Vinegar Variety (part I)

The other day, as I was observing my pantry shelf, I realized I had a semi-dusty almost full bottle of red wine vinegar. I hate buying something for one recipe then never using it again, so I searched online for “recipes with red wine vinegar” and almost every recipe was for salad dressing. Now I don’t mind a good red wine vinaigrette, but I was surprised with the lack of variety.

From that incident, I decided that vinegar seems to be a bit of an under appreciated pantry staple. Due to that, I’ve decided to dedicate two posts to writing about different types of vinegar and how to use them in your dishes (with no salad dressing recipes in sight).

Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV is a very common vinegar. It’s made by crushing and releasing the liquid from apples, then putting the juice through the vinegar fermenting process. It’s a pretty mild type and has a light fruit undertone with a sharp tartness. The latest health craze seems to be drinking ACV plain (yuck) or washing your hair with it (I’ll just stick with my Jason’s shampoo, thanks), but this vinegar is still great for eating too, as is shown with the coleslaw below. The recipe was creamy with a hint of sour from the vinegar and relish in it. I served it with a barbecue Boca burger.

coleslaw

Balsamic Vinegar

Equally sweet and sour, this vinegar has the richest flavor of them all. It is commonly drizzled over salads with sweet accents, like fruit. Although the traditionally made BV from Italy is amazing (I’ve only bought a bottle once, but it was worth the money), the commercial made will make due for those who don’t want to splurge on it. But if you’re doing a dish with the vinegar as a main focal point, it might be worthwhile to get the traditional. I didn’t want to do a shameless plug and encourage you to cook my balsamic pasta and beans (recipe here), so I chose some salty and crunchy goodness with kale chips. These chips were super simple and delicious. You only need kale, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt. I ended up eating these while watching Supernatural in lieu of an unhealthy snack.

balsamic kale chips

Malt Vinegar

MV is made by malting barley, then brewing it into ale, which is finally converted into vinegar. It is commonly used in the UK for fish and chips, but it’s also known for being a good pickling vinegar. I’ve never actually pickled anything before, so I thought I’d give it a go! I chose to make pickled mushrooms since shrooms are one of my favorite foods. In the finished product the Malt vinegar has a distinct taste and the slice of onion and garlic in the jar add an extra depth of flavor. I’m going to serve these sprinkled on a salad with a sweet raspberry dressing to balance the vinegar taste.

pickled shrooms

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Twig’s Sausage Soup (Vegan MoFo #7)

deepwoods

The story for today focuses on Twig, who is written about in The Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. Twig is a young human who lives among a tribe of Woodtrolls. He’s always known he was different, due to his lack of fur and inability to work well with wood (the usual Woodtroll occupation), but it wasn’t until now he desired to know where he came from.

Soon a group of Sky Pirates are coming to trade for wood from his local village. Twig’s adoptive mother fears the Pirates will attempt to kidnap him and force him to join the crew. At his mother’s request, Twig decides to stay at a nearby Woodtroll village until the Pirates leave. While traveling to the village,  Twig breaks the one rule he’s always been told: Never leave the path. Even though it was kind of an accident, those fateful steps off the path send Twig on a fantastic journey.

While traveling on a journey to find a home and his true identity, Twig encounters many strange creatures. Including the Slaughterers, human eating trees, Sky Pirates, rot-suckers, and even the gentle giants of the forest, Banderbears. As he continues onward, Twig will learn the answers to some very pressing questions. Who his true parents are, who has been secretly guiding him in this dangerous quest, and what is life like off the path?

The tilder sausage soup tasted as delicious as it had smelled. Simmered until the sausages were soft, in stock seasoned with nibblick and orangegrass, the soup was rich and spicy. It was also just the start. Juicy hammelhorn steaks, rolled in seasoned knotroot flour and deep-fried in tilder oil came next, accompanied by earthapples and a tangy blue salad. And this was followed by honey trifle and delberry blancmange and small wafer biscuits drenched in treacle. Twig had never eaten so well – nor drunk so much. A large jug full of woodapple cider stood in the centre of each of the four tables, and Twig’s mug was never allowed to empty.” – Beyond the Deepwoods (hardcover) page 56

I had to sit and imagine what I thought nibblick and orangegrass would taste like. I chose fennel seeds for nibblick and orange bell pepper for orangegrass. Everything else was just kind of thrown into the pot willy-nilly and it turned out great! Spicy and rich, just like the book described.

tilder sausage soup

Tilder Sausage Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 orange bell pepper, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

10 cups of vegan “chicken” broth or vegetable broth

5 jumbo veggie dogs or 8 regular size veggie dogs, sliced (I used Smart Dogs)

1 large potato, cubed

3 medium carrots, sliced

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sriracha

3/4 cup orzo

Directions:

Saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic in the olive oil. While that cooks, begin heating your vegetable broth to a boil. Cook the onions and bell peppers until they’re soft and fragrant.

Once the broth is boiling, add all the remaining the ingredients except for the orzo. Boil for 10-15 minutes, then add the orzo and boil for another 10 minutes. Then you’re finished!

Sandwiches, Scones, and Game of Thrones

The weather was extremely nice last week, so Peter and I had a picnic at the park. There we munched on these grilled pizza sandwiches (which had pizza hummus and Daiya inside) and cucumber slices dipped in Italian salad dressing.
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I made a batch of Mom’s Chili, which I ate with crackers. I skipped using canned beans though, and cooked up some dried black beans and red beans the day before in the slow cooker. Then I mixed them with the rest of the ingredients to make the chili.

???????????????????????????????The next day the leftover chili was turned into a “Frito pie”. With layered crushed Frito corn chips and chili then smothered in healthy cheese sauce.

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Tomato-rosemary scones from Vegan Brunch. I’ve actually never baked scones before, but these were extremely easy to make and very delicious. My favorite way to have these is warmed up with a pat of margarine in the middle.
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Soft tacos with Upton’s Naturals chorizo seitan, Daiya pepper jack, lettuce, and tomatoes. It was my first time trying the Upton’s seitan. I really liked the taste and texture of it, but the small amount of seitan per package for a fairly high price (at least at my local Earth Fare) was not worth it.
???????????????????????????????“Chicken” parmesan, made with soy-tan dream cutlets from 1,000 Vegan Recipes (which I breaded and pan-fried), with melted Daiya mozzarella, all on top of spaghetti in a creamy marinara sauce, and sprinkled with nutritional yeast.
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Lentil and veggie soup, which I mostly made because I needed to clean out my refrigerator’s produce drawer. It has lentils, onions, corn, carrots, tomatoes, green beans, peas, potatoes, and lima beans which were all cooked in a garlic tomato broth.

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For our three-year anniversary, Peter got me (along with a few other things) The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook. I’m a big fan of the television show and hope to begin reading the books soon, so I was super excited to have these recipes based on the series.

Our local gaming group is actually starting a GoT roleplaying campaign, so for our session I made Arya’s Apricot Tart to share. Except there are no fresh apricots available around here, so we settled for peaches. To veganize the recipe I subbed Earth Balance for butter, coconut milk for heavy cream, and I used this recipe for the crust. It turned out delicious with a flaky crust, juicy peaches, and buttery crumble topping. I can’t wait to try more recipes from the cookbook.

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Summer Food Lovin’

Summer is upon us! So now is the time to be free and spend my days cooking, baking, crafting, blogging, and playing with my new kitten (who shall get his own post later).

I moved out from the dorms and into a lovely apartment with my friend, Ryan. We have a nice kitchen with plenty of space, and I plan on trying at least one new recipe a week over the summer break. This should give me plenty to blog about and, hopefully, add a few good recipes to my repertoire.

Below are the meals I’ve made from the last two weeks of school up until I moved into the apartment (except the last one).

Chilled rice salad made with brown rice, corn, carrots, tomatoes, and water chestnuts, all tossed in an olive oil and vinegar dressing and placed on top of mixed greens.
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Spaghetti with “meaty” marinara sauce, and a side salad.
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Slow cooker refried beans. Not particularly pretty, but delicious and much cheaper and healthier than the store-bought canned kind.
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Homemade salsa verde made by blending tomatillos, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic in the food processor. ???????????????????????????????Soft tacos with black beans, corn, tomatoes, onions, spinach, and salsa.

???????????????????????????????Homemade chick’n seitan patty with ketchup, a side salad, and Spanish rice.

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And now I bestow upon you, my faithful readers, the most delicious vegan mac and cheese in existence. I tried the recipe on a whim, but this butternut squash mac and cheese is totally amazing. A lot of vegan cheese sauces are close, yet not exactly what I remember mac and cheese to taste like. But this recipe is so creamy and cheesy tasting, I bet you could even trick an omnivore. It reminds me of the Cracker Barrel mac and cheese I loved during my pre-vegan youth.
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Veggie salad with saffron couscous.???????????????????????????????One of the first meals I made in my new kitchen was seitan tetrazzini, mashed potatoes and squash, and fresh corn on the cob (take note of the awesome pig corn holders). I changed the tetrazzini recipe by adding an onion, Mrs. Dash garlic and herb, and using Morningstar chick’n meal starter strips instead of seitan. It was good, but a bit dry after baking it. Next time I’ll probably skip baking it and just broil the Daiya on top.

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Post of the S – Spaghetti, Sandwich, and Soup

Okay, so I have a hard time coming up with cute titles for these posts. So there are others meals in here that don’t start with S, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as yummy as the food included in the titles. 😛

I am way behind on posting regular food pictures, so don’t be too surprised when I mention Halloween in this post.

Tomato herb couscous (recipe coming soon!) and barbecue  Morningstar chick’n strips

Mushroom spaghetti and salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

The glorious thing you are about to see below is an artichoke-bacon chicken salad sandwich. This is probably the best sandwich I’ve ever had. It’s not very healthy, so it will have to be only made on occasion, but anyone who likes chick’n salad should try this.

Peter’s family made a wonderful dinner the other day. I had a Boca burger patty with A1, roasted sweet potato, steamed broccoli, and fried green tomatoes.

The Family and Consumer Sciences Student Group at UM had a Halloween bake sale and so of course I had to make lots of vegan treats!

Carrot cake cupcakes with cheez cream frosting
Peanut butter cereal “bars”, which fell apart so I just mooshed them into balls

Cookie dough bites (from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar) dipped in chocolate

Soy-Tan Dream Cutlets (which are amazing!) with buttery pasta
Potato soup with bacon bits

Dorm Noms

I finally got a camera cord, yay! Well actually I got a camera cord a few weeks ago, but I’ve been too busy to blog until now. School work is taking up more time this semester, so my posts will be more sporadic but will probably have a lot more stuff covered in them.

Here’s what I’ve eaten so far this semester:

Carrot cake muffins from a recipe on The Flaming Vegan.

Seasoned black beans mixed with Daiya on top of chipotle tomato rice.

The local eatery, Eclipse Coffee and Books, has added several new vegan items to their menu and I decided to try them out.

First was the couscous and quinoa salad. Gotta be honest, I don’t really like the texture of pearl couscous or quinoa, so this wasn’t a huge hit for me. It had a great taste, kinda spicy with a citrus-y undertone, but the texture was a deal breaker for me. The coconut macaroon cookie from Alternative Baking kind of made up for it though.
Although the first vegan dish was a bit disappointing, the second definitely wasn’t! They added a veggie burger to their menu and it is fantastic. It’s made with quinoa and beans and is served on rye bread with your choice of toppings. I got mine with lettuce, tomato, mustard, and ketchup.

I guess Eclipse’s burger got me in the mood for sandwiches, because a few days after that I tried my hand at making my own veggie burgers. I very loosely based it around this recipe, but made lots of changes.

I mashed up a drained can of black beans, added about 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup diced onions, 2 tbsp taco sauce, and some Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy. Then I formed them into four patties and cooked them in an oiled  skillet for a few minutes on each side. They were sooo good. After making these, I may just stop buying pre-made veggie burgers altogether. I need to make another batch and test whether they can withstand freezing very well. I ate my sandwich on a onion bun with pickles, tomato, and some Vegenaise mixed with Sriracha.

I broke out the slow cooker this weekend too and made some Mom’s Chili, seen here topped with some Tofutti sour cream.

On Saturday I spent time with my friend Skye and her lovely mother Sally. We went to Whole Foods and ate lunch at their cafe. I got fried tofu (with ketchup), a seasoned mixture of black eyed peas and butter beans, and a grain salad with millet, barley, and brown rice. It was all really yummy and I will definitely be going back their to eat soon.

And also for dessert at Whole Foods I got a double chocolate vegan cookie, woot!

Lunch On the Go

I haven’t graduated yet, but I have been doing dual-enrollment at the local community college to get prepared for going off to the University of Montevallo in the fall. Every Monday and Wednesday I have a 2 hour break inbetween classes around lunch time.

Instead of opting for eating out twice a week, I decided I’d save money (and be healthier) by making my own lunch. So I invested in an Aladdin black 24 oz. lunch bowl to carry my homemade goods around with.

Above is one of my latest meals to make for lunch, spaghetti with homemade “meaty” tomato sauce. It stored nicely and kept pretty warm for the 3 hours it stayed in the car until my break.

Okay, I’ll admit this isn’t the prettiest picture. But it was a very yummy lunch. It was Spanish rice, and refried beans mixed with freshly chopped tomatoes and peppers.

Lastly, I had a homemade pizza roll and carrots with balsamic sauce. I love being able to store all these fresh veggies away for lunch and my lunchbox keep them nice and cool.