Tag Archives: vegan mofo

black friday fuel

25 Nov

Or lay-on-the-couch-and-watch-TV-all-day fuel. Or Tofurky-coma-hangover-need-energy-to-tolerate-family-I-only-see-this-time-of-year fuel. Whatevs. It works in any scenario.

While you worry about the food for today, let me worry about the food for tomorrow. Use some of the leftover elements of Thanksgiving that will be lurking in your fridge, destined to mold (ah, we all have such good intentions, don’t we?), and turn them into a hearty, delicious post-Thanksgiving breakfast. Creamy yet chewy steel cut oats join forces with that last little scrap of pumpkin puree, some spices and maple syrup to make an ultimate breakfast. And with leftover cranberries on top? Ooh yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

T-Day Oats

Serves 2

2 cups water
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/4- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (depending on taste)
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1/8 teas. pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teas cinnamon
cranberry sauce (optional)

In a pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the oats and lower the temperature to a simmer. Let cook until oats absorb most of the water, about 15 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree, maple syrup and spices and mix well. Let cook until oatmeal is bubbly and cooked to desired consistency.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup and some cranberry sauce, if using.

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winner, winner, chickpea dinner!

23 Nov

When there are lots of things going on in your life at the same time, the first thing to usually go is a good meal plan. Quick fixes and faux meat tend to fill the gaps and I always can always feel it. It makes me sluggish and just feel icky, frankly.

We’re mid-move and I’m trying hard to not let that happen this time and it’s going much better than expected, thanks to my lovely rice/pressure cooker and some help from a bottle- Original Yumm! Sauce from Cafe Yumm! Yumm Sauce is an indescribable, tangy, cheezy sauce that makes everything delicious. Jess even made her own version of it (with links to other adaptations!), so you can try it, too!

yay! crappy cell phone pic!

Quinoa in the cooker, chickpeas from a can, some chopped up zucchini and carrots sticks on top and a drizzle of sauce on top- perfect, delicious and nutritious. Spot on when you need good food, fast and ready in about 15 minutes, with leftovers.

What satisfying eats do you enjoy when you’re short on time?

less space, more stuff!

22 Nov

I like to think that I have a very well-equipped kitchen. From utensils and gadgets to pans and hardware, I have a lot of really solid tools for my trade. Some might say I have too many kitchen toys… The things is, as you all know, finding places to put all this stuff. Storage! That is the one thing you can never have too much of.*

Thankfully, technology is my friend and helps me find more ways to save time and space in the kitchen!

Okay, but seriously. I used to own this:

a 4-quart crock pot, without that nasty stock photo meat in it

and this:

an 8-cup rice cooker

and this:

a 6-quart stove top pressure cooker

Whew! Large and in charge, all three of these items took up a ton of space. A few months ago, Jim and I were looking at getting a newer, nicer rice cooker and stumbled across this beast:

Fagor 3-in-1 6 quart multi-cooker

I immediate busted out my phone and did what I always do when I’m considering an unknown purchase- look at reviews on Amazon. It was looking pretty promising and the price was totally right, so we decided to take the plunge and get it. It has since taken the place of all three of the above, which I was liberating by releasing into the wild (of other people’s kitchens).

After several months of using it, here is my assessment:

Pros:
-Replaces 3 large kitchen appliances.
-Pressure cooking done on the counter top now, rather than taking up the stove!
-Rice/quinoa is cooked under pressure and cooks in just 6 minutes once the unit reaches pressure (so total time is about 10 minutes). I only need to run it for 2 cycles for wild rice! Nice.
-Rice texture is fluffy and great plus no more browning on the bottom of the pot when left on “warm”.
-Much quieter when pressure cooking than the stove top model.
-Beans are tender.
-Slow cooks perfectly.

Cons:

-Because there is only one way to release the pressure (valve), can’t employ the “quick release” method we were used to on the stove top. It’s not really a con, but has taken some getting used to in our bean preparation times based on our old habits. We haven’t ruined a batch yet, though, and we’re getting a better feel for it each time.
-The only option for slow cooking is the low setting, no high setting. This works fine for us because I never use the high setting, but could be a drawback for someone else.

So, you can see the pros outweigh the cons significantly. I’ve been incredibly happy with this purchase and keep recommending it to people, so I figured I should blog about it! The cost of a really good rice cooker alone is usually close to double the cost of the this unit. And, for the record, I am writing this review on my own accord. Cool companies never offer me swag. Alas, I buy my own gadgets. 🙂

What kitchen appliance or tool do you most love?

*This is a totally unrelated side note but whatever, I love tangents. I know there are a lot of grammarians and English majors who read this blog. As I was proofreading this entry, I noticed the above sentence, which I ended with a preposition. “Eeek!” I could collectively hear you saying. “You should never end a sentence with a preposition!” Little known fact, I used to be a Linguistics major in college, so here’s a story about the history of English and that silly rule.

Centuries ago, when more and more books and pamphlets were being put to print, grammarians were concerned about the degradation of the English language (when aren’t they concerned?). They decided it was time to put more rules and parameters around English. Latin was revered as the true, “educated” language to which we should aspire to emulate. It was natural to them that they decided in order to speak proper English, they would apply rules of Latin to it. In Latin, there is a rule which says you cannot end a sentence with a preposition because you literally cannot. Your sentence would not make sense because within the structure of Latin because it would not be reflecting back onto a noun, it would just hang there and be nonsense.

Now, being that we aren’t speaking Latin and that you can understand most English sentences with the preposition falling at the end of the sentence, it’s not actually necessary. Sure, sometimes a restructure of a sentence makes it sound better, but sometimes it sounds worse. As I always say, do what feels right to your ear. And if you’re interested in reading more about this misguided rule, click here or here.

beige plate of yum

19 Nov

This picture is terrible, but it sure hit the spot. It was my lunch today, courtesty of Whole Foods deli. Some sweet potato cakes (made with sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, onions, cranberries and herbs), veggie stuffing and cranberry sauce. Seriously, salty stuffing and cranberry sauce are the only things I need to be happy at Thanksgiving. Keep the pumpkin pie and pass me the casserole dish. kthxbai

For my random drawing of the week, I picked the sneak peek post of cake pictures and the lucky commentor was #10- Jodye! Jodye, I’m going to send you an awesome set of mesh, reusable produce bags for you to fill with deliciousness!

And, as an aside, I’ll put the “news” I was alluding to earlier in the week here. This affects nothing in regards to my blog, except perhaps a serious lack of decent posts for a couple of weeks, but Jim and I are leaving Portland. We’re not going far, we’re moving down to Eugene. When a job opportunity knocks, sometimes you gotta go with it. I’ll miss PDX, but it’s only a 2 hour ride away. Besides, this puts us in the land of YUMM!

rainy day cheer

18 Nov

I am a big fan of daylight savings so when we go off of it for the winter, it’s hard not to get a little sad. Here in the PacNW, it’s literally pitch black by 5 p.m. We’re in our rainy season, which means that even when it’s not raining we are in for primarily overcast days for several months to come. This isn’t a major complaint, so much as I’m setting the scene.

My dark commute home from work yesterday was accompanied by a torrential downpour. As I barreled alongside the other commuters, whose only goal was to get home in one piece, I began to daydream of a little bite of sunshine. Something bright and cheery to offset all of the heavy, pumpkin-laden treats we’ve been enjoying as of late. When I got home, I started pulling out ingredients only to discover that I had a scant amount of flour lingering in the bottom of the canister. I was in no mood to venture back out into the madness.

Time to improvise! Light and bright and requiring little flour… My mind wandered and landed on the deliciously simple clafoutis. In 100 Best, I have a clafoutis recipe that I love to whip up on a whim, as I always have silken tofu in my fridge and cherries in my freezer. Jim normally hates custardy things, but even he enjoys a slice. I decided to go with some little, single serving clafoutis with some frozen mixed berries.

If you haven’t had clafoutis before, you’re in for a real treat. These little morsels hold up well (great for noshing with one hand and typing with the other!), but remain tender and custard-like. If you’re afraid of baking with tofu, get over it already! You’re missing out! Also, you can make this with brown rice flour instead of the all-purpose and you’ve got clafoutis, gluten-free.

Une Bouchée de Clafoutis*

1 (12.3 oz.) container of firm silken tofu
1/2 cup organic sugar
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk of choice
1 1/2 teas. baking powder
1 teas. vanilla
sprinkle salt
1 cup berries, thawed and drained
powdered sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

In the bowl of a food processor combine the tofu and sugar and blend until mixed. Add the flour, milk, baking powder, vanilla and salt and mix until creamy and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Fill each cup 2/3 of the way with batter. Sprinkle berries on top of each cup; do not mix.

Bake for 20 minutes, until clafoutis are puffy and lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely before loosening with a butter knife and serving. Clafoutis is delicious warm, but will fall apart if you try to take them out too soon, so feel free to reheat in the microwave or toaster oven. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Store leftovers covered, in the fridge.

Makes 12 servings.

*(Josiane, I’m relying on you to tell me if I butchered the title, I haven’t studied French in over 12 years!)

tomay-to, tomah-to…

16 Nov

Okay, I’m kind of sucking at MoFo. I think November is not as good a month for it, it’s too busy. Plus, I have some news to share soon (no, I’m not pregnant) that has been tying up my time, but that will come.

I love me some tomato soup. It’s my go-to food when I’m feeling sick and there are lots of recipes for tomato soup out there, but a lot of them end up tasting like spaghetti sauce or salsa. Blech.

Elephant’s Deli, in Portland, is a beloved deli and catering place that is famous for their unique tomato soup. They are not famous for their vegan options. Needless to say, the soup is not vegan, but it’s so loved that they are nice enough to share the recipe on their site. Based on its cult status, I couldn’t resist whipping up a veganized batch of it… and it is seriously good. And the mystery ingredient that makes it so intriguing really does give it that je ne sais quoi.

I’m not going to repost their recipe since I already linked to it and didn’t get permissions to do so. All I substituted was plain soy milk for the cream and vegan margarine for the butter, obviously. The soy milk worked well, but I bet soy creamer would be even better. You’d expect it to curdle, especially with orange juice (fresh is a must, it’s so good!), but somehow it works.

What’s your most nostalgic comfort food during the dreary winter months?

food cart friday- and a giveaway!

12 Nov

Portland is known as the land of food carts. You literally can’t pass an unused parking lot or street corner without tripping over one. You think it would get old- I think it’s heaven.

For most people from other parts of the country, the idea of eating out of an old airstream, a renovated Roach Coach or a bus sounds unappealing. That is, until you eat food made by amazing chefs with good sense- the overhead is low, they are still held to the same health code standards as standard restaurants and they are much easier to start up, and from there decide if they really want to have a restaurant. The food carts in Portland are so amazing, I literally would be content if I never stepped foot in a regular restaurant again (with the exception of my beloved BL, of course).

The food carts I’m featuring here aren’t neccesarily new to the Portland scene, quite the contrary in most cases, but they are some of my favorites and I had pictures of their food on my phone. So there. 🙂

Best “Dutch burrito”- Flavour Spot

Flavour Spot not only wins for having an awesome vegan waffle sandwich (a crisp waffle stuffed with vegan sausage and schmeared with maple cream), they get extra points for spelling “flavour” with a “u”. They have three locations in Portland, with their Old Town location having night time hours. Excellent.

Best tofu from a truck- Los Gorditos

Los Gorditos, the famed Portland Mexican food truck (and now a brick and mortar restaurant as well), with an exhaustive vegan menu, has the best Mexican food I’ve ever had. My favorite item is the Tofu Bowl, which is actually a large plate (go figure), full of seasoned tofu chunks, creamy refried beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, soy sour cream and avocado. It’s served with piping hot corn tortillas to use to scoop up the magic mix. They also do things with soy curls that make your eyes roll in the back of your head with pleasure.

Most mouth-gasm inducing meal- Wolf & Bear’s

If you think you like falafel, you don’t know anything until you’ve had Wolf & Bear’s. This cart is run by two folks of Israeli descent. I’ve never been to the Middle East, but I have heard from many a credible source that this falafel is the best they’ve ever had in the US. Everything about it is mind-blowing- from the flavorful falafel patty (which is flat rather than in round balls, making it much easier to eat and allowing for falafel-maximizing bites), the fresh pita, the hummus, the tahini, the caramelized onions and grilled pepper and eggplant to the little mix of olives and Israeli pickles (cured in salt brine, not vinegar) on the side. When eating at Wolf & Bear’s, Jim and I can’t even speak, we are so intoxicated with our food. Sadly, the cart owners close down for the soggy winter months, alas, there will be no falafel until next spring. Bummer, but worth the wait.

Best health-infused meal from a cheekily-named cart- Lucille’s Balls

Lucille’s is a newer cart in Portland, in the Good Food Here pod (a pod is a congregation of carts, like an outdoor food court but much more delicious). While the vegan options are limited, they are awesome. This is food cart food you can feel good about eating. The idea is this: pick your balls, pick your sauce, with your base and chow down. I like the sweet potato/spinach balls with coconut curry sauce over polenta. SO GOOD. It’s also served up with a little side salad, which has a tasty viniagrette with a little kick to it. Also in the Good Food Here pod is Kitchen Dances, which is run by Piper, formerly of Proper Eats. They also have great food (including raw options!), but alas I have no pictures.

What are other people’s favorite food carts? I realize I didn’t add Whiffies or Potato Champion, which are good and enormously popular, but I’m just not much of a fried food person.

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And now, for this week’s MoFo winner- the post I picked from was my post on healthy baking and winner was lucky commentor #5, Lizzie! Lizzie, in honor of my fun interview with the fabulous Celine, you win a copy of 500 Vegan Recipes!

Have a great weekend, everyone!