Tag Archives: tofu

Vegan Coachella: Day 1

Oh, hey Paul McCartney.  From where I was standing, I could not see anything but the backs of those in front of me.  However, holding my camera above my head and zooming in allowed me to have a private face-to-face performance every time.  Thanks to Carl Zeiss for that sweet zoom lens.  Note to self: Bring stilts next year.

SO.  Day 1 of Coachella was pretty tremendous on the music and vegan food front.   Leonard Cohen, Beirut, Morrissey, and Paul McCartney killed it.  This incident was marvelous.  But let’s backtrack.  Before getting to the actual music venue, the boyfriend and I stopped at Native Foods in Palm Springs.  I had never been there, but heard so many marvelous things that it became a necessary destination.

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I ordered the Royal Thai Tofu Salad, which was beautifully presented and refreshing, but not really something I would order again.  There was simply too much cabbage and not enough tofu.  I left still feeling a little hungry, but I suppose that’s what one should expect when one dines on salad alone.  On the other hand, my boyfriend ordered the Baja Surf Tacos which were INCREDIBLE!

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Mock fried fish(seitan? tempeh? don’t rememer?), cabbage, tomatoes, some kind of tartar sauce, and guacamole on top of soft tacos.  So filling and wonderful!  I want to try to replicate this one soon.  We went back to the restaurant on Monday and ordered these again!

We met the owner/chef Tanya, who was really friendly!  She got really excited that I was blogging her restaurant when she caught me taking pictures.  We tried to convince her to open a Native Foods closer to where we live – specifically Silverlake because the neighborhood is fostering a lot of great vegan places that are thriving (most of which don’t even come close to rivalling NF!). Please please please do it!

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I had really good Iced Chai for dessert before we hopped on our bikes to head into the festival.  We had dinner at an Asian place in one of the food areas inside Coachella, but I failed to document it due to my ravenous beastly hunger.

To be continued…

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Los Bruncheles: New York Edition

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Naked cinnamon rolls.  Food porn.

Sunday!!  It was snowy and windy and my favorite people were in town, making a New York stop before heading to D.C. for the most exciting day evar!

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What a perfect time for a brunch, amiright?  Presidents love brunch!  I think President Obama would approve of this Apple Cider Cinnamon Roll recipe that I adapted from a recipe on veganrepresent.com.

Ingredients

Rolls

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 C unbleached sugar

1 C apple cider, warmed

2 eggs worth of egg replacer OR 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds whisked together with 6 tbsp hot water

1/3 C vegan margarine, melted

4 1/2 C unbleached flour

1 tsp salt

1 C brown sugar, packed

2 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/3 C vegan margarine, softened

Frosting

1/2 C soymilk

1/4 C vegan margarine, softened

1 1/2 C powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 t salt

Directions

Mix yeast, sugar, and heated apple cider in a large mixing bowl and let stand until foamy.

Add egg replacer, melted margarine, flour, and salt. Mix well and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough should be firm and smooth, not sticky. Set the dough aside in a covered bowl and let double in size.

After the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured work surface, cover, and let rest for 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with margarine and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 sections with a sharp knife.

Place rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. (A cookie sheet also works fine.) Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together soymilk, margarine, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

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I may have accidentally bought crack rather than powdered sugar.  Following the consumption of one of these little fellas, I had heart palpatations and the overwhelming urge to dance like Jennifer Beals.

It is always best to exercise restraint.

I’ve tried a few different recipes for cinnamon rolls and I think the search is over.  I’ve already sent the recipe out to two people who begged at my feet – their faces smeared with icing and tears of joy.  This post is getting gross.

Oh yeah and I made this stunner as well:

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Mmkay maybe not so pretty?  This is a Tofu Frittata!  I found the recipe at Kaji’s Mom’s blog. I changed up some of the veggies because I am in love with sun-dried tomatoes.  Here it is:

1 block extra firm silken tofu (I used mori-nu aseptically sealed), drained
1 clove garlic pressed
2Tb nutritional yeast
3-4Tb unsweetened soy milk (may need more if it doesn’t blend smoothly)
1/4tsp turmeric (optional, for color)

1/4 C chopped (yes!)sun-dried tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic diced into large pieces
1C chopped spinach
1Tb olive oil

-Heat
olive oil in a small cast iron skillet over medium heat, add the onion and
garlic, cook until onion is translucent.  Add sun-dried tomatoes and heat over a low flame until spinach wilts.

-While the vegetables are
cooking add the tofu to your food processor and puree until the tofu
looks a little like cottage cheese. Add the garlic, nutritional yeast,
soy milk, and turmeric. Puree until the mixture is completely smooth
and resembles a thick yogurt.

-Preheat oven to 350.

-When

veggies are cooked and tofu is smooth remove the skillet from the stove, and stir in the tofu mixture and smooth
over the top, making sure the middle is a little shallower than the
sides so that it cooks through.

-Bake for 20-25 minutes, until
the top is a light gold. Then turn off oven and leave in the oven for
another 10-15 minutes to give it time to set up and finish cooking
without burning.

-Serve hot

After all that cooking, you’re going to need a nap.  You deserve it!

Oof!

Oh, internetz.  I’ve been neglectful.  Since I’ve been in New York I have cooked perhaps two meals.  I was in a sublet with a miniscule kitchen and walls that shook every time the subway went past.  I feel like September was one drawn out Seinfeld episode and I was George Costanza.  Work has been great and I’ve been keeping busy but it’s been really stressful and all these bills keep appearing out of nowhere – not to mention my check fraud debacle!  Thanks Craigslist!

Well, it’s a new month and I’m in a new (wonderfulwonderfulwonderful) apartment so I’m ready to come back … with camera phone pictures of things other people made.

Atlas Cafe

I can’t even remember what this was called – some kind of Mediterranean ‘chicken’ platter.  It was really good – soy meat with roasted zucchini and squash and spinach.  I sat in front of the huge display of desserts and didn’t go for any (so wrong) but opted to try the vegan soft serve.

While a bit grainy, the soft serve was gooood with their vegan chocolate sauce.  Yessss.

Gobo

Gobo was the first vegan restaurant I went to in New York and it’s still my favorite.  My all time favorite dish there is the Soy Protein and Spinach Roll with Jade Mushrooms:

Really not a good picture, and I cannot accurately describe the comforting goodness of this dish but just go with me on this one.  It’s stellar.  The title pretty much sums everything up, but the sides are mashed potatoes with musroom gravy and sauteed veggies with tofu. Everything is SO good.  One bit of advice – don’t order the chocolate cake at Gobo.  It will lead you into the land of what everyone assumes vegan food is – dry and bland.  Don’t do it!  No!

I promise to be better about taking pictures and cooking from now on – here’s a picture of one of my many zucchini muffins that were created this summer.  There was a huge crop of zucchini in my bf’s mom’s (aunt’s nanny’s son’s cousin’s best friend’s dog walker’s dad’s) garden and I took full advantage of the bounty!

You Can Get Anything You Want at CoulditbeSeitan’s Restaurant

Wow! Arlo Guthrie wrote a song about me! Amazing that he would have the foresight in ’65 to know how rad my vegan cooking would be in 2008. A true visionary, that guy.

Oh, you didn’t know? Hmm.

So I recently found myself engrossed in Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, a bio of Alice and the restaurant by Thomas McNamee. I haven’t ventured to the restaurant myself, but I love how adamant she is about having fresh, local ingredients. I’d take a just-picked Californian apple over the Chilean imports Trader Joes is messing around with any day. I hit up the Hollywood Farmers Market every Sunday, but last week I wanted to have people over to celebrate local California produce and share in some unadorned, unfancy, unpretentious, un-not-delicious vegan recipes.

The most unpretentious part of the meal – thanks to Dawn and Jesse.

The meal started out with a salad of lettuce, beets, and oranges. I sprinkled cumin over the beets because there’s something I really like about that combination. I tried a dish a few months ago in Ojai that was basically a big pile of cumin-y beets and I’ve just been mainlining the stuff ever since. The salad was served with and olive oil and vinegar dressing.

For the main dish, I made the Chickpea Cutlets from VCON, which I will now and forever refer to as “Ole Faithful.”

Every time I make these they are gobbled up. I served them with a Garlic Faux Aioli. Speaking of that, get pumped for a:

Recipe!

Ingredients

1 package Silken tofu – Mori Nu style

3 cloves of garlic

2 T mustard

1 T apple cider vinegar

Directions

  • Blend it all together in a blender and then let it chill out in the fridge. Put it on your food. Cooking is harrrd.

‘Tis the season for some beautiful asparagus, so I roasted it all up with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and let it bask in its own heavenly glow.

CHECK OUT how pretty these potatoes are. Seriously. I am in love with purple potatoes. I also roasted these with rosemary, salt, and olive oil. I don’t have any post-roast pictures because it was dark outside by the time everyone arrived and my camera’s flash HATES food. Hates it.

And for dessert?

This was the easiest and most rewarding dinner I’ve made in a while. Everyone gobbled it up happily and hung around my living room playing fictionary into the wee hours of the night. My favorite kind of night: great friends, great food, and extra fancy pink wines.

Come On Baby Light My Fire Curry Tofu Scramble

Ever since my last (obnoxiously difficult)* bike ride to India Sweets and Spices, I have been jonesing for Indian food on the daily.  The problem with my style when it comes to cooking Indian, is that I haphazardly toss in every spice in my kitchen without regard to measurements.  Ok, it’s not really a problem until the time comes to write down my ‘recipe.’  Unless you count, “Ummm throw in some like coriander.  Like a little. And then a little more until it smells real nice,” as a recipe – then I think we’re all at a loss here.  So I’m going to do my best to explain what happened on my spicy Indian tofu morning adventure as coherently as possible.

Recipe

Ingredients

1 block extra-firm silken tofu

1 T canola oil

1 large white onion, chopped int 1/2 in pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t ginger, minced

1/2 C brocolli

1/2 C frozen peas

1 pre-grilled red pepper

2 T curry powder

1 T garam masala

1 t cumin

1/2 t cayenne pepper

2 T soy sauce

1 t turmeric

Directions

  • Get out your big ole favorite skillet and heat the oil.  Add onion, and toss until coated.
  • Throw in your garlic and ginger too.  Continue to heat onion, ginger, and garlic on a medium-high flame until onion appears slightly transluscent.  Don’t burn this stuff because burnt garlic is nasty.
  • Add brocolli, peas, and peppers to the pan and toss until everything is slightly glistening from the oil.  Sautee veggies for about 2 minutes.
  • Crumble the tofu into the pan, and stir until the tofu crumbles are incorporated into the vegetables.
  • Add the curry powder, garam masala, cumin, soy sauce, cayenne, and turmeric, tossing to cover everything in the pan.
  • Sautee for another 3 minutes or so, until the tofu just begins to get a hint of a toasty color.
  • Serve that mess up with some roti! Or a dosa – even better.  Mmmm.  Someone make me a masala dosa.  NOW.

* Los Angeles, WTF.  Seriously, where are your bike lanes?  Why do all the sidewalks on Los Feliz Blvd. end abruptly with a foot-and-a-half drop-off?  Why do you hate happiness so much?  I get that a 35 MPH zone really means drive as fast as you can possibly go, but damn.  Chill out, people in cars.  We’re all trying to get to the same Indian grocer in the sky.

Dinner Party & Game Night

The cold rainy weather here in L.A. is forcing everyone into warm cocoons of blankets and mountains of DVD’s. I think everyone was getting tired of holing up every night, so we decided it was time to break out of the rut and host a dinner party/board game night!

Luckily I had a ton of groceries sitting around begging to be used, so I improvised with what I had.

First was the mustard encrusted tofu over stir-fried kale and onions:

tofu and kale

I sliced some silken extra-firm tofu, pressed it with paper towels to dry, slathered it in a mixture of spicy brown mustard, sesame seeds, and cornstarch and pan fried it on the stove. For the kale, I chopped up two garlic cloves and an onion and sauteed them until slightly brown. Then I added the kale and about 1/3 cup of water and sauteed until the onions were carmelized and the kale got soft. This recipe got rave reviews (hooray!) from my dining mates. The tofu was crispy and spicy on the outside and soft inside – perfect with the slight crunch of the kale and onions.

Next! Butternut squash fries! Love of my life!

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I could seriously eat an entire squash in one sitting prepared this way. Ok, maybe I already have … In any case, these disappeared completely in about five minutes! My boyfriend especially loved them (you will notice that I couldn’t even get his hand out of the way to take a picture). I sprinkled them with about a tablespoon of olive oil and a dash of salt and roasted them in the oven at 450 degrees until crispy – about 30 minutes – flipping them over halfway through. Sooooo much healthier than french-fries and I swear they taste better too.

Dessert was Blueberry ‘Splosion Muffins following this recipe .

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I made the strawberry version a year ago and about every month get a request to make them again! They’re so delicious. Sweet fruit bubbling out of the inside and the cinnamon struesel topping? Are you kidding me? Amazing. I made 12 and only had one left this morning for breakfast!

My favorite part:

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Watching everyone dig in! This meal fueled us for a grueling game of Trivial Pursuit and a youtube viewing of the Democratic debates. Mmmmm brain food.