Sunday Dinner: Updated Diner Classics

Open Face Hot Seitan Sandwich, Smashed potatoes, and broccolini

I decided that picking a theme for Sunday Dinner Posts would make my life a little easier. This week I wend with Updated (and veganized) Diner Classics.

I didn’t want to go with the typical burger and fries approach. Firstly, because I haven’t figured out how to make a good homemade veggie burger, and secondly because that’s far too common. I wanted something from the “entree” section of a diner menu, not the “burgers and sandwiches” section. In search of inspiration, I went to the website for Mel’s Drive In, a totally not vegan but very popular diner here in SF (I think there might be a couple veg/vegan things on their menu, but I’ve never been in to check). Sifting through dozens of menu items, I finally came across “Open Face Hot Beef Sandwiches” and I knew that that was the ticket.

My friend Elias came over to help cook and together, Tom, Elias, and I updated the typical side dishes to the Open Face Sandwich. Here’s what we came up with…

The Sunday Dinner Menu:Tablescape with dinner plate and wine bottle

  • Appetizer: Hot Spinach Dip (Recipe and photos in the next post)
  • Open Face Hot Seitan Sandwiches with mushroom gravy
  • Roasted Smashed Potatoes
  • Ginger Garlic Broccolini
  • Wine Pairing: The Velvet Devil Merlot ’11 (Charles Smith Wines)
  • Blueberry pie (See previous Saturday Sweets post)

Continue reading

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Saturday Sweets: Wild Blueberry Pie!

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It was hot today. So I couldn’t start baking until about 9:00pm. I’m starting to think I should do all the cooking work for my Saturday Sweets posts on Friday nights because it’s going to be so hot during the day for the rest of the month.

So here’s the thing about San Francisco. Summer doesn’t happen until September or October, sometimes November. June, July, and August are all very cool months with temperatures in the mid 60s to low 70s. Maybe you get a day when it’s 77 degrees, but that’s about as high as it goes in what the rest of the hemisphere calls summer. Then, come what most northern-hemisphere-dwellers would think of as fall, it’s hot as balls.

Anyway, due to the fact that it is 2AM, my boyfriend is in bed, and the dog is curled up sleeping on the sofa behind me, I’m going to make this quick and simple. I’m going to post the basic recipe for my blueberry pie now and then post the rest of the photos (other than that top one there) for this pie tomorrow. If there are enough good pictures of me making the lattice crust on top, I might be able to do a tutorial on that, too. We’ll see.

My recipe looks complicated, but that’s really just because I was verbose. It only has 5 ingredients (6 if you count water, 7 if you do the optional step) and not including baking time it only takes about 45 minutes to put together. The best part is, if you’re using frozen berries, you don’t have to thaw them! They can go right into the pie frozen and they’ll come out lovely.

Without further adieu… Continue reading

A couple things…

I just wanted to mention a few things before I ran away from my computer for the day.

Especially for Vegan MoFo, I’d like to announce two more features I’m doing every weekend! Saturdays will be “Saturday Sweets” For the month of September. Meaning, I’ll be making a big, sticky, sweet dessert every Saturday from now until October.  And then on Sundays I will be making and posting a big, family-style meal. I’m creatively calling these posts “Sunday Dinner.” If my plan works out, I’ll get to have guests to every Sunday Dinner so Tom and I don’t have to eat all the food ourselves.

And finally, EXCITING NEWS!!! My Veganniversary is next Monday, September 9th! This will mark seven years of veganism for me. I’ve put Tom in charge of making plans for that day, so it’ll be a surprise for you and me both.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend full of delicious vegan food!

Seattle Food: Wayward Vegan Cafe

…And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, classyvegans, I was in Seattle last weekend. Seattle is a beautiful city where the streets are hilly, the public transportation is clean, and there is a vibrant vegan food scene. One restaurant I visited in Seattle that really stuck out: Wayward Vegan Cafe. I wanted to tell you folks all about it while it’s still fresh in my mind.

Wayward Vegan Cafe

Dinner plates of Vegan Lasagna with salad and Vegan Country Fried Steak with potatoes and vegetables

As I mentioned in the post about Vegan Haven, there is a vegan-centric intersection up in the University District that is where Wayward Vegan Cafe is located. Right after we got off the plane and checked into our hotel on Friday, we boarded a bus and made a beeline for this place.

You order at the counter at wayward and sit down with your drinks, your utensils and napkins, and a number. The service is fast and there are some really lovely paintings on the wall. It’s a bit punk rock, a bit DIY, and all kinds of wonderful.

Having not eaten since breakfast, we were attracted to what were surely the most fattening delicious things on the menu. I ordered the Country Fried Steak and Tom had the Lasagna. We also had to have some beer, because… beer.

In the photo there, you see (a big ol’ bottle) of Double Mountain Kölsch. I love a good kölsch. This one is a refreshing, medium bodied beer and not too hoppy even though there’s a picture of a hop on the label. (Which is good, because I hate bitter beers.) It was perfect for that hot summer afternoon. Not pictured is the Porter that Tom had… which I neglected to get a photo of at all and thus can’t remember the name of. Blogging is hard. But it was chocolatey and deep. I’d go with a porter in late fall and winter, not exactly my pick for a summer afternoon. However, it was good beer. Now… on to the food. Continue reading

On Google and Nestle

Real talk, folks. I know that this is Vegan MoFo, but as a student of ethics, an Android OS user, and a huge fan of the Googles (seriously, I have a squishable Google Chrome logo on my desk), I feel that I need to speak out about this. I also feel it is necessary to note that this is an opinion. Please do your own research and decide how you feel about this for yourself.

Yesterday, Google announced the name of it’s new version of the Android operating system. Instead of the rumored “Android Key Lime Pie” Google entered into a partnership with Nestle to name the new OS “Android KitKat.” The CNN article attached to that link cites that developers named it after the KitKat bars they consumed while programming the new version. But, I’m guessing with the marketing campaign following this announcement –including Android-branded KitKat bars hitting supermarket shelves– the decision is a bit more involved than that. Continue reading

Tom Food Tuesdays: Soyrizo, Quinoa, and Kale Burritos with Bacon Salt

Kale and Soyrizo Burritos before being wrapped up

In contrast to Katie, who’s blog might be described as “the habits of highly effective chefs”, my posts will be more along the lines of “quick cheats for lazy goof offs”. They will largely consist things I make from ingredients that happen to be available, using pre-seasoned ingredients or, incorporating leftovers from one dish into another. As such it doesn’t make a lot of sense to follow like a recipe and buy ingredients to create something I describe here, as this is antithesis to my technique.

Today we had Kale that needed to be eaten. It’s best not to let it sit around too long. By far the simplest tasty way to make kale is to simply steam it and repeatedly coat it in Bacon Salt. The hickory flavor tastes great, completely vegan and has much less sodium than normal salt. On Kale you really can’t add too much of it. I like to coat it fully three times during cooking.

The other major ingredient is Soyrizo, which is one of my favorite foods. I always keep some around and use it frequently. Everything else was what was available, and could also be cooked in the one pan. The quinoa and could have just have easily been rice and beans or the recipe could have been served over leftover noodles instead of wrapped in tortillas.

While I don’t frequently make grains  –they take a while to cook and require a dedicated pot– when I do, I make a lot because they preserve well and are versatile enough to get used quickly.

Soyrizo, Quinoa, and Kale Burritos with Bacon Salt

Ingredients

Tom watching kale cook

  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped onion
  • 3 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 of a 12-ounce package of Soyrizo (or 6 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup leftover cooked quinoa
  • 1 Tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 2 large tortillas
  • vegetable oil
  • Bacon Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Salsa, guacamole, and/or non-dairy sour cream to finish

Method

Heat a 12-inch skillet to medium heat, add 2-3 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Add mushroom and onion and season with some Bacon Salt. Cook until onion is translucent. Thoroughly wash kale and add to pan wet. The extra moisture will help it steam. Season with Bacon Salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook until kale is fully wilted and season twice more with bacon salt, once during cooking and once more when the kale is fully cooked.  Season to taste with black pepper. Remove from pan on to a plate and cover.

Reheat the skillet to medium heat. Add 2-3 teaspoons of vegetable oil and the Soyrizo. Cook for three to four minutes while breaking up with a spatula. Add the quinoa and cook for five to seven more minutes until thoroughly cooked. Add the Liquid Aminos and stir well. Remove this to the same plate as the kale.

Wipe out the skillet and warm two burrito size tortillas in the pan. Once warm, remove tortillas to separate plates and spoon the Soyrizo and Kale mixtures into the tortillas. Top with your favorite salsa, guacamole, and or non-dairy sour cream and roll up like burritos.

Tom holding Soyrizo

Editor’s Note: I’ve been nervous about submitting to my partner’s cooking once a week for a month. But this wasn’t all that bad. There are some slight changes I would make, as I don’t always agree with Tom’s methods, but overall, it was relatively tasty. I do recommend it with some sort of sour cream substitute. I feel it needs a bit of acid to balance the Bacon Salt. And I have to apologize for the photos. Tom cooks far too fast for me to take pictures of him with my phone camera. So I will have to switch to my SLR for the next Tom Food post. Inconvenient for me, as my phone uploads my photos to a server automatically, but the quality will be much higher. –KateB

Vegan Haven Haul

I’m back from PAX Prime in Seattle and ready to post for real again. Yesterday was our only day to do “tourist things” and then our plane got in late, and I didn’t have the opportunity to post. So today I’m double posting, one for the post I’d planned for yesterday, and one for Tom Food Tuesdays. The second post will go up late tonight after Tom cooks dinner and we hammer out a blog. Now then, let me tell you about an awesome vegan grocery store…

Seattle has –what my partner likes to call– a vegan district. Near the Intersection of University Way Northeast and Northeast 55th Street, you will find the all-vegan Wayward Cafe, the vegan pizza joint Pizza Pi, and a completely cruelty free, specialty vegan grocery store called Vegan Haven.  Formerly known as “Sidecar for Pigs Peace,” the store is owned by the Pigs Peace Sanctuary and a part of purchases from the store go toward paying for the care of the animals at the sanctuary.

When I walked into the store I was a little overwhelmed by all the delicious-looking things surrounding me. Some of them were familiar and some of them were totally new to me. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to bring too much back to San Francisco on to the plane with me, I just picked up a few vegan PAX-snacking essentials and some small vegan souvenirs to bring home.

Vegan Haven Haul

Starting at the top left and going counter clockwise, we have… Continue reading