Sunday, April 27, 2008

A cello and dog kind of evening

Nigel left today for a business trip, Claire is at her dad's on Sundays, so it's just me and the dog, Bowlie. I shot this low-quality bit on my digital camera to email to Nigel. I like how Bowlie got involved. Caveat #1: I am a beginning cello student, so expect some squawkiness and out-of-tune parts. Caveat #2: playing cello isn't vegan, because bows are strung with horse hair, but I am not aware of any alternatives.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tofu scramble

It's not pretty, but it is what's for breakfast today and it tasted great! I worked with what I had in the fridge: tofu, corn, salsa, guacamole, cilantro, spices, nutritional yeast. So it's sort of a Tofu Rancheros on the fly. It would have been good wrapped up in a tortilla, but all I had on hand were frozen corn tortillas and I was too hungry to defrost them.

Nigel didn't like the smell of the thyme as the scramble cooked. Personally, I think he's traumatized from living in France several years ago. How else to explain an aversion to such a savory scent?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coconut Lime Cupcakes

My daughter Claire is 9 years old, and her favorite thing to do lately is bake vegan cupcakes. I'm such a proud mama! Here's her latest creation, a recipe from her favorite cookbook, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Eating Locally!

Yesterday it was such a beautiful day, we knew it was time to set up the vegetable and herb patch we'd talked about all winter. Here's the area of side yard we picked out to plant.

This edging was pretty flimsy. We used a staple gun to keep the wood on the webbing. Nigel cut some short lengths of metal with his trusty tin snips to reinforce the corners. We weren't sure if the frame would hold the soil.

Here's the soil, ready for planting.

Our fledging patch! Peas, cherry tomatoes, and Roma tomatoes in the row closest to the fence. Romaine and red leaf lettuce in the middle row. Basil, cilantro, flat leaf parseley, and pumpkin seeds in the front row.

We potted a few things too: rosemary, oregano, and a bush bean seedling.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lovely Hula Hands

Bear with me, this story has a happy ending. I didn’t realize just how NOT vegan is the cozy and well-regarded Lovely Hula Hands until I read their menu tonight. Among its offerings of rabbit pot pie, steak, and pork chops, were one dairy-heavy vegetarian entrée and one incidentally vegan item: a citrus, beet, and avocado salad that I knew wouldn’t fill me up. (Rabbit pot pie?! Shouldn’t that be illegal?!) I inquired about the farro and lentil soup, thinking that I could make a meal out of soup and salad, but it had bacon in it. Without hesitation, the waitress offered to have the chef make me a vegan entrée. My hopes were raised; it sounded like the kitchen was familiar with vegan cooking and willing to improvise for their guests. I love surprises and I have a broad palate, so I didn’t make any specific requests, preferring to see what the kitchen came up with. I was not disappointed. What arrived was a dish of cannellini beans, morels, and broccoli rabe in a savory broth, sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts. On the side was toast spread with pumpkin butter. I ate every morsel and asked the waitress to thank the chef for me. Happy vegan dining! P.S. I also ordered the lone vegan menu item as a starter. It was scrumptious! Red and yellow beets, grapefruit and orange sections, succulent avocado slices, and a light vinaigrette with fresh cilantro. I was right, it would not have filled me up, but it was perfect as a salad.

A group of vegans would be hard pressed to eat here (and would quite likely be put off by the menu.) But if, like me, you are often the lone vegan in your party, there is nourishing food to be found at Lovely Hula Hands.

Lovely Hula Hands
4057 N. Mississippi
Portland, OR 97227

Two of my Favorite Dinners

Here's one of my favorite go-to dinner recipes from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Moskowitz: Chickpea and Spinach Curry. Here I made it with Spicy Indian Rice with Toasted Almonds, from the same cookbook. This picture is from six months ago. I still make this dish, but I no longer photograph it!

Manzana Chile Verde from Veganomicon, by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero. I serve this with corn bread. This recipe was my excuse for buying an immersion blender, now one of my favorite kitchen tools. I was surprised by how much my (meat-eating) husband likes this dish. He might like it more than I do, and I really, really like it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dinner at Vita Cafe

My first time there! Nigel accompanied me reluctantly, owing to his love of meat and his distant memory of a bad Vita Cafe experience several years ago. Claire is always game for anything.

I appreciate that Vita Cafe's menu is overwhelmingly vegan. If you like meat analogues, you won't be disappointed. I don't particularly care for fake meat; I ordered the Lemongrass Noodle Bowl with added tofu. Tasty, lots of veggies, a pretty good meal, but I wasn't blown away with pungent flavors as I'd hoped. Nigel and Claire both ordered the salmon cakes (there is some fish and even beef burgers on the menu) and seemed to find them tolerable. The highlight was the piece of chocolate-strawberry cake we shared. Our friendly waitress informed us that all the cakes are vegan and gluten-free. It was delicious! I found myself shmooshing cake crumbs into the back of my fork and licking it unapologetically.

The only unpleasantness for me was when a customer wandered by our table who reeked of patchouli. But I can hardly blame the cafe itself for this.

Sorry no pics. I just started this blog, and I'm only accustomed to photographing food in the privacy of my own home. Must get over this.

Vita Cafe
3024 Ne Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 335-8233

Enchiladas Nummers

Dinner last night: this enchilada recipe is the bastard child of two recipes from Veganomicon, which if you don't already own, you must go purchase immediately! My apologies and indebtedness to V'con authors Isa and Terry! The filling is from the empanada recipe, but I subbed corn for the acorn squash. I used the assembly and baking instructions from the potato-kale enchilada recipe. I used canned enchilada sauce, which was actually really good (but required reading labels carefully, as many brands use chicken stock). I served it with Spanish rice (from a box, me so lazy!) and guac. Husband deemed it my best cooking ever! He ate two huge platefuls! I have to agree with him, this was awesome and hit the spot for Mexican food. Daughter loved it, too.

Welcome to Vegan Street!

Home of my experiences with vegan cooking, eating out, fashion, and general vegan lifestyle. More to come, including lots of food pics.