From the PPK Test Kitchen: Isa Does It Tester Photos

Isa Does It cover

Mission, complete!  Weeknight dinners…all set. No excuses. Testing for Isa Does It, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s ode to weeknight wonders, has ended, which is sad news for me, but good news for you! This brand spankin’ new book is officially due out … Continue reading

The Long Haul: 100 Days Homemade, Part VIII…Days 80-91

Day Eighty-Nine: Pasta E Fagioli & more Vietnamese summer rolls, from my lunch date with Panda

Ah, 100 Days. I miss you already, on this little Chicago VeganMania suspension & adventure. I miss my kitchen so much when I travel – especially when my luck seems to fail with menu ordering more often than not in the Windy … Continue reading

Keep It Going: 100 Days Homemade Part VII, Days 66-79

Day Seventy-Nine: chocolate chip cookie pretzel bars

Today’s update into the 100 Days Homemade project includes plunging into the Vegan Sandwiches cookbook, a presentation at a senior center on incorporating vegan proteins with NW-style and flavor, cooking with my BFF in Victoria, stepping into the Artisan Vegan … Continue reading

100 Days, Part V: Days 43 to 53

Hello, hello! I have returned from the International Food Bloggers Conference, where I co-presented on Niche Blogging, attended classes, met food bloggers of nearly every variety, sought out vegan food and most importantly, vegan-friendly SWAG. Hello, OXO avocado thingy! Don’t fret – I have a new avocado waiting at home for its inaugural slicin’ and will be sure to Instagram every single step.

Speaking of insta-sharing, it’s once again time to peer into the culinary lives and stomachs of J. Sconé, J. Legume, and friends. As always, you can follow @jdfunks and #100DaysHomemade on Instragram for more riveting updates of the versatile, seasonal, plant-based dining variety.

Now 65 days and a new camera into this project, I’ve decided to shorten the updates a bit for some more concentration.

First up, my first (and so far, only) contribution from a duo of two guests in one day. Staring with summery cocktail with ginger-infused rum from my Heartichoke cohort.

Day Forty-Three’s Guest Cocktails: lemonade cocktails with ginger-infused rum

And my, what a pleasant day this was. I came home and my girlfriend had prepared a fancy Italian dinner, which included her first-ever risotto and fresh farmers market tomatoes…

Day Forty-Three’s Dinner Contribution: Vegan Caprese by J. Legume

Oh – and there’s more.

Day Forty-Two’s Dinner by J. Legume: Mushroom Risotto with fresh basil

Now, I was so thrilled with the following meal’s outcome — it was the first time ever I have truly seen J. Legume willfully consume and enjoy Indian cuisine. I love to see the evolution of taste bud adventures, or something like that.

Day Forty-Four: Aloo Channa over basmati

Success! I based it on every other Aloo Channa recipe I have ever seen on the internet.

Day Forty-Four: The Isa Does It testing continues with Peanut Butter Granola Bars (sliced like pie, in this case)

Remember that time, in the first photo, that Louvella, er Maeve, made cocktails? Well, it was to facilitate a certain interview on Autostraddle that accompanies these roasted chickpea tacos (that shockingly, include an actual recipe from yours truly). The things you do for your friends, right?

Day Forty-Five: Roasted Chickpea Tacos with vegan queso, local tortillas, mashed avocado & other stuff

The aforementioned BFF and author with the second (and final) round, white chocolate peanut butter white russians

Day Forty-Six: Vegan Ginger Chicken, Black Pepper Beef & Thai Basil Fried Rice

Details.

Day Forty-Seven’s Dinner from Appetite for Reduction: Mac & Trees and 40 Clove Garlic, Chickpea and Purple Beans subbed for Broccoli

Day Forty-Eight: Boysenberry, Cherry & Ginger Cocktails & Mocktails with the Legume sisters before dinner at Portobello

Moving on.

Day Forty-Nine: Syrian Lentil Soup. While I only made one recipe from Bean by Bean during its precious ‘library hold’ time in my life, I happened to make it twice and I have added this book to my legitimate, it-will-happen wish list.

Bean by Bean: For the bean curious and obsessed.

Day Forty-Nine: Picked up Food Fight’s finest

Day Fifty: Grilled Cheeses with local tomatoes, jalapeno & farmers market pickles

It’s the half-way point, so….

Day Fifty: Kaffir Lime infused vodka, Pellegrino bubbly, fresh mint, lemon juice & a touch of agave

Day Fifty is all about the sandwiches: BLTs with local produce and smokey soy curls from Vegan Diner

Day Fifty-One: Italian Herb & IPA baked tofu cutlets with rice, roasted potatoes and a side salad with crumbled strong cheddar Scheese

While it’s got nothing on my still-dreamt-about-Cheezly, rumor has it that Scheese will be ending its Portland distribution soon. I may have purchased the last-ever package of Strong Cheddar yesterday at a certain vegan mini mall.

Day Fifty-Two: Nacho Skillet Salad aka Nacho Salad Skillet! With jalapeno and Scottish ale simmered black beans, lime dressed lettuce and diced tomato, seasoned brown rice, salsa, FYH cheddar, avocado, black olives and black pepper & nooch baked tofu cubes

It’s become increasingly clear to me that the love of nachos, no matter how basic (I mean, crappy) or well-constructed, is never outgrown. 

Day Fifty-Three: Chai-spiced Snickerdoodles, another Isa Does It tester

Shocker, the grand finale to this round up is an Isa Does It dessert tester. 

100 Days: Part IV

Now mere days away from my half-way point of 100 Days Homemade, some realizations have become glaringly obvious:

  1. Mixology matters.
  2. My girlfriend really likes soup.
  3. Life is possible without a microwave.
  4. One can incorporate a LOT of lentils into their life.
  5. There is a seemingly never-ending supply of rice in my apartment.
  6. With a bigger focus on budgeting, I’ve lost a lot of my normal excitement for dining out.
    1. Equally worth note: my apartment surprisingly has a cooling unit while many Portland restaurants do not.
  7. I’m having a grand old-time and looking forward to VeganMoFo with a renewed, thematically-inclined enthusiasm.

With that, a look back, and a new-found appreciation for lentil soup.

Day Twenty-Eight, AM: Fresh peach & soymilk smoothies for breakfast

Day Twenty-Eight: Ctate’s Queso

Day Twenty-Eight, PM: Baked black-eyed pea burgers with queso, lettuce, tomato & avocado. Paired with tortilla chips and sesame green and yellow beans.

Life’s been about black-eyed peas, lentils, chickpeas, more lentils, and berries.

Weekend Berry Picking on Sauvie Island with my crew

Most summers, I try to make it berry picking on Sauvie Island at least once. Yes, it’s local, fresh and fun (and tasty), but most importantly, I’m telling you – it’s a therapeutic experience. This time, we were able to pick raspberries and blackberries, in addition to buying early blueberries from the farm, and I have three things in mind: 1) pie 2) pancakes and 3) liquor. That was possibly in order of importance.

Day Twenty-Nine: Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes, with the recipe from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores making it into my rotation.

Next up, a duo.

Day Twenty-Nine, PM: Vietnamese Bún with peanut curry sauce for me, and Hot & Sour soup with tofu and bamboo shoots for J. Legume.

The Bún had pan-fried lemongrass tofu, carrots and broccolini with sliced cucumber, cold vermicelli noodles and Thai basil. The peanut sauce, an Isa Does It tester, has been making an appearance in many meals lately. For me, a bún  is one of those dishes that you kick yourself for forgetting about making for months and months. This was also my very first time making hot & sour soup, and I never realized it was SO EASY and that I had access to non-canned bamboo shoots. Thank you, Fubonn.

Day Thirty: VEGGIE GRILL BREAK #ACorDIEpdx

J. Legume is trying to get her Veggie Grillhabit down to no more than once a week. I can’t say I’m helping. I can say that I’ve found that subbing tempeh for chickin’ in burgers is my new favorite order.

Speaking of my lovely girlfriend…

Day Thirty, the J. Legume plate: mashed Yukons with roasted garlic, sauteed broccoli with General Tso’s sauce and simple brown lentils. The sauce recipe is from World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan and it’s just great.

Finally, we return to the important business of homemade liquors.

Day Thirty-One: The first steps for eventual blackberry brandy, cherry brandy, cherry cranberry liqueur and lemongrass mint liqueur.

About that…

In many traditional recipes, the sugar soaks through the fruit for 24 hours, the liquid is added, and you have two months to plan your cocktail party.  All the fruit used above, with the exception of the lemongrass and cranberries (to add a tart element when not using sour cherries), is from my local farmers markets. Lemongrass can be found occasionally, but not any regular or reliable basis. Lemongrass in my fridge is another story.

Day Thirty-One: Lentil-roni topped with fresh basil, from the Isa Does It test kitchen

-

Day Thirty-Two: Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with our u-picked raspberries, another Isa Does It tester

-

Day Thirty-Three: Pickled Thai Green Chilies – Heartichoke benefit prep

-

Day Thirty-Three: Wannabe Kao Soi Curry Noodle Soup with fresh Thai basil

I crave Chiang Mai’s famous dish on a regular basis. This was the first time I’d attempted to recreate it – barring some changes – since I’d spent some time in Thailand over the winter. This was also the first time I’ve made it with wheat noodles vs. the rice noodles that are subbed for vegans. I’ve decided that I do prefer the silky rice noodles – which Pok Pok also does in town, but it comes no where close to the memory of Aum’s mushroom broth version. Sigh.

Day Thirty-Four: Brown Sugar & Chili Oil Roasted Red Peanuts – more Heartichoke prep work

The photo of the beet burger below makes me so damn relieved that I finally chose a new camera.

Day Thirty-Four, PM: Quarter Pounder Beet Burgers (from the PPK blog) with Red Hot tempeh bacon, chips and fixings

-

Day Thirty-Four: Silken tofu chocolate pudding sinkholes

And then, this happened:

Day Thirty-Five: Heartichoke Vegan Supper Club’s Thai-inspired Benefit Evening

-

Day Thirty-Six: Spicy sun-dried tomato & herb lentil seitan sausages, pre-steam. A nice afternoon project.

0

Day Thirty-Six: Buffalo fried tofu burgers & tots

-

Day Thirty-Seven: Cast iron pizza with homemade dough, marinara, Follow Your Heart mozzarella, yellow & red grape tomatoes, lentil seitan sausage crumbles and fresh basil.

This pizza was possibly the best part of 100 Days so far.

Day Thirty-Eight: Old-fashioned Chelsea waffles with fresh blueberries

-

Day Thirty-Eight: Heartichoke green curry leftover incorporation time! Namprik green curry sauce, roasted root vegetables, rice & crushed peanuts

-

Day Thirty-Nine: Korean Quick Pickles. Sometimes I make these with agave, sometimes with sugar. Always  with garlic and a half white vinegar/half rice vinegar combination.

-

Day Thirty-Nine: Rigatoni with marinara, pan-fried lentil sausage crumbles, side salads & really, really herbed breadsticks

-

Day Forty: The start of sangria with blackberries, pluots, doughnut peaches and cherries

-

Day Forty, PM: Mustard and sherry soaked, pesto-stuffed, grilled tofu with roasted tomatoes & garlic, sauteed chard and rice (I have a lot of rice around, okay?)

Goodness.

Day Forty-One: Spicy Syrian Lentil Stew from Bean by Bean, my current cookbook-devotion from the library.

-

Day Forty-Two: Simplified ‘Smlove Pie (without the toppings)

Phew.

Curious about the current state of events? Follow along on my Instagram with the 100 Days Homemade tag.

51 days remain! A new camera has arrived! Pickles are trending!

100 Days, Part I100 Days, Part II100 Days, Part III

Culinary Dwelling

Much to my delight, life  has calmed and evolved in the past few weeks. These are some photos and dishes I created while life was not so calm. With this oh so welcome change, expect more updates in my internet-verse. Time is mine once more, and every damn day belongs to farmers markets and projects.

The first worthwhile, summer strawberries from the farmers market

-

Pie was made. Chocolate peanut butter cream, shortbread crust and salted caramel. I missed making pies.

-

More thanks to Bryant Terry. Inspired Vegan-style grits, simmered fava beans with fresh herbs, and roasted asparagus and garlic flowers.

-

The roasted asparagus and garlic flowers stood in for fennel. As much as fennel has certainly grown on me, I couldn’t bring myself to buy an entire bulb. I spent one summer receiving a CSA where I was haunted with multiple bulbs on a weekly basis and almost burnt out. This dish, regardless, was glorious.

-

Fully dressed. Grits are now in rotation.

-

From the Isa Does It test kitchen: Beefy Seitan Stirfry with Fresh Herbs and Cabbage Sesame Slaw

-

Sunday brunch had been a saving grace through my now-over workplace stress. Scrambled tofu with pea shoots and sugar snap peas, baked hash brown UFOs, watermelon and coffee.

Yeah, I’m loving the charming new tablecloth J. Legume picked up. 

Thank you, Basement Pub imperial glass. Thank you,Wandering Aengus.

-

Keeping it simple: Thai basil fried rice with cabbage and baked sesame tofu cubes. The tofu is also a tester for Isa Does It that keeps making the rounds.

-

Life included another treat at Veggie Grill: a grand opening dinner with team VVC, our plus ones, and Dan & Nicole from Upton’s. Yes!

-

Lastly, on one special evening, Julia Legume and I enjoyed our own buffalo tofu salads. These included baked tofallo cubes, a zinged up Sanctuary Ranch dressing, sliced cucumber and field greens. Goodness, gracious.

catch up: weekending with chloe’s kitchen, nacho scramble & thai

Farmers market haul: rangpurs, collard raab, kale raab, brussel raab, flat leaf parsley, red beets, baby bok choi and tulips from my girlfriend.

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.

Vegan Mom's scrambled tofu, Ctate's queso, chips, jalapeño & fixings.

Julia's amazing plate o'scrambled fu.

Zelda, my nacho guard cat, briefly ignoring her duties

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:

Chocolate chip cookies, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

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.

Test Kitchen Pad Thai (withholding cilantro) with roasted peanuts and fresh lime, soy sauce, Srichacha and Yellow Curry Fried Rice

May Kaidee's Yellow Curry Fried Rice with red bell pepper, gai lan, green cabbage and creminis

Next up, one of the dishes I’ve been trying out from The Sexy Vegan

BBQ Tofu 'Ribs', Smokey Mac & Cheese from The Sexy Vegan. Paired with sauteed collard raab.

Slow, Sunday night dinner preparation has become a positive experience on a dwelling evening. The last meal was my first from Chloe’s Kitchen.

Local pink potatoes in an ice water bath

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:

Drive Thru Burgers with special sauce and fixins, tasty sea salt and vinegar fries with organic ketchup, sparkling wine with sliced rangpur

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?!

Drive Thru Burger on sliced baguette

In conclusion, this has been a rare Get Sconed! update that includes actual scones.

Scones with wild blueberries (organic, frozen from Whole Foods) and chocolate chips, Vegan Brunch

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

-

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.