Archive | January, 2012

Make-up post: Vegan Pizza and Ranchino Dressing

29 Jan

Okay, I’m sorry, I realize I said I was going to post all those recipes yesterday and I didn’t.  I have had a very taxing week and it finally caught up with me, which means I came home and laid on the couch for most of the day after a five hour class, yuck.

Anyway, I was feeling gross and didn’t want to cook, so the boy ordered pizza and I baked up my pre-frozen thick-crust vegan pizza.

Vegan cheeze and "sausage" pizza

You can hardly see it under all that, but there is fake sausage on there, too!  (Next time: bacon bits.)

But something was missing from my Pizza Experience.  Ranch dressing.

Being the Healthy Eater (mostly) that I am, I wanted to make the “Sanctuary Dressing” from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction, which is low-fat and other good things.  I had everything–except silken tofu.  And there was no silken tofu at the grocery store nearby/open at that hour, because obviously they hate fun.

No matter.  I have the internet!  And vegan mayo.  Undaunted, I checked VegWeb for a faux-ranch and stumbled across this.  Well, guess what, I don’t think it’s perfect!  Maybe it’s because I never liked yogurt-style ranch–it was very tangy/sweet and didn’t have much in the way of fullness/mellowness to the taste.  Maybe it’s also because I never have any onion powder or flakes.  (Am I the only person for whom this is the case?)  Also, because I didn’t have an hour to let it chill and it was too thin for my taste.

But it’s all good, because a bit of tinkering later, I discovered a way to satisfy my ranch needs, no dairy industry required.  Just a bit of Veganaise.  Fine, a lot of Veganaise.

Life pro-tip: Veganaise.  It’s so good!

I, too, wanted to come up with a cute name for my un-ranch dressing, so–in the tradition of physicists naming the theoretical super-symmetric partner particles of known elementary particles the same thing with an -ino on the end, I named the new, supersymmetric partner of ranch dressing the ranchino!

I don’t know, sometimes my brain barfs and then there’s stuff.  Nevertheless, I assure you the ranchino dressing is quite good.

Ranchino Dressing Recipe (no atom smashing required):

1 cup vegan mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons nondairy milk, unsweetened
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning or parsley flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour

Mix wet and dry, then season to taste.  Ready immediately!  Keep chilled after preparation.

Ranchino!

Largely Homemade Vegan Pizza
**REQUIRES ADVANCE PREPARATION! 

Special equipment: Bread maker (or your own knowledge of how to prepare bread dough properly)
That’s right, no pizza stone required!

1 batch of pizza dough (recipe follows)
1 jar of vegan marinara sauce (or make your own–but watch out for Parmesan cheese in your marinara!  Those sneaky bastards.)
Olive oil (for brushing the dough)
Cornmeal (for sprinkling on baking sheets)
Any assorted toppings (personally–and I know this is probably a Cardinal Vegan Sin–I don’t like vegetables on pizza!  The texture feels so weird to me.  But, to each their own.)

Crust:

1 and 1/4 c warm water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour
1 packet of yeast or equivalent

I make this in a bread machine, because I don’t have a stand mixer right now to do all the hard work.  To be honest, it’s pretty nice to have the dough going in the background while you do other stuff.  So, place the dough ingredients in the bread machine in your manufacturer’s specified sequence (hint: I’d be willing to bet that it is wet ingredients -> dry ingredients -> yeast.)

When the dough is finished, wrap it in wax paper, stick it in a plastic bag, and chill it in the fridge overnight.  I have tried chilling the dough for a few hours and it tends to be too sticky and not bake as well.

The next day, preheat your oven to 450 F, grab your marinara sauce, olive oil, and toppings, and prepare yourself for a new dimension of physical reality.

Heat the sauce slightly and season to taste, if you’re using a canned brand.  Keep on low heat.

Take out your dough and separate it into two pieces.  Flour the dough and your work surface, and knead/roll/press each piece of dough into a flat, roughly disc-like shape.  (My first efforts, when I made this recipe long ago, were rather amebic, but that’s okay!)

Sprinkle your cornmeal on the cookie sheet and transfer one dough-disc at a time.  Brush lightly with olive oil to retain moisture on the crust.  Add warmed sauce, followed by other toppings. Bake for 10-12 minutes for a small-sized pizza.  As always, know your oven!

If you want to eat them right away, you’re done.  But if you want to freeze them for Pizza Emergencies like I did, you can let it cool on the sheet for a little while (5-7 minutes, ish?) and wrap the pre-baked pizza completely in cling wrap.  Put it in a Ziploc and freeze.  Don’t worry, the plastic wrap will come off just fine!

Tomorrow (probably): My new favorite basic ultra-protein-y/low-fat recipe.  Reheats well for lunch!

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This is a picture of a pork chop.

27 Jan

Not safe for ever.

Not that rotten plants can’t be gross, but oozing, pus-filled abscesses wig me out a little more.

Or, you know, you could get your protein from tofu and quinoa, but that’s super lame, amirite guys?

veg 4eva

Whet Your Appetite!

27 Jan

I am still adjusting to trying to be on a new sleep schedule, so I am the worst at posting right now.  Of course, I got a big second wind or something last night and made a bunch of stuff to sate my constant need to eat.  I even remembered to take pictures!

So, without further ado:

Chickpea cutlets, roasted potato slices, and steamed broccoli with fat-free vegan gravy

Oatmeal banana cookies!

This is my companion cube cookie jar! Portal fans will love it. Currently filled with the cookies above.

"Pad Thai" made with natural peanut butter, whole wheat rotini, and veggies. (My high-protein lunch.)

A "gentle lentil" soup, pretty mild and not too thick, and slices of homemade olive oil baguette.

Tomorrow!  I promise!

Spoiler: The chickpea cutlets are insanely protein-rich and I will probably be making sandwiches with them next week.  HOORAY!

“Creamy” Spinach Walnut Pasta

24 Jan

Okay, so I first found this recipe–or the inspiration for this recipe–at Eat Me, Delicious, which is a vegetarian but often vegan-friendly site where I found a recipe for Peanut Butter Pasta that I love.  This recipe, though, is also one of my favorites!  But since I’ve stopped eating dairy, too, I had to replace the cottage cheese and omit the Parmesan entirely, since I had no Italian-style faux cheeses on hand (except for sandwich slices, which–surprise!–don’t do food processors especially well, even when sliced up smaller.)

To keep the creaminess, I added silken tofu, and to account for the cheesiness, a little nutritional yeast.

This is a great recipe if you’re looking for some protein!  I can’t speak to how this version will reheat, though I will probably find out one day and make a edit here.

Sorry for the lack of pictures–my omni boyfriend and I ate it all :3

Recipe after the cut.

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“It’s not exactly toxic waste. It’s pig blood. Odds are that a lot of little marine critters are enjoying their bonanza.”

23 Jan

Eeeyew.  Check out the full story here.

While I doubted highly before I read the comments (why do I do this, it’s like punching myself in the face!) that this is going to stop anyone from eating bacon, I’m surprised at the amount of defense the company is getting.

Notably, a Google search for “do fish eat pig blood” turned up exactly jack shit.  Also, the state of Texas and related health agencies categorize all blood as a biohazard (as another very easy Google search determined).

There was going to be an artist’s depiction of fish eating blood, but it turns out my drawing skills don’t translate to drawing on a tablet in Photoshop.

So: Fish don’t eat pig blood.  Pig blood is gross. The end.

One-Bowl Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

22 Jan

Okay, so, for my first post, I guess it makes perfect sense that I upload something sweet and dessert-y.  I love to cook these days, but when I was little, for years, I only baked.  Which makes sense, because I have a sweet tooth as big as lion incisors.  Of course, I kept it when I went vegan.

In any event, my very, very favorite type of cookie when I was eating dairy things still was my mother’s recipe for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  I still remember our companion dog (who was just a puppy then!) licking the paper/foil top of a can of Jif that was just opened, but sticking her tongue to it each time, so that she licked and stamped it all around the kitchen.  Suffice to say, I have been making these since I needed two stepstools to reach the counter.  Now they’re vegan and Jif and egg-free!

Oh, and you can make them in one bowl.  No sifting, no delicately mixing.  These will take you ~15 minutes to get into the oven, and 7-10 once they’re in.

One-Bowl Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Special equipment: Hand mixer

1/2 cup (one stick) of vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 flaxseed egg (see note)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips–look out for chocolate chips with milk solids in them!  Besides obviously not being vegan, there is no reason to have milk solids in semisweet chocolate chips.  If this is the case, they are milk chocolates.

Note about flaxseed eggs: Some people think they taste kind of granola-y, but I honestly don’t taste them in nutty cookies (like this) or oat-based cookies.  You may want to look for other egg substitutes when making, say, a batch of brownies.  Personally, I like flaxseed “eggs” because I have a big bag of golden flaxseed, a spice grinder I got as a present, and access to water.  To make a flaxseed egg: In a spice grinder like this one (always grind coffee in a burr grinder with multiple settings!), combine 1 tablespoon of golden flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water.  Grind until gelatinous.  (You can use pre-ground flaxseed, but I find that whole seeds keep better.)

Preheat the oven to 350F, and set your timer somewhere between 7-10 minutes.  My oven runs hot, so I stick to 8.

Let the margarine sit for a minute to soften.  You can pre-grind the flax egg while you’re doing this–time management, people!  Put it and the 1/2 cup of peanut butter into the bowl, and smash up the margarine with a spoon.  This will make it slightly easier to blend your creamy things.  Use the hand mixer to cream the margarine and peanut butter.

Measure and add sugars–both–and beat with the hand mixer again.  Add the flax egg and vanilla, then beat more.

Now, retire your hand mixer and add all other non-chocolate-chip ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) and mix until integrated with a spoon.  Add the chocolate chips last.

Grease a cookie sheet and drop by spoonful onto the sheet.  Roll these lumps of dough into balls and flatten with your fingers into small disks of moderate thickness.

Again, bake for 7-10 minutes–know your oven!

Let cool briefly on the cookie sheets, then transfer to wire racks to complete the process. Remember, cookies are done when the tops start to crack and turn brown.  They should NOT be hard coming out of the oven–they will set as they cool, even though my boyfriend will not let them.