Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pasta Bakes, Gratins, Pot Pies and Mo'.


Vegan Casseroles!
Scalloped Truffle Potatoes.
Pro tip: drizzle with truffle oil as directed, then sprinkle liberally with truffle salt.
Get. Truffle. Salt.
Julie Hasson is one of my favorite people. I'm the luckiest and have easy access to her on the regular, but for the rest of you, you can replicate your own JH via the delicious recipes she shares in her cookbooks.

Her newest shiny model, Vegan Casseroles, will have you dishing out the most truffly, noochy, cheezy, and comforting nibbles from your grandma's Pyrex. Not quite as good as Julie doing the work for you in person, but a damn fine replication, if you ask me.

Between Julie lovingly offering me little tastes from her kitchen, and whipping things up from the book on my own time, I've gotten to taste a bunch of really yummy things.

★ Mediterranean Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
★ Crack Gravy AKA Savory Gravy
★ Truffled Cauliflower Mac
 Apple Cinnamon Kugel
★ GF Cornbread variation
★ Scalloped Truffle Potatoes
★ Layered Polenta and Mushrooms

Also, for those of you looking for the gluten-free, most everything in this book is already XGFX, or can be made so with easy variations that Julie spells out for you.

Crack Gravy is the gravy that keeps on giving.
Pictured above with Vegan Dad's tofu scramble, hot sauce, and biscuits and tempeh bacon made off the cuff.
Julie nicknamed her Savory Gravy recipe, "Crack Gravy" because of how ridiculously addictive it is. It also makes a huge amount--about 5 cups, which seems a bit obscene until you taste it and realize you want to eat it by the bowlful. Plenty for a crowd, or to drown biscuits, scramble, potatoes, and stuffin' in. It's creamy-dreamy, and since Halloween, I've already managed to disperse 10 cups of this yummy stuff, but I'm not disclosing where it all went. Ahem.

Layered Polenta and Mushrooms, before I drowned it in more sauce and popped it into the oven.
Pacman approved Scalloped Truffle Potatoes. I'd truffle the world, if'n I could.
I sprinkled these with smoked paprika instead of fresh rosemary.
Mas y mas Crack Gravy 'n' Rocket Boots.
If you're sick of soaking cashews and have always wanted a super engine blender to park in your very own kitchen, good news for you! For those with a US addy, now's your chance to win one! In tandem with Julie's blog tour, there's an amazing contest happening right now where you can win a Blendtec 725. Five runner ups will receive a free copy of Vegan Casseroles! Click here to be transported to the Rafflecopter Giveaway.

I also have it on good advice from Somer, that the Baked Penne with Pumkin Cream Sauce should be next on my list of recipes to try. I'm sharing it with you with permission from VEGAN CASSEROLES © 2014 by Julie Hasson, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

Pumpkin is always a fall favorite, although you can enjoy this dish anytime of the year. The sauce has a hint of sweetness from the pumpkin but also a nice savory flavor from the sage and onions. I think this dish has become one of my daughter’s favorites.

12 ounces dried penne
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
11/2 cups plain unsweetened soymilk or almond milk, plus more as needed
1 (15-ounce) can puréed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
5 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
11/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 recipe Buttery Crumb Topping (see below), prepared without nutritional yeast flakes

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish.
In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, add the penne and cook according to package directions until al dente. Don’t overcook the pasta, especially if you’re using one that is gluten-free. Drain the pasta well and transfer to a large bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-highheat and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes. Remove from the heat.In a blender, purée the onion mixture, soymilk, pumpkin, nutritional yeast, cashews, salt, sage, and nutmeg. Blend until the mixture is super-smooth and velvety, and no traces of nuts remain. If the sauce is too thick to blend, you can add up to an additional 1/2 cup of nondairy milk.

Add the pumpkin sauce to the pasta, stirring until the pasta is well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the top of the casserole. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Tip: If you’re using a high-speed blender, you can skip the soaking step for the cashews and just use them dry. Add a little extra water to blend if needed.

Variation: Substitute fresh or dried rosemary for the sage.

Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free pasta, such as brown rice, as well as gluten-free panko breadcrumbs in the topping. My favorite gluten-free pasta for this recipe is brown rice penne.

Buttery Crumb Topping
Makes about 1/2 cup, enough to top an 8-or 9-inch casserole

A nice buttery crumb topping is my husband’s favorite part of a casserole. It is especially good on
everything from mac and cheese to vegetable casseroles, as it adds a nice rich, garlicky crunch. Crumb toppings are also open to a number of variations, depending on how you season them.

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, melted
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
Pinch of salt

In a small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, margarine, nutritional yeast, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Tip: You can substitute olive oil for the margarine, if desired.

Variation: For an herbed-garlic-flavored topping, add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs. For a richer topping, increase the margarine to 3 tablespoons.

Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs. My favorite brand is Ian’s, which is also egg-free and dairy-free.

*****
This timing of this book's release is poifect. So many cold-conquering comforting recipes to warm you and your winter. And while you're at it, Julie just posted her PDX famous nacho sauce. You better run.

xo
kittee

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lovin' on Teff Love.



We have a cover! Dun dun dun.

I'm seriously excited to show this off and to announce Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking is currently live on Amazon if you want to read more about it and keep track of its impending birth.

Teff Love will be available from all the regular book places including Herbivore Clothing and Powell's. I'm all about purchasing from local or small independent folks, but I also understand the need to purchase from Amazon. So, if you're gonna go that route, please consider ordering the book via this affiliate link, where I will earn a small percentage of each sale.

Yay! And, thanks so much for your support. I'm feeling lots of love. Get it?

xo
kittee

Sunday, October 19, 2014

If the Fitfit Fits.


Pretty in Pyrex.
Proclamation! Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking should be available for pre-order in the next two weeks or so! The book's on target for a January release, and I couldn't be more excited. I'm actually really sick of following recipes off of Google Drive on my phone, and can't wait for my own hard copy to slam on the counter when I need an Ethiopian fix.

Ye'souf Fitfit and the headless sequined wonder, Leslie Hall.
One of my favorite eating discoveries in researching for the book was learning about rich nut/seed butter based injera dishes known as fitfit. Fitfit are basically bread salads made from torn injera doused in a sort of sauce or dressing. The tangy injera absorbs the sauce and becomes very soft resulting in an addictive and comforting dish. There's really nothing I can think of to compare it to in the North American diet--the closest being pasta salad or sesame/peanut noodles.

The ye'suf fitfit pictured above was made from 100% teff injera doused in a toasted sunflower seed sauce with jalapeno, green onion, salt, and chopped red bell pepper. Sometimes restaurants will offer fitfit as an appetizer made similarly to the one above, or mixed with lemon juice, onion, and chopped tomatoes.

xo
kittee

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kombucha-ing Part II: Tea Bags.


My current favorite flavors. On the left chai and on the right lemon-rose. So booooooobly.
A wee little while ago, I wrote about my love for kombucha and the kitchen experiments I've been entertaining. For those of you who also brew the 'booch, I think I've stumbled onto something pretty awesome. 

To get the bag in the bottle, I just roll it up like a cigar and pop it in. I serve it with the teabag inside, and when the kombucha is gone, I pull it out. Make sure you take the bag out after the tea is gone, since it usually breaks and little pieces of herbs are annoying to strain out.
I've discovered a really awesome and easy way to flavor the kombucha during its second fermentation. Like really, really, really. I dare say I've been brewing tea that even beats good ol' Gee-Tee's.

After the first fermentation, transfer the kombucha into pop top bottles, as ya do. Add some julienned ginger to each bottle along with your favorite herbal/flavored tea in bag form. That's it! No fruit required. I leave mine on the counter for a few days usually, but even after one day the tea is strongly flavored and tasty. I also like the tang lemon juice provides, so depending on the flavor I add a few tablespoons of that to each bottle too.

Traditionally, brewing kombucha with herbal tea is a no-no since it makes Ol' Mother Scoby angry. But if you use the herbal tea during the second fermentation, when the culture is removed, no one gets grounded!

Here're my two favorite combos so far:
★ Chai: Ginger plus a rooibos chai tea bag.
The cloves and cinnamon in the chai make the kombucha taste so good!

★ Lemon-Rose: Ginger, lemon juice, hibiscus, with my favorite rose petal tea.
As you can see from the photos, the hibiscus does a nice job adding color.

Another cool thing about this method--the teabag tab sticks outside the bottle so when you're reaching into the fridge, you can see exactly what you've got. Since I'm too lazy to ever label my bottles, this means no more flavor surprises.

Yesterday I bottled up another batch and added a chamomile-lavender bag to a few bottles (with ginger, lemon, and hibiscus 'cuz this combo is great with floral flavors).

Let me know if you try and if you get any great results.
xo
kittee

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Life Changing Crackers

Life Changing Crackers from My New Roots.
Hey! Have you tried the Life Changing Crackers from My New Roots yet? The bread these crackers started from is really good, but these crackers are amazing. At first I was stubborn to agree that they're "life changing," but now that I've made them about four times on repeat, I'm starting to think that maybe they are.

They are so freakin' adaptable and delicious. And the recipe is really pure genius, I wish I'd thought of it. It's pretty much just seeds and grain held together by plant fiber (psyllium husks).

I've been making the same two flavors over and over again, 'cuz I like them so much. But sometimes I mix things up depending on what I have on hand, adding buckwheat groats and subtracting something I'm short on.

I usually just stuff these in my mouth plain, but they'd be awesome with cheese, hummus, and apples, or whatever you want.

The top crackers are seasoned with curry powder, nutritional yeast, onion granules, and raisins 
(In the past, I've added cilantro and jalapeno before, and those were great too).

The bottom are seasoned with cinnamon, chipotle chile powder, dried blueberries, and onion granules.
A few tips, if you try these:
★ Don't wait too long to roll the crackers out (i.e. decide on your flavor profiles before you start). The "dough" begins drying out fairly quickly, and can get a little tricky to roll the longer you wait.

★ Use a drinking glass or mason jar and parchment to roll them out on your baking sheet.

★ No need to wait as long as indicated in the recipe to bake them. I usually get mine in as soon as the oven is preheated.

★ If you add dried fruit, you might want to reduce the baking temperature a little unless you like burnt raisins. If your crackers don't seem crisp enough, just leave them in the oven with the heat turned off and they will crisp up without burning.

xo
kittee

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Salad Roll Whoppers 1.7


Polka Yums.
I'm on an elimination diet. I'm following the first step in a book that was recommended to me called The Immune System Recovery Plan. According to the book, you should give up dairy, gluten, corn, and soy for three weeks, then slowly re-introduce them into your diet to see how you feel. I'm also eating sorta low GI (glycemic index), but really I'm eating sweet things like fruit and a leeeetle brown rice syrup, but not eating any refined sugar what-so-ever. 

I don't think I have an issue with corn or soy (and obvs gluten and dairy are long gone), and I'm excited to embrace them back into my mouth-bits next week. In the meantime, I've been passing time without Soy Curls by eating a lot of overnight chia-oats, peanut butter, smoothies, and Salad Roll Whoppers. Today's was a dandy.

If you didn't know, I made a video with Everyday Dish TV to show how I roll and make these.
This here's a soy-free version that tastes grande.
Salad Roll Whoppers 1.7
Truly, the hardest thing about these is the prep. They're so healthy, filling, and good!
First you start with the basics of any self-respecting SRW:

 Throw a big-big-big handful of salad greens in a bowl and toss with rice vinegar (you can use seasoned rice vinegar if you're not a weirdo watching your sugar intact).

 Find a big collard leaf and cut the rib out, then quarter it.

★ Buy some really big rice paper wrappers. You'll need the largest size, which is 28cm. I like Five Ladies brand.

Watch the video I linked to above, since it'll show you how to set up your work station, soften the paper, fill the SRWs, and roll them up. You want these huge like a burrito.

PowerKraut! And, I'm painting my kitchen trim. And look! I won a fancy food processor, which I keep on the floor!
Awww! I fooled you. :(((  This really isn't a recipe after all, it's more like a vibe.

My delightful roll today was filled with:
Basic salad mix

★ Nooch-coconut oil-salt-curry powder tossed roasted sweet potato (425F. on parchment till soft and brown)

★ Green olive hummus (hummus with roasted garlic stuffed green olives pulsed in)

★ Cucumber slices

★ Red pepper slices

★ Sauerkraut (I made an inflammation fighting batch with ginger, turmeric root, cabbage, and salt)

★ Abooocado.

That's it! I'll be posting more variations as I make some I like. I think mac 'n' cheesie rolls are on the horizon, 'cuz I'm worth it.

xo
kittee

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Weird Scobies, Delicious Boochies.

Kombucha haters should click away now.
Just another poor misunderstood scoby.
Scobies are weird. They have disgusting names (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast AKA a biological mat), weird textures, and alien looks, and yet they have magic power. I would trade my favorite nephew for a good kombucha.

Neither sunshine, a cute pooch, pretty dahlias, or Pyrex fridgies can dress up the freaky scoby.
Even when you have an extra and you tie cute pink yarn on it and pose it in front of favorable things around the house, the scoby remains grim, ugly, and ever squoooooshy. Truly, the scoby's only saving grace is its ability to convert sweet brewed tea into the most thirst quenching, deliciously effervescent elixir on planet earth. It's a good trick.

Much better.
I lived in lots of shared housing in the 90s, and somewhere around '94 I lived in a house with a friend who was macrobiotic-ish. His friends gave us a kombucha "mushroom" with a xeroxed copy of its nutritional stats and basic instructions on what to do with it. Back then kombucha had no bubbles, and tasted as good as a scoby is pretty. No one I knew had any idea that 'booch could be terrifically tasty; I balked and refused it, and my roommate left it to languish in a bowl on the back porch.

Look at the bubbles!!
Fast forward a decade and a half, and my love for kombucha hath no limits (only my wallet does). Which is why I'm now brewing the stuff by the double gallon to keep up with my own interminable demand. With help from my friends Susan and Somer (Hiiiii!!!), and lots of reading on the web, I've finally figured out how to make a batch that satisfies.

Kombucha
Makes 1 gallon
I'm insanely sensitive to caffeine and sugar, so this recipe makes a 'booch that tastes great, but doesn't keep me up at night. If you don't have any empty gallon pickle jars laying around, I've found them scouting around recycling bins. Home Goods ::cough:: also has large glass jars that work well.

What You Need (1st fermentation):
1 gallon distilled water
6 bags organic green tea
2 bags organic black tea
1 1/2 cups unbleached granulated sugar
1 clean gallon glass jar
thermometer
One wee scoby
2 cups kombucha
cloth napkin or clean tshirt
rubberband

What You Need (2nd fermentation):
6 flip top bottles
funnel
julienned ginger
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
bite sized fruit/herbs

What You Do:
Put 3/4 of the water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the tea bags, decrease the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags with a clean spoon and squeeze out any tea back into the pot.

While the tea is simmering, put the sugar into the glass jar. Add the tea and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the remaining remaining water and cover so no fruit flies buzz in. Let the tea cool until it is less than 88 degrees F (this may take several hours). Once the tea has cooled, add the wee scoby and the kombucha.

Cover the jar with the clean fabric and secure with a rubber band (it's important for the kombucha to breathe and also to be protected from pests and bugs). Let the tea rest undisturbed for about a week (the warmer the environment the faster it will culture). I've only been brewing in the summer, and mine usually takes about 11 days to get where I like it. With a clean spoon, taste the tea after about a week. When it's ready for the next step (2nd fermentation), it should be slightly sour, sometimes even a little bubbly, and just a bit sweet.

Second Fermentation:
The second fermentation is the most important step to making top notch kombucha. Flip top bottles are a must, since they trap the carbon dioxide created from the yeast feeding on the sugars in the tea (i tried using an air lock and a gallon jug, and the brew was not very bubbly).

Stir the tea and using the funnel, distribute it evenly among the flip top bottles. Be sure there is just enough room in each bottle for a few tablespoons of juice, a few pieces of fresh fruit, a sprinkle of ginger, and herbs (if desired).

How you flavor the tea is up to you, but I like to add ginger, fresh basil, lemon or lime juice, and some fruit to mine. Once you've added flavorings to each bottle (there should be about  1/4-1/2" of space at the top), clamp it down and let it rest on the counter near the sink. Burp the bottles daily (over the sink) until they're fizzy and delicious--in warm weather this takes about 3 days on the counter. Refrigerate and enjoy (strain out any seasonings, or leave them in the bottom of your glass).

I've really enjoyed flavoring with citrus, ginger, basil, rhubarb, strawberries, peaches, and watermelon. Right now I've got some blueberry-lime-ginger going, and the next batch I plan to experiment with herbal tea as flavorings along with fresh fruit (I'm thinking hibiscus and also chamomile/lavender).

P.S. If you wanna keep brewing kombucha, save your scoby and 2 cups of kombucha from each brew, and use it for the next. The scoby will get thicker after each batch. You can peel off the new scobies and use them for double batching, compost them, or give them away.

P.P.S. Be smart. If your scoby looks moldy, or weirder than a scoby should look, toss it away and start over. The internet has lots of forums and information for trouble-shooting.

xo
kittee

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Salad Roll Whoppers--Video and Recipe Ideas

May I present the Salad Roll Whopper: (see how the rice paper and collard greens become one?!)
Noochy Tofu, avocado, herbs and tossed greens with a collard leaf wrapped inside a soft rice paper wrapper.
I've been obsessed with giant-assed salad rolls stuffed with vegetables and protein for awhile now, but I've been really cranking them out over the last several months. I call them Salad Roll Whoppers, but you can call them whatever you fancy. Best way to eat greens ever.

I've discovered that collard greens and rice papers have magical powers when used together to hold fillings. On its own, a collard wrap is messy, cumbersome, and falls apart easily (plus the rib always makes it hard to roll nicely), while rice paper salad rolls are overly delicate and tear easily if overfilled. However, if you take the thick ribs out of the collard and cut it into pieces and use it to line the rice paper, they fortify each other and create a strong, healthy wrapper that can hold a lot of filling. In a word my friends: synergeeeeeeeeee.

To make Salad Roll Whoppers, you'll need big 28cm (about 11") rice papers (bánh tráng), which you can find in any Vietnamese market or most East Asian groceries. I like Three Ladies Brand. You'll also need collard greens (1 large leaf is enough for two SRWs).

And fillings. You can use whatever you like, and I often make "clean the fridge out" rolls, but no matter what flavor theme I'm going for, I always use lots of herbs, a protein, and greens tossed in rice vinegar. You can also make a dipping sauce if you prefer (I usually make an easy peanut sauce, or a creamy cashew based one).

Last week I filmed a video at Everyday Dish TV making some of these whoppers for my friends Julie and Jay. Watch the video to see how I prep for these, make Noochy Tofu, and roll the whoppers tight. I also show a quickie peanut sauce for dippin'.

Video Link Heeeeeeeeeeeere!
Whopper Map. If I'm not dipping whoppers into something creamy, I'm sure to stuff them with something that has some fat in it like avocado, or a creamy based protein salad like a tempeh chicken salad, or tofu tuna.
Whopper ideas:
Proteins: Noochy Tofu (recipe below), smoky baked tofu, tempeh bacon, tempeh salad, tofu salad, Soy Rizo, seasoned Soy Curls, chickpea salad, black beans, refried beans, and sprouted lentils.

Greens: arugula, leaf lettuce, spring mix, romaine, shredded kale, spinach, pea shoots, and chard.

Herbs: basil, cilantro, parsley, nasturtiums (leaves and flowers), chives, green onions, mint, and green sprouts.

Vegetables/Fruit: julienned red peppers, cukes, radish slices, grated beets, kimchee, pickled carrots/daikon, pickled beets, sauerkraut, sugar snap peas, grated carrots, steamed sweet potatoes, supremed oranges or grapefruit, avocado or guacamole,  and apple.

♥Dipping Sauces: peanut butter sauce, almond butter sauce, creamy cashew salad dressings, and salsa.
Top Left: greens, orange, shredded beet, baked tofu, and avocado.
Top Right: smoky tofu, kale, arugula, romaine, golden beets, sprouted lentils, apple, and basil.
Bottom Left: Fermented cabbage, smoky tofu, pink lady apple, arugula, romaine, sprouted lentils, and basil.
Bottom Right: greens, apple, smoky baked tofu, avocado, shredded beets, fermented cabbage, sweet potato, and basil.
Theme Ideas:
Buffalo--buffalo tempeh or Soy Curls, grated carrots, minced celery, greens, parsley dipped in ranch dressing.

♥Reuben--Soy Curls with corned spices, sauerkraut, greens, parsley dipped in French dressing.

♥Taco--Taco seasoned Noochy Tofu, soyrizo, or refried beans, lettuce shreds, black olives dipped in salsa or sin queso.

♥BLT--tempeh bacon, roasted tomato, greens, basil, and avocado.

♥Southern--man n cheese, grated carrot, cilantro or basil, and greens.

♥Korean--replace the collards with nori (it supports the rice paper just as well, but has a strong sea flavor), tofu, kimchi, grated carrots, cukes, avocado dipped into a gojuchang-peanut butter sauce.

And on and on!
Noochy Tofu Army relaxing with a game of Jenga.

Noochy Tofu Army
As seen on Everydish TV, here's a very loose and adaptable recipe for the tofu I like to use in Salad Roll Whoppers. Instead of the curry powder, you can season the tofu however you like (some suggestions are below).

14-16 oz. tofu, extra frim (press it if it's wobbly)
1 cup water
1/4 cup tamari 
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons potato starch
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (or dried onion flakes)
1 teaspoon curry powder (or ground chipotle pepper, lemon-pepper, taco seasoning, etc.)
Pinch salt

Marinate the Tofu
1. Cut the tofu into 32 even pieces (Half the tofu horizonatally, then cut each half into 16 pieces).
2. In a small casserole or medium bowl, combine the water, tamari, vinegar, nooch, liquid smoke, and garlic. Add the tofu (be sure it's covered in marinade), and refrigerate for several hours or up to 3 days.

Nooch the Tofu
1. Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Spray the parchment with a thin film of oil.
3. In a plastic bag, combine the nooch, potato starch, sesame seeds, curry powder, and salt. 
4. Reserve one hand for handling the marinated tofu, and another for handling the nooched tofu: add about 5 pieces of tofu to the bag, seal, and shake to coat. Transfer the coated tofu to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the tofu.
5. Spray the coated tofu with a thin film of oil.
6. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom, flip and bake for 10-11 minutes more, until golden brown and lightly crisp.

Cool to room temperature and stuff into Salad Paper Whoppers, or eat as is on top of salad, with pasta, or on sandwiches.

Top Left and Bottom Right: nori instead of collards, sugar snaps, pea shoots, greens, baked tofu, kimchi, and apple.
Top Right: greens, basil, chives, nasturtium, avocado, radish, and baked tofu.
Bottom Left: Fermented sour cabbage, baked tofu, avocado, sweet potato, and shredded golden beets.
I hope you make some Salad Roll Whoppers! Lemme know if you come up with any great combos, and please use the tag #saladrollwhoppers so we can all see and be inspired by your creations.

xo
kittee

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sushi Love: Vegan Sushi Cart


Truer name I never did see.
I've been wanting to check out the new Sushi Love cart for a few weeks now--the entire menu is vegan and gluten-free.


I heard the wait time was long, so I thought it might be a good idea to give them some breathing room and hold back for awhile. We hit it today and had to wait about 20 minutes for three rolls, since they only have one person working.

Top Left and Right are the Full Kitchen Alchemest (front and back view to show the soyrizo)
Bottom L-R: Mother of Dragons and Fresher than Fresh.
I will never, ever complain about vegan sushi. Period. I liked the creativity of this cart, and surprisingly to me, my favorite was the Full Kitchen Alchemist roll with soyrizo, corn chips, avocado, and sin queso. Not sure if I need to mention this, but I held off on the wasabi and ginger on this one.

I also really liked the Fresher than Fresh roll because I NEVER get the opportunity to eat sushi filled with cream cheese, and YUM.

The Mother of Dragons roll was good, but I didn't notice any sauce on it, and it seemed pretty standard.

I've never developed a taste for seafood, but on my next visit I'm thinking I'll be brave and try the rolls that are meant to taste fishier like the Avalon, Don't be Shellfish, and Bok Bok.

L-R: Full Kitchen Alchemist, Fresher than Fresh, and Mother of Dragons.
Sushi Love--Vegan Sushi
2623 SE Belmont Street
Portland, OR 97214

xo
kittee

Friday, August 15, 2014

Raw Fig Bars at Hand.


Forever on duty.
So the story goes that I follow someone on Instagram, who follows someone else on Instagram, who has a blog, who made some raw fig bars. I've never been a huge Newton fan, but for some reason this recipe mesmerized me, and I wanted to give it a go.

I think it was the simple ingredients that pulled me in.
I'm always a little wary of Internet recipes that seem too easy for their own good. I tried to loosen my wary pants while I worked on these. Also, common knowledge: I can't leave a recipe alone, and if a recipe is appealing in its simplicity, of course I'm gonna get in there and complicate things a bit.

I left the recipe alone as much as I could, but I added a teaspoon or so of orange blossom water to the figs. And it needed lots more than a teaspoon of fresh orange juice to get whirling around in my mini chopper, and I also added a mini pinch of salt. I also found the filling made too small of an amount to whirl in a blender or food processor, so consider yourself warned.

Once I added enough dates, the dough came together quickly into a nice ball in the food processor. Of course, I also added salt to this, and next time I'd leave out the agave, since it was plenty sweet and moist from the dates.

I rolled out the dough in one go without halving it first, and found it not too hard to get nice and thin using two pieces of parchment. Once I spread the fig filling, I folded the dough in half and cut the pastries into squares. I found them way too soft and sweet to eat right away, but after a night in the dehydrator, I was happy to find them very fig newton-y in texture, and yummy. If you don't have a dehydrator, the original recipe offers a baking version.

This made a small plateful of squares, I'd guess around 16.

xo
kittee

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Salad Samurai-ing. Review and Gift Away.


Avocado Amaranth Bhel Puri Chaat: ripe mango and avocado with chickpeas, popped amaranth, crunchy Bhuja, in a tangy, spicy tamarind dressing with cilantro = one of my favorite mouth experiences ever. 
Greetings and long time no bloggy-bloggy. I'm here with a pop-in review of Terry Hope Romero's latest cookbook Salad Samurai, which I've had the pleasure of playing around with for the last month or so. 
As expected, this book is chock full of salad recipes (including salads that look like salads and sturdier salads that make heartier meals), and delightfully, it's also brimming with creative dressings, salad accouterments, and sweet and savory breakfast ideas in the form of smoothie bowls and savory grain salads.

I've tried a bunch of things so far (dont'cha love a cookbook that's released to match the seasons), but here are the recipes I keep coming back to:
My take on salad perfection: garden greens, roasted beets, radish, supremed orange, chunks of cold polenta, with a drizzle of Creamy Curry Dressing and Cheezy Buckcrunch.
Cheezy Buckcrunch--sprouted buckwheat groats coated in a cheezy, tangy cashew sauce and dehydrated until crunchy. While a bit time intensive (soaking and sprouting is required) these make a great savory snack as is, and also make a great salad topper. I plan to make them over and over again. The cashew sauce would also be great in bowls or with pasta.

Avocado Amaranth Bhel Puri Chaat--Indian chaat is one of my favorite food groups, and if you've never had it before, this recipe is a great initiation. Plus POPPED AMARANTH.

This POTM was topped with Creamy Curry Dressing and avocado. Best sewing contemplation brain food there is.
Creamy Curry Dressing--I've already made this cashew based dressing about 5-6 times. Besides tempeh salad, for which it's designed, I've found it's also great for salad roll dipping, on leafy salads (with polenta and orange segments), and drizzled on top of my beloved pudla.

Overnight Oats with Mexican Chocolate Creme and 13 year old foot.
Overnight Oats with Mexican Chocolate Creme--This breakfast treat is so rich and decadent, my teenager nephew couldn't figure out why I told him it was healthy. Add a sliced frozen banana and a spoonful of peanut butter to the basic oat recipe and you've got a great everyday grab n go brekkie.

Guts 'n' Glory Granola--The flavor combo is really great, plus POPPED AMARANTH!

Blueberry Smoothie Granola Bowl with  Guts 'n' Glory Granola, golden raspberries, and coconut.
Smoothie Granola Bowl--If you need an excuse to eat a sundae-like bowl of frozen yum for breakfast. Here ya go.

A few of my favorite things about Salad Samurai:
❤ While I love reading cookbooks, I'm not much of a recipe follower. I love how easily these recipes can be adapted my way. Books that fail this test, rarely see a lick of sun in our house.

 ❤  Two recipes contain POPPED AMARANTH. Tip: get your pan really hot and pop the amaranth in small mini batches about a tablespoon at a time.

❤ The creativity in these recipes is apparent. I would never have thought to add whole chia seed to a salad dressing, but now I want to add it to every salad dressing ever made.

❤ Most of the recipes are gluten-free, or can be made so with easy adaptions.

My critiques:
★ I find the dark sidebars a bit cumbersome to read while in the thick of recipe following, and lemon juice takes the dark ink right off the page. Danger-danger my messy cooking brethren!

  • Title:  Salad Samurai
  • Author:   Terry Hope Romero
  • Blog/Website:  Vegan Latina
  • Publisher:  Da Capo Press
  • Photos: Gorgeous color photos by Vanessa K. Rees
  • XGFXnessThe majority of the recipes are xgfx, or can be made so with simple adaptions.

I wanna try something new, and am hosting the Salad Samurai gift away on my Instagram account (where I'm much more active). Come visit me over there for a chance to win, and to say helloooooooooOOOo.

xo
kittee

Disclaimer:  I received a free review copy of Salad Samurai  from Da Capo Press, along with a free copy to gift away to a reader.  No compensation or gift was exchanged for this review, and the opinions posted here are my own.