June cookin’

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First things first, Happy Vegan Pizza Day! If three little things weren’t standing in the way of my own pizza-making ambitions today, well, I’d have some dough rising right now. Instead, I’m melting into a puddle of freckles as it’s … Continue reading

Obsessing over cherries and making my own liqueurs…

Homemade Liqueurs on Get Sconed!

Updated with prettier pictures of the finished projects & much blushing to see this included on the PPK 100 for 2012! If you’re looking to make your own syrups for drinks, per #52, check out my Rhubarb & Rangpur Lime … Continue reading

strawberry balsamic pie

Strawberry Balsamic Lattice Pie. Made with local strawberries, imported balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with coarse sugar. A variation of a recipe in the upcoming Vegan Pie in the Sky cookbook.

This is admittedly, one of my more rushed, rustic crust jobs that I’ve been rolling out with brown rice flour. Simply because….the bag is sitting on top of my fridge, locally milled and purchased from the farmers market, duh. More importantly, it served as a party pie for a dear friend’s birthday last weekend. This combination of saucey, sweet strawberries and the deep, refined tang of balsamic is almost unreal. Frankly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a pie consumed this promptly.

The book is due out this October. Berry picking adventures soon.

Tempeh & Strawberries

Not together. Not this time. One day, I’ll make the strawberry jalapeño sauce I’ve been simmering in my head for the past few years. Let’s call it July and grill some tempeh.

Rewind to my Portland farmers market stroll this past Saturday morning, and I was getting my farmar on.

Strawberry season beckons. BECKONS.

It took a lot of reserve to not buy a flat, as I'm leaving the country today on vacation! A pint, for sure.

I'll suffer through this sunlight business for asparagus season.

Farmers Markets haul, 4/30/2011, including locally produced, organic tempeh from Cascade Naturals.

This new stand, Cascade Naturals, will be at the Portland State farmers market the last Saturday of the month. If you dig tempeh, you need to check this out. It’s the freshest, creamiest tempeh I’ve ever tried. If you’re one of those people that prefer to boil or steam your tempeh before using – throw that out the window!

Recent creations follow.

Mini Strawberry Pancakes. Maple Syrup. Pancake recipe from Vegan Brunch. This is almost what normall people do on relaxing Sunday mornings? Tempeh scramble using you know what, bringing up the rear.

(Pre-strained) Rhubard & Rangpur Lime Syrup. Tart. Love.

You saw the glee over the strawberries above. You may know it's PPK pie testing season. This makes total sense. Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb. Vegan Pie in the Sky Test Kitchen.

recent farmar-y lunch: cornmeal, nooch, flour & herb coated smoked tempeh (from a new tempeh stand at the farmar the last weekend of the month), smoked asparagus, baby lettuce and wild rice cooked in v. chix broth. I <3 my lil stovetop smoker.

Someone picked up 2 bags of Teese sticks at Food Fight! on their inaugural day of sale. Someone is full of anticipation.

With that, I’m off duty from work and projects for a week and an hour away from my flight to British Columbia for my first Canadian vacation with some dear friends for a few days. Bon Voyage! More pies & hidden gems & seasonal produce & Vegan Iron Chef chatter (PDX tickets are on sale and flying, zomg!) when I return.

berry picking, subsequently followed by strawberry chocolate swirl cream pie

Blueberry Fields Forever, Sauvie Island


bluebs

I had my first taste of berry picking fulfillment this past weekend with a few friends.  As usual, it was a berry stained dress of a blast. Getting to farms and carrying home pounds of berries is problematic without a car (or ambition to drive), so I am thrilled when it happens. Carpe diem! Carpe bacca!

There are more sensible places to bike or bus to for free blackberries, though they’re not in season yet. We were at Sauvie Island for the varieties of strawberries, including the last of the precious Hoods, blueberries, and a few raspberries.

The first farm we went to, Bella Organics, had some sweet little Hoods left, but their larger Seascapes weren’t at all flavorful. The second farm we hit, Sauvie Island Farms, offered more bounty and entertainment:  we got to ride through the fields on a tractor, pick berries, and pick our own cabbages! I was very content being lost in thought in their blueberry trees for some time.

The next day, I made a strawberry and chocolate swirl cream pie to celebrate the national holiday, friends, berries, and pie.

pie

Strawberry and Chocolate Swirl Cream Pie:

Both layers were sweetened minimally with dark agave and thickened with soft tofu, cornstarch and soaked cashews. The chocolate layer was also made with 70% dark chocolate and some strawberries and just a few blueberries, to deepen the flavor. A strawberry layer was poured down first, and then the mass of chocolate filling, and more strawberry swirled in.  It was baked for 35 minutes at 350F and firmed in the fridge.

Slices were celebrated with Tom Collinses, Katy Perry, Nintendo and Pabst.

Special thanks to the Vita-Mix for pureeing magic, as usual. I made a point to make this up as I went along, so no recipe. It had a teeny amount of that ‘tofu pie’ thing going on, but not enough to piss me off. The pretty swirl distracted me. Next time I make it I’ll add a bit more agave and berries, and who the hell knows, maybe take it cheesecake style.

pie

I saw little kids elsewhere, but no sign of baby eyes here.

yes

Highlight of the week.

farms

Time to pick the berries.

hood

Bella’s check out.

farm check out

Blackberries weren’t what anyone would call ‘ready’ yet, which is extra sad, because I think they’re my favorite berry of the past 20 months. See you guys in a few weeks!

berry

Bluebs at Sauvie Farms

bluebs

Lastly, my new friend, the biggest carrot I’ve ever seen. From Sun Gold Farms at the Portland Farmers Market, purchased earlier that morning:

giant carrot

Potentially hilarious meal presentation to hopefully follow.

dave’s killer breaded seitan

Dave’s Killer Breaded Seitan, Steamed Kale, BBQ Sauce

This very American dinner was appropriately based around the seitan lite from the American Vegan Cookbook.  Of course, the other star is the pride of the Pacific Northwest: Dave’s Killer Bread.

The baked seitan cutlets were breaded with a mixture of toasted, pulverized Dave’s Killer Good Seed bread, freshly ground black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, oregano, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, and sweet paprika. The cutlets were dipped in a water and cornstarch slurry, and then pressed firmly into the mixed crumbs. The cutlets were sprayed with canola oil and baked on parchment paper at 375F for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through and spraying again. They were baked at 425F for an extra 5 minutes for crispy-ness’ sake.

Soon to be breading action

Your dinner is served

steamed kale and blueberries, direct from the new Pioneer Square farmar

I picked up two half pints of blueberries. My berry excitement is about to come to well, fruition this weekend – the first in a series of therapeutic and fulfilling weekend berry picking adventures!

before the surprisingly competitive slashing of prices…