Thursday, September 28, 2006

Vegan Mac n' "Cheese" with a Side of Balsamic Apples and 'Bellas

Last night I decided to whip up a big mound of my vegan mac n' "cheese" (but with penne this time 'round) so that I could be lazy for the rest of this week (and perhaps some of next week) and not have to worry about lunch and/or dinner quite so much. The nice thing about vegan mac n' "cheese" is that it's such a basic (but yummy) recipe that you can just toss in a couple different things each time you eat it, and it makes it taste like a whole new dish. For example, last night I tossed in some baby peas and toasted pinenuts. Tonight, I packed some of it with pine nuts and the very last dollop of pesto I made this weekend. Each dish yumbly but with a slightly different spin so that you can't quite get sick of it. And you can heat it up or eat it cold as well.

Ah, macaroni n' "cheese," you are so very versatile. How can we not heart you so?

Because I was feeling a bit ambitious (and inspired) after having flipped through a copy of The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen that just came in at the library, and because I have some baby portabellas and some left-over Washington apples (that I smuggled out from work on fruit day) that still need using up, I decided to toy around with a variation of the balsamic portabella recipe in the cookbook. And voila--a very flavorful, very woodsy and autumnal side-dish that hit the spot.

  • 1 apple (I used a Washington, but you can use whatever you want)

  • One of the large containers of baby 'bellas (this would probably taste really damn good with a mix of various woodsy wild mushrooms as well)

  • A fistful of walnuts, toasted

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 T. olive oil

  • 2.5 T. balsamic vinegar


Preheat oven to 400. Dice the apple up into really small chunks. Rinse your 'bellas free from dirt (and pop off any yucky-looking stems). Spray a small casserole-dish with some non-stick spray and toss in both the apples and 'bellas. Place in the oven for 25 minutes or so. (I forgot about the walnuts and just ended up adding them in after everything was already cooked, but if I make this again, I'll probably toss the walnuts into the oven for the last 10 minutes or so.) Drain out any excess juice/water. In a small saucepan, heat up the olive oil and toss in your garlic. Cook for a minute or so and then add your balsamic vinegar. According to the book, you wanna boil the balsamic vinegar for about 2-3 minutes until it's thickened and reduced. Mine didn't thicken quite so much, though it did reduce. Remove from heat and drizzle on your mushroom/apple mix. If you haven't already added your walnutters, you can add them now as well. Toss around and serve. Makes enough for about 2 side dishes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Chocolate Almond Midnight Cake

Last week, I noticed a post in the vegancooking livejournal forum about the Chocolate Almond Midnight cake from The Millenium Cookbook, and it looked and sounded so good (and relatively easy) that I decided I'd have some fun this weekend and try it out myself.

I was actually mildly disappointed with it, especially after reading the rave reviews coming from the person who posted it. It was a decent enough recipe, but it wasn't as amazing as I'd hyped myself up into believing it would be. But take that with a grain of salt--perhaps you will manage to whip it up into something magical and orgasmatronic if you try it yourself.

I don't own springform pans, so it was a bit more of a hassle to put together than it normally would've been (I had a hard time dislodging the mousse mold and had to do a bit of smoothing afterwards to make it look prettier), but it is feasible to do. The cashew crust was good, but I've had better. Cooking the chocolate mousse gave it an interesting texture, but even that wasn't anything to write home about--the chocolate mousse pie recipes I've used have been comparable (if not arguably better). I will admit that I didn't serve it with the mint leaves (and I just used raspberry preserves instead of making my own), so perhaps we can hold those things responsible. But all in all, I don't know that I'd go out of my way to bake it again.

If you do try to tackle it though, I will say this: if you freeze it, it somehow tastes better. Don't ask me why, but it makes the mousse seem creamier and almost like an ice cream pie.

    Cashew Crust:

  • 1/3 c. unsalted cashew nuts

  • 3 T. vegan sugar

  • 3 T. canola oil

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour

  • 1/8 t. salt

  • Chocolate Mousse:

  • 2 c. (16 oz) chocolate chips

  • 24.6 oz (2 boxes) extra-firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)

  • 3/4 c. vegan sugar

  • 1 t. vanilla extract

  • 1/8 t. sea salt

  • Maple Almond Praline:

  • 1/4 c. maple syrup

  • 1 c. slivered almonds

  • Raspberry Sauce (I just used raspberry preserves because I'm lazy):

  • 2 c. fresh or 10 oz frozen raspberries, thawed

  • 1/4 c. vegan sugar

  • fresh mint leaves


First, preheat the oven to 350F, and oil a 8-inch round springform pan. In a food processor, grind the cashews to a fine meal. Add sucanat, oil, and vanilla, and process again until combined. In a small bowl, mix the flour and salt together, then add the cashew mixture and mix it in (start with a spatula, end with your hands). Press the crust into the pan, and bake 20-25 minutes, or until light brown and dry.
While the crust is baking, melt the chocolate chips. In a blender, combine the tofu, sucanat, vanilla, and salt. Blend until well mixed, then add melted chocolate and blend for 2 minutes, or until very smooth. Once the crust is done, lightly oil the sides of the pan and pour the mousse in. Bake for 35 minutes at 350F, then let cool for 10 minutes, then run a paring knife around the inside of the pan (to prevent sticking). Let the mousse cool to the touch, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Unmold just before serving.
While the mousse is baking, bring the maple syrup to a boil in a saucepan, boil for a minute, then ad almonds and stir constantly until the syrup has completely crystallized and almonds appear dry. (Mine just turned into a sticky, yucky mess, so good luck with that!) Pour the almonds on a baking sheet and let cool.
Next, blend the raspberries and sucanat until smooth, and strain the seeds out. Depending on the mesh size of your strainer, you may have to strain several times to get all/most of the seeds out.
To serve, cut the mousse into 12 pieces. For each slice, pool raspberry sauce on a plate, top with a slice of mousse, then top with praline and mint cut into fine chiffonade (very thin strips). Dust w/ cocoa powder if you like.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Pancakes and Stuffed Eggplant (Though Not in the Same Meal, Sillies)

On Thursday night, I was feeling lazy for dinner, so I just whipped up some raspberry pancakes. Pancakes have got to be the most boringest thing to take pics of though, lemme tell you (or to even blog about really)--plus there're so many variations that I'm almost to the point of thinking that new variations don't warrant a post (hence me jamming it in with a stuffed eggplant recipe--though I *DO* have to say, I actually contemplated trying to incorporate some Nutter Butters into a pancake recipe on Thursday until I realized that I would probably go into some sorta sugar coma--*THAT* would've totally warranted a blog entry though, heh heh)... Anyways, all I did with these babies was use a 1/2 batch of the standard pancake recipe from VwaV, taking out 1 t. of flour and subbing in 1 t. cocoa powder (next time 'round, I'm TOTALLY adding in semi-sweet chocolate chips as well 'cuz raspberries and chocolate are like a fricking gorgeous sin) and then tossing a handful of frozen raspberries in the mix. I kinda made them a bit runny, but they turned out ok anyways, and the raspberries were yummy. Yes yes.

As for the weekend, as I mentioned last week, I had a couple of white eggplants I had been hoping to make into stuffed eggplants. But by the time Saturday night rolled around, I had to can that idea since they were really soft and starting to look a bit hideous.

Determined to make stuffed eggplant anyways, I picked up a couple of plain ol' stupid normal ones at the market (*sigh*). But they worked quite well, thankfully. I'm not quite sure I like stuffed eggplant, to be honest (though I dug the stuffing itself, even moreso as left-overs the next day). It was kind of a pain in the butt trying to gut the eggplant without mangling the skins (that's why stuffed peppers rock--they're pretty much gutted for you). And I ended up just eating out the insides and not the skins anyways because they didn't taste all that kick-ass (despite the fact that I normally like eggplant skin a lot). The stuffing materials were yumtastic, but I think next time, I'd probably just stuff some stuffed peppers with them instead of eggplant.

Anyways, here be the recipe.

  • 2 medium-sized eggplants

  • 2-3 T. olive oil

  • 2-4 cloves garlic

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1/2 cube extra-firm tofu, crumbled

  • 1/2 - 1 c. wild rice, cooked according to package directions

  • Baby portabellas, about 10-12 (or 1/2 of a larger container of 'shroomies), diced

  • About 6-8 roma tomatoes, diced

  • 1/2 - 3/4 c. walnuts, toasted

  • Sm. can diced tomatoes

  • 1-2 t. all-purpose flour

  • Homemade vegan pesto


Boil the eggplants for about 5-10 minutes. Once boiled, slice each eggplant in two and carefully scoop out the insides. Dice the insides and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened. Add the tofu and about 1/2 the diced eggplant. Cook until the eggplant has softened some and the tofu has started to brown. Add the baby bellas and tomatoes and cook until just starting to soften. Season with some basil and seasoned salt, to taste. Toss in the walnuts and wild rice. Stir around and remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a pan of some sort with nonstick spray. Place your eggplant skins on top. Stuff your eggplant skins with the mixture from your skillet. You will probably have enough left over to stuff about 1/2 of another eggplant, so it's up to you what to do with it, of course (though you could very well just pack the shit out of them eggplants). Cook for about 30 minutes (or until the insides are sufficiently heated).

While the eggplants are cooking, toss your can of diced tomatoes into a small saucepan. Add the flour and stir. Season sauce to taste (I used some dried basil, seasoned salt, garlic, onion powder). Heat until hot. (You could, of course, alternately use some jarred spaghetti sauce or your own recipe.)

Serve eggplants with tomato sauce on top and a few little blurps of vegan pesto.

Serves 4.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Orangey Tofu and Mustard-Taters

I have actually been around some evenings this week, which means I've actually been able to do some random dinner-cooking for myself.

Tuesday night, I decided to make use of a block of tofu in my fridge that's just been sitting there, calling my name. I had a recipe in my Very Large Recipe Binder (which I think was from Fresh and Fast Vegan Pleasures) which was for an orange-glazed tofu of some sort or another, and since I realized I actually had all the ingredients for it, I decided to go with that. I'd also been eyeing a mustard-mashed potatoes recipe from this month's issue of Vegetarian Times (did you know that you can get a subscription for the VT for just $3.69 at no kidding! go CHECK IT OUT), and since my fella isn't a big fan of mustard, I figured I'd try that out as well, since I was cooking solo.

The problem with the mustard-taters was that, basically, I didn't have any of the ingredients except for soy milk and mustard (and potatoes--though mine were red, not russet). So I decided to do my own mustardly thing with them instead.

Unfortunately, I wasn't too impressed by the outcome of either recipe. The orange-glazed tofu was good, but nothing special. Essentially it consisted of orange-juice, veggie broth, cumin, cinnamon, brown sugar and some other spices, all of which were drizzled over tofu that had already been frying in a pan for about ten minutes. It had a very light flavoring to it, way too subtle for my tastebuds. It looked pretty, and it was by no means gag-o-rific. But it wasn't anything fantastic, just kinda orangey.

And the mashed potatoes weren't all that either. I ended up using red taters, some soy milk, dry mustard, rosemary, and thyme. They weren't bad at all, but, alas, I had wanted them to *blow my fricking mind*, and they sure as hell didn't. Next time 'round, I'll probably actually *get* all the exact ingredients and try the recipe out exactly (since it claims that mustard and tarragon together will amaze your tastebuds). But, as I've said before, and if you haven't heeded my advice *HEED IT NOW!!!!* : toasted pine nuts on mashed taters--so motherfricking good. Oh my god. I don't know why, but they really really are.

So if you take anything from today's (relatively useless) post, it's the recommendation that next time you make mashed taters, you hook them up with some pine nuts. Hell yeh.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This, This, and a Little Bit of That

After drooling over a picture that Vegancore took of the Blondies she made from VwaV, I was inspired to try them out myself over the weekend. I hadn't even given them a second thought (for some reason) when flipping through the dessert section of the book on prior occasions, but they just sounded and looked SO... DAMN... GOOD... that I couldn't go on living without giving the recipe a whirl. And they were. Hell yes, they were. I am ashamed to say I ate four (maybe even five--I lost count--*smiling sheepishly*) over the course of the day on Monday, and thankfully, folks at work gobbled down the rest, otherwise I might've had an even worse stomach-ache than the one I ended up with. The only thing I would do differently with them next time is make more raspberry gunk to spread all over them and load them up with more chocolate chips. I'm a woman of excess, what can I say?

Ironically, the same day I consumed 4+ blondies was the day I decided that I really need to start hustling and packing myself better, healthier, less caloric lunches for work (I'd fallen into the habit of laziness, which in my case entails eating french fries from the little cafeteria across the street). This time, I was inspired by FatFree Vegan's Week o' Salads and decided to pack a nice big one for myself. I'd been inexplicably craving lentils all weekend, so I knew that those would have to be in the mix. What resulted was the above salad--not particularly fantastic, I must admit, but with a bit of tweaking, I think it could be a good one. I used some romaine lettuce and some mustard greens (thankfully, I'd found myself without an urge for spinach this week), topped them with a hearty scoop of green lentils, added some toasted walnuts, and drizzled a dressing made of agave nectar, brown mustard, and cider vinegar over the top. The problem was that I drizzled the dressing on the night before which I knew would sog it up a bit, but I sometimes like that. But it sogged it up way too much. That, and the salad was yearning for something sweet in it--no doubt some nice, tart apples. So next time around, I'll let it succumb to temptation, and load it up with some juicy apple chunks.

And finally, I bought these precious little white eggplants this weekend, at the little farmer's market in my neighborhood. They are just so damn pretty and cute. The whole walk home, I kept pulling them out of the bag just to gaze at them. I think I may be in love.

I only hope that they will last until the weekend as I have plans to make stuffed eggplant with them. Unfortunately, I noticed yesterday that they are quickly starting to soften up. Keep your fingers crossed that they last and that I don't have to whip them up into something else before then so that they don't get too bitter.

Anyone happen to know how to tell when an eggplant's just too far gone to use anymore?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


So I've made these cookies twice in the past week (for two different occasions), but seeing as I posted the recipe once before, I figured I wouldn't post it (or pics) again, really.

But after the crazed and enthusiastic responses I got to them, I figured I should say SOMETHING about them, seeing as the people who ate them fell fanatically in love with them.

The second batch I made was for E's sister's engagement party. They went like wildfire.

E called me the next day and said, "Apparently you are now the designated cookie-maker for the family. My mom said several people had been calling her and other family members trying to get ahold of the recipe." Not only that, but his mom also apparently is absolutely smitten with these cookies as well. According to E, she told him that her favorite cookies were always these yummy chocolate chip cookies that her mom used to bake her when she was little. But after tasting these, she's decided that she has a new favorite cookie.

Vegan cookies beating out sweet nostalgic memories of a mom's homemade cookies recipe? I thought I'd never see the day.

So, ladies and gents, let this be a hearty suggestion to you all:

If you really wanna impress the family at a family gathering, if you wanna impress those co-workers, if you wanna get some random stone cold fox in the sack, these are the cookies for you. They are damn simple too, but they will, with absolute certainty, impress.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Autumn Harvest Stew

Let me preface this by saying this is the most fantastic stew I've ever had. And I do not exaggerate.

After making the VwaV stew last week, I realized I'm sorta all hopped up on the approach of fall, and, as a consequence, all hopped up on soup and stew recipes. So I bumped around on the internet, googling autumn stews. And lo and behold, it took me to my favorite Fatfreevegan recipe site. And lo and behold, they had this interesting sounding little gem on there.

I had my doubts initially--pumpkin? With tomotoes? And HOMINY? All in the same thing?

But holy crap, was I wrong.

The stew tastes exactly like autumn. It is spicy, the kind of spicy that warms you up from deep inside your belly and radiates out (like a pair of warm mittens) until your body is just humming with toasty goodness. It is also very rich and aromatic--thank heaven for Indian-spices. But it's also got a delicate sweetness to it, courtesy of the sweet potatoes and the molasses. Definitely don't underestimate its fiery kick though (once you start adding the chili powder in, you'll go into shock, muttering to yourself, Really? THAT MUCH chili powder?!?)...

Not only does it taste just like autumn, it also radiates with the fiery and brilliant colors of autumn as well, as you can see from the pictures. Almost every autumn color is represented there: the celery as the green of leaves not yet turned, the fenugreek as the sparkling gold of brilliantly sunny yellow leaves, the sweet potatoes as the lovely mellow orangey-hued ones that have fallen to the ground, the pumpkin as the feisty jack-o-lanterns grinning from everyone's front porches, the tomatoes and spices as the fiery red, fiercely burning autumnal branches, and the black beans as the dark and loamy earth after a full autumn's rain. Absolutely beautiful.

This dish is fantastically tasty and gorgeous to look at, and it's also really damn simple and low-in-fat.

The only major changes I made were to omit the asafoetida and (I just realized I forgot the last step) the lemon. I wouldn't change a damn thing, other than this. Not a damn thing.

I just cannot possibly gush any more about this stew than I already have--definitely one of the best recipes I've stumbled across in a long long time. Go run out and cook it! NOW! What are you waiting for?!?!?

  • 2 c. onions

  • 2 T. sautéing liquid (I just used water)

  • 1 c. chopped celery

  • 1/4 c. garlic (I used moreso around 1/8 c.)

  • 1 T. molasses

  • 28-oz. can diced tomatoes

  • 16-oz. can mashed pumpkin

  • 3 c. black beans, cooked

  • 1 c. water

  • 1 c. chopped sweet potato

  • 1 c. white hominy, not drained

  • 1 1/2 t. salt

  • 1 1/2 t. cumin

  • 1 1/2 T. chili powder

  • 1 t. crushed red pepper

  • 1/4 t. fenugreek powder

  • 1/4 t. coriander

  • 1 t. ginger powder

Sauté onions in liquid until softened. Add remaining ingredients except lemon juice and cook. Add lemon juice. Cook until thick and sweet potato pieces are soft.

from The Fat-Free Vegan

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Chipotle, Corn, and Black Bean Stew

This weekend I made a big ol' batch of the Chipotle, Corn, and Black Bean Stew from Vegan with a Vengeance, and I must say: it was damn good and perfect autumn-weather food. It even LOOKS autumnal.

The recipe is quite simple, the flavoring is fiery and fierce but tempered with a slightly seductive sweet tartness from the lime, and it makes a lot--enough so that I had to keep bringing it in to work and forcing it upon people so that I could get through it all before I got sick of it (just due to repetition, of course).

My fella has already planned a date and time for me to make it again, he liked it that much.

The only adjustments I'll make next time 'round are LESS POTATOES (it was like fricking potato central in there!) and smaller cubes of potatoes.


But yeah, I definitely recommend. Get ye to a Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Don't Forget...

To keep those kid-friendly recipes a-coming.

Read more details HERE, and post your recipe suggestions HERE.

Happy Happy Che Che Pancakes

I made pancakes on Sunday. The recipe wasn't anything terrifically original or anything, but the site where I got it from cracked my shit up and won me over into trying them out. I don't know what's funnier--the idea of Commie vegans or vegan Commies. Actually, neither are all that funny (or surprising even, perhaps), but I just got sucked in by the site name: Pancakes for Pinkos (tee hee).

The web site offers pancakes recipes because they're working under the assumption that...
  • A - Your average pinko commie doesn't have time for a healthy breakfast as he is too busy inciting revolution.

  • B - The proletariat is too listless and unmotivated to make breakfast.

  • C - The bourgeoisie would rather suck on tepid duck fat and dull, lifeless rubles than eat a healthy meal.

Check it out. They have a whole buncha different vegan pancake recipes on there too.

Next time, I want to try the Commie Apple Oatmeal ones.

Mine ended up being a variation on the Proletariat Fluffy Vegan Pancakes.

I've reprinted the recipe below, with my alterations. Given that I souped them up a bit, I thought they were deserving of a new name. But I did try to keep in spirit with the web page.

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour

  • 1 c. unbleached white flour

  • 1 T. baking powder

  • 1 T. sugar

  • 1 3/4 c. soy milk

  • 1 T. oil

  • A handful of vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

Stir the flours and the baking powder together in a large bowl. In a seperate bowl, combine the soy milk and oil and whip for about one minute. Pour the soy mixture into the flour mixture. Stir just to combine. Don't worry about the lumps. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Lightly oil a medium nonstick skillet (no-fat spray oil, preferably). Heat over medium heat. When a few drops of water sprinkled on the skillet sizzle or bead up, the pan is ready.

Pour 3/4 cup of the batter at a time onto the skillet. Cook until the pancakes begin to bubble, about 3 minutes. Turn with a spatula, and cook until the second side is lightly browned. Serve topped with sliced bananas in the shape of the face of a happy Commie. 'Cause if you're gonna be a Commie, you're gonna wanna be a happy one (and a full one too). And of course, don't forget the maple syrup.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Plea For Kid-Pleasing Recipes

A co-worker of mine just recently made the transition to vegan. I was so very excited for her when she shared this with me, and I've been trying to help her out with as many links and references as possible.

She sounds like she's made a pretty gung-ho leap into shopping and cooking vegan, but today she told me that the only problem she's having is cooking for both her and her husband vs. cooking for her kids (she's having to cook two separate meals because, as she stated, while her husband is happy to eat whatever she makes, her kids are kinda picky in the way that most kids are when it comes to food). She sounds worn out from trying to please everyone, and although I suggested to her both the Vegan Family Favorites cookbook and the Lantern Family Vegan Cookbook, I thought I'd send out a request for more help.

Do any of you out there have any recipe suggestions that have proven to be kid-pleasing for even the most pickiest of kiddos? (Recipes with fairly basic ingredients--nothing fancy shmancy--and relatively short preparation time would be most useful, seeing as she's a working mom.)

If so, please please please post any and all recipes or links in the comment section and I will forward them along to her.

The transition to vegan can be a struggle when you're doing it all on your own in a family of omnis and even veggies (as many of us know), so perhaps having the support of all us vegan food-lovers will keep her from giving up hope.

Thanks, everyone!

Vosges Black Pearl Chocolate Bar

This weekend, my very adorable friend dorklepork (who is ditching us for L.A. either today or tomorrow--*sniffle*) regaled us with a taste of her very exotic, very expensive Vosges Black Pearl Chocolate Bar after our bellies were heavy and warm from some very good dinners at Johnny Mango.

This bar boasts the following ingredients: ginger, wasabi, and black sesame seeds.

F-ed up, no?

I was a bit unsure that I would like it--it sounds like a very strange combination for a chocolate bar. But lo and behold, the flavors were only hinted at--not overpowering at all--and the bar was a rich and delicate smorgasborg of yum!

I couldn't really taste the ginger (though my friend Mo could), but the wasabi left a little fuzzy tingle at the back of your throat. And the black sesame seeds lent the chocolate bar a bit more upscale, sophisticated Rice Krispies crunch.

It was good stuff.

I don't know that I'd ever indulge in it again given the hefty price tag (anywhere from $6-7 despite it being a normal-sized chocolate bar), but it was definitely a unique experience, and I recommend all you chocophiles try it out sometime... When you're in the mood to splurge, of course.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Top 5 Things Everyone Should Eat Before They Die

(Tagged by madeinalaska)

1. Well-made avocado sushi--As most of you know, if you ever wanna get me in the sack, this would be the way to go. Avocado sushi is a total aphrodisiac to me (and to others as well, thankfully)--for some reason, there is nothing that compliments the tart sweetness of the rice vinegar of sushi better to me than sexy, creamy avocado. It melts on your tongue like sex, or love, or sexy love. *Having to excuse myself*

2. Cleveland's Mama Santa's pizza with pepperoncinis--There is something to be said for a pizza that tastes just as damn fantastic even without the cheese. Mama Santa's sauce is like manna--it's the perfect combination of sweetness and tomatoeyness. And the crust is exquisite--perfectly crunchy yet ripe with flavors. And Mama Santa's doesn't skimp on the pepperoncinis--they give you the *good* fresh ones, not the crap ones that Pizza Hut hooks you up with. Seriously, if you've never had Mama Santa's pizza, you must run out right now and get yourself some. I don't care if you live 3000 miles away--that's what cars are for.

3. Garlic--Oh, sweet sweet garlic, my love, my true one! I almost forgot about you until I saw you on someone else's list! Please forgive me! I don't know how I could've lived the rest of my life knowing that I left you off my top five! Anywho, since I'd already blathered about pinenuts and added it to my top 5, I'm leaving it on as a 1/2. But definitely garlic would win out if the two were battling it out in a big vat of (vegan) pudding. It's way buffer, and it pulls lots of sneaky moves that pine nuts can't quite compete with. Plus, have you SEEN that wrestling-leotard it wears--and the bulge it's trying to hide?? Pine nuts can't quite compare. Garlic tastes good in so many different ways, on so many different things. Roasted garlic in particular makes my knees weak. And I don't think I could go on living if I wasn't able to breathe in its sweet roasty earthiness off my fingertips a few times a month after preparing a scrumptious meal.

3.5. Pine nuts--Just recently, I've found myself absolutely adoring these buggers. (Plus, listing them here also allows me to sneak in vegan pesto under their listing--and that shit's DAMN good.) There is just something scrumptiously rich and roasty and fantastically flavorful about pine nuts--and they taste good on fricking EVERYTHING. Ok--ALMOST everything, though perhaps I WILL try them on soy ice cream sometime soon and see if I can boast EVERYTHING after all. Meh!

4. Fresh basil--I love love love everything about it: the scent, the flavor, the look. It's 100x tastier on a sammich than lettuce or even spinach. The only unfortunate thing about it is that it goes wilty and yuck so quickly. But up until then, I'd totally marry it. And have little basil babies.

5. Warm fresh bread with olive oil to dip in--I don't think I could live without warm fresh bread, be it roasted garlic, rosemary, 7-grain, sunflower seed. I just love bread. I think if I had to live off of one food for the rest of my life, prepared whatever way I wanted it, it'd be fresh bread. All hail bread-monagamy!

(This somehow started off as the Top 5 Things Everyone Should Eat Before They Die but ended up as a list of the Top 5 Foods I Couldn't Live Without. My apologies. But, really, if you haven't yet eaten fresh bread or fresh basil, you need to start livin'!)

I tag the following folks, whom I think are regular readers (with the caveat that, if you have no interest in making a list of your five, I shan't be even a bit offended--and of course, my apologies if you've already listed out yours and I am somehow blind and didn't notice):

  • A Vegan Life

  • Dorklepork

  • Let's Get Sconed

  • Megan the Vegan

  • Kaji's Mom
  • Neat-Loafing It Up

    I've been tagged to list out my top 5 favorite foods that a person should, nay MUST, try before they die, and I have to say--I really need to give this thing some damn thought! I feel like I shouldn't just whip out my top 5 on my first day back to work after a holiday weekend--I suspect it would be delusional and unpleasant at best. And the quality of people's remaining lives depends on it! *Sobbing at all the pressure!* So I promise to post ye ol' top 5 foods tomorrow--word!

    This weekend I baked cookies. But alas, pics came out like crap. So they shan't be posted here. But just in case you wanted to know--they were the peanut butter cookies from Sinfully Vegan, and I was not all that impressed by them. They were not sweet enough for my sweet tooth (though E said they were just right for his), and they boasted being "healthier" as PB cookies go--they were only 85 calories a cookie. But once you saw how fricking tiny each cookie was, it made a lot more sense why they were being considered "healthier"--anything's lower in calories and fat when it's 1/3 of the size of a normal cookie. I honestly would probably not make them again--Vegan with a Vengeance does up PB cookies WAY better, trust me.

    E made up for my lack of cooking this weekend by regaling me with his instead, and I was very pleased. He made (for a second time) the "neat loaf" recipe from Cooking with PETA which is a damn fricking tasty recipe, especially for being so ridiculously simple to make (just think tofu, wheat germ, nutritional yeast, onions, and seasonings--E'ed up with a bit of fresh rosemary on top). I love this stuff--it tastes like a cross between meatloaf and stuffing. Num num.

    On the side, he whipped up some potatoes of his own imagination (that needs to be a name for a recipe: "Potatoes of His Own Imagination"--hee hee), out of potatoes, onions, mushrooms, vegan butter, and fresh rosemary. This stuff was also really stinking flavorful for being very simple--just thrown in a casserole and baked until the taters were soft.

    And finally, he wanted to try out this Tomato Basil Quinoa that they've started selling at Wild Oats, so he whipped some of that up as well (it's the blurry stuff on the back left of the picture). This was also really yummy for already-seasoned quinoa, and uber-simple to whip up. It'd be well worthwhile stocking some boxes of this in your cupboard for when you're pressed for time...

    All in all, although I didn't cook much this weekend (despite plans to--we were gonna make split pea burgers for a cookout that fell through and I was gonna whip up a batch of VwV's black bean and corn stew, but that's on the backburner until this weekend), I did eat well. And I thank E (and good ol' Johnny Mango) for that.

    Stay tuned tomorrow for my top 5!