05
Oct
08

Vegan MoFo: Compassionate Cuisine Wrap Up

How naive of me to think that I’d be able to post pictures and write an entry on Friday night after preparing food for the Compassionate Cuisine! I spent hours whisking Vegan Soft Serve Mix (8 Gallons to be exact), that I seriously thought I wouldn’t be able to move my arms the next day. Then, I was asked to “throw together” a salad for Lee Kum Kee, who couldnt be there at the event. Sure, no problem…

After I saw the ingredients, I had a mini-panic attack. This was no throwing together project. They supplied the recipe, and bought the groceries for me to make the salad. I thought everything was prepped and I literally was just going to toss it in a bowl. She showed me where the ingredients were…17 pounds of tofu, 5 pounds of green onions, gallon of peanuts, 6 quarts of dressing, aaand 20 pounds of coleslaw mix. Since it was already midnight, I figured I better get started on the prep work. I’d marinate the tofu overnight, and then add the remaining ingredients the next day – so I did just that.

The evidence..

We had to clean out the entire fridge to fit everything, and although it was time consuming the day of the event and I was scrambling to finish, it really did go quite smoothly.

Unmixed:

All mixed and ready to go:

It was so kind of Lee Kum Kee to be so generous – they really were a bunch of sweethearts and Im so glad I was able to help them out last minute.

The salad was awesome, and everyone loved it. It’s a ridiculously easy recipe too, and perfect for parties/potlucks.

Soy & Chili Garlic Tofu Salad

Serves 4 (but I multiplied this by a billion to serve 250)

Ingredients:

16 oz. firm tofu-drained-diced

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1/2 cup red cabbage shredded

(For both of the above ingredients, I used coleslaw mix)

1/2 cup snow peas-trimmed-blanced-cut 1/2 inch thick (they didn’t give me this, so I guess it’s not necessary)

2 tbsp chopped roasted Peanuts

2 stalks green onion chopped

Dressing:

2 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce

4 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Soy Sauce

1 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Sesame Oil

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp sugar

(obviously they don’t have to be Lee Kum Kee, but if you can, please purchase this brand. They’re always helping out for vegetarian/vegan events and generously donate food and cute gifts)

Method:

– In a mixing bowl combine dressing ingredients and mix well

– Add diced tofu and marinate for one hour or more under refrigeration (I did overnight)

-Toss all vegetables with the tofu mixture and mix well

-Garnish with chopped green onion and chopped peanuts

That’s it. Totally easy. You can do it, I have faith in you.

So after I prepared the salads, I also had to cook the food that El Burrito donated for the event. El Burrito makes the ever so popular and yummy “Soyrizo”. They donated Soy Taco for the event, along with gallons upon gallons of salsa and guacamole.

5 lbs of Soy Taco:

I had all four burners going on my stove, and just cooked in batches, and kept in a warm oven until the event. People loved it. It was pretty good, but a little too salty for me, as I find with a lot of seasoned meat analogs.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take many pictures at the event itself because it was so so busy. The food was awesome, and the vegan soft serve lived up to it’s expectations. I’d like to think that my awesome whisking skills contributed to it being so good. Ok fine, probably not.

Vegetable and Nut loaf Wraps with Avocado and BBQ Sauce from Secret Spot in Sunset Beach (SOOO Good):

Various Middle Eastern Food from Open Sesame in Long Beach (By far best Middle Eastern Food I’ve ever had):

Lemon Pepper Tofu from Whole Foods:

I totally scored by having my table next to the Follow Your Heart table. He made Chicken-Free-Chicken with their amazing, kick ass Balsamic BBQ Sauce:

So all in all, the event was a huge success, and Animal Acres raised tons of money to put towards their farm. Oh, and I also got to take home some leftovers!!!

Look at the Soft Serve!!!!!! I’m freaking out. Although it’s a slightly different consistency when it’s refrozen, it’s still incredibly smooth and really good. That’s five freakin pounds you’re looking at there. And my new BFF from FYH gave me all of his vegetables and enough BBQ Sauce for me to bathe in for th next year.

Any idea on what to do with massive amounts of onions, peppers, cilantro and carrots? Like massive amounts? I think I’m going to just freeze everything instead of be insanely ambitious and cook with all of it.

If you’re ever in the So CA area, please please visit Animal Acres. Whether it’s just to sit and ponder life with the cows, or to work yourself like a dog helping lift hay and clean the stalls, it’s really an amazing experience to have.

03
Oct
08

Animal Acres Compassionate Cuisine: Prelude

This Saturday is the Animal Acres 3rd Annual Compassionate Cuisine, that I am the Volunteer Coordinator for. For those of you that are not familiar with Animal Acres, it is a farm sanctuary located in Southern California, founded by Lorri Bauston – the cofounder of The Farm Sanctuary, which is located in Northern CA and New York. It truly is a great place – a refuge for cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, goats, and more.

Compassionate Cuisine is a celebration of International Vegetarian Day, with many local restaurants and vegan friendly companies offering a wide variety of the most amazing food to try, while educating attendees of the farming industry and mistreatment of animals. I learned about it last year, when I went up to the farm for the day with my mom, and when I learned it was in Long Beach I got in contact with the organizer to volunteer for the event. I had such a great time and met so many amazing people, that there was no question that I would help out again when asked.

Tomorrow night will be spent whisking vegan soft serve mix for 250 people (courtesy of Chicago Soy Dairy), in order for it to set overnight and get ready for dispensing on Saturday night. I’m also going to be helping with the preparation of some food for restaurants that can’t attend the even themselves. Not sure what I’m going to be doing, but both you and I will find out tomorrow! I’ll take some pictures tomorrow night with the preparation for the event, and of course I’ll take tons of photos at the event on Saturday.

In the meantime, please take the time to visit Animal Acre’s website, and if you’re in the Southern CA area, then help support and buy a ticket!

Stay Tuned for some serious awesomeness ahead.

And I’d like to say that I’m very, very excited at the thought of having some vegan soft serve.

02
Oct
08

Soy what?!

I unfortunately don’t have any pictures to upload for my first entry, but that’s okay because this goes way back long before my days of digital cameras. I figured it was appropriate to talk about my first experience with soy for my first VeganMofo entry. When I was  about 14 years old and decided to explore veganism, I was completely lost other than my “Vegetarian Starter Kit” that I ordered in the mail. I knew Soy Milk could replace my milk, and tofu could replace the meat in my recipes, but where would I even start? Products like Silk and Nasoya were not yet available in your average neighborhood supermarket, and that was the only type of grocery store I was familiar with.

Luckily, I lived in the Bay Area, so with a little bit of exploring I realized it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.  I noticed soymilk was sold little Asian market called “Happy Produce” around the block from my house..great. There was a healthfood/vitamin store a few blocks down at a Shopping Plaza, they must have tofu there. Done.

I remember announcing to my family that I was going to drink Soy Milk from now on, as it was much healthier than cow’s milk, and that I didn’t want to have an animal suffer for drinking it’s milk.  The clear quart-size container of soymilk was very unappetizing looking. It appeared awfully watery and not as bright white of a color that I was used to drinking. I remember being really nervous in my kitchen holding the glass of soy milk in front of my mom and step dad. i took a massive gulp of of it and could barely keep it down, it was so completely disgusting, I was definitely surprised as I didn’t think it would taste that bad.  Needless to say, I spit it out while my parents laughed at me. I was so confused..how in the hell could this replace the milk I was used to?!

Little did I know, the ingredients of soybeans and water (only!) wasn’t exactly the best choice and that there were better alternatives out there. It took me about six months to give it another try. I was so scared of it and really just shuddered at the thought of having to drink that stuff again. Now of course the soymilk out there is completely different than what I’m used to, and I drink it every day.  I must say though, I’m still weary of homemade soymilk makers, as every single time I see one, I think of that afternoon where I drank a big glass of well…watery soybeans.

During the time I was avoiding soymilk like the plague, I was happily using tofu in all of my recipes…pasta, sandwiches, chili..it was going great. I didn’t quite understand tofu, and really have the same appreciation for it that I do now. I was using it as a replacement for meat, but didn’t really enjoy it. I guess you will have that lukewarm feeling for tofu if all you were using was silken crumbled tofu that came in the aseptic packaging. I had no clue that any other kind of tofu existed for probably oh, a year after using it? After discovering the various water packed brands out there, I was hooked.

So moral of the story, is that it took me a lot of trial and error (and near vomiting experiences) with different brands, preparation methods, and recipes to really learn what I like best. And I still learn every time I make a new dish of something that could be improved, something that was perfect, or just was bad news all together. I never forgot WHY i decided to cut out animal products, which is why I stayed dedicated to sticking with it.

Maybe that will be one of my MoFo themes…homemade soymilk.

Eh, most likely not.

17
Sep
08

Sushi? Cupcakes?

I wish for the life of me, I can remember who came up with this adorable idea. I want to say I saw it on a blog, or maybe some ppk food porn or something, but I am drawing a fat blank. Sorry!

My sister just moved to Seattle, and she requested that I make cupcakes for a family dinner thing that we were having. Since she also loves japanese food, I decided to make sushi cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes with coconut buttercream (just regular vanilla buttercream but coconut extract replacing the vanilla), covered with shredded coconut, swedish fish, and some cute japanese grass stuff that I found at the asian market.

Photo is from my new cell phone! Not bad at all.

15
Sep
08

sweetie pie.

being that i decided to rock this shit again, i feel obligated to post some pics. although these are all older, these are some photos of some of my favorite baked goods that i’ve made.

my first layered cake.

this was for my mom’s birthday, chocolate coconut raspberry – using a recipe from the allmighty kittee. i spent about three hours on this cake, so anal about decorating it. this was just after a really bad breakup, and i think that’s why i focused on it so much. it’s funny how cooking can serve as a therapy session like that. i’m so much sloppier about my cakes now.

Your Traditional Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting

Back when I worked for a bunch of dudes at a magazine publisher, they all thought I was weird for being vegan, and I wanted to bring something to show that I’m not as weird as they think, and that vegan food isn’t so horrifying. Well at least in my eating habits. Because it was for a bunch of guys that rode dirt bikes, I felt inclined to make it extra girly with pink buttercream and star sprinkles. This recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, my go to cupcake source. Ironically enough, only a couple months later they bought me a cake from costco for my birthday and tried the whole “just this one time” guilt trip. After that, I wish I never made them cupcakes.

Coconut Custard Pie

This was back when I was testing for Veganomicon, the Lost Coconut Pie – I think it was for Mother’s Day, my mom is pretty into coconut and I thought I’d do something different other than your standard cake. It was pretty fucking good, and I love it when fresh fruit is incorporated into anything desert. Pie is good. I’d like to make them more. More particularly, mini pies. Mini pies soon!

Baby Shower

I mentioned a few posts down about how I was making the deserts for my sister’s baby shower. It was really great, and the food turned out awesome (and catered by Native Foods – I ate enough for two weeks I think). It was however, the most stressful experience ever. I love baking for people, but am very critical and weird about making stuff, it has to be perfect, or I won’t give it. I waited until very late in the day the night before, and ended up working well into the night, maybe 3 in the morning? My first batch of cupcakes sank. Tossed them, started again and made three more batches. The chocolate mousse i wanted to make for the phyllo cups had to be made in the food processor. It broke about five minutes into blending. awesome! i used the magic bullet and made about 20 different batches to blend it all. It was in the middle of the night and the squealing of the magic bullet was echoing through my apartment. I covered it with a towel, expecting my neighbors to bang on my door any minute to tell me to shut up. Lucky for them, they didn’t – i was going to finish that damn mousse if it killed me.

The ride up there the next day was probably the worst. I carpooled with my mom and almost needed a panic pill to chill myself out over the anxiety of them getting ruined on the trip..I’m pretty sure my mom was about to smack me after yelling at her over every turn she made. This is why I can never be a caterer. I’d kill myself over stress and insecurities. Anyway, all of that was long winded. Everything was in tact and everyone was happy, and I have a rad nephew now.

Puff Pastry filled with Chocolate Mousse from VCTOTW topped with raspberries.

And that’s it for now. I will end this post with a different kind of sweetie pie, dot. Photo is saved on my computer as “Dot_Total_Fucking_Cuteness” which I think is an accurate description.

Dot. Please don't eat her.

Did I say any awesome looking photo is taken by my mom? If I didn’t say it, I am now.

15
Sep
08

i’m back.

i’m starting again. only a year later!! i want to try this veganmofo business, so i’m giving the blog a whirl again. i felt lame for not taking a whole lot of pictures of food, but as my header says, crafting and randomness too! i forgot about that.

12
Nov
07

oh hell yes.

I’m going to be doing all of the desserts for my sister’s baby shower coming up in a few weeks, so I’m trying various recipes to practice and take note of what does work and doesn’t work, etc. to try and make things go as smoothly as possible. i’ve decided to make four different types of desserts, and i decided to give the lemon bars a try from veganomicon.

holy fucking crap, these may be one of the best things i’ve ever had. the recipe calls for agar and cornstarch, and the whole science behind this recipe amazes me. the lemon layer is so firm, it’s amazing. it’s a super simple recipe too, so this one is a winner, and will for sure be at the shower.

the only problem I had, was that the bars collected so much moisture, the powdered sugar just seemed to melt on top and it didn’t look as nice. i tried patting it down and everything to absorb some of the extra moisture, but it just came back. so i think that i’ll serve them without the powdered sugar on top, because melty sugar is no good.

This is one of those recipes that is SO good, i’m glad that I’ve passed them on to my mom and are no longer in my house. I’d finish them in two days.

Go make this! Now!! Then you can thank me for being so bossy. And then thank Isa, for being a culinary genius.

Naked:

lemonbarsunsugared.jpg

Sugared:

lemonbarstopview.jpg




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