Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Day 15: OMG, Barack Obama is coming over because he knows you make awesome vegan food! What are you going to make?

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Kale to the Chief! I think Obama would enjoy something 'homey' like this lentil, quinoa, and kale stew (a recipe found in Isa Does It). The stew is full of nutritious and comforting deliciousness without seeming too imposing; it's not a dish that screams 'I want to impress you, Mr. President!", which I like. I believe he would also enjoy scotch and soda as an apéritif or after the stew but before dessert. For dessert I had some pears hanging around so I made something up: Pear Pecan Upside-Down Spice Cake! It came out delicious...and kind of tasted a little like pumpkin pie? Whatever, I'm into it. I would serve Obama up a slice with a little whipped cream (homemade rad whip or slightly sweetened coconut cream or Soyatoo) and perhaps more pecans and a dusting of cinnamon for garnish.

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Pear Pecan Upside-Down Spice Cake 

Yield :: 8-10 servings | Bake :: 375°F, 40-45 minutes
Adapted from the 'Pineapple Upside-Down Cake' recipe in Isa Does It

  • Apple Pecan Upside-Down Spice Cake: Substitute pears with apples.
  • Another Nut: Substitute pecans with walnuts or almonds.
  • Pumpkin: Substitute unsweetened applesauce with pumpkin puree.
  • Sweet Potato: Substitute unsweetened applesauce with sweet potato puree.

Continue for the recipe!

Day 16: What’s your favorite late summer food?

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Plentiful colorful bowls with raw veggies. Since I already shared a post about ice cream, I now turn to another favorite summer tradition to write about.

For tonight's particular 'late summer bowl', I marinated some pressed firm tofu in buffalo sauce (and a few other ingredients) for a couple hours then seared the tofu in a cast iron skillet with olive oil. I chose couscous for the 'grain' of the bowl because of how fast it is to make, then added the seared buffalo tofu and topped the bowl with raw vegetables: carrot ribbons, diced tomatoes, shredded zucchini, and chopped green onion. The 'sauce' component of the bowl was an avocado ranch dressing recipe I found in (you guessed it!) Isa Does It, made with an avocado, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, garlic cloves, and fresh dill (plus a few other things). I really loved this bowl.

Any time I eat so many raw veggies or fruits at once, it feels like summer. If we were still caught in the dead heat of July, I also could have easily made this into a big salad with a bed of lettuce and it would have been just as satisfyingly delicious. All summer I also drink an inordinate amount of smoothies - but those aren't very interesting because they're usually only comprised of 3 or 4 ingredients. I also love when late summer tomatoes flood the farmer's markets so I can make fresh tomato soup, but that doesn't scream 'summer' to me. It's this time of year that I kind of dread the upcoming gloominess of a Portland autumn and the long months of winter, but I also look forward to squash and holiday baking...but how are we already half-way through September? *sighs*

Day 13: It’s kitchen tour time!

I love kitchens. More specifically, I love organized kitchens and the personal touches many people decorate them with. I am so enamored with Kittee's beautiful colorful kitchen. And have you seen the backspash and counter space that Vegan Richa has? Then, of course, there's the sheer size and the hanging pots and pans and things of Julia Child's kitchen. Sigh. What joy!

I have only lived in my current apartment for just over two months. At first, I was incredibly annoyed by my tiny kitchen. No counter space! Only one utensil drawer! I have to light the oven with a match!? The sink is even small! Where do you put the toaster?! However, since investing in a few organizational items, my feelings have definitely changed. My kitchen still needs a few decorative touches and perhaps I will refine my organizational tactics even further - but I have grown to love my kitchen despite its size.

View from the entryway.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Day 14: Share something vegan with a non-vegan.

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I share vegan food with a non-vegan every day of my life. Keith and I have been living together for over a year now and he'll eat any vegan 'hippie' food I put in front of him. He has even gotten to the point that he prefers his coffee with soy creamer and agave nectar. He loves tempeh and vegan sausages and is incredibly considerate when we decide to go out to eat. He is aware that one vegan option on a menu (usually another lackluster veggie burger) isn't acceptable and he knows that vegan food is so creative and enticing and delicious and full of potenial. He gets it but he also isn't ready to give up his corned beef reuben quite yet. C'est la vie.

Last night we shared the Buffalo 666 pizza from Sizzle Pie: shredded buffalo jackfruit, Daiya mozzarella, red onion, vegan ranch, and green onion. Delicious! Just the right amount of spicy and you could actually taste the ranch sauce. We've only ever tried one of their other vegan pies and it was waaaaaaaay spicy, the Evil Never Dies: Aardvark hot sauce, tofu cheese, seitan chorizo, tomato, jalapeno, red onion, and cilantro. I had to use some hummus to cut the heat! And I love spicy things! Eventually I know we'll try nearly all of them to find our favorite...

Today is my first day off in awhile so I will actually be able to catch up on MoFo posts. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Days 10, 11, & 12: Something blue, a nutrient, & my favorite cookbook.

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I apologize for the delay. I'm working 7 days straight this week and shifts have been extra long so I have been very tired. I haven't forgotten about MoFo, I promise! Quite the contrary. I love MoFo with all my little vegan heart.

For Day 10's 'Something Blue', I emailed Backwoods Brewing Company to make sure that all their beers are vegan - and they are (at least that's what Kevin Waters' reply told me!). We drank their blueberry wheat ale and it was pretty nice! I'm usually not into flavored beers, but the blueberry was subtle and pleasant. They also have an eatery in Carson (in Washington state) that offers Daiya on pizzas alongside their microbrews. Yum! I'd be interested in checking that out...

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For Day 11's 'Focus on a Nutrient', I'm afraid I have to be a little lazy and just show you the vitamins I swallow a few times a week. I bought them a few weeks ago because I was feeling sluggish and they seem to have helped. Otherwise, I get my B12 from fortified nondairy milks and other food items.

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Day 12's 'favorite cookbook' was kind of a difficult decision for me. Sure, I could name off any one of Isa's books - but that answer didn't feel quite right. My favorite cookbooks are actually books about Julia Child's life in the kitchen. Nothing inspires me more than her dedication and unrelenting desire to learn new skills. Of course she was far from vegan, but she consistently helps me to renew my culinary excitement and for that I am very grateful. Thanks, Julia.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Day 9: Most retro recipe.

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Triple C: Cheezy Chickpea Casserole. Nothing says 'retro' to me like a casserole. I can imagine kitchens filled with home cooks - like Kitty from That '70s Show - pulling bubbly casseroles out of their oven at least once a week. Casseroles are easy, filling, and can be made out of nearly anything.

Kitty in her 'retro' kitchen.

Part of the inspiration for this dish was Alice Cooper's Funky Tuna Casserole from Cool Cooking: Recipes of Your Favorite Rock Stars (published in 1972). Alice's casserole ingredients include condensed cream of mushroom soup, milk, a can of tuna, cashews, salt, celery, onion, and a can of chow mein noodles. My casserole is composed of what I had on hand in my kitchen: chickpeas, cashews, some leftover split pea rutabaga soup, onion, celery, garlic, carrot, nutritional yeast, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, miso, whole wheat fusilli, breadcrumbs, Follow Your Heart Provolone, and some spices. The result? Hearty delicious goodness. And dinner for tomorrow night, too.

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Day 8: Reach out! Make a new vegan friend.

I work in Portland's 'Vegan Mini-Mall'. If you've never heard of it, it's a little strip-mall in Oregon that includes Sweetpea Baking Co., Herbivore Clothing Company, Food Fight Vegan Grocery, and Scapegoat Tattoo. I absolutely love it; I also live insanely close and so am always buying gifts at Herbivore and last-minute grocery items from Food Fight. I also plan to get a wheat stalk tattoo at Scapegoat before the new year.

I bring this up because the people who work at and visit these businesses are quite often vegan and are usually really awesome. I meet new vegan people all the time. I'm not great at socializing, but the everyone who works at the mini-mall is generally friendly, welcoming, and happy to see you.

With that being said - if you're ever in Portland, come say hi! We have desserts, awesome clothing, snacks for the road, and talented tattoo artists that only use vegan so much more! It's kind of a magical place. I'm a spoiled vegan, I can say that much.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Day 7: Make/eat something inspired by a book or film.

No Holds Barred Ice Cream Sundaes are definitely one of Kevin McCallister's specialties. In the original Home Alone, Kevin enjoys his overflowing sundae while lounging in the living room of his parents' house. In Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, the audience enjoys a similar scene with Kevin relaxing on a king-sized bed in a hotel room at the Plaza. The second setting allows Kevin to enjoy luxurious room service complete with a full sundae bar - and even someone to make the decadent dessert for him (see the short clip posted below).

In true Home Alone fashion, and with Labor Day marking the near-end of summer, ice cream seemed like the perfect goodbye to the sunny season I hold so dear. Also: raspberries + chocolate on a sundae was a GREAT decision. Highly recommended.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Day 6: Recreate a restaurant meal.

So I've never really liked Olive Garden, but I appreciate the premise behind their 'Unlimited Soup, Salad, and Breadsticks' meal. I love soup. I love bread. I appreciate a good salad. It's the perfect combination of nutritious and comforting nearly-Autumn components. Totally into it.

I decided to make the split-pea rutabaga soup from Isa Does It with whole wheat buttery garlic breadsticks (an adapted challah recipe) and a green salad comprised of romaine, microgreens, carrot, tomatoes, red onions, and goddess dressing.  I didn't make an 'unlimited' amount of these things, but we definitely have more food than we could possibly eat tonight. Yum! We shared sherry for the first time and all was right with the world.

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Day 5: Best sandwich ever.

Marinated tempeh and thousand island recipes courtesy of Vegan with a Vengeance. This sandwich was originally going to be a reuben but the grocery store across the street (Food Fight!) ran out of sauerkraut and this happened instead. I'm a big tempeh fan, and love cooking with wine and eating sprouts/microgreens, so this overall sammie experience was a delight.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Day 4: Tell us about a weird food combo that you love.

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We adopted a seven year old cat today and named him Fry. We bought him a gold glittery collar and an overpriced scratching post/perch. I love him even though I barely know him; he won't stop licking me and nuzzling my laptop. Fry is as weird of a food combination (cat + potatoes) as I can offer today - but I'll be back with more delicious vegan food tomorrow, I promise.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Day 3: Quick, easy, and delicious.

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I worked a 9 hour shift today and didn't sleep well last night, so this is the perfect prompt for me as I relax on the couch in this zombie-daze induced by physical labor and starting my day at 4:15 AM... Lucky for me, I work with food and have access to all the delicious items that my co-workers prepare. I took a coffee break this morning and after my shift was over I made myself a meal at the sandwich station: tempeh bacon on wheat with cashew cheese, avocado, red onion, lemon tahini dressing, a pickle, and a side of kale salad. Basically, all I had to do was assemble my to-go box and bring it home. I'm spoiled.

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 Other than taking free food from work, tonight I'll just be eating leftover soup reheated on the stove. Oh, and probably some more pear tart. Yeah, definitely some pear tart.

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See y'all tomorrow! Hope you had an easy-peasy delicious day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Day 2: Recreate a meal from your childhood.

When I was a kid, my parents and I used to visit Andrew's Family Restaurant nearly every Friday night. I would always order a big bowl of clam chowder, the 'Soup of the Day', which I thought seemed so important. We also had the same waitress for each visit (Linda!) and once she gave me a pin just like her's of a yellow smiley face with angry eyebrows that read 'I AM smiling!'.  From then on I wore the pin each time we went to Andrew's. I still have that pin.

Andrew's has since gone out of business and the building is now a Mexican restaurant, but I have such fond memories of that clam chowder - the taste, the ambiance of the restaurant, the feeling of the school week being over and the weekend just ahead of me, the idea that my parents and I were out for our 'special' meal, etc. I really loved that soup and all the things it represented.

So a few years ago when I saw the recipe on Post Punk Kitchen for New England Glam Chowder, I was stoked. I hadn't eaten anything resembling clam chowder in so long and this looked exactly like what I was craving. I made this recipe for the first time this past winter with mushrooms I bought at the farmer's market but obviously I needed to make it again for MoFo. I've never been to New England, so I don't know if any of the chowders I've devoured have been 'authentic', but I do know that this version takes the cake.

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The shiitakes! Swoon. In addition to the chowdah, today I also baked a pear tart from some fruit off of Uncle Dennis' tree. I think the pears may have been underripe, but oh well. Tasted good enough.

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Now I really need to go to sleep! Goodnight MoFos!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Happy VeganMoFo!

Hello! My favorite time of year is here again! 

For the entire month of September, Vegan Pastry School will be an official VeganMoFo participant! Vegan Month of Food is a delightful celebration across the internet and I am very grateful and excited to be involved in all the merrymaking. What does this mean? Well, I may post some recipes to further our baking and pastry arts agenda, but mostly I'll be enthusiastically following the daily MoFo prompts.  Take note that my participation will not be limited to this blog - I will also be posting on Instagram - so follow me there, too! I'm excited to see what September has in store for our beautiful vegan blogosphere...

Day 1: Rise and Shine! It’s MoFo time! Tell us about your breakfast.

Breakfast is my favorite. Period. When asked about my favorite type of food, I will always answer 'breakfast food.' A hearty and delicious vegan breakfast will always make me beam with joy and feel as if I can take on any of the day's challenges.

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Lucky for me, I have the first day of MoFo off of work and was able to make a proper meal. I had some leftover black beans and brown rice in the fridge from last night's dinner and so decided to throw them into a tofu scramble with onions, garlic, poblano peppers, and spinach (topped with some Tapatío, of course). Also pictured above is a slice of sourdough toast with loganberry jam from Maryhill Fruitstand plus a simple smoothie comprised of frozen bananas, MaraNatha coconut almond butter, unsweetened almond milk, and a dusting of cocoa powder (because why not?).

This breakfast definitely hit the spot! Lots of protein, spicy and sweet, fruits and vegetables both represented... I'm ready to crush this Tuesday and be a productive member of society! ...or something. I hope your breakfast was just as satisfying!