Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vegan MoFo! Post #10: Potato Chipotle Soup

Much has happened between my last post and now!

First of all, my roommate and I revamped our Chipotle Taquito recipe a bit and ended up with a delicious soup recipe. Here's the recipe:

P o t a t o  C h i p o t l e  S o u p

-5 large brown potatoes, chopped into chunks (about 1 or 2'' ea.)
-2 TB canola oil 
-1 large yellow onion, diced
-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (canned variety)
-1.5 TB of adobo sauce (from the can of chipotle peppers)
-2 cloves of garlic, minced
-1 TB earth balance
-sea salt, to taste
-a hearty handful of fresh cilantro, de-stemmed and chopped up


Add the potatoes to a pot of water. The water level should be higher than the potatoes. You want about a 2:1 ratio of water to potatoes. Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium-high heat.

In a frying pan, saute the onions and garlic in the oil until soft.

Once the potatoes are very soft and mushy, smash them up with a fork or potato masher. Add the earth balance and sea salt and mix well. Add the onions, garlic, chipotle peppers, and adobo sauce and continue to mash together with the potatoes. Add more water as needed - you want the mixture to be watery, soupy. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and let simmer for another few minutes.

Serve with cilantro as garnish.

I also spent some time at Occupy LA recently. I helped facilitate a discussion on why it's imperative that animal rights and environmentalism be part of this movement. If you're interested in joining me and others in this effort, shoot me an email. This revolution belongs to everyone. 


In other news, our all-you-can-eat vegan brunch in honor of Dia de los Muertos is only days away! It's been a long time coming and I'm really excited to throw this event. LA doesn't currently have ANY all-you-can-eat vegan brunch places, and it's about time that happens! I'm also really happy to be donating a portion of our proceeds to the wonderful animal rights organizations, ARME. Check out quarrygirl's advertisement of the event for more details, especially if you're interested in coming!

S'all for now!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vegan MoFo! Post #9: Announcements and Chipotle Potato Taquitos!

I've got some good news: I'm finally getting over my flu! It's been an annoying two weeks of constant nose-blowing, coughing, achiness, and general blah. It's also put a huge damper on my Vegan MoFo-ing! But I think this flu is coming to its much-anticipated end.

I've got some other exciting news: My roommate and I are planning a pop-up brunch cafe at the end of the month. It'll be an all-you-can-eat, Mexican style vegan brunch in honor of Dia de los Muertos. We're going to donate a percentage of our proceeds to a wonderful animal rights organization, Animal Rescue Media & Education (ARME). I'm thrilled to be bringing the community together to enjoy some vegan food, recognize this awesome Mexican holiday, hear some good beats from our DJ, and help a cause that I feel passionate about.

photo cred.

If you live in or around Los Angeles, you should come over and celebrate with us! Buy your tix in advance and you can save money plus be automatically entered to win a number of cool prizes.

In preparation for this event, my roommate and I have been performing many kitchen experiments in which we test out foods we plan or hope to serve. Although we didn't list taquitos on our finalized menu, we're working on perfecting a taquito recipe to add to the list. Everybody loves taquitos.

I think our experiment was a success. Here's what we did:

Chipotle P o t a t o  T a q u i t o s

-4 red bliss potatos, chopped into 1'' pieces
-plenty of canola oil 
-1 yellow onion, diced
-a hearty handful of fresh cilantro, de-stemmed and chopped up
-10 small corn tortillas (about 6'' diameter)
-3 chipotle peppers, chopped (we used the canned variety of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
-1 TB of the adobo sauce from the jar of chipotle peppers
-1 tsp cumin
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp paprika
-a dash of black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a cookie sheet and set aside.

Boil the potatoes in a large pot until very soft. Drain. Mash potatoes with a fork or large utensil. Add the spices (except black pepper), the chipotle peppers, and the adobo sauce. Mix well.

Saute the onions in about a TB of canola oil until softened. Add the cilantro to the onions and saute for another minute or two. Add a dash of black pepper and stir.

Add the onion mixture to the pot of potatoes. Stir well.

Warm some canola oil in a frying pan using medium heat. Turn down heat to low. One at a time, saute each of the corn tortillas for about 45 seconds, flipping over frequently. Continue adding canola oil as needed. The goal here is to keep enough canola oil in the pan to get the corn tortillas to soften.

Spoon about 2.5 TB of the potato mixture onto a tortilla. The potato mixture should be placed in the middle of the tortilla, forming a line across the diameter of the tortilla. Gently roll the tortilla until you have an inch or so left to roll. Before you finish rolling, spread some more potato mixture along the remainder of the tortilla (the part you haven't rolled yet). This will serve as a paste to keep the taquito closed. Finish rolling the tortilla and place on the cookie sheet, seam side down. Repeat for each tortilla.

Bake for about 10 minutes, then flip the taquitos. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve with hot sauce, salsa, or guacamole!

Chopped cilantro and onions

Potato-onion-spices mixture

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vegan MoFo! Post #8: Curried Split Pea & Chick'n Soup - Medicinal and Delicious

Curry contains a wealth of disease-fighting herbs and spices. I mean, below I offer a mere brush of the wonders these spices can offer. There is so much more and I encourage you to continue reading up on the many health benefits of curry!

Curcumin, found in tumeric, is thought to possibly help with arthritis and protect against heart disease and Alzheimer's. It may prevent colon cancer by reducing precancerous polyps [1], as well as other cancers, including cancers of the breast, blood, and stomach [2]. The way curcumin works to reduce or slow the growth of precancerous polyps as well as other precancerous masses is by inhibiting the enzyme aminopeptidase N (APN) [2]. Remember capsaicin, the natural substance that makes chili peppers hot? Well not only is capsaicin useful for fighting colds, but it's also helpful in reducing pain and increasing blood circulation [2]. Speaking of fighting colds, garlic is also thought to fight against cold and flu viruses [2] [3]. Cardamom and ginger are both useful in aiding digestion [2] [3].

C u r r i e d  S p l i t  P e a  &  C h i c k ' n  S o u p
adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance

1 TB olive oil
1 can Companion brand mock meat in Curry Chicken*
1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp red chili pepper flakes 
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon (I ground mine fresh, using a mortar & pestle)
a generous pinch cinnamon
2 tsp sea salt
8 cups water
1 lb dried split peas
fresh cilantro for garnish

In a large pot, combine the 8 cups water and dried split peas. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then immediately turn down heat to low. Allow to simmer until peas are softened (about 30 - 45 minutes).

In a pan, saute the onions in the olive oil until almost translucent. Add the celery, carrot, and red pepper and continue to saute until soft. Add the mock meat, garlic, ginger, spices, and salt, and saute on low heat for another five minutes or less.

Add the contents of the saute pan to the large pot. Stir together with the peas. Allow to simmer for at least another 15 minutes, but longer is better. I allowed mine to simmer for about 40 minutes.

Serve over jasmine rice, with fresh cilantro on top.

*If you cannot find Companion brand canned mock meats, any mock meat will suffice!

This is sold at my local Asian market.

Curried split pea soup over jasmine rice, garnished with fresh cilantro!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vegan MoFo! Post #7: Frickin Pumpkin-Spiced Coffee!

Ugh, I'm STILL sick! I literally slept all day today - hence the sore lack of MoFo posts on my end lately. I don't think I've been ill this long since...maybe ever? I'm seriously on my 12th day of this flu thing. I normally avoid taking any extra medications, so as to build up my body's ability to heal itself (even if that's not scientifically accurate, I believe there is some psychological merit there), but this has been so bad so long that I decided it was some time for antibiotics.

It's a bummer that the past few days, I haven't been well enough to continue my planned themes (Foods That Heal, Cultural Cuisines, & Vegan On A Shoestring Budget). However, as promised, here is the recipe for the Frickin Pumpkin-Spiced Coffee! that my roommate made the other day. It's so obvious it's nuts, but I seriously never thought to do this.

Enjoy, and stay well, people! I will have much more MoFo magic for you within the next few days. I should be back to normal by then. :crosses fingers:

O l i v i a ' s  F r i c k i n  P u m p k i n - S p i c e d  C o f f e e !

...perfect for fall. :)

...also a great trick if you're short on money --> use cheap coffee and spice it up to cover over the flavor. Voila. Gourmet coffee.

-coffee beans, freshly ground
-pumpkin pie spice

You'll also need a French press. I think this would clog up an electric coffee maker. Er, maybe it wouldn't, but a French press = coffee done right (actually, chemex pot = coffee done right, but I'm not financially there).

Prepare your beans as you normally would, grinding them coarsely and putting them into the French press. Then, add approximately 1 or 2 teaspoons of the pumpkin pie spice and stir it around once or twice. Steep your coffee as you normally would, using boiling water. That's it. I almost flipped out when I realized I could just add whatever to the steeping coffee beans!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vegan MoFo! Post #6: Brian's Special Vegan Banh Mi

You'll recall that I recently bragged about my roommates' plentiful and delicious vegan cooking. Well, here's the recipe for one of the dishes they made the other day! 

Banh Mi (pronounced "bon ME") is everyone's favorite Vietnamese sandwich. If you live in a major city, you very well may have had it before. It's traditionally made with meat, lots of meat, and, in Vietnam, it is typically a fast food (take out). My roommate's vegan version replaces the meat with tofu and it's deeeelicious. 
 Brian's Special Vegan Banh Mi

-pickled daikon and carrot shreds (available at your local Asian market)
-1/4 avocado, sliced
-1/2 jalapeno, sliced
-a small handful of fresh cilantro
-about 4 pieces of fried tofu, cut into small (approx. 2'' x 2'') squares or rectangles

Line the inside of the baguette with Vegenaise and Sriracha. Add the tofu, then the jalapeno, avocado, pickled daikon and carrot, then the cilantro. That's it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vegan MoFo! Post #5: Friendship Is When People Know All About You But Like You Anyway

Oh man, this is like Foods That Heal, Foods of Various Cultures, and The Barebones Kitchen all rolled up into one tasty blog post.

So, I woke up still not feeling well today (for those of you who may've missed my Sinus-Zap Tea post, I've been dealing with a flu-virus-type-thing for the last few days). Today, I am home from work, and yesterday, I even (gasp!) skipped my MoFo post of the day.

But here I am, bringing you vegan tasties, and you know how?

...Because I have fabulous roommates, that's how! I stumbled out into the kitchen this morning (cough, afternoon), my groggy-eyed, hair-like-a-birds'-nest self, and behold! THIS was going on:


 Olivia: Yes, in fact, you can try this Some Kinda Spicy Potato Pancake Thingie! that's still hot:
Yeah, that's a Hello Kitty toaster. Deal with it.

Olivia (adding): Want some Frickin Pumpkin-Spiced Coffee, too?

Me: Um, YES.

Dinero: Can I have some?
Typical cat, right? But he's so cute, so he gets away with it.

Refrigerator magnet: 
I just love this quote. The one on the green magnet, not the word salad thing above.

 I'm going to link to the 3 recipes above...very soon!  Two of the recipes are linked now! Working on the third. In the meantime, you should click on the linkz to said fabulous roommates' astrology and painting sites.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegan MoFo! Post #4: Raw Vegan Ice Cream at Home for PENNIES!

That's right. Forget about that $6.99 raw vegan grocery store-bought stuff. You can make it at home for WAAAY cheaper! 

About a year ago, I wrote about making raw vegan ice cream out of frozen bananas using the idea I'd read about on Choosing Raw. This stuff is amazing. Seriously, if you've never tried this before, YOU MUST TRY IT RIGHT NOW. It's everything you could want in a homemade ice cream recipe - fast, easy, cheap, healthy, versatile, and delicious. Oh, and kind of magical.

Anyway, this recipe is a staple of my own personal Barebones Vegan Kitchen, and yet I'd never paused to snap a photo of the finished product - until now.

The frozen banana chunks being whipped into ice cream by the food processor.
The final product. Kinda looks like ice cream, right?

And now you have photographic evidence.

Here's what I do:

-A bunch of bananas

(yeah, that's it.)

Chop each banana into quarters (or whatever) and freeze them. You'll probably want to keep them in the freezer for at least 8 hours, if not longer. I like to keep mine in a re-usable plastic container to keep them from freezer burn.

When the bananas are frozen solid, put them in a food processor and process them until they form a custard-y, creamy texture. You may be tempted to add water at first, but trust me, just let them do their magic. :-)

Eat plain or top with melted vegan chocolate, melted peanut butter, chopped mango, coconut shreds...whatever you love!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vegan MoFo! Post #3: Capellini with Vodka Sauce

Foods of Various Cultures...

Hands down, my favorite pasta variety is capellini. I love the delicate texture, and how the thinness provides more surface area to pick up even the lightest of sauces and flavors.

That said, vodka sauce is not, by any means, a light sauce. It's okay. It's still a great pairing, trust me.

It is common in Italian cuisine to use alcohol to bring out the flavor in tomatoes and other vegetables. This is often accomplished with wine, but vodka sauce uses, well, vodka. This was my first time making vodka sauce and I totally winged it. I didn't even know I was going to be making vodka sauce until mid-way through the process of making it. If you tend to shy away from free-style cooking, I encourage you to experiment with whatever's in your kitchen. No recipe, no plan, just go with it and feel liberated! When it comes to cooking, I'm a firm believer in not having firm beliefs. This is why there is jalapeno in my vodka sauce.

So, in the spirit of experimentation, take this recipe as a guideline rather than a formula!

C a p e l l i n i  w i t h  V o d k a  S a u c e

1/2 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced 
3 large-ish roma tomatoes, diced
2 cups of mushrooms, diced - I used white button
1 1/2 cups basil, cut into fine shreds
1/3 cup French Onion style Tofutti cream cheese 
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup tomato paste 
2 ounces of vodka (or, one and a half shots)
sea salt to taste 

Saute the onions until softened. Add the jalapeno and garlic, then the tomatoes, then the mushrooms and 1 cup of the basil.

Heat some olive oil in a separate, large pot. Add the tomato paste and cook until almost boiling. Add the ingredients from above, along with the vodka, olive oil and water. Stir. Add the cream cheese and stir until evenly distributed (the sauce should lighten). Bring to a boil and then immediately turn down to simmer. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt to your taste.

When serving, garnish with the remainder of the finely shredded basil.

What I'd Do Differently Next Time:
Incorporate the vodka earlier. I think this would enhance the flavors of the vegetables even more than adding the vodka when I did. Use more roma tomatoes.

I served this with a side of broccoli and Tofurkey Italian sausage.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vegan MoFo! Post #2: Sinus-Zap Tea

Foods That Heal... 

I've been sick for the past week, and I'm at the point where my voice, my sense of smell, and my ability to taste are all compromised. Yep, with a busted tailbone and the flu, I'm in pretty bad shape right now. So I'm in on this lovely Saturday night when I would otherwise be at my friend's birthday party/housewarming bash. I don't want to miss out on more than I already am, so I'm ready for this flu thing to be over! (I want the tailbone issue to be resolved, too, but I realize that takes time and it is healing quite nicely, albeit slowly.) At the helpful suggestion of my roommate, and because of my fascination with Prometheus Springs, tonight I decided to concoct a special get-well-now drink. Not soon. Now.

My favorite Prometheus Springs drink, and really, a favorite juice combo of mine in general, is Lemon Ginger. All of their drinks contain capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers spicy. Capsaicin will create a burning sensation in any tissue that it touches, including skin (anyone who's ever chopped jalapenos will tell you this!).

Chili peppers have been used since 5000 BC in South America and China for both cuisine and medicine. Today, the capsaicin in chili peppers is still believed to have a wide range of medicinal properties, including but not limited to improving digestion, helping with stomach ulcers by stimulating the production of mucus, and strengthening heart function [3]. It apparently increases blood circulation, [1] and can prevent or even stop a heart attack [2]. It's also supposed to help with pain relief when applied topically, including mouth sore pain from chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as sore throat pain [3] [2]! These are just some of the things capsaicin can do for your health. 

Cayenne pepper, one of the many types of chili peppers, is what I decided to use in creating my own lemon-ginger-capsaicin drink. I used the powdered form. It's such an easy way to incorporate capsaicin into a drink because you can get it relatively cheaply, it's non-perishable (well, within reason), and a little bit goes a long way. Not only that, but cayenne, specifically, is said to be full of vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as some of vitamin B6, vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, and manganese [1] [2].

It cures what ails ya.

There you have it. And does this miracle food work, you ask? Well, I can tell you that it certainly did temporarily clear my nasal passageways so that I regained my sense of smell and was better able to breath. It also helped temporarily relieve my sore throat pain. See below for what I did!

S i n u s - Z a p  T e a

100% pure ginger tea leaves (bagged or loose, whichever you prefer)
2 lemon wedges
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder 

Steep the tea in boiling water. Add the cayenne, then squeeze lemon juice into the cup. Let the lemon wedges remain in the cup.

Let me know if you try this and tell me how it goes for you!

Vegan MoFo! Post #1: Let the MoFo COMMENCE!

Oh, I'm so excited about this year's MoFo! Oh, the delicious and fun experiments I have planned! Oh, don piano!

This is how it's gonna break down:

Foods That Heal  I'm really into alternative medicine and healing, and I've been wanting to have a better understanding of the healing properties of different foods. I'll explore this from various perspectives: Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, herbalism, and others. Of course, all remedies I post will be vegan.

photo cred.

Foods of Various Cultural Cuisines  I'm gonna discover what I never would've discovered before. I'm also gonna re-visit some all-time favorites. This will be all over the place, geographically. Hey, wanna be included? If you have an old favorite that your Burmese/Malian/Swedish/Bulgarian/Brazilian/Mayan/Lebanese (you get the picture) Grandma used to make, send it to me and I'll make a veganized version to post! You and your heritage will go down in vegan infamy.

photo cred.

How to eat vegan on a shoestring budget  Broke? Me too. Let's figure this out. I started The Barebones Vegan Kitchen during last year's MoFo and plan to continue throughout this year's. Follow me as I explore how to subsist - no, flourish - as a vegan with no cash in the bank! This is also useful for helping your broke friends become vegan, promoting the notion that veganism can be accessible to more than just the middle-upper class, removing the financial barriers....veganism for everyone!!!!

Mice forage for food as a primary means of survival. photo cred.

I will rotate among the themes throughout each week of MoFo, so that within every week, you will have the opportunity to see what I've got cookin' in all three of these categories. Sometimes the themes will naturally overlap, as well.

So there you have it. My triple-threat theme for Vegan MoFo 2011. Mangia, my pretties!

Stay tuned for another post later today...