Anatomy of a Grocery Trip: Fubonn (It’s the Summer of Curry)

J. Legume on Get Sconed!

One place I keep in my rotation no matter what is Fubonn, an Asian supermarket on SE 82nd just south of Division, because inevitably, I find the need for lemongrass, coconut milk, fresh tofu and kaffir lime leaves in my life. I used to routinely make stir fries, fried rice and scrambled tofu with all the random, glorious vegetables I didn’t quite know what to do with from the market, and they still occur, but it’s now from-scratch, regional curries that inspire my dinner table (with Chiang Mai-inspired Jungle Curry in progress for this very evening).
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Belated Vegan Eats…Austin, Texas edition

Curra's Tacos on Get Sconed!

In the footsteps of South by Southwest, it’s undeniably become a huge vegan travel destination, arguably replacing Portland as the ‘mecca’, if you will. My visit with team Vida Vegan Headquarters is now months behind me, and there’s this before and after of my thoughts (and hunger for) tacos…and margaritas. The growing vegan options in town have such a buzz to them, rapidly growing both casually and grander; both key signs that your city has become the vegan must (and as someone who moved to Portland in 2004, trust me on that!) Continue reading

Photo Essay: Portland Farmers Market, Week #5

A morning well spent.

Apt title, swell visit.   A morning well spent.   Saturday’s visit to the Portland Farmers Market saw my basket full of early Albion strawberries, fresh kaffir lime leaves, purple kale, maitake mushrooms, heirloom carrots, and even more purple cauliflower during … Continue reading

Mushroom Miso Ramen

Last night, I realized something. If I’m going to be making ramen stock from scartch, I need to get some sweet ramen bowls. These simply will not do.

Bowls of fresh wheat noodles in mushroom miso broth, seared cremini mushrooms, sliced Korean chili pepper, seared fresh tofu with soy sauce, and a member of the choy family of greens in the back.

I went on a grocery field trip with some friends to H Mart in Tigard yesterday, and for the sake of bowls, spoons, and even more ingredients, a follow up to dear Fubonn, for convenience’s sake, is already in order. It was my first time visiting H Mart, a Korean supermarket that spells it out with a banner for the clueless stating “ASIAN SUPERMARKET” underneath its logo, and I stocked up on the following:

Most importantly: chili powder, mangosteen juice, tapioca starch, fresh tofu and DECENT fresh galangal and lemongrass. A rare find in my life.

Once the fresh* (and vegan, for once!) noodles were in my hand, I decided on ramen for dinner. My girlfriend and I have been digging the ramen in vegan miso broth at Wafu, and I felt like I could tackle something similar at home, using this recipe as a base.The final result was appropriately cloudy with a hint of spice, plenty of flavour and there’s a generous portion of broth remaining for mid-week noodles. Bring it on.

Mushroom Miso Ramen…

For the mushroom miso broth, I sautéed one chopped stalk of lemongrass, 5 cloves of roughly minced garlic, half of a diced Korean chili pepper and sliced, fresh galangal (thank you, month in Thailand) in a mixture of peanut and black sesame oils about 3-5 minutes. Next up, I added freshly ground black pepper, a handful of wild dried mushrooms – a mix of 7 or 8 local varieties I picked up from the Peoples Coop farmers market – quickly sautéed until aromatic, added a splash of dry sherry, whisked in 3 tablespoons of Korean soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of miso (half yellow, half white), 1 tablespoon of vegetarian fish sauce, a bit of vegetable bullion paste, 6 cups of water, and brought to a boil. I then lowered the heat, covered, let simmer for 30 minutes, and finally, after straining, it was ready for noodlin’.

Along with the briefly cooked fresh wheat noodles, we had fresh (and I mean glorifyingly fresh) cubes of firm tofu, seared on two sides with a splash of soy sauce, just-as-seared cremini mushrooms, even-more-seared choy, and the other half of the long Korean chili pepper for extra heat. I did not anticipate the heat this green pepper would deliver, and I’m glad I licked my finger before adding it to the stock!

It's really no surprise that I couldn't remember which choy-but-non-bok-choy I picked up.

*granted, they were fresh in a package, so, fresh-ish.

P.S.

H Mart has one of these.

Uwaijimaya, Veggie Buns & PPK Udon

Boring story short, I was out on the suburban west side yesterday for an appointment, and the redeeming factor follows:

Northwest baked Veggie Buns!

The brand is based in Seattle, WA and these buns are refrigerated, alleviating the mysterious and often gross frozen food factor.

I have been on the search for more-than-decent (and non-frozen) steamed buns for years in this city! Thank you, Uwajimaya – please come downtown, soon.

These seem near identical, if not a little smaller, than the faux pork buns served at Van Hanh, and formerly, Nhut Quang, RIP. Annual visits to Vegetarian Dim Sum in New York are always wonderful, but it’s nice to know I can have a little store-bought steamed bun action at home, too.  The filling is nothing remarkable, or very discernible, but they’re indeed, more-than-decent (and convenient!) with an accompaniment.

Paired with the super quick & flavorful PPK Broccoli Curry Udon, and served with a soy/chili garlic dipping sauce. This curry includes broccolini, kale, spinach, jalapeño and sliced, baked tofu.


The mini haul: Coconut Nectar juice (which I  picked up because it didn’t have added sugar – sadly, it’s still gross), udon noodles, Sencha green tea – which I’m on my 4th or 5th cup of the day of, the Veggie Buns, non-GMO Mellow White Miso, and the indulgent purchase of Taiwanese Peanut Mochi.

Please don’t suck.

Needless to say, I have acquired a new camera, and I am fairly content so far (despite these photos being taken in a half dark kitchen).

Mint Chocolate Season is here.

It's here. Find it.

I know there’s maybe two or three people out there who don’t enjoy this dynamic flavor duo, but I cherish it. They’re both quintessential holiday flavors of chocolate candies and candy canes and hot chocolate and all that literal sweetness. Now, around this time last year, I lamented my sadness over the sudden absence of my dear Chocolate Peppermint Vitasoy from the U.S. market (You lucky Canadians! ) Obviously, you can easily make chocolate peppermint milk at home with simple ingredients (hello, cocoa powder + nondairy milk + sweetener  + peppermint extract), but I’m holding onto this seasonal convenience item purcashing.  The Westsoy Chocolate Peppermint Soy beverage is certainly rich, creamy, and lovely, but I just don’t see it as often (though Food Fight! usually has it – so check there first if you’re on the lookout in PDX). Fortunately for my fellow chocolate peppermint nondairy milk enthusiasts, there’s a new indulgence on the market: Silk Mint Chocolate. I’ve been on the lookout since a friend mentioned it on twitter a few weeks ago, and I practically twirled when I saw it on sale (okay, 2 for $5) at Whole Foods a couple of days ago. Sidenote: I know, Silk and Whole Foods are both somewhat evil for various reasons, but they both offer and do some good, too – not to mention, offering affordable vegan items. I think the whole new Silk organic line separation is utterly ridiculous, but at least the rest is non-GMO. Alas, this is a whole other discussion.

Anyway, if you’re open to buying Silk, just once, I recommend trying this – it’s so smooth and the flavor is just right! Plus, Silk’s market domination hopefully makes this easier to find and enjoy.

If you’re open to mixing these with alcohol, the amateur mixologist in me would recommend bourbon with the creamy Westsoy and vodka with the silky…Silk. Holiday party time with mint chocolate cocktails, indeed. Don’t forget the candy cane stirrer for pure class.

Keeping with this theme, check out what Sweetpea had to offer on donut day:

Fresh Chocolate Candy Cane Donut = Yes, Please. If only I hadn't knocked that cup of coffee onto it 3 bites in...

P.S. The new Trader Joe’s Chocolate Peppermint mix is totally not vegan. Look away quickly or you’ll be just as depressed as I was. Like it’s so hard to make things creamy without dairy. Lame, TJ’s! At least we still have Candy Cane Jo Jo’s…

P.P.S. Now I want everything edible in my life today to bestow this flavor combination….

Seattle Sweets: A Visit to Sidecar for Pigs Peace

…and we’re back! Karla the Veganshizz and I have returned from a few days of both business and pleasure up in Seattle. We caffeinated, wined, dined, worked (my day job exists!) schemed & dined some more with Seattle vegan greats and got in a little sweets shopping at Sidecar for Pigs Peace, where proceeds really go to the animals. Similar to a stop at the Vegan Mini Mall in Portland in recent years, patronizing the mid-50 blocks of the University District in Seattle has become more and more of a mandatory stroll for vegan tourists.  Karla and I made an afternoon of it, starting at Herkimer, brunching at Wayward Cafe (more to come on that), perusing Sidecar, and walking around the U-District.  It’s always fun to see what’s new in the land of vegan treats, and I picked up a few non-perishable things (trust me, I wanted to stock up on Chao Cheese, locally made truffles, Tofutti Pizza, and Tiramisu, among others) to take back, which are pictured above. With that, let’s discuss my giddiness over the following few treats:

  • Sweet & Sara Brown Rice Crispy Treat – I feel like I want to save this for the apocalypse, you know?
  • Theo Organic Peppermint Stick Chocolate Bar - Check mark #1: It’s locally produced in Seattle.  Check mark #2: It’s organic. Check mark #4: It’s fair trade sourced. Check mark #5: It not only has fancy peppermint oil, big whoop, it has a brittled crunch – like an actual peppermint stick! Yes!!
  • Pangea White Chocolate Chips – Did I make white chocolate chip and orange biscotti with these already? Why, yes.
  • Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – Somehow, these aren’t already in my freezer waiting for me to return home.  This company has a line of nut butters as well, including a chocolate almond. A warning about the cups on their website – they’re milk chocolate – but the above are from Sidecar, so I have no worries.

Coming Soon: more thoughts and recaps on visits to Victrola, Trabant, Georgetown Liquor Co., Highline, Moonlight, Wayward Cafe, Loving Hut, and the cutest cruciferous vegetables I’ve ever seen.

Anatomy of a Grocery Trip: The New Kruger’s Farm Market

I was mortified a couple weeks ago when it appeared that Uncle Paul’s produce market on SE Hawthorne had suddenly closed up shop. I quickly learned that it was true, they’re sticking to wholesale, but that Kruger’s Farm of Sauvie Island would be opening up a market. Sure enough, they opened last weekend, and being a curious enthusiast of produce within walking distance of my abode, I went to check it out. It’s pretty similar to Uncle Paul’s – it’s the same open building with a good deal of local produce, some organic, hella (wicked? mad? way?) cheap citrus, tomatoes (see you next summer!) and mounds of local squash, with two big differences: Ryan’s apple cider and a lot more walking room.

And now, a throw back to long ago days with an Anatomy of a Grocery Trip:

  • Honeycrisp apples – I never buy these trendy “perfect” apples because they kinda freak me out, but they were under $1/lb!
  • Lemons – 5 for $1. One can never have too much fresh citrus around.
  • Lime – ditto
  • Avocado – Their baby avocados were rock hard, but 4 for $1, so…let’s be patient.
  • Orange bell peppers – I know, I know. It’s not local, but I’d rather buy bell peppers now and then to roast instead of crying all the time. It’s not like I bought flavorless tomatoes!
  • Satsumas – Like you need an explanation.
  • Ryan’s Apple Cider – straight outta Hood River, super fresh – and $3.50 for a half gallon.

Rice Noodlin’ with a visit to JC Rice Noodle Shop

Yellow Karee Tofu Curry with thin rice noodles, served on the side

Pad See Ew with fresh wide rice noodles & scrambled tofu, carrots, spinach, green cabbage, green beans, garlic, and baby bok choy

Maybe,  just maybe, I’ve become obsessed with rice noodles.

Look, I like noodles in my life, and lately they’ve been of the rice variety. Recently, my fixation was over yellow curry noodles. Things got even better with a curious stop at JC Rice Noodle Shop & Restaurant on SE Foster. I was in the area for another visit to the Lents Farmers Market, and it had caught my eye on the way. I ended up walking out of the nondescript, quiet storefront with a heaping bag of fresh, wide rice noodles (sold 95 cents/lb.  - I had asked for 3 and walked out with 5, hence this continued, celebrated fixation) and a pound of equally fresh tofu ($1, but bring a container! they pack it in Styrofoam, shudder). They also sell rice sheets, and rice noodle rolls, but I wasn’t sure if they had a vegan version of the latter, as I saw a mention of pork filling.

Anywhoo, I’m almost in a state of shock over these soft noodles. You can obviously tell the difference between a package of fresh noodles (again, usually on Styrofoam) vs. dried, and these super fresh noodles just take the (rice) cake.

What I’m saying is, if you have access to fresh rice noodles, seek them out, or try making your own! They’re fresher, you get to buy in bulk, and skip excess packaging – win, win, win.

Next up in my rice noodlin’ meals: Pad Kee Mao, aka Drunken Noodles. Speaking of i eat food, the blog I just linked to..well, I’m loving that blog.

JC Rice Noodle

The Pad See Ew above started with scrambled tofu, seasoned with turmeric, black pepper, and soy sauce. It was modified from the Thai River Noodles recipe on About.com. The Karee Yellow Curry Noodles were based on these Khao Soi Yellow Curry Noodles. Both dishes utilize vegetarian fish sauce.

Some more shots of rice noodlin’, and a bonus behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the cinematic trailer for The Vegan Revolution….with Zombies.

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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