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 31: SpooOoOOooOOoOoky Baked Jack-o’-Lantern

I don’t really DO Halloween, but I had a notion on how to zhush up something I like to make so it’s Halloween-y: I baked a whole red kabocha squash (which has a tasty tender skin you can eat, but looks suitably pumpkin-esque) with the guts scooped out a small hole in the top, then filled it with black forbidden rice and carved out a jack-o’-lantern face.

The rice was cooked with â…“ coconut milk along with water, cinnamon sticks, a bay leaf, and a pinch of salt, so it smelled sweet and spicy and tasted almost as good. Stuffed in a baked squash, I could slice it up for a beautiful plate of black rice and orange squash. This isn’t a meal on its own, though, not really: to go with the squash and rice, I went with a Thai inspiration and made tofu paht prik king, a nice simple stir-fry with red curry paste and green beans. Yum.

(If I’d had a slightly bigger squash and bought or made green curry paste instead, I’d have put the curry in the bottom of the squash so it’d leak out of the jack-o’-lantern mouth like vomit. I KNOW, ADORABLE. BUT ONLY ON HALLOWEEN.)

And that’s it for VeganMoFo. *sniff* If you like what I’ve been doing here, follow me on Instagram or subscribe to my weekly weirdo newsletter. I don’t know how often I’ll keep blogging like this, but I’ll definitely keep cooking. Hope you do, too.

Food Blog None Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 9: Most retro recipe


Or…OK, the most retro recipe I can make that doesn’t completely repulse me and/or my boyfriend.

I went with meatloaf because everything about it feels very vintage Home Ec class. Admittedly, it’s not the kind of thing that I have fond memories of eating, but it’s simple enough to put together, and the Oh She Glows recipe pics made it look damn near enticing. Plus, boyfriend’s having a moment over black lentils, so I’d just cooked a huge batch. Seemed like fate.

The loaf I made and cooked about ¾ of the way two days ago–figured I could whip up the glaze and pop it back in the oven to finish while I prepped the sides. What meatloaf-based retro dinner doesn’t have sides? But again, I gotta balance the theme with our actual life/dietary needs and preferences, and I didn’t want to just make mashed potatoes. I went for some things that look beautiful at the market lately: winter squash and green beans.

As a kid, my mom always cooked acorn squash as a side by cutting it in half, scooping out the guts, and baking it with a pat of butter and spoonful of brown sugar. It made me learn to love squash, and while I don’t need to add sugar now, the preparation sounded like a good one to fit the “vintage” theme. I went with a delicata squash, which has flat sides and thinner flesh that lends itself to cooking that way. And, it turns out, this method pops up repeatedly in cookbooks from the early 20th century and beyond! Soooo retro.

Finally, green beans. Not green bean casserole; too processed and gross. But some simple preparation. One of these recipes that calls for half a stick of butter plus some kind of spice or herb. It seems there are a lot of these. Butter is easy enough to sub; I have a lot of herbs just taking up space in my fridge. No-brainer.

How was it?

I hate celery; boyfriend hates raisins. The lentil loaf featured both. But you know what? Pretty good. I also added some big fat slices of tomato with salt – it was in the high 90s today, temperature-wise, and I really needed something cool. The colors are good, and the textural and flavor contrasts work for me. Overall, the plate felt like some kind of weeknight dinner at a home with a decent garden (am I overreaching to say a Victory garden? probably)–homegrown veggies to fill in with a meaty main. And ketchup.