Hi there potluckers! It’s hard to believe it’s that time again. So much has happened since the last VVP. I’m thrilled to once again participate and contribute my first ever appetizer to the blogroll. Inspired by this Potluck’s choice ingredient, beets, I’ve created a delightful appetizer that’s not only seasonal but sure to please!
Roasted beets with shiitake and roasted garlic paté
1/2 block extra firm tofu
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 large cloves garlic, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
3 medium sized shiitake mushrooms
3 medium sized beets
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons oil
Preheat oven to 400. Begin prep on the paté topping by slicing tofu into large chunks and slicing scallion. Slice beets into 1/8-1/4 inch thick medallions and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Over medium heat, heat your oil, then add shiitakes and sauté. When nearly done, add sliced garlic and toast it until golden. Remove from heat. In your food processor, combine tofu, the white part of the scallion, vinegar, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and mushroom/garlic mixture. Combine until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. When beets are done, allow them to cool slightly then spoon about a teaspoon of paté on top of each. Garnish with the remaining scallion slices and eat immediately.
Caramelizing the shiitake and toasting the garlic gives the paté a robust, nutty flavor.
This dish perfectly captures fall. The rich, creamy toasted flavor of the paté is quite a match for the earthiness of the beets.
Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the rest of the virtual feast!
Moving into this new house has opened up many doors for me in terms of how I do things. There were several bags of popcorn kernels on the communal foods shelf, and I had a hankering for popcorn and a movie after a long double shift at work.
I’ve never made stovetop popcorn on my own before, and I was so scared that I’d burn the dickens out of it, but this turned out delightfully: just the right amount of salty, with a hint of pepper and some nutritional yeast for a bit of extra umpf!
Perfect Stovetop Popcorn
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
3 Tablespoons oil
salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast to taste
melted Earth Balance to drizzle (if desired)
Pour the oil into a soup pot (one that has a lid!) and heat on medium. Toss 3-4 popcorn kernels in the oil, when they pop add the rest (and replace the pot’s lid) and remove from heat. Wait about 30 seconds, then place the pot back on the burner and shake! This ensures there won’t be lots of burnt kernels. Shake the pot back and forth over the burner until the intervals between popping kernels is a least several noticeable seconds. By this time you’ll have a bunch of popcorn! Vent the pot and give it a few more shakes, then immediately remove from heat and pour popcorn into a large bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast. Add Earth Balance if desired.
I really liked the cheesiness of the nooch on my popcorn, but I’ve also kept it simple and just eaten it with salt and pepper. Lots of pepper mind you!
We ate our popcorn and watched Cabin in the Woods as a late Halloween celebration. I didn’t do anything for Day of the Dead this year, as I’ve just gotten settled in my new house, and Halloween was a fairly simple deal this year as well. Sometimes the simplicity makes the holiday shine all the brighter. I’m still catching up on horror movies, though! Something about the falling leaves and cold weather makes it just the perfect season for a cinematic scare.
Since there have been some serious changes in my life over the past few months, the foods I’ve been eating have changed too. Lately I’ve eaten far more foods that I haven’t myself prepared. I can often be found at my local co-op several times a week, grazing at the salad and hot bars. I’ve also learned to indulge in restaurant meals at least once a week as a treat to myself. Working as a cook also facilitates a different type of eating through the vegan shift meals I prepare each day. My schedule (working mostly night shifts, 5-10pm) also alters the way that I eat. So things are different, and my new favorite and go to foods are different too.
So, I’ve reverted back to my default diet-changing method: the gluten question. I’ve blogged so many times about gluten! Gluteny gluten gluten. I love my carbs, my breads, my pastas, my tortillas especially, and I’ve always worked to try and strike a balance between healthful foods and refined carbs. And then there’s pasta:
You can always trust Portlandia to be witty about current trends and issues. Working in a restaurant, there’s lot of gluten free requests and questions. I also think it’s interesting to see the way that groups of people react and engage any kind of health trend or craze, either founded or a little bit shaky.
As the weather begins to change, my joints begin to act up. I’ve had this problem since childhood and it’s always gone undiagnosed and for the most part unnoticed. Creaky, achy, or swollen joints are just a part of my natural state of health. Cutting down on the gluten cuts down on the inflammation. (I’ve also talked about another major inflammatory agent, carageenan, here.) So I’ve been limiting my gluten intake (or at least becoming more mindful of it again) as part of my gluten consciousness.
Favorite foods lately have included: simple smoothies (often with 4 ingredients or less), corn tortilla chips with lots of guac and salsa (nearly always the norm for me), thai food, and lots of tea and coffee as the weather cools. I’m also drinking cider these days, and am exploring more gluten free beers as well, in addition to traditional ones of course. I’ve also reclaimed brunch as my own and I love the midday meals marked by bellinis and mimosas and delicious vegan foods.
My sweetie and I recently escaped up to her family’s cabin in the mountains for the night a couple of weekends ago. It’s a beautiful house with a fantastic kitchen. It was a good chance to take a break from life, just for 24 hours and appreciate the natural beauty of the world. Also, delicious vegan food was involved of course!
We made a fall feast of roasted carrots and butternut squash, sautéed chard with scallions and lots of garlic, and tricolored quinoa, all drizzled in a balsamic reduction.
The squash and carrots we just drizzled with olive oil and roasted for about 45 minutes in the oven. The chard was sautéed with thinly sliced scallions and garlic, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Quinoa was cooked stove top (I’m used to a rice cooker, so this was a different experience!) and yielded a delicious, fluffy, side of grains.
I’d just heard back on the house I’ve just moved into, so we celebrated with fancy prosecco and appetizers of vegan cream cheese covered in cracked pepper and scooped up whole grain crackers.
Then we curled up with our plates in front of the fire and watched Mars Attacks. A Tim Burton couldn’t be a more perfect way to end the evening.
This simple smoothie is so divine and delicious. It’s my favorite these days. Deep, dark, green, and raw it’s a wonderful way to kickstart your day regardless of the time.
Fresh pineapple sweetens full kale leaves, balanced out with orange juice and a kick of ginger.
Taken to the co-op on a morning grocery run.
Simple Green Smoothie
2-3 kale stalks (2 handfuls chopped)
1/2 cup pineapple
1/4-1/2 cup orange juice, depending on desired consistency
1 knob fresh ginger
juice of 1 lemon wedge
Pop it all in your trusty blender and blend away! Serve immediately.
You can put all sorts of goodies in here to shake things up a bit. Adding ice is a good way to get a nice chill and bananas will thicken and sweeten the smoothie. This is actually my sweetheart’s smoothie recipe–she makes them for me often especially when I want a kick of kale in my day!
I’ve recently fallen head over heels for the color yellow. I’ve always loved it–especially a light shade on walls, furniture, and curtains but I’ve recently begun wearing yellow as fall approaches and gray days are plentiful.
I also bought some fabulously fluffy yarn recently at the craft store and quickly crocheted it into a warm cowl.
The fuzzy acrylic yarn is so nice to snuggle into. It keeps me warm and cozy when it’s chilly outside and gives me that splash of yellow I’m so often drawn to these days.
What’s your fall color this year?
Some spooky musings on this All Hallow’s Eve:
The ghoulish guise of my favorite band’s lead singer, Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal at their show I attended last week. Front row, no less!
‘Tis a wondrous thing for autumn leaves to be blown inside.
An inappropriate mannequin in a Halloween store display.
My favorite little spook!
Cool Halloween mornings with mugs of tea and books. Perfection!
I hope you have a wondrous and safe Halloween! Don’t forget to look out for your fuzzy friends tonight, especially those chats noirs like my Leonor Fini. Keep the babies indoors, and carry a flashlight if you’re out after treats with your little ones! Don’t drink and drive, and be home before your turn into a pumpkin!
I was lucky enough to join my dad recently in one of his home brewing excursions. This is a process he has used as long as I can remember, and he has made various types of beers throughout his home brewing experiences. This time we made a pale ale, using three different types of barley and several types of hops.
We cracked the barley using a food processor. The smell was incredible.
We placed the cracked hops into a cheese cloth sock and added it to boiling water like a giant tea bag.
The first two bags were lighter barley, and the third was this “caramel-like” dark toasted stuff.
After removing the tea/barley bag and adding some hops pellets.
A tiny little beer flower.
This entire process smelled incredible! This part was perhaps the most seasonal of all–it looks like witches brew!
Cooling the entire pot off with cold water, then bottled into a giant bottle to ferment for about 2 weeks before bottling. I’m hoping to post when we do a tasting, so stay tuned! Interested in home brewing? This is a great shop local to me where we get our stuff.
I find myself out to brunch nearly every weekend. Sundays are my Saturdays and Sunday brunch is a time honored Southern tradition. Several local restaurants offer delicious vegan options for brunch, and I’m slowly working my way through their menus. I have my eye on some vegan French toast that I might get on the next go round.
There’s something so luxurious about brunch, or maybe it’s just the ability to drink champagne in the middle of the day that enthralls me. I also love the juxtaposition between breakfast and lunch foods. Before becoming vegan I was never into brunch, mostly because I’ve always had an aversion to eggs and they are so dominant in American brunch and breakfast culture. Vegan brunches are by far the best I’ve ever eaten.
A server recently said, “Brunch is the meal of liquids.” How true. I always have at least 2 or 3 different cups in front of me at any given brunch. Divine.
I really do love a big plate of delicious nachos. So melty, so simple, and so very comforting to me these days.
Strapped for ingredients, I gave the traditional nacho a bit of a twist, using tagine sauce in place of the traditional salsa.
handful corn chips
vegan cheeze shreds of your choice (I used the Trader Joe’s vegan mozz)
2-3 Tablespoons tagine sauce
freshly chopped peppers and tomatoes
Layer ingredients as you please, bake on 350 for about 5-7 minutes or microwave for 1-2 minutes. Enjoy!
Tagine is a Moroccan dish made in a dome-like ceramic vessel. Spices like lemon, ginger, turmeric, and cumin are employed to give the veggies a rich and delicious flavor. The sauce added a unique taste to my nachos that I’ll certainly be repeating!