Pumpkin Pie Infusions & Holiday Entertaining Shindig 12/7

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Life, infusions, recipe testing and an invitation to Vida Vegan’s Holiday Event this Saturday in Portland, OR. P.S. my blog is snowing. Continue reading

June cookin’

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First things first, Happy Vegan Pizza Day! If three little things weren’t standing in the way of my own pizza-making ambitions today, well, I’d have some dough rising right now. Instead, I’m melting into a puddle of freckles as it’s … Continue reading

From the PPK Test Kitchen: Isa Does It Tester Photos

Isa Does It cover

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

Two Weeks, Behind the Scone: Recent Cooking, Bagels, Scones, Reading & Curries

Alberta Street on Get Sconed!

I’ve been perusing Serious Eats (and wishing they’d read my mind and hand over my own vegan column already, jeez) quite a bit lately, and had to borrow one of their regular features as a title here, and hand it … Continue reading

Culinary Dwelling

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.

The first worthwhile, summer strawberries from the farmers market

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Pie was made. Chocolate peanut butter cream, shortbread crust and salted caramel. I missed making pies.

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More thanks to Bryant Terry. Inspired Vegan-style grits, simmered fava beans with fresh herbs, and roasted asparagus and garlic flowers.

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The roasted asparagus and garlic flowers stood in for fennel. As much as fennel has certainly grown on me, I couldn’t bring myself to buy an entire bulb. I spent one summer receiving a CSA where I was haunted with multiple bulbs on a weekly basis and almost burnt out. This dish, regardless, was glorious.

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Fully dressed. Grits are now in rotation.

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From the Isa Does It test kitchen: Beefy Seitan Stirfry with Fresh Herbs and Cabbage Sesame Slaw

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Sunday brunch had been a saving grace through my now-over workplace stress. Scrambled tofu with pea shoots and sugar snap peas, baked hash brown UFOs, watermelon and coffee.

Yeah, I’m loving the charming new tablecloth J. Legume picked up. 

Thank you, Basement Pub imperial glass. Thank you,Wandering Aengus.

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Keeping it simple: Thai basil fried rice with cabbage and baked sesame tofu cubes. The tofu is also a tester for Isa Does It that keeps making the rounds.

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Life included another treat at Veggie Grill: a grand opening dinner with team VVC, our plus ones, and Dan & Nicole from Upton’s. Yes!

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Lastly, on one special evening, Julia Legume and I enjoyed our own buffalo tofu salads. These included baked tofallo cubes, a zinged up Sanctuary Ranch dressing, sliced cucumber and field greens. Goodness, gracious.

catch up: weekending with chloe’s kitchen, nacho scramble & thai

Farmers market haul: rangpurs, collard raab, kale raab, brussel raab, flat leaf parsley, red beets, baby bok choi and tulips from my girlfriend.

The weekends have been treating me well: the dawn of the Spring farmers markets and seemingly endless varieties of raab and rapini, the ever-more frequent dry days, a growing trend of old fashioned cocktail bars in Portland, new cookbooks and creative supper dates with a special someone.

I’ve been making relaxed, but focused meals from Chloe’s Kitchen, May Kaidee’s Vegetarian and Vegan Cookbook, The Sexy Vegan (more on this later), Isa’s current test kitchen, and whatever else calls out with ease.

Using a little flexibility, I give you, a sort of deconstructed nacho scramble lunch.  The spicy pickled jalapeño were picked up at the Gathering Together stand at the farmers market, and the beer is Emma Amber Ale by local brewer Captured by Porches.

Vegan Mom's scrambled tofu, Ctate's queso, chips, jalapeño & fixings.

Julia's amazing plate o'scrambled fu.

Zelda, my nacho guard cat, briefly ignoring her duties

A couple of weeks ago, giant chocolate chip cookies were featured on an episode of GRIMM, (more Silas, pls!) and I made my own bloodless versions the following day:

Chocolate chip cookies, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

On the final full day of my December travels, I attended a class at May Kaidee’s Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking School on Khao San Road.  I am so glad I did – it was a definitive, education and fulfilling way to wrap up my time in Thailand. Perhaps, one day, I’ll finish my post on the matter, but for now, I can share that  every time I open this book, I find a smile on my face and fresh curry or noodles on the table. Below, I paired a test recipe from Isa Does It with vegetable-loaded fried rice and a Thai beer from Fubonn.

Test Kitchen Pad Thai (withholding cilantro) with roasted peanuts and fresh lime, soy sauce, Srichacha and Yellow Curry Fried Rice

May Kaidee's Yellow Curry Fried Rice with red bell pepper, gai lan, green cabbage and creminis

Next up, one of the dishes I’ve been trying out from The Sexy Vegan

BBQ Tofu 'Ribs', Smokey Mac & Cheese from The Sexy Vegan. Paired with sauteed collard raab.

Slow, Sunday night dinner preparation has become a positive experience on a dwelling evening. The last meal was my first from Chloe’s Kitchen.

Local pink potatoes in an ice water bath

Julia and I have spent some time thumbing through this book, deciding what to make first. There’s a lot of cashew cream, which I must avoid these days [insert tears here], and a wonder of sweets and tempeh, seitan, vegetables and salads to start with. Last night, we went with something classic:

Drive Thru Burgers with special sauce and fixins, tasty sea salt and vinegar fries with organic ketchup, sparkling wine with sliced rangpur

I baked the wholesome burgers with coconut oil spray vs. pan-frying since I had the oven warm for the fries. They were served on bread from one of my favorite neighbors, Little T, and fixed with Chloe’s special sauce, green leaf lettuce, red onion (for her! not me!), more pickled jalapeño and sliced dill pickle.

Which brings me to the following important question: Why is it so hard to find local pickles that maintain their crunch in this city?!

Drive Thru Burger on sliced baguette

In conclusion, this has been a rare Get Sconed! update that includes actual scones.

Scones with wild blueberries (organic, frozen from Whole Foods) and chocolate chips, Vegan Brunch

Inspired Vegan Dining

Meyerly Sipping Gingerly Cocktail, garnished with Thai kefir lime leaves and fresh lemon peel.

It takes a lot for a cookbook to truly hold my attention, and the stories and recipes, in addition to the soundtrack, of Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen did just that. This past January, his latest, The Inspired Vegan was released, and I’ve been captivated.  The words, the quotes, the instructions and meal components, were just that, inspired. I immediately placed a hold at my library upon its release, and after two weeks and multiple recipes on my table, I purchased my own copy.

Bryant Terry is simultaneously an activist for food justice within the culinary world – and beyond, as he is an author, chef, and parent, taking a lot of inspiration for his books from his daughter’s birth.

The human connection and understanding of what we put into our mouths, and how, and with whom, is fascinating. I may not have a space to garden of my own, but I’m anxiously awaiting my first Portland farmers market visit of the season this weekend, and returning home with a notion of that evening’s dinner unfolding in my head.

Sunday night’s dinner from The Inspired Vegan brought the following to the table:

*I subbed fresh pinto beans

Tofu in Roasted Chili Oil with Peanuts

Roasted chili oil, cooling.

Plates being set for Sunday night's dinner: tofu in roasted chili sauce with peanuts, garlic braised gai lan, pinto beans in a thick gravy with roasted garlic, short grain brown rice and tagerine & orange mimosas.

I was stoked to find so many fresh greens at the Eugene farmers market, including gai lan, which was specifically called for in a recipe.

A couple of weeks ago, I took my first leap into the book for a dinner party. My guests, some dear friends, have a variety of dining habits, and every dish included was eaten by all.

The Inspired Vegan spread with accompaniments.

On the table for this dinner:

  • Wet jollof rice with garlic parsley paste – a vibrant, perfect accompaniment
  • Funmilayo fritters [baked with coconut oil spray] with harissa – I find myself starting to praise another accompaniment, so, you get my drift. It wouldn’t stop.
  • Bright-black fingerling* potatoes
  • Chipotle & blood orange ketchup [adapted from the plum ketchup]
  • Gingered sesame brittle [I couldn’t find my candy thermometer and over-caramelized, but the final product remained intriguing]
  • fresh thyme
  • Moskarella #1  & rice crackers, a bonus from Isa’s test kitchen
  • in addition: cherry vanilla sodas with fresh blood orange and local Burnside Bourbon

*I subbed Yukon Gold potatoes

Funmilayo white bean & peanut fritters and the Wet jollof rice stew.

Bright black potatoes, etc.

In short, if you’re appreciate of creative, plant-based cuisine, pick this up.

Long Weekending: Home-Cooking, Test Kitchen, Bay Leaf & BOH

I had a wonderful long weekend. It marked the first time since November I’ve truly had a free weekend to cook and bake in a relaxed manner, in addition to a couple of swell meals out of the house. There was no special occasion, I wasn’t prepping for a dinner party or the week ahead, I was simply in my kitchen. No rush required.

Here’s the weekend, foodwise, including the casual, pasta from Isa’s latest PPK test kitchen, a return to Bay Leaf, cookies, and the first BOH dinner.

CTate's Queso. This was the original version of the Food For Lovers queso. It's delicious. Do a google search for "ctate's queso" and you'll come across the recipe.

If all I eat are quinoa and black bean bowls covered with queso for the next week, it’s fine by me.

The following pasta meal is a dish from Isa’s latest book in progress, with the working title, “Isa Does It”.  I skipped the toasted walnuts (dang you, potential allergy woes) and topped it with roasted sunflower seeds. I’ve been hooked lately.

Olive Angel Hair with Seared Brussel Sprouts

testing, testing

Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance

note to self: look into a tablecloth you actually fancy

From lunch at Bay Leaf. I hadn’t been in quite some time, and my girlfriend had never. Their hot and sour soup and Sizzling Tofu is my go-to meal when I’m sick.

Springrolls

ah, delightful

Sometimes it’s nice to dine somewhere where the dishes stay the same, time after time.  It’s  even nicer to say that place is a vegetarian restaurant (somewhat) down the street.

Veggies Delight Noodle aka lo mein

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The Dong Po Tofu lunch special and my obvious adjustment to a droid.

Most of the time, I crave variety in my dishes, and I choose to dine out because I desire the experience of new dishes, different cuisines, creative dining, interesting textures – everything I don’t, and probably can’t – try in my own little kitchen.

Dry Rosé, Winter’s Hill, Portobello’s kitchen

don't mind me, I'm a cellphone pic on a candlelit table...

Over the weekend, I was invited to attend the first BOH dinner at Portobello Vegan Trattoria, which never stopped impressing, course by course. It started with a miniature potato pancake smaller than my thumb, moved onto a kimchi and kumquat (among other things) adorned green onion pancake, on-wards to beet and pinenut-filled ravioli with blood orange sauce and moscatel syrup (and more), two more stunning courses (both on the plate and in my mouth), and this rarely ever happens with me, but my favorite of them all, if you forced me to pick, was the finale: a miniature slice of sweet potato bourbon pie, topped with housemade coconut ice cream and caramel sauce. Yeah. The full menu is on the facebook.

Of course, I was already a big fan of Portland’s vegan Italian spot and moan about gnocchi pretty much whenever it’s mentioned, but this experience was damn avant-garde. Bear with my phone photos, and head over to their facebook page for a full album of much higher quality.

don't mind me, I'm another cellphone pic on a candlelit table...

Up ahead, a thankfully short week ahead capped off with a visit from my sister from  NYC, bagels in tow.

strawberry balsamic pie

Strawberry Balsamic Lattice Pie. Made with local strawberries, imported balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with coarse sugar. A variation of a recipe in the upcoming Vegan Pie in the Sky cookbook.

This is admittedly, one of my more rushed, rustic crust jobs that I’ve been rolling out with brown rice flour. Simply because….the bag is sitting on top of my fridge, locally milled and purchased from the farmers market, duh. More importantly, it served as a party pie for a dear friend’s birthday last weekend. This combination of saucey, sweet strawberries and the deep, refined tang of balsamic is almost unreal. Frankly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a pie consumed this promptly.

The book is due out this October. Berry picking adventures soon.