Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chickpea Cutlets

I just love these things. For me, they're one of the best things from this book. Unfortunately, my husband has "issues" with the texture, which is one of the things I love best about them.

The resultant texture is a balance of soft, spongy and meaty. They can be a bit "chewy" but again, that's something I really enjoy. Having to work for food makes it taste better.

And they're super easy to make.

I've made these several times and my favorite adaptation, as seen in the picture, is to brush some barbecue sauce on them after they're fried up. Deliiiiiciouuuuuuuuuuuus.

We paired this with the Prospect Park Potato Salad along with the suggested roasted asparagus.

Price: $4-$5 (nice!)

Difficulty: Simplicity city for the cutlets themselves, but when also making the potato salad and asparagus it trends it more toward the "not so bad" category.

Modifications: None

Cleanup: Easy for the cutlets only, "I'd rather be watching TV right now" for the entire meal.

This recipe is on page 133 of Veganomicon.

Prospect Park Potato Salad

The best thing about this potato salad was how the diced cucumber gets all nice and "pickley."

Other than that, to me it falls into the good or a little better than passable categories. I've made it a couple of times already, so that at least confirms we liked it well enough. I think I tend to prefer slightly creamier, somewhat less vinegary salads. The dressing was a bit runny, so consider cutting down slightly the wet ingredients if you try this.

Actually, aside from the cucumber, another great thing is the light and bright yellow color, thanks to the turmeric. So in terms of appearance it gets an A.

This round, we paired it with the Chickpea Cutlets, which I barbecued. Those are one of my favorite things from the book, although I can't get my husband to get excited about them.

If you're cooking for two or three, you probably want to halve the recipe unless you like eating potato salad for lunch all week.

For 1/2 recipe:
Cost: $6-$7.
Difficulty: Muy simple.
Modifications: I doubled the sugar. We like our potato salad a bit on the sweeter side.
Cleanup: Clean before you know it, with the best part being you don't have to clean the bowl that day if there are leftovers.

This recipe is on page 91 of Veganomicon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


This is my first post for "Sauces and Fillings." I'm pretty sure I've made others but just haven't posted them separately. If so, I'll get those added.

Anyway, their fake "parmesan" recipe is a total hit in this household. We used to spend $4 on a small bottle of fake vegan "parmesan," and it was full of fillers. This version is just as tasty, if not tastier, is less expensive and we know exactly what's in it: just 4 basic ingredients.

It has a great nutty taste and texture with just the right amount of tang from the lemon and a hint of bitterness from the toasted sesame seeds. I add about a half tablespoon of nutritional yeast to give it just a bit more tang, but you really don't need it. I'm nothing if not a king of doctoring things up.

To prepare this, I like to use a coffee grinder and blitz the hell out until it's mostly fine with a few larger chunks of almonds.

We use this on pasta, rice and risotto dishes and anything else that calls for parmesan. In fact, we use a lot more fake "parmesan" now that we know how to make it at home.

Cost: About $1 - $1.50 per recipe. We usually double the recipe.
Difficulty: Way easy.
Modifications: About 1/2 tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
Cleanup: Super easy.

This recipe is on page 207 of Veganomicon.

Green Pea and Lemon Risotto With Roasted Red Peppers

This was an easy and delicious meal and was a great balance of creaminess and richness with lightness and brightness from the lemon and peas.

We topped this with some Almesan, which I have to admit is a really awesome homemade version of grated "parmesan." Oh, and of course some toasted pine nuts, which in my opinion is basically a must for any risotto dish.

I'm not sure I was a huge fan of the roasted red pepper slices (and I *know* my husband wasn't... he's got issue with big chunks of a lot of different things). To me they added maybe a bit too much of a contrast to the much milder risotto. Next time I may try chopping them up to see if the flavors integrate more smoothly.

Price: $13-$14. So yeah, maybe a bit on the higher side.
Difficulty: Easy.
Modifications: Topped with Almesan and toasted pine nuts.
Cleanup: Easy.

This recipe is on page 199 of Veganomicon.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mac Daddy

When I read the ingredients for this recipe I wasn't sure it would be any different or better than versions of "mac n cheese" I've already made. I was mostly right.

The sauce was different than others I've made, mostly due to the addition of flour, which I thought was a great way to make the sauce cheesy, and the lemon juice, which to me made the sauce a bit too tangy. I prefer the richer, creamier type sauces. I know they exist; I had the most amazing "Mac N Yease" at a local vegan restaurant, Plum Bistro, a few months ago. I think the Mac Daddy sauce was on the right path, although I'm not sure yet what's needed to make it purely decadent.

I'd give this dish a B. All in all, it was good and I wouldn't mind eating it again. Not a resounding endorsement, I know, but hey, in order to appreciate the really fantastic meals you have to have some just plain good meals sometimes.

I paired the pasta with a large side of tater tots (one of my biggest vices) and some sauteed kale. They did a nice job of balancing out the tang of the pasta.

Difficulty: Simple.
Cost: $6-$7 (excluding the sides). About $10-$12 with the sides.
Modifications: None.
Cleanup: Average.

This recipe is on page 195 of Veganomicon.