Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dude. It's a hot pocket.

Jen, that pain in the ass vegan, posted a review of Amy's Tofu scramble in a pocket Sandwich:

"bottom line: stay away from this product. make your own tofu scramble, wrap it in some pizza dough or your own home made pie crust, and freeze for later baking. some convenience foods just aren't worth the time.

So I took matters into my own hands and made my own hot pocket. Scramble was tofu, basil, salt, lemon zest, kale, asparagus, and tempeh bacon with some of Tami's garlic scape pesto. I wrapped it all up in a little pizza dough , baked it last night, reheated and ate it this morning.
I gotta say, hot pockets never tasted so good. Do I think this would microwave well? Heck no, but if you want a little hot pocket action and can wait for a few minutes for the toaster oven to make it toasty, then you've got an awesome breakfast in a neat little pocket.

I helped out with my CSA share this morning, moving crates of veggies around, and chatting with the townsfolk. By the time I got home, I was starving (and dirty and soggy-when will the rain end!) and I'm glad the scramble in a hot pocket was all prepped and ready to pop into the oven. It hit the spot.

Here's my CSA bounty: Collard greens, radish, kohlrabi, broccoli, cilantro, strawberries, and tomatoes.
It's like Christmas with all the reds and greens. The tomatoes are hydroponic, but they're really quite good. This will be another adventure in eating a ridiculous amount of green leafy things. I don't usually dig radishes, but I'm going to give them a chance. The hot topic veggie this week was the kohlrabi. This Sputnik-spaceship-like vegetable is pretty versatile and can be eaten raw, or steamed, or roasted. You can eat the greens, too.

Soundtrack: The Housemartins, the People who Grinned Themselves to Death. Me and the farmer get on fine...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

As if you need another reason to love Penzey's Spices...

Penzeys is keepin' it real by featuring a tofu and 5 vegan veggie recipes in the Summer 2009 catalog.

Cinnamon Tofu and Sweet Potatoes, pg 16
Pepper Bean Salad, pg 28
Saffron Rice, pg 35
Cucumber and Onion Salad pg, 37
Chopped Marinated Salad pg 39
Grilled veggies, pg 43.
If you're not familiar with Penzeys, they have fantastic herbs, spices, and spice blends. You won't find them in grocery stores, but they have a few stores throughout the US (one in Grand Central in New York) or you can buy online.

Almost all their products are inherently vegan. The meaty sounding ones, like pork chop seasoning, are great seasonings when you want your tofu to taste like bacon. Thinly slice some tofu and sprinkle with pork chop seasoning and fry it up. I'm also big a fan of the taco and Indian seasonings.

I don't usually make my own Indian food, because I find the spice combinations a little tricky to get right. I had a bunch of stuff I needed to use up, so here's the not-really-a-recipe version of what I made.

Kale Coconut Curry:
I simmered 2 lemongrass stalks in some So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk.
Then in a separate pan, I heated some oil and added a pinch (only a pinch) of hing.

I keep the hing tightly wrapped in the pantry because it tends to smell like armpit. Why would you want to cook with this malodorous stuff, you ask? Well because it makes Indian food taste like Indian food. When cooked in oil, the taste and aroma soften and lend a leek/onion/garlic taste to dishes. My friend Bhavna told me a story about how God held a party and the onions and garlic were late and that's why they aren't in their food. I looked forward to Bhavna's mom's visits from India because she always cooked and sent extras to work with Bhavna for me. Their family in India had a cook, but her dad would only eat what her mom cooked. I don't blame him. I wish I could recreate those dishes, but back to my impromptu creation...

To the hing and oil, I added some garam masala, Penzeys hot curry powder , and some salt. Then the chopped kale that I cooked and froze last weekend. Once mixed and cooked down more, I blended the kale up small and added it to the strained coconut milk. Now, this is why this isn't a recipe...the mixture wasn't very saucy, so I mixed some chickpea flour (besan) with some of the soupy coconut milk and then added that back to the sauce. This did it. Perfectly saucy, now.
I overdid it on the hot curry sauce, so to cut the spice, I topped it with a little unsweetened soy yogurt.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What is that? Velvet?

I made this gorgeous Red Velvet Cake for the True Blood premier on Sunday. The recipe is from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Vegan Table. Really easy recipe and the cake is (er, well, was) super moist and yummy. Seriously, though, I turned into one of Bill Cosby's children by insisting that cake is OK for breakfast...I mean, it's got wheat and milk (unsweetened vanilla hemp in this case) and is part of this nutritious breakfast.

And as a healthy balance to my cake for breakfast, here's the bounty from my first CSA share. The tomatoes were from the greenhouse. I cooked the GIANT bunch of kale, and it went into things like scrambles and soups. I'm still not sure what the heck I'm going to do with all the bok choy. The purslane was nice in a salad.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Barbara Kingsolver and a Stay Vegan Poll

I read a lot of books about food. I'm rereading Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver to get inspiration for eating local. The farmer's market is open and my CSA shares start tomorrow. I've always got plenty of staples in the pantry, so I'm going to try to not eat take out as much and start making more of my meals from fresh local ingredients. In case you're not familiar with Barbara Kingsolver click the link to see her books. She's an wonderful novelist who loves to share her opinions and has a writing style that I find refreshingly readable. Animal Vegetable Miracle follows her family for a year in their effort to "live off the land" in West Virginia. Just be warned, this is not a vegan book, though she is vegetarian friendly, the family raises chickens and turkeys for eggs and food. They do have a whole vegetarian Thanksgiving. The book is mostly about the vegetables and I really enjoy it.

Back to actual vegan topics...Stay Vegan is taking a poll on how long you've been vegan. Check them out to vote.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wing it giveaway!

River is taking a break from her hiatus to give away a super gizmo* (that won't spawn if you get it wet or turn into a gremlin if you feed it after midnight.) Post a comment on her website for a chance to win (or just to say hi, whatever.)

The Healthy Chef is a steamer, dehydrator, yogurt maker and rice cooker (yes, rice cookers are awesome, Ginger.)

*For all you non children of the 80's this is gizmo...who was purchased from the Wing family...hhhmmm.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Blossom!!! NYC Restaurant Review

Oh, the joys of being able to order anything (and everything!) on the menu. I wasn't even planning this, but we went for drinks with friends and when the talk came to dinner, my friend suggested we walk over to Blossom.

Now, it was dark and candle lit inside, but I just had to snap a photo of everything. I had to use the stupid flash, so I just took one shot for each dish and I'm going to post them all anyway. I had a few bites of some dishes before I remembered to take the photos. My friends were really good sports about me sticking my camera (and my fork) in their food.
Black-eyed Pea Cake - Crispy cake of yukon gold potatoes and black eyed peas, served with chipotle aioli.
Cape Cod Cakes - A blend of hiziki seaweed, tofu, potato, herbs and spices, served with a vegan tartar sauce.

Caesar Salad ~ Romaine lettuce & herbed croutons tossed in a creamy Caesar dressing, topped with herbed gomashio.

Port Wine Seitan ~ Seitan cutlets pan-seared in a sauce of port wine and mushrooms, accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes, tempura onion and sautéed garlic spinach.

Ravioli with Cashew Cream ~ Spinach, mushroom, and pine nut filling.

Baby Spinach Risotto ~ Shiitake & portobello mushrooms, caramelized pearl onions, and shiitake-crusted tofu, braised in a vibrant lemon confit.

Seitan Skewers ~ Flame-grilled skewers basted with a rich hickory sauce, accompanied by jicama slaw.

Chocolate Ganache

Coconut Lavender Creme Brule

Every dish was fantastic, and the port wine seitan was absolutely out of this world. The photos don't do any of the dishes justice, so if you're in New York City, definitely check out Blossom. I will be back again soon.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Vegan Soap Club - Strawberry Hedgehog

Tracy at Strawberry Hedgehog sent me a lovely bar of Rosewood Orange soap. It smells fantastic and is a little reminiscent of Fruit Loops. This finally prompted me to remember to join her soap club where you get one (or three!) different soaps each month.
She was also on Good Morning Arizona recently and you can check out the video of Tracy making soap on the show.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Vegan New York take out

There aren't always vegan restaurants when you need them, but I've got a few fave "normal" New York take out options for when I'm hungry and in a hurry. In Grand Central Terminal and other locations, you can get a slice of vegan pizza with no more wait than a normal slice. Two Boots has not just one, but TWO vegan pizzas available by the slice. I've posted the Earth Mother before. My new favorite is the Mrs. Peel's vegan and it's a perfect snack before my train ride home. It's a thin crust with roasted garlic; red, green and yellow peppers; artichokes; sauce, fresh basil, and it's topped with breadcrumbs. This is slice perfection and you'll never miss the cheese.
Downtown in the Wall Street area, I've got 2 new vegan choices. There's Pump and Switch. I know that sounds like a porno, but it's the names of 2 new take out joints. Pump emphasizes health food and is set up like Chipotle with an assembly line of burrito, salad, rice bowl options. The best thing is that Pump has baked tofu and vegetarian chili.
New kid on the block Switch has pressed sandwiches and lots of vegan side items, like Israeli cous cous, grape tomato salad with basil, and killer homemade regular and sweet potato chips. The vegan sammich option is the Casablanca which is a pressed sammy with chickpeas, roasted red peppers, watercress, and a garlicky eggplant spread. I've eaten this about 3 times this week! Each sandwich comes with a little side of lime-mint edamame.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Vegan Brunch book signing with Isa at Moo Shoes!

Yup, I was there. Held up the signing line for a photo op...I couldn't pick just one, so the winners of the personalized signed copies of Vegan Brunch are Amanda, Tracy, and Vic. If you're not too jealous, check out the links to their sites.
And I thought it was fitting that there was a Peta ad on the M-15 bus on the way there, so I snapped a quick photo of that, too.

Win a signed copy of Vegan Brunch!

I'm headed over to Moo Shoes tonight to celebrate the release of Vegan Brunch. Send me a comment* to win a copy signed by Isa!

Here's the PPK post.
Or if you don't win, you can get your Vegan Brunch the old fashioned way and just buy a copy while you're getting some cool new summer vegan shoes at Moo Shoes...

*If you don't have a blog or some obvious way for me to contact you, please leave your e-mail in the comments.