Monday, September 28, 2015

Maple Sweet Potato & Ricemellow Tacos

 A familiar fall favorite sweetens up traditional taco filling.
The Vegan Mofo prompt was Tacos Vs. Burritos. 
Originally I planned to make burritos. The jar of Suzanne's Ricemellow Creme spoke eloquent truth. With it being autumn and Thanksgiving around the corner, I thought about the yummy treat of baked sweet potatoes covered in browned marshmallow goo. I have never tried it. Or perhaps I have in some old buried childhood memory.

Self Portrait, 29.4" x 25.6," oil on canvas, 1633.
Woman's palette of the moment goes to Judith Leyster. She was born in the Netherlands, 1609. Of the Golden Dutch Era and Baroque period, Leyster is known for realist depictions of genre, still lifes, and portraits. There is often a layered degree of mischievous humor and jest. A lot of her work was first attributed to Frans Hals ( who also had painted realist cheekiness) until scholars noticed that paintings were signed with "JL." Her masterful, open mouthed self portrait at 24 years old has muted tones of warm oranges and demure browns giving the perfect blended flavor of fall splendor.
For my sweet tacos, I used pumpkin pie spice as a cheat sheet- it already contains ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon peel. So why not? The extra walnuts give a solid crunch to combined soft textures of sweetened sweet potatoes and delicious mock marshmallow treat.

Maple Sweet Potato & Ricemellow Tacos Ingredients and Preparation

2 large sweet potatoes, rinsed and sliced
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 Suzanne's Ricemellow Creme
corn tortillas
handful of walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Boil sweet potato slices for 25 minutes.
Drain and mash sweet potatoes with coconut oil, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice.
Layer corn tortillas with sweet potato, Ricemellow Creme, walnuts, and a dash of cinnamon.

Thank you Suzanne!
I shared some tacos with my housemates and one of them exclaimed, "this tastes like gourmet!" The other commented that the "Ricemellow coordinated with the sweet potato quite well."
Close up!
Ricemellow heaven.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Grilled Swiss, Cream Cheese & Smoked Tempeh Sandwiches

Grilled cheese remixed. Again. It can't stop. Because it won't stop.
It's the 27th day of Vegan Mofo and the bad slacker returns.
Woman artist palette of the day: Rosa Bonheur. Bonheur was born Marie-Rosalie Bonheur in 1822. She is renowned for being a hotheaded student and rebellious woman. She often sneaking into animal farms disguised as a man and painting her furry subjects in realist precision. Although the Met acquired Horse Fare is considered her most famous, (she is centered around a whirligig of beautifully rendered galloping horses), I chose to highlight Chef d'un veau (Head of a Calf). It's such a masterful, caring portrait. Bonheur has tenderly intricate brushstrokes capturing each delicate fur hair, warm expressionistic eyes, and dewy nose and mouth. 

Chef d'un veau, oil on canvas, 17.3"x 21.3," 1878.
No dear sweet calves were harmed for this crowd pleasing grilled cheese sandwich!
Today's Vegan Mofo prompt is to favorite herb/spice. I love love Italian Herb Seasoning! It is a savory combination of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, and basil. Kroger's Private Selection makes a rather nice one as well as McCormick's (they add tomato, black pepper, and garlic powder) and Spice Island. When making walnut meatballs, tempeh/tofu marinades, pasta dishes, and garlic bread, a pinch of Italian Seasonings makes everything amazing.
Exceptional grilled two cheese sandwich features usual double sided Italian Seasoning sprinkle. Crisp, marinated tempeh adds friendly assistance to a classic lunch time favorite. Melted Daiya Swiss and cream cheese add a component surprising and delicious.  

Grilled Swiss, Cream Cheese & Smoked Tempeh Sandwiches Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 8 oz tempeh, sliced in another half
2 Daiya Swiss Style Slices
2 tablespoon vegan cream cheese
red onions (optional)
olive oil
4 bread slices of your choice
extra Italian Seasoning for the bread

Warm up skillet on medium heat temperature and pour about a tablespoon of olive oil.
Whisk together liquid smoke, nutritional yeast, Italian seasonings, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.
Marinate both tempeh slices and toss them in hot olive oil. Enjoy the sizzle sound. Brown each side for 3-5 minutes.
While leaving stove on, rest tempeh on bread. Top with Daiya Swiss and red onion slices. Spread two bread slices with vegan cream cheese.
Quickly clean your skillet (unless you have another one- you're soooo lucky!) and pour about a tablespoon and a half of olive oil.
Sear both sides of the bread, sprinkling Italian Seasoning on each side, until golden brown and cheeses melt together in a beautiful display of ooey gooey matrimony.

Slice in half if desired.
Close up of the oozing madness.
Two "cheeses" certainly make a right.

Pecan Caramel Hot Chocolate

Yummy hot chocolate. If only Lupita were around to share in this splendid treat.
Past Vegan Mofo prompt- on the 24th- imagine what a well known person would eat if they were vegan. I would pick Lupita N'yongo. She would have organic napkins over her expensive attire to protect from maple syrup slathered pancakes and cinnamon sprinkled hot chocolate. I would be in her company. We would sip sweet confection, rummaging thrift shops and mixing bohemian flare with prestigious upscale. Naturally, she would be happy to sit for me while I paint her holding an oversized mug! Yes!
By the way, have you all seen Lupita's Vogue yet? Talk about best use of the October month for a fashion magazine. I don't buy or subscribe to fashion magazines in general, but the Lupita spread made me so happy, especially alongside the article. Smart, talented, sweet, and beautiful, Lupita is certainly a woman of our time. I adore her immensely. I was so crushed to not be able to score a ticket to the sold out Eclipsed- the off Broadway show she co-stars in written by Danai Gurira (yes Michonne!). It features the brilliant Zainab Jah (who played a brilliant female Hamlet this year) who also starred in Gurira's The Convert. Oh well. I'm sure someone will tell me how wonderful the performance was by Lupita and Zainah....

Lupita in Vogue.
Woman painter palette of the moment is Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. She is a painter, writer, and poet born in London 1977. Yiadom-Boakye has adopted a French Impressionistic style that is all her own vernacular. On large to small scale canvases, she sweeps the history of thick, lush brushstrokes loosely across the composition plane with contemporary outlined burnt umber skinned figures playing against the browns family, a competition both opponents win. Psychological depth invites viewers to lure into neutral tones, become seduced by subject matter and the beguiling rendering. Often Yiadom-Boakye inserts a pinch of surprising color, a pinch of sophisticated light that garners intriguing focal point.

Half of a Dozen Dead, 100 x 180, oil on canvas, 2010.
Hot chocolate comes to mind- a special kind. Thanks to Califia Farms for concocting a new line of sweet, addictive almond milk creamers. The pecan caramel is simply divine. I have added it in my hot tea, a chocolate sauce, a milkshake. Just that little note of sugared nutty flavor gives dessert beverages and sauces pizazz. I love melting chocolate chips into milk for a satisfactory instant hot chocolate. By including a bit of Pecan Caramel Creamer, things turn wickedly delicious real fast.   

Pecan Caramel Hot Chocolate Ingredients and Preparation

Three ingredients equal one good hot drink.
1 1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup Califia Farms Almond Milk Pecan Creamer
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
pinch of cinnamon (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine almond milk, pecan creamer, and chocolate chips, slowly gradually until all of the chocolate chips have dissolved into melted bliss.
Top with cinnamon. Best to drink beside a fireplace with a scandalous romance novel in tow. Sip slowly and daydream.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Falafel Style Cream

A mistaken recipe becomes another....
Yesterday's Vegan Mofo prompt was Barack and Michelle are coming over for dinner! In addition to excitement for serving President and First Lady a meal, I would be a nervous wreck. This was the one assignment I couldn't wait for! Although I am quite tardy, I'm cooking for the Obamas today-- imaginably of course!

As the Obamas wait for AfroVeganChick's menu....
The woman artist palette of today is renowned abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler. She is a brilliant, fascinating painter known for her vibrant, spacious color fields, that seem both experimental and considered. Large scale monuments of beauty on stretched canvas, primarily a lover of acrylic, she has profound poems nestled in between volumetric shape and whispers of line.

"Magic Carpet," acrylic on canvas, 96" x 98," 1964.

Doesn't "Magic Carpet" scream turmeric?! Or at least a dish with turmeric in it?
I originally planned to make falafel. A two bean falafel. I'm sure the Obamas would love falafel.
The Trader Joe's version- a very, very delicious must try- features both garbanzo and fava beans. The adventurous side of me figured that this was a great challenge. Due to nervous tithers-- actually no I had no flour-- the falafel turned into a thick, creamy consistency. Without that certain stiff firmness, the falafel couldn't be formed into perfect balls for intended frying. Instead, I turned my mistake into a rich, fragrant sauce, mirroring intentions. Yum! And the color......
I'm not going to stop experimenting with the two beans. I think a falafel is still possible.
For now, the Obamas will enjoy the falafel style cream. If they stayed for dessert- turmeric banana pudding is always good......

Falafel Style Cream Ingredients and Preparation

3 tablespoon olive oil
15 oz garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz fava beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoon panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon water
pinch of cayenne pepper

Rinse garbanzo and fava beans together.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the beans with olive oil, curry powder, dried parsley, garlic, lemon juice, turmeric, panko bread crumbs, salt, and black pepper. Pulse this mixture together in a blender or food processor with water.
Creamy, smooth whipped appeal.
Beautiful "magic carpet" color.
Plugging shamelessly, imagining the reactions of Barack and Michelle.....
Funny thing: the moment I warmed the cream up in olive oil, it started to form shapes as though it wanted to be falafel despite very creamy state of mind.
Close up texture. Atop of Basmati rice.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Quick Rice & Chickenless Strips With Avocado Cream

Bright color is all the rage today.
Getting back on the Vegan Mofo track, we're catching up to the third prompt: something quick and simple. I love Seeds of Change convenient heat and go packs-- which are on sale 2/$5 at WHole Foods Market. Their two serving rice meals take 90 microwavable seconds and a hungry person is good to go.
On the heels of an easy meal, let's eat up the colorful palette of women painter Amy Sherald, one of my contemporary influences. She is a young woman (with an adorable curly blond fro) hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, realistically painting subdued figures stripped of colorism identity, but costumed in ridiculous attire that she purposely chooses for her models. Her eccentric, large scale portraits seem inviting and humorous, but shed a darker context meant to arouse and intimidate all we know about perception. Here's a short clip of Sherald discussing painting, technique, and living each day with fortuitous optimism: BRIGHT.

"The Rabbit in the Hat," oil on canvas, "54"x 43," 2009.
Rice and chicken is another favorite blend. When in a hurry to satisfy a starving stomach, to keep the "hangry" pangs at bay, I thank my lucky stars for Seeds of Change and Beyond Meat for being instantly gratifying lifesavers. 

Rice & Chickenless Strips With Avocado Cream Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon olive oil (or water)
Seeds of Change's Quinoa & Brown Rice (or any similar easy rice you find)
1/4 cup Daiya Mozzarella
2 tablespoon almond milk (or any dairy free milk)
6 Beyond Meat Chickenless Strips
1 avocado
pinch of lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a skillet, set to medium heat, open Seeds of Change Rice pouch and pour out contents into olive oil or water. Let cook for 3-5 minutes.
Add Daiya and almond milk.
Stir in Beyond Meat Chickenless Strips. Turn off heat.
In a food processor or blender, mix avocado, lime juice, salt, and black pepper.
Top avocado cream on plated rice and strips.

No fussy work involved.
If feeling in a more guacamole mood, add diced tomatoes and chopped cilantro.
Enjoying meat free, lightly "cheesed" simplicity.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Spicy Macaroni & Cheese

I am a huge fan of macaroni & cheese. I have loved it always.
Vegan Mofo prompt number two is to recreate a childhood favorite. My favorite meal growing up was macaroni & cheese. I must have made hundreds of versions and so far have about 15 different ones on the blog. There are many vegan cheeses out there as well as raw, nutty concoctions, pumpkin and butternut squash purees and so forth. The way to creamy up a plain box of elbow macaroni has no limit. Back in the day, Ma made hers with a Kraft imitation brand, but to make it amazing and not solely rely on the orange powdery stuff, she added Crisco, garlic powder, milk, and sometimes if on hand extra cheese. If anyone knows, if you had no butter, no milk, or none of that extra cheese, thick globs of the orange chemical powder would not be stirred to perfectly even bliss.
Also, one of my favorite lunch meals at school was the macaroni & cheese paired with fish sticks- odd combination, but I liked it immensely:

Nodding to school cafeteria fare by adding delicious Gardein fish filets to another mac n cheese special.
Along with my childhood favorite meal, I must discuss the next female painter- Rachel Ruysch, a phenomenal 18th century realist still life painter. She was born in 1711, studied with a renowned painter at age 15, and eventually became the first female member of the prestigious Confrerie Pictura. Primarily in her later years, she was commissioned by a prince and his wife, painting visceral trompe l'oeil flowers with compelling capacity and sharp, intense sophistication, with a three-dimensional skill that exasperates and bewilders the mind. 

"Basket of Flowers," oil on canvas, 1711. Does not the beautiful, warm toned golden flowers with hints of pink and rustic greenery speak on macaroni & cheese seduced by lush broccoli florets?
One of the ingredients in this other special edition vegan macaroni is Just Mayo's amazing new Chipotle flavor. I'm sure you have all heard that the American Egg Industry is after Hampton Creek's product hardcore, angry fired up peddle pushers wanting Just Mayo to change their name and everything. It upsets me so. It's downright ludicrous to justify ownership of "mayonnaise," to say that by law, demandingly even, Just Mayo has no right to be call itself mayo without eggs. Pretty stupid. If this odd yet harmful argument goes through and wins, this could potentially inspire other industries to wage a constitutional battle with other vegan products like faux meats, dairy free cheeses, and so forth. They will use anything including the Webster Dictionary to belittle fortuitous vegan hopes and dreams..... *sighs*

Enough ranting and back to the dish prompt. As I have said, loved Ma's macaroni and cheese, but spiced things up a bit. Feel free to add a pinch of paprika and jalapenos to this recipe. No extra oils necessary- or Crisco for that matter. Thanks to Field Roast's terrific spicy cheese melting so beautifully and Just Mayo adding flare, this macaroni and cheese for one is a perfect flaming hot stroll down memory lane. If only Sir. Cheeto could have a plate.....

Spicy Macaroni & Cheese Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup elbow macaroni
2 slices Field Roast Tomato Cayenne Chao
1 tablespoon Just Mayo Chipotle
1/4 cup almond milk (or any dairy free milk)
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
broccoli (optional)

After bringing macaroni to a boil, lower heat and melt in Field Roast Chao.
Stir in milk, nooch, turmeric, coriander, salt, and black pepper.
Add broccoli (or other veggies).

In my childhood days, I wasn't the hugest fan of broccoli, but I love it so much now.
Golden macaroni with a kick of spiciness and daydreams of Ruysch's flowers.
Classics never get old.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Polenta, Tempeh, & Vegetable Chowder

Perfect in bed meal.
Hello! Welcome to a complete month of Women Painter Palettes- my Vegan Mofo theme in which prepared meals remind me heavily of a particular female painter's work. I will stick with the themes and incorporate some artistic womanhood in between these 30 posts.

It's that time of year again! Welcome to Vegan Mofo!

I start off with the phenomenal Gabrielle Münter, a 19th century German Expressionist painter and one of the only women in the infamous Der Blaue Reiter group. Their color palettes were intense bursts of vivid hue and emotional vitality. I especially appreciated Münter's line weights and wide shape planes filling up large blocks of space. She is well known for her portraits and still lifes, all featuring her signature chunky layered brush strokes. There is a finesse in her style, her quality of painting that is rarely spoken about.

"Portrait of  a Woman," oil on canvas, 1909.
Today's first Vegan Mofo prompt is breakfast. To me there is nothing like a warm bowl of polenta and veggies in the morning- when I have the time to make it. I thought about Münter's use of orange and green, immediately dreaming about some creamy dish with melted cheesiness in every hungry bite. I wish I had tomatoes to make it more like the actual chosen painting, but alas I am not trying to be super duper accurate. I plan to take a few painting colors and become kitchen inspired by what catches my eye the most. To me, it's the little bits of orange, the green, and the bits of yellow filtering through the green. Does that not say polenta and veggies? 
And speaking of breakfast if you American friends haven't heard, you have until Friday to email for a free Sweet Earth Foods Benevolent Bacon coupon! Woot!

Polenta, Tempeh, & Vegetable Chowder Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 oz tempeh, cubed
8 oz polenta log, chopped 
1 cup green peas and carrots (steamed frozen mix)
2 oz Daiya Mozzarella (or any other vegan cheese)
1/4 cup almond milk

Heat skillet with coconut oil.
Toss cubed tempeh with garlic powder, salt, black pepper, turmeric, and liquid smoke. Throw into skillet- gently. Stir until each side is lightly browned.
Add polenta, smashing down log while stirring and steamed veggies.
Pour in almond milk and Daiya mozzarella. Let melt and turn off heat.

Münter would appreciate anyone on their peas & carrot cues.
Good morning.