Thursday, January 28, 2010


Ok, so I like David Bowie. So sue me.

Before I get into the life altering change that I am currently experiencing, lemme share what I ate for dinner.

That, my friends, is my first homemade falafel. Or, as the tramp that a buddy of mine married would say, an "old fashioned" falafel. I was feeling blue today, and thought about falafel, and then realized I had everything to make it from scratch. What was stopping me?

Oh, yeah, so I forgot pita. But I made an awesome, spur of the moment tangy sauce to accompany. Behold, a recipe.

Tangy yum sauce.

6 oz silken tofu
2 tbsp lemon juice
small handful of cilantro
1 tsp tahini
salt and pepper to taste.

Blend into oblivion. I know, right? I'm the first one to think of it, I'm sure.

So, we're moving. I love my neighborhood hardcore, and it was really hard to realize that we can't afford to stay in our duplex. Our awesome 1920's duplex with hardwoods and a tempermental furnace. But we found an apartment in SW Portland, top story, surrounded by trees, close to my school. Oh, and it has a dishwasher, which will save my sanity. It'll be an adventure and a chance to discover a whole new neighborhood of Portland that I'm absolutely not aware of.

This weekend though, vegan bake sale for Haiti, Portland style!!!! I will be contributing my time, some cookie dough bites and awesomely delicious hazelnut cupcakes. Come out if you're in the neighborhood!!! Haiti still needs help, if not more than ever.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Before I was vegan, I avoided beans. I didn't like the gas and a bout of food poisoning in my childhood from baked beans fueled my distaste. In my efforts to create more complete meals since turning vegan, I've found that if I don't have beans in the cupboard, I panic just a little. They've stolen my heart and made a home in my dishes. However, I still refuse to touch baked beans. The smell alone-ok, I'm getting nauseous just thinking about it.

Jeff and I decided to try out a chili the other night. Now, in recent years I've always skipped over chili recipes, uninterested in the beans and the heat. However, this particular night, a cold and depressing night, chili sounded awesome. I remembered a cookbook that was given to me by a very thoughtful coworker that had a whole chapter on chili. Come to find it's by Robin Robertson, author of Vegan Planet and other awesome books. My excitement was almost too much. I will admit to never cooking out of it and being naive to the author until the cookbook challenge on the PPK. What, you want the name of the cookbook? One Dish Vegetarian Meals (but all recipes have vegan alternatives...)

We chose the Louisiana Bayou Chili after debating for a long while. There will be more chilis in my future, dear readers, as the recipe was easy and the result was amazing. We devoured it along with quinoa and sweet potato fries. It made a ginormous amount, so I have plenty of freezer chili to go around which is PERFECT at this point in my life.

On another note, I can't believe I forgot to write about this already, but I finally made the New Farm Mac & Cheez, ala the lower fat version by Get Sconed! Husband gives it a million thumbs up, which is huge. I have had the mac made personally by Jess, but now I can make it at home. Bwa ha ha!


ETA bake sales for the Haiti disaster are going on right now. Please check the PPK blog and see if your city is included. I will be making something as I have a hell of a lot of time on my hands now.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Brief History of Time

It is an understatement to say that I like books. This is only a small fraction of my collection. We only have two bookcases.

One of the traits I picked up from my late grandmother (who I've mentioned numerous times before) was a passion for books and reading. There are three large walls at my grandparents' home filled with books, all cataloged, alphabetized and filed according to genre. One wall alone is dedicated to historical nonfiction and bibliographies.

The kitchen isn't even safe. Three bookshelves are lined with books about any kind of cooking you can imagine, with the stark exception of veganism. Plenty of vegetarian books (that include recipes with fish) but no vegan. Then again, this is the lady that tried her hardest to get me to eat a steak once a week after I went vegetarian to make sure my iron levels stayed normal.

One of my favorite things to do when I visit my mom is to pick up more books for my collection. Some notables include the very first book my grandmother ever bought with her own money, an Irish and Scottish cookbook and a Duncan Hines baking book. Gigi usually made notes in recipes she enjoyed, so I thought I'd let you peek into the Duncan Hines book and my past...

My grandparents were on their 53rd anniversary when she passed in 2008

My grandfather's favorite. I hate pineapple, and she always "forgot" and made this for my birthday. I think it was really for Grandpa.

Sometimes she was brutally honest.
Another habit I picked up is collecting recipes and putting them everywhere.

She saved the very first cookie recipe I ever made :-) YEAH I KNOW IT'S NOT FROM SCRATCH.

The point to today's post is to highlight a bunch of books Gigi gave me when I first moved into my own apartment in 2004. She had been collecting these for years and each has it's own special inscription. "Happy graduation!" "Happy 18th birthday!" "Congrats on your first apartment!" The one turned around is the beef cookbook. Obviously I won't cook out of it, but I refuse to throw a piece of history away.

The other night I decided to cook from the Italian cookbook. I picked risotto and was pleasantly surprised to see the first non-vegan recipe that didn't call for parmesan cheese and only had five ingredients. The recipe gives different versions of risotto, and I chose the herbed variation where you basically throw dried herbs into the stock. Another plus - you don't have to stand and stir! Here is the recipe, shiny and easy and vegan for you.

Risotto, adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Italian Cookbook circa 1971

1/4 finely chopped onion
2 tbsp vegan butter
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 salt
dash pepper

In a medium saucepan cook onion in butter until onion is tender. Stir in broth, rice, salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil; reduce heat to low. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 15 minutes. DO NOT REMOVE LID. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 5-8 minutes. Rice should be tender but still slightly firm and the mixture should be creamy. Serve immediately.

The risotto is no fuss and creamy as it should be. I served it with Italian baked tofu and roasted delicata squash and the leftovers made a delicious lunch.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I can see clearly....

....ok so not really. Yeah, that was a long absence, wasn't it? Well, I'm back friends.

Christmas came, Christmas passed. We went on a lovely (albeit expensive) trip to Vancouver BC and met some great people. I baked a LOT of cookies, and even some cupcakes. I also drank a lot of beer.

But pictures speak louder than words, right? These are all food pictures, I apologize if you're looking for action.

Caramelized Onion Dip from BitterSweet
Margarita cupcakes from VCTOTW
Our Christmas gifts - Lazy Samoas, Coconut bars & Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles.
A Fauxtess cupcake, made by Isa herself.
Chocolate chickpea spread from BitterSweet
Red lentil dal from Happy Herbivore, a new house staple.Miso bulgur pilaf from BitterSweet, another new staple :-)

I truly plan on posting more, really. For awhile there I was working 3 part time jobs and now I'm going to school. But this week (and probably next) I'm implementing a mandatory pantry challenge. Yep, we're out of money. Awesome.