Fall is here! It’s roasted pumpkin time and I am inappropriately excited about it! »
This past week/weekend, it seemed pumpkins were taking over the city! They were suddenly available everywhere as if by magic! In reality, it’s probably years of ingrained production process and distribution channel timing that brings a mass crop of pumpkins to urban markets during a precise week in early October, but it is much more fun to anthropomorphize adorable pumpkins than to think about agribusiness. Vegans do enough worrying about agribusiness already. So, to bring it back to the bounty of the harvest and the magic of autumn, I got my pumpkin at my local farmer’s market. I’m not too good for Trader Joe’s though; the pumpkins there look totally fine.
The pumpkin I got is smaller and sweeter than the monstrous ‘roid rage kind typically reserved for Jack O’Lanterns. Our hero is cutely named “pie” pumpkin, because that is what most of America is planning to use it for. And, at the end of the roasting described here, you’re welcome to puree it and use it for pumpkin pie, although I don’t know why you would when there’s a whole wide world of pancakes, curries, and just eating it out of the rind with a spoon covered in Earth Balance, but we’ll get to that.
First, you need to rinse it, pop off the stem, and cut it in half with a big knife. A serrated knife is best, and so is a saw-like motion. When you get it halved, scoop out the seeds. If you have a fancy ice cream scoop or melon baller, bully for you. I used a regular spoon. Turn the oven on to about 400-450F.
Pro tip: don’t throw away the seeds! Lay them out on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and stick them in the (now hot) oven for about 15 minutes for a tasty, zinc-filled snack!
Now you want to grab a Pyrex baking dish, big enough to hold both halves of the pumpkin, so like the kind you’d make brownies in. Put about an inch of water in the bottom. This supposedly helps to keep the flesh moist while roasting.
Next, get out a tub of Earth Balance and rub a lot of it on each exposed half. This is actually what keeps the flesh moist while roasting. This is also what makes it delicious when it comes out of the oven, and you will probably just want to scoop out bites with a spoon, which is what we did. But if you are feeling industrious, you can do something else with the flesh when it cools, like the aforementioned puree with brown sugar and pumpkin pie spices, or something hip like pumpkin curry. Or if you really want to be cool, use Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe for apple-pumpkin risotto in this month’s Bust Magazine, which we can’t link you directly to but you really ought to go buy a copy; it contains much useful and entertaining shit in addition to said vegan risotto and a candy corn recipe from SF’s own Melisser!
In conclusion, stick the buttered pumpkin skin side down (butter side up) in the pan of water and roast in the 400-450 oven for an hour-ish. Let cool and enjoy autumn!
OMG girl, me too!
The New York Times would have us believe that “Butter Holds the Secret to Cookies That Sing,” but vegans know that Earth Balance achieves the same effect without the cruelty and animal exploitation.
That said, the baking advice is very good. Make your vegan substitutions, follow the instructions, and you are assured good cookies, I swear.
Recipe: Vegan mac ‘n’ cheesecakes! »
So yesterday, Jonas sent me a link to this video on the New York Times website. It features Kenny Shopsin, this fabulous cursing muppet dude—basically, Bruce Vilanch done over as a truck stop chef; seriously, watch the video, this guy’s the best*—making something that blew my mind: MAC ‘N’ CHEESE PANCAKES! I knew I had to have them for dinner, if not right now! So, last night, we fried up a big batch of mac ‘n’ cheesecakes and some Match Meat Italian Sausages!
Here is what we did. Follow these directions TO THE LETTER. I am unyielding.
First, pour yourself a Crown and water, on the rocks. If you skip this step, everything else will suck.
Next, you need to boil up some macaroni. Or whatever pasta you want, really. I didn’t have enough macaroni last night and so I used some spiral pasta too. I AM A REBEL! When the pasta is cooked al dente then you drain and stir in a little olive oil. Set aside.
Then, grate some cheese into a bowl. I suggest Teese or Follow Your Heart, if those options are available to you. If they’re not, either 1) move the fuck away from whatever Podunk town you’re dying in or b) just kill yourself with a block of veganrella. I think just trying to eat the whole thing should do it.
Set the bowl of macaroni and the bowl of cheese close to the stove so you can reach them easily for assembling your pancakes! And now you need to make pancake batter. I suggest:
- 1 cup flour [experiment with different kinds. I used whole wheat last night but I think chickpea could be good!]
- 1 Tbsp. vegan sugar
- 2 Tbsp. baking powder
- ⅛ tsp. salt [I would mess around with types of salt here: kosher, truffle, etc.!]
- 1 cup soy [or almond/rice/hemp/coconut/human breast] milk
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
First mix the dry ingredients together. When that’s done, start your griddle (that word literally makes my mouth water) on high so that it gets super-hot. Go back to your batter and mix in your wet ingredients. DO NOT OVER-MIX, over-mixing will kill your fluffy mac ‘n’ cheesecakes and you will be all :-(. Next, add some Earth Balance to your griddle and wait until it melts and is kinda bubbly. Then, you want to add enough batter for the size pancake that you want. I wanted one the size of a crop circle but Jonas was cooking so.
Let it cook for about a minute and then put a couple tablespoons of the macaroni in the middle of the pancake and immediately top that with a bunch of cheese. Using a thin metal spatula, quickly turn the pancakes and gently tap to make them uniform in thickness. Cook until golden, about two minutes. Serve, macaroni-side up, with Earth Balance and warm maple syrup. HELLO DELICIOUS!
This photo is with a Match Meat patty we grilled up to go with our mac ‘n’ cheesecakes. Yes, I know it looks like Pizza the Hut. SHUT UP, IT TASTED DELICIOUS.
If you’re feeling adventurous (read: extra-gluttonous), make it vegan heart-attack-style by crumbling some fake sausage (we used the Match Meat Italian Sausage) and throwing it on top of the macaroni, before the cheese. That was our best pancake; a Hamburger Helper pancake. We dubbed it über-pancake, the Cheesy Beef Cake; it won the Blue Ribbon at my State Fair in Fatlandia, pop. All the Awesome Fat People.
Finally, DO NOT GIVE ANY OF YOUR PANCAKES TO HAZEL. SHE IS CUTE AND SO IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE BUT PANCAKES ARE NOT FOR DOGS, THEY ARE FOR HUMANS!!! Now, a photo of Hazel begging for a pancake.
*Please be sure to check out the menu for Shopsin’s General Store as well. It is insane but actually includes a few vegan items! But don’t order from the menu or you will get thrown out!
[photos by the cooks]