oh, am i ever in trouble.

i have a total food crush on katie.

her cinnamon rolls blew my mind the other day and now i'm (again) dumbfounded by her recipe for spicy tempeh wingz, which she included in DEOTS #1. i often find tempeh too substantial and chewy, so i adapted it to make some sort of buffalo-y tofu sticks. holy hell, are they ever amazing. i'm actually a little worried about what might become of me now that i've gotten around to making them. i foresee myself holing up in the apartment, shutting off the phone and otherwise ending all contact with the outside world, and getting all hopped up on hot sauce and vegan bleu cheese dressing. (yeah, you read that right.)

i prepped the tofu by freezing, defrosting, and pressing it, then slicing it in eight pieces across the width, like this.

then i halved each piece and put them through the breading assembly line - almond milk, flour & seasonings, and panko bread crumbs, shown here in reverse order. (i ran out of panko after 12 pieces of tofu and had to resort to regular bread crumbs, which coated more thoroughly and crisped up a little more than the panko. even so, i think she made the right choice in suggesting a bigger crumb for the coating.)

after baking at somewhere between 300 and 400 for, oh, a while - everything is kind of random in my kitchen - i tossed all the tofu pieces in the sauce. i plated them up with a dressing i made while they were baking. they were so, so, SO good and right now i feel like i just want all my food smothered in hot sauce and served with a side of creamy cooldown.

katie has posted the tempeh wingz recipe on her site and here's the dressing recipe, which i adapted from an outback restaurant copycat. it's pretty much slaying everything in sight right now. it's that good.
vegan blue cheese dressing
1/2 wheel of sunergia "soy bleu" vegan blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup vegenaise
2 T soy milk
splash of apple cider vinegar
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
fresh ground white pepper, to taste

combine the soymilk and vinegar in a small bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. add all other ingredients and mix well. can be used immediately, but it's best to cover and refrigerate it for at least half an hour before serving.


with cinnamon rolls like these...

...who needs friends? or anything else, for that matter?

much has been said about katie's pumpkin cinnamon rolls recipe (from don't eat off the sidewalk, issue 2). i must confess, i foolishly tried to make these once before, only to find that i was out of AP flour, and tried to make do with whole wheat flour. yeah...as anyone who has ever tried knows, the two are not interchangeable. my first batch, though a miserable failure, still provided a few half-cooked rolls that testified to this recipe's genius. i knew i would be making them again...

i had a pumpkin project all lined up for the weekend, but i was less than satisfied with my preliminary results. having restocked the pantry, i figured i should give the pumpkin cinnamon rolls another go. i'm really glad i did, as was my coworker today, who was the lucky recipient of one roll, and as i'm sure my other coworkers will be tomorrow, when i bring in what's left of the batch. i, for one, don't need them sitting around my kitchen, luring me in with their siren song of deliciousness. it's bad enough that i had one for dinner tonight. that's right, not WITH dinner, not AFTER dinner, but FOR dinner. if you've tried them, you are no doubt picking up what i'm putting down.

i made a few changes to the recipe from DEOTS. i wanted to add another little seasonal touch and find a use for some dried cranberries i had, so i added them to the filling. when i made the glaze, i added 1/2 teaspoon of cranberry concentrate. as it turns out, i definitely could have used more, but i glazed them right before work this morning and didn't want to start my day off with regret. i almost wish i'd added some nuts, too, but i suspect i might just be cinnamon roll crazy. here they are, in detail, pre- and post-bake.


funghi among i.

old me: funghiphobe.
new me: funghiphile.

i think i turned the corner to mushroom appreciation one night when i was at a summertime cookout on my friends josh & mo's rooftop downtown. they grilled some creminis that had been tossed with olive oil and salt and i was immediately smitten. mo's friend karl was super sweet about it, too, and he kept passing them my way. i didn't experiment much with mushrooms after that, but it did open me up to the possibility of eating them in different ways.

this past september, i had a mushroom tagliatelle for my birthday dinner. and this afternoon, when i was shopping at trader joe's, i couldn't resist buying a half-pound assortment of mushrooms - oyster, cremini, and shiitake. i wanted a similar pasta dish, so i sought out a recipe and, wouldn't you know it, mario batali came through. i worked from his recipe for perciatelli al funghi, but used less oil, my 'shroom mix instead of porcinis, linguine instead of perciatelli, and added a little dry white wine. it was flippin' awesome.

1 pound perciatelli
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
4 garlic whole cloves peeled
1 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 pound fresh porcini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

drop the pasta in salted boiling water.
meanwhile, in a large saute pan heat 4 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil, add the sliced and whole garlic. remove the pan from the heat if necessary; you do not want the garlic to brown too much or burn.
add 1/2 cup of the parsley and continue to cook either on low flame or using the residual heat for 1 minute. if you find the garlic cooking too quickly, add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking liquid to slow it down.
add the sliced porcini and 4 more tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
remove the whole garlic cloves and continue to cook until your pasta is ready.
once your pasta is done, drain it and place in the saute pan with the oil and porcini tossing to combine, let it cook for 45 seconds more, and then toss in the remaining 1/2 cup parsley and the remaining extra-virgin olive oil.
plate and serve immediately.

happy red velvet day!

yesterday was my friend and favorite new baby mama sheila's birthday, so i made her a red velvet cake to commemorate it.
it started off as a 2-layer cake, but i wasn't satisfied with the height so i doubled it. jesus, it was really tall! i used this recipe and it turned out really awesome. the only issue i have is that my crazy old oven has two settings, off and 500°F, so i always end up with slightly overdone edges. i don't know how i got any cupcake testing done in that thing. i guess the smaller cakes/shorter cook times were more forgiving.

(the superbly amateur cake decorating was at once fun and anxiety-inducing, last-minute as it was.)

no inside shot because we ate at a korean restaurant (sura: the king's meal) on 9th street that was lovely inside but very dark. i had a deliciously spicy kimchi stone bowl bibimbop that was perfect for a cold, cold night. again, no pictures, so you'll have to take my word for it that it was not only delicious but also beautifully served, sizzling in a giant hot black stone bowl.


memphis-style forque sandwich.

continuing my lazy and warm-weather food themes, i took advantage of my decision to enjoy a mental health day today and recreated one of my favorite nonvegan sandwiches for lunch.

i admit, barbecue food is weird because its history is so intimately tied to carnivory, but i liken it to the wearing of faux fur. except, i'm assuming, barbecue is more delicious than faux fur. anyway, if it can be done cruelty-free, i'm all for it.
there are barbecue philosophies all over and beyond america and they all have their rabid supporters and critics. i'm no bbq expert, but i do know about this one particularly awesome style of sandwich.

to create my vegan memphis-style bbq sandwich, i started with some morningstar farms veggie steak strips and sauteed them with some yummy barbecue sauce. i then piled some strips onto a hamburger bun and topped it with some celery remoulade i made earlier this week. lolo posted an adapted julia childs recipe for this celeriac slaw and i'm kind of embarrassingly addicted to it. it's crisp and tangy and creamy and...just super ogod, especially when it's made with horseradish dijon. and because it's french, now you get the payoff of my post title: faux + pork + vaguely french spelling.
even now, remembering how the spicy, gluteny goodness married with the tangy, creamy remoulade is making my mouth water. i served it with thick-cut potato chips, which provided a little crunch and the perfect amount of saltiness.
i'm going to have to make this again with homemade seitan. it might just become my mission to perfect the the memphis-style forque sandwich. when i have, my dream will be to open a vegan smokehouse over the summer, when i'm free from teaching, so i can share its deliciousness...i mean, be able to eat one whenever i want.

oh, i also learned that just putting a little effort into a relatively easy meal pays off exponentially. it took about 10 minutes to get my lunch ready, but it was easily worth an hour's work.

warm weather food for cold weather nights.

i do really try to center my meals around foods that are in season, agriculturally or traditionally. i think it forces variation into my diet and also is just complementary. when i lived in florida, i lamented the lack of seasonal change, and now that i'm back in the northeast, i'm always excited when one season gives way to the next. eating in accordance with natural cycles only adds to my appreciation of them.

BUT...there's no denying that there are prototypical meals that exemplify the seasons. it finally got COLD here this week and i found myself wanting to escape the winter come dinnertime, so i worked up a summery plate. in my eyes, barbecue goes hand in hand with rising mercury. luckily, it's easy enough to prepare indoors any time of year and there are any number of foods that lend themselves well to a healthy dousing of sauce.
asparagus and basil, like most produce, are available not only "in season" but year-round, which i guess warrants some kind of dubious gratitude. i mean, i'm glad to have them whenever i want, but they're also indicative of the disruption of farming by consumer demand. (get these politics off my plate!) ah, well, i balanced all this with the ever-loving potato, a cold-weather crop and also only the greatest thing nature has ever invented.

a meal for the dog days of december: BBQ tofu (lightly breaded, sauteed & brushed with BBQ sauce), asparagus (lightly doused with olive oil, tossed with salt, and broiled) and pesto mashed potatoes (garlic steeped in some melted EB, then tossed with basil chiffonades and mixed with soymilk & potatoes).

meal of the lazy.

this is what happens when:
1. i feel like i need to have a burger and fries for dinner,
2. i have to do laundry on a weeknight, and
3. i'm exhausted from a full day of teaching.

i can't remember the last time i had a boca burger, but it seemed like the right thing to have for dinner on monday. and i'd been craving french fries for a few days and didn't feel like fighting the urge any longer. in between trips to the laundrette, i managed to pick up everything i needed to assemble this terribly low-effort meal:

i'm lucky to have a small health foods store just around the corner, even if it is a little pricy. (is a 4-pack of boca burgers usually $5? i feel like that's a lot!)
right across the street, there's a cramped little bodega where i grabbed a hoagie roll, at once eliminating the need to trek further in the cold to find hamburger buns and leaving me with enough roll left over to recreate a beanball sub.
next door to the bodega is a chinese restaurant which, like many in NYC, serves hybrid chino-latino food and crappy american staples like french fries and fried chicken.
it was cold and rainy and i was grateful to be able to get everything i needed with minimal outside time. it meant that i wasn't too bummed out when my burger-fries combo disappointed. i must have romanticized the boca because it was pretty lackluster. i suppose the makeshift roll didn't help, but it just seemed too mushy and blah and packaged-tasting. the french fries should have redeemed the meal, but they were slightly undercooked and tasted like they were fried in oil that should long ago have been given over to a higher cause, like motoring a converted biodiesel bus on its way to burning man.

i've really been avoiding packaged foods and not eating out very much and although this meal isn't necessarily typical of either phenomenon, it did kind of validate my slow conversion.