Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The Chef: El Burrito Express

The Menu: Burritos! Yay! It's always a special treat when we get these awesome, filling whole-wheat-tortillas stuffed with perfectly seasoned rice, super-yummy refried beans, lettuce, salsa, and guacamole. You know we sort of have a thing for salads here at the VNHQ, but for burrito days there's nothing better than a big pile of tortilla chips and fresh salsas on the side.

The Goods: Maybe we just finished proofing our January+February issue and couldn't be more thrilled about it. Maybe tomorrow is Thanksgiving, aka adopt-a-turkey day, and we figured today was the best time to practice eating more than is advisable in a single meal—something that you might remember we kind of tend to do this time of year. And maybe, just maybe, we freakin' love burritos. Put all these things together and what do you have? A slew of great reasons to let someone else make lunch. We thoroughly enjoyed the warm burritos, sheltered in the office from the cold, nasty rain that's happening outside right now. This will be the last post for the week, since our offices will be closed on account of eating for the next two days. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Presto Polenta

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A, shall we say, creative concoction that is probably best described as "polenta." No, it wasn't made from cornmeal, like traditional polenta, but rather from blended garbanzo beans, lemon juice, olive oil, cooked amaranth, and spices. Elizabeth topped this unique blend of grains and beans with roasted butternut squash that she slathered in cinnamon, and sautéed collard greens with extra garlic.

The Goods: They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and maybe we'd like to submit that hunger, paired with overly watery amaranth and a couple cans of garbanzo beans is the estranged uncle of invention—you know, that one who shows up to family reunions every so often, so you have to be just nice enough because you can't actually remember if you liked him or not the last time you saw each other. Whatever your family ties, available ingredients, or ever-so-slight kitchen mishaps, there's one thing we know for sure: any meal is a hit when it ends with an array of vegan caramels, toffees, and brittles. Oh heck yes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Soup du Joer

The Chef: Joseph

The Menu
: A lovely, hearty soup, perfectly baked sweet potato fries, and a lightly lavender-flavored scone. Joseph was inspired to come into the office and treat us to a yummy soup of blended potatoes, brown rice, fresh tomatoes, spinach, and a blend of curry and other spices. The sweet potato fries were smothered in garlic, which made them extra delicious. Oh, did we mention that extra garlic makes everything extra delicious? Yeah, it does. The scone was actually brought in this morning by Ms. Elizabeth, but who's to say that scones can't be enjoyed just as much at lunch as they are at breakfast?

The Goods: Are you wondering about the other purpose of putting more garlic than any office should consume during a single day into all of our meals recently? It's to keep away the vampires, naturally. With the recent surge in vamp-mania—thanks to the number one box office movie, and a popular HBO show—one can never be too careful.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rockin' Roasted Chowder

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Maybe the best chowder that's ever been made. Seriously, Colleen blended up a savory delight that had us all over the moon with how tasty it was. Sweet potatoes, roasted eggplant and peppers, hearty amounts of garlic, and just the right spices came together in this thick, satisfying chowder. Oh, and that bright, lovely salad? That would be a marinated swiss chard salad, complete with fresh garlic dressing. Of course, no meal is complete without open-faced quesadillas, and thankfully we had some Teese just waiting to be melted over tortillas.

The Goods: Today, pretty much everything is "the goods." The sun is out, the food was awesome, and we're wrapping up another busy, bustling week here at the VNHQ. If looking forward to a well-deserved weekend is a crime, lock us up!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pancake Palooza

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: A plethora of pancakes, as you can probably tell from the photo above. Maybe this breakfasty bounty has something to do with a Taste Test feature in an upcoming issue, just maybe. In case anyone was wondering, there are lots and lots of vegan pancake mixes out there! Ms. Abby paired the pancake goodness with soy chorizo and chopped apples for little bursts of sweet and savory.

The Goods: It's a good thing that Abby had already secured her place in the kitchen as our resident breakfast maker, and that she was willing to have today's menu dictated by our editorial needs. Yes, the taste testing process is probably one of our favorite parts of putting together this little magazine of ours. For your reference, eating these many pancakes, silver-dollar-sized though they may be, makes one feel as though her body has become roughly 90 percent batter, five percent syrup, and the rest vital organs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tasty Trifecta

The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: A hearty, warming trio of treats! Aurelia busted out a delicious enchilada casserole with black beans, corn, kale, and a savory green enchilada sauce. Next up, a marinated kale salad with chopped onions and sesame-oil marinade provided a fresh balance to the casserole and chowder. Oh, did we say chowder? Sorry, we're well aware that it's technically pronounced "chowdah." Today's thick, smoky chowdah was chock-full of delicious corn and potatoes, and helped us battle the blahs induced by the suddenly chilly, overcast weather we're experiencing.

The Goods: Aurelia is the reigning queen of casseroles in the office, and it's always an awesome lunch when she whips one up. As Frankie commented during lunch, the gray skies outside have us officially feeling like it's soup season, so expect to be seeing a fair share of liquid lunches around these parts in the weeks to come!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yes! on Yellow Curry

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A most-delicious, hearty yellow curry. Served over perfectly tender brown rice, Colleen's main dish was an absolutely stellar coconut-milk-based curry with nice big bites of super-soft potatoes and fresh, flavorful spinach, which she topped with freshly chopped cilantro. Yes on yellow curry; yes on yum. Our standard salad of greens, shredded carrots, and avocado was the perfect balance to the curry's richness.

The Goods: We know, it's been two weeks since election day, but maybe some of us got in the habit of voting Yes!, and maybe those habits are hard to break. Regardless of your political leanings and whether or not the election is a far-flung memory at this point, a dish as delicious as Colleen's is sure to curry favor with your lunch-mates.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Atomic Potatoes, Fiendishly Good Tofu

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Breaded tofu, cheesy mashed potatoes, and a big green salad filled our plates today. Ms. Lyndsay marinated her 'fu before bathing it in breading and frying it up, and she applied her patented chopping method to a nice, big head of romaine for the salad. The potatoes, as you can see, came out a very vibrant orange, but more on that later.

The Goods: Okay, it's later. So, as you may already know the VN crew attended the San Francisco Green Festival over the weekend. The Green Festivals are great opportunities for us to not only get the word out about VegNews, but also to get the scoop on new products, meet new people, and so forth. One of the new products we discovered was an instant mashed potato mix from Road's End Organics, flavored with their signature Chreese. The product is so new, in fact, that they weren't quite able to perfect the amount of orange, though we have it on good authority that once the insta-taters hit the shelves, the effect will be more mashed potato, less sweet potato.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Meat and Poatoes Mash

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Well, it's definitely food. Edible food even. Maybe not the most attractive presentation that's ever come out of our kitchen, but it was definitely edible. If we had to try and pare it down to one type of cuisine, today's lunch would probably fall into a category something like Mexi-homestyle-raw-scramble. You know, the usual. Scrambled potatoes and Frankie's Falsies seitan met with healthy doses of garlic, onion, and cumin. A spinach and red swiss chard salad with grated carrots and fresh guacamole served as satisfying sides.

The Goods: Today's meal definitely followed the 3-D theory of cooking, i.e., Decide what you want to make, Discover that you don't have the ingredients to make that particular dish, and Distract your diners with fresh guacamole. Does this method ever fail? Probably, but thankfully it seemed to work for Elizabeth today. Or maybe it had a little something to do with the fact that it's 70 freakin' degrees outside right now, and we were all blissful about getting some vitamin D back in our lives. Either way, you can come tell us all about your lunch, your cooking theories, or your favorite way to spend time in the sun over at the Green Festival this weekend!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spicy Soup, Cool Couscous

The Chefs: Aurelia and Colleen

The Menu: A perfectly balanced pairing of spicy butternut squash soup with a cool couscous salad. Aurelia made the fiery soup, using green curry paste for a depth of flavor and spice that was utterly delicious. Garlicky croutons that were tossed with hearty amounts of Parma made a savory addition to the velvety soup. Colleen's couscous salad, full of fresh basil, cucumber, carrots, broccoli, and swiss chard provided a lovely counterpoint. Did we also top that with tons of Parma? Yes, yes we did.

The Goods: We're gearing up for the Green Festival here in SF this weekend, and, evidently, so are a number of our friends. We had the good fortune of hosting Yvonne Smith, aka The Traveling Vegetarian, vegan chef Justin Lucke, and festival volunteer extraordinaire Paul Saccone today. Just to make the afternoon a little sweeter, Rey Ortega of Sun Flour Baking Co., stopped by with two things we love: freshly baked cookies and Dan Piraro.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Frankie's Falsies, the Return

The Chefs: Abby and Frankie

The Menu: A mouth-watering amalgam of flavors. Frankie brought in some extra-delicious barbecue-sauce-drenched seitan, which she had of course made at home and brought to us as a special treat. Served over a perfectly fluffy rice pilaf blend, these yummy nuggets really hit the spot. Alongside you see some cheddar cauliflower—which is vegan, despite the suspicious-sounding name—and a lovely spinach salad with grated carrot and big chunks of avocado.

The Goods: If there's anything better than a surprise delivery of awesome faux meat, we don't even want to know about it. Frankie, and her fabulous "falsies" are always pleasant additions to our mid-week routine.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lunch à l'Orange

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: What was to be an autumnal shepherd's pie, but somehow turned out, um, different. But isn't a stew of curried butternut squash, potatoes, garbanzo beans, tomato sauce, and carrots with a side of mashed potatoes really just as good? Well, that's what we got. Elizabeth blended yukon gold and sweet potatoes for the mash, and finished it off with a thorough dusting of cinnamon. A very sprouty salad and slices of fresh bread made nice sides to the strongly savory main courses.

The Goods: If you're thinking that maybe there's a little misleading going on in today's title, you might be right. There was nothing that actually had the flavor of orange in the dishes, though the vast majority of the vegetables used were decidedly beta-carotene colored.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Booya Burgers

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Totally bad-ass burgers, which Ms. Lyndsay whipped up from scratch. Yes, we're pretty sure that means she loves us. Yes, we freakin' love her too, especially since she paired her totally tasty main course with perfectly seasoned sweet potato fries. Swoon. The burgers were served on fluffy buns and topped with nice big slices of cheddar-flavor Teese. Seriously, burgers and fries never had it so good. Of course, no meal here at the VNHQ would be complete without a big side salad, and today we dressed ours with a sweet mustard-flax blend.

The Goods: You want goods aside from the awesome eats? Well, fine. We're gearing up for the Green Festival this weekend here in SF, and we still have a couple pairs of tickets up for grabs from today's special giveaway at, but they're going fast! Not local to SF? Not to worry, we've also got today's regularly scheduled giveaway, which happens to be a dozen Little Devils from Sticky Fingers Bakery! Oh yes, that would be the same Sticky Fingers Bakery that was recently named Best Vegan Dessert on

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rockin' Roasted Soup

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: An absolutely perfect fall soup of roasted butternut squash, spinach, and spices. This smooth, velvety soup was beautifully blended, and had just the right amount of balsamic-vinegar tang. Colleen also made a lovely couscous salad with fresh carrots, collard greens, shiitake mushrooms, and onions. An extra-garlicky salad dressing adorned a simple green salad, which nicely rounded out the meal.

The Goods: For anyone who doesn't already have Friday night plans, make sure to catch the premier of Whale Wars—a new series about the exploits of everyone's favorite vegan pirates, the Sea Shepherd crew—tonight on Animal Planet. Otherwise, it's been sort of an eventful week, maybe this weekend is the time to take it easy for about five minutes and enjoy a lazy Sunday—and then promptly get back to work of course!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Superb Starches

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: Maybe we've been going a little insane with the international combinations here at the VNHQ, and maybe that's just the way we like it. Today Abby busted out two lovely starchy dishes: onion-roasted home fries and sesame teriyaki noodles. We could smell the onions cooking well before lunch was served, which whetted our appetites. By adding carrots, tofu, and broccoli to a box of Simply Asia Sesame Teriyaki, Abby made sure that there was plenty of food for the horde of hungry coworkers, which worked out well since we devoured everything in no time flat. For a little greenery, a simple spinach salad with carrots and flaxseed dressing made a perfect vehicle for Parma—err, make that a perfect complement to the starch-based main courses.

The Goods: Today's abundant meal paired nicely with the abundant sunshine we enjoyed while dining al fresco. Sure, maybe it doesn't make sense per se to be getting tan at lunch since it's technically November now, but really, who are we to argue with just a little bit more vitamin D?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Curry and Couscous

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: A spicy combination of vegetable-packed green curry and tomato-sauce simmered couscous. Sound good? Oh, maybe that's because it was. Lyndsay put tons of fresh, delicious veggies in her curry, including broccoli, sweet potatoes, non-sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, spinach, and onions. If there's anything we like better than a big plate of vegetables, it's a big plate of vegetables that also has a great grain dish. The Israeli couscous with chickpeas, carrots, and a savory tomato sauce balanced out the spicy green curry.

The Goods: Oh, we don't know. Maybe a little something called Prop. 2 won in a landslide victory. Maybe we now have a president with whom the international community is excited to work. Maybe, after all the anticipation and excitement, we can get back to work! Well, at least get back to obsessing over, which sort of counts as work for us.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

International Insanity

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A recipe testing feast! Maybe you can tell that Elizabeth was too excited about today to get any sleep last night, as she came in carrying tupperware full of test recipes from the forthcoming January+February issue. Considering today's dishes, in addition to the dim sum we had a little while back, let's just say that the Jan+Feb issue is not lacking in international inspiration. To start with the one American dish, the bowl on the top right-hand side is filled with thick, savory clam-free chowdah. Yes, that is the technical spelling of "chowdah." Moving clockwise, our next stop is India for some aloo tikki and palak chaat, both doused with a spiced vegan yogurt. From there we head to Korea for bibimbop, which, it must be said, was totally bangin'. Not pictured are the kimchi that accompanied the bibimbop, nor the whoopie pies we enjoyed for dessert.

The Goods: Okay, for real. This is the last time we're going to say it. Vote Yes on Prop. 2! It's your absolute last chance to be a part of this historic ballot initiative, and 20 million animals in California will thank you for it. Oh, also, maybe this country is getting new leadership today. Could we possibly be any more excited? No. Are we all atwitter, constantly checking the swing- state maps? Indeed. Was it a good thing that lunch today was freakin' huge so that none of us has to worry about cooking dinner tonight and can stay glued to the results as they're announced? Quite.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Crazy-Good Curry

The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: As the title subtly implies, today's dishes were extra delicious. Aurelia made what might have easily been the yummiest curry-infused tomato sauce ever, in which she simmered carrots, potatoes, and Swiss chard. Added to the savory main was a serving of rice and lentil pilaf, which soaked up the tomato sauce and served as a vehicle for big dollops of vegan sour cream. On the lighter side of the plate, Aurelia's fresh salad of romaine and grated carrot was perfectly dressed in a homemade garlicky vinaigrette. Did we say yum already? Because, yum.

The Goods: Holy crap it's election day tomorrow!! Not eight months from now, not three weeks from now, not even 10 days from now, but tomorrow, as in the day that directly follows this one. That's pretty much the only topic of conversation here at the VNHQ today, as we hope is true all over the country. Oh, did we mention that maybe there's a slight chance that we're super excited/nervous about the election? Go ahead and consider our nails bitten, and then go vote tomorrow!