From the monthly archives: April 2010

A week and a half out of the classroom and I was a bit irked I had nothing to show for it in the refrigerator. Realizing the end of my free time was near I rose at the crack of dawn to beat the day mayors to the supermarket and maneuver my double-decker cart gracefully through empty aisles. Food shopping! I mapped out my needs and supplied myself with the goods for a loaf of bread, a sandwich stuffer and a sweet: three necessities for the week.

I decided on a whole wheat flax bread, using this recipe. Here is the pile of yeast within a blend of bread flour, whole wheat flour and vital wheat gluten, among other more viscous ingredients underneath. (Ok, I just wanted to say “viscous”.) Let’s also admire the ground flax seeds invading the yeast crater. I ground these up although the recipe was calling for whole flax seeds. I wanted to lessen the probability said seeds would hide under my lip, like they sometimes like to, only to cause embarrassment later. Does this happen to you? I eat a lot of flax.
I also made a batch of eggless “egg” salad for the week! I got the recipe from the first vegan cookbook I ever bought many moons ago: Easy Vegan Cooking. The book, by British author Leah Leneman, is out-of-print here in the states. I rarely use it. But with time enough to flip through a book languidly before bed, I found plenty recipes I’d like to tackle. Many of the adapted traditional British dishes strike me as a bit odd but worthy of experimentation, like creamy banana risotto, the Toad in the Hole (see Bone Shaker’s version here) and potato scones. The egg salad below was a super-easy concoction. I added some freshly ground black salt for some enhanced sulphuric eggyness and a boat-ton of one of my favorite garnishes–green onion.

Next up, the sweet for the week. Having most of what I needed for Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar‘s Cowboy cookies, besides the nuts and chocolate chips, I created my own nut-free version with chocolate bottoms. Since I didn’t flatten out my golf-sized dough balls, they baked a bit macaroon-shaped. With a mix of light, dark and granulated sugars, the cookies came out sublime. Sweet craving preemptively satisfied? Check.

And here is the best loaf of bread I have made thus far. I know, I know. I keep saying that! But cutting a warm slice of this soft and supple bread and smearing it with Earth Balance and my strawberry-mango jam, I was in heaven. Oh, the simple pleasures in life! Now if only I had a bread-slicing machine. I wouldn’t have to suffer through messily uneven jagged cuts that jeopardize the integrity of a sandwich… deliciously.

It has been awhile since I have made something that wasn’t edible. My craft desk, sewing machine, miles of cross-stitch floss and pile of fabric has beared with my studies. Unfortunately, a normal week of work and school does not allow for discretionary crafting. But with spring break catch-up under my belt, I was inspired to weave the craft needle once again to honor a special, timid cat with one gorgeous eyeball. And what a perfect time to utilize my Revolutionary War curtains then in her tabby markings… and the load of fabric CandyPenny had donated to my craft endeavors! It felt good to pick up the needle again. Though it has been six months since my last craft, I plan on stitching up Addy’s daughter to keep her company as soon as I can, lest face the wrath of her paw’s swat.

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Still getting acclimated with my breadmaker, I’ve learned that I can barely put a dent in a 2 lb. loaf during the week. My olive and kale-pesto loafs had to find new life as croutons and, given my limited use of croutons, new homes. Determined to not waste them I tripped to an office building in downtown Manhattan on my day off. There, in the foyer amidst baffled 9-5-ers, they were divvied up between fellow veg-foodies FoodSparrow and Em. May my crouton collective enjoy them in salads and direct snacking!It has been quite some time that I have been about the lunch-life of bustling Manhattan. I forgot about the variety of healthy mobile choices catering to the health-conscious crowd. Fresh fruit salad and smoothie trucks were abound, reminiscent of my days in Midtown as an office temp. I sprang for a fruit salad before a very late lunch, gobbling up the ripe and delicious papaya before all.

Lunch was more of dunch at 5 p.m. but a very special one at that. Mixing business with pleasure, I treated my pal Genny for an early birthday meal while researching burgers for my upcoming specialty report. Frank at Kate’s Joint hooked us up with two-for Blue Moons and some tasty vegan burgers: the Broke Back Burger smothered in BBQ sauce and onion rings with a scoop of mashed potatoes and the Chili-Cheese Burger topped with veggie chili and Daiya and a side of fries. Kate’s Joint is one of my old favorites in the East Village; they’ve been doing vegan comfort food right for over a decade now.

While Genny and I were touring the East Village, strolling through Tompkins Square Park and up St. Marks Place, it was crazy to see that many of the tiny vintage shops and neighborhood fixtures were still thriving, stores that I remember spending my Burger King paycheck in back when I was barely 16. For years, this area of Manhattan was all I visited. This brought me back to Whole Earth Bakery, where I tried my first vegan cupcake some 13 years ago. Needless to say, the vegan cupcakes of today have far surpassed my initial taste experience.

But we couldn’t leave a vegan bakery empty-handed. We split a large chocolate chip cookie in honor of the years that have passed since we inhabited the same high school halls (and the same Burger King counter). Whole Earth is makes a variety of vegan treats but they are not decadent. They are wholesome and often without sugar. Though I don’t often have the hankering for these kinds of treats, Whole Earth Bakery deserves a nod for surviving so long on their Boardwalk real estate. Here’s hoping they don’t become a Chipotle any time soon.

I often pledge my love for the beet. And I’m going to do it again. I love the beet for its taste, yes, but also because its gorgeous, vibrant color (See here and here). But today we are going to pause and appreciate its snarly tentacle. The beet looks like some sea creature or some food you’d see in a bowl on the counter at the Mos Eisley cantina. 

But beets are not in a galaxy far, far away. They’re in the dirt, like many of my favorite vegetables. And in my oven roasting to a slightly brighter beet-red. I couldn’t bare cut the nutlets’ tails off yet.

Here they sit sliced in between my pumpernickel slices, green pesto and agave-sweetened tofu spread with their skins on.

Leftover nutlets sliced. I contemplated bring this to the movies with me to snack on. Is that too vegan?

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Bliss‘s Vegan Breakfast Burrito

I don’t know about you but the morning after a night of drinking, I am nutrient-starved. I crave a variety of tastes and textures, and their accompanying nourishment. Hangover remedies are much like old wives tales. But through the years of trial and error after a night of drinking errors, I have learned a thing or two about how to snap back into some semblance of shape. Here, in no particular order, are what help me eat away my hangover.

Everything bagels do wonders. The salt replenishes electrolytes, the garlic helps the liver with cysteine, sesame seeds have sesame oil which has wonder-antioxidant vitamin e, poppy seeds are a “folk” hangover remedy, as are caraway seeds. Plus the 3-5 servings of carbohydrates stabilize the blood and are utilized immediately as energy. I prefer my bagel toasted with Earth Balance and jam alongside a small cup of black coffee.

Fresh-squeezed juice is necessity. Make sure you are chugging water as well because it is a bit of a bummer to down a $6.00 fresh-squeezed juice in 30 seconds. I always spring for a combo packed with ginger to soothe the belly. Ginger root is your gastric juices’ friend. And fructose, the naturally-occurring sugar in fruit, helps the body burn up lingering alcohol poisoning your morning. If fresh juice is not readily accessible, I spring for Mango Tango from Odwalla. There is something so nourishing about this drink.

Brunch. The bagel got you primed and ready for a bit more variety, a more nutrient-dense meal. Brunch always hits the spot. The range of temperature and texture in a brunch menu is broader then lunch and it seems more time-appropriate since your brain is still in sluggish morning mode. A perfect hangover brunch contains a salty starch (potato, any style), a zing (like in above’s pico de gallo), a bit of coldness (like in above’s tofu sour cream) and something hot to sink your teeth into and chew (like above’s breakfast burrito: tofu scramble vegan cheese, assorted veggies). Fresh fruit, like banana and berries, up the nutrient ante.

Sunlight, light strolling and someone to be silly with in your witless state also help the cause followed by more restful sleep. A personal hangover savior, in my case The Electrician, can make transitioning back to normal part of the fun of a drunken night-before. Now… time for a night cap.

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