A Vegan Food Truck: Mike’s Vegan Cookout

Here in NC, food trucks are still allowed to operate, as long as people take their food home to eat it. Today, Mike’s Vegan Cookout came to my town for the first time. I knew I had to try it.

The menu isn’t the type of thing I would normally get. They had beyond burgers with tons of fancy toppings and vegan hot dogs (pretty sure they were Lightlife) with the same fancy toppings. Usually, I avoid meat substitutes, but I figured it was worth a shot.

I ordered the Colombiana hot dog for myself and the Carolina dog for my partner. The Colombiana had pineapple, cheese, special sauce, and crushed potato chips on it. It was really good. I actually enjoyed a vegan hot dog for the first time ever. My partner really enjoyed his Carolina dog.

I also got us the Tornado to share. It reminded me of the potatoes I would get whenever I went to the fair as a child. It was fried and yummy. The chili was tasty, though some hot sauce would have been nice.

They also had peach cobbler. I have a rule that if I ever have an opportunity to get vegan dessert, I take the opportunity (vegan desserts are so hard to find in my part of the US). The cobbler wasn’t great. It probably would have been better warm and I think it could have used more peaches. But, it still tasted pretty good, so worth tasting.

Over all, I thought things might have been a bit expensive. However, having a vegan food truck is something really nice. I could order whatever I wanted. I also learned that nice toppings can really make a hot dog amazing and give it new life.

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Spring Strawberry Salad

I was craving salad and I happened to have a few strawberries on hand, so strawberry salad came to be. This served 2 as a side salad. Amounts could be altered based off what you have available. I would recommend tasting the dressing and adjusting before adding to the salad. I went easy on the sweetener because my oranges were very sweet.

Spring Strawberry Salad

3 cups lettuce (I used chopped romaine)

1/4 cup sliced strawberries

1/2 cup toasted pecan halves

1/4 cup vegan feta

Dressing (recipe follows)

 

Dressing

Juice of 2 oranges

Zest of one orange

3 tsp mustard of choice (I used dijon, I would avoid yellow mustard)

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup (adjust based on sweetness of oranges)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

To Assemble

In a small bowl whisk dressing ingredients together and set aside.

In a medium bowl add salad ingredients, including dressing, and toss together.

 Serve and enjoy!

 

 

Beefy Broccoli and Tempeh

My partner bought a huge bag of broccoli on our last Costco run. I wanted to try cooking some of it in a way different from my usual methods, so I tried the Beefy Broccoli and Tempeh recipe from I Can Cook Vegan. I made a few changes to the recipe. First, I added extra sriracha (we like spicy food). Second I added some godmother sauce when I sautéed the broccoli.  God mother sauce, or Lao Gan Ma, is a spicy chili crisp in oil. It’s accidentally vegan/vegetarian and it’s amazing. We have a giant jar sitting in our fridge because we use it so much. You can likely find it at your local asian grocery store.

The recipe came out well and there were plenty of leftovers for lunch.

Berry Lavender Scones with Lemon Glaze

Time for another stress baking creation. I wanted to use up some things that have been taking up space in my kitchen and this seemed like a good option. I made the scones from Vegan Brunch and used the berry lavender variation. I also added the zest of a lemon with the wet ingredients.

The glaze is from the lemon blueberry scones from Super Fun Times!, only I used normal lemons instead of Meyer lemons (I had to use that I have on hand.

I think they came out okay and they make a nice tea time snack.

 

 

Pantry Tacos

Sometimes cooking with what you have on hand can be a challenge. When in doubt, taco it. A tortilla is an amazing food that can handle a wide variety of flavors. We had some Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and tomatoes to use before they went bad. So tacos seemed like the perfect use. This ended up being very similar to the inspired tacos I did for Vegan Mofo in 2018. The only major difference is we sautéed some mushrooms in with the blackens and we didn’t have corn to cook.

 

 

Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

I’m afraid of baking bread and yeast in general. About the only thing I’ve made successfully is cinnamon rolls. Since I had time on my hands I made cinnamon rolls this morning. This is my 2nd time making cinnamon rolls for scratch. Each time, I’ve wondered if it was worth the time and effort. Each time, while eating a warm cinnamon roll, the answer was YES!

The dough is from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I made up the filling and icing on my own this morning. Though, I did use the margarine technique from Vegan Brunch too. IMG_3036

Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Dough

  • 1 packet dry active yeast (that’s about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm/warm water
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk, room temp.
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 1/2-4 cups flour

Filling

  • 1/2 cup maple sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped small
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Before Rolling

  • 1/4 cup margarine, small pieces/lumps

Icing

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/8-1/4 cup maple syrup
  • splash of non-dairy milk

 

Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast in water (can be done in measuring cup or in mixing bowl you plan on using). Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the yeast can do its thing. You’ll want it to be foamy and bubbly. Stir the yeast mixture, rest of sugar, milk, oil, salt, and cinnamon.

Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until you get about 3 1/2 cups, mix to incorporate flour after each addition. If the dough is sticky add more flour, until dough is not sticky.

Lightly flour a clean spot on your counter (or use parchment paper). Knead the dough until it’s smooth, probably about 5 minutes. Place into an oiled bowl or food storage container. Cover with plastic wrap, towel, or storage container lid. Leave it to rise for about an hour, or until it’s doubled in size.

Now is a good time to prepare your filing. Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl, pretty easy.

Once dough is risen, punch it down and let it rest again for about 10 minutes.

While resting prep your counter again. You can lightly flour it or, if you’re smart cut some parchment paper to just a little more than the size you need. Once the dough has rested roll it out into a rectangle that’s about 12in x 18in.

Once rolled, evenly spread filling over dough. Dot the filling with the bits of margarine.

Firmly roll the dough from the long side. You want to roll as tight as possible.

Lightly grease an 11×13 rimmed baking sheet. Slice the dough into 12 even pieces and place into prepared baking sheet. Cover with towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F. Bake for 18-22 minutes. The rolls are done when they’re a bit puffy and lightly browned.

While the rolls are baking, make your icing. To do that, mix all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl with a fork.

When the cinnamon rolls are done, immediately cover them in icing. You can use a pastry brush if you want, or drizzle the icing over the cinnamon rolls and use the back of a spoon to spread it.

Eat as soon as possible. If you don’t want to eat a whole try recipe at once, these are really good warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds.

IMG_3035

 

 

Mushrooms and Kale

My life isn’t all baking and getting takeout. I really enjoy cooking too. Self-isolation has me doing more with the odds and ends I have available at home. Tonight I cooked up some kale and mushrooms. I’ve been snacking instead of eating full meals, at least for the day. So this would make a nice snack, or a side dish. Maybe serve with some baked tofu for a nice meal.

I was only cooking for myself, so serves one, maybe with some leftovers.

 

Mushrooms and Kale

  • 1/2 Bunch kale, stems removed and leafy bits cut into bite sized pieced
  • About 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1.5 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more of less depending on your preferred spice level)
  • Splash of white wine
  • Splash of  balsamic vinegar

 

Sautee the mushrooms and kale in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Add a few splashes of wine to keep things from sticking.

Once everything is cooked drizzle on the vinegar and enjoy.

 

Que Viva

Even though money is really tight right now, I’m making an effort to support the local restaurants that serve vegan food and are offering takeout options. When my partner came home from work he mentioned that a favorite food truck was set up near by and was offering takeout.

Que Viva, latin street food offers latin favorites. Their vegan option is a seasoned jackfruit that you can put in any of their options (unfortunately, the arepas aren’t vegan). I got the Jibarito with jackfruit. What is a Jibarito? It’s a sandwich, but instead of bread it has tostones (fried plantains; they’re mushed down and are flat these are a savory versos of fried plantains). We also got maduros, fried sweet plantains, for dessert.

Banana Nut Bread

I’m self-isolation baking again.

Once bananas get a single brown spot, they’re no longer eating bananas. They’re far too sweet and mushy at that point, so I let them brown some more and use them for baking or freeze them to use for smoothies. I had some brown bananas and decided to make banana nut bread.

I used the lower fat banana bread recipe for Veganomicon and folded in some chopped pecans at the end. I like to eat my bread while it’s still slightly warm with some peanut butter spread on it. It makes a nice snack to enjoy with a cup of tea.