Nevermind Eggs, Throw an Easter Beer Hunt! »
I don’t usually celebrate Easter, but this brilliant idea has me pondering a party. It’s apparently a THING in Europe: Sending your buddies all over the yard/park/house in search of pastel-painted delicious adult beverages. Not only is this much more vegan-friendly than hiding eggs (assuming you pick your beers well; barnivore.com), it’s also SO MUCH TASTIER. Beer, people! On a Sunday morning! With pastels!
You can get fancy and invent rules, winners, blind taste-tests, etc. Or you can be lazy and just hide cans of PBR in your roommate’s bathrobe. Whatever you do, tell us about it! Get the full scoop on Food Republic.
Photo by Shawn Allen on flickr.com
It’s National Hot Chocolate Friday! What’s that? It’s a holiday that Isa Chandra Moskowitz just made up! But we love her so much, we’re all in, right?
She posted the rules on The PPK’s Facebook Page:
“Happy National Hot Chocolate Friday! Are you simmering up an inventive new cocoa or sticking to the classics? Take a pic of your creation and tag me or post it here, and I’ll put together a collage. Then we can all look at the collage and be like ‘That was a great day. Sigh.’”
I’m stuck at my office where all we have is corny, non-vegan Swiss Miss, but you should totally do it!
Props to Krista O’Reilly for the goodies in the photo: “Homemade cinnamon hot chocolate with both Sweet & Sara AND Dandies marshmallows. Delicious madness.” Can I come over later?
Look What We Made! Calzones! Raw Tiramisu! »
Self-esteem requires that one take a moment to brag when one does something awesome. Here are two delicious things that were recently born in my house. If someone could come teach me to take photos of food, that would be great, ok thanks.
Awesome Thing #1: Ginormous Calzones
My husband Danny made these beauties, on a weeknight no less. They’re filled with a tofu-cashew-olive ricotta (recipe from Veganomicon with kalamatas thrown in; leave out the salt), broccoli and homemade seitan saute, and a smidge of Daiya. OMG YUM can we get married again? I am the luckiest person.
Awesome Thing #2: Cafe Gratitude’s Raw Tiramisu
I taught you how to cope with the impending loss of CG, and now here’s me doing it! I made bomber, delicious, raw tiramisu. It took lots of planning (including steps begun 48 hours before I wanted to eat), weird ingredients (Irish moss, lecithin, raw cacao powder), and like 4 hours to make, but it was SO worth it.
Best new thing I learned: Making my own coconut milk! Just buy one of those Thai young coconuts, hack it open, put both the water and the flesh/meat (ick words) in the blender, and swoon.
Saturday is National Soup Swap Day! I know it’s kind of last-minute to tell you about it but since when did we claim to be responsible or punctual? Tell your friends to drop all their plans (you know they were just drinking wine and streaming Game of Thrones anyway), cook up six quarts of kick-ass vegan soup (Love Soup has bomber recipes), and get their butts into your living room.
You’re gonna need at least six friends for this to work right, and let’s add that they must be competent vegan cooks, so scrape the bottom of the barrel and email that weird guy you met at a Meetup one time and just tell him it starts later than it does so you don’t have to sit alone with him.
Why bother? A freezer full of soup, that’s why. Work hard now and you can be lazy later. Also participating in National Anything days makes you a better American, and you probably could use a boost, right? Couldn’t we all.
Photo yoinked from Knox Gardner because hell yeah giant Earth Balance container!
New Quorn Vegan Burgers: Yummy! »
Quorn’s got a new vegan offering and I got to taste it! I like it a lot! Yay for new foods! The company sent me a free package of the new frozen patties via flying monkeys, a.k.a. FedEx, which made me feel like a rock star.
The directions say you can microwave, grill, bake, or pan-cook them. Since I was at work and am impatient and lazy, I nuked the thing in order to taste it right away.
If you’ve ever had the non-vegan Quorn chicken patty, just go ahead and erase that memory forever; these ain’t nothing like that. They’re thinner and not breaded and have more of a smokey, baconesque flavor profile. The microwave made the thing really tough and chewy, kind of like a jerky patty which sounds gross but which I dug in a salty-MSG-yum kind of way.
A few days later I did the Quorns up right as part of a sandwich with coleslaw (BBQ sauce woulda been swell too, someone should buy me some of that).
This time I cooked them on the stovetop and they were much moister and softer. Husband said the texture reminded him of fish sticks, kinda flaky. The smoky flavor is pretty strong, so don’t expect these to meld or fade into your meal like a slab of tofu or whatevs.
Bottom line: This Boca Burger hater has found a new sandwich filler of choice. Yay fungus! But I’d be even happier if the company offered a few flavors to mix it up. May Quorn come to a store near you!
Vegan MoFo: Margherita toast! »
More often than not, my easy vegan recipes come from a random craving that needs immediate satisfaction. Margherita toast is no exception: One autumn afternoon in 2010 I had a serious hankering for pizza—not greasy, drippy, stringy-cheesy pizza, but hearty, rich, and healthy: whole grains, chunky veggies, fresh greens, and tons of flavor. With no vegan pizza options in the vicinity, I rolled up my sleeves, opened my refrigerator door, and decided I’d have to get creative. Margherita Toast was soon born, and has become a simple staple in my household ever since.
Depending on the portion, it can be a snack or a full meal, and the flavors are full and rich enough to satisfy cravings for the not-so-super-healthy pizza varieties. Read on, and drool accordingly!
A couple slices of bread (whole grain is obviously best; sprouted is even better!)
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground salt and pepper
Fresh greens (I like arugula, but spinach, mizuna, broccoli rabe, etc. all work too)
vegan cheese alternative (I love Daiya, any flavor)
Fresh or dried Italian spices (basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.)
Get creative! Maybe some olives? Mushrooms? Artichoke hearts?
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place one or two (or more!) slices of bread on a baking sheet or sheet of tinfoil. Spread a spoonful of sauce on the bread if you like, or just leave it plain. If you have a taste for cheese, sprinkle a little handful of Daiya (whichever flavor you like) on each piece of bread.
Then lay three or four tomato slices on each piece—slice ‘em thick if you like it hearty, or thin if you prefer a more subtle tomato flavor.
After the oven has preheated, put your creation on the middle rack and let it toast for about 12 minutes, depending on your oven—it may take as little as 10, or as much as 15.
Yank those bad boys out of the oven before they burn, and sprinkle some finely chopped fresh or dried herbs if you’re into it, then toss a good handful of greens on top of the whole mess. Follow that up with a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper, then a drizzle of olive oil over everything. Let it marinate for a minute or two—be patient!—and then feast.
With all the fresh, real, simple ingredients combined, you’ve created a serious taste of Italy. Win!
Vegan bluebird cake from The Family Kitchen! Brought to you by one of my favorite vegan bloggers, Kathy Patalsky of Lunchbox Bunch. And guess what, I just read on Kathy’s site that Finding Vegan is her creation! No wonder it rules so hard.
Family Kitchen not only gives you the recipe for this pretty pretty cake, it gives you tips for veganizing any store-bought baking mix! Huzzah! I like this cake because it’s purple.
Sura Korean BBQ: Oakland’s unlikely gem of vegan awesomeness »
Once upon a time I was walking down Telegraph Avenue in Temescal with a friend when we passed this restaurant that I would never in a zillion years have chosen. But this certain meat-eating person was like, “Oooh, Korean BBQ! Let’s go there!” and since I wasn’t really hungry I was like, “OK fine, whatever you want, friend-from-out-of-town, I will go sit with you and try not to grimace.” We sat down, ordered (seemingly) overpriced appetizers, and sat back to wait. Then Sura changed my life.
You know how some restaurants give you bread or chips and salsa to munch on before your meal? Here, they’re like, “Bread, schmead, let’s give people 18, maybe 21 different little side dishes to eat while they wait for their food.” Free. Without you ordering them. Each different, each incredibly yummy. We felt like we’d won the lottery or something.
The little dishes change often so you never know what you’re going to get, but can include pickled vegetables, spicy tofu, black sesame squash, sprouted mung beans, seaweed salad, kim chi, etc., etc., etc.
I’ve been there three times now, and though they don’t explicitly cater to vegans, with a little work a mind-blowing meal can be yours. UPDATE: This may be trickier than I thought. Fish sauce is a hidden challenge, sorry guys. Still, I think it’s worth trying to navigate, but do so at your own risk I suppose. Here are my pro-tips:
- Tell them right away, as soon as you walk in/sit down, that you don’t want any meat or egg dishes (dairy doesn’t seem to be so much of a problem). Every time I’ve been there they’ve brought out a weird hot-pot egg dish without asking. My omni friends ate it but you can Just Say No.
- You don’t need a barbecue table. Sit far away from them, as that is where people grill raw meat. Ick.
- When you order, tell them again about the vegan thing and make sure they don’t bring you any small plates with egg or meat. The vast majority of what they bring out is vegan anyway, and I’ve had them bring me EXTRA vegan stuff. Just be clear. UPDATE: MAKE SURE TO ASK ABOUT FISH SAUCE TOO! FISH SAUCE WARNING ALERT WARNING!
- While there’s no separate veggie section on the menu, they put little stars next to everything they can make vegetarian. Some things come with egg but they’ve been really good about following my requests to leave it out.
- Ask for barley tea.
The food is awesome:
Sanchae sotbap/herbed vegetables—herbed vegetables and mushrooms over rice
Doenjang bibimbap/House special green tea bean paste—seasoned vegetables with green tea rice and soybean paste. SO GOOD!
Other delicious things I’ve eaten but don’t have photos of:
- Hyunmi doenjang bibimbap/sweet brown rice—seasoned vegetable with sweet brown rice and soybean paste, cold.
- Beoseot/mushroom—tofu, mushrooms, and vegetables in hot pot. SO GOOD!
Sura Korean BBQ is located at 4869 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland, and is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. No website, but call (510) 654.9292.
Bonus: Sura’s only a few blocks from Scream Sorbet’s new shop. Waddle over for dessert, if you can manage.