First things first, Happy Vegan Pizza Day! If three little things weren’t standing in the way of my own pizza-making ambitions today, well, I’d have some dough rising right now. Instead, I’m melting into a puddle of freckles as it’s … Continue reading
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
I’ve been perusing Serious Eats (and wishing they’d read my mind and hand over my own vegan column already, jeez) quite a bit lately, and had to borrow one of their regular features as a title here, and hand it … 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
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!
Although I’m currently sitting here, patiently waiting for my tester copy, (hint hint) the latest cookbook from my favorite vegan superhero & author, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Appetite for Reduction has hit the shelves – so it’s time for a fond look back.
This marks the fourth Post Punk Kitchen book I’ve been a recipe tester for – which is so.much.fun. While I didn’t have as much time on my hands or mouths to feed as I used to, and didn’t test every single recipe, I did made a bunch of satisfying dishes that I’ll round up below. Whether you’re looking for more responsible, vegetable dominated entrees, oil-cutting tips, healthy meal plan inspiration, or straight up, great and usually gourmet vegan cuisine, you should pick up this book! And try to do it from a vegan business, like Herbivore, Cosmo’s, Never Felt Better or Food Fight!, if possible. Is free shipping really that enticing? Does Amazon offer this shirt, or this one?
Some of my favorites:
- 40 Clove Chickpea & Garlic – I’ve seriously made this countless times, and usually up the garlic even more (spoiler alert: there’s not actually 40 cloves in the recipe)
- Surefire Seitan – This was my go-to seitan recipe this past year.
- Braised Seitan & Cabbage – This one surprised me in how much I liked it. Plus, it’s super easy if you have the seitan already made, and cabbage contains fiber and vitamin c and you should probably be eating more of it!
- Pasta con Broccoli – Simple and great – especially topped with one of the baked tofu options in the book. Like I’m not going to love a healthier version of a classic Italian dish full of more broccoli & garlic…
- Thai Green Beans – Again – so easy, but so flavorful.
- Jerk Asparagus – Ditto! You should have these spices in your house anyway, and await the countdown to one of spring’s first contenders.
- Curried Tofu – One of those recipes you’ll find yourself making semi-weekly after trying it.
- Apple Miso Tofu – because it’s another one casserole dish entree, and it’s just so unique!
- Ginger Soba with Bok Choy – it’s literally ginger, soba, and bok choy, and that’s so, so right.
- Black-Eyed Peas & Greens – purposely reminiscent of the Bye & Bye’s dish, and another I find myself making regularly. With the buzz about the book popping up over the last week, it was the first recipe that came to mind and that I just had to make this past weekend.
And these are just a few favorites. Crazy, but I don’t have photos for everything. Sometimes I forgot, or the lighting was awful, or the dish was being transported elsewhere, or I was just…really hungry. Off the top of my head, I know the Ethiopian Mushroom Tibs are missing, and probably a few others…
Without further adieu, my Appetite for Reduction photos:
40 Clove Chickpea & Garlic
Pasta con Broccoli (pictured with red wine roasted mushrooms)
Smokey Split Pea Soup
Pineapple Collards - oh, I really dug this, too!
Broiled Blackened Tofu
Curry Baked Tofu and Orange Scented Broccoli
Curried Chickpeas and Greens - hello, delicious lunch for the week!
Apple Miso Tofu (pictured with a chiffonade of miner’s lettuce and brown rice)
Curried Cabbage and Peas
Red Curry Tofu - how pretty is this?! bonus = it’s baked!
Thai Green Beans
Fussilli Roasted Veggie Primavera – okay, more and more favorites
Herb Roasted Cauliflower and Breadcrumbs
Cashew Miso Mayo - yeah, you read that right!
Surefire Seitan (pictured baked with chickpea breading)
Silky Chickpea Gravy (pictured with whole wheat biscuits)
Hoisin Tofu Lettuce Wrap (pictured with cabbage shells)
Red Wine & Kalamata Tempeh (pictured with mashed potatoes) – hello, classy!
Ginger Soba with Bok Choy
Vietnamese Salad with grilled tofu
Quicky BBQ Tofu
Curried Summer Loving Corn Chowder
Black Eyed Peas & Greens (pictured with cornmeal baked tofu)
Braised Seitan & Cabbage
Now, I’m sorry there are no before and after shots of my butt to show my own weightloss progress during this round of testing. Truthfully, some of these dishes were made over a year ago, I wasn’t focused on hiding my oil – because that can be crazy, and I make a point to be comfortable with my weight, my body, and myself, no matter what. Vegans come in all shapes and sizes, too!
That being said, I’m currently on week 12 of a new workout/activity plan, where there’s less beer, laziness, and more vegetables and whole grains in my diet lately, but I just hate using that word, so back to my point -
This book is not only full of wholesome, creative, special-diet-friendly recipes – it’s full of truth one can relate to, and a whole lot of healthy inspiration.
For sample recipes, check out the PPK book page.
If you have the book already, I’d love to hear other recs. And while you’re at it, leave Isa a review on Amazon and Goodreads and spread the word!
Just kidding, I only like the fruits of your labor. The fruits of eight months of Portland drizzle. Rathermore (that’s right), your glorious fresh fruits and vegetables. Come on, weirdo summer, let’s get through the heat wave and onwards to heirloom tomatoes and spin the color wheel of bell peppers, eggplant and cauliflower!
Here are the fruits of my recent culinary labor:
Mushroom Sherry Pate from The Urban Vegan, take 2.
This time, I added almonds,roasted shallots, maitake mushrooms in addition to cremini, & added a couple of spices.
Cherry Whiskey Cookies
I brought these cookies & the pate to the recent Vegan Convergence 2.19. I spent the first half of the gathering selling ice cream (or orchestrating a Purely Decadent body shot photo shoot with Michele, same thing). These cookies are the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, substituting a small amount of the non-dairy milk for Cherry Whiskey.
Cabbage Patch tofu scramble
Pesto Tahini tofu, marinating.
I’ve made this before to top salads and been thrilled, but this batch was a little lackluster since I was trying to cut down on the ingredients and salt-factor for a potluck. This version had homemade almond pesto, tahini, water, white wine and coconut aminos.
Pesto Tahini Baked Tofu, garnished with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes
Baked Jerked Seitan, marinating.
Both jerk sauce and seitan recipes are from The Urban Vegan. Hot stuff!
Seitan Lite & Greens
The seitan lite recipe is from another fun cookbook I’ve been enjoying – American Vegan Kitchen.
Jelly Donut Cupcakes
from the holy Veganomicon. shockingly, my first time making them. I made both the cupcakes and seitan for an initials potluck last week. The JS for my behind the scenes name, and the JD for my really, really behind the scenes name. Identity crisis, commence.
Cashew Miso Mayo
In Conclusion, Part I: fresh, local raspberries are swell.
In Conclusion, Part II: My friend Jeff with his birthday Triple Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger from the super nice & delicious D.C. Vegetarian cart.
Jeff told me all he wanted for his birthday was a photo of him, at Tube, eating this custom birthday burger, displayed on the internet.
Happy Birthday, Jeff! Somehow, he made it through.
Recipe testing for Post Punk Kitchen books has been a mainstay in my kitchen during the past few years. I learn new things, my palate expands, there’s always something to look forward to, and always an idea for dinner.
Most recently, I’ve been testing for Isa’s upcoming Healthy/Weightloss cookbook. How cool, right!?! I don’t know if there is an official title yet, but I will say that these lowfat meals are seriously wholesome, satisfying, and the ‘in progress’ name for the test kitchen is a great one…
Red Wine & Kalamata Tempeh, over pesto mashed potatoes
Apple Miso Tofu, with a chiffonade of miner’s lettuce
Red Thai Tofu
Curried Chickpeas & Greens
Curry Baked Tofu and Orange Scented Broccoli
Smokey Split Pea Soup
Curried Cabbage and Peas
Tonight’s menu includes Ethiopian Mushroom Tibs and Green Beans with Thai Basil !
Flowers Restaurant, Seattle
once again, I’m back after a bit out of town. this time, it was for a few days in Seattle. while I was there, I decided my next realistic dream job involves frequent travel and keeping Portland as my home base. I certainly can’t afford to travel recreationally as much as I’d like, and I’m fortunate that my current job lets me travel a bit. I’m getting the teeniest bit restless living here for 5+ years, but it’s Portland! It’s amazing! Quality of Life! etc. etc. etc.
that being said, I have three travels’ worth of photos and thoughts to unload soon via flickr, this site and stumptown vegans! I’m hoping to get back to normal life and do this sooner than later. rationally speaking, naming my flickr photos should not overwhelm me!
heading into overwhelmingly awesome plans, Portland’s Inaugural Vegan Iron Chef is officially happening on Sunday, June 6th, 2010 in the early evening.
It’s being presented by Try Vegan PDX, and I am beyond ecstatic about it. The official contestant invites went out yesterday! So many wonderful local vegans are already involved!
a few recent photos to get back into the swing of things…
Smokey Split Pea Soup, from Isa’s Test Kitchen
Soy Latte from K&F Coffeehouse in Portland
Dr. Cow Nut Cheese with Hemp Seeds from Lifethyme in NYC - my first time trying this, call me a fan! It’s sitting on top of a raw apple cranberry treat from Lifethyme, too.
My sister, Jen, agreeing to visit Vegetarian Dim Sum House in NYC, yet again. She’s a hip little flexitarian, and enjoys the Roasted Pork Buns and main dishes here.
Of course, something like this, which Millie and I really enjoyed, horrifies her.
Oasis Falafel, Brooklyn, NY. This was GREAT at midnight after a long night, but made me incredibly sick. fun times!
so much more to come.