A good chunk of this past week’s weather involved drizzling and cool temperatures, and believe me, it was more than welcomed here. I was thankful that there was no torrential downpours or gale-force winds, just stillness and cloud cover. If it was extreme, I wouldn’t have been able to go outside a little and take some photos, and I love taking photos. This weather obviously calls for more comfort food! Which leads me to the 10 lb. sack of organic sweet potatoes that I got at Costco recently. That’s a lot of freakin’ sweet potatoes.
So, I decided to roast them, as I do with almost everything else in the Fall and Winter seasons. But, in the midst of doing so I get a text from my friend Tristan, “Soup Coffee Pie Let’s gooooo!!!”, to which I responded, “I’m actually making soup right now!” I then invited him over to join me in my feasting and decided that corn bread should be made, because duh, it’s cornbread. This is where I paused, because I don’t have a go-to cornbread recipe.
Using my favorite tool, Google, I came upon Pickles & Honey’s Simple Vegan Cornbread recipe and couldn’t wait to switch it up a bit. I honestly changed quite a lot of the recipe, using coconut oil instead of canola, adding 2 tbsp. pickled jalapeños, and using 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup creamed corn instead of non-dairy milk. In the end I think I could have added a little more maple syrup or salt in it, and next time use a little more corn meal instead of a 1:1 ratio; but, it was still pretty tasty with a little vegan butter on top. It’s even better crumbled over this delicious, smoky sweet potato soup.
Hints of chipotle, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper for a kick, warm you up quickly. While a touch of maple syrup brings out the slight sweetness of the sweet potatoes and carrots. Roasting everything before letting it simmer in broth really caramelizes the veggies and gives their flavors more depth. I used an immersion blender for this recipe, but you can always blend in batches to reach a thickness and texture of your preference.
This dish started out with me staring into my crisper drawer at a bag of okra that I’ve had sitting, neglected, in there for a little too long. I had never cooked it, myself; just enjoyed it in gumbos from Disneyland and Doomie’s. But, a couple of weeks ago I had seen Kristy from Keepin’ It Kind’s post on roasting okra; that way it doesn’t get super slimy. So, I looked around some more and found a lonesome red onion and some red bell peppers in desperate need of being roasted. I through them together on a baking sheet and while they were roasting, I contemplated what I would use them in.
Soup? Eh, I don’t know if I have everything for a good soup. I look in the pantry, OH! Fall-themed pasta noodles made from durum wheat! Well, this goes along with my month of grains theme for Vegan MoFo. Since I had some Daiya Cheddar shreds tucked away, I decided that it was time for some sort of macaroni and cheese hybrid mess. Now, we have Cajun Mac ‘n’ Cheese! Not bad for using a bunch of ingredients that I may have ended up throwing out otherwise.
The rest of this Friday has been used up making a Shepherd’s Pie for the cookbook which is seriously so good- and changing out the bulbs in my headlights! Oddly enough one went out right after the other, and thank goodness for YouTube, I was able to find a video that helped me change them out myself. Especially since the owner’s manual doesn’t give any information. Hmmph. So, today has been victorious and I have too much food hanging out in my fridge. Who wants to come by and help me with some of it?
Crazy, crazy life… I feel like I might as well lay out a sleeping bag in my kitchen because of all of the food I’ve been making and recipes that I’ve been trying out for the cookbook. One thing, or person rather, that I need is a dedicated dishwasher. That’s my least favorite part of cooking, and believe me, the dishes are never-ending right now. Don’t worry, if you help me out, I’ll feed you lots and LOTS of delicious vegan food.
As far as everything else is going, the Beer Run 5K was pretty cool and I got to try out a new-ish vegan spot in Anaheim by the name of Healthy Junk (that was REALLY GOOD!) after I was done running. Overall, pretty fun weekend; but, right now, I’m still waiting to hear from the company I had my second interview with last week. Trying to stay optimistic, but at this point it’s a little hard! (that’s what she said)
So, this morning, I decided that I’d make a semi-elaborate savory breakfast. Usually, I reserve my more involved breakfast recipes for pancakes, waffles, and so on; but it has been a while since I’ve cooked up some seitan sausages. If you’ve never made your own seitan before, I highly recommend it. It’s super easy and you can really go whichever way you’d like with the flavor, while controlling the ingredients in it; unlike the processed seitan in stores most of the time. These smoky sausages have a chipotle kick and a tinge of sweetness that goes perfectly with the bell pepper in the hash. The aromas that fill your kitchen when you’re making this dish are Southwestern in nature and will have you drooling, anticipating the final product. (I know this first hand, oops!)
I told you that there would be tons of zucchini recipes coming your way! This time, I was craving some fried zucchini; my mom got me hooked on fried zucchini when I was a kid, and now that I can’t just go out and get it at any ol’ restaurant it always sounds so good. But, I refrained from frying them, because the last time that I did I was dumbfounded by how much oil actually stays in the zucchini fries. (duh!)
So, I broke out the panko crumbs and invited a couple of girlfriends over for some baked zucchini sticks and brews (gotta even out the void that the oil left ). What a smarter person would have done is look up a recipe like what I was trying to accomplish and change it up a bit to their liking, but at least have a solid foundation. What I did was go into this without doing any of that and used my instinct and knowledge of ingredients to make something that was at the very least edible.
Do not fear, because not only were these zucchini sticks edible, they were delicious even without the savory, spicy queso dip that we poured onto them. The only thing I regretted not doing with this recipe was making more of them. They disappeared in mere minutes! (We were very hungry)
Crunchy baked zucchini sticks paired with a creamy, spicy queso dip makes for an awesome appetizer!
1½ lbs. Zucchini, Cut into ½” wide x 4″ long sticks
⅓ Cup Hot Water
1 Tbsp. Ground Flaxseed
1 Tbsp. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup or So Panko Crumbs
Salt & Pepper
¾ Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
6 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbsp. Diced Green Chiles
½ Cup Finely Diced Tomatoes
½ tsp. Dried Cilantro
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Onion Powder
⅛ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Stir the ground flaxseed and AP flour together in a small cup, add the hot water in gradually so that the flour does not clump. Once fully mixed, pour into a shallow bowl and let sit for 3-5 minutes to thicken.
Cover the surface of a small plate with panko crumbs until it is roughly ¼” deep; sprinkle a couple of pinches of onion powder, salt and pepper over the crumbs.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and get a large baking sheet ready for placing the zucchini sticks.
Submerge the zucchini sticks, one at a time, into the flaxseed mixture and make sure to cover all sides. Next, press the zucchini into the panko mixture until all sides are crusted with crumbs.
Repeat crusting steps until all zucchini is used and place the breaded zucchini sticks on the baking sheet roughly 1-1/2″ apart.
Bake zucchini for 7 minutes on each side of the stick (almost 30 minutes).
While those are in the oven, in a small pot, bring the almond milk to a boil.
Once boiling, add in the remainder of the ingredients and still until the nutritional yeast has dissolved.
Lower heat to low-medium and simmer for 5 minutes, taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve the sauce warm with the zucchini sticks straight from the oven.
This is a vegan food blog that covers everything from indulgent desserts, to healthy dinners, and even raw recipes! I also write up restaurant reviews and am sort of a beer snob. You'll find that there is something for everyone, here!
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