a very cast iron christmas (breakfast)

Tofu Omelette, Smoky Creminis and Garlic Roasted Potatoes from Vegan Brunch. The omelette itself was stuffed with the mushrooms, baby spinach and Wayfare Hickory-Smoked Cheddar-Style Spread.

Breaking in the new cast iron skillet on a holiday morning. I am so happy to have an omelette, pancake & crepe friendly pans again!

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.

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 New Tradition in the Life: Marsala, Sun-dried Tomato & Mozzarella Stuffed Mushrooms

The Story:

Stuffed mushrooms were one of the first dishes I learned to pull off and share with guests as a vegan. Italian background, Italian food, check. I can still remember my mom pulverizering the filling in the food processor, and that flavor, which was nothing like the other foods I ate (admittedly, it was full of parmesan and likely, crab, and I was such a picky eater). My late mother actually developed a severe, yet comical,  allergic reaction to mushrooms at some point, yet still kept making these due to popular demand. Nowadays, I usually make them for potlucks, and there’s nearly always wine (because mushrooms should nearly always be drunk), nuts, and breadcrumbs involved. Very recently, my mushrooms-have-the-consistency-of-eyeballs paranoia returned, as it is does now and then, so there I was, with creminis, yet, not wanting to slice them. Stuffed mushrooms are the least of my squishy mushroom fears, and there I went. You could easily sub red wine, or add roasted garlic, steamed greens, vegan crab, etc.  Stuffed mushrooms = versatile.

The Recipe:

Marsala, Sun-dried Tomato & Mozzarella Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 20-25 cremini mushrooms, stems separated, and gills scraped (optional)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan mozzarella (I used Chicago Soy Dairy Teese)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of chopped sun-dried tomatoes (re-hydrated or oil packed)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used Dave Killer’s Good Seed)
    • Note: I used 3/4 cup initially, and had too much filling leftover, hence the cut. Not the end of the world if you run a little short or extra!
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch hot paprika
  • pinch nutritional  yeast
  • additional olive oil for spritzing
  • additional wine

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and lightly grease a casserole dish large enough to fit the mushrooms, such as an 8×8 or 8×4.
  2. Thoroughly mince the mushroom stems, either with a knife or in a food processor.
  3. Sauté the garlic and mushroom steams over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the wine, stir for 1 minute, and simmer for an additional 5, or  until most of the liquid evaporates.
  4. Add the herbs (excluding the salt & pepper!) and stir for 1 more minute. Remove from heat.
  5. Mix the breadcrumbs, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper and nutritional well in a bowl. Carefully mix in the sautéed mushrooms mixture and vegan mozzarella shreds, and incorporate well.
  6. Using a 1/2 tablespoon, fill each mushroom cap with the mixture, packing tightly. Place the caps into your lightly greased baking pan, spray with olive oil and a couple good dashes of additional wine, and cook for 20 minutes. If you have extra mushroom caps, just save them to slice into a tofu scramble or something.
  7. Increase the heat to 425F, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, as needed. Check for browning.
  8. Remove from oven, briefly yet cool, pour some more wine, and serve.

The Photos:

Filling:

Mixed:

Pre-baked:

Roasted:

The End.

A Day in the Life: Onwards, Marsala

Continuing on my classy streak with a dinner pairing from the versatile 500 Vegan Recipes, which is by two lovely ladies I dig: Tofu Marsala and Sesame Kale
It just may be the week of marsala.

My variations from the original entrée recipe were the use of cremini mushrooms vs. button, and the addition of a wee bit of minced garlic. The meal was oh so elegantly paired with a glass of black currant juice.

ooo, summer I love your ways: produce, potlucks & a triple vegan bacon cheeseburger

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.

mushroom pate
This time, I added almonds,roasted shallots, maitake mushrooms in addition to cremini, & added a couple of spices.

Cherry Whiskey Cookies

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

cabbage scramble
Aptly named, as the cabbage was hand-picked on previous berry picking adventures. This scramble has cabbage, sugar snap peas, carrots, kalamata olives and garlic scapes.

Pesto Tahini tofu, marinating.

fu pre fu

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

fu

Baked Jerked Seitan, marinating.

Jerked Seitan

Both jerk sauce and seitan recipes are from The Urban Vegan. Hot stuff!

Seitan Lite & Greens

american vegan lite seitan & greens

The seitan lite recipe is from another fun cookbook I’ve been enjoying  - American Vegan Kitchen.

Jelly Donut Cupcakes

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

cashew miso mayo

A test recipe for Isa’s upcoming Appetite for Reduction book.

In Conclusion, Part I: fresh, local raspberries are swell.

raspberries

In Conclusion, Part II: My friend Jeff  with his birthday Triple Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger from the super nice & delicious D.C. Vegetarian cart.

jeff's birthday triple vegan bacon cheeseburger
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.

Tales from the Nut: Cashew Mushroom Alfredo

Vegan Cashew Alfredo, topped with sautéed Maitake and Porcini Mushrooms

cashew

If you’re vegan and enjoy cooking, I’m sure soaking nuts for cream sauces and vegan cheeses has already entered your culinary repertoire. If not, get on it. I’ve enjoyed my share of tofu-based cream sauces, but the silkiness of soaked nuts usually overrules thick soy.  If you’re allergic to nuts, well, I’ll cry into my cashew alfredo for you, and sympathetically relay my soul-crushing hazelnut allergy developments. It’s hard to admit, because that makes it real.

This recent cashew and mushroom alfredo was inspired by a lovely meal at a famed vegan trattoria down the street, and the never-ending container of soaked cashews in my fridge. I must be secretly hosting soft-toothed squirrels because my cats are simply not capable of such a production.

I loosely followed this recipe for Cashew Alfredo Sauce on Vegweb.  The sauce consisted of soaked cashews, water,  salt, freshly ground black pepper, freshly ground nutmeg, and nutritional yeast. It was pureed in one of the prides of my kitchen (and oh-my-god, food blogging perks), the Vita-Mix. I didn’t have any lemons, so I omitted that, and utilized garlic and olive oil while sauteing local maitake and porcini mushrooms. I half-considered indulgently adding the cream sauce to the mushroom mixture, but my personal preference was to keep things separate.

When I nut alfredo it up again, I’ll be sure to add sautéed or roasted garlic into the actual sauce.

alongside: Balsamic Grilled Sugar Snap Peas

balsamic grilled sugar snap peas

Cashew Alfredo, served over housemade fresh pasta from Pastaworks (a few varieties are actually vegan!)

cashew

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Cashew Basil Cream & Roasted Garlic Stuffed Morels

stuffed morels

Only one thing would have these mushrooms even better – if I had foraged for them! Alas, they’re from the farmers market. That being said, my first real NW foraging adventure is in the works and these were darn affordable for fancy mushrooms that could also be mistaken for elven hats.

The mushrooms were stuffed (via makeshift pastry bag) with a puree of soaked cashews, fresh basil, red miso, black pepper, roasted garlic, lemon juice, and a little water. A flavor combination welcome to return to my life any day.  As for blending, the Magic Bullet blender’s small cup really comes in  handy for pureeing small batches of filling like this.

The glass baking pan was lightly greased, and the stuffed mushrooms were sprinkled with coarse salt before roasting. They were baked for 15 minutes at 400F, carefully flipped, and baked another 10 minutes at 425F.

The finished dish was sprinkled with chopped, fresh basil, because it’s spring!

Just Stuffed:

morels, stuffed

Fresh Morels – briefly soaked in cool water and drained, twice.

morels

French Sel Gris – from the Hawthorne Fred Meyer’s affordable and versatile salt bar

sel gris

For the record, I’m shocked I only just added a tag for roasted garlic. It’s like I don’t even know myself.

Grilled Seitan and Portobello with Pistou

Grilled Seitan and sliced Portobello with Pistou

pistou

I may not have a garden with fresh basil, or a backyard to grill in, but I do have access to numerous, inviting farmers markets and my handy dandy cast iron grilling pan.  I don’t completely forget about it in the winter; the desire to grill simply springs out this time of year.

Pistou sauce is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. I don’t have one in my life, but I do have blending machines. This post really is all about looking on the bright side and smashing basil.

The seitan is based on the Seitan Cutlets in Veganomicon.  I cooked it as one large uh, dough, and played with the seasonings a bit.  The baking broth included basil, black pepper, and Bill’s Best Chick’nish seasoning.  Both sliced seitan strips and de-gilled portobella mushroom slices were carefully tossed and marinated in 1/2 cup of pistou for 30 minutes prior to grilling.

Basically, pistou is a generous, nutless pesto.  A lot of the recipes online call for fancy cheese, but traditionally, it doesn’t have to.  I stuck with a tablespoon of nooch. Any more, and it would have become cheesy sauce pistou.  Nothing wrong with that, and I believe in pesto mac, but it wasn’t what I was going for with this.  I added the vegetable broth because I didn’t want something incredibly oily, so do what you will.

The Pistou ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable broth, or water
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove of garlic (go for 2 if you’re using small cloves)

Directions: Pulse quickly in your blender or food processor.  You’re not looking to completely puree this, you want some specks of herb left.

This makes about 1 cup of sauce.  Use the leftover pistou as a marinade, spoon onto soup, make a sandwich spread mixed with Vegenaise, or do as I did, and top your favorite dishes.

Pistou

Pistou

Plated, over local green leaf lettuce

Pistou

oh, rejoice! The Portland Farmers Market is back!

It was undeniably the place to be in Portland this past weekend.

and thanks to the press releases (who doesn’t read press releases about their local farmers markets?), I knew it was going to be bigger & better than ever – doubling in size in the PSU Park Blocks.

I was literally sitting at my desk this morning, daydreaming about the vegetables I have at home.

For such an early start to the season, I was constantly thrilled, booth by booth, to see such variety!  I’ve grown accustomed to walking home from the first market of the season with a bundle of raab or rapini or two, and I did, with a bunch more. I started my farmar adventure with a patiently delivered, cup of single origin Burundi Stumptown from Cafe Velo, nibbled on a trail mix bar from BlackSheep Bakery, explored the new routes, marked purchases for round #2, and ran into happy friends.

Notables:

  • The variety!
  • The hipster mustaches! more than ever! with babies! (I know! It’s Portland, but there were more than usual)!
  • Room to move!
  • Gooey (Daiya?) vegan cheese on deep dish slices at the new Via Chicago Pizza stand!
  • The line for coffee at Cafe Velo is not as scary as it looks!
  • Local Yukons (especially miniature! make me never want to buy another russel potato again).
  • Multi-recycling & composting efforts!
  • Petunia’s Pastries stand!

The Photos:

The market is enormous!

farmar 2010

There is room for 3 different music spots! Maybe more? At least 2 were official.  Sadly, I don’t have a photo of the cool country western singers (with mustaches).

life march 2010 012

The crowd thickens…

life march 2010 015

Broccoli raab sighting #1, check

RAAB

Even more glorious raabs!

life march 2010 021

Bought my garlic here…

farmar 2010

Tempting.

farmar 2010

There are two food strips now – in the middle and the farmost SW corner.
Some vegan highlights -

farmar

I’ve never ordered from here, but it’s nice to know it’s an option.

farmar food

Via Chicago

Chicago pizza Portland Farmers Market

BEHIND THE SCENES

farmar 2010

Glorious.

life march 2010 025

If I hadn’t opted for coffee, hot peppermint tea would have been calling.

life march 2010 026

Preppin’ the mushroom samples

life march 2010 027

support the fraggles

fraggles

My haul: Cremini mushrooms, Yukon Gold potatoes, brussel sprout raab, broccoli raab, mustard greens, asparagus, miner’s lettuce, red Chesnok garlic

farmar haul 3/20/2010

My only reason to get up at 9am on a Saturday that is truly worth it.  I contemplated signing up for a CSA again this year, but the farmar is truly too much fun to resist.

And the first actual dish from my haul, besides nibbling on miner’s lettuce and tossing a piece to my cat:

Shells Con Broccoli Raab, modified from The Urban Vegan (with miso!)

urban vegan pasta

Made with orrechiete and broccoli in the book; whole wheat shells and broccoli raab in my kitchen. Small dish of nooch for sprinklin’. Local greens and garlic.