Blueberry-Basil Vodka Lemonade Slushie & Another Week in Portland Produce

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When it’s 93F and you’ve ridden your bike 140 blocks to your favorite farmers market and back, it’s nice to kick back with a homemade boozy slushie. Continue reading

Wine & Cheese (featuring a cashew cheese guide & Our Daily Red wine review)

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….in this day and age of culinary veganism, aged nut cheese = love. 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

Hump Day: Weekend Birthday Cake, Drinks & Dinner at Departure

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VeganMoFo Day Eleven > Looking back on Days Six & Seven with a coconut layer cake, dinner at Departure and my 31st birthday celebration stuff. 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.

Recreation: The Farm’s Herb-Crusted Tofu Marsala

Breaded and herbed tofu cutlets with steamed pea shoots, mashed potatoes and chanterelle mushroom marsala sauce.

Ah, The Farm Cafe’s Herb-Crusted Tofu Marsala. It’s been a while, but I swear, I’ve been on more than one awkward date where this dish owns my attention over the person sitting across the table. It’s Italian fine dining meets Northwest greatness meets home cooking meets a plate high in the running for my last meal request.

The dish is constructed as a multi-layered tower of wonder that’s been impressing vegfolks and omnis alike for years.  On The Farm’s menu (which I understand has been sporadically featuring vegan specials the past couple of years), it’s described as, “Breaded and herbed tofu cutlets with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and crimini mushroom Marsala“. Yes, indeed.

Witness: Mashed Potatoes

This recreation features local chanterelle mushrooms, the addition of smoked salt in the breading, the absence of roasted garlic in the potatoes, yet the incorporation of minced garlic scapes in the sauce, and a generous side of some green with steamed snow peas & shoots. All of the produce used was acquired locally from farmers markets, and the herbs were from a gift from a friend’s garden (Thanks, Liz!).

You can find the original recipe here on Everyday Dish with the lovely Julie  Hasson.

Why I don’t make this more often is beyond me, but I’ll say this much, it’s time to restock on Marsala. Who’s coming over for dinner next week?

Orecchiette con broccolini

Orecchiette con broccolini; smoked and seared tofu

I picked up a bag of Italian orecchiette last week at Barbur World Foods as part of my dramatic & ongoing hidden gem investigation with one intention – making this traditional recipe once again from The Urban Vegan. It’s a classy weeknight meal with plenty of thinly sliced garlic sauteed in olive oil (you better go high quality!), a hint of salty miso, a sprinkle of nooch, and in this case, broccolini subbing for the signature vegetable…but I don’t think my distant family in Sicily would mine that one. The nooch on the other hand, maybe.

And to channel the wonderful, birthday gal Dynise: Pair this with a tall glass of lemon water or red wine, and pretend it costs $12 at your local trattoria (even if you have a vegan trattoria down the block, like this spoiled lady).

Cauliflower Cashew Goat Cheese

This spread was part of the menu for the first Heartichoke French-inspired dinner last weekend. It’s adapted from Bryanna Clark Grogan’s recipe for vegan “goat cheese” from this post on Notes from a Vegan Feast Kitchen. The original intention was for just that, a goat cheese style concoction with the incorporation of cauliflower, and nuts for creaminess.  It’s no surprise that internet perusal brought led to Bryanna’s site, she’s an awesomely from-scratch type of author. It really bugs me when I search for recipes and they’re all made with existing products. I’m not saying I won’t consider or appreciate them, but I wanted to make something from scratch. As inspired by Jenn Shagrin’s recipe for vegan goat cheese, I also added vermouth. I’m more of an extra dry martini gal, but I feel classy owning a bottle, and the wine and miso really deepen the flavor.

Garnished with fresh basil

Cauliflower Cashew ‘Goat Cheese’, recipe adapted from Bryanna’s “Goat Cheese” Spread

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of boiled and strained cauliflower (cook for 25-35 minutes, or until so tender that it’s pierce-able with a fork)
  • 3/4 cup soaked, raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons of mild miso, such as white
  • 1.5 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of vermouth
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions: Puree in your food processor. Add a tablespoon of water if needed, to reach a smooth consistency. Garnish with fresh, chopped basil and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with sliced baguette.

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Fun note - I enjoy mentioning this concoction to my sister, because she’s a fancy cheese lover and is incredibly horrified by the mixture of vegan+cauliflower+cheese.

P.S. Gosh, look at how easy it is to credit my inspirations, despite adapting multiple aspects of this recipe! Something it would be respectfully nice to see more of on the internet <3

feeling fancy and feeling girly

In regards to Blog Post Title Part I

Well, I still don’t have many photos to show, but my weekend included a lot of feeling fancy – at least some contributions to it. I hid and cooked in the kitchen during the first Heartichoke, my friend’s new vegan supper club, and we pulled off five French-inspired courses & seemed to have content guests on our hands. It was a great experience; the smoke alarms didn’t go off and there’s talk of a Tapas and Basque inspired dinner this Spring.

The photos I do have, thanks to my camera’s 5 second life span, were not from the dinner, but are pretty fancy and productive for the end of a weekend:

Tuscan Braised Beans, The Urban Vegan. With the addition of gigantes beans and fresh basil. Dynise’s dishes always class it up.

First theme, continued:

Herb Crusted Tofu with Mushrooms Marsala ala The Farm Cafe in Portland, via Everyday Dish TV.  As for changes, I baked the tofu, used a mixture of maiittake and shiitake mushrooms in the sauce, and served it over braised beans and steamed baby spinach.

In regards to Blog Post Title Part II

Hey! If you’re in the Portland area tomorrow night and you’re a vegan or veg-curious female or you’ve ever met one or even if you plan on spending the rest of your life surrounded by the XY chromosome and no other, you should come show your support for Melisser Elliott, the talented author of the The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life, at everyone’s local vegan owned and operated clothing store, Herbivore. The signing party starts at 5pm.

Later this week: Thoughts on the revolutionary documentary, Forks Over Knives. Have you seen it yet?