26 September 2010

Vegan Brunch for Almost Anyone

The idea of Sunday brunch for me always involves eggs or dairy somehow. Bagels and cream cheese, pancakes, muffins, hash browns, French Toast, waffles, buttered toast, buttered biscuits, buttery grits, and of course eggs. But when a vegan ironically named Hambourger invited himself over to brunch, I knew I had consider the notorious meal anew.

It's a stressful time in the semester—one of those times when homework accumulates, deadlines loom, quizzes pop up, and time is squeezed like a Wagner soprano in a corset—pretty much the whole semester every semester. So I thought to myself, Self, why not make one of those sustaining meals that get you through all this tsores? Self amiably agreed, so we set to work.

This is a How to Feed Vegans Brunch post in case you suddenly find yourself hosting a vegan at brunch. Or you yourself are a vegan and suddenly find yourself making brunch. We made:

fresh orange juice squeezed from Valencia oranges
a fruit smoothie of soymilk, peaches, banana, and a single strawberry
hot squash cakes
left-over cooked collards, reheated in a fry pan with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

The whole squash and the collards were cooked the night before.
Although beautiful and tasty, this brunch had a down side: it was outrageously, in-your-face healthy. Also, by accident, kosher. You could probably feed it to almost anyone (although to make it gluten-free you would have to substitute some sort of GF binding agent for the flour in the squash cakes). Anyone except my mom, who hates smoothies; for her I would just cut up some good fruit.

Has anyone else fed brunch to a vegan? How did it go? Details, please.

23 September 2010

Sandwich News

Guys, I have the most amazing news to share with you. I just invented a restaurant-level sandwich by accident! That is to say, this is a sandwich I would prominently feature at Sarah's Tasty Time Sandwich Shop along with…let's continue the fantasy…my Gourmet Artichoke Mushroom Sandwich of Love, Mom's Picnic Sandwich, and the always controversial Tempeh Reuben. Wow. I'm sad that I only have 4 fancy vegetarian sandwiches in my repetoire. I need more! If you have some recipes for great sandwiches I could sell with dignity at the Tasty Time, please let me know.
My new sandwich could easily be made gluten-free by switching out the bread; vegan by substituting soy yogurt; or carnivorous by substituting canned baby seal for the eggplant. Whatever revs your engine, pal.

Patlican Avocado Sandwich

sturdy, nutritious bread or pita
half or 1/3 delicious fresh avocado slices
4 pieces of patlican (lemony eggplant)
Everyfood Yogurt Sauce

1. Layer on bread or stuff in pita the avocado and patlican.
2. Drizzle on Everyfood Yogurt Sauce.
3. Smush together so it's mouth-sized.
4. Use your teeth and stomach acids to reduce it to intestine-sized.

16 September 2010

Mushroom Fried Rice, or That's Not a Taco

While I wandered through Japan, bewildered, vegetarian, and alone, sometimes I came upon a fast food chain where all the pink and white fish cakes had a number 8 printed on them. Does anyone know the name of that chain? It also served vegetable fried rice. Honestly, I'm not sure if the rice was really vegetarian or not, but at least it wasn't sprinkled with tiny octopus corpses nor served with a large, unidentifiable bone.

(FYI, in Japan "tako" doesn't mean taco. Nothing there means taco.)

Suffice it to say I had a very hard time finding vegetarian food my first month alone in Japan, but if I had known how to make this—and how to use my rice cooker or stove—I probably would have done better.

Mushroom Fried Rice

Leftover, unappealing cold cooked rice, white or brown
portabello or shiitake mushrooms cut into thin slices
mirin or sugar
soy sauce (GF ok)
egg, beaten, or an egg-sized amount of soft tofu, drained.

1. Spray a pan with oil. Add rice and stir until glistening with fatty goodness.
2. Add a few glugs sake, a few less of mirin, and a little bit of soy sauce. Mix it up.
3. Add mushrooms. Cook until they're nearly done (you can cover the fry pan to speed things up).
4. Make a well in the center. Add egg/ tofu. Mix it all up into a gooey mess. When it's almost done, taste to adjust seasonings.
5. Grind on some fresh pepper and serve steaming hot.

10 September 2010

An Ecstatic Banana Delight

Oh ice cream, how you tempt me with your guilty pleasures. Packed with stolen milk, its excess fats and blended with G-d knows what thickeners... could ever there be a dessert so fair? Thus pondered the demoralized post dinner gathering. When along came Irreverent and said,
"Never fear, for I am here! While your troubles are deep and beyond compare my
vast stores of knowledge and endless innovation will wrest you from the caverns of the
dessert doldrums."
Thus commenced a great storm in the synapses of the mighty irreverent. With a tingle in the hippocampus and a shiver in the cerebral cortex, out sprang a long lost memory of a banana concoction from days of yore:
Once upon a autumn eve,
One fellow member of the humble abode
and grocery store clerk by trade
returned home from her noble toil
on the wheels she wearily rode
with many a bruised and bumpy banana,
and little else to eat,
'twas born the miraculous treat.

The recipe is as follows and is scaled for a single soul, but may be scaled twice or thrice free from adverse effects.

One (1) Frozen Banana

One (1) Tbsp. Peanut Butter
One Quarter (1/4) Cup frozen Blueberries

A scant dash almond or soy milk, or pure unfettered water.

The banana shall be chopped and forced to whirl amongst the other ingredients in the blender for a minute or two. The blender shall mightily protest, but lo! With scant use of moisture shall emerge a thick and spoonable treat surpassed by almost none. She who acquiesced to the frightening growl of a struggling blender with more and more milk created by her misdeeds a lowly smoothie. Listener take heed, avoid her terrible fate, and a noble frozen treat shall await.

09 September 2010

Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

I know that we food bloggers are supposed to be ahead of the game and post recipes before our readers want to make them, but how can I tell you how it went if it hasn't went yet? And no one should eat honey cake more than once a year, not unless you want more cavities in your life.

So yes, it's the first day of Rosh Hashanah and probably many observant Jews won't even check the computer until Saturday night, at which point they will be heartily tired of honey cake. Oh well.

This is my mother's recipe, but before you sigh "awww" you should know that until this year, my 30th, I had no idea that my mother had a honey cake recipe. I didn't even realize we had a honey cake tradition. My mother told me she bought honey cake every year, but it must have been truly boring for me not to remember it. She used to make this cake from scratch before I attained sentience and then stopped as soon as I could really appreciate her efforts, probably at the same time that I became a real handful. Luckily, she suddenly remembered the cake… just as God remembered his covenant with Israel. Yuk yuk yuk.

George cooked it up this morning and it tastes nutty, mildly sweet, and on the dry side of moist—probably because I over-baked it by 13 minutes. It sure doesn't taste like he poured a full jar of honey in! (I know, I know. Deep breaths.) We enjoyed it at breakfast with fruit and then sat through morning services with an uncomfortable sugar high.

Mom would like you to know that she used to bake it at 325, not 350, and she doubled all of the spices except the nutmeg. This is George's and my version.

Mom's Alleged Honey Cake

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp plus a little more freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbs oil, like vegetable or canola
2 cups honey
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
1/2 cup brewed coffee

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Beat eggs, gradually adding sugar until thick and light in color. Add oil, honey and coffee to egg mixture. Combine with flour mixture and fold in walnuts. Pour batter into 2 greased bread loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out cleaner than it would if the cake were undercooked.

05 September 2010

The Foodie Blogroll

Very exciting news, my faithful 9 readers (and recent Canadian and Singaporean visitors): I've finally, after a few attempts, been selected as part of the Foodie Blogroll! See the widget in my sidebar. This is a big deal for me as a Jewish vegetarian Japanese fusion food blogger because it helps other Jewish vegetarian Japanese fusion food lovers find me. And even plain old generic vegetarians have only 15 pages of blog listings to scan to find me. I think that joining this blogroll may help me add another reader!

I found some of my favorite bloggers through the Foodie Blogroll. Check them out in my Sidebar:
Ari Cooks
Elle's New England Kitchen
hapa bento
Stoner Food

If you have a food blog, you should think about joining too.

I was right! I gained a new reader, Ariella of Ari Cooks. Now I can have a minyan of gourmets!

And thanks for all the invites to join other food blog communities! I'm excited about meeting new bloggers, virtual and faceless as that experience may be. The green burrito you see pictured has to do with joining Foodista. I hope they're not just into me for my looks.

Vegan Veggie Burritos
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