Friday, December 31, 2010

swiss chard frittata

between christmas travel and going out for new years eve tonight i found time last night to squeeze in one last vegan brunch dinner before december ends. oh and i also made a double batch of bagels (the recipe in vegan brunch is my chosen bagel recipe) to stick in the freezer. but back to dinner, a swiss chard fritatta! the base is tofu and seasoning mashed up and then you mix in chard, i used red chard as suggested because it's pretty but really i imagine any green will do, press it into a pie pan, bake it and, ta da!, pair it with a salad and you have a perfect light and tasty dinner. unfortunately the top was the pretty side and when i flipped it onto the plate it became less photogenic. oh well. it was delicious! and i had a slice for lunch today and the leftovers are just as good.

i really enjoyed focusing on one cookbook this month but i still feel like there are so many recipes in here that i'm dying to make. i think everyone should have this book, vegan or not the recipes are just plain delicious and that's what matters. here's a handy link so you can buy it.

and on that note, happy new year everybody! here's to a delicious 2011.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

speculoos: a novel

our time in europe a few months ago was fabulous but there was one very sad incident that i didn't mention before...

one of my goals for the trip was to get some speculoos! speculoos was a mysterious thing to me. a spread that i had read much about but never tasted and never found in the states. when we landed in amsterdam and were waiting at the airport/train station i passed the time by exploring the little grocery store (obviously) and was delighted to see speculoos. it was so easy! i would pick some up on our way out of the country. i think that deep down i knew this wouldn't fly with airport security and sure enough, minutes after i purchased it, they confiscated my 'loos. i asked the nice security lady if i could have it back for just a second. she obliged, i opened it, dipped my pinky in and fell in love....and then sadly handed it over.

if you're not familiar, speculoos is a sweet spread that tastes like graham crackers. or delta biscoff cookies. it is delicious! and we're in luck because you can now buy it on amazon, which is exactly what kris did for me (what a sweetie). all plans of savoring this precious jar and making it last were squashed when i saw that the expiration date was quickly approaching, though i'm doubtful that this stuff actually expires. in any case, here is how to use a jar of speculoos in a month:

first: test out the claim that this is a "sandwich spread" by making a speculoos and jelly sandwich. yummy....but this stuff is better suited for dessert in my opionion.

second: speculoos brownies! make your favorite brownie recipe and spread that batter in a pan. heat the speculoos over low heat until it is runny and pour over brownies. try to make pretty designs if you feel like it. bake. eat.

third: speculoos and graham cracker ice cream. add crushed graham crackers to your ice cream during the last few minutes of freezing. heat your speculoos as you did for the brownies and let it cool. when transferring your ice cream into the container drizzle speculoos all through it. this is especially awesome because when the speculoos freezes it gets hard and becomes like speculoos chips in the ice cream!

fourth: think that a scraped jar means you're done? nope! use the jar for overnight oats! add one part oats, two parts milk of choice and any other seasoning/additions you want. let it sit overnight in the fridge and in morning oatmeal is made! eat and and enjoy little hints of speculoos.


Saturday, December 18, 2010


i've made these pierogi before but i was excited to make them again this month before our vegan brunch bonanza ends. these take some time but the delicious pierogi payoff is well worth it. it's especially perfect if you have a dreary saturday or sunday on your hands and just want to hang out in the kitchen.

you can either eat these right after boiling or boil and then pan fry. when they were freshly made we did not pan fry but with the leftovers the next day we did to put a little more life into them after a night in the fridge. you can't go wrong either way.

here's a note i forgot to mention in my last post about these guys - the book gives two filling options (potato onion and mushroom sauerkraut) and either one will be enough to fill all of the pierogi. if you want to make both fillings (like me) you can just halve both recipes, but if you don't do that (like me) you will have lots of filling left. here's what to do: mix 'em both together and fry 'em up in little patties. and if you don't want to dedicate hours to making these may i recommend just skipping right to this "leftover plan"?


Sunday, December 12, 2010

coconut bacon

i don't normally repost recipes that i make from other blogs but i must share this one because if you have not heard about the magic of coconut bacon you are really missing out! sure, tempeh bacon is good stuff but this! this is amazing. the flavor is similar but it has a crunch that i have never been able to get from tempeh bacon. and sometimes maybe you just want to lay off the soy and switch things up a bit. well coconut bacon to the rescue!

the blog i found this on is called good good things. i made mine much the same way as she did - soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup (and i added apple cider vinegar) in a bowl to taste. you can search for a recipe if you want but this isn't a science and i think it would be pretty hard to mess up. into that mixture add a bunch of large, unsweetened flaked coconut (i found mine at the bulk store in my neighborhood). toss it around to cover all of the coconut and let it sit for a bit while the oven heats up to 350. spread it out on a baking sheet, good good things recommends 10 minutes then stir it around and keep a close eye, checking and stirring every minute. good advice. when it's done take it out and let it cool for a minute and it should be nice and crisp crisp crisp. it does retain a slight coconut flavor and that is not a bad thing. trust me.

first we made blt's (obviously) and they were yummy. but this morning was when the amazingness happened. vegan jackson crooks for breakfast. for those not in the know a jackson crook is a bagel sandwich from bagel rising in boston. i have never had one myself but kris loved them back in the day and many argue that they are the best bagel sandwich there is. so that's what you see pictured at the top of this post: bagel (garlic here), coconut bacon, red onion and tomato. i cheated and went open faced. kris made a proper one sandwich style.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

pumpkin pancakes

friday night's breakfast dinner wasn't quite as exciting since we've been cooking so much from vegan brunch this month, but it's still a fun way to end the work week. last night we kept it simple with pumpkin pancakes and a side of fruit (which included the best kiwi of my life that we got at the farmer's market last week. will definitely look for more of them tomorrow). i love all things pumpkin and it almost makes you feel like you can justify eating pancakes for dinner (if you feel the need to justify such things) because, after all, pumpkin is good for you. this is a great pancake recipe - it's easy (as pancakes should be) and results in fluffy pancakes that taste like fall. what more could you ask for?


Thursday, December 9, 2010

coleslaw potato salad with cumin seeds

we did it again. while browsing our sunday farmer's market we just couldn't resist. so we made slaw, we made cabbage peanut noodles but when we got the third day we were stuck. well thanks to our self imposed month of vegan brunch i knew just where to look! and once again this book did not disappoint. it was a toss up between curry scrambled tofu with cabbage and caraway and this salad we have here. ultimately this one won because we had just had tofu the night before. ahh easy decisions i love you. it really is brilliant to put coleslaw and potato salad together and i really enjoyed the little twist that the cumin seeds lended. also this is a creamy potato salad that calls for veganaise but i used a homemade mayo-ish creation that did not gross me out! hooray!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


happy hanukkah! it really snuck up on me this year. i mean, it was just thanksgiving and i'm already supposed to be ready for another holiday? well i'm not. sorry hanukkah. sorry everybody who won't be getting a gift for a few more weeks. but there is one thing i'm ready for....latkes! it really is a shame when the eight nights pass without a single latke and i wasn't going to let that happen this year. in fact, i would place latke eating as a higher priority hanukkah necessity than a proper menorah.*

so for the second time in a week the cast iron skillet** came out, the vegetable oil poured out in glugs and deep frying was under way! no question, latkes are always worth the frying hassle.

when i was growing up my mom made latkes using the recipe in the vegetarian epicure and this is the recipe i use as a guideline now. though here's a little latke secret - most recipes use eggs in them but they're really not necessary and you don't even have to replace them with anything, just pretend that whole part about adding eggs doesn't even exist. the rough recipe as i make it is below, this is just a guide and you may have to add more or less matzo meal depending on how good you are at squeezing the liquid out of your potatoes.

makes about 15-20 small-ish latkes
2 1/2 cups grated raw potatoes (about 3 baking potatoes)
4 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons matzo meal
black pepper to taste
oil for frying

first you've got to grate your potatoes

(oh please please please can i buy a big food processor with a grating attachment?) squeeze out as much water as you can. then measure (you'll probably have more than 2 1/2 cups so just add a little more of everything else cause that's much smarter than wasting potato). chop up your onion and add it to the shredded potatoes in a large bowl. add the matzo meal, salt and pepper to taste. mix it all up and try forming a patty to make sure it holds together. add more matzo meal if needed.

heat up your oil. when it gets to around 350 (i got this "meat" thermometer from foodbuzz and was pretty excited to be able to track the oil temperature. if you don't have one just test the oil with a bit of potato and when it bubbles it's ready) it's time to stop taking pictures and start frying! cook for a few minutes on each side until nicely browned and crispy. drain on a paper bag or paper towels.

we topped these with applesauce and vegan brunch cashew sour cream (staying on theme here!). and since fried potatoes are not a complete meal we also had some broccoli topped with vegan brunch hollandaise sauce. this was a delicious dinner! i want to eat it again right now.

*though i did look for candles for my menorah. really.
**these recent frying episodes have made me fall in love with my cast iron skillet. i'm convinced that this little pan is the best frying vessel there is. the oil heats up quickly and stays hot and i find it's much easier to clean up afterwards than when i've tried frying in any other pan.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

december, the month of vegan brunch

in order to work through the gobs of cookbooks hanging around the apartment (too many of which go unused) kris and i decided to start a one cookbook per month experiment. it doesn't mean that we will cook solely recipes from that book and nothing else but it does mean that when we're thinking "hmmm what to make tonight?" that is the book we will turn to for a full month. so basically it's that cookbook or concoctions or staples in our rotation. yes the rules are a bit loosely defined at the moment (and i'm fully expecting to cheat) but i'm looking forward to exploring some new recipes.

so for december we're going to focus on vegan brunch (a lately not ignored at all cookbook....does this defeat the purpose? perhaps. but will it still be fun and delcious? absolutely! and that's what matters). i won't be posting recipes from this book but i will show some pretty pictures and maybe you will go out and buy the book which you should cause i can already tell you that this one well worth it.

to kick off our brunchy month we made beer battered tofu and garlic roasted potatoes. SUPER SUCCESS! the tofu was perfect. i am usually hesitant to fry things at home because i feel like the results are not worth the mess, the oil and the smell that lingers in the apartment for hours. but this one is so worth it! the batter was perfect and fried up to a nice light pillowey casing. i will definitely use this batter for future frying adventures. and garlic roasted potatoes? enough said.

and i promise i will try to make some yumcoast worthy creations this month so as not to completely leave you recipe deprived in december.