vegan mofo: closing time

I really wanted to MoFo more this month, but things always seem to get in the way. Mainly laziness, but I have at least been taking pictures of the food I’ve been making. Tonight isn’t a real post, except to say that after MoFo is over this time around,  I plan on posting regularly, instead of taking another 2 year hiatus. Tonight I leave you with the picture of dinner I took Friday night from this awesome little Vietnamese/Japanese style restaurant called Tao. They make their own tofu, and let me tell you…it is G-O-O-D. They start you off with a mixed green salad topped with roasted almonds and their homemade tofu (on the house!) and then you get a scoop of ice cream for free at the end. Mostly the ice cream isn’t vegan, so instead I get some fresh strawberries and mango slices with fruit sauce on top. Also right next door there is a popsicle shop (Viva Pops) with many vegan flavors (some agave sweetened, even!), so I never feel like I’m missing out.

Aaaannnnyway, Friday I got their string beans with eggplant dish and added braised tofu for 2 bucks. Totally worth it! I mean, look at this beautiful plate of food! The beans are like spaghetti! Pretty sure I will be getting this every time now.

eggplant with stringbeans
Next week posting will be tricky for me, but The week after I will try to be back in full effect! Happy end of MoFo everyone!


October 31, 2011 at 6:58 am 2 comments

vegan mofo: spagheeetti romeeesco

When I had cable, I would pretty much only watch cooking shows, and those mostly on Food Network (surprise!). Giada DeLaurentis was a favorite of mine, as almost all of her recipes were really simple, and therefore easy to veganize. I never saw her make romesco sauce, but whenever I say spaghetti, I either pronounce it spa-ghee-ti out loud or in my head.

Lately I’ve only been buying whole wheat pasta, and while I used to dislike it greatly, I now know that if it’s cooked just right, it can be just as delicious as its less healthy white counterpart. For this recipe I used whole wheat spaghetti (which turned out tasting almost like regular somehow), and based the sauce off the chickpea romesco sauce I made once out of Veganomicon.

I haven’t really looked at the original recipe since then, but this sauce is so versatile it can be made by throwing the basic ingredients in a food processor without measuring too much, then heating it through. I’ve made it with only raw almonds, a mix of roasted and raw almonds, canned plum tomatoes with basil, fire-roasted tomatoes, fresh basil (added in at the end), dried tarragon (the secret herb my mom always put in her tomato sauce), red pepper flakes, and anywhere from one to three roasted bell peppers. It ALWAYS turns out scrumtrulescently, and can be poured on pretty much anything.

spaghetti romesco

The version pictured above had a higher ratio of almonds to tomatoes than usual, as well as a really big garlic clove that was processed in with everything, so the sauce had to be cooked a bit longer to mellow out the flavor. I LOVE THIS SAUCE!

October 27, 2011 at 6:49 am Leave a comment

vegan mofo: slacktown

Yep, that’s right. I have been living in Slacktown. If you lived in Slacktown, too, I’d say “sue me!” but it’s just me here, crossing the border into Lesser Slackington.

Here are some terrible phone pictures from the fancy meal I had last week at Local Habit, accompanied by brief descriptions.

corn puddin
Corn pudding (more like a slab of slightly sweet polenta) topped with grilled onions, raw carrots, and a light dressing with some strong olive oil. It was tasty, but the olive oil actually overpowered the flavor of the pudding, so I was a bit disappointed in this one. The beer was a Bavarian Hefeweizen which was awesome.

caramelized onion tart with tomato

Caramelized onion tart with roasted garlic and fresh tomato. This was my favorite course of the night. The crust was flaky and tender, and all the flavors were very present. I’m a simple gal, so I like me some simple food. The beer was a fruity Saison, brewed specially for this dinner. Also pretty tasty!

potato pot pie
Truffled potato pot pie. Hard to go wrong with this one! Everyone I sat with liked this the most out of all the dishes. The beer was a brown ale, which went well with the pot pie.

By this point I was pretty tipsy, so…no picture of the fourth course – buckwheat noodles with roasted mushrooms, allspice, and roasted veggie broth. The beer paired with this one was a Rye IPA, less strong than your typical IPA, which I liked about it. The mushrooms were good, though I wasn’t a huge fan of the noodles. They had a bit of a plasticky after taste.

yam tart

I just barely managed to take this picture. This yam and sweet potato tart was another favorite of the night, though the agave caramel was kinda disappointing – more like sauce than caramel. The beer was a fantastic Imperial Porter…very chocolatey, coffee-ee, and all around delicious. That and the Hefeweizen were my favorite beers of the night.

All in all a great experience! Next time I hope they get a little more creative with the vegan options…add a little protein source here and there. They’ve got almond ricotta on their menu, so I know they can do it!

October 25, 2011 at 1:39 am Leave a comment

vegan mofo: another week, another meal plan

I promise in the next week or so I will post pictures of my tasty 5 course meal from last night, but in the meantime, I’ve run my fancy meal planning script again and have some ideas for the next couple weeks!

Here’s what the script came up with this time…all quite possible to stick closely to.

My meal ideas:

Veggie/almond/pistachio biryani
Stuffed acorn squash (w/creamy tofu rice and beans)
Oxtail-barley stew using Gardein beefless tips
Greek fava bean brunch with whole grain pita (spelt?)
Lentil sweet potato loaf with Thai curry

Any suggestions for the Greek brunch and stuffed squash would be helpful! Haven’t quite got those down in my head yet.

October 20, 2011 at 5:57 am 1 comment

vegan mofo: tofu tikka masala, roasted indian spiced veggies

tofu tikka masala

I really wanted this Tikka Masala to work out, but it tasted nothing like I remember. I thought it was pretty good, and my husband really liked it though, so that’s what matters! I wasn’t able to find pre-mixed tikka masala powder, so I searched the wide web of the world to find an approximate spice mixture, then I basically used this recipe. My changes included using slightly different veggies, agave instead of honey, plain coconut yoghurt, and I fried my tofu in safflower oil before adding to the sauce. The tofu came out perfectly! Next time I’m going to use my own tomato sauce instead of canned, tryout only soy creamer, and use a lot less salt.

The picture above is the tikka masala mixed with the Indian-spiced veggies and edamame. I used this recipe except roasted everything instead! They were really tasty.

Here’s a bonus cat picture, since Susu apparently LOVED squishing herself into this box.
cat in box

October 18, 2011 at 7:55 pm 2 comments

vegan mofo: sickness spreading

I have a cold. Again. The second in as many months, and guess what? DO NOT LIKE.

So I haven’t been cooking, but I did manage to stumble upon some old food photos of things I’ve made in the past and never blogged about. I don’t remember many details, but there are a couple yummy looking things here! I’ll start with the crappier photos and work my way up.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Chocolate Ganache
I know those are fresh raspberries and chocolate ganache double layered on top of this cake, so I’m guessing it was the chocolate raspberry blackout cake from Vegan with a Vengeance. And yes, I only have ONE cake plate, ok? Don’t ask me why I took this picture of the cake in the refrigerator.

soba noodles and veggies

I think these are soba noodles with a light peanut dressing topped with cucumbers, roasted broccoli, cilantro and toasted sesame seeds.

sesame seeds, roasted broccoli, cilantro
Here are some of the toppings set up in a really nice arrangement. I don’t remember taking this picture, but I really like it. Really!

carrot soup

Lastly, here’s a creamy carrot, coconut milk, and ginger soup topped with cilantro. Mmmm, pretty!

Tomorrow, a very veg friendly restaurant here in San Diego (The Local Habit) is having a 5 course all vegetarian or vegan brewmaster’s dinner. Gotta go rest up so I’m all better for it! I’m going no matter how I feel though, you better believe it. Here’s what it says on the RSVP about it:

“Join us for this unique food and beer experience as Local Habit Chef Nick Brune and Black Market Brewing Head Brewer Ryan Brooks collaborate to bring you five delicious courses of farm fresh vegetarian/vegan food paired with five craft beers from this up and coming Temecula brewer.

First Course: Corn Pudding with Creole Trinity paired with Bavarian Hefeweizen

Second Course: Caramelized Onion & Tomato Tart paired with Saison with Coriander & Juniper Berries (cask)

Third Course: Truffled Potato Pot Pie with Carrot, Peas & Garlic paired with Anglo-American Brown Ale

Fourth Course: Roasted Mushrooms with Allspice & Nutmeg over Homemade Buckwheat Noodles paired with Rye IPA

Fifth Course: Yam Sweet Potato Tart with Agave Caramel paired with Imperial Porter (cask)”

I’m most excited about the Corn Pudding, but everything sounds so awesome. EEP!

October 17, 2011 at 8:13 pm 1 comment

vegan mofo: a chickpea is neither a chick, nor a pea

Next meal plan up: Mexican Chickpea Salad with Coconut Quinoa!

The dressing for this salad is OFF THE HEEZY, folks. Don’t skimp on the adobo, it makes the whole dish! The recipe (man her picture is so much nicer than mine!) calls for jicama, but I sadly couldn’t find any, so I used shaved (then chopped) carrots and cucumber, and LOTS of cilantro. I also doubled the recipe, but take it from me…unless you are a big eater, or are bringing this to a party, don’t double it. The dressing separated after a day and a half and started tasting funky. I really hate throwing food away, especially when it starts out so delicious! Oh, and for the dressing I used thawed frozen mango, a whole bag, which I figured amounted to about two large mangoes, hence the doubling.

The quinoa recipe is simple: 1 cup quinoa, 1 cup water, 1 cup coconut milk (I used lite), though I would recommend two cups lite coconut milk since the coconut flavor wasn’t very strong.

There is an intruder in this photo named Susu Watari, and though she seems to really love quinoa, I’d say it was more of a casual interest.

Mexican Chickpea Salad and Coconut Quinoa

October 14, 2011 at 4:48 am Leave a comment

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