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Un-crabby Cakes with Ritz Crackers

17 Jan

Not pictured: drool.

Not pictured: drool.

Sure, I could have used a fork to crush the crackers. But this was so much more fun.

Did you know that Ritz Crackers are vegan? It’s true. I’m not saying they are in any way nutritious, in fact I’m sure they’re not, but goddamnit they are yummy and made of zero animal bits.

And sometimes, as Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford have taught me, you need to treat yo’ self.

That’s why I was so excited when, while scrolling through the resplendent sea of possibilities we call Pinterest, I happened upon this recipe for crab-cake balls made with Ritz.

“I can soooo sub out chickpeas for crab,” I said to myself, steepling my fingers like Mr. Burns, before adding the image to my “Make it Vegan Challenge” board. “This is going to be awesomesauce.”

And it really was.

In addition to subbing out the crab and egg, I also added in some veggies: onion and celery.

Un-crabby Cakes with Ritz Crackers
Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1 can drained chickpeas
  • 1 vegan egg replacement (I used this chia-water goop)
  • 1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (if you don’t have any)

Bella and Leo were fooled by the seafood-like smell, and kept trying to sneak off with some cakes. Here they are post discipline, and rightly ashamed of themselves.

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Crush drained chickpeas with a fork or potato masher in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add crushed crackers, Old Bay, parsley, onion and celery to the chickpeas.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine your chia-water goop, mustard, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, and whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the liquid mixture over the chickpea and cracker mix, and gently combine.
  6. Mold your mixture  into golf-ball sized lumps and bake on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper  for 30 minutes. I also sprayed the balls lightly with some oil before baking, but you could skip that step if you want to stay oil free.

I can’t speak to how long these hold up in the fridge, because Miles and I (mostly me) ate them all within 24 hours. I can, however, tell you they are bomb-ass on salad — particularly when paired with the Deity Dressing from “Everyday Happy Herbivore” (pg. 128). So much noms.

Bon appétit! 

Tangy Mango Guacamole

17 Jul

Aunt B's Tangy Mango Guacamole

Anyone got a chip? Or a spoon?

Nothing completes a sunny summer day (or any day ending in ‘y’) like a glorious heap of guacamole perched upon a perfectly crunchy tortilla chip. And if you want to make your green dip of the gods even more summery, I suggest adding in some sweet and tart mango chunks.

Mmm, mango. As much as I heart avocados, I may love my mangos even more. And they love me right back. A close relative of the cashew and pistachio (somehow), mangos are not just packed with a buttload of vitamin A and C, they also help prevent cancer, they’re good for fighting pimples, and bad cholesterol and diabetes. Check it.

Added bonus: the mango juices also seem to help keep the guac from turning that lovely, unappetizing shade of brown it tends toward.

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 2 small mangos, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 2 Tbsps red onion, diced
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Lime  juice, to taste

Squish it!

  1. Throw away the pits and scoop the flesh of the avocados into a bowl.
  2. Add about a tablespoon of the lime juice, and smash it up until it’s as smooth as you prefer.
  3. Carefully stir in your remaining ingredients and taste test. If you like, add in more lime juice.
  4. Max on your yummy dip and bask in your culinary victory.

Thanks for taking pictures of, and eating, my dip even though avocados make your tongue itch, Miles Pfefferle. You’re the bestest.

Bon appetit! 

Pretty Purple Potato Salad

11 Jun

It's purple picnic time, ya'll!

It’s purple picnic time, ya’ll!

Mondays always suck. When I can finally bring myself to pry open my eyes in the morning, I find they are usually fixed into a Mr. Potato Head angry stare for the better part of the day.

No. I don't want to edit the TPS reports.

No. I don’t want to edit the TPS reports.

But, speaking of potatoes, Mondays now blow slightly fewer chunks. At least for me. You see, the first day of the work week is now also my delivery day from Organics to You. They’re a local Portland company that gathers up fresh, organic produce from farms in the area, and then drives around town in their bio-diesel vehicles delivering them to people like me who try to interact with other humans as little as possible.

So that helps.

Along with an assortment of other from-the-ground goodies, this week’s maiden delivery brought a bunch of potatoes and two lovely ears of sweet corn from the farm to my counter.

So I decided to cook up a summer feast: tofubacue, corn on the cob, and a new invention of mine — the pretty purple potato salad.

In case I haven’t been 100 percent clear where I stand on the subject of taters, I LOVE THEM MORE THAN MOST PEOPLE. Indeed, I possibly love them more than my favorite (fictional) person, Harry Potter. (But probably not a whole lot more, because Harry is the fixed point around which my universe revolves. But you know what I mean).

They’re yummy and comforting and come in so many versions: tots, twice baked, mashed, curly fries, hash browns. The list is endless and awe-inspiring. And, you guys, the purple ones are even better.

The tater is way better for you than that purple ketchup every kid freaked out over in the 90s. Man, that stuff was cool...

The tater is way better for you than that purple ketchup every kid freaked out over in the 90s. Man, that stuff was cool…

First of all, they’re purple. I think we can all agree that’s rad. AND precisely because they’re purple, these colorful spuds contain four times as much antioxidants as Russet potatoes. Anthocyanin, the pigment that makes them so prettyfull, is a antioxidant that can strengthen your immune system and help prevent certain heart diseases and cancers. Recent research has also shown they can help lower blood pressure.

FYIzzle, be sure to leave the skin on the taters when you cook them to reap the most nutritional goodness.

And now, the loveliest potato salad you’ve ever eaten.

Pretty Purple Potato Salad
Serves four

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound potatoes, diced or sliced (I used two purple potatoes and two russet potatoes)
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons vegan mayo (recipe below)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Salad Away

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling, dump your potatoes in. Then cook until soft enough to poke with a fork. Usually around 6 minutes.
  3. Immediately rinse the potatoes with cold water, strain them, pour them out into a mixing bowl, and then let them sit for a bit to completely cool off.
  4. Once the taters are room temperature, add all your ingredients to the bowl and mix, being sure to coat the spuds well.
  5. Pop the lot into the fridge to chill before you serve.

Vegan Mayo

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of silken tofu (half a package)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or plain white vinegar)
  • A few drops of lemon juice
  • A few drops of agave nectar

Make Some Mayo

  1. Blend the tofu and vinegar together in a food processor (or by hand with a whisk) until you have a smooth, creamy mix.
  2. Add the lemon juice and agave nectar to taste, and blend, until the flavor is up to par with your standards.

Bon appetit!

Stupid-easy chips and guacamole

3 Jan

Chips and guac

Dig in.

Eating vegan isn’t complex seitan shenanigans and quinoa schemes all the time, you know. Sometimes I just want a simple snack: chips and dip.

For years, I bought packaged tortilla chips, always kind of assuming in the back of my mind that the science behind the tortilla chip was so far beyond me that I should thank the gods of chip manufacturing for relieving me of the burden of figuring it out.

But, as it turns out, you can make them yourself — in less than 15 minutes, mind you — and they’ll be much tastier and a lot cheaper. Plus, you can control your portion sizes by only making as much as you (should) want to eat. This is really helpful for gals like me who like to drown their sorrows in party-size bags of salty snacks on the regular.

Anyhoo.

Here’s how you make tortilla chips…

Tortilla chips

Just pop me in the oven.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350
  2. Grease a cookie sheet (I like organic olive oil spray because I’m super lazy)
  3. Slice up as many tortillas as you wish like pizzas (I do two usually, of Ezekiel 4:9 brand)
  4. Place your little chips-to-be on the cookie sheet
  5. Spray/brush the chips with olive oil
  6. Sprinkle on a little sea salt if you like
  7. Bake for no more than 10 minutes, just until crispy (keep an eye on them, these little guys can burn fast)

Yeah, that’s it. 15 minutes will get you warm, restaurant-grade tortilla chips just begging for a dip in the best guac you’ve ever eaten (says me).

Now, make yourself some guacamole…

I adapted this recipe from acclaimed Food Network star Alton Brown, based on the ingredients I had on hand.

Ingredients

  • 3 peeled and pitted avocados
  • 3 Tbsps lime or lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

To the prep!

  1. In a large bowl, coat the avocado goo with the lime or lemon juice (this helps save it from turning a fairly disgusting, yet harmless, shade of brown).
  2. Drain the lime juice into a small bowl and save it (we’ll add it back in later).
  3. Mix in the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash with a fork until desired consistency (I like my guac a little chunky, but keep on mashing if you like yours smooth).
  4. Fold in the onions, tomatoes, and garlic.
  5. Add 1 Tbsp of the lime or lemon juice you saved earlier.
  6. Enjoy — and share with no one! I mean, you can if you want…but why would you?

See, wasn’t that easy? If you can handle the spice, throw in a diced jalapeño pepper, like Alton recommends, and let me know how that goes for ya.

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