4.30.2013

Happy National Oatmeal Cookie Day!

Happy Oatmeal Cookie Day!  Today is also National Raisin Day.  Do you think that's why so many oatmeal cookies are adulterated with dried up grapes?  Anyway, these look pretty great.  I will have to try them out the next time I have some bananas that have hung around beyond their prime.


4.29.2013

Happy National Shrimp Scampi Day!

Shrimp Scampi!  I've... never eaten it.  Not with "real" shrimp anyway.  But when I saw this day coming down the line, I just had to give a shot at veganizing.  With the awesome vegan shrimp products on the  market these days, I figured it would be nice and easy.

And it is!

I mean, you can use a really complicated and specific recipe for your vegan Shrimp Scampi like this one.  BUT, so long as you're somewhat comfortable with cooking, you can just sautee your shrimp in some (vegan) butter - or even olive oil -
along with garlic, white wine, lemon juice, and black pepper.  Either way, it's sure to be a delicious and decadent dinner.  I do suggest serving it with some nice brown rice, or as a sandwich on some nice crusty French bread.  (Because a plate of nothing but mock seafood is a bit... much.)

I got my shrimp from the uptown Whole Foods, which usually (but not always) stocks this brand.  Yes, it comes with sweet chili sauce - but it's in a separate little package and can be saved for later!

4.28.2013

Happy National Blueberry Pie Day!



Blueberry pie is one of my favorites.  And blueberries will be in season come June and July, abundantly available at the city's Farmers Markets.  You can also go pick your own!

Blueberry pie filling is vegan more or less by nature, and it's easy to purchase or make a vegan pie crust.  Just look what a beautiful job The Gluttonous Vegan does with these crumble-topped pies!

4.27.2013

4.26.2013

Happy National Pretzel Day!

Soft?  Crunchy?  Stick?  Twist?  There are so many options.  And here's the good news: most of them are vegan!  (If not particularly healthy, made as they almost all are with white flour, salt, and not much else.)



Years ago, when I was involved in a few benefit bake sales at Moo Shoes, the brilliant and lovely Seitan Said Dance made some gourmet pretzels that were out of this world.  Sadly, I don't seem to have any pictures of them.  But intel tells me that the recipe came from the infamous Kittee Berns' iconic cookzine Papa Tofu.  So order your copy today, and get your pretzel on!

4.25.2013

Happy National Zucchini Bread Day!

I have never eaten zucchini bread.  That is, I hadn't until I veganized this recipe from Paula Dean of all people.  I have also never made a loaf.  I love doing new things!

To veganize, I just replaced the eggs with some soy yogurt and applesauce.

The bread came out delicious!  With two snags though.  First, it was too sweet.  I believe this is because I used sweetened soy yogurt as my egg replacer.  So next time I will use the same amount of yogurt but unsweetened, because the binding and moistness was perfect.  I may also use about 2/3 the sugar called for by the recipe.

Second, it stuck like crazy to the bottom only.  This is probably also due to the sugar.  So next time I will either oil the pan more thoroughly or cover it with parchment.

My hubby points out that this could work well as a savory bread, something which I may need to experiment with...

Because of the sticking issue, the loaf tore in half during depanning - leading to a not-very-photogenic (but still very edible) loaf. And so, I give you this picture of a zucchini that looks like a duck.


4.24.2013

Happy National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day!

First things first: this is my favorite kind of pig in a blanket. But since I don't have baby piggies in fluffy blankets right now, I'll make some edible treats also known as pigs in a blanket! Once again Immaculate Baking crescent rolls come to the rescue, this time paired with delicious (and disturbingly realistic) Field Roast frankfurters. The only "secret" to doing this is to cut the 'dogs first in half, and then into quarters lengthwise. Which is great because then you get all eight crescents with just one frank. Also, they are best served with mustard (or a simple mustard mayonnaise dipping sauce). A lovely snack on a lovely afternoon!



4.23.2013

Happy National Cherry Cheesecake Day!

Vegan cheesecake?  No problem.  Cherry sauce?  No problem.  Enjoy!


Notes: I made the filling and the cherry sauce per the recipes -  except that I made the cheesecake in a springform pan with a graham cracker crust.  Because that's how I roll.

4.22.2013

Happy National Jelly Bean Day!

Here's the thing about jelly beans.  They are delicious and magical and full of childhood glee!  Except for when they're full of gelatin and things made from bugs.  Then they are just full of sadness.

But do not despair!  There are plenty of jelly beans out there that suit our vegan requirements and maintain their deliciousness.  Consider, for instance, these lovely beans in the bulk section of the good ol' Whole Foods.  Beautiful!  Expensive to be sure, but worth it for the occasional jellybeaney treat.

What's your fave jelly bean?  Do tell!


4.21.2013

Happy National Chocolate-Covered Cashews Day!

I looked high and low and couldn't find any chocolate covered cashews.  I of course could make them... but that's just not lazy at all, and we know how much I love being lazy.

Da Da-Da DAAA: Vegan Essentials to the rescue! 

It's organic.  It's fair trade.  It's vegan.  YES.


4.20.2013

Happy National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day!

F*ck yeah pineapple upside-down cake!  I think I've only ever eaten it once or twice, but it's just so brilliant and nostalgic and fifties and sweet and good.  And this one that I just made is delicious!  The cake itself is very plain, and I am thinking that next time I might add a bit of rum extract.  Also, I used frozen cherries (rather than maraschino), which is why my cake looks tie-dyed.  Regardless, I am happier for having it in my life, and you will be too.  Check it out:




4.19.2013

Ten reasons that I freaking love New Orleans.

I began this blog with a number of goals, one of which was to wax lovingly on my hometown.  I haven't done that much lately, but that's all about to change.

In the days that aren't assigned a "national day" event, I will be extolling the virtues of the crescent city - the things that make this place unique.  So without further ado, the first installation...

* * * * * *

Ten Reasons that I Freaking Love New Orleans, Part 1: the people.



Yeah yeah, we've all heard about "southern hospitality."  But seriously, the people in New Orleans are something special.  Where else in the world do people not only hold the door for you - but actually apologize when they couldn't quite catch it?  Where else will people in the grocery ask you what's wrong when they see that overwhelmed look on your face, rather than avoid you?  Where else do random strangers not only wish you happy birthday, but actually pin money to your chest?  (A few places, as it turns out, but not many.)  Where else has cheered for a team that went for years - nay, decades - as poor performers?

While we do get more than our fair share of tourists, the locals stand out wherever you go.  And there's a reason that our motto is Be Nice or Leave.  We party in the streets just for the sake of having a good time, at the drop of a hat, and anyone is free to join.  We keep tabs on each other.  And we take care of each other.  Just because.

Do terrible things happen here?  Of course they do.  Terrible things happen everywhere.  But here, when a terrible thing happens to someone, it's more likely here than anywhere else I've been that the city will rally, support, and show love.

I love you, New Orleans, and I love that you love me back.

Me and the guys at the Healing Center grand opening

4.18.2013

Happy National Animal Crackers Day!

When do vegans eat animals?

When they're ANIMAL CRACKERS!!  HA HA HA HA HA HA.

Seriously though.  What's the story, vegans?  Do we revel in biting the heads off of monkeys, camels, bunnies, bears, and the like?  Well of course we do!  It's all in good fun when it's the heads of intentionally or accidentally vegan animal crackers.  Who would deprive themselves (or anyone) of this childish fun?

So where do you get vegan animal crackers?  Trader Joe's apparently carries them, but we don't have one of those here in Nola.  Whole Foods, of course, has its own brand.  I am positive that there are plenty of generic brands that are accidentally vegan.  So go ahead, enjoy!

You can even cover them in chocolate... and sprinkles.  And you real go-getters can just make them from scratch.  ;)

Note: while Nabisco's Barnum animal crackers are a classic and technically vegan, I personally feel that the packaging sends the wrong message to kids (and adults, for that matter) about what circus life is like for captive animals.


4.17.2013

Happy National Cheeseball Day!

Once upon a time I lived in New York City.  And it just so happened that during that same time there existed a raw place called Bonobos.  (Yes, like the monkeys.)  Bonobos specialized in what they called nutmeats.  And while they were quite expensive, one of the benefits of working like a crazy New Yorker is getting paid like you work like a crazy New Yorker.

So for our 2006 holiday party, we went and bought pounds - POUNDS - of three different nutmeats.  We rolled them into loafs and balls, and then rolled the loaves and balls in crushed nuts.  The result?  Totally authentic-looking-and-tasting CHEESEBALLS.  Like your parents would have eaten at a cocktail party in the seventies.  Oh yes.

Alas, times change. I no longer live in New York City.  Bonobos is no longer open.  And I definitely no longer get paid like a crazy hard-working New Yorker.  (Mind you I work just as hard, but now it's for a nonprofit in New Orleans... mmm hmm.)  So what's a girl to do when it's time to get her vegan cheeseball on?

Internets to the rescue!  I am totally unsurprised to find plenty of Cheeze-Ball-Ey recipes on yon interwebs.  I am looking forward to trying this one by Vegangster, a blog entertaining and new to me.  (warning: graphic pics at the end.)  It's fairly involved but looks actually healthy - just think of it!  Healthy cheeseball!  (This one looks good too.)  And this one by Dallas Vegan is maybe not so healthful, but it looks quick and delicious.

Of course, as we know, everything is better when it's mini!  Make one (or all) for your next shindig!


4.16.2013

Happy National Eggs Benedict Day!

My hat really must come off once again to the fine folks over at Meet the Shannons on this day.  Their Eggs Benedict recipe is truly something special.  I will convince Jonathan to make it someday... right after we get a flavor injector.  Frankly, I'm shocked that we don't own one already - despite the fact that they are somewhat terrifying.

Until then, though, his own version will do me just fine.

Lacking a recipe for hollandaise, we used the one from Being Vegan (and getting away with it).  A bit lemon-ey for my taste, but it worked out well for texture and such.  For the "eggs" we marinated tofu rounds overnight in stock and a bit of black salt, then simmered them for a while in the marinade.  I have yet to find Sham that isn't made by Lightlife (aka ConAgra), so for the "ham" portion of the Benedict we just fried up some Tofurky slices in a bit of olive oil.  Finally, for good measure, we also made some Florentines (pictured left).  This is a lovely Sunday morning brunch, and not too difficult as long as you remember your marinade the night before!


4.15.2013

Happy National Glazed Ham Day!

As we know, "ham" is code for "pig flesh."  And as we further know, pigs should look like this (and not like a ham):




Luckily and somewhat surprisingly, when it comes to glazed "ham" vegans have plenty of options.  You can make a seitan-style ham from scratch.  Or you can start with a pre-existing roast - hats off to Meet the Shannons for their stellar display!  Either way, enjoy some glazed "ham" today!!

4.14.2013

Happy National Pecan Day!

Pecan trees are at the very heart of southern culture.  They are one of the only nut trees that occurs naturally in North America, and New Orleans became a major port for their export to the rest of the world in the 17th and 18th centuries.  They are still cultivated here in Louisiana, and if you pay attention you'll see pecan trees all over Nola.

So it's only natural for New Orleanians to love pecans.  Enjoy them candied, in salads, in pies, or just on their own!

Also, apparently monarchs like to hang out in pecan trees.  Who knew?


4.13.2013

Happy National Peach Cobbler Day!

I always thought peach cobbler was a sort of pie, but no. It's more a sort of baked fresh peach dish that happens to have a simple crust. I'm intrigued - and peach season is coming! In just another month or so the Farmer's Markets around town will be full of them, and I can't wait to try this recipe on them. It seems to require only the most minute changes to be vegan, as noted:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted {vegan} butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups {vegan} sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup {vegan} milk
  • 4 cups fresh peach slices
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)
  • {I would also add a small amount of vanilla extract, because I always do.} 

Preparation

  1. Melt butter in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
  2. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).
  3. Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; pour over batter (do not stir). Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
  4. Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool.

4.12.2013

What the heck... How did I not know that it's also NATIONAL GRILLED CHEESE DAY!!??

Thankfully I have delightful friends who remind me of these important things.  The husband makes a delish grilled cheese with earth balance (on both sides of the bread) and Daiya... maybe this will encourage him to get a bit more creative!  But, like I said, his simple version is awesome.  You really just can't go wrong with vegan grilled cheese!  Enjoy.


Happy National Licorice Day!

As is so often the case, licorice is a food that polarizes the masses.  The argument is simple: RED versus BLACK.

There are those of us who swear by black licorice, that unique flavor that I have loved since childhood.  But others claim that red is superior.  The others are clearly wrong.  If it's not black, it's not licorice.  THIS IS FACT.

Also, while I generally don't abide by animated flash websites, this one is freaking adorable.


4.11.2013

Happy National Cheese Fondu Day!

WANT TO TRY THIS.  Who's got a fondu pot?  I've got the backyard with the string lights!!



Scratch that!  I tried it!!  And it was great.  I did not get the pretty cast iron fondu pot from Crate and Barrel pictured above, since they were out of it and we don't have a CB here in Nola anyway.  I did go to Macy's and pick up one on sale 2/3 off though, so that was pretty rad.  I found a Sauvignon Blanc by Cupcake Wines at the Mid City Rouse's.  Paired with some rosemary bread and local strawberries, also scored at Rouse, it was a great night!

Next time I may try a wine with a less strong flavor, as the Sauvignon Blanc was somewhat overpowering.  Chardonnay anyone?

4.10.2013

Happy National Cinnamon Crescent Day!

Happy National Cinnamon Crescent Day!  I mean really, what could be better than a crescent roll plus cinnamon?

You go-getters may want to make something like this from scratch, but for a lazy Sunday morning I prefer to take the easy way out.  It goes like this: Go to Whole Foods and get a tube of Immaculate Baking crescent rolls.  Unroll them and separate the triangles on your baking sheet.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Roll and bake per the directions on the can.

VOILA!  Cinnamon crescents for your enjoyment.  They will not be perfect, but they will be delicious.

4.09.2013

Happy National Chinese Almond Cookie Day!

Really, some of these days just make me scratch my head.  Chinese Almond Cookie Day?  Well yes!  Apparently it's a thing.  Also apparently it's a Chinese New Year thing... which was back in February.  No matter - now we'll all be prepared for next year.

These look pretty delicious, and very similar to the soft almond pignoli cookies I tend to make around Christmastime.  They also seem appropriate for springtime.  So enjoy!

Also, Vincent Van Gogh apparently loved to paint almond trees.


4.08.2013

Happy National Empanada Day!!

You want vegan empanadas in New Orleans?  Well go find the Empanada Intifada truck!  Here's what they have to say about their vegan options:
"In addition to specials, our Veggies satay (seasonal veggies in peanut coconut sauce) and beana vista social club (black beans, plantains, coconut rice) are almost always vegan. Check with us to be sure, but it's definitely one of the things we're striving to do. "
And there you have it!  Support this awesome, local, vegan-friendly business y'all!

4.07.2013

Happy National Coffee Cake Day... and Happy National Beer Day!!

Coffee cake and beer - both delicious!  Not together so much.  But individually, each is its own treat.

My mother has an absolutely magical coffee cake recipe that she got from our neighbor's housekeeper when I was just knee high.  And one day she will actually give it to me, and I will veganize it, and we will all live in delicious coffee cake bliss for days on end.

Until then, you'll have to sate yourself with beer!  And lucky for you, there's plenty of local vegan beer here in Nola.  In fact, Nola Brewing is all vegan, as is Abita!  (Stouts tend to be problematic, so if you happen to see a special edition stout you should double check.)  This time of year, I highly suggest the Abita summer strawberry.  Happy beering!


4.06.2013

Happy National Caramel Popcorn Day!

Who doesn't love caramel popcorn?  My grandpa used to buy us cracker jacks as an extra special treat.  It was always so exciting to find the surprise, even thought the surprise was almost always unbelievably lame.  Ah, childhood.

So where do we get vegan caramel popcorn?  We could probably buy it somewhere.  Or we could make it!  Well done, Angry Asian Creations!!


4.05.2013

Happy National Rasin & Spice Bar Day!

Raisin Spice Bars.  Frankly, I'd never heard of them before.  And oddly, I can't find any vegan recipes for them!  But it looks like this recipe would be pretty tasty and easy to veganize - just sub the egg and be sure to use vegan sugar.  (When I want a baked good to be moist, I usually use vanilla soy yogurt for my binder.)

How about you?  Tell us all about your raisin-spice-barred wild times!!

Also, if this picture means anything to you, you're probably at least as old as me.  ;)


4.04.2013

Happy National Cordon Bleu Day!

According to good ol Wikipedia, "Cordon bleu is a breaded cutlet dish of meat (traditionally veal, but pork or chicken are common) pounded thin and wrapped around a slice of ham and a slice of cheese (such as Swiss cheese), breaded, and then pan fried or baked."

Well OK.  Who wants to try this with some Boca or Gardein chick'n, Daiya, and Tofurky slices?  Also, can you say SALT BOMB?  Also, why did I think this was a sandwich?

Also, this:


4.03.2013

Happy National Chocolate Mousse Day!

Mmmmm, how I love chocolate mousse.  When I figured out how easy it was to make as a kid, I started making it all the time.  But I haven't had it in years.

Of course, there's no reason for me to abstain, or certainly no vegan-related reason.  Because it's super easy to make it with coconut cream!  Fatty?  Sure.  But it's the good kind of fat.  The kind you want in your life.  I know I want it in mine.

4.01.2013

Happy April!!

Hello friends!  In this beautiful spring month of April, we will celebrate National Fresh Celery Month, National Pecan Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, and National Soyfoods month - what a great month to be vegan!!

Today, April Fool's Day, is actually National Sourdough Bread Day.

It is also the day that the hearing on the OPP Consent Decree begins, in case you're interested in that sort of thing.

And now, a bunny: