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).

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:

A Day in the Life: My Favorite Vegan Mac & Cheese remains the New Farm

This falls into my MoFo theme as an immediate result of yesterday’s post and the failed intention to make some for dinner last night. I did my part, supported my own economy, and did that leftovers thing.

New Farm Style Comforty Gluten Free Mac & Cheeze

I’ve been posting variations on the classic, but very, very rich New Farm Mac & Cheese for a long time. It’s one of those classic cookbooks that vegans don’t seem to mention anymore, and simply a recipe that I’ve added to – It’s by no means mine. Long live New Farm! My favorite variation is below. It’s gluten-free and adds a tint of green with chopped broccoli into the mix. I feel as though the gluten-free spirals hold up best after baking, and aren’t as heavy, or soggy, come leftover time. I’ve updated the recipe to have the right noodle ratio!

New Farm-Style, Comforty, Gluten Free Mac & Cheese

Makes: 4-6 servings (easily doubled)

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces.of uncooked rice spirals
  • 3 tablespoons of vegan margarine
  • 2-3 tablespoons of minced garlic
    • Or, 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ cup chickpea flour, or other gluten-free flour(s)
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup nondairy milk
    • Nut milks are encouraged for creaminess
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Generous dash of freshly ground black pepper or white pepper
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon or hot or sweet paprika (use common sense with your tastebuds here)
  • 2 tablespoons of wheat-free tamari
    • Or, if gluten-free is not a requirement, soy sauce or shoyu, etc.
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cups of nutritional yeast

Consider:

  • 1 cup of gluten-free breadcrumbs for topping
    • Or, a combination of ground nuts and breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup of rinsed and chopped broccoli
  • ¼ cup vegan pesto
  • 1 tablespoon miso – I just may find it impossible to make noochy dishes without it
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini – for that vegan ‘aged’ taste
  • Cajun style: add a generous pinch of crushed red pepper, 1 tablespoon of Cajun spices, 1-2 tablespoons of hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke when you add the liquids.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350Fº. Lightly grease an 8×8 casserole dish.
  2. Boil and drain the noodles – save water for the sauce, if you’re that clever. Toss with a very small amount of oil or margarine. You know the drill – and you can easily do this as you cook the sauce, as well.
  3. Melt the margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Toss in the garlic, stir, and cook for 2 minutes, being careful not to burn.
  4. Beat in the flour with a whisk, making a roux. Stir for one minute. Lower the heat if needed. It may clump, and that’s okay, just proceed quickly to the next step and don’t burn anything!
  5. Stir in the liquids, nutritional yeast, sea salt, tamari, garlic powder if using, turmeric, pepper, paprika, optional ingredients, and any other spices you want (Cajun spices, onion powder, oregano, thyme, chili powder, whatever).
  6. Stir for another minute or two until the sauce starts to thicken. Whisk in the oil and the nutritional yeast.
  7. Add at least half of the sauce to your cooked noodles and broccoli*, if using, in the casserole dish. Carefully spread in the rest of the sauce, optional toppings, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden (or, however you interpret orange to brown…)
  8. Broil for an additional 5 minutes, if desired.
  9. Cool for at least 10 minutes, and serve.
*Broccoli note: I don’t precook mine, but you can add it to the last couple minutes of boiling time, if you’re so inclined.
Karla or anyone else – if I’m utterly crazy with this pasta:sauce ratio, please let me know! We’ll boil water together and stuff.

creamy content: acorn squash sauce over pasta

Whole Wheat Rotelle with Squash Sauce, Sorrel, Tempeh, Red Pepper & Roasted Pecans


Broken record: I’ve been warming my way across various posts-in-progress for this site and Stumptown Vegans – where there’s always something – multiple posts, second and third visits, site development ideas, etc. –  going on behind the scenes. Working on that, the grand invites and open registration (why, could it be next weekend?!?) for Vida Vegan Con almost makes it less depressing that my sunny culinary photograph is now limited to the weekends and sporadic lunch hours. Will my dinners become boring? Not necessarily, I typically vow to never eat leftovers at home, but last night I did make a mini pizza on lavish bread, which was pretty lame. It wasn’t an abomination of ingredients (a mix of homemade sauce, farmar goods, and teese); I just don’t feel right calling it a pizza. I can just imagine my Italian great aunts giving me the stink eye over the crust (and the whole soy cheese thing, but whatever).

As for the titular pasta dish, there’s a layer of chopped lemony sorrel, Trader Joe’s whole wheat rotelle, squash sauce, sautéed tempeh bacon and sweet red pepper, and roasted pecans. The sauce is a go-go Magic Bullet puree with a base of sautéed garlic and a teeny bit of olive oil, black pepper, sea salt, roasted acorn squash, plain soy milk, nutritional yeast, ground pecans, thyme, sage, oregano, red miso, a little tamari, mustard, and probably something else or another. Those fun things that go into cheesy sauces.

Whole Wheat Rotelle with Sorrel, Squash Sauce, Tempeh,                                        Sweet Red Pepper & Roasted Pecans

In continuing adventures of confirmed deliciousness and fall acceptance, Savor Soup House is still delicious. I had a cup of Tomato Fennel Orange soup earlier for lunch, and a big kudos for a soup-maker that knows how to meld flavors other chefs might use for sheer attention.

Savor. Soup.

 

SW Alder and 10th, Downtown PDX


I took my lunch to Director Park for reading & eating, and there was a ‘flashmob” taking place. I would have assumed it was a colorful, regular theater troupe, but I heard a few excited mentions of “flashmob”  around me and grabs for smartphones. Sadly, no sign of dancing zombies.

Activity! Director Park!


And one more time – Vegan Bloggers, wherever you are – if you’re interested in attending the Vida Vegan conference late next summer, I’d selfishly advise subscribing to the site for the registration opening. Once it’s booked up, it’s booked up. I don’t think I’m the only one who’s going to squeal when our amazing speakers, or you know, special vegan guests from the dreamlist, like Moby, confirm…

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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Adventures with Daiya: Macaroni & Cheese

Vegan or not, who can deny this mac and cheese looks realistic?

I spy melting!

mac

Somewhere out there, a vegan couple is considering giving their newborn the middle name “Daiya”. Somewhere in Portland, I’ve come to accept and appreciate Daiya more than ever before.

The latest test? Adventuring into Macaroni & Cheese territory.

Vegan-traditionally, I prefer my noodles coated with a homemade nutritional yeast sauce started with a roux.  I’ve been on a roller coaster ride of Daiya experiences this past year, and I’ve been holding out for a real winner. With that, these Shells & Cheese with Daiya are now in the lead.

This vegan version is based on an adaptation from Serious Eats of Martha Stewart’s Macaroni and Cheese from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics.

Macaroni and Cheese with Daiya 101

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 4 cups unsweetened nondairy milk
  • ½ cup flour (I used chickpea)
  • 1 clove grated or minced garlic
  • 1 heaping teaspoon coarse salt
  • generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8th teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups of Cheddar Daiya (1 package)
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 pound of pasta, such as shells, cooked al dente.
  • ¼-1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons additional vegan cheese (homemade or packaged), or tahini
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon miso

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
  2. Melt the margarine over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Add the garlic and stir frequently, cooking an additional 1-2 minutes. Quickly whisk in the flour.
  3. Stir in the milk and cook until thickened, 8-10 minutes. Whisk frequently.
  4. Remove the sauce pan from heat and stir in the spices, salt, pepper, Daiya, nutritional yeast, and any additional ingredients.
  5. Carefully pour the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  6. Even more carefully, pour the mixture into the casserole dish. Cover with breadcrumbs, as desired.
  7. Bake until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.
  8. Optional: broil an additional 3-5 minutes for a crispier top layer.
  9. Let cool just a bit, and serve. And eat.

Consider: Adding chopped green vegetables to the last few minutes of pasta cooking, and consequently, into your mac.

Serves: A lot! I would recommend halving the recipe if you’re feeding 1-2 and don’t want leftovers for days.

Saucin’ and whiskin’

sauce

The melt: Daiya’s super duper melt remains revolutionary and the most impressive (and therefore, grossest?) on the market. I like to picture of a team of Susie-esque mad vegan scientists hard at work in Canada furthering their developments, and occasionally taking a snack break with Tings.

The taste: As my friend Maeve has so elegantly stated, it’s like Velveeta went vegan. Say what you will.

The verdict: I wouldn’t make this again. Using shredded Daiya felt like cheating, and I just don’t love the taste. Appreciate, sure. Like enough, maybe. However, it was fun adventure, and my mind was boggled at how the Daiya melted and stretched and sauced!

Shells and Cheese with Daiya 101

mac

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.

Sawyer’s Southern Spaghetti and Smokey Greens

Southern Spaghetti with Seitan and Smokey Greens

paired with an Australian merlot

We’ve yet to see this side of James Ford, but I know it’s there.  There is one dish in this LOST character’s romancing-and-swindling-the-ladies repertoire, and this is it.

Smokey greens for three reasons: the name, of course, the Southern tradition, and because Sawyer knows greens help you look that good.

There’s really not much traditionally Southern about the spaghetti sauce itself – I simply discovered after a quick google search that a lot of ‘Southern spaghetti’ recipes called for ground beef or chicken and extra heat.  Let’s just pretend that Sawyer’s parents used to eat this in Alabama, before you know who came along.

I browned diced, homemade seitan in a bit of olive oil, added minced garlic, crushed red pepper, dashes of sea salt and pepper, and tomato basil marinara I had made previously.  I let it simmer for a bit, and served it over whole wheat spaghetti.

The greens were the ‘greens mix’ from Trader Joe’s (collards, mustard greens, kale, etc.); sauteed with garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, crushed red pepper, agave, pepper and liquid smoke.

Also a wonderful accompaniment to a good book.

Image Property of ABC!

Last night’s episode touched my heart, for the record! If you’ve seen my previous LOST related posts, you may know that I adore that you know who.

No spoilers, please.

Veganized Dharma Ration: Macaroni & Cheese Supper

Warning: Simply put – don’t read this if you’re just starting LOST.

It’s a wonder what one can do with their emergency powdered soymilk and stash of nutritional yeast. I’m glad I always travel prepared, just in case my fate is to crash on a mysterious island that cures my woes and never stops testing me.

Dharma Macaroni & Cheese Supper (vegan style)

Sorry, the lighting in this hatch sucks!

This is actually the Lower Fat New Farm Mac & Cheeze, my favorite vegan mac, made with whole wheat shells. I’ve been joking with my fellow LOST fanatic friend, Joanna, that I’m going to make one LOST meal a week during the final season.  I’m already a week behind, but I think Mr. Cluck’s Outback Combo Seitan may have to be next.

From the PPK test kitchen: Pasta con Broccoli & Blackened Tofu

I’m totally thrilled when I have hermit time and can pour myself into a cooking project.  It’s a nice, personal break from my constant restaurant and cart adventures. Case in point, last weekend, testing recipes for Isa Moskowtiz’s new book.

Pasta Con Broccoli. A lower-fat take on a classic, served with whole wheat linguine.  As an accompaniment, I simply roasted some whole cremini mushrooms with white wine and shoyu.

Pasta con Broccoli

Blackened, Broiled Tofu. I had some clumping going on, but that’s okay! It’s a test recipe, after all, and a tasty protein.

Broiled Blackened Tofu

I’m slowly going through the classy Urban Vegan cookbook, as well. Here are more leftover veggies and extra firm tofu baked in the Urban Vegan Tofu Marinade.

Urban Vegan marinated tofu

It’s noochy goodness. I stretched my leftover marinade with veggie broth, shoyu and white wine and have more tofu relaxing in it, right now.