Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Soup and Spanakopita

The Chefs: Moira and Elizabeth

The Menu: Today we were treated to the work of two chefs, which kind of means that we ate a hodgepodge meal. Elizabeth made a blended vegetable soup with caramelized onions, carrots, celery, and garbanzo beans, and sliced up celery and carrots for colorful crudités. Moira, whom you may remember from yesterday's truffles, also whipped up some utterly incredible spanakopita and tzatziki, which we excitedly devoured. Even the road trip back from LA didn't hinder the absolute yumminess of Moira's treats. And yes, the crudités were basically created as vehicles for the tzatziki.

The Goods: Today's meal was meant to be somewhat light, since we have what you might call "plans" this evening. The whole crew will be at Millennium, enjoying the very first VN Speaker Series event, featuring Jeffrey Masson and his new book, The Face on Your Plate. The event is totally sold out, and we can't wait to see everyone there!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Coconut-Ginger Bowl

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: A satisfying sup of ziti, grated carrots, chopped asparagus, peas, onions, garlic, and garbanzo beans, all tossed in a very yummy coconut-ginger sauce. We all topped our bowls with hearty doses of Parma, and sopped up the sauce with slices of walnut bread. This veggie-laden lunch was a tasty way to start off the week!

The Goods: There might have been a little something sweet that we enjoyed right after our savory lunch. Elizabeth was in LA over the weekend, and brought back treats from the utterly phenomenal post-Genesis-Awards brunch hosted by Moira Nordholt. Moira whipped up an incredible spread of edibles, and was kind enough to send Elizabeth back home with a doggie bag of homemade truffles. Yeah, that says homemade truffles. We, um, devoured them. Check Press Pass for full details of the weekend, since VegNews was simultaneously at the Genesis Awards and the Seattle Green Festival. Speaking of green, we're giving away a Green Cleaning Kit over on VegNews.com. Get your spring cleaning off to a green start!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sammiches, Suckas

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Sammies! Colleen toasted some walnut bread, caramelized some onions, and served some absolutely delicious sandwiches of Tofurky, veggie burgers, and tons of toppings. Chips and a simple cabbage slaw served as very tasty side dishes.

The Goods: We're a skeleton crew here at the VNHQ today. Lyndsay and Stacy are up in Seattle getting ready for the Green Festival which is appropriate enough considering Earth Hour tomorrow, Aurelia has been on vacation all week, Joseph's at a conference downtown, and as if that weren't enough, Colleen's taking some well-deserved time to visit with her family. But, of course, she was kind enough to make lunch for us before leaving! Suffice to say that those of us left holding down the fort are well-fed and quite happy, despite a healthy dose of onion breath. In case this small fact has eluded anyone, today is March 27, 2009. Divide 27 by nine, and you get three. Yeah, we're pretty good with numbers. Just saying. Oh, and maybe you're wondering what's up with the "suckas" in today's title. It's Friday, that's what's up.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pizza! Pow!

The Chef: Stacy

The Menu: A lightning-fast preparation of pizza, sweet-potato fries, salad, and sliced walnut bread. Today is final proofing day for our May+June issue, which means that we had out our brightest red pens. It also meant that poor Ms. Stacy had just about five minutes in which to prepare our lunch, and, as per usual, she did an awesome job. From the freezer Stacy busted out a veggie pizza and sweet-potato fries, and she made an enormous, delicious salad with raisins, sunflower seeds, chopped zucchini, and plenty of Salad Booster from Living Intentions.

The Goods: We're off to SF Vegan Drinks! Don't forget to check out Press Pass to find out about all of our after-hours activities. Well, OK, maybe not all of them, but do you really want to know about that one time we went to the laundromat? Yeah, didn't think so.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

BBQ, We Love You!

The Chefs: Melissa and Frankie

The Menu: Ribs! Barbecue-sauce-smothered ribs, to be exact. If there's anything yummier than Frankie's famous falsie ribs (which of course means that they are deliciously meat-free), it's those very same ribs absolutely doused with her signature barbecue sauce. Um, yum. Melissa whipped up some of the most wonderful mashed potatoes ever. She imbued them with a certain something—OK, fine, we'll tell you, it's Sheese—which made them light, fluffy, and fantastically flavorful. To finish off the hearty meal, Melissa also made a lovely mixed-greens salad with cherry tomatoes, carrots, and Chipotle Pistachios. Fancy, you say? That's just how we like our salads—and pants.

The Goods: Maybe we hammered out the final details for our May+June cover yesterday. Maybe we're abso-freakin-lutely beside ourselves with glee about it. And maybe, just maybe, today's meal, which was completely delicious in its own right, felt even more celebratory knowing all the midnight oil that got burned last night. On days after long work-nights, it's always a good idea to eat something filling, flavorful, and smothered in barbecue sauce. Speaking of sauce, we'll be seeing all the Bay Areans at SF Vegan Drinks tomorrow, right?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring "Rolls"

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Well, it's technically spring now, and we technically ate a lunch of ingredients that would be appropriate in spring rolls, but, well, that whole "roll" part didn't work out so well. Maybe some of us just can't help it when we see a platter of fresh veggies like bean sprouts, chopped Napa cabbage, sliced red bell pepper, Thai basil, sautéed trumpet mushrooms, chopped green onions, and thinly sliced strips of Tofurky. Maybe we get all excited and pile our rice wrappers higher than we should, and our "rolls" turn into un-toasted, spring-roll-style tostadas. Maybe, since we slathered the whole shebang with peanut sauce from Simply Boulder, toasted sesame seeds, and soy sauce, and nibbled on a side of edamame, these disappeared just as quickly as their more-cylindrical counterparts would have. Here at the VNHQ, this is how we un-roll.

The Goods: So, in addition to the platter of possible roll ingredients, there's a fair deal of non-lunch fun to be excited about today. First of all, we are exactly one week away from the debut of the VegNews Speaker Series. If you're into thought-provoking authors answering your questions and having Millennium whip up some delicious desserts to dive into afterward, maybe you want to go ahead and get one of the very few remaining tickets. And, if you want to hang out with other vegans, enjoy a tasty beverage or two, and mingle to the max? Then don't miss the second installment of SF Vegan Drinks!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Instant Indian

The Chef: Lyndsay and Joseph

The Menu: A totally satisfying meal of Indian-inspired dishes. While he was in the office briefly this morning for a meeting, Joseph decided to lend a helping hand to today's chef by cooking up a cumin-spiced blend of basmati rice and red quinoa, which was absolutely delicious. Lyndsay topped our day's grains with ready-made Punjab Eggplant, made a huge side salad with lettuce and carrots, and sliced up some naan from Gourmet India—another find from Expo West. Since so many store-bought naans contain dairy, it was thrilling to find this totally vegan version, complete with all the fluffiness and authentic taste we could ever want.

The Goods: Mondays always seem to find us short on time and long on tasks here at the VNHQ, so taking a little help in the kitchen—whether from considerate co-workers or the convenience store—is always a good thing at the beginning of the week. Oh, and did we mention that we totally love Indian food? It's true, we do.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cool Collard Wraps

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Totally delicious collard wraps! We filled these lovely leaves with leftover quinoa and chili from yesterday's awesome lunch, and enjoyed sides of sautéed mushrooms, spicy peanut sauce, and a crisp, crunchy salad with spears of zucchini and carrots. Colleen was slightly concerned that she might be slipping back into her Raw Week habits by using the collard leaves as wraps, but we assured her that filling them with very cooked chili would alleviate any confusion.

The Goods: It's Friday. We are, um, happy about this. The technical term for how we feel right now might be something close to "utterly and totally exhausted," but we don't want to put too fine a point on it. It's been another whirlwind week here at the VNHQ, and maybe we're just a little teeny bit excited about the beginning of the weekend. Also, Happy Meatout Day! Feel free to encourage your friends and family to go vegan one or two extra times today.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Charming Chili

The Chef: Stacy

The Menu: A chili that could charm the leaves off the trees! Today's lovely lunch was everything a vegan meal should be: delicious, healthy, and topped with avocado. Ms. Stacy busted out a homemade, three-bean chili with corn, tomatoes, and a cinnamon-y blend of spices that was absolutely perfect. Topped with grated non-dairy mozzarella and a couple kinds of chips, the chili was served atop a bed of red quinoa. A hefty salad of romaine, tomato, and soy-feta finished off the meal.

The Goods: Though you wouldn't know it from the entries on this blog, we've actually been testing a ton of dessert recipes in the office for our May+June food feature. Brownies, cookies, and other sweets have been in no short supply, so today's healthy, hearty lunch was just the thing we needed to balance our insane sugar intake.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Omigosh! Okonomiyaki

The Chef: Melissa

The Menu: A Japanese feast! Ms. Melissa, our Tokyo transplant, generously offered to help out with testing our recipes from the forthcoming May+June issue of VegNews, which worked out perfectly since we just happened to have something Japanese in our lineup, courtesy of our Hot Urban Eats columnist, Terry Hope Romero. Okonomiyaki, or "as you like it" pancake-pizza hybrids may be the most delicious and best-kept secret of Japanese cuisine. Sort of like savory potato pancakes, these treats are made with grated nagaimo, which makes an almost egg-like base. Melissa added flour, shredded napa cabbage, grated carrots, pickled ginger, and spices to each pancake, and then we all added our own toppings—which is where the similarity to pizza comes in, in case you were wondering. We selected from chopped Tofurky slices, green onions, whipped vegan mayonnaise, homemade okonomiyaki sauce, strips of nori, and toasted sesame seeds. Oh, and Melissa also made an awesome salad with grated carrots and steamed edamame. Yeah, things are pretty stinking good here!

The Goods: The majority of us in the office had never heard of okonomiyaki before today, and now we are officially hooked. If there's anything better than savory pancakes that you douse with sauce and toppings like pizza, we don't even want to know about it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vietnamese Ziti

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: OK, you caught us. The ziti is Italian, not Vietnamese. The spring rolls, one of which you see at left in its pre-rolled glory, were Vietnamese, but since there's no really smooth way of combining the ideas of spring rolls and baked ziti, well, we came up with the brilliant solution of Vietnamese Ziti. Filled with sauteed tofu, shredded carrot, sliced cucumber, and rice vermicelli, the spring rolls were a perfectly light accompaniment to the extra-super-rich baked ziti. Swimming in marinara and two, count 'em!, varieties of homemade, non-dairy cheese, this magnanimous main course was better than any non-vegan baked ziti we've ever had.

The Goods: It's not actually that Elizabeth is suffering from some sort of cultural-culinary identity crisis—she's happily swathed in green clothes and Irish pride today, while her Italian half felt right at home when the baked ziti came out of the oven—it's that we're testing recipes! Yes! That means that both of these awesome dishes will be yours to make once the May+June issue of VegNews comes out next month. Until then, we have a litte St. Patrick's Day giveaway going on to tide you over. Happy Vietnamese-Italian St. Patty's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Saucy Stir-Fry

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: A couple of extra-saucy stir-fries chock full of fresh, fabulous vegetables. Lyndsay divvied up her potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, and tofu into two camps: General Tsao and Spicy Kung Pao. Using ready-made sauces from Simply Asia kept cooking time to a minimum, and Lyndsay served both stir-fries over perfectly fluffy rice. A nice, big salad with tons of avocado, grated carrots, and fresh lettuce added more veggies to our plates.

The Goods: For our first day back on cooked food after Raw Week here at the VNHQ, it was certainly exciting to smell the aromas of lunch wafting out of our kitchen. Of course, we'd never forgo our staple side of salad, no matter what's on the rest of the plate! Even slightly more exciting than lunch is the fact that the VegNews Speaker Series launches two weeks from tomorrow! Tickets are going fast, so be sure and get yours now!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Raw Week: Angelic Pesto

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A fitting finale to raw week! Colleen, who cleverly brought in her spiralizer, made incredible angel-hair pasta from white sweet potatoes, which she covered with a delicious, slightly spicy, pesto and chopped tomatoes. A huge salad and a couple Olive Flats—which are a very salty jerky treat made from olives—finished off the meal.

The Goods: Now that we've thoroughly detoxed from the craziness of Expo West with this whole week of great, raw lunches, we're feeling ready to tackle the weekend. What do our weekend plans include? Oh, maybe a trip to Ike's, maybe a scoop or two at MaggieMudd, or maybe a trip across the bay for a huge, hearty brunch at Fellini. Whatever we each end up doing, we guarantee there won't be a salad in sight!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Raw Week: Sensational Slaw

The Chef: Stacy

The Menu: An assortment of excellently raw edibles! Ms. Stacy really went all out with her culinary creativity today, for which we are ever so grateful. First off, she prepared a bright, beautiful salad with sliced trumpet mushrooms, grated carrots, and chopped onions. Then she whipped up some homemade hemp butter, which she layered on celery sticks with raisins for finger food. Finally, Stacy's stellar slaw blew us all away. She grated broccoli stalks and acorn squash and added crushed cashews, chopped garlic, and raisins. This slaw was easily the favorite savory dish of Raw Week so far!

The Goods: Not only did Ms. Stacy's meal totally satisfy, but we were also treated to a trio of desserts from Ani Phyo's newest book, Ani's Raw Food Desserts thanks to Joseph and Colleen. Um, yum. The glory you see below includes raw oatmeal cookies, cacao-and-cinnamon-rolled truffles, and walnut cocoa bark. Picking a favorite from these three was very, very difficult. We'll be sampling each of them over and over again until we've come to a definitive conclusion. In case anyone's wondering, the picture below was taken before we descended on the treats. It is currently not nearly as full of goodies! Keep your eyes peeled for a special event announcement coming soon!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Raw Week: Rawkin' Tacos

The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: Some decidedly delicious raw tacos and a big, beautiful kale salad! Aurelia blended red bell pepper and cashews for the filling of our romaine-wrapped tacos, and garnished them with sliced green onions. The lovely and satisfying salad consisted of chopped kale, sliced trumpet mushrooms, and slivered red onion, all of which was tossed with a perfectly tangy homemade dressing.

The Goods: It's midway through Raw Week! So far, so good, though there was some brief discussion of mashed potatoes today at lunch. And mac 'n' cheese. And brownies. OK, so maybe we aren't all raw at heart, but our plates haven't seen a lick of cooked food, and everything we've eaten has been totally yummy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Raw Week: Zucchini Zaniness

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A zillion uses of zucchini! Today's zukes were peeled into ribbons to make raw pasta, which Elizabeth topped with a pesto of basil, garlic, cashews, and a splash of hemp-seed oil. Since you can't very well make ribbons out of the seedy parts of zucchini, those got blended with carrots, maple syrup, and cinnamon to make the little soup shooter you see at the top of the plate. Finally, a very, very simple salad of romaine and red bell pepper completed our plates.

The Goods: We're still enjoying our raw refreshment after the insanity of Expo West, but today we were feeling a little bit dessert deprived. Thankfully, we found a stock of really yummy raw gelato in our freezer from Organic Nectars, which we quickly devoured. We're not sure if the whole gelato-gorging process is really in the spirit of the diet cleanup, but it followed this week's raw law to the letter, which is good enough for us!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Raw Week: The Return

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A really, really, really awesome raw salad. Colleen busted out a delicious spinach and mixed-greens salad with big, satisfying chunks of avocado and slivered red onion. Her homemade flax-lemon-hemp dressing perked up our taste buds, and a side dollop of Zukay's Garlic Dill Relish added a zesty flavor.

The Goods: So, maybe you remember a little something about our whole team going to Expo West over the weekend to try out tons and tons of new, awesome, vegan products? Yeah, let's just say that after eating more samples than any group of people should be allowed to in a three-day period, we are all excited to bring back Raw Week this week! We'll be chopping, blending, and not-cooking to our hearts' content, and, we hope, making amends with our over-taxed digestive tracks. Oh, and maybe we'll have some sneak peeks from the amazingly adorable Ani Phyo's forthcoming book, Ani's Raw Food Desserts.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Time-Warp Wraps

The Chef: Aurelia

The Menu: Lickety-split teriyaki wraps courtesy of Amy's Kitchen—yes, one of the awesome job perks here is getting to try brand-new yummy wraps—steamed broccoli and cauliflower, a lovely salad with peppery radishes, and a couple of extra-freaking-super garlicky dips. Like, no joke, we are one vampire-free office right now. Yes, we totally pity the fools who are so unlucky as to be seated near us on the plane later today.

The Goods: Today's lunch was not only appropriate because it was a time saver, but also got our new-product-testing game faces on, which we'll definitely need down at Expo West this weekend. Sadly, our trip south means that today's is the last lunch entry for the week, but rest assured that we'll be back in action come Monday!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Greens Galore

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Today brings you yet another installment of the ongoing "What Do We Have in the Kitchen" challenge. Thankfully, when the fridge is packed with lovely romaine lettuce, plump tomatoes, red onion, and Sunergia Soy Feta, the salad practically makes itself. Bright rainbow Swiss chard just needed to be chopped and lightly tossed in a hot wok with big chunks of garlic, and a pile of hearty red potatoes got a cheesy infusion when Elizabeth mashed them with an amount of Garlic-Herb Sheese that will remain classified.

The Goods: Do we leave for Expo West tomorrow? Yes. Does that mean that things around the office are just about bat-sh*t crazy right now? Yes. We don't want to sound weird, but cheesy mashed potatoes are just about as close as you can come to sanity at times like these, and we happily devoured them today.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Superb Slices

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Yummy Kashi's Sicilian Veggie pizzas, which Ms. Lyndsay topped with a creative blend of chopped garlic, black beans, corn, and mozzarella-style Teese. On the side she busted out a beautiful salad of multicolor kale, vibrant Swiss chard, and—you guessed it—a combination of black beans and corn that was remarkably similar to that found on the pizza. With a dusting of Parma, this meal was as delicious as it was quick to put together.

The Goods: We've got an abbreviated week at the VNHQ as we'll all be headed south to Expo West come Wednesday night. Does that mean taking a couple days off at the end of the week before the craziness that defines this annual trade show? To put it succinctly, no. In fact, it means somehow cramming a full week's worth of work into just three days—so suffice it to say that in addition to the tasty flavors, we appreciated the ease of today's lunch.