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. 

The pea shoots return for pizza

I may not know a lot about gardening, but one thing is certain – I’m dreading the maturation of summer peas and their farewell to shootdom. Come back, babies!

Something like that.

Pre-baked

Cue intro: Spring’s shoots joins forces with a renewed enthusiasm for bread-making, thanks to an incredibly long-awaited purchase of a new dough hook for the old family Kitchen Aid. Much thanks to my sister for shipping it from New York.

Pea Shoot Pizza

Toppings:

  • cherry tomatoes
  • miso tofu ricotta (recipe from: Vegan with a Vengeance, plus an additional tablespoon of nutritional yeast and two tablespoons of mellow white miso]
  • sautéed pea shoots
  • minced garlic [optional]
  • par-roasted garlic cloves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • dough ball
  • coarse sea salt & Alder smoked salt

Sliced

Details:
Preheat oven to 475F. Briefly roast a head garlic, as desired, and remove before 20 minutes are up. Stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it again. Roll out your dough, thinly, and brush with olive oil. Toss the whole cherry tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and set aside. Dollop large spoonfuls of tofu ricotta on the pie. In a separate pan, and you can do this much earlier, heat the minced garlic, if using, in a teaspoon of olive oil, and saute the pea shoots until quickly wilted. Carefully dish the pea shoots until the pizza. Add the cherry tomatoes, whole cloves of roasted garlic (save any extra for another day, or smash and serve on the side), yet another drizzle of olive oil, and salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes until slight golden browning on the edges is achieved.

Baked

Finale

How this was served without Cabernet is beyond me.

The night the pea shoots came to dinner

The night the pea shoots came to dinner was a very good night, indeed.

Pea shoots are wonderful. The flavor is just so damn…fresh. I picked up a bunch from my weekly trip the farmers market last weekend, and while my first thought was to serve them fresh with lemon juice on top of beet burgers, I ended up sauteing them, yet again, and the result was lovely.

It was one of those casual, homemade meals, that I swear, can make your evening. It had been some times since I had made pasta – let alone, traditional (and beloved) white pasta – and on top of that, it was a clean-out-the-fridge meal that utilized two farmers market purchases: the sun-dried tomatoes I picked up in Eugene last month, and the aforementioned pea shoots. Inspiration, am I right?

Here’s the gist:

Saute four cloves of minced garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes, add 3 ounces of sun-dried (truly dried) tomatoes, a pinch of sea salt and a dash of pepper – I used freshly ground white. Add enough white wine to cover and bring to a boil. Stir in a teaspoon of white miso, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, half a tablespoon of Earth Balance, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced. Had it been two months ahead, I would have thrown in some cherry tomatoes.

Boil water for pasta – I used capellini, which cooks in under 3 minutes. Immediately after you put the pasta in to cook, saute 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic in a little bit of olive oil in a separate pan, and stir in washed pea shoots. I find the long pieces classier, for whatever reason, and enjoy that delusion, but feel free to cut them.  Add a splash of water or white wine or broth, stir, and cover until wilted. At this point, your pasta is likely done, so drain it, toss it with the sauce as desired, and plate over wilted pea shoots, making sure to include the garlic. I served this dish with nooch on the side, but didn’t find it calling for any.  What I did enjoy was a chilled glass of white, of course.

Let’s do this.

The final plate was garnished with nothing more than fresh, flat-leaf parsley.

organic pea shoots from Portland, organic sun-dried tomatoes from Eugene.

It’s true. Get Sconed! <3 extra virgin olive oil.

Pasta at Heart

White pasta fans, you’re in luck.

I’ve spent much of the past 2 days on the phone with my sister, who just returned from a 3 week vacation in Italy. She spent her days working on small farms and her evenings sipping red wine. I’m so proud, and my kitchen has been thinking of her as I recall the brief Sicilian wanderings of my early 20s.

Cashew miso alfredo over fusillata casarecci with sauteed morels and fresh parsley.

This isn’t the first nut-based alfredo that’s come my way, and barring any further, emerging allergies, won’t the be the last. And I just can’t put into words how stellar and succulent the Earth Balance sautéed morels were with this. Wait.

Cashew Miso Alfredo

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soaked raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2-3 cloves worth of sliced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch fresh thyme
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon white miso (less can be more – same goes for the garlic)
  • salt & pepper (preferably white), to taste
  • fresh parsley
Directions:
  1. Saute the sliced garlic in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Remove from heat, and carefully add to blender, along with the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the parsley.
  3. Gently reheat in a small saucepan, and whisk in more water if needed.
  4. Serve over pasta or other entrée, and sprinkle with fresh parsley and additional pepper, if desired.
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Next up, a vibrant edition in the never-ending, clean-out-the-fridge series. It’s a take on this recipe, which was inspired by the smokey mac at Bang Bang Cafe in Seattle. I left out the (pointless – I was simply out of oil?!) bit of packaged vegan cheese this time around, and skipping the cashews, incorporated both roasted red peppers and coconut milk into the pureed sauce.

Smokey Roasted Red Pepper and Coconut Mac & Cheeze

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Tomatoes are having a slow start this summer. Sadness. I finally spotted some at the Montavilla Farmers Market  a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve grabbed a pint at every market since then. Fast forward a couple of more weeks, and I’m impatiently expecting true sweetness!

Orrechiete with sautéed red and sungold cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, purple and roasted garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, crushed red pepper and fresh black pepper. Served with balsamic roasted green beans, with a pinch of brown sugar. The pasta dish was inspired by a similar meal from a downtown food cart last week.

Pesto-stuffed Chickpea Cutlet Balls & Television

So, I’m a television fanatic. It hails back to my days of sharing a bedroom with my younger siblings and quietly watching The X-Files while sitting a foot away from the  television screen (seeing both films on opening day), and evolved into obsession via the same small television set with the first episode of Buffy during my freshman year of high school. I may have just as many memories of Xander and Willow as I do my real life friends, woops. There aren’t many shows I watch on a dedicated, weekly basis now (or that I’d admit so quickly). I still resist Hulu for the most part and can instantaneously open my out-dated rant about how the real LOST fans are those who were watching during Season 1 and went insane the rest of the week for six onwards years – and even worse, during summer hiatus – and then, the writer’s block. The suspense! The attempt at patience! The gift of a new episode!

This is pretty normal Jess-in-person ranting and it would be out-of-place on this here post if it wasn’t for the following connection – my new found-love for Bob’s Burgers. I adore Home Movies – it’s one of the few dvd sets I actually own, so I gave it this new series a chance, and I’ve been hooked since week one. It’s pretty damn nostalgic to find myself looking forward to Sunday evenings again! I’m a sucker for the parents’ sweet antics and accents, and these may be the most entertaining kids I’ve seen on television since Brendon, Melissa and Jason, of course. Back to the point – on the latest episode, a spaghetti and meatball dinner was featured, and 24 hours later, I was sitting down to this vegan version.

Bob's Burgers inspired dinner: baked pesto-stuffed chickpea cutlet balls, homemade marinara, multi-grain spaghetti, steamed kale

The chickpea cutlet recipe is from Veganomicon, no surprise. I’ve baked the dough as balls many times in the past, and I usually add marjoram and basil into the mix. This time, I flattened circles of the dough and added a small dollop of homemade raab pesto, carefully formed it back into a ball, and baked them at 400F for 20 minutes, flipped the balls, and baked an additional 15 minutes at 425F. I would declare “Bon Appetit!”, but Gene’s not here to usher us out with a dramatic keyboard solo.

P.S. Admittedly, I have gone and blogged many LOST-obsessed meals. Speaking of, Jorge Garcia making almond milk = be still, my freaking heart.

I’ll likely find myself making some Bob’s inspired veggie burgers soon!

Orecchiette con broccolini

Orecchiette con broccolini; smoked and seared tofu

I picked up a bag of Italian orecchiette last week at Barbur World Foods as part of my dramatic & ongoing hidden gem investigation with one intention – making this traditional recipe once again from The Urban Vegan. It’s a classy weeknight meal with plenty of thinly sliced garlic sauteed in olive oil (you better go high quality!), a hint of salty miso, a sprinkle of nooch, and in this case, broccolini subbing for the signature vegetable…but I don’t think my distant family in Sicily would mine that one. The nooch on the other hand, maybe.

And to channel the wonderful, birthday gal Dynise: Pair this with a tall glass of lemon water or red wine, and pretend it costs $12 at your local trattoria (even if you have a vegan trattoria down the block, like this spoiled lady).

Portobello Pizza & The Vegan Pizza Day Countdown

In preparation for Vegan Pizza Day on Saturday (fellow vegans, I behoove you – can we please declare a vegan danish say next?), I found myself once again contemplating the cute Pizza Cups from Slice and channeling my inner little old Italian lady relatives. Somehow, this led to the veganization of Portobello Mushroom Crust Pizzas from the same site, while remembering I had just received some Teese from a friend to play with.

The following portobello pizzas differ from Tonecapo’s pictorial on Slice because a) there’s vegan mozzarella involved, b) the gills are scraped, and c) a mixture of pureed mushroom stem, spinach, garlic and black olives is used in place of the sausage crumbles.

Of course, please forgive that I should iron my tablecloth or whatever grown ups do in the following photo pictorial. The recipe follows.

Step 1) The De-Gilling

Step 2) The Saucing

Step 3) The Stuffing

Step 4)

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s our special guest, Teese!

The Topping

Step 5) The Finale

The Recipe:

Portobello Mushroom Pizzas with Spinach & Black Olive Filling

These mini “pizzas” are ridiculously week-night friendly, and any leftovers are just waiting to top pasta or fill a sandwich.

Serves: 1-2, double and use larger caps for bigger portions

Ingredients:

  • 2 Portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and set aside, and gills carefully scraped out with a spoon
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (use more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup of shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
  • handful of baby spinach
  • 1 clove of garlic – see below
  • good pinch of salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 black olives
  • olive oil, preferably in spray/misting form
  • optional: dried oregano and crushed red pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450F and lightly grease a baking pan large enough to fit the caps.
  2. Spoon the sauce even onto the caps.
  3. Finely mince or pulse together the removed mushroom stems, baby spinach, garlic and black olives in a food processor.
  4. Saute, stirring frequent, in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn. Remove from heat.
  5. Spread half of the spinach mixture onto each cap.
  6. Top each cap with half of the shredded vegan cheese, sprinkled with desired dried herbs, lightly spray with oil, and bake for 18-20 minutes. Broil for an additional 1-2 minutes, if desired.
  7. Remove from the oven, and serve.

The local garlic love:

Do you have any plans for this Vegan Pizza Day? I’m considering breakfast at Sizzle Pie, myself. If you’re in the Portland area, there’s always local vegetable topped slice sat Hot Lips, cornmeal crust at Dove Vivi, wood-fired pizza from carts Pyro Pizza and Wy’yeast ( gah! why have I not been yet?!?), Hopworks, Portobello (Daiya and cashew sauce), Rudy’s (recently added Daiya), Eat Pizza, Oasis (now has soy cheese!), and more.

The MoFo Farewell, alla Vodka

Happy last day of MoFo! I haven’t quite been keeping to my proposed theme and daily posting as much as I intended, but I like to think that posting elsewhere (and co- planning a vegan bloggers conference, zomg!!!) has helped make up for it a tiny bit. That, and getting wrapped up on the MoFo reader for hours at a time on a regular basis – but, who hasn’t? It’s the weather for lengthy simmering on the stove, and I’ve done so recently with mulled pear apple cider, French Moroccan lentil soup, and creamy tomato vodka sauce.

The recipe for Penne alla Vodka comes from Veganomicon, and I served it over spaghetti one night with beanballs, and with the traditional penne, and balsamic braised greens on another. I’m newly allergic to almonds, so I subbed raw cashews and the result seemed even creamier than I remembered.

For the love of appropriately early Sunday night Italian dinners: Whole Wheat Spaghetti alla Vodka with baked Roasted Garlic & White Bean Balls (modified from the chickpea cutlet recipe).

Balsamic Braised Greens:

Whole Wheat Penne alla Vodka:

Cheers! With a Citrus & Jalapeño-infused vodka cocktail:

mini pizzas & teese & holiday confessions

I was recently afflicted with the pizza bug. It’s been the coldest and driest November I’ve ever witnessed in Portland, and it usually seems much more rational to use the oven over the heater. You get a warm dinner and a warmer abode. Win Win.

Whole wheat crust (Trader Joe’s), homemade marinara, mozzarella teese, sun-dried tomatoes, cremini mushrooms, jalapeño peppers.

I’m always impressed at how well teese holds up upon re-heating.

Variety time!

Whole wheat crust, roasted orange pepper and white bean spread, steamed greens, strips of more roasted orange pepper, and halved  kalamata olives.

As for my holiday time, pizza making confession, it’s totally not the store-bought dough – it’s the music. The first evening of pizza baking marked the first day of the season I welcomed the easy listening christmas music station back into my life. Every night. I can’t help it. I can be pretty damn humbug, but hear Linda Ronstadt wishing me a Merry Little Christmas and go weak with nostalgia. I start cutting out snowflakes and wishing for the marshmallow winter song and Band Aid to come on next and then start picturing my grandfather singing along with Bing Crosby. I may have even put up a fucking holiday tree under the guise that it’s for a shindig. And quite frankly, if I had wine, and mulled wine went with pizza, it would have been on my stove.