Sunday, March 1, 2009

old favorites...they live!

Sometimes a girl just wants spaghetti and meatballs (without the meat).  It's hard though, isn't it, to find a decent vegan meatball?  Store bought ones are...ok, but they lack oomph, plus they're full of stuff I can't pronounce.  A lot of the ones I've made at home either fall apart or are incredibly mushy (sorry, Vcon), or just don't have a good flavor.  However, I've finally come across an incredible vegan meatball, by way of our buddy Jessy over at Happy Veganface.  Actually, her hubby Dan created these balls of awesomeness.  I give you...  Dan's tempeh meatless balls!
little beauties

And seriously?  So easy to make.  And they didn't fall apart, once they were browned.  They have the best flavor of any meatball I've had, ever actually.  I can see why Jessy and Dan chose to eat theirs over some rice, as the flavor would really shine that way.  Still, our goal was spaghetti and meatballs, so I just paired them with a plain, but tasty, sauce and some angel hair.
could not stop eating this.

We decided not to simmer the meatlessballs in the sauce for fear that they would fall apart with all that liquid, but I don't think we needed to worry, as they held up really well, even once I mixed all that spaghetti together.  Oh, yes, and that is garlic bread you spy perched atop my plate.  Michael made the most crazydelicious garlic bread on the planet.  It's rosemary ciabatta bread that he spread with melted butter (vegan of course), loads of garlic powder, and parsley.  Possibly other things.  I wasn't in the kitchen when he made it.  But hot damn, this was the best garlic bread I've had in a very, very long time.  I highly reccommend that you go make some rockin' spaghetti with these amazing meatlessballs, though.  You will not regret it!

Yesterday I told Michael that I would make him whatever he wanted for dinner and dessert, as he was a sweetie to me when I felt like shit on Friday (tummy bug, blegh).  He opted for biscuits and gravy, with toaster hash browns and greens.
nothin' like some soysage gravy, now is there?

First off, I used my mom's whole wheat biscuit recipe (scroll down for the recipe).  Then I crumbled up some GimmeLean sausage in the cast iron skillet to brown.  Then in went some flour and butter.  Then soymilk, and seasonings.  The only problem with making gravy from storebought soymilk is all the freaking sugar they put in that stuff.  I never notice it (and hence, forget) until I try to make something savory like gravy with the stuff.  Still, with the help of poultry seasoning and loads of salt, we counteracted the sweet.  Next time, I'll remember, and start off with veggie broth, and add soymilk at the end for a little creaminess.  Anyway, it was still totally rad.

The greens are collards, which I have not had success with before last night.  These turned out really great though!  I sauteed some garlic and an onion, then added the chopped greens and some apple cider vinegar and let them steam, covered, for about 15 minutes.  I finally learned that the longer they cook, the less bitter they are (but I feel like they lose some nutritional value when I cook them that long...oh well, I guess).  Anyway, once they were nicely soft, I added a few dashes of liquid smoke, some more vinegar, salt, and a pinch or two of cayenne.  They were so yummy!  I'm not scared of collard greens anymore.  Now I just have to master turnip and mustard greens.  Le sigh.  

Michael opted for toaster hash browns from our friendly neighborhood freezer section, as they're his favorite anyway, and I'm not really to be trusted when it comes to making something like that from scratch.  All in all, it was a hit!

As for his cookies, Michael asked for "chocolate macadamia cashew cookies" to which I added white chocolate chips.  Voila!

I adapted this recipe from Dreena Burton's Double Carob Cashew Cookies in Eat, Drink and be Vegan.  I've never actually made this recipe as it's stated, as I have no need for carob anything when I can have chocolate, plus they call for spelt flour, which I've never seen anywhere here.  Still, the recipe lends very well to adaptation, which just goes to show you what a genius she is.  Here's my version of her cookies.

Chocolate Macadamia Cashew Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

1 cup AP flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup unrefined sugar (I used sucanat)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup white chocolate chips (or regular would be good too, if you don't have white)
1/8 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/8 cup chopped cashews (both nuts should be unsalted)
6 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp almond butter
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 1 tsp canola oil

Preheat over to 350F.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and powder, and cocoa powder; mix well.  Add in cinnamon, sugar, and salt; mix again, then stir in chocolate chips and nuts.  In a smaller bowl, combine the maple syrup, almond butter, and vanilla and stir until well combined.  Stir in the oil, then add the wet mixture to the dry mixture.  Mix until just combined.  If needed, add a splash of soymilk for added moisture, if it doesn't come together quickly (we had to do this).  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then form 12 cookies out of your dough, flattening each one (they'll be about 1.5 inches across this way).  Pop in the oven for exactly 11 minutes.  Take them out and leave them on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

These cookies are not for the faint of heart, by the way.  They are fudgey and moist and incredibly rich.  The nuts add just enough crunch to mix things up a bit.  However, they are ridiculously easy to make for such a dangerous cookie.  From mixing to baking, they're done in about 20 minutes.  Bake with care.  We finished the entire dozen in about 15 minutes (with the help of a friend).  By the way, omni approved.  As were the collard greens.  Go me.

So yeah, it's been a pretty decadent weekend so far.  Hope yours has been just as lovely.


Anonymous said...

Dan's meatless balls are the best. Poor Dan, we are always talking about his balls - good thing Jessy is so cool about it.

I'm sorry. I was really having a 11-year-old moment there. :)

Anonymous said...

Why must your food always look so AMAZING!?! I'm hungry now =)

Vegan_Noodle said...

I must make those meatless balls. Can't stop staring at that picture. Actually I keep flipping between that one and the cookies...

Gina said...

Uh, those cookies look freaking fabulous.

I don't really drink milk, so I only ever buy unsweetened soymilk, that way I can use it for sweet or savory. I don't even know if it tastes good or not, I'd assume not or they wouldn't sweeten it, but it works really well for cooking/baking with.

jessy said...

ooooh, yay! dan's out of town right now, but as soon as he gets back i'm totally telling him that you and Michael really loved his meatlessballs! hoooooooooray! i'm so superhappyfaced! thanks, Jessica! and thanks for the rock'n shout-out, too - you're too awesome! that's some seriously damn delicious garlic bread right there. oh my word, i might have to make garlic bread right NOW! mmmmmmmmm! sketties are my fav, although i don't have them enough. note to self: make sketties soon!

you're too sweet to make yummies for Michael! the biscuit's 'n gravy (and next time we make biscuits we're making your momma's recipe! and that annoys me about soy milk 'n rice milk be'n so sweet, too! argh!) look fantabulous - huzzah for successful (and omni approved - superw00t!) collards! greens are soooo gooood! so true, the longer they cook the less bitter they become. sometimes when we're in a hurry and don't have time to cook them much, we'll add in just a squeeze of lemon juice to counteract that bitterness! can't say i've had turnip greens or mustard greens either. hmmmm......

must. find. toaster. hashbrowns. sweet jeebus, mmmmmmmmmmmmm! i can picture an entire plate of them now, smothered in ungodly amounts of ketchup. zomg!

i'm with you on the whole "why do i need carob when i can have chocolate" theory. indeeds! totally going to make your cookies - hot damn!

glad your weekend has been rock'n - mine has been, too! yay!

AAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAA - i just read Shelly's comment about dan's balls - aaaaaaaaaahahhahahahaa! awesome! and i would like to state for the record that i am totally cool with peeps talk'n about dan's balls! ahahahahahahahahaa!

Virginia said...

i really need to try those tempeh meatballs! they look delicious! and sturdy!

the biscuits and gravy rocks so hard, one of my fave meals.

i skipped right over the cookies because i am on a diet...but from what i glimpsed, ... nom nom nom!!!

Ruby Red Vegan said...

Oh yeah, bring on the intensely rich cookies! I can SO handle them! :) Dreena really is a dessert genius, so I can only imagine how great that recipe was with white chocolate chips!

You are giving me vegan meatball cravings with all this spaghetti talk! I made some "meat"balls with Italian Sausage from here and that got me all hyped up about meatballs... The rosemary ciabatta garlic bread sounds like the perfect complement. Wow!

veggievixen said...

mmm, i want spaghetti and "meat"balls so badly now. those cookies would probably make my life better.

aTxVegn said...

Those are two fantastic comfort food dinners! I'm glad Dreena gives small batch recipes cuz her cookies are toooo good - love your version!

Susan said...

Fabulous foodage indeed! I am having a lovely time catching up on your last few posts.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I can smell it all! Interesting to read about your cooking greens. Your writing makes me want to cook...and eat...& cook & eat & ...--Laura in c'ville

Sal said...

s'ghetti & meatballs - YUM!! they look great. and the cookies look so good - i could really go one of those right now.

I agree - Dreena is a cookie genius and also that I have no place for carob either. My boss bought me some one to try and be nice and buy me something vegan. All i can say about the taste is that I imagine it is what they make you eat in hell! ERGH!

DJ Karma (VegSpinz) said...

I must try tempeh for meatballs- mine always like to fall apart!

PB and Jess said...

Those cookies look soooo tempting :) And spaghetti and meatballs is one of my fav comfort foods!

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

I'd be all over those balls!

River said...

Dan's meatless balls look so good! If it turns out that it isn't soy that is messing with me, then I'm going to have to make them. Tempeh isn't really my thing, but I never tried boiling it to reduce the bitterness so there is hope! They look too good not to try!

I love Tom's plate of awesomeness! The cookies are really killing me here, chocolate cookies with chunky nuts are the best ever! So yummy! Go you!!

Thank you for your sweet birthday wishes! I am now easing my way back into Blogland.

celine said...

the cookies are stealing the show for me, as is always the case. damn that sweet tooth of mine.

Mihl said...

I'd love to have some of those cookies. And temphe meatballs for dinner sounds great, too.

Anonymous said...

Those tempeh meatlessballs are the best ever!!!!! And, your photos are lookin' super awesome!!!

Hannah said...

Sigh, those cookies look heavenly. I can't remember the last time I've had macadamia nuts now, they seem like such a luxury!

Anonymous said...

Those meatless meatballs look amazing, I will definitely be trying that recipe out soon! I actually have a question for you. I have been transitioning to vegetarianism for the past few months and am playing with the idea of veganism in the future (perhaps in a year or two after I'm well settled in vegetarianism). I still eat eggs in the hard boiled and scrambled form do you know of recipes for an eggless scrambled egg or something of the sort?

Thank you and I love your site!