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 3: Out to Lunch, or a Rant about Sandwiches

It's more majestic when you're on the right side of the street, but my feet were tired. Stupid heels.

I’m absolutely awful at navigating the big city I live near: Detroit. I drive in, go to class, and leave. So in the spirit of MoFo, I’ll begin walking around near the WSU campus looking for places to eat or interesting things to see. On the advice of dakini on the PPK I took a stroll down Cass Ave.

From left to right: apple bar, Garden Works sandwich, and mock salmon salad.

I picked up a Garden Works sandwich and an apple bar from Avalon International Breads on Willis. All four café tables were occupied and it was raining outside, so I headed next door to Goodwells Natural Foods and got the mock salmon salad. Pleasant place to sit and watch the students walk by. The area vaguely reminds me of Depot Town in Ypsilanti.

It was pretty tasty: fresh carrot flavor, crunchy celery, and a hint of nori.

Forgive the poor light: it was a drizzly day. Not sure I would have this again. The pesto was a little on the oily side, even if the walnuts worked well with the sprouts and avocado. In a way it reminds me of a time R’s sister and her boyfriend came over for dinner. I had worked hard putting together a nice vegetable sauté, but it turned out what they really wanted was a tofu-mustard sandwich—which is exactly what it sounds like: plain slices of tofu with mustard and a little sea salt between two slices of bread. It’s difficult to find a substantial veg*n sandwich because of this almost apologetic desire to class things up to cover for a supposed lack of substance. The vegetarian ones substitute cheese for the meat and the vegan ones amount to little more than hummus or pesto with avocado and/or red onion. *sigh*

The baked goods from Avalon, however, have yet to disappoint. This apple bar was somewhere between a crumble and a slice of pie. It probably would have been even better warm.

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.