September 20, 2013 by Tuxedo Cat
One of our all-time favorite restaurants is Vedge, the premier upscale, vegan experience in Philadelphia, PA. It was recently rated as the third best restaurant by Philadelphia Magazine, in competition with all of the non-vegan establishments. Chef Rich Landau has won many accolades, from winning the best chef on Chopped to being named Best Chef in Philadelphia – this man and his wife, Kate Jacoby, are a force to be reckoned with.
On the day that my pre-ordered Vedge cookbook arrived, it felt like Christmas had come early. The book’s sub-title is “100 plates large and small that redefine vegetable cooking” and that it does. I was surprised at just how simple many of the recipes were for such a fancy dining. I found myself reading tips like how to cook greens (blanch them first, then cold water bath before sautéing) like I was studying for the GRE. This takes vegan cooking up so many notches. Vedge is what I’d like so many other vegan restaurants to be. Let’s get out of the 70s with our stir fry and brown rice and really get creative! Vedge will not disappoint.
The meal I made tonight was inspired by Vedge. I used the recipe from the book for the Swiss Chard with Pickled Golden Raisins and Pistachios, substituting currants for the raisins (as I didn’t have any raisins and I’m not a big fan of them anyway).
To accompany them, I made black beluga lentils that I had in the cabinet as my peaceful protein. It’s super simple to cook black lentils if you follow the steps laid out here on the Livestrong page.
Lastly, I prepared roasted cauliflower as I had two small heads of it in my crisper from my CSA share. Here’s the super simple recipe for it:
2 small heads cauliflower, chopped in bite-size pieces
2 TB olive oil
1 tsp. Celtic sea salt
freshly grated pepper, to taste
1 TB fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Spread out evenly on a lined cookie sheet (use parchment paper or a silicon Slipmat). Cook for 20 minutes making sure to turn over with a spatula afterwards. Cook for another 15-20 minutes until edges are browned and cauliflower has softened. Remove from oven and toss with lemon juice. Serve immediately.
This meal was simple, elegant, and divine. Thanks for the inspiration Kate and Rich!
Overall, we’d rate this meal 4 out of 5 carrots on the veganlicious scale!
Category 2013, Book Reviews, Dinner, Gluten-free, News, Restaurant Reviews, Vegan MoFo | Tags: , best chef, black lentils, cauliflower, Chopped, CSA, Kate Jacoby, Livestrong, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Magazine, Rich Landau, swiss chard, Vedge, VeganMoFo 2013 | No Comments
September 20, 2013 by Tuxedo Cat
We traveled to Hawaii this summer because I was presenting at a conference for work. I have heard great things about the vegan options there and was happy to explore the islands to find vegan food. I was extremely pleased with a vegan loco moco that I had at the Downbeat Diner in Honolulu. Loco moco is a traditional Hawaiian meal, usually made up of white rice, a meat patty, brown gravy, and eggs. There are many variations of this, but it was a real treat to have a vegan version. Here’s an amazing video for vegan loco moco from veggietorials using The Vegg. I didn’t have the time, nor the ingredients for the spherification process, so I kept it simple.
Vegan Loco Moco
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 recipe of preferred tofu scramble
2 vegan sausage patties (I prefer Gardein breakfast patties)
1 cup of vegan brown gravy
Frank’s Hot Sauce or Sriracha (optional)
Cook the brown rice as per instructions on the stove top, or in a pressure or rice cooker. Set aside. Prepare your preferred tofu scramble recipe. I love Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s tofu scramble from Vegan Brunch. In this variation, I added diced red pepper and onions. Prepare your vegan gravy (using a prepared version or make your own from scratch). I used an organic vegan brown gravy packet that I mixed with water on the stove top for simplicity. Heat your vegan sausage patties in a skillet as your tofu scramble is finishing up. Scoop a cup of rice on a large plate and pat down. Place your sausage patty on top of the rice. Cover with a few tablespoons of brown gravy. Top with tofu scramble. Add a few dashes of hot sauce or sriracha if you desire. Serve immediately.
Vegan Loco Moco
Category 2013, Breakfast, Convenience foods, Dinner, Vegan MoFo | Tags: , brown rice, Downbeat Diner, Gardein, gravy, Hawaii, Honolulu, loco moco, sausage, scramble, the Vegg, tofu, VeganMoFo 2013, veggietorials | No Comments
September 17, 2013 by Tuxedo Cat
With the cooler temperatures creeping up on us lately, it has put me in the mood for chili season. Trying to warm us up and incorporate some veggies we got in our CSA, I created this spicy and protein-packed chili! Including white beans (i.e. navy beans here) gives the chili another dimension that chili-lovers should try. I call this chili “late summer” chili, as I used several veggies we already had on hand for the season, but feel free to include any veggies that would be suitable in your refrigerator or garden.
Late Summer Chili
2 cups kidney beans (canned or cooked dried beans)
2 cups navy beans (canned or cooked dried beans)
2 summer squash, medium dice
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, medium dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can of crushed tomatoes (24 oz.)
1 jar or can of whole peeled tomatoes (18 oz.), chopped
chili powder, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
a pinch or two of cayenne pepper (or to taste), optional
1-2 TB olive oil
In a large stockpot, heat up the olive oil and sauté the green pepper, onion, and garlic until they have softened. To add flavor early, also toss in some chili powder with the veggies. Add the summer squash and sauté until slightly softened. Add the beans, whole peeled tomatoes, and crushed tomatoes, making sure to add more chili powder after each ingredient, mixing well. Let the chili simmer and cover for approximately 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper towards to end and cayenne pepper, if using. Cook 5-10 minutes more. Serve and top with your favorite vegan cheddar cheese, if desired.
This was an amazing chili and quite spicy. It was also a wonderful way to use up my summer squash and provide another texture to the chili.
I served it with a mixed green salad and crusty sourdough bread. Divine!
Late Summer Chili
Category 2013, Dinner, Gluten-free, Lunch, Vegan MoFo | Tags: , chili, CSA, kidney beans, navy beans, squash, summer, tomatoes, Vegan MoFO 2013 | No Comments
September 16, 2013 by Tuxedo Cat
For the love of chickpeas, I had to make this recipe. My new favorite cookbook, The Great Vegan Bean Book by Kathy Hester featured a relatively easy recipe for these Baked Crispy Chickpea Seitan Patties. A few poultry-style spices, pureed chickpeas, and some vital wheat gluten, and you got yourself some mighty fine un-chicken patties! They were breaded in Japanese panko breadcrumbs and were baked, not fried, to make them healthier.
Another fun fact is that wheat gluten (as well as chickpeas) are a great source of peaceful protein. *Make sure to tell folks that when they ask the notoriously annoying question, “Where do you get your protein?”
Rolling the chickpea & vital wheat gluten mixture
Small balls before they become patties
Panko crust before going into the oven
The recipe indicated the chickpea seitan would go well with a lemon sauce, so used this simple recipe from Food.com and substituted vegan chicken broth for the carcass chicken version. To change it up a bit, I also dipped the patties in Dinosaur BBQ Sauce. Amazing!
Chickpea Seitan Patties with Lemon Sauce
I served the patties with a side of grilled corn and steamed green beans with lemon pepper seasoning.
Grilled corn, lemon pepper green beans, and chickpea seitan patties with lemon sauce
Overall, we’d rate the chickpea seitan patties a solid 3 1/2 out of 5 carrots on the veganlicious scale!
Category 2013, Dinner, Vegan MoFo | Tags: , chickpeas, corn, green beans, Kathy Hester, seitan, The Great Vegan Bean Cookbook, Vegan MoFO 2013 | No Comments
September 15, 2013 by Tuxedo Cat
As a collector of vegan cookbooks and a lover of beans, I was thrilled to get a copy of The Great Vegan Bean Cookbook by Kathy Hester. It is one of my newest favorites, easily. I was pleasantly surprised to see the many ways she incorporated beans into desserts and sweet dishes. As a lover of sweets and beans, what could be better?
There were many awesome recipes to choose from, but I decided to start with the Lemon Coconut Chickpea muffins, as I recently cooked a bunch of dried chickpeas and needed to make them in multiple dishes. The main ingredients that are included are mentioned in the title: lemon (juice, extract, and zest), coconut shreds, and chickpeas. What a wonderful way to get a little more protein and fiber into your muffin!
The recipe made 36 mini muffins. I sent Mr. Tuxedo Cat to work with two dozen and they were all eaten within an hour of him putting into his office’s kitchen by his ravenous co-workers. I also shared some muffins with a couple of my co-workers who were also delighted by them. The muffins were moist and not overly sweet (great for those who do not have a huge sweet tooth)! Success!
Lemon Coconut Chickpea Muffins
I highly recommend picking up a copy of Kathy Hester’s book because there are many tasty, healthy, and nutritious recipes. She also labels those that are gluten-free, soy-free, and/or oil-free (or can made be). There is something here for everyone.
Overall, we’d rate this recipe as 4 out of 5 carrots on the veganlicious scale!
Category 2013, Book Reviews, Desserts, Vegan MoFo | Tags: , chickpeas, coconut, Kathy Hester, lemon, The Great Vegan Bean Cookbook, Vegan MoFO 2013 | No Comments
September 12, 2013 by Tuxedo Cat
After recently finding out today was National Chocolate Milkshake Day, I quickly scrambled to make a milkshake out of whatever I could find in my kitchen. Luckily since I’m chocoholic and an ice cream lover, I had some of both on hand. This turned out better than I expected!
Whenever I think of milkshakes however, I cannot get Kelis’ Milkshake song out of my head. Just take a listen, you won’t either.
Chocolate Vegan Shake
Makes 1 large shake
1 cup vegan vanilla ice cream (I used Almond Dream)
1 cup vegan chocolate ice cream (I used Almond Dream)
3/4 cup chocolate almond milk (I used Almond Breeze)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until creamy. Serve immediately in a tall glass with a straw.
In the words of Justin Timberlake, “Drink a vegan shake!”
Chocolate Vegan Shake
Category 2013, Convenience foods, Desserts, Vegan MoFo | Tags: , Almond Breeze, Almond Dream, chocolate, Justin Timberlake, Kelis, milkshake, National Chocolate Milkshake Day, Vegan MoFO 2013 | No Comments