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.

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…

Cashew Basil Cream & Roasted Garlic Stuffed Morels

stuffed morels

Only one thing would have these mushrooms even better – if I had foraged for them! Alas, they’re from the farmers market. That being said, my first real NW foraging adventure is in the works and these were darn affordable for fancy mushrooms that could also be mistaken for elven hats.

The mushrooms were stuffed (via makeshift pastry bag) with a puree of soaked cashews, fresh basil, red miso, black pepper, roasted garlic, lemon juice, and a little water. A flavor combination welcome to return to my life any day.  As for blending, the Magic Bullet blender’s small cup really comes in  handy for pureeing small batches of filling like this.

The glass baking pan was lightly greased, and the stuffed mushrooms were sprinkled with coarse salt before roasting. They were baked for 15 minutes at 400F, carefully flipped, and baked another 10 minutes at 425F.

The finished dish was sprinkled with chopped, fresh basil, because it’s spring!

Just Stuffed:

morels, stuffed

Fresh Morels – briefly soaked in cool water and drained, twice.

morels

French Sel Gris – from the Hawthorne Fred Meyer’s affordable and versatile salt bar

sel gris

For the record, I’m shocked I only just added a tag for roasted garlic. It’s like I don’t even know myself.

Grilled Seitan and Portobello with Pistou

Grilled Seitan and sliced Portobello with Pistou

pistou

I may not have a garden with fresh basil, or a backyard to grill in, but I do have access to numerous, inviting farmers markets and my handy dandy cast iron grilling pan.  I don’t completely forget about it in the winter; the desire to grill simply springs out this time of year.

Pistou sauce is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. I don’t have one in my life, but I do have blending machines. This post really is all about looking on the bright side and smashing basil.

The seitan is based on the Seitan Cutlets in Veganomicon.  I cooked it as one large uh, dough, and played with the seasonings a bit.  The baking broth included basil, black pepper, and Bill’s Best Chick’nish seasoning.  Both sliced seitan strips and de-gilled portobella mushroom slices were carefully tossed and marinated in 1/2 cup of pistou for 30 minutes prior to grilling.

Basically, pistou is a generous, nutless pesto.  A lot of the recipes online call for fancy cheese, but traditionally, it doesn’t have to.  I stuck with a tablespoon of nooch. Any more, and it would have become cheesy sauce pistou.  Nothing wrong with that, and I believe in pesto mac, but it wasn’t what I was going for with this.  I added the vegetable broth because I didn’t want something incredibly oily, so do what you will.

The Pistou ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable broth, or water
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove of garlic (go for 2 if you’re using small cloves)

Directions: Pulse quickly in your blender or food processor.  You’re not looking to completely puree this, you want some specks of herb left.

This makes about 1 cup of sauce.  Use the leftover pistou as a marinade, spoon onto soup, make a sandwich spread mixed with Vegenaise, or do as I did, and top your favorite dishes.

Pistou

Pistou

Plated, over local green leaf lettuce

Pistou

hail something.

Strawberry Season Beckons!

OMG

Pint of organic strawberries from Groundwork Organics at the Shemanski Park Farmers Market.

aka the Wednesday, Downtown FarMar.  I had never realized those SW Park Blocks had a name. Anyway, I brought these back to work and actually shared them  – that’s how sweet they were.  They wanted me to share the good word. Don’t worry, it’s vegan regardless of how they telepathically spoke to me from their fruit membranes.

A summer of strawberry tarts and muffins and smoothies beckons, & perhaps some raw desserts! Truthfully, I’m most excited about them fresh! And picking in a month or so! It’s always so therapeutic – and cost-effective.