Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mega Miso

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Miso soup, with a few delicious additions. First, Elizabeth sautéed up some fresh kale with onions and garlic, then added steamed acorn squash and cubed tofu to the mix. A little soy sauce, a little sesame oil, oh, and maybe a little miso, and we had ourselves a soup. Continuing with the simple theme, a salad of spinach, tomatoes, and avocado served as a side. Maybe there was one more thing on the table, even though it didn't make it onto the plate here, and maybe that thing was a round of Dr. Cow Cheese. Our delightful Distribution Manager, Mrs. Katie Paul, is in the office with us this week, and claimed to never have tried Dr. Cow before. Whether or not that was the case, give us pretty much any excuse to bust out a tangy round, and we will. And we'll be stoked about it.

The Goods: Even though the sun was bright and warm outside it seems that a couple of our staffers have started to get the first of the fall colds, which meant that soup was the only option for lunch. Really, as much as we all love summer, it's always a long wait before soup season starts, and it's nice to be able to break the rules and make up a steaming pot a little bit early.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Homey Potatoes

The Chef: Jenny

The Menu: An almost-Thanksgiving spread of fluffy, hearty mashed potatoes with country gravy, roasted acorn squash, and fresh, steamed broccoli with spices. Yes, Ms. Jenny actually made country gravy from scratch just for this meal. Yes, it was savory and delicious and we love her.

The Goods: Today's comfort food couldn't have come at a better time, since today is our editorial deadline, we're gearing up for the unbe-freakin'-lieveable relaunch of vegnews.com, oh, and maybe this weekend we have a little party to throw and a World Veg Festival Weekend to celebrate. Of course, it would be difficult to say that there is ever a bad time for Thanksgiving-inspired lunches, but today's homey meal was especially appreciated.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vegan à Go-Go! Week: Day Four

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Aloo-Yoop Curry Potato Wraps! Between yesterday's burritos and today's awesome main dish, we are getting spoiled rotten with yummy wraps! Colleen busted out these inventive, flavorful goodies—straight from the pages of Vegan à Go-Go!, of course—using freshly warmed tortillas, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, garbanzo beans, peas, coconut milk, and curry spices. Savory and just a teeny bit sweet, we each could have eaten about six of these were it not for the fact that they were also totally filling. Colleen also made a blended balsamic vinaigrette which she poured over romaine, spinach, tomatoes, and grated zucchini for a perfect side salad.

The Goods: And so Vegan à Go-Go! week comes to a close. We've been having a great time making recipes from this little book, and if you're curious to know the whole scoop be sure to look for a full review in the pages of the January+February issue of VegNews! Speaking of things that are coming to an end, today is the last day to get your comments in on our Press Pass giveaway, so don't delay!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jennifer Pickens Appreciation Day!

The Chef: El Burrito Express

The Menu: Burritos! If there's anything better than a whole-wheat tortilla, it's a whole-wheat tortilla stuffed with savory black beans, Mexican-style rice, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa. With sides of crisp tortilla chips and red and green salsas, burritos are a no-fail lunch option.

The Goods: We hope that you'll forgive the break in our Vegan à Go-Go! coverage, but today we had a special event to celebrate. Ms. Jen Pickens, our editor-at-large extraordinaire, has been working with VN for four years, and we just wanted to let her know how wonderful she is. Hence, today is Jen Pickens Appreciation Day; hence the special burrito menu. Here's Jen with the rest of the VN ladies, and as you can see we couldn't help but get a little sassy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vegan à Go-Go! Week: Day Three

The Chefs: Lyndsay, Aurelia, and Frankie

The Menu: Big Ben's Lentil Burgers, courtesy of course, of Vegan à Go-Go! These big, hearty burgers were both yummy and filling, two of our favorite food words. Served on fluffy buns with trusty ketchup and mustard, these burgers made us feel like we'd ordered out from some high-end burger joint. Oh, and are those skewers? Yes, indeed they are. Frankie insisted on spoiling us by bringing in seitan and skewers, and Aurelia whipped up a lickity-split peanut butter sauce for them. Thanks to the bright salad of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced zucchini our plates weren't totally monochromatic.

The Goods: Okay, first of all, there's a new name next to the word "chefs." That's right, today officially marks Ms. Lyndsay's first-ever cooking day here in the VNHQ, and we're thrilled to have her. Though she was too modest to put it out with the rest of the lunch grub, she also busted out the Chocolate Banana No-Bake Pie from V.A.G.G., which was utterly delicious. Secondly, in case you hadn't already noticed there's a little giveaway going on right this second on Press Pass. Just on the off chance that you like winning rad stuff, we thought we'd better point it out. Happy commenting!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vegan à Go-Go! Week: Day Two

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Faux-chicken salad sandwiches, straight from the pages of Vegan à Go-Go! This yummy blend of steamed tempeh, vegan mayo, pickles, mustard, and fresh parsley fit perfectly between slices of thick, hearty olive pugliese. With a little fresh romaine in the sandwiches and a light mixed-greens salad with tomatoes, we enjoyed today's lighter lunch.

The Goods: It turned out to be very appropriate that lunch today could easily have made a pretty picnic, seeing as it was literally 78 degrees outside. Yes, 78 as in almost 80. Yes, in San Francisco. Yes, we were happy. For your next outdoor meal, nice fresh sandwiches are always a good way to go, and these faux-chicken salad standouts definitely passed the test.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Vegan à Go-Go! Week: Day One

The Chef: Jenny

The Menu: Punk-kin Pasta, which is a delicious amalgam of pasta, pumpkin purée, and vegan sausage. Um, yum. Savory, hearty, and rich, this main course filled us up, which is just the way we like to start off the week. Jenny paired the dense dish with a nice, light salad, which kept some of us from totally exploding.

The Goods: This week, we're all about Vegan à Go-Go! We'll be making recipes from Sarah Kramer's latest work all this week, which is good news for those of you who want recipes for the meals you see on this blog—they'll all be neatly contained in the book! Since we're pretty sure everybody already knows about our party, we'll just go ahead and mention that there is literally one ticket left. Literally. One. Feel free to freak out with excitement (as we all are) since this is sure to be a blast of a book launch.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Indian-Inspired Stir-Fry

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Amazing. Yes, we realize that "amazing" is not a menu item, but there isn't really another word that wholly encompasses this meal. To be a little bit more specific, Colleen busted out an incredible blend of tomatoes, garbanzo beans, broccoli, eggplant, and yellow squash—all infused with savory Indian spices and served over cumin-seed and mustard-seed infused basmati rice. Oh, and maybe there was a light, lovely salad with fresh bell pepper and cherry tomatoes. Yes, we are spoiled. Yes, we like it.

The Goods: In addition to the utterly delicious food, we got to enjoy the company of one Paul Saccone, whom it's always a pleasure to see. We figure as long as we're being totally spoiled, we might as well spread the wealth around. When friends are in town, it's pretty much our obligation to feed them—which works out well since they get to eat, and we get to hang out with awesome people.

Speaking of awesome people, congratulations to Veganmomma who is the official winner of our surprise mid-month giveaway! We asked what you would do with molasses, amaranth, pinenuts, and hemp nut butter and she said, "
Hmm, pop the amaranth so it gets nice and roasty, and then make hemp seed butter bars with pine nuts and molasses and a few other fine ingredients you can scrounge up." Congrats! A VN gift pack is her reward for coming up with a delicious-sounding plan for these incidental ingredients. Veganmomma, send us an email and we'll send out your prize!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Breakout Brunch

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: Brunch! Yay! Today's excellent meal consisted of the biggest, fluffiest pancakes we've ever seen, a fresh fruit salad of nectarines, apples, strawberries, and plums, scrumptious carob-chip scones, oh, and up at the top there is a little something we like to call tofu scramble with zucchini and red bell peppers. Yes, she really made all these dishes. Yes, they really were all outstanding.

The Goods: Today officially marked Ms. Abby's entrance to the VNHQ kitchen, and her debut effort blew us away. Seriously, this was one auspicious beginning. Maybe you already know that we have a little thing for brunch, as we may have mentioned it one or two times in the past. Basically, if we could eat pancakes and sit in the sun all day while somehow miraculously promoting veganism and saving animals, we would be a very happy bunch. Speaking of the pancakes—did we mention the fluffiness?!—Abby took a little help with those from Cherrybrook Kitchen's classic pancake mix. Oh, so not only can she cook up a storm, but she's totally savvy on time-saving moves in the kitchen. That's our kind of editorial assistant!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Celebratory Drumsticks

The Chefs: Aurelia and Frankie

The Menu: Faux-chicken drumsticks slathered with barbecue sauce and baked to perfection were the main-course stars of today's stellar lunch. Potatoes sautéed with smoked paprika and kale and a bright salad of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado and strawberries—side note: is there anything better than strawberries in a salad? Yeah, we don't think so either—with a chopped basil vinaigrette made lovely complements to the faux-meaty main. Oh, and is that a little glass of bubbly? Well, yes and no. Yes, there are bubbles in that glass, but since we eat lunch at noon-thirty it was a tad on the early side for alcohol. Thank goodness for sparkling cider!

The Goods: Maybe you want to know why we're celebrating. Maybe it's because we got the absolutely fantastic news today that VegNews is a finalist for two (count 'em!) Eddie Awards! Maybe this is a huge freakin' deal and we are totally beside ourselves with glee. While we don't know which honor we've received yet (the Eddies have gold, silver, and bronze designations), we do know the categories which are Best Enthusiasts/Hobbyists Magazine, and Best Online Column or Blog. Yes, that means that you are right now, this very second, reading an award-winning blog. Eeeek! Preemptively feeling the celebratory spirit, Ms. Frankie brought in a delicious dessert—her signature fruit pizza! Oatmeal cookie crust meets pudding sauce meets fruit toppings. Yes, we're dead from excitement. And sugar. And glee. And eeep.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Molé-smothered burritos filled with homemade seitan, home-style potatoes, and sautéed zucchini and red bell pepper. Wrapped in warm flour tortillas and doused with mashed avocado, these babies filled us right up. A vibrant salad of romaine, cherry tomatoes, and sliced yellow squash made for a fresh side to our saucy main.

The Goods: Yes, Elizabeth slaved over a hot stove all day to make this meal. No, in no way did she just cobble together leftovers from Philip Gelb's visit, which would totally be cheating. The origins of today's lunch aside, everything tastes better when it's wrapped in a tortilla, and it's always great to have fabulous fillings on-hand. Err, we mean it's always great to make fillings from scratch, even if it takes hours and not the roughly 30 minutes that this meal required in reality. Hey! Look over there! It's a giveaway!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Comfort Curry

The Chef: Jenny

The Menu: A de-freaking-licious curry. Ms. Jenny busted out a slightly spicy green curry with coconut milk, broccoli, tofu, and zucchini that was simmered to perfection. Not one to skimp on sides, she infused the rice with cloves, saffron, and basil, and served a light spinach-avocado salad.

The Goods: If there's anything better than a yummy, warm curry on a cold, foggy Monday, we're not even interested. This was a perfect kick-off meal for the week, both filling and fabulous. Since the great eats put us in such good moods, we've got a mind to do something fun. So—get ready—even though it isn't the end of the month, we're doing a giveaway! Here's the deal: our kitchens tend to accumulate some straggler ingredients, and we're always looking for ways to make use of them. Tell us how you would use the following ingredients in one creative meal, and whoever submits the most interesting, delicious-sounding idea by this Friday (the 19th) will be the winner! We can't wait to hear your ideas! Okay, go!
From top, clockwise: molasses, amaranth, hemp nut butter, and pinenuts.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Asian Combination

The Chef: Jenny

The Menu: A pan-Asian treat of stir-fry and soup! First we enjoyed a very green stir-fry which featured green beans, collard greens, tofu, and noodles. Delicious? Yes. An excellent method of incorporating everything from the fridge? Indeed. Alongside the main course Jenny served up a Thai-inspired coconut-avocado soup. Yes, it would have been appropriate if we had all died of gustatory pleasure after eating this decadent, slightly spicy soup. Yum!

The Goods: We were slightly suspicious that Jenny—who's an avowed sci-fi fan—might have been secretly replaced by a Jenny-bot today. The cause for our concern? The soup was raw! That's right, Jenny (or her android alter-ego) whipped up the incredibly luscious soup without so much as lighting a burner. Since her fiery Cuban disposition lends itself more to cooked foods than raw foods, this was a first for Jenny—and definitely a trend we'd like to encourage, even if the amazing food is robot-produced.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Indian Delight!

The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: An Indian-inspired feast including perfectly cooked rice, curried lentils and garbanzos, lightly spiced shiitake mushrooms, freshly toasted pappadam, and sautéed swiss chard with red bell pepper. If there's anything better than a delectable Indian meal on a gray, foggy day, we don't even want to know about it. With dabs of mango marmalade and tamarind sauce, we were very nearly able to imagine ourselves on an Indian vacation.

The Goods: Back in reality, we're gearing up big time for a swanky little soirée called the Vegan à Go-Go Book Bash! On the off chance you've not heard of this little do, we're throwing a big ol' party celebrating the launch of Sarah Kramer's new travel/cooking/how-to-be-awesome book. In case you haven't, now would be the prudent time to get tickets. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hot Dog!

The Chef: Rizza Punzalan of Underdog

The Menu: Hot dogs! Today we took a very special field trip to the Inner Sunset neighborhood to check out Underdog, an all-organic hot dog joint that serves up a selection of vegan dogs. And tater tots. We're talking like, baskets of delicious, hot tater tots, which, in case it wasn't abundantly clear, made us all very happy. There are four vegan dogs on the menu—a classic dog, Bratwurst, Polish, and Italian—and the homemade potato salad is to die for. With homemade sauerkraut, chopped onions, fresh relish, perfectly toasted buns, and a selection of ketchup and mustards, these dogs totally hit the spot.

The Goods: Why the extra-special lunchtime outing, you ask? Today we honored the birth of our very own publisher, Mr. Joseph Connelly. We won't be saying how many candles there were on his cake at the office, but suffice it to say that he started the day off with an 18-mile run. Seeing as most of the rest of us started the day off by, uh, rolling out of bed shortly before leaving the house for work, we were all rather impressed. Happy Birthday to Joe, and happy vegan hot dogs to all! In case you're wondering what happy vegan hot dogs look like, here's a photo of the whole VN team, hot dogs in hand:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Top Chef, SF Edition

The Chef: Philip Gelb

The Menu: When a popular vegan chef/caterer offers to treat your staff to a lovingly prepared gourmet lunch feast, there's only one response in the world that's appropriate: Yes, please! Philip Gelb—a creative multitasker who juggles music and food—shuttled over from Oakland to our Outer Sunset offices and brought with him an amazingly delectable spread. We began with homemade seitan in a velvety molé sauce served with quinoa pilaf loaded with fresh herbs and veggies, then moved on to a colorful, perfectly sweet corn salad before tucking into bright green rappini paired with black olives. You might find this hard to believe, but each of us licked our plates clean. REALLY clean. For dessert, Phil dazzled our taste buds with heavenly scoops of homemade blueberry-cashew ice "cream." One of us—and I'm not saying it was our publisher, but it might've been—had four servings. It was that good.

The Goods: In addition to having established himself as a top-tier caterer in the San Francisco Bay Area, Philip is also known for hosting a popular series of dinner-concert events at different locations throughout the East Bay. Invite is by word-of-mouth only, and guests are always treated to a sensory feast, from the food to the live music to the great company. Look for a piece on him in an upcoming edition of Oakland Magazine, and of course, VegNews!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cool Beans (and Tortillas and Veggies)

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Our favorite office manager, whose Monday meals are always eagerly anticipated, was feeling a little under the weather today, so Colleen graciously offered to take over kitchen duties. She made us all feel a little healthier with her hearty offering that began with a perfectly steamed flour tortilla topped with a layer of fresh guacamole, a spoonful of hearty black beans, and a generous helping of grilled broccoli, squash, bell peppers, and zucchini. On the side? A vibrant greens-and-tomotoes salad decorated with a few slivers of Dr. Cow cheese. Yum!

The Goods: Some of us are feeling out of sorts today, and the rest of us are recuperating from a jet-setting weekend punctuated by indulgent meals at various LA veg restaurants, bottomless Cosmopolitans, and lack of sleep, so a simple, healthy meal was just what the doctor ordered.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Perfect Pizza

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A perfect summer pizza with big chunks of diced tomato, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, and caramelized onions. With a handy, ready-made whole-wheat crust, Colleen was able to bust this pizza out in no time flat. For accompaniment, she made a vibrant salad of baby greens, kale, bell pepper, avocado, and homemade croutons.

The Goods: This is the perfect Friday meal: relaxed, delicious, and served in the bright sunshine. Tomorrow some of us are headed to Los Angeles for more vitamin D, and to attend the very glam Animal Acres Gala. It's hard to say which element of the trip excites us most, considering we are getting to hang out with fancy celeb types, we'll be eating a dinner catered by Madeleine Bistro, we get to hobnob with rescued animals, and there just might be a trip to Veggie Grill squeezed in to the weekend too. Be sure to get the full report on Press Pass!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rad Wraps

The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: Big, warm, yummy tortillas filled to the brim with seasoned potatoes, roasted zucchini and bell peppers, romaine, avocado, tomato, and a delicious mixture of tofu, onions, and smoked paprika. With a light splash of homemade vinaigrette, these hand-holds were flavorful and filling.

The Goods: As of today, we have officially less than a month left before a certain event. In case you somehow haven't already heard, Sarah Kramer is making her triumphant return to the world of cookbook publishing, and we're throwing her a little party. Tickets are available now, so be sure to reserve yours before they sell out. Mini root-beer floats, retro snacks, and faux tattoos will be the order of the evening, so break out your kitten heels and skinny ties, and we'll have ourselves a bash!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Excellent Eggplant

The Chef: Jenny

The Menu: Absolutely delicious cornflake-crusted eggplant served alongside a rice rotini. For pasta sauce, Jenny used one of Amy's Tomato Basil Organic Pasta Sauce, which she doctored up with her own spice blend. As if the first two dishes weren't yummy enough, Jenny also busted out a simple side salad and some perfectly toasted bread with herbs.

The Goods: We were treated to another day of brilliant sunshine during today's all-too-short lunch hour. Once someone figures out how to make computer screens readable outdoors, we might move from our current beach-front offices directly to the beach. You know, it's important to get enough vitamin D. Yeah, that's it, sitting happily in the sun is important for our health. That's our story and we're sticking to it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Welcome Rice and Beans

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A mix of rice, black beans, and corn that was meant to resemble a gallo pinto, but didn't quite get there. (Mainly since the typical Costa Rican dish usually has bell pepper instead of corn. We like to take liberties around these parts, as you likely already know!) We enjoyed some marinated, baked faux chicken from the local Asian grocery store, and a full salad of baby greens, lacinato kale, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and a light vinaigrette completed the plate.

The Goods: Today is a momentous occasion here at the VNHQ: we have two new editorial assistants! We're thrilled to finally meet Lyndsay and Abby, who begin their fall internships today. Thankfully, the sun is cooperating and gave us a lovely warm lunch.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Solo Salad on a Sunny Monday

The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: Choosing to come into work on a national holiday has its advantages and disadvantages. For starters, there's nothing quite like a zen office environment for boosting productivity. (Just 257 unread emails to go!) But the downside is there's no one to eat with, which can make for a lonely lunchtime. But guess what? When you invite Dr. Cow to lunch, it's less lonely than you might think. The VN staff's new favorite cheese made an appearance on today's menu when it was added to a salad made with fresh baby greens, shiitake mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and cooked squash tossed in a light vinaigrette. (Thank goodness the guys at Organic Express didn't take the holiday off, either.)

The Goods: To further take the edge off the loneliness, dessert was a must. Luckily, in the way, way back of the freezer, buried beneath a bag of frozen artichoke hearts and a block of fake meat, sat an almost-empty pint of Roxanne Klein's contribution to the vegan ice cream world, Rox Kreme. Just a couple of scrapes to get the freezer burn off and a few bites of chocolate bliss were mine, all mine.