Friday, March 31, 2006

Monterey Jack Uncheese

~ from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

Verdict: F

Comments: Agar agar has become my arch-enemy. A very disappointing follow-up to the Colby Uncheese from last week, except this time white instead of orangey. Equally gelatinous and I followed the directions/measurements even more carefully after last week's mishap. I've come to realize, however, that even were it NOT so spam-like in its gelatinosity, I still don't think I'd be able to get enthused about it since it has a very overpowering and pungent cashew-flavoring to it. I think this may be the end of my block-uncheese experimentation--time to move on to ooey gooey fake-grilled cheeses for next weekend. Not to say that all the block-cheez recipes are bad--a vegan friend of mine made the brie, and it was fantastique, though I suspect this is partially because cashews are just a sub-ingredient on this one instead of the main ingredient (and due to her mad cooking skillz).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sweet Potato Chili

*Note to self--must figure out how to take more flattering food p0rn pictures that don't resemble those taken of the Loch Ness monster.

~ modified from a recipe from The Great American Detox Diet


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 roasted red pepper (placing them in a paper bag for Step 6--instead of a bowl with saran wrap--also works wonderfully), chopped
5 cloves roasted garlic, mushed up
a few smidgens of salt to taste
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 28-can diced tomatoes
4 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or 6 cups freshly cooked)
1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and chopped (next time I'd use 2)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
multiple dashes of cayenne pepper until spicy to your liking

1 lime, cut into wedges
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves, washed and dried

1. Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion, red pepper, garlic, and salt. Saute until soft, about 4 minutes.

2. Add the sweet potato and lime zest, and cook until potatoes are close to soft, continuing to stir occasionally (took mine about 25 minutes or so--but I suspect they were larger than 1/2 inch chunks). Revel in the most glorious scent of roasted red pepper and sweet potatoes wafting from your pot.

3. Add the tomatoes, black beans, jalapeno, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cocoa, cayenne pepper (to taste), bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

4. Serve with cashews, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges for garnishing. (Urge folks to use them all, especially the lime juice--so tasty.) Also serve with a side of homemmade cornbread (that is the recipe I used, though I wasn't wholly impressed by it).

Serves 6.

VERDICT: Definite A. My family loved it as well--my brother said, "I don't even really LIKE black beans or chili, but I ate it all!"

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Banana Sunflower Seed Cookies

Recipe: HERE

Verdict: A

Comments: Squishy nuttiness and nannery goodness.

Colby Uncheese

~ from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

Verdict: D

Comments: Came out like gelatinous spam and way too salty. I think I may have erred with the agar agar. Dammit.

Follow-up: I tried to battle consistency by freezing the block. It was in my fridge thawing all night, and yet IT'S STILL FROZEN. I'm thinking we have some sort of future biological weapon on our hands.

(Listen to the colby uncheese theme song)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Banana Walnut Pancakes

~ (w/ walnuts instead of pecans) from Vegan With a Vengeance

Verdict: A

Comments: Thought they were a little unsweet initially but that's apparently what the syrup and the sliced bananas on top are for. Not too complicated to make. And tasty-tasty.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Corn Chowder

A wicked good and spicy corn chowder from Vegan With a Vengeance. So easy. So tasty. So fricking healthy for you that it should be jailed for indecency. Or something like that. In food-jail of course. Because yeah, that exists.

Broccoli-Spinach Vegan Quiche

A broccoli-spinach vegan quiche from The Peta Celebrity Cookbook--I even made the crust myself (Look, Ma, no hands!) and it was fricking good, if I may say so.

Lauren's Vegan Mac n' Cheese

1 lb. macaroni noodles
2 cloves minced garlic
2 1/4 c soy milk
1/2 c nutritional yeast
1/4 c flour
oil (1-3 tbsps)
2 T soy sauce
1 packet mustard (about 1-2 tsp?)
2 drops hickory smoke flavor

Cayenne pepper
Garlic Powder
Season Salt
Mrs. Dash

Preheat oven to 400°.
Cook noodles according to directions on box. In a sauce-pot, cook the minced garlic in 1-3 tbsps or so of oil until fragrant. Add soy milk, nutritional yeast, and flour. Stir frequently so it doesn't burn. Throw in the spices to taste. (I definitely recommend a few dashes of cayenne pepper because it gives it some oomf.) Continue to stir until the sauce begins to thicken up. Once it's begun to thicken, throw the noodles in and coat. Then dump the mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle a generous amount of paprika over the top. Also sprinkle a generous amount of cornmeal as well.
Throw into the oven for about 20 minutes or until it's started to get a bit crunchy and hot. Serve.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Stuffed Peppers

My tried and true Stuffed Peppers (stuffed with portabellas, wild rice, and those little tiny orzo noodley things) from the big white vegetarian cookbook that's sitting on my shelf at home and whose title is eluding me (but I know my friend Shanna bought it for me back in the day and I done stoled it from my ex- when we broke up so now it is mine mine mine and thank god because I could not live without you, oh stuffed pepper recipe).

Fat-Free Vegan Banana Bread

* A Fat-Free Vegan Banana Bread (with semi-sweet chocolate chips and sunflower seeds)--this turned out a bit moister than I would've liked. And the semi-sweet chocolate chips tasted a bit too bitter for my taste. Whine whine whine.

Corn Bread

Corn bread from The Lantern Vegan Family Cookbook. Num diddly num.

Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies

Amazingly good peanut-butter and oatmeal cookies from Vegan With a Vengeance--I wish I could track down the recipe for you all on-line because they were INCREDIBLE. If you cook anything that I've mentioned here, let it be this one--it will be like a week-long orgasm. However, I suspect that they could very easily kill you (the cookies, not the week-long orgasms)--I've never put so much oil and peanut butter into one recipe. I made them for my friend D for his b-day, and I actually felt obligated to order him not to eat too many in one sitting, they are THAT unhealthy. They are addictive too--I found myself chowing on multiple reject cookies all week from my fridge and was both happy and sad to see the last one go. They are super-soft and super-gooey and super-fricking-peanutbuttery. And I could just eat mounds and mounds of the uncooked dough. And now I just keep craving them *ALL* the time, mostly because for some reason, many items in my house smell exactly like them, including my cat.

Yellow Cake with Butter-Cream Frosting

A vegan yellow cake with butter-cream frosting from La Dolce Vegan!--the cake was so fucking dense that it should've been called "bread" by the recipe-makers, but the frosting was gloriously rich and yummy and heart-attack inducing (I've never put so much butter into one item).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Past Questions of the Month

Raspberry Swirl Brownies

The world's worst raspberry-swirl brownies you ever did taste:

E's mom was ever so sweet and got me the fantastic dessert-filled cookbook Sinfully Vegan: Over 140 Decadent Desserts to Satisfy Every Vegan's Sweet Tooth so I eagerly jumped in to try out their raspberry-swirl brownies (replete with tons of glorious cocoa and raspberry preserves). Before I get any further, let me just make it clear that I suck and not the book. Not like you couldn't've figured that out anyways. But yes, I am high in suckage. Anyways, these brownies looked glorious going in (and man was the raw batter good to wolf down) and they looked glorious coming out. And they tasted glorious in their warm gooey goodness as I tried not to burn my tongue. But come the next morning, they were stiff and rubbery as a car tire. I suspect this is not the fault of the recipe, but the fault of The Fear that Accompanies Vegan Baking--this fear is overcooking/undercooking items. Many vegan bakery items actually have to firm up outside of the oven as part of the cooking process, so it is often incredibly difficult (especially with cookies) to tell when it is done--many times it'll feel squishy as shit and seem completely undercooked but if you leave it in due to The Fear That Accompanies Vegan Baking, you will overcook. I suspect I did exactly that with the brownies, partially because I also doubled the recipe and cooked them in a larger pan, so I was worried that they should be baked longer and overcompensated on the baking time. The rubberiness may also partially be due to a lack of eggs. But one cannot be quite sure. Damn you though, you weird binding ovals from hell!

Beer Cookies

And most recently, beer cookies! Who'da thunk it. These are by no means the most amazing thing I've ever baked--they come out light and squishy and sweet but aren't knock-your-socks-off--but hell, they're a lot of fun to make, mostly because a batch only requires about 3/4 of a beer, so you'll end up dancing around your apartment while you bake, downing the excess in your bottles so as *not to be wasteful* ahem yes that's the reason. *AND* they were incidentally vegan (as in, I was roaming aimlessly looking at recipes and stumbled across these babies on a non-vegan website)--alls you gotta do is use some vegan beer in the recipe, and your vegan friends will love ya.

These yielded a tiny bit shy of 2 dozen cookies.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup packed vegan brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup vegan butter (I think I used
Soy Garden brand)
1 1/4 cups room temperature beer (When I baked these cookies most recently, I used their Holy Moses beer (which is my favorite beer of the moment--god bless you, coriander)
--for more vegan beers checkHERE)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


1. Cream together the butter or margarine and the brown sugar. Cut in flour, baking soda and spice.
2. Blend in beer slowly to form a soft dough.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls and top with a walnut piece.
4. Bake 12-15 minutes at a 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven until lightly brown. Cool one minute on cookie sheet and remove to wire rack.


The cookies were nicely squishy (which I like in a cookie) and gave you potent enough beer breath that it had the added amusement of making everyone at work smell like they'd just dragged themselves out of an awake-through-the-morning drinking binge. When I have some spare cash, my goal is to pick up a 12-pack of Great Lakes Brewing Co. beer (with it's 4-different beer assortment) and try out these cookies with each of the beers. I also intend to tamper with the recipe some so that they're a bit more flavorful and to turn them into KILLER beer cookies that will immediately get me laid.