Friday, September 27, 2013

Vegan Mofo Day 27: Eating Out At The Vegan Tree

Day 27 is eating out in Philly.
Last week, I discovered Vegan Tree whilst walking down the popular South Street. It is a small restaurant that fuses Asian cuisine and American modern. With specializations in sushi, salad, and burgers, and the in between,  the well balanced Vegan Tree has something for every kind of vegan. They even have bubble teas and smoothies. I couldn't contain my growing excitement. An all vegan restaurant? Yes!
Earlier it had been crowded, but I came back to emptiness and enjoyed knowing that I wouldn't be pitied for eating alone.
The food is delicious and reasonably priced, especially one of the most divine desserts I've ever tried. Seriously, I would love to write poems about how good that mango cheesecake was.
However, despite my joys of the meal, I think that I'll probably come here just to get a carry out order.
Oh and I almost forgot- Happy Hug A Vegan Day everyone! Giving all of my family, friends, and fans cyber hugs for being so splendidly supportive of me and the journeys! Everyday, I feel lucky and fully blessed to share my grand vegan adventures.

The Vegan Tree on South Street.
The menu.
A glimpse at the appetizer menu. Will definitely have to try out the vegan shrimp for next time! Gotta see if it's anything like Loving Hut's. Yummy....
I love the swirly pattern. Mimics sushi in an abstract manner against the grain of the wooden table. Nice clean environment.
Mushroom spring rolls for $3.95. I do have a pet peeve. They brought out the entree first and I like eating the appetizer first. That's all.
Hot interior of number two!
Looking good for $6.95.
Very delicious. The sauce, however, is a bit too heavy at times  not sure if I enjoy the soy protein- the chewiness is probably an acquired liking.
How could I leave without trying one dessert? For $5.35 this mango cheesecake certainly hit the spot with its rich creamy smoothness & firm stability amongst the sweet mango flavor. I can see why the waiter said it was his favorite. So good no one would believe it was vegan! Perfect end to a satisfying meal.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vegan Mofo Day 26: Baked Potatoes & Veggies With Roasted Pepper Coconut Milk Sauce

Day 26.
Cannot believe Vegan Mofo is almost over. Four more days to go?
I'm not quite finished discovering new blogs or myself as a kitchen aficionado. I have enjoyed the inspirations from vegans all around the world. They are everywhere and growing exponentially. Seriously, I started to truly crack the scientific code of making a good, presentable vegan dish. That we're more than "tasteless" tofu (okay that I've ALWAYS known!) and
Potatoes on the brain for the evening, but before I get into dinner, I wanted to talk briefly about the album recently picked up at FYE- Janelle Monáe's "The Electric Lady!!!!" Everyone should hear it!
I haven't bought a CD in ages & Janelle Monáe's latest is a masterful piece of funky, beautiful, raw, edgy brilliance. Like glitter to my ears with collaborative presents from Prince & Esperanza Spaulding in between, "The Electric Lady" is all that & more! As I cooked (without burning anything!) & danced (without frightening anyone) in the empty kitchen, I became further overjoyed by her profound versatility, sophistication, poetry, & intelligence. Cannot wait until October 13th's Electric Factory concert. I'm bound to have a different kind of swooning experience than Trey Songz. Heehee! For Janelle Monáe is musical ambrosia- all stamina, substance,  pure genius. No filler necessary!
Now back to scheduled potato feast.
Soft, boiled potatoes are delicious alone, but the company of broccoli, carrots, and red onion adds flare and color to their brown and white goodness. A sweetly enticing red roasted pepper coconut milk sauce brings flavor to a succulent meal that is baked to enhance and infuse.
Get that knife and fork ready. First moment of pouring extra creamy sauce and cutting into a tender potato is the time to savor and enjoy. I guarantee that no one will miss those beloved tofu steaks.

Baked Potatoes & Veggies With Roasted Pepper Coconut Milk Sauce Ingredients and Preparation

The best baked potatoes ever!
4 large potatoes, chopped ( I didn't peel the skin- do so if fondly wished)
2 cup broccoli, steamed
1 1/2 cup baby carrots, seamed
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup lite coconut milk
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 roasted bell pepper, chopped

Bring potatoes to a boil.
Once soft and tender (takes about 40-45 minutes), drain and pour them into oiled baking pan.
Add steamed veggies and red onion.

Potatoes & veggies ready to be sauced. At this point preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a hot skillet, bring lite coconut milk, olive oil, turmeric, garlic powder, salt, basil, rosemary, oregano, & white pepper to a little fiery boil.
Add roasted pepper & simmer for approximately 5 minutes.
Pour sauce over potatoes & veggies.
Close up. Bake for 30 minutes.
The roasted bell pepper turns a richer red. Awesome.
It looks pretty "steak-y" sans steak.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vegan Mofo Day 25: Portobello Mushroom Hazelnut Cream Sauce

Day 25.
I haven't done a pretty little butter cream sauce yet and figured the time arrived. Earth Balance's new Garlic and Herb Culinary Spread was on sale at Whole Foods for $3. Plus, I had an $1 off coupon. It brings me to celebrate another marking off my Bucket List.

I found the Aged Cheddar Puffs!!! Woo hoo! These were also on sale & yes, I had a coupon. An $1 off one.
Well, remember that So Delicious Coconut Milk Hazelnut Creamer from a previous Whole Foods trip? Did you really think I planned to use that for just hot chocolate and coffee (which I don't drink)? It's amazing how the kitchen smells after toasting hazelnuts. They have a rich flavor meant for versatility and the smell is paradise to the nostrils. Yes, I love chocolate hazelnut spread. Yum. Yum. Yum!
However, I had planned a creamy pasta dish from the get go.
The hazelnut creamer gets mixed up with mushrooms (aka perfect butter sauce veggie) and Earth Balance's culinary sauce- an out of this world fusion. I used 365's whole wheat pasta, added broccoli and cream sauce, and topped it all with the toasted hazelnuts.
I have one proper word that fits the description of what taste buds just devoured. Unbelievably good.
Okay. Two words.

Vegan Portobello Mushroom Hazelnut Cream Sauce Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon water
1 1/2- 2 cup portobello mushroom, chopped
1/4 cup red onion
1/4 cup Earth Balance Roasted Garlic & Herb Culinary Spread
3 tablespoon So Delicious Hazelnut Coconut Milk Creamer
1 teaspoon miso paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

In a medium heated skillet, marry mushrooms, onions, & water. Let cook for 5 minutes or so, letting mushrooms brown & shrink.
Two main ingredients of the sauce.
Stir in culinary spread, hazelnut creamer, miso, salt, & pepper. Allow sauce to thicken.
I mixed the sauce with whole wheat shells & broccoli & topped it with toasted hazelnuts. Incredible.
Another beautiful meal.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Vegan Mofo Day 24: Baked Polenta & Pumpkin Tempeh Curry

Day 24!
Hello beautiful fall and libra season!
I am beyond better now, but it has been hard to talk. My throat hurts. Con of such a great voice. As many know, I adore the raspier quality and have been researching ways to continue articulating in this Jessica Rabbit manner. Seriously....
I went inside Trader Joe's with a certain idea in mind- an autumn curry! With pumpkins outside everywhere and folks wearing orange like it's the new black (TV pun intended), I wanted- no craved! pumpkin today. Maybe because I hadn't eaten all day. Bad. Bad. BAD! Yes, I know. It'll never happen again. Eat breakfast.
So pumpkin curry on my starving mind, I thought originally of a brown/basmati rice or quinoa pairing. But polenta's $1.99 goodness came along and stopped routine safety dish. Now I usually have the Bob Mills kind of polenta. The one where you add boiled water and eat it breakfast grits style inside of a huge ole bowl. A long, long time ago, I do recall making polenta pasta with cheese and sauce....

Looking all fancy.
Firm golden black speckled polenta rounds are baked and valiantly take divine pummeling from the rich, luxurious pumpkin tempeh curry, aromatic fragrance and creamy extravagance plated nicely with a side of broccoli pride. The pumpkin tempeh curry is unlike my first pumpkin Middle Eastern inspired dish. And not just because of the tempeh. The addition of pumpkin pie spice makes this latest thick, syrupy pumpkin curry wickedly delicious, coating spoon and polenta like a sophisticated caramel sauce, yummy concoction a solid opening act to autumn flavor. This was easily one of my finest vegan presentations and is worthy of repeating.

Baked Polenta Ingredients and Preparation

1/2 polenta, cut into six discs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Oil a cookie sheet.
Brush each side of the polenta with olive oil, Italian seasoning, turmeric, garlic salt, and black pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes- flipping them over in between.
Pumpkin Tempeh Curry Ingredients and Preparation

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 block tempeh, diced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
garlic salt

Cook tempeh in olive oil for a good 13 minutes- flipping over every few minutes.
Stir in red onions & pumpkin puree.
Stir in lite coconut milk, pumpkin pie spice, cumin, turmeric, & garlic salt. Add a pinch of extra curry powder if desired.
Bring to a simmer & allow curry to thicken.
Pour curry over polenta & serve with your favorite steamed veggies!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Vegan Mofo Day 20: Apple Apple Sausage Macaroni & Cheese With Broccoli

Day 20 The Nitty Gritty!
The nostril pathways are clear and everything is all systems go for New York City Saturday! So tonight's dinner had to be a very special affair, especially due to all of the excitement from buying new items and the sickness finally fading away. Thanks Whole Foods. Thanks holy angels for the gracious timing.
Field Roast is a creative, boundary breaking company that has been praised for ages and continues to craft innovative proteins to eat alongside our potato and veggie dinners. Now the time has come for me to put them to the test starting with their vegan Smoked Apple Sausage (many of my IG friends are fans). In this recipe instead of using oil, I pan fried the sausage slices with apples, onions, and water, letting the flavors marry and simmer brilliantly. I loved Apple Broccoli French Bread Pizza and feel that this perfectly mirrors wonderful combination. Field Roast's Smoked Apple Sausage flared things up a bit, scenting the kitchen with the loveliest aroma.
A slice of Daiya's provolone (good job guys!), white miso paste, and almond milk creams up this flavorful gourmet version of macaroni and cheese- topped with extra diced apples that bring out the eloquence of the smoked sausage.
After two mouthfuls, I swear vegan never tasted better.

Vegan Apple Apple Sausage Macaroni & Cheese With Broccoli Ingredients and Preparation

An incredibly sweet & savory macaroni & cheese that hits all of the right notes.

2 cup macaroni
1 cup broccoli, steamed
2 tablespoon water
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 Field Roast Smoked Apple and Sage Sausage, chopped
1 apple, diced
1/4 cup almond milk (or any other dairy free milk)
2 tablespoon miso paste
1-2 slices Daiya Provolone Cheese
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (if desired)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Prepare macaroni and broccoli separately and set aside.

Always exciting to try something new!
In a medium heated skillet stir water, onion, sausage, & apples for 7-8 minutes, adding additional bits of water if needed.
Lower heat & bring in macaroni & broccoli.
Miso! Miso!
Stir in dairy free milk, miso paste, turmeric, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, Daiya, & white pepper.
Turn off heat.
Bowl & top with extra fresh diced apple.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vegan Mofo Day 19: Potato And Carrot Ginger Soup

Soup? Yeah Buddy!
The bowl continues to rise with promised flavor.
Tonight I was inspired by Mandee of Cupcake Kitteh (one of the cutest blog names ever!) whose theme for Vegan Mofo is Mofo Mimic. She took Eat The Beets beautiful Lemon Herby Potato Soup under her recipe wings and posted her findings. I found that they both inspired me to finally explore potato soup.
Cannot believe I've never made a vegan potato soup. I've made fries and mashed potatoes, but not the beloved creamy soupy goodness of such an adored autumn delight. I didn't have kale and ran out of spinach (yes, yes, how can Popeye Woman run out of Spinach...?), but I used herby cilantro instead and added ginger and turmeric for healing purposes. Okay, they also made the soup golden and presentable. Sometimes, I love that beautiful artistry that food can accomplish. It must be stared at, sniffed (if your nasal passages are clear, you lucky lucky person!), and then devoured slowly.
The texture of the potatoes and carrots together are soft and tender in this hearty large bowl fit for one queenly (or kingly) person. Something that must be loved and cherished. The flavors are warm and perfect, heating up the body instantly from the nightly chill that the new season brings. As summer draws to a close, a piping bowl of "meaty" potato soup is a much needed, albeit temporary, reminder of that loss. How sun feels on bare skin is the taste of this delicious comfort. 

Potato And Carrot Ginger Soup Ingredients and Preparation

Mmmmhmmmm feast.
2 1/2 cups water (or low sodium vegetable broth)
2 teaspoon Trader Joe's Garlic Salt
3 russet potatoes, cut
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
pinch of lemon juice

Sea salt, roasted garlic, onion, & parsley from Trader Joe's: a product of South Africa!
Chop potatoes.
Bring potatoes & carrots to a boil. Takes about 40 minutes or so.
Turn off heat & add cilantro, ginger, turmeric, oregano, black pepper, paprika, & lemon juice.
Pour into bowl & devour with relish.