Vegan Recipes

Better-Than-Your-Mamma’s Mac ‘n Cheese

Before I moved to Long Island, I thought black people had the market on mac ‘n cheese. Very soon, I discovered that for sheezy my cheesy is, in fact, the craze of  almost every Euro-American restaurant in the state of New York.  Even the fancy “organic” pub in my town has mac ‘n cheese on the menu.  And not as a side dish or an appetizer — they serve it as an entree.  Anyway, this weekend I found myself craving something rich and decadent, so I gave vegan, gluten-free mac ‘n cheese the old college try.

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This ahhhhmazing dish turned out to be a spicy, robust, savory and delicious – just the way I like it.

I don’t really remember exactly how I did this, but I will give you a vague, sketchy overview of what most likely occurred in my kitchen:

In Lieu of a Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Gluten free elbows (quinoa/corn based)
  • 1/4 cup Daiya shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Daiya shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup gluten free flour
  • Several tablespoons of nutritional yeast (my first time using this.. AMAZING!)
  • Approx 1.5 cups of almond milk (or maybe 2 cups.. I can’t remember)
  • Three slices gluten free bread (I used a corn loaf)
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt
  • Nutmeg

What I May Have Done:

  1. Cook elbows according to box instructions.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Prepare your roux.  Combine flour, milk, cheddar, half of teaspoon of sea salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast and 1/4 cup of mozzarella in Vitamix
  4. Oil a baking dish
  5. Drain the elbows, rinse with cold water.  Sprinkle the macaroni with sea salt (not too much!) and black pepper.
  6. Transfer elbows back to the pot and pour in the roux.  Stir and taste.  If it’s not robust and cheesy enough, add more nutritional yeast and/or Daiya cheese. When the taste is better-than-your-momma’s mac ‘n cheese, pour the mix into your baking dish.
  7. Set the baking dish aside and prepare the croutons.  In a small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Slice the bread into little squares and transfer to the pan.  Turn frequently until lightly toasted on both sides and sprinkle with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
  8. Sprinkle the croutons over the elbows and throw in some more cheese.
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes (but monitor closely).
  10. To get a nice bubbly finish, broil for 3-4 minutes.

It was fabulous.  So good, in fact, that I had a bite for a midnight snack..

For sheezy my cheesy
For sheezy my cheesy
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Vegan Recipes

Banana Nut Muffins – Done Two Ways

The first time I visited my town’s gluten free, mostly vegan bakery, I had no idea I was visiting a gluten free, mostly vegan bakery.  I just saw “baked goods” and wandered in, looking for something sweet and delectable. As I perused the menu peppered with “gluten free” this and “vegan” that, I was overcome with a mild sense of disgust. This was not a real bakery.  The healthier the food sounded, the less I wanted to eat it. I left without getting anything.

The second time I stopped by was with a friend. He had a hankering for something sweet, saw the bakery and asked if we could pick up something. I reluctantly agreed. When he realized how healthy everything was, he, too, turned up his nose. “I tried to tell you,” I said, shaking my head as we left.  Again, I left this bakery empty handed. We ended up going to a swanky bar for cheesecake instead.

The third time I visited the bakery was last week. Having settled quite comfortably into my relatively new veganish, gluten-freeish lifestyle, I was eager to actually taste their offerings.  I picked up an apple strudel muffin and a banana nut muffin. The former was divine, the latter was meh.

The fourth time I visited the bakery was yesterday. They had one of those apple muffins left. It was so good, I could have cried. It also realized that I would really shed hot, bitter tears if I had to pay 3-4 dollars every time I wanted a vegan, gluten free muffin. And so it was that I decided to try my hand at egg-less, milk-less, wheat-less baking.

I gave some thought to replicating the apple strudel muffin but that seemed too complicated.  So, instead, I decided to try out something I’ve successfully executed before: banana nut muffins.

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For this adventure, I used a recipe from Namely Marley, a cool food blog.  I had to buy a few new staples to add to my growing vegan/gluten free pantry: vegan flour (I got white rice, though brown rice probably would have been a better choice) and egg-replacer, just in case – even though the recipe did not call for it.

I don’t really like following recipies, as you may have noticed, and I did not follow Marley’s very well.  Instead of using margarine, I used coconut oil. I must have mismeasured something, though, because the first batch came out looking rather homely.   They weren’t rising.  And they kind of had that “blah” taste than the bakery’s banana nut muffins had.  So, I added a tablespoon of “egg replacer” to the batter along with some ground cinnamon and ginger.  The second batch was *awesome*!  For these, I also added a topping, for which I used coconut and agave in addition to brown sugar.  My graduate students will be sampling these in our seminar tomorrow.

Yummo.
You know you want me.

I finally decided that the first batch was *awesome* too, because it has less sugar/agave and will be my go-to healthier snack this week.   It also makes a pretty good delivery system for a dollop of almond butter.

Oh, and between you and me, my muffins turned out to be a lot better than the bakery’s.  A lot.  *dusts shoulders off*

Yes.

Vegan Recipes

Carrot apple tangelo soup with gluten free toast

So, the spirit moved me to get a Vitamix this week. In addition to some pretty awesome sauces and smoothies, I’ve also made soup!

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This carrot apple tangelo soup started out as Vitamixtake. I wanted to make a smoothie or a juice but I didn’t add enough water. Don’t quote me on this, but I believe I used two apples, one tangelo and 2-3 carrots. It’s been a few days and my memory is hazy. Anyway, When all was said and done, my “juice” had the consistency of soup. Disappointed, but undaunted, I set it aside in the fridge and decided I would eat it later in the week.

Well, later arrived today. The first task was to tone down the sweetness. I blended the soup with about a 1/4 cup of vegan Daiya cheddar, which darkened the color and made the taste more savory. I took a handful of kale and massaged it to soften the texture. Then, I sautéed the kale in EVOO with three slices of Food Merchant’s polenta, fresh garlic, 1/4 cup red onions and shiitake mushrooms. Meanwhile, I transferred the soup from the Vitamix to a pot on medium heat and added sea salt and nutmeg. When the veggies were done, I added them to the soup.

For the toast, I grilled two slices of gluten free bread in EVOO, sliced them diagonally and arranged in the gorgeous soup. Ground some fresh black pepper over the dish and voila! An incredible, vegan lunch.

Dessert was a peach, apple, ginger smoothie, also made with the Vitamix.. Yum!

Vegan Recipes

Incredible Raw Chocolate w/ Almonds, Raisins & Chili Pepper

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Whipped this up last week. Sad to say, I made enough for a family of 7 and ate the entirety of the batch myself. These few pieces are all that remain, and I don’t think they will survive the weekend.

Raw chocolate, made with coconut oil, cacao powder, sea salt and agave is an incredibly easy, decadent, mouth watering concoction that also has all kinds of health benefits. Coconut oil helps stimulate your metabolism and is fabulous for you skin, hair and nails. And chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Need I say more?

The basic recipe can be found here. I added the raisins, nuts and chili powder. Next time, I’ll drop in candied ginger and pistachios.. Yum!

Vegan Recipes

Easy Tofu Angel Hair Pasta

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Prep time : 5 min

For this, I used half a package of House Foods shirataki angle hair tofu pasta. I’m not even a fan of tofu but these noodles are great! I used the other half of the package for miso soup. Be forewarned that it smells really bad right out of the package. This is typical for tofu noodles. But follow the directions for rinsing, draining and heating.. You’ll be just fine. The extra steps are worth it for this low carb, low cal, low fat, gluten free delight.

Prep pasta according to package directions. Heat up a quarter cup of marinara sauce. Toss pasta with minced garlic, capers, freshly ground black pepper, grated parmesan. I added a dash of hot sauce because I love spicy food.

The dish has about 100 cal, 2 grams of fat.

Food

Lazy Gourmet: Habanero Taco Salad with Fried Plaintain

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Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

– 1 lb. of ground beef (grass fed, organic)
– 1 can of black beans
– Tortilla chips
– 2 ripe plantains
– Jalepeno peppers
– Crushed habaneros
– Shredded mexican cheese
– Pico de Gallo salsa
– Sour cream
– One small can of black olives
– 1/2 lime
– Romaine lettuce
– Taco seasoning
– Salt, pepper to taste
– Olive oil

1. Set stove to medium. Coat saucepan with 1/2 inch of olive oil.
2. Slice and fry plantains. Be sure to turn plantains frequently. Remove from heat when golden brown.  Drain on paper towel and cover with foil.
3. Cook ground beef and sauté with taco seasoning, salt, pepper and habaneros.
4. Prepare taco salad with two handfuls of romaine lettuce. Layer with cheese, beans, tortilla chips, peppers, black olives, salsa, sour cream. Garish with lime juice.
5. Devour.

Food

Lazy Gourmet: Spicy Spinach Ravioli

Fresh ravioli with prosciutto, spinach & gorgonzola in a light butter sauce

Cooking time: 20 minutes

1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil

2. Add fresh ravioli and bring to boil again until done

3. Drizzle EVOO in a saucepan with minced garlic

4. Drop two handfuls of fresh baby spinach into saucepan, along with two pinches of salt. Cook until wilted (about 2 minutes) and remove from heat

5. Drain ravioli. Add pasta to a saucepan (cooking on low heat) with spinach, two tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.  Sprinkle with gorgonzola, prosciutto, pepper and spices to taste

6. Devour.

Food

Lazy Gourmet: Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Spicy Jelly

Fig Goat Cheese on Crusty Bread with Red Pepper Jelly & Chili Apricot Preserves

Prep Time: 5 minutes

On the left, crusty bread featuring Stonewall’s amazingly delicious red pepper jelly:

On the right, my own blend made from Bonne Maman’s Apricot preserves, chili pepper and a pinch of salt: