Cape Codding

Early this summer I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Cape Cod, which has quickly become one of my favorite places.  There is something so exhilarating and relaxing about spending time in a place so filled with natural beauty and simple charm.  A few weeks back, a group of my friends from law school headed out to H’s house on the Cape for a weekend of baseball and beaching. 

I took it upon myself to be the food provider for the 10 of us for the weekend, and spent several days prior to it preparing for this.  Here is what I made:

1) Lower Fat Banana Bread (with chocolate chips!) from Veganomicon

2) Five-Spice Almond Cookies (which we made into Five-Star Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches, natch) from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan

Fresh out of the oven (sorry for the craptastic picture)

Best ice cream sandwich ever (P.S.-that is not my arm!)

3) Coconut Lime Cookies from Vive Le Vegan (not pictured, but see a batch I made last year here)

4) Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette from ED&BV (not pictured)…I chopped some cucumbers and tossed them with this dressing and a little oregano for a really delish salad

5) The spice mixture from ED&BV’s Blackened Tofu recipe, which I used to make cajun scallops** (not pictured, but see the results of this mixture on tofu here)
**please see my note below

6) A variation of the stuffing from Self magazine’s Couscous and Feta Stuffed Peppers recipe (not pictured)

All of the food was very well-received and appreciated, and we had a wonderful weekend!

So, about those scallops…

On the Cape the emphasis is heavily on seafood.  While I know this might be controversial to many vegetarians and vegans, I have no problem cooking non-veg options for others.  In fact, in the interest of full disclosure, that day I also made broiled haddock for the company.  My food preferences are solely mine, and I wouldn’t presume to prepare an entirely vegan menu for 9 omnivores and expect them to enjoy it as much as I would.  I feel that trying to impose my points of view on any topic (be it diet or things like politics, religion, etc.) on others can only backfire; people don’t like to be told what to do or made to feel that they are wrong…each person needs to come to his or her own decision about how he or she wants to live by making their own personal judgments.  That being said, I think it’s very important to show non-veg*ns how enjoyable vegan cuisine can be, which, if I may say, I think I did very effectively with the breakfast bread and desserts, as well as the couscous and salad.  I think every little bit counts, and each time I prepare veg food for non-veg*ns that they actually enjoy, I hope that the next time they will be slightly less surprised by the fact that they actually enjoyed it. 

Anyway, I just needed to put that out there.  I know not everyone agrees with me, and I would definitely be interested to hear the points of view of others. 

I have a ton of pictures of meals to post from the last few weeks and hope to do so soon!

Going-Away “Party”

Tomorrow M is leaving for a month-long trip to Israel, so my parents wanted to make her a nice dinner and cook whatever she wanted. She chose chicken parmesan which of course meant I’d be cooking a separate entree for myself :b

Using what we had on hand, I decided to make Stuffed Mushrooms from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.  This was the first vegan dish I ever cooked!  That was back in December and I actually made it several times (to the point where I could do it sans recipe!) during the winter, but I hadn’t made them for a while so I was back to referring to the recipe.  Tonight’s version deviated a little bit from the original, as I didn’t have any red bell pepper to use.  Instead, I played around a little with the spices, including adding some dried chopped garlic and some cayenne pepper to the stuffing mixture.  However, without the bell pepper, the stuffing comes out too dry to be of any use.  So I ended up stirring in a tablespoon of olive oil or two and it worked beautifully.  The mushrooms came out delicious and just a tiny bit spicy, with a yummy Italian flavor (thanks to the oregano, parsley, and olive oil), but they were a little saltier than I would have liked and I can’t figure out why.  I love this recipe–I just hate that the mushrooms are so small!!

(Somehow the really nice picture I took of the full plate of mushrooms disappeared) 😦

Dad also made broccoli to go with the chicken parmesan and was looking for something to add to make it a little special.  He was thinking along the lines of sliced almonds but a search of the pantry didn’t produce any, so instead we decided to toast some pumpkin seeds to toss in there 🙂

Here is my daddy toasting the seeds on the stovetop:

Here is the finished product (sorry for the crappy picture…this is after we’d already started eating! haha):

And for dessert…

Coconut-Lime Cookies from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton

I made these once before and blogged about them, but without a picture.  M loved them so I decided to make them for her going-away dessert.

For some reason, the batter was a little runnier this time around, and I was in a rush, the result being that they all ran into each other while baking and did not turn out very attractive 😦  Three of them were pretty so I photographed those three :b

A picture of the popular kids on the cooling rack:

Here they are after getting their lime-confectioner’s sugar glaze:

And lastly, fine, okay, here is a picture of all of the shapey cookies (the uglier ones are hiding down the bottom):

Just as tasty as last time though 🙂

Bonus picture: J making garlic bread vegan-style 🙂

A.’s Cookies in the Baking!!

Baking is probably my favorite thing to do, and the thing which seems to have the lowest rate of failure in my experience.

Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton

I have made these probably a dozen times since becoming vegan, before I even knew who Dreena was or owned any of her books!  I found this recipe initially on the Internet.  The batch pictured were some of the best cookies I have ever had, let alone baked myself (not to brag or anything…)  I made these at E’s house and used regular molasses instead of blackstrap, white flour instead of my usual wheat, and also substituted 2 tbsp. of Trader Joe’s Mint Cocoa for the sugar in the recipe.  The results were “better than Toll House” according to Mom.  🙂

You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate Cookies from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton

Unless you are allergic to peanut butter or to chocolate, you are crazy if you don’t like these cookies.  They are out of this world.  I’ve made them twice.  My first batch is pictured.  My second batch was better if I recall correctly…maybe a little more moist?  Either way, these are awesome and would be my recipe of choice if I were baking to impress non-vegans :b

Chocolate Chunk Spice Cookies (aka “BlackOut Cookies” if you are in-the-know) from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan

Oh, how I love these.  I will make them again and again, and definitely at Christmas time.

Pineapple Lemon Bars from Vive Le Vegan

I made these as a special request for my daddy on Father’s Day.  They are pretty good, but I liked them best fresh out of the oven when they were a little melty.  I think heating leftovers before eating would improve them.  I like the ground oat crust and would definitely use it again when inventing my own recipes.

Coconut Lime Cookies from Vive Le Vegan (not pictured)

I made these for J’s girlfriend’s graduation party and to be perfectly honest they got eaten before I could take a picture.  They were pretty good on their own, but I thought they didn’t taste lime-y enough, so I added a lime-flavored icing.  Combine 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar with 2 tbsp. of freshly squeezed lime juice, spoon into a Ziploc bag, snip the corner, and use as a decorating bag.  With the icing, they were great.