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Even more recipe testing for The Blissful Chef

I enjoyed recipe testing for The Blissful Chef over the summer so much that I signed up for more; her macrobiotic cooking style has been a golden opportunity to expose myself to new flavors and ideas, and I have her to thank for my new-found love of coconut sugar and brown rice syrup.

Tofu with almond coconut cilantro sauce

I am pretty sure cilantro is going to be a trend in 2011, as I visited two grocery stores just to pick up the last wilted bunch of the spicy herb to make this recipe.

Christy’s tofu with almond coconut cilantro sauce is very rich without that heavy, oily, icky feeling some sauce-y dishes can give you. I adore how the flavors of cilantro, lime and ginger play with the gentle nuttiness of the almond butter to balance the overall creaminess. I’ve already made it twice– definitely a new dinner staple!

The best part: the exotic smell of tofu frying in coconut oil.

Orange-kissed almond macaroons with chocolate ganache topping

These delicate cookies turned out much differently than I expected; I was thinking they would emerge from the oven as sweet haystacks, but, rather, the ingredients expanded into lacy disks of chewy, caramelized, orangealmondcoconut goodness (this may have been because I’m still figuring out the oven in my new apartment, which I suspect runs hot).

This recipe was a hit all around; my coworkers loved them, David was sorry that I took them into work, and I couldn’t stop at just several.

Un-tuna salad

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I find many vegan sandwiches to be lacking.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t had amazing, pinch-me-I’m-dreaming, eyes-rolled-back-into-my-head vegan sandwiches (umm, Highline is just a couple of blocks from my apartment, after all) but it’s rare that I pack a good one for lunch. Phony baloney or veggies just don’t cut it, and I’ve never been personally able to pull off tofu, tempeh or seitan on bread. Plus, those sammies that inspire uncontrolled nomming are generally fried, smothered in sauce, or otherwise unhealthy.

So, I’m pleased to add this salad, a flavorful, filling mix of textures and tastes, to my noon-time dining experience. It’s pretty freakin’ fantastic with lettuce in a wrap, and even fairly low-cal, if you use a lighter vegan mayo (e.g., Nasoya vs. Veganaise).

Bean sandwich skeptics: think of it as chunky hummus. Yum.

Wheat-free fudgy chocolate brownies with chocolate ganache topping

Out of the bunch, these brownies were the recipe I enjoyed the least. They weren’t bad, but they just tasted healthy– a low-fat mimicry that resembles the real thing but doesn’t satisfy the sweet tooth in the same way.

It’s also entirely possible that I have a borderline addiction to refined sugar and am therefore less receptive to low-glycemic desserts that might actually be good for me. Who knows.

All around, a delicious experience.

Recipe testing for The Blissful Chef (pt II)

The deliciousness continues! Here are a few more pics of the recipes I’ve been testing for The Blissful Chef:

Springtime Lemon Bars

These don’t look like much, but the combination of lemony filling gelled over a date/almond crust packs incredible sweetness and flavor. Plus, they’re so natural that you feel (almost) good about eating them. Perhaps my new favorite gluten/soy-free dessert– for real.

Peanut Sauce

I love fresh spring rolls, though admittedly half of my love is derived from the simple fact that they are vehicles for peanut sauce. This peanut sauce is no exception: creamy and salty, with a dash of spicy.

Squash Pudding

I’m looking forward to making this dish more in the fall. Butternut squash is simply my favorite winter vegetable, and I’m excited to expand my repertoire into dessert. The sweetness is mostly derived from raisins, with barley malt and brown rice syrup propping it up. It would make a great breakfast– a not-too-sweet oatmeal alternative.

Cabbage Salad

I took this picture after the salad marinated overnight. It looked much prettier when I ate it fresh! Basically, it’s a cool and refreshing summer salad with zing: a combination of vinegars and the naturally spicy radish and cabbage make for a perky side dish.

Corn and Zucchini Frittata

I ate this for dinner last night, though I imagine it would make a classy vegan brunch dish as well. I’m a sucker for fresh corn. Despite the tofu dominance of this dish, soy takes a back seat to the veggies and mixers.

Tempeh Reuben

As unappetizing as this picture looks, this was perhaps my favorite of all the recipes. David, though skeptical (“Reubens should have beef!”), admitted that this was pretty tasty. It’s tempeh soaked in a savory/sweet marinade, Russian dressing, avocado, and sauerkraut on toasted rye bread: how could it not be fan-freakin’-tastic? I’ve been eating it (minus the bread) as a salad, which has kept me steadily looking forward to lunch time.

Ode to Mac and Yease

I tested The Blissful Chef’s Macro Mac and Cheese this weekend and was moved to poetry.

Ode to Mac and Yease

Mac and yease, o mac and yease,
Get in my stomach, pretty please.
Your deliciousness knows no bounds,
You turn my frowns upside-downs.

I love each creamy, coated shell,
I love how you make me feel so well.
I love how simple you are to make,
On the stove and not baked.

I love that you don’t have eggs or dairy,
I love you with a passion that is scary.
I just might leave my boyfriend for you (just kidding, David),
O Mac and yease, my love is true.

Recipe testing for the Blissful Chef (part 1)

I’m thrilled to be testing recipes for The Blissful Chef’s upcoming cookbook. Here’s a visual overview of how I spent my weekend (yes, I know it’s Wednesday now): cooking delicious vegan eats.

Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies

These are made with almond and brown rice flours, so they have a lot of flavor and texture without being too dry. Gluten-free people must hate “oh, I couldn’t even tell it was gluten-free” as much as I hate “I can’t believe it’s vegan,” but… I wouldn’t even have noticed they were gluten-free had I not made them myself.

and again because they were so delicious:

Curried Chickenless salad

This recipe made enough to feed an army, but was so protein-rich and flavorful that I didn’t mind eating it for 5 days straight. The celery adds nice texture, while the curry and raisins definitely jazz it up.

Orange Ginger French Toast

Any vehicle for maple syrup is A-okay in my book. I haven’t had French toast since going vegan, so this was pretty exciting. David wasn’t a huge fan (doesn’t like pumpkin), so I was happy to finish his serving.

Oil-free Nacho Cheeze Sauce

Don’t get me wrong– I love Daiya and Vegan Gourmet, but sometimes it’s nice to eat an all-natural, unprocessed vegan cheese. This was pretty tasty both on greens, as recommended, and as a flavoring agent for chips and veggies.

Macrobiotic cooking is such an exciting new challenge, and I’m feeling inspired to eat more whole foods and less of the processed junk I sometimes resort to.

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