Friday, October 31, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 31 Happy Halloween!

It's a beautiful day here in NYC, and I clearly don't get enough exercise. So tonight I decided to walk from work on Wall St. to Grand Central on 42nd St. If I wasn't hungry, I would have made it the whole way. Instead I stopped in the Whole Foods in Union Square to grab a Larabar, but ended up buying a shopping bag full of groceries. I needed veganaise and nutritional yeast anyway and I wanted to try the Vega stuff since I just read the Thrive Diet by the vegan triathlete.
So with my now heavy bag of groceries, I took the subway the remaining 28 blocks. Then in Grand Central I remember I need olive oil, too, so I went O & Co (pricey, but awesome) and got a nice grassy bottle of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar.

All in all not a bad decision, but my adventure emphasizes 2 things. I need to exercise more(I pay for a gym) and I really need to spend less money on groceries since I have a pantry full of things to eat.

So I'm making November, the month of the pantry. Let's see how long I can make it without going to the grocery store.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 30 - Supervegan

Just pimping the supervegan. If you're in living in NYC or just headed in for a visit, is a great resource.

Even better if you're in NYC on the last Thursday of most months, there's Vegan Drinks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 29 - Eggplant

I don't totally know why, but every time I make my husband eggplant he swears it tastes like it's got ground beef in it. So if that's the kind of heartiness you're going for, throw in some eggplant. It's ugly rainy here in NYC-apparently it's supposed to snow- so this fit the bill.
Last night I made pasta. I found mezze penne which is a smaller cuter version of penne rigate. For the sauce, I sauteed lots of garlic in olive oil, added some chopped eggplant (yeah I threw it in the food processor, it was already roasted, but you could do this with raw and just saute), I also added some TJ's soy chorizo, then some oyster mushrooms (processed them, too) that I needed to use and had no plans for. I added some tomato sauce I already made, but you could just throw in some canned tomatoes if you don't have prepared sauce. I added fresh chopped basil, then some Penzys Pizza Seasoning (Italian seasoning works-add some ground fennel if you have it.)

Topped it with some ground almond/nooch/breadcrumb/italian seasoning/parsley concoction I keep in the fridge. This version didn't have pine nuts, but I usually use that in the topping. Topping is totally not necessary, but looks pretty when you serve it and seems to soak up the sauce making it even heartier.

Now that I'm writing it up, I wish I had remembered to bring the leftovers for lunch. I did bring the stuffed potato from Sunday's Iron Chef, and apple pie my friend made special with Earth Balance margerine instead of butter just for me, YAY!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 26 Iron Chef Stuffing!

Stuffed baked potatoes. Roasted vegetables-broccoli, leeks, onions, butternut squash, potato, carrots, celery-tucked into potato skins topped with roasted squash seeds and panko. Served with Field Roast celebration roast with veggie gravy and asparagus.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 24 - Food Fight!

I have the plague, so I'm staying home from work today, playing on the interwebs.
When you're not buying local, check out the awesome stuff at Food Fight. I've not made the pilgrimage to Portland, but shipping is about the same environmental impact as driving to the grocery store to buy their shipped products. I just got my first order and can't wait to chow down on some tofu jerkey and test out the blue cheez.
Also they post current issues, like how after getting 12,000 e-mails, Zappos has decided to stop selling fur! Now it's time to get Amazon to on board. I already sent them my anti-fur e-mail. Didn't we do this already in the 80's?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 23 - Skinny Bitch

Yes, it's the book that turned me vegan. They tricked me. I had no idea what it was about. I bought it in Grand Central thinking it was some mindless chick lit and read most of it on the way home. I promptly threw out all the cheese in my refrigerator.
I shouldn't be surprised at the one star reviews on Amazon, but I am. It's like the brainwashed leading the brainwashed. I updated my review and I'm going to put out more good reviews of vegan stuff I have read.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 20 - Freegan?

Does this make me a freegan?And more chickpea cutlet sushi...ok, I was trying to replicate a philadelphia roll, so I added some tofutti cream cheese. Non-traditional on so many levels, but really freakin' good.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 19 Iron Chef Sushi!

First up is a steamy brown rice miso in a kombu dashi with wakame.

Sushi roll 1 is a pickled burdock(kind of like a carrot) and kaiware(daikon radish sprouts) roll. Sushi roll 2 is a chickpea cutlet(Veganomicon), gourd strip, and kaiware roll. And the cutest chickpea cutlet sushi.
And I just wouldn't be me if there wasn't a drink. There's no way to make this look pretty, but it tastes great. Rice milk, mango and spirulina. I put it last because it is sweet, but I think this would be a good cocktail with sake added.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 18 Pizza

Oh, what to put on about roasted eggplant, chickpea cutlet (Veganomicon) and some tofu mixed with basil and olive oil.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Vegan MoFo 17 Secret ingredient unveiled

I'm going to watch Japanese cartoons instead of cooking dinner. Kittee has just announced this weeks Iron Chef ingredients. Rice and seaweed!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 16 Veggie Sushi

I was pleased to discover the vegetartian sushi options at Haru on Wall Street. I've made vegan rolls before (spicy tempeh, thanks ppk!), but I hadn't bothered to make the rice ball and put something veggie on top of it. A thin strip of nori holds the veggie on the rice.
From left to right, asparagus, inari (sweet fried tofu pouch), kaiware (sprouted daikon radish), avacado, namatake mushroom, shiitake mushroom, tofu.
In the back is an avacado/cucumber roll and an ume (pickled plum)/shiso (herb) roll. The ume shiso combo is interesting. I love ume, but this one was declared "stange," "sour," and "too salty", by my co-workers who were brave enough to try it. The ume is salty and sour and the shiso-also called perilla-is a leaf in the mint family, but I don't think it's minty.
**New camera takes happy photos.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 15 My B'day and a new camera

I got a new camera for my birthday to take more photos of my food. My husband got the extended warranty, which apparently covers it if I drop it in the sauce again, but I'm determined to be more careful.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 14 Nut/Seed Butter

At the farmer's market, I got the most giant celery known to man.
I've been trying to figure out what to do with said giant celery monstrosity. It doesn't fit in the fridge and I have yet to totally hack it up. Some went into the weekend veggie stock.

Today I'm having a snack/lunch with celery covered in sunflower seed butter. This stuff is seriously awesome. A lot like peanut butter, but you can taste the sunflower seeds. I got mine at Trader Joe's. I'm pretty happy because I ate this as a snack at about 11:30 (it's 2 o clock) and I'm still not hungry. Could be the 100 calories per tablespoon, and I had at least 4, but still, I feel totally satisfied. It's not raw (the sunflower seeds are roasted) and it's got added cane juice and salt, but I think this may spawn further adventures into things to spread on healthy vegetables. Maybe I'll try a raw day...more on that later.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 12 Iron Chef Pear and Nuts

Challenger Jenn san has prepared 4 dishes.

The first is an amaretto sour pear-tini spritzer aperitif.

1 part Amaretto
1 part Pear infused vodka
1 part sour mix (or lemon juice and agave nectar)
3 parts pear juice
Top with seltzer
Garnish with fresh pear

The second dish is a toasted pecan, roasted pear and fennel salad with a lemon pear vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette: 1 part lemon juice, 1 part pear juice, 2 parts olive oil, squirt agave nectar (or a little sugar,) salt.

The third is a walnut pear pesto with angel hair pasta, topped with almonds and parsley.

Chop together 1Tbs walnuts, 1Tbs pine nuts, 5 basil leaves, 1Tbs olive oil and a little salt. Chop 1/2 pear and mix together. Mix with pasta. Chop 1 Tbs parsley with 1Tbs almonds and sprinkle on top of pasta. The pear lends a nice sweetness to the pesto.

Finally for the 4th dish, we have a baked pear topped with almonds, raisins, and cranberry in a rum pear sauce.

**My camera is continuing to revolt after last week's sauce incident, hence the fuzzy photos.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 11 - Vegetable Stock

I think it's time to talk about one of the most underrated stars of vegan cuisine. Vegetable broth. Let's face it, it's basically free if you use all the veggie parts you would otherwise discard.

If you have access to a farmer's market, you'll probably be carting home vegetables with even more extras. Carrots with the green tops, celery with lots of leaves, broccoli and cauliflower with leaves and stalks, leeks with big roots and huge fanning tops, greens with tough stalks, mushroom stems, corn husks, and cobs, and that doesn't even cover the peelings and skins of root vegetables, squash, onions, garlic and potatoes.

Just wash the undesirable trimmings, leaves, stems, and put in a big pot, cover with water bring to a boil, and then simmer for about an hour. I usually add bay leaves, peppercorns, and a good size hunk of kombu (japanese seaweed.) The kombu adds a salty dimension that makes it taste good plain without adding extra salt. Most likely you'll add salt to whatever final product you're making with the broth, so you don't want to salt it here. Just drain and when the veggie parts cool, you can squeeze the remaining broth out of them.

If you're trying to shed a few pounds, a cup of broth before a meal is a good way to fill up on zero calories and help feel satisfied if you have smaller portions of the main meal.
Also vegetable broth is a key component in the popular cleansing juice diets. Even if you're not into the whole diet part of it, sometimes it's good to give your digestion a rest for even part of the day. It's also nice on a rainy day or when nursing a cold/flu or hangover.

Todays mixture includes the carrot greens, tops, and peelings; broccoli and cauliflour stems and leaves; some leftover chopped red onion; some basil leaves that fell out of the bunch; leaves from the celery (word of caution, too much celery can be overpowering, 1-2 stalks is usually good;) stems from some collard greens; the papery skins from some garlic, 3 bayleaves, 3 peppercorns and a 3 inch piece of kombu. Brothy goodness.

*My camera "works" now but it seems to be having trouble with lighting.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 10 The fancy rice cooker

I love my fancy rice cooker. I have an older model, but basically the same size (3 cup capacity.) I know it's pricey, but I love, love, love it. Wait for Amazon to have a sale on kitchen stuff or use one of those promotional gift cards you might get if you bought something else (Recently, I got a $25 Amazon gift card with my subscription to the Economist, which I was going to buy anyway, so nice bonus.)
You may not have heard of Zojirushi, but it's the MacDaddy of Japanese cooking electronics and they make the favorite bread machine of King Arthur Flour. So don't be scared of the name when comparing it to another familiar brand that might make your stereo.

I have the 3 cup capacity and it is perfect for 1 or 2 people. It's small and cute and can sit on the counter if you have space, or easily stored (retractable cord hides underneath.) There are bigger models for larger families.

I use it for sushi rice, basmati rice, wild rice, Rice & Beans, Mexican rice, brown rice, porridge, oatmeal, polenta, wheat berries; basically anything that absorbs its cooking liquid.

The real perk is that the perfectly cooked rice stays perfect LONG (hours and hours) after cooking. I can turn it on when I get home and it's ready whenever I get around to putting together whatever is going with the rice. There is also a timer; if you're really organized you could set it in the morning for dinnertime.

I forgot to even mention that the cooking bowl comes out and is so easy to clean. Thanks for the comment Binx.

Spanishish rice

1 cup long grain (brown) rice (plus water according to package)
1 Tbs annatto oil (annatto seeds steeped in oil-I use corn oil)
1/4 cup pitted alcaparrado (fancy name for olives with pimentos and capers)
1/2 cup sofrito (onion, garlic, peppers, cilantro)

Throw all that in the rice cooker with the water amount for the type of rice you're using and press the shiny red button (in the voice of stimpy) or:

Cook rice with the amount of water and cooking time on package, adding oil, olives and capers (and a little extra brine if you like) and sofrito.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vegan Mofo day 9 Vegan a Go-Go

Vegan a Go-Go by Sarah Kramer

I haven't bought it yet, but so far there are ZERO customer reviews on Amazon. Even if you didn't buy it at Amazon, someone must have a review to share!

I'm going to pick it up after work, so try if you can to beat me to the first review.

I did pick it up and read it on the train home. At first I didn't see it next Sarah (and Tanya's) other books because it is quite small. Someone did beat me to a review. Yay for the internet! It's quite a bit cheaper on Amazon, but I did get a discount at Borders. I left a review on Amazon and there's one in the comments.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 7 - Spices are Nice

There's a Penzeys spice store in the market in Grand Central and it's about the only place in there where things aren't ridiculously overpriced. Sometimes when I don't have anything to read on the train, I pick up a catalog and plan out dinner on the ride home. If you can get past the meat named spices, just think of all the vegan things that can be created out of spices traditionally used to season meats.

They even print nice things in the catalog, like suggesting the Pork Chop Seasoning on thinly sliced tofu fried up for a bacon substitute. Easy and yummy salty tofu goodness. I haven't tried it on tempeh yet, but you get the idea.
Other good ones are the Chicago Steak Seasoning on grilled portabello mushrooms. Smoky and hearty.
English Prime Rib rub in meatless meatballs or lentil nonmeatloaf.
The Pizza Seasoning has fennel in it, so you get an Italian sausage flavor, without the fat as they say. The Italian sausage seasoning does about the same thing. And the breakfast sausage seasoning is nice, too with your tofu scramble.

For the lazy vegan who doesn't shun TVP, any of the above spices are great mixed in for fast analogs that will satisfy the non-veg husband.

Check them out for everything from cocoa to lemon extract to dried chili peppers to curry seasonings. I find the "normal" herbs and spices are always fresher and stay fresh longer than grocery store varieties. I am a fan.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Vegan MoFo day 6

Despite the camera mishap, the eggplant turned out awesome.

I brought some in for lunch.

Instead of a traditional eggplant parm, I used whole wheat panko and made a cheese sauce from the uncheese cookbook. I should have tried this cheese sauce thing earlier, because it turned out better than expected. I even made some maccaroni and had a mac & uncheese snack while I was cooking the eggplant.

One of my friends' grandmother makes an eggplant parm with both American and Mozzarella cheese. I remembered it being awesome, so I veganized it with the american style cheese sauce, some basil tofu ricotta and some almond/pine nut/noochisan topping.

My husband LOVED it. He had to look at mine to make sure we were eating the same thing and was totally shocked it was vegan.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 5 - Vegan casualty

In my overzealous efforts to catch up on the MoFo I piled too much crap up in my lilliputian kitchen. My camera took a dip in the sauce.

Yup. Word to the wise, don't leave your camera on top of the Veganomicon on top of the fridge, above a pot of tomato sauce.
The camera still snaps photos, but now there's condensation on an inside lense so everything is superfuzzy and the flash doesn't work.
It's not like I paid for it, I won the camera at a work raffle 2 years ago, but that's not going to stop me from pouting about it now. Deep breath. Zen like rebound. OK. Back to my awesome eggplant. I will not be defeated!

Vegan MoFo day 4 rewind, but it really happened this morning...

Never go to the grocery store hungry.

I finally heeded my own advice. I was all packed up with my reusuable grocery bag collection, shopping list, I'm even wearing leg warmers (don't worry, I already I know I'm a dork.) Then...I heard the familiar rumble. But I can make it. The store is minutes away and I only need a couple of things for my actual Sunday MoFo post...WRONG. You have the fixin's for tofu scramble burrito, now get to it. (I apparently talk to myself when I'm hungry.

Yes, I always have that mori-nu vacuum pack when all else fails, but I have real fridge tofu in there. Tortillas, check. Everything else, is really just bonus. That field roast chipotle sausage is super bonus. It's twisted up in the plastic casing in 4 parts, so even though I used the other two pieces ages ago, the remaining part is still factory sealed and is good until expiration. Woo-hoo!

I add quinoa and a whole bunch of hot water to my scramble. I'm angling for that whole level 7 vegan thing...

It may look like a big 'ole mess, but even with too much turmeric (makes the tofu look eggy-useful for tricking non-veg) it's smelling pretty awesome.

When the liquid is soaked up by the quinoa or just evaporates, just plop the scramble onto a warm tortilla.
I am a sucker for the tofutti sour cream and the chipotle is a little spicy. I also squirted on a little lime juice.

A little OJ spritzer (1/2 glass OJ, then fill with seltzer.)
Then post to blog, and now I'm off to the store. Fueled and happy.

Vegan MoFo day 3 Rewind- Baby Food Processor

The Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus

I'm sure it's also a swell babyfood processor, but this baby version of a real food processor gives a lot of bang for a small buck. It'll run you about $40 at a Bed Bath and Beyond near you, but if you can score a 20% coupon, it's yours for only $32.

I don't like big pieces of onion in anything. I don't like chopping onions or garlic into tiny bits. I have a really small kitchen with no counter space. I love the mini-prep.

Elapsed time.
4 Seconds.

The downside over a big food processor is sometimes you have to chop things in small batches and mix them together in a larger container. It's still worth it when you're making one of those PPK recipes where Isa swears you really need a food processor. Also ideal for making your own sofrito.

Adapted from Daisy Cooks (not vegan-PBS show chef) to impress my Puerto Rican Mother in Law (it worked)

1 big onion
1 big green bell pepper
1 big red bell pepper (or orange or yellow)
1-2 heads garlic (10-20 garlic cloves)
1 bunch cillantro
1 cup chopped tomato (fresh or canned-drained)

Chop everything in a food processor. Store in 1/2 cup portions in ziploc bags in the freezer.

More on what to actually do with the sofrito later.

Vegan MoFo day 2 rewind

Check out Thanking the Karen Dawn

I'm not really all that into activist books, I'm more about the food. Sometimes there are books outside the recipe category that bring attention back to why I've made this choice that baffles friends and family. Thanking the Monkey brings it on with compassion and grace and lots of funny cartoons; and it's just fun to say thanking the monkey.

Vegan MoFo Day 1 Rewind

Silk Unsweetened.

AND in these tough economic times, my local stop & shop gives out coupons for free milk after you buy a few gallons. The big carrot they're getting from me is that you can use the coupon for soy milk! I'm not sure when they started making Silk unsweetend, but I'm loving the new green bottle in my fridge.