Monthly Archives: October 2009

Baked Pumpkin Fusilli

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

If you haven’t noticed, Halloween is my favorite. I had to get one pumpkin recipe in for VeganMoFo, but of course, I waited for the last minute and didn’t have any ideas that wouldn’t take all day. I turned to my trusted cookbook collection and found the Baked Pumpkin Ziti recipe in Veganomicon. Of course I didn’t actually follow the recipe, but it’s nearly the same. It was a hearty dish for lunch on Halloween, with a bit of spiciness. I didn’t have a chance to make the seasoned breadcrumbs for the top, and instead substituted some seasoned flax meal. This is perhaps where my version was seriously lacking. I enjoyed the dish but it wasn’t terribly exciting. I find that often pumpkin can turn a generally tasty meal into something rather bland. Next time maybe I’ll add in some tomato or just more spices.

And that brings us to the end of VeganMoFo 2009. It’s been a blast and I’m a bit sad it’s going to be over. I’m also a little relieved. This month has definitely been a strain on my psyche, trying to blog every day while  filling every other free moment with projects and fun to celebrate fall and Halloween. I loved it, but I won’t pretend there weren’t times when the lack of sleep really did get to me. I’m so glad I found so many other really amazing blogs out there to read though and some great inspiration.

death by guillotine and the elephant man

Now I’m off to prepare for more Halloween festivities. I still haven’t finished my costume. And I’m already running late! Yikes. Hope everyone has a frightful and delicious holiday!

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Viet Noodle Bar

First, I have to apologize. I may have started losing my mind. This past week has been filled to the brim with obligations, fun and otherwise. Mostly fun. Halloween is tomorrow and I’ve been trying to pack as much fright filled excitement into this week as possible. Which means that I have neglected writing here. I’m a firm believer that one should not apologize for lack of writing on a blog because probably no one noticed but the writer themselves. So I’m really only apologizing for the photo above, because well, you can see it’s not so great.

But….

I’m going to make up for it by telling you about one of my favorite restaurants that you probably haven’t been to. It’s a lovely spot in Atwater Village called Viet Noodle Bar. Now let me tell you why this place is so awesome. It’s an omni restaurant but they have two vegan dishes clearly labeled on their menu. The tofu basil banh mi seen above and a jackfruit noodle bowl. Both are tasty and refreshing. The banh mi is a crunchy french roll filled with tofu, seasoned tomato sauce, basil, carrots and daikon. It has a hearty filling with a fresh, sweet crunch. I love this thing. I probably get it once a week for lunch. The noodle bowl is equally as delicious and even more filling. You really can’t go wrong with noodles and jackfruit.

The other great thing about this place is that it has a communal table and counter and is filled with shared books. I often go and read a couple chapters of a novel while I lunch. The atmosphere is relaxing and modern. A few notes though before you go…it’s cash only so make sure you bring something besides your credit card. Also, there are things on the menu listed as vegetarian and they are not vegan. I was told they have mayo or something bizarre in them. Just stick with the stuff that is marked as vegan and you’ll be set.

And on that note I’m going to leave you with a photo of Shawn’s pumpkin from last year because it’s so cute and we haven’t had a chance to carve pumpkins yet this year. Happy Halloween!

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I love crepes

I honestly adore crepes. I love how light they are, as well as being the perfect vehicle for a myriad of flavors. I’m happy eating sweet or savory versions, but don’t go for anything overstuffed. I finally had the opportunity to try the crepe recipe from Veganomicon after oogling over it since I got the cookbook. Chickpea flour is something that I don’t usually have on hand, and it is the key ingredient that makes these crepes work. The crepes I’ve made before were definitely on the sweet side as well as being fairly oily and difficult to work with. This recipe was great as the flavor wasn’t too strong so you could easily pair it with different toppings.

I whipped up the batter last night and refrigerated it so we could have the crepes for breakfast. I tested out a few different fillings, blueberries, strawberry jam, powdered sugar and soy cheese. They were all super tasty but the jam was without a doubt the best. The crepes cooked very easily and as long as the pan was oiled, they were easy to work with. I didn’t use the crepe spreader that I have and instead just opted to swirl the pan around, using gravity to flatten them, and they still turned out fairly thin. I’m so glad to have an easy crepe recipe to turn to. I can’t wait to make a sweet version with lemon.

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Madeline’s Bistro

Perhaps one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in as a vegan (perhaps in my life even) was at Madeline’s Bistro. Though I’d heard about this little restaurant in Tarzana as being the only real gourmet vegan restaurants in the Los Angeles area, it took me ages to finally go there. Finally, one Saturday when Shawn and I had to make a trip out to the far reaches of the west valley, we made Madeline’s our breakfast destination. The thing that enticed me the most was the promise of vegan beignets. Beignets are a rare treat on their own, but I’d never even heard of a vegan version. I had to have them. Of course I was not disappointed. The beignets were crunchy on the outside but fluffy on the inside. Instead of being covered in the standard powdered sugar, they came with a fruit compote. They were amazing. I could write this whole post just about those beignets. I wish I wasn’t writing this right now because now I want to go eat them. Ok, moving on. We also got the donut which was equally as satisfying. Without a doubt the best vegan donut I’ve ever had, soft and fluffy and delicately sweet.

Shawn ordered the chicken and waffles. Luckily I got to sample some. The chicken was a breaded seitan that was to die for. Again, quite possibly the best seitan I’ve ever had in my life. It was perfectly seasoned and well matched with the potatoes and gravy. The Belgian waffles were thick and crunchy. They definitely had a healthier taste to them with a nutty, grainy flavor.

I ordered the porcini-crusted tofu benedict since I am obsessed with vegan benedict. This was a pure delicacy. The hollandaise was lightly flavored and the whole thing was perfectly seasoned. It was an amazing combination of vegetables and tofu with just enough sauce to compliment the dish without overwhelming it. In other words, it was amazing.

I really was so impressed with everything that we had. If you’re going to try Madeline’s, you must go for brunch. It’s honestly not that far from where we live, but just far enough that we pretty much only go for special occasions, which is perfect.

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Halloween Cookies

Due to popular demand, and because perhaps we are insane, we decided to have another Halloween movie marathon this weekend. To go with our new set of movies, we of course needed a new set of treats. This time I went with cookies, since I really am a cookie girl. I made the sugar cookies from The Joy of Vegan Baking. This is my go-to recipe for sugar cookies because it’s pretty straight forward and makes a good amount. They’re not blow you away good, but they’re good and the royal icing is amazing so they make for good party snacks and gifts. Not to mention they’re so much fun to decorate.

For a little variety I also tried out the recipe for the chocolate crinkles, since I imagined they’d have a festive look to them. They’re soft and fudgey on the inside, sort of like little brownie bites. I cooked them on the shorter side so they would be softer, but perhaps they would have been nice crunchy. While they were well liked, I wish they were more chocolaty.

We were lucky enough to have the lovely FoodEater make us the mac and cheese I’ve been dreaming about. It was so good. I have to admit that I am not a daiya fan but it worked really well in this dish. It was cheesy but did not have the sticky weirdness that daiya can have on pizza. My favorite part was the seasoned bread crumbs on top that gave it more texture and flavor than just standard mac. The whole dish was completely eaten in less than an hour.

We learned some very important lessons during this movie marathon: If you go looking for the cat, you will probably die. If you get cats thrown at you, you will definitely die. If you try to kill cats, you may get brutally beaten by the man at the hot dog stand and eaten by rats. Most importantly, Christmas is a very scary holiday.

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My favorite ghost cake


I had posted this video previously but it wasn’t anywhere near Halloween so I thought it deserved to be brought back for another go around. The little ghosts are made from Dandies vegan marshmallows and frosting. I think it’s possibly the cutest cake I’ve ever made. Enjoy the video. Weee!

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Thanks!

photo by Studiodrome

Mocha Cupcake photo by Studiodrome

I wanted to say thank you. Thanks to everyone who reads this blog. Though I technically started it in 2007, it was only in August of last year that I was really inspired to post with some regular frequency as well as improve the quality of the blog itself. In the past year I have tried to work on the quality of every aspect of the blog, by improving the writing, photos and content itself. So thanks for coming back and commenting and inspiring me even more.

Thank you to all the bloggers out there who I am able to share a sense of camaraderie with. Thanks for writing thought out reviews, sharing your well crafted recipes and posting drool-worthy photos. Thanks especially to all of you in Los Angeles who I’ve been lucky enough to share a meal with and dork out on vegan food.

Thank you all for being vegan, and if you’re not, for at least being interested enough that you might try it out. Thanks for being someone who I don’t have to explain why I don’t like bacon to or why I get plenty of protein and calcium without meat and dairy. Thanks for loving food as much as I do and caring about animals/your health/the earth/whatever your reason is to make the right choices about what you consume.

And and extra big thank you to Shawn (yeah that’s Studiodrome in case you were confused) for being the most awesome boyfriend ever. Thanks for taking so many of my photos and teaching me how to be a better photographer and letting me borrow your camera even at really annoying times. Thanks for testing all my crazy recipes and letting me ask you detailed questions about every dessert instead of just letting you enjoy them. Thanks for telling me stories from your vegan journey and making me more confident. Thank you for getting excited about all the things I do. ❤

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