Showing posts with label snack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label snack. Show all posts

Nov 11, 2012

loaded nachos

Back in Texas, before we were vegan, or even vegetarian for that matter, David was supremely fond of Chili con Queso, cheese sauce with chilies. Having grown up near the border, he tends to be particularly fussy regarding Mexican-style food - especially this cheese sauce. 

I have been working on making a cheese sauce that does not utilize commercial brands of cheese such as Follow Your Heart and Daiya and still tastes like cheese; this is just what I have come up with. David was extremely happy and satisfied with this recipe, and if you have fond memories of creamy, velvety, cheese sauce, I encourage you to give this a try. 

The sauce is great as is, but because he was a dedicated fan of the Chile con Queso, I made this version with diced tomatoes and diced chilies. 

 The recipe uses roasted red peppers, which have a tendency to mold before being used all up, so after giving this recipe a try and deciding that it will be a regular meal ingredient, measure out your three tablespoons portions into ice cube containers or just mounded on a cookie sheet. Freeze and move the frozen mounds of red pepper into a freezer bag. Thaw a portion a bit before making a batch of the sauce and you won't again be reaching into your fridge only to find ruined red peppers.

We wound up licking the bowl clean and making it a requirement that the kids learn how to make this in order to ensure them a more delicious future. The sauce is easy enough to make and truly worth the effort.

Cost Breakdown

beans: $2
chips: $3
olives, onions, jalapeno, lettuce, avocado: $2.50
sauce: $2
tomato and chili: $2
Total to make 5 servings:

Oct 18, 2012

longhorn make over

I couldn't omit from my list of warm, relaxing restaurant environments a western-themed one. Yes, in other words, a casual dining establishment. Another one. It seems the restaurants in American have been sequestered into two categories: fast and casual. Longhorn Steakhouse, no surprise, is supposed to be reminiscent of a Western rancher's home, complete with oil paintings, photos and Western memorabilia.

Story goes, that the original place was fairing poorly, and was about to go under, when a freak snowstorm blew into town, stranding commuters and tourists. The restaurant immediately offered $1 drinks and saved the business! Almost like a miracle! The only thing I am sure of regarding this story, is that this is one article on Wikipedia that might need a little fact checking. Or perhaps the story just leans toward hyperbole.

Longhorn Steakhouse offers as an appetizer a tortilla, rolled around a spicy filling of chicken and cheese, fried and served with an avocado-lime sauce, the Firecracker Chicken Wrap. I replaced the chicken with black beans, still within the theme of the joint, and used vegan cheese instead of the dairy.

This turned out to be one very tasty appetizer. The combo can be baked instead of fried, just as with a taquito or flauta, which, in fact, is what this concoction is. 

Cost Breakdown

tortillas: $1
beans: $.75
cheese: $1
dip: $1
pepper, cilanro: $.75
oil: $2
Total to make 6 flautas:

Their cost per flauta:  $2.20
Make Over cost per flauta: $1.10

Nov 8, 2010

native foods (MoFo 5)

Native Foods is the brain child of Tanya Petrovna, who opened the first Native Foods in 1994. She will be opening the seventh very soon! That is impressive; a vegan restaurant that will be celebrating another grand opening. What is more impressive, though, is the food. I am literally licking the plate that I served the Azteca Ensalada on - that Mango-Lime Dressing rocks!

Another impressive feat is the preparation of her tempeh. While she actually makes the tempeh on the premises, my store-bought version did not suffer any using her technique. Delicious! If you are one of those tempeh-phobes this is the recipe for you. If after having tempeh this way you don't like it, then you never will and you may fearlessly throw in the proverbial towel. 

To the recipes...

Let's face it, nachos are good. Most any nachos. But these Native Nachos are great! Chef Tanya shares her Native Chi's recipe that go on this and the taco 'meat' is TVP. You can freely use seitan ground, however, or omit it at will and double the beans. Nothing processed. Even the cashew sour cream I have on there is very easy to make. THIS is one loaded nacho plate and go ahead and customize it to your palate.

Now for that salad I was drooling over in the beginning - assorted greens with tomato, onion, jicama or apple or asian pear, cucumbers, cilantro, mango, raisin, pumpkin seeds, quinoa (superfood!) and that outrageous Mango-Lime Dressing and you not only have a complete meal but a little piece of heaven.

The last item on our tasting menu is the Gandhi Bowl - two kinds of rice, steamed greens, curry sauce and that tempeh of hers - blackened. Cajun-meets-Asian. Another out-of-the-park dish. She is batting a thousand.

The only real criticism I have is that she is inundating the east coast with her restaurants and is leaving the mid and west coast to suffer without her culinary contributions. Pure selfishness.

Cost Breakdown:

chips: $3 
cheeze, cashew sour cream: $3
TVP, beans: $4
tomato, onion, olive, pepper: $3
Total to make apps for 8:

greens: $4
Asian pear, tomato, cuke, mango: $4
mango, lime, oil, cilantro: $2
raisin, pumpkin: $1
quinoa: $1
Total to make 4 servings:

rice: $1.50
curry, coconut milk: $2
tempeh: $3
greens, cauliflower: $3
Total to make 5 servings:

Native Nachos

Ensalada Azteca

Gandhi Bowl

Nov 6, 2010

cafe flora (MoFo 4)

Cafe Flora is a Seattle  based vegetarian restaurant that opened in 1991. They built their restaurant environmentally minded, to reduce the their impact on the world community as well as their neighbors. They claim that part of their job is to help shift the consumption of animals to a more plant-based diet. They do not want, or expect, everyone to switch to vegetarianism, they do want more people to make it a viable and a more frequent choice to include plant-based meals into their meals. This is logical and very doable. Think about it: if everyone ate meatless meals on, say, ...Monday, how many animals would not have to be in the great animal husbandry industry?  How many less animals would have to be killed weekly? How many people would be so much better off with just one day a week of meatless meals? How would the earth be impacted by this one simple action?

If you haven't included Meatless Mondays into your week, I encourage you to do so this very coming Monday. Breakfast is a no-brainer. Lunch is very easy - soup, salad, sandwich - and for dinner come back here and pick something to make. Recipes are posted, pictures can help you decide and the food is good. Walking to work, changing your light bulbs and recycling are not the only things you can do to help the environment. And a Meatless Monday helps you as well as the animals. A triple whammy!

To help you get started, I am giving away a new copy of a Vegan Cookbook - Joanne Stepaniak's Vegan Vittles. This was one of the first cookbook I picked up ten years ago and it is one of the simplest, easiest to follow, containing very tasty recipes and a great way to introduce yourself to vegetarianism. Leave a comment and let me know what your thoughts are on Meatless Mondays. Contest is open to North American and UK residence and no, you do not have to be an omnivore to enter. Please enter by the end of Monday, Nov. 8. Winner will be announced Tuesday, Nov. 9.

On to today's recipes.

A signature appetizer of Cafe Flora's is the Coconut Tofu with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce. This was nice and coconuty, but not quite as flavorful as I was hoping. The tofu was a little bland, but the crust was great. I think making this with seitan would add more to the flavor. The breading is flour, coconut milk and ground coconut flakes.

Another more successful one was the Lentil Pecan Pate Platter. I know that as a vegan it is not likely that a Liver Pate would be on your Top 100 list of foods to recreate, but I am Hungarian and my dad was a great one for mixing together a chicken liver pate or beef get the gist. We had pig feet in aspic as the New Year meal... yeah.

So forgive me that I have been looking to make liver pate vegan. If you are one of the other dozen or so people in the known universe who is vying for this very thing, look no further than this recipe. You will need red lentils, mirin (rice wine), umeboshi paste (sour plum paste) light miso (Japanese fermented bean paste) and pecans. This is the real thing without liver.

As their signature dish, Cafe Flora presents Oaxaca Tacos with Black Bean Stew. They only make this veg so I adapted it to vegan. It is incredible how some mashed potatoes and black beans can be transformed to this delectable dish. They use real cheese, but I used a recipe adapted from Stepaniak's Uncheese Cookbook to make this soy-free and processed-free. This meal has many components, but they can all be done separately: Black Bean Stew, Smoky Muenster Cheeze, Mashed Potatoes, Salsa, optional feta adapted from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Feta recipe.

Cost Breakdown:

Coconut Tofu
ginger, seaweed, tamari, rice vinegar, miso: $1.50
flour, coconut: $1
coconut milk: $.50
oil: $2
chili, sugar:$1
Total to make apps for 5:

lentil: $1
onion, garlic, spice: $1
mirin, umeboshi, miso: $2
pecan: $1.50
onion, garlic, balsamic, sugar: $2
crackers: $2
Total to make apps for 8:

tortillas: $2
potato: $2
cheeze (cashew, agar): $3
black beans, corn, garlic, spices: $3.50
tomato, pepper, lime: $2
Total to make 5 servings:

Coconut Tofu with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

Lentil Pecan Pate Platter with Onion Confit

Oaxaca Tacos with Black Bean Stew

Oct 18, 2010


I'm pretty sure I saw someone do this somewhere, so I can't claim originality. I removed the crust from soft whole wheat bread and rolled out  the slices of bread very thin. I smeared some Hungarian cream cheese (paprika, Better Than Cream Cheese, green onion, salt and pepper) on the slices and rolled them up.

It was very simple and easy and tasted pretty good. It made a great picnic/to go lunch fare and that's exactly what I needed a half hour before we were supposed to leave.

Cost Breakdown:
bread: $2
Better Than Cream Cheese: $2
spices, green onions: $1
Total to make 10 logs:

Sep 9, 2010

creamy spinach and artichoke dip

Our homeschool group had our Not-Back-To-School potluck picnic today. I brought my Spinach and Artichoke Dip and it was a hit! One mom even called it "her dessert." It's great to have pleased a nice bunch of moms with something as easy as this.

I will be posting the recipe soon, so hang on. This has spinach, artichokes, Better Than Cream Cheese, veganaise, lemon, and roasted garlic. I've been making this for potlucks for years, always bringing home an empty dish.

A little about the cost.
I had to buy the artichokes from a Safeway store because Whole Foods was not open yet, and I paid $4 for a bottle of artichokes that I pay $2 for at Whole Foods. If you are fortunate enough to live near one and are not shopping there for the 'specialy' items, Whole Foods is a bargain. Their strict buying practices are a bonus as they do not sell anything of questionable ingredients; in fact, it was as a Whole Foods clerk was pulling  Willow brand margarine off the shelves that I learned the hazards of hydrogenated vegetable oil. Whole Foods does not deserve their 'whole paycheck' nickname if you shop for wholesome, great groceries.

Cost Breakdown:
spinach: $2
artichoke: $4
panko: $1
lemon: $.50
bread/cracker: $3
garlic, olive oil: :$.75
veganaise, Better than Cream Cheese: $3
Total to feed 15 people apps:

Jul 19, 2010

gluten free and fat free biscuits

Like I said before, my kids simply do not care if they have the same things in a row. Last night we had Seitan and Dumplings (read: biscuits) and today Kate wanted to make Biscuits.

We make a whole wheat biscuit that is fat free. This is probably the fifth time she has made these. The kids love it and I don't cringe when they put Earth Balance on it because I did not add fat to it.

Today I tried my hand at making gluten free biscuits, thanks to Simply Healthy Family blog. It certainly can't hurt to be moderate about wheat - one of the key reasons why we don't eat anything exclusively, like soy. Too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing, and all that.

I made them the same way we make the regular biscuits, just replaced the whole wheat pastry flour with GF flour. It needed a half cup more flour than wheat recipe, but I still didn't want to add xanthan gum or fat. Because they were still a little softer than the wheat ones, I baked them in my cast iron biscuit/cornbread pan. I'm sure a little more baking time would be nice, and preheating the pan would be great, too, to get them golden brown. In the end, they are fluffy, held together, are light and tasty. I'm sure adding 2-4 T of fat would make them even better, but like I said, my kids would add it no matter what I did to the batter.

Cost Breakdown:
whole wheat flour: $.50
almond milk: $.50
chives, bak. powder: $.25
Total to make 6 biscuits:

GF biscuits:
GF flour : $2
almond milk: $.50
chives, bak. powder: $.25
Total to make 7 biscuits:

WW, FF on right
GF, FF on left

Jul 7, 2010

deviled vegan eggs

I've been wanting to make Deviled Eggs for a while now. I finally created this nearly perfect rendition. In fact, the kids are still clamoring for more. It is rich and decadent and creamy. Even the 'whites' don't taste like tofu.

I wrapped my tofu the night before and this morning it was very smooth and as dry as tofu will get. To infuse flavor and set the texture to be silky, I simmered the 'whites' in water with a clove of garlic, black salt and onion powder. The yellow part I simmered in the same water but added turmeric for color (not to mention it is a very healthful spice). I cooled the whites to firm them up. I blended the yellows with a tablespoon of veganaise, a teaspoon of mustard, a little black salt and a pinch of cayenne.

These are wicked good. One per person is sufficient.

Cost Breakdown:
tofu: $4
Veganaise, spices, mustard: $ .50
Total to make 10: