January 14, 2010

cheap and simple | chili bowls

a delicious and hearty meal for those cold winter nights in less than 10 minutes!!!

chili bowls
serves 2
  • leftover quinoa or rice.
  • 1 can vegetarian chili (i used trader joe's vegetarian chili)
  • 2 scallions, both green and white parts, chopped
  • daiya cheese
heat up chili over stove top according to directions on can. divide ingrediants equally into two bowls in the following order: quinoa, chili, daiya cheese. place bowls in microwave for 1 min or until daiya is melted. serve with chopped scallions. enjoy!!

los angeles vegan dining deals!!!!!

great deals that make dining out affordable after the holiday season:


restaurant.com lets you buy $25 certificates to many local restaurants for $10. usually their list doesn't include the most popular spots in town, but with a bit of research you can come across many great finds. currently they have a 80% off promotion for added savings. meaning each $25 certificate will only cost you $2!! just use the code BONUS at checkout anytime until January 31.

a couple of vegan-friendly LA finds on restaurant.com:


passcodes sent to your cell phone and email for many hot spots around town. most recently they offered 40% off at real food daily and 30% off happy hour at the york. bonus points for being paperless!


great offers for restaurants and services in l.a. groupon.com is a bit different in that you have to prepay for the offer upfront....but it's a great deal nonetheless. recently they offered $30 credit at locali conscious convenience for $15.


how do i know that coffee bean is giving away free coffee today? or that jamba juice has $1 oatmeal every wednesday this month? or what the current restaurant.com promotion is? la bargain hunter!!! you can follow on twitter and get alerts sent directly to your phone!!

i can cut out shopping, cable, vacations and coffee shops...but i just can't cut out going out to eat!! now you don't have to either :)

daring cooks january 2010 challenge | thai satay

so much going on in the new year and so little time to actually update my blog as much as i'd like. with a couple of projects in the works, maid of honor duties for my best friend’s wedding and the general "new year, new life" program, things have been a bit hectic...but this is good!! i thrive during times like these :)

2009 was a hard year for many people i know, and most certainly for me. but i also learned a lot about myself in the process and discovered many new goals and passions in my life, so i can at least say that all was not lost. as for 2010...so far so good!! things have started off on the right foot and i'm hoping the momentum continues...

now on to the challenge:

the january 2010 dc challenge was hosted by cuppy of cuppylicious and she chose a delicious thai-inspired recipe for pork satay from the book 1000 recipes by martha day.

it was such a relief to get an easy challenge after all the holiday cooking and, with that in mind, i settled on tofu as my protein of choice.

first step, marinating the tofu. the marinade consisted of scallions, ginger, lemon juice, ground coriander, cumin, garlic and soy sauce.

after all ingredients were blended in the food processor, everything was poured over pressed firm tofu...

while the tofu sat in the fridge marinating, i made my peanut sauce which consisted of soy creamer, soy sauce, lemon juice, dried red chilies, brown sugar, peanut butter, cumin and coriander.

because i substituted soy creamer for coconut milk, i found my sauce to be on the thin side. i bit of cornstarch dissolved in water, added while the peanut sauce melted over the stove, quickly solved the problem.

i also decided to make a pepper dip on the side....so good, but definitely better on it's own and separate from the peanut sauce. i served my tofu over trader joe's vegetarian fried rice and a side of steamed green beans tossed with soy sauce and salt & pepper. a simple dinner with AMAZING flavor!!

thai satay with peanut sauce

for the marinade:
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped (i used 3 scallions instead because it was all i had)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric (only for color, so i ended up omitting from my recipe)
  • 1 lb of extra firm tofu (i used firm, but extra firm would have been better)
press tofu for at least 30 minutes before marinating.

place all other ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. cut tofu block into strips of desired size. cover tofu with marinade in a glass bowl or zip lock bag. seal and chill for at least 2 hours.

heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan over high heat. pan fry tofu strips until golden brown on both sides. serve over rice with peanut or pepper dip (recipes follow).

for peanut sauce:
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (i substituted soy creamer)
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1-2 dried chilies, chopped (remove the seeds, but set aside for added heat)
mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. add soy sauce and lemon juice, mix well. over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon-seasoning mix. mix well, stir often. once peanut butter is melted and all ingredients are mixed well, remove from heat. reheat if necessary when ready to serve. optional: add chili seeds to sauce until desired heat is achieved.

for pepper dip:
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1-2 dried chilies, chopped
  • 1 finely chopped scallion
mix well. serve chilled.

November 16, 2009

daring cooks challenge | sushi

the november 2009 daring cooks challenge was brought to you by audax of audax artifex and rose of the bite me kitchen. they chose sushi as the challenge.

once again i was super excited about this month's sushi challenge. i love japanese cuisine!! but i certainly didn't want to make a boring avocado or cucumber roll. so i did a bit of research and looked to some of the vegan japanese restaurants in town for inspiration. below is the menu i settled on:

dragon sushi roll (per the requirements of the challenge)

seaweed salad
tempura shitake mushrooms with wasabi mayo
soy sauce marinated mountain potato with shiso leaf
cavi-art tobiko

vegan spam musubi

first things first....getting all my ingredients together. luckily steve and i have made sushi many times before, so i already had the basics in stock: rice vinegar, rolling mat, nori sheets....etc. for the tobiko i made a quick stop at locali for some vegan caviar. i really wanted to pick up a jar of their red cavi-art, but sadly they only had a the black kind available. the girl at the counter informed me that they would most likely not be restocking the other varieties. bummer....i really love this stuff.

for the other ingredients steve and i headed out to a japanese market. we happened to be on the west side so we made a stop at mitsuwa marketplace and picked up some mountain potato, shitake mushrooms, japanese cucumbers, shiso leaves, seaweed salad and scallions. then back to the house we went to get started on our sushi.

first the sushi rice was prepared with some rice vinegar, sugar and salt.

next my nigiri components were laid out....starting at the top left hand and moving clockwise: shitake mushrooms, japanese mountain potato and shiso leaves, japanese cucumber, scallions, wasabi mayo, roasted nori and sesame seed seasoning, wasabi, vegan ham, seaweed salad and cavi-art caviar.

we roasted the nori sheets, fried the "ham" in some grapeseed oil, marinated the mountain potato in soy sauce and tempura fried the shitake mushrooms. we then assembled the nigiri pieces:

next we moved on to the dragon roll. the bbq unagi (eel) in your typical dragon or caterpillar roll was replaced with bbq marinated tofu which was cut into strips and tempura fried right before rolling. the ingredients from left to right: japanese cucumber, bbq marinated tofu, avocado slices and cavi-art caviar.

sadly the avocado was not as ripe as i would have liked it to be, which made rolling and cutting it a bit difficult. this however didn't take anything away from the overall results....it was GOOD!!! had it not been eaten so quickly i might have been able to get some shots of the inside.

overall i'd say the results were great. i especially liked the shitake mushroom tempura nigiri and the mountain potato marinated in soy sauce which was complimented well by the shiso leaf. can't wait to try out different varieties and get creative with some asian ingredients. the possibilities are endless...

October 18, 2009

daring cooks october 2009 challenge | vietnamese pho

i was super excited when i saw that october's daring cooks challenge was pho for a couple of reasons 1) i love me some good asian broth...especially now that the weather is getting a bit cooler, and 2) i've been a reader of the challenge host's blog, jaden of steamy kitchen, for quite some time now. her website has many super easy and delicious asian recipes accompanied by beautiful pictures. her recipe for pho, from her new cookbook, was no different...and luckily very easy to veganize. the end results were so so good and comforting....definitely better than any veg pho i've tried before. :)

my list of ingredients...coriander seeds, cloves, star of anise, sliced red onion, veg chicken flavored broth, lots of ginger, soy sauce and sugar.

the secret step...roasting the spices to intensify the flavors and release their aromas.
next everything goes into the pot and simmers for 20 minutes....

and that's that....delicious savory broth ready for some rice noodles and all the fixins. so so easy!

the fixins...cilantro, mung bean sprouts, sliced jalapeno peppers, red onion and mint.

steve and i opted for some fried tofu, instead of veggie chicken meat, for our protein. on a side note: if any vegetarians happen to find themselves in the san gabriel valley (what you westsiders call "the boonies") you MUST make a stop at v.k. foods and try their home made tofu products....specifically the fried mushroom tofu! the best!! but anyway, back to the challenge...

our lovely bowl of pho...so so delicious with sriracha and hoison sauce.
vegan vietnamese pho
makes 4 servings

for the chicken flavored broth:
  • 2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 2 quarts of vegetarian chicken flavored broth
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 3-inch chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
  • 1 to 2 tbsps. sugar
  • 2 tbsps. of low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 lb. dried rice noodles (about 1/4 inch/6 mm wide)
  • 16 oz fried tofu
  • 2 cups bean sprouts, washed
  • fresh cilantro tops (leaves and tender stems)
  • 1/2 cup shaved red onion
  • 1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • sriracha chili sauce
  • hoison sauce
  • sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice
to make the broth: heat a frying pan over medium heat. add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning. in a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil. reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes. taste the broth and add more soy sauce or sugar, if needed. strain the broth and discard the solids.

prepare the noodles per the directions on the package. laddle the broth into bowls. than divide the tofu and soft noodles evenly into each bowl. have the accompaniments spread out on the table. each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients. enjoy!

October 15, 2009

dining deal | 40% off real food daily

i just discovered blackboardeats.com which lists amazing dining deals in the los angeles area. as luck would have it, today's deal is for 40% off at real food daily....score!!! just sign up and you get a passcode sent to your email and phone, which eliminates the need for a paper coupon. offer is only valid for groups of 4 or less and must be used before november 14, 2009.

only 13 hours left for this deal...GO SIGN UP!

October 05, 2009

so good! miso mayo.....yum!!!

ever since i saw vancouver's japadogs on no reservations, i knew i had to recreate the experience at home with some vegan hot dogs. yes i am aware of anthony bourdain's disdain for all things vegan, and yes i still love his show.....but i digress. what is a japadog you ask? street vendor hot dogs with japanese toppings: miso mayo, nori, daikon....etc. on my quest to gather all the necessary components i came across so good! miso mayo at whole foods....and indeed it is! so good in fact, that i've been putting it on just about everything and anything i can think of..... sandwiches, crackers, salad, vegetables...etc. seriously this stuff is addicting!! so far i've only tried the original flavor, but i'm definitely picking up the garlic 'n' dill and spicy red pepper varieties on my next shopping trip to whole foods.

can't wait for vegan japadogs this weekend!! gotta make room for one more weekend of grilling before the REAL chilly weather hits so-cal. still confused?? check this out: