vegan blog challenge 2013

Vegan Blog Challenge 2013, Week 10: The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado

Last October, during my first Vegan MoFo, I watched a lot of blogs, and bookmarked loads of recipes, but I can’t say any of them impressed me quite like Vegan Cookbook Aficionado. I loved the photos, and almost all of the recipes were ones that I thought, “Hey, I’d really really REALLY like to try that.”

I’ve already rhapsodised about Maggie’s Apple-Cranberry Bannock, but the sad thing is, that’s the only thing I’ve actually made in the year since then (albeit multiple times!) So, I was totally thrilled that this was blog #10 on the challenge, because it would motivate me to actually make some of those fantastic-looking recipes that I’ve wanted to try for so long. Of course several of the ones on my to-make list called for either cream cheeze or soy yogurt, which I didn’t have, so here are the ones I did have stuff handy to make.

bannockGarlic Herb Bannock

Since I liked the other bannock so much, I decided to try this savoury one. I did some whole wheat flour, some all-purpose, and some random gluten-free flour mix because I was kind of running out of everything at the time. I used the parsley fresh from our garden, and for my other herbs I picked some oregano, rosemary, and chives.

I accidentally deep-fried the thing because I dumped way more oil into my electric skillet than I intended to. But oh was it delicious. It was light, fluffy, flavourful, amazing.

sconeRaspberry Cocoanut Scones

I splurged on some cocoanut extract to make these, since it was only $2.48 for a bottle and I’ve wanted it a long time and hey, I can use it in all kinds of stuff! Again I used some whole wheat flour here. They were awesome.

tatoesSalt and Vinegar Potato Bites

As per usual, I subbed lemon juice for the vinegar. I used rosemary, oregano, and chives again as my herbs. Usually I like my potatoes sans any sort of sauce, but I decided I’d do half the amount of the dipping sauce and drizzle it on top. It was actually pretty good. GooGoo didn’t like it, and it’s not something I’ll do all the time, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The potatoes themselves, of course – delightful. Mmm.

Chocolate-Strawberry Loaf

No picture of this one, but it was intensely chocolatey and the sweet tang of the strawberries was delicious. I did the variation for regular cocoa powder, and I left out the espresso powder because I had none and hate the taste of anything coffeelike anyway. I had a piece hot out of the oven and could hardly taste it trying to keep it from burning off all my tastebuds (I’m so impatient), but just now I had a cold piece and it was amazing.

Overall comments for this week? Nothing disappointed. I am more stoked than ever to try more!

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Categories: bread, challenges, dessert, lunch, scones, side dish, vegan, vegan blog challenge 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vegan Blog Challenge 2013, Week 9: Post Punk Kitchen

And of course the PPK blog is a fitting entry into a blog challenge coming out of the PPK forum!

No, your eyes do not deceive you. I skipped from Week 5 to Week 9 in a week. I have a couple of reasons for this.

First and main reason is that Vegan MoFo starts in September this year, and I’m going to be busy enough blogging without having to also continue the blog challenge.

The other reason was that blogs 6, 7, and 8 were just not inspiring me. There were some interesting things, but I didn’t have the stuff to make them… and blogs 9 and 10 were ones I definitely didn’t want to miss.

So, that being said, I regularly browse the PPK forums, and I’ve tried some of Isa’s recipes and enjoyed most of them, but for some reason I’ve not really tried much from the blog, so this was fun.

I have to admit, some of the recipes are just too “out there” for me. But there was also a very substantial list of “really want to try”. These are the three I finally chose.

gingerscone

Bikram Ginger Chocolate Chunk Scones

As you may have noticed (or not?) I really have a thing for chocolate and ginger. I used a gluten-free flour blend I got as a free sample from Amazon Vine and it worked out great. I’m interested to try this again with regular flour just to compare, but they were delicious and amazing. The picture is lousy. Sorry. It was getting dark.

thymetempeh

Garlicky Thyme Tempeh

This was very yummy. Also very easy. I used dried thyme because I have none in my garden to use fresh, and I was out of oil, but otherwise I followed the recipe.

sausage

Tempeh Sausage Crumbles

This smells amazingly sausagelike and delicious. It doesn’t taste quite as good as it smells, but I did notice that the smaller crumbles tasted the best. I think I should have taken the time to crumble it into less gigantic hunks so the flavour would distribute better. I had some with my potatoes for breakfast today and think I’ll make a pizza with the rest.

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Categories: challenges, scones, substitutions, tempeh, vegan blog challenge 2013 | 4 Comments

Vegan Blog Challenge 2013, Week 5: Olives for Dinner

I had not heard of this blog before. You can take a look at it here: Olives for Dinner. The photography is amazing. A lot of the recipes are just a tad too exotic for everyday use. But I was able to find three to try anyway.

Tofu Tikka Masala

Tofu Tikka Masala

Tofu Tikka Masala

This was just a bit complex – not a lot, just a bit. I made the marinade and stuck the tofu in it the night before. I didn’t press it very thoroughly because it was only medium firm and did not seem to be handling the weight well when I put weight on it. So I sliced it and pressed it with a towel by hand. It didn’t soak up as much marinade as I’d have liked, but oh well. I broke it into smaller pieces and had to cook it on the griddle probably more like 10 minutes to a side and turned it 3 times before it got nice and toasty-crisp.

I was really happy with the results, however, and Mr Pine Nut said it was really good as well, so that made my day and all the work worth it. It’s something I would make again.

Curried Chickpea and Onion Fritters:

I rarely ever fry food… in fact, I think the last time I probably did was at GooGoo’s first birthday party when I made latkes. So I figured it was probably okay to indulge in something fried again now 2.5 years later. These were really good. A little more salt would have been good since I cooked my own garbanzos and they were unsalted, but even so. Very tasty.

I didn’t get a picture, but they were tasty.

Ginger Garlic Tofu:

Also didn’t get a picture of this, but it was SO GOOD. I may or may not have eaten about 5 slices out of the 8… It had prep work involved but it was all in all really simple to put together – not many ingredients and it doesn’t take much time to stick the pan in the freezer overnight and then it has to marinate at least 4 hours the next day. I used medium firm tofu again here.

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All in all, these recipes were a tad involved, more so than I usually have time for without a bit of planning ahead. In the future I’ll probably find ways to expedite the process of cooking, but a good recipe is also really worth a little extra work. I’m pleased enough with the results that I’d definitely like to go back and find more to try from this blog!

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Categories: challenges, entrees, tofu, vegan blog challenge 2013 | 3 Comments

Vegan Blog Challenge 2013, Week 4: FatFree Vegan

When I was first starting to dabble in vegan cooking 4-ish years ago, my husband found some recipe on FatFree Vegan he wanted me to try. I have no idea now what it was. I do remember trying her macaroni and cheese recipe and not particularly liking it. But I have a feeling it was due to using, oh, vanilla soy milk. I was a total newbie to all of this, after all.

A few weeks ago when I was browsing the blogs chosen for the challenge and deciding what I wanted to make, this blog had tons of stuff that appealed to me. I had a list of 13 recipes I would potentially try (including a second try at the mac and cheese), and these are the ones I’ve ended up doing.

Pineapple Coffee Cake

Pineapple Coffee Cake

Pineapple Coffee Cake

I cut the sugar in half since it had sugar sprinkled on top, and it was plenty sweet. And, of course, there was no oil. It was a really yummy cake and definitely something I’d make again.

Curried Chickpeas and Kale

Curried Chickpeas and Kale

Curried Chickpeas and Kale

On a whim I made a double batch of this. I did mostly kale (dino and Russian), but I also used a couple gigantic collard leaves and some broccoli greens. Astounding how much greens cook down. As I was putting in the seasonings, the cardamom smelled SO overpowering and I was all, “I’m NOT going to like this,” – but ya know, it wasn’t really noticeable while actually eating it. It was there but it was fine. I liked it a lot – sauteed greens are the only way I can really get much greenery into me that’s not lettuce or spinach – and so did Mr Pine Nut. I ate it on toast and it was very nice. I’m not sure it’s something that’ll go onto my regular menu rotation, but it was definitely great to have a good curry flavour without a bunch of heat.

Cherry Chocolate Mousse Pie

I was a little amused at the comment that chocolate mousse is the first dessert new vegan cooks master. For me that wasn’t true. I had no trouble at all veganising all my old favourite cookie recipes with margarine and Ener-G egg replacer in the early days of my veg cooking, so I was on a roll with that. I have no clue what my first non-cookie vegan dessert would have been, but it wasn’t chocolate mousse (or wacky cake). In fact, I’ve never *had* chocolate mousse in my life, vegan or otherwise. My mom used to make chocolate pie and I turned up my nose at it (I know, what was my PROBLEM?)

So I guess it’s high time I tuck the experience of VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE under my belt. This was a ridiculously simple recipe to make and it is SO DELICIOUS. Intensely chocolatey. I didn’t have agave, so I used dilute molasses with a little white sugar thrown in, and I added a pinch of salt just because I was worried that there was none called for. I used a chocolate graham cracker crust and it’s so, so yummy. Did I mention it’s awesome? BECAUSE IT IS. I may or may not have eaten a quarter of the pie after lunch today.

Oh, and it was gone before I could take a picture.

Mac and trees

Mac and trees

As for the mac and cheese, I tried that again today. I had it as mac and trees, with some random broccoli Mr Pine Nut had picked and left on the counter. I liked it much better than I remember liking it before. My own mac and cheese recipe is still my preferred, but as she says, we’ve all got our favourite.

Finally, I made the seitan veggeroni. 

Seitan Veggeroni

Seitan Veggeroni

It’s delicious and very spicy, at least the slice I had. I can’t wait to make a pizza with it.

All in all, I am super happy with everything I’ve tried on this blog. I plan to come back and use some of these again as well as try new ones.

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Categories: challenges, vegan blog challenge 2013 | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Vegan Blog Challenge 2013, Week 3: Oh She Glows

I had a bit of a harder time with Oh She Glows. There was plenty of stuff that looked good, but I just didn’t have what I needed to make it and not a ton of money to get ingredients that are currently luxury items for us. A lot of the ones I thought looked appealing called for maple syrup, and I had just a teeny bit of that left. (I have since been told that mixing a little brown sugar with water will do in a pinch.)

So, anyway. There ended up being only three recipes that I could easily do, and out of those three there were two that were truly awesome.

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Lemon Dill Tofu

Lemon Dill Tofu

The dressing was good, but the tofu lackluster and soggy, even after pressing it for longer than she recommended. Cooking it in the skillet just didn’t work for me. I think were I to make it again I’d bake the tofu and stir the dressing in.

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Our Perfect Veggie Burger

Our Perfect Veggie Burger

I have tried a multitude of veggie burgers and while many of them are good, they are seldom if ever great; even the ones I make on a regular basis are just good, not WOW. These had everything one could want in a veggie burger. They had a great texture, a great flavour, they were the perfect size (I got 8 burgers that were neither too large nor too small for buns) and best of all they STAYED TOGETHER. I will definitely make these again; I’m curious to try other nuts besides almonds just to see what the flavour is like. I’ll no doubt experiment with different seasonings and beans in the future for variety, but I will most definitely make these again and am so thrilled to have such a good base to start from now.

Apple Pie Drops

Apple Pie Muffin Drops (and a GooGoo)

Apple Pie Muffin Drops

Okay, these were amazing and definitely worth using the last bit of my maple syrup in. They were a tad labour intensive in comparison to a typical muffin recipe, since the “apple pie filling” needs to be cooked a bit before mixing it into the batter, but even so. As I said, worth it.

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Vegan Blog Challenge 2013, Week 2: Elizavegan

We had a lovely time camping. GooGoo and Lou Who did very well, though GooGoo did get a bit overstimulated by the end of the week and started to shut down a bit, which entailed a lot of Clinging to Mommy and Crying, but overall it went very well. We had loads of food. I made tofu-zucchini patties, chickpea cutlets, 3 pounds of cooked pintos, 2 pounds of cooked black beans, a double batch of taco filling, zucchini muffins, cranberry-orange muffins, along with some boughten things such as taco shells and hummus. Plus all the stuff my friend brought. We had a nice little commune going there, with four Very Full Coolers that for once were somewhat depleted by the end of the week.

Teh Commune

Teh Commune; our tent on the right.

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So, what about this week’s blog challenge? Week 2 is The Elizavegan Page. She has SO many recipes, it was terribly hard to choose, and I didn’t sift through all of them. A lot of them had mushrooms, which automatically ruled them out for me. It’s been quite warm and while I’m reluctant to make soups while it’s so warm, these are the three I finally chose even though two of them are soup.

Pumpkin Muffins: I didn’t get a picture of these because we were almost done eating them all when I realised and by then the light was pretty bad. They were all right. Mr Pine Nut really liked them. They stuck to the muffin papers a lot but I didn’t let them sit the full 20 minutes like she said, either (though the one I saved to try cold still was sticking quite a bit). I felt they needed just a tiny bit more sweetness but the flavour was nice otherwise.

Classic Corn Chowder

Classic Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder: This was an instant hit. I have several kinds of non-dairy milk at the moment and I chose the one with the lowest sugar content (Soy Dream in this case) and it worked well. We also stirred some fresh torn kale into our bowls while the soup was still hot and the kale “cooked” a little bit while we waited for it to cool. I will definitely make this again.

Curried White Bean Soup

Curried White Bean Soup

Curried White Bean Soup: Mr Pine Nut’s first reaction was, “This is… interesting.” I asked if that was his nice way of saying he didn’t like it, but he said it wasn’t so bad, pretty good actually, just different. Which it was.

I didn’t blend it up because I like a chunky soup. I’m not sure if I’d make it again, necessarily, but it was nice and it makes a big pot so there is enough for a second meal tomorrow.

Up next week: Oh She Glows!

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Vegan Blog Challenge 2013, Week 1: Vegan Richa

Note: I’m having issues with the photos in this post. In the process of trying to fix it!

At the time you’re reading this, I’m camping. I started this vegan blog challenge a week early because of that, and then after I am home I can be on track with everyone else.

The first blog in the challenge is Vegan Richa. I love Indian food and there were a lot of recipes I thought looked tasty, but I had to choose ones that I could make with stuff I already had. Thankfully there were several and the three I finally chose were Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Potatoes With Whole Spices, and Tempeh Chickpea Fritter Patty Burgers.

cookies

Yum!

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I did the nut butter (almond butter) with melted vegan margarine, because I didn’t have any more oil; cinnamon and cloves; and for my stir-ins I did sliced almonds and cranberries.

They were really good. Very filling (which didn’t stop me from eating 4) and had a nice crunch to them. The recipe made 8 cookies for me.

potatoes

Prepping the potatoes

Steaming spicy spuds

Steaming spicy spuds

Potatoes With Whole Spices

These were really… spicy. It was already a hot evening and thanks to these potatoes I had sweat running down my face in rivers. It was so attractive. My husband tasted one cube of potato, as did GooGoo. He said, “One was enough.” GooGoo said, “Yuck. I don’ like it.”

I would leave out the chili flakes next time. Or at least reduce them. I like food of a toasty warmth, not an inferno in my mouth. But they were very simple to make.

I reheated the leftovers the next day and mixed in some cashew cream (just plain cashews/water) to try to tone down the heat a bit. While the potatoes were still spicy, they were not nearly as intense as when they were first made! I liked it a lot with the creamy sauce.

Frying it up in the pan

Frying up the tempeh fritters in the pan

My yummy sandwich.

My yummy sandwich.

Tempeh Chickpea Fritter Patty Burgers

In deference to my heat-disdaining family, I subbed the chili flakes with mild chili powder. GooGoo ate a little, but both Mr Pine Nut and me found this to be amazingly tasty. We had it on buns with mixed fresh greens from our garden. I will definitely make this again.

So, that’s my foray into the blog of Vegan Richa. Overall I was very pleased with what I tried and will be very likely to go back and try more of her recipes!

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