Vegan Sweet Potato, Coconut Milk, & Roasted Chili Ravioli

That’s right—ravioli without cheese! You’re skeptical, aren’t you? I understand. (I ♥ cheese too.)

When it comes to vegan cooking and baking, cheese substitution is one of those things that gives me a headache. I’m a bit wary of soy-based alternatives, as they seem over-processed and unnatural in comparison. There are, of course, equally over-processed varieties of “cheese” that freak me out too! (Full disclosure: I did have a bizarre addiction to Tofutti cream cheese a year or so ago, and have been rather reluctant to group it into the Weird Fake Cheese category. But the editor in me demands consistency above all else!) Another interesting alternative that I’ve come across online is blending together nuts, nutritional yeast, and other stuff to make a creamy, cheese-like substitute. This usually involves soaking the nuts overnight, which is far more than I care to go through to make fake cheese. (Also, the vegan community seems to invariably refer to this substance as “nut cheese”—a phrase that is so hilariously gross, I have trouble taking it seriously. Yes, deep down, I’m a 13-year-old boy. :P) So, my very simple solution: make a filling so tasty, it doesn’t need cheese. No headaches here!

… 

Read More »

Sweet Potato, Roasted Chili, & Chevre Ravioli

Ah Fall, my favorite season—it’s almost here! Can you feel it too? The days are still warm, but there’s already a few leaves crunching beneath my feet and a chill in the air at night. I’m dusting off my boots, unearthing sweaters, and craving wonderful fall things: roasted brussel sprouts, pumpkin cake, cider donuts . . . mmm mmm mmmmmm. And these ravioli!

The combination of sweet potato and goat cheese is almost dessert-like. When I first made these last year, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Before I’d gotten my first sheet of pasta dough rolled out, I’d already eaten a ridiculous amount of the filling (and was no longer hungry at all). This time, to offset the sweetness (and the urge to consume spoonful after spoonful of filling), I decided to throw in a couple of roasted chili peppers. A good idea! The occasional spicy kick is a great complement to the sweet potato. I love them. I’m house sitting alone until next Wednesday, and these things are begging me to eat them all before I return to Vermont. Willpower . . . fading . . .

… 

Read More »

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the first recipe I ever created. (Not exactly a big deal now, but four years ago I was amazed that my intuition could yield something so tasty.) This is based on the latkes that my mother used to make when I was young (which I actually didn’t like, because they were made with onions). I’d sit there, pull apart the entire thing, and try to pick out all the onions until my parents would give me a “finish your dinner by this time or no television” deadline. To this day, I still taste phantom onions in shredded potatoes. So when I set out to create my own latke, I knew I didn’t want to use white potatoes. Enter the sweet potato!

I’ve received a lot of praise for my sweet potato pancakes. It was even suggested that I might have a chance at besting my mother in a latke cook-off. (Apparently people who don’t harbor an intense hatred of onions think hers are quite delicious.) Back when my boyfriend Johnny was just a romantic interest, I decided to impress him by cooking these. I ended up burning the crap out of the first batch and leaving some serious burn marks on one of his nice stainless steel pans. (Eep.) Freaking out, I tossed the partially charred latkes on a plate and started on the second round. While I was concentrating on not burning things, Johnny decided to take a sample from the reject plate. He then said, “I don’t know what you did to those, but do it again. They’re delicious.”

… 

Read More »