Month: October 2011

October Veggie Meetup

As much as I love baking, I love it even more when it involves a holiday or theme. Today was the Chicago Suburban Vegetarian’s monthly vegan potluck and I made Halloween sugar cookies: pumpkins, ghosts, black cats and witches’ brooms. The ghosts look more angry than spooky.

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I also brought along some scalloped potatoes with eggplant bacon.

First, I made the Eggplant bacon. It is delicious just on its own. Fortunately, I bought two eggplants, so I can make some more.

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Then I made the Scalloped potatoes. This is amazing! You must make it ASAP! I’m pretty sure this will be a Thanksgiving dinner dish.

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The  potluck was very good. There were black beans with mango, veggie soup, lots of hummus, two kinds of scallop potatoes, and a brussels sprout dish with seaweed. Plus, a table filled with dessert!

Iron Chef #4: Carrot & Chickpea Sliders with Pesto Mayo

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This week’s secret ingredients are carrots and oats; I made sliders with carrot puree and oat flour.

  • 4 cups of baby carrots
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-oz cans of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt & ground pepper to taste
  • slider buns or dinner rolls
  • low-fat Veganaise
  • Amore Petso
  • Mixed greens
  • Roma tomatoes, sliced

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add carrots; cook until soft. Meanwhile, saute celery over medium-high heat for a couple minutes. Add onion and cook for a few more minutes. Add garlic and cook until onions are brown.

Drain and puree carrots in food processor until smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add chickpeas to food processor and pulse a few times (you still want some chickpea chunks). Add to carrot puree with onion mixture, parsley, spices, and oat flour. Mold into small burgers and pan fry until crispy on each side. (If you want, you can stick them in the oven at 350 F for a couple extra minutes to make them a little drier).

Easiest Pesto Mayo: Combine Amore Pesto with Veganaise.

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Sweet & Sara Halloween Treats

I never knew I loved marshmallows so much until I found Sweet & Sara.  Now I have to marshmallows in my kitchen at all times. Not only has Sweet & Sara veganized the marshmallow, but she does graham crackers (an item that frequently contains honey), holiday treats and fun flavors!

For dessert tonight, we had pumpkin s’mores! Two toasted pumpkin spice  marshmallows, a piece of dark chocolate and graham cracker!

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Earlier this month I enjoyed a chocolate marshmallow bat. It was delicious! I was afraid of squishing it, so I took it out of the box and into my purse. Later, I put a big heavy file on my purse and squished it, but it still tasted delicious.

I am saving the ghost marshmallow for a Halloween treat on Monday. They are both so cute!

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Peanut Butter Marshmallow Brownies

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  • 1 stick Earth Balance Margarine
  • 2/3 + 1/4  cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon egg replacer
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Dandies marshmallows plus a few more to eat while making the brownies
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 4-6 tablespoons almond milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium saucepan melt margarine. Remove from heat, stir in 2/3 cup sugar and vanilla. Whisk Ener-G with water and stir into margarine mixture. Mix in applesauce.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients in two batches. Stir in 1 cup of Dandies marshmallows and pour into a parchment covered 8×8 baking pan. In the same pan, melt peanut butter with 1/4 cup sugar, adding 1 tablespoon of almond milk at a time until smooth.*  Scoop the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownies and swirl it around. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (just make sure you don’t poke a marshmallow).

*Or you can just spread peanut butter across the brownie. It’s not as sweet and it’s prettier, but it gets drier, which is something to consider if you are not going to eat them in one day.

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Vegan Ice Cream & Smoothies at O’Hare

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Luckily, our original plane to Vegas lost a wing (or perhaps it was a less serious mechanical issue, I wasn’t paying attention) and our flight was delayed almost two hours while they glued it back on/found a new plane. The delay allowed me to try the vegan soft-serve ice cream at B-Smooth Smoothies. It’s connected to Burrito Beach (which has decent veggie burritos and burrito bowls). B-Smooth’s vanilla non-dairy soft-serve can be served in a cone or blended into a smoothie. It was delicious. I hate the compliment “it’s so good, you don’t even know it’s vegan,” as if vegan food is bland and boring. But I fell into that thinking last week. The ice cream was so good that I was worried it wasn’t vegan, so I wrote an email to Burrito Beach. The VP of Operations kindly replied to my email:

Hello,

Thank you for your interest in B-Smooth! Our non-dairy ice cream mix is in fact vegan, as are the fruit smoothies.
Thanks for being patient!

Best,
Jeff

Thank you, Jeff! And B-Smooth for providing vegan treats!

B-Smooth is located in Terminal 3 in a food court between the H and K gates.

Zoozacracker

On Saturday, we had a very late lunch (4:30 late) to watch the Alabama game at Zoozacracker, a casual Wynn restaurant next to the Sports betting area. The food was great, but our experience was not. Zoozacracker has tons of TVs and I stopped by on Friday to make sure the game would be played. The bartender said yes, but unfortunately the TVs in the eating area only had hockey on. The same games were on several TVs, so I asked if one of them could be changed and was told no. I looked around and no one was watching hockey, so that was ridiculous. We could barely see the game on a TV across the room. After we finished the meal, we went over to the bar side and found a spot in front of a TV. That was great until we were asked to move for being a fire hazard. Trust me, if there is a fire, I will move!  She suggested a corner across the room, but from there we could not see the game. So we left. Fortunately, or unfortunately, our hotel room had ESPN2, so we finished watching the miserable first half. We managed to see the first touchdown of the game (and the second as we walked through another bar), but then we had to leave to see the Jabbawockeez, which was a fun show.

So back to the meal. I had the Vegan Wynn burger with Cheese, which is a Gardein burger with vegan cheese, mustard, ketchup and pickles, skinny fries and a soy/coconut chocolate milkshake.  I didn’t want to eat much that day and ruin my appetite for our late lunch and late dinner, so I was starving. It was worth the wait. I was going to share the milkshake with H, but I only gave him a taste. Also, it is an adorable presentation.

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Meat & Potatoes at Switch Steak

Even with only 3 appetizers and 3 entrees, it took me a while to decide what I wanted. For me, one of the nice things about being vegan is having only one option at a restaurant, so I don’t agonize over making the wrong choice. I doubt there is a wrong choice at Switch Steak (besides the entire meat menu, of course), but I was quite happy with my selections: vegan Caesar salad and vegan meatloaf with mashed potatoes.

The salad was my favorite part. It’s probably been 15 years since I had a caesar salad.

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I believe the meatloaf is some kind of Gardein concoction, although that is not stated on the menu. It was served with a tomato sauce and roasted veggies. I never really liked meatloaf in my pre-vegetarian days, but this was delicious. Mashed potatoes were also tasty.

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