Friday, October 30, 2009

Ich kaufe gern!

My poor bank account. It hates me right now.

We had a fight because both Abeer and I really desired Candle Cafe again and my bank account was all like "what? were just there. Come on now, what have we been working for together? Don't let love blind you. I miss you like the desserts miss the rain. You're suffering a total eclipse of the heart..."

With the stress of midterms continously draining me I just had to indulge.

I got the porcini crusted seitan which is basically seitan cutlets on top of delicious mashed potatoes on top of fresh local string beans on top of broccolini with gravy all over. Say what?

Ohhh yeah. It was so good.
Abeer had the Cajun Seitan Sub which I think included aioli. All I know was that it was delicious.
We finished the meal with mystery cheesecake. The waitress was unsure of the flavor. It wasn't up to Candle Cafe standards for my tastes but it definitely was still worth finishing.

I hope my bank account can forgive and forget.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

(Soymilk, pumpkin spiced vodka and pumpkin liquer...oi)

So my best friend had a Harry Potter Halloween party last Saturday. I decided to make cupcakes and ended up making raw chocolate truffles as well (in a move of solidarity towards my boyfriend who's trying to eat more raw).

So I blended half a banana, a cup of dates, a half a cup of coconut oil and added them to a cup of cocoa powder in a bowl along with 3/4 a cup of processor-chopped almonds and a fourth a cup of walnuts. I added several tablespoons of agave nectar too. Then I rolled them into balls in more ground almonds and let them set in the fridge.

Those measurements are an estimate so I would just keep mixing things till it resembles a thick goop that'll be just malleable enough to make balls.

Then I made cupcakes from a box recipe using one and half bananas (three eggs worth, basically) and a tbs. of ener-g egg replacer mixed into the dry mix before I mixed the wet ingredients. Also, for the 3/4 cup of water (or whatever the box mix calls for) I used vanilla chai tea.

Just as I was settlingdown my friend sent me a text "Can you bring an appetizer?"
I peeled the skin off a yam I had half-baked earlier, thinly diced an apple and threw them into a frying pan with some earth balance, a drizzle of agave, a dash of nutmeg, a dash of cinnamon and a touch of ground cardamom.
I took some spring roll papers I had and dipped them in a bowl of hot water. I put a meatball amount of the yam-apple stuff into the middle and rolled them up. My boyfriend and I experimented a little with the shapes.

Then I made an impromptu dipping sauce out of half a cup of coconut milk, two tbs. of cocoa powder, a dash of cardamom, a tsp. of cinnamon and a tiny dash of nutmeg.

The food went over very well.

As if we didn't eat enough that night, after the party we took a trip to Foodswings in Brooklyn. Foodswings is the vegan junk food capital of the world (that might not be official but I believe it to be true).
It's also a land of neutrality where vegans can take their omnivore friends to impress them with meat-emulation.

The wings are delicious and the butterfinger mlkshake is amazing.
I wouldn't suggest the chili dogs though...they were bland.

Regardless, Foodswings is a destination for any vegan (especially those who don't have many vegan eateries in their hometown)

Here is an example of what goes on at Foodswings:

Monday, October 26, 2009

When I was a kid and we were too poor to really buy anything else, my dad would pack me tuna...sometimes in sandwich form and sometimes in containers. It really didn't matter because I always got made fun of because it smelled. The experience of biting into soggy bread was never as bad as the humiliation I'd feel as one by one all the kids would say how gross I was.

Regardless of the traumatic association with it, every once in a while I get a craving for something like tuna.

That's when I make myself this simple snack:

Spread hummus onto crackers (especially sesame seed ones, yum) and top it with cut up green pimento olives and tomato pieces. It satisfies my taste-buds like whoa and no fishies (nor my ego) get harmed in the process.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I made banana chocolate bread from Veganomicon a week or so ago for my friend's birthday party.

Praise Isa! It was delicious as always.

The birthday girl happens to be a really talented singer/songwriter and here are her legs performing with our other talented singer/songwriter friend (I need to steal some skills). And the real star, Dobby (her pup) is stealing the show.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Köstliches Essen.

I've never made pies before. Generally, I'm intimidated by baking.

I had a day off recently and my pie adventure started when I decided that the extra apples in my kitchen weren't going to last forever.

I ended up making an apple pie with the apples, cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and a tablespoon of the berry jam I got from Woodstock recently (featured in earlier post). It came out great but next time I'll half the whole wheat flour (I also used quinoa flour too) I used in the crust with white flour.

Regardless, it was really good for a first try and I paired it with some pomegranate chip ice cream.

I had some extra dough and I thought that maybe I'd try something else while the oven was on.

I have always loved pot pies whether I was eating Swanson pot pies when I was a kid or Amy's vegan pot pies now (which I've been noticing have disappeared from my grocery store lately). So I filled these with baby bella chunks, peas, carrots and potatoes as well as a gravy I made out of vegan butter, nooch, onions, one clove of garlic, apple juice, whole wheat flour, two tiny peices of celery and carrots. I pureed all the gravy items and then added the vegetables to the pot to cook in the gravy for a couple of minutes.

One the dough was in my pie dish I poured the gravy/veggie mixture and baked.

Oh man, it was just so good. My lover kept asking for more and more days after. It made me happy he enjoyed it so much and I certainly agreed with his enjoyment of it.

I also made this cute little pie with the last bit of extra dough. Twas adorable.

After a sleep over I made him one of our favorites: grilled avocado sandwiches. I mince and sautee some onions in the frying pan. I cut an avocado open, de-pit, salt it and lightly mash it within it's skin. Chop some tomatoes and butter one side on two pieces of toast.

Set the onions aside once they're cooked and keep the pan on. Plop the bread butter-side down on the frying pan and layer avocado, onions, nooch, tomatoes and more salt if you desire and top with the other piece of bread (butter side up). Once the bottom of the sandwich has toasted nicely carefully turn the wich over and cook the other side.

Oh meng.

Ich möchte Candle Cafe.

Roosevelt Island to the right, Manhattan to the left, to the left.

My boo and I took a stroll over the 59th street bridge and walked over to Candle Cafe.

First we saw the actress who played Hermoine Granger while walking on 2nd ave. She was sitting at an outside cafe enjoying the day as much as we were. Then we settled in at Candle Cafe and ordered seitan chimichurri kabobs, otherwise known as glowing salvation:

He had the Parmigiana sandwich.

I had the cashew alfredo fettucini and we finished with the pumpkin bundt cake.

Everything was so good, I can't over exaggerate that.
I'd like to cook this way. I was considering buying the Candle Cafe cookbook but I read bad reviews for it online.

I understand why they'd want to keep the magic unobtainable.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tonight I made lo-mein with my friend Shan. We cut 5 cloves of garlic, one onion, two tbs. of fresh chopped ginger and sauteed it. I boiled some noodles on the side. I added the eggplant and some more oil to fry it, then the mushrooms. Then I added the noodles and several dashes of soy sauce and eventually the broccoli.

For dessert we munched on left over figs from our fig tree. I'm sad it's slowly yielding less.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I've been remiss in my duties. School and work have got the best of me. I'm a slave to the system.

Sometimes I enjoy a simple meal more than anything, especially when I'm exhausted. Tonight I just microwaved some left over pasta with store bought pasta sauce that I freshened up with some of the last of our garden basil and oregano. Then I ate it with nooch in one hand and a fork in another, all the while dusting my pasta with that flaky stuff I love so much.

And today I stopped into Westside Market near my job and they had the sample table out. I was so happy.
They had a white bean dip, several kinds of hummus and a spinach pesto. They didn't have my favorite olive tapenade but you can't win them all. Free is free.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ich kaufe.

Last night we decided to try out the vegetarian restaurant Garden Cafe. It's right in the center of Woodstock and it seemed a wonder that none of us had gone there before. I never knew it was vegetarian and always thought it was pricey like most other things in Woodstock.

Well, we got there and it's a tiny little store front and since we were on our way to a movie waiting didn't seem like an option. Then they told us about the garden.

We went out back to find a gently lit lovely little oasis. Why would anyone not want to eat back there?
After seeing how amazing the dessert menu looked I asked our waiter if any of them were vegan. He answered that everything at the restaurant was completely vegan. Much to my internal chagrin however, there was casein indicated in one of the dishes with chiz. I like that it was indicated and the menu doesn't lie but then what about the other chiz dishes? Why would a restaurant use a non-vegan cheese in one dish and not others? I didn't believe they would.

For this reason I stayed away from the cheese dishes or planned to request a dish without the typical chiz.
I ended up getting one of their specials: a cornmeal bread crusted pot pie (F'AMAZING.) with tempeh triangles drizzled with a hummus-like gravy (tempeh was a little too dry and lacking flavor), and sauteed greens (delicious!).

S got a black bean and sweet potato burger topped with chiz, came with guac and a side of roasted potatoes:

C got quesadillas which she said could make her not miss cheese:

Sh and Su both got portabello mushroom and onion paninis with aioli on them:

From the moment I saw the dessert menu I knew what it was I desired on a brisk fall night. Sure, they had ginger apricot crisps and strawberry short cake but the night called for the brownie with chocolate sauce and whip cream (and for my friends, a side of ice cream with theirs). Our waiter was an obvious salesman and convinced most of us that we needed our own brownie and it wouldn't be enough to share.

Let me warn you: The brownie was more like a mini cake or a thin brick. Had we even just had a light lunch we would have been uncomfortably full after these brownies. Having just consumed so much food, the brownies ended up being unfinished because none of us could find the room.

If it hadn't been for Sh refusing to order one the brownies would have been a complete waste.

But they were more than amazing and delicious. Sweet, moist, rich but not too rich and with a hint of cinnamon...they were everything I wanted in a brownie:

Today for lunch we went to this hidden place on the side of the road that looked more like a regular grocery store. Inside was a really cute juice counter but it didn't have much in the way of vegan options. I ended up with a delicious papaya, mango, grapefruit and rice milk shake and the guac dish. It was supposed to come with veggies and some chips. Instead it came with three slices of cucumber, three pieces of carrot and more tortillas then guac. Mind you, I was a little spoiled from the night before:

Before we left we made a stop to our collective favorite: the Woodstock Flea Market. I bought triple berry jam from the delightful man who provides samples for all his (atleast 20 varieties) jams. I could kick myself for not also getting the Quince flavor.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ich sehe Film.

Day 3!
So I'm in Woodstock, NY for the weekend with 5 of my friends. It's now a 5 year tradition that every fall we attend the Woodstock Film Festival and stay at our friend's house up here. It's the highlight of my Fall.
Yesterday I spent my day off cooking for this ocassion (and for the blog) and brought all the food up last night. Normally we pig out all weekend (it's never too late for that) and it can be quite expensive so I figured brining some comfort food on a cold night would be a good idea.

Apparently I was right. Once my friends got to trying it they loved it.
An hour later my friend S's mother, her two friends, S's brother and his girlfriend came home from the movies they were seeing and the parade of questions about the food began! I loved it.

Once in a while I get annoyed by all the questions you get asked when you practice veganism. But more often than not I really enjoy talking about what I'm doing, the reasons for it, what I eat. I'm proud of myself and my choices and I honestly find my lifestyle choice interesting.
Within 15 minutes all the food shown here was gone:

(I chose to make what I did to try and get rid of what veggies we had left from our garden)

The veg pakoras are from this recipe. I used broccoli, eggplant, peppers and one potato.
I also made a tamarind sauce from this recipe for dipping the pakoras.

For the masala:
1 eggplant, sliced and cut into wedges
3 medium potatoes, sliced and cut into wedges
3 small onions, diced
3 plum tomatoes and 1 heirloom (so you could basically use 4-5 plums, 2 heirlooms, about 20 cherry or 3 big boy tomatoes)
a frozen package of peas
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
about a tbs of fresh ginger, chopped finely
a tbs of cumin seeds*
a pinch of fennel seeds*
a tsp of methi/fenugreek seeds*
2 tsp of garam masala mix
1 tsp coriander
dash of cinnamon
1 tbs of salt
1 tsp of sugar (just a touch of sweetness)
a tbs of rice milk or coconut milk (Optional)

* You can substitue ground spices instead. Probably 2 tsp for every 1 tsp of seeds.

Heat some oil in a medium-large pot and add the seeds. (If you're using ground cumin, fennel, methi spices instead you can skip this step) Once the seeds pop add the onion, ginger and garlic.
Stir them well.
Once they're near-translucent push them to the sides of the pot, add a little more oil and lightly sautee the eggplant in it. Once they're cooked (no need to be perfect) add the potatoes.
I then like to add about tbs of rice milk or coconut milk but this is not necessary. The tomatoes provide more than enough moisture.

Add the tomatoes and stir.

Now add the rest of the spices. Stir a couple of times and put the lid on for about 5 minutes.
The masala should now be more like a sauce. Now add the peas, allow them to get fully heated and serve! Preferly over basmati or with bread.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ich esse.

So today I made granola bars. This is my second time trying this recipe from

These were so much better than the first time I made them.
I left out the oil the recipe recommends. I used apple butter in place of the mashed banana.
I replaced soy milk with rice milk and soy flour with quinoa flour.
I added a lot of strawberries and a left over mango.

I also didn't use any sugar (why would I?) , molasses (I did do a light drizzle of agave at some point), almonds (didn't have) and wheat germ (I forgot but it tasted fine in the last batch I made) .

And yet, they were like gently sweet cookies. My aunt couldn't keep her hands off. I'll be enjoying these at work for the next couple of days.

Apple butter, peanut butter, vanilla extract, rice milk:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ich koche.

  • So I'm eager to have my boyfriend revamp the style of this page since I seem to be incapable of playing with templates. Till then, your eyes will have to burn with aesthetic hostility.
  • Tonight is my first post for VEGAN MOFO.
  • The exclamation point on my keyboard isn't working, it's not that I lack enthusiasm.

Alright, on to the food:
So I really like simple and fast recipes that allow for a lot of substitution. This pasta dish is all of that, it's really more a blueprint than a recipe.

You'll need:
-Vegan Pasta
-A handful of a pasta-compatible veggies
-A tablespoon of fresh basil or a half a tablespoon of dried basil
-A pinch of thyme
-A tablespoon or more of fresh oregano, chopped. Or a teaspoon of dried oregano (dried oregano can be really chalky so don't use too much)
-At least two cloves of garlic
-Vegan butter: Earth Balance or Smart Balance Light

Chop a handful of any veggies you want: eggplant, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, peppers.
Chop at least two cloves of garlic.

Basically cook any (I used spaghetti) pasta in a pot and turn off the heat when it's just about al dente. I like to turn off the heat when it's at a consistency right before I'd like to eat. It should be still a little hard. Let it sit and finish cooking in the water. Drain it in a minute or two to completely stop the cooking.

Sautee the garlic in some olive oil in a medium/large skillet (You'll be adding the pasta so pick a pan that'll have enough room for it).
When the garlic is fragrant and starting to brown add the basil, oregano and thyme (if desired) . If you want to add some black pepper now is the time.

Once they smell delicious take a big ole' spoonful of vegan butter and slop it onto the pan. Lower the heat and add your veggies. I just did baby bellas this time. If you're cooking one or more of the others you'll want to do them in this order;
  • Shrooms
  • Eggplants
  • Peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

If you like your tomatoes runny then go ahead and add them earlier but I like to have them merely warm and still recognizable, so I add them last. If you add them early in the cooking process they'll add a lot of moisture to the mix as will spinach so don't add too much butter later.

Throw in the pasta, toss and cook for about 5 minutes (stirring all the while). Add some more vegan butter if it's looking dry.

Put it on a plate, smother it in nooch (I like to sing "I make it rain, I make it rain, I make it rain on them hoes" as I do this) and dash with salt.