Vegan Soul Kitchen: Take 1

I’ve had a few minutes of free time on my hands lately, and I’ve found myself dedicating that time to reading cookbooks. It’s a sure sign of cookbook love when you find yourself browsing through one for hours on the couch, mug of warmed peppermint chocolate soymilk in hand, and cat on lap [or insert animal companion or blanket of choice here]. The latest ‘new’ book to come into my life is Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. I’ve made one meal so far, as pictured below, and here are a few quick things I’m digging about this book already: the spices, the recipe format, the recommended pairings and musical selections, and southern drink concoctions. Frozen Memphis Mint Julep? I don’t care that it’s December; that sounds perfect, year round.

Next up, I’m looking forward to trying the Whole Grain Mustard & Cornmeal Seitan Medallions (now, what seitan recipe to use? hmmm) and the Cajun-Creole Coated Tempeh Pieces with Creamy Grits soon! Who’s coming over for dinner?

Take 1: Cajun Tofu, Greens with Tahini (I used purple kale) and Coconut Brown Rice

Thank You, Vegan Soul Kitchen

sweet & savoury & colorful

The Sweet: White Chocolate Chip & Orange Biscotti

Recipe modified from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. White Chocolate Chips from Pangea’s VeganSweets line, via Sidecar in Seattle.

 

The Savoury:

Roasted Chickpeas with tamari, nutritional yeast, olive oil, cayenne, lemon juice, cumin and smoked paprika.

The Savoury & Colorful:

Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with maple roasted red beets, burdock and purple carrots and black-eyed peas & greens (from AFR).

This is Trader Joe’s extra firm tofu marinated in red wine, tamari, vegetable broth, garlic and herbs, and coated catfish-style with cornmeal, flour, sea salt, nutritional yeast and black pepper. Easily baked or pan-fried.

The Colorful:

Pre-roasted purple carrots, long red beets and burdock with sea salt, black pepper, olive oil, vegetable broth & maple syrup.

Also Colorful:

Ready to go: Savoy cabbage, purple carrots & sesame seeds. Both vegetables from one of the last Saturday farmers markets. Sniff.

A Day in the Life: Onwards, Marsala

Continuing on my classy streak with a dinner pairing from the versatile 500 Vegan Recipes, which is by two lovely ladies I dig: Tofu Marsala and Sesame Kale
It just may be the week of marsala.

My variations from the original entrée recipe were the use of cremini mushrooms vs. button, and the addition of a wee bit of minced garlic. The meal was oh so elegantly paired with a glass of black currant juice.

A Day in the Life #1: VeganMoFo Begins & White Russian Pie

Let me be amongst the nearly 550+ vegans to proudly announce, “Happy Vegan MoFo!”*

This marks Year IV of MoFo creativity – and this year, I’ll not only be participating in daily posts, I’ll also be helping with the official round ups, too. Aka I’m supposed to spend all day reading vegan blogs! Ah, ah.

As for my plan for this year, the year of the theme, I’m committing to something simple, yet open-ended: A Day in the Life. Sure, I could do something cute, like A Scone a Day, but even I don’t want to eat a scone every single day. I mean, I would, but I’d want to eat a different scone everyday, and it seems silly to make a batch of scone an evening and my single-serving vegan scone cookbook is on the back-burner. Not. I do intend to write daily, because I have this issue with my words being stale. We’ll see what happens, but the aim is to have at least one photo per day, whether it’s a morning latte, simmering pot of soup, impromptu recipe and turn out, blind kitchen project, or a shot of something from an in-the-works Stumptown Vegans piece.

It may become more like…yesterday in the life, or earlier today in the life, or for this exception (see the asterisk below already) – last Saturday, in the life.

dude pie

Shocker, it’s not orange and black for the seasonal weekend, but pale and creamy, which still makes sense. I made this White Russian and chocolate coconut cream pie for a Big Lebowski viewing. There’s an organic spelt crust (store-bought) with a big layer of dark chocolate, soft tofu, chocolate liquor, coconut creamer, Mexican coffee liquor, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch, and Tofutti sour cream. Lesson learned: I tried to outsmart the chocolate layer’s dominance by baking it for 20 minutes and cooling before adding the White Russian layer, but it had the last laugh and absorbed most of it, anyway.

*starting late due to illness.

Rice Noodlin’ with a visit to JC Rice Noodle Shop

Yellow Karee Tofu Curry with thin rice noodles, served on the side

Pad See Ew with fresh wide rice noodles & scrambled tofu, carrots, spinach, green cabbage, green beans, garlic, and baby bok choy

Maybe,  just maybe, I’ve become obsessed with rice noodles.

Look, I like noodles in my life, and lately they’ve been of the rice variety. Recently, my fixation was over yellow curry noodles. Things got even better with a curious stop at JC Rice Noodle Shop & Restaurant on SE Foster. I was in the area for another visit to the Lents Farmers Market, and it had caught my eye on the way. I ended up walking out of the nondescript, quiet storefront with a heaping bag of fresh, wide rice noodles (sold 95 cents/lb.  – I had asked for 3 and walked out with 5, hence this continued, celebrated fixation) and a pound of equally fresh tofu ($1, but bring a container! they pack it in Styrofoam, shudder). They also sell rice sheets, and rice noodle rolls, but I wasn’t sure if they had a vegan version of the latter, as I saw a mention of pork filling.

Anywhoo, I’m almost in a state of shock over these soft noodles. You can obviously tell the difference between a package of fresh noodles (again, usually on Styrofoam) vs. dried, and these super fresh noodles just take the (rice) cake.

What I’m saying is, if you have access to fresh rice noodles, seek them out, or try making your own! They’re fresher, you get to buy in bulk, and skip excess packaging – win, win, win.

Next up in my rice noodlin’ meals: Pad Kee Mao, aka Drunken Noodles. Speaking of i eat food, the blog I just linked to..well, I’m loving that blog.

JC Rice Noodle

The Pad See Ew above started with scrambled tofu, seasoned with turmeric, black pepper, and soy sauce. It was modified from the Thai River Noodles recipe on About.com. The Karee Yellow Curry Noodles were based on these Khao Soi Yellow Curry Noodles. Both dishes utilize vegetarian fish sauce.

Some more shots of rice noodlin’, and a bonus behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the cinematic trailer for The Vegan Revolution….with Zombies.

Khao Soi Yellow Curry Noodles with Tofu

Khao Soi Yellow Curry Noodles with Tofu and assorted vegetables

Adapted from the Thai-Burmese style recipe on Veggie Belly and various others, based on my available ingredients and whim. Inspired by the notion of cauliflower + curry, a field trip in deep SE Portland to the Lents International Farmers Market for produce, great pour over-style Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from Nectar Coffee Co., and onward adventures to Fubonn. I’ve had curry noodles on the brain since dining at In the Bowl in Seattle this past Spring.

Khao Soi Yellow Curry Noodles with Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sliced yellow squash (I did half circles)
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/4 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1/2 cup shredded swiss chard (including stalk)
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Indian curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vegetarian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk or light coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3-4 oz dried vermicelli rice noodles (use more or less depending on how soupy you want the finished product)
  • 1-1.5 cups of sliced fried or fresh tofu
  • handful of torn fresh basil leaves

Garnish:

  • Chopped basil or cilantro (look, I’m only typing it because it’s traditional in this dish)
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha

Instructions:

  1. Sauté the garlic in oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the curry powder and paste.
  3. Add all of the vegetables, and cook for 7-10 minutes. Stir frequently; lower the heat if anything starts to burn.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk, sauces, brown sugar, tofu and water. Mix in and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower the  heat, stir in the noodles, incorporate with tongs, cover with a lid and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes on low.
    • Alternately: Use pre-cooked rice or wheat noodles and add in at this point. Don’t cover the pot if you do this.
  6. Add torn basil or cilantro leaves, incorporate and serve.
  7. Garnish individual portions and add soy sauce, lime and/or hot sauce as desired.

Just pretend that’s cilantro on top…

Vegetables:

From the Lents Farmers Market:

Utilized Sauces, etc:

The small Fubonn haul, which most certainly includes a smoked vegan ham tube. Plans forthcoming. Isn’t Ota’s new package adorable?

Some more from Lents:

I picked up beets and jalapeño peppers at the farm below (currently infusing cayenne and jalapeno tequila at home).

This is my patience. Bell peppers, please!

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clean out the fridge Pra Ram style noodle dinner

fridge food

Quite recently, I purchased peanut butter after forgetting it existed for a couple of months.  I was glad I did, because it came to the rescue the other night on an almost too-warm-to-cook, clean-out-the-fridge-for-dinner evening. I was grasping for ideas and near gasping for breath until I remembered that I had just enough odds and ends of vegetables and to lightly cook and pair with an easy peanut sauce.  The sliced tofu was the last piece of Nasoya extra firm that had been marinating in a light fishy mixture of crumbled nori, soy sauce, vegetarian fish sauce, mirin, and fresh ginger.

The completed meal was reminiscent of Pra Ram, but served with buckwheat rice vermicelli, as opposed to a bed of greens or steamed rice.  I dig this type of vermicelli because it’s cheap, versatile, and remains sturdier vs. the traditional rice version – especially as leftovers.

Satisfyingly served at room temperature, and sprinkled with gomasio.

clean out the fridge

The extra peanut sauce is requesting some satay action. Dip party to commence.

Picture 020

One last thing – I’m quite possibly in love with my new tablecloth.

ooo, summer I love your ways: produce, potlucks & a triple vegan bacon cheeseburger

Just kidding, I only like the fruits of your labor. The fruits of eight months of Portland drizzle. Rathermore (that’s right), your glorious fresh fruits and vegetables. Come on, weirdo summer, let’s get through the heat wave and onwards to heirloom tomatoes and spin the color wheel of bell peppers, eggplant and cauliflower!

Here are the fruits of my recent culinary labor:

Mushroom Sherry Pate from The Urban Vegan, take 2.

mushroom pate
This time, I added almonds,roasted shallots, maitake mushrooms in addition to cremini, & added a couple of spices.

Cherry Whiskey Cookies

cherry whiskey cookies
I brought these cookies & the pate to the recent Vegan Convergence 2.19. I spent the first half of the gathering selling ice cream (or orchestrating a Purely Decadent body shot photo shoot with Michele, same thing). These cookies are the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, substituting a small amount of the non-dairy milk for Cherry Whiskey.

Cabbage Patch tofu scramble

cabbage scramble
Aptly named, as the cabbage was hand-picked on previous berry picking adventures. This scramble has cabbage, sugar snap peas, carrots, kalamata olives and garlic scapes.

Pesto Tahini tofu, marinating.

fu pre fu

I’ve made this before to top salads and been thrilled, but this batch was a little lackluster  since I was trying to cut down on the ingredients and salt-factor for a potluck. This version had homemade almond pesto, tahini, water, white wine and coconut aminos.

Pesto Tahini Baked Tofu, garnished with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes

fu

Baked Jerked Seitan, marinating.

Jerked Seitan

Both jerk sauce and seitan recipes are from The Urban Vegan. Hot stuff!

Seitan Lite & Greens

american vegan lite seitan & greens

The seitan lite recipe is from another fun cookbook I’ve been enjoying  – American Vegan Kitchen.

Jelly Donut Cupcakes

Jelly Donut Cupcakes
from the holy Veganomicon.  shockingly, my first time making them. I made both the cupcakes and seitan for an initials potluck last week. The JS for my behind the scenes name, and the JD for my really, really behind the scenes name. Identity crisis, commence.

Cashew Miso Mayo

cashew miso mayo

A test recipe for Isa’s upcoming Appetite for Reduction book.

In Conclusion, Part I: fresh, local raspberries are swell.

raspberries

In Conclusion, Part II: My friend Jeff  with his birthday Triple Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger from the super nice & delicious D.C. Vegetarian cart.

jeff's birthday triple vegan bacon cheeseburger
Jeff told me all he wanted for his birthday was a photo of him, at Tube, eating this custom birthday burger, displayed on the internet.

Happy Birthday, Jeff! Somehow, he made it through.

Mr. Cluck’s Outback Roaster Tofu

Hugo Reyes Approved!

(I wish.  But I do figure him for the open minded type – Jorge, the actor, has given love to Sweet & Sara marshmallows on his blog!)

Mr. Cluck’s Outback Roaster Tofu, served with grilled asparagus, since it’s in season in Australia*.

Outback Glazed Tofu

Up to date on LOST?  In case you freakishly haven’t seen this yet, check out the Mr. Cluck’s commercial from Comic Con 2009, featuring Mr. Cluck’s Outback Roaster Chicken, the inspiration for this meal.  As soon as I saw the commercial (just last week, what THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH ME?!?), I knew I wanted to make a vegan version, for fun.  To literally feed my obsession.

I assure you, fellow LOST fans reading this, that it pains me that I didn’t have more time to serve with a side of mashed potatoes, corn, and diced pineapple on top.  I’m leaving for vacation tonight! Alas!

Anyway, here’s what I made:

Mr. Cluck’s Outback Roaster Tofu or Seitan, a Veganized, Copycat, Obsessed Recipe

Ingredients:

  • One pound block of drained, sliced tofu, or large slices of seitan.
  • 1 cup of beer (preferably not pale; I used Session Black lager – yes, it’s vegan!)
  • 1.5 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1.5 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • extremely generous pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of sea salt or seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Directions:

  • Whisk all ingredients together, being careful not to make a mess with beer foam, unless you want to.
  • Marinate the tofu and/or seitan for a few hours, preferably overnight.  Now, I grilled mine on a cast iron grill pan because I don’t have fancy grilling instruments for that oven roasting effect the commercial alludes to.
  • I misted my grill pan with oil, turned to medium heat, opened my window, and grilled on both sides 4-5 minutes for those dark lines.
  • I splashed with more sauce 3 minutes in, on each side.
  • Serve with vegetables, sprinkled with more pepper, a slice of lemon, and enjoy!
  • Smile and think of winning the lottery with sheer luck.

Seitan variation:

I tried out a seitan and tofu variation, both marinated overnight in a sweet, seasoned beer-based sauce.  My friend Maeve, the girl who still swoons over Boone, voted tofu.  I originally figured seitan would hope up better against the sauce, since it’s more chicken-on-the-barbie type.  I think Boone would probably agree with Maeve.

Sauce
Sauce.

Mr. Cluck’s Likes Tofu!!

Image Credit: The Hatch on Zazzle

*not a fact

there’s a recipe for tangerine teriyaki sauce in this post

Tangerine Teriyaki Soba with Tofu, Cabbage and Spinach
teriyaki tangerine soba

I’m giving myself a little pat on the back because this was the best clean-out-the-fridge dinner I’ve made in a while. Really, I’m giving Isa a pat on the back, because I was clearly inspired by test recipes I’ve made for her new book. It’s such a positive influence already! There’s tofu, sautéed cabbage, spinach, garlic,  ginger, and soba noodles, topped with some spur-of-the-moment teriyaki sauce.  I’ve been on a spending hiatus and have been focused on throwing odds and ends into scrambles, stir fries and risotto.

Tangerine Teriyaki Sauce (small amount for 2 servings, double as needed)

  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • juice of one small tangerine
  • dash sesame chili oil (or quick dash of sesame oil and chili paste)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

Whisk together. Heat briefly on the stove or in the microwave. Add to your stir fry after everything is cooked, toss, serve, smile, eat, take a walk, sleep.

If I hadn’t already added a lot of minced garlic and ginger to the stir fry, I would have added it here!

Next up is another hodgepodge dish – Chickpea Breaded Seitan Tenders

chickpea baked seitan

It’s boiled seitan cut into strips, and breaded with a mixture of ground, roasted chickpeas, nutritional yeast and seasoned breadcrumbs.  They were simply dipped into vegetable broth, breaded and baked at 400F for 20 minutes on each side.  Basically, I was on a roasted chickpea kick, and then fell out of it and ground them to make a super-protein-ist meal.

And here’s Zelda doing one of the things she does best, investigating a plate with greens.  From The  Urban Vegan: Sloppy Joes – these were so easy to whip up!

-Sorry, photo unavailable-

They were a little sweet for me, so next time I’d cut down the sugar a smidgen.  Served with grilled creminis and kale salad ala The Ruby Dragon – with avocado, sea salt and fresh lemon juice.  I’ve been on a roll with that this past week!  I really like that the avocado doesn’t brown and I can keep a big bowl of it around.

Coming soonLOST themed party snacks, GALORE.  My friend Susie is in town and we’re hosting Benjamin Linus Throws a Dinner Party this weekend.  Dharma labels make me happy.