Uwaijimaya, Veggie Buns & PPK Udon

Boring story short, I was out on the suburban west side yesterday for an appointment, and the redeeming factor follows:

Northwest baked Veggie Buns!

The brand is based in Seattle, WA and these buns are refrigerated, alleviating the mysterious and often gross frozen food factor.

I have been on the search for more-than-decent (and non-frozen) steamed buns for years in this city! Thank you, Uwajimaya – please come downtown, soon.

These seem near identical, if not a little smaller, than the faux pork buns served at Van Hanh, and formerly, Nhut Quang, RIP. Annual visits to Vegetarian Dim Sum in New York are always wonderful, but it’s nice to know I can have a little store-bought steamed bun action at home, too.  The filling is nothing remarkable, or very discernible, but they’re indeed, more-than-decent (and convenient!) with an accompaniment.

Paired with the super quick & flavorful PPK Broccoli Curry Udon, and served with a soy/chili garlic dipping sauce. This curry includes broccolini, kale, spinach, jalapeño and sliced, baked tofu.


The mini haul: Coconut Nectar juice (which I  picked up because it didn’t have added sugar – sadly, it’s still gross), udon noodles, Sencha green tea – which I’m on my 4th or 5th cup of the day of, the Veggie Buns, non-GMO Mellow White Miso, and the indulgent purchase of Taiwanese Peanut Mochi.

Please don’t suck.

Needless to say, I have acquired a new camera, and I am fairly content so far (despite these photos being taken in a half dark kitchen).

The MoFo Farewell, alla Vodka

Happy last day of MoFo! I haven’t quite been keeping to my proposed theme and daily posting as much as I intended, but I like to think that posting elsewhere (and co- planning a vegan bloggers conference, zomg!!!) has helped make up for it a tiny bit. That, and getting wrapped up on the MoFo reader for hours at a time on a regular basis – but, who hasn’t? It’s the weather for lengthy simmering on the stove, and I’ve done so recently with mulled pear apple cider, French Moroccan lentil soup, and creamy tomato vodka sauce.

The recipe for Penne alla Vodka comes from Veganomicon, and I served it over spaghetti one night with beanballs, and with the traditional penne, and balsamic braised greens on another. I’m newly allergic to almonds, so I subbed raw cashews and the result seemed even creamier than I remembered.

For the love of appropriately early Sunday night Italian dinners: Whole Wheat Spaghetti alla Vodka with baked Roasted Garlic & White Bean Balls (modified from the chickpea cutlet recipe).

Balsamic Braised Greens:

Whole Wheat Penne alla Vodka:

Cheers! With a Citrus & Jalapeño-infused vodka cocktail:

A Day in the Life of Leftovers: Yellow Curry and Favorites

Yesterday’s ginger-riffic take out from Just Thai for lunch really hit the spot. The mellow yellow, (had to be said) brothy curry, chewy cubes of fried tofu and cutely ridged vegetables over steamed rice was super decently priced, quickly prepared, and with a drizzle of Srichacha, was just what my still-dulled-from-sickness taste-buds wanted. As you can see, even before I sat down for a single lunch, the leftovers were incredibly generous. I had the second round today, and there’s 2 more to go.

I’ve never been a big fan of leftovers. Growing up, my family rarely ate casseroles. Green bean what? The closest things in my memories were homemade Italian pasta dishes, and being picky, I didn’t eat most of them.  Nowadays, in my trying-to-be-a-grown-up years, busy life, and an always-cheap-at-heart mindset, I’m better behaved. I just like making something new so much! I’m well versed in what restaurants, and more likely, food carts, offer meals that will yield leftovers for at least a day, and I do take my leftovers from home to work. I mean, I have a rule where I HAVE TO LEAVE the building I work in for AT LEAST A WALK on my lunch hour, because I’m sane –  and I’m usually wary of the microwave and the smell of defrosted frozen meals of death – but I return and eat my lunch more often than not.  It’s actually refreshing when a couple of weeks go by and I realize I haven’t spent additional money on lunch.

I’ll admit that I’m just as likely to make dishes for the week with different components that can be assembled, such as noodle or grain bowls. I live alone, and again, don’t love leftovers, but I’m here to talk about casseroles*, not what homemade vermicelli bowl sauces have spilled in my purse.

Here are some of my favorite meals that yield more than a day’s worth of worthwhile leftovers.

Homemade Leftovers to Look Forward To:

  • New Farm-style, Gluten Free Mac and Cheese with Broccoli – will be posting an updated recipe for this tomorrow. Traditional Mac & Cheese was something else I never ate until college, strangely enough.
  • Sweet Potato Pie Casserole - I don’t make this every holiday season anymore, but it’s the essential dish attached to Thanks, Mom.
  • Lasagna. It’s been forever since I’ve made one. Therefore, the next time I’m invited to a social outing, I’m bringing one.
  • Tomato, Rice, Roasted Garlic and Navy Bean Soup from Veganomicon - one of the soups I’ve made the most in the past few years, since the ‘ole testing days.
  • Persian Eggplant Stew – a new one to my repertoire this past year that is just as soul-warming the next day, just like a stew should be.
  • Curry Roasted Vegetables – cube your protein, roast, add chopped vegetables, roast some more, add broth/curry paste/peanut butter/spices, etc., roast a bit more, serve over grains. Tah dah.
  • Tempeh Bacon: not so much of a dish, but the easiest of the baked proteins to just throw into everything: sandwiches, salads, wraps, smokey greens, etc. In most recipes it’s pan-fried, but I tend to bake it now.
  • Stuffed Mushrooms. I make these the most often for potlucks, stuffed with nuts and wine and herbs and goodness and whenever I do, I think, “Why the hell don’t I have these around more often?”
  • Chili: and it’s nearly always a variation of Tempeh Chili Con Frijoles or Seitan Chili Sin Carne Al Mole in my kitchen – even when I start out with another recipe.
  • Basil Fried Rice. Leftover rice? Acquire basil. Add garlic, veggie, sesame oil and pepper. Rice pudding is even easier, but this is my go-to path.
  • Refried Beans. Because with beans, which you really should be cooking on a regular basis anyway, you have the options of tacos, burritos, nachos, dips, beans bowls with sauce, etc.  Again, eat your beanz!

*Speaking of casseroles, the Vegan Iron Chef group in Portland is in the beginning stages of putting together the warmest, more comforting competition ever this winter – The Great Vegan Casserole Off! (a better name is perhaps, in the works)

Esme Sauce, Soup & Pretzel Cookies

Esme sauce: know it, love it (just like esme)! Cabernet after a highly stressful day & my cluttered table: same goes for you. This sauce just hits the spot – even more so with last night’s addition of chopped sorrel and baby spinach.

from the past couple weeks…

A recent lunch & dinner for days: Tomato, Roasted Garlic & Rice soup from Veganomicon. I’ve been making this in the chillier months regularly since the testing stage, and this time, I added hot paprika and subbed corona beans for the navy beans. It’s served with toasted lavash below.

Hi beans! I was first introduced to corona beans at a Red & Black Cafe benefit dinner a few years ago, and I sought them out recently at City Market on NW 21st. They’re pricey, but a fun, sporadic purchase that packs a whole lot of substance.

Ah, fall. Ah, squash. I roasted this acorn squash in some vegetable broth and added it to both soup and incorporated it into a creamy sauce. The soup was a trial spicy french morrocan with corona beans and kale for the eventual french-inspired Heartichoke vegan supper club my friend is starting this winter in Portland. Stay tuned.

What a surprise, pickles don’t photograph well at night. These were refrigerator style, marinated dill “pickles”. If I remembered what recipe they were from, I’d advise cutting down on the sugar next time…


And lastly, pretzel cookies. I made these to bring to a friend’s post Portland Marathon-potluck-celebration, as a small tribute to his Pretzel Necklace wearing ways. They’re based on the recipe for Peanut Apple Pretzel Drops from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. My first time making them – or rather, an adaptation of them minus the peanut, plus pecans, minus apples, plus coconut and butterscotch chips. Bam.

World’s Cutest Eggplants become Persian Eggplant Stew

Yeah, most of these striped little nightshade dream boats were smaller than my fingers.

World's Cutest Eggplants, from the Shemansky Farmers Market

Persian Eggplant Stew, topped with pine nuts and served over basmati rice

This was a multi-step roasted stew. I loosely used the recipe in Veganomicon as a guide. When doesn’t that happen?

First, I trimmed the tops off the unpeeled, mini eggplant wonders and sliced them in half, length-wise.  This was roasted in a glass 9×13 casserole dish at 450F with coarse sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a little olive oil for 15 minutes. I then added sliced yellow and green summer squash along with 4 cloves of minced garlic,  and roasted an additional 10-15 minutes.  Removed the casserole dish from the oven, added 28 oz. of canned & peeled tomatoes, chickpeas, various spices (saffron, oregano, coriander, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, oregano, onion powder, thyme – need I go on?), fresh lemon juice, and cooked an additional 20 minutes.  The dish was topped with pine nuts during the final minutes of roastin’

The produce in this dish was entirely local, and the remainder of the ingredients were primarily from the International Food Supply, next to Ya Hala. Fun fact: They have Cheerwine and a nice selection of international and American sodas.

Remind me to sub this aromatic, roasted stew into my never-ending cycle of minestrone and pasta e faglioli during the rainy season…

And even though it’s actually a roasted dish, numerous online resources agree that yes, I can call it a stew.

The Intrigue of the Pizza: balsamic beets, sweet corn & cauliflower basil ricotta

Sometimes, you scratch your brain for ideas when you’re hungry and come up with more than just popcorn + spices. Sometimes, you really regret baking tofu for lunch the night before, because that *so* could have started a tofu scramble revolution for dinner. Sometimes, the thought of simply roasting your beets and having a side of this or that just seems silly. Most of the time, when it’s two days before payday, yet you have the time on your hands to truly cook dinner, you can’t help but hope creativity wins out over desperation and random produce.

This is one of those dinner stories. The Intrigue of the Pizza.

It begins with a mind stuck on tofu ricotta topped pizza. The chapter continues with the boiling of cauliflower,  journeys into a patch of beets, and concludes with a food processor and fresh basil.

cauliflower basil ricotta

Cauliflower Basil Ricotta. Basically, I substituted semi-boiled cauliflower and a small handful of cashews for the primary component of the tofu ricotta recipe in Veganomicon. I added more basil, nutritional yeast and a bit of miso to overpower the ‘flower.

The pizza had both creative toppings and very particular slicing.  The dough was spread with a thin layer of the cauliflower basil ricotta, and topped with balsamic roasted beet cubes, sweet corn, pine nuts, spicy vegan Italian sausage and fresh tomato. As for my fridge, it now solely holds carrots and condiments.

clean out the fridge vegan pizza

double dippin': the party

Roughly 1/10th of total dips that arrived at Double Dippin’

Fueling my dorky, themed party planning obsession, I hosted a dip-themed potluck and party last weekend. Double Dippin': The Party* featured 4 tables of dips: Sweet, Savoury, Miscellaneous, No Holds Barred, and Michele performing the grand & appetizing Vegan Mozzarella Stick-Off in the kitchen.

The record was successfully broken for just how many people can fit into my apartment, surely set high for the number of dips through the door, special dietary needs were met (vegans are so nice!), my cats hid, dip rules were posted, various research was displayed, and I had an opportunity to make a giant pot of beer cheese sauce, among other dippy dishes. Dipshit was officially an endearing term, dip creativity and classicism was off the hook, and I just can’t seem to get this out of my head.

As for the actual food, contributions ranged from traditional pesto to spicy peanut sauce to chili to Russian beet dip to cashew green bean to saucey bourbon to spiced cheesecake to sweet chocolate frosting, and beyond. Beyond!

Smokey Beer Cheese

beer cheese

How To: Smokey Beer Cheese. Follow the Cheesy Sauce recipe from Veganomicon.  Add a diced poblano pepper with the garlic (up the garlic!). After you add the nooch and vegetable broth, throw in cumin, hot paprika, tahini, hot sauce, a bottle of cherished, local microbrew, and a good dash of liquid smoke.  Simmer for at least 20 minutes before making your gluten-fanatic guests happy.

Green Tea, Shallot & Cream Cheese, modified from Eat Tea

Green Tea, Caper & Shallot Cream Cheese

I was more wild about the idea of this over the finished product, but it was worth a shot. And look! garnish!

Raw Banana Coconut Almond Dip

raw banana almond dip

On one hand, sampling this dip made me realize I’m non-officially, but likely, allergic to freaking almonds. On the other, it went over well! It consists of pureed raw almonds, unsweetened coconut and banana. Once again, a pat on the back to the Vita-Mix.

Salt-Free Black Bean, Lemon & Garlic Dip

Picture 005

This was another contribution for the Eat to Live crowd. One of those few ingredient recipes from the internets. It was less creamy than I’d like, but I naturally blame myself, because I forgot the tahini. However, who cares about anything else when there’s a nice garnish?

Spicy Spinach Artichoke Dip with Nayonaise

Picture 010

So creamy! I almost comprehend artichokes now.

Jeff’s Spicy Peanut Sauce

jeff's satay sauce

My friends Lucas and Jeff combined powers to offer a damn fine spread of fried tofu, peanut sauce and tofufffalo style hot sauce.

The Sweet table

Lauren plates my ode to our friend Bram – Peanut Butter Coconut Apple Pie (dip).

lauren at the sweets table

The Bar – featuring homemade Mixed Berry, Raspberry and Lavender Mango syrups. Plenty of makings for both cocktails and mocktails. My friend Emily contributed homemade Raspberry Ginger Shrub that was amazing!

The rest of the refreshments – including Michele’s sparkling punch

This was posted above the No-Holds-Barred dip-as-you-will tator tots & dips table

Picture 136

Clearly the party was an ode to this.

No-Holds-Barred Table – early in the evening

Live action at the No-Holds-Barred table. I spy a spicy sesame cornmeal encrusted tofu dipper at the muffin tray, and churros and chocolate sauce in the back.

Jack & Simon: Bros and their tots – bonus special guest appearance by Portland’s own Pretzel Necklace!

The Savoury table at the pre-party

Stage 1: Dips

*Name Credit belongs to Lucas DeShazer. No surprise.

I didn’t take as many photos as I’d like, perhaps more of the dishes to come…

Next up in themed events coming this way I’m counting down to?  The Vegan Prom of Tomorrow and the second annual Fakin’ Fest!

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.

Grilled Seitan and Portobello with Pistou

Grilled Seitan and sliced Portobello with Pistou

pistou

I may not have a garden with fresh basil, or a backyard to grill in, but I do have access to numerous, inviting farmers markets and my handy dandy cast iron grilling pan.  I don’t completely forget about it in the winter; the desire to grill simply springs out this time of year.

Pistou sauce is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. I don’t have one in my life, but I do have blending machines. This post really is all about looking on the bright side and smashing basil.

The seitan is based on the Seitan Cutlets in Veganomicon.  I cooked it as one large uh, dough, and played with the seasonings a bit.  The baking broth included basil, black pepper, and Bill’s Best Chick’nish seasoning.  Both sliced seitan strips and de-gilled portobella mushroom slices were carefully tossed and marinated in 1/2 cup of pistou for 30 minutes prior to grilling.

Basically, pistou is a generous, nutless pesto.  A lot of the recipes online call for fancy cheese, but traditionally, it doesn’t have to.  I stuck with a tablespoon of nooch. Any more, and it would have become cheesy sauce pistou.  Nothing wrong with that, and I believe in pesto mac, but it wasn’t what I was going for with this.  I added the vegetable broth because I didn’t want something incredibly oily, so do what you will.

The Pistou ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable broth, or water
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove of garlic (go for 2 if you’re using small cloves)

Directions: Pulse quickly in your blender or food processor.  You’re not looking to completely puree this, you want some specks of herb left.

This makes about 1 cup of sauce.  Use the leftover pistou as a marinade, spoon onto soup, make a sandwich spread mixed with Vegenaise, or do as I did, and top your favorite dishes.

Pistou

Pistou

Plated, over local green leaf lettuce

Pistou

The Teese Challenge: Broccoli Raab, Garlic & Teese Rolls

The long-awaited (in my head) goal of recreating the classic broccoli & mozzarella pinwheels of the local pizzerias of my childhood finally came to vegan, teese-covered fruition!

This is definitely the first test batch, but overall, I’m pleased with how they came out.  The one BIG difference I’d change for the next round is to double the pizza dough.  There was a little bit of both fillings left over, and with double the dough, I’d be able to make even large, spiral rolls – aka pinwheels! I used broccoli raab, because, you know, farmers markets, the joy of raab, etc.

Broccoli Raab, Garlic & Teese Rolls

teese challenge

Here’s what you need:

  • Double batch of pizza dough, fully risen.
  • Flour for the dough.
  • One bunch of broccoli raab or small head of broccoli, roughly chopped.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves of minced garlic
  • One batch of Tofu Ricotta (I used Nasoya firm with the recipe from Veganomican/Vegan with a Vengeance with the addition of a teaspoon of tahini).
  • One small tube of Mozzarella Teese, shredded.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Prepare the Tofu Ricotta and set aside.
  3. Sauté the garlic on low/medium heat in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add a dash of crushed red pepper, freshly ground black pepper, a generous pinch of sea salt, and the chopped broccoli raab (or broccoli).  Add a splash of water, and stir for 5-7 minutes, until well-cooked.
  5. Remove the sauté pan from heat, cover and set aside.
  6. Flour your hands and roll out the pizza dough to a large oval.  Use more flour if needed.
  7. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil, or use a mister.
  8. Place large spoonful of tofu around the dough.  Use a spatula to spread out.
  9. Carefully do the same with the broccoli raab mixture.
  10. Spread 3/4 of the shredded teese log onto the other fillings.  It’s okay if it clumps a bit.
  11. Roll up like cinnamon rolls, and precisely cut with a sharp knife.  Rinse your knife between cuts if you need to.
  12. Lightly grease a 8×13 pan (you may need more than one).
  13. Place rolls in the pan(s).  If there is a more open side, place that side up.
  14. Sprinkle the rolls with the leftover (1/4 tube) of shredded teese and a drizzle or spray of olive oil.
  15. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  16. Serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping.
    Ready to roll

roll

Teese, Teese, Teese! The eventual double-dough rolls will be prettier!

teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese

These rolls are part of the official Teese Challenge.  Chicago Soy Dairy generously sent vegan food bloggers their soy cheese to cook with and document.