May, 2014

  1. Korean BBQ satay

    May 23, 2014 by Angie

    I got a rad e-cookbook called Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen by Joni Marie Newman. I immediately needed to make this Korean BBQ satay. I changed things up a little and skipped the kabob situation because I grilled them inside on a pan so it seemed unnecessary. The homemade BBQ sauce is the star of this show. Lucky for me, the recipe makes enough sauce to cook this up twice.

    Korean BBQ satay

    Adapted from Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen by Joni Marie Newman

    Ingredients for the Korean BBQ sauce
    Yields 2 1/2 cups of sauce

    3 tbsp soy sauce
    2 tbsp sesame oil
    2 tbsp rice vinegar
    1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
    1/2 tsp ginger
    1/2 tsp onion powder
    1 tbsp minced garlic (let’s be honest, I probably put closer to 2 tbsps in there)
    1 10 oz jar of roasted red peppers (you will have some left over)
    1 tbsp red pepper flakes
    1 cup of water

    Ingredients for the satay

    1 container of (extra) firm tofu
    1 cup of the Korean BBQ sauce

    Directions

    1. The tofu has to marinate in one cup of the Korean BBQ sauce overnight so the night before you want to eat this spicy, flavorful goodness, follow steps 1-3. Press and drain one block of tofu while you’re making the sauce. (I place the tofu on a plate on top of two paper towels, put two more and another plate on top, then put a heavy glass bowl on top of that. It makes a watery mess but I place it on top of the range so it’s not hard to deal with and doesn’t leak onto the cabinets and floor.)

    2. To make the sauce, combine the ingredients from soy sauce to minced garlic in a blender, food processor, or the measuring cup that comes with an immersion blender. I chose the measuring cup/immersion blender option which is nice because you can see how much sauce you have as you’re making it and it’s the easiest to clean up. I put those ingredients in the measuring cup and blended briefly. I then added pieces of roasted red peppers from the jar in stages – blending, checking the measurement, adding more, blending, checking again – until I had a fully blended 1 1/2 cups of sauce. Then I added the red pepper flakes and stirred with a spoon. I measured out one cup of water in a different measuring cup and poured it into the sauce. Stir or blend a little more so that the water is fully incorporated into the sauce.

    2. Pour all but one cup of the sauce into an airtight container and save it for later. The cookbook author said it will last up to two weeks this way. I used leftover sauce one week later and it was just as good.

    3. Cut the tofu in half and then into thin strips, about 3/4 inch wide. I got 12 strips out of my tofu. Place the tofu in another airtight container and cover in the one cup of reserved Korean BBQ sauce. Store in the refrigerator until dinner tomorrow.

    4. On THE BIG DAY, heat a grill pan on medium heat. Place the tofu strips on the grill. Leave them until they have nice grill marks then flip to the other side and do the same. Mine were thick enough that I could actually stand them on their sides so I ended up grilling them on four sides.

    Korean BBQ satay on the new grill pan

    Cooking up the tofu in my new nonstick grill pan

    5. Serve the tofu with a side of something tasty, like asparagus.

    I’m sure there are other great uses for the extra BBQ sauce but I haven’t used it for anything else yet. It could be a good spicy dipping sauce for something.


  2. Mexican-style quinoa with black beans and avocado

    May 19, 2014 by Angie

    This was my first time making quinoa and I’m pretty sure it was my first time even eating it. It’s gotten really popular in the last decade or so and I can finally find it at my normal grocery store. I wanted to make something with it to try it out and thought it would be nice in a Mexican sort of dish instead of rice. I Googled a bit and found a few Mexican-style quinoa recipes. I used a recipe on the blog Damn Delicious as a guide. The ability to cook everything in one pot together really sealed the deal for me. Robbie and I both loved this. I will definitely be making it again, possibly this weekend.

    Mexican-style quinoa with black beans and avocado

    Adapted from One Pan Mexican Quinoa from Damn Delicious

    Ingredients

    olive oil
    half of a red onion, diced
    1-2 tsp minced garlic
    1 cup quinoa, rinsed
    1 cup vegetable broth
    1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained (I stand by by El Ebro as the best canned black beans on the planet.)
    1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, semi-drained, keep most of the juice (I prefer Muir Glen Organic Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes.)
    1 tsp chili powder
    1/2 tsp cumin
    1/4 tsp garlic powder
    pinch of cayenne powder
    salt and pepper
    juice of half a lime
    1 avocado, diced

    Directions

    1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet (with a lid) on medium heat.

    2. Add diced red onion and minced garlic to the skillet. Cook for about three minutes stirring occasionally.

    3. Add the quinoa, vegetable broth, black beans, fire roasted tomatoes (with juice), and the spices to the skillet. Stir then put the lid on. Raise the heat to a boil then lower to simmer for 20-25 or until the quinoa is cooked and most of the liquid is gone.

    everything cooking in one pot

    This is what it looks like early on in the cooking process.

    4. Towards the end of the cooking time, wash and cut the lime and avocado in half. Dice both halves of the avocado.

    5. Stir in the juice of half a lime. Stir in the diced avocado. Serve immediately.

    Mexican-style quinoa

    I feel the photos don’t do it justice and for that I apologize. It’s extra tasty good, I promise!


  3. slow cooker French onion soup

    May 15, 2014 by Angie

    I love French onion soup but it’s usually made with beef (or chicken or both) stock. I have had excellent vegetarian French onion soup in the past, however, so I know it’s possible. The most heavenly soup of all time was eaten by us at Le Potager du Marais, a vegetarian restaurant in Paris, on our honeymoon.

    Le Potager du Marais

     At Le Potager du Marais. Mmm, I want to live in Paris and eat this everyday.

    The slow cooker version I made today is really good but I am open to trying different recipes and techniques in my quest to make the perfect French onion soup.

    slow cooker French onion soup

    Tonight’s dinner: slow cooker French onion soup

    Slightly adapted from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson

    Ingredients

    about 2 tbsp olive oil
    4 medium yellow onions, sliced thinly
    5 cups of vegetable broth
    1/3 cup of red wine (I used Finca Copete Malbec/Tempranillo blend.)

    Finca Copete
    1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 tsp thyme
    a healthy sprinkle of garlic powder
    a healthy sprinkle of dried parsley
    1 bay leaf
    salt and pepper to taste
    a fresh loaf of French bread (Thank you, Publix Bakery!)
    shredded Gruyere or (vegan) cheese of your choice

    Directions

    1. Pour some olive oil in the bottom of your slow cooker and turn it to low while you thinly slice four or five onions. Add the onions to the slow cooker. Cook them for about eight hours, stirring occasionally if you’re home and have that luxury.

    2. When the eight hours have passed, the onions will be caramelized and delicious-smelling. Add the vegetable broth, red wine, vegan Worcestershire sauce, thyme, garlic powder, parsley, bay leaf, and some salt and pepper. Continue to cook on low for about 45 minutes.

    3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Shred some Gruyere and cut enough 3/4 inch slices of bread to cover the tops of the soup for the number of servings you’re preparing. We each fit two in our bowls but could have done three if we were feeling ambitious/gluttonous.

    4. I baked the bread slices for a few minutes alone then took them out, placed the shredded Gruyere on top, and put them back in until the cheese was melted.

    5. Remove the bay leaf. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cheesy bread slices and some extra shredded Gruyere. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    a bowl of soup


  4. cracklin’ cauliflower

    May 15, 2014 by Angie

    To go with our baked tofu on Tuesday night, I made another great side from More Peas, Thank You by Sarah Matheny. This cracklin’ cauliflower has a very Indian flavor to it with the curry powder and garam masala. Robbie and I both loved it. We ate it all. This will definitely be a regularly occurring side dish in our house.

    cracklin' cauliflower closeup

    Adapted from More Peas, Thank You by Sarah Matheny

    Ingredients

    1 medium sized head cauliflower
    2 tsp olive oil
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 1/2 tsp curry powder
    1/2 tsp garam masala
    1/4 tsp onion powder
    1 to 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
    1 tsp minced fresh ginger
    1/2 c frozen peas
    salt & pepper to taste

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

    2. Wash the cauliflower and chop it into florets of a similar size. Place the florets in a biggish bowl.

    3. Drizzle the cauliflower florets with some olive oil. I didn’t actually measure this but you don’t need much to get the job done.

    4. Sprinkle the salt, curry powder, garam masala, and onion powder over the cauliflower and stir it around to coat evenly.

    5. Add the minced garlic and ginger and frozen peas to the bowl. Stir again.

    6. Spray a pan with olive oil. I used a 9 x 9 glass pan I call “the brownie pan” and it was the perfect size. Transfer the entire contents of the biggish bowl to the pan and bake for thirty minutes. Stir every ten minutes to make sure everything is getting proper oven attention and not sticking.

    7. Serve it up, add salt and pepper to your liking, and eat it all!

    baked tofu and cracklin' cauliflower


  5. Siesta Key, FL

    May 15, 2014 by Angie

    This past weekend we took a mini-vacation to Siesta Key, FL. We knew that it’s been voted Best Beach in the U.S., in the World, in Creation, etc., BUT we didn’t know that it’s where Florida keeps it’s very drunk retired people. We learned this quickly.

    But first things first. We stayed at Sara Sea Beach Resort which is a part of the Tropical Beach Resorts. It’s a small resort with a gorgeous, white sand, private beach, a pool, a volleyball court, a shuffleboard court, and beautiful grounds with lots of places to lounge and grill. The resort also boasts a lot of free things including Wi-Fi, towel and chair rentals, DVD library, coffee, pink lemonade, cookies, and maid service (which, believe it or not, is hard to find on Siesta Key). We got the smallest queen bed room and, even though we weren’t in there very long, it was small. Tiny as it was, it did have everything we needed with a fully equipped (hair dryer, Aveda products) bathroom and a real kitchen with an almost normal-sized fridge, stove, microwave, and dishes and utensils. Here are some photos of our home away from home last weekend.

    Sara Sea Queen Hideaway

    Sara Sea Queen Hideaway was the name of our room size/style

    Sara Sea Beach Resort Kitchen

    A real kitchen! We only used the fridge, cups, and ice bucket but it’s nice to have the option to cook during a longer stay.

    Sara Sea pool

    The pool.

    Walkway to the private beach

    The walkway to the private Siesta Key beach.

    Siesta Key private beach at sunset

    The beach is, of course, the reason to visit Siesta Key. The water is calm, the sand is powdery white and goes on and on, and the water is clear.

    Siesta Key beach

    Ahhhhh.

    pretty ocean

    Wonderful.

    After checking in, we went to happy hour at Flavio’s Brick Oven and Bar. The pizza was pretty delicious but the drinks and atmosphere were ehhh. The happy hour pizza and drink prices can’t be beat, however. We stopped by a main drinking attraction, the Daiquiri Deck, before heading back to the resort. They basically serve adult Slurpees which isn’t really our style but we had to see it. We had a good time drinking Cigar City Jai Alai IPA and cherry vodka and soda, respectively, while listening to the cover band.

    Daiquiri Deck

    Daiquiri Deck’s array of adult Slurpees

    After dropping off the car and trying a dolphin statue:

    Robbie trying a dolphin statue

    we walked across the street to check out the walking distance establishments. We stopped in at the Crescent Beach Grocery and looked at all the amazing cheese we were too full to eat. We then walked to the Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar triumvirate of establishments, stopping first at Sniki Tiki. It’s a “where everybody knows your name” kind of establishment. We had a really good and really big plate of homemade potato chips with chipotle sauce and some drinks. The bartender was quite awesome. The locals were…old and…colorful but we had a good time. After that we walked over to the karaoke portion and closed out the night there. Some of the singers were really good, like, realllllyyy good. There was a fluorescent wig-wearing group of women with older gentlemen who danced and kept things very entertaining.

    On Saturday morning, we went to brunch. We ate at  Village Cafe where we both had veggie omelets with home fries and toast. We actually meant to go to Sun Garden Cafe but we saw Village Cafe and got confused and went in. We were seated right away and the food and service were good. I would accidentally go there again.

    After brunch, we got ready for the beach by filling our reusable water bottles with boozy drinks. Alcohol is permitted on that beach as long as it’s not in a glass container. The beach was so pretty and relaxing. It was too cold to get all the way in the ocean so we swam in the pool after.

    For dinner we went to Veg, just over the little bridge from our resort. I didn’t know there was a mostly vegetarian restaurant nearby so this was a very pleasant surprise. Veg has a large, almost entirely vegan menu except for some seafood dishes. Kinda weird, I know, but I guess when you’re right by the ocean you get really into seafood, I dunno. Everything we got was incredibly good. We had the cashew “cheese” pâté for our appetizer. I failed to get a photo of this. They tried with the presentation but it still looked kinda like cat food, but, trust me, it was so tasty. Robbie got the seitan brisket and I got the Shabu Shabu which is fake chicken, vegetables, Ponzu sauce, and rice noodles. They also have beer, wine, and housemade sangria, so that’s cool. I would definitely eat here again if we’re ever back in that area.

    Shabu Shabu at Veg

    My Shabu Shabu at Veg

    Seitan Brisket at Veg

    Robbie’s seitan brisket with a sweet potato and veggies

    After dinner, we drove back over to the area with a lot of bars and restaurants and walked around some. We stopped in at Blu Que Island Grill for a round. The same cover band we saw at Daiquiri Deck the night before was playing there. We were so full from Veg which was a little bit of a tragedy because the guy at the table next to us was eating nachos that looked phenomenal. Our bartender was a bit of a character and looked exactly like The Stranger from The Big Lebowski. I tried to discreetly photograph him but this profile shot is the best I could do.

    The Stranger/Bartender

    “Now this here story I’m about to unfold took place back in the early ’90s – just about the time of our conflict with Sad’m and the I-raqis.”

    We ended our evening and vacation sharing a bottle of champagne on the lawn outside on the resort grounds. It was a great trip. A few too many very drunk, very old people but the beach, the resort, and the food at Veg are worth making a return visit.

    champagne on the lawn

    Pray that all their pain be champagne


  6. balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts

    May 14, 2014 by Angie

    I’ve got quite a few tofu, tempeh, bean, and Gardein protein mains in the repertoire but I realized I am severely lacking in sides. I almost always douse some asparagus in olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake it in the toaster oven. It’s delicious and easy but I feel like we should have some more variety. I got the cookbook More Peas, Thank You by Sarah Matheny from my public library. It turns out it’s kind of a sequel to her very popular first book. I’ll have to check that one out next. I cooked her Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts as our side the other night. It was my first time cooking Brussels sprouts and my second time ever eating them. I was really happy with how they turned out. This recipe is healthy, so tasty, and wasn’t too labor intensive. I now have another go-to side!

    Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

    Slightly adapted from More Peas, Thank You by Sarah Matheny

    Ingredients

    2 8 oz bags of Brussels sprouts (about 2.5 cups, you could make even more because I had leftover sauce on our plate)
    olive oil
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    1 tsp brown sugar
    salt and pepper to taste

    Directions

    1. Heat olive oil in a large-ish pan.

    2. While the olive oil is heating, preheat the oven to 400 degrees for the next step. Wash and cut the Brussels sprouts in half.

    3. Arrange the Brussels sprouts in the pan with the cut side down. Cook, without bothering them, until the underside is brown.

    4. While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, combine the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a bowl.

    5. If your pan is oven-safe, move it to the oven. If not, and none of mine are, move the Brussels sprouts to a lightly greased cookie sheet. Keep them cut side down and bake for about 8-10 minutes.

    6. If you’re still working with the pan, pour the balsamic vinegar mixture over the top and stir it around. If you’ve moved to the cookie sheet, bring the Brussels sprouts back to the pan, cover with the mixture, and stir around.

    7. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy your quick, healthy side!


  7. low-carb cauliflower risotto

    May 6, 2014 by Angie

    Last night I tried out a new recipe for vegan low-carb risotto made with cauliflower instead of rice. It was pretty fantastic. I mostly followed this recipe from Vegangela. She tops her risotto with mushrooms but, as we are not mushroom fans, I made a little stir fry of yellow squash, spinach, and garlic instead to top our risotto.

    closeup of cauliflower risotto

     Cauliflower risotto closeup

    cauliflower risotto

     I also made garlicky thyme tempeh from the Post Punk Kitchen for our protein.

    It was a bit labor-intensive because I was essentially juggling three dishes at once but I think now that I’ve done it and know what works, it will go a lot smoother the next time. The only other complaint is there’s a food processor to clean at the end. Sorry, Robbie! It is a really tasty, really healthy meal low in carbs and fat but full of flavor.


  8. French 75 with vodka

    May 3, 2014 by Angie

    This drink is sooooo fancy. It’s an old school champagne cocktail invented at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in 1915. I made it with vodka instead of gin because yuck, gin. I’m really into this drink because not only is it delicious, but champagne and vodka have relatively high alcohol content and are relatively low in calories and carbs.

    French 75 with vodka

    Ingredients

    1 shot of vodka (I am partial to Tito’s.)
    about 1 tbsp of lemon juice
    chilled champagne
    1 maraschino cherry
    lemon twist for garnish

    Directions

    1. Pour a shot of vodka into a champagne flute.

    2. Cut a lemon in half. Save one half for later. Cut a off small ring from the center edge then squeeze the juice from the remaining piece into the flute.

    3. Make a lemon twist garnish from the lemon ring by cutting through one side and almost to the rind of the other side. Remove the pulp. Twist into a pretty shape.

    4. Drop a maraschino cherry into the bottom of the flute.

    5. Fill with champagne then place your lemon twist garnish on the edge of the flute.

    Traditionally, a little fine sugar is added but I think it tastes just right without it. You could add some fine sugar or stevia to taste if you like sweeter drinks.

    Robgeleen at Harry's New York Bar in Paris

    Once upon a time in 2011, we went to Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. It was a great time.

    Harry's New York Bar in Paris