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
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
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
Oh my, I have entered into the big 3-0 birthday week, and what doesn’t that have one thinking about? I did get a stunning set of fancy French skillets from my younger sister as an early gift, which of course, … Continue reading
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.
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…
Oh – and there’s more.
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.
Success! I based it on every other Aloo Channa recipe I have ever seen on the internet.
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?
Bean by Bean: For the bean curious and obsessed.
It’s the half-way point, so….
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.
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.
Shocker, the grand finale to this round up is an Isa Does It dessert tester.
Now mere days away from my half-way point of 100 Days Homemade, some realizations have become glaringly obvious:
- Mixology matters.
- My girlfriend really likes soup.
- Life is possible without a microwave.
- One can incorporate a LOT of lentils into their life.
- There is a seemingly never-ending supply of rice in my apartment.
- With a bigger focus on budgeting, I’ve lost a lot of my normal excitement for dining out.
- Equally worth note: my apartment surprisingly has a cooling unit while many Portland restaurants do not.
- 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.
Life’s been about black-eyed peas, lentils, chickpeas, more lentils, and berries.
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.
Next up, a duo.
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.
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…
Finally, we return to the important business of homemade liquors.
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.
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.
The photo of the beet burger below makes me so damn relieved that I finally chose a new camera.
And then, this happened:
This pizza was possibly the best part of 100 Days so far.
51 days remain! A new camera has arrived! Pickles are trending!
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.
Yeah, I’m loving the charming new tablecloth J. Legume picked up.
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.
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.
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
Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance
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.
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.
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
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.
Up ahead, a thankfully short week ahead capped off with a visit from my sister from NYC, bagels in tow.