Soy Latte, Kaladi Brothers, Capitol Hill Turning 30 has been ridiculously wonderful with a little more ridiculous thrown in. J. Legume and I spent some truly lovely time in Seattle, eating Thai cuisine for every single, glorious meal, and then … Continue reading
Oh my, I have entered into the big 3-0 birthday week, and what doesn’t that have one thinking about? I did get a stunning set of fancy French skillets from my younger sister as an early gift, which of course, … Continue reading
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.
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…
Oh – and there’s more.
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.
Success! I based it on every other Aloo Channa recipe I have ever seen on the internet.
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?
Bean by Bean: For the bean curious and obsessed.
It’s the half-way point, so….
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.
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.
Shocker, the grand finale to this round up is an Isa Does It dessert tester.
Celebrating the half-way point of my 100 Days Homemade with a round of Lauren’s gingery mocktail sippers at Portobello. Strangers things have happened.
Recap to follow. Sicilian pizza dough rising. Local produce stocked.
From Sunday’s stop to the Lents International Farmers Market: cherry & heirloom tomatoes, hot peppers, fresh garlic, plums, nectarines, kale, strawberries, blueberries, red potatoes, basil, hot & smokey salsa and pok choi…
And hey, I’ll be speaking on the topic of Niche Blogging with Janessa & Michele on Friday at this weekend’s International Food Blogger Conference, being held here in Portland. Perhaps we’ll see you there!
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!
Now we return to the continuing saga of 100 days of homemade. Spoiler alert! Day 26 was a doozy that included an ER visit, so, there’s that. Soft foods ahead. And there’s that little thing where my digital camera went ker-plunk and these are a mixture of android shots and borrowed photos from J. Legume. I’ve started my new-camera-woes research and received great advice from some VVC folks, but I’ve yet to have the time to really contemplate the matter and visit a camera store. Suggestions welcome.
Let me note that I’m enjoying the novelty of a Vegg yolk in the above dish more so than functionality in anything I’ve tried so far. With that, I would love to hear if it’s scientifically working culinary wonders for anyone.
Why is it so hard to find really fine brown rice flour in a city like Portland, OR? How is there not a gluten-free cooperative grocery store yet?
Chloe & Louvella are developing a line of Heartichoke cocktails. You’ve been warned.
More photos from my Isa Does It testing experiences are over here.
One of these days, I’ll finish my post about the fabulous May Kaidee cooking class in Bangkok. It was a blast!
We were utterly devastated to run out of this tempeh. Tears and all.
Those pancakes were so great to flip, I’ve made them three times now. Note: I subbed coconut oil for melted Earth Balance, because I can’t seem to restock on it in a timely fashion.
I want their tasty caramelized fennel ramen with Japanese eggplant and smoked tofu all of the time.
It’s been too long since you’ve seen cookies, right?
This was breakfast before Michele, Janessa and I spent most of the day obsessing over the first draft of the 2013 Vida Vegan Con schedule. Stoked.
Go, go, go! They had cherry cider and kombucha on tap. Exactly.
Noted: the practice of utilizing leftover ingredients, fresh produce, versatile sauces, random bags of grains you find in the freezer, and the stand-by of clean-out-the-fridge meals.
So much more ahead, including the results of berry picking on Sauvie Island and 4 varieties of homemade liquor I’ve started. Follow along on Instagram with @jdfunks
I’m nearly 2 weeks into my 100 days of homemade, and things are going swell. I’ve felt productive, inspired and full of soup. I’ve frequented multiple farmers markets, made more Thai food, and can’t put down a certain cookbook – Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites.
My 100 Days of Homemade guidelines are here. The following photos are of any homemade creations, plus some special guests.
These were just darling going into the oven.
The cheezy sauce is from Vegan Brunch.
On the sixth day in, a neighborhood brunch, wanderings, film and tea smoked tempeh sandwiches at The Hazel Room for a casual dinner kept Julia & I busy all day. Fortunately, evening mojitos with crushed local strawberries and fresh mint kept us in the 100 Days swing.
I get to send my girlfriend to work with scones!
The start of Day Eight was fairly epic. I was exhausted from a late night and VVC had a big morning ahead with the nuts and bolts of the opening of early bird registration. Consequently, legit vegan brunch and a french press of Stumptown started it all. As tickets zoomed by, I visited the Lents Farmers Market and my beloved JC Rice Noodle Shop out in Lents, and the evening winded down like so….
This fit in at some point:
And now, even more 100 Days of Homemade – on Instagram.
Much to my delight, life has calmed and evolved in the past few weeks. These are some photos and dishes I created while life was not so calm. With this oh so welcome change, expect more updates in my internet-verse. Time is mine once more, and every damn day belongs to farmers markets and projects.
Yeah, I’m loving the charming new tablecloth J. Legume picked up.
These instagram photos sure don’t belong in a magazine, but I like to think they capture a glimpse of unique Heartichoke Supper Club preview I attended last week. If you’ve been here before, you probably know that I spent a month in SE Asia back in December, and I was stoked to let my obsession help design the Northwest meets Thai menu.
The full menu:
Heartichoke Presents: NW meets Thai-Inspired Small Plates
Local Baby Bok Choi Salad with Fresh Mint and Lime on a Bed of Mung Bean Vermicelli, Garnished with Chili Oil & Brown Sugar Roasted Peanuts
Deconstructed Namprik Gaeng Som Green Curry with Roasted Rice-Dredged Tofu, Pea Shoots, Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime – Pickled Carrots, Roasted Yam, Shiitake Mushrooms and Rice Sphere
Coconut Sticky Rice with Miso Caramel and Shuksan Strawberries
All dishes are vegan and gluten-free. Produce is locally sourced as much as possible.
I tried each and every dish, and they’re all so fresh and flavorful! Plus, the evening is a benefit for little Effie, who unfortunately, passed away shortly after the preview. All proceeds will help cover her immense medical bills and others suffering from FIP.
The dinner has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 28th, 2012.
More details and sign up information (including sliding scale tickets) are on the Heartichoke site. Basically, if you care about cats and enjoy Thai food, I hope you’re able to make it.
It makes sense that while I’ve been overwhelmed with the rest of my life lately, the one matter I’ve somehow made time to post about, is the one topic that vegan Portland is jumping up and down about: the downtown opening of our very own Veggie Grill.
It’s the growing chain that offers more than just novelty – Veggie Grill boasts the delicious normalization of vegan food in mainstream America.
Most importantly, the Veggie Grill in legitimate downtown Portland is NOW OPEN. The sneak peaks were held last week, and the very grand opening just happens to be today, June 6th, 2012. As usual, the location is shiny and new and sending countless people home with bellies full of soy chicken burgers and kale every single day. That’s what you really need to know.
Mac-N-Cheese and much more ahead…
I would say I became a Veggie Grill fanatic back in January, when sure, they invited myself and a few other Portland area food bloggers for a weekend tasting event down in Los Angeles. I had stopped by for a meal here and there on past visits to the area, and I enjoyed it, but the devotion was official while sampling nearly every thing they offered, including knife & fork items that were recently developed, while meeting the founders and head chefs. I had returned from a month-long escapade to Southeast Asia mere days before, and looking back, I realize their American vegan cuisine could not have come into my life at a better time. I remember people asking me if there was anything I had missed, vegan wise, while spending a month expanding my life and culinary horizons, and the only thing that came to mind was nooch sauce and seitan tenders. Cue nachos. Cue tenders.
Most recently, I’ve had the pleasure – the tasty, tasty pleasure, of attending two Veggie Grill events in the past couple of weeks.
Let’s start with the most recent, the sneak peek of the much-awaited downtown Portland locale on SW Taylor & 5th.
Janessa’s Thai Chickin’ Salad
Without a doubt, my new favorite item is the B-Wing Salad, with Buffalo glazed wings and creamy ranch dressing.
Veggie Grill offers both beer and root beer
A week or two before the downtown opening, Michele, Janessa and myself traveled all the way to Beaverton for a new menu items tasting. The things we do for Veggie Grill access! We were joined by Kristin, from Beaverton-based blog Our Ordinary Life, for a family style debut of B-wing Salad, VG Rollers, the Blackened Chickin’ Plate, “Crab” Cakes and a couple of other dishes we’d been fortunate enough to have a sneak peek of back in January. Bring it on.
Behold, a sign of great hope in the suburbs. How much better is this than a TGI Friday’s or a Subway?!? At least 200x.
Once again, more glorious Veggie Grill Feasting ™ lays ahead…
Another brand new item: VG Roller, spicy tortilla bites with blackened chickin’, cabbage & zesty Santa Fe spread.
Also new, the “Crab” Cake with tartar sauce. Intriguingly chickin’ of the sea-like.
Time to bring on the kale – the Blackened Chickin’ Plate, one of the newer homestyle, fork & knife plates on the menu.
Instant classic? The Crispy Chickin’ Plate with cauliflower mashed potatoes and porcini gravy. Don’t you just want to cover it in nooch?
Another encore: The Urban Plate
I can’t get enough! This was first time trying the B-Wing Salad. I even brought one home for my girlfriend. She’s had it twice new, and declares it “the best thing on the menu. Obviously”. I concur.
Ed Casey insisted we try their staff-inspired Mac-N-Cheese paired with the bonus spoonfuls of basil & garlic pomodoro and pesto. I’m glad that Michele was there to remind me about my silly little nut allergy and I stuck to the pomodoro with my mac – delish!
VGF™ in progress
Michele liked the crab cake so much she went for a full order. Nice.
Ah, dessert. The new chocolate pudding parfait awaits.
Tah dah! Digesting with Janessa.
Hold up, carrot cake.
Til we meet again, Veggie Grill!
As in…tonight, for dinner.
Full disclaimer: All dishes featured in this post were courtesy of Veggie Grill.