Vegan MOFO

Virtual Vegan Potluck – Spooky Vegan Macadamia Nut Brie en Croute

Welcome to the Virtual Vegan Potluck and my final Vegan MOFO post!

What a special night! It’s still Halloween on this side of the hemisphere and Vegan Zombies are everywhere on the loose counting down to World Vegan Day. Watch out, they’re coming to eat your brains grains. To save my pantry from a full on zombie invasion, I baked you them up this special ooey-gooey-spooky treat!

Macadamia Nut Brie en Croute

You will need to make these three recipes for this appetizer. You will also need a sheet of vegan puff pastry (if you are really awesome, make your own).

Macadamia Nut Brie

Inspired by a Vegan Brie in The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions

  • 1 C. macadamia nuts, soaked 4-8 hours in cold water, then drained and rinsed. Last time I made this I used 1/2  Macadamias and  1/2 cashews and I liked it even better
  • 1 C. boiling water
  • 2 T. Tapioca Flour (optional, makes for a firmer brie)
  • 1 T. pure maple syrup
  • 1 T. yellow miso
  • 2 T. tahini
  • 1 T. rice vinegar
  • 1 t. dijon mustard
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 2 T. Earth Balance or other vegan buttery spread
  • 1/2 package Pomona’s Pectin (only this brand of pectin will work in this recipe)

Method: Lightly oil a small round dish (I used a glass tupperware), set aside. Measure out half of the dry pectin, about 4.5 teaspoons. Combine calcium packet from pectin box with 1/2 C. water (not listed in ingredients above) in a small lidded jar and shake til thoroughly combined. Blend all ingredients except pectin and calcium water in your turbo blender or food processor until completely smooth. Add dry pectin and half (1/4 C.) of the calcium water and pulse until all combined and thick. Immediately scrape hot brie out into the small round prepared dish. Refrigerate for a couple hours, turn out on to a plate, brie will be slightly soft (as brie is) but ready to use in this recipe.

Maple Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 package fresh cranberries (I used ocean spray)
  • 2/3 C. pure maple syrup
  • 2/3 C. apple cider
  • 1/4 t. crushed thyme
  • 1/4 t. sea salt

Method: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into glass jar. Let cool and refrigerate until ready for use (this will keep up to a month in the fridge and longer in the freezer and leftovers can easily be saved for the holidays).

Savory Oven Crackers

inspired by this favorite cracker recipe

  • 1 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 C. sesame seeds (I used black)
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 6-8 T. cold water
  • 1 t. smoked paprika
  • 1 t. veggie salt or sea salt

Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Process all ingredients but water til combined in your food processor. Add half the water, then add a water a tablespoon at a time (you may not need it all) while pulsing until a round ball of dough forms. Put dough on a sheet of parchment paper and roll out until PAPER thin (or as thin as you can possibly roll them out). Brush surface with water and sprinkle with a bit more sea salt or veggie salt. Cut into squares with a pizza wheel. Bake for on a baking tray for 8-10 minutes, then remove crackers from parchment paper and bake an additional few minutes  on the tray until golden.

Assemble the Brie en Croute: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out puff pastry a bit. (I reused the parchment paper I cooked the crackers on for this task) Spoon 1/2 C. Maple Cranberry Sauce into the center.

Top with Macadamia Nut Brie (smooth side touching the cranberry sauce). Leaving a few inches all around, cut puff pastry into a round following the brie as a guide. Tuck edges up in a pinwheel fashion.

Turn right side up and decorate spookily  (or festively for upcoming Holidays) with remaining scraps if desired. My attempt at a spiderweb is a little lame, but whateves. I brushed my pastry with 1 T. water and 1 T. pure maple syrup to make it extra glossy.

Bake for 20 minutes until pastry is golden. I broiled mine for 3 minutes to get the pastry to a deeper golden color and it ended up being 2 minutes too long.

Feed to Fellow Potluckers Vegan Zombies on a tray with the savory oven crackers and a side of extra cranberry sauce.

Thanks to the lovely Annie at An Unrefined Vegan for creating this incredible event, it’s been a complete honor to work side by side with her for this round of the potluck. Another thanks to Lidia at Vegan Bloggers Unite for hosting the shindig. Big fat hugs to you both.

I’m off to scare off the last of the Tricker-Treaters with my Vegan Zombie get up! See you in a week or so. ;) Head back to check out Queens of the Wild Frontier if you haven’t all ready come from there. Continue on to The Soulicious Life to see what vittles they’ve cooked up! You can also use the cool navigation buttons below. Sometimes at a potluck there are some bad dishes and no-shows broken links along the way, if that happens and you get lost, please head back to Vegan Bloggers Unite to find the next blog on the list so that you can continue to feast your way through the potluck. This post has also been shared on the VVP Linky Potluck.

Vegan MOFO Round up and Virtual Vegan Potluck Frenzy!

The Virtual Vegan Potluck starts tomorrow night! So get some rest because you’re gonna need some endurance for the awesome feast that awaits you. In the meantime,  check out my Vegan MOFO round up! For reals, 23 posts in the month of October, including this one and tomorrow night’s final post!

1. Black Bean Veggie Burger on a Pretzel Bun

2. Whole Grain Pretzel Rolls or Buns

3. Holy Freaking Crap

4. Smoky Vegan Split Pea Soup

5. Healthied up Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

6. Dad’s Cowboy Beans

7. Vegan French Toast

8. Not Beef Stew

9. Baked Maple Dijon Baby Lima Beans

10. Sriracha and Olive Salsa Fresca

11. Review: Sage’s Cafe, Salt Lake City

12. Layered Plum Tart with Apricot Crumble

13. Vegan BBQ Sandwich

14. Butler Soy Curl Giveaway (Closed)

15. Smoked Coconut Gouda

16. Vedged Out Calzone

17. Pepper Jack Cashew Cheez

18. Cozy Roasted Butternut Soup

19. Rustic Multi-Grain Seeded Loaf

20. Vegan Monte Cristo Sandwich (For Vegan MOFO Iron Chef Challenge, turned out to be not much of a challenge, no winners were announced).
 
 
 21. Vegan Aebleskivers
 

Get ready to Party! Tomorrow night I’ll be bringing you my final Vegan MOFO post and My Virtual Vegan Potluck appetizer. Thanks for sticking with me! It’s been a roller coaster!

Vegan Monte Cristo Sandwich – Vegan MOFO Iron Chef Challenge!

I haven’t entered any of the Vegan MOFO cooking challenges yet since I had no idea what I’d make with the ingredients given. This one was a no brainer…

We were given three ingredients to work with, Sunflower Seeds, Grapes and Hot Peppers. I used the hot peppers in the dried variety.

With those three ingredients, I created 3 recipes you’ll need to make this sandwich, a Savory Grape Focaccia, Thick “Ham Slices” and a Sweet and Sour Grape-Pepper Jam

Savory Grape Focaccia

  • 1 1/2 C. organic unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 C. white whole wheat flour
  • 1  c. warm water
  • 4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/4 t. active dry yeast
  • 2 t. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 T. dried rosemary
  • 2 T. sunflower seeds (for topping)
  • 1 C. grapes, cut into halves (I used red and green)
  • 1 t. crushed red pepper flakes

Focaccia Dough: drizzled with olive oil, pressed with grapes and sprinkled with sunflower seeds, red pepper flakes and dried rosemary

Method: Combine flours, half the salt, half the olive oil, the active dry yeast and the warm water in your kneading apparatus (or use a large bowl and your hands) knead dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover and leave in a warm place until doubled, about an hour. Lightly oil a 9×13 pan with extra olive oil then roll press the dough into the pan with your hands to fit the sheet.  Drizzle the dough with remaining olive oil and smooth it all over the surface with your hands. Press grape halves all over into the dough, sprinkle with sunflower seeds, red pepper flakes and the remaining salt. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In the meantime, let dough rise again until doubled in size, about 30 more minutes. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until crust is golden and crispy. Remove from pan and let cool on a cooling rack. Cut into sandwich sized pieces, I got 8 nice sized pieces.

Thick “Ham” Slices

  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 C. of my grated smoked coconut gouda or other vegan mozzarella cheez
  • 1/4 C. minced onion
  • 1/4 C. vital wheat gluten
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 C. sunflower seeds
  • 1 t. celery salt
  • 1 T. liquid smoke
  • 1/4 C. vegan fakin’ bacon type bits (I buy mine in bulk at my local health food store, mine have no artificial colorings or unsavory ingredients)
  • 1/4 C. masa harina (finely ground corn meal used for tamales)

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If your food processor isn’t broken like mine is at the moment, add all ingredients and pulse til combined. Otherwise, dump everything into a bowl and squish it all to bits with you hands. Beans should be mostly mashed. Press mixture into a lightly oiled (I used pan spray) 9×13 baking dish and score into 8 even pieces with a knife. Spray the mixture with a bit of pan spray and bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through and and lightly browned. Remove “ham” slices from the pan with a spatula and let cool on a cooling rack.

Sweet and Sour Grape-Pepper Jam

  • 2 C. grapes (I used all red grapes)
  • 1/2 C. grape juice concentrate (the purple kind from concord grapes)
  • 2-4 dried red chilies, snipped into bits
  • 1 clove finely minced garlic
  • 2 T. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • 2 t. dry Pomona’s Pectin powder
  • 1 large pinch calcium powder from the Pomona’s Pectin calcium packet

Method: Blend all ingredients in the blender until small bits remain intact, pour mixture into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes then pour into a clean glass jar. Jam will set and thicken while it cools.

Additional Assembly ingredients for the Monte Cristo Sandwich: 

  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Sliced Smoked Coconut Gouda or Vegan Mozzarella Cheez
  • Spinach or Lettuce Leaves
  • Vegan Mayo

Assembly: Preheat your oven on the broil setting, Slice focaccia pieces in half to make sandwiches. On a baking tray place thick “ham” slices and cover with slices of smoked coconut gouda. Spread jam from above on the bottom half of the focaccia pieces, cover with spinach, avocado, tomato slices and smoked coconut gouda slices. Broil all on top oven rack until cheez is melted, about 2-4 minutes. Slather top half of focaccia piece with vegan mayo and some of the jam. Put it all together, see if your mouth will possibly fit over it. If you are feeling absolutely ridiculous, sprinkle the sandwiches with vegan powdered sugar before serving.

Bread Secrets and Rustic Multi-Grain Seeded Loaf

I have a dirty little secret.

Even though I make bread nearly every day, I’m not really a bread maker extraordinaire.

I just don’t have the time for endless kneading, rising and baking. On top of that, store-bought vegan bread is hard to come by and pricey when you do find it.  So I make vegan bread for pennies on the dollar and use some tricky shortcuts on the way…

Plus I have a little slave who helps me in the kitchen.

My bread slave, the Sunbeam Bread Maker. I bought it used at a thrift shop for $15

Rustic Multi-Grain Seeded Loaf

  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 C. warm water (add the lower amount and if too dry add more, a tablespoon at a time)
  • 3 C. organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 C. rolled oats
  • 1/4 C.  cracked kamut (you could sub any cracked grain here, even coarse corn meal would do)
  • 1/4 C. millet
  • 1/3 C. sunflower seeds
  • 2 T. sesame seeds
  • 2 T. flax seeds
  • 1 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 2 T. molasses
  • 1 1/2 T. vital wheat gluten
  • 1 1/2 T. active dry yeast (slightly more than you would normally use for a faster rise time)

Add ingredients in order to your bread maker, bosch or large bowl. I just plop in all the ingredients and press any bread cycle to knead the dough and walk away. If you don’t have a kneading apparatus, don’t walk away, the dough needs you to knead it by hand for 10-15 minutes until smooth and elastic.

okay, I really need to wipe this baby down. It’s looking rough from daily abuse!

After my slave bread maker kneads the dough for about 10 minutes, I simply unplug the machine and let the dough rise in there for 45-60 minutes. If making by hand, put dough in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel and put in a warm place.

While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

When 45-60 minutes is up, pull the dough out, shape it into a round and roll it in whole wheat flour.

Put the dough on a baking sheet dusted with a bit more flour to prevent sticking. TURN OFF your oven and set the baking sheet on the middle rack. Set your oven timer for 20 minutes.  When the timer goes off, pull out dough and quickly slash (1/4 to 1/2 inch deep slashes) with a sharp knife, get creative with your slashy marks, it can make bread look professional, but don’t get too carried away because you might end up with mutant bread.

 Put dough back in the oven and set the oven to 350 degrees (no need to preheat). Bake this particular loaf for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden. This is bread is lovely when toasted and served with Cozy Roasted Butternut Soup

When I’m really in a hurry I do sometimes let my bread maker cook the bread for me too, because my machine has an express function, I can have a whole wheat loaf ready from start to finish in less than an hour, but I’ll tell you more about that another day.

If you’re in the market for a bread maker, do try to purchase a used model, it will cost you less and used bread makers are everywhere. Make sure the model you choose still has the dough hook (like an idiot, I didn’t check and mine didn’t have the hook, so I had to order it online) and the recipe manual. You might not need the recipes, but bread makers come in all sizes so you need to know the approximate measurements for loaves that will work in your machine (if you choose to bake in it). An express function is also especially handy for harried cooks.

Butler Soy Curl Giveaway Winners!

And the three winners of the Butler Soy Curl Giveaway are:

Lizzie of Veggie Bento Love

Pixie of Cheerfully Vegan

and

Ashley Herring Whitaker

Winners were selected using Rafflecopter. Check your inbox, I’ll be emailing you and will need your addresses :)

If you didn’t win and still want to try the soy curls, find out if they’re at a store near you, (It looks like there are some international options!) Or order them here.

Vegan BBQ Sandwich with Soy Curls

Not Beef Stew with Soy Curls

Pepper Jack Cashew Cheese

pepper-jack cashew cheez

Warning: This is an incredibly simple recipe, but when making this, work quickly and without interruptions if possible. The cheese sets fast and needs your complete attention!

It shreds and melts!

Updated Pepper Jack Cashew Cheese

  • 1/2 package Pomona’s Pectin (must use this brand! Otherwise it won’t set!)
  • 1 C. water
  • 1 C. raw cashews
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. onion powder
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 2 t. crushed red pepper flakes (depending on your heat-o-meter)
  • 1 t. agar powder (optional, makes for an even firmer cheese)
  • you can also quickly stir in some added some canned green chilies and pimientos just before putting in containers to set, but doing so will cause the cheese to have a bit of a shorter shelf life.

Nacho Tower with Pepper Jack Cashew Cheez

Method: Lightly oil half (6) of a cupcake tin rounds in a pan with a 12 cupcake capacity (or if you have a 6 cup one, just use that!). Use your blender to combine 1/2 package of the dry pectin (about 4.5 teaspoons) and the agar powder (optional) with the water and lemon juice. Pour water mixture into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat while stirring constantly. Set to low heat and let simmer while you grind cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder and onion powder until very fine in food processor or with your Estrogen (Blendtec) or Testosterone (Vitamix) Blender. Do not over process and make nut butter.

Mix 1/2 C. water (not included in amount above list) with the small calcium packet from the pomona’s pectin package, set asidePour the boiled water mixture over the ground cashew mixture into the power blender, ignoring instructions in your blender manual that say not to use boiling water in it. Blend until smooth and creamy. It’s gonna thicken quickly, so immediately add HALF (1/4 C.) of the calcium water and the crushed red pepper flakes and pulse until all combined. Immediately pour the hot cheese into the prepared cupcake tin(s).

Refrigerate uncovered for an hour. Turn mini cashew cheeses out onto a plate (upside down) and let set uncovered in the fridge for another 4-5 hours. 1 serving of cashew cheese is half of one mini round, which is the perfect amount for 1 grilled cheese sandwich or 1 quesadilla. This recipe makes 12 servings of cheese. Don’t forget to store the rest of your pectin and calcium water for the next batch. Calcium water stores well in the fridge and the pectin will store in your pantry indefinitely. Cashew cheese keeps for about a week in the fridge and freezes well.

In our house we like to watch Nacho Libre while we eat Nachos.

To make nachos, preheat oven to 450 degrees, layer tortilla chips (we like red hot blues), vegan refried beans, sliced olives, jalapenos and a couple of rounds of grated pepper jack cashew cheese on a baking sheet. Heat for 5-10 minutes or until all hot, melty and bubbly. Serve with sriracha and olive salsa fresca.

You can find Pomona’s Pectin at Whole Foods or order it here online, international orders are available.

Vedged Out Calzone and a Welcome Party for George Monroy

How would you like to sink your teeth into that ooey gooey deliciousness? I’ve made some fantastic Calzones for a special welcome party today. I hope you’ll pull up a chair and join us!

Vedged Out Calzone

The No Rise Calzone Dough:

  • 2 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1 C. unbleached organic flour
  • 1 T. active dry yeast
  • 1 C. warm water (you may need up to 1/4 C. more water depending on your dough consistency)
  • 1 t. sea salt

Method: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine all ingredients in your kneading apparatus (I use my bread maker) you can also use your hands :) knead dough for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Let rest for 10 minutes. Divide into 6 or 8 pieces (I did 6 pieces and it made for a thick calzone crust, next time I’ll do 8) and roll out into very thin 8 inch rounds. I stick my dough between pieces of waxed or parchment paper to keep the dough rounds from sticking to each other while I work with the other pieces.

The Calzone Sauce:

  • 1/2 C. (1 can) tomato paste
  • 1/2 C. tomato sauce
  • 1 t. garlic salt
  • 2 t. italian seasonings
  • few grounds black pepper
  • few dashes crushed red pepper (optional)

Mix all together and set aside.

The Fillings:

  • 1/2 C. chopped and de-seeded kalamata olives
  • 1 can drained and rinsed quartered artichoke hearts in brine
  • 1/4 C. dry pack sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 block of my Smoked Coconut Gouda (click for yesterday’s recipe), grated

Fill calzones like pictured above, dividing the fillings equally. Then wet the edges of the dough with a bit of water, fold over and crimp together with the tines of a fork.

Prick the top of the calzone all over with the tines of the fork to let steam escape. Scatter calzones so that they are a few inches apart on two baking trays sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Place trays in preheated oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through the baking time.

These keep and travel well for next day leftovers in school or office lunches

Now that we’re all enjoying these delicious calzones that I’ve made for this Welcome Party, please offer a hearty welcome to the newest blogger on my blogroll, George Monroy. I ‘met’ George after my Forks Over Knives Testimonial went viral (as of today, it’s still on the front page of the Forks Over Knives Website). I’ve since learned that George had a heart attack in May of 2012, just 5 short months ago. His doctor advised him to watch Forks Over Knives and adopt a plant based diet to save his life and prevent future heart attacks.

George in the Hospital following his Heart Attack with his son Caine of Caine’s Arcade Fame

Here’s George today, as you can see he’s lost a fair amount of weight, he’s also inexplicably lost all his hair and turned all “vegan cool dude” Here’s what George said to me when I asked him how his health is doing now: “My Diabetes is almost gone now. My blood pressure is normal again. I’ve lost 10 additional pounds in the last three months without even watching what I eat. So far this plant based diet is a cure for everything!!!”

George posts incredible photos of what he is eating every day on his facebook page Smart Hearts Aftermarket

I recognized an incredible food blogger in the making and asked him to join our ranks and get a blog ASAP! He is going to have the final dessert post in the Virtual Vegan Potluck on Nov. 1st! I can’t wait to see what fantastic dish he comes up with. Please join me and follow George, on his new blog:

George’s Smart Hearts

If you haven’t all ready met his son Caine, please check him out now. If you have the time, watch both videos, they will inspire the crap out of you. Warning: ladies, have tissues handy.

A plant based diet has given George a new lease on life, to watch Caine grow and succeed. I wish him all the best, I hope you will too.