Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Special: Cookie Alert!

The Chef: Crumbz Cookiez, Inc.

The Menu: Cookie dough!

The Goods: Here at the VNHQ we love cookies. You can just imagine our glee, then, when Crumbz delivered some of their preservative-free, ready-to-bake, vegan cookie dough right to our offices, complete with baked samples for us to try. Pictured above, you see the very chocolaty staff-favorite flavor, the Double Chocolate Chip. Crumbz also offers Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Classic Chocolate Chip flavors, and yes, it totally thrills us to see the words "chocolate chip" repeated that many times. Right now the dough is only available at a few stores in Northern California, but the company hopes to continue to grow. As for us, we might be continuing to grow too—ahem—since discovering Crumbz!

Hot & Sour Stir Fry

The Chef: Lisa

The Menu: A super-flavorful hot and sour stir fry. Lisa used thick and starchy tapioca noodles as a hearty base for a stir fry of tomatoes, snow peas, shiitake mushrooms, scallions, jalapeños and leeks, and she topped the whole thing with chopped peanuts. Lighter sides of sprouts and salad made for a refreshing break from the spiciness of the stir fry. Lisa's signature garlicky salad dressing has ensured that no one in the office will be going on a date later tonight.

The Goods: Okay, today we have business that needs attending. Today, as you may have noticed, is the last day of April. This means two things: It's the last day to email us with your submission for our first-ever Reader Recipe Showdown! Hurry!

Since it's the last day of the month, it also means we want to give you stuff! For this month's blog giveaway, leave us a comment and tell us about your favorite flavor combinations.

The Question: Would you have loved the creative leeks-and-jalapeños combo in today's stir fry or are you more of a trusty peanut butter and jelly fan? Leave a comment any time between now and next Wednesday, May 7, when we'll announce the winner.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tasty Testing

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: There's a lot going on here, so we'll take it one step at a time. Ready? Okay, first up top there you see a bowl of laksa, a savory Singaporean soup with rice noodles, tofu, scallions, cucumber, and sprouts. Moving counterclockwise (there's a reason, trust us) we have a barbequed tempeh skewer bathed in velvety peanut sauce. To lighten things up, a small cucumber salad with fresh mint and soy sauce-based dressing. Finally, a dessert (see—dessert should be last, there's the reason) couscous infused with dried fruit, toasted almonds, and cinnamon.

The Goods: Wondering what prompted this culinary collage? The secret component that all these dishes have in common is: the July+August issue! That's right, the recipes for all these delightful edibles will soon be yours. Well, just as soon as the end of June rolls around, and you get your hands on a copy of VegNews! Until then, we hope this photo supplies a sufficient stand-in.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Picadillo Picante!

The Chef: Jenny

The Menu: ¡Un picadillo picante! Thanks to Jenny's secret, Cuban, kitchen maneuvers we got to taste a picadillo today—a dish traditionally made with ground beef. With a substitution of tofu, the amalgamation of black beans, tomatoes, peas, and potatoes was a delicious, and meatless, treat. The secret ingredient? Chipotle-brined green olives, which gave the dish a lovely spiciness. Served alongside a fluffy pile of delectable, mustard-seed-infused rice, the picadillo made a hearty meal.

The Goods: You know our policy about having people over for lunch: We love it! And it's even more fun when those people happen to have co-founded one of the nation's most well-known sanctuaries. Not to put too fine a point on it, but just for the sake of argument, let's say that was Farm Sanctuary, and the person who came for lunch was Gene Baur, whom we're always happy to see. Here's the proof, a little photo of us all smiling alongside Gene:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Irish Potato Party

The Chef: Lisa y Jenny

The Menu: Double decker potato-pea casserole, laced with a rice-cheese and soy-cream based rosemary sauce, and spooned next to a generous fan of baked tofu steaks.

The Goods: As has become Friday-standard, there were only a handful of us here today to dine on this abundant, Irish-colored dish. Lisa and Jenny had fun using up the odds and ends of this week’s market-booty, and turned out this sinfully creamy, melt-in-your mouth casserole, offset by a heap of perfectly toasted tofu. While the Irish Potato Famine was a very serious and devastating period in human history, we may not complain if we never again see another potato this side of the Greenwich Meridian.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Quantum Quesadillas

The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: An amazing Mexican-inspired meal. A savory combination of pinto and black beans met wonderfully fluffy couscous, and both of these dishes complemented some thoroughly delicious cheese-free quesadillas. If there's anything more exciting than making vegan quesadillas, we just don't want to know about it. Of course, we also enjoyed a vibrant salad with avocado, tomato, and yellow bell pepper. Olé!

The Goods: It happens about once a week that someone brings up the idea of Mexican food, and we get totally lost in dreaming about our favorites. When this mood strikes, we can always depend on Aurelia to come through with something delicious and on-theme. These are "quantum" quesadillas because they were sliced into sections which ensured that we all got our fair share. Yes, sometimes we like to use fancy words. That is all.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Delish Drumsticks

The Chef: Lisa

The Menu: De-freakin'-licious "chicken" drumsticks procured from our local Asian market, an incredible salad with warm Balsamic-leek dressing, vibrant steamed broccoli, and little bites of Tu-Nut Pinwheels leftover from yesterday. Does that sound like a heavenly combination? Because it totally was.

The Goods: We swear, there's no way the Average Joe would have been able to tell that today's faux-meaty main didn't contain actual, slaughtered chickens. With so many unbelieveable vegan options around these days, remind us again why everyone isn't veg already? Speaking of things you'd never know otherwise, we also enjoyed a Triple-Layer Chocolate Torte from Roxanne's that was not your typical raw dessert. Check out the decadence below:
If you need us, we'll be in "chicken"-and-chocolate-induced comas. VN out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Roxanne's Raw Revelry

The Chef: Roxanne's Fine Cuisine

The Menu: A raw-food smorgasbord! We dined on Tu-Nut Pinwheel Sandwiches, Sweet and Spicy Cashews, Seasame Glazed Sprouted Almonds, and those two delectable little dollops you see at the bottom of the plate are incarnations of Nutmilk Cheeze—regular and Garlic Onion. Ms. Jenny generously offered up a fresh salad of romaine, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes, though the accompaniment was hardly necessary as Roxanne's dishes were as filling as they were organic (the whole line is certified organic!).

The Goods: It was completely fitting to have a fine-food lunch, as we had reason for celebration in the office today—the birth of Ms. Colleen. To complement the lovely raw food, we thoroughly enjoyed an over-the-top delicious picture-cake from MaggieMudd. In case you can't see, that's one Mr. Johnny Depp inviting Colleen to call him up:
Happy birthday Colleen and a happy Johnny Depp to all!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lo Mein Lunch

The Chef: Jenny, with special Sous Chef Katie

The Menu: A delightful plate of Asian-inspired delicacies. Jenny served up lovely rice-noodles with grated carrots, spinach, and a blend of savory spices, a tofu-and-broccoli stir-fry, a simple green salad with tomatoes and more grated carrots, and spinach-mushroom buns. Whew! Trust us, the meal was as filling as the long description implies. Ms. Katie may be the official VegNews carrot-grater from here on out, since she did such a first-rate job on the roughly 10 pounds of carrots that went into today's meal.

The Goods: Since Katie works remotely, it's a real treat to get to see her happy face in the office. If there's anything that could make a visit from a far-flung comrade better, it's being surprised with Key Lime Cheesecake. Yes, Ms. Frankie is at it again with her amazing—and astoundingly generous—surprise cheesecakes. She likes to "test" recipes (which always seem to come out perfectly, though she swears she's just trying them out), and we like to pretend that we're doing her a favor by acting as willing test subjects. Here's Katie with today's "experiment:"

Friday, April 18, 2008

Drop-Dead Parmigiana

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Luscious, perfectly crisp Eggplant Parmigiana. Colleen took thick slices of eggplant and dredged them in Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs before they were deep fried, toasted on Frankie’s homemade tomato-bread, topped with a slice of mild “mozzarella,” and sprinkled with fresh parsley. Slices of fresh zucchini and carrot balanced these rich tostadas.

The Goods: For all you Italians out there, you know that parmigiana ain’t parmigiana without tomato sauce, but Colleen’s secret eggplant recipe is so subtly delicious that we didn’t want to over-power it with a tangy sauce. You also know that this traditional dish—cunningly veganized here, of course—is typically chock-full of animal goo. While this version is 100 percent vegetable-based, it’s unbelievably rich taste had us second-guessing, but then sneaking back to the kitchen to make more. We’ve all happily slipped into an afternoon food coma, but we’ve got cardiac defibrillators charging just in case. Clear!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sublime Stir Fry

The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: A luscious stir fry of carrots, snow peas, zucchini, potato, and a little something special in the form of faux duck. Yes, here in San Francisco you can pretty much get any fake meat you want, from ham to haggis. Back to more appetizing topics, Aurelia served her perfectly spiced stir fry over a combination of white and brown rice. A vibrant, ripe mango made a light, lovely side dish.

The Goods:
We're in nose-to-the-grindstone mode here at the VNHQ today, so you'll have to excuse the somewhat brief post. We can't spend every day lounging in the sun with friends, you know. Aurelia's filling lunch was just the thing we needed to keep us going!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Indulgent Indian

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Today we feasted on an incredible Indian-themed meal. Colleen created a delicious tomato-based curry with chunks of potato, garbanzo beans, and fresh parsley which she served atop a perfectly fluffy basmati rice infused with toasted mustard seeds. Yum? Yes, yum. Alongside you see a lovely slice of homemade bread, courtesy of Ms. Frankie, which derived its alluring orange hue from an addition of tomato juice. To balance out the denser dishes we dined on a bright salad of romaine, tomato, and avocado.

The Goods: What makes amazing meals even better? The inclusion of fantastic guests, of course! We thoroughly enjoyed the company of our Technical Guru Paul and his entourage of the lovely Sandra and Mister T. Yes, Mister T is now a 10-year-old British boy, what of it? Here's the whole gang with Joseph and Colleen:
Thanks for coming by guys!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gobs of Greens

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: All the vegetables that are fit to eat. After today's earlier foray into the flour-based, fried, and frosted arena, Elizabeth went with a simple and raw theme for lunch. A big salad of greens, sunflower seeds, avocado, tomatoes, and grated carrots and zucchini paired with a raw, marinated kale salad from our January+February Raw Food Feature to make a light yet filling lunch.

The Goods: With doughnuts for breakfast there's no way we could have eaten one of our large, elaborate lunches today. Thankfully, we have a little practice at this whole raw thing. What are your favorite after-indulgence meals?

Bad-Ass Breakfast

The Chef: Mighty-O Donuts

The Menu: Oh, just your basic organic, vegan doughnuts in plain, chocolate glaze, chocolate glaze with peanuts, maple glaze, and plain glaze with sprinkles varieties. Yep, just another day in paradise.

The Goods: Holy hell. If there is one right way to start off tax day, this is it. Joseph and Colleen were in Seattle this past weekend for the first-ever Seattle Green Festival, and they came home bearing the amazing bounty you see before you. We, um, love Joseph and Colleen. Like, a lot. In case anyone is curious, doughnuts are at the apex of the VegNews food pyramid. Thanks guys!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Amazing Amaranth

The Chef: Jenny

The Menu: It is especially difficult to pick a starting point today, as absolutely everything you see on that plate was incredible. So, to take a cue from the title, Jenny made some utterly delicious amaranth, which she flavored and then combined with black beans and corn for an irresistible burrito-filler. On top of that, perfectly braised tofu added another savory level to the meal. And on top of that she added cheese sauce. Freakin' cheese sauce. If there's one thing we vegans (at least the ones at the VNHQ) can't get enough of, it's a salty, rich, dairy-free cheese sauce. Jenny used Galaxy Foods' Cheddar Flavor Rice Slices, nutritional yeast, and a little magic to create this amazing sauce. Oh, wait, that's right, there's more. Fresh tomatoes and avocado balanced out the heaviness of the rest of our burritos, and a light side salad perfectly completed the meal. Gah.

The Goods: So we know that in an entry like today's, (i.e. one that involves cheese sauce) amaranth might not seem like the most exciting part of the meal. But, since this light and lovely grain doesn't get to stand in the spotlight too often, here's to amaranth!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hot Lunch in the City

Chef: Lisa & Jenny

Perfectly fluffy, perfectly Cuban "Arroz Amarillo Con Frijoles Negros", with a healthy dose of stewed tomatoes, organic carrots, fresh parsley, and Lisa's utterly elaborate "Seaside Collards" (collards boiled in heavily-salted water).

The Goods:
While the song-inspired title of today’s meal is fun, it is slightly misleading; the VNHQ is officially located in San Francisco, but our desks are a mere hundred feet from the ocean. So today, on the hottest day of ‘08 to date, a few of us chowed down this delicious, colorful spread and then took a leisurely stroll on the beach before commencing our afternoon’s work. Do any of you have an awesome workday locale like this?

Thursday, April 10, 2008


The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: Keeping with the International theme from yesterday, Aurelia made a knock-out amazing lunch of uttappam, Indian-spiced potatoes, curried chickpeas, and a vibrant salad with grated carrot, cherry tomatoes, and avocado. For anyone who isn't familiar with the incredible rice- and lentil-flour pancake that is uttappam, familiarize yourself. This light, crispy, and ever-so-slightly bitter (think sourdough bread) yummy delight was a special treat for everyone in the office. Aurelia whipped these yummy puppies up using Gits Uttappam Mix, once again bringing a little South-Indian authenticity to our yummy lunch. Wait, did we say they were yummy? Because they were.

The Goods: Today's abundant sunshine was only made brighter by the lovely lunch Ms. Aurelia made. In what may be the best job perk of all time, we got to sit outside, munch delicious food, and chat with interesting, like-minded vegans—all in a day's lunch.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Immediate International

The Chef: Lisa

The Menu: A delectable spread of International dishes, plus Lisa's signature salad with garlicky dressing. Today's menu was inspired by two things: time constraints and what was in the pantry. Lisa added her own twist, namely fresh lemon juice and a couple extra spices, to Baji's Lentil Biryani and Nasi Goreng, and Viana's Veggie Döner Kebap. Flavorful and filling, this trio of ready-made dishes made for a fab, quick lunch.

The Goods: Every so often working at a magazine means we have to spend more time at our computers than in the kitchen making culinary magic happen, but you'd never know that today was one of them judging by Lisa's lunch. Our outdoor, mid-day meal was hurried along by a chilly wind, but since there's plenty of work to be done, we were happy to be well-fed fast!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Suspicious Stir Fry

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Jasmine-infused sticky rice topped with stir-fried carrots, broccoli, and tofu, all of which was drenched in a rich, tangy ginger-soy-peanut sauce. With such a hearty main it was nice to have the balance of a light salad featuring roasted beets, shredded zucchini, and tomatoes.

The Goods: Sometimes a stir fry can be a suspicious dish. Today, our jasmine-infused rice played a suspect role: It was green. Suffice to say that's it's difficult to get a flattering photo of green-tinged rice, even though the rice itself had a lovely sticky consistency and made a great vehicle for the peanut sauce. It's tempting to make some sort of eco-joke about how following a vegan is the most "green" way to live (right down to the rice!), but for the sake of our journalistic reputation, we'll steer clear.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Special: Cheese Alert!

The Chef: Dr. Cow

The Menu: The most amazing cheese tray we've ever come across. Pictured above are the cashew, macadamia, and hemp varieties of Dr. Cow's raw, vegan, aged artisan cheese. Yes, all those adjectives are true, and yes, the cheese is phenomenal.

The Goods: Getting to taste brand spankin' new vegan cheese may be the best job perk of all time. Dr. Cow's cheeses are so new that they aren't yet listed on the company's website, but you can find a more in-depth description on The Discerning Brute, blog of the wonderful, cheese-bearing Joshua Katcher, who is Dr. Cow's PR man. The whole VN office was floored by both the taste and texture of these diminutive wheels, and we predict you'll be hearing about them much more in the future. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, maybe some magazine you know will just have to host a few wine and cheese parties...) Excuse us, we need to slip into an absolutely delicious cheese-induced coma now.

Coconut-Curry Comfort

The Chef: Jenny

The Menu: Ms. Jenny combined a number of our favorite flavors in today's rich, wonderful coconut-curry soup. A mild, milky (sans dairy, of course) consommé met tasty chunks of sweet potato and red bell pepper in this thoroughly satisfying soup. We used lightly toasted slices of whole-wheat bread to sop up each and every molecule of the delicious soup, and enjoyed the nice contrast of a light, easy lettuce-and-tomato salad.

The Goods: It's the start of another big week here at the VNHQ. You'll be able to check out all of our out-of-the-office outings from over the weekend on Press Pass soon. We also have a special surprise scheduled for later today, so make sure to check back for an extra update. If it's wrong to want a little something exciting to look forward to on Mondays, then we just don't want to be right!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Come-Back Curry

The Chef: Jenny

The Menu:
With most of the VN gang out of the office on Fridays, we got to enjoy one of Ms. Jenny’s famous curries, and come back for seconds. And thirds. Packed with chickpeas, mustard greens, green peas, zucchini, and fresh parsley, and served on perfectly fluffy basmati rice, this mildly spicy coconut curry was a super-green, healthy take on an old stand-by.

The Goods: With Jenny off gallivanting (read: a much-deserved vacation) with her man-friend in the Redwoods for the past few days, we’ve really missed having her sunny smile around the office. While having her cook for us wasn’t exactly what we had in mind as a welcome-home gesture, whenever she offers to get busy in the kitchen, it’s basically impossible to say “no.” Who are we to argue with perfection?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mexican Splendor

The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: A delicious Mexican-food spread featuring homemade tortillas. Yes, Aurelia made fresh tortillas right here in the VNHQ. These tasty little guys would have been impressive enough on their own, but of course she didn't stop there. Black beans, roasted potatoes, chopped salad with red bell pepper and avocado, grated Galaxy Foods soy cheese, fresh lemon wedges, and tortilla chips all accompanied her phenomenal creations.

The Goods: It's just another gorgeous, sunny day here in San Francisco. We got to enjoy the company of Marshall and Susie, who have been longtime friends of VN. Both vegan since 2000, these brave souls were two of the first 50 people ever to subscribe to VegNews. Thanks guys!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Unparalleled Polenta

The Chef: Lisa

The Menu: Crispy Baked Polenta Triangles with (almost) Garden Fresh Ratatouille. If that sounds like more of a serious recipe title than our usual lunch descriptions, you're on to something, but more on that later. Today's intensely flavorful meal combined warm, lovely baked polenta with a sensational ratatouille of eggplant, zucchini, onions, garlic, and green olives. A light salad that featured avocado and grated carrots and was topped with Lisa's signature blended garlic-Balsamic dressing perfectly complemented the savory main.

The Goods: Yep, you guessed it, you'll be able to find this very recipe (our version today subbed green olives for capers since we were out!) in our quickly forthcoming May+June issue of VegNews! While the veggies weren't fresh from our personal gardens at home, they were fresh from our local produce delivery service, Organic Express. There was an extra-special surprise after lunch today, as Frankie tried her hand at a luscious blueberry cheese(less)cake. It's a good thing we took a photo before the cake was cut, as things took a turn for the messy once we dug into this delightful dessert:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: All garlic, all the time. Today's meal featured three vehicles for delivering maximum garlic content: rice rotini with chunky tomato-garlic sauce, antipasto salad with a garlic-mustard vinaigrette, and finally—the clincher—garlic bread. Elizabeth doesn't like holding back when it comes to garlic, and today she just couldn't resist. The salad, as you may have already noticed, has avocado and pieces of faux salami and fresh cheese.

The Goods: You know how sometimes you just want some variety? Today we went a little beyond our usual, restricted diets and decided to let loose with a fresh, organic, goat's milk mozzarella. Every once in a while we like to just get a tiny bit wild and stray from "vegan" in the literal sense. Hey, who wouldn't want to put something in their mouth that came out of a goat?

The Real Goods: Happy April Fool's Day! There is not now, nor has there ever been, dairy-based cheese on our plates. Yuck!