Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Rise and shine! Vegan breakfast - MoFo 1 2015

Sometimes simple works best.

Berries in almond milk with a little sugar and tea with almond milk.

Visiting family in Idaho so making a quick and easy breakfast worked well this morning.

Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, and apple.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Vegan Cheese Steak Sandwich at Sweetgrass

I almost missed this on the menu.  Vegan cheese steak?  Done.

The waiter promised to try it, so I'm reposting to their Facebook page.

Perfectly meaty seitan with melted Daiya and mildly spicy sauce.

Sweetgrass has always been veg friendly, and has amped up the vegan dishes on the regular menu.  This one is a keeper.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Too hot to cook? Cold summer vegetable soup.

The secret ingredient is cashew cream, but I'll get to that in a minute.

When my first world complaint is that there's simply too much broccoli in my CSA share,  it's time to make soup.

Soup is always about the ingredients and the fresher the better.  A few simple tricks can make this an almost instant treat.  Advance planning when it's cooler, and you can create a simple base that can be used to create quick soup throughout the week.

This soup had about four big heads of broccoli with the stems.  The addition of carrots and potatoes did lighten the green tint.

Almost Instant:

For instant cold smooth soup, add pretty much any vegetable or bean combination (raw, pre-cooked, frozen, or whatever you have that you like) to the blender or food processor about halfway up and completely cover with water or vegetable broth with about an extra inch above the vegetable line.  Blend this first and you can quickly see if you need it thinner or thicker.  It's a good time to add some salt or vegetable bullion to taste and blend again.  Add more broth or water for thinner.  I don't use raw potatoes because I find them gritty raw, but I usually add some cooked potatoes or dried potato flakes to make it thicker.  I also generally opt for only a small amount of raw garlic, scapes, shallot, scallion, or sweet onion. Too much or a really potent one can totally overpower your soup.  I add a dollop of cashew cream to blend in.  It's a bit tangy and salty and balances out the veggies nicely.

Advance planning version:

If you've got too many veggies that are at risk of going bad in the fridge, making a soup base will help preserve them.  I do prefer them cooked generally so basically add them all to a pot and include some potatoes and more of the onion family.  Carrots and celery are also good bases.

Last week I had carrot, onion, garlic, shallot, celery, both cooked and raw potaoes, some unidentified root vegetables, the aforementioned too-much-broccoli, parsley, and some cooked lentils.  Put it in a large pot, cover plus one inch with broth and water, salt to taste, simmer about an hour and blend it all together.  I store it in the fridge in quart mason jars after it's cooled but not cold.  Not canned, but the mason jars get sort of vacuum sealed and it lasts more than 2 weeks in the fridge.  This is good reheated or cold, but in 95 degree weather, who am I kidding; I'm opting for cold.  If it gets too thick in the fridge I add some cold water to make it less like baby food and top with cashew cream and a dash of seasoned salt.

You can also use the base as the canvas for other more complex soups or add herbs and spices or more diced veggies or beans after blending. It is incredibly diverse and versatile.

I made the cashew cream topping with rejeuvalac, but that requires advance planning so the cheater version is below.

Cashew cream:

1 cup unroasted unsalted cashews
Juice from one fresh lemon
Salt to taste

Soak the cashews in water for about an hour and drain.  Blend together.  Add a little water if it doesn't come together or is too thick.

Really it's all about the cashew cream, but getting more vegetables and soup is always a good thing.

Monday, August 10, 2015

BLT sushi rolls

Here's my iron chef sushi submission.  Weirdly it's the tomato that's the oddball ingredient as the bacon is tempeh, and avocado (swapped for the lettuce) is a fairly normal American sushi roll ingredient.  

Topped with a vegan mayo mixed with some sriracha.  

I brought the rice cooker into the office and made this at work.  I did pretty good with the rolling.  

Mixed verdict with the tasters.  I usually waited until after they tried it to mention "fermented" and "soy" in the same sentence with "it's not really bacon."

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Simple summer bean bruschetta

I was recently in London and had the opportunity help a friend with a boutique Italian wine tasting.  We made this easy and delicious bean dip on garlicky toasts that was a big hit with the sippers.  Pair with your favorite white wine.  I'll be having this with a 2012 St. Helena Riesling from my fave Napa Valley winery.

Simple summer bean bruschetta 

4 Tbs olive oil* -divided
8 cloves garlic* - divided - 4 minced and 4 large whole
1/2 tsp dried rosemary or 2 sprigs fresh - leaves chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked white(ish) beans (1 can drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup water or broth
2 Tbs white wine (optional)
Salt (if needed)
4 slices rustic Italian style bread 

*You'll need 2 Tbs of the olive oil to sauté the minced garlic, then 2 Tbs olive oil with the 4 whole garlic cloves for rubbing the bruschetta.

In a small bowl, pour 2 Tbs olive oil and add 4 whole garlic cloves and set aside.

In a medium sauté pan, add 2 Tbs olive oil, 4 minced garlic cloves, and rosemary.  Sauté on low heat about a minute until the garlic and rosemary is fragrant.  Add beans, broth or water and wine if using.  Let simmer about 5 minutes to infuse the flavor or until beans are mashable and the liquid is absorbed or evaporated.  Break up the beans into a rough paste so that it's sticky but some of the beans are still partially bean shaped.  Turn off the heat and let come to room temp.  Give it a taste and add salt as needed.

Toast the bread until crisp, but not brown.  I popped in the toaster oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Now take one of the garlic cloves from the set aside bowl in oil and rub the toast hard with the garlic.  It will rub off on the toasts.  Repeat with remaining toasts.  You can leave the toasts whole or cut into halves or quarters for more bite sized options.  Top with bean mixture and remaining oil and additional rosemary if desired.  

I used Rancho Gordo yellow eyed beans which are white with a yellow spot when dry but cook up kind of brownish.  Any solid white bean like great northern or gigantes with a nice meaty creamy texture would work great.  Yum.  Garlicky...

The recipe is easily multiplied and the amounts forgiving, so this is a snap to pull together for a pot luck or unexpected guests.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fresh Vegetable Tofu Scramble Collard Green Burrito

My CSA has started, yay!  Surveying today's haul: it's kohlrabi, red leaf amaranth, peas, spring onions, collard greens, fruit share is strawberries, and I got crimini and shitake mushrooms as add on extras.

I'm determined to plan better to get the most out of the veggies.  I start by looking at what I won't use and see if I can juice it.  Starting with the peas.  I shelled them -  It took about a half hour while I rewatched the inspiring documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (Watch it for Free!) - and I'm going to juice the pods.  Not sure how it will work out, but there seems to be a good deal of water in them.

I'm trying to think more raw, but sometimes when I'm hungry, raw just sounds not-so-appealing.  So I took a raw trick - collard green wrapper - and stuffed it with my cooked veggie and tofu scramble.

I sautéed a sliced spring onion and one chopped shitake in annato oil, then added a handful of chopped amaranth and about a 1/3 cup of crumbled tofu with some turmeric and taco seasoning.  I put one collard green leaf on top of the scramble in the pan, then topped with a lid and turned off the heat and left it for about a minute.  This softens it up, but it still holds together so the filling doesn't leak through when you roll it up like a burrito and eat it.  I then topped it with a radish pico de gallo (from my Sweet Grass leftovers below) and some homemade cashew cream and hot sauce.   

I also ate at Sweet Grass (yes, again) last night and got amazing vegan roasted garlic soup and a setian quesadilla.  

Roasted Garlic Soup
 Seitan Quesadilla
I'm really excited they have so many vegan options, both on the regular menu and the specials.  I'm especially psyched for all the new seitan dishes they've had recently.  The chipotle sauce was also fantastic (and spicy) but they didn't pack it up with my leftovers, so sadly I'll have to make due with my own.  The radish pico de gallo was also surprisingly refreshing (hence topping my scramble with it) so I'll have to try something like that when we get radish in the CSA.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More seitan at Sweet Grass

This week the seitan special at Sweet Grass was a steak rather than slices.

Really good, but different.  I once got some gluten cubes from the H Mart (Asian market) that were similar to this.  It's almost bread, but a meaty chewy gluteny savory bread.  Don't get me wrong, it's good but different from the usual wet boil seitan.  I'll have to ask what they did.  I wonder if they baked it.  It's crispy...

Dessert was nut based chocolate mousse.  Delish. I forgot to snap a pic when it came, but here's the menu description.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sweetgrass Seitan and an evening with Rick Springfield

Finally, my local veg friendly restaurant in Tarrytown, NY, Sweetgrass, has a seitan dish.

I was expecting more of a "steak" but this thinly sliced seitan served it up with flavor.     

Sweetgrass has also refined the Vegan Shepherd's pie.  The mashed potato crust is perfectly crisped and the meaty jackfruit gives it authentic texture.  

Just the right amount of veg, potato, and shredded jackfruit in each bite.

And that wasn't even the most exciting thing of the evening.  My neighbor (yes the bird saving neighbor) and I went to see Rick Springfield at the Tarrytown Music Hall.  (You know...Jessie's Girl.)

Here's a nice blurry photo to set the mood.  

I love the storytelling, acoustic format which feels really intimate and personal.  The Music Hall is a really cool venue (like my old favorite the Somerville Theater in Massachusetts).  He was quite genuine and funny and the songs were great.

He even stayed after for  Q&A which was really cool.  In addition to being an actor, songwriter, pop star, and all around hot guy; Rick wrote a novel called Magnificent Vibration that of course I downloaded and started reading last night.

All in all a fun night out in my town. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My neighbor just saved a bird and I made some vegan reuben bites

I suppose I needed a jump start on a new post, so this mornings "bird rescue" fits in well. 

I was doing laundry in the complex and heard some banging in the gutters.  I peeked into the part where the drain and the gutter meet and thought I heard some movement, then nothing.  So I feared that the little critter must have gone further down the pipes.  

I went back out and found a neighbor's cat totally stalking the same area and then heard the banging again.  Then my neighbor Amy came up to see why I was staring at the sidewalk with a cat, and she pushed in the gutter just enough so the bird came flying out and away!  Yay!  The cat, however, was not as pleased...

So back to some snacks.  The "bird" in these vegan Reuben bites is Beyond Meat Grilled chicken-free strips.  The Beyond Meat strips are kind of stringy so you can pull them apart for more of a shredded protein texture.  They're quite good and absolutely would fool your friends.  

The background runner in the photo is author Tami's pay it forward gift to me.  I love it!  

I made these into bites because the crusty french bread I used always tears the crap out of the roof of my mouth if toasted on the top, so I opted for open faced and bite sized.

For more vegan finger foods, check out Tami and Celene's newest venture Vegan Finger Foods.  Love the instant gratification of the kindle, off to read it now...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fresh Green Clover Sprout Salsa

I think I invented something here...this salsa is not exactly made with shamrocks, but features tomatillos and clover sprouts.  I have no idea why I don't have a jar of salsa somewhere in the pantry, but if I did I wouldn't have had to make something awesome up to top my rice bowl.

Languishing in the back of the fridge was a vacuum sealed mason jar of summer tomatillos.  Newer, but no less ignored in the fridge were some fresh clover sprouts that I popped in there, uh, probably more than two weeks ago because they were grown and I ran out of avocado which is what I usually what prompts me to eat the sprouts.  They stay alive in the fridge for quite awhile, but don't grow much more.

Not really a recipe, but I started out with half an onion, about a cup of tomatillos in their juice, salt, a little ancho chile powder, a pinch of oregano, and some lemon juice and blended it up on low (you want it mixed, but don't want to crush the seeds.)  This was OK, but lacked freshness.  So that's when I stuck in the sprouts (about 2 cups) and gave it another whirl.  The sprouts added exactly what I wanted - a fresh clean taste.  Sure if I could keep cilantro alive, I probably would have used that instead, but I just got a whole dose of fresh sprouts in my dinner and I'm pretty psyched about it.  It's technically raw if I didn't plop on top of a rice and bean setian cutlet bowl...

The rest of the bowl is:

Freshly cooked rice - long grain rice with alcaparado which is just olives and capers with a bit of the juice, a pinch of saffron, and 1/4 cup of Rancho Gordo Frijol Chaac beans I cooked yesterday 

Baked Crispy Bean Patties from the Great Vegan Bean Book  (the recipe is in the "Look Inside" on Amazon)

Cashew Sour Cream from Artisan Vegan Cheese

Jalapeño Hot Sauce I made for MoFo

Easy fresh dinner ready in a flash.  Signing off to eat and watch Bones on it's last Monday night (moving to Friday?!?) with fabulous vegan Emily Deschanel.   

Sunday, September 29, 2013

2013 Mofo 15 - Vegan Scrapple

Scrapple.  The mid-atlantic region's contribution to breakfast food.   Even among aficionados, there is great contention over brands.  We always had RAPA in my house and my dad had a special technique including timing, and using the right pan and lid to get the perfect crunch on the outside, leaving the middle warm and soft.

What is scrapple you ask?  It's a savory cornmeal slab of breakfast protein most often made with pork parts.  Make no mistake; scrapple is delicious.

I've tried to make vegan scrapple in the past and it was good, but not something I'd really bother with on a day to day basis.

This time, fully inspired by not one, but TWO facebook friends dissin' a vegan scrapple article - (Now available in PA!) - I felt the need for a self-directed thrown down.  In case you're wondering, I won.  Quick and easy scrapple turned out freakin' fantastic.  A little chewier in the middle than the original, but nice flavor and holds up well on toast with ketchup.

Vegan Scrapple

1 cup beans
1/2 cup water
1 heaping tsp sage
1 heaping tsp savory
1 heaping tsp thyme
2 tsp salt
pinch black pepper
pinch nutmeg
pinch cloves
pinch allspice

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup vital wheat gluten

Blend together the beans, water, and spices.  In a separate bowl mix cornmeal and gluten.  Add the mix from the blender to the cornmeal and gluten and knead together.  Form a ball and press into a square shape.

Then slice into 1/2 inch slices.  Mine made seven slabs.

Fry until browned and flip.  Approx five minutes each side.

Serve straight up with a scramble or pancakes, whatever you might have sausage or bacon with.  I obviously like it on toast with ketchup.   

2013 Mofo 14 - Vegan Cubano Sandwich

Give into your cravings and still keep it vegan.  

I wanted to try the Daiya slices, so I was initially thinking Reuben, but swapped the sauerkraut for some cornichons and voila Cubano.

 Melty goodness.  Yum!

I like to keep some crusty country bread in the freezer, so toastiness is the way to go with this.

For less processed make your own sandwich options check out Celine & Tami's Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!  Lots of way cool ways to have vegan sammiches everyday!

Vegan Cubano

2 slices bread
2 slices vegan deli slices
2 slices vegan cheese
5 cornichons (or one pickle) sliced
Vegan mayo
Vegan mustard - (read ingredients - some varieties are made with eggs)

Spread mayo & mustard on bread, top with deli slices, pickles, and cheese.  Toast until melty.  I like to put it on foil so the bread gets warmed, but not too crusty.  The Daiya really does melt, so the foil also keeps the toaster oven clean.  You could eat this open faced fancy style with a knife and fork, or regular  'ole sammich style.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

2013 Mofo 13 - Potage with black garlic

Yes, potage is just a fancied up word for soup.  

Here's my secret soup that's not really a recipe.  For me, potage always starts with potatoes.  I've been making this for a long time and I think I first made it when I got the vita mix.  I do remember early on I made it with restaurant leftovers - something like french fries and green beans - but it lends itself well to any type of potatoes and vegetables.  I usually make this with already cooked potatoes and blend it first, but it's just as easily made from scratch.  You just need to let it simmer long enough to cook the potatoes.


Today's potage features black garlic that I got at the H Mart (love the H Mart.)  Black garlic is fermented and is like a sweeter, stickier roasted garlic.  I first had it in risotto at a local restaurant for their meatless monday menu, and was pretty psyched to find it in the store.   

Potage du jour

3 cups roasted potatoes (these were salted)
1 cup roasted brussel sprouts (also salted)
1 cup packed fresh spinach
5 cloves black garlic
leaves from a sprig of fresh thyme
3 large fresh sage leaves
5 fresh rosemary leaves
1 TBS vegetable paste (or vegetable bullion)
Salt to taste (optional)

For a smooth soup, blend all together on high until completely smooth and heat and serve.

For a thick soup with more texture - small bits to chew - blend together on medium and stop when it's still chunky.  Pour out half the soup into the soup pan, then continue to blend the rest until smooth.  Pour the smooth half into the chunky half and heat and serve.  

I like a dollop of crème fraîche on top, so this is topped with cashew sour cream.  I also serve with crusty french bread or soup crackers.  

Don't forget about my vida vegan con zine giveaway.  Work has been crazy, but I'll post the winner this week.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

2013 Mofo 12 - Giveaway: The Vida Vegan Con 2013 Cookbooklette

It's the moment you've been waiting for...I have The Official-Unofficial Vida Vegan Con 2013 Cookbooklette complied and illustrated by Amey Matthews, SIGNED by all the contributing recipe authors, and ready to give away.  Just leave me a nice comment and a way to contact you if you win.

That's it!  Even better would be if you pimp my blog on your blog or facebook or whatever.  And even more super cool, add me to your reader.  Shameless self-promotion, I know, but I'll post more often, you get stuff.  It's a win-win.  

Thanks for to all the authors for sharing recipes and for being so awesome when I stalked each one to sign their page at Vida Vegan Con 2013.

Here's the amazingness you'll find in the zine:

Orange Blossom Granola - Kittee Berns
Fresh Orange Salad with Sweet Avocado Citrus Puree - Amey Mathews
Southern Fried Tofu Chicken - Bianca Phillips
Mediterranean Bean Burgers - Dreena Burton
Tofu Lettuce Wraps - Michele Truty
Cauliflower Queso - Cadry Nelson
Creamy Tofu Almond Sauce - Ginny Messina
Tofu Balls - Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Northwest Berry Salad with Glazed Tempeh - Michele Truty, Jess Scone, & Janessa Philemon-Kerp
Chili Mac - Susan Voisin
Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza Smothered in Frank's Red Hot - John McDevitt
Namprick Gaeng Som Curry Sauce - Jess Scone & Maeve Connor
F*uck Yeah, It's Fall - Jess Scone
Irish Cream - Joni Newman
Carrot Cake Deluxe - Chelsea Lincoln
Jam & Coconut Thumbprint Cookies - Lisa Pitman
Rum Raisin Frozen Yogurt - Hannah Kaminsky
Great-Grandma Oda's Persimmon Pudding - Erika Lawson

The fun isn't done because I plan to make a few of the Cookbooklette recipes for Mofo, so they'll be other giveaways in upcoming posts.  Keep coming back, ya'll!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2013 Mofo 11 - Candle Cafe

Dinner at Candle Cafe.  Yes there were only two of us...

 Wine and beer

Seitan Chimichuri - Probably my favorite seitan dish anywhere

Fresh Spring Rolls

Green ginger bomb shot or some similar name.  Small package, but this little beauty was complex and savory.  

Seitan au poive - another fantastic seitan dish.  The garlic potatoes were delish.

Fried green tomato Napoleon - laters of tomatoey goodness

 Grain beverage late - a little off beat, but tasted kind of like barley tea

Soy Chai Latte

Chocolate Mousse Pie - rich and chocolatey

Banana Cake - who can say no to banana cake?

OK so we took some of the cake home, but this was a much needed feast to enjoy with a friend after work.