Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chocolate-strawberry cupcakes!

Baked especially for For my little cousin's sweet sixteen: chocolate cupcakes from vctotw with vanilla buttercream frosting from jovb, filled with strawberry jam and topped with sliced strawberries and mint leaf garnishes. Jealous much?

Voulez-vous des crepes végétaliennes?

Would you like some vegan crepes? Er, maybe I should ask you in Italian since these babies are seasoned for a more Mediterranean palate. In any case, they are le kick-ass. Totally impressive looking but not too complicated. The ratio of fancy lookingness to relative ease of preparation is just right for a dinner party or a night in with your kitties if you have, as I do, very judgemental animal companions. Another plus is that the various components of the dish (crepes, fillings, sauces) can be prepared in advance and assembled and baked the day of. Bon appetit, er mangia, er, NOMZ! to you friends. Special thanks to Roomie for helping out with the prep work.

You need:
*2 batches of somewhat thicker-than average savory vegan crepes. Make this recipe if you don't already have a favorite. Omit the vanilla and double the whole thing if you're wary of you crepe-making abilities and need to practice. I also used some evoo to make them too instead of earth balance and canola.
*2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce or a similar amount of homemade for the more impressive among us
*1 recipe of tofu ricotta from Veganomicon (firm tofu, cashews, garlic, olive oil, lemon, spices)
*1 can plain pureed pumpkin
*1-2 cups sauteed greens of your choice
*Spices! I used red chile flakes, oregano, basil, nutmeg, salt and black pepper.
*9 x 13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish or 2 smaller ones (how much space you need depends on how tightly you roll your crepes)

Make them:
1.) Make your crepes! Refrain from scarfing them all down immediately. I know, it's difficult isn't it?
2.) Whip up some vegan ricotta in your food processor
3.) Spread out a generous layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of your baking dish
4.) In a mixing bowl combine ricotta, whole can of pumpkin, greens and salt and spices to taste
5.) Fill crepes with the pumpkin-ricotta mixture, roll them up and lay them into your tomato sauce filled baing dish
6.) Continue untill dish is filled
7.) Pour another layer of sauce on top of rolled crepes
8.) Cover dish with foil and bake at 375 degrees until bubbly and thoroughly hot, about 25 minutes

Local (vegan) color

Pasta Primavera D'Estate (that's Italiano for summer kids): Whole wheat macaroni with local collards, summer squash, tomatoes and garlic sauteed in earth balance with salt, pepper, red chile flakes, oregano and chopped walnuts.

Summer is coming to an end and I'm really going to miss the fresh local produce even if I havent been as diligent as I should have about getting my butt to all the Greenmarkets New Yorkers have to choose from. Recently I checked out the Red Hook Farmer's Market run by Added Value which is just a 15 minute walk from my apartment in Brooklyn. Added Value is a non-profit focused on sustainable development in Red Hook and youth-powered urgan agriculture helps supply the market with gorgeous fresh produce. When I was there I picked up onions, tomatoes, garlic, collard greens and tiny yellow sugar plums. I only wish I had started checking out the farm sooner; they are doing some amazing things over there. In addition to youth empowerment through urban agriculture (including the market and farm-to-school education programs), they also work on sustainable business development and restaurant partnerships, critical in a community where, according to the Added Value webiste:

"Twice in the past three years Red Hook's only full-service grocery store closed, forcing residents to walk three miles and cross an eight lane road or take a $10 cab if they want to shop there. If you are have limited resources or are physically unable, as much of our population is, the only options are corner stores and delis which stock few fresh fruits and vegetables, carry meat and dairy products of questionable quality and charge inflated prices. With few healthy choices available, our neighbors eat many meals at fast food restaurants; and the preferred diet among teens is chips, honey buns, and a "fruit drink".

Limited access to healthy safe and affordable food and limited understanding of proper dietary practices has contributed to a neighborhood health crisis. Red Hook residents suffer disproportionately from asthma, hypertension, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Child hospitalization rates for diabetes are over twice that of NYC; for adults, the ratio is roughly three to two."

Lucky and priviledged person that I am, I can generally afford to pay for the more expensive organic foods and have the luxury of time, transportation and education to think about these issues both generally for my city and our planet and also specifically as they apply to my dinner table. Unfortunately many New Yorkers do not have access to these resources and as a result poverty is the largest idicator of obesity and many other diet-related illness. Currently I am doing some research at work on how to integrate food security as a social justice concern into my office's best practices. Since all of our clients are all indigent and low-income people in crisis situations, many of them could benefit from our assistance with issues of hunger and nutrition.

Speaking of lucky, lucky me and my fantastic workplace, I came into some organic produce from Norwich Meadows Farm of Norwich, NY, when a foodie enthusiast co-worker generously offered to let me pick up her weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) share at the Stonehouse Olive Oil shop near our office while she was out of town. I was pretty excited to recieve baby salad greens, assorted summer squashes, tomatoes, garlic, red onions in addition to some sizeable red beets which I have previously been too intimidated to cook. That's one thing I love about the seasonable, local food available through CSA's and farmers markets: unfamiliar or uncommon vegetables inspire culinary innovation and bravery in the humble home cooks like myself. Anyway, I'll let you know what I make with the beets and also how much surface area of my kitchen has been stained hopelessly red.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I <3 sleeping late...

Lazy weekend mornings and homemade brunch. Yum.

Homemade whole wheat flatbreads (flour, water) with carob-almond spread (raw almond butter, carob powder, agave) and sliced bananas.

Black bean tofu scramble with cilantro sour cream and baked sweet potato fries: in scramble: tofu, black beans, tofu, tahini, tamari, fire roasted tomatoes, cumin, turmeric, served on a whole grain tortilla. sour cream: raw cashews, silken tofu, cilantro, olive oil, salt. sweet potato fries from bag o'frozen.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Vegan pronto

Two quick Italian dinners:

Basil-almond pesto with kale: basil, almonds, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, brown rice pasta, kale.

Polenta with spring vegetable ragu: cornmeal, artichokes, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, onion, garlic, red chile flakes, oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, salt.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Curried plantains

Curried plantains: green plantains, chickpeas, grated unsweetened coconut, broccoli, tomatoes, garlic, onion, yellow curry powder, red chile flakes, allspice, oil, salt.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I love tomato season! Whole wheat sourdough toast with tempeh bacon, sliced tomatoes, spinach, vegenaise and mustard.