Vegan Fire & Spice

Firstly…

Yes, yes I am.  The world vegan bake sale is just that, vegan bakesales taking place all over the world during the same week, raising funds, having fun and spreading the joy of tasty vegan baked goods.  The concept was brought to us by Compassion Over Killing, who do great work in animal advocacy.

Our San Francisco vegan bake sales are organized by Melisser the Urban Housewife, Vegansaurus, and the people of The PPK.  We’re holding them next Saturday, June 27th and Sunday, June 28th.

Details (both days in San Francisco):

Saturday, June 27th, 11AM – 4PM
3506 16th Street at Sanchez, in front of Ike’s Place

Sunday, June 28th, 11AM – 4PM
800 block of Capp Street, near 24th St (about 1/2 mile from 24th Street Bart)

Proceeds go to Animal Place and East Bay Animal Advocates.  I will only be there with goodies on Saturday (we have baseball tickets preventing me from going Sunday), but there will be amazing stuff both days.  So if you’re in the area go to the website then come by the bake sales!

On to the food.

When I came back from my trip to Texas there was nary a lick of fresh food in the kitchen, nor any cooking inspiration on my part.  So I decided to open up a cookbook and just pick some recipes to make.  My mom got me Vegan Fire & Spice for Christmas last year and while I had read through it a few times, I had yet to make any recipes.  So I got down to business and picked out some meals.

Paella!  Despite the picture trying to burn red holes through your retinas, please take my word that this was good good good.  I think I ate it for five days straight and could’ve eaten more.  I was in major need of protein after eating whatever was available for five days, and this packs a triple protein threat.  And just enough veggies to make it a well rounded one pot meal.  My singular complaint would be that I didn’t like the tempeh in it.  I am a fan of tempeh, but this tasted like big chunks of plain tempeh that didn’t really jibe with the rest of the dish.  I think either cutting the tempeh smaller or putting it in the cooking liquid sooner, or both, would make it better.  Next time I’ll just do chicken-style seitan, seitan sausages and red beans and it’ll be perfect.

This isn’t from VF&S, but I had CSA rhubarb withering away, so I stewed it for dessert.

Cooked down with water, sugar and lemon juice and served over vanilla soy yogurt, this was a tasty and relatively healthy dessert.  I’m still not a huge fan of rhubarb so I don’t want to eat it all the time, but this is a nice way to do it.

Next I decided to try the Texas BBQ Sauce baked on some tofu.

This sauce was quite tasty.  I like that it started with a whole onion and green pepper, and the ingredient list was pretty short and pantry-friendly.  The only problem was that I don’t currently have a working blender and use my food processor for everything, and the sauce started splashing out the top so I had to stop blending too soon, leaving the sauce chunky.  It didn’t coat the tofu like I had hoped but still tasted great.

For my third VF&S meal I went to the Caribbean.

First the Island Rice Salad.  This salad was nice, but not anything I’d go crazy for.  The majority of the dressing was storebought mango chutney.  A container of locally-made chutney ran me $4 at Whole Foods, and I think the flavor of the salad would really differ depending on what kind of chutney you were able to buy or make.  The sweetness of the mango chunks and the crunch of the bell pepper offered a nice contrast.  I think something chewy and smoky would fit in nicely and round it out, perhaps small pieces of baked tofu.

To go with the salad, I made the Jamaican Baked Vegetables.  While the dish was fine, I wasn’t a huge fan.  It baked for a loooong time and rendered all the veggies kind of mushy, and I had a hard tine getting through all the leftovers.  The flavors were nice though, very citrusy and plenty spicy since I used a whole serrano, seeds included.

All in all I was pleased with the dishes I made and I will definitely go back to try more from Vegan Fire & Spice.  I think I’ll also try to do another cookbook-themed post here and there, it’s fun to force myself to go through and pick out multiple recipes.

Randoms:  I made my creamy corn casserole a third time, got it as close to perfect as I think it’ll get, and submitted it to the Vegetarian Times Reader Recipe Contest.

I got a CSA delivery, and can’t really remember what I did with most of it now.

lettuce, parsley, carrots, gypsy peppers

tomatoes, blueberries, canteloupe, peaches

And here’s a very random dinner I made one night when I was in a big hurry without much food on hand.

Whole wheat tortilla with TJ’s soy nugget pieces, diced soy cheese, and a mixture of finely diced broccoli stem, shredded carrot and vegenaise/apple cider vinegar dressing.  Odd perhaps, but good and quick.

Lastly, the blackberry vines in our backyard are bursting with berries!  I have done nothing more than trim back the dead growth on last year’s vines, and I have managed not to kill or harm the plant.  Here are the first few berries I picked when they were just starting to ripen.

The blackberry vines are actually kind of insane.  They’ve grown so thick that I can’t even reach most of the berries, which is sad, but I think I’ll still get plenty off the vines.  Also, blackberry vines are absolutely covered in thorns, which makes it quite painful to harvest.  It’s almost like they don’t want me to have their berries!

The majority of the vines are behind the high fence on the right, all clumped up in a bunch that I can’t get to.

I took these pictures about two weeks ago, and there are way more ripe berries now.  Here are all the very ripe berries I picked just last weekend.

I’ve also been eating the first cherries, apricots and peaches of the season.  Summer fruit is the best!

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12 Comments »

  1. Oh man, I can’t wait to get my fresh blackberries! A friend of mine is supposed to be giving me a few bags as soon as they’re ready at his house. Yum! I need to get that Vegan Fire & Spice book. I love spicy food!

  2. natalie said

    I am so jealous of your berries!!

  3. Diann said

    Your blackberries vines are wonderful! I hope you can manage a good harvest.

    I have just started using VF&P too. I wanted to make that rice salad, but just couldn’t bear to put that oily chutney in, so I cooked a box of wild rice and added in chopped mangos and red peppers – it was good!

    Your corn casserole looks like a winner!

  4. Sophie said

    woah, super super jealous! i’ve never been to texas and i’ve wondered what the vegetarian/vegan scene is down there. i love rhubarb. making rhubarb muffins is probably my favorite way to use them. also…blackberries!! i so wish i had berry bushes/vines in my yard. that’s too bad you can’t get to them. i love your soy nugget wrap thing. yum!

    ack, must investigate the dc branch of that bake sale ASAP!

  5. Mandee said

    Hooray for participating in the WVBS! I hope yours goes really well 😀

  6. Melisser said

    Yay for the bake sale! Man, you’re making that book sound good, but I do NOT need another cookbook. Berries!

  7. MJK06 said

    wow your berries look great…i wish i could grow some but i live in an apartment 😦 Lovely looking food too yum yum!

  8. mihl said

    Pretty awesome how early your blackberry season starts. I thin we have to wait at least some more weeks.
    I love stewed rhubarb! We have a lot of rhubarb compote in the house these days.
    Have a lot of fun at the bakesale!

  9. Jodye said

    What beautiful berries! We’ve got blackberries growing in the backyard, as well, but haven’t gone over to pick them yet. I can only hope they’re as delicious looking as yours.

  10. Lucky you! Fresh blackberries!! Best of luck with the bake sale tomorrow… I know if we did well in Houston, then a bake sale in San Francisco is bound to be a hit!! Whatcha makin?

    • veganhomemade said

      Chocolate-Raspberry Blondies from VWAV, with blackberries though. I’ve never made them before but I’m sure the recipe will work out, and I’m looking forward to sampling one 🙂 Thanks for the well wishes!

  11. […] my recipes, vegan, salsa, seitan, roasting, tofu, fajitas, peaches That CSA delivery that I posted about last time and said I didn’t remember what I did with it?  I remember now, at least what I did with […]

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