Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Vegan MoFo: That survey that everyone else did ages ago

Well, last, but not least. Actually, boring baby vegan that I am, I probably am least.

1. Favourite non-dairy milk?

Living Harvest Hempmilk, no question. If it didn't exist, though, I'd go with Vitasoy Green Tea or Vitasoy Holly Nog.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?

My birthday cake, Christmas cookies, and Chili Sin Carne from Vegan with a Vengeance.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?

Melted Earth Balance and salt, obviously. Freaks.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?

"Improvised" maple walnut cookies. They were very, very loosely based on an internet recipe that called for baking soda. That was pretty much all you could taste in the cookies. Blech.

5. Favourite pickled item?

I don't really like pickled anything... wait, are capers pickled? I can handle small quantities of capers.

6. How do you organize your recipes?

I don't.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?


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)?

Hmm. Right now, the whim says kale, pears, and chocolate.

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?

My grandmother used to make hundreds of Christmas cookies each year, and that's not a child's exaggeration--she would make 4 dozen or so of at least four or five kinds. I was in cookie heaven. So were my many cookie-fiend uncles.

10. Favourite vegan ice cream?

The fruit-sweetened Soy Delicious, particularly almond-pecan. It hurts me that I can't find it anywhere near me.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?

It's a tie between my cast iron pan and my immersion blender. I couldn't do anything in the kitchen without either.

12. Spice/herb you would die without?

Cinnamon, without contest. But I'm also very fond of cloves, oregano, and yellow curry powder.

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?

I had an Alphabet Cookbook when I was little (one recipe for every letter of the alphabet), and my mom and I always made pinwheel cookies from it together. When I go home over winter break, I'm going to try and find it and do some veganizing.

14. Favourite flavor of jam/jelly?

Toss up between raspberry and black cherry.

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

PPK Pumpkin chocolate chip bars.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?

I use tofu more, but seitan. It just has a better texture.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?


18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?

My electric kettle. We don't use it, my housemate has a better one.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.

Frozen strawberries, pita bread, lite coconut milk. Why I froze it in a plastic tupperware is beyond me.

20. What’s on your grocery list?

Um... Birthday cake stuff, hempmilk, agave, soy yogurt, sprouts, salad greens

21. Favourite grocery store?

Open Harvest, a whole foods co-op in Lincoln, NE. I haven't lived in Lincoln for three and a half years,a nd I miss it like I miss my cat.

22. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.

I'm going to base my birthday cake on an online recipe. Veganizing it will be the least of the changes, though...

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa’s because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?

Have Cake, Will Travel, Fatfree Vegan, and Where's the Revolution

24. Favourite vegan candy/chocolate?

Maya Gold. No question.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?

Whole organic vanilla beans, at $10 for two. Shoot me.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Vegan MoFo: FINALLY.

Alright, THIS is what I wanted to post on Thanksgiving, but most unfortunately couldn't.
I'm probably the last vegan on the planet to make pumpkin chocolate chip squares, but just in case I'm not: here. I upped the pumpkin, the spice, and added a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar, because you can't have too much of a good thing. And oooooh, is it good!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Vegan MoFo: Bad Vegan Blogger

Alright, I lose. I missed two days in a row. See, I'm in DC without my computer, and while I stored a bunch of pictures and things online so that I could put them on the blog without my computer, the computer that I'm using instead of my computer might as well not be a computer at all, because it won't post photos that I already put online. Whew.

So, I didn't do Friday or Saturday. I didn't have much to talk about any way: I've been eating salads (without complaint--I like salads!) and rolls from Whole Foods while I've been here and seeing plays--exciting on an intellectual level, but not too exciting on the vegan front.

But it did occur to me that vegan restaurant reviews can be lacking, and maybe that's where I can be of use. Now, I'm not such an epicure as to talk about mouth feel and bouquet, but I can tell you what I thought of the few places that I ate out here, and I can make it short, sweet, and accessible.

Sticky Fingers Bakery: I wouldn't miss any vegan bakery anywhere, given the chance to go. I'm so happy that they exist that I'm generally always willing to fork out $15 (which is what I spent on lunch) just to be able to order anything on the menu. That said, Sticky Fingers didn't knock my socks off. Don't get me wrong, everything I had was good, but nothing was great. The cinnamon roll was actually a little disappointing--I am a HUGE cinnamon roll afficianado, and I had kind of hoped for the overly-sweet, truly sticky Cinnabon type of cinnamon roll, rather than a more traditional, fluffy, gently sweet one. I suppose it's for the better--Cinnabon always made me sick, anyway.

Busboys and Poets: I gorged on leftover Tofurkey before eating here (not because I thought I wouldn't be able to find good food--it's just that the leftovers were taunting me), so I didn't have much of an appetite before I arrived. It's a pity, though, because they had a large, varied menu. My one complaint is that they marked their vegetarian items, but they could have been a lot clearer about which items were vegan. The servers seemed pretty well-informed, though, so I guess it could have been worse. Actually, I overall give this place two thumbs up. Considering how much I ate before I went, it's pretty impressive that I managed to put away soup, a mojito, and a vegan cupcake. Yum.

Cafe Asia: There was only one vegan item on the menu, but they were clear about it (what I originally tried to order contained fish--I'm so glad that the waiter warned me!). So, they're not great as selection goes, but I must say, that the one item--I don't recall the name, since I told the waiter that I would order whatever the purely vegan meal was--was delicious. It was a lightly fried tofu in panko with carrots and broccoli, in a completely divine sauce.

I would go to any of these places again. In the meantime, though, I clearly need to make my own cinnamon rolls.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Vegan MoFo: Pictures to come?

Well, although I saved them online, the computer that I'm using at my uncle's house doesn't want me to post pictures on Blogger. Anti-vegan conspiracy, or an outmoded computer? You decide.

And in the meanwhile, have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vegan MoFo: Good Food for a Bad Day

Well, it's not really a bad day, but it is a pretty annoying day: I ordered a pair of rain boots a week ago, and they've only just shipped today--and we're having what feels like a monsoon; my housemates left so many dirty dishes on the counter and in the sink that I couldn't make my lunch without washing them first; the same housemates are now downstairs playing Grand Theft Auto very loudly, so I have to go all the way to the library to write my paper, despite the fact that it's pouring out. Hmph.

Well, at least my belly is full, and the ten minutes that I spent wolfing down my lunch were delightful. Plus, I have a recipe that's actually worth sharing! This dish has plenty of phytonutrients, but it doesn't have a "health food" taste. It's because of all the fat. Healthy fat, mind you.
Loaded Couscous
½ C Israeli couscous
½ C leek, sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil (omit if using sundried tomatoes in oil)
¼ C golden raisins
1½ C baby spinach
¼ C sundried tomatoes
¼ C kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp. oregano
2 Tbsp. sliced almonds (for garnish)
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the couscous in a large saucepan (I used my 3-quart, but 2-quart would be fine) for about 7 minutes while you chop leeks, olives, almonds, etc (I’m super lazy and I bought sundried tomatoes in strips). After seven or eight minutes, pour most of the water out of the pot so that only half an inch remains. Pour it slowly, or you’ll lose a lot of couscous!

Put the pot back on the stove, and lower the burner heat to medium. Add the baby spinach, and leek, and stir for a minute or so until the spinach shrinks. Add the oil (if you’re using sundried tomatoes packaged in oil, it adds a nice flavor to use the oil from the jar—if you don’t rinse the tomatoes off before measuring them, you don’t even need to add oil separately, you’ll get more than enough with the tomatoes). Add the raisins, tomatoes, and olives, and stir until heated through. Add a little more water if the couscous is sticking to the pan. Before serving, stir in the pepper flakes and the oregano. Garnish with sliced almonds. Serves two.

About 320 calories per serving, based upon two servings

As a bonus, it's so photogenic that even my camera can take a nice shot of it! Yum.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Vegan MoFo: Vegan Karma

At risk of sounding majorly idealistic (and just dumb), I must admit that I'm beginning to believe in vegan karma. If you truly want something but aren't willing to deviate from your diet, the universe will provide! After I wrote about my vegan clotted cream, commentators here on the blog and on the PPK forums said that they had wanted clotted cream sometime since becoming vegan. Recently, I've been at a few restaurants where I used to order creme brulee for dessert (yes, I know that's a lot of saturated fat. Shut up, it tasted good), and I was just thinking earlier about how much I would love to find a vegan version when I stumbled upon two in one day, including this one! Yea, if ye shall be faithful vegans, the universe will provide!

Well, maybe not exactly, but I do really love that vegandom imparts a sense of community. Is that a dumb thing to say? Well, dumb or not, it's accurate--the fact that the vegans of the world can't just go to any local French cafe and order a creme brulee aside their cafe au (soy) lait provides quite the impetus for vegans of the world to get together and share what they know. It's like the cultural feminism of the food world, but reasonable, realistic, and non-essentialized!

Alright, that sentence is a sign that I need to be doing school work, not Vegan MoFo. But I'm still glad for Vegan MoFo, because it makes me believe, as I suggested, that the (vegans of the) universe will guide us to find what we want.

Monday, November 19, 2007