Monday, 31 October 2011

Pumpkin dip and Vegan Mofo Wrap-Up

Today is the end of Vegan MoFo.  I am partly sad to finish the fun and partly relieved to have a break from a month of daily posts.  It seems fitting to end the month with some reflections and a recipe inspired by MoFo.  I have made more food than I could post in a month.  I am including photos of some of the dishes I had hoped to post (and may do so in the future).

Zucchini Lasagna inspired by Ordinary Vegetarian to use up faux mince meat
My aim in joining Vegan MoFo was to challenge myself to post lots of vegan food.  I wanted to move outside my comfort zone both in what I cooked and what blogs I read.  At first I found the Vegan MoFo blogroll (658 blogs) overwhelming.  I still feel like I have only scratched the surface.  I only found out about Random Mofo yesterday (it generates mofo blogs at random).

It seems to me that you do nothing for the whole of the month except bunker down reading blogs, with assistants, and still not get through all the posts.  (Nor find time to participate in MoFo Iron Chef Challenges or other blog events or comment on all your favourite blogs.)  For a while it was unsatisfying wading through lots of blogs that just didn't interest me.  Not because they were terrible.  They just weren't my cuppa tea.

Tomato, Chickpea and Avocado Pasta from Limes and Lycopene
(next time I wont add spring onions and parsley)
I like blogs with recipes that I might make, with some nice photos and thoughtful chatter.  I don't seek the basics or reviews of foreign restaurants or giveaways or recipes full of processed vegan meats and cheese.  Though if I have developed a connection with bloggers or if they are really well written, I don't mind any of these.  Mostly I find it hard to connect with bloggers without time to get them know them and their blogs.  Rapid scrolling through a feed reader feeling overwhelmed is not conducive to developing such connections.

Despite this, there were many wonderful discoveries on the blogosphere.  I loved some of the MoFo themes on blogs.  For example: Candies and Halloween ideas on Fork and Beans, Orange coloured recipes on Heathen Vegan, 1 recipe 5 ways on Veg-Am and A-Z on Veganise This.  See my MoFo recipe round-ups for more interesting blogs.  I have added quite a few new blogs to my feed reader.

Excellent smoothie of kiwi fruit, blueberries, banana, avocado and soy milk
Posting vegan food for a month was a challenge.  I am not vegan.  However, with an aversion to eggs and milk and creamy food, some days the idea of being vegan doesn't seem hard.  Indeed I quite enjoyed cooking vegan at home, most (but not all) of the month.  Eating out and cooking for others made it hard to do the vegan thing.  I did enjoy spending time in a (MoFo) space where being vegan was normal and having the chance to try more vegan cooking than I would usually.

Country grain and soy bread from Julie Stafford
It also gave me a chance to think about what parts of cooking I find most challenging when it comes to vegan cooking.  Baking without eggs still feels awkward.  Though I enjoy my clumsy attempts.  It is hard because - like replacing meat - there are so many options for replacing eggs.  I enjoyed experimenting with tofu, chia seeds, flax seeds, soy flour and even agar.  What I love about baking without eggs is not having to deal with icky raw egg.  Plus the substitutes are so much easier to halve than eggs.  So many interesting options!

Harder still for me is going without cheese.  I was pleased to make my first cashew goat cheese.  It was excellent.  I was really pleased to find this led to a vegan pizza that worked well for me.  I read a few people note that they found that home made vegan cheese sauce was better than anything they found in the stores.  I think this would be the case for me, given that I prefer home made meat substitutes.

Oven Baked Coconut Tofu adapted from French Fry Conundrum
(good with tomato sauce and pasta but needs some tweaking)
Apart from the goats cheese, other highlights included being nominated twice for a Leibster award (thanks Jeni Treehugger and K and Toby), a spike in my blog stats when Veganasaurus linked to my vegan gluten free pumpkin cheesecake brownies, and JL Goes Vegan linked to my goat's cheeze in her weekly MoFo round-up.  I have a wealth of recipes ideas swirling about in my head.  Today as a final MoFo farewell, I will share one with you.

I was inspired by Scissors and Spice's Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pub Cream Cheese recipe but I wanted to use pumpkin and smoked paprika.  I am doing better with making cashews into creamy sauce since I got my little blender attachment to my hand held blender.  My problem with the dip was the overwhelming sweetness of pumpkin and cashews.  I felt I added quite a bit of salt and smoked paprika to compensate.  I am not sure I quite got the right balance but it was very moreish.  In fact, it was all but gone at the end of the day after having family over for lunch.

So that's it for Vegan MoFo 2011.  Thanks all those who shared great posts and were generous with commenting.  See you around the blogosphere.  Wishing everyone a happy halloween and a great festive season.  I'll be back soon, albeit not as frequently as this month, and with some of my lacto-ovo vegetarian recipes as well as more vegan ones.

Other great dips on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Finnish green bean paté
Pea Paté
Roasted pumpkin and garlic hummus
Vegan queso dip 
Voracious Vegan Paté  

Smoky Pumpkin Dip
Adapted from Scissors and Spice

1 cup raw cashews, soaked 8-9 hours
1/2 cup water
1 cup diced roast pumpkin
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 - 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 - 1 1/2 tsp salt (according to taste)
dash cayenne pepper

Blend cashews and water until smooth.  This took a while for me and even after minutes of blending it got better but still could be smoother.  Blend with other ingredients or if you are using a tiny blender, blend cashews into cream separately and then blend other ingredients and mix cashew cream and other ingredients in a bowl.

On the Stereo:
Time Out: Dave Brubeck Quartet

This post is part of Vegan Month of Food October 2011.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more Vegan MoFo posts.

13 comments:

  1. I'm definitely excited to check out some of the new blogs that you discovered! Though I'm not vegan by any stretch of the imagination, I love eating vegan foods.

    that pumpkin dip sounds delicious! The smokiness must add some extra depth to it.

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  2. I have to admit, I loved mofo but it will be nice to take a little break from blogging, I don’t know how some people can do this all the time.
    I have to agree with you on connecting with other bloggers. I have found a lot of bloggers that I think I will connect with now that things will be back to normal, but during mofo it’s so hard to keep up with everyone that’s it’s almost in possible to get to know them.
    Now I’m off to go bookmark that oven baked coconut tofu, it looks delicious!

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  3. I enjoyed taking a look at some of the blogs you linked in this post, and will add some to my daily reading.

    It is a bit overwhelming to try to take it all in.

    I did enjoy your mofo. Well done!

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  4. Ooo...I want that pumpkin dip. Not right this minute because I'm full of nachos. But soon. And most likely often.

    Thanks for another kind mention :D

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  5. its post like these that make me oh so hungry!!! :)

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  6. Congratulations on the month Johanna - I certainly enjoyed your recipes and the links round ups and it was a stellar effort on your point. You have even inspired me to get myself organised in time for the 2012 one!

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  7. Oooh, I'm looking forward to the coconut tofu recipe! I've loved your Mofo posts, Johanna, and am in awe at your ability to make and post so much newness, all the time!

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  8. Thanks Joanne - a lot of great vegetarian food is vegan so no wonder you love it - my dip was quite smoky as I have some new hungarian smoked paprika

    Thanks Maggie - I like to blog a lot but every day as I have done has been tiring by the end - but I have so much stuff still to blog as usual that I just will keep going without much of a break

    Thanks Bliss Doubt - it seems like now mofo has finished we can all relax and take it in

    Thanks Dawn - hope you enjoy some pumpkin dip when the nachos are long gone :-)

    Thanks Lisa - nothing like mofo to make you hungry

    Thanks Kari - would love to see you doing mofo - am sure it would suit your blogging very well

    Thanks Hannah - hope I get back into the coconut tofu - sylvia has seemed to enjoy snacking on the rest of it tonight (but wasn't into it with tomato sauce and pasta) - I can't imagine I would eat so many new things without blogging - honestly before blogging I was in a rut!

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  9. I am with Sylvia - I want to dig into this pumpkin dip. I went to see a dietician who told me I need more protein and more veges - the more vege part stumped me, so I will need to pay attention to some of your wonderful vegetarian recipes.

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  10. You made it through - congratulations!

    I've enjoyed reading your posts this month. It's been interesting to see how the constraints have altered your posting style. :-)

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  11. Well done for sticking to this, it's a real achievement and one to be proud of. I've bookmarked this pumpkin dip - especially at the moment when we've got more pumpkin that we know what to do with. Might even make it today.

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  12. Great summary and thoughts on vegan mofo! Good for you for participating and keeping up with it. It sounds all consuming, I don't think I could do it. Cheese is the hardest thing for me to go without too.

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  13. Sort of how I felt last year doing MoFo. . . loved it, but I was tired at the end! You ended up choosing some great recipes, though. :)

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