Search This Blog

Monday, October 31, 2011

MoFo, day 31: A Trick Treat

Happy Halloween and, a sigh of relief, Happy Last Day of MoFo! Two things to celebrate means two treats today.
First, from Jess Scone at Get Sconed, a mastermind and a native Noo Yawker (repping in Portland). This recipe is actually found in the Cocktail Lounge at the VVC site: an Extra-Dirty, Extra-Dry Rosemary Martini (!!) Because, you know, I had to use up the olives from Hannah's stuffed zucchini.

Yeah, I don't have fancy martini glasses or anything but this still did the job, and did it dirty. Haha, is there anything sadder than me pretending to be classy and drinking a martini out of a jam jar with my books and beer bottles still all over the coffee table? I'm not sure Jess Scone would approve.

But Dottie would (actually, she wouldn't either! She hated gin.)
HANYWAY I'm gonna save another one of those for tonight. For a more teetotaling treat, we have a "trick treat" from Chocolate Covered Katie, who is in the business of making tasty sweets that are actually fairly healthy. These are her Inside-Out Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies.

The trick here is that they are filled with a pumpkin-almond butter mix! Okay, so it's not so much of a trick since you can see the filling coming out of mine.

They look sort of like Hershey's hugs, no? But better because they're cruelty-free and pumpkin flavored. I had to do something chocolate and pumpkin for Halloween.

Mine are, um, not as pretty as Katie's, nor as well filled, but they're tasty. Halloween's all about the grotesque, anyway, right? Or the magic? I don't know. It's about me visiting Houdini's grave later.
So. That concludes our MoFo! Handshakes and cheers all around to participants, readers and cheerleaders. I hope you guys have something fun going on tonight. Even if that means a quiet meal and a good book. Dottie would approve of the good book, at least.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

MoFo, day 30: Stuffed Zucchini

Another chilly day spent inside, with the oven on. It's odd saying "chilly" because I could swear that two weeks ago, I was eating lunch outside happily, after which I walked through the Farmers Market and saw some cute little eight-ball zucchini that reminded me of  how much I wanted to make Hannah Kaminsky's Stuffed Eight-Ball Zucchini.
Hannah is better known for her sweet desserts, having written (and done the photography for!) My Sweet Vegan and Vegan Desserts. However, on her blog, Bittersweet, she posts savory dishes every once in a while that usually catch my interest.
I love zucchini, and after realizing I had leftovers from previous MoFo dishes that I didn't otherwise know how to use up (white beans and artichokes both from Jennifer's pasta and olives from something for tomorrow!), this was the perfect dish to make. So, though zucchinis are out of season, I bought regular zucchini (sigh, how boring!) at the grocery store and made them anyway.

The zucchini I shaped into boats and, as you can see, I was so caught up with the idea of cute, round little balls that I stuffed some tomatoes as well. They kind of fell apart but tasted really good, especially since Hannah suggests serving these zucchini with a tomato sauce. The tomatoes didn't need sauce, and I served the zucchini dusted with the crumb-almond-spice topping also from Jennifer's dish.

I went back for another half of a tomato after this. So now, what's for dessert? Maybe I should browse one of Hannah's books...hmm...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

MoFo, day 29: The Best Mashed Cauliflower

It's cold and rainy and snowy (!) like much of the East Coast here, which calls for some warming comfort food. For this, I turned to Nora from Pride and Vegudice (awesome blog name by the way) and her somewhat healthier than conventional comfort food: Mashed Cauliflower.

This is a low-carb option to mashed potatoes. Now, I'm Irish and grew up loving mashed potatoes or, really, potatoes in any form. And this mashed cauliflower was delicious. I do love cauliflower anyway, but have never prepared it like this. It got super creamy in my food processor and was especially great with the addition of fresh chopped rosemary.
I tried Nora's puree-and-then-bake, method, hoping to get a slightly crispy golden-brown top on mine, but it didn't happen. Nevertheless, tasty.

I served it alongside a salad and some of those seitan-beer sausages from the other day, which actually improved having sat in the refrigerator for a while. Not as oddly expansive, and chewier. The only thing that could have made the meal homier is Isa's punk rock chickpea gravy. I did do Isa the homage of listening to the Ramones while making the mashed cauliflower, though. I think she would approve.

Friday, October 28, 2011

MoFo, day 28: Vegetable Pie

I'm back from the potluck, which was really nice. It was low-key, there were some delicious vegan dishes - including a coconut-y, spicy, vegetable stew of which I took leftovers - and we talked about our Educator experiences. It was pretty cool to converse with similarly-minded folks, which I don't often do, opting rather to hide in my head.
Anyway, my contribution to the potluck was intended to be Alice's Onion and Zucchini pie with capers, pine nuts and mint to keep with the MoFo theme. Yet, somehow, as obsessive as I am, as many times as I checked the recipes page, I managed to not buy zucchini. Yeah. And only realized that last night, as I prepped for the pie. I frantically subbed in some roasted sweet dumpling squash that I had hanging around (thank goodness for squashes that are hearty enough that they can just "hang around" until inspiration - or desperation - strikes) and added some kale because I wanted something green.

I also threw in some roasted carrots because as long as I was bastardizing the recipe, why not go all the way? Plus we have a lot of carrots.
Um, also, I left out the mint and  used a premade Wholly Wholesome piecrust because I do not deal with rolling out piecrusts. So anyway, this is pretty far from Alice's lovely original recipe but BESIDES all that, I followed her directions, only eyeballing and guessing from metric measurements to standard. What I'm trying to say is, I think this came out well despite everything. I may actually make it again and post the very adapted recipe, though I still want to make it the original way!
Please, please check out the beautiful Cotto e Crudo site. Her recipes blow me away.

MoFo Interlude 2: A New (Old) Vegan Survey

Tonight is a potluck with the rest of the volunteer Veggie Educators. I'll post later about what I made - kind of another blogger's recipe but kind of not - but it might be late (you know us wild veggie educators!) so I wanted to get this up to tide you over, you know, in case you missed me.
Occasionally these surveys circulate, usually variations on the same questions but I found this one while looking at a defunct blog, My Vegan Spoons. I guess this survey is so old it's new to me, and maybe perhaps to a few of you, so:

1. Choose between locally grown or organic, which do you usually choose?
Hm, it'd probably depend on whether or not the produce is on the Dirty Dozen, but even that I sort of skimp on. The only thing I ALWAYS buy organic are bell peppers and apples. So I guess I'd say local.
2. Favorite way to prepare potatoes:
Sweet potatoes, baked. Other potatoes are rare these days. Maybe steamed.

3. Do you press your tofu before preparing/cooking it (if you eat soy)?
Not often. I usually just eat it plain from the container.

4. Name your favorite recipe that is a tradition in your family:
My mother never makes the same meal more than once. I guess she does a requested creamy leek dish most Christmases.

5. Any food allergies?
Not that I know of. Sensitivities, maybe, but I'm lucky otherwise.

6. When you want to go to a fancy dinner, where do you go?
I would love to get to Candle 79 one day but I go out so rarely that anywhere is a treat.

7. When you have a cold, what do you crave?
Brothy soup.

8. What kind of water do you drink? (Filtered, spring, tap, etc.)

NYC tap.

9. Name a flavor of soda you'd love to see:
I don't drink soda.

10. If the recipes you ate as a child were compiled into a cookbook, what would the title be?
Around the World in Kate’s Car. Haha, my mother's cooking was very influenced by her international travels so -

11. If you were allowed to grow one food that can't grow in your climate, what would it be?
Hm... bananas? Maybe figs?

12. Favorite type of mushroom?
You don't want to know.

13. Most frustrating part of your kitchen?
The light. Not just the lack of natural light (there's one tiny window and it looks out onto an airshaft) but also the 13 ft. ceiling with one light that constantly burns out.
14. Last food you burned?
I can't remember. Garlic, maybe.

15. Usual response to a veg*n's favorite question, "But where do you get your protein?":
Nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, greens.

16. If you were baking your own birthday cake today, what flavor would it be?
Apple cake.

17. Favorite brand of chocolate chips?
Eh, I usually just get WF's 365 Vegan or TJ's.

18. You have $200 of your tax return reserved for Williams Sonoma- What do you buy?
Probably some nice dishware or something, maybe an immersion blender.

19. Do you plan your menus in advance? Any tips to share?
I do for parties certainly and less so on a weekly basis, but I don't have any real tips. Shop around if you have time.

20. You have 3 minutes before you have to leave the house and you're starving- What do you eat?

A piece of fruit and almond butter.

21. If Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, and Rachel Ray got into a fight, who would win?
Martha! Of course! She is one tough lady and I'm sure she learned something in jail.

22. If you eat oatmeal, what do you add to it before serving?
Banana, almond butter, raisins.

23. If you got to travel to one country and learn all the traditional dishes there, where would you go (ignore commitments in your current place of residence)?
Morocco. The cuisine is a perfect combination of French, African, and Arabic. I love the spices. The music and culture of Morocco have always interested me as well, so that's definitely a bonus.

24. Favorite late night snack?

Crackers. Oof.

25. Favorite springtime food?

Asparagus or dilly potato salad.
26. Favorite food-related magazine?
Vegetarian Times is the only one I've ever looked through much.

27. Which do you prefer: shoyu, tamari, conventional soy sauce, or Bragg's Aminos?
Well, I use conventional soy sauce but I should probably get some Bragg's.

28. What vegetable or fruit do you dislike the most?
I hate lychees. They make me shudder just thinking about them.

29. Name a holiday food you look forward to all year long: 

Brussels sprouts on Thanksgiving.

30. If you could convert anyone to veganism with your magic wand, who would you convert?
Stress John, from work. He once told me the only vegan food he'd ever eaten was French fries.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

MoFo, day 27: Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Smoothie

Quickly, now, as I run out the door to the food pantry:
Breakfast was an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie smoothie from Kristin's site, another blog I've followed  on and off for a fairly long while now.

This was really delicious! I am still embracing the smoothie for breakfast most mornings (despite the slight chill creeping in) and this one was pretty substantial, with chia seeds, cashews, and rolled oats blended with a few other ingredients. The spices are subtle but nice.

If the smoothie looks a little green, it's because I added some Vega vanilla protein powder for extra satiety. And then extra raisins, just cuz.
Hmm...this smoothie post reminds me that I still need to try the Blueberry Muffin smoothie that Sarah and Ingrid both raved about. I'm on it! In...a couple days.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

MoFo, day 26: Fettucine with Artichokes, White Beans and Kale

Poor G. He is already subjected to my hysterics, neuroses, and moods and then MoFo comes around and I force him to eat - and then eat leftovers! - according to my whims. I sent him a link to Jennifer's pasta with artichokes, white beans, and kale, simply saying, "You like all these things!" Poor guy probably just wanted a salad and an almond butter and jelly sandwich, and here I am reminding him what foods he likes. "I'm making this for YOU!"

Anyway, G made the much-desired salad while I cooked up some pasta. I don't normally eat pasta so I didn't want to buy more. Instead, we used a fun perciatelli that G had bought a while ago. It's like a thick spaghetti with a hole going through it. Or a Twizzlers pull n' peel section, if you will. The cooked pasta is poured on kale to wilt and the whole deal is tossed with artichokes, pre-cooked white beans, and a lotta garlic, then topped with an herbed almond-bread crumb mixture.
G liked it, but seems to think it could use some sauce. I thought there wasn't enough kale but, really, is there ever?

Do you have a favorite pasta shape?? I want to find some of those cute little stars and make a soup!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

MoFo, day 25: Beer Baked Beans

Yes, as much as it pained me to pour an entire bottle of beer into something that wasn't my mouth, Jes' Beer Baked Beans sounded too good to pass up.



Yay! I remember being attracted to Jes' old blog, Cupcake Punk, because of its name and then sticking around for the awesome (not actually cupcake heavy!) recipes. I guess I lost track of her somewhere along the way, but I recently re-discovered her new blog at Eating Appalachia, where she has blossomed into almost an anthropological vegan, exploring the traditional omnivorous foods of Virginia, but cooking vegan at home. One way or another, Jes makes some delicious food.
I'm not even sure what drew me to these beans, (okay, probably the beer) because I never liked baked beans as a kid, but they were delicious. They are sweet and slightly spicy, and surprisingly have a good amount of flavor of the beer still in them. They do take a fair amount of time to prepare, but I spent a lazy Monday with them, and here they be, totally worth it.

The black blur on the left there is my cat, who was also very attracted to the scent of the dinner.
Baked beans need a cool side to go with them, so I prepared a fennel-cabbage coleslaw. ALSO! The weird bread roll looking things in the bowl with the beans (on top of some spinach cuz I gotta have some greens) are baked seitan sausages, using some leftover beer-bean broth! They came out...weird, so I'm not going to share the recipe, haha. I mean, they were okay but super spongy. I guess I didn't realize how much the beer would make the sausages expand in the oven. It's okay, though; they were kind of an afterthought and an experiment because the bean broth was so flavorful.
Maybe I should have just followed another delicious-sounding Jes recipe (jesipe?) for Roasted Pepper Sausages. Next time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

MoFo, day 24: Sweet Potato Cranberry Spice Muffins

Sweet potatoes are great for the same reason that pumpkin is - it works so well in both savory and sweet recipes. After the Sweet Potato-Stuffed Pepper of yesterday, and even after eating the leftover filling for lunch, there was still some un-flavored mash and I needed a sweet treat.
With this, I turned to VeganLisa from Vegan Culinary Crusade. She has a wonderful site filled with primarily raw recipes and others that are free of refined flours oils, and sugars. So, while today's treat of Sweet Potato Cranberry Spice Muffins isn't raw, it is pretty healthy and is one of the more delicious baked goods I remember eating recently.

Also, they obviously smelled so good I couldn't wait to take a bite before taking a photo...Oops.
I did make a few minor substitutions, always working to get rid of what I have on hand. I subbed about 1 cup of almond flour and the rest white spelt flour for her whole wheat pastry flour, and 2 TBS. of coconut oil rather than 1/4 c. of canola.

I think both the almond flour and coconut oil made the muffins especially moist without being gooey. Ah, and, I was afraid I didn't have a full half cup of dried cranberries, so I added a couple of raisins in as well.

This is really nicely spiced, and easy to throw together. It's surprisingly sweet (in a good way) for how little added sweetener there is (in this case, maple syrup.) And if you have leftover sweet potato on hand, this is a great way to use it up. If not, Lisa has plenty of other recipes for you to check out and make something delicious with!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

MoFo, day 23: Sweet Potato Stuffed Peppers, Liebster mentions

I was hoping to have something out of the ordinary and fun for you guys today, but it was kind of a bust. While Portland is probably the vegan capital of the world, Brooklyn has been called "Portland East" (true fact) and I've got to learn to appreciate that. We have Moo Shoes, Candle 79, Sweet and Sara, a vegan bodega in the works, Lula's Sweet Apothecary, and other all-vegan storefronts and restaurants that I'm probably too out of it to know about. There's even a vegan drinks meet up every month at Angels and Kings that I'm verrrry intrigued by and now, an all-vegan bar: Pine Box Rock Shop. And today, at PBRS, a vegan pop-up shop!

It's like an all-vegan flea market hosted in a bar! What could be better, right? Well, anyway, it was great in theory. I mean I KNOW I'm not the biggest social butterfly, I KNOW I'm not really a fan of crowds, or eye contact or things like that... but having tables flush against a wall in a crowded bar, where people are drinking (vegan bloody marys!) right behind the bar stools with weird little nooks, overpriced novelty food, and no room to move is not exactly my idea of a good time. Are you with me? It's a great little space with all vegan drinks, vegan empanadas always on the menu in a... quirky part of town. I don't want to hate. But, hey, even Isa left Brooklyn for Omaha. So anyway. I don't have pictures from the pop-up shop, which is what this is all about. I left the bar in 3 minutes or less, after maybe gazing at some Mombucha for a bit, and got some groceries. (Sigh,) Yes, I know. Another meal. But first! To stop sounding like such a grouch and to show some love - I'd like to thank Blessed Mama, Allysia, Abby, and Claire for their Liebster Award mentions. A few other favorite blogs I'd like to nominate are:

-Olives for Dinner, because she's making WHISKEY BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING! And other things.
-Nikki at Fresh Young Coconut because raw, fall food is a possibility that a lot of people don't think about. She makes it look easy and delicious.
-Jake from Play With My Food for being a he-vegan and a total comics nerd. A big plus in my (comic) book.
-The Spooky Vegan for an awesome MoFo theme - and post-MoFo theme of...still being spooky.
-Rachel from I Eat Grains, sort of spooky in her own zombied way. Also pretty funny.

So, yeah, show love.
Another blog I love but am kind of intimidated by is Kathy Patalsky's Healthy Happy Life. Her photos are amazing, her exuberance is inspiring, and her food sounds so delicious. She tends towards the more decadent, in my opinion, which is why I'm usually intimidated by the recipes. She is also big on presentation, which not. However, even her more basic recipes are impressive and imaginative.
I made an early dinner of her Sweet Potato Stuffed Peppers, which are delicious while being amazingly simple.

More fun roasting the pepper over an open flame, a quick boil, and even more fun mashing things together.
The chopped carrots and red onion are kept raw, giving a nice crunch and change in texture to the mash. Parsley lends just enough freshness to the nightshade and tuber combination, while a bit of orange juice brightens it up. And garlic hummus, well, makes anything five times better.

This was creamy enough that I left out the oil completely and I don't think it suffered at all for it. The pepper is pre-roasted and softens up when baked. Honestly, I can't imagine this being any tastier. If you don't want to cook up a pepper, or if you don't like them, the filling is great on its own.
I know some of you have kids and grandkids - it's also worth noting that Kathy is a talented artist, with some work geared towards children. For this same reason a lot of her food is kid-friendly, especially for kids' parties, I'd imagine. Jenny, I feel like you'd especially appreciate some of her themes!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

MoFo, day 22: Mexican Chilled Chocolate Pudding

Jonathan Richman was super cute last night but tonight is yet another show, featuring the world's best: G's band, the Marsh Hens. And so, another quick post with the simplest of recipes, the ladies from Soundly Vegan's Mexican Chilled Chocolate Pudding.

Is there anything easier than vegan pudding? Blend tofu, cocoa powder, spices, and agave and chill for 20-30 minutes.
This is super rich but basically guiltless. A protein-rich, delicious dessert. It's super chocolatey but not too sweet (depending on how much agave you add). Can it get any better? Really.

The spices are awesome in this flavor but possibilities are endless. I have an adaptation in my newest zine for an espresso flavored version.

                                                      G's bowl, with comic in progress

Shen, it's just as easy as the pub cheese you made but not Jell-o pudding-y. I definitely recommend this and highly suggest you all check out both the other innovative recipes on Soundly Vegan AND the pudding version on Olives for Dinner: Whiskey-Butterscotch! Come on!

Friday, October 21, 2011

MoFo, day 21: Ginger-Roasted Carrots with Mellow Miso Dressing

Today's recipe was so good I (over)extended it to two meals. Last night's dinner was sauteed kale with tomatoes and Ginger-roasted Carrots with Mellow Miso dressing from Sarah at My New Roots. She has a beautiful blog, is a wealth of information, and knows how to make some totally amazing meals.

I used normal-sized carrots as opposed to the sweet little ones Sarah found and cut them up...which kind of detracts from how pretty they could be but doesn't affect the taste. Zesting and juicing an entire orange is a little more work than I usually put into dinner, when I'm hungry and tired, but it came together pretty quickly. Despite the amount of orange zest, the predominant flavor in the carrots is the little bites of ginger, which are really, really nice.
While the carrots roasted (about 12 minutes,) I made the mellow miso dressing, which was the real highlight of the dish. It worked well with the sweetness of the orange and carrot. There is plenty left over of the dressing, which I look forward to eating on top of everything.
For lunch today, I brought a small salad with tempeh and leftover carrots.

The miso dressing was tasty here too, so I imagine it'd be a great marinade for tofu or tempeh.
Anyway, quick post, I know. G and I are going to go see a Jonathan Richman show tonight! Dancing shall ensue.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

MoFo, day 20: Dal Bhaji

For G's birthday last year, he got a crumble. This year, he gets...dal. Hey, the guy likes Indian food! I made Dal Bhaji from Susan's Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, another blog I've followed and loved for a long time, although I can't say I've ever made any of her recipes.

I had some for lunch, over the last of some kale salad, very nontraditionally. It is usually served with bread and potatoes. Susan's version doesn't include potatoes but I ate a piece of pita with the dal and salad.
Despite G being really, really old, I basically made him a very spicy dish of baby food for his birthday. I had to boil things beyond existence and then mash them up, which was actually a lot of fun. This was a multi-step process and definitely more than one pot was dirtied, but it isn't difficult. G is worth it, anyway, and the recipe is very tasty.
One more thing that added to the process was this matter of "pav bhaji masala" spice. While the Lower East Side is full of Indian grocery stores, I wasn't going to make the extra trip, so when Whole Foods' Indian aisle didn't have the masala, I found a spice recipe of sorts on this site and figured I could wing something with what I had on hand.

Metric measurements throw me off, but I think this came out alright. I didn't have cumin seeds, cardamom seeds or coriander I used less of the ground spices and subbed sumac for dry mango powder. I dunno, anyone with a better understanding of spices have anything they'd like to advise or mention? Any recommendations for what else to use this spice mix in? I have a LOT left over.
Anyway, I liked the meal and I think G did too. He ate some today with rice, because he's for real. (And so old!) No, I did not pick a fat free recipe for G because his metabolism slows down from here. I've heard great things about Susan's recipes and I'm definitely looking forward to delving deeper into her repertoire.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

MoFo, day 19: Sundried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pub Cheese

Do you have any idea what pub cheese is? No, me neither. But when I saw this post on Scissors and Spice (well, okay, and this one sealed the deal), I knew I had to make it.
I wouldn't say I actually miss cheese, although, like with many vegans, it was my last item to give up, but I do enjoy vegan cheese every once in a while and when I do, I'd much rather make my own than buy the expensive store-made kinds.
Today for lunch, I schmeared it into a pita with sprouts, red onion, cucumber, and tomatoes.

It was pretty tasty! I like that it is cashew-based, obviously, because cashews are amazing but I also had a lot of fun roasting the red pepper. The directions call for roasting it under the broiler, but I didn't feel like turning the oven on, so I forked it and held it over a flame until it charred. Just like camping! Kinda.
I'm not quite as classy as Bianca, who made this for part of her (big gay) wine and cheese birthday party, but I got down with snacking on it with some crackers and pumpkin:

It was nice and creamy and salty. As befitting a pub, I wished I had a beer to enjoy it with.
Any favorite vegan cheeses, either store bought or homemade?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

MoFo, day 18: Pumpkin Molasses Bars

Today's recipe comes from the super talented Celine Steen. She is half of the mastermind whirlwind (along with Joni Newman) behind The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites, and 500 Vegan Recipes. She also blogs at Have Cake, Will Travel, sharing amazing recipes and taking beautiful pictures of them. With her talent, it's no wonder I was drawn to one of her recipes.
Keeping seasonal and working with the pumpkin I opened yesterday for the spiced latte, I chose to make her Pumpkin Molasses bars.

Alright, so mine are a little more rustic looking than Celine's, but they were definitely delicious. This recipe was actually made at a perfect time. I almost always have all the ingredients on hand (besides pumpkin, which I knew I had) but this recipe used up exactly the last of my molasses, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and oats! I don't know why that made me so happy to get rid of it all, since I'll just need to buy more. Must be the OCD in me, but whatever!

I like that these aren't super sweet, and with all the oats and molasses, I feel pretty healthy eating one. They aren't too much to look at but the little jewley cranberries in them cheer them up a bit. They have a chewy texture that G likened to a Larabar.

As Celine notes, they're pretty adaptable. If I made them again (after stocking back up on pantry supplies, obv) I'd probably add some walnuts and orange zest.
Go check out some of her beautiful photos and the recipes, or pick up one of the books. OR take a chance at Lacey's giveaway! She is very generously giving away one of the Joni/Celine books and letting you pick which one you'd like! Check it out.

Monday, October 17, 2011

MoFo, day 17: Pumpkin Spice Latte, sandwich

A bit of a breather today as I'm a little beat from yesterday's shenanigans. Plus we have too much leftover food to warrant a new full dish, and so: a drink.
These pumpkin spice lattes are ubiquitous lately. Variations can be found by Kathy, Averie, Katie, a nameless Vegan Food Snob (her words, not mine!), Angela, and plenty more, I'm sure. I used Michelle's directions because hers seemed easiest, most low key, and used the most amount of coffee to milk ratio! I try to keep my coffee intake to a minimum but I don't like too much milk in my drinks.

It was tasty, and a good afternoon pick-me-up. It was warming and spicy, and perfect as I sat on the fire escape with a book.
I also thought I would give you a loose recipe for the sandwich we had at lunch yesterday. G is an arteest! He cannot be bothered with a vegan food blog. He does, however, dream some delicious food ideas. Ahem, let it be noted that I did the cooking for the sandwich and came up with the bean spread idea but he blueprinted it all and did the actual assembly. Like I said, he's an artist and steadier with his hands. I'm a writer and therefore a lush - as well as a nervous wreck; I tremble.

Cooked Vegetable Sandwich with White Bean Spread and Sundried Tomatoes

1 loaf crusty bread
white bean spread
       1 can BPA-free canellini beans
       1 clove garlic, chopped
       1 TBS chopped fresh basil
       2 TBS lemon juice
       1 TBS olive oil
       salt and pepper to taste
      (Blend until smooth)
1 large zucchini, sliced into rounds
3 portabella mushroom caps
small handful of sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1/4 cup onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

-Make the white bean spread and set aside
-Heat 1 TBS olive oil or veg broth in a pan, add 1 clove chopped garlic and zucchini rounds. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper, cook until zucchini softens and set aside.
-Throw sliced onions into the pan, cook until they begin to soften and add mushroom caps. Pour about 2 TBS balsamic vinegar into the pan, stir around, and cover pan. Cook until mushrooms are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
-Warm loaf in 250* oven for about 5-10 minutes. When you take it out, spread with white bean mix, layer zucchini and mushrooms on. Top with cooked onions and sprinkle sundried tomatoes.
-Cut into smallish sections, holding it all together with toothpicks.

We didn't add any greens, but I think this would be really tasty with some wilted spinach in there as well. You could also swap the sundried tomatoes with roasted peppers - or swap the white bean spread for an olivey tapenade! Possibilities are endless.

Be back tomorrow with another pumpkin recipe. You gotta do something with the rest of the can, no?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

MoFo, day 16: Split Pea Soup with Fennel and Potatoes - and Lunch Party

Hey guys! Fresh off the lunch party and into it. The party ended up being two of my oldest friends who I don't see often, G and I, and one of our friends from work. It was nice. No one's milk-drinking boyfriend came (the two of them broke up.)
The spread:

Crudites, paprika smoked almonds, peanuts from Jen's swap box, hummus, crackers with apple slices, grapes.
This was later compounded by the addition of farmers market pickles that my friend brought!! She knows what I like.
The main meal was kale salad (with avocado, tomato, red onion) and this tasty sandwich that G dreamed up:

White bean-basil spread, sundried tomatoes, grilled zucchini, and balsamic-cooked portabellas on a crusty loaf.
I also made a MoFo recipe, Sayward's Split Pea Soup with Fennel and Potatoes on her Bonzai Aphrodite site. This is a horrible picture, as split pea soups are wont to look:

Her site can really only be described as glorious. She's a wundermom, author, kick ass chick, and makes some great recipes. This soup was good and hearty. My one complaint is that I was super excited about the fennel flavor but it wasn't too prominent. I scaled down the recipe and it might have gotten lost in translation. I should have garnished the soup with some fronds (don't you love that word?),but I didn't. Let's just say that throwing a party makes me a little anxious. Just a little. Maybe I should whisper to worry dolls more often.
The meal was capped off with cookies by G:

Cranberry-Oatmeal-Pecan cookies. He done good. Ever since he realized that he can bake his own cookies, he's been all about it and I can't complain. I love not having to deal with oil and sugar, plus I am proud of him plusss his come out tasty since he doesn't skimp on...oil and sugar. Last time I baked cookies, I cut out so many ingredients that they weren't worthy to be deemed "cookies" anymore.
Anyway, I think this was a successful party! Everyone seemed to like the food and we had some good laughs. Even the cat behaved. Friends are nice. Food is too. Those are my words of wisdom.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

MoFo, day 15: Dragon Bowl

Hello guys. While I could have snacked on Jen's treats all day, I decided to take a little bit of time and prepare a nutritious late lunch. For this, I turned to Jae Steele' Domestic Affair blog - and her delicious Dragon Bowl!
I think I am finally understanding the concept and allure of "The Bowl." Grains, vegetable, protein, sauce. Awesome.

This one was absolutely perfect for me: high raw, light and fresh, but filling. The quinoa cooks up quickly, and the tempeh is also lightly cooked, and both slightly wilt the spinach. My favorite part of this bowl, though, might be the sprouts! I used to buy them a lot but they are either a summery thing in my mind, or I got a little scared about contamination. I can't remember why I stopped buying them but they are so great.
It doesn't hurt that this is immensely appealing to the eye as well. I tried to get a "strata" shot:

Spinach, carrot, red cabbage, Nikki's beet pate, sprouts, tempeh.
And the icing on the cake, or the dressing on the salad: a great nooch based salty-sweet sauce drizzled on top.

Jae doesn't post too frequently anymore, but when she does, it always cheers me up - whether it's a recipe or wisdom. She also has two great cookbooks that I do not use enough: Get it Ripe and Ripe from Around Here.
I would like to mention that G put together the leftovers when he got home for dinner, added avocado, and says "This is the best thing I've eaten in a long time." Happy, healthy.