Friday, January 29, 2010

Chocolate and Walnut Farfalle

I grew up eating noodles tossed with ground nuts and sugar. It might sound weird if you didn’t grow up in Eastern Europe, but pasta + sweet is a delightful concoction the rest of the world is truly missing out on. So I felt compelled to bring your attention to it by cooking up a batch of Chocolate and Walnut Farfalle (page 480).

The farfalle of choice were whole wheat, which added a little extra flavor and nutrition. And because I tossed the nuts into the food processor with the chocolate chips right after roasting, the chips melted. And then melted more when they met hot pasta. This was a great development.

Roasting the walnuts makes all the difference. The smoky nuttiness of the walnuts, paired with the sweetness of the melted chocolate, all on top of the chewy bite of the pasta makes for one fine eating experience. I’ve had plenty of noodles with nuts, but toasting those nuts well and adding melty chocolate is a delectable, welcome twist on an old classic.

- - Ulpia, the nuttiest! - -

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Brown Rice and Lentil Pilaf

All right, maybe the sound of a Brown Rice and Lentil Pilaf (page 270) doesn't make your gourmand heart race, but lentils pack a wallop of great protein and, although this simple dish is little more than that, it did catch my weightlifter eye.

Unsurprisingly, the flavors didn't slay me, but I liked it! Yes, I liked it quite a bit. And after it hung out in the fridge overnight, it was even better. Sure, there are hundreds of other recipes in the book for occasions to impress, but when you need a quick, easy weekday meal that lends itself well to leftover-eating, this pilaf is the way to go.

- - Ulpia - -

Curried Chickpea Patties w/ Spiced Oven-Roasted Potato Sticks

Curried Chickpea Patties w/ Spiced Oven-Roasted Potato Sticks

Continuing her streak of quick, easy, and delicious recipes, Robin's Curried Chickpea Patties {page 123} w/ Spiced Oven-Roasted Potato Sticks {page 375} are two more clear winners.

The patties were quick to throw together and used pantry staples. They went perfectly in a sandwich, paired with curried Vegenaise, crisp lettuce, and fresh tomato. They reminded us of falafel, but a little more moist {and therefore a little more delicious}.

The potato sticks were fairly easy, and the Old Bay spice used to season them was a unique idea. They didn't get very crisp in the oven during the baking time stated, but that can easily be adjusted to achieve the desired doneness.

This was a fun, quick, and easy meal, and will definitely become a regular on the menu here.

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Creamy Cashew Fettucini with Mushrooms and Peas

Creamy Cashew Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Peas

Creamy and reminiscent of home, Creamy Cashew Fettucini with Mushrooms and Peas {page 221} makes for a comforting dinner.

This recipe drenches tender noodles and sauteed peas and mushrooms in a creamy and satisfying cashew-based sauce. Although there are several steps to the recipe, they are laid out well in the recipe to promote the best time management strategy. As the vegetables were sauteeing, I had plenty of time to cook the noodles and make the sauce.

I enjoyed the crunch of the roasted cashews and breadcrumbs on top, but my only complaint with the recipe is that it seems to be ill-suited to a baked pasta. Before I put it in the oven, the pasta was creamy and perfect. After being in the oven for just a few minutes, all the creamy sauce soaked right up into the noodles, leaving the whole casserole dry and lacking. To tell you the truth, I didn't enjoy this dish very much because of that.

I would definitely suggest this recipe as a good comfort food dish, but I would recommend NOT baking it, and just using the cashews/breadcrumbs as garnish. I think it would taste much better in its original creamy form.

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

Friday, January 22, 2010

Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad

When I was growing up, my mom never made macaroni salad, not even one time! She did make potato salad but never macaroni salad. Whenever we were getting take out (only on special occasions) at a very non-vegan place that shall remain nameless, I always gravitated towards the macaroni salad. It wasn't even that good and sort of tasted artificial, but I got it anyway because that was the only time I could get it. Fast-forward to my teenage years. I still bought it when it was available wherever I was eating or shopping and also made it quite frequently a little later on. You've probably figured it out, but I love macaroni salad, so how could I pass up the Macaroni Salad (page 92) recipe?

It's your classic deli-style salad in a creamy mayo-based dressing. Now, any sort of pasta salad isn't complicated to make, but you want to get the ratio right of your dressing ingredients. I usually make mine to taste and put in a few other things but I wanted to try this recipe. The recipe has an excellent ratio of ingredients that produces a great base dressing for the salad with room to customise to your tastes. I ended up adding in more onion, celery and red pepper than called for and also added in more mayo (I couldn't help it, I'm a Vegenaise fiend) and sweet relish. On my second helping, I added in a little ketchup since that is usually what I put in mine (just a little).

If you like a classic mayo-based macaroni salad and are looking for a recipe, try this. It's quick to throw together (aside from chilling time), inexpensive and it's a great salad to bring to a vegan or non-vegan potluck.

— Ms. Veganorama

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Basil

I had a spaghetti squash hanging out in my fridge for weeks after buying it at the farmers' market on a whim one day. I'm ever eager to find stuff-I've-never-tried. Imagine my surprise when the separate strands peeled away like so many long noodles. (After boiling it in a too-small-for-it sauce pan and turning it repeatedly and impatiently.)

The Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Basil (page 383) is meant as a side dish, but if you cook it all up just for yourself, it makes a fine dinner, too. And simple to boot. And, as you can see, I used those mini tomatoes; which made it all the more fun. Imagine little bursts of tart and sweet surprising your taste buds every now and again. It was delightfully savory and excitingly hilarious to eat. Strands of squash! How cool is that!

- - Ulpia, ever delighted by strange squashes - -

Monday, January 18, 2010

Vegan Eggs Benedict

Vegan Eggs Benedict

I have to admit, I never had eggs benedict when I was an omnivore. However, I'm obsessed with vegan eggs benedict now. I feel compelled to try every vegan eggs benedict recipe I come across, so naturally Vegan Eggs Benedict {page 511} was going to make it to my table sooner or later.

The recipe calls for veggie bacon or Canadian bacon. I decided to go homemade-style, and make the Ham Fauxsage from 500 Vegan Recipes. It was perfect for this dish.

This iteration of "eggs" benedict is probably my favorite yet. Crisp, toasted English muffin, topped with a thick slice of tomato, faux ham, deliciously seasoned tofu egg, and cashew-based hollandaise sauce. The results were a brunch made in heaven. Even the Supertoddler enjoyed it, after he examined it quizzically. Finally declaring it "pokette" {his term for croquette}, he devoured it with zeal!

I would definitely make this again, especially for a brunch or special occasion. It is impressive, easy, and delicious!

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup with Baby Spinach

Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup with Baby Spinach

Soup is one of the best winter meals, and during those cold months I try to have soup on the table at least once a week. Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup with Baby Spinach {page 158} was this week's pick.

The soup is very easy to put together, uses standard ingredients that are affordable {and that many may already have in their pantries}, and is hearty and delicious without being overly-indulgent. It packs protein from the peanut butter, and lots of vitamins and minerals from the sweet potato and the spinach. Aside from being healthful, easy, and affordable, the soup was delicious!

A little kick from the cayenne, and plenty of flavor make this simple dish a winner!

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Basic White Bread

Basic White Bread

There is nothing quite like homemade bread, and the smell that wafts through your house as you're baking it is heaven on earth. Talk about comfort at its finest. Basic White Bread {page 393} is a delicious iteration of the standard recipe.

Lots of people are intimidated by baking bread, but there's really no reason to be. Robin's recipe gives thorough and easy-to-follow instructions which ensure success for even the least experienced bread baker.

This is the perfect bread to serve with soup, for breakfast, or for a snack anytime.

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mushroom Goulash


I let my boyfriend pick out a recipe for me to make for dinner. He picked Mushroom Goulash. He is not vegan and a very picky eater. Fortunately we share a love of mushrooms. The list of ingredients seemed a bit odd to me- portobello mushrooms and sauerkraut? But I was game to try it.

This recipe was very easy to throw together. However I accidentally put too much salt in. To counteract the salt I added a little sugar. The sauce was a little sweet before The Great Salt Disaster so I figured sugar might restore some of that sweetness. Luckily I was right and didn't further screw up dinner. I also added more sour cream because, well, it's sour cream. Do I really need a reason?

I served the pasta over vegetable fettucine because I think it is pretty. It was still a little salty, especially the first night. However, it was still good and both of us enjoyed it even more for lunch the next day. I definitely would make this again though next time I would not add as much salt and I would put in more portobellos.


Orange-Coconut Cake

Orange-Coconut Cake

Some of my favorite desserts of all time have come from this book, and Orange-Coconut Cake {page 450} is definitely one to add to the list!

The title of the cake didn't appeal to me, but thankfully I was patient and took the time to read through the ingredients before passing it by. Orange juice? Check. Coconut milk? Check. Vegan cream cheese? Check. How could I not make a cake that includes some of my very favorite things?

The cake was easy to put together. In 45 minutes it baked up darker than I thought it would, but I wouldn't say that affected the flavor of the cake at all. The cake was dense and moist, but with a delicate crumb. PERFECT cake texture, and something that I haven't experienced yet in a vegan cake.

The frosting is really more of a glaze, and it is easy and amazingly delicious as well. The cake is topped with shredded coconut. In the header of the recipe, she states that her mother used to put mandarin oranges on the top, but that she'd omitted it because she didn't like them. I, on the other hand, love mandarin oranges, and I live in a household of mandarin orange lovers. I decided to take her non-suggestion and put them on top. It was delicious with them, but I'm sure it would be delicious without too. All a matter of personal preference.

Overall, this is another of my all-time favorite desserts, and the Ninjahusband, Supertoddler, and Wondersisters agree. I have a feeling I'm going to get many repeat requests for this!

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Caribbean Rice, Squash, and Peas, Zucchini Walnut Fritters, and Roasted Baby Potatoes...

Caribbean Rice, Squash, and Peas + Zucchini Walnut Fritters + Roasted Baby Potatoes with Spinach, Olives, and Grape Tomatoes

A seemingly odd hodge-podge of side-dishes, Caribbean Rice, Squash, and Peas {page 268}, Zucchini Walnut Fritters {page 385} and Roasted Baby Potatoes with Spinach, Olives, and Grape Tomatoes {page 376} came together to make an easy, satisfying, and delicious meal.

Caribbean Rice, Squash, and Peas was a rice pilaf which included some flavors of the Caribbean, along with black-eyed peas and gems of tender butternut squash. The textures and flavors worked well together, although it was a little bland. Some additional seasonings and liberal addition of salt saved the dish and made it pleasant to eat. A great staple.

In Zucchini Walnut Fritters, I found yet another recipe in this book that is going to grace my table repeatedly. Easy to put together, these little fritters were crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, and full of wonderful flavor. Everyone at the table absolutely loved them, including Supertoddler, Ninjahusband, and the Wondersisters. We all wished that I'd made a double batch, as we were hankering for seconds.

I love roasted vegetables, and Roasted Baby Potatoes with Spinach, Olives, and Grape Tomatoes was a fun variation on the standard. I didn't have the Savory herb called for {speaking of is Savory? I'm beginning to think it doesn't exist. I have never been able to find it any ANY store.} I used a garlic and herb seasoning instead. The tomatoes and spinach went really well with the potatoes. I found the olives to be a little overpowering and distracting, but they were good for color, and added an interesting flavor note.

Over all, the dinner was delicious, and came together relatively quickly, despite the number of dishes. It is definitely something I would make again, either in whole or in part.

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

EBAP (Everything But Animal Products) Pizza

EBAP (Everything but animal products) Pizza

Pizza. Who doesn't like pizza? What's there not to like when you can customise it to however you want?

I stopped buying pre-made pizza crust over a year ago due to cost and ingredients. The good stuff from health food stores is expensive and the cheap stuff has questionable ingredients. Homemade pizza dough is easy and cheap and without any of the questionable stuff. Even though I have my own tried and true recipe for crust, I decide to make the EBAP (Everything But Animal Products) Pizza (page 130) using the Basic Pizza Dough (page 128).

The basic dough is similar to most doughs out there so I won't get into it too much except to say that you can add herbs and spices to it as well. I like to add in few dashes of garlic powder to my dough.

The pizza itself is really just a blueprint. Robin says in the header notes that it's an "anything goes" pizza but I decided to go with two of her suggested toppings — sauteed red peppers and onions — and then sprinkled some nutritional yeast on top.

Aside from the rising time needed for the dough, everything came together quickly and produced a nice crispy pizza for lunch. If you like crispy crusts but don't want to mess with pizza stones or tiles, then do get a perforated pizza pan. They're inexpensive and your crust will bake up nice and evenly crispy on the bottom.

If you're still using store-bought pizza crust or dough, stop. Homemade is so much better for you and for your wallet.

— Ms. Veganorama

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pecan Pie (... but with walnuts)

Pecan Pie

Let me start by saying that I almost never make desserts. I really don't have a sweet tooth and well, as an intuitive cook who cooks by sight, smell and taste, I have a lot of problems with the exact measurements needed for baked goods (except bread). I am terrible with pastry and have no patience for it. However, over the holidays I decided that I was going to practice making pie crusts for both sweet and savoury pies and ended up buying a dough blender, perforated pie pan and a silicone pie crust guard thingy. All three sat there unused until today.

Even though I don't have a sweet tooth, I did previously enjoy a butter tart or two pre-vegan. Basically it's like a pecan pie, but without the pecans and you can find it in a package of two at most convenience stores in the great white north. I had a craving for them so I thought, hey, why don't I try the Pecan Pie (page 462) from the book?

The pie crust is pretty much like any standard pie crust — the kind that I am terrible with. Flour, fat, salt, sugar and water. I readied myself to struggle with it but it came together fairly easily with the dough blender. So much easier than a damn fork or two butter knives. If you don't have a dough blender, GET ONE. I substituted vegetable shortening for the margarine and upped the salt to almost 1 tsp.

While the dough was chilling in the fridge, I made the filling. As the liquid was simmering in the saucepan, I realised that I didn't have any pecans (doh!) but I did have walnuts which I thought was a worthy substitute.

Now on to the taste. The crust? I thought it was great! Flaky and rich, just like a pie crust is supposed to be. The filling was gooey and sweet but not sickly sweet and I can see it working with lots of different types of nuts, not just pecans (or walnuts). Colour me impressed I made a pie with a great flaky crust! I do need to work on my crust shaping but who cares, it was good! Now I still don't like making pie crust, but now I know I can actually make a decent one.

This is one delicious pie that I can see myself making again. Maybe next time I'll make them into little tarts, without pecans and a sprinkle of raisins. ;)

— Ms. Veganorama

Thank you Kristin!

Just a quick thanks to Kristin, our guest blogger this week. You can visit her at Beans & Greens.

Thanks Kristin for the awesome posts!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Baked Mac and Cheeze - Guest Post by Kristin

Vegan Macaroni and 'Cheese'

I've had a favorite vegan macaroni and 'cheese' recipe for years (New Farm Cookbook recipe) and have been quite dedicated to it. I see new recipes for macaroni and 'cheese' all the time and have not been able to bring myself to try another. I sometimes even buy ingredients to try another recipe and wind up making the old standby. Well I finally did it. I made a different recipe.

I tried the Baked Mac and Cheeze {page 222} and you know, I loved it. I still like my old recipe too, but I cannot decide which one I like more. This recipe is less creamy (and probably a lot healthier) but it tastes great. It has a little onion in it which gives it a nice flavor and also has a healthy dose of cayenne for a big kick. I think I might use just a tad less cayenne next time, but otherwise, I would not change a thing. This recipe will probably now be the go-to macaroni and 'cheese' recipe for a while. It was time for a change. The Divine Miss V also posted about this recipe for Mac and Cheeze, so go read her review too!

I used whole wheat breadcrumbs for the topping and served it with broccoli.

Vegan Macaroni and 'Cheese'

-- Kristin
Beans and Greens

Broccoli Noodle Soup

Broccoli Noodle Soup

Quick, simple, delicious, and comforting, Broccoli Noodle Soup {page 146} is a great weeknight meal.

A spin on classic chicken noodle soup, this recipe contains simple and fresh ingredients, cooked to perfection and in perfect harmony with one another. At first glance, it seemed odd to have broccoli in a noodle soup, but it ended up being my favorite part. The Supertoddler liked the soup so well that I had a hard time getting a picture of it. I have about a dozen shots with his arm and spoon reaching into the soup, trying to get a bite. Once I finally got a picture of it and yielded the bowl to him, he downed the entire thing in record time.

I would highly recommend this for a quick meal, especially on a sick day!

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

Thursday, January 7, 2010



I'm not picky about cornbread, I tend to like most of them I've tried. That being said, I am fairly confident that Cornbread {page 401} is hands down the very best cornbread I've ever had in my life.

It has a perfect cornmeal-to-flour ratio {especially when using coarse cornmeal}, is not too sweet, has a delicate but dense crumb, and a crispy exterior with a moist interior. I also particularly like the fact that this recipe doesn't call for any egg replacer, and uses very basic pantry staples. I made a pan to go with some chili we were having at my brother-in-law's house, and it disappeared in a matter of minutes. I only got one tiny piece from that pan, and was craving it again badly. When I got home, I made a whole second pan that Ninjahusband, Supertoddler and I all devoured within a day.

It is so good, in fact, that I think I might just have to go make another pan right now...

Until next time.

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

Seitan Noodle Casserole - Guest Post by Kristin

Seitan Noodle Casserole

I recently bought some seitan from a local natural foods store. I didn't realize till I got home that it was shaved seitan (cut very thinly). I had no idea what to do with that, so I stuck it in the freezer. I was looking through the book looking for something to make and saw the Seitan Noodle Casserole {p 316}. It looked perfect for the seitan in the freezer. I made this last night for dinner and thought it was just ok. I expected it to be creamier than it was (more like a tetrazzini). It tasted fine, but I'm not sure I'd make it again.

-- Kristin
Beans and Greens

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Apple and Pear Cobbler

The Apple and Pear Cobbler (page 471) was baked up for a whole bunch of guests, all of whom enjoyed its wonderfully spiced sweetness despite it having long cooled off while hanging out in the kitchen. In fact, it was perfectly yummy straight out of the fridge the next day. It's classic, homey, and spiced just right.

- - Ulpia, ever-thankful for the peeling & chopping help from her grandma - -

Creamy Tahini Dressing - Guest post by Kristin

Creamy Tahini Dressing

I love tahini in just about anything. I especially love tahini in salad dressing so I had to try out the Creamy Tahini Dressing {page 102} and I definitely was not disappointed. The tahini really shines in this dressing and makes me look forward to our nightly dinner salad. I did think that it was missing an element of sweetness so I might add a dash of agave nectar to it next time.

The only change I made to this recipe was to mix the dressing in the Vita-Mix instead of mixing by hand. The salad is green leaf lettuce, dried cranberries, and gomasio.

-- Kristin
Beans and Greens

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Spinach Souffle

I made the Spinach Souffle (page 329) for family and friends, seven omnivores and one other vegan, and all loved it. The taste is tame but perfectly flavorful. The preparation, though it involves a few steps, is very simple and quick, baking time aside. This dish is ideal for one of those “gotta make something nice but don't want to spend too much time on it” occasions.

Having never made any manner of souffle before, and consequently not quite sure how “browned” it should be, I may've overbaked it. But if I did, no one could tell. And everyone vied for seconds before it was all gone. I would've went for thirds had there been more.

- - Ulpia enjoyed this with madeira-sauce mashed potatoes and a glass of spiced rum - -

Monday, January 4, 2010

Carbonara-Style Spaghetti - Guest Post by Kristin

Vegan 'Carbonara'

The Carbonara-Style Spaghetti {page 208} is super-yummy and very easy to make. I've made it twice now and my husband keeps begging me to add this to the menu again. I made it last week for some out-of-town guests and they loved it too. Personally, I don't think you can go wrong with Fakin' Bacon in any dish, especially when you combine it with shallots. I don’t have much else to say about this other than YUM.

I used my own homemade vegan parmesan, spaghettini (thin spaghetti), Fakin’ Bacon, and added peas as suggested in the notes. I just stirred in all of the Fakin' Bacon/Shallot mixture rather than saving some for the topping because I am lazy and that happens to work just fine. Go make this because it is amazing!

Beans and Greens

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chai Spice Cookies

Chai Spice Cookies

Every so often dessert doesn't need to be over the top. It doesn't need to be bold, it doesn't need to be sugary. It just needs to be the final trailing grace note of a perfect meal, nibbled delicately and paired with fragrant tea and good conversation. Chai Spice Cookies {page 433} are just one such dessert.

Full-flavored yet delicate, I can't think of a better accompaniment for a cup of sweet tea {my choice tonight, a nice Stash herbal in wild raspberry}. The cookies are soft and chewy, and especially delicious right out of the oven. They were quick to put together {if we don't count the amount of time it took me to clumsily grind the fennel in my mortar and pestal -- note to self: buy spice grinder}. Overall, I couldn't have hoped for a better ending to a fabulous meal.

Actually...what better ending than to end the meal twice. Be right back, the leftover cookies are calling me from the kitchen.

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

Roasted Winter Squash Risotto

Roasted Winter Squash Risotto

Filling a month-long butternut squash risotto craving, Roasted Winter Squash Risotto {page 274} rocked my dinner table tonight.

I don't know why people shy away from risottos. It is true that they take a little extra attention, and you can't really multitask while they're cooking, but the process of cooking risotto is a form of meditation for me. The methodical stirring of the creamy concoction, the pools and swirls the broth makes upon each addition, the heady aroma of the wine as it reduces and infuses its flavor throughout the dish -- all of these things combine to bring peace and joy to one's soul -- or so I'd argue. It also gives you time to think. Risotto -- delicious dinner AND therapy.

This risotto was pretty standard, nothing special or different. A hint of sage offered a nice backdrop for the sweet little jewels of roasted butternut squash tucked throughout. The dinner was rounded out with Black Bean and Walnut Croquettes {topped with Hollandaze Sauce}, and Roasted Brussel Sprouts.

Just a quick aside -- there are recipes that you find yourself making again and again, and Black Bean and Walnut Croquettes have been one of those for me. I have probably made them 8 or 9 times since the first time, and they never get old. They pair perfectly with nearly everything, take just about any sauce, are quick, cheap, there anything they can't do? Sorry risotto, I don't mean to take up your post with praise for the supporting cast, but I had to herald my love of the black bean croquettes just one more time.

In any event, risotto. Make it, eat it, learn it, study it, meditate on it, love it. {And serve it with black bean croquettes}.

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

German-style Kool-sla

My grandmother had just finished chopping up some cabbage with the intention of producing a salad when I strolled into the kitchen—I stopped her immediately. Now that the hardest part was done, I wanted to make something with it myself. I wasn't sure what, but shredded cabbage had to appear somewhere among 1,000 recipes. Enter the German-style Kool-sla (page 73).

What a delightful mix of sweet and sour! I had no idea cabbage tasted so fine with sugar. Instead of grapeseed oil I used sunflower, my grandmother's favorite and apparently a Romanian staple. It was fabulous and everyone enjoyed it (everyone being parents + g-ma + aunt). Raw cabbage never tasted this delicious!

- - Ulpia suddenly has a hankering for some kool-sla - -

Not-So-Plain Vanilla Cheezcake

Not-So-Plain Vanilla Cheezcake

Robin Robertson is, in my humble opinion, the grand chancellor of vegan cheesecakes. Every cheesecake recipe of hers I've made is simple, perfect in texture, never cracks, is nearly idiot-proof, and always tastes AMAZING. Not-So-Plain Vanilla Cheezcake {page 452} is no exception.

This cheesecake literally takes about 15 minutes to throw together {not counting baking/cooling time}, and definitely results in one of the most delicious desserts in the universe. The texture is creamy and luscious, the taste is light, and it pairs well with any topping you can think of. The cheesecake pictured above was made for my friend's birthday dinner, and her request was classic cherry pie filling.

I also made the cheesecake again for a New Years Day family gathering. I wanted to create a blackberry cheesecake, so I simply blended a cup or so of blackberries in with the batter, and added an extra tbsp of cornstarch to compensate for the added liquid. It came out perfectly. I can envision doing the same with any number of other berries or flavorings.

This is now not just my staple cheesecake recipe, but one of my staple dessert recipes, period. Quick, easy, and delicious enough to fool even the staunchest of omnivores -- what's not to love?

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

Picatta-Style Cashew Chickpea Medallions

Piccata-Style Cashew Chickpea Medallions

I had a discussion with a good friend the other day about how one of my favorite things in the world is sauce. A frequent craving for me is "gravy" or "something with sauce". Picatta-Style Chickpea Medallions {page 266} were a dream come true, because not only did they include a sauce right in the recipe -- they themselves were the perfect vehicle for said sauce {along with the possibility of many others}.

The medallions themselves were mildly flavored, but pleasant, and fairly neutral. I can see them being the perfect accompaniment to many meals, as well as the perfect vehicle for many different sauces. They were very easy to put together, and very quick. It was also handy that they were made out of things I generally have on hand.

The sauce was lemony, light, and delicious, with just the right bite from the capers. If I have one complaint, it's that there wasn't nearly enough sauce for my liking. In the future, I would double or even triple the amount of sauce.

This is another one of those great multipurpose recipes in the book that I can see being useful in a number of applications. It is a good pattern to have on stand by to add some quick and delicious healthy protein to your meal.

-- Your Friendly Neighborhood Batgirl

Indian Double Chickpea Noodles

Indian Double Chickpea Noodles

I absolutely LOVE chickpeas. To my knowledge I never had Chickpeas when I was an Omni. I had hummus before but never paid attention to what it was made from so I don't count that since the types I had could have been made from other beans.

So after becoming Vegan I fell in love with chickpeas! So the Indian Double Chickpea Noodles on page 243 were perfect. There's no Indian store that I'm aware of in my town so used the suggested substitution of Angel Hair Pasta.

This is a simple dish to put together under 15 minutes depending on how quickly you can chop the garlic and peppers.

And short of chickpea noodles you'd probably have everything on hand!


Fired-up Jalapeno Cornbread

Fired-up Jalapeno Cornbread2

I've always had "regular" cornbread for the most part. I truly never thought about adding anything else to it for variety.

The fired-up cornbread on page 401 does add variety. The "kick" is the jalapeƱo which can be omitted or increased/decreased based on tastes without taking away from the dish.

As all cornbread recipes this is easy to put together.

Fired-up Jalapeno Cornbread4


Cheesy Tomato Macaroni

Cheesy Tomato Macaroni

Being a Blue Box lover growing up I've tried various Mac and Cheeze recipes since going Vegan. Most have been the simple stove top varieties but do like a baked dish as well.

The Cheezy Tomato Macaroni on page 225 fit the bill!

There are several steps to this recipe. If you already have Parmesan on hand that'll save you a step otherwise there is a quickie recipe for Parmasio on page 193.


You will also make the Mornay-Style Cheeze Sauce on page 552 to mix with the noodles.

Mornay-Style Cheeze Sauce

The dish comes together very nicely! It's definitely a will make again dish.

Cheesy Tomato Macaroni3


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Brown Rice Salad with Black-Eyed Peas

Brown Rice Salad with Black-Eyed Peas

Having missed the requisite black-eyed peas and greens last New Year's Day, there wasn't a chance I'd let another new year dawn without them. I was surprised to find only one recipe in the book using this important and versatile little bean--Brown Rice Salad with Black-Eyed Peas (p85). Thankfully, it's a recipe that lends itself well to New Year's Day consumption.

In the recipe introduction Robin states this "is a deliciously easy way to serve the traditional New Year's dish," and I wholeheartedly agree. Once you've got your peas and rice cooked, this salad comes together lickety split. The only modifications I made were to add some lightly roasted kale and spinach, and since I was out of fresh parsley, I skipped it. Next go round I'll make sure to have the parsley because it really would have brightened things up. Aside from the rice and black-eyed peas, without which you wouldn't have a salad of course, the ingredient that makes this dish is the toasted pecans. In fact, EXTRA pecans would make it even better!

Robin also states that the dish "can" be made in advance of serving, but my recommendation is to definitely make it ahead and let marinate. Mr. V and Grandma V both thought it quite good, in fact Mr. V had three (yes three!) bowls and had some again the next day. I didn't particularly care for the dish until it had been in the fridge for a good hour. I could taste the olive oil too much and things seemed a bit disparate, but once everything had hung out together for a while, this salad came together in a most wonderful way. I most certainly won't be waiting another year to have this again.

--The Divine Miss V

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all our faithful readers. I know this blog has been slow lately but now that the holidays are over, expect more posts!

Also, we will be introducing guest bloggers from time to time. Stay tuned to read their posts.

In the meantime, we hope that 2010 brings you all good things.

Stay healthy and happy and stay vegan!
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