Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thoughts on Creating a Vegan Basil Pesto

When I first started eating vegan I focused on foods and cuisines that were if not naturally vegan easily adaptable.  I had never been a big fan of "fake" meats and cheeses, preferring to just focus on the wide variety of plant-based foods that are out there.  But after a bit, the lure of these analogs combined with missing some familiar food forms lured me in.

Cheese is the big threshold for many who would consider a vegan diet and I have a lot more to say about that, but for now I wanted to focus on one particular dish that uses cheese - basil pesto.

I had just bought a fragrant bunch of basil and was trying to decide what to do with it when it hit me I wanted pesto. REALLY wanted pesto.  I had tried some herb pesto combinations without cheese and I hadn't been totally satisfied with them, they tasted flat or overly sharp and didn't have the taste and mouth feel I wanted.  Yesterday I had a revelation -- nutritional yeast.

It worked beautifully.  I'm sorry to say I didn't write down the proportions of what I did, but I will make it again and do so and share.  Here's what I combined:

Basil leaves
Garlic clove
Olive Oil
Pasta Cooking Water (or use hot water or veg stock)
Slivered, blanched almonds (I stay away from pine nuts now due to the cost and the issues of pine nut mouth)
Nutritional Yeast (powdered kind)

With everything whirled in the food processor to a nice consistency.

I served the pesto tossed with whole wheat pasta as part of a meal with steamed artichokes with homemade lemon hummus, green bean and cherry tomato vinaigrette salad,  onion and peppers saute with tofu cubes in red wine sauce, green salad and rustic bread.  It was just a dinner for my hubby, Gary, and me, but it was a feast.

photo credit:  MS Clip Art

Friday, October 28, 2011

Silken Tofu with Tomatoes, Basil and Olive Oil

Shown above is Hodo Soy brand silken "soy custard" tofu with sliced heirloom tomatoes, basil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. I made it my whole dinner one recent hot night, but it would make a lovely appetizer.  The Hodo tofu comes in a tub and is not "pressed" into a cake.  You can also find tofu like this in some Asian markets. (Hodo's tofu is handmade and is really only available now in northern California and is worth seeking out.)

Delicious, simple, healthy and good.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Roasted Apple Sauce with Warm Spices

Please go to Blog Appetit for this recipe of roasted apple sauce with "warm spices."
I really enjoyed it for snack topped with plain soy yogurt (as shown in the photo).  It also worked well as a side dish for my kale and bean saute.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Apple Cranberry Pie with Granola Streusel Topping

Click over to Blog Appetit to see the recipe for my Apple-Cranberry Pie with Granola Streusel.  I used granola that was made with agave syrup rather than honey and a vegan frozen deep dish pie shell (Safeway) as well as Earth Balance spread instead of the butter to make this vegan.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Dish It Up Vegan Manifesto (or Mani-feast-o, This is a Food Blog After All)

This is me - your Temporary Vegan or is it Pragmatic Vegan?
I'm still trying to figure out how to fit this blog and vegan blog concept together with my life and other writing, which is not surprising since trying to conceptualize "what" kind of vegan I am and how that fits into my life and other writing is an on-going issue for me.

Am I a Temporary Vegan? A Sometimes Vegan? A for Now Vegan, but We'll See About Later? A Pragmatic Vegan? A "Really, It's NOT that Hard to Give Up Cheese, Don't Start on That Vegan? I started eating vegan months ago and remain committed to it in my way until I am back at goal weight and all my cholesterol and related "numbers" are in sync.

I think one reason it took me so long to create this adjunct blog was that I just didn't have clarity.  Just naming this blog was an interesting intersection of available blogger URLs, my chameleon vegan identity and not wanting to create a brand/persona/id too similar to other vegan bloggers out there.  Be glad the blog is not called "I am a Veganess (for now) Hear Me Roar."  Since that clarity hasn't yet occurred, I went for Dish It Up Vegan and here are the limited goals I'm starting out with:

1. To record and share my vegan journey -- you get to hear the stuff I'm careful not to bore my friends with, since I assume if you have sought out this site you are interested in the topic.

2. To parse what being vegan means to me which is subject to change at any time and to create a non-judgemental place for readers and me to explore this.

3. To share vegan restaurants, products, foods, books, blogs, menus and recipe ideas and feature other vegan friends and cooks ideas. Note: recipes will most likely be posted in Blog Appetit (my main "all foods" blog) and either linked or reprinted here depending on my whims and page view stats over at BA.  (I publish my RSS feed for Blog Appetit on the page tab marked "Blog Appetit" above.) But I make a lot of vegan food that you couldn't characterize as having formal recipes and I'll be sharing those ideas EXCLUSIVELY on Dish It Up Vegan.

4. I'm Jewish and often write about Jewish food and related topics, although I consider my food, cooking, tastes and blogs more global than specifically Jewish. I do expect some of that Jewishness will leak over into Dish It Up Vegan and I look forward to sharing that with everyone, but it is just one aspect of what we'll be talking about here.  If a recipe is labeled as Jewish it will conform to Jewish dietary law standards, however other recipes may or may not be kosher.

I'd love to hear about your rookie vegan adventures, tips, resources, post/recipe requests or whatever you'd like to share.  You can comment below, email me through my Blogger profile or send an email to clickblogappetitATgmailDOTcom.

Photo by Bonnie Burt

Sunday, October 16, 2011


This is a placeholder blog for a future project
Please go to my "all" foods Blog Appetit for hundreds of recipes, posts and more.
Click on the Vegan/Vegan Option label for my vegan-friendly recipes.