Monday, December 31, 2012

Cooking the Stress Away!

Today was a rough day.  Lots of stuff happened that stressed me out, and being the mildly passive aggressive person that I am, I decided to distract myself by slaving away in the kitchen.  Lovely!
Since tomorrow is New Year's Day and I did not want to chop anything at all, I made everything ahead for the week, which is my usual M. O.  Some may call it lazy, but I call it planning ahead and being.... well, lazy. ;)
So, you may all be asking, "What did you make?" 
First, I made Korean Rice Cake Soup which is a customary dish to eat on New Year's in Korean culture.  The original uses animal broth/stock and bits of beef and a loosely mixed in scrambled egg (which is really delish), but I opted to make the dish with alternatives like "beef" flavored TVP. 
(I forgot to measure everything, so I can't provide my recipe, but here's a link if you want to try your hand at it.  Replace animal stock for veg and/or kelp stock with some soy sauce and miso OR if you want the real deal taste, with dashi stock granules)

"Beef" flavored TVP

1/4 c soy sauce
3/4 c water
1 c TVP

1.  bring liquid mixture to a boil.  Add TVP and turn heat off.  let it sit til completely re-hydrated.

Next, I made a cheeze sauce for my kale chips.  There are multiple ways to make kale chips with different flavors, but this one is tried and true for me. 

Cheezy Kale Chips
(recipe from

1 batch of cheezy sauce
1 bunch of kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
baking sheets
parchment paper

1.  preheat oven to the lowest temp (mine is 200 degrees). 
put all kale into a large bowl.  pour cheeze sauce in and mix well. 
2.  spread out onto parchment paper on baking sheets in a single layer.  bake for about 2-3 hours (i baked it for 3 hours) until the kale is crispy and completely dry.  they shouldn't be burnt. 

(I actually doubled the cheeze sauce recipe so that I could use the rest on cheezy nachos later on in the week.  mmm~)

Next, I made an easy, vegan, crustless quiche from Happy Herbivore.  Cheap, protein-packed and yummy goodness!  (click the following link for recipe:  Spinach & Mushroom Quiche)

And finally, I made the batter for the BEST vegan omelets I have found!  I may have mentioned this in my first blog (or didn't I?) but these are SO good, I wouldn't mind eating them all day long, which is what I intend to do tomorrow.  Which is why, I declare my New Year's Day, Omelet Day! :) 
Here it is:  Tofu Omelet

The only modification I made was that I used mori-nu tofu, and it worked fined for me.  I still had to add water, as the batter didn't spread in the pan on its own.  But it didn't matter  because my delight in having found the perfect omelet replacement covered such insignificance. 

I will note that if you are new to the vegan world or even eating a cleaner, healthier lifestyle, then browsing the several sites listed above is a good way to see that eating healthy isn't boring at all, and is, in fact, a lot more adventurous than eating "normal". 
I have much thanks to give to the vegan pioneers that have gone before me as they have fueled my appetite and curiosity for a more playful vegan world. 
And tomorrow morning, vegan waffles are in order! Hear hear!

Thanks to:
Happy Herbivore
Oh She Glows
The Post Punk Kitchen
(and any others I have forgotten) :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

There's A First Time For Everything

Hello everyone,
Now I know this is my very first blog post, and maybe it's because I finally watched Julie & Julia today and was inspired, but I have to say that anything chocolate is divine! 
Here I am, writing this first post for the world to read, while I am licking the bowl and spatula of my (currently baking) creation.  CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE!!!  As Meg Ryan's character so lovingly put it, I like to begin my posts as if we were very old friends.  So friend, I want to say, I NEVER in my entire life thought that tofu could be so non-existent and sooooo~ delicious! 

It all started when I began craving chocolate like the dickens this week.  This never happens to me, and whenever I do get a sugar craving, I very sharply tell myself, "You need more vitamin B12.  Eat whole grains!" and I promptly eat something very grainy and fiberous.  HOWEVER, today is a different occasion because, after all, it is the holiday season, is it not? 

I warn you friends, that I may not always post pictures, and this is because my photographer family members have dominated all the photo-taking talent right out of the family tree (or at least out of my DNA).  Thus, I have lived a life with very little interest in taking pictures, but I will try and develop a habit of it.

NOW, on to important matters: Chocolate!

Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake
(adapted from Happy Herbivore's cheesecake & crust recipe)

for the crust:
1 2/3 c graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
7 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp cocoa powder

for the filling:
1-12.3 oz mori-nu tofu, drained
1-8 oz pkg of tofutti cream cheese, softened @ room temp.
1/2 c coconut palm sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
pinch of smoked (or regular) paprika
1 tsp coffee (espresso, instant, doesn't matter)
6-8 oz of vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
1.  make crust: 
grease 9" springform pan.
mix all the crust ingredients together until a nice dewy paste forms.  using a spoon or hands, press into the pan and go up the sides at least an inch.
bake in the oven for 8 min. and let it cool completely before using.

2.  make filling:
in food processor, mix all the filling ingredients up to chocolate chips and blend until smooth.
melt chocolate chips either in a double boiler or in the microwave.  (remember to use microwave safe bowl!)
when the chocolate is melted, add to the smooth filling, and blend until well incorporated. 

3.  bring it together:
pour the filling into the crust, and bake for 40-45 min.  let it cool until room temp, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours (like all cheesecakes).

4.  when you've waited long enough, cut yourself a slice and enjoy! 
(tip: if you dip the knife in hot water, wipe off water, then cut, and repeat for each slice, you'll come out with clean slices)

I must warn you, your imagination will run wild with what kind of toppings you can add: cacao nibs, peanut butter frosting, marshmallow, the sky is the limit with a luscious base of chocolate like this! 
Well my friends, I hope you have a wonderful weekend and an equally lovely New Year's!