Puttanesca > Roast Beef (Vegan MoFo #6)

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a series of unfortunate events lemony snicket children young adults fantasy novel books

The Series of Unfortunate Events – The Bad Beginning  by Lemony Snicket is about the beginning of the very unfortunate story of the Baudelaire siblings. I will let you know, as the author does on the first few pages, that this story does not end happily. The three children are Violet, the inventor, Klaus, the knowledgeable book-lover, and Sunny, the infant who loves to bite things. Due to a terrible and mysterious fire, the trio become orphans and are sent away to live with a distant relative, Count Olaf. Although optimistic about their new lives with Olaf, they soon learns that he is a villain that will stop at nothing to gain the fortune their late parents left them.

This book is full of mysteries within mysteries. Who started the fire that killed their parents? What does VFD stand for and who are its members? And why are all these terrible things happening to the Baudelaire children? Some of these things are answered throughout the thirteen book series, while other mysteries are left up to the reader to decide. Either way with its macabre content and Snicket’s unique writing style, it is a good and easy read.

For most of the afternoon, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny cooked the puttanesca sauce according to the recipe. Violet roasted the garlic and washed and chopped the anchovies. Klaus peeled the tomatoes and pitted the olives. Sunny banged on a pot with a wooden spoon, singing a rather repetitive song she had written herself. And all three of the children felt less miserable than they had since their arrival at Count Olaf’s.” – The Bad Beginning (paperback) page 44

A famous part of the first book (and the movie based on it) is when the children finally serves the aforementioned puttanesca to Count Olaf and his theater troupe, and the adults demand roast beef instead. Of course, because of this the poor orphans are punished for yet another thing out of their control. But I would prefer a pasta dish any day over a slab of carcass, hence the chosen title for this post.

puttanescaThe puttanesca was delicious! I followed a recipe based on the book ingredients, except without the anchovy paste. It was very simple and fast, but amazing. The olives added saltiness while the capers added a nice bite. I’ll definitely be making this again.

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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.

Eating Out and Party Food

Thursday night my mother and I had a girls’ night out. We went to the movies to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and for dinner we went to Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Though there was only one vegan option (besides salad, of course) it was very tasty so I didn’t feel left out. I got the Penne Franco (without cheese) and it was simply divine. Penne pasta tossed in roasted garlic olive oil and freshly chopped basil. It was mixed in with roasted mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, black olives, and artichoke hearts.  Yum, yum.

Saturday was my Sunday school group’s Christmas party. Everyone brought finger foods and I made these lovely double stuffed potatoes to share. The recipe is here on VegWeb. I left out the Tofutti cheez and the white and green onions, but these were still very delicious. Cheezy with a hint of spice from the hot sauce mixed in. Definitely try this recipe if you haven’t already.

Zesty Italian Crescent Casserole – Made Vegan!

I’m hoping one day to have made vegan versions of all my childhood favorites (chicken and corn chowder, Thanksgiving dressing, etc.). Working towards that goal, today I re-made the Zesty Italian Crescent Casserole that was originally from Madella Bathke who won the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest with it in 1978. My mom found the recipe online a few years ago, and it soon became a go-to recipe in our house and was eaten often.

So, after missing this delicious casserole for almost two years, I decided that I must make a vegan version. I made a small casserole, but feel free to double this recipe to feed a crowd. And. yes, I know that using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls for the topping isn’t the most healthy thing, but they’re accidentally vegan and very tasty.

Here’s the casserole: straight out of the oven and smelling amazing.

Zesty Vegan Italian Casserole

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups ground beef substitute (I used my Nearly Beef TVP)

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/2 TBSP olive oil

1 cup of spaghetti sauce

1/3 cup of shredded Follow Your Heart vegan chedder soy cheese

3 TBSPs Tofutti vegan sour cream

3 triangles of uncooked Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Rolls

1 TBSP margarine, melted

1/2 TBSP nutritional yeast

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Add the onions and olive oil to a sauce pan over medium heat and saute until the onions turn translucent. Then add the ground beef substitute and spaghetti sauce, then let it simmer for about 5 minutes, until it starts to thicken up.

While the “meat” sauce is thickening, mix together the soy cheese and vegan sour cream in a small bowl.

Once the “meat” sauce is done, put it in a 7 x7 casserole dish. Top it with the sour cream/cheese mixture, then layer on the uncooked crescent roll dough. You might have to stretch the dough a little to cover the entire casserole. Mix the nutritional yeast with the melted margarine and then pour it on top of the crescent dough.

Put the pan into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve!

A piece of the casserole, all nice and melty.