Sunday, May 2, 2010

Veganomicon's Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango

This week's mission: select a recipe for a potluck that can be made in advance, sit around in a cooler for a while before the meal is served, satisfy a hungry vegan, and please non-vegans even though it will compete with pizza. Veganomicon to the rescue with this vibrant, tropical, addictive quinoa salad that is a perfect room temperature dish. A salad so pretty and delicious that it will be one of my go-to dishes for potlucks this summer. If you don't have your own copy of Veganomicon yet, you can check out the recipe here.

Let's see, a couple of discoveries since I last posted include vegan pizza with Daiya cheese at Katie's Pizzeria in St. Louis. Plus, cheddar and mozzarella Daiya retail packs available at Whole Foods. Welcome back to my kitchen, gooey quesadillas!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Red Curry Chickpeas and Broccoli with Coconut Milk, Puppy Mill Act, and Scooter!

A couple of topics before we get to the recipe! If you live in Missouri, have you had the opportunity to sign the petition to get the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act on the ballot? Unfortunately, Missouri is known for puppy mills and meth labs, and the Missouri House just endorsed a bill to allow horse slaughter for human consumption. Let's hope the Senate has more sense. But back to the puppy mill issue. If you have not signed the petition to get the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act on the ballot, please look here for an event where you can sign. You might also be able to telephone the HSMO locations and sign a petition there if you prefer, please check. This act simply requires large-scale dog breeders to provide basic care. I have personally seen the victims of puppy mills and these dogs need our help.

On a lighter note, I attended an Indian Street Food cooking class this week for St. Louis food bloggers! What an informative and fun event, taught by Nupur of One Hot Stove. She is an excellent instructor - enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and down to earth. Nupur is vegetarian, and this event's menu was almost entirely vegan! And she so considerately provided vegan options for the couple of items that were not. The food was delicious. I took the night off from blogging but check out Kelly's report on Vegan Thyme. It was great to meet Kelly in person finally!

Let's move on to today's recipe. Y'all know I like to keep it short and sweet so here we go. This stove top stew is hearty, creamy, and has a hint of sweetness. I basically followed this recipe with the following changes. I used chickpeas for the beans and lemon rather than lime juice, just because that's what I had on hand. I used a little olive oil rather than cooking spray to saute. I also chopped a head of broccoli and added it to the pot for the last 15 minutes of cooking, covering with a lid. We ate the stew atop red jasmine rice all mixed together with some chipotle roasted sweet potatoes. Tasty!

I'll leave you with a video of my buddy Scooter, available for adoption at the HSMO on Macklind. He is SO freaking adorable. He tends to not bark much in the shelter and likes to cuddle. He walks very nicely on a leash and frequently gives you a sit on his own because he knows the people love for him to sit and be a good boy. He is very handsome and has the sweetest brown eyes! He is a little happy-go-lucky fella who's ready for his forever home. Check him out below.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Vegan Chickpea, Sausage, & Kale Pasta

Whew, after an EARLY day at work Thursday (5:40am!) and a long week, this pasta was a welcome comfort and perfect for my first outside supper of the season. The backyard is still a tangle of dried leaves, brown perennial stems, raspy tall grasses, and emerging Spring Beauty, but I can tolerate the chaos in exchange for just enough sunlight and warmth for dinner outside.

I spotted this recipe on bitchin' camero. The simplicity of preparation and bold ingredients appealed to me, so I veganized it using Tofurky Italian sausage and eliminating the parmesan. Unfortunately, I only had regular penne in the pantry rather than whole wheat. I do recommend the drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to finish. So good. Almost good enough that I didn't envy MD for his business dinner at Niche. Almost.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Curried Lentils with Carrots and Peas

This week I pulled out Vegan Planet, one of my first vegan cookbooks, and made this delicious curried lentil dish to serve with jasmine rice. Vegan Planet is a great starter cookbook for the new vegan, because with so many recipes you are sure to find many you like. Plenty of the recipes use familiar ingredients, making the transition to vegan cooking easier, and Robertson gives lots of advice for the beginner vegan. I remember one of my earliest satisfying vegan pastas was from Vegan Planet, proving that yes, pasta can be delicious without the cheese! After being vegan for over two years, I still find fun and tasty recipes in Vegan Planet. This particular dish is simple to prepare, requiring little chopping, but the numerous spices yield a complex flavor. It's a forgiving recipe that held up even with my shortcuts and omissions. You can take a peek at Vegan Planet on Google Books.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Laura Beck's Vegan Smoked Apple Sage Sausage and Chard Spaghetti, plus sampling Primal Strips

Laura Beck, of Vegansaurus and Rocket Dog Rescue, recently posted an adorably sassy column on Huffington Post's Eating In series. Not only was I happy to see another pro-vegan column on HuffPost, but she included a pasta recipe to boot! Bo-nus. This pasta is easy to make but does take a little coordination to get all your separate pots ready when needed. You have sauteed Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage going in one skillet (which I can't seem to stop eating), steaming chard in another pot, and your pasta in another. This dish is so flavorful and the short ingredient list makes it quick to prepare on a weeknight. I can seriously imagine eating it every week.

I also recently had the chance to try Primal Strips vegan jerky after the company kindly sent me a bunch of flavors! I thought all the flavors were pretty tasty, especially the smokier ones like Texas BBQ and Hickory Smoked. The Mesquite Lime is mildly tangy. I'm always looking for good "road food" that will hold me over during a road trip or business travel, and these would be perfect! No refrigeration needed, they make a great snack as is. When you're on the road and your options are limited, this would be a great source of protein and flavor to add to a veganized Subway sandwich, side salad, or baked potato. I thought this was a great grab and go snack for any time you need something extra. Just have a napkin on hand, the strips are a little moist from the tasty flavoring.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Vegan Lentil and Sausage Soup

I think of soups in two categories, those with coconut milk and those without. Soup recipes without coconut milk have to try a little harder with me to make the cut, and this one is my new favorite. The aroma of this soup makes you want to plant your face in the bowl because it smells so good. Red wine and sage are the key ingredients that give it an irresistible fragrance. Make sure to run an errand after cooking this soup, or at least go out for a walk, so you can come home and notice how good your house smells all over again.

This is a veganized version of a Whole Foods recipe. I made the following substitutes and additions - Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage Sausage, vegetable broth, a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice rather than fresh tomato, about 1 teaspoon of dried thyme rather than fresh, about 1 teaspoon of dried sage, and of course no Parmesan.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Vegan Soul Kitchen Author Bryant Terry in St. Louis

Bryant Terry, eco chef and author of Vegan Soul Kitchen and Grub, will appear at Washington University March 1st and 2nd! This will be a great opportunity for St. Louis to learn how delicious vegan food is. See details for both events below. The theme of the cooking competition is vegan tempeh recipes. Chefs all over St. Louis are googling "tempeh" like mad. Until then, you can try one of his recipes such as a batch of Cumin-Cayenne Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions.

Danforth University Center
Washington University, St. Louis

Monday, March 1st:
5pm- booksales begin
6pm- "Redefining Soul Food"- live cooking demo, presentation, and tasting with Bryant
7pm- booksigning with Bryant

Tuesday, March 2nd:
6pm- 1st Annual North vs South Champion Chef Competition
Theme: Vegan Tempeh Recipes
Featuring Washington University Dining Services Chefs and Student Sous Chefs
Bryant Terry and Catherine Neville, Editor-in-Chief, Sauce Magazine (now you're talking, Sauce!) and a panel of judges
live emcee
featured recipes sampled to audience

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Vegan Shepherd's Pie and Lessons from Shelter Dogs

This vegan shepherd's pie was such a hit at the holiday supper club (including with the non-vegan diners) that I had to make another one. I used this Whole Foods recipe, subbing veggie crumbles for the tempeh and using dried herbs, not fresh. (Go ahead and use the same herb quantities from the recipe, which will lend a deliciously strong sage flavor). For the mashed sweet potato topping, I followed this recipe from Gluten-Free Goddess. This dish is so flavorful and comforting that it will be welcome equally at a festive occasion or for an intimate dinner at home.

Around the time of my veganversary, Kelly of Vegan Thyme gave me an Honest Scrap award! What a nice way to celebrate. Thanks Kelly! She's one of a growing group of Missouri vegan bloggers. Yes, we are taking over the Midwest. I found her blog relatively recently, and enjoy visiting every post. You won't find mundane cooking at Vegan Thyme; prepare yourself for creative and venturesome recipes.

While I am supposed to tell 10 honest things about myself, I'm gonna bend the rules and talk about my favorite topic, shelter dogs! For inquiring minds, you can find random things about me here and here. As you can see from my blogroll, there are so many vegan blogs I admire and could nominate. If you would like to join in the fun, consider yourself nominated for the award and check out Kelly's blog for details.

Ten Lessons I Learned from Shelter Dogs:

1. It's always the bottle. I had the honor and pleasure of socializing pit bull puppies, among other tasks, at the temporary shelter for the large dog fighting rescue that occurred this summer. What was the favorite toy nine times out of ten during supervised play time? Not the braided ropes or balls, but the empty plastic water bottle. Noisy and crunchy, it was always the bottle.

2. Music can be therapeutic for dogs too. Do you turn up your Chillaxin' playlist when things get hectic? Research indicates that classical music can calm anxious and stressed dogs. Put some Bach on your doggie playlist if your dog is having a hard day.

3. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise. Dog training and particular types of toys can challenge Fido's mind and keep him relaxed and focused on constructive activities. Stuff Kongs with peanut butter and freeze them and keep a variety of treat dispensing toys on hand to give your dog something to work on.

4. Be quiet and say something. Our nonverbal behavior can say a lot more to dogs than our words, and there are particular "calming signals" we can show to communicate to dogs that we mean no threat to them, such as yawning and turning the head away.

5. Don't blame the dog. One misconception about shelter dogs is "those dogs are there for a reason." Yes they are, but is the reason because they are bad pets? Nope, reasons include the owner lost a job, got divorced, moved, developed an illness, didn't take time to train the dog, was a poor match in terms of energy level, or thought the dog should not fart. (I kid you not.) Shelter dogs vary greatly in temperament and energy level, and some will benefit from training, like any dog. Shelter dogs aren't bad pets. They need another chance to find the right home.

6. Have hope. Sometimes it seems like a particular shelter dog may never find the right home. Maybe she has several strikes against her due to stigma about her breed, shy behavior, and feeling stressed, and adopters pass her by again and again. But that perfectly matched person who can see beyond this and meet her where she is can come in to take her home this afternoon.

7. Don't judge a book by its cover. Some dogs might be rowdy in the shelter kennel, or shut down, but outside on a walk or in a quiet room with a toy, they can really loosen up and show their playful personalities. If you are visiting dogs at a shelter, keep in mind that the shelter environment can contribute to the behavior they might show.

8. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Scout, our stray mixed breed, was around 7-years-old when she graduated from Reactive Dogs class. Thanks to clicker training, she rarely does her Cujo imitation when she sees dogs on walks. Shelter dogs of all ages can benefit from training too, both after being adopted and even while in the shelter. Check out this comprehensive program for shelter dogs called Working Like Dogs.

Here's Scout, cuddling happily with her new buddy Ruby. Much better than Cujo behavior!

9. Obama, it's not too late for you to adopt a shelter dog. Looking for a particular breed, maybe due to allergies or preference? I've seen labradoodles, Old English Sheepdogs, Great Pyrenees, chihuahuas, yorkies, and so many more breeds available through shelters and other rescue organizations. If you desire a particular breed, you will be able to find one to rescue.

10. You never know who will steal your heart. I gravitate toward medium to large sized dogs who are rough and tumble types. So to my surprise, one of my favorite shelter dogs was Blossom, a shy, soulful-eyed, sweet beagle (who has long been adopted). While it's helpful to consider characteristics of the dog you prefer to adopt, you never know who you might make a special connection with.

Of course, a medium-sized rough and tumble type stole my heart too. Here's our adopted shelter dog Ruby, with her own plastic bottle.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fiery Tofu and Coconut Curry Soup

I celebrated my two year veganversary recently with this Fiery Tofu and Coconut Curry Soup over jasmine rice. While the flavor was delicious, I didn't find it particularly "fiery" prior to adding Sriracha sauce, but the color was! The lime juice really made the flavor pop.

For local readers, a commenter let me know that Scape in the CWE offers a three course raw vegan meal, recommending the lasagna. Thank you for the tip! I'm always happy to share news of local vegan options.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Red Chile Vegan Chicken and Rice with Black Beans

I love cookbooks but hardly ever buy non-vegan ones. One exception is Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless. This book is full of gorgeous photographs and includes helpful information on common ingredients in Mexican cooking. Recipe categories include dressings, salads, salsas, tacos, and soups, just to name a few. Recipes that aren't vegetarian or vegan often include a vegetarian "riff". Even without these riffs, many recipes are amenable to adaptation by subbing vegan ingredients. For example, I easily veganized the Red Chile Chicken and Rice with Black Beans by using chicken-style seitan and vegetable broth. Ground ancho chile powder coats the seitan, rice, and beans for a super flavorful dish with a little heat. My rice turned out a tad crunchy, so I'll try an additional half cup of vegetable broth next time. The original recipe has been posted online here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Banh Mi with Lemongrass Tofu

A local foodie magazine recently did a spread on Banh Mi sandwiches from area restaurants. The featured sandwiches were stuffed with pork, lamb, chicken, fried egg, and head cheese (a term I could not have imagined ever typing on this blog). What? No Banh Mi Chay (vegetarian)? An oversight perhaps, but I'm starting to wonder after the magazine's blog recently mentioned "the war on vegetarianism". We're at war? Vegans stockpile tofu, people, not weapons of mass destruction. But if the folks with a boner for bacon think we're at war, I guess vegetarians and vegans are doing something right.

I basically followed this recipe from the Kitchn, using vegan ingredients. A baguette slathered in cilantro-soy sauce-mayo is stuffed with lemongrass tofu slices, pickled carrots and daikon radish, fresh jalapeno, and cilantro. I added sliced Roma tomatoes and Sriracha sauce. The sandwich is juicy, sweet, tangy, and spicy. Delicious! This recipe for a vegan version with seitan sounds delicious as well.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vegan Beef Stew, Sriracha's Spicy Sister, Sambal Oelek, and Pi

This week we are eating VegCooking's Vegan Beef Stew. I made a few minor changes, using faux beef broth, mushrooms rather than green beans, and decreased the cooking time. The flavor is rich and hearty. If you prefer not to use seitan, beans would substitute nicely.

Friends recently gave us a bottle of Sambal Oelek chili sauce from Huy Fong of Sriracha fame. They warned us it is addictive and we've been putting it on practically everything. John even suggested a new snack. Smear a tortilla with some peanut butter and sambal oelek, heat for a few seconds in the microwave, roll up, and eat.

Finally, I gotta give more vegan love to Pi Pizzeria, which just keeps getting better with every visit. (Even the Obamas can't resist!) We had dinner at the bar of the new CWE location, starting with cocktails. Then on to a house salad sprinkled with Daiya shredded cheese, followed by a thin crust pizza with Daiya, Match sausage, kalamata olives, roasted garlic, and sun dried tomatoes. I don't know whether we can top this combination of ingredients, but I'm up for the research!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Slow Cooker Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

Happy New Year everyone! We've been trying to stay warm with this creamy, chunky stew from The Kitchn. Load up your slow cooker with vegetables, spices, and broth, and let that baby cook for a few hours while you catch up on Vegansaurus (I can't stop playing that pit bull vs. roomba-driving kitty video) and the latest Underdog to Wonderdog episode (who doesn't want to be part of the Doggie Wonder Team?!). Top off the stew with a little coconut milk, a lot of baby spinach, and spoon over jasmine rice for a bowl of yum.

Hope your holidays have been relaxing and fun. Some of my fun has come from playing with pit bulls at the Humane Society of Missouri such as Emma and Hershey. Emma is a happy, happy puppy who does that cute butt-scoot run when she gets really excited about her walks. Then she'll stop and give you a quizzical look that is so smart.

Hershey is a gorgeous girl who started out shy but is getting to know us and feeling a little more comfortable in the shelter. She now greets us enthusiastically and seems more confident. Both can be adopted at the HSMO.

We recently returned from celebrating our anniversary in the Sunshine State with Scout and Ruby. They thought sunning by the water in December was pretty nice.

Now we're back in STL to ridiculously cold weather, but one of the best ways to combat post-holiday, post-vacation blues is to make more plans to look forward to. Thanks to tips from Lex about vegan eats in St. Louis, we have reservations at Niche to celebrate another special occasion in a few weeks. While the menu does not appear vegan-friendly, I hope the chef will accommodate us. Lex also pointed out that Rooster offers a vegan crepe. "Vegan" is actually on the menu! Has anyone tried it? I can't wait to check it out. Vegans on the internet are the best - thank you Lex!

Whew, that's a long post for this sporadic blogger. Time to get back to studying iPhoto. Please bear with me and my hinky photos. Learning something new prevents dementia, right? Or contributes to potty mouth. Hope y'all have a great week.


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