Culinary Dwelling

Much to my delight, life  has calmed and evolved in the past few weeks. These are some photos and dishes I created while life was not so calm. With this oh so welcome change, expect more updates in my internet-verse. Time is mine once more, and every damn day belongs to farmers markets and projects.

The first worthwhile, summer strawberries from the farmers market

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Pie was made. Chocolate peanut butter cream, shortbread crust and salted caramel. I missed making pies.

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More thanks to Bryant Terry. Inspired Vegan-style grits, simmered fava beans with fresh herbs, and roasted asparagus and garlic flowers.

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The roasted asparagus and garlic flowers stood in for fennel. As much as fennel has certainly grown on me, I couldn’t bring myself to buy an entire bulb. I spent one summer receiving a CSA where I was haunted with multiple bulbs on a weekly basis and almost burnt out. This dish, regardless, was glorious.

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Fully dressed. Grits are now in rotation.

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From the Isa Does It test kitchen: Beefy Seitan Stirfry with Fresh Herbs and Cabbage Sesame Slaw

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Sunday brunch had been a saving grace through my now-over workplace stress. Scrambled tofu with pea shoots and sugar snap peas, baked hash brown UFOs, watermelon and coffee.

Yeah, I’m loving the charming new tablecloth J. Legume picked up. 

Thank you, Basement Pub imperial glass. Thank you,Wandering Aengus.

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Keeping it simple: Thai basil fried rice with cabbage and baked sesame tofu cubes. The tofu is also a tester for Isa Does It that keeps making the rounds.

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Life included another treat at Veggie Grill: a grand opening dinner with team VVC, our plus ones, and Dan & Nicole from Upton’s. Yes!

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Lastly, on one special evening, Julia Legume and I enjoyed our own buffalo tofu salads. These included baked tofallo cubes, a zinged up Sanctuary Ranch dressing, sliced cucumber and field greens. Goodness, gracious.

Brunchos & Joni’s Toffalo

From the people who brought you Totsgiving, the admirers of the dude pie, comes a new meal for those indulgent days you feel like a true liberal arts college gourmet: BRUNCHOS.

baked tator tots, vegan sausage gravy, cheesy sauce, tomato, avocado, Frank's Red Hot, baby spinach and pan-fried seitan bacon.

We all learned that it’s the perfect fare for that slightly belated day you watch Groundhog Day on repeat. The trio of greens, cheesy sauce and diced tomato truly bring that element of class to the presentation. The bacon seitan was a combination of these two recipes. I’ve got the slightly spicy and smokey flavor where I want it, but I’m not quite there with the red layer yet. Crispy bits, however, did their job above.

Brunchos…another tator tot revolution.

Joni's Tofallo Wings from Just The Food. Photo by Julia

In other awesome developments, last night’s post we-didn’t-watch-the-superbowl-celebration included Stellas with Julia and a baked version of Joni’s Tofallo wings, served with baby carrots, celery sticks and Spiral Diner Ranch for dipping.  I added fine breadcrumbs, cayenne and garlic powder into the breading, baked at 400F for 20 minutes, flipped, and baked another 18 minutes at 425F, with decent spray oil canola action.

Back-log: Portland Vegan Dining: Food Carts, Portobello Brunch, Hungry Tiger Too & even more Native Foods

Something crazy happened last month. I was fairly busy, fell off my budget a bit (which is ridiculous with my month off adventure fast approaching) and managed to participate in food cart regularity for the first time in what felt like years, not to mention sit down for brunch more than once.

Super Creamy Ota Tofu Frittata from the new brunch at Portobello

(Nothing has ever made me want a side of garlic bread more in my life)

From opening weekend: the Heirloom Blood Mary & Mimosa

See that locally made Picklopolois Green Jalapeno Sauce? It’s your new best friend.

Both times I’ve visited, my dining companions have ordered the Chanterelle Homefries with parsley pesto. How I’ve resisted, I have no idea.

Roasted Sweet Potato, Root beer & Rum Waffle with Maple Syrup- macerated Peaches

Pad Kee Mow with Tofu & Vegetables from Ploy Thai

Indeed, there’s a new Thai cart in my life (farewell, Just Thai), Ploy Thai: Ping Yang Kang Street Food. I quickly became a regular visitor telling myself I’m supposed to up my heat tolerance before arriving in Bangkok, okay? Plus, they’re hip to the definition of “vegan” while maintaining flavor. They add serranos to their noodles for heat!

Pad Eggplant with wonderful, freshly fried Ota tofu

Sometimes, you just want beans for lunch. Vegetarian Combo of saucey black beans, white rice, tostones & pineapple at El Cubo de Cuba on SW 5th & Oak. 

Here’s a story…..What lays below is a yellow curry, Pokemon-inspired unicorn horn from the fabled UniCart. I’m not incredibly sure how it’s been developing. As per the website, it’s now “vegan with meat options”, and I hear it’s half fried chicken now? Anyway, I’ll keep my eyes open and nose held in hope, because the proprietor’s cooking had style – and originality.

My friend Melissa and I enjoyed lunch-for-brunch at the Hungry Tiger Too this week, who recently “streamlined” their lengthy vegan and omni menus – and as I’ve seen with my own eyes, added glorious floats with Chicago Soy Dairy soft serve.

I ordered the BLTeaser with hand cut fries (oh tots, life’s not the same without you!)

While she went for the Nachos with house nutritional yeast sauce, which truly made this happy hour-for-brunch, in addition to my hot pint of Bloody Mary.

Lastly, my fellow Vida Vegan Con organizers and myself took a dinner-time field trip last night to Native Foods. Best. Night. Ever.

This marks my third visit to the Portland area’s Native Foods, and I’m now half-considering braving the far out bus route and being really, really nice to my friends with cars. Breaking Dawn is surely playing at the Bridgeport Theater, hint hint, Karla!

Janessa, keeping it real.

We shared an order of the Native Chicken Wings, because they’re flaky, tender and impossible NOT to order. We went with buffalo, ranch and chipotle cream (Janessa is so ordering savvy!) 

I had thinly sliced seitan on the brain (who doesn’t? the gluten-free? they totally do) and looking to try something new, asked myself, “What would my friend Katie in Bellingham order?”, and went with the Chicago Dip Aus Jus with pickled “giardiniera extraordinaire” with a side of the lemony lentil soup of the day. It was tasty, yet exhausting!

Speaking of ass-kicking sandwiches, Janessa ordered the special of the day: the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger with FRIED PICKLE CHIPS. Holy moly.

Michele ordered something that’s been at the top of my to-try list: the Chicken Run (Ranch) Burger.

If your food take more than it seems 10-12 minutes at Native Foods, you get a comped dessert!

Here’s the Rose Petal Good Luck Cupcake and my immediate preference, the Peanut Butter Parfait.

Backlog: Home-cooking

I may have spent the entire month of October barely doing more than copy/pasting and clicking upload over here, and shaking a few cocktails over this way, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t cooking. Discussing my culinary tales was simply pushed to the side by a bunch of furry animals. We’ve all been there.

My apologies if you’ve seen these on the facebook already, but now they’re all in one place! I promise, I won’t ask you to click back and forth on the same link for minutes of your day. This isn’t that type of place, nor do I really know what that means.

In no particular order, here’s the month in creations, including a bunch of brunch, Vegan Diner fun and a prominent obsession with chanterelles. I realized I had a problem when I was buying them from farmers markets not once, but twice a week, and now there’s a suspicious van parked outside my apartment. Just waiting.

Chanterelle omelet with steamed kale, Cajun roasted fingerlings, fresh thyme, roasted garlic boursin-style spread and seitan sausage.  Recipes sourced from Vegan Brunch, Vegan Diner and World Vegan Feast.

Smoked tofu & cherry tomato benedict with hollandaise, balsamic creminis, steamed kale & baguette. My applewood chips are up next, and on my gosh.

Olive oil & sliced garlic base with baby spinach, roasted red peppers, sliced heirloom tomato, shredded Cheezly & chanterelles sautéed in red wine. Cheezly, I miss you so.

Spicy Ethiopian-style Chickpea Stew, white rice, roasted peanuts. Based on this Whole Foods Kitchen recipe.

With quite a few of these…

Spaghetti with fire roasted marinara, nutritional yeast, grilled pilsner tofu, roasted eggplant, zucchini, garlic & basil. 

This marks the last photo this plate will ever star in. Ker-plunk.


One week, I had a loaf of Dave’s Killer Bread in my house, so I re-learned the art and convenience of sandwiching making.

Additional Pilsner grilled tofu, sliced tomato, green leaf lettuce, Vegenaise, hot sauce and a side of roasted fingerlings with coarse salt.

Baked “fried” green tomatoes and roasted red pepper aioli from the Sunny Days for Texas cookzine.

Pumpkin chocolate chip pancake, seitan & greens, apple ginger juice.

Sun-dried Tomato Chickpea Spread, ExtraVeganZa. My BFF sent me this book for my birthday and I am just as ecstatic about the number of fancy mushroom recipes as I’m sure she was.

Muhammara. Recipe from Epicurious.  I may have bought an incredible number of end-of-season red bell peppers and carried the bag home over my shoulder.

An almost classy, bastardization, dedicated to my girl, Vegan Moxie: Salted Caramel Mocha. I used this DIY method for french press-style espresso (I know), my wee IKEA frother, and this recipe for vegan caramel using Sucanat, with the generous addition of sea salt. 

Next up, the backlog of out-and-about dining, including some of Portland’s latest vegan brunch delights, and a countdown to my upcoming month abroad in Thailand – and beyond.

a very cast iron christmas (breakfast)

Tofu Omelette, Smoky Creminis and Garlic Roasted Potatoes from Vegan Brunch. The omelette itself was stuffed with the mushrooms, baby spinach and Wayfare Hickory-Smoked Cheddar-Style Spread.

Breaking in the new cast iron skillet on a holiday morning. I am so happy to have an omelette, pancake & crepe friendly pans again!

A Brunch in the Life: Tempeh Benedict with Butternut Hollandaise

It’s not very often that I find myself making brunch anymore. It’s a little sad, but I’m usually heading here or there and grabbing coffee on the way, or meeting friends for brunch at Tube or Hungry Tiger Too, knowing my routine. This weekend, however, was practically a countdown to when I could break out the butternut hollandaise again.  I had made it earlier in the week to pair with pecan breaded tofu, and yesterday became the official day to re-acquaint myself with a vegan Benedict. It was everything I was aiming for, which incorporated Diner Tempeh Patties from American Vegan Kitchen into the rest of the elements of a Tofu Benedict ala Vegan Brunch.

As for the Butternut Hollandaise, 1/2 cup of roasted butternut squash and 1/2 head of roasted garlic were added into the saucepan before it was pureed and warmed once more. The complete Benedict plate has a toasted multi-grain English muffin, diner-style homefries, sliced tomato sprinkled with Alder smoked salt, a baked tempeh patty, hollandaise, and a side of straight up roasted broccoli.

Late in the season tomatoes and peppers from the Saturday farmers market:

I’ll miss them so. Onto a winter of roasted red peppers, which brings us back to the Saturday farmers market in Portland on a very nice day come fall & winter…

Photo Essay #703: BloLo Brunch & Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

One of my favorite, least-cohesive type of updates.

Over the course of this past slammin’ weekend, I saw the Mayor at a brew pub, dined with friends at Taqueria Los Gorditos: The Restaurant, tried out a new karaoke spot, baked biscotti, finished The Comeback (delightful!), sipped a couple local microbrews on the engaging, Pretzel Necklace™ NW Portland Brewpub Crawl, baked more biscotti, baked even more biscotti, brunched at the new Blossoming Lotus,  sold cookies at Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti, and had a super fantastic meeting with my friend Janessa for a secret big project we’ll be announcing later in the month. !!! I also found a bit of time to feed my cats and do one mere load of laundry, score!

Brunch at BloLo: Florentine Scramble Plate with Maple Seitan Sausage.

Brunch at BloLo

Brunch at BloLo: Sweet Pancake

Brunch at BloLo

Brunch at BloLo: Grits and Greens

Brunch at BloLo

Over all, one of the best and classiest vegan brunch experiences I’ve ever had.  Hands down the best in Portland so far.

The excitement never ends about Taqueria Los Gorditos.  It’s in my hood!

Fajita Soy Curl Burrito at Taqueria Los Gorditos

Taqueria Los Gorditos con amigos

Would you believe this is my first actual burrito from Gorditos? You should believe it, because it’s true. I hear they make their own soyrizo now.  I’m on a Soy Curl kick, myself.

Weekend Baking.

Biscotti: Savoury Italian with Sun-dried Tomato, Rosemary and Basil. Sprinkled with Coarse Sea Salt & Black Pepper.

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

Biscotti: Savoury Italian and Blueberry, Lemon & Basil

biscotti

Blueberry, Lemon & Basil Biscotti

biscotti

Rummy, Spiced Chocolate Chunk Biscotti

biscotti

I have social anxiety over making pretty things for bake sales, so I went with something I knew, and that was meant to be over-baked!

Onto the Bake Sale!

Insane amount of donations, insane amount of love, insane amount of purchases!  Isa’s idea was beautiful – last time I checked, the grand total for these nationwide, DIY vegan bake sales was over 32k! Portland topped 3k, alone!

For most of the day, there were 4 tables: $2, $3, $4, and COOKIE.

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

Some pretty scones and coconut cupcakes made their way to the cookie table.

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

Adorable Blackberry-Apple pie pops

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

Behind the scenes, what at one point was the drop-off table

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

Love

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

Love – Leigh and Ann’s Spicy Haitan Creole Sauce. So good!

I had some over tempeh last night! Talk of this is all the rage on facebook.

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

Eek! Woof!

Love. Cupcakes.

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

Pie!

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

Pretties.

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

Butterscotch Bundt !!

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

Convenient Cookies!

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

A brief moment the cookie table wasn’t jam-packed.

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

Vegans rule.

warm & comforty foods.

Brussel Sprouts Au Gratin from The Urban Vegan


brussel sprouts au gratin

here’s a showing of what I’ve been cooking in the past month or so.  colder weather & holiday season = comfort foods on the brain.  turning on the oven to roast vegetables and bake tofu is delicious and keeps the apartment warm!

they’re the type of dishes where you want to hug the plate, and then raise your fork.  truthfully, in my heart and stomach, Italian food reigns as the ruler of the comfort food kingdom, but American vegan comfort foods call out, just the same.

Whole Wheat Biscuits from The Kind Diet, Silky Chickpea Gravy from Isa’s test kitchen, roasted brussel sprouts (clearly I let the gravy sit a few minutes here!)

WW Biscuits and Tester Silky Chickpea Gravy

Spicy Collards & kidney beans, Bbq baked super firm tofu

recent dinner

The spicy collards dish above was based on the test recipe for the dish below – Spicy Black Eyed Peas & Greens from Isa’s test kitchen, served with Cornmeal & Nooch baked tofu. Perfect for the days the Bye & Bye is just too far across town from me.

PPK dinner.

More BBQ baked tofu & Brussel Sprouts Au Gratin – the lunch@work edition. I made a double batch of maple sweetened Backyard BBQ sauce from Veganomicon a few weeks ago, and it’s been handy.

lunch @work series

Baked Bean balls from Veganomicon. I eat these with steamed greens and a side of marinara, or happily over whole wheat spaghetti.

chickpea balls

Seitan roast, maple baked carrots, baked potato and mushroom croquette, silky chickpea gravy.

belated tday dinner.

The day after Thanksgiving, I felt the delayed desire to make a seitan roast.  Like my friend Joanna’s amazing seitan roast, I modeled mine after Brian P. McCarthy’s recipe.  I didn’t pull out all the stops and buy cheesecloth and string, but it was still remarkably good seitan. The potato and mushroom croquettes were a mix of leftover mashed potatoes, roasted garlic and a little extra stuffed mushroom filling, formed into patties, rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs and baked.  I remember my mom making a pan fried (mushroom-less), traditional Italian version of these a few times a year growing up. comfort foodz for the win!

Tofu Skin, Tolosana black beans, carrots and tomato with Mexican spices. Burrito filling.

tofu sheets, mexican style

Really serious warm & comforty food – Side Dish Stuffed Mushrooms from my friend Michelle’s Thanksgiving potluck.

shrooms

and…Melty Swiss Uncheese turned Ancho Uncheese Dip from the classic Uncheese Cookbook.

swiss uncheese turned spicy ancho swiss uncheese

so, what’s your comfort food of choice come winter?

The Great Portland Tofu Scramble Census

Portland, OR: Tofu Scramble Capital of the USA?

jan 08 017

There is no denying that Portland is a vegan mecca. People seem to travel from around the world to sample deep fried vegan corn dogs, soft serve from Blossoming Lotus and biscuits and gravy from Vita or Paradox, among hundreds of other delicious ideas that immediately popped into your head. Well, here’s another crown you can bestow upon this city – Tofu Scramble Capital of the USA.

The Stumptown Vegans have joked about how we could spend a month eating nothing but tofu scrambles for future reviews, and have projects and podcasts up our sleeves, on top of recently being interviewed about all things tofu scramble, vegan breakfast and more on Breakfast in Bridgetown. The past few years have seen an expansion in tofu scrambles across this city, overall shifts from cubes to scrambles and a decrease in the many menus that used to say ‘sub tofu/pay more’. Why, I remember when I first talked my way into a ‘subbed’ tofu scramble with smoked tomatoes at Genie’s

So!

I decided it would be, well, fun, to see just how many tofu scrambles are available at different restaurants in Portland. I started making a list and couldn’t stop, and that became a table, which I’m calling a census.

Portland is home to excellent local tofu and some of the best produce in the country, and really, it’s an easy, cholesterol-free dish for any restaurant to offer during breakfast & brunch.  But who’s got your favorite? Who cooks that tofu just right and has the best sides?

The Great Portland Tofu Scramble Census.

Tofu Scramble Location Neighborhood Variety Spices Notes
Asaase Ital Palace cart SW/PSU * * breakfast scramble
Bar Carlo SE scrambled Yes
Beaterville N pressed/grilled Braggs chewy and delicious
Beulahland NE scrambled * sub tofu for eggs
Bijou Cafe Downtown/SW * *
Blue Moose NE * *
Blue Pig SE scrambled * sub tofu for eggs
Bourgeois Z Vintage SE (outer) * *
Byways Cafe Pearl/NW * *
Chaos Cafe SE small cubes Yes wholesome!
Cricket Cafe SE cubed lots of black pepper seriously, lots of pepper.
Crush SE * * ‘Veganator’ + tofu, brunch
Cup and Saucer Cafe various scrambled varies order the special for flavor!
Equinox N/Mississippi cubed/scramble seasonal
Francis NE * *
Genie’s SE cubed No sub tofu for eggs on menu
Gravy N/Mississippi scrambled tur-mer-ic! hot stuff, but eh.
Hungry Tiger Too SE scrambled Yes, light, lots of garlic small and full sized options
Isabel’s Pearl/NW * *
Jam on Hawthorne SE scrambled Yes sub tofu for eggs on menu
Juniors SE Big chunks Yes, light the first to use spice?!
Laurelthirst NE * *
Morning Star Downtown/SW * *
Mother’s Bistro Downtown/SW scrambled/mush *
Old Wives’ Tales Inner Eastside baked Yes interesting.
Paradox Cafe SE squares lightly seasoned available as a side/in #2
Proper Eats N/St. John’s scramble Yes tempeh scramble!
Red & Black Café SE during Saturday brunch? *
Ruby Dragon cart N/Mississippi scrambled Yes tempeh scramble!
Schavone’s SE cubed No sub tofu for eggs
Slappy Cakes SE * *
Star E Rose NE scrambled * daily specials
Stepping Stone NW cubed/large pieces Ask for them (cajun) sub tofu for eggs
Sweetpea Brunch SE scrambled, buffet serving mild rotating brunch items
The Original Downtown/SW * * foie gras fig newtons here.
Tube Downtown/NW scrambled mild served in tacos!
Virgo & Pisces NW * * *
Vita Cafe NE scrambled Yes tofu and tempeh scrambles!
Wild Abandon SE scrambled No reach for the hot sauce.

*If you see something missing, retired or worth mentioning in this directory, please say so! There are places I haven’t managed to order a scramble yet, or I’ve blocked out of my mind.

Italics = my favorite places for scramble.

Onto some tofu scramble examples:

Superhero Scramble from Junior’s.

One of my favorite plates of food in this city (or their Vegan Potatoes + Tofu = Whoa, Yes).

Junior's

Curry Scramble from Jam - on a ‘big pieces’ day!

december 035

Portland Scramble from Hungry Tiger Too. This one wears their cheesy sauce.

Portland Scramble

Greek Scramble from Hungry Tiger Too.

My go-to order here. Because I really love kalamata olives and garlic in my scramble.

Hungry Tiger Too

Vegan Scramble from Jam Cafe & Arthouse on Hawthorne. Adore their jams and hash browns.

Check out the Everyday Dish cooking video to learn the spice mix!

August 2007 004

Tofu Scramble Taco from Tube bar

april 2007 126

Cricket Cafe Make-Your-Own Tofu Scramble.

Tons of black pepper – this was gigantic, but I’ve heard a friend mention theirs was tiny.

Cricket Cafe

Genie’s (Subbed) Tofu Scramble – go for the smoked tomatoes! They have great roasted potatoes and an amazing cocktail menu.

march 2008

P.S. I have to give my friend Bazu credit for the origin of this idea, with her post on The Great Tofu Scramble Debate. Personally, I go all three ways – scrambled mush, cubed, and the in-between.  Oh, and don’t forget about baked scrambles! Not such a fan.

P.P.S. You probably make the best scramble in town.

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