Friday, September 18, 2015

Of Peppers and Pretzels

Argh! I had such hopes and I was really excited for Vegan MoFo this year, but back to school laid me flat!. Yes I have more time for writing (the novel takes precedence over the Blog), however there are things I did not count on: The first week of school everybody went a half day, and there was the new sleep schedule to adjust to. I now get up at 6:00am to get the Bumper out the door by 7:45am. Then there are the parental volunteer commitments. I don't mind, I just did not expect to have so may late night meetings to attend. The Bumper also started soccer with practice on Wednesday and games on Saturday.
I am still game to finish out the month and I like the prompts so much that I will be using the ones I miss throughout the coming year.
 Yesterday's prompt was to  make or eat a local dish. I live on Maryland's Easter Shore and the local dishes are not vegan friendly. We are talking scrapple, also called head cheese, which is made from various pig parts, crab cakes, raw oysters, and steamed crabs. So no thank you. There is one Eastern Shore local dish that is vegan: Pepper Relish (I can't eat pepper relish because it makes me break out in hives) and one that can be easily veganized: Pretzel Salad.
The Pepper Relish Recipe is courtsey of my friend Beverly L a life long resident of the Eastern Shore. It is her grandmother's recipe.

Pepper Relish

14 red peppers
10 green peppers
12 onions
3 cups vinegar
2 T salt
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
Clean onions and peppers, removing seeds and  white pulp from peppers.
Grind in food processor to fine consistancy
Put in large pot or basin and pour boiling water over. Let sit five minutes.
Drain in colander and pick out large chunks.
Prepare syrup in large pot. Add pepper mix and boil 25 minutes. Can in
hot jars and seal. Makes 6-7 pints

Pretzel Salad

Pretzel Salad is made with crushed pretzels, cream cheese, sugar, frozen strawberries, and strawberry jello.
I subbed the dairy cheese for Tofutti brand and omitted the strawberry jello since I couldn't find vegan gelatin.

2 cups pretzels crushed
1 tub non-dairy cream cheese of choice
2Tbs of lemon juice
3/4 cups vegan margarine
1 package of frozen strawberries
3TBS + 1Cup sugar (divided)
Preheat oven to 400F

Crush pretzels and combine with margarine and the 3Tbs sugar. Line the bottom of a greased 9x13 glass baking dish. Bake at 400F for 8-10 min until set. (pretzels should be brown but not burnt)
Take out frozen frozen strawberries and put in bowl. Stir in lemon juice and 1/4cup sugar. Let sit for 10-15 min or until there is a layer of strawberry juice syrup at the bottom of the bowl.
Mix together softened cream cheese, and 1 1/2 cup of sugar, spread over crust, top with strawberries and refrigerate until chilled through.
This version does not have the traditional jello-like top layer but it is still delicious. If you have access to vegan gelatin by all means use it. Just prepare according to package directions and pour over the frozen strawberries before putting it in the refrigerator.

Happy Eating!
p.s. Most versions use a layer of whipped cream too, but I don't like it that way.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Throw It In a Bowl and Call It a Day

Quick and easy? Sign me up! I do not have time for fussy recipes. In the time it takes me to cook supper the Bumper can undo all of the house work I have done for the day. Now a microwave a veggie burger or dog is fast and can be tasty, but they also full of  additives that I do not want in my regular diet.  Since we are in the middle of a heatwave here on Maryland's Eastern Shore I decided to make a super easy cold salad, from this Vegetarian Times recipe.

What I like about this salad is I already had every thing on hand in my refrigerator, the only substitution I made was fresh mango. Unless it is disguised in a smoothie I don't really like the taste of frozen mango. I will use them if I have no other choice, but I prefer fresh.

The Bumper's favorite quick and easy vegan recipe is cherry tomatoes fresh off the vine: just rinse and eat!

 On the tofu scramble from yesterday? I think a half teaspoon of cumin will suffice.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Vegan MoFo: Such Fond Memories- Just Like Nana Made (Not Exactly)

Okay so the prompt for today was to recreate a meal from your childhood. I figured a good way to approach this would be to ask my mom what my favorite meal was when I was a kid and then veganize it. I expected her to say something like pizza or spaghetti and meatballs, or tater-tots and fish-sticks, or even beef stroganoff. All of which I definitely liked. Nope none of the above. Apparently from my mom's recollection, my hands down favorite meal was dat da dah dah: Spinach and egg over rice. Does anyone else hear the wamp wamp wamp music?

Apparently I was a budding vegetarian way back when. Just so you know the freak fruit does not fall far from the tree the Bumper's current favorite is spinach pizza with vegan cheese. Well this is vegan mofo, so what did I do to make this dish vegan? I swapped out the egg for that perennial favorite tofu. Yep yet another tofu scramble recipe as if the Internet wasn't awash with them already. I am, however, pretty free wheeling with the tofu scramble and I never expect it to taste like eggs. In fact I think I would be grossed out if it did. Instead I played around with garlic, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper to get something savory and that would complement the spinach. Not quite the dish of my youth, but tasty and cruelty free.

1tsp olive oil
1 bag (roughly 2 -4 cups) of fresh or frozen spinach. Take your pick scrambles are pretty forgiving.
1 package extra firm tofu. ( drain and press lightly)
1tsp cumin
1-2tsp powdered garlic or 1 clove fresh minced.
1-2 tsp turmeric
1 tspt nutritional yeast(optional)
Sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning optional
dash of salt
dash of pepper to taste.

Lightly saute spinach in olive oil ( about 5min or until spinach starts to wilt but is still bright green) in a large frying pan.Crumble the tofu and add it and the spices to the spinach. Cook until tofu is completely coated with the spices and warmed all the way through. Serve over rice.
To save time you can steam spinach in the microwave, scramble the tofu in the pan, and serve when tofu is done. Like I said this recipe is forgiving. Play with it. I always do.

Happy MoFo

P.S. I know this isn't MoFo related, but I am on the instep of the second sock, here come the toes!

Crumble tofu into pan

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Vegan Mofo : Breakfast

My hands down all time favorite vegan breakfast is Post Punk Kitchen's Puffy Pillow Pancakes Yes  this is an old photo, but it still the best one I've taken even though I have made the pancakes many times since then. They turn out puffy and pillow-like every time, except for the first time I made them on our new flat top stove-- then they were little inedible hockey pucks. Still vegan, just not fit for consumption.

 However much I like them I can not have them every day, or I would end up looking as puffy as the pancakes. So most mornings it is more mundane fare. Including oatmeal or cream of wheat with bananas or other seasonal fruit. Now that school has started for the Bumper, both of us have to get up a lot earlier than we have become accustomed to. Cold cereal to the rescue. Fast, easy and as long as we stick to plain oat, rice or corn brands, vegan. Just add non-dairy milk of choice, my favorite is unflavored soy and the Bumper's is vanilla almond, and eat. Easy. Peasy. And for this mom on the go? A staple.

I am open to trying new things, like avocado on toast, but the Bumper  has put in a request for carrot pancakes. Does any one know a good vegan, kid-friendly recipe?

Happy Start to Vegan Mofo!