Monday, September 16, 2013

Pour Some Vegan on Me - Vegan Potato Skins

Last weekend marked the beginning of football season, and the beginning of the end of summer. With Autumn comes orange-y hues, cinnamon beverages, beer, and game day treats! At least in my world it does.

So I give you... stuffed potato skin!


Potato skins are wonderfully convenient food at parties, especially those celebrating a sport. Be it at your home, or even tailgating - potato skins don't require a plate, fork and knife. They require a free hand, and maybe a napkin.

The ones I made (picture above) are simple, and to the point - but with little potato boats, you really can put whatever you'd like in them.

What you'll need: (6 potato skins)

3 medium to large sized potatoes (I used california golden potatoes, because they're amazing)
1 bag of Dayia flavored pepper jack cheese
4 strips of tempeh bacon - chopped
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425*

Use a fork to poke holes into your potatoes. One stab 2x per potato. You don't want to overly damage the skin, or your little boat will fall apart.

Pop into the microwave for 4 minutes - flip - 4 more minutes on the other side.

Allow potatoes to cool.

Once they've cooled, brush skin with olive oil, dust with salt and pepper. Then cut lengthwise:

With a spoon, gently hollow out the center of the potato:

Leave a quarter to half inch of potato. If you make it too thin, it will fall apart on you.
Set the skins on a baking sheet:

I added the cheese, and bacon - then sprinkled salt and pepper on top.

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes and they will look like this:

Now, you can stop here - OR - you can add freshly cut chives, sour supreme (soy sour cream), cashew cream (fake sour cream made with cashews), maybe even a little chili, or who know! They're your skins - get creative.

The skins should be crisp, if they are not - pop them back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Pour Some Vegan On Me - Vegan: On The Go


Happy Meatless Monday! This week I would like to talk to you about being (and staying) vegan on the road. Enjoying the life of a vegan, at home, is easy. You are in charge of what is brought into your house, so you don't have to worry about accidentally cooking your Vegan Grilled Cheese in Burger juice... but (unless you're striving to become agoraphobic) you can't stay home forever.

Living in Los Angeles is a wonderful thing, but - I'll admit it - living in Cleveland, as a Vegan is pretty darn special too. Once upon a time, I thought Cleveland wasn't so hot in the area of "Vegan Food" - and then I drove across country, and spent the night in places like Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and New Mexico - let me tell you... it wasn't easy.

As you enter "Cow Country" you run out of places to eat very quickly (and people look at you like you announced you at human flesh. Actually, part of me feels they would be more accepting to that, than being a plant eater). So what will you do?

First - know there are resources available.
We live in a golden age of technology. Ever connected by the internet - you can find free wifi at gas stations, hotels, overlooks and more. So, hop online. There are websites that dedicate all of their time to inform you about where you can an can not eat. Does a restaurant have a Vegan option? They'll let you know - my favorite is They span the U.S., allowing vegans and vegetarians the option to eat something other than french fries and a side of apple sauce.

Second - when resources stink (there are parts of New Mexico you can see straight to Neptune, the sky is so clear.) So, now you don't know what is around you - all you DO know is there is a place called "Dagnammit Beer and Grub" and you're starving... They're called "side dishes". I know you already know that side dishes save lives in the vegan world - but always remember a few other things:

- All you can eat Salad Bars are a mirage in the desert
- Children Menus are created for picky eaters
- Breakfast, sometimes, is severed 24/7 and fruit is an option
- Talk to the cook. S/he may look at you weird, but chances are they'll be up for the challenge.

Third - The good old "Chain" Restaurant

Subway is a life saver.
Denny's as a veggie burger (it's not vegan, but it's not beef either)

Peta has a list of major chain restaurants and fast food restaurants that have vegan options. Check it out before you go - memorize - and have fun. (or you could just print the list...)
[Eating Vegan at Fast Food Chain Restaurants]

Fourth - (by far my favorite) - Farmer Stands!

As you drive down RT. 66 - keep an eye out and buy fresh (and amazing) fruits and veggies as you amble by. This is also a wonderful way to get to know the area you're driving through. Most people I've met are friendly, and willing to chat you up about local places to eat, stay, things to do, and even a little history if you're into that sort of thing. (which I am)

Becoming an "At Home" Vegan/Vegetarian is really an easy thing, but leaving the house... that's when it can become difficult. But don't let it sway you - if you want to travel the world, you have options! Worst case scenario? Find a grocery store, stay at an Extended Stay, and learn to travel with camping cookware. What? It's better than the alternative! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Pour Some Vegan on Me - BBQ Black Beans with Tempeh Bacon

Happy Labor Day! A day dedicated to all you workers out there, and a little reminder that summer is now over... But let's not dwell on all that, let's talk food.

I've always been a fan of Baked Beans. Growing up we bought the kind where the bacon and fat sat on top. You dumped it all into a pan, heating it up and mixing it together just right. Needless to say, I don't go that route these days. Prior to the inception of this recipe I bought the Vegetarian Beans, but to be honest... *shrug*. I figure if I can make it home, then why aren't it? And if I can't make it at home, then I shouldn't be eating it in the first place!

This is my interpretation of that fatty can of Pork 'n Beans from back in the day: BBQ Black Beans with Tempeh Bacon.

What you will need:

1 can of Black Beans (or the equivalent of dried, hydrated)
1/2 bottle of Vegan Friendly BBQ Sauce (Trader Joe's has a nice spicy variety)
4 slices Tempeh Bacon - chopped
1 small onion - chopped
1 Cup Vegan Broth
Olive Oil

Let's begin:

Put about 2 tablespoon of Olive Oil in to your sauce pan (I use a sauce pan "a.k.a. Stock Pot" - add the chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat until they begin to turn translucent. Add Tempeh Bacon, and mixed it all around. Let it cook for another couple of minute, and add the beans.

The onions will be a little brown, which is find, and delicious. Mix it up and then let it sit for a minute or two so the beans soak up some of the lovely onion bacon flavor. Then add the 1 Cup Broth and 1/2 bottle of favorite Vegan BBQ sauce.

It will look like a weird Black Bean soup. Stir and walk away - keep an eye on it, but let it begin to boil and start to cook down.

All nice and steamy, it will begin to condense bringing all those flavors together. This will take about 5 -10 minutes. And then you will have...

A delicious variety of not really Baked Beans for you and all of your friends to enjoy. Trust me when I say, all you meat eaters won't miss the meat even a little.

Have a wonderful holiday, and happy eating!!