Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Holidays!

Ladies & Gents:

Today is the last day you will be (presumably) delightfully devouring my recipes until the New Year, as I have next week off from work. But I do plan on returning with so many new recipes to talk about that you may just explode. So prepare yourself.

Until then, a sneak preview of what I shall be making over the next few days:

For my X-mas Party this Saturday:

For E's family:

For my family gathering:

And before I bid thee adieu, I thought I'd also leave you with my list of the top four things you should make for your friends and family this holiday season (in no particular order):

  1. Chocolate Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce--it was just so damn good that I've been thinking about it with longing at least once every day since I made it;

  2. Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Nut Cookies--I've honestly never made anything quite so popular as these. I've had requests from E's sister, his mom, and himself to bake these for the holiday season. Both E's sister and his parents have declared them one of their absolute favorite homemade cookies;

  3. Junior Gems--these are super-easy and yet look impressive because of the frosting. And they're really just too damn tasty not to make. Plus, the gingeriness gives the ring of X-mas;

  4. And last, but not least, the Peppermint Patty Nanaimo Bars I blogged about earlier this week--these are also damn simple and require no baking. And they are uber-Christmasy, what with their mega-peppermintiness. And despite the fact that the recipe doesn't make an assload, they are super-rich, so they'll go the distance and please everyone.

Anyways, I hope if you end up making any of these, that you enjoy them. Until then, happy holidays to you all, and happy cooking! See you in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Peppermint Patty Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo bars. How could you NOT make these--I mean, look at how fricking awesomely goopy and tasty Melissa's version looks. *Sugar coma-ed sigh*

Granted, I *DID* end up making some modifications, basically just to Christmas-ify them. And the white sugary layer did not come out thick like the one pictured on Melissa's Vegan Blog, but I suspect this is mostly just because I don't have a hand-held mixer and have to resort to using a food processor to satisfy all my hand-held mixing needs. But I have to say, despite the fact that I was initially disappointed with regard to the consistency, after actually *tasting* my pepperminty variation (one that tastes strikingly similar to a peppermint patty--also fitting for the X-mas season...), I can't really complain one bit.

They are uber-minty, refreshing, and sugary as all get-out. They were also very popular, so I definitely recommend. The recipe doesn't make a ton, but they are extremely rich--so trust me, it makes enough.


Bottom Layer:
  • 3/8 c. (6 T.) vegan nonhydrogenated margarine

  • 2 T. water

  • 1/4 c. vegan white sugar

  • 1 3/4 c. vegan graham cracker crumbs

  • 3/8 c. (6 T.) cocoa powder

  • 1 c. shredded unsweetened coconut

  • egg substitute equivalent of 1 egg

  • 1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts

Middle Layer (peppermint frosting):
  • 1/8 c. + 2 t. vegan nonhydrogenated margarine

  • 5/8 t. vanilla extract

  • 3/8 t. peppermint extract (may want to adjust the ratio of vanilla to peppermint a bit if you're not super-fond of peppermint--these are VERY pepperminty)

  • 1 T.+ 1 t. soy milk

  • 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Top Layer (chocolate ganache):

  • 1 T. vegan nonhydrogenated margarine

  • 5 squares (5 oz. total) Baker's unsweetened chocolate

  • 1 ungreased 8 x 8 square pan

  • 1 candy cane, smashed


Bottom layer:

Combine graham crumbs, coconut and walnuts in a mixing bowl & stir well. Put vegan margarine in a saucepan evenly along the bottom. Heat gently until it begins to melt. Add sugar and cocoa and melt on low heat and stir.

When the sugar & cocoa have dissolved, remove from heat. Add in the egg substitute and the 2 T. water and stir to blend the chocolaty mix evenly. Add the mixture of graham crumbs, coconut and walnuts. Mix well. Press this mixture firmly into the bottom of the 8x8 square pan. (Pressing it well is very important, so don't be afraid to use your hands). Refrigerate to chill while you prepare the middle layer.

Middle layer:

Combine the vegan margarine, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and soy milk. Microwave for a minute to heat. While this mixture is still hot, put it in a food processer and gradually begin to add the confectioner's sugar. (Alternately, you could follow the original directions and use a handheld mixer to blend the two--you may get better results. With the food processer, you will get a consistency that's like an oozier version of the inside of a peppermint patty--no fluff.) When you're done, it should be thick enough that it doesn't seem to ooze around in the food processer. You will need it at least that thick to keep it from oozing off the bottom layer.

Take the bottom layer out of the refrigerator. Use a spatula to spread the filling over the bottom layer. Don't start the top layer until you are done with the middle.

Top layer:

Break the five chocolate squares in two. Coat bottom of a saucepan (or double boiler) with 1 T. vegan margarine. Heat gently until it begins melting. Add unsweetened chocolate and melt on low heat. As soon as it is evenly melted, remove from heat and pour immediately on top of the bars, spreading with a spatula. Before the top hardens, sprinkle your crushed candy cane all in the chocolate for decoration.

The contrast between the super-sweetness of the middle and the dark, bitter chocolate is key. Chill the bars in the refrigerator or freezer until the chocolate ganache hardens. Cut into 16 2" squares. At this point they are ready to serve, or you can freeze them ahead of time; they freeze very well. Serve chilled at room temperature. Enjoy.

Makes 16 small but very rich, sinful servings

(Original recipe HERE)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Things to Do with Barbecue Sauce

I had decided this weekend to try out a BBQ ribz recipe that Ms. Dorklepork had recommended, but being the airhead that I often am, I had been spending the whole last week thinking it called for vital wheat gluten flour when in reality it called for just vital wheat gluten. Needless to say, I was not pleased when I realized this on Saturday night and was only equipped with the former and not the latter. But I decided f- it. I had a nice big batch of Barbecue Sauce with a Bite whipped up from the PPK, and, well, I couldn't just let it go to waste, dammit. So I improvised.

Using my brainiac skills (and praying that even though there are large differences between unwashed gluten--which the original recipe called for--and gluten FLOUR (differences that I'm not even sure of but know exist), a Christmas miracle might take place and the ribz might not end up tasting like dog poo), I decided that I'd take my chances and try to substitute in my wheat gluten flour.

Thank all things thankful, it worked out ok. In the end, the ribz were scrumptious (though I *DO* plan on one day trying out the original recipe to see if it blows my version away) and the only thing I would change about them would be to half the sizes on them all as the best parts were the ends, and the very middles were a little bit more chewy instead of yumbly and tough and grrrrristly. So I'll include that little variation in with this recipe.

(Oh yeah, and them potatoes in the back--those be mashed potatoes I made with the chickpea gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance, which was tasty but did not blow me away as I'd hoped based on the book's recommendations...)

BBQ Sauce with a Bite

  • 12 oz tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup tamari or Braggs (I used 1/4 c. Braggs and 1/4 c. soy sauce)

  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses

  • 2 T. brown sugar

  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast

  • a few chipotles in adobo

  • 1 t. liquid smoke

  • dash of cocoa powder


Mix the tomato paste, tamari, molasses, brown sugar, nutritional yeast, chipotles in adobo, liquid smoke, and dash of cocoa powder in the bowl. Stir with fork till completely blended. This tends to make a fairly thick sauce. Thin with water as desired.

(Original recipe HERE)

Vegan Barbecue Ribz

  • 1 c. vital wheat gluten flour

  • 2/3 c. of water

  • 2 T. soy butter

  • 3 T. peanut butter

  • 7 Tbl spoons nutritional yeast

  • 1 cup BBQ sauce

  • spices to taste (onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, etc)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat soy butter and add the peanut butter, mixing it so that it's consistent throughout. Mix the wheat gluten flour, nutritional yeast, and spices in a dry bowl. Add the water and knead until almost all of the dry powder is absorbed (you may have to add a tiny little bit to pick up everything). Do not over-knead. This dough is really sticky.

Form the dough into a flat, square shape about one-half inch thick. Add one-half of the peanut butter mixture to the top of the flattened dough. Use your fingers to poke the peanut butter mixture deeply into the dough (it is goopy and messy, but DO IT!). Do this for about 30 seconds. Turn the dough over and pour the remaining half of the peanut butter mixture onto the dough, again using your fingers to poke into the dough.

Use a pizza cutter to cut one-half inch strips of dough. Make them as long or as short as you like them (though if you originally form your dough into a rectangle, I recommend halving the rectangle and THEN cutting the 1/2" strips--the end result would be rips half the length of the ones pictured above, which I think would offer up the ideal consistency). Lay out on a lightly oiled baking pan. Bake for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, use a spatula to turn the ribz over. Spoon or brush on BBQ sauce and return to the oven.

Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and turn the ribz over again. Spoon or brush on some more BBQ sauce.

Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and enjoy your hot, sweet and sticky "ribz!"

Makes enough for four.

(Original recipe from

* * * * * * *

Even after all the ribz, I still had a ton of BBQ sauce left over. So Sunday night, with a package of tempeh sitting in my fridge getting ready to expire, I decided to whip up some barbecued tempeh to use up the excess sauce. I used a long skinny package of tempeh (whose brandname is eluding me), but I'm sure you could make do with whatever. You'll just end up with different sizes and shapes.

The end result was surprisingly delicious, and I definitely recommend the roasted red pepper topping as it seriously made the dish. Not only was it tasty, it was also ridiculously ridiculously simple, as you will see. So chalk this up as another highly-recommended quickie.

L's BBQ Tempeh

  • 1 package of tempeh

  • About 1 - 2 c. of BBQ sauce (preferably the homemade kind above, thinned out to a slightly more marinade-ish consistency with water)

  • 2 red peppers, roasted


Preheat your oven to 350.

Slice your tempeh into 4 slices--first slice your chunk in half, right down the middle. Then slice it through the skinniest part, effectively thinnng out each of your slices and cutting them into two thinner slices.

Spray a bread pan with a bit of non-stick oil. Pour in some BBQ to cover the bottom of the pan. Add two slices of tempeh, side by side. Use a spoon to brush some more BBQ sauce on top of them. Layer your other two slices on top of these two slices. Pour the rest of your BBQ sauce on top. Cover the pan with foil.

Cook in the oven for 50 minutes, turning the slices over half-way through. Remove the foil and cook for 5-10 more minutes.

To serve: Place one of the slices on a plate. Top with roasted red peppers. Place another slice on top. Top this with roasted red peppers as well. Serve

Makes enough for 2 tempeh "steaks."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

MMMMMM, Chocolatey

Not much to say about this recipe other than that it is a damn good one. I've made chilis before that have had cocoa powder in them, but never have I had the opportunity to throw in actual chocolate chips. There is actually something quite joyous and gleeful in doing so, kinda like licking off the spatula after mixing together cake.

My only only complaint about this recipe was the salt-quantity. Normally I put in a fraction of the amount of salt the recipe calls for. But as this one said, "1/2 t. salt, to taste" and later gives you a moment to "adjust the salt and pepper," I thought this implied that 1/2 t. was on the low end of the amount of salt you'd end up tossing in. Oh my god, I have never been more wrong. I'm a salt FREAK, and yet, between the 1/2 t. and the soy sauce, this chili was fricking INSANELY salty. So of course not wanting to waste it all, I decided to throw in random potato chunks in the hopes that they'd absorb some of the salt. (This isn't anything weird I've made up--I've read about doing this in quite a few places... If you over-salt something, toss in chunks of potatoes, and supposedly they'll absorb some of the salt and then you can remove them.) Thankfully this actually did work a bit (also helpful was leaving them in with the chili after it was refrigerated and then picking them out each time I served myself some). But as I thought the amount of salt in the recipe was ridiculous, I've omitted it from the version reprinted here.

Anyways, this chili is the perfect spiciness level--hot enough to be like ZOWEEE but not so hot that your eyes will water and you'll doubt the existence of God (unless you're *ALREADY* an atheist =). The chocolate chips also add just the perfect level of richness to the chili as well, making it tasty and luxurious. A definite thumbs up.

Black Bean and Chocolate Chili

  • 1 T. olive oil

  • 1.5 c. chopped onions

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 stalk celery, sliced

  • 2 jalapenos, minced

  • 1 T. cumin

  • 2 t. oregano

  • 1/2 t. cinnamon

  • 1 pinch ground cloves

  • 1 t. ground coriander

  • 1 T. chili powder

  • 1/2 t. ground black pepper

  • 1.5 c. chopped bell peppers (I used red and orange)

  • Two 14.5 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained

  • One 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

  • 1 T. fresh lime juice

  • 1 T. soy sauce

  • 1.4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions become soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery and chile, cover and cook for another five minutes more.

Reduce the heat and stir in spices, (cumin, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, chili powder, black pepper) along with the bell peppers. Cover again and cook for another five minutes. Stir often to keep the spices from burning. If pan get too dry add a little liquid from the diced tomatoes, or some water.

Next, add the black beans, tomatoes, lime juice (if using) and soy sauce. Let the chili simmer on low for 5 to 10 minutes, until it thickens slightly and flavors combine.

Stir in the chocolate. When chocolate has melted, taste to adjust the salt and pepper.

Serve with topping of your choice.

(Original recipe found HERE)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce

After seeing pics of this magnificent bread pudding mixed in with pics from Dorklepork's Magnificent Tofurky Day Feast and having fantasized for the past month or so about trying it, I finally decided to tackle it this weekend. I've never ever had bread pudding before. In fact, it's something that I've always found to be a bit creepy. I mean, bread? In pudding? WTF?

What won me over on this one was the chocolate-factor. I am not a fan of vanilla pudding, period. So it makes sense that I've never had bread pudding before since it's typically vanilla. With this recipe, however, that is so very much *NOT* the case. This version is rich and decadent with all sorts of chocolatey goodness.

Having decided to make it, I purchased a nice, fresh, crusty loaf of italian bread at the WSM. However, I was not patient enough to let it stale up (since I wanted to make it that same night). I let it sit out all day, but it only got a bit hard. So while we ate dinner, we tossed chunks of the loaf in the oven on super-low and let it harden up some. Worked wonders.

The bread pudding itself is as easy-peasy as they come. Takes maybe all of 5-10 minutes to whip together. And when it's ready to toss in the oven, it kinda looks like gross bread sopping in chocolate milk--tee hee...

The rum sauce was just as easy, though I would've preferred someone else to have made it SIMPLY SO I COULD'VE CONVINCED MYSELF IT WASN'T TERRIBLY HORRIBLY BAD FOR YOU. But alas, after dumping a whole cup of margarine into a food processor, it's hard to cling to that illusion.

End result: chocolatey rummy goodness. I will forewarn you--E's first response when he sunk his teeth into this beauty of a recipe was "Oh my god, is this rummy." And ladies and gents, by god, it certainly is. I mean, it has 1/4 cup of fricking rum in it. That's like a couple shots. And you can definitely taste it.

But oh man, is it good. We weren't quite so liberal with the rum sauce as Ms. Dorklepork was--we spooned a couple spoonfuls on each helping of bread pudding, just enough to melt delectably into the oozy gooey nooks and crannies. Because of that, I ended up with about 1/4 cup or so left over after all the pudding was gone. But any more I think might've been a bit too potent.

All that being said and done, I don't think I'd change a damn thing about the recipe. Yeah, the rum's potent. But that's why you embrace minimalism when dousing your bread pudding with it.

Seriously folks, if you're looking for a scrumptious, luxuriant, decadent, oozy, yumtastic dessert for the holiday season, this is the one. I plan on making it again for Christmas, if all goes well.

(Oh yeah--and it works well as leftovers. The rum sauce hardens up into a margarine-consistency, but scrape chunks over your bread pudding and pop it into the microwave for a few, and it'll soften right up.)


For the Pudding:
  • 5 Tbsp. cocoa

  • 1 Tbsp. hot water

  • 2 cups soy milk

  • Egg Replacer equivalent of 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup sugar (try Florida Crystals brand)

  • Dash salt

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 to 3 cups stale bread, torn into small pieces

For the Rum Sauce:
  • 1 cup margarine, softened (try Earth Balance brand)

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar

  • 1/4 cup dark rum

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg


Combine the cocoa with the hot water until smooth. Add more water as needed. In a large bowl, combine the cocoa mixture, soy milk, egg replacer, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Mix in the stale bread. Pour into a prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour.

Beat the margarine until light and fluffy. Sift the confectioner’s sugar into the butter. Add the rum, vanilla, and nutmeg. Beat on high speed for 5 minutes. Pour over the pudding.

Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings

(Original recipe from VegCooking)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Grilled Teriyaki and Other Stuffs That I Didn't Make--So THERE!

E cooked this weekend, and he whipped up one of his usual simple but tasty meals. It was delish--the only thing we both commented on was that the tofu was a bit salty, so take that into considerations, darlings, before whipping this up. Just a wee bit of tweeking with regard to the soy and teriyaki should do the trick.

To illustrate how he likes things short and sweet when it comes to meals and recipes, I post his recipes exactly as he typed them up for me. =)


about 1/2 cup teriyaki
about 1/2 cup soy sauce
about 3 tbs lemon juice
grind fresh rosemary and thyme in processor. add to marinade
two cloves garlic, minced.

soak pressed tofu in marinade for 45 minutes to an hour.



boil green beans for five minutes.
place beans, two tbs olive oil, roasted walnuts, a few dashes of mrs. dash or some other garlic/herb mix, and cranberries in frying pan and saute until hot and cranberries burst.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sweet Sweet Lomatato Soup

I decided to fiddle with a lentil soup recipe on Sunday that I'd seen on-line earlier in the week. And fiddle I did, the end-result looking so very different from the original recipe that I'm not even gonna credit it.

The best part of this soup was naming it... Lomatato Soup. Get it?? GET IT?!?!?! *slapping knee and chortling* Lentil tOMAto sweet poTATO soup! It rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? *Picturing some hottie wooing his girlfriend after a long day spent cooking for her in the kitchen, beads of sweat glistening off his well-built chest (because all well-built boyfriends cook topless in the kitchen, no?), a towel thrown over his forearm all waiter-ly, as he bends to her in soft candle-light and says, "Darling, I made this for you--it's Sweet Sweet Lomotato Soup, just like you..." *Fade out as they kiss over this very bowl of soup*

*Jumping up and down with glee and clapping hands*

Anyways, my favorite part of this recipe is the fact that you cook the lentils with a cinnamon stick, jalapeno pepper, bay leaf, and some ginger. How brilliant is that? (That's the part I snagged from the aforementioned recipe, lest I sound really really conceited.) And the lentils are FANTASTIC-tasting because of it--a little bit of zing and some bing-bang-boom in them. Quite honestly, the lentils were so flavorful that I was a bit disappointed once I added the sweet potato--its sweetness overpowered their delicate and zippy flavor. The soup is still quite yummy and sweet, but I think next time I might actually try it without the sweet potato or with the sweet potato cubed instead of blended in with the actual soup-base.

  • 1 c. brown lentils

  • 3 c. water

  • 1 t. ginger (or some fresh ginger chunk)

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and cut in half

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 sweet potater

  • 1 c. sliced green beans

  • 1 stalk celery, diced

  • 1 red pepper, diced

  • Olive oil

  • 2 t. coriander

  • 1 t. turmeric

  • Salt to taste

  • 2 c. water

  • About 3 c. crushed tomatoes

Place lentils and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and add the ginger, cinnamon stick, jalapeno, and bay leaf. Reduce heat, and simmer the lentils for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, boil your sweet potato for about 30-40 minutes (or until tender). Remove the skin and mash.

Toss a tablespoon or two of olive oil into a pan, and add your green beans, celery, red pepper, and seasonings. Cook until all the veggies are tender.
Once your lentils are done, remove the ginger (if you used a fresh chunk), cinnamon stick, jalapeno, and bay leaf. Puree half with a hand-held blender or in a food processer.

Add your 2 c. water and 3 c. crushed tomatoes to a large soup pot. Add in your lentils, your mashed sweet tater, and all your vegetables. Mix well, bring to a boil, and simmer on low for about 30 minutes.


Makes a large pot--anywhere from 4-8 servings, depending on how hungry you are.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Return of Cooking Tips

Once upon a time, there was a little girl, and her name was "Cooking Tips." She skipped and galloped through another little girl's blog, leaving trails of flowers, joyful squealings, and little tips to all those who visited. Then one day, she met a little boy. She fell madly in love, and they went together on mystical adventures in far-off lands. For months and months, she was nowhere to be found.

But as always happens in the world of love, he slept with her best friend, she started drinking too much and wearing her pajamas all day, and they of course inevitably broke up--her throwing all his records out of the second story of their castle, him cutting the crotches out of all her negligee, the both of them ending up on Judge Judy (her suing him for an unpaid $750 loan, him suing her for illegally repossessing his horse and carriage).

So now she's back! (A bit bitter and with a new haircut and outlook on men, but back nonetheless!)

So you! Read this! Replace eggs! Do it!

On Egg Replacers

Monday, December 04, 2006

Easiest Peasiest Couscous Ever

I swear to you, if you're looking for a freakishly quick lunch recipe, this is the one for you. It may not 'cause you to explode into a month-long orgasm, but trust me--it's tasty. And quick quick quick quick.

This recipe is for two servings.

  • 1 1/4 c. whole-wheat couscous

  • 1 c. orange juice

  • 2 T. soy sauce

  • 2 T. water

  • (you can mess around with the soy sauce/water ration if you find your couscous is too salty--I've already adjusted it once, since I originally used 4 T. soy sauce and no water--but you may find it too salty still)
  • 1-2 stalk celery, diced

  • 1/2 of a red pepper, diced

  • 4-7 baby carrots, shredded

Toss the OJ, water, and soy sauce in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Remove from the heat, and throw the couscous in the saucepan as well. Let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes or so. Fluff. Add your vegetables. Stir. Eat. Marvel at the fact that it took maybe 10 minutes to whip this baby up. Worship Lindy Loo and send her lots of money.