Friday, October 30, 2009

In Praise of Tofu

After watching the oh so sad Top Chef vegetarian challenge to feed Natalie Portman--one day late due to the pathetic Yankees/Phillies opener (Man, Weds was lame!)--I feel compelled to share with you the techniques our dear professional chefs could have used to feed Ms Portman something other than amuse bouche sized side dishes of anemic vegetables.  Now to be perfectly honest with the supply of beans and whole grains in Craftsteak's kitchen, there really was no reason to serve only the sad little vegetables in the first place.It really isn't necessary to use tofu, tempeh or any other animal protein substitute to make a decently balanced vegan meal but, since tofu is routinely so poorly represented in mainstream cooking shows a little instruction on its use is in order:
A little tofu basics to get you started. There is an enormous variety in the types of tofu from silken of various firmnesses to soft-superfirm tubs in your grocery store. Fresh is available  from oriental markets and some people even make  homemade. So this blog post could go on for weeks on a whole host of ways to use this versatile product that when made correctly is happily eaten even by omnivorous children.  I am going to focus on Extra-Firm tofu today and maybe do some silken quiche and dessert love in the future.
Now believe me,  I understand the tofu fear.  You empty out this block of white stuff from a tub of murky liquid and it quite frankly looks pretty awful.  But let's think about it for a second.  Exactly how beautiful are raw chicken breast or fish filets? And no one died for your tofu..unless their is some soybean mafia conspiracy of which I am unaware and then I stand corrected.  The secret is that you need to add flavor and improve the texture the same as any other not intended to be eaten raw product.  This is where people either fail or simply don't know what to do.
The most important thing you must do to your tofu is remove the excess water and add flavor.  The easiest way to do this is to press the water out of the tofu and then marinade some flavor back in.  Pressing tofu is an easy technique but one I didn't learn until after 20 odd years of vegetarianism.  No matter what you read ..don't be fooled into not pressing tofu if you intend to grill, bake or fry it.  The easiest way is to remove the tofu from the tub, place between a clean dishtowel, and set under a heavy object for about 20 minutes.  Turn over and repeat for the same amount of time.  If you know you are preparing your tofu in slabs, cut it widthwise into the number of pieces you will need before pressing and it will press in much less time.  There are even tofu presses available now which will allow you to press and marinate all in one contraption.  I hear good things but I am too cheap, too diy and have too little storage space to purchase this particular item. And I must confess I like pressing my tofu under my old Abnormal Psychology textbook from College.
Once you have pressed your tofu, it is up to you how you want to flavor it.  Most of us marinate at least briefly even if going on to other techniques.  Your marinade can be as fancy or simple as you want.  A little lemon juice, soy sauce and fresh garlic will suffice.  Or you can look through any number of vegan cookbooks for elaborate spice blends to match the flavor profile you are cooking:  cajun, indian, italian etc.  Plan on marinating for at least an hour.  But quite frankly you can store pressed tofu in marinade in your refrigerator for quick weeknight meals. After marinating you can grill, broil or even bread and fry it  if that floats your boat!  Add gravy, sauce or serve plain and you are good to go!
If you like the chewy texture found at many Asian restaurants you use the same technique as above except you want to freeze your tofu overnight and then let it thaw the next day before pressing and marinating.  This is good if you are using the tofu in a recipe that routinely uses chicken like: General Tso's Tofu or Tofu Paprikash. 
Follow the above steps and you too will be loving tofu in no time.  And now a little visual tofu love:

In Chili over a scramble

And a bonus Jack O Lantern (he likes tofu too!)
Happy Halloween and Happy Veganmofo!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall Flavors: Vegan Birthday Cakes Through the Years

One of the reasons my family and I love the Fall is because it signals the start of one of our family's parade of birthdays.  It starts in late September with my Mother-In-Law, continues into October with my late Grandmother's and My Son's and ends just in time for Thanksgiving with my Oldest Daughter's and my November Birthdays.  So in celebration of those celebrations, this MOFO post will be a review of vegan birthday cakes through the years. 
First up is Sean's Ice Cream Cake with Oreo Cookie Crust from last year.  The recipe is on Dreena Burton's blog and is as delicious as it is easy.  Basically Oreo sandwich cookies are cut in half and used to line a Spring Form Pan.  Softened Ice Cream is layered above it with smashed cookie crumbs for the layer between your ice cream.  The whole meshuggana(sp?) gets frozen until firm and decorated when released from its spring form cast.  Yum!

Next up the Fabulous Raspberry Blackout Cake from Vegan With A Vegeneance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  This has been a default birthday cake for years in my house.  How can you go wrong with Chocolate, Chocolate Ganache, Rasberry Fruit Spread and Fresh Raspberries?  I mean really?

This year throwing tradition to the wind; the birthday boy went with Pumpkin Pie.  This is the Pumpkin Pie with Glazed Pecans from The Voluptuous Vegan and a pretty sexy little number it is.  This will also be showing up around Thanksgiving so it was nice to have another practice run with this recipe.

And lastly because I hate to leave anyone out the fun...The Gluten Free version.  The Gluten Free Rice Krispie Treats and Chocolate Gluten Freedom Cupcakes (from Vegan Cupcakes Takeover the World by Isa and Terry Hope Romero) are happy to drop on by as well.

So if you are having as dreary a day as I am--come on lets just build the ark already, jeesh!--here's hoping a little of my shared celebrations can cheer you up.  They sure are helping my mood!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Flavors: Acorn Squash, Tomatillo and Poblano Pepper Stew

The days are getting shorter. I need to wear a sweater at least in the morning and evening. My thoughts start turning to warm, soothing stews and warmer spices. I have said before that the nice thing about belonging to my coop is that it reminds me to eat seasonally. This past week's order with its peppers and squashes reminded me of how much I love this season and the foods it brings. Case in point this lovely and lively stew. The original recipe was part of my biweekly newsletter and credited no one with its creation. I will share it with you to enjoy while you carve your jack 'o lantern this All Hallow's Eve:
Acorn Squash, Tomatillo and Poblano Pepper Stew

What you need:
2 small acorn squash baked until just tender
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tbs of olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
2 tsps chili powder
2 poblano peppers, chopped
5 tomatillos husked, washed and cut in eighths
2 cups water
2 cups cooked kidney beans
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Vegan cheddar,vegan sour cream and or hot sauce to garnish
What you do
If you haven't yet baked your squash or cooked your rice, do so now.
In a soup pot or large sauce pan warm olive oil over medium heat.
Add onion , garlic and chile powder and saute until onions are transluscent.
Add water,beans,rice,tomatillos and peppers and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes.
Seed squash and add by spoonfuls to the pot.
Cook an additional 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Remove from heat and add cilantro.
Add salt and pepper to taste
Serve topped with any, all or none of the above condiments.
This was served with The Sweet Skillet Cornbread from Joni Newman's Cosy Inside.  That's my favorite cornbread by far!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Iron Chef Challenge: Apples and Peanutbutter

apple peanutbutter brownies
Originally uploaded by jomarb

This ones a little late but to be perfectly honest I nearly didn't participate in this week's challenge. First, my daughter is allergic to peanutbutter so I don't use it often because she couldn't eat the food. Also it was my 12th wedding anniversary yesterday so my husband was discouraging me from cooking. But then inspiration struck I thought..well these brownies are incredibly easy and will be nice to eat later on tonight. So here you have it Apple Peanutbutter Brownies. I basically souped up my go to Brownie Recipe and it goes something like this:
Apple Peanut Butter Brownies

What you need:
1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine
3 1 oz squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup of Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp of Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Silken Tofu
1/2 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 cup peeled, finely chopped Apples

What you do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil an 8 or 9 inch square pan
In a large sauce pan, melt Earth Balance and Chocolate
When melted remove from heat and add Brown Sugar and Vanilla mixing well.
Using an electric mixer, beat in Silken Tofu until completely combined and no white spots showing.
Beat in Peanut Butter until well blended
Add flour and mix in well.
Fold in apples.
Using a rubber spatula so you get everything out of the pan...scrape/pour batter into prepared baking pan.
Bake for 20 minutes or until edges pull from sides of pan.
These are very fudgey gooey brownies so..let them cool completely before cutting. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Comfort Food: Brunch for Dinner

In my house breakfast or brunch for dinner is greeted by unanimous applause.  My kids would eat nothing but breakfast foods and I can't quite wrap my head around pancakes, quiche and omelettes until this is a perfect arrangement we got going.  The dinner in question this evening is the sensational Classic Broccoli Quiche from Vegan Brunch(by Isa Chandra Moscowitz) with a side salad my 11 year old son demanded it needed to go with it.  Now you may question quiche as comfort food but let me tell you a couple reasons why it is so for me. 1.  When I was growing up, some of my first "big girl" lunch dates with my mom were at the Magic Pan and other cafe type places.  And while my big sister whined we had to go there for crepes and ordered a burger...Barb I love you anyway...I had my first quiche.  So it does have childhood memories for me.  2.  It will have childhood memories for my kids because it was one of the first things they ate having a vegetarian--at the time mother--who needed dinner on the table fast!  To this day this isn't much I can't hide in a quiche whether it be tofu (of course now that I am vegan) or brocolli (the bane of my youngest's existence), cut or pureed in small enough pieces with yummy flavors and poured into a pie crust, it truly is "all good"!  3.  If you can find a vegan premade crust, and own a food processor, you can have this bad boy, or girl in the oven in about 10 minutes.  It also shares the casserole magic of being in one dish and taking long enough to cook that you can be virtually cleaned up by the time it hits the table.  Heaven!
So I leave you at the end of this comfort food week with Brocolli Quiche.  A well loved favorite.  And I even followed Isa's advice and decorated with cherry tomatoes to truly bring it back to my youth!  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Comfort Food: Slowcooker Stroganoff

Originally uploaded by jomarb

Sometimes food just feels right, tastes right and since it is practically waiting for you when you walk in the door--is right. That doesn't always mean it's pretty, but beauty is more than photo deep. Case in point is the Slow Cooker Stroganoff....I hear a collective giggle from the PPKers and must admonish you all to get your minds out of the gutter! This is a Robin Robertson recipe from her Vegetarian Slowcooker cookbook and it rocks. My only substitution is fresh edame for greenbeans because it's what I had on hand. You basically brown a bunch of mushrooms, saute some onion and pepper together with spices and flour. Place the cooked onion and pepper mixture in the crockpot with tomatoes and your green vegetable and let it cook all day. When you get home, you toss in the mushrooms and turn up the heat on the slow cooker. Cook some noodles (I used rhombi cause of the cute shape and name). And stir in some vegan sourcream just before serving on the cooked noodles. Couldn't be easier or cosier for a cool fall night. I highly recommend this cookbook in general for busy people. The title says vegetarian but it is basically a vegan cookbook with the few recipes that include dairy products listing the vegan alternative. Some of the recipes are not really fix it and forget it workday things and get into fancier weekend or holiday menus but alll taste great and make the dishes simpler by not having to watch pots or worry about exact timing of cooking. This is a family favorite and brings me back to childhood dinners without all the animal cruelty. Enjoy! And really...go buy that book!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New York Vegan 100 by Melissa Bastian at New York in Green

Well I was going to do some more comfort food today...but Melissa's list looked so fun I decided to try it.  I haven't lived in New York for quite sometime but I am close enough to be in and out so lets see how I do!

the Melissa Bastian New York in Green Vegan 100!!

Like the other vegan lists, these are foods that you simply must try (whether or not you're vegan, really). This list actually also incorporates some eating experiences - settings and such. But the main difference? These are in New York! Get it? See? It's regional.

Should you feel the urge (and I hope you do), copy this list and just go ahead and tell us. Have you eaten it / been there / done that? Do you want to? Would you do it again? For my fellow New Yorkers, or those who live close enough to get into town reasonably often, answer away and please put a link to your answers in the comments! To those who just love to visit, answer as well, and maybe this list will be a good reference for the next time you get over this way. Even if you've never been here, tell us how it all sounds to you!

Alright then. Let's get to it, shall we?

1. cornbread at Angelica's Kitchen -No but as a corn bread fiend this is on my list.

2. the Zen slice at Viva Herbal (2nd Ave) - no

3. lemongrass seitan on rice vermicelli at Lan Cafe - no

4. cake batter soft serve ice cream at Lula's Sweet Apothecary - No but I am thinking of taking the kid this month for her birthday so........
5. Vegan Treats' Peanut Butter Bomb cake - Yup!

6. the "Penny Lick" at Penny Licks - Nope

7. oyster mushrooms and grilled asparagus at Gobo - Nope

8. dosas from the vegan dosa cart man at the southwest corner of Washington Square Park - A major regret in my life as I need a dosa cart of my very own!

9. coconut tofu soup at Pukk - no

10. camarones y coco at Vegetarian Paradise 2 - No cause I fear vegan fish substitutes.

11. crab rangoon at Red Bamboo - I haven't gotten past the soul chicken

12. medu vadi at Madras Cafe - nope.

13. dinner at Hangawi - not yet for me either

14. wings at Foodswings - Another major regret.  No.  Am I really even vegan?

15. vegetarian combo at Awash - no but I have had the one at Mesob in Montclair.

16. nutmeats from Bonobos - No

17. sunflower lentil pate at Sacred Chow -no

18. white chocolate wonderful peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co. - Only because white chocolate is from satan.  I love the dark chocolate.

19. Sweet & Sara marshmallows with toasted coconut - Must try!
20. ginormous lollypop from Dylan's Candy Bar - I am not much of a candy freak
21. seitan scallopini at Blossom - Another not yet for me..

22. baked veg meat bun at Buddha Bodai - no

23. Thanksgiving dinner (prix fix) at a vegan restaurant - No, I usually cook.  But I am tempted to get a premade from our local vegan chef in Red Bank if we go to the inlaws.

24. fresh apple cider at the Union Square Greenmarket - YES, YES YES

25. "turkey" salad from Sunen Foods - Yes I have

26. red sonjas at Mundo (in Astoria) - Nope, I was only to Queens once in my life so not much chance to.

27. sausage roll from Vinnie's on Bedford - Another need to try!
28. a dragon bowl at Bliss on Bedford - No but I have had stuff just like this.

29. a Red Bamboo soul chik'n sandwich purchased at the Bamn Automat - I only had soul chik'n at Red Bamboo itsself.  This is fascinating

30. ravioli of the day at Caravan of Dreams - Yes!  At a PPK meetup no less! It was yummy but the Nacho appetizer was amazing!
31. spaghetti squash spaghettini at Counter - Need to go for brunch

32. some teeny tiny ridiculously overpriced "entree" at Pure Food & Wine - can you tell that I was underwhelmed?  I actually want to try this.  I get really full from raw foods so hopefully I won't still be hungry but if I am I can always go to #4 for dessert!

33. ramen at Souen on 6th - no only Ramen noodle packets and they give me nightmares of being broke and in college.

34. dumplings at Franchia - No
35. the vegan panini at 'sNice - Another regret.
36. chocolate hazelnut ice cream at Stogo - Need to try!
37. a falafel pita with way too many crazy toppings at Maoz - Yup!  If its falafel I have found it and eaten it!

38. black sesame sweet tofu (soft serve) at Kyotofu - nope

40. an Ess-a-Bagel bagel with their tofu cream cheese - you can't call it cream cheese though. When you order it you can only call it tofu: "Can I get a whole wheat, toasted, with herb tofu, lettuce, and tomato please?" like so. They have like eight flavors!  YES YES YES YES!  Love Ess-a-Bagel

41. brunch at Curly's Vegetarian Lunch -No but would be good to go to with the hubby.
42. grits and a sake bloody mary at Old Devil Moon -Sadly never made it.

43. peanut butter and banana sandwich at Think Coffee - nope but I don't like PB and banana

44. bad service with an attitude at Kate's Joint - no but I keep hearing this!

45. Melissa Bastian's veg lasagna and red velvet cupcakes - ha! Got you. But I've fed these to a pretty large number of people now, and both recipes did originate in NYC. So, will you be next?!  Am I invited?

46. a fig and almond cake purchased at Dean & Deluca, the big one on Spring Street - I love Dean and Deluca but not figs so it's a halfer.

47. pulled sugar candies from Papabubble - again with the candy?
48. bean curd and broccoli from a Chinese takeout place that has lightup pictures on the wall of its main entrees - Yes indeedy!

49. a plate of goodness from Veggie Castle - I was lucky enough to go to the original Veggie Castle, the one housed in an old White Castle, two times before it closed. I haven't been to the second one yet.  NO such luck!

50. beers at the Brooklyn Brewery - yes, Brooklyn Lager and the rest are still brewed in Brooklyn, and you can go there and drink! All of their beers are vegan except for one odd cask ale.  Again..a wish list item!

51. seitan satay sticks at Tien Garden - for all this restaurant's healthiness, these sure are doused with some mightyfine peanut sauce.  No sadly!

52. zucchini fries at the Organic Grill - I'm not a big fan of this place. The tables belong at a picnic spot or rest stop, not inside a restaurant. But these things almost make up for it.  Nope

53. Sake lemonade at Goodbye Blue Monday - they have some vegan food too, but... they have sake lemonade.  Does the fact that the owner is a good friend from back in the day count for anything? Well tell Steve to ship me a sake lemonade to Jersey!

54. lhasa momos at Tsampa - No

55. dinner with 4 course vegan -Wish I had

56. a burrito from Benny's - I used to live on them at one time

57. a vegan meal at one of Flushing Chinatown's veg restaurants - nope

58. a pleasing experience at House of Vegetarian - No
59. shark fin soup at Vegetarian Dim Sum House -This scares me too!

60. rice at Rice - Nope

61. omusubi at Oms/b - No but I like balls!

62. pakora at Seva - Sadly again not much time in Queens.

63. bread from Balthazar bakery - yeah actually I have

64. Vegan Drinks at Angels & Kings - no! I have not been to this! Because it is always on Thursdays, as part of the conspiracy against me.  The Thursday consipiracy has gotten me too!

65. something accidentally vegan at Zen Burger - I've only eaten at Zen Palate.  My kids loves the Zen Burgers though.

66. the vegetarian appetizer combo plate at Bread & Olive -nope

67. that funky triangle of tofu sitting in soy sauce from a bodega salad bar -  Yes, many years ago.  I think the red stuff was red pepper(like chili garlic paste stuff) if I recall.  I was more than likely drunk because they are pretty scarey looking.

68. Entenmann's individual apple pie (the kind in a little paper pouch) - Yeah

69. fresh fruit and/or vegetable juice from a juice cart on the street - Yes.

70. knishes at Yonah Schimmel - yes

71. the "Elvis" (peanut butter and banana) at Papa's Empanadas - See above no PB and Banana for me.

72. a soft pretzel from a cart on the street, with mustard - Of Course!

73. nuts for nuts! - Indeed!

74. sorbet from Caio Bella - Yes I had the blood orange as a matter of fact.

75. cornmeal crusted tofu at Spring Street Natural - nope

76. mango slices that have been arranged on a stick to look like a flower in bloom - nope but how pretty.

77. zeppoli from a street fair - I have when I was vegetarian I didn't know they were vegan...sure I needed to know this my expanding ass thanks you!

78. funnel cake in Coney Island that you watched them fry - See 77 above.

79. pommes frites from a paper cone - Yes..multiple places.

80. the Mexican chocolate milkshake at Curly's - Nope

81. the Bandeja Paisa at The V-Spot - Nope

82. an accidentally vegan falafel, rice, and chickpea platter from a Halal food cart - Yup cause as I said above..if it's falafel I have found it and eaten it.

83. Thai iced tea at Pukk - no but when I had it in pregan days it was way to sweet for me..

84. ice cream cookie sandwich at Stogo -No but I need this!

85. V-Spot empanadas purchased somewhere other than V-Spot - no
86. pasta with marinara in Little Italy -Way more times than I can count!
87. Quinoa pasta at V-Spot - nope

88. a slice of vegan cake while waiting for a band to start playing in the basement of Cake Shop -no for me either.

89. your breakfast on the subway - again, yup back in the day I think I did this nearly every morning.

90. a picnic in Central Park - Hell yeah!

91. dark chocolate bark from The Chocolate Room (Park Slope) - Yup.  I once lived in Park Slope.

92. black coffee from the bodega -Yes because I am brave.

93. a soy hot chocolate from Oren's Daily Roast - no maki at Tanaka - no
95. dim sum at Buddha Bodai - no

96. pierogi in or from Greenpoint - I don't think so.
97. a cheeseless pizza or Siciliana from Rizzo's - nope
98. marzipan from a bakery in Astoria - yes, someone brought them to a party I was at.

99. a soy latte from the Starbucks on Roosevelt Island - No last time I was on Roosevelt Island there was no Starbucks.  Did I tell you I'm old?

100. lunch pieced together from the salad and hot food bars at the Food Emporium beneath the 59th Street Bridge - Nope

Well that was fun for me.  Why don't you try it yoursefl?  Back with Comfort Food:  Slow Cooker Stroganoff tommorrow (PPKer's stop snickering now!) Joan

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Comfort Foods: GG Bertha's Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffed Cabbage is a memory of my childhood and my Grandmother who was one of the best cooks I have ever known.  She never wrote down a recipe or used a cookbook and sure as heck would not have known what to make of a blog. I did manage to get her to give me some of her secrets before she died several years ago at the age of 101.  This is my attempt to veganize her stuffed cabbage recipe, she will hopefully forgive me for some of the ingredients switches and suggestions.  I should warn you that making stuffed cabbage is not for the faint of heart.  It is not a work day meal.  It is pretty labor intensive and while I take shortcuts like cooking it in a slow cooker rather than all day braising, it still takes some time.  But man if you were raised in a household of Hungarian or Eastern European descent, you know it's worth it!

GG Bertha's Stuffed Cabbage

What you need:
1 head of cabbage
The equivalent of 1 lb of meat substitute  (I have used chopped steamed tempeh, TVP reconstituted as burger crumbles or even Boca Burger in a pinch)
2 1/2 cups of grain you wish to use for binding (I have used sushi rice, barley and kasha all to equally delicious effect)
1 small onion chopped
1 small carrot chopped finely or grated
2 tbs of Olive Oil
Salt, Black Pepper and Hungarian Paprika all to taste
28oz can of crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup of brown sugar (this is where GG will disown sugar allowed in hers!)

1. To a large soup pot add about 2 inches of water and a steamer rack and place on stovetop to boil.
2.  Core your head of lettuce and remove the tough outer leaves.
3.  When water is boiling, place cabbage head core side down on steamer rack and cover pot.
4.  Allow the cabbage to steam for about 10 minutes or until leaves are tender.
5.  When cabbage is cool enough to handle, remove tender leaves from outer layer.  Should you run into leaves that are still tough before reaching the inner leaves that are too small for stuffing, you may need to resteam your cabbage for 5-10 more minutes.  When cabbage leaves are removed from head, place to the side until you have made the stuffing mixture.
6.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
7.  Saute onions and carrots until soft.
8.  Add your meat substitute of choice and saute until browned and well combined with veggies.
9.  Place "meat" mixture in a large bowl.
10.  Add the cooked grain of choice to the "meat" and mix well.
11. Season mixture to taste with spices.
12.  Take cabbage leaves and lay them in front of you so the curl upward and the rib of the leaf faces you.
13.  If the rib is large and prevents easy rolling, remove with a paring knife.
14.  Place about 1/2 cup of stuffing mixture in middle of cabbage leaf and roll "burrito style" tucking in ends as you go.
15.  Place the cabbage roll seam side down in your slow cooker which has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
16.  Repeat with remaining cabbage leaves and stuffing.
17.  When all cabbage rolls are in slow cooker you can chop any remaining cabbage into small shreds and place on top of cabbage rolls in slow cooker.  If you have no left over cabbage you can also top the rolls with sauerkraut.
18.  In a small bowl, mix together tomatoes, vinegar and brown sugar.
19.  Pour tomato mixture over cabbage rolls in slow cooker and cover.
20.  Cook on high setting for 6 hours.
And that's it!  Enjoy my childhood memories!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Iron Chef Challenge Week Two: Lemon and Ginger

This week's Iron Chef Challenge hosted on MyZoestrope featured the ingredients Lemon and Ginger.  You would think this would make for a much easier challenge, only there were so many possiblities it was a little hard to narrow down.  But C is for cookie and that's good enough for me!  These Glazed Lemon Drop Cookies contain chunks of crystallized ginger and were pure vegan gold according to my kids.  The recipe is a twist on a VegWeb recipe and goes something like this:
Glazed Lemon Drop Cookies with Crystallized Ginger

What You Need:
1 cup sugar
1 stick Earth Balance, softened
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
1/2 cup vanilla soy yogurt
Juice and zest of 1 Lemon
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3-1/2 cup of chopped crystallized ginger

Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

What You Do:
Preheat Oven to 350F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Beat margarine and sugar until creamy.
Beat in sour cream, yogurt, lemon zest and lemon juice
Sift in flour, baking powder and salt.
Mix until well blended.
Fold in chopped Ginger pieces.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on to prepared cookie sheets.
Bake 10-12 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.  Cool completey before glazing.

To Make Glaze: 
Mix together powdered sugar, ginger and lemon zest until thoroughly combined. 
Add lemon juice until desired consistency is reached. 
Drizzle over cooled cookies.
 Allow glaze to set before eating.

A couple of notes:  I don't emphasize it but use organic ingredients whenever possible.  I would never recommend eating the zest of a non-organic fruit.  Also I used 1/3 cup of ginger for my cookies because my kids prefer the more heavily lemon flavor.  If you are cooking for a more sophisticated palate, I would recommend using the full 1/2 cup.
 Happy Mofoing!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

If It's Sunday, It Must Be Football Food....

Banh Mi
Originally uploaded by jomarb

Well this will be a short but sweet post..cause really how much can you say about a sandwich? This week's football food is Banh Mi that oh so trendy vietnamese usually pork sandwich. This one features some left over Chicken Style Seitan Cutlets from my son's birthday party, on a toasted baguette with mayo, sliced onion, sliced cucumber and cilantro. I top mine with Tuong Ot Toi Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce and I am in heaven. Gotta run! Between the Yankees keeping me up all night in the Division Championships and the Giants playing football..there's not much time for a girl to write!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cooking My Coop Order Day 3: Concord Grapes

Concord grapes are indigenous to NJ where I live and therefore appear in my coop order at least annually.  They are one of the few fruits I still find a challenge as my family is not big on eating them out of hand.  No one minds the fact they like the flavor.  The tough skins and interestingly textured centers (they're like snot mom!) leave them sitting around.  I have scoured the internet for recipes and found pies, sauces etc and then proceeded to not make them.  I have always been home-canning-a-phobic due to my mother's irrational fear of botulism which was passed on to me--so imagine my excitement when I found out there was such a thing as Freezer Jam!  So this past Tuesday Night I proceeded to make my first ever Grape Jelly.  This is the recipe from the back of the Ball Freezer Pectin Packet so you can play along at home:
Concord Grape Freezer Jam
What You Need:
2 Bunches Concord Grapes (enough to yield 4 cups of grape juice)
1 Envelope Balls Freezer Pectin
1 1/2 cups of Sugar
5 (8 oz) freezer safe containers or canning jars
What You Do:
Wash and destem grapes
Place grapes in saucepan large enough to hold them and smash with potato masher to get as much juice as possible
Heat over medium heat to a low simmer and let cook for about 3 minutes
While the grapes are simmering, mix contents of pectin packet and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a large bowl.
After the grapes have cooked, strain them through a sieve collecting only the juice in a second, large bowl. (you may need to press down on the skins and flesh in the sieve to get the maximum amount of juice.
Pour the juice into the bowl with the pectin and sugar mixture and stir for 3 minutes straight!
Ladle the mixture into 5 (8 oz) freezer safe containers or canning jars. 
Place lids on containers and allow to stand until thickened, about 30 minutes.
There's your jelly!  The jelly will last 3 weeks stored in your refrigerator or 1 year stored in your freezer.

This was fun and made me feel all country cooking queen for being able to finally make jelly.  If I ever get sunlight in my kitchen again (it's been raining for 2 days and is due to rain for 3 more) I will post a picture of the finished product on a PBJ sandwich!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day: Global Warming and the Vegan Diet or My Veganism Trumps Your Prius

Happy Blog Action Day!

Today, October 15 is the official Blog Action Day in which nearly 7,000 bloggers worldwide will blog about the subject of Global Warming in an attempt to increase awareness and generate change! Now this is an exciting event and with that number of participants you would think I would be ecstatic—and I was—until I noticed another number 45. 45 is the number of food bloggers participating. Why is this depressing to me? Because the single most effective way an individual can decrease global warming is by changing the food they eat. I know some of my friends are shaking their heads as they get behind the steering wheels of their hybrids and while I good naturedly kid you all that my Veganism trumps your Prius… are the facts about animal agriculture and the environment.

A 2006 United Nations report found that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the SUVs, cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined.

According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads.

The University of Chicago reports that going vegan is 50% more effective than switching to a hybrid car in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Those of you who know me personally, know that I can be an all or nothing kind of gal so for me Veganism is the answer. Because it fits on so many levels: environmental, spiritual, ethics and health. But any step you take can help improve the health of the planet.
Think seriously about reducing or eliminating your consumption of animal products. You can still get the really cool car if you want to.

If you still need more convincing here’s a little light reading
Earthsave’s report on how the environmental movement has really missed the boat by not advocating for vegetarian diets and how that strategy can be changed.

Returning tomorrow with more delicious foods including my first attempt at jelly making!
Image courtesy of Vegan

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Using My Coop Order Day 2: Root Veggies

Autumn Veggie and Tofu Roast
Originally uploaded by jomarb
Last night''s dinner was typical of two things in my house: It was easy to make and clean up cause it's a school night AND it incorporated multiple items from my coop order. Thanks to Joanna Vaught and her Roasted Autumn Vegetables and Tofu Recipe, you can start making this a regular at your house too. There are a couple of genius things about this recipe: first of all you can incorporate as many different vegetables as you want. This is great for odds and ends or in my case when the quantity of one vegetable doesn't stretch for 5 people. Also it is pretty much fix it, pop it in the oven and forget it. So you can clean up your prep mess while it cooks and have virtually no clean up after dinner. This recipe has also been a great way to get the tofu phobes in the family on board with eating tofu. So just for the record, this meal used fingerling potatoes, butternut squash and carrots from this past week's delivery.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Using the Produce from my COOP Order: Day 1

Every two weeks I receive a CSA type produce order from my Organic Produce Coop, Purple Dragon . It's similarity to a CSA is twofold. First, the emphasis is on locally grown and seasonally available vegetables and fruits. Second, the coop's director uses our pooled resources to purchase those organic or sustainably grown products that are available at the best I don't order specific fruits or vegetables in my bi-weekly shares. I receive the best that is available. The value in this as a new member was that I was trained to eat seasonally and also to try produce I might never have purchased like celeriac or hatsoi greens. As a long term member, it is a rare order indeed that would contain something with which I was unfamiliar. There is however, still a challenge to be sure I use everything included in the order in the two weeks before a next order and to make meals that my kids will eat with those produce items that are not a favorite. The next two weeks' posts will focus on the family friendly recipes that go along with the various items from the most recent delivery. First up is Kale.
Now if I did not have any children under 15, simply sauteeing the Kale in oil and garlic or marinating raw Kale in a spicy dressing would get this eaten in no time. But with an 11 year old and an 8 year old, I find the need to be a little more sneaky. This week we went with an old family stand by: Pasta with Beans and Greens or Pasta Fagioli if you want to get fancy. I have used multiple recipes over the years from family recipes to cookbooks and quite frankly I am not sure I ever make it exactly the same way twice! But here is the recipe for this week's version:
Pasta With Beans and Greens
serves about 8
What you need:
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
3 Celery Hearts, Chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, pressed
1 tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper, optional
1/2 cup of Red Wine
1 36 oz can of Whole Tomatoes with Juice
2 Cups water or Veg Broth
1/2 cup Chopped Parsley
1/2 lb short fat pasta of choice
1 Bunch of Kale, Chopped
1 15oz Can of Chickpeas
1 tsp Sugar, optional
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
What you do:
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
Add onion, celery and garlic to oil. Saute until veggies are soft and onions are translucent
Add dried spices and saute 1 minute more
Add red wine to deglaze pan
Add Whole tomatoes to pan crushing them by hand. Add juice from can as well.
Bring to a low boil
Reduce heat and add veggie broth or water and parsley. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add chopped Kale and cooked pasta to pot. (If you like a firmer pasta you can add uncooked macaroni or ditalini to pot instead, pasta will be al dente at the end but there will be a little less liquid).
Cover and cook another 15 minutes, stirring periodically.
Add chickpeas, sugar, salt and pepper.
Cook 5 more minutes to let flavors blend.
Serve sprinkled with vegan parm if desired.
And that's it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Iron Chef Challenge Week 1: Beer Batter Fried Stuffed Okra with BlueCheeze Horseradish Dipping Sauce

Some Mofoers and I have decided to make it interesting by participating in a little Iron Chef Weekly Challenge. Michelle over at My Zoetrope is hosting the shennanigans on her blog located here For this first week our two ingredients...chosen at random....were Okra and Horseradish. Now I have only ever had okra in gumbo or other stews and there was no way I could imagine getting horseradish in there. The lovely Kittee of Cakemaker to the Stars mentioned a New Orlean's bar that serves Bloody Maries garnished with pickled okra which struck me as about the perfect way to combine these two. The problem is that technically involves no rather than wus out completley I went with the only other Okra prep I could think of that could stand up to horseradish....deep frying. And heck if you are frying why not stuff, use a beer batter and dip it in something funky. The result is the following recipe:

Beer Batter Fried Stuffed Okra with Horseradish Blue Cheeze Dipping Sauce:Take one pound of Fresh Okra and do the following to it:
Stuff It:
Sautee "The Trinity": 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1/8 cup green pepper and 1/8 cup celery until softened and onions are translucent
Add 1/2 cup Chopped Baby Portobello Mushrooms and continue to saute. After mushrooms have released their liquid add 1/2 cup of Whole Wheat Bread crumbs and Salt Free Creole Seasoning to taste. Saute about 3 more minutes
Remove from heat, allow to cool until you can handle the stuffing easily.
Stuff your okra by making a slit in the side and removing any seeds, And replacing with stuffing mixture. Amount of stuffing will depend on the size of your okra. You may have a little stuffing mixture left over depending on your okra's size.

Batter It:
I used a basic beer batter such as found in Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I used her recipe subbing Wheat for Dark Beer and adding 1 Tablespoon of salt free Creole Seasoning.

Fry It:
Deep Fry in a about 1 inch of hot vegetable oil 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels or brown paper bags. You can keep it warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.
Dip It:
I added Horseradish and Veganaise to my basic Blue Cheeze Dressing recipe resulting the following:
6 oz Silken Tofu
1/8 cup Almond Milk
1/8 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
Small Clove of Garlic Minced
2 Tbs Preserved Bean curd
1/8 cup Vegan Mayo
2 Tbs Prepared Horseradish (or to taste)
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of white Pepper
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Taste for Horseradish amount as prepared horseradish strength can vary greatly by brand. I use Gold's which is wonderfully bitey. Serve Along side your fried okra.

Eat and Enjoy!

I found this challenge fun and the results pretty good for snacking during the ball games. Next week our ingredients are Lemon and Ginger. The wheels are starting to turn...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

If It's Sunday, It Must Be Football Food....

Buffalo wingz
Originally uploaded by jomarb
One food I have consistently made since my pregan days and as a vegan are Buffalo Wingz. I have tried seitan, tofu and tempeh and must say that tempeh stands up to both breading and heat the best. The cooking method for my wingz is basically Don't Eat off the Sidewalk's infamous version. I make adjustments to both the spice mix in the flour for the breading and the Buffalo Sauce because I am addicted to heat. I add both a Chiken flavor mix and a salt free Creole Seasoning such as Zatarains to the flour in the breading mix. My Buffalo Sauce Recipe is as follows:
1/3 cup Melted Earth Balance
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot
1 tbs Agave Nectar
2-3 tsps Zatarains Creole Seasoning (or to taste)
Mix it all together and slather all over your Wingz.
The other non-negotiable part of wingz for me is that you cannot use ranch dressing for dipping. A vegan blue cheeze dip needed to happen. Although I am perfectly at ease calling the following recipe my own, I owe a debt to Bryanna Clark Grogan for identifying Preserved Bean Curd as the needed Bite to make this really taste like Blue Cheese. Preserved Bean Curd is readily available in any asian market and is basically preserved tofu cubes in oil. There can be pepper or spices added to the mix so be sure to get a plain variety. When you open the jar you will swear you are smelling stinky feet but don't let that deter you. Straight blue cheese smells pretty awful too! So rinse it and carry on as described below:
Blue Cheeze Dressing
1 12.3 box Firm Silken Tofu
1/4 cup Original Flavor Almond Milk, Unsweetened
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/8 cup Preserved Tofu, rinsed
1 clove Garlic, minced
Pinch of White Pepper
1/2 tsp of Salt
Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Dip wingz, pour on salads or use as base for additional dips.
Enjoy your Sunday ...and Go Giants!

Friday, October 9, 2009

In Praise of Family Vacations

To wrap up this first full week of Vegan Mofo 2009, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the family vacation and what it means to me. Now I know times are tight and for many vegans the concept of finding vegan food for an entire family while traveling is a bit daunting so let me just share with you how we have managed to do it for most of my married life...and that will be 12 years this month!.
To begin with, I am a social worker and until last spring my husband was a professor at a community college so we have never been making the big bucks. In many ways this recession is more of the same for those of us who receive more personal than financial reward for our labors. But my husband was laid off and is now one of the many receiving unemployment in this country. We have vacated on a single income before and I am sure we will do it again.
How do we do it?
My definition of vacation means spending time together in a place we don't usually live doing things we don't necessarily do everyday. So it doesn't have to be Disney World or a Cruise or Europe. It can be the local state park, a family member's home, camping or an unassuming cabin in the woods. We tend to seek out places where we can be together yet each have our own space. We do require running water, electricity and indoor plumbing but not all need that. Ideally we have a full kitchen at our disposal to make eating out optional rather than a requirement. And we spend a significant amount of time doing things that are free or relatively inexpensive: swimming, hiking, sledding, paddle boats, reading, playing outdoor games or board games and generally reconnecting as a family. When times are tight...we save and pay for the entire rental price before we go. Then our only mandatory expenses are the same groceries we would be spending for at home with just a little extra gas for driving. On those trips we have spent the majority of our time at local state parks on day passes, swimming, picnicing and enjoying the view. If we are flush then maybe a museum, bookstore shopping spree or movie come into the picture. That's when we choose to eat out.
Having a kitchen available is wonderful both as a savings and to accomodate dietary needs. No need to scramble around for a vegan breakfast...make your own tofu scramble! Kids like to eat at the crack of dawn or snack before dinner...Keep cereal and popcorn on hand. The past week has shown pictures of our last vacation in Vermont this summer. We paid for the cabin from my husband's severance package. Life is too short to not make memories with your family. I wouldn't trade my times with my kids for anything in the world. So go ahead and roll down a hill! It's free! I would be happy to share links with anyone for some of the inexpensive, family friendly places we have visited. Just post a comment.

So what's coming up next? Sunday will be the return of Football Food with Tempeh Wingz and Veganized Blue Cheese Dressing. My Iron Chef Submission using Okra and Horseradish will appear here Monday...and on the official sight Sunday Night. The rest of the week will be my COOP Challenge: I will create and post recipes using the vegetables and fruit that I received in my basket on keep checking this out all MOFO long!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vegan Eats Waterbury VT

This may have been my favorite meal of the entire trip. A Marinated Tempeh sandwich from the Alchemist Brew Pub in Waterbury, VT. There must be a pound of tempeh on this bad boy. Pair it with one of the handcrafted beers and that is about as good as it gets in my world. The original sandwich comes with a Walnut Pesto which you should check on the status of and quite frankly I didn't ask about the roll because I was eating it right on the plate but I was craving tempeh and this hit the spot. The menu ranges from starters such as house made pretzels and your typical ominvorous wings to salads, sandwiches and several dishes that feature blackened tofu! Add to this a a varety of handcrafted beers that run the full range from heffenweisen to stout and IPA and well I think you can imagine why this was a favorite. They only serve dinner and get quite crowded so we missed out on a seating one night. But at least we weren't the only hipster doofus parents in there with our kids. This is a stand out restaurant in a pretty surprising location.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vegan Eats Montpelier, Vt Part 2...Snacking!

As we continued our vacation we decided to check out a Minor League Baseball game between the Montpelier Mountaineers and the Keane Swampbats. My sister lives right outside of Kean and is a Swampbats fan so I will embarass her later with a shot of the scoreboard...but first food! Now no sporting event is complete without food in my book. But this is the same day I ate a Vegan Monster Crepe for lunch so really snacking was the name of the game. My lovely daughter is hiding her head behind a bag of one of the greatest confections I have ever had..and it is...wait for it....Vegan! This Kettle Corn is made with Vermont Maple Syrup instead of the usual sugar or simple syrup and all I can say is WOW. If you ever see this stuff grab it. Other vegan options at the game included Italian Water Ice, French Fries and potentially the Veggie Burgers but I got to admit I was to full to ask. We did stop before we left town to have fresh made Guacomole at Juanitos in downtown Montpelier. I tried to get a picture while still pristine and pretty but it was do good I couldn't get one in around the chips. The picture below does not do justice but I think you'll understand.

And as promised the score of the game.

Happy Mofoing!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Vegan Eats Montpelier, VT Part 1

Continuing with yesterday's theme of where to get vegan eats in Vermont, we move on to Montepelier the state capital. There is actually quite a few choices for vegan food in this city. Our lunch time choice was The Skinny Pancake a crepe restaurant with locations in both Montepelier and Burlington. Again their emphasis is on local, organic fresh ingredients. The crepe pictured is the Vegan Monster a veganized version of their Veggie Monster Crepe both of which are regular menu item. The contents is House-made seitan, baby spinach, VT Wild Mushrooms, caramelized onions, and roasted red peppers served in a vegan crepe shell or VT Soy company tofu can be substituted instead. Veganized versions of their Thai Noodle Crepe and Johhny Boy BBQ crepe are also available. Also on hand are local organic and vegan beers and wine. Additional Montpelier Restaurants with Vegan friendly offerings include Rhapsody Natural Foods, httpp:// an informal buffet type restaurant which advertises being dairy-free! (blasphemous in this state)
Kismet Kitchen, A more upscale restaurant which according to their website "pride themselves on accomodating dietary needs including dairy and gluten free." Their menu features many vegan substitutions for nearly everyone of their dishes. Even the local diner, Coffee Corner features tofu scramble. We spent the day eating, shopping and exploring. That evening we attended a VT Mountaineers Minor League baseball game...but that will be for part 2 tommorrow.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vegan Eats Stowe Vermont

One of my family's and my favorite vacation spots is Vermont. We have spent a week each summer in a cabin with no tv, no internet, and no cellphones in various VT towns ever since my children were toddlers. These weeks are spent swimming in lakes, hiking on mountains and exploring independent and used books stores. Basically heaven on earth to us. We spend most of our evenings playing board and card games, roasting marshmellows and reading. Now that the kids have gotten older we have been able to add in exploring towns and restaurants. And Vermont has a great assortment of local, sustainable foods availiable with multiple vegetarian selections. Vegan Eats are not always so easy to come by. You see Vermont has a plethora of small local dairy farms and it seems almost anti-vermontian to not order cheese on everything. Now I am obviously not going to go into the details of dairy farming here nor am I singing the praises of local dairy. Although truth be known I admit to finding Kraft more of an enemy than some of the small family farms located in Vermont. That being is possible to get a decent vegan meal in Vermont with a little inside knowledge. This week, I will focus on our last family vacation and the places where we discovered vegan food along the way. The above dish is a Yellow Thai Curry from The Whip in Stowe VT. And as you can see an available option is to top it with grilled tofu vs shrimp or chicken. This was absolutley lovely and made me feel like I was having a vegan gourmet treat. The Whip is the restaurant at the Green Mountain Inn located in downtown Stowe. In addition to the curry, the Inn features other easily veganizable meals including the Flatbread with Black Beans, Corn, Garlic and Onion also pictured. This is not cheap eats by any means, but the wonderful flavors and beautiful setting --lit fireplace in the dining room in the Winter and outdoor cafe dining in Summer make for a very pleasant meal indeed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

If It's Sunday, It Must Be Football Food....

Originally uploaded by jomarb
Now it is safe to say I am not one for Themes and restricitons in my blog or Mofoing but one regularly occurring feature you can count on for October and the rest of the year is Football Food Sundays. In my house, Sunday afternoon and evenings are reserved for football and the food that accompanies it. This is taken quite seriously. You may ask "What makes a food football food?" and I will now do my best to define it for you:
1. It should say Fall. You might eat the stuff other times of year but suffice it to say a chilled soup and salad just don't cut it.
2. Ideally you should be able to eat it with your fingers or one hand. Certainly you should need no more than one utensil. Save the fork and knife for another day.
3. It should be fun!
4. If your local wateringhole had a vegan selection on its bar menu, it would feel at home.
5. Messy enough to use two napkins is a good thing.
6. Eating it in front of the tv enhances it does not detract from the culinary experience.
7. During playoffs and the Superbowl regional specialies from the areas the teams represent earn you bonus points.
I think you get the idea here!
First up a dish that really needs no recipe: Nachos
The above have Black beans sauted with garlic,onion, chiles and cumin. My favorite Green Mountain Gringo Salsa, Nacho Cheese Sauce(recipe below), jalapeno slices and Yellow Rose Recipe's Sour Cream. All on top of white corn tortilla chips. It isn't as pretty a picture but..Blue Corn are my favorite chips.

Nacho Cheese Sauce
(this is a combo of YRR and Bryanna Clark Grogan with my own spin on it)
1 Cup Water
1/4 cup Nooch
2 tbs Cornstarch
1 tbs Lime Juice
1 tbs tahini
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp juice or to taste, juice from pickled Jalapeno jar
Mix all ingredients in a blender.
Pour into a microwave bowl, cover and microwave on high for two minutes. Whisk well. Recover and microwave for 2 more minutes.
Whisk again. Pour over your nachos and broil until bubbly.

If you have leftovers you can store it in the fridge. It gets thick so you will need to spread it on your next chips, bread, pizza crust before baking.


Next Sunday: Wings with Vegan Blue Cheese dressing for dipping.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Contest! on Lazy Smurf's Guide to Life!

Our friends at Lazy Smurf's Guide to Life is kicking off VEGANMOFO 2009 with a contest. I'll let her speak for herself:

"But to kick things off I am having an exciting contest for all the vegan bloggers out there. The vegan blogoshere is stronger when we are all linked together so I am asking you to link to me from your blog, you can either post about the contest or put me in your blog roll, and then make sure it trackbacks here in the comments (if it doesn’t just add a link with your link to the comment section). The winner will get this wonderful wallet that I got from Herbivore on the Buy Something from Herbivore Day. "

The title to this post links to her website so click away and join the fun! If it doesn't work try this linkypoo here:

Happy Mofoing!

PS I'll be back to original posts tommorrow...It's the M in L 's birthday so I am away from the usual haunts!

Zooey Says "Do You Vegan Mofo?"

Zooey 8 weeks old
Originally uploaded by jomarb
My Son has his annual Cardiology Check up today so here's a quick survey I stole from Whoa Wren...the coolest Chick in Omaha...(bonus cute kitty picture, just because!). Feel free to copy paste and play along!

Favorite non-dairy milk?
Hemp Milk...I forget the brand cause they only sell one by me.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
Pizza of some sort, Corn Chowder and Baked Ziti..I have kids. How exotic can I be?

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
Salt. Sometime Earth Balance too ..but Always Salt!

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?

I exploded VWAV Falafel once. There are still grease stains on the ceiling.

5. Favorite pickled item?
Jalapenos or Olives depending on the mood.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
Cookbooks on bookshelf in Kitchen. Tester or internet recipes in binders and folders like you had for school on the same shelf.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
Trash and recycle. I suck at composting.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?
Pasta, Pizza, Popcorn

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
Cottage Cheese and Noodles. My Grandmother introduced us.. I was hooked.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Mango.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
Microplan Zester

12. Spice/herb you would die without?

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
Personally? How to Cook Everything Mark Bittman. I still veganize stuff in there all the time

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
EEEW. I don't like jellies and jams.

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Tempeh is my fave. Tofu will do in a pinch.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
Brunch! But there is almost never time.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
Empty Breadbox with english muffins, bread and granola bars sitting next to it. The insides of my kids laptop lunch boxes.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Scraps for stock, Waffles and ice packs

20. What's on your grocery list?
I have a family of 5...I won't bore you with the details.

21. Favorite grocery store?
My daughter works at ACME so I get a discount and they have online shopping so I would have to go with there. The Naturally Food section of Foodtown has whatever else I need.

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.
My Grandmother's Filling. It was full of bread, eggs and chicken liver. I have made some vegan loafs that are very close in flavor and the quiches fit the texture. This Thanksgiving may be the day I finally pull it off.

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa's because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
Cakemaker to the Stars, Where's The Revolution, Joanna Vaught, A Domestic Affair.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Any Dark Chocolate that qualifies.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Saffron, its always Saffron due to the price per pound.

26. Ingredients you are scared to work with?
Yuba. I love it for sushi but can't imagine making it or cooking with it.

Kaya's Kitchen, Belmar NJ

Kaya's Meetup
Originally uploaded by jomarb

What better way to start off Vegan Mofo 2009 than with a big fat picture of my youngest stuffing her face with a vegan periogie from Kaya's Kitchen in Belmar, NJ. ? Kaya's is one of our favorite restaurants. This past Sunday my family and about 14 other PPKer's descended upon the all you can eat buffet and put a serious hurting on some delicious vegan food. Kaya's is a full service restaurant serving vegetarian and vegan food for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday's feature a vegan brunch during the season (that's April through Oct for you non-Jersey Shorians) and an all you can eat buffet year round. This week featured: A massive salad with their incredible house dressing, Barbecued Seitan "Ribs", Jambalaya, Veag Loaf, the best Mashed Potatoes and Gravy ANYWHERE, Sauteed Broccoli and Kale, Brown Rice and the above pictured Potatoe and Spinach Pierogis! Beverages and desserts are also available. My lovely pumpkin had a Banana Creme Cupcake --all baked products are vegan-- which she graciously allowed me to sample. YUM! The regular menu items I can whole heartedly recommend in addition to the buffet items are Tempallo Wings..again the best wing sauce ANYWHERE, The Philly Sandwich and Country Fried Gluten. The Onion Rings are nothing to sneeze at either. I cannot say enough about the quality and flavor of the food at Kaya's. If you have never been there...what are you waiting for?