Posts Tagged coleslaw

The Bun Burner

First, I haven’t heard from the first winner of the Appetite For Reduction giveaway, so the new winner is…

Number 27, Squeak!  Squeak, I don’t have an e-mail address for you either, so please contact me at veganhomemade AT gmail DOT com.  I am determined to give this cookbook away!

We visited Reno again in January, and there’s not much to report except that Freeman’s Natural Hotdogs is still awesome.

A brownie – vegan AND gluten free, and a Blue Sky Free Root Beer.  I didn’t notice when I grabbed the soda out of the cooler that it was stevia-sweetened and calorie-free, so I was extra happy when I realized it.  Have to negate that brownie somehow!

Asian Slaw, which comes with housemade miso-sesame dressing.  I was surprised that the raw cabbage was tossed with the dressing just before serving, as normally I would expect the slaw to be marinated.  It worked though, the super-crunchy cabbage was really nice and the dressing was just sweet enough.

And this is the Bun Burner – vegan chorizo, jalapenos, chipotle-lime aioli and salsa, on a poppyseed bun.  This was one spicy hotdog, and I loved every bite!

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Homework #5

Even though I already finished the Natural Chef program at Bauman College,  I still want to catch you guys up on the rest of what I did there.

For our fifth homework assignment, we had to go to a farmer’s market, pick out an organic farm, find out some information about them, and design a day’s worth of recipes using what they had available – two recipes each for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Additionally, two of the recipes had to be raw.

I chose Lopez Farms at the San Leandro Bayfair farmers market.  They’re not certified organic, but they are pesticide-free which is good enough for me.  Here is what they had in mid-December.

(Their lettuce was only $1 a head last weekend – score!)

It was tougher for me to come up with breakfast recipes than lunch or dinner.  I didn’t want to resort to a tofu scramble, so it was difficult to find a way to use multiple vegetables in breakfast dishes.  Here is what I came up with.

Savory Amaranth Porridge

To make a thinner porridge, just add more broth or some water.  I love adding fennel seed to breakfast recipes because it’s reminiscent of a sausage-ey flavor.

8 oz tempeh, cubed
2 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1/2 medium red onion, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, diced
1 cup amaranth
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add the tempeh and simmer 20 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool.  When cool enough to handle, crumble the tempeh and set aside.

2. Place the coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Add the onion and saute 1 minute.  Add the cumin, paprika, fennel seed and celery seed and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add the brussels sprouts, carrots and a large pinch of salt and saute for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the tempeh, mix and remove from heat.

3. Meanwhile, place the amaranth and broth in a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add the vegetable mixture to the amaranth, stir well and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed.  Remove from the heat and stir in nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve hot, topped with toasted pine nuts.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 487.93
Calories From Fat (40%) 195.13
% Daily Value
Total Fat 23.17g 36%
Saturated Fat 8.6g 43%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 430.23mg 18%
Potassium 976.63mg 28%
Total Carbohydrates 52.86g 18%
Fiber 10g 40%
Sugar 4.18g
Protein 25.33g 51%

Ginger Beet Smoothie

Beets for breakfast?  Why not?

3 medium beets
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 prunes, chopped
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2-3 tsp agave nectar
1 cup ice

1. The night before, preheat the oven to 400.  Wrap each beet in foil and bake for 1 hour.  Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.

2. Unwrap the beets, use a spoon to scrape the skin off and cut into pieces.

3. Place the beets and all remaining ingredients in the blender, starting with 2 tsp agave nectar.  Blend until smooth.  Taste and add more agave nectar if needed.  Serve cold.

Servings: 2

Amount Per Serving
Calories 159.65
Calories From Fat (3%) 4.18
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.5g <1%
Saturated Fat 0.07g <1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 97.48mg 4%
Potassium 713.39mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 38.2g 13%
Fiber 4.31g 17%
Sugar 29.95g
Protein 3.05g 6%

For lunch, a little soup ‘n’ salad…

Creamy Cauliflower & Chickpea Soup with Parsley Coulis

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk
2-2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

Parsley Coulis
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs water

1. Steam the cauliflower florets for 20 minutes, or until very soft.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the coconut oil.  Add the garam masala, coriander, cardamom, turmeric and cayenne and cook for 1 minute, stirring and swirling the oil almost constantly.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft, stirring frequently and being careful not to let it burn.

3. Transfer the onion mixture to a blender and add the chickpeas and milk.  Blend until smooth and pour back in the pot.

4. Place the cauliflower and 2 cups of broth in the blender and blend until smooth.  If your blender is small you may need to do this in batches.  Pour into the pot with the onion mixture.

5. Add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt and white pepper to the soup and whisk to combine.  If the soup is too thick, add 1/2 cup broth.  Heat the soup, whisking occasionally, until heated through.  Taste the soup and add more salt, pepper or cayenne if needed.

6. Meanwhile, rinse the blender.  Place the coulis ingredients (parsley through water) in the blender and blend until as smooth as possible, stopping to scrape down the sides.

7. To serve, ladle the soup into four bowl and drizzle the coulis over each serving.

Servings: 4
Yield: 4 servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 321.49
Calories From Fat (22%) 69.56
% Daily Value
Total Fat 8.05g 12%
Saturated Fat 3.55g 18%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 907.59mg 38%
Potassium 1529.58mg 44%
Total Carbohydrates 51.85g 17%
Fiber 15.63g 63%
Sugar 14.08g
Protein 17.02g 34%

Poppy Seed Coleslaw

This stuff is like coleslaw crack.  I easily could have eaten all four servings at once.  So good!

1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 carrot, shredded
1 celery stalk, shredded
1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs fresh orange juice
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1 dash onion powder
1 dash garlic powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp poppy seeds

1. Place cabbage, red pepper, carrot and celery in a large bowl.

2. Drain the cashews and place them in a blender.  Add the remaining ingredients except poppy seeds to the blender (water through black pepper).  Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides if needed.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and add the poppy seeds.  Mix thoroughly and serve immediately.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 227.33
Calories From Fat (50%) 113.69
% Daily Value
Total Fat 13.4g 21%
Saturated Fat 2.24g 11%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 412.5mg 17%
Potassium 643.03mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 24.01g 8%
Fiber 6.82g 27%
Sugar 11.78g
Protein 7.02g 14%

For my dinner recipes, I tried to be a little more fancy.

Lemony Raw Swiss Chard Salad

This tasty raw salad is best the day it is made.

1 bunch chard, stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
5 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 pinches sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp lemon zest

1. Place the swiss chard in a large bowl.  Place the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small jar, close the lid and shake until well combined.  Taste the dressing and add more salt or pepper if needed.  Pour the dressing over the chard.  With clean hands, massage and squeeze the chard until it reduces in size and feels more tender, a few minutes.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Place the shallots in a small bowl and cover with water.  Set aside for 1 hour.

3. After an hour, drain the shallots.  Add the shallots to the chard and mix well.  Transfer the chard to a serving bowl.  Sprinkle the raisins, lemon zest and more freshly ground black pepper over the salad.  Serve cold.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 217.26
Calories From Fat (43%) 92.81
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.53g 16%
Saturated Fat 1.46g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 410.09mg 17%
Potassium 876.52mg 25%
Total Carbohydrates 30.17g 10%
Fiber 2.49g 10%
Sugar 7.6g
Protein 5.03g 10%

Tofu & Potatoes En Papillote with Leeks & Parsley Pesto

En Papillote is just a fancy term for “in paper”.  The red wine marinade gives the tofu a really pretty rosy color and great flavor.  And, the parsley pesto is good with everything – especially pasta!

1 lb extra-firm tofu
2 cups red wine
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs tamari
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 lb yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 leek, halved, rinsed and thinly sliced
Parsley Pesto
1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
1 1/2 tsp white miso
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups packed fresh parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
lemon slices, for garnish

1. Pat excess water off of the tofu.  Place the tofu on a plate and place another plate on top.  Balance a few heavy objects such as canned food on the top plate and press the tofu for 30 minutes.  Drain the excess water.  Place the tofu on its side and carefully slice the tofu into eight thin pieces.

2. Combine the red wine, balsamic vinegar, tamari, lemon juice and smashed garlic in a container large enough to hold the tofu slices.  Submerge the tofu and marinate for at least 1 hour.  Drain.

3. Preheat the oven to 375F.

4. Cut four pieces of parchment paper into 15″ x 15″ squares.  Fold each square in half.  Draw a large half heart shape on each rectangle and cut out.  Open each piece flat.

5. Place one piece of tofu on one side of a parchment heart.  Place two to three potato slices on top, then layer another piece of tofu and a few more potato slices.  Top with one fourth of the leeks.

6. Fold the paper over the ingredients so that the edges meet.  Starting from the top of the heart, fold and crimp both edges of the paper so that the packet is sealed, overlapping the folds and twisting the bottom corner.  Repeat with the remaining paper and ingredients.

7. Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.

8. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto.  Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until they are the size of breadcrumbs.  Add the miso, nutritional yeast, garlic and salt and pulse until combined.  Add the parsley and process until finely chopped.  With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil slowly.  You may not need to use all of the oil.

9. To serve, open the packets and top with pesto and a lemon slice.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 431.98
Calories From Fat (49%) 210.98
% Daily Value
Total Fat 24.1g 37%
Saturated Fat 3.11g 16%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 230.15mg 10%
Potassium 920.72mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 40.04g 13%
Fiber 7.46g 30%
Sugar 3.11g
Protein 17.16g 34%

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Homework #1

For my Natural Chef courses at Bauman College, I have to turn in a homework assignment at the end of each section.  These homework assignments involve either creating or adapting recipes, preparing at least one of them (I prepare them all), and writing up some different reports such as health benefits, recipe scaling or cost analysis.  I won’t bore you with those drab details, but I do plan on sharing my homework recipes as school goes on.  I always like to give myself an extra challenge, so I am trying to create all my homework recipes from scratch rather than adapting.

For our first homework assignment, we were to create three recipe for one meal – either breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I chose dinner and used some ingredients that had arrived in my CSA box that week.

Multigrain Sesame-Beet Pilaf

I designed this recipe to make for dinner after work, thus the short soaking time for the grains.  If you have more time you can soak the grains for up to eight hours, although they may need less cooking liquid.  The flavor is earthy and almost bland in a good way.

1/4 cup long grain brown rice, soaked for two hours
1/4 cup millet, soaked for two hours
1/4 cup amaranth, soaked for two hours
1/4 cup quinoa, soaked for two hours
1/4 cup arame
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 Tbs minced fresh ginger
4 beets, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
greens from four beets, sliced thinly and rinsed
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs tamari
2 Tbs sesame seeds

1. Drain and rinse the grains separately and set aside.
2. Place the arame in a small pot and add just enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, turn the heat off, and allow the arame to soak for 15 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, Bring the vegetable broth or water to a boil in a medium pot over medium high heat.  Add the brown rice and ginger, stir, cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium low.  The water should be just barely simmering.  Cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add the millet, amaranth and diced beets.  Stir, cover and continue to cook for 10 more minutes.
5. Add the quinoa and arame.  Stir, cover and cook for 20 more minutes.
6. While the grains are cooking, place the sesame seeds in a small pan over medium heat, and toast just until fragrant and turning darker, shaking the pan often.  Remove from the heat.
7. When there are only a few minutes left in the cooking time, add the beet greens to the grains and mix well.  The greens will wilt quickly.
8. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil and tamari.  Serve topped with toasted sesame seeds.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 310.06
Calories From Fat (21%) 65.12
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7.54g 12%
Saturated Fat 1.33g 7%
Cholesterol 1.23mg <1%
Sodium 1191.41mg 50%
Potassium 778.37mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 51.19g 17%
Fiber 9.24g 37%
Sugar 5.81g
Protein 11.1g 22%

Spicy Daikon Slaw

2 medium daikon radishes
2 medium carrots
1 small head of red cabbage
juice of 1 small orange (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 Tbs agave nectar
1/2 tsp ground allspice
pinch ground red pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1. Place the vegetables in a medium mixing bowl.
2. Combine all of the remaining ingredients except olive oil in a small bowl.  Add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly.
3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix well.  Serve immediately.

Servings: 5

Amount Per Serving
Calories 143.53
Calories From Fat (53%) 76.27
% Daily Value
Total Fat 8.65g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.16g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 252.63mg 11%
Potassium 524mg 15%
Total Carbohydrates 16.6g 6%
Fiber 4.09g 16%
Sugar 8.92g
Protein 2.34g 5%

Asian Pear Crisp with Sweet Sake

300 ml organic sweet sake, or about 1 1/4 cups
1 Tbs agave nectar
4 asian pears, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 Tbs spelt flour
3 Tbs rolled or old-fashioned oats
2 Tbs virgin coconut oil, softened
2 Tbs Earth Balance, softened
pinch sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place five 5-6 ounce ramekins on a baking sheet.
2. Pour the sake and agave nectar into a small pot and stir.  Heat over medium high heat until boiling then reduce heat to medium.  Boil, stirring often, until liquid is reduced by 1/2.  Take off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
3. Place the diced pears in a medium mixing bowl.  Pour the cooled sake over the pears, and sprinkle the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg over the mixture.  Mix well.
4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the spelt flour, oats, coconut oil and Earth Balance.  Mix well.
5. Divide the pear mixture between the ramekins.  Spoon the oat mixture over each portion, dividing evenly.
6. Bake the crisps for 30 minutes, and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Servings: 5

Amount Per Serving
Calories 273.38
Calories From Fat (35%) 95.05
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.84g 17%
Saturated Fat 6.34g 32%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 106.22mg 4%
Potassium 195.3mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 26.96g 9%
Fiber 5.36g 21%
Sugar 10.15g
Protein 2.97g 6%

I had decided not to take any pictures during class so that I could focus, but luckily for me two of my classmates have taken it upon themselves to take pictures and share with the rest of us, so I will be able to share some of the dishes I am enjoying in class.  There wasn’t much from the first section though, as we were focusing on very practical things such as knife skills, sanitation and culinary math.  I will definitely include some school food pictures in future posts.

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Vegan Weekends (or, The Post of Many Pictures)

Against my predictions, June was just as crazy for me as May, if not a bit crazier.  Almost every day of every weekend was booked, and then some.  So without further ado, here’s what I’ve been up to for the last five weekends…

The first weekend of June we had some friends join in on our tailgating for an A’s game and bf and I kind of went all out.  BF has been interested lately in making our own buns for hamburgers, which translates into ME making our own buns for hamburgers.  I had seen some loaves of Easy French Bread from La Dolce Vegan floating around the blog world, so I made some buns using that recipe.

I forgot to add the sesame seeds until after the second rise, and in adding them and trying to make sure they didn’t fall off I basically pressed all the rise out of the buns, so they were a little flatter then I wanted.  They tasted good though, and were definitely sturdy enough to stand up to burgers.

I don’t know what got in to me, but I had a mad desire to make Ramen Slaw, which is a dish commonly found at southern pot lucks and the like.  I found and followed a recipe online, but for the life of me I can’t find it again.  I’ll post up the link when I get home.

Ramen slaw, up close and personal.

Post-almond topping.

Here’s my plate:  veggie burger on homemade bun, grilled corn that I accidentally set on fire (like for real, flaming husks and all) and ramen slaw.  I went back for seconds on the slaw, so good.

It was bf’s cousin’s birthday, so I made dessert too.  I had a hard time deciding but in the end wound up trying the Black Bottom Blondies from My Sweet Vegan.

The look innocent enough from the top…

Bonus chocolate layer!  These were tasty enough, but honestly I didn’t like the texture.  It was kind of gummy and dense.  I’m thinking I may have overbeaten the batter, but the instructions say to beat it!

The next Saturday I was invited to a picnic at Tilden Park to celebrate the marriage of my friends Becca and Steve.  They got married in New York, so this was a nice was for us to get together.  I was completely blanking on a good picnic food to bring, so I asked Becca and she suggested the ranch dressing that she had at my house once.  Easy enough!

The food was good and simple, perfect for a picnic.  First plate:  veggie burger, chips & hummus, veggies & ranch.

Second plate:  fruit salad, pasta salad, tofu and tomatoes and more cucumbers.

Third plate, just because the roasted red peppers and grilled zucchini were done.

Lucky for all of us, Melisser of Sugar Beet Sweets made cupcakes!

Gluten free strawberry shortcake and peanut butter cup.

La la lemon and chocoate chocoalte.  I had a lemon and a pb cup.  Oink oink!  You can’t only have one of Melisser’s cupcakes.

Tilden Park is kind of amazing in an it’s-huge-and-you-will-get-lost kind of way.  There is a great old style carousel, and after lunch a group of us decided to act like children and go on it.  There are all sorts of beautiful, detailed animals.

Deer, zebra and kitty.

Lion, rooster, frog and horse.  There was also a dog and a panda and lord knows what else.  I chose the frog.  Becca didn’t want to ride because of motion sickness, so she tried to snap pictures of us.

My head is on the left above the rooster head.  Good times!

The next day I drove down to Santa Cruz to meet the NorCal PPK crew at Amey’s house for a potluck.  This was a vegan potluck of a magnitude never achieved before, and quite possibly never matched again.  Here’s the table when I got there, and food seemed to flow in continuously afterwards too.

Overflow area:

My contributions were a layered salad bar-style salad with iceberg, red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, red and green bell peppers, carrots, peas, red onions, seitan pepperoni, bacos, sunflower seeds, croutons and choice of ranch or balsamic vinaigrette.

And Fatfree Vegan’s Southern-Style Banana Pudding.  This was a big hit – really delicious and very easy to make.  I used EcoPlanet vanilla cookies because they were all I could find, and it worked well.

Obviously, I had to try a little of everything.  Plate 1:  empanada, mini bagel with herb spread, pirogi with caramelized onions, crackers with walnut miso dip, bread with yellow pepper dip, a spring roll with garlic scapes and mandarins and other crazy stuff, and grilled tofu on baguette with some sort of delicious spread.

Plate 2: pasta salad, salad with ranch, chips and guacamole,

I was stuffed at this point and put off dessert as long as I could stand, but it all looked so good!  Some more non-dessert arrived in the meantime, so that’s why there’s green on my mostly-dessert plate:  brussels sprouts with pistachios, braised peach and fig salad, swedish cinnamon roll, raspberries, key lime pie with white chocolate mousse, rice krispy treat, apple coffee cake and banana pudding.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Melisser made a ridiculous dessert.  If I remember correctly it was pie crust, cookie dough, cake AND meringue.  Here she is torching the meringue.

Inside shot.

Group shot!

There were SEVEN doggies at the potluck (three of which were Amey’s), and surprisingly enough I liked them all!  All the doggie owners tried to wrangle them in for a picture.

Here’s the ever-popular Strummer, sunning herself on Megan’s lap.

Our gracious host Amey with Snoopy the cutie-pie.

And my favorite pittbull, Fiona.

After pigging out we all sat around and chatted for a while, then Megan, Melisser, her husband Ryan and I went to downtown Santa Cruz to walk around and check out some shops, so at least I worked off a FEW calories.  Check out Amey’s blog post here, she has more detailed pictures of most of the food.

The next weekend we went to Vegas!  BF’s sister is graduating from her master’s program and wanted to get together to celebrate so a group of 13 of us went, mostly bf’s family and his sister’s boyfriend’s family.  Whew.  We scored an amazing rate at Paris, and really enjoyed staying there.  It’s a comfortable hotel, and the kind of place you wouldn’t really have to leave the whole weekend if you didn’t want to.

We got in late afternoon on Friday, settled in, and ate at a cafe in Paris that really isn’t worth writing about, except for the fact that I got a whole bottle of wine for $8 when most of their single glasses are more than that.

HERE is what Vegas means to me.

Ronald’s Donuts, my friends.  The donuts are out of this world good, they have soy milk for coffee, and I will happily make myself sick eating their apple fritters.  Here I am, slightly hungover and unshowered, in apple fritter heaven.

We had plans for dinner but needed to have a late lunch somewhere, because one cannot exist on apple fritters alone.  Enter Le Burger Brasserie in Paris.  I took a chance that this place would have something I could eat, and I won!  Upon inquiring of the waiter if their veggie burger had any dairy or eggs, he cringed and said “Yeah, I think it does…it has mushrooms, grains, vegan cheese…Wait!  Vegan cheese has no dairy!” and checked with the kitchen to be completely sure.

This was a good, good veggie burger.  The patties are made in-house, and are at least an inch thick and very tasty.  It comes with two topping, but I added one and chose portobello, avocado and caramelized onions.  Seriously, this was one of the best veggie burgers I have ever had and I’d recommend Le Burger Brasserie over the meal I had at Burger Bar easily.

The one caveat about this place is that it’s not cheap.  The burgers don’t come with fries, you have to order them separately.  But I would recommend that you do.

Because their fries are really good, despite the blurry image.  They have steak fries, shoestring fries AND waffle fries and you can get a three fry sampler if you want.

Sometimes when the waiter forgets to ask whether you want an orange or lemon slice with your Widmer and they bring you both, you put them both in.  It’s Vegas, you gotta get a little crazy!

Dinner that night was at The Wynn Buffet, where the lighting apparently does horrible things to my pictures.  Like last time I visited, I didn’t get to check that anything was vegan, but when in doubt went the cautious route.  So don’t take my word for it on this stuff…

Plate 1:  salad with vinaigrette, asparagus and pea salad, strawberries, dried fruit, marinated artichoke, pickles and a little piece of bread.

Plate 2:  pita with hummus and baba ganoush, rice pilaf, curried chickpeas.

Plate 3:  Asian slaw, spicy cucumbers with citrus, sushi, seaweed salad, and the most amazing miso udon which I tried to replicate after the last time I had it but didn’t really come close.

I also had a few bites of sorbet for dessert, but it was nothing picture worthy.  For the life of me I can’t remember where or if we had lunch the next day.  Maybe I just ate a bunch of donuts?

For dinner, we had a date with Hoffbrauhaus, a full-on German-style restaurant like in Beer Fest.  You sit at a long table with other parties, there is a band with an accordion on stage, and the waitresses can carry multiple mugs of beer in one hand.  Look at this perfect pour!

The menu includes two vegetarian entrees, but they’re both laden with cheese or cream, so I asked about a few side dishes and ended up getting three.

Yummy pretzel with sweet mustard.

Cucumber salad, which was good but not worth the $7 it costed.

Red cabbage.  The flavor was good, but they somehow managed to make the cabbage HEAVY.  I couldn’t even finish this small bowl.

I would recommend the Hoffbrauhaus if you’re into that sort of thing, but warn that it is not really within walking distance of the strip.  It may look like it is on a map, but please take a cab!

After dinner we went to Cirque du Soleil Mystere at TI.  It was quite a show, but overall I think I liked La Nouba in Orlando better.  Not that Mystere was bad, it just wasn’t better than La Nouba.  It was also really expensive; our discount tickets were more than I really wanted to pay, but I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity.

That was it for us in Vegas, but on the way out of town we stopped off at Ronald’s again.  I had asked around in the Bay Area to see if anyone wanted donuts brought back and had a large response.  So I bought ten half dozens, which didn’t include the donuts I bought for the ride home, or the donuts that the sweet people at Ronald’s GAVE to me!  Here are the donuts I distributed, with my pepper grinder for size reference (and bonus grease spots).

The next weekend, in addition to going to two baseball games, I baked a donation for the San Francisco Worldwide Vegan Bakesale.

These are Chocolate Chip-Raspberry Blondies from Vegan With A Vengeance, but made with Blackberries instead.  They are super-duper good and I can’t believe I waited this long to try them!  I did have a tricky time getting the blackberry filling to work, it kind of seized up and got stringy.  The recipe calls for tapioca powder and I used tapioca flour because I thought they were the same thing.  Anyone know if they’re the same thing?  I added some extra water to the filling and despite being really sticky, it worked out.

Seeing as SF is not a short trip exactly, and I had a hard time getting going that morning, I was a few hours late for the bakesale.  They had already sold out of a lot of items, but had enough to keep going.

We did really well with foot traffic due to our fantasitc location in front of Ike’s.  Ike’s has pretty much the best sandwiches ever (with extensive vegan options), so of course I had to get one.  I really wanted the Paul Reubens special but they had run out of Tofurkey, so I had a “Not So Sloppy” – meatballs and bbq sauce.

So friggin’ good!  And if you order a vegan sandwich they give you a vegan lollipop.

The bakesale was a HUGE success.  Between the two days and locations they raised $3,000 dollars.  Three thousand!  The proceeds were split between Animal Place and East Bay Animal Advocates.  I feel proud to have been a small part of such a great event.  Thanks to Melisser and Laura for organizing!

That brings us to this past weekend, which was the Fourth of July.  We kept it small and just went to a friend’s house to grill, hang out and play board games.  I decided to make a fancy grilled portobello sandwich, and started by marinating some big mushrooms according to this recipe.

During the veggie grilling session (after the grill had been cleaned of any remaining meats) we cooked the portobellos along with pattypan squash and corn.

I served the mushrooms on storebought ciabatta with lettuce, caramelized onions and avocado-horseradish sauce.  Delightful!  The portobellos weren’t the best I’ve ever made, but I think that had more to do with me cooking them over high heat for a few minutes too long than it did with the recipe.

In keeping with my one year tradition of making a red, white and blue dessert, I put together a trifle.  The layers are lemon pound cake from Veganomicon, strawberries, blueberries and coconut whipped cream.  I was going to do a simple silken tofu whipped cream but couldn’t find silken tofu anywhere, so I bought two cans of coconut milk, remembering that I had read somewhere that you could whip it into cream.  I followed the technique of this recipe, using all the cream from the tops of both cans (about 1 1/2 cups), 6 Tbs powdered sugar, 4 Tbs soy milk powder, 1 tsp almond extract, and a pinch of salt.  It did whip up and turned out nicely.

While I was carefully layering the trifle, bf asked me “Why are you arranging it so carefully if you’re just going to cover it up?”.  Well, this is why:

Trifle’s are supposed to look pretty from the side!

And from the top.  It tasted really good too.  There were lots of flavors going on between the vanilla and lemon in the pound cake, the coconut and almond in the cream and the berries, but it came together well and the pound cake had the perfect squishy consistency.

Lastly, here is how Jake likes to spend his time while I’m out galavanting and running around.

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Spring Grillin’

First, since I haven’t had a chance to post my latest CSA deliveries I’m just gonna do it now.  Three weeks ago:

salad greens, collards, rainbow chard, green garlic and asparagus

apples, navel oranges, radishes, strawberries, kiwi and sweet potatoes

And last week:

zucchinis, green chard, parsley, the world’s largest leek, lettuce

more apples, oranges, strawberries and radishes, teensy carrots and Meyer lemons

Now, spring is a great time for grilling. We all know this.   Summer as well.  Really, we grill year round, but I love grilling much more when the sun is out!  This was my first grilled meal after it turned officially Spring.

It was spur of the moment, and mostly from what we had at the house already – half a Tofurkey sausage, potatoes and a salad with grilled mushrooms, soy bleu cheese and balsamic reduction.  A fairly basic meal, but I wanted to share the method for the potatoes, which our friend Tom first introduced to us.  You pre-cook the potatoes, either by boiling them whole then slicing, or slicing then boiling.  The trick is to keep the slices fairly thick and cook them through, but not so much that they can’t stand up to the grill.  Once they’re boiled and drained, oil and season one side.  I think this time we only used kosher salt, black pepper and paprika, but you could go wild.  I think the paprika is key though, paprika makes everything better.  Grill the seasoned side over hot coals until it begins to char a bit (a little burning is good in this case, I think) and while the first side is cooking, oil and season the other side.  Flip, cook, eat.  Very good.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here yet, but baseball season started and we’ve got season tickets for the A’s, so we’ve been going to lots of baseball games.  And when those games fall on Saturdays, we tailgate!

Tailgate number one:  veggie dogs, grilled asparagus and coleslaw with radish and carrots.  We kept it simple for this one, since it was opening weekend and lots of friends came to join us.  The coleslaw dressing was just Vegennaise, apple cider vinegar, sugar and seasonings.

For tailgate number two we made kebabs!  In the past bf has been opposed to kebabs because they’re a little more work to put together, but we liked that they were a deviation from the normal burgers and dogs.  Above are my smoked tofu/pepper/onion/marinated mushroom kebabs, pre-cooking.  Yes, all of those just for me.

We didn’t bring anything to go with the kebabs, but the aforementioned Tom, who is apparently the potato master, brought these amazing garlicky parsley-y potatoes.  At Giants games and A’s games you can buy Gilroy Garlic Fries (Gilroy being renowned for garlic), and these were Tom’s version for grilling.  Did I mention they were amazing?

While we were grilling, this car pulled up across the aisle.

Awesomest baseball car ever!

(By the by, on a search for veggie food at the Oakland Coliseum I found veggie dogs!  They were $2.50 each if I recall correctly, which by stadium prices isn’t too bad.  They also weren’t more expensive than non-veggie dogs, which I appreciated.  I couldn’t tell you which stand they’re at specifically, but there’s something called the food court or food row or something, and it’s in there.  I had to walk almost halfway around the stadium from our seats in the outfield bleachers.  I plan on taking food with me from now on, but it’s nice to know that in a pinch there are vegan options.)

On the weekends we also like to drink a tasty beer now and then, and I wanted to tell you about this one.

This is Dale’s Pale Ale by Oskar Blues, and it comes in a can.  Don’t let this fool you though.  Just pour it in a pint glass and pretend it wasn’t in a can, cause this is one fine pale ale, if you into that sort of thing.

I leave you with Jake, trying to pretend he’s not interested in the fact that I’m sitting on the kitchen floor.

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Christmas Dinner

Happy day after day after Christmas!  I hope everyone had a good one.  We’ve been at bf’s mom’s house since Wednesday afternoon, just chilling out and spending time with his family.  I packed up a whole bunch of food to get me through four days away from home.  The big party here is on Christmas Eve, and  I wanted to keep things simple food-wise.  Ever since Thanksgiving I’ve been thinking of those “leftover sandwiches” people make, so I made my own version.  I started with bread on Sunday, made in the bread machine.

I used a recipe for Whole Wheat Bread that came with the machine, and subbed half the flour with spelt flour, quinoa flour, oats and wheat germ for greater grain variety.  This was a very tasty bread – perfect for sandwiches and SO good as toast.

The sandwich insides were spinach, tofurkey, vegan cream cheese and cranberry sauce.  I toasted this one in a pan.

Here’s a better picture of a test-run sandwich I made a couple days before.  This one also had red onion and pickles and was heated in my sandwich press.

To go on the side I made coleslaw with dried cranberries and pecans.  I originally wanted to make broccoli slaw, but I didn’t anticipate that they don’t sell broccoli slaw out here!  Must be a southern thing.

I also made orange-ginger mashed yams.  I roasted baby sweet potatoes and yams with shallots, garlic & ginger then mashed with a bit of orange juice.

I was going to take a picture of my plate, but I was getting enough weird looks for having a sandwich at Christmas Eve Dinner, so I abstained.

For dessert, I made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies again, by request.

I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t love these.  I used canned pumpkin instead of fresh this time, so there was a little less than two cups.  I also baked them about ten minutes longer, since last time they were so soft that they stuck to the plate.  They were just a bit crunchy on the outside but still super soft on the inside.  So good.

I hope everyone had a great holiday!  Santa was quite good to me.  Kitchen related presents received were Vegan Lunchbox, Vegan Fire & Spicy, a cast iron skillet, cast iron pizza pan, stock pot, large flat-bottomed saute pan, rice cooker, and a julienne peeler.  I am so excited to try all my new toys, thanks Santa!

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