Category Archives: MoFo

VeganMoFo Day Three – Woman About Town

My dad dropped by and we went to the Lunch Room food cart… for lunch. It’s already one of my favorite places to go for food in Ann Arbor and today was no exception! I had the Aloo Yoop Fall Harvest Stew (coconut milk curry stew with yukon gold and sweet potatoes, chick peas, yellow onions, peas, and brown rice), which was just lovely to have outside with a little chill in the air. It has just the right amount of curry spice for me.

It’s a bit overcast today, so the warm saffron color isn’t as apparent as it was in person. My dad had the Washington Street Wrap (a hummus wrap with roasted red pepper, cucumber, baby lettuce, tomato & red onion). He had never had hummus before, nor limeade, which was the drink he chose.

I went for their Boston cooler. I just love the flavor combination of ginger ale with coconut ice cream.

Dad asked if there was anything else to do while we were downtown, so we were off to the farmers’ market in Kerrytown. He got some bread; I got kale, chard, beets, and a monster butternut squash. We joked about buckling it into the back of his car as we were packing up…

Couldn’t resist. I weighed it when I got home. It’s 9 pounds, 7¾ ounces.


VeganMoFo Day Two (Belated) – Barley Bean Salad

My pressure cookers got a real workout yesterday putting dinner together. Didn’t get the chance to post this on time.

Barley Bean Salad

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 3 cups cooked garbanzo beans (~2 cans)
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1½-2 Romaine hearts, chopped (I used a head and a heart1)
  • Creamy Dijon Dressing (Vegan on the Cheap)

Soak cashews while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Prepare barley either in a pressure cooker (cooked for 20 minutes with 3 cups of water or vegetable broth) or on the stove (simmered for 40-45 minutes in 2½-3 cups of water or vegetable broth).

Combine everything but the dressing in a large bowl. Blend the dressing ingredients and then mix into salad.

Served with Polenta with Dried Mushrooms and Olives from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.

1Great. Now I’ve got various songs by the Head and the Heart stuck in my head. If only Pandora would stop suggesting Mumford & Sons when I listen to anything indie folky…

VeganMoFo Day One – Vegetable Cleaver

Monday’s entries will highlight a neglected kitchen tool. There are currently seven knives on my rack:

Each tends to have a specific function in my kitchen; the smaller santoku knives if a recipe calls for a clove or two of garlic, chef’s knife to chiffonade greens, etc. By far the one that gets the least attention is my vegetable cleaver (AKA Chinese chef’s knife).

Autumn is when it gets to shine because there are few things as satisfying as burying it into a butternut squash or a particularly large yam. It’s also fantastic for whacking shallots or garlic any time of year. The large, flat blade comes in handy for transporting chopped food from a cutting board to a pot or for using the front or top edge to simply push things off the board. Claude ran off with one of the yams from my bag, but the cleaver made short work of it after I retrieved it and washed it off.

I made Hottie Black-Eyed Peas & Greens and Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples from Appetite for Reduction:

Click the image to go to Isa’s entry on the two, because I can’t photograph squishy dishes like this to save my life. I need a camera. The mashed sweet potato dish came out really well. The only apples I had in my house were Honeycrisp, so I limited the ingredients to three: apples, sweet potatoes, and ginger to take advantage of their wonderful flavor.

BBQ Jackfruit Cupcakes

I’ll be in Chicago during part of the week of Thanksgiving, which has all sorts of awesome places to go. This year, I’ll get to visit the Bleeding Heart Bakery and thanks to a groupon, be on an insane sugar rush. The establishment first came to my attention during the working title brouhaha of the cookbook associated with the bakery. Who You Callin’ Cupcake? had many interesting looking recipes, but there was one in there that I just knew I had to veganize for MoFo: BBQ Pulled Pork Cupcakes. This was going to be a piece of cake.

It started with this pulled jackfruit sandwich recipe via Chow Vegan.

Foreground: Jackfruit slathered in barbecue sauce, ready to be cooked. Background: As you can see, no Pandora this time. Yep, getting my recommended daily allowance of The Daily Show.

I cooked that for two hours, just to make sure it was nice and tender. Then the fruit got shredded and, when necessary, squished with forks:


While I thought cornbread would make the most sense, I deferred to the original recipe and used the Basic Vanilla Cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa and Terry.

Ready to go in the oven. The batter tasted disconcertingly reminiscent of marshmallow fluff.

While they were baking, I shredded the remainder of the jackfruit. The part I found most daunting looking it over was the frosting. The original called for 2 cups of butter and a stand mixer. I cut that down to about 1/3 cup butter (Earth Balance) whipped with 1 tablespoon maple syrup and just spread it over the top of the cupcakes in a thin layer. Spread the reserved jackfruit on top and ta-da:

So, how did it taste? Surprisingly good. I barely noticed the jackfruit that had been folded into the batter, but the corn complimented the sweet cupcake well. The jackfruit I did notice made for a fun, tangy contrast. Even the meager amount of butter seemed gratuitous; a drizzle of maple syrup would have been fine.

Verdict: Initially off-putting and time consuming, but tasty. I likely wouldn’t do it again unless it was for an unconventional potluck.

Day 4: Preview for Friday’s Mad Endeavor

Dinner tonight is going to be more cholent and grilled balsamic portobello. So instead of writing about those again, here is my second favorite fall fruit—after Honeycrisp apples—which should make for a lovely dessert just the way it is.

Starkrimson pear. Pretty!

The number of blogs participating in MoFo this year is overwhelming and I find myself blown away by the creativity found in them. In that spirit, I’ll be veganizing a mystery recipe* tomorrow. Here’s a hint:

Until then!

*Not so mysterious if you follow my Twitter, but I’ll keep up the pretense anyway.

Update: I’ll be doing this Saturday, not Friday. Fridays will normally be spent visiting Ann Arbor.

Day 2: Simple Weeknight Comfort Food

It was surprisingly chilly out there and the cholent from Veganomicon was the just the comforting thing I could foresee needing while watching the election results. Tonight’s dinner was an exercise in substitution. No tomato sauce, lima beans, kidney beans, wine nor broth, garlic, tarragon, or more than a couple tablespoons of French lentils. Cooking down a can of diced tomatoes worked well for the sauce, if it was a little thin. Fortunately it was barely noticeable when served over the leftover red quinoa I had in the fridge. I marinated portobello caps in a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil while prepping the veggies and sautéing the onions. I cooked them on a Foreman grill while the stew was simmering. The kitchen was filled with the smells of caraway and balsamic vinegar. It was lovely. I sense some experimental combination for a future post!

It doesn’t look like much, but it’s amazing what a little balsamic vinegar can do.

If listening to klezmer yesterday inspired tonight’s cholent, who knows what today’s Springsteen will bring for tomorrow. Only slightly kidding. I set out to try out Jewish cuisine on Tuesdays (you have no idea the restraint it’s taking to forgo a “Jewsday” tag). Why not begin with an old favorite? If we’re very lucky, I might even attempt a beloved dish redolent with memories: Latkes. That’s what I’ve missed the most (right up there with cottage cheese with peaches), particularly when the weather gets colder. I’ve tried multiple times to recapture the wonder of late-November Chicago after dark; but every attempt leads to a sodden, burnt, falling-apart mess. It looks easy on paper. We’ll just have to see.

Inaugural MoFo Post: Cookies!

Late night/early morning obligations (combination of reminding my fiancé to fill out  and turn in his absentee ballot late last night and dropping him off for his flight at an awful hour) meant that today’s offering was going to be somewhat haphazard. Dancing around in the kitchen to my Pandora klezmer station inspired the warm, wintry almond and cardamom flavors. These are the cookies I shared today at work for World Vegan Day.

Success! One was taken before I even took the picture.

Almond Orange-Ginger Thumbprint Cookies

1/2 cup canola oil

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup soymilk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 t teaspoon almond extract

1 2/3 cups flour

1/4 cup tapioca flour (or cornstarch)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups coarsely ground almonds

2/3 cup orange-ginger (or preferred flavor) jam



1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, brown sugar, nondairy milk, and extracts. Sift in flour, tapioca, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Stir to form a dough, adding a tablespoon or two more milk if it’s too dry.

3.  Pour the almonds into a bowl. Scoop the dough with a tablespoon, shape into a ball, and roll around in the almonds. Carefully poke in your pinky to make a dent and gently enlarge the hole with your fingers, sort of like a delicate pinch pot. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing 1 inch apart. I used a half-tablespoon measure to put the jam into the cookies. Bake for 16 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes two dozen; I got 28.

-Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero.