Mar 30, 2009

You Know You're a Food Blogger If...

You know you're a food blogger if...

1) You're constantly trying to make your food look pretty, even if it's a bowl of oatmeal.

2) You've shamelessly taken pictures of restaurant food with your cell phone.

3) The highlight of your day is checking your email for comments, even if it's just someone saying, "Cool!"

4) You read other blogs not to recreate their recipes, but to put your own twist on them.

5) You dream about food before making it.

6) You've ever been late for (fill in the blank) because you were blogging, commenting, or posting your pics on flickr.

7) Your significant other often tells you that your clothes smell like food.

8) You blog on your laptop while watching TV, and have convinced yourself that you can do both simultaneously.

9) You have a makeshift photography "set" in your house made of cardboard, cloth napkins, and other household materials.

10) You have an unnatural fascination with plates.

Mar 29, 2009

DB Vegan Strawberry "Lasagna" Pie

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

When I learned about the Daring Bakers challenge this month (lasagna), I thought of being unique and making a dessert. But sweet pasta just didn't sound too good to me- maybe I'll try it some time and prove myself wrong.

Instead, I created a lasagna-shaped pie with a Balsamic Strawberry "Ragu," and a Vanilla Custard "Bechamel," and topped it with Candied Lemon Zest.

Hope you enjoy my deceptive creation!

After making my "crust squares," which was made slightly healthier by making a vegetable oil crust, instead of the traditional shortening or margarine crusts, I made the other components and simply assembled everything cold. In hindsight, I would probably try to roll the dough thinner since there are so many layers! This would also be good with puff pastry or phyllo, I think, but you may not be able to make those rad looking waves!

Balsamic Strawberry "Ragu"
If you've never tried strawberries with balsamic vinegar, it's wonderful! The vinegar brings out more of the strawberry flavor, and when reduced, makes a delicious syrup.

1 16 oz. package of fresh strawberries, sliced or cubed -then divided into 2 parts
1/3 C. sugar
1 T. balsamic vinegar
squeeze of lemon (@ 1 tsp)


Put everything into a sauce pan except half of the strawberries, and simmer until reduced to a thick syrupy sauce. Taste and make sure the sour to sweet ratio is to your liking and adjust as desired with sugar or lemon. Let cool, then fold in the other half of the fresh strawberries.

Vanilla Custard "Bechamel"
Ok, this was far from being like a sauce, but I wanted it to look neat and not sloppy, so I hardened it with some agar and cut it into squares. It had a great flavor, but could probably use a bit more creaminess, perhaps some pureed silken tofu...and a little less agar? If you didn't want to add more fat, then you could put the hardened custard into a food processor and crumble it to resemble ricotta, so it would then be more aptly named, Vanilla Custard "Ricotta." This was a great dessert on it's own, and I'll definitely be tinkering with it in the future!

1 stick of agar- I found this at the Asian market
2 C. soy milk
1 C. water
1/3 C. sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
1/2 pkg. Tofutti cream cheese (non-hydrogenated kind)


As directed on the package, I soaked the agar stick in the liquids (soy milk and water) for about half an hour. Then I heated it on the stove and mixed in the sugar and vanilla. After zapping the cream cheese in the microwave for about 30 seconds, I whisked that in and stirred until everything was fully combined and the agar was fully dissolved. Then I poured it into a 12 X 20"
rectangular cake pan and let it cool to room temp, then into the fridge until chilled.

There was a lot of the custard left over after making the above, which I will happily eat by itself or with some other fruits.

Candied Lemon Zest

Just zest a bunch of lemons and put the zest into a baggie and shake with some sugar. Let it sit for an hour or two, then shake off excess sugar- this "lemon sugar" is great stuff too!

This was definitely a dessert to share with a few friends with forks. Below was how I made the crust squares to look like lasagna noodles, using metal skewers.

Mar 24, 2009

Home Made Melba Toast for "Melba Toast Day"

Yesterday was Melba Toast Day. No, I'm not kidding. I read on another blog that Lemon Chiffon Cake Day was coming up, and I just had to google that... because, wtf? Who comes up with these "days?" Well, I found a huge list of celebrated US National Food Days. There's something to celebrate for every single day of the year- some even have more than one! Check it out, and let me know which one is your favorite! National Kitchen Klutz Day and Eat Anything You Want Day cracked me up! Although I highly doubt that any of these "days" were the result of presidential proclamations, they're pretty entertaining.

Today is actually Chocolate Covered Raisin Day, but I didn't feel too inspired by that one.

Mark was telling me how his grandmother in England used to make her own crackers by simply rolling sliced bread very thin and baking them until crisp. What a great idea! I sprinkled some sesame seeds and caraway seeds onto whole wheat sandwich bread before rolling it out, and came up with these. I left the crusts on, but you can cut them off to make them extra fancy. Use your favorite spices, seeds, nuts, etc. to make your own flavor combination.

I baked mine at 300 for 10-12 minutes and under the broiler for a couple additional minutes.

Yesterday was also "Chip and Dip Day," so I ate these with some creamy hummus... perfect. I feel so "with it."

Mar 17, 2009

Brown Rice Sushi and Deep Fried Pickles

Yes, this is a strange meal for St. Patty's Day... but I've just never been able to get into this holiday. I've never had Irish stew or corned beef and cabbage (although some of the recent vegan posts do look quite appealing). The only memory I have is of getting pinched in elementary school for not wearing green! Not that I've been scarred or anything (eh-hem!), but aren't those little leprechauns kinda scary, like clowns? Who here was(is) afraid of Ronald McDonald? Well, that's another story...

I do, however enjoy green foods- as long as it's not from an artificial dye #5 or ground up beetles, or some unknown chemical process!

So, here is my contribution- that has nothing to do with St. Patrick, except for the Luck 'o the Irish green. I'm not sure that fried pickles goes with sushi, but hey- it's California and we're crazy like that. I've been told that avocados are not a traditional sushi ingredient, but I can't think a good vegan sushi roll without it! Yay for the California Roll!

I made three variations of sushi. The one shown above is an "inside out roll" with the nori on the inside and the rice and avocado on the outside. The brown rice (actually a mix of 1/3 quinoa and 2/3 brown rice) was made a bit stickier by adding a bit more water in the rice steamer. How much? My guesstimate is about 1/2 cup more than usual. It is filled with a spicy chickpea "tuna" mixture and pea shoots.

NOTE: It helps to have a good sharp, finely serrated knife (which I didn't have)! To help out my lack of tools, clear plastic wrap was my savior both in rolling it and holding the roll together while I cut it... a trick taught to me by my friend who is a sushi chef.

The above picture is my nigiri "seatbelt" sushi, as we call it. This is an easy alternative to those who are sushi-roll challenged. The hard part is making sure that the rice is packed firm so it won't fall apart when picked up. I made this one with short grain white rice. NOTE: Make sure your hands are wet when handling sticky rice... no explanation needed.

To make this, simply make an oblong ball of rice in your hands by holding and shaping the rice in one hand, and compressing the rice with the other hand. Layer seasoned baked tofu (or tofu of choice- I made a teriyaki marinade and sauce) and a thin slice of avocado. Cut roasted nori into 1/2"-1" strips and wrap with the seam side down. I topped mine with some roasted white sesame seeds and also drizzled some home made teriyaki sauce.

Lastly, this was my attempt at a hand roll variation with the spicy chickpea "tuna." I started with half a sheet of roasted nori, and spread a layer of sushi rice and chickpea mixture in one of the lower corners. Then, I just rolled it into a cone shape and topped with a little more of the mixture, some black sesame seeds, and pea shoots. This would be great with cucumber too. These were probably the easiest to make, but a little messy to eat!

And now for the Pickles! If I haven't already mentioned, Mark (my housemate) is originally from England and came over here when he was about 18. He's also owned a couple of restaurants and loves to cook. Needless to say, he makes a mean fish 'n' chips! For these babies, it was a similar batter- very light and crispy, with the use of seltzer water. Mark had picked up this HUGE can of Costco-sized sliced dill pickles, and has been promising to make these for like a year! Finally, dude! Cee said they tasted like good salt and vinegar chips, and we ate these dipped in my creamy cucumber dill sauce. This was a very non-traditional "tempura" to my sushi, but very tasty and my first time trying them! I only ate one, as I don't like to eat too many fried foods, but these can be addictive- be careful!

Here are the recipes:

Sushi Rice Seasoning
  • 3 T. rice vinegar
  • 2 T. water
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. dark sesame oil
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Taste and add more sugar if you like your sushi rice sweeter (as my husband does). Spread out about 3 cups of room-temp rice on a plate, making sure it's pretty even. Drizzle seasoning lightly over the rice with a spoon (don't use all of it). Mix the rice and taste. Add more seasoning until it's the strength you like.

Baked Teriyaki Tofu & Sauce:
  • 1 pkg extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 C. soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 C. water
  • brown sugar
  • 1 T. mirin (rice wine)
  • orange rind of one orange
  • orange juice of one orange
  • few thin slices of ginger
  • 2-3 T. arrowroot & a little water
In a saucepan, mix everything except the arrowroot. Drain the tofu and slice into small rectangles (about 1/2" thick). Gently pat them dry with a towel to remove excess water. Place the rectangles onto a prepared baking sheet and spoon teriyaki mixture over the tops. Flip them over to completely coat, and bake for about 10 min. at 425. Heat the remaining sauce until boiling. In a cup, add a the arrowroot, then add a little water to dissolve. Whisk this slurry into the boiling sauce until thickened to a thin gravy consistency. Take off heat and set aside to cool.

Spicy Chickpea "Tuna":
  • 1 15oz. can of chickpeas, drained
  • 2-3 T. shredded nori
  • 2 T. Vegenaise
  • Siracha sauce
  • squeeze of lemon
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
Roughly mash the chickpeas and mix in the remaining ingredients. Adjust the spicyness by adding more Siracha as needed. I didn't add this, but minced green onions would be good in it.

Fried Pickles:
  • @25oz. jar of sandwich sliced dill pickles (more or less)
  • 1 C. all purpose flour + small amount to dust pickles with
  • 1 C. Seltzer water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
Dip pickles in flour until lightly coated, shaking off excess. Set aside. Combine dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Whisk in seltzer water until you get a thin pancake consistency. Dip the pickles in the batter and fry.

Mar 14, 2009

Cream Filled Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Toffee Sprinkles, Plus Millet Salad

I made these cupcakes for a friend's birthday bash. They're all getting sloshed, so I thought I'd make something to mellow out their alcoholic binge... Don't cupcakes soak up alcohol? I'm not an expert, 'cause I don't drink- but I have a feeling that these will accompany nicely... at least until they get sick from too much booze! I used the basic yellow cupcake recipe from the famous VCTOTW book and doubled it to make 2 dozen. Then, I also filled the centers with some vanilla cream and slathered the tops with chocolate ganache. Lastly, I sprinkled some vegan candy toffee crumbles on top for texture... Yum! Like alcohol, you should probably have these in moderation!

Vanilla Cream:

1/2 pkg Tofutti cream cheese
3 T. vegetable shortening
3 T. soy milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. confectioner's sugar


Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.

Chocolate Ganache:

1/4 C. vegan margarine
1/3 C. cocoa powder
1 1/3 C. confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 T. soy milk


In a sauce pan, melt the margarine, then whisk in cocoa powder. Whisk in half of the confectioner's sugar, then the soy milk and vanilla, then the rest of the sugar. Whisk until smooth, take off heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes before frosting.

To assemble:

When the cupcakes are cooled down, poke a hole from the top of the cupcake to the center with the end of a chopstick (or something similar). With your finger, push the hole in further and make a "well" in the middle- try not to break open the tops. It helps if you have slender fingers. Put the cream filling into a pastry bag or I just used an old agave nectar bottle (squeeze bottle). Fill the cupcakes level to the top. Next, dollop a spoonful of ganache on top and flatten out with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle with crumbled vegan toffee candy. Put in the fridge to cool before serving.

I've recently discovered millet. It's a small grain that I've been steaming in my trusty rice cooker (I use this for all my grains). It's delicious, fluffy, and has a great nutty taste, not unlike brown rice. Since, my mom has been focusing on whole grains for her cancer diet, I've been mixing various grains with her brown rice to soften the texture. I've also been adding a little more water to the steamer. Luckily, she's always liked brown rice- a lot of Asians prefer white rice and have a hard time getting used to the brown.

Here, I've simply mixed in sauteed onion, some raw chopped celery leaves, hearts of palm, lemon juice, a little tumeric, and a little salt. Very light and tasty!

Mar 12, 2009

To Be or Not to B12? Plus Kabocha Squash Soup

First- the soup. If you haven't tried Kabocha squash, it is a smallish greenish Japanese pumpkin, that has a great flavor- different than regular pumpkin (more subtle perhaps), and has a smooth potato-y texture and wonderful sweetness.

As you can see, it has an intense yellow-orange flesh and a pretty dark green, sometimes spotted with orange skin, which I leave on when cooking as it's completely edible and not tough at all.

The seeds looked so large and plump that I decided to try roasting them. But, the shells were just too tough to eat, and cracking them open yielded very little inside. Flavor was good though.

The soup is a simple puree of boiled onions, cooked red lentils, Kabocha (leaving a few chunks), and vegetable broth. Season as desired.

The Kabocha is great in stews, curries, and just roasted as you would any other squash.

...Now for the Question: To Be, or Not to B12?
(I know, terrible pun- but couldn't help myself!)

As many vegans already know, vitamin B12 is essential to health, but only available naturally in animal products and unwashed plants grown in soil that is rich with the microbes that produce B12. We used to get this vitamin by eating plants as well as animals, but due to the sterile and triple-washed methods of modern day, veggies and fruits found in stores no longer have any!

Now, the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for B12 is only 1 - 3 micrograms, which is a VERY small amount! And, on top of that- excess amounts can be stored in the body for several years.

I personally HATE taking pills of any sort. I prefer to get my vitamins and nutrients through the foods I eat. That being said, I have found many common food items that are fortified with B12 (some I knew about, some I didn't). I thought this would be of interest to a lot of vegans and concerned non-vegans alike. So... here is a little list. If you know of any others, please feel free to comment and add!

(% = RDA in one serving)
  • Silk Soy Milk 50%
  • Organic Valley Soy Milk 50%
  • Wildwood Soy Milk 50%
  • Rice Dream Rice Milk 25%
  • Living Harvest Hemp Milk 20%
  • Vitasoy Soy Milk 15%
  • Barabara's Apple Cinnamon O's & Crispy Wheats Cereals 25%
  • Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal 100%
  • Nature's Path Optimum Power Cereal 100%
  • Post Grape Nuts, Raisin Bran, and Granolas 25%
  • Total Cereal 100%
  • Wheaties 50%
  • Cheerios 25%
  • Yves Tofu Dogs 10-20% (depending on size)
  • Yves Pepperoni 20%
  • Azumaya Tofu 30%
  • Soy Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt 30%
  • KAL Nutritional Yeast 130%
I noticed that not all brands of cereal and soy milk were fortified, although those were the most common. I read that tofu, tempeh, and seitan were usually fortified, but I only found one brand of tofu (at my market) that was.

So if you hate taking supplements, eat a bowl of fortified cereal! ;)

Mar 9, 2009

More Anti-Cancer Food for Mom, and a Night Out with Purple Sushi!

I usually don't go out to eat much, since vegan dining around here is a joke! My husband occasionally likes to go to a local sushi buffet, but I don't usually tag along because I just don't think it's worth the money to sit there and have a bowl of miso soup and a bland cucumber roll, while everyone else is raving about their food! LOL ... But, I consented to go out to meet up with a good friend of my husband's at a Makuni's in Sacramento. I ordered their "Rabbit Roll"- because you know, all vegans eat like rabbits! (another LOL!) It was decent- but what really got me was the purple nori it was wrapped in! I don't usually see nori which isn't the typical black.

Steamed quinoa and brown rice with stewed limas, broccoli, onions, carrots, and tomato

I haven't been doing a lot of exciting cooking lately- just a lot of stewed and boiled veggies, steamed whole grains, and the like for Mom. I like it, but it's not exactly fancy or impressive tasting. The guys are very supportive and eating it, supplementing with other stuff.

Mom is blatantly cheating on her special diet. She makes the excuse that she was hungry, and there wasn't anything else to eat. It's frustrating, but I'm doing what I can to provide her with good food and good information- the rest is up to her!

I just learned that tumors thrive on high fat/ high sodium diets. The type of fat that they like are inflammatory-causing fats from meats, dairy, and hydrogenated oils. Good fats include olive oil, flax oil, hemp oil, etc. The sodium was a surprise to me. Too much apparently changes your natural pH. There's so much information out there, some even conflicting- it's difficult to know what is what!

But these two things, on top of the fact that tumors like sugar too, are what I'm working with right now.

Mom gets cranky when she eats food that doesn't taste "good" ... don't we all! But she particularly hates it when things aren't salty enough. So I looked into some salt substitutes, and bought some AlsoSalt, which is mainly Potassium and L-lysine- nutrients that are good for cancer too! It doesn't taste exactly like salt to me, but is a good sub. They sell it at Safeway in different flavors too. Much more pricier than salt, but if you need to cut down on sodium, this may help.

One more thing that I learned, is that Mom's cancer (colon) has a high heredity risk rate. I have a 50% chance of getting it myself later on! Well, at least my diet is on track- which is one of the most important things you can do for prevention.

I'll be posting more soon, as soon as I get into the rhythm of things that have changed around here! Thanks for all of you who have posted kind comments and words of support! I REALLY appreciated it, and it gave me a lift!!

Mar 5, 2009

Mom's Soup

A warm cozy, surprisingly rich puree of lima beans, potato, and cauliflower. Served with generous chunks of roasted butternut squash.

The excitement and fun of my last post was definitely tempered by my concern for my mom. It's been 5 years since Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer, and she has outlived her doctor's prognosis by about 4 years. She is extremely strong-willed and usually does exactly what she sets out to do.

Until recently, she has remained active by playing a lot of golf, despite the chemo, and even managed to win a few tournaments at her club! But in just this past month, she learned that none of the various treatments have helped her tumors, and they have in fact spread to her lungs and are growing larger. Now, she is extremely tired all the time and has pains and some labored breathing and coughing due to the tumors in her lungs.

It's difficult to see her like that. The reason I became vegan was partially due to the research on cancer that I did when I first learned about Mom's condition. But despite my findings, and her own research on microbiotics, she chose not to give up her favorite foods. Like I said, she's very strong-willed. It also didn't help that one of her good friends, a medical doctor, was a huge proponent of eating lots of meat whenever you're sick. Sadly, his wife recently died of lung cancer, and he currently has kidney cancer, diabetes, as well as a host of other illnesses. He is now eating a lot less meat.

I tried to tell Mom that this guy was full of it, and now she believes me! Yes most doctors will tell their cancer patients to eat whatever they want. I understand to a certain degree, because if you're appetite is limited, it's good to get nourishment however you can. But I am a firm believer that diet plays a significant role when it comes to diseases. It just makes sense! Our bodies respond differently to different foods. It has been found that sugar increases tumor growth. So, it would make sense that other foods would inhibit growth, wouldn't you think?

Anyway... Mom finally made a commitment to eat better, and I have been cooking dinner for her every day. I am careful to use good whole foods and nothing processed, no white flour or sugar. I'm just not sure if her condition is reversible now. But I'm very willing to give it a try, and so is she!

Last night, she was feeling particularly tired and didn't feel like eating anything that required too much effort. I suggested soup, and she agreed.

This soup was so good! I loved the creaminess it had, but without the fat (or cream)! Mom was surprised too. The butternut squash was simply cut in half lengthwise and roasted in a 400 degree oven (open face down) until tender. Simple, sweet, and delicious!


2 medium russett potatoes, peeled
1 small-medium onion, roughly chopped
2 C. pre-soaked lima beans
1 veg bouillon cube
1/4 C. nutritional yeast
half a cauliflower (about 2 cups), chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped


Put onions, potatoes, and lima beans in a soup pot, and add enough water to cover + 1/2 an inch or so. Let it come to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Dissolve one veg bouillon cube (I use one that has no preservatives, and organic) in a little water and the nutritional yeast. When the beans and potatoes are tender, add the bouillon mixture, garlic, and cauliflower. Let simmer for a few minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Puree in a blender until smooth, serve warm.

Mar 1, 2009

FoodBuzz 24, 24, 24: Movie Night...Remixed!

It was a night filled with fun, friends, food, and overall funkyness!

The folks over at FoodBuzz selected my event proposal as one of the 24 meals in 24 hours for 24 blogs this month. My proposal? To combine my full-time profession (DJing) with my part-time obsession (food blogging)... vegan style!

For those who don't know much about me, my husband and I own a professional DJ company that focuses on cutting-edge video DJing and turntablism. My crew of DJs and staff are not just people who work for me, but people I consider family, and accordingly, I'm always in the kitchen cooking them meals for when they come over to do production, hang out, or come back from a gig.

DJ Destiny (my husband) & Mr. Vibe

Tonight, my event was for them and all the hard work they've put into the studio, creating some of the most awesome custom music videos for our shows. We ate some fabulous vegan finger foods, and had a Movie Night Screening of our latest works, choosing one winning video to be posted at the end of this blog.

Now, on with the PARTY...

Not all of my staff are vegans, in fact only one is a vegan (Mr. Vibe), one is a vegetarian (DJ Groovesmith), my husband (DJ Destiny) and best friend (Cee) are occasional fish eaters but otherwise vegan, and the rest are omnivores (except when they eat from my kitchen, which is fairly often). My housemate and Marketing Director (Mark) and other housemate (DJ Novel) are what I like to call "Honorary Vegans," who regularly eat vegan due to their habitat, but occasionally stray from the vegan burrow and binge on hamburgers.

Keeping up with our DJ theme, I did an eco-friendly thing and reused old unwanted vinyl records, CD's, and even an old turntable to serve as trays, coasters, and a decorative lazy susan that actually spins. I think Ed Bagley would be proud... then a bit angry if he noticed our energy usage! (oh, well)

DJ Novel & Mark surprised me with a SPECIAL video they created just for me and this event! It is a collage of as much vegan references as they could piece together with their twisted humor... word of caution: this video is Rated MA for language and overall silliness!

And now, for our MENU (and recipes!):

The ideas for two of the finger foods served, were graciously submitted by Tami of Vegan Appetite, and Hannah of Bittersweet. They were both killer, and I received many complements!

Here's Tami's Red Curry Lime Wings. In my Iron Chef-style haste, I found that I had used up all my home-made seitan in another recipe (oh no!), so I made a big batch of this marinade with a little tomato paste mixed in to use as a hot dipping sauce for my Fried Chickn Legs. Spicy, sweet, exotic... delish! Btw, Tami- Those beer battered onion rings... oh, my...!

Here's my photo...I cut up my drumstick and put it on a skewer to get the most flavor...mmm!

Here's Hannah's Whoopie Pies. I have to be honest, this was the last item that I made, and had to recruit my best friend, Cee to help assemble them. Boy, was it worth it! Mine didn't turn out as pretty, and I completely blanked on adding the vegan sour cream in the cookies, but they turned out fantastic anyway! I had to make my own confectioner's sugar out of corn starch and granulated sugar (again, Iron-Chef haste), and used my trusty food processor instead of my high-powered blender, which was in the sink coated with pesto. So, my filling didn't turn out very thick (oh, no!). I blended in some Tofutti cream cheese and put it in the freezer to help it set. Worked like a charm, and everyone's eyes got big when they came out!

Here's my photo:
Cashew Pesto Phyllo Stix
These were a big hit- crisp flakey phyllo and cheesy cashew and basil.
I made about 16 stix, and cut some in half to arrange in a tall glass.

Ingredients were simple: ground cashews, lemon juice, basil, and olive oil. Spray delicate sheets with oil and stack about 4. Place a thin line of pesto and roll a couple times, cut, and carefully transfer by putting the seam side down on your baking sheet. Each stack makes about 3 stix. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 and broil on low for about 2 to get golden.

Pigless in Puff Pastry
Cute and scrumptious! Ingredients were not even semi home-made, but the assembly gave it an elegant touch! I used Pepperidge Farm's Puff Pastry sheets and Tofurky Italitan sausages, cut into thirds. 4 packs of sausage and 2 packs of pastry made 48 of these, with some pastry left over. To make these pretty, I rolled the dough out fairly thin, and cut 2X4-inch strips. Each strip was then cut into thirds lengthwise, without cutting all the way to the ends. Then I simply placed a sausage in the middle, wrapped and pinched to close, baking with seam side down for 10-14 minutes and broiling til brown (about 2 minutes). Served with dipping sauces and usual condiments.

Asian Chick'n Lettuce Wraps
One of the night's favorites, by far! Even had some eyebrows raised as to the question of it being faux meat. This was Mark's creation: Butter lettuce leaf filled with a filling of sauteed onions, cilantro, and faux chicken (marinated in a little sesame oil and soy sauce), chilled, then topped with an Asian salsa consisting cucumbers, avacado, carrots, apples, a splash of vinegar, and a scant amount of Vegenaise (vegan mayo). Salt & peppered to taste.
Giant Seitan Pot Stickers
This has got to be my all-time favorite dish and brings back childhood memories of making home-made potstickers with my family. The skins are simply made of 2 parts water to 1 part flour, allowed to rest in the fridge for 1-24 hours, rolled very thin, and filled with ground seitan, green onions, ground nuts, cabbage, soy sauce, and minced ginger. Fillings and sizes may vary! The method for assembling them can be found here.

Mini Shepherd's Pies
This was another of Mark's creations, which we warmed up for the party, but forgot to serve! Delicious layer of TVP (textured veg protein), onions, carrots, peas, and corn, topped with a piping of seasoned mashed potatoes. He packed them into muffin tins, but in hindsight would have used cupcake liners to make them easier to lift out. Baked them at 400 for 15-20 minutes and broiled to make the tops crispy and brown. We were happy to eat them the next day, smothered in onion gravy!
Mike's Southeast Asian Sushi Rolls
The one dish I failed to get a photo of!! The hubby made a small batch of these, which were gobbled up so fast, I didn't have a chance. This picture looks the most like it, however the rice was seasoned with vinegar, sugar, red curry and a bit of coconut milk. He made a filling of spicy marinated faux fish, avocado, and tempura onions and rolled the nori inside-out like the picture. It brought together wonderful flavors and was a great alternative to the usual sushi!

A VERY good soy chicken "drumstick" was purchased from our local Asian market. The texture is freakishly like real meat and comes with it's own wooden stick handle! I dipped it in a tempura batter mixed with Panko bread crumbs, smoked paprika, poultry seasoning, and black pepper. These were quickly deep fried, just until the batter was crisp. You can also pan fry them, as I have done in an earlier post.

Caramel Popcorn
Couldn't have Movie Night without some popcorn! I used Mr. Redenbocker's kernals and popped them right on my stove inside a covered soup pot (Mark showed me how!). Just put a single layer of kernals on the bottom of the pot with a little canola oil to coat. Once sizzling, cover partially with the lid and wait for the first pops. Cover and shake. Once it starts to get going, turn off the heat and shake every few seconds until the war is over! The caramel can be made by heating white sugar in a sauce pan until it turns to a golden brown liquid. Add a few tablespoons of margarine-the kind that melts (we use Earth Balance buttery sticks), and a pinch of salt. Whisk together until bubbly and pour over pop corn. Toss quickly to coat. These were addictive! :)

Cee's Sweet Potato Mini Pies
She used the recipe from The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook by Robin Robertson, and put them into mini muffin tins. These were sweet, creamy, and the perfect bite with a dollop of Rod's non-dairy whipped cream in a can.

Saucy Turntable

Vegan Ranch Dressing
: 1 part soft silken tofu (Mori-Nu) + 1 part Vegenaise + dried dill, basil, salt & pepper- SO good, and much better for you than the dairy stuff in a jar!
Spicy Thousand Island: 2 parts Vegenaise to 1 part tomato ketchup, and enough Siracha chili sauce to give it your desired kick.
Hummus: 1 can chickpeas, squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, and salt to taste. Blend together until smooth.
The last sauce on the turntable was the curry lime sauce mentioned earlier.

And now for the WINNER of the Movie Night Remixed Event... (drumroll, please!)

Congratulations to DJ iKronix for all of you Techno/Comic Book/Action CGI Heads...check this out! I can't start to imagine all the piecing together THIS video must have required! Great job!!... I had some trouble embedding his video here, so you may click on this link to see it on our DJ site. Enjoy!

Thanks to everyone who helped me put this night together... Thank you,, and Thanks to everyone who stopped by! Leave me a comment - would love to hear from you!

...keep it Spinnin'!!