Vegan Lobster Rolls.

Lobster Mushrooms

Lobster mushrooms everyone. Aren’t they beautiful? Their beauty comes from some funky parasitic fungus that actually grows on other mushrooms. Fungus on fungus action is what I’m sayin. That’s why they have this gorgeous reddish-orange hue, which matches the color of cooked lobster, hence the name. Unfortunately, most of us know that the most popular way to cook a real lobster is to drop them into boiling water whilst they are still alive. I have always found this disturbing, so I will stick with cruelty free lobster mushrooms thank you very much!

So, I saw some of these really great mushrooms while I was at the farmer’s market over the weekend and I had the idea that I wanted to make a delicious lobster roll, only with mushrooms instead of crustacean. I have never eaten a lobster roll, I’ve only seen other people eat them, so I decided to start with a very un-vegan recipe and veganize it. I decided to go with one by Bobby Flay, who I love to hate. I’ll throwdown with that homeboy any day! The lobster mushroom rolls were grand and I’m pretty sure they would please any lobster lover, even the Flay.

Lobster Mushroom Roll

Lobster Mushroom Roll

Ingredients

1/4 lb to 1/2 lb lobster mushrooms, chopped into chunks–or thereabouts. I can’t remember how much I had exactly, but at least 2-3 handfuls.

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

2 tbsp Earth Balance

3-4 ribs celery, diced

1/4 c red onion, diced

1/4 c cilantro, chopped

3/4 scant cup Vegenaise (I like the reduced fat variety)

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1 long french baguette, sliced into 3 rolls

Method:

Heat a saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Melt your Earthy B and add the onions. Saute for a couple of minutes and then add the garlic. Saute for no longer than a minute, as we don’t want to garlic to burn. Add the mushrooms. If your pan is looking the slightest but dry, add another tbsp or so of Earthy B. Saute your mushrooms, onions and garlic until tender and until the mushrooms have a released some liquid. Remove pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

Next mix your Vegenaise, with the remaining ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. If you like a lot of Vegenaise, feel free to add more. If you want less, just use 1/2 c or so. Season with salt and pepper to taste. After your mushrooms, onions and garlic have cooled a bit, add them to your Vegenaise mixture. It’s okay if they’re still a little warm. Now, you can toast your rolls with olive oil or more Earthy B, or just scoop in the filling and have them untoasted. Your preference of course!

Blue Lobster. He's so misunderstood.

A Post For Tiffany.

Tiffany (on right) & I at Comic-Con a few years ago 🙂

A lovely and dear friend of mine, the Tiffany, asked me a while back to do a blog post with some panini ideas. So, Tiffmeow, this one is for you. Here are some of the past paninis I have made and nommed upon in glorious nommage. May they inspire you to make delicious paninis for every meal. 🙂

Just as a note, I use a stovetop panini pan, but you can use two skillets, a George Foreman Grill, or an electric panini press or griddle thing.

"Ham" & "Brie" Panini w/ Homemade Whole Grain Cognac Mustard

Sometimes, I am feeling a “ham” & cheeze sandwich….the fancy way. I use this recipe for spreadable baked “brie” and this recipe for ham style seitan. This batch turned out a little purple nurple sort of. If you play with the beet powder and natural red coloring you can get it to look more pink. You can also pick up some brown and yellow mustard seeds to make your own mustard at home. You can add anything you want like beer or fresh herbs. You let the seeds soak with vinegar and some other goodies for a few days and then blend. Then, you have amazing, gourmet homemade mustard. I used part vinegar and cognac to make this mustard I used for this sandwich. Top with some arugula or mesclun. I always make sure to spread a good layer of Earth Balance on my bread for the most delicious panini, or brush some oil on it….although I prefer the Earthy B method.

Homemade Whole Grain Mustard with Cognac

Tiffany and her husband Eric often times have made their own bread in the past. This is always a good idea when you want the most delicious panini.

I made some Tomato Bread with bits of sun-dried tomato baked in. I can’t find the recipe, but you can just add tomato paste and bits of sun dried tomato to another bread recipe you have on hand to come up with something pretty similar. I then used that bread to make an avocado panini, with onions, spinach, vegan cheeze and a layer of homemade hummus.

Sun Dried Tomato Bread
Avocado & Spinach Panini

There was an issue of Vegetarian Times a few months back that had some panini ideas. One of them was for a panini made with chickpea salad, golden beets and apples among other goodies. I loved it so much that I felt compelled to share it on the Vegetarian Times facebook page and guess what? They printed my comment in the following magazine. Yay. So, basically, this probably has to be my signature panini from now on and I will make it for whoever wants to try it 🙂 UPDATE: VT Posted the panini recipe here.

Vegetarian Times Chickpea, Apple, Beet Panini

I realize it looks like a regular sandwich and not a panini, but I did grill it. The ciabatta I used was really hard to press down on though.

Paninis don’t always have to be savory either. You can wake up with a deliciously sweet panini breakfast sandwich. Color Me Vegan has a really yum recipe for a Nectarine-Agave Panini. I made one using cinnamon raisin bread. If you’re feeling a savory breakfast panini, make up some fresh waffles and load them with vegan sausage, vegan cheddar and maybe some tofu scramble and make that into a crazy panini waffle breakfast sandwich!

Nectarine-Agave Panini on Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Leek, Mushroom, Pesto, Artichoke Panini

I also really like the recipe for Leek-Pesto etc crostini in The Kind Diet. Although, instead of using the recipe for crostini, I make it into a panini. It involves a really good artichoke spread, sauteed leeks and mushrooms, plus homemade pesto. Up above is pre-grilling, but this sammie is super good. The Kind Diet is a great book for some lower calorie, healthier options. There are some really good recipes in there!

Vegano Cubano Panini Sandwich

Sorry for the blurry picture. This sandwich did not want to cooperate for photos because it wanted to jump into my mouth and just wasn’t being patient. And….I know I am going to sound like a commercial for vegan cookbooks, but this really….reeeaallllyyy good sandwich recipe is from Viva Vegan. It’s called the Vegano Cubano Sandwich and it is awe-some. It consists of homemade seitan, plus vegan ham, plus bread and butter pickles and everything good in the world. It’s one of the most delicious paninis I’ve ever eaten fo sho. Fo. Sho.

And, you know….there is always the classic grilled cheeze (Daiya is my homeboy), which you are always free to shove full of juicy tomatoes and basil pesto 😉

Take a bite out of crime. I mean panini. Take a bite out of panini.

Apple-Cheddar Scones. Because Apples + Cheeze = WIN.

Hello glorious blog! Just letting you know I almost typed bog instead of blog and that wouldn’t be nearly as glorious.

So. Apples are in season and have been inspiring me everywhere I go. I am going to take an apple-picking trip sometime soon to pick my own, but until then I have been buying all sorts of apples and going bananas over them. Ha. See what I did there? Okay, I’ll stop. 😉

There is a lot of information out there about this delicious fruit, as apples are pretty famous, a-listers of fruit so-to-speak. But, I won’t bore you with that just yet. I’m saving that for the future apple posts to come. For now, please just enjoy this recipe for Apple-Cheddar Scones. I love the combination of savory and sweet, as well as fresh herbs  and vegan cheeze with fruit. Pears, peaches and apples are among those that go especially well with vegan cheezes.

Apple Cheddar Scones

Apple Cheddar Scones

Ingredients:

1 to 1 1/2 tart apples, peeled or not–cored, sliced and diced. I use Granny Smith because I love them!

1 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface

1/4 c unbleached cane sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

6 tbsp Earth Balance, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes or separated into tbsps

1/2  heaping cup Daiya Cheddar, shredded

1/4 c coconut creamer— I love So Delicious brand

1 tbsp ground flax seed

3 tbsp water

Method:

Preheat to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium to large mixing bowl. Add the Earth Balance to the flour mixture and use a pastry whisk to cut in the Earthy B until it starts to look something like wet sand. Combine your flax seed and water in small cup or small bowl and whisk to make a flax egg. Now toss that flax egg in with the flour and Earthy B and add the coconut creamer now as well. Lastly add the apples and cheddar and work your mixture into a dough.

Flour a work surface and roll your dough out to about 1 1/4 inch thick. I like to roll my dough into a circle and cut pie shaped wedges out for these scones, but you can use a biscuit cutter to do round ones if you please. Bake for about 25-30 min. Let the scones cool for a few minutes after removing them from the oven, but these are best enjoyed warm. They do reheat wonderfully in the oven, so if they can’t be eaten all at once, seal them in a container and refrigerate until you can enjoy the rest of them. 🙂

One of the many gorgeous Gravensteins I picked last year 🙂

Eats of Late & Other Vegan Bloggers Rule.

I just got back from a trip to Ohio. To be honest, I still feel a little out of it. I did buy some yummy local goodies in Ohio and mailed them to myself before I left. Sigh, when will there be a “fly-at-your-own-risk” airline that just lets us bring jam on the plane?!? Jam, I say!

Anywho, right before I left I found this crazy awesome blog, Swapmeat. There was some crazy, delicious looking recipe for a Cheddar and Beer Soup that lead me there. Upon arriving, I saw there were some other amazing recipes with excellent photos waiting to be made and eaten. Yay! So, I left a comment under one of the recipes and to my surprise, this awesome blogger ended up helping me fix my header. Doesn’t it look awesome? I love it and think it’s a great improvement. I am so grateful to not only found a great blog with yummy food, but to know that an amazing and kind person writes said blog. I was so frustrated trying to fix that header, that I am soooo happy someone helped me fix it. So if you’re reading this blog, you should also go to Swapmeat and check it out too. 🙂

So, I only got to cook for realz once while in Ohio, but got to also eat out a couple of times at some yummy places. I will share that when I’ve got my wits about me again. For now, here are some photos of what I was making and eating before I left.

Heart Shaped Vanilla-Strawberry Cake w/ Strawberry-Almond Glaze
Piece of my heart
Sunchoke & "Veal" Capponata

Probably the best batch of seitan I’ve ever made, or close to.

White Macaroni & Cheeze w/ Morel Mushrooms & Tempeh Bacon

Made with precious, precious Cheeszly White Cheddar! So. Good.

Coconut-Lilikoi Cupcakes w/ Lilikoi Buttercream
Baby Spinach, Chik'n and Golden Grape Tomato Salad with Walnut Oil, Black Garlic & Dill Dressing
Kugel w/ Broccoli and Chanterelles
Hatch Chile Chik'n Cacciatore w/ Black Garlic Tomato Sauce

Made with the lovely Galen of OMGosh I’m Vegan 🙂

Cannellini Beans w/ Sage, Crispy "Prosciutto", & Fava Bean Pesto Ragout
Cherry Tomato Tapenade Tartlet

Saw these in Vegetarian Times and thought I’d make them. Are they really tartlets? I don’t know…

Warm Spinach & Red Onion Salad w/ Apple, Lemon & Fresh Mint Vinaigrette

Served the Tomato Tartlets on top on this salad.

Well, there you have it. A lot of the recipes are from my favorite cookbook, Veganize This! Others are edited/adapted or my own. I’ll post something yummy with a real recipe soon. 🙂

Apple Pie with Honey & Thyme

How about a slice of apple pie?

I had the opportunity to stay at a beautiful house in Pasadena the past few days to watch some really lovely doggies. I’m a dogwalker and petsitter extraordinaire! So being at this lovely house with these sweet doggies inspired me to make something sweet. Apple Pie with Honey & Thyme. I really love the taste of fresh savory ingredients in desserts. My favorites are using vegan cheeze and fresh herbs in desserts and sweets.

Little squares I cut out and used rather than traditional lattice.

On Saturday, I had planned to make a Rosemary Apple Pie with my friend Galen. We ended up having so much fun making some Hatch Chile Chik’n Cacciatore that, unfortunately, we didn’t have thyme time for pie. Ha….see what I did there? I was still in the mood to bake a pie, so I decided on an apple pie made with a combination of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious Apples. I decided to add some local cactus honey that I tasted a while back at an awesome “Honey Tasting” held by an awesome little lady. The same friend also suggested that I enter a pie contest that’s approaching and I just might. I also decided that the addition of thyme would send this pie over the delicious edge.

Apple Pie with Local Honey and Fresh Thyme

Ingredients:

2 pie crusts. Use your favorite recipe–I used homemade whole wheat crusts for this pie.

3 Golden Delicious apples, cored and sliced–peeling optional

4 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced–peeling optional

1/2 c local honey, divided–I used a combination of cactus honey and wildflower

6 branches fresh thyme, plus some extra leaves to add into the pie

2 tbsp instant tapioca–I used Let’s Do… Organic Brand

1/3 c golden brown mascobado sugar

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

4 tbsp Earth Balance, divided in half

Method:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

If you have a giant skillet, you can do this in one batch. If not, you will have to do two batches–which is why certain ingredients up top have instruction to be divided. So, in one giant skillet or in two medium skillets, heat honey and bring to a boil. If using one skillet, use all of the honey, if using two, add a 1/4 c into each. Add 3 thyme branches to each skillet and then add your apples. Try not to overcrowd. I hate to dirty two pans, but the pie is worth if you have to. After you add your apples, go ahead and add two tbsp of Earthy B to each skillet. Cook the apples around 10 minutes. You’re not looking to cook them completely, just infuse some of that honey and thyme flavor. Pour both apple mixtures into a big ol’ mixing bowl, discarding your thyme branches along the way. Add your instant tapioca and reserve thyme leaves–how much you want to put in there is up to you. I put in at least a tsp or two to get more of that delicious thyme flavor with my apples and honey. Add your remaining ingredients, sugar, ginger and salt and stir every thing around real nice. Now is the time to roll out your bottom crust and stick that fella in your pie plate. How you want to do the top portion of the crust is up to you. You can see from my pictures that I decided to cut out little squares and rectangles and just layer them over the top of the pie. You can also do traditional lattice, or use cookie cutters to cover your pie in let’s say….foxes?!? Bake your pie for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350°F and continue to bake about 40 minutes. Let your pie cool for a minimum or 30 minutes before serving. Add some yummy So Delicious coconut milk ice cream if you please! The only thing left to do now is to snuggle up somewhere and enjoy your pie.

The Galette Strikes Back.

Pineapple Galette

I promised I would come back with another galette post plus a recipe. I was hoping to have a gorgeous, picturesque, classic French looking galette, but alas, this galette has my usual “homemade” look. Yes, homemade looking sounds much better than crappy looking. Le sigh. Some day, I hope to create desserts that are both delicious AND presentable. Ay, I feel like such an amateur.

Well, on a more positive note, this galette is reaaaalllly delicious. I veganized this recipe from one of the greatest baking blogs ever, Eat the Love. Most of the recipes on the blog are not vegan, but I enjoy seeing what success I can have adapting the wonderful Irvin’s recipes into vegan creations.

Irvin made an additional rum-caramel sauce to top the galette, which sounded very yummy, but after going over the ingredients for the filling and crust, I deemed it sweet enough to go without the sauce. If you’re looking for an extra kick of rum or sweetness, head on over to Eat the Love and make up a batch. If you’re a strict vegan, just sub out the honey for brown rice syrup.

So, without further ado, please enjoy this yummy pineapple galette recipe.

Pineapple Galette

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 c whole wheat flour

2 tbsp arrowroot powder

1 tbsp golden brown mascobado sugar

1 tbsp golden flaxseed, finely ground

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp cold dark rum

5 tbsp Earth Balance

4 tbsp Earth Balance Coconut Spread

*2-3 tbsp cold water on reserve in the fridge, if needed

Make sure all of your ingredients are cold. This pastry recipe is slightly altered from the original recipe I used–my original dough was rather soft and delicate because it got warm very fast due to me making it on a hot day. If your dough becomes soft, you can stick it back in the fridge for a few minutes.

Mix both flours, arrowroot, flax, salt and sugar in medium mixing bowl. Whisk them until thoroughly mixed. Add both types of Earth Balance in tablespoons, cubes or small chunks. Cut it in with a pastry whisk, and mix until you have mixture starting to resemble damp sand.  Add the cold rum to the mixture and mix until a dough starts to come together. If your mixture is too dry, add some of the cold water you put in the fridge earlier. Add a little bit at a time. If for some reason you have dough that’s too wet, just add a bit more flour. Flatten your dough into a disk, wrap it up in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for a minimum of one hour or overnight.

Filling Ingredients:

2lbs of pineapple, fresh and cut into spears. After you grill it and let it cool, you will slice it up into smaller pieces.

1/4 c MimicCreme

2 tbsp arrowroot

1/2 c unbleached cane sugar

1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 vanilla bean, split and beans scraped from both sides

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat.

Preheat your grill or a grill pan. If you’re using a grill pan, make sure to put some oil on it. I used my recently purchased Le Creuset grill pan and used coconut oil. Grill the pineapple for about 2-3 minutes of each side. Put the pineapple on a plate to cool. After the pineapple has cooled, go ahead and slice it up into small pieces.

Mix the MimicCreme, arrowroot, sugar, egg replacer, cinnamon, and salt. Use a sharp knife and split the vanilla bean lengthwise. Use the back or your knife or something flat and scrape out the vanilla beans. Add the vanilla beans to the mixture and reserve your vanilla bean pod for homemade vanilla extract or homemade vanilla sugar. Or, if you make the aforementioned rum caramel sauce, you can use it for that. Stir the mixture until the arrowroot is dissolved and everything is thoroughly mixed.

Roll out your dough on a well floured work surface. I made my galette circular in shape, but feel free to make a rectangle or other shape. Place the dough on the baking sheet with silpat. Add the sliced pineapple in whatever pattern you please. Pour the cream, sugar, arrowroot mixture over the pineapple, very slowly. Don’t make a puddle. It’s okay to stop pouring, even if you have a lot left in your bowl. Start to fold up the sides of the galette. Once completely folded, pour the remainder or the cream mixture over the exposed pieces of pineapple. Place in the hot oven and bake about 40-45 min or until the edges of your galette start to turn golden and the fruit inside is bubbling.

If you want to make the caramel sauce, now is the time to head to Irvin’s awesome blog and start making it!

Now slice up that galette and serve. Maybe with some vanilla coconut milk ice cream. 🙂

A lil slice of gold!