Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale Comes to Tempe this Saturday!!!!

Folks it is almost here - the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale - Tempe Edition at Loveland Boutique. We have a great line up of awesome vegan bakers, featuring the lovely Rikki Cupcake from Seitanic Vegan Heathen, making sweet culinary delights for every taste. There will even be gluten free options! I know all of the bakers are super excited about what we have in store for you. You will be amazed at the variety and deliciousness that will abound. Sweet sugary bliss!

Don't worry if you are one who has to have coffee with your sweets. The fine folks at Solo Cafe right next door will hook you up! Grab a couple of friends and head on over. Satisfy your sweet tooth while you help save lives. All proceeds to benefit Arizona Boston Terrier Rescue.

See you there between 11am - 4pm (or until the goodies run out).

Hey Bakers and Lovers of baked goods!!!

Where? Loveland Unique Boutique, 107 E Baseline Rd. A-3, Tempe, AZ 480-456-8610

When? Saturday, May 1, from 11am - 4pm or we run out of the goodies.

There will be an incredible selection of vegan baked goods: cookies, cupcakes, bars, pies, cakes and other treats. Bring your veg and non-veg friends alike! They will thank you for turning them on to such awesome sweet sensations.

****A special note to my friends who often fear the "V" word. Do not fear. Just look at the gorgeous baked decadence in this blog and other blogs listed here. I have served hundreds of vegan dishes to my friends, family and co-workers. They are still alive to tell about them...some would even rave about them! I challenge you to a taste test. Come try our goodies and remove all doubt that vegan desserts are weird or boring****

Friday, April 23, 2010

Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale - Baker Sign Up

Wow!! Two posts in one day. This could be historical!

I'm super excited about the upcoming Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale on Saturday, May 1st from 11am - 4pm at Loveland Boutique, Baseline and Mill in Tempe. We are going to have some incredible bakers and baked goodies!

To get a bit more organized, I'm hoping all of the bakers can post what they plan on making in the comments to this post. That way we can be a bit more organized AND let everyone know what awesomeness awaits them!

So please post your contributions in the comments to this post with prices. Please add a link to your blog too! Thanks to all the bakers who are generously donating their time and talent for such a great cause.

FNF - Bobby Flay Throw Down

In his show Throw Down with Bobby Flay, Mr. Flay often travels into some great cook's/chef's home territory to challenge them to a culinary duel. The native is the master at a particular dish in his or her region. Well, we Food Network Friday foodies don't do a head to head competition with the fabulous Mr. Flay, but it doesn't mean our throw downs aren't pretty darn exciting. Who knows, maybe someday he'll want to take one of us on!

This week's challenge was a vegan makeover of Bobby's recipe for BBQ Duck and Sauteed Shiitake Mushroom filled Blue Corn Pancakes with Habenero Sauce. Our little group has become fairly masterful at converting recipes. Check out Vegan Appetite for the other submissions. This one only needed a bit of tweaking to make it totally animal free. I did take the liberty of straying a bit from the original by making Blue Corn Crepes rather than pancakes. I felt that the mushroom/protein filling should stand out more and not be weighed down by a thicker fluffier wrap. The results were all the proof I needed. The crepes were beautiful and let the filling really shine.

There were a couple of tweaks made to the Mesa BBQ Sauce recipe. Vegan Worcestershire sauce was used. I only used 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar as I don't like an overly sweet sauce. The honey was replaced by agave nectar. Pasilla chili powder was unattainable this week. Instead I finely chopped 2 large fresh pasillas and sauteed them with the onions at the beginning of the recipe. This makes a huge amount of sauce. You could easily halve this recipe and have plenty for the 4 servings the recipe below makes.

Veganizing the habenero sauce was a breeze. The only necessary adjustment was vegetable stock for the chicken stock. I only used 2 tablespoons sugar in the sauce. I did use the full recipe of this sauce.

No changes were necessary for the shiitake mushrooms. I do have to say that I used a full recipe of the mushrooms for the 4 servings below. Bobby used this amount for 8 servings.

The biggest challenge was to make a delicious substitution for the very fatty and unhealthy duck thighs. Butler Soy Curls to the rescue!!!

BBQ "Duck"

4 servings

1 cup Butler Soy Curls
1/2 cup Habenero Sauce
3/4 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons Mesa BBQ Sauce
1 recipe shiitake mushrooms
1 cup Mesa BBQ Sauce

Bring habenero sauce and stock to a boil. Stir in BBQ Sauce. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to rehydrate soy curls. Add soy curls to pan that the mushrooms are in. Saute and stir for about a minute. Add BBQ sauce and simmer until sauce becomes slightly sticky (5 minutes or so). Turn heat to very low to make crepes.

Blue Corn Crepes
(Makes 11 crepes if you are a crepe master and don't lose any)

3/4 cup blue corn meal
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup soy milk
1 cup water
1 tablespoons tapioca flour
1 teaspoon salt

Blend all ingredients in blender until well combined. Mixture will be very thin. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes. Heat crepe pan or 8" non stick pan until it sizzles when a drop of water hits it.. Lightly spray pan with canola oil before pouring batter in (for each crepe). Using a 1/4 cup measure, quickly pour batter in pan and swirl around to cover the bottom of the pan evenly. When the crepe is dry on top and there are a few bubbles, flip crepe with a thin spatula and cook for 1-2 more minutes on the other side. Transfer to plate and keep warm making sure to put either wax paper or parchment between each crepe to prevent sticking. Freeze any leftover crepes for later use.***

To assemble:

Once all of the crepes are cooked, place 1/4 cup BBQ mixture in the center and roll up. Place 2 filled crepes on each plate. Drizzle equal amounts of reserved habanero sauce on each plate. If desired, serve with extra BBQ Sauce. Garnish with cilanto leaves and avocado slices.

***Everything can be made up a day ahead of time, stored in the fridge. Reheat sauces and filling on the stove top. For the crepes, spray a little oil in your non-stick or crepe pan and reheat for about 1 minute on each side.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

One of the big reasons I decided to convert to eating a plant based diet was the fact that it is more environmentally friendly than my old meat eating ways. Here is a quote from a study released by NASA. According to this study animal husbandry will have the third largest impact on the environement!!!!!

"Unger's model finds that in 2020 (left), transportation, household biofuels and animal husbandry will have the greatest warming impact on the climate, while the shipping, biomass burning, and industrial sectors will have a cooling impact. By 2100 (right), the model finds that the power and industrial sector will become strongly warming as carbon dioxide accumulates."

Factory-style farming, which has become a huge industry in the U.S. (we are by far the number one meat producer) has devastating effects on the health of people and the environment. There have been so many cases of contamination reported and lives lost because of this unhealthy and dangerous industry. The hormones and antibiotics fed to what you will eventually call dinner are sure to have side effects on the cattle and in turn on those who eat it. Logic will tell you that a beast that stands in it's own feces, eats a substandard diet, lives in extremely stressful and overcrowded conditions is not likely to produce healthy nutrition for you.

On to the effects meat consumption has on the Earth...after all it is Earth Day. Water contamination can be a serious by-product of manure run-off. Raising of meat for food uses a tremendous amount of water. According to an article published by the Physicians for Responsible Medicine; it is estimated that it takes 2500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat. In this same article it is stated that "The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN has estimated that 70% of previously forested land in South America has been converted for grazing land." If you do a little bit of reasearch you can find many more studies that show how devastating the increasing demand for animal based products is to our planet. I will leave that research in your able hands.

Even if you are not ready or willing to give up animal products, consider eating veg more often. It will open up a whole new world of textures and flavors. Every meal you forgo meat will make a difference to our plante. I will now get off of my educating you about the evils of the meat producers pedestal.

Now on to the more fun part of todays post.

What I Did for Earth Day by ME!

First off this morning, my lovely sister and I carpooled to one of our favorite trailheads in her very fuel efficient Prius. Our goal was multi-faceted: to get in a beautiful hike and check out all of the blooming foliage in the desert, to get in a good work out, and to help keep our park and trails beautiful. We had a great hike in nice cool weather and picked up some trash along the way.

After our awesome hike, I headed home for lunch. Fred and I enjoyed a fabulous vegan lunch of Lettuce Wraps. NOM!

After lunch we continued our celebration by spending a little time out in the garden and yard. We hope to grow more and more of our own food. Today we planted sweet potatoes. They are supposed to hold up well in the summer heat here. I'm getting my hands in the Earth! It is such a great feeling to connect with nature.

Then I hugged the dog

Fred found a ladybug.

...and a great Earth Day was had by all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale at Loveland Unique Boutique in Tempe, May 1!!!!

***There is a really cool coffee shop next door, so you can have a great cup of Jo or tea with your home made baked goods***

Check out our mascot - Lil' Beans.

Lil' Beans was found abandoned in the parking lot of an apartment complex emaciated and terrified. He was lucky enough to find a wonderful foster family, and even luckier when they fell in love with him and decided he would be a permanent part of their family. Not all furry babies are this lucky. We want to change that by supporting Arizona Boston Terrier Rescue so that more of these beautiful babies can be as lucky as Lil' Beans. This picture below was taken shortly after he was saved.

Hey Bakers and Lovers of baked goods!!!

I'm so excited that we have finally made it official. The Tempe edition of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale is coming:

Where?   Loveland Unique Boutique, 107 E Baseline Rd. A-3, Tempe, AZ 480-456-8610

When?  Saturday, May 1, from 11am - 4pm or we run out of the goodies.

All proceeds to benefit Arizona Boston Terrier Rescue. Help us save these adorable, sweet, babies from abuse, neglect, and worse. 

There will be an incredible selection of vegan baked goods: cookies, cupcakes, bars, pies, cakes and other treats. Bring your veg and non-veg friends alike! They will thank you for turning them on to such awesome sweet sensations.

Meet our bakers:

Are you a baker? Show off your mad skillz by baking some vegan goodies for this great cause. Click here to send me an e-mail to see how you can get involved. 

Check out Lil' Beans Now! He is happy, healthy and oh so loved.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vegan Bake Sale Testing and Viva Vegan by Terry Romero now available!!!

If you follow me on Facebook or here for that matter, you know I do a bit of testing for awesome vegan cookbook authors. My latest ventures into the test kitchen are for Carla Kelley's upcoming Vegan Bake Sale. I've been known to be pretty good at getting around the kitchen, but not so great at the whole baking thing. Enter Carla whose recipes are turning me into a respectable baker. As a matter of fact, people may start thinking I'm good at this thanks to her recipes!! There is no release date for the book yet, but I will post here when I find out.

Here is a little sampling of some of the goods. The first one is my absolute favorite.

Car Tire Cookies

I have traditionally had issues with yeasted baked goods. These Hot Cross Buns were perfect!

Hot Cross Buns

Lemon Mousse Pie

The savory stuff is brag-worthy as well

Up Side Down Olive, Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper “Cake”

Asparagus, Pine Nut, and Roasted Garlic Quiche

Viva Vegan is OuT!!!!!!!

In other testing news, a while back I was testing for Terry Romero's Viva Vegan. Viva Vegan has hit the shelves. You can get it through Amazon or at B & N. If you want to check out some pictures of the fabulous vegan fare and you are a member of Flickr, Click here to see my testing album. You can also see some of my pictures tagged Viva Vegan on this blog.

May I recommend the Spicy Tortilla Casserole with Roasted Pablanos?
Omnis and Veggies both love this one!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 23rd is the next Food Network Friday Challenge - Don't Miss Out!!

We're taking on Bobby Flay. Oh yeah! It's a vegan throw down! I don't have pictures yet, but the challenge is to veganize his recipe for BBQ Duck and Sauteed Shiitake Mushroom filled Blue Corn Pancakes with Habanero Sauce.

The FNF challenges are a blast. It is a great way to get you trying out different ingredients and cooking methods that all the TV folk are into these days. We've had a lot of fun veganizing recipes from many of the chefs and shows. Check it out and join in! Tami at Vegan Appetite will take your submissions and post them on her blog Vegan Appetite. I can't thank her enough for organizing and encouraging us to be creative.

Can't wait to see what you come up with!

We're coming to get you Bobby! (Image courtesy of

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Return of Food Network Fridays - BBQ "Pork" Panini Sandwich

It has been a bit of a hiatus for Food Network Fridays. This is a little challenge started by the one and only Tami Noyes of American Vegan Kitchen (AVK) and Vegan Appetite fame. A few of us goofy food obsessed types go about converting a Food Network recipe to a much more kind vegan version. It is a lot of fun to see what all of the fantastic cooks whip up.

This week we converted this BBQ Pork Panini Sandwich from an episode of Down Home with the Neelys.

I started off yesterday with a test recipe from the upcoming Vegan Bakesale by Carla Kelly of The Year of the Vegan. Her recipe for what she calls plain bread was hailed by my number one taste tester, Fred, as the best bread he has ever had! It was darn good. Because I had my sights set on this conversion, I made the bread into French-style torpedo rolls. It had to bribe Fred not to eat all of the rolls so that we could eat them with this today.

This morning when I got home from another graveyard shift (yuck), I whipped up another tester from Julie Hasson's upcoming Vegan Diner: Smoky Sandwich Spread. This cheesy, creamy, tasty spread stood in for the cheddar in the original recipe.

For the "pork" I used Tami's Beefy Seitan recipe from AVK. If you don't have her book yet, there is something seriously wrong with you. Go buy it!

I bring you my version of

BBQ Porque Panini Sandwich

Makes 4 Sandwiches

3 tablespoons Earth Balance, softened
2 large cloves garlic, minced
12 oz Beefy Seitan roast
Rub - Recipe below
1 cup BBQ Sauce - Recipe Below
4 French-style sandwich rolls
Smoky Cheezy Sandwich Spread (or your favorite vegan cheddar)
4 large dill pickles, sliced length wise

In a small bowl, blend the Earth Balance and garlic. Set aside for later use.

Coat seitan roast with rub. Save remaining rub in airtight container for later use. Let rub soak into seitan for at least and hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In covered casserole, bake roast for about 20 minutes. Roast will be warm, but not hot. Slice as thinly as you can and return to the pan with 1 cup of the BBQ sauce. Bake for 10-15 more minutes until heated through and sauce becomes a little sticky. Remove from oven and set aside while you prepare the sandwich.

Preheat Panini press or griddle depending on what you are using. I used the griddle on my stove and a big old cast iron pan for the press.

Butter the outsides of the bread with the Earth Balance mixture. Spread a thick layer of cheezy spread on top piece of bread. Working quickly set the bottom piece of the bread on the press/griddle. Top with pickle slices and seitan (divided into four equal portions). Grill on each side for about 2 - 3 minutes until bread is golden and crunchy. Slice at a diagonal and serve with a little extra BBQ sauce for dippin' if that is your style.

Fred likes more pickles and less meat on his. This is a very flexible recipe, so add and subtract the ingredients to fit your taste.

Happy FNF!

Dry Rub

1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Can store in airtight container for future use.

Smoky BBQ Sauce

Makes approx 4 cups

2 teaspoons canola oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
3 cloves garlic minced
1 - 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (leave seeds intact)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
6 oz can tomato paste**
2 teaspoons vegan worcestershire sauce
5 Tablespoons chili powder (hot if you like a very spicy sauce)
3 teaspoons celery salt
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons toasted yellow mustard seeds*

In medium saucepan, saute onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. While they are sauteeing puree diced tomatoes and chipotle together making sure chipotle is chopped fine. Pour mixture and remaining ingredients into saucepan. Bring to simmer and turn heat to low. Simmer on low for at least 30 minutes.

This sauce is even better if you can let it chill overnight in the fridge to intensify the flavors.

* Some people like thinner smoother sauce. For a thinner smoother sauce, add 1/2 cup of water and puree all ingredients except for the mustard seeds. Add seeds and then simmer.

** I have to indulge myself in a little rant here. I get so miffed when recipes call for 2 Tablespoons or less than a whole can of tomato paste. I know this has to happen sometimes, but it irks me to no end to have this small amount of tomato paste sittin' in the fridge. I purposely developed this recipe so that you, my dear reader, will not encounter this common cooking irritation. Boooooya!