Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's Official: I'm a Professional Vegan Baker.

That's right, kids.  A few of my vegan pastries can now be purchased at The Vegan Spot.  Go, please.  Not only because I'd love for you all to enjoy some delicious vegan baked goodness, but because the food at The Vegan Spot is delicious.  Vegan roast beef.  Yumyumyum.  

Damn...I thought my self hungry.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Macaroni Divorced Cheese...(and Doesn't Need Him Or His Money).

I LOVED mac & cheese as a kid.  Not the Blue Box artificial waste of caloric intake, but my Mom's amazing home-made creation.  It was creamy, filling and tasted like home.  I've tried a number of vegan mac & cheese recipes.  I always seem to end up a sad panda...unfulfilled and longing for a taste of that home-made vegetarian goodness.  To make matters worse, my mother's made it almost every time I've visited home over the past few years, and my voice more than quivers and cracks when saying, "No thanks, Mom.  I'm still a vegan."
Well, today I can say it with pride:  "Sorry Mom, I've a vegan and I don't need yo mac & cheese!  I got ma own!"
Thanks to the folks over at MimicCreme, the best vegan substitute product EVER, the perfect veganized mac & cheese is now possible.  You guys rock.  In fact, I'm going to pledge right here, right now to dedicate my little sister's first born to you.*

*(Sorry sis...I don't think I'll be having children, or I would promise my own.)

This recipe definitely takes some work.  There are some tricky ingredients to be found, and the cashew mix takes some (inactive) time, but it's worth it.  I promise.

Macaroni Divorces Cheese

Cashew Mix:
  • 3/4 cup Raw Cashew Pieces
  • 1/8 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1 16 oz. package Macaroni
  • 6 TBSP Vegan Margarine
  • 6 TBSP Flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Soy Milk
  • 1/2 TBSP White Miso Paste
  • 1/2 TBSP Mustard Powder
  • 1 1/2 cup MimicCreme
  • 1/2 cup Cashew Mix 
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper (To Taste)
  • 1 10 oz. block Follow Your Heart Cheddar Cheese
  • 3/4 cup Breadcrumbs
To Make The Cashew Mix:
This mixture will yield slightly more than needed.  You only need to measure out half a cup.  I just plan to make a little more because my food processor seems to eat a little of whatever I make in it. 
Soak the cashews in slightly salted water for 2-3 hours.  Drain well, then throw in a food processor with the remaining ingredients.  Blend for 5-10 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally, until the cashew has a very smooth consistency.   Add a little more liquid if needed.  
Measure out a 1/2 cup of the mixture, and set aside.  It should look like so:

To Make The Sauce:
Cook Macaroni noodles until just Al dente, drain well, toss with a touch of canola oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.  
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Using a whisk, in a large sauce pan, melt the Earth Balance over medium-high heat.  And flour, salt and pepper, and whisk together.  Add the miso paste, and blend in well.  Pour soy milk and MimicCreme in gradually while constantly stirring.  Continue stirring until the mixture begins to boil.  The sauce should have thickened up quite a bit at this point.  Add the mustard powder and the cashew mix, and mix in well.  Reduce the heat to medium, and add 1/3 of the "cheddar", stirring constantly.  You'll know it has mixed in well when the sauce takes on an orange-ish color, and the cheese has almost completely melted.  Repeat process twice more until all cheese has melted in.  It should take about ten minutes.  Taste to see if more salt is needed.  I'm not a salt fan, so I tend to use less than most desire.
Turn of heat, and mix in Macaroni.  It should look as stylin' like this:

Transfer the mac & cheese to a large, greased baking dish and top with breadcrumbs.  Bake for 20 minutes, then let it cool before digging in....which of course I didn't do, and now my tongue has a battle wound.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I Left My Stomach in San Francisco

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. My life's been cracked-out busy for the past few weeks. I was filming almost daily, then took off for a much needed vacation to San Francisco Pride. I love San Fran for obvious reasons. For starters, it's a vegan mecca. The thrift shopping is unparalleled anywhere else in California. They have well-planned public transportation. But perhaps the BEST thing about San Francisco is that my parents just moved there from Ohio last year. In layman's terms, this means "Jenn's mom and dad moved to San Fran last year, and in good Jewish Parent fashion, will attempt to pay for EVERYTHING while she's in town." Lucky for me, I can let Jew Guilt step aside and enjoy the hell out of them spoiling me.
My birthday was back at the beginning of June, but I put my b-day dinner on hold until my SF trip so that I could dine at Millennium. For those of you not in the know, Millennium in SF and Candle 79 in New York are pretty much the top classy vegan establishments in the US. It was the most amazing meal I've ever had in my life. The staff even hooked us up with some free appetizers and desserts because the other five in my party were all carnivores, and I was attempting to convert them :)
I think the server could sense my exuberance, because she let me meet the chef. I've been dating strictly women for several years now, but I would have had sex with this man. Goodness.
On our table that night, we enjoyed...

  • Sage Gnocchi with Seared Morel Mushrooms, Fava Beans and Caramelized Onion-Brandy Cream
  • Wilted Bloomsdale Spinach & Spring Greens Salad
  • Sesame Crusted Oyster Mushrooms (These were free! And tasted like calamari.
  • English Pea Samosas filled with Mustard Greens & Fresh Mint, served with Cashew & Button Mushroom Korma, Tofu Paneer, Coriander and Apricot Chutney, and Green Beans with Mint & Lemon
  • Coconut Black Pepper Crusted Tofu with Lemongrass Marinated Oyster Mushrooms, Red Curry Sauteed Edamame & Asian Veggies, Kafir Lime Scented Jasmine Rice and Green Papaya-Nectarine Salad
  • Roasted Fazzoletti, which is Semolina Pasta Sheets layered with Exotic Mushroom Sugo, Saute of Morel Mushrooms, Butter Beans, Rapini & Baby Artichokes, "Gorgonzola" Cream, Basil Gremolata and Pine Nut Toasted Bread Crumbs
Coconut Black Pepper Tofu

And on to dessert. I didn't think I was going to be able to do it. I was so full. But I did it! I don't remember exactly what these were called, but I'll do my best...

  • Blueberry Tart with Some Kind of Amazing faux Creme and Ginger Peach (?) Ice Cream
  • Truffle/Mini Cookie Plate
  • Chocolate Cake of some kind (on the house!)
Blueberry Tart

And in case you're wondering if there were left-overs....