Posts Tagged Vegan Brunch

VeganMoFo: Semi-Wordless Wednesday

Polenta Rancheros from Vegan Brunch

Tamarind BBQ Tempeh & Sweet Potatoes from Appetite for Reduction

Goddess Nicoise Salad from Appetite for Reduction

Tempeh Pot au Feu from Vegan on the Cheap

Brussels Sprout-Potato Hash from Appetite for Reduction with leek & dill quinoa

potatoes with pumpkin-cheese sauce, bacon bits and green onion

Thai Roasted Root Vegetable Curry from Appetite for Reduction

Creamy Picatta Pasta, roasted vegetables & swiss chard

Kidney Bean & Sweet Potato Jamba Stew from Appetite for Reduction

Ye’abesha Gomen, Mushroom Tibs, and Ethiopian Millet from Appetite for Reduction

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VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Chives

For the last full week of VeganMoFo, I have given myself a challenge – to randomly choose a page from The Flavor Bible and make a recipe using an interesting or unexpected flavor match from that page.  The Flavor Bible is a really interesting book which basically lists multitudes of culinary ingredients, and tells you the flavors that they go with.  It uses bold and/or capital letters to emphasize the best flavor matches, and sometimes gives dish recommendations from renowned American chefs.  I received the book for Christmas last year, and have enjoyed flipping through it for inspiration.


Today’s flavor match came from page 123, chives!  I must admit that, while I told myself I would go with whatever page my finger landed on first, I did have to skip a few, such as the asparagus page (I refuse to eat asparagus in November), and the page that listed only different cuts of beef.  Other than those two, I’m staying true to the challenge.

To be honest, there weren’t any truly interesting matches to go with chives.  Nothing crazy that I wouldn’t have considered putting with the little oniony guys anyway.  So, I chose to match it with the “egg dishes” listing, which was interesting to me because, obviously, I don’t eat eggs!  I went the easy route, using tofu instead, but tried to make the dish as eggish as possible.

I was inspired by this recipe, and used the Shiitake Dill Frittata from Vegan Brunch as a guide, making a few changes:

  • subbed brown mushrooms for the shiitakes
  • subbed a bunch of chives, chopped, for the dill
  • added 1/4 tsp garlic powder instead of the fresh garlic called for (only because I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to mince any garlic)
  • used kala namak instead of regular salt, for that eggy sulfuric flavor (I make it sound so delicious, huh?)
  • added 1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheddar

(I’m not going to post the recipe, but you can see it on Google books right now.)

The frittata looked gorgeous when it came out of the oven, but sadly didn’t hold together completely when I flipped it.

up close and personal

Served with persimmon wedges.  The frittata turned out really fantastic, even if it didn’t hold together.  It was quite possibly the most “eggy” dish I have had since going vegan, and for a former vegetarian egg and cheese lover, that was a positive quality.  I think the melted Daiya gave it that part-cooked part-runny texture that eggs can have, and the mushrooms and chives complemented it perfectly.

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More Personal Cheffing

For the rest of my externship, I did a few personal cheffing sessions.  I met with the client to assess their needs, planned the menu, grocery shopped, prepared the food in their kitchen, and cleaned up.  All of my “clients” were friends, so it was pretty fun!  Exhausting, but fun.

My first client was Miles.  Miles is a healthy, active guy, so I was sure to include plenty of protein and good fats in his meals.  He is trying to eat low gluten and low soy, so I took that into account as well.  I packaged his meals individually so he could grab them on the way to work.

For the first meal, I made the Quick Red Posole with Beans from Viva Vegan, served with Braised Brazilian Shredded Kale (also from Viva Vegan), toasted pumpkin seeds and quinoa with lime juice.  The kale is really great for such a simple recipe.

Since Miles strives to be mostly soy-free, he makes really interesting stuff like hemp tofu and Burmese tofu, made with chickpea flour.  He had prepared a batch of Burmese tofu, so I made Fragrant Burmese Curry with it.  The chickpea tofu held together much better than I expected.  I served the curry with brown basmati rice and roasted broccoli.

This is “tuna”-stuffed tomatoes with Italian pasta salad.  I used this recipe for the tuna, substituting hemp seeds for the sesame seeds and using an adaptation of this cashew mayonnaise recipe instead of prepared vegan mayo.  The pasta salad was based on this recipe, with gluten free pasta and Zesty Italian Dressing.  Miles didn’t care for the pasta salad much, but he said he loved the tomatoes.

My next clients were Alex & Kristin, an awesome couple who, apart from a few allergies and dislikes, aren’t too picky.  I packaged their meals for two, so that they could reheat and eat together.  (I forgot to bring my camera that day, so please enjoy the craptastic cell phone pics!)

Kristin reeeeeeally wanted lasagna, so lasagna she got.  I’m not sure I would make lasagna again for a client becuase it takes me forever to put together, but it was worth it to make her happy!  I based my lasagna on the recipe from Veganomicon, with the VCon marinara, spinach, tempeh sausage, and cashew cream with plenty of nutritional yeast.  I would’ve also added mushrooms, but they don’t like mushrooms.  The horror, I know!

This White Bean Salad with Mint was the side dish for the lasagna.  I’m not huge on fresh mint, but I think it was pretty tasty.

Atrocious picture.  I know.

Alex & Kristin love Indian food (who doesn’t?), so I made the Tamarind Lentils from Veganomicon and some saffron basmati rice pilaf.  Alex called it biryani, which I guess is what it was.  The slivered almonds totally made the rice.  I also made some kale saag, which tasted nice but photographed so horribly that I can’t bring myself to post it.  It’s unrecognizable as food.

To use some seasonal vegetables, I made succotash from a recipe I printed from Food Network’s website many years ago which doesn’t seem to be there anymore.  Instead of the bacon called for, I add a dash of liquid smoke.  I served the succotash with polenta cakes.  I wanted to do grit cakes, but the grocery store I went to didn’t have grits.

My last clients were Raelene and Wayne, and their adorable 2 1/2 year old daughter.  I packaged their food family style, which basically meant just putting the whole recipe away in the fridge or freezer.  I brought my camera that day but totally forgot to take pictures, and then left my camera there!  They were nice enough to take pictures on my camera when they tried the meals.  They wanted to eat kind of “light”, and they basically like everything, which made it easy to choose recipes.

First up, Quinoa-Corn Chowder and Classic Cabbage with Cilantro-Citrus Vinaigrette, both from Viva Vegan and both tasty and easy.

The next meal was Two-Broccoli Stir-Fry on Soba Noodles from Vegetarian Times, and Fat Free Vegan’s Double Mushroom Miso Soup.  I wanted this meal to be filling yet light, if that makes sense, and I also wanted to sneak in some seaweed :)

Lastly, we wanted to try freezing one of the meals, which worked out well since Raelene just had surgery (she’s fine), and they pulled it out of the freezer last night for dinner.

This is Curried Cauliflower Frittata from Vegan Brunch, with added spinach, and Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes from Veganomicon.  Looks like the served it with some chutney – Good call!

A few people have asked me about my experiences with the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College, so I thought I would share a few opinions here.  I enjoyed it overall, and I’m very glad that I did it.  Yes, It was difficult to attend the classes and complete the homework while still working full time, but I basically decided to dedicate my time and forgo a social life for six months.  The program is not vegan, but it is vegan-friendly, and I was never asked to taste or work with any non-vegan ingredients.  My classmates were super-cool about working with me and making sure I had enough to eat at the end of class.  The instructors were educated and experienced, and if they ever didn’t know the answer to a question they would find out before the next class.  If you’re vegan or vegetarian in the program, you do have to be okay with being around meat for a few classes, but you don’t have to work with it.  Also, you may have to listen to some talk about the merits of stuff like the Weston A. Price Foundation that you may not agree with.  Basically, you have to be understanding with your classmates, the same way you would want them to be understanding with you.  Overall, the program is extremely vegan/vegetarian friendly, and very approving of plant-based nutrition.  Also, because the program is a condensed six month program, you have to know going into it that you’re not getting the same education or experience that you would at a three-year culinary school.  In the end, I feel like I still have a lot to learn and to cook, but that I have a better basic understanding of food and nutrition, and a much better foundation in knife skills, cooking techniques, ingredient knowledge and kitchen timing.  Again, I’m very glad that I completed the program.  If you are considering attending Bauman and have any other questions about my experiences, e-mail me at jamboxrock AT hotmail DOT com and I’ll try not to take forever to answer!

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New Stuff

It seems like I’ve got a lot of new stuff going on lately.  I’ve also received some new stuff and bought some new stuff.  Stuff!

Firstly, I started the Natural Chef program at Bauman College last week.  Although I haven’t actually cooked anything yet, I’ve been enjoying it a lot.  Our sanitation and knife skills classes are this week, and after that we can get into the kitchen.

Yesterday after class I headed into San Francisco to check out Economy Restaurant Fixtures for some supplies.  They have just about everything you could need to start or run a restaurant, right down to salt and pepper shakers or menu covers.  It was kind of funny to see it all lined up on shelves.

Apron, chef’s pants, knife roll, paring knife and knife covers.  I’ll look so official!  I also picked up some small stuff for home cooking – ramekins, a fine wire mesh strainer and large piping tips.

It was recommended to purchase a recipe management program, and I went with Living Cookbook after reading lots of reviews on Amazon.  So far I’m very happy with the software, and am working on importing all of my collected loose recipes.  One of the great features is having nutrition information for each recipe, like you can see at the end of this post.

I found myself with just a bit of extra money last month, so I bought some e-books that were on my wish list for a long time.

Sneak Peak and Pudge-Free Holidays by Lindsay of Happy Herbivore, and Impossible Pies and Lunchbox Bites by Hannah of Bittersweet.  I haven’t made anything from any of them yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

I also ordered Swell zine from A-K of Swell Vegan, and bought The Joy of Vegan Baking as a total splurge at Rainbow Grocery yesterday.  Haven’t even looked through either yet!

I don’t get over to Rainbow very often, but I happened to be in SF yesterday so I made sure to swing by to stock up on Teese and other such specialties.  I wasn’t looking for creamer, but I saw this coconut milk creamer by So Delicious and figured I’d give it a try.  I normally use Silk or Trader Joe’s brand soy creamer, but I’m not in love with either.  I tried the coconut creamer this morning and the verdict isn’t quite in yet, but I think I’m going to like it.  The flavor is pretty natural, with a little hint of coconut, and I only had to use about a Tablespoon, as opposed to the soy creamers which it seems I need to use more than one serving to achieve my preferred creaminess.  I haven’t seen this coconut creamer on my side of the bay yet, so I’m hoping that Berkeley Bowl or Whole Foods will pick it up soon.

A while back, my mom asked if I wanted anything from Pampered Chef because she was going to a Pampered Chef party.  I said there was nothing I needed, but made a few small suggestions.  A few weeks later she sent me a big box full of stuff!  It included a garlic peeler, garlic slicer, bamboo cooking tools, a stoneware baking sheet, chow chow relish, rice chips, glazed pecans and Southern Living magazine.  It also included a cookbook published by my parent’s church, chock-full of good old southern recipes.  My mom is the best!

Ever since hearing about the wonder of Kala Namak (black salt) on the internets and reading about it in Vegan Brunch, I’ve been looking everywhere for it.  For anyone who doesn’t know about black salt, it has a sulfuric aroma and flavor, which helps to simulate egginess.  I finally decided to just order it on the internet, and did so at Salt Works.  This 9.5 oz jar was only $7.95, and they offered free shipping in September, so I think I scored a pretty good deal.  This jar will last me a long time…

…making dishes like this!  This is the tofu omelet from Vegan Brunch.  I made the mushroom filling with white and shiitake mushrooms because the store was out of cremini, and substituted chard for the spinach because it’s what I had.  I also added some shredded cheddar Teese inside and on top, and broiled the omelet for a few minutes at the end to melt the Teese.  In the back is a roasted sweet potato hash with ketchup.  I had high hopes for these omelets after reading rave reviews, and they lived up to them.  It’s not exactly like a real omelet, but I think it’s the best simulation you could make without actual eggs.

This isn’t new, per say, but it’s new for this year.  I caught a glimpse of Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale and had to have it!  It’s my favorite pumpkin beer, although Shipyard Pumpkinhead is really good too.  Gotta get it while it’s available.

And finally, a first for me:  I won a blog contest!  Alisa over at One Frugal Foodie hosted a contest to get rid of some cookbooks she didn’t need, and I won a copy of Nonna’s Italian Kitchen by Bryanna Clark Grogan.  Score!

That’s it for today.  Between going to school and working full time, I’m unfortunately not going to be able to post as often as usual, which wasn’t that often anyway.  I’ll probably have some interesting things to share from school – I have to make some recipes at home and write up reports for homework.  Either way, I’ll try to keep posting at least a few times a month.

Speaking of the upcoming month, it’s time for VeganMoFo!  I won’t be able to participate this year, but for a full list of participants check out Kittee’s post.  I will certainly be perusing the list and hopefully discovering some new blogs.

Bonus Jake pictures!

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August Cleanse: Days 19-21

Day 19

My Wednesday morning smoothie had baby spinach and red chard, banana, strawberries, almond butter, chia seeds and coconut milk, and I took my multi and b complex.  My morning snack was two nectarines, figs and chai tea.  For lunch I had a semi-repeat of the roasted chickpea salad from the days before, except I was out of roasted chickpeas.  This salad contained leaf lettuce, sliced carrot, squash, radish and persian cucumber, chickpeas and an everything-in-the-pantry balsamic vinaigrette, and I took a probiotic supplement.  For an afternoon snack I had carrot sticks, green bell pepper strips and pistachios.  Exciting, I know!

I’d been wanting to make some breakfast for dinner, so I turned to Vegan Brunch and picked out the Sesame Tofu Scramble with Greens and Yams.

Honestly, if you had asked me after my first reading of Vegan Brunch what the first ten recipes I would try would be, this one wouldn’t have even been close.  I thought it fit best in my cleanse though since it has everything in a bowl, and I’m really glad I made this because it’s a spectacular recipe!  It’s less of a tofu scramble, I’d say, and more of a delicious, Asian-inspired, make-your-tummy-super-happy kind of dish.  I served it over savory oat bran which may seem like an odd choice, but the creaminess was actually a perfect texture foil to the scramble, which was soft but chunky.  I should also say that I added baby shiitake mushrooms and dulse, and I’d do it again because they were the perfect complements to round out the meal.  After dinner I had apple cranberry tea.

Day 20

Another fuzzy smoothie picture.  After this was taken, Dave bought and installed a bunch of new lightbulbs in the kitchen and living room, which have bettered my pictures.  I knew we had lightbulbs out and that I was having trouble focusing on some pictures, but hadn’t put two and two together.  Doh!  Anyway, this smoothie was made from baby spinach and red chard, banana, strawberries, berry pomegranate hempshake, udo’s oil and coconut milk, and I took my multi and coQ10.  At work, I had two apricots, a plum and coffee with coconut milk.

Since I had made dinner the night before and didn’t have the energy to prep another whole meal, and I was out of salad fixings, I decided to buy a salad for lunch.  Gasp!  Luckily, there is a restaurant near my office, Smart Alec’s, who claim they are “healthy fast food” and offer a few salad options, as well as a downright decent veggie burger and air-baked fries.

Sorry for the awful photo, I forgot to bring my camera so this is from a cell phone.  I chose their Sesame Tofu Salad, which is kind of funny because I had just had sesame tofu for dinner the night before, and the salad that I was supposed to bring but was too lazy to prep was an Asian-y cabbage salad.  I guess I really wanted sesame and tofu!  This salad had lettuce, a wee bit of red cabbage, baked tofu, crispy rice noodles and sesame dressing.  The tofu was hot when they put it in the container so it wilted the lettuce a little, which I actually like.  My only complaint about this salad is that it could’ve used more veggies, but overeall it was quite good.

The afternoon snack of the day was carrot sticks, cucumber slices and bell pepper strips with White Bean Pesto Dip from Versatile Vegetarian, which sounds uneventful save the fact that while I was slicing the cucumber that morning I sustained my first cooking injury!  I cut my thumb.  Not so bad that it needed stitches, but bad enough that it bled quite a bit and I felt a little woozy.  I was kind of excited to go into cooking school next month never having cut myself (I’m sure it would’ve happened eventually, possibly AT school), but I also kind of feel like I went through some sort of rite of passage into becoming a real chef.  So much so that I felt the need to document my battle scar.  Click here ONLY if you’re a bit morbidly curious and don’t mind the sight of blood.

For dinner I had more sesame tofu scramble over oat bran, and I took another picture because I thought the first one from the night before was too covered in sesame seeds.  For this one I mixed the seeds in first so you can actually see what it looks like.  Before bed, I had camomile tea.

Day 21

I had planned to make Friday morning’s smoothie with some blackberries, but upon taking the berries out of the fridge they had gone moldy.  So I went to plan B and included baby spinach and red chard, banana, frozen mango, mango pomegranate hempshake, udo’s and coconut milk.  This smoothie turned out fantastically, so apart from wasting berries, I was kind of glad I couldn’t use them.  I also took my multi and b complex.  For a morning snack I had a pear, a plum, figs and coffee with coconut milk.

For lunch, I made Napa Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce from Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen and added cubed, smoked tofu.  I feel this salad wasn’t named appropriately, because there’s no peanut sauce anywhere.  It’s really a sesame-soy dressing over cabbage with chopped peanuts sprinkled on top.  The flavors were good, but it was a whole lot of cabbage to eat at once.  The recipe called for the salad to be dressed just before serving, but I feel like it may have benefitted from the cabbage sitting in the dressing, like a slaw.  My afternoon snack was carrot sticks, squash slices and red bell pepper with white bean pesto dip.

On the way home from work I picked up some black cherry and citrus vodkas and diet tonic water to have some flavored vodka tonics.  I had one of each, and more sesame tofu scramble over oat bran for dinner, then we spontaneously decided to go to Oakland to see a friend’s band play.  I had two beers there, and when we got back home I was starving.  I wanted a crunchy snack and didn’t have much in the way of cleanse-friendly snacks that weren’t nuts, so I popped some popcorn and seasoned it using Bianca’s tip (see the comments of this post).  It worked!  I seasoned with nutritional yeast, dried dill, salt and probably too much black pepper.

You may remember that i was disappointed to gain a bit of weight during the second week.  Well, the good news is that I lost 2.5 pounds this week!  Yay!  That makes 4.7 pounds total in 3 weeks.  Not bad, for me at least.

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