Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vegan MoFo Day 30: Fusion Challenge!


Today's final Vegan MoFo entry is a fusion challenge!

I decided to go with my all-time favorite fusion--kimchi taco. Kimchi tacos are all the rage these days--I first had one on a food truck in Los Angeles, and have since progressed to regular lunches at Kimchi Grill in Brooklyn, which offers a variety of great vegan options!

I've never, however, made them at home, so I thought this was definitely a good excuse to give it a whirl!

Vegan Kimchi Tacos with Cashew Crema

What You'll Need:
1 package extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 cup veggie broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup kimchi (just be sure it's vegan--some have fish!)

Purple Slaw:
3 cups cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp mirin

Cashew crema:
1/2 cup cashews (soaked for a few hours, if you don't have a highspeed blender)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder
juice from 1 lime (approximately 3 tbsp)
salt to taste

What You'll Need To Do:
Press your tofu and cut into 1/2" (or so) cubes. Place in the marinade for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight. While the tofu is marinating, you can prepare your cashew crema and purple slaw.

For the purple slaw, simply mix all of your ingredients together.

For the cashew crema, add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth (this may take several minutes depending on your blender).

Tips and Tricks:
You can save that kimchi marinade and use it for something else, or even put the cabbage in your taco for an extra kimchi kick!

Cashew crema is my way of making an easy, unprocessed cream, but if you want something even easier, you can also mix the lime juice and garlic powder in with some yogurt or even vegannaise (I know it sounds crazy, but trust me on this one), and then add a little dairy-free milk until you reach your desired consistency.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Vegan MoFo Day 29: Vegan Road Trip!

Today's Vegan MoFo prompt asked what you'd bring on a road trip? I figured there was no better time to rehash a few of my snack-time favorites.

I promised you more "junk food," Sally Ride!

And here it is!

To acquire all the vegan goodies required for this entry (and for my pantry), I tried a new online grocery delivery service--Thrive Market. Thrive is kind of like the Costco of natural foods, in a way. You don't order in bulk, but they do offer you bulk prices on everything, in exchange for an annual membership.


With the number of natural foods we have access to here in New York City, and with services like Instacart (for my Whole Foods groceries) and Fresh Direct, I'm not quite decided on whether I'll stick with these guys, as the delivery does take several days, and you can't schedule a time slot (which is especially hard in our apartment).

However, I absolutely love the huge variety of options they have (more even than the other aforementioned companies), particularly for people with restricted diets. And they have a relatively unique feature, that allows you to look specifically at their "vegan", "gluten-free", and "raw" options. You can even sort by "for Moms" and they feature a lot of sustainable home goods, and even bath and body stuff! And like I said, they have bulk prices, which means their stuff is significantly cheaper than it is in New York City.

I especially love that they have the Earth Balance mac and cheese, which can be hard to find but is a real treat for us!

I digress...on to some other "good stuff":

I discovered these fruit ropes by Clif Kid many years ago. While they're technically geared towards kids, they are really tasty--and a nice pick me up on a hike, or during a long afternoon at the office. They're made from organic fruit puree, and colored with vegetable juice. (They're also gluten-free and kosher!)

I discovered Beanfield's tasty bean and rice chips at my work! They are really good--and they are not only gluten free, but corn free. I especially love the Nacho flavor, which definitely reminds me of some Nacho Cheese chips you might already be familiar with...

These aren't the best kale chips I've ever had...but they are kale chips. 'Nuff said.

Peanut butter sandwich crackers! Perfect for some road trip munchies!! This company, Late July, is great--they have all organic and non-GMO ingredients.

And it all comes back to Earth Balance--these guys are making so much more than butter these days--and they're knocking it out of the park! I love the aged white cheddar flavor popcorn and the vegan aged white cheddar flavor puffs are totally addictive.

I guess that more or less coves my most recent snack food bounty! That should be enough to get you through the road trip for at least a few days, right?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Vegan MoFo Day 28: Tacos vs. Burritos


Today's Vegan MoFo entry asks the age old question...taco vs. burrito--who reigns supreme?

I know, I've chosen a pretty ambiguous photo!

That's because--let's get real people--it's all about the fillings! And I'm not taking the easy way out here, though I could see how you might think that. I am a taco girl at home and I am all about the burritos at restaurants.


At home I can have as many tacos as I want, and I don't have to fold them into a burrito shape. In the real world, I can eat a gigantic burrito, and have someone else stuff it for me. I do occasionally stray from this rule...(Kimchi Taco, anyone?) but generally speaking, that's how I roll. Also I like to fry my soft shells in a little oil before I eat my tacos (yummy! and a little harder to do with a burrito).

So let's talk about those taco/burrito fillings!!


Upton's Naturals makes a pretty kickass chorizo seitan. I combined these with my bean filling (see recipe below) and some cashew crema and my husband said it was hands down the best burrito he'd ever had (I'm not sure I'd go quite that far, but I have to say it was pretty darn delicious).

Also, how about some beans!!
Easy Taco/Burrito Bean Filling
What You'll Need:
1 tbsp oil
1 small white onion, chopped
1/4 tsp chile powder
1/8 tsp cayenne, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp salt, to taste
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp coriander
1 tomato, chopped
1 package Upton's Naturals chorizo seitan
1 can black beans (15 oz.), drained and rinsed
1 lime, halved (optional)

What You'll Need to Do:
Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat, then add your oil. Add your onions and sauté with a few dashes of chile powder, cumin, salt and coriander. Add in tomatoes and seitan after 5 minutes, and continue to sauté until your onions are golden and beginning to brown slightly, another 3-5 minutes. Add in your beans and the rest of your spices and cook until heated through. Remove from stove and add a squeeze of lime, if desired. Add to taco or burrito!

*Tips and Tricks:
In a pinch, you can make this sans seitan. The flavored black beans are also very yummy on their own.

You can also add a bit of salsa into the mix. Stir in a little bit with the beans, or at the very end.

Check out more Upton's Naturals products if you can find them at a store near you--they are delicious! I can't wait to try the chili lime carnitas jack fruit--sounds like another amazing taco/burrito filling!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Vegan MoFo Day 27: Favorite Herb or Spice


Today for Vegan MoFo we are talking about our favorite herb or spice! This was a super easy one for me. The spice I reach for pretty much anytime I'm making a pasta or gnocchi, the herb I like to throw at anything to give it a little somethin' somethin', whether the recipe calls for it, or not, is:

Rubbed sage!

Just thinking about it makes me happy. I love the way it feels between my fingers, the way it smells when I take it out of the jar. It has an incredible aroma--earthy, a little piney. It's a beautiful herb!

Rubbed sage is different from ground sage in that it is obtained by rubbing dried whole sage leaves, rather than finely grinding dried sage. This results in a light, fluffy herb that still contains the oils of the leaves, and is thus a favorite of sage "purists" (or so the internet tells me). The oils will allow the flavor to release into your food more quickly than with dried sage.

Looking to get real fancy with your sage? Dalmatian rubbed sage is like the queen of all sages. It is super mellow and smooth, with an amazing aroma.

No rubbed sage in your kitchen? Go get some! No time? No interest? No money? No problem. You can sub ground sage--but you'll want to use only half the amount of ground sage in place of rubbed sage.*

*but trust me, just try the rubbed stuff.


Friday, September 25, 2015

My Favorite Cuisine: Italian

Today for Vegan MoFo we are sharing our favorite cuisine.

If you've been following my posts, you know that I seem to be leaning in one direction...pasta! And piccata, and pizza...

Apparently, I'm a real Italian lover.

So here's a little roundup for my fellow Italian Foodophiles:

Seitan Piccata

Local Vegan Pizza

White Pasta

Pasta with red sauce 3
Red Pasta

Brussels Sprouts (they're kind of Italian, right?)

garlic bread 3
Garlic Bread

Tea Poached Pears

"Green" Cashew Cheese Spread
Home-Made Vegan Cheese--I'll also throw this in the "roughly Italian" category


If you're not an Italian food lover--just try one of these recipes! You'll be a convert in no time!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Vegan MoFo Day 24: What Sally Ride Would Eat If She'd Been Vegan


"Ride-s". Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Today's Vegan MoFo prompt asks us to write about what [Insert Someone Famous] would eat if they were vegan.

Although she passed away in 2012, I decided I'd write about a childhood hero of mine for this entry: Sally Ride, the first woman in space.

She was not just an awesome astronaut; she also advocated continuously for science and math education in schools, and wrote one of my favorite books when I was young: To Space and Back. I could go on to detail more of her remarkable accomplishments, but if you just follow the links above, you'll get the idea.

When I was young I was pretty obsessed with space and space travel. Aside from my impressive book collection (including several, remarkably intricate coloring books), I went to Space Camp (twice) and was thrilled when my school also took a week-long trip to Astro Camp. My interest in outer space followed me all the way to college, where I was torn between an art major or astrophysics. I ultimately opted for the art, but my love of outer space and admiration for women like Sally Ride endures.

In researching for this post, I discovered that Sally Ride was not much of a cook. She's been quoted as saying she was not much interested in home economics in her day --  not surprising, given how all her other interests must have occupied her time!

She did say, that she "winds up eating junk food a lot."

Vegan junk food? I happen to be something of an expert in this area.

I will cover this topic even more in my upcoming "road trip" entry, so for today I tried to think about an American classic "junk food" meal; I opted for good ol' Kraft macaroni and cheese.

I know I've tried plenty of vegan mac and cheese recipes, but what comes closest to the classic Kraft, while meeting the same easy-to-make ("Sally Ride friendly") requirements?


The answer: Earth Balance vegan cheddar flavor mac and cheese. This is it. Complete with the macaroni elbows and the cheesy packets you love and adore. Instant vegan macaroni and cheese has arrived.

This stuff can be a little hard to track down, though most Whole Foods stores carry it. You can also try ordering online, which is always a great option if natural foods options are limited in your area.

And what if making her own mac and cheese was just a little too much effort? Well if Sally Ride happened to be in Brooklyn, I would have told her to head on down to Morgan's Barbecue. They have a pretty epic vegan mac and cheese--complete with avocado, tortilla strips, jalapeños and vegan chorizo. Yummy!


For more "junk food" I'm sure Sally Ride would have loved, stay tuned for my vegan road trip entry... coming September 29th!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Autumn Equinox Eats: Vegan Butternut Squash (and Apple) Soup

vegan butternut squash soup

It's that time of year...there's a chill in that autumnal air, and soup season has definitely begun!

For today's Autumn Equinox VeganMofo entry I'm revamping an entry for my all-time favorite soup: butternut squash.

I've always loved butternut squash soup (who wouldn't, I ask?). A few years ago, however, I was introduced to a new type of butternut squash soup at a Thanksgiving meal with my husband's family when my mother-in-law brought butternut squash soup with green apple. If you've ever tried it before, you know how amazing that extra tart note is in this dish. It balances the sweetness of the squash perfectly!

If you've never had the pleasure of delving into a bowl of butternut squash-apple goodness, it is something that must be tried to be fully understood.

This recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
What You'll Need:
2 tbsp margarine (I recommend Earth Balance)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 butternut squash (about 20 oz), peeled and chopped (or you can buy some pre-chopped and peeled squash--much easier!)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup apple cider*
pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon and cayenne, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
chives, optional
vegan sour cream (or cashew or coconut cream), optional

What You'll Need to Do:
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pot, then add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the broth and apple cider, along with the butternut squash and apple. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, until the squash and carrots have softened. Once everything has softened, puree in your blender in batches (be sure to release the steam if your blender does not do that for you!), or with an immersion blender. Mix in your nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper, to taste. Top with some vegan cream, if using.

Tips and Tricks:
I like to pair this with some sourdough toast and roasted broccoli. I'd also recommend adding a cashew or coconut cream swirl on top--or some vegan sour cream.

*I love adding apple cider to this soup! It kicks up the apple quotient just a bit and it's delicious. In a pinch, however, water will do fine as well.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Seasonal Produce Meal: Zucchini Ribbon Pasta with Tomatoes, Basil and Lemon

zucchini riboons

Today's entry for Vegan MoFo asked us to make a meal with seasonal local produce. Sounds great to me! One of my friends has been all about the zucchini pasta lately, so I took a little inspiration from her and decided to try my hand at making my own dish.

zucchini riboons

My friend uses a spiralizer, which is awesome. In lieu of that, however, you can make great ribbons with your vegetable peeler! You simply fry up those ribbons in the sauté pan with some garlic, cherry tomatoes, basil and a splash of lemon, and you've got a delicious, super-simple meal!

zucchini ribbons

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta with Tomatoes, Basil and Lemon
What You'll Need:
2 zucchinis, peeled into ribbons (as pictured) with a vegetable peeler
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 c. basil, loosely packed, finely chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
zest 1 lemon (1 tsp)
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

What You'll Need to Do:

Preheat a pan over medium heat. Add your olive oil and garlic and sauté until just fragrant and golden, about 1-2 minutes. Add your zucchini and tomatoes and toss in the garlic oil, continuing to toss as you fry. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Add half of your basil after a minute or so.You'll want to fry until the ribbons begin to relax, just about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, and toss in your lemon and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

zucchini ribbons

Tips and Tricks:
This recipe makes enough for one person. That's the easiest amount to squeeze into one regular size sauté pan. If you have a larger pan, you can easily double the recipe. Otherwise, if you double the recipe, you'll want to fry up half of your zucchini (with the garlic and oil, as described above) first, remove it from the pan, and then follow the rest of the recipe, tossing in your first batch of zucchini along with the rest of the ingredients, at the end.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Vegan MoFo: What 3 Endless Food Supplies Would You Take if You Were Stranded on An Island?


As the title of this post indicates, today's Vegan MoFo prompt asks what three endless food supplies you would take if you were going to be stranded on an island. This is imagining all of your nutritional needs have been met--these are a bonus!

1. Miyoko's Creamery cheeses

For those of you who are not familiar with Miyoko's Kitchen--you should be! They offer a line of delicious vegan artisan cheeses--including flavors like Aged English Smoked Farmhouse (above) and Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash (pictured below).


Although they are only available in select Northern California stores, you can order them online. They are expensive though (a "special occasion" kind of purchase), but if you're feeling adventurous you can buy the recipe book (Artisan Vegan Cheese) and make nut-based cheeses yourself!

vegan cheeses

Although most of the cheese recipes require a significant amount of time (like making your own culture over several weeks!), I can testify that they are truly worth the effort. I've never had any vegan cheese quite like it.


Miyoko even has a blog with all kinds of great recipe ideas for these delicious cheeses--enough to keep me happily satisfied on my deserted island!

2. Kale chips

kale chips with roasted pepitas

Need I say more? Who cares about how healthy they are--kale chips are just plain delicious. Add some nutritional yeast, some cayenne, some garlic, some pepitas, whatever you like (!) and you've got a totally addictive snack. Check out my recipe here.

3. Cupcakes

vegan chocolate sandwich cookie cupcakes

Again, this requires little explanation, but if you're looking for one, just check out my entry about my favorite cookbook and all of its cupcake-y goodness. The possibilities are endless and yet each and every one is so delicious!

That about sums it up!

I've covered all my food groups, right? Protein (cheese), greens (kale), sweets and carbs (cupcakes)?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Veganize a Family Recipe: Vegan Pot Roast


Today for Vegan MoFo we're veganizing an old family recipe.

I come from a family of Hungarian Jews, so I could think of nothing more appropriate than this slow-cooker pot roast, particularly because this is the dish my mother makes for nearly every major holiday. I'd never made a vegan pot roast before, but having recently acquired a slow cooker, I was up for the challenge!

UntitledBecause I was a little pressed for time with this entry (i.e. no time to experiment too much), I simply adapted my mother's recipe with a little seitan pot roast help from Robin Robertson's recipe from Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker (along with a few embellishments of my own).


What You'll Need:
for the seitan:
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
1 tbsp ketchup
3 tsp olive oil (two to mix into seitan and one to coat)
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 tsp smoked paprika, plus more for sprinkling

for the rest:
4-5 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks (you can use sweet potatoes, yellow, or idaho, whatever your fancy!)
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1 tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 dry white wine
a healthy dose of salt and black pepper

What You'll Need to Do:
Mix up all of the seitan ingredients in a bowl and knead for approximately 3 minutes, until elastic and holding together nicely. Then coat with additional tsp of olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp paprika.

In a small bowl or mixing cup, mix together your broth, liquid smoke and aminos (this is going to serve as a "beef"y broth base).

Coat your cooker with a small amount of oil, then add in your potatoes, carrots, garlic, parsnips and half of your onions to the bottom of the cooker. Season your vegetables with the thyme, salt, and pepper, and a dash of smoked paprika. Add in your wine and vegetable broth mixture.

At this point you can either add the seitan in whole (Robertson recommends using oiled parchment paper or foil to keep it separated), or you can separate it into smaller pieces. I tried smaller pieces since I thought they'd absorb the rest of the flavors more readily that way.

Cover with the remaining onions, and add a bay leaf on top. Cover your cooker, and let simmer for approximately 8 hours, until all of your carrots and potatoes are tender.

This smells so amazing while it's cooking. The real trick is to wait those 8 long hours until it's ready!


Tips and Tricks:
If you're looking for an even simpler seitan recipe, check out a totally different version on Robertson's site. Sounds like another good option!

By the way--if you're looking for a great vegan slow cooker recipe book--Robin Robertson's book is it! We love everything we've tried in there, and are so excited for slow cooker weather to be coming back around so that we can try even more!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lunch on the Go!


Today for Vegan MoFo we're talking lunch on the go!

I couldn't think of anything more "to go" than this great picnic backpack we received as another wonderful wedding present (thank you, Gretchen!).

This awesome backpack has all you need to enjoy a picnic for two--or four!

You just need a few good dishes to go with it! Might I recommend some balsamic tofu with cherry tomatoes?

This is a super quick and easy dish--you just need a little time to let your tofu marinate. Once you've done that, you just slice your tomatoes and basil, toss and go! It's a great "lunch on the go."


Balsamic Tofu with Cherry Tomatoes
What You'll Need:
4 tbsp vegetable broth
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp basil
1/8 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste (several pinches of each)

One 14 oz package extra-firm tofu
12 oz cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil

What You'll Need to Do:
Press your tofu first so that it will be able to absorb the balsamic properly. Cut into 1/2" cubes and then mix with the marinade ingredients. Cover and allow to marinate for an hour or so (or in the fridge overnight).

In the meantime, chiffonade your basil and slice your tomoatoes if you haven't already. Once the tofu is done marinating, toss it with the tomatoes and basil, and add in the olive oil. Add more salt and pepper, as needed. Depending on how much of the marinade your tofu has absorbed, you may want to add another tablespoon or so of balsamic.

Tips and Tricks:
I paired this tofu with a nice pasta salad. I simply cooked some pasta, then added a bit of salad dressing (strawberry vinaigrette this time around). Then I threw in some spicy olives (I love Jeff's Naturals antipasto olives which are vegan!) along with the red peppers from the bottle, dried oregano, mustard powder, hearts of palm, arugula and a little bit of olive oil.

And don't forget your baguette!