Sunday, October 30, 2011

Liebster Awards!

I appear to have won an award on the internets from two wonderful people Farmersmarketvegan and Choirqueer!  Apparently it's an awesome award thing to make people smile for blogs that have less than 200 followers (or I'm assuming, few comments).  So onward with my picks for this MoFo.  I have to admit I've been horribly lazy with keeping track of blogs so I only have 3 picks these will be based on posts that changed my life.  Sorry, guys.  I can't not pass this on, but I also haven't kept up with anything.  In no particular order:

  1. had me with the gorgeous pictures of food in LA.  As a recent transplant to Pasadena from Boston I've been bemoaning the absence of culture and delicious food here.  However, as this blog shows, this is not the case!  Now my only problem is that Doomie's will be closed when I'm in town tomorrow.

  2. So I know I just received a Liebster from this wonderful human being, but I have to say .  I was just browsing and found choirqueer's recipe for paneer which interestingly, as an Indian food-hating Indian, is the one thing I miss as a vegan.  A+.

  3. And then there was  Specifically, the tofu bacon.  Crispy, greasy, salty, and amazing.  I've been eating this stuff in sandwiches for a week! IMG_0538

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 10: Another scramble

Well, actually this was last weekend's scramble.  But I'm posting it now because I never got around to posting it then.  Never let anyone tell you silken tofu is good in a scramble.  It isn't.  It's very reminiscent of the gelatinous jiggly scrambled eggs that made me want to puke as a vegetarian.

I sautéed the scramble with some garlic, cumin, nooch, white miso, and rice vinegar if I remember correctly.  Also, heirloom tomato and spinach.  The flavours were good.  The texture was just... ugh.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 9: Losing steam/plague eats

So basically, I'm not going to make it to 20 posts this month.  And I'm okay with that.  Sorry if you're not.  I have too much on my plate as a student right now.  I'm sorry, guys.

So on to today's topic:  What to eat if you're sick and a college student?  Right now I'm really sad because falafel is on the menu tonight and even though CDS falafel is awful, it's better than 90% of what other things they serve.  And I probably won't be able to eat it due to illness.  Boo.

Anyway, therein lies the problem.  Yes, school provides one vegan option a day.  However, what do you do when you're at school and all you want is vegan comfort food because you're ill and tired and everything hurts.  Well, I make soup.  Since I'm feeling so awful I went to Trader Joe's and picked up a couple of instant miso soup bowls.  They're not the greatest, but they do the job and my fridge is pretty empty.  That shit is expensive and I'm not going to sit around eating it all day.  So I present to you the world's simplest sick soup.

You make it like so:  Take a mug.  Place a tablespoon of chicken flavoured broth powder in mug.  Pour boiling water in mug.  Immediately stir in heaping tablespoon of miso.  Add garlic powder and shichimi (or spicy condiment of your choice) until you can taste it.  Inhale.  This has dual effect of you being able to taste it and you being able to breathe for a short time.

This is not an impressive soup.  Therefore, it looked prettier with hipstamatic.  Don't judge.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 8: Salad of deliciousness

I ate this salad pretty much every day this week. It's nothing fancy. Just lightly wilted baby spinach with a handful of cranberries, the Vegan Diner tomato dressing, Trader Joe's goddess dressing, and a slab of grilled seitan from Whole Foods. Not cutting up the seitan was a mistake since this is a very deep bowl. Basically, awesome salad. Pretty good for all store bought ingredients (except the dressing which I made myself). I kind of want to eat this forever.

Vegan MoFo Day 7: Backdated dinner

Guys, I am so so sorry. I've had a horrible week and have barely been sleeping, let alone staying on top of blogging. I have a huge presentation tomorrow about the research Caltech and the Smithsonian paid me for this summer and on top of that I've had three horrifically difficult problem sets and astronomy commitments. I'm sorry. So in order to try and make it up to you, here's what I ate last Sunday:

Hey, look. I made a lopsided Saturn out of quinoa! With creamy tomato and goddess dressing for the rings. I know, I know. Not impressive, not even appetising looking. And the rings are lopsided and I have no idea how many fucking rings Saturn has. I'm a terrible astrophysics major, but I'm not in planetary sciences so I'm excused, right?

Anyway, this was delicious. It was basically a quinoa pilaf that I made with some combination of cumin, coriander, and paprika. It had mushrooms, garlic, and these tiny heirloom tomatoes I found at Trader Joes in it. I have no idea what I did because it was the middle of the night and I failed to write it down. Sorry!

I was a good deal more excited about the brussels sprouts, though, since as you can see they're still on the branch. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but a pain to eat since brussels sprout vines are tough to cut through with a table knife. This was tossed in earth balance, oregano, and vegetable oil and roasted at 400 for about 45 minutes or so. Very tasty.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 6: This will change your life

Last night (last night from the time this gets published, anyway. I'm writing this about an hour after the glorious event) I had the extremely odd and a little bit uncharacteristic urge to try raw zucchini noodles. So armed with a peeler and a paring knife I soon had a plate full of zucchini linguine. I then spent roughly 1 hour trying to figure out what I was going to do with my unconventional noodles. Interestingly enough, I had also bought a metric fuckton of tomatoes today. I don't usually buy tomatoes when I'm at school due to ease of squashing on a bike, but I walked to the store this time. And from this, an idea was born. When I made it to the kitchen, I still wasn't quite sure what I was making. By the time I served it, I knew it was going to be fabulous.

Look at this perfect plate of zucchini. Isn't it beautiful? This is where it all started. This poor pile of zucchini had no idea it was about to become the most amazing thing that ever happened to my mouth. Look how innocent it is. How could you not love it? Then along came a box of tomatoes, which I have conveniently forgotten to photograph. That box of tomatoes got itself chopped up and thrown in a pot with some other ingredients like so:

And then there was mock duck:

What's that you say? "Get on with it"? Okay. Fine. I'll tell you how I did it. Whatever. So without further ado, the recipe that will change your life:

You Will Need: (To feed two hungry people)

2 medium zucchinis
a vegetable peeler or a mandoline

1/2 tabkespoon canola (or sesame) oil
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped

10-12 whole cloves
1 tablespoon dried lemongrass
3 bay leaves

2 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon shichimi
1 small handful sugar
1 heaping tablespoon natural peanut butter

1 can mock duck
1 teaspoon canola oil
more shichimi

First take the vegetable peeler or mandoline and cut your zucchini into thin slices lengthwise. With a paring knife, cut these slices lengthwise until they are more the width of linguine than the width of a zucchini. Set aside on a plate or in a bowl.

In a 4 quart pot, sauté the garlic in the canola oil. When the garlic is lightly browned, add all the tomatoes and their juices at once. Put the cloves and lemongrass in a tea ball (dried lemongrass is like little pieces of wood. Not doing this will ruin your life changing experience) and stir into the tomatoes along with the three bay leaves. Cover the pot and let simmer.

When the tomato mixture is looking more like sauce and less like tomatoes (about 10 minutes) add the vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, shichimi, sugar, and peanut butter. Stir to incorporate and return the pot to a simmer, again covered.

Meanwhile, slice the mock duck into thin strips and fry in the canola oil until it is crispy. Sprinkle with shichimi to taste throughout the process, remembering that a small amount goes a long way. That stuff is deceptively spicy.

By this time, the sauce should be done. Plate the zucchini noodles if you have not already done so, and ladle sauce over it. Top with mock duck. Let stand 5 minutes for the zucchini to steam a bit, then serve.

VeganMoFo Day 5: Welcoming fall tofu scramble

Here we go again with the tofu scrambles, right? I'm aiming to post one recipe for one per weekend. So I woke up this morning craving something autumnal. I know this is Southern California and fall is a myth, but I'm a Boston boy, goddamnit so even if the high for the day is listed as 78, I'm going to insist it's fall and treat it as such. And what's more fall-like than pumpkin? Then I thought "have tofu, will scramble" and this was born. Some pumpkin, some spices, some greens (I used arugula because that's what I had on hand), et voilà. As a college student I don't always get to make or eat the most glamourous of food, and this definitely isn't the most photogenic scramble I've made. However, it is an unconventional scramble and that alone makes it feel fancy.

Spice Mix:
1 t sage
1 t thyme
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t allspice
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t hot paprika
1 t salt (trust me)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

The Scramble:
3 T canola oil
4 cloves garlic, lightly chopped
1 package extra firm tofu
1 cup pureed pumpkin (I didn't measure, just used last week's leftovers)
1 massive handful leafy greens

The Recipe:
Heat canola oil over medium-high heat in a large pan (this is a 10" one). Sauté garlic for a few minutes until it is soft. Crumble the tofu into the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. I use a wooden spoon for this, but if your pan isn't nonstick you may want to use a metal spatula. Continue sautéing until the tofu is lightly browned on at least one side.

Add spice mix, and stir furiously to coat and toast the spices a bit. Then pour in the pumpkin purée, toss to coat, and let it cook down until your scramble has no water in the bottom of the pan and is uniformly a dull orange-y colour. Put in your greens, let wilt, and serve immediately. Preferably on top of whole wheat toast.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 4: Good Old AFR

Hey all. I'm being buried under an avalanche of work, so today will just have to be a pretty picture. I'm sorry. This week sucks. I have a physics set due in less than 24 hours that I haven't even started yet and not because I'm slacking off. So have some soba with beanballs from AFR. The sauce is out of a bottle, unfortunately, but it was organic! The beanballs are exactly from AFR, and I threw a large handful of arugula in with the noodles. It was magical and delicious and exactly what I needed when I was working my sorry ass off. There's a reason why AFR is my favourite cookbook other than that it happened to be my first vegan cookbook purchase. Better posting on Friday, I promise.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 3: Real life strikes again

Being a vegan in college is not all meteor shaped tofu and polenta that looks like stars. Very often, what you want and what
is are not at all aligned. For instance, in your head you picture this (lifted from flickr under CC license):

by Michael Lehet

When in real life, your dining tabledesk looks like this:

When the kitchen you share with 15 other people is so indescribably messy you don't even want to take a picture. When you can't even get to the kitchen because 20 other people you don't share it with are inexplicably hanging out there. This post is about when disaster strikes. Food isn't always spectacularly beautiful and blogworthy. But seeing as this is Vegan MoFo, it's my duty to post food that is unspectacular and painfully ordinary. When dinner consists of day old Trader Joe's sushi and a spinach salad with dressing you made in a blender on top of your room's air conditioning unit (hey, Vegan Diner beats store bought) and a handful of dried cranberries. Let's go over this again. Fantasy:

Aaand reality:

I have to cut this very very short due to homework, but happy MoFo-ing, vegans!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vegan MoFo: Day 2

Sometimes I let vanity get to me and allow myself to consider myself some sort of connoisseur of tofu scrambles. I love them all. I also consider myself someone who doesn't like waste, so this particular scramble took shape from the remains of last night's meteors and moons. After waking up at 8 to work on a Sunday, this was just the thing. Please note that it is the result of most of my kitchen stuff still being in the mail from Boston. This particular scramble was crispy, chewy, salty, and spicy at once and looked disturbingly like the other kind of scramble.

Negative Space Scramble
- 1 tsp hot paprika (the only paprika I had)
- 1 tsp dried rosemary, but fresh would be amazing
- 1 tsp granulated garlic -or- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 handful nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- The remains of cookie cuttered tofu (roughly 1/3 of a block Trader Joe's super firm), crumbled
- 1 handful arugula, torn into pieces
- 1 tsp canola oil

Put together the spice in a small bowl and set aside. This makes life infinitely easier.

Heat a large well seasoned or nonstick pan over medium-high heat with the canola oil. When pan is hot, add tofu. Cook tofu, stirring regularly, until it is dried out and the smallest pieces are crispy and starting to brown.

Add spice mix and stir to coat. Adjust salt if necessary. Continue cooking (and stirring) for about 3 more minutes or until you can smell toasted spices.

Add arugula and stir until wilted. Serve immediately.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vegan MoFo: Day 1

Hello everybody, it's my first Vegan MoFo, so bear with me while I figure this thing out. The plan is to post 5 days a week, not necessarily week days due to student-y things happening. So anyway, since today is the first day of MoFo I decided I'd start off with a bang. The things I post here won't always be this elaborate.They may however, be better lit. iPhone + fluorescent lighting does not make for the best picture.
Today was the first Saturday of the academic year, so I had a bit of time on my hands. What you see here is a pumpkin polenta (inspired by tofu n sproutz) pan fried and then served with baked tofu (loosely based on AFR) over a bed of arugula and drizzled with black pepper thyme gravy (Vegan Diner). It was delicious. It was followed by a mug brownie with strawberry ice cream (not pictured due to ugly).