Veganizing Leftover Mashed Potato & Cheese Biscuits

Best Leftovers Ever?

Yeah, you can correctly assume that this leftover-incorporation project was an experiment gone oh, so, tender and right. Being that J. Legume and I were opting for something different this past Thanksgiving, we decided to make what turned out to … Continue reading

Pasta at Heart

White pasta fans, you’re in luck.

I’ve spent much of the past 2 days on the phone with my sister, who just returned from a 3 week vacation in Italy. She spent her days working on small farms and her evenings sipping red wine. I’m so proud, and my kitchen has been thinking of her as I recall the brief Sicilian wanderings of my early 20s.

Cashew miso alfredo over fusillata casarecci with sauteed morels and fresh parsley.

This isn’t the first nut-based alfredo that’s come my way, and barring any further, emerging allergies, won’t the be the last. And I just can’t put into words how stellar and succulent the Earth Balance sautéed morels were with this. Wait.

Cashew Miso Alfredo

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soaked raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2-3 cloves worth of sliced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch fresh thyme
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon white miso (less can be more – same goes for the garlic)
  • salt & pepper (preferably white), to taste
  • fresh parsley
Directions:
  1. Saute the sliced garlic in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Remove from heat, and carefully add to blender, along with the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the parsley.
  3. Gently reheat in a small saucepan, and whisk in more water if needed.
  4. Serve over pasta or other entrée, and sprinkle with fresh parsley and additional pepper, if desired.
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Next up, a vibrant edition in the never-ending, clean-out-the-fridge series. It’s a take on this recipe, which was inspired by the smokey mac at Bang Bang Cafe in Seattle. I left out the (pointless – I was simply out of oil?!) bit of packaged vegan cheese this time around, and skipping the cashews, incorporated both roasted red peppers and coconut milk into the pureed sauce.

Smokey Roasted Red Pepper and Coconut Mac & Cheeze

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Tomatoes are having a slow start this summer. Sadness. I finally spotted some at the Montavilla Farmers Market  a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve grabbed a pint at every market since then. Fast forward a couple of more weeks, and I’m impatiently expecting true sweetness!

Orrechiete with sautéed red and sungold cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, purple and roasted garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, crushed red pepper and fresh black pepper. Served with balsamic roasted green beans, with a pinch of brown sugar. The pasta dish was inspired by a similar meal from a downtown food cart last week.

The Charm of Brass Tacks Sandwiches

Update: They now have a website!

Last week, I was charmed by a sandwich. True story.

softly opening


I stopped by the soft opening of Brass Tack Sandwiches, located on the corner of N Fremont & N Vancouver, and I continue to look back, wistfully. This new deli has creative vegan, vegetarian and omni options, including housemade vegan salami, ham, beanballs, turkey, cold salads & slaws, daily soups, housemade beverages and coming soon – pickles! Both my friend and I ordered the Velveeta Underground, featuring agave smoked seitan ham (yup, I just wrote that) and smoked oat cashew cheese (and that!) and other goodness in between one of Fleur de Lis’ ciabatta rolls. Dare I say, this sandwich was artisan. There’s a build-your-own option amongst other unique named signature vegan sandwiches, too. Here’s the menu.

This adorable combination was served on a cafeteria style lunch try. Add the mug of soup; cue instant charm & nostalgia.

The soup of the day: Cream of Mushroom sprinkled with fresh chives. So great.

Purple Cabbage & Dill Slaw

Behold, The Velveeta Underground

Brass Tacks & the return of Susie

I’m stoked about returning & trying the Captain Nemo, a white beanball & marinara sub, on my next visit.  And believe it: I learned after the fact that this shop was a freaking Kickstarter project come to life! Impressive.

Bonus points for being on my bus line!

Note: They have both vegan and carnivorous versions of their meats – make sure you order the right thing, yo.

Smokey Baked Mac & Cheese and inspiration from Bang Bang Cafe in Seattle, WA

Smokey Mac & Cheese, inspired by Bang Bang Cafe

This recipe marked the first time I’d turned to VegWeb for guidance in years. The veg recipe directory and LiveJournal’s vegan cooking communities were my learn-as-you-go and read-the-comments because you can only-sorta-trust-the-internet tip toes into the vegan culinary world back in the early 2000s. It’s like I can recall mildly freaking out when the number of nutritional yeast sauce recipes rose above 10. After our time apart, I admit that I really enjoyed seeing that most of the recipes I perused were still called “The Best Ever” “The Very Best Ever” “Mom’s Best” “The Best in the World!!!!”, etc. I like vegan enthusiasm.

To get to the point, I just decided to chance it on the internet, test my tastebuds and emulate the memorable vegan mac & cheese my friend Chelsea ordered at Bang Bang Cafe at Seattle this past weekend. I stole a couple of bites, and I was a little jealous that I hadn’t ordered their smokey vegan mac for breakfast, too!  I thought it was so good that it must contain vegan cheese, and was surprised to learn that it was tofu and nutritional yeast based! Swell.

Back to Bang Bang, where I fed my bourbon-induced mild hangover a more wholesome bean and roasted veggie filled burrito. When I returned, however, I had a potluck meeting to attend to the next day and after browsing my limited ingredients and finding a box of whole wheat shells, knew it was time to eye my 2 jars of Spanish smoked sweet paprika, Hungarian hot paprika, Hungarian half sweet paprika, Alder smoked salt and my good buddy, the giganto container of nutritional yeast flakes. The finished result didn’t seem to fit everyone’s tastes – which is how vegan mac & cheese always seems to work – but more than a couple folks seemed obsessed and another friend had me write down the recipe, so here we go. Dare I say I had fun making a mac & cheese recipe where you simply had to puree the cheesy sauce ingredients..because, I did.

Smokey Baked Mac & Cheese, adapted from Best Vegan Mac and Cheese in the entire world…seriously, as posted on VegWeb.com. I halved the recipe and made a few changes based on what I was aiming for and had on hand.Go, go smokey, creamy mac!

Ingredients:

  •    3/4 lb whole wheat pasta or rice pasta, preferably with ridges

Cheesy sauce

  •     1/2 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I used a combination of So Delicious coconut milk beverage and soy milk)
  •     3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  •     1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or non-hydrogenated margarine
  •     1/2 cup water
  •     2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  •     1/2 cup soaked and drained raw cashews
  •     1 clove of garlic
  •     1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • pinch cayenne
  • pinch hot paprika
  •     generous pinch of salt (add more to taste after blending sauce)
  •     1 tablespoon mustard (I used TJ’s spicy sweet mustard)
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Additional: 
  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup vegan cheese (I used Teese cheddar sauce)
  • breadcrumbs
  • pinch of additional paprika and cayenne
  • olive oil mister/spray
  • smoked salt

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly grease a small casserole dish. Boil the water and cook pasta 1 minute less than instructed. Drain and add to your casserole dish. You’ll want at least a couple inches of room to be able to add the cheesy sauce.

2. Puree the cheesy sauce ingredients  in a blender until smooth and adjust the seasonings to taste. Carefully stir into the cheesy sauce and vegan cheese, if using.

3. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly on top, followed by the smoked salt and additional paprika and cayenne, if using. Lightly spray with oil. Bake until the breadcrumbs looks golden, 15-20 minutes. Broil an additional 5 minutes, if desired.

Serve with steamed greens, unless you’re nuts.

Bang Bang's Vegan Mac & Cheese

The aforementioned vegan breakfast burrito with red chile sauce

Alicia's Bang Bang burrito with red & green chile sauces

Melissa went with a classic Mighty-O Donut

lately

I’m just going to come out and say it. Hi. My name is Jess. I have a camera and a blog and here’s the flow of what I’ve been up to lately:

Smoked Potato Cheese: Take 2, Creamy Edition. I'll post the recipe after one more test run before Heartichoke.

Have I mentioned that I'm digging my stovetop smoker? Well, I am. Smoked Cherry Tomato & Kale Raab Pesto Bruschetta

Kale Raab Bistro Chowder; Bruschetta. Bistro Chowder Recipe from Appetite for Reduction. Farewell, Soup Season.

Tofu Cube Toss with Smoked Tomatoes, Roasted Red Pepper, Maitake Mushrooms, Kalamata Olives, Collard Raab; Mac & Cheddar Teese Sauce with Miso & Collard Raab. This ain't no wimpy scramble.

Baked Saffron Rice with Roasted Peppers. The recipe will be in the Spring issue of T.O.F.U. Magazine. Zomg.

From a small dinner party: Baked Saffron Rice with Roasted Peppers, Serrano Seitan Ham over Kale, Roasted Potato Bread and Blood Orange & Grapefruit Marinated Olives, etc.

Galician Empanada Pie with Smoked Soy Curls & Serrrano Ham, Take 1. Will be working on the conrmeal crust and spice factor.

TGI Return of the FarMar & Multi-Color Carrots. There are white carrots in the empanada pie, yo.

From the PPK Test Kitchen: Cappuccino Mousse Pie with Rad Whip. I'll get the fluffin' up next time.

From the PPK Test Kitchen: Manhattan Mud Pie. Photo by Lucas DeShazer. Truly, one of the few times you'll ever see me in the backround of a photo here.

Portland Hidden Gems are up next. Really.

Baby, you’ve got a Bad Reputation…

Bad Reputation vegan slice, Caligula Caesar, PBR. It's almost like I'm a real person or something.

Just a quick update on a busy day – the Portland Farmers Market returned this morning (!!!!!!!), and I’ll have a bunch of photos to share from my produce wanderings soon. Adventures with Daiya wise, the slice above featured a bit too much of the beloved vegan cheese for me – overloading the super thin crust I appreciate so – but you locals in the cult of Daiya will go wild. I have no doubt. Just look at that crazy melt.

That being said, eating a slice of thin crust pizza, side salad & PBR in Sizzle Pie is still damn glorious.

Happy (Belated) Vegan Pizza Day from Portland!

This past Saturday, the nondairy cheese industry rejoiced as thousands of vegans gripped their stomachs in post-vegan-pizza-overload. I celebrated (or supported said vegan-friendly industries) by enjoying the greasy heck out of a slice of breakfast pizza at Sizzle Pie, which I can’t get enough, and by assembling some English Muffin pizzas for hungry friends later on in the day.

First up, the awesomely named Drugs Benedict slice from Sizzle Pie. It’s one hell of a unique slice with super thin, whole wheat crust, creamy white bean and shallot spread, fried chunks of hash browns, “cheesy” tofu scramble, bacun bits, and sliced green onions. Somehow, I resisted the call of the Weekend Brunch slice + breakfast drink special, and went for the slice + salad combo ($6).

Drugs Benedict slice and Rabbit Salad with vegan ranch, Sizzle Pie

And we’ve quickly hit later on in the day! – I had friends over and they simply had no choice but to celebrate this Vegan Pizza Day. Seriously, I have no idea if they even knew it was happening.  In general, there’s something about English Muffins pizzas that I can’t stand, but the novelty helps win me over. These mini pizzas are on whole wheat muffins with homemade basil tomato sauce and black olives. On the left is one of the fools with a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella Teese and spinach, and on the right there’s mozzarella Daiya (shocking, but true – using it up from a project!) and as inspired by Sizzle Pie, a cashew pesto cream.

Mini English Muffin Pizzas

Cauliflower Cashew Goat Cheese

This spread was part of the menu for the first Heartichoke French-inspired dinner last weekend. It’s adapted from Bryanna Clark Grogan’s recipe for vegan “goat cheese” from this post on Notes from a Vegan Feast Kitchen. The original intention was for just that, a goat cheese style concoction with the incorporation of cauliflower, and nuts for creaminess.  It’s no surprise that internet perusal brought led to Bryanna’s site, she’s an awesomely from-scratch type of author. It really bugs me when I search for recipes and they’re all made with existing products. I’m not saying I won’t consider or appreciate them, but I wanted to make something from scratch. As inspired by Jenn Shagrin’s recipe for vegan goat cheese, I also added vermouth. I’m more of an extra dry martini gal, but I feel classy owning a bottle, and the wine and miso really deepen the flavor.

Garnished with fresh basil

Cauliflower Cashew ‘Goat Cheese’, recipe adapted from Bryanna’s “Goat Cheese” Spread

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of boiled and strained cauliflower (cook for 25-35 minutes, or until so tender that it’s pierce-able with a fork)
  • 3/4 cup soaked, raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons of mild miso, such as white
  • 1.5 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of vermouth
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions: Puree in your food processor. Add a tablespoon of water if needed, to reach a smooth consistency. Garnish with fresh, chopped basil and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with sliced baguette.

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Fun note - I enjoy mentioning this concoction to my sister, because she’s a fancy cheese lover and is incredibly horrified by the mixture of vegan+cauliflower+cheese.

P.S. Gosh, look at how easy it is to credit my inspirations, despite adapting multiple aspects of this recipe! Something it would be respectfully nice to see more of on the internet <3

a very cast iron christmas (breakfast)

Tofu Omelette, Smoky Creminis and Garlic Roasted Potatoes from Vegan Brunch. The omelette itself was stuffed with the mushrooms, baby spinach and Wayfare Hickory-Smoked Cheddar-Style Spread.

Breaking in the new cast iron skillet on a holiday morning. I am so happy to have an omelette, pancake & crepe friendly pans again!