spicy yellow curry noodle soup & inspiration from chau in vancouver, b.c.

Spicy Yellow Curry Noodle Soup with fried tofu, baked Masala tofu from AFR, snow peas, kale raab, baby bok choi, jalapeño, basil, garlic, ginger, v. chicken broth, etc.

Between us, sometimes I think like a blogger and frame posts in my head. They often never come to fruition for various reasons – my camera died, crap lighting, reserve/manners, annoyance, reality, etc. One thing I’ve enjoyed doing over the years is recreating memorable dishes from restaurants (and carts), but I rarely seem to talk about it on the internets. Weird shocker. Maybe too boring.

If you like to cook, you likely find yourself pondering the following: How can I put my own spin on this? How do I learn how to make this? I just don’t want to say goodbye – when do I get to eat this again? Could I make this for cheaper? Could I make this healthier? When do I get to wow guests with this? I could make this even better! etc.

Some time ago, it almost happened with a roasted butternut squash sauce and tart apple topped pizza at Hot Lips. I slowly gathered the ingredients, roasted the squash, picked up a couple of Pink Lady apples, stopped by a solid pizzeria for the dough (it’s legit!), stocked up on garlic, but forgot the fresh sage and rosemary, lost the dream, had curried squash puree for dinner and apples with my lunch the remainder of the week. You know how it goes.

A couple of weeks ago on my grand vacation in British Columbia, I enjoyed a warming bowl of veganized Vietnamese Beef Curry Pho [minus the beef and vegetarian ham, plus tofu] at the lovely Chau Kitchen & Bar in Vancouver. Once I threw in the Sriracha, there was no turning back. I practically wanted it to start raining outside (which it totally did the next day) so I could slurp noodles with my friends all afternoon.

This past weekend, before another quick trip out-of-town – this time, to table with my Vegan Iron Chef folks at Seattle’s sensational Vegan Chili Cook-Off, I spent my Saturday running errands, starting by getting my farmar on. After that, I stopped by my local tofu shop and after an internet search for ‘curry pho’ proved annoying, joined my current obsessions of Spectrum Coconut Oil spray and Southeast Asian cuisine in the Thai-style soup pictured above. My take was based on this recipe, with the additions of both fried and Masala baked tofu, green jalapeño pepper, light coconut milk, heaps of fresh, local basil and vegan subs, of course, such as dark soy sauce and nuoc man chay from Fubonn, aka vegetarian fish sauce. I wanted to keep it somewhat brothy to give the noodles something to live for, and left out the sweet potato.

Yellow Curry Pho from Chau

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.

The Return of the FarMar: Rapini for All

For the love of raab! and rapini!

Does this make you want a bowl of fresh chard, or what?

Come springtime, I embrace my inner bunny rabbit and count the days till early spring raab & rapini at the Portland Farmers Market. The return of the market this past Saturday featured row after row of vendors, both returning & new, selling kimchi, the debut of Heidi Ho Organics’ vegan cheeses, Divine’s gluten and dairy free raw pies, a couple of more cutesy pie stands, local nuts, rangpur limes (whoa!), lots of greens, bright carrots, mushrooms, coffee, herbs, nettles and vegan treats galore by mainstay Blacksheep and the adorable, gluten-free friendly Petunia’s.

The earlier-the-better is my motto with market visits, but even sleeping in past 9 didn’t ruin my opening market wanderings. For all I know, I stepped in dog crap on my way out, but who cares? My fridge is full of raab!

Photos follow, starting with breakfast from Cucina Verde….

Tofu Mole Breakfast Plate from Cucina Verde – homemade tortillas, fresh veggies & mole sauce. They’re quite vegan friendly!

Cucina Verde

Heidi Ho! Sad fact: my hazelnut allergy keeps me away from their vegan cheeses, but everyone else loves ‘em, so check it out! Plus, Heidi is a super nice gal.

This stand with exotic citrus and lemons kinda blew my mind.

Like this needs an explanation.

Be still, my heart.

Where do you stand on nettles?

Raw. Vegan. Pies.

Looking for caffeine at the market? Wait in this line. Trust me.

Why yes, I did take home a peanut butter rice krispie square from Petunia’s, and it was delicious!

Grains! I usually pick up a bag here when I visit the Peoples market.

It’s becoming apparent that I wish someone would give me a bouquet of local greens…

One of seemingly 45 new pie vendors. It’s the year of the pie, people. Accept it and we can move onto donuts.

Till next week!

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…

creamy content: acorn squash sauce over pasta

Whole Wheat Rotelle with Squash Sauce, Sorrel, Tempeh, Red Pepper & Roasted Pecans


Broken record: I’ve been warming my way across various posts-in-progress for this site and Stumptown Vegans – where there’s always something – multiple posts, second and third visits, site development ideas, etc. –  going on behind the scenes. Working on that, the grand invites and open registration (why, could it be next weekend?!?) for Vida Vegan Con almost makes it less depressing that my sunny culinary photograph is now limited to the weekends and sporadic lunch hours. Will my dinners become boring? Not necessarily, I typically vow to never eat leftovers at home, but last night I did make a mini pizza on lavish bread, which was pretty lame. It wasn’t an abomination of ingredients (a mix of homemade sauce, farmar goods, and teese); I just don’t feel right calling it a pizza. I can just imagine my Italian great aunts giving me the stink eye over the crust (and the whole soy cheese thing, but whatever).

As for the titular pasta dish, there’s a layer of chopped lemony sorrel, Trader Joe’s whole wheat rotelle, squash sauce, sautéed tempeh bacon and sweet red pepper, and roasted pecans. The sauce is a go-go Magic Bullet puree with a base of sautéed garlic and a teeny bit of olive oil, black pepper, sea salt, roasted acorn squash, plain soy milk, nutritional yeast, ground pecans, thyme, sage, oregano, red miso, a little tamari, mustard, and probably something else or another. Those fun things that go into cheesy sauces.

Whole Wheat Rotelle with Sorrel, Squash Sauce, Tempeh,                                        Sweet Red Pepper & Roasted Pecans

In continuing adventures of confirmed deliciousness and fall acceptance, Savor Soup House is still delicious. I had a cup of Tomato Fennel Orange soup earlier for lunch, and a big kudos for a soup-maker that knows how to meld flavors other chefs might use for sheer attention.

Savor. Soup.

 

SW Alder and 10th, Downtown PDX


I took my lunch to Director Park for reading & eating, and there was a ‘flashmob” taking place. I would have assumed it was a colorful, regular theater troupe, but I heard a few excited mentions of “flashmob”  around me and grabs for smartphones. Sadly, no sign of dancing zombies.

Activity! Director Park!


And one more time – Vegan Bloggers, wherever you are – if you’re interested in attending the Vida Vegan conference late next summer, I’d selfishly advise subscribing to the site for the registration opening. Once it’s booked up, it’s booked up. I don’t think I’m the only one who’s going to squeal when our amazing speakers, or you know, special vegan guests from the dreamlist, like Moby, confirm…

photo essay: potluck weekend

Why, I had quite a pepper, courgette, culinary productive & smiling vegan-filled weekend.  I’m allowing this stateside use of courgette, since I assembled a Gordon Ramsay recipe using said squashes on Saturday.  It’s a shame that I don’t have photos of my personal, colorful (finally!!) Saturday Farmers Market haul, or of the actual potlucks and smiling, socializing vegans, but I do have a few from the market and proof that my dishes happened.

Look! It’s tomatoes that likely have flavor!

The best deal on lovely, organic jalapeno at last Saturday’s market – 5 for $1 at Gathering Together Farm

If I hadn’t already been at the market with the mission of buying chili peppers, the sight and smell of these fire roasted chilies would have done me in.

A delight of freaky outy proportions: black jalapeños!

What I made with my hot peppers is coming, but first, let’s get to the dish I brought to my friends’ beautiful -and - all vegan – weddingcamp reception: Stuffed Courgette Rolls.

I veganized Gordon Ramsay’s (Inner Monologue: 1) holy moly, I watch a lot of his American shows and I adore him. 2) I have holds on 2 of his books at the library, which brings me to 3) how the hell have I never veganized/made one of his recipes before?) recipe from BBC Good Food. Instead of the dairy ricotta, I pureed a Vegan with a Vengeance-style ricotta of firm  tofu, fresh basil, red miso, minced garlic, roasted garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and soaked pine nuts. It’s topped with balsamic vinegar, marinated fresh, chopped tomatoes & basil, and toasted pine nuts.

I peeled! I rolled! I’m proud. And I only lost 1/4 a fingertip (and started over! and cleaned up! calm down)

With that, let’s get to the peppers.

Stuffed, open-faced jalapeno and cherry bomb peppers.

These open-faced peppers are stuffed with spicy, roasted vegetables and pinto beans. Baby potatoes, sweet corn, zucchini (of fucking course), bell peppers, jalapeno, shallots and other things I’m forgetting were chopped and roasted with a whole lot of minced garlic, olive oil, chipotle powder, chili powder, sage, oregano, black pepper, sea salt and hot paprika. I added sliced cherry tomatoes and pinto beans towards the end. I considered mixing everything together with the spicy tomato, tofu, garlic & smoked paprika cheese, but decided to go this route. All in all, one of the spiciest things I’ve ever made. I’ve never made anything like it before, and was trying to clean out the fridge of my produce before embarking on business trips the next 2 weeks, so it’s pretty mish mash. Next time I make something similar, I’d chop smaller and cut down on the spices a wee bit!

Baked:

Plated for Isa’s Vegan Chili Potluck, with lemon cucumbers.

Fun fact: Zucchini squashes are the swollen ovaries of female zucchini flowers. Thanks, Wikipedia entry on Zucchini! From, a girl who doesn’t have a garden.

World’s Cutest Eggplants become Persian Eggplant Stew

Yeah, most of these striped little nightshade dream boats were smaller than my fingers.

World's Cutest Eggplants, from the Shemansky Farmers Market

Persian Eggplant Stew, topped with pine nuts and served over basmati rice

This was a multi-step roasted stew. I loosely used the recipe in Veganomicon as a guide. When doesn’t that happen?

First, I trimmed the tops off the unpeeled, mini eggplant wonders and sliced them in half, length-wise.  This was roasted in a glass 9×13 casserole dish at 450F with coarse sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a little olive oil for 15 minutes. I then added sliced yellow and green summer squash along with 4 cloves of minced garlic,  and roasted an additional 10-15 minutes.  Removed the casserole dish from the oven, added 28 oz. of canned & peeled tomatoes, chickpeas, various spices (saffron, oregano, coriander, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, oregano, onion powder, thyme – need I go on?), fresh lemon juice, and cooked an additional 20 minutes.  The dish was topped with pine nuts during the final minutes of roastin’

The produce in this dish was entirely local, and the remainder of the ingredients were primarily from the International Food Supply, next to Ya Hala. Fun fact: They have Cheerwine and a nice selection of international and American sodas.

Remind me to sub this aromatic, roasted stew into my never-ending cycle of minestrone and pasta e faglioli during the rainy season…

And even though it’s actually a roasted dish, numerous online resources agree that yes, I can call it a stew.

The Intrigue of the Pizza: balsamic beets, sweet corn & cauliflower basil ricotta

Sometimes, you scratch your brain for ideas when you’re hungry and come up with more than just popcorn + spices. Sometimes, you really regret baking tofu for lunch the night before, because that *so* could have started a tofu scramble revolution for dinner. Sometimes, the thought of simply roasting your beets and having a side of this or that just seems silly. Most of the time, when it’s two days before payday, yet you have the time on your hands to truly cook dinner, you can’t help but hope creativity wins out over desperation and random produce.

This is one of those dinner stories. The Intrigue of the Pizza.

It begins with a mind stuck on tofu ricotta topped pizza. The chapter continues with the boiling of cauliflower,  journeys into a patch of beets, and concludes with a food processor and fresh basil.

cauliflower basil ricotta

Cauliflower Basil Ricotta. Basically, I substituted semi-boiled cauliflower and a small handful of cashews for the primary component of the tofu ricotta recipe in Veganomicon. I added more basil, nutritional yeast and a bit of miso to overpower the ‘flower.

The pizza had both creative toppings and very particular slicing.  The dough was spread with a thin layer of the cauliflower basil ricotta, and topped with balsamic roasted beet cubes, sweet corn, pine nuts, spicy vegan Italian sausage and fresh tomato. As for my fridge, it now solely holds carrots and condiments.

clean out the fridge vegan pizza

Khao Soi Yellow Curry Noodles with Tofu

Khao Soi Yellow Curry Noodles with Tofu and assorted vegetables

Adapted from the Thai-Burmese style recipe on Veggie Belly and various others, based on my available ingredients and whim. Inspired by the notion of cauliflower + curry, a field trip in deep SE Portland to the Lents International Farmers Market for produce, great pour over-style Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from Nectar Coffee Co., and onward adventures to Fubonn. I’ve had curry noodles on the brain since dining at In the Bowl in Seattle this past Spring.

Khao Soi Yellow Curry Noodles with Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sliced yellow squash (I did half circles)
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/4 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1/2 cup shredded swiss chard (including stalk)
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Indian curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vegetarian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk or light coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3-4 oz dried vermicelli rice noodles (use more or less depending on how soupy you want the finished product)
  • 1-1.5 cups of sliced fried or fresh tofu
  • handful of torn fresh basil leaves

Garnish:

  • Chopped basil or cilantro (look, I’m only typing it because it’s traditional in this dish)
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha

Instructions:

  1. Sauté the garlic in oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the curry powder and paste.
  3. Add all of the vegetables, and cook for 7-10 minutes. Stir frequently; lower the heat if anything starts to burn.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk, sauces, brown sugar, tofu and water. Mix in and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower the  heat, stir in the noodles, incorporate with tongs, cover with a lid and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes on low.
    • Alternately: Use pre-cooked rice or wheat noodles and add in at this point. Don’t cover the pot if you do this.
  6. Add torn basil or cilantro leaves, incorporate and serve.
  7. Garnish individual portions and add soy sauce, lime and/or hot sauce as desired.

Just pretend that’s cilantro on top…

Vegetables:

From the Lents Farmers Market:

Utilized Sauces, etc:

The small Fubonn haul, which most certainly includes a smoked vegan ham tube. Plans forthcoming. Isn’t Ota’s new package adorable?

Some more from Lents:

I picked up beets and jalapeño peppers at the farm below (currently infusing cayenne and jalapeno tequila at home).

This is my patience. Bell peppers, please!

-

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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.