Mystery Meatout & Hidden Gems: A Quick Sneak Peak

This weekend marks the annual international Meatout, the “world’s largest grassroots diet education campaign”. Here in Portland, the dedicated volunteers at NW Veg and Try Vegan PDX have joined up for a day of activities featuring an open flash mob of vegan positivity downtown, a large NW Veg potluck in SE, and a presentation on Portland’s hidden gems by yours truly afterwards (just ignore the ridiculous description of myself on the site)! I’ve been busy researching and investigating for this dramatic expose, if you will, the past few weeks, and I’ll be showcasing 10-15 vegan-friendly locations in the PDX area that may not be on your radar……yet. It’s time for secrets & hidden gems!

Here’s a couple fairly easy sneak peaks the local bulk shoppers should recognize….

Where are these hallowed halls?

Now take a close look at this fried rice….

What local establishment makes a lemongrass flavored tofu available by the lb?

More dramatic unveiling & favorites coming Sunday night, 6:30pm at the Multnomah Friends Meeting House on SE Stark.

Also happening this weekend: Food Fight! vegan grocery is generously donating 10% of all in-store sales to Japanese Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support groups. More ways to directly donate are on the link as well.

photo essay: potluck weekend

Why, I had quite a pepper, courgette, culinary productive & smiling vegan-filled weekend.  I’m allowing this stateside use of courgette, since I assembled a Gordon Ramsay recipe using said squashes on Saturday.  It’s a shame that I don’t have photos of my personal, colorful (finally!!) Saturday Farmers Market haul, or of the actual potlucks and smiling, socializing vegans, but I do have a few from the market and proof that my dishes happened.

Look! It’s tomatoes that likely have flavor!

The best deal on lovely, organic jalapeno at last Saturday’s market – 5 for $1 at Gathering Together Farm

If I hadn’t already been at the market with the mission of buying chili peppers, the sight and smell of these fire roasted chilies would have done me in.

A delight of freaky outy proportions: black jalapeños!

What I made with my hot peppers is coming, but first, let’s get to the dish I brought to my friends’ beautiful -and – all vegan – weddingcamp reception: Stuffed Courgette Rolls.

I veganized Gordon Ramsay’s (Inner Monologue: 1) holy moly, I watch a lot of his American shows and I adore him. 2) I have holds on 2 of his books at the library, which brings me to 3) how the hell have I never veganized/made one of his recipes before?) recipe from BBC Good Food. Instead of the dairy ricotta, I pureed a Vegan with a Vengeance-style ricotta of firm  tofu, fresh basil, red miso, minced garlic, roasted garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and soaked pine nuts. It’s topped with balsamic vinegar, marinated fresh, chopped tomatoes & basil, and toasted pine nuts.

I peeled! I rolled! I’m proud. And I only lost 1/4 a fingertip (and started over! and cleaned up! calm down)

With that, let’s get to the peppers.

Stuffed, open-faced jalapeno and cherry bomb peppers.

These open-faced peppers are stuffed with spicy, roasted vegetables and pinto beans. Baby potatoes, sweet corn, zucchini (of fucking course), bell peppers, jalapeno, shallots and other things I’m forgetting were chopped and roasted with a whole lot of minced garlic, olive oil, chipotle powder, chili powder, sage, oregano, black pepper, sea salt and hot paprika. I added sliced cherry tomatoes and pinto beans towards the end. I considered mixing everything together with the spicy tomato, tofu, garlic & smoked paprika cheese, but decided to go this route. All in all, one of the spiciest things I’ve ever made. I’ve never made anything like it before, and was trying to clean out the fridge of my produce before embarking on business trips the next 2 weeks, so it’s pretty mish mash. Next time I make something similar, I’d chop smaller and cut down on the spices a wee bit!

Baked:

Plated for Isa’s Vegan Chili Potluck, with lemon cucumbers.

Fun fact: Zucchini squashes are the swollen ovaries of female zucchini flowers. Thanks, Wikipedia entry on Zucchini! From, a girl who doesn’t have a garden.

Spicy Spinach Artichoke Dip with Nayonaise

Important Update: My sister has informed me that this is “Spin Dip”. Carry on.

Spicy Spinach Artichoke Dip with Nayonaise

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Hello, vegan specialty ingredient time!  This Spicy Spinach Artichoke Dip is absolutely a guilty pleasure of a party treat. At my recent Double Dippin’ party, it was one of the first things I noticed polished off! (because I was stoked to make more room for more dips!)

It’s a combination of veganization and pine nut and nooch alteration of every single other artichoke and/or spinach dip that exists on the internet. Extra credit to my sister Jenny for insisting I add sour cream. She’s a pro on matters of spinach meets artichoke – even if she did ask me the recipe for “dip” in the same conversation. What dip? “The dip you eat at parties”…that turned into a conversation about how the classic American dip is soup packet + sour cream + mayonnaise + cheese, etc – this vegan version is as close as I’ll ever get!

Anyway, prior to this, the only other time I can recall eating artichoke dip was at Georgetown Liquor Company with my friends Vijjy and KJ in Seattle, which rules (just remember to say VEGAN). So does their dip. And my Class of 2000 of NW club.

Onto the super cheesy, somewhat spicy, packed with spinach artichoke dip:

Spicy Spinach Artichoke Dip with Nayonaise

Ingredients:

  • 14 ounce jar of marinated artichokes, briefly rinsed
  • 4 ounce can of diced green chilies (I used one from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup of Nayonaise* or other vegan mayo
  • 1 cup of vegan parmesan (I used a blend of nutritional yeast and pine nuts)
  • 1-2 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup of Tofutti Sour Cream or other vegan sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of miso (I used chickpea)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Optional: 1-2 cloves of garlic, because I simply can’t recall if I added them. It’s harder to imagine I didn’t.

Garnish: 2 tablespoons of pine nuts and a generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, added during the final 5 minutes of baking.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a casserole dish, such as an 8×4.
  2. Add all ingredients except for the spinach into a food processor.  Pulse a few times, until well mixed.
  3. Add a bunch of spinach and puree. Add another and do the same until you’re done.
  4. Spoon into the casserole dish and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and add garnishes, if using. Turn the heat to 425F and bake an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with dipping items, such as baguette slices. Go. Party.

Pre-Baked

pre-bake

The party slowly begins…hundreds of more dips arrived, seriously. This is just the primary Savoury table.

savoury

*Thanks Nasoya!!

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The Vegan Convergence is Upon Us

My friend Mike, of the vegan pig cake achievement and so much more, is gloriously and mischeviously trying to unite Portland vegans on Sunday, May 23rd.  If you’re in the Portland area, stop by!

Here are the details from the facebook event (hint: RSVP there for updates):

Hey Portland Vegan!

Ever wonder if there are other super cool vegans and vegan potlucks in PDX that you don’t know about? Even if you adore your current vegan friends, ever wonder if you’re missing out on The Others? Or maybe you’re crying to yourself over your BBQ Platter at B&B or wiping sadness away with orange fingers from the fake Cheetos that you got at Food Fight! since you don’t know any other PDX vegans. In any event, its time for all that to change.

Portland has so many little vegan sub-cultures (quadrant-specific vegans, PPK vegans, Meetup vegans, NW Veg’ers, suburb vegans, space patrol vegans, blogging vegans, tattoo vegans, biking vegans, foodshops/food cart vegans, straightedge vegans). Its hard to keep up, let alone branch out and meet new peeps. But that’s all over now. Like Ronald Reagan told Mikhail Gorbachev back in ‘87, its time to “tear down this wall.”

The VEGAN CONVERGENCE is upon us.

Show up, eat some food, talk to some folks. It’s simple. You might even meet your new vegan best friend! Worst case scenario, you leave with a full belly of vegan goodies. No time for drama. No time for cliques. Just bring a “Favorite” (is that the theme?) vegan dish (along with cutlery, plates, tongs etc.) and get ready for the best afternoon of your life. Like staring into the sun, this could be epic.

(Vegan-friendly friends invited, too!)

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I’ll be stopping by after a project in the morning, though I don’t know how attentive I’ll be with the life-changing series finale of LOST that evening.  I foresee myself getting nervous when I’m not in line at the Bagdad by 5pm!

P.S. Who are the foodshop vegans? The ones that go to cute restaurants? I thought I had all my groups down!