Tag Archives: convert carnivore

Bake the World a Better Place: Vegan Meyer Lemon Cake

Vegan meyer lemon cake

What could be better than seeing the look of pure joy on someone’s face when you bake them an awesome, beautiful, delectable Meyer lemon cake? Well, the fact that it took you only about 35 minutes start-to-finish makes it better. And for me, what makes the moment even sweeter is when I get to serve this yummy cake to a die-hard carnivore, knowing that in just moments when they’re moaning with joy, I get to see their jaws drop when I tell them that this cake is vegan…and healthy, and good for the environment, and good for animals!

That’s right, this moist, delicious, lemony heaven-cake has no animal products at all.  And since it uses olive oil to make it moist (which has a host of benefits, from helping to prevent strokes and heart disease to protecting cells from damage), and agave nectar as a sweetener (which means your blood sugar level won’t spike), it’s a healthy dessert. Without traditional animal-based cake ingredients, like eggs, milk and butter, it saves some chickens and cows while also being better for the environment.

So bake the world a better and happier place by making this easy, super yummy crowd-pleaser that will make both carnivores and vegans smile. Happy holidays!

– Cimeron

Meyer lemon cake with berries

Cimeron’s Vegan Meyer Lemon Cake
From pantry to table: about 35 minutes
Serves: 8

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour *
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup agave nectar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
Zest of one Meyer lemon
2 tsp vanilla extract

Mixed berries to serve on top

* I like baking with whole wheat pastry flour since it makes desserts lighter and fluffier. I get mine at Whole Foods, but you can find it at most high-end grocery stores or health food stores.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a Bundt pan lightly with oil.  In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a large bowl, blend the olive oil, agave nectar, water, lemon juice, zest and vanilla extract. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and blend just until the lumps are gone. Pour into your Bundt pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake, invert, dust with powdered sugar and serve with fresh mixed berries or a simple compote. (To make a compote, toss the berries in a bowl with a generous squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and agave nectar to taste – let sit for 15-30 minutes to allow the berries soften and release some juices).

This cake is definitely best when served on the same day it’s baked. Be sure to ziplock and refrigerate the leftovers to keep it moist. Enjoy!

How is it possible that my pencil-thin Meyer lemon tree produced approximately 8000 lemons this year? And how is it still upright?!

How is it possible that my pencil-thin Meyer lemon tree produced approximately 8000 lemons this year? And how is it still upright?!

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All-Star Appetizer: Roasted Bombay Masala Potatoes with Vegan Lemon-Garlic Aioli

With the Superbowl coming up, it’s time to whip up some tasty crowd-pleasing appetizers, and my Roasted Bombay Masala Potatoes with Vegan Lemon-Garlic Aioli is on our “All-Stars of Appetizers” list. Every time I serve this, people hoover it up, and bonus: it’s a belly-filler. See, I’ve found that when carnivores have that full-belly feeling, they don’t feel like they “need” meat after they eat something satisfying like this appetizer. Friends beg me to make this and John craves it – I bet this will become a staple in your house as well.  The Indian-spiked potatoes are just slightly crispy on the outside and buttery-soft on the inside and they have just the right balance of spicy-heat and fragrant mouth-watering flavors. And the lemony, garlicy aioli is lick-the-bowl good and is the perfect marriage with these spectacular potatoes.

I’ve made the aioli with real mayonnaise and with Vegenaise, and no one can tell the difference. So since real mayo is disgusting and vile, I only make this with Vegenaise now (and no, I do not bother telling the carnivores that it’s vegan. They wouldn’t be able to hear me over their very loud groans of pleasure anyway. But I do derive secret joy in duping those who say they hate ‘vegan food.’ Hehehe.) (Yes, that was an evil laugh).  I mean, check out this photo of the aioli – you totally can’t tell that it’s made with Vegenaise, can you?

So kickoff your Superbowl festivities (or any other night of the week) with these awesome potatoes and dipping sauce. Please let me know what you think by posting a comment!

Roasted Bombay Masala Potatoes

Serves: 6

From fridge to table: about an hour

2 pounds small organic yukon gold “creamer” potatoes or fingerling potatoes, chopped into 2″ cubes with skin on (personally, I like the yukon gold creamers the best since they have such a creamy, buttery flavor)
3 tbsp olive oil
1-1.5 tbsp Bombay Masala seasoning – you can purchase the very best from http://www.DilKhush.com, or you can make your own by mixing:
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne

Vegan Lemon-Garlic Aioli:
1/3 cup Vegannaise (available at Whole Foods in the refrigerated aisle)
the juice of 1/2 of a fresh lemon (or more if you’re a lemon-freak like I am)
3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
5 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat oven to 425.
Mix the chopped potatoes with olive oil and Bombay Masala seasoning.  I’d recommend going easy on the seasoning for the first time you try this and adding more at the end if you like. Be sure that each potato is coated with oil. Put potatoes on a cookie sheet (a cookie sheet with sides) in a single layer and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for about an hour, and be sure to stir the potatoes every 15 minutes for even browning. You can tell when the potatoes are done – they’ll be slightly browned (like in the photo below) and are a bit crispy on the outside edges but still tender in the middle. (Careful when you bite into the potatoes to test them – it’s like napalm in your mouth when they’re right out of the oven).  When they’re ready, add more salt and Bombay Masala seasoning to taste.

Meanwhile, make the aioli by mixing all the ingredients together. In my opinion, there is no such thing as “too much lemon” but you may want to add 3 tbsp of lemon juice and add more to taste. I like letting it sit out at room temp for 30-60 minutes to allow it to get a little creamier as it warms up a bit.

Serve the potatoes while they’re hot and be sure to have lots of toothpicks out so people can dip the potatoes in the aioli. Then prepare yourself to be knocked over by a loud symphony of ooohs and ahhhs!

Veggie Shock and Awe Stuns the Carnisaur

Full disclosure: in desperate times when John’s been on anti-vegetable benders and scurvy was imminent, I’ve resorted to subversive tactics such as hiding greens in his meals and snacks. Like a veggie mercenary, I’ve slipped spinach in a smoothy and told him that it was a shamrock shake. That’s great for a handful or two of veggies but I needed to get him to eat lots more vegetables, lest he start to look like a pirate. I knew I needed a bold new strategy, but what? Then it hit me like a scud missile: make the greens hide in plain sight!

This brave (and some might say suicidal) strategy is what I like to call The Veggie Shock and Awe. The premise is simple: confuse the carnivore’s senses with a riot of colors, textures and scents to utterly overwhelm him. If the whole damned thing is composed of vegetables, maybe he won’t notice them! And just in case he examines it more closely, I’ll toss in a ton of fresh yakisoba noodles and some fake chicken chunks to distract him.

This concoction is so simple and quick-to-make and it’s mouth-wateringly delicious! The spicy teriyaki sauce makes it irresistibly flavorful and zesty, the noodles make it filling, and the veggies make it incredibly healthy and filled with interesting flavors in every bite – from the subtle sweetness of sugar snap peas to the earthy richness of shitake mushrooms.

When the moment came to pull the trigger and serve the Veggie Shock and Awe to John, I held my breath, took cover in the kitchen and prayed that I wouldn’t hear him cry out in protest. But guess what I heard? “Mmm, good noodles! I like this one.” It worked! Mission accomplished.

Veggie Shock and Awe

From fridge to table: 15-25 minutes (depending on how fast you can chop)

Serves: 3-4 (depending on your appetites)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp oil for stir-frying (such as grapeseed oil)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 2-3″ strips

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional – only if you like some heat!)

2 small zucchinis, sliced lengthwise then chopped into 1/2″ thick half-moons

2 baby bok choy, chopped into 2″ strips

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup asparagus, woody stems removed, cut into 2″ pieces

7 shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

1 cup sugar snap peas, sliced

1 cup fake chicken chunks (a really great tasting one with a realistic texture is Vegetarian Plus’ Ginger Chicken – my carnivore gives this one a big thumbs up. It’s available at Whole Foods in the frozen food section)

1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced

2 packages of fresh yakisoba noodles (fresh ramen and udon noodles work well, too)

1/3 cup thick teriyaki sauce, such as Kikoman Spicy Miso Teriyaki

(If you’re feeling ambitious and want to make your own teriyaki, just blend these together for a quick and tasty sauce: 1/8 cup veggie broth; 1/8 cup dry sherry; 2 tbsp hoisen sauce; 1 tbsp sesame oil; 1 tbsp brown sugar; 3 tsp cornstarch; 2 tsp Thai chili sauce)

Boil water in a medium pot and keep it boiling on the side. Meanwhile, heat a large wok over high heat and drizzle in the oil. (Resist the urge to throw in all the veggies at once since that will make them soft and icky – instead follow the sequential additions listed here to insure that each veggie will be cooked to perfection.) When the wok is hot, carefully slide the red pepper down the side (sliding it in helps ease splattering) and stir. When it starts to turn orange, slide in the zucchini and jalapeno (if using). Stir for 1 minute, then slide in bok choy and garlic. Stir for 1 minute. Slide in the asparagus, mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Stir for 1 minute. Then add the faux chicken and basil. Cook for 1 minute.

Meanwhile, toss the noodles in the boiling water and turn off the heat. Stir for 30 seconds then drain well. Toss the noodles in with the veggies. Add the teriyaki sauce and toss thoroughly. Serve hot and enjoy!

Defeated by an elephant turd

Operation Carnivore Conversion experienced some serious setbacks during the holidays. Sadly, John’s willpower failed when confronted with “blackjack steak,” which was especially demoralizing for me since this marinated tri-tip looks like an elephant turd. Seriously – he fell off the veg wagon for this ugly black slug. Can you believe it? I’m still struggling to understand how meat-eaters can gnaw on something like that looks like this. Hearing his moans of pleasure, I believe we have identified John’s kryptonite.

You won this round, blackjack, but I will win the war. See, John has other weaknesses that I’m more than willing to exploit. For example, he would rather eat lint than grocery shop, so his only chance of getting blackjack is if our friends bring it over. Ha ha, gotcha blackjack!

Unfortunately for me, one of our smart-ass carnivore friends overheard me celebrating this fact so he launched a counter-mission called “Operation Enduring Meat” and vowed to slip John a blackjack every now and then. Dammit!

Well apparently it’s game on! Now I have to work extra hard to make veggie meals ultra appealing so that John will crave them. Hopefully one day, he too will wonder how the hell he ever ate something that looks like an elephant turd!