A New Endeavor: Vintage Goes Vegan, and the Peanut Butter ‘N’ Bacon Sandwich

A few christmases ago, my mom gave me one of the best gifts ever: a set of McCall’s cookbooks from 1965.  I grew up eating so many recipes from these pages, and had always told her that I wanted her set when she didn’t need them anymore.  To speed up the timeline of receiving them, she searched the internet for a set in far better condition than her own.  It was such a fantastic surprise to receive all 18 books, with the index book and holder, in such great shape.

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Due to many circumstances (especially the whole thing where I’m a vegan), these books have sat in my possession, unused, but remaining in the back of my mind.  Last Thanksgiving, I was talking to my sister-in-law about an idea I’d been playing with – what about taking some of these recipes and making them vegan, or updating them?

Well, it’s taken me nearly a year to get to the point where I felt like I could do this, so here it is: Vintage Goes Vegan.  I’ve gone through all 18 books, and pulled 111 recipes – that’s 6 breakfasts, 5 appetizers, 5 salads, 8 soups, 4 sandwiches, 11 side dishes, 48 (!!!) main dishes, 19 desserts, and a 5-course Thanksgiving menu.  Some of them I’m keeping as close to the original recipe as possible, and some of them are being updated to reflect a more modern food availability.  Remember, these recipes were written in 1965, when I’m fairly certain there wasn’t a single american who had heard of a vegan (and these people really loved their gelatin molds…).

I wanted to start out with a recipe that I could keep close to the original, and one that also gave everyone a good idea of what I was going to be dealing with in this venture.  So, without further ado, here’s a recipe that had me gagging when I read it: the Peanut Butter ‘N’ Bacon Sandwich.

Ingredients:

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1/2 cup creamy or chunk-style peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped crisp-cooked bacon (I subbed LightLife Smart Bacon here, because I knew it would be crispier than tempeh bacon)
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, drained
2 tablespoons chopped stuffed olives
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (Vegenaise was my choice here, but take your pick)
12 slices bread

For the record, I did cut this down – the measurements you see above are for 6 sandwiches, and since it’s just me, I cut everything into 1/6ths as best I could.  A single sandwich would need:

4 teaspoons creamy or chunk-style peanut butter
about 2 slices chopped crisp-cooked bacon
a little shy of 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish, drained
2 chopped stuffed olives
1 1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise
2 slices bread

Do you understand why I would be gagging?  Mayonnaise and peanut butter is bad, but relish and olives?!?!  Yuck.  Who came up with this?!

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients, except bread; mix well.
2.   Use to fill 6 sandwiches. Cut in quarters.

That’s it.  They recommend buttering the bread too, but I went ahead and skipped that step.  I couldn’t imagine why I would need to!

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So, there you have it.  A very simple, and very odd, first recipe for Vintage Goes Vegan.  The verdict?  I’m ashamed to say it was actually not as horrifying as it sounds, although I don’t think I’ll jump at the opportunity to eat it again.

Straw-Buried Tart with Orange Cream Cheese

This is probably one of the most labor intensive dessert recipes I make, but damn, is it worth it.

My brother and his wife had a baby a few weeks ago!  I’m an aunt!  He’s a perfect little dude and I’m super stoked that I moved from Los Angeles to Denver so that I can be a part of his life.  My mom has been here all week to meet her first (and probably only) grandchild, and she’s been staying with me.  It’s been a fun mix of family time and family meals, and making sure there are some accommodations for me, the lone vegan.  The first night, she baked an apple pie, and made sure we used Earth Balance and vegan shortening so that I could get in on the action, too!

Well, strawberries were on sale at the store yesterday, and I was inspired to make one of my favorite desserts, a strawberry cream cheese pie.  I have not made this since going vegan, so it was an experimental recipe, and it could not have been more delicious.  My sister in law’s mom, a butter/cheese/meat loving Polish woman, thought it was delicious and couldn’t believe it was vegan!

In the past, I’ve always made a graham cracker crust, but I’ve had a lot of trouble finding graham crackers in regular stores that don’t have honey in them, so I cracked open my Williams-Sonoma Pie & Tart cookbook and adapted their basic tart crust recipe to my vegan needs, turning it into a tart instead of the usual pie I once made.  I am so pleased with how everything turned out, and I can’t wait to make this again and again!

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Ingredients:

(For the tart crust):

  • 1 “egg” (I use Ener-G egg replacer and follow the box’s directions)
  • 2 tablespoons very cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (if you don’t have it or are allergic to nuts, just use more vanilla – this is a modification I made, and I think it adds a lot of flavor)
  • 1 1/4 cup (200g) all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (90g) organic sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter (I use Earth Balance sticks – avoid the spread, as it has a higher water content, and won’t work as well!), cut into small cubes (I cut it into 1/4ths lengthwise, then cut it into about 10 cubes)

(For the tart filling):

  • 1 8oz container of vegan cream cheese (I prefer Tofutti to Dayia in this case, because it has a more mild flavor)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • zest of 1 orange (technically optional, but it really adds so much flavor!  Could substitute lemon zest, too)
  • 2 1/2 pounds of strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (can use regular sugar if you want, this just makes it a little more special!)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water

Directions:

(For the tart crust, adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Pie & Tart book to be vegan friendly!)

  1. Preheat your oven to 375, and spray a 9-inch tart pan with non-stick oil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together your egg replacer, the cold water, and the extracts.  Set aside.
  3. Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt.  If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter in.  If you are using a stand mixer, mix on medium-low speed until the butter is broken up and the mixture looks sandy; pea-sized butter chunks are okay.
  4. Add the “egg” mixture to the flour/butter and stir until just combined.
  5. Mold the dough into a ball, then flatten into a disk.  You can either put it in your dough in right away, or refrigerate it for 30 minutes (if you wait, hold off on preheating the oven).
  6. When ready, roll out the dough so that there is about an inch of the crust rising up the side of your tart pan, and place it in the tart pan.  Cover with aluminum foil, patted down so that it touches and covers all of the crust, and bake for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool completely (you can accelerate this in the refrigerator or freezer!).

(For the tart filling):

  1. Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and orange zest together, and spread on the bottom of your completely cooled tart crust.
  2. After washing and hulling the strawberries, sort them out.  You want to find about 1.5 pounds of berries that are approximately the same size to use to line the whole tart.  Cut them into standing 1/4ths, so that they point upwards when placed on top of the cream cheese filling.  Starting from the middle, fill the entire surface of the tart with upright berries.
  3. Chop up the remaining strawberries into chunks, and add the 1/4 cup of sugar to allow them to macerate.
  4. Mix together the corn starch and water (should be at least warm), and mix to get rid of any chunks.  In a small sauce pan, combine the macerated berries, corn starch mix, and turbinado sugar.  Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and allow to cook until the berries break down (I mashed them with my whisk, too).  Continually stir until the mixture becomes thick and viscous.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before pouring over the rest of the tart (I put mine in the freezer to speed up the process).
  5. Refrigerate the entire tart for at least 30 minutes to make sure everything sets up!
  6. ENJOY!  It’s delicious!

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You’ve Lost Your Noodle! Lasagna

When I was on my weight loss journey a few years ago, I was looking for ways to enjoy delicious foods, but maybe cut back on the carbohydrates a little bit (mostly in the pasta and bread-y forms).  That was when I found a recipe for eggplant and zucchini lasagna, using those two plants instead of noodles.  Now, back then, I wasn’t vegan, so the original recipe was full of cheese and egg and the like.  I have since learned how to adapt it to make a simple, healthy, and delicious vegan recipe.

One thing that I should let you know is that this is a recipe that pretty much requires a special kitchen tool – a mandoline slicer.  The ability to make slices all the same thickness is pretty important to the success of this recipe.

Most of the time, I make it very, very simple, but under the ingredients list, I’ve added a few possible (and delicious) add ins!

Topped with a little red pepper flake and additional nooch, for extra love.

Topped with a little red pepper flake and additional nooch, for extra love.

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 1/2 of a small eggplant, sliced thinly length wise (use the thin blade on a mandoline)
  • 1 medium/large zucchini (you may not use all of it), sliced thinly length wise
  • 1 package of firm or extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup dairy free cheese alternative (this time, I used Daiya, but I usually use the Follow Your Heart shreds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 can unsalted tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped basil
  • 2 diced up cloves of garlic
  • Options (including, but not limited to):
    • mushrooms!
    • kale!
    • spinach!
    • add crushed red pepper to the sauce to make it spicy!
    • ground meat substitute! (Beyond Meat’s Beefy grounds would be my recommendation!)
    • you could also sub the tomato sauce with my vegan alfredo sauce, if you’re into that kind of thing!

Directions (this is a recipe big enough to share!  It’s technically 4 servings, but you or a guest may end up eating half of it, it’s so good!):

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and spritz a little oil on the base of a 9×9 glass baking dish.
  2. In a bowl, combine the tomato products, fresh herbs, and chopped garlic.  Place a small amount on the bottom of the dish, just enough to give a little coating.
  3. In another bowl, combine the pressed tofu, nooch, salt, pepper, dried basil, granulated garlic, and 1/4 a cup of the cheese alternative.  This should look and taste kind of similar to ricotta cheese.  The addition of the cheese alternative is to help it be a little sticky, so the lasagna holds more shape.
  4. Place a layer of zucchini/eggplant on top of the bottom layer of sauce.  You can do this several ways – you can alternate layers of zucchini and eggplant, or you can mix them.  Although the image I have included shows the eggplant cut into rounds, I recommend lengthwise for either application (I was just using left over eggplant from the other day – you can also use all zucchini or all eggplant, if you’d like!)
  5. Layer the tofu ricotta mixture, followed by about another 1/4 cup of cheese, and top with sauce.
  6. Repeat this process until you run out of tofu mixture and sauce.  Then, top with one more layer of zucchini/eggplant, and the remaining cheese.
  7. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted.  Let sit for 15 minutes, and enjoy!
The whole shabang, right out of the oven.

The whole shabang, right out of the oven.