Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunny With a Chance of Friendsgiving!!!

Oh friends! I am so sorry for not posting in quite some time. It has been a month. I have so many pictures from the weddings last month that I want to share with you & loads to catch you up on (some great things & some trials/tribulations). But today I just want to give thanks.

So thank you to all of you who do read this little blog & to those who follow it publicly super thank you! I promise I will get my butt in gear and get back to posting on the regs!! Thank you to all my friends for being friends, to all those friends I have parted ways with (good and bad partings) thank you for making me who I am today and being my friend at the time you were. You all have helped me learn who I am & who I am not. To my family thank you for being bat-shit crazy and so loyal and supportive. Though we don't always get along you are always there for me. Thank you to my boyfriend. I LOVE YOU!!! Thanks for being "home", my safe place, my best friend, my sweetie, and my MoneyPenny! LOVE LOVE LOVE you! Thank you to my puppy Colonel Mustard for all your puppy kisses, snuggles, pounces, prancing, keeping my feet warm, and your soft ears! You're are the best fur baby a rescue mama could ask for & I am so lucky that Kari found you that 14th of August & that we got there one day before they were going to euthanize you! Thank you to all my doctors-my back is literally a huge pain in the ass but I am so thankful to the doctors, my pilates/rehab instructor & friend Dionna, my acupuncturist Oscar, my new Swim instructors at SCAQ, and everyone who is helping keep me healthy!

Basically I am thankful for all the people in my life, for the ability to live each day in a city always showing me new things, the ability to pursue my acting dreams whilst still paying the bills, the fact that I've stayed out of surgery for 6 years, the fact that I have a honey who loves me as fiercely as he did almost 6 years ago (AHHH! February is rapidly approaching), and that tomorrow I get to host our 2nd annual Friendsgiving! I am so excited y'all!

Joe & I have meticulously planned out this menu & here is what we are making for dinner (eat your hearts out):

Appetizers (to be served with homemade bread):
-Sun-dried Tomato Dip
-Savory Tofu Dip

-Warm Spinach Salad
-Pressed Salad

Main Dish:
-Lemon-Thyme-Agave Braised Vegan Short Ribs and Seared Tofu Scallops in a Mineola Tangelo-Saffron Sauce!

-Kabocha Squash with Creminis & Herbs
-Sweet Potato & Banana Casserole
-Polish Dill Mashed Potatoes
-Garlic Glazed Green Beans
-Kale with Pine Nuts & Currants
-Chestnut Stuffing
-Cranberry Chutney

-Chocolate Pumpkin Tart
-Apple Crisp
-Pumpkin-Cranberry Scones
-Almond-Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Isn't your mouth just watering right now?! Mine is (Colonel's too)...mmmm! Hope you all have wonderful Thanksgivings full of love & traditions. Cannot wait to hear all about them & tell you how ours goes! See you soon chickens! :D

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sunny With a Chance of a Celebration!

Happy World Vegan Day friends! Hope yours is amazing! :D

It's kind of weird not to be posting a recipe after this past month but we'll try to get back to our normally scheduled program here. I am at work and then auditioning for a play so I will try to post some TCM Tuesday goodness when I get home.

Until then, look back at our 20-ish recipes, pick one & eat up & enjoy since it IS a celebration of all things VEGAN!! :D

Monday, October 31, 2011

Vegan Mofo Day 20.5!

Fitting in one more recipe here for the last day to make up for my sucky posting this past week. This one is an amazing one though so ENJOY!!

Gołąbki!!!!! (or stuffed cabbage rolls)

The Cabbage:
2 large heads of green cabbage, cored

Boil a large pot (approx. 1-2 gallons) of salted water. Submerge cored cabbage. Continue to boil until cabbage leaves are pliable. Drain. Cover in cold water 5 minutes. Set aside.

The Stuffing:
1 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled & finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can tomato paste (6 oz.)
2 tbsp red wine
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp paprika
1.5 cups uncooked rice
12 oz. Yve's Veggie Cuisin Meatless Ground (you could use 1 cup TVP or some tempeh if you prefer, find a flavor and texture you enjoy [whilst saving the beef & pork traditionally used in this recipe])

Cook your rice until ALMOST done. Set aside. In another pan saute onion & carrots over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add garlic, continue for another 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, parsley, wine, mostly cooked rice, meatless ground, & some salt & pepper to taste. Mix for 2-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

The Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 18oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup veggie stock
1.5 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp tofutti sour cream
10 oz. button mushrooms, sliced

Saute garlic in oil over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes & stock. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the vinegar & brown sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Use an emulsion blender to blend until mostly smooth (my mom prefers chunkier, Joe prefers smooth, do whatever makes you happy peeps). Add tofutti sour cream in slowly & stir with spoon. In separate pan saute mushrooms with oil for approx. 10 minutes. Add mushrooms to tomato sauce.

To assemble & cook:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully peel off cabbage leaves (I usually set aside the first 2 leaves because there is always a little dirt left no matter how much I clean them & they're usually ripped up a little or too huge to roll-DO NOT THROW AWAY THOUGH! You'll use them later). Just to one side of vein take a heaping scoop of your filling. Wrap it up burrito style (tuck the non vein end over, then fold the side that the filling is close to over & roll). Place little cabbage-burrito into pyrex baking dish or roasting pan SEAM SIDE DOWN. Keep up this process using the larger leaves of the cabbage first until your filling is all gone (this filled 2: 13"x9" meatloaf sized pyrex dishes for us). Cover the stuffed cabbages with sauce (leave some sauce aside for after they are cooked). Cover with any unused (the biggie leaves we set aside!) cabbage leaves & any smaller unused leaves (they will keep your rolls from burning in the oven). Cover dish with aluminum foil or lid. Place in oven & bake for 1.5 hours. Remove from oven & allow to cool.

To Serve:
Place rolls on plate. Top with some heated left-over tomato sauce & a dollop of tofutti sour cream. Chop some sprigs of parsley & sprinkle on top. Serve with your favorite red wine or some Warka or Żywiec beers from the motherland! Na zdrowie!!

Alex: an old family favorite this dish reminds me of winter in Michigan. Great stick to your ribs & keep you warm kind of dish. Rolling these reminds me of good conversations & eating them reminds me of amazing family dinners! Love making & eating these!! DELICIOUS! :D

Joe is half asleep right now as I type this up (it IS 1AM after all) but he still managed to mutter out in his sleep when questioned "It's so good, I love them". So from the mouth of a half asleep non-Polish kid they're truly delicious!

Vegan MoFo Day 20!

Day 19 has us enjoying a quickie recipe we converted from an old stir fry fave of ours.

Beef(less) & Broccoli Stir Fry

2 cloves garlic
1/2 red onion
12 oz. broccoli florets
3 scallions
2 tbsp. hoison sauce
2 tbsp. mirin
1/4 cup water
red chili flakes
2 tbsp. peanut (or veggie) oil
2 packages Gardein homestyle beefless tips

Mince garlic & thinly slice white parts of scallions & red onions. In wok (or large skillet) preheat 1 tbsp oil on high heat until faint wisps of smoke start to rise. Add garlic & sliced white parts of scallions. Stirring until fragrant (about 10 seconds). Add thinly sliced red onions & Gardein beefless tips. Stir until browned on all sides. Add 1 tbsp mirin & 1 tbsp hoison sauce. Continue to cook for 30 seconds. Reserve this mixture into a large bowl.

In same pan add remaining tbsp oil & bring to heat (about 45 seconds). Add broccoli florets, stirring constantly for about 1 minute. Add water & remaining mirin & allow broccoli to steam until water evaporates (3-5 minutes). Add the beefless mixture back into wok as well as remaining hoison. Thibnly slice remaining green sections of scallions, add to wok with large pinch of red pepper flakes. Serve with steamed rice & enjoy!

Joe: Pretty great, quick, & easy meal. Perfect for weeknights!

Alex: I love broccoli so this really hit the spot for me when I crave green veggies. Delicious quick stir fry ready when you are starving and don't want to wait to cook a big fancy meal. Yum! :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 19!

Oy, I have been crap at blogging this past week-sorry friends!! Been busy busy busy here. Hope this recipe makes up for it a little though!

This is another delicious Polish family recipe from Alex's house that has been converted. As kids my Pops used to take all of us down to Hamtramck (Detroit) to the Polish Bakery & our favorite restaurant (Polonia Restaurant and order this to start our meals. Now I got the recipe from a Polish manager of mine at a restaurant I worked at (Thanks Jacek!) who had his Mama fax it from Poland to me, he translated it, and then when I went vegan I converted the recipe to what you will see below! It makes my Polish heart (and tummy) so so happy!!!

Zupa ogórkowa or Dill Pickle Soup!

RECIPE [for 1.5 gallons of soup]:
4 leeks,
7 carrots
3 celery
5 potatoes
vegan butter (we use Earth Balance buttery spread)
3/4 bunch fresh dill
1/4 bunch fresh parsley
3 quarts water
4 tbsp Better Than Bouillon's No Chicken bouillon
1 64 oz. dill pickle jar (all the pickles & 1/4 to 1/2 cup brine)
tofutti sour cream

Chop carrots, celery, & leeks. Throw in pot with water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer until veggies are fork tender.

In separate pot, cook finely diced pickles (3/4 of the amount) in Earth Balance. Simmer & cover for 1/2 hour (add water if needed).

Peel & cut potatoes in small cubes (we chopped into about 1/2" cubes). Remove cooked veggies from water & add in potatoes & bouillon. Stir in bouillon to dissolve. Cook potatoes until fork tender. Add in cooked pickles to potatoes & cook together.

In separate bowl, scoop 1/2 a container of Tofutti sour cream. Add a little of "soup" mixture & mix with it to bring temperature up without "curdling". Slowly add sour cream mixture into large pot of "soup".

Add other veggies back into pot. Process until smooth with an immersion blender. Add freshly minced dill & parsley as well as remaining pickles & brine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook together another 2-5 minutes. Serve & enjoy with friends (like my pal Sarah whom I know from college who visited LA last week)!!

Joe: When I first heard about this soup from Alex, I was put off. I am not the biggest fan of pickles! So I wasn't sure how I would feel about a pickle soup. But this soup has a really nice flavor & I really enjoy it!

Alex: I love, Love, LOVE this soup!!! It tastes like childhood and straight up yumminess to me. Amazingly creamy and dilly. How can a Polish gal go wrong with potatoes, pickles, and fresh dill?! The answer is that she can't friends, she can't! I hope you all enjoy this soup as much as I do :D

Obviously this recipe can be made in smaller batches but as most things in good home-made recipes there are no measurements so feel free to add more (potatoes Alex thinks) or less depending on your tastes and group size. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 18.5!

So I am late in saying my thanks but I was nominated by Kelly at Three and a Half Vegans for the Liebster Award! So so so sweet of her (I love her little blog so go take a gander, you won't regret it)!

Here's how it works:

1. You show your thanks to the blogger who gave it to you by linking back to them.
2. You reveal YOUR top 5 pics for bloggers with less than 200 followers, and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog. (Right click on the image, and select 'save image as'.)
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the internet! And in this case, fellow mofo'ers.
5. Have fun, and spread the love! :)

So without further adieu my five:

1. Czech Vegan, I gotta give it up for the Eastern European heritage and support this blog! :)

2. Some love for a fellow Chicago/MI gal at Dorm Room Kitchen.

3. I love all the movie themed posts at Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk! Makes my day :)

4. I love all the photos over at For the Love of Food Blog, gorgeous!

5. fuck yeah vegan ice cream-the name says it all really.

So thanks and yay! Go vegan mofos ;)

Vegan MoFo Day 18!

Sorry for the few day delay friends!! We were both swamped this weekend: Alex with her 2nd City Internship & sound editing for MacBeth where she is trying her hat at Stage Managing (?!) and Joe with grading math homework for 3 courses! It was a busy and not very restful weekend! But on to the recipe...

For Day 18 we are cooking and eating up some of our favorite blogger The Vegan Dad's recipe for Vegan Gyros! We have made this recipe many times, and we have included our changes/tips. The original idea is from the Vegan Dad, of course. We are so obsessed with this blog & in particular a few of his recipes (like this one)!

tempeh gyro:
1, 8.5oz block of tempeh
1 onion
1tsp garlic powder
1tbsp marjoram
1tsp ground rosemary
1/2tsp basil
1/2tsp thyme
1/2tsp sage
1/4tsp salt
2tbsp finely chopped parsley
2tbsp soy sauce
freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup flour

vegan tzatziki sauce:
1 container Tofutti Sour Cream
juice from 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic minced
2tbsp canola oil
1tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
2-3 tbsp fresh dill (Joe: we always use fresh dill, since Alex being Polish has a dill obsession & it's always in our fridge. Alex: Um, you're welcome.)
pinch cayenne
1 cup peeled grated cucumber (I think a whole, normal sized cucumber)
1/2 cup peeled and diced cucumber (half a cucumber)
2tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Make the tzatzki sauce first. Grate the cumcumber into small pieces and place in a piece of cheese cloth, or a clean kitchen towel (I have tried paper towels, but it does not work very well). Add salt to the cucumbers an let sit over a colander for at least an hour.
This is to remove most of the water in the cucumbers. Combine the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT the diced cucumber, in a bowl and mix well. After the hour, squeeze the grated cucumbers to remove as much water as possible. (Alex: I like to use the juice to make Cucumber Cocktails!). Add both types of prepared cucumber. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. The sauce should taste tangy, refreshing and with a distinct flavor of dill. I also added some Vegenaise (like 2 tbsp) to help with the sauce some.

In a food processor (or a box grater), grate the onion and tempeh.

Add spices, including parsley, and soy sauce and mix well with your hands. Add flour and knead together for a minute. Wrap into a log using plastic wrap, about 2 inches in diameter.
Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, or until ready to use. This will help keep the "meat" together when you cook it.

Unwrap the "meat", slice into 10-12 pieces and shape and flatten to resemble gyro meat. The slices should be no more that 1/4" thick and 2 by 5 inch rectangular shapes.

Fry the slices in batches (We can usually fit 4 a time with a 10" skillet) in a skillet with a small layer of oil heated over medium-high heat. Fry for 2 minutes per side, flipping once or until golden brown on both sides.

Serve with tzatziki, red onions, lettuce and tomatoes in a warm piece of pita (or better yet, TJ's Middle Eastern Flatbread!)!


Joe: Best thing since sliced bread! I actually used the Vital Wheat Gluten flour as the original recipe calls for this time, and I didn't like it as much! I found the regular (AP) flour helped things stay together better.

Alex: I think this recipe is fantastic. I used to work in a Greek fast food joint in college and would eat gyros until I would explode and after going vegan really found myself craving that taste of spices & tzatziki so when I stumbled upon this recipe I did a jig of joy! This flavor combo just hits the spot for me and curbs my college tummy cravings! :D

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 17!

Ahh, breakfast for dinner. What a noble invention! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all, so why not have it for dinner! This recipe comes from "Vegan Family Meals" by Ann Gentry (RFD lady!) It is for some awesome french toast! Hope you enjoy!

8 oz soft tofu, drained and crumbled
4 tsp arrowroot
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground flax seeds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1 cup plain unsweetened soy milk
1/3 cup high-heat sunflower oil, plus more for coating the pan
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
12 1/2" thick slices crust country-style white sourdough bread

Blend the tofu, arrowroot, baking powder, ground flaxseeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and turmeric in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Combine soy milk, 1/3 cup oil, maple syrup and vanilla in a measuring cup. With the food processor running, slowly add the liquid mixture into the tofu mixture. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Pour the batter onto a large rimmed baking sheet and arrange the slices in a single layer. Turn each piece to coat. Set aside, turning the bread occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the bread absorbs most of the batter.

Heat a large, heavy flat griddle pan over medium heat. Working in batches, brush a little oil over the griddle and grill the soaked bread until it is heated through and golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.

Transfer the French toast to plates and enjoy!

Alex: What a delicious surprise! Joey knew I had a busy day and surprised me with my favorite breakfast dinner! This sweet treat hit the spot. I heaped on extra syrup and it was magic :)

Joe: Pretty good, although I think the bread should be sliced thicker. Maybe 3/4" to 1" thick, so you only get 6-8 pieces of toast. I had a little bit of trouble with the bread absorbing all of the batter, perhaps it was too thick since I only had firm tofu, or the bread wasn't stale enough (a very good thing for French Toast!). A very good vegan version of a great breakfast item! One more thing, don't be skimpy on the oil. The batter was prone to almost cement the bread to the pan. A large flipper is also crucial to be able to unstick and flip the bread without destroying it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 16!

More soups!!! Okay this is actually a stew but it tastes darn good when you're sick (or recovering from being sick): Scotch Broth from The Vegan Table y my gal Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

3/4 cups pearl barley
3/4 cup green split peas (we used green lentils instead since that's what we had)
3/4 cup red lentils
1 large size leek, washed well & roughly chopped
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 or 3 yellow potatoes diced
3 carrots, peeled & grated or shredded
8-9 cups veggie stock
1 tsp salt (to taste)
freshly ground pepper (to taste) 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (for garnish-totally optional, we didn't use any)

Soak barley. split peas, & lentils for 1 hour in bowl with enough water to cover. After soaking, rinse & add to a large soup pot along with onion, leek, potatoes, carrots, stock, salt, & pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat & simmer until all is tender. Ladle into bowls & sprinkle with parsley if desired. Yields 10-12 servings.

Feel free to use other veggies in this as well. Colleen suggests turnips, cabbage, or even kale. We like to throw in whatever extra something is hanging around the fridge/pantry.


Alex: Again, soups are hitting the spot for me right now. I love the heartiness of this stew. It make me think of the cold tundra-esque winters in Michigan in my childhood. When it got so cold we couldn't go out for recess. I wish I had this soup then! So good and stick to your bonesy. Perfect for my throat & nose!

Joe: Pretty good stuff. I really hate split peas so I like to use the green lentils instead (plus it's what is in our pantry).