Ricotta, Tofu Ricotta

So evidently, an event of cosmic significants has occurred. And no, before you ask, we have not found a child with a midi-chlorian count higher than 20,000.  Veganomicon strikes again, this time with an inexpensive, dead easy, and delicious “cheese” filling.  I have been glancing at the recipe for tofu ricotta on and off ever since I received the book in December, and finally decided to use it the other night.

LOVE Amy’s Roasted Veggie Cheese less pizza, and was trying to recreate something similar at home on Friday night and it seemed a perfect opportunity to try it! :-D

Roasted veggie pizza with caramelize onions (I am not writing the recipie for the crust because I always just use Fleischmanns Pizza crust yeast *you don’t have to let it rise!* dance around excitedly)

TOPPINGS

2 onions sliced in to thin rings

1/2 a pint of baby bella mushrooms sliced

1/4 each of red yellow and green peppers

1 crown of broccoli cut into tiny florets

2 T olive oil

SAUCE

1, 6 oz can of tomato paste

6 oz of warm water

2 t agave

1t garlic powder

3/4 t onion powder

1/4 t of each of the following spices

  • dried oregano
  • dried basil
  • dried marjoram
  • red pepper flakes
  • black pepper

1/8 t cayenne pepper

salt to taste

TOFU RICOTTA from Veganomicon

(this is the whole recipe, but I only used half of it and saved the rest for later use)

1 lb extra firm tofu

2 t lemon juice

1 clove garlic minced

1/4 t salt

pinch of pepper

2 t olive oil

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

In a large deep skillet ( I use my cast iron one) put the onions and the oil. Set to med low heat and give everything a good toss. Cook on low, stirring very frequently for about 30 minutes, until the onions are pretty and gold and very sweet. While cooking the onions it’s a good time to make the sauce and ricotta. For the sauce, in a medium sized bowl add the paste and water and stir carefully. When it is completely incorporated, add the remaining ingredients and set aside.

For the Ricotta, in a large bowl mush the tofu up with your hands until crumbly. Add lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper, mush again with your hands and get it very mushy by squeezing through your fingers. (I enjoy this bit very much lol)  Add olive oil and nutritional yeast, and stir with a fork now because the olive oil makes it sticky. Set aside.

Heat your oven to 425 . Remove onions from skillet and, if oven safe, place the remainder of the veggies (minus the broccoli) in to skillet and roast for about 10 minutes. After that put the broccoli back in, stir and roast for 5 or 6 more minutes.

Kneed and roll out your dough on to a lightly oiled pan. I always dust mine with a little corn meal too. Assemble your pizza like this. Sauce, cheeze, onions (all of them) veggies and top wit a little more cheeze.

It’s a little time consuming, but veeeeeeeeeeeeeeery worth it.

Once I had made the ricotta, I kept thinking of ways to use it … on a sandwich?

Check! No there is nothing wrong with my tomato! I, as some of you may know, am addicted to produce. When I come across something unique I have a physical NEED to try it. I stumbled upon brown tomatoes last week and have been loving them sooooooo much.

My wonderfuly mommy had the idea to make the nutritional yeast cheeze sauce and make encheladas with it last week I think? Anyway, my dad loved them and after she mentioned them I HAD to have encheladas.  I obviously get my inability to remember and or write down recipies as I’m cooking from her because when I asked her how she made them her answer was along the lines of, ” Well, I made the sauce…and put a can of rotell in… and you know .. cooked some veggies, pretty ones, and then some spices… you know cumin and paprika and stuff….and rolled em up!”

I love her so much lol.

So Sunday I made the sauce like her, and sauteed some onions, mushrooms, a thinly diced sweet potato, garlic and some kale ( I am sure there was more but … I can’t remember) . Mixed it all with some leftover ricotta, and used flour tortillas because I do not possess the necessary skills to be able to assemble enchiladas with corn tortillas with out breaking things in frustration at the uncooperative pieces of bread.

These were beyond yummy and extremely filling too.

Oh yeah! I used a jalepeno too… hmm

And now for something completely different!

Isn’t so cute!!! I am freaking in love with that Intel one lol. There is a panda inside one that I was awfully tempted to get haha! Now all I need is like a good sticker of a Vulcan greeting and maybe the sign of the rebellion and I would be totally set <3

Lentils, leftovers and popcorn!

No, it is not glamorous, and it is far from complicated, but popcorn is and will probably continue to be one of my most beloved snacks. And since Matt constantly tells me that this is the single greatest popcorn he has ever had, every time I make it, I decided to release the highly guarded secret of perfect popcorn to the masses.

Step one – Buy this

 

Coconut oil is a staple in my house for roughly 9 zillion things but it is the absolute star of popcorn. They actually used to use coconut oil in old timey theaters back in the day before people got all twisted up about saturated fat. Not knowing at the time, of course, that saturated fat from animals (lipids that are solid at room temp ie butter) are not able to be broken down as easily if at all, as the fat in coconut oil which contains a higher content of cholesterol lowering acid. AAAAAAAAAnd moving on.

You could use another oil, but why would you?

Put 2 T oil in a COLD deep pan with a lid and add 1/4 – 1/3 cup popcorn kernels. I like the white kind :-)

Turn heat to med – med high and cover. Swish the pan around every few seconds until you start to hear them pop. *It’s important that the popcorn doesn’t get a chance to touch the lid once the pot starts to fill up. It makes it kinda stale if it gets damp*

Keep swishing around while the kernels are popping like mad and when they start to slow to  about once every 10 seconds, remove from heat.

Matt likes his with just a sprinkle of salt, and me well I am more of a wild child. I put about 1/8 t of cayenne and several generous shakes of nutritional yeast on mine.

 

This morning we had Liam’s favourite breakfast, Scrambled tofu and toast.

 

I kinda love it too <3

Lunch was a sedate affair with left over taco salad and warmed up can of Amy’s Black bean Chili. I went in the kitchen to fix lunch and was like… “omg.. I’m done? that was flipping easy! As soon as were done eating  Imma go play zelda!”  Thats actually what went through my mind. I R LOSER. I <3 leftover taco stuff lol.

 

I squished up 2 fritos on my chili lol.

Now, to the love of my food life, lentils. I have trouble finding ways to use them, even though I love them cooked and tossed in a little vinaigrette  and eaten over salads or plain, Matt doesn’t care for their earthy taste.

 

Enter Veganomicon (have I mentioned that I love this book?)

 

 

Lentils and rice with caramelized onions from Veganomicon.

3 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced into thin rings

3/4 cup olive oil ( I only used 1/2 cup and I still felt it was too much, next time I will only use 1/4)

1 cup long grain brown rice

1 cup red lentils (I used brown)

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

In a large deep baking pan ( I used my cast iron skillet), toss onion rings in oil and roast for 25 – 30 min stirring often until golden brown and a little crisp, some burnt ones are okay too.  When done, remove from oven and set aside.

Boil 4 cups of water, add rice and spices, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 min. Add lentils and return to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover cooking for 45 min. (I cooked mine about 35 and it was still a little too long, when the water is gone, turn off heat. )

It seemed a little dry to me, and I was going to stir in some vegetable stock, but my hand magicaly went to my coconut milk in the fridge so I put a couple tablespoons of that in there when it was done cooking it. I also added 1 -1 1/2 t salt and some pepper to the finished product.  This.Is.YUMMY. Liam tore it up and I had to keep myself from going back for more. Since it’s just brown rice and lentils, it is pretty calorie dense but it is soooooooooooooooooo good I almost couldn’t help myself.  I was going to braise some kale but changed my mind at the last minute and opted for a simple massaged kale salad instead.

 

Well, hope that there is something on this ridiculously long post that some of you will try and love as much as me! <3 I hear a malbec and a book calling my name! Night! :-)

Taco Tuesday

Well, we made it! We have been residents of Mississippi for just over 3 weeks now, and are finally getting settled in. Most of the boxes are unpacked and the last room that needs work (the man cave) is well on its way. Liam has been taking everything very well, which is exceptional because for the first few days he slept in his pack and play in an over crowded room .  The area around our new house is very cute, with lots of stuff walking distance.  I just picked out a new bicycle today and am looking forward to taking  family rides down to the beach that is about a 10 minute bike ride from here!

Liam and I will be coming back to Oklahoma as soon as my youngest brother Gregory gets home for his break in his tour in Iraq, can’t wait to see every one!

On to food <3

Before we left Oklahoma, my mom introduced me to the site Happy Herbivore. She is a fat free vegan, and has lots of interesting and yummy recipes on her website for free, and she also has a cook book and a second is in the works! The first thing of hers I tried was her chickpea tacos. I have made one or two alterations to this new staple in our house, but essentially it is just the same as hers.

The first time I made these Matt almost instantly requested a “Taco Tuesday” and with the exception of a few days when I had no access to a working oven, and or food processor, we have had these eeeevery Tuesday. Liam usually eats the filling with a little of the aoli and eats it off pieces of taco shell lol.

Chickpea Tacos

1 can chickpeas

1 T tamari

2 t lemon juice

  • Taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse and drain chickpeas, roll on paper towel to dry off. Mix together all the seasonings, lemon juice and tamari and toss the chickpeas in the sauce.  Lightly oil a cookie sheet and spread out. Bake for about 30 min stirring frequently until a little crunchy. The first time I made these, I served them just as she said, whole. Matt didnt like that very much and so we pureed some with a little bit of vegetable stock and made it more mushy. This is the tastiest way I think.

Takes around 1/4 cup of vegatable stock and scraping down the sides as needed to get it to this point.

I serve our tacos with diced onion, tomato,  a diced arugula, spinach mix, black bean salad, and a sriracha aeoli.

Black bean and corn salad

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can corn, drained

1 can diced green chilies

1/2 white onion diced

1 roma tomato diced

2 T cilantro chopped

2 T red wine vinigar

1 /2 T agave

1 T lime juice

1 t cumin

1/8 t cayenne

salt and pepper

Mix all together! (nom as discretely as possible- I have been known to spoil my dinner on this while fixing everything else)

Fancy sriracha aeoli

2 T veganaise

1t lemon juice

1/2 t cumin

1 1/2 t cilantro chopped

1t sriacha

salt and pepper

mix well, put on everything …tacos…sammiches….

I eat my “taco” like this….every thing all chopped up in a salad with one taco shell smushed on it. nummy <3

So, thats about how much effort I put into dinner 5 or 6 days a week. Some days…like yesterday… I can barely convince myself to cook an Amy’s cheese-less pizza, much less make a proper dinner.  So days like that inevitably end in frozen pizza, or this :-)

Not too glamorous huh? Well, this is something that came to me from an old recipe. I used to make Black bean and sweet potato burritos, and this is essentially that, minus the tortilla, and the beans are a little different. I like to bake my sweet potatoes in a 425 degree oven for any where from 40 min – 1.5 hrs depending on how big the potato is. When the skin is crispy, and the potato can be pierced easily with a fork, it is done. I like to cook it a little longer than some because I like the caramelization that happens .. .sooooooo good.

Black beans ( I wrote down the recipie!)

I will rewrite it for those of you not fluent in chicken scratch <3

Black Beans

1 can Black Beans

2 T soy sauce

1 T yellow mustard

1/8 t cayenne

1/2 t oregano

1t garlic powder

1/2 t onion powder

1 t cumin

1 1/2 T lime juice

Put everything in a small sauce pot and allow to simmer for 15 – 20 min.

Put over nummy sweet potatoes top with diced white onions, chopped jalapenos and sriracha <3

I’m off to play Zelda! Don’t be jealous of my ocarina!  One more random picture just cause it makes me smile <3

This window is over my sink, I have ALWAYS wanted a window like that! <3  Gnnight! Miss you all!

I fail at this…

Yes, it has been a minute since I have written. I have many excuses, however I will spare you. I assure you though, we are still eating yummy things. Perhaps it is because the foods have been so yummy, I have had little time to sit down and write. :-) I am just going to go with that for now. My sister in law Brandy got me Veganomicon for Christmas this year. Let. Me. Tell. You. I EFFING LOVE THIS COOK BOOK. I have made many things so far, loving too many to mention. And I have failed on more than one front, because not only have I neglected to write, I also continuously forget to take pictures. AAAAAAAAAAAAnyway. Enough apologizing :-)

I also may need to note, that due to my unhealthy obsession with my new cookbook, this blog may be taking on the appearance of a cook through thingie..which I don’t mind if you don’t <3

Some things that did not fall through the cracks recently,

Veganomicon’s Beet and Parsnip salad

  • Dressing:
  • 2 cups orange juice (recipie calls for pineapple, which I did not have)
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (I used walnut…again…cause thats what I had)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, very well minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Salad:
  • 1 poundbeets, peeled and shredded
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 cup coarsley chopped fresh mint

Just shred the beets and parsnips in the food proscessor, and toss in vinegrette. The longer this sets the better this is, to a point. The salt will eventualy break down the vegetables making them mushy. Ick. Mine didn’t last too long in the fridge anyway, so shouldn’t be a problem.

Veganomicon’s Broiled Tofu

You are going to die when you see how easy this is.

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T fresh lemon Juice
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 scant t olive oil.
  • 1 block extra frim tofu

Cut the tofu width wise in to 4 equal pieces. Cut each of those slices in half widthwise so you have 8 squares. Then, cut each square in half so you have 16 triangles. Dip the tofu in the marinade, place on lightly greased cookie sheet under broiler for 10 min. Remove, spoon marinade over the tofu, broil again for 3 min, repeat untill marinade is gone. THE END. omg so freaking good!

I served this all over a bed of mixed greens, with a drizzle of tahini and some peanuts.

Yesterday was my brothers birthday, so we went to my parents house for dinner and I made my very first vegan cupcakes. I was basically just playing. I used a dead simple vegan chocolate cake recipe, that was too dry in my opinion, and a easy adaptation of a traditional butter-cream frosting using Earth Balance. So, I guess what im getting at  is once again, I have no recipes for this lol.

Originaly, I had this idea for a raspberry glaze, topped with chocolate ganache. I soon realized that I didn’t have any frozen raspberries, so I just put some peanut butter, powdered sugar and water in a sauce pan untill it was thin enough to ice the cupcakes with. I melted some dark chocolate, almond milk and Earth balance to make the ganache.  Then I just swirled the two together on a few of the cupcakes. I was a little afraid, so the majority of them were a tried and true butter cream.

I have also made the cornbread from the book, which was great the first time, but a little dry. The same thing I noticed about the cupcakes. The next time I make a cake, even though it binds, rises, and has a nice crumb just like a regular cake, the moistness is kinda lacking. Today I made another cornbread and used the exact same recipe as before, and just added 1 eggs worth of Energy egg replacement. MUCH BETTER!

I swear I will try to do better! I have made so many things lately, I am sure some will be repeated and documented better!

<3

Sushi? For me?

I have learned something about myself. I am a condiment whore. I think sometimes I eat particular things, simply for the associated condiments. I have 7 types of vinegar, 5 mustards, 9 billion jars of pickled everything, 2 overflowing cabinets of spices and no less then 1 metric ton of every type of vegetable, seed or nut oil known to man. I need you to understand this about me so the rest of this post will make sense. I am *mostly* vegan, I don’t eat fish, and I LOVE SUSHI. Until recently I believed that the fish, nori, rice was what I loved, when actually it is just the wasabi. Trouble with such a dish specific ingredient is that I couldn’t think of much else to do with it apart from making aolis for tofu. I had been sedating my craving with overpriced cucumber and avocado rolls from sushi restaurants but the idea of paying 7 dollars for 3 cents worth of ingredients usually turned my stomach so much that I hardly enjoyed my meal.

Finaly, last week, I broke down and made all of ppk’s delicious vegan sushi.

 

I am not going to re-write all of Isa’s recipies, you can find them here.

We made all of them, but far and away the very best one is the spicy tempeh roll. I was reaaaaaaly hesitant to try this because my fist experience with tempeh was such an epic failure. I should not have been worried. These ladies know what they are doing, and EVERYTHING I have ever made of theirs has been just wonderful.

Katie and her friend came over last Monday, and we had a freaking amazing time making these.

He is very helpful <3

We made waaaaaaaaaaay too much though. In case you were wondering 5 cups of rice is too much for 4 people. It is almost too much for 6 people lol. Oh, and we had pie. Cause, ya know, every one needs pie.

 

 

I have had sushi three times now. Three sushi days IN ONE WEEK! How amazing is that? Saturday, I just made a ton in the afternoon and we were hobos and had that and soup for the rest of the day.

 

If I had known how easy, tasty and completely satisfying sushi could be with out the fish, I would have skipped the whole pescitarian thing most likely. It might actually be a bad thing how easy this is to make, I defiantly need to try with brown rice because I feel a teensy bit guilty about eating so much white rice.

The rest of this week should be interesting. This is my first Thanksgiving being vegetarian, *mostly vegan* and I am a little nervous. I know no one will make me feel bad, I am actually more concerned with making other people uncomfortable. I know it is all in my head, I am just a lunatic. I am planning on making a dish to bring to each event this week, and having that as my main thing, and letting everyone else eat it as a side dish. O and pies. Super stoked about the pies this year. With as much stuff as I am going to be making, as many pies as I plan on eating, and how long it takes me to make myself sit down and write, I’ll probably be done with my next post some time next year :-). Happy Thanksgiving every one! <3

BACON! (kinda)

I make TLTs (that’s a tofu lettuce and tomato sandwich to you) all the time. The last time I used more pepper than normal or something and it hit me like a mac truck. I WANT BACON. I never crave meat, hell I don’t even think about it unless I’m talking to a friend about it, but I simply could not get the idea of attempting to recreate the salty, sweet, smokeyness out of my head. That was my mission yesterday, and I must say (and so did my brother and Matthew) this is far and away the best tofu I have ever had.  But then again, an old bike tire would probably taste all right if it marinated in maple syrup for a few hours.

 

Tofakin

1 block extra firm tofu

3 T maple syrup

1 1/2 T molasses

2 T apple cider vinegar

3 T soy sauce

10 -15 shakes of liquid smoke

1/2 t cumin

1/2 t paprika

about a cup of water

LOTS of coarse ground pepper

salt to taste

 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Slice the tofu in to thin pieces about 1/4 of an inch thick. Pat each dry and arrange on cookie sheet. Freeze for 1 -2 hours.

 

Once it has frozen, mix the rest of the ingredients in a shallow dish or large ziplock bag. Put the tofu in and allow to marinate for several hours, even overnight if you want. I had to let mine defrost a bit in the sink because it was getting close to dinner time and they were still kinda frosty.

 

Put a little oil in a non stick skillet and allow it to heat up to med high heat. Put more pepper on them and cook until they are golden brown and all caramelized on the out side. (I am so mad that I didn’t take another picture of what it looks like when it was done! You just have to believe me, it looked awesome lol)

I like veganaise aaaaaaaaaaand mustard on my sandwich. What can I say, I’m a rebel. They also tend to be more than half spinach lol. We ate these with some more sweet potato fries and cucumber and red onion salad. If you are interested in trying tofu, this would be a great starter recipe because the flavors are so familiar, and they are so thin that there is little chance you could have a texture issue lol. Also the process of freezing tofu changes the consistency of the tofu making it less mushy, more meaty.

 

As if the day needed to get better after a success in the kitchen, it was capped of with a fantastic night out with miss Katie!! <3 I wish I had been hungry because the resturant we went to had tons of vegan options. >;(

Yeah, I eat carrots as my drunk food….wanna fight? <3

Potato curry Samosas

Yesterday I asked Matt to take Liam out for a couple hours so I could clean and make dinner. Normaly I can do this with all the normal distractions a one and a half (almost) year old comes with, but with an open house today and a tedious dinner planned, I wanted some alone time. I spent around 2 hours cleaning and one hour cooking….and then I had to clean all over again because of the amazing mess I had made. Fail.

I couldn’t bring my self to take a picture of the sink area. Ever seen tornado damage? Yeah, something like that. This is another dish that I started out with a vauge idea of what I wanted, and kind of just evolved as I cooked. I took better mental notes and more pictures then I usualy do, but still I am kicking my self for not writing stuff down!  Anyway, here they are. The result of very little prep time, not including the beyond belief mess I made in the kitchen.

Vegan Potato Curry Samosas.

1 large russet potato, peeled and diced

1 10 oz package of frozen peas

1 carrot shredded

1/2 large onion diced

1/2 block silken tofu

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 T ginger minced

1 T coriander

1 t cumin

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t turmeric

1/4 t allspice

1/4 c vegetable stock (optional)

salt and pepper as needed

1/2 cup cilantro minced

1 package philo dough, thawed

Steam or boil the potatoes until almost fork tender, around 10 min.

In a very large skillet, sweat out the onions for 3 min until slightly translucent. Add garlic, ginger, peas, carrots, salt, pepper and spices and  salute for 5 min.

When the potatoes are done, add them into the skillet with the veg. Stir in the tofu, and a bit more s&p to taste. If you feel it is too thick, add a bit of the vegetable stock to help thin it out. When the tofu is very well incorporated, add in the cilantro and set aside to cool.

Now for the fun. This was my first time working with philo dough, and I must admit, I will think long and hard about using it again. It was fun to play with though, and I imagine with practice it would become a bit less contrary. I wound up using an entire package of dough for this, but only because I am impatient and did not wait for the first roll to be completely thawed before trying to use it. The end result was a ribbony mess.

Preheat your oven to 400 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Take 2 or 3 sheets and cut them in half. Place a little scoop of filling in the top corner.

Fold the corners over and start folding down making a triangle as you go. Wet any free edges with a little water, and secure the end with water as well. Keep doing this until all the filling is gone, mine made about 20, but I ate so much of the curry that I probably could have made 2 dozen easily.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

I made a very un authentic mint chutney to go with these.

Mint chutney (kinda)

1 big bunch of mint

1 big bunch of cilantro

1/4 large onion

1/2 seeded jalapeño

2 t lemon juice

1/4 block silken tofu

salt and pepper

Put everything in a food processor, blend till smooth and eat <3

Now, don’t get me wrong, these were AWESOME. However, the curry it self is lost in the crispiness. I freaking loved that potato stuff and will defiantly be making that again SOON. So if these just seem too tedious for you, just make the curry, it takes like 20 minutes … maybe and it’s wicked good <3

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