Miso Gravy

A savory gravy can pull together a simple meal and transform it into a taste explosion worthy of licking the plate. Whenever I don't feel like cooking, I usually make nutritional yeast tofu and/or mashed potatoes. These simple creations were begging for a savory topping but making gravy can be time consuming and it doesn't seem worth it for a single person meal. Enter this miso gravy. Though I love a gravy with fresh onions and garlic, I decided to create this one with a prominent miso flavor that I can whip up easily with ingredients I always have on hand. Make sure you add the miso after the the gravy is no longer boiling so you don't destroy the nutritional benefits.

Miso Gravy

1/3 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
2 tbsp garbanzo bean or spelt flour (or flour of your choice)
2/3 cup plain rice milk (or other non-dairy beverage)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp white miso (or other light miso)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp fresh pepper
1/8 tsp dried sage
2 tsp arrowroot powder, dissolved in water (optional)

1. Heat Earth Balance in a medium saucepan over medium heat
2. Add flour and stir constantly until fully dissolved
3. Add rice milk and continue stirring until gravy thickens
4. Reduce heat to low and add nutritional yeast, stirring constantly
5. Add miso and rest of ingredients and continue to stir
6. If gravy is not thick enough, add some arrowroot powder and remove from heat
7. Serve immediately

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ranch Dresssing

uOnce upon a time when I lived in Boulder, Colorado, I used to live across the street from the local vegan shop named Three Little Figs, owned by two lovely ladies. I was addicted to their ranch and was sad when not only did I move but they also closed. The owner agreed to give me the recipe and swore me to secrecy. She felt safe that I would be living all the way in Portland and couldn't possibly betray her recipe. Little did she know that someday I'd have a blog. Out of respect for her, however, I will only post the ingredients I used and not actual amounts. I did alter the recipe , naturally, so this is mostly an homage to the original.

Ranch Dressing

Silken tofu
Vegan mayonnaise
Grapeseed oil, or other neutral tasting oil
Lemon juice
Lemon zest
Apple cider vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Garlic granules
Onion granules
Dried dill
Dried parsley

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. Refrigerate before serving.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Spicy Buffalo Wings

I recently attended a potluck with an 'un-chicken' theme, in anti-honor of National Chicken Month. Everybody made fantastic dishes such as chicken salad, chicken and broccoli bake, chicken and corn chowder, and chicken croquettes, to name a few. The versatility, originality and tastiness of the dishes presented a hell of case for giving up our innocent fowl friends. As The Spicy Vegan, I naturally had to bring a spicy chicken dish. What's better than spicy Buffalo wings? Nothing.

The idea was presented to me by the hostess Janessa, The Epicurious Vegan, and I welcomed the challenge to create one of my favorite dishes from my pre-vegetarian days, one that I missed for its delicious spicy sauce. The first challenge was figuring out what to use as a base. I went to our local Asian Market, Fubonn, and bought VegeUsa dehydrated soy protein nuggets from Taiwan. The trick to using these is getting rid of the cardboard taste. I decided to hydrate mine in vegetable stock instead of water. Next step was creating the Buffalo wing sauce. I didn't measure anything, so you will have to adjust according to personal taste

Buffalo Wing Sauce:
Frank's red hot sauce
earth balance
vegan worcestershire sauce

I did a roughly one to one ratio of hot sauce and earth balance, followed by a healthy dash of worcestershire sauce and a heavy handed sprinkle of cayenne and paprika. I simply put all ingredients in a sauce pan and simmered them together until well incorporated. Next, I tossed my newly dehydrated wings in the sauce and marinated overnight. In the morning, I baked the marinated nuggets at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Then I took them out of the oven, tossed them again and baked for another 15 minutes. Once I arrived at the potluck I tossed them again and baked for another 15 minutes. You can repeat this step endlessly as it will only continue to seal in the flavor.  The final step was tossing them one last time but leaving them slightly saucy. Serve with your favorite dressing (I used a homemade ranch-- recipe to follow), carrot and celery sticks and voila! You are now ready to blow some minds.


Strawberry Cleopatra

Back when I was a teenager I used to work in the mall near an Orange Julius. I was completely obsessed with their drinks, particularly the Strawberry Julius. It was always the highlight of my day yet one of the many things I gave up when I turned vegan, as they use milk powder in their blend.
This morning I was out of bananas but really wanted a smoothie. I decided to make a milkshake instead with fresh strawberries and some Temptations Strawberry Ice Cream from Chicago Soy Dairy I had in the freezer. I was weary when I took my first sip yet was more than pleasantly surprised to find that not only was it fantastic but it tasted just like the strawberry Julius drinks from my youth! I was downright giddy the rest of the day. Enjoy!

Strawberry Cleopatra
7 fresh strawberries, tops cut off
1 to 1 1/2 cups of rice milk
1/2 pint of strawberry ice cream

Blend all ingredients together, adjusting the rice milk to your thickness preference. Serve immediately.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

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