Only in San Francisco…

…can you end up spending the evening in a pub with two Irishmen and a homeless guy you just met. But more about that in just a moment. I’ll tell you how I ended up there in a bit.

In case you are one of the unaware, I was in San Francisco for the Blogher Food 2009 Conference. I was lucky enough to have Nasoya sponsor me for the trip. I totally appreciated it!  Because of Nasoya I was able to enjoy San Francisco and the Bay Area and have a great time meeting people and learning new photography tips.

Turkish Coffee Ice Cream

When I registered for the conference, I decided I wanted to drive up the coast of California and use the time to reflect and think. I stopped along the way in Santa Barbara for wonderful freshly made ice cream and in San Luis Obispo for a 1/2 sandwich and salad. I also drove by my childhood home and neighborhood in San Jose and my college campus in Santa Clara.sand

All said and done, it took me 12 hours to get to San Francisco.  Near the hotel there was a pub full of people so I went in and ordered a Guinness and some food.  I’ve recently discovered that you can’t be a woman alone at a bar without a man coming up to you no matter how uninterested you look. And I’ve tried to look uninterested, usually by being deeply engrossed in a book.

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After being seranaded  by a guy who wouldn’t leave me alone {that’s another story for another day}, an Irish guy came up to the bar and ordered 3 Guinness {Guinnesses? Guinni? What’s the plural?} and 3 whiskeys. He saw I was alone, said something about me being cute, and invited me to sit with his friend and a homeless guy he found on the street. It sounded fun, so I did. I’m all about new experiences…anyway it turned out to be a fun evening with a great conversation. It was definitely a cool start to a fantastic weekend.

I need to detox from all the good food and drink I consumed over the weekend.  Instead of just Vegan Tuesday, I’m eating vegan all week. Well, all week until Friday night when I’m back in Las Vegas. 😛 I used Nasoya Organic Extra-Firm Tofu to make Mark Bittman’s Braised Tofu and Peas in Curried Coconut Milk from his How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. It was an easy weeknight dinner and reheated well for my work lunch. I ate it over brown basmati rice. YUM!

You can find the recipe HERE.

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Curried Tofu Scramble


My life is a bit unsettled right now. To help me, I have several items in my toolbox to keep me grounded. One is baking, especially bread. To me, baking bread is earthy and magical at the same time. A little aromatherapy from freshly baked bread also helps.

Another is staying active and filling up my calendar with planned activities. This can backfire a bit as the other day I had a minor meltdown when I discovered I did not have any activities planned for the weekend of August 8th. A friend had to calm me down saying, “you know, you have two weeks…something will come up. You will find something to do”.  I’m happy to report with a week and half to go I now have something written down for that weekend.

A page from my calendar--August

A page from my calendar--August

I have trips planned to Las Vegas (twice in October), a trip to Laughlin (don’t ask), a trip to dive with Jean-Michel Cousteau in Fiji (although I may feel a bit Life Aquatic) in November, and drives to San Diego and up the California Coast to Napa Valley are always on the radar. In September, I’m attending Blogher Food in San Francisco. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and will use any excuse to get up there.  To be fair, I didn’t need to pile on the excuses for this trip.

I’m looking forward to meet lots of bloggers I tweet, blog, facebook with: Engineer Baker, Two Peas and Their Pod, Gourmeted, Food Librarian, etc. And now I am pleased to announce a sponsor for my trip to Blogher Food: Nasoya, Premium Tofu Products.

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Nasoya is the brand of tofu I tend to buy and use because it is organic and natural. I usually buy extra-firm or firm tofu because it is good for stir-fries, tofu ricotta, frittatas, and of course scrambled tofu. Scrambling tofu couldn’t be easier. It makes a quick dinner {yes dinner, I hardly ever eat breakfast food at breakfast time}. All you need to do is sauté some onion and garlic in olive oil, crumble in some tofu, add some spices & vegetables–voilà dinner is served.

The recipe I used comes from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking. You can find the recipe HERE. I served the tofu with some roasted vegetables, avocado, and vegan milk bread toast (made using almond milk & non-hydrogenated vegan  margarine).

And although this post isn’t about the bread, it is the perfect toast bread and has been making the rounds on Twitter and food blogs (originating with Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs and The Corner Loaf). You can find the original recipe HERE.

Please visit Michele at Veggie Num Nums to see what she cooked up for Vegan Tuesdays.

Korean Sesame-Crusted Tofu

My tofu cubes didn’t stay sesame-crusted!  They looked so nice when I first rolled them around in the sesame seeds, so pretty and professional looking. However, my tofu cubes preferred to be naked. The sesame seeds came off when I stir-fried them. No sense of modesty for these guys.

It didn’t matter, because this stir-fry was perfect for Vegan Tuesday. It was spicy, crunchy, and a complete meal. The recipe comes from the July/August issue of Vegetarian Times and is full of vegetables, garlic, and chile. Perfect over rice.

Korean Sesame-Crusted Tofu

From Vegetarian Times
  • 1 16-ounce package of extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 1 pound bok choy, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 15-ounce can baby corn, rinsed and drained
  • 8 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 bird’s eye chiles or other small chile peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. Press tofu between two cutting boards lined with paper towels with heavy pot or can on top of the top cutting board for 10 minutes. Cut tofu into bite-size cubes.
  2. Coat tofu with sesame seeds in small bowl. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add tofu and sauté for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to plate.
  3. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil  in wok over high heat. Add bok choy and bell pepper. Stir fry for 4 minutes. Stir in corn, green onions, garlic, and chiles; stir-fry 2 minutes more. Stir in soy sauce and then fold in tofu.

Serve over rice. Serves 4.

Please visit Michele over at Veggie Num Nums to see what she made for Vegan Tuesday.

Rice Salad Primavera & Banana-Blueberry Sorbet

Last summer I ate a lot of different variations of rice salad. I was cooking a lot from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. In the salad section he has a table full of different twists you can take with rice salads. I think I made almost everyone listed.

I made a big pot of brown basmati rice one weekend and every night as I packed my lunch for the next day I would dish out my rice and make a single portion rice salad.

Rice Salad Primavera comes from the July/August 2009 issue of Vegetarian Times. The addition of tofu to the salad makes it a complete meal. I love the colors: red tomatoes, orange bell pepper, yellow squash, and green onions.

The salad is dressed in a simple vinaigrette made of hearty spicy brown mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. It’s light, refreshing and perfect for a summer lunch or picnic or for Vegan Tuesday.

Rice Salad Primavera

Adapted from July/August 2009 Vegetarian Times
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1 8 0unce package of Italian garlic baked tofu, cubed
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 green onions, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, quartered, and sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 small yellow squash, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hearty spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  1. Bring rice and 2 cups water to boil in covered saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
  2. Stir tofu, tomatoes, green onions, bell pepper, cucumber, and squash into rice.
  3. Whisk together vinegar and mustard in small bowl. Whisk in oil until mixture forms smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir vinaigrette into rice. Chill well before serving.

Serves 8.

We’ve had a bounty of locally-grown blueberries, so for something sweet I made the Banana-Blueberry Sorbet from The Perfect Scoop. Even though there is no dairy, it’s creamy from the bananas. It’s light and refreshing without the heaviness of ice cream. Perfect on a summer night. I also think it would be great frozen into popsicles. You can find the recipe HERE.

(Of course, when I mentioned to the co-workers the great tasting blueberries they wondered when something baked  would show up. Can’t take this to work. 😛 )

An Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomato Frittata Sandwich

Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomato Frittata

I bought another cookbook: Vegan with a Vengeance. It’s by the same person who wrote Veganomicon. I bought it because of this–Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomato Frittata–recipe. I was at the bookstore, flipping through  cookbooks and I saw the recipe. It sounded delicious and I actually had all the ingredients.

vegan sandwich

I decided to make it into a sandwich because earlier in the week a made a loaf of Light Wheat Bread from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. In anticipation (I’m good), I veganized the bread recipe because I knew I would want a sandwich on Vegan Tuesday. Instead of powdered milk, I used powdered soy milk. I also made sure to use shortening and sugar, instead of butter and honey.  You can find the recipe for the bread at Smitten Kitchen, HERE.

Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomato Frittata

From Vegan with a Vengeance.
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 5 stalks asparagus, trimmed and cut into one inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Using your fingers, crumble and squeeze  tofu into a bowl until it resembles ricotta cheese. Stir in soy sauce and mustard. Add nutritional yeast and mix well.

In an 8-inch oven-proof skillet, sauté onions in olive oil until soft about 2 minutes. Add asparagus and tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and turmeric, sauté for one minute. Add lemon juice to deglaze pan and remove from heat. Add contents to tofu mixture and stir to blend.  Fold in basil leaves.

Transfer combined mixture to skillet and press firmly into pan. Place skillet in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Transfer to broiler to brown top,  about 2 minutes.Watch it closely! You don’t want it to burn.

Let frittata sit for 10 minutes prior to serving.

Serves 4.

Vegan Frittata Sandwich

Check out Veggie Num Num‘s Vegan Tuesday HERE.