Wednesday, February 10, 2016

PB-BBQ Tofu, I love You.

                                      vegan, gluten-free, tofu, bbq, new orleans, mardi gras                   
 Fat Tuesday here is just another boring Snoozeday!! :(
Back in New Orleans, when I was gluten-strong, one of my favorite comfort foods was an old skool vegan rib. Peanut butter, spices, and caramelized onions were mixed into gluten, formed into balls, topped with BBQ sauce and baked. I used to always make them for us (with a whole spread of sides like mac, greens and cornbread), when Mardi Gras parades started rolling.

This time of year I miss those foods like whoa--especially since making them feels like an easy way to participate in Carnival from snoring Oregon.

I channeled the flavors of my beloved glutenny ribs into this BBQ tofu. And...I've already made them three times this week! So um, maybe just double the recipe and save yourself some time.

Serve with a bunch of sides like cornbread, beans, mac, and greens. 
recipe,vegan, gluten-free, tofu, bbq, new orleans, mardi gras, barbeque
PB-BBQ Tofu with a Citrus Kiss.
Makes 8 slices
Before you start, please read through the notes and recipe below!

The BBQ sauce I topped my tofu with was based off of the one in DIY Vegan. It's an amazing sauce that's sweetened with medjool dates and maple syrup, and I modifed it a bit by adding extra mustard, liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce. If you don't want to make your own, pick any sort of maple smoked sauce for this recipe.

You can top the tofu with any sort of citrus. I've made this a coupla times with lemon, with lime (as pictured in this post) and would love to try it with orange slices, or pickled jalapeno mixed with crushed pineapple.

What You Need:
♥ 3/4 cup water
♥ 5 tablespoons tamari
♥ 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
♥ 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
♥ 1 teaspoon granulated onion
♥ 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
♥ 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
♥ 14oz firm or extra-firm tofu, sliced into 8 even slices (like the anthro tofu at the top of the post)

♥ 4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and smashed with a knife or a jar so the skins crack open
♥ 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
♥ 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade
♥ 1/4 teaspoon garam masala, optional

♥ 1 lemon, lime, or orange, thinly sliced
♥ 1 1/3 cups BBQ sauce
♥ salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

What  You Do:
In a small baking dish, mix together the water, tamari, vinegar, nutritional yeast, onion, garlic, and liquid smoke to make a marinade. Place the tofu in a single layer in the marinade, so each slice is mostly submerged (I prick each slice with a knife to help the marinade really get in there). Refrigerate for at least an hour, or cover and refrigerate up to a few days.

Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the tofu (reserve the marinade) and garlic evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. 

While the tofu bakes, prepare the peanut butter sauce. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade and garam masala. Stir well--the peanut butter will start to break down, and then will emulsify into a smooth, thick sauce. After the tofu has baked for 15 minutes, remove the tofu to a plate and peel the softened garlic. Mash the garlic with a knife or spoon and then stir it into the peanut butter sauce.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the BBQ sauce onto the parchment in a small area about 7"X 7". Flip each tofu over (the side that was on the bottom of the pan while they baked should now be on top) and place onto the sauce. Repeat with the remaining slices, placing them together with no spaces around them, so they touch in two rows of four. 

Spread the peanut sauce evenly over the top of each slice of tofu and top with the remaining BBQ sauce. Use a spoon or offset spatula to make sure the BBQ completely covers the peanut sauce and is spread evenly over each slice (and over the side edges, too). 

Place a few slices of the citrus evenly over the top of the tofu, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and return to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes more, until bubbly and brown.

Peanut Butter BBQ with lime kisses!
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Chickpea Flour Pudla Pizza!

vegan gluten free blog kittee
Pudla Pizza is really good! My new favorite lunch.
I've written about pudla lots of times before, I'm pretty fond of their high-protein, low fat, pantry friendly ways. Even though I think we're pretty good friends, I haven't made one in ages. Literally, it's been maybe even close to a year!

But since I really need to make a grocery run, my lunch today was dredged up from the bottom of the produce drawer and from an almost empty bag of garbanzo flour hiding in the freezer. I also had a bit of pizza sauce languishing in a jar and was lucky to have some vegan shreds hiding in the bologna drawer. So, I decided to try something new with my old pal.

The chickpea crust is definitely sturdy enough to hold up a bunch of toppings, yet it's still moist.
turmeric ginger cashew creamer chai recipe vegan gluten-free
Pudla Pizza!
Makes a 7-8" pizza

There's no science to making good pudla, just a little formula that goes something like:
chickpea flour + leavener + seasoning/add ins + water + acid = a thick pourable batter.

I stirred onion, pickled jalapeno, red bell pepper and parsley into the pudla pizza pictured here, and topped it with sauce, shreds and extra red bell pepper and parsley.

What You Need:
♥ 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chickpea/garbanzo flour (besan or gram flour will work too)
♥ 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
♥ 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
♥ pinch salt
♥ freshly ground pepper
♥ 1/2 cup water
♥ 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
♥ 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
♥ 1/3 cup chopped vegetables of your choice, divided
♥ 1 teaspoon evoo
♥ about 5-6 tablespoons of pizza sauce
♥ a small handful of vegan shreds

What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 425F and line a small baking sheet with parchment.

In a small bowl, put the flour, turmeric, baking soda, salt and a few grinds of pepper and whisk to combine.

Add in the water and lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Using a spoon, stir in half of your chopped vegetables and half the parsley.

Heat the oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Pour in the batter and shake the pan to even it out. Cook about 3 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown, and the top has begun to set along the sides and has formed bubbles in the center of the pancake.

Flip and cook two minutes longer. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

Spread the pizza sauce evenly on top of the pudla, top with the cheese shreds and remaining vegetables and herb.

Bake until the cheese melts, about 11-13 minutes. Cut into quarters and devour.

Thanks for visiting my little crumb of the internet! Come back soon and tell your friends.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Vegan Knitting: Tiny Raglan Cardigans.

vegan knitting doll-sized raglan cardigan diy
I wish you could see it in the photo, but the little lavender sweater has a cable running down the top of each sleeve.
My super-pal Hannah collects a very specific vintage doll, and has begun to amass a small posse of these girls, so of course I knit them each a tiny cardigan.

vegan knitting doll-sized raglan cardigan diy
Even though I haven't posted any sort of craft update in ages, I have been making stuff!
vegan knitting doll-sized raglan cardigan diy
All the yarn was from my vintage stash--all knit in cotton and synthetics.
Raglan cardigans are seamless sweaters knit from the top down, and since I've made quite a lot of these before, it was easy for me to come up with a tiny version that would fit Hannah's army.

vegan knitting doll-sized raglan cardigan diy
Whee! I think there are ten in all.
Each one was knit based on the same pattern (pattern info, more pictures and Ravelry link here), but with subtle changes to make each one unique. Some were knit in different stitch patterns, or with cables, or different button/waist bands and each sweater was knit in a different color.

Thanks for visiting my little crumb of the internet, and if you're on Ravelry, feel free to friend me there.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New Orleans Style Butterbeans are in My Dreams.

vegan gluten free blog kittee
Butterbeans, beam me up.
This time of year, when I'm pining away wishing for New Orleans, a big pot of butterbeans sure makes me happy. Any kind of dry, white lima will work in this recipe, just stay away from the bags of green limas in the freezer section. Totes different animals.

I've been eating mine all week in bowl form with brown rice, Squeeze Me Sauce, and kraut, but these would go even better with a bunch of Southern sides like cornbread, mac, collards and BBQ tofu.
turmeric ginger cashew creamer chai recipe vegan gluten-free
Butterbeans = Best Beans
Makes about 8 cups
Before you start, please read through the notes and recipe below!

This recipe makes a giant pot of butterbeans. Enough for many meals, or to squirrel away in the freezer. To save time, I make mine in a pressure cooker/slow cooker, but they will come out equally well cooked on the stovetop, you'll just need to babysit the pot for a few hours as it cooks.

Remember! Never add acid (lemon juice, hot sauce, or tomatoes) to dry beans, as it'll toughen them up, preventing them from getting soft. Add any in at the end, just before serving!

What You Need:
❤ 2 tablespoons evoo
❤ 1/2 onion, diced
❤ 2 stalks celery, diced
❤ 1 small red pepper, diced (about 3/4 cup)
❤ 1 jalapeno, halved and seeded
❤ 1 bay leaf
❤ 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
❤ 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
❤ 1 teaspoon onion granules
❤ 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
❤ 1/2 teaspoon thyme
❤ 1 pound dry baby limas (butterbeans), soaked overnight and drained
❤ 4 cups water, plus more if needed
❤ 2-3 teaspoons unsalted New Orleans style seasoning like Tony Chachere's, (optional)
❤ 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
❤ hot sauce and freshly ground white pepper for garnish

What You Do:
In a large pot or pressure cooker, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the onion, celery, red pepper, jalapeno, bay leaf and salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown. 

Add the garlic, onion granules, paprika, and thyme and continue to cook and stir for about two minutes. 

Add the butterbeans, water, New Orleans seasoning, if using, and the liquid smoke. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring regularly, until the beans are melt in your mouth soft, and the liquid has thickened to form a gravy. I pressure cooked mine for 50 minutes, and then continued to slow cook until they were done. On the stovetop, this will take several hours, and you may need to add additional water.

Season to taste with salt and serve with lots of hot sauce and white pepper.

Dreamy, Creamy, Butterbeamy.
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Quickish Apple-Praline King Cake-New Orleans Style

vegan gluten free blog kittee
A very non traditionally decorated  Apple Praline VKK, because why the hell not.
Pink and red forever.
Time's a-wasting! Fat Tuesday --February 9th-- is quickly approaching, so unto you I present a quickie King Cake recipe. The dough in this recipe is made before bed without proofing, and rises and slowly ferments in the fridge overnight. When you wake up you, can throw the cake together somewhat quickly--especially if you prepare the pralines and filling when you make the dough.

If you need more information or instruction on how to put a King Cake together,  I've written a lot about these magickal cakes, which you can read about here:

❤ Standard Vegan King Cake (gluten) 
❤ Vegan King Cake Kindergarten
❤ Peanut Butter Cup King Cake (gluten)
❤ Peanut Butter Cup King Cake (gf)

A VVK covered in the traditional colors of Mardi Gras symbolizing justice, faith and power.
turmeric ginger cashew creamer chai recipe vegan gluten-free
Quickish Apple-Praline King Cake 
Makes a large, flashy, party sized ring cake
(this recipe yields a slightly large cake, than my standard cake)

What You Need:
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegan yogurt (unsweetened or lemon)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons unbleached, granulated sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
pinch salt
3 1/2-4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup walnuts, hazlenuts or pralines, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons maple syrup
pinch salt

6 cups diced, tart apple in 1/2" cubes (from 3 medium apples)
6 tablespoons unbleached granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons vegan butter, or oil
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
pinch salt
2 teaspoons arrowroot
1/4 cup vegan butter (2 oz)

Sugar Sprinkles
6 tablespoons unbleached granulated sugar
purple, gold, and green food coloring paste

2 cups vegan confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
vegan milk, water, or liqueur

What You Do:
The evening before, put the water, yogurt, oil, instant yeast, 2 teaspoons of sugar, zest, and pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Blend gently to combine. On low speed, slowly add in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough comes together and is slightly tacky, but not sticky. You might not need the entire 4 cups of flour. Increase the speed of the mixer, and knead the dough into a firm, cohesive dough for five more minutes. Transfer the dough to a plastic bag with plenty of extra space in it for expansion, tie the end, and refrigerate overnight.

In a medium saucepan, dry toast the nuts with a pinch of salt over medium-high heat until slightly darkened and fragrant. Add the maple syrup and stir until the skillet is dry and the nuts are coated in crystallized sugar, this will take less than a minute. Quickly transfer the nuts to a parchment paper lined plate and smooth them out into a single layer. They will harden as they cool. Once cool, break up the nuts, wrap in the paper and store in a cool, dry place.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the apples, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of vegan butter or oil, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the apples have softened and are juicy, but not mushy. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Quickly add the arrowroot and stir constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and cool. Once cool, transfer to a covered container and refrigerate overnight along with the dough.

The Following Morning:
Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment. Remove the dough, apple filling, and remaining 4 tablespoons of vegan butter from the fridge. Gently deflate the dough and allow to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a floured surface into a rectangle about 24" X 12" (keep the longest side facing you).

Combine the butter, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and remaining teaspoon of cinnamon (microwave for a few seconds if necessary, so the mixture is soft).

Spread the butter mixture evenly over the dough, being careful to leave a clean 1" margin on the sides and top. Spread the apple mixture on top of the butter mixture as evenly as possible, keeping the same margins, and then sprinkle with the candied nuts.

Starting at the bottom edge, roll the dough up into a tight log, pinching the sides tightly together as you roll, so they are well sealed. When you get close to the top, gently bring the top edge down over the log and pinch well to seal the seam.

Carefully lift the log, being careful not to let it stretch, and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Arrange it seam side down on the sheet and gently form it into an elliptical shaped ring, tucking each end under the cake and sealing them very well.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through (if the cake is browning too fast, cover it with tin foil).

While the cake bakes, prepare the sprinkles. Divide the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar into three small containers and add a tiny bit of colored paste to each, mixing well with a spoon, until the dye is well distributed. Set aside.

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Prepare the icing by mixing the confectioner's sugar with the vanilla and just a tiny amount of milk, water or booze, until you get a very thick, but drizzle-able icing. When the cake is slightly warm to room temperature decorate the cake! Be sure it's not too warm, or the icing will slide right off.

Drizzle the icing on top, using a spoon to help spread it evenly. Let the icing firm up slightly, and then sprinkle the colored sugar on top, alternating the three colors in a pattern around the ring.

Eat and share! Wrap up any lefties, and store in the fridge.

Thank you for visiting my little crumb of the internet!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Turmeric-Ginger Cashew Creamer (for Chai).

vegan gluten free blog kittee
vegan gluten-free chai turmeric ginger arthritis anti-inflammatory recipe
(TL) The finished Turmeric Creamer, (TR) Fresh Turmeric
(BL) Decaf Chai with Pepper, (BR) CHAI!
Long, boring story about my creaking joints made short--both my allopathic and naturopathic doctors want me to ingest turmeric.

So since it's been brrrz here lately (probably why my arthritis is flaring anyway), I've found a really easy way to get turmeric into my body is via a huge glass of warm chai several times a day. I was grating fresh turmeric into each glass of chai (I scored a large handful of the fresh rhizome for cheap at a big East Asian grocery store), but it was sorta messy and the counters in my kitchen were turning yellow.

Then! We ran out of soymilk, and since I didn't want to run to the store, I pulled out the power blender to whiz up some cashews and water. That's when I realized I could very easily whiz up some tumeric milk to go in the chai. And once I got that idea, I decided to add ginger and other yummy flavors to elevate my chai to the trillionth degree.
turmeric ginger cashew creamer chai recipe vegan gluten-free
Turmeric-Ginger Cashew Creamer (for Chai)
Makes about 4 cups
Please read through the notes and recipe below, before you start!

This yummy creamer was invented to elevate your favorite cup of chai. It's delicious for all partakers, but if you're making it in hopes it'll help your creaks, be sure your chai teabag contains pepper since it's needed to maximize the turmeri

I use a high speed blender and don't soak the notes or strain afterwards. But, if your blender has no bionics, I recommend soaking the cashews beforehand, AND, you might also want to strain the milk afterwards (use a nutmilk bag, clean rag, or coffee filter).

Obviously, you can sweeten this however you like, or make it without the date if you prefer. You can even use powdered turmeric, if that's what you have. Next time I make this, I'll be adding cardamon!

What You Need:
♥  3 cups water
♥  1/3 cup un-roasted cashews
♥  3-6 knobs fresh turmeric (to taste)
♥  1-inch knob fresh ginger
♥  1 pitted date
♥  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
♥  a few grinds of black pepper

What You Do:
1. Put everything into the jar of a blender and process until smooth.
2. Pour into a big jar or two smaller jars, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. 
3. To serve, stir into hot chai and add sweetener to taste (I add a little stevia).
If you like my writing and/or my recipes, please consider sharing my posts, following me online, and being my friend when you bump into me at Food Fight. Building an audience with actual numbers makes it easier for me to offer you more and more content.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mardi Gras! New Orleans Style Vegan King Cakes.

vegan gluten free blog kittee
apple praline vegan king cake
Apple-Praline King Cake!  Illustration above, by Amey!
Carnival season starts today, which means the King Cake window is officially open until February 9th. Better get baking and celebrating!

If you've no idea what I'm talking about-- King Cake is a New Orleans delicacy that's shared and eaten among friends during Carnival Season. They're made from a brioche or cinnamon roll type dough, that's stuffed with all manner of things from cinnamon and walnuts, to fruit pie-like fillings, to lemon custard. The New Orleans way is to coat them in a sugar glaze and then sprinkle them with tons of glittery sugar in Mardi Gras colors. A symbolic Baby Jesus is usually hidden inside too, and whoever gets the slice with christ, is meant to bring a new King Cake to the next party.

Finding VKK (vegan King Cake), can be challenging, so most of my vegan friends make and bake!
I wanted to share all the links I've squirreled away:

I'll be back in a couple of weeks with whatever crazy VKK I come up with for Dazee this year.

peanut butter cup vegan king cake
Peanut Butter Cup VKK 2013 edition
Thank you for visiting my little crumb of the internet!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Somer's Early Retirement Vegan Tofu Quiche

vegan gluten free blog kittee
vegan gluten-free tofu quiche made with cashews broccoli and cheese shreds
Somer's most delicious Broccoli-Cheddar Quiche.
I've been nommolating on Somer's Tofu Quiche a bunch this holiday season. It's sorta perfect for cold weather and guests, and if you're familiar with Somer's recipes, or her blog Vedged Out--it's pretty much her cheeseball in quiche form!!!

I've made three so far, the first with extra firm silken tofu (Mori Nu) and the last two with firm and extra firm water packed tofu from the dairy case They've all been very similar in texture, although I do prefer the quiche made from regular ol' tofu. If you have a wimpy blender, you might want to start with the boxed tofu, 'cuz it's much easier to blend smooth with the cashews.

vegan gluten-free tofu quiche made with cashews broccoli and cheese shreds
Broccoli-Cheddar Quiche Innards sitting in a sorghum-teff pastry a la Laurie Sadoskie.
If you're not a fan of tofu quiche but want to be, give Somer's a try! It's creamy and rich from the addition of cashews and has a little starch, which helps it set and gives it great texture. The quiche can be seasoned however you like and with whatever fillings you desire, as long as you stay true to the original recipe and keep in the tofu, cashews, nooch, and starch.

I love it with Follow Your Heart cheddar shreds--they melt and form sorta a cheese skin on top. If you use the smoked paprika (which you should, because it adds great flavor), your quiche will not be white--the pepper gives off a slightly salmon color.

Ethiopian flavored vegan tofu quiche
Susan's Ethiopian inspired quiche with seasoned oil from Teff Love and berbere. Mrrowr.
Besides playing around with different tofu in the filling, I've stayed with similar add-ins: #1 Broccoli-Artichoke, #2 Broccoli-Cheese, and #3 Broccoli-Scallion-Cheese. Our pal Susan made one she loved with Ethiopian flavors from Teff Love by using seasoned oil and berbere, and Somer likes to add spinach, onion and tomato.

vegan gluten-free tofu quiche made with cashews onion tomato and spinach
Somer's quiche with tomato, onion and spinach.
She adds 1 finely chopped onion, 1 cup of chopped tomato, and 2 big handfuls of julienned spinach.
recipe banner
Somer's Tofu Quiche
Makes a 8-9" quiche
Somer is taking a blog break these days, and gave me her blessing to share this recipe. Please read through the notes and recipe below, before you start:

☆ There's not a lot of moisture in this recipe, so it can be a bit challenging to get the cashews completely smooth using a blender. I use a high powered blender and don't soak the nuts, but it does take a bit of effort. If you don't have a high powdered blender (and even if you do!), soak your notes beforehand either overnight, or for 30 minutes or so in boiling water, or use a strong food processor. If I'm using water packed tofu, I usually add 2-4 tablespoons of soymilk to help the blender smooth things out.

☆Use whatever pie pastry floats your boat (make sure there's no sugar, since you'll want this to be savory). I parbake my crust for 10 minutes at 350F, but I don't believe Somer parbakes hers.

What You Need:
14 oz extra firm or firm tofu, crumbled (if you use firm, squeeze out any excess water)
1/2 rounded cup un-roasted cashews
1-2 tablespoons white wine
Several dashes hot sauce
2-4 tablespoons vegan milk, optional
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon white or mild miso
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, or 1 teaspoon wet mustard
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch, arrowroot, or tapioca starch

2-3 cups of chopped or shredded add-ins such as: steamed broccoli, artichoke hearts, onion, tomato, julienned greens, scallions or vegan cheese (I usually add 'bout 2 cups of chopped steamed broccoli and 1/2 cup shredded Follow Your Heart cheese)

A single pie crust

What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 400F.

Put the tofu, cashews, wine and hot sauce in a blender and process until smooth. This will take a bit of time, so go slowly. If your blender is having a hard time, add a few tablespoons of the optional milk to help get things going.

Add in the nutritional yeast, miso, mustard, granulated onion, garlic, paprika, salt, baking powder and starch. Blend until completely smooth, then transfer to a bowl and stir in your chosen chopped vegetables and/or cheese shreds.

Scrape the tofu mixture into your pie crust and smooth the top with a spoon or spatula. Cover the pie edges with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes until the crust is golden.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

vegan gluten-free tofu quiche made with cashews broccoli and cheese shreds
If you come up with any amazing flavor combos, please comment below!
If you like my writing and/or my recipes, please consider sharing my posts (by linking back here), following me online, and being my friend when you bump into me at Food Fight. Building an audience with actual numbers makes it easier for me to offer you more and more content.

Thank you for visiting my little crumb of the internet!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It Happened to Me: Tacos Turned Me into a Party Magnet.

 "...The taco cleanse isn't about's about being awesome."
Dear Taco Journal,
Today I spent a few hours in the kitchen, cooking up some staples so I'll be ready to embark on my new journey tomorrow--a three day Taco Cleanse! Even though I've done juice fasts before, for some reason, I feel SUPER nervous about this cleanse. I know I should focus on what the authors say, "...the taco cleanse isn't about's about being awesome." But, I'm still pretty worried that I'll do something wrong, or accidentally fold my tortilla too many times.

I KNOW I'm worthy of receiving the benefits of a high-taco diet. When I go to sleep tonight, I'm gonna try to keep this in my thoughts until I fall asleep.

I think the best way to set yourself up for success on a taco strong diet, is to keep lots of fillings and toppings stashed in the fridge. Then when you're in a rush, just grab a portable tortilla and you're gold. 
So much quicker than cleaning a stupid juicer.
Dear Taco Journal,
"I decide what I eat, and today I choose tacos."

I'm so glad I stocked up on organic corn tortillas, it made hopping on the taco train pretty easy this morning. I put a scoop of Fruity Salsa on a toasted corn tortilla with some avocado and was extra careful to just fold the tortilla in half once. Almost immediately, I felt a bit light headed. So crazy that one taco is so strong!! I think I can get the handle on tacos-all-the-time, at least I hope so. I really want to see some results...

I've already decided what lunch will be, so I can start getting excited about it--Mighty Migas topped with Cilantro-Avocado Tranquility Sauce. Oh god. I'm freaking out 'cuz the recipe specifically states the migas need to be eaten with flour tortillas to get all the transformational benefits. Breakfast has me feeling sorta buzzed and tingly, I hope this feeling lasts a while!

Hello Mom? If you're reading this, you might want to try one of these Mighty Migas tacos with Cilantro-Avocado Tranquility Sauce and Apple Fruity Salsa. I'm posting the recipe for you below. 
I never thought I'd be able to make my own flour tortillas, but thanks to The Taco Cleanse, I had the courage to make these today! Whenever I'd start feeling nervous about using the gluten-free flour mix Somer sent me, I'd just chant to myself "Be courageous, because tacos give you courage." It worked!! The tortillas even bend without cracking or breaking, proof that tacos = miracles!!

Abundant Potatoes to top some Ion-Charged Refried Bean tacos. 
I chanted my taco mantra the entire time I diced these potatoes! 
Tonight, after another migas taco, I made myself go to a party I didn't really want to attend. It was weird, 'cuz not only did I have a great time, but people seemed drawn to me in a new way. I was afraid of being a bore, but everyone seemed genuinely interested in hearing about my high taco diet. I friended like six new people on FB! By the way, I've decided tacos are so much better than green juice, I am taco strong!!!! 

The better I feel, the more I realize I need to have a taco-talk with my mom about her "lifestyle choices," I sorta think she's been eating too many burritos lately.

If you follow the instructions in the taco cleanse manual and eat Mighty Migas on corn tortillas, you will benefit from two superfoods--corn tortillas and flour tortillas! (I swear, after dinner tonight I felt like I could go out dancing all night!).
Mighty Migas
What started out as a way to use up leftover corn tortillas has become a staple of brunch tables. Migas tacos are transformational because they contain two superfoods: corn and flour tortillas. If you've been afflicted with collywobbles or gripe, try eating at least one migas taco a week. Because your homemade corn tortillas are probably too delicious to leave any leftovers, tortilla chips stand in here.

What You Need:
♥ 1 tablespoon cooking oil
♥ 1/2 cup chopped onion
♥ 1 jalapeno, sliced into rings
♥ 14-18 ounces firm tofu, drained
♥ 1 teaspoon salt
♥ 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
♥ 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
♥ 1 cup crumbled tortilla chips
♥ 1 cup seeded, chopped tomato
♥ 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
♥ 1/4 cup unsweetened plant milk or water
♥ 1/2 cup vegan cheddar, optional
♥ 8 Flour Tortillas

What You Do:
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and jalapeno for 2 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften.

Crumble the tofu into the pan and sprinkle with the salt, cumin, and pepper. Cook until the tofu is dry and browned on at least one side, about 10 minutes. Try not to stir too often as this prevents browning.

Add the rest of the ingredients, including the cheese if you're using it, and stir thoroughly. Cook until the tomato softens and the liquid is completely absorbed.

Serve in the flour tortillas.

Recipe from The Taco Cleanse: The Tortillas-Based Diet Proven to Change Your Life, copyright ©Wes Allison, Stephanie Bogdanich, Molly R. Frisinger, Jessica Morris, 2015. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.

Dear Taco Journal,
Today is supposed to be the last day of my intense high taco journey. I feel a bit anxious about incorporating non-tacos into my diet tomorrow, so I think I might continue to cleanse for another day, and then maybe ease into some other kinds of tortilla based meals on Saturday mixed in with taco leftovers. Maybe a tostada on a soft tortilla would be OK (so I can bend it if I start feeling bad?). I'm gonna be really disappointed if I can't sustain this feeling. After I practice some taco yoga tonight, I'm planning to check in with myself to see if this is the right transition for me.

All the things that make me feel like the best person I can be!
On the menu today is Ion-Charged Refried Beans on toasted corn tortillas with Abundant Potatoes and Bright-Eyed Buffalo Sauce. I'm hoping this combination will propel me in the right direction. I still have some leftover Fruity Salsa from yesterday, so depending on my energy center, I might add some of that too. 

I know this might be considered TMI for a public taco journal, but tonight after dinner, my urine smelled like Ion-Charged Refried beans--a really great indication of intense detox. I'm thrilled!
It's so important that information about The Taco Cleanse and its benefits are spread far and wide. Realizing this, the publisher of this ground breaking guide is offering a free copy to one of my readers in the U.S. or Canada. To win your own copy (and change your life), please comment on this post telling me how you hope tacos will affect you. I'll randomly pick a winner on December 26th (be sure to comment (with an easy way to reach you!!) by 10 PM PST on December 26th to be eligible).

***The winner is Rie Chan!***

If you like my writing and/or my recipes, please consider sharing my posts (by linking back here), following me online, and being my friend when you bump into me at Food Fight. Building an audience with actual numbers makes it easier for me to offer you more and more content.

Thank you for visiting my little crumb of the internet!

Taco Speed,

Monday, December 14, 2015

Chipotle Cheese Pretzel Dogs.

I present the humble chipotle-cheese-pretzel dog for your admiration.
I may attempt these with a GF dough and Tofu Pups. Stay tuned.
I want to say, "These are the best pretzel dogs ever, ever, ever!!" But full disclosure--GLUTENZ. I've never tasted them.

I'm sharing the recipe though, because they sell out at bakesales in short order, and because my friends and family tell me how yummy they are. Plus, I think they're really fun to make, 'cuz I'm a masochist who enjoys several hours in the kitchen making stuff I can't eat. And truly, I enjoy bake-saling for the animals and stuffing Dazee and my friends full of homemade treats.

Dough balls, wieners and pretzel pups, getting reading for their hot baking soda bath.
These dogs truly are a project of love and/or determination. They require many steps including dough making and rising, dividing, rolling, forming, boiling, washing and baking. SO, when I make them,  I make it worth my time and double the recipe posted below. This way I have enough to bring to a sale, a big party, or wherever, and can still pull a few aside to save for whomever.

Here's what they look like as they rest up for their baths. Notice some of the cheese will be visible on the outside.
And, while I do enjoy making pretzel dogs, I don't think they're very fun when I'm in a hurry. So, give yourself plenty of time if you're bringing these to a party, or wake up nice and early if you have to get these to a bake-sale before noon.
Chipotle Cheese Pretzel Dogs
Makes 16-18 pretzel dogs (depending on the size of your pack)
These dogs are slightly adapted from the pretzel dogs on Joy the Baker, and those were based off of the soft pretzel dough recipe from Alton Brown.

I've streamlined this recipe to make it "bake-sale friendly," which means the dough is ready to go as soon as I wake up (bake-sales around here are usually in the morning so this method gives me as much sleep time as possible). I make the dough in a stand mixer with instant yeast just before bed and throw it in the fridge to rise slowly overnight. If you want to make it with regular dry yeast, make sure to follow a method like that from Joy the Baker, where she includes steps on proofing yeast (instant yeast requires no proofing-- the ingredients are mixed up together and left to rise).

Here are a few things to keep in mind about this recipe, please read through the notes below, and all the steps, before you start:

 As I mentioned above, I usually double this recipe, because making two batches is only a little more time consuming than making one, and you end up with lots more dogs to share.

 If you do double this recipe, make the dough in separate batches, all the way down to two separate bags in the fridge.

 If possible, weigh the flour with a scale instead of measuring. And, if you do have a scale--the easiest and fastest way to divide the dough into uniform pieces is to weigh the dough first, then divide by however many dogs you're making, and then weigh each piece separately.

 The hardest thing about making pretzels is to get them as dark as possible on top, without burning on the bottom. For the batch pictured in this post, I actually baked the baking soda, according to the instructions in Pretzel Making at Home by Andrea Slonecker. Apparently, this turns the baking soda more alkaline, which produces a deeper crust. If you want to try this yourself, all you do is put 1/4 cup of baking soda in a non reactive baking dish (like a glass pie plate) and cover with tin foil. Bake at 250 F for one hour and allow to cool before using. If you don't want to play with baking the soda, just use the larger amount specified below.

What You Need:
♥ 22 oz unbleached white flour (about 4 1/2 cups)
♥ 1 tablespoon unbleached granulated sugar
♥ 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or RapidRise dry yeast
♥ 2 teaspoons salt
♥ 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder

♥ 1 1/2 cups warm water
♥ 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
♥ 1 cup grated vegan cheddar style cheese, divided
♥ a clean, plastic produce bag

♥ 1 package vegan hot dogs, cut in half to form mini dogs
♥ 8 cups water
♥ 1/4-1/3 cup baking soda (see note above)

♥ 1/4 cup soymilk
♥ 2 tablespoons agave nectar
♥ coarse salt, to garnish

What You Do Before Bed: 
1. Just before bed, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and chipotle powder into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. On low speed, blend the dry ingredients until mixed.

2. Add 1 1/2 cups of warm water and the olive oil and mix/knead until the mixture loses it's shagginess and begins to form a dough.

3. Stop the mixer and add 1/2 cup of the cheese. Continue to knead the dough--the cheese will become incorporated into the dough. Stop kneading after about 5-7 minutes when the dough forms a smooth, tight, non-sticky and cohesive ball.

4. Transfer the dough into the produce bag and tie the end in a knot, leaving plenty of room in the bag for the dough to expand. Place it in the fridge to rise while you sleep--about 8 hours.

Here are the dogs after being boiled and right before a light soymilk-agave wash.
In the Morning:
1. Break open the bag and gently poke the dough to release air. Divide the dough into even balls, forming however many mini dogs you have. Most commercial vegan packages yield 16-18 pieces. Cover the dough balls with the opened plastic bag.

2. Prepare a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment, and put a small handful of the remaining cheese on a plate and keep it near your work station.

3. Lightly flatten a piece of dough and pat it into the cheese to pick up about a teaspoon of grated cheese on each side. Roll the dough into an even rope about 16" long and 1/2" thick--most of the cheese will get folded into the dough as it's rolled out. The dough shouldn't be sticky, but if your're having trouble, sprinkle it with a tiny bit of flour to make it easier to roll.

4. Take a hot dog in your hand and start wrapping the coil of dough around it. It's easiest to align the center of the coil with the center of the dog, then wrap the dough around one side of the dog--leaving no gaps. Flip the dog and repeat on the other side. Be sure the wiener is fully enclosed in dough--there should be no gaps in the dough coils and no bit of dog exposed on either end. Place the wrapped dog on the table and with a flat palm pressing down lightly, give the dog a gentle roll to press the coil edges together, then tap each end on the table gently to create a good seal on each end.

5. Place the dough covered dog on your prepared baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining dough and dogs. Cover the dogs with a towel or piece of plastic as you work.

6. While the dogs rest, preheat the oven to 450F. In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a gentle boil. Add the baking soda and stir until dissolved (see note above about amounts).

7. One at a time, gently lower 3-4 dogs into the water. Cook for 20-30 seconds, using a slotted spoon to flip them halfway. They will become visibly larger. Quickly scoop them out of the water with the slotted spoon, and place them back on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dogs.

8. When the dogs have been boiled and the oven is ready, prepare the dough wash. In a small bowl, combine the soymilk and agave nectar. Using a brush (or a paper towel or clean rag if you don't have one), thinly coat about three dogs with the milk mixture and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Repeat with the remaining dogs.

9. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until nicely browned on top. Watch carefully to be sure they don't burn (especially on the bottom).

10. Eat and hoard! Share and sell!

Ta da!
If you like my writing and/or my recipes, please consider sharing my posts (by linking back here), following me online, and being my friend when you bump into me at Food Fight. Building an audience with actual numbers makes it easier for me to offer you more and more content.

Thank you for visiting my little crumb of the internet!