Pies/Hearts/Tarts & an Interview with Dynise Balcavage

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An interview with Dynise Balcavage, aka the Urban Vegan, author of the new book: Pies and Tarts with Heart. Photos of Frozen Grasshopper Pie, Gingered-Pear Pie and Pumpkin Pie. And now, I am seriously craving pie and humming the song from Waitress… Continue reading

Orecchiette con broccolini

Orecchiette con broccolini; smoked and seared tofu

I picked up a bag of Italian orecchiette last week at Barbur World Foods as part of my dramatic & ongoing hidden gem investigation with one intention – making this traditional recipe once again from The Urban Vegan. It’s a classy weeknight meal with plenty of thinly sliced garlic sauteed in olive oil (you better go high quality!), a hint of salty miso, a sprinkle of nooch, and in this case, broccolini subbing for the signature vegetable…but I don’t think my distant family in Sicily would mine that one. The nooch on the other hand, maybe.

And to channel the wonderful, birthday gal Dynise: Pair this with a tall glass of lemon water or red wine, and pretend it costs $12 at your local trattoria (even if you have a vegan trattoria down the block, like this spoiled lady).

feeling fancy and feeling girly

In regards to Blog Post Title Part I

Well, I still don’t have many photos to show, but my weekend included a lot of feeling fancy – at least some contributions to it. I hid and cooked in the kitchen during the first Heartichoke, my friend’s new vegan supper club, and we pulled off five French-inspired courses & seemed to have content guests on our hands. It was a great experience; the smoke alarms didn’t go off and there’s talk of a Tapas and Basque inspired dinner this Spring.

The photos I do have, thanks to my camera’s 5 second life span, were not from the dinner, but are pretty fancy and productive for the end of a weekend:

Tuscan Braised Beans, The Urban Vegan. With the addition of gigantes beans and fresh basil. Dynise’s dishes always class it up.

First theme, continued:

Herb Crusted Tofu with Mushrooms Marsala ala The Farm Cafe in Portland, via Everyday Dish TV.  As for changes, I baked the tofu, used a mixture of maiittake and shiitake mushrooms in the sauce, and served it over braised beans and steamed baby spinach.

In regards to Blog Post Title Part II

Hey! If you’re in the Portland area tomorrow night and you’re a vegan or veg-curious female or you’ve ever met one or even if you plan on spending the rest of your life surrounded by the XY chromosome and no other, you should come show your support for Melisser Elliott, the talented author of the The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life, at everyone’s local vegan owned and operated clothing store, Herbivore. The signing party starts at 5pm.

Later this week: Thoughts on the revolutionary documentary, Forks Over Knives. Have you seen it yet?

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.

oh, rejoice! The Portland Farmers Market is back!

It was undeniably the place to be in Portland this past weekend.

and thanks to the press releases (who doesn’t read press releases about their local farmers markets?), I knew it was going to be bigger & better than ever – doubling in size in the PSU Park Blocks.

I was literally sitting at my desk this morning, daydreaming about the vegetables I have at home.

For such an early start to the season, I was constantly thrilled, booth by booth, to see such variety!  I’ve grown accustomed to walking home from the first market of the season with a bundle of raab or rapini or two, and I did, with a bunch more. I started my farmar adventure with a patiently delivered, cup of single origin Burundi Stumptown from Cafe Velo, nibbled on a trail mix bar from BlackSheep Bakery, explored the new routes, marked purchases for round #2, and ran into happy friends.

Notables:

  • The variety!
  • The hipster mustaches! more than ever! with babies! (I know! It’s Portland, but there were more than usual)!
  • Room to move!
  • Gooey (Daiya?) vegan cheese on deep dish slices at the new Via Chicago Pizza stand!
  • The line for coffee at Cafe Velo is not as scary as it looks!
  • Local Yukons (especially miniature! make me never want to buy another russel potato again).
  • Multi-recycling & composting efforts!
  • Petunia’s Pastries stand!

The Photos:

The market is enormous!

farmar 2010

There is room for 3 different music spots! Maybe more? At least 2 were official.  Sadly, I don’t have a photo of the cool country western singers (with mustaches).

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The crowd thickens…

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Broccoli raab sighting #1, check

RAAB

Even more glorious raabs!

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Bought my garlic here…

farmar 2010

Tempting.

farmar 2010

There are two food strips now – in the middle and the farmost SW corner.
Some vegan highlights -

farmar

I’ve never ordered from here, but it’s nice to know it’s an option.

farmar food

Via Chicago

Chicago pizza Portland Farmers Market

BEHIND THE SCENES

farmar 2010

Glorious.

life march 2010 025

If I hadn’t opted for coffee, hot peppermint tea would have been calling.

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Preppin’ the mushroom samples

life march 2010 027

support the fraggles

fraggles

My haul: Cremini mushrooms, Yukon Gold potatoes, brussel sprout raab, broccoli raab, mustard greens, asparagus, miner’s lettuce, red Chesnok garlic

farmar haul 3/20/2010

My only reason to get up at 9am on a Saturday that is truly worth it.  I contemplated signing up for a CSA again this year, but the farmar is truly too much fun to resist.

And the first actual dish from my haul, besides nibbling on miner’s lettuce and tossing a piece to my cat:

Shells Con Broccoli Raab, modified from The Urban Vegan (with miso!)

urban vegan pasta

Made with orrechiete and broccoli in the book; whole wheat shells and broccoli raab in my kitchen. Small dish of nooch for sprinklin’. Local greens and garlic.

From The Urban Vegan: Sherry Infused Pate

This pate is from The Urban Vegan by Dynise Balcavage, a book I’m slowly but surely, making a regular resource in my kitchen.  It’s simple and sherry-tacular and fancy.

Sherry Infused Mushroom Pate

Urban Vegan: Sherry Pate

Additional pecans sprinkled on top.

Do you like savoury dips?  Do you like pecans, olive oil, and mushrooms?  Most importantly, do you love wine?  This could be the dip for you.  I brought it to a housewarming party this past weekend with seeded baguette for dipping, and it seemed to go over well!  It was my first vegan pate-makin’ experience.

Leta jazzed it up with some garlic salt, her condiment of choice.  A highly awesome touch.

chickpeas are cheap: an outpouring of thoughts about the garbanzo and dried beans.

Roasted Chickpeas with Nutritional Yeast, Oregano and Sea Salt

As usual, my history with using dried beans is linked to the Post Punk Kitchen.  I remember a blog post years ago, challenging people to soak their own beans and base meals around the outcome.  When I finally had the balls to soak my own, I was thrilled x 40 at the results, and most importantly, how far it stretched my initial, mere investment. It’s so resourceful, healthy and cost-effective!

There are definitely occasions I’m short on time or stockpiling a bit for an apocalypse, and I’ve yet to make the move for a pressure cooker, but a simple colander, large pot and time are all I need to bring beans to life in my kitchen. FYI, they’ve never spoke to me.

Quick & obvious notes on using dried beans:

  1. Buy dried beans in bulk. In Portland, you can go to co-ops, farmers markets, New Seasons, Fred Meyer, and I think even Safeway has a bulk area.  You can buy dried beans in bags  at most stores, of course, but it’s more fun and economical to buy them by the pound.
  2. Pick out any really noticeable crud. I just give my beans a quick look over, and toss a couple times.
  3. Soak them during the day, 4-8 hours, while you’re out working or counting leaves (clearly the only two things I think people do during the day).
  4. Rinse in a colander (one the beans won’t fall through).
  5. Cook according to bean specifications. There’s a guide halfway down this page, and one in Veganomicon, which I’m sure you own. I normally don’ t need more than 1.5 hours for chickpeas.  I usually just cook in water, but you can always play with broth with herbs and alliums.

I spent this past Friday night wildly cooking chickpeas and prepping for the next day’s event.  FYI, I store my cooked beans in pitchers, and change the water every couple days.

Over the course of the weekend, the chickpeas went into Yellow Curry & Sweet Potato hummus, 40 Cloves Chickpea & Broccoli, and Chickpea Cutlets.  I try and save money, bringing lunch to work, as boring as it can be.  I’m sure I’ll do much more  with these little pieces of protein over the next week or so, and extra will go bagged into my freezer!

Ten Chickpea-y Ideas:

  1. Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon. I always bake these, and I’ve been known to mold them into ball-form as well to serve with marinara. There are gluten-free versions floating around the internet.  I’ve had ones my friend Michelle has made, they’re really good!
  2. Roasted Chickpeas. This was the first way I ever cooked chickpeas, back in college, when I spent a lot of time playing around on Vegweb.com.  Dreena Burton’s Tamari Roasted Chickpeas is an easy way to start if you’ve never made them before.
  3. Chickpea Quinoa Pilaf - again, from Veganomicon! Really versatile. Quinoa + Chickpeas = nutrition!
  4. One word: Falafel
  5. Pasta: There are recipes for this on every cooking website that exists. Lightly saute in extra virgin olive oil with minced garlic, crushed red pepper, and spinach, and serve over pasta with sea salt, fresh pepper and nutritional yeast to your liking.
  6. Add to Bowls: ala Joanna’s Almighty Bowl style post or Blossoming Lotus
  7. Another one word: Hummus. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are entire cults based around this dip. I’m going to post the recipe for the Yellow Curry inspired hummus this week.
  8. Gravy: I’ve actually never made the famous Punkrock Chickpea in Vegan with a Vengeance, but I have made a Silky Chickpea Gravy in testing for Isa’s new low-fat book.
  9. Chana Masala: The Indian Classic. I love when this is in the lunch special at Bombay Chaat House!
  10. Add to Soups: add to any soup that calls for beans, or you’d think would work in. Who makes vegetable soup without beans?  huh? Years ago, I tried and liked this recipe for Chickpea Garlic Soup from The Angelica Home Kitchen.

Runner Up: Chickpea salads. These aren’t really my thing, but I have caught myself with no time and lack of ingredients, snacking on chickpeas + nooch + sea salt…

Fun fact: There are white, green and black chickpeas.

Wow, that was so About.com of me.

Chickpea-usage, the photos!

40 Cloves Chickpea & Garlic - a tester for Isa’s new book (second time I’ve made it!)

Chickpea Cutlets - I made these in my food processor, but they’re super easy to make without it.

Chickpea Cutlets

Chickpea Cutlet Balls

Tamari Roasted Chickpeas from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan

Chickpeas in a really colorful Tofu Scramble

Baked Tofu and Chickpea Quinoa Pilaf

Chickpea Pitcher

chickpea pitcher

I wish my photo did this more justice, clearly I was in a rush to dine.

Chickpeas added to Pasta e Faglio, from The Urban Vegan

Comforty, Lower-Fat New Farm Mac & Cheeze, Gluten Free, and thickened with Chickpea Flour

Chickpeas Romesco from Veganomicon

Baked Falafel from Vegan with a Vengeance

And a plate of fresh vegetables, with store bought pita and stellar hummus from Barbur World Foods. For the record, their fresh baked pita is one of the best things in the world. Lunch@work.

P.S.

Thanks to anyone reading this who came to the presentation at the library this past weekend!  There was a huge turn out, which delighted both the library staff and myself! I had a blast talking about a topic I adore – Local & Vegan Eating in Portland, OR.  Totally makes me want to visit the People’s Farmers Market this week! I just love the Portland vegan community.

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.

Retrospect

It’s time to be all retrospective and stuff.  Twentyten is upon us, and this time of year marks the anniversary of this food blog’s creation on Blogger in 2005.

To celebrate and culminate, I picked some photos from my favorite posts of the past year on Get Sconed!The year of the move! I attempted to choose one per month, but failed starting with January.

Behold a giant photo essay:

January

My first post of 2009 was an ode to recent Vietnamese meals. NE 82nd Ave was home to Nhut Quang Vegan Vietnamese Restaurant, which depressingly closed in late Spring 2009.

R.I.P. Nhut Quang Vietnamese crepes

Angel Food Marshmallow Making This is my mom’s old mixer, I love it.

I can’t go through January without mentioning LOST. I threw a Dharma rations themed party for the premiere of Season 5.  Next month, my friend Susie and I holding a Benjamin Linus Throws a Dinner Party!

February

I fell in even more love with my Vita-Mix: Peach Ice Cream

March

And even more love: Chocolate Peanut Butter Tofu Mousse

The first Examination of Portland Soy Lattes I drank about 2,000 lattes, give or take a few.

April

Chicken Seitan Parmigiana with Teese and Roasted Broccoli

Had a magnificent visit with my friend Emily from my long-ago semester abroad to the upscale, all raw Grezzo in Boston.

Lavender cheesecake

Had my fix of Vegetarian Dim Sum House in NYC, twice

May

Chick o’fucking Stick Chocolate Chip Cookies for Katie Jayne!

June

The cart lot at SE 12th and Hawthorne just got better and better, and Portland became home to a vegan friendly fried pie cart, Whiffies, and the city was never the same again!

The very first pie Maeve and I shared: Apple

The rising wave of twitter popularity grew and grew, and a select group of friends and I entertained ourselves with a week of dining exclusively at businesses that had Twitter accounts: The Dittering.  The number was much less significant in June than it is now, but we had many favorites and scouted others out. To quote Maeve, this was “back when twitter was cool”.

This was also the beginning of the summer of food cart insanity and growth!

Koi Fusion tofu tacos

Vegan Brunch was released! As a tester, of course, I’m always excited and stoked to support it and must include the Ode to Vegan Brunch Testing. I helped make some of the baked goods photographed! Oh my gosh!

Vegan Omelet

July

My friend Jeff and I made this Raspberry Blackout cake for Maeve’s birthday:

I became a contributor to Veggie Thing! …which went kerplunk.  I’m trying to keep the spirit alive with Awesome of the Week, kinda.

Professor Nanotear muffins from Tube

August

Try Vegan PDX presented the second annual Try Vegan Week with great success.  The culminating event was the 90s themed U Can’t Touch This Vegan Prom. Thrilling!

The dance contest, featuring the first and second place winners – Simon and Angela

I discovered I seem to have an allergy to one of my favorite foods, the hazelnut.  The horror!

September

Hazelnut Encrusted Eggplant

I fell in love with a scone from the new Back to Eden Bakery & Boutique: Maple Walnut

October

Zomg.  Fakin’ Fest happened.  There was dark chocolate dipped vegan bacon, bacon stuffed mushrooms, bacon cupcakes, tempeh bacon, maple bacon ice cream and much, much, much more. There was best dish, favorite dish and best fakin’ haiki contests, with prizes (more vegan bacon!) donated by Lightlife.

Stef’s Coconut Bacon Cupcakes

The Spicy Vegan’s potato skins

Mike Vegan’s awesome pig cake

Dynise, the Urban Vegan, sent her new cookbook for review & I’ve been digging it.

Spaghetti Carbonara

I got my fix of apples at the annual Portland Nursery Apple Festival:

The compilation of the Vegan Friendly Food Carts Listing, which now has its own page here.

on the Bombay Chaat House:

Bombay Chaat House

I added another reason to ever leave SE Portland in my personal time from my friends Julie & Jay Hasson – they opened their food cart, Native Bowl, in Mississippi Marketplace, and it rules!

Hummus wrap and Couch Bowl, photo by Lucas DeShazer

The Portland Vegan 100! So fun to put together. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

November

I was obsessed with brussel sprouts.  All year, really.

Brussel Sprouts Au Gratin from The Urban Vegan

brussel sprouts au gratin

Roasted with blood orange and sea salt.

roasted brussels sprouts with blood orange and garlic!

December

Banana Waffles! Banana Flapjacks from Vegan Brunch turned Waffles

xmas waffles

Another test recipe from Isa’s new book, 40 Cloves Chickpeas & Broccoli

40 cloves Broccoli & Chickpeas

A little more Retrospect…

  • I didn’t leave the country as I dream, but I did travel more on the West Coat, and had my annual pilgrimages to NYC and Boston – will happily be there again in February and playing in the snow!  Let me know if there are new places I should check out, I’m curious about Piece ‘Pie in Allston!
  • 2009 called forth the @getsconed twitter account (I had a personal, private account beforehand), the inevitable, welcome move to WordPress and finality of a domain, which was the exciting part of November.
  • In case you’re interested in the Portland vegan restaurant scene, we posted the Stumptown Vegans Year in Review Podcast earlier in the month.
  • Coming in 2010: Vegan Eats in and around Laguna Beach, CA, A Walk on Super Vegan Friendly Alberta Street, Product Reviews Galore, and more I can’t even make up on the spot!

As always, thank you for reading and commenting!  I’m thrilled to be part of the vegan blogging world.

From the PPK test kitchen: Pasta con Broccoli & Blackened Tofu

I’m totally thrilled when I have hermit time and can pour myself into a cooking project.  It’s a nice, personal break from my constant restaurant and cart adventures. Case in point, last weekend, testing recipes for Isa Moskowtiz’s new book.

Pasta Con Broccoli. A lower-fat take on a classic, served with whole wheat linguine.  As an accompaniment, I simply roasted some whole cremini mushrooms with white wine and shoyu.

Pasta con Broccoli

Blackened, Broiled Tofu. I had some clumping going on, but that’s okay! It’s a test recipe, after all, and a tasty protein.

Broiled Blackened Tofu

I’m slowly going through the classy Urban Vegan cookbook, as well. Here are more leftover veggies and extra firm tofu baked in the Urban Vegan Tofu Marinade.

Urban Vegan marinated tofu

It’s noochy goodness. I stretched my leftover marinade with veggie broth, shoyu and white wine and have more tofu relaxing in it, right now.