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.

Bang Bang Cauliflower

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This week I’ve been experimenting with cauliflower, AKA Broccolis albino cousin. I’d heard of people making a vegan version of Bang Bang Shrimp with it, and had to see if it loved up to the name. I grew up a stones throw from bonefish grill. My brother used to work there. I can’t remember the first time I had Bang Bang Shrimp, but I remember the last time. A friend/coworker and I used to go almost every Wednesday after work. We’d grab some bang bang, complain about the crazy people who yelled at us on the phone, and talk about our favorite moments of the day. All while enjoying an ingenious dish that will never really be 100% duplicated vegan-style. Now we are both vegan, and Bang Bang cauliflower is as close to the real deal as we get. And it is darn good! So, in her honor, here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

Fried Cauliflower:
4 tablespoons arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 flax “eggs” (2 TBS flax meal, 6 TBS water)
1/2 head cauliflower

Coconut oil, for frying

Sauce:
1/4 cup vegan mayo or cashew cream
1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons diced green onion

Directions:
Cut cauliflower into bite sized florets.

Set up your dipping system. One bowl with the flax egg, one bowl with the starch, then the last bowl containing the Panko mixed with the rest of the dry ingredients.

Roll each piece in corn starch, then shake off the excess. Dip each piece in the flax egg. Then in the Panko mixture. Make sure all the pieces are evenly coated with each mixture.

Fry two pieces at a time in a small pot of coconut oil on medium heat.

Mix all sauce ingredients together. You can either toss the cauliflower in the sauce immediately before serving or leave it on the side. Either way it’s darn good! Enjoy!

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Vegan Thai green curry

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You ever cook something and think “wow, this is terrible!” And consider never cooking again? Alternatively, have you ever made something in the kitchen and said to yourself “wow, I am awesome!” ? Well, both of those things happened to me this week.

This week I attempted to make vegan pho, the same kind Kiwa from Dechibica makes. It didn’t go well. I had to throw the whole thing away. I ended up eating one of those pre-packaged vegan soups by Dr. McDougall. Don’t get me wrong, I like those. But I prefer a home cooked meal. I’ve never had a dish that I love more than Kiwa’s pho. So when I tried to recreate it and failed miserably, I almost thought I’d quit cooking. Then I decided I needed a good dish. Just one good dish. If I could make up a dish from scratch using what I know, I could continue cooking.

So that’s when I decided to use a little jar of green curry, combine it with what I know about making curry, add some rice noodles and create something I would be proud of. And you know what? It worked! When I asked my husband to rate it out of 1-10, he gave it a 10.5.

It’s easy to make, it’s insanely delicious, and it’s perfect for a cold winters night.

Ingredients
2 Tbs green curry paste
1 can coconut milk (top cream part only, not the water)
1 & 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 sliced white or yellow onion
1 & 1/2 Tbs coconut oil 3 cups veggie broth
5 kafir lime leaves
2 tablespoons soy sauce

8 oz rice noodles or rice, for serving

Instructions
In a large pot, sauté the onions in the coconut oil for about two minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms, sauté for two more minutes. Add the curry paste and sauté for a minute, then add the two cups of veggie broth and the kafir lime leaves. Bring soup to a simmer. Once it’s fragrant and the lime leaves have released their flavors, remove them and discard. Add the coconut milk and soy sauce, then bring to a simmer and let it cook for about five minutes. Remove from the heat and serve with rice noodles or rice. You can do a different kind of noodles if you want, sometimes I use somebody noodles instead of rice noodles. You could also add some carrots, spinach, or bok choy. It’s easy to make it your own.   I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! 🙂

Vegan fried fish & mango avocado salsa

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Lately I’ve been using a lot of nori. I love nori. Nori is the reason for that ocean-y taste of fish. So it’s perfect in imitating that same flavor without actually eating fish. And I know some people think tofu is gross, but if you treat it correctly it’s going to be your best friend. As a vegan self-taught home cook, I’m pretty well versed in the ways of tofu. I’ve used it to make scrambled “eggs”, vegan fish, nuggets, “turkey” thanksgiving roast, cheesecake, creamy soups, and more. Tofu is your friend. Don’t be grossed out by it, embrace the versatility!

Tofu fried “fish”
Feeds 2, but can be doubled easily
Ingredients
1/2 of a 14oz block of tofu, drained
Nori sheets

2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable or any other mild oil

1/8 cup flour

1/4 cup soy milk

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions
Drain the water from the tofu package.
Sliced tofu width wise into 1/2 inch slices. Since I make this for two people I make four or five slices and save the other half of the tofu block in the fridge for another recipe (usually tofu scramble). Press the slices of tofu between two clean towels with something very heavy on top, such as multiple cookbooks or a large glass casserole dish. Press for at least 30 minutes, or as long as four hours.

Cut the nori sheets into strips to fit one side of each tofu strip and press until the nori sticks to the strips. You don’t need to have nori on both sides of the tofu. One is enough to get the fish effect.

Mix your seasonings/soy sauce/oil in a shallow bowl. It will turn into sort of a paste. Coat each tofu strip in about 1 teaspoon of the paste, then set the strips aside. There will be excess paste when you are finished. Add the 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk to the excess and mix.

Dust each strip with flour. You probably won’t use all of the 1/8 cup, and that’s fine. Just dust them, not fully cover them.

Dip strips in the paste/milk mixture, then coat them in panko (it’s easiest to have your panko in a bowl and make a factory line, so to speak. Dust with flour, milk marinade, panko). Make sure they are evenly coated.

Once all strips are coated, fry them in a pan with about 1/2 inch of oil on the bottom. Fry about three minutes on each side, until golden brown but do your best not to burn them. I always make my husband do the frying for me. I’m terrible at it.

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Serve these puppies up with vegan spicy tartar sauce and mango avocado salsa. Recipes below!

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Spicy tartar sauce
Makes about 1/4 cup
Ingredients
1/4 cup plain vegan mayo (or cashews that have soaked overnight and then been whipped up in a blender)
Juice and zest of 1/2 a large lemon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder or girly minced white onion

Mango and avocado salsa
Makes about 1&1/4 cups
Ingredients
1/2 of a large ripe mango, diced
1 medium avocado, diced
5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon cilantro
1 tablespoon finely minced white onion
Juice and zest of half a lime or lemon

Voila! I serve all of this up together over some brown rice in a bowl for myself, while my husband prefers his taco-style. It’s good no matter how you do it. Try it out! And thanks for reading!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

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Vegan fudge. What a concept! I remember looking at the different kinds of overpriced fudge at Disney and begging my mom to buy it for me. There were so many different kinds! My favorite was always chocolate peanut butter. So since going vegan it’s been my mission to recreate things I loved in my non-veg days into cruelty free treats that make me both fat and nostalgic.

Ingredients
1 cup canned coconut milk, chilled
3 cups carob or vegan chocolate chips. I used a mix of both.
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sea salt
Kosher salt for topping (optional)

Instructions
In a sauce pan bring the coconut milk to a low boil on medium heat. Add the carob/chocolate chips one cup at a time. Stir in peanut butter, sea salt and vanilla. Turn off the heat and stir until the mixture is smooth.

Sift your powdered sugar into a bowl. Pour in the chocolate mixture and mix together using a hand mixer.

Once smooth, pour the mixture into a 8×8 dish coated with wax paper or tin foil. Sprinkle with kosher salt if desired. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

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Deconstructed Vegan Sushi Bowl

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I’ve tried to make sushi. I even took a class with my husband last year. But when I try to do it at home… Failure.

My favorite kind of food to make is bowls. Bowls of a bunch of different things thrown together. This is perfect for the kind of person who wants to eat sushi but is a sushi rolling failure like myself.

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That’s about as fancy as my sushi abilities will ever get. So, without any more rambling, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients
2 cups cooked white rice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon mirin
*see note if you’re unable to find the rice ingredients

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon agave nectar or sugar
1 clove of minced garlic

1 medium avocado, cut in half and then sliced thinly
1/4 cup sprouts
3 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 sheet of nori, cut into thin strips
Other optional additions: carrot, cucumber, tofu, cabbage, eggplant

*NOTE- You can make the rice without the vinegar and other ingredients, but keep in mind it won’t taste like sushi rice. It’ll still be delicious if you add some salt though.

Instructions
Cook your rice first and set it aside to cool, it needs to be room temperature when the food comes together.

In a small sauce pan mix together the vinegar, salt, mirin, and sugar. Cook on medium heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, cut up your veggies. I like to use avocado, tomato, sprouts, and add some tofu. But I’ve listed other options for you as well. Anyway you go, it’ll be delicious.

When that’s done, whisk together the soy sauce, garlic and agave in a small bowl. Set aside.

Mix together rice and the vinegar mixture. When thoroughly mixed, divide equally between two bowls. Drizzle the soy sauce mixture on top. Then pile on your veggies and nori. You can also top the whole thing with sesame seeds, which I totally forgot to do.

Enjoy!