Easy Brunch

My lovely friend Kellie decided to host an impromptu potluck brunch on Sunday which I was so excited about.  Have I mentioned how much I love love love brunch?  Well, I’ve said it again.  After pouring over Veganomicon, I decided to make the Spinach & Mushroom Strata.

Then I woke up Sunday morning and thought, “naaaahhh….”

Sunday mornings are for lounging and coffee and other things!  Not for scrambling around to the store trying to find ingredients to make a huge dish for your non-vegan friends.  So, I decided to go with something simple.

I bought some Croissant dough (yah, the Pillsbury kind…don’t judge) and then filled it with the contents of my fridge.

More specifically Spinach, Crimini Mushrooms & Feta.


The idea with this is just to pick what you like because it will all taste good.  Other ideas – Nutella, Ham and Swiss, Mushrooms and Mozzarella.  Really, the options are endless.

Just plop a little spoonful of filling in there


Roll it

and bake it

Okay so this is the easiest thing ever and dough from a can is a little white trash but it worked!  They were a hit, and the brunch was fabulous.  In fact, it warrants a photo rundown of it’s own.

Gorgeous Setting

Fantastic Spread

Funny Friends & Bacon’ Tossin’.  What else could you need?

 

Oh, maybe a human pyramid.  That’s just how we brunch, y’all.

Portland, Part 1 of 248

We’re going to Portland!  After months of politely fielding my nagging while he sorted out his work schedule, Preston gave me the green light to book two tickets to Oregon for July.  I’m so excited!  Portland is the city of roses! hipsters! vegetarians! indie rock! public transportation! and microbeers galore!  While I’m sure there will be a few other posts dedicated to what exactly I want to do once arriving in this beautiful mecca for me, I’ll keep this one relatively straightforward.

My interest in going to Portland was piqued after watching Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate – Burgers”  Now, my former self’s most favorite meal was a juicy medium rare cheeseburger, so I watched this show thinking it would be a bit nostalgic.  Well, not only did Denver’s famous Cherry Cricket make the cut, a place called The Farm Cafe in Portland did as well.  Now, here’s the catch – The Farm Cafe does a VEGGIE BURGER!  Yes, one of the meat eating chefs at Food Network actually chose a veggie burger as their favorite burger ever.  From that moment I knew – I had to have this burger!

But in the meantime, I visited their website and was happy to see that they had a few recipes posted.  One was for the famous Veggie Burger (made with eggplant!) and the other for Herb Crusted Tofu Marsala, which I decided to make immediately.  Now, I certainly recommend watching their video for full instructions, but here’s what you’ll need:

1 lb tofu

Marsala Wine (Dry Cooking Sherry)

Soy Sauce

Breadcrumbs

Fresh Thyme

Canola or Olive Oil

Silk Creamer

Crimini Mushrooms

Sweet Yellow Onion

Herbs de Provence with Lavender

This recipe was actually really simple to make.  I marinated the Pressed Tofu in 1 c. Marsala, 1 c. Soy Sauce and 1.c Water, then rolled it in the breadcrumbs and fresh thyme mixture and pan fried.  While that was cooking, I worked on the onions and mushrooms with the creamy marsala in the other pan.  Again, check out the video for the important details!

Yum, vegan comfort food!  Although my finished dish didn’t look ready to be served at a restaurant, it was really tasty. I served the tofu and marsala sauce over mashed potatoes with rosemary and garlic, and a side of grilled asparagus.

Gratuitous shot of the cook & her creation:

So obviously I’ll be trying my hand at the veggie burger sometime soon.  Until then, enjoy your Sunday!

SXSWestern

Hi!  I missed you guys and I missed writing about food!  So I guess now I’ll exist in both places.  How selfish of me!  Anyhow, onto what I came back here for.  Fooooooood.

My journey with food is ever-evolving and the further along I get, the weirder I get about what I will and won’t eat.  Lately, I’ve had some serious guilt accompanying any seafood intake.  So, I’ve decided to cut that out of my diet as much as humanly possible, which leaves me teetering somewhere between vegetarianism and (gasp!) veganism.

That being said, I’ll move on with the post.  SXSW is currently on, which has put me in a bit of a Texas state of mind.  I never thought anyone would put Vegan and BBQ or Vegan and Texas in the same sentence, but leave it up to the fantastic Moby to make it happen.  After reading this Cest la Vegan post about a Vegan BBQ Moby hosted at SXSW this past weekend, I had Texas food on the brain.

More specifically -Mexican food.  Yah, I’m back.  Did you miss me?

I tried a new soy “meat” product – Smart Life’s Mexican Crumbles.  $2.99 filled about 6 tacos which is a-okay with me!

I have to admit, though, that I firmly believe that beautiful caramelized onions and peppers make the meal.

The finished product was topped with fresh avocado and salsa and served with sweet potato fries on the side.  The sweet potatoes actually turned out pretty good – I always have trouble with them but this time heated the oven to 500 and coated the wedges with olive oil and salt before baking.  While they weren’t crunchy, they came out really tasty and didn’t stick to the pan.  I call that a success!

Now don’t let me fool you folks that aren’t familiar with SXSW.  It is NOT about food.  It’s all about the music, man.

So staying in that mind set, last night Preston and I went to catch a Seattle band called Telekinesis at the Hi-Dive.  They stopped in Denver on their way to South By Southwest so we got to participate in the festival by proxy.  They were a fun, punchy, high-energy band and we had a good time watching them while drinking some local brews.

Here’s a shot from the show:

So, I’ll leave you with a link to their song, Coast of Carolina, so you can experience some indie goodness as well.

Denver Eats: Jelly

With Monday being my first day allowed out of the house after having El Influenza, I was excited to take the big guy up on an offer for lunch out.  There’s a new retro-styled Breakfast & Lunch joint in our neighborhood called Jelly that I’ve been waiting to try.

I really wish I had taken more pictures because the restaurant is just plain cute, from the menus to the mason jar water glasses.  But, I was distracted by the hunkster.  Typical.

We ordered a nice mix of breki and lunch.  Preston got the Salmon Scramble

And a rather large order of buckwheat pancakes

While I didn’t try the scramble, the ‘cakes were hearty and delicious with just a bit of syrup on top.

I myself ordered the veggie burger and sweet potato fries

While eating this burger smothered in roasted red peppers, zucchini, mixed greens and herbed mayo, I found myself thinking, “This thang can’t be healthy.”  The bun was just so buttery and decadent.   Then I thought, “Who cares?  It’s delicious!”  The Big Guy had half my burger and agreed upon the deliciousness.  The Sweet Potato fries were good, crispy and sprinkled with sea salt – just how they should be.

With price points between $6-$9 for most meals, and yummy bites all the way around, we agreed we’ll be visiting Jelly again.  I love having more choices just down the street!

Show them some love at www.eatmorejelly.com

 

Wednesday’s Song

There’s nothing better

Seeing old friends. Holding a beautiful baby. Tofu Curry with a side of silly.

vegan.om.I.CAN!

My Dad gave me Veganomicon for Christmas, and I can say that I’ve ever been more excited about a cookbook.  I took it for a test drive at a small dinner get together with Preston’s sister and family on Sunday night.   It was supposed to be a really chilly weekend, so I asked BG to pick out a soup – he chose the Roasted Red Pepper and Bean Gumbo.  Perfect!

I can’t violate the lovely ladies’ copyright by posting the recipe here, but I’d be happy to email it to you if you’d like.  It took about 2 hours, beginning to end, to make – and was well worth it.

Here’s where I’ll introduce my guest photographer for this post, and (lucky me!) the resident dishwasher.

We began by snapping a photo of a very essential cooking activity – enjoying a cocktail

Then, it was on to the roux and veggies

Then more veggies – okra, cloves of garlic and roasted red peppers to name a few

The chef adding okra to the gumbo.  I enjoyed all that photo attention – I might have to ask the BG to step in more often!

A lot more went into the pot, including some 2 below, tomato paste, fire roasted tomatoes and veggie broth.  Then, we had a beautiful bubbling (vegan) stew sure to please any carnivore around.

I served this with my sweet potato biscuits and not only was it enough to feed 4 hungry adults plus seconds, there is plenty left for lunches tomorrow.  This recipe will definitely go into the “make again” file.  Can’t wait to try more dishes from Veganomicon!

Vegan Sweet Potato Biscuits

Even if the Vegan Moniker means nothing to you, you’ve got to try these biscuits because they are super easy to make and came out flaky and delicious. Mmmm can you hear Carbzilla roaring through the streets of Denver?

You only need 5 things:

1 c. cooked & mashed sweet potatoes

1c. flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 c. olive oil

Combine all the ingredients until a doughy consistency is acheived.  Break into 6-8 small biscuits and place on baking sheet.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Remove, slice open and lather with favorite biscuit topping. Enjoy!

I ate one, two, three biscuits with a side of roasted carrots & brussels sprouts.

Next up: making these for breakfast with Veganomicon’s Mushroom Gravy.

Tofu Burgers

Ingredients : 1 package of firm tofu, pressed.  Sauteed mushrooms, a handful of grated carrots and grated red peppers, 1/3 c. of your favorite Spicy Hummus, 1 cup rolled oats.

Process: Put it all into a food processor.  Blend.  Shape into patties, put in skillet with hot oil and pan fry. If you are me, you’ll top with avocados and Sriracha.  You might enjoy it on a bun with some lettuce tomato and mustard.  Who knows?!  All I know is that these guys are deeeeelish!

Shrooms- Pretty Much Mandatory!

Grating baby carrots was a humorous experience…

Have I mentioned how much I love my food processor?

Strangely meat looking… 

 Came out with the consistency of a crab cake

Avocados are the best condiment

Hippie Apple Tarts

I had a major sweet tooth today (yah, I know – big surprise) so I went about looking for something to make with ingredients I already had.  My sweet tooth salvation lay within the pages of Hungry Hungry Hippie – a very sassy vegan/lifestyle blog.  Recently Miss Hippie had made Vegan Apple Pie w/ Graham Cracker Crust.  I used the recipe as a guide and did my own thang. 

Crust:

2 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs

3 tbsp oatmeal

2 tbsp applesauce

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 c. Smart Balance, melted

Apple Filling:

One large apple, peeled & diced

Flour, just enough to coat

Sprinkle of brown sugar

sprinkle of cinnamon

I mixed all the ingredients for the crust, and when it was appropriately uniform, I pressed it into muffin cups.  I was hoping to have enough mixture for six.

But I only had enough for four.  That okay – more delicious apple filling per cup!

After adding the apple mixture, I popped it into the oven at 400 for about 25 minutes.  The aroma that filled our small apartment was so heavenly, I didn’t really worry about how these little guys were going to turn out.

Um, they were amazing.  The crust held together but was still soft like a cookie, and the apples and brown sugar added a bit of sweetness.  I will definitely be making these again – maybe with a bit more oatmeal next time to create more dough.  Having leftovers for breakfast this morning – Happy Monday to me…

Have a great week!