spicy yellow curry noodle soup & inspiration from chau in vancouver, b.c.

Spicy Yellow Curry Noodle Soup with fried tofu, baked Masala tofu from AFR, snow peas, kale raab, baby bok choi, jalapeño, basil, garlic, ginger, v. chicken broth, etc.

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.

Yellow Curry Pho from Chau

Tis the Tofurkey Day MoFo: Kabocha Squash Pot Pie, Thai Iced Tea Pumpkin Pie & Dinner with Friends

I may not really celebrate the holidays, but I do celebrate proudly made from scratch dishes, friends, wine, and the warm wonder that is a multi-course, cruelty-free thanksgiving dinner with said friends in a city we’ve made our home. Aww.

Commence warm and fuzzies and vegan food with part of the spread:

My contributions to the dinner were pies of both sweet and savoury varieties. This marked the production of my first-ever pot pie, so it’s time for a photo pictorial to capture my stirring hand’s excitement.

Sautéing the diced green beans, carrots, mushrooms, potato, baked tofu, and spices.

The savoury was a Smokey Kabocha Squash & Baked Tofu Pot Pie inspired by Karen from the Vegan Conversion Challenge’s recent Kabocha Pot Pie. She’s doing a month of chili-dominated dishes for VeganMoFo, and as soon as I saw her adorable baked-in-the-squash, smokey pot pies, I wanted to try them. Fatefully tying this plan together, I had roasted freaking kabocha squash the night before, so the question became – do I buy more squash (on the day before thanksgiving) or do I reach for a little more adventure? I chose the latter, following Karen’s recipe as closely as possible. There was no time for finding Soy Curls or big tvp chunks,  so I decided to bake tofu cubes in a marinade of tamari, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, garlic, and herbs. As for squash, it seems to get saucey in Karen’s, so I figured simply adding chunks of roasted squash into the mix with the broth would work for my take. A squashy gravy, if you will. I went light on the chili peppers, and ended up adding quite a bit more of smoked paprika and hot cayenne before baking.

Things take a turn for the saucey and squashy:

Dished into a pie plate and ready for some puff pastry action.

The finished dish, with its learning-as-we-go puff pastry weave, from my camera phone:

Enough of my silly tales of pot pie production – Chelsea’s famous Gluten Roast, stuffing & itty bitty, adorable potatoes follows:

Knowing this would be there just may have pushed me out of the house.

Damn good pumpkin pie and damn fine pecan pie:

My friend veganized John Edwards’ secret family recipe for us and I’m still thinking about it:

Sweet, sweet pumpkin cheesecake!!

My second contribution – half of a vision come to life – Thai Iced Tea Pumpkin Pie.

Take Bryanna’s classic Vegan Pumpkin Pie, sub coconut milk for the soy, and add a ton of powdered cardamom and star anise along with the usual suspects. If there was Thai tea in my cabinets, it would have been involved.  And one excuse short of my vision, I had just missed the stores closing on my way to dinner, or there would have been coconut flakes (or, in retrospect, dollops of coconut whipped cream) with the straws.

Note: I did not make people drink out of them.

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.

Yummmmmm Saucccccccccce

It’s a rite of passage for every Oregon-based food blogger: the reproducing of the Yumm sauce.

For those not in the loop, Cafe Yumm! is a chain of eateries based in Eugene, OR that feature bowls topped with their signature Yumm sauce. You can also buy the rather pricey sauce in containers at natural type stores around the metro area, sold in Original, Roasted Garlic & Chipotle varieties.

Portland had its first Cafe Yumm! open in the downtown PSU area this summer and I’ve gone a couple times so far. Cafe Yumm offers what you want in a bowl and they’re famous for compiling it: wholesome beans, grains,  assorted toppings & that memorable sauce.

Now, I have no problem shelling out my lunch money for regular Whole Bowl cart visits, and  I’ll return to Cafe Yumm, but something hasn’t been as fresh or colorful in the to-go boxes or wait at this new Cafe Yumm. I do believe I had a  side of tofu cubes that was… microwaved…what? Even stranger in contrast to how  great their glazed tempeh is.  Regardless, that sauce sure sticks and it’s about time I made it at home, for way less money, for my own grain + beans + vegetables + sauce arrangements.  So, I did. And I’m content.

Red Quinoa with balsamic roasted cremini mushrooms, mini eggplant, carrots, cherry tomatoes, summer squash and simmered pocha beans.

The not-so-secret ingredients that make it soooo yum? Nuts, beans, lots of lemon juice, nutritional yeast and curry powder. My batch of sauce was based on my available ingredients, yearnin’ for spicy chipotles and the tang of a Whole Bowl (yes, I know rumor is that they just ripped off the yumm recipe, but like I can’t name 10 other bowls with sauce off the top of my head anyway! there’s room for delicious bowl competition!) Dear Cafe Yumm, this post was written with nothing but adoration for bowls.

Imitation Chipotle Yummmmmmm-Style Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • ¼ cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup water
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle sauce (from canned chipotles)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • Dash dried basil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1.  Puree everything in a blender.

2.  Scrape down side sand add more liquid if necessary.

3.  Season to taste.

4.  Sauce it up.

More Recipes & Yumm fanaticism online:

Check out the ‘original’ ‘imitation’ links above. Again, my batch was based on what I had on hand and I am very happy with the results – but there are clear differences in other recipes online, as well as many notes on how to achieve yumm-style authenticity in their comments.

from Cafe Yumm at PSU

Jalapeno and Herb Roasted Tempeh and Broccoli

This meal brought about the usage of positive profanity. For starters, it was Mexican inspired and didn’t include cilantro.

Jalapeno and Herb Roasted Tempeh and Broccoli. Served with red quinoa, black beans, carrots and fresh tomatoes.

Jalapeno and Herb Roasted Tempeh

Jalapeno and Herb Roasted Tempeh and Broccoli

Adapted from Jalapeño Roast Chicken with Baby Broccoli

Book: Marcela Valladolid’s “Fresh Mexico,” Clarkson Potter, 2009

Makes 4 servings

Frankly, I was googling “jalapeño” and “broccoli” for utilization.

The end result were these hearty, entrée-sized pieces of tempeh immersed in a savoury broth, flavored with the warm spice of jalapeños,  and brightened with fresh basil. Broccoli florets are added to this gathering of green ingredients towards the end of roasting.

Ingredients for Paste:

  • 1 small shallot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (or handful of fresh)
  • handful fresh basil
  • 1 jalapeno – stemmed and de-seeded
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • pinch nutritional yeast

Ingredients for Broth:

  • 1 cup ‘chicken style’ broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Additional Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces tempeh, sliced into large triangles (halved if 8 ounce squares, for example)
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, divided. Slice the stalks thinly.

Serving suggestions:

  • fresh, sliced tomatoes
  • fresh torn basil or oregano
  • steamed grains, such as quinoa
  • savoury black beans
  • serve in a burrito or over pasta

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Add all liquids into 9×13 glass casserole dish. Carefully stir the pureed mixture into the large glass baking dish.
  3. Immerse the tempeh triangles into the liquid. Immediately flip over.
  4. Add the sliced jalapeno and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Increase the heat to 400F. Remove the dish from the oven.
  6. Use a spatula to flip the tempeh pieces over. Add a spoonful of the baking liquid on top of each.
  7. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven. Add the broccoli and drizzle with additional baking liquid. If you are low on liquid, add a few tablespoons of additional broth.
  9. Roast an additional 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and serve as desired.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

¡Papas Guisadas!

Confession: I had no idea what these were called until I brought home a $1 grab bag of peeled potatoes and bell peppers from Limbo and decided I had to recreate the spicy potatoes Los Gorditos usually serves buffet style at their events.

Living on the same street as both freakin’ Gorditos, I think this shows a lot of reserve, and proper budgeting! After a few minutes that seemed like hours googling ‘stewed spicy potatoes’ on my stupid blackberry, I went to work. Many hours later, I returned home and did the following:

¡Papas Guisadas!

  • Ingredients:
    • 5 large, peeled potatoes, diced into large chunks (I used russets – use whatever kind you want, just watch for softness when boiling)
    • 1 bell pepper, preferably brightly colored , sliced into thin strips
    • 2 jalapeno or serrano peppers, roughly chopped
    • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • generous pinch of onion powder, or if you’re not me, 1/2 yellow onion
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (note: I used fresh cherry tomatoes because I had them, most recipes online call for canned tomatoes, which will make it more stew-y)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • generous dash of freshly ground black pepper
    • water for boiling
  • Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the potatoes.  Cook for 10-20 minutes, checking for semi-softness.
  2. While potatoes start to cook, warm the oil in a medium-sized pot on medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic, onion element, and hot pepper. Stir frequently and cook for 2 minutes, lower the heat if you need to. If you’re using a real onion, cook for an additional few minutes.
  4. Add the bell pepper strips and tomatoes and stir frequently for another minute.
  5. Once the potatoes are done, drain and to pan. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve!
  7. Optional: As opposed to sauteeing with more oil, if you want this somewhat crispy (and I always do), bake in the oven on parchment paper or a ceramic baking dish at 425F for 15 minutes.

Serving Suggestions: Serve alongside some Mexican style soy curls and greens!  Last night, I assembled baked corn tortilla tacos with the Papas Guisadas, spinach, spiced up cheezy sauce and spicy pinto beans, and they ruled.