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Preview: Vegan Street

Vegan Street



My experiences with vegan cooking, eating out, shopping, and living.



Updated: 2015-03-25T01:03:12.607-07:00

 



Dusting off my bento box

2009-08-08T16:41:57.836-07:00

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I've posted laptop lunches before, but it's been a while. Here's my latest: homemade pesto with basil from our garden on brown rice pasta; tomato & cucumber with more homemade pesto, and fresh strawberries & blueberries. Perfect summery meal!



Indian Dinner

2009-07-30T22:08:28.473-07:00

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Oh yum, I checked out Madhur Jaffrey's book World Vegetarian from the library two days ago, and today I cooked an Indian meal entirely from this book. We had invited our friend Lynn over, and we see her rarely enough that it felt like an occasion to celebrate! Everyone (me, Nigel, Claire, and Lynn) loved the food. I am very pleased that I pulled off a nice dinner party with brand new recipes. My only complaint is that my rice was sort of sticky, and I'm not sure why. Otherwise, great eats were had by all.

The first picture shows the red lentils (masoor dal) before stirring in the fried red peppers, basil leaves, garlic cloves, and mustard seeds. It just struck me as so pretty that I had to snap a picture. The second picture shows everything plated, clockwise starting from the rice: Lemon Rice, Green Bean & Potato Curry, Apple Cranberry Chutney (from Trader Joe's!), and Masoor Dal Hyderabadi.

For dessert I served mango and chocolate sorbets with a pineapple and lychee compote. I don't have any pictures of dessert, but here's how I prepared the compote: I heated 1/2 can of coconut milk and a few tablespoons of brown sugar until the sugar dissolved, then I gently warmed up chunks of fresh pineapple and lychee in this sauce. In retrospect, there were too many flavors competing in the dessert bowl. Others agreed with me on this. In the future I would modify it to include only mango sorbet, and only pineapple compote. I think that coconut sorbet with mango compote would be divine, but there wasn't any coconut sorbet at the store today. Live and learn! I experimented a lot in the kitchen today, had a great time, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with family and friends. Success!



New skill: spice mixing!

2009-07-30T22:11:32.957-07:00

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I've never mixed my own spice blend before, but for an Indian meal I cooked tonight, I made this recipe for Sri Lankan Raw Curry Powder, from Madhur Jaffrey's cookbook World Vegetarian. The first picture shows the spices on parchment paper, just before I roasted them in low heat for an hour. Aren't they lovely? The recipe calls for uncooked rice and coconut as well as several Indian spices, and fresh curry leaves. The second picture shows the spice blend in a jar, after everything was roasted and ground up. This curry blend went into the potato & green bean curry pictured above. It was delicious.



Summer Brunch

2009-07-19T20:25:59.117-07:00

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I cooked brunch today for about half a dozen non-vegan friends and family. The menu: tofu scramble with basil and sundried tomato, cocoa-strawberry muffins, yam home fries, banana-pineapple-coconut salad, and (not pictured but sooo yummy) spelt blueberry pancakes. The muffins, scramble, and pancakes are recipes from Vegan Brunch with a few modifications: I used strawberries instead of raspberries, and spelt instead of regular flour, in the Cocoa Raspberry muffins. I used spelt flour and added blueberries in the Perfect Pancake recipe, and I added basil & sundried tomatoes to the Basic Tofu Scramble.

For the yams, I diced two large yams and one medium sweet onion, tossed them in olive oil and salt, and cooked them in a heavy pan over medium heat, tossing frequently, until well-browned. For the fruit salad, I chopped three bananas and one pineapple, and tossed them with about 1/4 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut and 2 Tbsp. each of lemon juice and powdered sugar.

To drink: lots of coffee and juice! We ate out in the backyard. Good times. Pictured are our friends Marshal, Melissa, and their daughter Ramona.



Quick Lunch, aka I'm still obsessed with Soy Curls

2009-06-08T14:31:16.599-07:00

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I just needed a quick lunch for myself, so while I soaked some soy curls, I picked lettuce, oregano, and cilantro from our veggie patch, then fried up the soy curls with half a packet of organic taco seasoning mixed with water. Voila! I ate three of these. Mmmmm!



Green Smoothie

2009-06-03T21:58:20.706-07:00

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Called "green" because there are leafy greens in it, in this case frozen spinach. The rest is fruit: one banana, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, and a splash of rice milk. Sorry about the blurry picture of the smoothie itself. I was anxious to eat it before it got melty! Tastes like fruit, sweet and creamy, but my body knows its also getting a wallop of spinach. I actually really like spinach, raw or cooked, so there's no need for me to hide it in a smoothie to get my greens. But I confess I do like the idea of sneaking extra nutrition in. Stealth spinach!



Ode to Soy Curls

2009-06-03T19:07:48.299-07:00

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These things are awesome! Here's what I made for dinner tonight, a rare night that I'm home alone and want to whip up something fast and easy just for me. Only three ingredients! Soy curls, of course (available online at Food Fight Grocery if you can't find them locally), BBQ sauce from Whole Foods, and a slice of Mike's Killer Bread, of the flourless/sprouted variety to avoid gluten. Those of you who don't avoid gluten can, of course, use a bun of some sort to make this a more traditional bbq sandwich.

So easy! I soaked soy curls per package instructions for 5 to 10 minutes, which gave me just enough time to water our veggie patch and flower containers - the basil looks great! - then I fried the curls with some nonstick spray until they are quite browned, even blackened in some spots. I found through experience that if they aren't well-browned, they tend to have an eggy texture that I don't care for. They get more meaty-textured the more they cook. Pour some sauce on them, toss to coat, and slam it on the bread! Dinner! I know it's not a terribly photogenic meal, but it was dang tasty, filling, and fast.

FYI this dinner is also very low fat and high in protein, and for those of you who notice the conspicuous lack of vegetables, please note that I'm planning on making a green smoothie tonight for a snack, with banana, strawberries, blueberries, spinach, and rice milk. I'm a virtual powerhouse of nutrition!



Learning to Sew!

2009-05-30T23:03:33.648-07:00

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Can I just brag about Claire for a moment? She's only ten years old, but SHE'S teaching ME to sew. That's right! She studied sewing and quilting during a four-day "Experiential Days" program at school, after which we bought a simple Singer sewing machine. She is passing her knowledge on to me, and last Sunday we made this yoga bag together in about four hours! She did most of the work, but I followed along closely and I think I could do it myself now. The fabric and pattern are both Amy Butler designs, and the pattern is one of her free pattern downloads!

I love this bag, and I've been WAY into yoga lately, taking classes several times a week and doing it at home also, so this bag will be well-loved.

Now, Claire and I are enthusiastically planning our next sewing project: an apron for my mother-in-law, whom we're visiting next month in England. Woo!



Vegan Brunch!

2009-05-30T22:58:54.781-07:00

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Wow, I haven't blogged in months. I've been immersed in our new house, we've fixed up the kitchen and the backyard area the most, pics to come. But first... FOOD! Hot off the presses is Isa Chandra Moskowitz's latest cookbook, Vegan Brunch, and the first thing I made from it was these Courico Tacos with Roasted Pineapple Salsa. The recipe calls for soy curls, which I would have blogged about a couple of months ago when I discovered them, because they are amazing. Alongside them is the Roasted Potato recipe, also from Vegan Brunch. Holy moly this was an awesome meal!

Next I made the Blueberry Ginger Spelt Muffins, which I loved a little too much. I gave most of them away, lest I eat them all in one sitting. I did manage to eat three of them, and I don't regret a single morsel. And spelt is practically gluten-free! Woo!



Reluctantly Gluten-Free (almost)

2009-05-19T12:45:07.522-07:00

I haven't wanted to admit it to myself, but it's true. I should avoid gluten. For the past several weeks, I've been avoiding it almost completely. And I feel great. Dang it! I really didn't want to be a gluten-free vegan. It sounded like such a pain. But if anything, the past few weeks have taught me that it's not much of a pain after all. Swapping out spelt or sprouted bread and brown rice pasta for "regular" bread and pasta took care of most everything. And I can still bake, thanks to Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free Baking Flour.

Am I 100% gluten-free? Not really. I ate some naan at an Indian restaurant the other day. I couldn't resist! But I noticed that afterward, I felt drowsy, and irritated in both a physical and emotional way. Hard to explain, just a sort of sleepy yet inflamed feeling. That can't be good!

Avoiding this weird reaction isn't the only benefit of avoiding gluten, though. For the first time in my life, I am not constantly craving sweets. Jonesing for junk food, regardless of whether I am hungry, has been the background noise of my existence for as long as I can remember. I didn't think of it as a problem, I just chalked it up to having a sweet tooth. Wow, what a liberating feeling to simply feel either satisfied, or actually hungry. Now I know what it's like to be able to NOT think about food for long periods of time. Is this what normal feels like?



New Year's Dinner

2009-05-30T23:04:51.951-07:00

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I made this black-eyed pea soup on New Year's Eve, and I thought it was so-so. Then the next morning, a reheated bowl of the same soup was great! In fact, it tasted like a different soup altogether. I've heard a million times how soups are better the next day, but in my own cooking, I've only noticed subtle differences until now. Anyway, if you make this soup, please don't eat any until it's a day old!

2 c. dried black-eyed peas, rinsed, sorted, and soaked overnight
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
6 cups water
1/2 pound spinach, washed with any tough stems removed
28-oz. can chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. double-concentrate tomato paste

Saute the onion, celery, and carrot in oil over medium high heat until softened. Add garlic and saute an additional minute or two. Add thyme, oregano, water, and black-eyed peas. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until beans are softened, about 30 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients and cook an additional 25 minutes.

I served this with yams and cornbread. For the yams, I peeled and diced 2 yams, tossed them with olive oil, then roasted them in a 350-degree oven until they were soft and browned, tossing once during cooking. I salted them after cooking with coarse sea salt. If you don't have your own favorite vegan corn bread recipe yet, you won't find one here. Try Veganomicon!



Aloo Gobi

2009-01-04T14:17:41.076-08:00

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This is a recent cauliflower & potato dish I made, adapted from a similar recipe at Manjula's Kitchen. I cut down on the fat and salt -- because who among us really needs more fat or salt? -- and fiddled with the spices to suit my taste. Anyway, this is a hit at my house. Pictured here with dal, you can really serve it with anything, or eat it all on its own. In my opinion, the amchoor is the secret to really making this dish shine. If you haven't got any yet, now is a good time to get yourself to your nearest Indian shop and buy some amchoor powder.

Aloo Gobi

2 cups cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 medium potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes (no need to peel)
½ inch grated ginger
3 teaspoons ground coriander
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons canola oil
Pinch of Asafetida
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 jalapenos, diced
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
½ c. frozen peas
1 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango powder)
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro

In a small bowl, create a paste with the grated ginger, coriander, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and 3 tablespoons of water. Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if seed cracks right away, the oil is ready. Add asafetida and cumin seeds to the oil. After the seeds crack, add the bay leaves and jalapeno and stir for a few seconds. Add the spice paste and stir for a minute until spices start leaving the oil. Add cauliflower, potatoes, 2 tablespoons of water and salt. Mix well. Cover the pan and let it cook on medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Stir gently every 3 to 4 minutes to prevent sticking, and if the mixture appears too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water. During the last few minutes of cooking, sprinkle the frozen peas on top; they will defrost and warm up quickly. Add the amchoor and cilantro. Mix everything and cover for a minute. Adjust the salt to your taste.



Five months later...

2009-05-30T23:07:58.964-07:00

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Claire Mixing up a batch of those healing vegan cupcakes from Nigel Ballard on Vimeo.
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My first update to this blog in ages... moving house has taken precedence. We are settling in nicely, after an October/ November stint of temporary housing and the typical chaos of unpacking.

I'll post some house pics soon, but for now here are pics and a short video of Pistachio-Rosewater cupcakes that Claire and I made a couple weeks ago: the first baking in our new house! (Recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, naturally.) I chopped the nuts with my newest kitchen gadget, a Mezza Luna. Nigel bought it for me for my birthday in October, and it stayed packed until recently. I think it's mainly for chopping herbs, but it worked great with nuts too.



I'm still here

2008-09-05T09:51:42.347-07:00

No posts for the entire month of August! My blog took a back seat to: 1) putting our house on the market and house hunting, 2) getting sick repeatedly, I think my body was worn out by training and doing the 1/2 marathon, 3) back to school for Claire! She's in fourth grade! and now, 4) Mother-in-law visiting from England for two weeks!

I'll be back soon.



I DID IT!

2008-07-30T14:57:04.069-07:00

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I ran a half marathon on July 27, 2008. I couldn't have done it without Kate, my running partner (pictured). We were both hurtin' big time by mile ten (her knees, my back) but we persevered and crossed the finish line together.

Vegan fuel before the race: spelt toast, almond butter, raspberry jam, a banana.

Vegan fuel after the race: raisin bagel, orange juice, chocolate bar, hash browns, grapefruit juice, tofu/pesto/sundried tomato scramble, spelt toast with raspberry jam.

Also, I slept 13 hours the night after the race. I did the math because I'm really smart that way, and it works out to one hour of sleep per mile run.

There's no picture of me that I like, so here's one of Kate after she collapsed by the finish line.



The Gathering 2008

2008-07-28T08:49:52.237-07:00

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The Gathering: a bunch of vegans from all over the country -- and Canada! -- gathered for food and camping and general merriment this past weekend. I don't have any pictures of ME, but here are some other pictures I took, and a video of just how serious the business of being vegan is. I mean, we don't mess around. Ever.



Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes

2009-05-30T23:06:37.391-07:00

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(image) I helped Claire with assembly of these cupcakes. They are delicious! Recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.



Lasagna and Raspberry/Chocolate Blondies

2009-05-19T12:47:36.131-07:00

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Two of my favorite things I've made in the past few months. The lasagna recipe is from Veganomicon, and I probably made it a couple months ago and am just posting about it now. It's a spinach and cashew ricotta sauce, with homemade marinara sauce. It took the better part of a day to make the different ingredients, assemble, and bake, but it was so worth it. We all liked it and I'll definitely make it again. The Raspberry Chocolate Blondies are from Vegan With a Vengeance, and they were dangerously good. I'm not sure I should make these again, because the recipe makes an entire 9x13" pan, and I couldn't stop eating them.



Another laptop lunch

2008-07-17T18:59:21.419-07:00

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I packed my second laptop lunch for work yesterday, and it was perfect for munching because I had a few minutes here and there to eat, but no actual lunch break. Clockwise from top left: raspberries & blueberries, walnut/mushroom pate (recipe in Veganomicon), flax crackers, olives, carrot, celery and cucumber.

I had made the walnut/mushroom dip for the first time the night before, for book club. I'm the only vegan in book club, and everyone liked it except for a lone mushroom-hater, who didn't try it. There's still some leftover dip, which I'm going to use as a sandwich spread. Yum!



Laptop Lunch

2008-07-10T22:26:47.182-07:00

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Inspired by the beautiful lunches on this woman's blog, I immediately purchased my own Laptop Lunchbox, which arrived today. I had a lot of fun packing my lunch for tomorrow: Rice noodles with carrots and peas in curry sauce (leftovers from tonight's dinner), cucumber and red pepper slices, grapefruit sections, homemade trail mix (I mixed up a tablespoon each of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cherries, goji berries) and sesame dressing for the raw veggies. I love the built in portion control of this kit, as that is not one of my strong suits. Without all these compartments to fill, I'd typically just pack one big plastic container of leftover noodles for work tomorrow, and call it good. This is so much healthier, and it was fun adding bits and bobs of different things in my fridge and pantry to fill up all the colorful little containers. I'm going to pack some lunches for Nigel and Claire too, and if they like it I'll buy them their very own laptop lunchboxes.

Many thanks to veganhomemade for her inspiration, and please pardon my shameless imitation! It's truly meant as sincere flattery.



Caesar Salad from my veggie patch

2008-07-01T21:30:07.629-07:00

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File this recipe under "Veganomicon recipes I can't believe I haven't tried until now." My family deemed it too garlicky, so I will use one clove in the dressing next time instead of two. This was the first time I've ever made homemade croutons, and we were fighting over every last one of them. So yum!

It felt great to harvest a big head of romaine lettuce from our veggie patch for dinner tonight. Also, I rode my bike to and from work today, and Claire and I rode our bikes to New Season's to get the salad ingredients I didn't have on hand (capers, blanched almonds.) This is all part of my crush on Ed Begley, Jr. I want make him proud!



Home cooking tonight

2008-06-26T22:18:09.789-07:00

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I'm happy to be home from vacation and back in my kitchen. For dinner tonight I made a cauliflower/lentil stew, curried roasted potatoes, and (not pictured) salad greens from our garden. For this picture, I garnished the plate with foraged cherries from our neighbor's tree, and cilantro from our garden.

Here are my approximate recipes -- I didn't keep track as I cooked, because I'm an amateur. In fact, I think these are the first recipes I've ever posted, because usually I follow published cookbook recipes. But tonight I felt like eating lentils, cauliflower, and potatoes, and this just sort of fell together.

Curried Roasted Potatoes

3 fist-sized potatoes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. curry powder
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Thinly slice potatoes with a mandolin or knife. (I got to use my new mandolin, woo!!!) Place in a 1-gallon ziploc with olive oil and curry powder, and shake to coat potatoes evenly. If you're like me, the ziploc seal will break while you're shaking the bag, and several slices of potato will fall on your kitchen floor. It's times like this you will be glad you have a compost heap, so you don't really feel like you're wasting those fallen slices. Anyway, spread the non-soiled potato slices onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and bake about 30 minutes, or until potatoes have reached your desired level of brownness and crispness, flipping once during cooking.

Cauliflower and Lentil Stew

1 Tbsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 cloves garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. turmeric
2 cups red lentils
4 cups water
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
Salt to taste
Cilantro for garnish

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large-ish pot, add mustard and cumin seeds until mustard seeds pop (it only takes a minute). Add onion and jalapeno, saute until onion is translucent (about 10 minutes). Add garlic and turmeric, stir for a minute, then add lentils, cauliflower, and water. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro.



Vacation in San Diego

2008-06-23T20:02:32.502-07:00

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We're one week into our ten-day vacation, and I'm super relaxed. Our Garmin GPS (which I'm SO glad we brought, we'd be lost and cranky and hassling with paper maps otherwise) speaks in a male British voice, and he pronounced Juan "JEW-ahn" and La Jolla "Lay JAWL-ah" -- prompting fits of laughter on my part.

Young women here wear short shorts with high-heeled pumps. What is up with that? You don't see that in Portland, which is just fine with me.

Edited to add on June 23rd: Also today our Garmin called El Cahon Blvd. "El CADGE-uhn" ha ha ha ha ha! I'm not sure why this is so hilarious to me.

I'm missing Portland now. We went to a Whole Foods tonight, and it was the first time I've seen anyone with dreads or significant tattoos since we've been here. What kind of freaky city is this?!

Also we ate dinner at Harar Ethiopian Restaurant, and it was OK, but not great, and the food pales in comparison with my favorite Portland place, E'Njoni. And I miss my dog. So, we've relaxed and had fun and enjoyed glorious weather, but I am really looking forward to going home day after tomorrow.



New favorite recipe

2008-06-15T20:16:26.639-07:00

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Pineapple Cashew Quinoa from Veganomicon. I'm not sure what to say about this, except that it has everything. Sweet and salty, soft and crunchy. It's all kinds of healthy. It's good hot, room temperature, or chilled. I loved this. I want more right now!



Claire makes more cupcakes...

2008-06-15T20:07:26.551-07:00

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This is a more autumnal recipe, but this is what Claire chose to make the other day. They were tasty, and went well with the unseasonally cool and wet June we've been having. Recipe from Claire's favorite cookbook, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Vegan buttercream vanilla frosting, and a brown rice syrup-based caramel sauce.