veganmofo #5: girlcrush.

i know keep saying it, but i feel like isa is not getting sufficiently jealous, so i must AGAIN point out that it seems terry hope romero taps right in to what fuels me, foodwise. okay, yeah, i know food is my fuel but i'm not talking strictly of nutritional sustenance here.

the onset of fall has made me long for hearty stews and soups. ever on the lookout for a reason to cook with beer, i decided to make a batch of the gumbo terry created for veganomicon tonight. never mind that i was in the late stages of a migraine and i have (yes, have...not done yet) a class's worth of tests to grade and 2 tests to make for tomorrow, on top of about eleventy billion other nuisance tasks. oh, wait, those aren't nuisance tasks. those are my job duties. i think i'm going to pursue national board certification, so i guess it might be a good idea to tend to them. but i need energy to do these things! and food = energy! what the hell do you think a calorie is, anyway? ugh, someone needs to go back and review their notes from high school health class.

anyway, terry's gumbo is no frigging joke. it's smoky and packed with veggies and has a stick-to-your-ribbedness that can't be beat. temperatures here in NYC are hovering around the 50s & 60s, so it's the perfect time for a meal like this. i'm sure i'll be repeating it time and again between now and april. ugh, so far away.

speaking of repeating, i cooked so late that it was way too dark to take a picture, so i'm just going to repost the gumbo shot i posted last year. (i feel kind of bad that i took 2 weeks off only to come back and rehash old dishes, but these are tried-and-true won't-let-you-downers. some things bear repeating!)


veganmofo #4: blugh.

i have been so uninspired to even cook anything for a couple weeks, likely due to a low-level cold or flu that i've been more or less successfully fighting off for the past two weeks. i'm tired as all get-out, but at least the only symptoms i've succumbed to thus far are a wee cough around bedtime, some minor stuffiness, and a couple of headaches. it's the being freaking EXHAUSTED that has been most prevalent, though.

however, yesterday i had a rare day of productivity. not only did i get up and do laundry and clean my kitchen before 11am, i also managed to go food shopping for critical ingredients to three of my favorite dishes from veganomicon. as it turned out, i only had energy to make two of them yesterday, but the third is on deck for sometime in the next couple of days.

terry's caesar salad is my most favorite way to eat raw greens EVER. the dressing is so simple it practically makes itself and when combined with some romaine lettuce and croutons, it makes for a salad that i not only want to eat but find myself craving. who'd have thunk it?!

and since autumn decided to make itself known this weekend, i figured it was time for one of my favorite fall dishes - pumpkin ziti with caramelized onions and sage breadcrumbs. (i don't know if that's the correct name, but i'm barely keeping my eyes open at this point, so it'll have to do.)

since i've been so lax about updating my mofo, i wanted to make sure to record my recent productivity. i'm not such a deadbeat flight-of-fancier, after all!

then i realized that i made both of these dishes during last year's mofo.
what can i say, like leek & bean cassoulet and gumbo, these two dishes make me think of jumping in fluffy piles of redorangeyellow leaves and wrapping a scarf 'round my head to run out to get a beer.

it's gonna have to do.


veganmofo #3: veganmofa

okay, so far not so good.

i started out the month on a high note, with that ice cream. but i've been really tired and uninspired the last couple of days, so not much cooking is going on. so i'm dedicating this veganmofo post to two awesome non-food items i've recently acquired. this is my Vegan Month of Fashion post. (ignore that only half of it's fashion-related.)

1. down alternative comforter

i've wanted to get one of these for a few years - at least since i moved back to the northeast. i finally broke down and snagged one from overstock.com and, MAN, am i happy i did. (note: dog also thrilled.) it's giving me all the weight and warmth of a down comforter with none of the bad karma hauntings that come with snuggling under a coat of feathers that were never intended for me. i'm stupid for having waited so long to get one. (for other reasons, surely, but this one is at my mind's forefront.)

2. faux leather jacket

again, been wanting this forevers. i keep my dad's old leather bomber jacket, but it's both beat up and sad, so i don't wear it very often. but i really love the look of a plain leather-like jacket. i found this one at urban outfitters online (go ahead, judge me) and took a chance. it really could have gone either way: totally sucky or freaking awesome. lucky for me, it was the latter. this jacket makes me feel hot. and not because i'm wearing it while snuggled under my new comforter, either.


veganmofo #2: my vegan achilles heel.

i'm sure i've gone years without eating a single marshmallow.
now that sweet & sara's are readily available, though, i'm helpless against my cravings for sweet little puffy pillows. so hooked am i that it seems perfectly reasonable that i had a marshmallow for breakfast today, then finished off what was left of the tiny $7 package of vanillas i bought only 24 hours ago.
washed down with a beer.

had i the energy or inclination, i might strive to supplement the day's meals with foods that fall outside the realm of dessert ingredients.
had i another package of marshmallows, however, i'd be fast on my way to a killer stomachache.

is it just because regular marshmallows aren't vegan that these things have become so prized?


veganmofo #1: chocomint cookie ice cream.

i don't know that there's anything i can or need to say about this ice cream, but...

i'd like to first thank pandacookie, whose suggestion of using vitasoy peppermint chocolate soymilk to make ice cream during warm weather months has haunted me since january. i never got around to making it during the summer, but it hit the spot on this beautifully sunny first of october.

paula provided not only inspiration (it was one or both of us who decided that the addition of candy cane joe-joes was essential) but also constant reminding that this simply HAD to happen.

also, i don't know agnes but it was a recipe from her vegan ice cream paradise that i used to whip this up today.

making ice cream without an electric ice cream maker was simple as can be, required very little kitchen time, and resulted one of the tastiest vegan ice creams i've ever had. it was a little crystal-y, only because i had to leave to meet friends for dinner instead of staying home, dutifully blending.

i've been a little on the fence about winter's impending arrival, but this little enterprise helped me turn a corner today and i'm now looking forward to all the season brings. i love cooking in the colder months and really want to up my culinary ante. i hope that this month's challenge will get me geared up and inspired to be more creative and daring in the kitchen, even as i continue to learn about cooking's fundamentals.
i can't wait to see what other veganmofos have in store!

(recipe heavily adapted from here!)
3 c vitasoy chocolate peppermint soymilk
2 T arrowroot powder
1 c crushed candy cane joe-joes

set soymilk to boil, reserving a bit to mix with the arrowroot. (agnes says 1/4 cup. i didn't bother measuring...)
thoroughly mix the reserved soymilk and arrowroot.
when the soymilk comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and add the arrowroot slurry. it should start to thicken a little, noticeable by the way it coats a spoon. (it won't get thick, though. just thicker.)

since i don't have an ice cream maker, here's the freezing method i used:
after your soymilk & arrowroot are mixed, pour the mixture into an 8x8 pyrex dish. (i'd put mine in the freezer a little earlier, so it was already frosty.) place the dish in the freezer.
every half hour or so, remove the mixture and mix it up to prevent it from freezing solid. i used a fork and an immersion blender, but i guess you can also run it through a food processor or just fork it.
when the ice cream is starting to set sufficiently, after a couple of hours, mix in the crushed cookies.