Slow cookers are awesome in the summer time because they don’t heat up the house like the oven. And, I know it freaks some people out to leave the house with an appliance on, but they are made for that purpose so I don’t worry about it.
This is the Cornbread-topped Southwestern Pot Pie from Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. Yeah, the title says “vegetarian” but I think all the recipes are actually vegan. Oh wait, she does say “milk or soy milk” in the ingredient list for this recipe, but just forget she said milk, okay?
The pintos I used here were previously dry ones I slow cooked and then squirreled away in the freezer. Cook them off a pound at a time, then you’ll have several recipe’s worth. And it’s way cheaper than buying canned ones.
This was good. The cornbread topping was a little simpler than the ones I make baked alone. There was no sweetness added and it didn’t have any added all purpose flour, just the cornmeal. And I was wondering if it was really going to set up in the crock pot, but it did. It was almost more like a polenta crust than cornbread. No complaints though. Just for fun, I tossed in a fresh jalapeño along with the canned for a little more heat.
The night before we left town on vacation, we needed dinner and something that wouldn’t create any leftovers and wouldn’t take too much time. We decided to try HD 1 because we’d heard they had some vegan options and it seemed like somewhere we could order the exact right amount of food.
So, there are two vegan “hot dog” options: the Field Roast sausage and the carrot dog. And the chili is vegan and so are a bunch of the sauces. And the waffle fries. But you know what’s not vegan? The fucking buns. We didn’t feel like going somewhere else, so just stuck with it. Behold, bunless dogs:
That’s the South of Chi-Town with the carrot dog.
And that’s the Cubanita, already dug into. We also got some waffle fries and the server kindly gave us some of the chili to try. It was good on the fries.
Sure, the sauces were really nice and all, but I see no point in going back unless the get some freakin’ vegan buns.
So next up, let’s use up some of that Teese Mozzarella. I’m also trying to use down some things that have been hanging out in the freezer. In this case, some Gimme Lean Sausage. So I made up a red pasta sauce which started off by frying up onion, garlic and the sausage in a saucepan, then I added a big can of crushed tomatoes, and seasoned with basil, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. I pretty much never buy jarred pasta sauce because it’s so easy to make your own and you’re just going to doctor it anyway.
To use the Teese, I made some garlic bread. It was soaked through with garlicky Earth Balance and deliciously bad for us.
At least I used whole wheat pasta. Because that will make up for all the other sins here. Like no veggies. The other half of this Teese tube went into a lasagna, but I didn’t take pictures. It included more Gimme Lean, some Twin Oaks Italian Tofu, the layer of Teese and then Daiya on top. Oh, and both regular and whole wheat lasagna noodles. Can you tell I was using stuff up?
Why is it when I don’t have time to blog, I get a bunch of folks wanting to send me products to try? No worries, I’ll eventually get to talk about the goodies. This time VegeUSA offered to send me coupons for free product. I got excited cruising their website. I’ve had a few of their products, but they have a ton I haven’t tried. Sadly, when I got to the store, they only carried two I’d already had. So I decided to get a little experimental with one of them, the Vegan Black Pepper Steaks.
So, I took a partial bag of Trader Joe’s stir fry veggies, fried them up with some onion and then added the black pepper steaks and their juice. Then I added maybe a 1/4 cup of stock to make the sauce thinner. Then I mixed it up with some cooked rice noodles.
It was pretty good, but I think the sauce was diluted too much. Here’s what I should have done. Dress the cooked noodles with a little sesame oil and soy sauce, stir fry the veggies as I did and cook the pepper steaks separately according to package directions. Then mixed the veggies and noodles and put the pepper steaks on top rather than trying to make the sauce cover everything. Oh, look, I’m eating kale again.
The steak has a really nice texture. The sauce is asian-inspired, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when using this in a meal. The next product I try will be the Citrus Spareribs.
With all the Daiya hype over the last couple of years, poor Teese has kind of been pushed to the side a bit. Now that Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe is closed and Sevananda doesn’t carry it, I don’t think you can even get it in town. But recently I filled in a survey they tweeted about and was chosen to receive Teese as a thank you: the Creamy Cheddar Vegan Sauce, Mozzarella and Cheddar.
The first thing I did was make Mac & Cheeze for a potluck. Boil up pasta, toss with a tube of Teese Cheddar Cheese Sauce, sprinkle top with bread crumbs, vegan parmesan and a little paprika, and bake until less crispy than pictured here. Normally I might mix something else in there like broccoli, but this is lazy mac & cheeze so no veggies, just straight up.
Here it is hanging out with kale salad, spinach salad, tots and I think that’s a chik patty on that bun. It was a tad dry so I either overcooked it or should have used 12oz. of pasta rather than the full pound.
Just a tad though. Still made awesome leftovers, here with a beer brat and kale salad.
Whenever new vegetarians or vegans ask about cookbooks, I’m pretty quick to recommend Vegan Italiano by Donna Klein. The recipes are pretty simple, the ingredients easy to find and it doesn’t rely on meat substitutions.
One of the recipes I like to take to cookouts is the Potato and Green Bean Salad. It’s great at room temperature, is pretty and actually has vegetables in it. If you want to take it up a notch, use purple potatoes. See?
This time I totally cheated and used frozen, pre-cut green beans. It made a nice side to my burger along with some roasted cauliflower.
How is it that I never posted about the Asian Noodle Bowl with Kelp Noodles in Thrive? Next time I make it I’ll have to fix that because it is awesome. Anyway, that came to mind because I was going to refer to it since I’m bringing up kelp noodles again.
So kelp noodles, also called sea tangle, aren’t the easiest to find, but it is getting easier. In Atlanta, I know three places that carry them: Sevananda (on shelf, not refrigerated), Return to Eden (in refrigerated case at back of store) and Buford Highway Farmer’s Market (last aisle in the back, far left.) They’re at least half the price at BHFM, so if it’s convenient, that’s the place to get them. They seem to keep about forever in the fridge. Oh, and pick up some of their house made tofu while you’re there.
Kelp noodles have a nice crunch and don’t taste like much of anything. So it’s all about whatever sauce or dressing you use. I had some about and wanted to add some interesting texture to my salad, so added them on in. So this is spinach, carrots, cucumber, bell peppers and kelp noodles in peanut dressing with peanuts and gomashio sprinkled on top. Worked out nicely! Hmm, I tucked some cilantro pesto into the freezer. I bet kelp noodles would be great tossed with that and some veggies.
gloATL had a weekend of performances set up at the Old Fourth Ward Skate Park and even though it wasn’t clear exactly what would be happening, we decided to check it out. But first, we grilled out over at Star & Simon’s. Or, we watched Simon grill and then enjoyed eating it.
Last Friday we had tickets to see Mayer Hawthorne at the Variety. Beforehand we met friends at The Porter for dinner. We started with the Belgian fries and they were ridiculous. Slathered in garlic oil. So good.
The vegan option at The Porter is the black bean burger. Oh, look, more fries. Now, given the reputation The Porter has for their food, I was expecting a little more from this black bean burger. It was .. okay. Not bad at all, just nothing memorable about it. Although that red pepper mustard was delicious.
Beer was consumed as well. I started with a Hopscotch, then dialed back the % to a Terrapin Easy Rider. It was like going from Winter to Summer. Easy Rider could become a regular summer beer.
We didn’t arrive at the venue until towards the end of the opener’s set. And our favorite seats were already taken. So we headed to the balcony. We found a pair with a perfect view except for the people shuffling to and from the stairs.
We first saw Mayer Hawthorne as an opener for Chromeo. Even if you aren’t 100% into the Motown, blue-eyed soul kind of music he puts out, the show is fantastic. It really is a good time.
And here’s a better view from the floor. These days there’s no need to be that person holding up their phone or camera the whole show because someone else definitely will.