Pre-Hiatus (or some crafts, cooking and coffee before my time in Brooklyn)

Buffalo baked tofu, slow-cooked white beans and caulipots.

I’ve returned yet again from sneaking the heck out-of-town for the holiday mess. This time last year, I was sipping from young coconuts in Cambodia, while this time last week, J. Legume and I were singing carols to rats scurrying … Continue reading

Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day: Book Giveaway & Blog Tour of Wonder!

Oh, hello.

THE GRAND ENTRANCE… BLOG TOUR!  This post is a whole trio of firsts: my first time breading with cornflakes, my first blog tour, and shockingly, my first cookbook giveaway. Who saw that happening?!  Well, it’s all in honor of an enthusiastic, satisfying and beautifully photographed … Continue reading

The Long Haul: 100 Days Homemade, Part VIII…Days 80-91

Day Eighty-Nine: Pasta E Fagioli & more Vietnamese summer rolls, from my lunch date with Panda

Ah, 100 Days. I miss you already, on this little Chicago VeganMania suspension & adventure. I miss my kitchen so much when I travel – especially when my luck seems to fail with menu ordering more often than not in the Windy … Continue reading

100 Days: Part IV

Now mere days away from my half-way point of 100 Days Homemade, some realizations have become glaringly obvious:

  1. Mixology matters.
  2. My girlfriend really likes soup.
  3. Life is possible without a microwave.
  4. One can incorporate a LOT of lentils into their life.
  5. There is a seemingly never-ending supply of rice in my apartment.
  6. With a bigger focus on budgeting, I’ve lost a lot of my normal excitement for dining out.
    1. Equally worth note: my apartment surprisingly has a cooling unit while many Portland restaurants do not.
  7. 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.

Day Twenty-Eight, AM: Fresh peach & soymilk smoothies for breakfast

Day Twenty-Eight: Ctate’s Queso

Day Twenty-Eight, PM: Baked black-eyed pea burgers with queso, lettuce, tomato & avocado. Paired with tortilla chips and sesame green and yellow beans.

Life’s been about black-eyed peas, lentils, chickpeas, more lentils, and berries.

Weekend Berry Picking on Sauvie Island with my crew

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.

Day Twenty-Nine: Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes, with the recipe from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores making it into my rotation.

Next up, a duo.

Day Twenty-Nine, PM: Vietnamese Bún with peanut curry sauce for me, and Hot & Sour soup with tofu and bamboo shoots for J. Legume.

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.

Day Thirty: VEGGIE GRILL BREAK #ACorDIEpdx

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…

Day Thirty, the J. Legume plate: mashed Yukons with roasted garlic, sauteed broccoli with General Tso’s sauce and simple brown lentils. The sauce recipe is from World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan and it’s just great.

Finally, we return to the important business of homemade liquors.

Day Thirty-One: The first steps for eventual blackberry brandy, cherry brandy, cherry cranberry liqueur and lemongrass mint liqueur.

About that…

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.

Day Thirty-One: Lentil-roni topped with fresh basil, from the Isa Does It test kitchen

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Day Thirty-Two: Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with our u-picked raspberries, another Isa Does It tester

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Day Thirty-Three: Pickled Thai Green Chilies – Heartichoke benefit prep

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Day Thirty-Three: Wannabe Kao Soi Curry Noodle Soup with fresh Thai basil

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.

Day Thirty-Four: Brown Sugar & Chili Oil Roasted Red Peanuts – more Heartichoke prep work

The photo of the beet burger below makes me so damn relieved that I finally chose a new camera.

Day Thirty-Four, PM: Quarter Pounder Beet Burgers (from the PPK blog) with Red Hot tempeh bacon, chips and fixings

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Day Thirty-Four: Silken tofu chocolate pudding sinkholes

And then, this happened:

Day Thirty-Five: Heartichoke Vegan Supper Club’s Thai-inspired Benefit Evening

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Day Thirty-Six: Spicy sun-dried tomato & herb lentil seitan sausages, pre-steam. A nice afternoon project.

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Day Thirty-Six: Buffalo fried tofu burgers & tots

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Day Thirty-Seven: Cast iron pizza with homemade dough, marinara, Follow Your Heart mozzarella, yellow & red grape tomatoes, lentil seitan sausage crumbles and fresh basil.

This pizza was possibly the best part of 100 Days so far.

Day Thirty-Eight: Old-fashioned Chelsea waffles with fresh blueberries

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Day Thirty-Eight: Heartichoke green curry leftover incorporation time! Namprik green curry sauce, roasted root vegetables, rice & crushed peanuts

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Day Thirty-Nine: Korean Quick Pickles. Sometimes I make these with agave, sometimes with sugar. Always  with garlic and a half white vinegar/half rice vinegar combination.

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Day Thirty-Nine: Rigatoni with marinara, pan-fried lentil sausage crumbles, side salads & really, really herbed breadsticks

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Day Forty: The start of sangria with blackberries, pluots, doughnut peaches and cherries

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Day Forty, PM: Mustard and sherry soaked, pesto-stuffed, grilled tofu with roasted tomatoes & garlic, sauteed chard and rice (I have a lot of rice around, okay?)

Goodness.

Day Forty-One: Spicy Syrian Lentil Stew from Bean by Bean, my current cookbook-devotion from the library.

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Day Forty-Two: Simplified ‘Smlove Pie (without the toppings)

Phew.

Curious about the current state of events? Follow along on my Instagram with the 100 Days Homemade tag.

51 days remain! A new camera has arrived! Pickles are trending!

100 Days, Part I100 Days, Part II100 Days, Part III

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.

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.

Mushroom Miso Ramen

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.

Bowls of fresh wheat noodles in mushroom miso broth, seared cremini mushrooms, sliced Korean chili pepper, seared fresh tofu with soy sauce, and a member of the choy family of greens in the back.

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:

Most importantly: chili powder, mangosteen juice, tapioca starch, fresh tofu and DECENT fresh galangal and lemongrass. A rare find in my life.

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!

It's really no surprise that I couldn't remember which choy-but-non-bok-choy I picked up.

*granted, they were fresh in a package, so, fresh-ish.

P.S.

H Mart has one of these.

Brunchos & Joni’s Toffalo

From the people who brought you Totsgiving, the admirers of the dude pie, comes a new meal for those indulgent days you feel like a true liberal arts college gourmet: BRUNCHOS.

baked tator tots, vegan sausage gravy, cheesy sauce, tomato, avocado, Frank's Red Hot, baby spinach and pan-fried seitan bacon.

We all learned that it’s the perfect fare for that slightly belated day you watch Groundhog Day on repeat. The trio of greens, cheesy sauce and diced tomato truly bring that element of class to the presentation. The bacon seitan was a combination of these two recipes. I’ve got the slightly spicy and smokey flavor where I want it, but I’m not quite there with the red layer yet. Crispy bits, however, did their job above.

Brunchos…another tator tot revolution.

Joni's Tofallo Wings from Just The Food. Photo by Julia

In other awesome developments, last night’s post we-didn’t-watch-the-superbowl-celebration included Stellas with Julia and a baked version of Joni’s Tofallo wings, served with baby carrots, celery sticks and Spiral Diner Ranch for dipping.  I added fine breadcrumbs, cayenne and garlic powder into the breading, baked at 400F for 20 minutes, flipped, and baked another 18 minutes at 425F, with decent spray oil canola action.