vegansaurus!

02/04/2010

Recipe: Tempting Tempeh! I know, the name is amazing. Came up with it myself! Believe it!  »

This recipe is actually almost a direct rip-off of one from Lisa Jervis’ STELLAR cookbook, Cook Food (BUY IT). This recipe goes out to everyone who thinks they don’t like tempeh (I too was non-believer at one point! Now I’m straight speaking in tongues on tempeh’s ass!) and for those Vegansaurus editors who are going back to school at Oberlin and need something to cook up for their vegan co-op kitchens. You can eat this right before you have group sex in a hot tub. Bring your banjo and some Rilke and IT’S A PARTY!

AND SO WE BEGIN.

You need:
•    2 8-oz. bags of tempeh
•    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
•    1/3 cup soy sauce (if you can do this half and half with a vegan Worcestershire sauce, all the better! If you’re feeling the co-op love, throw in a spray or two of Braggs animo acids)
•    2 Tbs. onion powder
•    2 Tbs. garlic powder
•    throw in some herbs if you’re feeling fancy
•    couple dashes of paprika if you got it
•    peanut oil to fry in (sesame oil and olive oil work well too!)

You do:
Cut the tempeh into bite-sized pieces and then steam it for about 20 minutes. While it’s steaming, combine all the other ingredients except for the oil. Then take the tempeh out and coat it in your mixture; it should cake on. Fry that shit up in your oil of choice until it’s nice and crispy on all sides. Serve over whatever, probably brown rice if you’re in a co-op. HIPPIES, AM I RIGHT??

Photo from adaenn!

12/10/2009

Lisa Jervis customizes a recipe, just for you!   »

What’s more bad ass than a star in your honor or a key chain with your name on it? A customized recipe from Lisa Jervis, author of the delicious Cook Food: A Manualfesto for Easy, Healthy, Local Eating and Bitch magazine’s founding editor and publisher, for the highest bidder in the WAM! Benefit Auction. Lisa will work with you to veganize your favorite recipe or help you a create a special occasion dish with all your favorite foods, all in the name of charity.

If you haven’t checked out Cook Food, but consider microwaving dinner in a plastic container “cooking,” then you need to read it. This easy guide makes preparing tasty, wholesome meals simple and accessible.

What are you waiting for? Bidding ends tonight!

11/24/2009

Broccoli and Cauliflower with Lemon-Mustard-Chive Dressing (aka Lisa Jervis’ Thanksgiving, part 4!)  »

Broccoli and Cauliflower with Lemon-Mustard-Chive Dressing

This is another one that’s endlessly expandable. As with the sweet potatoes, make however much you want. I like equal amounts of each veggie, but if you like one more than the other you should weight your dish in the direction of your favorite.

It also works well at any temperature, which is another plus for the holidays.

  • 1 head cauliflower, separated into large-bite-sized florets
  • 1 bunch broccoli, separated into large-bite-sized florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • zest from half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Steam your florets by placing them, covered, in a steaming basket over boiling water, or directly in a small amount of boiling water if you don’t have a steaming basket. Pull them off the heat as soon as they are tender all the way through. Unless you are going to serve them immediately don’t try to keep them hot—on the contrary, spread them out and let all the steam escape (or even shock them in cold water, though then you’ll need to dry them off).
  2. In the meantime, thoroughly mix all the other ingredients together in a bowl or a container with a lid that you can shake to combine. Taste for balance and add more oil or mustard as needed. If you want the dressing to be more tart but you feel that the mustard flavor is string enough, add some juice form the lemon that you took the zest from.
  3. Put the veggies in a serving bowl, pour the dressing over them, and stir to combine.

This fabulous & delicious guest post is the fourth (and final!) (here’s the first! and second! and third!) in a series of vegan Thanksgiving recipes from the amazing Lisa Jervis. NOW YOU HAVE A FABULOUS ENTIRE THANKSGIVING FEAST. Since you already know how we feel about her (and her awesome new book, Cook Food), we encourage you to blindly follow us into full Lisa Jervis Worship Land. OR you can read her other work and act like you found out about it all on your own. Which you probably did but whatever, I can’t hear you through this screen LA LA LA. Oh yes and the Cook Food website is awesome, recipes and links and other such greatness, definitely check it out.

11/23/2009

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes (aka Lisa Jervis’ vegan Thanksgiving, part 3)   »

My friend Debbie loves this so much that she convinces me to make it several times a year. It doesn’t take much.

Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes

This is even more flexible, quantity-wise, than all the other recipes I’ve posted so far. You can make it any amount, from one potato to ten or more. The key is one part maple syrup to one part olive oil, and you want enough to very generously coat your sweet potatoes and have some liquid in the bottom of the baking pan.

Also, please note: The sweet potatoes I recommend (the orange-fleshed ones) are often mislabeled “yams" in the market. They are not yams. But they are moister and more flavorful than their paler counterparts.

This is a great dish to make the day before. You can get it all ready, stick it in the fridge overnight, and bake it right before serving.

  • Some orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, cut into cubes approximately 1 inch square (peel them if you want; I don’t)
  • Some amount of maple syrup (grade B preferred—it’s got more flavor)
  • Olive oil in equal quantity to the maple syrup
  • A handful or 2 of fresh cranberries
  • Zest of anywhere from a quarter to a whole orange
  • Salt to taste
  1. Boil some salted water in a large pot. Add the sweet potatoes and boil until they are starting to get tender (anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour, depending on how many you have and how big your pot is).
  2. While the sweets are cooking, mix together the maple syrup, olive oil, and orange zest in a small bowl. Add salt to taste (and yes, this means you will taste it; keep in mind that this will be spread out over all your sweets, so it’s should be a little on the salty side tasted plain).
  3. Drain the sweet potatoes and put them in whatever size baking dish comfortably holds them all (I like to use glass, so it looks nice going straight to the table).
  4. Add the cranberries, pour the maple-oil mixture over it all, and mix well. Every last chunk of sweet potato should be well coated (and as notes above regarding quantity, there should be some oil/syrup in the bottom of the pan—if there’s not, just mix up some more).
  5. Bake at 325º, covered with foil, for half an hour (or until the sweets are cooked all the way through), stirring to baste with the syrup every ten minutes or so.

I like to use the juice from the orange in my cranberry sauce, but you could also just eat it as a snack. If you want less tartness you can replace the cranberries with some dried fruit if you like. Apricots would probably be nice, though I have never tried it. If you want more tartness, you could use lemon zest instead of orange.

This fabulous & delicious guest post is the third (here’s the first! and second!) in a series of vegan Thanksgiving recipes from the amazing Lisa Jervis. Since you already know how we feel about her (and her awesome new book, Cook Food), we encourage you to blindly follow us into full Lisa Jervis Worship Land. OR you can read her other work and act like you found out about it all on your own. Which you probably did but whatever, I can’t hear you through this screen LA LA LA. Oh yes and the Cook Food website is awesome, recipes and links and other such greatness, definitely check it out.

11/18/2009

Classic Sage Stuffing (aka Lisa Jervis’ vegan Thanksgiving, part 2)   »

I love stuffing perhaps more than any other holiday dish.Which is why I have never thought of it as something that has to be stuffed into anything, especially a meaty thing. Sometimes this confuses people. To them I say: embrace the unstuffed stuffing.

Classic Sage Stuffing

Like pretty much all my recipes, this one is totally flexible; you don’t need to be exact with the quantities, and you can add or subtract ingredients as your tastes dictate. The quantities below will generally serve about 10 people (exact yield depends on the size of your bread loaves). I sometimes make up to three times this amount. Usually I’m serving more than 10, but the main reason I make so much is really to make sure I have enough leftovers to keep me in stuffing almost long enough to get sick of it.

  • 2 loaves whole grain (or part whole grain) bread (I like a good crusty sourdough, but a hearty sandwich bread works too [purists be warned, the bread I just linked to contains a little honey]; use what works for you), cut into cubes approximately 1-inch square and left out to dry for a few days
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 7 celery ribs (extra points if they have leaves), diced a little larger than the onions
  • 1 bunch fresh sage, minced (you can use a generous tablespoon of dried sage, but it won’t be quite the same)
  • 2 cups (approximately—it’s impossible to pin this down exactly because every batch is different, moisture-wise) veggie broth (I use the stuff in a box; if you have time to make your own, more power to you)
  • some white wine (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan or, if you don’t have one big enough, a roasting pan (I set mine over two burners and it works great). Add the onions and some salt and cook, stirring every minute or so, until the onions start to soften and become translucent (about 7 minutes).
  2. Add the celery and cook for about 5 minutes more.
  3. Add the sage and cook another minute.
  4. Consider adding more salt.
  5. Add your dried bread cubes and stir thoroughly so that your aromatics and your bread are evenly mixed.
  6. Add some (about half a cup?) of the veggie broth. You want to pour a thin stream around the pan, moistening all areas and not dumping it all in there at once. Stir thoroughly, but do not mush the bread. The bread will soak up the liquid. You want moist bread, not gluey smushed bread. The key is a light touch, stirring to combine, not to meld.
  7. Add the wine if you’re using it, the same way you did with the veggie broth. (If you’re not using the wine, just add more broth.) Grind in some pepper. Stir thoroughly, keeping in mind the whole mush thing.
  8. Taste your stuffing. If you need more salt, add it. You’re also judging texture: is the stuffing still dry? Is some of it in danger of getting mushy? You’ll have to use your judgment about how much more liquid to add.
  9. Add liquid in small increments, stirring to combine, until you reach your desired texture.
  10. That’s it, you’re done. You can keep it warm in a 200º oven (covered with foil) if you need to, but there’s no need for baking.

This fabulous & delicious guest post is the second (here’s the first!) in a series of vegan Thanksgiving recipes from the amazing Lisa Jervis. Since you already know how we feel about her (and her awesome new book, Cook Food), we encourage you to blindly follow us into full Lisa Jervis Worship Land. OR you can read her other work and act like you found out about it all on your own. Which you probably did but whatever, I can’t hear you through this screen LA LA LA. Oh yes and the Cook Food website is awesome, recipes and links and other such greatness, definitely check it out.

11/16/2009

Squash, Lentils, and Greens in Phyllo (aka Lisa Jervis’ vegan Thanksgiving, part 1)   »

I’ve always been way into Thanksgiving. Instead of costumes, wasteful and expensive gift exchanges, or greeting-card-company-manufactured pressure to express sentiments according to the calendar rather than your own rhythm, it’s a day to hang out with people you love and eat delicious food. (Yeah, I only wish Thanksgiving were totally politically neutral like that. It’s far from it, but, well—I have to remain in some kind of denial so I can carry on with my maple-glazed sweet potatoes, ok?).

Thanksgiving didn’t become my absolute favorite activity, though, until a little more than 10 years ago, when my then-partner and I started hosting it at our house. He worked in retail, so the chance of getting time off to go anywhere was about zero, which made for a great excuse to duck out on family obligations and gather with chosen family instead.

The first many Thanksgivings I hosted weren’t vegan or even vegetarian—said partner was as obsessed with the turkey as I was with the sides. After we split, I found myself with no desire to learn how to roast a bird and a posse of veg friends who were psyched to go somewhere for the holiday where they could eat everything and not have to look at, smell, or otherwise deal with the usual meaty main event.

And so vegan Thanksgiving at my house became the new tradition. The right main dish took a little while to figure out, but years of trial (curried lentil-stuffed squash) and error (a tofu and nut loaf that I practiced for weeks beforehand but could never get to hold together and taste good at the same time) later, I’m happy to report that I’ve gotten it down. It’s pretty and special, as befits the holiday, but surprisingly unfussy to put together (don’t let the length of the recipe fool you). Plus, it’s loved by vegans and omnivores alike.

Squash, Lentils, and Greens in Phyllo

This will make two good-sized phyllo rolls, enough to feed a dozen or more people if you’re serving a lot of sides. Which you should be, because, hello, it’s Thanksgiving. You can prepare the fillings a day or two in advance and assemble the phyllo rolls on the day-of. (They can sit for about three hours before you bake them, but more than that and sogginess can set in.) Don’t expect the layers to stay totally separate when you slice the finished product; things will get a little crumbly. Embrace it.

  • 1 cup green French lentils (aka lentilles du Puy; don’t use a different kind of lentil—these are the only ones that won’t get mushy)
  • a bay leaf or 2
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard (optional)
  • a little red wine (optional)
  • a medium or large butternut squash
  • 1 head of garlic (you probably won’t need the whole thing, but it can’t hurt to be prepared)
  • 2 bunches kale, chard, collards, or whatever your favorite dark leafy green is (lacinto kale is my pick here, and I don’t recommend spinach—it’s got too much water)
  • 1 package frozen phyllo dough (they’re making organic whole-wheat phyllo nowadays, which is so frickin great, but if you don’t have access to a market that stocks it, just use what’s available)
  • lots of olive oil (half a cup or more total)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. The night before you’re going to cook, take the phyllo out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw. This is important; if you try to thaw it faster on the counter it will get unworkably gummy.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500º (this is to roast the squash, not cook the phyllos).
  3. Put the lentils, three cups of water, the bay leaves, and and a teaspoon or so (see the “to taste” part above) of salt in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender and most of the water has been absorbed (about half an hour). Stir in the red wine and/or mustard, if using, and simmer a bit more, uncovered, until the extra liquid has evaporated or been absorbed. Grind some pepper into it and stir again. Set aside.
  4. While the lentils are cooking, peel the squash and chop it into large chunks (between 1 and 2 inches square). Don’t worry too much about the size; you’re going to mash them later. Put the chunks on a cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan.
  5. Add about 10 garlic cloves, separated from each other but not peeled, to the cookie sheet.
  6. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the squash and garlic; sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of salt. Mush it all together with your hands. If you’re not sure how much oil to add, the squash chunks should be very shiny, but there shouldn’t be any oil pooling under them on the pan.
  7. Roast for about 17 minutes, stirring halfway through (all the chunks should be soft all the way through).
  8. If you’re going to assemble and bake the phyllo soon, turn the oven down to 350º. If you’re just prepping your fillings, turn it off—no more oven for this today.
  9. Put the squash and garlic into a mixing bowl and set them aside for a bit. When things cool down enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their papery skins (into the bowl, duh). Grind some pepper in there, then mash the roasted garlic and squash together with a fork or a potato masher. Set aside again.
  10. Meanwhile, mince 5 or so cloves of garlic. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or sauté pan and add the garlic and about a half teaspoon of salt (I really meant it when I said “to taste,” above). Stir frequently and keep an eye on the garlic/adjust the heat as necessary. Garlic can burn fast, so be conservative.
  11. When the garlic is super-fragrant and starting to get tender and/or a little bit golden brown, add the greens. Cover and let cook, stirring every minute or so, until they are thoroughly wilted (how long will depend on what greens you’re using).
  12. If you’re prepping ahead, now is when you’d taste everything to make sure you’ve got the salt and pepper how you want it, then put everything in separate covered containers in the fridge until you’re ready to proceed. Which you would do by preheating the oven to 350º.
  13. First, set up your assembly area: clear off a few square feet of clean counter space; get yourself a quarter cup or so of olive oil in a little bowl and put your pastry brush next to it; dampen a clean dishtowel. Line up your fillings. It’s important to have everything ready, because you have to work pretty quickly with phyllo or it will dry out. If you’ve never worked with phyllo before, read the package directions as well as this recipe.
  14. Take the phyllo out of the fridge, remove it carefully from its package, unroll it onto half of your clean countertop, and keep it covered with the damp towel all the time that you are not taking a sheet of phyllo off the main pile.
  15. Take one phyllo sheet and move it to the other half of your clean countertop. Brush it lightly with olive oil all over. Try not to tear it, but don’t sweat it if you do; this stuff is delicate, and there’s a reason you’re going to use 10 sheets.
  16. Repeat the above step 9 more times. Refill your bowl of olive oil if you need to.
  17. About 4 inches in from the edge, spread a layer of lentils the short way across the phyllo. The layer should be about 4 inches long and an inch thick. Leave about two inches free of filling at each end.
  18. Do the same with the squash, and then the greens.
  19. Fold your extra 4 inches over the layers of veggies, then fold the sides (those other two inches you left clear on each end) in. Continue rolling it all up and folding the sides in as you go.
  20. Place the roll seam side down on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish.
  21. Repeat steps 15 through 20.
  22. Brush the tops of your rolls with olive oil and bake until they are golden brown on top and hot all the way through, 20 to 30 minutes (consider whether the original temperature of the fillings when judging doneness).
  23. Serve to your guests and accept their compliments graciously.

Phew. That got long, but it really is easy, trust me. Next up: Classic Sage Stuffing, Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes, and Broccoli and Cauliflower with Lemon-Mustard-Chive Dressing. (As much as I dream of preparing the entire meal, I am not insane. I assign my guests to bring mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and dessert.)

This fabulous & delicious guest post is first in a series of vegan Thanksgiving recipes from the amazing Lisa Jervis. Since you already know how we feel about her (and her awesome new book, Cook Food), we encourage you to blindly follow us into full Lisa Jervis Worship Land. OR you can read her other work and act like you found out about it all on your own. Which you probably did but whatever, I can’t hear you through this screen LA LA LA. Oh yes and the Cook Food website is awesome, recipes and links and other such greatness, definitely check it out.

11/11/2009

Review: Cook Food, by Lisa Jervis  »

First, let’s appease the FTC by noting that we received a copy of this book for free, for reviewing purposes. Second, let’s appease the critics by noting that as Lisa Jervis is a founder of Bitch magazine, we are predisposed to love her. Third, I don’t have any photos of the food I made because I don’t have a functioning camera, so you’re just going to have to imagine how wonderful everything looked, OK? Fourthly, let’s write this.

Cook Food is a little, no-frills book that is crammed full of useful information. It’s written by a (seemingly) very practical person for the very pragmatic cooks among us, by which I mean she takes a very “do the best you can with what you have” approach, with her recipes functioning more as inspiration than rules to strictly follow. This, I dig; often I want to make dish but cannot find one of the ingredients, and do not have the opportunity and/or inclination to go get it. It’s rare to find a cookbook author who encourages you to wing it. This is all right.

I tried out three recipes from Cook Food, all of which I tried to follow to the letter but none of which I did, exactly. The first was Rosemary Mustard Tofu; lazily, I didn’t press the tofu at all, but I did let it sit in the marinade for a good long time. Per the author’s notes, the leftovers did make a good sandwich the next day. I accidentally put too much dijon mustard in the sauce, because I have trouble with tasks like measuring, but it wasn’t a big deal, really.

Next I made Lentils with Wine, which I loved and will definitely make again. For a dish with so few ingredients, it has a lot of flavor, full-bodied and rich and just really delicious. Red wine, red onion and green lentils are apparently the perfect combination.

Lastly, I tried out her version of peanut sauce, which, as she warned, was not at all like the Thai-style peanut sauce I had sort of wanted (despite having read the recipe before deciding to prepare it). This one I fiddled with, a little; I found it quite salty and, I don’t know, off somehow, so I added a lot of white balsamic vinegar and a couple splashes of plain soy milk, and that seemed to mend it for me. Then I ate it on everything; on Trader Joe’s vegetable gyoza; over cold mixed lettuces and hot rice (DELICIOUS, my goodness); as a dip for baby carrots and steamed broccoli. It turned out to be a very versatile sauce.

Cook Food wasn’t written by a vegan; it’s a vegan cookbook because Lisa Jervis believes that eating mostly organically and locally grown produce is healthiest for us and our environment (and she’s right, duh). It’s plainspoken without being obvious, and pragmatic without condescending. It’d make a wonderful first cookbook for new vegans—much better than those “Vegan Recipes for College Students” that teach you how to boil pasta or whatever—but once your skills have improved beyond “beginner” you’ll still find it useful.

Plus, like I said, it’s Lisa Jervis, and everything she creates is of very high quality.

08/12/2009

Cook Food with Lisa Jervis tonight!  »

Hey you guys! Did you know: Lisa Jervis, who founded Bitch Magazine, wrote a vegan cookbook. It is called Cook Food and it sounds pretty great. Honestly though I can’t imagine Lisa Jervis not doing something great, but that is more a testament to her knowledge and skills than any feelings of hero-worship.

Tonight from 7 to 8:30 at Modern Times (888 Valencia at 20th Streets), Lisa Jervis will give a reading from her cookbook, as well as a demonstration of how to make a corn, tomato and basil salad. Fancy!

In case you’re not convinced you should go (and you’re a fool if you’re not convinced), I will give you a few more reasons why Lisa Jervis is super:
1. She went to Oberlin, just like your own Maria!
2. She gave an interview recently during which she was asked, “How she could reconcile being a feminist and having a book that encourages women to get back in the kitchen,” her reaction to which the interviewer describes as “facile.” Because, really.
3. Bitch is really a fantastic magazine, and she created it!
4. The recipes are all about tasty ingredients, prepared simply and deliciously.

Now, remember: Cook Food, Modern Times, 7 to 8:30 p.m., and tell us all about it in the comments afterward, please!

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