Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One Vegan Night in Denver

Mmmmm vegan chocolate cake !

I've just returned from Denver where I was lucky enough to spend an evening with these two lovely ladies, Diva and Erin as they joined me on my vegan Denver adventure. Though not vegan themselves, they were completely open and awesome. They learned what seitan was and made up some cute jokes, like if you could make Devil's food cake with seitan. Very clever Diva, you go girl.

The first place we hit was the Mercury Cafe which is not completely vegan but more of a local sustainable organic kind of a place. There were all these cool flowers out in front and a compost pile. There was a bike rack in the front entryway and uber-cool toilets which I'll talk about later. http://www.mercurycafe.com/

The Mercury Cafe is not just a restaurant. It's quite subversive. They have extra rooms that they can do extra stuff in. They have an upstairs for dancing, yoga and what not and an extra room adjacent to the dining room for other stuff, like movies. When we got there they were watching a film about copyrighting but the girls and I decided that we had too much to talk about and we didn't want to disturb the other movie watchers.

We ordered the Vegan Grill (which I forgot to take a picture of until the end) and I must say it was some of the best tofu I've had. The flavor reminded me of chicken fried steak. It was served with a black bean sauce and a spicy kind of a duck sauce. Unfortunately, we wanted to keep the party moving but I know that anything else we would have tried would have been awesome.

The bar-none best thing about the Mercury Cafe was our fantastic server, Aimee (sp?). When we probed her about everything vegan in Denver she finally admitted her part in the soon to be world famous group Underground Carrot. http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=270751408

This group of cool kids has an underground food delivery and weekend restaurant business that is totally worth checking out. They are trying to raise money to open their own place by hosting underground dining parties which are becoming more and more legitimate. I will definitely go to one of their double top secret temporary dining sites next year if they don't have their own place by then but I hope they do.

The other cool thing about Mercury Cafe is this awesome toilet which pours the water that is destined for the basin over the top first. That way you can wash your hands after you flush. The water is perfectly good for hand washing, tooth brushing etc...
The Mercury Cafe got three thumbs up!

The next place we went was to Water Course Foods.
This picture is the mural (or painting ) that they have in the front entryway. This place is all vegetarian / vegan friendly and had a huge selection of goodies. http://www.watercoursefoods.com/menu.php
This was our sweet server Jenn (hello Jenn!)
We tried as much as we could but the menu was huge. Pictured on top are the Vegan Buffalo Wings. One of the other servers was eating this and was kind enough to offer me a bite. The wings were very good but cold. I thought they had a bit too much black pepper. I prefer mine with Louisiana Hot Sauce and nothing else. The Ranch was great.

Then we tried the Seitan Philly, The Juan Wrap and the Country Fried Seitan. The Juan Wrap was the hands down favorite. Erin experienced vegan nirvana. It was fun to witness.
We then had to explore the dessert tray which had ho ho's cupcakes, tiramisu, gluten-free chocolate cake, apple pie, and so many goodies that we had to order four even though there were only three of us. My fave was the tiramisu which was even better two days later.

I also ordered the Green Chili soup which I thought needed some tvp for more body. Other than that I believe Water Course also gets three thumbs up from the gals.

The prairie dogs give Vegan Denver two tails up!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Green Avocado Gazpacho

In a hurry as usual, but I have this orginal recipe on file: contents are not neccesarily in this order.
Green Gazpacho
Bell pepper
Organic Pecans
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Celery Seed
Cayenne Pepper
Organic Lemon and Lime Juice
Little bit of olive oil
White Wine Apple Cider Vinegar The Garnish is Boscoli Italian Olive Salad, in a jar. Oh and an avocado wedge.


This Moussaka is a fave of mine. I made a bunch of this for my customers so you may want to cut back on the recipe.

For the sauce:

1 Onion
1 Package of Bob's TVP
1 cup water
1/4 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos
2 Cans Tomato Sauce
1 small can Tomato Paste
4 Cloves Garlic
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves or 3-4 Whole Cloves
2-3 Bay Leaves

Soak the TVP in the Braggs and the water for 30 minutes. Chop the onion and put it in a saute pan with about an inch of water in it. Add the garlic, the spices and the TVP and cook it for about 10 minutes, turning it often. Add the tomato sauce and the the paste and let it reduce for about 30 minutes and set it aside.

Eggplant and Potato:

I usually partially peel my eggplant. I leave little strips of skin for decoration. Slice the eggplant and the potato into 1/2 inch slices. Put the potato in water to keep it from turning brown and put the eggplant on a salted clean towel and then add more salt and another towel on top of that and then cover the whole thing with something flat like a cutting board. You can also put some junk on it to weigh it down. I use my blender or cans. It doesn't matter. Leave them for an hour.

Meanwhile boil those potatoes until they are just done. Douse them with cold water to cool them down then set aside.


Make a roux of non-hydrogenated fake butter and whole wheat pastry flour.
1/2 cup fake butter
1/2 cup flour.

Cook this for 5 minutes on a medium to low flame.

Very slowly add Soy milk. Add a little, let it heat up and then stir it around. Repeat until you've used around 2 1/2 cups of milk.

1/4 cup lemon juice
pepper to taste

Once everything is cooled you can assemble the casserole:
Layer the sauce down first, then the eggplant, then the potatoes, then the bechamel. Sprinkle with Paprika and bake at 350 until hot and bubbly.

Vegan Chocolate Strawberry Cake

I remember looking at someones blog, I can't remember who's. They were complaining that they needed to get their cake layers more even and I was thinking to myself, Blogger dude, you're way too OCD. It looks good to me! Now here I am in the same boat. I want beautiful even layers too. While chocolate ganache covers a lot of mistakes we can improve with a tweek here and there.
I followed Paku Paku's strawberry Kake recipe here ttp://www.pakupaku.info/sweets/strawberrykake.shtml
with a few exceptions. I didn't have any black currant liqueur so I used Acai juice from Bosa Nova (wont' do that again, don't like the color) and I used a heaping cup of frozen blended strawberries instead of jam.
I used a charming cherry butter from the Wabash Feed Store for the layers and I put some in the ganache frosting as well. The frosting is one package of vegan choco-chips with 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/3 cup soy milk, warmed with 1/4 cup cherry butter, and a tablespoon vanilla. Warm up that milk, pour it over the chips, wait a minute and then stir it all together with the oil. When it is at a spreadable temp (slightly above room temp), and the cake is nice and cool you can spread it with a hot dry knife.

Here's the movable feast I took to my chief tester. He said it better be low-fat cause it's going to take him one day to eat it. I think that's a compliment.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vegan Lemon Curd Tart

As usual I'm too busy to post the recipe right now. This is a lemon curd vegan tart with plum and Georgia peach slices for garnish. The crust is Vegan shortbread

Vegan Buffalo Wings

My version of Vegan Buffalo Wings

Made with tofu skins wrapped up into drumsticks, baked at around 425 to develop a nice crust and then dipped in Louisiana Hot Sauce and served with vegan blue cheese dressing

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Almond and Fig Tart

My friend Larry gave me some figs from his fig tree so I had to figure out what to do witht them. I made a little almond and fig tart as you can see here. I served it with a little coconut sorbet and hibiscus tea from Nile Valley.

I made a vegan shortbread crust, filled the bottom layer with some marmalade, and then put a layer of the almond filling. Then I pushed the little figs into the filling in pretty little circles and baked until done. Please to enjoy. Recipe to follow. Running late for work as usual.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Butternut Squash Raviolis

OK this is a really pure version of this dish. My clients wanted no salt, no oil and one needed no wheat. So I made homemade ravioli using whole wheat pastry flour, oil (just a little), water and salt. Then a mushed up some cooked butternut squash with some allspice and stuffed the inside of the ravioli with them.

I made the sauce using oat milk, sherry, garlic, onions, thyme, a small amount of coconut milk, a dash of vegetarian worchestershire and oh yeah wild mushrooms (shitake and oyster). You don't have to saute the veggies you can just cook them in the sauce if you want.
Then I cut the rest of the squash into the same cute shapes as the raviolis and I baked them with a little allspice. She loved it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Raw Tostada

Just a little raw snack I was hungry and happened to have some raw onion bread laying around. (Sunflower seeds, flax, onions and spice ground up and dehydrated) and some cashew cheese (The simple version just has salt,oil, lemon, water and cashews). The yellow tomatoes were grown at the Emile Street Community Farm and the variegated basil sprig is from my garden.

That's Joe at the farm. He's our hero!
A word about Joe and the farm. The farm sits inside the Houston city limits in a very poor part of town. Joe, who also has a full time job, spends all of his money, heart and soul on this project. He finds land, plops awesome magical mushroom dirt mix on top of the land (sometimes on top of concrete) and then he and the community farm the land. He's gotten the whole community out and involved, based mostly on his good looks and laid back charm. Make it happen Joe. And for all you style watchers out there; farming is the new punk rock!

Vegan Coconut Flan made with Goya Coconut Flan mix and two cans of coconut milk. Super easy!

Slightly less easy is the raw vegan cheesecake made with cashews. I need to work on my picture taking skills. I'm always in too much of a hurry.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Green Party Luncheon

Lunch for the Green Party Convention consisted of Mediterranean Wraps, Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad and Melon balls in a Balsamic Mint Vinaigrette. The Wraps were Falafel, Lettuce, Tomato, Tahini Sauce and Pickled Turnip (that's the pink stuff in the middle).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Vegan Texas Chili

Recipe :
Well you have to start with a really good veggie stock and lots and tons of onions. Saute those onions in some nice safflower oil or any oil with a high flash point with some garlic. Add a bunch of dried oregano (Cowboys don't use fresh) and some salt, cumin, paprika and chopped up jalapeno. When the onions are translucent, add some vegetable stock.
Let's stop for a minute and talk about meat substitutes. Boca Crumble is a good one and so is Gimme Lean by Light life but if your having trouble locating any of those you can get you some TVP and soak it in some water and some Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce or browning sauce).
At any rate you should add your meat sub at this point and there should be enough stock to cover the meat by about an inch. Let that cook for a bit and then you can either add tomato sauce and let it stew forever or cheat and add tomato paste and let it stew for half of forever. While it's stewing you'll want to add some chipotles (if you like that kind of thing) and some black pepper. Keep tasting it for flavor in an obsessive and territorial way. Check the temp. It shouldn't be boiling. Stir it often anyway. It should be getting thicker. If it doesnt' thicken to your liking you can add some masa or some ground up corn tortillas but make sure if your adding masa to smooth out all of the lumps in a small amount of water first.
I topped mine with some crumbled Vegan Gourmet cheddar style and some pico de gallo but some saltine crackers would have ruled!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

vegan raw lasagna

Here is my version of a vegan raw lasagna. It's got a cashew and pine nut cheese, a fresh basil pesto, a sundried tomato sauce, zucchini, crook neck squash and fresh organic heirloom tomatoes.

And here it is in all of it's uncut beauty. The recipe is a doozy.

Cashew Cheez:

1 cup soaked cashews
1 cup soaked pine nuts
1 small handful of onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Process all together in a good blender until creamy. You will have to stop and start it and push down the edges a lot because the cheese is so thick but that's how you want it.

Tomato sauce:

1 cup soaked Sun-dried tomatoes
1 small tomato
1 small handful chopped onion
1 small sprig rosemary
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Process this in the same way as the cheese. Again, this should be very thick.


2 large handfuls of basil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pine-nuts
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Process in a blender or a food processor

Thin slices of fresh zucchini and heirloom tomatoes.

If you don't have a good mandolin, use a potato peeler to get extra thin zucchini slices and then use a couple of layers in each layer (if that makes sense). Cut the tomatoes by hand.

Line a plastic container with plastic wrap.

Sprinkle the bottom layer with a little pesto and a little cheez. This will end up being the top so this is for garnish. Arrange the prettiest tomatoes you have on the next level. Next, layer the zucchini and then the tomato sauce, then more tomatoes, then pesto, then zucchini, then cheez, then pesto, then more zucchini, then tomato sauce, then more zucchini, then more pesto and finish with a layer of tomatoes.

Cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool. When cooled place a plate over the whole thing and invert. Remove the wrap. Cut with a serrated knife.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Squash Blossom Soup

I made a simple squash blossom soup with sauteed garlic, leeks and squash blossoms.Then I added vegetable stock, oregano, a little silk creamer and salt and pepper in that order. The squash blossoms have the mild flavor of zucchini.

These fried squash blossoms are stuffed with a cashew cheese which contains cashews, watercress, garlic, olive oil, lemon and salt. For the batter I used a flour batter and a mustard and water bath which can a good substitute for egg bath but not in this instance. I will go with something much lighter in the future. They definitely passed the yummy test though.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Let's talk about breasts, baby

Those pink ribbons really bug me!
I've had breast cancer and so have a lot of my friends which should come as no surprise since the latest statistics claim that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetimes.

Breast cancer awareness month was invented by Astro-Zeneca, makers of Tamoxofin, one of the country's leading breast cancer chemotherapies and Acetochlor, a B2 carcinogen and herbicide.
The message we hear ad nauseum during various pink ribbon events such as Race for the Cure, in magazine articles and with all of the cause-related marketing of products that flood the market in October is "early detection" which roughly translated means you should get frequent mammograms.
Getting yearly mammograms leads to detections of a lot of pre-cancers, which are not cancers and many times can heal themselves.
But if doctors tell you you've got pre-cancer you panic. You panic and then you take the blue pill, The Tamoxofin, the surgery, the radiation, the second mortgage on your home.
It's been studied over and over again and the conclusion continues to be that mammograms do not prolong peoples lives and often put women through unneeded surgeries, chemos and financial disasters. Check your breasts for a palpable mass (a lump) if you've got one, that's when it's time to worry.

I don't know much about how chemicals start cancer but I've been reading a lot about how diet does.

The next time you see women in pink jogging through town think for a minute about who all of that money is going to. It's not going to research diet related causes or environmental causes of cancer. It's likely not going to study causes of cancer at all.
It's going to develop more toxic cell-killing chemicals that make companies like Astro Zeneca rich and the rest of us poor.

Don't believe the hype.

The following is an article from The Cancer Project. I've omitted the indexes but you can check them for yourself at:


The Cancer Project also has information about how dietary fiber helps prevent all kinds of cancer.

Breast Cancer

Countries with a higher intake of fat, especially fat from animal products, such as meat and dairy products, have a higher incidence of breast cancer.13,14,15 In Japan, for example, the traditional diet is much lower in fat, especially animal fat, than the typical western diet, and breast cancer rates are low. In the late 1940s, when breast cancer was particularly rare in Japan, less than 10 percent of the calories in the Japanese diet came from fat.16 The American diet is centered on animal products, which tend to be high in fat and low in other important nutrients, with 30 to 35 percent of calories coming from fat. When Japanese girls are raised on westernized diets, their rate of breast cancer increases dramatically. Even within Japan, affluent women who eat meat daily have an 8.5 times higher risk of breast cancer than poorer women who rarely or never eat meat.17 One of the proposed reasons is that fatty foods boost the hormones that promote cancer.

The consumption of high-fat foods such as meat, dairy products, fried foods, and even vegetable oils causes a woman’s body to make more estrogens, which encourage cancer cell growth in the breast and other organs that are sensitive to female sex hormones. This suggests that, by avoiding fatty foods throughout life, hormone-related cancer risk decreases.

A 2003 study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that when girls ages eight to ten reduced the amount of fat in their diet—even very slightly—their estrogen levels were held at a lower and safer level during the next several years. By increasing vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans, and reducing animal-derived foods, the amount of estradiol (a principal estrogen) in their blood dropped by 30 percent, compared to a group of girls who did not change their diets.18

Harvard researchers recently conducted a prospective analysis of 90,655 premenopausal women, ages 26 to 46, enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II and determined that intake of animal fat, especially from red meat and high-fat dairy products, during premenopausal years is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Increased risk was not associated with vegetable fats.19

In addition, researchers at the Ontario Cancer Institute conducted a meta-analysis of all the case-control and cohort studies published up to July 2003 that studied dietary fat, fat-containing foods, and breast cancer risk. Case-control and cohort study analyses yielded similar risk results, with a high total fat intake associated with increased breast cancer risk. Significant relative risks for meat and saturated fat intake also emerged, with high meat intake increasing cancer risk by 17 percent and high saturated fat intake increasing cancer risk by 19 percent.20

Several studies show meat intake to be a breast cancer risk factor, even when confounding factors, such as total caloric intake and total fat intake, are controlled.21,22 Part of the reason may be that meat becomes a source of carcinogens and/or mutagens, such as HCAs, that are formed while cooking meat at high temperatures. A review of HCAs showed that certain HCAs are distributed to the mammary gland and that humans can activate HCAs metabolically.23 As a consequence, frequent meat consumption may be a risk factor for breast cancer.21

That was just something I needed to get off my chest