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Showing posts with label Lauren Ulm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lauren Ulm. Show all posts

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Hope you all had a delicious day with friends, family, loved ones and/or your own happy self. G went out to his family's house on Long Island (and he has promised to return with his own very vegan Thanksgiving rundown!) while I cooked a couple dishes here and went to my parents' house. The table (for 10) was decorated thusly with the last hydrangeas and black eyed susans of the garden:

Utilizing one of my newest cookbooks, Nava Atlas' Vegan Holiday Kitchen, I baked Wild Rice-Cranberry Stuffing, which didn't get stuffed into anything:

My mom promptly stuck her finger right into the middle of it to see if it was warm.
It wasn't, so she excitedly cleared out the "warming oven" ("This is why we bought the damned thing!") along with these Butternut Squash Hot Pockets that I saw on Scissors & Spice.

I had a lot of trouble making the pockets, to be honest. The dough was hard to roll out, the pockets burst open during cooking, I was rushed to make the separate components, and the cashew alfredo sauce from VegWeb was hell to congeal. Sarah kindly directed me to Vegan Yum Yum's alfredo sauce, and I used a couple tips from there but I still had to blend and blend and cool and heat up and cool the sauce down again for it to work. That said, the pockets were very tasty and the sauce finally did set up.
Shpeaking of sawce, I brought along some spiked cranberry sauce! This uses 3 c. fresh cranberries and 3/4 c. dry vermouth :)

This was a recipe from The Tipsy Vegan, which I don't TECHNICALLY own but did take some detailed notes from it at work one day. Although a lot of recipes looked really good and I may...peruse it further. Stay tuned on that front. There was a piece in the New York Times on it the other day, with a couple printed recipes! (Check it.) My mummy also served a really tasty spicy tamarind-date chutney as an alternate sauce.
I also made a spinach salad with dried cranberries, red onions, and almond slivers.

Also a bonus blurry outake of me showing off the salad. My mom was only supposed to photograph the bowl!
Once I got to the house and my mom and I finished our glamor shots, I made some braised fennel with Earth Balance ("Maud used vegan butter and you can't even tell the difference!") and vegetable broth:

There were also some roasted root veggies (potatoes, parsnip, carrot):

Aaannnnd a green bean and sauteed mushroom dish that I missed a photo of. Phew! Got all that? I think that was it. There were a couple non-vegan dishes too that we don't need to discuss. Everything was very tasty except that the "warming oven" overcooked the wild rice dish and it got kind of crunchy in a weird way. There was also an absurd amount of olive oil on absolutely everything which I am trying not to think about too much. I guess it's okay because the dessert I brought was pretty guilt free: Susan Voisin's Skinny Figgy Bars.

These are in Vegan Holiday Kitchen as well but there is a typo! The online recipe calls for both oats and oat flour; the cookbook omits the oat flour. They aren't gorgeous but they're tasty. I was serving the desserts (there also were 5 pies, no joke) and very happy to not be eating lemon meringue pie. Fluffy nasty, sorry.
There was also plenty of wine and champagne and coffee, no worries ;) It was a good time but I'm glad to be home. Hope your day was stress-free. See you tomorrow with way, way less olive oil in my system.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Greek Dinner: Two Cookbooks, One Meal

Breakfast this morning, while delicious, is not what I want to talk about here. (Okay, okay - green smoothie with spinach, banana, a beautiful peach, and Vega vanilla powder.)
Rather, let's talk about the delicious dinner we had!  A while back, Rose suggested making collard dolmas to use up some greens I had in the fridge. It took me a while to get to, but I made those tonight, using the recipe in Vegan Yum Yum.

Thanks so much for the idea, Rose! I usually eat my collards raw, but these leaves are blanched and filled with a rice/onion/garlic/lemon/thyme mixture. On top is a cranberry tahini sauce which I was very skeptical of but could not not make. I do that a lot - "What the hell?! Hmm..." And I'm glad I went with it! The filling itself wasn't super flavorful despite a lot of lemon juice but the cranberry tahini sauce pulled out some undertones in the rice, while adding a slight sweetness. It also made a crap ton, so now I have the pleasure of drizzling it on pretty much everything. So there are quite a few separate steps, but I kind of just moved about leisurely through it, reused some pots and it wasn't a huge deal.
This was the meal I was planning on making yesterday that G thought wouldn't be enough - and he was probably right. So keeping with the Greek theme, I made a tomato-cucumber-olive salad with vegan feta cheese, which is something I've wanted to make for a long time.

I basically used the recipe from the Happy Herbivore website, but didn't have red wine vinegar. I subbed half red wine (that's been in the pantry forever) and half apple cider vinegar. I also left out the dried basil (didn't have any - but fresh probably would have been good on top now that I think about it) and salt because I thought there would be enough salt with the miso. I think it came out well, if not tasting exactly like what I remember feta to taste like. And G, who says Greek food is his favorite, was really pleased. It's important for this recipe to drain the tofu as much as possible. I squished the hell out of it, but a tofu x-press (Jessica, I'm looking at you) would probably be great here. I also think the longer you let the marinade sit, the better.
Definitely a success and with some promising leftovers. I can't help but wonder about a raw interpretation of the dolmas...
Do you have a favorite world cuisine?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Yum Yum Lunch

Happy August, guys. I kind of burnt out on the last days of July but now I am back with a (VWA) vengeance. I cooked and baked a fair amount of things today, as well as picked up a huge shopping haul from Trader Joe's (I'm gonna say 30 lbs on my two little arms, as well as bags of other errands, on public transportation. A sight to behold.), but I'm gonna focus on today's lunch.
Oh, and the morning, fueled by this chicory/coffee blend from Cafe Du Monde!

I feel like my sister got this from a friend of hers who stopped in New Orleans a while back but it's been festering in my parents' drawers for too long so...I swiped it. I'd been thinking about the stuff since Hannah shared this cute little cartoon on twitter. It was less labor intensive and quite delicious, iced cold all day. My family and I actually stopped in Cafe du Monde when we were in NOLA in 2005 (before Katrina!) and had some coffee and (non vegan) beignets.
Anyway, I felt like putting a little effort into the day for a change, and since G stayed home to totally work really hard, I made him lunch from Vegan Yum Yum: Pan-Seared Tomato and Rosemary Artichoke sandwich. He says he liked it; he's a big fan of artichokes. To quote, "It was basically really good. If there was a place near work that offered it for 7 dollars or less and came with a side salad I would probably order this salad on a semi regular basis for a couple of months or until I got sick of it." Apparently it was a bit oily but that could be because I drizzled more oil on the bread and toasted it in the oven rather than grilling it like the directions say.

It was pretty easy to put together despite the separate steps. You cook the tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes because that's what we had) and artichokes in the same pan, so there wasn't much to wash afterwards. Honestly, the most annoying part was making the balsamic reduction to drizzle on top - you have to be very careful not to overcook it but I was paranoid and may have took it off the heat too soon. It definitely didn't get "syrupy," though the taste did change.
I chose not to partake because I had eaten lunch a little earlier. My lunch was less planned out but still delicious. A big salad with veg from the shopping haul (oh check out my new bowl!) AND a cucumber/lemon half-sandwich from Shen's post waaaayyy baaacckk when!

However, if you want to know the whole sad story behind this lunch, I ate the salad first while checking Shen's blog to see if the sandwich was missing anything or if I did something wrong but my computer is so slow and busted that I had finished the salad before Shen's post had loaded and I was still hungry so I just ate the sandwich, only to learn later that there was supposed to be salt on the cukes and hummus on the bread. Oh well. I'd say next time, but I thought the rinds on the lemon were kind of gross, so there probably won't be a next time.

Are there any recipes that have been marinating in your minds since seeing them a long time ago? Or do you usually make something interesting as soon as you see it?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cookbook Club 3.4: Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles and a review

Today was the last day to post the review for this month's Cook.Vegan.Lover Cookbook Club's pick, Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum Yum. I had been enjoying the book so much I piggybacked one more recipe, Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles.
This dish was a delicious meal of contrasts. It was cool and spicy, crunchy and creamy and one of the lighter, fresher, meals in the book. It also looks really classy all put together but only takes about half an hour to make and much of it can be done in advance.
I may have mentioned before that I'm a huge fan of all sorts of slaws. This one takes it one step further. You start with a base of cabbage and carrot, add chopped broccoli and noodles and cover it all with a spicy tahini based sauce! I had actually bought some of those tofu shirataki noodles that are appearing on "the blogs" - particularly inspired by Rose's post - and used those here because I've had enough pasta lately (lasagna, orzo salad) and could always do with more protein.
The sauce itself was awesome. I might have liked it to have been a little thicker but I was low on tahini so that could have been the problem. I would love to make this again, maybe without noodles altogether, or with more vegetables. I wish I had chopsticks for a dish like this!

So this was the fourth recipe within the designated time period and previously had made one more. See:

Golden Chickpea and Artichoke Salad
Lemon-Cranberry Muffins
Sweet Chili Lime Tofu
Creamy Broccoli-Mushroom Bake

Of this small selection, I'd probably say the Sweet Chili Lime Tofu and the Chickpea/Artichoke salads were my favorites.
The layout of the book is great, with the focus on a photo of almost every dish (over 100 in the book) and a list of ingredients blocked off on the side. Overall, the font, the colors, and the photos are all very aesthetically pleasing.
The sections in the book are pretty standard: Breakfast and Brunch, Main Dishes, Appetizers, Salads, Side Dishes and Light Meals, Soups, Pasta, and Desserts. The fact that Ulm gives pasta its own section, which most cookbooks don't, might key you in to this being a comfort food-heavy book. I don't typically enjoy those types of foods but she gives enough variation in recipes and room for options that most people will be satisfied.
The subtitle of the book is "Decadent (But Doable) Animal-Free Recipes for Entertaining and Every Day," which describes it well. The ingredients are for the most part easy enough to find (tamarind is probably the most exotic thing in there besides a few specialty Asian ingredients for two or three dishes) but Ulm does magical things with them. Not much equipment beyond a food processor is needed. She also specifically notes which recipes can be made in 30 minutes or so - so opt for those on a weeknight and other dishes for a party. The only thing you might want to keep in mind for the more decadent party dishes is that all recipes serve a low number of people (usually no more than 4) so certain dishes may have to be doubled.
I guess my one complaint is easily anticipated by those of you who know me: I'd like to see healthier foods, or at least a guilty admission of nutritional information. I'm pretty sure a lot of these recipes are high in fat and salt and I want to at least be aware of what is going into my body. Even the salads section is pretty short and contains cooked ingredients.
BUT I had a long list of dishes I wanted to make on first perusal and still want to come back to a bunch of them. This is a great, informed, and elegant but approachable cookbook.

Who has VYY? Any must-try recipes? And - who the heck else has tried those crazy tofu noodles?? I'm a little on the fence about them, if only because thin, squirmy white things make me balk but...I'd get them again (Rose I still want to try them your way!).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cookbook Club 3.3: Creamy Broccoli-Mushroom Bake

After the freshness and healthiness that was yesterday's lunch, tonight's dinner represented the other side of Vegan Yum Yum: creamy, cheesy, comfort food. This isn't typically my kind of meal but I picked it primarily because I had almost all the ingredients needed to make it (except for raw cashews, which I didn't mind buying because, really, everyone should always have them in their pantry anyway).
So, when you think "casserole," you think one-dish easy peasy, right? Maybe I've never had a casserole before (quite possible) but I set to preparing this after I got home from work yesterday and almost didn't make it when I realized how many steps there were. Hell, I had to eat half a sandwich halfway through to keep from fainting dead away (sort of). I dirtied a blender, a food processor, a baking dish, a pan, a pot, and a mixing bowl! I even almost skipped a step due to both time concerns and because I wanted to keep it a little healthier. Eventually I went through with it all because trying to healthify a recipe that calls for alfredo sauce is probably a lost cause anyway.
And, well, it was very tasty. Photogenic...not so much.

I served it with a bit more steamed broccoli, red tomatoes, and orange bell pepper.

I tried to get an inside shot for you, but mush is mush.
The filling is basically cooked orzo with sauteed chopped broccoli and mushrooms coated in Ulm's "Hurry Up Alfredo Sauce." It's then topped with breadcrumbs and paprika and baked. Was it worth it? Sure. Will I make it again? Probably not. Do you feel like making it anyway? Amber Shea posted the recipe here. Do you guys have a favorite basic casserole?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cookbook Club 3.2: Sweet Chili Lime Tofu

From Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum Yum.

With collard greens and quinoa.
This was really, really tasty. I've said this before, but I rarely do much to tofu beyond cutting it straight out of the container into my salads but I always love the results when it's pressed, seasoned, and cooked.
This tofu was actually dry-fried and the whole recipe contains no added oils or fats! It is just straight up delicious. The lime flavor wasn't super prevalent but the marinade for the tofu was great: soy sauce, sugar, red pepper flakes, garlic, lime juice, and maybe a few other things I can't remember.
The collards were simply cooked with lime juice and a little salt. It had been a long time since I've cooked them! Apparently they're good for things other than wraps.
The quinoa had lime zest in it also AND cinnamon and cardamom!
I ate the leftovers today, cold, for lunch and it was still good. I appreciate that this was a pretty easy dish to make, as well. I was a little rushed because I wanted to have it finished before G had to leave but I was worried unnecessarily (will I ever stop that?) It probably took under an hour to pull all the components together. I would definitely make this again.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cookbook Club 3.1: Lemon-Cranberry Muffins

I'm taking part in Lindsay's Cookbook Club again for this round's book - the loverly Vegan Yum Yum - but have been seriously slacking after having bookmarked about 12 recipes to attempt. I'm gonna give myself a "It's OK, We Love You Anyway" pass on that, though, because it seems like most people who wanted to participate have let it slip a little too. How come you guys didn't remind me?? Ah, it's ok. I love you anyway.
My eats were pretty typical today: Blueberry smoothie, collard wraps, salad.

I also snacked on the last of Happy Herbivore's nacho cheese with some sourdough pretzel pieces but the photo borders on obscene. Gwoss. But I assume you're here for the dessert: Lauren Ulm's Lemon-Cranberry Muffins.

These were easy to whip up with things I usually have in my pantry/fridge: dried cranberries and lemons. The dried cranberries are plumped up a little bit by being simmered with water and then drained before being added to the dough, which I thought was a little funny: usually you either use fresh (frozen) cranberries if you don't want the dried cranberry texture. She includes almond extract, as well as suggests using almond milk (I used rice milk instead), which also gave a subtle almond flavor to the muffins. I may actually have preferred for the lemon flavor to shine through a bit more, but I usually find almond flavoring a bit overpowering. Maybe it's just me. They cooked up in the exact amount of time she said they would and were perfect with a crunchy top and a nice crumbly, moist inside. It almost felt as if there were a bit of cornmeal in the mix (there wasn't but it probably wouldn't be bad)
I'm a big muffin fan and would probably make these again, maybe cutting back on the oil a bit, using less almond extract, less sugar, and more lemon - or at least fresh cranberries to both skip the sort of extra step and to add a bit more tang.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lots of Everyone's Favorite Legume

You, as vegans, don't need me, as a vegan, to tell you vegans the wonders of the chickpea. That would be preaching to the choir. They're great. Instead, I'll show you my super chickpea day:

Lunch leftovers from last night's VYY Golden Chickpea and Artichoke Salad, with baby tomatoes. (I just found out that Vegan Yum Yum is next at the plate for Lindsay's cookbook club and I am quite excited. Get yr copies on reserve now - it starts in two days!)

Roasted chickpeas: tossed with olive oil, coriander, cayenne pepper, and curry powder. Roasted in a 400* oven until crispy. So good! These added a nice flavor and texture when thrown on top of a (very beety) salad:

All hail ye, mighty chickpea.
One other thing I loved today was fresh-pressed juice from Liquiteria: All Greens (romaine, kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, parsely) with apple, lemon, and ginger. Oh MAN! That place is great. I'm doing a raw into liquid fast next week in preparation for Easter and I am STOKED if it means Liquiteria everyday.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Making Me Make Meals

Sometimes after a frustrating day at work, it's nice to come home to a meal already made. But sometimes you come home hungry to dishes in the sink and someone who stayed home all day asking what's for dinner.
At times like that, you can really only open a your pantry and starting chopping as quickly as possible. And maybe eat a few dried apricots and crackers in the meantime. Remembering a can of artichoke hearts I had bought for no reason last week and recalling a recipe G and I had considered for a dinner party a while back, I pulled Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum Yum off the shelves to make Golden Chickpea and Artichoke Salad. You can actually find the recipe online here.
Yes, I did have to back outside to buy chickpeas and use up the rest of my greens, but I appreciate that G knows what he likes and what will taste good. He suggested adding a grain (quinoa) and greens (kale and spinach) to the dish to make it a little heartier and healthier, but otherwise I stuck almost exactly to the recipe, only not toasting and grinding the almond slivers but leaving them whole and subbing cilantro for parsley because that's all we have (from a pot! Outside! Growing and live!).

This is our finished product. And it was damn tasty. The almonds were a nice crunch and artichokes are delicious, although I rarely buy them. The meal was put together fairly quickly and it's not like I had any real plans for dinner anyway, so thanks, G. I didn't blog yesterday because I just eat the same thing all the time and it gets tedious to post. But this, THIS! Try it!
G, thank you for forcing me outside of the usual, gripe though I might. I needed to buy more groceries anyway and it's good to use my cookbooks, too. Let's do this more often.