Monday, June 30, 2008

Soup, Salad, Saunter

Chef: Jenny

The Menu: A simple, pureed cream of broccoli soup with a hearty assortment of greens, including chard, tossed with fennel, grape-seed oil, raisins, and wine vinegar.

The Goods: We kept today's lunch short and sweet—er, savory—for two reasons: One, several of our key players are out of the office today, and we have lots to do and didn't want to futz around in the kitchen. Two, Lisa has welcomed a new Rocketdog Rescue foster pup into her home (and we here at the office a new team member), and so we wanted to be able to eat and run to take Charlie (formerly known as "Chunky!") for a brisk tour around his new hood.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Back to Work Burritos

The Chef: El Burrito Express

The Menu: Perfectly warm, bean-y, and avocado-y, with a touch of hot pepper and cilantro salsa, we enjoyed these burritos with a generous side of crisp yet perfectly greasy tortilla chips.

The Goods: You may have heard about a little event called "The Music Issue Launch Party," hosted by a little publication known as VegNews Magazine. Today we, a little wonky from the big night, were joined by our lovely ad sales rep Laurie Bradley, and dined on Mexican comfort-food from our favorite local standby, El Burrito Express. We're not ones to brag—and we don't want to give too much away before we drop our party PressPass entry—but the night went off without a hitch and was flat out fantastic. From amazing, tireless volunteers to delicious hors d’oeuvres and organic martinis, to the sultry sounds of a Ms. Lavay Smith—not to mention the hordes of glamorous vegans—we could not be happier with our first ever issue-launch. Thanks again to our wonderful volunteers, friends, and readers who came out to celebrate this issue and to support Humane California!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rockin' Ribs

The Chefs: Lisa and Frankie

The Menu: Homemade faux ribs drenched in scrumptious barbecue sauce. Oh yes, we are totally spoiled. Ms. Frankie, as we may have mentioned before, is a culinary genius, and she decided that we really needed some incredible ribs to power us through the day. Lisa complemented the faux-meaty main with lightly steamed broccoli in a light soy marinade and a simple spinach salad with red bell pepper and lots of avocado.

The Goods: You may remember a question in this month's VegNewsletter about your feelings on faux meat. As you can likely tell from the description, we're big fans. If you're looking to know more about from whence the idea of meatless meat came, be sure to check out our September+October Food Issue, which will feature a faux meat exposé. Things are getting more exciting by the minute around these parts, what with our amazing Music Issue Launch party drawing nigh. (It's tomorrow, and we can't stinking wait!) We've got lots to do between now and then, and, unfortunately, that also means that we won't be bringing you the regularly scheduled entry for tomorrow. We'll make it up on Press Pass with all the post-party details, we promise!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Simple Scramble

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Oh tofu scramble, you never let us down. An amalgam of lacinato kale, red bell peppers, lots of pinto beans, tofu, curry seasoning, and love, today's one-pot main dish was as satisfying as it was mindless to throw together. To add just a touch of interest, Elizabeth also produced some tortilla-toast points and a delicious corndiment (aka, corn roasted with salt and pepper and then blended). In Elizabeth's perfect world, every meal would be topped with avocado.

The Goods: Sometimes you need to make lunch for your lovely (and hungry) co-workers. Sometimes you have no idea what to make and autopilot totally takes over and, sometimes, that's exactly what you need. Recipes that you can make with your eyes closed are godsends for when all your creativity is invested other projects—say, planning a party or editing a magazine. What are your favorite auto-bot concoctions?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Freakin' Good Fried Rice

The Chef: Jenny

The Menu: Fantastic fried rice. Smoky, salty, and full of delicious veggies is just the way we like our fried rice around here, and that's just what Jenny delivered for us today. Grated carrots, julienned red bell peppers, and whole edamame mixed with seasoned tofu in our hearty main dish, making a perfectly composed one-pot feast. To complete the meal Jenny busted out a lightning fast lentil and shiitake soup. Maybe she had a little help from a dry mix on that one, and maybe we're totally fine with that since it was a deliciously warm meal in the midst of an insane, and very chilly, day.

The Goods: Can you tell that the weekend's high temperatures have all but vanished? Today San Francisco is back in its typical summer garb—a thick layer of fog. Despite the cool weather, we are working feverishly to get ready for our Issue Launch Party, oh, and to put together a little something we like to call VegNews Magazine.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Chapati Party

The Chef: Colleen & Frankie

The Menu:
Folks, feast your eyes upon our "all-you-can-squeeze- spread-and-stuff-into-a-chapati" event. Beginning with pan-fried black beans and rice, we piled Frankie's smokey homemade un-turkey, vegan mayonnaise, avocado, and a crisp cherry tomato and romaine salad onto the warmed flatbreads for a complementary explosion of distinct flavors—and a sticky, two-handed, delicious mess.

The Goods:
Not only is today the sunniest Friday we've had in weeks, we're less than a week away from our issue launch party! We're so excited that we're plowing through our respective piles of work so we can join the masses on the beach—and attend to last-minute party details. When it comes time to wrap up the work-week, we want to know what ya'll look forward to the most about the weekend?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Primo Pasta

The Chefs: Jenny and Colleen

The Menu: A lovely rotini with herbed butternut squash, carrots, and fennel, made by Ms. Jenny was our delicious main course today. Colleen came up with one of the most colorful salads we've seen in a while, with mixed greens, bell peppers, kalamata olives, chopped cherry tomatoes, avocado, sliced mushrooms, and red onion crescents. Did we mention the home-made vinaigrette? Yeah, that was also awesome. Oven-warmed flatbread filled up the rest of our plates—and bellies.

The Goods: You may have already noticed something a little bit different about today's photo. We were lucky enough to have Patti Breitman—VN contributor and literary agent extraordinaire—join us for lunch today. She showed up with the vibrant flowers you see above. You know how much we usually enjoy having guests, right? Well, let's just say that we love it even more when they come bearing bouquets. Consider us officially wooed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sensational Sandwiches

The C hef: Lisa and Frankie

The Menu: Slammin' sandwiches, super sandwiches, and superb sandwiches would also be appropriate titles for today. Let's just say, these babies were good. Frankie made a very delicious faux turkey and fresh bread which she generously brought in for us. If that doesn't scream for sandwiches, we don't know what does. Lisa took the idea and ran with it, breading and pan-frying the not-turkey, slicing avocado and tomato, and putting it all together with fresh lettuce leaves and Vegenaise. Um, yum. Also, you may have noticed that there are a couple of salads. Go ahead and put any of those "s" adjectives in front of the word salad, because both of these were scrumptious. On the top we have an Israeli couscous with home-grown lemon and mint (also courtesy of Frankie) and lower on the plate you see a lovely pilaf with chopped tomato and scallions.

The Goods: Oh, goodness. Okay, first of all, there's all the goodness you see on the plate above, which was really fantastically good. Second, our issue launch party is sold out!! We are thrilled and absolutely can't wait to see you all there. If you don't already have tickets, don't despair: there are still a few volunteering opportunities available. One of them can be yours with a simple email.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Splendid Soba Salad

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A simple, light, soba noodle salad with fresh lacinato kale, red and orange bell peppers, tofu, green onions (or scallions if you are feeling fancy), big chunks of avocado, and a soy-sauce vinaigrette. Yep, that's it. This lunch took all of about 15 minutes to put together, mostly because of having to actually chop the veggies and boil the noodles.

The Goods: Oh, soba. You're good hot, you're good cold, you're good in a salad, and you're good in a bowl. And that's why we went into magazine writing instead of becoming poets. Speaking of recognizing our strengths and our—shall we say—non-strengths, one of our ever-evolving goals around the VNHQ is to bring you the best danged Café VegNews that we can. To that end, we've been working on making our lunch plate photos as lovely as possible, without spending more than five minutes setting up a quick snapshot. So, how's it look? Suggestions? Raves? Rants? Let us know in the comments; we want to hear from you!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Indian Intensity

The Chef: Jenny

The Menu: A full-flavor Indian-inspired feast! Ms. Jenny has missed cooking her own recipes, what with all the cleansing and testing that's been going on around here. Today she was back in full force with an amazing assortment of Indian dishes. Starting up at the top of the page, you can see a highly delicious sweet tomato chutney spiced with green chile and cinnamon, a slightly sweet Bengali shak with spinach, kale, raisins, and coconut pulp, a robust chana dhal, and, finally, a lovely toasted mustard seed and saffron-infused rice. We said full force, right? Today's lunch was Jenny's awesome cooking at its finest.

The Goods: We are all abuzz over here about our party! Tickets are very nearly sold out, and we have just a few volunteer positions still open. If you're looking to attend this amazing event, and have some skills like passing hors d'ouevres or bartending, send us an email and you'll not only get in for free but receive some seriously great VN swag for your time. Oh, and did we mention that you'll get to be at our party? Yeah, that's where everybody else will be, so don't get left out!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Soup + Salad

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A simple meal of carbonada soup (a regular fixture this week with a twist—today we loaded it up with organic Swiss chard) and a huge salad with greens, orange and yellow bell pepper, avocado, olives, and red onion tossed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper. Okay, there was also dessert, a recipe which will be featured in our September+October food issue. Imagine a sweet potato spice cake smothered in vanilla buttercreme icing and topped with toasted coconut and pecans. Soooooo good.

The Goods: With a full week of California sunshine, the cool temps kicked in today, making us crave a warm, comforting lunch. Although our recipe testing is complete, we still had a large bowl of carbonada in the fridge, so we doctored it up and gave it new life for today's meal. Most of our team is out of the office today either on deadline working from home or on some fabulous weekend adventure, so we enjoyed an intimate gathering with our Friday crew.

And guess what, folks? Our Press Pass giveaway, featuring an overstuffed goodie bag from the Farm Sanctuary NYC gala, ends Sunday. That means you have just two days to let us know why you want this bag (is there anyone who wouldn't want it?!?). The winner will be announced on Monday, only on Press Pass.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dumplings, Darling

The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: Delicious dumplings, a tempeh taste test, and some more of that Argentinean carbonada from Tuesday's lunch. With inspirations from Indonesia, South America, and Asian/Italian-fusion land, the dishes today certainly brought an international flavor to our lunch table. Since these are all testing recipes, we're going to stay on the quiet side, but let's just say that no one left the table hungry.

The Goods: Would the world potentially be a better place if we all got to eat dumplings in the sunshine every day? We think so. Also, you may notice the strips of tempeh on the plate. Those would be new potential flavors from Turtle Island Foods. We can't tell you anything about what the flavors are, but suffice to say that our jobs here at VN get just a little bit more fantastic when we get to try yummy foods before they hit the market. In other we-love-what-we-do news, our brand-spankin' new Music issue landed in our hot little hands today, and we just couldn't be more excited about it. Want to get in on the thrill? Make sure and get your tickets to our Music Issue Launch Party before they sell out!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tasty Trifecta

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Frankie

The Menu: Today we enjoyed some late-breaking additions to the ranks of the Reader Recipe Showdown. You know what that means: we won't be going into too much detail here. Rest assured, when the September+October issue comes along, all your patience will pay off! Since we're pretty sure that the photo gives at least something away about what we ate, we'll go ahead and tell you that we love meatless burgers, and fresh salsas are always wonderful.

The Goods: Today's summery fare was perfectly paired with the warm weather! We are all definitely getting our recommended daily amounts of vitamin D, and suggest that everyone take to the streets to get their own, too. If there's anything better than sitting in the sun eating avocado, we don't even want to know about it. How is everyone doing with the higher temps? Staying cool, eating yummy salads? Let us know!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

International Testing!

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A sumptuous smorgasbord of savory dishes from our upcoming September+October Food Issue! What you see above is an interesting Argentinian carbonada with seitan, sweet potatoes, and pears, some crispy baked eggplant planks, a garlicky Greek skordalia, and, finally, half-hidden by the bowl of carbonada, we had an all-American meatloaf—without the meat, naturally.

The Goods: We love bringing our readers the best of the best when it comes to food (okay, and everything else, you're right) so testing is an important factor for us. We totally don't do it just because it means we get to eat yummy food at lunchtime. That definitely has nothing to do with it. Journalistic integrity and all that. Of course.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tempting Tacos

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Ahh, tacos. Is there anything better for warm, summery lunchtimes than simple tacos? We think not. Colleen made up a batch of delicious black bean tacos with fresh guacamole, diced bell peppers, sprouts, olives, chopped tomatoes, and a light mixed-greens side salad.

The Goods: Aside from the edible goodness you can see on the plate above, we have some business-type goodness to get to as well. That's right, you commented, we chose, and after reading all your wonderful post-cleanse first-meal ideas, we've chosen Prinsing's indulgent answer:

"Ok, since it is after a cleanse ... first course triple espresso, second course a big glass of cabernet (vegan of course), third course dark chocolate ... hey, it has been a hard week, ok? Then, let's see, food, tomatillo salsa over sauteed stoplight peppers, red onions, black rice, anasazi beans and blue sesame chips crumbled over the top. Then Soy Delicious "ice cream" sandwiches....Rinse and repeat!!"

Yeah. That's the kind of breakfast we're talking about. Prinsing, send us an email with your full name and address, and we'll send out your lovely Steepware teapot! Congrats! For anyone else looking to get in on the giveaway goodtimes, don't forget to leave your comments on Press Pass!

Friday, June 6, 2008

California Wraps

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A warm, sunny San Francisco day calls for true California fare, so we celebrated with a warm whole-wheat tortilla smothered with housemade guacamole and topped with organic vegetables, pinto beans, and cured olives. Surprisingly satisfying, we all returned to our desks feeling healthy and nourished. Now if we could just control that sweet tooth ...

The Goods: As you know, we've been busy testing recipes all week for our first-ever Reader Recipe Showdown. Although the testing is complete, the fridge was teeming with leftover produce, providing the perfect provisions for a summer meal. Knowing San Francisco, however, we'll be back to our soups, curries, and stir-frys next week as the real summer weather kicks in! Here in SF, that means the mercury drops and the fog rolls in.

And because we love our readers, we currently have TWO very-fabulous giveaways going on. The first is right here on Café VegNews and ends today. Simply tell us what your ideal post-fast meal would be (if you've ever done a cleanse, you know you do nothing but obsess about food). On Press Pass, we're giving away a very-heavy, very-filled Farm Sanctuary Gala goodie bag, complete with a Matt & Nat silver tote, a white-chocolate-covered pretzel from VeganTreats, energy bars, vegan cookies, doggie treats, Beverly Lynn Bennett's latest cookbook, a soy candle, body creme, and much more. Just let us know why you want it, and you may win it! Have a great weekend, everyone, and we'll see you on Monday—same time, same place.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Reader Recipe Testing! Day Four

The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: A whole bunch of delicious stuff, but, you know, we're sworn to secrecy. Here's what we can tell you: Aurelia makes a mean dish of perfectly fluffy rice. Yes, yes she does. Oh, and that sprig of garnish? That would be fresh thyme from our modest herb garden.

The Goods: Since we can't say anything more about the food today, let's move on to another subject: our guests! Today we were graced with the presence of two lovely ladies, Ms. Jenna Humphrey—former VN Associate Editor extraordinaire—and AnnaLise Hoopes, who's a somewhat recent transplant to the Bay Area from Boston (see both of their smiling faces below). With one old friend and one new one, today's lunch was extra enjoyable, we only wish there wasn't this pesky business of work to get back to! Okay, technically, that's not true. Let's face it, working to produce a magazine is a pretty good time. Oh yeah, and there's a little something we'd like to share: our first-ever Issue Launch Party is coming up! This is going to be a seriously swanky affair, as we'll have delicious passed hors d'oeuvres from SF's premier eateries, fabulous desserts, live music by Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, and an irresistible silent auction. Yes, we are pretty darn sure that it's going to rock. And yes, we think it would be a good idea to get your tickets now, before they're gone!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Reader Recipe Testing! Day Three

The Chefs: Lisa and Frankie

The Menu: The upper half of the plate is off-limits for description, but guess what? The bottom half is filled with non-reader recipes, so we'll tell you all about them! First, in addtion to the testing recipes, Lisa made a fresh salad with spinach, various lettuces, and pinenuts with a light, citrus-based dressing. Frankie, who's ever the adventuresome chef, decided to try out a pickled lotus root recipe from The Millennium Cookbook, which added not only a lovely visual element but also added a delicious flavor to the meal.

The Goods: We've certainly gone from fasting to feasting over here! With so many great recipes to try it's even more tempting than normal to just eat to our little hearts' content. Let's just say that some of us are going to be doing a tad more excercise than we usually do. In addition to being healthy, active vegans, is there any kind of excercise that always makes you feel revitalized after a bit of overindulgence? (Or, in our cases, a week of overindulgence?)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Reader Recipe Testing! Day Two

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: The Magical Mystery Tour (around the plate) continues! We're still not spilling the beans about the contenders in our Reader Recipe Showdown, but today we have a little something extra: salad! This very complex, highly sophistocated recipe was created by our very own Elizabeth, who used two—count 'em, two!—kinds of home-grown lettuce with kalamata olives and avocado to make today's refreshing side dish. We're staying mum on the other two items, which actually were pretty in-depth, but you might be able to identify the phyllo dough on one of them.

The Goods: Since we're not telling you too much about what we're eating this week, how's about a turn of the tables? Tell us what you're eating! Do you have a favorite use for phyllo dough? Would you have put kalamata olives in the salad or stuck with regular black ones? And, of course don't forget to tell us about your first-meal-after-a-cleanse fantasy menu!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Reader Recipe Testing! Day One

The Chefs: Jenny and Colleen

The Menu: Mysteries! Yep, that's right, we're not going to tell you exactly what the dishes pictured above are. We could, but then we'd have to kill you. Oh, wait, no. What we mean to say is that we could, but we don't want to give too much away about the contenders in our first-ever Reader Recipe Showdown. Just so you're not completely in the lurch about what's on the plate, today we tried one of the many casserole-recipe entries, a green-apple salad, and a raw noodle dish. If you're looking for more information, you'll have to bust out your magnifying glass and take a good, long look at the photo, 'cause we're not telling!

The Goods: All this week we'll be putting the finalist recipes through the rigors of testing. To see the winners, just make sure and check out our September+October Food Issue! And don't forget: there's still time to enter our monthly giveaway and score yourself an awesome teapot!