Vegan Chicken Grilled Cheese Caesar Salad

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If you were reading my twitter feed last night you may already have an idea of what I’m going to share today. I finished cooking and taking photos for this post right before the new X Files episode premiered. It took a bit longer than I thought it would –taking photos of your food as you cook does make it take twice as long to prepare– so for the first time in my life, I was actually happy that some football game was delaying The X Files.

The X Files revival, by the way, was amazing. It was camp, it was nostalgic, it was everything I remember loving about it when I was a teenager. I realized during the episode how much I’ve missed the characters, Scully and Mulder, even Skinner. I’m really excited for the monster-of-the-week episodes they’ve promised…

Whoops… my nerd was showing… On to the salad.

Vegan Chicken Grilled Cheese Caesar Salad is one of my favorite dinners. It’s perfect for a weeknight, it can be put together in under an hour, and it’s got a ton of delicious, nutritious greens. Continue reading

Saucy Pizza

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You may have been asking yourself: “I wonder what Kate did with that second ball of delicious pizza dough…”

Wonder no more!

Since we already covered the dough portion of delicious pizza, it’s time to talk sauce. I like my pizza sauce garlicky, with a punch of oregano and  bit of spice. I also want it to have some texture, so it features prominently on the pizza and doesn’t just seem like an obligatory condiment.

The great part of this recipe is that it’s pretty fast. It’s a quick cooking sauce that goes from mise en place to cooling on your counter in about 20 minutes.
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Vegan Pizza Margherita

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I am what you might call a ‘fan’ of vegan cheeses.

In fact, I might be as much a fan of vegan cheeses as I was a fan of dairy cheeses (oh, so very many years ago…). I recently acquired some Fresh VeganMozz from Miyoko’s Creamery. It’s relatively new to the line of Miyoko’s Creamery cheeses and very much in demand. The first time I tried to buy it, went out of stock faster than I could order it. When I saw it was back, I ordered two packages of it immediately, just to be safe.

After having it both hot on pizza and cold in a caprese salad, I prefer the Fresh VeganMozz hot. It’s still pretty tasty, but I don’t like the texture as much when it’s cold. When it’s melted however, it has a delightfully creamy texture and this rich, slightly salty flavor that you expect from fresh mozzarella. It adds such a smooth, buttery mouthfeel to pizza, it’s hard to believe it’s vegan.

What better to make with a fresh mozzarella-style vegan cheese than Pizza Margherita?

Even though it’s the middle of January, we were able to find some really flavorful campari tomatoes at Costco. Good fresh tomatoes are key to this recipe. If you can find some this time of year, grab them. Grab them and then make this pizza! When we were tasting the recipe, I turned to Tom and said “Holy god this is amazing.” It is literally, the best pizza margherita I can remember eating.

In addition the recipe for the Pizza Margherita I made, I’m going to share with you my tried and true pizza crust recipe. It’s long, but worth it.

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When the going gets tough, the tough make really boozy cupcakes.

I had an awful weekend.

I had the kind of awful weekend that started on Friday and didn’t end until Monday evening. Ugh.  First, Pancakes the dog got sick, meaning an emergency vet visit, a couple hours in the animal hospital, and Tom and I sitting at home nervously waiting to hear if our darling pup needed surgery. After a tense couple hours –mostly of me being curled up in Tom’s lap crying– we got good news that he just needed some meds and a bland diet for a few days.

Saturday was dog-care centric. And then Sunday we fought. We fought the way parents fight when something bad happens to their children. Each of us blamed the other for Pancakes being sick, or misbehaving, or doing whatever. Then things got personal, they got ugly, because that’s the way things go when couples fight. Some emotionally tense situation is a catalyst for the release of all the hurtful things that parties in a relationship have wanted to say for months but have never had a reason to.  Everything said a valid concern, but left unsaid to spare the feelings of one’s partner. We didn’t go to bed angry. But we didn’t go to bed happy, either.

Yesterday Tom went to work and I tried to write. But couldn’t. I was still mad, I guess. Still exhausted from the weekend. And feeling betrayed by my partner.  To make matters worse, I found out a piece of information he’d been hiding from me. That single tidbit hurt worse than anything he’d said the day before. So I called him at work, crying.  And I started yelling at him for things I wasn’t even mad about. The boy thought I had finally lost it.

After telling him he was tantamount to an emotional robot and calling him cruel, I stopped talking to him for the rest of the afternoon. I curled up on the sofa with Pancakes and started watching Lipstick Jungle. In the first episode they had cupcakes and alcohol for a depressed friend. I wanted cupcakes. And alcohol. But together… Continue reading

Truffle flavored Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Black Lava Salt

Jewel yam slices with truffle oil on plate with crab cakes and lettuce

The above photo was our dinner tonight: vegan crab cakes (from the brand Sophie’s Kitchen, really tasty), roasted red pepper remoulade, and –the recipe I’m going to share with you tonight– roasted Japanese Sweet Potato slices flavored with truffle oil and black lava salt.

Before anyone raises the question as to whether or not (good) truffles are vegan due to their being harvested almost exclusively using dogs or pigs, I have to tell you that almost all truffle oil has never had a truffle anywhere near it. The vast majority of truffle oil is flavored synthetically. So no debate needed!

While this plate looks fancy, it’s actually a quick, simple dinner. It all came together in under an hour. And most of that hour I spent on the internet looking at other Vegan MoFo posts.

This is mostly due to the fact that the crab cakes were pre made. All I did was brown them on both sides. The remoulade I made is still “in development.” Which is code for “I don’t actually know what I did, but it was awesome.” Which is the reason the only recipe I’m going to share is the side dish.

What the food hole had labeled as “Jewel Yams” (hence my instagram teaser yesterday) are actually Japanese Sweet Potatoes. They have a ruby red skin and creamy, white flesh.  Their flavor isn’t as pronounced as the bright orange sweet potatoes common around Thanksgiving. Rather, the Japanese sweet potato has a more delicate flavor with a slight sweetness. And in this case, that made an amazing canvas for truffle oil.

This recipe uses two ingredients that aren’t always readily available, truffle oil and black lava salt. Black lava salt is really just used as a contrasting garnish here. You can finish the dish with whatever salt you have and it will taste the same. You could even sprinkle some black sesame seeds on top and get a very similar visual effect. If you can’t get your hands on truffle oil, however, that’s another story. You can try any other infused oil –like garlic or rosemary– but, obviously, you won’t get that truffle flavor without it. Experiment, let me know if there are other flavored oils that work well here. Continue reading

Tom Food Tuesdays: Succotash

Bowl of succotash topped with avocado fan

The inspiration for this is one of my former co-workers who used to eat beans and corn most days for lunch. This is a way to preserve that simplicity but turn it into something awesome.

Succotash is delicious and one of the easiest things in the world to make. Don’t believe anyone who says that it should be a side dish. It is totally awesome enough to be an entrée.

(Of course, Katie hates simple dishes and totally lost her shit while I was cooking this.)

Editor’s Note: No I did not. I merely expressed concern that perhaps he was doing food wrong.

Succotash takes 10-15 minutes, uses only a single pan, and you probably have everything you need already.

At the most basic level you just need:

  • 1 can black beans – rinse them first, this is very important.
  • An equal amount of corn either caned for frozen is fine. – I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s fire-roasted corn.
  • 1 jar of salsa. (16oz)

You can lots of other things if you have them:Pan full of succotash

  • Fresh Onion, Mushrooms, and/or bell pepper – dice these and saute them in the pot first so that they can brown before you add anything else.
  • A diced tomato
  • Garlic or Garlic powder
  • A cup of frozen lima beans, peas or shelled edamame – Lima beans are traditional but I prefer peas.
  • And surprisingly Bacos (which are totally vegan, BTW!) – These need to go in towards the beginning.

Just throw everything into the pan, heat until the salsa is bubbling. Season with Bacon Salt and Pepper to taste. Once it’s heated, serve in a bowl with Guacamole or Avocado.

Editor’s Note: Grrrrrrr.

The finished version pictured up top has a tomato, garlic, peas, and avocado.

Hot Spinach Dip

Aww yeah…

Hot Spinach Dip

It’s my Veganniversary today! YAY!!!! Tom and I are celebrating, but not until tonight. So, I thought I’d get a post in today since I was late with yesterday’s.

This is the Hot Spinach Dip I mentioned in my previous post. About a week ago, Tom asked me to make him some spinach dip because he was sad he couldn’t eat any of the packaged ones at the food hole (that’s his hand in the photo). So I made this one up. No idea how close it is to non-vegan spinach dip, but I can tell you that it is freakin’ tasty. We were snacking on it while we were cooking everything else yesterday.

Unfortunately, it does rely heavily on specialty vegan products and dairy product alternatives. Sorry to those of you who don’t have easy access to this stuff. Continue reading