Friday, November 28, 2008

Vegan Thanksgiving 2008

Thank you for your bday wishes! I've been enjoying my visit home and I hope every one's holidays have been as good as mine :)

Dessert first, as always, vegan chocolate sour cherry loaf with chunks of dark chocolate. A week or two ago I took a quick breads class and this was my favorite I instantly knew that I was making it for Thanksgiving.

Okay this is the last time (I think) I'll post cashew cream but this really tops of the heavy thick chocolate loaf very nicely so it HAD TO be done.

Lightly curried sweet potato & tempeh filling for my sweet potato pastry puffs.

Fresh from our oven: Sweet potato & tempeh pastry puff (any ideas for names on this one? not sure I like this name.)

How fantastic is this retro serving platter I found at my grandma's place? I wish I had a house full of random retro plates!

I swear I didn't eat the whole sweet potato casserole.... Yet

Sweet potatoes topped with cinnamon maple syrup and pecans. I noticed some family members picking at this dish and munching the pecan topping. That's a success in my book.

MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT. :) A chef's jacket that has my name embroidered on it. Best. Present. Ever.

How was your holiday?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

MY Birthday

Tomorrow is my birthday folks... I am packing for my trip home and NOT cooking today :)

But you can expect to see some bday treats soon!


Monday, November 24, 2008

A Vegan Thanksgiving

This weekend was the annual vegan thanksgiving brunch at the Natural Epicurean. Now there was a LOT of food (enough for 3 posts). Once again, I will focus on my favorites, which I just realized are all the sweets. Is anyone surprised by that?? haha
ABC news stopped by this year. Cameras seemed to be going off everywhere and several people were interviewed. I haven't found the article from ABC yet so if anyone sees it, let me know!

The menu included:
Tempeh stuffing, wild rice pilaf, millet mash and wild mushroom gravy, fresh sauteed greens, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. Warm kukicha apple cider and organic sparkling apple cider were served as well.

Look at me all chef-like, I LOVE it. Scott and I were the "live" chefs. We sauteed fresh picked greens as people came by and offered a rich tahini lemon sauce to top them off.

Each item had a sweet potato card label holder. What a brilliant and adorable idea. I wish I could claim it was mine but I DID cut those sweet potatoes haha

Our greens with radish flowers on top.

Maple pecan sweet potato casserole was my absolute favorite dish of the meal. It's so sweet that it's a dessert and that's perfectly ok with me!

2nd favorite item is the gluten free pumpkin pies. I stayed up past midnight finishing some of these 7 pies at my house the night before. I gave myself a nasty burn by accidentally hitting the hot oven. I'm quite impressed that I've been cooking for about 5 months now and only burned myself once. There was a lot of love and time put into them. Plus they're topped off with cashew cream :)

Plated pumpkin pie

Cranberry sauce: a requirement at a thanksgiving feast.

If you're ever in Austin around thanksgiving time come to our feast. I think I've provided sufficient proof that it's well worth the cost! Plus if you want to learn how to make any of these we provide a "how-to" session before we feast.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Pumpkin Oats

This weekend I am cooking at the Natural Epicureans annual vegan thanksgiving brunch. Look at the insanity of my schedule for the last few days:

Thursday: 730-1030 find a wheel and tire
11-6pm work
6pm-8:30pm school
8am-530pm work (getting a tire installed at some point today as well)
6pm-10pm prepare for tomorrows feast- including baking 6 pies.. AH
630am -3pm Thanksgiving brunch event
10:00PM perhaps back to the future at the draft house

Insane right? I thought so. A great breakfast was needed to start this busy 2 days.

Pumpkin Oats with new and improved cashew cream. What made this batch of cream better? I soaked it for 2 days and added some cinnamon.

Work time for Teddy. Signing off and urging you, once again, MAKE SOME CASHEW CREAM :)


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Flat tire

Well NO cooking occurred last night. I got a flat tire (and somehow damaged my rim) so I've been wheel and tire shopping all day...

Wish me luck. I'm glad I wasn't hurt and that I have wonderful friends who helped me out. Cara and Jake are quite possibly amazing- THANK YOU. But I'm not so glad to have hundreds of dollars in unexpected expenses before the holidays. Oh well, be back tomorrow...

I'm thinking of turning the lemons life gave me yesterday into lemon bars! (We'll see if I've got time)

Drive safe!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pumpkin Kanten

My oh my that is one orange dessert. Don't be scared. As orange as it is, this dish is a throw back to those crazy jellos of the 60's. Only this dish is vegan and perhaps a million and 3 times better. Although, you'll probably need an adventurous group to try this one.

Simply 4 ingredients make this one:
Carrot juice, 1 tablespoon organic pumpkin pie filling, apples and agar-agar.

What makes kanten irresistible is cashew cream. I think I could eat cashew cream on just about anything and it's so simple to make. Soak raw cashews (NOT ROASTED OR SALTED) in H20 for at the very least 2 hours (up to 2 days if you'd like). Vroom it in the food processor with some lemon juice, agave and flavorings of your choice until it is smooth and creamy. Give THAT one a try sometime for sure

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Squash Dumplings

This weekend wasn't ALL just sitting on my booty at a lake. I cooked too!

Squash dumplings sauteed in sage and olive oil.

I know he may not be popular in the vegan/veg world but Alton Brown is my favorite FoodNetwork chef, hands down, no questions asked. Ever. I was watching him do a special on squash this weekend. I knew I had squash in my fridge and thus acorn squash dumplings were born. I admit I don't have a recipe at this time (will be making it again asap to form one) but here's the basic idea.

Roast or steam your squash so you can remove the meat. Mash the squash meat up until smooth-ish and add flour until you have a biscuit- like dough. How much depends on your squash. Mine was small so I used about a cup of flour. Cut your dough in half, then in half again and work with one of the quarters. I just rolled mine out so it looks like a 2 ft rope (I'll take pics to demonstrate next time). Cut the rope into 1 inch pieces and place in boiling water. When they're cooked, they float so it's easy to know when they're done. Put the dumplings in an ice bath when you remove them from the boiling water. I patted them dry with a towel, then sauteed them in olive oil (was out of butter) and sage.

I'm not going to lie, it took a while, but it was worth it.


Monday, November 17, 2008


I must admit I've been having quite a few more kitchen disasters than normal. That is hat happens when you try new things I suppose. Out of disaster comes opportunity right? Opportunity to try new restaurants!

Koriente is a hidden little tea house in the middle of downtown Austin. Their lunch prices are extremely reasonable ($6.50-$8). You can take a look at their menu on their website.

Lunch comes with a soup or salad.

I choose the Japchei: sweet potato noodles and an assortment of veggies. The noodles were fantastic but I would definitely throw in the extra couple of bucks to get tofu next time. The meal was very refreshing and would be great on a warm summers day. Fortunately for me, it was about 78 degrees outside (in November?!) but as it's getting colder I'll probably go for a more hearty meal next time.

My friend Dustin decided on Koriente Curry. I'll have to admit I was eyeing his food and already know I want to try that curry. Perhaps this will be my "fall back" place to eat for lunch downtown. The atmosphere is fantastic. Koriente is literally a hole in the wall with fantastic Asian decor. They even have a small pomegranate tree in front. We got there before the lunch rush (around noon) and by 1230 the place was packed so try to get there early or you'll be in a line of Japanese businessmen and locals that is out the door.

I wonder, how do those Japanese businessmen know about this place? I've been here 4 months and am just finding it. Anywho, I loved it, the pictures speak for themselves regarding the food. Give it a try sometime.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Relaxing weekend

Since I had no class this weekend I decided to relax.

What a better place to relax than this? My apt complex has a park/lake in the middle of it. I woke up early this morning to get some laundry done and hung out here while my clothes were "cooking".

In the wee hours of the night and morning there are birds that hunt for the minos in the lake. I was lucky enough to watch this one for a while (although, for a little while he watched me haha)

Don't worry, I cooked TONS this weekend...
Pudding (my favorite so far)
Cashew cream

I even managed to go to a new restaurant. All of that is coming up this week. Have a relaxing weekend!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Collard Pressed Salad

Does this remind anyone else of Married with Children? It's a park that I go sit at for lunch sometimes. That cracks me up.

After all of last weeks baking I have been in need of light, quick, raw foods. Hence, pressed salad with lunch ( I think I had more sushi this day too).

This salad included organic collards, carrots, daikon and cucumber. It was very cool, refreshing- the exact opposite of those rich baked foods. The change was nice but next time I'll add a tahini dressing (I'm addicted to that stuff).

Great news everyone: NO CLASS THIS WEEKEND!

I am going to relax, hang out with friends and work on my crepes/brunch foods/and one batch of cookies probably. I've already made some vanilla cashew cream that's to die for.

See you soon


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vegan Gourmet Brunch

Another sinfully delicious class at school with Christina. :)
There were TONS of items made (including alcohol free mimosas) but I'll focus on the 2 I'm most likely to make asap.

Tempeh sausage. Disclaimer: I do NOT like sausage real or fake about 90% of the time. What wins me over in this one are 1) It's tempeh- my new favorite thing besides kuzu 2) the simplicity 3) the flavor combination of the spices. All around yum! I've already bought the tempeh to make this one... maybe this weekend while Cara and I have out ANTM fest... Brunch + reality tv drama = fantastic day

CREPES! I admit they intimidate the hell out of me, so much so that I was NOT about to jump up and volunteer to make them in class haha. I was about 2 seconds away from making some this morning but I realized that I would have been about 1/2 an hour late for work... I'm thinking it's a friday treat anyway right? Plus I busted out the food processor out last night and made some sweet cashew cream. To me cashew cream is like god himself came down from heaven and whipped up a creamy vegan treat. Which is odd again b/c cashews are my least favorite nut to eat whole.

Moving on. I'll be making those soon. Look out for them.

Also, I've been tagged by Flowers at home to share 7 interesting things about myself. Rules:Link the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog and tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links. Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Teddy facts:
1. I'm part Eskimo- naturally blond haired Eskimos represent!

2. I do NOT like asparagus. Boo HISS I know... I've never met anyone else who doesn't like it. I'll eat it but I'll never choose to make it myself

3. There is a large scar on my left ankle from a cut requiring 19 stitches when I was a kid. The thing I remember most about the accident is that the cutest boy on my block held my bleeding foot... no pain, just the boy haha

4. I have a very large DVD collection (well over 100 movies) and I watch them ALL

5. If I could live in any era clothes-wise it would be the 50-60's. Though you couldn't tell that from how I dress haha

6. I hate flying to the point of mini panic attacks but in the past 5 years I've been to south east Asia twice and Europe once- and that wasn't enough I want to see more! Sometimes you've gotta suck it up and push through to get to something amazing

7. When I was 2 apparently my favorite song was "Pour some sugar on me" by Def Leppard

Okay this post is TOO long... I'm not sure WHO to tag soo I cheat and tag EVERYONE... comment and let me know when you've completed this!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vegan Sushi

My internet refused to work last night and I have to say it was quite a problem. But, as promised, my creamy southwestern black bean soup with tahini drizzled on top! See? It looks good right?
Now this rated even higher in my book:

Vegan sushi rolls that I munched on at lunch yesterday (can you tell it's in my lap? haha)

Inside is short grain brown rice, fried tofu, and avocado. I've always been intimidated by making sushi but I decided that I just needed to go for it. I'll be the first to admit this isn't the prettiest roll I've ever seen. It is far better than I expected to do. I'm not sure why I thought the roll would completely explode or something.

Ok I'm off to work. See you guys on twitter!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vegan Black Bean Soup

And I forget to download pictures...

Completely unacceptable right?
Well I'll describe last night's meal and then post the picture I took later on tonight :)

Do you ever have left over beans and you're just SICK of plain ole beans? Yea me too. Last night actually. Solution: a hearty BEAN SOUP- yum

I had some black beans with the fixins (onion, spices, some veggies) but just reheating them and adding water would still seem stale and not fresh. I chopped some fresh veg and placed them in a soup pot with just enough water to cover them. No one likes soggy over cooked veggies so I only simmered them for a couple mins before adding in my beans. Just bring the whole mess to a boil again give it a VROOM VROOM in your blender/food processor/whatever.

If you want to add richness (read delish healthy fat), dribble a teaspoon of tahini on top. When you all see the picture I'm sure you'll be very impressed :)

Until then, I hope you all have a fabulous day!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Vegan Brownies

What did I say? I was a baking fiend this past week! I actually made 3 varieties of brownies because I used these small containers.

Peanut butter, Pumpkin, and Double chocolate

The best was peanut butter and that is why it's not pictured. It was gone before I could take out the camera!

More on this weekend: Part of this intensive "path to wellness weekend" was a diagnosis of how to improve your health in general. I'm a pretty healthy gal but there was one suggestion that I KNEW I would hear and really didn't want to listen to....... Bake less :)

You mean everyone doesn't bake 4 times in one week?? haha

The baking process is incredibly relax to me. I need to learn to bake and not eat as much of what I'm making. How lucky my coworkers and friends are...

I'm thinking of trying some flour-less baking this week. Any recipe suggestions?? (I swear I'll only eat ONE... Cara, I'm counting on your help!)


Sunday, November 09, 2008

School day

Hi Folks!

I want to let you know I'm alive and kicking... Unfortunately I'll be in class today from 9am to 7pm. That doesn't leave much time for cooking huh? Oh I'm sure I'll be cooking up something tonight. It's hard to go a few days without cooking a meal. I find it relaxing to cook, so I'll squeeze in some "relax time" tonight I'm sure.
Wish me luck in my studies and I'll see you with food in hands tomorrow :)


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Vegan Coconut Cookie

Mishaps can often lead to great recipes. For instance, I accidentally brought the wrong kind of flour and out of that, this experimental cookie was born. I've only made this cookie once and it needs another test run (or 8) before I nail down the recipe but, so far so tasty. Coconut and peanuts are satisfying flavor combination to me so I wanted a cookie that a reflected that...

I have to say, not quite there yet but well on my to finding that recipe.

This weekend I have class from 8 am to 9pm everyday... speaking of which, I need to leave NOW

eek... have a good- hopefully not too busy- weekend


Friday, November 07, 2008

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Warning: I've been baking tremendous amount as of late. This is NOT an exaggeration. Days I baked this week - Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday... and now it's Friday so we'll see if I have time to bake today. Hm I wonder why I resisted baking on Wednesday? Oh yea, I went to bed around 9pm that night just because I could (I normally have class until 10)

So you've made it through another week- have a freakin cookie!

Perhaps I'm bland or old fashioned but nothing beats a good chocolate chip cookie. I'm proud to say I did not use a recipe on this one. I put together my own recipe avoiding the use of granulated sugars.

Cookies for breakfast with coffee will start my intense weekend. Warren Kramer is in town and doing an intensive macrobiotic weekend. When they say intensive they MEAN intensive. 9am to 9pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Let's hope I make it out ALIVE.... that may be another cookie worthy occasion



Thursday, November 06, 2008

Udon Noodle Bowl + Fried Tempeh

I have a new favorite way to eat tempeh- fried in sesame oil then dribbled with a little shoyu.

It was necesarry to add that picture and comment about the tempeh because you simply cannot see it in the completed udon bowl. This is another class picture again (you thought ALL that tempeh was just for lil ole me?? oink oink). Items included in our udon bowl are- tempeh, dashi broth, shitake mushrooms, carrots, diakon radish, diakon radish greens, wakame and udon noodles.

I think I'll make some dashi broth at home in the next few days. I love shitake mushrooms and this broth is full of shitake goodness. Off to work now!

Have a fantastic day and check me out on twitter. I'm now twitter obsessed by the way.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Vegan Election Tacos

I've found that growing up in southern CA gives you mad cravings for mexican food throughout your life. Election tacos are my new favorite creation. In fact, I'll be having them for lunch today. Why are they election tacos? Well, it was election night, I wanted them and that's good enough for me.

Any other night they would be fried tempeh tacos. Ingredients:

Tempeh (boiled/simmered for 20 mins and then pan fried in sesame oil and finally splashed with some ume vinegar for extra saltiness)

Caramelized yellow onions


Hot sauce and cilantro to top it off

Not pictured are the sweet potato fries I had along side the tacos. Also I believe a SoCal thing, french fries and mexican food. After my feast I headed to a friends house for some cookie baking(I was less than thrilled with my cookies but everyone else seemed to enjoy them) and election watching. I'm awfully tired because I ended up not getting home until around 1am.

I must mention- YAY THAT PROP 2 PASSED IN CA!!!

What was your election meal?


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sauteed Sweet Potato

This can be a simple side dish or can be added to your grains/one pot meal for extra pazzaz.

I used 1 sweet potato chopped in thin chunks, an onion, a whole mess of spices and topped it off with some fresh parsley (cilantro would work well too but I was out).

Suggested spices to use: Coriander, Paprika, Cumin and a tiny tiny pinch of cinnamon (b/c it can so easily over power everything)

Combine everything and sauté this mix in some oil on med to high heat for about 10 mins (if you leave the lid on it helps hold in moisture as well). This is another one of those dishes that sounds fancier than it is. I also get the hunch that using curry powder as your spice would create an appropriate and delish flavoring.

Still on my voting kick... hope you're as excited for election day as I am. I think I'll start planning my election meal tonight!


It pays to vote...

Free give aways for voting...

Mostly typical "american meals" but free coffee from starbucks aint too bad. I voted by absentee ballot, not sure how that works with all these free things...

Food related post coming up shortly


Monday, November 03, 2008

Apple Kuzu

It's been a rocky road between me and kuzu. I very much love the consistency it provides and its healing qualities but I've been convinced that it hates me...

Every attempt I at making it at home has failed for me... until last week! I present to you my successful warm apple cinnamon kuzu dessert.


1 apple

2 cups liquid (water or juice or a mix of both)

Cinnamon to taste (about a teaspoon)

2 teaspoons Kuzu

Add some raisins or cranberries if you'd like.

Slice the apple into half moons or chunks and simmer in the liquid for at least 20 mins adding the cinnamon and dried fruit in about halfway through. Turn off the heat. Make a slurry of cold water and your kuzu (make sure the kuzu is dissolved in your water). Then add the slurry to the warm (NOT BOILING) liquid being sure to stir constantly to avoid clumps. The liquid will turn cloudy but then clear up in about 3-5 mins and thicken.

Now enjoy while still warm and feel the comfort. YUM- this is my new comfort dessert.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween Eats

A day late but the pictures are still pretty amazing. My costume was:

KILLER TOFU! haha Very few people got the Doug reference but the ones who did, loved it. Scary right??

To start off this Halloween I wanted a treat. I bought some amaranth a few weeks ago and it's been lurking in my cupboard since then. Halloween morning was the time to get some use out of it. I boiled the amaranth (1/2 a cup) in water (about a cup) for about 20 mins and once most of the liquid had be soaked up I added a touch of agave and a spoonful of organic pumpkin pie mix.
Before the picture the dish looked too much like a big brown bowl of mush so some dried cranberries were needed.

This is a great fall breakfast. Give it a try some time!


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy day after Halloween with kuzu drinks

I hope everyone had a great Halloween last night... For those of you who had a little TOO much fun (if you know what I mean) try a warm kuzu drink this morning:

Kuzu recipes

Also, I TWITTER now. You can follow me and see what I'm doing daily. I have developed a mild addiction to it already. Hope I can find some of you on there too!

Have a nice morning, I'll be back later with pictures of my fantastic Halloween costume that I think everyone will appreciate. :)