Quite Possibly the Best Smoothie Ever

I should probably start this post by stating that I adore mint chocolate chip ice cream (vegan, of course).  If I had to choose only one ice cream flavor to eat for the rest of my life, it would be mint chocolate chip.  Thankfully, I do not need to make this choice, but you get the idea.  If you share my love of all things minty and chocolatey (vegan Thin Mints!!!), read on…

The “Mighty Mint Chip” smoothie is the creation of the brilliant smoothie goddess, Kathy Patalsky, and hails from her book, 365 Vegan Smoothies.  I have been working my way through this terrific book, enjoying her wonderful flavor combinations.  While I have liked every single one I’ve made so far, the Mighty Mint Chip smoothie blew me away yesterday.  Pure heaven.  It tastes just like mint chocolate chip ice cream!!!

Kathy has a great website, which is loaded with tons of yummy recipes.  You should check it out!

http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/p/kathys-book.html

Unfortunately, she hasn’t posted this particular smoothie recipe, so what I highly recommend is getting your hands on her book and promptly turning to page 146!  Rest assured that every other page contains serious yumminess, too.  In the meantime, a tease of the Mighty Mint Chip’s greatness…

Here we’ve got frozen bananas, raw cacao nibs, fresh mint, plain soy yogurt, unsweetened soy milk and a splash of agave, just waiting to be blended:

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And this is what your glass of heaven will look like:

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Swoon, swoon, swoon.  Enjoy!  xo

Matthew Kenney’s Black Pepper Kelp Noodles

As much as I am absolutely smitten with the Pacific Northwest, I do occasionally miss favorite dishes from my old restaurant haunts.  One that I was craving lately was the Black Pepper Kelp Noodles from Matthew Kenney’s restaurant, M.A.K.E., a wonderful raw restaurant in Santa Monica.  The dish is fresh, unique and fabulous, and I was pretty resigned to the idea that I’d have to wait until my next trip to Southern California to satisfy this particular craving.

On the off chance that the recipe might be floating around the internet, I did a search and was thrilled to find it!  I just made it for lunch, and even though it’s not exactly the same as the restaurant version, it’s delicious and satisfied my hankering quite nicely.  The restaurant does fancy things like dehydrate the olives, which I may try next time, but for today I just did a super quick version, which worked great.

Here’s the recipe:

http://thriveforward.com/recipe-center/black-pepper-kelp-noodles/#.VOuoX7PF_gA

Here’s what my dish looked like (I didn’t have pea tendrils, which would make it even tastier and prettier):

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And here’s a link to M.A.K.E.  The next time you’re in the Los Angeles area, it’s definitely a place worth trying.  The food is innovative and clean and interesting.

http://www.matthewkenneycuisine.com/hospitality/m-a-k-e-santa-monica

Oh boy – while poking around on Kenney’s site just now, I noticed that they’re going to open a new restaurant in Venice soon that would have been walking distance from my old house.  Sigh.  I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that he will one day want to establish a presence in the greater Seattle area.  In the meantime, hooray for the internet!

Enjoy!  xo

Swoon-Inducing Broccoli Quiche

Yesterday, Mr. Man, Queenie and I went to a vegan potluck and met tons of new vegan friends!  Organized by a local meetup group, it was a great event.  It was hosted by a gracious and generous family, packed full of interesting and friendly people, and featured a table loaded with seriously delicious food.  Seriously.  People went all out, which I really appreciated.  Yum.

For our contribution, I made the “Classic Broccoli Quiche” from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book, Vegan Brunch (page 41, if you’ve got it).  Given that this recipe is a crowd-pleaser (it was particularly fun to watch the kids devouring it), lots of people requested the details.  Happily, Isa posted this recipe to her site, the Post Punk Kitchen, and I am sharing it here.  Note that I doubled the recipe and omitted the crust, both because some people are avoiding gluten these days and because it makes it easier to cut into cute squares for potluck purposes.  Just make it in a 9 x 13 casserole dish (assuming you are doubling it, too), cook for the same amount of time, let it rest and then cut into portions.

http://www.theppk.com/2008/06/pot-luck-faux-pas-and-a-quiche/

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Enjoy!  xo

Super Tasty Barbecue Sandwich

I made this for my people the other day, and it was a HUGE hit.  So much so, that I’m sharing the love with all of you.  This is a slight adaptation of the “South Carolina Barbecue Tofu Sandwich” recipe on page 114 of the terrific book, Spork-Fed:  Super Fun and Flavorful Vegan Recipes from the Sisters of Spork Foods,” by Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg.  For those not familiar with the Spork Sisters, they’re actual sisters who live in Los Angeles and teach fun vegan cooking classes out of their loft.  They are passionate about tasty food and love sharing their creations with others.  Thankfully for non-Angelenos (and former Angelenos, like myself), they published the aforementioned cookbook.  They also created the vegan menu for the Four Seasons Beverly Hills.  They’re on a roll!

You should, of course, get your hands on this book, because it’s chock full of yummy recipes that will make you happy.  In the meantime, though, I found it online from another blogger who had obtained permission to publish it, so you’re in luck – link at the bottom.  The blog in question is called Living On The Vedge, and this was the first time I’d come across it.  While it doesn’t look currently active, it has some nice recipes and posts in its archives that look worth exploring.

Back to the recipe…  The key to it is the home-made “South Carolina” barbecue sauce.  I often used (note the past tense) bottled barbecue sauce for my bbq needs.  Never again.  Not only is the home-made sauce exponentially superior to anything I’ve ever tasted from a bottle, but it’s really not difficult or especially time-consuming to make at all.  Of course it takes a bit more time than popping the cap off a bottle, but I cannot emphasize enough how absolutely worth the (minimal) effort it is to create.  The sauce is sweet and tangy and just a bit spicy and super, duper delicious.

The sauce is comprised of onion, garlic, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, vegan Worcestershire sauce and a nice array of herbs and spices (salt, black pepper, allspice, celery seed, dry mustard powder, cayenne pepper).  Those are simmered into a rich, sticky batch of heaven.  According to the recipe, you can get away with only simmering it for 5 to 10 minutes if you’re in a hurry.  But, of course, “the longer the sauce is cooked, the better the flavor.”  So if you’re not in a hurry, let it sit.

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The recipe calls for creating a sandwich using tofu, which I’m sure is perfectly delightful.  However, Mr. Man adores Soy Curls, so I opted to use them instead.  If you’re not sure what Soy Curls are, here’s a link to their manufacturer:

http://www.butlerfoods.com/

They come in a dried state and need to be reconstituted in water or broth or some other liquid.  Once they’ve plumped up, they’re ready to take on any sauce you want to throw their way.

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I mixed the Soy Curls in with the barbecue sauce until the curls were heated through and had absorbed some of the wonderful flavor.

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Put the barbecue on the tasty roll of your choice and top with whatever you choose.  I kept it simple, just putting some Vegenaise on the rolls, but lettuce or tomato or avocado would have been delightful, too.

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Everything you need to make this:

http://www.livingonthevedge.net/2012/01/south-carolina-barbecue-tofu-sandwich.html

Enjoy!  xo

Shepherd’s Pie – Vegan, of Course

Hello!  It’s been quite a while since I posted, and a lot of things have happened since my last post.  We moved to a new home that makes me very, very happy.  It has garden space – I’m going to try to grow some of our food!  Queenie turned 13 shortly after the move, and we threw a party for her here.  The holidays came swiftly after that.  It’s been a bit of a whirlwind!  Happy to be feeling on top of life enough to send out a new blog post or two.

I’ve decided to start back up by featuring this terrific recipe for Shepherd’s Pie.  I brought it to a Thanksgiving party, and it was a hit with omnivores and vegetarians alike.  And I brought it to an event at Queenie’s school last week, and again it was a hit.  Thought I’d share it with all of you.  The flavors are perfect for this time of year.

This recipe was created by the fabulous Allison Rivers Samson of Allison’s Gourmet fame. If you’re not already familiar with Allison’s Gourmet, it’s a wonderful online source for vegan baked goods and confections.  Everything I’ve ever ordered from Allison’s Gourmet has been divine, and every one of Allison’s recipes that I’ve ever executed has been scrumptious.  I have included a link to this recipe at the bottom of the post, and I encourage you to poke around on the site, both for additional recipes that tickle your fancy and for serious yumminess on order.

The first step is to prepare some mashed potatoes and have them ready to go.  You will also need to have cooked lentils on hand.

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Next, saute onion in olive oil.  After a couple of minutes, add mushrooms, carrot and celery and saute for a couple of more minutes.

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Next, add garlic and quickly saute.  You will then add a small amount of the flour of your choice (the recipe calls for barley flour, but you could easily substitute a gluten-free flour mix if you so desire) and stir until it is well combined, followed by a variety of tasty, herbs and spices.  At this point, things will look something like this:

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This recipe uses lentils in lieu of the traditional meat, and it works wonderfully.  Those are now added to the pan, along with parsley, peas and a few more seasonings.  Your kitchen will be smelling quite good at this point!

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Transfer this delicious mixture to a baking dish…

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… layer on the mashed potatoes and bake for about 40 minutes.

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Happiness!  Although it is best served hot, it survives the potluck experience quite nicely.  Here’s the link:

http://blog.allisonsgourmet.com/2011/03/07/monday-yumday-shepherds-pie/

Enjoy!

xo

Sexy Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower

The Sexy Vegan (aka Brian Patton) never lets me down.  Ever.  His recipes are always super tasty and fun and full of flavor, and this one is no exception.  Here, he created a recipe that captures the flavors of Buffalo “wings” using breaded cauliflower, and the results are fabulous.  When I lived in LA, I adored the Buffalo Cauliflower at a restaurant called Mohawk Bend.  With this recipe, I can make them at home (and they’re even better!).  And you can, too.  Here’s what you need to know, with a link at the bottom with Brian walking you through all of the steps via his radio show.

Preheat your oven to its highest setting (in the 500 range).  Cut some cauliflower into florets.  Set up two bowls for your breading station.  One will contain a dry mixture comprised of garbanzo bean flour (1 to 2 cups, depending on how much cauliflower you’ve got going), seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika.  The other bowl will be your wet mixture, made of equal parts garbanzo bean flour and water (about 1-1/2 cups of each, so that the mixture is a little thinner than pancake batter), seasoned with a few dashes of Frank’s Red Hot sauce.

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Now you’re going to create a breading assembly line.  Dredge your cauliflower in the dry flour, then the wet mixture, letting any excess drip off before rolling it back into the dry mixture.  When coated, place each floret on a rimmed baking sheet lined with either a Silpat or parchment paper, making sure that the florets aren’t touching each other.  Once you’ve completed this step, Brian calls for a spray of oil over the florets to help them crisp up.  While an excellent idea, I forgot to do it this time around and they turned out just fine, so if you’re avoiding oil, you can skip this step on purpose.  If not, go ahead and do it because it does add a nice level of crispiness to them.

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Pop the sheet into the oven for about 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and the outside browned in spots.  While they cook, you’re going to make the Buffalo sauce to coat the florets with, as well as a dip for dunking.  The dip is a mixture of Tofutti sour cream and Vegenaise in equal parts, flavored with onion powder, garlic powder, celery seeds, lemon juice and paprika.  If you’re in a hurry, you can substitute bottled vegan ranch dressing.  Your dip will look like this:

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To make the Buffalo sauce, melt some vegan butter gently over low heat.  Do not boil or bring to a simmer.  Once melted, add an equal amount of Frank’s Red Hot sauce and whisk.  Remove from the heat and set aside.  Once cooked, pull your cauliflower out of the oven and toss with the buffalo sauce to coat.  At this point, you’re good to go.  What I did, though, is toss some mixed greens with the dip for a little side salad, and boy was it tasty!

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Here is the fabulous Sexy Vegan himself, walking you through it:

http://thesexyvegan.libsyn.com/buffalo-cauliflower

Enjoy!  xo

Filling Club Salad

This delicious recipe is from the Meatout Mondays series of recipes, and it has quickly become one of our very favorites.  Queenie jumps for joy at the mere mention of it – it’s that good!  If you enjoy the flavors of a club sandwich, you will probably like this salad.  Bonus:  it’s the same flavor profile of the sandwich, but with lots more greens.  Here is the link to the recipe:

http://livevegan.org/meatout-mondays-14-07-21

The first step is to make the simple dressing, which is vegan mayo, yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper.

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Next, you’ll want to heat up your vegan bacon (I used Lightlife’s “Smart Bacon”) and make some croutons, if you’re going the home-made route.

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Put the chopped romaine, sliced cherry tomatoes, avocado, bacon and baked tofu into a bowl and combine.

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Finally, toss with the dressing and then top with croutons.

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Super simple and super yummy.  

Enjoy!  xo