Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vegan, Gluten Free Taco Mix: The Spice Hunter

I find it hard sometimes to find items that are both gluten free and vegan. Although not surprising, it does fascinate me that so many spices have some form of dairy or milk in them. 

For example, I got a free, full-sized sample of Penzy's taco seasoning a while back. I was excited to finally try it yesterday, until I looked at the ingredients.

Yup, lactose. Ugh. I was so disappointed! 

So, the search started to make sure I could find a vegan, gluten-free taco mix. I found several widely-available commercial brands that fit both these categories. But, then while in Hannaford, my Dad found  this by The Spice Hunter  -- 

Organic, gluten-free and vegan taco mix! It was a little less than a dollar more expensive than the other brand I had in my hand, but I still decided to try it. 

It definately had a more mild taste, and I added a little sea salt to my taco, but overall it was pretty good. We also split the packge, me using half for my black beans and my Dad using hald for his ground meat. I think that sometimes messes with flavors, too. 

They also have a fajita mix, that I bought and am excited to try soon. 

I mean, look at this taco ...  it looked and tasted, awesome. 


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Vegan, Gluten-Free Eggplant Fries

Ahhhhh!!! I am so excited. Like super, super expcited! I finally nailed it, vegan, gluten-free eggplant fries straight from my garden that taste amazing. 

The first time I had eggplant fries was at the Adirondack Pub & Brewery, and I was immediately hooked. The probelm is that they are normally not gluten free or vegan when you get them out. So, to enjoy them this way, I wanted to make them at home from scratch. 

After researching various recipes and techniques, as well as experimenting a bit in the kitchen, I came up with a vegan, gluten-free recipe that tastes amazing. Even my non-vegan/gluten-free Dad, who loves the ones at the brewery, enjoyed them.

Unlike my eggplant cutlets, I am not sure if these can be frozen and then just put in the oven to reheat. I am eperimenting with that and will update this post when I know. 

I think they taste best individually battered, but if you are making a large amount, you can do it as a large batch, just make sure to tap off the excess batter before putting them in the fryer. They will stick together, but when you get them at the restaurant, they are this way, too sometimes. 

These are perfect for a party. I used two medium eggplants, and had some batter left over. 

Vegan, Gluten-Free Eggplant Fries 
by Michelle Maskaly, The Adirondack Chick 

2 eggplants
3/4 cup (plus more) gluten-free flour (I used King Arthur) 
1 cup almond milk 
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon basil 
1/4 teaspoon oregano 
1/4 teaspoon parsley 
sea salt 
fresh cracked pepper

Peel the eggplant. Starting from one side, begin slicing it length-wise from top to bottom. Then slice those into sticks. Finally slice the sticks in half, depending on the size of the eggplant. Make sure none of the pieces are too big.

Remember, these are fries, pieces are going to be uneven. Don't fret about it, because they don't have to be perfect. 

In a shallow bowl, whisk togehter the 3/4 cup flour, apple cider vinegar, oregano, basil, parsley, fresh cracked pepper, salt and milk. In another, medium-sized bowl dump some gluten-free flour. 

*Tip: I like to start with a little flour and then keep adding more to the bowl as I need it. Two reasons. First, you don'lt waste as much flour and second, because sometimes the flour gets a little lumps depending on how carefull you are before putting it in the liquid mix. 

Prepare you fryer to the appropriate temperature according to their directions. 

Once that is ready, create an assembly line of sorts. In batches, take the eggplant sticks and toss them in the four. Shake off the excess flour and then dip into the milk mixture. Place neatly with room between them into the frying basket. 

Then place them in ther fyer and cook until golden brown. Remove from the fryer, drain and transfer to a paper towel-covered plate. 


They shouldn't be greasy. In fact, I used two paper towels for the whole batch. 

Serve with hot tomato sauce.

If you want an added flavor, which my Dad loves, but I am not particularly a fan of, drizzle with thick, balsamic vinegar reduction sauce. 


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fall Kayaking on Lake Placid

There are really no words to describe how beautiful Lake Placid is.  That is why the bulk of this post is going to be photos from our day kayaking there yesterday. 

It was absolutely gorgeous! The water was perfect, and not too rough. And, the weather, it was amazing! It wasn't too hot and wasnt too cold. 

Fall in the Adirondacks is just beautiful. 

Vegan, Soy-Free Veggie and Potato Breakfast Sandwich

One thing I do miss about not eating eggs are the breakfast sandwiches. Maybe it is because I grew up in New Jersey, but there is something appealing about a bacon, egg and cheese on a hard roll. But, these days all I am usually left with is, well, the roll. 

This morning I tried something different. I took my typical brreakfast skillet potatoes, a slice of vegan cheese and put it on a vegan-buttered roll. 

O-M-G ... so delicious!  

I didn't crisp the potatoes as much, so they were a bit mushy, and combined with the other vegetables, it had a texture similar to that of a regular breakfast sandwich. The thought behind this came from remembering my grandmother always making potato, pepper and onion or egg pepper and onion sandwiches, so I figured, why not just leave out the egg. 

A handful of spinach adds some leafy green protein to this dish, which is pretty heavy on carbs. But, the beauty of this is that you can pick exactly how much of each item you want, so you can add more veggies and subtract some potatoes. 

You can make this gluten free by using a gluten free roll, but for the once-in-a-while I eat this, I prefer a nice fresh-baked hard roll from the Lake George Baking Company. 

Vegan, Soy-Free Veggie and Potato Breakfast Sandwich 

by Michelle Maskaly, The Adirondack Chick 

frozen diced breakfast potatoes (sometimes called O'Brien, or Southern style) 

chopped green pepper 

chopped yellow onion

halved cherry tomatoes

fresh baby spinach

vegetable oil


fresh ground cracked pepper

sea salt

vegan cheese (I use Daiya because it is soy free)

Fresh hard roll

vegan butter (I use Earth Balance soy free)

In small pan heat the oil. Then, add the potatoes, peppers and onions. 

Season to taste with salt, pepper and paprika. 

Cook just until the potatoes get soft and add in the tomatoes. 

Once the tomatoes begin to brown, add in the spinach. 

Spread inside of the hard roll with vegan butter and slice of vegan cheese. 

Once the vegetable and potato mixture are at a desired softness, put on the roll and enjoy! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rum Maple Apple Waffles

Before you get excited, I did cheat here. To make things fast, I used frozen waffles that were both vegan and gluten free, but you can really put this mixture on any type of waffle, pancake or other breakfast item. 

Actually, the apples are even good on their own. 

I made enough for two-four waffles, but just increase the amount of apples and rum/maple syrup for a bigger batch. 

Adding a homemade element to somerthing that is premade, gives it an added homemade touch, while also saving time in the kitchen. For me the frozen gluten-free vegan waffles make things fast and easy for me to just pop them in the toaster and then add this healthy element on it. 

Feel free to add more maple syprup, too, Or drizzel the apple mixture with additional syrup if you like them sweeter. 

Remember, it is all about your personal taste!

Rum Maple Apple Waffles 
by Michelle Maskaly, The Adirondack Chick 

2 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons vegan butter (I use soy-free Earth Balance) 
2 tablespoons dark rum 
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 cup maple syrup

In a small saucepan melt the vegan butterr. Stir in the apples, and cook until they begin to soften. Mix in the rum and cinnamon. Cook, stiring occasionally, until the apples are soft. Add in the maple syrup and cookm until warrm. 

Serve over hot waffles, pancakes or other breakfast item. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Vegan "Tuna" Salad Sub Sandwich

You guys!!

For years my Dad has always made this amazing looking tuna sub sandwich almost weekly. Seriously, it could be photographed for a magazine. It always looks do amazing, but I don't like tuna, even when I ate meat/fish, so I never tried it.

But, it always looks so good.

Well, last night I tried making my own, vegan, version of it and wow, it came out awesome. And, it was surprisingly super easy.

Open a can of garbanzo beans, drain and rinse under cold water. Then, pulsate them quickly through a food processor, just to get them broken up. Transfer to a bowl, add vegan mayo (I use Earth Balance MindfulMayo), a little bit of fresh lemon juice, sea salt and pepper to fit your taste. Stir really well.

It's that easy!

To make a sub like the one pictured here, put the mixture on a long roll, top with shredded lettuce thinly sliced tomato and thinly sliced onion. Sprinkle salt, pepper and oregano over the top. Then drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Top with the other half of the roll, cut in half and serve. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lemon Sage Quinoa With Roasted Butternut Squash Bowl

This is the third or fourth year I am growing butternut squash, but it is the first year I am growing sage. 

Both are big favorites. Butternut squash was one of the first risottos that I made and sage I became a fan of a few years ago. I have used them together prreviously to make appetizers and once for a makeshift ravioli. 

I have used them both separetly in risottos, and think combining them would make a really tasty one, but as much as i like risotto, it has a high glycimic index and I am trying to limit my intake of those types of food. (That is not to say you might see a similar recipe around Thanksgiving, since it's a holiday and I will cheat...) So, I figured why not use quinoa? 

This is vegan and gluten free, and can be a main meal for a vegetarian or vegan, but also used as a side dish if your other guests are meat-eaters.  The recipe as is has a strong sage taste, but if you want a more milder flavor, only use one tablespoon. Also, play around with a little cinnamon and nutmeg before serving -- it gives it some nice fall flavor. 

Lemon Sage Quinoa With Roasted Butternut Squash Bowl

by Michelle Maskaly, The Adirondack Chick 

1 small butternut squash 

1 cup tricolor quinoa 

2 cups water (or vegetable broth) 

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves

2 small lemons 

olive oil 

kosher salt

sea salt 

fresh cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrrees. 

Slice the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side up on a baking dish and liberally brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt. 

Bake in the over for 20 minutes, check and then bake for about another 15, until the squash is tender, but not mushy.

In the meantime, bring the quinoa and water (or vegetable broth) to a boil in cover pot. Stir, cover and let simmer about 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. 

Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes. 

In a large bowl, gently combine the quinoa and sage. 

Remove the butternut squash from the oven and let cool until it can be handled, about 5 to 10 minutes. Peel the squash and cut into chunks. 

Gently stir the butternut squash into the quinoa mixture. Add the juice of the two lemons, as well as the sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. 

Mix until the lemon juice is evenly distributed. Serve warm in individual bowls if having it as a main course. 

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