Monday, July 31, 2006

E's Vegan-Wine Tasting

(Don't they kinda look like they could break both your legs and then
dump you in a lake with cement-shoes if they wanted to?)

(The man behind the vegan wine-tasting getting
some much-deserved love from the ladies)

Lots o' cooking, numbly goodies, and wine reviews to post about this week--this is just to whet your whistle for now. Stay tuned for recipes recipes recipes all this week...

WINE PARTY MIX (7/29/06)

1. Feelin' Good--Nina Simone
2. Whatever Lola Wants--Dinah Shore?
3. Why--Andrew Bird
4. You Do Something to Me--Sinead O'Connor
5. Sascha--Jolie Holland
6. Summertime--Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
7. People = Shit--Richard Cheese
8. It's a Pose--Nellie McKay
9. Everything Reminds Me of Her--Elliot Smith
10. Music and Politics--Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
11. Extraordinary Machine--Fiona Apple
12. Joyful Girl--Soulive
13. The Piano Has Been Drinking--Tom Waits
14. John Coltrane song
15. The Girl From Ipanema
16. Belleville Rendez-Vous (from Triplets of Belleville)
17. Mad Tom of Bedlam--Jolie Holland
18. What a Little Moonlight Can Do--Billie Holiday
19. Revelling--Ani Difranco
20. I Can't Wait to Get Off Work--Tom Waits
21. Words Cannot Describe--Mirah

Ain't nothing classier than wine-tasting straight from the bottle!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

If God Had Meant for Cornbread to Have Sugar In It, He Would've Called it Cake

No recipes or pictures today--I didn't do much cooking this week because I was very very busy with other more important and crazed things instead.

Good news though: this weekend E is having a vegan wine-tasting party (woot woot) so expect pictures and recipes and details out the ass. I already have plans to make at least three whores-devores (I suck at remembering how to spell that damnable word--taking a wild guess--h'ors douerves; plus, whores-devores looks more like what it should sound like anyways).

In the meantime, I thought I'd post this for some cheap laughs.

I've gotten a few constructive criticisms about the title of this blog since I started it, but I've been want to change it because, well, this blog's for fun, peoples, and I'm a swearer. I'm not trying to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Vegan Food Blog or anything--I just do this shit to keep myself entertained and to show folks that you can be vegan and eat like a queen (*donning feather boa and 8-inch platform shoes*). So if that means not getting my recipes picked up by folks to be posted elsewhere, ah well--I really ain't too concerned, my lovelies.

And I have to say, lately I've found myself slapped silly with a big fat grin on my face for keeping the current title of this bloggy blog, simply because my blog title causes itself to be stumbled across with some of the most BIZARRE google searches you can think of (which I've noticed through my sitemeter).

So today, I thought I'd post some of my favorite google searches which apparently result in my blog:
  • boca roasted onion good shit

  • if god had meant for cornbread to have sugar in it he would've called it cake

  • vegan food tastes like shit

  • shit on a salad

  • shit pie recipe

The most frequent google search that apparently pulls up my blog is "expired tofu" (variation: "expired tofu sick"--heh heh) which is kind of intriguing--apparently I am the person to go to if you wanna figure out whether that hunk of expired tofu you're currently gnawing on is gonna make you projectile vomit everywhere. You can call me "Dr. Tofu."

But my all-time ultimate favorite google search that apparently retrieves my blog as a result is--*drum roll*...

  • vegan black olives feces

  • I really just wanna know--what in god's name was this person trying to figure out that warranted a search with that specific word combination?

    In response, let me just shout this:

    Pubic pumpernickel booger snot.

    We'll see if THAT ever retrieves a google search. =)

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    "Well, Orange You Chipper This Morning" Pancakes

    (Get it? Get it? Orange=Aren't. Chipper=Chocolate chips. Stupid name for pancakes=my incredible lack of sleep last night.)

    These panckaes were yumtastic and gave me a long overdue orange-chocolate fix on Sunday morning. They turned out with a nice light citrusy flavor which very suavely and discretely tempered the rich chocolatey gooeyness, keeping the pancakes from feeling too heavy.

    E said that, out of all the pancakes I've cooked for him, they were definitely his favorite. So there.


    Dry ingredients:

    3/4 c. white flour
    1/2 c. wheat flour
    2 t. baking powder
    1/8 t. salt
    1 t. cinnamon

    Wet ingredients:

    2 T canola oil
    1/3 c. water
    1 c. soy milk
    1 t. vanilla
    2 T. maple syrup
    2 t. orange zest

    Vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (a handful or two)


    Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix all the wet in another. Add the wet to the dry. Fold in the chocolate chips.

    Cook in a nice hot pan like you do with pancakes. If you need me to explain how to cook a pancake, I may have to hit you over the head with the aforementioned pan (though I'll be nice and wait until it cools off first).

    Makes 4 large pancakes or 8 small (I'd suggest doubling the recipe if you're trying to feed two people, but that's mainly just because I am a pancake ho.)

    The pancakes in this picture are naked--they've not yet been dressed up with syrup. So try not to give them a complex about their body image, will ya?

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006

    Berried Sopapillas

    I wanted to make something this weekend, despite it being E's turn to cook, so I settled on a dessert. We've been nibbling on ice cream almost every weekend, mainly because it's been too hot to bake. And I'm not a huge fan of no-bake bars and cookies, so I thought I'd stick with the ice cream idea but liven things up without heating up the kitchen in the process.

    These sopapillas are so very easy and yet so unbelievably good that you will be amazed. They're probably one of my favorite desserts that I've "invented" recently (*Look, Ma! No hands!*). I know that they're not the traditional method of doing up a sopapilla (what with homemade tortilla-y stuffs), but it don't matter. They will make your tummy happy regardless.


    2 cups diced strawberries
    1/8-1/4 c. vegan sugar
    Chocolate chips
    Vegan vanilla "ice cream" (I used Tofutti-brand)
    2 vegan tortillas
    Vegetable oil
    Cinnamon & sugar, mixed


    Throw the strawberries into a food processer and process. Add in sugar slowly until the strawberry mixture is sweet enough for your tastebuds.

    On a plate, place about 1/8 cup of cinnamon and 1/8 cup vegan sugar. Place another plate on top so that you can close the two up (for shaking). (You could probably alternately use a bag full of cinammon and sugar instead--we just didn't have any bags.)

    Pour some vegetable oil into a pan until it's deep enough to cover a tortilla laid flat. Heat up the oil on medium. Once the oil is hot, toss in your first tortilla. As it heats, it will start to bubble up in places. I just poked at the bubbles with the spatula until they deflated. *TIP: Do not fry up your sopapillas after/while drinking--I somehow managed to submerge three of my fingers into the piping hot oil and now have a nice lovely burn on my hand.* Eventually your tortilla will turn golden and stiff. Once it is pretty and golden, remove from the oil. Place between two paper-towels, and let the towels soak up the extra oil. Once some of the excess oil's been soaked up, throw the crisp tortilla carefully in between the two plates. Very gently shake the plates around until the tortilla is covered in cinammon and sugar. Remove and place on a plate.

    Do the same steps for your second tortilla.

    Once both tortillas are done, scoop out a hearty portion of vanilla ice cream onto each tortilla, pour some strawberry topping over the ice cream, and toss some blackberries and chocolate chips on top of everything.

    Moan and tingle as you consume its sweet sweet sweetly goodness.

    Makes 2 servings.

    Monday, July 24, 2006

    Italian Tofu "Steaks" and Sauteed Green Beans with Mushrooms

    E cooked this weekend--he made fantastic "steaks" and a lovely light and wine-kissed side of greenbeans, both from Vegan with a Vengeance. I am a ho for all things mushroomed and wined as of late, so this made my little gullet happy.

    No recipes today as the dinner was cooked straight out of VwaV with little adjustments.

    But look how pretty it is!

    That's all I have to say about that.

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Fast, Cheap, and Easy Taco Salad

    Apparently some of you like things that are fast, cheap, and easy (*rowr*), so here's another recipe that's such a damn cinch, it'll make your toes curl.


    2 jalapenos, deseeded and diced
    One small can of black beans, drained
    Chili powder
    Onion powder
    Cayenne pepper
    Garlic powder
    Season salt
    2 heads romaine lettuce
    Black olives

    DIRECTIONS: Throw your jalapenos into a small sauce pot with a tiny bit of water (like enough that you can carry over to the stove in the palm of your hand and throw in there--you know you do that too!). Once they have softened a bit, add your black beans, TVP, and some water. I have not specified quantities of TVP or water as it's mostly just a matter of taste--toss whatever amount of TVP looks good to you in there, and then add enough water while stirring that it looks like it's started to absorb it pretty well. (If you're not familiar with how to reconstitute TVP, read more HERE.) Then mix in all the spices listed above to taste--again, it'll depend on how much TVP you use. Plus, I just shook stuff in there without measuring, so I'm moreso just being lazy and not wanting to guesstimate. While your TVP reconstitutes on low heat, slice up a couple heads of romaine into two bowls. Once your TVP is soft enough for your taste (I don't like to reconstitute mine for very long--and I use less water--because I like it a bit firmer), remove from the stove. Scoop a generous mound into the center of each bunch of salad. Top with salsa, black olives, and Fritos (just make sure to add the Fritos last, otherwise they'll get soggy).

    Eat while making little orgasimic-y exclamations about how you really *do* like things that are fast, cheap, and easy. (*Double-rowr*)

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Warm Couscous with Garlic, Black Olives, and Tomatoes

    First off, I've just gotta say: couscous is *so* not photogenic.

    Moving on...

    This recipe seemed almost too simple to warrant a page in a cookbook, but hell, I wanted to make something simple on Sunday that I could use for lunch/dinner all week, so I figured I'd try it out anyways. As I stuck exactly to the recipe and didn't try to pull anything fancy out of my sleeve, I'm not going to repost the recipe here (copyright copyright copyright). Like yesterday's, it comes from Fresh and Fast Vegan Pleasures, if you decide to track it down.

    I can say this though--pretty much all you need for the recipe is in the title (couscous, garlic, black olives, diced tomatoes), give or take two more relatively innocuous items: lemon juice from half a lemon, and fresh parsley. Basically, if you know those ingredients, you can probably figure out the right combinations and quantities on your own. It is a good recipe--light and flavorful, the garlickiness contrasted by the zingy lemon--but it is nothing incredibly special. Perhaps if you take a whirl at the recipe though, you can add something to spice it up more yourself.

    Only strange and interesting part of the recipe:

    The lemon I got at the grocery store was *freakishly* huge and resembled the huge and bulbous head of Sloth from The Goonies:

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Bright Red Pepper Pesto Linguine with a Side of Asparagus with Lemon Butter

    I ordered Amanda Grant's Fresh and Fast Vegan Pleasures (whose title sounds more like an enticing and erotic sex instruction book than a cookbook--but NO, that's NOT why I ordered it--ahem) from the library last week, and after flipping through it a few times, I decided I was going to try out a couple of recipes from it this weekend.

    The first was for a spicy red pepper pesto sauce to put over linguine noodles. I thought it sounded light and spicy and summery for a pasta dish. It didn't dawn on me until after I purchased all the ingredients that a) it was going to be 90+ degrees this weekend, and b) some of the ingredients needed to be roasted in the broiler. Unfortunately, I had already bought the ingredients, so, not wanting them to spoil, I sucked it up, dragged out the window air conditioner, and sweated my armpits stank in the kitchen for an hour or so.

    I also wasn't able to track down any red chili peppers (which is what the recipe calls for--I was told by a fella at the market that they're too expensive to drag in--$100 a case and he doesn't sell enough to come out even) so I ended up having to modify it and use green chili peppers instead. But that's ok, because it still turned out flame-licking and flavorfully good nonetheless. It is rich and roasted tasting and not for the faint-of-heart--the inclusion of three chili peppers infuses a lot of kick into this sauce.

    I post the recipe here only because I've modified it enough that it shouldn't infringe on the copyrighting of the original (go out and grab a copy of the cookbook if you like the sound of this recipe, and try it out!):

    Bright Red Pepper Pesto Linguine

    4 red peppers, roasted, peeled, and deseeded
    3 green chili peppers, roasted, peeled, and deseeded
    1/4 c. of chopped hazelnuts, pan-roasted
    2-3 cloves garlic
    3 T. olive oil
    1/2 T. nutritional yeast
    1 big handful of basil leaves
    Excess basil leaves, washed and reserved


    Toss the basil, garlic, and hazelnuts into a food processor. Pulse until pasty. Add the red peppers and chili peppers and then slowly drizzle in the oil, pulsing all the while. Add nutritional yeast. Process down until a fairly-smooth paste.

    Serve over pasta noodles and top with fresh shredded basil.

    Makes enough for about 4 servings.

    * * * * *

    As a side dish, I decided to try a variation on asparagus--normally I'm all about broiling it as it gives the asparagus and rich, full, almost nutty flavor, but since my kitchen was already sweltering, I figured some sort of steaming/frying recipe would work out better.

    I snagged the recipe from the cookbook I always refer to as "The Big White Vegetarian Cookbook" (because I suck at remembering its name) but which is actually titled 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles, and I veganized it. The end result: a very nice and light asparagus with some summery zip to it, courtesy of the lemons.

    Asparagus with Lemon Butter


    1 bunch of asparagus
    1 T. of fresh lemon juice
    1 T. vegan margarine


    Steam the asparagus until nearly done. Remove from heat. Heat up a frying pan and throw in the asparagus and vegan margarine. Once the margarine's melted, add the lemon juice as well. Cook for a minute or two until the buttery-lemon mixture has coated the asparagus. Serve.

    Makes enough for 2 servings.

    * * * * *

    Both are relatively simple recipes and (if you can track down some already-roasted red peppers and chili peppers) perfect for summer. The pesto and pasta can be served cold or warm. And the asparagus makes a nice, quiet (but flavorful) sidekick.

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Lemon-Rosemary Stirfry with Caramelized Onions

    So I've never ever caramelized onions before but felt a sudden burst of inspiration Thursday night when I realized I had a little bit of time to spare and a little bit of onion to use up. Holy mother of god--caramelizing onions is the fricking easiest. And they are SO VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY good. And I don't even like onions.

    In an effort to use up leftovers, I whipped this stirfry up. Not quite so simple as the annoyingly simple stirfry I posted last week, but just as good. The broccoli and tofu will be *very* lemony, but once you mix them in with the caramelized onion, you will have a lovely contrast of sweet and sour.

    1/2 block of extra-firm tofu, pressed for 45 minutes or so
    A couple florets of broccoli, the bushy parts cut off into small chunks
    One vidalia onion
    2 lemons
    Fresh rosemary
    Walnuts, toasted
    Olive oil
    Two servings of couscous, cooked


    While the tofu is being pressed, squeeze the juice from your two (small) lemons into a bowl. Add some fresh rosemary to taste. Let sit.

    Put the olive oil (I used 2 T., but you can probably vary this) in a small saucepan and heat. Slice up your vidalia into thin slices and then add to the oil. Once the onion has begun to soften (about 5 minutes) add a teaspoon of vegan sugar and stir. Let the onion continue to cook for near 10 minutes or so, stirring often--it will begin to turn a rich brown color and get beautifully sweet, which means you are successfully caramelizing it.

    While it caramelizes, dice up your tofu, and add this to a frying pan (perhaps with a bit of non-stick spray). Add the lemon-rosemary mixture. Fry until it is beginning to brown some. Add the broccoli. Add a tiny bit of sugar (no more than a teaspoon). Fry until the broccoli is tender.

    Toss the vidalia onions, tofu, and broccoli over your cooled couscous. Add walnuts to taste.

    Drink a toast to caramelized onions!

    Makes 2 medium-sized servings or 1 very large serving.

    Vegan Cosmetics

    So I try not to get off topic on this blog, seeing as it is a professed vegan "food" blog rather than a more general "vegan" blog.

    But since so many of you readers are female, and since I'm assuming at least *some* of you dip into the world of cosmetics every once in a while, I wanted to share with you a place that sells *DIRT FRICKING CHEAP* vegan cosmetics.

    And by dirt-fricking-cheap, I mean $1 a pop per item.

    Try not to swoon, especially given this lovely recent heat-wave. =)

    Where what who why?

    Check out Eyes, Lips, Face (aka. E.L.F.).

    None of their products are tested on animals, and only a very slim few have animal products in them (just in the form of beeswax)...

    Here be their email response, detailing which of the products are animal free:

    We do not test on animals or endorse such practices. Our products do not contain animal derived ingredients (excluding beeswax). We currently support HSUS and are partners with PETA in the Caring Consumer Project. Please see our philosophy page for further explanation on our company.

    Animal Derived ingredients in following products:
    Earth and water mascara- beeswax
    Shielding gloss - beeswax
    Tone Correcting Concealer - beeswax
    Soothing Gloss - beeswax
    Shielding hydro tint - beeswax
    Hypershine Lip Gloss - beeswax
    Lip Elements- beeswax
    Eye Elements-beeswax
    Brushes all but below excluded -animal hair

    Vegan Friendly
    Foundation brush
    Eyelash & brow Wand
    Brow Comb + Brush
    Smudge Eye Brush
    Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara
    Feather Proof Moisturizing Long Wear Lip Liner
    Color Protection Nail Lacquer
    Brightening Eye Liner
    Face Elements
    Non-Stop Eye Color
    New Moisture Care Lip Color
    Therapeutic Conditioning Balm
    Plumping Lip Glaze
    Super Glossy Lip Shine SPF 15
    Natural Radiance Blusher
    Clarifying Pressed Powder
    Shimmering Facial Whip
    Nail Block
    Nail File Set
    Toe Separators
    Nail Polish Remover Pads
    Blending Wedges
    Powder Puffs
    Eye Shadow applicators
    Eye Lash Curler
    Makeup cases

    The e.l.f. Team

    Ref#: 102918

    As always, I remind you that the ingredients of products *do* change every once in a while and/or a company will come out with new products as well, so although this is a current listing of all their vegan cosmetics, do be sure to email them and doublecheck before ordering your own, especially if you stumble upon this months or years from when this info was posted.

    And most of all--BUY BUY BUY and support their shit. I mean, how often do companies go out of their way to make vegan products, not test on animals, *AND* sell their cosmetics to chicas at reasonable prices?

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    In the Land of Veggie Burgers

    I haven't cooked much this week, so today I figured I'd post about what I'd LIKE to cook instead...

    Ever since I cooked up those veggie lentil walnut burgers for Ye Ol' Vegan BBQ, I've found myself getting geeked up at the prospect of accruing even *more* veggie burger recipes.

    Thanks to the delightful dorklepork, I got to take a gander at the book, Vegetarian Burgers by Bharti Kirchner, which has some damn good-looking veggie burgers housed within, including a quinoa and black bean burger and... *gasp*... STUFFED veggie burgers. Oh yes.

    I also stumbled across these award-winning veggie burger recipes while originally trying to hunt down some lentil burgers recipes, so I figured I'd share this site as well, as the recipes also sound out of this world.

    So if you end up trying any of the above recipes out, feel free to share your recommendations. As I'm sure all the rest of us would love us some nice juicy veggie burgers as well.

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    Teriyaki Spinach and Tofu Stirfry

    This is such an annoyingly simple recipe that it perhaps doesn't even deserve mention here, but hey, every once in a while you sit down to cook and find yourself thinking, "Damn, I wish I had an annoyingly simple recipe I could cook right now." So here it is!

    Fresh spinach, rinsed well and stems removed
    1/2 cube of extra firm tofu
    1/2 of an onion, cut up into thin strips
    A small chunk of fresh ginger, cut up into thin strips
    Sesame seeds
    Teriyaki sauce

    As you can see, some of the ingredients do not have exact measurements--this is because I was working with junk in my fridge that I was trying to use up and probably could've easily added more of, say, the spinach. So do so to your own taste--you like sweet-ass ginger? Then hook yourself up with a buttload, you chefly beeyotches.

    Heat up a pan and spray with non-stick, oil-free spray. Toss in the tofu, ginger, and onions. Cook until most of the moisture has been sucked out of the tofu (you could probably alternately press the tofu beforehand, but I was hungry and didn't feel like waiting) and the tofu and onions are fairly browned all over. Toss in the sesame seeds and spinach and cook until the spinach is just starting to wilt. Then toss in some teriyaki to taste and fry it up until it's good and absorbed. Then eat with chopsticks. If you don't eat with chopsticks, I will come over to your house and knock that bowl right out of your hands!

    Makes 1 serving.

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    International Quinoa Salad

    So I've been intrigued by quinoa for a while for several reasons:

    1) it is spelled way differently than it's actually pronounced (my friend D's technique for remembering the pronunciation is to think of "Joaquin" of "Joaquin Phoenix"-fame and switch the syllables around: "keen-wa"--he is brilliant, yes, especially since I'd been referring to it as "kwi-no-ah" for weeks); and

    2) it looks way too much like the little suction cuppy things on the tentacles of octupi:

    Thankfully, it doesn't taste anything like them suction cups though!

    For about three weeks I've had a box of quinoa sitting in my kitchen waiting to be used, and finally finally finally I was moved into cooking-action upon stumbling across Fat Free Vegan's International Quinoa Salad recipe--as soon as I saw them little octopi-suction cups in her picture, I knew that it was the quinoa recipe I was bound to tackle.

    And I must say, there's a lot of chopping of vegetables, but short of that, it's a really simple recipe. The only change I made was to cook the quinoa in my rice cooker at a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa (for this specific recipe, I used 1.5 c. quinoa and 3 c. water). And I used 1/2 t.'s worth of red chili peppers *in adobo sauce* (with the adobo-y-ness rinsed off) due to easy access.

    The end result was a delicate and simple (but flavorful) salad with a clean and summery taste, perfect for a picnic or a family barbecue. I definitely think the avocado adds a lot to the dish (the creamy richness contrasts with the clean crisp flavor of the rest of the salad) but it is also a wonderful dish even *without* avocado garnishing it, given all the other contrasts housed within it--between the spicy peppers and the cool mint, the crunchy cucumbers and the softer quinoa. All in all, it's probably one of my favorite dishes I've made in the past few months or so...

    THE RECIPE: Fat Free Vegan's International Quinoa Salad

    And to top it all off, the box of quinoa I bought has this sweet little booklet in it that offers up recipes (some examples can be found HERE) and gives you about 15 billion different ways to cook it, from braised to quinoa-croquettes to alternatively-colored quinoa. And the recipes are arranged by the season: I got the Fall/Winter booklet this time around, so if you happen to be standing in the grain aisle and see someone fishing through all the boxes of quinoa, looking for the Spring/Summer edition, that'd be me. =)

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    Black Bean Romaine Wraps

    Inspired by the romaine wraps my friend dorklepork posted ever so long ago, I reached into my hat on Thursday night and quickly whipped up some of my own. This is a nice and very quick nibblin' of a recipe, nothing gourmet, but it'll make your gullet smile. (Realizing that I'm not technically sure what a gullet actually is--ah well.)

    When I got home Thursday, I was craving beans. I realized I'd picked up a can of lime refried black beans at the grocery store last week (I'd been eyeing them for months and finally caved), so I figured I'd try them babies out. I also had a few ears of corn left over from Ye Old Vegan BBQ, so I figured I should probably try to use those up as well. After I mixed all the filling stuff together, I found myself desperately craving some sort of crunch to the mix. Normally, I am unhealthy and toss in Fritos, but I had none around and didn't feel like dragging my ass down to the corner store.

    And then, like an angel from the heavens, it came to me: why not use the crunchy romaine lettuce slowly rotting away in my fridge! And voila, black bean lettuce wraps--fantastic on crunch and flavor and only a fraction of the calories!


    1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced
    2 ears of fresh corn, sliced off the cob (or 1-2 cups)
    1/2 can refried black beans
    Romaine lettuce
    Finely diced tomatoes
    Vegan cream cheese


    Fry up the jalapeno and corn in a pot until the corn is a bit scorched. Add in the black beans and worry about the fact that it looks like a giant blob of baby poo. Stir and stir until everything's heated through. Rinse and dry 2-4 pieces of intact romaine lettuce. Scoop the bean mixture into each piece of romaine, taking care not to fill them up *too* much otherwise you won't be able to easily pick them up and eat them. Top with finely diced tomatoes and plain salsa *or* a fantabulous mix of salsa and vegan cream cheese (which gives the salsa a kind of sweet creamy flavor).


    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    L and E's Vegan Barbecue Extravaganza!

    (Graphic courtesy of the great Natalie Dee)

    Oh cripes. Where to even begin?

    This past Saturday, I decided to throw a little vegan barbecue. It initially started off as just a few folks, but then I thought, what the hell and continued to invite people. Given that we only had one tiny little camping grill to work with, I had to limit the number of course. But there ended up being about ten of us in all. It's funny because whenever I want to plan a large gala, no one can come, but when I get to thinking about having a small gathering, it just grows and grows until my best friend is begging me to let her invite her cousin's mom's ex-wife from his second marriage. Or something like that. Nonetheless, I was very pleased at the turnout.

    The invitation made it clear that it was an all-vegan barbecue, a point that evidently threw some of my non-vegan friends (one of whom called me up thinking I'd accidentally invited him, saying, "When I got your email, I was like, I'm not vegan--she must've just accidentally sent this to me"). But goddamn if folks didn't go all out in embracing a night of vegan cookery.

    My contributions to the bbq were corn on the cob, veggie lentil walnut burgers, and chocolate-covered bananas, but the definite highlight of the evening were the vegan 'smores, bless Ms. Lantz's vegan heart.

    Vegan Food:

    • Veggie lentil walnut burgers (recipe following) with homemade buns

    • Veggie kielbasa and beer brauts

    • Corn on the cob

    • Lyndsey's homemade potato salad

    • Stir-fried ginger eggplant and glazed tofu sticks from Mustard Seed

    • Dave's inari sushi

    • Chocolate-covered bananas (recipe following)

    • Lyndsey's drunken 'smores

    Vegan Booze:

    Highlights of the evening:
    • Smoking smelly cigars.

    • Getting Mo stoned (and not having her try to crawl into anything this time).

    • Blasting Neil Diamond as loud as possible on my stereo and dancing around to "Sweet Caroline."

    • Watching folks attempt to deep-throat my chocolate-covered bananas.

    • And of course...

    • Vegan 'smores! Arghlghlhglhgl.

    Veggie Lentil Walnut Burgers

    • 2 1/4 cup dry lentils

    • 4 1/2 cup water

    • 6 tablespoons cider vinegar

    • 3 tablespoon peanut oil or olive oil

    • 3 cups onion, finely minced

    • 12 large cloves garlic, minced

    • 30 large mushrooms, minced

    • 1 1//2 cup walnuts, very finely minced

    • 1.5 - 2 teaspoon salt

    • 1.5 cup fine dry breadcrumbs (plus one extra piece of bread, food processed into crumbs as well)

    • TVP (texturized vegetable protein)--between 1 and 3 cups

    Place lentils and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and the liquid is gone. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, add vinegar, and mash well. Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add onions and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except breadcrumbs and TVP, and saute 5 to 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Add the saute and crumbs to the lentils and mix well. Chill for about an hour. Gradually add in TVP to the mix until your burgers are firm enough for your taste (they should be able to form patties without crumbling or oozing all over the place formlessly). Return to the fridge for at least 30 more minutes. Form 4-inch-diameter burgers (aim for thinner rather than thick so they cook through better without burning first). Toss carefully on the grill and cook through, flipping a few times (carefully) until cooked all the way through. Alternative cooking: Fry in a small amount of hot oil on both sides until heated through and crispy on the outside, or broil for 5 to 8 minutes on each side.

    NOTES : You can saute the vegetables while the lentils cook. The burgers can be made up to several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until just before cooking. Uncooked burgers can be individually wrapped and frozen. Defrost before cooking.

    Makes 12-18 burgers, depending on size.

    Original recipe: HERE

    I'd never made these before, and I typically don't like trying out new recipes at parties since you never know if they're gonna suck-ass or what. But the problem was, I'd never made *ANY* veggie burgers before, period. So I didn't have much of a choice.

    These sounded really good to me and looked relatively easy to make, so I figured what the hell--I'd take the leap. However, the recipe called for lentils and I've also never cooked lentils before--that ended up being a major suckfest, given that the lentils turned into some lovely reddish mush resembling mashed potatoes by the time they were done. (If anyone has tips on the best way to cook lentils, please let me know--I'm guessing that the problem was that I didn't rinse them first...) I figured it wasn't a major problem since I was supposed to mash them anyways, so I mixed all the ingredients together as stated. Unfortunately, even after an hour's worth of refrigerating, the burger mix was pure mush. They looked startlingly like actual greyish hamburger meat (probably due to the mushrooms) and even smelled like it. But I tried grilling up a tiny sampler to see if they'd even cook correctly, and the outcome was more like a mushy formless pancake than anything resembling a burger.

    So trying not to panic, I added in some pine nuts and almonds and an extra piece of wheat bread I had on hand (all of which I'd pulverized in my food processer). This didn't do crap, leaving the burger mixture pretty much the exact same consistency. Thankfully, I then hit upon a much better idea: TVP (texturized vegetable protein). Those of you who've worked with TVP before know that it sucks up moisture like crazy, so I figured this would be perfect for excessively mushy burgers. So gradually I started adding TVP until the mixture had firmed up quite a bit and I could tell I would be able to easily form the mix into patties. I ended up using about 2 cups, probably even more (I didn't take exact measurements) and let the burger mixture sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes more so the TVP could get to sucking up the flavor and everything.

    I tripled the recipe so that I could make up to twelve burgers if necessary (the tripled version is posted above). But with the addition of the TVP, the mixture ended up being enough to make... at least 15 burgers (which was great for left-overs of course). With the addition of the TVP, the burger mixture formed easily into patties and, despite being tossed on the grill, they stayed intact (for the most part). And people really dug them quite a bit--they are a bit on the mushier end of veggie burgers (nothing like the chewier and meatier boca burgers or something) but they were really quite good and flavorful. I'd definitely recommend the addition of TVP to the recipe--just keep adding it slowly until the patties are at the right consistency to suit your taste.

    Cradle them in some fricking amazing Big Bread veggie-burger buns, courtesy of the delectable Ms. Lantz and you'll have a helluva good grillable veggie-burger.

    Chocolate-Covered Frozen Nanners

    Talk about ineptitude--how hard could chocolate-covered frozen bananas possibly be? I mean, the directions on how to make them ARE RIGHT IN THE NAME OF THEM. Freeze them, cover them in chocolate.

    And yet, somehow I managed to make this the most difficult endeavor possible.

    After peeling ten bananas, cutting the very ends off, sticking shishkbabob-sticks up their bums, and then freezing them for a few hours, I moved on to the chocolatey part of the process.

    First, I managed to tank my chocolate by adding in some soy milk to the mix. It immediately seized and turned into unmanageable guck. I HATE WHEN CHOCOLATE SEIZES and must remember not to keep trying to add soy milk to it. *sigh*

    I tossed that batch of stinky poo. I then tried again with some new chocolate chips and without the soy milk with a little bit better success. However, when your apartment is about 85 degrees (at least) and the bananas are quickly unfreezing as you try to slather them with chocolate, despite your most valiant efforts, this *also* causes the chocolate to sieze up as you're trying to dip and spread. So what seemed ridiculously easy quickly began to get on my last nerve. But I floundered my way through them, ending up with just the right amount of chocolate to cover all ten, despite tanking the first batch of chocolate chips.

    After each banana was coated in chocolate, I immediately rolled them around in a plate that I'd filled with pulverized Oreos, coating them with even more chocolatey-goodness.

    All in all, they came out well and people dug them. They just were a royal pain in the ass. So if anyone has tips on how to do some chocolatey-dipping without so much angst, please feel free to share.


    10 bananas, frozen and stuck with shishkabob sticks
    Somewhere around 18 oz. of vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
    Pulverized vegan Oreos

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    There was tons of fantastic homemade (and supposedly homemade--Mo!) food Saturday night, and I was impressed with the time and effort folks put into whipping up some good grub for the party. It's nice to see people supporting and enjoying what really is some damn good vegan grub. I heard many orgiastic grunts from folks while consuming various nibblings, I heard frequent comments along the lines of "Holy crap, these vegan marshmallows taste even better than regular marshmallows," and I saw many visages covered in glorious glorious chunks of oozy goozy food, so needless to say I was very very pleased. It is nice to hear doubtful omnivores get wooed into ecstasy by vegan food, let me tell you. A Fourth of July miracle, one might even say! And it's really nice to not be the odd-man out at a barbecue.

    And after all was said and done, I now have *way* too much vegan beer jam-packed into my fridge. So don't expect to see me sober until the end of the month at least. ; )

    So thanks to everyone who came and cooked and bought and made the barbecue a fantastique time!

    Oh, and I guess folks are right--I clearly and undeniably AM a dirty hippy after all:

    E's Club Sammiches

    On Friday night, E decided to make us a very sweet deli-style dinner which included some of the most genormous sandwiches I've ever eaten.


    • 4 slices of homemade vegan peasant bread, toasted

    • One package of Tofurkey brand hickory-smoked "turkey" deli slices

    • One package of vegan bacon, fried

    • 4 slices of vegan mozzarella cheese

    • Lettuce

    • Tomato

    • Veganaise

    Pile up all these ingredients onto two glorious sets of homemade bread slices and, voila, you have two killer club sammiches. Serve with crispy all-natural kettle chips and a deli-style pickle.

    This dinner was one of the most filling dinners I've had in a long, long while. And one of the gassiest. But we won't go there.