Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Copycat Wienerschnitzel Chili

In celebration of the Giants making it to the World Series, I told Michael I would make him whatever he wanted to eat during the game. He eagerly requested I make a version of Wienerschnitzel's chili cheese dog and chili cheese fries. So I did some research on the web and found a copy cat recipe. I made a few small changes, and used soy protein crumbles instead of ground beef for mine. This recipe is proof that vegans don't just eat boring salads!

This make 4 servings of chili, enough for chili cheese fries and a chili dog for two people.

Copycat Wienerschnitzel Chili
1/2 of tube of Lightlife Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style
3 cups of water
1/8 cup corn starch
1/4 cup flour
1 tbs tomato paste
4 tbs chili powder
5 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tbs white vinegar2

In a skillet over medium heat, crumble up and brown the ground beef.

In a small bowl, whisk together the water, corn starch, flour, and tomato paste.

Add to the browned ground beef crumbles.

Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the sauce is at desired thickness.

Put the chili on some fries and a hot dog---or anything else you want! And don't forget to add a little vegan cheese too.

This was soooo good. And WAY healthier than the real stuff.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bac'n Mac and Cheese

Guess what other American classic is actually vegan? McCorkmick's Bac'n Pieces! It is made from soy. Once again, it is a processed food and needs to be eaten in moderation. But it can provide that "meaty" flavor to your favorite dish on occasion. I decided to add them to my mac and cheese, along with some veggies.

I have posted a recipe for mac and cheese awhile ago that uses Daiya Cheese and nutritional yeast. This recipe only uses nutritional yeast because I was trying to cut down on calories and processed ingredients.

Bacon Bits Mac and Cheese
8 ounces macaroni 
1 small onion, minced
2 carrots, finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups soy milk
1 tsp mustard
1 tbs soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbs of Bac'n Pieces 
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, sauté the chopped onions, carrots, and celery in the 1/4 cup of butter. 

Once the veggies are soft, add the nutritional yeast. Mix together until it makes a lumpy paste. 

Now add the soy milk, mustard, and garlic. Whisk to get the lumps out. 

Add the cooked macaroni and the Bacon Bits.  Mix it all together and season to taste. 

Now you have bacon mac and cheese without all that cholesterol! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

FoodBuzz Blogger Festival: Saturday Nigh Gala

This was hands down the best part of the whole festival. We could purchase guest tickets for this event, so once again I brought my sweetheart. It was exciting to get dress-up up and have "adult time" as Michael phrased it.

After the Taste Pavilion, it was such a lovely day so we walked through the city for awhile. Then we changed and head to to the Sir Francis Drake a bit early to grab a drink. I had a very yummy cocktail called "Nothing Rhymes with Orange" and Michael of course had an Anchor Steam.

Then shuttles took us over to the California Academy of Sciences for the gala. We started in the lobby where they servred melon agua fresca and this ahi appetizers that Michael loved, and once again I will just take his word for it. Then we wandered through the museum, passed the sharks and rays, and down stairs to the aquarium.

Sorry it's so dark, best I could do!

There was an open bar and hors d'oeuvres. They had a special apricot martini that I could not get passed the first sip. I quickly switched to wine, Cupcake Vineyards to be exact. I started with a glass of Pinot Grigio.

Most of the passsed hors d'oeuvres were actually vegan! They had eggplant veggie crepes and veggie sushi rolls. Plus little tables with spreads, crackers, and nuts.

We mingled and stared at the fish. Michael even ran into an old friend and I ran into Kristianne (My San Francisco Kitchen) whom I had cocktails with the night before. She joined us for the rest of the night.

They ushered us back upstairs for a buffet dinner. We sat at a table with Danica from Danica's Daily and her husband, Blair from Slovenian Roots Quest and her husband, and Petra from Strawberry Pesto.

I was kinda disappoint that the only vegan options were salads. Michael laughed and said, "I thought all you eat is vegetables?" I am not going to complain too much since they were actually really good.

The first table had an avocado and grapefruit salad in a wine vinaigrette, and a yellow beat salad.

The second table had an fennel and escarole salad in a champagne dressing, and an arugula and endive salad in a sherry vinaigrette.

For dessert I switched to the Sparkling Presecco. Their vegan options were an apple pate and almond raspberry cake bites. Kristianne literally grabbed one of everything, it was pretty funny.

Afterwards we just took the shuttle back and drove home. We were exhausted, but had a lot of fun. I am looking forward to next year already!

Thank you again to Foodbuzz and all the sponsors!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

FoodBuzz Blogger Festival: Taste Pavilion

The second day of the FoodBuzz Blogger Festival started with a scavenger hunt at the Farmers Market at the Ferry 8:30 in the morning....I was still sleeping at 8:30 in the morning. I showed up around 10:30 and did not feel like doing the scavenger by myself. I did explore the vendor booths and use the $6 worth of tokens FoodBuzz gave me for a yummy spicy raw lettuce wrap from Alive!'s booth. I sat and ate with a lovely view of the foggy Bay Bridge.

Messy but the gulls were happy to help.
Afterwards I slowly walked through the city to the Metreon for the Taste Pavilion. We could bring a guest to this event for free, so of course I invited my sweetheart. Michael was happy to help me sample local food and drinks. His favorite was the steak from grass-fed beef, which I will just take his word for it since beef might be the farthest thing from vegan. 

I am going to discuss my three  favorite vendors:

Locally grown organic vegan snacks! And they are made from dehydrated veggies! The founder Justin was excited when he saw the name of my blog and told me all about the awesome organic produce they use. I love kale chips, and their Chessy Kale Chips really wowed me. The "cheese" is actually sunflower seeds and soy-free miso. The Seasoned Zucchini Sticks would be great to munch on and wash down with a beer during a game. 

Aloha, my braddah! Liko was inspired to start an organic handmade ice pop company from his memories of making ice pops with his Tutu (Hawaiian for Grandma). Michael and I were not only happy to talk story with him, but more than happy to sample all of his delicious frozen treats. Michael liked the Yellow Watermelon Mint. I loved the Passionfruit Coconut, it reminded me of this shave ice I got almost everyday when I met my parents in Maui last summer. 

Oh my, the Thai Green Curry might be the best I have ever had---and if you have read this blog before you know my love for Thai curry. Cook! is a gluten-free and dairy-free meal service for California, but they also have packaged retail products for sale. Michael loved the Zucchini Soup. I hope their products make their way to San Jose soon!

See my other blog, Drink Vegan Beer, for my review of Bison Brewing Company. 

FoodBuzz Blogger Festival: Review of Millennium

After the cocktail reception at Harry Denton's Starlight lounge, we were turned loose in the city to dine at the restaurant of our choice compliments of FoodBuzz.

I chose Millennium, a mostly vegan restaurant located in The Hotel California. It was right around the corner from the Sir Francis Drake so I didn't have to walk very far at all. It has a more modern decor, which goes nicely with the local organic menu.

They had a very nice liquor and wine list, but I went with beer. You can check out the review of California Common on my other blog, Drink Vegan Beer.

As my appetizer, the minute the waitress described the soup of the day I wanted it. Cauliflower and leek puree with chipotle oil and fried potato chips. It was creamy but light. The leaks stood out without being over powering (a problem I have when making leak soup). And I loved the spice from the chipotle oil. And the potato chip was fried perfectly.

For my entree, I selected the Sweet Soy, Chile and Peanut Glazed Tempeh. It came with anise and coconut black rice, snow peas, and Asian pear pieces. The glaze on the tempeh was so good, a little spicy but balanced with a little sweet. The veggies were just a little crisp still, which I love. The anise in the rice was very interesting and went well with the spiciness of the tempeh. And the Asian pear was a nice complement to the whole dish.

I lucked out and scored a free dessert because of FourSquare! I checked-in and received a coupon for a free dessert with the purchase of an appetizer and an entree.

 I chose their signature, the Chocolate Almond Midnight. It was just rich enough without being over the top. The raspberry sauce drizzled over it provided a nice tart contrast. What really made this dish was the almond cashew crust.

As much as I loved Hawaii, I am happy to be back on the mainland where there are fabulous restaurants I can actually eat at again! I am so making Michael take me back here next time we go to the city for dinner.

FoodBuzz Blogger Festival 2012: Cocktails at Harry Denton's Starlight Room


The first event for the FoodBuzz Blogger Festival was a cocktail reception at Harry Denton's Starlight Room, which is located on the 21st floor of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. After my long and boring train ride to the city, I was more than happy to enjoy a drink and some conversation.

They had two complimentary cocktails, a peach spritzers and hibiscus martini. I hated the peach one but the martini was amazing. I had two!

There were vegan some hors d'oeuvres too! Sesame tofu with a little wakame, spicy melon skewers, mini beat salads. All went very well with my cocktails.

Another amazing thing---the view! It was a little foggy so we could not see the bay very well, so it was just a fantastic view of the city.

I had cocktails with two very lovely ladies, Brigitt from cook with b and Kristianne from My San Francisco Kitchen.  I also met the author of a blog I already love, Emily from Newly Wife. Check out their blogs too!

As for the Starlight room itself, the decor is a bit outdated and worn, but overall it's a nice place. The service was great too. I would definitely recommend it for a cocktail before or after dinner, especially for a fun date night.

FoodBuzz Blogger Festival

This weekend I attended the 4th annual FoodBuzz Blogger Festival in San Francisco. I would like to thank FoodBuzz for hosting such a great event. I had a lot of fun! I would also like to thank my friend Jacklin for letting me stay at her place in the city. It was so nice to catch up and to not have to take the train back to San Jose at midnight. I am going to break-up my recap into four parts:

Cocktail Reception at Harry Denton's Starlight Room
Dine About Town: Review of Millennium
Taste Pavilion
Saturday Night Gala at The Academy of Sciences

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pumpkin Waffles

I thought I would make a special breakfast this morning because this afternoon I am heading to San Francisco for the 4th annual FoodBuzz Blogger Festival! I wanted to go last year but I was in Hawaii and couldn't miss school.  Now I live in the Silicon Valley so I can attend!

One of Michael's favorite breakfasts in waffles. And he likes my homemade ones better than frozen ones. Michael was very sweet last weekend and took me to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival (see my other blog for a review) and afterwards took me to Bob's Pumpkin Patch.

He bought me a huge pumpkin that I craved as soon as we got home (see my post from last year on how to crave a pumpkin). There were big chunks left over so I decided to save them. I roasted them, mashed them, and added it to my normal waffle recipe.

This makes 4 waffles.

Pumpkin Waffles
1/4 cup mashed pumpkin (I roasted and mashed my own, but canned is fine)
1 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup apple sauce
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp agave

If you want to roast your own pumpkin pieces, I suggest 450 degrees wrapped in foil for 25 minutes.

Pre-heat your waffle iron and spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together everything until combined. A few lumps are okay.

Pour half the batter into the waffle iron. Cooking according to the directions for your iron.

Once it's all golden and crispy, and remove and top as desired. I just did syrup (check to make sure your syrup is high fructose corn syrup free!).

My next post will be all about the fun I had at the Festival!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Vegetable Stew with Red Wine Gravy

I don't have a cute story behind why I made vegetable stew. I just thought of it and made it. Regardless, it was delicious and hearty. A lovely fall dinner! 

This makes about 4 servings. I made this in a slow cooker but it can be done over the stove as well.

Vegetable Stew with Red Wine Gravy
3 tbs of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
6 small red potatoes, cut in half
3 large carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 large parsnips, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 a medium white onion, chopped 
3 tbs of flour
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 bottle of red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon) 
2 tsp herd de provence 
Salt and Pepper
Water, as needed

Turn the slow cooker to low. Add the vegan butter and let it melt.

 Add the halved potatoes, chopped carrots and parsnips, and the chopped onion. 

Add the garlic and flour. Mix until all the veggies are coated in flour. 

Add the wine, herb de provence and enough water to ensure all the veggies are covered. 

Cover and let it cook on low to medium-low heat until the veggies are soft the gravy is thick. 

Season with salt and pepper. 

You can serve this with a big piece of bread like I did for dinner the night I made this. Or have it over rice like I did the next day for lunch. Both were delicous. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beanadilla? Noquesadilla? Something Like That...

My work has these quesadillas with mushrooms in them, and it sounds amazing. But, queso is not vegan so I can't have them. Then it dawned on me today that I could make a quesadilla with beans instead, like I often do at home. I originally got the idea from a recipe I saw on VegWeb for one with white beans.

I had the luxury of making this on the flat top grill at work. And I used the homemade slow-cooked pinto beans and the already marinated mushrooms and poblano peppers. But, luckily I have already posted a recipe for how to slow cook pinto beans and it's not that hard to marinade and sauté veggies at home.

As I was making this, the cooks all looked at me funny and asked what I was making. When I explained it was, they thought I was crazy, "Quesa-dilla, you need queso in order to make it, not frijoles!" So I said, "Fine, it's a noquesadilla...a beanadilla."

This makes 1 large quesadilla/beanadilla/whatever you want to call it.

1/2 cup mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/2 of a poblano pepper, chopped
1/2 tbs of olive oil
Juice of a lime
Red pepper flake, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large tortilla (read the label carefully to make sure it doesn't have lard)
1/2 cup of cooked pinto beans (try mine)
Salsa, guacamole, or whatever other condiment for dipping

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the sliced mushrooms and chopped poblano pepper until soft.

Immediately add to a small bowl and add the oil, lime juice, pepper, and salt and pepper. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Drain off the excess liquid when ready to use.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, place the tortilla down in it.

Spread the beans evenly on one half.

Top the beans with the veggie mixture.

Fold the tortilla over to cover the filling.

Brown on the onside as desired.

Flip carefully and brown on the other side.

Slice into wedges and serve with the sauce of your choice.

My restaurant makes killer homemade salsas. I had some of the tomatillo, my favorite and our delicious homemade guacamole.

Forget cheese, mushrooms are good no matter how you serve them. And the poblano gives it just a touch of sweetness.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sloppy Joes

This morning that commercial for an "unsloppy joe" recipe came on. Michael and I both turned to each other said we wanted sloppy joes for dinner.

Don't bother with pre made sauces in a can. Sloppy joes are just as easy to make on your own. It is really just tomato paste and seasoning. I used Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style in place of beef. And I added bell peppers for more nutrition.  

This makes about 4 sandwiches. 

Sloppy Joes
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, minced (optional)
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tbs agave 
1 and 1/4 cup  water
Salt and pepper to taste
Buns or Rolls

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 

Saute the chopped onion and bell peppers until tender. 

Add the jalapeños and "ground beef".  Cook until heated through.

Add the tomato paste, agave and seasonings. Mix together well.

Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens slightly. 

Serve on the rolls or buns. 

I made coleslaw with a light vinaigrette as a side dish. This was exactly what we wanted, so good!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Veggie Pot Pie

Like I have said before, Michael is usually no help when it comes to figuring out something for dinner. But tonight he actually said pot pie! I had all the ingredients already so I was more than happy to oblige his request.

I made the crust using Bisquick because it was what I had on hand, and I used fresh veggies too.

This recipe makes two small personal-sized pies.

Veggie Pot Pie
2 cups Bisquick
1/4 cup soy milk
2 large carrots, chopped finely
1/2 medium onions, chopped finely
4 stalks of celery, chopped finely
1 large potato, cut into small pieces
5 tbs flour
1 can of veggie broth
Flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper
2 veggies patties (I used black bean burgers)

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the Bisquick and soy milk. Once it comes together, transfer to a well-floured surface and knead until smooth.

Spray two ramekins or pie pans with cooking spray.

Roll out the dough into 4 circles. Make sure two of the circles can will fully cover the bottom and sides of the ramekins, with a little over hang. The other two need to cover the tops with a little overhang.

Cover the bottoms of the ramekins with the circles for the bottoms. Press the dough down firmly and seal the edges tight.

Heat some olive oil in a large pot over the stove.

Add the minced carrots, minced onion, mince celery, and the potato pieces. Saute until the veggies are soft.

Sprinkle the flour onto the veggies. Stir to coat thoroughly.

Add the can of veggie broth. Stir and break up any flour chunks.

Season to taste with the parsley salt and pepper.

Simmer for a few minutes until the gravy comes together. Remove from the heat.

Crumble up the veggie patties, add to the pot and mix together well.

Put half the filling into each ramekin. Cover each with the other dough circle. Seal the edges well.

Cut 4 slits into the top for ventilation.

Spray the tops with some cooking spray and place in the oven.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden.

Creamy veggies and a crunchy golden crust! Yum!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls

Guess what classic American product is vegan? Bisquick! Now, I don't bake sweets often and I don't use box mixes often, but I wanted cinnamon rolls this morning (and Michael was pretty happy when I woke him up and said I was making them). Of course I made a healthier version not loaded with all the sugar and butter. I just altered the biscuit recipe on the Bisquick box. They are easy to make and a nice treat once in awhile.

This recipe makes 6-8 rolls.

Cinnamon Rolls
2 and 1/4 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup soy milk
1 tbs agave
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs sugar
1/4 cup powder sugar
Soy milk

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the Bisquick, soy milk, and agave. Once it becomes a ball of dough, place on a floured surface.

Knead just until it comes together.

Roll into a 1/2 thick rectangle.

In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar.

Spread the cinnamon and sugar mixture evenly on top of the dough rectangle.

Carefully, starting with the end closest to you, roll the dough over into a tube.

Cut into 6 to 8 equal pieces and place on the baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until slightly golden.

In another small bowl, add the powdered sugar and just enough soy milk to make a runny icing.

Drizzle the icing onto the rolls while they are still warm.

A lovely treat for lovely lazy Sunday morning.