Archive | August, 2011

So Easy 3 Bean Salad

27 Aug

The impending threat of losing power because of Hurricane Irene has got me wondering about what the hell I’m going to eat if the power goes out. Mind you, if the power goes for a few hours, everything in my fridge will be safe. I have plenty of dry goods and raw vegan recipes to keep me well fed for several days. But I’ve been in situations where the electricity hasn’t come back for days (ice storms, living in a rural part of NH, etc.) and on a scale of no fun to awesome…it’s cruel and unusual punishment. Yes, yes, I know I sound like a spoiled American.

Anyway, I went shopping today for raw veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, crackers, and canned goods — all things that will keep if the power goes. It’s like vegans were made to survive the apocalypse! And hell, even if all we get is a “tropical storm” (how exotic) and the power doesn’t go, then I’ll just use these delicious goods to make myself something fancy while I enjoy staying in, hearing the rain pound on the ceiling while I sip on a glass of wine and curl up with a good book or movie and my lovable old pup.

Here’s a super simple, limited ingredient, delicious recipe that I love to make for lunch on a regular, full power day or for picnics, beach outings, and vegan barbecues. Its resourcefulness and use during power outages has made itself apparent many times! As well as how very filling it is! You can enjoy this many ways: in a wrap, on bread, inside a raw bell pepper or cabbage leaf, in salad, or just on its own in a bowl! Make sure your beans aren’t canned in animal products and be wary of those sneaky “natural flavor” claims!

Also, while I have your attention…if you’re in New England this weekend, please be safe, check on your elderly neighbors and bring your pets and any strays you find indoors!

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Sweet Nutmilk Pancakes

23 Aug

I’ve never liked pancakes. I’m just not a pancake kind of girl. I prefer french toast (I have a thing for toast). One of my brothers is pancake obsessed though. He likes them practically raw in the middle. He doesn’t know it, but I’m basically his type of pancake maker, because up until recently, no matter how hard I’ve tried to make them perfectly, I’ve always made pancakes with a gooey center. Ugh. It’s terrible, I know. Well, I think I finally figured it out. I’m so embarrassed to even be admitting any of this. Pancakes have a lot to do with being patient and up until recently, I’ve not been the most patient person in life so it makes sense that I’ve never waited enough time for them to cook in the middle before flipping them.

After three solid days of working on this recipe (and having consumed 21 pancakes in that time and being the proud owner of a new chin), I think I finally got it right. I know this may be simple enough for many of you, and you may be wondering, “Wow. This girl can make a vegan cheesecake, but she can’t even make a pancake?! For shame!” But honestly, I think sometimes, simplicity eludes me (I know plenty of people who know me who are nodding their heads at that last statement, haha). Bear with me, please. This is what I figured out:

1. Don’t overmix the batter. It should be lumpy, this is how you make “fluffy” pancakes!
2. Don’t use too much butter or non-stick spray to grease the pan. You’ll end up frying and burning the pancakes.
3. Only grease the pan once.
4. Cook the cakes slowly, on medium heat, if you are using a pan on a stove (not an electric griddle).
5. Wait until bubbles form all around, and especially in the middle of the cake, before flipping.
6. Flip quickly using your wrist, not your hand.

Those are the rules. Stick to them and your pancakes will be just right. These pancakes are  gosh darn tasty. My aim was to make something reminiscent of the classic buttermilk pancake and I think it’s pretty close. Since vegans are all about nut milks (and the occasional soy) I thought, “Screw you, buttermilk! Nutmilk is the real deal!” and went to town. This is also a really great way to use up some cashew cream if, like me, you make about 2 cups at a time for a dish that only requires 1 cup and thus get stuck with leftover cashew cream.


Despite how many of them I’ve eaten in the last 36 hours, I am now officially a fan of pancakes. I really enjoy how sweet these are. The batter reminds me of the boxed Bisquick pancakes my mom used to make us, but I honestly think this batter tastes a whole lot better and it’s probably because there isn’t a raw egg in it! These cakes are just sweet enough to eat without syrup and still taste good! And they are fluffy just off the pan, like they’re supposed to be, too! I added flax seeds just because I thought they’d give the cakes a nice look and because they’re nutritious and can’t be tasted, so why the heck not? You can leave them out if you want. I thought to make these with flax eggs in place of Egg Replacer, but that didn’t work out so well (that was day 1). Pick up a box of Ener-G Egg Replacer if you don’t already have one. It’ll last quite a while and comes in handy more often than you’d think!

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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup and Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

11 Aug

Even in the summer, I can’t help but crave piping hot soup. I love soup. In fact, it’s my favorite food. Yes, it really is. I think it’s because it’s really the one dish that can be made so many different ways out of so many different ingredients — isn’t that the idea behind “stone soup”? But seriously, soup is comforting every time. And when you’re lucky enough to be sitting in an air conditioned home, then it really doesn’t matter if it’s 90 degrees outside. When I was younger I used to have these “episodes” (I guess one could call them that) where I needed to have soup, like, on our way up to the White Mountains to go hiking, I’d suddenly need soup — mid-drive. My mom is the same way, it’s very much like, “Pull the car over at the next restaurant! I need soup!” It got to the point once when we would bring thermoses of soup if we were going on long weekend or day trips. My mom calls these episodes “soup attacks.” They seem to be less frequent these days, I don’t know why, but neither of us is ever far from the urge to make or eat soup, regardless.

That being said, it’d been a while, but this little concoction came about when I was having a soup attack. I didn’t even know it until after I was done eating, of course, when I’d successfully licked the bowl clean. This soup is thick and smooth in flavor, thanks to the addition of cashew cream. The use of whole tomatoes makes it just a bit chunky and hearty, the way I like tomato soup to be. The beauty of this soup is that you can make it as chunky or smooth as you’d like, it’s just a matter of blending less or more. I used only half a cup of basil, but you can use more if you want a stronger basil flavor.

The beautiful grilled cheese is the usual salty, cheesy goodness that compliments any tomato soup well. Is there anything Daiya can’t do? I doubt it. Continue reading

Sun-dried Tomato & Lemon Mayo-free Potato Salad

9 Aug

Normally, I would make potato salad with Vegenaise or Mindful Mayo, but I decided to make this one mayo-free for two reasons: first, I have a friend who really hates mayo (vegan and not) and for whom I wanted to provide a simple, delicious, light, mayo-free recipe and secondly, I didn’t want to rely on a processed product to make a great vegan dish. The result is a really savory, beautiful, summery potato salad that can be eaten as a stand alone meal or served as a side dish at your next vegan barbecue.

It so happens that the friend for whom this was intended hates potato salad — even the mayo-free kind. Shucks. Sorry, Jessie! Well, I guess this doesn’t change anything except that she won’t be eating it. That doesn’t stop anyone else, though!

I love this recipe for it’s freshness and ease. By the time I was done chopping the veggies, the potatoes were done. And I love how much all the flavors stood out, but especially the lemon and tomato. I enjoyed this for lunch for several days and it was very filling. Next time, I will remember to share it with others around me and not just eat it all myself!

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Spicy Basil Black Bean Burgers

4 Aug

I love bean burgers — and not just because I’m vegan. I honestly think they just taste better. I could eat one every day, especially these. And yes, because they’re not made with tempeh, soy, seitan, or TVP, they tend to be “mushier,” “crumblier,” or whatever other adjective you want to use to deprecate these fabulous edible entities. But who cares? The fact remains that bean burgers rule. And black bean burgers are king and queen. This should come as no surprise.

I had my first ever, true bean burger at a vegan restaurant just last year. What made it so true? Well, it wasn’t a pre-made-frozen-boxed-grocery store-bought disappointment. It was homemade, just like a good bean burger should be. And that “not-so-meat-like consistency” was actually what I liked most about the bean burger besides how good it tasted. So, here I am, a year later, deciding to take the bean burger into my own hands, because honestly, I’ve gotten to the point where I just want to be able to eat one whenever I want without having to go out.

This burger is fabulous and very easy to make. Don’t be deterred by the size of the ingredients list — it’s mostly made up of spices. This recipe is really, very simple. And once you have your veggies chopped, it’s very quickly made too! These were just the right amount of spicy for me, but if you want to kick it up a notch, add more cayenne or better yet, more chipotle chile pepper. It goes without saying, but the smoked paprika gives it a really nice smoky flavor, you’d be sad to go without it.

If you don’t have access to an oven (like if you’re camping or in a dorm with just a stove top), no worries! You can still enjoy these, just omit the oven step. They will just be a bit less firm. Since it’s summer and everyone’s firing up the barb-y, you’ll be happy to know that you can also grill these. Now, I haven’t tried this myself, but I’m sure if you wrap ‘em up tightly in aluminum foil and toss ‘em a bit on the grill, they’ll be just fine!

Wherever you are, however you cook them — I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Continue reading

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