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Monday, November 28, 2011

Vegan 'Coq' au Vin

Hey Mondays!

The cold weather has begun to set in and so have V.V.'s cravings for warm, comforting soups and stews.  My StepMama makes an incredible traditional French chicken and wine stew called Coq au Vin that is swimming with earthy mushrooms, caramelized onions, herbaceous thyme, pungent garlic and rich, robust, red, red wine!  According to Mrs. Julia Child, the French eat this stew with boiled, buttered,  parsley sprinkled potatoes but I prefer this mouth-watering stew served ladled over roasted garlic mashed potatoes! 

The chicken substitute I recommend for this dish is a soy-based simulated 'chick'n' called Gardein (they make so many absolutely AMAZING plant-based meat substitutes, great for new vegetarians or transitioning omnivores who are craving an insanely meaty taste and texture).  Superstore Blue Menu makes PC brand meatless chick'n breasts that are made with Gardein and I think Yves makes a meatless chick'n strip product as well.  I have made this dish with cubed seitan as well and it turned out delish.  You could also use good ol' firm tofu! 

A tip about cooking with wine: ALWAYS cook with a wine you would enjoy drinking!!  Maybe not the most expensive bottle, but you can easily find a nice bottle for under twelve bucks that will make allllll the difference in your cooking (I put wine in everything) annnnd you can enjoy a glass or two while you slave away in the kitchen ;)

Vegan 'Coq' au Vin
serves 4ish
for braised pearl onions:
-20ish pearl onions
-1 tbsp Earth Balance butter
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 cup veggie stock
for the stew:
-2 tbsp olive oil
-2 tbsp Earth Balance butter
-3 cups mixed sliced mushrooms (I used crimini and shitake.  Shitake is UNREAL in the flavour dept)
-8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
-4 simulated chick'n fillets, chopped into bite sized pieces, or 1 pkg of strips, or 4 cups of cubed seitan, or 1 brick of cubed firm tofu
-2 tbsp all purpose flour
-2 cups veggie stock
-2 cups dry red wine (try a pinor noir or burgundy)
-1 tbsp tomato paste
-a handful of fresh thyme sprig
-a handful of fresh parsley, very roughly chopped

First, we braise the pearl onions.  Drop the onions in a pot of boiling water for two minutes and then transfer them immediately into a bowl of ice water.  This will make their skins nice and loosey-goosey.  This is your cue to remove the skins!  Be careful to keep the onions whole.

Heat the 1 tbsp Earth Balance and 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions to the pan and begin to brown gently, shaking the pan to ensure they brown evenly.  Once the onions have begin to show some beautiful brown colour, sprinkle with salt and peppa and add 1 cup of veggie stock.  Cover the pan with a lid and simmer the onions for about 15 minutes, or until the onions are quite soft.  Remove the lid and cook the onions further until they have absorbed most of the liquid.  Set assssssiiide.

Now for the stew!

Melt the remaining Earth Balance and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the chopped mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms have significantly reduced in size.  Add the "chick'n" and cook until it has browned.  Sprinkle the mushrooms and "chick'n" with the flour and add the veggie stock, red wine, tomato paste, thyme sprigs and parsley.  Stir well to ensure the sauce isn't lumpy. 

Add the braised onions and bring the stew to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a rich, thick gravy.

Season with S&P and remove the thyme sprigs.

Serve with mashed potatoes or polenta.

Stay warm, inside and out!



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Vegan BLT

My Lovely V.V. readers,

First off:  According to my 'stats' here on Blogger, I have reached over 7000 hits from wonderful vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores from every continent on our beautiful planet!  When I started writing my One Vivacious Vegan blog a year ago, I didn't think I would even have 100 people checking out my little place in the blog universe so I just wanted to extend a big, big, BIG THANK-YOU for hittin' me up and for your enthusiasm in cooking and eating for a healthier planet and a healthier YOU!

Now onto the food stuff!

I have never actually had a real BLT.  Ever.  I've always been more of a grilled cheese kinda gal.  But after concocting a vegan version of the classic 'bacon/lettuce/tomato' combo, I am HOOKED!  It is also easy, easy, easy and quick, quick, quick!

Vegan BLT
-Two slices of your favorite bread (I used whole-grain French bread for the one in the pic)
-Vegan mayo (the amount is totally at your discretion, some like a thin layer, just enough to lube the bread, some like it oozy and saucy. . .oh baby. . .)
-Three slices of the best looking tomato you can find
-Two leaves of lettuce (Butterhead/Boston lettuce is by far the best but it can be pricey, so use whatever you have available.  Romaine is crunchier, red leaf is more delicate in flavour, you could get fancy with baby spinach or arugula, but whatever you do - DO NOT USE ICEBERG LETTUCE.  Iceberg lettuce seriously lacks in flavour and nutrients and should only ever be eaten sliced into wedges and topped with a creamy dressing.  Please never use iceberg lettuce in salads either.  And that concludes my lettuce rant.)
-1 tbsp veg oil
-Three or four slices of tempeh bacon (or five or six, greedy guts!)

Toast the bread to the desired level of toastiness.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook the tempeh bacon until it is crisp and brown on both sides (about 2 min per side). 

Spread your desired amount of mayo on one side of each slice of the toasty bread.

Layer the tempeh bacon, lettuce and tomato slices on one slice of the bread and top with the other slice. 


. . .What?  Too old school for ya?  Well, if you must mess with a classic, try adding/swapping:
-fancy greens instead of lettuce
-flavoured vegan mayo
-sliced avocado (this would make it a B.A.L.T. . . . or a T.A.L.B. . . .whatever)
-fried tofu strips (and now it's a B.L.T.T. or a T.B.L.T. or a B.T.L.T. or a . . .whatever)
-sliced jalapenos or banana peppers
-melted vegan cheeze


Vivacious Vegan

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vegan Nachos/New Daiya Flavour!

Hey Babes!

A few weeks ago, whilst raiding Vita Health for snacks, I came across a BRAND NEW DAIYA FLAVOUR!!!  Daiya (one of my fave non-dairy cheese replacements) has added 'pepperjack style shreds' to their roster, which already includes mozza and cheddar style shreds.  To celebrate, ATM and I made some Halloween themed nachos with blue corn tortilla chips and the spicy, orangey, melty, delish pepperjack 'cheeze' :)

As a rule, V.V. tries not to consume too many processed soy products, but hey, sometimes a girl's just gotta have a little JUNK!!!

Vegan Nachos
-1 bag of your fave tortilla chips (my faaaaave ever are 'La Cocina' brand tortilla chips, made right here in Manitoba <3 )
-1 pkg Daiya Pepperjack Style Shreds (or any vegan shredded 'cheeze' product)
-vegan sour cream (Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream is scaaaarrryyy good)
-your fave salsa (I buy the fresh stuff from the produce section at the grocery store - so much better than jarred)
-Extraaaaas if you so desire: diced tomatoes, diced green and red bell pepper, sliced black olives, sliced jalapenos, veggie ground round, meatless 'chick'n' strips, diced red onion, chopped green onion, cilantro, corn niblets, black beans, etc etc etc. . .

Nachos are simple and something one MUST know how to make (because who in their right mind doesn't LOVE nachos?!?!?!?). 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Layer the chips and 'cheeze' on a baking sheet as follows: chips, cheeze, chips, cheeze, chips, cheeze, more cheeze. 

If you are using extra toppings (the one pictured is straight up cheeze and chips - ATM and I were too lazy to chop), layer them on top of every cheeze layer, adding extra toppings to the top.

Bake the nachos for about 5 - 10 minutes, or until the cheeze is melty and you can't wait any longer.

Serve with non-dairy sour cream and salsa, maybe some guacamole too!

Don't feel guilty if you eat the whole thing yourself, it was inevitable.

Vivacious Vegan

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Homemade Alphagetti


My four siblings and I (plus our respective significant others) recently had another one of our bi-monthly-ish themed potluck dinners.  Our chosen theme was 'comfort food' and so rather than make yet another failed attempt at vegan mac-and-cheeze (does anyone know of a recipe that isn't absolutely disgusting?!  Send it my way PLLEEAAASSEE!!) I decided to make a homemade version of a childhood favorite: ALPHAGETTI!  You know, the canned alphabet shaped noodles in tomato sauce!  I think it might be a Canadian thing. . .  Alphagetti itself is actually vegan, but as I get older, I get more and more creeped out by things in cans (I don't know why) and homemade is always better anyways.  I also figured it was a good way to get ATM to stop hounding me about making her something with the alphabet shaped pasta she had brought home.  The girl sure loves her adorably shaped noodles. . .

Do I need to state the obvious and mentions that kids LOVE this stuff?  And ATM too :)

Homemade Alphagetti
-1 box alphabet shaped noodles (you can use whole-wheat or regular, and whatever baby soup pasta shape you like, little stars would be cuuuuute!)
-1 jar of tomato pasta sauce (Any brand as long as it's smooth and plain, NO CHUNKS, I used Ragu Traditional Old World Style Sauce)
-1 tsp organic sugar
-1 tsp basil (I use freeze dried basil and if you do too, up it to 1 tbsp)

Cook the alphabet pasta according to the packing instructions (you know the drill, boil water, cook pasta until tender, drain).  In a large pot, mix together the tomato sauce plus 2 jars worth of water.  Add the basil and sugar and the cooked pasta.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and reduce to a low simmer.  Let it simmer and the noodles suck up the sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Season with S&P.  Sooo gooooooooood. . .