1. Go Green or Go Home! St. Patrick’s Day 2014

    March 23, 2014 by Tuxedo Cat

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    “There are only two kinds of people in the world. The Irish and those who wish they were.”
    - Irish Saying

    While I know that St. Patrick’s Day is a mostly Irish-American phenomenon, it was something I’ve enjoyed celebrating in a very green way from my childhood until now. When I was in grade school, my mom would temporarily dye my hair bright green with food coloring and send me to class decked out in all green clothes as well. My teachers got a kick out of this and would show me around to different classrooms so everyone else could see my green garb from head to toe. This all stopped one year when it took 3 weeks for the green to wash out of my very platinum blonde hair! Yikes.

    Nowadays, I’m lucky if I remember to wear any green on St. Paddy’s Day, but I definitely get my green food and viewing on! This year we dined on colcannon patties, Gardein Turk’y Cutlets with gravy, roasted romanesco cauliflower via Brooklyn Farmhouse, Crooked Carrot’s spicy escabeche, and veganized Bailey’s Irish Cream from Oh She Glows!
    St. Patrick's Day 2014 7I think the colcannon patties were the big hit with Mr. Tuxedo Cat. I used this recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen for colcannon puffs and flattened and fried them on my cast iron skillet to save time. This was a great way to get a lot of kale and potatoes into our meal in a fun medium.
    St. Patrick's Day 2014 3 St. Patrick's Day 2014 4 St. Patrick's Day 2014 5

    I was delighted to find the romanesco cauliflower at our local co-op, which is a green colored veggie that looks like little Christmas trees. Perfect for our green-themed dinner!
    St. Patrick's Day 2014 2While pickled carrots are probably not the most traditional Irish meal, I found it made a great addition to the flavor profile for the evening.

    As a big fan of Gardein’s products, I was glad that I had some Turk’y Cutlets with gravy leftover in the freezer from a big sale I was lucky to hit around Christmas time. These went perfect with everything else.
    St. Patrick's Day 2014 6A couple of years ago a friend made a vegan Irish Cream for us, but I’m not sure what recipe was used. A quick search online landed me the easy-to-make and very delicious recipe from Oh She Glows. I don’t even like coffee or whiskey, but this hit the spot and was like a divine dessert after supper.
    St. Patrick's Day 2014 1We ended the night with a viewing of the campy Soylent Green: The miracle food of high-energy plankton gathered from the oceans of the world! It doesn’t get more green than that.

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  2. Foule Mudammas

    January 6, 2014 by Tuxedo Cat

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    I love good Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. Lucky for me (and the animals), much of this cuisine is vegan or can easily be made vegan. I stumbled upon a dish called foule mudammas or ful medames  (there are a variety of spellings) when I was eating at my local favorite Mediterranean restaurant, Sahara. I order it every time. I also have learned that this dish is a staple breakfast food in places such as Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, and Syria to name a few.

    When I was recently shopping to buy some tahini for a hummus dish, I stumbled upon these cans of fava beans in the Middle Eastern section of Wegmans. I knew right away they had to be mine. Oh, yes, they had to be mine! I scooped up 4 cans and kept them in my cabinet for a special occasion.
    Foule 3
    Today was that occasion. I learned from a One Green Planet posting that today was National Bean Day! As a lover of beans and having a hankering for some foule mudammas, I knew I had to make them. I had all of the necessary ingredients on hand to boot and this dish came together quickly. I used the back of the can’s recipe as my template and changed the proportions to suit my tastes. Here is what I came up with.

    Foule Mudammas
    Serves 2 as a main entree

    2 – 15 oz. cans of fava beans (or dried beans that are soaked and cooked)
    1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
    juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon
    2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
    salt to taste
    3 TB olive oil
    1 scallion thinly sliced

    Cook the fava beans in their own liquid on the stovetop until they are warmed throughout. Drain the beans  and transfer them to a large bowl. Slightly mash the beans with a spoon being careful to retain most of their shape.  Add the parsley, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Mix gently. Garnish with the scallion and more parsley and olive oil if you choose. Serve immediately with warm flat bread or pita.
    Foule 1
    I rounded out my meal with raw carrots, hummus, dolmas, olives, and warm flatbread. It was amazing! The fresh flavors of the lemon, garlic, and parsley went well with the protein-packed fava beans.
    Foule 2
    Now, someone pass the Chianti!

    Mr. Tuxedo Cat generously rated the foule mudammas a strong 4 1/2 out of 5 carrots on the veganlicious scale! 4.5carrots

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  3. Cruelty-Free Christmas Cuisine

    December 25, 2013 by Tuxedo Cat

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    During holidays, particularly in the colder months, I love baking and putting together festive fare! This Christmas was no exception. Technically we had this meal for Christmas Eve and had enough leftovers that we ate it for Christmas dinner as well. Delish!

    We’ve been big fans of most of the Gardein products to date and saw that they came out with a limited edition Holiday Roast. I’ve been so over the Tofurky Roast for years, so it was nice to have another main dish alternative.
    Christmas 2013 8As per the instructions on the Gardein Holiday Roast, I cut up some root veggies (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onions) to roast along with the main loaf. I tossed the veggies with a dill, soy-sauce and orange juice marinade (based upon the marinade recipe on the Gardein box) that I also used to baste the roast with.  The roast came with a delicious brown gravy that would also be wonderful with a side of mashed potatoes.
    Christmas 2013 1Christmas 2013 3Christmas 2013 5I served the roast and veggies with sauteed kale (see recipe below), Thug Kitchen’s cranberry sauce, and crescent rolls (many of which are accidentally vegan). TK’s cranberry sauce is one of the simplest cranberry sauce recipes I’ve come across, yet still packed with flavor. It’s not too sweet and not too tart. It’s just right!
    Christmas 2013 2Sauteed Kale
    Serves 3-4

    2 large bunches of kale
    1/2 cup of water, or as needed
    2 TB umeboshi vinegar
    1 tsp. liquid smoke
    pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste)

    Wash the kale well and rip off the stem into small pieces. Place kale into a large saucepan or wok on the stove top. Add some water to the pan with the kale and cook on low to medium heat covered (this helps to steam the kale and prevents sticking). Stir every few minutes to distribute cooking and add more water as needed. When the kale becomes the desired, softer texture, toss with the vinegar, liquid smoke, and cayenne pepper in the last few minutes of cooking. Serve immediately.

    This was an excellent, fun meal. Even my omnivore loved ones were impressed.
    Christmas 2013 7Christmas 2013 6Overall, we’d rate the meal as 5 out of 5 carrots on the veganlicious scale! 5carrots

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  4. Creamy Potato-Leek Soup

    December 22, 2013 by Tuxedo Cat

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    One of my favorite cookbook authors has to be Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the vegan queen of cookery! I received a pre-ordered copy of her latest book, Isa Does It, the day it came out. This book is big (like Veganomicon), has great pictures and focuses on easy recipes for everyday of the week.

    While I’ve made many potato-leek soups in my day, I figured I’d try her version of a classic. Some things that were different in her take is that she used cashews. There was no need for blending anything with a machine either, which I was digging. Simple, slightly chunky (even though it is still creamy), and packed with flavor! This one is a keeper!
    December 2013 4
    We served it with ciabatta from our bread share with Wide Awake Bakery, a simple salad made with carrots, greens, and red cabbage from our Full Plate winter CSA, and Riesling (my wine ‘o choice)!
    December 2013 5Overall, I’d rate this soup recipe 4 out of 5 carrots on the veganlicious scale! 4carrots

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  5. Roasted Butternut Squash, Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts, and Brown Rice

    December 20, 2013 by Tuxedo Cat

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    When the colder months lay into us here in the Northeast, there is nothing I love more than roasted veggies (particularly squash). Using local vegetables from our CSA really helps provide the strong basis for our menu planning. This is a simple, yet satisfying and nourishing meal.

    Roasted Butternut Squash
    Serves 2
    1 large butternut squash
    2 TB vegan margarine
    2 TB brown sugar

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds (you can save them for later and roast them if you like or just compost them). Place the squash halves on a large cookie sheet or baking pan with sides to prevent any juices from dripping off into your oven. You may also want to put either foil or a silicon mat under the squash to make clean up easier.

    Slather 1 TB of vegan margarine on each squash, making sure to get the edges and particularly the scooped out hole at the bottom of each piece. Sprinkle 1 TB of brown sugar on each half, also putting the most in the hole as well with the margarine. Cover loosely with foil and bake for at least one hour. Check tenderness with a fork. Depending on the size of your squash and your oven, it make take longer to roast and get desired tenderness. You may need to roast anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on these factors. When done, serve immediately.

    Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts
    Serves 2
    2 cups of fresh brussels sprouts
    2 TB olive oil
    2 TB maple syrup
    1 tsp. salt
    pepper, to taste

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and remove outer layers of brussels sprouts. Place in a single layer on a parchment or silicon mat covered baking pan or cookie sheet with edges. Drizzle olive oil and maple syrup over the sprouts. Add salt and pepper. Gently toss the sprouts to help disperse the liquids and spices. Bake for at least 20-30 minutes uncovered until the sprouts start to brown around the edges and some of the syrup has caramelized. Serve immediately.

    Serve the squash and sprouts with brown rice (prepared to your liking in either a rice cooker, stovetop, or pressure cooker) topped with gomashio or lemon-pepper seasoning. Enjoy!

    December 2013 1

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  6. Swiss Chard with Pickled Currants & Pistachios, Black Beluga Lentils, & Roasted Cauliflower

    September 20, 2013 by Tuxedo Cat

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    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:

    Roasted Cauliflower
    Serves 2

    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!
    09-20 2Overall, we’d rate this meal 4 out of 5 carrots on the veganlicious scale! 4carrots

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