Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thai Marinated Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

This was a spur of the moment weekday dinner recipe. I really enjoyed these. The lettuce balances the oil from the marinade well so it brings the dish some lightness.

Thai Marinated Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour 
* Cook Time: 10-15 minutes 
* Ingredients:
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 dried lemongrass stalk, cut into pieces*
  • 2 dried kaffir lime leaves*
  • 1/2 tsp garlic chili sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp chili oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar*
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce*
  • 1/2 tsp dried Thai basil*
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
  • bib lettuce leaves
  • green onions, sliced, to top (optional)
* Recipe:
  1. In a bowl, combine everything but the lettuce, carrots, and onion. Let marinate for at least half an hour up to 1 hour.
  2. In a frying pan, spoon out some of the marinade liquid and fry the carrots over medium heat until tender. Add the mushroom marinated mixture and cook down until almost all liquid is gone.
  3. Pour the frying pan contents into a bowl with the onions and mix well. 
  4. Take a piece of bib lettuce and spoon 1 tbsp of the mushroom mixture into the center. Top with green onions if desired.
* Note: I used button mushrooms, but feel free to use shiitake or whatever else you may like. Lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and Thai basil are typical ingredients in Thai cooking. You can find them in the Asian sections of some grocery stores and certainly at Asian food markets. Make sure your sugar is vegan. Dark soy sauce can be found at Asian grocery stores. If you can't find it, you could probably skip that step but it's nice in marinade recipes like this one.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Miss Lexy's DIY Projects & Adventures

Farm Fresh Homemade Strawberry Jam
Your blog doll is definitely a homebody. I spend most of my weekend spare time doing things like pickling, jam making, writing and cooking recipes for Vegan Miss, sewing homemade cat toys, bread making, making soy candles and vegan soap, amongst other things. In the near future, I'm trying out wine making for the first time. I'm also going to try to make vegan bath bombs. Many of you probably know about Pinterest already, but this website is such a great resource for a variety of DIY projects. Vegan Miss is on Pinterest if you are not following yet! I thought I would write a picture post with the variety of things I've made in the recent past.

Emily & I at Hill Prairie Winery
I'd also like to mention some fun things to do in the Midwest (beyond Chicago - I could write pages on fun things to do in Chicago!). There are a lot of awesome vineyards in Illinois. Many of them are in southern Illinois near Carbondale. This website has a complete list of vineyards in Illinois separated by region. I don't go down to southern Illinois often, so I'm not versed in vineyards down there. In central Illinois, there is Hill Prairie Winery which I went to with my friend and fellow vegan blogger, Emily. You can read about the awesome spinach & artichoke hummus dip she brought to the vineyard. Super nom!

Trio of Dips at Obed & Issac's
Also to mention in central Illinois, Springfield has recently opened a really fun microbrew downtown. It's called Obed and Issac's. Emily and I had vegan brunch there one Sunday (they made us veggies, potatoes, and toast) and their menu always has at least 2-3 vegan appetizers (or can be made vegan), as well as salads, and a vegan burger. Emily blogged about some of our trips to Obed & Issac's as well. Up north, there is Valentino Vineyards and Winery. I have yet to go here but I recently bought a Living Social deal for a tour, wine tasting, and wine pairing seminar which I plan on using in the next month! Vineyards (and microbrews) are a nice place to relax and enjoy some local, quality wine or beer. It's also nice to be able to escape to nature from the city for an afternoon. 

In Wisconsin, there is a lovely bed and breakfast inn called Inn Serendipity. It's the only vegetarian B&B I am aware of in the Illinois and/or Midwest area. The breakfast menu can also be made vegan upon request. They use their own produce from their organic farm or local food. All energy at the inn is powered by wind or sun. I've been meaning to go to this sustainable inn for some time now and plan on doing so in the near future! I will blog about my adventure to Inn Serendipity once I go.

Homemade Bread 'n Butter Pickles & Pickled Garlic
If you are interested in canning, pickling, or jam making, there is a great book made by Ball called the Complete Book or Home Preserving. Of course, there are many books out there that teach you and give recipes for preserving. If you're a beginner, I recommend this book and if you think you're going to continue to can, that you get a large pot and other utensils for canning. There are kits that come with everything you need. I have the kit made by Ball that I picked up at Lowe's. When summer hits, most home improvement stores and even grocery stores will carry canning items. If you plan on canning whole vegetables, though, you'll need a canning pressure cooker in order to assure safe handling and sterilization. Other items you may need are pectin and pickling salt.

Soy Candle in Antique Teacup
Candle and soap making are fun hobbies! I really enjoy making candles from scratch. It's also incredibly cheap once you have all the appropriate utensils. You can make 30 candles for the price of a couple nice candles at a store. You can get everything you need at CandleScience. I think making candles in antique teacups, tea cans, or jars looks really neat. There are a ton of great antique malls in central Illinois which is where I go to get that kind of stuff. If I tried to get nice teacups in Chicago, I'd spent a fortune. For Christmas last year, I got 17 antique teacups for $15 (granted, without the saucers). They make such cute and personal gifts! Soap making is a little more involved. I'd recommend one start with candle making first. You can get soap making kits and materials from Bramble Berry. You'll probably need a soap mold box too. I do cold process soap making. Palm oil is commonly used to make soap, but you can substitute it out for other oils. Be very careful with lye! You want to be completely covered when you handle it (goggles and gloves too) and make sure all children and pets are in different rooms where they will not disturb you. The stick blender and crock pot you use should be only for the soap making (you don't want to cook with something that's had lye on it, do you?). I don't have any pictures of my soap just yet, but when I do, I'll post an update with them!

DIY Sushi Cat Toys
The sewing projects I do are pretty basic. I'm not the most amazing sewer, I'll admit. The bread bags are really cheap and easy to make and would make such a cute gift once freshly made mini baguettes are in them! You use kitchen towels or scrap fabric to make them. The cat toys are just a quirky hobby of mine. As some of you may know, I am the proud mom to two eyeless kitties. Lucy, a runt Maine Coon (only 8 pounds and 2 years old!), has no eyes at all and Popeye, my main man, has one eye that is about half covered with scar tissue. I've thought about making dog toys but decided that dogs are just too destructive for me to even give my time to it. I'm sticking with homemade dog biscuits instead! Vegan Miss has a doggie carob cupcake recipe from long ago on the website too, just FYI. Cat toys are super adorable and fun to make. I would see them on Etsy and think to myself that I could make that too! I'm a huge fan of vegetarian sushi and Japanese culture (minored in Japanese in college and studied in Tokyo!) so naturally sushi cat toys would be my passion. This website has a tutorial for the sushi toys. Make sure you stuff them with a bit of organic cat nip and/or store them in a box of cat nip to let the toy soak in the scent. My cats adore these toys. And your kitty owner friends will think they're super precious too.

DIY Bread Bags
Some other projects I have in mind over the next 6 months or so beyond wine making and bath bombs are: DIY bath scrubs, homemade vanilla extract, homemade infused alcohol and olive oils, fabric magnets, coffee sleeves, and wire hair bows. If you would like, feel free to follow my personal Pinterest board. Most of my pinning is DIY projects and my dream hobby farm home I hope to have one day! Side note: this book (Vegan Food Gifts) looks totally amazing and I can not wait until it comes out! I hope some of you found this post useful and inspiring. DIY projects are so much fun and can be very rewarding experiences.

Photo credit for the Trio of Dips and Hill Prairie Winery photos: Emily at Running on Vegan.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Crisp Artichoke & Caper Haricot Verts

Haricot verts are French green beans. You could use regular old green beans in this recipe if you wanted. Any variety will work! I prefer my haricot verts to be really crunchy so I didn't boil too long.

Crisp Artichoke & Caper Haricot Verts

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1/2 lb haricot verts
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp lemon spice mix (optional)*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • vegan Parmesan, to top (optional)*
* Recipe:
  1. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Swirl haricot verts in ice bath for a few minutes then add to pot of boiling salted water. Boil haricot verts in salted water until crisp tender, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and place back into ice bath. After a few minutes, remove and pat dry.
  2. Heat frying pan with olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions and as they become translucent, add the garlic. 
  3. Next, add the artichokes, capers, lemon juice, and pine nuts. Cook for another few minutes. 
  4. Add the salt, pepper, and lemon spice mix (if using). Top dish with vegan Parmesan if desired.
* Note: The lemon spice  mix is just something I had that I thought would be a nice touch. It's grated lemon peel, garlic powder, onion powder, and some other spices. If you don't have this, feel free to zest some of the lemon peel from when you juice the lemon. The vegan Parmesan brand I use is Galaxy topping. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grilled Mushroom, Onion, & Spinach Truffle Oil Flatbread Pizza and Cherry Tomato Salad

It has been a while since I have posted a recipe! There has been a lot of things happening in your blog doll's life over the last two months that have prevented her from cooking in a kitchen. Sorry for the long delay and there will be more recipes on the way!

Grilled Mushroom, Onion, & Spinach Truffle Oil Flatbread Pizza

* Prep Time: 1 hour
* Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
* Ingredients (for flatbread dough):
  • 1 tsp sugar*
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • flour, for dusting
* Ingredients (for pizza topping):
  • 8 (or more) cippolini onions, sliced
  • 2 cups mushroom assortment (shiitake, button, cremini), sliced
  • 2 cup fresh spinach
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, for sauteing
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • truffle oil, to top, drizzled
* Recipe (for flatbread dough):
  1. Follow package instructions to activate yeast. You will use the sugar and part of the warm water in this step (1/4 cup water). Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. While yeast is activating, combine the flours and salt in a mixer or bowl. Mix well.
  3. Add the olive oil, warm water, and yeast. Combine until dough climbs the bread hook.
  4. Leave in bowl covered for 45 minutes to 1 hour to let dough rise. Once risen, punch it so it collapses.
* Recipe (for pizza topping):
  1. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions. Once onions start to become translucent, add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper.
  2. As the mushrooms begin to cook, add the spinach and basil (if using).
  3. Once the leaves have wilted, turn off pan and set aside.
  4. Heat a grill frying pan over medium heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Dust a counter and your hands with flour. Roll out the dough on the counter and cut into four pieces. 
  6. Roll out one piece of dough until a long flatbread shape is made.
  7. Place on grill pan and cook until grill marks begin to appear. Flip and cook the other side. 
  8. Top flatbread with pizza topping and drizzle sparingly with truffle oil (a little goes a long way).  
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 with another piece of dough. 
* Note: Make sure your sugar is vegan!

This recipe will give you about half the dough leftover. I drizzled some olive oil in a freezer ziplock bag, dusted the dough, rolled the dough in the olive oil within the bag, and froze the leftover. If you want 4 pizzas, just double the topping recipe or you could cut the dough recipe in half as well.

Cherry Tomato Salad with Buttermilk Basil Dressing

* Prep Time: 20 minutes
* Cook Time: n/a
* Ingredients: 
  • 3 cups cherry tomato assortment, halved
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk*
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegan sour cream*
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
* Recipe:
  1. Combine the milk and vinegar in a bowl and place in fridge for 10 minutes. This will let the milk curdle.
  2. While the milk mixture is in the fridge, let the uncut red onion soak in an ice water bath. This will give the onion less of an abrasive taste when in the salad.
  3. Combine the tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. 
  4. Add the sour cream to the milk mixture and beat until all lumps are out. Combine with the tomato salad.
* Note: I used flax seed milk for non-dairy milk. Feel free to use whatever you prefer. The vegan sour cream I used was Tofutti 
template by suckmylolly.com : background by Tayler : dingbat font TackODing