Posts Tagged tacos

VeganMoFo: Celebrations

This is my 300th post!  To celebrate, I figured I’d show you some celebration food.

St. Patrick’s Day – corned beef seitan, spinach potato patties, soda bread, a shamrock shake made with avocado and mint, and Guinness Extra Stout.  Guinness Extra Stout distributed in the US is vegan!

Cinco de Mayo – ground “beef” tacos with guacamole, rice and beans.

Valentine’s Day – Chocolate Covered Katie’s Snickerdoodle Blondies cut into cute little heart shapes.

Easter – homemade peanut butter cups.  I was going to make eggs but Michael’s was out of egg-shaped molds, so hearts it was!  The filling was 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter mixed with 2 teaspoons melted Earth Balance and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  The coating was a 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips melted with 1 Tablespoon coconut oil.  The cups had a really good texture, but you could taste the coconut oil a bit, so I’d reduce it next time.

all packed up for shipping

I made the Ultimate Vegan Brownies from veganbaking.net to send to my mom for her birthday.  There are a few steps to the recipe, but it’s so worth it – they are by far the best vegan brownies I’ve ever had.  They’re the perfect mixture of fudgey and cakey and crumbly, and even have the desirable crunchy top.

We went to a San Francisco Giants tailgate for Dave’s cousin’s birthday, so I brought cupcakes – yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting and white and orange sprinkles for the Giants fans.

I’m not a horseracing fan, but Dave and some of our friends are, so we had a little gathering for the Kentucky Derby.  I made Wolffie’s Derby Pie from La Dolce Vegan.  The filling starts as something like a dough, with flour, margarine, sugar and flax seeds, which you then combine with chocolate chips and walnuts.  It’s probably one of the richest things I’ve ever made, and so delicious.

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Tasty Tailgating

We didn’t do anything grand or fun for the Fourth of July this year, but we did go to an A’s game that weekend.  Weekend games are for tailgating!

In a patriotic bid, Dave made Philly cheesesteaks for the boys, so I made my version with portobello and a vegan cheese slice.  The cheese wasn’t my favorite brand for slices (Tofutti) and didn’t melt at all, but this was still a very tasty sandwich.

I had two lovely CSA tomatoes waiting to be used, so I whipped up a chickpea tuna salad and stuffed ’em.

Stuffed tomato with grilled corn; patriotic plate and napkin presumably left over from last year.

Last weekend we had a biiiiig tailgate.  Normally it’s just the four of us – myself, Dave and two friends.  This time we were expecting a sister, a friend of Dave’s, his wife, their two friends and their four collective children.  Then, as we were cooking, another friend of Dave’s called to see if we were there.  He was on the way with his pre-bachelor party group, and we ended up having at least twenty five people!  Luckily, we had plenty of food.

Dave’s friend’s wife has celiac disease, so we wanted to make everything gluten free.  In discussing with Dave what we could and couldn’t make, I mentioned that corn tortillas are usually gluten free, so we went with Mexican food.

We started with chips and salsa made from a Rick Bayless recipe.

Dave made carne asada tacos for everyone else, so I grilled up some portobello.  Topped with salsa and cilantro, with a spot of guac on the side.

I wanted a substantial side dish as well, to avoid eating a bajillion tortilla chips, so I made this Mexican Bean and Rice Salad.  I was skeptical that the recipe didn’t include any oil, but the salad didn’t really need it.  If I made it again though, I would use less onion.  I’m just not big into lots of raw onion.

Since we were expecting a crowd, I wanted to make a dessert, and I do love the challenge of vegan, gluten free baking.  These White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies were adapted from this recipe.  I substituted Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour plus 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum for the flour, and used kosher white chocolate chips that I picked up at Food Fight in June.  The first batch spread too much in the oven, so I mixed in 2 Tablespoons of chickpea flour which seemed to do the trick.  The recipe says it should make three dozen, but I ended up with about sixty cookies!

I’m off to Portland for Vida Vegan Con tomorrow!  I will be attempting to live blog throughout the entire event, so check back here regularly for updates!

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32 Before 32

I was so pleased with the results of my 31 Before 31 that I am forging ahead with 32 more goals!  It’s already been two months since my 31st birthday, so I have just under ten months to work on this list.

  1. Go camping.
  2. Run a 5k.
  3. Get fitted for running shoes.
  4. Go to the deYoung.
  5. Go on a hike of at least 7 miles at Mt. Tam.
  6. Build a light box for food photography.
  7. Borrow a non-vegan cookbook from the library and try at least three recipes.
  8. Do five real push ups in a row.
  9. Finalize the list of recipes for my zine idea and work on at least five recipes.
  10. Enter all of the recipes I have printed into Living Cookbook database.
  11. Read at least chapters 5-7 of On Food and Cooking.
  12. Change blog template.
  13. Update blog roll.Build a small collection of props for food photography.
  14. Learn and use a photo-editing program.
  15. Go to a symphony concert.
  16. Finalize the list of songs for cover album project and work on arrangements.
  17. Take a day trip up or down highway 1.
  18. Go to Millennium and order the Frugal Foodie prix fix menu.
  19. Host a dinner party.
  20. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
  21. Watch the eight movies on this list that I haven’t seen.
  22. Volunteer.
  23. Advertise chef services somewhere other than my blog.
  24. Get business cards for blog & chef business.
  25. Complete Pimsleur Spanish program.
  26. Visit a new city.
  27. Visit the Winchester Mystery House.
  28. Do a jigsaw puzzle.
  29. Play tennis.
  30. Get a canning pot and can something.
  31. Find a houseplant I can’t kill
  32. Go to a spinning class.

I’ll do my best to update at least the blog-related goals a few times as the year goes on.

And, since every good post deserves some good food, here are a few dinners I made.  No recipes, but delicious nonetheless.

Mock chicken tacos with slaw, fresh and pickled jalapenos, and refried beans.

Millet with chard, fennel, capers, white wine and hazelnuts.

Biscuits with kale, sausage and mushroom gravy.

Soba, bok choy, shiitake and edamame soup with fried onion and dulse.

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31 Before 31 Results

I wasn’t even close to doing everything on my 31 Before 31 list, but I’m glad I wrote it because it really did help me to focus on my goals.  Here are the results!

Stuff that I did:

2.  Hike to the peak of Mount Tamalpais.  Done, and it was so awesome that I’m hoping to go back soon and do an even longer hike!  Here are a few pictures.

San Francisco skyline in the background

4.  Take a kickboxing class.  It was literally one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.
5.  Try acupuncture.  It didn’t help with the issue I went for, but it sure was interesting!
6.  Borrow a foreign cuisine non-vegan cookbook from the library and try at least three recipes.  I chose Mexico One Plate At A Time by Rick Bayless.  His recipes looked so good that it was hard to choose only three.

Potato Chorizo Tacos with Avocado Salsa (recipe posted here).  These were so good, and so easy to make!  I used Trader Joe’s Soyrizo.

Smoky Chipotle Beans with Wilted Spinach and Masa Dumplings (recipe posted here).  You soak dried black beans, then cook them with onion and garlic, and it turns it to this wonderful, thick broth.  Then you add in tomato, chipotle and spinach, and simmer the masa dumplings on top.  This took some time to make, but the flavor was so worth it.  The side dish is my attempt at turnips Gracias Madre-style.

Chipotle Chicken Salad Tacos (lettuce wraps) and Red Rice.    I reduced the oil in the salad and left off the avocado, and the salad really could’ve used one or the other to balance the flavor – it was SPICY.  For the rice, I followed Bayless’ directions to substitute brown rice for white, and while the rice was cooked through the dish was still watery.  Tasty though.

8.  Advertise personal chef services at discounted rate.  Done.
13.  Register for Vida Vegan conference.  Yes!  I’m going!
15.  Get trumpet cleaned.
16.  Fix and update iTunes library.
19.  Plant herbs in the flower box.

planted mid-April - oregano, flat leaf parsley, sage, cilantro, curly parsley, basil

mid-May, not looking quite as good. The left side is faring better than the right. The parsley has actually made a comeback since this photo.

20.  Get a few houseplants and try to keep them alive.  I’m still working on the keeping them alive part.
21.  Get a new phone.  Got an iPhone, and love it!
22.  Learn some basic conversational Spanish.  I’m through chapter 12 of Spanish for Dummies and can say more words and phrases than before, so I consider this done.  I’m going to keep working on it.
24.  Visit a city I’ve never been to.  Done twice – Clayton GA and Mendocino CA.
27.  Go to SFMOMA or the de Young.  Went to SFMOMA in December.  Favorite sculpture:

31.  Go on a picnic.  I took a picnic lunch on my Mt. Tam hike.

Tempeh Salad from Vegweb, made with half the mayo and tamari, on a multigrain wrap with Persian cucumbers and red bell pepper.

Stuff I did not do, which may or may not be on my 32 before 32 list:

1.  Jog 2 miles without feeling like dying afterward.  (I have been jogging, but my stamina isn’t up to two miles straight yet.)
3.  Work up to ten real push ups.  (I tried, but am not even close.)
7.  Finalize the list of recipes for my zine idea and work on at least five recipes.
9.  Enter all of the recipes I Have printed into Living Cookbook database.  (I didn’t realize what a huge project this is.  Am chipping away at it little by little.)
10.  Read at least chapters 5-7 of On Food and Cooking.
11.  Change blog template.
12.  Update blog roll.
14.  Invest in some props for food photography and take more interesting pictures.
17.  Go to a symphony concert.
18.  Finalize the list of songs for cover album project and start to think about style/arrangements.
23.  Take a day trip up or down highway 1.
25.  Go to Millennium and order the Frugal Foodie prix fix menu.
26.  Take an SF City Guide walking tour.
28.  Host a dinner party.
29.  Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
30.  Watch the eight movies on this list that I haven’t seen.

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Potlucks & Parties

This is gonna be another long one, so I’ll keep the text concise!  I present to you a collection of all food-centric events I have attended in the last few months.

In early September we celebrated Dave’s birthday.  We invited a bunch of people over and made a bunch of food.

The usual pretty veggie tray.

Tasty guac.

I usually like to go a little crazy with birthday cakes, but Dave requested vanilla with vanilla, so that is what he got.  Not my best decorating effort, but it tasted really good!

The next day I headed out to Dolores Park in San Francisco to meet with some PPKers for a Labor Day potluck picnic.  I had spent most of my time getting ready for the party, so my picnic donation was non-labor intensive – chili cheese dog casserole.  It was literally layers of hot dog bun, sliced veggie dogs, veggie chili and cheesy sauce baked in the oven, and it was actually quite good!  I didn’t get any individual food pictures cause it was kind of awkward since everything was on the ground.

First plate, clockwise from noon:  tofu noodle salad, bread with spinach dip, purslane potato salad, grilled tofu with pesto, chili cheese dog casserole, bbq black eyed peas, empanada, tempeh salad sandwich and corndog nugget with sweet and spicy mustard.

Dessert plate:  on bottom, orzo salad and chicken fried tempeh that weren’t there my first time through.  Cinnamon bun, apple pie, chocolate thumbprint cookie, banana bread, baklava, pear crisp and an oatmeal cookie.

It was a beautiful day with great food and great company.  Dolores Park is a very interesting place, full of interesting people.  We definitely saw one person get arrested!

We went to the Niners season opener, which meant tailgating.  Dave was making carne asada tacos, so I made a roasted corn coleslaw with chili lime dressing to go along.  The frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe’s was really good in it.

I also made marinated portobello tacos with grilled onions and peppers, hot sauce and cilantro.  This was a great tailgating meal.

I felt like doing a thematic dessert, and the best I could come up with was “Gold Rush Blondies”.  I forget which recipe I used now, but these tasty blondies had both chocolate and butterscotch chips.

The next weekend we were invited to a potluck birthday party for Dave’s uncle’s partner.  I wanted to take enough so that I would have a full meal if there wasn’t anything else I could eat.  I made Hannah’s Sesame Noodles, adding edamame.

I also made Fat Free Vegan’s Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches, but now I forget which veggies I used.  Some people said they couldn’t tell that it wasn’t “real” quiche.

The hosts have working on their house for years, and they have really great style and throw fun parties.  I joke with them that every time I go over there they’ve rearranged their furniture or bought something new.  Here we are hanging out in “the lounge”, which used to be a second bedroom that they’ve turned into a 70’s style hangout.  You can’t really tell from this picture, but this is a really cool room.

That’s me and Dave in the back and our friends Tom and Hope in the front.  They had some mighty powerful mai tais!

Last weekend I went down to Santa Cruz for a harvest-themed potluck at Amey’s house, again with the PPK crew.  The food was phenomenal, and I took lots of pictures!

Pretty salad

Pumpkin ziti

Stuffing

Persimmon spice pretzels

Potato coleslaw with cumin seeds

Buttercup gnocchi with mushrooms and butternut squash

Cranberry braised tempeh, and my terrible handwriting (recipe below)

First plate

Dessert!  Harvest pie with mooses

Amey’s beautiful caramels

Chocolate chip peanut butter banana bread

Puppy chow

Apple cake

Dessert plate, also featuring “Emporer’s Pie”, this amazing pie with vanilla-scented rum custard and satsuma curd.

Cranberry Braised Tempeh

The tempeh turns an interesting mauve color after marinating, but it is very moist and flavorful.  I adapted the recipe from the Bauman College Cookbook that we use at school, where it was adapted from the Delicious Living website.

16 oz tempeh
1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cups apple juice
2 shallots, chopped
1 orange, zested and juiced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cinnamon stick
2 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated, or 1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 pinch cayenne pepper

1. Cut each block of tempeh in half horizontally, creating two thinner rectangles of equal size.  Cut each rectangle into quarters, and each quarter into two triangles.  Place the tempeh in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, place the cranberries in a small pan and add apple juice, shallots, orange zest and juice, sea salt and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a boil and cook 15 minutes or until cranberries are soft.  Remove cinnamon stick.  Carefully pour the cranberry mixture into a blender and add the remaining ingredients (maple syrup through cayenne).  Blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. Place tempeh in a baking dish and pour cranberry sauce over the tempeh.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake the tempeh, covered, for 20 minutes.  Remove the cover and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.
5. Using tongs, transfer the tempeh to a serving platter.  Carefully pour the cranberry sauce into a saucepan.  If you wish, you can pour it through a strainer.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook until reduced to a saucy consistency, about 30 minutes.  Pour the cranberry sauce over the tempeh and serve.

Servings: 6

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/6 of a recipe (11.6 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 317.7
Calories From Fat (23%) 71.63
% Daily Value
Total Fat 8.57g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.76g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 440.3mg 18%
Potassium 910.97mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 48.3g 16%
Fiber 2.72g 11%
Sugar 13.18g
Protein 18.31g 37%

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Tres de Mayo

My friend Hope had a graduation party on Saturday (congrats, Hope!).  With Cinco de Mayo upon us, and considering none of our circle really go out on Mondays, she dubbed it Tres de Mayo.  Her boyfriend Tom, who is quite a cook, told me he was going to go with a taco bar setup, and Hope was readying margaritas and Mexican beer.  Tom confirmed that I would be able to eat the tortillas, refried beans, pico de gallo, and his most excellent guacamole.  Yes, that would be more than enough to fill me up, but you know me – I always go overboard and I like to get all fancy.  So I made some foods and hauled them over to the party.

I’ll start with the Breakfast Veggie Chorizo from VWAV.  This stuff is goo-ood.  It took me longer to cook the liquid off than the directions said, but that’s alright.  It was probably the first time I’ve cooked with tvp where I didn’t burn it to the bottom of the pot!  There were two vegetarians at the party (an unusual occurrence for me) who greatly appreciated it, and vegan-skeptic Tom even filled a taco with it.  Granted, that was after a few beers…

chorizo

I whipped up this Jalapeno Salsa from Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings.  It couldn’t be easier – chop, cook and blend.  And it tastes great!  I left the seeds in one jalapeno and seeded the rest, and that provided a really nice medium level of heat.

jalapeno salsa

Why do my first two pictures kind of look like upchuck?

Moving on, I made a Mexican Slaw for our Cinco de Mayo party last year that I had to make again.  I don’t know where I got the recipe from – probably a magazine many years ago, so I’ll post the recipe.  The hardest part is peeling and shredding the jicama.  I was going to use my food processor, but for the life of me I couldn’t find the shredding blade.

mexican slaw

Mexican Slaw

Serves 8.

1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs orange juice (from 1/2 an orange)
2 Tbs lime juice (from 1 lime)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
dash of cayenne pepper
1 (10-oz) package finely shredded cabbage
1/2 lb jicama, shredded (2 cups)
1 large carrot, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together olive oil and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl.  Add shredded cabbage and remaining ingredients, and toss to coat.  Cover and chill slaw mixture at least 4 hours.

My dad gave me a huge bottle of sangria a while back, and I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to get rid of it.  Tres de Mayo fit the bill.  I mixed in sliced lemon, orange and lime, brandy and triple sec, and served it with club soda to thin down the strength a tad.  I couldn’t confirm or deny the vegan-ness of this, but wine is an area I sometimes choose my vegan battles.

sangria

Here’s my plate from the taco bar, which was truly impressive.  My tacos had refried beans, chorizo, guac, jalapeno salsa, pico de gayo and dashes of Tapatio, slaw and chips on the side.  I had a couple more tacos as the night went on.

taco bar

I also wanted to make a dessert.  I immediately thought of a Mexican Chocolate Cake (scroll down a bit) that I printed from Yeah, That Vegan Shit last year around Cinco de Mayo.  I was thinking about adding cayenne and cinnamon flavors to chocolate.  I was also thinking about cupcakes, because I didn’t think Tom and Hope would appreciate having 20 extra plates and forks to wash.  Then I got to thinking about Green and Black’s Maya Gold Chocolate, which also has orange in it.  I decided to make Maya Gold Chocolate Lava Cupcakes, with the sauce from the original recipe acting as a filling in the cupcakes.

Unfortunately, I ran short on time and tried to microwave the sauce and that just didn’t work AT ALL.  So the cupcakes got a dressing of powdered sugar and went to the party mostly naked.  They were well received, but I thought the sauce was the missing part that would knock everyone’s socks off.

maya gold cupcakes

Luckily, a few of them survived the party and the next day I got to completele my experiment.  I was right – the cupcakes are good plain, but the sauce takes them to the next level.  I based the sauce on the ganache from VCTOTW, mostly because I knew I could depend on it being the right consistency.

maya gold lava cupcake

Maya Gold Chocolate Lava Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Cupcakes:
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs white vinegar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs canola oil
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
powdered sugar for decorating

Sauce:
6 oz. Green & Blacks Maya Gold Chocolate
6 Tbs soy milk
3 tsp sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line and/or lightly grease 4 cupcake pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and spices.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vanilla extract, vinegar, canola oil, water and sugar. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Using a 1/4 cup measure, fill the cupcake pans to about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Place the soy milk in a small saucepan and bring just to a light boil. Add the chocolate and sugar and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Set aside to come to room temperature.
6. When cupcakes and sauce are cooled, fill the cupcakes. Put the sauce in a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip. Poke a finger into the middle of each cupcake and move it around to make a cavity. Fill the cavities with a small amount of sauce, and garnish with powdered sugar.

Note: This will also make 2 9-inch layer cakes – bake for 30 to 35 minutes then use the sauce as filling and topping.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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