Last week I was up late at night watching Diners, Drivers and Dives. They were at a BBQ joint and the sandwich they made sounded awesome. They had used pulled pork but being a vegetarian that was not going to happen. I started of thinking about ways I could re-create this sandwich without using tofu or tempeh while also having that sort of shredded pork feel.

It dawned on me that spaghetti squash shreds in a similar fashion so that would be the base of the sandiwch. The next question I had to answer was how I was going to develop that burnt end crust and my trusty cast iron pan answered that question.  There were no questions when it came to toppings because the slaw I have been making lately goes with everything, as do pickles (any good BBQ has pickles) and sweet potato fries.

Lucky for you it was fantastic and I am sharing the recipe to this ridiculously tasting dish.

 

Published in Snack/Dessert Recipes
Thursday, 10 March 2016 22:03

#Vegan Recipe: Tempura Avocado Street Tacos

A few weeks ago Karen and I went to a local establishment to have a meal on the patio while the weather was absolutely gorgeous. We have been here plenty of times but this time was different. As we were reading the menu and confirming the appetizer of Hot Chips (fresh made potato chips with a side of habanero ketchup) we saw the item labeled: Tempura Avocado Street Tacos.

Just saying the name made me drool. Karen decided to order it and I went with a taco salad knowing full well that she would not finish the plate and I would get at least one taco. As I had predicted she shared the last taco and I devoured it. Poor taco never stood a chance. A few days after that I decided I was going to replicate the dish.

As we sat down to eat we looked at each other and commented that it looked like the restaurant version. The first bite signified that I had indeed remade the dish BUT BETTER. The key was what I used for my tempura batter. Keep reading the recipe below to find out what that secret ingredient was.

Enjoy and do not forget to #EatUp.

 

Published in Snack/Dessert Recipes
Tuesday, 01 December 2015 18:08

Vegan Recipe: Overcome Illness Stew

The last month has been full speed ahead with racing Ironman Florida (race report here) and then Wild Hare 50 (race report here) two weeks later and registered for Isle Du Bois 52k two weeks post Wild Hare 50 had run my body into the ground. Endurance events take a lot out of you both physically and mentally and your immune system is shot.

I learned this first hand Saturday into Sunday of this past week. I was feeling sluggish on Saturday but managed to do some running around (in the rain) with my wife but by the end of the day it had become full blown - leave me the F alone. I got in bed with a tremendous pain in my face around my sinuses and knew I had a sinus infection. I woke up every 1h20m and had difficulty going back to sleep. When I woke up Sunday I planted myself on the couch and did nothing but neti pot and try to watch football.

The Giants-Redskins game made me not feel any better as that was possibly one of the worst games I can remember watching. Just horrible football. I went to bed Sunday night hoping to sleep through the night but that did not happen until midnight when I got finally got 6 straight hours. When I woke up I felt much better. Less achy in my muscles and less pain in my face. The illness started to turn but not wanting to take any chances I kept up the fluids, vitamin C and when dinner rolled around I wanted nothing but a hearty stew.

I decided on the drive home that the stew would include rice, beans, mushrooms, onions and leafy greens. All of these are high in micro-nutrients but also included complex carbs, protein and healthy fat. I did stop myself from adding additional ingredients as I kept to the keep it simple stupid method.

When I woke up this morning I felt better than I had in the past 48 hours and believe that I am on the other side of the illness. Now the stew is not the only reason because the neti pot is the main helper here but the soup is sure to help battle illness as well as warming you up during these cold winter months. The recipe below is super simple, takes no time and tastes great. Enjoy.

Published in Dinner Recipes
Tuesday, 03 November 2015 20:32

Vegan Recipe: Tempeh Fajita Burrito

Recently I started a burrito kick and it has taken on a life of its own. It is at the point where I am now trying to get #BurritoWednesday trending since it seems that all the other days are taken not to mention the sheer ridiculousness of these hashtags. Also, please do not get me started on National Coffee Day or National Chocolate Day or National Non-GMO Gluten Free Sugar Free Fat Free Peanut Butter Day.

The internet is a wonderful thing to have at our finger tips but some days I have to laugh at how days pick up momentum and thus why I am pushing hard for everybody to join me on #BurritoWednesday. Truth be told I eat a burrito 4-5 times per week because of how convenient they are to make. Take your favorite dish and wrap it up and eat it with one hand. What is better than that? Go ahead and think about it.......I will wait. Told you that you cannot come up with something.

The burrito and the waffle are my all time favorites and maybe I can create a thin waffle to wrap up other foods in and have the first #BurritoWednesday with a #WaffleBurrito.  Stay tuned but until then here is a recipe for a vegan tempeh fajita burrito that is sure to please.

If you decide to make this meal be sure to hashtag it with #BurritoWednesday and let's get this absurd movement rolling along

Published in Dinner Recipes

Back when I was eating meat I could be found at the nearest bar or in my kitchen devouring wings by the dozens.  Yes, dozens. An afternoon watching football could easily consist of 50 wings, beer and an apple pie to finish the day.  When I made the lifestyle decision to become a vegetarian the one thing I missed the most was chicken wings on a Saturday or Sunday in the fall. That went away fairly fast when I began to use tempeh in my homemade buffalo sauce. As time has gone on I decided that anything and everything could get tossed into the buffalo sauce.

This weekend, that is exactly what happened. I started with the thought of using garbanzo beans but soon enough crunchy cauliflower would go well.  Wait, that is not enough let's toss in some Brussels sprouts. Do you have a crunchy texture that stands out? No, you do now in the form of shredded red cabbage.  How can I cut the spice without blue cheese?  How about some fatty avocado. Alright, we got it all so let's start the cooking.

Published in Dinner Recipes
Tuesday, 17 February 2015 10:30

Taco Tuesday Recipe: Vegan Lentil Tacos

Taco Tuesday came early at my house yesterday but was disguised at Meatless Monday.  After I posted the picture to Instagram and finished licking the plate I realized that this was a dish that needed to have the recipe posted so that everybody else could enjoy the flavors that I inhaled in approximately 15 seconds.  Thus the reason why I was licking the plate…….I could not get enough of the tacos and may have to create them again for the actual Taco Tuesday.

I had a desire to have Sloppy Joe’s after seeing them on TV the night before but when I got home I did not have the patience to make the fried onion rings to place on top of the sloppy joe sandwich and thus the Vegan Lentil Taco was born or at least created.

Published in Lunch Recipes
Saturday, 28 December 2013 06:44

Japanese Cuisine Made Simple Yet Very Tasty

Japanese cuisine for me was non-existent until I tried sushi for the first time which happened about 15 years ago.  Like most people the idea of raw fish was not appealing.  I had not bothered to look into whether or not there was more to sushi and if Japanese cuisine could be enjoyed.  Like the word Kleenex meant tissue or Band-Aid meant adhesive bandage the word sushi meant Japanese cuisine.  As I grew up a bit and started to explore the world of food a bit more I realized that there was more to Japanese cuisine than sushi, even though that seemed to dominate. One day I finally dipped my toe in the sushi pool and lo and behold I loved it.  I was absolutely in love with it.  I made a point to have it at least once per week back then.  I am not sure if it was the combination of textures, the kick from the ginger and wasabi or the saltiness of the soy sauce that kept reeling me in but it did.  I was not interested in the 'California Roll' because in my mind if I was going in I was going big.  Eel, Salmon, Red Fish, White Fish it just did not matter as long as it was from the sea I wanted to eat it.  That also led me to love seaweed and all its forms.  From kombu to nori to arame and wakame.  Again, if it was in the sea I wanted to try it.  That being said I was never brave enough to try uni (sea urchin). These days because I am infatuated with throwing the culinary ideals out the window and doing what I want I decided to combine seasonal fall flavors with tofu but why stop there.  Why not toss in some heat and crunch while I was at it.  I do not have rules in my kitchen other than do not run with knives and no playing in the kitchen as there is fire and danger all around (sorry I thought I was talking to my 7 year-old stepson for a moment there.)  Back to the story of food, and Japanese cuisine specifically.  Boundaries across the food spectrum are being torn down and no longer are we seeing the simple meat and potato dishes.  There are all sorts of ways to combine flavors into a harmonious dish especially when they are either complementary flavors (Asian and Mexican with their spices) or completely opposite (Polish and South American.)  However you slice it food is coming together from all different angles. On Thursday I was inspired by a post I saw somewhere (I cannot remember where) and kept the idea in my head.  The picture I saw showed tofu with a splash of soy sauce, a dot of sriracha and nothing else on a plate.  I thought about that and decided to take that up a notch or three.  I wanted to include in-season foods like butternut squash, acorn squash or even a sweet potato.  I wanted the sriracha to last on the palette a tad longer and to do that I needed vinegar.  I wanted a fresh taste and some crunch so I took cilantro and red onion and placed them on the cutting board.  Was there something else that would allow this combination to peak and take the meal to the next level?  Maybe, but at the time I couldn't think of one as I had just finished running 6.25 miles and wanted to eat. The following recipe for this Japanese cuisine style meal was made in no time at all with few ingredients.  The meal is vegan and yet still packed with protein and complex carbs.  I think this can be used as an entrée or an appetizer.  Basically what you end up with is something that is flexible and sure to please everybody you serve it to. [recipe] You can pour the rice wine vinegar and tamari mixture to a bowl and serve on the side if you feel that you need a bit more tang.

What Types Of Japanese Cuisine Do You Enjoy The Most?

Published in Lunch Recipes

Vegan buffalo wings were one of the first things I needed to figure out how to make when I decided to go plant-based.  For me the smell of the hot sauce accompanied by the creamy cooling effect of the bleu cheese dressing was going to be the one item I missed the most and so it was imperative that I be able to make vegan buffalo wings and make them fast.  The first time I made them I was in heaven.  They had the aroma and flavor but what surprised me the most of this vegan version was the texture.  I used tempeh along with the buffalo wing sauce I had learned to make years and years ago. Over time I have used tempeh in various versions but had completely forgotten about how much I loved vegan buffalo wings.  That was until I saw Sarah from Fresh Fit N Healthy posted a picture of her version to Instagram and that got me to the grocery store to pickup some tempeh and get prepared to make my version for lunch.

As I was getting ready to make the vegan buffalo wings I thought about the dipping sauce.  I am not eating cheese these days so how do I get to the bleu cheese dipping sauce?  I decide to use coconut yogurt and add a little bit of ranch (not dressing but the dry ingredients) to it and see how that went.  As it turned out it was good in terms of cooling down the heat but it was not that tangy bleu cheese that accompanies chicken wings.  I need to work on that recipe a bit but I will get there. Here is the recipe for the Vegan Buffalo Wings: [recipe]  

Do You Have A Favorite Vegan Buffalo Wings Recipe?

How About A Vegan Bleu Cheese Recipe?

Published in Lunch Recipes

Vegan risotto is not something you typically get excited about but while trolling through the multiple communities on Google Plus that I belong to I found a conversation regarding risotto and another regarding butternut squash.  I thought to myself that would be a great combination as the soft creamy texture of the butternut squash would go perfectly against the al dente texture of the risotto.  Along the way I saw crimini mushrooms in my refrigerator and the light bulb went off.  Why not add some crispy crimini mushrooms to add a third texture and flavor profile to this dish. As you may know risotto is typically made with chicken stock but seeing as I don't eat meat I chose to make a vegan risotto with just water.  Plain old water and nothing else.  I could have used vegetable stock but what I notice when I use stock is that the risotto turns a lighter shade of brown and I wanted the rice to stay as white as possible.  Of course when you add crimini mushrooms to your vegan risotto they have a tendency to lend some color to the rice but all in all you can see the mushrooms and the orange hue of the butternut squash.  One thing I know about food is that we eat with our eyes first and so making food more appealing via sight is just as important as making it taste great. With that idea in mind I am reaching out to you, the readers of my blog, for some help.  I am trying to get a cookbook published and one way to do that is to generate a lot of conversation via the social media platforms that I am involved in as well as on this blog.  One of the ideas I have been thinking about and working on is food photography.  If the food looks great in pictures then people will be more apt to +1, like, share and re-tweet them.  So, do any of you have any classes that you have taken that have helped you with food photography?  What kind of camera do you use?  I joined a group called Food Photography on G+ and am hoping to learn more about the art there.  I am also a big fan of Cait from Caits Plate as her pictures on Instagram and her blog are always top-notch.  Look at how simple this dish is and yet how great it looks in her picture:

Anyway, back to vegan risotto and the recipe. I posted this picture to both Instagram and a few communities on Google Plus and received requests to publish the recipe so here it is. I hope you enjoy the recipe and if you do make it please share your vegan risotto creation with me on any of the social platforms I am on: [recipe]

Will You Be Making This Vegan Risotto For Your Next Meatless Monday?

Published in Lunch Recipes

Cornmeal pizza crust is what this turned out to be but that isn't what it started out as.  I made a socca earlier in the week and wondered if I could make a socca using cornmeal instead of garbanzo flour.  Before I tell you the rest of the story, do you know what a socca is?  Essentially, socca is a pancake made from garbanzo flour but it does not require baking powder, eggs or egg whites or anything other that water and oil.  Yes the two don't mix but when they are combined together with garbanzo flour there is a magic that happens. The first socca I made was so tasty as I topped it with shredded brussels sprouts, yellow and green peppers and a terrific touch of a fried egg.  The creamy runny yolk combined with the crunchy texture of the vegetables and soft fluffy nature of the socca is never to be forgotten.  Never being satisfied with the status quo I wanted to make a socca with cornmeal. The following questions were the first ones that popped into my head:

  • Do you HAVE cornmeal?
  • Will it taste like corn bread and if so can you whip something up to use the cornbread with?
  • If it is horrible do you have the pizza delivery number near by?

After answering positively to bullet points 1 and 3 I decided to venture forth and see what happens.  If I needed an answer for bullet point 2 it was going to be peanut butter and call it a day. What turned out was nothing short of phenomenal.  I found that the cornmeal socca was really a great pizza crust and so was born the cornmeal pizza crust.  What I liked about the cornmeal pizza crust was that it was crispy all throughout which I have not found with the cauliflower pizza crust depending on how you made it that day.  The cornmeal pizza crust did not remind me of cornbread at all.  The flavor was terrific as it was aided by the olive oil as well as the garlic and Italian seasonings I used.  This cornmeal pizza crust was so good I may never make cauliflower pizza crust again, but never say never.  Or maybe I'll make Sarah's Eggplant  Pizza Crust but I think I'll always be partial to the cornmeal pizza crust (socca-style.) [recipe] [gallery type="slideshow" ids=",8432,8431"]

Have You Ever Made Socca Or A Cornmeal Pizza Crust Before?

What Is Your Favorite Pizza Topping?

Published in Lunch Recipes
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