Sitting at my colorful kitchen table and sorting through the past months on my flickr, it settles in that I’ve been both traveling a bunch and sticking to something of a budget while I’ve actually been home. I credit my … Continue reading
Therefore, there is a grand week ahead. Black, orange and yellow hot peppers to pickle, long beans and white eggplant for a spicy Thai curry, adorable fresh chickpeas for Indian, just-as-fresh prunes for special snacking, sweet corn for roasting, gorgeous … Continue reading
The weekends have been treating me well: the dawn of the Spring farmers markets and seemingly endless varieties of raab and rapini, the ever-more frequent dry days, a growing trend of old fashioned cocktail bars in Portland, new cookbooks and creative supper dates with a special someone.
I’ve been making relaxed, but focused meals from Chloe’s Kitchen, May Kaidee’s Vegetarian and Vegan Cookbook, The Sexy Vegan (more on this later), Isa’s current test kitchen, and whatever else calls out with ease.
Using a little flexibility, I give you, a sort of deconstructed nacho scramble lunch. The spicy pickled jalapeño were picked up at the Gathering Together stand at the farmers market, and the beer is Emma Amber Ale by local brewer Captured by Porches.
A couple of weeks ago, giant chocolate chip cookies were featured on an episode of GRIMM, (more Silas, pls!) and I made my own bloodless versions the following day:
On the final full day of my December travels, I attended a class at May Kaidee’s Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking School on Khao San Road. I am so glad I did – it was a definitive, education and fulfilling way to wrap up my time in Thailand. Perhaps, one day, I’ll finish my post on the matter, but for now, I can share that every time I open this book, I find a smile on my face and fresh curry or noodles on the table. Below, I paired a test recipe from Isa Does It with vegetable-loaded fried rice and a Thai beer from Fubonn.
Next up, one of the dishes I’ve been trying out from The Sexy Vegan…
Slow, Sunday night dinner preparation has become a positive experience on a dwelling evening. The last meal was my first from Chloe’s Kitchen.
Julia and I have spent some time thumbing through this book, deciding what to make first. There’s a lot of cashew cream, which I must avoid these days [insert tears here], and a wonder of sweets and tempeh, seitan, vegetables and salads to start with. Last night, we went with something classic:
I baked the wholesome burgers with coconut oil spray vs. pan-frying since I had the oven warm for the fries. They were served on bread from one of my favorite neighbors, Little T, and fixed with Chloe’s special sauce, green leaf lettuce, red onion (for her! not me!), more pickled jalapeño and sliced dill pickle.
Which brings me to the following important question: Why is it so hard to find local pickles that maintain their crunch in this city?!
In conclusion, this has been a rare Get Sconed! update that includes actual scones.
The following is a continuation of menu food porn from my recent Veggie Grill weekend. This post hereby includes upcoming Veggie Grill menu items of the ‘fork and knife’ variety (brief pondering: Do you call it ‘knife and fork?’ Or is that phrasing simply more carnivorous?), a morning visit to the Hollywood Farmers Market, strolling the Venice Beach pier, more silly photos, and further anticipation for the Beaverton opening, just over a week away. Never before have I muttered a similar sentiment for this suburb, but I like to think I returned from my December travels lighthearted, open-minded, prepared to take public transportation wherever it may go (and in any language), and certainly, craving American-style vegan cuisine.
First up, I appreciate a hotel with a chilled pitcher of soymilk, ready to go.
You know, I should have gotten my hopes up (and denied my bladder) when I passed by this publicity poster in an upstairs room. I missed out on a Dolly Parton lobby-walk-by, by mere moments.
My time visit to the Hollywood Farmers Market.
We were serenaded by a Michelle Williams look-a-like in between produce stops.
Branded iced tea shots from a Ghostbusters-style backpack. So LA?
Moving on, we made it to the West Hollywood Veggie Grill, which I had lunched at last fall on my first visit to LA, for our second lunch tasting.
The full menu is here.
Here’s what we all came here for, the food.
Most importantly, we started again with nachos. Most definitely, I did not complain. I may have applauded. I’m not normally one for the D-cheese, but Veggie Grill uses it as a base in their nacho sauce, and it really works.
Uptown Nachos [Daiya-based sauce]
Sweetheart Chili Cheese Fries [Daiya-based sauce]
NEW: Bayou Chickin’ Caesar Wrap
Chillin’ Chickin’ Strips, Sweetheart Fries, Ranch and Sweet & Sour for dipping
Wait a minute!
Chickin’ nuggets, Chipotle Ranch (how I dig thee) and BBQ sauce
NEW: Buffalo Chickin’ Sandwich
Fun tidbit: all sandwiches are available wrap-style or served on a bed of kale
NEW: Chicken Fried Steak Plate [Gardein] with Mashed Potato & Cauliflower (aka Caulipots! Name credit: Isa Chandra Moskowitz), Steamed Kale and Porcini Caper Gravy
NEW: The Gluten-free Urban Plate with Grilled Portobello, Grilled Tempeh, Caramelized Onions, Steamed Kale (aw, yeah!), Chipotle Ranch (yeahyeahyeah!), Tomatoes with Basil and Guacamole
NEW: Chocolate Pudding Parfait with Crushed Oreos and Sour Cream Frosting
Our Sunday tasting club: Terese from Veggie Grill, Janessa, Webly, myself and Veggie Grill ‘s “Food Man” himself, Ray.
One last look – surely, that’s a celebrity power couple clandestinely dining on the patio. It would be almost exciting as realizing Daryl Hannah was sitting behind us the day before in a series of ridiculous pudding photos.
Hello, Venice Beach…
After a week back in rainy Portland, I admit, I missed reading on the beach.
If only there was a rum-based cocktail in a coconut available in place of $3 PBRs. Isn’t this the land of $2 buck Chuck?! The red is vegan-friendly, btw.
With that, we were on our way back to Portland -
Avocados & lemons in tow
I also had some Nicobella chocolates in my bag to sample back home.
On the downside, the mysterious Michele’s take out did not make it home with her.
More discussion coming soon to Stumptown Vegans, in addition to photos and menu tales from next week’s pre-opening event in Beaverton. Check out their website and facebook for Portland AREA opening information. I’m out.
As for me, I’ll be in Chicago for the first time with the VVC gals this weekend (please share any tips!), and I’m focused on hushing my inner New Yorker about the idea of an authentic, deep dish pizza.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
First up, I would say that 75% of what I’ve eaten in the past two days has been this Corn Chowder from Vegan with a Vengeance. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s a pleasant color, offers the surprise bite of rosemary (and bonus roasted garlic from my fridge), and was made with local ingredients. Sorta funny story, while at the market last weekend, I learned that I must look like a tough sell for corn, or it’s simply become passé – because the farmer selling it told me, assuredly, “This is really good corn. You’ll like it.” That may have been a bit odd, and I almost wanted to consider it a threat because that’s more exciting of a story and I had no doubt about my purchase – but he was right. It was really good corn.
And now, The Epic Vegan MoFo Survey from The Post Punk Kitchen forums:
The original is here.
What’s your favorite spice or spice blend? Saigon Cinnamon. When I first visited Penzey’s a few years ago and learned that there were different varieties, my mind was blown.
You have $20 to spend on fresh groceries and produce for the whole week (with a fairly well stocked pantry of dry goods, legumes, grains, and spices). What do you buy? I hit the farmers market with $10, Foxfire or Limbo with $6 for loose leaf tea, bake some seitan, a block of bulk tofu from the coop or Ota, and make a huge pot of soup with beans.
What’s your favorite way to make tofu? As for cooking, tofu ricotta and straight up baked with BBQ sauce have been high on my list for years.
Vegan guilty pleasure? Tator tots with Vegenaise and Sriracha.
If you could make anyone vegan, who would it be? I would say Ronald McDonald, but I really don’t want to see the insane effect of that – so I’ll go with the Obama Family and hope they’re not criticized too much for this decision.
If you could only read one other vegan blog, what would it be? http://www.theppk.com/blog/ PPK cult, represent.
Were you always interested in cooking, or did veganism change the way you saw and interacted with food? I had a light interest growing up and remember entering kids’ bake offs at the local library with sloppy layer cakes. I never won, but I liked combing my mom’s baking books and making whipped cream and chocolate chip cookies . Years later, I worked at a bakery/café in high school where I didn’t do much more in the kitchen than fill cannolis and butter rolls, but I picked up names and flavor combinations. Fortunately, though it was a rocky road, I started living on my own at the same time I was going vegan, so I had to learn how to cook.
Excluding analogues, what new things have you tried that you probably wouldn’t have as an omni? A wide assortment of vegetables – especially since moving to Portland with the year round markets. I was very much a grilled cheese-and-little-else eating vegetarian for years.
What is the one vegan staple that everyone seems to love, but you can’t get behind? I appreciate it, scientifically, and have warmed to its impressive goo – but, Daiya. I’m not on the love train.
What was your first “wow, I’m such a stereotypical vegan” moment? I don’t know what the very first was – maybe living on 123s & Chreese for a year during college?, but [insert creaking voice] back in my day, we’d smuggle Follow Your Heart in insulated bags from Lifethyme in NYC via Fung Wah bus rides back to Boston.
First recipe you veganized? Lasagna or stuffed mushrooms.
What would you like to veganize, but haven’t yet? What wouldn’t I? I’ve yet to pull together a traditional, kickass white pizza. It’ll happen.
Favorite kitchen utensil/appliance? I really like my Vita-Mix and Magic Bullet blenders.
Most disastrous kitchen failure? Sometimes I really suck at crepes and pancakes. I’m about to place an order for a new pancake pan, so hopefully, that will help. I’m great one day, and then it’s awful, and I take a year off and forget these things exist.
First vegan cookbook? My best friend from high school gave me How it All Vegan as a gift when I first went vegan. I still have it.
What question about being vegan do you HATE answering? Anything that makes me roll my eyes. For example. I went vegetarian at a young age and grew up with family members teasing me about not eating turkey. It came as a shock when an omnivore asked me what I eat for Thanksgiving a few months ago. Like, what year is this? What bizarre world do you live in? Tofu turkey jokes are so last decade (in my life). However, I answered nicely, fully knowing that I live in the Portland bubble and hang out on the vegan internet. A lot.
If you could tell the world one thing about vegans, what would it be? That maybe we’re weird to you, but we’re really just making smart, ethical, healthy, compassionate decisions (and still weird)! To quote the Food Fight! button, “Being Vegan Means I’m trying to Suck Less”.
Funniest vegetable? When eggplants grow dongs.
What is a family recipe you have veganized? My mom’s Sweet Potato Pie Casserole (warning: old blog link) and my grandma’s Italian Struffoli. Unfortunately, the veganization of the second is MIA. I don’t recall what the egg replacer was, but I recall using light agave with orange zest in place of honey.
Weirdest food combination? I don’t think I pair anything too crazy, but I do have a soft spot for toasted tempeh bacon, peanut butter & tart apple sandwiches.
Is there something you wish you could veganize, but can’t/couldn’t? I have a strong Italian background, and I’ve never had vegan cheesecake or sweet ricotta-filled cannoli with quite the consistency I would have enjoyed in my earlier years. I’ve had excellent vegan versions of both, but nothing that’s quite what I want, and I feel like something the creators try too hard and shouldn’t go in that direction. Those, and the simple, meringe-coated wonder that is Baked Alaska. I do feel confident that I will try an amazing vegan version of that one day. There’s been a lot of progress in the field of vegan meringue.
Favorite ways to prepare tofu, seitan, tempeh, any other vegan proteins? I like breading seitan cutlets in even more savoury bread(crumbs) and baking. My go-to way for tempeh is either tempeh bacon, or marinated, baked, and served in a bowl with grains/sauce/greens or over pasta.
Are your pets vegan? if so, what do you feed them? My two cats are not vegan, but one does have an obsession with leafy greens and microbrews.
Favorite non-dairy milk? It was almond until an allergy arose recently – therefore, I’ll go with coconut. Besides packaged and fresh coconut milk, So Delicious Coconut Beverages & Creamers are so fantastic!!
What’s one “vegan myth” you’d like to squash? That vegan food is boring. Creative vegan dishes can be so impressive and artistic! And I don’t just mean plating style – I love that exploration that can happen in a kitchen – with new flavors, fresh ingredients, etc. It’s a big reason why I’m involved with with putting on Vegan Iron Chef events and wanting to show off Portland’s local chefs!
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…
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!
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.
Yeah, most of these striped little nightshade dream boats were smaller than my fingers.
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.