a bit brittle and a few broke while adding the almond fingernails. I just added more jam and stuck them back together. The almond cookies are actually very tasty and they could be made again as regular cookies in the future.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Checking In and Halloween Question

I've got 2 new recipes two post about later tonight. Hopefully, I'll have cooked up my Halloween cookies by then, so you will have 3 photos to look at.

There is candy all around the office today. I guess they have designated today as a day where every one can bring their kids in and they can trick or treat around to certain cubes that have candy. This is my first year as a vegan on Halloween. I supposed the only thing I really miss is peanut butter cups. I can make some pb squares if I get desperate.

How do you all handle trick or treaters on Halloween? Do you get vegan treats like pretzels or oreos to give out? Just curious as I have not dealt with this issue before and have been wrestling with buying regular Halloween candy or getting some other stuff.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sweet Potato Fries

Tonight is only my second night home and Tommy sure is happy about it! For dinner I made a nice salad, jerk tofu, and sweet potato fries. The jerk sauce on the tofu and the ketchup pictured with the fries came from a shop on Tortola (British Virgin Islands) called Sunny Caribbee. If you are looking for some great Caribbean spices, sauces or teas, then check out their site.

I love sweet potato fries plain, but they were great dipped in Sunny Caribee Spicee Catsup.

So...you already know where I have been. We spent a few days on the island and then the rest of my time in the BVIs was on a boat named Caribbean Dream. Unfortunately, I didn't get many great photos of the 4o foot catamaran, but here is one to the right. After the sailing adventure we took a ferry over to St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands for our last two days.

Kelly our captain and Angie our first mate, were great. Angie cooked wonderful vegan food for me on the boat every day. She was rather concerned about cooking for me (the first vegan guest on Caribbean Dream), but we exchanged emails and I gave her a few ideas. She also found some recipes on her own. My favorite meal Angie cooked was this wonderful tofu curry.

Kelly was a great captain. Every time I mentioned that I hadn't gotten to visit somewhere while I was in Tortola this time or last year, our itinerary would magically change. One afternoon there was a large storm and poor Kelly was stuck outside in the rain for at least an hour circling around in the deep water until the weather was clear enough to head through the gap in the reefs to the next bay.

I think my favorite place that we visited was the One Love bar on Jost Van Dyke. We docked in the bay and jumped in the dinghy for a quick ride over the the beach. Kelly and Angie dropped us off and then motored out to sea. I wasn't quite sure why. The next thing I knew, they were flying towards the beach at high speed. The dinghy skidded up on to the sand and stopped just outside the bar. They stepped out of the boat and nonchalantly pulled up a bar stool after their "James Bond" entrance.

One Love is the type of beach bar that I've seen in movies or on tv, but never thought I be visiting. People tack their business cards on the wall. Seddy the owner will pick a number and call, once in awhile. He just taunts them telling them that it is 80 degrees and he looking out at the beach. Kenny Chesney wrote a song that was inspired by this little place called "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem". Signed t-shirts hang on the ceiling. Everybody writes their name on the bar. If you go there, you'll a find a palm tree drawn on the counter that says Jody in the middle!

Raquel the bar tender makes a great Bushwacker with coco loco, but no milk. Yay, vegan beverages! While we were there, the producer of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was there with one of the families that will be on a future show. Two more views for you, looking further down the beach and also out at sea.

When I wasn't eating, drinking, sleeping, or hiking on one of the islands...we went snorkeling off the side of the boat. The reefs made me sad as many were dead, but there were a few pockets that seemed to be thriving. There were many beautiful fish and we saw some sea turtles and rays.

A sailing trip is much more personalized than a cruise ship. Kelly and Angie went out of their way to make our adventure wonderful. Angie actually cooked two meals (one vegan and one not) each time we sat down to eat. They were incredibly accommodating and I can't say enough good things about them. One last photo of Kelly and Angie, to end this entry. I'll be scoping out what I missed on everyone's blogs over the past week or so.

Thanks Kelly and Angie!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Back in a bit...

I'll be without Internet access for the next 10 days or so. Hope I don't go through withdrawal, lol! Once I am back online I will be checking everyone's blogs and making some new posts of my own. Hope you all have a great week!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mojito Marinade, Cabbage,and Plantains

This will be a quick post. I've got to make some guacamole and head to a friend's house for the football game.

Last week, I was at someones blog and they talked about mojito marinade. Unfortunately I can't remember who, so I can't give credit. Since I had left over seitan, I made that recipe. I let the seitan marinate for a few hours while I mowed the lawn in the afternoon yesterday and then pan seared it. This marinade is awesome! The author on Epicurious is a restaurant owner. It is a roadhouse and I suspect not very veg friendly, but boy is this recipe good. It also makes a good dressing for salads and cooking veggies. I'll likely make this often and keep it on hand in the fridge. Also on the plate is cabbage apple dish that my aunt introduced me to. Saute onions, chopped red cabbage, and chopped apples with some olive oil. At the end add some caraway seeds.

A few days ago, I also cooked up a plantain. I sliced it, dipped it in unsweetened coconut and cooked it in a pan that had been sprayed with a little oil. I didn't let the plantain ripen enough, so it wasn't as sweet as usual. I did sprinkle a little agave nectar on some of the pieces.

Hope you are all having a nice weekend!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Mustard Crusted Seitan & More

This weekend was filled up as usual. Saturday I stopped in at my aunt's and helped her shop for the holidays. Sunday, I had to get my cooking done before heading to my father's house. We had a family dinner before Yom Kippur started. Then we fasted from Sunday evening until sundown today (Monday).

Tonight, I was trying to decide what to make for dinner. I'd thought about tortilla espanola from VwaV with some leftover pimientos de padron, but I was tired and wanted something quick.

Since I had left over seitan, I decided to attempt something I missed from my non-veg days. I used to love the mustard crusted chicken at funky restaurant not too far from my house. Now I've learned that the chicken/meats are really not what I loved, it is the tastes that they are cooked in.

How do you make mustard crusted seitan? Well, I spread a thin layer of dijon mustard on each fillet of seitan, dipped it into breadcrumbs and then pan fried it. The verdict? 9 out of 10 stars! If I had homemade bread crumbs rather than canned, the coating would have been crunchier because crumbs would not be as fine. I might also add some mustard seeds to the bread crumbs before dipping in the future. I'm getting braver about just trying things in the kitchen.

Where did the seitan come from? Well, yesterday I made seitan from VwaV to use with the entree, I cooked to bring to the family dinner. Note: Not a huge fan of VwaV seitan, it is a little spongier than I prefer. Last week I had picked up an acorn squash and a celebration squash and I decided to stuff them. First I steamed the squashes. Then I made some vegan cornbread from The Angelica Home Kitchen.

Once the bread was done, I crumbled half of it into a bowl. Then I went to work on the rest of the stuffing. I sauteed chopped onions, celery, carrot, and garlic. Next I mixed the veggies with the bread, cubed seitan, chopped up squash and sage/thyme. After that, I stuffed the squashes with the mixture and baked them. At dinner, I served the squashes with mushroom gravy.

My aunt made two desserts for Sunday's dinner. She was nice enough to experiment with egg replacer and use margarine, so I could partake. She made mun cookies. Mun is a Yiddish word for poppy seeds. They were tasty. The second dish she brought was cranberry walnut tart. It was also very good. Behold my aunt's vegan desserts!

I also brought coconut lime cookies from Vive le Vegan, but no photo as I have baked those tasty buggers before.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Pimientos de Padron!

After my last post, I couldn't stop thinking about pimientos. Some google searches turned up a local greenhouse that sells the seeds. Then, I came across tienda.com. They have a grower in Virginia and they ship the peppers once a week. Of course I had to order them. Today, when I arrived home, I found this box.

When I opened it, I was overwhelmed with a scent that reminded me of a five amazing weeks in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Almost every day I would meet up with friends and sit at a cafe, sipping sangria and eating pimientos de padron.

How I ended up in Santiago is a very interesting story and I'll share that on a future post. Since I was there on my own, I was more open and met many people. My subsequent trip to Sweden was to visit with some friends I met while I was in Spain.

Before I cooked up some of the peppers, I took this photo. Aren't they cute? These tiny little peppers taste like nothing I have tried here in the states.

I'd never cooked pimientos de padron before, but there were directions printed on container. Basically heat olive oil, add the peppers, saute until they blister and brown. Then sprinkle with ground sea salt. While they were cooking, the house filled with the exquisite aroma that I remember so well. Finally the peppers were done. These are finger food. You hold them by the stem and eat the rest of the pepper.

I only cooked up a few, but they were so good I ended up making a second small batch. Like I mentioned before they are usually sweet/savory; however there are always a few spicy ones mixed in. There were two comfortably spicy peppers in my batches and one that was too spicy to finish.

Pimientos de Padron are native to Santiago de Compostela and Galicia region of Spain which is where I spent my time. Santiago is beautiful city with a rich history. The Camino de Santiago is a trail that leads from the border of France all the way to Santiago which is on Spain's northwestern coast. Pilgrims follow the trail to reach the catherdral in Santiago where legend says St. James is buried. Santiago actually means Saint James. Each of the cathedral's four sides are built using a different styles of architecture. The original cathedral was built during the 1100's and over the years it was expanded. To the right is a photo looking down at the city and cathedral from Monte Pedroso (a mountain on the outskirts of the city).

Inside the church is the world's largest incense burner. I've seen priests swing a small silver incense burner during services in movies or on tv before. I'm not all that familiar with why it is done, but I suspect it originated in Santiago. On special occasions the huge 5 foot tall silver incense burner is swung back and forth across the cathedral. I was told that they originally would swing the incense burner to mask the smell of the pilgrims!

Here are two more photos. The first is closeup of the cathedral. The second is of the area on the southern side the church which was named by the medieval silversmiths. The area outside is known as Plaza de Platerias. (Plaza of the silversmiths) Many stores on this side of the square sell jewelry. The photo is of fuente de los caballos which means fountain of the horses. I snapped that picture on my first day in Spain.

I've got many more photos of Santiago and the surrounding areas and will try to post some in the future. Hope you all have a nice weekend!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Jody Returns...

I've been busy at home and work. Sometimes it is difficult to post or even comment on the other blogs. Rest assured, I am checking out other blogs when I have a min, just not writing. I've got plenty to post about.

Let's see, the top 5... I've had quite a difficult time with this. My tastes really change quite often and I love so many different foods. I may have a favorite for a day or two and then move on to something else. A top five is just so difficult to choose. Here goes...

1. Hummus --I might also say falafel, hummus and tabbouleh. It is great as wrap or sandwich, but even mixing it together creates a wonderful fusion of tastes and textures.

2. Dark chocolate --Two I'd recommend: New Tree: Sexy which is made with ginger or Dagoba Xocolatl which has cacao nibs, chilies, and nutmeg. Of course, I love plain dark chocolate too.

3. Loose leaf tea --I'm lucky enough to have a local tea shop close to my house. The owner orders many teas and makes her own flavors as well. A few of my favorites: Russian Caravan which is smoked over pine fires, gun powder green tea, jasmine pearls, or plain old earl grey.

4. Fresh berries --Freshly picked strawberries have to be one of the sweetest most delicious foods on the planet. Though depending on the day, I might say the same about raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries. Tommy would always pick blueberries.

5. Seitan --Not the store bought kind. Home made seitan, pan seared with any combination of herbs/veggies/sauce/gravy. My first experience with seitan was the store bought variety and it scared me. I avoided seitan for years after that. One day I braved making my own seitan from scratch and I was instantly converted.

Interestingly when I started thinking about this list almost a month ago, I tried to remember foods that I tried at various times/places in my life where I was completely "wowed." Often times, these memories were not vegan. For instance, in Spain I had the most amazing flan at this tiny little hidden cafe. None of the other cafes could even compare. In Australia I had this absolutely amazing pumpkin soup. I've often wondered if I went back to these places as a vegan what foods I would recall.

BTW - In Spain, I had the most incredible peaches I have ever tasted in my entire life. They were huge and very pale orange with no red. They were a little creamier than apricots, but almost that color. These were the sweetest, juiciest, most wonderful peaches and I have no idea what variety they were. I've never seen (or tasted) anything like them here.

Hmm...and now that I have been sidetracked by Spain, I may have a #6 for the list. Pimientos de padron --First let me preface that I hate green peppers. If I had a top 5 worst foods list they would be number 3. (First is salt licorice from Sweden and second is vegemite). Pimientos de padron are these little green peppers that taste nothing like garden variety green peppers. They are sauteed in olive oil with salt. I was able to get these at at any tapas bar in the region of Spain where I lived. Most pimientos are sweet, usually there would be one or two super spicy ones that some how made it to the plate. You never know if you will get a spicy one, but it doesn't stop you eating these great little peppers.

Moving along...

L'shanah tovah to any other bloggers that celebrate Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish calendar is lunar and the new year has begun. Our new year is bit different than the secular new year. Rosh Hashanah begins a time of reflection where we think about what we have done wrong in the past year and how we can be better this year. It culminates on Yom Kippur which begins next Sunday evening. On Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) we fast.

Generally I am a very spiritual person, but not very religious. These two holidays have always "spoken" to me, even if I don't necessarily agree with all aspects of Judaism. Many people complain about fasting on Yom Kippur. I actually look forward to it. Fasting really makes the day different from any other day and allows me to concentrate on what I can do better this year. Giving up something, something I love so much, is a physical and symbolic way of asserting how serious I am about changing my ways.

This was my first year as a vegan at the Rosh Hashanah table. On Friday night I had dinner at my father's with his girlfriend. Two of her friends and my sister joined us. When I was a vegetarian, my dad's gf was always very concerned about whether I had enough to eat. (Believe me, I don't look like I am starving.) Now that I am vegan, she is even more worried.

She had hummus, tabbouleh and pita bread for me. I also had some green beans and rice. She had asked me to bring something and I decided on dessert because I figured vegan dessert might be the most difficult for someone else to figure out.

I baked a Chocolate Mousse Pie from Vegetariana by Nava Atlas. The pie had a graham cracker crust and I have to point out, it took quite a while to locate honey free grahams. Unfortunately, it was not very photogenic and I made the mistake of snapping the pic on my dad's granite counter top which did not compliment the colors at all. The top of the pie has crumbled Newman's Own chocolate cookies.

That night I would have rated the pie at 5-6 stars out of 10. I tried a leftover over piece from the fridge on Saturday and was completely surprised. Overnight the flavors melded and it morphed into an 8-9 out of 10.

On Saturday night my family had dinner at my aunt's. Normally I bake a challah (a type of bread) for Rosh Hashanah at my aunt's. Unfortunately challah has eggs, so I attempted a new vegan recipe for it from The Almost No-Fat Holiday Cookbook. The bread came out very well, but was not like challah at all. I'll have to play around with veganizing challah at a later date.

My aunt is a wonderful cook and I was able to have many side dishes for my dinner. She made this interesting cabbage and apple saute that I will make and post about in the future. Normally on Rosh Hashanah we use honey in many recipes. This is to signify the sweet new year. In the challah I used agave nectar instead. My aunt made my grandmother's famous honey cake. It smelled good, but I did not have any.

Early last week, I attempted some vegan cheese sauce/dip. It was a conglomeration of a few different recipes and it came out pretty well. The main ingredients were potato, carrots, white beans, nutritional yeast, miso and some different spices. Here is photo of some whole wheat pasta with veggie ham, broccoli, and the cheese sauce.

Tonight, I made up some veggie lasagna. It was really a packaged mix from Dixie Diner. Open the tomato paste, add water, pop everything in the pan and bake. Early in the week, I had picked up one of the cute eight-ball zucchinis that some of you posted about. I sliced it up and added it to the lasagna layers. It is pretty good considering that the contents came from a box. I did end up adding quite a few spices and opening a jar of tomato sauce. and dumping some on top. (after I took this pic) Here is photo of it for you all.

I'm off to check out what I have been missing on all the other blogs!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Spice Crusted Tofu with Green and Red Tomatoes

First ---cookie swap. I'm planning to assign partners for the cookies swap at veggin'out soon. If you want in on the vegan cookie swap, head over there and let me know.

Last month, I sent Tania these cookies. They are a variation on Dreena's Homestyle Chocolate Chip cookies. The additions were oatmeal, peanut butter, hemp nuts, and coconut. These tasty little buggers packed an extra omega-3 punch!

Tonight I cracked open a cookbook I found on clearance a few months ago that is called: All-American Vegetarian: A Regional Harvest of Low-Fat Recipes. Since I had fresh red tomatoes from a friend's garden and my garden has green tomatoes, I cooked up spice crusted tofu with green and red tomatoes. I'm a fan of spicy foods, but this was almost too spicy for me. It was necessary to mix the tofu and tomatoes in each bite to actually finish this dish. Though the recipe is titled spice crusted, the description explains blackened spices. This is really blackened tofu.

Perhaps I will try it again with slightly less cayenne next time. The green tomatoes were surprisingly tasty. That reminds me, I've never tried fried green tomatoes. Have you?

All-American Vegetarian has many interesting recipes. I haven't finished flipping all the way through it. Some of the dishes seem rather strange, but I'm always tempted to try something new. Tonight I saw boiled new potatoes and cucumbers with sour orange sauce. (Raw cucumbers, boiled potatoes, herbs, and the orange sauce.) It sounds intriguing enough to try once.

What else... Oh, Carrie tagged me for the top 5. I'm still thinking on that. I'll try to post my answers by Sunday.

Tomorrow is Friday, can't wait for the weekend. Hope you all have a relaxing weekend planned!