Tag Archives: isa does it

Vegan Mofo Day 5: Best Sandwich Ever

IDI beet burger

Veg*ns these days have it easy.  Case in point: I’ve actually heard complaints that the “only” vegan item on the menu is a veggie burger.  Why, in my day, we walked uphill both ways to a restaurant only to be told that our choices were iceberg lettuce salad and a dry baked potato.  Going out to a place that served frozen Gardenburger patties was a special treat.

Now, most restaurants that serve veggie burgers make their patties in house.  I’ve found everything from bean patties, to grain patties, to tempeh patties — often with interesting topping choices like flavored aiolis or roasted veggies.  While it’s true that veggie burgers have become the standard veg*n item at restaurants, even an okay veggie burger is satisfying and beats the heck out of a “steamed vegetable plate.”  And I submit that a good veggie burger perfectly fits today’s best sandwich ever MoFo theme.

The burger above is the Bistro Beet Burger from Isa Does It, which I made for the first time today in honor of MoFo.  It’s a lentil, brown rice and beet patty that’s lightly seasoned and pan-fried.  Although the texture of the burger was spot-on, I found these patties to be a little bland topped just with ketchup, mustard and pickles.  But with the right toppings, these burgers could be a thing of beauty.  I’m thinking sauteed mushrooms and pesto mayo, or perhaps avocado and veggie bacon, or maybe onion rings, ranch dressing and buffalo sauce.  The possibilities are endless.

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Filed under Cookbooks, Recipes from Cookbooks, veganmofo

God Bless Us Everyone

With an exhausted, happy little boy tucked safely in bed, a belly full of tasty food and A Muppet Christmas Carol on the TV, it’s hard to feel anything other than lucky today.  This was the first year that my son understood the concept of Santa, so it was the first year that we left out cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.  Santa made out like a bandit with Chocolate Thumbprints from Vegan with a Vengeance, Maple cookies from Chloe’s Kitchen and Chai Snickerdoodles from Isa Does It (plus a nice glass of soy milk and some carrots for the reindeer).  The Chocolate Thumbprints were the breakout star of the cookie plate and have been fully devoured.  At 2, my son does not yet fully understand the concept of doing for others, so Santa’s cookies were gently licked before being hastily placed upon the plate after Daddy’s reminder that they were for the big man.

A word of warning:  she who tells a toddler that a chubby, bearded man will be breaking and entering assumes the risk of interrupted sleep.  My son demanded to sleep in our bed because he was concerned that, along with Santa, “skunks and birds” would be coming down the chimney.  Fortunately, my son hasn’t yet started waking at the crack of dawn on Christmas, so we received some compensation for our semi-sleepless night and got to sleep until 8.

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After presents and a nice, long walk with the dog, our day of feasting began.  Christmas is a great excuse to bake, so I didn’t stop with cookies.  For our Christmas dessert, we enjoyed pumpkin pie.  I used the crust recipe from Vegan Pie in the Sky and the filling recipe from La Dolce Vegan.  (I did not make the crumb-nut topping and the pie was delicious even without).  This pie received rave reviews.

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Whatever you celebrate, I hope your holidays were filled with family, friends, laughter and lots of cruelty-free goodies.

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Double The Fun For the Big 0-2

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(A Dino-Mite Dessert Table)

What a difference a year makes.  Last year, we celebrated my son’s first birthday quietly at home in L.A.  — just me, my husband, my parents via Skype, and the birthday boy, of course.  This year, we not only had twice as many celebrations, but also ten times as many people celebrating.

For my son’s actual birthday, we had dinner and cake at home.  My son is in a finicky phase, so I chose a menu of things that I would enjoy and hoped he might actually take a bite.  I think that one bite is all he did take.  It’s too bad, because the Jerk Sloppy Joes with Coconut Creamed Spinach from Isa Does It were delicious.  These are a fun twist on the traditional sandwich (if my TVP and tomato sauce version can be considered traditional) fusing American comfort food with Caribbean flavors.

IDI sloppy joe

For dessert, my son requested a “chocolate cookie.”  I complied by making the Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts.  This was my second time making the cookie pie and it was just as good as the first.  (It’s a giant cookie in a pie crust.  How can you go wrong?)  The only issue I had was that my parents’ refrigerator seems to be running cold and my pie dough froze solid.  I thawed it by putting it near the pre-heating oven, which made it extremely sticky and difficult to work with.  I should have learned my lesson from the experience, but more fridge issues were to follow.

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(“Happy Birthday.  Now cut cake!”)

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A week after his actual birthday, we had a party for family and friends.  My son requested a theme of “donuts, cake, chocolate and more chocolate,” but eventually agreed that Dinosaur Train was an acceptable alternate theme.  (For those without kids, Dinosaur Train is a PBS show about a family of dinosaurs that use a time traveling train to visit different eras in prehistory and learn about the species they meet).

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I chose to hold the party mid-afternoon for two reasons.  First, I hoped that my son would take a nap before guests arrived.  That turned out to be wishful thinking.  Second, I hoped that, if it wasn’t meal-time, guests wouldn’t notice the “lack” of meat and dairy on the menu.  I was much more successful here.

The menu of munchies included:

  • Pretzel Dogs of the Dead from Bake and Destroy
  • Falafels from Vegan With A Vengeance
  • Hummus
  • Spring Rolls
  • Fruit
  • Crudite
  • Chips and Dips
  • Dinosaur Sugar Cookies (Recipe from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts)
  • Banana Bread French Toast Cupcakes from Bake and Destroy
  • Cookies and Cream Cake

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(Cupcakes and Sugar Cookies)

I made all of the food in the days leading up to the party.  The morning of, all I needed to do was ice the cake and cupcakes and reheat the savory foods.  Unfortunately, the overly-enthusiastic fridge struck again.  The icing I had made the night before was frozen solid.  While I was panicking about serving our guests nude cake, my mom went into MacGyver mode, cutting the frozen icing into tiny cubes and laying them out on trays to increase the icing’s surface space.  This allowed the icing to come to room temperature more quickly without having to involve any potentially ruinous heat.  My mom’s plan worked and I was able to get the cakes frosted and decorated with time to spare.

The cake has a chocolate layer, a vanilla layer with Oreo pieces and a cookies and cream filling (vanilla frosting with Oreo pieces).  I used recipes from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts for the chocolate cake and frosting.  I used a recipe from Chloe’s Kitchen for the vanilla cake layer.  Both cake recipes are designed to yield two 9 inch round cakes, but they converted easily to one 9 x 11 sheet cake.  I did not even need to alter the baking time or temperature.

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Although the cake was enjoyed by all, the banana cupcakes were the hit of the party.  I’ve already received 3 requests for the recipe.  It’s available online if you’d like to check it out.

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MoFo 8: VeggieLawyer Does More “Isa Does It”

Back in July, before we put all of our worldly possessions on a moving truck, I had the presence of mind to put aside 4 well-loved cookbooks to see me through until our things made it to the East Coast.  That turned out to be a great decision because I’ve only managed to locate 1 box of cookbooks in the pile of items in our over-crowded storage unit.  The rest of the books may well remain in storage until I finally find a job.  (On a related note, if anyone in the NY area is looking for a lawyer, I happen to know a great one who’s currently looking for work).

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I currently have access to 30 cookbooks and you may be thinking that 30 books are more than enough.  The trouble is that my cookbook shelves were sorted by topic.  The box I found contained most of my baking books and a random assortment of regional cookbooks.  All of my general recipe collections are nowhere to be found.  While it’s been fun trying new recipes from some of the under-used titles in my collection, I miss having access to my full library.  That’s especially true now that it’s Vegan MoFo because I come across posts on a daily basis discussing the deliciousness of recipes contained in books that I own, but cannot find.

Fortunately, Isa Does It is not only one of the 4 books I carted cross-country in my suitcase, but also a very popular choice for MoFoers.  After reading several blog posts about the Lentil-A-Roni, I decided to give it a try.  In my Italian-American family, a product like Beef-A-Roni (the inspiration for this recipe) is considered sacrilege and would never cross our threshold.  As a result, this isn’t a recipe I would have picked out to try on my own, but it wound up being one that we all enjoyed.  (All, that is, except for my son.  Much like Veganopolous’s son, my little one prefers his noodles plain and refused to even try a bite because “the mac-wonies are dirty, Mommy.”)

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Following the success of the Lentil-A-Roni, I gave a few more new-to-me recipes a try including the banana muffins, Citrus Tahini Bowl and Kale Salad with Butternut and Lentils.   All three were hits.  Unfortunately, I misplaced my camera for most of last week and only have grainy cell phone photos.  Here is the kale salad, which I served with homemade bread-sticks.

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The salad combines raw kale with roasted squash, lentils and a gingery dressing.  Although I’m sure the recipe would have been good as written, I added dried cranberries for an extra layer of flavor.  The kale — massaged according to Isa’s instructions — turned out so tender that my family could not believe it was raw.   Once again, my son was the only one who did not enjoy dinner.  He ate only the bread-sticks and a few bites of lentil.

Since Isa Does It continues to deliver hit after hit, I may yet accomplish my goal of cooking every recipe in the book.

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