2.28.2013

Happy National Chocolate Souffle Day!

After yesterday's chocolate kahlua cake with strawberries, you may think that there is just no way that today could be chocolate souffle day.  But it is!  It is!!

These mini-souffles from The Everyday Vegan should suit the bill just fine.  Bring me by some wouldja?

And remember: there's always room for something decadent and made of chocolate.

2.27.2013

Happy National Chocolate Cake / Kahlua / Strawberry Day!!

Well, today is a three-fer.  It is National Chocolate Cake Day, National Kahlua Day, and National Strawberry Day!  And perhaps your mind went to the same place mine did just now: CHOCOLATE KAHLUA CAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES.  Oh, yeah.

Well, we are not the first to have this absolutely brilliant idea.  The Blissfully Vegan blog brings us this delightful recipe for a chocolate kahlua cake!  Now all you need to do is pick up some deliciously ripe local Louisiana strawberries to slice and make a beautiful design with on the top of that rich chocolate icing.

Note: today is also International Polar Bear Day!  I would suggest that you go hug a polar bear today, but given that they are one of the only animal species that actively hunt humans to eat, you should probably just make a donation instead.  ;)


2.26.2013

Happy Tell a Fairy Tale Day!

Once upon a time there was a girl named Nola.  She lived in a magical land.  People who had never been there believed that it was magic because it was made of swamps and alligators and voodoo, none of which was really true.  But the reality was no less wild: her land was made of a winding river and a vast sparking lake, of giant all-knowing oaks, and of streetcars and parades and okra and shining beads and red beans.

Only those who took the time to visit her land themselves ever began to understand it; those who only read about it never glimpsed its true wonder.  And there was a mystery that only the residents knew of: once a person lived there, no matter how far away they ventured, they would always, always return.

Nola lived an enchanted childhood in the magical land, climbing the giant ancient trees, marveling over angel trumpets and passionflower vines, and admiring the sparkling waters in the long warm days.  But one day a great storm swept away all of the places and people that she knew and loved.  She was devastated and all alone.  "I have heard that a person who lives here will always return.  But not I - I will never, ever return to this terrible place," she promised herself.

She traveled to a faraway place that had its own sort of magic, but it was loud and bustling and tall - so very tall.  She learned to love it there.  But there was a piece of her heart always missing: the piece that had always belonged, and she feared would always belong, to her beloved magic land.  "But I must not return there!  It is a desolate and awful place, and it will never be my home again."

Try though she might, Nola could not stop thinking about the place she had called home for so long.  So she came to a resolution: she would visit the formerly magical land to witness the tragedy up close again, and so convince herself once and for all that her home was destroyed forever.

The journey was long and trying, and Nola knew that only heartache could await her at its end.  But when she neared the magical place she was bewildered to feel her heart lift, as if it had grown wings in her chest.  Here it was - not the same, no, but reborn!  Still injured and licking its wounds, but growing, repairing, making right what was wronged.  Upon setting foot in its soil, Nola instantly knew that she had returned home for good.

Nola never again left her magical home, and did everything she could to help restore it to a new glory.  She loved the land and its waters and its trees and its people and its animals with all her heart, not just the bit that it had held before.  And she lived happily ever after.


2.25.2013

Happy National Chocolate-Covered Peanut Day!

Yes, today we have yet another installment of the seemingly endless parade of peanut-themed days.  {Apologies again for the peanut haters.  Always whining... wah wah wah, they'll kill me, wah wah.  Some people.}

Anyway.  Personally, I love me a good goober.  Unfortunately, they are nearly always covered in some cheap-ass milk chocolate noise.  (And then shellacked.  With bug excretions!  What us UP with that??)  But never fear: quality chocolate-covered peanuts can be yours.  Just make them at home!

For instance, check out this recipe from We Heart Vegan.  It's flexible enough to incorporate any or all of your favorite snack foods.  The original recipe uses peanuts, pretzels, and cranberries, but feel free to mix it up - use chex, other nuts, various dried fruits, whatever floats your boat.  Or go with nothing but peanuts!  Just grab some fair trade, organic, vegan chocolate chips from the bulk aisle of Whole Foods Magazine and you'll be on your way to chocolate-covered glory.


Yes, peanuts, covered in chocolate.  Enjoy.

2.24.2013

Happy National Tortilla Day!

Tortillas.  Such a simple food, and yet such a delicious one.  At the core of National Tortilla Day is a great debate: corn vs. flour.

Me?  I'm a flour girl.  Lay it in the pan, fry it up a bit, fill it up with beans and avocado and whatever other veggie goodness you've got...  oh yes.

But there are those who are corn, diehard, all the way.  I mean, I can get behind a corn tortilla when properly prepared.  Just a few weeks ago, on the magical day when I discovered that Taceaux Loceaux sometimes parks behind my new office building, I had some delicious braised greens soft tacos on said corn tortillas.  And while it would have worked just as well on flour, the corn did not diminish the dish.

Whichever you choose, be sure to enjoy some tortillas today - vegan style!

2.23.2013

Happy National Banana Bread Day!

Banana bread is a treat from my childhood, and also something that is very easy to make vegan.  Personally I like to spice it up a bit.  This is a recipe that I like to call Mexican Chocolate Banana Bread, based heavily on the chocolate breakfast cake by Celine of Have Cake, Will Travel.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 large or 3 small ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (Blue Diamond is the absolute best!)
  • 2 tbsp. blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
Method:
  • Preheat oven to 350F, and prepare an 8×8 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, sift flours, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk in sugar.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together banana, oil, milk, and molasses.
  • Combine wet and dry preps without overmixing - this happens very quickly. Fold in chocolate chips (chunks).
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 - 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Leave in pan for about 30 minutes, then remove cake from pan, place it on a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing. (Actually, it's quite good warm!)

Enjoy your banana bread!  And please, please buy fair trade bananas!!


2.22.2013

Happy National Margarita Day!

Yes, today is the day for margarita drinking!  My top suggestion: head to Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles Avenue.  Their frozen margaritas are renowned throughout the city - and there are always vegan options on the menu.  So drink up!

Fresh Strawberry Margaritas at Santa Fe Tapas

2.21.2013

Happy National Sticky Bun Day!

Mmmmm, sticky buns!!  Debatably the same as a cinnamon roll with icing.  But whatever you call it, it's delicious!  And there are plenty of vegan recipes for them out there - like this one from Sarah on Finding the Masterpiece in the Mess, or this one on With a Side of Sneakers.

If you don't want to bake them at home because you're afraid you'll eat them all in one sitting (me?  never.), stop by Hey! Cafe or Shake Sugaree and see if they have any on hand!  Or pick one up at the Uptown Whole Foods - they're not bad if you microwave it for a few seconds.  ;)

2.20.2013

Also, Happy World Day of Social Justice!

Thank you to Merry Blues Art for bringing this important day to my attention.  <3


Happy National Cherry Pie Day!

Everybody loves cherry pie!  OK, not everyone.  But damn near everyone.

Cherries are of course not in season until the summer, but that's OK - frozen cherries are delicious and work well for pies.  There are plenty of vegan cherry pie recipes on das internets.  And who knows, maybe we can convince Breads on Oak to make us one!

Finally, if you really, really love pie, you can also accessorize with pie!

2.19.2013

Happy National Chocolate Mint Day!!

Chocolate and mint.  One of those brilliant food combinations, akin to garlic and tomato, or even chocolate and peanut butter.  Needless to say, I am a fan.  There are many ways to enjoy this magic flavor combo, and I think these chocolate mint kiss cookies from Hell Yeah it's Vegan are an excellent method.  Enjoy!


2.18.2013

Happy National Winedrinking Day!

Yes, today is the day to drink wine.  I personally had to give up red wine due to the mind-exploding headaches it tends to induce in me.  I do still rather like white wines though, so the only trick left is to find a nice vegan one.  Thanks to Barnivore.com, this is no problem at all.  Note: Cupcake Vineyards wines are all vegan!!



2.17.2013

Happy National Indian Pudding Day!

Yes, Happy National Indian Pudding Day!!  Um... what?

So, yeah, I had to look this one up.  I was hoping for some sort of creamy masala chai kind of concoction.  But no.  This is "Indian" like "Columbus-got-lost-and-didn't-know-about-two-entire-continents-and-thought-he'd-landed-in-India Indian."  American Indian pudding.  It's a New England holiday tradition.  OK, sure.

Well, it doesn't look too bad!  I am interested to try it.  And I can, thanks to In the Usual Way's vegan Indian pudding recipe.  Bonus: it's also gluten free!  I also think that this Epicurious recipe would veganize well.

This national day seems that it would do better in the fall.  Like the day after Thanksgiving maybe, as a dessert after leftover sandwiches.  But hey, it's fun to mix things up.  Only, oy, can we think of a better name for it??

2.16.2013

3 Potato 4 New Orleans to hold its first fundraiser tomorrow

Hey y'all!  Tomorrow, Sunday the 17th, new vegan venture 3 Potato 4 will be holding a fundraiser at Santa Fe Tapas.  For a suggested donation of $25 you'll get to sample great vegan food from The PeaceBaker, Bee Sweet Cupcakes, The Green Fork, Superfood Bar, and of course Santa Fe itself.  There is also an exciting silent auction!

So, what is 3 Potato 4?  The newest venture by Jehan Strouse (of Veggie Fest fame), 3 Potato 4 promises "[o]rganic food fast! Baked organic russets, baby reds, or sweet potatoes with your choice of 17 different vegan toppings...all gluten free!  Baking potatoes at the speed of light - organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly."

So there you have it!  Come on down and support this Nola vegan venture tomorrow.  See you there!


Happy National Almond Day!

Alright, this is a day I can really get behind.  I absolutely love almonds!  I made the sad discovery last year that I cannot eat raw almonds without soaking them.  But I don't blame the almonds for that.

Almonds are a delicious food!  They are nutritious and versatile, also creating an excellent and satisfying nut butter.  They make a great addition to chocolate!  When sliced they are lovely in salads and stir fry dishes.  Yes, almonds are just wonderful.  And they grow on beautiful trees like this!:


2.15.2013

Happy National Gumdrop Day!

I love gumdrops!  They remind me of the kind of childhood magic evoked by candy buttons on paper strips and Christmas morning.  And while some gumdrops are made with nasty old animal gelatine, there are plenty of vegan ones!  Trader Joe's citrus gumdrops are vegan - and of course we don't have a Trader Joe's here in Nola, but that's where the internet comes in.  Whole Foods market also offers its "gourmet gumdrops" which are vegan.  If you're crazy, you can also try making them at home - just don't forget the vegan gelatin!


2.14.2013

Happy Valentine's Day / Cream-Filled Chocolates Day!!

Yes, it's true.  Valentine's Day is also Cream Filled Chocolates day.  What a coincidence eh?  Well, for the stacks of red boxes at the drug store, vegans are out of luck.  BUT!  This is one area where Etsy, and specifically the Vegan Etsy Team, shines bright.

For example, check out this amazing bouquet of chocolate roses from Origine Vegetale:


If you're looking for that "traditional" red heart-shaped box, check out the selection at Rose City Chocolates:


The Pangea Vegan Store has a nice selection as well.  Happy V-day y'all.  ;)

2.13.2013

Happy National Tortellini Day!

Tortellini!  Funny shaped pasta with stuff in it!  Unfortunately, that stuff in it is usually cheese.  And while there are a number of frozen vegan raviolis on the market that are easy to prepare at home, we don't seem to have breached mass-produced, widely available vegan tortellini.  If you want this treat, you're going to have to roll up your sleeves and get to making it from scratch.

FORTUNATELY, Vegan Dad has come to the rescue with this homemade tortellini recipe.  Enjoy!

2.12.2013

Also, Happy National Plum Pudding Day!

I don't know about you, but I really have no idea what plum pudding is.  It's something you hear about in Christmas tales from days of yore - Dickens stuff.  Perhaps if we have any English readers, they can enlighten us to this tradition?

Vegan, Gluten-Free Plum Pudding from The Spade and Spoon
But yes, plum pudding is really a food.  And the good news is that there are plenty of vegan recipes for it.  The debatable news is that it's made not with plums, but with their dried counterparts - prunes.  I still haven't ever eaten this food, but if you give it a try let me know.

HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!!!

Happy Mardi Gras y'all!  It's your last day to live it up before lent begins.  Which means it's your last day to eat king cake!  For a little while, at least.

There have been vegan king cakes all over the city this year - exciting! - with offerings from Breads on Oak, Shake Sugary, The Peacebaker, and of course the old Whole Foods standby.

But believe it or not, this is one thing that I really like to bake myself.  My recipe came from the peerless Kittee Berns and is not mine to divulge - but I'm sure she'll share it with you if you ask real nice.  And if you put plenty of care and love into it, it will look like this:





2.11.2013

Happy National Peppermint Patty Day!

We all remember the heartbreak: realizing that for some totally inexplicable reason, York Peppermint Patties are made with egg.  Ugh.

So now what?  How to satisfy the craving for that simple treat?

Of course you can make your own.   You can find chocolate peppermint creams on Etsy.  And then there's my favorite option - these vegan, organic, gluten-free, fair trade peppermint creme patties from Allison's Gourmet!

Happy pepperminting y'all.

2.10.2013

Happy National Cream Cheese Brownie Day!

It's days like National Cream Cheese Brownie day when I am thankful for modern food technology.  While it is of course not prudent to fill your vegan diet (or any diet) with a plethora of processed foods, they do make for a lovely occasional treat.  Like vegan cream cheese!  In brownies!

How does one accomplish this feat?  This straightforward recipe from Zombie Cook should do the trick.  These from Zerbert are a little more complex, and also delicious-looking.  And if you'd care to create a vegan cream cheese brownie pie on this most glorious of holidays, you need only head on over to Meet The Shannons.

Zerbert's Marbled Brownies

Happy cream cheese brownie-ing y'all! 

2.09.2013

Happy National Bagels and Lox Day!

Lox is one of those animal products that even omnivores find perplexing.  Some love it, and some hate it - and I've found that even those who love it at times find it offputting.  In my early, pre-vegan days in NYC, I myself did order the occasional bagel with cream cheese and lox at Ess-a-Bagel - I could never finish it without pulling off some of the lox.  But who knows, maybe it was just my early vegan tendencies rearing their head...

So what exactly is lox?  Technically lox is a brined salmon filet, but most often what's served as lox is actually smoked salmon.  Given that it is, in essence, a slab of fish, how on earth do we veganize it?  WELL.
  • Here's a version made with beets.
  • Here's one using roasted red peppers.
  • And here's a recipe where you make everything but the bagel from scratch.
You could even try to procure some fake fish, if you want to go to the more processed route.  You can stop by Artz Bagels uptown to get the fresh bagels for your vegan lox adventures!

Onion "lox" from Running with Tongs

2.08.2013

Happy National Molasses Bar Day!

You may be thinking what I'm thinking: what the hell is a molasses bar?  Me, I assumed this must be a northern thing.  But, of course, molasses is made from sugar cane.  And given the sugar production in this here fine state, there is in fact a long tradition of using molasses in New Orleans.  It seems that for our grandmothers, Brer Rabbit pure New Orleans molasses was all the rage.

This Nola tradition has maybe faded, but might be making a comeback: there is a Nola bakery in the works specializing in molasses recipes using only locally produced molasses.  I'll be watching its evolution - and asking if they're making anything vegan!

But how do we enjoy this tradition at home, and vegan style, right here right now?  These days you can still find Steen's molasses, made in Abbeville, LA.  This gluten-free vegan recipe is the best one I'm seeing on the internets - I'd be interested to see how it works with good ol' wheat flour (as I don't have lots of other flours around anymore - stupid moths).  I'm also awaiting a copy of this old Brer Rabbit cookbook and plan to do some veganizing.  I'll let you know how it goes!

No matter how you get it, a good dose of blackstrap molasses will give you a ton of potassium.  So enjoy!




2.07.2013

Happy National Fettuccine Alfredo Day!

Ahh, fettuccine alfredo.  My mother used to make this dairy-heavy pasta extravaganza for the family on a pretty regular basis.  It's fat and salt and starch - what's not to love?  But, given that traditionally it is just pasta draped in cheesy cream sauce, can we vegaize it?  Yes we can!  (Of course we can.)


Vegan fettuccine alfredo recipes abound on the internet, actually.  And it's not hard to just think up a method on your own.  I'd be interested in a recipe based in a cashew creme... that deserves some experimentation, don't you think?  Do you have a fave vegan alfredo sauce?  Do tell!  And happy fettuccine-ing.

Picture from Vegan Yummies

2.06.2013

Happy Lame Duck Day and Frozen Yogurt Day!!

When I saw that today is "Lame Duck Day," I will admit that I was perplexed.  Luckily the Hallmark holiday website (of COURSE Hallmark maintains a holiday website...) provided the following explanation:
Not about your poor injured pet, this day is to commemorate the 1933 ratification of the 20th Amendment about presidential succession. After each election there is a period of out with the old, in with the new, where the old president does his best to seem useful while the new one gets all the attention.
Well OK then.  It's not particularly apt this year, given that the old president *is* the new president... it also only applies every four years at all.  And shouldn't this happen *before* the inauguration, which is and has always been held on January 20th?  Ah well - it's a fun idea anyway.  Happy Lame Duck day!  Just for good measure, you should probably go out and love some ducks - be they lame or otherwise.

Of note: today is also National Frozen Yogurt Day!  And while you may think that, as a vegan, this is not for you, you'd be wrong!  As previously discussed on this here blog, vegan frozen yogurt can be yours, even in New Orleans.  Enter Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt chain.  As a company, they are making soy based, dairy-free frozen yogurt.  While not too prevalent in New Orleans area stores as of yet, the Magazine Street location has been known to swirl a wicked peanut butter chocolate.  Other area locations frequently have sorbets.  Call ahead and find out!


2.05.2013

Happy World Nutella Day!

Oh, Nutella.  That delicious treat.  I think we all felt a bit betrayed in our early vegan days when we realized that - gasp! - it contains milk.  Why?! we thought.  Don't nuts and cocoa butter have enough creamy delicious fat for you?!?! we thought. You have to resort to MILK?!!  Blegh.  But alas.  As we know all too well, lack of need for animal products does *not* prevent food manufacturers from including them.

But never fear!  It is the 21st Century!!  And we too can enjoy the creamy delights of hazelnut mixed with chocolate!  The answer comes in Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut butter, available at Whole Foods.  Also, while I can't currently find any, there have at times been homemade / handmade versions on Etsy.

And so, yet again, vegans are free to enjoy the delights of the world - and to do so without cruelty.  Enjoy!

2.04.2013

Happy National Homemade Soup Day!

I am a fan of homemade soup.  I used to make complex soups from scratch on the regular... Seriously, I used to post about soup all the freakin time when I still lived in NYC.  Not so much lately.  Warmer climate maybe?  Still though, during our six or so weeks of winter I do enjoy a nice hot soup.

One of the great things about soup is that it can be extremely complex, but it can also be utterly simple.  If you want to spend hours, go ahead.  If you want dinner in twenty minutes, easy as pie.  Or anyway, easy as soup.  I always keep some stock and some bullion on hand for when I have an urge to throw something together.

Below is one of my favorite somewhat fancy but also fairly easy soup recipes from the days of yore - according to notes it is modified from La Dolce Vegan.  It's extra great because you don't need fresh tomatoes - which of course we know don't come into season for another few months.  It also strongly reminds me of the (very non-vegan) tomato basil soup at La Madaline, for any of you who at times crave such a thing.  Happy souping y'all.

Tomato and Basil Cream Soup!

Ingredients:
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup stock
  • 1 (one) 14oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup tofutti cream cheese
  • 1 cup Blue Diamond unsweetened almond milk, original flavor
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped or torn (but not too early!)
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
Methods:
  • Shock of shocks, you'll start by caramelizing your onion (in the amount of oil that you see fit, dernit).
  • Add your stock, tomatoes, salt, and pepper.
  • Bring up to a "boil", though since it's quite thick I don't know that it boils per se, and then reduce to a simmer; simmer for five or so minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking / burning.
  • Use this simmering time to chop or tear your basil; in doing so beforehand you'll lose a ton of flavor.
  • After your five-or-so-minute-simmer, quickly stir in your cream cheese until it reaches an even consistency.
  • Immediately add the milk, basil, and syrup. Bring back up to a simmer (not a boil), then turn off heat. (Yup, really.)
  • Let sit for five at least minutes before serving.

2.03.2013

Happy National Carrot Cake Day!

Photo by Hell Yeah It's Vegan!
Ahh, carrot cake.  I've never really liked it.  But then, a good cake is a thing of glory, regardless of the type.  (Yes, there is even good fruitcake.  I swear!)  For you vegan carrot cake lovers, vegan carrot cake recipes abound on the internet.  And if you're like me and are far more likely to buy a cake than bake it, you're still in luck: both area Whole Foods Market locations stock their own vegan carrot cake.

Happy Carrot Caking!

2.02.2013

Happy National Stuffed Mushroom Day - two days early

Pirate Mushroom courtesy of My Zoetrope
Hello!  So, National Stuffed Mushroom Day is technically not until February 4.  But it shares a day with National Homemade Soup Day, and each of them seem too good to miss.  So here you are - stuffed mushrooms two days early.

I am a big fan of stuffed mushrooms.  The problem, of course, is that they are usually stuffed with something like crab and topped with cheese.  Time to veganize?  Of course!  I made stuffed mushrooms for the first time in the 2012 holiday season.  My recipe - or something like it - is for mushroom-stuffed mushrooms.  It's a little bit meta, and amazing if you're a huge mushroom fan like I am.

Mushroom Stuffed Mushrooms

ingredients:
  • two sixteen-ounce packages of medium size mushroom caps - white button mushrooms or baby bellas will work equally well
  • 1/4 tub of tofutti or other vegan cream cheese
  • salt, pepper, spices, garlic

method:
  • pre-heat oven to 350
  • wash all mushrooms
  • take 2/3 of one package of mushrooms and chop extremely fine.  you could run them through a food processor even
  • sautee your mushroom bits with the salt, pepper, spices, chopped garlic - whatever floats your boat - I put some Tony Chachere's in pretty much everything
  • cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated from the mushroom mixture
  • on medium heat, mix in the cream cheese
  • de-stem the remaining mushrooms and arrange the caps on an oiled baking sheets - make sure they are not touching
  • fill each cap with the sautee mixture
  • **optional: sprinkle some vegan cheese and/or breadcrumbs on top of the caps
  • bake caps for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender
  • let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before trying to eat!
Also, happy Groundhog Day!

2.01.2013

Happy National Baked Alaska Day!!

Hello all, and happy National Baked Alaska Day!  Also, happy National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Macadamia Month, and National Snack Food Month.  Basically, Happy February.

So, as for our Baked Alaska.  This is one vegan nut that does not yet seem to be cracked.  That's right - I present to you...  A CHALLENGE!!  Do you know of a vegan baked alaska?  Do you think you can make one?  Do it up!  Let us know!!

Also, CHERRIES.