Appetizers

Celebrating 100 Posts!

It’s a good day all around, this post marks my 100th post since I started this blog in September 2012. I’m feeling all kinds of love and support! Thanks to all of you. Today I got twitter follows from Forks Over Knives, Dr. McDougall and a Hospital!?! I also got featured on the brand new site, Choose Veg. Feeling happy and blessed. Here’s a look back at 99 posts, in no particular order.

My Foot is a Desert, my brother Abe McCowan’s final MFA Thesis Exhibit + Vedged Out Catering Menu and Recipes

All photos in this post courtesy of Chelle McCall

Menu for the Show

For all the recipes for the show, please click here

Salads:

  • Curried Brown Rice Salad with celery, cranberries, green onion and cashews
  • Ultimate French Green Lentil Salad with radishes, red onion and capers
Appetizers: 
  • Stacy’s Pita Chips and Homemade Hummus
  • Organic Corn Tortilla Chips and homemade Fire Roasted Salsa
Vegan Cheese & Cracker Platter:
  • Pepperjack Cashew Cheese & Wheat Thins/Gluten Free Cracker option
  • Macadamia Nut Brie
Snack Cups:
  • Filled with Sesame Sticks, Coconut Shreds, mini vegan chocolate chips, tamari pepitas, pistachios, golden raisins, wasabi peas and amazing corn snack
Vegetable Tray:
  • Assorted Olives, Cucumber, Grape Tomatoes, Broccoli, Celery Sticks, Baby Carrots, with Cashew Vegan Ranch Dressing
Fruit Tray:
  • Strawberries, Watermelon, Grapes, Pineapples, Blueberries, Kiwi & Pears
Desserts: 
  • Gluten Free  & Regular Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
  • Gluten Free & Regular Vegan Lemon Bars
Beverages:
  • Iced Water
  • Homemade Ginger Ale Lemonade

Frosty Strawberry Lemonade with Mint and a Virtual Vegan Potluck Crash Course

Close upFrosty Strawberry Lemonade with Mint

I’m bringing you a throwback recipe today, the one I created for the very first (and epic) Virtual Vegan Potluck. Unfortunately, even though I pre-scheduled my post to go live with everyone else’s, I showed up more than 8 hours late to the party because the time clock on the blog was wrong. Oops.

I’m sure my friend Annie (mastermind behind the VVP) was pulling her hair out over the lateness of mine and several other posts, but somehow she forgave me and invited me to help her run the event that is now cool enough to have appeared at #28 on the PPK top 100 for 2012 list.

Lemon, strawberries and mintLemon, Strawberries and Mint

For you bloggers who haven’t signed up for the Virtual Vegan Potluck yet, I encourage you to do so. Having over 100 bloggers from all around the world contribute courses from beverages to desserts makes for an incredibly cool event. What if you’re not a VEGAN? Doesn’t matter, all that matters is that the dish you “bring” is 100% vegan. Besides, there are tons of cool giveaway prizes for participants this round!

So here’s a quick crash course: 

1- Sign UP (sign ups for the May 11th 2013 potluck closes on May 6th)

2- Get your 100% vegan post ready to go

3- You’ll get an email letting you know where you are in the lineup (i.e., what bloggers comes before and after you do in the potluck)

4- You’ll link to those bloggers before and after you in your post (don’t worry, we’ll let you know how and even give you some cool buttons)

4- You’ll pre-schedule your post to go live at the same time as everyone else’s

5- You’ll feel like a rockstar for participating

Easy as Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie….

For those that want more detailed info about how it works, click here.

In the blender

Frosty Strawberry Lemonade with Mint

  • 3 C. fresh or frozen strawberries
  • juice and zest from one lemon, I peel the zest in a long thin strip with a vegetable peeler
  • 5-6 mint leaves
  • 1-2 packets truvia (stevia), or other natural sweetener to taste, depending on how sweet your strawberries are
  • 1 C. water (2 C. if using frozen strawberries)
  • 2 C. ice (omit if using frozen strawberries)

Method: Blend til smooth.

Frosty Strawberry Lemonade with Mint

Wanna see what I brought last round? Head on over to Virtual Vegan Potluck Blog to see my winning appetizer post featured there. Anyone have any ideas of how I can top it this year? Ideas, pretty please?

macadmia-nut-brie-en-crouteMy November 2012 VVP contribution,

The Macadamia Nut Brie En Croute

 

Healthy Vegan Cheez-It Crackers

Tower O Cheez itVegan Cheez-It Baby

All right, so this is really more like a Cheez-It/Wheat Thins Hybrid if you make the healthy version, but the indulgent version is a little closer to the original, without being scarily florescent. Our family was actually more partial to Goldfish Crackers, but the Cheez-It shape is a little easier to mimic then the snack that smiles back.

cashew butterThe superstars: Red Bell Pepper, Lemon Zest and Creamy Homemade Cashew Butter. Flavor Profile Inspired by Shira’s Incredible Red Pepper Cheese Sauce at In Pursuit of More.

Vegan Cheez-It Crackers

  • 1 C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (GF peeps can use an equal amount of GF flour + 1 T. ground flax to replace regular flour)
  • 1/4 C. cashew butter, OR 2 T. cashew butter + 2 T. grapeseed oil for a flakier cracker (I went with all cashew butter)
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 4 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 -1 t. sea salt (saltier is more realistic)
  • 1/2  t. lemon zest
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. mustard powder
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • smidge cayenne
  • 1/4 t. liquid smoke
  • 1/4 t. paprika
  • plant milk of choice, as needed

Method: Preheat oven to 400 degreesIn a food processor or power blender, combine cashew butter, bell pepper and all the seasonings until the mixture is completely smooth. Add the flour and mix til just combined, you don’t want to overwork the dough. The dough should be slightly wet and sticky. If it seems too dry, add plant milk a teaspoon at a time until dough is moist. I didn’t need to add any the first time I made these, but I needed a bit the second time. Roll dough out between 2 pieces of parchment paper (otherwise it’ll stick to the rolling pin and you’ll have to add more flour, we don’t want that…) or two silpat silicone baking liners. The crackers should be VERY thin. Thin enough to cover the whole full sized silpat and fit on a large baking sheet. Score the crackers into little squares with a pizza wheel, knife or a cute crinkle cutter like mine if you have one. Poke a little dent in the center of each cracker with a chopstick (this is just for decoration, do it however you like). Sprinkle the crackers with additional sea salt. Bake crackers for around 10 minutes, watch them closely, because the edge pieces can burn easily. Remove crackers from the oven and then remove them from your parchment paper or silpat and put the crackers back on the baking tray without the parchment paper to crisp them up a bit. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until crackers are golden and firm. Watch them carefully! Let cool and enjoy!

Cheez-itTower O’ Cheez-It

PulseSecret Ingredients

CutTools of the trade: Crinkle Cutters and Chopsticks

Close upDid you miss cheese crackers when you went vegan?

Truck Stop Jo Jo Potatoes

Truck Stop Jo Jo Potatoes

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of the vacations I had with my family. Camping, river running, Redwood Forest, trips down to Mexico, California and then up the coast. We always had a good time and never missed out on great adventures. Somehow, we often left my little brother Morgan behind and had to turn around (sometimes a half an hour or more later) to go back and get him. As an adult, Morgan chose a career in the Marine Corps (No man gets left behind).

One particular trip our big ol’ Chevy Suburban broke down and we ended up spending the weekend in some po-dunk town in Southern Utah instead of our Lehman Cave destination. We still made it fun however, we ate at the local diner, did some skateboarding at the local park and razzed each other. Inevitably during our road trips we would stop and get gasoline at the Truck Stops, where we would almost always get Jo Jo potatoes and dip them in ranch dressing. This version tastes a lot like the original, without any nasty deep frying.

Truck Stop Jo Jo Potatoes

  • 8 red potatoes (small-ish) sliced into 8 wedges each
  • 2 T. safflower or other neutral tasting oil
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 t. liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1/2 t. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 C. arrowroot, cornstarch or tapioca starch (I’ve tried all 3 with only slightly different results)
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1 t. smoked paprika
  • dash cayenne
  • 1 1/2 t. celery salt or 1 t. sea salt and 1/2 t. celery seeds
  • 1/2 t. onion powder
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. mustard powder

Method: Get out your rimmed baking sheet and Preheat oven to 425 degrees with the baking sheet heating up in there too. Slice the potatoes into wedges (as described above). Toss the potatoes in the liquid ingredients, then add the dry ingredients and spices. Toss until evenly distributed. The potatoes may stick together so pull them apart if they do. Carefully remove hot baking sheet and dump the seasoned potatoes onto it in a single layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes, turning potatoes halfway through the cook time until golden and cooked through. Serve with Vegan Ranch. You can also use russet (brown) potatoes for this recipe, but they’ll take 15 minutes longer to bake.

I dipped these in a homemade low-fat vegan ranch dressing

Vegan Ranch

Dip it!

Update: 12/16/12 Another Happy Herbivore Abroad Cookbook Giveaway is going on over at An Unrefined Vegan today. Go over there and enter for another chance to win! Today is also the last day to enter my contest.

HHA_31DaysofGiveaways_badge.

Vedged Out Thanksgiving Menu

A Vegan Thanksgiving for 21 Guests including the Ladies at

Good Clean Food and An Unrefined Vegan

Bloggers, If I’ve included a link to your post and you’d like a photo of your recipe to be included here, please give me permission to share your photo in the comments below. I would have loved to make and photograph everything in advance, but I’m not that cool. xx -Somer

Appetizers

Vedged Out’s Macadamia Nut Brie En Croute

Vegetable Platter with Hummus

 Salad

Sunday Morning Banana Pancake’s Baby Spinach Salad with Cranberries, Pecans and a Maple Basalmic Vinaigrette (she uses cherries in hers, we’re going to use dried cranberries)

photo used with permission 

Bread

Vegan Monologue’s Buttery Pan Rolls

Amanda’s Whole Grain Cranberry Walnut Sourdough Bread

(this is what we slathered the Brie En Croute all over! They were made for each other!)

sourdough bread

Drinks

Lemon Seltzer Water

Cranberry Fizzy

 

Mains and Sides

In Pursuit of More’s Cashew Loaf

Dad’s Wild Rice, Cranberry and Pine Nut Stuffing

Dad’s Pine Nut and Glazed Onion Mashed Potatoes

Vedged Out’s Sauteed Green Beans, Red Onions and Radishes

Butternut Squash Puree with Orange and Ginger

Fruited Cranberry Compote

photo used with permission

Post Punk Kitchen’s traditional Green Bean Casserole

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Keepin it Kind’s Miso Mushroom Gravy

 

Desserts

An Unrefined Vegan’s Apple Pie

applepie3

photos used with permission

Razzleberry Pie

Gabby’s No Bake Pumpkin Mousse Cake

An Unrefined Vegan’s Hazelnut Pumpkin Cheesecake w/ Chocolate-Hazelnut Topping

Hazelnut cheesecake

Vegan Coconut Whipped Cream

Vegan Pumpkin Pies

and Vegan Ice Cream

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.
  • 1 C. boiling water
  • 2 T. Tapioca Flour
  • 2 T. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 T. pure maple syrup
  • 1 T. yellow miso
  • 2 T. tahini
  • 1 T. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 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.

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.

Sriracha and Olive Salsa Fresca

I hate to admit it, but some of the best salsa I’ve ever made has come from canned tomatoes. Now that I’ve been making my salsa this way for a while I’m pretty much convinced that this is the same method that my favorite Mexican restaurants use to make their salsa as well. Oh, and the best part: no endless chopping, the blender does most of the work for you, allowing you to have nearly a quart of salsa ready in about a minute.

Whole Grain Black Bean & Rice Burrito topped w/ Sriracha & Olive Salsa Fresca

Sriracha and Olive Salsa Fresca

1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can drained black olives, 1 small can diced green chiles, 1/4 of an onion roughly chopped, 1/2 bunch cilantro roughly chopped, 2 T. fresh or bottled lemon juice, garlic salt to taste, few grinds black pepper, squirt (or 4) of sriracha or other favorite hot sauce.

Dump all ingredients in your blender. Pulse a few times until chopped to bits and everything is well combined. You’re done! We like to eat ours with baked tortilla chips. You can also make this without the olives if you prefer.

Have you joined the Virtual Vegan Potluck yet? What are you waiting for? The Party will be on November 1st, World Vegan Day.