Sunday, January 30, 2011

Yummy nomz and less than the best news

Ah, there is nothing better than a gigantic potluck dinner with friends. Especially when it happens at someone else's house (i.e. I don't have to clean up this time!). One of the best foods to bring to a potluck is delicious vegan mac n cheeze. This is also great since it lets me practice for my upcoming first cooking class.

Here is a rundown of how to make the bomb mac n cheeze:

Cook up a box of macaroni noodles (I'm gonna assume you know how to do this, and not go into further detail).

While the noodles are boiling melt some vegan margarine in a sauce pan (roux style). Mix about 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast, a tbs of miso, a tbs dijon mustard, a dash of liquid smoke , and a dash of hot sauce. Add about 1/3 cup almond milk and then a handful of Daiya cheddar shreds. Mix till it is all melty and consistent, then mix with the macaroni.  Pour into a casserole dish, top with the rest of the Daiya cheese and bake at 450 for 15 minutes.

This tastes absolutely phenomenal, and goes over very well at dinner parties.

The less than best news is that it looks like my six week cooking class is postponed indefinitely. Ugh. Well, I will continue to keeps in contact with this avenue and search out new venues as well. In the meantime perhaps I will video tape my own cooking at home and post on the blog.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quinoa goodness

My real job took me to Asheville, NC today. I have long heard that this place is a bastion of good people, good food, and good beer. They are right. I had wonderful local brewed beer, thanks to Pisgah Brewery. I recommend their Porter. It tastes like earth and forest (in a very good way). I am not quinoa's biggest fan, but Posana Cafe makes an amazing dish, they use local and sustainable growers to create their dishes, and their chef's do an amazing job preparing delectable food. Thanks for a great dinner! I will try to re-create the amazing quinoa soon.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

sunday evening brain dump

Vegan comfort food, huh...

Mac-n-cheeze, always a favorite, always turns out yummy. Jeeze, I've been making it forever, and can't remember where I originally got the recipe from. Not that it matters, it's morphed so many times over the years that I would not likely even make the connection if I did indeed find the recipe I first used. Now, the big question: do I use the famed Daiya or not? I have to give major props to this company, they are THE first vegan cheeze to actually taste like cheese, to actually melt, to contain no soy or any other allergen, and to be available at places like... well okay, you can only get it at Ellwood Thomson's, and that's it, but it should be available everywhere! Prior to the revolutionary Daiya cheeze, us vegans had a pretty spiffy mac-n-cheeze recipe that used a fair amount of nutritional yeast, mustard, margarine, and a bit of miso and liquid smoke (trust me, it really is delicious!). So, to use the faux cheeze or not... I am leaning towards a yes, go for it approach at the moment.

Next I am going with a lentil shepherd's pie, which will not only be delicious, as it is one of my other tried and true always yummy recipes, but it means I will have a ton of things for my students to actively participate in creating. They can help cut up potatoes, celery, peel carrots, etc. I am even more excited because mashed potatoes are not only a comfort food standard, but are one of my very favorite things to bring to an omnivores function, because no one ever realizes that the decadent, rich and creamy mashed potatoes are, in fact dairy free! Well, until I tell them, and then get the same, "Huh! These mashed potatoes are amazing!, I never would of guessed that they were vegan!" response as always.

I am also going to do a kale recipe for the all hallowed comfort food, side of greens. I was thinking of adding Bacos before serving to give it that authentic faux fat back flavor... maybe, the jury is still out on that one. Kale is one of the super foods that provide you with an over abundance of vital minerals and nutrients like calcium, folic acid, A, B, C  and K vitamins that help to prevent cancer, lower your blood pressure and aid in digestion. It is also oh so cheap!!! I absolutely love the stuff! Go Kale!

Is it bad that I do not have any idea for dessert? I'm a savory kinda gal. So I hardly ever make  sweets, and therefore have no recipes on hand. I could try a few from some cookbooks... I'll have to ask around to find out if it is an important aspect to a well rounded cooking class.

Okay, I feel vindicated on my brain dump, and now think I have earned another episode of Dexter!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

and so the journey vegan...

Too punny? You get it, right? Play on words...

Ah well, hello blog-o-sphere! I am your newest resident contributor, Jen; see: vegan, left wing, over-educated academic, optimistic, foodie, lover of animals, tattoos, black clothes and eyeliner, and a history nerd. Yes it's true, I'm THAT girl!

I've been vegan for five years now (yup, time flies). While I always liked cooking in those bygone days of my omnivorism, becoming vegan made my cooking an artistic outlet, a constant research project, a reason to have friends over, to try new things, to see people's eyes light up when they take that first bite, and ultimately to hear phrases like, "WoW! If I had you to cook for me I'd be vegan too!" and "I never liked ____ (fill in blank with: tofu, beets, brussel sprouts, potato salad, what ever other foods people do not normally like, etc.), but who knew it could taste this good?!". With encouragement like that, and a desire to keep it up, I am now preparing for my very first cooking class, yay!

Now, admittedly, I am less than organized, and certainly not known for my careful planning abilities, but this is important! Which is why and how this blog has come into being (hello blog!). My first in a series of six weekly classes begins (hopefully) on Wednesday, February 2nd from 6:30-8:30 at the William Byrd House (more on this fine non-profit later) will be all about classic American comfort food (think mac and cheeze, cornbread, shepperd's pie, and kale). Mmm!

So this is where I am at. I am pretty certain my next post will have some recipes and a grocery list. I'll also tell you about the awesomeness that is William Byrd House.