Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hard Day's Night...

...brings a late morning breakfast.

In the baby business, it's feast or famine. I don't think I've had any labor patients at the hospital in 2+ weeks, then I get three in one day! My 24 hr shift yesterday both started and ended with breakfast cooking in the trusty cast iron skillet.

I made my favorite scramble yesterday morning. It helps me to have some protein on board and some leftovers in the fridge during a potentially long day. All I had was frozen-then-thawed tofu for the scramble. Toss in some onions, bell peppers, spices, and make the special sauce. Top with sriracha (hot sauce) and yum. The sauce is important here; it gives it the cohesive, slippery texture of scrambled eggs.

This morning, after a long nap, I made Vegan Yum Yum's Slow Rise Pancakes. I'd started the batter last night, so it's easy to cook them up in the morning. These are so unique. Instead of a fluffy, cakey texture, they're more silky and light. I heated up some Trader Joe's pumpkin butter and Maple-Agave syrup to top things off. And now I need a bike ride!

(Like my snazzy backdrop? I need a tripod and an intact kitchen!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Death by Prixe Fixe

I was introduced to Great Sage about six months ago. It's an all-veg (and mostly vegan) cafe in Clarksville. Unfortunately, Clarksville really isn't convenient to anything worthwhile for me, but the 45 minute drive is so worth it. The first time, I had brunch with the ladies, a collective of college professor friends, and it was pretty damn delish.

Last night we gathered again for the Pre-Thanksgiving Prixe Fixe: all vegan and with proceeds benefiting Farm Sanctuary. The four-course meal was creative, fun, and yeah... pretty fantastic tasting.

One: butternut squash soup with sage and dried chillies. It was so creamy and savory, that I was bold enough to inquire about the origin of the creaminess. Evidently it contained butternut squash, sage, chiles, celery, carrot, onion, garlic, and vegan cream cheese! Aha!

Two: Sweet Inca corn flan with pea shoots and balsamic reduction. Without the reduction the flan wouldn't have worked, but with it it harmonized well.

Three: Field Roast rosemary cutlets with gravy, fresh cranberry sauce, and roasted cubes of B-nut squash. (My pal Julie and I also felt compelled to order the whipped garlic mashed potatoes and gravy.) I'm really not a huge fan of most seitan, and the Field Roast didn't overly exceed my expectations, but it was "toothsome" and definitely worth trying. And with enough gravy and cranberries, anything is tasty!

Four: Oh, dessert. I was so full, but what sane vegan could resist homemade vegan maple-pecan ice cream with chocolate fudge and whipped cream?! 

We were all catatonic by the end. My friend's final request for the evening was a wheel barrow to get to the parking lot.

Also, Roots Market is next door and has an amazing amount of vegan food! More selection and cheaper than Whole Foods. The combo of Great Sage and Roots Market makes it even more worth the drive.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Great Pumpkin pot pie

Yesterday's quest for Emily's Cafe was unsuccessful. Unfortunately Google Maps can't quite figure out accurate directions, so after searching for too long on empty bellies, we waved the white flag and headed for Liquid Earth to indulge in reubens. This also led to indulging in Bloody Marys and sunshine in Fells Point.

After a weekend of eating out (we celebrated Kevin's grad school acceptance at Yabba Pot the previous night-- so good!), it was high time for some home cooking. Enter: pot pie.

Susan of Fat Free Vegan posted an amazing looking recipe last week for Celebration Pot Pie with Pumpkin Biscuit Crust. As lover of all things pumpkin, I had to make it. Plus I wanted a a huge recipe that would yield leftovers for the week and some stash for the freezer. I'm trying to squirrel some food away in prep for the complete kitchen destruction.

Anyways, the pot pie was great. Fairly labor intensive, but worthwhile. Susan's recipe called for seitan, but since I'm not a huge fan and didn't think I needed to spend the time on seitan creation, I subbed a large can of cannelli beans instead. The stew of the pie is homey-tasting and hearty, and the biscuits have a subtle warm, nutty flavor from the pumpkin. And, as expected, I have a huge amount-- three pans worth!

Making Celebration pot pie while drinking Celebration Ale

Friday, November 13, 2009

Spreading the good word...

After being blown away by the amazing food at Millenium in San Francisco, I've been wondering why Baltimore doesn't have more vegan restaurants and cafes. There seem to be a reasonable number of vegan folks here in Charm City. Well, Emily to the rescue!

On November 1st, Baltimore celebrated the opening of the second all-vegan cafe and only all-vegan bakery-cafe, Emily's Cafe and Desserts. The Baltimore Sun gave recognition to the new spot, and described the space: "The new cafe has a six-foot fireplace and a porch for outdoor service when spring gets here." I'm thinking I'll hit up the farmers market on Sunday then swing over to Emily's for brunch. Baltimore's heading in the right direction, it seems.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Crash Buffalos

The pager was quiet last night (until 2 AM) so I was able to cook a big ol' Sunday dinner. I'm starting to acclimate to the kitchen-of-destruction, and all of the change put me in the spirit for testing some new recipes.

There's no photographic proof (we were too busy eating,) but here was the lineup:

Tempeh Buffalo Wings (from Don't Eat off the Sidewalk) - I've never made buffalo'd anything, so this was uncharted territory. I put way more hot stuff in the sauce than the recipe called for. I also didn't read it closely enough and made about half of the batch with the sauce under the panko instead of spreading the sauce on the already-baked and breaded tempeh. Either way, these were totally worth the work (and mess.)

Crash Hot Potatoes (Vegan Yum Yum) - your standard potato, salt, rosemary, olive oil combo meets a creative spin. Kevin ate three of these.

Pumpkin Pie in Whole Wheat Crust (Bryanna Clark Grogan) - I've made a lot of pumpkin pies in my day. In fact, I've been the family's resident pumpkin pie pro for at least 10 years now. That said, I've never made a vegan pumpkin pie. This pie was... OK. The crust was pretty good, considering I rolled it out with a can of Pam since I couldn't find my rolling pie. The pie reminds me of southern sweet potato pie, not as fluffy and kind of sticky compared to pumpkin pie. I want fluff! I want creaminess! I use ground cashew to make my quiche more fluffy, maybe ground pecans for the pie? ...Alas, back to the drawing board.

Two outta three ain't bad.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nashville goes vegan!

Five journalists from Nashville's newspaper, Tennesean, went vegan for a month and detailed it in this blog: Vegan for a Month.

After being vegetarian and mostly vegan for a number of years, I moved to Nashville and stopped being vegetarian because it was almost impossible for me to make the effort in a "meat and three" town while in grad school. In hindsight, it wouldn't have been so impossible. It sounds like things have improved for veggie-vores in Nashvegas. The blog is pretty poignant; a lot of the writers have thoughtful things to say about the pros and cons of transitioning to eating vegan. One of my favorite entries is about always apologizing to waitstaff at the start of the month ("sorry, I don't normally eat vegan") but eventually realized there wasn't any cause for apology.

Anyways, worth a read.


After ten great days of traveling in California, I came home last night to my newly-demolished home! Here's photographic proof:

Original tin ceiling exposed by cutting away the crappy, cramped bulkhead.

Massive feeling kitchen, sans wall cabinets.

Operations supervisor on the stairs.