I don't update this blog anymore!
December 18, 2011
May 16, 2009
Have you made romesco yet this year? This complex and flavorful Catalonian sauce is perfect for grilled spring and summer vegetables. It can be time consuming to make, but it keeps well and the flavors improve with time in the fridge. Make a big batch and eat it with grilled veggies, rice, sandwiches, and crusty bread all week long.
This recipe is cobbled together from several others and has served me well. Feel free to tweak the ingredients, but please don't skip the sweet smoked paprika. After one whiff you will want to dust your mustache with it every morning.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
1 yellow onion
2 red bell peppers (if you are not a huge pepper fan, sub a third tomato for one of the peppers)
2 ripe tomatoes
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
2 T Sherry vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1/3 - 1/2 C almond meal (DIY by grinding 3/4 C almonds in a coffee grinder or food processor)
1 slice bread, white or wheat, stale or toasted, torn into small pieces
1 t sweet smoked paprika (also known as pimenton de la vera; available in fine food stores or spice shops)
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 salt, plus more to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Rub onion, peppers, and tomatoes lightly with olive oil and roast in a pan with sides for 45 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from oven and immediately cover with foil or place in a plastic bag for 15 minutes (this traps the heat and humidity and helps the skin separate from the vegetables). Peel the onion, peel and seed the tomatoes and bell peppers and place all the vegetables in a food processor.
Toast the almond meal by moving it quickly over medium heat in a dry pan on the stove, or spreading it in a thin layer in a baking dish and sticking it in the oven for about 8 minutes while the veggies are cooling. Add 1/3 C of the toasted almond meal to the food processor.
Add the remaining ingredients (olive oil through salt) to the food processor and blend until smooth. The consistency should be similar to ricotta cheese: soft, but thick enough to spread. If your veggies are larger and result in a thinner sauce, add the remaining almond flour. You can further thicken it by adding more toasted bread.
Allow the sauce to cool and serve at room temperature. Eat it by the spoonful, spread it on toasted baguette slices, serve it over rice with grilled tofu, spread it on a sandwich, or plop a huge dollop of it in the center of your plate and surround it with grilled or oven roasted vegetables.
I made it this week and brought it to a friend's house for a grilled vegetable extravaganza. Nomnomnom:
Grilled spring onions with romesco.
Feast! Sandwich with grilled eggplant, vegan mozz, fresh basil, and romesco. Grilled corn, brussels sprouts, onion, asparagus and tofu with romesco.
May 3, 2009
This lovely new blog got me out my hole and back into the blogosphere. I don't have any tattoos because I am terrified of needles, but I really love seeing tattoos that are about commitment, and vegan tattoos are my favorite kind. There is something both sweet and tough about celebrating your commitment to animals, the environment, and delicious food with something so permanent. Please take a look, and be sure to submit your own vegan tattoo if you've got one!
March 5, 2009
It's in the 70s in Denver right now and this kind of weather makes me crave grilled things. Grill pans make summery grilled foods possible for those of us that live in third story, balcony-free apartments, and I am so thankful for that. This recipe is delicious, pretty, and requires almost no effort. Get to it!
Balsamic Grilled Tofu Panini
(Makes three sandwiches*)
Equipment: Grill pan, grill, or George Foreman type thing.
1 block extra firm tofu, sliced into six even slices
10 or so cremini mushrooms, sliced
For the marinade:
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
For the sandwich spread:
3 T Vegenaise
1 T Annie's Woodstock Dressing OR 1 T of the remaining marinade
6 slices of bread
Handful fresh baby spinach
Red onion, sliced thinly
Lay the tofu slices on a paper towel or clean dish towel and press gently with another towel to absorb some of the water. Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade and place tofu and mushrooms in a shallow dish with the marinade. Let it marinate for an hour if you've got the the time, or at least ten minutes if you're in a hurry. If you're using a grill pan, turn the dial to medium high heat and grill tofu for three minutes on each side, or until nice grill marks appear. Throw the mushrooms on the grill after you turn the tofu.
Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients for the sandwich spread and brush the one side each slice of bread with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of sandwich spread on each slice of bread on the side opposite the oil. When the tofu and mushrooms are done, layer two slices of tofu, a third of the mushrooms, 1/3 of the spinach, and a couple of slices of onion on each sandwich. Place on grill for about two minutes on each side, pressing with either a large spatula or a large lid (see below), and then serve.
How I press'em.
Panini with cassava chips and red grapes.
* The tofu keeps well in the fridge, so you can make one sandwich a night for three days in a row. Hot damn.
February 28, 2009
We went to Manitou Springs for my birthday last weekend and had a really great time. If you're in Colorado and looking for a laid back and inexpensive mini-vacation, follow these steps:
1. Make a reservation at Gray's Avenue Hotel (actually a bed and breakfast). There are several rooms under or around $100 a night in the off season. We stayed in the Osage, which was super cozy and had me squeeing with delight about the canopy bed.
Photo from bbonline.com.
Danny gave them a heads up that we're vegan, and when we arrived they had a plate of almond butter, fruit, and crackers waiting. Gwen made us vegan cookies that night, and tofu scramble, vegan pancakes, and vegan blueberry muffins on Saturday and Sunday morning.
Bourge it up with wine in the hot tub before bed, and don't forget to pet the resident furries on your way out to explore.
2. Go hiking in Garden of the Gods. Admission is free, the hiking is easy, and the views are beautiful.
3. Eat at Adam's Mountain Cafe. I was a little peeved when they didn't have any vegan appetizers on the menu, but then I realized that it's not actually a vegetarian restaurant, and our main courses were so good that I forgot about it.
Pear salad with apple vinaigrette.
Senegalese vegetables with tempeh. I would eat this every day if I could.
Pan seared tofu with udon noodles.
PS. Before you leave, be sure to check your luggage for stowaways.
February 25, 2009
And by we, I mean me. Since November I have been bouncing from Florida to DC to job hunting in Denver with not much time for web logging. But now I'm back and ready to talk about lentils.
I don't know a whole lot about about the nutritional value of many of my favorite foods, and so I've been studying up (ie, Wikipedia) almost every time I cook. Last night I made Egyptian Style Lentil Soup from Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, and was pleasantly surprised by what I learned while the soup was simmering. They are packed with fiber, protein, folate, magnesium, and iron. Plus, they cook quickly and don't require soaking, which means they can be thrown into quick weeknight soups like this one:
So easy, so good.
Red lentils are smaller than other varieties, and turn a light orange color when cooked.
I used red lentils to give it a warm, cheery color, and dressed it up with vegan sour cream and diced tomatoes (not exactly appropriate for the Egyptian style soup, but delicious nonetheless). Fennel seeds, cumin, and oven roasted onions will make your house smell heavenly. Warm flatbread (or whatever you have on hand) is necessary to sop up the last bits of soup in your bowl.
If you're looking to vary your protein sources and up your iron intake (good advice for vegans and non-vegans alike), try this soup, or one of these recipes:
French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme
Dazee's Misr Allecha
Spiced Lentils and Rice
February 7, 2009
January 2, 2009
Guess what I found at the Minneapolis-Paul airport? A little kiosk called French Meadow Bakery (right next to the the Chili's Too near Concourse G) that had two to-go meals specifically labeled vegan. One was a "spa salad" that included tofu, nuts, dried fruit, olives, and some other stuff, and one was a wrap with grilled tofu, spinach, carrots, kalamata olives, and hummus with a side salad of mixed greens and white balsamic vinaigrette.
And the tofu was really good!
The label, so you can spot it the next time you are stuck at MSP.
I usually associate traveling (the getting to and from part) with eating food that's terrible and/or terrible for me, so this was a nice surprise. I also noticed a place called Maui Taco (near gate C5) that seemed to have several vegan options.
I wonder which airport is the most vegan friendly. Atlanta has Moe's (Tofu Moos!) and Greensboro has Alternative Baking Company cookies at their book stores, but at the moment I can't think of any other airport (besides MSP) where I've found something better than a bagel.
December 30, 2008
I have missed my web log. The flu (zomg vegans are so unhealthy) and travel (three cancelled flights!) have made it tough to update. But I am back, and boy oh boy do I have some porn for you.
Danny and I got stuck in Greensboro, North Carolina when our flight home was cancelled, so we made the best of it by getting a cheap hotel, a teensy little rental car, and searching Happy Cow. Boba House was the only vegetarian place listed in Greensboro, and the reviews were great so we gave it a go.
It was so good. Let me show you:
Vegan bubble tea, in Lycee.
Lettuce wraps with vegan chicken. Awesome seasoning and dipping sauce. Messy and fun.
Mixed bowl with grilled chicken, which you can't see, but was excellent.
Seared tuna. This was amazing. It had skin! And tuna texture! And tuna flavor! And the sauce was great.
Kahlua cake. So delicious. Danny doesn't even like chocolate cake (I know, right?), and he was scraping the plate.
I would like to take this opportunity to talk about mock meats. Someone recently asked me why I even bother with them. "If you don't like to eat meat, what's the point? If you want a meat-like food, why not just eat meat?" I know a few people that have gone veg because they dislike the taste of meat, but I think that ethics, environment, and health are probably (by far) the biggest reasons that people choose not to eat meat.
Ethics and environment are the two most important reasons that I went vegan. The grossness of meat was barely a factor. I am grossed out by thinking about where meat comes from, but I think that falls under ethics. The bottom line is that I liked the taste of some meats, especially fish, and am always psyched to find a good substitute. The tuna at Boba House is an amazing substitute, and I am on a mission to find out how to get it here.
So to answer the questions above, I like the taste of meat, but it's cruel and environmentally irresponsible to eat it, so I don't. I like to have a distinct, toothsome protein at most meals, and mock meats, home made or store bought, fit this niche.
I am curious to hear what other vegans and vegetarian think about mock meats. Be sure to send me a link if you post on this.
November 19, 2008
I have agonized over this menu. This is the first time I am hosting Thanksgiving on my own (usually I cook everything but the turkey at my parents' house), and the first time I am replacing the turkey for anyone but myself.
I am usually not the least bit apologetic about denying meat to people I cook for, but some reason omitting The Thanksgiving Turkey is intimidating to me. I keep googling pictures of live turkeys to remind myself how ridiculous it is worry about it.
Bubbles, a turkeylet rescued by Farm Sanctuary. Go to their website to adopt a turkey.
Anyway, here's the menu:
Aged Cashew Cheese with Crackers (Dr. Cow)
Maple Cinnamon Caramel Corn (Hooray Vegan Zine)
Seitan Chops Smothered in Apples and Ginger (Post Punk Kitchen Blog)
Seriously Decadent Mashed Potatoes (Hooray Vegan Zine)
Rosemary Mushroom Gravy (Hooray Vegan Zine)
Green Bean Casserole (FatFree Vegan Kitchen)
Cranberry Walnut and Sage Stuffing (Hooray Vegan Zine)
Cranberry Orange Relish (FatFree Vegan Kitchen)
Garlic Roasted Acorn Squash (See instructions below)
Roasted Fennel and Hazelnut Salad with Shallot Dressing (Veganomicon)
Potato Rolls (From a bakery cuz my oven will be stuffed already)
Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream (Bryanna's recipe)
Chocolate Chip Cookies (Post Punk Kitchen Blog)
Hot Spiced Cider (There's a guy that makes it local)
Garlic Roasted Acorn Squash, courtesy of freeganvegan on the ppk:
Cut acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds, place 2-3 garlic cloves in each half, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake. The squash and garlic get roasty toasty together, then you mash the roasted garlic in with the squash.
Pictures in a week! Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll!
November 14, 2008
I have been reading some news and working on some things that are making me a bit depressed about the state of the world. It's good to stay informed, and even better to act on the issues you feel strongly about, but sometimes we need a break. So today I am giving you news that is all delicious and happy and warm and fuzzy. Enjoy!
1. Isa made chocolate chip cookies, and you can too.
2. Adam from the ppk is getting a new tattoo. Well, maybe not, but this picture from DIY SLO is awesome enough to be a tattoo.
3. California's Prop 2 passed!
4. bjorkedoff invented Peanut Butter Pudge Bars.
5. Natalie Dee is great.
6. G Dub will be out of office in no time.
7. Baby animals are still really, really cute.
Today's squishy news brought to you by Hooray Vegan.
November 8, 2008
When I was a wee vegan, way back in the 1990s, shoe options were slim. Or at least they were in Tavares, Florida. In junior high I waited for weeks for a pair of vegan Doc Martens that had to be shipped all the way from the UK. I loved my Vegetan boots, but I was so bummed at how much of a pain it was to find cruelty free shoes. There were online resources, but for the most part they weren't my style (think hemp mary janes and Chuck Taylor copycats that were just a little too clunky).
Yesterday we went shoe shopping, and I was impressed by how far we've come. Ahimsa in Denver is an all-vegan shoes and accessories store that has bags, wallets, and men's and women's shoes that fit a nice variety of tastes. The service and location are great, and the selection is lovely. And you can shop online!
Peep* my new boots. Take that, rain and snow.
Danny got some excellent velcro sneakers. Senior citizenship, here we come!
Be sure to visit Ahimsa if you are ever in Denver (or on the internet, for that matter). I need them to stick around. Below is a list of other shops and websites where you can find vegan shoes and other faux-leather accessories. Let me know if I am missing one that you love!
MooShoes in New York
Herbivore in Portland
Vegetarian Shoes and Bags (online)
Alternative Outfitters (online)
Vans has a vegan section!
The Vegan Collection: Men's business shoes online
*Slang courtesy of Patrick Kiernan.
November 3, 2008
I thought about naming this post Barack Losagna, but I don't want to jinx anything. Anyway, this lasagna is way good, and an excellent dish to serve to skeptical omnivores.
9 cooked lasagna noodles, rinsed and ready (tonight I used whole wheat to make up for the cake I had for lunch)
Alfredo Sauce adapted from Lachesis on the PPK
1/3 C Earth Balance
2 C soymilk (unsweetened is best)
12 oz silken tofu
1 T white wine or lemon juice
2 t onion powder
2-3 t garlic powder
1 t salt
Fresh black pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
1 T arrowroot powder
1 batch tofu ricotta (I use this one)
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 lb fresh spinach
Handful chopped sundried tomatoes
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t thyme
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Fresh basil, chopped (optional)
Lightly grease a 9x13 pan with olive oil and preheat the oven to 375. Combine all ingredients for the sauce puree with a hand mixer, blender, or food processor. Heat sauce in a pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until ready to use.
Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about a minute. Add the mushrooms and sundried tomatoes and saute for one minute more, and then add the spinach (you may have to add the spinach in 3 or 4 batches) and spices. Move the spinach around with tongs until it is just wilted, about 3 minutes.
Ladle about 1/3 cup of sauce into the lasagna pan and spread it evenly. Layer 3 lasagna noodles, half the ricotta, half the vegetables, and 1/3 of the remaining sauce. Layer another three noodles, the remaining half of the ricotta, the remaining half of the vegetables, and another 1/3 of the sauce. Place on the last three noodles, ladle on the remaining sauce, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove, allow to cool for 5 minutes, garnish with basil (if using) and serve, maybe with a simple salad and garlic bread.
I forgot to take a lasagna picture, but I will leave you with Danny's gorgeously minced garlic. I have no patience for mincing so I am always impressed.
Damn garlic, you are looking fine.
October 23, 2008
So. Some background: I hail from Florida, and though I am currently in Denver, I am voting via absentee ballot in the upcoming election. Florida's ballot includes a proposed amendment to the constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. This pisses me right off, and I can't believe that this is 2008 and I am actually seeing something so backwards on an election ballot. And I would really like to see Florida not pass this ridiculous homophobic amendment. So what do I do?
I bribe my friends. With cookies.
Erin, my good friend and a Hooray Vegan zine tester, was the first to come through.
I am positive that Erin was already planning on voting, and I am pretty sure that our finished ballots would look the same, but I love love love that she submitted this, and that so many others have responded with promises to get out and vote in exchange for cookies. I love cookie bribery, and the idea that we could maybe bring about the revolution via vegan baked goods.
October 22, 2008
This is a sneak preview from the zine. It's seriously addictive, travels well (Care packages! Holiday gifts!), and is super easy to make.
6-8 C popped corn (Or one bag microwave popcorn)
Handful or so of peanuts (optional)
¾ C packed brown sugar
6 T vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
3 T pure maple syrup (Agave syrup or corn syrup works also)
¼ t salt
¼ t baking soda
¼ t vanilla
Preheat oven to 300. Combine popcorn and peanuts (if using) in large baking sheet that has sides.
In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, margarine, syrup, and salt. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils. Cook without stirring 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour over popcorn and stir gently, coating popcorn. Bake at 300 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir, and bake 5 minutes more. Remove from oven, stir, and carefully pour the popcorn on another large baking sheet. Stir carefully with fingers to separate while cooling. Serve when completely cooled.
That's Christopher Columbus the cow in the background, in case you were wondering.
And huge thanks to all the awesome Hooray Vegan testers: Cait (Cornfields and Cookies), Elizabeth, Erin (Sundays in the Kitchen with Betty), Heather (The Liberal Vegan), Jennifer, Kristy, Lila, Lisa (panda with cookie), Mary, Stephanie. Visit their blogs and Etsy shops!
October 15, 2008
I do not believe in ghosts. Well, not really. Well, sort of.
I didn't believe in ghosts at all until a ghost happened to me. This is the story of that ghost, and the incredible supernatural power of vegan food. So turn off your lights, put on some spooky music, and settle in for tonight's edition of Vegan MoFo's Spooky Stories.
In the fall of my sophomore year of college, my roommate (Stephanie) and I moved into a brand new townhouse downtown, which was inexplicably within our price range. We couldn't believe our luck, as our last apartment had been about a third of the size and very old. The floorboards creaked, the walls groaned as they settled, and shortly before moving out we were told that the place was originally a halfway house for the abandoned insane asylum down the street. As much as we loved the charm of our first apartment, we were thrilled to be rid of its spookiness, and welcomed the extra space of our new townhouse.
I was especially excited about being able to have a desk in my room. My mom and dad drove down to help us move, and brought with them an old library desk. My mom found the desk in a junk store, and estimated it to be about 80 years old. It was dark and heavy and had an inkwell. It was the last piece of furniture to be moved in, and we lugged it upstairs and then went downtown to celebrate.
Things didn't get weird until we had lived there about a month. One morning I woke up, went into my bathroom, and saw that my soap was missing. I am absentminded and tend to misplace things so I didn't think much of it when I found it on my desk later that morning. But later that week, the soap moved again. This time, I distinctly remembered that I had washed my hands before bed, and then closed my bathroom door so that my dog wouldn't shred the toilet paper or raid the trash can.
I mentioned this to Stephanie, and her eyes got wide. She said that strange things had been happening to her as well. Several times, when she was home alone in the evening, she would hear me come home. She could hear my keys jingling, the door opening, and my backpack dropping to the floor. The dogs would go nuts and run downstairs, and then return to her bedroom, all nervous with bristled fur. When she'd call hello, there would be no answer. When she went downstairs, there would be no signs that I had come home.
After she told me that, the soap started moving on a nightly basis. And then other things would move; makeup, keys, even shoes. And it always moved to the desk.
The idea of a ghost seemed ridiculous to us, but we couldn't explain what was happening. We decided to experiment one evening, to be sure that it wasn't a friend, or even one of us, pulling a prank. I shut and locked my bathroom door, and put a small piece of clear tape over the door and doorjam. We shut, locked, and taped the door of the apartment as well, and left for the grocery store. It is important to mention here that no one else but our landlord, who lived over an hour away, had a key to our apartment. When we returned a half an hour later, we found the tape undisturbed and the doors locked. And everything that was on my bathroom counter was now on my desk.
At this point, we were uneasy. Even scared. But I was still skeptical, and expected a reasonable explanation to turn up. A week or so passed and nothing happened, and I was deep into midterms and nearly forgot about the strangeness in our apartment.
And then one night, very early in the morning, I woke to the sound of an axe chopping wood. I sat straight up in bed, eyes wide open and instantly awake, and stared at my desk, which was directly in front of my bed. The desk was fine and everything was in order. And then I heard the chopping again, but much louder this time. It sounded like someone was chopping firewood in my bedroom, right in from of my bed. It was clear and close and incredibly loud. I ran to the window, hoping to see a lumberjack on the front stoop at four in the morning. The street was empty, and the sound was now behind me, where my desk was, and growing louder. The room went instantly cold, and the chopping got faster and more intense, and I got the distinct impression that my desk was being hacked to pieces.
I ran to Stephanie's room and jumped into bed with her, shrieking. The next morning, I found my desk exactly as I had left it. Nothing on it had moved and inch, and it was certainly not in pieces all over the floor. I freaked. We both freaked.
I called my friend Elizabeth, who knows about ghosts and witches and all manner of spooky things. I usually thought her hobbies (tarot cards, seances, books on witchcraft) were silly, but I was desperate and scared and needed some help. Elizabeth, totally, unruffled, told us what to do. And we did it.
She supposed that it was the desk that was haunted, and recommended that we concentrate our ghost-eviction activities there. First, she said, we had to introduce ourselves to the ghost, and tell it that it was scaring us, and that we'd like very much for it to leave. So we did. (The vegan part of this story is next. Pay close attention.) Second, she said, we should cleanse the space by burning sage. So we did. And the third, and most important step, was to make a peace offering. She said beer and bread was the most traditional offering, and thought to be the most effective. So we left a poppy seed bagel and a Miller High Life on the desk, and left the ghost to ponder its behavior. When we returned, the bagel was gone and the beer was empty. And after that, the spookiness stopped.
I think the moral of the story is that vegan food can fix nearly everything. And that is the spirit of Vegan MoFo.
Epilogue: When we moved the following fall, I took the desk back to my parents' house. It is there now, in the library of their hundred year old home. I, Stephanie, and her now husband Patrick recently visited my parents, and Patrick took pictures of the house. Check out his picture of the library:
It could be a wonky flash or a trick of the light. Or it could be something else. If it is, I would bet that it's nothing a little tofu couldn't fix.
October 12, 2008
Sometimes, I really, really like cooking alone. My favorite cooking situation involves the following:
1. Plenty of time to prep and do things right (pie crusts are homemade, vegetables are chopped before the stove is turned on, etc).
2. Guests or housemates not showing up until just before dinner/brunch/whatever is to be served.
3. Loud music of my choosing. Music so loud that it covers up my terrible singing. Music that I know every single word to, and that my roommates and friends are sick of.
So today's MoFo post is my top five favorite albums to cook to. Don't make too much fun of me. Here they are in sort of random order:
1. The Avett Brothers - Emotionalism
This one was introduced to me by Patrick and Stephanie, and it is definitely for brunch. I've never heard this band properly classified. They're always described with several genres, and they're rarely the same from review to review. Punk/bluegrass/rock/country/folk/whatever. They are fantastic, and I play a whole lot of spatula banjo when this album is on.
Also, they've got the Hot Jesus thing down pat. *Swoonswoon*
2. The Misfits - Self titled
Danzig may be kind of a jerk, but this album is awesome if you have several dozen cookies to crank out.
3. Ben Kweller - Sha Sha
One of my old roommates appropriately renamed this "Sing Along with BK." This album is cozy, and I like it best for soups, pot pies, and other wintery foods.
4. Cat Power - The Greatest
She is so lovely, and her voice is so smooth and and sultry. For some reason this album makes me want to drink red wine, and so dinner is usually pasta and bruschetta.
5. Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block
This is also one of my favorite albums to ride bicycles to. I think it's because of all the whistling.