24 August 2013

Ambrosia Grapes

Last night we went over to a friend's house for dinner. She is from Texas, but is South Indian by descent. Her parents were in town and she wanted people to come over and eat a dinner of South Indian food. As I've mentioned before, being veg*n is a great reason to step outside of your food boundaries. The beauty of South Indian food is that much of it is already vegan! Everything we ate last night was delicious!!

We offered to bring something if it was needed and were told a dessert would be helpful. Awesome, I love desserts! However, I had no idea what to bring that would go well with our dinner, especially given that I had a short amount of time to cook. In thinking it over, I decided that a fruit-based dessert would work well (also because some other friends were making a wacky cake because they are awesome). Fruit pizza would have been good, but I just didn't have the time. Instead, I ran to the store to pick up some red grapes and some vegan sour cream. With brown sugar at home, that's really all I needed for ambrosia grapes.

I feel silly calling this a recipe, as the ingredient list has all of three things, but it is a perfect summer dessert. It is light and chilled and not overwhelmingly sweet. To be honest, I'm not sure why it's called ambrosia grapes. That's what my mom called it, so that's what I call it.* No matter what you call it, this is a delicious, quick, and easy summer dessert.

21 August 2013

Maggie's Seitan Stroganoff

I made an adjustment in the meal plan for this week (gasp!), but that adjustment led to a new blog post on one of Shana's favorite dinners. For a while, when asked what her favorite meal was, Shana would always say "noff." There are a few others that now rival for top bidding on her palate, but noff remains a strong contender.

When I was little, I remember eating beef stroganoff every once in a while. My dad would serve it over wide egg noodles and the rich, creamy goodness of it was just so comforting. As a vegan, the beef part of the stroganoff is out (as are the egg noodles), but I was bound and determined to find another way to make this as delicious as I remember it. I tried a couple of different iterations, but they weren't right for one reason or another. Usually, that reason was "Shana didn't like it." Finally, I made a winner of a recipe! This recipe is so good that a decidedly non-vegan friend of ours asks me to make it every time we are in the same place. 

15 August 2013

Vegan Viands #12: Vegan Whoopie Pies

This summer we did a ton of driving to see family and friends (mapping our whole route shows 54 hours in the car, which doesn't count the construction-related traffic or the inland monsoon we drove through that wiped out power to over half a million people). The drive time is totally worth it for the people we get to see, the hugs we get to give, and the fun we get to have. It's also fun for me because I get different audiences for whom to cook and can make some things that Shana just doesn't enjoy, like whoopie pies.

Although Shana might be broken (who doesn't like whoopie pies?!), my parents and sister were totally on board to help me devour a batch of vegan whoopie pies. I hadn't made them in years, so I was really excited, too! It also helped to have 4 of us eating them, because these are not - I repeat, NOT - good for you. They are basically fat and sugar mixed with a small amount of flour. Thus, they are incredibly decadent and delicious. In fact, they are so delicious, here's what I found when I went to take pictures.

I ran with it, as it made perfect sense.

09 August 2013

LU Wheat Berry Summer Salad

I went to a small liberal arts school for undergrad called Lawrence University (which is what started me on the path toward my career at a small liberal arts school - Earlham College). It was during undergrad that I went vegan (March of 2001). Veganism wasn't as widely accepted then, especially in Wisconsin, the cheese capitol of America. Nevertheless, Lawrence had vegetarian and vegan options at every meal, as well as things that were "accidentally" vegan, meaning that they weren't designed with vegan eaters in mind, but worked for them anyway.* One such accidentally vegan dish was this cold side salad. On the surface, it seems pretty simple as it has only three visible ingredients. However, the dressing is what absolutely makes this salad! Plus, since the flavors develop the longer it sits, you can make this a couple of days in advance and it will be even more delicious.

Before I get to recipe, maybe I should back up. It's possible that I keep saying wheat berries and you have no idea what I'm talking about. Wheat berries are the full kernel of wheat, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. They are really good for you, as they are high in protein, iron, and fiber. A quarter cup of uncooked wheat berries (about a half cup when cooked) has 150 calories, 6 grams of fiber (22% RDA), 6 grams of protein, and 8% of your daily iron intake! You can find wheat berries in natural foods stores or in a well-stocked grocery store; this is likely the brand you'll find. They can be cooked like most other grains. Plus, they have an awesome texture and a subtly nutty taste. Seriously, they're delicious.

07 August 2013

Family Recipe Zucchini Bread

Yesterday I walked to the farmer's market. I needed the walk and I wanted the produce. While there, I purchased all sorts of goodies, including two ~9 inch zucchinis. As soon as I saw them I could smell the zucchini bread cooking.

I called my parents tonight to find out where this recipe came from. Originally, it was my Grandma T's recipe (my paternal grandmother). Apparently, though, it was my parents' ingenuity to add the chocolate chips. I won't make it any other way.

When I was growing up, all we needed was one giant zucchini from my dad's garden and zucchini bread would happen. I can see my mom standing in the kitchen, bending over the giant yellow/flowered metal bowl, stirring and stirring as she mixed in the shredded zucchini. This, of course, was after she'd carefully mixed together all the other ingredients. I'd marvel as the zucchini leached its liquid into the batter; watching it slowly turn from a nearly sandy texture to something smooth, brown, and magical. I'd get to help lick the bowl clean  (trying carefully to avoid the leftover shreds of zucchini) and then I'd wait as amazing smells filled the kitchen. When I was older, I'd help mix ingredients or shred zucchini, and I no longer avoided the leftover shreds of zucchini in the bowl. Mom would still do the last stirring though; that was her job. To me, this bread is the representation of late summer, of garden bounty, of tradition, of family.

04 August 2013

Maggie's Crockpot Applesauce

I have two food "problems." One is popcorn. I LOVE popcorn. At any one point, I have at least four varieties of popcorn in my cupboards and two different devices designed for making popcorn. But that's a different blog post. My second food "problem" is apples. I LOVE apples. I love the way they look, taste, smell, feel, and sound (yes, sound, more on that below). I love them raw and I love them cooked. I love them green, yellow, red, or any combination thereof. I love them sweet and tart and crunchy and juicy (although I do not love them mealy and soft). I have my favorite store-bought varieties (in no particular order): Pink Lady, Honeycrsip, Braeburn, and Jazz - but I know how to pick the best of the available varieties in any store. I make it a point to try new apple varieties when I find them. I've spent far too much time at this website. See? I have a problem.

So, this afternoon, when I opened an email from a colleague about coming to pick some apples off of her overflowing apple tree, I basically read something like this: "OMG APPLES IN YOUR FACE OM NOM NOM NOM!" I'm sure her email was ever so slightly calmer in tone than that, but you get the idea. Shana and I made a quick change in afternoon errands to include picking some apples and my plans were set: CROCKPOT APPLESAUCE! The beauty of crockpot applesauce is in its simplicity. You put the apples in the crockpot, add a few more ingredients, then turn it on! Your house will smell heavenly in no time.

Applesauce is not the prettiest food, but the taste makes up for it!