Sunday, February 26, 2012

Nachos, Mine

I make these nachos for my Daiya-loving family pretty frequently and they're so well-received and easy to make that I should have shared (the recipe, not the actual nachos) a long time ago.  I'm sure you could gussy them up with homemade salsa and soaked, dried beans, but this is an easy weeknight meal, so convenience is key. 

Lightly grease a decent-sized casserole dish that should allow you to do a triplicate layer of all ingredients using one bag/jar/can of each.

Start out with a single layer of corn chips (I've been hooked on Tostitos ever since Immediate Family, which also introduced me to Van Morrison).

Add a generous covering (a sprinkle doesn't cut it for me) of cheddar Daiya.  Full disclosure: I use more than a single bag of Daiya, but one should do it for normal people.

One medium size jar of salsa should be enough for the whole shebang.

Black beans, or the beans of your choice (in case you have an unnatural aversion to black beans).

Roughly chopped onions; I use red.

The secret ingredient is Secret Aardvark; use sparingly if you're sharing with the heat-averse.

Repeat once.

And again, or until your casserole dish is piled high.  Don't fret if you have chips leftover*.

Once your nachos have been assembled, bake uncovered at 375 for 45 minutes.

*Some of the chips will have been overtaken with the toppings, so serve with the leftover ships for added crunch.

Don't forget the Tofutti sour cream!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pine Box Rock Shop Vegan Shop-Up

Greens are great, but sweets are sweet.  I finally had the opportunity to make it to the most recent Vegan Shop-up at Pine Box Rock Shop a couple of weekends ago and was not disappointed. 

For starters, I love Pine Box.  I'm not a bar person, but this vegan bar transcends bar-i-ness in my mind.

They make awesome Bloody Mary's (10 spice, please; thankyouverymuch) and adorn them with a veritable pickled jungle.

It's especially grand that my good friend, another fan of the Marys, does not like the garnish.  You might think this means that I double my pleasure, but in the past it has meant simply that I've not had to cry after inevitably dropping my own garnish on the floor amidst the excitement.

And besides the booze there is this fine furball: Spyder.

This is a very fast dog.
They also have fantastic salt & vinegar potato chips that I've never seen anywhere else: really good, thick, and not greasy.  It's true that I sometimes forget to share.

Ah yes, the Shop-up.  They do these from time to time to showcase local, vegan, business owners and their wares; this one was Valentine's-themed, which meant there was lots of chocolate and candy and sweets...amongst savory goodies (lest anyone feel left out).

The place was packed, so I didn't get a chance to investigate every offering.  But I did manage to get some new and old favorites.

Of course I went sweet, spending most of my loot with Gone Pie.

Go Nepie!
I'm a big fan of the coconut brownies, so who was I to resist the rocky road brownies?  Wow!  Gone Pie's infamous brownie with almonds and marshmallows baked in, then topped with more of the same, plus frosting and chocolate chips; need I say more?

Thanks for giving me a corner!
Having already given my stamp of approval to both the cherry almond chocolate cups and the peanut butter cups, it was my duty to investigate the newest Gone Pie cup offering:

the caramashew cups.

Cashew, coconut caramel?  Ladies and gentlemen, I have a new favorite.

Another great find at the Shop-up were the Black & Blanco sandcastle cookies.  The endearing folks were sampling three flavors of their twist on a traditional Morrocan cookie, but once I registered the word Marzipan, the other two ceased to exist. 

Soft and almondy, this is the perfect tea cookie.  Ok, I'd also suggest crumbling them on ice cream, but that's just me.  I learned later that besides being delicious, they consist of high-quality, healthy ingredients; they're so good that I never would have suspected.  You can buy them online, or at choice markets in NYC.

Lest you think I didn't imbibe, behold my awesome beverage.  Since a salty Mary would not have mixed well with all of the sweet sampling, I instead chose the significantly more appropriate Red Moco Cooler.

Thanks for holding my beverage, JD Gut!
"Kahlua, Bosco chocolate syrup, Grenadine and club soda. Served in a collin's with a teeny umbrella."; it was kind of like an alcoholic egg cream!  Not only was this drink fabulous, but it was assembled with just as much care and attention to detail as if I'd just opened the place (been there, done that) and they had all the time in the world to impress just me.  Thanks for being so swell, Pine Box.

For the record, I really do share!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ready? Set. Chard!

I know; I've been eating lots of sweets latelyLots.  But there have also been greens:

some old and some new. 

I made a fabulous dijon marinated raw kale salad last week.

Also, a salad of romaine, onion, and hearts of palm (and salad toppins: sue me; I like them).

And then I decided to try chard.  I wanted a cooked green to go with my baked raspberry chipotle tofu and I can never seem to bring myself to cook kale; in my house it always finds its way into a raw salad.  Despite the fact that the organic collards were on sale I still resisted.  And so, I chose chard; red because I thought its similar hue would go well with my dinner.

I got some advice from friends who know their way around a bunch of chard and went to work.  I started out by caramelizing red onions.

they caramelized eventually
I added the chard stems since my friends' recommendations superseded the multiple internet recipes that suggested they should be discarded (!?).

And then I added the roughly rolled and sliced leaves in batches, sauteing with olive oil, Bragg's, salt/pepper, and lots of red pepper flakes: tossing as they cooked down.  It turned out sweet and tender.

I'd only ever previously eaten chard at Blossom; this was not as good, but close!

For those of you keeping score, kale is still the greens frontrunner in my book, but chard definitely kicks collards' butt.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sweet & Sara Valentine's Extravaganza

Something that my parents have in common with the lovely Sara from Sweet & Sara is that they're both very good at surprises.  Happy Valentine's Day to me:

After staying wrapped for precisely 5 seconds:

I brought out the giant tote bag to pack my snacks for work.

photo upload acting up again
If you don't know me, I should explain that when I hear "Valentine's Day" I really hear "Chocolate Day" and, thusly, eat only my swag for 24 hours.  You suckers who take all month to eat one box of chocolate?  No!  You're doing it wrong.  I can clear one whole layer for breakfast.

Speaking of, let me just say that not one of you can deny that rice crispies are breakfast.  Mine just happened to be in the form of a treat.  Decadent?  Maybe.  Portable and efficient?  Definitely.  Don't judge, jealous.

Who says there shouldn't be dessert with breakfast?  I thought a mini-smore was in order. Okay, two.  Hey, I didn't make up the packages.

By 10:00 am, my face already looked like this. 

For lunch, why not a peanut butter smores?  Why not indeed.

I had a late afternoon meeting scheduled; sometimes you just need a snack to keep yourself going. 

On Valentine's Day, shouldn't it be a chocolate-dipped, strawberry marshmallow heart?

My intake by 5:00pm.

For the final meal of the day, I chose...dessert!  Biscotti, anyone?

Graham crackers?

Call it dinner, call it dessert; it was my main meal.

In the interest of full disclosure, there was also flowers.  While I appreciate flowers, I want it on record that if I have to choose between flora and edible treats, I choose the latter.

And, finally, my money tree bloomed!

As you can see, I gained weight and riches.  Hope your day was sweet as well.