Potato and Carrot Cheese Sauce

Hi guys! It’s been a while. My apologies. 

Today I have a recipe for you that I am OBSESSED with. 

  
I’ve always been picky about cheese, but I LOVE macaroni and cheese. Seriously. In my pre vegan days I used to scarf the macaroni from KFC. Now that I’m vegan, it’s been difficult to find a macaroni that meets my high picky standards. I’m not a fan at all of Daiya, Earth Balance box macaroni tastes too sweet for me, and I’m not the kind of vegan who can just put some vegan butter and nooch on noodles and be satisfied. Then I joined this group on facebook called “What Fat Vegans Eat”, and came across a recipe for cheese sauce made with potatoes and carrots. So I made it as queso dip for Memorial Day, and really liked it. But I only like queso dip… I LOVE macaroni. So I took the recipe, made a bunch of changes and VOILA! I finally found vegan Mac that I’m happy with. 

  
You can use this to make queso dip, macaroni, cheese sauce for enchiladas or nachos, etc. It’s versatile. If you’re making it as queso, I recommend adding a tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Chipotle chili peppers in adobo would also be a good addition for if you’re making it as queso dip. Ah, possibilities. 

Ingredients:

2 cups skinned potatoes, diced 

1 cup skinned carrots, diced 

1 cup unsweetened plain dairy-free milk

1/8 cup oil (grapeseed, olive, coconut, avocado)

2 tsp. salt

4 Tablespoons lemon juice 

3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes (buy it here)

2 teaspoons onion powder 

2 teaspoons garlic powder 

A pinch of ground cumin

Instructions:

Gather all ingredients. Skin and dice the potatoes and carrots. Boil the potatoes and carrots until soft. Then add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. If it seems too dry, add a splash more non-dairy milk until you get the right consistency. Serve with chips or pour over pasta. Enjoy!

Tip: if reheating, add a few tablespoons of non-dairy milk to it to get it smooth. Makes all the difference!

  

Coconut, Chickpea & Kale Curry

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I know, I know. I do a LOT of curry recipes on this blog. I can’t help it. I lived in Okinawa where curry is everywhere. While living there I tried Japanese curry, Indian curry, Turkish curry, Thai curry… Probably more than that but I can’t remember. Curry is awesome. That’s why I do so many recipes revolving around curry.

Now first off, I have to tell you this isn’t exactly an original RCV recipe, it’s derived from my cooking course I’m currently taking through Rouxbe (which is AWESOME, by the way). Now I’ve changed quite a few things from their recipe, and decided to share it with you. Originally the dish was just coconut braised chickpeas and spinach. I turned it into coconut braised chickpea curry with kale, because I love curry with coconut milk and I hate cooked spinach. I also took out some other things I didn’t like in the recipe from the course, such as fresh ginger. What can I say? I’ll always be a little bit picky. I’ll never like fresh ginger, raw carrots, cooked spinach, or okra. But the beauty about learning to cook with plants is it is SO versatile! Adapting a recipe is no problem.

So without further babbling…

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Coconut, Chickpea & Kale Curry

Ingredients
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dried, not jarred)
1 15 ounce can of chickpeas
2 tsp chili flakes
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 – 14 oz can coconut milk
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup of kale
1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
Optional garnish – cilantro

Instructions
Prep work- first dice the onion and mince the garlic and ginger. Next, zest the lemon. Juice the lemon and save for later. Measure out the sun-dried tomatoes and cut into small strips or cubes. Drain & rinse the chickpeas. Measure out the chili flakes and coconut oil.

Getting down to business- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil, followed by the onions. Sweat the onions for about 10 minutes (cook over no more than medium heat without browning). Once soft, add the garlic and ginger powder and cook for another minute. Add in the sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and chili flakes. Let cook for another minute. Turn up the heat and add the chickpeas and stir to coat in the mixture. Cook for a few minutes. Once the chickpeas are heated through, add in the kale a handful at a time. Lastly, add the coconut milk, curry powder, and soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Stir and a add bit of the reserved lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, salt and pepper as needed. At this point I also added dried turmeric just for color and nutritional purposes, but it adds no flavor to the dish so it can be omitted. Once everything has heated through, serve it up with any grain you like, even quinoa would work. I usually use jasmine rice. Garnish each plate with a some fresh cilantro if you wish and enjoy.

Thai red curry with vermicelli noodkes

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This year for my birthday my good friend Kiwa gave me thai red curry pastes. I had been looking all over for a fish-free red curry paste with no luck, so I was very thankful to get these from her. I love Thai curry. It has so many complex flavors and spices, and I think of it as comfort food. Especially when you add vermicelli noodles, which add the perfect texture to this soup. You should be able to find vermicelli noodles and red curry paste at your local store in the ethnic section, or at a specialty Asian foods market.

Ingredients:
4 cups veggie broth
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced in half
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon agave nectar, honey or brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 ounces vermicelli noodles
1 tablespoon turmeric powder (optional)
1/2 cup drained, pressed, cubed tofu (optional)

Optional toppings: cilantro, lemon zest, sliced jalapeño, green onions, bean sprouts

Instructions:
Add all ingredients (except the noodles) to a large soup pot. Bring to medium high heat and let simmer for about fifteen minutes. Add the vermicelli noodles and heat through. They will take about five minutes to cook through.

Serve as soon as the noodles are done. Top with whatever suits your fancy. I like cilantro and green onion on mine. Enjoy!

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Double chocolate vegan muffins

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Who doesn’t like muffins? The kind you eat, not that nasty thing that happens to your waist when you wear tight pants. I’ve always had a huge chocolate addiction, and I love chocolate muffins. Then I went vegan in a small Japanese island and thought I’d never find any vegan muffins. I was wrong, there’s a great little bakery about fifteen minutes away from here that makes delicious vegan muffins that are usually topped with fruit. My favorite is their chocolate persimmon muffin. Wow! It’s incredible. The only problem is they are very expensive. Sometimes, as a vegan, I justify buying expensive things because I don’t know how to make them at home. But alas, I am my mothers daughter and baking runs in my blood. I know how to bake up a batch of delicious, cruelty free muffins. So I decided to get down to business and satisfy my craving in the comfort of my own home whilst wearing my Star Wars pajamas and watch lord of the rings. And now I bring you a recipe for a muffin so moist and delicious, it’ll make you want to break out in song.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour (I use organic, whole wheat, unbleached)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cacao, cocoa, or carob powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
1/2 cup melted coconut or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups applesauce
2 vanilla beans, or 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (I liked the beans better)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan or line one with cupcake liners. (Funny story, I don’t have a normal sized muffin tin. I only have an extra large one. They don’t sell liners here on this island big enough for my giant muffin tin, so I just grease up a pan and move on.) Mix your dry ingredients in one bowl and your wet in another. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients, add the wet, and mix slowly with a hand mixer. Add the batter to each muffin hole thingy until it’s about 2/3 of the way full (if it goes over don’t freak out like I did and make an enormous mess). Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick (or a chop stick, in my case, since I’m out of toothpicks) that you stab the muffins with comes out batter-free. Let cool, don’t burn you’re fingers, and enjoy!

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Buckwheat soba soup

It has been quite some time since my last post! My apologies. I’d say I’ve been busy, but since my last post I’ve watched every episode of homeland and I read at least three books. I return to you a wiser blogger and better vegan, however. I successfully hosted and created an entire vegan thanksgiving meal from scratch.

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So here I am, back with a great recipe that I’m excited to share with you. Whilst shopping recently in the Asian section of the grocery store I came across buckwheat noodles and dried shiitake mushrooms. I decided to make a soup using the two, assumed it would be fairly mediocre and just enough warmth to defrost my toes, as it was a dreary, disgusting day outside and I was rain soaked. So I went home and threw in a little of this, a little of that… And suddenly I made an amazing bowl of awesomeness. Don’t you love when that happens? You’re not even trying to make something awesome and then suddenly you find yourself eating half of it and barely leaving any leftovers for your husband. Be prepared to use both chopsticks and a spoon while eating this. It’s one of those meals.

Buckwheat soba soup
Serves 4 as a dinner, 8 as a side

5 cups of water
3 cups mushroom stock
6 whole dried shiitake mushrooms, cut into strips with kitchen scissors
8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups kale, shredded
2 cups shelled edamame
1/2 block of extra firm tofu, diced
3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
3 tablespoons of nori
10 ounces of buckwheat noodles
1/3 cup white miso
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 green onions, whites and greens

Instructions
Sauté the garlic in your soup pot with one tablespoon of the sesame oil for about three minutes. Next, add the water, broth, and shiitake mushrooms. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about fifteen minutes. Next add the noodles, the nori, and the edamame, bring to a boil then cook on medium for about ten minutes. Turn the heat to low, then add the rest of the ingredients, and give it a stir. Your soup is done! Enjoy!

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Vegan curried squash, coconut milk, lentil soup

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I never tried any type of curry until I moved to Japan. There is a restaurant here that’s very popular called Coco’s, and they make curry that makes my husband swoon. I’ve tried many types of curry since we’ve been here, and by far my favorite is thai curry. But I haven’t attempted that yet. I’m getting to it, I just have to work up the courage because thai curry is so delicious and complex, and I hate making food that’s sub par.

So I was on a mission to make curry that would make my husband swoon like he does for cocos. I needed some guidance. Normally I’m good at figuring out recipes on my own, but curry is foreign territory for me. My mother had sent me a cookbook called The Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Judith Finlayson. There’s a recipe in it for curried squash and red lentil soup with coconut. I decided to attempt it, change a few things, and see what would happen. And many things happened. For one thing, it made my house smell like angels and happiness. And the other thing it did was make my husband fall in love with me all over again. So here’s my spin on Judith’s recipe, and I definitely recommend picking up her book.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup red lentils
4 cups veggie stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1/2 a roasted butternut squash, cubed
2 onions, sliced
7 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black peppercorns
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lemon juice

Instructions
This is a great one pot meal. I just put very thing into the crockpot, gave it a stir, cooked it on high for 4 and a half hours in the crockpot, and served with fresh cilantro. It was seriously perfect. If you know how to make naan bread, you should serve it with naan bread. I just made garlic toast instead. Either way, the soup is delicious and you can’t go wrong. Enjoy!

Avocado Cream Sauce

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I love pasta. It’s my weakness. It’s my desert island food. It’s my last meal if I were on death row. It’s something I’ll never give up, and it’s probably the only reason I would not be able to adapt the “raw” lifestyle. Zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash are good, but pasta is better than anything. I can eat it plain with just some butter and fresh garlic. (As long as that butter is vegan butter, of course). But sometimes shit in my kitchen gets a little fancier, and that’s when this avocado cream sauce happened.

Avocado cream sauce
Makes about two cups

1 large avocado
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 a green onion (green parts only)
1/2 a lemon, juice and zest
1/4 cup fresh basil
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Sprinkle of turmeric (optional)

Mix everything in a blender (I used my magic bullet) until thoroughly incorporated. Serve over your pasta of choice! Add sautéed onions, roasted mushrooms, or go my route and use some cherry tomatoes and green onions. It’s yum, no matter what you choose! Enjoy!