vegansaurus!

04/25/2012

How to, yo: Caramelized onions!  »

In my recipes, I talk about caramelizing onions a lot! I always do it, because I like the depth of flavor it adds to food. I remember when I first started hanging out in the kitchen,* learning how to cook, I was like, “Hey, what’s the difference between caramelizing onions and burning them?” No one could give me an answer I liked. I think it’s the difference between browning them to release the sugars and blackening them because the heat was too high. Does that work for you?

I’m also a visual person, so we’ll do this step by step. Pictures included!

Ingredients
2 Tbsp. oil (I’m using olive, but vegetable is more than fine!)
2 red onions

Instructions
For most recipes, you will probably only need one onion, but for the sake of this demonstration, I’ll be using two. Let’s say, one tablespoon of oil to one onion? I think that sounds good. Caramelizing onions can take up to an hour, so plan accordingly!

Another great thing about caramelizing onions is that you can keep them in the fridge to use later, though I’d say store them no more than five days. Then, when you want to use them for a recipe, heat and go.

Let’s get this onion party started! Heat oil on medium high heat. You will know it’s ready when you flick some cold water into the pan and it sizzles. Add your chopped onion and turn heat down to medium.


Chopped onions.


Chopped red onions in heated olive oil. Let the caramelizing begin!

Now is the part where you don’t have to do much, but stay close to your onions so you can keep an eye on them. You don’t have to constantly turn them with a spatula, maybe about every 7 to 10 minutes.

My onions took about 50 minutes to caramelize. I turned the heat down low; not only was I in the middle of watching Big Love, but my porcelain pan gets very hot in the middle and I didn’t want my onions to burn. I scooted them to the sides, where less heat was concentrated.


Scoot action.


The finished product.

The point at which your onions are done is kind of up to you. I stop cooking mine when they are nicely brown, through and through. You will reach this point anywhere between 20 and 60 minutes. Taste them during your cooking process to see if they’ve achieved a level of caramelization to your liking!

Another little thing I did, which is totally optional, was deglaze my pan with white wine. When I felt my onions were done, I added a healthy splash of wine into the pan, and let it cook into the onions for a minute or two before turning the heat off. This lifts all the caramelized bits off of your pan and back into the onions. Yum! If wine isn’t your thing, you can do this with vegetable stock.

I want to give a shout-out to Chef Fox at Source, because he has given me tons of tips on how to caramelize onions. Thanks, boss!

*Did you know I’ve worked at The Chicago Diner, Cafe Gratitude, and now Source? Well, now you do!

05/16/2011

Oh, Ginnifer Goodwin. Where do I begin?

Considering this recent clip of you on Jimmy Kimmel, and the new romcom you chose to star in, I can’t help but notice you are caught in a cycle of bad decision making. Yes, Big Love is over. I’m apprehensive too. What could possibly fill that void?  Predictable movies costarring Kate Hudson and eating meat—those are not the answers.

I feel betrayed. I loved your cover girl issue of VegNews, in which say all sorts of wonderful things about how veganism changed your life. I actually started watching Big Love because of it! I took notice of you, and started to appreciate you as an actress, but more importantly, I respected you as an activist. Whereas before, I have to admit, something about you rubbed me the wrong way.

In the above video, you perpetrate the following bullshit: “Boring health issues;” humane butchering; bacon meatloaf; rolling your eyes at and belittling your family’s veganism.

WHAT THE FUCK?! I am not pleased. My main issue with you is not that you started eating meat again (though it is distressing)—I have plenty of friends and family that do just that, and I still like them. My problem is how flippantly you laughed off veganism, made stupid jokes about it with Kimmel and completely disregarded EVERYTHING you talked about so eloquently in VegNews a mere year ago. You come off so hypocritical, it’s unbearably offensive.

Dislike, Ginnifer. Major dislike.

02/02/2011

The Vegansaurus Diet: Laura!  »

I was inspired by Meaverly and La Rascal to do a Vegansaurus Diet. So I did. BAM:

Monday, Jan. 24.
Vega
shake (chocolate flavor mixed with water) and coffee with coconut creamer. The thing with Vega is, it tastes DISGUSTING but makes you feel SO ALIVE. I’ve never had a protein shake make me feel the way Vega does. Seriously, I feel like I could punch out Superman! I want to puke while I’m drinking it (it does not help that it looks and smells like puke) but afterwards, my head is clear, my eyes are bright, and I have weird amounts of energy. Freaky.

Lunch is my patented “Couscous Surprise.” Actually, Jonas patented it but I innovate on the base so ANYWAY. What I do is, I put Israeli couscous, half a Field Roast Chipotle sausage, some broccoli, a dash of olive oil, a little vegan chicken broth powder, some nutritional yeast, spices galore, and water into my rice cooker and BAM! half an hour later, Couscous Surprise! This dish is very tasty and delightful. Highly recommended. My lunch dessert is a pear. BORING, it’ll get sexier/fatter at dinner, I promise.

For snack I had one of those high-fiber fruit bars from Trader Joe’s. They’re all right-tasting and full of fiber!

Dinner was the new Loving Hut on Irving in the Inner Sunset with the lovely Eve Batey. We split the Ocean Basket (deep-fried vegan fish and green beans and mushrooms), a mango salad, and this tofu veggie vermicelli thing. Oh, and fried bananas and ice cream. Everything was okay, if a little bland. And then later when I got home, I had a piece of leftover Maggie Mudd ice cream cake. Delicious. God, I love that fake frosting flavor, I have such horrible taste in everything.

Tuesday, Jan. 25
Since it probably took you half an hour to read about my Monday, I’ll get more succinct up in this bitch. For breakfast today, I had a vaginal exam. After that, I enjoyed two cups of coffee with coconut creamer, a molasses cookie, an apple, and a pear. Lunch is chia seed gravy with tofu, spinach, and broccoli over quinoa! Love that chia seed gravy. I snacked on TJ’s fruit leather and one of those delicious maple leaf cookies they sell. Dinner was cooked at my parent’s house so we could watch downloaded legally recorded Big Love. We made spaghetti with a zucchini and mini heirloom marinara and the Trader Joe’s meatballs and a big salad with Sabra spinach and artichoke hummus and some herb slab bread. It was all very delicious and OMG BIG LOVE SO SCANDALOUS.

Wednesday, Jan. 26
A bowl of Trader Joe’s Oh’s (or whatever the fuck they’re “cleverly” named) with almond milk, a pear, and coffee with coconut creamer. BAM! For lunch, I had last night’s leftover spaghetti and two diet Hanson’s sodas. I love soda, one of my new year’s resolutions was to drink more of it and I’m no quitter! Except when things are hard! Then, I had a TJ’s Laxative Fruit Leather. For dinner, homemade Mac and Cheese with quinoa pasta and loads of broccoli (my own recipe, it’s the bomb, one day when I’m feeling less lazy, I’ll share it with you)! The last of the Maggie Mudd ice cream cake which ended up giving my funky tummy. I will also say that I was at Maggie Mudd’s the other night and they only had TWO vegan flavors on the board WTF? Oh, and BEER. I enjoyed some beer. 

Thursday, Jan. 27
Coffee with coconut creamer, laxative bomb fruit leather, and Trader Joe’s Oh’s with almond milk. I totally forgot to have lunch because it was a crazy crazy day and  was starting to feel shaky, so I stopped at Whole Foods and picked up some cucumber and avocado sushi (what’s up, Rascal!), a Synergy kombucha, a banana, and a ProBar. Ate everything but half the ProBar but not because it’s gross, just because I was full. I stopped in the downstairs cafe to eat like a proper human and they were doing wine tastings. Nobody else was indulging so the wine lady poured me three giant glasses of wine. No clue what the wines were but this is probably because I had three huge glasses of wine. Cheers! For dinner, I met with two wonderful ladies, Amanda and Leda, for Vietnamese food in the place that’s where Yum Yum House used to be on Valencia (it’s now on Divisadero!), Thanh Tam II; we split spring rolls, tofu with string beans, white rice, and veggie noodles. It was pretty all right. I think if I still lived nearby, I might get it for delivery, but no, in this neighborhood, I prefer Sunflower for Vietnamese food. Sometimes people complain about our mainly positive restaurant reviews but the thing is, we mainly review the places we really love. Or that really suck. Maybe we should do more places that are like, O-KAY. I dunno? Thoughts? I AM VERY SLEEPY, GOODNIGHT. 

Friday, Jan. 28
Vega + coffee with creamer! Lunch is chia seed gravy over broccoli and multi-grain crackers with eggplant garlic dip. Late afternoon snack is roasted Brussels sprouts (olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar; roast at 425 for 20 min!). 6 p.m. rolls around and I’m craving chocolate like crazy so I make a pan of Fat Bottom Bakery fudge. Waiting for that cool because I want some before I go see a movie with my mom tonight. I’m gonna fall asleep during it, guaranteed. Now, MORE WORK! Goodnight, sir.

Saturday, Jan. 29
Coffee with coconut milk creamer. A million episodes of Breaking Bad. Made some chickpea “tuna” salad (YUM) and ate that and Sabra Spinach and Artichoke Hummus (YUM) with multigrain crackers. Then, I indulged in some of yesterday’s fudge. I packed it in. I really love FUDGE!! Then, I cuddled Hazel and took a nap—not really food-related but digestion-related. Next, picked up sushi and soba and goma-ae and edamame and miso soup from Cha-Ya in Berkeley and took it to Minty and Damien's house to meet their 3 day old baby, who is named Sally, and is beautiful and perfect in every way. I wish I was a baby, what a life! All just eating and sleeping and people cleaning you and hugging you constantly. It's like I always say: It's a baby's world, we're just living in it! Oh, this is a good time to mention that I also had two glasses of wine. Red wine! Heart healthy! Anyway, delightful visit with delightful people (and dogs and cats) and then so, we came home for more Breaking Bad and cider and garlic fries. GARLIC FRIES!!! Now, fudge? Or, sleep?

Sunday, Jan. 29
Coffee with vanilla soy milk! Then, some dried mango and a carrot. Fast-forward to lunch, which is Souley Vegan gumbo (delightful spiciness with okra, tofu, and seaweed), collard greens, southern fried tofu, and mashed potatoes with gravy, split with Jonas. Followed by some vegan gummy worms. For dinner, we made Red Curry with Rice and Purple Kale. I’m really loving that recipe, except I used hemp seed oil as the oil and it’s my first time cooking with it and it has a gross-ass fishy smell. NO ME GUSTA. 

Monday, Jan. 31
Having a down day today so it’s time to eat! Actually, today didn’t motivate me to eat so much as cry in a corner. Anyway, I made myself hot chocolate for breakfast and ate some leftover red curry for lunch. I had an apple and four Candy Cane Joe Joe’s and then I wasn’t super hungry or motivated so I had some chickpea salad for dinner and a big glass of soy milk. Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!

[Cha Ya photo from Yelp; maple cookies picture from VegNews!]

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