Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thai Peanut Noodles!

Peanut noodles is officially my new favorite meal!!! Noodl-y noodles, crunchy veggies, creamy peanut sauce...what's not to love?! God bless peanut butter, btw.

Here's my can change up the amounts to fit your taste buds, appetite level, etc. But no matter what, you're gonna love it! (it looks like a lot of steps, but it really comes together quickly and is soooooo worth any effort you exert. trust.)

Thai Peanut Noodles

Serves 4 to 6...but probably 4 :)

1 package mugwort soba noodles, cooked according to directions on package

1 lb extra firm tofu, drained

1 head broccoli, cut into florets

3 to 4 carrots, shredded

1 cucumber, sliced into half-moons

1/2 head purple cabbage, sliced thinly

1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

Thai Peanut Sauce:

1 cup natural peanut butter

1 cup hot water

zest and juice of two limes

1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar or agave nectar

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 inches ginger, finely minced

1 Tablespoon chili flakes

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 Tablespoons tamari or Bragg's

1/4 cup apple cider or brown rice vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped cashews, toasted

To make tofu:

Cube tofu and marinate with a few splashes of tamari or Bragg's for 30 minutes. Pour onto a greased sheet pan in a single layer and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking process.

To make veggie mix:

Mix chopped veggies and cilantro in a large bowl and set aside.

To make sauce:

Whisk all ingredients together in a sauce pan and heat on low for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until thick and creamy.

To assemble yumminess:

1. Place cooked soba noodles on plate.

2. Put mixed veggies over noodles.

3. Put baked tofu over veggies.

4. Pour lots of peanut sauce over the top of everything.

5. Garnish with toasted cashews...and I put some Sriracha hot sauce on top, just for good measure!

And then gobble that ish up!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Birthday Blast

Today was my wonderful friend, Anna's, birthday...what better way to celebrate than with some delicious foooooood!
We started the party with lunch at a wonderful place in Columbia called Cafe Berlin...pleasing to vegans and omnivores alike, they specialize in kickass breakfasts!!
I had the tofu veggie scramble with onions, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, local shiitake mushrooms, red and green peppers, and spinach. So many can't beat that! The scramble came with their famous roasted potatoes...a combo of red and sweet potatoes with herbs and plenty of olive oil. Addictively good. Also, some locally-made whole wheat toast with the best organic strawberry jam I've ever tasted! Needless to say, I was more than satisfied with this meal!

Then onto dessert...what's a birthday without BIRTHDAY CAKE??? lame, that's what.
For a steamy summer birthday bash, I made a blueberry lavender
cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. The lavender was so refreshing, the blueberries were juicy and sweet, and the chocolate was fudgy and rich. It had perfect balance!
The recipe was a modification of the vanilla cake from ED&BV...I simply added 1/2 cup of lavender flowers and 2 cups of frozen organic blueberries. Wowsa! And the chocolate buttercream frosting was from Vegan Cupcakes...cuz that's the best frosting recipe ever!!
Then it was onto swimming in the creek to finish off the birthday doesn't get much better than that, folks! aaah how I love me some birthday parties :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

When Life Gives You Brown Bananas....

Make banana bread! In my cozy apartment without a/c, fruit ripens REALLY I had a whole bunch of bananas that turned way brown before I had a chance to enjoy them all! Now, I'm a girl who likes her bananas a little brown and over-ripe, but this was a little past ripe even for me! Like a good vegan would, I pulled out my copy of Veganomicon and went to town: I hadn't tried the Lower-Fat Banana Bread yet, so I had to give it a shot!

Here she is hot and warm out of the oven...not much to look at, I suppose, but just wait!

And here she is sliced up and ready to be eaten (after being spread with a little Earth Balance, of course!)!

I modified the recipe by adding a cup of chopped walnuts...cuz I'm nutty like that!... and it was great! Isa and Terry were right: you can't tell it is a "low-fat" version at all! This was really moist, just banana-y enough, and had a really nice crust, which I always appreciate! I recommend trying this...maybe next time I will add some chocolate chips, cuz I can :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Black Forest Cake!

Yesterday was a big day: my dad's 50th birthday and father's day...on the same friggin day! How lucky, right? So, I decided he needed an awesome cake to celebrate! What could be better than cherries and chocolate teamed up to make....

A black forest cake!!! yuuuuum!

I used the recipe for chocolate cake from The Joy of Vegan Baking
with the chocolate buttercream frosting from VCTOTW..but I
used almond extract instead of vanilla extract--so flavorful and delicious!!
Then I drenched the cake with the saucy cherries recipe from VCTOTW and
topped the whole thing with shaved dark chocolate!!
This was decadent and soooo moist and perfect!
Now that's how I say happy father's day :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hot and Lazy...

Summer is here! Yay for awesome weather, fresh local produce, and no school. No yay for my lack of air conditioning...while I enjoy the feeling of being closer to nature and saving on energy costs by sweating it out in my apartment, I don't so much enjoy cooking and heating up my pad!! Thus, I have been so hot and lazy that I haven't really been cooking lately. No excuses, I know...but I will use them anyway! So...I am just going to buck up and cook and learn to battle butt crack sweat and upper lip sweat and cleav sweat so I can make good food and post about it!!
Thanks for understanding...sorry for being a lazy blogger! :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Veg and the City

Woooowie I haven't posted such a long time! I feel like such a bad blogger!! I know, there are now excuses, but my explanation is pretty good: I was in New York!
Steve spoke at a math conference (yay nerds!) at CUNY in Manhattan, so I figured I would tag along and eat and explore and lust after one of my favorite places in the world!!!
If you have ever been to NYC, then you probably know that it is magical and wonderful and it will consume your thoughts...if you haven't been there, then GO NOW!!
The best part was, of course, all the vegan food EVERYWHERE!!! I was lucky to have to walk a lot, or they probably would have had to roll me back to Missouri :)
So, heeeeere we goooooo!
Dinner on night 1 was at Candle 79...very upscale, delicious, worth the price for sure!!
I had the famous Seitan Piccatta. lemon caper sauce=heaven.
Steve had the Moroccan Chickpea Cakes with spring vegetables
For dessert, Steve had the Strawberry-Rhubarb crumb pie with dulce de leche soy ice cream and caramel sauce. springtastic
My dessert was the fudge brownie sundae, with a scoop of french vanilla soy ice cream, strawberries, bananas, pecans, hot fudge, and caramel sauce. good good this was rich and crraaaazzzy good!
The next night, we went to Angelica Kitchen for dinner. I am not sure how we got so lucky to find all these amazing vegan eateries, but I will not complain!! I had the special entree of the night, which was miso glazed tempeh with an arugula salad, steamed green beans, and a rice pilaf filled with cabbage, carrots, etc., then a side of balsamic-glazed beets. so many good veggies prepared so many different ways....
Steve had the menu favorite Ole Man Seitan.... a fat burrito filled with rice, seasoned seitan, vegetables, and topped with a mole enchilada sauce and cilantro sour "cream." Chipotle can seriously suck it.
My dessert was the Caramel-Pecan blondie with maple whipped cream and caramel sauce...this was unlike any blondie I've ever had!!
Steve's dessert was the Strawberry-Rhubarb Parfait...we seemed to notice a trend of strawberry-rhubarb desserts for the specials...yay seasonal produce!
The next day.... Lunch at Gobo, downtown...
An awesome appetizer of the Yam and Yucca fries, complete with
a sweet chili dipping sauce...this place had beautiful presentation!
My entree was the smoked Beijing-style seitan with a teriyaki sauce, coconut rice, pickled papaya salad, and steamed kale. The seasonings and texture of the seitan blew my mind....
Steve had the sweet and sour sesame protein with steamed broccoli, brown rice pilaf, and pickled shredded papaya (we were allll about that papaya baby!!)
That night for dinner...Sacred Chow. Little place, big portions, amazing food.
We both had big sandwiches for dinner...mine was the black olive roasted seitan sandwich, with melted vegan cheddar, lettuce, and a dijon vinaigrette...very unique and sooooo savory. one of the best sammies ever!!
Steve opted for the classic "meat"ball sub with spicy marinara and melted vegan mozzarella...this could have passed for it's omni alternative for sure! yuuuum
We were stuffed, but decided to gorge ourselves (haha) on some chocolatey goodness for dessert.... I had the chocolate cake, which was two layers of their homemade chocolate brownies, with strawberry filling, chocolate frosting, and chocolate-covered pralined nuts. insanely good!!!
Steve had the brownie sundae...probably due to jealousy of the one I had at Candle 79 :) This was an enormous brownie topped with vanilla soy ice cream, hot fudge, and chocolate for a king!
Yet another day of fine food in NYC...
Lunch was at Cafe Blossom and it was absolutely perfect. I had the rosemary walnut crusted seitan cutlets, topped with a garlic cream sauce, with a side of cauliflower puree with cranberry chutney and lemon-garlic sauteed spinach. this was so frickin good...and it reminded me very much of chicken-fried chicken. i'm just saying.
Steve had an amazing and filling sandwich: Southern-Style seitan with chipotle ailoi, caramelized onions, avocado, and greens. on foccaccia. with sweet potato fries. done.
And for our last NY dinner, we went the famous and fabulous Candle Cafe. What a way to end a trip! I had one of their daily specials: the Jamaican Jerk Tofu wrap...I really want to copy this recipe!! A tortilla filled with saffron rice, kidney beans, sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, steamed greens, and jerk-marinated tofu...with a side of spicy jerk sauce and a salad with pineapple, onions, and greens. this was sooooo yum and I think I could duplicate won't be as good, of course :)
Steve had the chili-lime tofu...piled on top of quinoa, avocado, and tooooooooonnnnss of steamed greens, with mango salsa, and a cumin vinaigrette. this was a homerun. so many flavors that went so well together. now i know why this place is famous!
Sadly, our last day...
We only had time for breakfast before going to the airport, but it was something to remember!!
We went to Atlas Cafe....not all-veg, but over half the menu was specifically labeled as "Vegan" yay! We both had the vegan pancakes with bananas and blueberries, with walnuts and maple syrup. a perfect sendoff. we even sat outside, hence the shadowy picture...neither of us wanted to leave that perfect setting!!
No breakfast is complete without a beautiful soy latte...this one was from the hip and cozy Think coffee house. they, too, had lots of vegan fare, including sandwiches, tofu cream cheese for bagels, and baked goods like brownies (that were also gluten-free) so cool!
My favorite place of all was Babycakes. the vegan bakery. that's right, i said vegan bakery. i went there...three times. or four...who's counting :) i had my first ever vegan cinnamon roll here...and a shot of chocolate frosting---now that's how I party!!! mmmmmm................................
To make this trip even better, Steve and I hit up the MOMA, and I even found Moo Shoes...a vegan shoe store! I couldn't believe it....I could buy anything in the store, guilt-free...except for that whole "money" thing, i mean...
I did do more than eat, I promise! Ok, but not too much more :)
So, I am looking very much forward to my next adventure to New York and many more delicous eats in such a wonderful city!!