Monday, September 29, 2008

I Swear I'm Vegan...

end result

…in my other life. By other life I mean the one that I live when my husband and son aren’t around. After all, one can’t make 2 separate meals all the time and stay sane. I grew up in a home that was almost vegetarian and I didn’t know that’s what we were. On a very rare occasion we had ground beef…..never straight though…it was always mixed with some ground seitan.

lavash dough

Ah….the memories…..anyway I made the Lavash crackers and they were perfect. I don’t think one could really mess that up. They have to be the best cracker I’ve ever made, so many different ways to make it shine. I used three different topping for the crackers. Cracked pepper, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. I admit I was out of control for this challenge and it took everything I had to reign in my visions of vegan deliciousness. This was my most favorite challenge so far and the bonus was that I got to use my favorite cookbook. I have come across many opinions about Mark Bittman and his books. Most people are neutral…don’t love him, don’t hate him. I on the other hand….LOVE him. His books are simplistic, yet tasty and so I totally have to give him a plug. I used his book “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” for my dips. I wanted to make everything in there, but I narrowed it down to three.

pineapple chutney

The first is a pineapple chutney. I’ve never had chutney and thought this would be a great one to try. It was fantastic. Next time I will add a little less red hot pepper flakes.

I then made a spinach artichoke dip. While it’s not your typical dip, it had some great flavor.

10 oz. of creamed spinach
1 jar of marinated artichokes
Smidge of minced garlic
¼ c of vegannaise
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients, put in dish and bake for 20 minutes till bubbly.

creamed spinach

I made the creamed spinach myself using almond milk and a roux of oil and flour. I think the almond milk added flavor that brought out the spinach. I had planned on using a dash of Worcestershire to add a sharpness that the parmesan adds in a traditional recipe, but I found I didn’t even need it.

mushroom pate

My last spread was a mushroom pate. I love mushrooms and this was a great combo of button and dried porcinis. I did choose to not totally macerate the pate….I like a little chewy with the cracker. Unfortunately I didn’t alter two of the recipes I used so I can’t post them, but I totally recommend Mark’s book.

Thanks Natalie and Shel for a great challenge. I love living in my vegan world!

- Amber

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