08 August 2011

Current Obsessions

Hair is the new Feathers: making things out of human hair extensions. Makes a great feathery-effect for the vegans in the house.

Barbie Bonanza: The boy offered me and the queens a tutorial on using the Dremel that made me feel like I was back in highschool shop class: "Now, I know this looks like a pretty dainty little tool, but this blade (taps blade) is strong enough to cut through steel pipe, so it can definitely take off a finger." (Followed by horrified, queeny gasps.) Also, a pair of fake glasses of the nerdy "wayfarer" style make an excellent pair of safety goggles in a pinch. Don't use power tools without them! Protects your eyes and makes you appear to be an expert. Win-win, I'd say.

Sawing Barbie's arms off was tough work, it was quite a bit easier to drill the holes that would make them beads. Now....what to do with all these Barbie arms?

30 June 2011

Vegan Egg Salad!

YES! It can be done!

In the few months since I've last bothered to waste my time writing this blog, I have figured out how to make vegan egg salad that will fool even the staunchest anti-tofucians.

Anyway, it's pretty much exactly the same as regular egg salad, only instead of eggs, use medium (NOT silken - it's too soft) tofu! I added a bit of saffron to make it yellow, because I am fancy and I have it in the kitchen. Turmeric or food dye would work just as well, and it completes the illusion by giving the tofu a yolky tinge.

However! There is a SECRET INGREDIENT! You must acquire some Indian Black Salt, also called Kala Namak. It is a somewhat hard-to-find condiment, popular in Indian dishes. It comes as a reddish-pink powder or rocks, and contains a number of sulfur salts, which make the salt taste and smell like a hard-boiled egg, I swear!! A bit funky at first (I like to call it "fart salt"), you really can't make a convincing fake egg salad without it. It's a strong flavor though, and not much is needed.
I get mine at a wee Indian grocery at Pike Market called The Souk, where they sell it for $1.80 for two ounces. Vegans! Go buy some, use it on everything.

Now, to make:
Combine your brick of medium tofu into a bowl with a few spoons of vegannaise - as much as you like, I prefer LOTS - and simply stir it all up with your selected spices, and about 1/2 tsp of black salt. It should come out with a slightly chunky texture that looks like the real thing!
Typical egg salad spices include paprika, dill, and black pepper; I also think you can't go wrong with a bit of sweet pickle relish or a chopped up spicy pickle - whichever suits your fancy.

Put this stuff on toast and enjoy! Egg salad for all!

07 March 2011

Better Living Through Chemistry

SO...I like to make a lot of things, not just food.

Food is pretty awesome, but a lot of times I will forget about it when I am doing other things. So, I was thinking, if you don't think it's a "New Coke" idea, that I'd like to change things up here a teensy bit at GhettoLicious, and expand to encompass my entire world of making-shit-on-the-cheap.
I promise to uphold my thematic torch of making all kinds of things that are surprisingly easy and far cheaper than their store-bought counterparts, without looking like a cheap, handmade knockoff (ideally).

So, what do we think? Is this an OK idea?
Or do you want to start a riot now?

04 January 2011

Variations on a Theme: Sweet Potatoes.

So, I don't know if I've posted it or not, but my grandma makes this delicious, total-heart-attack sweet potato casserole every Thanksgiving that's always the (other) highlight of my meal...(I cannot discount my one true love, stuffing).

She makes it with butter, sweet potatoes, crushed walnuts and a buttload of brown sugar. It's effin' delicious, but you just can't eat it every day. Anyway, I decided to make my own, slightly less sweet version to go with a little simple dinner of wild rice (microwave packet from Mom was -surprise!- totally delicious) and wilted spinach, which was purchased with E's food stamps...awesome.

To digress, I don't know what it is about wilted spinach, but I fucking *love* it. I mean, I'll go back for thirds. But it has to have balsamic vinegar on it. I hate fresh spinach (it doesn't CRUNCH the way I want my lettuce to crunch, ok?), but steamed for a bit and splashed with balsamic? Ohhh, yeahhh. My sisters and I used to seriously look forward to wilted spinach as kids. Weird, I know.

ANYHOO...so, I had a few yams and a few sweet potatoes, so I cut 'em in halves and threw 'em in a pot of boiling water for tenish minutes. (This is called blanching, kids, and it's really important otherwise your potatoes will be too hard and won't cook right).
Once blanched, I cooled the potatoes slightly and sliced them into about 1-cm thick slices, which I arranged in a lovely pattern in order to properly mix the yams and sweeties. You can do whatever you want - go ahead, make it ugly. I don't care.

Where G-ma sprinkles butter and liberal amounts of brown sugar between each layer of potatoes, I drizzled a small amount of futter and a very small pinch of brown sugar, coupled with a chopped yeller' onion and some basil flakes.

I was finished after about four layers (I believe I used 4 potatoes to start). Then, I popped the bad boy in the oven on about 375 degrees, and left it for....about half an hour, until the potatoes start to lose form and get soft enough to cut with a spoon.

So, a slightly less bad-for-you version of G-ma's special Thanksgiving Coronary Surprise! Deliciousness!

08 December 2010

Making Up Cookies/You can't call fake eggs "Feggs"

Alright now, I've been cooking up a storm and need to get some of this out there.

My new favesies thing to do is making up cookies. I'm sure you've all read the staple blog-entry "Best Ever Cookies," and if not, I'd like to see you after class.

Already knee-deep in my vegan cooking adventures, I still hadn't really gotten around to making some vegan cookies that everyone can enjoy. And so I embarked upon an odyssey of trial and error, sampling a variety of lovely egg-substitutes in my perennial favorite cookie recipe, and trying to get the formula just right.

Obviously, one has quite a bit of leeway when it comes to flavoring your cookies from this super basic recipe....add cinnamon and clove instead of vanilla, perhaps, or substitute half the flour for some oats....

Unfortunately for everyone involved, I didn't bother to measure any of the ingredients in my recent experimentations, thusly all measurements are approximate, and if you don't know what texture/consistency cookie dough should be in when it's ready to be cooked, then maybe you should skip this post (it should be about the consistency of play-doh.)

ANYWAY, my fave thing about vegan egg-substitooties is that the are usually fruit, and this makes me feel like my cookie is more than just a cookie....if I add a few raisins or oats, it's totally breakfast-worthy, right? Right? Except let's put something less gross than raisins....how about dried cranberries and shredded coconut? That's some fiber and shit, so that's good.

Egg Substitutes are a tricky thing...generally eggs' purpose in baking is as a binder, (they provide moisture and viscosity so that your dry ingreeds can become a dough) and the fluff-factor is not effected by their presence. What is crucial is to achieve the perfect dough-texture, and to remember that the average egg is at best 1/2 cup of liquid, so don't go overboard with the substitutes! Anyway, I know you're freaked out by those processed egg-substitutes, so I have tested a variety of totally natural and non-mysterious replacements in my kitchen-lab, and will hereby provide for you my scientifical observations for your edification.

My choices of egg substitute were as follows;
-Apple Sauce (the obvious option, apple sauce has a nice, mild flavor that doesn't interfere. Unfortch it is pretty wet, so you have to be verrrry careful about controlling the amount of moisture in your dough)

-Pumpkin Puree! (Like the kind you use to make pumpkin pie....i think this has the best texture/wetness and I'm obsessed with pumpkin flavored baked goods, so I like this a lot...works best with holiday-type spices, whatever that means to you, and makes a super-swell breakfast cookie

-Smashed Banana! (Another typical option, since duh, you use it to make banana bread so it has to work, right? OK so it does work, but bananas are not only motherfucking sticky as hell, but they taste strongly of banana. They're a good option if you want to taste a lot of banana, though I would recommend a splash of soy milk, since the more nanner you add, the sticker this sombitch is going to get, and the harder time you'll have just scraping it out of the food processor. So, maybe 2 parts banana to 1 part milk if you go this option.)

-Coconut Butter! (Last but certainly not least is my favourite. Coconut butter is just pureed coconut meat - some varieties also add some coconut oil back to the mix, others not. Naturally, this one is also the most expensive, difficult to find, and fatty, but if you can find it, it's fantastic for cookies....very light, creamy taste that doesn't interfere except to enhance richness, and a little goes a long way. This stuff also needs a little help from the soy milk. Possibly a little drier than the banana, but again, one should be eyeballing for a particular texture...)

So, there you have my inconclusive results! I've had happy luck with all the egg substitutes listed, and hopefully you will too...

04 October 2010

Ghetto Po'

Yes! My favorite most delicious chocobomb dessert, so easy a retarded baby monkey could make it.

It's actually called "Pot du'Creme" which is French, so the "t" isn't really pronounced at the end of the "pot"....so, I call it "po."

SO, making po is really easy and it can be vegan or not vegan. Kinda whatever.

Equip yourself with a blender and a collection of about six tiny cups.
Purchase a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (honestly, any flavor you like of chips is fine. You could use white chips, you could use milk chocolate, you could even use mint chips, which would be gross, but it's your po', not mine, and I'm cool with whatever you want to do. Hell, get fancy and make a double-layered po!) and gather a cup of cream or cream/milk substitute. A shot of triple-sec or rum if you have it is awesome, otherwise, add another splash of milk. You might also like some vanilla extract in there, but it's not utterly necessary.
For my guinea pigs, I used Silk soy creamer and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

So, put the chips and booze into the blender. Microwave the milk until it's scalding hot, like, about to burn you.
Pour into blender, and using caution (like maybe put a towel on the lid in case it splashes because you have your grandma's old shitty blender and the milk is real hot and you don't want it on you) quickly blend until smooth. This should be really quick, as the milk melts the chocolate (this is why CHIPS is important...small pieces melt quicker)

Pour the molten chocolava into the tiny cups you have set aside (really, a shot will do of this stuff...I used japanese tea bowls, they were the perfect size). Set in fridge for half an hour. When it comes out it'll be the most decadent, rich, chocomousse of your life. And your friends will seriously piss their pants with awe.

Roasted Sweet Pepper and Onion Crostini

ZOMG! I finally cooked something new and exciting, and completely forgot to document it's preparation and it's glorious finale. I am really kicking myself for this one...I guess it means I'll have to make it again!

Anyway, so you know, Crostini is just Italian for "little toasts," and then, of course, you put things on them. So, we started with a baguette, and sliced it up into little toasts. Lovely.

Next, for the topping, you will need:
* Sweet peppers (I used mini's because I had a bag of them in my fridge about to go all wrinkly...they were red, yellow, AND orange, and totally beautiful. I recommend all three for maximum visual enjoyment)- chop into thin strips.
* Approximately half a yellow or white onion - also sliced thin.
* About a jar of capers (don't knock it. they are delicious. they are my favourite. they are expensive, so this one's not really so ghetto, but honestly, I happened to have all this stuff just sitting around my house and I'm the kind of person who buys capers and keeps them in the fridge, so there ya go)
* A few cloves of fresh garlic, pressed (Oh my god, one of Mike's patients gave him garlic from her garden...we used it in the roasted peppers and it was the best garlic I have ever tasted. No, seriously. It was intense.)
* ANYWAY, you will also need olive oil and sea salt (I just like it better because it's chunky. And that makes it feel fancy. To me. Don't judge.)

In a casserole/baking dish (mine was about 8x9 inch porcelain dish) toss all the above ingredients into a nice, even melange. You should have approximately an inch-deep layer of onions and peppers, with a liberal drizzle of olive oil over the top, capers throughout. A light shake of salt should do it.

Put it in the oven at about 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, checking to make sure you haven't baked it into mush. (Honestly, I baked it on 350 for what seemed like at least 40 minutes, but I was stoned so I can't be completely certain. Anyway, I think it could be bumped up in temperature a bit and it would bring down the cook-time with little damage, so let's go with that.) It should be sizzling and just starting to brown on the edges of the pan when you pull it out of the oven.

I just put the whole pan on the table with the toasts and some forks to apply the topping....you can dress the toasts individually if you want, but I don't particularly recommend it because I think it would become soggy with the olive oil.

AAaaand, that's it! Totally vegan, totally beautiful, and totally delicious...
go forth and impress.