Key Lime Pie!

Posted on 6:16 PM In: , , ,

Before going veg, Key Lime Pie was one of my favorite desserts - I'm just NOT that into chocolate and there was always something light (ya right) and refreshing a bout Key Lime Pie. Well, since I have gone veg, I have not tried nor have I attempted any recipes to replicate my Key Lime splendor - that is, until now. When my new issue of Vegetarian Times magazine arrived and I read it from cover to cover, I couldn't help but notice the Key Lime Pie recipe contained therein. This recipe was different in that is wasn't just a bunch of tofu and lime juice - I was intrigued.

So, I made it and brought it to a friend's house last night for dinner. It was REALLY good! The lime flavor was great - the perfect balance of sweet and tart. The texture was good, although because it contained cashews, it was not quite the smooth, silky texture of the egg yolk and condensed milk laden classic version, but I hardly noticed. I really, REALLY liked it. In fact, if you like Key Lime Pie, I would say rush out and grab this month's (February 2010) issue of Vegetarian Times so you too can have the recipe! If you happen to doubt me, the only other evidence I can provide is that of my hosts' reaction... I was advised, after consuming the dessert course, that it would be ok if I left the Key Lime Pie behind. :-)

Sorry for the sad picture of this single piece of pie. I neglected to take pics when it was whole and this is the piece I did bring home with me to enjoy!

Incidentally, making this recipe also gave me the opportunity to try out my new gadget - a Cuisinart Elite Die Cast 12 Cup Food Processor. It has two bowls - a large and a small one, two adjustable blades that perform a total of like 8 functions and three blades. After this, its maiden voyage, all I can say is FABULOUS! I L-O-V-E-D that I had two bowls to use and therefore did not have to take the time to wash the bowl between smashing my graham crackers and pulverizing my filling ingredients into submission... very cool! I also really liked the 1000 watt motor, which proved it's worth when dealing with the cup of whole cashews in this recipe. I look forward to having more excuses to use it!

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As it Turns Out, I'm Not Vegan Afterall...

Posted on 5:10 PM In:
I was taking a survey the other day for Vegetarian Times magazine and as part of the survey, I was asked to specify my eating habits. Out of habit, I selected "Vegan" and while doing so, read the description specifying that Vegans not only eliminate animal products from their diet but also from their life - leather, wool, silk, down, etc. For various, that does not describe me. I have long known that the majority of people consider Veganism to exclude these products, so I have opted to call myself a "dietary Vegan"... makes sense, right? Well, after reading the description for "Vegan" that this survey provided, I kept reading and the classification right below Vegan was "Total Vegetarian". The description for this was: "I eat only food derived from plants and refrain from eating any animal foods, including fish, eggs, dairy products and honey"... so, with the exception of honey, I guess I am Total Vegetarian... who knew?? And I thought the typical waitstaff found "Vegan" confusing... wait till I unleash this on 'em!

Turns out there's lots of nuances of vegetarianism - check it out! Vegetarianism on Wikipedia.com

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One of the Coolest Kitchen Gadgets Ever!

Posted on 8:21 PM In:
This one'll be short and sweet. I cook, I love to cook and I also love to collect kitchen gadgets. One of my favorite is pictured below. Not only does it give you a convenient place to put spoons while you are cooking, but it also ensures that drips from the spoons drip right back in the pot you are cooking in - sweet!

Go ahead, tell me you don't have gadget envy!

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Recipe #2 from The Conscious Cook is Cornmeal Crusted Tempeh with Smoked Tomato Sauce, Green Chili Relish, Black Bean Puree and Braised Kale. Holy cow is this good!!

it took me a solid two hours to prepare. It's basically tempeh, that has been cooked in a broth of water, shoyu, ginger, garlic and chilis, then coated in cornmeal and pan fried, layered with a black bean puree, braised kale, a spicy tomato sauce and a chili relish. I have no idea how the chef, Tal Ronnen actually intended for it to be plated, but the above was my best guess. I honestly don't know that it matters how you stack it, because I think it would be delicious regardless.





Again, still really loving this cookbook. I do, however, have a couple of additional observations that I would like to share. First, in the description of the book, it indicates that Chef Ronnen is a former lover of steak and this is a "ground-breaking book filled with delicious and hearty meals that will satisfy even the most devoted meat-eaters." Based on my experience thus far, mission accomplished. The other thing I would like to note is that even though these are all vegan recipes so they are healthier than their meat and potatoes counterparts, the two recipes I have made so far do not feel healthy. There is fairly generous usage of oil and other fats - this particular recipe called for 3 tablespoons of Earth Balance to put melted into the tomato sauce after it was pureed, but I just could not bring my self to do it. In addition, there's nearly a cup of oil used throughout the rest of the cooking, either for pan frying or sauteing. Also, he instructs you to add the liquid that comes with black beans into the pot; maybe there's nothing to it, but I have always drained and rinsed my beans to remove excess sodium and whatever other things were added so I was left with just beans. Now, I have thumbed through the book and this is not indicative of all 70 recipes, but it is a point worth making.

What does this all mean to me? Well, it means that I will look for ways to modify the recipes to reduce the amounts of fat and sodium, where necessary. That, combined with the complexity or time required for some of the recipes, this will be a cookbook reserved for special occasions and lazy Sunday afternoons. But still, I have to say this is a cookbook that every vegan should have, especially if they are called upon to entertain from time to time, or love to try different things.

Now, which cookbook to cook from next week...???

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As previously mentioned, the cookbook of the week this week is Tal Ronnen's The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change The Way You Eat. The first recipe I made is Tempeh Creole Over Brown Rice, page 150.It was braised tempeh, simmered in a stew consisting of a broth infused with soy sauce, ginger and garlic along with onions, green pepper, celery and seeded, peeled tomatoes along with some spices. It had just the right amount of heat and great flavor!

I am really excited about this cookbook. The pictures are all great and it really puts a little bit of a fancy flair to vegan cuisine. One recipe in particular I am excited about is the cashew cream recipe, which is made to replace dairy-based creams in a variety of recipes - apparently you can even whip it to make a whipped topping! The one drawback is that many of the recipes require two plus hours to prepare. But, this is perfect for a lazy Sunday!

Stay tuned for recipe #2!


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It has been so very long since I even logged into my blog - I am embarrassed. Good thing I don't have a lot of readers. :-)

One of my New Year's resolutions is to pick a different one of my lovely cookbooks each week and select two brand-spankin' new recipes to try. I decided to do this because I really do have so many beautiful cookbooks and I always just rely on the internet when I am looking to try something new. Incidentally, I have become a huge fan of several vegan blogs and look forward to reading them everyday! I gain a lot of inspiration from their various entries.

Last week, the cookbook I chose to cook from was Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. This was a cookbook I received last year as a gift and had never cooked anything out of it. This was partly because it was a big book (555 pages of recipes, not including the Resources section or the index) and it doesn't have any pictures - I tend to find cooking inspiration from pictures. Well, that has now changed. Last week, I selected Indonesian Style Rice with Tempeh (page 235), Ziti, Artichokes and Olives with Spicy Tomato Sauce (page 245) and finally Artichoke and Root Vegetable Gratin (page 355). Before I talk about the recipes, I want to confess that I did not take any pictures as I didn't know I was going to blog about them until about 5 minutes ago.

I found the Indonesian Style Rice with Tempeh to be ok. it was basically brown rice with shredded cabbage and carrots, some poached tempeh and a very light sauce made of tamari and light brown sugar, garnished with shredded cucumber and chopped peanuts. it didn't have a lot of flavor - next time I would likely add more veggies and kick up the spice a few notches.

The second recipe was the Ziti, Artichokes and Olives with Spicy Tomato Sauce. This was pretty good - the recipe title being a pretty indicator of the ingredients. I did use fresh tomatoes and based on how I tend to like my pasta a little more saucy, I would probably use canned whole San Marzano tomatoes next time. I think the recipe could have used a little more kick and perhaps some roasted red peppers.

Finally, I saved my favorite for last - the Artichoke and Root Vegetable Gratin. Again, the title says it all - a potato, large carrot and parsnips, all sliced thin. Then leeks and artichokes sauteed with some garlic. Layer the sliced root veggies in the gratin pan, alternating with the leek and artichoke mixture, top with some bread crumbs and bake. It was really good! The artichoke and leek mixture made it a little more sophisticated and the lack of a sauce made it healthier than your typical gratin. of course, I served it topped with some hot sauce, but I really enjoyed it a great deal!

I really like this cookbook. It contains 400 recipes, all organized in an inventive but easy to navigate way. I do miss the pictures, but with this many recipes, there would hardly be room! The author has incorporated a lot of common ingredients in some unique ways and I appreciate the descriptions she has taken the time to write. I will certainly be turning to this cookbook in the future for cooking inspiration!

Up next week: The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen.

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