Monday, September 24, 2012

Vegan Chicago: Chicago VeganMania Festival

This year, Chicago VeganMania added a new workshop: Ask a Vegan Expert. It is a rotating table where every hour there is a different topic. Your blog doll will be answering any questions you may have about vegan home cooking and baking from 2:30-3:30 p.m. For more information, please see their website here. Be sure to come check it out!

Below is the press release for this epically awesome all vegan festival in Chicago! 

The 4th Annual Chicago VeganMania Celebrates with the Vegan Black Metal Chef, Artisan Vegan Cheese and More

After three amazingly successful years, Chicago VeganMania returns as a free, day-long celebration of vegan culture, commerce, community, cuisine and couture. The event takes place Saturday, September 29, between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at a new, bigger location – the Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway in Chicago. The previous three events have drawn thousands of attendees.

Nationally known presenters will be featured at Chicago VeganMania again this year, including YouTube sensation, the Vegan Black Metal Chef, whose hilarious and appropriately disorienting videos have gone viral. In addition to the VBMC, we will be welcoming best-selling author Victoria Moran, who wrote the recent book Main Street Vegan, and Miyoko Schinner, author of the new cookbook, Artisan Vegan Cheese, whose innovative and wholesome recipes are currently featured in VegNews Magazine. In addition, Chicago VeganMania is bringing respected dietician Ginny Kisch Messina and Ellen Jaffe Jones, author of Eat Vegan on $4 a Day

Cooking demos are back again this year, and Chicago VeganMania is very excited to announce that we will be featuring people who are creating some of Chicago’s most innovative purely plant-based cuisine, featuring chef Kendall Huff of the popular Native Foods, Kat Barry of Kat’s Hot Cakes, Chicago Vegan Foods and others. Everything demonstrated and sampled will be free of animal ingredients. [VBMC and Miyoko are giving chef demos]

“We are thrilled to be putting together another event,” says Marla Rose, Chicago VeganMania co-founder. “It is a really positive and fun celebration of vegan culture and community but it’s also very appealing to those who are just curious about the vegan lifestyle. Anyone who enjoys a free, lively festival with diverse vendors, great speakers and entertainment as well as, of course, delicious, healthy food will enjoy Chicago VeganMania.”

Included in the day’s festivities will be our popular Culture CafĂ© with coffee and an alternative milk bar and live music, a full day of Q&A panels addressing everything from vegan health and wellness to using one’s creative talents for animal advocacy, a “Vegan Rock Star” photo booth and cruelty-free swag bags for the first one hundred people through the door.

In addition to all this, there will be a huge food court featuring delicious options from a dozen of Chicago's best vegan restaurants, caterers and food companies, as well as an exhibit hall packed dozens of diverse vendors, featuring everything from jewelry to body care products, candles to high fashion. All vegan, of course! 

Check out Chicago VeganMania's Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Quicky salad recipe!

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: n/a
* Ingredients:
  • 1 (15 oz.) can cooked chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • balsamic vinegar, to taste
  • olive oil, to taste
* Recipe:
  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl. Mix well. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Truffle Mac 'n Cheese Stuffed Heirloom Tomato

When I see fancy adult mac 'n cheese on menus, it's always some kind of truffle mac 'n cheese. So, I thought, why not make that vegan. To be honest, this cheese sauce was pretty good compared to my other disastrous vegan cheese sauces I have made in the past. I was starting to think I'd never get a good mac 'n cheese sauce down. This was a very tasty dinner!

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
Truffle Mac 'n Cheese Stuffed Heirloom Tomato

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 40 minutes
* Ingredients (for mac 'n cheese):
  • 1 (13.25 oz) box whole wheat elbow noodles
  • 5 tbsp vegan butter*
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp sweet rice flour*
  • 2 cup non-dairy milk*
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated*
  • 3 tbsp dry white wine*
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2-1 tsp white truffle oil*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
* Ingredients (for breadcrumb topping):
  • 1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs*
  • 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, to taste
  • 5 heirloom tomatoes (or more)*
* Recipe:
Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
  1. In a pot, cook the elbow noodles in salted water until al dente. Strain, run cool water over then, set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In a deep skillet, add 1 tbsp of the vegan butter and cook the onions until translucent over medium heat. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another few minutes until garlic browns. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 4 tbsp of vegan butter to the skillet and the sweet rice flour. Whisk the butter and flour mixture with a whisk (easier than using a fork or spoon).
  5. When combined, slowly add the 2 cups of non-dairy milk a little at a time, stirring with whisk continuously.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients and continue whisking. Bring to a slight boil, then reduce to low heat (continue whisking so not to get clumps). The sauce should be thick and similar to regular mac 'n cheese sauce at this point. 
  7. In a bowl, add the cooked noodles. Laddle the cheese sauce a bit at a time to the noodles and mix until well combined. Add as much of the cheese sauce as desired, but not too much as to make it soupy. Add the onions and garlic and mix.
  8. In a smaller bowl, combine the topping ingredients (exclude the tomatoes). Add enough olive oil just to make the crumbs stick.  
  9. Cut the top of each tomato and take out the core. Add the mac 'n cheese to the tomatoes then top with the breadcrumb mixture.
  10. Place tomatoes on a small baking dish. Also place the tomato tops in the dish, but not on top of the stuffed tomatoes yet. Drizzle everything with a bit of olive oil.
  11. Put in oven and let bake for about 5-10 minutes until you notice the breadcrumbs starting to brown. Remove from oven and using a fork, add the tomato tops back to the tomatoes covering the breadcrumbs. Return to the oven and let bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the tomatoes seem soft and baked. If it seems like it is taking a while, put the oven on a high broil and broil for 2 minutes or until the tomatoes look done.
  12. Top the baked tomatoes with vegan Parmesan, sea salt, and fresh chopped basil.
* Note: For vegan butter, I used Earth Balance olive oil version. Sweet rice flour can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store. You could try using regular all-purpose flour in this, I would imagine, but the sweet rice flour is good because it has a gelatinous effect that will make the sauce more "cheesy". For non-dairy milk, I used almond milk as that is what I prefer. You could use ground nutmeg, I just happened to have it fresh. Make sure your white wine is vegan! White truffle oil is something that a little goes a long way. Be sparing. Some Italian breadcrumbs contain dairy in them so be sure to check the label. I used Whole Foods brand. Originally, I was going to make this with panko breadcrumbs, but I was out. I still think it would have been better with panko! You may need more tomatoes than what I suggest here. I only made 2 at the time and then two mini bowls baked (using only half of the cooked noodles and a lot of cheese sauce left over). You could make a casserole if you just don't want to keep putting it in tomatoes. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cannellini Beans, Kale, & Brussel Sprouts

This is a simple weekday side dish recipe that I threw together. I had some cannellini beans in the cupboard and frozen brussel sprouts in the freezer. You could do this with fresh brussel sprouts, but I would suggest cooking them a little longer and slicing them in half.

Cannellini Beans, Kale, & Brussel Sprouts

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups brussel sprouts
  • 1 cup dinosaur kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 box (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained, washed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
* Recipe:
  1. In a skillet, add the olive oil and sautee the onions until translucent. 
  2. Add the brussel sprouts and kale, cooking for a few minutes. Add the wine and the wine cook out a bit.
  3. Once the wine has cooked down, add the cannellini beans, seasonings, and pine nuts (toast if desired first). Cook for another few minutes. Don't overcook or the beans will become really mushy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich

Banh mi's are Vietnamese sandwiches inspired by French cuisine. Chicago has several places one can get these tasty meals: Ba Le, Bon Bon Sandwiches, and Nhu Lan. All three restaurants offer vegan banh mi's. I decided to try to create one myself. It turned out really yummy! I even had leftover marinated tofu to put in a salad the next day. 

Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
* Prep Time: 1-2 hours
* Cook Time: 10 minutes
* Ingredients (for lemongrass tofu):
Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
  • 1/2 package (10 oz.) firm tofu, pressed, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass
  • 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
* Ingredients (for banh mi):
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup daikon radish, shredded
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar*
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 demi French baguette
  • lettuce leaves, torn
  • cucumber, sliced
  • cilantro sprigs
  • jalapeno, sliced (optional)
  • 1 green onion stalk, sliced
  • vegan mayonnaise*
  • siracha (optional)
  • garlic chili sauce
  • soy sauce
  • lemon wedge (optional)

* Recipe (for lemongrass tofu):
  1. Cut the lemongrass stalk and use the tender parts (not the top). Smash as best you can to get bitty pieces. Using a mortar and pestle may help.
  2. Add the lemongrass, garlic, soy sauce, oils, salt, and pepper to a large freezer bag. Slice the tofu 1/4" to 1/2" thick and add to the bag.
  3. Seal the bag and toss the tofu with the marinade. Make sure it is completely covered. Place in the fridge for at least one hour, the longer the better.
* Recipe (for banh mi):
  1. Combine the carrots, daikon, rice vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Mix well. Let sit in the fridge while the tofu is marinating. This will be a pickled carrot daikon mix.
  2. When tofu has been marinated long enough, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu to the skillet and cook each side until brown, about 10 minutes. Do not add the lemongrass and garlic bits to the tofu in the pan. Leave in the marinade bag. Do not add oil to the pan as the tofu will be coated in oil already.
  3. While the tofu is cooking, cut a demi French baguette in half. Cut the half in half horizontally. Toast the bread on both the inside and outside.
  4. On the bottom piece of bread, lay a piece of lettuce, cucumber sliced, cilantro sprigs, sliced green onions, pickled carrot and daikon mix, and jalapenos (if using). On the top piece of bread, spread some vegan mayonnaise and sprinkle some garlic chili paste and soy sauce (and siracha if desired).
  5. Place several pieces of tofu on top of the vegetables. Place the top piece of bread over the bottom and serve with lemon wedge if desired. Repeat the sandwich building process to the other half of the baguette for a second sandwich.
* Note: Make sure your sugar is vegan! I used Earth Balance vegan mayonnaise. I accidentally did the opposite of how I suggest to build this sandwich in the pictures (meaning I put the mayonnaise on the bottom).
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