I’ve been tinkering around with the eventual recipe for Division Street* Pho, which is traditionally identified as a pho chay, for months now. Tinker, tinker. I found myself on what became an epic quest for vegan pho chay in Portland last winter (which I’ll be compiling one of these days), and really studying the flavors in the bowls in front of me…. Continue reading
Mission, complete! Weeknight dinners…all set. No excuses. Testing for Isa Does It, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s ode to weeknight wonders, has ended, which is sad news for me, but good news for you! This brand spankin’ new book is officially due out … Continue reading
That may be the scene of late Saturday afternoon, but the morning offered a slightly damp yet rain-free and welcoming trip to the first Portland Farmers Market of the season. I usually have something of a dramatic countdown in place, … Continue reading
Hello from Brooklyn! I’m not sure how, but after a cross-country red eye, hard morning nap, renewed day of sightseeing, lackluster (for shame!) dim sum, Chinatown grocery shopping and subway dancing, we kept the VeganMoFo spirit of Dinner with Jules … 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
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!
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.
It’s the summer of projects! With my newfound free time, I’ve decided to devote 100 days to make a minimum of 100 creative, culinary concoctions. Pretty straightforward, right?
100 Days of Homemade on Get Sconed!
- Each and every day, for a period of 100 days beginning June 25th, I aim to make one meal as from-scratch-as-possible in my kitchen.
- These creations will be shared in small, group updates on Get Sconed! I will photograph as much as possible.
- I’ll be identifying my photos with the “100dayshomemade” tag on this site, as well as twitter and Instagram.
- As always, my dishes will be entirely vegan and incorporate local, organic seasonal produce as much as obsessively possible. Dishes will also be free of almonds, cashews, bananas and pineapple. Go figure.
- Some days, more than one dish will likely be created. This may mean an entirely different course, or simply an accompanying cocktail or dessert. As long as it’s homemade and creative, it’s in.
- Being newly (and for now, gloriously) unemployed, the dishes will be pretty budget-friendly. Thank you, crazy supply of dried beans, exotic spices and grains! I’ll do my best to make notes and share worthwhile tips as I go along.
- Dishes will be described and recipes will be referenced when used, or ideas given. Basically, some dishes may be winged, some may be test recipes for the upcoming Isa Does It, some may be from cookbooks, some may simply be special requests from my girlfriend. Nearly everything will be inspired by farmers market hauls or television episodes, etc.
- Processed goods, such as vegan cheese and packaged slices, will be used as little as possible, if ever.
From the first few days:
My new style also welcomes legitimate time to devote to Vida Vegan Con, and speaking of, early bird tickets open today, July 1st!
Last night, I realized something. If I’m going to be making ramen stock from scartch, I need to get some sweet ramen bowls. These simply will not do.
I went on a grocery field trip with some friends to H Mart in Tigard yesterday, and for the sake of bowls, spoons, and even more ingredients, a follow up to dear Fubonn, for convenience’s sake, is already in order. It was my first time visiting H Mart, a Korean supermarket that spells it out with a banner for the clueless stating “ASIAN SUPERMARKET” underneath its logo, and I stocked up on the following:
Once the fresh* (and vegan, for once!) noodles were in my hand, I decided on ramen for dinner. My girlfriend and I have been digging the ramen in vegan miso broth at Wafu, and I felt like I could tackle something similar at home, using this recipe as a base.The final result was appropriately cloudy with a hint of spice, plenty of flavour and there’s a generous portion of broth remaining for mid-week noodles. Bring it on.
Mushroom Miso Ramen…
For the mushroom miso broth, I sautéed one chopped stalk of lemongrass, 5 cloves of roughly minced garlic, half of a diced Korean chili pepper and sliced, fresh galangal (thank you, month in Thailand) in a mixture of peanut and black sesame oils about 3-5 minutes. Next up, I added freshly ground black pepper, a handful of wild dried mushrooms – a mix of 7 or 8 local varieties I picked up from the Peoples Coop farmers market – quickly sautéed until aromatic, added a splash of dry sherry, whisked in 3 tablespoons of Korean soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of miso (half yellow, half white), 1 tablespoon of vegetarian fish sauce, a bit of vegetable bullion paste, 6 cups of water, and brought to a boil. I then lowered the heat, covered, let simmer for 30 minutes, and finally, after straining, it was ready for noodlin’.
Along with the briefly cooked fresh wheat noodles, we had fresh (and I mean glorifyingly fresh) cubes of firm tofu, seared on two sides with a splash of soy sauce, just-as-seared cremini mushrooms, even-more-seared choy, and the other half of the long Korean chili pepper for extra heat. I did not anticipate the heat this green pepper would deliver, and I’m glad I licked my finger before adding it to the stock!
*granted, they were fresh in a package, so, fresh-ish.
Between us, sometimes I think like a blogger and frame posts in my head. They often never come to fruition for various reasons – my camera died, crap lighting, reserve/manners, annoyance, reality, etc. One thing I’ve enjoyed doing over the years is recreating memorable dishes from restaurants (and carts), but I rarely seem to talk about it on the internets. Weird shocker. Maybe too boring.
If you like to cook, you likely find yourself pondering the following: How can I put my own spin on this? How do I learn how to make this? I just don’t want to say goodbye – when do I get to eat this again? Could I make this for cheaper? Could I make this healthier? When do I get to wow guests with this? I could make this even better! etc.
Some time ago, it almost happened with a roasted butternut squash sauce and tart apple topped pizza at Hot Lips. I slowly gathered the ingredients, roasted the squash, picked up a couple of Pink Lady apples, stopped by a solid pizzeria for the dough (it’s legit!), stocked up on garlic, but forgot the fresh sage and rosemary, lost the dream, had curried squash puree for dinner and apples with my lunch the remainder of the week. You know how it goes.
A couple of weeks ago on my grand vacation in British Columbia, I enjoyed a warming bowl of veganized Vietnamese Beef Curry Pho [minus the beef and vegetarian ham, plus tofu] at the lovely Chau Kitchen & Bar in Vancouver. Once I threw in the Sriracha, there was no turning back. I practically wanted it to start raining outside (which it totally did the next day) so I could slurp noodles with my friends all afternoon.
This past weekend, before another quick trip out-of-town – this time, to table with my Vegan Iron Chef folks at Seattle’s sensational Vegan Chili Cook-Off, I spent my Saturday running errands, starting by getting my farmar on. After that, I stopped by my local tofu shop and after an internet search for ‘curry pho’ proved annoying, joined my current obsessions of Spectrum Coconut Oil spray and Southeast Asian cuisine in the Thai-style soup pictured above. My take was based on this recipe, with the additions of both fried and Masala baked tofu, green jalapeño pepper, light coconut milk, heaps of fresh, local basil and vegan subs, of course, such as dark soy sauce and nuoc man chay from Fubonn, aka vegetarian fish sauce. I wanted to keep it somewhat brothy to give the noodles something to live for, and left out the sweet potato.