COOKIE DAY (aka Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla Giveaway for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, Phew)

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…because sometimes I say yes (and I’m forever baking cookies). Continue reading

Pumpkin Pie Infusions & Holiday Entertaining Shindig 12/7

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Life, infusions, recipe testing and an invitation to Vida Vegan’s Holiday Event this Saturday in Portland, OR. P.S. my blog is snowing. Continue reading

The Get Sconed! Food Porn Report for July ’13

Vegan Pizza on Get Sconed!

With VeganMoFo VII mere weeks ahead, I’ve been busy brainstorming and beginning to prepare, so it’s time to put aside the recipe posts and mason jars with the realization that August is truly moving forward, and share some good old-fashioned vegan food porn* glory, starting with one of the many handcrafted highlights… Continue reading

Next Stop on the Whole Grain Vegan Baking BlogTour…

Peanut Butter (Sriracha!) Surprise Cookies

It’s my day on the Whole Grain Vegan Baking Blogtour, and I’m taking the teeniest, tiniest moment away from uh, week-of Vida Vegan Con-hyperdrive duties, before bed to share what I’ve made so far from this intriguing, wholesome book. Let’s be honest, there are a lot lot lot of vegan cookbooks out these days (and well, seemingly every few days), but when Tami and Celine put out a book, you take note.

And when they ask you to join a blogtour, you’re so in. Continue reading

Long Weekending: Home-Cooking, Test Kitchen, Bay Leaf & BOH

I had a wonderful long weekend. It marked the first time since November I’ve truly had a free weekend to cook and bake in a relaxed manner, in addition to a couple of swell meals out of the house. There was no special occasion, I wasn’t prepping for a dinner party or the week ahead, I was simply in my kitchen. No rush required.

Here’s the weekend, foodwise, including the casual, pasta from Isa’s latest PPK test kitchen, a return to Bay Leaf, cookies, and the first BOH dinner.

CTate's Queso. This was the original version of the Food For Lovers queso. It's delicious. Do a google search for "ctate's queso" and you'll come across the recipe.

If all I eat are quinoa and black bean bowls covered with queso for the next week, it’s fine by me.

The following pasta meal is a dish from Isa’s latest book in progress, with the working title, “Isa Does It”.  I skipped the toasted walnuts (dang you, potential allergy woes) and topped it with roasted sunflower seeds. I’ve been hooked lately.

Olive Angel Hair with Seared Brussel Sprouts

testing, testing

Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance

note to self: look into a tablecloth you actually fancy

From lunch at Bay Leaf. I hadn’t been in quite some time, and my girlfriend had never. Their hot and sour soup and Sizzling Tofu is my go-to meal when I’m sick.

Springrolls

ah, delightful

Sometimes it’s nice to dine somewhere where the dishes stay the same, time after time.  It’s  even nicer to say that place is a vegetarian restaurant (somewhat) down the street.

Veggies Delight Noodle aka lo mein

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The Dong Po Tofu lunch special and my obvious adjustment to a droid.

Most of the time, I crave variety in my dishes, and I choose to dine out because I desire the experience of new dishes, different cuisines, creative dining, interesting textures – everything I don’t, and probably can’t – try in my own little kitchen.

Dry Rosé, Winter’s Hill, Portobello’s kitchen

don't mind me, I'm a cellphone pic on a candlelit table...

Over the weekend, I was invited to attend the first BOH dinner at Portobello Vegan Trattoria, which never stopped impressing, course by course. It started with a miniature potato pancake smaller than my thumb, moved onto a kimchi and kumquat (among other things) adorned green onion pancake, on-wards to beet and pinenut-filled ravioli with blood orange sauce and moscatel syrup (and more), two more stunning courses (both on the plate and in my mouth), and this rarely ever happens with me, but my favorite of them all, if you forced me to pick, was the finale: a miniature slice of sweet potato bourbon pie, topped with housemade coconut ice cream and caramel sauce. Yeah. The full menu is on the facebook.

Of course, I was already a big fan of Portland’s vegan Italian spot and moan about gnocchi pretty much whenever it’s mentioned, but this experience was damn avant-garde. Bear with my phone photos, and head over to their facebook page for a full album of much higher quality.

don't mind me, I'm another cellphone pic on a candlelit table...

Up ahead, a thankfully short week ahead capped off with a visit from my sister from  NYC, bagels in tow.

summer approaches

just some recent sights & treats that are so far epitomizing my upcoming summer dining in Portland, despite my rainboot wearing yesterday:

What means summer in this city.

Chocolate chip cookies with fresh mint, for a friends' sunny BBQ. Equally as exciting as fresh mojitos?

Sunnyside, SE. The annual brightening (painting) of the mural has a soft spot in my heart, as I spent my first few years in Portland residing around the corner.

Pretend there are five farmers markets pictured right here, okay?

Technically, it sprinkled outside when I was eating this soft serve from Back to Eden Bakery. Therefore, that slightly makes up for my surprising lack of sprinkles. What was I thinking!? I hadn't tried the soft serve since this adorable place opened (which recently & magically just expanded its seating), and it was very creamy and far less super sweet than I remembered. Woo, Chicago Soy Dairy!

Please excuse that I'm about to say this, but pizza is always in season: Sizzle Pie rabbit salad & No Conditions vegan slice, $6. Old German tallboy $2.50. Cue lower East Burnside people watching. This is the one place I will eat (sparing amounts of) the D-cheese.

One of the best parts of near summer so far: Panda Ballz aka the cutest panda candy I have ever seen, a prize courtesy of Ballin' and Baggin'

sweet & savoury & colorful

The Sweet: White Chocolate Chip & Orange Biscotti

Recipe modified from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. White Chocolate Chips from Pangea’s VeganSweets line, via Sidecar in Seattle.

 

The Savoury:

Roasted Chickpeas with tamari, nutritional yeast, olive oil, cayenne, lemon juice, cumin and smoked paprika.

The Savoury & Colorful:

Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with maple roasted red beets, burdock and purple carrots and black-eyed peas & greens (from AFR).

This is Trader Joe’s extra firm tofu marinated in red wine, tamari, vegetable broth, garlic and herbs, and coated catfish-style with cornmeal, flour, sea salt, nutritional yeast and black pepper. Easily baked or pan-fried.

The Colorful:

Pre-roasted purple carrots, long red beets and burdock with sea salt, black pepper, olive oil, vegetable broth & maple syrup.

Also Colorful:

Ready to go: Savoy cabbage, purple carrots & sesame seeds. Both vegetables from one of the last Saturday farmers markets. Sniff.

Esme Sauce, Soup & Pretzel Cookies

Esme sauce: know it, love it (just like esme)! Cabernet after a highly stressful day & my cluttered table: same goes for you. This sauce just hits the spot – even more so with last night’s addition of chopped sorrel and baby spinach.

from the past couple weeks…

A recent lunch & dinner for days: Tomato, Roasted Garlic & Rice soup from Veganomicon. I’ve been making this in the chillier months regularly since the testing stage, and this time, I added hot paprika and subbed corona beans for the navy beans. It’s served with toasted lavash below.

Hi beans! I was first introduced to corona beans at a Red & Black Cafe benefit dinner a few years ago, and I sought them out recently at City Market on NW 21st. They’re pricey, but a fun, sporadic purchase that packs a whole lot of substance.

Ah, fall. Ah, squash. I roasted this acorn squash in some vegetable broth and added it to both soup and incorporated it into a creamy sauce. The soup was a trial spicy french morrocan with corona beans and kale for the eventual french-inspired Heartichoke vegan supper club my friend is starting this winter in Portland. Stay tuned.

What a surprise, pickles don’t photograph well at night. These were refrigerator style, marinated dill “pickles”. If I remembered what recipe they were from, I’d advise cutting down on the sugar next time…


And lastly, pretzel cookies. I made these to bring to a friend’s post Portland Marathon-potluck-celebration, as a small tribute to his Pretzel Necklace wearing ways. They’re based on the recipe for Peanut Apple Pretzel Drops from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. My first time making them – or rather, an adaptation of them minus the peanut, plus pecans, minus apples, plus coconut and butterscotch chips. Bam.

ooo, summer I love your ways: produce, potlucks & a triple vegan bacon cheeseburger

Just kidding, I only like the fruits of your labor. The fruits of eight months of Portland drizzle. Rathermore (that’s right), your glorious fresh fruits and vegetables. Come on, weirdo summer, let’s get through the heat wave and onwards to heirloom tomatoes and spin the color wheel of bell peppers, eggplant and cauliflower!

Here are the fruits of my recent culinary labor:

Mushroom Sherry Pate from The Urban Vegan, take 2.

mushroom pate
This time, I added almonds,roasted shallots, maitake mushrooms in addition to cremini, & added a couple of spices.

Cherry Whiskey Cookies

cherry whiskey cookies
I brought these cookies & the pate to the recent Vegan Convergence 2.19. I spent the first half of the gathering selling ice cream (or orchestrating a Purely Decadent body shot photo shoot with Michele, same thing). These cookies are the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, substituting a small amount of the non-dairy milk for Cherry Whiskey.

Cabbage Patch tofu scramble

cabbage scramble
Aptly named, as the cabbage was hand-picked on previous berry picking adventures. This scramble has cabbage, sugar snap peas, carrots, kalamata olives and garlic scapes.

Pesto Tahini tofu, marinating.

fu pre fu

I’ve made this before to top salads and been thrilled, but this batch was a little lackluster  since I was trying to cut down on the ingredients and salt-factor for a potluck. This version had homemade almond pesto, tahini, water, white wine and coconut aminos.

Pesto Tahini Baked Tofu, garnished with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes

fu

Baked Jerked Seitan, marinating.

Jerked Seitan

Both jerk sauce and seitan recipes are from The Urban Vegan. Hot stuff!

Seitan Lite & Greens

american vegan lite seitan & greens

The seitan lite recipe is from another fun cookbook I’ve been enjoying  – American Vegan Kitchen.

Jelly Donut Cupcakes

Jelly Donut Cupcakes
from the holy Veganomicon.  shockingly, my first time making them. I made both the cupcakes and seitan for an initials potluck last week. The JS for my behind the scenes name, and the JD for my really, really behind the scenes name. Identity crisis, commence.

Cashew Miso Mayo

cashew miso mayo

A test recipe for Isa’s upcoming Appetite for Reduction book.

In Conclusion, Part I: fresh, local raspberries are swell.

raspberries

In Conclusion, Part II: My friend Jeff  with his birthday Triple Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger from the super nice & delicious D.C. Vegetarian cart.

jeff's birthday triple vegan bacon cheeseburger
Jeff told me all he wanted for his birthday was a photo of him, at Tube, eating this custom birthday burger, displayed on the internet.

Happy Birthday, Jeff! Somehow, he made it through.