Sneakily delicious dishes that bring all the omnivores to the yard! Look for the cookbook in 2010!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010



Everybody loves pizza, even {and especially!} vegans. When I went vegan, I thought my pizza days were over. Silly rabbit that I was - turns out vegan pizza is especially good!

The Ninjahusband and I love to make pizza together at home. Unfortunately, our opinions differ on appropriate toppings, but one thing we can agree on is our dough. He is a master of dough-making, and we have recently discovered {and tweaked} what we think is the best pizza dough recipe out there.

Super Sneaky Ninja Pizza Dough
Makes 2 crusts, 4 mini crusts, or 3 calzones

2 tbsp dry active yeast {or 2 packets}
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3 1/2 cups flour
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

1. Gently whisk together yeast, sugar, and water. Set aside for 5 - 10 minutes, until the yeast has "bloomed". You will know it is ready when it looks kind of frothy and bubbly.

2. Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, with the dough hook attached.

3. Add the yeast mixture to your flour, as well as the olive oil, and knead with the dough hook for 5 - 10 minutes until thoroughly mixed and elastic.

4. Dump the dough out onto the counter, and knead a little more, until the dough is easy to work with. Divide into 2 for regular sized pizzas {or 4 for mini pizzas, or 3 for calzones}, and stretch each into an approximate crust shape. Let rest for 10 minutes.

5. Stretch the dough again into its final, desired shape. Top, and bake at 500 F for 12 minutes, until the edges are golden.

You can top your pizza with anything you like. The possibilities are endless. With pizza nowadays, I like to think outside of the "cheese" realm, however the pizza above features Teese vegan cheese, Smart Deli pepperoni, green peppers, and black olives. I also made a killer calzone the other day with Daiya vegan cheese, Smart Deli pepperoni, green peppers, sauteed mushrooms and garlic, and black olives.

Mmmm pizzalicious!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

White Girl Daal

Daal w/ Basmati Rice

In our household, Indian-inspired food is queen. Ever since he was 10 months old and had his first taste of channa masala, the Supertoddler has devoured Indian food like it was his last meal. I have a couple of good Indian cookbooks, and we have an amazing Indian restaurant in the area. Those things, paired with the emergency Amy's frozen Indian food dinner have been able to fulfill almost any need for the cuisine that we've had over the last couple of years. I've not really ventured off into my own territory, making my own creations using those flavorful ingredients...until now.

I've never found a daal recipe that I've been satisfied with. They always seem to come out very bland and lacking the umph daals have in restaurants. One night, when Supertoddler was begging for his beloved Indian food, I decided to try my hand at creating my own simple daal from quick-cooking red lentils. How hard could it be?

The resulting daal, although possibly not very authentic {I don't know, any seasoned Indian chefs, help me out here} was flavorful and rich, and the leftovers were lovely for days to come. It is now the Supertoddler's favorite dish, and he asks for it often. I present to you...White Girl Daal {so respectfully named on account of my inability to assure you of any degree of its authenticity}.

White Girl Daal
Makes 4-6 servings.

3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over
water {I'll explain amounts later}
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 14.5oz can diced tomatos, drained {or one large tomato, chopped}
2 tbsp canola or other mild-flavored oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
4 curry leaves, chopped {optional} - you can find these at an Indian market
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala {an Indian spice blend}
salt, to taste

1. In a medium pot, combine lentils, 1 1/2 cups of water, tumeric, and onion. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender and starting to break apart. During this simmering time, stir the lentils every few minutes, and if they look like they are getting low on water {and trust me, they will} add another half a cup. I honestly have no idea how much water I usually add to this, as it varies every time. Just keep an eye on it, trust yourself, and add water as you feel it is needed.

2. Add the tomato, and continue to simmer as you prepare the other ingredients.

3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, curry leaves {if using}, and spices. Sautee until the garlic is golden {but not burnt!}. Add this mixture to the lentils, and stir to combine.

4. Season with salt to taste, and allow to cook for another 5 minutes to blend flavors. Serve with rice or flatbread.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cashew Fettuccine Alfredo

Cashew Fettuccine Alfredo

In my pre-vegan {pregan? heh} days, one of my favorite things to order in an Italian restaurant was fettuccine alfredo. Since going vegan, I have been searching for a good alfredo recipe, but as of yet have come up short.

This recipe from VegWeb, called Cashew Fettuccine Alfredo, is closer than anything I've tried thus far. I feel like I'm on the right track now. Some spice modifications, and I think this recipe will be spot on.

Cashew Fettuccine Alfredo
Makes 6 servings.

1 lb fettuccine pasta, cooked al dente
1 cup raw cashews
3 cups boiling water
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste

1. Grind the raw cashews in a food processor or blender until finely powdered. Slowly pour in the boiling water and process until smooth. Add lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, nutritional yeast, and nutmeg, and continue processing until the sauce has thickened and is well blended.

2. Pour the sauce into a large pan with the noodles, and toss gently until the sauce thickens and is hot. Salt & pepper to taste. Serve with peas, broccoli, and/or garlic bread.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pretty Much the Best Blended Salsa of All Time

Blended Salsa

As a counterpart to the ever-delicious Pretty Much the Best Hummus of All Time, I bring to you Pretty Much the Best Blended Salsa of All Time.

As a general hater of anything that includes raw onions, the only way I can truly enjoy salsa is in its blended form. I've tried many a time to make blended salsas at home, with raw tomatoes, only to end up with grainy, mushy, and sickly orange concoctions. While researching salsa recipes on the internet, I found a recipe where the author used canned tomatoes for his salsa.

Canned tomatoes? OH THE HORROR! Say it ain't so! But it is so. And they make the best blended salsa you will ever put in your mouth. Swallow your authenticity-related pride and make this salsa. I promise you will not be disappointed.

Pretty Much the Best Blended Salsa of All Time
Makes a large jar full.

1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, slightly drained {how much liquid you keep is up to you, I like to keep about half}
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 or 3 Guajillo or other dried chiles, rehydrated in hot water for 20 minutes
juice from 2 limes
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

Blend everything in your food processor or blender until it reaches your desired consistency. Taste and add salt as necessary. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gnocchi with Zucchini and Portabella Mushrooms

Gnocchi w/ Portabellas and Zucchini

As much as possible, I try to feature my own recipes on this blog. However, sometimes a recipe from a fellow vegan's blog stands out so much that I simply must mention it here as well. Gnocchi with Zucchini and Portabella Mushrooms from Fat Free Vegan is just one such recipe.

This simple dish is easy to put together, nutritious, and absolutely packed with flavor. It is one of my top 10 favorite foods, hands down. The author is critical of it on her blog, but I made the suggested change of cubing the zucchini instead of cooking it in ribbons, and it comes out perfectly for me every time.

I'm a cook who is not shy to add a little olive oil to a pan to help the cooking process along, and I have the belly to show for it. Despite the temptation to do so in this recipe, I refrained, and was richly rewarded with the deeply caramelized flavor of the zucchini and mushrooms. Every bit of the goodness is deglazed off the bottom of the pan by the tomatoes. You may not have faith in this dry cooking method as you're making this recipe, but trust me. Follow the directions, and you will come out with an end result that sends your mouth on a flavor trip through the planets.

This dish is so loaded with vegetables that you don't even really need a vegetable to round out your meal. The photo above shows the gnocchi served alongside some black bean croquettes with vegan hollandaise sauce. Scrumptious!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice

While in Arizona visiting a good friend, we went to a wonderful Mexican place for dinner. I thought we had good Mexican food here in Utah, but it's NOTHING compared to the Mexican in Arizona! I thought my tastebuds were going to die of happiness.

Surprisingly, the highlight of the meal was the chile and tomato-studded Mexican rice served on the side. It was extremely flavorful, and the little pieces of green chile and tomato throughout the rice were dynamite.

As soon as I came home, I had to recreate it.

Mexican Rice
Makes 6 servings.

2 cups white rice {long grain would be especially good here, as it wouldn't be as sticky as the short grain I used}
4 cups good vegetable broth {I used Better Than Bullion No-Chicken Broth}
1 14oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 6oz cans diced green chiles, mild or hot, depending on your spice tolerance, undrained
2 tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper, and fresh lime juice, to taste

1. In a medium pot, combine rice, broth, tomatoes, chiles, and olive oil over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover rice, and cook for 15 - 20 minutes, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

2. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and fresh lime juice. Serve alongside any Mexican dish. In the picture above, the rice was served alongside chile lime refried beans.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Filled Cupcakes

Boston Cream Pie Cupcake

I've recently made a wonderful discovery -- most Jello Instant Puddings are vegan. The milk you would usually make them with isn't of course, but that can be remedied. Soy milk doesn't have enough fat in it to get the pudding to set up, but coconut milk has enough and more! In place of the 2 cups cow's milk called for, I make it with 1 1/2 cups coconut milk and 1/2 cup soy milk, and voila! Instant vegan pudding.

I don't like to eat the pudding straight as it is, with that amount of fat in it {although it's good for getting some extra fat and calories into Supertoddler on days when he's not eating enough}. However, pudding made in this manner is PERFECT for filling cupcakes.

In the cupcake pictured above, I used the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, poked my finger in the middle of the cooled cupcake, and piped the pudding right into the middle. I then covered the cupcake with gnache {you can also use vegan buttercream frosting}. It resulted in a delicious "Boston Cream Pie" cupcake, perfectly rich and decadent.

The flavor combinations are endless: pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes with "cheesecake" filling and cinnamon buttercream frosting, vanilla cupcakes with chocolate filling and chocolate butter cream...use your imagination.

I've gotten dozens more compliments on my cupcakes since I started filling them with pudding, and little do they know...I cheated. Shhh...don't tell.