April, 2013

  1. pizza with vegan mozzarella

    April 21, 2013 by Angie

    We had a pizza party last night! I made my usual whole wheat crust and topped with our favorite toppings: spinach, artichoke hearts, garlic, tomato, and basil (from my window sill basil plant – I felt fancy about that). The big difference this time was homemade vegan mozzarella cheese! I tried this new vegan mozzarella recipe I saw on Reddit. It was fantastic!

    pretty pretty pizza

    I’m an admitted dairy cheese addict and thus very skeptical of “fake” cheese. The cashew queso recipe from Post Punk Kitchen is my one exception. I’m big time in love with that fake cheese so when I came across this recipe for fresh margherita style mozzarella made with cashews I wanted to give it a try. It’s also great! Cashews are magic! I think this stuff is so much better than Daiya. It’s a lot less labor intensive than the cashew queso and really comes together pretty quickly. Here’s a photo of the leftover cheese after I topped the pizza.

    vegan mozzarella

    And one more photo of the pizza because I think it’s pretty.

    vegan mozzarella pizza


  2. Bottling Day: Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA

    April 16, 2013 by Angie

    The time to bottle the beer has come and gone. We didn’t have any helpers this time and we were trying to keep the room dark for the beer’s sake so the photo quality really suffered.

    Everyday IPA after 2 weeks

    This is what the beer looked like after fermenting for two weeks.

    First we had to sanitize everything including all the used beer bottles.

    Clean bottles

     Clean beer bottles and a jug of sanitizer.

    Next we dissolved three tablespoons of honey into a half cup of water and poured that into a sanitized pot. Then we tried to use the setup that came with kit to pump the beer out of the carboy and into the pot with the honey mixture without carrying all the sediment over. The kit setup is tubing with a (crappy) clamp and a racking cane. It didn’t work out so we switched to the auto-siphon setup I bought because I read a lot of reviews where people said the kit’s plan didn’t work for them. Auto-siphon is far superior!

    Once the beer was in the pot with the honey mixture we had to re-sanitize the auto-siphon and tubing then pump the beer/honey mixture into bottles. We got eight bottles total.

    Happy bottler

    Happy worker bottling his beer using the auto-siphon.

    Next Robbie sanitized the bottle caps and used the neat bottle capping machine I bought as part of his birthday brewing set to clamp the caps onto the bottles.

    Neat bottle capper

    Neat bottle capping machine

    Capping the bottles

    Capping away

    Now we wait two weeks while these precious babies sit in the darkness of our spare bedroom. I’ll be back to report on their drinkability!


  3. skinny white russian

    April 5, 2013 by Angie

    Mad Men returns on Sunday! I’ll be enjoying a Skinny White Russian as I watch the two hour premiere. It’s another easy to make adult beverage. Start with a rocks glass with some ice in it. Pour in a shot or 2 of vodka, a shot of coffee liqueur, then top it off with unsweetened soy milk and stir.

    Skinny White Russian Ingredients

    The coffee liqueur I got is really strong so I think I’ll go with 3/4 of a shot next time. I couldn’t drink these all night because they’re too decadent but it’s a very tasty dessert drink to start the evening.

    Skinny White Russian


  4. tortilla soup

    April 2, 2013 by Angie

    For dinner last night I made tortilla soup for the first time. I used a recipe from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester to start and made some of my own changes and additions.

    tortilla soup

    Ingredients
    olive oil
    vegetable oil (my addition)
    1 medium-size yellow onion, minced
    2-3 tsp minced garlic
    1 box of Pomo Chopped Tomatoes (instead of crushed tomatoes)
    3 tbsp tomato paste
    1 can of El Ebro black beans, rinsed (my addition)
    4 cups low sodium vegetable broth (instead of the suggested water)
    juice of 1/2 lime
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp chili powder (increased from the original recipe)
    1/4 tsp garlic powder (my addition)
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/4 c tequila (optional, I included it though because why would you ever skip tequila?)
    (original calls for 1 tsp of agave nectar or maple syrup but I skipped this)
    1 package of West Soy Chicken-Style Seitan (1 lbs 2oz)
    fried corn tortilla strips (my addition)
    1 avocado
    handful of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped (original recipe says to add 2 tbsp fresh cilantro in the slow cooker but I only used it for garnish)

    Instructions
    1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and minced garlic until translucent.
    2. In the slow cooker, combine the onion and garlic, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, vegetable stock, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and tequila. Cook on low for 6 hours. The original recipe says to puree the soup with a hand blender after six hours. I didn’t do this because there were no giant chunks in this soup and it’s not the kind of thing that will become creamy (like a potato soup) so I thought it would be better left whole.
    3. About half an hour before you’re ready to eat, brown the seitan in vegetable oil. Add the browned seitan to the slow cooker and turn it up to high.
    4. While the seitan is warming, fry corn tortillas in olive oil. Cut the fried tortillas into strips to use as a garnish.
    5. Slice the avocado into pretty wedges and wash and mince the fresh cilantro.
    6. Serve the soup into bowls and top with avocado wedges, fried tortilla strips, and cilantro.

    Verdict: This soup is soooo good! Robbie and I have only ever had tortilla soup at Mellow Mushroom because it seems to have chicken in it everywhere else. Their vegetarian version is pretty awesome but Robbie said he liked mine better 🙂 I will definitely make it again – probably soon before my second container of seitan expires. If you decide to make it I strongly suggest going all out with the garnishes. It takes some time but the fried tortilla strips and avocado wedges are what make this soup so special.


  5. Brewing Day: Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA

    April 1, 2013 by Angie

    On Saturday we completed step one of our first batch of homebrew. We are using a one gallon kit made by Brooklyn Brew Shop to brew their Everyday IPA. (Robbie exclusively and very selectively drinks IPA.) Our friends Conner & Tessa came over and helped out. Our puppy Sookie was here too to supervise/interfere/cute it up.

    Here’s a photo of the kit box with the ingredients that came inside. It came with almost everything needed to brew the beer, but not quite. We had to get some of our own equipment in addition to the kit including a six quart stock pot (you really need 3 big pots to accomplish this), a bottle of StarSan sanitizer, a gallon of distilled water, a spray bottle, a metal funnel, and a fine mesh strainer. We used a slotted metal spoon, measuring cup, measuring spoons, and two big pots that we already had. We also bought some stuff for the bottling step which happens in two weeks but I’ll blog about that when the time comes.

    Beer Making Kit

    Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA Beer Making Kit. You’re looking at the grain, the hops, and the yeast.

    Brooklyn Beer Shop’s detailed instructions and an instructional video are available on their website so I won’t bore you with the all the details here. Enjoy a rundown of the major steps with photos!

    1. Wash and sanitize EVERYTHING.

    Dramatic Sanitization

     Robbie dramatically sanitizing the mesh strainer.

    2. The Mash: Cook the grain in water while keeping the temperature within the desired range.

    The Mash

    3. The Sparge: Collect the wort from the watery grain mash then recirculate the collected wort through the grain one more time.

    The Sparge

     Robbie straining the wort.

    Sookie supervises

     Sookie supervises the homebrewing process.

    4. The Boil: Boil the wort and add the hops in stages. At the end of the boil, you give the wort an ice bath.

    The Boil

     The wort is spinning with newly added hops.

    Ice Bath

     Here’s the ice bath we created in the sink. We had to get it to down to 70 degrees before the next step.

    5. Fermentation: The last part of Day 1 involves pouring the wort through a strainer and funnel into the gallon fermenter then pitching in the yeast and shaking it around. After that, we set up a blow-off tube ending in a bowl of sanitzier and put the future beer in a dark, safe place. On Tuesday we’ll switch the blow-off tube for the airlock and two weeks from Saturday we get to move on to bottling.

    Tessa holds the strainer

    Tessa holds the strainer while Robbie pours the beer-to-be into the fermenter.

    Action shot: shaking the yeast

    Robbie shakes the yeast “aggressively”, as instructed.

    That’s all for now – more in about two weeks when we bottle the beer!