Veganoogle Search


Friday, January 28, 2011

Things I'm Currently Obsessed With...

1. Pema Ryebread: I bought this chewy dense organic German rye bread for only $2 at Big Lots! It has a nice sourdough flavor and tastes great spread with hummus or nut butters.

2. Long Island Cheese Pumpkins: My mom bought this large, cheese-wheel shaped pumpkin at a farm stand in Pennsylvania back in October. I wouldn't let her put it outside the house for Halloween, because I wanted to eat it before the animals got to it. I finally cut it open this past week and roasted it for my "Roasted Pumpkin Salad" recipe. Cheese pumpkins are famous for their use in pies, and this pumpkin definitely lived up to its sweet reputation!

3. The Food Revolution, by John Robbins: It was originally T. Colin Campbell's The China Study that influenced me to become vegan, but John Robbins' book is certainly just as persuasive. I've only read about a third of the book and I can't put it down. The book was written 10 years ago, but the information is still completely applicable today.

4. My Cuisinart Immersion Blender: I bought this a few months ago, but I use it almost daily. It works better than my countertop blender, and the cleanup is ridiculously easy! I use it to blend soups, dressings, sauces, dips (hummus!), and smoothies. The only downside is it won't chop dry ingredients like nuts (it just flicks the ingredients all over the countertop and floor).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vegan Italian Food...It's Not An Oxymoron!

Growing up in an Italian-American family with a father from Sicily, I've had more than my fair share of Italian cuisine. In fact, I've had so much pizza and pasta in my lifetime that I have avoided making Italian food and going to Italian restaurants in the past few years. I still rely heavily on Meditterranean ingredients in my cooking though, such as olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes, etc. This past week I experimented with homemade vegan pizza. As someone who used to take all of the cheese off of her pizza, cheese-less pizza sounded delicious to me! I used store-bought whole wheat pizza dough, which I kneaded with some flour and spread onto a greased baking pan. Then I applied a light layer of pesto and followed with a slathering of tomato sauce. For the topping, I used Trader Joe's frozen "Marinated Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini" (which I microwaved to defrost beforehand). I added a few chopped sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and kalamata olives. I placed the pizza into the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. You could definitely use a pizza stone, but I love the chewiness of the crust that results from using a regular old baking pan. Danny and I devoured the entire pizza in one sitting. The best part about this recipe is that it only costs about $5 total and is better than any purchased pizza I've ever had. Last night I attempted to make "Lentil-Rice Balls" from Vegan Lunch Box. They are basically faux meat balls made with lentils, brown rice, whole wheat flour, and Italian seasonings. Served with pasta and marinara sauce, the texture was very close to real meat balls or sausage. On their own, they were a little bland, and the cumin seemed to be the only spice I detected. Today, I drizzled the leftover lentil-rice balls with tahini and voila--they tasted great! From Vegan Lunch Box, I also tested the "Cheesy Roasted Chickpeas"last night. As the cookbook warned, they were definitely addicting-- they had the texture of roasted chestnuts and a "cheesy" flavor from nutritional yeast. So vegan Italian food is definitely possible and delicious! Remember--most regions of Italy feature whole grains, legumes, fresh vegetables, and seasonings in their dishes. In all of my visits to Italy, I was never once served "chicken parmesan" or butter on white bread in a restaurant. Come to think of it, I've never seen those things in my own house.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tempeh vs. Tofu

I'm not your typical vegan. I don't really care for tofu or soy products. I get most of my protein from legumes, nuts, seeds, etc. But, I have recently fell in love with tempeh, which is literally a block of fermented soybeans that like tofu, originated in Asia. In my opinion, tofu is too soft and tasteless, but tempeh has a nice texture and flavor. Since tempeh is less processed than tofu, it is a whole soybean product that has more fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. I first tasted tempeh in the "tempeh and white bean 'sausage' patties" recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance. I now substitute black beans for white beans in the recipe and it has become one of my favorite things to make (drizzled with tahini of course!) I've even tried the Vegan With a Vengeance recipe for "tempeh bacon," which is totally addicting! While I usually try to make things from scratch, I have recently become obssessed with Turtle Island Foods' marinated tempeh strips. These are made by the same people that produce Tofurky, and you can find these at Whole Foods or most health food stores. I stocked up on them during a recent sale, and I have been putting them in everything from salads to sandwiches to curries. For lunch yesterday, I tried the coconut curry flavored strips served with a ridiculously easy carrot kinpira salad. As with all soy products, make sure that your tempeh is made with only organic soybeans (most soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified!) Don't completely shun tofu in favor of tempeh though: organic tofu is still a minimally processed healthy food that is even more versatile than tempeh. I will have to give tofu another chance--I hear that pressing it improves the texture. I have a block of tofu in the fridge right now, so I think I know what my next project is...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Craving some homestyle Korean cooking

Maybe it's the snow on the ground that's making me nostalgic for Korean winter, but I'm craving some warm Korean comforts like dolsot bibimbap and mandu. Unfortunately, most local Korean restaurants are extremely un-vegan friendly. Every kimchi'dbanchan is made with a fish or shrimp base. Danny and I finally decided to check out H&Y Korean Market in Hicksville, and man am I so sorry I didn't visit this place sooner! It was like stepping into a Lotte Mart in Seoul, but even better because I could read the English labels! This place is far superior to any asian grocery store I've been to: beautiful, fresh produce at rock bottom prices, lots of organic products, amazing rice selection. Danny and I walked up and down each aisle fighting the urge not to throw every familiar product into our cart. We finally decided upon buying some japchae ingredients, goguma (Korean sweet potato), banchan (pre-made side dishes), yonkun (lotus root), and some snacks.
Once home, we started peeling and slicing the lotus root in hopes of replicating the sweet and chewy yonkun jorim that we had in Korea. The sauce thatwe simmered the lotus root in never quite thickened into a syrup, and they failed to become chewy. It was a little disappointing, but they were still edible and healthy at the very least. We decided to boil the entire package of cellophane noodles for the japchae, not realizing that it would be enough to feed an army. To toss with the noodles, we sauteed bell peppers, carrots, king oyster mushrooms, baby bok choy, onions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. This version of japchae was yummy, but needed a little more oil and soy sauce to taste authentic. As for banchan, we bought our favorite kongjorim (black soy beans in a sweet syrup with soy sauce) and gobo (burdock root). We also had some kim, which I bought in Trader Joe's in a package labeled "roasted seaweed snack."
The meal we prepared certainly resembled the food we had in Korea, but I'm still craving the real stuff. This weekend I'll be having Korean food with my friends and heading to a norebang after for karaoke, so hopefully that will hit the spot. What I really miss is the buddhist temple cuisine that is hard to come by in New York. Luckily, I know of two restaurants in NYC's Koreatown that specialize in this kind of vegan Korean food. At Hangawi, the prices are a bit steep, so I'm saving that dinner for my birthday next month!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Searching the vast world wide web for vegan recipes just got a whole lot easier!

Like most vegans, the internet serves as my primary source of recipes. Unfortunately, when I'm in a rush to find a recipe that uses the Korean mushrooms that I bought yesterday, I have to painstakingly search through a dozen individual vegan blogs and recipe sites before I find the perfect recipe. I discovered a secret method to putting all of those sites together in a single search engine, and I am launching the aptly named "Veganoogle" here on my new blog.

So far I have included the following blogs & websites:
1. VegWeb
2. VegNews
3. Cest La Vegan
4. Fat Free Vegan
5. Novel Eats
6. B36 Kitchen
7. Good Good Things
8. Vegan Yum Yum
9. The Post Punk Kitchen
10. Just the Food
11. Vegan Ice Cream
12. Sketch-Free Vegan Eating
13. Vegan Dad
14. Vegetarian Slow Cooker
15. AllRecipes (searches "vegan" only)
16. Vegan Lunchbox
17. Vegan Squared
If you see your favorite blog missing from the sites listed above, let me know!

Go ahead and test it out in the giant search bar at the top of this blog. Here's an important tip--if you want to search for a specific phrase, put it in quotations to get more streamlined results.

Hope it works!