Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo Day 31: Nothing I say here won’t sound cheesy

Or noochy, if you’ll forgive the terrible joke. “MoFo was the friends we made along the way” just makes me think of The Good Place. Everything else is a giant cliche? Not that I’m above a cliche.

Anyway, for today, the last day of Vegan MoFo 2019, we’re to reflect and maybe take inspiration from another MoFo’er. I have loved following everyone’s creative contributions over on the ‘gram and in the blogs. Some folks’ commitment to a theme was wildly impressive indeed (Star Wars puns? Dishes found in Adventure Time? Dang), and everyone made at least one thing that’s going to stick in my mind as something I need to revisit and try sometime.

But for today…I attempted something that will never live up to its inspiration, but was nonetheless worth a try: biscuits. Specifically, the biscuits Sarra makes with the obvious skill of someone who’s been making biscuits for a while. So flaky! So much rise! So many reasons to keep a watchful eye on her Instagram for any announcements concerning a biscuit zine she may be writing right now!

Mine, though…

Above: Eh, serviceable. A little flat. Probably a smidge overbaked. Too much salt??

Well, anyway, they worked well enough as the starchy component for a pretty simple dinner: smoky baked tofu, garlic braised kale, and a warm and tangy tomato relish.

Above: Din-din.

Oh, the sauce? The sauce was good. That is a thing I am good at. It’s not a recipe, though. Just, like… half a big red onion, sliced into quarter moons and fried in a bunch of olive oil for a few minutes before adding several (four?) dry-farmed tomatoes, which I’d cut into wedges. That cooked down with a little salt, a spoonful of brown sugar, and, later on, red pepper flakes. After letting the liquid cook down (tomatoes release a LOT of liquid), I left it on low and added some hot sauce and several spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar. Just keep tasting and going with your gut, really. It’s quite good, I think.

Anyway, I don’t usually bother with the blog posting, though I might sometimes when I have more to say than what fits on an Instagram post. Follow me over there if you want to keep up. I’ll follow back most of the time (unless you’re obviously just selling something/content aggregating, or post mostly weird diet shit, or are a private account of someone I don’t know at all). See you for Vegan MoFo 2020!

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 13: I Want to Help People Eat More Plants

For a while now, I’ve fiddled with the notion of offering my time and energy–for money, of course–to help people go vegan or at least incorporate more vegan food in their diet. Some people are intimidated by cooking; others by vegetable prep. Some simply don’t know where to begin or how to put the pieces together. I’m no dietitian or experienced chef, but I have been cooking since I was a kid, and I spend time every single day thinking about, making, and eating food. I love helping people, and some of my friends already ask me for cooking advice. Why not expand on that and see if it’s a way to make some cash?

Well, I’m not there yet. Though I did start a (free) mailing list/newsletter where I field cooking questions. It’s small for now. If you’re interested, I’d love to have you in the audience. Subscribe at Eat More Plants @

For the purposes of today’s prompt, however, I took a slightly different tack on the “eat more plants” business model and created a meal kit out of one of my go-to meals. Now, I’ve never actually gotten a meal kit–what’s the fun in that? Menu-planning and grocery shopping are basically my hobbies–but I can make up a recipe card. Why not? It’s an excuse to do a bunch of weird photo-editing and layout work, both of which I’m EXTREMELY RUSTY at. (And by “rusty,” I mean it was something I fiddled with in high school, which was almost 20 years ago. Some things have changed.)

Since I can’t actually make you a meal kit, I gotta tell you what to get so you can follow the instructions!

You will need:

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • salt
  • 1 package of tofu
  • soy sauce
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • tahini
  • hot sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • nutritional yeast
  • water


  • Saucepan with lid or rice cooker
  • Saute pan or skillet with lid
  • Baking dish
  • Citrus reamer (or another way to strain out lemon seeds)
  • Dressing shaker or a cup/small bowl and a whisk
  • Measuring cups
  • Spatula
  • Spoon or rice paddle
  • Tongs
  • Knife
  • Microplane zester or garlic press (optional, but very handy)

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Food Blog

Pesto potato-kale salad with grilled tofu and asparagus

Oh right, the food tumblr… it exists. Hi.

The tofu and asparagus were marinated in some olive oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Then I grilled them on the grill pan. I know. It’s complicated.

For the potato salad, I had about a half cup of leftover homemade walnut-basil pesto that I mixed into a quick dressing with olive oil, white wine vinegar, and a little water to get to the desired texture. This was tossed with big chunks of boiled red potato, a healthy handful of FRESH peas (I’m the only one in this house who cares, but I tasted one at the market and became obsessed), and some steamed baby kale. Easy peasy.

But it looks pretty nice, yeah?

Food Blog

Blackened tofu, braised kale in tangy tomato sauce, and coconut quinoa

The tofu is is based on a recipe from Vegan Soul Kitchen–basically, dredged in olive oil, rubbed with spices, and pan-fried (in coconut oil, in my case). To go with, I cooked up some quinoa in the clay cooker, but took the extra step of sauteeing a shallot, bay leaf, and pinch of turmeric in coconut oil, then toasting the dry quinoa with it before adding water. It turned out nice and fluffy and gently flavored. Finally, I made a quick sauce to cook the kale in: half a big white onion, sliced into thin quarter moons, sauteed before adding a dash (maybe ¼ cup?) tomato puree, vegetable broth, apple cider vinegar, a tiny splash of liquid smoke, and two cloves of garlic (microplaned to oblivion, natch). I added some diced tomato to my plate just to jazz it up.

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Seitan, smashed potatoes, kale, and gravy

I made seitan (seasoned with a bit of pulverized porcini mushrooms) because I wanted *something* to go with smashed red potatoes with chives, olive oil, and cashew cream. This also required a simple vegetable – braised kale – and a sauce – a puree of shallots, green garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, vegetable broth, red wine, and nooch. Yum.

Food Blog

Spicy tomato soup with chickpeas and kale + homemade sourdough bread

The soup is very humble: a bit of this, a bit of that, whatever was handy, which was: a little bit of veggie broth, half a jar of tomato puree, garlic, onion, kale, chickpeas, oregano, red pepper, and balsamic vinegar. It’s thin and brothy but I like it.

The bread was the harder part.

My oven hasn’t worked for the last month, and today I finally had a repair guy come out and fix it. $210 and a new igniter and sensors later, I finally had my oven back.

I immediately made use of it by proofing bread. Which I had never done in the oven. It’s an easy-to-read panel, we’ve had it four years, and I’m the one who did the research before purchasing it, and somehow I didn’t notice the “PROOF” button until recently.

Now, I have been feeding a whole wheat sourdough starter since New Year’s, and I’ve made a no-knead loaf just a few times. I was happy to have the oven back so I could get back to that practice. (That, and roasting vegetables. Oh, how I’ve missed you, roasted veggies.) Before I’d set up a space heater in the bathroom for proofing the loaf – it took many, many hours; I usually let it sit overnight or even a whole day. The oven proof took 6 hours.

So I needed to come up with something for dinner to go with warm, crusty, homemade bread. What better than a simple soup?

Food Blog

Paella with artichokes and spicy tempeh crumbles

This dish did not turn out especially photogenic, but it was tasty.

Yet another Vegan Eats World inspiration… I followed the recipe pretty closely, aside from the pearl onions; I couldn’t find them organic (boyfriend is antsy about non-organic stuff) and… well, frankly, I am not a big fan. That texture isn’t my favorite. But I did do a quick baby kale braise (in white wine) to go on the side. It’s warm and inviting and tasty.

My favorite thing about a dish like this is that it works best with planning, meaning time spent on the mise-en-place. I LOVE putting together the mise. I don’t know why! It’s incredibly satisfying! I had a tray next to the stove with all the ingredients, prepped and ready to add to the pan as the recipe dictated. A bowl of minced yellow onion! Another of red and yellow bell pepper with a whole ton of minced garlic! A smaller dish with all the spices measured out! The rice, washed and drained and ready to add! Frozen peas, measured, and 1-quart container of vegetable broth just waiting to pour. Half of what they do on cooking shows is just make use of the mise-en-place someone else put together, as if ingredients just come ready to dump from perfectly sized clear glass bowls. THEY DO NOT!

And the prep is most satisfying! The pride I take in a well-diced onion is ridiculous. Yesterday I had perfectly tiny mango cubes for my salad and it filled me with joy I cannot express in words. So if you take nothing else away from this post, please: remember to take pride in your mise.

Food Blog

Roasted beet with kale, white beans, gemelli pasta, and creamy cashew basil sauce. Plus toasted walnuts and basil garnish. Not bad.

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Tofu parmigiana with braised kale and polenta

Dudes, this was very good, and very easy. Polenta, pssh. Braised kale with minced garlic–cake. The sauce was simple marinara: green garlic, yellow onion, red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, fresh basil, and tomato puree. The tofu was baked, dredged with olive oil and a breadcrumb mixture with salt and oregano. After it baked on both sides, I added a layer of sauce below and on top and added a topping–more breadcrumbs, plus hemp seeds and nutritional yeast–and baked a while longer. So simple, and so tasty.