Monday, October 31, 2011

Collard Wraps and a Wrap-Up

It's the last day of MoFo!  Although I'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief, I've also enjoyed the immense amount of vegan goodness shoved in my face this month.  I'll miss it!  I've enjoyed reading so many new blogs as well as old favorites.  I look forward to continuing to read throughout the year until MoFo 2012!  On my own blog, I've been able to blog every day, with the help of a few friends, but I didn't succeed in blogging about greens every day.  Oh well!

Just a little roundup of some of my greens dishes this month! Try the collards soup!

For my last Vegan MoFo 2011 post, I decided I really needed to go out with a greens dish.  I give you "Collard Wraps with Sunflower Seed Spread".

Sunflower seed spreads are really versatile.  A creamy texture is achieved by soaking and blending the seeds.  You can add whichever herbs or flavorings you'd like.  In this version I've flavored the spread with rich miso, garlic, and parsley.  The spread is accompanied by leftover majadra, shredded beets, carrots, and red cabbage, and sliced onion and cucumber.

Collard Wraps
6 collard leaves
sunflower seed spread (recipe below)
shredded or sliced veggies of your choice
prepared rice, quinoa, beans, or lentils of your choice

1. Bring a pot large enough to fit a collard leaf to a boil.  Blanch each leaf for about 20 seconds.  Rinse under cold water.  Set aside.
2. Fill the rolls with your fillings.  If the leaves are large enough (unlike mine), roll them up like a burrito so that the short ends are folded in before you roll the long side up.

Sunflower Seed Spread
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked in enough water to cover for about 1 hour, save 1/2 cup soaking water
1 tbsp miso
1 tbsp raw tahini
1 small clove garlic
pinch pepper
pinch smoked paprika
several leaves parsley (pulse a few times into it)

1. In a food processor, combine the sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup soaking water, miso, tahini, garlic, pepper, and paprika.  Process until smooth.  Add the parsley and pulse a few times so that the parsley is distributed throughout the mixture, but remains in bits.

Here are some photos of the wraps I made last time.  You'll see the leaves were a little bigger, so I was able to make wraps that retained their contents a little better.  Last time I filled the wraps with quinoa, black eyed peas, bell pepper, tomato, parsley, carrots, and the spread.

Here you'll see the leftover contents of the wraps, as a salad with the wraps in the background!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for homemade grape jelly! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

IMVL's first ever GIVEAWAY!

Update: Amberle, you're the winner!  Please send me an email with your address to inmyveganlife at gmail d ot com. 

Friends, I made a big batch of grape jelly for the first time, from grapes I picked from my own yard.  I used mostly green grapes along with several bunches of deep purple grapes, which yielded this fantastic pink color.  See the original post here.

Up for grabs is a little jar of this delicious pink stuff.   I'm not going to lie.  There's a lot of sugar, but that's jelly for you.  Three simple ingredients: organic grapes, organic cane sugar, and pectin.  There was a lot of pulp straining involved, but it was worth it!

Grape jelly for you?

What will you do with this jar of jelly (besides the obvious pb&j sandwiches)?  Well, that's up to you.  So far, I've enjoyed it best, slathered on a homemade biscuit with Earth Balance, as pictured below. 

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below.  You earn extra appreciation points if you tell me what you intend to use the jelly for.  I'm looking for grape-y inspiration!  This giveaway is open to EVERYONE everywhere, but there is only one jar up for grabs.  I'm saving the rest as holiday gifts for friends and fam.  A random winner will be chosen at 10:00 a.m. PST on Tuesday, November 1.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dovetail Bakery is Love

I love this place. It's my favorite bakery and on weekends one has the option of the super delicious biscuits and gravy with tempeh bacon.  Did I mention Dovetail is one of (at least) three vegan bakeries in Portland?  My friend and I stopped by this morning and had a serving each before I drove him to the airport.  I didn't have my camera with me.  I did, however, get some treats to go, which are photographed below.

Morgan, from Dovetail was one of the competitors in Vegan Iron Chef earlier this year.  And I was excited to hear that a more extensive menu (sandwiches! soups! salads!) will be rolling out of the bakery on NE Alberta St. soon.  I hope they stay in that spot forever, as it's really convenient for me :)

Oh the soft, moist goodness.
I usually love Dovetail's scones most of all, but today the lemon poppy seed muffins and cinnamon rolls beckoned to me to take one of each of them home.  Matt and I will enjoy them, along with some green tea, while working through a Halloween movie marathon based on some of the recommendations made by Katie from Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk.  Have you been following along with her Vegan Dinner and a Horror Movie theme?  It's fun!

I guess we're not really following Katie's dining suggestions, with the beautiful baked goods and all, but her recommendations are really imaginative and some of them sound downright delicious!

Yum Yum Yum Lentils and Rice

Majadra is a Middle Eastern dish consisting of lentils, rice, caramelized onions, olive oil, and salt!  Simple!  I think it's comfort food at its finest.  I've posted about this easy and satisfying dish before.  I saw this episode of Everyday Dish (doesn't Rose seem like the sweetest lady?) a while ago and have made it a few times since, tonight being one of those times.  It's great!  Perhaps the best thing about eating this dish is that it's an excuse to turn on the oven and heat up your kitchen a little after spending all day trying to fix your furnace to no avail.

You should give this a try yourself!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rabbit Food Cookbook: Lentil Soup

I picked up a copy of Rabbit Food Cookbook when I visited Portland three years ago.  (I actually got it for a friend, but decided to keep it myself!  Shhh.)  It's an adorable little book with hand drawn pictures.  I love it.

Being the vegan cookbook collector that I am, I haven't gotten around to trying many recipes.  I have, however, tried the lentil soup recipe, which is now my go-to favorite.  It's quick and hearty, and as I've discovered, adaptable.  Last night I made a half batch, which will provide the two of us with at least two meals a piece.  I didn't have potatoes or celery on hand, so I left out the potatoes and used carrot greens in place of the celery.  Delish!

I noticed this little book is making its rounds on the vegan blogosphere.  Check out Kittee's post at Cake Maker to the Stars, which features the falafel recipe from the book (I'm going to have to make this soon!) and a GIVEAWAY, ending tomorrow morning.  Also, be sure to visit the other blogs mentioned in the post to see some of the other recipes from the book.

I have all these plants, post-mofo, which now include cooking through this little book.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Grape Jelly!

Do you remember these grapes from Monday's post?  Well, guess what.  They're now jelly!  This jelly is lighter in color than traditional grape jelly because most of the grapes were green.

Take that you grapey beasts!

Making jelly sure is messy, but I think the time spent making my kitchen sticky was worth it.  I now have 22 jars of grape jelly to give as gifts to friends and family.  I'm thinking about offering a jar as a giveaway the last day of MoFo.  Is that strange?  Would people not really be into a homemade jar of grape jelly?  Tell me!

22 jars of homemade grape jelly!

Tonight I had my first "real" taste (this excludes what was happening as I was cleaning up the stick jelly-cooking pot!) of the grape jelly on a homemade biscuit with some organic Earth Balance.  I base my biscuits off of the recipe found in Vegan Comfort Food, but I use canola oil instead of margarine, and just mix the wet ingredients right into the dry.  Also, I don't actually measure the anything!

Oh man!  This was really good.  I'm thrilled with how the jelly came out and, really, this was the perfect way to enjoy it.  Although, I'm thinking about making grape jelly scones this week too.

UPDATE:  I forgot to link to the recipe I used for the jelly.  Here it is!  Also, I'm replacing that horrible nighttime photo with one taken this morning!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lovely Outing with the Lovely Celyn

Do you know Celyn?  She blogs over at Miso for Breakfast and during MoFo, she's doing a giveaway EVERY day.  She's kind of insane.  She's also really sweet and a pleasure to spend time with, so I was thrilled when she invited me to grab lunch at Green Wok, a vegan Chinese restaurant in SW Portland.

After lunch we headed to Barbur World Foods.  If you know Celyn's blog, you may have seen her tour of the grocery store.  It was the baklava that got me!

Oh man, I filled my basket with some tasty treats like...

Zaatar pizza!  I couldn't resist gobbling up a slice before Matt got home for dinner.  It's pretty simple, just a thin-crust pizza with zaatar on top, but they make it fresh while you wait.  It's crisp and has all that zaatary goodness, which is a little difficult to describe, but contains thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and olive oil.  Only $3.50 for the whole thing too! 
Zataar pizza.

Want a bite?

 Baklava!  I haven't yet sunk my teeth into one, but I am so excited for dessert tonight!  I think I grabbed one pistachio-filled and two walnut-filled.
One for me, one for Matt, one for good luck!

Falafel!  Baba Ghanouj!  Hummus!  Barbur World Foods makes the falafel fresh, to order, too.  You'll see their house made baba ghanouj, hummus, and tahini dressing on the left.  I also picked up some cherry tomatoes and huuuge pita bread.

 To that I added fresh kale and collards from the garden, carrots and onion.  Look at me, being all "greens theme."
A mighty fine sandwich, methinks.

Lastly, I decided Matt and I would have a mini root beer taste-testing.  Plus, Celyn sold me on the rose lemonade.  I look forward to trying that tomorrow.

I had a great time!  Thank you for introducing me to a new and great place, Celyn.  I enjoyed teaming up to discuss veganism with a curious employee.  I hope this person will try some of the great vegan spots in Portland that we suggested.  (She started the conversation with us and I could see here wheels a'turnin.)

Now, Matt and I are going to sit back with our falafel sandwiches and watch some Dexter.  Cheers!

PS- Grape jelly tomorrow.  I ran out of time and sunlight today!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Grapity Grape Grapes

After doing yard work for several hours today, I decided I'm not going to go crazy with an intricate meal for dinner tonight, and am instead going to throw together a big salad.

What was I doing out in the garden you ask?  I started off planting some new native plants we picked up over the weekend.  Then, looking up for the umpteenth time at the neighbors' horrific grape vines, and being annoyed for the umpteenth time that they do nothing to maintain the, in my opinion, noxious weed, I rolled up my sleeves, got out the ladder and loppers and started hacking away.  I wish I had taken a before photo so that you could be appropriately impressed with how dutifully I freed our fence and the other neighbor's holly tree.  This shot of our huge yard waste roll cart will have to do!

You can see the grape vine clump on the other side of the fence, which appears to take up their entire yard!

Okay, okay, so what does this have to do with VeganMoFo?  Grapes!  In the process of warring with the neighbors' grapevine, I collected a big box worth of grapes.  For now I leave you with a photo of the grapes.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll have the finished product.  Can you guess what I'll be making with all these grapes?

Why yes, very fresh.  Interestingly, both varieties taste the same!

It was a beautifully crisp and sunny fall day today, so I was happy to be outside, even when picking through the uneven ground and leaf litter below me to find every last scrap of grape.  Did you know grapes (and raisins!) are extremely toxic to dogs?  Our dogs don't.  I'm hoping I didn't miss any grapes out there!

Not every recipe is a winner

I set out to make a really delicious "greens themed" red chard quiche, homemade crust and everything.  I threw in a bunch of stuff I thought would make a magnificent dish (tofu, soaked cashews, miso, mustard, tamari, tarragon, red pepper flakes, daiya, nooch, chard, onion...) and really couldn't eat more than one slice.  It was too rich, too salty, too soft, just too much.  I liked the crust (I used Julie's recipe from Vegan Diner), but wish I had twice as much.

I think I went wrong  with the cashews, miso, and tamari.  Maybe I even put in too much nooch.  I think I'll leave quiches up to the professionals and stick to following tried-and-true recipes in the future.

I couldn't even make it look delicious.  I think the hot sauce made it worse!

Matt, on the other hand said it was good.  Lucky him- he gets to take the rest for lunch this week!

Quiche fail.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Trip to the Food Co-op

I'm a lucky duck to be living in Portland for many reasons, not least of which is being able to choose between four grocery co-ops in the city.  Naturally, Matt and I joined one closest to us, and close it is- just a 10 minute bike ride.  Since moving to Portland and finding myself with some time on my hands (I'm unemployed), I decided to become a working member at Alberta Co-op.  Every week you'll find me working in the bulk herb section, which allows me a greater discount at the register and when placing special orders.

Today was Member Appreciation Day, in which owners get 15% off everything, so Matt and I took the opportunity to stock up.  While I was there, I decided to snap a few photos to give you a tour of our local food supplier!

My favorite parts of co-ops are the bulk sections.  This one contains lots of things like cereals, beans, nuts, sugars, flours, chocolate chips (3 kinds!), dried fruit, grains, and flax seeds. 

Alberta Co-op sells fair trade products when available, which is really super in my opinion!

In this bulk section you'll find items like maple syrup, wheat-free tamari, vanilla extract, agave, and vinegars.  Just bring along your preferred vessel and fill 'er up.

And here you have things like arrowroot powder, baking soda, and dry soy milk powder.

Here's my section!  I couldn't get a good shot of it due to the large crowd in the store, but you can imagine how the herbs  extend around the other side of this compartment.  The neat part: this unit actually has these huge drawers that pull out to reveal storage space for the back stock.  Pretty sweet.

This is the tea section.  The different color labels coordinate with the different classifications of tea.  Green=green, etc.

I think the produce section at Alberta is also top-notch.  The employees do a really great job in keeping everything fresh and beautiful.  There's Matt perusing the selection, deciding on dinner.

Another bulk section.  Here you'll see such items as Daiya, Tofutti Cream Cheese, Earth Balance, Vegenaise, and seitan.

Sometimes the nice people at Alberta Co-op leave food samples for customers to try.  Here we have kiwi berries and apples.

Bulk kombucha- if that's your thing.  I tried the white rose flavor and really liked it.

I haven't included all the bulk sections (like shampoo,soap, lotion, nut butters, tofu/tempeh, miso, etc.), but here's a shot of the bulk dish/laundry detergent.   Pretty snazzy.

As I said, I'm pretty lucky to shop at such a great place.  Do you have a coop near you?

Tom's Pickled Green Tomatoes

I'm a bad MoFoer. Here I am, posting at 11:55 p.m. and not even on topic.  Again, I give you the pitiful "oh,  but at least it's a 'green thing' if not a greens dish."

My dad's girfriend's father has been making pickled green tomatoes for years, which I've had the pleasure of enjoying on several occasions.  With Matt's and my first garden producing bounty of green tomatoes, I decided to use his recipe and make a few jars myself.  Even following his directions (mostly), my tomatoes didn't come out exactly the same.  It may very well have been the varieties we grew, which I wasn't the biggest fan of.  You live and learn, as my father-in-law says.

Next year I'd like to further explore the pickling universe as I have tried and loved many pickled things.  Among my favorites are these okra pickles, which is funny because I ordinarily don't like okra.  What is your preferred pickled treat?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Easy Peasy Split Pea Kale Soup

Ever since Fanny from Cooking Vegan Food Up North visited and prepared a Swedish dinner for us, I've been making variations of this split pea soup.  Adding a swirl of yellow mustard to a soup was a new thing for me, but I love it!

The beauty of a split pea soup is that it comes together quickly and doesn't require pre-soaking the peas.  This, and the fact that I always have yellow split peas on hand, are probably the reasons that I make this dish a lot.  Oh and it's tasty, filling, and healthy!  This time I added diced bell pepper, shredded carrot, and Red Russian kale.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups yellow split peas
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 shallots, diced (or a small onion)
2 sprigs of thyme, stems discarded
7 cups vegetable broth
2 carrots, shredded
several handfuls of kale, chopped
yellow mustard

1. In a soup pot, saute dried split peas in olive oil for a 5-10 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Add the bell pepper, shallots, and thyme, and saute for another 5-10 minutes.
2. Add the vegetable broth and stir.  Cover pot and simmer 20-30 minutes until the peas are soft.  In the last 5 minutes, add the shredded carrot and stir.
3. Turn off heat.  Add kale to the pot, cover, and let steam for 5 minutes.
4. Top with a swirl of yellow mustard!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kale Skordalia

When I saw the recipe for Green Skordalia in my Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates book, I decided it would be perfect to try during MoFo.  According to the cookbook, Skordalia (also called Skorthalia) is a "pungent Mediterranean garlic paste" which is enjoyed on toast, whisked into soup, dolloped on veggies, or served as a dip.  Usually white with bits of herbs in the mix, this Skordalia is green due to the kale.

The recipe was pretty quick and simple.  Basically throwing the ingredients into a food processor.  It was definitely GARLICKY with the recipe calling for 6-8 cloves of the raw stuff.  I was slightly off put by the slimy texture, which I assume came from the kale.  Still, it was tasty and I now have a ton left over.  I think I might turn the leftovers into soup.  By the way, I replaced the yogurt in the recipe with a blended cashew sour cream.