Sunday, March 27, 2011

An announcement or two...

Martha Stewart is hosting a vegan episode this week! It's interesting that she's choosing to do a show like this since Oprah recently did a vegan-for-three-weeks show. I'll be honest in saying that I've got mixed feelings about shows like this, because Michael Pollan really irritated me on the Oprah show. Regardless, I am curious to see how Martha will do it. It airs this Wednesday, March 30 at 10AM. Check out the blurb on ecorazzi here.

My friend Mary over at This is Vegan has introduced me to a new website called Vegan Cuts. If you register, you'll receive email offers for coupons for vegan goodies. Saving animals while saving money? I'm sold!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Broccoli Cashew Teriyaki Tofu Stir-Fry

As tofu and I continue to rebuild our relationship, I had bookmarked this recipe in Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan a few weeks ago. The tofu not withstanding, this sounded amazing. Broccoli? Cashews? Teriyaki? Yes, please. Given my love of these three things, I gave it a go.

And it was pretty tasty. The tofu was probably my least favorite ingredient in the stir-fry, but I think if I had cubed it smaller, it would have been better. I cooked up some brown rice to serve with it. The leftovers heated up nicely for lunch the next day, too!

Even better? I was able to find an online recipe for this here. A note about molasses, as it's required for the teriyaki sauce: use organic molasses because conventional molasses is not vegan! The refining process of non-organic molasses includes animal by-products, and although I cannot remember exactly what it is at this moment (this kind of information has been filed away as "I know it's not vegan, but I can't remember why"), I would be more than happy to find out for you. If you can't find organic molasses at your normal grocery store, try Trader Joe's or Whole Foods! And while we're on this topic, white sugar and powdered sugar fall under this same category. Organic powdered sugar and turbinado sugar (available at Giant and even some Wal-Marts!) are easy alternatives.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

California Tortilla

My mom and I found ourselves Downtown and hungry around lunch time one day this weekend. Not expecting to eat while we were out, I wasn't sure where we could go that was within walking distance of the Harbor. Can you tell I don't go to the Harbor often? That moment was moment #3943 when I was grateful for having Internet access on my phone. A quick search of revealed that a casual and inexpensive Tex-Mex joint was less than two blocks away from our exact location.

California Tortilla is a neat little place with a super friendly staff. They have a cute outside eating area, but it was too chilly to enjoy it this past weekend. There are several vegetarian/vegan options, as you can substitute beans for meat, and hold the cheese/sour cream. They also have a special vegan burrito called the No-Meato Burrito, as pictured above, which has the standard rice, beans, and sauteed veggies, but also spinach (a nice change from lettuce!) guacamole, and a spicy sauce. A really spicy sauce. I love spice, but this actually made my nose run. Another thing I like about this place is they offer burritos in two sizes, so you don't have to make the choice of throwing away food or enduring a food baby.

This is a super relaxed restaurant with yummy food (by both vegan and non-vegan standards, according to my mom) at reasonable prices. I'm not sure California Tortilla could replace Chipotle as the burrito queen of my heart, but it's up there. If you find yourself Downtown, stop in and grab a bite!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Corn and Potato Chowder

Spring is dragging its feet with its arrival, so I decided to embrace the still chilly weather with another soup. It's no secret that I love both corn and potatoes, so I had to make this corn & potato chowder from Vegan Planet. It was a simple recipe with easy-to-find ingredients. I think the only thing I'd do differently is reserve a little bit of the corn prior to pureeing, or add a little more after pureeing, just to have more kernels in the soup.

An online recipe can be found here!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lettuce Wraps with Hoison-Mustard Tofu

Tofu and I haven't always had the best relationship. In fact, I can't imagine a worse beginning to a relationship: I ended up in the ER about a half hour after our first rendezvous. The doctors deemed it a "bad case" of food poisoning, and while I'm not sure that was truly the problem or that the tofu was the culprit, I've since laid the blame with tofu. Since then, tofu has been begging for my forgiveness in the form of otherwise delicious sounding recipes, and I've continually given it the cold shoulder.

Until last week. I figured I'd persecuted tofu long enough, and god damn, it's in a lot of recipes. I searched a variety of sources looking for the ideal reintroduction, and found this recipe for lettuce wraps with hoison-mustard tofu from Appetite for Reduction. Given my recent discovery of hoison sauce, I picked this because I love its spicy-sweet flavor. And that's exactly what this dish is - sweet and spicy! The red pepper flakes add to the heat, but the cool crunch of the lettuce nicely complements the fire.

These were so insanely easy to make, and honestly, the tofu wasn't that bad. I'm still not convinced tofu and I will ever move beyond acquaintances, but this was a good first step. I was able to find an online version of the recipe!



To serve
Tofu: Heat a cast iron or heavy bottomed nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray with a little non stick cooking spray and add the tofu. "Dry fry" for about 10 minutes carefully flipping about halfway through. Add the soy sauce and toss to coat.
Sauce: Heat another pan over medium heat. Add the sesame oil and saute the red bell pepper, onion, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes for about 10 minutes.
Once the veggies are soft and browned add the mirin and let cook for 3 minutes.
Add the hoison & mustard and cook for another minute.
Assemble: Add the tofu to the sauce and toss to coat. Spoon mixture into lettuce leaves and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Banana Nut Muffins

This week I wanted to try a new muffin recipe, but wasn't sure what type of muffin. I also had a bunch of bananas that were definitely past their prime. I may or may not be a snob when it comes to bananas... but I make up for it by resourcefully using unsatisfactory-as-is bananas in smoothies and breads.

Anyway, the first two facts made me look at fruity/banana muffins. I found this recipe for banana nut muffins in 1000 Vegan Recipes. Not only did the recipe look ridiculously easy (I think I pulled these together in 10 minutes), but I had everything in stock. It calls for ground flax seed, which I discovered my Giant does not carry. If you can't find it at your normal grocery store, try a local health food store or a Whole Foods.

These little babies came out so beautifully and tasty. They are a test of will power, because I want to eat all of them. And then make more. And then eat those, too. Seriously, these blueberry muffins had better watch out because there's a new contender in the competition for the title of "Niki's Favorite Muffin Ever."

I couldn't find an online recipe for this, so suck it up and buy the book!