Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Stuff I Ate, Part 2

And now for the conclusion of "Stuff I Ate in September" — all the meals and treats eaten during Vegan Mofo that didn't make it onto the blog.

Let's start with the doughnuts, shall we? Imagine Vegan Cafe made doughnuts for brunch one morning, but I wasn't feeling great. So I skipped brunch. And I couldn't stop thinking about doughnuts. I texted my friends Pam and Stephanie, who were there eating brunch, to see if Imagine had any left. They did. Pam offered to bring me some — Chocolate and Vanilla Doughnuts. Doughnut delivery! My friends are the best.

Not to be outdone, Cassi decided to make doughnuts at Pink Diva Cupcakery the following weekend. Of course, her doughnuts were pink. Life is so hard with my all my friends making doughnuts in their restaurants!

While we're on the subject of my two favorite vegan restaurants, here are some things I ate at them both. I recently had Vegan Ravioli with Garlic Toast at Imagine.

And last weekend, at brunch at Imagine, I went off-menu and ordered the Epic Burger — veggie burger with onion rings, mushrooms, and cheeze sauce. They made it once as a special, so it's not on the menu. But if they happen to have onion rings in the freezer, they'll whip one up by request. It's the kind of burger you eat with a fork.

Now that it's fall, I can eat pumpkin. I have a strict "no pumpkin until the Autumn Equinox" rule. Last weekend, Stephanie made these Pumpkin Spice Insanity Bars to sell in Imagine's bakery case. Layer of sugar cookie, layer of Pumpkin Spice Oreos, layer of blondie. BEST THING EVER.

I eat at Imagine and Pink Diva at least once a week, so I also have some more meals from Pink Diva to share. I was a little hungover Thursday morning after the Memphis Flyer's annual Best of Memphis party. But these BBQ Tofu Nachos from Pink Diva did the trick.

One day a few weeks back, I ordered The Susan Sandwich at Pink Diva. It's a chickpea salad sammy named after my Flyer managing editor Susan Ellis. Avocado Kale Salad on the side.

I don't get out to LYFE Kitchen, our new vegan-friendly fast-food chain, as often as I'd like because it's way out east. But we had Vegan Drinks there last week. I ordered the Quinoa Crunch Bowl — quinoa, edamame hummus, avocado, radish, steamed broccoli. I even liked the arugala. What's happening to me?

Our friend Chef Nigel hosts a weekly vegan brunch in his backyard, and we stopped by a few weeks ago. I got the Tofu Scramble, Garlic Kale, and Sausage & Peppers.

One night a few weeks back, I went to Jonesboro to visit my parents. We picked up personal-sized pizzas from Uncle Maddio's. Mine had whole-wheat crust, Daiya mozzarella, green & black olives, mushrooms, caramelized onions, tomatoes, and artichokes with a garlic olive oil base.

Used a Cafe Eclectic gift card after the Cooper-Young Fest to get this Black Bean Hummus & Veggie Wrap with Guacamole & Chips and a Side Salad.

I FINALLY tried a sno cone from the legendary Jerry's Sno Cones. It's a Memphis must, and it's been on my to-do list for years. I went with Shock Tart — a mix of blue raspberry and green apple. So good! I'm gonna miss the hell out of sno cone weather.

Let's contrast that high-fructose-laden sno cone with something healthy. I made this Banana Split Protein Smoothie at home. Banana, cherries, Vega One Berry protein, cashew milk, So Delicious Cocowhip, and nuts.

Midtown has a new vegan juice bar — I Love Juice Bar! I stopped in on opening week for an Orange You Glad Juice (orange, carrot, pineapple, ginger) and an Energizer shot (wild orange and peppermint essential oils with coconut water).

A couple days later, I popped into I Love Juice again for a Cacao Banana Smoothie (cacao, banana, peanut butter, coconut milk) and some Spring Rolls. YUM!

Most of the meals I cooked at home were for Mofo, but I did whip up some non-Mofo-related Vegan Chicken Tacos — Simple Truth Organic Meatless Griller Strips fried up with hot peppers and nooch, Daiya, Tofutti sour cream, and peach salsa. Side of Beanfield's Pico chips.

Whew! That was a LOT of food. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Stuff I Ate, Part 1

I typically do these big ole photo dumps of random meals every couple weeks, but since Vegan Mofo was going on for all of September, I didn't get a chance to show the internet all of the important meals that made it into my mouth! So I'm dividing this Stuff I Ate post into two days. Here's your first installment.

I've been eating lunch at least one day a week at Cassi's new Pink Diva Cupcakery since it's ridiculously close to my office. This is the BBQ Tofu Plate with Vegan Mac & Cheese and Sauteed Veggies.

Another meal from Pink Diva — Vegan Fried Fish with Sauteed Veggies and Avocado Kale Salad. Mustardy BBQ sauce for dippin'.

Picked up some Tofu Manicotti from Pink Diva one day and brought it back to work. This is one of the plates I stash in my desk. Sauteed Veggies on the side.

Paul and I went camping for Labor Day weekend with our friends David and Nico. Nico is also vegan, so I brought along some Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burgers for grillin'. They were so tasty that Paul ate two. I packed a tomato, and Nico had an avocado, so dinner was made!

We were camping at Reel Foot Lake, a beautiful lake with cypress knobs and praying mantises (manti?) everywhere! There's a legendary mom-and-pop country cookin' joint near the lake called Boyette's. Even though I knew it wouldn't be vegan-friendly, I wanted to check it out because I kinda love that kitschy country weirdness. The only thing I could eat was French Fries and a Garden Salad. But that's okay. I like iceberg lettuce. Sometimes.

Back at home, we had some gift cards for the Bayou Bar & Grill, a Cajun bar in Midtown. It's not super vegan-friendly either, but they do have a few veganizable dishes. Like this Portabella Mushroom Po' Boy made without the cheese or butter. Really, really good. And their fries are amazing.

There was a lot of party food in September. Kristie, the owner of Imagine Vegan Cafe, just had her fourth baby (FOUR BABIES! I don't even know she does it.) We had a surprise baby shower for her at the restaurant. I brought these Tiny Tomato Tarts from Vegan Finger Foods. They're yummy little tofu quiches!

I also brought some last minute Vegan Buffalo Strips — Beyond Meat chicken tossed with Earth Balance and hot sauce.

There was lots of other vegan food there, but I didn't get pics of it all since Mofo was going on. I did, however, manage to get pics of the shower cake — Raspberry Petit Fours made by my friend Stephanie of Swell Baked Goods.

My friends Vaughan and Nicole held another vegan party in September at their house. They had it mostly catered by Cassi's Pink Diva Cupcakery. She was testing out these fantastic Avocado Wontons for the first time, and they are so good. Fried wontons filled with guacamole, with ranch for dipping. YES! They were such a hit at the party that she's added them to the regular menu.

She also made these cute Cucumber "Cupcakes" — raw cucumber slices piped high with vegan cream cheese.

Cassi didn't make these Falafels, but they were delicious. I think Vaughan bought them from somewhere.

She did make these Sweet Potato Mango Cupcakes for the party though. YUM!

Well, I'll leave you on that high note. More pics tomorrow.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I'm Teaching a Crunk Class at Whole Foods!

Hey everybody! If you're local and vegan (or vegan-curious), come to my class this Wednesday, October 7th at the Salud Cooking School inside Whole Foods Poplar. I'll be demonstrating a full meal of Southern comfort foods, so attendees will get a full meal — appetizer, soup, entree, side, and dessert.

It's $49. But it's a two-hour class, so we're making a night of it. And did I mention that you get a FULL MEAL? You can register here. Just scroll down to my class, and click on the link to register. Here's a sneak preview of the menu.

We'll be starting the meal with Deviled Tofu Bites —like deviled eggs, but made with tofu so they're totally vegan.

And then we'll move on to Country Potato Soup — a creamy, comforting soup made with potatoes, carrots, celery, and veggie bacon.

For the entree, we have a fun spin on traditional red beans and rice — Red Beans & Quinoa!

And on the side, there's Smoky Stewed Okra & Tomatoes!

And finally, we'll end the meal on a sweet and coconutty note — Pineapple Cream Pie with Toasted Coconut.

It's gonna be fun! Don't miss it!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Fusion Food!

Oops! I tried to schedule this post a day early to show up on September 30th because I had an event that night and couldn't post. But I forgot to hit publish! So you're getting my last Mofo post on October 1st! Happy World Vegetarian Day!

It's the last day of Vegan Mofo! I'm both a little sad and a little relieved. I'm sad because I'll miss reading all the fun themed posts on my new favorite blogs, but I'm so happy to have found a bunch of new blog friends and blogs to read! I'm also relieved that I don't have to post on the weekends anymore! I can go back to my 4-day-a-week posting schedule.

The last Mofo theme is fusion food!! And I'd been meaning to create a Tempeh BLT Sushi recipe for my retro vegan cookbook anyway. It'll be in the 90s chapter since the 90s were all about both sushi and fusion food.

These were so yummy! And so easy! I made a tempeh bacon and then I rolled that with a homemade spicy mayo, strips of tomato, and romaine lettuce. Instead of wasabi, I served these with sriracha. And soy sauce for dipping of course. On the side, I made some tofu inari because it's the best thing in the world.

Here's the recipe! You'll probably want to make the bacon the night before so it can marinate. And I also make my sushi rice the night before to save time.

Tempeh BLT Sushi
For the bacon:
1 8-ounce package tempeh
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoison sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke

For the spicy mayo:
1/2 cup vegan mayo
1 1/2 Tbsp. sriracha
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

For the sushi:
2 1/2 cups dry sushi rice
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
6 sheets toasted nori
1 small tomato, cut into thin strips
3 leaves romaine hearts
Soy sauce, for serving
Sriracha, for serving

To make the bacon:
Slice the tempeh lengthwise into about 10 to 12 long, thin strips. Bring a few cups of water to boil in a steamer basket or in a large skillet with sides. Place the tempeh strips in the steamer basket or directly into water in the skillet. Steam for 10 minutes. 

Stir together the vegetable broth, soy sauce, hoison sauce, maple syrup, and Liquid Smoke in a large plastic or glass storage container with a lid. Place tempeh slices in the container, making sure liquid is covering each slice. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator. Allow to marinate overnight.

To cook, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a medium-sized baking sheet. Drain marinade and place strips onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping each slice halfway through baking.

To make the spicy mayo:
Combine the mayo, sriracha, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Stir well.

To make the sushi rice:
Prepare rice according to package instructions. Cool and stir in 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar. 

To make the sushi:
Place one sheet of nori on a sushi rolling mat. Add 3/4 cup rice to the roll and press out flat, leaving about an inch without rice at one end of the nori sheet furthest away from you. Spread the spicy mayo in a thin line horizontally on top of the rice closer to the end facing you, leaving a little rice exposed, about a half an inch. Add the tempeh on top of that, and then the strips of tomato and romaine. 

Starting with the side closest to you, use the sushi mat to begin to roll the sushi in a tight cylinder, making sure the filling tucks inside the rice as it goes. When you reach the exposed end of the nori, where there is no rice, pat it with a little water to help it seal and roll the rest of the way. Allow to sit for a few minutes so the nori can soften and become easier to cut.

Slice the sushi into about 8 pieces using a very sharp knife. Serve with sriracha and soy sauce.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Car Snacks

Today, we're supposed to blog about our favorite car snacks for Vegan Mofo. I'm sort of cheating a little with this post because I've already blogged about my fave road trip food in this post about my trip to Bonnaroo this summer.

But in case you missed it, my fave car snacks are Go Picnic meals!

They only make a couple of vegan meals, but they're delicious and easy to eat in a car. And they're basically a full meal! I get these at Target, and they also have a store brand of similar meals under their Simply Balanced line. A couple of those are vegan too. This Sunbutter & Crackers meal has multi-grain crackers, sunflower butter, applesauce, a fruit strip, and two vegan chocolate chip cookies!

The other vegan one — Black Bean Dip & Plantain Chips — is my fave.

It has plantain chips, black bean dip, a gingery fruit & nut mix, edamame, and a fruit strip. I actually ate this at the Bonnaroo campsite this summer, but it's perfect for the car too.

Other fave car snacks — PB & jelly sandwiches, popcorn, carrots & hummus, and any kind of chip! Oh, and bars! Lots of bars!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Tacos Vs. Burritos

Blogging every single day in September and sticking to the daily themes has been tough. But the entire month of Mofo combined wasn't as hard as today's challenge — choosing between tacos or burritos. Yes, that's right. The powers that Mofo be are forcing us to make life's toughest decision.

I thought long and hard about this one all month. And I was tempted to be all, "But I can't choose! You can't make me!" But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, you know, when I go to Chipotle, I usually opt for the tacos but only because they're smaller and less calories. Deep down, I always wish for the nearly 1,000-calorie burrito. So burritos it is! Just by a hair though.

I didn't have time to make a burrito this week. Sadness, I know. So I thought I'd just make this post an homage to burritos past. Here is a rundown of burritos I've eaten and blogged about on Vegan Crunk since I started the blog in 2007. Oh, and for fun, here I am eating my first Chipotle burrito back in 2011 when they opened their first Memphis store.

A close-up of that Chipotle Black Bean & Veggie Burrito with black beans, fajita veggies, rice, and guacamole. This was pre-tofu sofritas — my only choice now.

A Breakfast Burrito with tofu scramble, potatoes, vegan sausage, and Daiya. The recipe is here!

A Sweet Potato & Lentil Burrito from 2008! I don't even remember eating this. Looks good though.

This is the Black Bean & Veggie Burrito from the Hot Mess burrito truck in Memphis. It has squash, sweet potatoes, and peppers. They make their own tortillas, and their veg burritos are naturally vegan, no need to ask for no cheese. Love that! This is a horrible pic, but it's hard to photograph the inside of a burrito!

This is the best way to photograph the inside of a burrito — open-faced! This was the Big Ass Veggie Burrito from Skinny Bitch, which had black beans, brown rice, nacho Teese sauce, and a veggie mix of squash, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, and more. According to the 2009 post about this burrito, I ate it with Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos while watching L.A. Ink on TLC.

A couple shots of my Country Fried Steak Burrito from Wayward Vegan Cafe in Seattle. This giant burrito was stuffed with country fried seitan steak, hash browns, and peppers! OMG!

A big ole Brown Rice & TVP Burrito that I made at home in 2010. Looks like there was some avocado and tomato in there. And red cabbage? I also don't remember this one.

The Bandito Burrito from Vegan Bites — pintos, bell pepper, corn, jalapeno. Kale on the side like you do.

There are LOTS more burritos on old blog posts, but I need to go bed. And I bet you're tired of looking at burritos. So I'll leave you with this most awesome burrito ever — the Tofu Inari Sushi Burrito from the Germantown Whole Foods. Mmmmmm.