Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo Day 21: A Picnic by the Sea

I guess “teriyaki tempeh” doesn’t scream “beach picnic,” but who are you to judge me?

Above: Picnic lunch platter with teriyaki tempeh over brown rice, sesame cabbage slaw, steamed green beans, carrot sticks, ginger almond dip, and cherries.

Bright, colorful, filling–but not too rich, no no, wouldn’t want to interfere with sandy wanderings!

The only thing that relied on an actual written recipe was the cabbage slaw, and that came from Martha Stewart, of all places. It was all right–maybe a bit too salty? But it balanced all right with everything else on the plate. Plus I love chopping up cabbage super thin. Makes me feel like I have a knife skill. (Yeah, one.)

My teriyaki marinade is a haphazard thing I throw together in slightly different proportions every time. This one included ginger, garlic, whites of a scallion, soy sauce, mirin, agave nectar, and sesame oil, just enough to cover a container of uncooked tempeh slabs. It marinated overnight, then baked for about 40 minutes, or until most of the liquid cooked out. The result was super tender and flavorful (not to mention glossy and a pleasing shade of brown, perfect for insta).

For the almond dip, once again, I threw things in a food processor and hoped for the best: a handful whole almonds (unsoaked), fresh minced ginger, heaping teaspoon-ish of mild miso, eyeballed a tablespoon or two of tahini, agave nectar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and finally water until desired texture is reached. I was aiming for a kind of hummus-y texture that would contrast somehow with the teriyaki and cabbage dishes. It was a bit thick, but decent as a dip for crunchy veggies.

Just for the record, we really did eat this on a picnic table at the beach. It was a lovely gray day and we were trying to find a state beach along the Monterey coast that wasn’t completely packed, and just lucked out at Pajaro Dunes.

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 24: What Is A “Hors-e D’uv…ruh”?

ALTERNATE TITLE: Ain’t No Party Like A Brown Rice Sushi Party ‘Cause A Brown Rice Sushi Party Is…Healthy?

Folks, I am not a party person. Making a million tiny things for dozens of well-clad individuals engaging in small talk and enjoying cocktails? I DO NOT DO THIS. I host approximately one dinner a year–Thanksgiving–and attendees are mostly family members who enjoy cooking, so half our time is spent simply cooking our brains out, for fun, then eating it until we realize we planned and prepped at least one too many things. And few of these things are finger foods. So much work for something you’re just gonna pop in your mouth! Psssh!

Arguably things like fresh rolls and sushi are this kind of food, though, and I’m no stranger to making them. You can create a whole meal around it! Perhaps that is beside the point, but I gotta justify my food resources somehow!

I usually make brown rice sushi because, well, I always have short grain brown rice on hand, but not so much white sushi rice. It’s more filling and healthy, anyway. Today I made four rolls:

  • Artichoke heart + avocado + cashew
  • Avocado + roasted trumpet mushroom + carrot + black sesame seeds
  • Baked tofu + beets + microgreens
  • Roasted trumpet mushroom + tofu + avocado

My sushi technique is…not perfect, but it’s still a solid finger food. For a party of one. (OK, two, but I appreciate your pity.)

I’m also coming down with a cold, so miso soup was a necessity.

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 7: No Fake Anything

For my money, no international cuisine embodies today’s theme of “original vegan” like Indian food. Sure, they’re more likely to cook with dairy, but vegetable oils are common and inexpensive and lentils, beans, rice, and other grains are critical components to dishes throughout the region.

At the farmers’ market this week, I picked up a few veggies that really lend themselves to Indian-inspired preparations: cauliflower and mustard greens. I’ve also had my eye on a recipe for fancy-looking roasted cauliflower and spiced rice dish with pomegranate seeds (also seasonal!) from Vegan for Everybody – and it was easy enough to find a simple palak recipe (pureed greens sauce) that would pair well with chickpeas, thanks to Vegan Richa’s website.

I have GOT to improve my plating skills, ‘cause this is a unicorn rainbow of deliciousness and I made it look a little meh. OH WELL.