Saturday, November 20, 2010

Now on twitter!

Vegan Food Rocks is now on Twitter. I don't know how to work it yet but follow me!  @VeganFoodRocks

Friday, November 19, 2010

Teese me, please

Seriously. Teese Vegan Cheese is, to date, the best vegan cheese I have ever had. While I was nursing a massive hangover with my sister at her house in California Jeremy was at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival trying out tons of delicious vegan food, including Teese. They don't carry it at stores near us so he bought a package and has been saving it to make nachos. Well, tonight those nachos happened and I am so glad I was invited to eat them with him.
Normally I like my nachos piled high with tons of shit but tonight's didn't have much too them, which in this case is a good thing, much more would've taken away from the cheesiness. They were perfect with the 'cheese', leftover chili and some jalapenos that Jeremy pickled a month or two ago(definitely the hottest jalapenos I've ever had). When I first tried the 'cheese' my senses were overwhelmed with nostalgia. I'm not naming names but if you remember and used to love that block or packet of orange processed goodness that was supposedly cheese and all you had to do was mix it with some hot macaroni or a jar of salsa you will absolutely love Teese. I wish there was somewhere a little more local for me to get it but coincidentally I am going to be in Cambridge on Sunday for Food Not Bombs and the co-op there happens to carry it. I can't wait to try the other flavors with the drool-worthy recipes on the Teese website.

Monday, November 15, 2010

MoFo Mish Mash Veggie Soup

So after my last post(all of like 2 hours ago) I was really beating myself up over not regularly posting for MoFo (how else am I going to become a famous vegan blogger?!?! I kid, I kid) so what did I do? I headed straight into the kitchen to make something. The thing was, I didn't feel like actually cooking anything or making a mess but in addition to wanting something to blog about, I actually needed to eat dinner too. I had (and still have) a ton of leftover broth from a batch of seitan I made the other day and some veggies that really needed to be cooked so I decided a little chopping wouldn't be so bad.

I wasn't sure how the combination of the different flavors was going to be but it was perfect. The sweetness of the potatoes, the buttery cauliflower, the kick of the poblano combined with the "meatiness" of the beans really was surprisingly delicious and definitely hit the spot.

I am really proud of myself for also actually writing it down as I went along so I can remember what I did in the future. I apologize in advance for the terrible photo below but to be honest, my camera is in my car, it's locked and the keys are upstairs, I can't find my slippers and I don't want to get my favorite purple tube socks wet and dirty so using my cell phone was really the only option.. Okay, I'm just lazy.

Anyways, on to the soup:

The great thing about this soup is the freedom of substitution if you don't have one or some of the ingredients. This was literally a soup I made just to clean out some of the stuff in the fridge. This would be really great with green beans, kale, diced tomato or whatever other veggie you like in soup

2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 poblano pepper, chopped
2 tblspn olive oil
1 14 oz can of beans(your preference, I used kidney)
5 1/2 cup veggie broth (I used the leftover broth from making Seitan the night before)
1 lg sweet potato cut into bite size pieces
1/2 head of cauliflower cut into bite size pieces
Other seasonings to taste.

Heat olive oil in soup pot and add garlic, shallot and poblano. Cook until garlic and shallot are tender and translucent.

Add veggie broth, veggies and beans. Cook until sweet potato is fork tender, about 15 minutes.

Scoop out about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of veggies only and put in Vitamix or food processor and puree until smooth. Add back into soup and stir to combine. You can do this with more veggies if you like a thicker broth, just be sure to use more veggies than the recipe originally calls for otherwise there won't be much to the soup.



I suck at MoFo. And a survey.

  Wow, I suck. I haven't blogged in a little over a week. So much for posting 5x a week for MoFo... I am going to try my best to get back on track this week. For now here is a survey that was put together over at The PPK. If you want to do it too, feel free to take it from my blog or from the Google Doc I saved it in. Epic Vegan MoFo Survey.

What's your favorite spice or spice blend? Garlic. Or Chili Powder. I can't choose just one. That's like choosing a favorite pet or child to me.

You have $20 to spend on fresh groceries and produce for the whole week (with a fairly well stocked pantry of dry goods, legumes, grains, and spices). what do you buy?
Almond Milk, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, red cabbage, tofu, coconut milk yogurt

What's your favorite way to make tofu? Baked balsamic glazed

Vegan guilty pleasure? I'm becoming a cupcake addict

If you could make anyone vegan, who would it be? Probably Ted Nugent, he's a pretty obnoxious omni

If you could only read one other vegan blog, what would it be? I'd take the PPK forums over one single blog any day! I wouldn't be able to choose.

Were you always interested in cooking, or did veganism change the way you saw and interacted with food? I've always loved to cook, veganism has just made it better. It's more of an adventure now.

Excluding analogues, what new things have you tried that you probably wouldn't have as an omni? Quinoa .It freaked me out a little at first

What is the one vegan staple that everyone seems to love, but you can't get behind? I can't say there is one.

What was your first "wow, I'm such a stereotypical vegan" moment? Oh god, I don't know. Probably when I was getting ready to go to my first protest.

First recipe you veganized? Stuffed Shells. Mmmmm I love tofu ricotta

What would you like to veganize, but haven't yet? The KFC Double Down. It looks disgusting but part of me wants to know how gross it really is. And a friend requested I veganize it for him

Favorite kitchen utensil/appliance? My kitchenaid stand mixer. I've had it for 9 years and I would die without it

Most disastrous kitchen failure? The chickpea cutlets I made the other day, I ground them to finely so no matter how long I cooked them they were crispy on the outside but raw and doughy on the inside.

First vegan cookbook? Vegan With a Vengeance

What question about being vegan do you HATE answering? "Where do you get your protein?"

If you could tell the world one thing about vegans, what would it be? We aren't the crazy ones...

Funniest vegetable? I can't say that I find humor in veggies, unless they are a freak of nature that looks like a penis

What is a family recipe you have veganized? We don't really have family recipes but my mom does make some AMAZING stuffed mushrooms that I am going to veganize this holiday season

Weirdest food combination ? Nothing is too weird for me

Is there something you wish you could veganize, but can't/couldn't? Nope, if it isn't already vegan or can't be veganized, I don't want it

Favorite ways to prepare tofu, seitan, tempeh, any other vegan proteins? with BBQ sauce

Are your pets vegan? if so, what do you feed them? tell us about having vegan furbabies! Yes, Gizmo is vegan. She is on a mix of homemade food made up of grains, sweet taters, veggies, fruit and beans mixed with a little Natural Balance for crunch. She also gets all the Vegedog supplements mixed into her food as well.

Favorite non-dairy milk? Unsweetened Almond Milk all the way.

What’s one “vegan myth” you’d like to squash? That we are all dirty hairy hippies.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vegan MoFo - BBQ Seitan and Ice Cream Sandwiches

I've been going nonstop all day it feels good to finally sit down and blog! My day started an hour earlier than I would have liked it to thanks to the Daylight Savings Time stuff. I thought clocks switched tonight but apparently it was last night. I had my alarm clock set for 8 so when it went off and I started getting out of bed I looked at my cell phone and realized it was really only 7. I tried to go back to sleep but I couldn't. Usually if I wake up earlier than I need to, or just don't feel like getting up, I can stay in bed and Gizmo will stay sleeping. The second I lift my head, sit up or make any noise she is wide awake and in my face ready to go. That's what happened this morning. I'll just go to bed a little earlier than normal tonight to make up for it.

Even though I've been going going going all day, I've been home and in my sweats so that was a plus. And I got to spend a lot of time with my dogs, even bigger plus. I started my day with a few small buckwheat pancakes that my mom made. I was a little hesitant because I always imagined buckwheat as a bland starchy thing but I was wrong. These little pancakes she made were great. Even just plain, which is how I had my first two. My third had a little smear of Earth Balance and a drizzle of agave nectar. I am definitely going to be looking more into using buckwheat now!

After breakfast I decided to make use of the new running gear I got so I leashed up my 12 year old bloodhound and went for an hour long walk/jog/run. It was really cold out, he's old and I'm out of shape so we alternated. Hopefully if I/we keep up with it, it will be more running than walking!

I spent the rest of my day cooking, doing dishes, making Gizmo's food for the next month and stoking the fire for Gizmo and Dain to lay in front of it all afternoon.

While Gimli followed me everywhere I went, ALL day.

Today was the day I decided I was going to face my seitan fears and just make it. I didn't want to do anything too complicated with it since it was my first time so I went with the Simple Seitan recipe in Veganomicon. After I mixed everything together I started getting a little discouraged because it didn't look appetizing, at all, but I was determined to see this through.

After I got it boiled, simmered, strained and cooled I took a cutlet out of the fridge and sliced it up

While I had the seitan simmering, I was also making the Backyard BBQ Sauce from Veganomicon. It has been years since I have made homemade BBQ sauce so I was really excited about this. I did make a few changes though. I used shallots instead of onion, I added wayyyyy more garlic than the original 4 cloves, I used brown sugar instead of white, apple cider vinegar instead of white, no liquid smoke, can of diced tomatoes with zesty jalapenos, and a healthy squirt of ketchup. I let that simmer for the entire hour the seitan was cooking and when it was done I threw it in the Vitamix to smooth it out. This is a really versatile sauce that can be changed however you like, mine came out more of a sweet and spicy version which is just fine with me.

I wasn't really hungry for a meal but I was really anxious to try the seitan so I took my slices and lightly fried them in a skillet. When they were heated through I gave them a coating of the BBQ sauce and cooked for another minute or two. While that was cooking I grated some Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack and warmed a pocketless pita in the microwave. It made the perfect little snack wrap. The seitan was perfectly firm but still tender. And also slightly chewy and meaty. I will definitely make it a few more times exactly as the recipe is to make sure I have the hang of it before I start changing and adding things. All in all my first time seitan was a sucess. I don't what I've been so afraid of!

Prior to eating my snack wrap, while the the BBQ sauce and seitan were still cooling in the fridge I decided to make some ice cream sandwiches. I started out with the basic chocolate chip cookie recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar but added a little dash of cinnamon to the dough. Usually when I make these cookies I am able to roll them into little balls in my hand so I figured these would be perfect because I'd be able to control the size and shape better than a regular drop cookie. For some reason todays batch did not want to be rolled at all. It was a gooey mess when I tried. I quickly gave up and grabbed and ice cream scoop. I did my best to make sure they were all the same size and shape even though I knew they were going to spread alot more than normal due to the wetter than usual dough. They still came out great, albeit a little thinner than usual due to the spreading. After the cookies cooled I pulled a pint of my favorite coconut ice cream out of the freezer and went to work scooping the ice cream and pressing the cookies together. Once they were pressed together I rolled them in flaked coconut, wrapped them up and tossed them in the freezer. I just had one and it was the perfect little dessert. Two cookies and a small serving of ice cream all together in a sandwich? Yes, please.

That, my friends, was the perfect end to a long day in the kitchen.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vegan MoFo and True Bistro

Oh Vegan MoFo how I love you. I have so many ideas for you in the upcoming days and weeks, I hope I can find the time to cook it all and blog about it. Although another day not having to cook anything was great!

The Boston Vegetarian Society often hosts vegan dinners at various vegan and vegetarian restaurants all over the metro Boston area. For the event today they were invited to attend a soft opening of a new all vegan restaurant in Somerville with the entire menu 50% off. True Bistro is an upper scale all vegan restaurant located in Teele Square. I say 'upper' because it's not super expensive and I didn't get the vibe that it is going to be a fancy shmancy place where you would feel uncomfortable wearing jeans and a hoodie while everyone else is in much less casual clothes. The restaurants official opening is Tuesday November 9 so I jumped at the chance to be able try it out before the general public, especially only having to pay half price!

Jeremy and I got there around 11:15 in the morning(they were only open from 11-2 today for the BVS event) and were able to choose where we wanted to sit as there were only a few other people there before us. I have only been to a very small amount of BVS events so we didn't know anyone other than Evelyn who runs all of the events and we were a little antisocial(aka cranky because we were starving and when I say we, I mean me) and sat at an empty 4 person table. The space itself looks like it is only able to accommodate about 30 patrons at a time and had a very clean, modern, minimalist design. The walls were painted a very light gray, all of the tables and chairs were black and there was some black and white artwork on the walls. I think it may have been a photograph but I can't remember. In the windows were a few awesome planters with what looked like some ornamental grass with this huge thing in the middle. I'm not sure that the "thing" was but from where I was sitting(not close to a window) it looked like a big artichoke.

While the small staff was very friendly you could tell they were a little nervous and overwhelmed. We did have to ask a few times for things that had been forgotten, like my salad which never came so I got it to go, and the staff sometimes had to go back into the kitchen to ask about a menu item for us or another party. They were all very sweet, willing and apologetic. The somewhat chaotic service definitely did not detract from the experience and will not prevent me from going back in the future. It was the first day they were serving actual paying customers so of course there will be questions and the occasional forgotten item. I am very confident that once they are open to the public and they get into the hang of things, service will be excellent. Ok, now to the good stuff....

The food. Wow. What the service lacked(which really, considering it was their first day ever, wasn't a whole lot) the food certainly made up for 100 times over. The menu isn't very extensive but it does have some excellent choices. Choices I had been agonizing over since I received the email about the event on Thursday.

I started with a pot of tea and it came out in a plain, yet adorable little pot with a strainer for my cup because it was loose leaf and a small bowl of sugar. I have no idea what kind of tea it was, all I know is that it was decaf. I wish I had asked now because it was awesome.

To start I ordered the Soup du jour which was Cream of Parsnip soup with cracked black pepper and an oregano oil drizzle. It was so creamy and perfectly seasoned that I would've had a few more bowls if I could have. The oil drizzle on top really did take the flavors to a whole 'nother level as well. I am going to have dreams about that soup.

As my soup was came out so did Jeremy's salad. He ordered the Local mesclun greens and he loved it. I took one bite of it and other than the fact that it had green olives in it(I hate them) it was a great salad. The whole Marcona almonds were a great touch because they are much more tender than their standard grocery store counterparts. The dressing was a lemon-caper vinaigrette which definitely had a really light, refreshing flavor. I definitely tasted the citrus but not the caper, then again, I did only take one bite. I was trying my hardest not to get full since I still had my own salad and entree coming.

Next came our entrees. I ordered the True's seitan cheeseburger which has really inspired me to finally try my hand at making my own seitan. Something I have been putting off for quite awhile now but it's gonna happen, soon. The flavor of the "burger" itself was almost like a barbecue sauce but much lighter and not saucy at all. Topped with avocado, sauteed mushrooms and melted Daiya, I really was in heaven. I think there were also some roasted red peppers tucked inside. I only ate half of it because I was still hoping that I would actually get my salad "in just a sec" like I was promised a few times. I'm almost glad they forgot about my salad because after eating only half my sandwich, half of the fries(which were delicious by the way), a bowl of soup and a pot of tea I really didn't have much room left for anything else.The bread looks a little extra toasted in a few spots in the picture below, but they actually gave the bread a better flavor, not burnt tasting at all.

J got the Mesquite burger and I'm really not still sure what the burger was made of, but it was pretty damn good. His sandwich had pickled red onion(yum), lettuce, tomato and aoili. I only took one small bite of it but like I said, it was pretty damn good. I'd still choose my sandwich over his anytime though.

After we were done eating, we were still waiting for my salad and since I was having my leftover half sandwich wrapped up I asked them to do the same with my salad. I got the Baby arugula salad which had pomegranate, green apple, a vegan version of queso fresco and a lime-cumin vinaigrette. I finally just ate the salad, 10 hours later but I am dead serious when I say this is the best salad I have had since I gave up cheese. I was a goat cheese junkie and that is what held me back from going vegan for awhile. I couldn't imagine a salad without it. The "queso fresco" on this salad was amazing. It had a really creamy, mild taste and texture while having a similar tanginess to goat cheese. I have no idea what it is made of but I need to find out so I can try and recreate it in my kitchen. If I can figure it out I will be one happy vegan. This salad was so good that I am going to give you two pictures of it.

All in all, even with somewhat chaotic service, I really can't wait to go back to try some of the other items on the menu and maybe ask some questions to find out what is in that queso. Meals like this make being vegan more awesome than it already is!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

THE Vegan MoFo Quiche

Not only have I been slacking on my blog in general but I have already starting slacking at MoFo. It's day 4 of Mofo and this is only my 2nd post. I am going to blame it on my lack of eating blog-worthy food for the past 2 days in addition to my awful jet lag. Adjusting back to East Coast time sucks. My first post was in California and I was half asleep so I'm a little disappointed in the beginning of my first ever MoFo, but the quiche I made tonight will totally make up for it. And I dedicated it to Vegan MoFo, keep reading, you'll see.

I was cruising around the PPK forums like I normally do all day and saw that someone had posted questions about a quiche. Then a ppker suggested the Broccoli Quiche from Vegan Brunch. I check out the recipe and decided that I needed to make it. I love making vegan versions of things I used to love as an omni and vegetarian, but for some reason quiche never crossed my mind. Maybe it's because I get weird about tofu? I mean, I love it and eat it all the time, but sometimes it just creeps/grosses me out. Whatever the reason was that I had never made or even thought to make one is beyond me but now that I have experienced the greatness that is vegan quiche, watch out world, I'm gonna go quiche crazy!!!!!

For the pie crust, I just used a basic recipe that I have no idea where I got it from, I printed it out on a Word doc awhile back and just now got around to actually using it. For this I also added some garlic powder and black pepper. For a sweet version for desserts add 1 tblspn powdered sugar.

1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tspn salt
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening
3-5 tblspns ice cold water

Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening using either food processor or two knives criss-crossing until you have small pea size lumps of dough.
Add water 2 tablspns at a time until dough stays together when pinched.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 20 minutes.
Remove and roll to size and shape needed.
Pre-bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes before adding filling.

I used Isa's recipe but changed a few things. Well, added is a better word. I added a handful of nooch. Yes, a handful. I keep it in a HUGE Tupperware container so I can scoop or grab however much I need. That, and it's the only Tupperware big enough to store the massive amounts I buy at a time. You can never have enough nooch.

I also doubled the mustard and added a layer of halved grape tomatoes inside of the quiche. I put about 2/3 of the quiche mix in the crust, put the layers of tomatoes and then another layer of quiche.

The letters were much thicker then the actual crust and for some reason the letters didn't want to brown up, even after a few minutes under the broiler so I gave up, but they came out perfectly crisp on the outside and flaky on the inside.
My dedication to you dear MoFoers!

I couldn't find my pie plate so I used a square one, but it worked out really well. I also made a nooch sauce to drizzle all over the piece on my plate. Just some veggie broth brought to a boil with a small amount of cornstarch mixed with cold water, a handful of nooch, salt, pepper and garlic powder. By the time I was done cooking I was so starving that I couldn't let it cool. I had to cut right into it. Now my tongue is burnt but it was definitely worth it!

I promise I will get to my Halloween post sometime before MoFo is over! For now, I have a few blogs to check out and then I need sleep! Hasta luego peeps!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vegan World and Vegan Mofo!

Hey peeps! Long time no blog! My laptop is hating me lately so it's with the IT guy at my office being fixed. I am currently blogging from my sister's laptop in sunny California! I am so excited to be here, this trip is years overdue. I flew in Thursday afternoon and after a 6 hour flight I was definitely ready for some food.

We started Thursday with a quick meal at Vegan World in Studio City. The inside is a little rundown looking but still very clean. When I say rundown I mean that it could certainly use a coat of paint, some new counters, and a fresh look. Also, they have a picture menu up on the wall with very poor and outdated photographs. It certainly doesn't do the food any justice at all. But, the menu is pretty large and very cheap.

I got the Beef Burger and added avocado and soy cheese and my sister got the Pepper Steak Burger. They were both a little salty but very delicious. The "beef" was little pieces, not a patty like you would expect.

I spoke with the owner because I wanted to know what kind of meat alternatives they were using because I went to an Asian vegan restaurant here in Mass before and the "meat" was very similar and they purchase from May Wah. She told me they get it from USA Soy Meat. I couldn't find anything online about them and she did have a very hard to understand accent so I could also be mistaken.

The burger was so good but the Thai Iced Tea we got was even better. I love going to Thai restaurants and the one thing I miss is being able to have it because it's made with dairy. Today is my last full day in LA and I have lots planned for it. I am hopefully meeting up with a fellow PPKer for lunch, doing some shopping and spending some quality time with my sis when she gets out of work. I do have a Halloween post that I am going to do but not until I get back to the East Coast.

Also, today is the beginning of Vegan MoFo! For the entire month, vegan bloggers like myself blog at least 5 times a week but many aim for everyday. This is my first year participating and I am very excited. I have some awesome things planned so stay tuned!