Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day: Book Giveaway & Blog Tour of Wonder!

Oh, hello.

THE GRAND ENTRANCE… BLOG TOUR!  This post is a whole trio of firsts: my first time breading with cornflakes, my first blog tour, and shockingly, my first cookbook giveaway. Who saw that happening?!  Well, it’s all in honor of an enthusiastic, satisfying and beautifully photographed … Continue reading

My Queso Bowl is Better Than Your Queso Bowl.

Probably.

Queso bowl with long grain brown rice, cherry bomb spiced black beans, steamed greens, avocado, crumbled tortilla chips, cornmeal-chili baked tofu cubes & vegan queso. If I permitted that c-herb in my life, it'd be on top.

Even fast food chains have bowls these days, so don’t you dare expect another break down on how to bowl it up.  I do happen to live in a bowl mecca (toot, toot on Portland’s horn), frequent both Cafe Yumm and The Whole Bowl for lunch – wishing Native Bowl was within reach – and crazily, it’s been two whole weeks since I’ve had bowl construction in my life. Blame fracturing my foot or something, and thank my friends for providing sustenance.

Now, I dig bowl meals because they offer variety, they’re saucy, they become a saucy mess, and as work lunches, can offer this assembly all over again, whether packed with sauce on the side or constructed level by level. The bowl below is my journey back to this land of bowl making, and includes several components – with one very special guest.

Cornmeal & Chili Baked Tofu

Special Guest Star: Food for Lovers Vegan Queso!

I definitely recommend Food for Lovers Vegan Queso and want to see this in more restaurants & stores – it’s so creamy and well-spiced! I’ve made the recipe in the past, and I was pleasantly surprised at how the jarred version was even better! Two words are in my future: Hello, nachos!

Note: Queso was purchased with my own money from Food Fight! Grocery. Word.

Keeping up with the VeganMoFo: A Return to Homegrown Smoker

You’ve gotta hand it to Homegrown Smoker. They’ve come a long way since opening on NE Alberta in the summer of 2009. They’ve built a snazzy enclosed cart, have moved SW near PSU, and hearing their daily specials announced on the internet, or even pictured, has become….. epic.

Recently, there’s been the Portoritto with smoked soy curls and sliced portobellos, the ChiliCheeseFryrrito - just imagine what’s in there, the FU Jerk with jerked tofu, the Filet O’Fu with breaded oceanic tofu and remoulade sauce, the freakin’ Clamwich – and on, and on – and then there’s the regular menu, with their famous MacNoCheese, Tempeh Melts, vegetable sides, Coconut Battered Oreos and various smokey proteins smothered in smokey Maple Bourbon BBQ sauce.

That being said, is there anything Homegrown Smoker would smoke and sauce that you wouldn’t want to try? And do they offer adult bibs (or fancy handkerchiefs) with their logo yet?!?

Alright, sometimes things overwhelm even me – I wasn’t quite badass enough for yesterday’s special – but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t support my crazier friends with their intense, nearly unbelievable burritos, my camera, and a stack of recycled napkins.

The SW 4th & College cart pod: home of Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ (mere blocks from the home of Vida Vegan Con in August!)


I swear Jared was also smiling the moment before this happened.

Holy, shit. Screw being caught in a downpour on my way here – because, I swear, this was the best version of their MacNoCheese yet – and the Smoked Shroom burger was sheer awesome.

Some of my favorite vegan food continues to be downtown lunch options in Portland. So, have you got your HoGroSmo on yet?

A Lunch in the life: Cafe Yumm & Library Books

On my walk back from Cafe Yumm yesterday, I had the grand realization that it was the best thing to happen to my lunch hour in quite some time.

That’s an ambitious statement, and it’s taken a few visits to get into the swing of things, so insert the following qualifying factors:

  • Easily transportable – particularly, the self-contained bowls
  • Super duper quick, for there or to go – VEGAN FAST FOOD.
  • Specifically handy when the farmers markets are closed in the colder months
  • Location: it’s in walking distance to my office and alongside PSU
  • Right on the MAX Green Line
  • Rather nutritious offerings
  • There’s sometimes extra avocado offered for vegans – Yay! (often the same at The Whole Bowl – Is it standard? Random? Often forgotten? I don’t know).

Three silly things I don’t like:

  • The diced tomatoes are consistently bland and blah.
  • Chewy tofu: stick to the tempeh! I don’t think I’ve ever specifically avoided tofu somewhere before.
  • All the college students: totally silly, selfish annoyance.  I left Boston for a reason.

Tempeh Skewer Bento with Ginger Asian Slaw, Jasmine Rice and Yumm Sauce (and Tapatio, of course)

I’m also become a fan of the Yumm! N Greens, Jazzy Bowl and Edamame Bowl.

After lunch, I stopped by the Central Library to pick up my hold (full disclosure: I’m giving the first season of Fringe another shot) and browse the cookbook section. I was there for French cuisine, but the vegetarian/vegan section never fails to catch my interest:

The full section:

Not sure if you want to buy a book? Check it out! Check. It. Out.

And if you want more vegan food by PSU, check out Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ!!!

warm & comforty foods.

Brussel Sprouts Au Gratin from The Urban Vegan


brussel sprouts au gratin

here’s a showing of what I’ve been cooking in the past month or so.  colder weather & holiday season = comfort foods on the brain.  turning on the oven to roast vegetables and bake tofu is delicious and keeps the apartment warm!

they’re the type of dishes where you want to hug the plate, and then raise your fork.  truthfully, in my heart and stomach, Italian food reigns as the ruler of the comfort food kingdom, but American vegan comfort foods call out, just the same.

Whole Wheat Biscuits from The Kind Diet, Silky Chickpea Gravy from Isa’s test kitchen, roasted brussel sprouts (clearly I let the gravy sit a few minutes here!)

WW Biscuits and Tester Silky Chickpea Gravy

Spicy Collards & kidney beans, Bbq baked super firm tofu

recent dinner

The spicy collards dish above was based on the test recipe for the dish below – Spicy Black Eyed Peas & Greens from Isa’s test kitchen, served with Cornmeal & Nooch baked tofu. Perfect for the days the Bye & Bye is just too far across town from me.

PPK dinner.

More BBQ baked tofu & Brussel Sprouts Au Gratin – the lunch@work edition. I made a double batch of maple sweetened Backyard BBQ sauce from Veganomicon a few weeks ago, and it’s been handy.

lunch @work series

Baked Bean balls from Veganomicon. I eat these with steamed greens and a side of marinara, or happily over whole wheat spaghetti.

chickpea balls

Seitan roast, maple baked carrots, baked potato and mushroom croquette, silky chickpea gravy.

belated tday dinner.

The day after Thanksgiving, I felt the delayed desire to make a seitan roast.  Like my friend Joanna’s amazing seitan roast, I modeled mine after Brian P. McCarthy’s recipe.  I didn’t pull out all the stops and buy cheesecloth and string, but it was still remarkably good seitan. The potato and mushroom croquettes were a mix of leftover mashed potatoes, roasted garlic and a little extra stuffed mushroom filling, formed into patties, rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs and baked.  I remember my mom making a pan fried (mushroom-less), traditional Italian version of these a few times a year growing up. comfort foodz for the win!

Tofu Skin, Tolosana black beans, carrots and tomato with Mexican spices. Burrito filling.

tofu sheets, mexican style

Really serious warm & comforty food – Side Dish Stuffed Mushrooms from my friend Michelle’s Thanksgiving potluck.

shrooms

and…Melty Swiss Uncheese turned Ancho Uncheese Dip from the classic Uncheese Cookbook.

swiss uncheese turned spicy ancho swiss uncheese

so, what’s your comfort food of choice come winter?