LDV cooking 2011

La Dolce Vegan Challenge: Scrumptious Banana Nut Bread

I'm trying to whittle away at the leftovers already in my fridge and freezer this week. To that end, last night's dinner was a repeat of Matthew's Spicy Tomato Peanut and Kale Pasta (p.134), and tonight's dinner was Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos (p.158). However, I started to feel antsy about not making things and so last night right before bed I whipped up a loaf of Scrumptious Banana-Nut Bread (p.281), which was a great breakfast this morning. Sorry for the small photo...

La Dolce Vegan Challenge: Chocolate Pear-zza

You may remember my post on Kim's Peach-zza (p. 232), which looked like this:

I had some pears that were about to go off sitting in the fruitbowl, so tonight I decided to make Chocolate Pear-zza (p.233), which was inspired by Kim's Peachzza.

I have to say, the more I make the All-Purpose Crust (p. 262), the more I like it. I didn't chill the dough for an hour, as required, and this time I used a pie dish instead of a cookie sheet and made a "deep dish" dessert pizza, but the crust still turned out just great, and held together really well. My dad the pie-nazi would be proud.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go read the new Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot, while eating Chocolate Pear-zza. In the bath. One of the perks of living by myself.

La Dolce Vegan Challenge: Going Rogue

So, the challenge, being hosted by the Vegan Culinary Institute, has gone a little haywire since the Vegan Culinary Institute apparently no longer exists. Joel, Kelley, myself and a few other participants are still going, but we've changed things around a little bit. We're not being as strict as we used to be about keeping to the recipe calendar, and we've decided that we'll all share in the prizes at the end of the challenge.

I think these are positive changes for a few reasons: one, this has been a big commitment from all of us and I don't think it's fair that one person should claim all the prize haul. Second, it's been a real challenge from a time-and-money-saving point of view to have to cook all these meals in accordance with the very demanding schedule, or risk being kicked out of the challenge. There's only me in this house, see, and there's only so many friends who are willing to come over every night to be my guinea pig! And there's only so much money in the kitty for groceries every week. If it takes me a few extra weeks to complete all the recipes in the gosh darn book, I don't know that this should matter.

So, that being said, I'm toddling on with the challenge in my own way, and will endeavour to stick to the schedule as much as possible, while cutting myself some slack if I can't stick to it or substitute a different recipe. And to my fellow bloggers, I salute you for your continuing dedication!
Last night's dinner, Pun-Kin Pasta (p.128) with yummy Daiya cheese on top. This was supposed to be dinner tomorrow night. Now I'm getting ahead of myself! Actually, I'm swapping as I have guests tomorrow night, and want to make the Chocolate Coconut Bars which were scheduled for earlier this week, for them. Pumpkin puree was a great alternative to tomato puree.
Today's recipe, Wolffie's Dijon Maple Dressing (p. 98). Sweet n' tangy. All of Wolffie's recipes seem to be fool-proof.
Tuesday's recipe, Curry Almond Burger (p.160) with my new favourite thing, Veganaise. I may or may not have gone downstairs to the Charles Bar for garlic fries to accompany my burger...

Monday's Veggie Goulash (p.140). Epic fail. Mostly because I played fast n' loose with ingredients - substituted broccoli for cauliflower, threw green peppers in, used aduki beans that I had in the cupboard rather than pinto - the whole thing was a bland tasteless mush. Even the brown rice tasted like mush. Yuck.

La Dolce Vegan Challenge: Crunch Time

OK guys, time is running out. I have to catch up on everything by Sunday at midnight to stay in the challenge. Slight problem though - the Vegan Culinary Institute website, with our schedule of recipes, is down right now. So I had to do my best to remember what recipes I needed to make.

I knew that tonight's recipe was Seaweed Soup (p.104), which was very easy, and good too - you can't really go wrong with gomashio or udon noodles, really. The surprise ingredient? Lime juice.

Then it was time to catch up with Maple Streusel Muffins (p. 237), with a nice pecan and brown sugar topping:

And finally, Sesame Bread Sticks (p.278):

Thank goodness my dad is here this weekend and can help me eat all this food...good grief...

La Dolce Vegan Challenge: World Vegan Day

Happy World Vegan Day! I hope that my adventures in vegan cooking over the past few months have shown that you can feast and still be good to the environment and your fellow creatures. I had a major catch-up day today, preparing four recipes:

Wolffie's Magnificent Baked Bean Dip (p. 59). I can't live without hummus. But this might be a nice change-up every once in a while!

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes with Olivada (p.58). I had high hopes for this one after loving the combination of kalamata olives and tomatoes in the sundried tomato soda bread I made a few weeks back. Sadly, no. Blech. I like olives in only sparing amounts.

Matthew's Spicy Tomato Peanut Kale Pasta (p.134). Tomato sauce, asian chili garlic sauce, peanut butter, fresh kale. Sound weird? It's delicious. I used rice pasta.

Daniyell's Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars (p.204). These are meant to be fancy schmancy rice krispy squares I think. The recipe called for puffed rice cereal, I used puffed kamut because it was what was on hand. They were still delicious, and more decadent than they look.

La Dolce Vegan Challenge: Claire's Mac and Cheeze

Oh, playing catch up on this challenge causes me to do some crazy things - like cooking mac and "cheese" at 9 in the morning. And yet there I was...luckily Claire's Mac and Cheeze (p.125) looks like it will fridge/freeze well so I can save it for later. I did have a wee spoonful and it was rich and decadent. I used Tinkyada Pasta Joy organic brown rice macaroni, and for the "cheese" I used a mix of Daiya shreddables - "mozzarella," "cheddar," and "pepperjack." I think when I actually serve it I'll saute up some broccoli and throw that in there, too.

This sauce looks appropriately melty.

Adding the rice pasta.


La Dolce Vegan Challenge: Sweet Treats

Catch up time again; today I made two of the famous Wolffie's creations, Wolffie's Chocolatey-Moist Brownies (p. 211) and Wolffie's B'nanner Bars. Both are relatively quick sweet treats (thanks to the food processor) that use silken tofu for moisture. I've made the banana bars before and they really are delicious. My dad is here right now, and while deeply suspicious of this whole vegan adventure, he pronounced them "not bad." Triumph!

The brownies were supposed to be iced with buttercream frosting, but frankly, they were decadent enough on their own without adding the buttercream. I'll save that recipe for another day.

The banana bars are also supposed to be iced, but again, that seemed like flavour overload, given that I'd already added chocolate chips. Walnuts are also optional, but I have a pal coming over tomorrow who's allergic to nuts and I didn't want to kill her.

La Dolce Vegan Challenge: Doubling Up

I'm still trying to catch up on all the recipes for the challenge that I missed while I've been concentrating on the show. Today was a little slow on the work front, which meant I had time to do a couple of recipes:

Hal's Maple Chocolate Flax Brownies (p.212): I've made these before, and frankly, they were a dud. This batch turned out better; I think because I used "real" cane sugar as opposed to Splenda. However, they're still what I would call "everyday" baking as opposed to "company" baking - they taste good but they're not that impressive. I still couldn't really taste the maple in them.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos (p. 158): These were a little on the time consuming side, as the sweet potatoes needed to be boiled and mashed, and the black beans needed to simmer and then be mashed as well. I rolled up several burritos in tinfoil and put them in the freezer, the idea being that I can grab 'em and go on my way to rehearsals or shows. I'm sure they'll be delicious - anything with sweet potato AND black bean is OK in my books.

La Dolce Vegan Challenge: Salad Time

No show tonight, so after a few early evening meetings, I'm home to whip up a few of the recipes that are in the backlog:

Edamame & Asparagus Couscous Salad: p. 83. Delicious, but I can only eat this sparingly as couscous has gluten.

Perfect Pesto Potato Salad: p.88. You really can't go wrong with the combination of pesto, sundried tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: p. 62. Dear lord, I love hummus. And this one was awesome. And so easy. I don't know how I lived without a food processor for so many years.

La Dolce Vegan Challenge: Back On The Wagon

With shows every night (and two on Saturdays), I've been too busy to be really disciplined about keeping up with the challenge recipes - in fact, I only managed to make one recipe this week - Nutty Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (p. 221). After today's matinee, I decided it was time to buckle down and get to work, and so I made last Sunday's recipe, Wolffie's Peach Shortcake (p. 235) and today's recipe, Tofu Balls and Spaghetti (p.129). These recipes were all about freestylin': the cookies called for chocolate chips, which I did not have, but I did have vegan butterscotch chips, so I used those instead. I didn't have ready-made tomato sauce for the spaghetti, so I made my own, using tomatoes from my weekly delivery, and substituted quinoa spaghetti for regular. The peach shortcake called for frozen peaches, but I used some of my world-famous Lemon Family peach preserves instead, which meant I could halve the sugar in the recipe.

Tofu Balls. Peanut butter is used to hold the tofu together, which was an unexpected but not unwelcome combination with the fresh tomato sauce.

Very dark picture of the Oatmeal Raisin Nutty Cookies I made earlier in the week. I gave most of them away, so I couldn't re-take the picture - but at least I have proof I made them!

The peaches for the shortcake are mixed with cinnamon and vanilla.

Shortcakes baking in the oven. They were wonderfully light.

With soy ice cream.

Hot damn, those shortcakes were absolutely to die for. I'll make somebody a very nice housewife someday.

La Dolce Vegan Challenge: This "catching up" business has got to stop.

Another crazy week of rehearsals before opening, another week of leaving all of the recipes to the last minute (!). Yesterday (Saturday) I made a marathon 5 recipes. It's 10:21 p.m., I just got home from rehearsal, and the cat chewed through yet another one of my power cords for my laptop and I'm on 46% battery, so this will be short and sweet - I didn't even have time to Instagram all the pretty pictures! At least I know I will have food to eat during the frantic period between now and when the show opens on Thursday! So here goes:

Wolffie's Delicious Salad Dressing. A little too cumin-y for me.

Kalamata Olive and Sundried Tomato Soda Bread. A surprise winner. I added the sunflower seeds, and I used a food processor to chop the tomatoes and olives very finely. Delicious!

Sloppy Janes. I didn't have a green pepper so I used celery, and I only had half a can of tomato sauce so I used fresh tomatoes from my weekly vegetable delivery as well. Made 'em extra sloppy!

Marianne's Goulash. I used rice noodles. The "oomph" spice mix was great - very spicy!

Chunky corn chowder. Used fresh Chilliwack corn from my vegetable delivery.

Mixed Berry Puddin'. The idea of berry pudding was absolutely abhorrent to me, but actually, it was great. I would definitely make this again. I used up some frozen berries I had kicking around, and they worked just fine.