How to, yo: Mold the best pizza crust!   »

I just had a pizza party with my family! And I broke my mom’s pizza stone, the night before Mother’s Day. I’m a terrible person! I’m not sure the iTunes gift certificate, coconut wax candle and cock blocker I gave her will make up for slamming her stone in the oven and demolishing it. It was an accident! But since she is a great person, she didn’t even get mad at me. My mom is the best.

I want to give props to Chef Mitch at Source for giving me the inside scoop on molding pizza crust. I was a pretty good home cook before; however, working side by side with him every day has taught me so much. If you come into Source, tell him you love the hints on Vegansaurus. It might render him speechless, which is no easy feat—that guy loves to talk! But I love listening, so it is a match made in restaurant heaven.

Now, whether it’s homemade or store-bought pizza dough you are working with, it is the easiest and best to handle at room temperature, so let your dough sit out for an hour or so. That way when you stretch it, it will stay where you put it. Also, play with the outside edge, which will be the uncovered crust, as little as possible. If you can get away with not touching it at all, that is great: It will make for a wonderful, light, “eggshell” crust that will rise beautifully and impress everyone. Shape and stretch your crust from the inside out. However you do this, DON’T TOUCH THE VERY OUTSIDE PART! That’s it. That’s all I’m trying to say.

This outside crust here is a little extreme, as in, it’s HUGE. But the dough was cold and I had a hard time stretching it. You don’t have to go this big, but you know what they say: Go big or go home! The outside crust was so light and fluffy, I felt like a pro. Do you like how I made myself a half-cheese, half-veggie combo? I need options! And remember when some of you were like “Daiya is gross, it tastes like glue”? Well, I really like it. Follow Your Heart soy mozzarella is my numero uno, but Daiya is my mistress! They better not make me choose, because I love them both so much.


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!

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

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!


First anniversary party at Source this weekend! Mention this post for a 10 percent discount on Friday!  »

Source restaurant in San Francisco (you know the one) is celebrating its first anniversary tomorrow, Friday, March 9, and of course we’re are having a special party platter!

You don’t want to miss this brisket, it is the BEST. Did you have Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s with us? (Here’s a little reminder for you.) Now here’s another special chance to boogie down with a delicious ENTIRELY vegan meal!

Wow, can you believe it’s been a year? I sure can’t! Actually, I’ve only been there about nine months, but I’m still helping to celebrate; by making the strawberry truffles for dessert!* 

Here’s the deal, Vegansaurus readers: Not only is this platter discounted as a thank-you to customers, if you mention this very post, you get another 10 percent off! Though the special is happening all weekend, you only get your reader’s discount on Friday. Clear your calendar! And if you come in before 5 p.m., you’ll probably see me, finishing up the pastries and chowing down on some brisket! You know, just doing me.

In case you needed some more incentive to stop by, here’s a small sample of my work: the living strawberry cheesecake and strawberry snowball! All of our desserts will also be available, as well as the full menu. See you this weekend!

*Yours truly, the pastry chef of Source, is making strawberry TRUFFLES for dessert! You don’t want to miss it. I don’t want you to miss it!


Review: Pressed Juicery in Los Angeles  »

Do you know when the best time to travel is? The dead of winter! Seriously, plane tickets are so cheap. I’ve taken it upon my myself to whisk myself away on weekends (like any self respecting socialite) to eat visit friends near and far. Now, I’m back to report on all my meals from Chicago, to LA, to Reno! But first I gotta get some sleep — I’m not a machine. Jeez! In the meantime (while I’m catching up on SF life), here’s a roadtrip preview!

One of my favorite places I hit up in the last three weeks was Pressed Juicery in L.A. It was the spot I was most excited about checking out; I love vegetable juice, especially when it’s raw, cold-pressed, and unpasteurized. And celebrities go there! I learned of Pressed Juicery from following Hello Giggles, as the editors of that blog are always praising it. [Ed.: Jenny LOVES Hello Giggles!]

I went to the West Hollywood location, which was a long bus ride from Echo Park, but so worth it. Normally I can be kind of shy and nervous, but not when I got to the counter of this Pressed Juicery. I talked the counter guy’s ear off: I told him where I lived and worked, and how I heard about the place; he told me a story about Erin McKenna of Babycakes—all kinds of good stuff. As I felt indecisive about which juices to try, I inquired as to what his fave was, which, as seen below, is Roots 3. I asked for one with beets and he recommended the Roots 3, then told me it happens to be Sophia Rossi’s fave. SOLD!

I’m trying to detox from Reno and am pining for another one of these juices!

Where can I get raw vegetable juice in San Francisco? I always drink the Super 8 at Source and used to down gallons of the Healthy at Café Gratitude. Lately I’ve been hitting up Jamba Juice for wheatgrass shots, but where else can I go? I need reader recommendations, please!

"Blink and you’ll miss it" storefront in West Hollywood.

Pressed Juicery has three locations in Southern California: In West Hollywood at 8714 Santa Monica Blvd.; in Malibu (out of a truck!) at 3939 Cross Creek Rd.; and in Brentwood at 13050 San Vicente Blvd. #120.


How-to, yo: Blanch broccoli!  »

Is it crazy that I just learned how to blanch my vegetables? Yes, yes it is. But I figure, if I didn’t know, and I cook all the time, other people have got to be stumped by this too.

Whenever I cook my veggies, they end up a mushy mess. Don’t get me wrong, I kind of like it that way. However, I believed it was time to learn the more professional method of blanching my vegetables, specifically my broccoli. After perusing a website for help, I decided to ask my boss (Mitchell Fox, chef and co-owner of Source, no big deal) how to blanch my broccoli.

Here’s the lowdown:
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add lemon juice and salt to said water (before boiling it.) Lemon juice will help keep your broccoli a beautiful green color.
2. Immerse broccoli in boiling water for 30 seconds. NO MORE THAN 45 seconds!
3. Immediately dunk broccoli in a bowl of ICE cold water to stop the cooking process.
4. Use broccoli in a delicious vegan dish! It’s so green and crisp! Great job!

Broccoli in ice water. Isn’t Instagram the best?!

I used my broccoli to make a healthy mac’n’cheese bake! I took my nacho cheese, added nooch, subtracted chili powder, added soy noodles and blanched broccoli, then baked it off! So tasty! (With a side of sauteed beets and the leafy greens they come with!)


Hostess files for bankruptcy!  »

The Wall Street Journal reports today that Hostess is filing for Chapter 22, which means “restructuring” and also “we’re totally gonna fuck the unions and everyone in our pension plan on this one, investors! Promise!”

As vegans, we’re primarily concerned with our source of inspiration for classic vegan junk food. Thank goodness for Source and our supremely talented Jenny Bradley! For those of you without Source (or Jenny!): What Hostess products are you gonna veganize in 2012?


Happy Thanksgiving from your Vegansaurus Socialite, Jenny Bradley! I went out to dinner (buffet style!) with the family in the Redwood City area — my choices were limited to spinach salad, roasted asparagus and artichokes, bread, french fries and some grapes. Don’t feel bad for me though; I went to work that morning which means I got to eat all this! (A dinner of elegant vegetables was just what my stomach needed, and they were delicious!) Plus I kind of fancy the way asparagus makes my pee smell. Win-win!

Happy Thanksgiving from your Vegansaurus Socialite, Jenny Bradley! I went out to dinner (buffet style!) with the family in the Redwood City area — my choices were limited to spinach salad, roasted asparagus and artichokes, bread, french fries and some grapes. Don’t feel bad for me though; I went to work that morning which means I got to eat all this! (A dinner of elegant vegetables was just what my stomach needed, and they were delicious!) Plus I kind of fancy the way asparagus makes my pee smell. Win-win!


You can still get Source’s Thanksgiving dinner today. LOOK AT IT! Plus, mention Vegansaurus and get a FREE DESSERT.  »

The delightful quarrygirl sent us photos of her Thanksgiving feast at Source and two things: 1) she said it was AMAZING (yes!) and 2) that’s enough to get us over the bridge and into its delicious arms today. Yes, they are also offering this insane Thanksgiving feast all day today! Ow! And if you mention Vegansaurus, you get a FREE DESSERT! Don’t say we never did anything for you!

Here’s what she ate:

side salad
cup of squash soup
gobble with gravy
savory mushroom stuffing
fresh cranberry sauce
baked yams with marshmallow (dandies!) topping
creamed spinach
pumpkin cheesecake

Here are her extremely motivating photos:

and (bonus!), the most outrageous collection of hot sauces she’s ever seen!

Get over there! And don’t forget to mention us so you can get your free pumpkin spice snowball or live pumpkin cheesecake ON. I’m sorry I keep saying “get your BLANK on!” I think I ate so much yesterday that I lost brain cells, only explanation. I can’t stop! God bless the holidays! Especially when you get to choose exactly what you want to eat!


Thanksgiving Dinner at Source in SF (Thursday and Friday!)  »

So many vegan Thanksgiving dinners, so little room in your stomach! Right? Or, so many vegan Thanksgiving dinners, but OMG you have plans with the family! The friends! Don’t worry, Source in SF has you covered. Not only are they serving a phenomenal Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, they’re serving it Friday, as well! You are so stoked, I can tell.

The ENTIRELY VEGAN menu includes:
     Choice of butternut squash soup or green salad
     ‘Gobble’ with ‘giblets’ gravy
     Homemade cranberry sauce
     Savory mushroom stuffing
     Creamed spinach
     Candied yams (with Dandies marshmallows!)
     Choice of living pumpkin spice cheesecake or pumpkin spice snowball with orange-pumpkin-cinnamon frosting.

All of this, for a steal, at $19.95 a person. They’re accepting in house reservations, walk-ins, and phone-orders. You probably want to come eat there, because for real - sexiest staff in San Francisco.

Say hi to the baker! She’s been working really hard on making these desserts the best ever! 

Wait, are you still allowed to buy food on black Friday? It’s doesn’t count as consumerism if it’s vegan, right? I kid, I kid. But really, come for the desserts.

Call Source at 415 864 9000 for more details.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Jenny Bradley is the baker at Source (see above note about her being the baker at Source!) and she provided this inside scoop on their thanksgiving!  If you’re looking for other Thanksgiving options in the S.F. Bay Area, check out Meave’s post on that.


Thanksgiving 2011: Where to eat outside of your home in the S.F. Bay Area!  »

We love cooking! But maybe you don’t! Or you find a huge Thanksgiving dinner way too much work. That’s OK! Here is a list of places you can celebrate your Thanksgiving, at restaurants or homes. You can volunteer to work and eat for free, or bring a dish to a potluck, or just show up, eat yourself silly, and roll on home. So many options!

What’s the difference between this and our earlier post on vegan Thanksgiving celebrations? These are happening in the SF Bay Area! We’ll add to this list as we get more information, so please, send us tips!

We also have a list of places to buy your dinner to take home, and where to get delicious baked goods like pies! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, Nov. 16BerkeleyThanksliving at U.C. BerkeleySee our earlier post for details!10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

San RafaelMarin Vegan Drinks Does Thanksgiving!Sampling Tofurky, $1 vegan cupcakes, $5 drink special is a Spiced/Spiked Cider.6 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 19PetalumaNorth Bay vegan Thanksgiving potluck!Bring a dish to share! Mulled spiced cider provided6:30 p.m.

Every day until Thanksgiving Golden Era is offering a three-course vegan special (but they’re closed on actual Thanksgiving!)

Thursday, Nov. 24Berkeley, San Francisco, San RafaelFree Thanksgiving meal at Cafe GratitudeContact the three participating locations to volunteer (they need servers, bartenders, dishwashers, line cooks, and opening and closing crew), or call (415) 824.4652.noon to 3 p.m.

Menlo ParkRaw vegan Thanksgiving food partyHosted by Elizabeth and Charlie of Bay Area Vegetarians; RSVP required.noon

San FranciscoBAV Vegan Thanksgiving CelebrationHosted by Kim and Jamie; RSVP required.2 to 5 p.m.

San FranciscoFive-course Thanksgiving dinner at MillenniumReservations no longer taken, but first-come, first serve places available at the barContact Millennium for more information at (415) 345.3900, ext. 10.2 to 6 p.m. [time is for bar seating only]

San FranciscoPlant Cafe at Pier 3/the EmbarcaderoTwo $60 prix fixe menus, one “traditional” with turkey, and one vegan!Contact Plant Cafe for details via email, or call (415) 984.1973. Reservations required.3 to 9 p.m.

San FranciscoVegan Thanksgiving at Source, including pumpkin spice snowballs by our Jenny Bradley!Contact Source via email, or call (415) 864.9000 for details/reservations.

Saturday, Nov. 26San RafaelPost-Thanksgiving Vegan Food PartyHosted by Alicia of BAV; RSVP required.3 to 6 p.m.

Anywhere in the Bay Area, throughout the four-day weekend!Want to host a vegan Thanksgiving with BAV pals? Contact Tammy of BAV to volunteer!

[photo by Emilie Hardman via Flickr]

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