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MoFo #8: Breakfast — Pumpkin pie smoothie

8 Oct

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Happy week 2 of MoFo 2012! My trip to Farm Sanctuary was amazing, and I’ll talk more about it in my post this Sunday.

So, it’s back to breakfasts here on HVCP, and this week I was looking for a smoothie with lots of fall flavors. I started my smoothie obsession this summer when it was too hot for my normal tea and muffin. I’m not a big breakfast person so it’s been a real treat to mindlessly slurp down some liquid nutrition on my way into work! I wanted to try something pumpkin-y for today and there are tons and tons of recipes for pumpkin pie smoothies online, so clearly this is a genius idea! The recipe on Oh She Glows looked really good but I had forgotten to soak oats & chia the night before so I subbed in some soy yogurt but otherwise followed the recipe. The yogurt made it a bit more tart than I would like, so I want to try again with the oats, but overall it was really good! Lots of pumpkin goodness and super filling.

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What are your favorite fall smoothies? Next up on my list is something with ginger!

MoFo #4 — Entree Thursday: Pumpkin baked penne

4 Oct

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Happy Thursday! Today I’m doing a main dish, and keeping with my fall foods theme I cooked up a baked pasta dish from Veganomicon. I’m sort of regretting my theme this week as we’ve been having an intense heat wave that is not really in line with warm, heavy dishes! I made this dish earlier in the week when it was 100 degrees outside…ugh! I had already bought the ingredients though, so yeah, I took one for the MoFo team, ha ha ha!

The pumpkin sauce for this dish is really, really good. I had a hard time keeping myself from eating big spoonfuls of it out of the bowl! The cream sauce is a mix of cashew ricotta, pumpkin, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cayenne. This is the first time I made cashew ricotta from V’con — my go-to ricotta is an almond recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan — and I didn’t really care for the stuff straight out of the blender (it tasted really tofu-y) but it was delicious mixed in with everything else.
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I thought the pasta mix looked pretty gross, so of course I took a picture. Maybe this would be a good Halloween dish — gooey orange finger and worm mix?
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The topping was tasty, too, and I liked the addition of ground walnuts to the bread crumbs. I’m really getting into these ingredient photos; the spices always look so pretty!
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The finished product! There were a lot of components to put this meal together but it was totally worth it. The nutmeg really stood out in the sauce, which was rich and creamy with a ton of flavor. The crumb topping was sage-y and crunchy. The pasta:topping ratio seemed a little off to me, so I might use less topping next time. The only thing I didn’t like about this recipe is how hard it is to take a pretty photo! Everything just looks like a blob of pumpkin barf, but I did my best!
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I think this would be a great main course for Thanksgiving. It’s a very tasty and omni-friendly dish, even if there’s a little tofu worked in!

Since I’m trying to be a little more health-conscious, I made a few changes that didn’t seem to change the dish for the worse:

-the ricotta calls for 2 tsp olive oil. That’s not a lot of fat, but it didn’t seem necessary for this dish so I omitted it.
-I used whole wheat penne, which was fine as long as you cook it until it’s really soft
-I used whole wheat bread crumbs in the topping (the recipe doesn’t specify what type) and it added a great flavor
-the recipe calls for 1/4 cup margarine for sauteeing the bread crumbs. I halved this and it was totally fine.

MoFo #1 — Breakfast: Pumpkin Waffles

1 Oct

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Happy MoFo 2012, everyone!

So to kick of the vegan month of food on this beautiful Monday, I bring you……pumpkin waffles from Vegan with a Vengeance.  I decided to try out this recipe on my brand spankin’ new waffle maker this weekend and let me tell you, this makes one mean belgian waffle!  It’s waffley perfection — crispy on the outside, moist and fluffy on the inside.  The smell of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg that wafted through my kitchen while these were cooking made me almost start eating the raw batter.  The recipe is supposed to make 12 belgian waffles (or 24 regular ones) but we only got about 6 out.  Maybe we like ours extra thick!  To me it seemed like 3/4 cup of batter cooked for 4 minutes made the perfect waffle.

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One thing I have started to do with a lot of my breakfast foods is sub white whole wheat flour for AP flour.  Normal whole wheat flour comes from red wheat, which contains tannins in the bran that can lend a bitterness to baked goods.  White whole wheat flour is milled from white, or albino, wheat, which lacks these tannins but has the same nutrient and fiber profile of hard red wheat.  The flour from WWW also tends to be lighter overall, so baked goods still are fluffy.  This is great news for muffin and pancake lovers like me!  I still prefer regular whole wheat flour in sandwich breads and rolls and I still use AP flour in desserts, but white whole wheat has become a welcome addition to breakfast foods.

What is your favorite fall breakfast?

MoFo #16: Pumpkin soup with pumpkin seed-mint pesto

19 Oct

More pumpkin and more Sunset recipes!  This one is featured on the front of the this month’s issue and immediately drew my eye.

This time I tried out a sugar pie pumpkin.  It has a nice mild, sweet taste and a smooth texture.  The actual recipe’s pretty simple: saute up some onion, garlic, fresh ginger, and coriander.  Add some pumpkin, stock, salt, pepper and simmer till soft.  I pureed everything at the end and added some soy milk powder for creaminess.

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The mint pesto was really cool and really tasty!  I was actually going to pass over this recipe until I saw Urban Vegan’s MoFo post about various pestos and their uses.   I didn’t mortar and pestle it all like the recipe says….the food processor is much easier but the pesto isn’t quite as pretty.

So what’s the verdict?  Honestly, I think the soup was pretty bland and needed way more spice.  I ended up mixing in a lot of the pesto to add flavor.  The mint was a pretty neat complement for the pumpkin along with the crunch from the pepitas.  I don’t know about the coriander.  I couldn’t really taste it.  I think the ginger was a good call and added more.  Curry powder would actually taste really good in this.  Next time I will try that.  So…overall it came out pretty and was fun to make but the recipe could use a little inspiration.  But YAY for more vegan-friendly recipes in Sunset!

Some salads

28 Sep

I can’t believe it’s 85 degrees at the end of September! Wait, yes I can! As a native southern Californian (and current Bay Area transplant) I have never experienced a true fall. Crisp winds, dim sunlight, colored leaves, cozy coats, and hot soup…these are the things I dream of. I know “the grass is always greener” and such and when I inevitably have to move somewhere cold and icky for my post-doc in a few years I know I’ll long for coastal California weather. Until then, I’m going to complain and use the heat as an excuse to have cold, raw food for breakfast lunch and dinner!

Today for lunch I went to a little cafe on campus and had the best best best salad (I actually have it almost every day). It’s got romaine, grape tomatoes, red onion, sweet white corn, black beans, jicama, and tortilla strips on top all tossed in a cilantro lime vinaigrette. Nothing special but it tastes amazing and they give you the most gigantic bowl along with some French bread so it’ll keep you full till dinner! I forgot to take a pic but I think you get the idea!

Tonight I started off just making a simple green salad but it seemed way too boring so here’s my version of curried chicken salad:

Chick peas are absolutely amazing in mayo-based mock-meat salads. I’ve seen them used in place of tuna (with a little sea weed flavoring to add “fishiness”) and chicken. I know I probably swiped this recipe from a cookbook but now I just kind of wing it.

Curried Chick Pea Salad:
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/4-1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1-2 Tbs vegan mayo (I like Vegannaise best)
1 tsp curry powder
salt, to taste

Mash up chick peas with a fork or in a food processor.  Add onion, celery, curry powder, and enough mayo to moisten everything.  Add salt to taste.  Serve on salad or in a veggie sandwich!

I just threw some on top of my salad (the white stuff is a little ranch dressing from Appetite for Reduction) with some chopped chives.  Simple, healthy, and yummy!

While I was making dinner I used leftover veggies to make salad for lunch tomorrow.  I grabbed a handful of chick peas from the can I used to make chicken salad with and made a little cous cous while I was chopping, and voila!

The recipe comes from Appetite for Reduction, but it’s a pretty basic concept.  I think the book calls for quinoa but I didn’t have any so I subbed cous cous and it’s still really tasty.  There’s also some romaine, carrot, red onion, and tomato.  It’s not pictured but I used the balsamic vinaigrette from AFR too.  That stuff is awesome!  It doesn’t use any oil and all the fat comes from pureed cashews.  Genius!  And it’s amazing on this salad.

Remember what I said about eating cold food in this hot fall weather?  Well, I lied a little.  Last night the boyfriend and I were craving pumpkin so we made a pumpkin pie.  We had to turn on the fan to counteract the heat of the oven but it was worth it! 🙂

It’s not beautiful, but it was really good and you can’t really tell the difference from non-veg pumpkin pie.  I used pumpkin pie filling and just mixed in a package of pureed silken tofu and a little more spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice). I hate most crusts so we made a cinnamon graham cracker crust instead. My oven is stupid and I burned edges a bit so it’s a little ugly but still tasted fine!