Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beannachtam na Feile Padraig! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patrick's day, whether you celebrate or not. Everyone loves to claim they're "Irish" or have some "Irish in them" but whether this is true or not, it is a wonderful excuse to get together with friends. Since it fell on a Saturday this year and we knew the bars would be packed and expensive, Billy and I decided to host a house party this year. And that means food! (and beverages).

Shepherd's Pie/Cottage Pie- Cooking for the Rushed
I did not know this until yesterday, but if you make Shepherd's pie with beef and not lamb, it is technically called Cottage pie. Anyways, I guess this one is neither because it's made with Yves Ground Round haha. This is a quick and simple recipe that went over very well with all the omnis at the party ;)

Irish Soda Bread- The Vegan Table
This recipe has six ingredients: soy milk, vinegar, flour, salt, baking soda and margarine. It was so good! There was none left by midnight. It's really nice spread with a bit of Earth Balance.

Green Punch with Rum
This was a very yummy punch from this site. I couldn't find lime sherbet that didn't have dairy and I didn't have time to make my own so I used store bought lemon gelato instead. And if anyone asked what white gelato was doing in a green themed punch I said: I couldn't find dairy-free green what, wanna fight about it? A little bit of my leprechaun spirit coming out!

Rainbow Cupcakes- Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Et la piece de resistance....rainbow cupcakes! These are all over the internet, but I was still very proud of them. I used the basic vanilla cupcake recipe, then followed the tutorial here for how to colour the batter. They are topped with buttercream icing. These went really quickly (I had to hide one so I could have one).

And in non-Emerald Isle news, I'm still cooking lots, and Billy is still eating veg at home, so the adventure continues. The weather this week (March Break) was phenomenal...and that means BBQ season begins! One of my favourite things about BBQ'ing is that cooking dinner becomes a team effort. I do the prep, and B does the grilling (to a tee..he is the Grill Master!).

Vegetable Fajitas- Supermarket Vegan
I had mine with portabellos while Billy had his with President's Choice Meatless Chicken. All these beautiful veggies were marinaded in a balsamic/oil mixture and then grilled on the barbecue. Then we sliced them up and ate them in whole wheat tortillas. They are simple but delicious, topped with a bit of salsa.

"Chicken" Skewers with Chimichurri Citrus Herb Sauce- Candle Cafe
My sister came to visit from Toronto (and she came bearing a gift...Smashbox mascara...yay cruelty free makeup!) so we had a family dinner. I brought this and it was fantastical! It is supposed to be made with seitan but I didn't make the seitan in time, so I subbed with PC meatless chicken. It's marinaded in a citrus sauce, then grilled/charred and then topped with the citrus herb sauce. They are really tasty and I plan on making them with seitan too. As a side, I made quinoa with vegetable broth instead of water and stirred in some frozen peas and carrots.

Tofu Omelette- Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Foods
I woke up one morning this week wanting an omelette badly. I had everything to make it, but I didn't have any veggies that would make a good filling. So I improvised and made a filling from "chicken", salsa, and French Onion Tofutti cream cheese, all mixed together. It was good! It would be even better with some wilted spinach. This meal was so high in protein, I wasn't hungry again til 3 pm.

This is just a basic black bean salad with some bruschetta mix and homemade flax oil/balsamic vinaigrette.

Broiled Grapefruit- Candle Cafe
This is my favourite way to eat pamplemousse, broiled with some sugar on top.

Skillet Lasagna- Supermarket Vegan
All the taste of lasagna without the fuss. This is all cooked in a pot, and it gets better as leftovers. We also tried it with Daiya cheese and it was delicious.

Another breakfast item, whole wheat bagels with French onion "cream cheese" topped with bruschetta mix. I love savoury breakfasts! What's your favourite?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Food Overload

I've got to post more often if I'm going to cook so much! Make sure you scroll down to the last post for my spring roll recipe :) It's March Break tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to cleaning the house, doing some cooking, and hanging out with friends. Billy's trying to eat vegan during the week (weekday vegetarian), so I'm going out of my way to make hubby friendly foods to make it easy and fun for him. He's doing great!

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Butter Sauce-Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook
Labour intensive! Maybe next time I'll wait for a weekend to make these, but they were rather fun. The mix of squash with butter and vegan parm is a nice filling and the sauce is light. The dough is hard to roll out in one piece so I cut them into smaller pieces and then rolled out the squares. The dough is the best part! Billy's not a huge fan of squash so I made him a different filling.

"Beef Ravioli"
This is just filled with Yves Italian Ground round, with sauteed garlic and some seasonings and topped with jarred tomato sauce. He loved it!

Cincinnati Style Chili Mac- Supermarket Vegan
I got a new cookbook! I already have Vegan Italiano by Donna Klein and love it, so I thought I'd try this one. The concept is that you can find all the ingredients at the grocery store with no specialty products needed (as in fake cheese, milk or soy products). There's a lot of things in there that will appeal to picky eaters and husbands :P. So our first dish from the book was this dish, which is really a quick chili mixed with macaroni and then baked. It was spicy! I'll cut down the spice a bit next time but this was filling and yummy. Billy made the baked beans and macaroni casserole too (no picture), and he enjoyed it.

Curried Udon Stir-Fry- Veganomicon
This is one of my favourite dishes from Veganomicon. It is so good! This is a dish that I made purely for my own enjoyment but Billy liked it too. I love those fat chewy udon noodles. It's stir fried veggies, PC meatless chicken (I used this instead of seitan), and a creamy curry sauce all mixed with udon noodles. Mmmmmm.

Lentil Tacos with Fresh Salsa- Skinny Bitch UEC
This was dinner tonight. Billy was worried about taco filling that didn't consist of some sort of "meat" replacement but he said these were delicious...and I concur! The lentils are blended into a kind of pate consistency and topped with fresh cherry tomato salsa and lettuce. The only change I would make would be to cook the green lentils a little less so they keep some of their crunchy texture. And some taco seasoning wouldn't hurt!

I visited the health store recently and saw this So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk (like Greek yogurt...thick!). I find it sour, which I think is normal for that style, but I loved it blended up in my morning fruit smoothie! I'd also try it with some granola, fruit and a touch of agave for sweetness.

Butternut Mac and Cheese
I used the recipe here and really didn't change anything other than using soy milk and Daiya instead of milk and cheese. I also might have added some more milk to the cheese sauce. It was good! Super creamy. Next time I'm going to use my standard cheese sauce (from La Dolce Vegan) and just mix in the butternut squash, but the sauce from this recipe was good too. Billy didn't want to eat this as a meal since he doesn't love squash but he had a bite and said it was pretty good. Baby steps...

Blood Orange and Peppercorn Sorbet- Skinny Bitch UEC
Yep, black pepper in sorbet! Whole peppercorns are simmered with the juice, but are strained out before freezing. It's not really obvious in the taste, I think it just enhances the blood orange juice. This has a gorgeous colour and is really sweet! I'm still in love with my ice cream maker.

Spinach Feta Pizza
When I was younger and we went to the fair/exhibition in our old city, I always got a slice of spinach feta pizza and it was magical (back before my vegan days). I had a pang for it last Sunday, and we all know everything can be veganized (well, except meringue...sigh...). Garden of Vegan has an awesome tofu feta recipe, which is also awesome in pitas. So I made that, let it marinate, steamed up some spinach, and sprinkled it on my pizza before adding Daiya mozzarella. It hit the spot! The dough was made in the breadmaker my Gramma gave good!

Black Bean Enchiladas- Skinny Bitch UEC
I cannot, for the life of me, find corn tortillas in my town, so I had to use small flour tortillas, but these were tasty! These got the husband stamp of approval too.

On the menu this week: leftover ravioli, skillet lasagna, chicken BBQ skewers with herb citrus sauce. and maybe some mac and cheese :)

Happy Cooking!

Spring Rolls

Here's the recipe we used to make homemade spring rolls for my birthday. We don't deep fry stuff at home but it was an occasion :) Next time, we want to try this filling in rice paper rolls to make them healthier.

Spring Rolls (makes up to 24 spring rolls)
Frozen spring roll wrappers(Spring Home Tyj is the brand we had), defrosted
1 1/4 cup chopped carrots
3 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
2 bundles clear noodles (bean thread)
1 teaspoon white pepper powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 cups vegetable oil (for frying)
1/4 cup plum sauce mixed with red chili pepper jelly

1. Soak the bean thread noodles in hot water until soft. Remove from water and cut the bundle into four or five pieces.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan/wok. Turn heat down to med-high. Add minced garlic and saute a minute.
3. Add carrots, noodles. Mix them well.
4. Add cabbage and mix well. Stir until cooked.
5. Add white pepper powder and soy sauce. Stir well.
6. Put the filling into a bowl. Set aside to cool down.
7. Lay a wrapper in front of you with a corner pointing towards you and spread 2 tablespoons of the filling horizontally. Fold the bottom of the wrapper up over the filling and gently press it down. Fold in both sides of the wrapper and continue to roll the spring roll towards the top. Brush the top corner with a bit of soymilk or water to seal.
8. Heat oil until hot. Turn heat down to med.
9. Deep fry a few rolls at a time until they turn golden brown, flipping them in the oil if needed.
10. Drain on paper towels to absorb excess oil
11. Serve with plum sauce and enjoy!